January 2022 Ontonagon

Page 1

January/February 2022


COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association

Fiercely Independent

2021 Photo Contest Winners Winter Energy Saving Tips

Celebrating 30 Years Of The Country’s Oldest




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.

Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937 allendaleheating.com Bad Axe/Ubly Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986 Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeo thermal.com Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 769-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com

YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS Mancelona Clifford Top Notch Htg, Clg, Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 & Geothermal sanduskygeothermal.com (231) 350-8052 Topnotchheatandair.com Hart Adams Htg & Clg Michigan Center (231) 873-2665 Comfort 1/Air Serv of adamsheating Southern Michigan cooling.com (517) 764-1500 airserv.com/southernIndian River michigan/ M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 Mt Pleasant mm-plumbing.com Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 Lansing waltonheating.com Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890 Muskegon candormechanical.com Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com

visit us at waterfurnace.com

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 dwmechanical.com Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 geofurnace.com

WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

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.



Are Portable Space Heaters Efficient For My Home?


Debbie Miles, General Manager


500 J.K. Paul Street Ontonagon, MI 49953 906-884-4151 800-562-7128 After hours: 866-639-6098 OFFICERS & DIRECTORS

Calvin Koski, President Aura District 906-524-6988 • cgkoski@up.net

William Hodges, Vice President Lake Linden District 906-934-3743 • mistermich52@gmail.com Mildred Ann Gasperich, Secretary Boston District 906-337-5079 • anngasperich@yahoo.com Randy Myhren, Treasurer Green/Firesteel/Toivola District 906-884-4092

Wayne Heikkinen, Director Pelkie/Herman/Aura District 906-353-6496 • mustipuppy@gmail.com Michael Urbis, Director Ewen/Trout Creek/Lake Mine District 906-988-2344 • mdurbis@yahoo.com

George Rajala, Director Chassell/Keweenaw Bay District 906-370-0416 • rajgeo50@yahoo.com PERSONNEL

Debbie Miles, General Manager Fay Hauswirth, Billing Clerk Mark Urbis, Line Superintendent OTHER INFORMATION

Date of Incorporation: Sept. 30, 1937 Fiscal year-end: Dec. 31 countrylines.com/coops/ontonagon Ontonagon County REA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


mall space heaters are meant to do exactly as their name says: heat a small space. But unfortunately, many people use portable space heaters to heat their entire home, which can really take a toll on your energy bills. The truth is, whether or not you should use space heaters really depends on your home’s efficiency and energy needs. Suppose you’re using a space heater to compensate for problems in your home, like inadequate insulation, drafty windows, exterior doors, or an inefficient heating system. In that case, space heaters are not a practical solution. Your best bet is to improve the overall efficiency of your home. If you’re on a tight budget, caulking and weather-stripping around windows and exterior doors is a low-cost, easy way to save energy. Depending on the size of your home, adding insulation can be a significant next step. Loose-fill insulation typically costs $1 to $1.50 per square foot. Taking these proactive energysaving measures rather than relying on space heaters for supplemental warmth can reduce your heating and cooling bills for years to come. Perhaps your home is energy efficient, but you’re cold-natured and want a specific room to be cozier than the rest. In this case, a space heater may work for your needs. A good comparison is ceiling fans; we use ceiling fans in the summer to cool people, not rooms. A space heater can be used in a similar way during winter months. Only use a space heater in small spaces that you’re occupying and, if possible, try to shut off other rooms to contain the warmth provided by the space heater. If you decide to use a space heater to heat a small area in your home, make sure the heater is correctly sized for the space; most heaters include a general sizing table. A word about safety: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year, resulting in more than 300 deaths. If you must use a space heater, purchase a newer model that includes the most current safety features and make sure it carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. Choose a thermostatically controlled heater to avoid energy waste and overheating, and place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic when in use. Always keep children and pets away from space heaters. We know it’s cold out there, but remember, space heaters can increase your energy bills if misused, in addition to presenting safety concerns. As such, consider alternative ways to stay warm like extra layers of clothing or UL-approved electric blankets. If you have hardwood or tile floors, lay down area rugs to provide additional insulation (and appeal!) and maintain warmth. And remember, spring is only a few short months away.

4 JANUARY 2022

Christmas At The Co-op

The REA office created a bright and festive entry point to Ontonagon this past holiday season with a beautiful lighting display in the REA office yard. Office staff and distribution worked together to create a larger display than last year, adding even more blue lights to the large evergreen, a “Santa’s sleigh,” and white lighting on the maple trees. “We received many positive comments about the display from the community and plan to do this every year,” said General Manager Debbie Miles.

REA Assists In House Moving T

his past fall, Ontonagon REA assisted in moving a historic 118-year-old house. Homeowners Eric and Jackie Smith loved their home, located in the small Copper Country hamlet of Gay, Michigan, but not the location. “Our house was right on the street corner, and in the last couple of years, tourist and truck traffic has increased,” said Eric Smith. The house was a “mining house,” built in 1903 by the Mohawk Mining Company, and the Smiths were the fourth owners, residing in it for the past 25 years. Moving the house eight-tenths of a mile required the use of a professional house moving company, numerous permits, and coordination with both REA and AT&T to address overhead lines.

On October 13, 2021, the house carefully made its way to its new location on the shores of Lake Superior. Amazingly, the robotically controlled move took only a short 35 minutes. The relocation required moving nine of REA’s overhead lines and five linemen, including lead lineman Nels Erickson, who oversaw the project. “They had the lines down and back up in less than two hours,” said Eric. “REA did an excellent job and were instrumental in making this a successful move.”



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







Swans at the head of the bay between L’Anse and Baraga. Kim Peterson (March/April)

My Melanie at 3 months old, circa Sept. 1967. Sylvia Kievit-Milan (May/June)

A close-up of some bubbles on the water with pretty sunset in the background. Kaci Dault (Sept./Oct.)

Mom and daughter celebrating mom cancer-free. Ted Gagnon (Nov./Dec.)

Ontonagon REA 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 members who participated. Members are welcome to send in photos for our 2022 contest.


Fire And Ice 1. The sun rises over Lake of the Clouds valley, as seen from the escarpment in the Porcupine Mountains. Nathan Miller.  2. Winter sunrise fire and ice. Dick Graham  3. Ice garden. Marcy Cella  4. In Copper Harbor with Porter’s Island in the background. Mary Kaminski  5. Grandchildren having a fire with frozen Huron Bay in the background. Holly Gagnon



3 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!




Submit A Photo & Win A Bill Credit!

Ontonagon REA members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a credit of $50 on their December 2022 energy bills!

Upcoming Topics and Deadlines:

• Pet Showcase, due Jan. 20 (March/April issue) • Antique Rides, due March 20 (May/June issue) • Ice Cream, due May 20 (July/Aug. issue) To submit photos, and for details and instructions, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


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!

10 JANUARY 2022

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!




Sisu is a unique Finnish concept. It is a Finnish term that can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage.


ean Juntunen is 100% Finnish, and “Sisu” definitely runs through his blood. In 1991, the simple act of taking down a rope swing from a hemlock tree had a life-altering effect on the Ontonagon County native. When the branch he was on broke, he fell 30 feet to the ground below, breaking five vertebrae, folding his spine in half, and damaging the spinal cord in two spots. “Doctors told me I would never walk again, and I’ve been a T7/8 complete paraplegic ever since,” he says. The Michigan Tech University engineering graduate worked as an ICBM missile launch officer in the U.S. Air Force and moved from Great Falls, Montana, to Dayton, Ohio, for further schooling. “I thought I would make a lifetime career in the Air Force and when I retired, come back to the Upper Peninsula,” Juntunen says. “But fate had different plans for me.” Shortly after the accident, the Air Force medically retired him with the rank of captain, and Dean returned to his hometown, building a wheelchair-accessible home. Always an avid hiker and outdoorsman, he dove right back into physical activities, amending them to fit his circumstances.

12 JANUARY 2022

Biking, kayaking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing via a sit-ski, the 61-year-old can put many nondisabled people to shame with his active lifestyle and motivation. In 1992, Dean began competing with a push-rim racing wheelchair and became an Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club member. In 2013, the club recognized his achievements by inducting him into the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club Hall of Fame as the 36th member. After using push-rim for several years, he began using a hand-cycle racing chair, completing 98 marathons so far. “I have a lifetime goal of 100, so I’ll be reaching that shortly,” he said. The longest race that Dean has done is 240 miles in a 24-hour run in the Quad Cities in Iowa. He has also gone on century rides (100 miles) with bicycle groups. In 2005, he was inducted into the Michigan Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame. However, he says that “being inducted into the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Hall of Fame is more meaningful because the honor comes from my friends and neighbors.” One of Dean’s bucket list items is to kayak the perimeter of Lake Superior, and he is only a few short days from his goal. “I have just three days worth

Dean volunteers as a Lighthouse tour guide for the Ontonagon County Historical Society.

of paddling to go north from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, but COVID restrictions shut down the Canadian border, and I had to stop,” Dean said. He hopes to complete this lifetime goal in 2022. He recently purchased a fat bike to do off-roading on the five miles of trails that he has carved out on his 113-acre homestead. “I ride around on the trails I made, but I also like to go to the Porcupine Mountain,” Dean said. “Now that I have fat tires, which hold up on snow too, I can access any trail that has been hard-packed by a snowmobile.” Dean says he always has a list of goals, and when asked what was left on the list, he said, “Well, once I complete paddling Lake Superior, I want to paddle the Missouri Breaks. But that will be easy because I’ll just do like a 47-mile day trip,” he says with a grin. “One day, I paddled 50 miles on Lake Superior. That was about 13 hours of paddling. That was a bit too long.” When Dean is asked what his greatest accomplishment in his life is, he simply states, “My greatest accomplishment is that I have been a contributing

member of my community, a good Samaritan, and philanthropist.” And Dean’s community service is considerable. He has served on many boards, including the UP Road Runners Club, the local Historical Society, Camp Josh, Lions Club, and a storied 22 years on the Ontonagon school board, 15 of those years as president. Dean’s longtime friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, Jim Waters, has nothing but praise for Dean and his determination. “I met Dean 25 years ago when, out of the blue, he telephoned me and asked if I would like to go for a bike ride. We’ve been friends ever since. Dean is inspirational in his attitude. He never complains, and he is always positive. During one of our first times kayaking together, Dean said to me, ‘This is liquid freedom. It frees me from being different. In the kayak, I’m just like everybody else.’ I have never forgotten that moment,” Waters says. “Dean readily faces adversity. Any time that I want to complain, I think of Dean, and I snap out of it. He always says, ‘I have no problems.’” And while he may not think he has any problems, Dean Juntunen most certainly has “Sisu.”



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





Saving energy doesn’t have to be hard. With a little time and effort, you can maximize energy savings and increase the comfort of your home.


DIY Efficiency Projects To Tackle This Year TRIM DRYER VENT



Level of difficulty: easy.

Level of difficulty: moderate.

Level of difficulty: moderate.

Supplies needed: tin snips, gloves, measuring tape, and masking tape.

Supplies needed: caulk and caulk gun, weather stripping, gloves, putty knife, paper towels.

Supplies needed (if you build the box yourself): rigid foam board, faced blanket insulation, tape for foam board, measuring tape, utility knife, caulk and caulk gun, plywood.

Estimated cost: about $25, depending on the supplies you already have. If your dryer vent hose is too long, your dryer is working harder than it has to, using more energy than necessary. The vent hose should be long enough for you to pull the dryer out a couple feet from the wall, but the shape of the hose should form a line—it should not have a lot of slack or have twists and curves. A shorter, unobstructed vent hose increases the efficiency of your dryer, dries clothing faster, and reduces lint buildup, which can create potential fire hazards. Simply measure, mark, and trim the hose to the desired length, then reattach the hose to your dryer and exterior vent. 16 JANUARY 2022

Estimated cost: $25 to $50, depending on the materials you purchase. Sealing air leaks in your home can help you save 10% to 20% on heating and cooling bills. Apply caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring, and plumbing to seal in conditioned air. You should also weather-strip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Types of caulking and weatherstripping materials vary, so ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need.

Estimated cost: $50 to $100. A properly insulated attic is one of the best ways to optimize energy savings and comfort in your home, but many homeowners don’t consider insulating the attic stairs, or the opening to your attic space. Even a well-insulated attic can leak air through the stair opening, but luckily, there’s an easy fix. An insulated cover box can seal and insulate the attic stairs opening. You can build your own insulated cover box or purchase a prebuilt box or kit from a local home improvement store for about $60.

Winter Energy Savings Tips Winter’s cool temps driving your heating costs up? Try these tips to help save energy.

Find and Seal Leaks

Use Ceiling Fans

Find and seal air leaks in your home. Common sources include utility cut-throughs and plumbing penetrations, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights, unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets, window and door frames, and outlets and light switches.

• Set your fan to a low speed with the blades rotating in a clockwise direction. This will push the warm air collected at the ceiling around the room.

Maintain Your Heating System

• Turn down your thermostat by 10 degrees for eight hours, and you could save up to 10% on your heating costs. Consider investing in a smart thermostat that will automatically adjust temperatures for you.

• Replace your filter every month. • Have your furnace inspected by a professional every year. He or she will ensure everything is working as it should and alert you to potential problems before they become an emergency. • If you use a pellet or wood stove, clean the flue regularly. • When it’s time to replace your system, select an energyefficient model. Michigan customers, look for rebates on michigan-energy.org. • Vacuum your vents and registers regularly, and make sure that vents aren’t blocked by drapery and furniture.

Maintain Your Fireplace • Keep the damper closed when not in use. Otherwise, warm air will escape up the chimney. • When in use, lower the thermostat and open the nearest window slightly. • Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room. • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible. Also, add caulking around the hearth.

Lower Your Thermostat

Let the Sun Shine In • Open curtains or blinds on sunny days to let the sun help warm your rooms. • Close blinds and curtains at night to prevent heat from escaping.

Explore michigan-energy.org Michigan customers: This website is your one-stop shop for all things energy efficiency. Learn about ways to save money and apply for rebates on energyefficient appliances. You can also participate in free programs to help you assess and improve your home’s overall efficiency. Business and farm programs are available as well. Visit energy.gov/energysaver for more tips on improving your home’s efficiency all year long.


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.


Add a Well-Connect to your existing furnace in one day and heat for half for decades.

Add a Well-Connect for $0 down and as little as $80/month. Typical heating cost savings over $100/month. Well-Connect pays for itself.





Connects to your existing furnace, giving you maximum comfort and maximum savings.

Minimal water flow required, making almost any well capable of heating & cooling your home.

Can be installed in one day, any time of the year. DIY or professionally installed.

Geothermal Made Affordable







Act now and get a FREE Real-Time System Performance Monitor.




Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association /OntonagonCountyREA


2022 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.