Oct. 2018 MEC

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October 2018


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications

Fairs, Firemen And 4-H Fun

Our Solar Purpose Peace-Of-Mind Propane

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.








CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

CONTACT US MIDWEST ENERGY & COMMUNICATIONS 800-492-5989 teammidwest.com Email: info@teammidwest.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-435-8564 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0239 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 Arell.Chapman@teammidwest.com James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/teammidwest Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 OCTOBER 2018

Community Solar And Environmental Stewardship Robert Hance, President/CEO

Environmental stewardship and sustainability were once little more than buzzwords used by companies looking for some good public relations. Today, they’re driving corporate strategy. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is leading by example, with a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for their global infrastructure. They’ve deployed six solar and three wind farm projects which are expected to deliver over two million megawatt hours of energy annually while powering their data centers in the U.S. east regions. The electricity produced from these renewable projects is enough to power the equivalent of over 190,000 U.S. homes annually. You don’t have to be a global giant like AWS to walk the talk. Our own power supply partner, Wolverine Power Cooperative, is Michigan’s renewable energy leader with nearly 20 percent renewable generation in the fuel mix. Most of that is wind energy from about 200 megawatts of generation assets coming from the Harvest Wind Farm and Deerfield Wind Project, both in Huron County. Solar was added to the mix in 2016 when they commissioned SpartanSolar–Wolverine, a 1.2-megawatt array in Cadillac. These visionary developments led to a record-breaking 2017 when Wolverine and its distribution cooperative members used nearly 700,000-megawatt hours of renewable energy. We have met and exceeded both present and anticipated state renewable portfolio requirements. Wolverine is not stopping efforts to add to its renewable portfolio, and the latest development is in our little corner of the state. Last month we broke ground on SpartanSolar-MEC, a nearly one-megawatt community solar project at our Decatur Road headquarters. With 2,484 panels at 350 watts per panel, the array is expected to power nearly 150 rural Michigan homes annually. While small compared to what AWS is doing across the country, it’s another committed effort to add even more renewable output to an already robust portfolio. Community solar gives our electric consumers an opportunity to participate in renewable energy without the investment and ongoing maintenance. It’s not intended to be a money-maker, but rather a meaningful way for you to make a difference while earning a small monthly credit on your bill. See page 9 for details. From an economic development perspective, this very visible project, which will be commissioned in December, is also a great selling point for the industrial development we’re planning on the M60 and Decatur Road corridor. We’re already positioned to offer state-of-the-art electric distribution and fiber internet services, and can help our future commercial and industrial neighbors achieve environmental stewardship goals as community solar partners. We’ve always advocated a balanced portfolio of generation resources to manage power supply costs. It’s exciting that renewable energy projects are now a significant and growing piece of that portfolio.

MEC NEWS OF NOTE For Those Who Served Our military veterans hold a special place in our hearts at MEC. We are forever grateful for the sacrifice and commitment these individuals made for our freedom. As a tribute to those who have served, we created designated special veterans’ parking spaces at all three of our customer solutions centers. We officially unveiled the spaces with our Director, and Vietnam veteran, Fred Turk, who served in the U.S. Army, First Cavalry Division from 1967 to 1968. Turk shares our dedication to community and is currently the commander for VFW Post 6248 in Decatur, where he’s been a member since 1976. He also volunteers with the Buddy to Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program developed by the University of Michigan and works to find resources and help for individual veterans facing challenges. “I want to help pay back our veterans and give them support that we didn’t have when coming back from Vietnam,” said Turk. Thank you to all our veterans. We hope that this small gesture will serve as a reminder of our continued gratitude for your service. Top: MEC Director Fred Turk unveils our new veteran parking spaces.

Charged For The Future Being at the forefront of emerging technology is one of our hallmarks and, as part of that, we recently installed an Evr-Green 4000 electric vehicle charging station in the consumer parking lot at our Cass Solutions Center. MEC consumers can charge their vehicles for free and drivers have access 24/7/365 to call center support from ChargePoint, the company that manages the station. Bottom: The new MEC electric vehicle charging station at our Cassopolis Solutions Center.



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.

Our Solar Purpose Innovation is at the heart of what we do at MEC, and we recognize that emerging and renewable energy sources will continue to shape, even dramatically alter, the way we power our homes. We recently broke ground on SpartanSolar-MEC, a 2,484 panel community solar array on our Cassopolis property. Over the past several months, we’ve received a lot of interest, and a lot of questions, about the project, so here is a quick explanation of why we took on this project and whether it’s the right investment for you.

Why Solar? Renewables, while promising, remain a cost-intensive venture in residential applications. In geographic areas like ours, the number of sun-filled days might not generate enough energy to cover expenses, much less to sell electricity back to the local utility. According to an April 2018 article in Time magazine, “Today, the average up front cost of a six-kilowatt solar panel system—one of the common sizes for residential homes—runs between $16,260 and $21,420, according to per-watt estimates from energy marketplace EnergySage.” That excludes ongoing maintenance and any additional costs required to prepare your property. Our community solar array will give you the opportunity to participate in renewable energy without taking on the time, cost and ongoing maintenance to do it on your own. When you purchase a panel subscription, you will receive a bill credit for the solar power generated from that subscription. This investment will not yield significant savings on your electric bill. That’s not the intent. In fact, we predict that each panel will generate about $40 in account credits each year. The ultimate goal is to show our commitment to the

future of energy by adding additional renewable generation in our portfolio while giving consumers who are passionate about clean energy an opportunity to participate. We remain committed to embracing new technologies and tools that will enhance your experience as a consumer and this solar array is yet another example of how we’re living our mission of delivering first-in-class innovations where others won’t.

Quick Facts • Subscription costs: $600/panel upfront cost or $10 monthly payments for five years • 15-year lease agreement • Credit of $.10/kWh generated • 350 watts/panel Read the full Time magazine article here: http://time.com/ money/5229935/when-to-install-home-solar-panels/

Limited-Time Rebate Through Dec. 31, 2018, Michigan residents who pay the one-time $600 subscription fee can receive a $150/panel rebate on up to 20 panels. To review our list of FAQs or to sign up to participate, please visit spartansolar.com or give us a call at 800.492.5989.



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.


Fairs, Firemen And 4-H Fun We were busy this past summer supporting the local community at area 4-H fairs.





Van Buren County Youth Fair

Pictured 1. Van Buren County Youth Fair 2. Delivering donations to Decatur Human Services 3. Cass County Fair 4. MEC employees Rich Drews, Candy Riem and Lori Ruff joined local firefighters to serve meals at the Fireman’s Grill. 5. Lenawee County Fair

12 OCTOBER 2018

We supported the large and small animal auctions by purchasing 14 animals from seven exhibitors, including pigs, rabbits, chickens and turkeys. We donated all processed animals to the following food pantries: Eleanor’s Pantry, Decatur Human Services, Lawrence Community Food Pantry, Gobles Pantry and Aleman Center. Donations included pork sausage, pork chops, smoked hams, bacon, chickens and turkeys.

Cass County Fair We contributed to over 23 exhibitors who showed pigs, dairy feeder steers, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats and rabbits, and also participated in the

Gallon of Milk auction representing the youth dairy exhibitors. We donated the processed pig, chickens and turkey to Stone’s Throw Kitchen, ACTION, Helping Hands, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Church of God, Marcellus Food Pantry, and Our Lady of the Lake Church. Additionally, we rolled up our sleeves on July 31, working side-by-side with some of Cass County’s finest, to prepare and serve meals at the Fireman’s Grill. All net proceeds from sales over the course of the week, nearly $5,500, will help the Cass County Firemen’s Association with ongoing training and with the purchase of a foam trailer to aid in the suppression of large spills. We were honored to support our local emergency responders once again with their efforts to keep us safe.


Over the years, we have supported Camp Palmer, an electric consumer, with setting poles for their high ropes course that was officially dedicated in June 2018. Here is a photo of our linemen helping out, along with a photo of the finished product.

Lenawee County We purchased a goat and had the meat donated to local food pantries per the Lenawee County Fair’s determination.

Berrien County We continued our fair circuit at the Berrien County Youth Fair where we purchased two pigs and a cow from three exhibitors at the large animal auction. We donated the processed animals to the Salvation Army and 11th Street Harvest.

St. Joseph County We headed to the St. Joseph County Grange Fair in September. As of press time, the fair had not yet happened, so we don’t have details on what was purchased; as with other fairs, all processed meat will be donated to area food pantries.


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

Our 2018–19 capped rate is


Secure Peace-Of-Mind Pricing Before The Propane Heating Season The impact of supply and demand are concepts we learn in high school economics class; lower supply combined with greater demand typically means higher prices. We’re seeing this come to life yet again as we approach the 2018–19 propane heating season. The value of crude oil is a major driver for propane pricing. There were some sharp increases over the last year, resulting in a 50 percent hike from June 2017 to June 2018. Demand was higher due to last winter’s temperatures, which were historically quite average, but considerably colder than recent years. Our thriving economy also drives demand. At the same time, imports are lagging due largely to Middle East political unrest and sharp decreases in production in Venezuela. On the supply side, the United States produces a lot of propane, but also exports a lot of that overseas, particularly to Asia. Last year we exported 770,000 barrels a day, compared to today’s one million barrels a day. In 2009 we were exporting only 10 percent of our supply, and today we are exporting 50 percent.

16 OCTOBER 2018

per gallon

It’s not panic time, but in July the Michigan Agency for Energy issued a warning encouraging propane users to sign contracts soon instead of waiting until winter when the demand is higher. More than eight percent of Michigan households use propane as their primary heating fuel, and the state leads the nation in total residential propane consumption. Based on all of the market indicators, it could be an expensive heating season for Michigan’s 320,000 residential propane users. If you’re ready to take control, consider our peace-of-mind pricing approach. We purchase our supply well ahead of the heating season, and offer a capped rate, at no extra charge and guaranteed through the entire season. No matter what the market does, your per gallon rate will not change through May 31, 2019. It’s stability, even during the most volatile heating seasons. Our 2018–19 capped rate is $1.699 per gallon.

Take control now. For more information visit teammidwest.com/propane, or call us at 800.492.5989.

Michigan’s Youth Tour students meet Congressmen Jack Bergman and Bill Huizenga on the steps of the Capitol building.

e m i t e f i L A f The Trip O “I didn’t fully understand how big and diverse Michigan is, and I certainly didn’t know how diverse the entire United States and the rest of the world is. Through Youth Tour, I met so many different people that I feel more open and confident. The world doesn’t seem as big as it used to.” That was Leah Eaton’s reaction to her experience during this year’s NRECA Washington D.C. Youth Tour trip in June.

Leah Eaton and Logan Smith, MEC’s Washington D.C. Youth Tour representatives, pose in front of the U.S. Capitol building..

Leah, daughter of Marnie and Eric Eaton and a junior at Edwardsburg High School, was joined by Logan Smith, son of Norm and Jodee Smith and a junior at Decatur High School, along with approximately 1,800 students representing electric cooperatives from all over the United States for this annual event. “Through this trip, I learned that someday I want to be a leader and that community service helps everyone. It was also very cool to meet my representatives in Washington because they actually sat down and took the time to listen to us and our issues,” said Logan. The students, whose families are MEC electric consumers, were selected based on their applications and after spending a day with MEC employees at the Cassopolis headquarters where they toured the building, learned about the industry and discussed potential careers. “We believe every young person should have the opportunity to visit our capital, meet our representatives and build an emotional connection to our history and democracy,” said Patty Nowlin, vice president of corporate communications at MEC. “This trip isn’t just about sightseeing; we want the

experience to make a lasting impact on these youth and help shape the course of their future.” As part of the Michigan delegation, Logan and Leah toured the Civil War battlegrounds in Gettysburg, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore. While in the capital, they visited several monuments and museums, witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and met with local representatives on Capitol Hill. To round out the week’s activities, they also attended a Broadway show and a Washington Nationals baseball game. Leah shared her experience on Instagram. Search for @eraveria and see D.C. through her eyes.


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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YEAR 1 What if it could cost less to enjoy a more comfortable home? With Well-Connect, it does. Well-Connect is an affordable alternative to heating and cooling rural homes and works in combination with your home’s current heating system. This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home. Well-Connect heats for 50%-75% less than propane, fuel oil or electric and those savings more than cover the cost of the system.

Hybrid Geothermal

Schedule a Home Visit | 989-356-2113 | wellconnectsaves.com


Over the years, our best source for new consumers has always been our current family of happy and loyal consumers. You know the value of our superior commitment to service, combined with the unique price stability that is the cornerstone of our approach. And now we’re giving you an extra reason to share the MEC Propane difference. For every consumer that you successfully refer, we will give you AND the new consumer $100 once the tank is set and service activated. To refer yourself, just mention our Tell-a-Friend Program when you call to sign up for new service and you may also qualify. New consumers must meet eligibility criteria and tanks must be set by Dec. 16, 2018.

800.492.5989 teammidwest.com/propane Some restrictions may apply. New tank must be set by 12/16/2018 to qualify. Propane services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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