May 2022 Great Lakes

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May 2022


COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative

K C NI GAR M U A B Pump Up The Rebates With Energy Wise

Get The Most From Your GLE Online Account Community Grant Giveaway

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Not seeing is believing.

Almost every backyard has a shrine to cold air. It’s called an a/c unit. WaterFurnace will help you take back that space. Air conditioners are unsightly and often located in the worst places. They’re vulnerable to the elements and can become home for small critters. But with geothermal, you won’t have an outside unit or any of these problems. So, reclaim your backyard. Plant some flowers and enjoy the unseen beauty that is WaterFurnace. Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691

Bad Axe/Ubly Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating

Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeo Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890

The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000



May 2022 Vol. 42, No. 5



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


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


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.

Be featured!

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

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit!

Up Next: Pasta Salads, due July 1 Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.


3 /greatlakesenergy /jointruestream BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Robert Kran, Chairman, District 6 231-464-5889

Howard Bowersox, Vice Chairman, District 8 219-670-0977 John LaForge, Secretary, District 9 269-623-2284 Dale Farrier, Treasurer, District 5 231-564-0853 Paul Byl, Director, District 7 231-861-5911

Mark Carson, Director, District 2 231-675-0561

David Coveyou, Director, District 1 231-347-4056 Richard Evans, Director, District 3 231-883-3146

Shelly Pinkelman, Director, District 4 989-390-6222 PRESIDENT/CEO: Shaun Lamp 888-485-2537 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Brett Streby 231-487-1389 • BOYNE CITY HEADQUARTERS 1323 Boyne Ave. Boyne City, MI 49712

Hours: 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: TO REPORT AN OUTAGE: Call 888-485-2537 or login to your account at Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Correction: Last month, we announced three GLE Board of Director seats were up for re-election respectively in districts 6, 8, and 9. Unfortunately, Newaygo County was not listed within district 8. We apologize for the oversight. District 8 is comprised of Clare, Mecosta, Newaygo, and Osceola counties. 4 MAY 2022

Cost-of-Service Study Underway

New Rate Structures Anticipated in 2023 n our mission to deliver reliable electric service at the best possible value for our members, we are reviewing current rates to ensure that we sustainably provide our services in today’s climate.


The world has changed considerably since 2018. The pandemic has shaped our lives and the cost of living in many unforeseen ways. The inflation that would normally occur has been disproportionally magnified in recent years. Standard equipment and materials, such as copper wire, have more than doubled in cost from what they were just five years prior. Approximately every five years, we turn to independent industry experts for a cost-of-service study to review and align rate structures. As a not-for-profit cooperative with cost-based rates, we analyze the impact each rate class has on our business and then work to ensure we structure rates so that each rate class is covering their costs and not subsidizing other members. The study will provide direction when reviewing all rate classes (residential, seasonal, commercial, industrial, etc.) and will ensure the cost of providing safe and reliable service is as fair as possible for all members. The new study will conclude this summer and be shared with your

GLE board of directors. If the results suggest a need for rate adjustments, the board of directors will consider the proposed rates at a meeting open to members. Despite the recent cost pressures, we continue to maintain a robust right-ofway management program that helps reduce the number of outages caused by trees. When severe weather strikes and outages occur across our entire service area, lineworkers can restore electricity more efficiently due to the aid of advanced meters and fault indicators that help pinpoint the cause of disruption. High quality-of-service benefits such as these are why GLE has consistently exceeded performance standards for outage restoration each year. Our programs eliminate major sources of outages and increase service reliability, resulting in fewer and shorter service disruptions. If the cost-of-service study conducted by our rate consulting firm shows that rate adjustments are required, members can expect the same fair and sustainable consideration that has been demonstrated in the past. As a member-owned cooperative, our goal is to target the lowest cost possible without sacrificing quality and reliability. These measures for success are part of what makes cooperatives so great.

Electric industry inflation SINCE 2017 Crossarms increased by 21%

Bucket trucks costs grew by 28%

Copper wire spiked by 104%

32% increase for overhead transformers

88% increase for

Underground cable increased 49%

overhead conductor

We’re Looking Out For Our Members Shaun Lamp, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO


s a member-owned cooperative, each decision at Great Lakes Energy is made through the lens of our members’ perspectives. We are always looking for ways to help, from safety suggestions to savings or added convenience opportunities. With May being National Electrical Safety Month, it marks another opportunity for us to provide helpful information to ensure your home is safe and sound. It can be easy to slip into complacency with less-than-ideal safety conditions, so below is a best practices list for home electrical safety that we like to share each May. Use this list to reflect on your electric use at home. You may find some opportunities for improvement. Everywhere we look, costs are increasing. Price increases are a common theme, whether at the gas pump or the grocery store. Great Lakes Energy is not immune to rising costs, and they are impacting the way we do business. To ensure we navigate this changing climate with the best interest of our members in mind, we partnered with a thirdparty utility rate consulting firm to review our existing rate structures and have begun assessing the current cost-ofservice model in use at GLE. These rate structures, which were last updated in 2018, are designed to ensure we maintain a fair balance for our members while factoring in

the sustainability and reliability of the services we provide. More information on how this will affect members will be shared in the coming months. Last month, we unveiled our new Energy Wise program, which serves as a great means for home improvement through energy efficiency for our members. If you have aging appliances or an inefficient HVAC system, visit to get a sense of the rebate incentives available to you. They may help spur your next home project and some significant savings. To further the opportunity for savings, but without the cost of a purchase, we provide a handful of helpful services through our online account portal. You can monitor your weekly electric consumption, set up alerts for high or low usage, sign up for AutoPay or Budget Billing, enroll in the People Fund, or report an outage. We also provide most of these services through a mobile app available on Apple and Android devices. You can sign up for and access your account at More information for these examples can be found throughout this edition of Michigan Country Lines. We are looking out for you, from safety and efficiency to value and convenience.

Electrical Safety Checklist X

Use a smart plug or power strip to turn off the power when devices are not in use.


Never yank an electrical cord from the wall.


Surge protectors offer protection from damaging power surges that can destroy electrical equipment.


Avoid overloading outlets and never use extension cords as permanent outlets.


Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.


If outlets or switches feel warm and you’re having problems with blowing fuses, tripped circuits, or flickering lights, call your local electrician.


For households with small children, implement safety caps for all unused outlets.


Be sure to place lamps on level surfaces and away from things that can burn.


Never use electrical equipment near water.


Never place anything that burns near a furnace, water heater, space heater, or stove.



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.”


MAY 2022

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 7850 14 Mile Road, NE Cedar Springs, MI 49319 616-863-3337






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: nobarriers

*Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.

8 MAY 2022

Digging into an Outdoor Project?

Before you dig, dial 811 or visit to protect underground utilities. Careless digging poses a threat to people, pipelines, and underground facilities. Contact 811 first and help keep our community safe.




Plants and Flowers 1. 1956 John Deere before and after restoration. Shelia Davis, Charlevoix 2. 1970 VW Crew Cab. Chris Atwater, Shelby 3. The first Charger, 1966. Debra Haineault, Mears 4. Red hot mama. Beth Fiedor, Baldwin 5. Sun down. Mark Dershem, Montague 6. 1947 Knucklehead. David Schenki, Johannesburg







4 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Submit Your “Ice Cream” Photos By May 20!

Each month, members can submit photos on our website for our photo contest. The photo with the most votes is published here along with other selections. Our May theme is Ice Cream. Photos can be submitted by May 20 to be featured in the July/August issue.

How To Enter: Enter the contest at Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2022 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2022.



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


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)



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, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

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

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


Feeding crEATivity hen Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” he probably wasn’t talking about washing away COVID-19 germs. But when the pandemic hit in March of 2020, many arts programs that offer the soul cleansing Picasso was talking about— along with many other facets of life— were put on hold.


Because of this, in January of 2021, the Ludington Area Center for the Arts started looking for a way to offer people in the community some access to the arts. “We were trying to think of how we could promote the arts and get art supplies into the hands of people who didn’t have the disposable income to buy them,” the organization’s executive director, Andrew Skinner, said. The idea they came up with, “crEATivity kits,” includes all the tools and supplies needed for an art project, step-by-step directions, information on the project’s style of artwork, and an applesauce snack. Organizers also had to figure out how to distribute the kits. That’s when the notion of simultaneously feeding the body and the artistic soul led them to the Lakeshore Food Club.

12 MAY 2022

Lakeshore Food Club is a nonprofit grocery store offering a wide range of food options for low-income families. Using points based on household size, members select food as often or as seldom as they choose during their 30-day membership. The center also identified the Ludington branch of the Mason County District Library as another distribution point. The kits were first distributed through these pickup locations in April 2021. A few days before each month’s distribution, a small group of volunteers gather at the arts center to pack 200 kits. The kits are then distributed among the food club and library, and 20 are kept for pickup at the art center. Although the organizers originally envisioned that children would be the primary users of the kits, Skinner said many senior citizens and other adults have been enjoying them as well. “There’s enough wiggle room in the projects where they’ll work for kids and adults,” Skinner said. Most content for the kits comes from projects on the website Art Connects

Kids, which is the work of the students at the University of Michigan. Projects in the crEATivity kits have ranged among watercolor paintings, drawings, flexible wire sculpture, colored pencil, paper mache, punch needle, abstract painting, and others. In 2021, the crEATivity art kit project received a $3,000 People Fund grant. Skinner said the grant, along with contributions from other organizations, was key in getting the program off the ground. Originally planned for a year, Skinner said the center has enough money remaining to continue the program for the foreseeable future. He said the kits have been a source of joy for people during recent difficult times. “Art is very beneficial to everybody,” Skinner said. “I tend to believe everyone is an artist in some sense. Creating things helps people escape.”

Searching high and low for convenience? From AutoPay and Budget Billing to outage reporting and enrollment in the People Fund, your GLE online account is a convenient resource available to all Great Lakes Energy members. By utilizing your online account to better monitor energy consumption, you can adjust usage in real time and ensure there are no surprises when your monthly electric bill arrives. Perhaps one of the best options for “staying in the know” is setting up high- and low-usage alerts. In just a few simple steps, you can secure a little peace of mind and take greater control of your energy usage today.

Set up your usage alert in 7 simple steps

1. Register for, or log in to, your GLE online account at

4. F rom the Manage Notifications menu, select the Usage dropdown and click the Options button.

2. Review your energy consumption history by clicking the My Usage tab and selecting the Average usage option.

5. Select the appropriate Account Number and Meter ID from the dropdowns.

6. Enter the daily and hourly usage thresholds you wish to set to trigger an email alert.

7. C lick the Save Subscription button.

Bonus tip! To add multiple email and SMS 3. With your high- and low-usage averages noted, click the Notifications tab.

accounts for your alerts, visit Manage Contacts from the Notifications tab.



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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.


• 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.



Access To Rules And Rates

Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Great Lakes Energy Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21.

Please be advised that the following information is available to Great Lakes Energy members:

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source

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 visiting or contacting Great Lakes Energy at 1-888-485-2537.


Your co-op’s fuel mix

Regional average fuel mix















Renewable Fuels











Solid Waste Incineration

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type of emission/waste

Your co-op

Regional average*


Sulfur Dioxide





Carbon Dioxide






Oxides of Nitrogen








NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.

High-Level Nuclear Waste

* Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21. Great Lakes Energy purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.

COOL DOWN WITH A NEW HEAT PUMP Heat pumps do more than heat—they cool your home, too! Energy-efficient air-source or ground-source heat pumps are up to 400% MORE efficient than a regular heating and cooling system. With Energy Wise incentives from Great Lakes Energy, you’ll get up to $2,500 cash back depending on what type of system you choose. Plus, receive another $500 incentive if you need to upgrade your electric panel. Make smarter choices with Energy Wise.

Call 888-476-9534 or visit today!

Regional Average Fuel Mix

Incentives and offers subject to change or cancellation at anytime. Offer available to qualified members.

Pump Up The Rebates

quick glance at the calendar offers some reasons to celebrate: It’s May! We made it through another cold winter. Spring is here, and summer—with its warm, sometimes hot, weather—is on the way.


So, why would now be a good time to consider installing something called a “heat pump” in your house? Depending on where in Great Lakes Energy’s 26-county service area you live, summer can come with some pretty hot weather. The last thing you’d want to think about during an oppressive summer heatwave is pumping heat into your house. That’s when you want to think about the cool comfort of air conditioning. A heat pump and air conditioning are essentially the same thing despite their names. Most people equate “air conditioning” with cooling a space. But another way to think of it is “air modifying.” That is, changing and maintaining the temperature of a space to make it more comfortable. During cold weather, that means making it warmer inside than outside, and it’s the other way around during hot weather.

You probably already have a heat pump in your house in the form of a refrigerator or air conditioner. Have you ever felt the air coming from under a refrigerator or outside from a window air conditioner? It’s warm, right? Basically, both of those appliances take heat from inside the refrigerator or house and move it to the outside. That’s all a heat pump is: an oversized air conditioner that can be reversed during cold weather to extract heat from the outside air and pump it inside. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by 30–60% compared to typical electricresistance heating. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in the summer months. That’s good news for your wallet and the environment.

May is also National Electrical Safety Month. One way to improve your home’s electrical safety might be to upgrade your home’s electrical service panel. Fortunately, the Energy Wise program also offers a $500 rebate for members who increase their service panel capacity, add a subpanel, or increase service capacity to their home in connection to another qualifying measure such as a heat pump, heat pump water heater, or electric vehicle. For more information about rebates offered for heat pump systems (and many other products) through GLE’s Energy Wise program, visit The site provides information on the various rebates available and allows members to fill out the forms they need and submit them when completed. Information and forms may also be obtained by calling (888) 485-2537.

Thanks to GLE’s new Energy Wise program, members who install a new qualifying heat pump system are eligible for a rebate ranging from $900 to $2,500. Rebates are also available for heat pump water heaters.


Guest Column

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.

WIN $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at 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.



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. (989) 356-2113

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NOMINATE A NONPROFIT FOR A GRANT Is there a nonprofit organization in your region that truly shines? A group that seeks to improve the area or make a positive impact through its efforts? Nominate them for consideration of a $7,000 grant.

Great Lakes Energy has teamed up with CoBank, one of its lenders, to create a positive impact in your community by awarding three $7,000 grants to local nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Through May 20, GLE members are asked to submit the names of nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations to be considered in their region. Once the nomination period is over, GLE members will once again be called upon to place their votes and ultimately determine each recipient of the North, Central, and South region grants.



ONLINE VOTING June 6–June 17


All nominations and voting will take place on the Great Lakes Energy website. In just a few brief minutes, your input can help steer this program to benefit your friends, neighbors, and community. Visit for program rules and to take part in the process and help make a positive impact in your community.