May 2023 Alger Delta

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America’s Only NICKEL MINE IS IN THE UPPER PENINSULA COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association May/June 2023 MICHIGAN Register For The Annual Meeting On June 28 Cooperative Works With DNR To Provide Nesting Platform For Ospreys Homegrown Sweethearts

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Great Lakes: up to $3000

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Alger Delta: up to $2000

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Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


Emily Haines Lloyd

PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933.

Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors.

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill, HomeWorks TriCounty Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.


201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933


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.

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner

For more than 40 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information. Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about co-op 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 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 $4.15 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 52 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome your comments at


Instagram contest winner

Weathered and wonderful @lexannrebecca

(LexAnn De Weerd)


An unconventional, but life-changing, retreat helps women fish their way toward healing from breast cancer.

10 MY CO-OP KITCHEN Breakfast for Dinner: Change up your routine and delight your taste buds.


From stainless steel to EVs, Eagle Mine meets the ever-rising demand for nickel—in a sustainable and responsible way.


Reflections on Our Pond: A GLE member recalls how a tiny body of water had a huge impact on her family.

MI Co-op Community

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

Instagram Contest

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. Win $100 for photos published!

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Chocolate due July 1. Win a $100 bill credit!

Guest Column

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit to submit. Win $200 for stories published!

Mystery Photo

See details on page 18. Win a $100 bill credit!

Contents May 2023 Vol. 43, No. 5 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines



District 1—Big Bay

Darryl Small

906-345-9369 •

District 2—Harvey/Deerton

Karen Alholm

906-249-1095 •

District 3—Grand Marais

Mike Lawless

906-287-0007 •

District 4—Cedar River/Palestine

Bill Wotruba 414-507-9787 •

District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell/Harris

Steve Wery

906-295-1255 •

District 6—Nathan/White Rapids

Jesse Betters

715-923-4946 •

District 7—Stonington/Rapid River

Kirk Bruno

906-399-1432 •

District 8—Nahma/Isabella

Don Johnson

906-280-0867 •

District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge

Stephen Dausey

906-202-3899 •


Mike Furmanski


426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837

906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950

Fax: 906-428-3840 •


Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–5 p.m. (EST)


Annual Meeting, Possible Rate Change Among Many Things Going on at Co-opt is a tradition here at Alger Delta to host an Annual Meeting. The 2023 Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 28, at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Michigan.

The Annual Meeting is a special time for co-op members to gather, share experiences, and hear from co-op leadership. We will start the meeting with an hour for socializing with your fellow co-op members, followed by a dinner. The agenda will include the approval of the minutes from the 2022 Annual Meeting and the seating of the three directors who were elected this year. We will also recognize two scholarship winners for this year. There will be an update on cooperative operations for the past year, with time allotted for questions. The evening will conclude with a guest speaker and prize drawings.

As I mentioned in my November/December 2022 column, we continue to look at rates. One of our lenders performs cost of service and rate studies as a service to their customers. This lender is working on a cost of service and rate study for us as I write this. Preliminary feedback has indicated that we will need to institute a rate increase. Part of the rate design will likely focus again on reducing the subsidization and cross-subsidization amongst members. The study performed by WPPI Energy last year suggested changes to increase the service charge and reduce the energy charge. Changes were made to accomplish one-third of what was recommended so as to work these changes in gradually. I would expect similar recommendations to come from this study. I would also expect a similar implementation of changes. I think it’s important to remind everyone that base rates have not been increased at Alger Delta in over 10 years.

Alger Delta Policy #229 states that the cooperative shall give at least 10 days’ notice to all members of the time and place of any meeting of the board at which an increase in rates affecting at least 5% of the members or substantive changes in billing practices and service rules or terms and conditions of service are to be discussed and voted on. We will be discussing rates at the May 17, 2023, meeting, which will be held at the Delta Chamber of Commerce located at 1001 N. Lincoln Road in Escanaba. This meeting will start at 1 p.m., and anyone in attendance will be given the opportunity to speak.

1 2 9 7 5 4 6 8 3

4 MAY 2023

Special Board Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday, May 17, at 1 p.m.

Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
By Mike Furmanski, General Manager
Per Policy 229, section C, the Alger Delta Board of Directors will be discussing a possible rate change at its May 17, 2023, regular board meeting. This meeting will be held at 1 p.m. at the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, 1001 North Lincoln Road, Escanaba, Michigan. The public is welcome to attend this important meeting. For further information, please visit

Meet Your New Directors

Steve Dausey

Steve Dausey of Lost Lake, Wetmore, is the new director for District 9— Hiawatha/Maple Ridge. He has been appointed to the position left vacant by the recent resignation of longtime board member Doug Bovin.

Steve has been a lifelong resident of Alger County, employed by the City of Munising in the Public Works Department for over 28 years, and a member of Alger Delta Electric Co-op for 20 years. Formerly a volunteer firefighter for the Munising City Fire Department for 22 years, he now serves as a volunteer for both the Munising Township Fire Department and the Tri-County Fire Department.

Serving his community means a great deal to Steve, and he is very thankful for this opportunity. “I am eager to serve the members of District 9 as best I can and to help continue the great working relationship between management and team. In replacing Mr. Bovin, I know that I have large shoes to fill and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Steve.

Bill Wotruba

As an appointed director for District 4—Cedarville and Palatine, Bill Wotruba hopes to earn your trust and support once this term expires. “I believe I can make significant contributions to the excellent knowledge base that already exists within the Alger Delta Cooperative Board of Directors. I grew up on a farm near Carney, I’ve lived in major cities, and I choose to live in Cedar River,” said Bill.

His experience comes from over 30 years in the application of technology to drive industrial innovation. Bill was a partner in an engineering firm for a time, and director of marketing and sales for a multinational corporation, responsible for the Western Hemisphere. He has experience in helping many varied organizations apply technology to maintain their viability into the future.

“I envision my role on the board as questioning assumptions and the use of data-driven analysis to maintain the highest levels of reliability and service at the lowest possible cost,” said Bill.


Alger Delta’s 84th Annual Meeting is Wednesday, June 28, 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 Reservations will be accepted from May 8 to June 8.

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 28, on your calendar, and plan to have a wonderful time!

online at for the ANNUAL MEETING—JUNE 28

Casting for Recovery Michigan

An unconventional, but life-changing, retreat helps women fish their way toward healing from breast cancer

In late August, 14 women who have been afflicted with breast cancer will gather at the beautiful Barothy Lodge in Walhalla, Michigan, on the Pere Marquette River for a weekend of camaraderie, discussion, medical and psychological guidance, and, surprisingly enough, fly fishing. It’s all part of a Casting for Recovery (CfR) retreat, where participants get a few days to set aside worries about their diagnosis, doctor appointments, and fear of the future, and come away from their respite equipped with powerful tools that enable them to face challenges moving forward.

Casting for Recovery is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1996 in Vermont. It was created by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher, with the idea to take the healing power of nature and combine it with the casting motions of fly fishing. These motions closely mimic those that are prescribed to breast cancer patients after radiation or surgery to help them increase mobility in the arms and upper body.

Karen O’Briant, the co-coordinator of the CfR Michigan program, and a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, came upon the organization in an unfortunate manner—she

was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. “Normally, when you go through chemo, you can take someone with you for support,” she said. “But I had to go through it by myself.” O’Briant, who said she was not big on support groups at the time, found herself looking for some comfort. One day in her surgeon’s office, she was discussing her hobby of fly fishing with a nurse, and the nurse told her there was a group that offered a fly fishing retreat for breast cancer patients. After investigating and discovering CfR, O’Briant applied for the 2021 retreat and got in as an alternate. The experience meant so much to her that she jumped at the chance to work for the organization, where she now helps arrange and fundraise for the annual retreat.

CfR retreats run for two and a half days. They are totally free for the women in attendance, who are chosen through a drawing of applicant names, and all of the fishing equipment, food, and lodging is provided. The guided fly fishing excursion occurs on the last day of the retreat. In preparation for that, the women learn about things like tying fishing knots, casting, bugs they’ll find on the water, the flow of the river, etc. When not in educational sessions, the women participate in discussions with each other and

6 MAY 2023

the volunteer medical and psychological facilitators. The conversations help in two ways—the women get to talk about their own experiences and feel the catharsis that comes with opening up, while also benefitting from hearing the stories of people who are going through the same thing they are. Reflecting on her own experience, O’Briant said, “We all laughed and cried. I hadn’t really been able to talk to others about it because they didn’t understand. The emotions you go through are healing, and you can find inspiration and hope from the other women. I’ve made lifelong friends.” After two days of learning, talking, and eating the meals provided by the Pere Marquette Bistro in Reed City—which O’Briant says is amazing—the women are ready to hit the river. Each participant pairs up with one of the volunteer river helpers, who are all experienced anglers, and the groups are assigned to particular stations (with accommodations given to those who need them). Whether they catch anything or not, the experience is transformative. “It’s so tranquil just being there and listening to the water,” O’Briant said. The day concludes with a lunch and a graduation ceremony, where women take pictures with their helpers, and receive a certificate and a lanyard.

CfR is still accepting applications for this year’s retreat. O’Briant said she strongly recommends that you apply if you are a woman who has or has had breast cancer. “There is no experience like it,” she said. “It totally changed my outlook on cancer and treatments, and it gave me hope for the future.”


• Retreats are appropriate for women in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are open to women of all ages.

• There are 40+ retreats nationwide, and CfR has inspired similar programs in six countries outside the U.S.

• To date, CfR has helped over 10,000 women with breast cancer.

CfR relies on the support of more than 1,800 volunteers nationwide, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors, and alumnae. It also relies heavily on fundraising. If you would like to donate money or your time, visit and click on “Ways to Help.”

Support the Michigan program by directing your donation to the secure online form at and choose Michigan or use this QR code.

“ We all laughed and cried. I hadn’t really been able to talk to others about it because they didn’t understand. The emotions you go through are healing, and you can find inspiration and hope from the other women. I’ve made lifelong friends.”

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 12/31/22.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used

NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas.

Alger Delta 2023 Summer Office Hours

Effective April 10 to September 22, 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 29, and Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4. To report a power outage, please call 800-562-0950.

Emissions And Waste Comparison

*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/22.

Alger Delta purchases 100% of its electricity from WPPI Energy, which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.

Access To Rules And Rates

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.

Type of Emission/Waste lbs/MWh Your Co-op Regional Average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.38 7.6 Carbon Dioxide 1,064 2,170 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.50 2.0 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0.0014 0.0083 Fuel source Your co-op’s fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 39.9% 60.4% Oil 0.0% 0.7% Gas 25.4% 8.9% Hydroelectric 1.5% 0.5% Nuclear 23.3% 24.6% Renewable Fuels 9.9% 4.9% Biofuel 0.00% 0.7% Biomass 0.19% 0.4% Solar 2.71% 0.1% Solid Waste Incineration 0.11% 0.0% Wind 6.91% 3.2% Wood 0.02% 0.5% Regional Average Fuel Mix Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix
8 MAY 2023


Submit a photo & win a $50 energy bill credit!

Submit Your Photos & Win A Bill Credit!

Alger Delta members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines during 2023 will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 energy bill credit on their December 2023 bills!

Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines:

Camping, due May 20 (July/August issue)

Porches, due July 20 (Sept./Oct. issue)

Celebrations, due Sept. 20 (Nov./Dec. issue)

To submit photos, go to We look forward to seeing your best photos!



7 8 3 6 1 2
1. Quick ride to the store. Scott Gouin 2. Save the planet; ride a bike. Linda Baker 3. Rain, shine, or snow! Kendall Fladung 4. Vintage Schwinn with torpedo light. Connie Tingley 5. You know it’s a good day when your bike is sporting a smile! Deborah Inman 6. A rack of bicycles on Mackinac Island. Connie Lindstrom Happy trails! Sara Kamerschen Noah set for his first ride! Diane Lang


Fun to eat morning and night.

Recipe Contest

Win a $100 energy bill credit!

Chocolate recipes due July 1

Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 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


Ann Utter, Presque Isle

1 pound mild pork sausage (or substitute w/ small cubes of cooked ham)

12 eggs

2 cups (16 ounces) small curd cottage cheese

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterey

Jack cheese (or pepper jack cheese)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free)

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, optional

¾ cup onion, finely chopped

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained

• grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage (if using) until no longer pink; drain. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cheeses, flour, butter, and baking powder. Stir in mushrooms, onion, chilies, and sausage (or ham). Transfer to two greased 9-inch round baking dishes (dishes will be quite full). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes two quiches (6–8 servings each). Divide recipe ingredients in half to make one quiche.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

|| Recipes submitted by MCL readers and tested by recipe editor Christin McKamey MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography
10 MAY 2023


Janet Cather, Midwest Energy

1 pound ground pork, browned (I use chorizo, but you can use plain/ Italian too)

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheddar cheese, divided

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas (I use whole wheat)

6 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup unsweetened milk of choice (I use unsweetened soy milk)

1 tablespoon flour

• favorite jarred salsa

• diced green onions, for topping, optional

Optional Serving Sides:

• sour cream

• hash browns/tater tots

• Mexican street corn

• additional salsa

Spray 9x13 metal pan with cooking spray (if using glass, cooking time may vary).

Combine browned sausage with 1 cup cheese and diced green chiles. Place ¹⁄ 8

(around ½ cup+) of the mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. In another large bowl, whisk/beat the eggs, heavy cream, milk, and flour (note: it’s best to first shake the flour with a portion of the milk in a small lidded container, around 4 ounces, to ensure the flour is blended in). Pour egg mixture evenly over the tortillas in the pan. Cover the dish and place in fridge for 6+ hours (this allows the tortillas time to absorb the egg mixture and prevent it from being too runny). Preheat the oven to 350 F when ready to bake. Remove cover from the dish and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over the tortillas. Bake covered with foil for 40–45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10–15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and spread as much salsa as you want on top of the tortillas. You can add the diced green onions at this point too. Serve with remaining salsa along with any other chosen sides. Enjoy! Note: I prep this recipe around 10 a.m. for a 7 p.m. dinner. Or, you can prep the night before for a hearty breakfast.


Deanne Quain, Great Lakes Energy

1 (13.8-ounce) tube refrigerated pizza crust

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

6–8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Unroll and press dough onto the bottom and ½ inch up

the sides of a 15x10x1-inch pan. Prick thoroughly with a fork, then brush with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until lightly browned, 7–8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg and water. In a nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggs and scramble over medium heat until thickened, slowly moving the eggs around until softly scrambled and fluffy. Spoon over crust and sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5–7 minutes.


Jack Schonert, Great Lakes Energy

1 pound bacon, divided

1 pound ground sausage, divided

1 (8-count) can biscuits

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups grated cheese, divided

6 eggs

3¹⁄ ³ cups milk, divided

¹⁄ 8 teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup flour

¹⁄ 8 -¼ teaspoon salt

¹⁄ 8 -¼ teaspoon black pepper

• Optional: mushrooms, diced red or green bell pepper, red pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F. Fry the bacon and sausage; drain grease. Cut or crumble the

bacon into pieces and place both together back into a big frying pan or saucepan. Grease sides and bottom of 9x13 pan. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in bottom of the pan. Layer a quarter of both the bacon and sausage over the biscuits; sprinkle with onion and 1 cup cheese. Whisk eggs in a bowl; stir in ¹⁄ ³ cup milk and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the biscuits. To the remaining ¾ of sausage and bacon, add flour, salt, and pepper (and optional ingredients), and remaining 3 cups milk. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened. Pour over biscuits and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.


Cooperative Project in Delta County Provides New Nesting Platform for Ospreys

heavily used nesting platform on land owned by Smith & Sons Lumber Co. of Rapid River.

Nest site fidelity

Ospreys have been nesting near the mouth of the three rivers in southern Delta County for more than three decades.

The Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association first erected an osprey nesting platform there 30 years ago. At that time, ospreys had been nesting atop an old smokestack set to be torn down due to decay and safety concerns.

The smokestack was part of an old sawmill that once stood just southeast of Smith & Sons Lumber Co.

Ospreys typically build their nests in sites such as cliff ledges, trees, cacti, and various human constructs, including cellphone towers and duck blinds.

n a frozen and snow-covered marsh in Delta County, electrical workers move a specialized pole into place, firmly in the ground, allowing it to stand.

At the top of the 30-foot pole, a square, metal platform has been fashioned with matching attached arms at the corners that extend nearly three feet off the side.

To finish their installation project, the workers decorate the platform with dead sticks in hopes of attracting ospreys in the weeks to come. Ospreys were once one of Michigan’s threatened birds of prey.

This nesting site in Masonville Township is situated near a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boating access site in an area where the Rapid, Whitefish, and Tacoosh rivers empty into Lake Michigan at Little Bay de Noc.

The location offers great hunting habitat for ospreys, which are the only hawk species in North America that feeds almost exclusively on live fish.

These remarkable birds, which capture fish by plunging into the water feet first, are often recognized by the elbow bend in their wings, which gives ospreys an M-shaped appearance in flight.

Additional identification cues for these birds, nicknamed “fish hawk,” “river hawk,” or “sea hawk,” include dark patches under the wings and a brown stripe extending across the bird’s face. The wingspan of ospreys can measure almost six feet.

The recent osprey nest platform installation project, which was completed by wildlife technicians from the DNR and U.S. Department of Agriculture and linemen from the Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, replaced a worn and


“The new nest put up on March 1 was put up in a slightly different location to avoid nest disturbance from vehicles and equipment,” said Colter Lubben, a DNR wildlife technician at Escanaba. “The new location is within 300 yards from where the old nest was located and still offers great viewing from the access road, as well as the boat launch parking lot.”

From online streaming to in-person encounters, osprey wildlife viewing is very popular, especially in association with nesting platforms.

The new location for the nesting platform in Rapid River offers additional benefits.

“This nest is in prime habitat for nesting ospreys,” Lubben said. “The nest is in a large opening away from any large buildings or trees

An osprey is shown sitting in its nest on the old nesting platform near the mouth of the Rapid River in Delta County. (Photo courtesy of Carol Schiltz)
12 MAY 2023

to decrease the likelihood of nest predation by other birds.”

The male osprey typically selects the nesting site. He collects dead sticks for the nest or breaks dead limbs off trees. The female does the nest building. Nesting pairs usually produce two to three chicks.

“Alger Delta’s mission statement is: ‘Working together we provide safe, reliable, efficient energy,’” said Alger Delta Office Manager Shannon Priebe. “By assisting the DNR with the osprey nest, we are providing a safe place for them to nest away from our powerlines and thus helping maintain our (service) reliability for communities.”

Alger Delta Linemen Jon Conger and Justin Gieszer and Apprentice Lineman Riley Corrigan put up the new platform.

Lubben, DNR Wildlife Biologist Joe Sage, and United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Technician Kyle McGillviray built the new platform based on plans available from the International Osprey Foundation (TIOF). The arm extension from the platform provides a perch for the birds.

The cooperative project is one of many across the state, nation, and elsewhere to provide suitable nesting locations for ospreys. In some places, human-made nesting platforms provide nearly all osprey nesting sites. Ospreys are found on every continent except Antarctica.

“As more natural tree snags are lost to severe weather events,

constructing these platforms has become more important than ever,” according to the International Osprey Foundation website.

Trouble and recovery on the home front

In decades past, ospreys were among the many bird species that were adversely affected by the widespread use of now-banned pesticides. Birds of prey were especially vulnerable to these impacts and suffered large population declines.

“In the 1960s and 1970s, scientists found the pesticide DDT was biomagnifying, becoming concentrated in ospreys and other fish-eating birds, and causing females to lay eggs so fragile that they cracked under the parents’ weight,” the U.S. Geological Survey stated in a 2016 report on an osprey study done on the Chesapeake Bay. “The bay’s osprey population fell to fewer than 1,500 pairs before DDT was banned in U.S. in 1972. In 1979, Congress also banned PCBs, which can cause reproductive failure in animals. PBDEs, which were introduced as replacements for PCBs, are being phased out because of concerns about potential toxicity.”

Since these pesticides were banned, ospreys, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and many other species have exhibited dramatic recoveries.

A threatened species across the country, ospreys had recovered sufficiently enough to be removed

from the threatened species list in Michigan in 2009.

The International Osprey Foundation was founded on Sanibel Island, Florida, in 1981 on the founding principle of the protection and preservation of ospreys worldwide.

“To that end, TIOF strives to educate the world community and offer research grants on raptor-related projects internationally. TIOF also recruits and coordinates teams of volunteers who build and maintain osprey nesting platforms and monitor osprey nests locally during the breeding season,” according to the foundation’s website. “The information gathered provides research data to Osprey Watch, a central database for osprey research.”

Twenty-three countries from five continents are represented in the membership of the foundation.

The DNR is grateful to its partners in the Delta County nesting platform project in Rapid River that will continue to help ospreys and provide enjoyment to those who love to watch them.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use, and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

A work site is shown in Delta County after a new osprey nesting platform has been erected. A closer view of the osprey nesting platform before installation.


Not many business models begin with an ending in mind. But that’s how Eagle Mine in western Marquette County started its business activity.

“With the last 10 years or so, that’s what sustainable mining means,” said External Communications Manager Matt Johnson of Lundin Mining Co., which owns Eagle Mine. “You design a mine for closure. Before you even open, you have to prepare to close it responsibly.”

Eagle Mine is the only active nickel mine in the United States right now, with a concentration on unearthing an ore body that hopes to produce enough nickel to meet the ever-rising global demand.

Nickel doesn’t have the same cachet as gold and silver, but it is an absolute necessity in the production of things like stainless steel products. Consider your favorite kitchen upgrade with a stainless refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. Each of those appliances benefits from the antimicrobial, anti-rust, and anti-corrosion attributes of stainless steel, but the nickel makes them even stronger and more resistant to wear and tear.

In fact, there is an even greater demand for nickel these days as we see energy-efficient electric vehicles hitting the scene. Nickel is a mineral that helps increase energy storage in lithium-ion batteries, boosting the range electric cars can drive on a single charge.

14 MAY 2023

“At this point in our country’s production history, we need minerals, and those minerals need to be mined. But we’re going to make sure it’s done sustainably, responsibly, and transparently.”

“There is no electric vehicle battery without nickel,” notes Johnson. “In 2017, about 3% of nickel went into the EV industry. In the next 10 years, we’re looking at closer to 40%.”

It’s a complex cycle of electric vehicles helping to reduce emissions and the impact on the climate, and encouraging additional production of environmentally friendly cars. However, mining is at the heart of that production stream. While nickel could be mined and purchased from other countries, many of them have much looser rules and guidelines regulating them. There are big benefits to having a U.S.-based mine that holds itself to the highest environmental and social standards.

“Part of our company’s mission is to fund and partner with groups to delve deeper into the research, create bestpractice critical material development, and create a new stream for critical minerals for batteries,” said Johnson. “The increased demand for nickel is nearly 100 times what it was just a decade ago. So, we need to increase our level of responsibility to make sure we are helping to solve problems, not create more.”

Eagle Mine has developed many relationships to help create better systems for solving those problems. They’ve partnered with Michigan Technological University to develop new research technologies that create sustainable processes in order to supply critical minerals for battery manufacturing, as well as to make a concentrated effort to improve battery recycling. These efforts are necessary, but are also just the beginning to meet the ever-increasing demand for metal in new products and technologies.

“We are leaders in mining best practices,” said Johnson. “We need to balance meeting the demand with making sure our impact is as limited as possible.”

While Eagle Mine is identifying the environmental impacts, they also concern themselves with community impact. They hold local forums every six months to engage in folks’ questions and concerns and ensure they are responding in kind.

“Constructive dialogue is critical to what we do. We don’t have all the answers, because we can’t know all the questions. We listen and respond seriously to the community,” said Johnson. “We don’t just have a responsibility to the community while the mine is open, we need to make sure we don’t have a negative impact once it closes as well.”

Right now it looks like the mine could close sometime in the next four years, unless bigger ore stores are discovered. For now, Eagle Mine is keeping the nickel coming with the help of their nearly 400 employees to meet the needs of the electric vehicle industry and cleaner transportation.

“At this point in our country’s production history, we need minerals, and those minerals need to be mined,” said Johnson. “But we’re going to make sure it’s done sustainably, responsibly, and transparently.”

For more information:


Homegrown Sweethearts

For Bark River natives Laura and Dave Marohnic, home is where the heart is. It’s also where over 80 types of ‘Yooper crops are grown on their beautiful 74-acre farm, which they call Yooper Produce. The two were friends since childhood—”We were part of a little group of kids who rode bikes and went fishing,” Laura recalls. They went on to date in high school, but in their senior year, Laura moved away, and they lost touch. Fast forward 27 years, when they reconnected on and eventually got married in 2010. In 2011, Dave retired from his career in the Air Force, and the couple decided to relocate from New Mexico and move back home to be closer to family and their roots.

When they initially landed in the U.P., they searched for a property that would meet the criteria for their passions: Laura’s for farming and Dave’s for hunting. They found a 74-acre parcel of land that they divided into a wooded “back 40” for Dave’s hunting, with the 34 acres in the front comprised of open pasture for Laura’s farming. “I grew up on a farm, so the very first thing I asked Dave to do was to till up a plot for me to start gardening. We had lived in the desert for so many years, and it’s so different growing things there. I missed farming and growing things and knew how to do it here. Dave became a farmer because I have dreams; he just jumps in and does what he can to help. But now, he loves farming too,” she said.

They started with a simple plan to grow healthy, non-GMO food with no artificial chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. Their produce starts from organic seed stock or plants from certified organic growers. Water from a residential well and the soil where the plants are grown, both inside and outside, are tested annually. Only natural forms of pest control are used, and no chemicals are ever used in the growing process, even if deemed organic.

Fertilizer is produced on-site by a dedicated team of six to eight organically fed rabbits who make what Laura fondly terms “bunny honey.” “It’s better as it’s a mild manure that does not carry disease,”

16 MAY 2023

she said. Compost is produced from excess plant fibers, and everything is winterized to kill harmful bacteria.

The original garden thrived, and in 2014, after receiving a grant for a high tunnel, things really took off. A high tunnel looks like a greenhouse but is on the ground. It permits a longer growing season as the ground warms up sooner and stays frostfree. “With the high tunnel, I can start planting in April and still be harvesting in October,” Laura says. “On a 20-degree day with direct sunlight, it can get up to 90 degrees in the tunnel. Plants are much hardier because it allows a farmer to control the environment. It’s pretty great for U.P. farming,” Laura says with a grin.

A friend introduced them to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a program wherein people pay in advance for homegrown produce. With farming, most of the expense takes place before anything starts growing. The seeds, planting, weeding, and harvesting are all cost-intensive, so having the money beforehand permits growers to create a great final product in the form of healthy organic produce. CSA members receive fresh and nutritious vegetables and fruit when the crops come to fruition.

In 2016, with the gardens producing abundant crops, Yooper Produce was born. The Marohnics began participating in CSA, with an initial enrollment of eight families coming out to the farm every week to pick their produce from a selection of 80 different items ranging from apples to zucchini. Covid changed things a bit, and they started making deliveries to CSA participants. The delivery model worked out so well that they kept doing it, and in 2022, they had 65 families enrolled who received fresh vegetable and fruit deliveries every week.

They added a second high tunnel in 2022, and further expansion plans are now on the horizon as Laura

plans to retire in 2024 from her current full-time “off-the-farm job” to devote herself 100% toward the farm. She anticipates being able to deliver five days per week in 2025 to approximately 125 CSA families. Traditionally, she has had to turn people away, so she is excited to be able to take on additional clients.

They are also finishing the irrigation for a two-and-a-half-acre blueberry patch that they planted and hope to have enough production by 2025 to open the patch to the public. The following year, they will incorporate beehives into the farming operation to pollinate the blueberries. “Once that’s going well, we plan to add tart cherry trees, mini highland cows, and goats to the farm,” Laura said.

Luckily, help is readily available in the form of their combined six children and 17 grandchildren, who all pitch in when needed. And every summer, a special gardening assistant from Pasadena, California, arrives to lend a hand with farm operations. “My Mom Margie is 83, and she absolutely loves to come and help work in the gardens,” Laura said. Roots run deep, especially when grown with love. /yooperproduce

To learn more about Yooper Produce, visit their webpage or follow them on Facebook.

“My Mom Margie is 83, and she absolutely loves to come and help work in the gardens.“

Reflections On Our Pond

Our 24-year-old son came over today with youthful enthusiasm and energy, claiming he would get the pond ready to skate on. Last year, to my delight, he and his girlfriend (now his wife) did the same thing.

Why is this a moment? It blesses me to my core. For over 20 years, my husband and I spent many winter afternoons using shovels to clear the pond so the kids could skate after school. It became my aerobic exercise for the day. What a treat it was to have our little sanctuary of winter fun, and now as we approach our senior years, our youngest son is taking it over and continuing the tradition—albeit in a different manner. Rather than shoveling, he tows the snowblower, mounted on the snow scoop, and pulls them both behind the snowmobile to take down to the pond. After removing the snow, he cuts a hole in the pond and spreads a fresh sheen of ice over its entirety with fivegallon buckets.

That pond has such precious memories. The children and I have had picnics on its shore in the spring before the mosquitoes hatch. One Father’s Day, we spent the day crafting a log raft. We have “fished” for leaves in the surrounding swamp. There have been turtle-catching days, especially for the elusive old man snapper. There was even a campout that my husband had with the two older boys in a tent on the pond’s shore while spring peepers and bullfrogs hammered in their ears. He didn’t get any sleep that night.

Many children have shared the joys of our little slice of nature as the kids have brought friends to share in the fun. My oldest son had the “best night of his life” and the “worst night of his life” on that pond within a span of 20 minutes. What started as an exciting night of potential hockey with brooms and a block of wood for a puck was quickly terminated shortly after we stepped onto the ice. Not only were we going to skate by the light of the moon, but stepping onto the ice made the loudest crack I’d ever heard. Images of being swallowed up in the dark, murky water took over my mind and ended our adventure—Ahh— the disappointments of youth.

Mystery Photo

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There have even been a few magical winters when the swamp froze along with the pond. My daughter and youngest son would skate with me throughout the woods, circling trees and bushes in what felt like a magical fairyland. My husband and I bought this 12-acre parcel 25 years ago. That pond and its surrounding swamp have been our little escape from the world’s hubbub. It has felt like our own special ecosystem that has welcomed various birds and wildlife and given us a peaceful reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. The kids have all grown and have homes of their own now, but the memories remain. And now it’s time for me to go as my youngest has returned with the announcement, “The pond’s ready to skate on, Ma.” Let me grab my skates and head on down!

About The Author: Kathy is a retired physical therapist. She enjoys many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, camping, birdwatching, and cross-country skiing with her husband and friends. She and her husband are beginning the grandparent stage of their lives with two beautiful granddaughters.

Guest Column

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Where In Michigan Is This?

Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by May 24 and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at

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