March 2019 HomeWorks

Page 1

March 2019


COUNTRY LINES HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

What Members Are Saying About HomeWorks Connect Fiber Internet

2018 Tri-County People Fund Annual Report Several Employees Take On New Roles With Co-op


co-op entrepreneurs


You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS BAD AXE B & D Htg (989) 269-5280

CLIFFORD Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691

MT PLEASANT Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

BERRIEN SPRINGS WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667

HART/LUDINGTON Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

MUSKEGON Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

BIG RAPIDS Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

INDIAN RIVER M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Kiessel Geothermal Htg & Clg (231) 747-7509

CARO AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328)

MICHIGAN CENTER Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500

PORTLAND ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

SUNFIELD Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 TRAVERSE CITY D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

visit us at * 30% through 2019, 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.

In This Issue March 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 3

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

michigancountrylines FEATURED PHOTO FROM


Your photo could be featured here. Learn more on


Executive Editor: Casey Clark

page 18

Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird 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

michigancountrylines icy pier on the lake

ON THE COVER Ryan and Brianne Rademacher, members of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, are the innovators of growing camelina to create a superior cooking oil. Read more about their business and other entrepreneurial members starting on page 6.

: @tpmann4msu

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Follow Us On Instagram!

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us @michigancountrylines. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Photo by Mandy Wheeler

6 & 10 FEATURE Spotlight On Co-op Entrepreneurs

Read about fellow entrepreneurial movers and shakers from co-op territory in this special issue.

14 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Weeknight Dinners

Easy On Time, Big On Flavor By Christin McKamey & Our Readers

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 under the MI Co-op Community tab.

Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!


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.

ATTENTION READERS: The publisher of Michigan Country Lines magazine is working with NRECA Market Research Services, a reputable public opinion research company, to conduct a confidential survey for Michigan’s electric cooperatives. If NRECA Market Research Services contacts you by phone or email, please be assured they are not selling anything. The short, confidential survey will help your co-op serve you better. Thank you for your time and help with this survey.















Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Avenue Portland, MI 48875 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Avenue Blanchard, MI 49310 Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations. Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232 Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395 Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls) Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740 HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413 Email:

Board of Directors District 1 — John Lord 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 District 3 — Luke Pohl Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 District 5 — Corinna Batora Vice-Chairman 7655 N. Watson Rd., Elsie, MI 48831 517-256-5233 District 6 — Ed Oplinger Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Road, Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 District 7 — Shirley Sprague 15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 Editors: C harly Markwart Jayne Graham, CCC

Join us on Facebook. 4 MARCH 2019

Brrr! My Electric Bill Is Higher Mark Kappler, General Manager

This time each year, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric gets calls from our members wondering why their bill is higher than it has been in previous months. We encourage you to call us and discuss concerns about your bill. We prefer that you contact us with your questions, rather than be left unsure about charges on your account. In case you are wondering, there has not been a rate increase. But, your electric bill may vary, as it is based on the amount of power you use each month. When a call comes in about a higher bill, the answer to the question about the increased amount is usually that the member has used more power this month and so their bill has gone up. We remind members that electric usage is generally higher in winter months. It may not seem like you’re using more power than you were in July, when your bill may have been lower. Remember, though, we’re all inside more during winter months. When temperatures drop, furnaces (and space heaters) run more. Even with a propane or natural gas furnace, electricity is still used to keep warm air moving throughout your house. Lights are on earlier and longer because of the shorter winter days. TVs and their accessories, plus chargers for smart devices, are on more frequently for entertainment. If you’re curious about how much power you use each day, you can track that with SmartHub online or as a smart device app. Go to our website,, and click on My Account-Log In at the top right. Sign in to your account, or create a log-in, to view your account information. On the SmartHub landing page, you’ll see “View and Manage My Usage.” Click on the Start Now button to begin. This is a great way to track how energy is used in your home or business. If you have any questions about your bill or use, please give us a call or submit a question through the Contact Us link at We may be able to help you with suggestions for lowering your bill, from low-cost tips to our Energy Optimization and HomeWorks Energy rebates.

Save The Date

This month, we’re issuing a “Save the Date” notice so you can mark your calendar and plan to join us at your district Member Meeting in mid-May. Please watch your mailbox in April for an invitation with more information! • Monday, May 13——District 5 ELECTION, Fulton Elementary Gym, Middleton • Tuesday, May 14——District 6, Beal City High School Gym • Wednesday, May 15——District 2, St. Edward’s Family Center, Lake Odessa • Thursday, May 16——District 1 ELECTION, St. Mary Family Life Center, Charlotte • Monday, May 20——District 4, Montabella Jr-Sr High School Cafeteria • Tuesday, May 21——District 3, Eagle Park Hall • Wednesday, May 22——District 7 ELECTION, St. Michael Parish Center, Remus

What Are You Saying About

HomeWorks Connect? We’ve been receiving great reviews of our new high-speed fiber internet service. One of our many pleased members is business owner Heather Hendges. Here’s what she had to say about her experience with HomeWorks Connect: The first time I heard about the highspeed fiber project was from a neighbor friend. Shortly after our discussion, I read in Country Lines that the board was doing research to determine if the project was feasible. Once HomeWorks put out notice that they had decided to go ahead with the project (and that they had created Join.HomeWorksConnect. org to help them understand which areas were interested in being served) I made sure I pre-registered. I also shared that information with many others I knew would be interested. HomeWorks has made a conscientious effort to keep information about the project in front of its members. When the fiber was installed at our home, I immediately noticed the difference in speed. For far too long, I’ve been trying to use wireless services from the major competitors, and I even broke down and ordered satellite service only months before HomeWorks made the announcement they were going to commit to the project. I work from my home office and most of my work entails assisting my customers by having to navigate various state of Michigan webpages (MDOT) due to the fact that they are moving to paperless project documentation. The lag times I used to have had a huge negative impact on my productivity, and I was constantly waiting for items to download or upload. Now, it is nearly instantaneous, and I am so much more

efficient. Computer work I used to put off or avoid and try to do somewhere else with better internet is no longer a bother or a concern. I am extremely grateful that our rural cooperative made this investment.

“I am extremely grateful that our rural cooperative made this investment.” Really, the impact on my family is minimal, but if you consider my daughter’s opinion, it is HUGE! She is able to enjoy her limited screen time playing a video game she otherwise would not have ever been able to enjoy. We also get to be more selective in what we watch since we have the opportunity to choose from streaming services that were not even an option before HomeWorks Connect. Even when we had a minor issue with the service, their project manager was wonderful and called me before I even had the chance to call and report the outage. He even stayed late after normal business hours to try to reset the router when I returned from a work trip later in the evening. We’ve been back online ever since with zero issues! It was a pleasant experience all the way around, from the installation to now. - Heather Hendges, satisfied member

Learn more today at! This service is not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.


co-op entrepreneurs Michigan Country Lines is proud to feature entrepreneurial movers and shakers from co-op territory in this special issue. Read on to meet pioneers, innovators and leaders who are making their mark on the world.

There is so much more to tell! Visit to read the full version of each entrepreneur’s story.

6 MARCH 2019

Ryan & Brianne Rademacher Bare Essential Oil

HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Members Husband and wife team Ryan and Brianne Rademacher proudly farm land that’s been in Ryan’s family for three generations, delivering oil straight from the family farm to your table. The idea for their business, Bare Essential Oil, came about when Ryan discovered camelina in April 2017. After researching the seed, Ryan believed he could use camelina to create superior, healthy cooking oil. The Rademachers planted a crop of camelina on their farm that spring and were blessed with a fantastic harvest. The next challenge, however, was processing the camelina into cooking oil. “As luck would have it,” said Brianne, “we found a couple in northern Michigan that grow and press their own canola oil.” The new friends allowed the Rademachers to use the facility to create their very first batch of oil. Today, their camelina oil can be purchased through and at select stores throughout Michigan. “We’re very happy with our final product,” said Ryan. “It has rich vitamin E content and one of the highest smoke points of any oil. It offers a light, nutty flavor to any culinary creation.” Check out to order, and then use it to make their pumpkin energy ball recipe on page 15.

Judith Kimball & Ilona Stroupe

Harold Kociba

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Members

Thumb Electric Cooperative Member

Presque Isle Needleworks

Judith Kimball and Ilona Stroupe discovered a mutual fondness for lighthouses and needlework as teenagers. As the years passed and their friendship grew, the duo combined those interests to form Presque Isle Needleworks. “We love lighthouses,” Ilona said. “In 1983, we decided to create a cross-stitch kit of our local lighthouse.” One pattern led to the next and, since then, they have designed at least one new lighthouse pattern each year, later adding two pattern books for stitchers who have their own supplies. Judy and Ilona do all the work in assembling their cross-stitch kits—from cutting the fabric to intricately designing the artwork. In addition to their cross-stitch kits, they expanded the business to include quilt square patterns of lighthouses. Because lighthouse preservation is so important to the owners, a portion of each sale goes directly to support Michigan lighthouses.

Dizzy Daisy Winery & Vineyard

Harold Kociba began growing grapes as a retirement project in 2006. It didn’t take long, however, before Harold realized retirement wasn’t in his future. As a third-generation farmer, Harold attended several seminars through the Michigan Wine Council before deciding to switch from raising cows to growing grapes. That’s when Dizzy Daisy Winery & Vineyard was born. Using the same skills and attributes that saw him through dairy farming, Harold got to work. He learned all he could about wine making—solving crises with weather, soil conditions, early frosts and unpredictable markets. “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.” Today, Harold and his team at Dizzy Daisy offer more than 75 wines. The team gets creative as new blends come from unpredictable weather or supply shortages—from their dry red Marechal Foch to their most popular Bad Axe Passion, which features a white blend with mango and passion fruit. The winery continues to diversify as they now make and sell hard cider.

David Gill

Marquette Brewing Cooperative Alger Delta Cooperative Member

Michigan will see its “first ever” cooperatively-owned brewery open its doors this summer in Marquette. Final architectural plans for the Marquette Brewing Cooperative (MBC) are currently in the works and, if all goes according to plan, craft beer will soon be flowing at 501 S. Lake Street. “We plan to have 10–12 beers on tap at all times,” said David Gill, president of the Marquette Homebrewers Club and the founder of MBC. “We’ll constantly rotate the selection, so there will always be something new.” Being an owner of a brewery in Marquette has broad appeal. The MBC already has over 280 member-owners, but David hopes to see membership doubled in time for their summer grand opening. Member-owners are entitled to all the benefits of ownership, including voting rights and a share in patronage dividends. “Our member-owners will also have access to workshops, tastings, seminars, and ‘brew-your-own beer’ events,” explained David. Lifetime individual memberships are available for $99 at, and a “preferred shares” program is available for those wanting to invest more. “Craft beer is a passion for each of us,” David concluded. “We have a dedicated core of brewers ready to serve the community with a diverse, holistic craft beer experience.” MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Light Your Home For Less With ENERGY STAR LEDs Installing LED light bulbs in your home is a quick and easy way to save energy. Look for the ENERGY STAR label for the best quality and longest product life. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR® LEDs, you can save up to $75 each year.

Did You Know?

• For an LED light bulb to bear the ENERGY STAR label, it must pass rigorous testing to ensure maximum energy savings and performance. • LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper. • The white light for LEDs is typically a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs. • LEDs contain no mercury and can easily be disposed of. • LEDs emit very little energy as wasted heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90 percent and CFLs release 80 percent of their energy as heat.

Choosing The Right LED Bulb Brightness

• Look for lumens, instead of watts, to determine brightness. Replace a 60W bulb with an LED bulb with about 800 lumens for comparable brightness.


• The color of an LED bulb is typically shown on a sliding scale between Warm and Cool. This measure is actually a temperature on the Kelvin scale (K), where lower K emits warmer, yellower light, and higher K produces cooler, bluer light.


Visit or call 877-296-4319 for additional energy-saving information and incentives.


Brighten world THEIR

Replace your home’s five most frequently used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® LEDs and save up to $75 per year. ENERGY STAR lighting provides: • Significant energy savings • Highest quality and performance • Wide range of colors and brightness • Dimmable lighting and motion sensing capabilities


Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit

Snap Shot Food & Drinks

1. Monica Ketchum from Big Rapids sent this photo of son Zeke sharing marshmallows around the campfire with daddy (Jon Ketchum). 2. Monica Ketchum also shared son Zeke getting his daily dose of vegetables with his snowman pal “Butter” (which he insisted is his name). 3. Jacquelyn Davison of Eagle sent in this photo of her son, Lincoln, enjoying some mac ‘n cheese.


4. Mindy Weber of Pewamo shared, “When you send your daughter for a bag of potatoes and she brings you a whole cart” (Britney Weber). 5. Mindy Weber also shared a photo of Sadie Weber, who loves using the mixer, making her own birthday cake.

2 Enter to win a

Upcoming Snap Shot Contest Topics And Deadlines


energy bill credit!

“Spring Flowers,” Deadline March 15 (May issue)



“Playing in the Water,” Deadline: April 15 (June issue) Go to and select Country Lines under the Electric tab to submit your photos and see additional themes. It’s fast and easy. To send by mail: include your name, address, phone number, photographer’s name, and details about your photo. Mail to Attn: Country Lines Snap Shots, 7973 E. Grand River, Portland, MI 48875. Photos will not be returned. Do not send color laser prints or professional studio photos.

Submit Your Photos! Contributors whose photos we publish in 2019 will be entered into a drawing. Country Lines will choose two winners for a bill credit of $100 each on their December electric bill, due in January 2020!




co-op entrepreneurs (continued)

Michigan Country Lines is proud to feature entrepreneurial movers and shakers from co-op territory in this special issue. Read on to meet pioneers, innovators and leaders who are making their mark on the world.

There is so much more to tell! Visit to read the full version of each entrepreneur’s story.

10 MARCH 2019

Kendall Rose The Revel Rose

Cherryland Electric Cooperative Member Three years ago Kendall Rose moved to northern Michigan as an outdoor recreation planner for the National Park Service. When federal budget cuts derailed her career, Kendall realized she could combine her passion for the great outdoors with her skills as an event planner. So, in 2017, The Revel Rose, an environmentally-friendly event planning company, was born. From month of coordination to full-service wedding planning, The Revel Rose handles everything from traditional weddings with 200 guests to destination elopements and intimate weddings. What sets this company apart, however, is Kendall’s vision to weave environmental stewardship (along with her eye for detail) into events by giving clients the chance to plan a minimal waste wedding. “I think it’s important to preserve and protect the places that make Michigan an enjoyable destination,” Kendall said. A minimal waste event means hiring preferred vendors who value “low-waste event planning, products, and processes,” Kendall explained. This includes farm to table caterers who utilize locally grown food and on-site services that recycle or compost the majority of event waste. The response has been terrific. “My clients are my biggest cheerleaders,” Kendall concluded.

Edna & Brad Yonker

Leonda Kessinger Shroyer

Ontonagon County REA Members

Midwest Energy & Communications Member

Junque Gypsy

Nonesuch Gallery

Located in a 1920-era building, Nonesuch Gallery is Ontonagon’s “not to be missed” shop, featuring all things quirky and artistic. Owned and run by artists Edna and Brad Yonker, the gallery features two levels for visitors to browse. Many of the items for sale are

handmade by local artists. Partners in life and work, Edna and Brad have created a masterpiece with their gallery. The main floor showcases Edna’s award-winning quilt-art and other textiles, plus furniture, home décor and jewelry, along with local coffee, mixes and lotions. Customers can even find Michigan-grown blueberry products. The downstairs floor of Nonesuch features Brad’s handmade guitars, many of which are handcrafted from local wood, alongside an assortment of new and used instruments. Before opening Nonesuch Gallery in 2001, Edna worked as an award-winning hand quilter. Her “Living A Dream” quilt, featured in the documentary “Quilting in the ‘90s” for the Library of Congress Folk Life Center, can be viewed on permanent display at the gallery. “Owning the gallery is so fun because we get to meet so many interesting people,” Edna said. “I love that.” Nonesuch Gallery is located at 638 River Street in Ontonagon.

Leonda Kessinger Shroyer spent hours as a child exploring flea markets with her grandparents. This early fascination with vintage memorabilia stayed with her as she later taught English and drama for Decatur Public Schools. “During my 30 years of teaching, I scoured thrift shops for stage props, costumes and classroom items,” Leonda explained. “Once retired, I turned my treasure hunting hobby into a self-supporting business.” Her venture, Junque Gypsy, began 10 years ago as an online shop on Etsy. While some boutiques promote the latest trends, Shroyer sparks nostalgia in customers as she finds, restores and resells vintage toys, holiday decor, jewelry, handbags and linens. Popular-selling items on her Etsy shop include vintage luggage, and even 1970-era Tupperware, which are “best sellers” since “things aren’t made like they used to be,” Leonda said. Junque Gypsy has caught the eye of curators domestically and internationally. In 2014, the prop master for the television show “Mike and Molly” bought a 1950s folk art figure for the show. A curator from Switzerland once bought a cake topper for a museum display on baptism customs. Others just love Junque Gypsy’s wares for the memories they evoke. “Basically, I sell nostalgia,” Leonda concluded. “That makes me happy.”

Connie McDermott 4C’s Cookies & More

Great Lakes Energy Cooperative Member Connie McDermott’s cookie business is anything but cookie cutter. It all started four years ago when her daughter, Carly, was attending basic training with the Michigan National Guard. “Every week I would make a variety of cookies to send to my daughter,” Connie said. The cookies received rave reviews—not only from Carly, but also from the friends in her unit. When Connie realized others were enjoying the treats, she baked and sent enough to be shared. That’s when she knew she had to pursue cookie baking. For the next six months Connie logged countless hours, finally perfecting her recipes. “I named my business 4C’s Cookies because my mother-in-law used to refer to our family as the 4 C’s,” Connie explained. “My name is Connie, my husband is Curt, and our daughters are Casey and Carly.” Her determination along with assistance from local resources, including The Starting Block (recipient of a Great Lakes Energy People Fund Grant), has helped her business grow. Today, there are 10 flavors of 4C’s Cookies sold in 16 locations across Michigan. The largest order comes from Bridge Street Market, a Meijer affiliate store in Grand Rapids. While she’s very happy with how well the business has done, Connie has even bigger plans. “I’d like to add online sales, find a distributor and open a storefront bakery,” she remarked. “My dream is to focus my full-time energy on cookies!” MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


CENTENNIAL FARM IrIsh hIlls Farm Since 1900

The John and Carrie McCarthy family farm, near Blanchard, achieved a milestone recently when it was certified as a Michigan Centennial Farm. Founded in 1900, Irish Hills Farm began as 40 acres, growing potatoes, corn and wheat. Today, it includes 117 acres, growing potatoes, corn and beans. Shown with their Michigan Centennial Farm marker are Richard Baker, Amy McCarthy Baker, their son Ryan McCarthy Baker, Amy’s dad Roger McCarthy, and Rylee, the family dog. Also shown is a 1954 John Deere Model 60, purchased new by Amy’s grandfather Earl and meticulously restored to working condition by Ryan.

Saving for college? We can help! If you know a high school senior in our service area who is planning to attend college next year, tell them about our $1,000 scholarships for HomeWorks members!

Apply by March 15 Learn more at

Your Board In Action Meeting at Portland on January 21, your board of directors: • Reviewed the 2019 district meeting schedule, as well as some early decisions for the Annual Meeting in August. • Learned about progress made by the fiber optic internet division, including Phase 2, which was announced in February. • Read and accepted board policies 117—Privacy and Confidentiality as written and 208—Sexual and Other Harassment as amended; also re-visited 207 Workplace Violence and amended the policy with definitions of workplace violence and bullying.

Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 12/31/18.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Regional average fuel mix used Your co-op’s fuel mix

Fuel Source Coal 25.72%

• Approved payment of association dues for 2019, paid to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association.


• Completed their annual review of director compensation and board expenses. • Learned there were 81 new members in December. • Acknowledged the December safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents for electric and propane, and followed up on a contractor electrical contact incident in December.

Time Set Aside For Members To Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 25 at Portland and April 22 at Blanchard. Members who need directions to the meeting, or wish to have items considered on the board agenda, should call 517-647-7554.




Gas 12.47%





Nuclear 42.63%


Renewable Fuels 17.14%











Solid Waste Incineration









NOTE: Biomass above excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

People Fund Grants Support Housing Help, Job Training Meeting on January 23, the Tri-County Electric People Fund Board of Directors made seven grants totaling $16,250, including: • $2,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, Grand Ledge, for their after-school food program;

Regional Average Fuel Mix

• $1,500 to Eaton Clothing & Furniture Center, Charlotte, to stock back-to-school personal care items; • $3,000 to St. Vincent de Paul of St. Michael’s, Grand Ledge, for their housing assistance program; • $1,000 to Enrich of Ionia County to provide job training for young adults; • $5,000 to Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency, Farwell, for their utility assistance program; • $2,500 to a Montcalm County family, to help with housing expenses; and • $1,250 to an Isabella County family to help with housing expenses.

Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Co-op

Regional Average*

Sulfur Dioxide



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

Carbon Dioxide



The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community.

Oxides of Nitrogen





Write to 7973 E. Grand River Avenue, Portland, MI. 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund tab at Note: Applications must be received by April 9 for the April board meeting, and by May 21 for the May board meeting.

High-level Nuclear Waste

*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/18. HomeWorks purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.


Easy Weeknight Dinners When you’re short on time, these easy meals are big on flavor. Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Lasagna Stew

Rachel Cultice, Midwest Energy & Communications 1 1 1 4 2 8 1 • 1

pound ground beef tablespoon garlic, minced (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable) tablespoons dried parsley lasagna noodles, broken into 4 pieces each cup mozzarella cheese, shredded salt and pepper cup ricotta cheese

Brown ground beef in large pot. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Pour the marinara sauce, broth and parsley into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add noodles and mozzarella. Let cook, occasionally stirring about 15 minutes or until noodles are done to your liking. Salt and pepper to taste. Dish the stew into eight bowls and add a scoop of ricotta to the top of each. Serve immediately.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

14 MARCH 2019

15 Minute Creamy Fettuccini Donna Smith, HomeWorks Tri-County

8 ounces fettuccini noodles (or any variation of pasta) 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ cup butter ½ cup milk Optional ingredients: crushed garlic or garlic powder to taste, cooked or grilled chicken, shrimp, smoked salmon, broccoli, etc. Cook fettuccini according to package directions. In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, butter and milk. Stir frequently until smooth. Add cooked fettuccini and toss lightly. Double or triple ingredients as desired for larger parties.

Chicken Enchilada Bake


Jessica Burns, Thumb Electric

1 Rotisserie chicken 1 can enchilada sauce (mild or hot spice per your preference) 1 package Spanish rice 1 (15-ounce) can black beans 1 (15-ounce) can corn 1 (15-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes, optional • shredded fiesta blend cheese, divided • sour cream • Chipotle Tabasco sauce • sliced avocado/guacamole, optional Preheat oven to 350 F. Shred the rotisserie chicken. Cook the Spanish rice according to package directions. Mix the chicken, corn,

Ryan and Brianne Rademacher, owners of Bare Essential Oil, offer these quick, healthy no-bake pumpkin energy balls that taste like cookies but are good for you!

black beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce and half the cheese. In a 9x13 pan, evenly spread the Spanish rice. Next, add the rotisserie chicken mixture and top with remaining half of the shredded cheese. Bake until bubbly. Serve and garnish with listed condiments.

Ravioli With Roasted Pepper Cream Michele Smith, Ontonagon REA

1 (24—26 ounce) package frozen cheese or meat ravioli 1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, cut into bite-size pieces, reserve liquid ½ cup chicken stock 1 cup whipping cream ¾—1 cup grated Parmesan cheese Cook ravioli in boiling water about 7 minutes until floating and tender. Drain, set aside and keep warm. In a medium saucepan, combine peppers, reserved liquid and chicken stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Stir in whipping cream.

Pumpkin Energy Balls Bring back to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese and cook, stirring constantly until cheese has melted and sauce has thickened. Place ravioli on four plates, spoon sauce over ravioli and serve.

Delicious Vegetables: due April 1 Festive Desserts: due May 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 for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

¾ 1 ½ 1¼ ¼ 3

cup creamy peanut butter tsp camelina oil cup pumpkin puree cups old-fashioned oats cup chia seeds Tbsp honey

Put the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours; this will make them easier to roll. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the mixture into 12—14 balls. Chill for 2 more hours and enjoy! Read the full story about Ryan and Brianne Rademacher and Bare Essential Oil on page 6 and visit to find this recipe and others.


Taking the

Next Step

As HomeWorks grows, our employees enjoy the opportunity to learn new skills, advance their careers and take on exciting new responsibilities with the co-op.

The past few years have been a period of rapid growth at HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative. The co-op and our subsidiaries are serving more members and customers than ever before, and we’ve developed an entire new business in our HomeWorks Connect fiber internet service. Naturally, this growth, along with some recent retirements, has opened up several new and expanded roles at the co-op. In many instances, we’ve found the perfect candidates to fill those roles right here within our own ranks, as our employees have stepped up to take on new positions and use their skills in different capacities to continue to serve our members well. “We strive to promote from within as much as we can at HomeWorks,” says Human Resources Specialist Angel McCliggott. “It makes sense because we know the quality of employees we have here, and we’re already familiar with their work ethic, experience and knowledge. It’s also a positive for our employees, because they get frequent opportunities for career development and the chance to try new things. Plus, it’s a cost savings to the cooperative. It really is a win-win.” So, don’t be surprised if you stop by our offices or encounter our crews in the field and notice a familiar face in a new role. It’s all a part of what we do every day to provide energy, comfort and communication solutions to enhance your quality of life. 16 MARCH 2019

These long-time Homeworks employees have recently stepped into new roles!

Cheryl Blaschka Years with co-op: 21 New position: Fiber Work Order Clerk Former position: Accounting Clerk

Jessica Hinds Years with co-op: 18 New position: Fiber Customer Service Rep Former position: Customer Service Support

Sean Thelen Years with co-op: 3 New position: Fiber Installer Former position: Propane Delivery Driver

Rob Brennan Years with co-op: 21 New position: Lineman Supervisor Former position: Crew Leader

Michelle Huhn Years with co-op: 20 New position: Executive Assistant Former position: Customer Service Supervisor

Val Wohlscheid Years with co-op: 19 New position: Engineering Technician Former position: Mapping Technician

Stacey Brown Years with co-op: 5 New position: Accounting Clerk Former position: Customer Service Rep

Kevin Sandborn Years with co-op: 4 New position: Fiber Warehouse Clerk Former position: Fiber Installer

Trevor Wood Years with co-op: 9 New position: Propane Team Lead Former position: Propane Delivery Driver

Luanne Goodman Years with co-op: 21 New position: Customer Service Supervisor Former position: Customer Service Rep

Neal Swain Years with co-op: 13 New position: Fleet & Facilities Coordinator Former position: Propane Team Lead

Jeremy Zbytowski Years with co-op: 16 New position: Electric Crew Leader Former position: Lineman MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17

MI CO-OP Community

Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by March 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at 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 January issue is Brenda Nowak, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Aloha State Park dock overlooking Mullet Lake. The dock has been a part of the Village of Aloha, State Park area, since at least 1912—as evidenced by photos from the book “Aloha & Aloha, Now and Then” written by the Aloha Historical Society. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

January 2019

18 MARCH 2019

Follow Michigan Country Lines On Instagram Follow us on our new Instagram account @michigancountrylines, where we celebrate the energy of rural Michigan. Marvel at Michigan’s majestic beauty, learn about new places to visit and experience rural Michigan life through the eyes of your fellow co-op members.


Your Photos With Us

Help us capture the energy of rural Michigan. Tag your photos with #micoopcommunity and they could be featured on our Instagram account. Your photo could even be chosen to print as the featured photo in our magazine. Get to snapping, we can’t wait to see what you share!


(989) 356-2113

NOW AVAILABLE AT Learn More SELECT STORES 989-356-2113 Report Outages: 1-800-848-9333

PLEASE HELP US KEEP OUR CREWS SAFE When you see stopped utility vehicles on the side of the road, please slow down, and move over when possible. ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FIRST!

Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.