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June 2020

MICHIGAN

COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative

Small-Town Calumet Electronics Has

BIG IMPACT National Solar Month

How You Can Help Monarch Butterflies Vote For Your Director Next Month


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Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com

*26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • ©2020 WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


Contents countrylines.com

June 2020 Vol. 40, No. 6

/michigancountrylines

/michigancountrylines

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.

#micoopcommunity

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.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please

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.

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY

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

MI CO-OP KITCHEN

BEST OF MICHIGAN

GUEST COLUMN

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

3


Renewable Energy Programs From Your Co-op

gtlakes.com /greatlakesenergy /jointruestream BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mark Carson, Chairman, District 2 01950 Anderson Rd., Boyne City, MI 49712 231-675-0561 • mcarson@glenergy.com Robert Kran, Vice-Chairman, District 6 7380 N. Tuttle Rd., Free Soil, MI 49411 231-464-5889 • bkran@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 989-370-2786 • lmonshor@glenergy.com

Howard Bowersox, Director, District 8 23779 8 Mile Rd., Stanwood, MI 49346 219-670-0977 • hbowersox@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 John LaForge, Director, District 9 7363 Walters Rd., Delton, MI 49046 269-623-2284 • jlaforge@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

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

4 JUNE 2020

Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO

he long dark days of winter make Michiganders especially appreciative of the sun. We can be appreciative of the sun not only for extra daylight and its powerful effects on our moods, but also for the ways it can power our homes. June is National Solar Month and a great time to explore the three programs Great Lakes Energy has to offer when it comes to renewable energy.

T

• Community Solar offers members the benefits of solar without the installation and maintenance expense involved with owning your own solar panels. Members purchase a subscription in the community array, known as SpartanSolar, with two locations in Michigan. A subscription entitles a member to a share in the energy produced by the solar array. GLE continues delivering energy to the subscribing members, and in return for the subscription, members receive a solar credit on their bills. Members have nothing to install or maintain and can cancel at any time. Of the three programs, it is the lowest cost option for those interested in investing in renewable energy. Visit spartansolar.com to find out more or to register. • Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE/Net Metering) is a program for members whose goal is to meet their home’s energy needs with their own renewable energy system. Every kWh of renewable energy they produce and use in their home is a kWh the member does not have to buy from GLE. Should the member produce more energy than they use, they will receive a bill credit of $0.056 per kWh for any excess energy they put on the grid. • Buy-All/Sell-All is an option for members who want to install large renewable installations on their property, like wind turbines or a solar array, and become a producer of renewable energy. Of the three programs, this involves the largest investment due to the large size of the system a member would install. So how does it work? The member installs a renewable energy generating system (solar, wind, etc.) up to a 100 kW, and GLE’s power supplier buys all electricity the system generates at $0.065 per kWh. This option turns a member into a renewable energy power supplier via the cooperative. No matter the size of the investment you want to make in renewables, Great Lakes Energy has an option for you. You can find out more by calling us at 888-485-2537, ext. 8957 or visiting www.gtlakes.com/renewable-energy/.


Jordan

Amanda

Mark

Community Solar

Distributed Renewable Energy

Meet Amanda, a busy working mom of two. She wants to do her part to ensure a clean, green future for her children, but she doesn’t have a lot of time or money to invest. That’s why she signed up for a SpartanSolar community panel subscription. Amanda appreciates that her panel subscription serves as a great educational opportunity for her children. Together, they monitor the panels’ energy output on the SpartanSolar website. They even have plans to take a field trip to visit the array.

(DRE/Net Metering)

Mark is starting to think seriously about retirement. While he is looking forward to the extra time on his hands, he knows it also means sticking to a strict budget. That’s why he’s considering net metering. Purchasing a solar system will require an initial investment upfront, but he hopes it will help him control his costs as he moves into retirement. His goal is to build a solar system that will generate the right amount of energy to power his home, which will in turn offset his energy bill and maybe even provide some tax benefits.

Buy-All / Sell-All Jordan owns and operates a business on co-op lines. His goal is to increase the amount of solar energy used in his community, reduce his tax burden, and get a return on his investment. He is able to offset his investment each month with the revenue he receives from the energy he sells to the co-op. Essentially, he gets to play in the utility game by generating solar energy for his community to use, and he gets paid for it.

A Renewable Energy Option For

Everyone.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

5


THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT By James A. Curtis

A

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

6

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.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

7


Find Savings With A Home Energy Audit ith so many changes happening in the world, many of us are spending more time at home looking for creative ways to stay active and productive. You may also be thinking about new ways to cut energy costs and save money.

W

When is the last time you took a good look around your home? Have you noticed such issues as mold, mildew, ice dams, drafts, or overall discomfort around your home? Is your home properly sealed, insulated, and ventilated? These things can have a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency and utility costs. To better understand and manage your home’s energy use and costs, take advantage of the Energy Optimization program’s free online home audit!

How To Complete Your Home Energy Audit:

The Home Energy Optimizer is a brief online survey that analyzes your home’s energy use. You will be required to enter some specific information, such as the year your home was built, the type of heating and cooling systems in place, and when various other systems and appliances were purchased and installed. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will receive a personalized, comprehensive report, as well as costsaving tips and recommendations to help reduce energy waste throughout your household. Additionally, all participants will receive a free energy-saving kit, which includes light bulbs and other devices to help save energy and water!

• Visit the Energy Optimization website (michigan-energy.org). • Select your electric utility from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. • In the left-hand menu bar, select “Online Home Audit.” • Click “Get Started Now!” and complete the questionnaire. Upon completion of the Home Energy Optimizer survey, your free energy-saving kit will be mailed to the address you indicate. Have questions about the free home energy audit or energy-saving kit? Call us at 877-296-4319.

SAVINGS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Complete your free online home energy audit. • A personalized report of your home’s energy use

You’ll • Cost-saving opportunities and energy-saving tips receive: • A FREE energy-savings kit to help get you started

Visit michigan-energy.org to learn more.

ONLINE: michigan-energy.org PHONE: 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.


GREAT LAKES ENERGY

PHOTO

CONTEST

Nightscapes 1. Torch Lake Milky Way—Lisa Lirones, Bellaire  2. Moon on the windmill— Sue Eilers, New Era  3. Northern lights over Lake Charlevoix—Mike Gady, East Jordan  4. Big Sable Point Lighthouse glows in the moonlight— Steve Begnoche, Ludington  5. The northern lights—Beth Fiedorowicz, Baldwin  6. Michigan moon on a clear night—Jill Clelland, Casnovia

Most votes on Facebook!

Enter to win a

$200

energy bill credit!

1

2

3

4

5

6

Submit Your “Michigan’s Natural Beauty” Photos!

Each month, members can submit photos on Facebook or our website for our photo contest. The photo with the most votes is published here along with other selections. Our June theme is Michigan’s Natural Beauty. Photos can be submitted by June 20 to be featured in the September issue.

How To Enter: Enter the contest at gtlakes.com/events. Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2020 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2020. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

9


MI CO-OP Recipes

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

M

A C I N X E E I F S TA WINNING RECIPE!

BLACK BEAN AND CORN QUINOA

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

$50

energy bill credit!

RECIPE CONTEST

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.

POSOLE

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!

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

11


VOTE NEXT MONTH For A Board Member

I

EMMET

Beaver Island

CHEBOYGAN

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.

CHARLEVOIX ANTRIM

3

Three board positions, each for three years, need to be filled. Qualifying GLE members who reside in Districts 3, 4, or 5 can seek election to the board and will be listed on your ballot.

District areas are:

District 3 – Antrim County District 4 – C  rawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Otsego counties District 5 – G  rand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford counties

GRAND TRAVERSE

MANISTEE

MASON

OCEANA

The terms of directors Ric Evans of Ellsworth, Larry Monshor of Gaylord, and Dale Farrier of Kalkaska expire this year. The three incumbents plan to seek re-election. 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 3, 4, and 5. Profiles will also be available in the online version of the July/August issue available at countrylines.com/my-co-op/great-lakes/.

OTSEGO

MONTMORENCY

4

KALKASKA CRAWFORD

OSCODA

5

WEXFORD MISSAUKEE

OSCEOLA

LAKE

CLARE

MECOSTA NEWAYGO

MONTCALM

MUSKEGON KENT OTTAWA

ALLEGAN

BARRY

Winners will be announced on August 26 at the cooperative’s annual business meeting.

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!


GREAT LAKES ENERGY COOPERATIVE CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET * as of December 31, 2019 ASSETS

EQUITIES AND LIABILITIES

Electric plant:

Equities:

Distribution and fiber plant Construction in progress Less accumulated depreciation Net electric plant

$ 546,986,359 27,663,055

Patronage capital

201,014,847

Donated capital

154,345,142

Accumulated other comprehensive income

420,304,272

Nonutility property, net of accum. depr.

4,728,661 119,211,205

Notes and other receivables

1,028,606

Other assets

1,143,095

Total other assets

$ 519,740

574,649,414

Other assets and investments: Investments and memberships

Memberships

126,111,567

Current assets:

8,024,547

Total equities

4,488,790 214,047,924

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

299,114,013

Noncurrent accrued expenses

10,851,082

Total long-term debt and noncurrent accrued expenses

309,965,095

Current liabilities:

Cash

2,623,773

Current maturities of long-term debt

Accounts receivable, net of bad debt reserve

17,469,724

Accounts payable

20,893,885

Materials and supplies

6,296,338

Accrued expenses

16,983,145

1,931,322

Customer deposits

Other current assets Total current assets

28,321,157

Deferred charges:

4,767,267

Total assets:

$ 579,504,263

9,461,095

1,523,486

Total current liabilities

48,861,611

Deferred credits:

6,629,633

Total liabilities and equities:

$ 579,504,263

GREAT LAKES ENERGY COOPERATIVE CONSOLIDATED OPERATING STATEMENTS* for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 2019 Operating revenues:

2018

$ 206,506,566 $ 197,997,536

Operating expenses: Cost of power Cost of phone and internet

121,407,317

117,837,309

81,212

9,791

Distribution system operating and maintenance expenses

35,618,486

31,323,228

Customer service and information expenses

10,756,792

11,044,327

Administrative and general expenses

9,091,069

9,269,528

Depreciation and amortization

15,519,119

14,524,164

(233,587)

103,209

192,240,408

184,111,556

14,266,158

13,885,980

10,972,868

10,485,904

3,293,290

3,400,076

2,344,024

2,189,257

Other operating (income) expenses Total operating expenses Operating margins before fixed charges Fixed charges, interest expenses: Operating margins after fixed charges Nonoperating margins: Interest and investment income Other income (expense)

91,409

(569,542)

2,435,433

1,619,715

Wolverine Power Company

6,609,118

8,393,707

Other associated organizations

1,366,054

1,424,085

7,975,172

9,817,792

Total nonoperating income Capital credits from associated organizations:

Total capital credits from associated organizations Net margins:

$ 13,703,895 $ 14,837,583

*A copy of the audited financial statements and the auditor’s report is on file at the cooperative’s office in Boyne City, Michigan. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13


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.

HITTING THE NATIONAL STAGE

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


You Could Win A

Tell Us How We’re Doing!

$25 Energy Gift

We’d like to hear from you. Have you had a positive interaction with a GLE employee either on the phone or in person? Tell us about it and you could win a $25 energy gift. Contact us with specific details of the interaction by phone, mail or email, and include the employee’s name. You can also post a comment through a form on our website or on our Facebook page. We’ll print your great comments in our employee newsletter. Employees who are recognized will be entered in a quarterly, random prize drawing. Plus, we’ll award the member who submits the feedback for the winning employee with a $25 energy gift! We appreciate your feedback! We also welcome any suggestions or concerns with our service so we can work with you to resolve your issue as quickly as possible.

Contact us with your feedback today.

Please be specific and include the employee’s name.

888-GT-LAKES

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Support elected officials who: Help my co-op keep my electric service reliable Keep my electricity bill affordable because it improves my quality of life Assist my efforts to use electricity more efficiently

Make renewable energy affordable Help us rebuild after a storm Protect our economy and jobs when making energy laws

For more information, contact us at glenergy@glenergy.com or call 888-485-2537, ext. 8957.


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MI CO-OP Community

Best Of Michigan

CAMPGROUNDS

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Sleep under the stars at these favorite member campgrounds.

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UP NEXT

WINERIES!

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

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/

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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

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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

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Barnes Park Campground, Antrim County

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Hill & Hollow Campground & RV Park, Pentwater

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Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Silver Lake

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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


gtlakes.com

facebook.com/greatlakesenergy

YOUR VOICE. YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

YOUR COOPERATIVE.

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

GREAT LAKES ENERGY DIRECTORS PUT MEMBERS FIRST • Major system improvements in the last 16 years have increased service reliability to all GLE members.

• Profits earned are returned to you. More than $71.9 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 nationwide.1

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

• GLE’s fiber-to-the-home project is connecting rural homes and businesses to Truestream’s high speed internet and voice services.

1B  ased on number of members per employee statistics compiled by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. * Directors are fellow members who choose to serve as the leaders of your co-op. Directors are not appointed by management but rather democratically elected by members each year.

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

Profile for Country Lines

June 2020  

June 2020