COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association
The UP200 Sled Dog Racers
MUSH ON Board Awards Projects To Contractors
Artisan Endeavors Create Second Chapters Holiday Lighting Tips
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In This Issue November/December 2018 || Vol. 38, No. 9
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
countrylines.com facebook.com/ michigancountrylines
Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional ofﬁces. It is the ofﬁcial publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association ofﬁcers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 email@example.com countrylines.com
6 ENERGY Resources For Home Heating Assistance Programs 7 SAFETY Tips For Decorating Safely This Holiday Season 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN ‘Tis The Season For These Festive Recipes
ON THE COVER The UP200 is one of America’s premier, 12-dog, mid-distance sled races and draws mushers from around the United States and Canada. Pictured is Musher Sally Manikian of New Hampshire. Photo by Mitch Rusch.
Christin McKamey & Our Readers
Our Guest Chef Chili Recipe Will Warm You Up After Winter Adventures Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!
Win $150 for stories published!
14 FEATURE The UP200 Sled Dog Racers Mush On
Emily Haines Lloyd
18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan: Snowmobile Trails Grab a friend and hit these recommended trails for a new perspective on winter. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!
Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. Guidelines 1. Approximately 350 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your guest column at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication Title: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/18. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except August and December. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of known ofﬁce of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business ofﬁce of publisher: 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 8. Full names and complete mailing address of publisher, editors, and executive editor: Craig Borr, Christine Dorr, Casey Clark, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 9. Owner: Michigan Electric Cooperative Assoc., 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 10. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding one percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 11. Tax status: Has not been changed. 12. Issue date for circulation data below: Sept. 2018. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo.
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.
A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I)
Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to ﬁling date
Total No. of copies .......................................................... 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 Paid and requested circulation........................................ 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 Total paid and requested circulation ............................... 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 1) Free distribution by mail .................................................... 188 .................................................. 188 2) Free distribution outside mail ............................................ 920 .................................................. 920 Total free distribution .......................................................... 1,108 ............................................... 1,108 Total distribution ............................................................. 222,141 ........................................... 242,608 Copies not distributed ............................................................... 0 ...................................................... 0 Total................................................................................. 222,141 ........................................... 242,608 Percent paid and/or requested circ.................................... 98.7% .............................................. 99.7%
16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2018 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, Editor
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Board Of Directors District 1—Big Bay
Darryl Small 906-345-9369 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 • email@example.com
District 3—Grand Marais
Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4—Cedar River/Palestine
Dave Prestin 906-424-0055 • email@example.com
Ivy Netzel 906-639-2979 • MyAlgerDeltaRep5@gmail.com
District 6—Nathan/White Rapids
Paul Sederquist 906-753-4484 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 7—Stonington/Rapid River
Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 • email@example.com
Ray Young 906-450-1881 • firstname.lastname@example.org
District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge
Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 • email@example.com
Tom Harrell firstname.lastname@example.org
426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 • email@example.com algerdelta.com
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (ET)
Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
algerdelta.com Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/algerdeltaelectric
4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
A Different Kind Of Story Tom Harrell, Chief Executive Officer
In my personal life, I’m dealing with the IRS, the Canadian government and a medical insurance company, and I’m going crazy! Allow me to share three stories with you. I made a simple mistake on my taxes. I paid some of my income tax in the wrong year, paying sooner than I had to. “Yep, I made a mistake. It’ll be simple to fix,” I thought. NO WAY! The IRS has made it so difficult to get this resolved that I enlisted the aid of my congressman. Even after his office intervened and I got a letter from the IRS saying I owed nothing, I got another bill from the IRS. I lived in Canada for a number of years and recently qualified for a benefit. That government sends a check each month along with a letter begging me to enroll in direct deposit. “Pretty good idea. It’ll be easy,” I thought. NO WAY! The government website has the forms but certain parts have to be completed by a bank official. Plus, some forms cannot be submitted electronically from a computer outside that country. A year ago, I went in for a physical. The medical provider coded some of the services incorrectly so the insurance provider wouldn’t pay them. Upon discovering the mistake, I notified the medical provider expecting they’d fix the mistake and resubmit the claim to the insurance company. “That was easy,” I thought. NO WAY. Now the insurance company refused to pay because the claim wasn’t submitted in time. I’m telling you these stories to show how these enormous institutions are not people friendly and appear to not really care about the people they’re supposed to be serving. They are monolithic bureaucracies that are super frustrating to deal with—and it’s likely you have a similar story. At Alger Delta, the story is quite different. The men and women who helped you sign up for service or put the wires to your home or camp in the ground, are the same ones you’re likely to see coaching little league, pee-wee football or dropping off their teen at their part-time job. The same folks who answer the phone at the co-op are the same ones who are going to help you get answers to your service-related questions or complete a form to get a tree trimmed. That’s part of what makes the co-op difference. A co-op employee was at the grocery store the other day and a member, recognizing the employee, approached him and said, “I have a problem with my electric service. Can you help me with that?” The employee took out his smartphone, listened to the member’s story and made a few notes that he emailed to himself. Back at work the following week, that employee looked at the email and followed up on that member’s request. Stories like that just show how different Alger Delta is from many large corporations who don’t have to look their customers in the eye. We live with you, rub shoulders with those we serve, and attend church or scout meetings with our members. That’s why we have written a different kind of story for you, the member-owners of Alger Delta. Our story is your story—that’s the co-op difference.
Board Adopts New Meeting Schedule; Awards Projects To Contractors At its September meeting, the Alger Delta Board of Directors adopted a new meeting schedule for October 2018 through May 2019. The board adopted the new schedule to avoid a conflict with one director’s professional training requirements. The new board meeting dates are:
November 19 December 17
January 21 February 18 March 18 April 15 May 22
Also at its September board meeting, the board awarded a contract to SPE Utility Contractors of Port Huron, Mich., to rebuild Alger Delta’s Seney Substation. The Seney Substation provides power to members along M-77 north of Seney and in the town of Grand Marais. Routine inspections revealed the wood pole structures in the substation are deteriorating and need replacing. Steel structures on concrete foundations will be installed in their place. The project is valued at $501,484. Alger Delta also awarded a line rebuilding project to Pieper Power of Wisconsin. The Oakwood Road project in Nadeau Township will improve reliability for affected members. The project was awarded for a not-to-exceed contract amount of $350,000.
Board meetings are held at the cooperative’s headquarters located at 426 N 9th St., Gladstone, Mich. 49837. Board meetings begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Members are welcome to attend board meetings and a member comment period is provided.
“These projects are good examples of how Alger Delta continues to put members first. These investments help prevent outages and improve the quality of service and reliability for our members,” said CEO Tom Harrell.
Entrepreneurs SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY! Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2019 magazine. We know co-op members are awesome and there is no shortage of pioneers, innovators and leaders in our service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between. If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at countrylines.com. Self-nominations are accepted.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Home Heating Assistance Programs 2018–2019 Season Winter Protection Plan
Contact: Your Local Utility Company Income Guidelines 2018–2019 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $18,210 24,690 31,170 37,650 44,130 50,610 57,090 63,570
The Winter Protection Plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (Nov. 1–March 31). If you are eligible, your utility service will remain on (or restored with the WPP) from Nov. 1 through March 31, if you: • pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and • make equal monthly payments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season on any past due bills.
the following requirements: • are age 65 or older, • receive Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance, including SSI, • receive Food Assistance, • receive Medicaid, or • household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart at left. Senior citizen customers (65 or older) who participate in the WPP are not required to make speciﬁc payments to ensure that their service will not be shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31. Service for seniors can be restored without any payments.
When the protection period ends (March 31), you must begin to pay the full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full bill. Participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility of paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during winter months. You qualify for the plan if you meet at least one of
Note: All customers 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Customers are responsible for all electricity and natural gas used. At the end of the protection period, participants must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the next heating season.
You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2018 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed at left (110% of poverty level) or you qualify based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 5% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.
If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided or from the Michigan Dept. of Treasury (517-636-4486, or michigan.gov/treasury). The Home Heating Credit claim form must be ﬁled with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no later than Sept. 30 each year.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income, working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and ﬁle a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EITC, but must ﬁle a tax return to do so.
If married, you must ﬁle jointly to qualify. File Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EITC.
State Emergency Relief Program (SER): michigan.gov/ mdhhs You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shutoff notice, or the need for deliverable fuel through the SER. This program, available Nov. 1–May 31, provides most of its utility assistance during this crisis season.
However, limited assistance is available outside the crisis season.
You may be able to receive help with weatherizing your home to reduce energy use if you meet low-income eligibility guidelines (200% of poverty guidelines) and funding is available. Weatherization may include caulking,
weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to ﬁnd one in your area.
2-1-1 is a free phone service operating 24 hours daily to provide information about help that may be available in a
particular area with utilities and other needs. Dial 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org to ﬁnd available services.
Contact: Local Utility Company
You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days, possibly extending to 63 days, if you have a proven medical
emergency. You must provide written proof from a doctor, public health or social services ofﬁcial that a medical emergency exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.
Shut-off Protection For Military Active Duty
If you or your spouse has been called into active military duty, you may apply for shut-off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You may request
extensions. You must still pay, but contact your utility company and they will help you set up a payment plan.
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program
The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a ﬁnancial emergency or hardship
including the need for energy assistance. Contact the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at 517-284-5299 or michiganveterans.com
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) includes services that will enable participants to become self-sufﬁcient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and being energy efﬁcient. Shut-off protection is provided Nov. 1–April 15 for all residential
customers. The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for non-payment between November 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt-out of collecting the LIEAF go to michigan.gov/mpsc.
Add $6,480 for each additional member.
Home Heating Credit Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.
0–1 2 3
$ 13,354 18,106 22,858
4 5 6
$ 27,610 32,362 37,114
Add $ 4,752 for each exemption over 6.
Earned Income Credit
Contact: • U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service irs.gov/EITC • Michigan Dept. of Treasury michigan.gov/treasury
Crisis Assistance Program Contact: Local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) michigan.gov/mdhhs
Low-Income Home Weatherization Contact: Local Community Action Agency
Contact: Call 2-1-1 or UWmich.org/2-1-1
Medical Emergency Protection
Contact: Local Utility Company
You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2018 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.
If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may vendor part of it towards heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.
Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund
MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November
6 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.
SAFE DÉCOR FOR A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON It’s almost time to deck those halls! Statistics show that home ﬁres and electrical accidents typically increase during winter months, so keep these holiday lighting tips in mind for a safe holiday season.
Carefully inspect all electrical decorations before you use them. Cracked or damaged sockets and/or loose or exposed wires can cause serious shock or start a ﬁre.
Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
Never mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.
Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International
Practical Holiday Gift Ideas:
Think Energy Efficiency! Looking for the perfect gift for someone on your list? Energy-saving electronics and devices provide superior quality, convenience and utility bill savings for years to come. Plus, you can receive cash incentives from the Energy Optimization program to help make holiday shopping more affordable!
ENERGY STAR® TV Look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing a TV. ENERGY STAR certified models are tested and verified to use at least 25 percent less energy than regular TVs.
ENERGY STAR Personal Computer Many people leave computers on for hours or days at a time—using a substantial amount of energy. Gift your loved one with an ENERGY STAR computer that uses an impressive 60 percent less energy than standard PCs! NOTE: Laptops do not qualify for the cash incentive.
Wi-Fi or Smart Thermostat Wi-Fi enabled and smart thermostats allow occupants to adjust indoor temperatures remotely, from a mobile device or tablet. For the high-tech individual: Smart thermostats can program themselves as they “learn” behavior patterns and desired temperatures for certain days and times during the week.
ENERGY STAR LED Bulbs Is anyone on your list still using incandescent bulbs? LEDs make a great stocking stuffer! LEDs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs and, by replacing the five most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR LEDs, a household can save up to $75 per year on utility bills! For a full list of incentives available from the Energy Optimization program, call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org.
GIVE THE GIFT OF ENERGY SAVINGS Treat your loved ones to energy-efficient electronics and devices that will help them save money for years to come. You’ll save too! Shop by December 31 to receive cash incentives for:
8 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
• ENERGY STAR® TVs • ENERGY STAR computers • Smart thermostats • LED bulbs
michigan-energy.org P H O N E : 877.296.4319 ONLINE:
Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit michigan-energy.org.
Photo Contest Celebrations 1. A fun family celebration on our old Finnish farm. This photo was taken on the steps of the farmâ€™s restored cabin (circa 1865). By Jeanne Houle Peters 2. Celebrating our annual fish camp! We have been traveling throughout northern Michigan and fishing lakes all our lives! By Bill Dyer 3. My great grand-babies celebrating love. By Connie Oakes 4. It always feels like a celebration here at Alger County Wagner Falls near Munising. By Sandry Smiley
Share Your Photos!
Alger Delta invites members to share their amazing photos. Selected photos will be published in Michigan Country Lines.
Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines: Snow Day, deadline: November 20 (February issue) Food and Spirits, deadline: January 20 (March issue) To submit photos go to http://bit.ly/countrylines We look forward to seeing your best photos!
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Holiday Favorites ‘Tis the season for these festive recipes! Photos—Robert Bruce Photography
Red Velvet Cookies With Dark Chocolate Chips And Cranberries Michele Smith, Ontonagon County REA 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 (3.9 ounces) box instant chocolate pudding mix 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar 2 large eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar 1½ tablespoon red food coloring (use “holiday red” for a brighter red) 1 (12 ounces) bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 (3 ounces) bag dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together ﬂour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugars using an electric mixer; add eggs, vanilla, vinegar and food coloring. Gradually add ﬂour mixture until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Roll dough into 1½ inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Kris Kringle Christmas Cookies Bonnie Langworthy, HomeWorks Tri-County 1 cup butter 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose ﬂour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup white chocolate morsels 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until light and ﬂuffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add ﬂour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in white chocolate morsels and cranberries. Drop rounded spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) of dough, 1½ inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake for about 9 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for about 1 minute and remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Mashed Cauliﬂower Jane Ellison, Great Lakes Energy 1 1 1 1 1 •
head cauliﬂower stick butter 12-ounce package cream cheese cup shredded cheddar cheese full tablespoon horseradish salt and pepper, to taste
FEATURED GUEST CHEF
Upper Peninsula resident, Jessica Racine, offers up this delicious chili perfect for warming up after a day of dog sledding or cheering on the teams. Each spoonful is sure to fuel you for all your winter adventures.
Cut cauliﬂower into just bigger than bite-sized pieces. Steam the cauliﬂower for 30–35 minutes (if boiled, it will be too mushy). Drain the water from pot. Add all ingredients to the pot. Use a potato masher to mash and combine. Top with additional cheddar cheese and serve.
Chocolate, Coffee And Oatmeal Pie Violet Glas, Great Lakes Energy 1 3 ¾ ¾ 3 2
refrigerated pie crust eggs cup sugar cup dark corn syrup tablespoons coffee-ﬂavored liqueur tablespoons butter, melted and cooled ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips Preheat oven to 450 F. Prepare pie crust as directed for one crust with the baked shell using a 9-inch pie pan. Do not prick crust. Bake for 9–11 minutes or until lightly browned. If the crust has raised center, press down gently with the back of a spoon. Cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Meanwhile, beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk. Add sugar, corn syrup, liqueur, butter and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Pour ﬁlling into crust-lined pan. Cover edges of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake for 45–55 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is almost set. Cool at least 3 hours before serving.
Trailside Chicken Chili
1 package of chicken chili mix (stirred in 1 cup water) 20 ounces cooked chicken (2 cans, about 10 ounces each, or fresh chicken) 1 can of mushrooms, drained (reserve liquid) 1 can of Mexi-corn, drained (reserve liquid) 1 can Great Northern beans, undrained 2 tablespoons sour cream 5 ounces pepper jack cheese or white cheddar, shredded
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.
Ultimate Burgers: due December 1 Easy Weeknight Dinners: due January 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Add another cup of water or use some of the drained water from the mushroom can and corn in place of water. Cook on low for a couple hours, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Serve and top with more sour cream and pepper jack cheese. Read the full story about the UP200 Sled Dog Race on page 14, and ﬁnd this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 11
Fran (left) and Carol standing in their gallery with some of their creations.
Artisan Endeavors Create Second Chapters By Yvonne Whitman // Photography by Emily A. Prehoda
Creating art from upcycled materials such as old clothing and reclaimed glass is in the DNA of Copper Country sisters Fran Kastelic and Carol Hocking. Both sisters did not begin their artistic endeavors until later in life, as working multiple jobs and raising their families took priority in their younger years. However, when their schedules eased up in the late 1990s, they started exploring their options. Carol began oil painting in the early 70s and in the early 2000s, when she expressed an interest in learning about stained glass, her late husband, Clarence, encouraged her to give it a try. “It started a whole new chapter in my life,” Carol recalls. For Fran, her love of fiber is rooted in her genes. “Our Finnish grandmother made rugs, so it is part of our heritage—part of our past,” she explains. “I always wanted to do something like this. I’ve always been drawn to sewing, knitting and crocheting. I’m into fiber.”
12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
In 1997, Fran learned about an upcoming weaving class in Eagle Harbor. “They had some old Finnish handmade looms,” Fran remembers, “and they were giving lessons. I couldn’t sign up fast enough.” Today, she estimates she has made approximately 1,800 rugs, and at one time she owned five looms. While she insists she is “not much of an artist,” Fran’s finished products indicate otherwise. Each rug is a one-of-a-kind piece of fiber art—vibrant with color, pattern and texture. The sisters sell their wares from Carol’s home which doubles as a gallery, but both emphatically state in unison, “This is a hobby, not a business.” Fran jokingly says, “The gallery is Carol’s fault. I started by making rag rugs just for fun. I would make them and roll them up and stick them under a bed in the guest room. When my kids would come home to visit I would say, ‘Well, there’s a bunch underneath the bed. If you want, you can
“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.”—Emile Zola take some.’ Carol found out about that and thought she should also take some. She took them to her house, and I haven’t had a rug under the bed since.” While the rugs are still referred to as “rag rugs,” they are now made from whole textiles. “Our Finnish grandmother used rags, because that was all that was available,” Fran states. “It was grandpa’s Sunday shirt where the collar was gone and his old tattered coveralls. She would cut them up and use them.”
One of Carol’s beautiful creations featuring a piece of reclaimed glassware in the center.
Today, Carol is the material shopper because, according to Fran, “She has a super eye for color.” Carol frequents thrift stores buying bedspreads, towels and old shirts, but only 100 percent wool and cotton is purchased. No rayon or polyester is ever used. All fabric gets washed, pre-shrunk and color tested to make sure the material won’t bleed or shrink after weaving. Material is hand cut into strips and then sewn together. As for Carol’s art glass creations, “They are inspired by nature and whatever interesting glassware I see at a yard sale,” she says with a chuckle. When asked if she makes a plan or mocks up a drawing for the stained-glass design, Carol states she is more of a free spirit. “I noodle on a vague idea but each piece evolves from start to finish as I don’t use pre-made patterns.” Like her sister’s rugs, each stained glass piece that Carol creates is unique.
Fran and Carol in front of Carol’s unique and cheery car. She gets a lot of compliments and questions whenever she is stopped at a gas station or store.
The most important artwork the sisters have created happened following the death of their sibling. Their eyes and voices soften as they describe their most meaningful project. “Our brother Daniel passed away,” Fran said, “He always wore flannel shirts, so we took them and made four rag rugs.” Carol concluded, “We made one for his wife and one for each of his daughters and a granddaughter. We had always teased him about his wild shirts and then we were able to use them in a way we never expected.” The sister’s creative endeavors have resulted in unexpected joys discovered later in their lives—just going to show that it is never too late to find and pursue one’s passion. The gallery is located just off Hwy M-26 at 16970 Academy Road, South Range. For more information call 906-482-3792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each completed rug includes small fabric strips of the original material used in constructing the rugs.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
The UP200 Sled Dog Racers
MUSH By Emily Haines Lloyd // Photos by Mitch Rusch and Carly Antor
he image of a bundled and booted individual on the back of a sled pulled by a dozen magniﬁcent dogs seems like a scene out of the movies or a bygone era. However, on a snowy Friday evening in February, spectators can make their way to downtown Marquette, Mich., and take a step back in time and into all the wonder and romance that is sled dog racing. In the Upper Peninsula, ﬁnding ways to more than survive the cold and snowy months of the year, but actually to thrive and enjoy oneself, has always been an important part of the lifestyle. Skiing, sledding, ice ﬁshing, fat tire biking and even luging have gained popularity, but the majesty of sled dog racing takes winter to a new and exciting level. It began back in 1988 when Marquette residents Jeffrey Mann, Scott and Elise Bunce, and Tom and Sarah Lindstrom struck up a friendship only to discover they each had a common interest
14 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Remy LeDuc of New Brunswick, Canada entering Grand Marais during the UP200 1/2-way point.
or experience in sled dog racing. What started as a friendly conversation turned to serious planning and, in 1990, to the cheers of 10,000 spectators, the mushers of the ﬁrst UP200 Sled Dog Champion race bounded down Washington Street in Marquette and into the wild. For years to come, the UP200 and other local sled dog races have been successful reminders of the power of one person and their team of dogs. “I was there for the ﬁrst race back in 1990,” said Darlene Walch, Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association (UPSDA) president. “It was a remarkable thing to see. I started volunteering right after that, started mushing recreationally, and eventually started racing.” For the rigorous UP200, racers and their teams kick off their three-day 230-mile journey in Marquette to their ﬁrst stop in Wetmore. This is a distance of approximately 64 miles on the upbound leg, then they go on to Grand Marais, where the teams turn around and continue their journey back to Marquette. Mushers encounter inclines, creek crossings, and isolation while tackling trail conditions ranging from fast hardpack to deep snow. A total rest time of 16 hours is required to ensure mushers and teams receive ample downtime, food and water breaks.
exude off of them, encouraging the musher and inspiring the crowds. “These teams are made of athletes,” said Walch. “We, the mushers, are just the coaches. We’re looking to improve on strengths, keep our team injury-free and help the team work together.” With 30 years under its belt, the UP200 continues to bring the joy of viewing worldclass athletes work in unison to accomplish something remarkable, delightful, and truly awesome to behold.
While many mushers race as a way to set personal goals, engage in the supportive community and simply enjoy the invigorating sport—others have sights on additional goals. The UP200 is a qualifying event for the Iditarod, coined The Last Great Race, which is certainly Alaska’s most well-known sporting event. The Iditarod is widely considered to be a critical part of saving the sled dog race culture and promoting the beautiful sport.
While the UP200 is certainly the Upper Peninsula’s longest race, sled dog lovers have several options to see these amazing teams in action.
230-mile race with 12-dog teams February 15–17, 2019
“The UP200 is an excellent litmus test for those interested in the Iditarod,” said Walch. “Mushers need to demonstrate the ability to manage a team over distance and manage unassisted checks. It’s an important race for mushers from the East Coast or Midwest, as many qualifying races are in Alaska and not a viable option.”
90-mile race with 8-dog teams February 15–16, 2019
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While competition is certainly a big part of the sport’s make-up, Walch and others in the community will tell you that it is the dogs who are the heart and soul of each race. These dog breeds love running in the snow like Labradors love jumping in lakes and swimming. With each run, the joy and enthusiasm of the team
26-mile race with 6-dog teams February 16, 2019
Visit UP200.org for more information. Musher Kris Sampson of Ontario, Canada.
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WHAT TO DO: IF YOUR CAR CRASHES INTO A UTILITY POLE Accidents happen. Would you know what to do if your car crashed into an electric utility pole? Knowing what to do could be the difference between life and death.
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 06/30/18.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Regional average fuel mix used Your co-op’s fuel mix
Always consider power lines and other electrical equipment to be live and dangerous!
IF A POWER LINE FALLS ON YOUR VEHICLE AND THERE IS NO FIRE:
Renewable Fuels 12.69%
Solid Waste Incineration
NOTE: Biomass above excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas.
Your safest option is to stay inside your vehicle until help arrives. The vehicle acts as a path for the electrical current to travel to reach the ground. You are safe inside the vehicle, but if you get out, you could be electrocuted.
Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix
Call 911 or your local electric utility for help.
Regional Average Fuel Mix
IF A POWER LINE FALLS ON YOUR VEHICLE AND THERE IS A FIRE: Only attempt to leave your vehicle if it is on ﬁre. To exit safely: • Jump out of the vehicle, making sure NO part of your body or clothing touches the ground and vehicle at the same time.
Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type Of Emission/Waste
Your Regional Co-op Average*
• Land with both feet together and in small, shufﬂing steps, move at least 40 ft. away from the vehicle.
Oxides of Nitrogen
• The ground could be energized. Shufﬂing away with both feet together decreases the risk of electrical shock.
High-level Nuclear Waste 0.001
Call 911 or your local electric utility for help.
*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/17. Alger Delta purchases 100 percent of its electricity from WPPI Energy, which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
Guess this photo and enter to win a
energy bill credit! 2
Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by November 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines. com or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the September issue is Gail Cook, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in Keweenaw County. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.
Best Snowmobile Trails The opportunities to experience a pure Michigan snow day are endless, and a day on a snowmobile is a perfect way to explore the winter scenery. With more than 6,500 groomed snowmobile trails that stretch from the Keweenaw Peninsula all the way down to Michigan’s southern border, there is plenty of opportunity for a snowmobile adventure. Along the way you can speed across frozen lakes, wind through forests and stop in snowmobile-friendly communities for a hot meal and good company. Start with some of the trails below suggested by fellow members.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula A journey on a snowmobile across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula should be on every snowmobile enthusiast’s bucket list. There are more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails in the U.P. alone, featuring epic views. Get a new perspective on destinations like Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or make your way to Eben Ice Caves or Grand Island Ice Caves to explore this unique destination.
White Pine Trail Cadillac has a trail system with over 200 miles of groomed trails. Trails include the White Pine Trail at Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park. The trail is 92 miles long with an 88-mile section open from Cadillac to Grand Rapids. Jeff Dorr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op
Thumbs Up Snowmobile Trail Sanilac County has around 100 miles of groomed trails, all on private land. Enjoy the “Thumbs Up Snowmobile Trail” and take in the beauty of an eastern Michigan winter! Be sure to visit the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve and the picturesque Port Sanilac Lighthouse. Calvin Foster, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative
Grand Marais Check out the Grand Marais area. The groomers do a wonderful job keeping the trails clear. This trail features wonderful trails and sights all around. Ivana Enright, Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association
Northeast Michigan and Presque Isle Northeast Michigan, Presque Isle and the adjoining county trails have a lot of well groomed trails. John Houk, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Best of Michigan Up Next: Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Help us create a “Best Burger” bucket list. We will publish this satisfying list in our February 2019 issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 20.
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