Feb. 2019 MEC

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February 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle 2019 Line Clearance Plans

Solutions Tech Support Lakeside Melodies: A SW Michigan Hidden Gem

Act now to receive a 30% Federal tax credit*

7 Series Ultimate comfort and efficiency

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waterfurnace.com/Credit WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. Š2018 WaterFurnace International Inc. *30% through 2019, 26% through 2020, and 22% through 2021

In This Issue February 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 2

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

countrylines.com facebook.com/ michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

General Manager Mark Kappler HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

6 FEATURE Take Charge: Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Try These Unique Twists For The Ultimate Hamburger Christin McKamey & Our Readers Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 The Driving Force: Plug Into Electric Vehicles Read about two co-op members, who are also electric vehicle owners, and learn why they enjoy their EVs. 18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan: The Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Peruse the satisfying list from fellow members to find mouthwatering burgers around Michigan.

ON THE COVER Now with the potential to be three times cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts, electric vehicles are fast becoming more popular, less expensive to purchase, and able to drive hundreds of miles between each charge. Learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles on pages 6 and 7. Win $150 for stories published!

Guest Column Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. Guidelines 1. Approximately 350 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your guest column at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.








CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

CONTACT US MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS 800-492-5989 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-435-8564 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 Arell.Chapman@teammidwest.com James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/teammidwest Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Reliability Investments Paying Dividends Robert Hance, President/CEO

Mother Nature did her thing late in 2018, bringing two major storms to our region during the fourth quarter. A mid-October weekend wind storm was followed by a late November snowstorm, both causing extensive damage and leaving several thousand electric consumers without power. The snowstorm was particularly memorable as it left 15 broken poles in its wake. Despite the damage, we had all service restored within 24 hours. On the heels of events like these, those of us who have been around for a while typically engage in the “what could have been” conversation. When I started my tenure as your CEO 17 years ago, my primary charge from the board of directors was to improve system reliability. So we rolled up our sleeves and developed a plan that included a number of efforts, including a strategic and aggressive line clearance program. We worked our way across our 4,000-plus miles of line and cut trees to create a 30-foot, ground-to-sky clearance around our lines, the standard recommended by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It took many years to reclaim our rights-of-way, and we are now in a proactive maintenance mode that includes annual re-grooming and spraying. See the 2019 line clearance plan on page 5. Line clearance minimizes the likelihood of trees and animals coming in contact with power lines, and it also gives us better access to our distribution system so crews can get equipment in to make repairs. Fifteen years ago, our consumers would have been in the dark for days on the heels of an event like the November snowstorm. In fact, it would have taken longer to clear a path to reach a broken pole than to actually change it out and make repairs because our rights-of-way were such a mess. We can only speculate at what could have been, but our team members who know the system and history can speak with confidence about how different today’s service experience is. We will never be able to totally eliminate outages. We have a highly complex, largely overhead infrastructure that will always be subject to weather, equipment failure, and other issues. Because we are dependent on transmission providers to bring power to our substations, your service experience is also dependent on the work they do to maintain their systems. AEP, our primary transmission provider, is finishing a major system upgrade in southwest Michigan and we’re hopeful that will eliminate some of the pervasive outages that have impacted thousands of our consumers in recent years.

2019 promises to bring continued improvements to your service experience as we invest in our system to bring you first-in-class solutions.


WHAT IS A RIGHT-OF-WAY? A right-of-way refers to a strip of land around power lines that MEC maintains and clears. Trees and brush must grow at a distance far enough from conductors where they will not cause harm to individuals or disruption of electrical service. A significant percentage of power interruptions occur when trees, shrubs or brush grow too close to power lines. By managing vegetation, we can help maintain safe, reliable electricity.

Line Clearance Promotes Safe And Reliable Electricity Reliable electricity is not just a luxury; it’s an expectation. Our chief responsibility as your cooperative is to provide a reliable and safe electric distribution system, and trees are a major obstacle. To improve your service experience, we employ an aggressive, proactive line clearance program proven to significantly reduce outage hours related to our distribution system.

What We Do And Why We have worked diligently over the last decade to reclaim our rights-of-way, which means a ground-to-sky clearance of 15 feet on each side of the power line. Recorded and prescriptive easements give us the right to access and use personal property to maintain our rights-of-way. Because of our diligent efforts, we are now in full maintenance mode, including re-grooming and spraying. Following is a description of each method, with specific plans for 2019. Re-grooming: Once the line is clear, we return to trim and mow for any new growth. We will re-groom the following areas: Brady, Mattawan, Texas, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde, Flowerfield and Woodstock. Spraying: We employ a long-term spraying strategy to manage continued regrowth in newly-cut areas. It effectively controls tall-growing trees and bushes while promoting low-growing plants that are beneficial to wildlife. It offers costeffective, longer-term results, and is endorsed by a number of environmental, forestry and wildlife providers. We will spray in the following areas: Jones, Paw Paw, Mattawan, Texas, Woodstock, Brady, Schoolcraft, Prairie Ronde, Flowerfield, White Pigeon, Ontwa, Dailey and Barrett.

For More Information For more information about our line clearance procedures, please contact our Solutions Team at 800-492-5989 or visit teammidwest.com.



TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle

? Is an EV right for you? Calculate the overall cost of EV ownership, customize it to your personal circumstances, and compare it to conventional vehicles.



ow would you like to bid farewell to the gas station and pocket a portion of the money you used to spend on filling up your tank? While it almost sounds too good to be true, electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs) make it possible. The next time you’re in the market for a new car, consider the benefits of climbing into the driver’s seat of an EV.

LESS EXPENSIVE TO DRIVE You may be surprised to learn that driving a 2019 EV in Michigan can be up to three times cheaper than driving a gas-powered vehicle. This savings is possible because EVs have much lower fuel costs than conventional gasoline vehicles. Considering the average U.S. household spends nearly one-fifth of its total family budget on transportation, savings at the fuel pump can quickly add up. In 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that the average American household spent nearly $2,000 a year on gasoline. Imagine having extra funds to afford that family vacation, complete a home remodeling project, or even just beef up your savings account? The simple step of not draining your bank account each week at the gas pump may help you fast track your financial goals.


What is an eGallon? It is the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity, compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline.

MICHIGAN Regular gasoline

2 08

Electric eGallon

1 4 0

Source: energy.gov/maps/egallon

LESS MAINTENANCE Gas-powered automobiles require replacing parts that go bad over time. Electric vehicles are different because they do not require as many components to operate. For instance, electric motors only have one moving part while engines in traditional automobiles contain dozens. A perk appreciated by EV drivers is that you can roll past

3,000 miles without having to think about getting an oil change. EVs don’t require oil changes—ever. They also don’t require cooling system flushes, transmission servicing and replacing the air filter, spark plugs, and drive belts. Regular service visits are typically limited to rotating the tires and checking brake pads and other components. Less maintenance equals more money in your bank account with less time spent at the service station or auto repair shop.

GOING THE DISTANCE EVs have come a long way (and can now, literally, go a long way!) since they were first introduced to the U.S. consumer market. For example, Chevrolet advertises its 2019 Chevy Bolt EV with a range of 238 miles. Yes, that’s right! The Chevrolet Bolt can now drive 238 miles before needing to be charged. With the Bolt’s MSRP starting at $36,620, electric vehicles are truly becoming the affordable transportation of the future.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Most EVs can be charged by plugging into a standard 120 V outlet, but many owners opt to install a specialized 240 V charging system in their garage for a faster charge. With no tailpipe emissions, EVs produce zero pollution except for emissions created in producing the electricity used to charge them. With a renewable energy portfolio of nearly 20 percent, Michigan electric co-ops are the state’s renewable energy leaders. Switching to an EV and charging on co-op power lines is a way to reduce your carbon footprint significantly.

TAX INCENTIVES AVAILABLE While the operating costs of EVs are substantially lower, EVs can be more expensive to purchase than their conventional counterparts—although this up-front cost continues to decline as U.S. demand for electric vehicles rises. The good news is that the federal government offers limited tax credits up to $7,500 to EV buyers that can lower the up-front costs. Visit countrylines.com/ev to find specific tax credit amounts for individual vehicles. Check out pages 14–15 to meet two co-op members who are also electric vehicle owners, and learn why they enjoy their EVs. Be on the lookout for more EV articles in future issues of Michigan Country Lines. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


NO BARRIERS ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS—APPLY BY FEB. 28 Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate. No Barriers is a five-day, all-expenses-paid, expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experience in challenging environments (climbing, rafting and hiking). If you are a disabled veteran, or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete the form on our website:

countrylines.com/nobarriers *Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.

SAVE ENERGY WITH A HEAT PUMP SYSTEM It’s time to get excited about heat pump technology! Heat pumps heat and cool your home more efficiently, and put an end to your reliance on propane. You’ll enjoy: • Significant energy savings • Increased comfort • Reliable performance in cold climates

michigan-energy.org P H O N E : 877.296.4319 ONLINE:

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit michigan-energy.org.

Great views and accommodations await you at Lakeside Melodies Resort.

Nature And Wi-Fi At Lakeside Melodies Enjoying

Tucked away along the shore of Little Pleasant Lake outside of Three Rivers sits the Lakeside Melodies Resort, a quiet little collection of cottages that provides the perfect setting for boating, fishing, biking, hiking and more. Owners Bill and Carla purchased the property in 2006 with the vision of creating a respite for visitors to step away from their everyday life and enjoy the serenity of nature. They welcome guests throughout the year with their hospitality, comforts of home and even live music, courtesy of Bill and his hammered dulcimer. From the Blues Cottage which overlooks the fishing pier to the Music Hall Cottage, designed for large groups, with a private campfire and picnic area, Lakeside Melodies offers something to meet every need. Fishing enthusiasts will find Blue Gill, Crappy, Perch and Large Mouth Bass awaiting their hooks on this lake with no public access. Those who like to bike, hike or cross-country ski have easy access to hundreds of acres of nearby parks and miles of trails. Finally, for anyone who wants to simply relax and enjoy the surroundings, the resort offers a great scene for bird and wildlife watching. In addition to the plenitude of opportunities for outdoor exploration, Bill and Carla understand that modern life requires Wi-Fi. After all, people want to share all their great pictures on social media! So as soon as they could, they subscribed to MEC internet. “Night and day,” that’s how Bill describes his 100 Mbps plan versus his what he had with his previous provider. “Prior to having MEC, we

Bill makes melodies on the lakeside with his hammered dulcimer.

suffered from internet outages every few days, and we barely got 1 Mbps speed. If any of our guests wanted to use the internet, they had to physically come close to the main house—even then the connection wasn’t reliable,” he noted. Now, guests can access Wi-Fi from anywhere on the property, and they even have smart TVs in their cottages to stream shows on the days with Mother Nature decides outdoor recreation isn’t an option. Reliable internet isn’t only vital to their resort business; Bill also works as an IT consultant and Carla is a travel journalist. A reliable connection is a utility as vital as electric and gas. This is why our internet construction project is so important to us. We understand first-hand what other providers don’t: access to high-speed, dependable internet is critical to the success of people throughout rural America and geography shouldn’t be a barrier to opportunity. For more information on Lakeside Melodies, visit their website at lakesidemelodies.com or check out their recent photos on Facebook.

Owners Bill and Carla welcome guests throughout the year.



Ultimate Burgers Try one of these unique twists to the classic hamburger. Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Bruschetta Burgers With Avocado Spread Morgan Wernette, HomeWorks Tri-County

Bruschetta Topping: 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced 2–3 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons olive oil 10–15 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips • splash balsamic vinegar, to taste • salt and pepper, to taste • juice from half a lemon, optional Avocado Spread: 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped 1 cup mayo 1 teaspoon garlic powder • dash cayenne pepper Burger: 2 pounds ground beef ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ½ tablespoon dried basil ½ tablespoon dried oregano 1 clove garlic, minced ¼ cup red onion, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil 8 burger buns 10 FEBRUARY 2019

First, make the bruschetta topping; in a small mixing bowl, toss ingredients and set aside. Next, make the avocado spread; in a small dish, mix ingredients well and set aside. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, mozzarella cheese, basil, oregano, garlic, and red onion. Divide the meat into 8 patties. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat and cook the burgers 3–4 minutes on the first side until nicely browned, then flip and cook another 5 minutes or until cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Spread avocado on bun, add your burger and top with bruschetta. Enjoy with fries or roasted potatoes for a complete dinner that satisfies the whole family.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

Kickin’ Zion Heat Black Bean & Green Chili Burgers Janet Ruggles, Cherryland 2 ¼ ¼ 2 ½ 1 1½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ –¾ 6 6 6 6

pounds ground chuck cup sweet red bell pepper, diced medium fine cup sweet yellow bell pepper, diced medium fine (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles, drained and dried with a paper towel, divided cup cooked black beans, drained well tablespoon Koops Arizona Heat Mustard teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon chili powder, divided tablespoon Emeril’s Kick It Up Green Pepper Sauce (or Green Tabasco Sauce) teaspoon salt cup onion, chopped medium fine tablespoon Chipotle Pepper Adobo Sauce (I use San Marcos brand) cup mayonnaise pre-sliced pieces medium cheddar cheese soft whole grain hamburger buns, split romaine lettuce leaves large tomato slices, ¼ inch thick

In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, red pepper, yellow pepper, 1 can green chiles, black beans, Koops Mustard, 1½ teaspoons chili powder, Emeril’s Green Pepper Sauce, salt, onion, and Chipotle Pepper Adobo Sauce. Mix gently. To form the burgers, use a 1-cup size Rubbermaid plastic top that is 5" in diameter and a 12" x 12" piece of plastic wrap placed in the plastic top as a hamburger mold. Eyeball the meat mixture in a bowl and divide it into six equal balls of meat. Place a ball of meat in the “hamburger mold” and flatten it out to the edges to make a perfectly round patty. After forming each patty, place it on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to grill. To make Kickin’ Zion Heat Sauce; in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, remaining 1 can green chiles and remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder. Stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Grill burgers and add cheese toward the end of grilling; fold the four corners of each slice up to create a smaller, more rounded slice that will fit on the hamburger top. Top each burger with lettuce, tomato and Kickin’ Zion Heat Sauce as desired.

Zeus Burgers

Barbara Miller, Great Lakes Energy Sauce: 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 clove garlic, minced ¼ teaspoon dried oregano • salt to taste Burgers: ½ cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry ½ cup feta cheese 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon pine nuts (may substitute chopped walnuts) 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon oregano ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper 1 pound ground beef In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine burger ingredients; mix well and make 4 patties. Grill burgers. Serve with sauce on toasted buns.

Breakfast and Brunch: due March 1 Delicious Vegetables: due April 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES



Adrian team members pick out clothing and toys for Associated Charities of Lenawee County

We love the Christmas season at MEC and we especially love giving back to our neighbors and community. Here’s a recap of 2018’s festivities: In November, our team from the Adrian Solutions Center went shopping to assist Associated Charities of Lenawee County with their annual Christmas distribution program, which helps bring Christmas cheer to over 1,800 families in need.

Ms. Gronda’s class won the food drive contest for Paw Paw Middle School and, to thank them, we surprised them with cinnamon rolls and bagels.

MEC employees Paige Deak, Rob Schmidt, Rylie Westlake and Mark Britton spread Christmas cheer for our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK) day. 12 FEBRUARY 2019

Team MEC shopped for toys, clothes and more, and the Adrian linemen selected hoodies, fishing rods, sporting equipment and personal care items specifically for boys ages 8–15, an often overlooked age group for the distribution program. We also helped the Paw Paw School District with their annual food drive. From Nov. 19 through Dec. 7, students from Paw Paw Middle School competed with each other to see who could bring in the most food to help the Paw Paw Lions Club build holiday baskets for families in need. The Student Council and Leos Club members helped facilitate the drive, and some students also helped build the baskets. In total, the students brought in 1,575 food items. The sixth grade brought 756 items, the most out of all three grades and Ms. Gronda’s first-hour band class earned the winning trophy with 419 items. Both the winning grade and the winning class earned a special treat for their hard work. Additionally, MEC made a contribution


Operation Christmas Cheer recipients.

to Eleanor’s Pantry in Paw Paw in honor of the winning grade. December marked our annual Operation Christmas Cheer effort. We randomly selected six local families and surprised them with a Christmas wreath, a gift basket, a holiday ham and an assortment of goodies. We also held our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK) day: four of our Cassopolis team members volunteered their day to help spread the Christmas spirit throughout the area. The day started with surprising teachers at Edwardsburg Middle School with coffee and snacks to thank them for their hard work. Then they headed to McDonald’s and purchased meals for a couple of people going through the drive-through. After that, they purchased toys and holiday food for Operation Christmas Cheer families along with toys for teens staying at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in South Bend, Ind. At RMH, the crew wrapped gifts, made meals to freeze for families staying at the house and also baked cookies as part of RMH’s cookie exchange. Then they delivered Operation Christmas Cheer baskets to a couple of the winning families and surprised local residents in Cassopolis with groceries and more. Finally, on Dec. 26, a few of our employees participated in an extended RACK day event and surprised a local woman in need with a cord of wood to help keep her warm this winter.

MEC employee Rylie Westlake bakes cookies for the RMH’s cookie exchange

MEC employee Paige Deak prepares meals to freeze for RMH. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13

The Driving Force

Plug Into Electric Vehicles

Jim MacInnes

CEO, Crystal Mountain Chairperson, Michigan Utilities Consumer Participation Board Electric Vehicle: 2017 Tesla Model S 100D As the Chief Executive Officer and co-owner of a ski resort I can tell you that global warming is, simply put, bad for business. Widespread adoption of vehicle electrification represents one of our best opportunities to mitigate these effects while also generating significant savings.

“Michigan’s utilities and cooperatives are well positioned to help lead the charge and benefit from investing in and incentivizing EVs.”

We’ve long advocated for EVs and their tremendous environmental and economic potential. Crystal was the first northern Michigan resort to offer complimentary charging stations—we now have five. My first electric vehicle was the Chevy Volt which is now one of our security vehicles. Today, I drive a Tesla and Crystal Mountain is part of its Destination Driving Program. Our EV chargers have attracted new guests to the resort, including at least a half dozen electric vehicles on display during Memorial Day Weekend’s Michigan Beer & Brat Festival. For a start, electric vehicles are way more energy efficient and have a lot fewer moving parts. This makes them mechanically simpler and less subject to breakdown. They have software that can be updated over the internet. So, rather than becoming obsolete, they will improve over time—much like your phone. Michigan’s utilities and cooperatives are well positioned to help lead the charge and benefit from investing in and incentivizing EVs and their charging infrastructure while also saving money for ratepayers. We are extremely proud of our partner in Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Their commitment to a 56 percent carbon-free energy portfolio is vital to a sustainable energy and environmental future.

14 FEBRUARY 2019

Electric vehicles remain a hot topic in 2019, as the purchase and use of EVs has fasttracked in popularity across the country. In rural Michigan, electric co-ops are keeping a close eye on the EV industry and can serve as a good resource if you have questions about purchasing one this year. Meet two co-op members on these pages who drive electric vehicles themselves, and learn how this shift in transportation has made financial and environmental sense for them.

Mark Kappler

General Manager, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Electric Vehicle: 2017 Chevy Bolt I recently made the decision to purchase an electric vehicle for personal use. Before choosing to go electric, my wife and I carefully considered several factors, including what our primary use of the vehicle would be. But once we did the research and weighed the pros and cons, all signs pointed towards the Chevy Bolt. As we analyzed the way we used our existing small car, for short trips to the grocery store, to work and school, to events at Michigan State, etc., we found that the Bolt’s maximum mileage range of 238 miles per charge would more than meet our needs. We worked it out and realized the lower operating costs of the vehicle would result in a cost savings for us. After that, the decision was easy. Probably the biggest misconception regarding electric vehicles is the range anxiety that can come from not understanding how people use their current vehicles. Studies have shown that most people use their vehicles for shorter trips most of the time. My wife and I have a small SUV that we use for long trips and more carrying capacity, but for short trips, which make up the majority of our driving, we use our electric car exclusively. As a new EV-owner, I would encourage any co-op member purchasing a new vehicle to consider an electric vehicle.

“We found that the Bolt’s maximum mileage range of 238 miles per charge would more than meet our needs.”

Do you drive an electric vehicle? Please email editor@countrylines.com with your contact information (name, email, phone number, electric co-op) and a brief testimonial outlining your personal experience driving an EV. Someone from the magazine may call or email you to interview you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming article.



Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Solutions Did you know that our Cassopolis Solutions Center includes a data center available to area businesses looking for off-site data storage and access solutions? Our state-of-the-art co-location center offers stringent critical systems infrastructure, multi-tier security measures and reliable cross connects.

PREMIUM MISSION CRITICAL SPACE Colocation • Private Space • Custom Design*


Physical Access with Dual Authentication Security 24x7x365

INTERNET AND IP TRANSPORT CARRIERS Point to Point Layer 2 or Layer 3 IP Transport* *Available upon request

DATA CENTER PRICING SPACE Community Rack (2U) Quarter Rack (12U) Half Rack (24U) Full Rack (48U)


POWER 3 Amps



BANDWIDTH 10 Mbps 25 Mbps 25 Mbps 50 Mbps

PRICE PER MONTH $200 $500 $700 $800

On-hand Support available at an hourly rate. Diversified Colocation pricing also available.

800.492.5989 teammidwest.com Minimum 1-year term. Data Center services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Let Us Be Your Tech Support Partners Today’s world of smart homes, video streaming, home automation and more offers many exciting opportunities to live a more convenient and efficient everyday life. However, getting started can feel intimidating, even a little scary, and we want to help. Solutions Tech Support from MEC: For $49.95/hour, we will help you get the most out of some of today’s best technological tools:

Get To Know Your New Device With One Hour Of Basic Training We will help you learn to love your new computer or mobile device by providing lessons on using a Mac or Windows operating system. We will also help you connect devices and show you how to use your music player, organize photos and more. Please note: service does not include installation or setup of any devices or software.

Fix Issues With Your Current PC Is your computer running slower than normal or exhibiting unexpected behaviors such as redirecting you to unknown websites or preventing certain programs from launching? You may have installed a virus or malware. We will assist with the removal of these issues and repair of your PC.

Set Up And Improve Your Network Connection Let us set up your router, manage your settings and connect your devices. We will even do a speed test and offer suggestions to improve your wired and wireless connection.

Install And Set Up Your Nest Thermostat Are you ready to take advantage of the heating and cooling efficiencies provided by your Nest but not sure how to get started? We will happily install it for you and walk you through its features.

Meet Matt

He will help you make the most of your devices and online tools from smartphones to Netflix.

as a Roku, Apple TV or Chromecast will configure up to two online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Sling. Give us a call at 800-492-5989 to set up an appointment today. This service is currently available in our southwest territory only.

SpartanSolar-MEC Community Solar Good news, Michigan residents! We’ve extended the deadline to get a $150/panel rebate when you subscribe to one or more solar panels. The rebate is limited to 20 panels and is only available to those who pay the full $600 subscription price up front. Learn more about our community solar program and the rebate at spartansolar.com.

Cut The Cord From Your Current Cable Or Satellite Provider Gain control and flexibility over the TV shows and movies you watch with streaming video. We will help you get started by connecting one online streaming device such


MI CO-OP Community

Enjoy a handcrafted, juicy burger while bowling a game or two at Wagon Wheel American Grill in Portland. Visit their website at wagonwheelbowl.com for directions and hours. Photo credit—Wagon Wheel American Grill


78 1

Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Check out these recommendations from fellow members to find mouthwatering burgers around Michigan.


J & B’s Bar & Grill ”Our favorite burger place is J & B’s Bar & Grill, 1060 M-32, Johannesburg. We feel that when you order a burger that is medium rare that it should be juicy, not dry, and that is exactly the way you get your burger each and every time at J & B’s. We have never been disappointed by the burgers, no matter how we order our burgers. It is the best burger around.” Michelle Rohr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas


Talley’s Log Cabin ”Hands down, the best burger is served at Talley’s Log Cabin located at 2981 Co Road 612, Lewiston. I’m old enough to remember when Hilda Talley owned, ran and cooked at the bar. Her burgers, along with the famous chili she made, brought people from everywhere to enjoy her food.” Dennis Nelson, Presque Isle Electric & Gas


Wagon Wheel American Grill ”Wagon Wheel American Grill, 7888 E. Grand River Ave., in Portland was voted Best Bowling Center Burger by MLive. Call anyone at HomeWorks, and they will tell you we have the best burgers around.” Terry Schrauben, HomeWorks Tri-County


The Station Grille ”The Station Grille in Muskegon at 910 W. Broadway Ave., has THE BEST BURGERS, bar none!!! No one else can touch them. Our family makes special trips there to get one!” Tina Boarts, Great Lakes Energy


Schuberg’s Bar and Grill ”Schuberg’s Bar and Grill, 109 N. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids, is the best of the best. Look at their menu and your mouth will water! My favorites include the Cowboy Schu, the Mushroom and Swiss Schu, and, of course, the Big Schu. Schuberg’s delivers the small town feel, but lives up to the legend they have made.” Jessica Bergman, Thumb Electric

18 FEBRUARY 2019






Buckhorn Inn ”To anyone headed north of the bridge, I have lived in the U.P. and have eaten out at many of the popular eateries and ‘mom and pop’ restaurants, cafes, and pasty shops from the eastern U.P. to the west. But of the many burger/bar combos I have ‘participated’ in, the Buckhorn Inn, 31324 W. Main Street, Trout Lake, trumps all the others. Accompanied by its comical antique attire and friendly staff, not only is Buckhorn welcoming, but so is the ‘blink of an eye’ town of Trout Lake. In my opinion, the Buckhorn burger is the best of them all! Far and wide.” Nick Palmer, Great Lakes Energy


Pure Country Family Restaurant ”The best burger is at Pure Country Family Restaurant, 601 W. 25th Street, Sault Ste. Marie. Bring your appetite! Amazing homemade food and the George Strait burger, two 6-ounce patties on a homemade bun, is excellent!” William Wolthuis, Midwest Energy & Communications


Clyde’s Drive-in ”Been going to Clyde’s Drive-in, 1425 Riverside Dr., in Sault Ste. Marie for many years! It’s a throwback to the car service restaurants of the past. The burgers are amazing, and the Big C burger is worth it! Clyde’s is right next to the Rotary Island Park, so it’s a great place to grab amazing food and then go watch the boats.” J. Dorr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas

Best of Michigan Up Next——Best Hiking Trails: Help us create a “Best Hiking Trails” bucket list. We will publish this stellar list of Michigan hiking trails to explore in our April issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by February 20.



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