MEC Jan 2021

Page 1

January 2021


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

YOUR HOME TEAM Delivering first-in-class innovations and solutions where others won’t.



IN YOUR BACKYARD You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling

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

Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich

Manistique / Naubinway Hoholik Enterprises Inc. 906.341.5065

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

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

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan

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

Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

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

Caro Kozy Home Htg & Clg (989) 673-4328

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal 231.350.8052

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

visit us at

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


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

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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.


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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!

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See page 18







Your Home Team


Robert Hance, President/CEO /teammidwest CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Street, Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street, Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. CONTACT US Midwest Energy & Communications 800-492-5989 Email: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233


hile we’ve all spent far too much time in our homes over the last 10 months, for most of us, home remains the sanctuary where our most beautiful and cherished memories are made.

We’re just coming out of a very different holiday season, yet families still gathered in smaller groups to give thanks over food and fellowship, and sparkling lights danced across yards and twinkled inside homes in celebration of Christmas. Now we’re settled into our warm homes for the winter season, curling up with our hot coffee while watching our favorite Hulu or Netflix show, or connecting with family members and friends with the now-all-too-familiar Zoom platform. You probably rarely think about it, with the exception of the occasional outage, but all these experiences that help define home and family are available because of massive infrastructure, people, and planning very much behind the scenes of your life and living. For more than 80 years, we have powered the rural space with electricity, lighting your home, brewing your coffee, drying your towels, and powering your technology. For more than 20 years, we have delivered your propane, filling your tub with hot, bubbly water and keeping your family warm and safe during the cold Michigan winters. And for more than five years now, we have bridged the digital divide with fiber internet, connecting families across the miles, opening up the world of information and data sharing for home-based work and school, and bringing endless entertainment options through streaming services.

Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590

Behind the scenes is a team of nearly 150 employees, your home team. Each of these individuals, regardless of title or department, strives to live out our mission of delivering first-in-class innovations and solutions where others won’t. We work together to make houses into homes by offering comfort, convenience, and connections.

John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816

But the concept of your home team extends beyond the services we deliver that add value to your life and living. We’re also part of your home community as your locally owned and operated cooperative. We share common spaces in supermarkets, sanctuaries and soccer fields. One day we may be answering your call, filling your propane tank, or installing your fiber service, and the next day we may be pulling up behind you in the car wash, sitting a couple of tables over in a mutually favorite restaurant, or coaching your kids on the basketball court. Many of our employees share a very important title with you: customer. When your service is impacted, their service is impacted. We never take you or your service experience for granted because it’s real to us.

Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443

Dan Bodette, Wauseon 419-337-8007

Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164

James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868

Erika Escue-Cadieux, Onsted 419-346-1088 Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762

This year, we’re featuring members of your home team in many of our publications, advertisements, billboards and commercials. You’ll likely see familiar faces, like on the cover of this month’s issue, as you’re out and about in the community. Again, these are your neighbors who work tirelessly to ensure you have all of the comfort, convenience, and connections you need. Your home team.



Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Your Home Team ELECTRIC

4 JANUARY 2021



MEC NEWS OF NOTE Attention High School Seniors

Answer this video challenge and you could earn $1,000 toward your college education: Create a video time capsule to be opened 10 years from now. It can be to yourself, your family, school or hometown, whichever you choose. Explain what you are including and why. High school seniors whose families receive monthly service from MEC at their primary residence are invited to apply. Scholarship applications must be submitted by Monday, March 15, and awards will be announced in April. Selection for the scholarship is based on the video submission along with academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement and/or employment, and honors and awards. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a fourpoint scale is required, and an official transcript must be submitted for final approval.

Submit your video online at

Get creative and have fun. Your unique, funny or even quirky video might just put $1,000 toward your education! Please note: Children of MEC employees and board members are not eligible to apply.

New Grant Opportunity Available We are launching a new grant program to help local 501(c)(3) organizations serving individuals in our electric cooperative service territory: The Building Vibrant Communities Grant Program. Qualified 501(c)(3) organizations may apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to help fund projects and initiatives that support the mission of the organization. National organizations are not eligible, including local chapters. The program has two grant cycles: Jan. 1–June 30 and July 1–Dec. 31, and awards are announced within 60 days following the end of the cycle deadline. Organizations may receive only one grant award each calendar year, and funds may not be used for general operating budgets or payroll expenses. Applications are evaluated and funding decisions made based on the information provided in the grant application and the impact on the individuals and communities served. Incomplete applications will not be considered, and an application is not a guarantee of funding. For specific details regarding our service territory or to apply, please visit The program is made possible through sponsorship dollars from our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES




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



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 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 Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit

Sheep immediately began grazing when they arrived at the SpartanSolar-MEC Community Solar Array at our Cassopolis headquarters.

Solar Grazing

A New Opportunity For Sheep Farmers he SpartanSolar-MEC Community Solar Array on our Cassopolis property is a demonstration of our commitment to new types of energy generation. Renewable energy will undoubtedly shape the way we power our homes, especially as electric providers around the country add more renewables to their energy mixes.


Our array has also presented another, somewhat unexpected, opportunity: solar grazing. The family behind Dussel’s Farm Market & Greenhouses currently raise sheep, and last fall, we partnered with them to bring 10 grasshungry grazers to munch their way around our panels. It was a great way to clean up some of the growth around the array, but it also provided a unique way to support a local farmer. Solar grazing has been picking up steam in recent years, and the American Sheep Industry Association called it a potential “win-win” for sheep producers. Sheep can get to the harder-to-reach areas around and underneath the panels, and the panels also provide shelter to the animals when they need it. Plus, sheep don’t create potential hazards like other animals would.

Ethan and Mark Dussell delivered the sheep, and Ethan made sure they had plenty of fresh water during their stay.

“I’m really excited about this partnership. Sheep farming has been declining, and solar grazing offers a new opportunity to help keep the industry going,” said Ethan Dussel of Dussel’s Farm. “They are very docile animals and will eat almost anything. Grazing is also a good carbon-free way to maintain properties such as this one.” We hope to bring the sheep back as needed to help maintain the array’s grounds. *“The Last Word: Solar Grazing Looks Like Win-Win for Sheep Producers,” posted by the American Sheep Industry Association, newsmedia-sheepindustrynews-pastissues-2019-may2019-thelastword



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

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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.



MEC IN THE COMMUNITY Food Distribution Event MEC employees Sherri Dotson, Kim Kudlac and Patty Clark got a great workout by loading hundreds of vehicles with free food boxes on Saturday, Oct. 24. Hope & Encouragement for Humanity (HEH) hosted a free food distribution event at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds. MEC sponsored one of two semis packed with 2,500 food boxes for those in need. Each box contained a gallon of milk, cottage cheese, Chobani yogurt, three pounds of apples, two pounds of onions, five pounds of potatoes, sour cream, cheese and precooked meat products. 80,000 pounds of food were given out. Volunteers also included members of the Adrian Noon and Morning Rotary Clubs.

SHERRI DOTSON loads a food box into a recipient’s truck.

Good Neighbor Day Sept. 28 was Good Neighbor Day. We shared the love with some of our business neighbors around our Cass and Paw Paw solutions centers. We surprised 40 businesses with baskets of fresh Honeycrisp apples from 1st Orchards, a MEC electric customer in the Sister Lakes area.

LORI RUFF made the day a little brighter for USPS employees with a basket of apples.

12 JANUARY 2021

Water Bottle Distribution Due to the pandemic, many schools have required students to bring their personal water bottles with them every day. Drinking fountains have largely been shut down or now strictly serve as bottle fill-up stations. We got word that some schools could use a little help with providing water bottles to students in need. So we delivered roughly 5,000 water bottles to over 30 school districts throughout our service territory.

A STUDENT IN SCHOOLCRAFT shows off MEC water bottles for his school.

MADISON ELEMENTARY PRINCIPALS Nate Pechaitis and Abby Miller accept water bottles.

United Way Of SW Michigan (UWSM) Rake A Difference The UWSM recruited local organizations to clean up leaves for area senior citizens. Team Midwest raked and gathered up fall debris for five residences in Vandalia.

SARA HARTSELL, TYLER GRATHEN, BOB HANCE, RYNE NICKEL, LORI RUFF, TANYA YONKER AND EVAN BRESSLER, along with NICOLE BARFELL (not pictured), helped ease the minds of some local senior citizens by cleaning up their leaves.

Read more about recent community efforts to support our military and veterans on page 17.


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




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TAKE COMMAND OF YOUR INTERNET NETWORK CommandIQ™ The mobile app that enables you to manage the devices and people that connect to your network. Available to subscribers of MEC internet with managed Wi-Fi.

Free Features • Easily change your network name and password. • Manually control a device’s access to the internet with basic parental controls. • Set up guest networks to make it easy for visitors to connect while protecting your main network. • View all the devices connected to your network and monitor their data usage.

Advanced Features For Advanced Control Opt in to these additional features to gain even more control, and ultimately peace of mind, over your home network.

Enhanced Parental Controls Got kids who like to surf the internet at all hours of the day? Do you want to prevent them from accidentally stumbling upon adult content or simply want to control when they can go online? With Experience IQ™, you can schedule screen time for each day of the week, block specific content, limit the use of apps, review data usage, and more.

$5/mo. Network Security Protect IQ™ guards your network against malicious websites and cybercriminals and notifies you of blocked threats.

$5/mo. 16 JANUARY 2021

Get Started Visit install-commandiq to get set up. Add advanced parental controls and network security under My Services in SmartHub or email us at

You must be subscribed to our managed Wi-Fi to take advantage of the app. Head to to learn more about our available plans.



Employees DAVID ECKERT and MEGHAN TARVER appear with collected donations for the Blue Star Mothers.

mployees, along with MEC, donated food and supplies to Blue Star Mothers of Southwest Michigan #179 to send care packages to military troops serving overseas. They ended up packing 93 boxes. Each recipient received three military-size boxes along with another box. Plus, the Mothers had extra donations left over and gave those to another chapter for additional packages.


MEC employee PATTY CLARK (middle) worked with WLEN radio personnel and local veterans to raise money for the Veterans Dire Needs Fund.

We also participated in the annual WLEN ThankA-Vet Campaign. During the MEC-sponsored radio hour, we raised $3,335 for the Veterans Dire Needs Fund, and overall, WLEN and participating organizations brought in $33,000. Finally, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, we said thank you to our local veterans by giving them and their families a free Thanksgiving meal. While the pandemic eliminated our ability to eat and gather in person, we still successfully served over 200 meals via curbside pickup at our headquarters in Cassopolis. The food was catered in part by Das Dutchman Essenhaus. To add the home-cooked touch, we deep-fried turkeys and cooked mashed potatoes and corn. We also donated leftover food to The Salvation Army in Niles.

DENISE SMITH provides meals to a local veteran.

Data Privacy Tariff The Member-Customer Data Privacy Tariff details how and why we collect and use your personal information and account data, as well as your rights and responsibilities related to that information. The tariff addresses circumstances under which we can disclose your data to cooperative agents and contractors and their responsibility to provide the same level of confidentiality, privacy, and security practices and procedures that we employ; your right to access, share, and amend your personal information and account data; and notification requirements. You can view the Member-Customer Data Privacy Tariff in full at If you have questions or would like a printed copy, please contact us by telephone at 800.492.5989 or by email at


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.

Michigan-Made Hybrid Geothermal System Provides Savings and Comfort

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

One-Day Installation

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

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

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

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

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DISCOVER MORE Internet service solutions for your home and business With high-speed internet from MEC, you can listen to music, catch up with loved ones, hear the latest news, play games with your family, and work and learn from home with ease. Internet plans start at $49.95/mo. and include unlimited data, our free network management app, 24/7 tech support and free installation. Discover the reliability and fiber speed of MEC internet.

SIGN UP TODAY TEAMMIDWEST.COM/INTERNET | 800.492.5989 Minimum 12-month service contract required. Some equipment restrictions may apply. Free installation available to Midwest Energy & Communications electric customers only. Internet services are not regulated by Michigan Public Service Commission.

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