MEC March 2021

Page 1

March 2021

MICHIGAN

COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

Tackling Commercial

Fishing With Massey Fish Co.

Sign Up For Account Notifications

Get Work Zone Safety Tips Make Your Kitchen More Efficient


WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2022 1

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!

FREE

UP TO

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$

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&

WITH REGISTRATION2

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THROUGH 2022

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

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Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

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

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

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

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

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

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.


Contents countrylines.com

March 2021 Vol. 41, No. 3

/michigancountrylines

/michigancountrylines

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 editor@countrylines.com 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.

#micoopcommunity

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 countrylines.com/community

MI CO-OP KITCHEN

BEST OF MICHIGAN

GUEST COLUMN

MYSTERY PHOTO

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

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VAN BUREN KALAMAZOO

CASS

LENAWEE

MONROE

Building For Growth

ST JOSEPH

Robert Hance, President/CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erika Escue-Cadieux, Onsted 419-346-1088 erika.escue-cadieux@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com

PRESIDENT/CEO: Robert Hance

VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR: Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST: Amy Pales

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

4 MARCH 2021

I

’ve spent my entire 45-year career in the electric cooperative industry and in all that time have never experienced the kind of dynamic growth going on here at MEC.

When I started here as CEO in 2002, we had 78 full-time employees and operating revenues of $36 million. Our net utility plant was valued at $72.6 million, we had 34,738 electric services in place, and we sold 470,852,901 kWh. Fast-forward to our 2019 year-end results, and we had 105 full-time employees and operating revenues of $87.9 million. Our net utility plant was valued at $212.8 million, we had 40,338 electric services in place, and we sold 605,236,640 kWh. And that’s just the electric distribution side of our business. Since launching our fiber telecommunications line of business in 2015, we have grown to over 15,000 subscribers. We also provide propane service to nearly 7,000 customers. Our chief financial officer likes to remind us that we’re a big deal, and he’s right. With strategic leadership from our board, strong commitment from our family of employees, and most importantly, our customers’ trust and patronage, we have grown this cooperative and our lines of service in ways I never imagined. And that growth will only continue with the planned expansion of our smart grid fiber-tothe-home project and other exciting fiber growth that will significantly change the rural landscape of southern Michigan over the next five years. We opened a new headquarters facility in 2017 to accommodate the growth in our southwest Michigan territory and are now planning a new facility in our southeast territory. Our existing building in Adrian requires significant work to accommodate planned staff growth and updates to our server room, electrical service, ADA compliance, security, and parking. It’s also not within our service area or even central to the majority of our customers, and the surrounding neighborhood presents safety and security challenges for our employees and customers. We recently purchased about 10 acres of land on Occidental Highway near the Raisin Township Hall just south of Tecumseh and plan to break ground early in the spring, with hopes of moving in the spring of 2022. The new building includes 6,500 square feet of office space and 32,000 square feet of warehouse/ parking space. It will be physically accessible with a drive-through window, and it will have a safe and secure server room to accommodate our technology needs. Building a new facility allows us to plan for both current and future customer, employee, and operational needs, and house all employees and lines of business under one roof. The location is more central to our overall customer base in southeast Michigan and gives us a presence to build and expand our brand in potential new service areas to the north and west. When you’re a big deal and experiencing the dynamic growth that we are, you must invest in the physical and human resources to support it. And I promise you these investments will significantly change rural life and living in southern Michigan.


BE PREPARED Our region can produce some extreme weather conditions, regardless of the season. Be prepared with these tips.

Items To Have On Hand • Water: At least one gallon per person, per day, plus some for pets • Food: Nonperishable, especially items that don’t require cooking, along with a hand-operated can opener • Lighting: Flashlights, candles and matches

• Telephone: Cordless phones won’t work during an outage, so have a corded phone available. • Communications: Have your mobile devices fully charged if outages are imminent so you can stay in the know. A batterypowered radio is also helpful.

• Medical: First-aid kit ready with any needed medical supplies, and filled prescriptions

• Personal sanitation: Moist wipes, hand sanitizer and garbage bags • Tools: Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities • Batteries

• Battery-powered or wind-up clock • Extra blankets

During A Power Outage • Stay away from downed power lines and warn others to do the same. Call us immediately to report downed power lines. • Don’t touch a person or object in contact with a power line; the electric current could flow through you. • Stay inside your car if it comes in contact with a power line.

• Turn off all appliances during an outage to avoid a circuit overload when power is restored. Leave on one lamp to know when power is restored. • Never leave burning candles unattended.

• Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully-loaded freezer and about 24 hours in a partially-filled freezer.

Outage Reporting At Your Fingertips When you’re in the dark and trying to report your power outage, there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in a crowded phone queue waiting for the next available rep. We offer easy and convenient ways to report your outage. SmartHub: SmartHub, our secure online portal and mobile app, is the quickest and easiest way to report your outage. Sign up for SmartHub at teammidwest.com or download the app from your app store. Telephone: Our telephone system is equipped with an automatic outagereporting system; dial 800-492-5989 and follow the prompts. We must have a current telephone number for your account. Please update your account information using SmartHub or by calling our office. We have limited incoming telephone lines. If you call and receive a fast busy signal, please use one of the alternate methods, or hang up and try again. Please do not use email or social media to report your outage; these platforms are not staffed 24/7.

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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.

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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

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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 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.

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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.

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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

$700 REBATE

ON QUALIFYING MODELS Online: michigan-energy.org

Phone: 877.296.4319

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


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

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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.

WINNING RECIPE!

CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP Lisa Weiss, Thumb Electric

1 1 ½ 2 ½ 3–4 8 ¼ ¼ 1 1 2 1

Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

10 MARCH 2021

RECIPE CONTEST

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 recipes@countrylines.com.

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

UKRAINIAN BORSCHT

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.

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YOUR ACCOUNT IN YOUR HANDS ACCOUNT NOTIFICATIONS Get important updates about your account automatically delivered to your phone or inbox. Would you like a reminder that your bill is due or that an auto-payment didn’t process? How about getting a text when there is a planned outage for your electric or internet service? Would you like to know when your household has surpassed a power usage threshold that you set or when it’s time to submit your propane meter reading? Get these notifications and more through SmartHub. It’s free and easy to sign up.

1. Log into SmartHub

and go to Notifications>Manage Contacts. Then enroll your desired phone numbers and email addresses.

2. Go to

Notifications>Manage Notifications and select each notification you’d like to receive via text, email or both.

Please note: If you have multiple accounts, you will need to set up notifications for each specific account.

Here are some of the types of notifications to choose from: Billing Notifications Available • • • • • • • •

Bill Available Bill Adjustment or Change Credit Card Expiration Delinquent Notice Payment Confirmation Payment Reminder Scheduled Payment Unsuccessful Payment

Miscellaneous Notifications Available

• Auto-Pay Changes • Login Credentials or Personal Info Change Confirmation

On-Demand Notifications Available • Declined Credit Cards • Irrigation Control • Propane Meter Reading

Service Notifications Available • • • •

New Service Requested Planned Power Outage Fiber/Phone Planned Outage/Maintenance Power Outage, Outage Update and Outage Restored (Available in Most Major Storm Events) • Service Order Complete

Usage

• Power Usage Alert

12 MARCH 2021


CHANGE OR ADD A SERVICE Easily update your service or add a new feature through SmartHub. Would you like to sign up for internet or propane? Do you want to change your internet speed or add advanced CommandIQ features to your managed Wi-Fi? Head to My Services in SmartHub to make changes to your account without needing to call us.

1. Log into

SmartHub and go to My Services and click on Modify/ Add Services. Select the plan or service you’d like to change.

2. Under Service

Options, select the plan or service that you’d like to add or update, and follow the prompts.

3. To add/update

Managed Wi-Fi or CommandIQ features, make selections under Select Your Internet Options and continue through the prompts.

Your services will be updated by the end of the next business day. Please note: Screenshots are examples only; your options may look slightly different depending on your services.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13


Captain BJ Massey pilots the Laura Ann back to the dock after lifting nets.

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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

Masseyfish.com

L–R: The crew pulls nets under the ice on Lake Huron.

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Practice Work Zone Safety W

hen your power is out, our line crews are hard at work on restoration. Help keep our crews, and you, safe by following these tips around utility work zones:

• SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER. According to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, a person has a 50% chance of suffering severe injuries when struck by a vehicle going just 31 mph. Please slow your speed when passing our work zones and move over when possible. • DO NOT DISTURB. If you see our linemen working, please leave them alone to do their jobs. Stopping them to ask questions delays restoration and could put the crew and you in danger. For updates on the status of an outage, please call us at 800-492-5989. • RESPECT ROAD CLOSURES. Sometimes safe restoration work requires that we close a portion of a road. When you see road closure signs, please find an alternate route. Bypassing these signs is extremely dangerous. Additionally, always avoid downed lines. Assume any line you see is energized and stay 50 feet away. Don’t drive over any lines, and please call us at 800-492-5989 to report the location.

UTILITY POLES ARE NOT BULLETIN BOARDS Think before you post that sign! Staples, nails and tacks used to hang signs and fliers create dangerous obstacles for electric lineworkers. Their jobs are dangerous enough – help us keep them safe!


Call 8-1-1 Anytime You Dig id you know that accidentally damaging an underground utility line while digging on your property can put your life—and the lives of others—at risk? Not only that, but you can also incur significant charges if we must repair damage caused to our facilities.

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Therefore, we urge you to call 8-1-1 at least four business days before starting work. A line locator will visit your property to mark public underground lines for free. Examples of projects that require a call are planting trees or shrubs; adding a new garden, landscaping, or fountain; installing a deck, patio, swing set, sign, pool, or mailbox post; staking a tent; and building a structure or addition on your home. In fact, anytime you or a contractor plans to dig, give 8-1-1 a call.

Neglecting to call 8-1-1 and damaging one of our underground lines can result in paying significant fees for repairs.

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: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 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.

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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

$50

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.

Schedule a FREE home estimate today

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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