COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative
IT’S A WILD RIDE At Traverse City Horse Shows
Controlled Blackout Preparedness Tips
2021 Annual Report Inside HomeWorks Connect Construction Update
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July/August 2022 Vol. 42, 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
6 THE CALL OF THE WILD The owners of GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park have been sharing their “family members” with their community for almost 30 years. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Potatoes: Side dishes so good, they’ll steal the show.
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.
Summer cruising in downtown Marquette. @kaushik0805 (Kaushik Sur)
18 GUEST COLUMN For one GLE member, every bite of a Michigan strawberry evokes a favorite childhood memory.
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
RECIPE CONTEST CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please
14 IT’S A WILD RIDE Summertime events at Flintﬁelds Horse Park lure competitors from around the world.
Win a $50 bill credit!
Up Next: Baked Goods, due Aug. 1 Holiday Side Dishes, 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.
GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!
Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.
MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!
Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
HomeWorks Is Prepared For Potential Controlled Blackouts
homeworks.org /homeworks.org firstname.lastname@example.org Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday
Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395
Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740
HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 • email@example.com
District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 • firstname.lastname@example.org District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 • email@example.com District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 • firstname.lastname@example.org District 5 — Corinna Batora 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 • email@example.com
District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 • firstname.lastname@example.org District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 • email@example.com Editor: C harly Markwart, CCC
By Chris O’Neill, CEO
ast month, I wrote about our summer electric reliability being at risk because there is not currently enough power capacity on the regional grid to meet peak demand. This is a critical issue for HomeWorks and our members, so this month, I want to further break down the risk and what it could mean for you. It’s our mission to provide you with reliable electricity, so anytime we have to talk about reliability being at risk is concerning for us. From a member standpoint, I know it’s confusing to hear your electric Co-op touting 99.95% reliability on one hand while warning about the potential for electric blackouts on the other. The easy explanation is that we’re talking about two different types of reliability. As an electric distribution cooperative, HomeWorks’ role is to make sure electricity reliably reaches your home or business after the power is generated. To do this, we continually invest in our system, which delivers power from our electric substations to your location. That investment is why we’re able to provide you with electricity that is 99.95% reliable. Getting the power to the substation is the role of a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative. Our G&T provider is Wolverine Power Cooperative. Wolverine generates and purchases power on our behalf, and they do a superb job. In fact, Wolverine has procured more than enough generation supply for us to meet the demands of our members this summer and beyond. So, what’s the issue? The issue is that all electric providers are part of a complex interconnected grid, and the grid that serves Michigan is currently short on capacity due to factors largely outside of HomeWorks’ or Wolverine’s control. If this shortfall
4 JULY/AUGUST 2022
results in periods when the grid-wide electric supply doesn’t meet demand, our regional grid operator, MISO, can require us to participate in controlled “rolling” blackouts. I know what you’re asking. “Bottom line, will this cause me to lose power this summer?” The reality is that we don’t know. Even as I write this, there is the chance that by print time, we may have already experienced a controlled blackout on a hot summer day with peak demand. What I do know is that we’re prepared. We’ve worked with Wolverine on a detailed “load shed” plan, in the event that we are asked by MISO to help reduce demand. This phased plan would include asking members to employ temporary energy conservation measures, and possibly requesting that our high-load commercial members temporarily decrease their energy usage. If these measures aren’t enough, we could be required to shut off power for some members for a brief period of time. In this situation, MISO would determine the location, duration, and amount of any load shed requirement, but if your location is going to be affected, we will make every effort to notify you beforehand if we receive advance notice. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the rolling blackout FAQs and preparedness tips on the following page. HomeWorks has never experienced controlled blackouts before, and I know it’s an unsettling prospect. However, you can rest assured that your Co-op is doing all we can to prepare and minimize the impact for our members. Please stay tuned to HomeWorks.org and our Facebook page for more on this evolving issue.
Controlled “Rolling” Electric Blackouts WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS
What Is A “Rolling Blackout”? A controlled, or “rolling,” blackout occurs when a power company is forced to briefly turn off electricity to selected areas to conserve power during a time when electric capacity does not meet demand. These blackouts are planned to be as short as possible, typically lasting for about two hours. Then, power is restored and another area is turned off (hence the term “rolling”). Affected areas are selected using sophisticated computer models. Controlled blackouts most often occur during peak energy usage times, usually between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on a very hot or very cold weekday, but they can happen at any time. Blackouts may affect the same area more than once a day, and may exceed the typical two-hour duration, if necessary.
What Causes The Potential For Controlled Blackouts? When there is not enough generation capacity on the electric grid to meet peak demand, there is the chance for the necessity of controlled blackouts. MISO, the regional grid operator of the electric grid that serves Michigan, has stated that such a shortfall currently exists for the entire Midwest this summer. This is largely due to an increase in electric usage and the fact that a significant amount of electric generation has been retired from service without adequate new generation being online to replace it. This means that during peak time on a hot day this summer, when the majority of consumers are home and using air conditioning and other appliances and devices requiring electricity, there is the potential that there won’t be enough grid capacity to meet demand. In that case, HomeWorks might be required by MISO to participate in controlled blackouts that affect some or all of our members.
What Preventive Steps Are Taken Prior To Blackouts? Controlled blackouts are a last resort, implemented on a rolling basis to avoid the occurrence of uncontrolled blackouts, in which the grid would temporarily run out of power altogether. Before a controlled blackout would occur, electric providers like HomeWorks and our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative, would take several preplanned measures in an effort to prevent the necessity of turning off power. This would include requesting that our members participate in voluntary energy conservation efforts for a period of time and asking that our high-load commercial members take steps to temporarily reduce usage, among other actions. If these collective actions across
the grid do not result in the appropriate amount of electric “load shed,” that’s when we might be required by MISO to take part in controlled blackouts.
Who Determines When And How Blackouts Occur? The occurence, location, and duration of controlled blackouts is determined entirely by MISO. Even though Wolverine has procured more than enough power for HomeWorks to be able to meet the electric demand of our members all summer, we are all part of an interconnected electric grid, and we are required to do our part to conserve energy when grid capacity is at risk.
How Will I Know If I Will Be Affected By A Blackout? Ideally, HomeWorks will receive a MISO alert if there are indications pointing toward the possibility of the need for energy conservation and load-shedding measures on a given day. If received, we will pass those alerts onto our members via HomeWorks.org and our Facebook page. As the alert escalates through MISO’s phased response procedures, we will learn what type of energy-saving measures are warranted, and whether controlled blackouts will be required. This escalation could occur without much advance warning, but if power is going to be turned off in a specific area, we will make every effort to notify members prior to the blackout, via phone and/or email. If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up for our free SmartHub app so that we have your valid email address on file.
What Can I Do To Prepare For Controlled Blackouts?
• If you are a critical-care member who is dependent upon electricity for oxygen or other life-sustaining medical equipment, make sure to have a back-up plan in place in case you are affected by an electric outage. • Follow energy conservation measures at your home or business this summer, when prompted, to help us reduce electric usage. Energy conservation tips can be found at HomeWorks.org/energyconservation. • Prepare your home’s power outage supply kit by making sure you have a flashlight (not candles!), batteries, a portable radio, at least a gallon of water, and a small supply of food on hand at all times. • Read up on our crucial generator safety tips at HomeWorks.org/generators prior to using a generator. • Follow the other outage tips that we’ll publish on our website and Facebook page in the event of a blackout. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
WILD By Emily Haines Lloyd
hen you are exploring the Upper Peninsula, whether in vacation mode or simply tooling around your hometown, there is a sense that the “wild” is a real and beautiful part of the lifestyle up there. When Gary and Lynn Moore, both natives of lower Michigan, decided to move to the U.P., this was certainly part of the draw. While the two had been visiting for years before they relocated, they weren’t entirely sure what they were going to do once they settled in. “We love the outdoors and love the pace up here,” said Gary Moore, owner of GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park. “And we’ve always loved and owned animals, even weirder ones like potbelly pigs, pygmy goats, and peacocks, and we just decided—let’s open a zoo.” In the spring of 1994, with that love of the outdoors and animals in mind, the Moores bought 33 acres of land along U.S. 2 for their then-imagined zoo. They opened in the summer, with just a handful of animals to attract visitors. While things started slowly, the Moores started mapping out fenced-in areas and building giant habitat structures for their bigger animals. The zoo seemed to melt into the surrounding federal and state forests with towering red and white pines, birch, maple forests on all sides, and beautifully cedar-mulched trails. Now, a wide variety of animal habitats cover about 10 acres of the Moores’ property. “We build with what we have, when we need it,” said Gary. “But most importantly, we try to keep the animals in comfortable and as natural of a setting as we can.” These natural settings house everything from pet-worthy goats, llamas, and potbelly pigs to exotic binturong and lemur to big majestic cats like the African lions, cougars, and snow leopards. Many of the animals have been rescues or were facing displacement.
And the Moores, including their daughter Mary, who currently oversees operations and is preparing to take over when her parents decide to retire, have always tried to take in animals in need of a home. The zoo’s ﬁrst bear, Millie, was brought to them as a cub and had really connected with Mary. So connected that Millie would wail when Mary left her sight. The solution was a buddy for Millie, who came in the unlikely package of King, a dog the Moores were introduced to at the local animal shelter, who wasn’t having any luck ﬁnding a home of his own. Once Millie and King met, they were best friends from there. They’ve let another bear, Hutch, into their circle, and visitors delight in watching them play together, often calling it the highlight of their visit.
Wishing you could be at GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park right now? While the zoo is only open from May 1 through the end of October (depending on that ﬁnicky U.P. weather), the zoo’s Facebook page is updated frequently with amazing videos (like bears taking baths and snow leopards playing hide ‘n seek) of the animals year-round. Prepare for an overdose of cuteness with their ”Tongues Out Tuesdays,” where the animals are sticking out their tongues and give you every reason to say “awwwww….”
GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park has so many great stories about their animals, and the staff speaks about the animals as if they’re members of their family. As the Moores head into their 29th year of the zoo’s opening, Gary is reminded that it has always been worth it, while it’s not always been easy. “We love these animals, and we love sharing them with the folks who visit us,” said Gary. “Plus, we’ve always been too stubborn to give up.” Sounds like a true Yooper, indeed.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Out With The Old; Spring For The New t’s time to start planning that summer yard sale you’ve been talking about, which means numerous trips to the basement and garage to sort through boxes of clothes, dishes, and paperback books. While you ponder over those old bowling trophies, take a closer look at the “extra” refrigerator standing in the corner. It’s been great for storing the overflow of soda cans, water bottles, and holiday leftovers over the years, but if it’s older than 15 years, it may be costing you more than $300 per year to run it!
Cold, hard facts • More than 60 million refrigerators and refrigeratorfreezers in the U.S. are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs.
Money in your pocket Ready to save? Recycle your old refrigerator (no, not at the yard sale). Schedule a free pick-up for your outdated, functioning appliances and earn some cool cash incentives from the Energy Optimization program. Qualifying Appliances
Refrigerator (Full-size, 10 cubic feet or larger)
Chest Freezer (10 cubic feet or larger)
Window Air Conditioner (ride-along item)
Dehumidifier (ride-along item)
• An older refrigerator uses twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator.
Replacing your refrigerator or freezer with a new efficient ENERGY STAR appliance might also qualify you for additional incentives.
• Recycling old refrigerators prevents refrigerants and foam from entering the environment, preventing 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution.
Check out additional energy-saving opportunities through HomeWorks’ Energy Optimization program by visiting HomeWorks.org or calling 877-296-4319.
An outdated refrigerator uses nearly twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR® certified model. Recycle it & earn cash incentives! Refrigerator: $25 rebate Chest Freezer: $25 rebate Window Air Conditioner: $25 rebate (ride-along item) Dehumidifier $25 rebate (ride-along item)
Time to upgrade? SCHEDULE A FREE PICKUP CALL: 877.296.4319
INCENTIVES AVAILABLE FOR NEW APPLIANCES! VISIT: homeworks.org
HomeWorks Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit homeworks.org.
Ice Cream 1. Rob Trowbridge of Vermontville captured this photo of little Eliza asking, “Want a bite?”. 2. Rebecca Miller of Farwell submitted this snap shot of her son and nephew enjoying a cool treat in the summer heat at Lake Charlevoix. 3. Stacy Theis of St. Johns says, “This is my daughter, Alyssa, enjoying a delicious summertime treat on the deck.” 4. Shelby Olson of Lakeview says, “This is our kids reacting to seeing the banana split sundae at Tony’s Restaurant at Birch Run for the first time.”
5. Tamra Henning of Mt. Pleasant says, “We were enjoying a bike ride on our family vacation in Whitehall and stopped for a sweet treat.” 6. Suzie Schafer of Pewamo submitted this photo of her grandson, Lincoln, devouring a tasty ice cream cone. 7. Julie Dumas of Portland submitted this photo of her granddaughter, Charlotte, enjoying a treat at the CreeMee Ice Cream Parlor in Portland.
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics and Deadlines Farms & Harvest, due July 18 (September issue) Feathers, due Aug. 15 (October issue) Christmas Trees, due Sept. 15 (November/December issue) Go to HomeWorks.org, select the Energy tab, then choose About Your Co-op>Country Lines Snap Shots to submit your photos and see all of the 2022 Snap Shot themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.
Submit Your Photos! Members whose photos we publish in Country Lines in 2022 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
Side dishes so good, they’ll steal the show.
WINNING RECIPE! DELICIOUS CREAMY POTATOES Ralph Kridner, Great Lakes Energy
1.5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1-inch round, thick slices 3 tablespoons butter, melted ½ teaspoon dried thyme ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon granulated garlic ½ teaspoon + ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt, divided ¼ teaspoon black pepper ½ cup chicken broth 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tablespoon parsley Cheese Sauce (optional): 2 teaspoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons all-purpose ﬂour ½ cup whole milk ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon black pepper ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon smoked paprika 1–2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
RECIPE CONTEST Win a
Baked Goods due Aug. 1 • Holiday Side Dishes due Sept. 1
energy bill credit!
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 2022
Adjust rack to upper middle and preheat oven to 475 F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (baking dish should be just big enough for your potatoes to ﬁt in). In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, thyme, rosemary, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toss potatoes in butter mixture until coated, and arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast potatoes for 14 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet and ﬂip potatoes over, then roast for another 14 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven; ﬂip them again. Add the broth and garlic to the pan and return to oven. Roast for 10–15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with remaining ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt and parsley. To make the optional cheese sauce, add butter to a pan and heat until it is foamy. Add ﬂour and whisk it with the butter. Add milk and bring almost to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cheddar cheese, and stir until melted. Serve over potatoes. Serves 3. Total time to make: 1 hour 15 minutes. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
FABULOUS FRIED MASHED POTATO BALLS Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy
• oil, for frying 4 cups mashed potatoes (leftover or premade, or store-bought can be used) 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped 3 eggs, beaten, divided ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 cup breadcrumbs 1 cup ﬂour Fill a large, deep pot halfway with oil. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 F. While the oil is heating, mix together the
mashed potatoes, cream cheese, chives, one egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Roll potato mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball and set aside. In three bowls, set out the breadcrumbs, ﬂour, and the remaining 2 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of water. Dip each ball into the ﬂour ﬁrst, shaking off the excess, then into the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off, and lastly into the breadcrumbs. When oil reaches about 350 F, fry the balls in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pot as you fry. Fry for 3–4 minutes until golden brown, and transfer to paper towels. While still warm, top with salt and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
DAVE’S MOM’S CHEESY HASH BROWN CASSEROLE Becky Elliott, Cherryland
2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes (thaw for 45 minutes ﬁrst) 1 cup diced onions 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 pound carton sour cream 1 stick melted butter 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper • potato chips Preheat oven to 375 F. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place in greased 9x13 glass dish and cover with crushed potato chips. Bake for 1 hour. Enjoy!
BACON AND GORGONZOLA POTATO SALAD Lauren Tougas, Cherryland
¾ pound cooked and crumbled bacon, reserve some to garnish on top 5 pounds Yukon or red skin potatoes 2½ cups mayonnaise, divided 2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 1 cup chopped green onion Cook bacon and let cool so you can crumble up into smaller pieces (or use pre-
cooked bacon crumbles). Cook potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, 20–25 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool potatoes. Cut into bite-sized pieces and mix with 2 cups mayonnaise. Mix bacon, cheese, and chopped green onion with remaining ½ cup mayonnaise. Add to potato mixture by gently combining so potatoes don’t fall apart. May add salt and pepper to taste. Top with bacon crumbles and chill before serving. Makes about 14 servings.
PARMESAN POTATOES AU GRATIN Elizabeth Knapp, Great Lakes Energy 3 • • 1
pounds Yukon Gold potatoes salt and pepper minced garlic pound grated Parmesan cheese (from a wedge, not a shaker) 2 cups heavy cream Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice potatoes to make ¹⁄ 8” rounds and submerge in a bowl
of cold water while slicing. Butter a large casserole dish (or use 2 casserole dishes; it freezes well). Layer potatoes on bottom and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese. Repeat layers until potatoes are gone. Pour heavy cream over all and cover with foil. Bake for an hour. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more or until top is browned.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
CENTENNIAL FARM FOUNDED IN 1900
Carole and Ed Peacock of Shepherd celebrated the official certification of their family farm as a Michigan Centennial Farm in June. The 75-acre farm was originally purchased by George and Dorothy Peacock in 1900. Today, Ed maintains the farm and mainly produces beef cattle.
Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative A Special Member Meeting is set for July 25, 9 a.m., at the Cooperative’s Portland office The board of directors will consider the item(s) listed below at its meeting on July 25, 2022, to be held at the Cooperative office at 7973 E. Grand River Avenue, Portland, Michigan. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors, without filing a formal request under the Cooperative policy. Interested members are asked to come to the lobby before 9 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. The following item(s) will be discussed and considered: 1. Billing rules for deposits Notice of changes or additions to the Cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact HomeWorks Tri-County Electric at 800-562-8232 at least a week in advance of the meeting to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance. Comments may also be made prior to the meeting date by calling CEO Chris O’Neill at 517-647-1284, or contacting him by email at email@example.com. Notice of the board meeting shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines.
12 JULY/AUGUST 2022
Your Board In Action Meeting in Blanchard on May 23, your board of directors: • Reviewed the results of HomeWorks’ 2022 Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) inspection, which included the best scores the Co-op has ever achieved on the evaluation. • Reviewed a power supply update provided by Wolverine Power Cooperative President & CEO Eric Baker and Chief Financial Officer Zach Anderson. • Held the annual meeting of the Co-op’s subsidiary, Tri-Co Services, Inc., where the current slate of HomeWorks directors and officers was re-elected to the subsidiary board. • Reviewed the financial statements of Tri-Co Services, Inc., and declared a $500,000 dividend from the subsidiary to Tri-County Electric Cooperative for the HomeWorks Connect fiber internet working capital and part of the equity plan in the Co-op’s 10-year forecast. • Reviewed the results of the Co-op’s 2022 board elections, in which incumbent directors John Lord (District 1), Corinna Batora (District 5), and Shirley Sprague (District 7) were re-elected.
• Reviewed HomeWorks’ May virtual district meetings, which saw record attendance this year. • Authorized the July 1, 2022, amendment, restatement, and continuance of the Co-op’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Association-sponsored retirement security plan and 401(k) plan. • Discussed and accepted Policy 506 – Billing Dispute Policy, as revised. • Learned there were 104 new members in April. • Acknowledged the April safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.
Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 25 at Portland and 9 a.m. on Aug. 22 at Blanchard. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least a week in advance of the meeting.
People Fund Grants Over $8,000 To Support Local Causes Meeting in Portland on May 11, our People Fund board made three grants totaling $8,320, including: • $6,000 to Helping Hands of Eaton County, to purchase personal care items; • $2,000 to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, Inc., to support honor flights and missions for veterans; and • $320 to the Adult Handicap Program in Charlotte, to purchase bowling sessions for participants.
How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the Co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community. Write to 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund page at HomeWorks.org.
Information For All Customers Of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Your Cooperative offers a Tri-County Electric People Fund program, which is funded through the voluntary rounding up of your monthly utility bill to the next whole dollar amount. An all-volunteer board of directors appointed by the member-elected board of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative is charged with distributing the funds throughout the Cooperative’s service area. Grants support charitable efforts in and around the communities we serve. Funds from the People Fund have been distributed to educational programs, fire departments, medical emergency groups, recreational organizations, senior organizations, numerous local charities, and many local families and individuals. A copy of the People Fund’s annual report detailing contributions is available and was highlighted in our March issue of Country Lines magazine. All grants made are also listed on our website at HomeWorks.org. Your participation in the Tri-County Electric People Fund is VOLUNTARY. If you are participating and decide at any time that you wish to discontinue participation in the People Fund, please let us know and we will be happy to remove your account. If you are participating, your monthly bill is rounded up to the next whole dollar amount. If your bill is $78.42, it would be rounded up to $79. The 58 cents would then be contributed by HomeWorks on your behalf to the People Fund, to be used as explained above. A customer’s average annual contribution is approximately $6. Your annual contribution to the People Fund is tax-deductible and is reported on your monthly statement in January of the following year. For additional information regarding the Tri-County Electric People Fund, you can contact the Cooperative office by mail or call 877-466-3957, extension 1272.
Note: Applications must be received by July 26 for the August meeting or by Sept. 6 for the September meeting.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
IT’S A WILD RIDE W
At Traverse City Horse Shows By Emily Haines Lloyd
hen you think about horse competitions like hunting, jumping, and equitation, it conjures up images of primly dressed riders in their velvet riding caps, tailored jackets, and riding boots who exude an air of control and composure. It’s easy to forget that the other part of the team is a wild animal—one that has been trained and coached, but at the same time, has a will and disposition that is completely its own.
of equestrian sports)—with its jumper, hunter, and equitation competitions, really livens things up. This event brings world-class athletes to Traverse City to participate in everything from youth championships to Olympic-qualifying events. With six or seven rings running simultaneously, spectators can watch riders who are just beginning their careers and expert athletes returning from recent Olympic games.
“It’s a unique opportunity to see a sport with two athletes, and only one of them is human,” said Lindsay Brock, marketing representative of Morrissey Management. “There’s always this moment of uncertainty if the horse is going to comply. It’s wild. So, there is something exciting about watching this human and this horse working together to achieve a goal.”
“From June to September, we have athletes and their families coming to Northern Michigan from 48 states and 28 countries to participate in jumper, hunter, and equitation competitions,” said partner and event director, Matt Morrissey. “In just 13 weeks, we’re awarding over $7 million in prize money.”
You can see this sort of beautiful dance between control and chaos at the many year-round events held by the Traverse City Horse Shows, which take place on the 130 acres of Flintﬁelds Horse Park in Northern Michigan. The grounds host a variety of riders and enthusiasts, from 4- and 5-yearold youngsters learning to walk ponies around a ring to experienced seniors still enjoying a lifelong passion. However, the 13 weeks of FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale—the international governing body
14 JULY/AUGUST 2022
The Traverse City Horse Shows started on the east side of the state, but with a rebranding and relocation in 2015, it has grown into one of the top events and venues in North America. Based on an economic impact study, the events have approximately a $120 million impact on Northern Michigan each year, with spectators, business owners, and the community all reaping beneﬁts. Competitors agree that it’s the location, as well as the points and prize money, that brings them to Flintﬁelds year after year. “Without a doubt, one of the most common
“There’s always this moment of uncertainty if the horse is going to comply. It’s wild. So, there is something exciting about watching this human and this horse working together to achieve a goal.”
things we hear about the Traverse City Horse Shows is how much the competitors and their families love visiting the area,” said Brock. “With just one day off, the athletes love exploring the lake and dunes and enjoying the great restaurants, vineyards, and just the beauty of walking around Traverse City.” Flintﬁelds provides plenty of events to keep spectators busy as well. An active atmosphere is important to the site, which offers spectators ice cream socials, happy hours, and other special events, all while they spend the day watching and bumping up against premier athletes. “It’s all a part of what our community stands for,” said Morrissey. “Our spectators get to see this amazing example of athleticism and working together in unison. When you are watching it, it’s inspiring to see something special being created between the athletes and the animals. It’s really beautiful.” To see this wild collaboration, visit on TCHS’s website at traversecityhorseshows.com for tickets.
What’s the difference between jumper, hunter and equitation? In all three divisions, a rider guides a horse over a set course of obstacles in a ring. However, each is scored differently. The jumper discipline is scored based on the objective speed and accuracy the rider has over the course. Hunter and equitation are based on a subjective judge of form over the course, with hunter classes focusing on the form of the horse and equitation classes focusing on the form of the rider. traversecityhorseshows.com /traversecityhorseshows /traversecityhorseshows
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
THPDEATE EONNTHEDCONISTSRUCITINO SIGH N OF OU AN U R FIBERT! INTE As of May, HomeWorks has entered into its fifth year of our five-year, five-phase buildout of a fiber internet network. While some of our members have been enjoying our reliable high-speed internet since 2018, we know that many others have been patiently waiting for connection for five long years. We’re excited to report to those members that the end is finally in sight! To help satisfy your curiosities while you wait, we’ve compiled answers to a few of our most frequently asked questions about our fiber network buildout.
What challenges has the Co-op faced in its efforts to keep this construction project on schedule?
It really depends on which zone you’re in. We always recommend that our members find out which zone they’re in by visiting HomeWorks.org/zones and entering their address. Then, you’ll be able to track your zone’s construction progress more accurately. We currently estimate that our mainline construction will be completed by June 2023, with final installation of member homes being completed a few months later.
In 2020, much like the rest of the world, HomeWorks Connect was delayed in its construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We worked hard to overcome that eight-week shutdown and ended 2020 right on track. However, 2021 brought its own challenges, which have spilled over into 2022. To start, there have been shortages in the labor market, meaning procuring contractor crews to complete the construction work has been an ongoing struggle. On top of that, we’re also seeing material shortages, which have caused project delays. Even with these challenges, the project schedule has remained mostly on track, and we continue to monitor new challenges to stay ahead of the curve and keep our timeline intact.
How can I help to speed the process along?
How do I follow construction progress?
You can help keep things moving on your end of the project by preregistering your home or business address at HomeWorks.org/go/fiber or by calling us at 800-668-8413. After that, be sure to check your email for notification that you’re able to sign your customer agreement, which guarantees service at your location. Next, it’s important for you to complete any additional paperwork and return our phone calls in a timely manner. We also ask that you leave any MISS DIG flags or markers untouched when your final installation is scheduled so there are no unneccessary delays.
At the end of each month, a constuction update is posted at HomeWorks.org/constructionupdates so you can see where progress is being made. There, we also call out any new challenges on the horizon and try to answer any frequently asked questions that might not have been previously addressed.
When will HomeWorks Connect be available to me?
16 JULY/AUGUST 2022
Get HomeWorks Connect
for only $25 a month! Thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program, you might be eligible to receive $30 off your internet bill each month. Learn more below:
Since May of this year, HomeWorks Connect has been able to provide Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) discounts on any of our internet packages. Among other discounts, the ACP program provides eligible households with a discount of up to $30/mo. on monthly internet service. To check into this program for your household, follow these three easy steps:
Find out if your family is eligible!
Apply for the ACP
Learn about the program’s qualifying factors by visiting the ACP website at AffordableConnectivity.gov/do-i-qualify. If your household is eligible, move on to the next step.
Apply for the ACP online at AffordableConnectivity.gov. You can either print off a form and mail it in using the instructions on that website or click the “Apply Now” button to fill out the online application.
Let us know!
Once you submit your ACP form and receive confirmation that your registration has been processed, forward your confirmation email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll then be able to apply the discount to your HomeWorks Connect internet account.
By Kris Rigling, Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member
rowing up in a small dairy farming community in the country, there were not a lot of options for jobs, but one of my favorites and one of my ﬁrst jobs still conjures up happy memories. We had a small grocery store in our community that always tried to have fresh produce on hand. While most families grew their own gardens, some people worked all day and didn’t have time to pick fresh berries, but they still wanted to taste summer’s sweet berries. One Sunday at church, our neighbor (her older brother was the produce manager) told my sister about picking strawberries for the local grocery store—she and our neighbor would each pick 16 quarts. My sister didn’t really want to do it, but I did and begged to do so. My mom called the neighbor, and we were set to pick berries on Monday morning. We were also lucky enough to have a strawberry farm in our community. We showed up ﬁrst thing in the morning, and the farmer told us where to start picking. And he told us to be sure to let him know if they tasted okay. We each picked 16 quarts. I think I picked my 16 quarts and ate another one or two! They were so good and juicy—right off the vine—it was like eating liquid sunshine. When we ﬁnished picking, we dropped off our berries at the store, and they paid us right out of the cash register! I was so excited! I think I made about $3, which was probably minimum wage. We did this every few days for about three weeks that summer, and then the season was over again for another year. I didn’t make a ton of money picking berries that summer, but every time I bite into a sweet Michigan strawberry, I am a kid again, picking and eating a very sweet breakfast!
Win a $50 energy bill credit!
Kris enjoys cooking, camping, kayaking, reading, and watching her kids play sports.
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.
Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by July 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. May 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Toni Blundy, a HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identiﬁed the photo as the New Era Potato Chip Silo on Grand River Avenue, east of Portland. Photo courtesy of Eldon McGraw. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/ December.
Add Geothermal to Your Existing Furnace in 1-Day. HEAT & COOL YOUR HOME FOR HALF FOR DECADES. ELIGIBLE FOR UP TO
$2,000 REBATE & 26% TAX CREDIT
Add a Well-Connect for $0 down and as little as $80/month.
Typical heating cost savings of over $100/month. Air conditions for pennies a day. Well-Connect pays for itself.
HEATING WITH WELL-CONNECT IS LIKE PAYING 70¢ PER GALLON OF PROPANE
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT WELL-CONNECT?
Connects to your existing furnace, giving you maximum comfort and maximum savings.
Minimal water flow required, making almost any well capable of heating & cooling your home.
Can be installed in one day, any time of the year. DIY or professionally installed.
Well-Connect is a water source heat pump designed to provide efficient heating and cooling all year long. It is designed for rural homes that have a well and where either propane, fuel oil, electric resistance, or wood is used as the heating source. Well-Connect works in combination with your existing furnace — it does not replace it. This makes the initial cost of the system significantly less than traditional geothermal systems.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE HOME ASSESSMENT
wellconnectgeo.com (989) 356-2113
Geothermal Made Affordable
HomeWorks.org homeworks.org facebook.com/homeworks.org facebook.com/homeworks.org Report Outages: 1-800-848-9333
BEFORE SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION, YOU’LL WANT FAST & RELIABLE INTERNET FROM ............. .
Your student deserves the most reliable internet once homework comes due again, so don’t wait to contact us!
with autopay savings*
with autopay savings*
with autopay savings*
with autopay savings*
Become A Connector Today!
To preregister, visit Join.HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.