May 2019 May

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May 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

UP IN THE AIR Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography

Propane Peace Of Mind

Let’s Keep In Touch Tips For Outdoor Lighting


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In This Issue May 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 5


Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives



Your photo could be featured here. michigancountrylines

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Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird 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 are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358


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.

michigancountrylines Pro tip: Water and electricity don’t mix...unless you are mother nature. #donttrythisathome #beautiful : @andrew_long_expo

ON THE COVER Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, captures a dangling shot of Michigan’s most iconic landmark, the Mackinac Bridge. Read the full story about his spectacular aerial drone photography on page 14.

6 & 7 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Columns 62 Years Of Michigan Marriage Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Breakfast And Brunch Recipes To Enjoy All Day Long


Feature Guest Chef

Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media, shares a family favorite Pudgy Pie campfire recipe. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Up In The Air

Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography Emily Haines Lloyd

18 SAFETY May Is Electrical Safety Month

Life-Saving Tips From Your Co-op Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner For more than 38 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information with our members. An empowering communication tool, Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about our services, director elections, member meetings and management decisions that members need to know about as owners of the co-op. The magazine also includes legal notices that would otherwise have to be placed in local media at a substantial cost. Sending Michigan Country Lines to you helps the co-op fulfill one of its essential principles——to educate and communicate openly with its members. The board of directors authorizes the co-op to subscribe to Michigan Country Lines on behalf of each member at an average cost of $3.90 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 49 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published for us, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome and value your comments at







It Takes A Team To Accomplish Great Things


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 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.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

Join us on Facebook: Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 MAY 2019


Robert Hance, President/CEO

n March I was extremely honored and humbled to receive the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s President’s Award. The award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life in rural America. I’ve spent my entire 45-year career in the rural electric cooperative industry, and have enjoyed a lot of great highlights along the journey. But none quite as sweet as knowing that I was part of transforming the rural space by deploying highspeed fiber internet. Note that I said, “I was part of.” I don’t own this honor but proudly share it with a group of individuals who weren’t afraid to step off the ledge with me. For many years our electric customers cried out to us in desperation for high-speed solutions because other internet service providers wouldn’t come in and serve the rural space. So you looked to us, and we listened. If you know anything about the history of the rural electric cooperative movement, you’ll recognize the similarity between today’s inequity and that from the 1930s. I have the distinct honor and privilege of working with a board and leading a team that wasn’t afraid. Some of us worked tirelessly knocking on doors of state, regional and federal policymakers to educate about the needs of the rural space and advocate for the removal of funding and other barriers, while others were in the trenches learning an entirely new business and figuring out how to build and deliver it with our ever-present commitment to service excellence. Together, we created and implemented a model that is now being replicated across the country. This undertaking certainly wasn’t without risk, which is why many electric cooperatives aren’t diving in. Assuming risk is scary as there is much at stake. But sometimes you need to step back and evaluate the risk of NOT taking a risk. We always considered our electric customers to be well worth the risk. I’ve always said that geography should not define someone’s scope of opportunity, and lack of access to high-speed internet is beyond limiting in today’s online and digital world. You need it, you deserve it, and now almost 10,000 of you are using it. I was the one on the stage in March receiving the award, but I’m honored to share it with people who were equally critical to the journey. My board. My team. And my Mary, who no longer walks with me on Earth, but remains my biggest supporter in life. While there aren’t many around anymore who can say they remember the day the lights came on, we’re creating a new generation that can say they remember the day they were afforded the opportunity to experience the 21st-century lifestyle. Thank you for being active participants in this most meaningful journey!

Is Your Contact Information Up-To-Date? Sometimes we need to contact you with important account information, such as informing you of a planned outage or billing issue. Please make sure we can reach you by verifying that we have your current contact information. You can update your contact info through SmartHub or by calling us at 800-492-5989.

Let’s Keep In Touch


ot a question on your account? Need to speak with a solutions agent? Here are the best ways to contact us and to stay informed about all things MEC.

SmartHub Our online and mobile platform is your best tool for account management, bill paying, outage reporting and more. You can also send our customer solutions agents a question, and a representative will respond as soon as possible during normal business hours. Use SmartHub to sign up for notifications, and we’ll alert you when your power is out and when it’s been restored. Now, the tool is about to get better. Later this year we will merge our electric/propane and internet SmartHubs into one single platform so you can access all your accounts in one place with one SmartHub login. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.

Phone If you need to talk to us right away to report an outage, request a propane fill or inquire about tech support, please call us at 800-492-5989. We have staff available 24/7 to handle urgent needs, and you can pay your bill anytime day or night using our automated phone system. For specific billing questions or to make changes to your account, we are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


affecting roughly 1,000 or more customers. We also post job openings and share our community work, so it’s a great way to learn about what’s happening. However, please do not report outages via Facebook as we do not staff social media 24/7.

Our Blog If you aren’t on Facebook, you can also follow our blog at to stay informed of news announcements and upcoming developments. Give us your email address under “Subscribe,” and we’ll send you an email whenever we publish a new story.

Offices Closed For Memorial Day Our offices will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27. Make a payment or report an electric outage via SmartHub. Call 800-492-5989 to make a payment or request an emergency propane fill. Drop box payments made at our three solutions centers will be processed on the next open business day. From our family to yours, have a happy and safe holiday weekend.

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MI CO-OP Community

62 Years Of Michigan Marriage By Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member


n July 7, 1957, as young newlyweds, we headed north from Indiana to see the sights.

and Spider Lake. The Driftwood Motel was our destination for many years. We stayed in condos after the Driftwood was no more. As a family of 17, we’ve experienced all the amenities the Traverse City area has to offer.

Our first stop was seven miles west of Kalkaska, Michigan into the Sand Lakes quiet area. Greatgrandpa McCoy was alone now at the nicknamed Visiting Underwood and Rennie orchards in “Bitzy” cabin where he and Great-grandma had July and mushroom hunting in the spring. Our spent many summers. It was a one-room log activities included climbing the dunes, rafting cabin with a hand pump on the porch and an down Crystal River, air shows on East Bay, outhouse out back. They fished the many area Parasailing, bicycling, marching lakes. I wondered how in the band concerts, horseback riding 1940s did they ever find this “Five families of at Ranch Rudolph, fishing and the secluded place? McCoys have an famous Cherry Festival parade. interest and still enjoy We again headed north to see Michigan vacations.” The “Bitzy” cabin was torn the great Mackinac Bridge. We down due to deteriorating logs marveled during the tour that and rebuilt in the ‘90s by the family as vacation took us under the bridge which had one span left to complete before joining Lower Michigan and the time permitted. It is now modern, which was a significant event, complete with power from Upper Peninsula. Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Five families of McCoys have an interest and still enjoy We had little money to spend, but we took in Michigan vacations. many first-time sights, and this would be the beginning of a lifetime of Michigan adventures. The once-newlyweds will celebrate over 62 years It was our home away from home. of marriage in July, and our lifetime memories of happy days with family throughout Michigan Our three children would know Michigan, as well bring us joy. as their spouses and our nine grandchildren. We camped in the early years at Interlochen and Glen Arbor. We rented cottages on Little Glen Linda has lived in Northeast Indiana for all of her 79 years. She is a retired beautician and enjoys caring for families in her community. and Big Glen, and years later at Lake Leelanau

6 MAY 2019

Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School By Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy member


t 5 a.m. on any of the bodies of water I venture to, be it a lake, river, stream, or pond, I am inundated with a myriad of sounds. The slow, rhythmic lap of waves reaching the shore after a night of travel is indeed soothing early in the morning.

way toward the inlet. The rapid flow of water cascades down boulders forming a chaotic scene as it bubbles back up. My line remains steady in the calm water beyond the little falls. I remember not too many years ago bringing my two children here. Armed with fishing gear, Barbies and GI Joes, we had claimed our spot. Amid the yelps of lucky fishermen and those who weren’t so lucky, I heard the laughter of my kids. Today, even though both are now in their late twenties, I can still get them to “wet a line” with me.

The plop of fish on calm waters just before the sun breaks makes an angler’s heart race. The head turns quickly in an attempt to see what it was that raised so quickly and, like an Olympic diver, reenter with “The memories, the Every so often I feel like a little only splash rings remaining, stories, the sights that wave that thought his purpose spreading like oil on the water. a morning offers keep was gone when he reached In fact, when the boat engine is me trickling back to the sandy shore. However, the cut or the paddles raised, the Michigan waters to fish.” memories, the stories, the sights serenity of a moment like this is that a morning offers keep me spine-tingling. trickling back to Michigan waters to fish. I have this sense that if I don’t, it will be the end of something. With a headlamp, waders, rod, small tackle box, flies and other bait, I descend the muddy bank of my favorite river. The eastern sky is lit brightly with Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past an easel of colors, making my climb down to the 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer. waters edge flashlight free. The squish and clomp of my wading boots seem to be twenty decibels higher than they need to be. As I approach, there is an eerie screech reverberating from the tree Win $150 for stories published! line. The Blue Herons’ hollering momentarily blocks out the roar of the rushing water. As I near, the finger pier is empty of anglers on this particular morning. Many fishermen will be approaching the mouth soon to test their skill against the steelhead that are now making their

Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to under the MI Co-op Community tab.



Recycle Old Appliances To Save Energy And Money!


o you have an old, working refrigerator or chest freezer taking up space in your basement or garage? While you may not think about these appliances often, they could be adding hundreds of dollars to your utility bill each year. Declutter your home and save money with the Energy Optimization program. You can earn $50 for removing and recycling a secondary refrigerator and freezer!*

Free Appliance Pick Up Made Easy: The Energy Optimization team will pick up and recycle your old refrigerator(s) and freezer(s) for FREE. You can choose to send along an old window air conditioner or dehumidifier for recycling as well. NOTE: All items must be in working condition.

How To Participate: Contact the Energy Optimization team at 877-296-4319 to schedule an appointment. A representative from our

Cash incentives are available for the following: Appliance Type

Pick up or Ride-Along Item

Incentive Amount


Pick up


Chest Freezer

Pick up


Window Air Conditioner






*Limit two appliances per year, per residence. All items must be in working condition.

team will come to your home for the pick up, and a cash incentive will be mailed to you. It’s that simple!

More Ways To Save! Working on a remodeling project? Your electric utility’s Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives toward qualifying new ENERGY STAR® appliances, including refrigerators, washers and dryers, ceiling fans, room air conditioners, televisions, and more. Please visit for more information, or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.

Get $50 for your old refrigerator or freezer. Stop wasting energy and money! Recycle old, functioning appliances and earn cash incentives:

Recycle and


■ ■ ■ ■

Refrigerator = $50 Freezer = $50 Dehumidifier (ride along item) = $15 Window Air Conditioner (ride along item) = $15

Contact the Energy Optimization team to schedule a free pickup.

Shopping for new appliances? Receive cash incentives when you purchase ENERGY STAR® appliances. Visit our website for a complete list of savings opportunities.

ONLINE: PHONE: 877-296-4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit All items must be in working condition.

Outdoor Lighting And

The Night Sky


s spring settles in and we start to think about backyard barbeques, lightning bugs and evenings spent gazing at the stars, now is the perfect time to evaluate your outdoor lighting. According to the International Dark Sky Association, roughly 35 percent of outdoor lighting is wasted due to poorly designed lighting fixtures. Choosing energy-efficient LED lights will help you save money and they last significantly longer than other bulbs.

However, not all bulbs are the same. Some bulbs emit warmer, yellow light and others emit cooler, blue light. According to researchers from Harvard, exposure to bluelight wavelengths at night can alter your circadian rhythm and suppress the release of melatonin in your system*. So choose LEDs with a Kelvin temperature of less than 3000K to ensure your outdoor lighting emits warmer tones—and maybe put those screens down while you are enjoying the great outdoors. Additionally installing fully-shielded light fixtures on your property can help you view the night sky better as they prevent light from escaping above the horizontal line of the bulb while still delivering the same level of illumination of their counterparts. Plus, by directing light in a specific downward direction, you can often use a lowerwattage bulb to achieve the same results. And, if you have neighbors nearby, you won’t unintentionally light their property or contribute to light pollution. After all, one of the benefits of rural living is the opportunity to catch glances of the great Milky Way from your backyard. For more information on LED lights and home energy efficiency, please visit * blue-light-has-a-dark-side **Robert Parrish, board member of the Cass County Parks and Recreation Dept. contributed to this story.



Get a $150 per panel rebate on up to 20 panels when you subscribe to our SpartanSolar-MEC community solar array. Sign up by Nov. 30 at

Breakfast & Brunch Start your day right with these savory and sweet recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Little Masterpieces (Homemade Doughnuts) Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta ½ 3 1¼ 1½

cup vegetable oil large eggs cups granulated sugar cups applesauce, mashed bananas, puréed strawberries, or puréed fruit of choice teaspoons vanilla extract teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional (good with apple or banana flavored doughnuts) teaspoons salt teaspoons baking powder cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour granulated sugar or cinnamon-sugar, for coating

a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins, bake for 20—23 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. Note: If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin.

Note: these store well in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, then plate them and fill with ice cream, fruit, pie filling, etc., for an over-the-top looking treat in just a few minutes!

1½ 1 1½ 1½ 1¾ •

Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, puréed fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add flour, stirring just until smooth. Fill wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about ¼ cup of batter in each well. If using muffin pans, fill each well about ¾ full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). Bake doughnuts for 15—18 minutes, or until 10 MAY 2019

Remove doughnuts from oven, and loosen edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer to a rack. While doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them, 1 or 2 at a time, in a clean paper bag or baggie with sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle tops with sugar. Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days. To make fancy doughnuts: fill the hole in each doughnut with choice of ice cream, pudding, mousse, sliced fruit, etc. Top with sauce; add whipped cream if desired.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Simple Savory Corn Cakes Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 ½ 2 1 1 2 1 4 2 1 •


cups all-purpose flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cups frozen corn, thawed cup (4 ounces) smoked cheddar cheese, shredded cup fat-free (skim) milk egg whites, beaten whole egg, beaten green onions, finely chopped cloves garlic, minced tablespoon chili powder salsa

GUEST CHEF As Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media and his family spend their summers camping across Michigan, they know that yummy campfire food is all part of the memorymaking. And no campfire cuisine is complete without a Pudgy Pie.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in corn, cheese, milk, egg whites, egg, green onions, garlic, and chili powder until well blended. Spray a large nonstick

skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Drop batter by ¼ cupfuls into skillet. Cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve with prepared salsa, if desired.

Sausage And Kale Frittata

3 ½ 2 1½ 4

Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications 8 ¼ ¼ ¹⁄ ³

large eggs teaspoon salt teaspoon black pepper cup milk

cups kale, stems removed, leaves chopped cup chopped red onion cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed teaspoons olive oil ounces Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled ½ cup chopped red bell pepper 2 tomatoes, ¼-inch round slices, cut in half

Combine eggs, salt, pepper, and milk; stir with a whisk. Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté kale, red onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender. Layer in sausage and bell pepper. Carefully pour egg mixture over sausage and bell pepper. Preheat broiler to high. Place tomato slices on top of eggs in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes, or until eggs are partially set; then broil 5 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned and almost set. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tailgating Favorites: due July 1 Venison: due August 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. Go to for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Photo by Tyler Leipprandt

Pudgy Pies • • • •

Refrigerated tube biscuits Cooking spray Pudding or pie filling Wooden dowels

Use a 5-inch diameter wooden dowel attached to a roasting stick and spray wooden dowel with cooking spray. Flatten and stretch one biscuit over the end of the dowel. Roast over the fire slowly until biscuit cup is cooked through. Let cool and carefully remove from the dowel. Fill the biscuit cup with your favorite pudding or pie filling or make as a s’more with a roasted marshmallow and chocolate. Read the full story about Tyler Leipprandt on page 14, and find this recipe and others at



MEC IN THE COMMUNITY SE SERVICE TERRITORY On Friday, March 1, MEC took to the street to help raise money for utility assistance for families in need during the annual Walk 4 Warmth event in downtown Adrian. Participants raised roughly $13,000, which Consumers Energy pledged to match for a total donation of over $26,000. The Community Action Agency will use the funds to help people avoid shut-offs and other heat-related emergencies. Photo above: MEC team members Lori Ruff, Patty Clark, Amy Pales, Nicole Barfell and Pam Myers get ready to show their support for Walk 4 Warmth. Photo left: Community members strolled through downtown Adrian to raise money for utility assistance for families in need.

12 MAY 2019

SE SERVICE TERRITORY 4-H Camp Palmer in Fayette, OH continues to improve its high ropes course as a new way to challenge visitors. Recently, our lineman helped them add a new zip line to the course by removing three poles and installing a new pole to complete the course. Photo left: MEC linemen install the new pole.

SW SERVICE TERRITORY On Friday, March 15, we hosted our Meet MEC event at our Cassopolis headquarters for qualified students who applied to attend the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour trip to Washington D.C. This event provided our applicants with an in-depth look into their co-op and the many potential careers in the industry. During the event, the students also got to meet a former Youth Tour attendee to learn all about the trip and its potential to change lives. In turn, we interviewed the students and got to know their goals and hopes for taking such a journey. After the event, we selected our top candidates to represent us on the trip in June. Congratulations to Mikaya Copley of Three Rivers High School and Emilee Smith of Decatur Jr./Sr. High School on being chosen.

Photo above: MEC Accounting Manager, Sheli Groner, meets with Youth Tour applicants to explain daily life in our accounting department.


UP IN THE AIR Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography By Emily Haines Lloyd

very artist finds a way to show others the world from a different perspective. For Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, his perspective often comes from hundreds of feet in the air with his drone photography. Leipprandt never saw himself as an artist in his earlier life or even once he began working in drone photography for the commercial sector. An athlete growing up, Leipprandt spent most of his time in the gym and didn’t really see art as part of his future plans. Currently, he spends his days in education, instructing teachers how to integrate and use technology in the classroom. “It was my brother who got me interested in drone photography,” said Leipprandt. “No one in our area was really doing aerial shots for real estate, so that’s where I started. We did well in real estate, but I began to see how fun it was to use the drone in other ways.” Snapping cool photos around the state opened Leipprandt’s eyes to all sorts of opportunities; including a visit to the Port Austin Farmers Market where he saw some beautifully handcrafted cutting boards in the shape of Michigan that he noticed people admiring. The very next year, Leipprandt was back at the market, but in his own stall selling his photos that paid homage to

14 MAY 2019


Top left: Lake of the Clouds at sunrise. Top Right: This photo named “Don’t Look Down,” placed in the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition. Bottom Left: Tahquamenon Falls at twilight. This Page: Leipprandt in the midst of capturing one of his signature dangling shots.

If you want to see more of Tyler Leipprandt’s amazing photography, visit him Saturdays at the Port Austin Farmers Market from Memorial Day through Fall (9am–5pm) or check out his portfolio at He can also be found on Facebook and Instagram @michiganskymedia.

the Great Lakes state. Last year he made the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition.

was flying 120mph with the doors off. I’ve never been so cold in my life.”

“These are the places that locals have spent their vacations and spare time exploring all their lives,” said Leipprandt. “Places that you’ve seen a million times, but captured in a totally different way.”

Not all of Leipprandt’s excursions are quite so daredevilish. He, his wife and their four kids spend a good part of their summers exploring Michigan based on year-long pins they’ve stuck in a map. Before dinner, during grace, the kids never forget to say an extra prayer for an RV they can take around the state to cover more ground and capture even more beautiful memories.

Leipprandt’s photos are stunning, from twilight shots of Tahquamenon Falls to aerial feats over The Mighty Mac and University of Michigan’s Big House. Including Leipprandt’s now-signature shots of his feet dangling over the edge of bridges or from the sides of helicopters. “The dangling shots started by accident when my brotherin-law and I went to the U.P. last fall and through some wild circumstances ended up being invited to the top of the Mackinac Bridge,” Leipprandt said. “The Big House pictures were for a marketing promo—it was almost Thanksgiving, about 30 degrees outside and the helicopter

It’s that sense of exploration and curiosity that Leipprandt brings to his photography. The joy of seeing something unique and beautiful that not everyone has an opportunity to experience for themselves. “I love making people excited about where they’re from and what’s around them,” explains Leipprandt. “I want to help folks find new places they can explore for themselves.”

MCL SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVER! Watch Tyler Leipprandt as he does a live takeover of Michigan Country Lines’ social accounts, May 6–10. He’ll bring you some amazing, neverbefore-seen shots of the 2019 Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mich.

May 6–10


READY, SET, STREAM with a $30 Netflix Gift Card

Get a $30 Netflix gift card when you sign up for our Advanced, Ultra or Gig package. All of our packages include: unlimited data, 24/7 tech support, symmetrical speeds, free installation.

Sign up by June 30, 2019. Enter promo code: STREAM.

SIGN UP TODAY | 800.492.5989 Twelve-month contract required. Oer valid until 6.30.19 to new subscribers only. Gift card will be emailed following installation. Free installation available to Midwest Energy & Communications electric customers only. Internet services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Our pre-buy rate for 2019–2020 is


Propane Peace Of Mind


ne of the unique features of our propane service is the variety of programs and payment options we offer. We want to make your service convenient and affordable. We will work with you to create a plan that meets your unique needs. Peace-of-mind pricing has always been the hallmark of our propane service. We establish a rate and cap it through the heating season with no extra fees, removing the worry of your price-per-gallon going up as temperatures go down. No matter what the weather does, your rate is secure and for our 2019–2020 propane season, we are not increasing our price. Our guaranteed capped rate will remain $1.699 per gallon.

Please complete and return the email sent in April, or call us at 800-492-5989. You can also stop by our Cass or Paw Paw Solutions Centers Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to sign up and pay.

The deadline to sign up for our 2019 pre-buy offer is July 31.

Access To Rules And Rates Please be advised that the following information is available to Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) customers: 1. Complete rate schedules;

Pre-Buy And Save

2. Clear and concise explanation of all rates that the customer may be eligible to receive;

With the popular pre-buy program, you get the added benefits of paying a lower rate and avoiding the need to make monthly payments by purchasing your gas in advance. Our pre-buy rate for the new heating season is $1.599 per gallon. Over the year, we deduct the volume used from your pre-buy account as your gas is delivered. You can easily monitor your account via SmartHub, our secure online platform and mobile app available at or via your app store.

3. Assistance from MEC in determining the most appropriate rate when the customer is eligible to receive service under more than one rate; 4. Clear and concise explanation of the customers’ actual energy use for each billing period during the last 12 months. The information can be obtained by contacting MEC at 800-492-5989.


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

May Is Electrical Safety Month

Electric cooperatives’ top priority is always to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to their members. Your well-being and that of the larger communities we serve are of paramount concern. This month, we share a few safety tips that we hope you never have to use. But if you do, they could save their life.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the March issue is Steven ZisslerHayes, a Thumb Electric Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Saint John Nepomucene Catholic Church Historical Marker. This church was established in 1885 and is located in East Jordan. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

March 2019

Life-Saving Tips That Can Save Your Life • If a car hits a utility pole, the vehicle may be charged with electricity. Anyone exiting the car could come in contact with thousands of volts of electricity from the downed line. In essence, when you step out of the car, you become part of the electricity’s path to the ground and could be electrocuted. It’s critical for everyone to stay in the vehicle until emergency crews have told you it’s safe to exit the car. • If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear of the vehicle. Do not let any part of your body or clothing touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away (in small steps with your feet still together) to avoid electric shock. Keep moving away until you are at least 40 feet from the vehicle. • If you come upon a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines, keep your distance. A downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. The best action you can take is to alert emergency officials. Also, never drive over a downed power line or through water that is touching a downed power line. • If you have a downed power line on your property as a result of a falling tree, storm or other circumstance, do not go near the power line. Assume that the downed line is energized and dangerous. Never try to move the power line even if you think it’s not energized or if you are using a non-conductive material. Please wait until an electric co-op crew or emergency officials have confirmed that it is safe to do so. Contact your local electric co-op for additional electrical safety tips or if you would like to request a safety demonstration at your school or community event. Safety is a top priority!

Photo by Thomas Mann

18 MAY 2019

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