June 2021 MEC

Page 1

June 2021


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

Grant Opportunities

Tips To Improve Your Internet Connection Manage Your Kids’ Screen Time With CommandIQ



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

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

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com

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

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

visit us at waterfurnace.com

The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

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.






Let’s Talk Rates



Robert Hance, President/CEO

teammidwest.com /teammidwest CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road, Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Street, Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street, Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. CONTACT US Midwest Energy & Communications 800-492-5989 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com

Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Dan Bodette, Wauseon 419-337-8007 Dan.Bodette@teammidwest.com

Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com

James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com

Erika Escue-Cadieux, Onsted 419-346-1088 erika.escue-cadieux@teammidwest.com

en years ago, we were in the difficult position of having electric rates double those of AEP, the investor-owned utility surrounding our southwest Michigan service territory. In the rural spaces, it’s not uncommon for neighbors on different sides of the road to have different utility providers, and we regularly fielded calls and complaints from our customers about the rate disparity.


The answer never set well with our customers, but the reality was not that we were out of line on the high side, but rather that AEP was out of line on the low side. Going through the process of a rate increase with the Michigan Public Service Commission is a time-consuming and onerous task. Our understanding was that company representatives didn’t consider it worth the effort for the small retail customer base they have in Michigan. Just across the state line in Indiana, AEP’s rates were significantly higher and increasing regularly, but in Michigan, its efforts were focused instead on the larger wholesale market. Times have changed and AEP has since made several significant increases in its Michigan rates, to the tune that its residential rate is now 4.2% higher than ours, based on average usage of 1,000 kWh. In fact, all the investor-owned utilities that touch our service footprint in both southwest and southeast Michigan, including Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, and AEP, have higher rates than we do for average usage. Why do I bring all this up? In short, because you’ll see a legal notice in this issue related to a rate increase effective with bills rendered in July. We work extremely hard to manage expenses and be good stewards of your money; as an electric customer, you are an owner of this cooperative. However, we must always balance that against investing in the system to provide you with the best possible service experience from a reliability perspective. I remind you that unlike our investor-owned utility counterparts, our goal is not to make a profit to line shareholders’ pockets. Our electric customers are essentially our shareholders. So, when we implement a rate increase, it is solely in response to our efforts to provide you with the best possible service. July’s rate adjustment will result in an increase of $4.56 to our average residential bill of 1,000 kWh, translating to a per-kWh charge of 15.44 cents. This compares to 17.27 cents/kWh with Consumers Energy, 18.01 with DTE, and 16.09 with AEP. It’s never fun to talk (or read!) about rate increases, but I’ve always encouraged our customers to look at the monthly bill from the lens of what the kilowatts provided to you. That’s hard to do after the fact, but consider the comforts, conveniences, and connections you enjoyed due to your electric service and know that we will always work hard to maintain fair and appropriate rates and exceptional service.

Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com

Notice To Electric Customers Of Midwest Energy & Communications Tariff Change For Bills Rendered In July 2021



Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

The Midwest Energy & Communications Board of Directors adopted the following change to the cooperative’s tariffs at a special board meeting on April 27, 2021, in accordance with Public Act 167 (P.A. 167). •

An increase of $.004562 per kWh in the Variable Distribution Charge across all rate classifications.

These unapproved minutes are published in accordance with P.A. 167 of 2008. 4 JUNE 2021


Get Smart About Your MEC Account Management Have you signed up for SmartHub, our online and mobile account management tool, yet? If not, we encourage you to take advantage of the most convenient way to access account information, pay your bill and more. It’s available 24/7 and has several features to help you manage any MEC service. • Electric Outage Reporting: Quickly report your service interruption without waiting for the next available solutions agent. • Notifications: Sign up to receive text or email account notifications, including planned outage, billing and more. You can even set a usage threshold and get a notification once your daily consumption surpasses the threshold. • Bill: View your current account balance, make a payment, manage recurring payments and modify payment methods. • Service Status: Report a service issue or find out if there are any known issues related to your account. • Usage: Access detailed information to better understand and manage your electric or propane use. • Change/Upgrade Service: Add internet, change your internet package or add managed Wi-Fi.

• Propane Fill: Request a tank fill. We will schedule a delivery in three business days. If you need propane sooner than that or your tank level is below 30%, please call us. • Propane Meter Reading: Send us your latest meter reading if you participate in our metered program. Sign up online at teammidwest.com/smarthub or download the SmartHub mobile app from your app store and search for Midwest Energy & Communications.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY Our offices will be closed on Monday, July 5, in observance of Independence Day. Make a payment or report an outage via SmartHub or call 800-492-5989. Drop box payments made while we are closed will be processed on the next open business day. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!



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 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.

Tips To Improve Your Internet Connection

Make Your Home Wi-Fi Friendly First and foremost, evaluate the location of your router. Ideally, it should be centrally located in your home and should not be hidden behind speakers or other electronics that can cause interference. Also, when practical, place large furniture along the exterior walls of your home to prevent it from blocking signals. Finally, limit the use of mirrors, as they literally reflect your Wi-Fi signal and weaken it.

Improve Wireless Range Wi-Fi gets weaker as it travels long distances and through walls and floors. This can lead to buffering and general slowness when using devices that are far away from the router. If you experience signal issues in specific areas of your home, it’s time to consider upgrading to our Ultimate Wi-Fi service, available to MEC internet subscribers. Our Ultimate Wi-Fi delivers the fastest, most advanced Wi-Fi available. This equipment can handle dozens of devices connecting simultaneously and offers unbeatable coverage throughout every corner of your home. It is available for $10/month or an additional $5/month if you are already paying for our managed Wi-Fi. Sign up for Ultimate Wi-Fi through SmartHub under My Services.

Use A Hardwired Connection For Certain Activities And Speed For video streaming on a TV, real-time gaming and other bandwidth-heavy activities, we recommend connecting the router via an Ethernet connection. Additionally, if you have subscribed to our Gig package and want to get the full 1,000 Mbps on a specific device, you need an Ethernet and possibly a gigabit Ethernet adapter. Most devices are capable of only achieving 50 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band and 100–200 Mbps on a 5 GHz Wi-Fi band.

Choose The Right Internet Speed Have you recently added new Wi-Fi devices to your home? Now might be a good time to evaluate your current internet package to ensure your speed still meets your needs. Visit broadbandnow.com to take a short quiz to help you determine the best speed for you.

Additional Tips For Your MEC Routers If you have the 844 GigaCenter, we recommend that you manually connect any compatible device to the 5.0 GHz band to maximize your speed and improve your overall internet experience. Visit teammidwest.com/gigacenter to watch a YouTube video on how to do this. Our GigaSpire automatically routes your traffic to the best band based on activity and location. If you continue to have signal issues with your GigaSpire after trying these tips, please call us at 800-492-5989.



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.



Clinton High School students test their aquatic robots in preparation for a SeaPerch competition, an integrated STEM program aimed at giving participants experience in real-world engineering and design. Students get graded on their performance, and some have even gone on to compete in the international challenge.

Strengthening Schools In Clinton STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, refers to an academic focus that helps kids learn the hard sciences and gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As technology increasingly becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, STEM programs provide a vital resource for students to gain experience and knowledge that will help them excel in their future careers. At Clinton High School, students can take a STEM class where they earn their grades by building and customizing robots and remote-controlled vehicles, and participating in competitions. The course helps prepare them for potential post-secondary education in engineering, technology, physics or other fields, and some students even earn college credit as part of their coursework. All of this hands-on learning requires hard work, dedication and a lot of electricity. That’s where MEC’s Strengthening Schools Grant comes into play. “We basically charge equipment and batteries 24/7,” said Ron Schaffner, science/ math/STEM teacher at Clinton High School. “I want to try and help reduce the burden of this increased electric consumption for our district, and solar power generation provides the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Science/Math/STEM teacher Ron Schaffner demonstrates one of the solar kits purchased with a Strengthening Schools Grant. The solar kit will help charge STEM equipment.

12 JUNE 2021

With funding from MEC, Schaffner purchased solar panel kits for mounting on the engineering building’s roof. The energy generated will be used to charge robots, batteries, laptops and a pool pump for the underwater robot practice pool. “There’s no way we could have purchased these items on our own. Additionally, the Strengthening Schools Grant has created a unique STEM opportunity for my students to study solar power,” Schaffner noted. In fact, the students have already begun their learning by creating proposals that recommended what they believed to be the best placement, location and design for the kits. “I look forward to seeing the impact the kits have and what future opportunities solar power may create for my students and the district,” Schaffner concluded.

Now Accepting 2021–2022

Strengthening Schools

Grant Applications Now through Monday, Oct. 18, any teacher, administrator or school official in a public elementary, middle or high school serving students in our electric service territory may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to support classroom needs, technology, or academic projects/clubs/organizations. School districts can receive multiple grants, not to exceed a total of $5,000 for the award cycle, and funds will be awarded in January 2022. Funds are made possible through sponsorship dollars from our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative, and winning grants are determined by a panel of MEC customers who have no knowledge of the applying school or educator. Apply now at teammidwest.com/grants.

Seeking Grant Reviewers For Strengthening Schools Grants Did you know that MEC electric customers decide which proposals get Strengthening Schools funds? We need volunteers for the upcoming award cycle. Eligibility: Any MEC electric customer who can dedicate time to reviewing, discussing and awarding grants is eligible. This includes meeting in person for one full weekday in the fall and possibly one full weekday in January. The review committee does not know the school, educator or district when determining recipients.

If interested, please email pr@teammidwest.com.

Building Vibrant Communities Grants This program supports local, 501(c)(3) organizations serving individuals in our electric cooperative service territory. National organizations are not eligible.

considered, and an application is not a guarantee of funding. Awards are announced within 60 days following the end of the cycle deadline.

Qualified organizations may apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to help fund projects and initiatives that support the mission of the organization. Organizations may receive only one grant award each calendar year, and funds may not be used for general operating budgets or payroll expenses.

The MEC service territory includes portions of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties in southwest Michigan, and Elkhart, LaGrange, and St. Joseph counties in northern Indiana. Also included are Lenawee County in southeast Michigan and Fulton and Williams counties in northern Ohio.

Funding decisions are made based on the information provided in the grant application and the impact on the individuals and communities served. Incomplete applications will not be

• Winter/Spring Grant Cycle: Apply by June 30, 2021 • Summer/Fall Grant Cycle: Apply July 1–Dec. 31, 2021

Learn more at teammidwest.com/vibrant-communities. The program is made possible through sponsorship dollars from our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative.

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.





DON’T GIVE YOUR TWEEN’S FRIENDS THE KEYS TO YOUR INTERNET NETWORK. Protect your network, manage your kids’ online activities and test your speeds with our CommandIQ Mobile App, available to MEC Advanced and Ultimate Wi-Fi subscribers.

FREE SERVICES Set Up a Guest Network to Protect Your Main Network Give all your guests, including all those visiting tweens, temporary access to your network without giving them your main login credentials. You can even schedule the length of time for the network to remain active or leave it active until you delete the guests’ access entirely.

Update Your Wi-Fi Name and Network

Easily change your Wi-Fi ID and password any time you need to do so.

Test Your Network Speed and Monitor Your Usage Do a bandwidth test to see how fast your internet is and check which devices are connected, as well as their bandwidth usage.

Schedule Your Kids’ Screen Time

Set time-limit schedules to automatically turn off the internet for specific devices during designated times and days.

ADVANCED SERVICES ExperienceIQ: $5/mo.

ProtectIQ: $5/mo.

Keep Your Kids Off Social Media When They Should Be Studying

Hackers Are A Busy Bunch. Luckily, So Are We.

Limit or block access to specific types of content and any website or app that you choose. No more sneaking FaceTime calls with friends when homework needs to get done. You can also enable safe searching and YouTube restrictions to prevent them from seeing inappropriate content or any comments on YouTube videos.

We’ve All Got Priorities. Now Your Devices Can Too. Do you want to ensure that you have the best connection possible when you’re working from home? With My Priorities, you can prioritize devices or certain online activities, and you can set up a schedule to have those items automatically get priority at certain times and days.

Any device that connects to the internet is susceptible to hackers and malware, including smart home devices. For this reason, ProtectIQ guards your entire network and all connected devices by updating your router multiple times each week with protections against the latest known threats.

Get Started

Learn more at teammidwest.com/commandiq or download the app from your app store to start exploring the benefits.

2020 ANNUAL REPORT Report of Independent Auditors

Consolidated Statements of Operations Years Ended Dec. 31 (Dollars in 000)

Following are excerpts from the audit report. The full report may be accessed at TeamMidwest.com or by calling 800-492-5989. We have audited the accompanying consolidated financial statements of Midwest Energy Cooperative, which comprise the consolidated balance sheets as of Dec. 31, 2020, and 2019, and the related consolidated statements of operations, equities and margins, and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements. Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Our responsibility is to express opinions on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits. An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgment, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entity’s preparation and fair presentation of the consolidated financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity’s internal control. Accordingly, we express no such opinion. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of significant accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinions. In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the cooperative as of Dec. 31, 2020, and 2019, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Moss Adams March 31, 2021

2020 Operating revenues


Operating expenses





635 $


7,041 $


Consolidated Balance Sheets Dec. 31 (Dollars in 000)



Net electric plant and equipment






Other assets and investments



Current assets



Deferred charges Total assets



$ 293,269

$ 271,077






Long-term debt



Other liabilities







Deferred tax liability Deferred credits Total equity and liabilities


$ 293,269

$ 271,077

Where Your Dollars Go

Administrative & Member Services 10% Residential Sales 65%


Nonoperating margins (deficits)

Property Taxes 4% Depreciation 12%

Commercial & Industrial Sales 32%


Operating margins (deficits)

Where Our Sales Come From Irrigation Sales 3%



Capital credits

Current liabilities

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



Interest expense

Net margins



Interest Expense 7%

Cost of Purchased Power 53%

Operations & Maintenance 14%


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.

WIN $150!

18 JUNE 2021

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.

Geothermal Made Affordable

“Why wouldn’t someone do this?”

Lynne loves her home in the woods but found it challenging to keep her vaulted-ceiling home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Keeping it cool in the summer was especially important for Lynne because of her four-legged, furry friend, Tara. Lynne W., South Boardman, MI | Member, Great Lakes Energy

Make your home more comfortable year-round. (989) 356-2113 wellconnectgeo.com SCAN TO LEARN MORE



YOUR HOME TEAM Keeping The Lights On LEARN MORE TEAMMIDWEST.COM | 800.492.5989

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.