September 2021 HomeWorks

Page 1

September 2021


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative



Investing In Electric Reliability

HomeWorks Connect Doubles Its Speeds For The Same Price Members’ Best Water Photos



Lasting is believing.

When you pay good money for something, you think it should last. We agree. Especially when it’s your family’s comfort. The lifespan of even the most expensive conventional a/c is just 15-18 years. With a WaterFurnace geothermal unit, you can expect a lifespan of 25 years—sometimes even more. Plus, the life expectancy of the underground infrastructure is at least double that. Longer unit life means less cost to you and less waste in our landfills. And that makes WaterFurnace the better choice. Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your Local WaterFurnace Dealers Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

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Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

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

visit us at

The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


September 2021 Vol. 41, No. 8


/michigancountrylines 6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost takes us to Ludington with the new all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Seafood: These recipes will be your catch of the day.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

14 ADVENTURE AWAITS The pandemic inspired a Michigan jeweler to literally bury his livelihood ... much to the delight of treasure seekers throughout the state.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha

18 GUEST COLUMN Grandma's Quilt: Her grandmother's penchant for socking things away and her mother's love provided Tricia Udell with the quilt she'd always longed for.


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


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.

Be featured!

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


Are Canadian geese just called geese when they’re in Canada? #repost @corey_niedzwieki

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Asian Inspired, due Nov. 1. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.



Investing In Reliability Measures That Keep Your Lights Turned On / Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday

Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395

Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740

HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 •

District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 • District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 • District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 • District 5 — Corinna Batora 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 •

District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 • District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 • Editor: C harly Markwart, CCC


By Chris O’Neill, CEO


e speak often at HomeWorks about the “Cooperative Difference” and what that term means to us. Co-ops are a unique business model, and there are several characteristics that distinguish us from other utilities. To me, the most important thing that sets us apart is that we’re owned by you, our members, instead of some faraway investors. We were founded to serve your needs, not to turn a profit, and that means we get to invest in you and the things we can do every day to improve your quality of life. Lately, that has meant investing in aggressive maintenance and upgrades to make your power even more reliable. Take a look at the picture to the right. This is a real image of just one of the hundreds of pole replacements we’ve been working hard to complete all across our service territory over the past couple of years. Notice how the new pole to the left is so much taller, broader, and more resilient than the old pole to the right? What do you think will happen the next time a storm hits this section of our system? That new pole is going to stand up stronger against the elements, preventing an outage before it even happens. Many of these pole replacements have been part of the process of preparing our system for the build-out of our fiber internet network. That’s one of the ways our HomeWorks Connect fiber network is benefiting our entire membership, even those members who don’t ever sign up for our internet service. Other reliability measures that we’re taking have nothing to do with our fiber build-out; Instead, they’re entirely focused on keeping your power on. We make it a priority to continuously monitor our electric system, and our crews perform regular maintenance and upgrades on our lines and poles. We also work to move our equipment closer to the road whenever possible, to allow us to more quickly access the lines and restore power during an outage. And then there’s the most important piece of our reliability puzzle, which is the frequent trimming and removal of trees within our rights-of-way. Trees cause the vast majority of electric outages, so effective right-of-way clearing goes a long way toward improving reliability. Maintaining and upgrading our system so meticulously is a significant investment of time and resources, and like most things these days, this work is only becoming more costly. We know, however, that these daily efforts that we make to improve our system are a main reason your electricity was 99.95% reliable in 2020. It’s also why HomeWorks members often have power after storms when customers of other utilities are in the dark. We work for you, and I can assure you that we’ll continue to focus on the proactive steps we can take to keep your lights turned on, while also keeping our rates competitive for you.

Investing In Reliability Over the past few years, we’ve been making upgrades like the one shown in this picture all across our service territory. Take a look at the old pole on the right. Now, compare that pole to the new pole that we recently replaced it with on the left. Notice the obvious difference? The new pole is substantially taller, broader, and more resilient than the old pole. That means that when storms strike, the new pole is going to stand up stronger against the elements, resulting in significantly fewer weatherrelated electric outages for our members. That’s called preventing outages before they happen, and it’s just one of the many ways your Cooperative works to put you first.

It's Electrifying! Charging up the Mustang at Great Lake Energy's Level 3 fast charging station in Scottsville.



t’s a picturesque Saturday morning in Traverse City as I arrive at Fox Motors to pick up the all-new, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. I must admit, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of driving something that didn’t have an engine. Even my vocabulary suffered as I struggled to describe the car to my friends without using terms like “horsepower,” “fuel efficiency,” and “gear shifting.” The fact is, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, like her other electric counterparts, doesn’t have those things. But what the Ford Mustang Mach-E has in spades is moxie. After all, it takes moxie to present the iconic muscle of the Ford Mustang to the masses without the rumble of an engine. But stepping into this car—with its sleek and stylish interior and gorgeous curves—I knew I was stepping into the future of America’s favorite pony. On our latest Road-Trippinʼ episode, a round-trip Traverse City to Ludington adventure, we tested the limits of the Mach-E. Spoiler alert: I’m in love with this car.





A big thank-you to Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Fox Motors for making this test drive possible.

I am talking throw-your-head-back, heart-pumping, instant-smile fast. The Mach-E GT can go from 0–60 in an unbelievable 3.5 seconds, making it the quickest Mustang ever. Its superior acceleration and ability to produce immediate maximum torque truly make electric vehicles the Torque of the Town.


Without the constant vibration of an engine, the Mach-E delivers a downright serene and effortlessly steady ride. Upon returning my borrowed Mustang and getting into my gas-powered ride, I was uniquely aware of every pulse, oscillation, and tremor. The only bumps felt in the Mach-E are on the road, and even those seem softer.


I’ve heard many people remark that electric vehicles might be too quiet, but I don’t see it this way after driving one. Yes, the ride is quiet. It’s supposed to be quiet. Without the revving of the engine, EV drivers are left with a tranquil and relaxed driving experience. Passengers don’t have to speak up to contend with the sounds of a motor. Listening to the radio is easier and, quite frankly, more enjoyable without the competition of shifting gears. Even the quietest combustible engine is no match for the silence of a battery.


Admittedly, the idea of a drained battery worried me. After all, no one wants a road trip to end stranded on the side of the road looking for charging stations. That isn't a problem with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Depending on the model, the Mach-E has an EPA-estimated battery range of 305 miles. However, thanks to expanded technology and great partnerships with grocery stores and electric cooperatives, fast-charging stations are popping up across the state and beyond. Although we didn’t need the charge, we stopped by Great Lakes Energy in Scottville to check out the charging process at one of its four DC fast-charging stations. The Mustang was nearly fully charged after just 30 minutes. A full charge at a fast charge station has an estimated cost of under $4. Don’t forget to check with your electric co-op about electric car tax credits, incentives, and rebates!

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.


We enjoyed a wagon ride at the Amber Elk Ranch, which introduced us to hundreds of prize-winning elk and even allowed us to feed them!

Pro Tip: Stay at the ranch to enjoy an incredible BBQ lunch.


The Ludington Waterfront Park offers a playground, breathtaking views of the harbor, and a series of sculptures. These are just a few of the sculptures scattered throughout Ludington, and they make up a part of the Mason County Sculpture Trail.

Fox Grand Traverse Ford, Traverse City

Pro Tip: Grab dinner to go in nearby downtown Ludington and enjoy incredible sunsets from the park!


Retail stores and restaurants abound in downtown Ludington, and you can find everything you’re looking for at

Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Grawn

Pro Tip: Whenever you’re in

Ludington, don’t forget to check out Ludington State Park!



• Ludington Waterfront Park • Downtown Ludington • Ludington State Park


Great Lakes Energy, Scottville

See the FORD MUSTANG MACH-E in Action

Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on

10 Amber Elk Ranch


Back To School Savings W

ith a hint of fall in the air, kids are heading back to school, and families adjust to new routines. Maybe it’s getting out of bed earlier to catch the bus or staying later for after-school activities. With these changes, now may be a great time to instill new habits around the house that will help save energy and reduce utility costs. Here are some easy tips you can work into your family’s routines at home.


Turn off lights you don’t need. It can cost up to $20 a year to leave one light on eight hours a day. • User dimmer switches to avoid over-lighting a room • Install lights with motion sensors • Turn off fans. Fans cool you, not the room


Minimize the number of times you open the refrigerator. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day. • An open door lets in warm air, which makes the compressor work harder • Plan meals and snacks before you hear, “I’m hungry,” and the kids are peering into the refrigerator, hoping something delicious will magically appear


Cook with your microwave. This is the most efficient way to cook, reducing energy costs by as much as 80%. • Less heat is generated • Shorter cooking times use less energy

Add it all up and do the math. We can all find ways to save. To learn more, call 877.296.4319 or visit

ADD THESE TIPS TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE AND SUBTRACT DOLLARS FROM YOUR UTILITY BILL.  Turn off lights – an easy way to start saving.  Open your refrigerator less frequently – average opens = 33 times a day.  Use your microwave for cooking = less heat, shorter cooking times.


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 Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit



1. Joanne Hansen of Grand Ledge submitted this picture of her granddaughter, Aubrey, skipping down the beach on Lake Michigan. 2. Lindsay Uzarski of Remus says, “I took this picture of the sunset on Halls Lake in Isabella County after an evening of fishing.” 3. Laura Moore of Canadian Lakes snapped this shot of a loon catching a fish on Main Canadian Lake. 4. D onna Simmon of Fowler says, “My grandkids decided to say ‘hi’ with the sand instead of a postcard while they were in Florida.” 5. Catherine Grzywa of Allen Park (receiving service in Barryton) captured this photo of a water jewel on the banks of the Chippewa River in Barryton. 6. Cindy Zavadil of Okemos (receiving service in Canadian Lakes) says, “This is a beautiful early-fall reflection of Kitt Lake in the Canadian Lakes community.” 7. Halie Schafer of Farwell submitted this photo of Broden Brooks playing in the water. “It’s summertime and the living is easy,” Halie says.


4 Enter to win a


energy bill credit!






Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics and Deadlines “Scared Of Santa,” Deadline: Sept. 15 (November/December issue) Watch for the announcement of our 2022 photo contest themes and deadlines to come soon in an upcoming issue. Go to, select the Energy tab, then choose Member Services>Country Lines to submit your photos and see all of the 2021 Snap Shot themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Members whose photos we publish in Country Lines in 2021 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication.



MI CO-OP Recipes

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


Fresh and light recipes from under the sea.



Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 24 2 • 2 2 2



energy bill credit!


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, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

ounces cream cheese, softened tablespoons mayonnaise zest of 1 lemon tablespoons lemon juice tablespoons horseradish sauce pounds cooked salmon, chopped (or use canned, drained)

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and horseradish sauce. Stir very well until combined. Fold in the fish and stir again to combine. Serve immediately. This recipe makes about 4 cups of dip. Adjust recipe accordingly for smaller serving sizes. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Lynne Oosterhouse, Great Lakes Energy 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets Marinade: ½ cup soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 teaspoons sugar Wasabi sauce: ½ cup mayo 2 teaspoons soy sauce


Cheryl O’Brien, Great Lakes Energy 1 • • ¹⁄ ³ to ½ 1 • •

pound salmon filets Old Bay seasoning salt and pepper, to taste cup mayonnaise 16-ounce jar Chi Chi’s salsa parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon 2 teaspoons wasabi powder Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the salmon for 2 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add fish and marinade; cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over. Reduce heat to medium; cook 8 minutes or until fish is done. Combine the wasabi sauce ingredients and serve with the salmon.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut salmon into 2-inch squares and spread them on the bottom of 9x13 pan. Sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread thinly with mayonnaise. Pour Chi Chi’s salsa over all. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 minutes. Serve over rice if desired. This recipe became a regular on our menu during the summer tournament season. Enjoy!


Sandy Bartels, Great Lakes Energy Marinade: • zest of 1 lime 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil • pinch of salt and pepper Salsa: 4 radishes, finely sliced ½ cup red onion, finely chopped 4 green onions, finely sliced ¾ cup red cabbage, finely chopped 1 medium fresh tomato, finely chopped • chopped cilantro or parsley 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil Crema: ¹⁄ ³ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lime juice Tacos: 1 pound mild white fish 4 corn tortillas 1 avocado, sliced • bottled hot sauce, if desired • jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped, if desired

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Lay fish flat in a glass pan and pour marinade over; turn a few times to coat. Let rest 10 minutes, then turn over and let rest for another 10 minutes. While the fish is marinating, prepare the salsa. In a medium bowl, add the radishes, red and green onions, cabbage, tomato, and cilantro/parsley. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to coat; set aside. To prepare the crema, mix the sour cream and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Next, char the tortillas: Spray a skillet lightly with vegetable spray over medium heat and place the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, and move them around the pan. Turn to char both sides, remove from pan, and set aside. Add a bit of olive oil to the skillet and keep over medium heat. Put a tablespoon or two of the marinade in the pan, cook about a minute, and then add the fish. Cook about 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes until fish is flaky, but not dry. Transfer fish to a plate and cool for 1 or 2 minutes, and cut into chunks. Assemble the tacos on top of the tortillas. Lay thin slices of avocado on each tortilla, add fish, and top with salsa. Add crema and hot sauce and/or jalapeño peppers if desired. Enjoy. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


People Fund Supports Youth Reading Program And Local Family In Need Meeting at Portland on July 21, our People Fund board made two grants totaling $2,000, including: • $1,500 to the Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative, to support its participation in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library; and • $500 to a Mecosta County family, to help cover utility expenses.

In June, the People Fund granted $5,000 to Helping Hands of Eaton County to purchase personal care items for its community food pantry. Here, Helping Hands Executive Director Amanda Thompson (left) accepts the grant check from People Fund Program Administrator Michelle Huhn.

How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the Co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community. Write to 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875 for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund page at Note: Applications must be received by Oct. 5 for the October meeting or by Nov. 23 for the December meeting.

Your Board In Action Meeting at Portland on June 28, your board of directors: • In a special open member meeting, unanimously elected that the Cooperative will participate in the state of Michigan’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund for the 2021-22 heating season.

• Authorized an increase of $4,860,000 to the 2021 HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative and HomeWorks Connect capital budget to cover the cost of increased pole changeouts and the purchase of additional 288-count fiber for the internet build-out, and to provide additional funding for higher material prices. • Authorized management to sign a contract to purchase additional 288-count fiber for up to $2,500,000 for 2022 HomeWorks Connect construction.

• Reviewed results from the postevent survey sent to attendees of the Co-op’s 2021 livestreamed virtual district meetings, which reflected that members were overall highly satisfied with the online events, with 58% of respondents preferring the meetings to be held virtually in the future. • Authorized management to contribute $2,000 from the Co-op’s 2021 Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) patronage capital refund to CFC’s

Cooperative System Integrity Fund, which helps cooperatives across the country defend their right to serve their members.

• Reviewed quarterly financial reports for both the Energy Optimization program and the Tri-County Electric People Fund.

• Reviewed the Co-op’s loan portfolio.

• Received a monthly progress update on the HomeWorks Connect fiber internet business.

• Discussed and accepted Policy 207 – Workplace Violence.

• Discussed and accepted Policy 208 – Sexual and Other Harassment, as revised.

• Learned there were 95 new members in May.

• Acknowledged the May safety report, listing employee training as well as minor public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

• Learned there were 115 new members in June.

• Acknowledged the June safety report, listing employee training as well as minor public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

Meeting at Blanchard on July 26, your board of directors: • In a special open member meeting, voted unanimously to adjust the Cooperative’s Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor from $(.00509) to $(.00051), effective Aug. 1, 2021, in order to adequately cover increased power supply costs caused largely by a rise in power transmission charges. • Learned about the Co-op’s response to storm-related electric and internet outages caused by severe weather and tornadic activity in Ionia and Mecosta counties on June 26. • Elected Board Chairman Luke Pohl as the Co-op’s voting delegate at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s upcoming regional meeting.

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative July 26, 2021, Open Member Meeting Results At a separate Special Open Meeting held July 26, 2021, the HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board of Directors voted unanimously to adjust the Cooperative’s Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor from $(.00509) to $(.00051), effective Aug. 1, 2021, in order to adequately cover increased power supply costs caused largely by a rise in power transmission charges. The PSCR factor is applied to members’ monthly kilowatt-hour (kWh) use. For the average HomeWorks residential member (using 825 kWh of electricity per month), this PSCR factor adjustment will result in a bill increase of $3.79 per month, or 2.8%.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 27 at Portland and 9 a.m. on Oct. 25 at Blanchard. The location of these meetings is subject to change, if needed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least one week prior to the meeting date.

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative June 28, 2021, Open Member Meeting Results The HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, at a Special Open Meeting held June 28, 2021, in accordance with P.A. 167 and P.A. 95, unanimously elected to participate in the state of Michigan’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund for the 2021-22 heating season.

For specific details of any HomeWorks tariffs or fees, please visit or call us at 800-562-8232.


While the global pandemic offered its fair share of disappointments and loss, one couple opted to mine for the treasure in the mayhem and offer up a rainbow at the end of the storm. As a second-generation jeweler, apprenticed by his father, Johnny Perri always had an eye for treasure. An avid metal detector and admitted “eccentric,” Perri has always looked for adventure, as well as the silver lining in life. “Losing the rhythm of life and work had me in a real funk,” admits Perri. “I was going out of my mind a little.” Then, a bit of exciting news. Perri happened across an article about famed Santa Fe treasure hider Forest Fenn, who supposedly hid his treasure many years ago, with thousands of folks looking for it over the years. The article revealed that someone had finally found it.


with JOHNNY’S TREASURE QUEST By Emily Haines Lloyd

“’We should do that,’ I thought,” said Perri, first to himself, then aloud to his then-fiancé, now wife, Amy. “It was that simple, that wild. What if I hid everything from the jewelry store? Buried it? And then came up with riddles and clues for people to go out and find it?” With this simple but possibly crazy idea, Johnny and Amy spent the next several weeks driving around the state, basically dropping Perri’s entire livelihood into the ground (eventually replaced with GPS“infused” wooden X’s) to quite literally mark the spot where the treasure could be found. The couple created their website and let the world know that buried fortune was

just a treasure hunt away. The excitement and outpouring of interest was almost as improbable as a guy burying his life’s work in the ground. “People are as excited as we are,” said Perri. “Who hasn’t dreamed of uncovering a mystery or something valuable? It’s such a thrill.” Each quest is located in a different county in Michigan, with a private Facebook group for ticket holders and the perfect amount of Sherlock Holmeslevel sleuthing and Indiana Jones outdoor adventuring. The Perris recently expanded their treasure quests with a “Silver Ticket” hunt a la Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was a fun extension for seekers.

"It’s the

memories that

people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

The operation is still small and tightly knit, with a core of treasure buriers and administrators equally passionate about the process and keeping the surprises coming. “We’re so lucky to have the team we have, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else right now,” said Perri. “It’s so much fun for us to see the excitement in other people’s faces as they head out or come back from an adventure.” Those interested in embarking on just such an adventure can visit and look for an open treasure hunt. Then buy your ticket and prepare for an adventure. “What we’ve come to realize is, yes, the treasure might be the immediate draw,” said Perri. “But it’s not about that, really. It’s the memories that people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

START your QUEST /johnnystreasurequest @johnnys_treasure_quest




Double our speeds for the same low prices! We know your family needs fast and reliable internet service, now more than ever. That’s why we’ve upped our packages for all new and existing customers, so you’ll now enjoy double the speeds* at the same prices as before!

Existing customers, simply email your name and account number to to begin taking advantage of these doubled speeds! *Giga-Connector speeds didn’t change; instead, the price dropped!

down from $195.95! up from 50 Mbps!

up from 100 Mbps!

up from 200 Mbps! -

Become A Connector Today!

To sign up, visit or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative Case No. U-16598 2020 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law required all Michigan electric utilities to get at least 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2020. Under this requirement, HomeWorks Tri-County Energy Cooperative submitted an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2020, HomeWorks acquired a total of 46,946 renewable energy credits and 894 incentive credits. All credit transfers were directed through HomeWorks’ 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 filed with the MPSC is available on the Cooperative’s website at or by request at any of the Cooperative’s offices or at

Public Act 295 as amended: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act 2020 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative MPSC Case Number U-20388 HomeWorks Tri-County contracted with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to administer the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) efforts to comply with PA-295 as amended. MECA filed a two-year EWR plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on July 28, 2019, as required by PA 295 as amended. The MPSC approved this EWR plan on Dec. 8, 2019, and we began implementing our 2020-2021 EWR Plan on Jan. 1, 2020. WECC was selected to implement all Residential, Commercial/Industrial Programs and the Energy Waste Reduction website, Slipstream has subcontracted with WES Utility Services, Michigan Energy Options, ES Contracting, and Nuwati, LLC to assist with implementing the EWR Programs. MECA contracted with DNV-GL as the independent third-party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. In 2020, HomeWorks Tri-County collected $993,615 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $630,517, resulting in an overcollection of $363,098. HomeWorks Tri-County achieved 3,268 MWh of energy savings in 2020, compared to its annual kWh goal of 3,130 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your Cooperative’s headquarters and or

Energy Efficiency

Tip of the Month Old, uninsulated, and improperly installed exterior doors can waste energy and money. Shut the door on wasted energy by weather stripping and sealing all exterior doors. If you have an old exterior door, consider replacing it with a newer, energyefficient model. Source:

Guest Column

Grandma’s Quilt

By Tricia Udell, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member


y paternal grandmother was a talented woman whose greatest pride was taking care of her family. Her recipes remain family favorites, and the quilts she made for family members have blanketed them with love for years. I was always a bit jealous of my older siblings, who each had one of these quilts on their beds. I never got one, though, because my grandmother passed away from cancer when I was a toddler. When I was 11, my grandpa was getting ready to move out of the family home. I looked through all of the rooms remembering the times spent there, taking in the smells and sights. My grandma was a saver, and in the back bedroom closet, I had found the honey hole of my grandma’s stash! A true vintage ’60s and ’70s collection, olive greens and golden yellows, and bold flower patterns. Among these assorted and varied fabrics, I found a quilt top! Imagine my excitement to see something she had made buried like a lost treasure. A crazy quilt stitched from small, tiny scraps of fabric. I could even see some of the same patterned pieces that were in my siblings’ quilts. I snagged that quilt top right up. I stored the quilt in a plastic bag and stuck it in my closet. Decades later, while cleaning, my parents come across this plastic bag, and to my mom’s surprise, she finds the quilt top with a scribbled child’s handwritten note that reads “from Grandpa Howard 1984.” She is astounded at the find, we look at all the little pieces, and my dad has memories, “That piece is from Mom’s apron, and this is from a dress she wore.” Have you ever had that “filled up” moment when you feel all warm inside with happiness? I had that. My dad encouraged my mom to finish the project because he knew how much it meant to me. What a surprise on Christmas when I received the finished quilt as a gift. The quilt top is estimated to be over 45 years old, thread wears out, and material deteriorates. She painstakingly preserved each stitch. The quilt is a treasure! A combined project of my grandmother and my mom. I truly believe the adage, “Those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love.”

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Tricia is a member of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. She enjoys spending time with family, staying busy on her hobby farm, and quilting.

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Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Sept. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at July/August 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Paul Malhoit, a HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods, Indian River. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

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