July/Aug 2019 MEC

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July/August 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

Meet Our New Board Member

MEC Scholarship Winners Choosing Your Internet Speed

Tip Toe Through

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In This Issue July/August 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 7

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives






Your photo could be featured here.


Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer

Follow Us On Instagram!

Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com


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

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

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines This capture of a wave breaking in Lake Huron is the most brilliant @lensball capture we've ever seen. #gorgeous :@chase_gagnon

ON THE COVER The Tulip Time Festival is dedicated to honoring Holland, Michigan’s Dutch heritage, showcasing millions of tulips and celebrating the community today. This experience is so much more than tulips. With national and local entertainment, world-renowned Dutch dancers, artisan markets, fireworks, breathtaking sights just off the shores of Lake Michigan and some of the largest parades in Michigan, Tulip Time is truly an experience you don’t want to miss. Photography by Tyler Leipprandt

6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column Exploring The Frankfort Scene Christal Frost, Media Personality

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Festive Desserts To Celebrate Summer


18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column

The Turtle Race Tradition Jean Alexander, Great Lakes Energy member

Win $150 for stories published! Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enjoy a taste of the Old Country! This Dutch favorite recipe, Stamppot van Boerenkool: Curly Kale and Sausages, is shared with Tulip Time visitors from around the world. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Tip Toe Through The Tulips Emily Haines Lloyd

Best of Michigan CRAFT BEER: Give us your personal craft beer favorite. We will publish this member– recommended list in our September issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by July 20.






A Safety Message That Bears Repeating



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 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 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 Arell.Chapman@teammidwest.com James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com Dan Bodette, Wauseon 419-337-8007 Dan.Bodette@teammidwest.com PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/teammidwest Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



Robert Hance, President/CEO

ive years ago this month, I used this column to share the circumstances that led to a tragic electrical contact in the days leading up to the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. My message was to beware of and be aware around electricity.

My message this month: beware and be aware. Last week, in the days leading up to the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, a 19-year-old man was electrocuted. He was part of a construction team erecting a new structure, and was on the ground securing a large steel roof truss as the forklift operator prepared to position it. The truss came into contact with our primary line, shooting electrical current through his body. His co-workers quickly sprang into action, joined in short order by emergency responders, but they were unable to revive him. My heart aches for the family and the co-workers who witnessed this event. The grim memories will undoubtedly haunt them for the rest of their lives. Beware and be aware. This is another tragic example of the very real danger of the infrastructure that exists all around us. Poles and wires are such a prevalent part of our everyday landscape that we don’t necessarily even see them. It’s like the artwork hanging on your living room wall. It’s always there but rarely noticed. Most of us have experienced the sting of small electrical jolts around the house, and that becomes our frame of reference for the danger of electricity. But even regular household current can cause serious injury or death. A child playing near an uncovered wall outlet, or any combination of water and electricity are both everyday recipes for household tragedy. Electricity is dangerous. We’re less mindful about the dangers that lurk outside the walls of our homes, and that’s the higher-voltage current. Power lines criss-cross the yards, farms and neighborhoods that span the vast landscape of our communities, and for the most part, we are oblivious to their very existence. Beware of the danger, and be aware of what’s around you, both overhead and underground. Electricity is dangerous and anything that comes in contact with power lines can create a direct path for electricity. Picture a homeowner positioning an extension ladder to clean leaves from the gutter, or a child reaching out from the branches of a favorite tree to retrieve a kite, or a farmer transporting machinery to the field. Picture a young man securing a steel truss. These are not uncommon sites or circumstances, but each can quickly turn deadly if those involved do not take the time to look up, down and around. Electricity provides comfort and convenience. It lights our way, cools our homes, entertains our senses and powers our communications. It’s literally all around us and an integral part of life and living. But it’s also dangerous. Beware and be aware.

MEC Welcomes Bodette To The Board Of Directors


e’re pleased to introduce Dan Bodette as the newest member of the MEC Board of Directors. Dan represents District 9, which covers Dover, Fairfield, Hudson, Madison, Medina, Ogden, Palmyra, Riga, Seneca and southern portions of Blissfield and Deerfield townships in Michigan and Chesterfield, Brady, Dover, Franklin, German, Gorham, Mill Creek, Pike and Royalton townships in Ohio. Dan and his wife, Beth, call Wauseon, Ohio, home where he owns Federal Field Services, a small company that sells and services outdoor warning systems such as tornado sirens. He started his career as an electrician and then moved into energy management, working with HVAC systems. His interest in sirens began when the siren at his volunteer fire department quit working, and he was tasked with figuring out the problem. That project eventually led to him working at Federal Field Services, and he took over ownership of the company in 2009. “I decided to apply for the board position because I’ve always had an interest in electricity, and I’m familiar with the communications systems used in electric distribution. Lately, I have been following MEC’s efforts to bring fiber internet into rural areas like mine,” he stated. “Our local cable company won’t do it, and the phone company is not

interested in upgrading their less-than-optimal service. So I am very happy to see MEC step up to provide reliable, high-speed internet. Overall, MEC is a forward-looking organization, and I am eager to see the positive impact MEC will continue to have in our community.” Giving back is also important to Dan. He served as a volunteer firefighter for the Lyons Fire Department for 25 years, including eight as president of the Fireman’s Association. He also volunteered as treasurer of the Delta Area School Music Boosters and was the band announcer for many years. “I’ve always volunteered in one way or another. I strongly believe in paying it forward and try to make that a regular part of my life,” he noted. Dan and Beth have been married for 39 years and have three adult children. In their spare time, they enjoy visiting their lake house in Gaylord, Michigan, and like to snowmobile in the winter. Dan also enjoys making things with his 3D printer and laser engraver. As for his new position on the board, he stated that he looks forward to using his skills and knowledge to help MEC serve its customers, both today and into the future.

upcoming dates

Jul. 18 • Aug 15 • Sep. 19 MEC staff will be available from 4-7p.m. to answer your questions and help you sign up for service. • DISCOVER streaming services and learn how you can cut the cord from traditional cable and satellite providers. • LEARN how FIBER internet is different from other platforms and how we’re different from other providers. • TEST drive our service with your own device or one of ours.


where Midwest Energy & Communications 59825 S. LaGrave • Paw Paw, MI




MI CO-OP Community

Road pin’ Trip With Christal Frost



very time I travel back to my Benzie County roots, I marvel at how everything feels both exactly the same and somehow very different. I graduated from Benzie Central High School 21 years ago and as I drive through the hilly terrain toward Frankfort, I can’t shake the notion that, although the route hasn’t changed, everything along the way seems to have grown up—including me. Downtown Frankfort is just waking up as I make my first stop at Crescent Bakery for a welcomed cup of coffee, delicious breakfast panini and the bakery’s world-famous fritters. Fueled by caffeine and sugar, it’s time to journey to Frankfort’s pride and joy, the Point Betsie Lighthouse. With views of the Manitou Passage, the Point Betsie Lighthouse is rumored to be the most photographed lighthouse of all time. The views are unparalleled, and it still stands today as a beacon of beauty and direction. Although Point Betsie still functions as a navigation aid, the majestic lighthouse also regularly hosts museum tours and weddings. Curious visitors can even rent the Keeper’s Quarters— available from late May through October. No visit to Frankfort is complete without a stop at Crystal Gardens. Crystal Gardens has been the source for gardening supplies for more than 40 years. However, Crystal Gardens has evolved to give visitors more of an experience, including a rock shop filled with unique gifts made with Petoskey stones and geodes, the Barn Swallow antique store—and even the Nature Exhibit which boasts peacocks, butterflies, a fairy garden and a gigantic stone turtle. My absolute favorite at the Gardens, though, is an entire greenhouse, called Mom’s House, which is fully dedicated to the hardy geranium.

Rolling through town, I spot the A&W Restaurant, in addition to hot dogs, burgers, fries and root beer, A&W


sells nostalgia; and I am definitely buying! I pull up to a drive-in spot and am served by a friendly waitress. Staying in the car, I turn on ‘50s music and pretend I’ve gone back in time. The next stop is Main Street. I marvel at the historic Garden Theatre, the gem of downtown Frankfort. I then make my way into Frannie’s Follies, a must-stop shop for tourists and anyone looking for a t-shirt or trinket. Sunbeams of Promise catches my eye next, and there I find a huge variety of local stones, including the elusive Leland Blue. Our final stop leads us to Elberta, Frankfort’s port city sister, just two miles away. In fact, this tiny town was once known as South Frankfort. My tour ends at the Cabbage Shed, a building that has more history and character than any other place in the county. First built in 1867, the shed offers over 70 varieties of Irish whiskey and the longest running open mic night in Benzie County. If you leave the Cabbage Shed without trying the Drunken Beans, you will never forgive yourself. Only a 45-minute drive from Traverse City, Frankfort has managed to hold on to its small-town charm. And, it welcomes you, like a hug from an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country MusicWTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM.






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See Frankfort In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Frankfort adventure, now available on countrylines.com. For behind-the-scenes footage, see the “Road Trippin” story highlight album on our Instagram @michigancountrylines.


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• Garden Theatre • Frannie’s Follies • Sunbeams of Promise

A& W

Nearby on Main Street:



Invest in ENERGY STAR®!


re you shopping for a new appliance or electronic? Look for the blue ENERGY STAR label! Outdated appliances and electronics are wasting energy and costing you extra each month. ENERGY STAR products are tested and certified to use less energy and meet higher standards of quality and performance. Invest in quality today and you could be eligible for cash incentives from the Energy Optimization program!

What is ENERGY STAR? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 to help consumers identify energy-efficient products. The ENERGY STAR label can now be found on major appliances, lighting, electronics, and even new homes and commercial buildings. Since the early 1990s, ENERGY STAR has helped consumers save $362 billion in utility costs. Did you know? ENERGY STAR products can use up to 75% less energy than standard models!

To earn the ENERGY STAR label, a third-party certification process ensures that all products: • Contribute significant energy savings. • Deliver the features and performance consumers demand, plus greater energy efficiency. • Back up energy savings claims with comprehensive testing.

Save Now With Energy Optimization Program Rebates! Product

Efficiency comparison (vs. a new standard model)*

Energy Optimization program rebate**

Clothes washer

Uses 35% less water and energy



Uses 60% less energy



Uses 15% less energy


Chest Freezer

Uses at least 10% less energy



Uses 9% less energy



Uses at least 25% less energy


Room air conditioner

Use 15% less energy


*All data according to energystar.gov.  **Incentive amounts are subject to change.

View all incentives at michigan-energy.org or call 877.296.4319 for details.

Care for your

TREASURE Update your outdated, energy-wasting appliances with ENERGY STAR models. You’ll use up to 75% less energy AND save upfront with cash incentives from the Energy Optimization program:

Refrigerator $20 Dehumidifier $15

Clothes washer $20 Television $10-20

Invest in the best with


Visit our website for a full list of incentives!

michigan-energy.org | 877-296-4319

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

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Bob and Linda Utter, owners of Flying Otter Vineyard and Winery, welcome guests each year from April to October.

Flying Otter hosts regular events throughout the summer including trivia night, live music, Reading Between the Wines Book Club, Dinner with the Winemaker, and more. They even have a Missed Holiday series where they celebrate major holidays that occur during their off-season.


ucked away on a quiet, rural road just outside of Adrian, you’ll find a pleasant respite from the everyday with delicious food, fun entertainment, a lovely view and, most importantly, a robust selection of delectable wines. Welcome to the Flying Otter Vineyard and Winery. A mechanical engineer turned winemaker, Bob Utter, alongside his wife, Linda, have been welcoming wine lovers to their property since they opened their doors in 2011. The winery’s name comes from Bob’s love of aviation and his last name: Utter means “otter” in Swedish. His love for wine goes back to his college days when he made his first batch with Welch’s Grape Juice concentrate and bread yeast. However, it was the time he spent in France that really deepened his appreciation for wine. “I love the whole winemaking process, especially the culmination of our hard work during harvest, and I enjoy hanging out with our regulars and meeting new people. Wine brings people together,” Bob said. The tasting room offers a laidback atmosphere, and the Utters are well equipped to entertain and educate anyone from a novice wine drinker to a seasoned oenophile. “We grow the best grapes we can and make the best wines we can from them,” he noted. “I love sharing what each season brings us.”

True wine enthusiasts can join their rewards club to earn free tastings, get advanced access to limited quantity releases, and receive invitations to private release parties and education events. Learn more at flyingotter.com or on Facebook and Twitter. Cheers!

Why Fiber Internet Matters Flying Otter represents the perfect example of why we are bringing fiber internet to our customers. Currently, Bob and Linda have satellite for internet, and during busy times, the winery’s point-of-sale service can slow down dramatically, which makes for a less-than-ideal customer experience. They won’t have that problem once they have a fiber connection. When are we coming to SE Michigan/northern Ohio? Our behind-the-scenes mapping and construction management continues as we prepare to launch our 18-month build in 2020. You can pre-register for service now by entering your address at teammidwest.com/internet.



Festive Desserts Celebrate summer with these delectable recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Frosty Lemon Pie Rita Schuette, Midwest Energy ¾ ¹⁄³ ¼ • 3 2 1 •

cup sugar cup lemon juice cup butter, cubed dash salt eggs, slightly beaten pints vanilla ice cream, softened and divided graham cracker crust (9 inches) whipped topping, fresh mint and lemon peel for garnish

In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar, butter and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat till sugar is dissolved and butter melted. Whisk a small amount of the sugar mixture into the eggs several times. Return all to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture reaches 160 F or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Refrigerate till cool. Spread half of the ice cream in the crust. Freeze for 1 hour or till firm. Cover with half of the lemon mixture and freeze for 1 hour——repeat layers. After the 2nd layer of lemon mixture, cover and freeze several hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Garnish if desired. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos 10 JULY/AUGUST 2019

Grandma’s Scottish Shortbread Gail Gurnee, Great Lakes Energy 1 cup softened butter ½ cup sugar 2½ cups flour Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually knead in flour until well blended. Place in 9-inch ungreased cake pan and roll or press dough in until smooth. Press the tines of a fork around the edges and prick the middle of the dough. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn down oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 50 minutes until nicely browned. Run a knife around the edge to prevent cookies sticking to pan. Cut into short little squares immediately before cookies harden.

Lime Ice Cream Dessert Joyce Tamminga, Great Lakes Energy


Crust: 1½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs (about 34 crackers) 4 tablespoons sugar 5 tablespoons melted butter

GUEST CHEF This traditional Dutch favorite is shared with Tulip Time visitors from around the world. Enjoy a taste of the Old Country!

Filling: 2 quarts vanilla ice cream (½ gallon) 1 quart lime sherbet Topping: 4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice ²⁄³ cups sugar 2 eggs, well beaten 6 tablespoons butter Mix cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; press into 9x13 inch pan. Chill. Soften ice cream and sherbet enough to mix well and spread over crust. Freeze. Mix topping ingredients in a heavy

saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thick. Cool completely. Spread the topping on the ice cream. Keep frozen. Note: This can also be made with orange sherbet and orange juice in the place of lime sherbet and lime juice.

Raspberry Delight Pound Cake Tracy Fisher, Thumb Electric 1 1 4 1 ¹⁄³ ½ 2 ¼ 2 2 •

French vanilla or yellow cake mix small instant vanilla pudding mix large eggs cup water cup oil cup sour cream cups raspberries fresh or frozen cup water tablespoons sugar tablespoons raspberry jello (powder) cornstarch, to thicken

Preheat over to 350 F. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and sour cream according to cake mix directions on the box. Pour into prepared Bundt pan. In large saucepan, cook remaining ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Thicken filling

Stamppot van Boerenkool: Curly Kale and Sausages

with cornstarch and water. Drop filling by spoonfuls over top of unbaked cake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream.

Venison: due August 1 Christmas Cookies: due September 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

2–3 3 • 1 4

lbs. curly kale lbs. cut-up potatoes Milk, salt, and pepper lb. smoked sausage tbsp. oleo

Strip, wash, and cut kale very fine. Boil kale in water with salt about 40 minutes. Add peeled, cut-up potatoes and sausage and enough water to prevent burning. Cook 30 minutes. Remove sausage from pan. Mash kale and potatoes and stir in boiled milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Read the full story about the Tulip Time Festival on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.




MEC SCHOLARSHIPS Film yourself building a time capsule to open 10 years from now. What would you put in it and why? This was the question that we posed to high school seniors this year as part of our annual scholarship program that awards four students with $1,000 to put towards their post-secondary education. Several students answered the challenge, and our four winners were chosen based on their video submission along with their academic performance, extra-curricular activities and community engagement.

Congratulations to this year’s winners: Seth Bunce, son of Scott and Rachel Bunce and graduate of Mattawan High School, will head to Georgia this fall to attend the Southeast Lineman Training Center. He was a member of the National Technical Honor Society and an accomplished Eagle Scout. He was a state champion for Rugby and earned varsity letters for track and wrestling.

Megan Dopheide, daughter of Chris and Terri Dopheide of Lawton. An accomplished athlete at Lawton High School, Megan participated in cross country, basketball, and track and field. She also was involved with Student Council, Students Against Destructive Decisions, National Honor Society, and served as the Youth Vote Coordinator for Van Buren County. She will attend Ferris State University.

Jonathan Stockwell, son of Eugene and Denise Stockwell of Dowagiac. Jonathan was a dedicated band member at Dowagiac Union High School, including serving as drum major. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, served as president of the North Red Hill 4-H Club and was a member of the Teen Leadership Council in Cass County 4-H. He will attend Trine University.

Jacob Taylor, son of Fred and Shari Taylor of Schoolcraft. A graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School, Jacob was a member of the National Honor Society and participated in football, basketball and track. He also served as a camp counselor for a youth basketball program and a Bible day camp. Jacob will attend Michigan State University.

Check out our blog on teammidwest.com/news for feature stories on each of our winners and to watch their videos. 12 JULY/AUGUST 2019


poster winners

Stay away from downed power lines and don’t climb utility poles.

These important reminders are displayed on billboards throughout our service territory and are brought to you by two fourth graders who won our safety poster contest.

Laura Nadeau, a student at Britton Deerfield Elementary and daughter of Aaron and

Tammy Nadeau, won for our southeast territory. Laura plays softball, volleyball and basketball and enjoys watching movies with her family and eating pizza. She hopes to be a nurse someday and her teacher noted that her positive attitude makes her a great role model in the classroom.

Each April, we teach local fourth graders about the dangers of electricity during our free hotline demonstrations. As part of the demonstrations, we ask each student to create a poster that illustrates something they learned. Two overall winners are selected and their messages get shared with the greater community. The winning posters were also printed on T-shirts and provided to the winning classes who then got to take an educational field trip to celebrate.

Keeping Our Community Safe

Alaina Lindgren, daughter of Andy and Jenni Lindgren, attends Edwardsburg

Intermediate School and was the overall winner for our southwest territory. Known for her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, Alaina loves crafts and hopes to someday be an actress, singer, teacher, or FBI agent. She also aspires to have her own YouTube channel and enjoys making people smile.

We offer free electrical and propane safety programs for any group or organization at any time throughout the year. Programs are adaptable for various audiences and timelines, and can be conducted at our facility or yours. For more information, please contact the community relations team at 800-492-5989 or pr@teammidwest.com.



By Emily Haines Lloyd Photography by Tyler Leipprandt


or the past 90 years, the first week of May has been a time when Michiganders dust off the cobwebs of winter and look for the first signs of spring. In Holland, Michigan, the first signs look like millions of tulips bursting through the soil to delight locals and visitors alike. Tulip Time was once a local beautification project that started with 100,000 bulbs in 1929. Today it has grown to become an international hot spot for travelers from all around the world to engage in Dutch history while tiptoeing through nearly five million tulips.

In May 2019, Michigan Country Lines teamed up with Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media for an Instagram takeover to cover Tulip Time. Leipprandt, an expert at drone photography, captured images that showcase why Tulip Time is just the kind of adventure you can start dreaming of for next spring. “Tulip Time is an opportunity for people to come and marvel at the spectacular tulip gardens and displays,” said Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda. “But it’s also the perfect time to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan living.” If the views are saturated with bright pops of flowering color, the history that the event brings to the streets of Holland is equally rich. City officials, volunteers, and even residents don their historically accurate costumes—


complete with real wooden shoes—providing a glimpse into life during the late 1800s and early 1900s. These traditions are proudly passed down through generations, as spectators will find local high schoolers performing traditional Dutch dancing, called Klompen, at demonstrations, as well as through the streets in multiple parades which are scheduled during the week-long event. Along with the themed-parades (Volksparade/ People’s Parade, Kinderparade/Children’s Parade, and Muziekparade/Music Parade), there are dancing demos, flower walks, and an artisan market. At Windmill Island Gardens, visitors can marvel at not only tulip gardens, but “De Zwaan,” the last Netherlands-built working windmill in the United States. Folks can take the four flights up to the windmill for a historical tour, then look at the Amsterdam

street organ, ride on the antique carousel, or purchase some fresh-milled flour to commemorate the visit. Over the years, the charm has never left Tulip Time, but new attractions have been added—a lively carnival sets up annually at the Civic Center, craft and art shows are displayed in the park, festival-goers can try yoga in the tulips, and many food and beverage demos are also featured. The latter is unsurprising, as the food and beverage scene has never been stronger. In fact, Holland boasts a variety of eateries for all preferences and a vibrant beer and spirits scene—including several breweries and distilleries who all participate in hosting the 500,000 people the festival brings in annually within a short, nine-day period.

“ Tulip Time is an opportunity for people to come and marvel at the spectacular tulip gardens and displays. But it’s also the perfect time to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan living.” — Gwen Auwerda, Tulip Time Executive Director

“We have over 800 volunteers along with city workers and businesses who make this more than an event,” said Auwerda. “Tulip Time is a part of the fabric of our community.” Over the years, while Tulip Time continues to grow and provide wonderful new experiences for attendees, it’s the quaint charm that has been a constant. So next spring, as the tulip bulbs once again sprout their brightly colored petals, make plans to visit Holland’s Tulip Time. Those sweet flowers are a reminder of spring’s hope, but also a proud past that one little town along Lake Michigan is keeping alive. Photo courtesy of Tulip Time.



Is It Time To Re-evaluate Your Internet Speed?


eople often buy new devices and internet-enabled household appliances without considering the impact on their internet speed. However, every connected device that you bring into your home requires bandwidth. So if you’ve recently bought a new device and have noticed connection issues or videos buffer when everyone is home, then it’s time to take a look at your internet speed and consider upgrading.

Which package is right for me? That depends on how many people you have in your home, the number of devices you have, and what you do online. If your household has at least four people or you want to stream TV, we recommend our Ultra or Gig packages. Both packages can accommodate busy households with several devices, including connected thermostats, doorbells, security systems, and Smart TVs. They also

1 DEVICES How many devices in your home are connected to the internet? This includes computers, smart phones and TVs, internet landlines, gaming consoles, tablets, smart home devices, etc. Multiple devices connected to the internet simultaneously will require more speed.

work well for people who work from home, including students doing homework. However, the more you have and the more you do, the higher the speed you will need. If you have nine or more devices or more than five people in your household, you should seriously consider the Gig (1,000 Mbps speed). It will ensure everyone can do whatever they want online whenever they want without buffering or slow speeds. These packages also include free managed Wi-Fi, which includes our router and 24/7 remote support should anything go wrong with your connection. We’ll also repair or replace your MEC router for free if necessary. Don’t just take our word for it though. Check out broadbandnow.com/bandwidth-calculator to take a short quiz to help you determine the best speed for you.

2 USERS How many people use the internet in your home? Don’t forget regular visitors, like grandchildren, who might be heavy internet users while in your home.

3 ACTIVITIES What types of activities you do you participate in on the internet? Some activities use more data than others. For example, streaming long videos and gaming generally require higher speeds than simply checking email.


Social Media

Video Chat

Streaming Music

Streaming Video

Online Gaming

File Download & Storage

STAY CONNECTED with the Lifeline Rate Program The Lifeline Program, a government assistance program subsidized through the Universal Service Fund, provides discounted telephone or internet service for low-income consumers.


To be eligible for Lifeline, you must meet incomebased requirements or participate in one of the programs listed below. Residents of federally recognized tribal lands may receive an additional reduction. Your eligibility to participate will be verified by MEC or an authorized state agency.




9.25 internet 12.35 phone


Lifeline Senior



Lifeline Tribal



Medicaid Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly Food Stamps Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) National School Free Lunch Program (NSL)


Lifeline is non-transferable and is limited to one discount per household (i.e. phone OR internet). Only eligible consumers may enroll and a household cannot receive Lifeline benefits from multiple providers. Enrollees will receive a monthly credit on their MEC bill.


Visit teammidwest.com/internet/lifeline to download and complete the Lifeline Application or call our Solutions Center at 800.492.5989.


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!


MI CO-OP Community

The Turtle Race Tradition By Jean Alexander, Great Lakes Energy member


very summer since 1986 our family travels to Six Mile Lake cottage for a week of simple, but magical, lakefront family fun and an interesting tradition—Turtle Races. The morning of departure from Indiana brings together: three sisters, one niece, four nephews, and grandma. Loading the car is always a hoot, as we fit suitcases, extra food, linens, treats for the trip, and even bicycles. The usual eight or nine passengers somehow all fit in, too.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by July 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the May issue is Elsa Oja, an Ontonagon County REA Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as historic downtown Calumet. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

What fun upon arrival it is assigning beds, cots and blow up mattresses. Our lakefront offers a playground with sand, boats, a dock, badminton, floats, fishing rods, and a shallow lake. Days are spent fishing, swimming, floating on rafts, baseball games, catching crawdads, laughter, and days of splendid family togetherness. Of course, one day is always chosen for the famous “Turtle Races.” We scout for turtles along the lakeshore, spray paint the start and finish lines and assign everyone a turtle. Each turtle is then named. We hold many races—some long races, some short runs, “a sprayed box-shaped form” where turtles go in all directions to cross lines and continue racing has even been created by grandma for the day. The longest and last race always ends with turtles racing back into the lake, and we bid our turtles goodbye. Our adventure then culminates with prizes being awarded to all the winning “turtle coaches.” Each summer we are reminded how strange it is that turtles never seem to move in a straight path, but wander around going nowhere specific except to the water. But, hopefully, next year we will each get a better, bigger and wiser turtle. Jean enjoys sports, nature and going “up north” to Michigan as often as possible.

May 2019

Photo by Cody McClellan @codyjmcclellanphotography


“We are reminded how strange it is that turtles never seem to move in a straight path, but wander around going nowhere specific except to the water.”

Beat the heat Cool your home with your well water.


COOL $50








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wellconnectgeo.com (989) 356-2113


TRY THIS GIG ON FOR SIZE Subscribe or upgrade to our Gig package for just $99.95/mo. and save $20/mo. New customers also receive a $50 HULU gift card.

Gig includes 1,000 Mbps symmetrical speeds, unlimited data, 24/7 tech support and free installation. Sign up by September 30, 2019. Enter promo code: HULU-CL


teammidwest.com/gig | 800.492.5989 Twelve-month contract required. Offer valid until 9.30.19. Promotional price good for one year. Gift card available to new customers only and will be emailed following installation. Free installation for MEC electric customers. Internet services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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