Nov/Dec 2018 Thumb

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November/December 2018


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative

The UP200 Sled Dog Racers

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In This Issue November/December 2018 || Vol. 38, No. 9

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives michigancountrylines

Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591710, 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, secretary-treasurer. 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

6 ENERGY Resources For Home Heating Assistance Programs 7 SAFETY Tips For Decorating Safely This Holiday Season 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN ‘Tis The Season For These Festive Recipes

ON THE COVER The UP200 is one of America’s premier, 12-dog, mid-distance sled races and draws mushers from around the United States and Canada. Pictured is Musher Sally Manikian of New Hampshire. Photo by Mitch Rusch.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Our Guest Chef Chili Recipe Will Warm You Up After Winter Adventures Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

14 FEATURE The UP200 Sled Dog Racers Mush On

Guest Column

Emily Haines Lloyd

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan: Snowmobile Trails Grab a friend and hit these recommended trails for a new perspective on winter. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. Guidelines 1. Approximately 350 words 2. Digital photos must be at least 600 KB 3. Submit your guest column at under the MI Co-op Community tab

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication Title: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/18. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except August and December. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of known office of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business office of publisher: 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 8. Full names and complete mailing address of publisher, editors, and executive editor: Craig Borr, Christine Dorr, Casey Clark, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 9. Owner: Michigan Electric Cooperative Assoc., 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 10. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding one percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 11. Tax status: Has not been changed. 12. Issue date for circulation data below: Sept. 2018. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: 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.

A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I)

Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to filing date

Total No. of copies .......................................................... 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 Paid and requested circulation........................................ 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 Total paid and requested circulation ............................... 221,033 ........................................... 241,500 1) Free distribution by mail .................................................... 188 .................................................. 188 2) Free distribution outside mail ............................................ 920 .................................................. 920 Total free distribution .......................................................... 1,108 ............................................... 1,108 Total distribution ............................................................. 222,141 ........................................... 242,608 Copies not distributed ............................................................... 0 ...................................................... 0 Total................................................................................. 222,141 ........................................... 242,608 Percent paid and/or requested circ.................................... 98.7% .............................................. 99.7%

16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2018 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, Editor






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 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

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


Interconnected Renewable Options Dallas Braun, General Manager

Since 2008, Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) has offered a program for members who may want to install their own renewable energy system and interconnect it to the grid. Anyone interested should consider factors such as utility interconnection requirements, location, size, cost, and available incentives. These are things best discussed with a professional solar dealer familiar with your area. There are many solar dealers eager to sell you a system. One of the things that will be shown to you is the anticipated payback or return on your investment. There are a lot of variables that are included in the calculation of this payback. It is important that the calculation of this payback be clearly understood. It is advised that the expertise of a financial advisor or tax preparer be used to verify the numbers. There may be many reasons to justify the investment of a renewable energy system, including payback, wanting to be “green,” or others. The main thing to remember is that you, the individual making the investment, must be comfortable. There are approximately 30 member-owned, small, renewable energy systems interconnected and enrolled in TEC’s net-metering tariff. This tariff, created in 2008, allows members to offset the amount of electricity they use from TEC’s system by generating some of their own. If the renewable system produces more than what was needed at that site, the energy flows back on the grid. This tariff was closed earlier this year. Those enrolled in Net-Metering will remain on this tariff for a total of 10 years before being converted to the new Distributed Renewable Energy tariff. The main difference between the two tariffs is the rate of compensation for the electricity flowing back to the grid. Rather than full retail, the new tariff pays a fairer market rate. This rate changes monthly but has been averaging 3–4 cents/kWh over the past several years. Currently, there are five, member-owned solar systems enrolled in the new replacement tariff. Remember, these tariffs were created so the designed renewable energy systems only offset members’ electricity consumption, not to become a power producer. If you have an interest in producing more electricity than what you use, you may have an interest in a new tariff. At an upcoming special board meeting on November 20, the TEC board will act on a proposed tariff called Buy All/Sell All (BASA). Under the BASA tariff, a member agrees to buy all your electricity from the cooperative at the retail rate and sell all your renewable energy generated back to the cooperative at a rate of $0.06/kWh. The maximum allowable size of the renewable generator will be 50 KW. Whichever program you may be interested in, there is an application process. This process ensures that TEC is involved right from the start. Unfortunately, we have had a handful of solar dealers sell and install systems prior to submitting the application to TEC. In all of these situations, the systems were not properly installed per TEC requirements. Installing systems without following the proper application process leads to delays, increased costs, dissatisfaction and frustration. If you have an interest in a renewable system, make sure to contact TEC first. Information on the renewable programs offered and the application process can be found at our website at You can also call the office at 1-800-327-0166 with more specific questions.

Go Paperless And Win A



Want less clutter in your life? Want to be environmentally friendly? Would you like to save you and your co-op members money?

Go paperless!

$50 Bill Credit

Four Winners Will Be Chosen! • All members who are signed up for paperless billing on June 6, 2019, 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, 2019. • 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.

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative A special member meeting is set for November 20, 6:30 p.m., at the cooperative’s Ubly office. The board of directors will consider amendments to the cooperative’s bylaws and changes to the cooperative’s rate and tariffs at its meeting on November 20, 2018, to be held at the cooperative office at 2231 Main Street, Ubly, Mich. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all members of Thumb Electric Cooperative. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide input to the board of directors on the items being considered. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board chairman, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. The following will be considered: • Amendments of the cooperative bylaws to allow mail-in and electronic voting for the election of Directors by the members in addition to the currently allowed practice of in-person and proxy voting at the Annual Meeting. • Establish the 2019 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor, to be applied to the cooperative’s retail member-consumers’ monthly kilowatt-hour use. The Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor represents the power supply costs as established by the cooperative and its power supplier. The factor is established annually and reviewed monthly. • Establish a new renewable energy tariff Schedule BASA (Buy-All/Sell-All). BASA will allow a member that buys all their energy from the cooperative to interconnect a qualifying renewable energy source up to a maximum size of 50 KW and sell all energy produced back to the Cooperative at $0.06/kwh. Notice of changes or additions to the cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including handicapped parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800-3270166 a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing or other assistance. Comments may also be made before the meeting date by calling General Manager Dallas Braun, or by email at

Thumb Electric office will be closed to celebrate the following holidays: Thanksgiving Thursday, Nov. 22, Friday, Nov. 23 Christmas Monday, Dec. 24, Tuesday, Dec. 25 New Year’s Day Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 If you experience an outage during that time, please call 800-327-0166 to report or use your smartphone or computer with our Smarthub app.



Home Heating Assistance Programs 2018–2019 Season Winter Protection Plan

Contact: Your Local Utility Company Income Guidelines 2018–2019 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $18,210 24,690 31,170 37,650 44,130 50,610 57,090 63,570

The Winter Protection Plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (Nov. 1–March 31). If you are eligible, your utility service will remain on (or restored with the WPP) from Nov. 1 through March 31, if you: • pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and • make equal monthly payments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season on any past due bills.

the following requirements: • are age 65 or older, • receive Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance, including SSI, • receive Food Assistance, • receive Medicaid, or • household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart at left. Senior citizen customers (65 or older) who participate in the WPP are not required to make specific payments to ensure that their service will not be shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31. Service for seniors can be restored without any payments.

When the protection period ends (March 31), you must begin to pay the full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full bill. Participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility of paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during winter months. You qualify for the plan if you meet at least one of

Note: All customers 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Customers are responsible for all electricity and natural gas used. At the end of the protection period, participants must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the next heating season.

You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2018 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed at left (110% of poverty level) or you qualify based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 5% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.

If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided or from the Michigan Dept. of Treasury (517-636-4486, or The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no later than Sept. 30 each year.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income, working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EITC, but must file a tax return to do so.

If married, you must file jointly to qualify. File Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EITC.

State Emergency Relief Program (SER): mdhhs You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shutoff notice, or the need for deliverable fuel through the SER. This program, available Nov. 1–May 31, provides most of its utility assistance during this crisis season.

However, limited assistance is available outside the crisis season.

You may be able to receive help with weatherizing your home to reduce energy use if you meet low-income eligibility guidelines (200% of poverty guidelines) and funding is available. Weatherization may include caulking,

weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit to find one in your area.

2-1-1 is a free phone service operating 24 hours daily to provide information about help that may be available in a

particular area with utilities and other needs. Dial 2-1-1 or visit to find available services.

Contact: Local Utility Company

You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days, possibly extending to 63 days, if you have a proven medical

emergency. You must provide written proof from a doctor, public health or social services official that a medical emergency exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.

Shut-off Protection For Military Active Duty

If you or your spouse has been called into active military duty, you may apply for shut-off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You may request

extensions. You must still pay, but contact your utility company and they will help you set up a payment plan.

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program

The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship

including the need for energy assistance. Contact the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at 517-284-5299 or

Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) includes services that will enable participants to become self-sufficient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and being energy efficient. Shut-off protection is provided Nov. 1–April 15 for all residential

customers. The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for non-payment between November 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt-out of collecting the LIEAF go to

Add $6,480 for each additional member.

Home Heating Credit Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.

0–1 2 3

Max. Income

$ 13,354 18,106 22,858

# Exemp.

4 5 6

Max. Income

$ 27,610 32,362 37,114

Add $ 4,752 for each exemption over 6.

Earned Income Credit

Contact: • U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service • Michigan Dept. of Treasury

Crisis Assistance Program Contact: Local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Low-Income Home Weatherization Contact: Local Community Action Agency

United Way

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or

Medical Emergency Protection

Contact: Local Utility Company

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2018 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may vendor part of it towards heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November


Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.

SAFE DÉCOR FOR A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON It’s almost time to deck those halls! Statistics show that home fires and electrical accidents typically increase during winter months, so keep these holiday lighting tips in mind for a safe holiday season.

Carefully inspect all electrical decorations before you use them. Cracked or damaged sockets and/or loose or exposed wires can cause serious shock or start a fire.

Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.

Never mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.

Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.

Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.

Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International


Energy Waste Reduction Program Energy Star Rebate

For Energy Star appliances, LED bulbs and fixtures, Energy Star TVs, and much more.

In-Home Energy Audit

Get knowledge on the energy usage of your home and some free energy saving items as well!

HVAC Rebates

Installing a new furnace or AC system? Certain energy-efficient upgrades qualify for incentive dollars.

Appliance Recycling

Got an old refrigerator or freezer eating up your energy budget? Have it recycled and get cash back. Window AC & dehumidifiers qualify under certain conditions.

Agribusiness and commercial programs also available. Call 989-658-8571 or 1-800-327-0166, or visit our website ( today to learn specific details.

Thinking of installing a new heating and cooling system? Thumb Electric may have a rebate to help with the cost. • Geothermal rebate up to $1,200 • AC and Air Source Heat pumps up to $450 There are many more Energy Optimization rebates available. For a full listing, please visit our website or call our office.

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

Photo Contest Celebrations 1. Celebrating becoming a big sister! By Jacklyn Johnson 2. Annual Huron Yacht Club (HYC) and Tawas Bay Yacht Club (TBYC), Annual Slammer Cup Race on Lake Huron. By Tamara Ley 3. Our dog, Mollie, wishing our daughter and son-in-law happy anniversary. By Karen Patterson 4. I took this picture on way home! This road always looks amazing anytime of the season! I call it the “road with autumn spirit!” By Vita Wolschleger




Submit Your “Cutest Kids” Photos!

Enter to win a

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.


energy bill credit!

Our November theme is Cutest Kids. Photos can be submitted from November 1 to November 20 to be featured in our January 2019 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. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Holiday Favorites ‘Tis the season for these festive recipes! Photos—Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Red Velvet Cookies With Dark Chocolate Chips And Cranberries Michele Smith, Ontonagon County REA 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 (3.9 ounces) box instant chocolate pudding mix 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar 2 large eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar 1½ tablespoon red food coloring (use “holiday red” for a brighter red) 1 (12 ounces) bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 (3 ounces) bag dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugars using an electric mixer; add eggs, vanilla, vinegar and food coloring. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Roll dough into 1½ inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Kris Kringle Christmas Cookies Bonnie Langworthy, HomeWorks Tri-County 1 cup butter 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup white chocolate morsels 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in white chocolate morsels and cranberries. Drop rounded spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) of dough, 1½ inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake for about 9 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for about 1 minute and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Mashed Cauliflower Jane Ellison, Great Lakes Energy 1 1 1 1 1 •

head cauliflower stick butter 12-ounce package cream cheese cup shredded cheddar cheese full tablespoon horseradish salt and pepper, to taste


Upper Peninsula resident, Jessica Racine, offers up this delicious chili perfect for warming up after a day of dog sledding or cheering on the teams. Each spoonful is sure to fuel you for all your winter adventures.

Cut cauliflower into just bigger than bite-sized pieces. Steam the cauliflower for 30–35 minutes (if boiled, it will be too mushy). Drain the water from pot. Add all ingredients to the pot. Use a potato masher to mash and combine. Top with additional cheddar cheese and serve.

Chocolate, Coffee And Oatmeal Pie Violet Glas, Great Lakes Energy 1 3 ¾ ¾ 3 2

refrigerated pie crust eggs cup sugar cup dark corn syrup tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur tablespoons butter, melted and cooled ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup quick-cooking rolled oats 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips Preheat oven to 450 F. Prepare pie crust as directed for one crust with the baked shell using a 9-inch pie pan. Do not prick crust. Bake for 9–11 minutes or until lightly browned. If the crust has raised center, press down gently with the back of a spoon. Cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Meanwhile, beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk. Add sugar, corn syrup, liqueur, butter and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Cover edges of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake for 45–55 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is almost set. Cool at least 3 hours before serving.

Trailside Chicken Chili

1 package of chicken chili mix (stirred in 1 cup water) 20 ounces cooked chicken (2 cans, about 10 ounces each, or fresh chicken) 1 can of mushrooms, drained (reserve liquid) 1 can of Mexi-corn, drained (reserve liquid) 1 can Great Northern beans, undrained 2 tablespoons sour cream 5 ounces pepper jack cheese or white cheddar, shredded

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Ultimate Burgers: due December 1 Easy Weeknight Dinners: due January 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!

Add another cup of water or use some of the drained water from the mushroom can and corn in place of water. Cook on low for a couple hours, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Serve and top with more sour cream and pepper jack cheese. Read the full story about the UP200 Sled Dog Race on page 14, and find this recipe and others at


FOR DINNER AND GOOD CONVERSATION If you have never attended a Member District Meeting and would like to learn more about your electric cooperative, let us know! We’ll add you to our invite list.

Member District Meetings are a way for Thumb Electric Members to stay in touch with the board of directors and its management team. To get on the list, give us a call at 989-658-8571, 800-327-0166 or email us at



Entrepreneurs SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY! Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2019 magazine. We know co-op members are awesome and there is no shortage of pioneers, innovators and leaders in our service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between. If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at Self-nominations are accepted.

Contribute to


( The Heat And Warmth Fund) Keep this child—and thousands of

others like him—warm this winter.

Neighbors helping neighbors in need. • A family had funeral expenses that caused them to fall behind in their utility bill payments. THAW helped to keep the heat and electricity on during this difficult time. • A senior citizen with an annual income of $7,000 has to pay a large, unexpected medical bill and falls behind on utility payments. • A 42-year-old husband with two children is laid-off. He can’t find another job, his unemployment runs out…and the utility bills don’t get paid. Also visit for more information.

These are just some of the people helped by The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW). THAW is a nonprofit organization that provides last-resort energy assistance to low-income families in Thumb Electric Cooperative’s service area. THAW has helped more than 75,000 Michigan senior citizens and families (more than onehalf with children) keep their heat and electricity on during the winter months.

Please make a donation to THAW. Your tax-deductible contribution will help someone in your community keep their heat and electricity on this winter. Please complete and mail the clip-out form below, along with your donation to: Department 77650, THAW Fund, P.O. Box 77000, Detroit, MI 48277-0650. Or, make a contribution using VISA or MasterCard by calling 800-866-THAW (or 8429). Your gift is tax-deductible.


Dept. 77650 THAW Fund P.O. Box 77000 Detroit, MI 48277-0650


I want to help someone in my community keep their heat and electricity on this winter. Enclosed is my check or money order payable to THAW. I understand my gift is tax deductible.

r $10

r $25

r $50

r Other $___________

Name___________________________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip____________________________________________________________________

To make a contribution using VISA or MasterCard, call 1-800-866-THAW (or 8429) or visit

The UP200 Sled Dog Racers

MUSH By Emily Haines Lloyd // Photos by Mitch Rusch and Carly Antor


he image of a bundled and booted individual on the back of a sled pulled by a dozen magnificent dogs seems like a scene out of the movies or a bygone era. However, on a snowy Friday evening in February, spectators can make their way to downtown Marquette, Mich., and take a step back in time and into all the wonder and romance that is sled dog racing. In the Upper Peninsula, finding ways to more than survive the cold and snowy months of the year, but actually to thrive and enjoy oneself, has always been an important part of the lifestyle. Skiing, sledding, ice fishing, fat tire biking and even luging have gained popularity, but the majesty of sled dog racing takes winter to a new and exciting level. It began back in 1988 when Marquette residents Jeffrey Mann, Scott and Elise Bunce, and Tom and Sarah Lindstrom struck up a friendship only to discover they each had a common interest


Remy LeDuc of New Brunswick, Canada entering Grand Marais during the UP200 1/2-way point.


or experience in sled dog racing. What started as a friendly conversation turned to serious planning and, in 1990, to the cheers of 10,000 spectators, the mushers of the first UP200 Sled Dog Champion race bounded down Washington Street in Marquette and into the wild. For years to come, the UP200 and other local sled dog races have been successful reminders of the power of one person and their team of dogs. “I was there for the first race back in 1990,” said Darlene Walch, Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association (UPSDA) president. “It was a remarkable thing to see. I started volunteering right after that, started mushing recreationally, and eventually started racing.” For the rigorous UP200, racers and their teams kick off their three-day 230-mile journey in Marquette to their first stop in Wetmore. This is a distance of approximately 64 miles on the upbound leg, then they go on to Grand Marais, where the teams turn around and continue their journey back to Marquette. Mushers encounter inclines, creek crossings, and isolation while tackling trail conditions ranging from fast hardpack to deep snow. A total rest time of 16 hours is required to ensure mushers and teams receive ample downtime, food and water breaks.

exude off of them, encouraging the musher and inspiring the crowds. “These teams are made of athletes,” said Walch. “We, the mushers, are just the coaches. We’re looking to improve on strengths, keep our team injury-free and help the team work together.” With 30 years under its belt, the UP200 continues to bring the joy of viewing worldclass athletes work in unison to accomplish something remarkable, delightful, and truly awesome to behold.

While many mushers race as a way to set personal goals, engage in the supportive community and simply enjoy the invigorating sport—others have sights on additional goals. The UP200 is a qualifying event for the Iditarod, coined The Last Great Race, which is certainly Alaska’s most well-known sporting event. The Iditarod is widely considered to be a critical part of saving the sled dog race culture and promoting the beautiful sport.

While the UP200 is certainly the Upper Peninsula’s longest race, sled dog lovers have several options to see these amazing teams in action.


230-mile race with 12-dog teams February 15–17, 2019

“The UP200 is an excellent litmus test for those interested in the Iditarod,” said Walch. “Mushers need to demonstrate the ability to manage a team over distance and manage unassisted checks. It’s an important race for mushers from the East Coast or Midwest, as many qualifying races are in Alaska and not a viable option.”

Midnight Run

90-mile race with 8-dog teams February 15–16, 2019

Jack Pine 30

While competition is certainly a big part of the sport’s make-up, Walch and others in the community will tell you that it is the dogs who are the heart and soul of each race. These dog breeds love running in the snow like Labradors love jumping in lakes and swimming. With each run, the joy and enthusiasm of the team

26-mile race with 6-dog teams February 16, 2019

Visit for more information. Musher Kris Sampson of Ontario, Canada.

Renewable Geothermal Heat

Geothermal is a simple technology that uses the earth’s renewable energy to provide high-efficiency heating and cooling. In winter, the system draws heat from the ground and transfers it to your home. In summer, it extracts heat from your home and transfers it to the ground. Contact the energy experts at Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800-327-0166 for honest answers on your energy choices, or call any of the trained and certified installers listed here. AirTech Heating LLC Kinde, MI 48445 989-551-6555

Michigan Energy Services 8445 Main St., Whitmore Lake, MI 48189 888-339-7700

Shetler Plumbing & Heating 7184 Nitz St., Pigeon, MI 48755 800-547-3651

All-Temperature Geothermal Systems 1103 E. Caro Rd., Caro, MI 48723 989-673-5557

Michigan Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 3461 N. Lapeer Rd., Lapeer, MI 48446 810-664-8576

Superior, Inc. 3442 Cemetery Rd., Cass City, MI 48726 989-872-3305

Ameriheat, Justin Faber 2891 E. Forester Rd., Deckerville, MI 48427 810-376-4534

NRG Control 3690 Washburn Rd., Vassar, MI 48768 989-670-2543

B & D Heating, Cooling & Plumbing 1148 North Van Dyke, Bad Axe, MI 48413 800-515-1117

Newton-Johnson Plumbing & Heating 114 Enterprise Dr., Vassar, MI 48768 989-823-2341

Thumb Cooling & Heating 8430 N Van Dyke Rd, Cass City, MI 48726 855-206-5457 And: 837 South State, Caro, MI 48723 989-672-4948

Burkhard Plumbing & Heating 638 E. Huron Ave., Bad Axe, MI 48413 989-269-7532

Orton Refrigeration 31 W. Sanilac Rd., Sandusky, MI 48471 810-648-2252

Certified Temperature Innovations 3107 Custer Rd., Carsonville, MI 48419 810-300-7748

Preferred Heating 7736 Arendt, Melvin, MI 48454 810-378-5454

Well Connect-Terra Caloric PO Box 307 Alpena, MI 49707 989-356-2113

Roots Heating and Cooling 4074 Huron St, North Branch, MI 48461 810-688-4813 Geomasters, Inc., Plumbing & Heating 57 Ward St., Croswell, MI 48422 810-679-2251

Annual Operating Costs

For An Average 1,800 Sq. Ft. Home (45,000 BTU heating load, 20,000 BTU cooling load)

Holland Heating and Cooling 9160 Lapeer Rd., Davison, MI 48423 810-653-4328 Ingell Refrigeration 1115 4th St., Port Huron, MI 48060 810-982-4226


J & B Plumbing & Heating 7641 Pigeon Rd., Pigeon, MI 48755 989-453-3931


Jack McCain Plumbing & Heating 9651 Weale Rd., Bay Port, MI 48720 989-453-2277 Kowaleski Heating & Cooling, LLC 3977 Ruppel Rd., Port Hope, MI 48468 989-550-0739 Kulek Heating & Air Conditioning 14421 Jeddo Rd., Yale, MI 48097 810-387-4452 Kundinger & Kroll 31 E. Main St., Sebewaing, MI 48759 989-883-2770 Lakeshore Improvements Plumbing & Heating 7825 Big Gulley Rd., Palms, MI 48465 989-864-3833


$3,000 $2,200

$2,000 $1,500 $1,000





Natural Gas





Electric Baseboard

Fuel Oil

$500 0

A/A Heat Pump w/ Electric Furnace

A/A with LP Gas


Factors Used: Electric Baseboard, Air-Source Heat Pump (A/A) and Geothermal—based on TEC’s 7.790¢/kWh dual-fuel rate. Liquid Propane (LP) gas—based on $2.00/gal. and 90% efficient furnace. Fuel Oil—based on $2.20/gal. and 80% efficient furnace. Natural Gas—based on $1.08/therm., 90% efficient furnace including $9/mo. service charge. (Electric baseboard costs do not include air conditioning.) *All electric system comparable to natural gas!

If You Smell Gas... Did you know that propane gas has no odor? The “rotten egg” smell is added for your safety, to help alert you to any possible leaks. If you smell gas in the house, or if you have a gas alarm that signals the presence of gas, immediately follow these safety guidelines:

No Flames Or Sparks! Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or fire.

Leave Immediately! Get everyone out of the building or area of the suspected leak.

Shut Off The Gas. Turn off the main gas supply valve on your propane tank if it’s safe to do so. To close the valve, turn it clockwise (see diagram).

Report The Leak. From a neighbor’s home, call Thumb Electric at 800-327-0166 right away. If for some reason you can’t reach us, call 911 or your local fire department.

Stay Away. Do not return to the building or area until we have determined that it is safe to do so.


Guess this photo and enter to win a



4 5

energy bill credit! 2


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

September 2018

Best Snowmobile Trails The opportunities to experience a pure Michigan snow day are endless, and a day on a snowmobile is a perfect way to explore the winter scenery. With more than 6,500 groomed snowmobile trails that stretch from the Keweenaw Peninsula all the way down to Michigan’s southern border, there is plenty of opportunity for a snowmobile adventure. Along the way you can speed across frozen lakes, wind through forests and stop in snowmobile-friendly communities for a hot meal and good company. Start with some of the trails below suggested by fellow members.


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula A journey on a snowmobile across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula should be on every snowmobile enthusiast’s bucket list. There are more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails in the U.P. alone, featuring epic views. Get a new perspective on destinations like Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or make your way to Eben Ice Caves or Grand Island Ice Caves to explore this unique destination.


White Pine Trail Cadillac has a trail system with over 200 miles of groomed trails. Trails include the White Pine Trail at Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park. The trail is 92 miles long with an 88-mile section open from Cadillac to Grand Rapids. Jeff Dorr, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op


Thumbs Up Snowmobile Trail Sanilac County has around 100 miles of groomed trails, all on private land. Enjoy the “Thumbs Up Snowmobile Trail” and take in the beauty of an eastern Michigan winter! Be sure to visit the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve and the picturesque Port Sanilac Lighthouse. Calvin Foster, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative


Grand Marais Check out the Grand Marais area. The groomers do a wonderful job keeping the trails clear. This trail features wonderful trails and sights all around. Ivana Enright, Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association


Northeast Michigan and Presque Isle Northeast Michigan, Presque Isle and the adjoining county trails have a lot of well groomed trails. John Houk, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

Best of Michigan Up Next: Best Burgers In Our Great Lakes State Help us create a “Best Burger” bucket list. We will publish this satisfying list in our February 2019 issue. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 20.

Thumb Electric Cooperative


From the battleeelds of Gettysburg to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.,

Youth Tour will explore the leadership

lessons of our nation’s history and immerse you in the cooperative spirit. Learn more about this FREE leadership travel opportunity, sponsored by the electric cooperatives of Michigan, at

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