July/Aug 2022 TEC

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July/August 2022


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative

IT’S A WILD RIDE At Traverse City Horse Shows

Annual Meeting Highlights

First TEC Fiber Customer Fiber Map And Schedule


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July/August 2022 Vol. 42, No. 7




Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


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 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com

6 THE CALL OF THE WILD The owners of GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park have been sharing their “family members” with their community for almost 30 years. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Potatoes: Side dishes so good, they’ll steal the show.

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.

Summer cruising in downtown Marquette. @kaushik0805 (Kaushik Sur)

18 GUEST COLUMN For one GLE member, every bite of a Michigan strawberry evokes a favorite childhood memory.

Be featured!

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

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community



14 IT’S A WILD RIDE Summertime events at Flintfields Horse Park lure competitors from around the world.

Win a $50 bill credit!

Up Next: Baked Goods, due Aug. 1 Holiday Side Dishes, due Sept. 1 Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

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



President Findlay introduced TEC’s attorney, Kyle O’Mara, and members of the current TEC board of directors, including Randall Dhyse and Craig Osentoski, Huron County; Kim Nunn, Mike Briolat, and Duane Kursinsky, Sanilac County; and Louis Wenzlaff and Matt Sommer, Tuscola County. Also introduced was General Manager Dallas Braun.

tecmi.coop /thumbelectric @thumbelectric


President Findlay acknowledged four recent retirees that had a combined 133 years of service to the cooperative. Those included TEC employees Dennis Smalley (42 years), Vicki LaBuhn (35 years), Rick Ewald (29 years), and TEC Director Beth McDonald (27 years). Findlay also thanked the current TEC and Air Advantage workforce for their dedication and commitment.

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 Craig Osentoski, Director District 2 • 989-658-8512 Vacant District 3

SANILAC COUNTY Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291 Mike Briolat, Secretary District 2 • 989-284-3405

Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, Director District 1 • 989-683-2696

Jonathan Findlay, President District 2 • 989-551-8393 Matt Sommer, Director District 3 • 248-444-0496

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 Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.





Thumb Electric Cooperative Holds 84th Annual Meeting


onathan Findlay, president of the board of directors, opened the 84th Annual Meeting of TEC members on June 11 at the Thumb Octagon Barn. An estimated 400 people attended the meeting, which included the election of four direc­tors, the approval of bylaw revisions, and numerous entertainment activities that were part of TEC’s Member Appreciation Day/ Annual Meeting. Elected to three-year terms for District 1 were Randall Dhyse, Huron County; Kim Nunn, Sanilac County; and Louis Wenzlaff, Tuscola County. Others nominated for a director position were John Peck, Sanilac County; and Stefanie Bruce, Tuscola County. Elected to a special one-year term for District 3 was Matt Sommer, Tuscola County. Also nominated for a director position was Brian Becker, Tuscola County. The TEC bylaws revisions were approved by membership vote.

TEC’s board president, Jonathan Findlay, highlighted the following areas: • While the 2021 audit had not been finalized due to the December 2021 sale of TEC’s propane business and the December 2021 acquisition of Air Advantage, President Findlay presented the following 2021 financial information: The 2021 operating statement showed operating revenues of $23,857,496 and expenses of $22,284,578, resulting in an operating margin of just under $1.6 million. The cooperative also earned additional revenue on short-term investments, rental income, subsidiary income, and patronage capital from other cooperative organizations. Total margins allocated for 2021 were $1,871,020. Members’ patronage capital accounts were allocated approximately 7.8 cents on each dollar paid by TEC members in 2021. A portion of this 2021 patronage, along with the remaining 1992 balance and a portion of the 1993 patronage, were retired and appeared as a line-item credit on the electric bills received by current active accounts in June. Nonactive accounts were mailed a check. • Since patronage capital retirements began, TEC has re­funded over $13.6 million back to its members.

• In 2021, TEC invested $7.6 million in a new utility plant, bringing TEC’s total investment to over $116 million, serving 12,370 electric accounts in the three county areas of Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola. • The cooperative started a multi-year $85 million TEC Fiber infrastructure construction project, which will make high-speed Fiberto-the-Home (FTTH) internet service available to TEC members and the surrounding communities. TEC Fiber currently has 20 active FTTH accounts in a small pilot area in Fremont and Dayton townships and is weeks away from “lighting up” the circuits in the Kingston area, which will make this FTTH internet service available in Kingston, Novesta, Koylton, Wells, Indianfields, and Ellington townships in Tuscola County. • In 2021, TEC sold its propane assets after being in the business since 1997. This sale will allow more time and resources to be spent on the TEC Fiber project. • In 2021, TEC acquired the internet service provider Air Advantage, based out of Frankenmuth. This acquisition will enhance the ongoing TEC Fiber project. It will do so by utilizing an experienced and knowledgeable Air Advantage workforce, realizing a $6 million reduction in the TEC Fiber construction costs by utilizing Air Advantage’s existing fiber infrastructure, and allowing a shorter time period to make TEC FTTH service available.

• The cooperative paid $1,046,726 in property taxes to schools and other governmental bodies in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties in 2021.

• TEC continues its maintenance program, including aggressive right-of-way clearing, vegetation spraying, pole testing, and other system improvement pro­grams.

TEC’s General Manager, Dallas Braun, discussed the following items:

• 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 reasons and benefits of the 2021 sale of TEC’s propane business and also the 2021 acquisition of Air Advantage.

• State Reps. Phil Green and Andrew Beeler, State Sen. Kevin Daley, and U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain briefly spoke to the membership, along with Dondre’ Young, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s regional manager. All were recognized for their support of Thumb Electric Coopera­tive and the rural electric program.

• The multi-year TEC Fiber project currently underway in Tuscola County and the anticipated time frame to move into Huron and Sanilac counties. • The recent report by Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the operator of the electric grid that includes Michigan, that warned of the possibility of power shortages this summer during times of peak demand and an increased risk of rolling blackouts. • The cooperative continues to work with its statewide and national organizations to ensure that issues that may affect the availability, reliability, and affordability of electricity to its membership 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.

• In closing, General Manager Braun urged members to continue their strong interest in Thumb Electric Cooperative, stay engaged, follow TEC on Facebook, and be patient as the TEC Fiber buildout makes its way to their homes. He thanked them for their support. After the business meeting, a lunch was served, which was followed by entertainment that included bucket truck rides, barrel rides, a candy drop, face painting, and other family activities. In action taken after the Annual Meeting, the board of directors elected Jonathan Findlay as president, Kim Nunn as vice president, Mike Briolat as secretary, and Randall Dhyse as treasurer.





WILD By Emily Haines Lloyd




hen you are exploring the Upper Peninsula, whether in vacation mode or simply tooling around your hometown, there is a sense that the “wild” is a real and beautiful part of the lifestyle up there. When Gary and Lynn Moore, both natives of lower Michigan, decided to move to the U.P., this was certainly part of the draw. While the two had been visiting for years before they relocated, they weren’t entirely sure what they were going to do once they settled in. “We love the outdoors and love the pace up here,” said Gary Moore, owner of GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park. “And we’ve always loved and owned animals, even weirder ones like potbelly pigs, pygmy goats, and peacocks, and we just decided—let’s open a zoo.” In the spring of 1994, with that love of the outdoors and animals in mind, the Moores bought 33 acres of land along U.S. 2 for their then-imagined zoo. They opened in the summer, with just a handful of animals to attract visitors. While things started slowly, the Moores started mapping out fenced-in areas and building giant habitat structures for their bigger animals. The zoo seemed to melt into the surrounding federal and state forests with towering red and white pines, birch, maple forests on all sides, and beautifully cedar-mulched trails. Now, a wide variety of animal habitats cover about 10 acres of the Moores’ property. “We build with what we have, when we need it,” said Gary. “But most importantly, we try to keep the animals in comfortable and as natural of a setting as we can.” These natural settings house everything from pet-worthy goats, llamas, and potbelly pigs to exotic binturong and lemur to big majestic cats like the African lions, cougars, and snow leopards. Many of the animals have been rescues or were facing displacement.

And the Moores, including their daughter Mary, who currently oversees operations and is preparing to take over when her parents decide to retire, have always tried to take in animals in need of a home. The zoo’s first bear, Millie, was brought to them as a cub and had really connected with Mary. So connected that Millie would wail when Mary left her sight. The solution was a buddy for Millie, who came in the unlikely package of King, a dog the Moores were introduced to at the local animal shelter, who wasn’t having any luck finding a home of his own. Once Millie and King met, they were best friends from there. They’ve let another bear, Hutch, into their circle, and visitors delight in watching them play together, often calling it the highlight of their visit.

Wishing you could be at GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park right now? While the zoo is only open from May 1 through the end of October (depending on that finicky U.P. weather), the zoo’s Facebook page is updated frequently with amazing videos (like bears taking baths and snow leopards playing hide ‘n seek) of the animals year-round. Prepare for an overdose of cuteness with their ”Tongues Out Tuesdays,” where the animals are sticking out their tongues and give you every reason to say “awwwww….”

GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park has so many great stories about their animals, and the staff speaks about the animals as if they’re members of their family. As the Moores head into their 29th year of the zoo’s opening, Gary is reminded that it has always been worth it, while it’s not always been easy. “We love these animals, and we love sharing them with the folks who visit us,” said Gary. “Plus, we’ve always been too stubborn to give up.” Sounds like a true Yooper, indeed.

garlynzoo.com /garlynzoo




from doing lawn work with

GAS-POWERED equipment?

Make the switch to battery-powered lawn equipment and get money back from Thumb Electric Cooperative’s energy rebate program.

Equipment Type

Rebate Amount*

Purchase Price*

Battery-powered lawn mower


Pre-tax purchase price of $200–$400


Pre-tax purchase price of $401–$1,000


Pre-tax purchase price of $1,001 and up


Pre-tax purchase price less than $100


Pre-tax purchase price of $101–$200


Pre-tax purchase price of $201 and up

Lawn care equipment (battery powered) including edgers, trimmers, chainsaws, pole saws, power washers, and leaf blowers

*Lower of rebate amount or half of purchase price will be rebated.

Download rebate form at tecmi.coop/rebates


Ice Cream 1. Celebration ice cream at the campground! Sarah Durr 2. We scream for Grindstone ice cream! Ashley Hutchinson 3. S uperman ice cream in a Superman cone is super yummy. Tracy Scott 4. My ice cream is sassy like me. Tracy Scott 5. I am what I eat, awfully sweet! Kay Particka 6. No chocolate for me. Annette Decker


Enter for a chance to win a


energy bill credit!







Submit Your “Farms & Harvest” Photos!

Submit Your “Farms & Harvest” photos by July 20 for the September issue! Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit 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 2022, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2022 bill.



MI CO-OP Recipes

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


Side dishes so good, they’ll steal the show.


1.5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1-inch round, thick slices 3 tablespoons butter, melted ½ teaspoon dried thyme ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon granulated garlic ½ teaspoon + ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt, divided ¼ teaspoon black pepper ½ cup chicken broth 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tablespoon parsley Cheese Sauce (optional): 2 teaspoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour ½ cup whole milk ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon black pepper ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon smoked paprika 1–2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Baked Goods due Aug. 1 • Holiday Side Dishes due Sept. 1

energy bill credit!

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 micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com.



Adjust rack to upper middle and preheat oven to 475 F. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (baking dish should be just big enough for your potatoes to fit in). In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, thyme, rosemary, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toss potatoes in butter mixture until coated, and arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast potatoes for 14 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet and flip potatoes over, then roast for another 14 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven; flip them again. Add the broth and garlic to the pan and return to oven. Roast for 10–15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with remaining ¹⁄ 8 teaspoon salt and parsley. To make the optional cheese sauce, add butter to a pan and heat until it is foamy. Add flour and whisk it with the butter. Add milk and bring almost to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cheddar cheese, and stir until melted. Serve over potatoes. Serves 3. Total time to make: 1 hour 15 minutes. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


• oil, for frying 4 cups mashed potatoes (leftover or premade, or store-bought can be used) 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped 3 eggs, beaten, divided ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 cup breadcrumbs 1 cup flour Fill a large, deep pot halfway with oil. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 F. While the oil is heating, mix together the

mashed potatoes, cream cheese, chives, one egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Roll potato mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball and set aside. In three bowls, set out the breadcrumbs, flour, and the remaining 2 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of water. Dip each ball into the flour first, shaking off the excess, then into the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off, and lastly into the breadcrumbs. When oil reaches about 350 F, fry the balls in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pot as you fry. Fry for 3–4 minutes until golden brown, and transfer to paper towels. While still warm, top with salt and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes (thaw for 45 minutes first) 1 cup diced onions 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 pound carton sour cream 1 stick melted butter 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper • potato chips Preheat oven to 375 F. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place in greased 9x13 glass dish and cover with crushed potato chips. Bake for 1 hour. Enjoy!


¾ pound cooked and crumbled bacon, reserve some to garnish on top 5 pounds Yukon or red skin potatoes 2½ cups mayonnaise, divided 2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 1 cup chopped green onion Cook bacon and let cool so you can crumble up into smaller pieces (or use pre-

cooked bacon crumbles). Cook potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, 20–25 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool potatoes. Cut into bite-sized pieces and mix with 2 cups mayonnaise. Mix bacon, cheese, and chopped green onion with remaining ½ cup mayonnaise. Add to potato mixture by gently combining so potatoes don’t fall apart. May add salt and pepper to taste. Top with bacon crumbles and chill before serving. Makes about 14 servings.

PARMESAN POTATOES AU GRATIN Elizabeth Knapp, Great Lakes Energy 3 • • 1

pounds Yukon Gold potatoes salt and pepper minced garlic pound grated Parmesan cheese (from a wedge, not a shaker) 2 cups heavy cream Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice potatoes to make ¹⁄ 8” rounds and submerge in a bowl

of cold water while slicing. Butter a large casserole dish (or use 2 casserole dishes; it freezes well). Layer potatoes on bottom and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese. Repeat layers until potatoes are gone. Pour heavy cream over all and cover with foil. Bake for an hour. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes more or until top is browned.



Timothy and Joni Loney doing a speed test the day their fiber internet was installed.

no slowdowns or interruptions so far. We even had a storm come through recently, and the internet stayed on the whole time!” How does TEC Fiber compare to your previous internet provider? “Well, before TEC Fiber, we could only get DSL in this area,” Joni said. “We would lose service a lot, and we couldn’t stream much of anything. Now we have reliable internet service, and we were able to get rid of our satellite tv and stream with YouTube TV. We were also able to get rid of our home phone and use our cell phones through our home internet.”

First Fiber Customer ecently, TEC Fiber completed the first major milestone of the fiber project by hooking up our first customers. Timothy and Joni Loney of Mayville officially received service on Friday, April 22. Joni agreed to sit down with us for an interview to answer some questions and talk about her experience with TEC Fiber so far.


When you found out you were the first TEC Fiber customer, what was your reaction? “Well, when we first heard the news about fiber internet, we thought it was going to take forever,” Joni said. “But when we heard the news that we would be the first TEC Fiber customers, we were absolutely delighted! We were bragging to our friends, and they were a little jealous,” she joked. How was your overall experience dealing with the fiber contractors/ installers? “It was great,” Joni stated. “They were all so nice and easy to work with.


Everyone from the contractors to the installers to the customer service reps were so friendly and kind.” Joni also mentioned that she was impressed with how the contractors handled working in the elements. “It was so cold at times while they were out putting the fiber lines up that I went out and gave them all hot chocolate one day,” she said. However, the thing she was most surprised about was seeing familiar faces during construction. Joni, a retired teacher at the Tuscola County Tech Center in Caro, mentioned that she actually saw a few of her former students working on the project. “I was so excited to see them and really happy that they were able to find jobs in the area!” she said. How has your internet been running so far? “It has been running so well. We have friends and family come over, and they cannot believe how fast you can download things. There have been

She also added, “The customer service is much better than our previous provider. I don’t anticipate us having any issues, but I feel confident that I will be helped if anything goes wrong.” Would you recommend TEC Fiber to your friends and neighbors? “Absolutely. I’ve been telling as many people as possible to get signed up. It’s good for the area to have fast and reliable internet finally, and I want to do whatever I can to get the word out to everyone.” When asked if she had any advice to give potential fiber customers, Joni stated, “Get signed up as soon as possible!” We at TEC Fiber want to sincerely thank Joni for taking the time to do this interview. If you want to learn more about the “TEC advantage,” visit www.tecmi.coop/fiber.

Fiber Buildout Schedule

LOOKING AHEAD TEC Fiber Schedule by Substation: 2022: Kingston, Vassar, Millington, Columbia 2023: Decker, Austin, Ubly 2024: Kinde, Sigel, Delaware 2025: O’Connel, Watertown, Elmer, Owendale

Notice: This schedule is subject to change, so keep checking our website and Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

TEC Members: Have You Signed Up for TEC Fiber Yet? We have multiple internet packages to fit your needs.

250 Mbps for $

85 per month


Your Clear Advantage for Internet Service

1 Gig for



per month

with additional discounts for TEC Members!

To preregister, register, or get more information, go to tecmi.coop/fiber or scan the QR code with your phone’s camera


At Traverse City Horse Shows By Emily Haines Lloyd

hen you think about horse competitions like hunting, jumping, and equitation, it conjures up images of primly dressed riders in their velvet riding caps, tailored jackets, and riding boots who exude an air of control and composure. It’s easy to forget that the other part of the team is a wild animal—one that has been trained and coached, but at the same time, has a will and disposition that is completely its own.

of equestrian sports)—with its jumper, hunter, and equitation competitions, really livens things up. This event brings world-class athletes to Traverse City to participate in everything from youth championships to Olympic-qualifying events. With six or seven rings running simultaneously, spectators can watch riders who are just beginning their careers and expert athletes returning from recent Olympic games.

“It’s a unique opportunity to see a sport with two athletes, and only one of them is human,” said Lindsay Brock, marketing representative of Morrissey Management. “There’s always this moment of uncertainty if the horse is going to comply. It’s wild. So, there is something exciting about watching this human and this horse working together to achieve a goal.”

“From June to September, we have athletes and their families coming to Northern Michigan from 48 states and 28 countries to participate in jumper, hunter, and equitation competitions,” said partner and event director, Matt Morrissey. “In just 13 weeks, we’re awarding over $7 million in prize money.”

You can see this sort of beautiful dance between control and chaos at the many year-round events held by the Traverse City Horse Shows, which take place on the 130 acres of Flintfields Horse Park in Northern Michigan. The grounds host a variety of riders and enthusiasts, from 4- and 5-yearold youngsters learning to walk ponies around a ring to experienced seniors still enjoying a lifelong passion. However, the 13 weeks of FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale—the international governing body


The Traverse City Horse Shows started on the east side of the state, but with a rebranding and relocation in 2015, it has grown into one of the top events and venues in North America. Based on an economic impact study, the events have approximately a $120 million impact on Northern Michigan each year, with spectators, business owners, and the community all reaping benefits. Competitors agree that it’s the location, as well as the points and prize money, that brings them to Flintfields year after year. “Without a doubt, one of the most common

“There’s always this moment of uncertainty if the horse is going to comply. It’s wild. So, there is something exciting about watching this human and this horse working together to achieve a goal.”

things we hear about the Traverse City Horse Shows is how much the competitors and their families love visiting the area,” said Brock. “With just one day off, the athletes love exploring the lake and dunes and enjoying the great restaurants, vineyards, and just the beauty of walking around Traverse City.” Flintfields provides plenty of events to keep spectators busy as well. An active atmosphere is important to the site, which offers spectators ice cream socials, happy hours, and other special events, all while they spend the day watching and bumping up against premier athletes. “It’s all a part of what our community stands for,” said Morrissey. “Our spectators get to see this amazing example of athleticism and working together in unison. When you are watching it, it’s inspiring to see something special being created between the athletes and the animals. It’s really beautiful.” To see this wild collaboration, visit on TCHS’s website at traversecityhorseshows.com for tickets.

What’s the difference between jumper, hunter and equitation? In all three divisions, a rider guides a horse over a set course of obstacles in a ring. However, each is scored differently. The jumper discipline is scored based on the objective speed and accuracy the rider has over the course. Hunter and equitation are based on a subjective judge of form over the course, with hunter classes focusing on the form of the horse and equitation classes focusing on the form of the rider. traversecityhorseshows.com /traversecityhorseshows /traversecityhorseshows



TEC Board Update

Beth McDonald After 26 years of dedicated service to the TEC board of directors, Beth McDonald has decided to step down. She began serving on TEC’s board in 1995. Beth became secretary of the board in June of 1999, and she held that position until her retirement on April 26, 2022. All of us at TEC want to thank Beth for her service, and we wish her the best in retirement.

New Employee Spotlight

Kristin Emming started April 4 as TEC’s accounting representative. She is married to her husband, Kenny, and she has a 21-year-old stepson named Eli and 3-year-old twin boys named Kenny Jr. and Henry. Kristin got her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University, and she comes to us from the Cooperative Elevator Co., where she was the staff accountant. In her free time, Kristin likes to golf and go camping.


Alesha Schramski started at TEC on April 7 as a billing representative. She has a husband and two daughters. Alesha comes to us from Thumb Cellular, where she worked for seven years. In her free time, Alesha enjoys attending her kids’ sporting events, antique shopping, and upcycling furniture.

Hallie Essenmacher started at TEC on May 9 as a billing representative. She is engaged to her fiance, Kendall Gentner, and she has three dogs. Hallie has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University, and she comes to us from State Farm, where she worked for the past year. In her free time, Hallie enjoys spending time with friends and family, camping, being outdoors, and hunting.

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative A special Member Meeting is set for July 19, 6 p.m. at the cooperative’s Ubly office. The board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rate and tariffs at its meeting on July 19, 2022, at the cooperative office at 2231 Main St., Ubly, MI. The meeting will start at 6:00 p.m. and is open to all members of Thumb Electric Cooperative.

Did You Know You Need a SmartHub Account to Sign Up for TEC Fiber?


martHub is a powerful account management service tool that offers much more than a quick way to pay your bill. It’s a convenient, two-way communication platform that allows you to access your electric service account and track energy use information from either a computer or mobile device. It will also be required for all TEC Fiber customers to have an account. Join the 4,862 members that are currently using SmartHub to: • • • • • • •

Report an outage View or pay their bill Auto pay Schedule a one-time payment Access budgeting tools View payment and billing history Check their hourly and daily kilowatt usage and view related graphs • Activate a paperless billing option • Set markers to track home improvement upgrades and their impact on electric use Whether you prefer to pay your bill online or not, you can still register and use SmartHub to check your electric use, report a service-related matter, and more! The registration process for new users is simple and

fast, but have your electric bill handy to enter the account number quickly. To get the process started and enroll, visit tecmi.coop and click on the “My Account—Pay Bill” button on the home page. Upon notification of an individual outage, we will attempt to contact members for verification, so please update your phone/contact information if needed. The SmartHub app is free to download and install, and is available for both Apple/iOS and Android mobile devices. Search for it in the Apple Store or on Google Play. SmartHub is not case sensitive, but must be entered as one word. If duplicates appear, the correct app is provided by our service partner and product developer, the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC). The app is supported using iOS 8.0+ and above (iPhone and iPad) and the Android 4.1 and above (smartphones or tablets) platforms.

For more details, visit our website at tecmi.coop or call 989-658-8571.

The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide input to the board of directors on the items being considered. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board chairman, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. The following will be considered: 1. Revise tariff D-23.20 (distributed renewable energy program-20kW and less). 2. Revise tariff D-23.30 (distributed renewable energy program – greater than 20 kW, up to 150 kW). 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. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800-327-0166 a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance. Comments may also be made before the meeting date by calling General Manager Dallas Braun, or by email at dbraun@tecmi.coop.


Guest Column

Sweet Breakfast

By Kris Rigling, Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member


rowing up in a small dairy farming community in the country, there were not a lot of options for jobs, but one of my favorites and one of my first jobs still conjures up happy memories. We had a small grocery store in our community that always tried to have fresh produce on hand. While most families grew their own gardens, some people worked all day and didn’t have time to pick fresh berries, but they still wanted to taste summer’s sweet berries. One Sunday at church, our neighbor (her older brother was the produce manager) told my sister about picking strawberries for the local grocery store—she and our neighbor would each pick 16 quarts. My sister didn’t really want to do it, but I did and begged to do so. My mom called the neighbor, and we were set to pick berries on Monday morning. We were also lucky enough to have a strawberry farm in our community. We showed up first thing in the morning, and the farmer told us where to start picking. And he told us to be sure to let him know if they tasted okay. We each picked 16 quarts. I think I picked my 16 quarts and ate another one or two! They were so good and juicy—right off the vine—it was like eating liquid sunshine. When we finished picking, we dropped off our berries at the store, and they paid us right out of the cash register! I was so excited! I think I made about $3, which was probably minimum wage. We did this every few days for about three weeks that summer, and then the season was over again for another year. I didn’t make a ton of money picking berries that summer, but every time I bite into a sweet Michigan strawberry, I am a kid again, picking and eating a very sweet breakfast!

Win a $50 energy bill credit!

Kris enjoys cooking, camping, kayaking, reading, and watching her kids play sports.

Win $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by July 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. May 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Toni Blundy, a HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the New Era Potato Chip Silo on Grand River Avenue, east of Portland. Photo courtesy of Eldon McGraw. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/ December.

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Thumb Electric Cooperative tecmi.coop facebook.com/thumbelectric



EARLY BIRD PRIZE DRAWING WINNERS 1. B ATTERY-OPERATED LAWN EQUIPMENT. . . . . . . . . . Linda Sadler, Decker (Milwaukee leaf blower, weed whacker, high-powered battery, and rapid charger)

2. AMAZON FIRE STICK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kylie Vogel, Minden City 3. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dennis Pleiness, Harbor Beach 4. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Randy Hastedt, Caro 5. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . Matthew Perez, Vassar 6. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry Gerstenberger, Sandusky 7. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dean Bedtelyon, Millington 8. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paul Deo, Snover 9. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bronlow Miller, Mayville 10. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jennifer Booms, Ruth 11. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . William Putnam, Cass City 12. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry Hyatt, Decker 13. ROKU EXPRESSES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Allison Wolschlager, Bad Axe 14. LED WORK LIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Richmond Jr., Filion 15. AMAZON FIRE STICK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rex Strickler, Peck

CHILDREN’S PRIZE DRAWING WINNERS 1. BIKE (BOY’S). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kyle Becker, Millington 2. BIKE (GIRL’S) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Allie Sommer, Millington 3. TABLET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Riley Gerber, Cass City 4. TABLET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jase Kozlowski, Bad Axe 5. WIRELESS HEADPHONES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Bruce, Deford 6. WIRELESS HEADPHONES. . . . . . . . . . . . . Courtney Wolschlager, Bad Axe 7. WIRELESS SPEAKER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summer Klosowski, Pigeon 8. WIRELESS SPEAKER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zasha Bezemek, Snover

PRIZE DONATED BY KAPPEN TREE SERVICE 10 YARDS OF MULCH, BULK OR BAGS. . . . . . . . . . Kenneth Platt, Millington

FINAL PRIZE DRAWING WINNERS 1. TCL 43” SMART TV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judith Freel, Ubly 2. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Judy Varosi, Deckerville 3. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dale Fox, Vassar 4. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sean Astley, Kingston 5. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greg Alexander, Carsonville 6. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . Dennis Phelps, Mayville 7. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kenneth Hoff, Sandusky 8. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greg Sweeney, Bad Axe 9. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Preston, Caro 10. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Richard Crittenden, Caro 11. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ronald Vogel, Palms 12. ENERGY EFFICIENCY GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . Dale Jacobs, Bad Axe 13. FOOD GIFT CERTIFICATE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ed Bates, Caro 14. GAS GIFT CERTIFICATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Fifield, Decker 15. ROKU EXPRESSES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greg Talaski, Filion 16. LED WORK LIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Howard Maurer, Millington

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