Cherryland Feb. 2020

Page 1

February 2020


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Members Ask, Cherryland Listens

Introducing Outage Text Alerts Local Man Completes Colorado Expedition For Disabled Veterans



There’s a Treasure in Your Backyard You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers BAD AXE B & D Htg (989) 269-5280

CARO AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328)

INDIAN RIVER M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

BERRIEN SPRINGS WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich

CLIFFORD Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sandusky

BIG RAPIDS Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

HART Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating

MICHIGAN CENTER Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan MT PLEASANT Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

MUSKEGON Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating PORTLAND ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

TRAVERSE CITY D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215

Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

SUNFIELD Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138

visit us at * 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

In This Issue February 2020 || Vol. 40, No. 2

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

Follow Us On Instagram! @michigancountrylines

Celebrating 40 Years michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

FEATURED PHOTO FROM #micoopcommunity:

A traditional Upper Peninsula “Welcome Home” captured by @polfusphotography (Seth Polfus) upon pulling in his driveway.

Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, 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; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. 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

Tag us or use #micoopcommunity in your post and your photo could be featured on our Instagram account and printed as the featured photo in our magazine.


The United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw cuts an impressive figure as she navigates along the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways. Measuring 240 feet in length and displacing more than 3,500 tons, the Mackinaw can cut through up to 32 inches of ice to maintain waterways and help rescue trapped ships all winter long.


The Ultimate Icebreaker: Designed with the Great Lakes weather in mind, the USCG Cutter Mackinaw and her crew spend the winter months breaking up ice to keep commerce moving through major shipping lanes.

Cover photo by Tony Johnson Photography, Cheboygan, Michigan

Emily Haines Lloyd


Guest Column: A Message From Beyond The Grave

Best of Michigan: Chocolatiers

Enjoy these member-recommended chocolate shops and experience how sweet life is!

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Brian Maki, Alger Delta Cooperative member



Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

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

Make winter more cherry with these recipes. Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Brown Sugar and Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts Featured Guest Chef: This warm and hearty meal, as prepared by onboard duty cooks, is a favorite among the Mackinaw crew after a day of battling ice and cold. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Best Pizza: Are you a pizza aficionado? Have you tried every mom and pop pizza parlour in Michigan and know the best stops? Share with us your favorite pizza places to enjoy America’s soul food. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by March 25, and look for it on our preferred pies list in the April issue.










Board Of Directors

TOM VAN PELT President 231-386-5234 DAVID SCHWEITZER Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 GABE SCHNEIDER Secretary 517-449-6453 MELINDA LAUTNER Treasurer 231-947-2509 TERRY LAUTNER Director 231-946-4623 JOHN OLSON Director 231-938-1228 JON ZICKERT Director 231-631-1337 GENERAL MANAGER Tony Anderson CO-OP EDITORS Rachel Johnson Rob Marsh

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 WEBSITE PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Follow us on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram. @cherrylandec


Cherryland Cares Awards $25,600 To Six Nonprofits At its fourth-quarter board meeting, the Cherryland Cares Board awarded a total of $25,600 in grants to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors, Betsie Valley Community Center, Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Junior Achievement of Northwest Michigan, Love Thy Neighbor Grand Traverse Region, and TART Trails, Inc. In total, Cherryland Cares awarded nearly $55,000 in grants to area nonprofit agencies in 2019. If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, first-quarter grant applications are due Friday, March 6. For more information, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email at

Cherryland Accepts Applications For Youth Tour In Washington, D.C. High school sophomores and juniors from Cherryland’s service territory are invited to join the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour: a once-in-a-lifetime, allexpenses-paid leadership travel opportunity to Washington, D.C., in June. Applications must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 28. For more information and to apply, visit

Serve On Cherryland’s Board Any qualified Cherryland member can be elected to serve a three-year term on the cooperative’s board of directors. Two directors will be elected at this year’s Annual Meeting, including one at-large director and one Leelanau director. To be nominated in 2020, candidates can file a petition with the cooperative’s administrative assistant starting the first day of March and ending at 4 p.m. on the last business day of March. Nominating petitions are available on our website and at the co-op office in Grawn. For more information regarding board nominations and the election process, review Article III of the co-op’s bylaws on our website.

Cherryland Offers Five Scholarships Cherryland offers five scholarships—three worth $4,000 ($1,000 for four years) for high school seniors and two for $1,000 each for adult scholarships (post high school). Applications for both scholarships are available on our website or by contacting Cherryland’s office at 231-486-9200. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 3.

No Barriers Adventures For Rural Veterans—Apply By Feb. 28 No Barriers is a five-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in Colorado designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experiences 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 at:

Who’s Listening? Tony Anderson, General Manager


o you ever talk and wonder if anybody is really listening? Well, when it comes to being an electric cooperative with almost 36,000 meters, there are a lot of people to listen to. I believe your cooperative is always listening and trying to balance the needs of a diverse membership. There are members on both sides of the climate change discussions. At your cooperative, we have chosen not to debate the science. Rather, we have held a steady focus on price over resource. However, when price and resource align, we hedge the bets of every member and choose the cleaner resource. Over the past decade-plus, our portfolio of power has grown from less than 5% carbonfree to over 60% carbon-free. This has been accomplished with only two rate increases in the last 10 years as well. We heard from members who want a cooperative that is responsible to the environment and from others who want one that is responsible to the pocketbook. We listened. In 2003, a member had to attend the Annual Meeting to vote in the board election. Many made noise about not being able to be there in person on one specific day. Your cooperative added paper ballots that any member could mail in instead. Members asked for an even easier online option. We are now three elections into voting via the Internet. In 2019, more members voted in a cooperative election than ever before. We listened. Members asked if we could provide a solar option. Other members didn’t want a solar option that they had to subsidize. Your cooperative put together the first community solar project in the state in 2013. If you wanted solar, you could lease one panel or several panels situated in a joint location next to our office. If you didn’t believe in solar, it didn’t affect your bill. We listened. Electric vehicles have slowly entered our market over the past few years. Members are showing interest in the technology but remain worried over where to charge them

when not at home. Your cooperative formed a partnership with Blain’s Farm & Fleet. Together, the two entities will install the first Level 3 fast charger in our region in early 2020. Anyone will be able to plug in their electric car for a quick charge while spending 30 minutes or less shopping at Blain’s. We listened. Hardwired phone lines are becoming ancient technology. More and more members with smartphones want to use texting rather than talking. “Why can’t I just text my co-op when I am out of power?” is something we hear members say often. Well, this month, any Cherryland member will have the ability to do just that. Progress reports and restoration notifications will also be sent by text—no waiting for someone to answer the phone or punching buttons through an automated voice system. A simple text will get lineworkers rolling to turn the darkness into light once again. We listened. Taking hundreds and thousands of comments, wants and desires and turning them into reality is often not an easy task. But it comes with the business and is something every employee at your cooperative takes seriously. We may not be able to solve every problem, want or need, but I can promise you one thing… we will listen. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


MI CO-OP Community

Best Of Michigan Chocolatiers Chocolate isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. Every occasion is better with chocolate, right? Indulge yourself with these member-recommended chocolate shops. Enjoy and experience how sweet life is!




Lansing, 517-482-7871 Fabiano’s is near Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. Their handmade chocolates are the best. My husband always made sure I had my favorite truffles on hand. He has passed, but I have continued the tradition. A truffle at the end of the day says, “Life is good.” Lee Edwards, HomeWorks Tri-County



DROST’S CHOCOLATES Indian River, 231-238-6911 Yummy chocolates with huge variety. I love all the dark chocolates, and they also have delicious sugar-free chocolates. I can’t forget the ice cream flavors; you can’t go wrong!


2 3

6 12

2 5

Mary Hall, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op



4 10


Gaylord, 989-732-1077 The Alpine Chocolat Haus has the best seafoam (a sweet, pillowy foam smothered in their famous chocolate) in the state!! We’ve been known to “take a road trip” (from Grand Rapids area) just to go and buy several bags of their delicious seafoam! We also love their chocolate-covered potato chips! Bob and Brenda Austin, Great Lakes Energy




Vassar, 989-882-9494 A family-owned business that makes the most amazing handmade chocolates. I love stopping by for a special treat or when I’m gift shopping! They also make sugar-free chocolate so good it will fool people. Crystal Fox, Thumb Electric






Grand Haven, 616-935-7740 You can take a tour of the chocolate factory and take classes. They have friendly and knowledgeable staff. They have the most intricately decorated chocolate eggs for Easter.

Whittemore, 989-756-3691 Just walking into this store makes you feel like a kid again! All the varieties of candy are out-of-this-world delicious.

Sandy Whitaker, Midwest Energy & Communications

Sheryl Klotz, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

SAYKLLY’S CANDIES Escanaba, 906-786-3092 Sayklly’s has the best chocolate in the Upper Peninsula! They also have great customer service, even on busy days, and lots of varieties, too.


Denise Smith, Alger Delta





Empire, 231-326-3030 This is definitely my favorite chocolatier. Their products are amazing and beautifully handcrafted, and include everything from truffles to chocolate bars and wafers to coffee! Also, the staff is always delightful, helpful, and enthusiastic about their offerings. It's nearly impossible to drive by without stopping! Jeannie Corey, Cherryland





Marquette, 906-226-6110 Historic Donckers of Marquette has the best chocolate in the area. Many people love their fudge, but my favorites are the dark chocolate sea salt caramels. The candy counter is filled with delicious chocolates and confections and has an old-fashioned soda fountain in the back. When Barack Obama was president, he visited Marquette and stopped by Donckers. Ginny Dunn, Alger Delta

East Tawas, 989-362-7728 I send their chocolates to my family for the holidays, and they rave about the quality and delicious taste of these handmade dark chocolates. They take a lot of pride in their ingredients and quality, along with fantastic customer service. Don Kossick, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

Alpena, 989-354-8231 They have to-die-for homemade chocolates, the best homemade caramel corn and yummy coffee. There are lots of great gifts, too! Sheila McEachin, Thumb Electric

Inkster, 313-565-2505 They make the best chocolate I have ever tasted. Two of the Corden brothers started the business in 1918, and it continues to be family operated today——everything is made from scratch. Certain times of the year, they create unique chocolates, which include brandy- or rum-filled chocolate-covered cherries and creamy butter rums which melt in your mouth (my absolute favorites). Yum! Deb Dillon, Great Lakes Energy


No power? We’ll text you.

Introducing Outage Text Alerts Cherryland is proud to offer you two-way text alerts as another way to communicate with us during an outage. You can receive up-to-date information about an outage affecting you, as well as report an outage with a simple text from your mobile phone.

How Does It Work? Once subscribed to outage text alerts, we will text you when there is a power outage that may affect you. And if you discover an outage before we do, you can report it to us via text as well. During an outage, we will send you status updates and estimated restoration times as they become available, or you can request them yourself. If you wish to no longer receive outage text alerts, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Text Commands Get the outage information you need by texting the following commands to (800) 442-8616:


Report an outage

STATUS Check the status of an outage, including an estimated restoration time


iMessage Today 12:34 PM

OUT You’ve reported an outage at 123 MAIN ST. We’ll give you info once available.

A crew’s on the way! We’re estimating restoration to 123 MAIN ST by February 15, 2019, 03:30 PM.


We’re estimating restoration to 123 MAIN ST by February 15, 2019, 03:30 PM. Your power’s on at 123 MAIN ST! If it’s still out please call us at 800-4428616 or reply by texting OUT.

Unsubscribe from outage text alerts

Sign Up Now If we don’t have your mobile phone number or it needs to be updated, contact us using any one of the methods below. If your mobile phone number is already associated with your Cherryland account, you don’t need to do anything! You will receive a text confirming that you are subscribed to outage text alerts.

(231) 486-9200 • (800) 442-8616


You may associate cherries with late spring and summer, but February is National Cherry Month. Since they’re super tasty and super good for you, there’s no reason life can’t be, well, a bowl of cherries right now! Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Cherry Fudge Cake Mary Scodeller, Great Lakes Energy

1¹⁄ ³ cups sifted all-purpose 1 egg flour ½ cup evaporated milk 1 cup sugar ¼ cup water ¹⁄ ³ cup cocoa 2 tablespoons maraschino 1 teaspoon soda cherry syrup ¾ teaspoon salt ½ cup cut-up maraschino ²⁄ ³ cup shortening, softened cherries Preheat oven to 350 F (for glass pan, use 325 F). Grease bottom of an 8-inch square pan. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt into a 2-quart bowl. Add shortening, egg, and evaporated milk to dry ingredients in bowl. Beat hard 2½ minutes with electric mixer at medium speed, or with mixing spoon. Add water and cherry syrup and beat hard one minute longer. Stir in cut-up cherries. Transfer to prepared baking pan. Bake on center rack of oven 45–50 minutes or until cake pulls from sides of pan. Remove from oven. Let stand in pan 10 minutes before turning out to cool. If desired, cool and frost in pan. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at 10 FEBRUARY 2020

Cherry Couscous Annie Barnes, Great Lakes Energy

1 cup water or chicken broth ¾ cup quick-cooking couscous, uncooked (may sub wild rice or a grain mixture) ½ cup dried tart cherries ½ cup coarsely chopped carrots ½ cup chopped unpeeled cucumber ¼ cup sliced green onions ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds, optional 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring water or broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in couscous. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Uncover; let cool 10 minutes. Combine cooked couscous, dried cherries, carrots, cucumber, green onions, and pine nuts in a large bowl. Combine vinegar, olive oil, and mustard; mix well. Pour vinegar mixture over couscous mixture; mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Michigan Vineyard Salad C. Hodges, Ontonagon REA

1 head bibb lettuce (about 8 ounces total), washed and dried well 1 head red leaf lettuce (about 12 ounces total), washed and dried well ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese 12 rings red onion, each about ¼-inch thick 3 tablespoons chopped English walnuts, toasted ½ cup dried tart cherries 3 tablespoons tart cherry preserves 3 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


GUEST CHEF 1 garlic clove, minced ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper In a medium bowl, tear lettuce into bitesize pieces, then add cheese, onion, nuts, and cherries. In a small lidded jar, combine remaining ingredients and shake until emulsified. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

After long days of navigating the icy waters of the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways, the crew of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw appreciates a warm meal with hearty flavors like this ship favorite provided by the onboard duty cooks.

French Cherry Cream Torte

Kathy Chapman, Great Lakes Energy Crust: ½ cup brown sugar 1 cup finely chopped nuts 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 2 cups flour • dash salt Filling: 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup confectioners sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 16-ounce container Cool Whip Topping: 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling • ground nuts, optional To make the crust, in a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chopped nuts,

butter/margarine, flour and salt. Press into a 9x13 pan and bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and break up with fork. To make the filling, in a large bowl, first cream the cream cheese. Then add the confectioners sugar and vanilla, and cream together. Add the Cool Whip and mix well. Spread the filling on the crust in an even layer. Refrigerate overnight. For the topping, spread the cherry pie filling on top of the pie and add chopped nuts, if preferred.

Best Of Vegetarian: due March 1 Mexican Fiesta:

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. Go to for more information and to register.

Brown Sugar And Bacon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 6 bacon slices 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Cut Brussels sprouts in half and place to the side. Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. After draining, crumble bacon. Cook Brussels sprouts either in a Dutch oven or frying pan with 1 tablespoon of butter for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Once the Brussels sprouts are tender, add additional butter (if needed), brown sugar, and bacon. Stir until butter and brown sugar are mixed. Serve immediately.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Read the full story about the USCG Cutter Mackinaw on page 14, and find this recipe and others at



YOUNG COMPLETES EXPEDITION FOR DISABLED VETERANS By Rob Marsh Photos courtesy of Micah Baird/No Barriers

Army and U.S. Coast Guard veteran Dave Young paused just a moment to hold back a tear as he recalled hiking through the mountains of Colorado. “During one of the expedition’s hikes, we followed a trail that led to an incredibly beautiful valley,” he said. “My fellow veterans and I just sat there, almost speechless.”


For Young, this wasn’t an ordinary hiking trip in the Colorado wilderness. Young was one of a dozen former military men and women selected to participate in the No Barriers Warriors program. No Barriers Warriors is a five-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in the Red Feather Lakes region of Colorado for veterans with disabilities. Sponsored by CoBank, the program is designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experiences in challenging environments.

12 FEBRUARY 2020

Young, along with a few other veterans from the greater Grand Traverse area, was nominated by Cherryland and selected by CoBank to participate in the expedition in 2019. “The whole experience was wonderful,” said Young. “I was delighted that I was able to go.” In his youth, Young graduated from the Army ROTC program at Western Michigan University. He later served in Germany for two years, notably during the construction of the Berlin Wall. When he returned home, he garnered an interest in aviation, serving as an air observer in the National Guard. He later worked as a helicopter pilot, flying men and equipment to and from offshore drilling locations, before joining the U.S. Coast Guard. Today, at the age of 83, Young is one of the oldest veterans to have participated in the program. It was this fact that, upon arriving at basecamp, concerned him a little. “I was old enough to be the grandfather of everyone there,” he chuckled. Young was familiar with the rigors of mountainous excursions. In fact, shortly after finishing his service in Germany, Young climbed the Matterhorn, the famous mountain of the Alps, whose summit is one of the highest in Europe. “I really pushed myself on that climb,” he explained. “And I walked away from that experience thinking, ‘If I can do

LEFT: The expedition offered multiple physical challenges, including hiking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. RIGHT: Every night of the expedition ended with conversation around the fire.

“I WALKED AWAY FROM THAT EXPERIENCE THINKING, ‘IF I CAN DO THAT, I CAN DO ANYTHING.’” Dave Young that, I can do anything.’ I think that is the feeling many of us took away from the No Barriers Warriors program.” Each of Young’s days in Colorado was filled with physical challenges, including hiking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. Every step of the way, the group was led by a number of guides who were not only experts in these activities, but were disabled veterans as well. “They were so helpful and brought a real upbeat attitude,” Young said. After each long day, the group would eat and rest around a bonfire. They often talked about their military service and experiences. And it was in these discussions that Young admitted feeling moments of guilt. “While I had some harrowing experiences as a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard, they were nothing compared to what some of these young people had gone through during their service,” he explained. However, it was the words of the expedition’s captain that gave him perspective. “‘You’re an inspiration to these young people,’” Young recalls tearfully. “’ They’ve got demons they’re fighting, and you’re proof that they can get through it.’” On their last day, each participant was given a medal to symbolize what they had done over the expedition. They were also given a mission. “We were asked to be disciples of the program and let other people know what they are offering to veterans,” explained Young. Dave Young is a veteran of both the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard.

So, if you were interested in the No Barriers Warriors program, Young, fulfilling his mission, would tell you simply, “Boy, go for it! You will be thrilled with the results.”


Photo courtesy of Tony Johnson Photography.


he Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus” or “Always Ready.” And ready is what you have to be when navigating the miles of waterways that the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) oversees along the Great Lakes, Straits of Mackinac, and St. Mary’s River.

iteration of Mackinaw was commissioned in 2006, the retired ship found a home at its namesake, Mackinaw City. The current Mackinaw is 240 feet in length, with a displacement of more than 3,500 tons and is powered by three Caterpillar 3600 series 12-cylinder diesel engines. Between the two ships, Mackinaw is celebrating its 75th year in Cheboygan, Michigan. “Mackinaw has a crew of about 60 and has three main missions—icebreaking, servicing aids to navigation (ATON), and search and rescue,” explains Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Carolyn Smith of the Coast Guard. “We also do a fair amount of public relations, as a branch of the military that is easily accessible and visible by the public at large.”


Mackinaw has a rich history, with its predecessor (Mackinaw WAGB-83) having been commissioned back in the World War II era as a way to support the war effort and the transportation of resources along the Great Lakes. With weather along the Great Lakes being as it is, a ship that was capable of cutting through ice to maintain waterways and rescue trapped ships was a necessity. To keep commerce moving, cutters like the Mackinaw make tracks of broken ice through major shipping lanes and often conduct closequarters maneuvering to free immobilized ships from thick ice. As commerce increased and the need for oil and gasoline has become a part of everyday living, the usefulness of Mackinaw and its similar crafts has become irreplaceable. When the latest 14 FEBRUARY 2020

Residents and visitors of Cheboygan have frequent views of and visits aboard Mackinaw, even though it is busy year-round. As the largest U.S. cutter on the Great Lakes, it spends approximately four months on the icy Great Lakes and surrounding waterways during the winter season. She is equipped with two 4,500-horsepower Azipods, which are capable of turning in 360 degrees and breaking through 32 inches of ice at 8 knots astern, or 14 inches of ice when moving 10 knots ahead. Additionally, the Azipods are capable of blowing highly pressurized water through and under the ice, breaking thick ice nearly 100 feet from the ship without the hull of the vessel ever coming into contact with it.

started in the late 1800s with entrepreneurs who This past winter, Mackinaw, along with other gave many trees away at the end of their annual Coast Guard ships on the Great Lakes, conducted Christmas tree delivery in the Windy City. The 429 vessel escorts through ice-filled waterways and 155 direct assists to vessels beset in ice over a tradition was revived in 1999 as the Chicago Christmas Ship program. For the past two 106-day period. This translated to approximately decades, the crew of Mackinaw has carried and $301 million worth (about 8.3 million tons) of dry bulk cargo critical to power generation, “THE LONGER I’M IN THE COAST GUARD, THE industrial productivity, and public safety.



In spring and fall, the Mackinaw tends to aids IT’S A PRIVILEGE EACH AND EVERY DAY.” — LTJG Carolyn Smith to navigation, pulling in and placing larger buoys in the spring unloaded these symbols of hope and goodwill and then replacing those with smaller winter at Navy Pier each year, just in time to deliver a buoys in the fall. The mission of ATON is to healthy dose of holiday cheer. assist commercial and recreational mariners to determine their position, steer clear of hazards, “The longer I’m in the Coast Guard, the more and chart a safe course. The crew I appreciate our missions and what we do,” said under the ship LTJG Smith. “Not only facilitating commerce and This year, Mackinaw celebrated 20 years of a during dry-dock providing safety on local waterways, but we also less likely tradition—while conducting its fall maintenance. have the opportunity to serve the people of the ATON operations, Mackinaw delivered nearly Photo courtesy United States directly and immediately. It’s a 1,200 Christmas trees from northern Michigan of Petty Officer Joseph Coach. privilege each and every day.” to deserving families in Chicago. This custom

All female bridge team with Commander John Stone.

Christmas Trees on back of the ship prior to delivery to families in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Tony Johnson Photography.

Most votes on Facebook!





Photo Contest Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Submit Your “Bridges of Michigan” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our February theme is Bridges of Michigan. Photos can be submitted through February 20 to be featured in our April issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2020, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2020 bill. 16 FEBRUARY 2020


Around The World 1. “ Traverse City State Hospital tunnels tour” by Michelle Decastro 2. “ Hiking in Zermatt, Switzerland” by Kathy Roush 3. “Kylemore Abbey, Connemara County, Galway, Ireland” by Jennifer Plamondon 4. “Crossing the Sahara in Morocco” by Gary Vidor 5. “The Inner Circle in Arches National Park, Utah” by Carrie Noren

Rising Temps Mean Slower Co-op Trucks Have you ever wondered why big trucks seem to be driving slower as spring comes around? It’s because they are required to by law. Every year, Michigan counties enact “Frost Laws” to help minimize the impact of heavy trucks on Michigan’s roads during the spring cycle of freezing and thawing. That means that vehicles like Cherryland’s line trucks are subject to seasonal weight and speed restrictions (maximum of 35 mph). As we approach spring, be on the lookout for slowmoving trucks, and keep in mind that we aren’t driving slowly to thwart your plans, we’re just obeying the law and doing our part to protect our roads. Learn more about “Frost Laws” and which counties are currently enacting them at

Your Board In Action December Board Meeting

• The board approved the cooperative’s operating budget for 2020. The 2020 operating budget reflects an overall decrease in margins as the co-op is projecting flat energy sales while at the same time expecting an increase in operating expenses. • The board reviewed the summary from its strategic planning session in October. Areas of focus from that session included technology planning, equity management, safety culture, and more. • Members of the latest cohort of the cooperative’s Emerging Leaders program were welcomed to the meeting for discussion and lunch. The Emerging Leaders program gives up-and-coming community leaders a baseline understanding of the cooperative and the role of the board of directors. Members have the opportunity to provide direct input to the board at the beginning of any regularly scheduled board meeting. Attendance at the board meeting is allowed for the public input portion of the meeting only.



Don’t miss your chance to earn a scholarship.


MI CO-OP Community

A Message From Beyond The Grave By Brian Maki, Alger Delta Cooperative member


ome things in life are hard to explain. They don’t translate well with human intellect. But in life, there are plenty of hidden messages, secret codes, and reminders without voices. This is one of those hard-tobelieve stories. I share it often, but few believe me. I was 19 years old; life had just begun. I was still wet behind the ears, and still lacking in maturity. I didn’t believe in the boogeyman, Santa Claus, four-leaf clovers, fairy tales, magic, fate, a lucky rabbit’s foot, numerology, and, above all, spiritual connections. I saw those ideals depicted in Hollywood movies, but in my world, they held no personal meaning. But all that was to change forever on February 24, 1990. My whole world came crashing down that day. Three family members had died within three months of each other: my grandfather, an uncle, and finally—the pinnacle— my father, Albert, who passed away at age 57. To survive the turmoil of so many personal losses, I kept my emotions distant. I never cried. I never got emotional or out of control. I lived each day. I focused. My strong will to survive carried me through. Each of them would tell me to do so. My father owned a red Ford F150 truck. It was sitting in the driveway. Right after his death, I would find myself wandering outside, unlocking the cab door, and sitting inside of it alone. In this eerie silence, I felt closer to him, closer to his scent, closer to the man and father that I loved. After the sixth visit in a week, I prayed for a sign. Any sign. Some kind of declaration that things were going to be okay. That my life would go on with his blessing, and I got my wish. While I glanced at the odometer, the mileage read 002,249.0. I had to take a second look to decipher it. The numbers said something. It was his message. He spoke to me. The cab immediately filled with warmth, understanding, gratitude, love, and I cried so hard, so fast, for so long. My eyes were a water lust of

18 FEBRUARY 2020

He was telling me something from beyond the grave. A familiar voice had returned. I felt safe inside of that truck. He was with me. His spirit was near. Life made sense.”

happiness, forgiveness, and relief. I was in shock. He was telling me something from beyond the grave. A familiar voice had returned. I felt safe inside of that truck. He was with me. His spirit was near. Life made sense. The moral of the story: My love for numerology began that day, a day I will never forget. My father’s hidden message was direct and straightforward: February (02), day (24), and year (90). It was the date of his untimely death, locked forever inside the odometer of his pickup truck. Unique. Breathtaking. Poignant. This wasn’t luck. It wasn’t a coincidence. It wasn’t even a miracle. It was his special way of saying that everything was okay. Through numerals, he passed through time and touched my life. And it was beautiful. I loved him and he knew it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Brian is in his 25th year of adult education, teaching technology classes to people from all walks of life. He enjoys writing for his tech blog and exploring the U.P.

Win $150 for stories published! Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Hybrid Geothermal

TIRED OF BURNING WOOD? “When I could no longer physically cut 20 cords of wood, I installed a Well-Connect. The system has met all claims and surprised me. If people are heating and cooling with propane, fuel oil, or wood and have their own well, they have a need and don't realize it. That need is to cut those heating & cooling costs by at least half (as well as emissions).”

Jess S., Cherryland Electric Member






HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Well-Connect works in combination with your home’s current heating system. This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home.


Applications Due Feb. 28 Tour Dates: June 20–25, 2020