Nov/Dec 2019 Alger Delta

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November/December 2019


COUNTRY LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association

Oh, Christmas Tree

Voices Of Veterans High School Students, Apply Now For 2020 Youth Tour

The North Pole Express ALL ABOARD


You don’t have to lower the thermostat to control your heating bills. WaterFurnace geothermal systems use the clean, renewable energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. And because WaterFurnace units don’t use any fossil fuels or combustion, the EPA calls it the most environmentally friendly and cost effective way to condition our homes.2 Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer to learn how WaterFurnace is good for the environment, your budget and the feeling in your toes. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS Bad Axe B & D Htg (989) 269-5280

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Caro AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328)

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500

Muskegon Kiessel Geothermal Htg & Clg (231) 747-7509

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Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

visit us at WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. 1. 30% through 2019, 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 2. EPA study “Space Conditioning, The Next Frontier” (Report 430-R-93-004)

In This Issue November/December 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 10


Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives FEATURED PHOTO FROM


Your photo could be featured here. michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark

Follow Us On Instagram!

Editor: Christine Dorr Design and Production: Karreen Bird

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. 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


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.

@michigancountrylines michigancountrylines A crystal clear reflection of the Ore Dock in Marquette by @justin_palmer_photography

ON THE COVER All Aboard The North Pole Express! One of the few remaining steam-powered engines in the country, the Pere Marquette 1225, better known as the North Pole Express, shuttles passengers of all generations into an idyllic blast from Christmas past each December.

6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY The Call Of The Michigan Wild

For these three friends from Escanaba, Michigan, their enthusiasm for the outdoors was their strongest bond. Emily Haines Lloyd

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Spread Holiday Cheer With Festive Cookie Recipes Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Featured Guest Chef: Enjoy this snow storm soup recipe from Kim Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE All Aboard The North Pole Express Multiple generations of families share this unique Michigan experience. Emily Haines Lloyd

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best of Michigan: Bakeries

Get ready to devour this member-recommended list of Michigan’s best bakeries. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

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: 10/1/19. 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. 2019. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo.

Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to filing date

A) Total No. of copies ................................ 241,500 ................... 242,882 B) Paid and requested circulation ............ 241,500 ................... 242,882 C) Total paid and requested circulation ... 241,500 ................... 242,882 D) 1) Free distribution by mail .........................188 ...........................155 2) Free distribution outside mail .................920 ...........................887 E) Total free distribution ...............................1,108 ....................... 1,042 F) Total distribution.................................. 222,141 ................... 243,924 G) Copies not distributed ..................................... 0 ...............................0 H) Total ..................................................... 222,141 ................... 243,924 I) Percent paid and/or requested circ. .........98.7% .......................99.7% 16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2019 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, Editor




Powering Great Places




Board Of Directors District 1—Big Bay

Darryl Small 906-345-9369 •

District 2—Harvey/Deerton

Karen Alholm 906-249-1095 •

District 3—Grand Marais

Mike Lawless 906-494-2080 •

District 4—Cedar River/Palestine

Dave Prestin 906-424-0055 •

District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell

Ivy Netzel 906-639-2979 •

District 6—Nathan/White Rapids

Paul Sederquist 906-753-4484 •

District 7—Stonington/Rapid River

Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 •

District 8—Nahma/Isabella

Ray Young 906-450-1881 •

District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge

Doug Bovin 906-573-2379 •


Tom Harrell


426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837 906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950 Fax: 906-428-3840 •

Office Hours

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (ET)

Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Join us on Facebook.



Tom Harrell, Chief Executive Officer

or most of its existence, Alger Delta bought wholesale power from four utilities: Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), Wisconsin Electric (We Energy), Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) and the Marquette Board of Light and Power (MBLP). That all changed in 2007 when Alger Delta became a WPPI member utility. Now, we buy 100% of our power from WPPI. That was the greatest decision ever made by this cooperative. As our member-owned, not-for-profit, wholesale power supplier, WPPI Energy is accountable to Alger Delta and its other member utilities. Serving 51 community-owned utilities, WPPI’s mission is to provide reliable, lowcost electricity. Each year, the WPPI Energy Board Chair, CEO and executive staff meet and report on the state of WPPI. At this year’s meeting, which I attended along with three of Alger Delta’s directors, WPPI’s leadership reported that WPPI Energy and its membership continue to excel. WPPI Energy held our wholesale power costs relatively flat for the past five years, and they believe this trend will continue for at least another five years. In fact, WPPI Energy’s average wholesale power supply cost decreased slightly last year. This helps Alger Delta keep electricity affordable. Not only is WPPI keeping costs stable and competitive, they are doing so while making our generation portfolio more diverse and sustainable. Our power supply today is around 33% carbon-free—significantly better than many utilities in the U.P. And WPPI will soon add about 132 megawatts of energy from the Point Beach Solar Energy Center, keeping Alger Delta on track to achieve about a 37%-reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 (compared to 2005). While supplying power is at the core of WPPI’s operations, Alger Delta enjoys some of its other service offerings, too. From help with computer systems and cybersecurity, to an aggressive renewable energy program, to technical assistance from highly trained personnel with state-of-theart equipment, WPPI partners with us to ensure our success in a rapidly changing industry. The central Upper Peninsula is an exceptional place to live, work and play. Together with WPPI Energy, Alger Delta is powering this great place, now and well into the future.

Your Board In Action


t each monthly meeting, the board handles several routine administrative items, including review and approval of memberships, expenditures, director and CEO expenses, and related items. The board also hears reports from management on a variety of topics including finances, operations, technology, projects and other activities that take place from month to month. The following is a recap of other board actions taken during the quarter.




The board heard a presentation by Tom Paque, senior vice president of services and business strategy with WPPI Energy (Alger Delta’s power supplier). Paque provided the board with a demographic breakdown of the WPPI membership and discussed topics like the diversity of power generation resources in WPPI’s portfolio, average wholesale power costs, support services provided by WPPI, political advocacy efforts, and upcoming meeting opportunities. He also answered questions.

On Sept. 11, the board held a special meeting to discuss economic development and industrial rates. On Sept. 25, the board held its regular meeting, where they discussed net metering, reviewed the strategic plan, received a report on Alger Delta’s safety accreditation project and began the process of evaluating the CEO.

The board also approved committee assignments and appointments to related boards, discussed cost-saving measures, approved a new audit contract, and took action to retire over $350,000 in patronage capital.

Tom McNamee of Sen. Ed McBroom’s office attended the board meeting and discussed the senator’s position on a variety of topics, including proposals relative to Line 5. The board also interviewed and hired a person for the position of secretary to the board of directors, approved three new policies, set the date of the 2020 Annual Meeting, had an update on the strategic plan and listened to staff reports.

This narrative is a high-level overview of board action during the past quarter. After they’re approved, board meeting minutes are posted on our website (

Alger Delta will be closed on the following dates in observance of these upcoming holidays:


Thursday, Nov. 28 & Friday, Nov. 29


Tuesday, Dec. 24 & Wednesday, Dec. 25

New Year’s Day

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 Payments may be made at the drop box or at To report a power outage, please call 800-562-0950 or 906-428-4141. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


The Call Of The

Michigan Wild By Emily Haines Lloyd


n the Midwest, hunting and fishing are more than just seasons, they are often traditions. For a group of childhood friends from Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s a bit of a calling. Mike Aho, Doug Latvala, and Ben Irving grew up playing hockey together, a popular pastime in Escanaba. Aho’s and Irving’s dads also played together in a bluegrass band. However, as the three friends, now grown with families of their own, sit around over beers, their love of the outdoors is possibly their strongest bond. “It seems like everyone in the U.P. has a camp,” said Irving. “Itʻs where you go on the weekends to either hunt, fish or prepare for hunting and fishing season.” “And drink beer,” adds Latvala. The three laugh and it only takes a moment to realize that Mother Nature nurtures more than the wildlife, it nurtures lifelong friendships. How deep does the love of camp go? Latvala was born on the opening day of deer hunting season and, when his mother went into labor, someone had to head out to the

Get your own Michigan Wild hat from

woods to find Latvala’s dad. As family lore goes, dad hung out with his newborn for a few hours and actually went back out to camp. So, it's fair to say, the love goes deep. So deep, the trio still spends a great deal of time out in nature together, even though they are separated by significant distances—Latvala lives in Marquette, Aho in the Metro Detroit area, and Irving all the way out in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “The U.P. is more than a location, it’s a way of life,” said Aho. “The outdoors is ingrained into our families. Along the way, we decided to start sharing our photos and experiences on Instagram and called it Michigan Wild (@MichiganWild).” When the guys started Michigan Wild, it was simply a hashtag, but it’s caught on quickly, with more than 9,600 followers who now tag their outdoor adventures similarly. Michigan Wild isn’t a business (although you can buy a cool ball cap with their logo on it), it’s more of a movement. “I live in a cul-de-sac community,” explains Irving. “And the excitement my son has when I tell him we’re going to go on a hike is amazing. I don’t want him to lose his connection to the outdoors. I think we just want to remind people how wonderful and simple it is out there.” “Yeah, that’s it. Camp is simple,” adds Aho. “After being tied down by the grind of work, you wake up at camp, make coffee, talk a little and head out. When you come back, you’re excited to hear everyone’s stories. If someone in a neighboring camp brings in a deer, everyone goes to help. It’s basic hunter/gatherer culture and you’re reliving that. But, with a sauna.”

Photo courtesy of Jim Behymer

The guys laugh again. Each of the men makes it clear that they enjoy the hunting and utilizing the venison from deer season throughout the year, but it’s the community and sheer awe of the wilderness that keeps them connected. One look at some of their most frequent hashtags nods heavily toward that— #getoutdoors #whatgetsyououtdoors #itsinmynature. “A lot of camps are dying out,” said Latvala. “We want to make sure our kids get to have some of these experiences that have literally made us who we are. So, if we can build a little enthusiasm or interest around all the amazing things the Michigan wilderness has to offer, then that’s what we want to do.” Their big takeaway is to not be intimidated by wilderness. “Ask if you have questions,” said Latvala. “Everyone out there is happy to see other faces. Ask the group you see in the forest or ask guys like us online. We hope to encourage you to get out there and enjoy the Michigan wild.”

@michigancountrylines + @michiganwild Usher in opening day with the Michigan Wild crew. Get behindthe-scenes footage of their hunting prep and first day in the woods on the @michigancountrylines Instagram account, Nov. 14 & 15.

While the Michigan Wild guys are the first to encourage anyone to do things their own way, a few decades in the woods has taught them a tip or two.

Venison Cudighi

This spicy Italian sausage is an Upper Peninsula staple, and if you’re like the guys from Michigan Wild, you enjoy utilizing your own venison and reliving memories from deer camp. Doug Latvala shares his favorite Cudighi recipe. 5 5 2 3 1 1 1 ½

pounds venison pounds pork shoulder teaspoons black pepper tablespoons salt teaspoon cinnamon teaspoon nutmeg teaspoon allspice teaspoon clove

½ teaspoon mace ½ teaspoon ginger 1–3 teaspoon(s) red pepper flakes (depending on heat desired) 1 cup Paisano sweet red wine 1 cup water

Grind and mix pork and venison together. Hand mix all seasonings, red wine, and water ingredients with the meat mixture. Let stand in refrigerator for 24–48 hours to marinate. Package as patties, links or bulk, and freeze or use within three days. Serving suggestion: Make patties and pan fry Cudighi, melting mozzarella cheese over the top. In a separate pan, sauté green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Warm up your favorite pizza sauce. Layer patty, sauce and vegetables on your favorite type of bun and enjoy!

• Don’t be afraid to change your tactics: keep the hunt fun. • Set yourself up so you are ready to shoot. The pain of a beautiful buck walking by without getting off a shot will sting for a while. • When using binoculars, squeeze them to the brim of your hat for more stability.

• Never pass up a deer on the first day that you’d be happy to have on the last day. • Start a deer hunting tradition with your family or friends. It keeps the momentum and the memories going. Simply planning the trip over email or text will be a little five-minute vacation in your day. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Save Energy And Money On Home Water Heating


econd only to space heating and cooling, water heating is the next largest source of energy consumption in U.S. homes. We use hot water every day for showering, doing dishes, washing clothes and a multitude of other tasks—and the cost to heat that water adds up, especially if you have a standard electric or propane water heater. While standard electric resistance water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase, they are costly to operate. On the other hand, heat pump water heaters cost more upfront, but provide significant savings over time. Advanced heat pump technology helps to slash electricity consumption by up to 70%. Why switch to a heat pump water heater? Heat pump water heaters are up to 3.7 times more efficient than a standard electric water heater. While they do use electricity, they use

a fraction of the energy consumed by a standard electric water heater. Additionally, heat pump water heaters provide: • Quick payback compared to standard electric (recoup the upfront cost within one year with rebate) • Electricity cost savings of 50% or more (compared to standard electric models) • Reliable hot water • Dehumidification of surrounding air • Flexible modes of operation to manage energy use and hot water output • Quiet operation For a limited time, you can receive a $700 rebate. From now until the end of 2019, the Energy Optimization program is offering a bonus $200 rebate towards a new heat pump water heater. The bonus incentive is in addition to the current $500 rebate, meaning you’ll receive $700 off your purchase.

Visit for more information or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.

Soak in the


Special offer! Increased incentive of $700 available on heat pump water heaters.

▪ EFFICIENCY — Reduce energy consumption by 50% or more compared to standard electric water heaters. ▪ COST SAVINGS — A four-person household can save up to $300 a year in energy savings. ▪ QUICK PAYBACK — Recoup upfront costs in one year with rebate. | 877-296-4319 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




Ugly Christmas Sweaters 1. “ Goodwill specials! No doctoring required!” by Erika Girven 2. “ Fa la la la llama” by Laurie Johnston 3. “ Ugly sweater family fun!” by Lisa Metz 4. “ A Christmas tree and its star” by Jason Rice


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: Take The Cake, due November 20 (January issue) Around The World, due December 20 (February issue) Cute Kids, due January 20 (March issue) To submit photos, go to We look forward to seeing your best photos!



Christmas Cookies Spread holiday cheer with these festive cookie recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies Benjamin and Jessica Bain, HomeWorks Tri-County ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened ¾ cup brown sugar ½ cup white sugar 1 egg 2 teaspoons vanilla

1¾ ¼ ½ 1 1

cups all-purpose flour teaspoon salt teaspoon baking soda cup dried cranberries cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Add cranberries and white chocolate chips and stir to combine. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool slightly, then transfer to cooling racks.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Aunt Neenee’s Cream Cheese Cookies Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 1 cup butter, softened 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar

1 1 2½ •

egg teaspoon vanilla cups flour dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour and dash of salt until combined. Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in red and green sugar. Bake 12—15 minutes.



Grandma Huhn’s Spice Cookies Sharon Hoffman, HomeWorks Tri-County

1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 cup lard (do not substitute oil or Crisco) 3 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup sour cream 1½ tablespoons nutmeg 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon allspice 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda 2½ teaspoons baking powder 6½ cups flour

This soup recipe from Kim Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute, can be made with whatever yummy things you have in the refrigerator. Be creative, this is a soup that is never the same. Let it simmer and enjoy!

Cream sugars and lard together. Mix in the remaining ingredients, adding the flour last. You can place dough in floured freezer bags and freeze for two weeks to let the spices intensify, or you can immediately roll out, cut and bake at 350 degrees F for 7—10 minutes.

Snow Storm Soup

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Mary Ellen Wynes, HomeWorks Tri-County ¾ 1 2 4 2 2 2 ½ 1

cup vegetable oil cup cocoa powder cups sugar eggs teaspoons vanilla cups flour teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt cup confectioners sugar

Mix oil, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and remaining dry ingredients. Chill overnight. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners sugar. Roll in the sugar and form into balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Do not overbake.

Savory Cherries: due December 1 Chili Cook Off: 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!

1 pound bacon 2 pounds ground beef, stew meat or both 1 onion, finely diced 4 ribs of celery, sliced thin 2 carrots, halved and sliced 6–8 whole garlic cloves, minced 4 cups beef broth 1 lb. potatoes, baked, cooled and diced 2 cups fresh mushrooms 1 can diced tomatoes 2 cups kidney or great northern beans 4 tablespoons flour • salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder to taste • optional: olive oil, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and whipping cream Cook bacon and beef in soup stockpot. Set aside. Sauté vegetables in the grease, until tender. Add olive oil if needed. Add flour to vegetables and mix until thick. Slowly add broth and bring to a boil to thicken. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for approximately 3 hours——be sure to stir often. The soup is even better the next day! Add shredded Parmesan cheese, cream cheese or heavy whipping cream at the end of your cook time for a creamy finish. Serving suggestion: For individual servings, you can add toasted bread, top with cheese and put soup bowls under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. The soup is best served with 12 inches of snow and a bonfire in the great outdoors! Read the full story about the Steam Railroading Institute on page 14, and find this recipe and others at MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES




VETERANS By Yvonne Whitman

November 11 is Veterans Day, and I recently visited the D. J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans to sit down with two Upper Peninsula veterans and learn about their history in the military. As the daughter of a deceased World War II veteran, it was an honor to have them tell me about their lives.

Dick Derby, U.S. Army, Retired Dick Derby, a WWII veteran, was 19 years old and a freshman studying metallurgical engineering at Michigan Technological University (MTU) when he was drafted by the Army in 1942. The Ishpeming native began his service in the Army Medical Corps, attached to an infantry division. While home in the U.P. on furlough before being shipped overseas to Japan, he received word that he had been selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS). “It was a sunny day and I was enjoying some brook trout fishing on a local stream when my aunt excitedly came to tell me the news,” he recalled. World War II Veteran and U.S. Army Officer Dick Derby

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” —Douglas MacArthur


He was on a train the next day, headed to Texas, where he began training to manage the administration of Army hospitals. After successfully completing OCS and graduating with the designation of second lieutenant, he was assigned to a hospital at Camp Barkeley, Texas. He had been there for a year when the division got word to start loading up the hospital to transfer it overseas to Japan, with whom the country was still at war.

“Just as we completed packing up the hospital, they dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was August 6, 1945. I still remember the day,” he reminisced. “We did not go to Japan.” Derby completed his tour of duty five months later. When asked if he was happy to get out of the service, he quickly responds, “Oh, yes indeed.” Once released, he went back to school and completed his engineering degree at MTU by utilizing his GI Bill education benefits. While in Utah completing his master’s degree, he was invited to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He had been traveling with the choir for a year when he was called into the choir director’s office. “He surprised me by asking if I would like to be the soloist for the Easter Cantata. I almost fainted,” Derby recalls. “It was one of the highlights of my life.” Derby went on to have a lifelong engineering career in the iron mining industry and made a family with his wife, Ruth, and two sons. When the 97-year-old is asked what he attributes his longevity to, he exuberantly responds, “Good genes!”

He recently participated in the U.P. Honor Flight. “It was fabulous, just fabulous,” he enthusiastically states. He said his favorite part of the experience was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, about which he said, “I broke down and cried looking at those 58,000 names. It just got to me. It’s something I will never forget.”

Don Berquist, U.S. Coast Guard, Retired Retired Coast Guard officer Don Berquist served in the U.S. Coast Guard for more than 30 years. He began his career by participating in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Arizona. After obtaining a business degree in 1968, he went into Officer Candidate School “just to do something different,” he explained. Initially stationed in Detroit, he took leave one weekend to elope with a girl he had met at a party. “It upset all of our parents,” he said with a sheepish grin. “But eventually they threw a party for us.” He and his wife, Christine, were married for over 46 years when she succumbed to multiple sclerosis. While in the service, he began working on his MBA at Wayne State University, eventually completing it and graduating from Loyola University Chicago. When asked about a highlight during his years of enlisted service, he recalls an infamous night in Great Lakes history. “I was the on-duty officer at the Coast

Guard Station in Detroit the night that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. Even though I was not directing people, I was listening to all the transmissions. At the time, I didn’t fully realize the importance of it. But with time I did.” After four years he was honorably discharged, but continued in the Coast Guard reserves and became the commanding officer of a reserve unit in Chicago. Berquist was busy, working during the week for General Motors as a sales engineer, and every weekend in the reserves, where his main project was to rebuild old lighthouses that had been dilapidated. “As the project manager, I was able to visit every lighthouse in the Midwest, and I still have a master key that will open any lighthouse in the United States,” he proudly stated. In 1980, Berquist became a Yooper when, after visiting the area on a fishing trip, he decided to purchase the Gogebic Lodge in Marenisco. The lodge is a full-scale, year-round resort, catering to fishermen and snowmobilers with an excellent restaurant on site. When asked what the best dish they serve is, Berquist quickly responds, “Northern fried chicken.” After purchasing the lodge, he requested to be transferred to a base in the U.P., and he concluded his career as group commander in charge of all Coast Guard reserves in the U.P., Minnesota and Wisconsin. “I had three golden stripes on my sleeve when I retired,” he proudly stated.

Coast Guard Officer Don Berquist

Health complications have taken their toll on Berquist. He has survived openheart surgery and the loss of both of his legs, but his disposition is still optimistic, and his military “can-do” attitude prevails. “I need to get back home,” he says, “I still have things to do.” If you would like to thank these gentlemen for their service to our country, a note or card can be sent to them at D.J. Jacobetti Home, 425 Fisher St., Marquette, MI 49855 To learn more about the U.P. Honor Flight and how you can help, visit:

Photo courtesy of U.P. Honor Flight MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13

The North Pole Express ALL ABOARD

By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Steam Railroading Institute Staff Photographers Scott Shields, Matt Churcott, George Dines and Matthew Malkiewicz


f you thought Christmas arrived by a reindeer-drawn sleigh, you haven’t felt the ground shake or seen the smiling faces of eager passengers as The North Pole Express comes chugging into the Owosso train platform outside the Steam Railroading Institute. The Pere Marquette 1225 (the North Pole Express) is one of the few steam-powered train engines in the country still operating today. Every winter it transforms into an

idyllic blast from the past as passengers have their tickets punched by a volunteer conductor. The commitment of nearly 100 volunteers per trip make it possible for passengers to experience the journey from Owosso to Ashley’s Country Christmas in Ashley, Michigan. Travelers, some wrapped up cozily in their pajamas, enjoy carol singers, card games, and if they’ve been a good girl or boy, a glimpse of Santa once they arrive in Ashley. Hot cocoa and snacks are served along with a healthy dose of nostalgia. “It gets me every time,” said Kimberly Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute (SRI). “Watching the faces of the passengers—multiple generations of families sharing this unique experience together, their smiles and laughter—it’s magical.” The magic that is all around today’s train travel is deeply rooted in nostalgia surrounding trains in the United States. What was once a powerhouse industry of

“Watching the faces of the passengers—multiple generations of families sharing this unique experience together, their smiles and laughter—

its’ maical. ”

building and trade has become something quaint, which is an odd word for mammoth engines like the Pere Marquette 1225, which is 16-feet high, 100-feet long and weighs over 400 tons.

A group of engineering students from Michigan State University formed the MSU Railroad Club fifty years ago with the challenge to see the engine, which was a static display on campus, run again. Their charge was taken up by the Steam Railroading Institute when the 1225 was moved to Owosso. In addition to continuing restoration of the engine, SRI strives to educate the public about steam-era railroading in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Its focus includes the preservation of the skills and technology for maintain steam locomotives by operating steam-era equipment and providing the experience of steam locomotives in operation. The Pere Marquette 1225 stays in working condition through ticket sales from mainline excursions, special events, demonstrations, and tours, as well as individual and corporate donations. “You can’t imagine the time, effort and investment it takes to maintain 1225,” said Springsdorf. “When a part breaks on this engine, you don’t just run down to a shop. You either have to borrow it or build it. From absolutely every aspect, running this engine is a labor of love.”

Love is exactly what you see and hear from the train travelers who plan months in advance to take one of the 22 North Pole Express trips the Steam Railroading Institute offers annually. A variety of other excursions across Michigan, including fall color tours, hobo camp, and an opportunity to run the 1225, are offered by SRI. Tickets sell out quickly, but keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas miracle and a few last-minute seats that may be available. All tour dates are announced in the spring. Visit to learn more or call 989-725-9464, and fi nd them on Facebook and Instagram, too.

The Maic of

The Moies When moviemakers were producing the now iconic “The Polar Express” starring Tom Hanks, Hollywood crews took a trip to Michigan to study none other than the Pere Marquette 1225. The blueprints from 1225 were used as the prototype for “The Polar Express” and even the sounds of the chugging engine and the whistle were recorded to bring the beloved movie train to life.

Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Alger Delta Co-op Electric Association as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 12/31/18.

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

Fuel Source Coal















Renewable Fuels 10.73%











Solid Waste Incineration









Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT On Aug. 1, 2019, Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association (“Alger”) filed an Energy Waste Reduction Plan (“EWRP”) to comply with 2008 PA 295, as amended, MCL 460.1001, et seq., in Case No. U-20379. Any interested person may review the filed EWRP on the MPSC website under Case No. U-20379 at, at Alger’s office, located at 426 N. 9th St., Gladstone, MI 49837, or at the office of the Commission’s Executive Secretary, 4300 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing, MI 48917. Written and electronic comments may be filed with the Commission and must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2019. Written comments should be sent to: Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909, with a copy mailed to Alger. Electronic comments may be e-mailed to All comments should reference Case No. U-20379. Comments received in this matter will become public information, posted on the Commission’s website, and subject to disclosure. The Commission will review the EWRP together with any filed comments and provide a response indicating any revisions that should be made. If the Commission suggests revisions, Alger may file a revised EWRP. A Commission order will be issued on or before the 90th day following the publication of notice.

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

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix


co-op Regional Average Fuel Mix

Emissions And Waste Comparison



Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Regional Co-op Average*

Sulfur Dioxide



Carbon Dioxide



Oxides of Nitrogen



High-level Nuclear Waste 0.001


*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/18. Alger Delta purchases 100% of its electricity from WPPI Energy, which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.

Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2020 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.


h, Christmas Tree!

By Lois Corcoran


radition and the almighty dollar play important roles in the Great Christmas Tree Debate. Some people feel strongly that only a real Tannenbaum symbolizes the season, while others are content with a fake metal one. As a reporter of sorts, I researched both sides of the issue so that you, dear readers, can make an educated choice.

Benefits Of Artificial Trees 1. You can put them up earlier—for instance, Arbor Day. Heck, you can leave them up all year if you want. 2. You can bend their branches in virtually any direction, which in itself is entertaining. 3. The biggest perk, however, is monetary relief. After paying a frightening one-time fee, you’re set for a long time.

Benefits Of The Real McCoy 1. It smells nice. 2. You can’t see a goofy pole running up the middle. 3. Three words: no assembly required.

For many people, tradition motivates them to buy one of the 33 million genuine, bona fide trees sold each year. They choose from two methods, depending on their ambition

and tendency to procrastinate: visiting a local tree lot and selecting from a wide range of shapes and sizes, or by chopping one down at a tree farm. This Little-House-on-the-Prairie approach appeals to a growing number of folks who’ve come to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Then they haul it home and set it up somewhere between the big-screen TV and their sprawling computer system. And be careful with real Christmas trees. Last year, a West Virginia family who chopped down their tree and hauled it into the house discovered hundreds of spiders had hatched from nests on the tree. Meanwhile, an Arkansas couple unknowingly brought home a three-foot-long snake. They had themselves a scary little Christmas. Thanks to our artificial tree, I don’t have to worry about that. I play Christmas music to set the mood and find myself humming along as we carry cartons of ornaments down from the attic. Everyone’s in a jolly mood those first few minutes. Soon we realize the lights are missing, only to discover a hopeless mass of knots. Then we spend the 12 days of Christmas untangling them. Next comes the part of hanging ornaments. Traditionally, we buy a new ornament each year. That is because, traditionally, we BREAK an ornament each year. Some ornaments mark our son’s obsessions over the years. Others reflect our passions like fishing, sewing, and a computer that never needs rebooting. There’s even a pinball machine that lights up and makes funny noises— something like my brother. Enjoy decorating and celebrating with whichever type of tree makes your holidays brighter!


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!




3 8 6


Best Bakeries 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 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 Marlene Moreno, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Cherry Point Farm & Market in Shelby. The photo shows the arbors around the central garden and the lavender labyrinth to the outside of the arbors. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

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Great Lakes Bakery and Antiques Mall, Muskegon Sandi Hillis makes the best cakes ever with all-natural ingredients and even gluten-free options (but you’d never guess!) Jennifer Sylvester, Great Lakes Energy Jamsen’s Fish Market and Bakery, Copper Harbor My favorite Michigan bakery, Jamsen’s staff are a hoot and make some of the best pastries in the Keweenaw. “Gotta have it” items include the cheddar, bacon and chive scone and the thimbleberry frosted donuts. Nathan Miller, Ontonagon REA


Boyne City Bakery, Boyne City Boyne City Bakery is the BEST French bakery, in the U.S. Each time I go into this bakery I feel like I’m stepping back into a French bakery in France from the delicious pastries and breads, to the French-speaking baker, to the polite employees, and the French-themed decor and ambiance. Go today and enjoy a “little piece of French heaven”! Evelyn Howell, Great Lakes Energy


Sunset Acres Bakery, Charlotte Heavenly angel food cakes, melt in your mouth molasses cookies, rich rhubarb squares and so much more. Everything from Sunset Acres Bakery is beyond good, it’s delicious!! Robin Musselman, HomeWorks Tri-County


Tecumseh Bread and Pastry, Tecumseh This is a bakery owned by a husband and wife team that bakes fresh each morning and mills their own flours at night. They produce wonderful coffeecakes, cookies, bread, and pies. I always take something from their store to family out of town for my “made in Michigan” gift. Carol Kruse, Midwest Energy & Communications


Goodale’s Bakery, Grayling The best quality ingredients mixed with decades of experience and served by the most helpful staff guarantees the best baked goods you’ll ever find. Alan Riegel, Great Lakes Energy



Flour Pot Bakery, Elk Rapids Flour Pot has wonderful pastries, muffins, and cookies. Around Fat Tuesday in February, they make hundreds of paczki (a filled donut) that are scrumptious! Becky Granger, Great Lakes Energy

Photo by Susan Luter



Satisfy your sweet tooth with these member-recommended bakeries throughout Michigan.

Bay Bread Co., Traverse City A husband-and-wife-owned team bakes over 40 kinds of delicious artisan loaves of bread and sweets. Stacey Wilcox, Cherryland Electric Cooperative

September 2019



Stephenson Bakery, Inc., Menominee This is a real bakery with perfect sweet creations—— awesome doughnuts and friendly, attentive staff. Brenda Gustafson, Alger Delta

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Chocolatiers: Tell us about your favorite places for melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 25, and this indulgent list will be published in the February issue.


(989) 356-2113 Hurry, 30% Federal Tax Credit 989-356-2113 decreases December 31, 2019

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