June 2021 GLE

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June 2021


COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative

People Fund Grants Awarded

Truestream Makes A Real Difference For Real Estate Vote For Your Director Next Month



Not hearing is believing.

Many homeowners have come to accept that a noisy a/c is a fact of life. But with WaterFurnace, you don’t have to settle. Nothing can disrupt a perfect summer afternoon in your backyard more than a loud air conditioner. Geothermal users are never disturbed from outside HVAC noise because there’s no outdoor equipment to make any. All the complicated work takes place underground—out of earshot. With WaterFurnace, your peace and quiet is assured. To learn more, contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today. Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling andheating.com Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich geothermal.com Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 topnotchheatandair.com Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 aireserv.com/ southern-michigan Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 waltonheating.com

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com

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Contents countrylines.com

June 2021 Vol. 41, No. 6



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd

PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com


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.

Cover: Keenan Jackson fires a rocket two finger shot at Bataan Memorial Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

6 WILD ART With a couple of creative twists, Sherry Sanville turned mushroom foraging into a huge Instagram following. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Fruity Desserts: Make your summer even sweeter.


14 IT TAKES GUTS Guts, a Frisbee-based game invented in the UP, combines strategy and skill for players who have the fortitude to try it. 18 GUEST COLUMN Building a Backyard Bird Oasis: If a fondness for feeding birds makes Dawn Hovie an old lady, she’s okay with that.

I can see why they say “Leland Blues.” Every imaginable tone of blue is found in the rock, sky and water. @lexannrebecca (LexAnn De Weerd)

Be featured!

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


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


Win a $50 bill credit!

Up Next: Fish & Seafood, due July 1; Around The World, due Aug. 1; Instant Pot & Slow Cooker, due Sept. 1.


Win $150 for stories published! Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.

Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.



Electrical Safety In Your Home


Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO

/greatlakesenergy /jointruestream BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Robert Kran, Chairman, District 6 231-464-5889 bkran@glenergy.com

John LaForge, Vice-Chairman, District 9 269-623-2284 jlaforge@glenergy.com Paul Schemanski, Secretary, District 1 231-439-9079 paul.schemanski@glenergy.com Dale Farrier, Treasurer, District 5 231-564-0853 dfarrier@glenergy.com

Howard Bowersox, Director, District 8 219-670-0977 hbowersox@glenergy.com Paul Byl, Director, District 7 231-861-5911 pbyl@glenergy.com

Mark Carson, Director , District 2 231-675-0561 mcarson@glenergy.com

Richard Evans, Director, District 3 231-883-3146 revans@glenergy.com

Shelly Pinkelman, Director, District 4 989-390-6222 spinkelman@glenergy.com PRESIDENT/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Brett Streby 231-487-1389 • bstreby@glenergy.com BOYNE CITY HEADQUARTERS 1323 Boyne Ave. 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 888-485-2537 or login to your account at gtlakes.com. Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 JUNE 2021

reat Lakes Energy is an electric cooperative. We put the needs of our members first. Cooperatives like us around the world subscribe to a set of principles that keep our members and the communities we serve at the center of all we do.


While all seven cooperative principles are of equal significance, one of them rings especially important to me—Concern for Community. Great Lakes Energy continually demonstrates this principle through its various programs aimed toward the sustainable development of the communities we serve. The People Fund, classroom grants and youth programs; employees willing to volunteer their time and energy to community organizations; and our economic development loan program are fine examples of our commitment to the betterment of our collective community. Perhaps there is no better way to reinforce our care and concern for the communities we serve than to spotlight the tremendous investment that is our Truestream fiber project. After all, our members told us how important access to high-speed internet is to them, and it is our privilege to create the solution to answer that need. So far, we have connected more than 7,300 members to our Truestream fiber network. We have network construction occurring in our north and south service areas, with exploration underway for the next feasible plans in construction. We are remaining flexible and responding to setbacks appropriately with our members’ best interests at the forefront. We regularly connect with county and township representatives to take advantage of any and all opportunities available to connect our members to this life-changing service. This process takes a significant commitment of resources and time, and I cannot say enough how appreciative I am of your patience and understanding. I look forward to the next grand initiative we undertake to improve the lives of our members, but until then, we’ll keep our focus locked on our commitment to community and providing the best highspeed internet service available to our members. Thank you.

Seven Cooperative Principles

• • • • • • •

Open and Voluntary Membership Democratic Member Control Members’ Economic Participation Autonomy and Independence Education, Training, and Information Cooperation Among Cooperatives Concern for Community

For a detailed explanation of these principles, visit electric.coop/seven-cooperative-principles

Why Electric Co-ops Replace Utility Poles By Abby Berry

ou probably don’t pay much attention to the utility poles found throughout Great Lakes Energy’s (GLE) service territory, but did you know these tall structures are the backbone of our distribution network?


Strong, sturdy utility poles ensure a reliable electric system, which is why we routinely inspect the thousands of poles found on our lines. Throughout the year, our crews check poles for decay caused by exposure to the elements. They know which poles are the oldest and conduct inspections through a rotational process. Typically, a standard wooden distribution pole is expected to last more than 50 years. Occasionally, poles need to be replaced for other reasons besides decay and old age. Weather disasters, power line relocation, and car crashes are potential causes for immediate replacement. When possible, GLE communicates when and where pole replacements will take place so that you stay informed of where crews will be working.

Here is a quick breakdown of how crews replace a utility pole: When a pole needs to be replaced, crews will start the process by digging a hole, typically next to the pole being replaced. The depth of the hole must be 15% of the new pole’s height. Next, the new pole must be fitted with bolts, cross arms, insulators, ground wires, and arm braces—all of the necessary parts for delivering safe and reliable electricity. Then, crews safely detach the power lines from the old pole. The new pole is then raised and guided carefully into position, and the lines are attached, leaving the new pole to do its job. So, the next time you come across a GLE crew replacing a pole, use caution and know that this process ensures a more reliable electric system for you, our members.

WHAT’S ON THAT POLE? This illustration shows the basic equipment found on electric utility poles. The equipment varies according to the location and the service they provide.

PRIMARY WIRES Primary wires carry 7,200 volts of electricity from a substation. That voltage is 60 times higher than the voltage that runs through your home’s electrical outlets!

INSULATORS Insulators prevent energized wires from contacting each other or the pole.

SURGE ARRESTORS These protect the transformer from lightning strikes.

SECONDARY SERVICE DROP Carries 120/240 volts of electricity to consumers’ homes. It has two “hot” wires from the transformer and a bare “neutral” wire that’s connected to the ground wire on the pole.

NEUTRAL WIRE The neutral wire acts as a line back to the substation and is tied to the ground, balancing the electricity on the system.

GROUND WIRE The ground wire connects to the neutral wire to complete the circuit inside the transformer. It also directs electricity from lightning safely into the earth.




ushrooms are unassuming and hard to unearth sometimes, but totally worth the time and effort to bring out into the light. A little like the woman who spends her days foraging for these earthy gems and the beautiful art she makes with them.

By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photos courtesy of Sherrie Sanville

Sherrie Sanville, a member of the Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, didn’t grow up with a passion for fungi. But her husband, who like herself, is from northern Michigan, grew up foraging morels, and he introduced her to the practice of wandering their 120-acre property in Delta County for glimpses of the mushroom equivalent of gold. On those walks, Sanville began noticing the wide variety of mushrooms that peppered the ground and trees all around her. “My husband took me to some of his morel ‘hot spots’ and I couldn’t even see them the first time,” said Sanville. “But then I started to notice all kinds of mushrooms—and I got hooked. Especially when you see these pops of color—purple, red, yellow—I became a little obsessed.” Sanville’s walks increased in volume, as did her identifying skills, although she’s quick to note she’s no expert, just an “enthusiast.” The enthusiasm prompted her to pull out her phone and start snapping pictures of some of the fungal treasures she happened upon. She’d then post them to Facebook for family and friends.


JUNE 2021

While some of her audience was less than impressed with what some considered “gross,” her dear friend, who was also a forager and gardener, planted an idea on how Sanville might share her fascinating finds. “She was like ‘you should totally post these to Instagram! You might find some like-minded folks there,’” recalls Sanville. “I barely knew what a hashtag was, but I trusted her. I named my account @shroom_momma

because that was the nickname my daughters gave me after I became interested in mushrooms.”

“For people who are worried about overpicking mushrooms, there’s no need,” says Sanville. “Mushrooms are the fruiting body; the mycelium is still there. It’s like picking an apple from an apple tree. It will refruit again and again.”

To say that there were more than a few “like-minded folks” could easily be called an understatement. What began with quick snapshots in 2018 of her quirky finds on daily walks became something altogether different as Sanville tapped into her artistic side. However, she humbly argues she’s not an artist. Sanville began shooting gorgeous compilations of mushrooms she would gather, along with flowers and other found objects. Her following skyrocketed to an impressive 60,000 followers. It’s no wonder a company reached out to turn one of her images into a puzzle, while others have used some of her shots in greeting cards. “I recently spoke with a mushroom magazine and they asked me how it felt to be an ‘influencer,’” said Sanville. “I just don’t consider myself that. It’s almost funny. I’m just a lady who walks in the woods and takes pictures.” Sanville’s Instagram account is as organic as her topic and attracts people from all over the world, who crop up much like the mushrooms she features. If people are attracted, they are likely drawn in as much by her authentic curiosity and behind-the-scenes foibles as by the fascinating subjects she shoots. There’s a delightful post on a gorgeous pumpkin fairy house tableau she designed—that went up in flames thanks to the interior candle. Sanville shows the honest, sometimes cringing, truth behind the “Instagram-worthy” process. So, it’s not surprising that she not only has fans worldwide, but that she’s made friends with people from across the globe.

Find Sherrie on Instagram


“I never thought the mushrooms in my yard would lead to friends from all over the world,” said Sanville. “When you’re passionate about something, it’s amazing how you will always find a community that joins in with you. That has, for sure, been the best part of this whole process.”



Why a heat pump water heater? While a standard electric water heater is less expensive to purchase, it costs more to operate. In contrast, a heat pump water heater, also known as a hybrid electric water heater, may cost more up front, but it provides significant savings over time. Heat pump water heaters are up to four times more efficient than a standard electric water heater, giving you the same amount of hot water, but at a fraction of electricity consumption. In addition to quick payback of upfront costs through electricity savings, heat pump water heaters also provide:

Test The Waters With A Heat Pump Water Heater Y

ou’ve been looking forward to that long, hot shower all day when suddenly, ice-cold water knocks the breath out of you! Recovering from the shock, you start thinking about how hot water is used for so many things in your home—washing dishes, washing clothes, and more. Did you know water heating is the second-largest source of energy consumption in U.S. homes? It may be time to rethink your standard electric water heater.

• Reliable hot water • Flexible modes of operation to manage energy use and hot water output • Quiet operation • Dehumidification of surrounding air

Big savings! Purchasing a new heat pump water heater is even more affordable now with a $700 cash incentive from the Energy Optimization program! Consult your contractor to decide whether a heat pump water heater is right for your home, determine which model is right for you, and ensure it qualifies for the incentive. For more information, please visit michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319.

ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF A HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER  Increased comfort and efficiency in your home  Up to 4 times more efficient than a standard electric water heater

Test the


 Quick payback (recoup upfront cost within 2 years with rebate)

LEARN ABOUT OUR $700 CASH INCENTIVE michigan-energy.org • 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.




Dad & Me 1. Sledding fun with Daddy!—Matthew Adams, Gaylord  2. My dad and I on School Section Lake!—Meghan Haight, Walkerville  3. Learning to farm with Daddy in the tractor!—Danielle Bush, New Era  4. Big smiles—Kim Hoisington, Howard City  5. Daddy’s home—Darla Edwards, Gaylord  6. Off to Pictured Rocks!—Terry Euper, Morrice


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!







Submit Your “Water” Photos!

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

How To Enter: Enter the contest at gtlakes.com/photocontest/. Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2021 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2021.



MI CO-OP Recipes

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

FRUITY DESSERTS Make your summer even sweeter.



Deanne Keegan Quain, Great Lakes Energy 2 ½ 12 ¼ 16 3–4 20 18 ½ • •



energy bill credit!

10 JUNE 2021

Fish & Seafood due July 1 • Around The World due Aug. 1 • Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Favorites due Sept. 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. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

cups graham cracker crumbs cup unsalted butter, melted ounces cream cheese, at room temperature cup granulated sugar ounces whipped topping, divided bananas, sliced ounces crushed pineapple, drained well ounces fresh strawberries, sliced cup walnuts, chopped chocolate syrup maraschino cherries

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. Spread into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while preparing filling. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in 8 ounces (half) of the whipped topping——spread mixture on top of graham cracker crust. Arrange banana slices on top of cream cheese filling. Top with an even layer of crushed pineapple, then a layer of strawberries. Cover with the remaining 8 ounces of whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with a maraschino cherry on individual servings. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


Michele Cochrane, Great Lakes Energy 1 prepared white cake mix (can also use pound cake or angel food cake), cut into 1-inch cubes 4 cups prepared vanilla pudding 16 ounces whipped topping

RHUBARB BUTTER CRUNCH Mary Jean Troyer, Cherryland

4 cups diced fresh rhubarb ¾ cup sugar 3 tablespoons + 1½ cups flour, divided ¾ cup brown sugar 1 cup rolled oats ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 cup butter

2 cups each fresh strawberries (diced), blueberries and raspberries Use a clear bowl and layer ¹⁄ ³ of cake mixture, pudding, whipped topping, and fruit. Repeat to create three layers. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight, then serve.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease an 8x8 pan. Combine the diced rhubarb, sugar and 3 tablespoons flour, and add to the baking pan. Combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, remaining 1½ cups flour, and baking soda. Cut the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the rhubarb mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. This is an old-fashioned family recipe that has stood to be a prized dish in the spring.

DANISH APPLE PIE MaryAnn Ogden, Great Lakes Energy

½ cup all-purpose flour (or oat flour, which is oatmeal pulverized in blender or food processor) ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt, optional 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ –¾ cup sugar 1 cup diced apples ½ cup chopped walnuts 1 egg, slightly beaten Preheat oven to 400 F. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add diced apples, chopped walnuts, and egg and stir. Pour into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 20–25 minutes. This is delicious with ice cream or whipped cream.





Makes A Real Difference For Real Estate

t’s exciting to see people find their dream home and to play a part in the process. It is even more exciting to help a seller get the best value for their home,” says Jamie Woodall, a real estate agent for Pat O’Brien & Associates Real Estate. Woodall, who is also a Great Lakes Energy member, is passionate about helping others and building a strong community and family.


“The people in Boyne City are the salt of the earth. The city is innovative and open. They get it. Their number one goal is making people feel comfortable in their town,” Woodall said. “You have “Stroll the Streets,” that happens every Friday in the summer when there isn’t a COVID situation. You have friends and locals that are connecting with one another, talking and having great conversations. There are bands at all the street corners. Everybody is out. We are on the map for holiday celebrations like our 4th of July event. The restaurants are amazing too.” As many have experienced, including Woodall and his family, life outside the city is just as rich with offerings compared to the city.

12 JUNE 2021

“Our area is flush with beautiful landscapes,” Woodall said. “It is filled with opportunities for recreational activities like hunting, snowmobiling, trail riding, mountain biking, and everything associated with the amazing lakes. Within about a 60-mile radius, we have some of the best lakes Michigan has to offer.” With any shift to a more rural area, some of the amenities normally available when close to a city are lost. In the case of the Woodalls, moving just six miles from town meant losing access to high-speed internet. Relying solely on their cell phones being used as mobile hotspots wore through their patience quickly. “As a realtor, I would be in heated negotiations and have to fight for a home against other realtors and would need to send PDF documents off right away. I had to drive into town about 10 minutes away to do all of my work instead of simply doing it on the spot from home. It would really affect our family time,” Woodall said. “Real estate has to be done at the spur of the moment. If we had plans as a family to go on a day trip or have a Friday evening of games, or a movie and popcorn, that was on hold because

Dad had to run to town to take care of work. It really bogged us down for a long time.”

Woodall joked about the irony of moving further away from town in order to get access to the best internet in the area.

When the Truestream fiber network became available to the Woodalls, things took a turn for the better.

“We are out in the country and we are the ones supposed to be bummed about limited internet, yet here we are with the best possible experience around,” Woodall said.

“Truestream has completely revolutionized our daily lives. Now we stream on our high-definition smart TV. I know that sounds archaic, but it is new for us. We have Roku and get to watch the shows that we really love, and I get to work from home along with my wife, who owns a company. It’s been life-changing,” Woodall said. “My son plays Fortnite on our television and connects with his friends regularly. It’s fascinating. He can spend time socializing with his friends and others safely and conveniently from home. Bandwidth is not an issue; everyone in the house can be online without sacrificing speeds for others.” The introduction of Truestream also significantly improved Woodall’s ability to carry out his business, as he describes here. “Outside of the family benefits, Truestream absolutely helps me sell homes. It helps our economy and housing market because many more people looking to move to the area can find the home they want because they can now work remotely. Roughly 25% of the time I interact with a home-buyer, access to high-speed internet plays a significant factor. One perfect example—I had a home listed just a mile and a half from town. I had it in the market last year and it did not sell. One of the main reasons it did so poorly was the lack of high-speed internet. Eventually, we pulled it from the market. Once Truestream was installed, I spoke with the owner and suggested we reintroduce the home for sale. In four days, we had 24 showings, six offers, and four of them were over the asking price. The home sold for more than it was originally listed for a year ago, and that is essentially because the buyer needed high-speed internet to carry out his work from home. Without Truestream, he would not be buying, we would not be selling, and the previous homeowner wouldn’t be happy as a lark selling his home at that price. With access to Truestream, I’ve even set up virtual showings through Zoom because sellers weren’t comfortable letting their homes be open to the public in today’s climate. I have sold homes this way without anyone ever setting foot inside the house during an initial showing. It just opens so many doors.”

“We are out in the country and we are the ones supposed to be bummed about limited internet, yet here we are with the best possible experience around.” —Jamie Woodall

There will surely be many similar experiences for other families as more and more communities are connected to Truestream’s expanding fiber network, powered by Great Lakes Energy. Visit truestreamfiber.com/areas to see the fiber construction progress in your neighborhood and learn more about the investment Great Lakes Energy is making in rural communities.


Father/son duo Mark Banghart and Michael Banghart of the Boomtown Saints chase down a disc that's been deflected by teammates.



ou’ve got to ask yourself—what does it take to stand in a line with four other people while someone with a steely gaze just 14 meters away throws an object at your head at a speed upwards of 80 mph? And not hit the deck, but instead, try to catch the flying object?

Ryan Scott of the Boomtown Saints fires a forehand shot at his opponents.


At the very least—it takes Guts.

“lost decade” in the ‘90s. Guts was being played before its better-known counterpart, disc sports, became big. Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf have found devoted audiences, with ultimate appealing to the physically fit crowd willing to run lengths of a soccer field and lay out to catch a toss. Disc golfers are more inclined to pack up their drivers and putters and walk courses at a leisurely pace with friends or family.

It might sound like a crazy thing to do, but for the men and women who have discovered the little-known sport of Guts Frisbee, it’s an adrenaline high wrapped up in a family reunion.

“Guts is a great combination of the two,” said Klemmer. “It’s got the quick action and adrenaline of ultimate and the strategy piece of disc golf. It’s just happening simultaneously while someone throws an 80-mph disc at you.”

Guts was invented in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by the Healy family, who were looking for a backyard game using items they had around, as well as one that allowed them to hold their beverage of choice at the same time. Enter a couple of lines of people, a Frisbee, fast-flying throws, and one-handed catching. Its rules are simple, if not a little brutal sounding.

In 2007, Guts made a bit of a resurgence at the International Frisbee Tournament’s (IFT) 50th anniversary meet. What started with a mostly Michigan crowd has grown to other states and has good showings internationally. While sports enthusiasts may not have heard of Guts, it maintains a small but devoted following, allowing for the opportunity to play around the world at the highest levels.

“Guts had become quite popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s when superteams were formed to win the prize money being offered,” said USA Guts Communications Director Donny Klemmer, Jr., who plays for Buck’s Brigade out of metro Detroit. “My first experience was actually with my mom, who was playing while pregnant with me.” It’s that sort of hardcore grit and commitment to the game that has seen it through even tough times like its 14 JUNE 2021

Ryan Scott, who plays for the Boomtown Saints out of Lansing and is considered one of the top players in the sport, has traveled around the world with Guts. “Never in my life could I have imagined when I started playing this sport, it would take me to London, Vancouver, and Japan. I’ve gone to Columbia to teach Guts, and just

Carter Nettell of Shottlebop unleashes his wicked left-handed thumber shot.

GUTS went to China to play in 2019,” said Scott. “When you travel for a purpose, you get a chance to experience not only the place but the people in a really unique way.” With such an impassioned group of folks playing the sport and the promise that it’s accessible to those of all ages, it begs the question of why folks from around the country, if not the world, aren’t taking up this relatively inexpensive sport?

Takayoshi Suda of Japan travels to Michigan annually to compete in Guts tournaments.

By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Barb Thornton and Ginger Leach

“ T he

t r u t h is,

Guts can look intimidating at first, but once you get in there, you realize how much the folks are there to support you. We want to get as many people as possible to have the experience not just of the sport, but the community.” —D

onn y K lemmer

“The truth is, Guts can look intimidating at first, but once you get in there, you realize how much the folks are there to support you,” said Klemmer. “We want to get as many people as possible to have the experience not just of the sport, but the community.” Scott echoes the sentiment and notes that if people reach out to the organization, Klemmer will put some discs in the mail (some traveling as far as Rwanda and Thailand) and try to find other Guts players in the area who can run an impromptu clinic. This sort of grassroots outreach makes a good case that this little-known sport could find another boom down the road. “It would be great to see Guts featured on ESPN,” said Klemmer enthusiastically. “In fact, I’d love for it to become the first team sport on the X Games.” Who knows, if these athletes keep showing up with the same level of passion, energy, and well, guts, it just might be.

Guts tournaments attracted thousands of spectators in the '70s and '80s to a festival-like atmosphere.







For A Board Member


EMMET Beaver Island

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



Three board positions, each for three years, need to be filled. Qualifying GLE members who reside in Districts 1, 2, or 7 can seek election to the board.

District areas are:

District 1 – Emmet County District 2 – C harlevoix and Cheboygan counties District 7 – M uskegon and Oceana counties

The terms of directors Paul Schemanski of Petoskey (District 1), Mark Carson of Boyne City (District 2), and Paul Byl of Shelby (District 7) 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 1, 2, and 7. Profiles will also be published in the online version of the July/August issue, available at countrylines.com/ my-co-op/great-lakes/. Winners will be announced on Aug. 25 at the cooperative’s annual business meeting.




















Thank You For Your Tremendous Support! More than $263,000 has already been granted to charitable and community organizations throughout the GLE service area in 2021. That is $35,000 more than ALL of the grants awarded in total for 2020! Your generosity and selflessness continue to impact our communities for the better!




Electric plant:


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

$ 615,490,532 53,003,149

Investments and memberships

519,740 210,263,265

Donated capital



Accumulated other comprehensive income


503,501,028 10,385,911 119,359,679

Notes and other receivables


Other assets


Total other assets


Patronage capital


Other assets and investments: Non-utility property, net of accum. depr.



Current assets:

Total equities


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


Non-current accrued expenses


Total long-term debt and non-current accrued expenses


Current liabilities:


Current maturities of long-term debt




Accounts payable


Materials and supplies


Accrued expenses


Other current assets


Customer deposits

Accounts receivable, net of bad debt reserve

Total current assets


Deferred charges:


Total assets:

$ 678,156,700


Total current liabilities


Deferred credits:


Total liabilities and equities:

$ 678,156,700

GREAT LAKES ENERGY COOPERATIVE CONSOLIDATED OPERATING STATEMENTS* for the years ended Dec. 31, 2020 and 2019 2020 Operating revenues:



210,924,906 $






Distribution system operating and maintenance expenses



Customer service and information expenses



Operating expenses: Cost of power Cost of phone and internet

Administrative and general expenses



Depreciation and amortization



Other operating (income) expenses Total operating expenses Operating margins before fixed charges Fixed charges and interest expenses: Operating margins after fixed charges

















Nonoperating margins: Interest and investment income Other income (expense) Total nonoperating income Capital credits from associated organizations: Wolverine Power Company



Other associated organizations



Total capital credits from associated organizations Net margins:

8,647,638 $


7,975,172 $


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


MI CO-OP Community

Guest Column

Building A Backyard

Bird Oasis

By Dawn Hovie, Great Lakes Energy member


arlier this month, I was sitting in the lunchroom trying to think of something to add to the usual lunchtime banter. “Oh, check this out! I had some yellow finches at my new feeder!” I excitedly showed the video from my phone of four birds happily enjoying the seeds out on my back deck. “So now you’re that person who takes movies of her bird feeder?” my friend jokingly asked. Wow, did I suddenly feel old. I don’t know why taking movies of my bird feeder classified me as the old person in the room. I have always liked birds. My grandma was an avid bird watcher and had many feeders in her backyard, along with her “Pocket Guide to Birds” book and binoculars next to the window. I’m not that bad yet. But I have fond memories of visiting my grandma in Vicksburg, Michigan, and sharing her love of birds. She would tell me about how blue jays are the “bullies of the backyard feeder.” I always enjoyed watching her yell “Shoo!” at those pretty birds. For the last few years, we’ve always had some sort of feeder in our yard. I half-heartedly filled them with whatever birdseed I found in the garage. It was usually the same stuff I threw in the chicken coop. However, this year, I became interested in getting more serious about my bird attraction at my home outside of Charlevoix. I ordered an oriole feeder and then read an article about how to attract them (with oranges). And what not to feed them (grape jelly—contrary to popular belief). I had already used a gift certificate to buy a cute yellow finch feeder to replace the thistle seed socks I hung around the yard last winter. I just love yellow finches. They are probably my favorite bird. That feeder is on my deck railing, hanging to the outside of the deck so that my cats won’t mistake it for a lunch buffet. This year I also decided I was going to make an effort to attract not only orioles and finches, but also robins.

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Robins are so quintessential to spring in Michigan that I just had to have them in my yard, too. I did some reading about what they like to eat, which prompted a Saturday trip down to Traverse City, resulting in a new eco-friendly feeder and some songbird mix, complete with raisins and dried mealworms. My new hobby seems to be paying off. Just tonight, there were about 50 little birds that I have never seen before, going crazy over my finch feeder. After a quick search on my computer, it turns out they are called common redpolls. I have never even heard of those, but they sure are pretty. So I guess what I am saying is that I’ve turned into my own grandma, and if that makes me the old lady in the lunchroom, so be it. Just don’t be surprised if I whip out my phone and show you a video of the orioles when they finally make their way to my feeder.

Dawn is a reading specialist at Charlevoix Elementary School and writes a monthly column for the local papers, Petoskey News-Review and Charlevoix Courier. She likes to spend her free time working in her backyard and playing Frisbee with her dog.

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.

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Paul Schemanski District 1

Mark Carson District 2

Your Voice. Your Board of Directors. Your Cooperative. Great Lakes Energy Directors Put Members First* f Major system improvements in the last 16 years have increased service reliability to all GLE members.

Ric Evans District 3

Shelly Pinkelman District 4

f GLE accomplishes more with less, ranking it as one of the most productive electric cooperatives nationwide.1 f GLE’s fiber-to-the-home project is connecting rural homes and businesses to Truestream’s high speed internet and voice services. f Profits earned are returned to you. More than $82.3 million in capital credit refunds have been returned to members since 2003. f Eight local offices deliver quick and courteous service, especially when big storms roll in.

Dale Farrier District 5

Bob Kran District 6

Directors Work for You and You Alone. That’s the Cooperative Difference. 1 Based

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

Paul Byl District 7

John LaForge District 9

Howard Bowersox District 8

*Directors are not appointed by management but rather democratically elected by members each year. All directors are members who receive electric service from GLE.