COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications
Farming Safety Tips
Improved Internet Packages Community Solar
Getting Getting The
WITH JOHNATHAN RAND
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2020 1
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
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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)
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 email@example.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.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY
18 ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR KIDS Share these tips with your children to help them stay safe around electricity.
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community
MI CO-OP KITCHEN
BEST OF MICHIGAN
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
VAN BUREN KALAMAZOO
Lessons Learned With Solar Energy
teammidwest.com /teammidwest 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 Street, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Robert Hance, President/CEO
om is one of our long-time electric customers. Earlier this year, the 70-yearold retired teacher invested in 24 solar panels from a national solar energy dealer to power his home, and those were installed in June. He took a 20-year loan and is paying $175 per month for a total investment of $42,000. Like many, Tom was led to believe his investment would pay for itself, but his August bill reflected only $108 in savings. He now realizes he will not live to see his investment pay off.
Stories like this make me so angry. These companies use aggressive and misleading sales techniques, promising something to hopeful homeowners that usually never comes to fruition, at least in this part of the country. I took a closer look at this particular company and they are currently promoting a “solar stimulus program,” offering a $2000 cash incentive to “help families in these uncertain times prepare for their future.” The image in the promotion shows a $100 bill coming out of the electric meter.
Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Clarence.Barth@teammidwest.com
They’ve taken already unsavory sales tactics to a new low, preying on people during a time of unprecedented fear and uncertainty. And who loses? The good, trusting people like Tom.
Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 Ron.Armstrong@teammidwest.com
I am not attempting to bash residential renewable energy. Some folks have a genuine interest in doing their part to make a positive impact on the environment and choose to make the investment, fully understanding they may never see a financial return. My issue is with the many players in the renewable industry who promise something they know they can’t always deliver.
Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ben.Russell@teammidwest.com
John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 John.Green@teammidwest.com Dan Bodette, Wauseon 419-337-8007 Dan.Bodette@teammidwest.com
Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Gerry.Bundle@teammidwest.com
James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Jim.Dickerson@teammidwest.com
Erika Escue-Cadieux, Onsted 419-346-1088 email@example.com Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 Fred.Turk@teammidwest.com
PRESIDENT/CEO: Robert Hance
VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR: Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST: Amy Pales
Midwest Energy & Communications is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
4 OCTOBER 2020
We have about 100 solar installations on our system. We’re happy to work with customers who are interested in offsetting their energy use with their own generation, and I believe more and more people will begin to consider distributed generation as technology advances and prices go down. However, I encourage you to do your homework, ask the hard questions, and make sure you understand what you’re getting into with the retailers before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re interested in making a positive contribution to the environment without a huge upfront investment, we offer an alternative. Michigan’s electric cooperatives are the state’s leader in new renewable energy, and one of the tools in our collective toolbox is SpartanSolar, a community solar program that allows cooperative electric customers to participate in meaningful renewable generation without taking on the time, cost and ongoing maintenance of a residential installation. One of SpartanSolar’s two arrays is located right on our property in Cassopolis. Learn more about the community solar program on page 9. I wish we could turn back the clock on Tom’s experience and hope sharing his story will help someone else.
Important Call Center Update Throughout the past several months, our solutions centers have been experiencing extremely high call volumes. Unfortunately, this has resulted in longer than normal hold times and sometimes missed calls. We remain dedicated to providing each individual customer with the time and attention he or she needs to get questions answered, so please bear with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.
Ways To Get In Touch: Here are some alternative ways to get in touch with us to help you avoid long wait times on the phone. SmartHub: Your 24/7/365 resource for
account management, bill pay and more. You can access it via teammidwest.com or download the SmartHub mobile app from your app store.
• Notifications: Sign up to receive text or email account notifications, including outage and billing information. • Usage: View your monthly electric and propane usage.
Email: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Outages or trouble tickets: Submit an electric outage or start a trouble ticket for service.
Online Chat: Head to teammidwest.com/ contact-us and click on “live chat” to chat with a representative. Hours are Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
• Bill: View your current account balance, make a payment, manage recurring payments and modify payment methods.
• Submit a contact inquiry. Make a change to your account, add a new service, request propane, or ask a general question. We’ll get back to you within two business days.
A solutions agent will respond within two business days.
In-Person: You can also visit one of our solutions centers Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Visit teammidwest.com/contact-us for locations and directions. 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
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Out-’Smart’ Your TV W
atching something on the “big screen” conjures up memories of hot buttered popcorn, Snowcaps candy, and the excitement of buying tickets at the movie box office. Today, the “big screen” is the huge flat-screen Smart TV in your family room where you stream and binge-watch your favorite shows or movies 24/7. TV screen time has increased, meaning in-home energy use is also on the rise. But there are easy ways to save energy while still streaming your favorites.
Why choose ENERGY STAR®? • ENERGY STAR certified TVs are, on average, 25% more energy-efficient than conventional TVs. • With an ENERGY STAR TV purchase, you may qualify for a $20 rebate.
Gaming? Configure your gaming console to use less energy. Today’s gaming consoles provide many great features like voice control and gesture recognition, but these features also require more power to operate. To save: • Activate the power savings settings on your console, • Turn off the controllers when not in use, • Utilize the “smart” function on your Smart TV. The built-in streaming capabilities are much more efficient than streaming from your gaming equipment.
Utilize a smart power strip.
Energy-efficient TV features to consider:
Many electronic products continue to draw power from the outlet even when they are turned off. Using a smart power strip is a convenient solution. It senses when the master electronic device—such as a TV—is turned off. Then, it automatically shuts down other associated devices like your child’s PlayStation.
• Automatic Brightness Control (ABC) • Local dimming • Preset picture settings
For a complete list of rebates available from the Energy Optimization program, visit michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319.
Upgrade and earn cash incentives when you purchase an ENERGY STAR® qualified TV! V I S I T : michigan-energy.org C A L L : 877.296.4319
1,819,120 kWh The amount of electricity generated by the SpartanSolar program. Jan.–July 2020
COMMUNITY SOLAR FAQs Our mission is to deliver first-in-class innovations and solutions where others won’t, and our community solar array is one way in which we do this. The array is part of the SpartanSolar Community Solar Program that features two solar arrays, one near Cadillac and one on our Cassopolis headquarters property at the intersection of M-60 and Decatur Road. Combined, these arrays generate enough electricity to power 350 homes. The community solar program gives 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 receive a bill credit for the solar power generated from that subscription. It’s important to note that this investment will not yield significant savings on your electric bill. In fact, that is not the intent. The ultimate goal is to show our commitment to the future of energy by adding additional renewable generation to our portfolio while giving you the chance to be a part of it.
What are the methods of subscription payment? $600/panel upfront or $10/month/panel for five years. How many panel subscriptions would I need to power my entire house? That depends on many factors, but most households would need about 24 panel subscriptions (based on an average of 800 kWh per month). The clean energy produced by the solar array will be pushed onto the electric grid, not routed to your home. What are the tax implications of my solar panel subscription credit? Bill credits resulting from solar generation are not taxed. Your panel subscription payments are not tax deductible, nor do they qualify for an investment tax credit. How am I reimbursed for the solar power generated from my panel subscription? Your monthly bill credit is $0.10/kWh based upon your panel subscription’s share of the actual solar power generated for that month. Learn more at spartansolar.com.
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
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
CONNECTIONS AREN’T CANCELED
During this time when it seems like just about everything has been canceled, one thing hasn’t: connections. Now, we have made it even easier to connect to work, school and loved ones. We’ve significantly increased speeds on three of our internet packages and lowered the price on our fastest package. Turn to page 16 to learn more.
SIGN UP TODAY TEAMMIDWEST.COM/INTERNET | 800.492.5989 Twelve-month contract required. Free installation available to Midwest Energy & Communications electric customers only. Internet services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Trust the propane professionals at Midwest Energy & Communications to keep your home warm and comfortableâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;giving you peace of mind in these unprecedented times. Our guaranteed-capped rate means you pay the same per-gallon price all season long without surprise or hidden charges.
SIGN UP TODAY TEAMMIDWEST.COM/PROPANE | 800.492.5989 Some restrictions may apply. Credit check and 12-month contract required. Tank set fee of $1 plus applicable fees for trenching and securing township permits. Propane services are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Getting Getting The
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.”
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
EXPLORE OUR NEW INTERNET PACKAGES The best internet experience just got better.
We’ve significantly—and permanently—increased speeds on three of our internet packages and lowered the price on our fastest package. That means more streaming, more playing, more working… more of whatever you need to do online. Current customers have automatically been upgraded.
UNLIMITED DATA • SYMMETRICAL SPEEDS • Wi-Fi 6 FASTER SPEEDS. SAME PRICE. OLD SPEED
OLD MONTHLY PRICE
NEW MONTHLY PRICE
LOWER PRICE GIG
The Industry’s Best Wi-Fi and Routers Your internet is only as good as the equipment that delivers it. Our GigaSpire routers and Advanced/ Ultimate Wi-Fi services offer Wi-Fi 6 and unbeatable coverage throughout your home. The equipment includes WPS setup for easy connecting of certain devices, and you can also take advantage of custom Alexa commands to get information about your network, speeds and more. Plus with 24/7 support, your service is guaranteed to be stress-free.
ADVANCED WI-FI GigaSpire U6
GigaSpire U12 Best Wi-Fi coverage available. $10/mo. ALL PACKAGES
MEC Smart-Fi Manage the people and devices that connect to your network with the MEC Smart-Fi app. The app comes with network management, guest network setup and basic parental controls. You can also opt in to advanced features to gain even more control and security. • Enhanced Parental Controls: Filter content, block websites/apps and schedule offline time with ExperienceIQ™. $5/mo.
• Network Security: Add extra security to your network and protect yourself from incoming malicious traffic with ProtectIQ™. $5/mo.
Add or upgrade internet by logging onto SmartHub and clicking on My Services. You can also email us at email@example.com.
When Farming Near Power Lines Keep these important safety tips in mind when working near power lines. • Stay at least 15 feet away from power lines in all directions, including up. ALWAYS use a spotter when moving tall equipment and loads. • Be careful when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks. Again, use a spotter. Also, do not raise any equipment into power lines. Materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay can conduct electricity, especially if they are damp or dirty. • Always lower equipment extensions, portable augers, or elevators to their lowest possible level before moving or transporting them. Wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can cause you to lose control of equipment and make contact with power lines. • Larger, modern tractors have higher antennas, so be aware of this when you are working. • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your utility to repair them. • Don’t use metal poles when breaking up bridged grain inside and around bins. • Use qualified electricians for work on drying equipment and other farm electrical systems.
If the equipment you are using comes into contact with a power line, do not exit. When you step off the equipment, you could become the electricity’s path to ground and receive a potentially fatal shock. Call 9-1-1 and us at 800-492-5989 immediately. We must de-energize the line and confirm that it is safe for you to exit. If the vehicle is on fire and you must exit, jump as far as you can from the vehicle with both feet together. Do not let any part of your body contact the vehicle and the ground at the same time when exiting. Keep your feet together and continue to make short hops until you are 50 feet away. Source SafeElectricity.org
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
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.
LOOK DOWN! In
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.
TO CA DA LL Y!
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.
HEAT AS LOW AS
INSTALLS IN JUST
FINANCE AS LOW AS
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.
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