COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association
Fishing With Massey Fish Co.
Meet Your New General Manager
April 12 Is Lineworker Appreciation Day Efficient Kitchen Tips
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waterfurnace.com/CleanStart 1. 26% through 2022 and 22% through 2023. 2. With registration of homeowner’s Symphony Home Comfort Platform. Amazon Dot will be shipped to the address given in Symphony registration. Promotion available February 8th through April 30th, 2021 and only to residential customers through participating dealers. WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.
March 2021 Vol. 41, No. 3
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird 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 firstname.lastname@example.org CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please
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 photo: Donny Massey holding a beautiful lake trout, one of the many species of ﬁsh harvested by Massey Fish Co.
6 EFFICIENT OUTDOOR LIGHTING TIPS Let us help you shine a light on the best home and yard illumination options. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Soups: Cozy and satisfying, these recipes are the answer to your dinnertime dilemma.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY
14 TACKLING COMMERCIAL FISHING For Massey Fish Co. in St. Ignace, the embrace of changing technology and a love for nature are the keys to success. 18 GUEST COLUMN There’s magic in a frog pond.
An icy-cold night rainbow in downtown #charlevoix @tpmann4msu (Thomas Mann)
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
MI CO-OP KITCHEN
BEST OF MICHIGAN
Up Next: Fruity Desserts, Whole Grains, and Fish & Seafood Share your favorite recipes.
Up Next: Coffee Shops Spill the beans! Tell us about your favorite place to grab a caffeinated (or decaf) beverage.
Submit your fondest memories and stories.
Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.
Win $150 for stories published!
Win a $50 bill credit!
Win a $50 bill credit!
See page 18
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
algerdelta.com /algerdeltaelectric BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1—Big Bay Darryl Small 906-345-9369 • email@example.com
District 2—Harvey/Deerton Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3—Grand Marais Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 • email@example.com
District 4—Cedar River/Palestine Dave Prestin 906-424-0055 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell Ivy Netzel 906-639-2979 • MyAlgerDeltaRep5@gmail.com District 6—Nathan/White Rapids Paul Sederquist 906-753-4484 • email@example.com
District 7—Stonington/Rapid River Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 • firstname.lastname@example.org District 8—Nahma/Isabella Vacant
District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 • email@example.com GENERAL MANAGER: Mike Furmanski firstname.lastname@example.org HEADQUARTERS: 426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 • email@example.com algerdelta.com OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST) Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
MARQUETTE ALGER DELTA
4 MARCH 2021
Alger Delta Recognizes Lineworkers Everyday By Troy Tiernan
Stay back and stay safe April 12, 2021, is Lineman Appreciation Day and a perfect opportunity to recognize the important role lineworkers play for Alger Delta Electric Cooperative. Working with electricity can be a dangerous job, especially for lineworkers. In fact, USA Today lists line repairers and installers among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. That’s why for Alger Delta Electric Cooperative, safety is the number one priority. This is not empty talk. Over time, we have created a culture of putting our crews’ safety and the community above all else. Our mission is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to you, our consumer-members. Yes, we strive to deliver affordable and reliable electricity to you, but equally important, we want our employees to return home safely to their loved ones. This requires ongoing focus, dedication, and vigilance—and your help!
Distractions can be deadly While we appreciate your kindness and interest in our crews’ work, we ask that you stay back and let them focus on their task at hand. Even routine work can be dangerous, and it takes their full attention and that of their colleagues, who are also responsible for the team’s safety. Distractions can have deadly consequences. If a lineworker is on or near your property during a power outage, for vegetation
management, or routine maintenance, please allow them ample room to work. These small accommodations help protect our crews—and you. If you have a dog, try to keep it indoors while lineworkers are on or near your property. While most dogs are friendly, some are defensive of their territory and can’t distinguish between a burglar and a utility worker. Our crews work best without a pet “supervising” the job. We recognize that you want to make sure only authorized workers are on or near your property for your family’s safety. You will recognize Alger Delta Cooperative employees by their uniforms and the service trucks with our name and logo on them. You may also recognize our lineworkers because they live right here in our local community.
Slow down and move over In addition to giving lineworkers some space while they are near your property, we also ask that you move over or slow down when approaching a utility vehicle on the side of the road. This is an extra barrier of safety to help those who help all of us. Alger Delta lineworkers put their lives on the line daily to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to you, our consumer-members. Please help to keep them safe by doing your part.
Alger Delta Welcomes
New General Manager lger Delta Cooperative Electric Association is pleased to welcome Mike Furmanski as general manager. Mike brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table and will be instrumental in guiding Alger Delta forward in a bold new direction. Alger Delta’s board member and interim manager, Dave Prestin, expressed confidence that Mike is ready to handle the job. “The hiring of Mr. Furmanski corresponds and aligns with Alger Delta’s vision of growth and cost control strategy,” Dave said. “He will be pivotal to Alger Delta’s future success in providing affordable, reliable power to its members. The fact that Mike is an electrical engineer, born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, coupled with proven leadership, experience, determination, and devotion to his work, makes him a great fit for our team.”
In line with Alger Delta’s growth and efficiency plans, Mike will be instrumental in positioning the cooperative for the future challenges
and opportunities that will present themselves in the dynamic area of electrical distribution. After he graduated from Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Mike began his career working for a company based in Iron Mountain specializing in energyefficient lighting. His next career stop “ The fact that Mike is an electrical engineer, born and raised in the was at a large foundry in Marinette, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, coupled Wisconsin, where he worked for with proven leadership, experience, five years. For the past 20-plus years, determination, and devotion to his Mike has worked for the City of work, makes him a great fit for our Escanaba’s municipal electric utility team.”—Dave Prestin as the electrical superintendent. Among his new responsibilities, Mike will direct the operation and administration of the cooperative. His responsibilities will also extend to making recommendations on objectives, strategic planning, and policies. He will also assist and advise the board of directors in all areas that are vital to the existence and growth of the cooperative. As a central priority to the member-owners, Mike will be focused on reliable, safe, low-
cost supply and distribution of energy to the membership regardless of size or class. Mike and his wife Regina, and daughters Brooke and Caroline, live in Ford River. Colleagues, customers, and employees are invited to send their messages of congratulations and welcome to the general manager by visiting AlgerDelta.com.
April 12 is NATIONAL LINEWORKER APPRECIATION DAY Lineman Appreciation Day celebrates those men and women who put their lives at risk to keep the power flowing through our communities. So, during the month of April, if you see a lineworker, please pause to say thank you to the power behind your power. Let them know you appreciate the hard work they do to keep the lights on, regardless of the conditions. Thank you to Alger Delta’s operation employees—Tom Viitala, Brandon Benda, Todd Wilson, Jon Conger, Brandon Lind, Jason Ebbesen, Curt Knauf, John Dault, and Cody Warren—for all the work they do to keep upper Michigan’s lights on! You are all appreciated!
L to R: Tom Viitala, Brandon Benda, Todd Wilson, Jon Conger, Brandon Lind, Jason Ebbesen, Curt Knauf, John Dault, Cody Warren
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Eﬃcient Outdoor Lighting Tips For Better Security And Entertaining By James Dulley
ith energy-efficient LEDs and CFLs, it is much easier to light your house effectively without driving up your electric bills. Although these bulbs, especially LEDs, are initially somewhat more expensive, they last for tens of thousands of hours.
To plan lighting for both home security and when entertaining, it is generally best to plan for two separate lighting layouts. The intensity, location, and light color quality are different for optimal security and entertaining. For example, your security lighting layout must be larger and cover hidden areas that guests will never visit. Brighter, more intense lighting is better for entertaining than for security. High color
temperature LED bulbs or integral fixtures produce a whiter light. This is great for entertaining and makes colors look more like they do in daylight. These are often called “daylight” bulbs on the packaging or 4,000K or 5,000K bulbs. The higher the Kelvin rating of the bulb, the cooler and more blue the light emitted will appear. With a lower Kelvin, the light is warmer and more yellow. For security, a less bright light with a lower color temperature in the 2,700K range is best to use. If brighter security light is used, it causes a person’s pupils to get smaller from the glare. This makes it more difficult to see in unlit or very dimly lit areas where a crook may be hiding.
Entertainment Lighting Planning your lighting for entertaining is fairly simple, so do this first. You know where you and your guests will be and what activities will typically be going on. Lighting around your front door is the first area that every guest sees, and you want it to be as welcoming as possible. Bright, whiter light is ideal here. Select two fixtures from one-quarter to onethird the height of your front door so they don’t look too small or too large for the entrance area. The center of the bulb should be 66 to 72 inches above the floor. This also provides a nice appearance from the street. LED bulbs or integral LED light fixtures are the best choice for the front door. This is particularly true in colder climates. LEDs reach their full brightness almost instantly. CFLs take a few seconds to warm up and get bright when it’s cold.
If someone knocks on your door, you want full brightness as soon as you switch on the lights. For other fixtures where the lights are on for a while, CFLs are fine. For general entertaining where less bright lighting is adequate, consider using low-voltage landscaping fixtures around a deck or patio. These are very easy and safe to install yourself. This also provides the opportunity to change or add to the lighting pattern at any time in just a few minutes. It’s also good to install shielded light fixtures. These block the light from shining up into the sky. This light is wasted and contributes to light pollution. Light pollution is annoying to neighbors and a danger to birds and wildlife. Visit darksky.org for more information.
Security Lighting Security lighting planning takes more thought, and there are more lighting options. If a house and yard are illuminated properly, a thief will usually avoid it. To plan security lighting, switch on the indoor lights that you normally use. Take a walk around your house and look for locations that are not lighted. Pay particular attention to windows or doors that may be somewhat hidden by shrubs or other landscaping from view. These are important areas for efficient light fixtures. PAR38 LED floodlight bulbs are a good choice for specific areas like these. PAR38 bulbs come in a variety of beam angles to fit the area of coverage you need. The angles range from 10 degrees, which is narrow for smaller areas, to 50 degrees, which is a wide flood.
One of the most efficient and effective types of security light is a motionsensing fixture. The time that the light stays on is adjustable from 15 to 60 seconds, so little electricity is used. When the light comes on, a thief assumes he was seen and leaves. For more security, select a two-level model that keeps a dim light on until it brightens when motion is detected. Solar-powered LED motion-sensing models are the easiest to install yourself. Any floodlights should ideally be located nine feet above the ground to be most effective.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
We’ve Got You Covered armer weather is right around the corner, and along with it comes the humidity we know all too well. Humid air is the culprit for many indoor air pollutants found inside homes, like dust mites, mold, and spores that can lead to serious health issues. Excessive moisture in the air can also damage homes, causing the wood to rot or paint to peel.
Portable dehumidifiers are often undersized and run more than they should, resulting in added energy costs. In spring and summer, many homes need larger whole-home dehumidification solutions. ENERGY STAR® whole-home dehumidifiers are specifically designed to maintain the proper level of humidity in your entire home. They can save you energy, increase indoor comfort, and prevent mildew and bacterial growth, thereby increasing the quality of the air you breathe. Additional benefits of whole-home dehumidifiers include: • Prevents damp carpet, mold, and mildew. • Protects your home from damaging moisture. • Removes up to 16 gallons of water a day. • No water tray to empty.
Save on energy costs. A whole-home dehumidifier can also relieve the demands made on your air conditioner during hot, humid days. Drier air feels cooler, so you can turn your thermostat up a few degrees. The A/C doesn’t run as often, saving energy and cutting costs. Save even more with a $700 incentive when you install a new ENERGY STAR certified whole-home dehumidifier in your home. Check out additional savings available to you through the Energy Optimization program and select retailers by contacting michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319.
WE’VE GOT YO U C OV E R E D Install an ENERGY STAR® certified whole-home dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. n Eliminate unhealthy air n Increase air comfort n Protect from mold & mildew
ON QUALIFYING MODELS Online: michigan-energy.org
Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.
Wild Animals 1. Eagle takes flight over a frosty tree! Archie Bazinet 2. Newborn fawns in Isabella. Daren Landis 3. Dinner at sunset. George Nazarko 4. Our little friend. Kathryn Brady 5. A robin warming up in the spring sunshine. Jeri Nyberg
Submit a photo & win a
energy bill credit!
Submit Your Photos & Win A Bill Credit! Alger Delta members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 credit on their December 2021 energy bills!
Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines: Mom & Me, due March 20 (May/June issue) Show Your American Pride, due June 20 (July/Aug. issue) To submit photos, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos!
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
SOUPS Simmer up with one of these comforting recipes.
CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP Lisa Weiss, Thumb Electric
1 1 ½ 2 ½ 3–4 8 ¼ ¼ 1 1 2 1
energy bill credit!
10 MARCH 2021
Fruity Desserts due April 1 • Whole Grains due May 1 • Fish & Seafood due July 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 recipes at micoopkitchen.com or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
tablespoon avocado or olive oil celery stalk, chopped white onion, diced teaspoons minced garlic cup shredded carrots chicken breasts, cooked and diced cups chicken broth teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper teaspoon dried thyme (32-ounce) package potato gnocchi cups half & half cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery, onion, garlic, and carrots and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chicken, chicken broth, salt, pepper, thyme, and gnocchi; bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in half & half and spinach and cook for another 1–2 minutes, until spinach is tender. Taste, add additional salt and pepper if needed, and serve. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
BEST BACON, POTATO AND CABBAGE SOUP EVER
Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 2 2 7½ 2¹⁄ ³ 3 1
tablespoons olive oil cup chopped bacon onions, chopped garlic cloves, ﬁnely chopped cups vegetable stock cups diced potatoes cups shredded cabbage teaspoon Worcestershire or Tabasco sauce 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 teaspoons parsley, ﬁnely chopped • salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add bacon, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 5–7 minutes until bacon is crisp and onions are browned. Pour in vegetable stock. Add potatoes, cabbage, Worcestershire/Tabasco and mustard. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer 2½ cups of the soup to food processor or blender. Process brieﬂy to a coarse puree and return to pan. Stir well and return soup to heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 5–10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper.
BELLY FRIENDLY CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATO SOUP Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications
Maryann Selders, HomeWorks Tri-County 2 tablespoons olive oil 1–2 pounds meaty pork ribs, loin, or chops 1 large onion, chopped 5–6 small to medium fresh beets, peeled and cubed 2 (1-pound) cans diced beets 1 (1-pound) can plain sauerkraut, drained and rinsed in cold water ½ small head cabbage, thinly sliced 2 bay leaves • several sprigs of fresh dill • salt and pepper, to taste 1 cup half & half • sour cream
Heat oil in large Dutch oven or stockpot. Place pork and onions in pot and cook over medium-low heat a few minutes, until meat is browned and onions are translucent. Add fresh beets, canned beets (including juices), sauerkraut, cabbage, and bay leaves. Add enough water just to cover all ingredients. Bring to boil. As foam forms on top of broth, skim off and discard. When this is complete, add a few of the sprigs of fresh dill, and salt and black pepper to taste. Reduce heat to very low OR place in a slow cooker and simmer for 2–3 hours, covered. Remove meat from pot; discard any bones and excess fat. Shred meat with fork; return to pot. Put 1½ cups of broth in a medium bowl and slowly add half & half to it. Stir and then slowly add back into main pot of soup. If done too fast, the milk will curdle. It is still okay to eat but just does not look as pretty. Serve with sour cream and remaining fresh dill to garnish.
4 cups chicken bone broth ½ cup nondairy milk (almond, coconut, etc.), divided 2 cooked chicken breasts, ﬁnely chopped 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (2 cups) 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks (2 cups) 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 teaspoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons turmeric • freshly ground black pepper, to taste Combine bone broth and half of the nondairy milk in a large saucepan. Stir in the cooked chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, ginger, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35–40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened. Blend to smooth using a blender or immersion/ hand blender. Or keep as-is for a chunkier soup. Finally, add the remaining half of the dairy-free milk to the mixture and stir through to make it extra creamy. Serve immediately. Add black pepper if desired.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Your Board In Action October
role and assignment as a management consultant contractor while retaining his board position, but he’ll receive no director stipends for the period in which the consulting contract is in force. This action was supported by Director Netzel. Motion carried.
• Approved incentivizing the Country Lines magazine photo contest with $200 (four $50 bill credits) annually. • Reviewed letter of introduction to Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA). MAMA is exploring the Granot Loma property in Marquette County, Michigan, as a site for a potential spaceport. The goal of the letter was to introduce Alger Delta as the electric provider and open the lines of communication. • Reviewed the 2021 budget to approve it at the November meeting.
November • Addressed board vacancies in Districts 4 and 8. For District 8, it was decided that applications would be due the Wednesday before the January board meeting, and interviews will be held the day of the meeting. Based on the emergency language of our by-laws in Section 9 and given the expediency of business needs in 2020 (reference the list of critical business issues and initiatives), which are exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, Director Bruno moved that the board rescind the resignation from the ADCEA board that was previously accepted from then president of the board, Dave Prestin. Additionally, the board shall amend and restate his liaison consulting contract to recognize his
• Approved 2021 budget. • Approved Survey and Ballot System’s proposal to conduct director elections in 2021 for any contested districts. • Reviewed quote for 2021 for participant audit. • Granted the executive committee permission to conduct a search for a finance manager and charging consultant. Board member Prestin to facilitate said search.
December • Took action to increase the CoBank line of credit by $2 million. • Approved COVID response plan. The plan is based on the MIOSHA plan, adapted to Alger Delta, and reviewed by the public health department. • Resolved that the whole board will conduct the hiring of the new finance manager. • District 8 tabled due to workflow conflict. • Project Chocolay is 95% complete, with the overhead line build estimated to be completed at the end of January.
Statement Of Nondiscrimination In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; 2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or 3. email: email@example.com. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
12 MARCH 2021
New Windows For The Isabella Community Hall n Dec. 1, 2020, the historic Isabella Community Hall received an early Christmas present. Thanks to the Alger Delta Electric Cooperative-WPPI Energy Community Relations program, brand new energy-efficient windows were installed in the 108-yearold hall by Budget Windows of Marquette. According to hall treasurer Gloria Herod, “We could not have done this project for at least three years if we did not have the generous money from Alger Delta and WPPI. The new windows will make such a difference in the energy efficiency of the building and help us to keep costs down.”
Brett Niemi, senior energy services representative at WPPI Energy, was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. “The Community Hall is a significant and integral component of Isabella Township, providing a gathering place for residents in a rural location,” said Niemi. “WPPI is pleased to be able to contribute to the community’s efforts to preserve and maintain this important building.”
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
Captain BJ Massey pilots the Laura Ann back to the dock after lifting nets.
hen zebra mussels or other foreign aquatic invaders find their way into the Great Lakes, the outlook can appear dire. But nature has a way of adapting and even growing. While an entire energy source can diminish and appear to threaten the survival of the fish that feed on it, miraculously, another energy source can present itself, like clouds of gnats whose larvae provided a new food option for local whitefish or menominee. It’s the power of nature and the truth that adaptability is perhaps life’s greatest form of survival. Commercial fishermen like Jamie and BJ Massey of Massey Fish Co. in St. Ignace, Michigan, have spent their careers watching these sorts of natural phenomena unfold and have taken a cue on the power of flexibility in their own lives. The father and son, representing the fifth and sixth generations of commercial fishermen in their family, understand that you have to understand your surroundings and adapt in order to grow. “My great-great-great-grandfather, Charlie Massey, came to the area with the Hudson’s Bay Fur Company,” said Jamie Massey, president of Massey Fish Co. “He went on to become a logger, then a commercial fisherman. Six generations later, our family is still in the business, even though it looks completely different.”
With Massey Fish Co. By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Massey Fish Co.
Charlie Massey likely couldn’t have imagined the massive boats and equipment his family would eventually use in the 21st century. Jamie and BJ both hold their commercial fishing licenses and have turned the small family fishing operation into a thriving business that sells its products not only all over the state, but around the country, as well as internationally. Over the last ten years, the two Masseys currently at the helm have made significant upgrades and improvements to their infrastructure, including blast and storage freezers with electric upgrades made possible by Cloverland Electric Cooperative. “There’s no set handbook on how to grow your business,” said BJ. “You have to be quick to think and then react to the circumstances. This is something we learned on the water; you have to be agile.”
One of the key components to the company’s growth, with an approximately 25% increase in the last year, is the commitment to not only fishing the Great Lakes, but investing in the processing of its catch, including its famed smoked fish. “As a company, we could choose to catch and sell our fish, which would allow our families to make a living,” said BJ. “But by processing and packaging it here, we’re creating at least 20 more livelihoods and having a real impact on our community. It’s a big responsibility, but one we’re willing to take on.” Massey Fish Co. makes over 100 products with the fish it catches and purchases each season, which in some years has been as much as 1.5 million pounds. Its reach continues to grow as it dips into off-season fishing (November–May)— braving the harsh conditions and below zero temps. It is continually looking for market growth, and about a decade ago, found a surprising niche with farmers markets in the state. What started as testing the waters with a couple of coolers at one outdoor market has grown into its product being available at 33 farmers markets, including the largest in the state, as consumers have a sincere interest in locallysourced and quality fish as a protein source. “We sell what’s fresh and plentiful. And we only sell what we’d be willing to eat,” said BJ. “And I can tell you this— we’re picky.” Their pickiness has paid off. However, their love of the outdoors and their respect for nature could be the true keys to Massey Fish Co.’s success. It doesn’t hurt that the father and son love what they do.
Don Massey (Jamie’s and BJ’s father) winches up a trap net.
“I tell people, honestly, for me, fishing is like Christmas morning every day. It’s never been a job,” said Jamie. “I’ve always loved and respected nature, and when you are enthusiastic about what’s in front of you, there’s a ton of excitement. I think it’s important for everyone to find those things that spark excitement in them. Those passions can last a lifetime.”
1442 West Rd., St. Ignace, MI 49781 906-984-2148
L–R: The crew pulls nets under the ice on Lake Huron.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
LOVE OF BOOKS By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos by Stephanie N. Baker
cLean & Eakin is the epitome of what it means to be an independent bookstore, with its bespoke selections, heartfelt customer service, and lovinglycurated reading recommendations. However, owners Matt and Jessilynn Norcross will be the first to tell you that being “independent” isn’t about going it alone.
The store began in the care of Matt’s mother, Julie Norcross, who started the bookstore in 1992 and named it after her two grandmothers’ maiden names. The store had been a dream for Julie since she was young. Her father owned and operated a men’s fashion store in Florida and eventually followed customers north and opened another store just a few doors down from where McLean & Eakin stands today. “Mom would take us on walks around town,” recalls Matt. “We’d peek into windows of abandoned storefronts, and you could see her waiting for just the right space to open up so she could open her bookstore.” Matt worked at the family bookshop through high school and eventually returned to Petoskey in 2003 while in between jobs and started back at the family store. He found a place to reflect, as well, stumbling across his future wife, Jessilynn, who also was working in the shop. In 2009, Matt and Jessilynn married and joined their futures to McLean & Eakin, as they took over the store’s ownership. “We both love reading,” said Jessilynn. “But when you begin running a business, you realize there’s so much more to bookselling than the magic inside of the pages.” The Norcrosses quickly immersed themselves in the responsibilities that come with owning a quaint bookshop. “There are a million decisions we’ve made. Some good, some bad,” admits Matt. “But what we have always nailed 16 MARCH 2021
is having a team of booksellers working here who are amazing, brilliant, and committed. This is what has kept us successful, for sure.” Even with COVID-19 and the competition of big-box bookstores and online outlets offering steep discounts, McLean & Eakin has managed to not only stay in business, but thrive. It has expanded to offer digital audiobooks and e-books and established an online store to accommodate those who are unable to get out to the store or some of their committed patrons who may not be in the area year-round. “We’re involved in our community,” said Jessilynn. “Amazon is never going to be at the school board meeting next to us. You can’t replicate the conversations we have with people in the community or on the shop floor.” Books truly are magic, and never more so than when one person hands another a book after talking with them and saying, “I really think you’ll love this.” Ultimately, that’s the beauty of bookstores like McLean & Eakin—they may be independent, but still, they know that the heart of their business is a deep connection to their beautiful community. You can currently get bookseller assistance via McLean & Eakin’s front door vestibule or by phone from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Saturday, at 231-347-1180. You may also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact them via social media on Facebook or Instagram.
Four Ways To Save Energy
In The Kitchen
Ah, the kitchen. It’s undeniably one of the most-loved rooms in our homes. It’s where we gather with family and friends for our favorite meals and memories. But like most of us, you probably aren’t thinking about saving energy when you’re planning that perfect dish. Here are four ways you can save energy in the kitchen with minimal effort.
When possible, cook with smaller appliances. Using smaller kitchen appliances, like slow cookers, toaster ovens, and convection ovens, is more energy-efficient than using your large stove or oven. According to the Department of Energy, a toaster or convection oven uses one-third to onehalf as much energy as a full-sized oven.
Unplug appliances that draw phantom energy load. Plugged-in appliances continue to draw energy even when they’re not in use. The Department of Energy has estimated that devices, small appliances and chargers left plugged in year-round can add up to $100– $200 in wasted energy costs. Unplug smaller appliances when they’re not in use, or better yet, use a power strip for convenient control.
Help large appliances work less. Keep range-top burners clean from spills and fallen foods so they’ll reflect heat better. When it’s time to put leftovers in the refrigerator, make sure the food is covered and allow it to cool down first. That way, the fridge doesn’t have to work harder to cool warm food.
Use your dishwasher efficiently. Only run full loads, and avoid using the “rinse hold” function on your machine for just a few dirty dishes; it uses 3–7 gallons of hot water for each use. You can also save energy by letting your dishes air dry. If your dishwasher doesn’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn it off after the final rinse and prop the door open so the dishes will dry faster. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
MI CO-OP Community Guest Column
There’s Magic In A Frog Pond
By Steve Begnoche, Great Lakes Energy member
wo ponds near our Upper Peninsula cottage along the shore of Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay are mere puddles compared to the big lake. But they are a world unto themselves that captivate our grandchildren.
One pond is on the beach near my siblings’ cottages. It’s the outlet of a ditch between Superior Drive and adjacent woody swamps. It leaks icy-cold, tannin-stained, root beercolored water into the bay. It’s been that way since my childhood, more than 60 years ago, when my siblings and I spent hours catching frogs there. It’s a favorite of my eldest granddaughter Kayleigh, who has heard grandpa’s tales of frog-hunting forays there. Kayleigh began heading to the pond when visiting us, declaring “it’s her turn” to catch frogs in it. It took practice, patience, and persistence, but eventually, she caught a frog. It’s debatable whether the frog or Kayleigh was more surprised. This past summer, our grandson Grayson, now 5, netted frogs in a neighbor’s pond. Grayson spent hours stalking the edges of the 8x16-foot man-made pond. Nearly choked with last year’s leaves, he raked it clean to have a better view of the frogs. Neighbor Renee was pleased with the maintenance. Grayson came equipped with a net, to which he added a stick for a longer handle. Every time he caught a frog, he’d run to anyone in sight or on the beach to show them his catch. Then he’d run back and release the frog into the pond. Grayson enjoys Lake Superior, the bay, the beach, and fishing. This past summer, he was the frog hunter. In a troubled world, kids find joy in ways kids always have— riveted to catching memories in the little ponds of life.
energy bill credit!
Steve Begnoche is a writer and landscape and nature photographer who spent nearly 40 years in community newspapering, including 30 years at the Ludington Daily News. He comes by his love for the Upper Peninsula from his parents, who bought a lot on Whitefish Bay in the 1950s. The family included seven children and vacationed there every summer. He and his wife Brenda, their three children, and five grandchildren carry on that tradition with a place of their own. Five siblings also have places along the bay shared with their families.
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published! Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.
Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by February 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. January 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Steve Pelli, an Ontonagon County REA member, who correctly identified the photo as the Cooley Bridge, which was built in 1934 and is one of Michigan’s rarest bridge types. Photo by Karen Farrell. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/ December.
What’s hybrid heating & cooling? Well-Connect is a water-source heat pump designed to operate simultaneously with an existing furnace. Well-Connect does not replace your current heating system — it works alongside it. In the same way a hybrid vehicle greatly reduces the need for gas, doubling the fuel spend on propane or fuel oil. It also eliminates the need to burn wood.
What’s the bottom line? Well-Connect collectively saves Michigan homeowners more than $1 million in heating and cooling costs every year. For rural homeowners, heating with a Well-Connect can be compared to locking in a propane price of $1 per gallon for the next two decades, and that includes the cost of an installed Well-Connect system.
Tell me about installation. In most cases, installing a Well-Connect only takes six to eight hours in homes with three-in-one geothermal system — heating, cooling and summertime dehumidification — is low maintenance and operates with a push of a button.
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My house is much more comfortable! “Areas of my home were cold & drafty in the winter, hot & humid all summer, and I was tired of maintaining my wood stove. A Well-Connect geothermal system was installed in a day, right next to my propane furnace. Now my home is so much more comfortable. No more drafts or cold rooms in my house. I no longer use a space heater, and I burn wood only when I want.” - Rev. Charles S., PIE&G Member
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Lineworkers know how to get the job done. Let’s thank them for powering our lives.
Lineworker Appreciation Day April 12, 2021 #ThankALineworker