COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association
Keeping Co-op Lines Clear
Voices Of Veterans
The North Pole Express ALL ABOARD
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 30% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2019 1
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 bdheating.com
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visit us at waterfurnace.com 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
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Executive Editor: Casey Clark
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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 email@example.com countrylines.com
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.
@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
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
We’re Thankful For Our Sister Cooperatives
500 J.K. Paul Street Ontonagon, MI 49953
906-884-4151 800-562-7128 ontonagon.coop After hours: 866-639-6098 OFFICERS & DIRECTORS Calvin Koski, President Aura District 906-524-6988 firstname.lastname@example.org
George Rajala, Vice-President Chassell/Keweenaw Bay District 906-370-0416 email@example.com James Moore, Director, Secretary/Treasurer Boston District 906-482-0465 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Miles, General Manager
hen you think about Ontonagon REA, you probably associate us with the local community. And you would be right. Our leadership team, board of directors and employees all live and work right here in the community we serve. But you may not realize that Ontonagon REA is actually part of a much larger cooperative network that brings additional value, tools and knowledge that benefit you, the members of the co-op.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives Through Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA), our statewide organization, we have a mutual aid agreement so that when a severe weather event is predicted for our region, MECA is securing available crews from our sister coops to assist us. These co-ops bring additional trucks, equipment and crews to our area, and we work together to restore power. Ontonagon REA reciprocates by assisting other electric co-ops when they need help. A defining characteristic of a cooperative is “cooperation among cooperatives.” The co-ops working together in an area that has experienced severe weather is a perfect example of this.
Wayne Heikkinen, Director Pelkie/Herman/Aura District 906-353-6496 email@example.com
Another area in which Ontonagon benefits from cooperation among cooperatives is cybersecurity. Through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) “Rural Cooperative Cybersecurity Capabilities Program” (RC3), we are able to access training, resources and tools to strengthen our efforts to combat cyber threats.
Paul Koski, Director Ewen/Trout Creek/Lake Mine District 906-988-2593 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontonagon’s ability to tap into the larger electric cooperative network and access tools, products, resources and leading practices from across the nation ultimately makes our co-op and our community stronger.
Frances Wiideman, Director Green/Firesteel/Toivola District 906-288-3203 email@example.com William Hodges, Director Lake Linden District 906-934-3743 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Miles, General Manager Fay Hauswirth, Billing Clerk Mark Urbis, Line Superintendent
Date of Incorporation: Sept. 30, 1937 Fiscal year-end: Dec. 31 countrylines.com/coops/ontonagon Ontonagon County REA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/OntonagonCountyREA
4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Global impact Communities across the globe have benefitted from the lessons learned and experience of co-ops in electrification of rural areas in the U.S. NRECA International has provided access to reliable and affordable electricity to 120 million people in 43 countries. This effort is made possible through the support of electric co-ops, in Michigan and across the country. Hundreds of line workers, engineers and other co-op employees have served as volunteers to bring first-time electricity access to people across the globe and to train local utility partners to be sustainable in their own communities. November is a time of year for reflection and giving thanks. I am grateful for our sister co-ops, who enable us to better serve you and our broader community. When electric co-ops collaborate, we strengthen each other and the communities we serve—and that is something for which to be truly thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
two men bring a combined 30 years of vegetation management experience with them to the co-op. In addition, the co-op purchased a used bucket truck (which will also be utilized by the line crews) and a new skid steer with a mulcher head. If a major storm (wind, snow or ice) comes through, this crew will be on site and able to help the line crews by taking care of any downed trees or those that are threatening the lines. The crew will have daily work as tree issues occur year-round and are not only storm-related.
Lines Clear O
ntonagon County R.E.A. recently began a new program to bring its vegetation management in-house. In the past, the cooperative used seasonal independent contractors to address brushing of the rightsof-way and to deal with trees that were compromising the lines. For approximately eight months of the
year, however, the co-op would have to use their own line crews to address any tree-related problems. The co-op recently brought two new employees on board, John Myllylahti and Matthew Urbis, as full-time vegetation management specialists working year-round. The
With clear rights-of-way, Ontonagon County R.E.A. line crews will be able to respond to storm damage with minimal disruption of electric service to members. Crews will have safe access to the power lines and will be able to restore power more quickly for members. The co-op anticipates that over time, the frequency and duration of treerelated outages will decrease and line loss will improve.
HOLIDAY OFFICE CLOSING Cooperative offices will be closed for the holidays on the following dates:
Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29
Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25
New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Holidays
Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 Payments may be made at the drop box and will be posted on the next open business day. To report outages or other emergencies, please call 866-639-6098. From our families to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season!
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 etsy.com/MichiganWild
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.
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 michigan-energy.org/waterheaters for more information or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.
Soak in the
$AVINGS! WITH A NEW HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER
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.
Michigan-energy.org/waterheaters | 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 michigan-energy.org.
Ugly Christmas Sweaters 1. O ur German Shepard, Ranger, posing for a Christmas card. By Jane Marttila 2. F a la la la llama. By Laurie Johnston 3. U gly sweater family fun! By Lisa Metz 4. A Christmas tree and its star. By Jason Rice
Submit A Photo & Win A Bill Credit!
Ontonagon REA members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. One lucky member will win a credit up to $200 on their December 2020 energy bill!
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Our upcoming topic and deadline: • Take The Cake——due November 20 (January/February 2020 issue) • Cute Kids——due January 20 (March/April issue) To submit photos, and for details and instructions, go to http://bit.ly/countrylines We look forward to seeing your best photos!
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
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
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 micoopkitchen.com/videos
10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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 micoopkitchen.com 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 micoopkitchen.com. 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
12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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: upperpeninsulahonorflight.org.
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’ maical. ”
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 michigansteamtrain.com to learn more or call 989-725-9464, and ﬁ nd them on Facebook and Instagram, too.
The Maic of
The Moies 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 Ontonagon REA 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
Solid Waste Incineration
Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT On Aug. 1, 2019, Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association (“Ontonagon”) filed an Energy Waste Reduction Plan (“EWRP”) to comply with 2008 PA 295, as amended, MCL 460.1001, et seq., in Case No. U-20385. Any interested person may review the filed EWRP on the MPSC website under Case No. U-20385 at www.michigan.gov/mpscedockets, at Ontonagon’s office, located at 500 James K Paul St., Ontonagon, MI 49953, 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 Ontonagon. Electronic comments may be emailed to email@example.com. All comments should reference Case No. U-20385. 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, Ontonagon 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
Regional Average Fuel Mix
SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY! Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type Of Emission/Waste Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Dioxide Oxides of Nitrogen High-level Nuclear Waste
Your Regional Co-op Average* 0.4
1,384 1,916.0 0.4
*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/18. Figures for Ontonagon County REA are based on those of its principle power suppliers, Wisconsin Public Service and Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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 countrylines.com. Self-nominations are accepted.
Home Heating Assistance Programs 2019–2020 Season Winter Protection Plan
Contact: Your Local Utility Company Income Guidelines 2019–2020 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $18,735 25,365 31,995 38,625 45,255 51,885 58,515 65,145
Add $6,630 for each additional member.
Home Heating Credit
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. 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
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. 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 2019 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.
S hut-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 Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt-out of collecting the LIEAF go to michigan.gov/mpsc.
Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Max. Exemp. Income
0–1 2 3
$ 13,739 18,601 23,463
# Max. Exemp. Income
$ 28,325 33,187 38,049
Add $4,862 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
L ow-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 2019 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 render 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.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
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 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 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.
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
18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
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
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 countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 25, and this indulgent list will be published in the February issue.
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wellconnectgeo.com Hurry, 30% Federal Tax Credit 989-356-2113 decreases onwellconnectsaves.com December 31, 2019
Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association ontonagon.coop facebook.com/OntonagonCountyREA