COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association
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Register Now For The Annual Meeting On June 15
Understanding Cost Allocation Do-it-Yourself Safety Tips
� E TN
FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD
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May 2022 Vol. 42, No. 5
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.
6 ADVENTURE AHEAD AT DEER TRACKS JUNCTION In addition to being a safe haven for its animals, Deer Tracks Junction soothes the souls of its human visitors as well. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN On The Grill: Fire it up for dinner tonight.
CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please
notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.
The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.
Head over hooves about the weather warming up #spring @dds_photo (Danielle Sullivan)
18 GUEST COLUMN Floating Michigan Rivers: For one GLE member, time spent frolicking on the river is a source of enjoyment and daily life lessons.
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.
14 NICK BAUMGARTNER: MY NEW FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD Persistence and determination helped an Iron River native capture gold at the Beijing Olympics ... providing the perfect culmination of his 30-year snowboarding career.
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community
RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit!
Up Next: Pasta Salads, due July 1 Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to email@example.com.
GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!
Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.
MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!
Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
algerdelta.com /algerdeltaelectric BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1—Big Bay Darryl Small 906-345-9369 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2—Harvey/Deerton Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 • email@example.com
District 3—Grand Marais Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Power Cost Adjustments
District 4—Cedar River/Palestine Dave Prestin 906-424-0055 • email@example.com District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell Steve Wery 906-639-2812 • firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mike Furmanski, General Manager
District 7—Stonington/Rapid River Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 • email@example.com District 8—Nahma/Isabella Don Johnson 906 280-0867 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 • email@example.com GENERAL MANAGER: Mike Furmanski firstname.lastname@example.org HEADQUARTERS: 426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 • email@example.com algerdelta.com OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST) Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 1 3 2 9 7 5 6
4 MAY 2022
n my last column, I talked about how power costs have increased substantially in recent months, starting in July of 2021. I also talked about the study that was being performed on our costs structure. These two issues are not directly related to each other, but both issues need to be addressed. I will discuss the rapid cost increase in this column and our costs structure in an article in this magazine.
District 6—Nathan/White Rapids Jesse Betters 715-923-4946 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Many utilities have a mechanism in their tariff or rate book that allows them to pass on additional costs or savings they realize monthly as their power costs vary. A common approach is by using a Power Cost Adjustment Clause (PCAC) in their billing. Alger Delta had a PCAC many years ago, but it has not been used recently. Part of the reason it has not been used is that it was not necessary due to power costs being relatively flat or declining for about a decade. Even if there was a month or two throughout the year where costs went up unexpectedly, the co-op could ride out those limited term events. The big storm in November of 2019 resulted in large costs for the co-op, as did Winter Storm Uri in February of 2021. Yes, our costs went up for those single months, but we did not have to pass on those costs to the members. The impact to the members was a reduction in margins. An occasional month of higher power costs has a manageable impact to our yearly margins if the majority of the months are in line with our budget. However, we have seen large increases in our energy costs six out of the past eight months. I am not aware of any indication of these prices coming back down anytime soon. We could look at rate increases across all of our rate classes, but I feel that the better option right now is to reinstitute a PCAC. This PCAC would be based on the average power cost for the prior six months in every monthly billing as a way to smooth out the impact to the members. And the beauty of a PCAC is that it allows for us to pass on savings we experience should power prices decline. I think we have all become very familiar with fuel surcharges on many of the items we purchase. A PCAC can be looked at as a form of surcharge as well. Power costs coming back down would be welcomed by all, but if lower costs do not happen, we need the PCAC in monthly billings to keep Alger Delta financially stable. This topic will be discussed at the next few board meetings, including the Annual Membership Meeting, which will be held June 15, 2022, at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Michigan. We will also be posting information on our website and Facebook page as we move forward. Comments and input from the members are always welcome.
Meet Your New Lineworkers
Alger Delta Cooperative recently hired two new lineworkers. Journeyman Anthony Hamel comes from a lineage of skilled tradespeople. “Many members of my family have worked in the trades, so it’s something I’ve always been drawn to,” he says. While he initially began his working career as a union ironworker, the constant travel requirements made him reconsider. “Being on the road so much got old. I needed a change,” he says. This desire for change led the Champion native to Northern Michigan University’s Line Technician Program. After completing the program, Anthony garnered 10 years of experience while working for Duke Energy and UPPCO before landing at Alger Delta. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time and spending time with his fiancée at his farm on the Michigamme River.
Thanksgiving storm of 2019. “I was a senior in high school, headed to basketball practice, and noticed the Alger Delta lineworkers on the side of the road repairing lines,” Riley says. Prior to that, he had entertained thoughts of being an electrician. “But watching them work prompted me to look into lineman work,” he says. After completing Northern Michigan University’s Line Technician Program, he went to work for Bugle Tree Trimming before joining Alger Delta’s team. The Carney native credits his work ethic to what he learned while playing basketball for four years at Carney. “That’s where I learned a lot of my values, and that hard work pays off,” Riley says. He enjoys (no surprise here) playing basketball and hanging out with his grandparents in his spare time. “My grandpa likes to kick my butt in cribbage,” he says with a grin.
Apprentice Riley Corrigan’s interest in being a lineworker began during the infamous
Alger Delta is pleased to welcome Anthony and Riley to its team.
Employee Spotlight Alger Delta Cooperative’s meter technician is John Dault. The Delta County native has been working for the cooperative for the past five years and has been an integral part of the distribution department operations. John holds dual degrees from Michigan Technological University and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Alger Delta.
John previously spent 28 years with the city of Escanaba’s electric department. “I went from covering 16 square miles of territory to a service territory that stretches into six Upper Peninsula counties. The change of scenery has been great,” he says with a smile.
John has found it particularly rewarding to be able to help during extended storm outages. “The recent ice storm left some co-op members without power for nearly three days. It felt great when we were able to get their lights back on,” he said. John is married and has three grown children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hunting and cooking. His specialties are homemade venison sausage and cooking with his smoker. John is just one member of Alger Delta’s dedicated team of employees that works to provide members with reliable and costeffective power every day.
Register online at algerdelta.com for the
ANNUAL MEETING—JUNE 15 Alger Delta’s 83rd Annual Meeting is Wednesday, June 15, at 5 p.m. at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Michigan. Alger Delta is treating you to a delicious dinner, prizes, and a special guest speaker. There is a two-person per membership limit. Register online at algerdelta.com. Reservations will be accepted up from May 9–May 30. The business meeting is an important part of our Annual Meeting as we introduce you to newly elected directors, talk about the cooperative’s past performance and future expectations, and more. So, mark Wednesday, June 15, on your calendar and plan to have a wonderful time!
Adventure Ahead At Deer Tracks Junction By Emily Haines Lloyd
hile Deer Tracks Junction Adventure Park and Site 57 Safari isn’t an animal rescue, it might be hard to convince any of the hundreds of animals who call it “home” that it’s not. Deer Tracks Junction was started as a family-owned breeding stock facility by Hilary and Kelly Powell, raising whitetail deer and elk for sale. Ultimately, selling the animals became less and less inspiring, and sharing the animals became the family’s true passion. The Powells initially brought animals onto their 80 acres to ensure that their son, Tyler, had the experience of farm chores just like his dad had growing up. Once Kelly retired from his construction business, the animal adventure really got started. “People would inquire about our animals and ask for tours,” said Hilary. “Little by little, bit by bit—the idea of the park came into focus. And with blood, sweat, tears, and prayer—it became real and keeps evolving.” The park offers two entirely different experiences. The ﬁrst—the Adventure Park—can include a fully immersive experience of petting pigs, feeding camels, snuggling rabbits, and bottlefeeding baby goats. Then there’s the Safari, which opened in 2020 on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a “trail” to wander the open terrain in your own vehicle. It provides an opportunity to feed animals like alpaca and bison from your car window. You’ll also drive through the black bear paddock and get about as close as you’d dare to these magniﬁcent creatures. The bears actually were rescues who had only ever lived on cement. “They were so nervous at ﬁrst,” remembers Hilary. “They’d never felt grass under their paws. They went from six years on cement to a really beautiful natural enclosure with a huge play structure that they can forage through. It’s so heartwarming to see them go from hesitant to happy.”
The Powells’ goal is to take that hesitation out of their visitors as well, by offering opportunities to interact with the animals and see them up close. While bear feedings aren’t on the itinerary, climbing around on structures is something visitors can also enjoy. Handmade jungle gyms designed by Kelly and built with the help of Tyler, now in his mid-20s, are another joyful adventure for those who visit. Deer Tracks Junction is a family affair all around, with three generations all contributing to creating a one-ofa-kind experience—right up to the homemade churned ice cream served on-site in freshly made wafﬂe cones.
It’s likely the close family ties and connections are the very reason visitors feel welcome and at home. The Powells have hosted family outings, date nights, and even wedding proposals. It’s a relationship as beautiful as those experienced between the guests and the animals themselves. “It’s not just about the adventure of seeing and experiencing the animals,” said Hilary. “It’s such a blessing that people choose to make family memories with us. We couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of people’s lives in that way.”
“It’s such a blessing that people choose to make family memories with us. We couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of people’s lives in that way.”
Deer Tracks Junction Adventure Park opens Memorial weekend and closes in September, depending on weather conditions. To ﬁnd out more, visit deertracksjunction.com. 7850 14 Mile Road, NE Cedar Springs, MI 49319 616-863-3337
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS—APPLY BY MAY 13 IN-PERSON EXPEDITIONS WILL TAKE PLACE IN JULY AND AUGUST
Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate. No Barriers is a five-day, allexpenses-paid expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculumbased experiences in challenging environments (climbing, rafting, and hiking). If you are a disabled veteran, or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete the form on our website:
*Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.
Digging into an Outdoor Project?
Before you dig, dial 811 or visit www.call811.com to protect underground utilities. Careless digging poses a threat to people, pipelines, and underground facilities. Contact 811 first and help keep our community safe.
Antique Rides 1. Remembering 1971: One great summer ride. Brian Maki 2. This is it till I’m 16? Norma Bisballe 3. Papa and our granddaughter on the old but trusty John Deere used for gathering sap to make maple syrup. Hans Eriksen 4. 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible. Connie Lindstrom 5. Grandsons enjoying U.P. Steam and Gas Show. Part of family tradition. Kelly Wery 6. Just a Friday night on the town in the 1920s. Jackie Hughes 7. Our 1952 VAC Case Tractor is always a big hit at the July Fourth parade in Grand Marais, Michigan. Christine Lawless 8. 1967 Amphicar ready for land and water! Joanne Sobeck
6 Submit a photo & win a
Submit Your Photos & Win A Bill Credit!
energy bill credit!
Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines:
Alger Delta members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 credit on their December 2022 energy bills! Ice Cream, due May 20 (July/Aug. issue) Farms & Harvest, due June 20 (Sept./Oct. issue) Christmas Trees, due Sept. 20 (Nov./Dec. issue) To submit photos, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines. We look forward to seeing your best photos! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
ON THE GRILL Fire it up for dinner tonight
WINNING RECIPE! GRILLED MARINATED SALMON WITH SUGARED PINEAPPLE Anne Forgrave, Great Lakes Energy
Marinade: ¹⁄ ³ cup brown sugar ¹⁄ ³ cup teriyaki sauce ¹⁄ ³ cup soy sauce ¼ cup water ¼ cup oil 2 cloves garlic, minced • lemon juice, to taste Salmon: 2-pound salmon ﬁlet(s) • salt and pepper, to taste Pineapple: 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into spears or slices ¾" thick ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup melted butter ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus small amount for dusting)
RECIPE CONTEST Win a
energy bill credit!
10 MAY 2022
Pasta Salads 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 your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to email@example.com.
Mix marinade ingredients and pour into a 1-gallon plastic bag with zip-lock seal. Season salmon ﬁlet with salt and pepper. Add seasoned salmon to plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for at least two hours (overnight is best). Grill salmon until it ﬂakes; time depends on thickness of ﬁlet. Can put salmon directly on grill (wiped or sprayed with oil) or use a grill pan. For pineapple, spray grill with oil or use a grill pan. Lay pineapple on pan in single layer. Dust with cinnamon. Mix the brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon to make a glaze. If the glaze is thick, microwave it for a few seconds until pourable. Pour over pineapple. Grill in single layer for 2–3 minutes per side or until golden and just tender. Great with a tossed green salad, asparagus, and crusty bread. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
JALAPEÑO CRUNCH BURGER Joseph Brewer, HomeWorks Tri-County
5 jalapeños, diced (w/ seeds to make it spicier/hotter, no seeds for a milder taste) 1 green bell pepper, ﬁnely diced 2 large yellow onions, ﬁnely diced 2 tablespoons butter, for sautéing 3 pounds ground beef (room temperature) 3 eggs 3 teaspoons black pepper 3 teaspoons salt 3 teaspoons red pepper (cayenne pepper) 3 teaspoons paprika 3 teaspoons cumin • queso dip or pepper jack cheese • Fritos or French’s Crispy Fried Onions (for the crunch)
Dice up your vegetables (jalapeños, green peppers, and onions), and sauté them in butter until tender/caramelized. You can sauté them together or separately. Once the vegetables are sautéed to your liking, set aside and allow to cool. In a large bowl, add in the meat, eggs, seasonings, and cooled sautéed veggies. Mix thoroughly, making sure to try and spread the seasonings and sautéed veggies as evenly as possible. Form your patties, and grill to desired temperature (if you are using pepper jack cheese, add it to your burger while it’s still grilling). Top burger with desired crunch (Fritos or French’s Crispy Fried Onions) and queso dip (or can have with pepper jack cheese). Serve on a sesame seed bun and enjoy!
TEQUILA LIME CHICKEN Mary Card, Great Lakes Energy
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves—trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry; set aside on platter ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice ¼ cup tequila (gold) ¼ cup fresh orange juice 1½ teaspoons chili powder 1½ teaspoons minced garlic cloves 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced, optional 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper In a large bowl, prop up a large, open zipper-top bag and add the lime juice, tequila, orange juice, chili powder,
garlic cloves, jalapeño, salt, and pepper. Add chicken to bag and zip the top. Massage chicken in bag to combine and place bowl in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight, turning bag every few hours, or at least twice. Prep grill for medium heat (charcoal or gas). Drain marinade off chicken and place chicken on grill rack. Cook chicken 5 minutes, then turn and grill another 5–8 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, or internal temperature is 160 F. Move chicken to clean platter and let rest, covered with foil, about 5 minutes, to allow juices to set. Garnish with lime wedges for squeezing over chicken. Serves 6.
DUCK ON THE GRILL Margie Guyot, Great Lakes Energy 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
duck (5–6 pounds), defrosted tablespoon salt teaspoon black pepper teaspoon smoked paprika orange, cut into quarters head garlic, top trimmed celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
Set up your grill for indirect grilling. For a gas grill, put a large drip pan in the center. Preheat the grill on high, then reduce the temperature to medium/low when the duck is placed on the grill. For a charcoal grill, arrange charcoal pieces around the side of a drip pan and let them burn until medium/hot (coals mostly covered in ash). Rinse the duck inside out with cool, running water. Pat dry. Use a large sharp fork and prick the skin all over, but be careful not to pierce the meat (or the meat will be dry). Mix the salt, pepper, and paprika. Rub the duck inside and out with the spice mixture.
Stuff the cavity of the duck with the orange quarters, whole head of garlic, and celery pieces. Fold the neck skin under to cover the cavity. Close with a skewer. Set the duck, breast side up, on a rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook for about 1½ hours. If you’re using a charcoal grill, add 10–12 briquettes every half hour or so to keep the temperature up. After 1½ hours, drain the juices and fat from the drip pan and ﬂip the duck, breast side down. Continue cooking for another 30–60 minutes until the meat is tender. Flip the duck back to breast side up for the last 10 minutes to crisp the skin. The internal temperature should be 175 F at the thickest part of the thigh. Allow the duck to rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Remove oranges and celery from the duck’s cavity and throw away (ideally on your compost pile). The roasted head of garlic can be used as a spread on bread. Carve duck and serve. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Cost Allocation By Mike Furmanski
In my column this month, I mentioned our cost structure study. This study is known in the industry as a Cost Of Service Study (COSS). This study looks at all of our costs and compares them to all of our revenues. The clear result of this study is that we are way out of balance when we look at our fixed costs as compared to our fixed revenues.
What are our fixed costs? Fixed costs are basically our total costs minus our power costs. Fixed costs include trucks, materials, transformers, substations, wires, labor, fuel, taxes, and line clearance, among other operations and maintenance costs. For Alger Delta, these costs exceed $8 million annually. They are called fixed costs because we have to pay them no matter how much or how little power we sell. These are the costs to construct, maintain, and keep the lines energized. Ideally, these fixed costs would be paid for with corresponding fixed revenues.
What are variable costs? The rest of our costs are called variable costs. Variable costs are basically all the wholesale power costs to Alger Delta. They are called variable costs because they vary with how much energy we sell. Ideally, these variable costs would be paid for with corresponding variable revenues. What our Cost Of Service Study has shown us is that we have a great disconnect between our fixed costs and fixed revenues. We are currently collecting 37% of our fixed costs through our service charge. The COSS also shows that we will be able to reduce the amount we are charging for our variable (energy) charge as the fixed revenue changes. I believe they both need to be changed so that each revenue stream is in line with each cost stream. Any time there is a discrepancy like has been found here, there is a great chance that the inequity rolls down to the end user. How this inequity plays out for the members is this: The low-energy-usage members are being subsidized by the high-usage members. To summarize the COSS results: The service charge should go up and the energy charge should go down. A COSS will provide a good indication of how costs should be allocated. Whatever changes are made to rates will be a big step towards rectifying the crosssubsidization that is occurring today. The increase in the service charge will be offset by the decrease in the energy charge. At the individual member level, usage will determine the impact of any potential changes.
12 MAY 2022
Alger Delta has a Policy Manual that guides many of the things we do. Policy No. 119 – Rate Design says, in part: Rates and service charges shall be developed and implemented to: A. Keep the overall cost of electricity as low as reasonably possible, consistent with sound management and fiscal practice. B. Equitably allocate costs across each rate class. C. Minimize or eliminate cross-subsidization between classes of members. D. Minimize or eliminate cross-subsidization within classes of members. E. Recover the greatest reasonable amount of fixed costs through the monthly service charge. F. Minimize embedding fixed costs in the energy rate. G. Generate margins adequate to meet annual lender requirements and long-term financial objectives. While we have had a concern for many years that our rate structure is creating a cross-subsidization among members, it is now becoming apparent that we must address this issue. The COSS study confirmed our concerns of crosssubsidization. Now that these study results are known, we are obligated to follow Policy No. 119 and end or minimize the subsidization that is occurring. Subsidization example: If our true fixed costs to provide service were $50/month, but we are only charging $25/month, then the remaining fixed costs must be paid for through variable costs—energy charges. We only have two revenue streams, so if fixed revenues are not covering all the fixed costs, we have no choice but to make up this shortcoming through variable revenue. This results in the high-usage member paying his service charge and, additionally, a portion of his variable charge goes to cover his fixed costs that were not covered by the service charge. So, as a result, the high-usage members are paying for part of the fixed costs incurred by the lower-usage members. It costs the co-op just as much to keep the power on for a low-usage member as it does a high-usage member. The issue is the high-usage member is paying more than they should be because the low-usage member is not paying enough. It is this inequality that we must address according to our policy.
$1–$2 million per substation
We have 8 substations.
We have 7,580 transformers.
A FEW OF THE
FIXED COSTS THAT POWER
OVERHEAD AND UNDERGROUND DISTRIBUTION LINES
YOUR SERVICE EXPERIENCE
BUCKET TRUCKS AND ATTACHMENTS $225,000
$65,000–$170,000 per mile We have 1,322 miles of overhead and underground line.
We have 7 large bucket or digger trucks.
UTILITY POLES LINE CLEARANCE
$5,000 per mile, $1M plus per year
We have 24,000 poles.
We have 11 people in the line department.
We have 10,300 meters across our system.
Providing reliable electricity to Alger Delta Cooperative Electric members
P RI CE L E SS
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
K R C I N GA M U BA
� E TN
FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD
By Yvonne Whitman || Photography by Keven Zini
It’s not every day that an Olympic gold medal finds itself in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But that’s what happened after Nick Baumgartner of Iron River captured first place with teammate Lindsey Jacobellis while competing in the mixed team snowboard cross event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. This event, which made its debut in this year’s games, features a male and female rider from the same country paired and placed into a multi-team bracket. Competitors tear down a course with turns, jumps, rollers, and drops designed to push them to their limits. Competitive snowboarding is not for the faint of heart. “Snowboard cross is chaos in every sense of the word,” Baumgartner said. “We are doing something that is so unpredictable. We go down the course at highway speeds of 50–60 mph on a ﬁve-foot-long board with metal edges that are sharp as a sword, with
14 MAY 2022
nothing to protect us except for the helmet on our head.” At 40, Baumgartner was the oldest medalist in Olympic snowboarding history—but he started riding early. “When I was 10 years old, I got this funny-looking plastic snowboard for Christmas, and I took it to the sledding hill behind my house,” Baumgartner said. “Fast-forward 30 years, and that plastic snowboard and my persistence turned into an Olympic gold medal at age 40. To think that 18 years after I started on this team, here I am still going, I would never have
imagined it. You’re never too late to take what you want from life.” When reﬂecting on receiving his gold medal, Baumgartner said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ It hits a little bit different when you’re standing there on the podium and listening to it being played because of something you did. It was a proud moment and very emotional for me.” That emotional celebration followed him back to the U.P. A born and bred Yooper, Baumgartner wasn’t surprised when crowds of local people welcomed him home from Beijing. “I know the people of the U.P., and I know Yoopers, and it didn’t surprise me at all that the celebration started so far away with people standing out on the side of the road hooting and hollering in the freezing cold weather, holding signs that they had made,” Baumgartner said. And when he says, “so far away,” he means it: His supporters began lining the route 60 miles from his hometown, where a community parade awaited him.
But even a 60-mile celebration couldn’t hold a candle to the welcome home from his 17-year-old son Landon. “Getting a gold medal is wonderful, but Landon is my greatest accomplishment. It has meant so much to me to be able to share this journey with him and to have him be proud of me,” Baumgartner said, his voice brimming with emotion. “That’s what really matters to me. I’ve been trying to show him through my whole career what it takes to be a champion, how you don’t give up on your dreams, and that you can accomplish anything. I think he learned those lessons along the way, but winning the gold medal deﬁnitely cemented those ideas for him.” Nick Baumgartner is a model of commitment and determination. Entering the elite atmosphere of gold medal athletes did not come easy. It took considerable work, endless training, and competing at countless events for many years, but he made it to the top. Michigan is not just proud to be the home of an Olympic gold medal winner, but incredibly proud to be the home of Nick Baumgartner.
FAST FACTS ABOUT NIC� BAUMGA�TNER
• This was his fourth time in the Olympics. He also competed in 2010, 2014, and 2018 (where he placed 4th). • He is an assistant coach on son Landon’s track team and will be the commencement speaker at Landon’s graduation ceremony. • When training, Nick lives out of a van four days a week with his dog Oakley to stay closer to his gym, which is 90 minutes from his home. • He played football at Northern Michigan University. • Nick built his own house. He is a union concrete worker. • No stranger to medals, Nick has also procured gold and silver in Snowboard Cross at the X Games. • He next plans to compete in the Snowboarding World Championships in 2023.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Alger Delta Co-op Electric Association as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source
Your co-op’s fuel mix
Regional average fuel mix
Solid Waste Incineration
NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas.
Alger Delta 2022 Summer Office Hours
Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix
Effective April 18 to Sept. 30, the summer office hours are Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Memorial Day and Fourth of July Office Closure Alger Delta will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 30, and Independence Day on Monday, July 4. To report a power outage, please call 800-562-0950.
Regional Average Fuel Mix
Access To Rules And Rates Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type of Emission/Waste
Oxides of Nitrogen
High-Level Nuclear Waste
*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21. Alger Delta purchases 100% of its electricity from WPPI Energy, which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
16 MAY 2022
Please be advised that the following information is available to Alger Delta Cooperative members: 1. Complete rate schedules; 2. Clear and concise explanation of all rates that the member may be eligible to receive; 3. Assistance from the cooperative in determining the most appropriate rate for a member when the member is eligible to receive service under more than one rate; 4. Clear and concise explanation of the member’s actual energy use for each billing period during the last 12 months. The information can be obtained by contacting Alger Delta Cooperative at 800-562-0950.
DO-IT-YOURSELF SAFETY TIPS Many of us are spending more time at home and finding new, creative ways to enhance our living space. Tackling do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for the home can be fun and cost-effective, so why not roll up those sleeves and get started! Whether you’re painting the front door with a fresh hue or finally upgrading those patio lights, successfully completing a DIY home project is incredibly satisfying. But many of these projects do not come without risks. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you get to work.
Start by selecting a designated work area.
The amount of space you’ll need will depend on the size and scope of your project, but make sure you have adequate lighting and ventilation (if necessary). Required tools and equipment should be located in your workspace and organized for easy access.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is your friend. We know you’re a pro, but investing a few bucks in PPE is essential for most home projects. Stock up on safety goggles, dust masks, earplugs (or noise reduction ear protectors), gloves, and any other kind of protection you’ll need for your project. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. (Ditch the sandals for this!)
Work slowly and clean as you go.
When you rush through a DIY project, you’ll likely end up with less desirable results than you intended, or worse, you could make a costly or dangerous mistake. Take your time and remember that you are in control of the project. It would be best if you also clean as you go to ensure a safer workspace. Pick up any scrap materials, tools that aren’t in use, and any tripping hazards.
Be cautious with power tools.
Annually, 8% of electrocutions in the U.S. are attributed to improper use of power tools. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following safety tips: • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) with every power tool to protect against electrical shock. • Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes. • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated. • If a power tool trips a safety device while in use, take the tool to a manufacturer-authorized repair center for service. • Do not use power tools without the proper guards. • When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electrical shock.
Remember, you should only tackle DIY home projects within your skill and comfort level. We strongly recommend you hire a licensed, qualified electrician for assistance for projects that require extensive electrical work.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
Floating Michigan Rivers By Julie Kate O’Brien, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member
he rivers of Michigan have danced through my soul since an early age. Bank ﬁshing, trolling, and canoeing was where I learned much about family love and respecting the Good Lord’s grace in nature. The joy of big brothers upstream and the upland bird dogs romping and resting on the river’s edge taught the daily practices of contentment, gratitude, faith, and joy, as well as praying and dancing with the Great Spirit. The AuSable and Manistee Rivers are home. There is nothing better than watching a dog weave the river’s edge, ﬂushing birds for hours, and then inﬂating our tube, ﬂoating back home, and dropping a line. Many lessons of life can be learned by watching anglers, rivers, and dogs, as well as those big brothers upstream. From age 7 to now age 70, big brothers have always been upstream watching over. Life’s successes and failures gain understanding because of family members just being on the river together. There appear to be three types of anglers on the rivers. The newbies, the locals, and the “don’t get it” crew, and on some rivers, we may fall into each category. The newbies are fun and often kindly referred to as “trunk slammers,” as they return to their vehicles frequently. They often have the newest ﬁshing gear and are still learning about the concept of effortless movement. The locals may live anywhere but have ﬁshed the same area for generations. They move gracefully and effortlessly and understand going with the ﬂow and the concept of catch and release on the river, as well as with life’s issues. The “don’t get it” crew is trying so hard that they don’t succeed much. They often share their frustration with others. Their movement reﬂects impatience. Setting healthy boundaries in life and respecting other people’s differences are two lessons learned on a river. So ﬂoat, ﬁsh, canoe, grow old with your big brothers upstream, or just watch the rivers of Michigan ... experience the beauty of any season of life on the river banks and ﬁnd the peace that nature brings.
Win a $50 energy bill credit!
Photo is from south M-72 bridge on the Manistee
Julie is retired from Otsego Memorial Hospital. She enjoys hiking and watching sports on TV (Go Green! Go White!). She loves shooting pool and having grilled ham and cheese at Tony Deckers in Oscoda.
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 to the left by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. March 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Lisa Brodeur, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identiﬁed the photo as The Tridge in downtown Midland. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/ December.
Add a Well-Connect to your Existing Furnace TODAY.
Cool (and heat) for half with your well.
Add a Well-Connect for $0 down and as little as $80/month.
Typical heating cost savings over $100/month. Air conditions for pennies a day. Well-Connect pays for itself.
LOW COST COOLING Air-condition and dehumidify your home for pennies a day. Say goodbye to box fans and noisy window or outdoor units.
LOW COST HEATING
PREDICTABLE ENERGY COSTS
Heat your home for an estimated 50%-70% less than propane, fuel oil, electric or eliminate the need to burn wood.
Stop worrying about rising energy costs. Instead, install a Well-Connect in a day and reduce your energy costs tomorrow.
Well-Connect™ is a water source heat pump designed to provide efficient heating and cooling all year long. It is designed for rural homes that have a well and where either propane, fuel oil, electric resistance or wood is used as the heating source. Well-Connect is ideal for use in rural areas to deliver clean, economical heating and cooling. It works with an existing furnace, it does not replace it, and greatly reduces the expense associated with burning fossil fuels and keeps the up-front cost of the system as low possible.
wellconnectgeo.com (989) 356-2113
Geothermal Made Affordable
Join us on June 15
Attend Your Co-op’s
ANNUAL MEETING Wednesday, June 15, 5 p.m. Island Resort and Casino W 399 U.S. 2 & 41, Harris, MI 49845
Register online at algerdelta.com. Alger Delta is treating you to a delicious dinner, prizes, and a special guest speaker. There is a two-person per membership limit. Reservations can be made online at algerdelta.com. Reservations will be accepted from May 9–May 30. The business meeting is an important part of our Annual Meeting as we introduce you to newly elected directors, talk about the cooperative’s past performance and future expectations, and more. So, mark Wednesday, June 15, on your calendar and plan to have a wonderful time!