Nov/Dec 2022 HomeWorks

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A Story 100 Years In The Making With Mammoth Distilling COUNTRY LINES November/December 2022 MICHIGAN HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative Give To The People Fund This Season Electronic Voting Option Added For Director Elections Co-op Grants $5,000 To Twin River Robotics
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Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives



EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


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: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill , HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr , president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933


Cooperative Association,

Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing,


November/December 2022 Vol. 42, No. 10 /michigancountrylines /
the Cover: Owners of Mammoth Distilling Chad Munger, wife Tracy Hickman, and their distillery dog Dawson. Photo courtesy of Sandra Wong 6 ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR 2022-2023 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Holiday Side Dishes: The perfect pairings for your festive feast. 14 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING The rediscovery of Michigan Rosen rye took equal parts of serendipity, location, teamwork and passion. 18 GUEST COLUMN The Salted Christmas Goose: A HomeWorks member recalls how a cooking catastrophe created better family communication. #micoopcommunity Instagram contest winner Flowers give this old Ford a facelift @lexannrebecca (LexAnn DeWeerd) MI Co-op Community To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit Guest Column See details on page 18. Win $150 for stories published! Recipe Contest See details on page 10. Win a $50 bill credit! Instagram Contest Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. 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.
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation (Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/22. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except Aug. and Dec. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of office of publication: Michigan Electric
MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters 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 1% 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: Sept. 2022. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: A) Total No. of copies 245,503 246,919 B) Paid and requested circulation 244,543 246,070 C) Total paid and requested circulation 244,543 246,070 D) 1) Free distribution by mail 157 157 2) Free distribution outside mail 809 849 E) Total free distribution 966 1,006 F) Total distribution 246,469 247,925 G) Copies not distributed 0 0 H) Total 246,469 247,925 I) Percent paid and/or requested circ 98.7 99.7% Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo. Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to filing date 16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2022 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, editor Contents 3MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Portland office/Mail payments to: 7973 E. Grand River Ave. Portland, MI 48875

Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday

Blanchard office: 3681 Costabella Ave. Blanchard, MI 49310

Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday Night deposit box available at both locations.

Electric bill/account questions: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232

Pay by phone, anytime: 1-877-999-3395

Service questions/outages: 517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333 (24 hours for emergency calls)

Tri-County Propane: 1-877-574-2740

HomeWorks Connect 1-800-668-8413


District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman 2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251 517-974-2518 •

District 2 — Jim Stebbins 7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815 616-693-2449 •

District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman 15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894 989-292-0427 •

District 4 — Kimber Hansen 6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829 989-506-5849 •

District 5 — Vacant

District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer 10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893 989-644-3079 •

District 7 — Shirley Sprague  15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305 989-382-7535 •

Editor: Charly Markwart, CCC

This Christmas Season, Your Spare Change Could Change A Life

Ienjoy many different aspects of my role as executive assistant at HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, but those who know me best know that my very favorite part of the job is administering our Co-op’s TriCounty People Fund. In this role, I get the opportunity to see firsthand the real difference our members are helping us to make for families and organizations throughout our service area.

The People Fund is supported by members who volunteer to participate in our Operation Round Up program. As its name suggests, this program rounds up participating members’ monthly HomeWorks bill to the nearest dollar. One hundred percent of those rounded-up funds are then granted back out to individuals, families, and organizations with special needs within the communities we serve. You might find it hard to believe, but since the People Fund was founded in 1993, we’ve been able to take your rounded-up dollars and give back more than $2.5 million in rural mid-Michigan.

Our grants are dispersed by our volunteer People Fund board of seven directors, one from each HomeWorks district. Every six weeks or so, these generous souls come together to pore over the grant applications we receive from every corner of our service footprint, detailing the kind of extraordinary needs that can break your heart and make you profoundly glad that we have a way to help. The board responds to requests from families that can’t afford to pay housing or medical bills due to financial hardships beyond their control, community food banks striving to feed the hungry through times of unprecedented need, preschools trying to help underprivileged children get started on the right foot, and so much more. And, thanks to generous members like you, our People Fund is able to answer the majority of those dire needs.

As a former HomeWorks customer service representative, I remember that new members calling in to get signed up for electric service would sometimes agree to participate in Operation Round Up with hardly a second thought. “Sure, sign me up,” they would say when I told them the round-up amount averaged out to just $6 per year. “That’s just a little spare change.”

Now that I’ve seen the program from the inside, I’m here to tell you that it’s much more than spare change to our grant recipients. It’s an answered prayer, a sigh of relief, and a newfound hope for the future.

The holiday season is a time for giving, and if you haven’t opted in to round your bill up for the People Fund yet, I hope you’ll consider doing so now. If you do, I can promise you that our People Fund board and I will make sure to put your monthly donation to good use in the lives of your neighbors in need.

Opt in to round up your bill for the People Fund via our SmartHub app, leave us a note on your next payment stub, or give us a call at 800-562-8232.

“Now that I’ve seen the program from the inside, I’m here to tell you that it’s much more than spare change to our grant recipients. It’s an answered prayer, a sigh of relief, and a newfound hope for the future.”
OperationRound Up To Your Neighbors In Need, It’s A Whole Lot More Than Spare Change. Give back this Christmas season by opting in to round your monthly bill up for the People Fund. Sign up via SmartHub, leave us a note on your next payment stub, or give us a call at 800-562-8232. Make A DifferenceTri- County Elec tric Cooperative


Winter Protection Plan

Contact: Your Local Utility Company


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. 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.

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 the following requirements:

• are age 65 or older,

• receive Dept. 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 above.

Senior citizen customers 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.

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.

Earned Income Credit


• U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service,

• Michigan Dept. of Treasury,

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for lowincome 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.

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2021 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

State Emergency Relief Program (SER)

Contact: Local Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services

You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past-due bill, shut-off

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 receive a DHHS cash grant, you may use part of it toward heat and electric bills. Apply online using MI Bridges:

Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

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) or if you participate in the Dept. of Health and Human Services Family Independence Program or receive SSI. Weatherization may include caulking, weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit to find one in your area.

United Way

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or

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.

Medical Emergency Protection

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 or a public health or social services official that a medical condition exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.

Shut-off Protection For Military Active Duty

Contact: Local Utility Company


later than Sept. 30 each year.

must be filed

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.

Income Guidelines 2022–2023
in Household 150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income 1 $20,385 2 27,465 3 34,545 4 41,625 5 48,705 6 55,785 7 62,865 8 69,945 Add $7,080 for each additional household member.
Assistance Programs 2022-2023 Season Home Heating Credit Contact: Michigan Dept. of Treasury # Exemp. Max. Income # Exemp. Max. Income 0–1 $14,949 5 $35,717 2 20,141 6 40,909 3 25,333 7 46,101 4 30,525 8 51,293 Add $5,192 for each exemption over 6. You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2022 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed above (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 The Home Heating Credit claim form
with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

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 800-642-4838 or

Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund Administering Agency: Michigan State Housing Development Authority

The MIHAF provides funds to customers with assistance preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement. Applicants must demonstrate financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 on or after Jan. 21, 2020.

MI Energy Assistance Program

Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November

The 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 nonpayment between Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt out of collecting the LIEAF, go to

Holiday Tips

The holidays are a magical time, and it’s also the most expensive time of year for many of us. Here are tips to reduce the financial burden with efficient ways to use less energy at home and lower your monthly bills.

Home Practices

If you are hosting guests, your household will consume more electricity than normal. Be prepared with efficiency basics:

• Have your thermostat programmed at 68 degrees when you are home and dialed back by eight to 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep.

• Run the clothes washer on cold with full loads.

• When not in use, turn off lights and the TV; fully shut down computers and gaming systems instead of putting them in sleep or standby mode.

Cooking Efficiency

• Use the oven light to check the food. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25 degrees, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

• When possible, make use of a slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven, or warming plate, which uses less energy than an oven and stovetop.

• Let hot food cool to room temperature before placing it inside the refrigerator. This ensures you don’t increase the temperature inside your fridge and cause it to use more energy to cool down.

Holiday Lighting

• LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands.

• Use light timers so you don’t have to remember to unplug your lights every evening. You can also choose to upgrade to smart holiday lights that offer a wide range of app-controlled options, including time, colors, music, and modes.

Out-of-Town Efficiency

If you’re visiting family and friends during the holidays, prepare your home to use less energy while you’re away.

• Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill, according to DOE. Switching your water heater to vacation mode will reduce wasted energy by keeping the water at a lower temperature. If your water heater does not have vacation mode on the dial, you can adjust it to the lowest setting.

• Set your thermostat to around 55 degrees so you’re not wasting energy to heat the home while you’re away.

• Consider upgrading a lamp or fi xture to a smart lightbulb. This allows you to control lights from afar and set a schedule for the light to go on and off.

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

Have Yourself A Little Holiday Savings

Home Appliances

Portable Room Dehumidifier

ENERGY STAR ® qualified. Limit 4.

Room Air Conditioner ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 4.

Room Air Purifier ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Clothes Washer ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Clothes Dryer: Standard ENERGY STAR qualified. Electric dryer w/ moisture sensor. Limit 1.

Clothes Dryer: Heat Pump ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Refrigerator ENERGY STAR qualified. Compact not eligible. Limit 1.

Chest or Upright Freezer ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Induction Range/Stove Induction range, stove, or cooktop with a minimum of 3 burners. Gas ranges or stovetops not eligible. Limit 1.




lights use up to 90% less

and last up to 10 times longer than traditional string lights. Save even more energy by putting your lights on a timer.

• Turn off room lights when your tree is lit. Focus on your spectacular tree by turning off as many lights as possible, and enjoy the glow of the tree lights. Maybe add a fire to the fireplace for some additional heat and an extra glow to the room.

• Bake several dishes at the same time. If you’re cooking for company, make the most of the energy that goes into heating your oven by cooking multiple dishes at once. Also, preheat your oven as late in the cooking process as possible to avoid wasting energy.

• Use candles to create an inviting glow. Save electricity and produce an enchanting ambience in your home with candlelight. Use scented candles for an extra touch of holiday cheer!

For a complete list of incentives and savings ideas through our Energy Optimization program, visit or call 877-296-4319

Save more in the new year with ENERGY STAR® appliances! You will save energy and earn incentive rebates to help you save money. Eligible products include items such as:  Room air conditioners $30 REBATE  Clothes washers $40 REBATE  Refrigerators $50 REBATE  Induction ovens/stoves $500 REBATE For the full list of appliance rebates, VISIT • CALL 877 296-4319 HomeWorks Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to HomeWorks Tri-County Electrical Cooperative service locations only. Incentive applies to quali ed items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022. Other restrictions may apply For complete program details, visit NEW APPLIANCES ON YOUR HOLIDAY
That doesn’t sound possible, does it? It’s a wonderful time of the year—but also one of the most expensive. But there are ways to save, and that will make any grinch happy. • Add new ENERGY STAR® appliances to your holiday list. You can earn incentive rebates now and save more on energy costs in the coming new year.
LED holiday


Christmas Trees

1. Glenda Adams of Evart says, “Clementine is anxious to help decorate our tree!”

2. Cindy Zavadil of Okemos (receiving service in Canadian Lakes) says, “This is the smaller of the two trees that we put up each year at our Canadian Lakes cabin. It is very rustic-themed, featuring fishing, hunting, bear, moose, and deer. It is very cozy in our cabin fireplace room!”

3. DeLynn Rice of Stanwood submitted this photo capturing the Christmas spirit in her home.

4. Casie Bayless of Portland says, “This is the side view of my ‘angel tree’ sparkling under the dimmed lights.”

5. Tanya Troupe of Lake submitted this photo of her cat, Lexi, lying on her daybed in front of the Christmas tree.

Submit Your “Family Time” Photos By Nov. 20!

We have implemented a new photo contest format for 2023! Each month, members will be able to submit photos on our website for our photo contest. The photo receiving the most votes is published here, along with some other selections from that month. Our November theme is Family Time. Photos can be submitted through Nov. 20 to be featured in our February 2023 issue.

To enter the contest, visit Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Country Lines, along with some other favorites. If your photo is published in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $100 credits on

your December 2023 HomeWorks bill! Enter to win a $100 energy bill credit!
51 3 4 2
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes TASTY TUSCAN BUTTER MUSHROOMS Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 4 tablespoons butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 pound baby bella mushrooms, cleaned 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved ¼ cup heavy cream ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper ¹⁄ 8 –¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 3 cups fresh spinach • chopped fresh basil, for garnish Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook until mushrooms are tender and tomatoes start to burst, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and Parmesan, and season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Add spinach and cook until sauce is thickened and spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Garnish with basil before serving. Enjoy! Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST National Cherry Month due Dec. 1 • Fish Fry due Jan. 1 • Vegetarian due Feb. 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. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to Win a $50 energy bill credit! HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES Serve alongside your holiday dinner. 10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022


1 package chicken stuffing

6 cups sliced zucchini

chopped onion

1 (15-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream




Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare chicken stuffing according to package directions.

Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add sliced zucchini and chopped onion. Boil for 5 minutes; drain well. In a bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Stir in carrots. Fold in drained zucchini and onion. Combine stuffing with butter. Spread ½ of the stuffing mix in bottom of 10x7x2-inch baking pan. Spoon zucchini mixture on top. Sprinkle remaining stuffing on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 head cauliflower

1 stick butter


Jane Ellison, Great Lakes Energy

1 (12-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon horseradish

• salt and pepper, to taste

Cut cauliflower into just bigger than bite size. Steam the cauliflower for 30–35 minutes (do not boil, or it will be 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.


Teresa Peterman, Presque Isle

1½ pounds baby potatoes, halved (20–24 potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

tablespoon melted butter, for drizzling

sprinkle of sea salt

Parmesan Mixture:

cup grated Parmesan (fine texture)

teaspoon garlic powder (or onion powder)

teaspoon dried oregano or thyme



coarse black pepper

Dipping Sauce:

cup sour cream or plain yogurt, or a combination of both

cup finely

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all of the

for the “Parmesan Mixture” in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil in 9x13 glass

dish. Tilt dish to spread all over the base. Use a spoon to scatter the Parmesan Mixture

the base and spread as evenly as you can. Once sprinkled, do not touch or try to spread. Place halved potatoes, cut

down, on top of Parmesan, pressing firmly.

top of potatoes with melted butter (or spray with butter spray), then sprinkle with salt. Bake potatoes for 35–40 minutes or until they are soft and the Parmesan crust is deep golden (note: you can check through the bottom of the glass). Let rest for 5 minutes. Use a small spatula to cut between every 4–5 potatoes, cutting through the Parmesan crust that binds the potatoes. Serve cheese side up. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and serve with potatoes (optional). Serves 4–5 people.

Correction: The October version of this recipe did not list zucchini in the ingredients,

standard loaf pans were not included in the instructions, and the frosting has been

to optional. We apologize for the omissions.


Cindy Thome, Alger Delta

Frosting (optional):

cup soft butter

cup soft cream cheese

teaspoon vanilla

cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan or two standard loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together all cake ingredients until combined. Pour into the pan. Bake for 40–45 minutes. Cool completely before frosting. To make the frosting, in a small bowl, combine all of the frosting ingredients and beat in a mixer for 2 minutes. Frost the cake and enjoy.

Dennis Gocha, Great Lakes Energy
¼ cup
cup shredded
½ cup melted
½ teaspoon
¼ teaspoon
½ teaspoon
chopped green onions or chives
½ cup butter ½ cup vegetable oil 1¾ cup sugar 2 beaten eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cups shredded zucchini (approx. 3 medium) 2½ cups flour 4 tablespoons cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Co-op’s Delegates Opt To Add Electronic Voting Option For Future Director Elections

HomeWorks members will have the option to utilize a convenient new voting method when director elections roll around again in the spring, after 89% of delegates at the Co-op’s 2022 annual meeting voted in support of adding electronic voting to supplement the current mail-in ballot. The option will be implemented in 2023, when elections will take place in districts 2 and 4.

“As a member-owned cooperative, we are always looking for ways to engage more members and to encourage a larger portion of our membership to participate in the democracy of the Co-op,” says CEO Chris O’Neill. “I think electronic voting is going to make our director elections more easily accessible for many of our members, which is great because it gives more members a voice in the Co-op they own. Our delegates showed great support for this initiative, and we’re excited to get it implemented for them in 2023.”

Like the Co-op’s current director election mail-in balloting process, HomeWorks’ electronic voting option will be administered by Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS), a third-party election management company based in Minnesota. SBS will receive all electronic and mail-in ballots, verify and count the votes, and ensure that only one ballot is submitted per eligible member household. At the close of the election, SBS will provide verified results to the Co-op’s corporate counsel.

The HomeWorks director election timeline will remain unchanged, with mail-in ballots going out with the April issue of Country Lines to members in districts holding director elections that year. At the same time, election emails will go out to all members with an active SmartHub account. The emails will include candidate profiles and a unique and secure electronic voting link. Mail-in and electronic ballots will be required to be submitted by early May to be counted.

In 2023, director elections will take place in HomeWorks districts 2 and 4. District 2, which is currently represented on the board by Director Jim Stebbins of Clarksville, includes Barry and Ionia counties. District 4, currently represented by Director Kimber Hansen of Edmore, encompasses Montcalm County, except Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships. Members in those districts should watch for detailed election information to come, beginning in January.

To sign up for a free HomeWorks SmartHub account and opt in to receive Co-op emails, search for SmartHub on your phone’s app store or visit

Emissions And Waste Comparison * Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21. HomeWorks purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data. Type of emission/waste lbs/MWh Your co-op Regional average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.62 1.16 Carbon Dioxide 676.4 1,133.0 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.43 0.82 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0.0090 0.0060 Fuel Mix Report The fuel mix characteristics of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 6/30/22. Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix. Fuel source Your co-op’s fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 21.85% 36.27% Oil 0.20% 0.39% Gas 17.13% 26.18% Hydroelectric 0.56% 0.87% Nuclear 41.79% 27.82% Renewable Fuels 18.47% 8.47% Biofuel 0.34% 0.71% Biomass 0.20% 0.47% Solar 0.66% 0.32% Solid Waste Incineration 0.10% 0.05% Wind 16.96% 6.50% Wood 0.21% 0.42% Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix Regional Average Fuel Mix 12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022

Your Board In Action

Meeting in Portland on Sept. 26, your board of directors:

• In a special open member meeting, voted unanimously to adjust the Cooperative’s Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor from $.00525 to $.00856, effective Jan. 1, 2023, in order to adequately cover projected 2023 power supply costs.

• Reviewed the Cooperative’s annual IRS forms 990 and 990-T and authorized management to file the completed forms as presented.

• Reviewed a presentation on the Co-op’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Delegates, held virtually in August, which saw a record-high turnout of 320 member households.

• Discussed and accepted Policy 316 – Prevention of Identity Fraud, as revised.

• Received a monthly progress update on the HomeWorks Connect fiber internet business.

• Learned there were 123 new members in August.

• Acknowledged the August safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings

The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 28 at Blanchard and Dec. 19 at Portland. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least a week in advance of the meeting.

Holiday Hours

Please note that our offices will be closed on the following days of the holiday season:

Thanksgiving Holiday

Thursday, Nov. 24Friday, Nov. 25

Christmas Holiday

Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26

New Year’s Holiday

Monday, Jan. 2

District 5 Director Corinna Batora Steps Down From HomeWorks Board

The HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative board of directors is temporarily down one member, after District 5 Director Corinna Batora announced her resignation, effective Sept. 30. Batora, who had served on the board since August 2016, moved in October from her longtime Elsie home to an area of Michigan not served by HomeWorks, making her ineligible to continue serving as a director.

“I have been involved with HomeWorks for more than 10 years, first as a district officer, and then as a director for District 5,” says Batora. “I have loved every moment, and I am so proud to have been part of the HomeWorks family. We are so fortunate to have the Co-op and the dedicated HomeWorks employees who are responsible for so many successes. Sometimes life changes our plans, and my husband and I are moving from our beloved HomeWorks area and the home we built 25 years

ago. As a result, I need to resign from the board.”

The remaining six directors on the board are currently working through the director replacement process, which includes soliciting interest, forming a selection committee, and interviewing candidates. Upon completion of this process, the board will vote to appoint a replacement director from District 5 to serve out the balance of Batora’s current threeyear term, which expires in 2025. District 5 encompasses Gratiot and Saginaw counties along with Bingham, Duplain, and Greenbush townships in Clinton County and Bloomer, Crystal, and Evergreen townships in Montcalm County. HomeWorks members in those areas can expect to receive more detailed information about the director replacement process as it proceeds, via mail and email.

“On behalf of the Co-op, I want to thank Director Batora for her years of

dedicated service to HomeWorks,” says CEO Chris O’Neill. “To say that the time, commitment, and conscientious effort she has put in for the past decade, both as a district officer and as a director, are appreciated would be a vast understatement. It’s engaged members like Batora who make HomeWorks the Co-op it is today. We wish her and her family well in their future ventures.”


A Story 100 Years In The Making

With Mammoth Distilling

When Chad Munger held just a palmful of Rosen rye seeds in his hand in 2020, it was the beginning, or at least the continuation, of a 100-year-old story.

Munger, the founder and owner of Mammoth Distilling, with its flagship tasting room in Central Lake, and whiskey maker Ari Sussman had first spoken about these valuable seeds a few years earlier when he made a discovery while army-crawling his way through the agriculture and food archives at Michigan State University. He came across a full-page ad for Old Schenley rye in a 1934 issue of Vanity Fair touting that it was made with Michigan Rosen rye: “The most compact and flavorful rye kernels Mother Earth produces were used for this luxurious brand,” it said.

“Ari called me right away,” said Munger. “First, we couldn’t believe this rye had basically existed in our own backyard and we hadn’t heard of it before. And then the wheels started spinning on how to bring this rye back.”

The seeds had been successfully grown just off the Leelanau Peninsula

on South Manitou Island for the first time 100 years ago. With the seeds shipped from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s to Joseph Rosen, they eventually found a home at MSU, where Rosen worked with colleagues to test the flavor. The more the Mammoth team dug into the details, the more amazing the story became. They came to a simple conclusion— this was not your average rye.

“It quickly became coveted by the country’s top whiskey makers,” said Munger. “Unfortunately, it had a fatal flaw—it cross-pollinated very easily and would quickly lose the magical flavor that made it so special.”

Enter South Manitou Island: Being 16 miles from the Michigan coastline and not too far from MSU, it eliminated the danger of immediate cross-pollination. While Rosen rye had a good run supplying whiskey makers for decades, post-Prohibition times brought a hefty hurdle. During those “dry” years, folks had become accustomed to the low price tag of corn-based whiskey.

As the folks at Mammoth kept pulling threads on this unraveling story, they

quickly addressed the obstacles of bringing Rosen rye back, as well as introducing interested parties into the existing story of the strain.

“We didn’t create it, we rediscovered it,” said Munger. “It really felt like we were being charged with keeping the story alive.”

Many amazing groups helped to keep that story alive, from the USDA, to MSU, to the National Park Service


(which manages South Manitou Island as part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore), in order to bring Rosen rye back to Michigan.

The initial crop, just 14 acres, was planted in October 2020, nearly 100 years after the first seeds made their way to Michigan. Eighty years after the last crop of Rosen rye left South Manitou Island, members of the Mammoth team celebrated the first Rosen Rye Day this past August to harvest the grain. The hope is to continue this historical process for years to come.

None of it has been easy. Or even logical. Farming on South Manitou Island comes with its own set of unique obstacles, including no irrigation, no pesticides, a lot of work done by hand, and concerns that the team won’t know for years how the whiskey will taste.

So, why do it? Why spend the time, energy, and, let’s be honest, money on a venture that may never pay off? Munger suggests that the entire team, including those at Michigan State,

the NPS, and the whiskey community at large, all agree—“Because it’s the right thing to do. Bringing the grain back is good for the world.”

If that’s the “why,” Mammoth is certainly slogging their way through the “how.” Watching the research, the passion, the grit, the sweat on the brow, and the vision, it’s not a simple path and it takes more than falling in love with a great story. It takes a leap of faith.

Munger identifi es the simple, but not at all easy, path forward: “All we need to be willing to do is the unreasonable thing.”

Unreasonable or not, there’s an excitement around this agricultural rediscovery and a connection to history, land, and rich storytelling that is at the heart of Mammoth Distilling.

Mammoth Distilling has locations in Adrian, Bay Harbor, Bellaire, Central Lake, and Traverse City.

“We didn’t create it, we rediscovered it. It really felt like we were being charged with keeping the story alive.”
/mammoth_distilling /MammothDistillingTC 15MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
It’s time to apply for HomeWorks’ 2023 classroom grants and college scholarships! For Teachers: We offer grants of up to $2,000 to help teachers in our service area provide S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education in their classrooms. Applications due Dec. 9 For Students: Current high school seniors living on our electric lines could be eligible for one of our one-time $1,000 scholarships to help with 2023-24 college expenses! Applications due March 13 For more info or to apply, click the Community tab at:

Co-op Supports Twin River Robotics With $5,000 Grant

HomeWorks renewed its platinum sponsorship of Portland High School’s Twin River Robotics team this fall with a $5,000 grant to help fund the purchase of equipment to build the team’s robot and to support their participation in the statewide FIRST Robotics Competition this season. The grant check

was presented to team representatives by HomeWorks employees and family members prior to the PHS home football game on Oct. 7. Robotics is a team competition intended to foster students’ interest in STEM careers and skilled trades. HomeWorks is rooting for you this season, Twin River Robotics!

Notice To Members Of HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Sept. 26, 2022, Open Member Meeting Results

At a separate Special Open Meeting held Sept. 26, 2022, the HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative board of directors voted unanimously to adjust the Cooperative’s Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor from $.00525 to $.00856, effective Jan. 1, 2023, in order to adequately cover projected 2023 power supply costs. The PSCR factor is applied to members’ monthly kilowatt-hour (kWh) use. For the average HomeWorks residential member (using 850 kWh of electricity per month), this PSCR factor adjustment will result in a bill increase of $2.81 per month, or 2%.  For specific details of any HomeWorks tariffs or fees, please visit or call us at 800-562-8232.


The Salted Christmas Goose

Violet Comero, in her own words.

On Christmas Day, Ma always got up first and stuffed the Christmas goose. This year was no different. She stuffed the goose and salted it and put it in the oven, and then went to the barn to do her chores. In the meantime, Papa got up and started the stove in the dining room. Before he went to the barn, he checked on the goose. He thought it didn’t look like Ma salted it, so he salted it and went to the barn.

After a while, my oldest sister got up to make breakfast. She checked the goose and thought it didn’t look like it had been salted, so she salted the goose some more. Later in the morning, Grandma Haeuser showed up, and the first thing she does is go to the kitchen to help. Well, she had to check the goose, too. Didn’t look like anyone salted it, so the poor goose got some more salt.

Everything was smelling good, and we could hardly wait. Finally, we sat down to eat. We all had goose, but no one was eating it. Then they started talking about it and realized what they had done. It was bad. It sat in the house till the next day, but nobody would eat it. So Ma threw it outside for the dog. He wouldn’t eat it, nor the cats. It remained around outside all winter. It would get covered with snow, and some animal would smell it and dig it up again, and leave it lying. That poor goose floated around the yard all winter. In spring, someone felt sorry for it and buried it.

There was much more communication in the house (kitchen) after that.

Where In Michigan Is This?


September 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Nancy Root, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Cranbrook Orpheus Fountain on its campus in Bloomfield Hills.

Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

the correct location of the photo to the left by Nov. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at
Guest Column
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit. Win $150! Win a $50 energy bill credit!
Memories from 1925, from my mother,


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