May 2019 Thumb

Page 1

May/June 2019


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative

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In This Issue May 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 5


Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives



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Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

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


Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

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michigancountrylines Pro tip: Water and electricity don’t mix...unless you are mother nature. #donttrythisathome #beautiful : @andrew_long_expo

ON THE COVER Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, captures a dangling shot of Michigan’s most iconic landmark, the Mackinac Bridge. Read the full story about his spectacular aerial drone photography on page 14.

6 & 7 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Columns 62 Years Of Michigan Marriage Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Breakfast And Brunch Recipes To Enjoy All Day Long


Feature Guest Chef

Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media, shares a family favorite Pudgy Pie campfire recipe. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Up In The Air

Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography Emily Haines Lloyd

18 SAFETY May Is Electrical Safety Month

Life-Saving Tips From Your Co-op Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner For more than 38 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information with our members. An empowering communication tool, Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about our services, director elections, member meetings and management decisions that members need to know about as owners of the co-op. The magazine also includes legal notices that would otherwise have to be placed in local media at a substantial cost. Sending Michigan Country Lines to you helps the co-op fulfill one of its essential principles——to educate and communicate openly with its members. The board of directors authorizes the co-op to subscribe to Michigan Country Lines on behalf of each member at an average cost of $3.90 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 49 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published for us, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome and value your comments at






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

TEC Board Approves Capital Credit Refunds


he Thumb Electric Cooperative Board of Directors recently approved the allocation of $1,477,602.21 of 2018 margins to TEC’s members as capital credits. Approximately seven cents of every dollar paid by TEC members in 2018 is being returned or allocated back to its members. The board also authorized cash retirement of capital credits of $91,955.80 for 1988, $310,855.75 for 1989, $100,000 for 1990, and $300,000 for 2018. Since its inception, TEC has retired just over $10 million in capital credits. Capital credits represent your ownership or equity interest in the cooperative. You furnish capital (equity) when you pay for your service, and the cooperative’s income exceeds expenses to finish its fiscal year with a positive margin. Positive margins become capital credits through a process known as allocation. The cooperative allocates credit to each member who took service during the years of positive margins. The amount of the capital credit is proportionate to the revenue received from each member for their energy use. Each dollar of positive margin is tracked and accounted for by allocation to each member. Active TEC members will see their portion of the recently approved capital credit retirements on their May electric bills as a credit on a line item called “Patronage Refund.” Members’ total patronage amount earned for 2018 will also be shown on the May electric bill. For non-active members who have left TEC’s system and have provided a forwarding address, patronage checks will be mailed later in the year.

Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291 Mike Briolat, Director District 2 • 989-284-3405 Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, President District 1 • 989-683-2696 Jonathan Findlay, Director District 2 • 989-551-8393 Carl Cousins, Director District 3 • 989-871-4449 Dallas Braun, General Manager PAYMENT STATIONS Huron County Bad Axe—Northstar Bank Pigeon—Northstar Bank Tuscola County Akron—Northstar Bank Caro—Northstar Bank Mayville—Mayville State Bank Millington—Mayville State Bank Sanilac County Sandusky—Northstar Bank

How Capital Credits Work John and Mary Doe are Thumb Electric members. This is how their capital credits work: 1. John and Mary Doe use electricity at

their home for comfort and convenience.

2. John and Mary pay their

electric bills each month. Thumb Electric tracks their energy use and totals the revenue received from John, Mary and the rest of the co-op’s members.

3. Thumb Electric’s fiscal

year ends in December. Final financial obligations for the year are met; staff closes the books, which are then audited.

4. Income received over and above Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 MAY 2019

expenses (margin) is determined.

5. After the audit, the Thumb Electric Co-op’s Board of Directors approves the allocation of the year’s margins to John and Mary, and the rest of Thumb Electric’s members, as capital credits. Until retired, capital credits become members’ equity in Thumb Electric. 6. The board of directors may

authorize a cash retirement on a portion of the capital credit to members. The board determines the total amount to pay, which years of service will be retired, and how the capital credits will be paid.

7. John and Mary should see their capital credit allocation notice in the center of their May billing statement. The capital credit retirements will appear as a line item credit shown as PATRONAGE REFUND on the same May electric bill.

Thumb Electric Cooperative

Financial Statement Balance Sheets: December 31, 2018 & 2017 ASSETS ELECTRIC PLANT In service—at cost Under construction Total electric plant Less accumulated depreciation ELECTRIC PLANT—NET OTHER PROPERTY AND INVESTMENTS Investments in associated organizations Investment in subsidiary Energy loans receivable Non-utility property Special funds TOTAL OTHER PROPERTY AND INVESTMENTS CURRENT ASSETS Cash and temporary cash investments Accounts receivable, less allowance for doubtful accounts of $499,947 and $463,601 in 2018 and 2017 Unbilled revenue Materials and supplies Prepaid expenses Interest receivable TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS DEFERRED DEBITS TOTAL ASSETS



$ $95,893,825 4,096,703 99,990,528 30,760,963 69,229,565

$ 93,233,094 2,711,206 95,944,300 29,159,153 66,785,147

1,606,394 1,945,904 100,328 98,053 150,000 3,900,679

1,595,810 1,823,117 110,202 102,607 3,631,736



2,575,678 648,587 1,021,220 79,406 8,842 4,855,254 257,710

2,657,995 706,386 953,541 94,202 8,521 5,041,647 458,620






$ 180,305 22,569,054 2,843,721 25,593,080 44,121,966

$ 177,770 22,141,668 2,365,926 24,685,364 42,173,295







884,116 31,511 1,337,118 671,492 456,961 192,462 96,771 8,250,478 127,684

1,009,194 77,080 765,730 635,868 470,422 191,827 104,841 8,945,240 113,251

Note payable—line of credit Accounts payable: Purchased power Subsidiary Other Accrued property taxes Accrued payroll and vacation Customer deposits Other TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES DEFERRED CREDITS TOTAL EQUITIES AND LIABILITIES OPERATING REVENUES Electric sales Other sales




$ 21,763,205 348,104 22,111,309

$ 20,346,302 515,211 20,861,513

10,337,312 49,279 104,975 707,153 2,500,327 697,322 421,212 8,548 1,098,151 2,609,102 875,816 19,409,197 2,702,112

9,905,622 29,278 260,628 599,151 2,586,427 677,061 381,770 8,602 1,061,158 2,274,061 830,216 1,024 18,613,974 2,247,539

1,435,812 84,414 1,520,226 1,181,886 103,715 1,285,601

1,486,201 60,329 1,546,530 701,009 99,416 800,425

74,592 122,787 88,307 88,307

58,032 159,092 42,579 259,703

OPERATING EXPENSES Cost of power Generation Transmission Distribution—operations Distribution—maintenance Customer accounts Customer service Sales Administrative and general Depreciation Taxes—property Other OPERATING INCOME BEFORE FIXED CHARGES FIXED CHARGES: Interest on long-term debt Other interest OPERATING MARGINS AFTER FIXED CHARGES CAPITAL CREDITS NET OPERATING MARGINS NON-OPERATING MARGINS Interest Income from subsidiary Other income NET MARGINS









MI CO-OP Community

62 Years Of Michigan Marriage By Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member


n July 7, 1957, as young newlyweds, we headed north from Indiana to see the sights.

and Spider Lake. The Driftwood Motel was our destination for many years. We stayed in condos after the Driftwood was no more. As a family of 17, we’ve experienced all the amenities the Traverse City area has to offer.

Our first stop was seven miles west of Kalkaska, Michigan into the Sand Lakes quiet area. Greatgrandpa McCoy was alone now at the nicknamed Visiting Underwood and Rennie orchards in “Bitzy” cabin where he and Great-grandma had July and mushroom hunting in the spring. Our spent many summers. It was a one-room log activities included climbing the dunes, rafting cabin with a hand pump on the porch and an down Crystal River, air shows on East Bay, outhouse out back. They fished the many area Parasailing, bicycling, marching lakes. I wondered how in the band concerts, horseback riding 1940s did they ever find this “Five families of at Ranch Rudolph, fishing and the secluded place? McCoys have an famous Cherry Festival parade. interest and still enjoy We again headed north to see Michigan vacations.” The “Bitzy” cabin was torn the great Mackinac Bridge. We down due to deteriorating logs marveled during the tour that and rebuilt in the ‘90s by the family as vacation took us under the bridge which had one span left to complete before joining Lower Michigan and the time permitted. It is now modern, which was a significant event, complete with power from Upper Peninsula. Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Five families of McCoys have an interest and still enjoy We had little money to spend, but we took in Michigan vacations. many first-time sights, and this would be the beginning of a lifetime of Michigan adventures. The once-newlyweds will celebrate over 62 years It was our home away from home. of marriage in July, and our lifetime memories of happy days with family throughout Michigan Our three children would know Michigan, as well bring us joy. as their spouses and our nine grandchildren. We camped in the early years at Interlochen and Glen Arbor. We rented cottages on Little Glen Linda has lived in Northeast Indiana for all of her 79 years. She is a retired beautician and enjoys caring for families in her community. and Big Glen, and years later at Lake Leelanau

6 MAY 2019

Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School By Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy member


t 5 a.m. on any of the bodies of water I venture to, be it a lake, river, stream, or pond, I am inundated with a myriad of sounds. The slow, rhythmic lap of waves reaching the shore after a night of travel is indeed soothing early in the morning.

way toward the inlet. The rapid flow of water cascades down boulders forming a chaotic scene as it bubbles back up. My line remains steady in the calm water beyond the little falls. I remember not too many years ago bringing my two children here. Armed with fishing gear, Barbies and GI Joes, we had claimed our spot. Amid the yelps of lucky fishermen and those who weren’t so lucky, I heard the laughter of my kids. Today, even though both are now in their late twenties, I can still get them to “wet a line” with me.

The plop of fish on calm waters just before the sun breaks makes an angler’s heart race. The head turns quickly in an attempt to see what it was that raised so quickly and, like an Olympic diver, reenter with “The memories, the Every so often I feel like a little only splash rings remaining, stories, the sights that wave that thought his purpose spreading like oil on the water. a morning offers keep was gone when he reached In fact, when the boat engine is me trickling back to the sandy shore. However, the cut or the paddles raised, the Michigan waters to fish.” memories, the stories, the sights serenity of a moment like this is that a morning offers keep me spine-tingling. trickling back to Michigan waters to fish. I have this sense that if I don’t, it will be the end of something. With a headlamp, waders, rod, small tackle box, flies and other bait, I descend the muddy bank of my favorite river. The eastern sky is lit brightly with Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past an easel of colors, making my climb down to the 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer. waters edge flashlight free. The squish and clomp of my wading boots seem to be twenty decibels higher than they need to be. As I approach, there is an eerie screech reverberating from the tree Win $150 for stories published! line. The Blue Herons’ hollering momentarily blocks out the roar of the rushing water. As I near, the finger pier is empty of anglers on this particular morning. Many fishermen will be approaching the mouth soon to test their skill against the steelhead that are now making their

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.



Thumb Electric Cooperative Of Michigan:

81st Annual Meeting Of The Members The 81st Annual Meeting of the Members of the Thumb Electric Cooperative of Michigan was held at the Thumb Octagon Barn in Gagetown, Tuscola County, Mich. at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2018, pursuant to call and notice thereof given to each member of the Cooperative and pursuant to the laws of the State of Michigan. The meeting was called to order by Louis Wenzlaff, president of the Cooperative, who presided. Jason Bitzer, attorney for the Cooperative, acted as secretary of the meeting and kept the minutes thereof. The President introduced the members of the Cooperative’s Board of Directors and Board Officers as follows: Louis Wenzlaff, president, Tuscola County; Donald Wolschleger, vice president, Huron County; Beth McDonald, secretary, Huron County; Randall Dhyse, treasurer, Huron County; Carl Cousins, Tuscola County; Michael Briolat, Sanilac County; Jonathan Findlay, Tuscola County; Kim Nunn, Sanilac County; and Duane Kursinsky, Sanilac County. Also introduced were General Manager Dallas Braun and Jason Bitzer, the Cooperative’s attorney. The reading of the Notice of the Meeting and Affidavit of Mailing thereof to all the Cooperative members within the time prescribed by the Cooperative Bylaws was dispensed with, it having been published in Country Lines. A copy of the Notice and Affidavit is attached to these minutes and incorporated herein. President Wenzlaff reported that the members of the Cooperative present in person or by proxy had been checked by the registration of names of the members attending the meeting in person and the names of the members represented at the meeting by proxy, and the names of their respective proxy. It was determined that more than 150 members of the Cooperative were present in person, constituting a quorum of the members in accordance with the Bylaws of the Cooperative. The President also reported that members of the Cooperative were present at the meeting in person and that members were represented at the meeting by proxies, all of the said members being named and described as to their county of residence and as to attendance in person or by proxy. The proxies were ordered filed in the records of the Cooperative. The minutes of the 80th Annual Meeting of the Members were not read since a copy of same had been mailed to each of the members. There being no additions or corrections to those minutes, upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, said minutes were approved as drafted. The Treasurer’s Report to the 81st Annual Meeting was not read since a copy of same had been mailed to each of the members. There being no amendments thereto or questions upon the matters contained therein, upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, the report was approved as presented. The Treasurer’s Report published in “Country Lines” presented the 2017 financial statement and showed operating revenues of $20,861,513 and expenses of $20,160,504, resulting in an operating margin of $701,009. Total assignable margins were $1,060,128 for 2017. The 2017 members’ patronage capital accounts will be allocated approximately 5 cents on each dollar paid by TEC members. President Wenzlaff then introduced Michigan Electric Cooperative Association President/CEO Craig Borr. Mr. Borr introduced U.S. Representative Paul Mitchell; Michigan Representative Shane Hernandez; Michigan Senator Mike Green; U.S. Senator Gary Peters’ Regional Coordinator, Dylan Hellus; and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Regional Manager-Derrick Mathis, who each addressed the Cooperative’s membership. President Wenzlaff then introduced the Cooperative’s General Manager Dallas Braun. Manager Braun thanked the Cooperative employees for all their safe labors and efforts over the past year. He then reported on the Cooperative’s financial status, rates, member 8 MAY 2019

services, marketing activities, patronage capital retirement, energy efficiency, interest, property taxes, construction and improvements. In closing, Manager Braun thanked the members for their interest in their Cooperative and their support. After questions and answers of the General Manager’s Report, the meeting was returned to President Wenzlaff, and upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, the General Manager’s Report was approved as presented. President Wenzlaff then gave the President’s Report explaining growth of the Cooperative’s total utility plant in 2017, increase in equity while maintaining competitive rates, patronage capital retirements, 2017’s major construction projects, utility plant & upgrades, tree trimming, taxes, and legislation. Upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, the President’s Report was approved as presented. The next order of business was the election of three directors, one representing each county in District 2, for three-year terms each. President Wenzlaff appointed the following as Inspectors of the Election, all of whom were sworn to the faithful performance of their duties by the Cooperative’s Attorney, Jason E. Bitzer, who is also a notary public: Huron: Joel Weber, Douglas Cleland, William Haas; Sanilac: Catherine Knoerr, Elwin Richardson, Virgil Strickler; Tuscola: Charles Witkosky, Nick Bizoukas, Dean Bedtelyan The Nominating Committee Report was published in Country Lines. The Committee nominated the following for Directorships: Huron County—District 2: Donald Wolschleger (Incumbent), Kevin Grifka; Sanilac County—District 2: Mike Briolat (Incumbent), Ernest Messing; Tuscola County—District 2: Jonathan Findlay (Incumbent), Amanda Langmaid, Thomas Lounsbury Jason Bitzer entertained further nominations from the floor for each Directorship in each county. There being no such nominations from the floor, upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, the nominations were closed. Each candidate was then introduced and invited to address the members for up to five minutes. Jason Bitzer then requested the members to vote upon their ballots for the respective Directorships. The Inspectors of the Election were requested to collect and tabulate the ballots. Jason Bitzer turned the meeting back over to President Wenzlaff. President Wenzlaff then asked if there was any old business to address. There being none, he asked for new business. There being none; he entertained a motion to adjourn. Upon motion duly made, seconded and carried, the business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m. Beth McDonald gave the invocation followed by lunch and family activities. After lunch, Attorney Jason Bitzer announced the results of the tabulation of votes which were as follows: Huron County—District 2: Donald Wolschleger: 100, Kevin Grifka: 113; Sanilac County—District 2: Mike Briolat: 171, Ernest Messing: 44; Tuscola County—District 2: Jonathan Findlay: 126, Amanda Langmaid: 78, Thomas Lounsbury: 7. The elected Directors were declared to be Kevin Grifka from Huron County—District 2, Mike Briolat from Sanilac County—District 2, and Jonathan Findlay from Tuscola County—District 2. BETH MCDONALD, Secretary APPROVED BY: LOUIS WENZLAFF, President

2019 NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT The 2019 Nominating Committee met in Ubly, Mich. at 11 a.m. on March 19, 2019, to select nominees for the position of director of Thumb Electric Cooperative. Nominees for one director position from Huron County—District 1, Huron County—District 2, Sanilac County—District 1, and Tuscola County— District 1 are as follows:

Huron County—District 1: Randall Dhyse—Incumbent

Huron County—District 2:

Donald Wolschleger—Incumbent Matthew Booms

Sanilac County—District 1: Kim Nunn—Incumbent Steve Bombard

Tuscola County—District 1: Louis Wenzlaff—Incumbent Meagan Anderson Stanley Fox

These names shall be placed on the Annual Meeting ballot in accordance with Article III, Section 3 of the Cooperative Bylaws. March 19, 2019 CATHY KNOERR, CHAIRPERSON

Notice Of Annual Membership Meeting The Annual Meeting of the members of Thumb Electric Cooperative of Michigan will be held at the Thumb Octagon Barn, 6948 Richie Road, Gagetown, Michigan at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2019, to take action on the following matters: 1. The reports on officers, directors and committees. 2. The election of one director from Huron County—District 1, one director from Huron County—District 2, one director from Sanilac County—District 1, and one director from Tuscola County—District 1 to the Board of Directors of the Cooperative 3. All other business which may rightfully come before the meeting or any adjournment or adjournments thereof. March 19, 2019 Beth McDonald, Secretary

Go Paperless And Win A

$50 Bill Credit Four Winners Will Be Chosen! • All members who are signed up for paperless billing by June 6, will be entered in the drawing. • Sign up online at or via SmartHub. • Winners will be announced at TEC’s Annual Meeting on June 8.


• Paperless members will receive an email or text letting them know their bill is available to view. No physical copy of the bill will be mailed unless a member falls into shutoff status.

Breakfast & Brunch Start your day right with these savory and sweet recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Little Masterpieces (Homemade Doughnuts) Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta ½ 3 1¼ 1½

cup vegetable oil large eggs cups granulated sugar cups applesauce, mashed bananas, puréed strawberries, or puréed fruit of choice teaspoons vanilla extract teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional (good with apple or banana flavored doughnuts) teaspoons salt teaspoons baking powder cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour granulated sugar or cinnamon-sugar, for coating

a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins, bake for 20—23 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. Note: If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin.

Note: these store well in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, then plate them and fill with ice cream, fruit, pie filling, etc., for an over-the-top looking treat in just a few minutes!

1½ 1 1½ 1½ 1¾ •

Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, puréed fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add flour, stirring just until smooth. Fill wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about ¼ cup of batter in each well. If using muffin pans, fill each well about ¾ full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). Bake doughnuts for 15—18 minutes, or until 10 MAY 2019

Remove doughnuts from oven, and loosen edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer to a rack. While doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them, 1 or 2 at a time, in a clean paper bag or baggie with sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle tops with sugar. Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days. To make fancy doughnuts: fill the hole in each doughnut with choice of ice cream, pudding, mousse, sliced fruit, etc. Top with sauce; add whipped cream if desired.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Simple Savory Corn Cakes Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 ½ 2 1 1 2 1 4 2 1 •


cups all-purpose flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cups frozen corn, thawed cup (4 ounces) smoked cheddar cheese, shredded cup fat-free (skim) milk egg whites, beaten whole egg, beaten green onions, finely chopped cloves garlic, minced tablespoon chili powder salsa

GUEST CHEF As Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media and his family spend their summers camping across Michigan, they know that yummy campfire food is all part of the memorymaking. And no campfire cuisine is complete without a Pudgy Pie.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in corn, cheese, milk, egg whites, egg, green onions, garlic, and chili powder until well blended. Spray a large nonstick

skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Drop batter by ¼ cupfuls into skillet. Cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve with prepared salsa, if desired.

Sausage And Kale Frittata

3 ½ 2 1½ 4

Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications 8 ¼ ¼ ¹⁄ ³

large eggs teaspoon salt teaspoon black pepper cup milk

cups kale, stems removed, leaves chopped cup chopped red onion cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed teaspoons olive oil ounces Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled ½ cup chopped red bell pepper 2 tomatoes, ¼-inch round slices, cut in half

Combine eggs, salt, pepper, and milk; stir with a whisk. Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté kale, red onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender. Layer in sausage and bell pepper. Carefully pour egg mixture over sausage and bell pepper. Preheat broiler to high. Place tomato slices on top of eggs in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes, or until eggs are partially set; then broil 5 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned and almost set. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tailgating Favorites: due July 1 Venison: due August 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!

Photo by Tyler Leipprandt

Pudgy Pies • • • •

Refrigerated tube biscuits Cooking spray Pudding or pie filling Wooden dowels

Use a 5-inch diameter wooden dowel attached to a roasting stick and spray wooden dowel with cooking spray. Flatten and stretch one biscuit over the end of the dowel. Roast over the fire slowly until biscuit cup is cooked through. Let cool and carefully remove from the dowel. Fill the biscuit cup with your favorite pudding or pie filling or make as a s’more with a roasted marshmallow and chocolate. Read the full story about Tyler Leipprandt on page 14, and find this recipe and others at




DIRECTOR CANDIDATES Four Director Positions Open

DISTRICT 1  HURON COUNTY Randall Dhyse (Incumbent)

Randy Dhyse owns and operates a crop and livestock operation in northern Huron County, in partnership with his brother. He has been a member of Thumb Electric Cooperative since 1987. Randy has lived in Huron County his entire life, except for time spent attending Northern Michigan University and Michigan State University. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for 39 years and have three sons and four grandchildren. Randy has served on Thumb Electric’s Board of Directors since 1999. He currently serves as Board Treasurer and represents Thumb

Electric on the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Board. He is a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Kinde, where he also serves as the Church Treasurer. As a TEC Board member, Randy has strived to stay informed and understand the many issues which affect TEC as your energy provider. Representing the needs of Co-op members and continuing to have Thumb Electric as a viable and reliable source of electricity will be Randy’s goals.

DISTRICT 1  TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff (Incumbent)

Louis Wenzlaff is retired from Sanilac Medical Facility in Sandusky after serving 23 years as Administrator. Previous to that he was the chief executive officer of the Kingston State Bank for 22 years. He still is a part-time farmer with his two sons. Raised in the Kingston area, Louis has been a member of Thumb Electric since 1958. He has served on TEC’s board of directors since 1977. He is currently TEC’s board president. Louis is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a business degree. He is a member of Kingston United Methodist Church and

Meagan Anderson

Meagan Anderson and her husband, Chaz, live on a 40-acre farm where they raise 20 head of beef cattle while also working around his full-time schedule as a DTE lineworker. She is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and was raised around cattle and states, “the love for this continued as I grew older.” Meagan and Chaz have been Thumb Electric members since 2007 first living near Marlette and recently moving to their farm near Kingston. They have two children ages 10 and 7.

Stanley Fox

Stanley Fox was born in Cass City and grew up on a farm in Kingston. He currently owns his own 170 acre farm also in Kingston. He graduated from Kingston High School in 1976 and promptly hired in to General Motors. He had a stint in the Navy from 1977 until 1981, returned to GM and retired from there in 2006 after 31-1/2 years of service. Stan served on the Kingston School Board from 2000-2002, ran and facilitated GM’s cost saving Suggestion Program, and owned and operated Fox’s Service on

12 MAY 2019

previously served on the Kingston Community School Board for 32 years. Louis and his wife, Sharon, have five children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson. As a board member, his goals are to help ensure the co-op runs efficiently, reliable service is provided to all members at a competitive price, the cooperative has an adequate and reliable power supply, the infrastructure is kept updated and reliable, and employees are working safely and are meeting or exceeding the members’ needs.

Meagan grew up in this area on Centerline Road just off of White Creek Road. She oversees the nursery at Lamotte Missionary Church, is involved with Sanilac County 4-H as a volunteer, and often helps neighbors with their chores when they are away. If elected, Meagan would strive to continue with the reliable service members expect while working with the other board members to keep rates low.

Main Street in Kingston from 1982–1987. Stan has been a Thumb Electric member for 38 years. He and his wife, Lisa, have four daughters and four grandchildren. Two of their daughters serve our country in the Army and two serve in the Navy. Stan states, “I am a people person! I like to take on new challenges.” He would strive for reliable and affordable service if elected to the TEC board.

DISTRICT 2  HURON COUNTY Donald Wolschleger (Incumbent)

Don Wolschleger is the former owner of East Huron TV & Appliance, Inc., a business he started in 1979. Don is a member of Our Lady of Lake Huron Catholic Church and Verona Hills Golf Club. He is also the former Sigel Township clerk, serving for 27 years and is a former firefighter and EMT for his township. Born and raised in the Harbor Beach area, Don and his wife, Della, have been married for 45 years and have two children,

Matthew Booms

Matt Booms is an Agronomist with Farmers Cooperative Grain Company in Kinde, Michigan and prior to that worked as an agriculturalist at Michigan Sugar Company. He grew up in agriculture on his family dairy and cash crop farm and worked on it until 2007 at which time the opportunity at Michigan Sugar arose. Matt received his Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting with a minor in Business Management from Saginaw Valley State University. Matt and his wife, Jennifer, have been Thumb Electric members since 2000 although he has lived on TEC lines most of his life. The

Tina and Michael. They have been TEC members since 1974. In recognition of the importance of continuing education, Don has become certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a credentialed director. “I have enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to serve as your director for the past 16 years. With that board experience, a business and technology background, I feel I can be an asset serving as your director.”

house he lives in now was the home he grew up in. He has three children, Colin (21), Alexis (20), and Brianna (17). He is a member of St. Hubert’s Catholic Church in Rapson, belongs to the Knights of Columbus Council #1546, is a Farm Bureau Member, and is the current Supervisor and past Treasurer in Bloomfield Township. Matt states, “I would appreciate the opportunity to serve on the board of directors so that I can develop a better understanding of how our electric cooperative functions while meeting the electrical needs of my community.” He feels reliable service and affordable rates are important.


Kim Nunn was born and raised in the Croswell area and has been a Thumb Electric Cooperative member since 1978. Kim graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He recently retired from Helena Chemical Company as a salesman of agricultural products. He has been involved with agriculture over the last 40 years. Kim has served on TEC’s board of directors since 1987 and is currently the vice president. He also is the president of Thumb Energy Services Corporation. Kim is a member of the Croswell United Methodist Church. He is retired from the Croswell Fair Board after 35 years. He is also a director on the Mid Thumb Bowling Association.

Steve Bombard

Steve Bombard is a retired telecommunications service technician working in the telephone/internet industry for 35 years until the desire to spend more time with family took over. He was a member of IBEW local 1106 working for GTE, Verizon, and finishing his career with Frontier Communications, with most of that time spent working in the Thumb area. He has been a TEC member for the past 30 years growing up and then later residing in the Croswell area. He graduated from Cros-Lex High School and later attended St. Clair Community College before entering the USAF in 1980. During his time in the military, he lived in Texas, Florida, and Germany before moving back to Croswell to raise his family. Steve and his wife, Susan, have been married for 38 years being married at St. Denis Catholic Church in Lexington. They have three children, Gregory and his wife Lindsay, Jeffery and his

Kim and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 40 years and have two children, Andrea and husband Wally, Brandon and wife Kristina. They have three special grandchildren, Clare, Haydn, and Blake. “As a board member, it is very important to keep your members in mind when making board decisions. To always keep an adequate supply of electricity available, whether it be solar, wind, or other forms of generation at a reasonable cost to members. Keeping up with the latest technologies is a very important part of being a board member.” He also feels TEC should offer new services to members if it’s good for the co-op’s well-being. Keeping the lights on will always be a high priority to Kim.

wife Amy, and Laura and her husband Kevin. They also have four grandchildren Jack, William, Emmie, and Brooks. Steve coached for 12 years and was past president of the CrosLex little league program, was head football coach for the freshman team and varsity assistant at Cros-Lex High School, is a former member and past president of the Lexington Lions Service Club, a current 14-year member of Post 255 of the Croswell American Legion and has served as a sponsor for the pre-marital program at his church. Steve is an avid outdoorsman and believes there is no better place to raise a family than in the Thumb. He believes he can be a positive voice on the TEC board and believes keeping rates affordable along with reliable service as top priorities.


UP IN THE AIR Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography By Emily Haines Lloyd

very artist finds a way to show others the world from a different perspective. For Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, his perspective often comes from hundreds of feet in the air with his drone photography. Leipprandt never saw himself as an artist in his earlier life or even once he began working in drone photography for the commercial sector. An athlete growing up, Leipprandt spent most of his time in the gym and didn’t really see art as part of his future plans. Currently, he spends his days in education, instructing teachers how to integrate and use technology in the classroom. “It was my brother who got me interested in drone photography,” said Leipprandt. “No one in our area was really doing aerial shots for real estate, so that’s where I started. We did well in real estate, but I began to see how fun it was to use the drone in other ways.” Snapping cool photos around the state opened Leipprandt’s eyes to all sorts of opportunities; including a visit to the Port Austin Farmers Market where he saw some beautifully handcrafted cutting boards in the shape of Michigan that he noticed people admiring. The very next year, Leipprandt was back at the market, but in his own stall selling his photos that paid homage to

14 MAY 2019


Top left: Lake of the Clouds at sunrise. Top Right: This photo named “Don’t Look Down,” placed in the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition. Bottom Left: Tahquamenon Falls at twilight. This Page: Leipprandt in the midst of capturing one of his signature dangling shots.

If you want to see more of Tyler Leipprandt’s amazing photography, visit him Saturdays at the Port Austin Farmers Market from Memorial Day through Fall (9am–5pm) or check out his portfolio at He can also be found on Facebook and Instagram @michiganskymedia.

the Great Lakes state. Last year he made the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition.

was flying 120mph with the doors off. I’ve never been so cold in my life.”

“These are the places that locals have spent their vacations and spare time exploring all their lives,” said Leipprandt. “Places that you’ve seen a million times, but captured in a totally different way.”

Not all of Leipprandt’s excursions are quite so daredevilish. He, his wife and their four kids spend a good part of their summers exploring Michigan based on year-long pins they’ve stuck in a map. Before dinner, during grace, the kids never forget to say an extra prayer for an RV they can take around the state to cover more ground and capture even more beautiful memories.

Leipprandt’s photos are stunning, from twilight shots of Tahquamenon Falls to aerial feats over The Mighty Mac and University of Michigan’s Big House. Including Leipprandt’s now-signature shots of his feet dangling over the edge of bridges or from the sides of helicopters. “The dangling shots started by accident when my brotherin-law and I went to the U.P. last fall and through some wild circumstances ended up being invited to the top of the Mackinac Bridge,” Leipprandt said. “The Big House pictures were for a marketing promo—it was almost Thanksgiving, about 30 degrees outside and the helicopter

It’s that sense of exploration and curiosity that Leipprandt brings to his photography. The joy of seeing something unique and beautiful that not everyone has an opportunity to experience for themselves. “I love making people excited about where they’re from and what’s around them,” explains Leipprandt. “I want to help folks find new places they can explore for themselves.”

MCL SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVER! Watch Tyler Leipprandt as he does a live takeover of Michigan Country Lines’ social accounts, May 6–10. He’ll bring you some amazing, neverbefore-seen shots of the 2019 Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mich.

May 6–10


Photo Contest Most Votes On Facebook!


1 3


Spring Flowers 1. Spring fence line—Dennis & Ann Dupre, Caro

2. It may be the tiniest spring flower, but it’s bold in color.—Jeri Lile, Saranac

3. Welcoming spring blossoms!— April Taylor, Cass City

4. Hummingbird on bleeding heart— Nicole Meyer, Durand

5. Vibrant!—Aimee Lemke, Ubly 6. The Old & The New—Kristie Newton, Croswell

7. Michigan Zinnia—Emily Woodruff, Deford

16 MAY 2019



Submit Your “Four-Legged Friends” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes from our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our May theme is Four-Legged Friends. Photos can be submitted through June 20 to be featured in our July/August issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest visit 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.


Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

TEC Employee News Deb Peruski has recently been named office services manager. She has been with Thumb Electric since 1984. In that time Deb has held the positions of accounting representative, billing representative and accountant before accepting her current role.

Deb Peruski

Angie Zagorski has been named our member office representative. She has been with Thumb Electric since 1999. Previously, Angie has served as billing representative and accountant, preparing her for the current role. Mitch Guza was recently hired as Thumb Electric’s accountant. He comes to us from the accounting firm of Andrews, Hooper, and Pavlik in Lansing. Mitch received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Michigan University, and in his free time, he enjoys hunting, sports, being outdoors and enjoying time with family and friends.

Angie Zagorski

Congratulations to Deb, Angie and Mitch from all of us here at TEC. Mitch Guza

Student Representative Chosen Harbor Beach High School sophomore Arika Booms will be representing Thumb Electric Cooperative as its Youth Tour representative in Washington, D.C., June 15-20, 2019. Arika will join other students from the state of Michigan to meet with students throughout

the country and visit the U.S. Capitol, museum tours, Washington, D.C., landmarks and war memorials, and a show at the Signature Theatre. The students will get the opportunity to meet with and see their legislators in action and to obtain leadership skills for their future endeavors. Any high school students who would like to apply for next year’s Youth Tour event, please watch for information starting in the fall editions of Country Lines magazine, our website tecmi. coop, or the Youth Tour website at

Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

May Is Electrical Safety Month

Electric cooperatives’ top priority is always to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to their members. Your well-being and that of the larger communities we serve are of paramount concern. This month, we share a few safety tips that we hope you never have to use. But if you do, they could save their life.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by May 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 March issue is Steven ZisslerHayes, a Thumb Electric Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Saint John Nepomucene Catholic Church Historical Marker. This church was established in 1885 and is located in East Jordan. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

March 2019

Life-Saving Tips That Can Save Your Life • If a car hits a utility pole, the vehicle may be charged with electricity. Anyone exiting the car could come in contact with thousands of volts of electricity from the downed line. In essence, when you step out of the car, you become part of the electricity’s path to the ground and could be electrocuted. It’s critical for everyone to stay in the vehicle until emergency crews have told you it’s safe to exit the car. • If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear of the vehicle. Do not let any part of your body or clothing touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away (in small steps with your feet still together) to avoid electric shock. Keep moving away until you are at least 40 feet from the vehicle. • If you come upon a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines, keep your distance. A downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. The best action you can take is to alert emergency officials. Also, never drive over a downed power line or through water that is touching a downed power line. • If you have a downed power line on your property as a result of a falling tree, storm or other circumstance, do not go near the power line. Assume that the downed line is energized and dangerous. Never try to move the power line even if you think it’s not energized or if you are using a non-conductive material. Please wait until an electric co-op crew or emergency officials have confirmed that it is safe to do so. Contact your local electric co-op for additional electrical safety tips or if you would like to request a safety demonstration at your school or community event. Safety is a top priority!

Photo by Thomas Mann

18 MAY 2019

Hybrid Geothermal


Thumb Electric Cooperative

Thinking of Installing a New Heating and Cooling System? Thumb Electric may have a rebate to help with the cost. • Geothermal rebate up to $1,500 • AC and Air Source Heat pumps up to $1,000 There are many more Energy Waste Reduction rebates available. For a full listing, please visit our website or call our office.

Call: 1-800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571

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