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Celebrating 40 Years Of

1980

2020

MICHIGAN

January 2020

COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

On To The Next Adventure Communications Manager Jayne Graham Retires After 33 Years With The Co-op

Homegrown Passion At Symbiosis Ranch HomeWorks Connect Announces Phase 3 Plans District 2 & 4 Director Election Info Inside


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In This Issue January 2020 || Vol. 40, No. 1

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

Follow Us On Instagram! @michigancountrylines

countrylines.com

facebook.com/michigancountrylines michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey 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 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 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com

CHANGE OF ADDRESS:

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.

FEATURED PHOTO FROM #micoopcommunity:

This winter “tunnel of trees” is giving the fall version a run for its money, by @asnow789 (Adam Snow).

Tag your photos with #micoopcommunity, and they could be featured on our Instagram account and printed as the featured photo in our magazine!

ON THE COVER

Playing piano on a frozen lake may seem odd, but given YoungMin You’s unconventional background, it didn’t faze him a bit. YoungMin’s unique journey has taken the South Korean native to northern Michigan, where he composes music and shares his prodigious playing with a substantial online following.

14 FEATURE

YoungMin You: Beating The Odds South Korean native YoungMin You turned a chance to study in the U.S. into a thriving music career in Petoskey. Emily Haines Lloyd

6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY

We wholeheartedly thank our readers for their engagement and contributions, and hope you’ll continue to share, win and belong.

Mike Lavens, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member, loves the outdoors … and loves instilling this passion for nature in others even more.

Michigan Country Lines Celebrates 40 Years!

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN

Guest Column: Reaping What You Sow

Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Comfort Foods Mean Cozy HomeCooked Meals Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Go Big And Spicy, Or Go Home Featured Guest Chef: Chantelle You, wife of talented pianist YoungMin You, is always looking for meals with the bold Korean flavors her husband enjoys. Here she shares one of his favorites, Jerk Chicken With Pineapple Black Bean Salsa recipe. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Chocolatiers: Tell us about your favorite places for melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by January 25, and this indulgent list will be published in the February issue.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

3


OSCEOLA

CLARE

MECOSTA

ISABELLA

MONTCALM

GRATIOT

IONIA

CLINTON

BARRY

EATON

"After 33 years at HomeWorks, Jayne has so much to be proud of in what she accomplished at the Co-op and the legacy she leaves behind. She has served as the 'written voice' of the Cooperative for so long. We will miss her quick wit, excellent communication skills, and her ability to 'cut to the chase' on complex issues, something I have always admired."

INGHAM

JACKSON

Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday

—Mark Kappler, HomeWorks General Manager

Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395

Where I Needed To Be

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 homeworks.org Email: tricoenergy@homeworks.org

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

Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/homeworks.org 4 JANUARY 2020

Guest Column by Jayne Graham HomeWorks Communications Manager Jayne Graham has served as the woman behind much of your Michigan Country Lines content, among many other duties, for more than three decades. This month, she retired from the Cooperative after 33 years of service. Here, she reflects on her time at HomeWorks and the joy she took from working with you, our members.

O

nce upon a time, I was 29 years old and looking for work that used the skills I’d learned during four years as a newspaper editor in north Florida, and then as a reporter in the Copper Country of Michigan.

Bob Matheny, the general manager of what was then simply Tri-County Electric Cooperative, and customer service supervisors Beverly Galer and Maggie Trierweiler were not the fairy godmothers I thought I was looking for. But they sprinkled “co-op dust” on me and…33 years later, my clock is striking midnight and there’s a pumpkin waiting for me outside! In those years, I’ve worked with three general managers (thanks, Bob! and Scott Braeger, and Mark Kappler), each with their own strengths and cooperative passion, and with 19 members who served their neighbors on our board of directors. There have also been a couple hundred co-workers who were always willing to help when a job needed to be done, or to explain their jobs in a way that made it possible to tell you their stories in these pages; plus my counterparts at other Michigan electric cooperatives or from around the country—all willing to share their ideas and enthusiasm. It will seem strange not to have a deadline for the next issue of Michigan Country Lines, or to work on the district meeting program in the spring, or even to watch our Facebook page for member questions. But I’m walking away knowing that you—our members, our reason for being—will be in good hands no matter whom you work with at Portland or Blanchard. As author Douglas Adams once wrote, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Thank you to each of you I have spoken with, photographed, written about, or met at a co-op event. Working for you has been my great pleasure.


2020 HomeWorks Board Elections Districts 2 And 4 To Hold Director Elections This Year

H Jim Stebbins—District 2

omeWorks members in districts 2 and 4 will carry out one of the most important duties of a cooperative’s membership this year when they elect a director to represent them on the Co-op board. Current directors Jim Stebbins of Clarksville (District 2) and Kimber Hansen of Edmore (District 4) have both announced they will seek re-election in their respective districts. Other district 2 and 4 members interested in running for the position should contact their district’s nominating committee by Feb. 5. Candidates may also be nominated via a petition signed by at least 25 members from within their district. Petitions must be turned in to the nominating committee by Feb. 20.

In District 2, Jim Stebbins was appointed to the board as an interim director in February 2017, after the passing Kimber Hansen—District 4 of long-time director Wayne Swiler. Stebbins was then elected to his first full three-year term as director in May 2017. District 2 includes members in Barry and Ionia counties. In District 4, Kimber Hansen was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. His district includes members in Montcalm County, except Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships (which are part of District 5). The nominating committee in each district consists of the district’s officers (listed on this page), elected by members at the district meeting held in the previous May. Each committee is required by the Co-op’s bylaws to nominate at least one candidate on or before Feb. 5. Names of nominees will be posted at the Cooperative’s offices and on HomeWorks.org by Feb. 28.

Interested In Seeking A Board Seat?

T

he job of a HomeWorks Board member is to help set policies and make decisions that guide the direction of the Cooperative, while effectively representing the members of his or her district. Directors are expected to attend regular monthly and other special meetings of the Board or committees of the Board, along with relevant state and national association meetings and director training programs. They are also expected to study data and other information presented to the Board in order to stay fully informed on matters affecting the Co-op. If you are a member of District 2 or District 4 and are interested in running for a HomeWorks Board seat this year, Article VII, Section 2 of the Cooperative’s bylaws (available at HomeWorks.org) states that you must be an individual member of the Co-op in good standing, at least 21 years old,

New Election Timeline Nominating Committee submits candidate names to Co-op: Feb. 5 Candidate credentials reviewed, names posted at Co-op: Feb. 15 Nominations by petition (25 signatures) due at Co-op: Feb. 20 Final candidate list posted at Co-op: Feb. 28 Ballots mailed in Michigan Country Lines magazine to members in election districts: early April Members may vote instead at district meeting: May (dates to be announced)

Who Makes Up District Nominating Committees? District 2: Barry and Ionia counties William Nichols, Chair 12543 Turner Rd., Portland, MI 48875 517-526-2392 email: wildbill1945@gmx.com Wilma Bailey (Lake Odessa), Vice Chair Kristine Ceasar (Portland), Secretary District 4: Montcalm County (except Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships) Lisa Johnson, Chair 12423 Cutler Rd., Lakeview, MI 48850 231-298-8083 email: lisainamble@gmail.com Glenn Kebler (Six Lakes), Vice Chair Elaine Rossman (Lakeview), Secretary

residing in the district which you are to represent, and a U.S. citizen. To become or remain a director, the bylaws state, the candidate must have the capacity to enter into legally binding contracts; comply with standards of conduct as laid out in the bylaws; and meet all reasonable conflict of interest qualifications found in Article VII, Section 3. Also, a candidate shall not have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony or misdemeanor crime involving issues of moral character within the 10 years immediately prior to becoming a director. If you meet these qualifications and would like to be nominated for the District 2 or District 4 Board seat, contact your district nominating committee, listed on this page, or call HomeWorks Tri-County Electric at 517-647-1211 to request a nominating petition. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

5


MI CO-OP Community

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 1980

Celebrates 40 Years

Michigan Country Lines has been connecting members with their electric cooperatives for forty years. As a Michigan Country Lines reader, not only are you the heart of your co-op, you are the heart of this magazine. And luckily for us, many of our readers are also contributors. The numerous reader submissions we receive make this magazine a one-of-a-kind—a place where we can read about others’ experiences, drool over their recipes and laugh at their funny pictures, bringing us together as a community. We are so grateful that you enjoy this magazine enough to engage in its content, and we encourage you to continue doing so. Visit our MI Co-op Community page on countrylines.com and share your knowledge of our wonderful state, your stories, and, yes, your amazing recipes! In addition to publication, your work may be rewarded with cash or bill credits. We look forward to our members’ continued content and contest contributions.

6 JANUARY 2020

2020

Monthly Recipe Contest And MI Co-op Kitchen

$50 BILL CREDIT

If you’re in need of some food inspiration, look no further than MI Co-op Kitchen——our online cooking community. MI Co-op Kitchen is an interactive space where you can share your recipes and food ideas with other like-minded members. Submit a recipe for our monthly contest and you could win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe published and a professional video created for our website. A winner is selected every month.

Where In Michigan Is This?

$50 BILL CREDIT

Our Mystery Photo Contest gives you the chance to correctly identify our mystery photo and win a $50 bill credit. A new “Where in Michigan Is This?” mystery photo is published in our January, March, May, July/August, September and November/ December Michigan Country Lines issues. Each correct guess is placed into a drawing and one lucky winner is selected.


Guest Columns

$150 CASH AWARD

We know many of our members are talented and have great ideas——so we invite you to share that talent in Country Lines! We will pay $150 for the stories we publish. Let the ideas flow! Stories could be about a significant or memorable event, a person in your life, life lessons learned, educational topics, Michigan recreational activities, and more! Please keep stories to approximately 350 words. Photos are always welcome!

NO BARRIERS ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS— APPLY BY FEBRUARY 28

Best Of Michigan Do you have a favorite spot where you bring outof-state guests? What about a favorite Michigan ice cream shop, or a Michigan–inspired treat? Our Best of Michigan column is a way for you to submit your preferred treats, sites, restaurants, opinions and activities. We will publish many submissions for the Best Of Michigan section, so there is no monetary reward. However, your name will be published!

Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate.

Follow Michigan Country Lines On Instagram Follow us on our Instagram account, @michigancountrylines, where we celebrate the energy of rural Michigan. Marvel at Michigan’s majestic beauty, learn about new places to visit and experience rural Michigan life, and enjoy special influencer events. Tag your photos with #micoopcommunity, and they could be featured on our Instagram account. Your photo could even be chosen to print as the featured photo in our magazine. We can’t wait to see what you share!

Follow Michigan Country Lines On Facebook Follow us on our Facebook account at “Michigan Country Lines Magazine” for up-to-date magazine content, influencer events, contests, recipe videos and much more.

No Barriers is a five-day, all-expensespaid 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 on our website:

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


New Website Launching Soon! We’re upgrading our website to make it easier for you to find the Co-op information that matters most to you. Stay tuned to homeworks.org to see our new look!

The clock is ticking on these three great opportunities for students and teachers in our service area! Classroom STEAM Grants: Application deadline extended to Jan. 31 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour: Application deadline is Feb. 28 HomeWorks College Scholarships: Application deadline is March 16

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Data Privacy Policy The HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board of Directors has adopted a policy governing the collection, use and disclosure of member account information and usage data. A full copy of the Data Privacy Policy can be found at bit.ly/HWData. If you would like a hard copy of the Data Privacy Policy, call our office at 800-562-8232 or visit our website at homeworks.org.

Visit homeworks.org for more info!

Stack Up the

SAVINGS

Reduce your energy use and SAVE! FREE agribusiness energy assessments available. Rebates available for custom and prescriptive energy savings projects.

Call now for best availability.

Michigan-energy.org | 877-296-4319 Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit michigan-energy.org.


1

2

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Snap Shot Enter to win a

$10

energy bill credit!

Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics And Deadlines “Cute Kids,” Deadline: Jan. 15 (March issue) “Bridges of Michigan,” Deadline: Feb. 14 (April issue) “On the Farm,” Deadline: March 16 (May issue)

Go to homeworks.org and select Country Lines under the Electric tab to submit your photos and see all of the 2020 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. Congratulations to Marlene Alvera of Lakeview and Dale Nemeth of Mulliken, who were selected as the winners of our 2019 Snap Shot drawing. They each received a $100 HomeWorks bill credit. Thanks to all who submitted photos in 2019!

Submit Your Photos!

Contributors whose photos we publish in Michigan Country Lines in 2020 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication.

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5

Take The Cake 1. Kathleen Ellwood of Eaton Rapids shares this photo of her parents, Duane and Loyola Dysinger of Perry, getting ready to “take the cake” on their 70th wedding anniversary. 2. Jean Simon from Fowler submitted this photo that shows Novi fully enjoying his first birthday cake. 3. Cindy Zavadil of Okemos (receiving HomeWorks service in Canadian Lakes) reports, “I recently made the current rage in girl toys, an “LOL Doll” cake for my niece Lila. It is a chocolate cake covered entirely in buttercream with her favorite LOL Dolls here and there. Happily for me, she loved it!” 4. Pam Brown of Farwell made this tastylooking banana split cake for her friend Loren’s 78th birthday. 5. Amy Nawrot of Stanwood says, “This Ninja Turtle was my son’s 3rd birthday cake. It took forever to decorate, but he loved it!”

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

9


Comfort Foods Warm up with these cozy home-cooked meals. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Sausage and Mushroom Pappardelle Annie Barnes, Great Lakes Energy 8 1 1 1 6 3 4

ounces pappardelle pasta tablespoon olive oil red bell pepper, sliced onion, thinly sliced large mushrooms, sliced cloves garlic, minced links smoked turkey sausage, sliced (or crumbled Italian sausage), cooked

• pinch of red pepper flakes 1 cup cream ½ cup cherry tomatoes 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped • kosher salt • parmesan cheese, for garnish

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil, then generously add kosher salt. Add pappardelle pasta and cook until al dente, then drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water. While pasta is cooking, begin cooking the sauce. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Then add red bell pepper slices and onion, and cook for 4–5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring occasionally. Season with kosher salt, add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add garlic, sausage and red pepper flakes, and cook until sausage is warmed through, about 3 minutes. Add cream, tomatoes and rosemary to skillet, and cook 3 minutes or until sauce thickens and tomatoes soften. Gently fold in pasta to skillet until coated. If you’d like more sauce, add reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time (or additional cream if you want a heavier sauce). Garnish with parmesan, kosher salt and more rosemary if desired. Serve immediately. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos 10 JANUARY 2020

Creamed Swiss Chard Luise Bolleber, Cherryland

4 tablespoons butter 2 garlic cloves, chopped ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk • sea salt and white pepper 2 bunches Swiss chard, leaves chopped, stems chopped separately

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onion, and chard stems and cook until onion and stems are softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Raise heat to medium. Whisk in milk and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is thickened and reduced by about half. Add the chard leaves. You may have to do this in batches as the chard cooks down. Add salt and white pepper, and cook about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


featured GUEST CHEF A well-known pianist in Michigan, YoungMin You, enjoys Korean recipes. His wife, Chantelle, has realized that Korean food and flavors are sometimes hard to come by in northern Michigan, so she’s always keeping an eye out for meals with big and spicy flavors. This is one of YoungMin You’s favorites.

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

Dad’s Corn Fritters Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy /4 1 1 2 ½

cup all-purpose flour tablespoon sugar teaspoon baking powder eggs cup milk (more to thin, if necessary) 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3

4 generous cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned (if frozen or canned, drain all moisture) 3 teaspoons chopped chives • oil, for frying • powdered sugar, optional

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Add eggs, milk, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir together to make a batter. Add corn and chives. Fold together to combine. Heat oil in a skillet to 365 F. Drop batter by spoonfuls into heated oil. Flip to brown on all sides. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!!

4 cups cooked rice PINEAPPLE BLACK BEAN SALSA 2 cups pineapple tidbits, finely diced 1 15-ounce can black beans, well rinsed and drained ¹⁄ ³ cup red onion, finely diced ½ cup cilantro, chopped 1 lime • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste JERK CHICKEN 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about ²⁄³ pound each) 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning 1 tablespoon cooking oil Begin cooking your rice first. While the rice is cooking, prepare the pineapple black bean salsa. Combine pineapple, black beans, red onion, cilantro, one tablespoon of lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Add more salt or lime juice if needed.

Pizza Party: due February 1 Best Of Vegetarian: due March 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 and to register.

Enter to win a

$50

energy bill credit!

Next, prepare the jerk chicken. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken to eliminate splatter, then gently pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness using either a rolling pin or a mallet. Sprinkle the jerk seasoning over both sides of the chicken and use your hands to rub it into the surface, making sure the chicken is completely coated. Add the cooking oil to a large skillet, or preheat your grill. Once hot, add the chicken and cook until well browned on both sides and completely cooked through (about 7 minutes each side). It should no longer be pink in the center and the juices should run clear. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, slice the chicken into ½ inch-wide strips. To serve, place about a cup of cooked rice on a plate and top with about a cup of the pineapple black bean salsa and a few strips of the jerk chicken. Slice the remaining lime into wedges and squeeze fresh juice over the chicken just before eating. Read the full story about YoungMin You on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.


Your Board In Action Meeting at Portland on Oct. 28, your board of directors: • Voted to revise the Cooperative’s electric rates to meet current and future financial needs. • Approved the 2020 budget for the Co-op’s subsidiary, Tri-Co Services. • Reviewed results of the 2019 member surveys for HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative and HomeWorks Tri-County Propane. • Heard an update on the Cooperative’s current and future cybersecurity plans. • Learned there were 143 new members in September. • Acknowledged the September safety report, listing employee training, as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

Meeting at Portland on Nov. 18, your board of directors: • Increased the 2019 capital budgets for both electric and fiber optic broadband due to faster-than-expected progress in building the HomeWorks Connect network.

• Approved the write-off of accounts receivable totaling $102,314 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018. • Discussed and accepted Board Policy 211 – Whistleblower Policy and Board Policy 316 – Prevention of Identity Theft with some wording changes to both. • Learned there were 147 new members in October. • Acknowledged the October safety report, listing employee training, as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

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 Monday, Jan. 20, and Monday, Feb. 24, at Portland. Members who need directions to the meeting, or wish to have items considered on the board agenda, should call 517-647-7554.

People Fund Update On Nov. 13, the People Fund awarded six grants totaling $9,040 to the following organizations and individuals: • $1,700 to the Clinton County Senior Center, Saint Johns, for activity and recruitment programs; • $1,162.66 to Chippewa-Martiny Fire Department, Chippewa Lake, to purchase portable radios; • $3,000 to Red-Line Paraclete Ministries, Saint Johns, to purchase items for its food pantry; • $1,550 to Benton Township Fire Department, Potterville, for CPR manikins; • $527.16 to a Mecosta County family for household expenses; and

12 JANUARY 2020

• $1,100 to an Isabella County family to help with housing 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 tab at homeworks.org. Note: Applications must be received by Jan. 14 for the January meeting, or by Feb. 25 for the March meeting.


PHASE 3 IS HERE! It’s time to announce Phase 3 of HomeWorks internet network will be built in 2020! If you live in any of the zones marked in red on the map, we plan to connect your home with HomeWorks Connect before the end of the year. We’re already engineering the zones that make up Phase 3, and will soon build the means members in these areas will be seeing our trucks around often, since it takes many out to a new area. Remember that we can’t begin connecting all of the Phase 3 zones at once, so watch your mailbox for postcards alerting you about our activity in your area. Pre-registering at Join.HomeWorksConnect.org will also allow you to receive email updates and a service agreement emailed to you as soon as they’re released in your area. We don’t want you to miss out on this great opportunity, since it was our members like you who asked us to build this life-changing network! So, when it’s time to connect your and email that contracts are available in your neighborhood. Be sure to sign up now and be ready to take advantage of our free

If you haven’t yet, pre-register today at Join.HomeWorksConnect.org to see which zone your home is in!

Become A Connector Today!

PACKAGES START AT

$54.95

To pre-register, visit Join.HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13


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he trouble with odds is they œ œ œ to account œ œ forœ œ œ œ œseem œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ never œ œ passion, faith, and œ œ a positive œ œ œ

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Words and Music by Hillsong United

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YoungMin had the opportunity to study abroad in the United States, as his sister had before him. He found himself about to embark on a journey that would change his life in ways he couldn’t imagine.

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As he found himself in Adrian, Michigan, his passion for music, and piano specifically, had kicked into high gear. While he was immersed in American culture and cultivating a strong grasp of a second language, YoungMin was equally interested in learning to really play piano.

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“I was just so in love with the piano, so I started teaching myself through YouTube,” said YoungMin. “I would practice five to six hours a day. I was obsessed.”

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With high school graduation fast approaching, YoungMin made the brave decision to apply to only one college—Wheaton College-

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“I feel like music is my way of putting a positive message into the world.” Conservatory of Music near Chicago. He decided that if he didn’t get in, he would go back to South Korea. YoungMin did get accepted at the conservatory and was quick to realize that his lack of formal training was something he would have to overcome. What were the odds that he could overcome his lack of formal education and catch up to his classmates? “I was so lucky to have professors who cared,” said YoungMin. “Cared, but were worried. My technique was not where it should have been, but I worked hard and got better.” YoungMin put his heart and a positive attitude into his craft. Through his efforts, he got so much better that he ended up being top in his class that semester. Passion and positivity may well have led YoungMin to love as well. During his first year of college, he met Chantelle, a vocal performance major, who would eventually become his wife. After the two were married in 2016, the couple had to decide where they would go next. Cities like Chicago and New York came up in conversation, as both YoungMin and Chantelle were artists, and the cities offered a lot of opportunities in their fields. But after much discussion, another town came up—Petoskey, Michigan. Chantelle had fallen in love with

the picturesque lake community. YoungMin’s experience with high school in Michigan and Chantelle’s Midwest roots were both strong pulls. “Ultimately, we talked about where we wanted to make a life for ourselves, where we wanted to raise a family,” said YoungMin. “Beyond that, Petoskey has such a rich arts community. The fairs and festivals have a wonderful musical focus— it became an easy decision on whether to go big city or small town.” While YoungMin and Chantelle have settled on their own family home, YoungMin is still very much connected to his parents and sister in South Korea. He video chats with them regularly using Great Lakes Energy’s Truestream fiber internet. Upon settling in Petoskey, YoungMin had jobs as a music director,

accompanist, and playing for both weddings and funerals, but he eventually changed directions and decided to concentrate on his original faith-based music and arrangements. Now, you will find him creating music on virtual platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, and posting inspiring videos on YouTube, where he first learned to play the piano. “I love making music so much, and I wanted to find a way to reach as many people as possible. These platforms make that possible,” said YoungMin. “I feel like music is my way of putting a positive message into the world.” Maybe the odds are stacked against an artist with a message of hope and positivity. But if there is anyone who is up for beating those odds, it’s a young man with talent, purpose and passion like YoungMin You.

Northern Michigan weather is hard to predict. The day of the video shoot, during which YoungMin played a piano rendition of “Hillsong’s Oceans” on Walloon Lake, there was a fresh two to three feet of snow on the frozen water. With the help of about 20 friends who volunteered and some friendly fishermen who assisted in making a pathway, the 800-pound piano arrived at its destination on a sled dragged by a snowmobile. The task was mighty, but once again, passion won the day. Watch the full video here and be inspired:

youtube.com/watch?v=5n-e6lOhVq0 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 15


Growing herbology, homeopathy, essential oils, and meridian bodywork. Her home, and the Symbiosis Ranch over which she presides, were born out of her passion for healthy, sustainable living, and as an opportunity to share her passion and knowledge with students and the community.

Dr. Bessheen Baker fulfills her passion for healthy, sustainable living at her home on Symbiosis Ranch.

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n a farm in the center of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, a woman lives underground. Yet, while she lives beneath the earth, Dr. Bessheen Baker’s home is full of warmth, open spaces, and light on the Symbiosis Ranch she founded in 2009. “Our home is unique in that our living space is earthsheltered, attached to a greenhouse, attached to a barn, and attached to another home for my parents so we can all live in community, and the whole thing is covered in dirt,” said Baker. “Our feet are 22 feet underground, but it doesn’t feel like it because the wall of windows and sun tunnels bring in the sun and warmth. We actually have more light here underground than most regular homes.” Baker is the founder and director of education at the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies & Education (NITE) in Mt. Pleasant. As a doctor of naturopathy, Baker’s areas of interest include iridology, sclerology, kinesiology, nutrition, 16 JANUARY 2020

The farm’s 70 acres feature several functions, serving as a teaching farm for students from NITE to learn about gardening, canning, preserving, dehydrating, medicinemaking, and stewardship of animals. Sheep and chickens are raised on the ranch, as well as a herd of Scottish Highland cattle. “I’m the owner of the ranch, but I don’t look at it that way,” said Baker. “I see myself as the primary steward of the ranch and look at stewardship as a responsibility. We’re taking care of the animals, plants, and the whole beautiful blend of nature and people together on this farm.” Baker broke ground and began growing vegetables on the farm in 2009 and added the animals in 2010. She and her two sons began living on the ranch full-time in 2012, but Baker feels all the systems are finally working together in 2019—reflecting her naming choice and vision for the ranch. “Symbiosis means different things living in harmony with each other,” she said. “The stewards need to eat. We need eggs and vegetables and beef. So, we take care of our plants and animals in a system that works together. Cattle get back scratches and treats. The cows give manure to feed vegetables. Vegetables feed animals. And we’re all living better because we’re living together in this unit.” From breeding award-winning champions to harvesting, Baker stewards 15 organic cattle at a time—no more than her grazeable acres will allow. Symbiosis harvests about three animals per year. While she sells them by the quarter,


Home

By James A. Curtis

her main focus is to share the organic, sustainable cattle with the public. Because of this, 40–50 families may try the beef from one cow. Her philosophy is the same for her crops, as 200 to 300 families may sample products from the farm every year. Her practice for growing crops is also unique, employing a method of geometric arrangements, rather than rows. “We believe plants need to grow in communities as well, so we grow them in circles or designs called sacred geometry designs,” said Baker. “The geometry changes the way the soil pulls up their nutrients. We take care of the ground so the plants can pull the nutrients from the air.” Sustainability and energy efficiency is Baker’s focus at every turn at Symbiosis Ranch. In studying the building of her home, Baker explored every avenue of sustainable living. The earth-sheltered home stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so living spaces need very little energy to control the climate.

A view from the beautiful greenhouse and Zen garden inside Bessheen Baker’s earth-sheltered home.

from a place where people care. What I love about the Cooperative is that they ask ‘where is this energy coming from?’ and ‘are we making use of the right resources?’. And you know what? They are! And that’s beautiful because it ties right into our philosophy here on the farm.” As Baker looks to the future at Symbiosis Ranch, she has grand plans to expand the ranch’s crops, teaching offerings, and places of meditation, and she is excited for people to participate in all of its offerings. “We really encourage the public to come down to the farm and learn about these skills,” said Baker. “Anyone can learn to can, dehydrate, and cultivate other skills that really embrace more natural foods and healthy, sustainable living. It’s what we love to do here at Symbiosis.”

“We began our home attempting off-the-grid living, building a solar array and backup propane generator, and we quickly realized there are a lot of things in the home that don’t belong when you live this way,” said Baker. “Right away, we were looking for a way to not be sucking down fuel and to be aware of what appliances should be in our home.” Because of her passion for sustainability and environmental stewardship, Baker is thrilled to have a partner in HomeWorks Tri-County Electric and power supplier Wolverine Power Cooperative, who now power all members with electricity that is more than 60 percent carbon free. “I love being a member of HomeWorks,” said Baker. “We’re part of a cooperative, and that means our energy is coming

To learn more about Symbiosis Ranch, visit symbiosisranch.com. To learn about other HomeWorks members using their “homegrown” power for homegrown products in their communities, visit bit.ly/HWHomegrown.


Guess this photo and enter to win a

GUEST COLUMN

MI CO-OP Community

$50

energy bill credit!

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by January 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the November/December issue is Karen Malburg, a Midwest Energy & Communications member, who correctly identified the photo as the “Believe” wall mural, which is part of the “Power of Words Community Mural Project.” It was painted by artist Mia Tavonatti on the exterior wall of the Blackstone Pizza Company located in downtown Iron Mountain. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

Reaping What You Sow By Mike Lavens, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

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s we get older, it seems we start to cherish friends and family more and materialistic things less. At least, in my case, that’s what has occurred. A recent request by a distant nephew to come camp at our place north of Hillman came on short notice but was answered with a quick “yes.” You see, Roy was one of the sons of my wife’s cousins who many, many years ago, I took out deer hunting in southern Michigan when he was 10 years old. Roy told us years later that visiting us that summer is when he caught the outdoor bug. I have watched and enjoyed Roy’s adventures while growing up over the years —his fishing, hunting, camping and kayaking, all the while, as he lived downstate. Our place is on a private lake and sits just off Long Lake, where we share a lot with some neighbors. It is the best of both worlds, with water recreation on the “big lake” and quiet, no- gas motor fishing on the other lake. Roy, with his very first fish, broke his personal best with a 27-inch pike. He was in heaven for the next four days, fishing, kayaking, and enjoying the peace and quiet away from the city. He called us his outdoor parents during that stay, and it was a joy to see him take on the outdoors like a pro. Lucky for him, his “camping” visit turned into a more extended stay in our spare bedroom. It was nice to share yet again the outdoors with family and nurture such an important part of our human existence, even if it was just for a short time. We will cherish the memories made and the questions asked. The excitement in Roy’s voice as he explained about the loon coming up to the boat, the fish he caught, and how far down in the water he could see while kayaking. Share what you can, while you can, with whomever you can; you may never know the enthusiasm you may instill in someone or the memories you will make while doing so. Living where we do gives us a unique opportunity to do just that, treasure it and enjoy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

November/December 2019 Josh Herman, Thumb Aerial Photography

18 JANUARY 2020

Mike is an FCA (Chrysler) engineer. He was the first person to sign up for the Dodge Demon race in Arizona. Mike has been married for 33 years and loves America.


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YEAR 1 What if it could cost less to enjoy a more comfortable home? With Well-Connect, it does. Well-Connect is an affordable alternative to heating and cooling rural homes and 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. Well-Connect heats for 50%-75% less than propane, fuel oil or electric, and those savings more than cover the cost of 100% financing the system.

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