Jan 2021 Alger Delta

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January/February 2022


COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association

Director Elections In 2022

2021 Photo Contest Winners Reflections Musical Match

Celebrating 30 Years Of The Country’s Oldest




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Contents countrylines.com

January 2022 Vol. 42, No. 1



6 TAHQUAMENON FALLS: A WONDER OF THE MIDWEST The resounding grandeur of the state's largest waterfalls can be enjoyed year-round. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Asian-Inspired: Recreate your takeout favorites with these meals rich in flavor and diversity.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

14 CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF THE COUNTRY’S OLDEST ICE CLIMBING FESTIVAL The Michigan Ice Fest in Munising offers climbers breathtaking terrain and the chance to make lifelong friends.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd

18 GUEST COLUMN Winter's Daydream: GLE member's dazzling encounter with a deer was only a dream. Or was it?

PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com


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.

Be featured!

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


Have you ever seen Tahquamenon Falls at night? @dougjulian (Doug Julian)

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit!

Up Next: Spice It Up, due Feb. 1 On The Grill, due March 1 Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/ community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.



Working With Local Legislators

algerdelta.com /algerdeltaelectric

By Mike Furmanski, General Manager


ll politics is local.” This observation by the late Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr., former Speaker of the House of Representatives, means that even national politics have a local impact, and people care most about issues that directly affect them. Indirectly, this famous adage underscores the importance and value of local politics.


District 1—Big Bay Darryl Small 906-345-9369 • smallwld14@gmail.com

District 2—Harvey/Deerton Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 • karenalholm@gmail.com

District 3—Grand Marais Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 • mclawless79@gmail.com

District 4—Cedar River/Palestine Dave Prestin 906-424-0055 • cedarriverplaza@gmail.com

At Alger Delta, we think it’s critical to develop and cultivate relationships with local legislators because they craft, introduce, and vote on legislation that impacts our community’s local business climate, the environment, and quality of life. That’s why we work closely with our local elected officials. After all, our purpose is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy, but our mission is to help our community thrive.

District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell Steve Wery addirector5@icloud.com

Alger Delta is a local business that powers economic development and prosperity for our region. As a cooperative, we have deep roots here, and we listen closely to our members to better understand the community’s needs. Our leadership, board members, and employees live and work right here in the community we serve.

District 7—Stonington/Rapid River Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 • kbruno.algerdelta@gmail.com

We strive to advocate for our community, ensuring that local legislators know, understand, and act on the important issues in our area.

District 6—Nathan/White Rapids Jesse Betters 715-923-4946 • jjbetters@gmail.com

District 8—Nahma/Isabella Don Johnson 906 280-0867 • dsj731@gmail.com

Providing industry guidance and expertise As a practical matter, we recognize that most legislators are “generalists,” yet they vote on a wide range of issues. Their expertise may not include the changing energy industry, which is why Alger Delta provides guidance and expertise from subject matter experts who’ve been in the energy industry for many years.

District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 • dorobo22@icloud.com GENERAL MANAGER: Mike Furmanski mfurmanski@algerdelta.com HEADQUARTERS: 426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 • admin@algerdelta.com algerdelta.com OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST) Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 1 3 2 9 7 5 6


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Today’s energy landscape is an increasingly complex topic covering the traditional engineering and vegetation management aspects of the industry, and it encompasses technology, cybersecurity, the electrification of the transportation sector, and more. Our experts provide briefings and backgrounders to legislators, committees, and staff, and we offer expert testimony for hearings and other legislative or regulatory meetings or gatherings. And because we’re involved in economic development and know local community leaders, we can provide insight into how issues and policies under discussion might impact our region.

Representing your best interests We strive to be a trusted resource on energy issues. Because of our deep roots in the community, we have a firm understanding of local issues and needs. We will continue looking after the long-term interests of our consumer members. This means we are able to cultivate and foster positive, productive relationships with legislators who know and trust us because we’re advocating on behalf of the community we serve. We’re proud to power your life and bring good things to the community. We hope you’ll continue to advise Alger Delta Cooperative on matters of importance so we can continue to advocate on your behalf and improve the quality of life for all.

Alger Delta Cooperative Helps First Responders lger Delta Operations Supervisor Troy Tiernan is pictured standing next to the 2010 F250 4x4 SuperCab truck that Alger Delta Electric recently donated to the Tri-County Volunteer Fire Department in Wetmore, Mich. According to George Whitehead, chief of the TriCounty fire department, they will convert the vehicle into a brush/quick attack truck. The volunteer fire department covers Inwood, Nahma, Garden, Autrain, Mathis, Masonville, and Munising townships.


Alger Delta Electric Donation Helps Local Townships Install Generator As Safeguard A

lger Delta Cooperative Electric Association continues to help local townships prepare for potential extended power outages. This past summer, Mathias Township officials installed a backup generator with help from Alger Delta Electric and other community organizations. In the past, Alger Delta has helped both Cedarville Township and Gourley Township with funding to purchase and install emergency backup generators for their respective townships. Extended power outages are always difficult but especially so for those residing in rural areas. A five-day power outage that occurred over Thanksgiving of 2019 led to an inoperable pump at the water tower in the town of Trenary, located in Mathias Township. The system was gravity-fed, so residents relying on the water tower still had access to water in their homes, but people in the surrounding rural area could not use their wells. Rural residents filled water jugs at the Trenary Community Building until the water tower eventually drained and water was no longer available to anyone. Former Mathias Township Supervisor Roy Aho initiated this backup generator project to ensure residents stay warm and have access to clean water should future emergencies arise. “We thank Roy for his vision in getting this project off the ground, and we’re excited to see it come to fruition,” stated Amy Richmond, Mathias Township Clerk. The total cost of the Trenary project was $28,000, and the township received funding from Alger County 911, Mathias

Township, Mathias Township Fire Department, Mathias Township Water Department, and Alger Delta Electric, along with help from wholesale power supplier WPPI Energy. Along with the water tower pump, the new generator will also provide power to a recently constructed emergency services radio tower, securing communication between local police, fire, and EMS. “As Sheriff of Alger County, I am very proud to partner with Alger Delta, Emergency Management, Alger County, and Mathias Township on this worthwhile project. Together, we have made the residents of Mathias Township and the community safer and more secure,” stated Sheriff Todd Brock. “As a not-for-profit organization, we try to use funds conservatively, yet wisely,” stated Mike Furmanski, general manager for Alger Delta Electric. “I can’t think of a better use of our funds than to make sure our communities are prepared and can be kept safe in case we ever experience another power outage of the magnitude seen in 2019.”



idden in the Upper Peninsula happens to be the state’s largest waterfall and the second-largest east of the Mississippi River (with Niagara Falls being number one)—Tahquamenon Falls. With 50,000 gallons of water cascading over the falls, it’s no wonder it hosts over 600,000 visitors annually.


TAHQUAMENON FALLS A Wonder Of The Midwest By Emily Haines Lloyd



For those who love a tongue-twister—it’s pronounced “Taa·kwuh·meh·nuhn,” and it was made famous in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem The Song of Hiawatha. According to Native American lore, the origin of the name is attributed to the water’s amber color, resulting from tannic acid from the cedar and hemlock swamps that feed the river. Aside from the astonishing name, the falls themselves offer mouth-dropping beauty and splendor. Nestled in Tahquamenon Falls State Park amid 50,000 acres covering more than 13 miles, the Upper and Lower Falls of Tahquamenon offer an otherworldly view. And this might be the perfect time to enjoy that view, as the park is not nearly as crowded in the winter as it is in the other seasons. Winter activities at the park include camping (the campsites are open year-round), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing,

lantern-lit trail walks hosted by the park staff, and of course, visiting the falls, which also run year-round. No matter what time of year you go, though, your visit will leave a lasting impression. “When you’re approaching the falls, you first hear the sound—the water flowing and falling,” said Theresa Neal, park interpreter at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. “Once you approach them, you’re then struck by that unique amber color. It’s so unusual and visually striking. You never forget it.” Tahquamenon Falls is divided into two sections. The Upper Falls are surrounded by a quarter-mile trail and just a 94-step climb to the viewing platform. There, you can get a look at that 50-foot drop and feel the spray on your face. Those looking for an additional challenge can snowshoe off trail for a snowy adventure. The Lower Falls are four miles east of the Upper Falls and offer great views and photo ops. The Lower Falls are a one-mile walk from the parking area that takes you through the forest and lands you on the multiple viewing platforms for more spectacular sights. You can also rent rowboats at the concession station to access the island during the summer only.

While the monumental views bring in visitors, Neal thinks there’s something else that draws folks out to the wild. “I see generations of families come out to the falls year after year,” said Neal. “The world can move so fast, but when you’re out here, there’s time to breathe and just be with one another. Making memories is the ultimate way to slow things down.”

“Obviously, the falls are the big draw,” said Neal. “But there’s so much to do and explore. Nine miles of marked snowshoe trails, a groomed cross-country ski trail, lots of photo opportunities, and even a brewery.”


When you’re looking at sharing this natural wonder with over half a million people a year, it’s good to look at the best time to visit.

DO NOT DISTURB: Put your phone in airplane mode—service can be sketchy, so save your battery for photos and videos

“I’m always reminding people we’re open sunrise to sunset,” said Neal. “So, I really recommend coming early or later in the day to avoid crowds. And not to be afraid to visit off-season. From December to April, it’s almost like having the park to yourself.”

CASH IS KING: With cell service being dicey, it’s easier for park staff to handle your cash

VISITING IN WARMER MONTHS?: Wear light colored clothing (most insects are attracted to dark colors). And always be sure to wear comfortable, sturdy footwear BUG OFF: If you’re traveling in June and July, it’s a good idea to scare off the mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies with bug spray. Maybe splurge and buy a mosquito head net for just a couple of dollars WATER, WATER, WATER: Bring your reusable water bottle. There are plenty of places to fill up MAP UP: Again, with sketchy cell service, make sure you have a paper map, and don’t be afraid to chat up the park rangers for advice and directions /TQFalls




Director Elections In 2022 District 1 (Big Bay), District 6 (White Rapids), and District 9 (Hiawatha)


lger Delta will be holding director elections in three of its nine districts. In 2022, District 1 (Big Bay), District 6 (White Rapids), and District 9 (Hiawatha) 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, 2022. 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.

District 1: Big Bay District 2: Harvey/Deerton District 3: Grand Marais District 4: Cedar River/Palestine District 5: Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell District 6: Nathan/White Rapids District 7: Stonington/Rapid River District 8: Nahma/Isabella District 9: Hiawatha/Maple Ridge

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 www.algerdelta.com under the tab “Customer Service,” then “Bylaws/Tariffs.” You can also find more 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.

Your Board In Action July • Mike Furmanski provided an update on the AMI metering system—chip shortages are making it hard to acquire components, so further deployment is on hold for now. • Committee assignments were made as follows: Finance and Rates—Bruno, Prestin, Netzel, Johnson; Policy— Alholm, Betters, Lawless, Small; Personnel—Prestin, Betters, Bovin; MECA board rep—Bovin (Alholm alternate); WPPI—Furmanski with Bruno as an alternate. • Board moved to retire 1992 capital credits. • The 2020 Audit has been completed.

August • Board approved $1,000 donation to the U.P. State Fair. • Board approved up to $11,340 to be spent at the Jr. Livestock Auction.

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• WPPI President and CEO Mike Peters talked to the board about Alger Delta’s history and membership with WPPI. • Board accepted the resignation of District 5 Director Netzel.

September • AMI metering further deployment is still on hold. • Board approved to increase the maximum amount the general manager can donate to $2,500. • A discussion on rates was held and a rate study is being performed by WPPI on our behalf. • Troy Tiernan reported that the tree crews have completed the AuTrain circuit and have moved to the Harvey/Deerton area. • Alger Delta purchased two steers and two hogs at the U.P. State Fair. Meat bundles will be made available to members via a drawing.




Dianne Lang; fun enjoying a winter snowstorm (Jan./Feb.)

Judy Smith; dogs in the snow (Jan./Feb.)

Lois Corcoran; next best thing to a Hawaiian trip (May/June)

Kathy Brady; Santa Sassy and her daddy (Nov./Dec.)

Alger Delta awarded four members with a $50 bill credit for being selected in a random drawing of all contest entries that appeared in Michigan Country Lines in 2021. Thank you to the many Alger Delta members who participated. Members are welcome to send in photos for our 2022 contest.

Ways To Stay Cozy This Winter When you’re feeling chilly at home, here are five budget-friendly ways you can keep comfortable without turning up the thermostat. 1. Whether you’re experiencing extremely cold winter temps or you “run cold,” an electric blanket can deliver quick warmth like a regular blanket cannot. Electric blankets can include a variety of features, like timers and dual temperature settings. 2. One of the easiest ways to stay cozy at home is to keep your feet warm. Our feet play a critical role in regulating body temperature, so when your feet are warm, your body automatically feels warmer. Try a pair of comfortable wool socks or house slippers to stay toasty.

A favorable humidity level inside your home can also help clear sinuses, soften skin, and improve sleep.

3. On winter days when the sun is shining, take advantage and harness natural warmth from sunlight. Open all curtains, drapes, and blinds in your home to let the sunshine in—you’ll be able to feel the difference.

5. Beyond adding visual appeal to your home, area rugs can also provide extra insulation and a warm surface for your feet on cold winter days. Use large area rugs in rooms where you spend the most time. You’ll enjoy the new colors and textures of the rug, and the additional warmth will help keep your home comfortable.

4. Make your home cozier with a humidifier. Cold air doesn’t hold water vapor like warm air, so by adding humidity inside your home, you can feel a little warmer.

These are just a few ways you can stay cozy this winter without turning up the thermostat. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!

MI CO-OP Recipes

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


Skip the takeout with recipes you can make at home.


SPICED CAULIFLOWER Margie Guyot, Great Lakes Energy

1 2–4 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 • 2 1

medium onion, chopped garlic cloves, chopped jalapeño, seeded and chopped tablespoon turmeric tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil cup water 14-ounce can coconut milk cauliflower head, cut into florets teaspoon sugar salt, to taste medium tomatoes, chopped cup cooked, cubed sweet potatoes, optional • roasted cashews, optional



energy bill credit!

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Spice It Up due Feb. 1 • On The Grill 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. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

Process the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and turmeric in food processor until it forms into a paste. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions no longer smell raw. Do not brown. Add the water, coconut milk, and cauliflower florets; stir to coat. Bring to a medium boil and simmer for about 5–6 minutes. Stir in sugar and salt to taste. Stir in the chopped tomato and simmer 2–3 minutes more, stirring. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve. Variation: Stir in cooked, cubed sweet potato and sprinkle with roasted cashews. Dish will thicken as it sits. Serves 4. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

ORIENTAL SUPERFOOD SALAD Connie Turner, Great Lakes Energy

1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, ribs and stems removed, and cut into bite-size pieces 1 pound shelled edamame beans (from freezer section) 1 cup “matchstick” carrots 1 small raw beet, cut into matchsticks (can also save beet leaves to add with the kale) 1 cup shredded green cabbage (or mix of red/green) 1 cup fresh blueberries 1 cup pomegranate kernels (from one pomegranate) 1 cup dried cranberries (or Craisins) 1 cup roasted cashew pieces (or walnuts/pecans)

½ ½ 1 ½ • • 1 1

cup roasted sunflower seeds cup sliced or chopped red onions cup sliced fresh strawberries pound barely steamed or raw asparagus tangerine slices, optional apple slices, optional cup Marzetta Simply Dressed Strawberry-Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (or favorite dressing) container cherry or grape tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together (except dressing). Add the dressing and tomatoes just before serving, and toss well. This salad keeps well for several days in a tight container in the refrigerator.

JAPANESE CHICKEN Rebecca Lambright, Great Lakes Energy


Connie Hernandez, Great Lakes Energy 8 ounces ground pork (ground turkey or chicken also works) 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided ½ small onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced ½ teaspoon grated ginger (or 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger) 2½ cups finely sliced cabbage 2 cups finely sliced baby bok choy ½ cup shredded carrots 2½ ounces sliced shiitake (or other) mushrooms ½ tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

• sliced scallion or green onion, for garnish, optional • fried wonton strips, for garnish, optional Place a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it browns, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, 2–3 minutes. Add the cabbage, bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms. Pour in remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and bok choy are wilted but still crunchy, 3–4 minutes. Garnish with scallions/green onions and wonton strips, and serve hot.

2 pounds uncooked chicken, sliced • flour for coating • garlic salt • seasoned salt • paprika 1 cup sugar ½ cup vinegar 4 tablespoons soy sauce ½ cup water ½ teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 350 F. Dip chicken in flour and fry. While chicken is frying, sprinkle with garlic salt, seasoned salt, and paprika. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, water, and salt. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Place fried chicken in baking dish and pour warm sauce over it. Bake 1½ to 2 hours. Serve over rice or noodles. After chicken is done, pour sauce into cooked rice. Tasty!




t was a musical match made in heaven—or more accurately, Grace Church. Alger Delta Co-op member Michelle Czygan met Cindy Collins and Miah Barteld there while playing in its praise band, and the three eventually formed the group Reflections. “I grew up playing piano,” said Michelle, “and have always had a passion for music. I started playing guitar in high school, and it was a goal of mine to be in a band someday.” Besides piano and guitar, Michelle plays a mean mandolin. Her musical dream began to take shape after she and her son, Preston, sat in on a concert in Florida and returned to Delta County inspired to form a band here.


Cindy Collins expanded on the story, saying, “She came back with the idea

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and called me and said, ‘Would you be interested in playing music together once in a while?’ I said, ‘Of course!’ So she came over, and we went down in my basement, and it went from there.” “After attending several open mic sessions in Escanaba,” said Michelle, “we were asked to play at the Gladstone Farmers Market. Soon, we began soliciting other opportunities to play.” Cindy’s musical history began with “violin and accordion lessons at 11 years old. My main instrument is the guitar, and I play harmonica in a few of our songs. I also started playing drums at age 50.” Originally, Michelle’s son, Preston, played violin with the band until he graduated and moved away. Cindy

recalled, “I used to play guitar and the foot drum [simultaneously]. I always wanted a drummer in our band, so when Preston left, I said, ‘Hey, what about Miah?’ He’s been with us four or five years now and is a naturally gifted drummer.” Miah’s interest in music started at 3 years old. “I was banging on pots and pans,” he said, “and it wasn’t long before my parents bought me a real drum set. I’ve been playing ever since. Besides Reflections, I play in Escanaba City Band and Esky Pops.” Reflections was interviewed live on WDBC 680 Radio in September. “I was really thrilled,” said Cindy, “because I thought about how we started, the three of us, in my basement with rusty pipes, and we

“I thought about how we started, the three of us, in my basement with rusty pipes, and we weren’t that good. And here we were on the radio being interviewed and our songs being played.” weren’t that good. And here we were on the radio being interviewed and our songs being played. My dad, who was in hospice at the time, listened to the whole thing. ‘Wow! They’re almost professional!’ he told my sister. I was so happy that he got to listen. He has since passed away.” Another highlight for the band was making a CD. Cindy explained, “My son, who also passed away, was really good on the computer and helped us make that disc. I think God gave me the gift of music because there was so much in my life that I’ve had to go through [losing both parents and two sons]. I have a music necklace with my mom’s ashes in it, and I take her everywhere I go. She used to tell me, ‘You guys are good.’ So I wear her necklace, and I say, ‘Mom, we’re going to a gig tonight,’ and she goes with.”

But it was fun.” Last fall, they played for Lakeview Assisted Living’s Halloween party. “The residents know us because we’ve played there eight or nine times already. A lot of them know the songs and will sing and dance. This one lady must have been quite the dancer in her day because she’s still good. And she must be 90,” Cindy said. While most gigs are fun, the band members occasionally butt heads. “Michelle likes everything by the book,” says Cindy, “and I’m completely opposite. I fly by the seat

of my pants and just wanna get out there and have fun. Miah says we drive him crazy. At the end of the radio show, Craig Woerpel asked him, ‘What do you think about working with these women?’ Miah replied, ‘They’re sometimes annoying.’” In the five years since Reflections’ inception, it’s played at numerous venues, including private parties, weddings, nursing homes, breweries, and more. Clearly, Michelle achieved her lifelong goal. And then some.

“We take turns singing our favorite songs,” said Michelle. “We play songs from the ’40s to the present, all genres including country, pop, rock, oldies, and gospel.” Besides playing familiar tunes, each has written an original number. The band also donates time to the community. “A few years back, we played at the Pathways Halloween dance,” Cindy recalled. “A lot of them knew me because I worked there, and they came up and would get right in my face and yell, ‘Hey, Cindy! I know that song!’ I could hardly hear myself sing.



Celebrating 30 Years Of The Country’s Oldest




any people travel to gorgeous Munising, Michigan, in the state’s Upper Peninsula to experience the beauty of the infamous sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks off the shore of Lake Superior. Whether by boat or kayak, people bring their cameras and smartphones to snap a shot of the remarkable natural wonder.

Then there are those who travel to Munising, Michigan, to capture an experience in an entirely unexpected way. From Feb. 9–13, Michigan Ice Fest will be celebrating its belated 30th anniversary (due to COVID-19) with its weeklong ice climbing event that brings famed ice climbers as well as curious newcomers from all over the country and the world. Ice climbing may seem like something reserved for rugged mountaineers among arctic landscapes in faraway lands, but the Munising ice festival mixes awe-inspiring terrain with a tight-knit community feel that is nothing short of Pure Michigan. “For over 30 years, people have been coming to the festival,” said Bill Thompson, one of the organizers of Michigan Ice Fest. “And every year, there are people who walked away shocked that we have some of the best ice climbing in the lower 48. They come in wary and walk away family.”

By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Michigan Ice Fest

Michigan Ice Fest, which claims to be the oldest ice festival in the country, started with Mark Riesch, an ice climber out of Kalamazoo who returned from a festival in Canada and wanted to recreate something like it in Munising. Riesch passed out a homemade flier inviting folks to join in and managed to wrangle up

8 8 8 Michigan Ice Fest is Feb. 9–13, 2022, Munising, Michigan 8 8 8

a whopping 20 or so people the first year. Among them was Bill Thompson. As a new guard took over the event, it gained interest and grew. In 2019, the event drew over 1,600 climbers from seven different countries, and anyone who has attended Michigan Ice Fest will tell you there is something particularly magical about the Munising event. “Michigan might not seem like the obvious spot for ice climbing,” said Thompson. “But there’s nowhere else where you can climb 160 feet with open waves thundering below you that are biting at your feet. Exciting is an understatement.” This unique atmosphere has led to considerable interest from the climbing community. The event itself has grown over the years, now offering presentations and clinics led by world-class, professional climbers, book signings, and coffee talks in the mornings, as well as lots and lots of climbing. While the pros and hardcore climbers enjoy some of the finest ice climbing in the country,

the festival still puts a lot of focus on the novice climber, offering free gear and instruction as part of the price of admission. Not to mention an opportunity to watch and learn from some of the best ice climbers in the world. “It’s like if you went to a basketball clinic and Michael Jordan was there giving you tips,” said Thompson. “And then later, you see him around town and get to have a beer with him. That’s how casual and inclusive this event is.” The coziness of Munising seems in complete contrast to the adrenalineheavy activity that brings everyone to town, but the city offers that perfect setting for what Anderson describes as an annual family reunion.

climbers feel like they’re a part of the group from day one. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like going home.” While a mammoth ledge of ice might not seem like an obvious homecoming spot, Thompson assures those with even the slightest interest that the event aims to bring people in slowly. “It’s a chance to do something that not many people get to experience,” said Thompson. “As an ice climber, you’re definitely in a minority of folks in the world. But when you hear the axe bite in, and you kick into the ice with the sound of water running behind it—all I can say is you just can’t know how special it is until you try it.”

“It’s a tight community. When you come to the event, it’s like being with family,” said Thompson. “Our pro athletes have climbed all over the world, but feel something different and refreshing at our event. Our new

Visit michiganicefest.com for information on registration fees, event times, clinics, and more, as well as a list of available scholarships, grants, and contests. /MichiganIceFest





SAFETY TIPS Gasoline, Fueling, and Burn Safety

Carbon Monoxide and Ventilation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 JANUARY 2022

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

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


Fire & Ice 1. Ice garden. Marcy Cella  2. Sunset icicles. Jan Gilson  3. Fireside! Glowing sunrise on my way to work. Denise Rulason  4. Sunlit leaf rimmed by icy frost. Robert Daniels





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 2022 energy bills! Pet Showcase, due Jan. 20 (March/April issue) Antique Rides, due March 20 (May/June issue) Ice Cream, due May 20 (July/August issue) To submit photos, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17

Guest Column

Winter's Daydream By Dody Bedford, Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member


t was a sunny cold day in January when I put on my cross-country skis to go for a jaunt. The temperature was a perfect 25 degrees, and the sun shone brightly. I glided along effortlessly, crisscrossing paths with the many deer that inhabit our fields. As many times as I have skied and as many deer tracks as I have seen, I have never seen a deer. I stopped to rest under the biggest white pine I’d ever seen. I had a weird sense that I was being watched. I turned back, looking across the clearing, and saw a wonderful surprise; 100 feet away stood the most beautiful doe. Her huge brown eyes and long black lashes entranced me. She stomped her feet and took five steps toward me. I was enthralled. I stood quietly, and she made her way toward me. She was not afraid and appeared as curious about me as I was about her. I stretched my hand out, and she took a sniff. As she became more comfortable, I moved to her side and stroked her neck. As she became more comfortable, she would playfully butt me with her head. After some time, she reached up and snatched my hat right off my head, then turned and ran a little way. She turned to face me, and I could swear she was teasing me to chase her. I set out toward her, and each time I came close, she would throw my hat in the air, let it drop, pick it up, and away she went. As I took a rest, she approached me now with no fear. I tipped my head low, and she placed the hat on my head, then I poured water in my hand, and she drank greedily. She finally headed into the woods at dusk. It was time for me to head home. It must have been only a daydream. I could only smile as I followed a perfect set of deer tracks all the way home.

Win a


energy bill credit!

Dody Bedford is a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member who enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and fishing. She is a self-taught artist, who paints in oil, sketches, and plays piano and guitar. She likes to spend a portion of every day helping others and volunteering at Rising Hope Equestrian Center.

WIN $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Jan. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. Nov./Dec. 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Angela Boysen, a Midwest Energy & Communications Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Port Huron Blue Water Bridge. Photo courtesy of Kaushik Sur. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.


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TIPS TO DITCH THE SPACE HEATER Space heaters are energy hogs, and older models can be extremely dangerous. This winter, ditch the space heater and try these alternative solutions to stay cozy. • Use an electric blanket to keep warm during the night. • Caulk and weather-strip around all windows and doors to prevent heat loss. • Consider adding insulation to your attic and around duct work.

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