Sept. 2020 Ontonagon

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September/October 2020


COUNTRY LINES Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association


4 Culprits Of Electrical Fires

Pebbles and Pearls By Local Jeweler Kozikowski’s Passion For Archery


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September 2020 Vol. 40, No. 8



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 CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please

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

#micoopcommunity 14 LEGACY ON THE LAKES Jim Hogan continues his family's tradition of captaining the J.W. Westcott II, a mail boat with the only floating ZIP code in the nation.

Cover Photo: Neil Schultheiss

6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost travels to Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in Michigan.

18 BEST OF MICHIGAN: WINERIES For a taste of Michigan in every sip, enjoy these memberrecommended wineries for your next getaway or celebration.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Simple, kid-friendly recipes to make family time fun.

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


United we stand, divided we fall. Loving these patriotic straw bales captured by @jodystrangphoto.

Be featured!

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

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit





Up Next: Salad Night 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.

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win a $50 bill credit!



Make Your Voice Heard Debbie Miles, General Manager /OntonagonCountyREA

500 J.K. Paul Street Ontonagon, MI 49953 906-884-4151 800-562-7128 After hours: 866-639-6098 OFFICERS & DIRECTORS

Calvin Koski, President Aura District 906-524-6988 •

William Hodges, Vice President & Treasurer Lake Linden District 906-934-3743 • Mildred Ann Gasperich, Director Boston District 906-281-2009 • Wayne Heikkinen, Director Pelkie/Herman/Aura District 906-353-6496 • Michael Urbis, Director Ewen/Trout Creek/Lake Mine District 906-988-2344 •

George Rajala, Director Chassell/Keweenaw Bay District 906-370-0416 •

Frances Wiideman, Director Green/Firesteel/Toivola District 906-288-3203 • PERSONNEL

Debbie Miles, General Manager Fay Hauswirth, Billing Clerk Mark Urbis, Line Superintendent OTHER INFORMATION

Date of Incorporation: Sept. 30, 1937 Fiscal year-end: Dec. 31 Ontonagon County REA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


here’s an old political saying, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This adage is the perfect answer to the question, “Why vote?” It’s a blunt description of what happens when you don’t engage in the political process. If you don’t vote, you’re not only missing the opportunity to support a candidate who shares your views and concerns, you’re allowing others to chart a course that impacts your future. That’s why we’re encouraging all Ontonagon REA members to recognize National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, 2020. Whether you’re registering yourself or others to vote or helping members of our community get organized, there are many ways to get involved.

Your vision, your vote While local elections may not be as exciting as the high-profile presidential election, they are just as critical. Local elections have a direct impact on your community and on your quality of life. Like the national level, local elections represent who we are as a community, and more importantly, where we want to go. Whether it’s an election for a mayor, sheriff, state representative, school board member, or an electric co-op board member, your vision for the community is tied to your vote. Voting keeps elected officials accountable. Elections are a direct and tangible source of feedback. For example, Ontonagon REA board members provide strategic guidance on the direction of the co-op and how it serves the community. Local board members embody the voice and identity of the community.

Staying in sync with the community Ultimately, the role of the co-op board is governance. While day-to-day decisions are made by our employees, bigger decisions are made by the board, whose mission is to look out for the vitality of the co-op and the members we serve. Ontonagon REA board members provide their perspective on community priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments. However, boards are not perfect, and we need you, the members of the co-op, to help keep the system in check. We depend on you and your neighbors to vote so that we can stay on course and ensure that we are in sync with the community that we serve. A strong voter turnout shows investment in the community and ensures that a diverse number of views are represented. The whole community benefits when more people participate in the process because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the will of the people. By voting in national, state, and local elections, you are serving as a role model for your family, friends and colleagues. The act of voting demonstrates your support for the community and helps officials chart a course for the future. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Research candidates, learn about issues that are on the ballot, and get out and vote! To learn more about National Voter Registration Day or to get involved, visit


4 COMMON CULPRITS OF ELECTRICAL FIRES Outdated wiring and overloaded circuits are the most common causes of electrical fires. Check the following areas of your home to ensure your home’s electrical safety is up to par.

Electrical outlets: Faulty electrical outlets are a leading cause in home fires. As outlets age, so do the wires behind them that you can’t see. Any loose, damaged or warm-tothe-touch outlets should be repaired or replaced.

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Electrical wiring: Outdated wiring is another common cause of electrical fires. Frequently tripped breakers, flickering lights and burning smells are clear warning signs. If your home is more than 20 years old, it may not be able to handle today’s increased power load. If you suspect your home’s wiring is outdated, leave this one to the pros and contact a qualified electrician.

Overloaded cords and outlets: Extension cords are not permanent solutions. If your big-screen TV, home theater system and other electronics are plugged into one extension cord, it’s time to call an electrician and install additional outlets.

3. 4.

Old appliances: Older appliances are more likely to have loose or damaged wiring, which means they’re more likely to catch fire. Check older appliances for damage and determine if it’s time to upgrade or replace. Also check to ensure you’re using appliancegrade outlets. A qualified electrician can help with installation.

Notice to Members of Ontonagon County REA Case No. U-16595 2019 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law requires all Michigan electric utilities to get 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2019. Under this requirement, Ontonagon County REA submits an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2019, Ontonagon County REA acquired a total of 3,038 renewable energy credits. Ontonagon County REA will continue to acquire 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 on the cooperative’s website at or by request at any of the cooperative’s offices.

Public Act 342: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act 2019 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report Ontonagon County REA MPSC Case Number U-18277 Ontonagon County REA contracted with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to administer the Energy Optimization (EO) efforts to comply with PA-295. MECA filed a four-year Energy Optimization plan with the MPSC on Aug. 3, 2015, as required by PA 295. This EO plan was approved by the MPSC on Dec. 22, 2015, and we began implementing our 2016–2019 EO Plan on Jan. 1, 2016. On Sept. 14, 2017, we filed a Biennial Plan as required by PA-342 of 2016. This Biennial Plan was approved by the MPSC on Dec. 1, 2017. WECC was selected to implement all Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Programs, and the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR—previously EO) website, In November 2018 WECC and Seventhwave merged and are now doing business as Slipstream effective Jan. 1, 2019. Slipstream has subcontracted with WES Utility Services, Michigan Energy Options, and Nuwati, LLC to assist with the implementation of the EWR Programs. MECA contracted with DNV-GL as the independent 3rd party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. In 2019 Ontonagon County REA collected $64,472 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $54,273 resulting in an over-collection of $6,803. Ontonagon County REA achieved 285 MWh of energy savings in 2019 compared to their annual kWh goal of 2,50 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your Cooperative’s headquarters and at or



Road ’ n i p p i Tr

With Christal Frost To Sault Ste. Marie! raveling to Sault Ste. Marie is almost like traveling back in time. Sault Ste. Marie, or as the locals say, The Soo, is the oldest city in Michigan, and the third oldest in the United States. Nestled along the shores of the St. Mary’s River, along the U.S.-Canadian border, this Upper Peninsula gem is chock-full of both history and innovation.


Mackinac Bridge

For a Lower Peninsula native like myself, any trip to the Upper Peninsula includes venturing over the Mackinac Bridge. The Mighty Mac was born from a dream to connect the two peninsulas over the Straits of Mackinac that stems from the 1880s. That dream came true, thanks to the engineering and design of David Steinman and three and

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a half years of construction, when the bridge opened to traffic on Nov. 1, 1957. The bridge has been well-traveled ever since, boasting thousands of cars crossing each year.

Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant

In 1945, a tradition was started of selling the freshest whitefish in the area. The owner of the Lockview Restaurant, along with his dishwasher, would walk across the street to the Soo Locks after breakfast every morning to catch the fish they would serve for lunch that day. The dedication paid off, and in just two years, Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant had outgrown its space, forcing the expansion of the first floor, followed by the addition of a second story less than 20 years later. The Lockview is a postcard for Sault Ste. Marie. Its


Soo Locks



Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant

commitment to serving the freshest fish is as important now as it was in 1945, and its tribute to the storied history of The Soo is on display from the wall décor to the menu. Do yourself a favor and order the Soo Locks Wrap.

Soo Locks

History: Prior to the installation of the locks, the St. Mary’s River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron, was a fiercely moving river with a 21-foot drop. The rapids proved a challenge for portaging canoes until a French-Canadian based fur trading company constructed a small lock and canal large enough for its canoes to access. The original lock was destroyed in the War of 1812, leaving the river without a lock until 1855, when the state built the aptly named "State Lock." The lock and canal system helped to grow the mining production in the Western U.P. and also proved to be a valuable tool for the Civil War, as iron ore from Lake Superior was used to make Union cannons. Industry eventually demanded larger locks to accommodate bigger freighters, and several locks have been built and rebuilt since, resulting in the current system of four. The locks raise and lower vessels easily without a pumping system, relying only on the water leveling through gravity. Seeing the Locks in Action: We boarded the Nokomis on a Saturday afternoon to see the locks in action, thanks to Soo Locks Boat Tours. Traveling along the St. Mary’s canal, we were given the okay to proceed to the MacArthur Lock. Once we tied off, the gates were closed and the filling valve opened, allowing water from Lake Superior to fill the lock. The Nokomis was gently lifted 21 feet to meet the water level of Lake Superior and we continued our tour, drifting side by side with massive freighters along international waters. Looking to the future: A new lock, measuring in at 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long (roughly the size of the Poe Lock), began phase one of construction in May at the site of the now decommissioned Sabin and Davis locks. The $922 million project will increase the lock system’s ability to accommodate large freighters and vessels, 85% of which currently utilize the Poe Lock. The Soo locks are an inspiring reminder of human ingenuity and innovation. Be sure to put Soo Locks Boat Tours on your Michigan bucket list today!

Mackinac Bridge

Clyde’s Drive-In

When you’re in Michigan’s oldest city, it’s only appropriate to step back in time, and no visit to the Soo is complete without a stop at the original Clyde’s Drive-In. Founded in 1949 by Clyde VanDusen, Clyde’s is a casual spot with a view, right next to the Sugar Island Ferry. I’m told Clyde still owns the place and stops by every now and then to check in, and grab a “Big C”—a three-quarter-pound hamburger available with all the toppings you can handle. I went for an olive burger, onion rings and a chocolate shake that did not disappoint. Clyde’s is a good example of the pride of the Soo community—firmly planted in its roots, but always looking to the future. Whether you’re in for a day trip to Sault Ste. Marie, or you’re planning to spend a whole vacation, you’ll marvel at the combination of history and progress in Michigan’s oldest city. Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM. She is also a feature columnist for GT Pulse on 9&10 News, published every Friday at 11 a.m.

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Clyde’s Dri ve-In


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See Sault Ste. Marie In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Sault Ste. Marie adventure, now available on MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Need A Little Lift? W

visit your home to evaluate these appliances. If they are considered highly inefficient, you could receive a new replacement at no cost.

e all need a little lift from time to time—a little pick-me-up to get through the day. The Energy Optimization program may be just what you need.

If your household meets the income eligibility guidelines below, you could receive FREE energy-saving products and services. Qualified residents can receive expert advice and equipment to improve the energy performance of their homes—which will help reduce electricity use and save money on utility bills. You have to feel good about that!

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 may include: • • • • •

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

Refrigerator and Freezer Evaluation and Replacement Is your refrigerator or freezer at least 10 years old? An Energy Optimization program representative can

Eligibility Requirements To qualify for the Energy Optimization 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

















Note: For families/households with more than eight persons, add $8,960 for each additional person.

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


FREE opportunities to save money and reduce electricity use. Based on income levels, qualified households may receive: • Energy-saving devices including LED light bulbs • Free large appliance inspections with potential replacement • Virtual or in-home consultations with COVID protocols Contact us today for program eligibility information. • 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


Michigan’s Natural Beauty 1. Came here to be thankful for the longest day. McLain State Park, June 20, 2020. Mary Kaminski  2. Kayaking at Lake Plumbago in Baraga County by the historic Ford Forestry Center and Research Forest in Alberta. Karen Dault  3. This waterfall was a wonderful surprise during the scenic Pictured Rocks tour out of Munising. Mary Shegan  4. Pointe Abaye, taken on Christmas Day. Kiara Komoroski  5. A moment of tenderness in Portage Entry. Rhonyah Tober-Massie  6. Morning moon over winter pond, our land at the edge of the Ottawa National Forest. Always a beautiful sight, no matter the season. Lynda Graham  7. Fall colors are spectacular, even in my own backyard of Mass City. Dean Juntunen



5 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!





Submit A Photo & Win A Bill Credit!

Ontonagon REA members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines will be entered in a drawing. One lucky member will win a credit of up to $200 on his or her December 2020 energy bill!

Upcoming Topic And Deadline:

• Cutest Pets, due September 20 (November/December issue) To submit photos, and for details and instructions, go to We look forward to seeing your best photos! MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


MI CO-OP Recipes

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

KID-FRIENDLY COOKING Simple recipes to make family time fun.


KIDS’ CHICKEN NUGGETS Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

2 1 2 6

cups finely crushed potato chips egg tablespoons milk small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½ -inch cubes ¹⁄ ³ cup butter, melted • dipping sauce of your choice

Win a


energy bill credit!



Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour potato chips into a shallow dish. Beat egg and milk together in a separate shallow dish. Dip chicken cubes in egg mixture. Press chicken into potato chips until evenly coated. Transfer coated chicken to a baking sheet. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake until chicken is no longer pink in the center and coating is golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Salad Night (Hearty Salads For Dinner) due November 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 for more information.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Lianne Briggs, Great Lakes Energy 3 1 1 1

(1-pound) loaves frozen bread dough, thawed can pizza sauce bag shredded mozzarella cheese package pepperoni, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heavily grease three bread pans and line with parchment paper. Place the thawed bread dough on a cutting board. Add the pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and chopped pepperoni. Use a French knife to cut and mix ingredients together until well combined. Divide the dough evenly among the three bread pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Bake about 45 minutes, until evenly browned. Cool in pans for approximately 20 minutes. Finish cooling on a wire rack. Serve immediately.

TRAIL MIX COOKIES Pauline Haskin 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 3

cup butter, softened cup brown sugar, packed cup granulated sugar eggs teaspoon vanilla cups flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon baking soda cups trail mix (I use a mix of small nuts, raisins and M&Ms) 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1½ cups granola cereal (a mix of honey and almond goes well with the trail mix) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; thoroughly mix. In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking powder and soda. Add flour mixture to butter and egg mixture and mix until all is combined; do not overmix. Stir in trail mix, oats, and granola. Use a large cookie scoop (15 ⁄ 8") and shape dough into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cookies will double in size. Bake 13–15 minutes or until edges of cookies become a light brown color. Remove from oven and wait three minutes prior to moving cookies to cooling racks. NOTE: Dough can be refrigerated and baked as needed.


Diane Johnson, Great Lakes Energy 1 chocolate cake mix with pudding (I use triple chocolate, chocolate fudge, or dark chocolate) ¹⁄ ³ cup oil 2 eggs ½ cup mini chocolate chips, optional 12 ounces Rolo candies (can use mini Reeses instead) Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, and eggs. Beat with hand mixer for two to three minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Take a small ball of dough and roll a Rolo in the middle (if batter is sticky, you can add flour to your hands, or chill batter before using). Use just enough dough to cover the Rolo. Place on parchmentcovered cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake for six to seven minutes, or until the tops have cracks in them. It is very important to leave them on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing them. Serve immediately.



Pebbles And Pearls

By Yvonne Whitman  ||  Photos Courtesy of Larry Sanders


t seems as if metalsmith and jewelry artist Julie Jerman-Melka’s career path in life was all but a foregone conclusion. “I come from a family of makers. My father was artistic and liked to build things, and my grandfather was a mason, so we were always picking rocks for him to use. He built the sandstone fireplace and front porch in our family home, and they are like mosaics. When you come from a family that works with their hands, well, that was a wonderfully comfortable thing for me to also do,” she says. “Waterfall necklace” made with Lake Superior pebbles and hand-forged and fabricated silver, with peridot, citrine, and blue and white topaz gemstones.

Growing up in Calumet, on the shores of Lake Superior, she always found herself drawing and painting and even digging up the earth to make her own clay. “Even as a young child, I always thought of myself as an artist,” she recalls. In college at Northern Michigan University, she took a jewelry class as an elective, of which she says, “Suddenly everything made sense to me. The designs just started to flow. I didn’t find it. It found me.“

“Gentle current ring” made with basalt carved pebble, forged silver, culture pearl, and white topaz gemstones.

“Gentle current earrings” comprised of pebbles, forged and fabricated silver, sapphires, and freshwater pearl.

She began her career working as a bench jeweler in Marquette, but when her mother visited a Vail, Colorado, jewelry shop, wearing a pin that Julie had made for her, it led to a job offer from the store owner. Julie worked as a goldsmith there for 15 years and then returned to school at Colorado State University. “I always wanted to get my master’s degree because I thought it would be cool to teach what I knew at a college level,” she says. There was also a bonus. “Being there allowed me to find my passion and where I wanted to go with my artwork, and I needed that. I was working for myself and coming up with my own designs, and they were all nature-influenced.” After graduating, she began making her own jewelry with pebbles that she had collected, and started adding pearls, faceted stones and metalwork, selling it to galleries all over the U.S. At the time, she was also teaching as an adjunct professor part time, but her business got so busy that in 2008 she decided to stop teaching and devote herself entirely to her jewelry business. She also needed help in

“ Gentle current neck piece“ made of basalt beach pebbles, forged and fabricated silver, peridot, blue topaz, and garnet gemstones. Jeffrey skillfully carving into a pebble.

Julie happily creating jewelry in her studio.

“I love selling my pieces because every so often, a person comes in and looks at a piece and tries it on and it just transforms them into something else.” the office and turned to Jeffrey Melka, her husband of 29 years. “It was a perfect fit because he was the numbers guy and I am the artist,” she says. She remembers his initial response of, “Well, let’s try this for a couple of years.” Fast forward 12 years, “And here we are,” she says with a laugh. “We’re still doing this. It’s a team effort.” Along with handling accounting, Jeffrey is the technician of the business, drilling the rocks for her jewelry creations in the workshop of their home-based business. In 2012, Julie’s 90-year-old mother was moving into a nursing home, and Julie and Jeffrey moved back to Michigan and into the home that Julie’s father had built. “It’s strange, but we have made it our own. My old bedroom is now my studio. My office is now what was my brother’s bedroom. We came back and I’m so thankful because we are so happy here,” she says. They both love the outdoors and especially Lake Superior. “It’s hard to explain to people how magnificent Lake Superior is. It takes my breath away every day when I go to that shore. You can feel its power. You can feel its calm. I just absolutely love it,” she says. The couple visits the beach every day to look for the smooth basalt pebbles that Julie has been drawn to since she was a child. She said, “We get inspired by what we find and start talking about what the stones could be made into.” Once home, they further discuss their ideas and Julie begins to sketch a design. Her pieces originally began with a combination of pebbles and pearls. “I love the juxtaposition of the soft pearl with the hard stone. And I love the luster of the pearl next to the matte of the stone,” she says. “Plus, I love pearls and

they are both water elements.” She subsequently began incorporating semi-precious gemstones such as white and blue topaz, peridot, garnet, and citrine because she finds they have the color that pops with the basalt stone. While the work looks simple, the process is actually very involved. She does not use glue or epoxy, but instead, everything is cold connected or riveted. All the metal is hand-forged and soldered using a torch. Her work is sold in five galleries nationwide, but for six months of the year, she and Jeffrey traverse the U.S. to sell their work at various art shows. “We are like nomads. Traveling for us is like an adventure. We head west in the summer and south in the winter, and in between, we come home. We love it,” she says. She makes approximately 1,000 one-of-a-kind pieces every year in her Calumet studio. “I love selling my pieces because every so often, a person comes in and looks at a piece and tries it on and it just transforms them into something else. You can tell that it just makes them feel so good,” she says. “They love the weight of it and the feel of it, and it just speaks to them. It really completes the jewelry when it’s worn. I love that reaction.” To learn more about Julie and her work, visit Julie’s work can be purchased locally at Gallery on 5th in Calumet and Graci Studio & Gallery in Marquette.



By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photos by Neil Schultheiss


“I’m a water guy,” said Jim Hogan. “That’s who I am.” It’s not just that Hogan likes water, or has lived and worked on it most of his life. He is the fourth generation to operate the J.W. Westcott II, a mail boat and the first floating ZIP code with the U.S. Postal Service. The love of water goes back to Hogan’s great-grandfather, Captain John Ward Westcott, who founded the J.W. Westcott Company back in 1874. Back then, it was simply John rowing a small boat out to commercial ships passing through the Detroit River. He started by delivering shipping orders and updates on routes and ports. Nearly 150 years later, the vessel and the operation have grown, while never seeming too big. “Before cell phones, one place things didn’t change immediately was on the water,” said Hogan. “You wrote a letter and hoped it would get there in a week and wait for a response in another week. Boy, things have changed.”


Changed indeed. Now instead of handwritten letters and telegraphed route instructions, it’s online prescriptions, packages from Amazon and occasionally, a locally-baked pizza. The pizza started as a fun service the Westcott provided for a river tour. However, open radio channels being what they are, sailors caught wind and some have ordered up pies as their ships pass through the Port of Detroit. “While it’s sometimes crazy how much things have changed since even I started,” muses Hogan, “out here, there is still a pace that is consistent with life on the water.” Hogan started in the company’s 100th year after he graduated from high school in 1974. These days the Westcott runs 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, from the time it launches in April. The three shifts are operated by two veterans who have been with Hogan over 30 years—Sam Buchanan and Bill Redding. No two days are the same, with the possible exception of

TIME LINE 1874: John Ward Westcott founds J.W. Westcott Company off Belle Isle, using a rowboat to deliver messages to passing ships 1877: Company moves to new location at foot of Woodward Avenue, near Detroit-Windsor ferry 1910: The J.W. Westcott Company purchases the J.W. Westcott I, its first powerboat

the fresh pot of coffee put on at the beginning of each shift, as each crew swaps stories. If other ships are in the neighborhood, the fresh crew can jump right into the fray—loading, unloading and/ or delivering “mail by the pail.” This literally consists of large buckets on ropes that are raised and lowered between passing ships and the Westcott—delivering mail addressed to the individual, their ship’s name, and Marine Post Office, Detroit, Michigan 48222. Among the crew sweeping in for a shift is Captain Jimmy Hogan, Jim’s son and the fifth generation of Westcotts to work the ship. While the elder Hogan had started working right out of high school, he wanted to make sure his sons didn’t feel obligated to join the family business. “We wanted to make sure the kids did something that drove them in their lives. We didn’t want the business to feel like a burden,” he said.

For 147 years and 5 generations there is a legacy by any standards. But if Jim Hogan knows anything, it’s that life on the water is constantly ebbing and flowing. He’s found himself spending more time down at the riverfront office since April. Considering his 47th season with the business, seeing how things have changed. Seeing how things have stayed the same. Wondering, as we all do when reflecting on our lives, what it was all about. “This isn’t a ‘get rich’ business,” muses Hogan. “But I’ve come to realize that I’ve been so fortunate with the experiences I’ve had in my life. Experiences that I owe to a wild idea my great-grandfather had.” Hogan pauses like any great seaman setting up the moral of the story and says, “To be blessed by the opportunity to be associated with so many good people in my life—such a great crew. I guess I am rich.”

1948: The J. W. Westcott Company is awarded its first Highway Route Contract (HRC) as a Star Route from the United States Postal Service 1949: The J. W. Westcott Company takes possession of the M/V J. W. Westcott II, built by Paaushe Shipbuilding Company out of Erie, Pennsylvania. It is named after the son of the founder, Captain John Ward Westcott 1974: The J. W. Westcott Company celebrates a historic 100 years in business. The great-grandson of founder James M. Hogan joins the firm as a deckhand 1995: Company marks its 100th anniversary of maritime mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service and/or its contractors at the Port of Detroit 2002: James Joseph Westcott-Hogan joins the firm (the fifth generation) 2010: James M. Hogan becomes president of the firm

To learn more about the legacy of this Michigan business, visit or search for J. W. Westcott Co. on Facebook.

RIGHT ON TARGET By Yvonne Whitman

t all started with a Cabela’s catalog,” Lindsay Kozikowski says with a grin. Growing up in a family of hunters, the Menominee native would often find herself admiring the various bows in the popular sporting goods catalog. But it wasn’t until she set foot on the campus of Michigan State University that her interest became a reality. “I got started with archery as a freshman when I attended an organizational meeting for the archery club. I picked up a bow and just kind of fell in love with it. From that point on, archery pretty much became my whole life,” she says.


During the four years that she was on the team, she honed her skills, often practicing seven days a week. It also opened the door to other opportunities for the U.P. native. “Competing in national tournaments, I’ve been able to travel the country, meet people from all over the world and shoot with professional archers. It’s been amazing,” she says. When asked if she is naturally talented, she says, “It’s a lot more than what meets the eye. Archery is 95% mental game and 5% skill and talent. Anyone can pull a bow back, but you really need to stay within your mental game. It’s about being able to make that shot over and over again and keeping out the emotions. It’s a matter of controlling the little things that really add up to be the big picture.” And what does she attribute her mental strength to? “For me, it’s about focusing on one arrow at a time. It does not always happen, but that is always my goal. My coach always tells me to ‘take it one arrow at a time and not to rush, it’s not Nascar.’ He taught me what I know today about archery,” she says. Coach Glen Bennett, a former aerospace engineer and renowned coach who was named the USA Archery 2020 North Region Coach of the Year, heads up the program at

Photo courtesy of Cassie Tebo Photography

MSU Archery Team during opening ceremonies of the 2019 USA Archery National Outdoor Collegiate Championships in Dublin, Ohio

Lindsay and Coach Glen Bennett

“It’s about discovering your dream, following your personal passion, mastering your skills, taking aim no matter who thinks you’re crazy… and then letting the arrow fly.” –Eva Shockey

MSU. The team has a long-standing record of success with multiple team awards and over 41 All-American Archers and nine Academic AllAmericans. “Lindsay has come along really well, she really listens. Being a novice, she didn’t have a preconceived notion about shooting and that made it easy for me to coach her,” Coach Bennett says. “What I like most about Lindsay is her enthusiasm. She really has the right personality to take it farther along if she wants to.” Lindsay finished out her collegiate career right on target. There are approximately 90 schools in the USA Collegiate Archery Program, and for the 2019 indoor season, she took the first-place spot in her region and placed eighth overall in the U.S. “That was when I felt most accomplished. Never in a million years did I think I would be an athlete at a Big Ten university, let alone

one who ranked within the top 10 in the country,” she says. Lindsay currently has USA Archery Level 1 Instructor Certification, with the goals of completing the next levels and ultimately getting into the national training system and becoming a full-fledged coach. Coach Bennett says, “If she wants to continue with higher certifications, she has all the tools. She knows what she is doing.” Lindsay also hopes to inspire other young women to get into the sport. While at MSU, she assisted Coach Bennett with the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program, teaching youth about archery. She especially enjoyed working with kids. “I do it because somewhere on that range, there is a little kid hoping to grow up to do what I am doing right now,” she says.

“Looking back now, if I think back to that scared little homesick freshman from five years ago, I would have never had thought I would be where I am at today. I’ve been able to find my passion,” she says. Her ultimate goal is to one day own an archery range and archery athlete training facility in the U.P. and continue to share her enthusiasm for the sport with others. ”Archery is not just my passion, it is my lifestyle. And it’s a sport that anybody can do, whether you’re 5 or 85. Anyone can pick up a bow and learn to shoot. Archery is for everybody,” she says.

Follow Lindsay and the MSU Archery Team on Facebook and Instagram


MI CO-OP Community


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Tell us about your favorite dining location with a scenic Michigan view you can pair with the cuisine. Submit your favorites at by October 25, and look for it in our November/December issue.

Win a


energy bill credit!


Blustone Vineyards, Leelanau


45 North Vineyard & Winery, Lake Leelanau

This winery has spectacular views and friendly, entertaining and knowledgable staff. Corina Rybka, Cherryland

Located on the Leelanau Peninsula, they have a beautiful tasting room and a great selection of wines and ciders. They also have their own mountain bike trails open to the public and groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing and fat bikes. Katie Yonkers, Cherryland



Leelanau Cellars, Omena


Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery, Alanson


Hickory Creek Winery, Buchanan


Seasons of the North Winery, Indian River

Free wine tastings is a plus, but the views from the tasting room are breathtaking. Friendly staff and some really great Michigan wine make this a must-visit winery on the Leelanau Peninsula. Karen Snyder, Midwest Energy & Communications

For a taste of Michigan in every sip, enjoy these member-recommended wineries for your next getaway or celebration. Michigan wineries offer a lifetime of memories along with award-winning wines.

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Chateau Grand Traverse, Traverse City

They offer amazing wine and charcuterie. Jay Gibson, Cherryland

Best Of Michigan



The Port, Portland

So unique! This is a tasting room for Modern Craft wines, which are designed to be mixed with other drinks and beverages. You can make up your own signature cocktails. The owner is super accommodating and inviting. They have wine, cheese, special menu items and comfortable seating. Brian Hass, HomeWorks Tri-County

The owners Geoff and Gail are both knowledgeable and passionate about their vineyard and take great pride in educating others. A bonus is that they have so many great tasting wines too! The panoramic views from the porch are an amazing place to enjoy wine and unwind. Joelle Wilcox, Great Lakes Energy

One of the smallest wineries in Southwest Michigan, this is a quaint place with a very wonderful staff. We have not found a wine of theirs that we have not enjoyed. The owner Adam McBride is talented in his winemaking skills and also creates a very welcoming atmosphere that makes you want to keep coming back. James Springsteen, Midwest Energy & Communications

I like it best because it’s not a large operation and the wines are fantastic. With names such as Burt Lake Breeze (my favorite), Michigan Sunset, Lake House, Back Roads...just a very friendly place with very friendly people. They take the time to talk to each person and they interact with everyone. Renee Butka, Great Lakes Energy

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo on the left by September 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at July/August 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Amy Fritz, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Fishtown in Leland, overlooking the Village Cheese Shanty. Photo by Karen Farrell Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.





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Ontonagon County Rural Electrification Association /OntonagonCountyREA

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.

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