March 2019 Thumb

Page 1

March/April 2019


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative

April 8 Is Lineworkers Appreciation Day

Sageman Retires After 36 Years Take Charge Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle


co-op entrepreneurs


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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.






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

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

2019 Budget And Projects Dallas Braun, General Manager


he TEC Board of Directors met and approved the 2019 Operating and Capital Budget presented by staff.

The Operating Budget includes revenues of $22,816,028 and expenses of $21,412,832. The budget projects total margins of just over $1.4 million which is required to meet our financial loan obligations. The good thing about being a member of a nonprofit cooperative is that these margins are allocated back to the members, by board approval, at the end of the audited fiscal year. The capital budget includes a total investment of just over $5.5 million. Every year the board approves approximately $4 to $5 million to make equipment improvements to the electrical system. These capital investments ensure the continued delivery of safe, reliable, and affordable electricity not only for today, but for future generations.

The 2019 Capital Budget Highlights Include:

Louis Wenzlaff, President District 1 • 989-683-2696

• Completion of the 15-mile transmission/distribution project between our Kinde and Ubly substations.

Jonathan Findlay, Director District 2 • 989-551-8393

• Completion of the new metering package at our 41.6 KV emergency back-up feed for our Columbia substation.

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

Visit Thumb Electric’s website Join us on Facebook Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 MARCH 2019

• Installation and commissioning of new protective relays and panels at the Ubly substation. • Installation of two 41.6 KV sectionalizing switches on the O’Connel transmission tap line. • Rebuild and conversion of 1.75 miles of single-phase distribution to three-phase distribution in Vassar Township along Caine Road between Waltan and Waterman roads. • Rebuild and conversion of four miles of single-phase distribution to three-phase distribution in Bingham and Sheridan townships along Huron Line, Bad Axe, and Morrison roads. • Rebuild and conversion of five miles of single-phase distribution to three-phase distribution in Greenleaf Township along Cumber, Gilbert, Jackson, Hoadley and Seeger roads. • Purchase of a new bucket truck. • Initial deployment of an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) System.

An AMI is an integrated system of advanced meters, communication networks, and data management systems that enable two-way communications between utilities and customers. AMI systems have been available and used

by electric utilities for many years. There have been many advancements in this technology that allow a utility more than just the ability to read your meter remotely. Below lists just some of the capabilities:

• Remote meter reads (electric & propane)

• Voltage monitoring

• Eliminate manual seasonal account meter reads

• Transformer loading analysis

• Remote meter disconnects and reconnects

• Eliminate truck rolls for false outages

• Energy theft monitoring and alert

• Demand response/system peak reduction

• Meter tampering detection and alert

• Increase field employee safety

• Automatic Outage detection

• Report improvements

• Eliminate “estimated meter reading”

• Time-stamped interval energy consumption

• Reduce high bill inquiries

• Enable member to better manage energy use

• Overheating meter/meter-base detection and alert

• Dynamic pricing/rates

• Blinking lights/power quality detection and alert

• Offers Time-of-Day rates for Electric Vehicle home charging

• Allows prepaid metering

• Improve engineering data

• Improve cash flow

TEC is one of the few remaining utilities in the U.S. that does not employ some type of AMI system. In fact, TEC members continue today, as they have since 1938, to read their own meters. This process has worked well over the past 80 years and has provided millions of dollars of savings for the cooperative and its members. TEC was not an early user of AMI, but proven technology and next generation equipment make the time right for our future.

were positive and showed a payback of investment in approximately six years. In the utility world, this is a quick payback. At the time of this writing, we have narrowed the selection from 10 to three and anticipate a final selection by April. The initial deployment later this year will consist of approximately 700 meters near the Ubly area. After successful operation of this project, system-wide deployment will begin in 2020 with completion in 2021.

With the guidance of an engineering consulting firm, TEC started the AMI vendor/technology evaluation process in 2018 which included a feasibility study. The study results

As we progress with this investment, we will keep you informed. Be sure to continue to read Country Lines and follow TEC on Facebook.

Sageman Retires After 36 Years With TEC After 36 years of dedicated service with Thumb Electric Cooperative, Member Office Representative Jan Sageman retired on March 1, 2019. Jan started at the cooperative in 1983 after working six years with the Pigeon Cooperative Elevator. Her knowledge and experience in billing and customer service will be missed. Jan is looking forward to spending her retirement traveling and enjoying her three grandkids.

All of us at Thumb Electric wish Jan all the best in the years to come.




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


Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of Thumb 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















Renewable Fuels












Solid Waste Incineration









Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

CO-OP NEWS Annual Meeting At Octagon Barn——June 8

This year’s Annual Meeting will be held again at the Octagon Barn near Gagetown. Save the date for Saturday, June 8, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the business meeting starting at 10 a.m. Members will vote for cooperative directors and listen to updates on business improvements. As always, there will be entertainment for the kids with balloons, face painting, bounce houses, barrel train rides, and bucket truck rides. The meeting will end around noon and lunch will be served. Members can enjoy the Octagon Barn sites and exhibits. Director Voting: Please note that members will be able to vote for cooperative directors this year by mail. Ballots and more information will be coming in the May/June edition of Country Lines.

Tree Trimming Efforts Ongoing

As we head into the end of winter, tree trimming continues at an aggressive pace but is also dependent on weather. Removing and trimming trees make for fewer outages and shorter duration of outages that do occur because of these efforts. Priorities will continue for line sections that are historically problematic, followed by overgrown sections. An emphasis may also be put on our 41.6 KV transmission lines depending on weather conditions. As time allows, less severe circuits will be maintained. We anticipate working on the transmission line that goes between Ubly and Owendale substations. Members in Vassar, Dayton (especially Shay Lake area), Juniata, Wells and Indianfield townships will see crews working in their area, and we anticipate finishing work on circuits in Kingston, Koylton, Lamotte, and Marlette townships. Due to a disease in the Ash tree, a popular species of tree in our service territory, we have adjusted our trimming locations. We make every effort to contact members ahead of the trimmers. We send postcards to members and, at times, we will try and call members to let them know the plan for their area. If you have an updated phone number, please call us with your new contact information.

Regional Average Fuel Mix

As the spring season approaches, please remember to look up before planting a tree. Plant a tree where it can grow for years and not be a danger to power lines.

System Upgrades

Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Regional Co-op Average*

Sulfur Dioxide



Carbon Dioxide



Oxides of Nitrogen





High-level Nuclear Waste

*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ended 12/31/18. The fuel mix data presented by Thumb Electric is the data from CMS Energy which supplies nearly all of Thumb Electric’s purchased power.

8 MARCH 2019

Depending on weather and any unknown outages, Thumb Electric contractors expect to be in the final stages of the rebuild of the 41.6KV transmission line between Ubly and Kinde. The section between Kinde and Richardson road is completed and operational, so the concentration will be near the substation in Ubly, as well as removal of the old lines and poles from the deep right-of-way. A large and complex rebuild project such as this can take some time and completing them safely and properly is the main focus. These efforts help to ensure the system is as reliable as possible when Mother Nature throws us her best.

Appliance Recycling

Appliance recycling is not available throughout the winter due to difficult conditions. We anticipate we will start to pick up again in April. Our contractor, SEEL, will pick up an old working refrigerator or freezer, and we will credit your account $50. If they have scheduled to pick up a refrigerator or freezer, they can also schedule a dehumidifier or a window AC unit pick up as well. Window AC units and dehumidifiers are worth a $20 bill credit. Call 844-631-2130 to schedule your pick up today!

Thanking TEC Lineworkers This April 8 we celebrate National Lineworkers Appreciation Day. Thumb Electric Cooperative would like to take this time to thank all of our lineworkers in-house and on our property for all of the hard work they do. Working nights, weekends, holidays, plus their weekly schedule—often in hazardous conditions—presents unique situations that must be safely overcome. During an outage these brave individuals work hard to ensure that power is restored in a timely, yet safe, manner. Working safely and getting home to their families is what matters to them and TEC. Thank you for a job well done!

Photo Contest

Ubly crew L—R Mike Cleland, Mike Kozlowski, Ray Kwiatkowski, Ray Eskau, and Jim Vogel

Caro crew L—R Gary Burns, Jeff Swick, Evan Grifka, Brandon Bruce, and Jason Kuhl

Food And Drinks

1. “This is a burger!” by Lori Dubro 2. “Instant pot peanut butter cup cheesecake” by Shawn Alderman 3. “Seared salmon over coconut rice and snow peas with citrus soy sauce” by Pat Rutt

Submit Your “Spring Flowers” Photos!

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

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.


Our March theme is Spring Flowers. Photos can be submitted through March 20 to be featured in our May/June issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!



To enter the contest visit 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 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.




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


Avid fan of the mushroom swiss burger at holli jays

annual Colwood bank bike rally attendee

Lineman at THumb electric cooperative

perch fishing patron of Jahr Fish & Sports Center

gary wears a lot of hats

in this town You call this place home and so do we. In fact, not only was Thumb Electric Cooperative built by this community, we belong to it. Any profits we make are shared back with our members.


with gary burns

How long have you been a lineman at Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC)?

I’ve been with TEC for five months now. It’s easy for me to remember my start date because it was one month before I got married.

So, you’re a newlywed! Tell us about your blushing bride.

Her name is Jessica and we met at a mutual friend’s Halloween party. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles and now works for GST Michigan Works! as their communications and public relations coordinator. We have been together a little over three years. She is an excellent cook, warmhearted and loves spending time with our pets, Tripp (a German Shepherd) and Charlie (a cat).

What made you want to be a lineman?

I have to credit my mom with the idea. She found Southeast Lineman Training Center’s program online and shared it with me. The school was in Georgia and I’m from Millington, Mich., but it seemed like a good fit. So, I enrolled, packed up for Georgia, and fell in love with the trade. I’ve now been a lineman for four years.

What was it like growing up in Millington?

Growing up in Millington was your typical small town experience. I was very involved in sports at my school—football, basketball, baseball,


and I ran track. My family has a farm where they grow soybeans and corn. When I was a kid, we also had pigs. A good number of Saturdays and Sundays were spent helping my dad cut wood.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I like to snowmobile. We just took a snowmobile trip to Pine Stop Junction in the U.P. Boondocking is my favorite way to ride. It adds a little adventure when you veer off the trail, into the woods and the deep snow. On this last trip, the snow was three-and-half-feet deep.

Have you ever gotten lost boondocking before?

Yep, a couple of times. When I got lost, I either backtracked or continued riding until I reached familiar territory. It doesn’t bother me to get lost. In fact, those are the times where I find new, awesome spots to ride!

Who do you have winning your NCAA Tournament bracket?

Michigan! They have always been my favorite sports team. I’m actually the black sheep in my family because they are all State fans. Go Blue!

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

If you work hard, everything will pan out.


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.


TAKE CHARGE Behind The Wheel Of An Electric Vehicle


ow would you like to bid farewell to the gas station and pocket a portion of the money you used to spend on filling up your tank? While it almost sounds too good to be true, electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs) make it possible. The next time you’re in the market for a new car, consider the benefits of climbing into the driver’s seat of an EV.

LESS EXPENSIVE TO DRIVE You may be surprised to learn that driving a 2019 EV in Michigan can be up to three times cheaper than driving a gas-powered vehicle. This savings is possible because EVs have much lower fuel costs than conventional gasoline vehicles. Considering the average U.S. household spends nearly one-fifth of its total family budget on transportation, savings at the fuel pump can quickly add up. In 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that the average American household spent nearly $2,000 a year on gasoline. Imagine having extra funds to afford that family vacation, complete a home remodeling project, or even just beef up your savings account? The simple step of not draining your bank account each week at the gas pump may help you fast track your financial goals.

16 MARCH 2019


What is an eGallon? It is the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity, compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline.

MICHIGAN Regular gasoline

2 08

Electric eGallon

1 4 0


LESS MAINTENANCE Gas-powered automobiles require replacing parts that go bad over time. Electric vehicles are different because they do not require as many components to operate. For instance, electric motors only have one moving part while engines in traditional automobiles contain dozens. A perk appreciated by EV drivers is that you can roll past 3,000 miles without having to think about getting an oil change.

EVs don’t require oil changes—ever. They also don’t require cooling system flushes, transmission servicing and replacing the air filter, spark plugs, and drive belts. Regular service visits are typically limited to rotating the tires and checking brake pads and other components. Less maintenance equals more money in your bank account with less time spent at the service station or auto repair shop.

GOING THE DISTANCE EVs have come a long way (and can now, literally, go a long way!) since they were first introduced to the U.S. consumer market. For example, Chevrolet advertises its 2019 Chevy Bolt EV with a range of 238 miles. Yes, that’s right! The Chevrolet Bolt can now drive 238 miles before needing to be charged. With the Bolt’s MSRP starting at $36,620, electric vehicles are truly becoming the affordable transportation of the future.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY Most EVs can be charged by plugging into a standard 120 V outlet, but many owners opt to install a specialized 240 V charging system in their garage for a faster charge. With no tailpipe emissions, EVs produce zero pollution except for emissions created in producing the electricity used to charge them. With a renewable energy portfolio of nearly 20 percent, Michigan electric co-ops are the state’s renewable energy leaders. Switching to an EV and charging on co-op power lines is a way to reduce your carbon footprint significantly.

TAX INCENTIVES AVAILABLE While the operating costs of EVs are substantially lower, EVs can be more expensive to purchase than their conventional counterparts—although this up-front cost continues to decline as U.S. demand for electric vehicles rises. The good news is that the federal government offers limited tax credits up to $7,500 to EV buyers that can lower the up-front costs. Visit to find specific tax credit amounts for individual vehicles.

? Is an EV right for you?

Calculate the overall cost of EV ownership, customize it to your personal circumstances, and compare it to conventional vehicles. Be on the lookout for more EV articles in future issues of Michigan Country Lines.

The purchase and use of EVs has fast-tracked in popularity across the country. In rural Michigan, electric co-ops are keeping a close eye on the EV industry and can serve as a good resource if you have questions about purchasing one this year. Here are two TEC co-op members who drive electric vehicles themselves. Read below to learn how this shift in transportation has made financial and environmental sense for them. TEC Board of Director Jon Findlay is familiar with the EV technology as his brother, Kevin, drives a Tesla Model 3. Kevin often refers to TEC as his “gas station” as he often charges his car at home, and at TEC’s 12 cent rate, he compares it to 50 cents a gallon gasoline. He recently took a trip to Grand Rapids from Unionville and figures he spent about $12 on the drive using both power from his home charger and a series of fast charging stations available at certain Meijer stores. Dallas Braun TEC General Manager drives a Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid. It offers a little more of the SUV look and feel, including four-wheel drive. Like all hybrids, this vehicle has a small gasolinepowered engine along with battery technology. His vehicle can be driven solely in “EV” mode using only the battery. A trip on a full DC charge will get you about 18 miles. A full overnight charge on a level-1 charger (120 volts) at the retail rate of 12 cents/ kWh will cost approximately $1. So it costs about $1 to drive 18 miles. Compare this to a vehicle that gets 18 MPG. Even at $2 per gallon of gas at the pumps, the energy cost comparison is half the cost. Hybrid vehicles are ideal for those that have a shorter commute. Braun is excited to see where the transportation industry including EV technology will be in a few years.

DO YOU DRIVE AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE? Please email with your contact information (name, email, phone number, electric co-op) and a brief testimonial outlining your personal experience driving an EV. Someone from the magazine may call or email you to interview you and possibly feature your story in an upcoming article.


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


Thumb Electric Cooperative

THANK YOU Lineworkers serve on the frontlines of our energy needs, and on April 8, 2019, Thumb Electric Cooperative will honor the men and women who work in challenging and often dangerous conditions to keep the lights on. We are proud to recognize all electric lineworkers for the services they perform around the clock in difficult conditions to keep power flowing and protect the public’s safety.