Oct. 2020 Cherryland

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October 2020


COUNTRY LINES Cherryland Electric Cooperative

New Co-op On The Block

Cherryland Gives $2.5 Million To Members In Special Credit Which Smart Thermostat Is For You?

Getting Getting The

Chills Chills



You don’t have to lower the thermostat to control your heating bills. WaterFurnace geothermal systems use the clean, renewable energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. And because WaterFurnace units don’t use any fossil fuels or combustion, the EPA calls it the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to condition our homes. 2 Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer to learn how WaterFurnace is good for the environment, your budget and the feeling in your toes. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling andheating.com Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich geothermal.com Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com

Caro Kozy Home Htg & Clg (989) 673-4328 geo4less.com

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

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

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 aireserv.com/ southern-michigan

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating cooling.com

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

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating cooling.com Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 dwgeothermal.com Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 watergeofurnace.com

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

visit us at waterfurnace.com WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. 1. 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 2. EPA study “Space Conditioning, The Next Frontier” (Report 430-R-93-004)

Contents countrylines.com

October 2020 Vol. 40, No. 9



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

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

notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.


Cover Photo: Boots Wright

Just a sunflower, waiting on the sun @chadronald

6 LEARNING THE LINES WITH JMAP Top-notch training program gives Michigan lineworker apprentices an edge in their field.

14 GETTING THE CHILLS Johnathan Rand’s popular “Michigan Chiller” series pairs spooky stories with kids’ favorite Up North destinations.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN These simple but flavorpacked dishes can be whipped up in no time at all.


18 ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR KIDS Share these tips with your children to help them stay safe around electricity.

Be featured!

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

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




Up Next: Stir-Fry Favorites, Soups Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Restaurants With A View Tell us about your favorite dining location with a scenic Michigan view you can pair with the cuisine.

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


CO-OP NEWS Cherryland Gives $2.5 Million To Membership In Special Credit cherrylandelectric.coop /cherrylandelectriccoop @cherrylandec 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

At its August board meeting, the Cherryland board voted to give $2.5 million to the membership in a special, one-time credit on its October bills. The credit comes in response to the hardship the community has faced related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members can identify the credit on their bills as the “Co-op Advantage Credit.” To learn more about this credit, see page 5.

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

Melinda Lautner, Treasurer 231-947-2509 mlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop

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.

John Olson, Director 231-938-1228 jolson@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. 11.

Terry Lautner, Director 231-946-4623 tlautner@cherrylandelectric.coop

Jon Zickert, Director 231-631-1337 jzickert@cherrylandelectric.coop General Manager: Tony Anderson Co-op Editors: Rachel Johnson, Rob Marsh

Co-op Buys And Donates Pigs At Virtual Livestock Auction The co-op purchased pigs from Cherryland members Robert Brown, Casey Meredith, and Ned Milne during the 4-H virtual livestock auction in August. The pigs were then donated to the Father Fred Foundation, Goodwill, and Leelanau Christian Neighbors. Congrats to all on pigs well raised!

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 PAY STATION Cherryland Electric Cooperative office 5930 U.S. 31 South, Grawn MI, 49637 Cherryland Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Ned Milne

Robert Brown

Casey Meredith 4 OCTOBER 2020

The Cooperative Advantage Tony Anderson, General Manager


here are many advantages to being a consumer-member of an electric cooperative like Cherryland Electric Cooperative. You have a vote in every election, and you have easy access to cooperative leadership because we live and work in cooperative territory. After this local hometown control that makes us committed to our communities, my favorite advantage is the fact that we are a not-for-profit electric utility. We are not driven by stockholders and earnings per share. We are driven by providing safe, reliable and affordable service to each consumer-member. Cherryland employees thrive on the challenge of keeping the lights on and our rates as low as possible. Our lean operation gives us the highest meter-peremployee ratio of all electric cooperatives in the U.S. When the pandemic started back in March, we didn’t know what was going to happen to our financial condition. Our large commercial accounts were shuttered. Small businesses were limited. The biggest unknown was how much electricity would be used when everyone had to begin working from home for an extended period. As we debated, watched and tweaked our financial condition, your cooperative did all it could to lend a hand to those in need. We extended our disconnect moratorium and granted more leniency for payment arrangements to give people time to get on their feet. To help further with bill payments, Cherryland donated to Father Fred and Echo and designated the funds for cooperative consumer-members only. Your board committed funds for helping small businesses and also gave forbearance to some of our economic development borrowers. Employees donated portions of their paychecks to help members with bills, clothing and groceries. We tried our best to live the cooperative principle of commitment to community. Slowly, over the first five months of the pandemic, our financial condition emerged and the news was all good. While commercial sales inched back up so very slowly, they did gradually get closer to normal as the summer went on. Residential sales soared

from the start of the pandemic through what was a hot summer season. When everybody went home, they used far more electricity than we anticipated. Residential sales more than offset the loss on the commercial side. So, the late summer of 2020 found us looking at a very pleasant problem—record revenues with margins far over our budget. Our accounting team gave the board several options: 1) put a bill credit on every bill in October and 2) retire capital credits in December. The board accepted both options. The final approval of a December capital credit retirement number will happen later this fall. In August, the board approved a $2.5 million dollar bill credit. This credit will be based on 2020 revenues to date and appear on individual bills in the month of October. Said another way, this is a 2020 revenue reduction that puts $2.5 million dollars in cash immediately into our local economy in the form of reduced electric bills. The ability to take action in a significant and meaningful way while maintaining a sound financial condition is a true cooperative advantage. We may not know what the pandemic will bring next but we do know what your cooperative can do now. Your board of directors, management and employees are extremely proud to serve our members in this way.

Be safe. Be kind. Stay healthy. Together, we will get through this. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Becoming an electrical lineworker is a rewarding career that serves an essential need for cooperative communities. Interested in a career? If you love being outdoors, working with your hands and are committed to learning a trade on the job, then becoming a lineworker might be the career for you. Visit your cooperative’s careers page to learn about current opportunities.



LEARNING THE LINES With JMAP, Michigan’s Most Widely Used Lineworker Apprentice Program By Shannon Hamner

he job of an electrical lineworker is physically demanding, can involve long hours in emergency situations, and requires the utmost concentration and focus on safely dealing with lifethreatening voltages. Often referred to as the first responders of electricity, lineworkers are vital to ensuring the lights stay on for all.


Because of their essential role, ever-changing technological advancements, and growing skill set needs, lineworkers need the most advanced training to gain the skills and experience to become masters in their field. In Michigan, every electric cooperative and most municipal

utilities receive this training from the Joint Michigan Apprentice Program (JMAP) located at the Wolverine Training Center in Lake City. “Having the Wolverine Training Center has been instrumental in bringing the overall quality of the apprentices to the next level,” said Mike Appleford, senior training advisor, Northwest Lineman College. “Developing a well-trained, sustainable workforce is an essential piece to providing safe, reliable energy to homes and businesses.” The JMAP is a partnership between Wolverine Power Cooperative, the International Brotherhood

of Electrical Workers Local 876 (IBEW), and Northwest Lineman College (NLC)—an industry-leading educational institution that provides pre-apprentice, apprentice, and journey-level training for hundreds of companies throughout the United States and internationally. “The instructors that NLC brings to the JMAP are among the best in the world,” said Appleford. “Our instructors have a passion for the trade and for teaching others.” The JMAP, founded in 2017, is a Department of Labor certified program that requires apprentice lineworkers to complete 7,000 hours of on-the-job training, plus eight weeks of the classroom and hands-on skills testing over four years. The first-class instruction and experience take the apprentice from the basics of learning to climb and work from elevated positions through a deep understanding of electrical systems, including transformers,

protective grounding, and utilization of specialized equipment. And, most importantly, keeping the safety of the apprentices, their fellow lineworkers, and the communities they serve at the forefront of their minds. “The training has been excellent and offers a great deal of information with both in-class and hands-on education,” said Nick Kuz, lineman with Great Lakes Energy and an apprentice from the JMAP. “I feel confident in the amount of training I have received to advance in my career; it’s been great to expand my knowledge and be able to bring it back to the rest of my crew.” While JMAP is proud to train the utility lineworkers of the future, the first step to becoming a lineworker—and entering the JMAP program—is to be hired as an entry-level apprentice at an electric utility. Once hired, the utility provides training in the field from senior lineman and through an apprentice program like JMAP.

“The training has been excellent and offers a great deal of information with both in-class and hands-on education. I feel confident in the amount of training I have received to advance in my career; it’s been great to expand my knowledge and be able to bring it back to the rest of my crew.” —Nick Kuz, Great Lakes Energy lineman and JMAP graduate



Flying With The Co-op D

rones are no longer just a birthday present for a teenager with a knack for technology. Electric utilities like Cherryland see drone technology as another tool in the reliability tool chest.

From using drones to help with infrastructure and right-of-way maintenance to improving outage response, these flying gadgets are offering us more ways to be efficient and cost-effective in the field.

Interested in drones? Learn the ins and outs of Cherryland’s drone program at cherrylandelectric.coop/drones.

New Co-op On The Block Rachel Johnson, Member Relations Manager


ooperatives come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re reading this in our magazine, you belong to an electric cooperative.

But I bet you also patronize several other co-ops in our community. Do you shop at Oryana? Purchase the products you need for your farm at CHS? Bank at one of our local credit unions? When you join or support a local cooperative, you are helping to keep your money local. Cooperatives generally get their start in response to community needs. No access to electricity in rural areas? Start a co-op. Can’t find high-quality organic or locally grown food at the grocery store? Start a co-op. That’s why I am so excited that there is a new local cooperative on the scene. Commongrounds is Traverse City’s first real estate cooperative. I have the privilege of serving as the vicechairperson of the Commongrounds board. Put simply, our goal is to develop real estate that meets community needs and improves the quality of life in our region. Our pilot development project will be breaking ground at 416 E. Eight St. this year. This mixed-use building will bring childcare, coworking space, a performing arts venue, a culinary incubator, and residential units to the North Boardman district. The residential units will be priced affordably for downtown.

The cooperative membership will be comprised of community owners who have helped fund the building and tenant owners who will live and work in the building. All owners will have representation on the board of the cooperative and get special owner-only perks when using the building. Once the building is up and running, any margins we make will be returned back to our member-owners. One of the things I love about creating a new cooperative is the sustainability of the business model. We are creating a building that is responsive to the needs of our community today. But someday, long after I’m gone, a new board will make sure the building and our future developments serve the need of its community—a community we haven’t even envisioned yet. We’re not just building four walls. We’re building the foundation for something that will sustain our community in the future. When I look across our community, I’m excited to see the strong cooperatives already here. I am also grateful for the opportunity to support the launch of Commongrounds Cooperative. But I hope it’s not the last new co-op we start in town. This business model has proven time and again that it can help make our community better. We should do more of it.



MI CO-OP Recipes

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

EASY RECIPES Quick, easy, and on your table fast.



Jean Alexander, Great Lakes Energy 1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, rinsed and drained 1 (15-ounce) can white corn, rinsed and drained 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained ½ cup finely chopped onions ½ cup finely chopped green bell peppers ½ cup diced tomatoes 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro ½ cup Italian low-fat or regular dressing

Win a


energy bill credit!

10 OCTOBER 2020


Stir-Fry Favorites due December 1 • Soups 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.

Place canned items in bowl and mix. Stir in rest of ingredients and mix. Drizzle Italian dressing over salsa and stir. Serve chilled with nacho chips. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

DARK CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE Leslie Brasure, Alger Delta 2 ¼ 1 3½ ¼ ¼ 2 2 •

tablespoons unsalted butter cup dark chocolate chips large egg tablespoons buttermilk teaspoon vanilla cup sugar tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder tablespoons self-rising flour pinch of salt

Combine the butter and chocolate chips in a large mug. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until melted. Add the egg and whisk it in with a fork. Stir in the buttermilk, vanilla, sugar and cocoa. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide between 2 mugs. Microwave separately for 1 to 2.5 minutes each, until risen and firm. Topping ideas: whipped cream, fresh berries, or shaved chocolate. Serve immediately.

SIMPLE, SCRUMPTIOUS CASSEROLE Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

1 package frozen tater tots or potato rounds 1 pound ground beef 1 package frozen broccoli 1 can french fried onions 1 tomato, chopped 1 can cream of mushroom soup ¹⁄ ³ cup milk 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon ground black pepper Preheat oven to 400 F. Place potatoes on bottom and sides of pan. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Brown beef; drain. Place remaining ingredients over potatoes, reserving some cheese and onions for topping. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Put the rest of the cheese and onions on top and cook for another 2–3 minutes.

GREEN OLIVE DIP Jennie Lewandowski, Presque Isle

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese 1 (10-ounce) jar sliced green olives Let cream cheese soften, or soften in microwave. Add entire jar of green olives (brine too). Mix well! This dip is served best with regular Doritos!

CHRIS’ CORNY CASSEROLE Christine McAfee, Presque Isle

4 eggs 1 (14-ounce) can creamed corn 1 cup corn muffin mix (Jiffy is a brand option) ²⁄ ³ cup canola oil Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together in an ovenproof bowl. Bake 45 minutes or until center is set. Serve immediately. Note: You can up the cornbread mix to a whole box or lower the amount of oil or even the eggs, but none of the above changes will be as fluffy or light as the original recipe. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Who Owns What? Electric Co-op Owned Equipment vs. Member-Owned Equipment This graphic depicts equipment owned by the co-op (in gold) and the member (in blue). If a storm damages any equipment owned by the co-op, we are responsible for repairs. If a storm damages any member-owned equipment, the member is responsible for repairs. Members should hire a licensed electrician when making any repairs to member-owned equipment. Co-op owned Member-owned

Service point

Power distribution lines Transformer


Service line Tree trimming

Service mast

Trimming trees around service line is the member’s responsibility

Power pole

Service mast guy

Meter socket and jaws

Meter Meter socket Pad-mounted transformer

Service line Note: This graphic depicts overhead and underground service. Please be aware of which type of service you receive at your home or business.

Service panel

Heat & Cool Smarter A Comparison of the Market’s Smartest and Most Popular Thermostats By Maura Giles


eating and cooling costs account for around half of a user’s energy bill according to the U.S. Department of Energy. So when it comes to reducing energy use and cutting home energy costs, the most impact can be made by programming the thermostat. The right thermostat settings could yield energy savings of 8–15%, and new technology is making it easier than ever to achieve those settings. If you’re interested in controlling your thermostat with your voice or an app, or in being hands-off and letting it learn your habits, you should consider a smart thermostat. The Nest 3rd Generation Learning Thermostat and Ecobee4 are the most popular and sophisticated devices in this category. Both thermostats can be adjusted via computer, tablet, smartphone, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa device (the Ecobee4 even has a built-in Alexa-enabled speaker). And the two can interact with other smart devices and utilize geofencing—using your phone’s GPS to determine if you’re home, then automatically adjusting the temperature. The Nest and Ecobee offer for purchase remote sensors that allow the thermostat to take readings from any room and adjust the temperature accordingly. This can help if your thermostat is located near a draft or in direct sunlight. The Ecobee’s sensors go one step further with occupancy sensing, noticing movement in the house in order to override geofencing if the primary phone user leaves the house and someone is still there.

The Nest thermostat, powered by a rechargeable battery, is a learning thermostat and automatically learns your schedule.

Smart thermostats, like the Ecobee model shown here, are Wi-Fi connected and can be controlled through your smartphone, tablet or voice.

Photo Credit: Nest

Photo Credit: Ecobee

As you adjust the temperature, Nest records it, and after a week, learns your schedule and the temperature settings you prefer. From then, it continues to learn and respond to your adjustments. Nest also records 10 days of energy use data that shows you a visual of the times your system turned on and off during those days. Nest also sends a monthly email report that includes a summary of your energy use compared to previous months and other Nest users. Ecobee must be hardwire installed, utilizes a touchscreen, and can analyze HVAC data for 18 months. All temperature and motion data from the thermostat and sensors are recorded and can be accessed online to help you monitor total energy use, how the weather influences your use, and how your home efficiency compares to other users in your area.

There are a few features that are notably different and can help you determine which is right for you.

For those looking for a simpler smart thermostat, the Honeywell Lyric T5+ is one of the market’s most popular. While it can’t sense your presence or learn your schedule, it does have the geofencing feature and can interact with other smart home devices, such as turning on lights when you arrive or leave home.

Nest, powered by a rechargeable battery, automatically learns your schedule. When you begin using Nest, it makes a few assumptions and creates a baseline for its schedule.

Whichever fits your lifestyle and preferences, a smart thermostat is a good investment that can help you save energy and money in a more convenient way than ever. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13

Getting Getting The

Chills Chills

WITH JOHNATHAN RAND By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photography by Boots Wright

In “Mayhem on Mackinaw Island,” siblings Sandy and Tim Johnson spend their usual summer on Mackinac Island. But this particular holiday, they find themselves on not just a school vacation, but a reallife adventure.


Johnathan Rand wrote the story of the Johnson children and their curious adventure in 2000. The book joins nearly two dozen more stories in his “Michigan Chiller” series. They are an homage to the thrillers he would read under the covers at night with a flashlight when he was a kid. Could he have imagined that his own life would be a thrilling ride, not unlike the ones he depicts in his novels? “I was the guy who brought a book wherever I went,” said Rand. “My wife used to look at me like I was crazy to grab a book on the way out to dinner. I wouldn’t read at dinner, but ‘what if?’ Books have always been important to me.” Rand, his pen name, started in radio as Christopher Wright. And then eventually Christopher Knight, to avoid confusion

14 OCTOBER 2020

with a competing on-air personality. While there, he became the go-to guy for writing and producing advertising spots, which were the real money maker for the station. Everyone loved how he threaded stories into his 30-second spots, and that was the first nudge Rand received that he’d like to become a writer. “I’d write the spots using characters and situations to make the stories come to life,” said Rand. “But then I realized I had a bunch of interesting story ideas bouncing around in my head. So, I finally decided to do something with them.” His first novel, an adult thriller written back in 1995, was originally picked up by a publishing house where, like many manuscripts, it sat. Not one to wait for something to happen, Rand, who wrote his

RAND’S BOOK SERIES adult ventures under Christopher Knight, wrote his second and then third offerings, which he chose to self-publish.

“It’s an old adage, but when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” said Rand.

It was in 2000 that he started his “Michigan Chiller” series for younger readers, also self-published. Rand imagined families venturing to Northern Michigan for their vacations and kids wanting to take away a story from their travels. While bookstores are rarely on the itinerary for tourists, Rand knew that everyone needed to eat, sleep, and get gas while in town. So, he and his wife would pack up their car with books and stop into every motel, restaurant, and gas station they could find, offering books on spec to the establishments.

Rand and his wife also opened up ChillerMania, a bookstore in Indian River, betting against the old norm that northern vacations wouldn’t include a stop at a bookstore. He also offers writing seminars and book camps. It’s the speaking engagements in the schools that Rand speaks especially warmly about. It’s as if he’s looking to inspire another young person to sneak a book and flashlight into bed at night for a chance to read just a few more chapters.

“At first, folks balked. But years in radio and advertising kicked in,” Rand joked. “I’d make it easy, leave some copies and check in later. No commitment. And I’d leave before they had time to argue.” Sooner, rather than later, Rand would get a call from the establishments asking for more copies and regaling him with tales of families asking if there were more stories and where they could find them. The stories were up in Rand’s head and eventually came pouring out at an alarming rate. With 20 in the “Michigan Chiller” series, 43 in “American Chillers” plus other series—”Freddie Fernortner” and “Dollar Store Danny,” along with others—it’s a wonder Rand can keep up the creative pace.

“I love talking to kids about reading and writing. Especially when I see a kid who didn’t like to read, but does after getting ahold of one of my books,” said Rand. “I also let them know it’s hard work. A book may be fun and easy to read, but there’s a lot of hard work behind it.” For a man who writes about things that are meant to give the reader a bit of a fright, it’s clear hard work isn’t something that Rand has ever been afraid of. Learn more about Johnathan Rand’s book series online and on Facebook: • • • •

americanchillers.com facebook.com/Chillermania/ facebook.com/americanchillers/ facebook.com/johnathan.rand.9

“I love talking to kids about reading and writing. Especially when I see a kid who didn’t like to read, but does after getting ahold of one of my books.”




Birds 1. “Wait for me guys...” by Andy Marek  2. “Pileated woodpecker looking for his next meal” by Katie Yonkers  3. “A beautiful owl” by Josue Arguelles  4. “Indigo bunting feeding” by Kelly Diss  5. “This boy loves his chickens!” by Christine Thompson

Most votes on Facebook!



4 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Submit Your “Magic of Winter” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our October theme is Magic of Winter. Photos can be submitted through October 20 to be featured in our January 2021 issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit cherrylandelectric.coop/photo-contest or visit facebook.com/ cherrylandelectriccoop and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill. 16 OCTOBER 2020



Your Board In Action August Board Meeting he board voted to give $2.5 million to the membership in a special, one-time credit, called the “Co-op Advantage Credit,” on its October bills. The credit comes in response to the hardship the community has faced related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


• The board edited language in its policies to allow virtual attendance at national, state, and other industry meetings and trainings. Given the ongoing pandemic, the board anticipates future meetings where attendance will be exclusively virtual. • The board selected its voting delegate for next year’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Annual Meeting. NRECA represents more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts in the United States. Members have the opportunity to provide input to the board prior to any regularly scheduled board meeting. To have your comments included in a monthly board packet for review, please submit them to Board Assistant Secretary Shannon Mattson at smattson@cherrylandelectric.coop a minimum of three business days before the monthly board meeting.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS When children are old enough to understand rules, then it’s a good idea to have house rules around electrical safety. Make sure that an electrical safety plan is part of your overall emergency preparedness plan. When your children know what to do and not to do around electricity, accidents are less likely to occur.



DON’T plug too much stuff into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage the electrical

Keep electrical stuff far away from water. Water and

electricity never mix. Use caution outdoors and keep all electrical appliances at least 10 feet away from hot tubs, pools, ponds, puddles and wet surfaces. Never place electronics near the shower or bathtub, and keep liquids and drinks away from computers, video games, and TVs, or anything that has a cord and plug.

system in your house or even cause a fire. Show children how plugs work, and let them know that even if they are curious about the slits of an electrical outlet, nothing else should be placed inside.


Never put metal objects in an appliance or outlet.



DON’T yank an electrical cord from the wall. Pulling on a

DON’T ever climb the fence around an electrical substation. If a ball or

cord can damage the appliance, plug or outlet.



DON’T FLY! Teach children to never

fly kites or carry helium balloons on long strings under or near power lines. Electricity is always looking for a route to the ground; kites and balloons make the perfect conduits. If a kite gets stuck in a tree that’s near power lines, don’t climb up to get it. Contact your local electric cooperative for assistance. The kite and the string may conduct electricity—sending it right through you to the ground.


some neighborhoods, power lines are buried in the ground. It can be difficult to tell where these lines are located. Teach children not to dig in the ground in any areas you have not told them are safe.


pet gets inside the fence, contact your local electric utility for assistance— they’ll come and get it out for you.



Transformers are often large, green, metal boxes sitting on the ground. Teach your children that these are not mountains to be climbed or treasures to explore. Tell your children that if they notice one of these boxes open, they should alert an adult immediately.


Look out for power lines before you climb a tree. The electricity can go right through the tree branch—and right through you!



When lightning strikes, it’s time to head inside. Children should know to go indoors when storms are approaching, but especially when thunder sounds and lightning strikes.



Mornings are for coffee,

not tending a woodstove.

Reduce your dependency on traditional heating methods, like wood, and SAVE TIME, EFFORT, AND ENERGY when you add a Well-Connect to your current HVAC system.











HOW IT WORKS Our hybrid geothermal heat pump provides affordable renewable heating and cooling by harnessing your existing water well as a free and clean energy source. Adding a Well-Connect to your current system provides year-round home comfort, helps you save on monthly energy bills and time chopping wood.


989.356.2113 • WellConnectGeo.com


Cherryland was built by this community. So, when times get tough, it’s our duty to help. That’s why we’re giving $2.5 million to our members in a special, one-time bill credit this fall. We hope it provides you a little relief during these uncertain times. Thank you for your continued support of your co-op and your community.

Look for your Co-op Advantage Credit on your October bill!