July/Aug 2021 Cherryland

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July/August 2021


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Transparency Is The Name Of Cherryland’s Game

Local Iced Tea Company Honors Leelanau County Meet The Co-op’s Scholarship Winners

Foraging for Mushroom Houses


Saving is believing.

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Contents countrylines.com

July/August 2021 Vol. 41, No. 7



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


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

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

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

Cover photo by Mike Barton

6 10 TIPS FOR ENJOYING MICHIGAN’S DARK SKIES Our state has some of the best stargazing spots in the country; here’s how to make the most of them. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Whole Grains: These hearty and delicious recipes will satisfy your soul and benefit your health.

14 FORAGING FOR MUSHROOM HOUSES Whether it’s architecture, history or whimsy you’re seeking, these fungi-shaped dwellings in Charlevoix offer something for everyone. 18 HOW TO PREVENT ELECTRIC SHOCK DROWNING You can avoid the hidden danger of being shocked in water if you know what to look out for.

#micoopcommunity I see you, Michigan summer. Bring on the sun, water, and sand. @frankfort_moments (Kathy Smith)

Be featured!

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


To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community


Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Around The World, due Aug. 1; Instant Pot & Slow Cooker, due Sept. 1. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.


Win $150 for stories published! Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/ community.


Win a $50 bill credit! Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tom Van Pelt, President 231-386-5234 tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop

David Schweitzer, Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop John Olson, Director 231-938-1228 jolson@cherrylandelectric.coop

Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 jzickert@cherrylandelectric.coop General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh, Courtney Doyle

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

CO-OP NEWS Access to Cherryland’s Drive-Thru, Kiosk Disrupted Member access to the Cherryland office may be disrupted at times due to the scheduled relocation of a DTE natural gas pipeline. During this period, members may not be able to access our office drive-thru and 24/7 bill pay kiosk. We will do our best to communicate the exact dates of the disruption as we learn more. Members can still manage their accounts online via SmartHub and pay electric bills in several ways, including online via SmartHub, by phone, and by mail.

Members Earn Rebates With Energy Efficiency Upgrades Cherryland members are eligible to receive rebates for energy efficiency upgrades in their homes or businesses. Common upgrades include replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs and purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances. For a guide to our residential rebate program and a complete listing of rebates available on Energy Star qualified appliances, visit our website at cherrylandelectric.coop/rebates.

Co-op Offers Suite Of Solar Programs For Members Interested in going solar? Cherryland offers a suite of solar programs designed for those who want to support renewable energy with their cooperative. The suite includes community solar, net metering, and buy-all, sell-all programs. Whether you want to cover your annual energy costs or use the clean energy you generate, there is a solar program for everyone! To learn more, visit our website at cherrylandelectric.coop/renewableenergy-programs.

Members Learn About Electric Vehicles, Rebates On Co-op Website Are you interested in going electric for your next car, but still have questions? Cherryland’s website is your hub for everything related to EVs. Learn about EV ownership, calculate fuel cost and CO2 savings, check out the latest EV models on the road, and more. And if you are ready to buy, Cherryland offers rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles and charging stations. For more information, visit our website at cherrylandelectric.coop/ev.

Cherryland Office Closed Labor Day The Cherryland office will be closed Monday, Sept. 6, in observance of Labor Day. Normal business hours will resume Tuesday, Sept. 7. Line crews are on call to respond to any outages or emergencies. You can report an outage by texting OUT to 800-442-8616, logging into SmartHub, or calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center for more details.


Transparent Governance Tony Anderson, General Manager


ebster’s Dictionary defines transparency as the quality or state of being transparent. Okay, what does transparent mean then? Several different definitions include “free from pretense or deceit,” “easily detected or seen through,” “readily understood,” and “characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices.”

Members often address the board directly at our monthly meetings. We sometimes get accused of not being transparent when members are not allowed to stay and observe the entire meeting. How can we claim to be transparent if we don’t let people witness our debates and deliberations in the board meetings?

For me, the answer is simple. It has been my experience that those who want to sit in a meeting have a singular agenda. I have watched them flood the rooms of other meetings across our region that do allow a public gallery. I have watched the board debate in these rooms change as pressure from the board is easily audience is exerted.

I think we meet all the definitions of transparency at your electric cooperative. For starters, we definitely have been free of deceit. People sometimes don’t like our positions or policies, but they have been and will continue to be clear and honestly open. A great example has been my position on generation resources over the years. As I have written about the need for coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar, and wind to work together, the reason—affordable electric rates—has always been easy to detect and readily understood.

Your accessible, and I am always willing to meet anyone wherever they like to discuss any detail on any issue. I actually enjoy those times.

I believe we have excelled at the accessibility of information regarding our business practices. We have answered questions in members’ homes, before crowds of members at our Annual Meeting, at meetings of special interest groups across the region, on social media, and via the blog on our website.

I have never expected everyone to agree with our practices, positions, or policies. I’m okay talking with people who don’t agree with me. I have never ducked a hard question or a difficult conversation. Every decision we make at your cooperative comes with realizing that it will have to be explained openly and honestly. It is simply less stressful to operate with this mindset. Being transparent is a great way to get a good night’s sleep.

Governance by intimidation is not good governance. A democratically elected board should be free to have an open and honest discussion without criticism from a crowd that is not responsible for each member’s good. When I look at the track record of decisions made by your board over my 18 years at the cooperative, I believe this practice has worked very well.

Being in the room is not the definition of transparency. There is only a lack of transparency if board members are unwilling to talk to members after a decision. There is only a lack of transparency if I am not willing to sit down with members and explain the reasons behind the policy. Your board is easily accessible, and I am always willing to meet anyone wherever they like to discuss any detail on any issue. I actually enjoy those times. Think about this—I could have written about a dozen other topics, but I chose this one. I chose to draw attention to this topic when I could have remained silent, and most would not have been aware. How transparent is that?



10 TIPS For Enjoying Michigan’s Dark Skies

Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, which shroud the state in near-total darkness. This makes it the perfect destination for some of the best stargazing in the nation. Michigan has committed to establishing areas that are devoid of the artificial light commonly found around cities, which partially obscures the night sky. These include six dark sky preserves located in state parks; Headlands International Dark Sky Park and Dr. T.K. Lawless Park (Michigan’s only internationally designated dark sky parks); and the pristine, quiet shoreline and forests in the Upper Peninsula. Each of these spots provides for the perfect dark sky viewing experience, and they are located all across the state. With so many spectacular locations that let you truly see the extraordinary dark sky above, you are sure to be starstruck by Michigan’s dark skies. To be well prepared for your night of stargazing, follow these 10 tips:




Find the Perfect Spot

Once you’ve left the city lights behind, it is time to find the right spot to set up for the night. Any of Michigan’s dark sky preserves are perfect for stargazing in the Lower Peninsula, but if you are hoping to see the aurora borealis——or northern lights——as well, you’ll want to go somewhere you can see the horizon. The aurora borealis will likely appear low on the horizon rather than overhead because of Michigan’s distance from the north pole. This makes the Upper Peninsula’s unobstructed shoreline along Lake Superior perfect for chasing the northern lights.


Check the Weather

To really optimize your dark sky viewing experience, you want to be sure to pick the perfect day. Choose a night with a clear sky forecast——clouds and rain could really put a damper on the night. It’s not just the weather you should keep an eye on, either. Light from the moon can make it harder to see the stars, so avoid nights where the moon is full. Also, though Michigan’s Great Lakes help to darken the sky, their shores are often 10 degrees cooler at night than sites farther inland. This means warm clothes and lots of blankets are a must.


Find a Place to Stay

After confirming there will be a clear night, you’ll want to book your sleeping accommodations——such as a state park campsite——ahead of time. Luckily, Michigan’s six dark sky preserves are located in state parks, and most have camping available onsite. While Headlands International Dark Sky Park doesn’t allow you to set up camp, the park is never closed and there are many nearby accommodations for spending the night.


Find Art in Constellations

A constellation is a grouping of stars that forms a distinctive shape, usually that of an animal or mythological being. As the year goes on and the earth rotates around the sun, different constellations become visible, so research which constellations can be seen overhead from your dark sky destination at the particular time you’ll be there. This summer in Michigan, look for Virgo, Sagittarius, and the Summer Triangle. Also, Ursa Major and Minor, known as the Big and Little Dippers, are visible all year long in Michigan. Since they are simple and easy to identify, they can help direct you to other constellations as well.

Stargazing at McClain State Park, photo courtesy of Pure Michigan


Look For More Than Stars

The sky is home to more than just the moon and stars. Check the orbit of the International Space Station to see if it will be visible, or learn the names of the satellites that will be gliding across the dark sky overhead. These man-made structures are visible at night when the sun reflects off their surfaces. You can also find out which planets will be visible depending on the time of year, or if a meteor shower will light up your night. It’s best to research your viewing location beforehand so that you can know what to expect, and it may give you something to hunt for as you focus your gaze among the stars.


Don’t Get Lost—Bring A Map

There are billions of stars in the Milky Way—— and looking at a sky full of seemingly endless stars is awe-inspiring. This is why you need a star map. A map can give you a sense of what you are looking at and help you navigate the celestial skyscape of constellations and planets. Print a map to bring with you or download an app to your phone. Either way, having access to a map while stargazing is a great way to learn about the universe above and keeps you from getting lost in the sea of stars.


See Far Away, Up Close

A night of spectacular dark sky viewing doesn’t require a fancy telescope. Actually, without the proper practice and experience, viewing the sky with a telescope can be challenging. Rather than spending money on expensive equipment, bring a pair of binoculars! Binoculars can help you focus and get a better view of the stars——plus they are portable, which allows you to travel easily with them in hand. Kids can also create their own telescope using common household items like paper towel rolls, which makes for a fun craft before your trip.


Allow The Stars To Shine— Use A Red Light

To allow the twinkling lights of the stars to really shine, you want to avoid creating any other light that will obstruct your view. Limit the use of all your devices and flashlights, and be sure to find a spot away from other artificial light sources like street lamps if you’re not in a dark sky park. When you do need a light, use a red light. Red lights allow your eyes to stay adjusted to the darkness, while still helping you see things——such as where to walk on the trail or reading your star map. You can purchase a special red-light device, or simply tape a few layers of red cellophane over your flashlight!


Join A Celestial Celebration

Michigan’s stargazing and astronomy community——amateurs and professionals alike—— seizes every opportunity to gather and admire the stars. On the shores of Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge, Headlands International Dark Sky Park hosts many of its own events, complete with astronomer presentations, telescope demonstrations, and space-themed celebrations. In August, you can also celebrate the Perseid Meteor Shower at Michigan state parks.


Just Look Up

The first step to viewing the night sky like never before is turning your eyes to the sky. Get yourself to where they can really be seen and look up——in Michigan, beautiful dark skies are everywhere. Step away from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine and escape to the sky’s natural brilliance. Just set up your blanket, grab a thermos full of hot chocolate, and surround yourself with good company while you wait for Michigan’s dark skies to light up in a sea of stars. Reprinted with permission from Pure Michigan and michigan.org.



TASTE of HOME Local Entrepreneur Honors Leelanau County With Iced Tea Business By Rob Marsh


o say that Cherryland member Kevin Vann is a fan of Leelanau County is a bit of an understatement. Having grown up in Traverse City and moved to the neighboring county after college, Vann has ensured that his life’s journey was based in Leelanau. “I’m completely in love with this area,” Vann said proudly. Leelanau County hasn’t only been home to Vann and his family, but it’s also been home to his entrepreneurial spirit. For the last 15 years, Vann has been the brains behind several startups and inventions. Vann’s most recent endeavor, however, is unlike anything he’s done before. And it was born out of another love of his: pop. Vann will be the first to admit that his pop-drinking habit runs deep. “My lunch used to consist of two Mountain Dews and Chex Mix,” he chuckled. “I’ve always loved to sip on something.” About 10 years ago, Vann decided to back off pop and instead began brewing and experimenting with his own iced tea as a healthier option. That’s when you could say that Leelanau Tea was born. “As an entrepreneur, I was used to consumer products— inventing products and getting them into stores,” he


Vann’s three children enjoy supporting him and helping the business grow.

“The cherry-flavored iced tea gives you that feeling of vacation, driving through the countryside, and having a great summer day.”

explained. “Beverages is definitely something different, but I found that I was really interested in the industry.”

home to stores and shops. And the response so far has been very positive.

Vann’s tea dreams sat quietly for years while he was busy working full-time and raising a family. It wasn’t until COVID-19 struck that he had the time to bring the idea to life.

“I would say that 75% of the time, the manager of the store is like, ‘Great, we’ll buy it,’” Vann said. “And 25% of the time, I have to leave samples behind, but the next day the store manager calls me and says, ‘Wow, this is great!’”

“The pandemic gave me all the time in the world to work on branding, work with a food scientist, ship samples back and forth, etc.,” he said. “It really gave me the opportunity to focus.” Vann’s line of beverages consists of four types: sweet tea, unsweet tea, lemonade, and half lemonade, half tea blend. All four beverages have one thing in common: cherries. Vann uses locally grown cherries to flavor all his products. “Simply, cherries are good for you and taste great,” he said. “The cherry-flavored iced tea gives you that feeling of vacation, driving through the countryside, and having a great summer day.” You could say that is what inspired the name Leelanau Tea. After weeding out dozens of potential names, Vann stuck with the name that paid homage to his home and its namesake industry. “While I live here and the cherry orchards surround me, it also has an appeal to people who are not living here and would love something to connect them to the area,” he said. Today, Vann tours the greater Grand Traverse region in his spare time, selling his taste of

Leelanau Tea is catching the eye of not only local stores, but of local royalty, including the National Cherry Queen.

The iced tea business doesn’t stop with Vann. His wife and kids are known to help out, including dropping off tea at stores while out and about during their day. “They’re getting a kick out of it and helping me grow it,” Vann said. Like a true entrepreneur, Vann’s vision for Leelanau Tea doesn’t stop locally. He is looking to get his products in locations all across the state and, hopefully, the country. “There are Michiganders everywhere,” he joked. “I want to create a great connection for those Michiganders that don’t have the luxury of living here year-round.”

MI CO-OP Recipes

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

WHOLE GRAINS Nutty, tasty and filling recipes.


FARRO SALAD WITH MINT DRESSING Amy Schultz, Great Lakes Energy

Pickled Onions: ½ cup vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided 1 red onion, thinly sliced Farro: 1 cup dried (uncooked) farro 3 cups water ½ teaspoon salt Salad: 4 cups arugula 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1 large cucumber, seeded and diced 1 carrot, thinly sliced Spiced Chickpeas: 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon cayenne pepper • freshly ground black pepper & salt, to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil



energy bill credit!

Around The World due Aug. 1 Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Favorites due Sept. 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.


Dressing: ¹⁄ ³ cup fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1 teaspoon sugar 1 garlic clove, minced ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste ¹⁄ ³ cup extra-virgin olive oil ¹⁄ ³ cup chopped, fresh mint Mix together the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and red onion. Let sit at room temperature for an hour. Meanwhile, make the farro; simmer 1 cup dry farro in 3 cups water with ½ teaspoon salt until tender, about 25 minutes (will make 2 cups cooked). Drain. In a large bowl, toss cooked farro, arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, and carrot together and set aside. Drain chickpeas and blot with paper towels; toss with spices (do not add oil yet). Heat a large 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once oil is hot, fry for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make dressing. Add chickpeas to salad. Toss with dressing. Top with pickled onions. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


Ruth Benjamin, HomeWorks Tri-County 5 cups water 1–1½ cups mixture of fresh and dried fruit, cut into small pieces (fresh apple, pear, or peach combined w/ raisins, dried cranberries/ cherries/apricots, etc.) ¼ cup multigrain cereal (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill) 2 cups old fashioned oats ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract ½ teaspoon cinnamon • favorite nuts (walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds) • favorite yogurt

Combine water and fruit in a 4-quart saucepan with lid. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for several minutes, until fresh fruit is soft and dried fruit is plump. Add multigrain cereal and oats. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and let sit for a minute. Spoon into serving bowls (makes 4–5 large servings). Sprinkle with nuts and top with 4–8 ounces of yogurt. Garnish with fresh berries if desired. Also can be served with milk or half-and-half. Refrigerate leftovers for easy warming later in the week.

OLD-FASHIONED BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES Morgan Wernette, HomeWorks Tri-County

HEARTY RAINBOW MASON JAR SALAD Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy ½ 1 1 ¼ 1 1 4 1

cup dry red quinoa lemon, juiced tablespoon olive oil cup crumbled feta cheese cup mini grape tomatoes, sliced orange bell pepper, diced radishes, diced cup chickpeas

1 1 4 4

cup shelled edamame cup diced celery cups fresh spinach leaves mason jars

Cook the dry quinoa per package instructions and let it cool. Toss the quinoa with the juice of one lemon, olive oil, and feta cheese. Set aside. Place equal parts of each ingredient in a mason jar, starting with the quinoa mixture. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days in a sealed container. Enjoy!

1 1½ 1 ¼ ¼ 1¼ 1 ¼ 1 •

cup buckwheat flour teaspoons white sugar teaspoon baking powder teaspoon baking soda teaspoon salt cup buttermilk large egg teaspoon vanilla tablespoon shortening maple syrup or honey, for serving

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix in buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and shortening until smooth. Grease skillet. Drop batter by large spoonfuls. Cook 3–4 minutes until bubbles form and edges are crisp. Flip and cook another 2–3 minutes until brown. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with maple syrup or honey.






Ivy Halligan is a graduate of Traverse City Central High School. She recently committed to Michigan State University and will major in human biology on a premedical track. Halligan has been in 4-H for the last five years, giving her a love for medicine. She appreciates this opportunity, as her education has always been important, and is very excited to take this next step in her life.


Olivia Lowe is a graduate of Leland Public School’s class of 2021. She has held many leadership positions in her time at Leland, including Student Council president and National Honor Society treasurer, and has also been highly involved in the National Art Honor Society. Throughout high school, Lowe also participated in varsity basketball, volleyball, and soccer. She was named All-State and Individual Academic All-State in both basketball and volleyball for Division 4. She will be attending Hope College in the fall and plans to major in elementary education, while also playing basketball for the women’s team.


Ellie Mugerian will be attending Belmont University in the fall to pursue her passion for music. She will be majoring in audio engineering and music production at the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.

Adult Winners


Yulin Chen-Landvoy is a lifetime learner and mom of three. She believes anyone big or small can be her teacher. Her children have taught her how to ice-skate, ski, bike, and pronounce the names of most dinosaurs. She also credits them with teaching her patience, diplomacy, and effective peacemaking. It’s the love for learning that drove Chen-Landvoy to gain new knowledge and skills that will better prepare her for her current career path. She hopes to apply that knowledge and those skills to make more informed and strategic decisions for her employer.


Garett Miller was born and raised in Leelanau County and has always been a Cherryland member. He attended Leland Public Schools beginning in second grade. In his senior year, Miller secured an athletic scholarship at a junior college, where he earned a Third Team Academic All-American award in basketball. While in junior college, he chose to work on a degree in construction management. Miller began attending Ferris State University this past fall, where he continues to work on his bachelor’s degree. After graduation, his goal is to return to the community that he knows and loves. 12 JULY/AUGUST 2021

Ch-ch-changes With Cherryland By Courtney Doyle, Marketing & Communications Specialist


“I can’t wait to start this new chapter with the team at Cherryland, and I can’t wait to get to know every one of you along the way!”

here’s no question; we’ve all been through a lot of changes this past year. Changes that were often confusing, frustrating, and sometimes scary. Well, I’m here to tell you that change isn’t always bad. In fact, some of the best things in our lives come from change. Think about all the major moments in your life. Starting your career, falling in love, growing your family—the one major thing that ties all of those moments together is change. For the past decade, I’ve spent much of my time in the heart of a newsroom. Just days after graduating from Cadillac High School, I began interning at our local TV station. Three and a half years later, I graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in broadcasting and cinematic arts and began working at that same TV station. I loved it. I started my adult life in my hometown, working alongside the individuals who inspired me to become a journalist. As the years passed, I somehow convinced the people in charge to let me in front of a camera. Northern Michigan trusted me to tell their stories, keep them informed, and squeeze in a laugh or two every now and then. I will be forever grateful for that. Thanks to that TV station, I got to know so many amazing people, went on some

incredible adventures, and even met my husband. But all the changes this year got me thinking—maybe it’s time to try something new. The heart of my passion lies with people. The more I learned about Cherryland Electric Cooperative, it was easy to see that their priorities stood in line with mine. So here I find myself, having once again convinced the people in charge to take a chance on me. I’m excited to continue telling your stories, learning new things every day, and most importantly, connecting with the unique individuals Cherryland serves. The way the world looks at, creates, and consumes energy is changing faster than ever, and we get to explore that together! So next time you’re worried about change—remember that great things can come from change. I can’t wait to start this new chapter with the team at Cherryland, and I can’t wait to get to know every one of you along the way! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s ever a topic you’d like to see covered in Michigan Country Lines. You can email me at cdoyle@cherrylandelectric.coop.


Foraging for Mushroom Houses By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photography by Mike Barton


hen you turn the corner to the charming cul-de-sac and first spy the houses perched one after the other at an almost fairy-tale level—words like charming and quaint are almost impossible not to use. It harkens to Middle Earth or Narnia, and one expects hobbits, dwarves, or fauns to wander out and offer you a cup of tea and biscuits after your long journey. However, these homes designed by architect Earl Young, often referred to as the Mushroom Houses, aren’t found in storybooks or magical forests, but rather right in the heart of Charlevoix, Michigan. And one doesn’t need a magic wardrobe or ruby slippers to reach them—they are available to visit in small electric GEM vehicles, complete with a tour guide. Edith Pair owned an art gallery for years in Young’s Weathervane building and was flooded with curious 14 JULY/AUGUST 2021

out-of-towners trying to find “the mushroom houses” (dubbed for the curvy, overhanging rooftops)— something they’d been told not to miss while in town. “It was a lightbulb moment. I just thought, I could take people to see them,” said Pair. “We started with walking tours in 2006, then got into horse and carriage setup, and now we have our GEM cars. It’s so great to be able to take people around and tell them about this really interesting

notoriously low ceilings, presumably because he himself was fairly short. Pair would love to include more interiors in future tours, but for now, people still get to enjoy the one-ofa-kind spectacle of the Mushroom Houses. “It’s a privilege to share the stories,” said Pair. “I’ve seen some people hop on the tour prepared to be bored, but once they hear the stories, see the stones that were almost magically moved and maneuvered—everyone becomes mesmerized. Even me, still, after all this time.” The houses offer whimsical views and rich stories, and are a testament to “Stones have their own personalities. Young’s own inner voice People say I’m crazy when I say so, but that encouraged his desire to build something unique they really do.” –Earl Young and lasting. Each home has its own character, easy to spot. His buildings feature and the man who built them believed wide, flowing eaves, exposed beams their natural elements were the magic and rafters, and a horizontal design behind the masonry. that harkens a bit to Frank Lloyd Wright. “Stones have their own personalities,” Young told a reporter for the Detroit Free Press in 1973. “People say I’m “My dad knew Earl Young,” said Pair. crazy when I say so, but they really do.” “There are so many great stories about his work. He used boulders up to several tons, which he’d haul out of the lake with workhorses and chains. I mean, can you imagine?”

piece of artful architecture and history we have in Charlevoix, and then give them tips on some other things they should see or do while in town.” Pair’s tours give a wide range of information on Young’s unique journey to his vocation, as well as a look at all of the houses in town. Earl Young grew up in Charlevoix, a self-taught architect and builder who constructed 26 residential homes and four commercial properties. He notoriously scavenged Northern Michigan for large boulders, limestone, and fieldstone, and constructed his unique structures to blend in with their natural surroundings. Given that his career lasted over 50 years and he built well into the 1970s, Young’s homes are

Pair isn’t alone in her wonder and amazement at what Young managed to accomplish with the tools and machinery available to him. Mike Seitz, a South African architect, came from his home in Texas to visit his wife’s parents in Charlevoix. Once he caught sight of the Mushroom Houses, he couldn’t leave until he bought one. His reimagining of four houses, including one designed by Young’s daughter, Virginia Olsen, garnered some attention, particularly as he imported thatched roof specialists from Europe to install natural, yet durable, rooftops. The four Young properties sit dispersed, each different while sharing the imaginative design of the bold architect. Each one is bespoke, with exposed rock and beams, and available to rent for private stays. Guests should be prepared to duck occasionally, as Young’s Mushroom Houses have

Photographer Mike Barton has colorfully captured the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix in this hardcover book that features more than 190 photographs. To purchase a copy of the book, visit: http://www.amzn.com/0989926877

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit: MushroomHouseTours.com /MushroomHouseTours @MushroomHouseTours




American Pride 1. “My grandbabies, Emma and Sawyer Johnson” by Diane Chamberlain  2. “Pride of the Navy” by Stacy Voras  3. “Coast Guard retirement ceremony” by Adam Cravey  4. “Honoring Grandpa” by Karen Riley  5. “The ‘Grand’ ole flag” by Erin Howe

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Submit Your “Pet Costumes” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our July/August theme is Pet Costumes. Photos can be submitted through July 20 to be featured in our October issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/ cherrylandelectriccoop. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill. 16 JULY/AUGUST 2021


Your Board In Action May Board Meeting • At the staff’s recommendation, the board opted to move their monthly meeting from the third Monday of every month to the fourth Monday, beginning in October. The move will better accommodate the billing practices of Cherryland’s power supplier and allow the cooperative’s accounting departments to report financial information to the board in a well-timed manner.


Notification About Cherryland Cares rea nonprofit agencies seeking financial help can apply for a grant through Cherryland Cares.

This program distributes funds to local nonprofit organizations seeking assistance. Cherryland Cares is overseen by a five-member board that reviews grant applications and allocates funds to nonprofits seeking assistance. Cherryland Cares is funded through Operation Round Up—the voluntary rounding up of one’s monthly electric bill to the next whole dollar amount. A member’s average annual contribution is approximately $6. Your annual contribution to Cherryland Cares is reported on your monthly statement in December. Participation in Operation Round Up is voluntary and may be discontinued at any time. All grant information is highlighted in Michigan Country Lines and on Cherryland’s Facebook page. The deadline for third-quarter applications is Friday, Sept. 10. For additional information regarding Cherryland Cares, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email smattson@cherrylandelectric.coop.

• The board voted to contribute $50,000 to the Regional Resiliency Fund, a joint program of local economic development organization Traverse Connect and its partner organization, Venture North, which provides grants to small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, and Wexford counties. The board contributed the same amount to the fund in June of last year. • The board approved local company, Altus Brands, for a zero-interest loan to help fund the manufacture of specialized hearing protection for law enforcement. Through the cooperative’s USDA-funded economic development revolving loan program, Cherryland offers zero-interest loans to startups, businesses looking to expand, and public service entities. Members have the opportunity to provide input to the board prior to any regularly scheduled board meeting. To have your comments included in a monthly board packet for review, please submit them to Board Assistant Secretary Shannon Mattson at smattson@cherrylandelectric.coop a minimum of three business days before the monthly board meeting.


Win a


Where In Michigan Is This?

energy bill credit!

Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by July 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. May 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Tim Budnik, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron. Photo by Michael Herbon. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.


Each year, 3,800 people in the U.S. die from drowning. Electric shock drowning occurs when an electric current escapes boats, docks, and lights near marinas, shocking nearby swimmers. There are no visible signs of current seeping into water, which makes this a hidden danger. The electric shock paralyzes swimmers, making them unable to swim to safety.


Boat Owners

• Never swim near a boat or launching ramp. Residual current could flow into the water from the boat or the marina’s wiring, potentially putting anyone in the water at risk of electric shock.

• Ensure your boat is properly maintained and consider having it inspected annually. GFCIs and ELCIs should be tested monthly. Conduct leakage testing to determine if electrical current is escaping the vessel.

• If you feel any tingling sensations while in the water, tell someone and swim back in the direction from which you came. Immediately report it to the dock or marina owner.

• Use portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are “UL-Marine Listed” when using electricity near water. • Regularly have your boat’s electrical system inspected by a certified marine electrician. Ensure it meets your local and state NEC, NFPA, and ABYC safety codes.




CALL 911

DO NOT enter the water. You could become a victim, too. Sources: Electrical Safety Foundation International, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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