HomeWorks Feb 2021

Page 1

February 2021


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

HomeWorks Connect Update: Announcing Phase 4!

Last Call For Classroom Grant And Scholarship Applications Energy Efficiency Tips And Rebates




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Contents countrylines.com

February 2021 Vol. 41, No. 2



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association 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: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, 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 CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please

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


6 ROAD TRIPPIN’ Christal Frost goes fat biking on the TART Trails and shares places to visit while on the trail. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Stir-Fries: Prepare these takeout favorites yourself, and save the extra cash and calories!

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


14 FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS McLean & Eakin, with its rich family history and genuine love for books and the community, gives its patrons the full indie bookstore experience. 18 PORTABLE GENERATOR SAFETY They’re great when the power goes out, but generators can be dangerous if you don’t follow these safety precautions.

While things are constantly changing during the COVID-19 pandemic, two things remain the same: the quiet assurance of the #sunrise and #sunset. @michael.mi.photography (Grand Mere State Park)

Be featured!

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community




Up Next: Garden Fresh and Fruity Desserts Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Coffee Shops Spill the beans! Tell us about your favorite place to grab a caffeinated (or decaf) beverage.

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Adapting To The Needs Of Our Members Is The HomeWorks Way

homeworks.org /homeworks.org

By Missy Robson, Member Services Manager



Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday

hroughout the 30+ years that I have worked in members services at HomeWorks, the characteristic of our Cooperative that I’ve always been the most proud of is the way we continually adapt our services to meet the needs of our members.

Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232

We were founded as an electric cooperative, but in 1999, that didn’t stop us from working to provide a quality propane service when our members voiced a need for it in their communities. Twenty-two years later, HomeWorks Tri-County Propane is still going strong and providing top-notch service to customers throughout rural midMichigan. We’ve reached beyond our electric roots in the past to offer other services requested by our members, as well, including DIRECTV, satellite internet and more.

Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations.

Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395

Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740

HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 • jlord@homeworks.org

District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 • jstebbins@homeworks.org District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 • lpohl@homeworks.org District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 • khansen@homeworks.org District 5 — Corinna Batora 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 • cbatora@homeworks.org

District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 • eoplinger@homeworks.org District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 • ssprague@homeworks.org Editor: C harly Markwart, CCC

In 2017, our members expressed a need for access to reliable high-speed internet. Our board listened, and HomeWorks Connect was born, giving my customer service team the opportunity to serve our members in a whole new way. On page 5, you’ll see our announcement of Phase 4 of HomeWorks Connect’s fivephase plan, which will be built out this year. We’ve strategically chosen the area highlighted in red for this phase because a high percentage of members in these zones have pre-registered for service, and because the location of these zones makes for the most cost-effective way to proceed with the next step of our network buildout. If you live in a zone located in Phase 4, we look forward to providing your home with access to high-speed internet this year! If you live in a zone marked in gray on the map, know that this year’s buildout will bring us that much closer to reaching your area, and we’re working hard to get to you as quickly as possible. As our fiber internet project progresses, we will continue to adapt our plans to meet our membership’s needs, in true HomeWorks fashion. Speaking of adapting, I want to note how proud I am of my customer service team for how they have so seamlessly adjusted to the many changes brought on by COVID-19 over the past year. No matter what challenges each new day of the pandemic has brought them, they have found a way to get the job done and continue to provide our members with the excellent customer service they have come to expect from their Co-op. I want to close this column with a special nod to longtime HomeWorks customer service representative Cheri Rauch, who retired from our Blanchard office on Jan. 7. Throughout her 20-year career with us, Cheri embodied our Cooperative’s commitment to providing customer service that goes above and beyond the call of duty. My team and our members in the Blanchard area will miss her dearly.

Congratulations, Cheri Rauch! HomeWorks Customer Service Representative Cheri Rauch retired Jan. 7, culminating a 20-year career with the Cooperative. Cheri worked out of our Blanchard office. Thank you for two decades of excellent service to the Cooperative and our members, Cheri! Your HomeWorks family wishes you the best in your retirement!


PHASE 4 IS HERE! As we move into 2021, it’s time to announce Phase 4 of HomeWorks Connect: where the next portion of our fiber internet network will be built this year! If you live in any of the zones marked in red on the map, we plan to have your home ready to connect to our network within the next year. We’re already engineering the zones that make up Phase 4, and will soon build the mainline fiber network through them. This means members in these areas will be seeing our trucks often. Remember that we can’t begin connecting all of the Phase 4 zones at once, so watch your mailbox for postcards notifying you about our activity in your area. Pre-registering at Join.HomeWorksConnect.org will allow you to receive email updates on your zone’s status and an emailed service agreement as soon as they’re made available in your area. We don’t want you to miss out on this great opportunity, so when it’s time to connect your home, you’ll be notified via mail, social media, and email that contracts are available in your neighborhood. Be sure to sign up now and be ready to take advantage of our free installation offer during initial buildout!

If you haven’t yet, pre-register today at Join.HomeWorksConnect.org to identify your zone!

Become A Connector Today!



To pre-register, visit Join.HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

d a o R ’ n i p p i r T

With Christal Frost Fat Bikes On The TART Trails

Get Outdoors

If there’s anything we learned in 2020, it would be the power of the outdoors. As COVID-19 spread across the United States, it was our collective backyard— community trails, parks and fire pits—that salvaged our sanities. My backyard in Traverse City is full of outdoor hot spots. Still, none are as recreationally friendly and motivated to make you move as the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails. The TART Trails offer 10 versatile trail options for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re jumping on the TART to ride your bike to work, or navigating the 25k Vasa Pathway on your cross-country skis, the trail system truly offers something for everyone. Learn more about the TART Trails at traversetrails.org.

Big Fat Deal

Once the snow arrived in Traverse City, the winter zealots of northern Michigan took to the trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. I decided to try a relatively new winter activity that has exploded in popularity: fat tire biking. Fat bikes offer the gift of versatility. By giving the rider great traction and control in snow and sand, the fat bike allows you to explore more in all seasons of the year. Mechanically, a fat bike is like a mountain bike—only on steroids. The most distinctive difference is that the fat bike has tires that are up to five inches wide. Such bulky tires allow for incredibly low air pressures, resulting in a bike that can easily roll over snow, sand, mud, rocks, and other terrains that could be difficult on a traditional mountain bike. The five-mile Meadows Loop, a part of the TART 6


Trails’ Vasa Pathway, is a perfect option for off-road fat biking. I decided to take another trek for my maiden voyage into the world of fat biking by sticking close to town and biking along the Boardman Lake Trail.

Try Before You Buy

I sought help from Brick Wheels, Traverse City’s #1 bike shop for mountain bikes, fat bikes, road bikes, and electric bikes. Tim Brick, the Brick Wheels owner, recommended the Trek Farley model for its simplicity and light frame, making it the perfect bike for riders of any skill level. After a tutorial, I strapped on my helmet and headed for the trail.

Boardman Lake Trail

It was a crisp January afternoon as I crossed the intersection of Boardman Avenue and 8th Street and headed to the trail. Traveling west, we passed the Traverse Area District Library, Hull Park, Traverse Area Community Sailing, and Oryana Food Co-op before stopping for an outdoor drink at Traverse City Whiskey Company. The Traverse City Whiskey Company was created after co-owner Chris Fredrickson discovered distilling patents that his great-grandfather had patented during prohibition. The result? Small batches of intensely smooth whiskey—a family recipe of sorts that lingered for generations before being shared with the world. I enjoyed an old fashioned around an outdoor table complete with umbrella heaters before saddling up to take to the trail again. Looping back around past Right Brain Brewery, we were back on the trail, reversing our

course to the other side of the lake and riding along the shore until we came to Medalie Park.


The Filling Station



Hull Park

The Return

Although the temperatures drifted into the low teens that afternoon, I was amazed at the workout I was getting. The fat bike made it feel relatively easy, but the snowy terrain and modest hills along the trail were great reminders of the built-in resistance and cardio workout I was getting with each rotation of the tire. In fact, even though the fat bikes weren’t meant for speed, studies have shown that fat bikers can burn more than 1,000 calories an hour. For me, though, the reward came when we circled the corner, stopping one last time at the Filling Station for a mouthwatering pizza to go. The Filling Station is located at the depot in Traverse City’s railroad neighborhood. The current depot, which opened on Jan. 6, 1927, is the second iteration of railroad stations in Traverse City.



Right Brain Brewery

Traverse City Whiskey Co.

Rewarded In Pizza

After a solid ride, I realized how lucky I was to be in my backyard— surrounded by nature, beauty, and one of the best pizza spots in the state. I returned to my car, and the aroma from the cannonball pizza (topped with marinara, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, red onions, feta, fresh rosemary, spinach, and mozzarella) overwhelmed me.


“It all evens out,” I said, thinking about the calories I just burned on my ride and the sweet reward I would receive from the pizza beckoning to me from inside its box. Coincidentally, that is my hope for 2021. Like my first ride on a fat bike, I hope that all the difficult work, uphill battles and fear of falling in 2020 might be rewarded with a year that feels like the first bite of a delicious piece of well-deserved pizza. Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM. She is also a feature columnist for GT Pulse on 9&10 News, published every Friday at 11 a.m.



See the TART Trails in Action

Christal Frost filmed her TART Trails adventure, now available on countrylines.com.



Love The Savings e all love saving money, but saving money and energy is the perfect partnership. One of the quickest and easiest ways to start is by replacing the light bulbs in your home with ENERGY STAR® certified LED light bulbs. ENERGY STAR LEDs last 10 to 25 times longer than conventional bulbs and use 70–90% less energy.


Choosing the right LED bulb

What’s the best shape? ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit almost every light fixture needs from standard to decorative bulbs. You can find all these helpful lighting details, including cost and energy savings per bulb, conveniently located on LED bulb packaging.

There are a few things to consider when selecting the right bulbs for your home. • Color

• Brightness • Shape

Color and brightness can set the mood Choose a color and brightness that make the room work for you, whether it’s lighting up your home office or making for a cozy bedroom. • Bulb color is based on “color temperature” ranging from warm to cool. Warm colors are more yellow. Cool colors are more blue. • Brightness is measured in lumens. See how lumens match up with watts while using less power:






450 lumens

800 lumens

1,110 lumens


in love


Check out additional savings available to you through the Energy Optimization program and at select retailers by visiting michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319.

IMPROVE HOME LIGHTING PERFORMANCE Replace old light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs.  Same brightness (lumens) 90% less energy (watts)  Lasts 10-25 times longer = big $ savings  Less frequent bulb replacements

INSTANT IN-STORE SAVINGS available at select retailers Online: michigan-energy.org

Phone: 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Cutest Couple 1. Dawn Klee of Eaton Rapids says that she and her husband, Keith, enjoy riding around in their pontoon together during the summer months. 2. Richard Bushong of Portland submitted this photo of he and his wife, Lisa, enjoying a nice summer day outside. 3. Shelby Olson of Lakeview says, “My husband, Todd, and I decided to dress up as characters from Minions to take the kids out trick-or-treating.” 4. Doris Ringle of Eagle submitted this photo of her great-granddaughters, Lucille, 4, and Cecilia, 2. “Cecilia tries to do everything that Big Sister does, including dressing up,” she says.





Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics and Deadlines “Gardens,” Deadline: Feb. 15 (April issue) “Mom And Me,” Deadline: March 15 (May issue) “Dad And Me,” Deadline: April 15 (June issue)

Go to HomeWorks.org, select the Energy tab, then choose Member Services > Country Lines to submit your photos and see all of the 2021 Snap Shot themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Members whose photos we publish in Country Lines in 2021 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication.



MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey


IE S Try these quick and easy meals!


SHRIMP WITH SNOW PEAS STIR-FRY Sarah Hallstedt, Cherryland

2 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 3 2 2 ¼ 4

teaspoons cornstarch tablespoon dry sherry or cooking wine teaspoon salt pound shrimp, peeled and deveined pound snow peas tablespoon minced ginger garlic cloves, crushed tablespoons peanut oil (or another vegetable oil) teaspoons soy sauce cup chicken stock (can substitute bouillon) green onions, white and light green parts, sliced diagonally 2 teaspoons dark roasted sesame oil

Win a


energy bill credit!


Garden Fresh due March 1 • Fruity Desserts 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 micoopkitchen.com for more information.

10 FEBRUARY 2021

Mix the cornstarch, sherry (or cooking wine), and salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat; let sit for 15-20 minutes while preparing the peas, ginger, and garlic. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the peanut oil and let it get hot, about 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic and toss to combine; stir-fry about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, snow peas, soy sauce and stock. Stir-fry until the shrimp turns pink, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and stir-fry for 1 more minute. Turn off heat and add the sesame oil. Toss to combine and serve with steamed rice. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


Mary Lou Driesenga, Ontonagon 2 tablespoons peanut oil ¹⁄ ³ cup thinly sliced green onions with tops ½ teaspoon peeled & minced fresh ginger root ½ teaspoon minced garlic 2 eggs, lightly beaten ¼ teaspoon sugar • 1-pound package shrimp, thawed (I use medium-size) 1 small package frozen peas

3 tablespoons soy sauce (option to use more when serving) 2 cups cold cooked rice ½ teaspoon sesame oil, optional Heat oil in a wok (or large, heavy skillet) at 325 F. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add eggs; stir to scramble into small pieces. Add sugar, shrimp, peas, and soy sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add rice; stir-fry 30–45 seconds. Add sesame oil, stir and serve immediately. This recipe serves 4–5 adults. It’s very versatile; you can easily add/replace your favorite veggies, additional spices/seasonings, etc.

KUNG PAO SHRIMP Nancy Popa, Cherryland

2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or less) • pinch salt 6 cups broccoli florets (1 small head) 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon black pepper • 12-ounces medium (16–20 count) shelled, deveined shrimp 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed ½ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add red pepper, celery, crushed red pepper, and salt, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a large microwave-safe bowl, combine broccoli and ¼ cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microwave on high for 3 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Uncover and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, ¹⁄ ³ cup water, and pepper; add to skillet along with shrimp, green onions, broccoli, and garlic. Cook 3–4 minutes or until shrimp turns opaque throughout, stirring frequently. Add peanuts. Serve over rice.


Lynne Edin, HomeWorks Tri-County 1½ 2 4 1 3 ¹⁄ ³ 1

cups chicken broth, divided tablespoons soy sauce teaspoons cornstarch teaspoon sesame oil tablespoons vegetable oil cup whole roasted almonds pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (or use preroasted chicken, white and dark meat, cut from bone), cut into ½ -inch-wide strips 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 8 ounces green beans (fresh or frozen), cut into 2-inch pieces 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally ¼-inch thick

In a cup, combine ½ cup broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil;

set aside. In a wok or large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Add almonds and sauté until lightly browned, 1–2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a mediumsize bowl; set aside. Add the chicken strips to the wok; stir-fry until lightly browned (skip step if using cut-up preroasted chicken.) Using a slotted spoon, add the chicken to the almonds. Reduce heat to medium. Add the chopped garlic to the wok and stir-fry 10 seconds. Stir in the green beans, carrots, and remaining 1 cup chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the vegetables; cook until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken and almonds. Cook until just heated through, and serve immediately. Serve over hot brown rice, egg noodles, or white rice with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil.



Time is running out to apply for our 2021 classroom grants and college scholarships! For Teachers:

We offer grants of up to $2,000 to help teachers in our service area provide S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education in their classrooms.

Applications due Feb. 26

For Students:

Current high school seniors living on our electric lines could be eligible for one of our one-time $1,000 scholarships to help with 2021-22 college expenses!

Applications due March 16 For more info or to apply, click the Community tab at:


Your Board In Action Meeting remotely on Dec. 21, your board of directors: • Reviewed and approved the proposed 2021 capital and operating budgets for both TriCounty Electric Cooperative and HomeWorks Connect.

• Approved management to renew the Co-op’s liability and cyber liability insurance coverage with Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange for 2021.

• Learned there were 128 new members in November.

Co-op Principle #2:

Democratic Member Control

• Acknowledged the November safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

• Reviewed and approved the renewal of Tri-Co Services’ insurance coverage with General Agency for 2021.

• Heard a presentation from CEO Chris O’Neill on the Co-op’s key accomplishments in 2020, as well as key objectives for 2021. • Learned about the progress of the HomeWorks Connect fiber internet business.

• Discussed and accepted Policy 114 – Member Attendance at Board Meetings.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 15 and March 29 at Portland. However, at the time of this printing, some of our meetings are temporarily being conducted remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554.

Every member has a voice and a vote. Districts 3 and 6 have director seats up for election this year. If you are a member of one of those districts, watch your April Country Lines for your mail-in ballot and information about your director candidates!

People Fund Grants $1,500 To Support Medical Clinic And Local Family Meeting remotely Dec. 23, the Tri-County Electric People Fund board made two grants totaling $1,500, including: • $1,000 to Hope House Free Medical Clinic in Big Rapids, to fund colon cancer screenings; and • $500 to an Isabella County family for utility expenses.

How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the Co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community. Write to 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund page at HomeWorks.org. Note: Applications must be received by March 9 for the March meeting or by April 20 for the April meeting.

Your Co-op Cares If there’s one thing even a global pandemic can’t cancel, it’s the spirit of giving at Christmastime. In December 2020, employees in our Portland office collected toys for Toys For Tots and donated gifts for several area families in need through the Portland Community Fund Association’s Christmas Program. In this picture, HomeWorks Engineering Manager Chris Jensen and Executive Assistant Michelle Huhn (right) present the gifts to PCFA President Evie Walkington-Jensen and Vice President Rich Schneider. Employees in our Blanchard office embraced the giving spirit, too, generously donating funds to a local charity project that provided gifts for area families in need. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13




cLean & Eakin is the epitome of what it means to be an independent bookstore, with its bespoke selections, heartfelt customer service, and lovinglycurated reading recommendations. However, owners Matt and Jessilynn Norcross will be the fi rst to tell you that being “independent” isn’t about going it alone. The store began in the care of Matt’s mother, Julie Norcross, who started the bookstore in 1992 and named it after her two grandmothers’ maiden names. The store had been a dream for Julie since she was young. Her father owned and operated a men’s fashion store in Florida and eventually followed customers north and opened another store just a few doors down from where McLean & Eakin stands today. “Mom would take us on walks around town,” recalls Matt. “We’d peek into windows of abandoned storefronts, and you could see her waiting for just the right space to open up so she could open her bookstore.” Matt worked at the family bookshop through high school and eventually returned to Petoskey in 2003 while in between jobs and started back at the family store. He found a place to reflect, as well, stumbling across his future wife, Jessilynn, who also was working in the shop. In 2009, Matt and Jessilynn married and joined their futures to McLean & Eakin, as they took over the store’s ownership.

“We both love reading,” said Jessilynn. “But when you begin running a business, you realize there’s so much more to bookselling than the magic inside of the pages.” The Norcrosses quickly immersed themselves in the responsibilities that come with owning a quaint bookshop. “There are a million decisions we’ve made. Some good, some bad,” admits Matt. “But what we have always nailed is having a team of booksellers working here who are amazing, brilliant, and committed. This is what has kept us successful, for sure.” Even with COVID-19 and the competition of big-box bookstores and online outlets offering steep discounts, McLean & Eakin has managed to not only stay in business, but thrive. It has expanded to offer digital audiobooks and e-books and established an online store to accommodate those who are unable to get out to the store or some of their committed patrons who may not be in the area year-round. “We’re involved in our community,” said Jessilynn. “Amazon is never going to be at the school board meeting next to us. You can’t replicate the conversations we have with people in the community or on the shop floor.” Books truly are magic, and never more so than when one person hands another a book after talking with them and saying, “I really think you’ll love this.” Ultimately, that’s the beauty of bookstores like McLean & Eakin—they may be independent, but still, they know that the heart of their business is a deep connection to their beautiful community. You can currently get bookseller assistance via McLean & Eakin’s front door vestibule or by phone from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Saturday, at 231-347-1180. You may also email them at books@mcleanandeakin.com, or contact them via social media on Facebook or Instagram.

“You can’t replicate the conversations we have with people in the community or on the shop floor.”

McLean & Eakin has curated a great collection of regional and Michigan authors who not only pay their respects to the region and its people but offer a unique insight into the beauty of the area. In fact, if you look closely, you may even see an homage to a favorite indie bookstore in the pages (hint: Check out “Station 11” by Emily St. John Mandel). Here are a few recommendations for regional titles. For a more robust list, visit mcleanandeakin.com.


Tallulah, Mermaid of the Great Lakes by Denise Brennan-Nelson

AGES 8 AND UP The Wild Path by Sarah Baughman

ADULT FICTION Northernmost by Peter Geye


The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch by Miles Harvey



Tri-County Electric Cooperative /HomeWorks.org


There are so many ways to save energy! Saving energy helps reduce your family’s monthly bills—and it helps our environment. Change your energy use habits by following the monthly tips below. Keep this calendar on your refrigerator to remind your family to be energy efficient throughout the year. JANUARY fans when you leave a room.

MAY Decorate your backyard or porch with solarpowered lights.

SEPTEMBER water while brushing your teeth.

16 FEBRUARY 2021

FEBRUARY Instead of turning up the heat, put on an extra layer of clothing or stay cozy under a blanket.

JUNE Take short showers instead of baths.

OCTOBER Unplug energy vampires, like chargers, gaming consoles and cable/ satellite boxes.

MARCH when you leave a room.

JULY Dry heavy linens outside on a clothesline instead of using the dryer.

NOVEMBER Remind family members to use cold water when washing clothes.

APRIL Plant a tree away from power lines to help shade your home in the summer.

AUGUST Schedule a reminder to change 60–90 days.

DECEMBER Decorate your home with energysaving LED holiday lights.

HomeWorks Energy Rebates Reward You for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient Are you ready to save money on some great energysaving measures for your home? We can help you with our HomeWorks Energy Rebates! Check out the chart below to see the rebates you can earn by installing energy-saving heating, cooling, and carcharging systems at your home.

HOMEWORKS ENERGY REBATES $200 REBATE for Central Air Conditioner

$400 REBATE for Air Source Heat Pump

$500 REBATE for Mini-Split Heat Pump

$800 REBATE for Ground Source Heat Pump

$500 REBATE for EV Charging Level 2

Central air units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify. Air-to-air heat pump units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify. Mini-split heat pump units must have a minimum EER of 12 and SEER of 14 to qualify. Closed loop must have an EER of 16.1 or higher and open loop must have an EER of 20.1 or higher to qualify. Provide a copy of the vehicle’s registration. Must be installed at primary residence.

Learn more at: HomeWorks.org Note: This offer is valid for HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative residential members. Incentive funds are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other terms and conditions may also apply.


SAFETY TIPS Gasoline, Fueling and Burn Safety

Carbon Monoxide and Ventilation

• If the tank is overfilled, fuel can overflow onto a hot engine and cause fire or explosion.

• Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES. The exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a deadly poisonous gas you cannot see or smell.

• Do not overfill the fuel tank. Always allow room for fuel expansion. • Never add fuel while the unit is running or hot. • Allow generator and engine to cool entirely before adding fuel.

• NEVER run a generator indoors or in partly enclosed areas, such as garages.

• Never store a generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors might reach an open flame, spark or pilot light.

• ONLY use outdoors and far from windows, doors, vents, crawl spaces and in an area where adequate ventilation is available and will not accumulate deadly exhaust gas.

• Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation and while the generator is cooling after turning off. Avoid coming into contact with a hot generator.

• Using a fan or opening doors and windows will not provide sufficient ventilation. • It is recommended that you install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms/detectors indoors according to the manufacturer’s instructions/recommendations.


Electrocution Hazard and Electrical Shock Hazards

• Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can “back feed” onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers.

• Do not connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring or into a regular household outlet. Always start or stop the generator only when no electrical loads are connected. • Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Do not overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator allows for. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment. • Use the proper power cords. Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Do not use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding. • Do not operate the generator in wet conditions such as rain or snow. • The generator must be properly grounded. If the generator is not grounded, you run the risk of electrocution. Check and adhere to all applicable federal, state and local regulations relating to grounding.

18 FEBRUARY 2021

Generator Placement and Operation

• Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator when operating. • Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting. • Operate the generator only on level surfaces and where it will not be exposed to excessive moisture, dirt, dust, or corrosive vapors. • Inspect the generator regularly. • Always disconnect the spark plug wire and place the wire where it cannot contact the spark plug to prevent accidental starting when setting up, transporting, adjusting, or making repairs to the generator.

Source: American Red Cross with technical advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Fire Protection Association (publisher of the National Electric Code®), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Michigan-Made Hybrid Geothermal System Provides Savings and Comfort

Hybrid Geothermal Well-Connect is a hybrid water-source heat pump uniquely designed to operate with your existing furnace. Similar to how a hybrid vehicle greatly reduces the need for gas, doubling the fuel efficiency, a Well-Connect significantly reduces the amount of propane, fuel oil or wood needed to heat a home. This approach reduces the installation cost of the system to about one-third the cost of conventional geothermal systems and saves a homeowner 50% to 70% on heating costs. It also provides efficient air conditioning all summer. “Propane is so expensive to heat with. Why wouldn’t someone do this?”

One-Day Installation

Lynne W., South Boardman, MI Member, Great Lakes Energy

Lynne loves her home in the woods but found it challenging to keep her vaulted-ceiling home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Keeping it cool in the summer was especially important for Lynne because of her four-legged, furry friend, Tara. Lynne was familiar with geothermal energy because her father was an executive at Detroit Edison and she knew that it is clean, green, makes a home more comfortable and is a big money saver.

Call for a FREE home visit. (989) 356-2113

Scan below to learn more


Eligible for co-op rebates ranging from $1,050 to $1,850 and a 22% federal tax credit.

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Buried In Paper?

We Can Help. Sign up for paperless billing to have your HomeWorks statements emailed to you. You can sign up via SmartHub or by calling us at 800-562-8232. As a bonus, any new paperless enrollees who sign up by Aug. 31, 2021, will be entered for the chance to win a free iPad!

Go Paperless For The Chance To Win A Free iPad!

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