Nov/Dec 2020 GLE

Page 1

November/December 2020

MICHIGAN

COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative

Truestream Expands To Hart, Newaygo, and WaylandÂ

Capital Credit Checks Coming in December GLE Breaks Ground On Headquarters Expansion

MAGIC

TEN T I M E H MEETS T


WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2020 1

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visit us at waterfurnace.com 1. 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


Contents Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

countrylines.com

November/December 2020 Vol. 40, No. 10

/michigancountrylines

/michigancountrylines

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird 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: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@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.

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

(Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/20. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except Aug. and Dec. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of office of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters 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 1% 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: Sept. 2020. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies Actual # of copies of single issues each issue during preceding 12 mo. published nearest to filing date A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I)

Total No. of copies................................. 243,264 ...................... 243,312 Paid and requested circulation ............ 243,264 ...................... 242,882 Total paid and requested circulation ... 243,264 ...................... 242,882 1) Free distribution by mail.......................... 160 .............................. 160 2) Free distribution outside mail ................. 809 .............................. 887 Total free distribution ................................... 969 ...........................1,047 Total distribution................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Copies not distributed.......................................0 ...................................0 Total ....................................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Percent paid and/or requested circ.......... 98.7% .......................... 99.7%

16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2020 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, editor

#micoopcommunity 6 BEST OF MICHIGAN: RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW

These member-suggested restaurants pair a scenic Michigan view with quality cuisine.

10 MI COOP KITCHEN

Dips & Dressings—Jazz up your salads and appetizers with these zesty recipes.

Fall is officially in the air. @dlope.works (Destiny Lopez)

14 MAGIC MEETS THE MITTEN

Colon, Michigan, resident Rick Fisher helps ensure the town continues to be the “Magic Capital of the World.”

18 HOME HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 2020–2021

Be featured!

For those struggling to pay their bills this winter, there are many places to turn to for help.

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community

MI CO-OP KITCHEN

BEST OF MICHIGAN

GUEST COLUMN

MYSTERY PHOTO

Up Next: Stir Fry Favorites, Soup, Tacos Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Winter Fun! Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.)

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit! See page 7

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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gtlakes.com /greatlakesenergy

Giving Back To Our Community

/jointruestream BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Robert Kran, Chairman, District 6 7380 N. Tuttle Rd., Free Soil, MI 49411 231-464-5889 • bkran@glenergy.com

John LaForge, Vice-Chairman, District 9 7363 Walters Rd., Delton, MI 49046 269-623-2284 • jlaforge@glenergy.com

Paul Schemanski, Secretary, District 1 5974 Stolt Rd., Petoskey, MI 49770 231-439-9079 • paul.schemanski@glenergy.com Larry Monshor, Treasurer, District 4 1541 Thumm Rd., Gaylord, MI 49735 989-370-2786 • lmonshor@glenergy.com

Howard Bowersox, Director, District 8 23779 8 Mile Rd., Stanwood, MI 49346 219-670-0977 • hbowersox@glenergy.com Paul Byl, Director, District 7 9941 W. Buchanan Rd., Shelby, MI 49455 231-861-5911 • pbyl@glenergy.com

Mark Carson, Director , District 2 01950 Anderson Rd., Boyne City, MI 49712 231-675-0561 • mcarson@glenergy.com Richard Evans, Director, District 3 11195 Essex Rd., Ellsworth, MI 49729 231-883-3146 • revans@glenergy.com

Dale Farrier, Director, District 5 2261 Wheeler Lake Rd. NE, Kalkaska, MI 49646 231-564-0853 • dfarrier@glenergy.com PRESIDENT/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Lacey Matthews 231-487-1316 • lmatthews@glenergy.com BOYNE CITY HEADQUARTERS 1323 Boyne Ave., P.O. Box 70 Boyne City, MI 49712

Hours: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: glenergy@glenergy.com To report an outage, call: 1-888-485-2537

Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO

ver the years, you’ve probably heard or read about Great Lakes Energy’s concern for our community. This is one of the core principles that sets cooperatives apart from other types of utilities and businesses. We’ve always taken this mission and responsibility to heart. It’s who we are as a co-op.

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Over the past few months, like so many of you, we’ve risen to meet new challenges and strengthen the safety net for our community, particularly for those who are most vulnerable. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made numerous adjustments to programs and operations to maintain business continuity while staying focused on the bigger mission of helping our consumermembers during this turbulent time. Now, with the holidays fast approaching, these recent events have made me pause and think about the role we play in our community. While our purpose is to provide safe and reliable energy to you, the members we serve, we have a greater mission—to be a catalyst for positive progress. You’re probably aware of our People Fund program, where generous members like you who have “rounded up” the amount due on their electric bills to the nearest dollar to help support local nonprofits. Over $3.7 million in grants has been given since 1999. We also have a strong commitment to continue bringing high-speed internet to underserved communities through our fiber internet subsidiary, Truestream. Over 4,300 members of Great Lakes Energy are already enjoying Truestream in the Petoskey and parts of the Boyne City areas. In October of this year, we announced our plans to expand to the Hart, Newaygo, and Wayland service areas. You can read about our plans on page 12. Community also means people—our members. In 2020, we broke ground on the expansion of our GLE headquarters in Boyne City (photo on page 5). This building is for you because we are here to serve our members and this expansion will provide adequate space to continue to bring you the reliable services you have grown to expect from us over the last 80 years. Whether with electricity or the internet, Great Lakes Energy was built on our service to our members and will continue to be. We know that our core job is to keep the lights on, but our passion is our community. Because we live and work here too, and we want to make it a better place for all. Concern for the community is the heart and soul of who we are. And no matter what the future brings, you can count on your electric co-op to care about you.


Construction Begins For

Great Lakes Energy President & CEO Bill Scott and CFO Steve Drake (center) are joined by the Great Lakes Energy board of directors, representatives from Clark Construction, and USDA State Director Jason Allen, Boyne City mayor Tom Neidhamer, other local officials, and members of GLE staff as they break ground on the expansion of the GLE headquarters facility in Boyne City on Sept. 23. The building addition is slated to be completed by this time next year.

Great Lakes Energy Headquarters Expansion groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the expansion of the Great Lakes Energy headquarters was held Wednesday, Sept. 23, in Boyne City. The new expansion will provide much-needed infrastructure and space for the growth the electric cooperative has experienced in recent years. Truestream, GLE’s new fiber internet and voice network, plays a vital role in the need to expand. The plans include the addition of offices and operations vehicle storage, as well as minor remodeling to the existing headquarters building. The anticipated completion of the new facility is late 2021.

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H O L I DA Y C L O S U R E S GLE offices will be closed for the holidays on the following dates:

THANKSGIVING

Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27

CHRISTMAS

Thursday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 25

N E W Y E A R ’ S D AY Friday, Jan. 1, 2021

Although offices will be closed, GLE emergency staff will remain on hand to serve you in case of outages.

From our families to yours, have a happy holiday season!


MI CO-OP Community

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Best Of Michigan

RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW 1

5

1

Bentwood Tavern

New Buffalo This gem of a restaurant is located in the Marina Grand Resort. There is scenic outside dining with great service and a great selection of delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is light and airy, and you can feel a good energy. Jeff Dorr, Presque Isle bentwoodtavern.com

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6

7

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Stafford’s Pier Restaurant

2

UP NEXT

Harbor Springs Dining during the summertime can be either inside or out on the terrace overlooking the municipal marina. Once a week, the Harbor Springs Concert Band plays on the lawn nearby to add to your dining experience. Stafford trains their staff well, and it shows! Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy staffordspier.com

Harbor Lights Grille

Carp Lake It’s like stepping back in time. They have wonderful food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and amazing homemade desserts. There is a beautiful lakeside view. The staff is very attentive and friendly. Rebecca Rhea, Great Lakes Energy harborlightsgrilleonthelake.com

Knot Just A Bar

Omena There are breathtaking views of the bay whether you’re on the beautiful deck or inside. They offer a great drink and food selection with fresh flavors. Judy Skowronski, Cherryland knotjustabar.com

WINTER FUN!

Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.) Submit your favorites at countrylines.com/ community by Jan. 25, and look for it in our February issue.

4


5

Clifford Lake Inn

Stanton They have amazing food, and their desserts are delicious! The views of Clifford Lake from the deck are gorgeous, especially during sunset. It has a relaxed vibe, and they are very friendly. Sometimes floatplanes will land or take off from the water, which is a treat to see! Jenna Irani, HomeWorks Tri-County cliffordlakeinn.net

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Where In Michigan Is This? Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

Palette Bistro

Petoskey This has a spectacular view of the bay, especially at sunset. Make sure you get a window seat to take in the unforgettable lake action while enjoying an exciting, eclectic menu. A customer favorite, the Forest Floor Soup, teeming with delectable mushrooms, never disappoints! The servers are knowledgeable and are always on point. Treat yourself to a relaxing meal overlooking Petoskey’s jewel. Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy palettebistropetoskey.com

Blue Lake Tavern

Mecosta This amazing place is a historic log cabin and sits above the lake. The view never fails and the food, service and atmosphere are all A+. I take people there during all Michigan seasons. Lonna Bear, HomeWorks Tri-County

Barrel Back Restaurant

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Walloon Lake There’s delicious food and a great atmosphere, and it overlooks Walloon Lake. On nice days, they open the huge garage-style doors for open air dining and incredible views! Marlene Clark , Great Lakes Energy barrel-back.com

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.

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September 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Courtney Thompson, HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City. Photo by Jody Strang. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/ December.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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Do You Believe In Energy Savings? he holiday season is upon us and with it comes shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. With so many festive activities, who can think about home heating and cooling? A Wi-Fi enabled or smart thermostat might be the answer.

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Standard programmable thermostats are great for setting schedules that raise and lower the temperature at specific times on certain days. But unless you remember ahead of time to change the schedule, your heat or A/C will kick in as programmed—wasting energy and money.

Taking Control Thanks to new advancements in technology, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats allow homeowners to remotely control their home’s temperature 24/7—whether you’re at work, shopping, or traveling to Grandma’s. Simply log in online or use the thermostat’s app on your phone to adjust your settings.

Smart Thermostats Smart thermostats are currently the most advanced residential devices available. Not only are they Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to adjust the temperature from your

mobile device or tablet (as long as you’re connected to the Internet)—they can program themselves as they “learn” your behavior patterns and desired temperatures for certain days and times during the week. It is important to do your research before investing in a new gadget. Remember, not all “Wi-Fi enabled thermostats” are smart thermostats. Only true smart thermostats can sense when you are home and program themselves. Additionally, not all aftermarket thermostats are compatible with all heating and cooling systems. Make sure the one you choose will work properly with your system.

REBATES AVAILABLE! The Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives toward the purchase of qualifying Wi-Fi enabled and smart thermostats. Start saving energy and money today! Visit michigan-energy.org or call 877.296.4319 for additional energy-saving information and incentives.

HOME ENERGY S AV I N G S I S R E A L Give the gift of savings on home heating and cooling with a Wi-Fi enabled or smart thermostat. • control home temperatures remotely 24/7 • a smart thermostat learns home temperature patterns for optimal performance • save money on energy

$75 REBATE ON QUALIFYING WI-FI AND SMART THERMOSTATS Online: michigan-energy.org

Phone: 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2020 and December 31 2020. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.


GREAT LAKES ENERGY

PHOTO

CONTEST

Pets 1. Have a happy day!—Tonya Wilson, Free Soil  2. Got milk?—Brianne Tapanila, Hesperia  3. Being a puppy is SO exhausting!—Janice Lerg, Kewadin  4. Onyx loves Northern Michigan winters!—Brooke Scott, Harbor Springs  5. Little quacker—Beth Fiedorowicz, Baldwin  6. Two boys & Amp, their bunny—Jacob VanEck, Zeeland

MOST VOTES!

Enter to win a

$200

energy bill credit!

1

2

3

4

5

6

Submit Your “Cutest Couples” Photos!

Each month, members can submit photos on our website for our photo contest. The photo with the most votes is published here along with other selections. Our November/December theme is Cutest Couples. Photos can be submitted by December 20th to be featured in the February issue.

How To Enter: Enter the contest at gtlakes.com/blog. Make sure to vote and

encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2021 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2021. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

DIPS & DRESSINGS Complement your meals with these unique recipes.

WINNING RECIPE!

RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE Tracy Fisher, Thumb Electric

1 ¹⁄ ³ 2 ¼ 1 ½ 1 Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

RECIPE CONTEST

Stir-Fry Favorites due December 1 • Soups due January 1 Tacos due February 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.

10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

cup frozen raspberries, thawed cup olive or canola oil tablespoons lemon juice cup white vinegar tablespoon honey cup sugar (add to taste) tablespoon poppy seeds

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This vinaigrette goes great with a strawberry spinach salad. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP Laura Campbell, HomeWorks Tri-County

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or riced cauliflower for vegetarian option) 8 ounces cream cheese ½ cup of favorite buffalo sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot) ½ cup ranch dressing ½ cup shredded mozzarella Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Set to high heat, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are blended/melted (about 1–2 hours). Then set to warm heat while serving. Serve with celery and tortilla chips. You can adjust the ranch to buffalo sauce ratio depending on your preferred spiciness level.

GRANDDAUGHTER’S FAVORITE DIP June Dougherty, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 1 1 •

(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened package ranch dressing (8 ounce) can corn, drained small red pepper, chopped black olives, chopped (amount to your liking)

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

LEMON VINAIGRETTE Laura Burke, Great Lakes Energy ¼ 1 1 ¼ ¼ ½

cup fresh lemon juice teaspoon dijon mustard large clove garlic, minced teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper cup vegetable oil

Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a steady stream, whisking until blended. Toss with green salad or pasta salad.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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Truestream Update Construction plans for the Truestream fiber network will begin in early 2021 in parts of GLE’s Hart, Newaygo, and Wayland service areas. These service districts encompass rural areas served by Great Lakes Energy’s electric service in parts of Allegan, Barry, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa counties. If you’re a member in a recently approved area, you’ll be eligible for Truestream’s life-changing, fast fiber internet and voice services with speeds up to 1 Gig and pricing starting at just $59.99/month. Vacation and business plans are also available. Construction will begin in January 2021 with the development of a fiber trunk through the Hart, Newaygo, and Wayland service areas. We’ll then connect to designated areas off the trunk in small groups, eventually connecting the ENTIRE service area. Please note, the areas

12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020


Great Lakes Energy is expanding its Truestream network in parts of Allegan, Barry, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa counties. The areas in yellow will be first on the list for installation.

first selected for construction are based on a number of factors, including demand. Members are encouraged to pre-register their interest on jointruestream.com to take advantage of the limited-time, free in-home installation and avoid wait times for in-home installation. Free installation will expire for some areas as soon as Dec. 1, 2020. Nearly 4,250 Great Lakes Energy members in the Petoskey and Boyne service areas, primarily in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties, are currently enjoying Truestream’s life-changing services, some experiencing a high-speed internet connection at home for the first time.

Great Lakes Energy members can visit jointruestream.com to register interest and to see the project status by area.Â


TTEN I M E H MEETS T By Emily Haines Lloyd

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any small towns in rural Michigan are quaintly magical. But in the tiny hamlet of Colon (population 1,100-ish), magical is more than an adjective, it’s a way of life.

The history of Colon’s relationship with magic goes back to the Roaring ‘20s, when famed magician Harry Blackstone Sr. (who was on par with Houdini and Thurston) did as many Chicago entertainers did in the sweltering city summers—escaped to cooler climates, like Michigan’s lake communities. Blackstone’s wife was the one who happened upon the 220-acre plot of land that they would eventually call home. The entire Blackstone troupe traveled to the other side of Lake Michigan and settled on what the magician called Blackstone Island (though not technically an island) on Sturgeon Lake to work up the coming year’s act. “It was in the late ‘20s that Blackstone met an Australian magician, Percy Abbott, and invited him to visit Colon,” recalls FAB Magic Company owner Rick Fisher. “The two built the Blackstone Magic Co. Eventually, Abbott met a local girl, got married, and stayed behind and tended to the business.” The partnership was beset with drama equal to their own acts, and the two magicians parted ways as business partners, though both remained in Colon—rumored never to have spoken to one another again. Abbott renamed the magic shop Abbott Magic Novelty Co. in 1933 and the draw kept magicians, and those with magic addictions, coming to explore its wonders, with many of them staying on themselves. Lester Lake, also known as The Great Marvello, was one of them. He was known for his wild escapes, including one from chains while engulfed in flames in the middle of the road in downtown Colon. With so many folks visiting from the industry and many of them sticking


“ I W AN T TO K E E P TH AT EX C IT EM E N T G O IN G FO R AS LO N G AS I’M AB LE . B EC AU SE IF W E DO N ’T TAK E C AR E O F TH E M AG IC — IT R E ALLY C O U LD DISAP P E AR .”

around, Lake coined Colon “The Magic Capital of the World.” It was in 1991 that the small town was finally recognized officially by former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Decades later, it was Fisher’s turn to fall in love with the magic of Colon. “My family owned a lake cottage in Columbus City, and we visited Abbott’s when I was 7,” recalls Fisher. “I was hooked.” Each summer, Fisher would save money from mowing lawns, beg for a ride to the magic shop, and buy a new trick. His mother was given some leftover fabric and sewed the first tuxedo for her precocious son.

Fisher has high hopes to keep the magic alive in the future too, even as the industry itself faces difficult times. One of the largest magic manufacturers out of California actually closed its doors recently. A looming sadness that Fisher hopes the Magic Capital of the World can avoid. “I’m lucky to see the faces of the families and especially the youngsters as they look around the shop. There’s so much possibility. So much excitement,” said Fisher. “I want to keep that excitement going for as long as I’m able. Because if we don’t take care of the magic—it really could disappear.” For more information, visit magiccapitaloftheworld.com or call 269-432-4017.

The childhood hobby became a lifelong obsession. While always keeping magic near and performing on the road, Fisher also lived your average life as a sales representative, father of four, and loving husband. However, after a hospital stay in 2002 due to a blocked artery, Fisher found himself with time to think and came to the realization that the future isn’t promised. He told his wife Cheryl he wanted to start a magic shop in Colon. “I told Cheryl we should do it. Buy a shop. Luckily, she agreed,” Fisher said. “I mean, it’s never been easy, but we’ve never looked back.” FAB Magic Shop and Abbott’s Magic Co., as well as Sterlini Magic Mfg. and Theater, are all still in business and participate in an annual magic festival the first week of August each year. Even COVID-19 was no match for the ultimate illusion of normalcy, as a socially-distanced flea market with booths and shows still made its way to Colon’s streets. Over 150 people turned out, not sure if the magic would show up at all. But the community is always up for the next trick. That’s what Fisher loves about his adopted hometown. Colon is as quirky as it is quaint, with banners along Main Street calling it the “Magic Capital of the World” and the high school giving its mascot—a rabbit—the name of “Hare E. Blackstone.” There’s also the Magic Walk of Fame along East State Street and over 35 magicians buried in the town’s cemetery. The town’s history is rooted in magic. “Magic has put Colon on the map,” said Fisher. “You can talk to almost anyone in the magic industry from anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Colon.”

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

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Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Great Lakes Energy Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ending 06/30/20.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel Source

Your co-op’s fuel mix

Regional average fuel mix

Coal

21.34%

41.81%

Oil

0.17%

0.41%

Gas

16.11%

23.61%

Hydroelectric

1.94%

0.76%

Nuclear

42.90%

26.61%

Renewable Fuels

17.54%

6.80%

Biofuel

0.33%

0.79%

Biomass

0.15%

0.47%

Solar

0.54%

0.14%

Solid Waste Incineration

0.11%

0.02%

Wind

16.23%

4.95%

Wood

0.18%

0.43%

NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

The Check Is In the Mail

Who doesn’t like getting money in the mail? GLE members with capital credit refunds of $25 and higher will receive a check in the mail in December, putting the money directly in YOUR hands. What about those with refunds of $24.99 or less? They will receive their bill credits on their December bills. Capital credit refunds are the members’ share of Great Lakes Energy’s profits— a tangible benefit of membership. Details on this year’s capital credit refunds will be shared in the December issue of PowerTalk, sent with bills.

Great Lakes Energy has retired

$76.5 MILLION to members since 2003.*

How Do Capital Credits Work?

Because electric co-ops operate at cost, any excess revenues, called margins, are returned to members in the form of capital credits.

Regional Average Fuel Mix

Your co-op tracks how much electricity you buy and how much money you pay for it throughout the year. At the end of the year, your co-op completes financial matters and determines whether there are excess revenues, called margins. Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Co-op

Regional Average*

Sulfur Dioxide

0.55

1.25

Carbon Dioxide

649.9

1,248.0

Oxides of Nitrogen

0.40

0.91

0.0097

0.0060

High-level Nuclear Waste

* Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/19. Great Lakes Energy purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.

Your co-op allocates the margins to members as capital credits based on the amount they spend on electricity during the year. When the co-op’s financial condition permits, the Great Lakes Energy Board of Directors decides to retire, or pay, the capital credits. GLE members with refunds over $25 will receive a check in the mail. Those with refunds less than $25 will receive a bill credit.

*As of Oct. 2020. Does not include capital credits that will be returned in Dec. 2020. 16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020


Outdoor Holiday Lighting Tips Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like decking the halls. Be sure to follow these tips and safety precautions to ensure that your Christmas decorating will be a huge success.

1

Practice Caution On Rooftops Or Elevated Areas

Inspect your ladder and make sure it is stable and in good condition. Make sure you ground the ladder on a solid, flat surface. Don’t work alone. Have someone assist you with the decorating who can provide any needed support or stabilization that you need. If the roof is too steep or high, don’t risk having an accident by overreaching. Hire a professional instead.

2

Electrical Concerns

Wires can become brittle. They might be bending in the cold, so you could have exposed copper or broken sockets. If you have frayed wires, throw the lights away. Be sure to check your wires for breaks and cracks in the insulation that can lead to shorts.

Remember to keep a safe distance from your overhead electric service. Do not overload circuits by stringing more light sets together than the manufacturer recommends—check the packaging for details. Never mount or support light strings in a way that may damage the cord’s insulation.

3

Invest In Energy-Efficient LED Lights

Make sure the lights that you use are rated for indoor and outdoor use or specifically outdoor.

LEDs will last for many years and have no filaments to burn out. Given the modest number of hours of operation, you can expect LEDs to last seven or more years. LED lights are more energy efficient and require less wattage than incandescent bulbs. A reasonable estimate of power consumption is 7 watts per 100 lights. How does that compare to the old incandescent? Each of those bulbs used 12 watts, so a string of 100 devoured 1,200 watts. Invest in timers to turn the lights on and off automatically. Alternatively, invest in a smart plug that allows you to program and control your lights from your smartphone.

4

Take Lights Down At The End Of The Season

The daily exposure to the weather over a period of time can cause damage to the wires, lights and sockets.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17


Home Heating Assistance Programs 2020-2021 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 $19,140 25,860 32,580 39,300 46,020 52,740 59,460 66,180

Add $6,720 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. 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 Dept. 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 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)

You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shut-off 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.

If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may use part of it toward heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.

Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program

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) or if you participate in the Dept. of Health and Human Services Family Independence

Program or receive SSI. Weatherization may include caulking, weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to find one in your area.

United Way

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.

Medical Emergency Protection 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 or a public health or social services official that a medical condition exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.

Shut-off Protection For Military Active Duty

If you or your spouse has been called into active military duty, you may apply for shut-off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You may request

extensions. You must still pay, but contact your utility company and they will help you set up a payment plan.

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program

The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship,

including the need for energy assistance. Contact the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at 517-284-5299 or michiganveterans.com.

Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) includes services that will enable participants to become self-sufficient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and being energy efficient. Shut-off protection is provided Nov. 1–April 15 for all residential

customers. The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for nonpayment between Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt out of collecting the LIEAF, go to michigan.gov/energygrants.

Contact: Michigan Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.

0–1 2 3

Max. Income

$14,036 18,964 23,892

# Exemp.

4 5 6

Max. Income

$28,820 33,748 38,676

Add $4,928 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

Contact: Local Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), michigan.gov/mdhhs

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or UWmich.org/2-1-1

Contact: Local Utility Company

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2020 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November

18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.


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i

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