May/June 2024 Alger Delta

Page 1


Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association


May/June 2024 MICHIGAN Join Us On June 12 For The Annual Meeting America’s Favorite Houseguest

Conserving is believing.

Geothermal is leading the effort to provide a heating and cooling source that preserves Earth’s resources.

Geothermal is the greener alternative. The Department of Energy considers it a “vital, clean energy resource” that “emits little or no greenhouse gas—all while requiring a small environmental footprint to develop.” WaterFurnace geothermal units use Earth’s natural underground heat to keep your home comfortable, the sustainable way.

Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800)327-1937

Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269)473-5667 gogreenmichgeo

Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231)796-3717

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989)761-7691

Filion/Bad Axe Air-O-Dynamic Htg. & Clg. (989)582-0137

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

Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231)238-7201

Lansing Candor Mechanical (517)920-0890

Lowell Arctic Inc. Htg. & Clg. (616)897-4213

Manistique Hoholik Enterprises (906)341-5065

Marinette, WI GPS Htg. & Clg (715)732-2111

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

Negaunee J-Goods Plmb. & Htg. (906)869-2522 jgoodsplumbingand

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


Alger Delta Electric: up to $2,000

Cherryland Electric: up to $2,500

Cloverland: up to $6,275

Great Lakes Energy: up to $5,000

Homeworks/Tri-County Electric: up to $4,750

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op: up to $4,750

Thumb Electric: Up to $2,000

visit us at The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc 1. ENERGY START rated units qualify for 30% through 2030 and 26% through 2032 and 22% through 2033


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin Russman

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.


Michigan Country Lines

201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358

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


10 14


Follow Michigan influencer Cassondra Wanders as she takes us through the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Experience in Portage, Michigan.


Quiches & Savory Tarts: Light and fluffy recipes perfect for brunch and beyond.


Northland Outfitters in Germfask, Michigan, is not just a place for nature lovers, but a home for a giant wooden troll—named Benny.


Worms of Misfortune: Reminisce with cooperative member Margaret Elwood about digging up worms during the Great Depression and the lesson she learned.

MI Co-op Community

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Casseroles, due June 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!

Cooperatives Contents May 2024 Vol. 44, 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 •



426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837

906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 •


Monday–Thursday 7 a.m.–5 p.m. (EST)

Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

WHow We Serve

hen it comes to serving our 10,000+ members here at Alger Delta, we focus on our mission statement: “Working together, we provide safe, reliable, efficient energy.” These three main objectives are vital in serving our members. The challenge is balancing these three factors.

First, and of upmost importance, is safety. Our safety record has been very good, with zero lost time accidents again in 2023. Our lineworkers receive training through a pre-apprentice program before they are hired. Once hired, these workers go through a 7,000-hour apprentice program that includes classroom and field training as well as on-the-job training. Once these workers complete their apprentice program, they become journey level lineworkers. As work rules and work methods change, we provide continuing education throughout their careers.

Secondly, system reliability is an attribute that is constantly on our minds. We are continuously looking for ways to improve reliability for our members by reducing both the frequency and duration of outages. One way we have enhanced reliability is by adequately funding our vegetation management budget. This financial commitment has paid big dividends in reducing treerelated outages in recent years. Another approach to keep our reliability numbers up is monitoring which areas of our territory are not performing as well as others, thus concentrating our improvement efforts there.

Our third objective is delivering the first two in a cost-effective manner. As we look at our overall system, we want to provide the best value to our members at economical rates while maintaining consistent reliability. As we plan future capital projects, we methodically review our options to come up with the ideal construction plan to distribute electricity.

To accomplish all three of these goals, we need to carefully assess costs to provide our members with power at reasonable rates. As I touched on in my last column, cost containment has been very challenging over the past few years with rising costs of materials, labor, and wholesale power. We implemented a rate increase in July of 2023 that has improved our financial standing, but we are not keeping up with the continuous escalating price hikes we are experiencing. We recently requested a rate study from WPPI Energy and their recommendation is to implement an increase. As a member, you are invited to attend the next regular monthly board meeting on May 22 at 1 p.m. EST at the Brampton Township Hall. Members will be given the opportunity to provide public comments to the board at this meeting. While the final numbers are yet to be determined, Alger Delta’s staff will continue to look for innovative ways to minimize a rate increase while providing our members with safe, reliable, and efficient energy.

Alger Delta Summer Office Hours

Effective April 1 to Sept. 27, the summer office hours are Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Memorial Day and Fourth of July Office Closure

Closed Monday, May 27, and Thursday, July 4.
1 2 9 7 5 4 6 8 3
4 MAY 2024

Alger Delta Board of Director Updates

Tim Jenkins is the new director for District 3— Grand Marais. This seat was previously held by Mike Lawless, who did not seek reelection. Jenkins has lived and worked in Michigan his entire life. After retiring, he relocated to Grand Marais in 2020. His love of the UP goes back to his childhood. “I recall many of my father’s hunting stories to the UP in and around the Iron Mountain area and am happy to be lucky enough to now live here,” he says.

Tim’s working career was spent mostly in the automotive manufacturing spectrum, until becoming self-employed around 2007. “I started in a machine shop while still in high school, then onto the assembly line for one of the Big Three, and finished the complete cycle in engineering/management,” he said. “My self-employment/ business owner ventures also led me into real estate and property management.”

Serving his community is important to Tim and, throughout his life, he has served in many capacities. “I have been involved in several community organizations such as the homeowner’s association board, church boards, and business

networking groups,” he said. Tim now looks forward to serving on the board of directors for Alger Delta. “I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to serving not only my District but the organization and its members, as well as providing quality service to its current members, while expanding and accommodating future members,” Tim said.

Jenkins will be seated at the Annual Meeting on June 12. The incumbents for Districts 2 and 4 ran unopposed, and Karen Alholm will continue to represent District 2— Harvey/Deerton and Bill Wotruba will continue to represent District 4—Cedar River/Palestine.

Notice To Members: Special Board Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday May 22, at 1 p.m. EST

Per Policy 229, section C, the Alger Delta Board of Directors will be discussing a possible rate change at its May 22, 2024, regular board meeting. This meeting will be held at 1 p.m. EST at the Brampton Township Hall, 9019 Bay Shore Drive, Gladstone, Michigan. The public is welcome to attend this important meeting. For further information, please visit

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.


online at


Alger Delta’s 85th Annual Meeting is Wednesday, June 12, 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 May 29.

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

Tim Jenkins, District 3



Nestled in the charming city of Portage, Michigan, the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Experience (Air Zoo) is a world-class museum and science education center. A testament to the history of aviation and aerospace exploration, the Air Zoo invites visitors to discover the wonders of flight.

Igniting imaginations through engaging and immersive exhibits, from hot air balloons to vintage aircraft and cutting-edge spacecraft, the museum’s collection spans the entire spectrum of aviation history. Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational outing, the Air Zoo offers something for everyone.

The Legacy of the Air Zoo

The Air Zoo has evolved from a modest aircraft collection into a world-class aerospace museum. Suzanne and Pete Parish’s passion for preserving the legacy of aviation history has cemented the Air Zoo as a premier destination in the heart of southwest Michigan.

The Parishes were both accomplished pilots—Suzanne having served with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and Pete being a retired World War II Marine Air Corps Aviator. The two of them, who had amassed a collection of planes, were particularly enthusiastic about World War II aircraft. A friend of theirs offered to give them his Grumman Bearcat, a fighter aircraft from the war, if they agreed to open a museum. Soon

after, The Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum opened to the public in November 1979.

In addition to the Bearcat, the founding collection included a Wildcat, Hellcat, and Flying Tiger. With all the wild animal aircraft, it was quite fitting how the name Air Zoo quickly caught on.

Originally a nine-plane hangar exhibit, the Air Zoo now features over 100 rare aircraft and spacecraft. Visitors can marvel at iconic planes like an SR-71 Blackbird and an F-14 Tomcat. Boasting over 100,000 square feet of museum space, the Air Zoo spans across two facilities: the Flight Discovery Center and the Flight Innovation Center. The Discovery Center features real-time, flight-based activities, exhibitions, and

Wanders Adventure Series
6 MAY 2024

the Restoration Center, where a team of experts restores historical artifacts in public view. Current conservation efforts include two WWII aircraft recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan.

In addition to its impressive aircraft collection, the Air Zoo has acquired more than 100,000 rare artifacts and archives. By meticulously restoring vintage aircraft and preserving these artifacts, the museum honors the achievements of pioneering aviators and offers invaluable insights into the evolution of aviation.

Hands-On Exhibits

The Air Zoo’s Innovation Center is where you’ll find immersive exhibits that offer hands-on experiences unlike any other. From science experimentation stations to full-motion flight simulations and open cockpits, exhibits are designed to spark curiosity and encourage imagination.

Through the “open cockpit” experience, you’ll get a feel for what it was like to fly famous historical aircraft. Climb behind the stick for a real “pilot’s eye” view from the seat of an aircraft.

Step into the world of virtual reality with the Air Zoo’s flight simulators. “Fly” in a safe, controlled environment and choose from realistic simulations of take-off, landing, and aerial maneuvers in various aircraft. Whether you’re battling against giant robots, embarking on a spacewalk mission, or engaging in an aerial dogfight over the Pacific Ocean, the Air Zoo’s virtual adventures offer a thrilling way to experience aviation and space exploration.

A variety of indoor amusement parkstyle rides are included with museum admission. Get a spectacular aerial view of the museum aboard the 26-foot Century of Flight Ferris Wheel. Fly through the sky on the Montgolfier Balloon Race ride, steer a Flying Circus Biplane, and feel the weightlessness of parachuting on the Paratrooper Jump.

At Toddler Tarmac, the Air Zoo’s indoor children’s play area, imaginations soar with various hands-on activities tailored to engage young visitors. Little aviators are sure to have a blast at this dynamic aerospace museum. The Air Zoo has something interactive for everyone to enjoy.

Plan Your Visit

The Air Zoo promises an unforgettable experience all year-round. Admission prices vary depending on age and membership status, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel, and groups. Museum galleries are wagon, stroller, and wheelchair friendly. Ample free and accessible parking is available for all visitors. Upon check-in, guests may request wheelchairs and wagons to use, free of charge.

Fuel up during your visit at Kitty Hawk Cafe, serving grab-n-go items, snacks, sandwiches, and other made-to-order options. Take home some extra cargo and stop by the Fly Buy Gift Shop for gifts and souvenirs. An online store is also available.

Scan the QR code to watch a video of Cassondra’s adventure to the Air Zoo.
/cassondrawanders /cassondra.wanders @cassondrawanders @cassondrawanders 7 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Cassondra Scott is a content creator, writer, and social media influencer at Cassondra Wanders——sharing small businesses and sights to see all over the state of Michigan.


Shrinking electric supply, growing electric demand


Rising Electric Demand

As people convert to electric vehicles and electric heat, Michigan's electric load will grow dramatically.

50% increase in electric demand is projected for Michigan over the next 15 years.

Diminishing Electric Supply

Utilities are under increasing pressure to retire coal plants faster than they can replace them, resulting in a reduction of power supply reserves.

5 million households could be powered by the amount of coal and natural gas Michigan has slated for retirement over the next 10 years.



The clean energy transition is underway and Michigan co-ops lead by example, providing members with energy that is 50% carbon free. vs.


carbon free carbon free

Michigan Co-ops Fuel Mix

35% Regional Average Fuel Mix

So what do we do right now?


Policies mandating a shift to high amounts of intermittent, weatherdependent energy sources are accelerating the premature retirement of traditional, reliable generation.

66% of North America is currently facing an elevated risk of blackouts. Experts warn within five years, Michigan and surrounding states will be at high risk of blackouts.

88% of the time Michigan imports energy from outside its borders to keep the lights on for homes and businesses.

We are collaborating with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association and fellow electric cooperatives in Michigan to drive innovation, make strategic investments, and advocate for a seamless transition that gives equal weight to affordability, environmental impact, and electric reliability.


MPSC Fuel Mix Disclosure Data NERC Summer & Winter Reliability Assessments, 2023-2024 NERC Long-Term Reliability Assessment, 2023 ITC 2022 Summer Review MISO Futures Report, 2021 Form EIA-860, 2022 (
High Risk Elevated Risk Normal Risk

Flowers & Gardens

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 2024 will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 energy bill credit on their December 2024 bills!

Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines:

Monuments, Statues & Memorials, due May 20 (July/Aug. issue)

Quilts, due June 20 (Sept. issue)

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

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

1. A sweet daily visitor. Christy Beckstrom

2. Yellow clivia. Kathy Mihalko

3. River enjoying the flowers. Kallie Leckson

4. Afternoon visitor. Jan Gratteau

5. Hibiscus beauty. Joseph Walczak

6. Wild iris at sunset, Slowfoot Lake. April Willbur

7. Winter amaryllis. Anne Kirkpatrick

8. Bumblebee enjoying some lavender. Connie Lindstrom

9. Enjoying Grandma’s garden. Christy Herrild

10. A butterfly on wild daisies. Michele Trotter

3 10 7 1 8 5 4 2 9 6 9 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES




Sharon Libich, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

6–8 ounces goat cheese, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 garlic clove, minced

2–3 boxes (15-count each) precooked phyllo dough mini shells (Athens brand)

½ cup prepared pesto

¼ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes and/or red bell pepper, for topping

½ cup coarsely chopped almonds

In a medium microwavable bowl, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, and minced garlic. Stir until combined. If needed, soften in the microwave to achieve spreading consistency. Set aside. Fill each mini shell with 1 heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture (halfway), top with a dollop of pesto, a little sun-dried tomato/ red bell pepper, and a sprinkle of almonds. Serve the (cold) tartlets immediately, as phyllo cups will soften as they sit. Use any remaining cheese mixture (if any) as a dip with crackers or even as a sandwich spread.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at type/videos/

MI CO-OP Recipes WINNING RECIPE! Recipe Contest Win a $100 energy bill credit! Casseroles, due June 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
Light and fluffy recipes perfect for brunch and beyond.
10 MAY 2024


Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 large eggs, whisked

1 cup full-fat cottage cheese (full fat has less water)

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, optional

¼ teaspoon hot sauce, optional

4 strips bacon (or turkey bacon), cooked and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a silicone muffin pan with olive oil. Create a water bath by filling a 9x13-inch pan halfway with warm water. Set the muffin pan in the pan of water. To a blender, add the eggs, cottage cheese, cheeses,

cornstarch, all seasonings, and hot sauce. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Divide the bacon into the cups, then fill to the top with the egg mixture. Carefully place the prepared pans onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes (or longer, depending on the size of your muffin tins) and cook until the eggs are just set. The egg bites will pull slightly away from the edges when they are done. Carefully remove pans from the oven; let set for 10 minutes before using a spoon to gently loosen and remove the bites from the pan. Serve immediately or make ahead of time for busy mornings. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy cold or reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds. You can also try out different cheese, vegetable, and seasoning combinations.


Kerri Hanson, Great Lakes Energy

2 tablespoons salted butter

¹⁄ ³ cup finely diced onion

12 ounces white or baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

2 cups baby spinach

6 large eggs

1 cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces grated Swiss cheese

1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5–6 minutes. Add the


Nancy Hascall, Cherryland Electric Cooperative

1 unbaked pie crust (or 1.5 cups cooked rice)

1¾ cups half-and-half

1 cup shredded cheese of choice

1 heaping tablespoon jalapeño cream cheese

• pinch of salt

• dash of cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

3 eggs

1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

• Additional topping options: mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, broccoli, salmon, etc.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Have ready an unbaked 8-inch deep pie crust (alternatively, press rice into pie tin to form a crust.) Heat the half-and-half just until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and add shredded cheese of choice. Add the jalapeño cream cheese. Stir until melted. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the 3 eggs, one at a time. Pour into crust. Top the quiche with the thinly sliced bell peppers, red onions, and optional toppings, if using. Bake until firm, about 45 minutes.

mushrooms and sauté until the liquid has evaporated, about 5–6 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted, about 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the onion/ mushroom/spinach mixture and add the Swiss cheese. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake until the quiche is lightly golden and set in the center when the pan is gently wiggled, about 45-50 minutes. Cover the crust with foil if it is browning too quickly. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes (important)! Slice and serve.


Alger Delta Cooperative: A Heartfelt Thank-You to Our Members, Workers, and Partners in the Wake of the April Storm

In the aftermath of the storm that swept through our region on April 2, Alger Delta Cooperative extends its deepest gratitude to our members, our dedicated workforce, and our community partners. Your patience, support, understanding, and collective effort were instrumental as we navigated the challenges of restoring power to our affected members.

To our members, your resilience and cooperative spirit during these trying times have been nothing short of inspiring. Your understanding and support have played a vital role in our ability to efficiently address the outages and work towards a swift resolution.

We also extend our heartfelt thanks to our lineworkers and support staff. Your commitment, service, and the long hours you invested in the field under challenging conditions were pivotal in bringing light back to our communities. Your tireless efforts did not go unnoticed, and we commend you for your dedication.

A special note of appreciation goes to the mutual aid crews and contractors who promptly responded to our call for assistance, including Polk-

Storm April 2, 2024

Burnett Electric Cooperative, MJ Electric, MP Systems, Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, Great Lakes Energy, Taylor Electric Cooperative, Oakdale Electric Cooperative, Chippewa Valley Electric Cooperative, Price Electric Cooperative, Riverland Energy Cooperative, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Escanaba Electric Department, Karcz Utility Services, Sanville Logging, and Bugle Contracting. Your collaboration and expertise were invaluable to our restoration efforts.

We also wish to acknowledge the Dew Drop Restaurant and its staff for their generosity in opening early to nourish the crews working diligently to restore service. Your kindness and support were a beacon of community spirit.

The storm led to power outages for over 5,000 of our members starting at 3 p.m. on that fateful Tuesday. The path to restoration was a testament to the collective effort of dozens of lineworkers, the deployment of numerous poles, transformers, fuses, and, most importantly, the unwavering support and patience from everyone involved. We are pleased to report that we successfully restored power to all affected members by Saturday evening.

Over 5,000 outages (starting at 3 p.m.)

As we transition from restoration to clean-up, we urge everyone to remain cautious and prioritize safety in dealing with any remaining hazards.

Your cooperation and solidarity have truly made a difference in these efforts. On behalf of everyone at Alger Delta Cooperative, we sincerely thank you. Please continue to stay safe.

Dozens of lineworkers, poles, transformers, fuses
12 MAY 2024
All power restored by Saturday evening (April 6)

Alger Delta Brings Live Theater to Local Students

Alger Delta recently teamed up with The National Theatre for Children (NTC) to help educators inspire the next generation of area students. This year’s program, called “Eco Guardians,” featured two professional actors who taught about energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable resources through a multitude of characters.

The program delivered information on electricity to more than 80 schools in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa and focused on how energy is measured, wasted, and conserved. During the month of March, the program was presented to students at Powell Township Schools, Wilson Seventh Day Adventist Jr. Academy, and Rapid River School.

“We enjoy offering a program that encourages our area students to learn more about how we power the community,” said General Manager Mike Furmanski.

Notice to Alger Delta Customers

This summer, Alger Delta will be utilizing the services of two companies to do inventory and equipment inspections in their service territory. Davey Tree Service will be conducting asset inventory work system-wide throughout Alger Delta’s service territory. Karcz Utility Services will be doing equipment inspections in the Isabella and Cedar River service areas. This work will involve inspecting poles and electrical transmission equipment.

Trucks will be clearly marked and have flashing lights. All workers will have ID badges and be wearing protective equipment. If it is necessary to enter onto a member’s property, the workers will knock on your door to advise you about who they are and what they are there to do.

Please contact Alger Delta should you have any questions.


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 12/31/23.




*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/23.

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

Type of emission/waste lbs/MWh Your co-op Regional average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.33 7.6 Carbon Dioxide 1,071 2,170 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.50 2.0 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0.0015 0.0083
Fuel source Your
fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 38.4% 60.4% Oil 0% 0.7% Gas 28.9% 8.9% Hydroelectric 1.2% 0.5% Nuclear 22.5% 24.6% Renewable Fuels 9.11% 4.9% Biofuel 0.0% 0.7% Biomass 0.12% 0.4% Solar 2.52% 0.1% Solid Waste Incineration 0.04% 0.0% Wind 6.43% 3.2% Wood 0.0% 0.5% NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas. REGIONAL AVERAGE FUEL MIX YOUR CO-OP’S FUEL MIX




In the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, nestled along the Manistique River, lies Northland Outfi tters, a campground and canoe/ kayak livery that has become more than a destination; it’s a canvas for dreams. Owned by Durea and Levi Brady, a couple who embarked on an extraordinary journey from Denver to the UP, Northland Outfi tters is now not just a place for nature lovers, but a home for a giant wooden troll— named Benny.


The story begins with Durea and Levi, who had a dream of owning a campground. In 2022, after two years of exploration, they stumbled upon Northland Outfitters, an enchanting spot that felt less like a campground

and more like a natural haven. The Bradys envisioned a place where families could connect with nature, and they found it in the woods of Germfask, Michigan.

“We spent two years looking for the right camping grounds,” said Durea. “We’d begun to wonder if we’d ever locate ‘the one,’ but then we visited Germfask and we knew we’d found home.”


The Bradys had been considering additional revenue streams—and then the dream of a literal revenue stream appeared. The couple wanted something memorable and distinctive that would draw individuals to their campground and

the community they had fallen in love with. Enter Benny.

“We’d seen a natural art installation by a recycled material sculpture artist from Copenhagen, Denmark, Thomas Dambo, in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was so impactful and inspiring. We started dreaming up something like this at the campground,” said Durea. “We knew if we were going to try something like this, it needed to be a part of the natural habitat, not something artificial or out of place.”

The Bradys reached out to Dambo, who was serendipitously in the States on a tour, and agreed to meet with the couple to talk about their idea. After visions were shared, the image of Benny the Beard Fisher, resting along the riverbank, started to come to life.

14 MAY 2024


The Bradys turned to their community for support, receiving generous donations of wood from lifelong UP residents and local businesses. The result was Benny, the 14-foot-high and 30-foot-wide towering figure whose tangled wooden beard runs down the riverbank, hoping to catch something—if not a fish, then some admiring looks. People traveling the river on various water vessels can catch a glorious view of Benny as they round the bend. He’s also available to visit via the campground. Benny is a welcoming figure on this perfect bit of home that the Bradys have carved out for themselves.

“We absolutely think of the campground as a home,” said Durea.

Danish recycle artist Thomas Dambo breathes life into discarded wood and landfill scraps, crafting colossal sculptures of trolls. These mystical creations are scattered across 17 countries. For more information, please visit

“Maybe not a conventional one, but we have the opportunity to welcome new people into our family every few days. It’s the best feeling.”


The family feel of Northland Outfitters has made it more than a campground; it’s a place for community. Benny’s presence has brought people together, fostering a sense of pride and joy among visitors. On a busy day last summer, they brought 300–400 guests into their family fold.

Looking ahead, Durea and Levi envision not just a campground but a community hub, complete with events in the woods featuring live music, food trucks, and art tents that will solidify Northland Outfitters as its own work of art.

Benny is part of that canvas, drawing people closer to nature to discover what is both beautiful and magical about the wild.


For the comfort of Troll visitors and camping guests, visitation to Benny will be moving to a timed ticket system, beginning mid May. Tickets will need to be purchased online prior to arrival. Tickets can be purchased at





How a small-town girl made reality TV history

Big Brother” is one of the longest-running reality game shows of all time, having begun airing on CBS in 2000. Throughout the show’s tenure, there have been more than 300 “houseguests.” And while houseguests commonly compete in multiple seasons, only one of them has ever won the show twice: Nicole Franzel of Ubly, Michigan. She earned that distinction late last year with her victory on “Big Brother Reindeer Games”; her first win came in 2016. Having played for a total of four seasons of “Big Brother” and one season of “The Amazing Race,” Nicole spent “most of her 20s” appearing on television screens.

Becoming a reality show legend was not something Nicole (a Thumb Electric Cooperative member) could have envisioned when she applied to be on the show the first time in 2014. She and her mom Jeni had been superfans of “Big Brother,” which features contestants living together under 24/7 surveillance in isolation and voting someone out each week, since she was 8. But the first year Nicole was eligible to audition (the show’s age requirement is 21), she didn’t put much thought into doing so—“I thought there was no way I’d get in,” she said. She was also in the process of completing nursing school at Saginaw Valley State University. But Jeni,

who’d been encouraging her to try out, made one more push and called Nicole at school the day before the application deadline, urging her to come home and make an audition video. Nicole did, and the day after submitting it, she got a call from the show’s casting department. She went through a series of telephone and live interviews, and was ultimately chosen as one of 16 houseguests for season 16.

That first year, she came in seventh place. Nicole said that at the time, she was really glad to have had the experience, but she didn’t expect anything to come from it. She took and passed her nursing board exam and began working in a hospital rehab unit. But then, “California area codes started popping up” on her caller ID—the show’s producers liked Nicole and wanted her to come back. She returned to “Big Brother”

16 MAY 2024

in 2016, and this time, as the last houseguest standing, she went home with $500,000. She got much more than clout and cash though—one of the other contestants on the show that year was Victor Arroyo. They didn’t have a “showmance,” but Victor pursued her after the season ended and they started dating a year later. Victor, who lived in Louisiana, moved to Ubly with Nicole, and they are now married and have a 2-year-old son named Arrow.

These days, Nicole is a social media influencer and small-business owner. Nicole and Jeni operate Franny and the Fox, a clothing boutique featuring handmade, eco-friendly apparel. Initially, it was an online store that exclusively featured clothes for children. But upon hosting pop-up shops in Port Austin and getting great feedback, Nicole and Jeni opened a storefront in Cass City and expanded their product line to include women and babies. “My mom and I love to shop, and we’ve always had a unique style,” Nicole said. She’s happy to have the opportunity to work from home and be with her son, but she keeps up her nursing license in case she decides to return to the profession one day.

As far as keeping her options open to television, Nicole announced she had retired from “Big Brother” upon starting her family. But when producers offered her the prospect of playing “Reindeer Games,” which was filmed in just six days, she couldn’t pass it up. “Saving Christmas” through a series of holiday-themed competitions, Nicole walked away with the $100,000 prize, which she plans to use to build a barn for a hobby farm. She is back into retirement—for now. “If the opportunity for the right show at the right time appears, I’ll consider it,” she said. “But I’m also super content with never going back.”

If “Reindeer Games” is truly the end of Nicole’s reality TV career, she can retire with her head held high. “I never expected to be in this position—but I can proudly say I’ve stayed true to myself through everything,” she said. She’s made great friendships through the show and says being watched for eight years of her life undoubtedly benefited her personal growth. “It was a great learning experience,” she said. “But the thing I learned the most is that no matter where I go, I always want to come back home.”


“I never expected to be in this position—but I can proudly say I’ve stayed true to myself through everything.”
Nicole, Arrow, and Jeni.
Victor, Arrow, and Nicole.



Win a $100 energy bill credit!

Where In Michigan Is This?

Identify the correct location of the photo above by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at

March 2024 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Allan Hascall, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member who correctly identified the photo as the 24-foot monument The American Horse at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/ August, September, and November/December.

Worms of Misfortune

n the summer of 1937, my older sister Barb and I found ourselves knee-deep in dirt, our fingers stained with the earth’s secrets. Our family’s home was in Hillman, Michigan, a couple blocks from the Thunder Bay River. The Great Depression had gnawed at our livelihood, leaving us with little more than stubborn resolve and empty pockets.

IOne of the stores in town sold bait for fi shing, and so my sister and I went in and asked how much we would earn if we dug up worms. The manager answered 10 cents for 100 worms.

With shovels and a shared desperation, we headed out near the Thunder Bay River to dig up worms. Our hands plunging into the cool earth, we pulled out the worms one by one. The worms squirmed, protesting their eviction.

We were on a mission—to turn soil into silver.

I had the great idea to cut the worms in half to double our profit! 20 cents was a great deal of money back in that day. So, we took the 200 worms

into the store, and we were handed the 20 cents. We were so excited, we couldn’t wait to tell our mother.

Well, word had gotten back to our mom about what we did, and when we arrived home and showed our mom the 20 cents, she said “We are all going back to the store to return that man’s 20 cents.” Both my sister and I said, “But why, Mom?” She replied, “You cheated that poor man by cutting those worms in half to get more money. You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

Now, at 96 years old, I sit on my couch and look back at all the fun we had growing up in our little town of Hillman. Barb is long gone, but her laughter dances in the wind.

Remember this tale when life throws you a curveball—sometimes the early bird doesn’t get the worm!

About the Author:

Margaret is retired and likes to fish, read, play Scattegories, and watch nature programs. She is an outgoing person who loves people and parties too.

MI CO-OP Guest Column Guest Column Win $200 for stories published! Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit to submit.
18 MAY 2024

• Attaches to your home’s existing heating system, it does not replace it.

• Delivers 90% on average of your home’s heating needs and 100% of your home’s cooling needs.

• If you have a well and are heating with propane, fuel oil, electric or wood, your current heating and cooling cost is likely greater than it would be to fully finance and heat & cool with a Well-Connect.

• Installs in one day, any time of year. COOL

ALL WINTER Geother mal Made Af for da ble HEATING WITH WELL-CONNECT IS LIKE PAYING 70¢ Per Gallon of Propane Financing, 30% tax credit, and rebates up to $2,000 available. SCAN HERE TO GET A FREE QUOTE 833-436-9355 ENJOY YEAR-ROUND COMFORT HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?




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, all-expenses-paid expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based 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 apply directly at

If you have questions about the application process or need assistance filling out an application, please contact us at:

970-484-3633, ext. 305

Learn more about No Barrier’s mission and programs at

*Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.