COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association
Rescue On A Snowy Day
It Takes Guts Fireworks Safety Tips
Foraging for Mushroom Houses
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2022
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July/August 2021 Vol. 41, No. 7
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird
RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd
PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional ofﬁces. It is the ofﬁcial publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.
CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGE OF ADDRESS: 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.
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)
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY
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 email@example.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
Patriotism In Action
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 • firstname.lastname@example.org
William Hodges, Vice President Lake Linden District 906-934-3743 • email@example.com Mildred Ann Gasperich, Secretary Boston District 906-337-5079 • firstname.lastname@example.org
ccording to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, patriotism is “the love for or devotion to one’s country.” Perhaps no other day of the year evokes such a sense of patriotism than Independence Day. With flags rippling in the wind; red, white, and blue bunting adorning porches and storefronts; and local parades and marching bands on display, it’s easy to feel a swell of pride for our country. Arguably, another, perhaps deeper form of patriotism, is active engagement in public and civic life. Involvement in your town promotes a richer community life and ensures that institutions thrive and communities remain vibrant and inviting places to live, work, and play. Besides being enjoyable, your participation in community events and activities, together with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, makes a difference. Simple things like supporting a bake sale or attending a local high school event signal to the young people in your community that you care and support them and that the community itself is worth sustaining.
Randy Myhren, Treasurer Green/Firesteel/Toivola District 906-884-4092
In fact, there are civic engagement opportunities available through Ontonagon REA. You may recall that one of our most important cooperative principles is that of democratic participation. If you have an account and receive a bill, you are a co-op member with an opportunity to provide input through voting during our director elections.
Michael Urbis, Director Ewen/Trout Creek/Lake Mine District 906-988-2344 • email@example.com
Like other types of co-ops, Ontonagon REA originated to serve a need that traditional for-profit electric companies were not meeting. We make decisions based on long-term thinking—what decisions will benefit the larger community in which we operate? One of the best ways you can engage with your co-op is by casting your vote when it’s time to elect board members. These are folks just like you from our community, who guide co-op leadership on various issues and decisions, both short term and long term.
Perhaps you haven’t voted in the past because you didn’t think you were qualified to weigh in on a particular topic, or maybe you simply didn’t have time to vote. But you do have an opinion on the issues that affect our community, and Ontonagon REA wants your particular perspective.
Wayne Heikkinen, Director Pelkie/Herman/Aura District 906-353-6496 • firstname.lastname@example.org
George Rajala, Director Chassell/Keweenaw Bay District 906-370-0416 • email@example.com Debbie Miles, General Manager Fay Hauswirth, Billing Clerk Mark Urbis, Line Superintendent 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.
Everyone has valuable experience that informs their decision-making process. Diverse perspectives benefit the whole community. You may have a different view than your neighbor, but together, those perspectives provide a more Ontonagon-balanced view of the community. You could be bringing new information that hadn’t been previously considered. We seek more members participating in the process because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the people’s will. The next opportunity to vote in the board election is next spring. Whether in the co-op or local and national elections, I would argue that voting is a form of patriotism, as it reflects a devotion to one’s community and commitment to ensure that it thrives. Democracy is not a spectator sport; it takes active civic engagement by citizens to thrive. This Independence Day, I hope you will embrace the local celebrations and actively participate in your community—and vote at every opportunity!
4 JULY/AUGUST 2021
Summer Energy Savings Help keep your cooling costs in check this summer with these tips from energy.gov.
Prevent Heat Gain From The Sun
• Sun shining in through windows and doors literally warms your home like an oven. Use window coverings to keep the sun out and your home’s temperature cooler.
Maintain Your A/C Unit
• For central air, have a professional check the unit annually. He or she will perform a proper tuneup and can spot some potential problems before they become emergencies. • Change the filter on your HVAC unit regularly all year long.
2 Run Ceiling Fans • Run ceiling fans at a fast speed in a counterclockwise direction to create a wind chill effect. Turn the fan off when you leave the room; fans cool people, not rooms.
Use Your Thermostat Wisely
• Try to keep your thermostat as close to the outdoor temperature as possible. The Department of Energy recommends at least 78 degrees when you are home. Turn up the thermostat even higher when you are away to prevent your A/C unit from running unnecessarily. A programmable or smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature to ensure you are cooling your home when you need to and not when you don’t. • When first turning on the air conditioner, don’t turn the temperature way down to jumpstart the cooling effect. Your A/C unit doesn’t work faster because the temperature is lower, but it could cause it to run longer than necessary.
6 Be Smart About Appliances • Only run full loads in your washer and dishwasher.
Seal Leaks • Cracks and leaks around windows, doors, and utility cutouts allow warm air to enter the home and cause your A/C unit to work harder. Seal or caulk leaks and holes.
• Let your dishes air-dry instead of using the heat setting. Prop the door open once the final rinse is complete for faster drying. • Cook or grill outside when you can to avoid running your stove or oven. • Buy Energy-Star certified appliances; these appliances are guaranteed to run more efficiently than noncertified ones.
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 energy-efficient 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. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
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.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
FREE And Easy Home Energy-Saving Solutions Large Appliance Evaluation and Replacement H ow often do you get free and easy opportunities to save you money on utility bills and reduce energy use? Probably not very often. You will find that the Energy Optimization program provides these kinds of opportunities to help you with energy-saving solutions for your home at no cost—and it’s easy to get started.
If your household meets the income eligibility guidelines below, you could receive FREE energy-saving products and services. Qualified households have two options to improve the energy performance of their homes. Option 1: FREE product kit of energy-saving items, delivered to your home with instructions for installation.
Based on their in-home consultation, some customers may be qualified for assistance to upgrade larger, inefficient appliances, such as refrigerators. If they are considered highly inefficient, you could receive a new replacement at no cost.
To qualify for the Energy Optimization program, your household must meet the following income guidelines. Gross annual income is the combined total income of all household members before taxes.
Gross Annual Income
Product kits may include energy-saving items like:
• • • •
LED bulbs LED night-lights Smart power strip Water-saving fixtures (only in select kits)
Option 2: FREE in-home consultation and product kit, with direct installation of energy-saving products by a qualified energy professional.
In-home consultation A trained professional can help identify areas where additional energy savings are possible. During the consultation, the representative will bring and install the energy-efficient products in the free product kit and will offer tips for saving energy.
Note: For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $9,080 for each additional person.
To find out if you qualify for Energy Optimization programs or to learn more, call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org.
The Energy Optimization program provides qualified households with no-cost tools like energysaving devices, expert advice, and tips to help you: improve energy performance better manage electric use reduce electric bills
CONTACT US TODAY FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION. michigan-energy.org • 877.296.4319
Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.
Rescue On A Snowy Day O n April 19, 2021, Calumet area resident Ann Mahr returned home from a doctor’s appointment. “It was a typical stormy Copper Country winter day, with heavy snow blowing everywhere,” she said.
Ann pulled into her garage and stepped out of her car. Reaching back for her purse, her heel caught on the floor drain, and as she recalls, “Down I went. I sat there trying to get up, but I couldn’t, and that’s when I knew something was wrong because my foot was pointing the wrong way.” She tried to get up several times by grabbing the seat belt, but the immense pain was too much for her to do so. Realizing she was in danger on a frigid day, she tried to push herself away from the melting snow and water coming off the car. She then began to yell for help, hoping her neighbors would hear her, but it was to no avail. When two cars passed, she waved wildly, hoping to catch their attention, but they did not notice her. “The third vehicle to pass by was a white Ontonagon REA truck,” she said. “I waved frantically and yelled loudly. The truck stopped and backed up, and a man got out and asked, ‘Do you need help?’ and I said, ‘Yes! Boy, do I ever!” Even now, retelling the story, Ann says, “I choke up just thinking about it.” The man was Nels Erickson, Ontonagon’s senior lineman for the Houghton-based crew. According to Nels, “Something didn’t seem right, and I just knew I should back up and check.” Nels tried to help her stand up, but she was in too much pain to do so, and he immediately called 911. They waited in the garage for approximately 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. “It seemed like an eternity,” Ann recalls. When Ann began to
shiver, Nels got a blanket to cover her and kept her occupied by telling her about his family and his daughter’s upcoming wedding. When the ambulance arrived, and she was safely in it, she kept thanking him and asking his name, “But he never did tell me his name,” said Ann. “I told him he was my hero and that I wanted to send him something for his kindness, but he said, ‘Don’t you worry about it.’” Once at the hospital, Ann was told she had broken her hip, and she spent the next week there convalescing before being released. While she is currently using a cane, she has been told she can expect a full recovery. Ann says, “Nels was like an angel. I don’t even want to think about how long I would have been there on the garage floor if he hadn’t shown up.” Nels says, “I just did what anyone would.”
American Pride 1. The Copper Country is ready to celebrate! Mary Kaminski 2. Mimi and her crew, sporting red, white, and blue. Donna Preston
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 2021 energy bills! Upcoming Topics and Deadlines:
• Water, due July 20 (Sept./Oct. issue) • Santa Photos, due Sept. 20 (Nov./Dec. issue) To submit photos, and for details and instructions, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos!
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
RECIPE CONTEST Win a
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 JULY/AUGUST 2021
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’S BED & BREAKFAST OATMEAL
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.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Father/son duo Mark Banghart and Michael Banghart of the Boomtown Saints chase down a disc that's been deflected by teammates.
ou’ve got to ask yourself—what does it take to stand in a line with four other people while someone with a steely gaze just 14 meters away throws an object at your head at a speed upwards of 80 mph? And not hit the deck, but instead, try to catch the flying object?
Ryan Scott of the Boomtown Saints fires a forehand shot at his opponents.
At the very least—it takes Guts.
“lost decade” in the ‘90s. Guts was being played before its better-known counterpart, disc sports, became big. Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf have found devoted audiences, with ultimate appealing to the physically fit crowd willing to run lengths of a soccer field and lay out to catch a toss. Disc golfers are more inclined to pack up their drivers and putters and walk courses at a leisurely pace with friends or family.
It might sound like a crazy thing to do, but for the men and women who have discovered the little-known sport of Guts Frisbee, it’s an adrenaline high wrapped up in a family reunion.
“Guts is a great combination of the two,” said Klemmer. “It’s got the quick action and adrenaline of ultimate and the strategy piece of disc golf. It’s just happening simultaneously while someone throws an 80-mph disc at you.”
Guts was invented in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by the Healy family, who were looking for a backyard game using items they had around, as well as one that allowed them to hold their beverage of choice at the same time. Enter a couple of lines of people, a Frisbee, fast-flying throws, and one-handed catching. Its rules are simple, if not a little brutal sounding.
In 2007, Guts made a bit of a resurgence at the International Frisbee Tournament’s (IFT) 50th anniversary meet. What started with a mostly Michigan crowd has grown to other states and has good showings internationally. While sports enthusiasts may not have heard of Guts, it maintains a small but devoted following, allowing for the opportunity to play around the world at the highest levels.
“Guts had become quite popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s when superteams were formed to win the prize money being offered,” said USA Guts Communications Director Donny Klemmer, Jr., who plays for Buck’s Brigade out of metro Detroit. “My first experience was actually with my mom, who was playing while pregnant with me.” It’s that sort of hardcore grit and commitment to the game that has seen it through even tough times like its 12 JULY/AUGUST 2021
Ryan Scott, who plays for the Boomtown Saints out of Lansing and is considered one of the top players in the sport, has traveled around the world with Guts. “Never in my life could I have imagined when I started playing this sport, it would take me to London, Vancouver, and Japan. I’ve gone to Columbia to teach Guts, and just
GUTS went to China to play in 2019,” said Scott. “When you travel for a purpose, you get a chance to experience not only the place but the people in a really unique way.” With such an impassioned group of folks playing the sport and the promise that it’s accessible to those of all ages, it begs the question of why folks from around the country, if not the world, aren’t taking up this relatively inexpensive sport? “The truth is, Guts can look intimidating at first, but once you get in there, you realize how much the folks are there to support you,” said Klemmer. “We want to get as many people as possible to have the experience not just of the sport, but the community.”
Takayoshi Suda of Japan travels to Michigan annually to compete in Guts tournaments.
By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Barb Thornton and Ginger Leach
“ T he
t r u t h is,
Guts can look intimidating at first, but once you get in there, you realize how much the folks are there to support you. We want to get as many people as possible to have the experience not just of the sport, but the community.” —D
onn y K lemmer
Carter Nettell of Shottlebop unleashes his wicked left-handed thumber shot.
Scott echoes the sentiment and notes that if people reach out to the organization, Klemmer will put some discs in the mail (some traveling as far as Rwanda and Thailand) and try to find other Guts players in the area who can run an impromptu clinic. This sort of grassroots outreach makes a good case that this little-known sport could find another boom down the road. “It would be great to see Guts featured on ESPN,” said Klemmer enthusiastically. “In fact, I’d love for it to become the first team sport on the X Games.” Who knows, if these athletes keep showing up with the same level of passion, energy, and well, guts, it just might be.
Guts tournaments attracted thousands of spectators in the '70s and '80s to a festival-like atmosphere.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
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
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Powering Up After an Outage When the power goes out, we expect it to be restored within a few hours. But when a major storm or natural disaster causes widespread damage, extended outages may result. Our line crews work long, hard hours to restore service safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. Here’s how we get to work when you find yourself in the dark:
1. High-Voltage Transmission Lines:
Transmission towers and cables supply power to transmission substations (and thousands of members), and they rarely fail. But when damaged, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate.
2. Distribution Substation:
A substation can serve hundreds or thousands of members. When a major outage occurs, our line crews inspect substations to determine if problems stem from transmission lines feeding into the substation, the substation itself or if problems exist further down the line.
3. Main Distribution Lines:
If the problem cannot be isolated at a distribution substation, distribution lines are checked. These lines carry power to large groups of members in our local communities.
4. Tap Lines:
If local outages persist, supply lines (also known as tap lines) are inspected. These lines deliver power to transformers, either mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service, outside businesses, schools and homes.
5. Service Lines:
If your home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and your residence may need to be repaired. If you experience an outage, please give us a call so we can isolate the issue.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
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.
HOW TO PREVENT ELECTRIC SHOCK DROWNING
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.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR: Swimmers
• 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.
IF YOU SEE ELECTRIC SHOCK DROWNING TAKING PLACE:
TURN POWER OFF
THROW A LIFE RING
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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FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS Fireworks and summer go hand in hand, and we want you to have a safe, fun-ﬁlled season! Keep these safety tips in mind:
Make sure ﬁreworks are legal in your community before using them. Never buy professionalgrade ﬁreworks. They are not designed for safe consumer use. Keep small children a safe distance from all ﬁreworks, including sparklers, which can burn at temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees. Never reignite or handle malfunctioning ﬁreworks. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby to thoroughly soak duds before throwing them away. Keep pets indoors and away from ﬁreworks to avoid contact injuries or noise reactions.