Nov/Dec. 2018 HomeWorks

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November/December 2018


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

The UP200 Sled Dog Racers

MUSH ON Palermo Retires From People Fund Board

Bandit Industries Celebrates 35 Years New Rebates Help With Heating/Cooling

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In This Issue November/December 2018 || Vol. 38, No. 9

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives 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

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

Guest Column

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 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















Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Avenue Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Avenue Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395 Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740 HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 Email:

Board of Directors District 1 — John Lord 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 District 3 — Luke Pohl Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 District 5 — Corinna Batora Vice-Chairman 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 District 6 — Ed Oplinger Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Road, Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 Editors: C harly Markwart Jayne Graham, CCC

Join us on Facebook. 4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

A Year Of Change Mark Kappler, General Manager

After 80 years of existence as an electric cooperative serving mid-Michigan, you might think we’re set in our ways and into a settled routine. But you’d be wrong. It has, in fact, been a year of tremendous change at HomeWorks. A large part of that is due to our decision to begin building a fiber network and bring true broadband internet access to our corner of rural America. That’s an exciting step for us to take and one that will involve every employee in every department: • Line workers and engineering help ensure the electric system is in good condition so we can build a fiber network onto it. • Customer service reps answer calls every day with questions from excited members. • Our accounting team makes sure every dollar spent is accounted for accurately, so that costs are allocated correctly between our businesses. • Our propane field employees are spreading the word as they make their delivery rounds. And, it’s creating opportunities for employees across HomeWorks to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities, which means we’ve been moving people into new roles and finding good prospects to fill the open positions. In fact, since late last year, over a third of the people on our HomeWorks team are in new positions or have taken on new responsibilities—only four of those openings are due to someone leaving HomeWorks. How do we keep the excitement going during a period of major change? The first thing we do when filling any position is to make sure the candidate understands our mission: To provide our members and customers with energy, comfort, and communication solutions that will enhance their quality of life. We are fortunate to have the right people in the right places here at HomeWorks. Each one of our 80 full-time and five part-time employees, plus the seven members of our board of directors, contributes to making HomeWorks work for you.

Bandit Industries Celebrates 35 Years

Bandit Industries, one of HomeWorks’ largest commercial and industrial members, celebrated its 35th anniversary in style this year with a well-attended Community Day event held at its global headquarters in western Isabella County on Sept. 15. Hundreds of local residents gathered at the manufacturing company to mark the occasion. Attendees were treated to tours of the facility, demonstrations of the company’s popular wood chippers and other products, free food, and more. “We were honored to open our doors and share the heart of Bandit Industries with our local community,” said Bandit Facilities Manager Louie Jensen. Over the past 35 years, that rural community has watched Bandit grow from a small, seven-person operation to a world-class company employing more than 400 employees in over 280,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Today, Bandit offers over 50 different models of hand-fed chippers, whole-tree grinders, stump grinders, track carriers, and other products, delivered to 56 countries throughout the world. But, with all of the growth and transformation the company has seen in three-and-a-half decades, co-founders Jerry, Mike and Dianne Morey say they are still proud to do business out of small-town central Michigan. “We all grew up here,” said Mike. “This is home.” Anniversary event photos courtesy of Bandit Industries.

For 35 years, Bandit’s core mission and values have not changed. Our goal is to build premium equipment and to build and maintain strong, lasting relationships. - Louie Jensen, Bandit Facilities Manager



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 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): 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 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 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

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

Add $6,480 for each additional member.

Home Heating Credit Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.

0–1 2 3

Max. Income

$ 13,354 18,106 22,858

# Exemp.

4 5 6

Max. Income

$ 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 • Michigan Dept. of Treasury

Crisis Assistance Program Contact: Local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Low-Income Home Weatherization Contact: Local Community Action Agency

United Way

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or

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


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 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:


& bright

• ENERGY STAR® TVs • ENERGY STAR computers • Smart thermostats • LED bulbs 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

Snap Shot 2018 Winners Named This month’s entries close out our 2018 contest. In all, we received 109 entries from 66 photographers. Thank you ALL for sharing your Snap Shots with us this year! Congratulations to Joan Bull of Big Rapids and Linsey Dykhouse of Lake Odessa. In this year’s drawing, each wins a $100 credit on their December electric bill (due in January 2019).




Enter to win a


1. P amela Martin from Westphalia says, “My granddaughters energy bill Raelynn and Faith got together for the 4th of July celebration credit! in town.” The cousins are pictured waiting for the parade to come by. Shelby Olson of Lakeview shared Snap Shots of three very different celebrations: 2. “ My sister, Shawn Slusher, rings a bell after her last chemotherapy appointment for breast cancer.” The sign underneath the bell reads: Ring this bell three times well Its toll to clearly say my treatment’s done This course is run and I’m on my way She is celebrating beating cancer! 3. Shown with her husband Todd, Shelby says, “This year my husband and I completed our first 5K together in Detroit on April 29.” 4. S helby‘s daughter, Allison Davis, jumps for joy on her last day of middle school in June 2018.

Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics And Deadlines 3

“Cutest Kids,” Deadline: Nov. 17 (January issue) “Snow Day,” Deadline: Dec. 19 (February issue) Go to and select Country Lines under the Electric tab to submit your photos and see additional themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River, Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Submit Your Photos! Contributors whose photos we publish in 2019 will be entered into a drawing. Country Lines will choose two winners for a bill credit of $100 each on their December electric bill, due in January 2020!




Holiday Favorites ‘Tis the season for these festive recipes! Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

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


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


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 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


People Fund Helps Families With Roof Repairs Meeting October 3, the Tri-County Electric People Fund board made seven grants totaling $17,957.49, including: • $6,000 to God’s Helping Hands, Remus, to support their Christmas food box program; • $3,000 to St. Vincent De Paul at St. Mary’s, Charlotte, for their utility and housing assistance program; • $2,000 to Community Christian Action Group, Eaton Rapids, to purchase food pantry items; • $750 to Chippewa-Martiny Fire Department, Chippewa Lake, to purchase ice rescue gear; • $1,707.49 to an Isabella County family for roof repairs; • $2,500 to a Mecosta County family for roof repairs; and • $2,000 to a Montcalm County family for medical expenses.

How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community. Write to 7973 E. Grand River Avenue, Portland, MI. 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund tab at Note: Applications must be received by Nov. 5 for the November board meeting, and by Dec. 3 for the December board meeting.


Your Board In Action Meeting at Portland on September 24, your board of directors: • Toured the data center facilities and line construction areas of the HomeWorks Connect fiber-to-the-home business. • Appointed Tony Piper of Dimondale to serve as the District 1 representative on the Tri-County Electric People Fund board and re-appointed Peg Brown from District 3 and Jerrilynn Strong from District 7 to three-year terms. • Authorized staff to engage Eide Bailly as the financial auditor for 2018. • Learned there were 143 new members in August. • Acknowledged the August safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents for electric and propane.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 26 at Portland and Dec. 13 at Blanchard. Members who need directions to the meeting, or wish to have items considered on the board agenda, should call 517-647-7554.

Information For All Customers Of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Your cooperative offers a program called the Tri-County Electric People Fund, which is funded through the voluntary rounding up of your monthly utility bill to the next whole dollar amount. An all-volunteer board of directors appointed by the member-elected board of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative is charged with distributing the funds throughout the Cooperative’s service area to support charitable efforts in and around the communities we serve. Funds from the People Fund have been distributed to educational programs, fire departments, medical emergency groups, recreational organizations, senior organizations, numerous local charities, and many local families and individuals. A copy of the People Fund’s annual report detailing contributions is available and has been highlighted in previous issues of Country Lines magazine. All grants made are also listed at our website at Your participation in the Tri-County Electric People Fund is VOLUNTARY. If at any time you wish to discontinue participation in the People Fund, please let us know and we will be happy to remove your account. If you are participating, your monthly bill is rounded up to the next whole dollar amount. If your bill is $78.42, it would be rounded up to $79. The 58 cents would then be contributed by HomeWorks on your behalf to the People Fund, to be used as explained above. A customer’s average annual contribution is approximately $6. Your annual contribution to the People Fund is tax deductible and is reported on your monthly statement in January of the following year. For additional information regarding the Tri-County Electric People Fund, you can contact the cooperative office by mail, or call 1-877-466-3957, extension 1218.

Palermo Retires

Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 06/30/18.

From People Fund Board Richard Palermo of Grand Ledge, chairman and founding member of the Tri-County Electric People Fund Board of Directors, has retired from serving District 1.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Regional average fuel mix used* Your co-op’s fuel mix

Fuel Source

“After 25 plus years on the People Fund Board, I just thought it would be nice to have some new blood on the board, a different perspective,” he says. Palermo first retired from the State of Michigan in 2002 after working as an investigations manager for the Inspector General’s office. He went on to serve as treasurer of Oneida Township in Eaton County and retired from that position after 12 years. “It meant so much, to serve not only the people in my district but the whole Tri-County service area. Giving back—that’s what I loved about the job. I’ve been fortunate in my life, and I just wanted to help others who were less fortunate.” Palermo adds that serving on the People Fund board “always gave me a lot of satisfaction at the end of the day. “Now I can relax, enjoy my grandchildren, and finally enjoy retirement,” he says. Tony Piper of Dimondale has been named to represent District 1 on the People Fund board. Piper, a native of Holt and a 1966 graduate of Holt High School, was drafted into the Army in 1968 and after two years of active duty, eventually retired from the military with 24 years total service in the Army Reserve and National Guard.


“Giving back—that’s what I loved about the job.”

Piper is currently in his third term as a trustee of Windsor Charter Township in Eaton County and formerly served on the township’s board of review. He is a member and past president of the Dimondale Lions Club, a member and past president of the Chief Okemos Sportsman’s Club in Dimondale, and is a past president of Michigan Ducks Unlimited. He and his wife, Rebecca, are also active in the South Church.














Renewable Fuels












Solid Waste Incineration









––Richard Palermo

five years on the Toronado assembly line; he moved into the skilled trades as a toolmaker, and retired as a construction millwright in 2001. His hobbies include woodworking and gardening, hunting and fishing.


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

Regional Average Fuel Mix

“It’s a good charitable organization,” Piper says of the People Fund Board. “I have the time and would like to be involved.” Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Tony Piper, newly appointed District 1 representative

He worked at General Motors in Lansing starting in 1970, putting in Note: At the October 3 board meeting, new officers were selected. Jerry Supina is the new chairman, Dick Donley is vice-chair, and Lisa Johnson is secretary-treasurer.

Your Co-op

Regional Average*

Sulfur Dioxide



Carbon Dioxide



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. HomeWorks purchases 100 percent of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.


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


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.”

Midnight Run

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 for more information. Musher Kris Sampson of Ontario, Canada.

New HomeWorks Energy Rebates Could Help You Upgrade Your HVAC System With Energy Efficient Heat Pump Are you thinking about upgrading your HVAC equipment? If so, now might be a great time to consider an energy efficient ground source, air source or mini-split heat pump to replace your home’s furnace and/or air conditioning unit. Our new HomeWorks Energy Rebates offer members incentives ranging from $400 to $800 for the installation of qualifying heat pumps, depending on the type of unit.

Heat pumps work efficiently to transfer heat to or from the ground or outside air to heat or cool the home.

What Is A Heat Pump? A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that uses a refrigerant to transfer heat from one place to another. In the warmer months, the unit works to remove heat from your home to cool it. Similarly, it moves heat back into the home to warm it during the colder months. A ground source, or geothermal, heat pump is installed under the home and transfers heat to or from the ground. Alternatively, an air source heat pump is fitted to the side of the home and transfers heat to or from the outside air. A mini-split heat pump is a small unit that can be used to heat and cool individual rooms in a home, or to retrofit a home with an existing non-ducted heating system.

Benefits Of Heat Pumps • Heating and cooling in one unit: Heat pumps are typically more expensive to install than a traditional furnace or AC unit, but they offer all-in-one heating and cooling comfort. That means you only have to purchase one unit, and, down the road, you only have to maintain and repair one unit, too. • Consistent and even comfort: Since the system is allin-one and uses the same physics and mechanism to heat as it does to cool, you’ll no longer have to worry about uneven heating and cooling performance. This means a higher level of comfort in your home, plus more consistent energy bills throughout the year. • Energy efficiency: Since they transfer air from one place to another instead of burning energy to heat or cool it, heat pumps use far less energy than traditional furnaces and AC units. “The efficiency only continues to get better, and heat pumps allow you to move to electricity from a more volatile energy source like natural gas,” says HomeWorks energy advisor Brandon Trierweiler. “For members looking to reduce their carbon footprint and take control of their energy use, it’s a great option to consider.”

How Do I Find Out More? For more information on heat pumps and/or HomeWorks Energy Rebates, visit, or call us at 800-562-8232.

Notice To Members Of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative A Special Member Meeting is set for November 26, 9 a.m., at the Cooperative’s Portland office The board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its meeting on Nov. 26, 2018, to be held at the cooperative office at 7973 Grand River Avenue, Portland, MI. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors, without filing a formal request under cooperative policy. Members are asked to come to the lobby by 9 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct interested members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. Notice of changes or additions to the cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including handicapped parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact HomeWorks Tri-County Electric at 800-562-8232 a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing or other assistance. Comments may also be made before the meeting date by calling General Manager Mark Kappler at 517-647-1281, or by email at Notice of the board meeting shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17

Guess this photo and enter to win a



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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.

September 2018

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 under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 20. Report Outages: 1-800-848-9333



THE CO-OP DIFFERENCE At HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, we answer to you and you alone. As a voting member-owner of your co-op, you have a say in everything we do—and we are proud to serve you!

Learn more about the value of your co-op membership at, or by following our Facebook page.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative