July/Aug 2019 Thumb

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July/August 2019


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative

Annual Meeting Highlights And Prize Winners

New AMI System Deployment Begins In 2019

Tip Toe Through

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In This Issue July/August 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 7

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives






Your photo could be featured here.


Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer

Follow Us On Instagram!

Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com countrylines.com


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.

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines This capture of a wave breaking in Lake Huron is the most brilliant @lensball capture we've ever seen. #gorgeous :@chase_gagnon

ON THE COVER The Tulip Time Festival is dedicated to honoring Holland, Michigan’s Dutch heritage, showcasing millions of tulips and celebrating the community today. This experience is so much more than tulips. With national and local entertainment, world-renowned Dutch dancers, artisan markets, fireworks, breathtaking sights just off the shores of Lake Michigan and some of the largest parades in Michigan, Tulip Time is truly an experience you don’t want to miss. Photography by Tyler Leipprandt

6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column Exploring The Frankfort Scene Christal Frost, Media Personality

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Festive Desserts To Celebrate Summer


18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Column

The Turtle Race Tradition Jean Alexander, Great Lakes Energy member

Win $150 for stories published! Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enjoy a taste of the Old Country! This Dutch favorite recipe, Stamppot van Boerenkool: Curly Kale and Sausages, is shared with Tulip Time visitors from around the world. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Tip Toe Through The Tulips Emily Haines Lloyd

Best of Michigan CRAFT BEER: Give us your personal craft beer favorite. We will publish this member– recommended list in our September issue. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by July 20.






Thumb Electric Cooperative


Thumb Electric Cooperative 2231 Main Street Ubly, MI 48475-0157 1-800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571 E-mail: tec@tecmi.coop



Board Of Directors HURON COUNTY Randall Dhyse, Treasurer District 1 • 989-551-6533 Don Wolschleger, Director District 2 • 989-975-2027 Beth McDonald, Secretary District 3 • 989-550-7470 SANILAC COUNTY Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291 Mike Briolat, Director District 2 • 989-284-3405 Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, President District 1 • 989-683-2696 Jonathan Findlay, Director District 2 • 989-551-8393 Carl Cousins, Director District 3 • 989-871-4449 Dallas Braun, General Manager PAYMENT STATIONS Huron County Bad Axe—Northstar Bank Pigeon—Northstar Bank Tuscola County Akron—Northstar Bank Caro—Northstar Bank Mayville—Mayville State Bank Millington—Mayville State Bank Sanilac County Sandusky—Northstar Bank Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



ouis Wenzlaff, president of the board of directors, opened the 82nd Annual Meeting of Thumb Electric Cooperative on June 8 at the Thumb Octagon Barn. An estimated 500 people attended the meeting, which was highlighted by the election of four directors, and numerous entertainment and activities as a part of TEC’s Member Appreciation Day/Annual Meeting. Elected to three-year terms of District 1 were Randall Dhyse, Huron County; Kim Nunn, Sanilac County; and Louis Wenzlaff, Tuscola County. Others nominated for a director position were Steve Bombard, Sanilac County; and Meagan Anderson and Stanley Fox, Tuscola County. Elected to a two-year term of District 2 was Donald Wolschleger, Huron County. Also nominated to a director position was Matthew Booms, Huron County. President Wenzlaff introduced TEC’s Attorney Jason Bitzer and members of the current TEC board of directors including Donald Wolschleger, Beth McDonald and Randall Dhyse, Huron County; Kim Nunn, Mike Briolat and Duane Kursinsky, Sanilac County; and Jonathan Findlay and Carl Cousins, Tuscola County. General Manager Dallas Braun was also introduced.

President Wenzlaff recognized all TEC employees for their role in achieving a safe and successful year. He also acknowledged and thanked Jan Sageman who recently retired after providing 36 years of service to the cooperative and members. A moment of silence was also observed for the recent passing of Allan Shaw who served 35 years on the TEC board as a director from 1972 through 2007. President Wenzlaff introduced Jazmyn Warchuck and Pearl Daskam and they briefly spoke about their experiences as TEC’s Youth Tour Representatives in Washington, D.C., in 2018.

TEC’S BOARD PRESIDENT, LOUIS WENZLAFF, HIGHLIGHTED THE FOLLOWING AREAS: • Presented the 2018 financial statement that showed operating revenues of $22,111,309 and expenses of $20,929,424 resulting in an operating margin of $1,181,885. The cooperative also earned $389,403 in interest on short-term investments, rental income, subsidiary income, and patronage capital from other cooperative organizations. Total margins allocated for 2018 were $1,571,288. Member’s patronage capital accounts were allocated approximately seven cents on each dollar paid by TEC members in 2018. $300,000 of this 2018 patronage, along with another $502,812 for the years of 1988, 1989, and 1990 was retired and appeared as a line-item credit on active members’ May 2019 electric bills. Non-active members were mailed a check.

TEC’S GENERAL MANAGER, DALLAS BRAUN, HIGHLIGHTED THE FOLLOWING: • TEC continues its maintenance program, including aggressive rightof-way trimming, clearing, spraying, pole testing and other system improvement programs. • Line crews are completing a 15-mile rebuild project from TEC’s Kinde substation to TEC’s Ubly substation. The new construction will consist of new poles and wires supporting transmission, distribution, and fiber circuits. • Line crews are scheduled to convert and rebuild 11 miles of single-phase circuits to three-phase. • Line crews are scheduled to upgrade and replace relays/panels/control wiring at the Ubly Substation. • The cooperative plans to start deployment of a new Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system near the Ubly area by the end of the year. Full system-wide deployment is expected through 2020 and into 2021. • The cooperative plans to have a “Community Solar” Program available before the end of 2019 to compliment the two existing solar programs that are currently available to members. • TEC continues to offer a full slate of programs and services to its members to help them become more energy efficient and save money. • The cooperative continues to work with its state and national organizations to ensure that issues that may affect the availability, reliability and affordability of electricity to its members are heard by our elected officials in Lansing and Washington, D.C. • The cooperative continues to support/promote ACRE, the Political Action Committee (PAC) for all electric cooperatives. All TEC members can participate directly. • U.S. Representative Paul Mitchell, State Representative Shane Hernandez, and State Representative Phil Green were introduced and briefly spoke to the membership. All were recognized for their support of Thumb Electric Cooperative and the rural electric program. • General Manager Dallas Braun urged members to continue their strong interest in Thumb Electric Cooperative, to stay engaged, follow TEC on Facebook, and thanked them for their support.

• Since patronage capital retirements began, TEC has refunded over $10 million back to its members. • In 2018 TEC extended electrical service to 52 new accounts and invested $4 million in a new utility plant, bringing TEC’s total investment to $99 million, serving 12,255 member-consumers in the three-county areas of Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola. • The cooperative continues to make capital investments in the electrical system. $5.5 million of upgrades are planned and under construction for 2019. TEC employees and outside line-construction contractors will be performing the work. • The cooperative paid $875,816 in property taxes to schools and other governmental bodies in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola Counties in 2018. • In 2018, the cooperative’s In-House Energy Waste Reduction Program came in under budget and the 2 million KWH saved, exceeded the state-mandated KWH reduction goal. • Through its subsidiary, Thumb Energy Services, the cooperative continues to offer competitive propane service to approximately 1,100 members and non-members alike in the Thumb Area.

After the business meeting, lunch was served which was followed by entertainment for all family members with bucket truck rides, barrel rides, candy drop, face painting, and other family activities. In action taken after the Annual Meeting, the board of directors elected Louis Wenzlaff, president; Kim Nunn, vice-president; Beth McDonald, secretary; and Randall Dhyse, treasurer.

To view photos from the Annual Meeting visit http://bit.ly/2ZyFnOP




MI CO-OP Community

Road pin’ Trip With Christal Frost



very time I travel back to my Benzie County roots, I marvel at how everything feels both exactly the same and somehow very different. I graduated from Benzie Central High School 21 years ago and as I drive through the hilly terrain toward Frankfort, I can’t shake the notion that, although the route hasn’t changed, everything along the way seems to have grown up—including me. Downtown Frankfort is just waking up as I make my first stop at Crescent Bakery for a welcomed cup of coffee, delicious breakfast panini and the bakery’s world-famous fritters. Fueled by caffeine and sugar, it’s time to journey to Frankfort’s pride and joy, the Point Betsie Lighthouse. With views of the Manitou Passage, the Point Betsie Lighthouse is rumored to be the most photographed lighthouse of all time. The views are unparalleled, and it still stands today as a beacon of beauty and direction. Although Point Betsie still functions as a navigation aid, the majestic lighthouse also regularly hosts museum tours and weddings. Curious visitors can even rent the Keeper’s Quarters— available from late May through October. No visit to Frankfort is complete without a stop at Crystal Gardens. Crystal Gardens has been the source for gardening supplies for more than 40 years. However, Crystal Gardens has evolved to give visitors more of an experience, including a rock shop filled with unique gifts made with Petoskey stones and geodes, the Barn Swallow antique store—and even the Nature Exhibit which boasts peacocks, butterflies, a fairy garden and a gigantic stone turtle. My absolute favorite at the Gardens, though, is an entire greenhouse, called Mom’s House, which is fully dedicated to the hardy geranium.

Rolling through town, I spot the A&W Restaurant, in addition to hot dogs, burgers, fries and root beer, A&W


sells nostalgia; and I am definitely buying! I pull up to a drive-in spot and am served by a friendly waitress. Staying in the car, I turn on ‘50s music and pretend I’ve gone back in time. The next stop is Main Street. I marvel at the historic Garden Theatre, the gem of downtown Frankfort. I then make my way into Frannie’s Follies, a must-stop shop for tourists and anyone looking for a t-shirt or trinket. Sunbeams of Promise catches my eye next, and there I find a huge variety of local stones, including the elusive Leland Blue. Our final stop leads us to Elberta, Frankfort’s port city sister, just two miles away. In fact, this tiny town was once known as South Frankfort. My tour ends at the Cabbage Shed, a building that has more history and character than any other place in the county. First built in 1867, the shed offers over 70 varieties of Irish whiskey and the longest running open mic night in Benzie County. If you leave the Cabbage Shed without trying the Drunken Beans, you will never forgive yourself. Only a 45-minute drive from Traverse City, Frankfort has managed to hold on to its small-town charm. And, it welcomes you, like a hug from an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country MusicWTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM.






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See Frankfort In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Frankfort adventure, now available on countrylines.com. For behind-the-scenes footage, see the “Road Trippin” story highlight album on our Instagram @michigancountrylines.


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• Garden Theatre • Frannie’s Follies • Sunbeams of Promise

A& W

Nearby on Main Street:



CO-OP NEWS Youth Tour Student Representative Chosen Harbor Beach High School sophomore Arika Booms represented Thumb Electric Cooperative at the 2019 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., from June 15-20. Arika joined other high school students from Michigan and around the country to visit the U.S. Capitol, museums, landmarks and war memorials. The students, all of whom represented electric cooperatives from around the country, also saw a show at Signature Theatre. The students met with their state legislators, learned more about electric cooperatives, and gained leadership skills for their future endeavors. If you know a high school sophomore or junior interested in applying for next year’s Youth Tour event, please watch for information in the fall issues of Country Lines magazine, on our website at tecmi.coop, or at cooperativeyouthtour.com.

Summer 2019 Tree Trimming Update Removing and trimming trees make for fewer outages and shorter duration of outages that do occur. Because of this, greater emphasis is being put on tree removal rather than tree trimming as it is more fiscally responsible. Priorities will continue for line sections that are historically problematic,

followed by overgrown sections. An emphasis is being put on our 41.6kv transmission lines, depending on ground conditions, as many of these lines are deep off of the roads. As time allows, less severe circuits will be maintained. We anticipate working on the transmission line between Ubly and Owendale substations as it needs clearance. Members in Wells, Novesta, Kingston and Indianfield townships will see crews working in the Tuscola area, and LaMotte, Moore and Evergreen townships in Sanilac. We also anticipate some work on repeat line outage circuits in Verona township and the lakeshore area of Sherman township. Due to a disease in the Ash tree, which is a prevalent species of tree in our service territory, we have had to adjust our trimming locations. We make every effort to contact members ahead of the trimmers. We send postcards to members to let them know trimmers will be in the area and, at times, we will try and call members as well. As always, remember to look up before you plant a tree. The most accessible tree to trim is the one that was never there to begin with. Plant it where it can grow for years and not be a danger to power lines.

Recycle That Old Refrigerator Or Freezer And Get Cash Back!


Receive $50 for an old refrigerator or freezer and $20 for an old window AC* unit or dehumidifier.* Call 844-631-2130 to schedule your pick up today! *Small appliances will only be picked up in conjunction with a larger unit.

Photo Contest 3




Most Votes On Facebook!







Four-Legged Friends 1. Don’t worry, he’ll be home soon.—Dennis and Ann Dupre 2. Pawsitively adorable!—Cassidy Robarts 3. M y granddaughter playing with her new friend, Bella. —Debra Friday

4. Lazy cabin days—Annette Decker 5. Sylvester the lumberjack cat—Ron Skipinski 6. Sometimes you need an extra paw.—Linda Elandt 7. Not today—Heather Wyckoff 8. W hen Michigan weather is cool, cuddle up in a favorite blanket and enjoy and the outdoors.—Bernice Becker

9. Our baby, JD—Kathleen Yaroch 10. I fit in here just fine!—Aimee Lemke 11. Brothers’ Unite!—Amy Engelhard


Submit Your “Sunrise/Sunset” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes from our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Our July/August theme is Sunrise/Sunset. Photos can be submitted through July 20 to be featured in our September issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest visit facebook.com/thumbelectric and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at tecmi.coop/photo-contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2019, you will be entered to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2019 bill. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Festive Desserts Celebrate summer with these delectable recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Frosty Lemon Pie Rita Schuette, Midwest Energy ¾ ¹⁄³ ¼ • 3 2 1 •

cup sugar cup lemon juice cup butter, cubed dash salt eggs, slightly beaten pints vanilla ice cream, softened and divided graham cracker crust (9 inches) whipped topping, fresh mint and lemon peel for garnish

In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar, butter and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat till sugar is dissolved and butter melted. Whisk a small amount of the sugar mixture into the eggs several times. Return all to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture reaches 160 F or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Refrigerate till cool. Spread half of the ice cream in the crust. Freeze for 1 hour or till firm. Cover with half of the lemon mixture and freeze for 1 hour——repeat layers. After the 2nd layer of lemon mixture, cover and freeze several hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Garnish if desired. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos 10 JULY/AUGUST 2019

Grandma’s Scottish Shortbread Gail Gurnee, Great Lakes Energy 1 cup softened butter ½ cup sugar 2½ cups flour Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually knead in flour until well blended. Place in 9-inch ungreased cake pan and roll or press dough in until smooth. Press the tines of a fork around the edges and prick the middle of the dough. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn down oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 50 minutes until nicely browned. Run a knife around the edge to prevent cookies sticking to pan. Cut into short little squares immediately before cookies harden.

Lime Ice Cream Dessert Joyce Tamminga, Great Lakes Energy


Crust: 1½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs (about 34 crackers) 4 tablespoons sugar 5 tablespoons melted butter

GUEST CHEF This traditional Dutch favorite is shared with Tulip Time visitors from around the world. Enjoy a taste of the Old Country!

Filling: 2 quarts vanilla ice cream (½ gallon) 1 quart lime sherbet Topping: 4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice ²⁄³ cups sugar 2 eggs, well beaten 6 tablespoons butter Mix cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; press into 9x13 inch pan. Chill. Soften ice cream and sherbet enough to mix well and spread over crust. Freeze. Mix topping ingredients in a heavy

saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thick. Cool completely. Spread the topping on the ice cream. Keep frozen. Note: This can also be made with orange sherbet and orange juice in the place of lime sherbet and lime juice.

Raspberry Delight Pound Cake Tracy Fisher, Thumb Electric 1 1 4 1 ¹⁄³ ½ 2 ¼ 2 2 •

French vanilla or yellow cake mix small instant vanilla pudding mix large eggs cup water cup oil cup sour cream cups raspberries fresh or frozen cup water tablespoons sugar tablespoons raspberry jello (powder) cornstarch, to thicken

Preheat over to 350 F. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and sour cream according to cake mix directions on the box. Pour into prepared Bundt pan. In large saucepan, cook remaining ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Thicken filling

Stamppot van Boerenkool: Curly Kale and Sausages

with cornstarch and water. Drop filling by spoonfuls over top of unbaked cake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream.

Venison: due August 1 Christmas Cookies: due September 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

2–3 3 • 1 4

lbs. curly kale lbs. cut-up potatoes Milk, salt, and pepper lb. smoked sausage tbsp. oleo

Strip, wash, and cut kale very fine. Boil kale in water with salt about 40 minutes. Add peeled, cut-up potatoes and sausage and enough water to prevent burning. Cook 30 minutes. Remove sausage from pan. Mash kale and potatoes and stir in boiled milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Read the full story about the Tulip Time Festival on page 14, and find this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com.



Dizzy Daisy Winery & Vineyard By Emily Haines Lloyd


AROLD KOCIBA, OWNER OF DIZZY DAISY WINERY & VINEYARD, understands that the backbone of success in the agricultural industry is patience, continual learning, and good, old-fashioned, hard work. As a third generation farmer, Harold took over the family dairy farm in Bad Axe in 1966, after he married his wife, Janice. In the 1990s, Harold was looking toward his retirement, and began making plans to diversify his farm. After attending several seminars through Michigan Wine Council, Harold began to think about switching his efforts from dairy farming to grape growing. Using the same problem-solving skills that guided him through raising and milking dairy cows, Harold got to work—learning all he could about wine making. Bad weather, early frosts, and unpredictable markets didn’t deter him from his goal. “It’s a challenge, just like growing or raising anything else,” said Harold. “That’s just part of being a farmer—trying to outfox Mother Nature on a daily basis.” While some were skeptical of what could be produced from Michigan’s Thumb region, Harold persisted. Today, Harold and his team at Dizzy Daisy Winery and Vineyard offer


more than 75 varieties of wine. Things get creative, Harold acknowledged, when things don’t turn out as expected. For example, a new crop of blends came from unpredictable weather and supply shortages—like their most popular Bad Axe Passion, a white blend with mango and passion fruit. Several varieties are award-winners in their own right, not that Harold brags about his accomplishments. “People seem to enjoy it,” he quietly admitted. Dizzy Daisy continues to diversify, recently dipping their toes into cider making, a venture that’s almost a no-brainer with the state’s fruit-rich growing seasons. When asked what comes next for Dizzy Daisy, Harold chuckles to himself and fills the quiet with deep thought and an inaudible knowing. At the end of the day, no one can predict the future—or the weather—for that matter. Harold just knows that the employees at Dizzy Daisy Winery are always ready to welcome visitors to their vineyard with a nice glass of wine, made with equal parts grapes, heart and soul.

Join their Facebook community and visit dizzydaisywinery.com for a complete list of upcoming events. The winery is located at 1288 Crown Rd., Bad Axe, Michigan.



By Emily Haines Lloyd Photography by Tyler Leipprandt


or the past 90 years, the first week of May has been a time when Michiganders dust off the cobwebs of winter and look for the first signs of spring. In Holland, Michigan, the first signs look like millions of tulips bursting through the soil to delight locals and visitors alike. Tulip Time was once a local beautification project that started with 100,000 bulbs in 1929. Today it has grown to become an international hot spot for travelers from all around the world to engage in Dutch history while tiptoeing through nearly five million tulips.

In May 2019, Michigan Country Lines teamed up with Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media for an Instagram takeover to cover Tulip Time. Leipprandt, an expert at drone photography, captured images that showcase why Tulip Time is just the kind of adventure you can start dreaming of for next spring. “Tulip Time is an opportunity for people to come and marvel at the spectacular tulip gardens and displays,” said Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda. “But it’s also the perfect time to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan living.” If the views are saturated with bright pops of flowering color, the history that the event brings to the streets of Holland is equally rich. City officials, volunteers, and even residents don their historically accurate costumes—


complete with real wooden shoes—providing a glimpse into life during the late 1800s and early 1900s. These traditions are proudly passed down through generations, as spectators will find local high schoolers performing traditional Dutch dancing, called Klompen, at demonstrations, as well as through the streets in multiple parades which are scheduled during the week-long event. Along with the themed-parades (Volksparade/ People’s Parade, Kinderparade/Children’s Parade, and Muziekparade/Music Parade), there are dancing demos, flower walks, and an artisan market. At Windmill Island Gardens, visitors can marvel at not only tulip gardens, but “De Zwaan,” the last Netherlands-built working windmill in the United States. Folks can take the four flights up to the windmill for a historical tour, then look at the Amsterdam

street organ, ride on the antique carousel, or purchase some fresh-milled flour to commemorate the visit. Over the years, the charm has never left Tulip Time, but new attractions have been added—a lively carnival sets up annually at the Civic Center, craft and art shows are displayed in the park, festival-goers can try yoga in the tulips, and many food and beverage demos are also featured. The latter is unsurprising, as the food and beverage scene has never been stronger. In fact, Holland boasts a variety of eateries for all preferences and a vibrant beer and spirits scene—including several breweries and distilleries who all participate in hosting the 500,000 people the festival brings in annually within a short, nine-day period.

“ Tulip Time is an opportunity for people to come and marvel at the spectacular tulip gardens and displays. But it’s also the perfect time to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan living.” — Gwen Auwerda, Tulip Time Executive Director

“We have over 800 volunteers along with city workers and businesses who make this more than an event,” said Auwerda. “Tulip Time is a part of the fabric of our community.” Over the years, while Tulip Time continues to grow and provide wonderful new experiences for attendees, it’s the quaint charm that has been a constant. So next spring, as the tulip bulbs once again sprout their brightly colored petals, make plans to visit Holland’s Tulip Time. Those sweet flowers are a reminder of spring’s hope, but also a proud past that one little town along Lake Michigan is keeping alive. Photo courtesy of Tulip Time.



AUTOMATED METERING INFRASTRUCTURE (AMI) After deployment, you can expect… Increased efficiency & safety

Increased reliability

Operating more efficiently helps us keep costs down for our members.

New tools for diagnosing problems and disruptions help us improve reliability for our members.

• With data from the AMI system coming directly to our offices, we will be able to read your meter remotely. Members will no longer be required to read their meters monthly. Remote disconnects and reconnects mean co-op vehicles will spend less time on the road, reducing expenses. This ability will also improve employee safety by avoiding dangers associated with entering private property.

• With more detailed information about what is happening in the field, we will be able to respond faster to outages: The AMI system will automatically report to us when and where there is an outage or disturbance.

• Automatic meter tampering alerts will reduce the possibility of energy theft, saving the cooperative and its members money.

TYPE ALFC FORM 2S CL200 240V 3W 60 Hz TA=30Kh 7.2

• With more data we can also improve power quality by being proactive and correcting problems such as high/low voltage, part power, blinks, and overheating meter bases to name a few. • More data enables us to provide more accurate information about outages and restoration times. This system will also allow us to eliminate truck rolls for false outage calls.


New tools to help keep electric bills affordable • The new system means more information about how you are using electricity. We can help you diagnose problems leading to high energy bills. Members will be able to view their hourly electric consumption using the internet or SmartHub app. • This AMI system is a capital investment project approved by the board and will be financed as other capital investments, such as the circuit rebuilds, new trucks and other system upgrades.

Thumb Electric Cooperative is upgrading its electric system! We are investing in an AMI system that will help us operate more efficiently, improve reliability, and serve you better.

DEPLOYMENT TIMELINE End Of 2019 Ubly Substation Circuits 2020 Full System In All Three Counties 2021 Project Completion


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!


MI CO-OP Community

The Turtle Race Tradition By Jean Alexander, Great Lakes Energy member


very summer since 1986 our family travels to Six Mile Lake cottage for a week of simple, but magical, lakefront family fun and an interesting tradition—Turtle Races. The morning of departure from Indiana brings together: three sisters, one niece, four nephews, and grandma. Loading the car is always a hoot, as we fit suitcases, extra food, linens, treats for the trip, and even bicycles. The usual eight or nine passengers somehow all fit in, too.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by July 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the May issue is Elsa Oja, an Ontonagon County REA Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as historic downtown Calumet. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

What fun upon arrival it is assigning beds, cots and blow up mattresses. Our lakefront offers a playground with sand, boats, a dock, badminton, floats, fishing rods, and a shallow lake. Days are spent fishing, swimming, floating on rafts, baseball games, catching crawdads, laughter, and days of splendid family togetherness. Of course, one day is always chosen for the famous “Turtle Races.” We scout for turtles along the lakeshore, spray paint the start and finish lines and assign everyone a turtle. Each turtle is then named. We hold many races—some long races, some short runs, “a sprayed box-shaped form” where turtles go in all directions to cross lines and continue racing has even been created by grandma for the day. The longest and last race always ends with turtles racing back into the lake, and we bid our turtles goodbye. Our adventure then culminates with prizes being awarded to all the winning “turtle coaches.” Each summer we are reminded how strange it is that turtles never seem to move in a straight path, but wander around going nowhere specific except to the water. But, hopefully, next year we will each get a better, bigger and wiser turtle. Jean enjoys sports, nature and going “up north” to Michigan as often as possible.

May 2019

Photo by Cody McClellan @codyjmcclellanphotography


“We are reminded how strange it is that turtles never seem to move in a straight path, but wander around going nowhere specific except to the water.”

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