Written by: Cherryland

Co-op Energy Talk

In this month’s episode, we sit down with the newest member of Cherryland’s Board of Directors, Gabe Schneider. Listen in as he discusses why he wanted to serve on the board and what he hopes to accomplish in doing so.

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Written by: Cherryland

Man sits in car with no roof or windshield in Las Vegas

Who doesn’t enjoy putting the top down on a convertible, feeling the wind and soaking up the sun? Now, take that experience and place it in the cooler month of March. That’s what the ChopTop Challenge is all about.

The ChopTop Challenge gathers auto enthusiasts from around the country for a four-day road rally from Chicago to Las Vegas in cars that have their windshield and roof removed. The participants earn points for driving specific types of cars and performing certain tasks. Winners for specific categories are named once the rally is complete and points are tallied.

Cherryland’s Materials Clerk, Andy Hanna, has participated in the ChopTop Challenge since its start in 2016. As opposed to treating the challenge as just a game, Hanna and his teammate saw the rally as an opportunity to give back to the community. “We figured that if we were going to do something this crazy, we should do some good,” said Hanna.

Both Hanna and his teammate lost family members to cancer, so they used the challenge to raise money for cancer research. That is how team “GoToplessForTatas” was born.

After removing the top, Hanna and his teammate outfitted their car with pink cancer awareness ribbons and a unique front plate. They encouraged family, friends and strangers to write their name or the name of a loved one who was affected by cancer on the car as well.

“During the trip, people would stop us and ask us about the car and the names,” said Hanna. “Some of them would not only write someone’s name, but would also give us a donation to the cause.”

In early March, Cherryland employees gathered for a chili cook-off event in support of Hanna’s efforts. With the proceeds of the silent auction and individual donations, they raised over $1,700 for Hanna’s trip and the American Cancer Society.

“My co-workers’ generosity was overwhelming,” said Hanna.

As one can imagine, traveling at 70 mph without a windshield or roof in late March is not always enjoyable. Even with five layers of clothing and snowmobile helmets, Hanna and his team found the trip to be exhausting. “For the first three days, it was cold and wet,” Hanna chuckled. “We were begging for it to end.”

Once they reached Las Vegas, the team donated the car to a local man looking to continue promoting the cause. “He wanted to keep the car to honor his grandmother and aunt who passed away from cancer as well as his mom currently living with cancer. Giving away the car was a great opportunity to pay it forward.”

Hanna and his teammate took what was just a fun event and turned it into an opportunity to bring about awareness. It’s that kind of creative thinking that has a significant impact on the community.

Follow Hanna and Team GoToplessForTatas on Instagram @gotoplessfortatas

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Written by: Cherryland

Cherryland announced it will achieve a 56 percent carbon-free fuel mix by January 1, 2018.

“When carbon-free wholesale power supply and affordability goals can be wrapped into a single package, it is an awesome win-win scenario for all the members of Cherryland,” said Tony Anderson, general manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative.

To reach the substantial carbon-free portfolio and emission reductions, Cherryland’s power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative, signed a new long-term contract for zero-emission nuclear energy. When added to current renewable energy assets, the agreement will increase the amount of carbon-free energy in Cherryland’s fuel mix from 31 to 56 percent.

“Environmental stewardship and cost-competitive energy are important to our members, and we’re proud to create an opportunity to address both next year,” said Eric Baker, president and chief executive officer of Wolverine Power Cooperative. “We will deliver more renewables and less carbon while maintaining cost and reliability for our members.”

In the past year, Wolverine and its members added more than 150 MW of renewable energy generation by agreeing to a long-term contract for the Deerfield wind project and building SpartanSolar—Northern Michigan’s largest solar array. Combined this represents a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions since 2016. Wolverine and its members lead Michigan utilities with the highest percentage of new renewables and exceed both present and anticipated state portfolio requirements.

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