July/Aug. 2022 Ontonagon

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July/August 2022


COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association

IT’S A WILD RIDE At Traverse City Horse Shows

Tips To Prevent Electric Shock Drowning

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Meet Diver Don


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July/August 2022 Vol. 42, 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

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.

Be featured!

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



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 recipes@countrylines.com.

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.



New Ways To Use Electricity Debbie Miles, General Manager

ontonagon.coop /OntonagonCountyREA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


f you listen carefully, you can hear a quiet transformation happening. Electric appliances and equipment are becoming more popular than ever among consumers. Advancements in technology and battery power coupled with decreasing costs are winning over consumers looking for comparable utility and versatility. A bonus is that electric equipment is quieter and better for the environment. Consumers and homebuilders alike are turning to electric appliances to increase energy efficiency and savings inside the home. Conventional residential cooking tops typically use gas or resistance heating elements to transfer energy, with efficiencies of approximately 32% and 75%, respectively. Electric induction stoves, which cook food without any flame, will reduce indoor air pollution and bring water to a boil about twice as fast as a gas stove. It is significantly more efficient than a traditional electric stove or an induction stove top than a gas oven. Robotic vacuums are also gaining in popularity. Fortune Business Insights, a company that conducts market studies, attributes the growth and popularity of robotic vacuums like Roomba to a larger market trend of smart home technology and automation (think Alexa directing a Roomba to vacuum). More tools and equipment with small gas-powered motors are being replaced with electric ones that include plug-in batteries. In the past few years, technology in battery storage has advanced significantly. Handheld tools with plug-in batteries can hold a charge longer and offer the user the same versatility and similar functionality as gas-powered tools. In addition to standard offerings, consumers can now purchase a more comprehensive array of specialty tools that plug in, such as power inverters, air inflaters, and battery chargers. Keith Dennis, an energy industry expert and president of the Beneficial Electrification League, notes that, “A few years back, the list of new electric product categories that were making their way to the market was limited— electric scooters, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and vehicles.” Today, the number of electrical products available is exploding. “There are electric bikes, school buses, pressure washers, utility terrain vehicles, backhoes—even airplanes and boats,” says Dennis. “With the expansion of batteries and advancements in technology, almost anything that burns gasoline or diesel is having an electric replacement available on the market.” The increased use of electric-powered tools and equipment is a case in point, with more national brands offering a wider selection, including lawn mowers, leaf blowers, string trimmers, and snow blowers. The quality of zero- or lowemissions lawn equipment is also improving. Electric equipment also requires less maintenance, and often the biggest task is keeping them charged. In addition, electric equipment is quieter, so if you want to listen to music or your favorite podcast while performing outdoor work, you can—something that wouldn’t be possible with gas-powered equipment. On the horizon, autonomous lawn mowers (similar to robotic vacuum cleaners) will be seen dotting outdoor spaces. Another benefit of using electric appliances or equipment is that by virtue of being plugged into the grid, the environmental performance of electric devices improves over time. In essence, electricity is becoming cleaner through increased renewable energy generation, so equipment that uses electricity will have a diminishing environmental impact over time (quite a hat trick), improving efficiency and quality of life, and helping the environment.


Meet “Norman” O

Scotty Anderson, Matt Urbis, and Norman the cat.

ntonagon REA has a new “office assistant”—his name is Norman. He did not have to send in a resume to land the job. He simply hung out with the REA tree trimmers while working in the vicinity of Old M-28 in Ewen. His ploy worked, and now he has found a furever home. On May 5, Line Superintendent Mark Urbis had to bring some supplies to the tree trimmers. He left the materials, and as he started to drive away, he noticed a cat on the side of the road. When he got out of the truck to check on it, it ran into the roadside ditch. Mark asked the tree trimmers, Scotty Anderson and Matt Urbis, about it, and they said that the cat had been there for a couple of days. Because the cat appeared to be a stray, they decided to bring it to the Ontonagon animal shelter. When they were able to pick up the cat, they noticed that he was missing a paw and had not eaten in a while, as he was very thin. Scotty was willing to give up his spaghetti lunch for the cat but thought it would be too much for his stomach, as he was in such rough shape. The crew called the shelter office to find out if it was open, but after some discussion, office personnel determined that the cat needed to be seen by a veterinarian immediately. The cat was placed in a cardboard box and into Mark’s truck to drive back to the REA offices. From there, he was transported to a veterinarian in Houghton. The veterinarian determined that the cat had lost his paw in an animal trap and that the leg would have to be surgically amputated. Because he only weighed five pounds, he would have to gain some weight before the surgery could be done.

Norman requires several daily cat naps in order to be able perform his office assistant duties.

Back at the office, the staff quickly came up with a name for their new office assistant, and Norman made himself at home while awaiting his surgery. Because he could not initially be fed large amounts of food at one time, he spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying to get into the refrigerator. Norman is very friendly and is a big hit with the employees and the members. Norman goes home with an employee overnight and on the weekends. An anonymous benefactor is covering his surgery and supplies. He will return to the veterinarian in June for a follow-up appointment. General Manager Miles says that Norman is a purrfect fit at Ontonagon REA and hopes he stays on staff for at least nine lives.

Your Board In Action December



• Brett Niemi, senior energy services manager, WPPI, discussed the Energy Waste Program that WPPI is putting in place. The board agreed to continue discussions with WPPI regarding participation in their program.

• Attorney Greeley presented the RUS loan documents to the board for signatures and advised that a purchase agreement has been drafted for the Menge property in L’Anse.

• A shipment of 240 AMI meters was received and then deployed in the Ewen service area.

• The board was updated on the AMI (Vision) system.

• The board authorized the manager and staff to explore other options for the AMR system.

• The board approved the capital and operating budgets.

• The board discussed potential growth of the cooperative.

• Attorney Greeley updated the board on the Menge property progress.

• Manager Miles presented the status of the PSCR over/under collection and the list of bills.

• Manager Miles and Distribution Supervisor Urbis presented their monthly reports.

• The manager updated the board on the status of the accounting position.

• The board advised Manager Miles to advertise for a CEO with a strong accounting background. • Manager Miles advised that they will be able to receive meter readings from the Turtle I system without purchasing additional equipment. • The board approved Calvin Koski and Deborah Miles as MECA voting delegates. • Attorney Greeley reported that all documents that needed to be filed for the RUS loan had been recorded with the appropriate counties.





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.

garlynzoo.com /garlynzoo




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


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Ice Cream 1. Grandson Jaxon eating ice cream very seriously. Deb Maki 2. Homemade ice cream date with Grammy. Danielle Impola 3. Ready for summer, even if Mother Nature is dragging her heels. Jannah Tumey 4. Kade and Marvin enjoying their ice cream at McLain State Park. Laura Narhi





Submit A Photo & Win A Bill Credit!

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

Upcoming Topics and Deadlines:

Farms & Harvest, due July 20 (Sept./Oct. issue) Christmas Trees, 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! 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.


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


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 recipes@countrylines.com.



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


• 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!


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!


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.



A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats By Yvonne Whitman

joined, and the store began to stock a variety of locally hand-crafted goods, including jewelry, knitwear, wood crafts, fabric art, soaps, candles, and more. The artists could sell their wares at the store and choose to either help run the space and pay no commission, or not work at the shop and pay a commission. In addition, the store offered enough space for the artisans to hold classes and share their skill set with anyone interested in learning. Fused glass, watercolor and acrylic painting, tai chi, and beading classes are just a few of the options offered. There are now 44 local artists selling their goods at the gift shop.


llinois native Payne Chassen’s love for the L’Anse Bay area began in her childhood. “My grandparents brought me here when I was a kid, and I never forgot it,” she says. Payne, a welder and metal artist by trade, had traveled extensively throughout the United States for her career and was looking for a place to settle. “I came back here nine years ago. You can’t be in a place like this and forget it. Now, I don’t think I could ever go back to a big city again,” she said. A bit frustrated with the local job opportunities for women welders, Payne pursued her artistic endeavors and opened the Village Gift Store in 2017. While she wanted to sell her own art, she also wanted to help other people sell theirs by using a cooperative business model. Local artisans quickly 12 JULY/AUGUST 2022

Three years ago, the landscape shifted when Payne sold one of her metal sculptures online to a software engineer from Virginia named Bill Steinhardt. Bill had started blacksmithing and was following various metal artists online. “I saw a photo of a bouquet of forged flowers made of steel and reclaimed glass that Payne had made. It was beautiful, and I knew I had to have it,” he said. The flowers weren’t the only thing he had to have. The two quickly began chatting for hundreds of hours, and Payne invited him to visit her. “We loved each other right away, and Bill loved it here,” Payne says with a smile. After his first visit, Payne sent Bill the listing for the building next to hers. She told him, “The building next to me happens to be for sale. You should check it out.” Bill did more than check it out. He quit his job, moved to L’Anse, and bought the building. The two share a love of old buildings and renovating them, and they quickly got to work even though they weren’t

quite sure what the space would become. After a bit of brainstorming, they decided to use the same business model for their new space, but this time for food, via a shared-use kitchen for budding entrepreneurs, as well as a full-time café offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And with that, Café L’Anse was created and opened its doors in November 2021. The commercial-grade, Department of Agriculture-licensed kitchen currently has six independent businesses turning out delicious baked goods and treats six days per week. Each business owner works 12 hours per week creating their product on-site in the kitchen. “They make their product, and then we help publicize it on our FB page, and people come in and buy it. And then we get 20% of whatever they make,” Bill says. “But what we want is for them to begin to sell their items elsewhere, to a grocery store, for instance. In effect, we are a business incubator. We’re trying to grow their business to the point that they outgrow us. That is success for us.” In addition, the couple shares their knowledge with the members of their collective. “We talk them through the process of putting up their business and where to start. We hook them up with the small business development commission and the Department of Agriculture outreach,” Payne says. “They get free advice and free counseling. Our motto is, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats in the water.’” Dorothy Hildenbrand is one of the people participating in the café collective. Her son was part of the construction crew that did the renovation at the café, and in 2021, she sent a tray of her homemade Christmas cookies to the work site. Payne sampled the goods and quickly asked Dorothy to join them. “Before this, I usually only baked at Christmas. Now I do it all the time,” Hildenbrand says. And how does she like baking and selling at the café? “Oh, it’s so fun. I love it. Payne encourages me to be creative, and I’m doing things I’ve never done before. It’s a fun shop. As soon as you come through the door, you can feel it,” she said. Parker Jones of the MSU Product Center says of the couple’s efforts, “They’re really making an amazing service available, so folks have access to tasty food, and entrepreneurs who want to launch a business have a location to do that without a huge investment.”

Café L’Anse and the Village Gift Shop are open six days per week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Sundays. To learn more, visit facebook.com/CafeLanse. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13


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


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



Diver Don By Yvonne Whitman

on Fassbender’s fascination with scuba diving began at a young age. “I first became interested in it in the ’70s while watching Jacque Cousteau on TV. That’s what really attracted me to the underwater world,” he said. But he couldn’t act on his curiosity until 1991, when he took his first open water class in Marquette. “I knew I loved it and began taking advanced courses. I just never looked back,” Don said. He has now been diving for over 30 years and has participated in more than 1,000 dives, with the majority being in the Great Lakes. “As a scuba diver, I like to witness things that most people never get to see, such as shipwrecks,” he said.


Something that Don didn’t like to see underwater was the volume of debris and trash on the bottom of the Marquette harbor. Through the years, he noticed the trash problem was increasing. “I knew there was a growing quantity of debris, and it always bothered me that I couldn’t do anything about it,” he said. An underwater YouTube video that he posted changed that. “One day, I found


a vintage Schwinn bicycle on the harbor bottom and made a video of myself bringing it to the surface,” he said. The video went viral, and he began to make and post more videos of himself removing trash and cleaning up the lake bottom. “People began commenting positively and asking what they could do to help, and my followers increased,” said Don. As word spread about what he was doing, others reached out to him and said they would like to help with his endeavors. This dedicated group of “regulars,” as Don calls them, comprised of about a dozen fellow diving enthusiasts, worked together to organize the inaugural cleanup event. On Aug. 10, 2019, they held their first annual Underwater Cleanup in Mattson Harbor in Marquette. This resulted in over four tons of tires being removed from the lake. Tires are the most common item brought to the surface as these are used as ship bumpers along most of the docks and harbor bulkheads. Over time, the tires degrade and fall into the water. To date, Don estimates that the cleanup effort has removed

“ I knew there was a growing quantity of debris, and it always bothered me that I couldn’t do anything about it.”

11 tons of these tires from Lake Superior. Other items removed include refrigerators, car batteries, bicycles, plastic bags, bottles, and cans. The city of Marquette has been supportive in helping with the project, providing dumpsters and heavy equipment to get some of the more oversized items up from the lake bottom. Retrieved rubber and metal items are sorted by volunteers onshore and then sent for recycling. But some items cannot be removed and are protected by law. Marquette is part of the Michigan Underwater Preservation Council, and anything 50 years or older of historical value must remain on the bottom of the lake. When asked about the most unusual item he has ever discovered, he said that in one memorable dive, he noticed something glinting on the lake bottom. Reaching for the item, he could see it was a diamond ring tied to a rock with shoelaces. One can only imagine the story behind this strange find. Don regularly finds prescription eyeglasses, cameras, and phones. As with anything of value that he finds, he tries to find the owner by posting to his Facebook page. To date, no one has claimed the diamond ring. Don’s 13-year-old daughter Nina is one person that he is particularly proud to have join him in the cleanup effort. “She’s been swimming since she was 2 years old, and she really loves the water. She began diving last year and is currently accredited as a junior open water scuba diver,” he said. When asked what it meant to him to have Nina join him in diving, he responded, “Everything. I’m so happy to have her share this with me.” Nina is a large part of his motivation for doing what he does. “I want to make this place better than I found it for Nina and future generations. If you think of our planet as a whole, more of our earth submersed than there is dry land. We shouldn’t throw things in the water. There are those out there trying to make it a better place for those who follow us. This is our drinking water,” he said. To expand his lake cleanup program, Don recently established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Great Lakes Scuba Diving & Lake Preservation. He hopes that this will open new doors for his group and perhaps allow them to offer their underwater cleanups to other communities with harbors.

The fourth annual cleanup event is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2022, at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. If you are interested in participating in the event either as a diver or onshore, please contact Don at facebook.com/diverdonscuba or president@greatlakesscubadivers.com.


Guest Column

Sweet Breakfast

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!

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Kris enjoys cooking, camping, kayaking, reading, and watching her kids play sports.

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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.

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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.