February 2024 Cherryland

Page 1

February 2024


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

SWEEPING SUCCESS Michigan Tech’s Broomball Craze

Spread The Love With Cherryland Cares

Making the Grade: Cherryland’s Reliability Report Card

Column: My Cooperative Newsroom


Smart homeowners around the world have scrapped their old furnaces and air conditioners and replaced them with a WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system. That’s because WaterFurnace geothermal systems use the clean, renewable energy in your own backyard to provide savings up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. You won’t need that old inefficient furnace or that unsightly outdoor air conditioner because a WaterFurnace system provides complete comfort for your home with a single unit. And because the system doesn’t burn fossil fuels, there are no fumes or carbon monoxide concerns. Make the smart switch to geothermal. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn more. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS


Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937 allendaleheating.com

Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 waltonheating.com

Bad Axe/Ubly Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986

Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890 candormechanical.com

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.co

Lowell Arctic Inc. Htg. & Clg. (616) 897-4213 heatingcoolingonline.com

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Topnotchheatandair.com

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 airserv.com/southernmichigan/

Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 dwmechanical.com

Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeo thermal.com Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating cooling.com

Alger Delta Electric: up to $4,000 Cherryland Electric: up to $2,500 Cloverland: up to $6,275 Great Lakes Energy: up to $5,000 HomeWorks/Tri-County Electric: up to $4,750 Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op: up to $4,750 Thumb Electric: 5% financing available up to $22,500 10-year term

Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 geofurnace.com

visit us at waterfurnace.com/mi

WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. ©2024 1.ENERGY STAR-rated units qualify for 30% through 2032, 26% through 2033 and 22% through 2034

Contents countrylines.com


February 2024 Vol. 44, No. 2 /michigancountrylines

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin Russman 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.

10 14

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Association Officers: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill, HomeWorks TriCounty 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


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.

6 THE THRILL OF THE CHILL: ICE FISHING IN MICHIGAN Drill a hole and join in the fun.


Best Layer Cakes: Recipes as delicious as they are decorative.


Michigan Tech’s broomball craze.


Memories of an Ice Fisherman: A GLE member recalls the first time he saw a “dinosaur fish.”

MI Co-op Community

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

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Quiches & Savory Tarts due March 1; Tacos & Margaritas due April 1.

Win a $100 bill credit!

Guest Column

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.

Win $200 for stories published!



cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

David Schweitzer, President 231-883-5860 dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop

Gabe Schneider, Senior Vice President 517-449-6453 gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop


Valarie Handy, Secretary 231-392-4705 vhandy@cherrylandelectric.coop

Tom Van Pelt, Treasurer 231-386-5234 tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop

Melinda Lautner, Director 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop Terry Lautner, Director 231-883-6455 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop

Dean Adams, Director 231-642-0014 dadams@cherrylandelectric.coop CEO: Rachel Johnson

Co-op Editors: Courtney Doyle: cdoyle@cherrylandelectric.coop 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 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Cherryland Electric Cooperative



SUBJECT: Reliability

Keeping The Lights On:


Total Outage Time:

Less than 43 minutes/ average member

Total Outage Time Class Average:

188 minutes/average MI utility customer

Investment In Reliability:

$7 Million

• 27 miles of line rebuilt, replaced, or upgraded. isolate outages • 13 new pieces of equipment installed to help by an outage. ted impac ers memb and reduce the number of to proactively prevent • 446.5 miles of tree trimming maintenance ation. veget other or trees outages caused by nearby




      

Making The Grade By Rachel Johnson, Cherryland CEO

o you remember anxiously awaiting final grades to post at the end of semester in school? I was really into academics, which meant grades were very motivating to me—mostly because they signaled to me how I was performing at a task that I was very committed to doing well. And, I may have been partially incentivized by my parents’ promise to take me out for ice cream if I kept my grades up.


Here at the co-op, our annual report card includes a very difficult to accomplish goal. Think of it as the electric system equivalent of an A++. That goal is the ever-elusive 99.99% average system availability index (ASAI) for the year. We lovingly call it “chasing four 9s.” I am incredibly proud to report to you that in 2023, Cherryland achieved four 9s for the first time in our documented history. What does that all mean? It means we kept the lights on for our members 99.99% of the time in 2023. The actual calculation is done at the minute level. To put a finer point on it, Cherryland only achieves four 9s if our average member experiences less than 52 minutes of power outages throughout the entire year. In 2023, our average member experienced less than 43 minutes. For comparison, the average electric customer in Michigan experiences 188 minutes of power outages per year, according to the most recent statewide data. For us, this is our annual report card. It tells us how good of a job we are doing maintaining and keeping our system resilient, so we can make good on our promise of best-in-class electric reliability for you, our members. I’m proud to say, we earned this grade through years and years of diligent investment in hardening our system. It’s a reflection of the $2 million per year we spend on tree trimming, the $5 million per year we spend on upgrading, rebuilding, and maintaining the poles and wires that serve you, and the millions of dollars we have spent over the last decade on new technologies that help us isolate and repair issues faster than ever before. Over the years, we have made countless investments in upgrading lightning and wildlife protections, moving more of our electric distribution system underground, and creating system

“ I consistently hear from our members in the community that their experience matches what our metrics are telling us. You trust us to keep the lights on and we’re doing that.” redundancies that allow us to reduce both the frequency and duration of outages our members experience. It’s easy for those of us in the industry to get caught up in the technical details, but as a cooperative, our most important goal is to meet your expectations. We don’t just want the numbers to say we’re doing a good job; we want you to feel it. I consistently hear from our members in the community that their experience matches what our metrics are telling us. You trust us to keep the lights on and we’re doing that. When I look at our 2023 report card, I don’t just see proof that our investments are paying off. I see the value that every single employee at your cooperative brings to our work. Each of our 60 employees takes a tremendous amount of pride in keeping the lights on and being careful stewards of our members’ money. That means we wait anxiously for our grades to see if all that hard work and diligence paid off. This year it did, and I think that deserves at least a scoop or two of ice cream.

To learn more, scan here for the latest episode of Co-op Energy Talk.



The Thrill Of The Chill Ice Fishing In Michigan By Yvette Pecha

t’s February in Michigan, and the deep freeze is here. Some people will complain, some will seek respite in warmer regions, and some, like Tim Cwalinski, with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will embrace this opportunity bestowed upon us by Mother Nature. Cwalinski, fisheries unit supervisor for the Northern Lake Huron Management Unit based in Gaylord, Michigan, enjoys fishing and is grateful to have a sporting activity he can take part in year-round. “Ice fishing gives us an additional recreation in the winter,” he said. “It’s a value we have in coldweather states, and we should use it to our advantage.”


“Hard-water fishing” is not just another fishing trip—it’s a completely unique experience. Aside from the level of solitude you likely wouldn’t find in other seasons, the lack of bugs, and different setups with different equipment give people a prospect they may not have the rest of the year. “Not everybody can afford a 20-, 40-, or 50-thousand-dollar boat,” Cwalinski said. Anglers who were previously relegated to fishing on the shoreline can now get to the middle of the lake simply by walking, snowmobiling, or driving out. Another perk—according to many anglers—is that ice fishing produces some of the



best-tasting fish. “I think there’s some truth to that,” Cwalinski said. “Some species that live in lake vegetation, like crappie and bass, taste a little like their environment in the summer, but not in the winter.” One unfortunate part of ice fishing is that it’s highly dependent on weather. If Michigan experiences a mild winter, ice conditions will be poor. Cwalinski says Saginaw Bay is a popular destination when conditions allow because there’s an abundance of walleye and perch in the bay. But Cwalinski notes that recent winters haven’t been particularly cold, and people have wound up traveling to places with cooler temperatures. “Some people eagerly anticipate hard-water fishing, so downstate people will drive north and follow the good ice,” he said. Cwalinski lives in Gaylord (where he receives service from GLE) and says he generally fishes in lakes close to home, which are inhabited by plenty of trout. He said they’re also full of panfish, which he is partial to. Panfish, thusly called because they fit in a campfire-style pan, are classified by fish types such as blue gill, pumpkinseed, crappie, and yellow perch. Cwalinski says it’s better for everyone if there’s cold weather statewide because

it spreads out where people fish and doesn’t deplete the northern bodies of water. But no matter the temperatures in the lower part of the state, Gaylord and other upstate communities enjoy a financial boon in the ice-fishing season. “If you come up from downstate to fish, you’re spending money on bait, you’re buying gas and food, you might eat in a restaurant or stay in a hotel—all of that money is getting pumped into local economies,” Cwalinski said. There are also numerous northern Michigan ice fishing festivals and tournaments that serve as valued community development opportunities. Before you head anywhere for ice fishing, it’s important to ensure conditions are right for it. “You have to consider the safety measures,” Cwalinski said. “Go to websites and find out what ice is good. In general, three inches is safe, but just because a certain spot is three inches doesn’t mean that’s the case throughout the body of water. Ask around and look for places where people are already out on the ice.” As for when to fish, well, we are currently in what Cwalinski calls the “winter doldrums of ice fishing”—

a time where fish go into a state of “torpor,” during which they generally aren’t feeding or moving much. “The thicker you are into the meat of winter—your Februarys, your early March—the harder it is to catch anything because they’re staying still and conserving energy,” he said. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ice fishing this month, but you may fare better when the shorelines are starting to break up and the fish are more active. Regardless of when in the year you go out, the best times of day to fish are around sunrise and sunset. Give ice fishing a try and experience for yourself why it is such a timehonored tradition in our state. With more than 11,000 Michigan lakes waiting to be explored, you don’t have to be housebound just because it’s cold outside. “Many of our Michigan recreational anglers look forward to the ice-fishing season year-round,” Cwalinski said. Though he is not a diehard ice angler, Cwalinski said he does find himself anticipating it sometimes in the off-season. “I’ll be sitting in deer stands in the fall and thinking about the blue gill fillets I’m going to catch soon,” he said.

FREE FISHING WEEKEND If you want to experience ice angling but don’t have a fishing license, there are two weekends a year you can fish without one. The first is Feb. 17 and 18. In addition to license fees being waived, you won’t need a recreation passport for entry into state parks or boating access sites. The other free fishing weekend is June 8 and 9.






in MICHIGAN WHY SHOULD YOU VOTE? Voting is one of the most powerful ways to make your voice heard in our democracy, but in 2020, only 66.8% of the voting-age population in the United States reported voting. Modern technology has improved access to information on candidates and made it easier to register to vote in many areas, and it is vital to be aware of how you can participate in the 2024 election cycle.



February 12, 2024 15 days before Election Day for online or mail registrations; Election Day for inperson registrations, Same-day registration is permitted through Election Day



Permanent absentee / mail-in voting procedures:

February 23, 2024

• •

No excuse required to request an absentee ballot Applications can be submitted via mail, drop box, or in-person

Request must be received by



Must be received by the close of polls on Election Day

Early Voting Began: January 18, 2024 Early Voting Ends: February 26, 2024 Data as of 09/20/23

Information provided by NCSL, HeadCount, and US Vote Foundation. Check your state’s website for the most up-to-date voter information.

To register to vote in Michigan, visit the State Board of Elections website for more information on voter eligibility and the registration process. HTTPS://WWW.MICHIGAN.GOV/ SOS/0,4670,7-127-1633---,00.HTML

You can begin the registration process through Michigan’s Online Voter Registration System. HTTPS://MVIC.SOS.STATE.MI.US/ REGISTERVOTER

https://vote.coop 8 FEBRUARY 2024

CO-OP NEWS Cherryland Cares Awards $15,300 To Three Nonprofits

Serve On Cherryland’s Board

At its fourth-quarter board meeting, the Cherryland Cares board awarded a total of $15,300 in grants to TART Trail’s Recycle-a-Bicycle program, the Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association, and Step Up Northern Michigan. In total, Cherryland Cares awarded $61,270 in grants to area nonprofit agencies in 2023. The Cherryland Cares board is comprised of five volunteer Cherryland members. The funds distributed by Cherryland Cares are a result of members electing to round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. Members can contribute to the Cherryland Cares fund by calling 231-486-9200, signing up through SmartHub, or emailing us at cec@cherrylandelectric.coop. If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, grant applications for the first quarter of 2024 are due Friday, March 1. For more information, please call Shannon Beery at 231-486-9218 or email her at sbeery@cherrylandelectric.coop.

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 and one Grand Traverse/Kalkaska County director. To be nominated in 2024, candidates can file a petition with the cooperative’s administrative assistant starting the first day of March until 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. Review Article III of the co-op’s bylaws on our website for more information regarding board nominations and the election process.

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. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 5.

Your Board In Action December • The board approved the co-op’s power supply cost recovery plan for 2024, which determines how much of the base rate is anticipated to go directly toward power supply costs. In 2024, the power supply cost recovery base rate will go to $0.0884 (from $0.0915 in 2023). • The board reviewed and approved the cooperative’s 2024 operating budget. • The cooperative’s cybersecurity and advanced networking administrator gave a special presentation to update the board on the co-op’s cybersecurity incident response plan. He highlighted what’s being done to proactively protect and respond to any potential cyber incidents. Members have the opportunity to provide input to the board prior to any regularly scheduled board meeting. To have your comments included in a monthly board packet for review, please submit them to Shannon Beery at sbeery@cherrylandelectric.coop a minimum of three business days before the monthly board meeting.

For a more detailed breakdown of the board meeting, be sure to check out the Board Meeting Brief on the Co-op Energy Talk podcast.



MI CO-OP Recipes

BEST LAYER CAKES Recipes as delicious as they are decorative


Tom Long, Midwest Energy & Communications 4 1½ ½ 1 2 1 2 1½ 2 1 1 2 1

eggs cups granulated sugar cup vegetable, almond, or walnut oil cup applesauce cups flour teaspoon salt teaspoons cinnamon teaspoons baking soda teaspoons baking powder teaspoon vanilla (16-ounce) can crushed pineapple, including juice cups grated carrots cup chopped pecans, for the sides of the baked cake

Frosting: ¾ cup unsalted butter 12 ounces cream cheese, softened 4–4½ cups powdered sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream together the eggs, sugar, oil, and applesauce. In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix together until well blended. Then transfer the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in the vanilla, pineapple, and grated carrots. Spray the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the pans with wax paper cut to fit only in the bottom of the pans. Then add the cake batter evenly to both pans. Bake for 40–45 minutes, then set the cake aside to cool.

Recipe Contest

To make the frosting, blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla; blend until smooth. When the cake is cooled, add a layer of frosting to the top of one of the cakes, then place the remaining cake layer on top. Frost the cooled cake on top and around all edges, then press the chopped pecans around the sides of the cake. If desired, use food coloring to color a small amount of frosting green and orange, and use frosting tips and a piping bag to decorate the top with small, frosted carrots.

Win a $100 energy bill credit! Quiches & Savory Tarts due March 1; Tacos & Margaritas due April 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com. 10 FEBRUARY 2024

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

RUBY’S CARAMEL APPLE CAKE Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

For the Cake: 1 (15-ounce) box spice cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box For the Ganache: 1½ cups heavy cream 3 cups chocolate chips For the Caramel Buttercream: 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1 cup caramel, plus more for decoration and dipping 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 cups powdered sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3 teaspoons heavy cream • pinch kosher salt For top of the cake: 3 apples, sliced ¹⁄ ³ cup chopped peanuts, preferably roasted Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Divide between pans and bake according to package directions. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a

cooling rack to cool completely. To make the ganache, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Place chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl, then pour hot heavy cream on top. Let set for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly. To make the buttercream, use a hand mixer to beat the butter and caramel in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then gradually beat in powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add heavy cream and mix until smooth. To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on your serving platter. Spread with buttercream and pour ganache over the buttercream. Place the second layer of the cake on top, then frost cake entirely with buttercream, letting the ganache drip over the edges. Pour some of the additional caramel over ganache for decoration, letting it drip over edges (for perfect drips, use a squeeze bottle). Dunk apples in remaining caramel, then place on top. Sprinkle chopped peanuts around the apples. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

GWEN’S ITALIAN CREAM CAKE Victoria Hueter, Great Lakes Energy

½ cup butter ½ cup shortening (or skip shortening and use 1 cup butter if you prefer) 2 cups sugar 5 large eggs, yolks separated from whites 1 tablespoon vanilla 2 cups cake flour (all-purpose also works) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup flaked coconut Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting: 1 cup chopped pecans + additional chopped pecans and pecan halves for garnishing cake, if desired 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened ½ cup butter, softened 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add

egg yolks one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until blended. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended. Stir in coconut. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into batter. Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 23–25 minutes, until toothpick test is clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove and cool completely on racks. To make frosting, bake pecans in shallow pan at 350 F for 5–10 minutes or until toasted. When you can smell the pecans, they are done. Cool completely. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed until blended, then beat at high speed until smooth. Stir in pecans. When the cake is cooled, between each cake layer and on top, frost with the Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish with pecan halves and chopped pecans or pat additional coconut on the sides.



Cherryland Cares

YEAR IN REVIEW Thanks to Cherryland’s generous members who choose to donate their extra change, in 2023, Cherryland Cares was able to grant $61,270 to 16 local nonprofits: • Acme Christian Thrift Store (ACTS) • The Baby Pantry at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church • Benzie Senior Resources • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest MI • Camp Quality Michigan • Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan • The Dream Team Northern Michigan • The Friendship Community Center • Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association • Grand Traverse Men’s Shed • Grow Benzie • Leelanau County Cancer Foundation • The Salvation Army Traverse City • Single MOMM • Step Up Northern Michigan • TART Trails Inc.

A heartfelt THANK-YOU to all our members who support these important community resources by giving just an average of $6 a year by rounding up their electric bills each month.

Call us at (231)486-9200, email us at cec@cherrylandelectric.coop, or log in to your SmartHub account to sign up and start spreading the love with Cherryland Cares!

12 FEBRUARY 2024


MY COOPERATIVE NEWSROOM Courtney Doyle, Communications & Member Relations Manager


early three years ago, I accepted a job as the communications and marketing specialist at Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Last year, I got the opportunity to take on a new role as Cherryland’s communications and member relations manager. Before my time at Cherryland, I spent much of the previous decade working as a journalist in broadcast television. From producing to anchoring and reporting—I’ve done just about every job there is to be done in a newsroom. You may be wondering, as did I, how on Earth my time in TV would translate to working for an electric cooperative. It turns out, it translates a lot better than you might think. A lot of times, I still look at our department as if it was a newsroom with producers, reporters, and anchors all doing an important job to create a valuable viewer, or in our case, member experience. If you read the newspaper or watch the local news, you probably have favorite publications or shows. In a TV newsroom, a lot of what you see can be credited to a producer working behind the scenes—choosing and writing stories they think the audience will care about, ensuring camera and video transitions are interesting and engaging, and making sure the show stays on time. At the co-op, the communications team acts a lot like a producer. They create the content that the members want or need to know about, often finding creative ways to take complex topics and make them easier to understand. They carefully choose how and when to deliver that content, whether it’s via the magazine, a digital newsletter, or a

text message, based on the best way to make sure each individual message gets delivered. While I spent most of my time in news back at the studio preparing to anchor or produce a show, occasionally I got to do a little field reporting. I really admired seasoned reporters because they were always coming up with impactful story pitches or pivoting from breaking news to county fairs. At the co-op, the member services staff are like the field reporters. They interact with members all day, every day. They are the ones who have the strongest grasp on the resources members need and the questions they have, and they have the tools to address a lot of those needs. The same way I admired those seasoned reporters, I’m always so impressed by the resourceful, smart, talented member services staff at our co-op. As for anchoring, a big part of my job was connecting with the viewers, finding ways to engage with them, and bringing the whole show together. The key to accomplishing that was as simple as genuinely caring about the viewers and the work the team was doing. It’s the best way to really get to know your audience and your team. This was undoubtedly my favorite part of the job. The people. The same applies to how not only the communications and member relations department operates, but how the entire co-op operates. We genuinely care about our members, what matters to them, and how we can consistently and reliably show up for them. Every decision that’s made, the first and last questions are always—is this what’s best for the members? When the answer is yes, everything else falls into place. I get asked a lot if I miss working in news. The answer is— mostly not. While I miss the viewers and my news team, I’ve found that the team at the co-op and Cherryland’s deep commitment to our members not only align with, but elevate, all my favorite parts of working in a newsroom.

“ Every decision that’s made, the first and last questions are always—is this what’s best for the members? When the answer is yes, everything else falls into place.”



Michigan Tech’s Broomball Craze By Emily Haines Lloyd

Wait. Duct tape? Statistics are a part of most athletics. But there’s nothing average about the stats coming out of Michigan Tech’s intramural sport of choice—broomball.

3 rinks. 224 games. 2,000 student-athletes. 404,235 linear feet of duct tape each year.

14 FEBRUARY 2024

Let us explain. The Essence of Broomball: Duct Tape and Bristles The name “broomball” is derived from the unique construction of the brooms used in the game. While contemporary brooms are now manufactured, original enthusiasts would insist brooms should have straw bristles with duct tape wrapping all but a few inches at the end. These brooms, akin to hockey sticks, are used to propel a small round ball into the opponent’s goal. Played both indoors and outdoors on an ice rink, broomball features two teams of six players each, with a goaltender and five field players. Unlike traditional ice hockey, players do not wear ice skates, opting instead for rubber-soled shoes, typically their everyday sneakers.

Broomball on a Budget Despite the university’s reputation for impressive math and engineering programs, the less serious endeavor of broomball has become a significant part of campus life, involving over a quarter of the student body each season. Wyatt Helzer, a computer science and ethics major and the current chairperson of broomball at Michigan Tech, highlights the sport’s accessibility as a key factor in its popularity. “Not only is it relatively easy to learn,” said Helzer. “But it’s affordable too. I mean, a broom, some duct tape, and 35 bucks lets you play all season.” Helzer encourages cash-strapped college students to work a few shifts at the rinks to cover their entry fees, making broomball an accessible and inclusive activity for students.

Evolution of Rules and Broomball Culture When broomball first hit Michigan Tech in the 1950s, there were only two rules: the first addressing how many inches of broom bristles needed to show below your tape and the second being that brooms couldn’t be used as a bat against other players. For a university nestled in the harsh weather of the Upper Peninsula, these seem like fairly reasonable rules for the hearty individuals who call Michigan Tech home. Over the years, broomball has evolved into its own subculture at the university, attracting fans for life. Now, three outdoor rinks are situated in the center of campus, making it nearly impossible for the student body to avoid its charms.

Nerds on Ice David Wingard, a 2008 MTU alumnus working in research and development, returns annually for the Alumni Tournament during Winter Carnival, which showcases broomball’s enduring allure. “Tech is filled with a bunch of nerds,” Wingard jokes. “But that’s the thing about broomball— you don’t have to be a serious athlete, you just have to be up for some fun.” As the sound of brooms hitting balls echoes through the icy rinks of Michigan Tech, it resonates with the laughter, friendships, and memories that make broomball an integral part of the Tech experience. Broomball is a reflection of the Upper Peninsula and Michigan Tech itself— resilient, innovative, and unapologetically unique.



Should I Change My Charging Habits? Four things to know about extending rechargeable battery life


any of us are so connected to our phones, tablets, and laptops that we panic when their battery nears the dreaded 0% mark. We want our device batteries to perform well for as long as possible. If you ever fret over your device’s power levels, here are tips on striking the right balance between battery health and how you work and play.

Keep your battery about 40% to 80% charged. There’s a lot of reasonable advice around the internet to keep your phone charged between 20% and 80%, or between 40% and 80%. To understand those recommendations—and why you might want to either follow them or ignore them—it helps to understand how rechargeable batteries work. Up until about 20 years ago, batteries benefitted from occasional “deep discharges”—running the battery down until the device shuts off. But because of the different materials used in batteries today, that’s not true anymore. Rechargeable batteries contain two different materials that produce electricity when particles flow from one to the other. They flow in the other direction when being recharged. That process will degrade any battery over time. Keeping both sides of the battery in balance, with the device charged at about 50%, will put the least amount of stress on the battery and make it last longer. But that’s unrealistic—no one’s going to keep their phone half-charged all the time. So, the experts try to make it easier by recommending 40% to 80% or 20% to 80%. Apple devices offer even more flexibility, pointing out that modern rechargeable batteries are designed to last for years in the various ways you use them. They recommend that rather than worrying about the battery, you just focus on using and enjoying your device.

16 FEBRUARY 2024

Overnight charging can add stress to some batteries. Charging your device up to 100% or letting it drain to 0% until it shuts down does put extra stress on the battery and can shorten its life. That’s why it can make sense to charge your devices occasionally throughout the day rather than keeping them plugged in while you sleep. Newer electronics will actually stop charging at 100%. But then, each time the charge drops to 99%, charging will resume.

Keep it cool, but not cold. One absolute in battery care is don’t let your device get warmer than 95 degrees. Keep it out of the sun, and never leave it in a hot vehicle. If the device does get hot, don’t go to the other extreme and put it in the freezer. Just place it in the shade or take the cover off for a while.

Use less power. It sounds simple, but one of the easiest ways to put less stress on the battery is to use less power. You can close energy-draining apps and functions when you’re not using them, and you can activate energy-saving settings like putting the device to sleep sooner. Another easy way to reduce battery use is to activate the “airplane mode” button every now and then. If you’re the kind of person who likes to turn in their electronics every couple of years for the latest versions, these recommendations likely won’t apply. But if you’re someone who wants your devices to last longer, these suggestions can help prolong battery life.

Travel Around The World








Enter to win up to $200 off your energy bill!

Submit Your “Fishing” Photos By Feb. 20!

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 Fishing! Photos can be submitted through Feb. 20 to be featured in our April issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/cherrylandelectriccoop for a link to the current photo contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2024, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2024 bill.

MOST VOTES 1. Curacao — Trish Marek 2. Enjoying the fine white sand of Boracay Island, Philippines — Nova Jane Warren 3. The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. March 2023 — Jennifer Nowicki 4. Building homes/making friends in Guatemala — Genessa Gutzka 5. Swimming with the stingrays in the Cayman Islands — Amanda Holcombe 6. Family day in Paris — Dawn Centilli


MI CO-OP Guest Column

Memories Of An Ice Fisherman

By Rick Fowler, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member

1958…the earliest memories of being on the ice would probably spark the flames of many of us who had dads, granddads, uncles, etc., who led us on our first journeys onto the hard water. I was 6 when my dad and grandfather included me in their plans, which involved spearing sturgeon from their fishing shanty on Mullett Lake. My grandparents lived in Indian River, Michigan, and since the lake was only a couple of miles away, we had ample time, a place to get to quickly if we needed to warm up (meaning me), and we could get home and eat. My dad and grandfather had speared a sturgeon before and loved to talk about their experiences to anyone who would listen. This morning had been slow, and we had seen nothing swimming by in the clearcut hole of the shanty. Dad and Grandpa decided to visit another shack nearby to talk to them, no doubt about how they had speared their sturgeons, and it had taken at least 20 minutes to land the monsters (every year, the pounds, length, and battle times seemed to get longer). While they were gone, they instructed me to watch for any fish that swam by and to holler if it was really big. Now, I had never seen a sturgeon before and therefore could not envision how massive they were. Within minutes of their departure, I got down on my hands and knees to get a clearer picture of the world below me. At that exact moment, the dinosaur fish decided to make his presence known and swam by the hole without a care in the world.



A decade of award-winning recipes from Michigan Country Lines.

Little did that fish know that up above, a 6-year-old kid screamed at the top of his lungs, busted down the thinskinned door to escape the monster, and ran to his father. They never let me forget that moment!

Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer.

Order now! Guest Column

Scan the QR code to embark on your culinary journey.

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/ community to submit.

Please allow 7–10 days for shipping.

Win $200 for stories published!

18 FEBRUARY 2024






$2,000 REBATE & 30% TAX CREDIT

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Well-Connect is a hybrid ground-source heat pump that works with your existing furnace, it does not replace it. 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 need to heat a home. This hybrid approach saves a homeowner 50% to 75% on heating costs. Heating with Well-Connect is like paying less than 70 cents per gallon of propane!

70° AIR


95° AIR


Hybrid Geothermal





Geothermal Made Affordable

833-436-9355 wellconnectgeo.com





Lessons Powered By Cherryland - 3 Student Scholarships - 2 Adult Scholarships - $14,000 Total - Ready To Apply? www.cherrylandelectric.coop/ scholarships

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.