COUNTRY LINES Great Lakes Energy Cooperative
BEACON OF HOPE How North Manitou Light Keepers Are Protecting Maritime History
GLE In The Community 2021–2022 Classroom Grants
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2022
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October 2021 Vol. 41, No. 9 /michigancountrylines
6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost visits the Old Mission Peninsula to probe a ghost story (and vindicate the so-called ghost). 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Around the World: These recipes will transport you to all the corners of the globe.
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
14 BEACON OF HOPE Buying a lighthouse may seem like an unlikely venture … but it’s exactly what one group of friends did to restore the North Manitou Shoal Light Station to its former glory.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird
RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd
18 GUEST COLUMN Small Town Success: Toni Leaf-Odette's grandfather was a hard worker who opened his own business, but it was his generosity and love of his neighbors that made him a pillar of the community.
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.
You can now sleep under the stars in a “hammock-only campsite” at Port Crescent State Park on Lake Huron. The sites were switched over to hammocks due to shoreline erosion, which made them unsuitable for campers. Such a great idea! @christina.b.lee
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community
Win a $50 bill credit!
Win $150 for stories published!
Up Next: Asian Inspired, due Nov. 1; Sweet Treats, due Dec. 1; Italian, due Jan 1.
Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.
Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
October Is National Co-op Month
gtlakes.com /greatlakesenergy /jointruestream BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Robert Kran, Chairman, District 6 231-464-5889 email@example.com
Howard Bowersox, Vice Chairman, District 8 219-670-0977 firstname.lastname@example.org John LaForge, Secretary, District 9 269-623-2284 email@example.com Dale Farrier, Treasurer, District 5 231-564-0853 firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Byl, Director, District 7 231-861-5911 email@example.com
Mark Carson, Director, District 2 231-675-0561 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Coveyou, Director, District 1 231-347-4056 email@example.com Richard Evans, Director, District 3 231-883-3146 firstname.lastname@example.org
Shelly Pinkelman, Director, District 4 989-390-6222 email@example.com PRESIDENT/CEO: Bill Scott 888-485-2537 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Brett Streby 231-487-1389 • firstname.lastname@example.org BOYNE CITY HEADQUARTERS 1323 Boyne Ave. Boyne City, MI 49712
Hours: 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m. M–F Phone: 888-485-2537 Email: email@example.com TO REPORT AN OUTAGE: Call 888-485-2537 or login to your account at gtlakes.com. Change of Address: 888-485-2537, ext. 8924 Great Lakes Energy is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
4 OCTOBER 2021
Bill Scott, Great Lakes Energy President/CEO
s a cooperative, we adhere to a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to thrive. In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect many of our core values, such as integrity and trust, member satisfaction, quality, continuous improvement, and service to the greater good of the community. October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time and provide a future framework. Let’s focus on a few of the cooperative principles that help to shape GLE for the better.
Voluntary and Open Membership Great Lakes Energy was founded out of necessity—to meet a need that would have been otherwise unmet in our community. More than 80 years ago, a group of neighbors banded together and organized our electric co-op to benefit everyone in our community. For a modest membership fee to the co-op, any farmer could get electricity brought to their farm. Neighbors came together to tackle a problem that they all had but couldn’t solve alone.
The need for a better way of life was the shared driver of all members and is a recurring theme in our mission today. Membership is open to everyone in our service territory, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, language, political perspective, or socioeconomic status. In this, we include everyone to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for the entire community.
Democratic Member Control
Our co-op is well suited to meet the needs of our members because we are locally governed. Each member gets a voice and a vote in how the co-op is run, and each voice and vote are equal. GLE’s leadership team and employees live right here in the communities we serve. Our board of directors, who help set long-term priorities for the co-op, also live locally on co-op lines. Our close connection to our community ensures we get a first-hand perspective on
members’ priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on longterm investments, such as high-speed broadband, community solar programs, equipment and technology upgrades, and electric vehicle programs.
Members’ Economic Participation
Our mission is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to our members as a utility. But as a co-op, we are also motivated by service to the community rather than profits. Members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of Great Lakes Energy. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for co-op programs, initiatives, capital investments, and supporting other activities approved by the membership. Because seven cooperative principles guide us, it’s not just about dollars—it’s about an opportunity for all and being fair when engaging with our members. The cooperative way is a values-based business model. Great Lakes Energy is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for good and making our corner of the world a better place. With you in mind, we strive to be the best we can be and serve our members by giving everything we have.
Seven Cooperative Principles • • • • •
Voluntary and Open Membership Democratic Member Control Members’ Economic Participation Autonomy and Independence Education, Training, and Information • Cooperation Among Cooperatives • Concern for Community For a detailed explanation of these principles, visit electric.coop/sevencooperative-principles
In Memory of Jesse Ricord
It is with a heavy heart that we share the tragic loss of Jesse Ricord, Great Lakes Energy lineman, loving father, and faithful friend. Jesse, 38, passed away while working to repair outages from a recent storm near Baldwin, MI on Weds., Sept. 8. We ask for your heartfelt thoughts and prayers for Jesse’s family both at home and at GLE. Jesse is survived by his wife Jean, their six young children, and many extended family members. He was a highly respected lineman who dedicated his career to serving the members of GLE for the past 16 years. Based in GLE’s Newaygo office, Jesse also spent a few years based out of the Petoskey service area. He leaves behind many close friends at work, including fellow linemen, dispatchers, field staff, and member service team members. Jesse was honored at a memorial service on Sept. 15 in Marne, MI. Hundreds of people
gathered to pay their respects and bucket trucks were setup outside, flanking the church where the service was held, to honor his memory.
The outpouring of support from GLE members and those connected to the electric utility industry across the country has been amazing. Jesse’s family has established a GoFundMe account for the many people interested in donating to help the Ricord family as they navigate the road ahead. For those interested in donating to the Jesse Ricord Family Fund, please visit: www.gofundme.com/jesse-ricordfamily-fund/
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
CLEARING JENNIE’S NAME The Truth Behind The Ghost Of Bowers Harbor
By Christal Frost || Photos courtesy of Jordan Anderson
ocated snugly between East and West Grand Traverse Bays is Old Mission Peninsula: a 19-milelong, three-mile-wide stretch of land that harbors history, beauty, and award-winning wine. Ten wineries grace the breathtaking landscape throughout the peninsula, which is also dotted with farm stands, restaurants, and even a historic lighthouse. The Old Mission Peninsula is also home to many legendary stories. One story in particular, the story of Genevieve “Jennie” Stickney and the Bowers Harbor Inn, has spread beyond the rolling hills of Old Mission and into the hearts and minds of visitors across the world. But what is the true story of Jennie Stickney? And is she still wandering the halls of her former residence?
As the legend goes, Jennie and her husband, Charles Stickney, purchased a farm on Old Mission Peninsula in 1909. Like many Northern Michigan residents today, the Stickneys spent their winters in warmer locations but returned to work the farmland each summer. Their original farmhouse was damaged in 1927, and the couple hired their nephew to design and build the beautiful property now home to the Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin restaurant. Rumors have spread that Jennie was a jealous woman who suffered from diabetes and obesity. It is said that her husband was having an affair with the nurse he hired to care for Jennie, and their affair drove her to hang herself from the rafters
of the elevator shaft Mr. Stickney had installed. The rumors continued that Charles Stickney continued his relationship with the nurse and even left his entire fortune to her upon his death. However, like many rumors, those details are mostly false. In an October 2014 edition of the Grand Traverse Journal, author and historian Julie Schopieray set out to tell the true story of Jennie Stickney and clear her name. Schopieray writes that Jennie and her husband had hired a widowed nurse to care for them in their aging years. The couple became very close to their nurse and her children, and all of them traveled with the Stickneys for many years. Charles Stickney was in a wheelchair, which is why the elevator was installed. Jennie (not Genevieve, as the legend claims) actually died of heart disease, diabetes, and possible dementia in March 1947 at the coupleʼs winter suite in Grand Rapids. After her death, Charles Stickney returned, along with his nurse, to his home on Old Mission Peninsula and stayed for two years before he passed away. Stickney did, indeed, leave his wealth to his nurse and her children, as he and Jennie had no heirs. Although it is possible that Charles Stickney and his nurse did have an affair that prompted him to choose her as the recipient of his fortune, Schopieray writes, “The real story is about two elderly people who needed help from their
MISSION POINT LIGHTHOUSE
OLD MISSION PENINSULA
OLD MISSION INN
OLD MISSION INN
Michigan’s oldest, continually operating, historic bed & breakfast.
MISSION POINT LIGHTHOUSE
Surrounded by forests and incredible beaches, the Mission Point Lighthouse is a must-see for OMP visitors. widowed nurse, a person to whom Charles Stickney did leave his worldly possessions, but only out of respect and gratitude.” Although the details of her death and portions of her life have been grossly mischaracterized, the presence of Jennie Stickney’s spirit is well-known among the staff and visitors at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin. Stories of paranormal pranks continue to this day. Those who have felt her presence have welcomed the experience, even feeling honored to be recognized by Jennie. After all, Jennie Stickney was a woman known for entertaining, and she loved to be at the center of gatherings. It appears that she continues in that role, nearly 75 years later, as a beloved and eternal ﬁxture of the Old Mission Peninsula.
2 Lads Winery
It’s not a trip to the Old Mission Peninsula without stopping in for a wine tasting or two. Check out the Old Mission Wine Trail to map out Tabone your wine tour! Vineyards ompwinetrail.com
Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn
Bowers Harbor Vineyards Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery
37 Chateau Grand Traverse
Christal Frost is a media personality based out of Traverse City. Her show airs weekdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on WTCM NewsTalk 580.
Mari Vineyards Black Star Farms
See the OLD MISSION PENINSULA in Action
Christal Frost ﬁlmed her adventure, now available on countrylines.com. 7
Beware Of Phantom Energy I
t could be haunting the halls of your home, spending your money, and wasting valuable energy.
Phantom energy, also called standby or vampire power, refers to the energy that’s wasted around your home when devices are plugged in and using power, but you’re not actively using them. Think about all the devices that are powered by electricity in your home. Kind of scary? Many of these items remain plugged in as “off-but-ready” or “standby” power mode so that when you press the “on” button, the device powers up quickly. We all appreciate immediate results, and while it’s convenient, it can also be costly–phantom energy can add up to 10% or more of your home’s energy costs.
Where are some of these phantom energy culprits lurking? • Televisions, gaming consoles, and computers—these aren’t always convenient to unplug after every use, so make sure your devices are at least set on an “energysaving” mode while away.
• Small kitchen appliances—most can easily be unplugged (like your toaster), but for some, maybe you’re relying on clock or timer settings and don’t want to reset them with every use. • Laptops, cell phones, and battery chargers—these can easily be unplugged when not in use. Consider using power strips, smart power strips, or even a timer for those hard to unplug devices. These are convenient ways to eliminate energy waste with just a flip of a button. Now go and find your phantom sources and start saving! To learn more, call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org.
IT COULD BE HAUNTING YOUR HOME AND COSTING YOU MONEY. When devices are plugged in, they still use power even when not in use. That’s wasted energy and money. Unplug unused appliances. Use power strips to turn off TVs, computers, and gaming consoles. Shut off electronics automatically with smart power strips.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR INFORMATION michigan-energy.org • 877.296.4319
Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2021, and Nov. 30, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.
GREAT LAKES ENERGY
Pet Costumes 1. Patriotic pup—Lori Post, Bitely 2. Louie da Pirate—Cindy Pointe, Elmira 3. Fun in the sun!—Taryn Ahlborn, Grayling 4. Anke’s 1st birthday costume—Nadine Lewis, Gaylord 5. Crash test dummies—Amy Ouellette, Morley 6. Chocolate kisses!—Katie Hanshaw, Kalkaska 7. Chewy and Lakota monkeying around—Crystal Hall, Middleville
5 Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
Submit Your “Fire & Ice” Photos!
Each month, members can submit photos on our website for our photo contest. The photo with the most votes is published here along with other selections. Our October theme is Fire & Ice. Photos can be submitted by Oct. 20 to be featured in the January issue.
How To Enter: Enter the contest at gtlakes.com/photocontest/. Make sure to vote and
encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Michigan Country Lines along with other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine in 2021 will be entered to win a $200 bill credit in December 2021.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
AROUND THE WORLD Take a journey without leaving your kitchen.
EASY ASIAN SHRIMP STIR-FRY Judy Wojcik, Great Lakes Energy
2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive or sesame) 12 ounces shrimp (raw, tails removed, peeled and deveined) 1 cup snow peas 1 tablespoon grated raw ginger root 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained ½ teaspoon ﬁve-spice powder ¼ cup orange marmalade
RECIPE CONTEST Win a
energy bill credit!
10 OCTOBER 2021
Asian Inspired due Nov. 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. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add shrimp and heat until they start to turn pink. Add snow peas, ginger root, and water chestnuts. Sprinkle with ﬁve-spice powder and cover. When peas are bright green, remove cover. When liquid is almost gone, add marmalade. Stir until dissolved. Serve immediately over cooked rice. Serves 2–3. Cooking time is about 10 minutes. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
Angela Nobel, Great Lakes Energy 4 egg whites, at room temperature 1¼ cup white sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 pint heavy whipping cream • fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mandarin oranges, etc.) Preheat oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add sugar in one tablespoon at a time, and beat
until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Spoon mixture onto the parchment paper, either in one large pile or several individual piles. When cooked, the mixture does not grow, so whatever size you decide is the size it will be. Working from the center of the pile(s), spread the mixture out a bit, building up the edges slightly to leave a slight depression in the center. Bake for 1 hour and cool on a wire rack. While cooling, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Once meringue(s) has cooled, remove paper and ﬁll the center with the whipping cream and top with choice of fruit. I had this on a mission trip to Ireland, and the Irish family used mandarin oranges to top the pavlova.
KOREAN STREET TACOS Leslie Brasure, Alger Delta
Marinade: 1 pound ﬂank steak, cut against grain into bite-sized pieces 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons sesame oil 3 teaspoons water 1 teaspoon mirin Dressing: 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1½ teaspoons lime juice 1½ teaspoons sesame oil ¼ teaspoon sugar Other Ingredients: 1½ cups romaine lettuce, chopped 1 cup napa cabbage, chopped ¼ cup shredded carrots ¼ cup cilantro, chopped ¼ cup green onions, diced • small ﬂour tortillas (I use street taco size) • sriracha sauce • lime wedges
IRISH BOXTY (POTATO PANCAKES) Deanne Quain, Great Lakes
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled & divided ²⁄ ³ cup all-purpose ﬂour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt ²⁄ ³ cup buttermilk 4 tablespoons butter, divided Cut 1 potato into 1-inch chunks; place in small saucepan and add cold water
In a large ziplock bag, combine marinade sauce ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, water, and mirin). Place the sliced meat in the marinade and refrigerate for 2–24 hours. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined; set aside. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Once hot, add the steak and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring often until it is cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan and set aside. Pour some of the marinade into the pan and cook on high for 2–3 minutes until it has boiled and reduced a bit. Pour the reduced marinade onto the cooked beef and toss to coat evenly. Toss lettuce, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and green onions with dressing. Layer meat and salad mixture on warmed tortillas. Serve with sriracha sauce and lime wedge. Enjoy! This is a frequent request from my granddaughter, Katja.
to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, mash the potato, and transfer to a bowl. Shred remaining potato on large holes of box grater and add to mashed potato. Stir in ﬂour, baking powder, and salt until blended. Stir in buttermilk. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Drop four slightly heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into skillet. Flatten into 2½-inch circles—— cook about 4 minutes per side or until golden and puffed. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter and butter. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or maple syrup.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder ruestream staff have a trait in common, and they love to share their latest news and services with the members of GLE. Yet, throughout the past year, the only means for connecting with those interested in Truestream’s life-changing, high-speed fiber internet, on a large scale, was over social media or virtual events. Not the greatest option for those with subpar or complete lack of internet! That all changed on Aug. 16 when Truestream held its first in-person rally after more than a year of virtual presentations. Nearly 80 members from Oceana County attended the program held at the West Michigan Research Station.
The presentation began with an overview of services and construction updates for our Hart service area, encompassing most of Oceana County. Next, a streaming demonstration was provided to offer those without much experience in cutting the cord a better understanding of the capabilities afforded with fiber internet. “It felt great to be able to get out and speak face-toface again,” said Julie Bailey, senior communications specialist with Great Lakes Energy and Truestream. “I love putting these rallies together and jumped at the opportunity to once again meet with Truestreamers right in their own backyard.” 12 OCTOBER 2021
While members eager with questions were accommodated throughout the presentations, the opportunity for true face time opened after the formal demonstrations. Truestream representatives were on hand and able to respond to questions and concerns directly, and even help register interested members online at www.truestreamfiber.com or confirm that a prior registration was completed. Social distancing may have kept in-person rallies away, and could again in the future, but that only further exemplifies the need for reliable internet for the underserved. One aspect will not change, and that is the energy and excitement of Truestream staff in connecting GLE members with fiber internet.
To ensure you are made aware of the next available Truestream rally in your area, be sure to register your interest in Truestream at www.truestreamfiber.com
Making A Bright Dream Become Reality A
t the beginning of the 2020– 2021 school year, the idea for a small hobby solar panel project at East Jordan Middle/High School (EJMHS) was suggested to the school’s Shoe Club by Matt Hamilton, a teacher at the school and founder of the EJMHS Shoe Club. The thought was to purchase one solar panel to power some lights at the school, but it quickly became the largest student-led project the school has ever attempted. The EJMHS Shoe Club formed the EJ Solar Spark group. They researched solar energy and met with organizations, local businesses, and other potential donors throughout the 2020–2021 school year. With a plan in place, they set a goal of raising $70,000 for a 30kW solar array to be installed by Earth Day of the same school year. While the real hard work began, so did the setbacks. The students confidently applied for their first grant and were denied. They experienced a lack of support for renewable energy and differences between their aggressive timeline goals and the not-so-aggressive timelines of some
organizations and businesses. There were concerns in the community about whether the students could accomplish such an ambitious goal. Despite the challenges, the students remained committed to their goals. The first grant awarded was a $2,000 Great Lakes Energy (GLE) Classroom Grant to integrate a solar array for the 2020-2021 school year. “Receiving the GLE Classroom Grant was a huge morale and confidence booster for all of us. The fact that GLE believed in us was inspiring!” said Hamilton. He also mentioned this is the third GLE Classroom Grant the school has received. About seven years ago, he received a grant to purchase a drone for his video production class, providing countless videos and access to the technology they would not have access to without help from GLE. “The application process is easy, and the payoff lasts for years, and in the case of this year’s grant, a lifetime for some of my students,” stated Hamilton.
There was a brief moment the group thought they might have to reduce the size of the solar array based on the amount of money they had raised at the time. Then, miraculously, within 24 hours, three donors came through with about $24,000, once again sparking their energy and confidence. With perseverance, the students’ big dream became a reality. On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, the EJMHS Shoe Club brought the school’s new 30-kilowatt solar array to light—a $70,000 project that will supply about 6% of the school’s energy and save nearly $4,300 per year. With a life span of 25-30 years, the school will continually save money, provide education about renewable energy, expose students to careers in clean energy, and provide many benefits to the environment. “I was always impressed with them and their enthusiasm. I could not be more proud of the 27 middle and three high school kids who worked hard all year to make their dream a reality!” Hamilton shared.
GLE is accepting applications through the Classroom Grant Program for the 2021-2022 school year! School districts in the Great Lakes Energy service area that educate children of GLE members can receive a grant of up to $2,000 to fund innovative programs, particularly those involving technology or equipment that enrich students’ education. Teachers and administrators of public or private K-12 schools have until Nov. 5, 2021, to apply. For more information, visit gtlakes.com/youth-programs.
The Crib with its new paint job, pictured here at sunrise.
BEACON OF HOPE How North Manitou Light Keepers Are Protecting Maritime History By Emily Haines Lloyd
here is a mystery, magic, and something altogether romantic about lighthouses. Whether it’s tales of swarthy sea captains and ghost-like specters wandering catwalks or the simple metaphor of light in the darkness leading one to safety, lighthouses feel like they have stories to tell.
The Crib, pictured here in 2016, was rusted and covered in bird guano when NMLK acquired it and began restoration.
14 OCTOBER 2021
The story of North Manitou Shoal Light Station, built in 1935 and known locally as The Crib, in the straits between the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dunes, has its own rescue story to tell. It starts with a peculiar notice in 2016 alerting the public that there would be open
bidding on The Crib in a public auction. If you’re wondering how one goes about purchasing a lighthouse, ask a group of friends who collectively are the North Manitou Light Keepers (NMLK), a nonproﬁt group formed speciﬁcally to purchase, restore, and open this maritime treasure to the public. In their everyday lives, these lighthouse rescuers are known as Todd and Natalie Buckley, Dave and Sherry McWilliam, Jake and Suzanne Kaberle, and Dan and Anna Oginsky, who all live and work around Michigan. “Within just a few days, a couple of my friends had mentioned there was ‘this lighthouse’ for sale,” remembers Dan Oginsky, president of North Manitou
We wanted to honor the Coast Guard and the noble work they and this lighthouse did to keep people safe in the straits. We also want to build community, giving people something positive to rally around.
The founding members of NMLK on a Crib Cruise in 2017, pictured left to right: Anna and Dan Oginsky, Jake Kaberle (wife Suzanne not pictured), Dave and Sherry McWilliam, and Todd and Natalie Buckley.
Light Keepers and Great Lakes Energy member. “At ﬁrst, you can’t help but think—‘how cool would it be to own a lighthouse?’ It’s only later you start to realize what a big undertaking it’s going to be.” Dan, his wife, Anna, and their friends realized that if they were serious, they needed to create a more formal organization and started NMLK as a nonproﬁt to explore the speciﬁcs of what custodianship of a lighthouse would look like. They decided to move forward with the bidding process and came up against one other serious bidder, each day outbidding the Light Keepers and testing their resolve. Finally, the team decided just one more bid, and then it was time to step away gracefully. They placed their ﬁnal offer … only to be outbid once again. “With 24 hours between bidding rounds, we had a few hours left when my wife, Anna, came to me and asked, ‘Would you be mad if I thought we should bid once more?’” Dan said. Anna had ﬁnally taken a long look at the pictures of The Crib and told Dan, “It told me not to give up on it.” The Light Keepers conferred and made one last bid. With that ﬁnal bid, they secured the lighthouse. It’s an exciting story of an endearing victory, except now the Light Keepers had a “mothballed” lighthouse, covered in guano (yup, bird excrement), and the mighty task ahead to restore it to some former glory.
With a laundry list of not-inexpensive tasks to complete, the Light Keepers drew on the community and the afﬁnity so many have for lighthouses. The team set an ambitious ﬁve-year goal to have The Crib ready for its ﬁrst visitors in July 2021. “We wanted to honor the Coast Guard and the noble work they and this lighthouse did to keep people safe in the straits," said Dan. “We also want to build community, giving people something positive to rally around.” In the end, more than 160 bags of garbage, guano, and debris were hauled away from The Crib. Then scaffolding was built so that the lighthouse could be blasted, primed, and painted. Next came the removal of steel plates and 1930s windows and the replacement with new, clear glass— letting the light shine on the inside for the ﬁrst time since the 1980s. The NMLK is already looking at phase 2 of the project, which involves
renovating the lighthouse’s interior— including a kitchen, great room, and multiple sleeping quarters that would allow individuals to stay overnight at The Crib. While always keeping things moving forward, the Light Keepers were able to take a moment to celebrate. With two weeks to spare, the ﬁrst visitors took a charter out to The Crib for a tour, with more scheduled throughout the summer. NMLK is looking to expand tours more next summer and recommends signing up for their newsletter and membership at northmanitoulightkeepers.org to be the ﬁrst to know. So if you’ve ever wanted to visit a maritime feat in the middle of one of the country’s most beautiful areas, or have ever dreamed of being part of a rescue mission of history, maybe it’s time to see some folks about The Crib and what it means to be a lightkeeper.
Getting power out to The Crib is a big part of phase 2 planning. Once NMLK started talking to folks in the community about how to power up, community members connected the team to Cherryland Electric Cooperative, who recently went out to The Crib to test equipment and see what it would take to power up the mighty beacon.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
GLE In The Community GLE unveiled its first Level 3 fast-charging stations for electric vehicle owners in Scottville. More coming soon! School districts in the Great Lakes Energy service area that educate children of GLE members can apply for a grant of up to $2,000 to fund innovative programs.
GLE remains committed to our concern for the community, one of the seven guiding principles that cooperatives follow. Despite challenges throughout 2021, we held our goal in being a positive force in our community.
Multiple storms hit the GLE service area in 2021. Lineworkers and GLE employees were always ready to reconnect members as timely and efficiently as possible.
Truestream rallies, in-person or virtually, are being held throughout the GLE service area. Attendees in Oceana County had a glimpse into fiber construction and installation process, learned more about streaming, and spoke with representatives.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FOR HUNTERS This hunting season, we encourage all members to be aware of electrical equipment and take necessary precautions while hunting. Keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the great outdoors.
Take notice of posted warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.
Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.
Know where power lines and equipment are located on the land where you hunt.
Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.
Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.
Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Any nonelectrical equipment attached to a pole can pose an obstruction and serious hazard to our line crews. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
Small Town Success By Toni Leaf-Odette, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member
y grandfather, Gerald Gaultier, was born and raised in the local town of South Boardman. He served in the United States Air Force as a B-47 jet mechanic. In the 1960s, he and his wife, Elaine, opened Boardman Valley Construction. He often worked for free (picture 50 invoices hanging by a tack on the living room wall), but he once told me, “I don’t believe we were put here to amass a fortune.” He shared his time on the school, hospital, and church boards, Kiwanis, and others, and would pull his truck over just to visit local folks. He was rooted in the business of people. I remember the phone ringing at all hours and him up with the sun until long after dark. He was a township supervisor for four decades. As a teenager, during the voting time, I would see other people’s names on signs. I asked him why he didn’t have one, and he said, “Granddaughter, if you have to campaign at this point, you’re not doing your job.” He led a family of four children, ﬁve grandchildren, and six greatgrandchildren. After 82 years of a beloved life, we were able to grant him dignity at home, surrounded by loved ones. For the funeral, the cars outside Boardman Cemetery were lined up to Supply Road. When I visit his plot, I marvel at the massive space he left behind. We still hear of kindnesses we didn’t know about … nor would he have wanted that spotlight. I sat beside him while he pondered his cancer diagnosis, and in those same hours, he shared a piece of chocolate and directed my attention to the pink and blue sky. “Look over your shoulder,” he said, watching a thunderhead. “Look at that anvil. 120-mile-an-hour winds up there. Now that is a beautiful thing.” He wanted to teach us children values, as he believed we were the future. Thanks to him, I am reminded that it’s our ability to serve that makes us powerful.
Toni works in community health care for Northern Michigan. She enjoys spending time with her family and writing.
WIN $150! 18 OCTOBER 2021
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.
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Community born. Community led. Focused on YOU YOU. October is National Co-op Month