Sept 2022 HomeWorks

Page 1

Voices For Cooperative Power Campaign Update Apply For Our 2023 Grants & Scholarships! People Fund Grants Over $7,000 To Local Causes COUNTRY LINES September 2022 MICHIGAN DeepRootsThe OF APPLEMICHIGAN’SINDUSTRY HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

and it isn’t just corn. You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2022* Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937 Bad Axe/Ubly Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986 Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 thermal.comgogreenmichgeo Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 cooling.comadamsheating Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890 Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & (231)Geothermal350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of South ern (517)Michigan764-1500 michigan/ Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. ©2022 WaterFurnace International, Inc. *26% through 2022 and 22% through 2023

Contents September 2022 Vol. 42, No. 8 /michigancountrylines CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information. The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised. EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd 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 248-534-735848933 Michigan’sCooperativesElectric MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit! Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18. GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for published!stories Submit your fondest memories and stories at RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Healthy Living, due Nov. 1 Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to 6 ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH CHRISTAL FROST Legends, Loss, & Restoration: A day spent on South Manitou Island. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Pasta Salads: These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 14 THE DEEP ROOTS OF MICHIGAN’S APPLE INDUSTRY The Mitten State’s climate— coupled with their growers’ devotion—make apples a booming business for local farmers. 18 GUEST COLUMN An everyday raccoon hunt became a lesson in courage that will last a lifetime for one PIE&G member. #micoopcommunity A blue heron takes flight @sarah.k.smith.180 (Sarah Smith) Be featured! Use featuredfor#micoopcommunityachancetobehereandonourInstagramaccount. 3MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

Lately, it’s becoming evident that the balance is off, and electric reliability is at stake. Electric grids are becoming stressed as baseload power plants (mainly coal plants, but also nuclear) are being closed before their replacements are ready to be deployed.

Electric Cooperative explained our concern about the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer and in future summers. The ask was to build replacement generation before shutting off more 24/7/365 generation. It was all about keeping the lights on, which has been this Cooperative’s mission since 1937.

I am happy to report that HomeWorks members, along with members of several other Michigan electric cooperatives, answered the call. Almost 8,000 individuals generated a total of 44,282 emails to the MPSC, state representatives, state senators, and the governor through the Voices for Cooperative Power platform. It was the largest response the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has ever seen on a single advocacy issue.



Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–4 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: Charly Markwart, CCC /

here’s no doubt that America’s energy system is going through a fundamental transformation. This transformation must be managed carefully, with a balanced approach that considers reliability, environmental impact, and affordability.

Advocating for Electric Reliability, Together

Unfortunately, the MPSC approved the early retirement of power plants that are essential to sustaining electric reliability. The good news is that policymakers clearly heard your voice, which is critical as we continue to advocate for reliability.

In June, we asked for your assistance in lobbying the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), state legislators, and Governor Whitmer. You helped us ask them to prevent the premature closure of the Campbell coal plant owned by Consumers HomeWorksEnergy.Tri-County

By Chris O’Neill, CEO Through the Voices for Cooperative Power platform, nearly 8,000 individuals sent 44,282 emails to the Michigan Public Service Commission, state representatives, state senators, and the governor.

I am proud of our members here at HomeWorks and co-op members across the state for taking action on such a large scale. We proved that the grassroots could be mobilized quickly and in meaningful numbers. We were a united team working for an important goal—reliability. Today, I thank every member who answered the call when we needed you the most.

SICK OF WAITING FOR A GOOD CONNECTION? Become A Connector Today! Learn more today at or call 800-668-8413! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. $54.95*PACKAGESSTARTAT SPEND LESS TIME WAITING FOR YOUR INTERNET TO LOAD SO YOU CAN SPEND MORE TIME DOING THE THINGS THAT MATTER Living in rural Michigan has many perks, but in most places, reliable internet hasn’t been one of them. HomeWorks Connect is working to change that fact by making high-speed fiber internet available to all of our members! Don’t miss out when high-speed internet is made available in your area. *with autopay discount

Exploring Manitou Island Transit offered a tour, and our first stop was a “farmhouse” with the most amazing waterfront view I’ve ever seen. Built by the Burton Family in the late 1800s, this idyllic structure—featuring eight rooms, each with its own sink—was purchased in the early 1900s by those who wanted to push the island resort transformation. As previously noted, that never came to be. Now, the boarded-up house is home only to a large bat population.

Legends, Loss, & Restoration A Day Spent on South Manitou Island By Christal FrostTRIPPIN'ROAD


think everyone can relate to wanting to “get away from it all.” The chance to disconnect from our modern lives and reconnect with nature, and ourselves, is not just appealing…it’s necessary.

Fueling Up

In the southwest corner of the island lies a valley of cedars that time forgot, twice the typical size. Being underneath

Afterwards, a quick stop across the street to the Leland Mercantile for supplies, and then down to the waterfront to Manitou Island Transit—our ride to South Manitou.

The History Settled in the 1830s by William Burton, the island was first seen as another resource for timber, but logging operations eventually fizzled because of difficulty getting there. A small village formed, and at one point many thought South Manitou might become a vacation destination, but, again, the travel difficulty ended those plans.

That’s what I kept thinking about as I hiked through the majestic beauty of South Manitou Island, just 16 miles off the coast of Northwest Michigan and yet another world away from where I’d woken up that morning.

The day began in downtown Leland at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co.’s Breakfast Bistro, where I enjoyed a delicious omelette and steaming mug of Sumatra dark roast.

Pro Tip: Be sure to bring snacks, lunch, and water with you to the island!

South Manitou Today Although two family cottages remain, it’s not home to permanent residents. Instead, it’s occupied by National Park Service rangers, campers, and day trippers, like us.

Arrival When our ferry docked and we set foot on South Manitou, the first thing I noticed was the beauty. Lake Michigan is remarkable from any vantage point, but being surrounded I by her blue waters was magnificent. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly quiet the island is, immersing myself in the natural sounds of rustling wind in the trees and light waves almost tiptoeing to meet the shore.


these gigantic trees reminds me of the Japanese concept of “forest bathing,” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” No soap and water required—the practice encourages you to spend time in nature, citing all the restorative effects that time in the woods has on a person.

Christal Frost is a northern Michigan native and frequent explorer of the Mitten state.

There are three campgrounds on S. Manitou Island. Campers must bring their own tents and water filtration equipment because there is no source of purified drinking water. There is no transportation for gear, so campers must pack in their own supplies. No outside firewood is allowed on the island. Instead, campers may collect dead and down wood for personal use.

ManitouSouthIsland ManitouNorthIsland

See the MANITOUSOUTHISLANDinAction Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on

Saying Goodbye As we sat on the dock, awaiting the ferry’s return, I couldn’t help but already miss the island I had yet to leave. It is a place to slow down, reflect, and appreciate the strident majesty of Lake Michigan. Plans to return to camp are already in the books.


The island has seen its fair share of tragedy and is riddled with heartbreaking tales of slaughtered native tribes, sailors dead from cholera thrown into mass graves, and lighthouse keepers losing children to the harsh waves of the Manitou Passage. And, of course, the over 50 shipwrecks surrounding both North and South Manitou. None are more visually striking than the Francisco Morazon, located off the southern shore. She passed over another shipwreck and ran aground in 1960. Seven years later, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed a lawsuit to have the wreck removed, citing rotting cargo and leaking fuel oil as a health hazard. The next day, the Francisco Morazon caught fire, and all its contents were consumed in flames. The shipwreck is now property of the state.

HomeWorks Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to HomeWorks Tri-County Electrical Cooperative service locations only. Incentive applies to quali ed items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022. Other restrictions may apply For complete program details, visit Small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy.* * Be more energy e cient and cut costs with these energy-saving tips:     V I S IT: CAL L : 877 296-4319Bigbusiness.Smallsavings.

mall businesses come in a variety of sizes. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), over half are home-based. Other business owners own or rent building space to house their small businesses. Wherever you run your business, lighting, heating, air-conditioning, and power are a necessity. They consume lots of energy and can cost you a lot of money.

As a business owner, you are busy with other activities such as payroll, inventory, and customer service. This makes energy-efficient equipment upgrades often a second thought. But simple maintenance improvements or behavioral changes can help you save energy and money without investing in expensive new equipment.  Lighting —Consider replacing outdated bulbs with DesignLights ConsortiumTM (DLC) or ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs. Also, just like your father always said, turn off the lights when you leave the room. Or better yet, install a simple occupancy sensor so you don’t have to. HVAC —This is typically the largest portion of your utility bills. Keep windows and doors closed while running the HVAC. Change the filters regularly. Install a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat. Simple, right?  Building “envelope”—This includes windows, walls, the roof, and insulation. Check for leaks and proper insulation throughout the building. Make sure the roof is in good condition. Replace windows or window shadings if needed. These things might cost you more up front, but will help you save in the long run.  Office equipment —Buy ENERGY STAR-certified products. Utilize the power or sleep modes. Invest in smart power strips. Save energy and money on your electric bill by upgrading to energy-efficient equipment. HomeWorks’ Energy Optimization program provides financial incentives to make upgrades more affordable. Learn more by visiting or calling 877-296-4319 S

Small Businesses Can Save Big

1. Stacy Theis of St. Johns submitted this photo of Alyssa and Rachel Theis, who she says were searching for Easter eggs in all the wrong places.

2. Rob Trowbridge of Vermontville captured this picture of Eliza Trowbridge enjoying a day on Gardner Farm on Irish Road in Vermontville.

4. Donna Simmon of Fowler says, “Harvest during the autumn season on a beautiful evening is every farmer’s dream.”

3. Karen Retter of Jerome (receiving service in Barryton) says she is preserving the flavors of summer to enjoy all year long.

5. Kyle Schafer of Westphalia captured this photo of Daisy the farm dog watching over her farm.


Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics and Deadlines Christmas Trees, due Sept. 15 (November/December issue) Go to, select the Energy tab, then choose About Your Co-op>Country Lines to submit your photos and see all of the 2022 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. Enter to win a energy$10billcredit! Submit Your Photos! Members whose photos we publish in Country Lines in 2022 will receive a $10 bill credit the month after publication. SNAP SHOT 5 1 3 4 2 Farms & Harvest

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes

1 (15-ounce) can white beans (I use cannellini), drained and rinsed

1 pound uncooked orzo

¹⁄ ³ cup basil pesto (homemade or jarred)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, coarsely

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST Healthy Living 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 Win energy$50abillcredit! PASTA SALADS These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 10 SEPTEMBER 2022

SUMMER ORZO SALAD Linda Kindy Hoch, Cherryland

2 teaspoons lemon zest + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), ½dividedcuproasted, salted pistachios, chopped Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. While pasta is cooking, stir together the pesto, oil, lemon juice, and zest in a large bowl. Add the pasta, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, salt, and a ½ cup feta cheese to the pesto mixture. Stir to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios and remaining ½ cup of feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

1choppedcuphalf-moon sliced cucumber (from a large cucumber or 2–3 mini cucumbers)

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

GREEK PASTA SALAD Martha Grose, Great Lakes Energy

1½ cups French dressing

3 tablespoons taco seasoning

2 cups penne pasta

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 fresh red bell pepper, diced 1 red onion, diced 1 cucumber, diced ½ bunch cilantro, chopped ½ bunch parsley, chopped ¼ bunch mint, chopped 4 tomatoes, diced 3 lemons, juiced ¾ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons dried oregano • salt and pepper, to taste

MACARONI SALAD Nancy Masters, Great Lakes Energy 6 ounces short-cut elbow macaroni • diced or sliced radishes, green peppers & green onions (equaling the amount of the cooked macaroni)

1 pound rotini (or any shape of pasta), cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water • any color bell pepper, diced • small onion, diced 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or quarters if they are big fellas)

NO-COOK TABBOULEH SALAD Jean Nishimoto, Great Lakes Energy

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook pasta, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes.

1 pound ground beef, cooked/ drained (for vegetarian, sub 1 can black beans—or half meaty and half meat-free)

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves



2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

• scant teaspoon chopped mint leaves • salt & pepper, to taste

²⁄ ³ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups shredded cheese (choose your favorite, we like sharp cheddar)

9¾ ounce bag nacho-flavored Doritos, crushed Pasta salad is great, and so are tacos. Why not bring the best of both together? Stir together beef (or black beans) with the taco seasoning. In a big bowl, combine beef (or black beans) with the noodles, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Then mix in the French dressing until everything is well combined. Lastly, stir in the chips (wait to do this until you are ready to serve so they keep their crunch!).

Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, green and red peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving. Serves 8.

1 tablespoon chopped marjoram leaves

• Hellmann’s mayonnaise (don’t substitute), to taste Prepare the day before serving to allow flavors to blend. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse under cool water. Add vegetables, eggs, herbs, seasonings, and mayonnaise. Extra mayo should be added the next day to moisten the salad. Makes 6–8 servings.

5 ounces Spicy V8 juice • salt and pepper, to taste 1 small box couscous (about 1 cup dried) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours. Serve immediately.

10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small red onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped ½ cucumber, partially or fully peeled, sliced ½ cup sliced black or Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves BACK TO SCHOOL WITH PBS KIDS! • Back-to-school checklist • First week of school planner • Learn at home checklist • Creating daily routines for kids • How to handle a tough first day of school • Practice super morning and bedtime routines • Helping your child get ready for the first day of school • How to cope with back-to-school anxiety • Teaching your kids it’s OK to fail All available

• $212 to a Montcalm County family, to help cover monthly housing costs.

How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant

Meeting remotely on Aug. 3, our People Fund board made three grants totaling $3,500, including: $2,000 to a Mecosta County family, to put in a well; $1,000 to the Lakeview Community Schools PTO, to purchase backpacks for students in need; and $500 to the Schoolhouse Quilters Guild in Sheridan, to purchase supplies to make reading pillows for donation.

On TV. Online.



Write to 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund page at Applications must be received by Oct. 18 for the October meeting or by Nov. 29 for the December meeting.

Meeting remotely on June 22, our People Fund board made three grants totaling $3,712, including: $2,000 to SIREN/Eaton Shelter, Inc. in Charlotte, to cover utility expenses; $1,500 to Chippewa Lake Community Church, to purchase food pantry items; and

People Fund Grants Over $7,000 To Help Families And Organizations In Need

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.

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. 26 and Oct. 24 at Portland. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least a week in advance of the meeting.

Reviewed the Co-op’s loan portfolio.

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

Your Board In Action

• In a special open member meeting, unanimously elected for the Cooperative to participate in the state of Michigan’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the 2022-23 heating season.

• Learned there were 100 new members in May.


• Learned there were 131 new members in June.

• Approved the immediate addition of a new full-time financial analyst position at the Co-op and authorized a combined increase of $60,000 to the Tri-County Electric and HomeWorks Connect 2022 budgets to cover the additional employment costs.

Also approved staff’s recommendation to hold the Co-op’s Annual Meeting of Delegates in person each August, starting back up in 2023 (barring any public health/safety concerns).

Meeting in Portland on July 25, your board of directors:

• In a special open member meeting, unanimously elected to accept management’s proposed revisions to the member billing rules and deposits section of the HomeWorks Rate Book, regarding security deposits.

• Authorized an increase of the Co-op’s maximum debt limit to $200 million, solely for the purpose of stating such amount in its various mortgage and security instruments as the maximum amount of debt to be secured thereunder.

Meeting in Portland on June 27, your board of directors:

Discussed and accepted Policy 102 – Functions of the Board of Directors, as revised.

• Reviewed a presentation on the history, current status, and future of the Co-op’s demand response program.

• Authorized General Manager Chris O’Neill to join the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s new broadband lobbying tier on behalf of the Co-op’s HomeWorks Connect fiber internet business, and to increase HomeWorks Connect’s 2022 operating budget by $20,000 to cover the associated dues.

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

Reviewed an electronic voting demonstration by thirdparty firm Survey and Ballot Systems and authorized management to bring forth for a vote at the Co-op’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Delegates a proposal to add electronic voting as an option for future HomeWorks director elections.

• Received an update on planning for the Co-op’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Delegates.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings

• Upon review of the capital budget financial presentation, voted unanimously to authorize management to proceed with additional borrowing for the HomeWorks Connect fiber internet project, not to exceed $20 million, and to move forward with the application for a Powervision loan of $25 million to cover future work plan and growth expenses of both the electric and fiber businesses.

Reviewed a financial presentation that included an update on 2021 capital budget results for the electric and fiber internet divisions, a forecast for total 2022 capital expenditures, and a look at the 10-year, longterm forecast for the electric and fiber businesses.

Approved staff’s recommendation, based on member feedback, to hold all future district membership meetings via a virtual format, with the addition of a new, annual social engagement event to be held in person in each district to supplement the virtual district meetings.

It’s easy to see apples in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but there are many less-obvious areas where Michigan apples are utilized. Interestingly, Michigan apples

“It’s easy to think that the only way to support local apple producers is to buy from the farmer’s market or a nearby orchard,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “But every Michigan apple farm is family-owned, so when you buy Michigan apples in your local supermarket or even a big-box store, you’re supporting a local farm and family.”

—Jon Friske are particularly coveted for the production of pies for national brands, as well as the more recent need for highquality apples in the “fresh slice” industry (think about your kid’s favorite Happy Meal) and the booming hard cider Michiganindustry.apples appeal to all industries because of their wide variety of flavors. Michigan’s specific climate and weather conditions lend to the specific flavor profiles, with local soil, temperatures, and the warm days and cool nights of the Mitten State adding to the tastiness. Growing conditions aside, Michigan apples are particularly special due to the farmers’ hard work and energy put into the crop.

“We take pride in all of our products,” said Scott Kromer, owner and operator of Knaebe’s Apple Farm, a PIE&G member in Rogers City. “We’re not only feeding your family, but our own. The orchard is our yard. It’s part of the community—and we put our whole heart into what we do.”

t’s easy to picture roadside stands and quaint orchards when we think about apples, but right along with those nostalgic mental pictures is a booming industry in our state.


Jon Friske, a third-generation farmer and Great Lakes Energy member who runs Friske Farm Market in Ellsworth with his siblings, Heidi and Rich, agrees.



“The connection a family has to their farm is unique. The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

Over a five-year period, Michigan apple orchards produced approximately 25 million bushels on over 700 farms, making the Great Lakes state the third-largest producer in the nation. Our doctor-repelling products are sold in over 30 states and nearly 20 different countries, making Michigan apples a pretty impressive business.

By Emily Haines Lloyd I

Knaebe’s Apple Farm


“We appreciate the way our co-op communicates with us. We get a lot of information and feel very involved,” said Friske. “It really is a partnership.”

If reliable energy enables the farms, it is the farmers’ hearts and souls that truly power the industry.

The pride in growing amazing products is vital, as is a reliable energy source, according to both farms. At Knaebe’s, Kromer and his family had a tree fall on a power line the day before they took over ownership of the farm, but with a quick response from PIE&G, they were able to face their opening day with running coolers and operating cash registers. At Friske Farm, they’ve invested in several energy upgrades, including a solar photovoltaic system for their on-site housing unit, and are evaluating and considering a geothermal system for the new farm market.

Friske Farm Market

Standing in front of Ida Red apples planted by Grandpa Friske (Richard Sr.).

“All of our apple farmers are this amazing combination of artists, gamblers, and scientists. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world,” said Smith. “We’re so proud of the work they do and the legacy they have created and continue to build for our state.”

Pictured from left to right: Evelyn (who was pregnant with now 3½-month-old son Laith), Jon, Ryker, Kasey, Tessa, Rich, Richard Jr., Wendy, Heidi, Eddie, Clara, and Kenny.

If you’re looking to support the hardworking apple farms of Michigan, check out this handy locator:

Pictured from left to right: Scott, Matthew, Alison, and Luke.

“The connection a family has to their farm is unique,” said Friske. “The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

1. Establishing the Cooperative’s Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor for 2023. The PSCR factor refers to the rate to be charged to reflect power supply costs incurred but not included in the base rate. The PSCR factor, to be applied to the Cooperative’s retail member-customers’ monthly kilowatthour use, represents the power supply costs established by the Cooperative in conjunction with Wolverine Power Cooperative. The factor is established annually and reviewed monthly.

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

The following item(s) will be discussed and considered:

The board of directors will consider the item(s) listed below at its meeting on Sept. 26, 2022, to be held at the Cooperative office at 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, Michigan. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and is open to all HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative members.

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

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative


Notice of changes or additions to the Cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date.

July 25, 2022, Open Member Meeting Results

Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate in the meeting. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact HomeWorks Tri-County Electric at 800-562-8232 at least a week in advance of the meeting to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance. Comments may also be made prior to the meeting date by calling CEO Chris O’Neill at 517-647-1284 or contacting him via email at Notice of the board meeting shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines.

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

Notice to Members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

The HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative board of directors, at a Special Open Meeting held July 25, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167 and P.A. 95, unanimously elected to revise the member billing rules and deposits section of the HomeWorks Rate Book to increase the security deposits on general service, commercial, and industrial accounts to not more than four times the average member-consumer’s estimated maximum bill and to note that half of the deposit will be returned to the member-consumer once four years of satisfactory payment history has been achieved, while the remaining deposit will be held until the account is inactive.

The HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative board of directors, at a Special Open Meeting held June 27, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167 and P.A. 95, unanimously elected for the Co-op to participate in the state of Michigan’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the 2022-23 heating season.

A Special Member Meeting is set for Sept. 26, 9 a.m., at the Cooperative’s Portland office

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 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 2021, HomeWorks Tri-County collected $1,000,878 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $652,810, resulting in an over-collection of $348,068. HomeWorks Tri-County achieved 3,711 MWh of energy savings in 2021 compared to their annual kWh goal of 3,094 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your Cooperative’s headquarters and or

HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative MPSC Case Number U-20388

The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors without filing a formal request under the Cooperative policy. Interested members are asked to come to the lobby by 9 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes.

June 27, 2022, Open Member Meeting Results

Public Act 295 as amended: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act 2021 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report

It’s time to apply for our 2023 classroom grants and college scholarships! For Teachers: We offer grants of up to $2,000 to help teachers in our service area provide S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education in their classrooms. Applications due Dec. 9 For Students: Current high school seniors living on our electric lines could be eligible for one of our one-time $1,000 scholarships to help with 2023-24 college expenses! Applications due March 13 For more info or to apply, click the Community tab at:

Then Dad would wait until the raccoon would tree (climb into a tree) to get away from the dogs. The hounds would bark, howl, and stay there until Dad came and shot the raccoon. Then he would take the raccoon and the dogs back to the Jeep. Then started the process over as many times as possible within the limited time he had. One of our most memorable adventures started just like every other hunt. He and I went about four miles south of Maple Valley with two dogs in the back of the Jeep. The dogs started howling. Dad stopped and turned them loose. They were still heading east when their howling started to get fainter off into the woods. We started after them. I clearly remember walking a long time. I wasn’t paying attention to the dogs or anything except keeping up with Dad. It was a pleasant fall night, and we went far into the woods. Finally, Dad stopped and said, “Let’s take a break. OK??” I said, “Sure, Dad.” We sat and leaned against a giant oak tree. The next thing I remember was waking up in daylight. I was resting against my Dad, covered with his coat and very comfortable. He said it was time to go home. He took off his coat and left it next to that oak tree. He said the dogs would get tired of chasing that raccoon and track our scent back to the tree. They would lay down on the coat. He would come back and get them later. I figured it

John is a Vietnam combat veteran with two Purple Hearts. He is retired from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and enjoys his time hunting, fishing, and enjoying northern Michigan’s outdoors. was a part of the plan. Mom was upset about us being out hunting all night when we got home. I thought a little more about that hunting trip until I got older. When I look back on that night, what stands out is the appearance of normalcy. No hint that we may have been lost. No talk about anything that may have made me, a child, worry. I have tried to keep that strength whenever I get nervous or frightened with my family.

July/August 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Connie Bortle, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Crossroads Village Carousel and Huckleberry Railroad park in Flint.  Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

Where In Michigan Is This?

M Column

y dad had 17 coon hounds and a war surplus Willys Jeep (circa 1940s). It had a canvas top, a windshield, and no doors. I often went with him coon hunting. He would drive his Jeep slowly down back roads with the dogs strapped in the back seat of the Jeep. When the dogs would pick up the fresh scent of a raccoon, they would start howling and jumping around. Dad would stop the Jeep and let the dogs out. They would run off into the woods howling and running like their tails were on fire.

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


By John Vick, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member

Coon Hunt

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit.$150!Win Win a $50 energy bill credit!

Geother mal Made Af for da ble(989)wellconnectgeo.com356-2113 HEAT & COOL YOUR HOME FOR HALF FOR DECADES. We’ll assess your home to assure it’s a good fit for a Well-Connect. GET QUALIFIED Do it yourself or have one of our certified dealers add the Well-Connect system. GET INSTALLED Live in comfort year-round while saving energy and reducing your environmental impact. GET COMFORTABLE Add Geothermal to Your Existing Furnace in 1-Day. Add Geothermal to Your Existing Furnace in 1-Day. HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? EASILY ADD GEOTHERMAL TO YOUR HOME Hyb Geoth EXISTING FURNACE 50° WATER 38° WATER 95° AIR 70° AIRWell-Connect is a hybrid ground-source heat pump that works with your existing furnace, it does not replace it. Similar to how a hybrid vehicle greatly reduces the need for gas, doubling the fuel e ciency, a Well-Connect significantly reduces the amount of propane, fuel oil or wood need to heat a home. This hybrid approach saves a homeowner 50% to 75% on heating costs. Heating with Well-Connect is like paying less than $1.00 per gallon of propane! ELIGIBLE FOR UP TO $2,000 REBATE & 26% TAX CREDIT DIY OR PROFESSIONAL, ANY TIME OF YEAR ONE-DAY INSTALLATION

L O C A L F A R M E R S ! H O M E W O R K S T H A N K S O U R W E A R E P R O U D T O P O W E R Y O U R M I D - M I C H I G A N F A R M S . We want you to get home safe to your loved ones this harvest season. While you are working from sunup till sundown and beyond to keep us all fed this fall, please work safely and stay mindful of the electric lines around you. We wish you a very prosperous harvest!