June 2019

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June 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

St. Julian Wine Co.



Strengthening Schools Grant Spotlight

Promoting Safety Around Electricity What Is Load Management?

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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Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 dwgeothermal.com

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

WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. Š2019 WaterFurnace International Inc.

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

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives





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

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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.








CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

CONTACT US MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS 800-492-5989 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 Arell.Chapman@teammidwest.com James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/teammidwest Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 JUNE 2019

Breathing New Life Into Local Community


Robert Hance, President/CEO

here’s a really cool movement starting to creep across rural America. It’s a movement to make rural relevant and attract people back to work, live and engage in the rural space. I’m all in with the concept because it speaks to the very heart of our vision of creating vibrant, relevant and sustainable rural communities. The movement is starting to get some traction here in our headquartershometown of Cassopolis, population just north of 1,700. Late last year, Village officials approved a significant investment to begin revitalizing the downtown corridor. Plans are in place and work is slated to start this year. This kind of change doesn’t happen overnight and requires the cooperation of both the business and residential sectors, but there’s definitely a buzz about town. We’re an active participant with the efforts within the Village, and also taking our own steps of making rural relevant. Early in 2016, we inked a deal with the Ed Lowe Foundation to purchase 500 acres of land at the intersection of Decatur Road and M60, and developed about 60 of those acres for our state-of-theart headquarters facility. I believe that Mr. Lowe had a vision for how this land would ultimately take shape, and that our facility is just the first step of his vision coming to life. Step 2? We’re in the very exciting first stage of reimagining about 300 acres of former farmland. It’s a blank canvas of opportunity, and we’re starting to put some color and texture on that canvas. With the help of a number of partners, we’re in the foundational stages of developing this property into a business park. It’s a hand-in-glove fit with the Village revitalization efforts, with both ultimately transforming this community in ways no one ever imagined. The SMART (Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology) Park will drive local economic development efforts by creating new jobs, bringing more people into the local community, and changing the very landscape of Cassopolis. Not only do we offer the most robust electric and fiber internet infrastructure available, but we also have the unique opportunity to leverage the railway that crosses our property. That could prove to be a huge benefit to the existing business community, and a major draw for potential tenants. I’m beyond eager about how this will take shape, although I fully recognize it is a long-term endeavor. I envision a unique and innovative development, much like our facility, nestled within a beautifully-designed and welcoming park-like environment that connects to the revitalized downtown area with biking or walking paths. I look forward to seeing our blank canvas come to life. We laid a foundation for making rural relevant with the upgrades to our distribution system and fiber deployment. This is the exciting next step that will continue to transform our area and allow people to start or maintain businesses and residences in the quiet beauty that typifies the rural space.

Notice To Electric Customers Of Midwest Energy & Communications Tariff Change For Bills Rendered In July 2019 The Midwest Energy & Communications Board of Directors adopted the following change to the cooperative’s tariffs at a special board meeting on April 23, 2019, in accordance with Public Act 167 (P.A. 167). • An increase of $.003065/kWh in the Variable Distribution Charge across all rate classifications. These unapproved minutes are published in accordance with P.A. 167 of 2008.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY We will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. You can make a payment or report a power outage via SmartHub or by calling 800-492-5989. Dropbox payments made at our three solutions centers will be processed on the next open business day.

MEC electric customers can purchase water heaters for only $125 out of pocket when you participate in our water heater load management program*. Units are available from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the Cassopolis, Paw Paw or Adrian offices. For more information or to see if you qualify, please call Customer Solutions at 800-492-5989. *See page 16 for more details about our load management programs.


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.



Efficiency. Savings. Comfort.


ideas. All work will be completed in a high quality manner in one day or less.

Eligibility Requirements

p to 50 percent of the heated air in a typical manufactured home can leak from the ductwork into the crawl space below the home. In most cases, this leakage is the number one source of energy loss and a major cause for comfort complaints. Our Energy Optimization Manufactured Homes Program is available to help our you improve your home while saving energy and money, all at no cost to you.

• Must be an electric customer of Midwest Energy & Communications.

How Does The Program Work?

• Willing to sign a document to allow work to be done on the home by professional, trained contractors.

A professional, trained contractor will come to your home to: • Test and seal your home’s heating and cooling system ductwork

• No income limit to qualify. • Own the manufactured home or, if you are a tenant, must have owner’s permission to have work done on the home, prior to work beginning.

• Must still be on wheels, or have a crawl space under it, enclosed with skirting. (No permanent foundations)

• Provide water and energy-saving items

Would you like to improve the comfort and energy performance of your manufactured home, and reduce your electricity bills? Contact us today to schedule your free services.

In addition, the contractor will provide valuable information on how your home operates along with energy-saving

Visit michigan-energy.org, email info@michigan-energy.org, or call 877.296.4319 to sign up today.

• Install energy-efficient light bulbs

Efficiency. Savings. Comfort.


Sign up today for a professional, trained contractor to: • Test and seal your home’s heating and cooling system ductwork • Install energy-efficient LED light bulbs • Install water- and energy-saving items All work will be completed in one day or less, at no cost to you.

Schedule your FREE services today. 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.

Marty Smego and Mike Miller discuss ways to

stay safe around electricity at Kincheloe Elementary in Dowagiac.

Keeping The Lights On And



nderstanding what to do—and not do—around electricity can save your life. That’s why MEC dedicates every April to teaching local fourth graders how to stay safe around electricity.

This year, we reached over 440 students in Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg and Marcellus in southwest Michigan, and nearly 240 in Addison, Britton/Deerfield and Madison schools in southeast Michigan. Students learned about safety equipment used by lineworkers, items that conduct electricity, equipment that protects the public and

MEC Lineman Justin McDonald

demonstrates how a golf club conducts electricity at Marcellus Elementary.

Gabe Pospisil from Addison Elementary learns what it’s like to wear a lineman’s gear.

the lines, and ultimately what to do should they encounter a downed power line. As part of the presentations, we ask the kids to draw a poster that illustrates something they learned during the presentation. Two overall winners—one from our SW and one from our SE service territories—get their posters on a billboard, and their class gets to take a field trip in the spring. Stay tuned for details on this year’s winners in our July/August issue of Country Lines. These demonstrations aren’t just for kids, however. We present to both children and adults at schools, emergency response organizations, churches, civic groups, local businesses, and more. We can host these interactive presentations at your location or ours and can customize them to meet necessary state standards or your specific needs. Beyond electricity, we host demonstrations for propane safety too because our efforts to keep the community safe do not stop where our electric lines end. For more information or to schedule a demonstration, contact MEC Community Relations at 800-492-5989 or pr@teammidwest.com. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES



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.







Mikayla Williams (left) enjoys looking at insect parts the most. Reese, on the other hand, says plant cells are his favorite.


arey May, a teacher at Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School wants her kids to become independent learners and to develop a desire to discover new things on their own. Part of that effort involves creating hands-on experiences for her students to bring lessons to life.

lab. “I’ve been a teacher here for 16 years, and the old microscopes were here when I started. I lost a lot of instruction time because I had to constantly re-focus each microscope throughout the lessons. Additionally, we only had six that worked, which meant that several students had to share one at a time.”

That effort became increasingly challenging due to the outdated, difficult-to-use microscopes in her science

So May applied for one of our Strengthening Schools Grants to purchase new microscopes, a projector

12 JUNE 2019

“I’m so grateful for the projector microscope. It brings the whole class together and brings to life what we are talking about.” —Carey May New microscopes purchased with funds from a MEC Strengthening Schools Grant.

Teacher Carey May projects a slide for seventh graders and has them guess what it is. Do you know? See the answer at the bottom of this page.*

microscope and new slides, all of which have proven a vast improvement over the previous equipment. For example, several of the new microscopes are rechargeable, meaning May can place them anywhere in the classroom. They also have added safety features, so the students no longer have to worry about accidentally cracking a slide. Additionally, the projector microscope displays slides on a large TV, which enables all the students to look at and respond to the same slide at the same time. “I’m so grateful for the projector microscope. It brings the whole class together and brings to life what we are talking about,” said May. The students love the new microscopes as well. “The old microscopes only had three different magnifications, so sometimes I couldn’t look at things correctly. The new ones have four, and now I can see exactly what I want,” said Mikayla Williams. Her classmate, Reese Williams, stated that his favorite thing about the new microscopes is the light dimming feature. “Before, I’d get blinded when trying to use the microscopes because I could not change the brightness. Now I can look at something for as long as I need to.” For May, this grant helped her with more than simply purchasing new equipment. It helped her reach her students in new and exciting ways. We’re proud to support our local educators through our grant program every year because we understand the impact it has on students for years to come.

Now Accepting Grant Applications Now through Oct. 21, any teacher, administrator or school official in a public elementary, middle or high school serving students in our electric service territory may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to support classroom needs, technology, or academic projects/clubs/organizations. School districts can receive multiple grants, not to exceed a total of $5,000 for the award cycle and funds will be awarded in January 2020. Applications are evaluated and funding decisions are made by a committee of MEC customers without knowledge of the applying school, district or educator. Funds are made possible through sponsorship dollars from our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative. Apply now at teammidwest.com/grants *A goldfish


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:



Interruptible Water Heater

If you use a 50-gallon electric water heater, you may qualify for a $4 monthly credit on your electric bill when you allow us to control the electricity to the heater during peakuse times. Need a new water heater? Purchase one through us for only $125 out of pocket. We will apply the monthly load management credit to the cost of the water heater for 66 months. You must use a minimum of 400 kWhs per month to qualify.

Load 3 Irrigation Management


Saving Electricity Demand, Saving You Money When many of our customers use a lot of electricity at the same time, it can lead to increased demand on our system—and increased power supply costs. Our load management programs are intended to help ease that burden by allowing us to reduce the amount of electricity being used during peak times. In turn, we pass the cost savings on to you. We offer several different load management programs; participation is voluntary but can lead to significant savings on your electric bill.



This program provides you with a lower rate while allowing us to interrupt your service when we need to. Load management may occur at any time, including weekends and holidays but typically happens in the evenings. Plus, we attempt to notify all irrigation accounts on load management by telephone on the days we control.

House 4 Whole Comfort Program

During periods of peak demand, we remotely interrupt your heating and air conditioning system through a secondary meter. You get a reduced kWh charge on your electric bill and pay no distribution charge on your electric heat or qualified air conditioning for the entire time you are enrolled in the program— not just during control periods. A back-up heating system is required to participate.

Nest® Thermostat and Rush Hour Rewards

Join the Rush Hour Rewards load management program using a Nest thermostat and receive two annual $25 account credits for allowing us to control your Nest when demand is high. During a Rush Hour period, the Nest will automatically adjust the temperature without allowing it to get too cold or hot. Additionally, if you purchase the thermostat through us, you can receive rebates of up to $125.

16 JUNE 2019

For more information on each program, including times during which we typically perform controls, please visit teammidwest.com or give us a call at 800-492-5989.

2018 ANNUAL REPORT Report Of Independent Auditors

Consolidated Statements of Operations Years Ended December 31, (Dollars in 000)

Following are excerpts from the audit report. The full report may be accessed at teammidwest.com or by calling 800-492-5989. We have audited the accompanying consolidated financial statements of Midwest Energy Cooperative, which comprises the consolidated balance sheets as of December 31, 2018, and 2017, and the related consolidated statements of operations, equities and margins, and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements. Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Our responsibility is to express opinions on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits. An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgment, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entity’s preparation and fair presentation of the consolidated financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity’s internal control. Accordingly, we express no such opinions. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinions. In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Cooperative as of December 31, 2018, and 2017, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Moss Adams March 29, 2019

2018 Operating revenues


Operating expenses Interest expense Operating margins (deficits) Capital credits Non-operating margins (deficits)

Where Our Sales Come From











Net margins



826 $


Consolidated Balance Sheets December 31 (Dollars in 000)



Net electric plant and equipment



204,415 $


Other assets and investments



Current assets



Deferred charges Total assets




265,065 $



61,256 $


EQUITIES AND LIABILITIES Equities Long-term debt



Other liabilities







Current liabilities

Director’s Compensation Disclosure Elected directors are paid an annual retainer of $1,200 and a per diem based on board position, and years of service or credential status, for meetings attended on behalf of the cooperative. The chairman is paid an annual retainer of $2,200.

2017 96,131 $

Deferred tax liability Deferred credits Total equity and liabilities

21 $


265,065 $


Where Your Dollars Go

Irrigation Sales 3%

Property Taxes 4% Depreciation 10%

Commercial & Industrial Sales 35%

Administrative & Member Services 10% Residential Sales 62%

Interest Expense 6%

Cost Of Purchased Power 59%

Operations & Maintenance 11%









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






We’re transforming the rural space. THANK YOU for trusting us with your business.


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