Alger Delta Jan/Feb 2021

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January/February 2021


COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association

College Scholarships Available For High School Seniors

Director Elections In 2021 Zero Degrees Gallery

THE MUSKEGON Luge Adventure Sports Park:




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January 2021 Vol. 41, No. 1



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 CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please

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


6 INTO THE WILD The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park offers space for much-needed (and safe) outdoor time this winter.

14 THRILL-SEEKERS WELCOME AT THE MUSKEGON LUGE ADVENTURE SPORTS PARK If you're seeking daring, Olympics-caliber fun, look no further than Muskegon.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Salad Night: Recipes to turn plain old greens into a hearty and healthy meal.

18 GUEST COLUMN Remembering glass bottles and the milkman.

Legend says a couple displayed their love for one another by jumping off the top of this rock arch together. That’s why it’s called Lover’s Leap. But don’t try it! The water there is only a few feet deep. @michiganskymedia, Tyler Leipprandt

Be featured!

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

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


To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit





Up Next: Tacos, Garden Fresh Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Winter Fun! Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.)

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win a $50 bill credit!

See page 18



We Love Our Community /algerdeltaelectric

By Mike Lawless, Board of Directors President


District 1—Big Bay Darryl Small 906-345-9369 •

“To move forward, you have to give back.”

District 2—Harvey/Deerton Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 •

This quote from Oprah Winfrey reflects the special bond and obligation that ties Alger Delta Electric Cooperative to the community we serve. With Valentine’s Day approaching, we can’t think of a better time to express how much we love this community and serving you, the members of the co-op.

District 4—Cedar River/Palestine Vacant

We know when we helped to bring electricity to rural Michigan in 1937, the quality of life improved for all. Through the years, other issues needed to be tackled, and we have been at the forefront of helping to address some of those issues. We want to help meet the long-term needs of our community to ensure it continues to thrive—because just like you, we live here too.

District 3—Grand Marais Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 •

District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell Ivy Netzel 906-639-2979 • District 6—Nathan/White Rapids Paul Sederquist 906-753-4484 •

District 7—Stonington/Rapid River Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 • District 8—Nahma/Isabella Vacant

District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 • HEADQUARTERS: 426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 • OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST) Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



4 JANUARY 2021


While our top priority is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to you, equally important is our mission to enrich the lives of the consumer-members (that’s you!) that we serve. This focus to benefit the larger community is central to the way we operate as a cooperative. Alger Delta knows that electricity is a critical need for modern-day life, but it takes more than poles and power lines to make a community. Over time, our co-op has evolved to meet the changing needs of our community, thereby improving the quality of life for everyone. And that can mean many different things. It can mean programs for Michigan’s youth, such as education scholarships or the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, where we take our community’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong immersion to experience democracy in action. It means partnering with organizations like the U.P. Honor Flight, The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, Tri-County Safe Harbor, U.P. Pink Power, Delta County 4-H, and other worthy programs. Over the last 80 decades, our community-focused programs and other giving projects have provided light fixtures to parks and memorials, fed hungry families, enabled those in need to keep the lights on and so much more—and we couldn’t do any of this without you, our members. We all benefit from these programs because of you and your neighbors. You empower the Alger Delta Electric Cooperative through your membership and through your participation in and support of these programs. As a local business, we are proud to power your life and bring good things to our community. We hope you will continue to guide our efforts by sharing your perspective as we plan for the future. The energy landscape is undergoing dramatic change fueled by evolving technology and consumer desires for more options. While the larger environment in which we operate is constantly changing, one thing remains the same. By working together, I’m certain that we can continue to do good things for our community.

Alger Delta Mourns Board Member Ray Young ay Young, 75, of Cooks, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. He was born on Sept. 2, 1945, in Preston, England. Ray attended and graduated from Rochester High School and received his bachelor’s degree in education from Ferris State University. He began his career teaching at Bloomfield Hills Schools and then at Escanaba Area Schools. He later worked as a sheet metal worker and belonged to the Sheet Metal Workers Local 7 Union. During his retirement years, he worked as an adjunct professor for Bay de Noc Community College, teaching human biology and chemistry.


He and his wife Katherine were the Garden Sports Shop’s proud owners at Garden Corners for five years and current owners of L.C.’s Sunset View Resort. Ray was very active in the community. He served as the Garden Township supervisor and on the Alger Delta Electric Co-op Board of Directors since 2014. He was a member of Memorial United Methodist Church in Gladstone and was the chair of its Missions Committee, holding firm to his Christian beliefs of helping the poor and feeding the hungry. He was instrumental in starting Hope at the Inn, Delta County’s

faith-based, rotating emergency homeless shelter. He was also involved with the Salvation Army’s Saturday Lunch program and the Campus Meal program. He also served as an EMT with Tri-Star EMS and served as camp health officer for Camp Michigamme. Ray was an avid fisherman and took great pride in his knowledge of Big Bay De Noc, taking people fishing, and organizing and putting on his famous fish fries at the resort’s beach/campfire site. He had deer hunted in the past but was content to let his wife Kathy provide the venison. Ray brought home the fish, and Kathy brought home the venison. “All will miss Ray’s presence on the board and the wisdom he brought,” said fellow Alger Delta board member Dave Prestin.

Director Elections In 2021

District 2––Harvey/Deerton, District 3––Grand Marais, District 4––Cedar River


lger Delta will be holding director elections in three of its nine districts. In 2021, Districts 2 (Harvey/Deerton), 3 (Grand Marais), and 4 (Cedar River) will hold elections to send a representative to the board of directors. Elections will be held via mail ballot over a 30-day period beginning in April and concluding on May 3. Members interested in running for the board can find the qualifications and responsibilities for the position on Alger Delta’s website. To qualify as a candidate, you must be a member of the cooperative and take electric service in the district you seek to represent. You must be at least 18 years old and must not be employed by, or have a financial interest in, a competing business. You must complete and submit a nomination petition to be placed on the ballot. Nomination petitions must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2021.

details or print out the nominating petition from our website at “About Us/Board of Directors.” If you cannot access our website and would like to receive a copy of the bylaws or a nominating petition via email or in print form, please call Alger Delta at 906-428-4141.



Directors participate in strategic planning, setting policy and direction, governance of the cooperative, and other duties relating to a nonprofit corporation. Board members are expected to attend the monthly board meetings and the Annual Meeting, participate in industry-related training and events, and serve on committees. Directors are elected for a term of three years and are paid $350 per meeting day when attending to Alger Delta business. For more information about serving on the board of directors, you can look at Article III of the cooperative’s bylaws at under the tab “Customer Service,” then “Bylaws/Tariffs.” You can also find more








By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos by Diane Rhode & Ryan Brown


ith Michiganders on the long end of a year that limited us in the everyday activities we often enjoy, the outdoors was a respite through the summer and fall. As we enter the winter months, many are wondering how to keep a degree of sanity and avoid the dreaded cabin fever. Enter Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Affectionately called The Porkies, Michigan’s largest state park, located in Ontonagon, offers a bevy of outdoor activities. It’s also easy to maintain a healthy level of social distancing with the over 60,000 acres of wilderness to explore.



“People come to the Porkies with different mindsets,” said Katie Urban, park interpreter (maybe the best job title ever). “Some folks want to go on a crazy adventure, that physical act to burn off their energy. Some are looking for some peace and quiet. I just tell people, either way, just make sure you take a moment to look around and take it all in.” The park also has acres of woods, wild animals (don’t worry, they tend to keep their distance), and the well-known Lake of the Clouds—one of the most photographed features in the Upper Peninsula. There are also plenty of more structured activities to check out. The downhill ski slope is covered in snow made entirely by Mother Nature

and offers thrilling trails of fresh powder. It’s the perfect opportunity to try out cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on gorgeously-groomed trails for both the experienced and newbies. Or join Urban on a weekly guided hike by riding the ski lift to the top of the mountains, taking in the vista, and then hiking back to base camp.

Perhaps one of the more inspiring opportunities in winter is the Lantern Walk, a one-mile loop on which to either cross-country ski, snowshoe, or walk with lanterns lighting the way. When the moon is out and shining, it does some of the heavy lifting for the lamps, and in either case, the sky provides fantastical views of the stars for all.

The Porkies also allow for winter camping. You can chart where to pitch your tent with the help of the ranger station for dispersed camping or rent one of the cabins or yurts for your crew. The trek out to the cabins is as much fun as the camping itself and includes wood to keep the fire roaring.

“There’s nothing quite like it,” confirms Urban. “It’s the kind of quiet that brings an amazing amount of peace. It’s obviously great for us physically to be out in nature, but I’m always surprised at how beneficial it is mentally and emotionally as well. It’s a whole other level of happiness.”

“There really is just so much to do and see,” said Urban. “The best part of what I do is watching people engaging with nature, learning something new, experiencing a new sport, or starting a new passion. Everything up here is inspiring.”

For more information visit or call 906-885-5275.

“Everything up here is inspiring.” —Katie Urban



$1,000 Scholarships Applications are now being accepted for two $1,000 Alger Delta Cooperative college scholarships for 2021!

Eligibility Guidelines

1. High school seniors may submit an essay to win one of two

$1,000 scholarships. The student (or his/her parent or legal guardian) must be a member of Alger Delta Cooperative.

2. High school seniors must plan to attend a two-year technical college or a four-year university.

3. Essays should be on the theme: Our Community Connection: The Value of Cooperative Power. Essays should be between 500 and 1,000 words, typed and double-spaced, and include the following information on the cover: • • • • •

Student’s first and last name Home address Phone number Name of parent(s) or legal guardian Utility account information (name on account, billing address, account number)

4. The deadline for submitting essays is March 26, 2021. Please submit all essays and the completed application form to: Online: Or by mail to: Alger Delta Electric Cooperative Association 426 9th St. Gladstone, MI 49837

RESOURCE MATERIALS If you would like to know more about public power, Alger Delta Cooperative is the best source of information, through both printed materials and employee interviews. Information about public power is also available at libraries and on the internet. Websites of particular interest include our wholesale power supplier WPPI Energy at; the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) at; and the Utility Connection at One particularly interesting book about the history of the electric cooperative movement is “The Next Greatest Thing: 50 Years of Rural Electrification in America.”

At Alger Delta Electric, we join forces with other local not-for-profit utilities through WPPI Energy to share resources and lower costs. Visit us at or call us at 906-428-4141.


Winter Magic 1. Beautiful winter morning on Steven’s Lake. Karen Devecsery  2. Winter tranquility behind our home in Masonville Township, Delta County. Sandra Deneau  3. Karmen loves the snow in the U.P. She loves to play, run and just have fun in the snow. Chuck Wells  4. My dog Artie and my neighbor’s dog Willow, both standard poodles, enjoying the first snowfall in the woods. Judy Smith  5. Beautiful brisk Valentine’s Day. Hans Eriksen  6. Fun enjoying a winter snowstorm! Diane Lang  7. White-tailed deer in a U.P. winter wonderland scene near Hermansville. Seth Polfus







Submit a photo & win a

Submit Your Photos & Win A Bill Credit!

energy bill credit!

Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines:



Alger Delta members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 credit on their December 2021 energy bills!

Wild Animals, due February 20 (March/April issue) Mom & Me, due March 20 (May/June issue) To submit photos, go to We look forward to seeing your best photos!



MI CO-OP Recipes

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

SALAD NIGHT Make a meal out of your greens.


SOUTHWEST CHICKEN SALAD Judy Skowronski, Cherryland

4 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken 2 cups canned or thawed frozen corn 1 cup chopped sweet peppers 1 cup black beans, optional 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup minced fresh cilantro • green, leafy lettuce (butter/bibb, romaine, etc.) Dressing: 3 tablespoons lime juice 5 tablespoons olive oil 4 teaspoons honey 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon black pepper

Win a


energy bill credit!

10 JANUARY 2021


Tacos due February 1 • Garden Fresh 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 for more information.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, corn, peppers, beans (if using), onion, and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss to coat. Serve over salad greens. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Rosemarie Ouellette, Thumb Electric 1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix (or any Italian dressing mix) 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast 1 large apple, diced into small cubes ½ cup golden raisins ½ cup walnut pieces 1 bag lettuce Prepare the dressing mix according to the package directions and add 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Cook the chicken breast via desired cooking method until tender, then dice into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken, apple, raisins, walnuts and lettuce in a large bowl. Sprinkle the dressing over, toss again, then serve immediately.


1 cup chopped romaine lettuce ¼ cup chopped red onion ¼ cup chopped sugar snap peas ¼ cup chopped sweet red bell pepper ¼ cup chopped radish ½ cup chopped cucumber ½ cup chopped fresh broccoli ½ cup chopped fresh cauliflower ¼ cup shredded mozzarella ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional) Dressing: ½ cup low-fat Miracle Whip salad dressing (or any salad dressing) 2 tablespoons stevia 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon dill weed Combine veggies, cheese and bacon in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients, then stir into veggie mix. May be served immediately, but is even better when refrigerated for a few hours. You can omit or add chopped fresh veggies to suit your own tastes. This recipe serves two; you can easily double or triple ingredients for more servings.

CAULIFLOWER SALAD Vada Baatz, Cherryland

4 cups sliced raw cauliflower 1 cup coarsely chopped olives ²⁄ ³ cup chopped green bell pepper ½ cup chopped pimento ½ cup chopped onion Dressing: ½ cup salad oil (vegetable, canola, etc.) 3 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons white or wine vinegar 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon black pepper Combine the cauliflower, olives, green peppers, pimentos, and onion. To prepare the dressing, beat dressing ingredients with a rotary mixer or blender. Pour the dressing over the veggies; mix and stir until well blended. Refrigerate covered for 4 hours or overnight.



Zero Degrees Gallery

ero Degrees Gallery of Marquette was founded in 2010 when four local artists combined their creative talents to create a venue for established and emerging artists in the community. The name was the combined result of none of the founders having a formal degree, the cold Upper Peninsula environment, and a commitment to creating zero degrees of separation between the artists and the community.


A ceramic pendant by Karen Jilbert.

“Full Moon Fantasy” Michele Tuccini

12 JANUARY 2021

The gallery, housed in a historic downtown building dating back to 1892, presents works from a diverse and dynamic community of approximately 40 U.P. artists. The artists’ common goal is to support artistic endeavors in the community, while providing them with a yearround venue to showcase their work. Artists must apply and go through a jury process to have their work accepted and featured at the gallery. Featured artists then share the responsibility of shopkeeping. The gallery is staffed and operated as a working member cooperative, giving artists experience with gallery

By Yvonne Whitman Photos courtesy of Zero Degrees Gallery

exhibits, publicity, events, workshops, executive decisions, and curating. Julie Highlen, who has had her work at the gallery for over three years, says, “A long-time member of the gallery approached me at Art on the Rocks and suggested I apply to the gallery. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the group led me to go through the jury process. It is a decision I have not regretted. Working at the gallery has allowed me to get to know other artists and art enthusiasts in the community. I enjoy assisting the customers as they peruse the gallery, sharing my knowledge of members’ work, and getting feedback on my own. Being a member of the gallery drives me to challenge myself as I explore the area and apply paint to my canvas.” The gallery includes a wide range of artisan crafts and fine art, including ceramics, fiber, greeting cards, jewelry, mixed media, painting, illustration, woodworking, photography, sculpture, and woodblock prints. There is an assortment of unique styles, with many artists incorporating upcycled

or recycled materials in their work. Marc Himes, a retired physician and woodworker, makes bowls, plates, and other decorative pieces for the gallery. “The gallery provides a place for local artists to show their work, and obviously to sell it as well. It’s rewarding to hear the positive responses that we get from the people coming to the gallery and viewing the work,” said Himes. In September 2020, the gallery began a guest artist program where an artist is invited to show his or her work in the gallery for one month. According to Himes, “This program is yet another way for the gallery to help promote art and artists in our community.” The gallery also periodically has artist demos where a featured artist demonstrates his or her techniques in

the shop, and the public is invited to attend, learn, and ask questions. As a cooperative-based local business, the community is important to the gallery members, and eight years ago, they began their Art Gives Back program. Zero Degrees Gallery members placed yellow tags on specific artwork, which meant a portion of sales supported a community charity. In 2020, their supported charity was The Warming Center, a place where the homeless can come in to warm up and have a hot meal.

A dyed yellow birch burl platter by Marc Himes.

A consistent winner in local “people’s choice” award contests, the gallery has provided a venue for local artists and is a shining example of what the word cooperative truly means.

“Superior Shoreline” alcohol ink painting by JoAnn Shelby

Barry Bernstein, a nationally known potter specializing in Raku pottery, was the guest artist for December at the gallery.

Kay Johnson, a long-time member of the Gallery, doing a scratchboard piece depicting a loon carrying her young. She uses a special tool to scrape off the black material, leaving the uncovered white to form her picture.

“Makin’ Tracks” Julie Highlen

The Zero Degrees Gallery is located at 525 N. Third St. in Marquette. To learn more about the gallery, follow it on Facebook and Instagram.


THE MUSKEGON Luge Adventure Sports Park:


hile the next Winter Olympics aren’t scheduled until 2022, the spirit of winter athletes is very much alive and active—especially at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park that calls Muskegon State Park its home. On the Olympics, you see luge sliders (sliders, not lugers or sledders) going down icy tracks at up to 90 miles per hour, with nothing but a small sled just a few inches off the ground between them and the supersonic slope. There are just a few luge tracks in the United States, the most notable in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Lake Placid, New York, where most serious lugers train. There is a natural luge track in Negaunee, Michigan, that hosts the U.P. Luge Club. But nestled on the side of the sand dunes of Lake Michigan is a luge track that allows average folks the opportunity to fly. “We’re so lucky to have this amazing location to call home,” said Bill Bailey, lodge manager of Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park. “None of this would even be possible without our community and volunteers who have supported and helped maintain the track and the program over the years. This is a labor of love for all of us.” 14 JANUARY 2021

When the luge track was first being built in 1984, two young men were afraid their little local sledding hill would no longer be available. Builders on-site invited the two boys to help with some of the work, getting hands-on experience in what it takes to make a luge track. Both of those young men went on to become involved in competitive luge. Nearly 40 years later, one, Jim Rudicil, is now Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park’s executive director. The second, Mark Grimmette, went on to compete in five Winter Olympics games, winning silver and bronze medals. Grimmette now runs the competitive luge program at the Sports Park. “So many great sliders have gotten their start here at the Park,” said Bailey. “Luge is the kind of sport that becomes a part of you. Jim and Mark have been a part of the sport in one way or another since they first saw the track being built.” While luge definitely attracts its share of thrill-seekers, it’s accessible to anyone who wants to experience the rush of flying down a hill at speeds of up to 30 mph. Bailey and the team have made sure that those with the desire

By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photos courtesy of Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park


can experience luge—developing sleds to accommodate different physical impediments and rigging a snowmobile to get those who can’t access the stairs to the top of the hill. The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park also offers an opportunity for every sixth-grader in the Muskegon school system to try out luge. “Luge might seem like a real niche sport, but exposing kids like those in our area to it is always awesome to see,” said Bailey. “Some kids really take to it and stick with it by joining our competitive programs.” While luge is a huge draw for the Park, those who enjoy a slightly different pace can find ski runs and a two-acre rink for hockey, figure skating, or just family fun, as well as skating trails. The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park recently installed a 1,400-foot zip line, which got a soft launch this past fall. It also has wheel luge, archery, and paddle sports in warmer months. These are just a few ways that the Park is looking to make this gorgeous outdoor venue a draw year-round.

“We’re outdoors lovers,” said Bailey. “We want to share that with as many people as we can. Enjoying these resources and taking care of them is part of the stewardship our staff and our visitors want to be a part of to ensure they can be experienced by future generations.”

Check out DUNEiversity——team bonding experiences facilitated by the Park. There are half- or full-day sessions for corporations, sports teams, churches or scouting troops. For more information, visit 877-879-5843 462 N. Scenic Drive Muskegon, MI 49445




For Extra Value, Add Extra Safety By Derrill Holly

fire in the hearth is a warm and welcoming part of winter for many of us, but open flames inside the home should always be tended to safely. Before you light your fireplace, consider safety first.


Patty Davis, deputy director of communications for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), offers the safety planning tips below. The agency cites home fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors as the leading causes of residential fires attributed to heating equipment. According to the CPSC, an open and properly maintained flue ensures that fireplace gases can be vented to the outside through the chimney and closed to help keep heat inside the home when the fireplace is not in use. Be sure to have a protective barrier in front of your fireplace to prevent a child or grandchild from coming into direct contact with the glass front of the fire screen. The surface temperature of the glass front can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause very serious burns to a child. “If you use your fireplace for supplemental heating, you should include a full inspection with your system checkups,” said Davis. “You should also make sure you have at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector on each floor of your home to reduce the risks of CO exposure.”

Odorless and colorless, carbon monoxide can quickly build up in the closed interior spaces of a home, leaving all occupants incapacitated and hindering escape. “When a CO alarm is activated, people can get out and then contact firefighters to deal with the carbon monoxide buildup that prompted the alarm,” said Davis. Fireplaces should be considered fuel-burning appliances, subject to the same safety precautions, inspections and maintenance standards recommended for other items in that category. “Get a regular inspection, just as you would for a furnace or heating system,” said Davis. The inspection should be done by a qualified chimney company professional. That inspection not only helps to ensure the system is tuned up for efficient operation, but it also gives the homeowner warning of wear or damage that could potentially cause fires or other problems once the season is underway.

FIREPLACE SAFETY TIPS Every year, nearly 20,000 residential fires are linked to fireplaces. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these tips to help you keep your family safe:

1. Consider scheduling a fireplace inspection and cleaning by a certified professional. 2. Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home. These devices offer low-cost protection and provide early warnings of potential problems. 3. Keep flues, dampers, firestops, flashing and chimney caps in good condition. 4. If you have small children and/or pets, consider a secondary screen. A glass screen can reach temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so an extra barrier can protect them from serious burns.


Moooo-ve To Bigger Savings he increase in the global population is placing greater demands on today’s farmers. With more mouths to feed, food production needs are on the rise. Operational efficiency and automation have become crucial for farmers to successfully meet growing demands. Unfortunately, increased production usually translates into increased energy consumption. Decreased cash flow and a lower bottom line is often the result. A modern dairy farm might use 25% of its total operation’s energy usage in just milk refrigeration!


Although it can be costly upfront, investing in energyefficient farm equipment can have a positive long-term impact on energy usage and business profits. The Energy Optimization program understands that and is available to help you create an energy savings plan. You may even qualify for cash incentives!

Incentives For Energy-Efficient Products And Equipment Receive cash back when you purchase and install energyefficient measures such as: • • • •

Low-energy livestock waterers Fans and controls Milk handling equipment Variable speed pumps and controllers

• • • • •

Dairy refrigeration tune-ups Irrigation system upgrades LED lighting indoors and outdoors LED grow lights and poultry lights Long-day lighting systems

Incentives For Custom Projects Have an energy efficiency project but don’t see it on our list? The Energy Optimization program will work with you to provide incentives for other electrical energy efficiency projects designed to meet specific needs. Contact us to discuss your ideas!

Farm Energy Assessment A farm assessment is a great way to understand more about your farm’s energy usage. Give us a call and we can help you identify where and how to implement practical, energy-saving solutions at no cost to you.

A complete list of incentives is available at, or call 877-296-4319 for details.

FARMERS CAN SAVE WITH THE ENERGY OPTIMIZATION PROGRAM Michigan farmers may qualify for energy-saving incentives with the installation of energy-efficient farm products and equipment. Reap the rewards and save! FREE energy assessment Cash incentives for energy-saving lighting, fans, pumps, and more Custom rebates for large or complex projects Contact us today for program eligibility information. Online: 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

MI CO-OP Community Guest Column

Remembering The Glass Bottles & The Milkman By Kenny Kamerer

ow many in Michigan remember greeting the milkman? Ours had orange juice, butter and even chocolate milk. I remember one winter morning in the late 1960s, my mom told me to go get the glass bottles of milk from the front porch.


The cream in the milk used to settle to the top, and my older brothers and sisters used to fight over it. It sometimes would even pop the lid off in the winter months. The reason for the cream settling at the top is because the milk wasn’t homogenized decades ago. Because milk was so perishable, delivering it daily was the safest and most cost-effective way to get milk to customers. The glass bottles, which were sealed with a waxed foil cap, were then picked up by the milkman, cleaned and reused. Eventually, it became easier and less expensive to buy milk at the stores, and the processes developed extended the milk’s shelf life, and the milkman faded into the past. I would love to taste this milk from the old days with the pure cream at the top. I’d add it to my favorite bowl of cereal, and I’m sure it would make for some very creamy mash potatoes, too. Oh, the good ole days!

wellconnectsaves.com989-356-2113 This photo is of one of many milkmen in the state of Michigan on his daily route. Photo by Midland Daily News, 1950s.

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Kenny is a local truck driver who loves nature and history. He has his own Facebook nature group called Michiana Nature Lovers to share wildlife and all kinds of nature photos.

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

Nov./Dec. 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Jeff Narregan, a Midwest Energy & Communications Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Basilica of Saint Adalbert, Grand Rapids. Photo by Chad Cihak. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

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2021 Energy Efficiency Calendar There are so many ways you can 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 family members to be energy efficient throughout the year. JANUARY Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.

MAY Decorate your backyard or porch with solarpowered lights.

SEPTEMBER Turn off running water while brushing your teeth.

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


MARCH Turn off lights when you leave a room.


Take short showers instead of baths.

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



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

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 the A/C filter every 60–90 days.

DECEMBER Decorate your home with energysaving LED holiday lights.