June 2022 HomeWorks

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June 2022


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative


Board Election Results

Classroom Grant And Scholarship Winners Will Electric Grid Capacity Meet Summer Demand?



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Contents countrylines.com

June 2022 Vol. 42, No. 6



6 DESIGNING A DIFFERENCE Morley native and WMU student Isabella Waite combined her love of design with her sense of sustainability to capture third place in a nationwide housewares design competition.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Tomatoes: Make the most of the summer season.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr

14 READY, SET, SOAR Annual Boyne City highperformance boating event brings the ‘thunder’ to this normally peaceful town.


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

18 GUEST COLUMN An Eggceptional Experience I Will Never Forget!

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.

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


Check out all the detail revealed in these Petoskey stones after a good vinegar soak. Next up, polish. @mgcubba (Mary Grace)

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community



Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

Up Next: Pasta Salads, due July 1 Baked Goods, due Aug. 1

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.



Summer Reliability At Risk

homeworks.org /homeworks.org tricoenergy@homeworks.org Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday

Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395

Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740

HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 • jlord@homeworks.org

District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 • jstebbins@homeworks.org District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 • lpohl@homeworks.org District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 • khansen@homeworks.org District 5 — Corinna Batora 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 • cbatora@homeworks.org

District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 • eoplinger@homeworks.org District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 • ssprague@homeworks.org Editor: C harly Markwart, CCC

By Chris O’Neill, CEO


On April 14, the regional electric grid operator, MISO, announced the results of its latest generation capacity auction. This annual process is designed to determine if there is sufficient generation supply to meet that summer’s maximum demand. The results are concerning for us. This auction showed that nine northern states, including Michigan, are 1,200 MW short of the supply needed to keep the lights on when demand is highest. Unfortunately, this is not surprising. In fact, my column in January was focused on this exact issue. In Michigan, we have been vulnerable for the past few years under the most extreme summer and winter conditions. Just two years ago, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was short of the supply needed to meet the maximum demand for the summer of 2020. Fortunately, from an electric standpoint, the peak demand for the Lower Peninsula was lower due to the loss of commercial load caused by the pandemic. As a result, the most extreme measures of controlled or “rolling” blackouts were not necessary. How did we get to a point where the power supply for nine states fails to meet the demand? Simply put, the power grid is changing. Large baseload generating assets, primarily coal and nuclear, are retiring and being replaced mainly by intermittent renewable energy. The challenge placed on the grid is that for every megawatt of coal and nuclear that is retired, 2 megawatts of solar and 10 megawatts of wind are needed to replace that supply. This isn’t saying solar and wind are “bad.” My point is that we always (literally, every second) need sufficient resources to meet demand, and that is not guaranteed when relying on the sun and wind. Our focus at HomeWorks, along with our power supplier, Wolverine, is to keep the lights on. Today, that requires all available resources. We are committed to doing this while we continue to lead with our low-carbon-energy portfolio, with over 60% coming from carbon-free sources. Further, Wolverine has invested in generation supply on your behalf. This means we have sufficient generation supply at HomeWorks to meet our demand. Unfortunately, if blackouts are required by the grid operator, we must do our part, as we are all interconnected to the same regional electric grid. “Our part” means we must participate in controlled blackouts if the grid operator deems them to be necessary. As I communicated in January, there is the potential for this problem to get worse. While we are already facing power supply shortages, an additional 10% of Michigan’s generation plants are slated for early retirement in the next three years. We can’t let power plant closures get ahead of the new generation that must be built to replace them. Issues like reliability are critical, and we want to keep you informed and engaged. To support these efforts, HomeWorks is partnering with other electric cooperatives from around the state and country, utilizing Voices for Cooperative Power (VCP). I encourage you to sign up for VCP; it’s a great way to stay engaged, stay informed, and have a voice on critical energy policy issues. Sign up at voicesforcooperativepower.com and find out how you can get involved.

4 JUNE 2022


Looking to make a difference in your community and for your local electric cooperative? Then join VCP today for free! VCP is a network of electric co-op members working together to influence public policy decisions that impact our co-ops and our way of life. Scan to learn more and join!

After you join, you’ll get regular updates on important issues and information on ways to get involved.



aite, now a junior at WMU, has fallen in love with her program. She is committed to not making what she calls “useless stuff,” but instead finding creative ways to create purposeful products. Waite also loves the way design, engineering, and business all intersect. These kinds of connections are something she has always appreciated.


As a member of an electric cooperative, Waite was familiar with the benefits of more sustainable energy sources and the opportunities available to her as a member. Waite was a member of Youth Tour, a group of around 1,800 high school co-op members from around the country who travel to Washington, D.C., to experience the monuments, memorials, museums, and all the history the country’s capital has to offer. It ends with students meeting their state senators and representatives and watching Capitol business unfold in real time. “It was a life-changing trip for me,” said Waite. “I was super introverted and anxious around strangers in high school, but meeting all these new people from around the country was suddenly exciting and not scary anymore.”

Designing A Difference By Emily Haines Lloyd

Raised in Morley, Michigan, with a population of just over 500 residents, Isabella Waite grew up with a sense of “sustainability.” Her parents, HomeWorks Co-op members, made a habit of composting and they also line-dried their laundry outdoors— which they continue to do to this day. When Waite went off to study product design at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, she took those sensibilities with her. “I was really involved in fine arts in high school,” said Waite. “I didn’t know what that could look like in a career for me until I toured Western and the product design program director explained how design could be used to help people, even make a difference in the world.”


JUNE 2022

Waite took that new confidence and not only applied to WMU, which is in a much larger city than her hometown, but applied for scholarships to help her on her educational journey. Waite received one of HomeWorks’ educational scholarships, helping her to get started at school. “It was actually one of the staff members who went with us on Youth Tour that told me about the HomeWorks scholarships,” said Waite. “It’s amazing how much scholarships helped me as I was beginning college.” The financial assistance allowed Waite to delve into her degree in product design. One of her courses had, as part of its syllabus, an assignment to develop a houseware product and submit it to the Student Design Competition

To learn more about Isabella Waite’s Pip the Potty Pal, visit theinspiredhomeshow.com/awards/gia-student/. sponsored by the International Housewares Association (IHA). This international competition seeks to “invigorate” the housewares industry with innovative student designs and encourages careers in the industry. Waite was inspired by her summer job as a nanny and saw the stress and difficulty the family she worked for was having with potty training their son. Waite herself wasn’t sure how to help, but with her skills in product design and an eagerness for her work to help people, she designed Pip the Potty Pal. Pip assists adults in toilet training toddlers while making the breaks fun for the children. It went from an idea, to a design, to winning third place at the Global Innovation Awards and having her design displayed at the annual Inspired Home Show. “A big part of product design is studying the behavior of your consumer,” said Waite. “Kids are just so interesting to observe, and figuring out what they need is really fascinating to me.” As Waite heads into her senior year at WMU, she continues to be passionate about her major and the notion of helping others through her design efforts. “As a designer, sustainability is really important to me. I don’t want to make things that people simply throw away,” said Waite. “I want to make products that last, that invoke memories, that you can pass down.”

“As a designer, sustainability is really important to me. I don’t want to make things that people simply throw away,” said Waite. “I want to make products that last, that invoke memories, that you can pass down.”



Keep It Cool It With A Heat Pump I

f you are looking to save on cooling costs in your home this summer, consider a heat pump as an alternative to your furnace and air conditioner. A heat pump provides cool air in the summer just like standard air conditioners, but also provides heat in the winter.


How does that work? Like a refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat. During the heating season, heat pumps extract and move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house. In the summer, they move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because heat pumps move heat rather than generate heat, they can cost up to 75% less to operate compared to conventional heating or cooling methods. There are various types of heat pumps available. HomeWorks’ Energy Optimization program can help you find what fits your needs with energy-saving opportunities. You may even qualify for additional incentives by purchasing a new efficient ENERGY STAR® system. Visit homeworks.org or call 877-296-4319.

Source: Energystar.gov

Nearly half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Increase savings by installing a heat pump. Heat pumps heat rather than heat AND are up to 75% more efficient to operate— in every season.

CALL: 877-296-4319 VISIT: homeworks.org

HomeWorks Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to HomeWorks Tri-County Electrical Cooperative service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit homeworks.org.


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Hometown Pride/My View 1. When Janet Malhoit of Canton (receiving service in Rodney) submitted this snap shot, she said, “This is currently my lovely view from a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida!” 2. Casie Bayless of Portland submitted this photo of her view of Niagara Falls, taken from Canada looking towards the U.S. border. 3. Bob Smith of Pleasant Lake (receiving service in Sumner) says, “After 20 years, this view looking out my back door should get old, but it never does.” 4. Heather Balcom of Shepherd says, “This is a snap shot of our spectacular Mackinac Bridge, viewed from a foot trail within Straits State Park in St. Ignace.” 5. Susan Drapek of Eaton Rapids submitted this picture of a fall view at a country cemetery on M-50, between Eaton Rapids and Charlotte. 6. Connie Meyers of Lake Odessa submitted this photo showing her hometown pride.







Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics and Deadlines Farms & Harvest, due July 18 (September issue) Feathers, due Aug. 15 (October issue) Christmas Trees, due Sept. 15 (November/December issue) Go to HomeWorks.org, select the Energy tab, then choose About Your Co-op>Country Lines to submit your photos and see all of the 2022 Snap Shot themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Members whose photos we publish in Country Lines in 2022 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication.



MI CO-OP Recipes

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


Make the most of the summer season.


Sharon Libich, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 2 ¼ ¼ ½ 2 1



energy bill credit!

10 JUNE 2022

Pasta Salads due July 1 • Baked Goods due Aug. 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.

pints cherry/grape tomatoes cup mayonnaise cup sour cream pound bacon, cooked and crumbled tablespoons grated Romano cheese tablespoon dried, chopped chives (or ¹⁄³ cup fresh chives)

Rinse and dry tomatoes. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes just enough so you can scoop out the inner part of the tomatoes. To scoop out the inside pulp, you can use a strawberry huller (recommended). Place scooped-out tomatoes upside down on paper towels. While draining, mix the rest of the ingredients together. Place the mixture into a plastic bag and clip off the corner. Squeeze the mixture into the cherry tomatoes. Place the tomatoes onto a tray with plastic wrap surrounding the tomatoes to keep them upright. Chill the tomatoes for 2 hours. Enjoy! This is a family favorite at a summertime BBQ or anytime. It’s an easy way to share a yummy appetizer! Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos



Lynn Wall, Great Lakes Energy

1 large package heirloom cherry tomatoes 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) oregano 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh (or 1 tablespoon dried) basil

Lianne Briggs, Great Lakes Energy Preheat oven to 325 F. Stir all ingredients together, and place in a 9x9 square baking dish. Bake for 2–3 hours, stirring every ½ hour or so. The mixture will get very wet. When the tomatoes start to pop, they will start to thicken like jam. Serve warm or cool with crackers or bread, with cream cheese, or with any other cheese and/or meat, if desired. This is delicious on a charcuterie tray and smells wonderful when it bakes. I use my toaster oven to bake it.

3 3 1 4 28 • 1 ½

tablespoons olive oil cups finely chopped onions tablespoon minced garlic cups chicken stock ounces tomato purée pinch saffron threads teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ cup orzo, dry ½ cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low



Cindy Hodges, Ontonagon County 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 (15-ounce) cans French cut green beans, drained 4 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained 2 small cans tomato paste 2 heads garlic cloves, peeled and smashed • salt and pepper, to taste

heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomato purée, saffron, salt, and black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. (Note: The orzo will finish cooking in the soup.) Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.

Cathy Nichols, Great Lakes Energy Preheat oven to 250 F. In a Dutch oven or another lidded heavy pan, sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add all ingredients (except salt and pepper) and cook for 5 hours or until the garlic is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. This can be served on pita bread as a dip, or over rice for a meal.

1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (any variety) • salt and pepper • thinly sliced basil leaves

Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out storebought or homemade pie crust into a fluted tart pan or pie pan. Spread Dijon mustard in the bottom of the pie crust. Top with grated Gruyere cheese. Next, place tomatoes in an overlapping concentric circle over the cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes, or until tomatoes look wrinkled. Sprinkle tart with basil and serve.



Batora, Lord, Sprague Re-elected To Board I

n May, three members of the HomeWorks TriCounty Electric Cooperative board of directors were re-elected to serve members for another three-year term as the result of the Co-op’s 2022 director elections. Balloting was completed entirely by mail, since 2022 district membership meetings were held virtually. In District 1, which includes Eaton, Ingham, and Jackson counties, John Lord (incumbent) of Leslie retained his seat in an uncontested election. Lord was first elected to the board in 2016. He serves as vice-chair of the board and also represents HomeWorks on the Spartan Renewable Energy board.

Corinna Batora

John Lord

Shirley Sprague

In District 5, which includes Gratiot and Saginaw counties, plus Bingham, Duplain, and Greenbush townships in Clinton County and Boomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships in Montcalm County, Corinna Batora (incumbent) of Elsie won re-election over Jeff Feldpausch of St. Johns. Batora has represented District 5 on the board since 2016. She has also represented HomeWorks on the board of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association for two terms.

Ballots, along with candidate profiles, were mailed to all members in Districts 1, 5, and 7 with their April issue of Country Lines magazine. Mail-in balloting has supplemented HomeWorks’ in-person voting process since 2018, when it was implemented as an alternative option for members who were not able to attend and vote at district membership meetings. This year, automated calls went out to all members in Districts 1, 5, and 7 in early April, advising that because of the virtual format of district meetings, mail-in ballot would be the only voting option this year.

In District 7, which includes Mecosta and Osceola counties, Shirley Sprague (incumbent) of Barryton won re-election over Mark Klumpp of Stanwood. Sprague has represented District 7 on the board since 2016. She also represents HomeWorks on the board of the Co-op’s power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative.

In 2023, elections will be held for the District 2 and 4 board seats, currently held by Jim Stebbins of Clarksville and Kimber Hansen of Edmore, respectively. Watch Country Lines magazine, HomeWorks.org and the HomeWorks Facebook page for information on the nomination process, which begins in January.


Hundreds Of Attended By Excellent 700+ Member Engagement & Prizes Given Away Participation Households

“ This is the first district meeting I have been able to attend since becoming a HomeWorks member, and I learned so much! I love the convenient virtual format. Thank you for a great meeting! ” - Sarah S., HomeWorks Member

Didn’t get to attend? We’ve got you covered! Watch a recording of your meeting at HomeWorks.org.

Your Board In Action Meeting in Portland on April 25, your board of directors: • Approved April 2, 2022, as the Record Date for determining the members entitled to receive notice of the Cooperative’s 2022 district meetings and acknowledged the official Record Numbers indicating the number of active members as of that date, per district. • Reviewed HomeWorks’ 2021 electric distribution performance measures report, learning that the Co-op met or exceeded all applicable Michigan Public Service Commission standards for the year. • Authorized management to use 6.00% as the weighted average cost of capital to discount estate capital credit retirements made in 2022. • Reviewed quarterly reports for both the Tri-County People Fund and the Co-op’s Energy Optimization program. • Authorized management the discretion to immediately order any and all bucket and digger trucks that will be needed over the next four years to replace current fleet

vehicles, in order to receive the trucks on time in light of current extended lead times. • Discussed and accepted Policy 403 – Long-Range Financial Management Plan, as revised. • Learned there were 97 new members in March. • Acknowledged the March safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 27 and July 25 at Portland. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least a week in advance of the meeting.

Offices Will Be Closed July 4 Please note that our offices will be closed Monday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day. While we are closed, you will still be able to reach us at 800-848-9333 to report an outage, or at 877-999-3395 to pay your bill via phone.

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative A Special Member Meeting is set for June 27, 9 a.m., at the Cooperative’s Portland office The board of directors will consider the item(s) listed below at its meeting on June 27, 2022, to be held at the Cooperative office at 7973 E. Grand River Avenue, Portland, Michigan. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors, without filing a formal request under the Cooperative policy. Interested members are asked to come to the lobby by 9 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. The following item(s) will be discussed and considered: 1. Participation in the State of Michigan’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program at the cost of a surcharge, to be determined by the state, on each residential customer’s monthly energy bill. Notice of changes or additions to the Cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact HomeWorks Tri-County Electric at 800562-8232 at least a week in advance of the meeting to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance. Comments may also be made prior to the meeting date by calling CEO Chris O’Neill at 517-647-1284, or contacting him by email at coneill@homeworks.org. Notice of the board meeting shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines.



By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photo courtesy of Boyne City Main Street



t’s hard to visit the small town of Boyne City, making five stops to pick up cards for a poker Michigan, and not conjure up words like hand. With each stop—in Elk Rapids, Northport, “quaint” and “charming.” A town of around Charlevoix, Bay Harbor, and Harbor Springs— 3,700 residents on the shore of Lake Charlevoix, participants get closer to the opportunity to it’s what you imagine when you think of a get the winning hand, with the added benefit peaceful place to live or visit. But every year, the of delighting boat enthusiasts, residents, and weekend after the Fourth of July, this little town vacationers in those cities. While the competition opens up to over 120 high-performance boats is fairly tame and offers prizes for first, second, from around the country and Canada for the third, and—generously—last place, it’s the boats annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run charity event themselves that bring all the excitement. that brings all the energy, buzz, and, yes, noise of a big city. The boats range in size from 22 to 55 feet in length and feature horsepower ranging from “You can’t quite describe the awe and genuine 425–3,600. If you’re not a boat geek—that excitement you feel when these magnificent means some of these boats are capable of boats roar by,” said Ingrid Day, Boyne Thunder speeding up to 150 mph. event coordinator. “For a few days, we not only get to show off these powerhouse boats, but What started about 20 years ago as a also get to show off our city.” fundraising event for a charity has developed into an effort to revitalize the downtown area. Boyne Thunder is a 150-mile treasure hunt of The event has grown to more than 120 boats sorts, with large power boats roaring through with full crews from California to Florida to the waters of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan, Canada, bringing thousands of people to Boyne

14 JUNE 2022

“The nonprofits that Boyne Thunder supports are as big a part of the event as the boats themselves. They are part of our community and are part of who we are.”

City each summer for the two-day event. Friday night hosts a welcoming of the boats to town with strolls along the marina to get early peeks at this year’s participants—and the popular Stroll the Streets, which brings 10,000–15,000 people to the downtown area for dining, shopping, entertainment, and the car show. Saturday can include a stop at the farmer’s market before the boats power up and roar out from Lake Charlevoix into Lake Michigan, and then parade through the five town stops along the way. People line the harbor and bridges to get a good look and, with good reason, gawk. “There’s really nothing like it,” said Day. “People lined up along the end of the lake, on the bridge—smiles just everywhere.” While one crew will triumph in the Poker Run, the real winners are the two charities at the heart of the event, Camp Quality and Challenge Mountain, and the sponsoring organization, Boyne City Main Street. Camp Quality provides experiences and year-round support for children with cancer and their families. Many people in the community have volunteered and worked at the very first camps held by Camp Quality. Challenge Mountain provides experiences for individuals with mental and physical challenges through outdoor recreation like skiing, which is such a huge part of Northern Michigan life. There are Boyne City residents who work at the local resale shop that also raises money for the nonprofit. And finally, Boyne City Main Street, which seeks to make the downtown a more vibrant place while preserving its historic character. “The nonprofits that Boyne Thunder supports are as big a part of the event as the boats themselves,” said Day. “They are part of our community and are part of who we are.” It’s clear that the only thing bigger on the water than the boats each summer in Boyne City are the hearts of the people who live there.

boynethunder.com facebook.com/BoyneThunder instagram.com/boynethunder MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


HomeWorks Grants Over $28,000 To Local Classrooms Through our annual Touchstone Energy Classroom S.T.E.A.M. Grant program, we are proud to be able to support teachers in our service area in providing innovative science, technology, engineering, arts, and math-related educational opportunities to their students. At HomeWorks, we understand that our local students need access to the proper learning tools to be able to get the most

out of their secondary education. That’s why we are happy to be able to fulfill thousands of dollars in grant requests every year from area teachers who are looking to purchase new equipment to help them offer engaging lessons to their students. From robotics kits and Chromebooks to video production tools and a classroom plant tower, here are the exciting projects we were able to help fund through our 2022 grant program, which paid out $28,960 to local schools:

Big Rapids Public Schools.....................$2,000 for camera equipment Cedar Lake Elementary School..........$2,000 for Chromebooks

Great Lakes Adventist Academy.......$2,000 for video production equipment Isabella Child Development Center....$410 for STEAM learning materials

Maple Valley Public Schools..................$2,000 for PE and wellness equipment Maple Valley Public Schools..................$2,350 for STEAM learning materials Maple Valley Public Schools..................$1,450 for reading headsets

Maple Valley Public Schools..................$1,000 for a classroom plant tower Montabella Community Schools..........$1,800 for robotic balls

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools..................$2,000 for a classroom STEM closet Ovid-Elsie Public Schools.......................$2,000 for agriculture lab kits

Pewamo-Westphalia Schools...............$1,350 for a robotics field kit

Portland Public Schools..........................$1,600 for digital camera equipment

Portland Public Schools..........................$5,000 for robotics team sponsorship* Potterville Public Schools.......................$2,000 for LEGO robotics bundles


*Special community sponsorship grant

Do you know an area teacher who might be interested in submitting a grant application for up to $2,000 for S.T.E.A.M. learning opportunities in his or her classroom? Applications for our 2023 grant program will open up when the new school year starts this fall! Apply on the community page at HomeWorks.org, or email HomeWorks Communications Manager Charly Markwart at cmarkwart@homeworks.org for more information. 16 JUNE 2022

Co-op Awards 10 Local Students With 2022 Touchstone Energy Scholarships Ten local high school seniors were each selected to receive a $1,000 college scholarship this year through the Touchstone Energy scholarship program offered annually by HomeWorks Tri-County Electric. Congratulations to these outstanding students:

Katrina Forbes Morley Stanwood H.S. Planning to Attend: Hope College Planning to Study: Elementary Education Parents: Michael & Laura Forbes

Ethan Fuller Jared Huhn Big Rapids H.S. Pewamo-Westphalia H.S. Planning to Attend: Planning to Attend: Michigan State Michigan State Planning to Study: Planning to Study: Biology Electrical Technology Parents: Kenny & Sarah Parents: Doug & Julie Huhn Fuller

Trista Perkins Montabella Jr./Sr. H.S. Planning to Attend: Montabella C.C. Planning to Study: Business Parents: Tim & Sheila Perkins

Paige Pung Portland H.S. Planning to Attend: Michigan State Planning to Study: Packaging Engineering Parents: Robert & Laurie Pung

Evan Litwiller Ovid-Elsie H.S. Planning to Attend: Alma College Planning to Study: Pre-med Parents: Larry & Gwendolyn Litwiller

Ashlynn McNeilly Crossroads Charter Planning to Attend: Western Michigan Planning to Study: Child Development Parents: Jeremiah McNeilly & Rebecca Szpiech

Blake Schneider Cohen Schroeder Maddie Thelen Homeschooled Pewamo-Westphalia H.S. Pewamo-Westphalia H.S. Planning to Attend: Planning to Attend: Planning to Attend: Liberty University Alma College Northwood Planning to Study: Planning to Study: Planning to Study: Business Administration Finance Healthcare Management Parents: Kurt & Wendy Parents: Joseph & Julie Parents: Eric & Renee Schneider Brooks Thelen

Do you know of a deserving high school student living on HomeWorks lines who could use a $1,000 scholarship toward his or her college career? Watch for our 2023 Touchstone Energy scholarship program, which opens up this fall! We also give away one $1,000 utility technician training scholarship each year to a student pursuing a career in electric linework or a related field. If interested, visit HomeWorks.org or call us at 800-562-8232. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17

Guest Column

An Eggceptional Experience I Will Never Forget! By Cindy Zavadil, HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member


will never forget my visit to an ethnic art fair outside of Detroit’s Cobo Hall at the age of 12. It is one of my fondest memories. Why? It was there that I was introduced to the art of Ukrainian egg decorating, or Pysanky. This art form is rich in cultural heritage, symbolism, and pure beauty. The intricacy, vibrant colors, and skill involved had me hooked right away. From quail eggs to ostrich eggs, it’s a joy! My parents took me to this event. They had no idea that I would become a high school art teacher and one day share this art form with my students. I remember watching the elderly artist, a woman, writing on her egg. This art process involves writing/drawing on the egg with beeswax, using a tool called a kistka. The egg is then dipped in various colored dyes after each new design has been written, and it culminates with melting the wax off the egg over a candle flame. I call it the unveiling. Here you see all your hours of work before your eyes. Watching the experienced Pysanky artist that day, with her grey hair, steady hands, and patience, melting the wax off her creation is something I will never forget. I asked my parents if I could buy a kit, including all the tools, to begin my journey. The elderly woman handed my mom my first yellow box. From there, I practiced and

18 JUNE 2022

learned from my mistakes. I kept at it. Like anything else, art is a process, and we learn as we go. Since that day, I have created hundreds of eggs and enjoy sharing the tradition of Ukrainian Pysanky. The world is a better place with art showing its face around every corner. I owe this opportunity of learned joy to that one day at the art fair. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet the lovely lady sharing her skills, I would never have begun my journey. That day is a fond memory, and it is because of this memory that I am able to share my art with you.

Cindy is a retired art/humanities teacher. She enjoys all kinds of art, reading, and gardening.

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Open up a world of possibilities this summer with a reliable internet connection from

From learning new crafting skills to keeping in touch with friends and family, a reliable internet connection is the start to endless possibilities.


If you’re in need of a better connection this summer, be sure to let us know! We are already able to connect homes in 4/5 of our service territories, but even if you’re not in an area that can actively be connected, you’ll want to add your name to our list so we can keep you informed on the progress in your neighborhood.

Become A Connector Today! To pre-register, visit Join.HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413!

This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.