June 2020 Cherryland

Page 1

June 2020


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Member Attendance At Annual Meeting Entirely Virtual In-Person Attendance Prohibited For Co-op Member And Employee Safety

Future Bright With Beneficial Electrification

Local Arts & Culture Adapt To Quarantine Conditions

Co-op Governance Thrives Under New NormalÂ


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Contents countrylines.com

June 2020 Vol. 40, No. 6



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey 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 BUTTERFLY EFFECT Electric co-ops are doing their part to stabilize the state's monarch butterfly population.


10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN These flavorful Mexican recipes go way beyond your basic taco.

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.


14 SMALL TOWN HAS BIG IMPACT U.P.-based Calumet Electronics discovers just how powerful its product and sense of community is during the COVID-19 crisis. 18 BEST OF MICHIGAN: CAMPGROUNDS From location to amenities to water access, find out why these campgrounds are our members' favorites.

Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through and how you survived. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain—when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. #wecangetthroughthis @karfar Karen Farrell

Be featured!

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.

To enter contests, reader-submitted content & more visit countrylines.com/community




Up Next: Kid-Friendly Cooking, Easy Recipes Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Wineries! Which is your favorite spot amongst the vines to sip Michigan’s world-class wines?

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


CO-OP NEWS cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tom Van Pelt, President 231-386-5234 tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop

David Schweitzer, Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop John Olson, Director 231-938-1228 jolson@cherrylandelectric.coop

Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 jzickert@cherrylandelectric.coop General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Watch the 82nd Annual Meeting Live on June 11, In-Person Attendance Prohibited

Join us for this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting from the comfort of your home! In an effort to follow good social distancing practices and exercise fiscal responsibility on account of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the event will consist solely of a business meeting held at our office in Grawn on June 11 at 5:30 p.m. The business meeting will be broadcast live via Facebook and YouTube. Members may also call to listen to the meeting. Hear updates about the co-op’s financials, witness the results of the board of directors election, and learn more about the co-op you own. In-person attendance at the Annual Meeting is prohibited. See page 12 for additional Annual Meeting details.

Cherryland Members Awarded Scholarships Three high school seniors and two adult learners were awarded the 2020 Cherryland Electric Cooperative scholarships. The three high school scholarships are worth $4,000 each— $1,000 per year for four years. The adult scholarships are a one-time award of $1,000 each. Student scholarship recipients: • Abigail Brower (Traverse City Christian High School) • Tanner McLean (Elk Rapids High School)

• Garrison Waugh (Elk Rapids High School) Adult scholarship recipients: • Madison Hertel of Traverse City • Jake Taber of Thompsonville

Cherryland Cares Supports Local Nonprofits Cherryland Cares distributes funds to local nonprofit organizations in need of financial support. The funds distributed by Cherryland Cares are a result of members electing to round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. Members can contribute to the Cherryland Cares fund by calling 231-486-9200, signing up through SmartHub, or sending an email to cec@cherrylandelectric.coop. If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email smattson@cherrylandelectric. coop. The deadline for second-quarter applications is Friday, June 5.

Cherryland Office Closed Independence Day The Cherryland office will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. Normal business hours will resume Monday, July 6. Line crews are on-call to respond to any outages or emergencies. You can report an outage by texting OUT to 800-442-8616, logging into SmartHub, or by calling us at 231-486-9200. Visit our website’s Outage Center for more details.

Your Board In Action April Board Meeting The meeting consisted primarily of the board receiving updates on the cooperative’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from all departments. This included reports on employee safety, external and internal communications, cooperative finances, and more. The Grawn office lobby has been closed, and the vast majority of cooperative employees have been working from home since March 16.

4 JUNE 2020

Beneficial Electrification Tony Anderson, General Manager


ne of the most common questions I get is, “What does the future look like in your industry?” As I approach 37 years in the electricity business, looking back 10 years is the most helpful way to pontificate on what an electric future looks like. No pun intended, but I feel strongly that the electric future is very bright. Why? The answer is a simple two words: Beneficial Electrification. Beneficial Electrification or BE is a term for replacing direct fossil fuel use (propane, gasoline, heating oil) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs for the consumer of the electricity. How does the past play into this new paradigm? Well, for literally decades, electric utilities have had energy conservation programs, rebates for efficient appliances, discounts on LED bulbs, and many other programs to get the consumer to use our product wisely. It was almost as if we were saying, “Sorry, I know you have to use our product that is mostly generated by fossil fuels. Let us help you use less of it.” Well, wholesale power supply portfolios have changed and will continue to change. Your utility has generation resources that are over 60% carbon-free today. Other utilities in our region and state are striving to join us. The grid today is cleaner than it has ever been, and it will get even better in the decade before us. BE is simply the electric industry shift to no longer apologizing to the consumer for using our product. In the decade ahead, consumers will be tasked with the responsibility of making a low-carbon choice. Saving the environment will evolve from a utility responsibility to a consumer choice.

Water heating should be a leader in the BE movement. When low-carbon power supply is available, everybody wins when a consumer uses electricity to heat water rather than a fossil fuel. The consumer saves money as electricity prices are much more stable than propane. The utility is able to keep costs down because of the increased sales. The environmental win is obvious. The wins are bigger when we look at home heating. Ground source heat pumps and air-to-air heat pumps powered by electricity can put even more dollars in the pocket of the consumer and more stability in the rates of the utility. I believe we are on the cusp of an even larger combined win in the transportation sector. Complete electrification of the U.S. transportation sector would double electricity use by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gases by 70%. Obviously, we are years away from such a lofty mark, but if you look around, you’ll see electric vehicles are starting to seep into our society. The number of available models will increase in the next five years. Competition and technology advances will make prices fall. I am confident that my 2017 vehicle is the last gas engine I will ever own. Instead of asking, “How can I use less electricity?” in the decade ahead, I see everyone asking themselves, “How can I use electricity for that, that, and that?” Stop by my house when the grass starts to grow, and we can discuss the electric future over a beverage while my electric robot mows my yard (for the third summer in a row). The future of electricity is not only cleaner and more cost-effective, but it is also quiet, less time-consuming and absent five-gallon cans of gas. Now, that’s Beneficial Electrification!





s the ground thaws and the world warms up, one of the planet’s great travelers and most recognizable insects returns to Michigan from its warm winter getaway. The monarch butterfly can migrate thousands of miles in a generation, from as far as Canada to Mexico, to spend the winter. The monarch then returns to the southeastern United States to reproduce before flying further north to paint our Michigan skies with its unmistakable orange and black fluttering. But monarch butterflies are more than just winged beauties and harbingers of warmer weather. They play an important role in the critical pollination of many wildflowers, which in turn maintains and produces clean air, water, and soil. In addition, according to the U.S. Forest Service, pollinators like the monarch butterfly are responsible for pollinating nearly 80% of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world that produce our food and plant-based industrial products. Monarchs may be a familiar sight during Michigan summers, but their numbers are


JUNE 2020

dwindling. Overuse of pesticides, urban development, and reduction of natural habitat have driven the monarch population to the point that they are being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Monarchs that overwinter in California are at historic lows, and other pollinators are also facing drastic population declines. As the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considers a threatened or endangered designation for the monarch, Michigan’s electric cooperatives continue their commitment to environmental stewardship by collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies to maintain, establish, and preserve additional habitat for species in decline. Co-ops are achieving this by cultivating pollinator habitat along rights-of-way through minimal mowing, removing undesirable trees and shrubs, sowing pollinator-friendly seed mixes along rights-of-way during construction restoration activities, and incorporating milkweed—the essential food and nesting source monarchs depend on for survival.

A tiny monarch butterfly egg in the center of a milkweed blossom.

Monarch chrysalis.

Electric cooperatives often go above and beyond federal and local environmental regulations in their commitment to being good citizens, neighbors, and stewards of natural resources and wildlife. Because of this, and the pollinator-friendly vegetation management practices, cooperatives will be well-positioned to meet new requirements should the monarch

Monarch caterpillar eating a milkweed leaf.

A monarch butterfly newly emerged from its cocoon.

butterfly be designated as a threatened or endangered species. While electric cooperatives are doing their part, so can you! Here are several ways the U.S. Forest Service recommends you can help support the pollinators in your neck of the woods.

How You Can Help The Monarchs And Other Pollinators At Home For more information on pollinators, visit the U.S. Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us.

Plant local plants! Pollinators that exist in your area are specially adapted to meet the needs of local plants in physical structure and behavior.

Grow a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring to fall, making pollen and nectar available throughout the seasons. When selecting your plants, vary the bloom shapes and colors to attract a wider variety of pollinators.

Provide a source of water. Pollinators like bees need water and seek out shallow water sources. Incorporate a birdbath or other water feature to create their ideal habitat.

Limit using pesticides. Pesticides are absorbed by the plant tissue and become present in its nectar and pollen, which can be harmful to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.



THE SHOW MUST GO ON Local Arts & Culture Adapt To Quarantine Conditions By Rob Marsh

ATTEND one of Levi Britton’s living room concerts on his Facebook page, @LeviBrittonMusic.

Quarantine has forced northern Michiganders to tackle daily life creatively. Employees craft home offices. Restaurateurs offer curbside pickup. Families gather together online. What about the creatives? What are musicians, theatres, artists, and museums doing to adapt to the “new normal”? Learn how some members of the local arts and culture community are responding to quarantine conditions and why the arts are important now more than ever.

Living Room Concerts The energy of a live show is irreplaceable. However, when musicians have to take their talents from the big stage to the living room, they can still keep their audiences entertained. “I miss the element of live music. It’s a little tough to recreate in my living room,” said local musician Levi Britton. “But people say over and over that these living room concerts bring them some normalcy, peace and happiness.”

Britton has been live-streaming concerts for his fans using Facebook and other videoconferencing platforms from home. His fans can watch with friends and family, interact with fellow fans, and give their rounds of applause in the comment section. “Music is more important now than ever,” Britton explained. “It has the powerful ability to change the way a person feels. And in these times, it makes people feel together.”

Film Study From Your Study

8 JUNE 2020

EXPLORE the Bay Theatre’s “Beyond the Bay” online programming by visiting thebaytheatre.com.

If there is one activity everyone can identify with during quarantine, it’s watching a movie. While the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay can’t facilitate that activity in-house, they can try to recreate that same sense of community when going to the movies.

Bay Theatre has offered online programming, including having patrons view introductions to films by film historians and industry insiders, watch a film on their own, and then participate in a live Q&A session.

“Through our new reimagined programming, we can engage, connect, and support our movieloving community,” said Larry Domine, board member for the Bay Theatre. “Movies can still bring us together.”

“The health emergency has created feelings of fear, abandonment, confusion, and uncertainty,” explained Domine. “The arts boost self-esteem, a feeling of belonging, reduces stress, and promotes creative thinking. It is not just entertainment, but an engaging experience shared with others.”

Using video-streaming and conferencing technology, the

Tunes For Tykes The lack of routine and group activities during a quarantine can be especially hard on children. That’s where Christy Burich, director of Music Together of Traverse City, steps in. “Miss Christy” offers early childhood music and movement programs to local kids and families. While her classes are normally held in person, in the wake of the pandemic, she has successfully moved her programming online. “I hope to help alleviate some of the anxieties that our young families might be facing and bring a sense of normalcy and routine back for the kids,” explained Burich. “I also hope to inspire feelings of joy and impart the need for all of us to keep our energies light and playful as much as possible!” Today, Burich offers an eight-week online music course for kids up to 5 years old. The course consists of a combination of live classes in which children and families can interact and prerecorded video and other coursework.

“There has been a tremendous response! The live, interactive classes have been a unique way for children to stay social and for the parents to connect with other adults for moral support,” Burich said.

GIVE your child the gift of music and sign up for courses with Miss Christy at musictogethertc.com.

director of the Dennos Museum Center. “Connecting people and ideas in new and innovative ways is what we do through the visual and creative arts. Collections and exhibits are critical to this mission, but the human element is undeniably central as well.”

PLAN your virtual visit to the Dennos Museum Center at dennosmuseum.org.

In response to the pandemic, the museum created a number of programs to engage and connect with audiences, including an online concert series, a virtual exhibit featuring young artists, online drawing sessions, and a lot more.

Bringing Exhibits Home Museums and galleries could be thought of as hubs of creativity, with everything from art exhibits to concerts. But also, when you think of museums and galleries, you think of the buildings themselves, which are closed during the quarantine. “The role of 21st-century museums is rapidly changing,” explained Craig Hadley, executive

“The Dennos Museum Center is living through this challenging time with everyone else, and we are responding with all of the courageous creativity that we can muster,” said Hadley. “Whether it’s rallying arts organizations in the area to donate medical supplies, or partnering with our peers at Michigan Legacy Art Park, or retooling our “Draw Northern Michigan” program for online art education delivery, our programs extend far beyond the gallery walls and the collection vaults.”



MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey




Spice up the party with these Mexicaninspired recipes.

Joyce Tamminga, Great Lakes Energy

2 tablespoons canola oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 medium sweet red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 celery rib, finely chopped 2 teaspoons chili powder ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 cups vegetable stock 1 cup frozen corn 1 cup quinoa, rinsed 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained ¹⁄ ³ cup plus 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, celery and seasonings; cook and stir 5–7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in stock and corn; bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 12–15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add beans and ¹⁄ ³ cup cilantro; heat through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with lime, avocado, salsa, and tortilla chips. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

10 JUNE 2020

Win a


energy bill credit!


Kid-Friendly Cooking due July 1 • Easy Recipes 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.

CHEESY FIESTA CORN BAKE Michele Smith, Ontonagon 1 1–2 ½ 1 2 1 1 ½ 1 3 1½ ¾ 3 •

pound ground beef tablespoons taco seasoning mix cup chopped green onion (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles eggs (14¾-ounce) can cream-style corn cup milk cup canola oil cup cornmeal tablespoons all-purpose flour teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided Toppings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, diced tomatoes, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown beef in large skillet; remove from heat. Drain; stir in seasoning mix, green onion and chiles. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, corn, milk and oil. Stir in cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and pour half of the batter into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1½ cups cheese. Top with beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1½ cups cheese. Top with remaining batter. Bake, uncovered, for 50–60 minutes. Cut into squares, serve warm with desired toppings. Yield: 12 servings.


C. Hodges, Ontonagon 4 cups canned white or yellow hominy (One 28-ounce can or two 14-ounce cans) 8 cups water 2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch chunks 2 teaspoons dried oregano 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, cut into pieces 2 tablespoons ground cumin 2 large onions, peeled and chopped 2 tablespoons minced garlic • Juice from 2 limes 1 tablespoon salt • Ground black pepper, to taste 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro • Toppings (any/all of the following): additional chopped cilantro, avocado chunks, grated sharp cheddar cheese, sliced radishes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, chili peppers Drain hominy and add to crockpot. Add water, pork, oregano, chipotle peppers, cumin, onion, garlic, lime, salt and pepper. Turn heat to low. Cook 8–10 hours covered until pork is falling apart. About 15 minutes before serving, add tomatoes and heat through. Stir in chopped cilantro just before serving. Ladle into bowls and let diners customize their bowls with assorted toppings.

EASY OVEN CHICKEN FAJITAS Madalyn Crawford, Great Lakes Energy

FAJITA SEASONING: 1 tablespoon chili powder ½ tablespoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon cumin ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (¼ teaspoon for spicier version!) 1 teaspoon sugar ½ teaspoon salt FAJITAS: 1 large onion 1 yellow bell pepper 1 red bell pepper 1 green bell pepper 1 pound chicken breast 2 tablespoons vegetable oil • Tortillas of choice, OR serve over lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all fajita seasoning spices together in small bowl and set aside. Chop onion and bell peppers into ½-inch squares or ¼-inchwide strips. Place in 9x13-inch baking dish. Rinse chicken breast and cut into thin strips. Add to dish with vegetables. Add vegetable oil to vegetables and chicken; toss. Sprinkle fajita seasoning over mixture and toss again. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Stir together after the first 20 minutes and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Serve hot on your choice of prepared tortillas or eat over a bed of lettuce. Top with sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, and even a sprinkle of lime if you wish!



Virtually Attend Cherryland Electric Cooperative’s

82nd Annual Meeting!



Don't forget to ask questions in the comment section or email am@cherrylandelectric.coop before or during the broadcast!

Thursday, June 11, 2020 5:30–6:30 p.m. Join us live on Facebook and YouTube from our headquarters or call to listen to the meeting: Toll Free: 1-888-475-4499 Meeting ID: 826 5505 8025 Password: 433303 Join us for this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting from the comfort of your home! Hear updates about the co-opʻs financials, witness the results of the board of directors election, and learn more about the co-op you own. Member Attendance At Annual Meeting Is Entirely Virtual. In-Person Attendance Is Prohibited For Co-op Member And Employee Safety. 12 JUNE 2020

Why Go Virtual? Cherryland was built and is owned by the community we serve, so we take your safety seriously. In an effort to follow good social distancing practices and help protect co-op members and employees from the coronavirus (COVID-19), we modified this year’s 82nd Annual Meeting to consist solely of a virtual business meeting without in-person attendance. Rest assured that this Annual Meeting format is only temporary, and we fully expect to return to our normal format in 2021. This was not an easy decision, but it’s our job to do what’s best for the membership in the best and worst of times. Please email cec@cherrylandelectric.coop or call 231-486-9200 if you have any questions.

Governance In The Technology Age By Rachel Johnson, Member Relations Manager

ocial distancing,” “Zoom”-ing, the “new normal.” If your social media feeds and personal conversations are filled with new things that feel anything but normal, you’re not alone. We’re all trying to figure out how to get through this crisis and what our lives will look like on the other side.


Cherryland is no different. If you’re a regular reader of Michigan Country Lines, you know that co-ops don’t just provide electricity, we give our members a voice. We are owned and governed by those we serve.

“Our governance model isn’t about location, it’s about staying true to our values. That’s not a new normal, that’s just our normal.”

While we’ve had to adjust some things, our governance model has never been stronger. Your board of directors is meeting monthly via videoconference. Members can still provide input or ask questions by emailing or calling them. Both forms of contact are listed on the page 4 of the magazine or in the governance section of our website. We’re in the midst of a board election. Fifteen years ago, restrictions on event attendance may have meant you couldn’t vote. Not today. Today, you can vote by mailing in the ballot that was mailed to you in the May issue of the magazine or by logging in to your SmartHub account and voting online. One of our most sacred governance rituals is our Annual Meeting. For the last several years, we’ve held it at Incredible Mo’s and turned it into a real party. This year, we’re not able to do that. But the annual business meeting will still happen!

We’re going virtual with the Annual Meeting this year. You can tune in to the Annual Meeting via Facebook Live or YouTube Live at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, or you can call in and listen to it. See page 12 for more details. This may not be an Annual Meeting like you’re used to, but you will still get updates from your general manager and board of directors, hear election results live, and get a chance to ask questions and give feedback. Change can be hard, but it can also be good. While we will miss seeing all our members at Incredible Mo’s in June, the virtual Annual Meeting format gives us a chance to include members who may not have been able to attend in the past. Imagine an Annual Meeting where a busy father of three young kids tunes in from his cell phone while waiting for baseball practice to finish up. Or, a grandmother of 15 watches from her laptop while recovering from hip surgery. Attending alongside them, a grocery clerk on her lunch break listens in before heading back to finish her shift. We don’t have to imagine it; we’re going to make that happen. Our governance model isn’t about location, it’s about staying true to our values. That’s not a new normal, that’s just our normal. This year our normal got a little more tech-savvy. And, I suspect that might be a good thing. Looking forward to e-seeing all of you at the Annual Meeting on June 11.


Small-Town Calumet Electronics Has

BIG IMPACT By Emily Haines Lloyd

“Rugged” is a word that people in the most northern regions of the Upper Peninsula hear frequently. It’s a characteristic that is put to the test on a daily basis. But in the time of COVID-19, this is a characteristic that allows folks to not only survive but thrive. Calumet, Michigan, was once the center of copper mining activity in the Keweenaw Peninsula. After World War I, the demand for copper decreased, taking much of the industry, jobs, and people out of the area. When Calumet Electronics opened its doors in 1968, it had a mission to bring new business life to the area. Its purpose was to create local, familysustaining jobs. Today it is the area’s largest private-sector employer. Calumet Electronics designs, builds and delivers printed circuit boards (PCBs). These circuit boards are used in energy grids, life support systems, medical devices, avionics, aerospace and defense markets. It’s a source of pride that while Calumet’s boards are found in products all over the world, they are manufactured entirely in Michigan. 14 JUNE 2020

“Circuit boards aren’t exactly ‘sexy,’” said Dr. Meredith LaBeau, process engineering manager. “But we believe in this area, the lifestyle it can provide, and the people who make it their home. We are proud to create jobs that allow people to build lives here.” A secret recruitment weapon in Calumet Electronics’, back pocket is a “little” technological school nestled in the woods less than 15 miles away— Michigan Technological University in Houghton. With engineers in multiple disciplines graduating every year, the efforts to both groom and recruit from the university take a lot of effort and input. “Ultimately, we’re trying to keep the talented people who have fallen in love with the area—in the area,” said LaBeau.


Audra Thurston (right), a process engineer, represents Calumet Electronics, the IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries), and the domestic electronics industry at the White House, advocating for workforce development while telling the Calumet Electronics story.

While Calumet Electronics was busy working to balance its small-town way of life with providing world-class technology, it was jarred along with the rest of the world by the onset of COVID-19.

Todd Brassard, vice president and chief operations officer. “What would this mean for our employees and their families? But when the first RUSH order came in for the ventilator PCB, we knew we had a part to play in the fight.”

Calumet Electronics has produced PCBs for hospital ventilators for some time. It was an area of its business that was suddenly a piece of equipment that would have life-saving implications in the fight against COVID-19.

The importance of PCB manufacturing is undervalued. However, with Calumet Electronics’ products suddenly a vital part of the COVID19 battle, employees suddenly had new purpose and a very concrete way to grasp how one little circuit board could have a huge impact.

As individuals contracted the virus, and their symptoms went from fevers and trouble breathing to needing machine-assisted breathing provided by ventilators, production gained national attention. While many businesses have found themselves closed down and unable to engage in even daily activities, Calumet Electronics found the opposite. “When the COVID-19 hit, we were uncertain like everyone else,” said

Problem-solving, which is the backbone of engineering and manufacturing, was put to task as production quickly ramped up to full capacity. Calumet Electronics was not only pushing to produce more ventilator PCBs, but to maintain schedules and production for products of other clients, whose functions are similarly essential, like the PCBs they produce for power grids.

To say it was an all-hands-on-deck situation may be an understatement. What started as an effort to increase manufacturing by 15% quickly exceeded that and hit an increase of 39%. This meant all employees in the trenches, including folks who were more likely to be in client meetings and behind monitors, were suddenly on the production floor. “Fundamentally, we’re built for this kind of ‘all in this together’ scenario. We have hard-working, family- and community-focused people,” said Brassard. “At a really uncertain time, it feels good to be able to help, in whatever way we can.” It’s amazing that in the middle of a crisis that is focused on maintaining physical distance from one another, it is a small-town business with a tight-knit mentality that is able to show that solidarity doesn’t need to be about proximity.

“Fundamentally, we’re built for this kind of ‘all in this together’ scenario. We have hardworking, familyand communityfocused people.” —Todd Brassard


Nightscapes 1. “Calming night of Sleeping Bear” by Megan Doher  2. “Northern lights” by Nicole Miller  3. “April supermoon” by Debbie Manley  4. “Sunset before the storm” by Michelle Brefka  5. “Moonlit night at home” by Cheryl Dinger

Most votes on Facebook!


3 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!



Submit Your “Michigan’s Natural Beauty” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our June theme is Michigan’s Natural Beauty. Photos can be submitted through June 20 to be featured in our September issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/ cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2020, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2020 bill. 16 JUNE 2020


Cherryland Gives Rebates To Nearly 900 Members In 2019 Through our Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) program, we gave rebates to nearly 900 residential and business members in 2019. Members received these rebates by becoming more energy-efficient through specific stateapproved measures, including replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs and purchasing energy-efficient home appliances. While we were just shy of reaching our state-mandated energy-savings goal, last year’s rebates represent over 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy saved. Interested in energy efficiency rebates? Visit our website at cherrylandelectric.coop/rebates.

3,521,657 kWh saved in 2019


residential and business members received rebates

Rebates Claimed By Residential Members In 2019 21%

25% 8%

23% 22% 1%


Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling HVAC Solar


Weatherization For Income-Qualified Homes

Money for your back pocket. We’re giving you money for purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

Learn more at cherrylandelectric.coop and claim your rebate.

MI CO-OP Community

Best Of Michigan



Sleep under the stars at these favorite member campgrounds.



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Which is your favorite spot amongst the vines to sip Michigan’s world-class wines? Submit your favorites at countrylines.com/ community by June 25, and look for it in our September issue.

18 JUNE 2020 18

Scottville Riverside Park, Scottville

This park is really nice and is located right off the Pere Marquette River. It has clean bathrooms and showers, and an outside heated pool. It has big campsites with electric, water and even cable. It's an excellent value for your money. Karen Winters, Great Lakes Energy scottvilleriversidepark.com/


Munising City Tourist Park Campground, Munising

This place is a favorite campground located on a bay of Lake Superior. We have wonderful memories of summer vacation trips spent camping there. It is reasonably priced, clean, friendly and has a beautiful view of the beach. Lianne Briggs, Great Lakes Energy munisingtouristpark.com


Indigo Bluffs RV Park & Resort, Empire

This is one of the easiest campgrounds to get into and out of that we’ve ever visited. It has nice, wide sites and even some wildflower fields on the resort side. It's a great location to get to anywhere in the Leelanau Peninsula and the Lake Michigan coast going south. There are many hikes in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, not just the dunes. Don Peterson, Great Lakes Energy indigobluffs.com


Barnes Park Campground, Antrim County


Hill & Hollow Campground & RV Park, Pentwater


Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Silver Lake


Burt Lake State Park, Indian River

This is a well-kept campground situated off of Lake Michigan and a stone’s throw from Torch Lake. There are lots of trails and bike paths, too. Shelia Davis, Great Lakes Energy antrimcounty.org/barnespark.asp

Family owned and operated for more than 36 years, this place is simply the best. Campsites are spacious and private with tons of amenities and all are very clean at all times of the day. The staff is friendly and attentive. Amy Bird, Midwest Energy & Communications hillandhollowcampground.com

This is a great family atmosphere! There are tons of activities and the grounds are very clean. The location is in the middle of everything to do in the Silver Lake area. Casey Haines, HomeWorks Tri-Country campjellystone.com/park/33-silver-lakemears-sand-dunes

This is an excellent place to camp on Burt Lake with a nice beach! The lake connects to other rivers and lakes, too. It offers spacious campsites and clean facilities. Lauren Cook, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

In a world of uncertainty, one thing is certain... there is free energy under your home. Take control of your heating & cooling costs.

Hybrid Geothermal CALL FOR A FREE HOME VISIT (989) 356-2113 989-356-2113 wellconnectsaves.com wellconnectgeo.com


No power? We’ll text you. Report and track an outage from your phone with outage text alerts.

Learn more about outage text alerts at cherrylandelectric.coop.

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