Sept. 19 MEC

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September 2019


COUNTRY LINES Midwest Energy & Communications


Strengthening Schools Grants

Customer Appreciation Events Peace-of-Mind Propane


Upgrade to geothermal for incredible comfort and savings

Upgrading to geo can save you even more, if you hurry! WaterFurnace units can save you up to 70% on heating, cooling & hot water by capturing the clean, renewable energy in your backyard to provide incredible home comfort. Now, for a limited time, we’re offering very special rebates on our most efficient and comfortable geothermal heat pumps— the variable speed 7 Series and the dual capacity 5 Series—from now until October 31, 2019. Hurry and contact your local WaterFurnace dealer to learn more about the Geothermal Upgrade Event! 7 SERIES







Bad Axe B & D Htg (989) 269-5280

Caro AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328)

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500

Muskegon Kiessel Geothermal Htg & Clg (231) 747-7509

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

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Hart/Ludington Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating


Amazon Echo Dot FOR FREE2

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Traverse City Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

visit us at 1. 30% through 2019, 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021. 2. With registration of your Symphony Home Comfort Platform by March 31, 2020. Rebates available only to residential customers through participating dealers. WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

In This Issue September 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 8

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives




Your photo could be featured here.


Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer

Follow Us On Instagram!

Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines One day the sky decided it wanted to come down to earth and spend a day on the beach. #lakemichigan #whoa Really cool capture by @janomurf

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.

The 1,004-foot cargo ship, the Edwin H. Gott, is home to both long-time crew and those training as mariners. The massive freighter’s bow is pictured on the cover against the backdrop of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. Learn more about life as a cadet at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy on page 14.

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


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

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

6 THE DRIVING FORCE: PLUG INTO ELECTRIC VEHICLES On The Road: Norm Rosema Takes Electricity For A Spin Emily Haines Lloyd

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Kick-off Tailgating Season With These Winning Recipes


ATTENTION READERS: The publisher of Michigan Country Lines magazine is working with NRECA Market Research Service, a reputable public opinion research company, to conduct a confidential survey for Michigan’s electric cooperatives. If NRECA contacts you by phone or email, please be assured they are not selling anything. The short, confidential survey will help your co-op serve you better. Thank you for your time and help with this survey.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Best of Michigan

14 FEATURE Life On A Freighter

UP NEXT! BAKERIES: We’re on a sweet journey to find the best bakeries in the state! Share your favorites. We will publish this member–recommended list in our November/December issue. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by September 20.

Taylor Brown, courtesy of Traverse Magazine

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan Crafts Beers

Pour yourself a cold one from this member-recommended list. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!






Welcome To The Connected Home



CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AND CASSOPOLIS SOLUTIONS CENTER 60590 Decatur Road Cassopolis, MI 49031 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Robert Hance, President/CEO


was prepared to open this column with the number of connected devices in my home, but as I started counting, I realized I have a problem.

PAW PAW SOLUTIONS CENTER 59825 S. LaGrave Paw Paw, MI 49079 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Hi. My name is Bob, and I am addicted to gizmos and gadgets and all sorts of technological thingamajigs.

ADRIAN SOLUTIONS CENTER 1610 E. Maumee Street Adrian, MI 49221 M–F 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Research shows I’m in good company. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is big and just getting bigger as new devices are introduced. Gartner, Inc., one of the world’s leading research firms, calculates that there were around 8.4 billion IoT devices in use in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and expects that number to exceed 20 billion by 2020.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS Clarence “Topper” Barth, Chairperson, Three Rivers 269-279-9233 Ben Russell, Vice Chairperson, Constantine 269-506-1590 Ron Armstrong, Secretary, Lawton 269-299-0443 John Green, Treasurer, Dowagiac 269-470-2816 Dan Bodette, Wauseon 419-337-8007 Gerry Bundle, Cassopolis 269-414-0164 Arell Chapman, Onsted 517-292-3040 James Dickerson, Bloomingdale 269-370-6868 Fred Turk, Decatur 269-423-7762 PRESIDENT/CEO Robert Hance VP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS/EDITOR Patty Nowlin COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

Amy Pales

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


If you’re not up on the latest technology vernacular, IoT refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet. Pretty much any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to and controlled by the internet. Play your favorite music, hear a joke, set a timer or get the day’s weather forecast with a simple command to your smart speaker. Talk to the visitor at your front door from your vacation cottage using your smart video doorbell. IoT devices can preheat your oven, display what’s in your refrigerator, open and close your garage door, and do a myriad of other things with a voice command or simple click of an app. Seems fun and maybe a little frivolous, but there is a more serious side to smart home applications. There are smart devices that keep our families safe, preserve the independence and dignity of older adults by helping them stay independent and in their own homes, and manage heating and cooling systems to save energy. This isn’t a fad or passing fancy; this is the new digital reality in which we live. Today’s consumers can choose whether or not they want to adopt smart home technology, as long as they have a robust internet connection. Tomorrow’s consumers are growing up with it, and the technologies will be a given as new homes are built and communities are developed. As we transform our rural service area with high-speed fiber internet, we recognize this technology is foreign to many of our own customers. That’s why we’ve created a Connected Home experience in the lobby of our Cassopolis headquarters. It gives interested consumers a chance to see and experiment with a variety of IoT devices and applications for your living room, kitchen, home office and outdoor space. You can also learn about streaming entertainment services and cutting the cord.

Ready to learn more? Visit us any Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., and we will happily help you take a digital dive into the world of the connected home.

Board Assigns 2018 Patronage Capital


s an electric cooperative, Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) is different from our investorowned counterparts in that you, our customers, through your patronage, provide capital for the co-op. MEC maintains a patronage capital account for each electric customer and allocates any operating margin (“profit”) back to each customer based on the amount of electricity purchased. The total of these accounts is to provide the equity base necessary for financial stability and is returned to customers over time as approved by the board of directors.

At their April meeting, the board authorized the allocation of the 2018 net margin totaling $4,842,166.09. Your portion of this allocation is not payable at this time and does not represent a reduction of your electric bill. It indicates your equity share in MEC’s 2018 margin. Please notify us of any address changes so we can forward payments when patronage capital is retired. If a current or former customer fails to claim cash retirement of patronage capital or other payment from MEC within five years after payment has been made available at the last known address, that payment will be added to MEC’s general fund.

Notice of New Electrical Inspection Requirements


or the safety of our customers and employees, the board of directors recently authorized a change requiring all customers, including agriculture, to have electrical inspections under the following circumstances: • • • • • • •

New service needing to be energized Upgrading the size of service Reconnection after fire or flood Reconnection after repairs* Any changes to the wire below the meter base* Connection and reconnection of irrigation accounts Water inside the breaker or fuse box

• Any time the service has been off for six months or longer *The inspection requirement does not apply in all circumstances. Please contact your inspector or certified electrician, or call MEC at 800.492.5989 to confirm. Michigan and Indiana customers should contact their township or state inspector. Ohio customers must provide a letter from a certified electrician indicating the wiring is installed in accordance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code. We will not energize/re-energize service until the inspection documents are received.

upcoming dates

Oct. 17 • Nov. 21

MEC staff will be available from 4–7 p.m. to answer your questions and help you sign up for service. •

DISCOVER streaming services and learn how you can cut the cord from traditional cable and satellite providers.

LEARN how FIBER internet is different from other platforms and how we’re different from other providers.

TEST drive our service with your own device or one of ours.


Midwest Energy & Communications 60590 Decatur Rd. • Cassopolis, MI


The Driving Force: Plug Into Electric Vehicles

Norm Rosema and Roger Bradshaw worked together to plan Norm’s EV road trip from Michigan to California.

On the Road Norm Rosema Takes Electricity For A Spin By Emily Haines Lloyd

Norm and Donna Rosema loved taking drives together.

Not long after, a plan started piecing together.

Norm, now 82, lost his beloved wife of 57 years unexpectedly in February, 2018 in an automobile accident. The devastation of such a loss can be insurmountable, but it was perhaps that shared love of taking drives that helped Norm heal.

Friends in California had missed Donna’s memorial service, and Norm had never felt quite right about that. He began thinking of driving from his home in Fremont, Michigan, to where his friends lived in Southern California, over 2,000 miles away.

As in the case of most curative stories, family and friends can be found at the heart of each.

Planning cross-country road trips takes a certain amount of organization. Taking cross-country road trips in an electric car takes a tribe.

A friend of Norm’s, Roger Bradshaw, purchased a Chevy Bolt in 2018, replacing his previous electric car, a Chevy Volt purchased in 2012. Over the years, Roger and Norm frequently talked about electric vehicles, how they were evolving, and why Roger was hooked. “Eventually, I thought, ‘I say I care about the environment and want to reduce my carbon footprint,’” said Norm. “If that’s true, I’m either going to quit driving or do something about it.” In August 2018, Norm purchased a Chevy Bolt. 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

While dates and routes were being considered, Roger was a huge help, utilizing his experiences over the years with his electric vehicles and identifying useful resources to find charging stations along the way. Roger and Norm also took a small test run to Brighton, Michigan—about two and a half hours away. “Plug Share was a beneficial resource in finding charging stations along Norm’s planned route to California,” said Roger. “Norm did a great job of identifying dealerships that also offered charging capabilities.”

“Eventually, I thought, ‘I say I care about the environment and want to reduce my carbon footprint. If that’s true, I’m either going to quit driving or do something about it.’” —Norm Rosema

What Do EV Charging Levels Mean?

Norm set out on his trip the day after Easter in 2019, with maps, OnStar, and his friend Roger just a phone call away. Norm navigated the range anxiety (concern of running out of power without a charging station nearby) and even settled into traveling at a slightly slower speed to conserve energy. Having Roger available for quick online checks was another way that Norm felt he had his buddy in the passenger seat supporting him. Norm found dealerships very helpful and courteous—offering him their lounges and cups of coffee while his Bolt recharged. It wasn’t until a charge at Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert on his way to Flagstaff, Arizona, that Norm ran into his only challenge. After charging at a Level 2 station, with approximately 50 extra miles available on his charge, Norm experienced the effect of the altitude changes on the way to Flagstaff. Increased incline uses more power, and as Norm pulled into his reserved hotel that evening, he had very little energy left. The hotel had misinformed Norm about their charging capabilities, sending him elsewhere for a Level 2 station, which ended up being out of service. After a bit of a scavenger hunt, Norm pulled up to a final station and his car ran out of juice. He’d pulled up just far enough to plug in, but the car wouldn’t accept the charge. One tow truck later and Norm and his Bolt were at a local dealership. The serviceman on duty said they didn’t have a certified Bolt technician, but they decided to plug it into an older Volt charging station and try their luck. At first—nothing. But finally, a green flashing light indicated the car was receiving a charge. The serviceman offered to drop Norm at his hotel, as the man was heading out on a date with his wife. He then offered to swing by the dealership on his way home to check on the Bolt and give Norm an update. The following day, that same serviceman came in on his day off to meet Norm and make sure his Bolt was charged enough to make it on his next leg of the trip. “The people you meet along the way, I tell you…” said Norm. “I’ll always remember folks like that guy and Roger who made this trip a success.” Norm made it to his next stop to meet friends in Phoenix and finally to his destination in California. “There were a lot of emotions as I arrived in California—having that time to remember Donna and do some thinking and grieving,” said Norm. “There was also a total feeling of success and being so blessed. Being with friends just accentuated it all.”

Level 1—Home Charging: Level 1 charging cords are standard equipment on a new EV. Level 1 charging only requires a grounded (three-prong) 120V outlet and can add about 40 miles of range in an eight-hour overnight charge. Overnight Level 1 charging is suitable for low and medium range plug-in hybrids and all-electric battery electric vehicle drivers with low daily driving usage.

Level 2—Home and Public Charging: Level 2 charging typically requires a charging unit on a 240V circuit, like the circuit used to power a common electric clothes dryer. The charging rate depends on the vehicle’s acceptance rate and the maximum current available. With a typical 30 amp circuit, about 180 miles can be added during an eight-hour charge. Level 2 chargers are the most common public chargers, and you can find them at places like offices, grocery stores, and parking garages. Public Level 2 chargers have a standard EV connection plug that fits all current vehicles, except for Teslas, which require an adapter.

DC Fast Charging—Public Charging: DC fast charging is the fastest currently available recharging method. It can typically add 50 to 90 miles in 30 minutes, depending on the station’s power capacity and the make of EV. Courtesy of



Energy Assistance For Income Qualified Residents


e know utility bills can easily pile up for folks with limited incomes. The Energy Optimization program is here to help! If your household meets the income eligibility guidelines, you could receive FREE energy-saving products and services through Energy Optimization’s Home Energy Baseload Program. Qualified residents can obtain assistance to improve the energy performance of their homes— which will help reduce electricity use and save money on utility bills.

Energy-saving Devices And Installation One of our trained, professional contractors can visit your home to leave behind or install a variety of energy efficiency devices. You will receive information on how to get the

most out of your new gadgets, as well as tips for making simple changes to save energy at home.

Free Items Available Through The Program Include: • • • • •

LED bulbs LED night lights Smart power strip Low-flow showerhead Faucet aerators

Refrigerator Evaluation And Replacement Is your refrigerator at least 10 years old? An Energy Optimization program representative can visit your home to evaluate your refrigerator. If it is determined to be highly inefficient, you could receive a new replacement at no cost.


Eligibility Requirements To qualify for the Home Energy Baseload Program, your household must meet the following income guidelines. Gross annual income is the combined total income of all household members, before taxes.

Family Size Gross Annual Income 1 $24,980 2 $33,820 3 $42,660 4 $51,500

Note: For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $8,640 for each additional person.

To find out if you qualify for Energy Optimization programs or to learn more, call 877-296-4319 or visit


We know it can be difficult to keep up with energy costs. The Home Energy Baseload Program may provide income-eligible households with the following: ▪ In-home equipment evaluations ▪ Refrigerator replacements ▪ Energy-saving devices


MICHIGAN-ENERGY.ORG | 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit

5 $60,340 6 $69,180 7 $78,020 8 $86,860

“ The hands-on learning makes a significant impact on the kids. This is real life and a great interactive experience.”

All aboard! Students explore Suttons Bay via the Inland Seas Education Association schoolship.

—Kim Korteway

Strengthening Schools Grants


Loading goby traps

Catching a surprise crayfish

Checking wind speed

Testing water quality

ur Strengthening Schools Grants help our local educators create new and exciting opportunities for their students. In May, Kim Korteway, a science teacher at Paw Paw High School used her grant, along with funding from the Van Buren Conservation District, to give her students the experience of a lifetime— an afternoon on a sailboat learning about Lake Michigan’s ecosystem.

goby fish with various types of bait like hard-boiled eggs and bacon. Once they finalized their findings, each group taught the others what they learned.

Aboard the Inland Seas Education Association’s schooner, the students divided up into small groups and gathered samples from Suttons Bay. They tested water quality, looked for micro-plastics in the water, and collected plankton, mussels and other organisms. They also tried to catch

They also got to try their hands at hoisting the sails and learned about invasive species in the Great Lakes.

“I’ve never experienced Lake Michigan like this before. I discovered that plankton have such a huge impact on the overall ecosystem,” said student Jade Smith. “Plus, it was my first time on a boat, so that was exciting.”

“The hands-on learning makes a significant impact on the kids, said Korteway. “This is real life and a great interactive experience.”

Now Accepting Applications Now through Oct. 21, any teacher, administrator or school official in a public K-12 school serving students in our electric service territory may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to support classroom needs, technology, or academic projects/clubs/organizations. School districts can receive multiple grants, not to exceed a total of $5,000 for the award cycle and funds will be awarded in January 2020. Apply now at



Tailgating Favorites Kick-off your tailgating party with these winning recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Garlic Cheese Bombs Mindy Emerson, Great Lakes Energy

1 (16-ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (non-flaky) 4 mozzarella cheese sticks (cut into 6 pieces) or 24 mini mozzarella balls 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted 1 large clove garlic, minced 3 tablespoons fresh parmesan, grated 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1½ teaspoons dry) ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning • kosher salt, to taste Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease two mini-muffin tins (24 muffins total) or one large baking sheet with butter/non-stick spray. Take refrigerated biscuits and cut each one in thirds, then roll each piece out until it’s ¼–¹⁄ 8 inch thick. Place one mozzarella ball on the edge of your dough strip and roll dough over the cheese until it wraps over itself. Make sure to seal any openings at the seams with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough bombs and transfer to greased muffin tins or baking sheet. 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

In a microwaveable bowl, combine butter with minced garlic and microwave until melted (30–45 seconds). In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, parmesan, parsley, Italian seasoning, and salt, then dip cheese balls individually in the mixture, coat, and place them back in the muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Makes 24 cheese bombs. Note: I make these a day before and refrigerate the dough until I am ready to bake right before the tailgate. I place them in an aluminum pan and cover with foil to keep them warm. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Rod’s Dog Sauce What’s more American than tailgating at a Detroit Tiger’s game while enjoying a Michigan-made Koegel’s hot dog? Well, I’ll tell you——putting my amazing dog sauce in the mix hits your tastebuds out of the park! Rod O’Connor, HomeWorks Tri-County 1 pound ground beef 3 garlic cloves, chopped 2 habanero peppers, chopped 1 medium white onion, chopped 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon black pepper 3 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin

1 12-ounce can Budweiser 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ cup rinsed dark red kidney beans

Brown beef with garlic, peppers, and onion. Drain fat. Stir in dry spices; salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Add beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium-low. Mix in stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes, then add the beans. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Pack in cooler and reheat in a pot on the grill.

Fresh Poppers Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta

1 large (2-pound) bag sweet mini peppers 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 pound package bacon, cooked and chopped (or pre-cooked bacon) 2–3 jalapeños, finely diced 1½ cups finely shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese

Touchdown Cheeseball Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy 1½ cups pecans 2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1½ tablespoons mayo 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 (2.25-ounce) jar dried beef 4 green onions

Pull cream cheese out to soften. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread pecans on a baking tray and toast for 5–6 minutes. Let cool. Cream together the softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder until light and fluffy. Chop dried beef and green onions; mix into cheese mixture. Spoon mixture into plastic wrap and form into football shape. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Chop the cooled pecans. Roll the chilled cheese ball in the toasted chopped pecans and serve with assorted crackers or veggies. It can be stored in fridge for 3–5 days or freeze before rolling in pecans.

Remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to mix with the other ingredients. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy (or use already cooked bacon). While the bacon is cooking, cut the mini peppers in half lengthwise and clean out seeds. You can also take this time to finely dice the jalapeños and shred the cheese. Once the bacon is done and cooled a bit, use a large knife to chop into small bits. In a medium to large bowl, use a spoon to mix together all of your ingredients except for the mini peppers. Use a small spoon or mini spatula to stuff the mini peppers with the mixture.

Christmas Cookies: due September 1

Comfort Food: due October 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.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Go to for more information and to register.




ADVENTURE MEC Customer Appreciation Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 1–4 p.m.



55670 CR681 Hartford, Michigan 49057

FOOD TRUCKS • • • • • • • • • • •

Doughrunts Fire & Rice Gorilla Gourmet Love’s Ice Cream Mimi’s Cupcakes Motor Mouth Nick’s Gyros The Pretzel Wagon Pizza Parliament Redamak’s Specialty Cheesecake & Dessert • The Wiener Shack


• Live Music from Top Secret Band • Outdoor Movie: The Greatest Showman • Zipline • Climbing Wall • Bounce Houses • Face Painting • Balloon Animals

MEC OPEN HOUSE— BOTH EVENTS From 2–3 p.m., come meet MEC directors and employees who will answer your questions about we’re up to these days. We’ll share more details as the events get closer.


This year we’re hosting simultaneous customer appreciation events in our southwest and southeast service territories. You are welcome to attend either event, just tell us which one you plan to go to when you RSVP.

26450 County Road MN Fayette, Ohio 43521

FOOD • • • • • • • • •

Pulled Pork Sandwiches Sloppy Joes Hot Dogs Baked Beans Chips Potato Salad Cole Slaw Pasta Salad Veggies and Ranch Dressing • Assorted Desserts

FUN • • • • • • • • • • •

Live Music Zipline Flying Squirrel Climbing Wall Canoeing Archery Corn Hole Miniature Golf GaGa Ball Nature Center Wagon Rides

Help Us Plan Accordingly


Please note: both events will require walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. We will not have wheelchairs available, but you are welcome to bring your own. Finally, only service animals will be allowed, and we will be operating a drone throughout each event to capture photography and highlights from the day.

Heat Pumps

Start Saving Energy The Smart Way id you know heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50% of the energy used in a typical U.S. home? Investing in a highly-efficient HVAC system is therefore extremely important. Thanks to advances in technology, heat pumps are a smart alternative to electric baseboard heating or an electric or gas-fired furnace.


Heat Pumps Can Heat and Cool Your Home

What is a Heat Pump?

Types of Heat Pumps

You may not realize that refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units are heat pumps. Heat pumps use a substance called refrigerant to move heat energy from one place to another. It is important to note that heat pumps only move heat; they do not make heat. That’s why they are an efficient HVAC option for nearly any type of home.

Air-source heat pumps are the most common type of heat pump. Today’s models can reduce electricity for heating by up to 50% compared to electric furnaces and baseboard heaters. Heat pumps optimized for heating in cold climates can beat propane, too. For homes without ducts, a ductless version called a “mini-split heat pump” is available.

During the winter, heat pumps move heat from the outdoors to warm your home. That’s right—even when it feels cold outside, heat energy is still present. In the summer, a heat pump moves the heat from inside your home to the outdoors.

Geothermal (ground-source) heat pumps. Instead of drawing heat from the outdoor air, heat is absorbed from the earth (or ground water). Groundsource heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling for the home and, in some instances, supply domestic hot water and dehumidification. They can operate at up to 500% efficiency, delivering five times more heat than the electrical energy they consume. Consult with your HVAC contractor for recommendations.

Heat Pump Benefits • Use less energy for heating and cooling • More consistent temperatures = increased comfort • Superior indoor air quality and dehumidification

Save now with cash back from the Energy Optimization program! Incentives are available to help you save on the upfront costs of investing in a heat pump system. Visit or call 877-296-4319 to learn more.






SAIL THE STRAITS. Take in gorgeous views like this one.




To Meet You


om Nagel has been living the farm life since he was born. In fact, he comes from a long line of farmers, starting with his great grandfather who began what would become the family tradition of growing flowers. His grandfather Fred Nagel, along with his five brothers, grew up in the fields, eventually taking what he learned and starting his own operation, originally in Coldwater. Fred W. Nagel and Sons have been growing gladiolus at the current location in Three Rivers, Mich., for over 50 years. Tom Nagel, the current owner, is the third generation grower and his wife currently does the accounting. They raised their family on the farm and sometimes even use their home as a backdrop for catalog photos. As with any family farm, it’s all hands on deck. “As a kid, I spent my summers weeding with my cousins and my kids also grew up tending to and selling ‘glads’ at local farmers’ markets to help fund college,” said Nagel. Fred W. Nagel and Sons grows roughly 80 million bulbs on 300 acres and distributes them throughout the U.S. and Canada. They even occasionally export their product to the Netherlands and are the only commercial distributor of gladiolus bulbs in the U.S. They primarily distribute to commercial customers. However, you can purchase smallquantity bulbs from their sister company, Noweta Gardens, and bring some of the unique, colorful beauty to your own garden.

The MEC Connection Nagel and Sons has been an electric customer of MEC, formerly Fruitbelt, from day one and has been a propane customer for roughly 10 years.


Gladiolus bulbs need to be dried every fall, which requires a lot of propane. In fact, the company uses 50,000 gallons of propane every year in order to keep the warehouses at 75°F throughout the drying process. It’s a critical process that ensures the viability of the bulbs for the following spring. “We move a lot of air to pull moisture from the bulbs. Billy Meggs, propane manager at MEC, will drop everything to come help if we ever have any issues,” noted Nagel. “They (MEC) are good people to work with and I know I can count on them. Additionally, having a set price throughout the year helps me plan my expenses in advance.” That’s the MEC difference. To us, you are not simply a customer, you are a partner. We’re proud to provide vital services to help our local rural businesses thrive. Learn more about this family farm at or check out the sister company at

Peace-of-Mind Propane $1.699/gal. Our guaranteed capped rate through May 31, 2020. No matter what the weather does, your rate is secure throughout the heating season.

Public Act 295: The Clean Renewable and Efficient Energy Act 2018 Annual Energy Waste Reduction Report Midwest Energy & Communications MPSC Case Number U-18276 During 2018, Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) administered its Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) plan through the Michigan Electric Cooperative Collaborative in order to comply with PA-295. Previously, MEC, through the Collaborative, submitted its EWR plan with the MPSC. This EWR plan was approved by the MPSC. The Collaborative implemented the EWR Plan during 2018. Overall, MEC achieved a goal at 104% savings. The full report can be obtained at MEC’s headquarters.

Notice To Members Of Midwest Energy & Communications Case No. U-16594 2018 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary 2008 PA 295, as amended, requires all Michigan electric utilities to get 10% of their power supply from renewable sources in 2018. Under this requirement, Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) submits an annual report to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2018, MEC acquired a total of 96,474 renewable energy credits (22,207 credits from Harvest Wind Farm, LLC, 7,519 credits from Thunder Bay—Four Mile, 66,410 credits from Deerfield Wind Farm and 338 credits from Spartan Solar) and 724 incentive credits from Spartan Solar and 705 incentive credits from Thunder Bay. All credit transfers were directed through MEC’s wholesale power supplier, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. Wolverine will continue to generate renewable energy and bank unused renewable energy credits for future use and compliance with statutory renewable portfolio standard requirements on behalf of all of its members. A full copy of the cooperative’s Renewable Energy Plan annual report that was filed with the MPSC is available at MEC’s headquarters.


co-op entrepreneurs SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY!

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

pioneers, innovators and leaders in our service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between. If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at Self-nominations are accepted.

Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

5 1 2 7

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by September 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the July/August issue is Lena Clor, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Lake Huron by the Edison Plant in Harbor Beach, Michigan. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

Best Beer




Our beautiful state boasts some of the best beer in the nation. You can’t throw a rock in Michigan without hitting a great brewery these days. Discover a new favorite craft beer, recommended by MCL readers, at these breweries around the state. Cheers!


Summer Love—Mackinaw Brewing Company, Traverse City As a northern Michigan pioneer in micro-breweries, Mackinaw Brewing Company in Traverse City has been serving up craft beers for 22 years, and during that time, brewmaster Mike Dwyer has been creating some of the finest brews in all of Michigan. I like Mike because he does a great job at pleasing beer connoisseurs with his Dark Stouts and Red Ales, as well as catering to novice drinkers, like me, with his American IPAs and Belgian Whites. My all-time favorites are his seasonal growlers of Summer Love with a hint of lemon and his Heritage Cherry Lager named in honor of the T.C. Cherry Festival Heritage Day Parade. Rumor has it he will be brewing up a fall seasonal craft named October Fest, which will be a nice multi German Amber Lager. Can’t wait… Allys Dreves, Cherryland


Lake Phantom—Ludington Bay Brewing, Ludington The best beer on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan is Lake Phantom by Ludington Bay Brewing. Mary Campbell, Great Lakes Energy


Two-Hearted—Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo The best brew is Two-Hearted by Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. It’s also the #1 Craft Beer in the United States. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Jennifer Grosskurth, Midwest Energy & Communications


Prima Hoparina—BAD Brewing Company, Mason Go try Prima Hoparina, a double IPA, brewed and served at BAD Brewing Company in Mason. They have lots of awesome craft beer! Hilda Wittingen, Great Lakes Energy


Juicy New England Style IPA— Petoskey Brewing, Petoskey Juicy New England Style IPA from Petoskey Brewing is my favorite. It has mouthwatering citrus and tropical hop aromas. Leland Wolken, HomeWorks Tri-County


Experimental Ales—Greenbush Brewing Company, Sawyer Greenbush Brewing Company in Sawyer offers a large portfolio of house-brewed beer, including experimental Ales. Walter Maciaga, Midwest Energy & Communications.

July/August 2019 Photo by Heather Patterson



Walter Gets Buzzed—Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, Muskegon Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in Muskegon makes a tasty brew called Walter Gets Buzzed, a lighter beer with a hint of coffee taste. Linnea Miller, Great Lakes Energy

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! BAKERIES: We’re on a sweet journey to find the best bakeries in the state! Share your favorites. We will publish this member–recommended list in our November/December issue. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by September 20.

Hybrid Geothermal

It Pays for Itself


Your financing cost and the cost to heat with Well-Connect is typically less than your current cost.

“Well-Connect is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We are able to maintain our home at a warm and comfortable temperature during the cold months. Likewise, during the warmer months, the added benefit of the air conditioning keeps our home nice and cool. The best part is we are spending significantly less on our energy costs to have a more comfortable home."

- Aaron & Dawn Hamp, PIE&G Member “When I could no longer physically cut 20 cords of wood, I installed a Well-Connect. The system has met all claims and surprised me. If people are heating and cooling with propane, fuel oil, or wood and have their own well, they have a need and don't realize it. That need is to cut those heating & cooling costs by at least half (as well as emissions). As for cooling, it has cost us $9.00 to cool this month (July)!!”

- Jess Steed, Cherryland Electric Member

IT PAYS FOR ITSELF The cost to finance and heat with a Well-Connect is typically less than your current heating cost.

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Well-Connect works in combination with your home’s current heating system. This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home.



ADVENTURE MEC Customer Appreciation Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 1–4 p.m.


12 Food Trucks Live Music Outdoor Movie Zipline Climbing Wall Bounce Houses Face Painting Balloon Animals MEC Open House


Food Live Music Zipline Flying Squirrel Climbing Wall Canoeing Archery Corn Hole Miniature Golf Nature Center Wagon Rides MEC Open House

Turn to page 12 for details.

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