June 2019 GLE

Page 1

June 2019


COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative

St. Julian Wine Co.



Truestream Fiber Internet Update

The ‘Y’-brary:

Barry County’s Novel New Program Three Board Positions Open

Half the cost. Twice the benefits. That’s the power of upgrading your geo unit.


Series R, 5.3 COP



30% 26% 22%







Upgrading your geo unit makes it easy to save even more! Using the loops you already have installed under your yard, our state-of-the-art WaterFurnace units can save you even more on heating, cooling & hot water by capturing the clean, renewable energy in your backyard. And right now you can save thousands on installation thanks to a 30% federal tax credit. But hurry, this credit is set to decrease each year through 2021. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer to learn more about upgrading your geothermal system!

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Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 watergeofurnace.com

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In This Issue June 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 6

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives





facebook.com/michigancountrylines michigancountrylines

Your photo could be featured here.

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

Follow Us On Instagram!

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


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

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

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines Life is simple when you just add water. Photo by: @j.mcveigh.52 #fawnlakemi

ON THE COVER St. Julian Wine Co. in Paw Paw, Mich. has been owned and operated by the same family for four generations. Their passion for local farms, real Michigan fruit, and the production of quality wine and juice has been upheld for nearly 100 years. St. Julian Wine Co. is the most-awarded winery in Michigan. Read the full story on page 14.



14 FEATURE St. Julian Wine Co.— Legacy Along The Lake Emily Haines Lloyd

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan Ice Cream

Here’s the scoop on the best places for ice cream in Michigan from co-op members!

Shades Of Lavender—A Dream Come True Janene Rawlinson, Midwest Energy & Communications member The Rawlinsons share their journey of owning Shades of Lavender Farm in Mattawan, Michigan. Learn all about what this unique farm has to offer on page 6.

Win $150 for stories published!

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Garden-Fresh Recipes To Enjoy All Summer

Guest Column:

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enjoy this refreshing Melon & Proscuitto Skewers recipe from St. Julian Wine Co. to go along with their 2018 Chambourcin Rosé. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.




Board of Directors

Mark Carson Chairman, District 2

Our Past Drives Our Future

01950 Anderson Rd., Boyne City, MI 49712 231-675-0561 • mcarson@glenergy.com

John LaForge Vice-Chairman, District 9 7363 Walters Rd., Delton, MI 49046 269-623-2284 • jlaforge@glenergy.com

Paul Schemanski Secretary, District 1 5974 Stolt Rd., Petoskey, MI 49770 231-439-9079 • paul.schemanski@glenergy.com

Larry Monshor Treasurer, District 4 1541 Thumm Rd., Gaylord, MI 49735 989-705-1778 • lmonshor@glenergy.com

Tim Brechon Director, District 8

22322 220th Ave., Paris, MI 49338 630-379-6218 • tbrechon@glenergy.com

Paul Byl Director, District 7

9941 W. Buchanan Rd., Shelby, MI 49455 231-861-5911 • pbyl@glenergy.com

Richard Evans Director, District 3 11195 Essex Rd., Ellsworth, MI 49729 231-883-3146 • revans@glenergy.com

Dale Farrier Director, District 5

2261 Wheeler Lake Rd. NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646 231-564-0853 • dfarrier@glenergy.com

Robert Kran Director, District 6

7380 N. Tuttle Rd., Free Soil, MI 49411 231-464-5889 • bkran@glenergy.com

President/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537

Communications Director/Editor: Lacey Matthews 231-487-1316 lmatthews@glenergy.com

Boyne City Headquarters 1323 Boyne Ave., P.O. Box 70 Boyne City, MI 49712 Hours: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: glenergy@glenergy.com

To report an outage, call: 1-888-485-2537

gtlakes.com Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


4 JUNE 2019


Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO

he electrical cooperative story is in many ways a classic underdog tale. In the early 1900s, power companies focused on urban areas when building their infrastructure, basically ignoring the farmers and those who lived in rural areas. In the 1930s, the Rural Electrification Act allowed for those in rural areas who had gone years without power to finally have a way to get access to electricity. Those people banded together to set the poles and hang the lines bringing electricity to themselves when no one else would. This is how electrical cooperatives like Great Lakes Energy were formed and it is what still drives the heart of our business today. Eighty years later we face similar challenges when it comes to high-speed internet; many urban areas have long had access to what is now becoming an essential utility, but most rural areas are left with few options. The thing is, without high-speed internet access, things like online education, working from home, contact with friends and family, and even online banking become difficult or impossible. Not to mention the economic advantages rural communities miss out on because businesses tend to locate themselves where infrastructure like high-speed internet is readily available. Just like we did 80 years ago with electricity, as a cooperative, we saw a chance to bridge this digital divide with Truestream fiber. Last October we connected our first home to Truestream fiber internet and the momentum has continued to grow. Over 200 members have had the opportunity to have this life-changing service installed in their homes in our Petoskey service area. We will see that number increase significantly by the end of the year as overhead and underground construction continues. In March of this year, Great Lakes Energy announced the possibility of expanding Truestream to our Boyne service area, which includes rural areas in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Members in our Boyne service area led the way in registering their interest on jointruestream.com and this was a factor in choosing the Boyne service area next. The preliminary engineering field work this spring will be followed by a second field study in early fall, and if findings are positive, we will explore budgeting for expansion of the fiber network in 2020, pending approval by our board of directors. For those in other service areas anxiously awaiting the arrival of Truestream, we are looking forward to bringing Truestream to your area as much as you are looking forward to having it. It is never easy to wait for a needed service but we appreciate your patience. Until then, I encourage you to register your interest on jointruestream.com. When you voice your desire to see fiber internet in your specific community, it helps us understand where the demand is. Our members are at the heart of everything we do and we will continue to work diligently to provide you with the quality service you have come to know and expect for over the past 80 years.

How Important Is High-Speed Internet To Quality Of Life?

Quick Numbers:


Survey responses from GLE members show that an overwhelming number find high-speed internet necessary to quality of life.

The year it became legal for states to adopt electric cooperatives.

The year GLE’s Board of Directors approved a fiber internet project.





The first GLE members connected to Truestream in October.


Absolutely necessary

How GLE Members Use The Internet


Paying Bills 10







No effect


Working From Home


Important but not necessary


of GLE members report not having decent internet before Truestream


*Results from member surveys

Utility Poles Are Not Bulletin Boards . . .

Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs and fliers create dangerous obstacles to electric lineworkers.

Let’s Help Keep Lineworkers Safe!


MI CO-OP Community


By Janene Rawlinson, Midwest Energy & Communications member Photos: Jamie Rose Photography


magine rows of purple flowers and the scent of lavender in the air. In addition to its beauty, lavender is sought after for its medicinal properties, fragrance, and use in food and beverages. You can enjoy all things lavender at our inviting Shades of Lavender Farm in Mattawan, Michigan. My husband, Scott, and I own the lavender farm. It’s a story that started out very unromantic and somewhere along the way turned into a blessing that we never expected. It all began with Scott’s statement, “We need to make this land work for us.” I began to research what types of plants grow well in our soil conditions. And when lavender popped up, I became intrigued. I was a full-time dental hygienist at the time, and also going to school for my bachelor’s degree in business. I figured that I would kill two birds with one stone and do my business plan on lavender farming. I quickly became enamored with the history, versatility and benefits of lavender. I was hooked. Fast-forward four years, and our entire world has changed into something most people only get to dream about. We opened to the public in June 2018, and the response from customers has been nothing short of phenomenal. We offer u-pick lavender during the high season of June and July. We also have a farm market full of handcrafted bath and body products.

6 JUNE 2019

Visitors can watch us make the products at the shop with lavender harvested on our farm.


Want to try a lavender treat? Our certified kitchen allows us to make amazing lavender recipes. The shop is open for most of the year, closing in January and portions of the winter. The blissful aromas in our shop are worth the trip anytime of the year! We have over 1,200 lavender plants in the ground, featuring 12 different varieties. The flowing fields are absolutely beautiful when in full bloom, with colors ranging from white to deep purple. There is a constant calming hum from the thousands of happy honeybees that flutter from one plant to the next. Our beekeeper, Stacy, tends to our bees, and they, in turn, help us make sweet lavender honey. Our mission for the farm is to provide a warm, inviting, tranquil destination for our community to enjoy where the atmosphere creates peace and calm. Our farm is a place that friends and family gather together making memories that last a lifetime. We strive to unlock the beautiful wonders of nature through teaching, listening, resting and play. We would love to welcome you to Shades of Lavender Farm. Visit shadesoflavenderfarm.com to plan a visit. 47222 24th Street, Mattawan, Mich. 269-668-5267 : @shadesoflavenderfarm

Lavender Honey Cookies 1½ sticks (¾ cup) butter 1 cup white sugar—— plus more for the top of cookies 1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds

¼ 1 1 2 2 ½

Enjoy this sweet cookie recipe from our kitchen to yours.

cup honey egg teaspoon vanilla extract cups flour teaspoons baking soda teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the white sugar and culinary lavender into a blender and pulse until the lavender is ground into tiny bits. Pour this mixture into a large mixing bowl. Put the butter into a microwavable bowl, cover and microwave for 10-second intervals until melted. Do not overheat. Add the melted butter and the honey into the mixing bowl along with the lavender sugar. Beat until fully mixed. Add one egg at a time, beating well between each and then add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Place a cover over this and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking tray using a small cookie dough scoop. Take a drinking glass and wet the bottom of the glass (you will only need to do this once). Put some sugar into a bowl. Dip the bottom of the glass into sugar. Gently press each cookie with the bottom of the glass so that it slightly flattens it. You will need to dip the glass into the sugar after each cookie. Bake cookies for 8–10 minutes. Cool and enjoy! @michigancountrylines

Learn How To Make

Lavender Lemonade The Rawlinsons often serve lavender lemonade to guests at their farm. To learn how to make this unique refreshment, check out @michigancountrylines on Instagram. Janene provides a step-by-step instructional demonstration in our “DIY” story highlight album.



Save Energy And Money On Home Water Heating


econd only to space heating and cooling, water heating is the next largest source of energy consumption in U.S. homes. We use hot water every day for showering, doing dishes, washing clothes, and a multitude of other tasks— and the cost to heat that water adds up, especially if you have a standard electric or propane water heater. While standard electric resistance water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase, they are costly to operate. On the other hand, heat pump water heaters cost more upfront, but provide significant savings over time. Advanced heat pump technology helps to slash electricity consumption by up to 70 percent. Why switch to a heat pump water heater? Heat pump water heaters are up to 3.7 times more efficient than a standard electric water heater. While they do use electricity, they use a fraction of the energy consumed by a standard electric water heater.

Additionally, heat pump water heaters provide: • Quick payback compared to standard electric (recoup the upfront cost within 2–3 years) • Electricity cost savings of 50 percent or more (compared to standard electric models) • Reliable hot water • Dehumidification of surrounding air • Flexible modes of operation to manage energy use and hot water output • Quiet operation Whether you’re building a new home or replacing an existing water heater, a heat pump water heater is a smart investment. Purchasing a new heat pump water heater is even more affordable now with a $500 cash incentive from the Energy Optimization program! Visit michigan-energy.org for more information, or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.

Soak in the

SAVINGS! With a new heat pump water heater. Efficiency – reduce energy consumption by 50% or more compared to standard electric water heaters Cost savings – a four-person household can save up to $330 a year in energy savings Quick payback – compared to standard electric.

Recoup upfront costs in 2 - 3 years.

$500 REBATE available on qualified products

michigan-energy.org | 877-296-4319

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

GLE Photo Contest

Most Votes On Facebook!



3 4


Playing In The Water 1. Playing in the water is a four-season adventure, according to granddaughter Josilyn—Sherry Franklin, Reed City 2. New Year’s morning paddle by the cabin—Michelle Carolan, Grayling 3. Having fun cooling off on a hot summer’s day—Kathy Meinhard, Branch 4. Jellyfish—Debbie Andrews, Reed City 5. A splashin’ good time—Sally Royle, Petoskey 6. Rescue dog, Weechie, swimming in Little Traverse Bay, Harbor Springs— Sandra VanderWeele, Harbor Springs


Submit Your “Sunrise/Sunset” Photos!

Enter to win a

Each month members can submit photos on Facebook or our website for our annual photo contest. The photo with the most votes on Facebook is published here along with other selections.


energy bill credit!

Our June contest theme is Sunrise/Sunset. Photos can be submitted by June 20 to be featured in the September issue.

How To Enter:

Visit Facebook.com/greatlakesenergy and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Not on Facebook? You can also enter the contest at gtlakes.com/photocontest. Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes from our online and Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2019 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2019.




Get more vegetables in your diet with these garden-fresh recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Cashew Sweet Potatoes And Peaches

Katherine Howell, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 6 1 ½ ¼ ½ ½ 3

medium sweet potatoes pound can sliced peaches, drained cup cashews teaspoon ground ginger teaspoon salt cup brown sugar tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel and cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water until barely done. Cool and slice. Arrange the sweet potatoes, peaches and cashews in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. In a separate bowl mix the ginger, salt and brown sugar; crumble evenly over the sweet potatoes and peaches. Dot with butter. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

10 JUNE 2019

Swiss Vegetable Medley Becky Elliott, Cherryland

1 pound bag (frozen) broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, cooked and drained 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese ½ cup sour cream ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 jar chopped pimentos, drained 2.8 ounce can french fried onions Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cooked vegetables, soup, half cup of cheese, sour cream, pepper, pimentos, and half can of onions. Pour into a 1-quart casserole dish and bake uncovered 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake 5 minutes longer. Enjoy!

Summer Breeze

Katie Swank, Great Lakes Energy 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained, cooked according to package (*can use chicken broth or vegetable broth as the liquid to cook the quinoa) 16 ounces black beans, drained 1 onion, finely chopped 1 bulb garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped (can substitute with dried chives, but use less) 1 orange bell pepper, diced • salt and pepper to taste 2–3 tomatoes, chopped or use grape or cherry tomatoes 1 large English cucumber, diced 1–2 avocados, pitted, peeled and slivered or diced • shredded white cheese, optional • feta cheese, optional • grilled chicken, or sausages, optional

Easy Cheesy Rotini Salad

Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications 1 2 1 1 ¼ 1 ½ 2

(16-ounce) package rotini pasta cups cherry or grape tomatoes colored bell pepper, chopped large cucumber, diced cup red onion, chopped (16-ounce) bottle Italian-style salad dressing cup grated Parmesan cheese tablespoons salad seasoning, store-bought or homemade (see below)


GUEST CHEF Rinse, drain and cook quinoa according to directions on package. In a small saucepan, heat black beans. Sauté onion, garlic, chives and pepper in a skillet until tender, with salt and pepper to taste. Mix into cooked quinoa and keep warm. Chop tomatoes, cucumber, and avocados, placing each in separate serving bowls. To serve, top quinoa mixture with black beans, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado with salt and pepper to taste. Optional, sprinkle with shredded cheese and feta and serve with grilled chicken or sausage of your choice (recommended: chicken spinach-feta sausage). Salad Seasoning: 1 tablespoon sesame seed 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon poppy seed 1 teaspoon celery seed 1½ teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon ground black pepper Stir all salad seasoning ingredients together in bowl and store in an air-tight container. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add rotini pasta. Return water to a rapid boil and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain pasta; rinse in cold water. Combine cooked pasta with tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, salad seasoning, Parmesan cheese and half of the Italian salad dressing. Add more dressing if desired. Cover and chill. Toss salad before serving. Can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.

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

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Wine and food pairings are a match made in culinary heaven. This summer, enjoy this offering from St. Julian Wine Co. as an appetizer or light dinner with a side salad along with their 2018 Chambourcin Rosé—— a fruity dry rosé is a perfect complement to this sweet and salty appetizer.

Melon & Proscuitto Skewers 1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes ¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto 20 small mozzarella balls • Fresh basil for garnish • Balsamic reduction for drizzle garnish • Wooden appetizer skewers

Balsamic Reduction 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon Honey Combine balsamic vinegar and honey over low heat until it starts to simmer. Gently cook until it reduces by half, about 15 minutes. Then thread onto small wooden cocktail skewers prosciutto, mozzarella, and melon cubes. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Read the full story about St. Julian Wine Co. on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.



THE ‘Y’-BRARY Barry County’s Novel New Program Supporting Summer Reading By Brittany Kielbasa


ummertime in Michigan can be a scene right out of a fairy tale. An abundance of activities, experiences, and natural beauty that rivals any magical kingdom can be found far and wide throughout the state. For children, summer can also be a season of opportunity to learn and grow on their own terms. That’s why a group of schools serving Barry County came to the YMCA of Barry County with an idea to bring more learning opportunities to children during their summer break. The “Y,” which works year-round to provide meaningful experiences and learning opportunities to the community they serve, jumped at the chance to help. “It’s proven that students who don’t read during the summer lose months of learning,” said Allison Hinton, community outreach director at the YMCA of Barry County. “We’ve come together with local schools on a mission to keep Barry County kids and families reading all summer.”

12 JUNE 2019

To make this fairy tale a dream come true, the YMCA developed a program to provide access to books for students during the summer months by bringing the learning to them with a mobile library. The YMCA was overwhelmed with community support for the project from Bus Cornerstone Donors, and the B. Bus Mobile Library hit the road last summer in partnership with Delton-Kellogg Schools, Hastings Area School System, Thornapple Kellogg Schools, and Maple Valley Schools. The B. Bus, a renovated school bus filled with more than 5,000 books and activities for children of all ages, makes weekly visits to neighborhoods across Barry County. Each B. Bus stop provides children access to summer reading, hour-long active learning opportunities, and the chance to engage with Y staff members, volunteers, and other area children. The B. Bus has seen great success since the program’s launch last summer—lending more than 2,100 books to

350 children in its first year. Today, the B. Bus is gearing up for another busy summer—and is even looking for ways to grow the program. As the Y looks towards the future, their goal is to expand the program from visiting communities weekly to offering daily programs to provide engaging educational opportunities for area children. The YMCA of Barry County is also grateful for the community partnership of Great Lakes Energy, which provided a People Fund grant to help fund the mobile library. “Receiving the Great Lakes Energy People Fund grant made such a significant impact in our fundraising, and the co-op’s support was instrumental in getting the B. Bus off the ground,” said Hinton. “It’s the little investments you make today that make a big change in the future.” Hinton is also proud of another investment the co-op has made—environmental stewardship. Great Lakes Energy and power supplier Wolverine Power Cooperative now power members with electricity that is more than 60 percent carbon-free. “We strive to make impactful investments in the communities we serve, and we value that one of our supporters, Great Lakes Energy, is making these types of investments environmentally,” said Hinton. “It’s a great thing.” The B. Bus will continue their investment in Barry County kids for their 2019 season in mid-June. To learn more about the YMCA of Barry County and their B. Bus Mobile Library, visit ymcaofbarrycounty.org.

To learn about additional ways Great Lakes Energy members can make an impact in their community, visit gtlakes.com/yourpower.


St. Julian Wine Co.


LAKE By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of St. Julian Wine Co.


hen Mariano Meconi moved The Meconi Wine Company, founded in 1921 in Canada, to Detroit after the repeal of Prohibition in 1923, he couldn’t have imagined the nearly 100-year legacy he would have begun, and the impact he and generations to come would make on the Michigan wine landscape.

St. Julian is committed to using only Michigan fruit in all of our products. That’s been a principle since the beginning of the company. It’s this amazing fruit that brought St. Julian to the area, and we intend to honor that.

—Justin Weeks, St. Julian Marketing Director

14 JUNE 2019

In 1936, Meconi relocated his winemaking operations to Paw Paw after purchasing the former Paw Paw Canning Company facility, strategically located alongside the railroad and near the premier grape-growing area of the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation. He also renamed the company St. Julian Wine Co., paying respect to San Giuliano, the Patron Saint of Faleria, Italy, where Meconi was born. “St. Julian is now 3rd and 4th-generation owned and operated,” said Justin Weeks, St. Julian Marketing Director. “Many family members are involved and passionate about the wine and spirits business.” Family is a common theme in the St. Julian story, with generations of Meconis working alongside Mariano himself until his retirement in the late 60s, including his grandson, David Braganini, who took over operations in the late 70s. At the time St. Julian was producing 300,000 gallons of wine and had 35 employees. He continued

stewardship of the company until 2016. While Meconi’s heritage was entirely Italian, the deep roots and family ties made in Michigan have survived the winemaker. “St. Julian is committed to using only Michigan fruit in all of our products,” said Weeks. “That’s been a principle since the beginning of the company. It’s this amazing fruit that brought St. Julian to the area, and we intend to honor that.” St. Julian builds its family around those ties to the community where it has grown its business. They now have six tasting rooms, including the home base in Paw Paw (Frankenmuth, Union Pier, Dundee, Rockford, and Metro Detroit), most along that same Appellation line, with the exception of the Detroit tasting room, a nod to Meconi’s original relocation to Michigan. Through its name changes and expansion, St. Julian wine has become the most award-winning

winery in Michigan and boasts over 100 products. Additionally, our winemaker Nancie Oxley continues to innovate with new grape variety planting, recruiting new growers, and creating new and exciting products. “We really do want to make sure there is something for everyone,” said Weeks. “Sweet and dry wines, brandy, spirits, cider, even juice for the kids— all made from Michigan fruit.” St. Julian’s staff talks about the winery’s accolades with humility: “When you’re in business almost 100 years, you’re gonna win some awards.” And they have an open-door policy toward novice drinkers and wine snobs alike: “Just drink what you like.” The staff embraces the notion that we’re all a part of the Meconi family, and everyone is welcome, just as they are. St. Julian, now under the stewardship of John Braganini, his wife, and two sons, has the capacity to store over a million gallons of wine/cider/spirits and has well over 100 employees. But the sense of tight-knit kinship is still felt in each tasting room. It’s a feeling that stopping to explore the flavor and honor the earth are perhaps some of

the best ways to build community and family wherever you go. Time is a great teacher. Maybe it takes a hundred years to learn the most valuable lessons, but if we look closely at the stories of St. Julian, it’s easy to remember that family—in all the varied and surprising ways it shows up in life—really is what makes life sweet.

St. Julian’s continues to build family in each community it touches, there are plenty of events to attend to become a part of their extended clan. FIND UPCOMING SUMMER EVENTS AT:


VOTE NEXT MONTH For A Board Member


Beaver Island



t’s time to vote! Great Lakes Energy members in three director districts will receive a mail-in ballot with their July/August issue of Michigan Country Lines.


Three board positions, each for three years, need to be filled. Qualifying GLE members who reside in districts 6, 8, or 9 can seek election to the board and will be listed on your ballot.

District areas are:

District 6 – Lake and Mason counties District 8 – C lare, Mecosta, Newaygo, and Osceola counties District 9 – Allegan, Barry, Kent, Montcalm, and Ottawa counties

The terms of directors Robert Kran (District 6) of Free Soil, Tim Brechon (District 8) of Paris, and John LaForge (District 9) of Delton expire this year. Two incumbents plan to seek reelection. Tim Brechon (District 8) will not seek reelection. In addition to the mail-in ballot, the candidates’ profiles will appear in the July/August election issue that will be sent to members in districts 6, 8, and 9. Please watch for your ballot next month and remember to vote. Winners will be announced Aug. 22 at the cooperative’s annual business meeting in Boyne City.
























Great Lakes Energy offers several convenient Pay Your Way options for paying your electric bill. AutoPay:

Your payment is automatically deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit/debit card.


Pay online at gtlakes.com. Make a one-time payment online at gtlakes.com with a check or credit card. Enroll in e-billing to stop receiving paper bills.


Pay in advance and manage your electricity use on a daily basis. No late fees, no reconnect fees and no deposits involved with this plan.

Download the Great Lakes Energy mobile app (for Apple and Android) to pay your bill Mobile App: and get the latest news about GLE programs and services.

You can also visit any of our eight GLE offices and make your payment in person or use our drop-box. We also have a budget plan to help meet your payment needs. For more information visit gtlakes.com or contact us at 888-GTLAKES (485-2537). 16 JUNE 2019



Electric plant:


Distribution plant Construction in progress Less accumulated depreciation Net electric plant

$ 495,652,300 18,022,863

Patronage capital Donated capital


Accumulated other comprehensive income


Non-utility property, net of accum. depr.

2,982,531 119,488,078

Notes and other receivables Total other assets

$ 519,740


Other assets and investments: Investments and memberships


53,600 122,524,209

Current assets:

192,162,429 6,966,685

Total equities

6,148,928 205,797,782

Long-term debt, net of current portion, and non-current accrued expenses: Long term debt


Non-current accrued expenses


Total long-term debt and non-current accrued expenses


Current liabilities:



Accounts receivable, net of bad debt reserve



Accounts payable



Accrued expenses



Customer deposits

Materials and supplies Other current assets Total current assets

Current maturities of long-term debt


Deferred charges


Total assets

$ 524,237,268


Total current liabilities


Deferred credits


Total liabilities and equities

$ 524,237,268

GREAT LAKES ENERGY COOPERATIVE CONSOLIDATED OPERATING STATEMENTS * for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 Operating revenues



$ 197,997,563

$ 186,526,472



Operating expenses: Cost of power Cost of phone and internet



Distribution system operating and maintenance expenses



Customer service and information expenses



















Administrative and general expenses Depreciation and amortization Other operating expenses Total operating expenses Operating margins before fixed charges Fixed charges, interest expense Operating margins after fixed charges Non-operating margins: Interest income Other expenses, net of other income





Wolverine Power Company



Other associated organizations





$ 14,837,583

$ 10,480,453

Total non-operating income Capital credits from associated organizations:

Total capital credits from associated organizations Net margins

*A copy of the audited financial statements and the auditors’ report is on file at the Cooperative’s office in Boyne City, Mich. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17








Best Ice Cream Here’s the scoop on the best places for ice cream in Michigan. Try these member recommended shops this summer to satisfy ice cream cravings!


House of Flavors, Ludington House of Flavors scoops up some of the finest made ice cream in the Midwest and is a 3rd generation ice cream shop and manufacturer. Laurie Konrad, Great Lakes Energy


Moomers Homemade Ice Cream, Traverse City They have been voted “best ice cream“ place in the U.S. twice and have been in business for 20 years now and have created over 120+ flavors of mouth-watering ice cream, with Cherries Moobilee being their original award-winning flavor to bring them national prominence. The entire staff are friendly and happy to make new friends. Thomas Waclawski, Cherryland


Captain Sundae, Holland Sandy Hansen, Great Lakes Energy

Moose, Portland 4 Chocolate The variety of homemade ice cream flavors is amazing. Quaint little

store, lots of pride in what they do, generous portions, friendly smiles behind the counter, cute moose artwork and delicious treats! Dennis Strahle, HomeWorks Tri-County



1 12 11 7 10 14 4 13 3 8


Plainwell Ice Cream, Plainwell Homemade smooth and creamy ice cream with lots of flavors and great service. Sally Westover, Great Lakes Energy

Cow’s Ice Cream Shop, Chatham 9 Mama Cute, quaint and serves the best ice cream. Denae Nadeau, Alger Delta


The Soft Spot, Zeeland Hands down the friendliest small town ice cream shop around. On certain days the “Cow” sign is tipped for a special of the day!


Country Dairy, New Era A great place to have lunch, take a guided farm tour and enjoy some of the best ice cream around. It is also home of the bottomless cup of milk! Sandy Whitaker, Great Lakes Energy


Jones Homemade Ice Cream, Baldwin I have been a loyal customer for about 50 years. Always a delight! Tom Alliston, Great Lakes Energy

Ice Cream and Café, Dimondale 13 Village Yvonne Esman, Midwest Energy & Communications Moon Ice Cream Shop, Ovid 14 Blue Voted best in Clinton county for several years! Jill Sloat, Alger Delta

House Ice Cream, Lewiston 5 Country Fantastic homemade ice cream. Friendly service and the single scoop is more like a double! Patricia Garrett, Presque Isle Electric & Gas


Fudgees, Central Lake A great place to stop and have delicious ice cream and fudge. Stacey Hamilton, Great Lakes Energy

Trading Post, Mecosta 7 Kings Hand dipped ice cream. Really big scoops dare you to try the triple-

decker. Sharon Varney, Great Lakes Energy

18 JUNE 2019

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

Beat the heat It’s TOO HOT to sleep. I can’t sleep either. We can’t do this all summer. I’m calling Well-Connect!




www.wellconnectgeo.com (989) 356-2113 HEAT $500 FOR AS LOW AS





gtlakes.com facebook.com/greatlakesenergy

Your Co-op. Your Board.

Looking out for you.

Putting their many years of board experience to work for you are Great Lakes Energy directors (front L–R) Tim Brechon, Mark Carson, Dale Farrier and John LaForge; (back L–R) Robert Kran, Paul Byl, Ric Evans, Paul Schemanski and Larry Monshor.

Great Lakes Energy Directors Put Members First • Major system improvements in the last 15 years have increased service reliability to all GLE members.

• Profits earned are returned to you. A total of more than $71.4 million in capital credit refunds have been returned to members since 2003.

• GLE accomplishes more with less, ranking it as one of the most productive electric cooperatives nationwide1.

• Eight local offices deliver quick and courteous service, especially when big storms roll in.

1 Based on number of members per employee statistics compiled by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Directors work for you and you alone. That’s the cooperative difference.

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