Oct. 2018 HomeWorks

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October 2018


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Meet Director Jim Stebbins

Apply For A Classroom STEAM Grant New Home Energy Rebates

FALL Celebrate

On Mackinac Island


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 Call 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

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com

Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeothermal.com

Hart/Ludington Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com

Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

Caro AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328) geo4less.com

Kalkaska Kalkaska Plmb & Htg (231) 258-3588 kalkaskageothermal.net

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 comfort1.net/geothermal

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 waltonheating.com

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 dwgeothermal.com

Kiessel Geothermal Htg & Clg (231) 747-7509 kiesselsgeo.com

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 October 2018 || Vol. 38, No. 9

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives countrylines.com

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Layout: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com


facebook.com/ michigancountrylines

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.

ON THE COVER Enjoy fall on the island. The delightfully crispy air, magnificent color, miles of trails and a variety of fall events await on Mackinac Island.

6 ENERGY A Full House Of Energy Savings 7 SAFETY Guns And Powerlines: Tips To Stay Safe 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Enjoy These Delicious Sweet Treat Recipes Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enjoy A Fall Classic Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Courtesy Of Island House Executive Chef Phil Kromer Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Celebrate Fall On Mackinac Island Emily Haines Lloyd

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY I Remember... Before The Bridge Luman Slade, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

Win $150 for stories published.

Guest Column Country Lines invites members to submit stories. Guidelines 1. Approximately 350 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your guest column at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab Win $50 for stories published.

I Remember... We invite members to share their fondest memories.

Guidelines 1. Approximately 200 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your memory at: countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.















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

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

Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/homeworks.org 4 OCTOBER 2018

“ It’s What We Do Every Day!” Mark Kappler, General Manager

Dramatic changes are transforming all aspects of the energy industry. Interest in renewable energy is at an all-time high, and member-consumers tell us they want more control over their energy use and payment methods. Apps for smart devices, and interactive technology for the home that can be controlled by those apps, are becoming more available. There is greater interest in electric vehicles. There’s no denying it: electric utilities will have to make changes to the way we provide energy to accommodate these trends. Luckily, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric is uniquely positioned to meet these changing energy needs because we are a cooperative. We are governed locally, looking out for the long-term needs of our members. And, while some of these changes may be in your future, today your primary need continues to be getting reliable electric power, safely, at a reasonable cost. And that’s what we do every day. Our crews plan and build our system to be strong enough to withstand storms and other hazards for many years to come. Another priority for HomeWorks is listening to our members, and then responding to your needs and expectations. Our customer service teams are ready to serve you, whether you choose to contact us by a phone call, email, office visit, a comment on social media, or seeing us at a community event. Yes, we also offer a much-needed propane service. We’ve provided communications options from television to telephone to internet for our rural neighbors over the years. Now, we’re building out a fiber-to-the-home highspeed internet system to make sure rural families can keep up with education, communications and entertainment as easily as urban residents do.

We are proud to power your life, today and in the future. It’s what we do every day!

Meet Your Cooperative’s Board Of Directors

Jim Stebbins By Charly Markwart

In early 2017, Jim Stebbins was looking for something meaningful to fill his newfound free time. Having just retired from a career that included 20 years as a dairy farmer, among other jobs, the Clarksville resident took interest when he received a letter from HomeWorks Tri-County Electric informing him and his District 2 neighbors of an opening on the Cooperative’s Board of Directors. “I looked into it and thought, ‘This is something I want to do,’” he says. “The committee selected me, and when it came time, I ran for election, got out in the countryside, visited a lot of people, and was humbled that they elected me. I wanted something to do, and I got at least that much. It’s been great.” Always up for a new challenge, Stebbins says his favorite aspect of his first year-and-a-half on the Board has been the continual learning process. “Learning about what Tri-County is all about and the way co-ops are set up, and then researching the fiber project and learning all about that, I think every Board meeting I come out with something new,” he says. “As a Board member here, I don’t think you’re ever done learning. It’s a challenging learning experience, and I’m enjoying it.” One thing he picked up on right off the bat, he recalls, is the culture of collaboration and continuity that is ever present throughout the co-op. “From the time I went on my first walk-through at the office and was introduced to the employees, I could just feel that this is a place where people are happy to come to work,” he says. “When you’ve got motivation like that from the person who just started all the way up to the person about ready to retire, you can’t put a dollar figure on that. It’s the

“I am one

of you.”

reason for our success. People want to do their part for the cooperative, and that just comes through.” As for the part he serves as the co-op’s District 2 director, the genial and down-to-earth Stebbins says he hopes HomeWorks members see him for what he is: one of them. “I get my power from Tri-County, too,” he says. “When my lights go out, I want them back on, just like all members do. My vote is equal to theirs. It’s the great thing about a cooperative; all members have a say. They elect us, and we try to represent them the best we can. That’s what I’m working to do.” Outside of his work with the cooperative, Stebbins is a family man, enjoying any opportunity he can to spend time with his two sons, three daughters, and five grandsons. He also enjoys working with the Woodland Fraternal Order of Eagles, studying genealogy, taking in a good biography or history book, playing cards with friends and “just kicking back.” When it comes time to get down to work at the cooperative, though, Stebbins is all in. “It’s a humbling experience, being on the Board of Directors,” he says. “Several of us on the Board are relatively new, and this is something that’s been passed on to us. This great organization has been built up to where it is today, and we have to do our small part to keep it going that way.”

Jim represents District 2, which is Barry and Ionia counties. He was elected to the Board in 2017. For more on Jim, including a video of our interview with him, go to: http://bit.ly/HWDirectors.



A Full House of Energy Savings ATTIC

In many homes, attic insulation is one of easiest, least expensive and most effective ways to reduce your energy use. In colder regions, a properly insulated attic also reduces the chance of ice dams.



Plug all electronic gadgets such as phone and laptop chargers, printers, gaming consoles and BluRay players into a power strip with an on/off switch. When not in use, turn the power strip off to eliminate all those energy vampires.


Ceiling fans can help save energy all year long! In the summer, fans should rotate counter clockwise to push air down, creating a cooling flow. In the winter, fans should rotate clockwise to help draw cool air up toward the ceiling, and push the warm air that naturally rises down to you and your family.



Smart thermostats learn how you and your family live, and automatically adjust the temperature settings based on your lifestyle to keep you comfortable while saving you money.

Take a short shower instead of a bath. Short showers use much less water, and you’ll also save energy by not heating all that extra water!

Make sure your burner isn’t bigger than the pan, and use flat-bottomed pans to maximize surface contact with the burner. Don’t preheat the oven until you’re ready to use it. Minimize the number of times you open and close the refrigerator or oven door.



Want to learn about additional ways to save energy? Contact your Michigan electric cooperative for more energy efficiency tips!

6 OCTOBER 2018

GUNS & POWERLINES Tips to Stay Sa�e

Shooting guns near power and transmission facilities (including wires, poles and insulators) is dangerous to you and jeopardizes everyone’s power. Here are tips to help keep everyone safe.

Familiarize yourself with the location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot especially in wooded areas where power lines are not as visible. Your shot could damage the conductor, possibly dropping a phase to the ground. If it’s dry and the electricity goes to the ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and wildfire. Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity. Never attempt to shoot through the wires or at anything that may be on the wires or poles.

If your target is “sky lined” on a hill or power line and you cannot see what lies beyond, do not take the shot. Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution. Do not shoot at, or near, birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns. Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole beside utility equipment can pose an obstruction––and a serious hazard––to electric cooperative employees as they perform utility operations. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Energy Assistance For Income-Qualified Residents We know utility bills can easily pile up for folks with limited incomes. The Energy Optimization program is here to help. If your household meets the income eligibility guidelines, you could receive FREE energy-saving products and services through Energy Optimization’s Home Energy Baseload Program. Qualified residents can obtain assistance to improve the energy performance of their homes—which will help reduce electricity use and save money on utility bills.

Energy-Saving Devices And Installation One of our trained, professional contractors can visit your home to leave behind or install a variety of energy efficiency devices. You will receive information on how to get the most out of your new gadgets, as well as tips for making simple changes to save energy at home.

Refrigerator Evaluation And Replacement Is your refrigerator at least 10 years old? An Energy Optimization program representative can visit your home to evaluate your refrigerator. If it is determined to be highly inefficient, you could receive a new replacement at no cost.

Eligibility Requirements To qualify for the Home Energy Baseload Program, your household must meet the following income guidelines. Gross annual income is the combined total income of all household members, before taxes. Family Size

Gross Annual Income





Free items available through the program include:



• • • • •











LED bulbs LED night lights Smart power strip Low-flow showerhead Faucet aerators



Note: For families/ households with more than eight people, add $8,640 for each additional person. To find out if you qualify for Energy Optimization programs or to learn more, call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org.

Energy Assistance We know it can be difficult to keep up with energy costs. The Home Energy Baseload Program may provide income-eligible households with the following: ▪ In-home equipment evaluations ▪ Refrigerator replacements ▪ Energy-saving devices

Contact us today for program eligibility information. PHONE: 877.296.4319 EMAIL: michigan-energy.org

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.

Snap Shot Pumpkin Faces

1. Mandy Brzezinski of Lyons sent in this photo showing daughter Zephyr’s pumpkin, plus a pumpkin for her baby brother. 2. Shawn Lambracht of Charlotte wrote in, “When my grandson, Hunter Graves, was 18 months old he made his first attempt at pumpkin decorating. Now that’s a pumpkin face!!” 3. Angela Marez of Nashville shared this Snap Shot of a little fireman (Mateo Marez) enjoying the 2017 trick or treating event at Charlton Park——where he won first prize in the “Everyday Heroes” category. 4. Ruth Armbrustmacher from Fowler says, “Our grandchildren planted and sold pumpkins from our farm in Fowler. From left are Jacob Shaw (4 years old), Will Shaw (7 years old), Brooklyn Simon (7 years old), and Collin Simon (4 years old).


5. Julie Dumas from Portland shared a photo of a happy pumpkin family, created for a contest at work.

3 2

Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics And Deadlines

Enter to win a


“Cutest Kids,” Deadline: Oct. 17 (January issue) “Snow Day,” Deadline: Nov. 16 (February issue)


energy bill credit!

Go to homeworks.org and select Country Lines under the Electric tab to submit your photos and see additional themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River, Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos!

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



Cookies And Cakes

You’ll be tempted to eat dessert first with these delicious sweet treats. Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Aunt Lydia’s Famous Carrot Cake (pictured) Karen Stewart, Great Lakes Energy 2 cups sugar 1½ cups vegetable or coconut oil 4 eggs 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ 3 ¾ ¾ ¾

teaspoon allspice cups grated carrots cup chopped walnuts cup raisins, optional cup unsweetened coconut flakes, optional

Aunt Lydia’s Famous Cream Cheese Frosting 1 8-ounce package 1 pound confectioner’s cream cheese (powdered) sugar 1 stick butter 1 teaspoon vanilla Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine cake ingredients in the order given. Add batter to three greased and floured 8-inch layer pans (they will be thin). Bake for 40 minutes. Cool cakes on wire racks. While baking, make frosting by adding all the frosting ingredients to a medium bowl and blending with mixer until smooth. When cakes are cooled completely, place the first cake on plate or cutting board. Add ¹/³ of the frosting. Add next layer and another ¹/³ of the frosting. Add the remaining layer and remaining ¹/³ frosting. Cut and serve. Watch a video of this recipe at

micoopkitchen.com/videos 10 OCTOBER 2018

Waffle Iron Cookies Claudia Kulnis, Great Lakes Energy 1 2½ 6 1

pound butter (4 sticks) cups sugar eggs, separated teaspoon vanilla

6 cups cake flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer. Add egg yolks one at a time and vanilla. Add cake flour, baking powder and salt. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Fold egg whites into first mixture. Bake on a hot, well greased waffle iron until golden brown. Note: Waffle irons differ. In mine, it takes 2½ minutes to produce 8 cookies at a time, two in each square. It is only necessary to grease the waffle iron for the first batch if using a Teflon coated waffle iron. Cool on wire racks, lifting each with the tines of a fork from the waffle iron. Cookies keep for a week in airtight containers and they freeze well. For speed and ease in baking, walnut-sized balls may be rolled ahead of time instead of dropping dough from a teaspoon. Makes approximately 8–10 dozen depending on the size of the ball.

FEATURED GUEST CHEF Fall always calls for rich and flavorful comfort food. This mouthwatering recipe from Mackinac Island’s own Island House Executive Chef, Phil Kromer, puts an autumnal twist on a classic cheesecake that will have you dreaming at night of leaves crunching under boots and the smell of bonfires in the air.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake Terry Kandell, Midwest Energy & Communications 3 3 1½ 1½ 1¼ 1 1 1½

medium zucchinis (1 pound) cups unsifted flour teaspoons baking powder teaspoons cinnamon teaspoons salt teaspoon baking soda teaspoon ground cloves cups oil (olive or avocado oil)

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon margarine or butter, softened • dash salt 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2¹⁄ ³ cups firmly packed brown sugar (1 pound) 4 eggs 2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces 1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons water ½ teaspoon vanilla 1 square semi-sweet chocolate for curls, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grate enough zucchini to make three cups. Grease and flour 10-inch tube pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cloves; set aside. In a large mixing bowl at medium speed, beat oil and sugar; then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually beat in melted chocolate. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the zucchini, chocolate pieces, and pecans. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 20 minutes. Remove from pan and put on wire rack. To make the glaze, in a small bowl, beat sugar, margarine and salt. Add corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Spread glaze over cake and let set 10 minutes. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Serve immediately.

Pasta Perfect: due November 1 Ultimate Burgers: due December 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crust 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs ¼ cup melted butter 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine ingredients and press into springform pan. Bake for 8–10 minutes. Wrap pan in two layers of aluminum foil when cool. Pumpkin Filling 1½ pounds cream cheese at room temperature 1½ cups sugar 5 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 2 cups pumpkin puree Cream the cream cheese and sugar in stand mixer, scraping bowl frequently. Add eggs one at a time, beating in thoroughly, scraping bowl between each addition. Mix together remaining ingredients. Pour on top of crust and bake in a water bath at 350 F until set but slightly jiggly, about 75–90 minutes. Cool at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Read the full story about celebrating fall on Mackinac Island on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.


People Fund Update On August 22, 12 grants totaling $14,276.81 were awarded in the following sums to the following organizations or individuals: • $1,000 to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 157, Ionia, to support a bike safety rodeo; • $1,000 to Montabella Ministerial Association in Edmore, to purchase food and personal care items; • $1,000 to Montcalm County Great Start in Stanton, toward the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program; • $1,000 to the M46 Tabernacle Food Pantry, Riverdale, to purchase food pantry items; • $1,059 to Women’s Information Service in Big Rapids, to make safety upgrades to their women’s shelter; • $867.81 to Portland District Library in Portland to help create a special needs calming room; • $1,000 to Richland Township Library, Vestaburg, to buy library books; • $1,000 to an Ionia County family to help with housing expenses; • $2,500 to another Ionia County family, to make well repairs; • $950 to an Isabella County family, to help with housing expenses; • $2,500 to another Isabella County family, to purchase hearing aids; and • $400 to a Montcalm County family to help with septic repairs and other housing expenses.

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

12 OCTOBER 2018

Earlier this year, we awarded Maple Valley’s Fuller Street Elementary a grant to purchase innovative wobble seats designed to help students focus. Here, teacher Carmelle Markwart and her second-grade students pose with the grant check.

Apply For A STEAM Grant Attention, teachers, parents and school administrators! Applications will be available Nov. 1 for our Touchstone Energy Classroom STEAM grants, which offer up to $2,000 per classroom to add technology that helps students learn. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. It is a project-based educational plan that gets students involved hands-on with problem-solving.

• Charlotte Parkview Elementary, $1,953.96 for Ozobot mini-robot kits to help DK-third grade students learn to code; • Eaton Rapids Lockwood Elementary, $2,000 to purchase robotics/coding tools from LEGO for 125 first grade students; • Fulton Elementary School, Middleton, $478.90 to purchase prizes for Reaching Month;

As examples, these are the schools and projects which received grants in 2018:

• Maple Valley Fuller Street Elementary, $899.88 to purchase 12 wobble seats to help students focus;

• Ashley High School, $420.30 to purchase a wall-mounted speaker system for the band room;

• Montabella Elementary School, $1,512.57 to buy iPads and Osmo technology for young students to learn to code through play;

• Ashley Middle and High School, $1,776 to buy classroom software licenses for 3-D/CAD software used in STEM classes; • Beal City Public School, $1,000 to support their student robotics program; • Berlin Township #3 Coon School, Ionia, $1,699.33 for a digital camera, scanner/copier, and laminator for use with student photos, classroom displays, homework, etc. • Big Rapids Brookside Elementary, $1,914 to buy five iPads to support students with reading and math;

• Montabella Junior-Senior High School, $1,923.56 for a 3-D printer and supplies to be used in a Digital Arts classroom; • Portland High School, $2,000 for virtual reality glasses used in high school science courses; and • Stockbridge High School, $1,899 for classroom microprocessor kits and accessories to teach building and coding. Download a copy of the application at http://bit.ly/HomeWorksSTEAM, or call HomeWorks at 517-647-7554 to request a copy.

Why Choose HomeWorks Connect? You may be wondering what the deal is with this “fiber internet” we’re building in our service territory. To help you understand what makes fiber better than traditional cable “high-speed” internet, here are eight ways that HomeWorks Connect beats out the competition. SPEED The difference in speeds between cable and fiber is quite noticeable. Due to the low latency of fiber, files that could take 22 minutes on traditional cable internet can be downloaded in as little as eight seconds with HomeWorks Connect! SECURITY In an era of increased worry about cyber security, it’s great to know that with HomeWorks Connect there is a much lower risk of someone ‘hacking’ the network. This is because, unlike cable, tapping into fiber takes very special skills and when a fiber has been compromised, it is able to be identified much more quickly than traditional cable internet. UPGRADES When speed requirements increase, cable internet requires a larger wire to be strung. However, with HomeWorks Connect it’s easy to update by installing new hardware at each end of the line. STRENGTH You’d think that cables made from glass would be more delicate than copper wires, but the opposite is actually true! Fiber internet cables are able to withstand five to 10 times more pressure than traditional copper wires.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

BANDWIDTH Copper wires were created to transfer voice calls, not data, so cable networks are limited. Fiber was created with data transfer in mind, so the amount of data that can travel at any given time on our network is much greater. This means with HomeWorks Connect, you’ll spend less time waiting for your files to load. DISTANCE Since fiber networks were designed to transmit data over long distances, there’s no concern about losing signal just because you’re in a remote location. This makes HomeWorks Connect the perfect rural internet solution. RELIABILITY In comparison to copper cable, fiber is more resistant to temperature fluctuations and moisture, and it doesn’t present a fire hazard when old or worn. With fiber, there is also less concern about interference from electronic or radio signals. COST Although our initial investment in fiber is greater, over the long-term a fiber network is the more cost effective option for us to build. Because it is more easily maintained than cable and requires less hardware, we’ll be able to keep costs low for our Connectors too!

Become A Connector Today!

To pre-register visit HomeWorksConnect.org or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

FA L L Celebrate

On Mackinac Island

By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Mackinac Island Convention and Visitors Bureau

Fall in Michigan is a special time of year. Color tours, cool days and crisp nights. It’s what autumnal dreams are made of. But if you want to take your October to the next level, there’s nothing like a ferry ride to Mackinac Island to remind yourself of everything to love about this special season. It’s easy to imagine the island shuttering up at the end of summer, as the kids head back to school with sharpened pencils and fresh spiral notebooks. However, Mackinac Island has a rich second life in fall with the gorgeous burst of turning leaves, tempting lodging specials, annual events and shopping sales that are hard to resist. “October is our most colorful month on the island,” said Tim Hygh, Executive Director of the Mackinac Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our colors last a little longer than the

14 OCTOBER 2018

mainland. They extend until the end of October, as does the fun.” The “fun” begins with decompressing when you hop a ferry in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and feeling your blood pressure lower with each panoramic view of the Mackinac Straits, the “Mighty Mac” Bridge and eventually the island itself. Disembark from the boat and take a step back in time. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles meander down streets as you begin to forget you ever owned a car. There’s still a happy buzz of residents and visitors in the fall, but the crowds from the summer months have dissipated— allowing visitors to relax in a quieter atmosphere. Stores and restaurants are still open, with nightly entertainment still scheduled through the end of October at local haunts. Tours are also still

1. Colorful Maple trees lining Mackinac Island’s Grand Boulevard. 2. Runners are gathered at Mission Point for the Great Turtle Run and Walk. 3. A variety of Halloween costumes make for entertaining people watching. 4. The Island House Hotel surrounded by fall colors.



3 booking—whether you’re looking to explore local lighthouses or take a sunset cruise around the island. If you’re hoping to spend your time communing with nature, there are always bicycle and horse rentals. Or you can lace up your favorite hiking boots and explore more than 140 miles of hiking trails on the island. “Each October, we close the season out with our Halloween celebration,” said Hygh. “It’s such a special time of natural beauty and good, old-fashioned fun.” On Mackinac Island, Halloween always falls on the last Saturday in October. Festivities kick off with the annual Great Turtle Trail Run on Saturday morning. Cooler temperatures and

4 colorful views keep the 2,500-3,000 walkers and runners coming back year after year. From 3 to 5 p.m. Main Street and side street shops open their doors to trick-or-treaters for a parade of costumes and the inevitable sugar rush that follows. In the evening, adults take their costumes out for a second spin of bustling nightlife at local pubs and restaurants. By the end of the weekend, visitors agree that a visit to Mackinac Island in October guarantees far more treats than tricks.

“Our COLORS LAST A LITTLE LONGER than the mainland. They extend until the end of October, as does the FUN.” —Tim Hygh MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 15


Lead To More Reliable Power, Less Outages Your family needs a dependable source of power, so here at HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, safe and reliable electric service is our top priority. And, as we emphasize often, maintaining a clear right-of-way around our electric lines is a key component in achieving that objective. “Clearing the rights-of-way around our lines is the single most effective thing we can do to maintain and improve the reliability of our electric system,” says Chris Reed, HomeWorks manager of electric operations. Trees and branches touching power lines are the most common cause of outages and blinking lights in an electric system. That problem is exacerbated during storms, when trees sitting within our right-of-way are more likely to fall on the lines, causing outages that can sometimes become lengthy, depending on the type of damage and extent of the storm. To work proactively to help prevent those outages and ensure the reliability of your power, we routinely clear our rights-of-way on a seven-year cycle. When tree-clearing is scheduled in your area, you will be notified by a postcard or phone message, approximately one week before the work begins.

Our right-of-way clearing program will be extended a little further this fall, as the board of directors at their August meeting authorized an

It’s important to note that you can help prevent your trees from being cut in the future by taking into consideration the location of each tree you plant and how large it will grow. Many species grow too large to be planted under overhead lines, and improper planting of these trees is what sometimes leads to necessary removal by our contracted tree crews. See the graphic above for a guide on how far your trees should be planted from power lines, and visit ArborDay.org for additional information about the expected mature height and crown spread of tree species you may be considering. Lastly, please remember to never attempt to cut a tree yourself if it is under or near an overhead line; call us so we can send an expert to check it out for you.

In other business at the meeting, your board: • Reviewed comments from member delegates who attended the Annual Meeting on August 18.

adjustment to the operating budget,

• Learned there were 121 new members in July.

which will allow for an additional

• Acknowledged the July safety report and reviewed a vehicle accident in which a passenger car hit one of the co-op’s bucket trucks.

20 miles of work to be done.

16 OCTOBER 2018

HomeWorks Members Win Prestigious Governor’s Energy Excellence Award Congratulations to HomeWorks members James and Ann Stump, of Lyons, who took home the Best Residential Project award this month at the fourth annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards event in Lansing. The Stumps won the prestigious award for an energy reduction project they completed at their home last year, installing a ground source heat pump system that helped them shrink their carbon footprint by an incredible 80 percent.

“When our members are able to lower their household bills and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time, that’s a win-win for everyone,” said Trierweiler. For more information on the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, visit mienergyexcellence.org.

“This was a really good project and a great success story,” said HomeWorks energy advisor Brandon Trierweiler. “James and Ann, like so many of our members, are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint, lowering their monthly energy bills, and taking control of their energy consumption, and that really paid off here. Our members are really participating in the energy efficiency programs that we offer and taking advantage of the rebates and incentives that are available, and I think they’re seeing the benefits.” The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards were created in 2015 to honor Michigan individuals and organizations that have taken firm, meaningful action toward reducing energy waste. The Stumps’ ground source heat pump system, complete with a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat and a highefficiency tankless propane water heater, reduced their home’s annual electricity usage by 3,264 kWh and their annual propane usage by 1,678 gallons.

Governor’s Energy Excellence Award winners James and Ann Stump, of Lyons, pose with HomeWorks energy advisor Brandon Trierweiler (right).

New Rebates Help With Heat Pumps, Level 2 Chargers HomeWorks Tri-County Electric now offers rebates to help you update to a ground or air source heat pump, central air conditioning, or a mini-split heat pump. We can also help with the cost of a Level 2 charger for your electric vehicle. These rebates are available for new construction or conversions at your current home; they may not be used to replace existing equipment with a new version. The units must be installed by a licensed contractor, and HomeWorks reserves the right to verify all applications and installations.

Install New:

Terms and Conditions:


Ground Source Heat Pump

Closed loop: EER 16.1 or higher


Open loop: EER 20.1 or higher Air Source Heat Pump

Minimum EER 12, SEER 14


Mini-Split Heat Pump

Minimum EER 12, SEER 14


Central Air Conditioner

Minimum EER 12, SEER 14


EV Level 2 Charger

Must be installed at primary residence


Some restrictions apply.

Learn more at http://bit.ly/HWEnergyRebates, or call us at 517-647-7554 for more information.


I Remember... SPOTLIGHT ON



SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY! Photo: Don Harrison, flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/6172941099

Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2019 magazine. We know co-op members are awesome and there is no shortage of pioneers, innovators and leaders in our service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between. If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at countrylines.com. Self-nominations are accepted.

Before The Bridge I was 10 in 1951 when I first crossed the Straits of Mackinac on a ferryboat, and first saw Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Our family was traveling to a lake near Channing for a week of fishing. It was the most exciting trip I had ever taken. As we neared Mackinaw City, an overhead sign said, “Straits of Mackinac— 25 miles.” The traffic became so heavy it took us forever to go that last 25 miles. Then we waited another hour or so to board the City of Cheboygan ferry. While waiting, we ate smoked whitefish and soda crackers which were sold, car to car, by vendors. We supplemented those delicacies with Kool-Aid and Better Made potato chips. It was a wonderful meal! After our car was blocked in place on the ferryboat, we all went up to the top deck for better views. Everyone waved when the City of Petoskey ferryboat passed by going the other way. I took lots of pictures with my Six-20 Brownie Junior camera. I made many additional ferryboat trips back and forth between Michigan’s two peninsulas before the Mackinac Bridge opened for traffic in 1957, but none were as memorable as was that first trip.

Luman Slade, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Michigan author Luman Slade has published four books for young readers. One of his books, “There’s a Bear in the Raspberry Patch,” is a young boy’s story of his adventures at his grandfather’s cabin in the U.P. His books are available at many stores in Michigan and through his website: lumanslade.com.

18 OCTOBER 2018



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HomeWorks.org homeworks.org facebook.com/homeworks.org facebook.com/homeworks.org Report Outages: 1-800-848-9333

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