COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative
The UP200 Sled Dog Racers
MUSH ON Capital Credit Refunds Coming Soon New Lineworker Class For High School Students Reliability Update
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
You Take The Credit
Board of Directors
Mark Carson Chairman, District 2
01950 Anderson Rd., Boyne City, MI 49712 231-675-0561 • email@example.com
John LaForge Vice-Chairman, District 9 7363 Walters Rd., Delton, MI 49046 269-623-2284 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Schemanski Secretary, District 1 5974 Stolt Rd., Petoskey, MI 49770 231-439-9079 • email@example.com
Larry Monshor Treasurer, District 4 1541 Thumm Rd., Gaylord, MI 49735 989-705-1778 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Brechon Director, District 8
22322 220th Ave., Paris, MI 49338 630-379-6218 • email@example.com
Paul Byl Director, District 7
9941 W. Buchanan Rd., Shelby, MI 49455 231-861-5911 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Evans Director, District 3 11195 Essex Rd., Ellsworth, MI 49729 231-883-3146 • email@example.com
Dale Farrier Director, District 5
2261 Wheeler Lake Rd. NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646 231-564-0853 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO
our electric cooperative is a financially sound business and you can take credit for that. In fact, the credit you receive is more than just a thank you for allowing us to serve you. Next month we again plan to issue capital credit refunds to our Great Lakes Energy members. Capital credit refunds are provided to members when your electric co-op’s board of directors determines we are financially healthy and can afford to return them. This year we plan to return $5 million in capital credit refunds. Since 2003, we have returned over $71.4 million in capital credit refunds to GLE members. How are we able to do this? Great Lakes Energy is a not-for-profit business. We operate at cost—collecting enough revenue to run and expand the business without the need to generate profits for distant shareholders. Any additional margins or profits we earn are allocated back to our members when we are financially strong enough to do so. The amount of your capital credit refund is based on the amount you paid for electricity you purchased in previous years. For most GLE members, the money is returned as a capital credit refund on your bill in December.
Communications Director/Editor: Dave Guzniczak
Capital credit refunds are just one way your co-op shows its commitment to our members and communities. With a large 26 county region to serve, we remain a community-centered business with eight local offices to tend to your energy needs. Your friends and neighbors work for the co-op and we have many programs available to help you save energy. Great Lakes Energy is not just an electric utility provider, but a local business you own that contributes to the success of your community. We all can be proud of that.
Boyne City Headquarters
Read more about the capital credit refunds coming your way in December on the next page.
Robert Kran Director, District 6
7380 N. Tuttle Rd., Free Soil, MI 49411 231-464-5889 • email@example.com
President/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537
1323 Boyne Ave., P.O. Box 70 Boyne City, MI 49712 Hours: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To report an outage, call: 1-888-485-2537
gtlakes.com Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
Electric co-ops nationwide have retired
$15 BILLION to members since 1988.
Capital Credit Refund
This year, Great Lakes Energy is returning $5 million in capital credits to our members. The money will appear as a credit on your December bill, and amounts over $1,000 will be sent as checks. That brings the total amount of capital credit refunds issued annually since 2003 to over $71.4 million. Great Lakes Energy members who purchased electricity in any or all of these years —2017 and 1996 will receive a refund.
Q. What are capital credits? A. Capital credits are a key reason why you’re more than just a customer, you’re a member of GLE. They represent your share of profits (called margins in the co-op world) that are generated when revenues exceed our operating costs. In a co-op business, margins are not kept, but are allocated back to the members who provide the revenue through the electric rates they paid during the year. Unlike investor-owned utilities, co-ops do not have shareholder investor/owners. Our members are our investor/owners. Every time you pay your bill, you’re making an investment in a business you co-own. Q. Why is the refund on my bill different than my neighbors? A. Your share of the margins is based on the amount you spent for electricity during the years involved. If your neighbors spent more for electricity in these years than you, they will receive a larger refund and vice versa. Q. Why are the refunds based on 2017 and 1996? A. Capital credits were retired from the oldest year (1996) and most recently completed fiscal year (2017) to allow both long-time and new members to receive the benefit. Also, all capital credits earned by members prior to 1997 have now been returned. Q. What if I don’t receive a refund? A. You should receive a refund if you were a GLE member
How Do Capital Credits Work?
Because electric co-ops operate at cost, any excess revenues, called margins, are returned to members in the form of capital credits.
who purchased electricity from us in 2017 or 1996. If you did not get a refund, you may be a member who joined us in 2018 or may have assumed the electric account from a relative who is now deceased. Contact us for instructions on how to claim any capital credit refunds that may be issued in the deceased person’s name. Anyone who plans to move off our lines should provide us with their new address for our records. Your assistance will help limit the amount of unclaimed capital credit refunds. Q. What about capital credits earned in other years? Will they be returned, too? A. Yes, we plan to continue to retire capital credits annually, provided financial conditions allow us to do so. Q. What do you do with the capital credits that haven’t been retired and returned yet? A. They remain part of the capital invested in the cooperative that allows us to build, maintain and improve our power line distribution system and provide the other services you expect as a GLE member. Q. Will I receive a refund again next year? A. It is too early at this time to predict how well your cooperative fared financially in 2018. However, based on how well we’ve done in the past with returning capital credits, we expect to continue this member benefit next year.
Your co-op tracks how much electricity you buy and how much money you pay for it throughout the year. At the end of the year, your co-op completes financial matters and determines whether there are excess revenues, called margins. Your co-op allocates the margins to members as capital credits based on the amount they spend on electricity during the year. When the co-op’s financial condition permits, your board of directors/ trustees decides to retire, or pay, the capital credits. Your co-op notifies you of how and when you’ll receive your capital credits retirements.
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
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.
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:
• 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.
GLE Photo Contest Celebrations 1. Celebrating America’s freedom at East Jordan Freedom Festival——Tamatha Lane, East Jordan 2. Back to school excitement!——Monica Field, Hart 3. I did it!——Terry Euper, Hersey 4. Elsa (a.k.a. Kate) was so happy to celebrate her sixth birthday——Nicole Skofic, Hesperia 5. Mason Co./Thunder Lake property owners Labor Day picnic ——Marcia Lowing, Fountain 6. Celebrating new family——Paula Miller, Kalkaska
Most votes on Facebook!
Submit Your “Snow Day” Photo! Each month members can submit photos on Facebook or our website for our annual photo contest. The photo with the most votes on Facebook is published here along with other selections.
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Our November contest theme is Snow Day. Photos can be submitted by November 20 to be featured in the February 2019 issue.
How To Enter:
Visit Facebook.com/greatlakesenergy and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Not on Facebook? You can also enter the contest at gtlakes.com/photocontest/. Make sure to vote and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes from our online and Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2019 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2019.
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
A Playground For All Kids A ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held to open a new highly accessible playground at the Ludington State Park. Youngsters with different physical abilities will be able to have fun together with the new playground equipment. A $5,000 People Fund grant awarded to the Friends of Ludington State Park helped make the project possible. According to the group, the playground
significantly exceeds American with Disabilities Act standards. People Fund grants are funded with “extra change” donated by Great Lakes Energy members who have their bills rounded up to the next dollar. Call 1-888-485-2537 or visit gtlakes.com if you would like to support the People Fund.
Join People Fund Plus Now you can make a greater impact in your local community with People Fund PLUS. Choose a People Fund donation level in addition to your rounded-up amount. Your donations are awarded in the form of grants to local community nonproﬁt groups. All People Fund contributors have the chance to win a $100 bill credit twice per year. In 2017 the People Fund awarded $216,155 in grants to local nonprofits. Visit gtlakes.com to see the list of grant recipients in your area.
JOIN TODAY! Working together, we can help enhance our local communities and meet the needs of so many.
EXAMPLE: With People Fund: Bill Amount $65.42 + $.58 for People Fund = $66.00 With People Fund PLUS: Bill Amount $65.42 + $.58 for People Fund + $2.00 for PLUS = $68.00
• Call 888-GT-LAKES or visit gtlakes.com/peoplefundenroll to join. •
We’re Keeping the Lights
Reliable service means fewer power outages. We’re making improvements to provide you with better service.
New More Power Line Protection Technology Devices
Aggressive Major Tree Power Line Improvements Maintenance
What hinders our progress?
AVERAGE OUTAGE MINUTES YEARLY COMPARISON
****INFO: Pick up We’re Keeping the Lights On graphic from Feb 2017 issue, p. 12. Move 2016 and its quarterly numbers to top row. Label bottom row 2017. There will be only one number in 2017 row, which is the number
Out coming. Looking Change yearly goalfor You number at bottom to 157 and remove We did it! and
126.8 OUR YEARLY GOAL: UNDER 166.3 MINUTES 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
Jack Pine 30
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.
Need A Generator? Safety And Buying Tips From Great Lakes Energy
Standby vs. Portable Not sure if you want a whole-house standby generator or a portable generator? Standby generators are automatic, so they will come on even if you’re not home. They power your whole house and are quiet. Standby generators are more expensive, but tend to last a long time. Portable generators are manual, which means you have to be home to start it. They may not be best if you have a seasonal home. They will power essential appliances you may need during an outage. They are a more cost-effective option, but do have to be filled with gas and be placed outside.
Special Meter Base If you are considering a generator, be sure to install a meter base with a generator safety switch. GLE sells these special meter bases for $350. They protect our lineworkers, your family and neighbors, and they eliminate the risk of damage to your generator or appliances.
Hire An Electrician Hire an electrician to install a generator and the special meter base.
LEARN MORE Search the web for more details:
• Search “standby vs. portable generators” • Search “generator manufacturers” • Contact a local electrician Please note, GLE does not sell or install generators.
16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018
One of the first things students interested in lineworker careers learn is how to climb a utility pole.
Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Great Lakes Energy Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 06/30/18.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Regional average fuel mix used* Your co-op’s fuel mix
Climbing To Success
new course that introduces high school students to a possible career where they can literally climb to success started this fall at Boyne City High School with the help of Great Lakes Energy.
Derek Maki and James Rincon are the part-time instructors for the Energy Fundamentals: Lineworker program. When not teaching, the two resume their duties as lineworkers for Great Lakes Energy. The two-hour daily class offered for one full school year gives participating high school students a good taste of what it’s like to work high off the ground building and maintaining power lines. Those who like the work and are good at it could later pursue careers in that field.
Solid Waste Incineration
NOTE: Biomass above excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.
Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix
Students also learn of other career opportunities expected to open in the energy industry in the near future. According to local school officials, median salaries in the energy industry range from over $50,000 to over $88,000 with an associate degree and industry credentials. Patterned after a lineworker apprenticeship program, the pre-apprentice course provides both classroom instruction and work in the field. Initial field work includes learning how to climb a utility pole.
Regional Average Fuel Mix
“Pole climbing often is a deciding factor when students ponder whether this vocation is for them or not,” Rincon explains. “We don’t want them to devote the entire school year to this program only to later discover they can’t handle heights. Better to learn that first.” Safety is also a vital part of the program. “Students need to clearly understand that safety always comes first with this job,” adds Maki. “By working safely, you’re not only protecting yourself but those who work with you on the lines.” Students who complete the class can graduate from high school and enter an apprenticeship program. The typical apprenticeship program requires apprentices to complete over 7,000 hours of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Normally it takes four years to complete the apprenticeship and become a lineworker. The course is available to high school juniors and seniors from public schools within the Char-Em Intermediate School District that covers Charlevoix, Emmet and northern Antrim counties. For more information on the program, contact the high school, 231-439-8100.
Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type Of Emission/Waste
Oxides of Nitrogen High-level Nuclear Waste
*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/17. Great Lakes Energy purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., 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.
As a member of
GREAT LAKES ENERGY
YOU get the credit!
Get the credit you deserveâ€”a capital credit refund!
Members who purchased electricity from GLE in 2017 or 1996, or both, will receive a capital credit refund on their December bill.
See page 4 or visit gtlakes.com/ capital-credit-refunds.
For the 16th straight year, weâ€™re giving members the credit they deserve. Investor-owned utilities return profits to investors. Cooperatives like Great Lakes Energy return capital credits to members.
You get the credit! Watch your December bill for your capital credit refund!