Cherryland March 2021

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March 2021


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

Tackling Commercial

Fishing With Massey Fish Co.

Avoid Home Solar Buyer’s Remorse

Meet Northern Michigan’s First Orthodox Church Gadgets To Electrify Your Kitchen


Clean Start Rebate For a limited time, you can save up to $1,250 on clean energy geothermal heat pumps

Switch to geothermal and get a clean start to the year! This year everyone deserves a clean start! Switching to geothermal is the perfect decision to help your house be as comfortable and environmentally friendly as possible for years to come. The WaterFurnace Clean Start Rebate Program makes switching to geothermal an even smarter decision. For a limited time, you can save up to $1,250 and receive a free Amazon Echo Dot with the purchase of our most efficient, comfortable, and technologically advanced 7 and 5 Series geothermal heat pumps and accessories. But hurry, this deal ends April 30th, 2021, so contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today!





Amazon Echo Dot






26% Tax Credit


Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Caro Kozy Home Htg & Clg (989) 673-4328

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 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 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.


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)

Be featured!

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

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit





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!

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See page 18



CO-OP NEWS /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Tom Van Pelt, President 231-386-5234

David Schweitzer, Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 Gabe Schneider, Secretary 517-449-6453 Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 John Olson, Director 231-938-1228

Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Cherryland Cares Grant Applications Due In March Area nonprofit agencies seeking financial help can apply for a grant through Cherryland Cares. The deadline for first-quarter applications is Friday, March 5. The next quarterly meeting of Cherryland Cares is Monday, March 15. If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email

Serve On Cherryland’s Board Any qualified Cherryland member can be elected to serve a three-year term on the cooperative’s board of directors. Two directors will be elected at this year’s Annual Meeting, including one at-large director and one Grand Traverse/Kalkaska director. To be nominated in 2021, candidates can file a petition with the cooperative’s administrative assistant starting the first day of March until 4 p.m. on March’s last business day. If a member is interested in running, a board candidate interest form is available on our website. For more information regarding board nominations and the election process, review Article III of the co-op’s bylaws on our website.

Cherryland Offers Five Scholarships Cherryland offers five scholarships—three worth $4,000 ($1,000 for four years) for high school seniors and two for $1,000 each for adult scholarships (post-high school). Applications for both scholarships are available on our website or by contacting Cherryland’s office at 231-486-9200. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 2.

Cherryland Announces Date Of 83rd Annual Meeting Cherryland’s 83rd Annual Meeting will take place Thursday, June 10. The Annual Meeting’s planned location is Incredible Mo’s in Grawn, if allowable under social distancing rules at that time. Cherryland will provide updates regarding the 83rd Annual Meeting in Michigan Country Lines, on its website and through social media.

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Help Us Help You Tony Anderson, General Manager


f you are installing solar on your home or in your yard this spring, Cherryland needs your help to avoid a problem this fall. Every year, we see members giddy with excitement about saving the earth, reducing energy bills, or both. Every year, we see these members upset that their solar arrays didn’t produce as promised and the savings are not close to making the payments on the investment. This is when the member gets upset at Cherryland even though we neither sell the product nor did they seek our opinion. We are just the only one they can find who will listen to their complaints. When a member deals with a local installer with a history and reputation in the solar business, the member never gets upset with Cherryland. Sadly, we have out-of-thearea companies and installers who make the rounds every spring. They promise the moon and stars, while covering their backsides inside the 30-some-page documents that the excited member barely reads, in a rush to some vision of perceived neighborhood green leadership. So, if you find yourself holding a contract with a salesperson working hard for your signature, there are a few things we need from you to avoid the uncomfortable call this fall. First, double-check the cost and savings numbers. Ask another installer or call Cherryland before signing. You can also plug in the specs at and do it yourself. Second, ask if they are using Cherryland’s actual rates and your actual usage. Our kWh rate is 11.92 cents, and your usage is on the SmartHub app on your phone or available through a quick call to the office. Don’t let them tell you the 11.92 cents applies to the energy you put on the grid, because it doesn’t. It only applies to the energy saved

inside your home. The energy you put on the grid is less than half of the 11.92 cents (the reason for this could make up a whole other column). Third, make sure they will point the panels to the south. If you have a roof that faces the west with no obstructions, it may seem like an easy thing to toss some panels up there. If you do, the output per panel will be at least 14% less than that of south-facing panels. This will have a dramatic effect on your results. Fourth, if the installer/salesperson/contractor doesn’t have a local address, good references, and a service center within 50 or 100 miles, please think twice. Our region has many reputable solar dealers and installers who are trusted and respected. If you purchase from a company outside our region and sometimes even our state, please take no offense when I refer back to this column during our October call. We can’t help you in the fall if you don’t let us help you in the spring. Finally (I’m begging now), get multiple bids. A solar array will likely be thousands of dollars and tens of thousands in some cases. Do. Your. Homework. We are fortunate to live in a region where this is very easy to do. The hard part is asking your co-op to fix your decision months after the fact. We just can’t. Last year, Cherryland kept the lights on 99.987% of the time. Today, we have a power supply portfolio that is over 60% carbon free. Every member at Cherryland is already a green leader using a reliable source. You could just send the fly-by-night solar salesperson down the road, knowing you are already saving money and the environment (without talking to me in the fall).



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


MARCH 2021

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 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.




Vision On A Hill By Abby Baudry

ollowing US-31 east out of Traverse City, it is impossible to miss the shining new structure of the Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church overlooking Grand Traverse Bay’s waters. With its radiant copper dome and sunny exterior, the building is a tangible embodiment of its members’ faith and resolution. It was through the generosity of the local community, the determination of the congregation, and perhaps, some divine intervention that this beautiful new church was raised. As the first Orthodox Church in northern Michigan, Archangel Gabriel’s congregation began as a ragtag group of worshippers who gathered at various locations around the state. At times, members would even drive three hours to the nearest Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, until plans to establish their own mission began in 1999. Over the years, the church grew from a fledgling mission into a flourishing parish that has been based on community and stewardship from the very beginning. In fact, before plans were even considered for a new building, the church founded Angels Organic Community Garden to provide food to those in need. Today, the community garden donates thousands of pounds of produce to the Goodwill Inn of Traverse City and ACTS every year. Upon construction, the parish priest, Father Ciprian Steza, had three requirements. The property had to be accessible, visible, and

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inspirational. Situated on the main thoroughfare between Traverse City and Petoskey, the church is conveniently located for worshippers across the area to gather. Moreover, the unbeatable view of Grand Traverse Bay inspires a particular appreciation for the beauty of the surrounding environment. “It is a beautiful place to tell God’s love story for us. Manifested in the environment. Manifested in the rich theology. Manifested in the worship,” says Father Ciprian. In fact, the property seems to be divinely ordained for the church. Several weeks before groundbreaking, Father Ciprian prayed for the intercession of the Virgin Mary to bless the project during the Feast of the Dormition of Mary. Shortly after, a friend of Father Ciprian’s discovered a small pendant depicting the Virgin Mary, Christ, and Saint Joseph while metal detecting on the property. Curiously, the land had only been used for cherry orchards since the 1940s. It was in this spot that the Holy Altar was erected. Blending concepts of traditional architecture with the advances of modern technology, the building itself embodies many of the fundamental values of Orthodox Christianity. Reverence for the church is at the heart of

its design and is evident in its cross-shaped architecture. Moreover, the remarkable dome adorning the roof draws the glory of heaven above together with the worship of the community below. On a technical level, the church was carefully designed to minimize its environmental impact. After all, the Orthodox Church has a deep theology of creation and stewardship that calls for preserving the earth. Every decision, from building materials to energy consumption, was based on sustainability. The church is even working with a beekeeper to cultivate a thriving local ecosystem. While still a work in progress, Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church has bright plans for its future. As soon as possible, it will commission artists from Europe to complete the church’s iconography. It also hopes to produce its own energy with solar panels, and plans for a community center are already underway. “We have such a good location and platform to tell a story,” says Father Ciprian. “We’re here. We’re growing. It’s very exciting.”

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

Win a


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 or email to

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


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.



A Field Guide to Overhead Power Lines High-voltage transmission lines are used to deliver electricity from generation plants to consumers.

HIGH-VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINES Large amounts of power, measured by watts, are delivered by transmission lines. These lines are energized with very high voltage in order to move the power long distances with minimal losses. Insulators on the towers prevent the power from flowing to the towers or the ground. Electric cooperatives own and maintain 65,000 miles (6%) of the nation’s transmission lines.

SUBSTATIONS AND SUB-TRANSMISSION LINES Transformers at transmission substations reduce the voltage from transmission levels to sub-transmission levels, typically ranging from 115,000 volts to 34,500 volts. Sub-transmission lines deliver power over shorter distances to distribution substations and large industrial sites. At distribution substations and large industrial sites, transformers reduce the voltage to a lower level, typically 7,200 volts or 14,400 volts.

DISTRIBUTION LINES The lines typically seen along rural roads and next to homes are generally single-phase distribution lines, energized at 7,200 or 14,400 volts. Transformers on the utility poles lower the voltage to between 120 and 480 volts to serve residential homes and small businesses. Electric cooperatives own and maintain 2.6 million miles (42%) of the nation’s distribution lines.

Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

12 MARCH 2021

Three Electrifying Kitchen Appliances To Save Time And Energy By Abby Berry  ||  Photos courtesy of Hamilton Beach

Whether your oven and stovetop are powered by gas or electricity, it’s no secret that they consume more energy than smaller countertop appliances like slow cookers and toaster ovens. In addition to efficiency, smaller kitchen appliances can provide faster cooking times and less hassle with the cleanup. If you’re looking for convenient cooking methods with the bonus of energy efficiency, here are three electrifying appliances for your kitchen:

Air Fryers Air fryers circulate hot air (a method known as convection) to cook the food. This means little to no oil is required, resulting in healthier meals than those from traditional fryers.

Electric Griddles Electric griddles consume small amounts of energy and provide quick cooking times, so your energy bill will thank you.

Pizza Maker Pizza makers are compact and inexpensive, and they use less energy than your traditional oven.

Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular, and consumers have many good things to say about these handy little appliances. Air fryers use convection to circulate hot air and cook the food—this means little to no oil is required, resulting in healthier meals than those from traditional fryers. Air fryers are fairly small so that they won’t take up much of your counter space, and with everything cooked in the fryer, cleanup will be a breeze. Air fryers are available in various sizes, and prices range from $40 to over $200.

Electric griddles have certainly been around for a while, and they offer several benefits for any home chef (beyond bacon and eggs!). Griddles are convenient because you can cook everything at once—like a “one-pan” meal, the possibilities are endless. From fajitas to sandwiches to French toast, griddles can help satisfy any taste buds. They consume small amounts of energy and provide quick cooking times, so your energy bill will thank you. Prices and sizes for griddles vary, but you can typically find one for about $30 at your local retail stores.

Pizza brings people together, so why not consider a pizza maker for your kitchen? These compact countertop machines are an inexpensive alternative to a costly brick oven, and they use less energy than your traditional oven. Choose your own fresh ingredients to whip up a faster, healthier pizza at home. Plus, most pizza makers are multifunctional and can be used to cook flatbreads, frittatas, quesadillas, and more. You can purchase a pizza maker for about $30 to $150+ online or at your local retailer.

These are just a few electrifying appliance options for your kitchen. Remember, when you’re cooking a smaller meal, countertop appliances can save time and energy. To learn about additional ways to save energy at home, visit 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.”

Tackling Commercial

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.




Wild Animals 1. “Sandhill crane flying past” by Andy Marek  2. “Brown bear, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska” by Michell Clishe  3. “Silver fox near boat launch on M-22 at Hilltop Road” by Cathy McKinley  4. “Eight-year-old son photographs swan” by Ann DeVogel  5. “Florida Key deer” by Chad Johnston

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Submit Your “Mom & Me” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our March theme is Mom & Me. Photos can be submitted through March 20 to be featured in our May issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit or visit cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill. 16 MARCH 2021


Your Board In Action January Board Meeting • The co-op’s marketing and communications specialist gave a presentation on recommended adjustments to the board candidate nomination process in 2021. In addition to the traditional nomination process, board candidates will also have a digital option to mitigate the risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. • The board reflected on the content presented during Cherryland’s allemployee virtual training day. Every January, co-op employees spend a day receiving updates on co-op business, engaging in safety training, performing team-building exercises, and more. This year’s training included presentations on effective communication and recognizing and understanding implicit biases.

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:// and 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: This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

CONTROL YOUR ENERGY USAGE You’ve been a Cherryland member for a while now. You’ve turned on a few lights, paid a bill or two, and hopefully signed up for a SmartHub account. But have you explored SmartHub’s energy use tools yet? SmartHub provides several tools for you to analyze your past and current usage, as well as plan and conserve in the future. Compare your use and costs, set markers to monitor changes in your usage over periods of time, and get energy-saving tips.

Take control of your energy usage today! Sign in to SmartHub or visit our website to learn more.

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.

Win a


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 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 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.

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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.

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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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Want to run for a seat on the Cherryland Board of Directors? The nominating period for board candidates begins March 1 and ends at 4 p.m. on March 31.

Visit to learn more!

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