Oct. 2019 Cherryland

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October 2019


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative


Northwestern Michigan Fair Highlights

Lessons From The Benzie Bee Mistress 4-H Kids Bring Value To Our Community


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In This Issue October 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 9

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives






Your photo could be featured here.


Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr

Follow Us On Instagram!

Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

michigancountrylines The fish around here don't stand a chance. @906_rose_photography

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.

IRONMAN 70.3 athletes gear up for the swim portion of the race in late August as Traverse City hosted 2,500 athletes from around the world. Flip to page 14 to read about the grueling 1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com


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.

6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column: Fall Road Trippin’ With Christal Frost

From Harbor Springs to Cross Village, Christal shares her fun fall adventures. So grab a pen, take notes on her journey, and get ready to follow in her footsteps!

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Up Your Cooking Game With These Flavorful Venison Recipes


18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Resources For Home Heating Assistance

Win $150 for stories published! Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Featured Guest Chef: IRONMAN training coaches from Organic Training share a smoothie recipe to help the body recover after training sessions and to prepare for upcoming workouts. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City: Anything Is Possible Emily Haines Lloyd

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Best Restaurants With A View: Tell us about your favorite spots with sights to behold. We will publish this member–recommended list in our February issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 15.










Board Of Directors

TOM VAN PELT President 231-386-5234 tvanpelt@cherrylandelectric.coop DAVID SCHWEITZER Senior Vice President 231-883-5860 dschweitzer@cherrylandelectric.coop GABE SCHNEIDER Secretary 517-449-6453 gschneider@cherrylandelectric.coop MELINDA LAUTNER Treasurer 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop TERRY LAUTNER Director 231-946-4623 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop JOHN OLSON Director 231-938-1228 jolson@cherrylandelectric.coop JON ZICKERT Director 231-631-1337 jzickert@cherrylandelectric.coop GENERAL MANAGER Tony Anderson CO-OP EDITORS Rachel Johnson Rob Marsh

OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. TELEPHONE NUMBERS 231-486-9200 or 1-800-442-8616 (Mich.) ADDRESS P.O. Box 298, Grawn, MI 49637 WEBSITE cherrylandelectric.coop PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Follow us on Facebook. facebook.com/cherrylandelectriccoop Follow us on Instagram. @cherrylandec

4 OCTOBER 2019

Co-op Buys And Donates Pigs At The Fair The co-op purchased pigs from Cherryland members Hunter Dunscombe and Emily Thiel during the 4-H livestock auction at the Northwestern Michigan Fair in August. The pigs were then donated to Goodwill Food Rescue. Congrats to both on pigs well raised!

Cherryland Celebrates National Cooperative Month Cherryland is proud to be one of 900 electric cooperatives powering more than 20 million American homes, businesses, farms and schools in 48 states. Thank you to all the co-op members and employees that keep Cherryland and the cooperative tradition thriving.

Members Support Local Nonprofits Through Cherryland Cares Cherryland Cares distributes funds to local nonprofit organizations in need of financial support. The funds distributed by Cherryland Cares are a result of members electing to round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. Members can contribute to the Cherryland Cares fund by calling 231-486-9200, signing up through SmartHub, or sending an email to cec@cherrylandelectric.coop. If you are an area nonprofit agency seeking financial help, please call Shannon Mattson at 231-486-9234 or email smattson@cherrylandelectric.coop. The deadline for fourth quarter applications is Friday, Dec. 6.

Co-op Connections Card Benefits To Expire January 1 As of January 1, 2020, Cherryland members will no longer be able to use the Touchstone Energy Co-op Connections Card to receive discounts on products and services from participating businesses, including pharmacies.

Everett Kilmer And Me


Tony Anderson, General Manager

have been blessed to cross paths with many great co-op people over the years. One of these people was Everett Kilmer who passed away on July 29, 2019. I met Everett for the first time when I interviewed for the General Manager position at Niobrara Electric Association in Lusk, Wyoming, on a hot August day in 1991. I was a young man who had never led an organization of any kind. Everett was one of the nine men who gave me that opportunity. Everett made me feel at home. He always had a kind word, a smile on his face and a joke to tell. More importantly, he also made my wife and family feel welcome. He never failed to chat with Mary or ask about the kids. His friendship felt genuine and sincere because it was. Everett was there to support me as I went through many career firsts. He was with me at my first Tri-State Generation and Transmission Cooperative board meeting, my first National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) annual meeting and my first legislative trip to Washington, D.C. Everett, a long-time member of the NRECA Resolutions Committee, was also the one to introduce me to this important process. I will never forget walking into U.S. Senator Alan Simpson’s office with Everett (on more than one occasion). Senator Simpson truly disliked co-ops and told us so almost annually. Once I asked Everett why we were wasting our time on a senator who clearly wasn’t going to support any bill that benefited a co-op anywhere. His simple reply was, “The senator needs to know that we will never stop coming back.” When I tire of the legislative grind, I think of Everett. Then, I go back. He also taught me not to judge anyone by their appearance. My friendship with Everett began after he turned 61 years of

age. By then, he had added some weight like we all do and had the aches and pains from years of farming and ranching. He talked about riding horses and working cattle, but the young me never knew if this was real or just another one of his many stories. Well, one day, I found out. He invited me to help him bring in some cattle on his ranch. I thought, “How hard can this be? If this old guy is going along, it must be just a couple hour ride.” Well, I about messed my pants when he pointed his horse off a plateau and down a steep deer trail into a canyon. With no urging from me, my horse followed along. I just prayed and hung onto the saddle horn for what seemed like forever. As we found the cattle throughout the day, I watched him sit atop his horse with ease, with a smile, and with an eye out for my safety. My imagined easy two-hour ride was actually six or eight hours of real riding like I had never done before (or since). I feel fortunate to have known the man who could face down Senator Simpson in D.C., ride all day in rural Wyoming, and look equally comfortable doing both. I last shook his hand, saw his smile and sat in his home in June 2018. Physically, he was struggling, but the spirit was still inside the failing heart. When I was elected secretarytreasurer of NRECA in March of 2019, with tears in my eyes, I made one single phone call that day. On one of the best days of my career, I just wanted to hear his smile one more time. While the spirit passes over, the true tale of a life well-lived lies in those it touches along the way. Thank you for the lessons, the jokes and the smiles. R.I.P. – Everett Kilmer.

“ Everett made me feel at home. He always had a kind word, a smile on his face and a joke to tell. His friendship felt genuine and sincere because it was.”




MI CO-OP Community

Fall pin’ p i r T d Roa With Christal Frost, Media Personality



all is my absolute favorite time of year, and northern Michigan is the perfect place for a fall road trip! My traveling companion and I began our autumn adventure with a trip to Harbor Springs, driving along the famed “Tunnel of Trees,” a 27-and-a-half-mile scenic route in Emmet County. The winding road unveils a forest canopy of fall color that is absolutely breathtaking and the perfect way to start our journey! Of course, every road trip includes a good breakfast, and we found ours in Harbor Springs at Sam’s Graces, a charming cafe with excellent food that looks and feels like something you might find in France. Sitting outside on the patio, surrounded by herb gardens and tomato plants, we sipped our coffee in an eclectic assortment of mugs that reminded me of breakfast at my grandma’s house. After breakfast, we made the short walk downtown and browsed the incredible selection of spices at Spice Harbor before checking out the amazing array of exquisite jewelry and hand-made art by American artists. We continued down Main Street to find what is now my absolute favorite shop—Ivy Boutique. Ivy has adorable dresses, cozy sweaters and accessories that will brighten up every season. Our stroll then led us to Harbor Springs Harbormaster. Offering seasonal and transient boat slips, the marina is surrounded by an array of public parks and restaurants. One restaurant in particular is an absolute must for lunch or dinner—Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. A waterfront landmark in Harbor Springs since before prohibition, it was acquired by Stafford’s

6 OCTOBER 2019

Hospitality in 1970, and today Stafford’s Pier offers a variety of dining options, including Dudley’s Deck, Harbor Springs’ favorite outdoor venue. We dined in The Pointer Room, which extends out toward the beautiful yacht basin and enjoyed the chef’s special, a bacon lettuce and tomato on Naan bread with the most delicious local tomatoes I have ever tasted. After lunch, it was time to embark on the scenic drive along M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. The drive is remarkable—every curve reveals another surprise, including the charming Pond Hill Farm. This working farm offers beer and wine tastings, a café, general store, and livestock. We meandered through the General Store to the bar and café where I enjoyed the cider and wine tasting, while my friend sampled several of Pond Hill Farm’s famous beers. Then we came upon my favorite of activity of the day— vegetable sling shots! Buying a bucket of potato and squash as ammunition, we fired in-season vegetables at a variety of targets. The food never goes to waste since owner and farmer Jimmy Spencer assigns the goats and pigs to clean up duty in the target zone after the farm closes. From Pond Hill, we continued our drive along M-119, passing meadows and the occasional panoramic view of Lake Michigan—finally reaching Cross Village. Cross Village has a rich and varied history, which dates back to the 1600s when the Odawa and Ojibwa Indian tribes resided in this area. Today, Cross Village is best known for Legs Inn, the most


s Vill a



Downtown Cross Village: • Legs Inn


See Harbor Springs And Cross Village In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Harbor Springs and Cross Village adventure, now available on countrylines.com.


nic Driv

Fall is a special time in northern Michigan. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy the ride!





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iconic restaurant in northern Michigan. Owned by the Smolak family for almost 100 years, Legs Inn offers more than homemade Polish cuisine and fresh, locally caught whitefish. Legs Inn is equal parts food, views and history. One visit to Legs Inn is never enough to appreciate its artistry and unusual architecture. As for the food, the pierogi is phenomenal and the smoked whitefish pate’ is a must.

For behind-the-scenes footage, see the “Road Trippin” story highlight album on our Instagram @michigancountrylines.




il dH lF

Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM.

• • • • • •

Sam’s Graces Spice Harbor Ivy Boutique Harbor Springs Harbormaster Stafford’s Pier Restaurant Dudley’s Deck

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Downtown Harbor Springs:

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Going With The Fl w Lessons From Benzie’s Bee Mistress By Rob Marsh


eet Sharon Jones, the Benzie Bee Mistress. For those who know her, to call her by that title is an understatement. This Benzie resident has spent the last four decades nurturing, raising, selling, and teaching about honey bees.

With four decades of experience, Jones is comfortable handling hive frames without a protective jacket or gloves.

Based in both Benzie County and the Florida panhandle, Jones’s passion for bees takes many forms. Jones and her husband, Kirk, own three businesses centered around bees and their honey: Sleeping Bear Farms, an organic honey farm, St. Ambrose Cellars, a meadery and winery, and BeeDazzled, an organic bee byproduct shop. Jones also heads the Benzie Bee Guild, a beekeeping enthusiast group, through a local community organization called Grow Benzie. During a recent visit to Grow Benzie and their hives, Jones bestowed some of her wisdom about her buzzing buddies and the art of beekeeping. Here are just a few.

A bee’s life is circular. While bees live in stacked boxes, their habits are far from square. Jones points

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The Benzie Bee Guild’s hives stand at the heart of Grow Benzie and their farmer’s market.

out that everything a bee does is “circular by nature.” When they swarm, they form into a circular shape. When they are building comb in their hives, it appears round in the frames. Even when bees are in a honey flow (a specific time when, due to good weather and lots of available nectar sources, bees are foraging for nectar), they tend to fly and buzz about in what looks like a large circle around their hives.

Bees get a bad rap. Watching Jones tend to her bees can seem a little nerve-racking for the bee novice. Jones is comfortable wearing just a veil among the hives; no protective jacket or gloves. “Bees are uninterested in what we’re doing,” she explains while prying open a hive box and gently removing one of the frames with her bare hands. “A honey bee will only sting if it feels threatened.” In fact, the male honey bee doesn’t even have a stinger. Bees are too busy (pun intended) to antagonize humans.

You can’t learn everything on YouTube. YouTube is great for home improvement tips, but not for beekeeping tutorials. Jones encourages anyone interested in beekeeping to find a mentor.

Beekeeping has a long tradition of mentorship programs. That’s how the Benzie Bee Guild was formed. Aspiring beekeepers work alongside experienced people like Jones to learn the skill before going off on their own. And if Jones sells someone bees, she requires the buyer to tend to the Benzie Bee Guild’s bees for some time. That way, the buyer can learn from Jones and her fellow beekeepers, ensuring the buyer’s continued interest and the safety of the bees.

With just one visit, seeing Jones’s passion for honey bees will make anyone want to toss on a veil and tend to a hive. And if you’re not so sure, just talk to the Benzie Bee Mistress. You’ll learn pretty quickly what all the buzz is about.

Bees need your help. The plight of the bees and their importance to our ecosystem has been the talk across the country. Jones stresses that there is plenty that can help the bee population right here in northern Michigan. “Educate yourself, talk to your neighbors and vote,” she said. The Benzie Bee Guild offers various educational opportunities to learn more about raising bees and understanding their importance. For instance, both beginners and more seasoned beekeepers will gather this month for the Cherryland-sponsored 2019 Northern Natural Beekeeping Conference to learn from beekeeping experts, engage in discussion, and hone their skills through workshops.

Sharon Jones, the Benzie Bee Mistress, illustrates how to fill and light a hive smoker.




Up your cooking game with these creative and flavorful recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Venison Swedish Meatballs Jessica Arnold, Great Lakes Energy ¾ 1 2 3 2 1½ 1½ ½ 2¾ 2 1 1 ¼

cup seasoned breadcrumbs medium onion, chopped eggs, lightly beaten tablespoons parsley teaspoons ground pepper, divided teaspoons salt pounds ground venison cup all-purpose flour cup half and half (10½ ounce each) cans beefy mushroom soup, undiluted tablespoon Worcestershire sauce package (16-ounce) egg noodles cup butter

In a large bowl combine breadcrumbs, onion, eggs, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt and ground venison. Shape into 1½-inch meatballs. In a large skillet, brown meatballs. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain; reserve drippings in pan. For gravy, stir flour into drippings; cook and stir 2—3 minutes. Gradually whisk in half and half until smooth. Stir in the soup, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon pepper and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened——return meatballs to pan. Cook, uncovered, 10 OCTOBER 2019

15—20 minutes longer or until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; toss with butter. Serve with meatballs; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve immediately. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

Comfort Foods: due November 1 Savory Cherries: due December 1 Chili Cook Off: due January 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Dad’s Venison Carbonade


Barbara Warzywak, Presque Isle 6 slices bacon (thick-cut works well, or add a few more slices if using thin bacon) ¼ cup flour ¹/8 teaspoon pepper 2 pounds boneless venison, de-fatted and cut into 1-inch cubes 1 can beer 10 ounces low-sodium beef broth 1 envelope dry onion soup mix 1 medium onion, sliced 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon thyme leaves 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon parsley • hot buttered noodles (or rice/ mashed potatoes) Preheat oven to 350 F. Using an oven-proof dutch oven or large frying pan, fry bacon until crispy, reserving bacon fat in pan. Cool


bacon, crumble and set aside. Combine flour and pepper and put into a shaker bag. Shake venison cubes in flour in the bag. Brown the venison cubes in bacon fat. Stir in the can of beer, broth, onion soup mix, honey and thyme. Bring to a low boil for a few minutes. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and stir in sliced onion. Continue baking for another ½ hour until venison is tender. Remove from oven and stir in red wine vinegar, parsley and crumbled bacon. Serve over buttered noodles (or over mashed potatoes or rice, if preferred).

Thinking of gearing up for the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City Race? IRONMAN U certified coach Tyler Guggemos and wife, Carly, from Organic Training share a great recipe to help the body recover after a training session and to prepare for upcoming workouts.

Hunter’s 6-Layer Casserole Christine Gonnering, Presque Isle

1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes 1 tablespoon butter 1 (6-ounce) package long grain wild rice (regular or quick-cooking), with seasoning packet included 1½ pounds venison burger 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 can sauerkraut, drained 1½ cups sour cream 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Drain tomatoes and save liquid. In a medium saucepan, add enough water to tomato liquid to make 2½ cups (follow directions on box of long grain rice for amount of liquid). In a saucepan, add butter, rice, and contents of seasoning packet to tomato liquid. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover tightly and cook over low heat till all liquid is absorbed. Check directions on wild rice box and cook for approximately 25 minutes depending on regular or quick-cooking rice. While rice is cooking, brown venison burger, drain, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon rice into 2-quart glass baking dish. Layer sauerkraut, sour cream, venison burger, chopped tomatoes, and cheese over rice. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 30—35 minutes until heated through.

Organic Coaching’s Tropical Orange Pineapple Smoothie 1 ½ ½ 1 1

cup orange juice frozen pineapple cup (fresh or frozen) banana scoop vanilla protein powder handful fresh spinach

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. For more information on blending smoothies like a pro, check out Coach Carly’s blog post on the topic at https://www.organiccoaching. biz/post/how-to-build-the-perfectsmoothie-for-all-occasions. Read the full story about the IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.




Cherryland is proud to sponsor and volunteer during the Northwestern Michigan Fair every year.

Deb and Amanda make sure fairgoers don’t leave hungry during the fair’s annual pancake breakfast.

Kids toss bean bags and win prizes on Special Kids’ and Kids’ Day.

Tammy and Shannon are all-smiles manning the co-op tent.

Your Board In Action August Board Meeting • The co-op’s chief financial officer presented to the board the results of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation’s (CFC) key ratio trend analysis. The analysis compares the financials of cooperatives nationwide in a variety of categories. For instance, Cherryland was ranked second amongst similarly-sized cooperatives nationwide in lowest total cost of electric service per consumer in 2018. • The co-op’s member relations manager informed the board that she had secured the next cohort for the

12 OCTOBER 2019

Emerging Leaders Program. The program is designed to give emerging community leaders a baseline understanding of Cherryland and role of the board of directors. • As part of the co-op’s Revolving Loan Fund, the board approved a zero-interest loan for a new farm-to-table restaurant in Leelanau County. Members have the opportunity to provide direct input to the board at the beginning of any regularly scheduled board meeting. Attendance at the board meeting is allowed for the public input portion of the meeting only.

4-H Kids Bring Value To Our Community By Rachel Johnson, Member Relations Manager


friend of mine recently posted this on Facebook: “Employers out there, if you want a responsible, smart, dedicated employee, hire someone who was a 4-H kid!” I couldn’t agree more. Every August, Cherryland heads to the 4-H livestock auction at the Northwestern Michigan Fair to purchase a few pigs. It offers us a unique opportunity to help feed our community while supporting kids who are learning really valuable skills. Prior to the auction, buyers can walk through the swine barn visiting with the 4-H kids (and their pigs). It’s one of the highlights of my year. These kids are smart, dedicated and hardworking. They can tell you the perfect protein percentage to help a pig quickly gain weight and what grains and additives the pigs enjoy. They spend countless hours preparing to show their pigs at the fair. They put time into marketing them to potential buyers. It’s a lot of work. The work they put into raising and marketing their pigs helps them build real-life skills. Emily Thiel raised one of the pigs we purchased this year. Emily and I chatted before the auction. Emily told me that she really enjoys raising pigs because they are clean and playful; they make good companions. She explained to me that pigs are misunderstood because everyone assumes

they’re dirty. She joked that now when people say, “You’re such a pig!” she responds with a sincere, “Thanks!” She was quite the salesperson, which is probably why I ended up buying her pig for $0.50/lb more than my top budget. I’m pretty sure that particular skill will serve her well in the future. If I had a daughter, I would hope that she was as poised and delightful as Emily. When Cherryland purchases pigs at the fair, we donate them to local food pantries. This year both of our pigs are going to Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, a Goodwill program. They distribute fresh, healthy foods to 48 local pantries and community meal programs. One of our core values as a cooperative is commitment to community. We believe it is our responsibility as a local, member-owned organization to make our community better. The 4-H livestock auction offers us a unique opportunity to take care of our community. While the donation of the meat makes an immediate impact, helping to build the next generation of community stewards will make an impact well into the future.

“The 4-H livestock auction offers us a unique opportunity to take care of our community. While, the donation of the meat makes an immediate impact, helping to build the next generation of community stewards will make an impact well into the future.”

If the students, like Emily, I chat with at the fair are any indication, our community will be in very good hands.


Ariel view of the swim leg at the IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City.


By Emily Haines Lloyd Photography by Greg Shamus/Getty Images for IRONMAN

raverse City played host to the most recognizable name in endurance sports on August 24 as athletes from around the world came to compete in an IRONMAN 70.3 race. For those who don’t spend their free time thumbing through Runner’s World magazine and using their fun money on race entry fees, IRONMAN is a worldrenowned brand that hosts a bevy of full-and-half endurance races in all corners of the planet, the most notable race in Hawaii that is televised annually on NBC Sports.

A full IRONMAN race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. Feel free to adjust your glasses, take a deep breath and read that line again. The IRONMAN 70.3 or “Half IRONMAN” as many refer to it is exactly that—half the distance in each of the staminademanding areas: a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Those slightly-smaller numbers don’t make the feat any less impressive and daunting. As IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races take place all over the world in places like Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, and Dubai, it begs the question of how the quaint lakeside community of Traverse City hit the radar of IRONMAN organizers. Local tri-athlete, Patrick McIntyre, who had competed in an IRONMAN 70.3 race himself, reached out to the IRONMAN organization and recommended Traverse City as an ideal locale for a 70.3 IRONMAN race.

Competitors compete in the bike leg at the IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City.

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“Traverse City has all the things you want in an IRONMAN destination,” said IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City Race Director Joel Gaff, also an IRONMAN athlete himself. “This

Matt Hanson of the Storm Lake, Iowa celebrates his first place finish.

Jackie Hering of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin celebrates her first place finish.

community offers all the benefits of a gorgeous destination spot—a food and drink scene that’s off the charts, natural amenities, and a community that is very active-minded with swimmers, runners, and cyclists who appreciate the amazing scenery as a backdrop to their activities.”

There’s a reason not everyone does endurance sports and why not every endurance sport athlete signs up for an IRONMAN. The toll both emotionally and physically can be demanding, but as most athletes will tell you—it is most certainly worth it.

Traverse City certainly sold its natural attributes and community charm, as IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City sold out faster than any other 70.3 race in the brand’s history. That means approximately 2,500 athletes pursuing their athletic dreams, over 1,500 volunteers, and a team of dedicated race staff and spectators descended on the lakeside town in late August. While many of those dreamers come from out of the country and out of the state—for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City, there are plenty of local endurance athletes taking their shot as well. IRONMAN U certified coach, Tyler Guggemos, of Organic Coaching, led a group of around 15 athletes in training for the August 2019 event.

“IRONMAN events bring athletes of every shape and size, each with a story that isn’t exactly like anyone else’s,” said Gaff. “What you’re struck with at an IRONMAN race is that everyone is there trying to achieve something that is very personal to that individual. It reminds me of the IRONMAN motto— ‘Anything Is Possible.’” Missed the 2019 race? Don’t worry, they’ll be back in 2020, and you’ll have a chance to see thousands of faces showing you just what “anything is possible” looks like.

“As soon as the rumors started that Traverse City would be hosting an IRONMAN race, athletes started reaching out to me,” said Guggemos. “There is so much excitement around a race like this, and anyone who has spent any time in endurance sports knows you need a team of people to support you in achieving something like this.” Whether that looks like professional coaching advice, family support, or understanding friends, every IRONMAN knows that the achievement is bigger than race day. Guggemos, an IRONMAN alumnus himself, encourages folks interested in the 2020 race, to begin their training regimen now. Training includes workout and nutrition planning, as well as conversations with loved ones about the significant time commitment.

Kids competed in the IRONKIDS race prior to the IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City.


Photo Contest Most votes on Facebook!


1 3


Favorite Costumes 1. “ Grandma still makes the best costumes: a hammerhead and great white shark!” By Erika Girven 2. “Little Red Riding Hood” By Taylor Harter 3. “101 Dalmatians” By Marla Bidwell 4. “Blue Angel pilot” By Sarah Gum 5. “Little lion” By Maxine Valesano

16 OCTOBER 2019

Submit Your “Take The Cake” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes from our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Our October theme is Take The Cake. Photos can be submitted through October 20 to be featured in our January 2020 issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest visit facebook.com/cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2020, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2020 bill.

Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2020 magazine. We know co-op members are awesome and there is no shortage of



pioneers, innovators and leaders in our


service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between.


If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at countrylines.com. Self-nominations are accepted.



Say no more.

CLAIM YOUR REBATE! cherrylandelectric.coop

Home Heating Assistance Programs 2019-2020 Season Winter Protection Plan

Contact: Your Local Utility Company Income Guidelines 2019–2020 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $18,735 25,365 31,995 38,625 45,255 51,885 58,515 65,145

The Winter Protection Plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (Nov. 1–March 31). If you are eligible, your utility service will remain on (or restored with the WPP) from Nov. 1 through March 31, if you: • pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and • make equal monthly payments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season on any past due bills.

the following requirements: • are age 65 or older, • receive Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance, including SSI, • receive Food Assistance, • receive Medicaid, or • household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart at left. Senior citizen customers (65 or older) who participate in the WPP are not required to make specific payments to ensure that their service will not be shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31. Service for seniors can be restored without any payments.

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

Note: All customers 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Customers are responsible for all electricity and natural gas used. At the end of the protection period, participants must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the next heating season.

You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2019 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed at left (110% of poverty level) or you qualify based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 5% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.

If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided or from the Michigan Dept. of Treasury (517-636-4486, or michigan.gov/treasury). The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no later than Sept. 30 each year.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income, working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EITC, but must file a tax return to do so.

If married, you must file jointly to qualify. File Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EITC.

State Emergency Relief Program (SER): michigan.gov/ mdhhs You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shutoff notice, or the need for deliverable fuel through the SER. This program, available Nov. 1–May 31, provides most of its utility assistance during this crisis season.

However, limited assistance is available outside the crisis season.

You may be able to receive help with weatherizing your home to reduce energy use if you meet low-income eligibility guidelines (200% of poverty guidelines) and funding is available. Weatherization may include caulking,

weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to find one in your area.

2-1-1 is a free phone service operating 24 hours daily to provide information about help that may be available in a

particular area with utilities and other needs. Dial 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org to find available services.

Contact: Local Utility Company

You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days, possibly extending to 63 days, if you have a proven medical

emergency. You must provide written proof from a doctor, public health or social services official that a medical emergency exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.

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 non-payment between November 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt-out of collecting the LIEAF go to michigan.gov/mpsc.

Add $6,630 for each additional member.

Home Heating Credit Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.

0–1 2 3

Max. Income

$ 13,739 18,601 23,463

# Exemp.

4 5 6

Max. Income

$ 28,325 33,187 38,049

Add $ 4,862 for each exemption over 6.

Earned Income Credit

Contact: • U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service irs.gov/EITC • Michigan Dept. of Treasury michigan.gov/treasury

Crisis Assistance Program Contact: Local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) michigan.gov/mdhhs

Low-Income Home Weatherization

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

United Way

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

Medical Emergency Protection

Contact: Local Utility Company

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2019 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

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

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

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

18 OCTOBER 2019

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

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October is National Co-op Month.

Co-op lines are shaped by you, the members we serve, right here in our local community.

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