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ENERGY Cooperative

contents June 2017






Cooperators head to D.C.

14 15 28 30



Reimagine the American dream.

Grassroots support for co-ops evident.


What if nobody means it?


Find out what’s happening at your local electric cooperative.




On the COVER

Curds highlight festival.

Photo courtesy of Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce.


Delight in these recipes from the Dairyland.


YOUNG Members

Cute co-op kids get cozy with their critters.



Electrical outlets within 20 feet of a pool or hot tub should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).


Buy, sell, and trade with readers from across Wisconsin.


June fun abounds!

June 2017

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5/16/17 8:37 AM


THE EDITOR Thinking outside the box

I spent a recent long weekend enjoying New Orleans with some friends. Our primary focus was Dana Kelroy, Editor the food and drinks that the city is famous for, but I also inadvertently learned a bit about the city’s architecture. While residents of The Big Easy have a significantly different climate than we are accustomed to in Wisconsin, energy efficiency is still essential. Our building standards must account for swings from subzero temperatures to hot, humid summers, while they only concern themselves with the latter. For both regions, proper insulation, energy efficient windows, and other cost-effective investments in efficiency are key to keeping the energy bill lower. Because much of New Orleans is below sea level, basements are virtually non-existent. Neighborhood lots are often long and narrow, accommodating the “shotgun house” style, which is usually no more than about 12 feet wide with rooms stacked one behind the next. Samuel Wilson, Jr., an expert on local architecture, described the style aptly: “A projectile discharged from a gun aimed through the front door would presumably travel unimpeded through the house, and emerge from the rear; thus the derivation of the name.” We encountered an alternative to the customary shotgun house in one of the city’s neighborhoods. Builders utilized the container home trend that we cover on page 12 to fit one of the city’s long, narrow lots. Whether here in Wisconsin or in the deep south, non-traditional building styles help us to think outside the box and consider new ways to save energy.

June 2017 Vol. 77 No. 12 The Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News (Formerly Wisconsin R.E.C. News) has been published monthly and distributed since July 1940 to members of Wisconsin’s non-profit, consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives. It is available to non-members for $10 per year or $28 for three years. Published by the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, 222 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 680, Madison, WI 53703. Steve Freese, president & CEO. USPS number: 688-480. Postmaster: please send address changes to Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, 222 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 680, Madison, WI 53703. Periodicals postage paid at Baraboo, Wis. Send correspondence to Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, 222 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 680, Madison, WI 53703. Phone (608) 467-4650. Web site: Co-op Members: Please send address changes to your local electric co-op. Contact information can be found on page 18. Steve Freese Dana Kelroy Mary Erickson David Hoopman Ann Bailey Tina Walden Geri Miller

WECA president & CEO editor associate editor contributing writer graphic designer editorial assistant advertising consultant

For advertising opportunities please email The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

On a recent trip to New Orleans, we spotted this home made out of recycled shipping containers. According to, the home is 1,280 square feet with an open floor plan and includes spray-foam insulation, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and tankless water heaters. See page 10 for more on alternative home styles, including container homes. (Photo courtesy of Julie Hebert.)


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1 2

1. Above, Senator Tammy Baldwin makes a point to members of the Wisconsin delegation as more than 2,000 local electric cooperative leaders from across the United States participated in last month’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Association legislative conference in Washington, D.C. 2. Among nearly 80 from Wisconsin involved in face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives, senators, and staff were (l-r) Mark Forseth and Mike Wade, Central Wisconsin Electric; Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI, 8th Dist.); Tony Wagner, Oconto Electric; Tom and Anne Smith and grandchildren, Central Wisconsin; and Byron Nolde, Oconto Electric.


Full operation of Mississippi Power’s Kemper County plant, the nation’s biggest venture into carbon capture and sequestration, has again been held up by technological problems and cost overruns, the online news service Mississippi Today reports. At the end of January, full operation was reportedly imminent. The project was then two years behind schedule and more than $4 billion over its original cost estimate of $2.9 billion. The latest delay will add $38 million more to cost overruns. The 582-megawatt facility has been generating electricity since 2014, but from natural gas, not the lignite-based synthetic gas that was the core concept of the original plan. The same week the latest delay was announced, a Mississippi Power web site stated that the Kemper facility “Has plant operations about four times better than the industry average.” 6


La Crosse County Judge Todd Bjerke declined to block the entire 180-mile Badger Coulee transmission project but stopped work in May on a seven-mile segment in the Town of Holland. The town filed a court challenge against the line between the La Crosse area and Middleton, claiming the Public Service Commission shouldn’t have approved the project on the basis of need. Bjerke stopped short of agreeing on the broader issue but concluded the Commission failed to show a rational basis for approving a route through the town that shares right-of-way with another transmission line but uses separate poles, in many cases on opposite sides of Highway 53. Bjerke directed the regulatory panel to re-examine its routing decision. Further work on the short segment of the 345-kilovolt line awaits the commission’s response and Bjerke’s reaction.

Creation of a Rural America Task Force, announced by the Trump administration during last month’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) legislative conference in Washington, D.C., was scored as a victory by the coop organization’s leadership. NRECA CEO Jim Matheson called the task force “a key step as we seek to develop rural communities economically.” In February, dozens of rural organizations spearheaded by NRECA formally requested action by the administration to focus attention on rural concerns. The development agenda as outlined by Matheson includes “implementing new energy technologies to meet tomorrow’s energy needs while also deploying broadband and other services to enhance daily lives throughout rural America. The task force will be headed by Agriculture Secretary, former Georgia Governor, and electric co-op member Sonny Perdue.


Collette Honorable, appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014, has announced she will step down from the panel when her term expires at the end of June. With lead time needed for Senate confirmation of nominees, Honorable’s departure could reduce the commission’s membership to one from the customary five. With just two sitting members and lacking the required three-member quorum, the agency has been unable to conduct business since February, raising alarms especially in the natural gas industry, where key pipeline projects are stalled by the FERC’s inability to act. The Trump administration had been expected since February to name former National Rural Electric Cooperative Association lobbyist Neal Chatterjee to fill one of the vacancies, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson to fill another, and Cleveland, Ohio, energy attorney Kevin McIntyre to chair the commission, but as of press time for this edition of Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, nominations had not been submitted to start Senate confirmation.

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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Steve Freese President and CEO


t the end of April more than 2,000 electric cooperative members from across the country— including 77 from Wisconsin—descended upon Washington, D.C., to talk with members of Congress. Our National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) organizes this massive effort along with statewide co-op organizations, to demonstrate the grassroots support for electric cooperatives across the country and show that decision-makers need to understand our concerns. My January column described efforts to restore expired tax credits for geothermal heating systems. This figured prominently in our April conversations: The geothermal credit was one of three priority energy tax credits we talked about with our representatives. Another was a Nuclear Production Tax Credit to allow the few co-ops and municipal utilities that share ownership of emissions-free nuclear generation an opportunity for cost recovery similar to that available to investor-owned utilities. The final tax credit request was to update an existing credit for carbon-capture technologies to reduce emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants. Thanks to widely deployed control technologies, emissions have been reduced dramatically over many years. But carbon-capture technology has been plagued by technical difficulties and cost overruns. It can’t be considered available for off-the-shelf use on a commercial basis, yet regulations currently under review effectively mandate its use. In the event that a mandate is adopted, stronger, permanent tax credits available to cooperatives could help address the cost issues and


improve prospects for development of this technology. Another issue on our Washington agenda was improving federal land management policies so we can strengthen electric grid reliability. When Wisconsinites think about federal lands we usually visualize western states, but millions of acres in our state—such as the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest—are federal lands. Required to meet state and federal reliability standards, electric cooperatives develop right-of-way and maintenance plans that include vegetation management. On federal lands, these activities require permits from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, oftentimes for routine maintenance including removing fallen trees and power-line upgrades. Unfortunately, it’s common for the review of permit applications and renewal of plans to delay routine projects for months or even years. We’re asking Congress to reform and streamline right-of-way reviews and establish time limits for approval so we can assure reliability of the electric grid. The work our Wisconsin delegation accomplished during a few days in Washington was remarkable. They made their case on each issue to both of our U.S. Senators, Representatives Grothman and Gallagher, and the staff of our six other House members. Their effort epitomizes the beliefs of the founders regarding the right of citizens to petition their government. The dialogue between Wisconsin cooperative leaders and their representatives shows the respect our elected lawmakers have for the mission of electric cooperatives. We’ll keep on reminding our representatives what’s important to our ability to keep electricity reliable, affordable, and safe in rural Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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The new living space Reimagining the American Dream A house, two kids, a manicured lawn, and a well-maintained fence to keep it all safe. For years, that’s the dream to which many Americans aspired.


Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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ut if you’ve scrolled through your social media feed lately or watched one of the countless reality shows about real estate and housing, you might’ve noticed that many folks are eschewing that traditional American home in favor of alternative accommodations. The reasons people prefer these non-traditional structures are as diverse as the buildings themselves. Some want to simplify and declutter their lives, some hope to save money or reduce energy use, and some just want to try something different. Here’s a look at a few of the more popular non-traditional home designs that might be coming to a neighborhood near you.

Tiny houses

The tiny house trend got its start with a man named Jay Shafer who built his first miniature house on wheels in Iowa in 1999. Shafer is a person who liked to challenge the status quo, and after living in a variety of non-traditional spaces over the years, he started drawing plans for imaginary houses. Over time, the designs got simpler and smaller, and he was inspired to build one for real when he learned they didn’t meet building codes. He took that as a challenge, and realized that if he built the house on a prefabricated, street legal trailer, it would be considered a trailer

load and not a house, and thus, not subject to building codes. This non-conformity has made tiny houses a controversial issue in many communities, and local governments have struggled to balance individual rights, local codes, and public safety. Their non-traditional design has also made tiny houses more difficult to finance and insure, although options for both are available. Despite these challenges, thousands of people have purchased do-it-yourself plans and pre-built tiny houses from Shafer and other designers. Unlike mobile homes or camping trailers, tiny houses look like real houses, with square corners, traditional siding materials and pitched roofs. They typically offer 100 to 130 square feet of living space, and must be less than 8 feet 6 inches wide and 13 feet 6 inches tall to legally drive on the road without a special permit. The weight varies based on the length and rating of the trailer, but tiny houses are typically much heavier than camping trailers because they are made from traditional building materials. In March 2017, the city of Portland, Oregon, launched a pilot program that uses tiny modular units to help address the community’s severe homelessness problem. Homeowners who volunteer to participate in the program will have one of these government-built tiny houses

placed in their backyard. Homeless families who qualify for the pilot program will occupy the units. After five years, the homeowners can take over the spaces and use them for rental income, creating what city officials hope is a win-win for property owners and individuals experiencing homelessness.

Monolithic domes

As the name suggests, monolithic domes are built as a single, cast-in-place structure of concrete and reinforcing steel. Though domes have been built for thousands of years, the first modern monolithic dome was built by three brothers in 1975 to store potatoes in Idaho. The large open space and lack of support columns makes monolithic domes ideal structures for storing agricultural products and other bulk materials such as rock salt and portland cement. The geometry of domes makes them incredibly strong structures, and their smooth, round shape is also aerodynamic. Those two factors make monolithic domes excellent shelters during tornados and other natural disasters. In Oklahoma, monolithic domes have become a popular choice for local governments constructing large gathering spaces that can pull double duty as a school gym, auditorium, or cafeteria under normal conditions, and an emer-

1. Tiny houses look like real houses, with square corners, traditional siding materials, and pitched roofs. They typically offer 100 to 130 square feet of living space, and must be less than 8 feet 6 inches wide and 13 feet 6 inches tall to legally drive on the road without a special permit. 2. Monolithic domes offer homeowners the high ceilings and large open floor plans that are so popular today. They are also highly efficient, requiring about a quarter of the energy required to heat and cool a similarly sized traditional structure. Photo courtesy of Kevin McGuckin.


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gency shelter during severe weather. Since they are made out of concrete, they are also resistant to fire. In addition to these safety benefits, domes offer homeowners the high ceilings and large open floor plans that are so popular today. They are also highly efficient, requiring about a quarter of the energy required to heat and cool a similarly sized traditional structure, according to the Monolithic Dome Institute. The domes are so well sealed that most require a ventilation system to bring in fresh air from the outside, and the Monolithic Dome Institute recommends all-electric mechanical systems in domes to reduce the risks associated with combustion of natural gas and propane.

Container homes

In recent years, the shipping container has become a political symbol for many people. To some, they are a symbol of the decline of American manufacturing and the loss of well-paying jobs to countries with lower labor costs. To others, the containers are tools that connect us to a globalized economy and lower the cost of many consumer goods we purchase every day. But to another group of architecture enthusiasts, the shipping containers we see every day stacked on cargo boats, carried by freight trains, and pulled by semi-trucks are grown-up sized Lego blocks waiting to be turned into a home. The first container buildings were built by people and organizations looking for a fast, simple, and low-cost way to provide shelter. Containers are strong, easy to transport and, thanks to global trade, abundant. Over time, what started as a clever way to recycle old containers and quickly build inexpensive structures has morphed into an architectural trend.


The modular, boxy aesthetic of shipping containers gives container homes a modern look that many find appealing. Today, container homes range in size and complexity from modest, inexpensive, utilitarian dwellings to large, highly customized, luxury homes. Container home enthusiasts say the three keys to a successful project are understanding all local building codes and safety regulations before starting the project, hiring a contractor that has previous experience with this unique form of construction, and purchasing the correct type of container.

Old house, new tricks Even traditional houses aren’t immune to the trend of alternative construction techniques. Advances in technology have transformed the manufactured housing business as well. In addition to the classic mobile home and newer modular home designs, homeowners can now purchase high-end custom homes created from pre-fabricated panels that are built in a climate-controlled factory and assembled onsite. In 2016, the popular public television show This Old House featured one of these modern luxury catalogue homes as one of its two projects for the season. The homeowners estimated they saved approximately 15 percent over the cost of a traditional stick-built house, which they used to invest in nicer finishes and details than they would have otherwise been able to afford. Justin LaBerge writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

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Everybody loves Paris


What if nobody means it?

ince Cole Porter wrote the tune in 1953, vocalists have sung that they “love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles.” There are signs that this summer the word might be “fizzles.” In March, G-20 finance ministers representing the world’s largest economies drafted a statement for issuance this July. Last July, they endorsed the 2015 Paris climate agreement’s proposed yearly transfer of $100 billion to less-developed nations to reduce CO2 emissions. This year, emphasizing “scarce public resources,” the G-20 draft introduced an entirely different approach, urging development banks to raise private money for climate programs and leaving government funding unmentioned.

Going Their Own Way The finance ministers’ retreat from Paris came well before the Trump administration’s intensive deliberations over staying in or vacating the climate agreement. In May, combing media sources for clues to the Trump decision, we found this in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review: “Why India and Pakistan Are Renewing Their Love Affair with Coal.” Days earlier, Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), published a study noting India’s plan for nearly 370 new coal-fired power plants—178 gigawatts under planning—an amount the AGU said would make India meeting its Paris commitment to carbon dioxide reduction “nearly impossible.” India’s rapid expansion of generation capacity is unsurprising; some 300 million of its people still live without electricity. Meanwhile, Technology Review reports, an infrastructure investment project with China calls for Pakistan to add a dozen new coal plants, equaling—a separate Reuters report said— three-fourths of Pakistan’s planned new capacity. MIT quoted a Pakistani government minister saying his nation “must” use its coal reserves, “adequate to meet the country’s energy needs for several decades, for powering the country’s economic wheel, creating new jobs, and fighting spiking unemployment and poverty.” Running in Place An April feature [“Uncharted Waters”] in this magazine briefly noted CO2 emissions from energy production staying flat in 2016 for a third consecutive year, amid 3-percent 14

global economic growth. The report, from the Paris-based International Energy Agency, credited U.S. and Chinese emission reductions for preventing a worldwide increase while European emissions remained stable and most of the rest of the world’s emissions grew. Perhaps underappreciated is the extent to which national priorities were set before, and unaltered by, the Paris summit. For instance, what’s implied by the absence of penalties for signing the agreement but ignoring the resulting commitment? The near-200 signatory nations obviously understand there’s no enforcement mechanism; indeed, even those expecting to keep their commitments understand that if there was an enforcement mechanism there would be no Paris agreement. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry, who shepherded the agreement to approval, addressed the Paris summit December 9, 2015 saying, “If all the industrialized nations went down to zero emissions, it wouldn’t be enough,” and adding that more than 65 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions originate in the developing world. What did Kerry mean by “enough?” Back to MIT: Months before the summit, in their 2015 Energy and Climate Outlook, MIT scholars calculated the effect of the Paris agreement’s emission reductions. They wrote that the cuts awaiting achievement “have lowered our estimate of future warming by about 0.2 degrees Celsius [0.36 Fahrenheit]” at the end of this century.

Don’t Bet Against Inertia Debating whether the United States should be “in” or “out” makes headlines, but the net effect may be more reliably foretold by the rarity, through decades of climate wrangling, of nations taking paths they weren’t already following. Developing countries increase emissions because keeping their populations in the dark is figuratively and literally inconceivable. A fully industrialized Germany sees its emissions grow as it massively adds renewables because they require near-equivalent backup generation. The IEA says U.S. emissions, already trending downward, are at their lowest since 1992. More than anything done or undone by any administration, inexpensive natural gas says that will continue. Loopholes exist for a reason. It may turn out that the Paris climate agreement’s sole undeniable effect is the additional carbon dioxide emitted back in 2015 from the Champagne uncorked to celebrate its signing. —Dave Hoopman

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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o ct N tra e n Fe o N hly t

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Delight in the



Blueberry Preserves: 2 cups blueberries 1/2 cup water 2/3 cup sugar, preferably superfine 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1 Tbsp water Juice and zest of 1 lime 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped, optional Biscuits: 4 prepared biscuits (store bought or use your favorite recipe) 10 oz Wisconsin cheese curds 2 Tbsp fresh thyme Place blueberries, water, and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until berries soften, give up some juice, but keep their shape. While berries cook, dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to softened berries and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture thickens (if you like a thicker “preserve,� add additional cornstarch-water mixture). Remove from heat and taste for sweetness; stir additional sugar into mixture, if preferred, and stir until dissolved. Add lime juice, zest, and 1 teaspoon thyme, if using. Cool and refrigerate, bringing to room temperature at serving time. Heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Split biscuits in half. Top each half with cheese curds. Bake 5 minutes to toast biscuits and warm curds. Remove from oven. Top with blueberry preserves and thyme. Serve with blueberry jam.

Photos and recipes are courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Biscuits with Cheese Curds and Blueberry Preserves

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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Photos and recipes are courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Wisconsin Havarti Crab Melts 6 oz jumbo lump crab meat 1 Tbsp mayonnaise 1 Tbsp finely diced red onion 1 Tbsp finely chopped celery 1 Tbsp finely chopped chives

2 tsp fresh lemon juice 6 oz Havarti cheese, shredded 2 English muffins, split (making 4 halves) 1 pinch coarse salt 1 pinch freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to broil. In medium bowl, combine lump crab meat, mayonnaise, red onion, celery, most of the chives, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Evenly divide the mixture over the four English muffin halves and top each with a mound of shredded havarti. Place under the broiler for approximately 3 minutes until cheese melts and bubbles. Garnish each melt with the remaining chives. Serve immediately.

Grilled Four-Cheese Flatbread

1/4 cup (2 oz) olive oil, divided 2 cups (1/2 pound) mixed mushrooms (baby bella, cremini, oyster, shiitake), sliced 1 Tbsp roasted garlic, minced 1/4 cup dry white wine Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 1 prepared 12-inch flatbread dough/shell 1/3 cup (4 oz) light tomato sauce (salsa Fresca) 1/2 cup San Marzano plum tomatoes, drained and sliced 1 cup (1 oz) baby spinach leaves, washed and left slightly damp 1 cup (4 oz) Italian cheese blend (equal parts asiago, provolone, parmesan, and mozzarella), shredded

Berry Fresh Brick Salad 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 3 Tbsp pomegranate juice 2 Tbsp honey 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1 Tbsp olive oil 4 cups mixed baby or chopped greens

In medium skillet, heat 1 ounce olive oil; add mushrooms, cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned; about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook until fragrant; about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until evaporated; about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Brush prepared flatbread dough or shell with 1/2 ounce olive oil and grill evenly over medium high heat until lightly browned; about 1–2 minutes per side. Lightly spread sauce evenly over one side of flatbread. Top with half the cheese blend, prepared mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and remaining cheese. Grill or finish in a very hot oven heated between 475 and 500 degrees until heated through and cheese melts; about 2 minutes. Transfer flatbread to work surface and drizzle with remaining olive oil; season with salt and pepper and serve.

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced 4.4 oz fresh blueberries 1/4 cup (1 oz) Wisconsin brick cheese, cut in small cubes (about 1/2-inch) 1/4 cup (1 oz) Wisconsin string cheese, cut into small cubes (about 1/2-inch)

Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking to combine; set aside. In large bowl, combine mixed greens and remaining ingredients. Add dressing, tossing well.

Peach Ricotta Upside Down Cake Crumble: 6 Tbsp butter, melted 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 3 peaches, pitted and sliced into eighths

Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs, room temperature 2 tsp vanilla extract 1-1/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour 1/3 cup cornmeal 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt Zest of 1/4 lemon 1 cup (8 oz) Wisconsin whole-milk ricotta cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch round springform pan. Pour melted butter into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter; do not stir. Starting from outside rim, place concentric circles of peaches to cover bottom of pan. Set aside. Beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar in bowl of electric mixer on high until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Alternate additions of flour mixture and ricotta, folding into butter mixture after each addition until ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick. Carefully spoon batter into prepared pan, covering peaches and smoothing cake surface with spatula. Bake 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert cake over plate or platter. Release and carefully remove springform pan. Serve cake warm. June 2017

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RECIPE EXCHANGE Submit your favorite recipes to be featured on our reader recipe page. Email to Cottage Cheese Cake Mary Ann Giemza, Arcadia

20 graham crackers, finely rolled 1–1/2 cups sugar, divided 1–1/2 cups butter, divided 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup milk 2 eggs, separated 2 pkgs Knox gelatin 1/2 cup lukewarm water 1 lb cottage cheese, well drained 1–3/4 cups whipping cream 1 can pineapple chunks, drained Mix graham crackers, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup butter. Press firmly on the bottom and sides of a spring form pan. Reserve 3/4 cup for topping. In the top of a double boiler, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt. Stir in milk and place over simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is creamy. Add the gelatin and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Mix in the cottage cheese, whipping cream, and pineapple. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Sprinkle remaining graham cracker mixture on the top. Pour into crust and chill until firm.


Hearty Krautwiches

Crockpot Chicken Chili

4 hard cooked eggs, divided 1 can sauerkraut, well drained 1/3 cup Russian salad dressing 1 medium red onion 6 onion buns 8 oz thinly sliced salami 6 slices Muenster cheese 6 oz sliced liverwurst 6 lettuce leaves

2–3 chicken breasts 1 can great northern beans 1 can white corn 1 can navy beans 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 can chicken broth 1 pkg taco seasoning 8 oz sour cream Shredded cheese Crushed tortilla chips

Lluvia Springer, Lyndon Station

In a small bowl, chop one egg; stir in sauerkraut and salad dressing. Chop half of the onion; add to sauerkraut mixture. Slice remaining eggs and onion; set aside. On the bottom part of the bun, layer salami, cheese, liverwurst, lettuce, onion, and about 1/3 cup of sauerkraut mixture. Top each with sliced eggs and additional salad dressing if desired. Replace bun tops.

Jerry Majors, Pardeeville

Layer chicken, beans, and corn in a crockpot. Mix chicken soup, chicken broth, and taco seasoning. Pour over chicken/beans. Simmer on low 7–8 hours. Remove and shred chicken; add back to crockpot and stir. Add 8 ounces of sour cream. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

Robert Redfield Dessert Marianne Severson, West Allis

1 cup flour 1/2 cup butter 1 cup pecans, finely chopped 8 oz package cream cheese, softened 8 oz whipped topping, thawed 1 cup powdered sugar 4 oz instant chocolate pudding mix 4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix 3 cups milk 1–1/2 oz milk chocolate candy bars, grated Mix flour, butter, and nuts until crumbly, press into 9x13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool completely. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar on high with a mixer until smooth. Fold in half the whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust. Mix the puddings with milk; beat slowly with mixer until smooth (2 minutes). Spread on top of cheese layer. Let stand a few minutes, then spoon remaining whipped topping over top and spread carefully. Sprinkle with grated milk chocolate bar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

REQUESTS from our

READERS An online reader requested a recipe for chocolate pudding cake. If you have a recipe request, or would like to submit a recipe for publication, please write to Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News, What’s Cooking? 222 West Washington Ave., Suite 680, Madison, WI 53703-2719 or contact us via our website, Thanks!

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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have their


Festival celebrates community’s key product


o one does cheese curds like Ellsworth. This Pierce County village is, after all, the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin, a title bestowed upon the community in 1984 by then governor Anthony Earl. It’s a fitting honor for the home of the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, which has achieved world-wide acclaim for the fresh cheese curds it produces and sells daily. It’s no surprise, then, that Ellsworth’s signature celebration is the Cheese Curd Festival held each June at Ellsworth’s East End Park. What might be surprising, however, is the extent to which the community goes to toast its native treat, not to mention the creativity involved in serving it up. Who knew cheese curds were so tasty dipped in a cinnamon-sugar mix? Or cooked in a brat, or blended into potato salad? No wonder the festival’s website advises visitors to wear stretchy pants.


Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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5/16/17 10:22 AM

WISCONSIN FAVORITES Foodie Fest The need for stretchy pants is a fairly recent development. This year the festival will mark its 16th year, but it will bear little resemblance to the earlier versions. The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival Committee is in the midst of a three-year restructuring plan that has transformed the event from a typical small-town festival into a full-out foodie paradise. Russ Korpela, executive director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, explained that the earlier Cheese Curd Festivals offered a wide variety of activities commonly found in small community celebrations everywhere, but very little in the way of a cheese-curd experience. He saw this as a missed opportunity, given the community’s natural hook.

“As communities look to differentiate themselves, it’s important to brand yourself around something that’s authentic,” he explained. “One of the great things about Ellsworth is we have this authentic brand of agriculture—cheese curds.” The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Korpela pointed out, attracts visitors from all over the country who come to purchase some of the 160,000 pounds of curds produced there each day. “The Cooperative Creamery enjoys about 80,000 visitors annually to its retail store,” he said. “They come to buy cheese curds. And about three quarters of those people are not from this area. So we knew there was potential— that people already enjoy coming into western Wisconsin.”

Therefore, Korpela said one of the festival committee’s strategic moves was to refocus on Ellsworth cheese curds as the center of the event. Last year, the festival served up classic deep-fried curds hand dipped in a batter made especially for Ellsworth cheese curds by Sturdiwheat Foods in Red Wing, Minnesota. Another original creation introduced at the 2016 festival called for the battered and fried curds to be dipped in a cinnamon-sugar mix. “That was extremely popular—we went through 2,300 pounds of cheese curds last year, which is about 5,000 servings,” Korpela said. The committee also expanded the festival’s offering of food booths and kept the focus of vendor-supplied foods on cheese curds as well. Jay Nesseth, member services manager at Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, is a member of the Cheese

Ellsworth lives up to its hype as the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin all year long, but especially during the Cheese Curd Festival. Visitors can sample cheese curds prepared in some unique ways, such as kabobs, sandwiches, and brats. The festival will also feature live music by regional acts all weekend, an antique tractor show, and a classic car show.

June 2017

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5/15/17 2:31 PM

Ellsworth cheese curds are produced at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, but they can be found in hundreds of restaurants and stores all over America. (All photos are courtesy of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce.)

Curd Festival Committee and in charge of the food booths. “One of the main requirements is that each of the food vendors has to incorporate cheese curds into one of their menu items,” Nesseth said. “One of the other things we try to do is avoid duplicates, and that gives vendors an opportunity to experiment with their own recipes and come up with some really different options and ideas.” This year, Nesseth said, he expects the festival to include six to eight food vendors, with unusual curd-based items including Mac & Cheese Curd Dogs, Wisconsin Cheese Curd Potato Salad, Hickory Bacon Cheese Curd Loaded Baked Potatoes, and Smoked Pulled Pork with Curds.

Other New Features Visitors to this year’s Cheese Curd Festival will find new choices beyond the unique foods served up by the vendors. Along with the classic deep-fried cheese curds and signature cinnamon-sugar dipped curds, the festival will be introducing a new hot Buffalo wing curd developed by the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. In addition, Korpela said refrigeration will be brought to the fest grounds this year so visitors can buy 1-pound bags of the creamery’s fresh curds right on site. The fresh curds will be available in a variety of flavors including garlic, ranch, pizza, and bacon. “We also really ramped up our tasting events,” he added. “This year we’ll have a milk-tasting event. There will be a separate ice cream tasting, and a tasting that will feature beer, wine, and cider. Most of these are produced somewhere in the 30- to 40-mile radius of Ellsworth.” In addition, as part of the festival’s rebuilding program, organizers have narrowed the entertainment focus to music with an eye toward rebranding the event as a food and music festival. This year’s event will feature three stages, with a variety of live music performed by regional acts throughout the festival. Beyond the Festival

Efforts to refocus on cheese curds have extended beyond the Cheese Curd Festival. The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce recently received two grants: One is a Joint Effort Marketing Grant from the


Department of Tourism, used to launch a more sophisticated and extensive marketing and promotion plan for the festival. The other is a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Main Street program called Connect Communities, which provides assistance to communities in finding resources. Korpela said this grant is being used to help find sources to establish the authentic cheese-curd brand throughout Ellsworth, all year long. For example, Korpela said the Chamber is working with area restaurants to make sure they have cheese curds on their menu in some form or another year-round. Some unique items already served in restaurants around Ellsworth are cheese curd burgers and dishes with cheese-curd crumble toppings. Other possible community projects, Korpela added, include adding interpretive signage around the community, with fun facts about cheese curds and –Russ Korpela, Ellsworth Area their economic impact Chamber of Commerce in the area. At the center of these efforts is the Cooperative Creamery, which has been promoting Ellsworth through its famous cheese curds since it began producing them in 1968. Nesseth pointed out that Ellsworth cheese curds can be found in restaurants throughout the country. He also noted that lines of loyal and dedicated customers from all over form at the creamery at 11 a.m. every day when the cheese curds are ready for sale, and for good reason. “They’re fresh, they’re warm, they’re squeaky, and they are good,” he said. Come to Ellsworth June 23 and 24 to see for yourself. Just be sure to wear stretchy pants.—Mary Erickson

“One of the great things about Ellsworth is we have this authentic brand of agriculture—

cheese curds.”

The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival will be held Friday, June 23, from 4 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the East End Park on Wall St. in Ellsworth, just off Highway 10. To learn more, visit

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

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Kids and Critters June 2017 1

1. Bo and his beef calf are beautiful babies. Photo sent in by Bo’s parents, Nick and Nikki Sadoski, members of Adams–Columbia Electric.


2. Katie and her Great Dane Opie play catch with snowballs. Photo submitted by Kelly Phillips, a member of Taylor Electric. 3. Tyler covers his canine pal in a blanket. Photo sent in by grandparents Dennis and Karen Baader, and great-grandma Lucy Baader, members of Riverland Energy. 4. Madelyn cannot get enough of Helmet. Photo submitted by Pat Krause, a member of Clark Electric.

Upload photos directly

to the new through the “Submit a photo” tab. Send photos of kids with animals, along with a brief description, to WECN Magazine, 222 W. Washington Ave., Suite 680, Madison, WI 53703-2719.



Please include the name of your electric co-op. Photos will be returned. If in good-resolution, electronic format, photos may also be uploaded via through the “Submit a photo” tab. By submitting, sender implies that he/she has rights to and owns the image, and grants WECN permission to use the image. By submitting, the parent or legal guardian also authorizes us the right to publish the image.

June 2017

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5/10/17 11:48 AM



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HUNTING LAND. 80 acres located on Hwy H, Sheldon, WI. Good hunting, deer and bear. Creek running through both 40’s. Open acreage on front 40. Good building site. Older mobile home with electricity. $120,000.00. Call George at 920-988-8057.

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Classified ads reach more than 171,000 mailboxes. RATES: For non-members of Wisconsin rural electric co-ops: one insertion, $25 minimum (up to 20 words); additional words, $1.25 each. For members of Wisconsin rural electric co-ops: one insertion, $14 minimum (up to 20 words); additional words, $.70 each. Count name, address, and phone number as part of ad. Please include zip code. FOR PROOF OF MEMBERSHIP, please include your address label from your copy of the magazine. FREQUENCY DISCOUNTS: 2% discount for 3 months; 5% for 6 months; 10% for 12 months. DEADLINE: 1st of the month prior to the month in which the ad is to appear. All classified ads must be paid in advance. There is no agency discount on classifieds. Make check or money order payable to: WECA. Mail to: WECN, Attn. Tina Walden, 222 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 680, Madison, WI 53703. Ph: 608-467-4599. Email

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• Comes in various Sizes and Colors. • Website shows nearly 100 uses for this product. • Helps prevent Bruising, Cuts, Scratches, and Burns. • Ideal for those who Bruise Easily or have Thin Skin. • Protection from thorny/needled plants & trees. • Easily worn under regular gloves or over sleeves.

Get the Muck


Marble size AquaclearTM Pellets clear your lake or pond bottom.

Beneficial microorganisms. Restore balance in natural and man made surface waters. Increase water New clarity. Improve water quality. Reduced Eliminate black organic muck. Prices!

A 10 lb. bag treats .50 to 1.0 acres $89.00 A 50 lb. bag treats 2.5 to 5.0 acres $319.00

Apply weekly for 4 weeks, then monthly to maintain. No water use restrictions!



OUR 56th YEAR Order online today, or request free information.

Our 62nd year


PO Box 10748, DEPT 623X White Bear Lake, MN 55110-0748

June 2017

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June 2017

WISCONSIN EVENTS 2 Farmers Market––Rome. Alpine Village Business Park, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.

11 Guided Walking Tour––Fountain City. Kinstone, 1–2:15 p.m. 608-687-3332.

18 Auction & Picnic––Glidden. Historic Marion Park, 12 p.m. 715-264-3851.

2, 3 Drive-Thru Indian Tacos and Bake Sale–– Tigerton. Zion Lutheran Church, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

12–14 Food Stand––Richland Center. Community Center, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Chicago hot dogs with traditional trimmings, Wis. brats, more.

22 Zoomobile––Lena. Public Library, 12:30–1:30 p.m. We will learn about animals, their habitats, and get to touch some of them! 920-829-5335.

14 Charcoal Chicken Dinner––Jim Falls. United Methodist Church, 4:30–7 p.m. 1/4 chicken $9, 1/2 chicken $11. Kids (5–12 yrs) $4.25. Carryouts available.

23 Farmer’s Market––Rome. Alpine Village Business Park, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

2, 3 Garage Sale––Cassville. City-wide, 7–11:45 a.m. 2–4 Dairy Days––Thorp. Northside Park. ATV, truck, and tractor pulls, inflatables, baseball, volleyball, bean bag, music, food vendors, parade. 3 Dairy Breakfast––Prairie du Chien. Seeger Farm, 6–10 a.m. Adults $2, 6 and under $1. All you can eat pancake breakfast. 608-391-0134. 3 Golf Outing—Suring. Red Maple Country Club. 920-590-1240. 3 Salute to Rhubarb Fest––Fountain City. Park, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Arts and crafts, tasting contest, stalk car races, largest leaf contest, strolling music, food. 3 Drenched by the River 5K Run/Walk–– Cassville. Riverside Park, 10 a.m. $40 per person. 4 Pancake Breakfast––Gilman. Jump River Community Center, 8 a.m.–noon. 8 Salad Lunch and Bake Sale––Adams. A-F VFW Post 6279, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Salads, rolls, dessert. $7. 608-339-6818. 8, 9 Harvest of Talents Garage Sale–– Ladysmith. First Church of Christ, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Gently used clothing, furniture, dishes, tools, antiques, etc. 10 Dairy Breakfast––Clinton. Brandl Farm, 6:30–11 a.m. All you can eat pancake breakfast, crafts, farm tours. 10 Harvest of Talents Garden Tour––Sheldon. Frank & Nancy Cynor’s, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Garden tour, refreshments, art for sale. 10 Fundraiser Auction––Stanley. Maple Grove Bible Church, 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Antique car, 1/2 beef, cord of wood, 3-wheeler, furniture, household, etc. 11 Golf Outing––Friendship. Moundview Country Club, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Four person teams w/cart. 608-547-7303. 11 Plant Sale––Eau Claire. Phoenix Park, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.


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15, 22, 29 Farmer’s Market––Stetsonville. Centennial Community Center, 2–6:30 p.m. 16, 17 Rummage Sale––Clinton. Community Historical Society, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. 16, 17 La Follette Days—Argyle. Saxton House, 4–5 p.m. 608-642-2537. 16–18 Dairy Days––Gilman. Park, Fri. 5–10 p.m.; Sat. 7 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun. 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m. 16–18 Wizards of Rods Fun Run––Warrens. Jellystone Park & Campground. Car show, games, band, fish fry, cruise. $15. 608-985-8040 or 608-343-2433. 17 Classic Car Show––Osseo. Downtown, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Registration $5, admission free. Craft show, carnival rides, refreshment tent, food stands. 17 Gilbert Brown Custom & Classic Car Show–– Montello. Wilderness Campground, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. $10 donation to enter the Custom & Classic Car Show. 17 Pie and Ice Cream Social––Adams. Lions Park, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dogs get free ice cream! 17 Midsummer Festival––Oulu. Heritage Center, 12–4 p.m. 17 Motorcycle, Antique Car, and Muscle Car Ride—Lena. Steve & Laura’s Little River Inn, 10 a.m. 4 p.m. dinner and raffles. $15/person or $25/couple. 18 Day on the Farm––Platteville. Digman Construction Co., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Farm life, petting zoo, AG-Olympics, wine, beer, and cheese tasting. 18 Father’s Day Chicken Dinner––Cadott. ZCBJ Bohemian Hall, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. 715-644-0454.

23 Relay for Life––Adams. Middle School, 5–11:30 p.m. 23, 24 Rummage Sale––Tomah. Queen of the Apostles Catholic School, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 608-372-4516. 24 Cranberry Blossom Day––Warrens. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. 608-378-4878. 24 Steak Fry––Rosholt. Fair Park, 4–7 p.m. Steak dinner $20, age 5–12 hot dog or hamburger $5, under 4 is free. 608-677-4631. 24 Flag Day Follies––Holcombe. United Methodist Church, 7–9 p.m. A USOstyle music and comedy tribute in the style of Bob Hope. 715-312-0268. 24, 25 Stubborn Mule Adventure Race–– Seeley. Sawmill Saloon, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Paddle, bike, and trek to hidden checkpoints. 5-, 12-, & 30-hour events. 24–26 The Little Town with the Good Earth All Around Festival––Livingston. Community-wide event.

Upload events directly to the new through the “Events” tab.

Upload your July events by June 8. Wisconsin Events is a public service for our readers. Submissions should be received early in the month prior to the month in which the event will occur. Due to space limits, we may need to eliminate details, so be sure to include a phone number (with area code) where callers may obtain more info. If we receive more listings than space allows us to print, we reserve the right to select those we believe will be of interest to the greatest number of readers.

Upload events to

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News

5/15/17 3:13 PM

The perfect combination of

safety and affordability.

KOHLER Belay™ Walk-In Bath

Call Now (800) 264-2409 For Promotions In Your Area.*

• Fast fill and drain • Ultra-low step-in height • Extra wide door • Easy to grip handrails • Bask™ heated back, neck and shoulder surfaces • KOHLER BubbleMassage™ and whirlpool jets • KOHLER certified installation



Only available by calling (800) 264-2409.

View videos and learn more at *Limited time offer. Valid until July 15th, 2017. Participating dealers only. Not available in AK, HI or Nassau County, NY, Suffolk County, NY, Westchester County, NY and Buffalo County, NY. Also may not be available in other areas. Dealer will provide customer with certificate for free KOHLER Nightlight toilet seat upon completion of in-home consultation. No certificate will be provided for in-home consultations that are scheduled but not completed. Certificates for free product to be redeemed directly from Kohler Co. Cannot be combined with any other advertised offer. Installation of toilet seat not included.

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5/11/17 10:14 AM

Wisconsin Energy Coop News June 2017  

Wisconsin Energy Coop News June 2017

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