Nov/Dec 2022 Thumb

Page 1

A Story 100 Years In The Making With Mammoth Distilling Thumb Electric Cooperative November/December 2022 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES TEC Fiber Update Christmas Tree Photo Contest Electrical Safety Tips For Hunters
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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


2231 Main Street

Ubly, MI 48475-0157

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




Randall Dhyse, Treasurer District 1 • 989-551-6533

Craig Osentoski, Director District 2 • 989-658-8512

Erica Peruski, Director District 3 • 989-315-4185


Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291

Mike Briolat, Secretary District 2 • 989-284-3405

Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828


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

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

Matt Sommer, Director District 3 • 248-444-0496

Dallas Braun, General Manager


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

Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Proposed Rate Revision

Like every other home and business being impacted by the rising cost of goods and services, your cooperative is no different. Costs for labor, material, vehicles, contracted services, fuel, and everything else it takes to run a business have gone up. Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) has seen overall line material costs increase substantially. Some examples include pole-mount transformers (22% increase), 45-foot poles (48% increase), and underground service wire (104% increase). Additionally, the current delivery lead time for a bucket/digger truck is two years after an order, and there is no guarantee the truck price won’t increase before delivery.

As a result of these inflationary pressures, at the upcoming Nov. 22 Special Board Meeting, the board of directors will meet at 6 p.m. to consider proposed rate and tariff revisions which will increase revenue by 4.5%. The proposed rate adjustments will reflect an increase in the monthly service charge of $5 for most rate classes. In addition, there will be an energy cost increase. There will also be a reduction in the load management credits, an increase in the security light program, and a demand component increase for those applicable accounts. Please see the summary chart on page 5 for more information on all the proposed rate revisions.

One question asked often is in regards to what the monthly service charge represents. This service charge is meant to represent each member’s fair share of the system’s fixed costs. These include the poles, wires, transformers, meters, labor, vehicles, tools, and other equipment needed to maintain a safe and reliable electrical system that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These availability costs exist regardless of whether any electricity is actually used. The most recent TEC Cost of Service Study, performed by an independent firm, shows that the monthly surcharge should be in the $40 range.

Overall, an electric utility is a very capital-intensive industry. Investments must continue to be made in TEC’s electric infrastructure so your cooperative can continue to provide the reliable source of electricity that has come to be expected. Thumb Electric finances a portion of its operations and capital improvements with loans from lenders such as Rural Utilities Service (RUS), CoBank, and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), to name a few.

To ensure that your cooperative remains in good financial standing with its lenders, there are certain covenants or financial requirements that need to be met. Even though TEC is a nonprofit organization, one of the requirements includes making a certain profit level on an annual basis. In the cooperative world, these profits are called margins. One of the good things about being a cooperative is that these margins are allocated back to each member by the TEC board and are paid back over a period of time.

It is understood that no one likes paying higher costs for anything, especially a necessity such as electricity. At Thumb Electric, we are continuously working to contain costs without jeopardizing the reliability of your electric service. This proposed increase, which would go into effect in Feburary of next year, is required to ensure the cooperative continues to meet the requirements of its financial debt and maintain a reliable electric system.

/thumbelectric HURON
SANILAC @thumbelectric

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Special Board Meeting— Nov. 22, 2022

The Thumb Electric board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its Nov. 22, 2022, meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the cooperative office at 2231 Main St., Ubly, MI. It is open to all members of Thumb Electric Cooperative, in accordance with PA 167 of 2008.

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:

1. Revise the cooperative’s rates and tariffs.

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 accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800327-0166 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

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Tariff Changes Effective Jan. 1, 2023

The Thumb Electric Cooperative board of directors

on and adopted the following changes to the cooperative’s tariffs at a special open board meeting held on Sept. 20, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167:

the Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor (PSCR) of a $0.002/kWh credit to be applied to the cooperative’s applicable retail member-consumers, monthly kilowatt-hour use. The PSCR Factor represents the true-up costs for the cooperative’s actual power supply costs.

specific details on any Thumb Electric Cooperative tariffs, please call 1-800-327-0166 or visit TEC’s website at

Thumb Electric Cooperative Proposed Rate Revision Summary PROPOSED REVENUE INCREASE PRESENT RATE PROPOSED RATE FARM & HOME SERVICE (Rate D-4.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $22.00 $27.00 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.12120 $0.12285 SEASONAL RESIDENTIAL SERVICE (Rate D-6.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $27.50 $32.50 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.13850 $0.14025 GENERAL SERVICE (Rate D-8.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $23.50 $30.00 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.11995 $0.12230 SEASONAL GENERAL SERVICE (Rate D-7.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $30.00 $35.00 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.13165 $0.13395 LARGE GENERAL SERVICE (Rate D-10.00) DEMAND CHARGE/KW $10.25 $10.50 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.08585 $0.08755 ENERGY STORAGE (Rate D-16.00) ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.06350 $0.06700 INTERRUPTIBLE ELECTRIC HEATING SERVICE (Rate D-15.00) ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.07790 $0.07890 CONTROLLED WATER HEATING (Rate D-13.00) 2 HOUR CREDIT/MONTH -$1.25 -$1.00 4 HOUR CREDIT/MONTH -$5.25 -$4.50 6 HOUR CREDIT/MONTH -$7.00 -$6.00 CONTROLLED CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING SERVICE (Rate D-25.00) CREDIT/YEAR -$15.00 -$10.00 OUTDOOR PROTECTIVE LIGHTING SERVICE (Rate D-12.00) 40 W LED $10.75 $10.85 175 W MV & 100 WHPS $14.15 $15.75 400 W MV & 250 W HPS $20.50 $22.75 LARGE POWER DISTRIBUTION SUBSTATION (Rate D-11.00) DEMAND CHARGE/KW $10.25 $10.50 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH $0.06798 $0.06825 FARM AND HOME TIME-OF-DAY SERVICE (Rate D-5.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $30.00 $35.00 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH ON-PEAK $0.13525 $0.14750 INTERMEDIATE $0.08375 $0.08800 OFF-PEAK $0.06350 $0.06675 GENERAL TIME-OF-DAY SERVICE (Rate D-9.00) SERVICE CHARGE/METER $30.00 $35.00 ENERGY CHARGE/KWH ON-PEAK $0.13525 $0.14750 INTERMEDIATE $0.08375 $0.08800 OFF-PEAK $0.06350 $0.06675
1. Established


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.

Contribute To THAW

senior citizen with an



laid off.

Heat And Warmth

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 half with children) keep their heat and electricity on during the winter months.

make a donation to THAW. Your tax-deductible contribution

help someone in your community keep their heat and electricity on this winter.

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 (8429). Your gift is tax deductible. for more information.



Box 77000 Detroit, MI 48277-0650


Neighbors helping neighbors in need. • A family had funeral expenses that caused them to fall behind in their utility bill payments. • A
of $7,000 had to pay a large, unexpected medical bill and fell behind on utility payments. • A
husband with two children is
He can’t find another job, his unemployment ran out…and the utility bills didn’t get paid. Yes! 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.  $10  $25  $50  Other $ Name Address City/State/ZIP To make a contribution using VISA or MasterCard, call 1-800-866-THAW (or
or visit MAIL TO: Dept.
! Keep this child—and thousands of others like him— warm this winter. These are just some of the people helped by The
Also visit
The Heat And Warmth Fund)
76 9 5 1 3 4 8 2 Submit Your “Outdoor Adventures” Photos by Nov. 20! Submit your “Outdoor Adventures” photos by Nov. 20 for the January 2023 issue! Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit! To enter the contest, visit Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2023 bill. Enter for a chance to win a $50 energy bill credit! Christmas Trees 1. Santa has arrived! Sarah Durr 2. Proud to have a dinosaur-themed tree for his room. Ona Warchuck 3. Santa stops here. Annette Decker 4. Waiting for Santa. Robert Marcotte 5. First Christmas. Tonya Zube 6. Mackinac Island Christmas! Olivia Tyrrell 7. Our Christmas angel. Chris Anderson 8. ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Nikki Bambach 9. Peeking through the branches. Robert Daniels PHOTO CONTEST MOST VOTES! 9MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
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


1 (15-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup






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

teaspoon paprika


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 ingredients for the “Parmesan Mixture” in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil in 9x13 glass baking dish. Tilt dish to spread all over the base. Use a spoon to scatter the Parmesan Mixture over the base and spread as evenly as you can. Once sprinkled, do not touch or try to spread. Place halved potatoes, cut side down, on top of Parmesan, pressing firmly. Drizzle 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


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 chopped
cup sour
cup shredded
½ cup melted
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
3 cups powdered

Fiber To The Home. When Will It Get To Me?


s we approach our first year of construction, progress of our TEC Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) project is on pace for an estimated 350 miles of installed fiber optic cable. Those miles include backbone construction, distribution construction, and Multi-Service Terminal (MST) construction. Many members comment that they see the cable going up in the air and ask if they will soon have service to their home. The answer is yes, but it isn’t always as quickly as we all would like. There is a process to getting the “light” to your home, and it is hoped that this article makes it more understandable.

What happens first? Aside from having a build design in place, which included many hours of data collection, such as locations of poles, homes, and where we need to build, we need to order materials to construct and get qualified contractors hired to build out. Permitting work needs to be done as well. Permits are required from townships, road commissions, MDOT, drain commissions, zoning regulators, and others to use public right-of-way spaces where construction is not built in private easements. All of this work is unseen but necessary to get to the point of fiber cable going in the air or the ground.

The first work that most people see is the mainline and backbone fiber going in. That is when the excitement starts, and realization sets in that fiber service to their home or business is not far away. But there is a lot more work to be done. The next step in the process is placing MSTs, which provide the ability to run many broadband subscribers from one terminal. MSTs could have anywhere from four to 12 ports and will be the point where your service will come from. Once in place, all the MSTs and mainline fiber will need to be spliced together, allowing the light to pass and reach your home. While this process is taking place, special equipment called an Optical Line Terminal (OLT) is installed at our substations. OLTs allow

light from equipment farther upstream to be processed and used by subscribers. The splicing then has to be tested at the MST ports, and once acceptable light levels are confirmed, that area can be turned on for service.

When your area is open for service, what comes next? It is a relatively simple process, but it can be very challenging on our end as the demand for FTTH service is very high. Hopefully, you have already preregistered through our CrowdFiber page (sign-up details are on page 13). If so, you will be sent a notification via email that your area is active, and you can click on the link and go through the sign-up process. Once the required paperwork is completed, someone will contact you regarding a site survey. They may or may not have to personally meet with you to discuss some details at your location. Typically, this will be the case if there is an underground component to your drop install. We will want to know if you have any private infrastructure on your property, such as dog fencing, electrical, drain tile, etc., so that contractors can avoid those locations. MISS DIG will be called, but they only mark utility-based infrastructure. After that site visit is finished, a “drop” install is next. A “drop” is the actual fiber cable that comes from the MST port and goes to a splice point on your home called a Network Interface Device (NID). A NID serves as the transfer point between the drop install and the customer’s in-home wiring. From there, we schedule you with a home installer to complete the process in your home. Finally, you can now enjoy what we hope is the best internet service you’ve ever had.

This may or may not seem complicated. It really isn’t, but unfortunately it can be time-consuming. It is simply the process that must take place to get FTTH to your premises. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of what happens behind the scenes to get TEC members and many non-members the best internet service available.


Thumb Electric’s office will be closed

the following

Nov. 24 & Friday, Nov. 25


Dec. 23 & Monday, Dec. 26

New Year’s Holidays:

Dec. 30 & Monday, Jan. 2

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.

Annual Election Notice For TEC Members

In March 2023, a nominating committee of nine Thumb Electric Cooperative members will meet to select a slate of candidates for one director position for District 3 in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties.

Members served by the cooperative will have an opportunity to vote for positions in each county. The official election results will be announced at the 2023 Annual Meeting on June 10. The District 3 director positions are currently held by Erica Peruski, Duane Kursinsky, and Matt Sommer.

Any co-op member interested in running for a district director position should write a letter to the Thumb Electric nominating committee chairperson prior to Feb. 14, 2023, indicating his or her interest in being nominated.

The committee will review the prospective nominee’s qualifications to determine whether he or she meets bylaw requirements and whether he or she should be placed on the ballot. If you would like more information, please contact the co-op’s general manager, Dallas Braun, at 800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571.

250forMbps per month $ 85 1 forGig per month $125 with additional discounts for TEC Members! or To preregister, register, or get more information, go to or scan the QR code with your phone’s camera. Your
Internet Service TEC Members: Have You Signed Up for TEC Fiber Yet? We have multiple internet packages to fit your needs.
June 2023
to celebrate
holidays: Thanksgiving: Thursday,

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


This hunting season, we encourage all members to be aware of electrical equipment and take necessary precautions while hunting. Keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Take notice of posted warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.

Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.

Know where power lines and equipment are located on the land where you hunt.

Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.

Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.

Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Any nonelectrical equipment attached to a pole can pose an obstruction and serious hazard to our line crews.


New Director Spotlight

Erica Peruski, Huron County District 3

Upon recommendation by the Director Search and Selection Committee, Erica was appointed by the TEC board at the September board meeting to fill the vacant seat.

Erica Peruski was born and raised in Bad Axe and graduated from Bad Axe High School in 2010. In 2011, she received a cosmetology license from the Huron Area Tech Center (HATC). Erica has been a licensed cosmetologist in the beauty industry for almost 12 years. She is currently a stylist and has been the owner of New Wave Hair Studio in Bad Axe since 2016, where she employs seven stylists. Additionally, Erica enjoys being involved with the HATC. She is on the advisory board and holds lectures for cosmetology classes.

Erica has been a TEC member since March of 2021. She has one daughter, Leni, who will be 3 years old in December. When she is not working, Erica enjoys spending time with friends and family, going on vacation, and attending games and concerts.

Erica says, “I am looking forward to working with TEC and functioning as a team for the betterment of the co-op and its members.”

New Employee Spotlight

Kevin Mazure started as TEC’s legal and compliance engineer on Oct. 3. He began his TEC career in February as our legal and compliance intern. Kevin is the son of Wade and Judy Mazure from Harbor Beach and is married to his wife, Cassidy. He has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Lawrence Tech, where he graduated in 2019. In May, he graduated from Wayne State Law School. He has also taken the bar exam and is currently awaiting the results. In his free time, Kevin enjoys watching the Red Wings and Lions, and he likes to golf during the summer.

Fuel Mix Report

Regional Average


The fuel mix characteristics of Thumb Electric Cooperative as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 12/31/21. Emissions And Waste Comparison *Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ended 12/31/21. The fuel mix data presented by Thumb Electric is the data from CMS Energy, which supplies nearly all of Thumb Electric’s purchased power. Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix Type of emission/waste lbs/MWh Your co-op Regional average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.25 1.25 Carbon Dioxide 897 1,248 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.23 0.91 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0 0.006 Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source Your co-op’s fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 0% 32.237% Oil 0% 0.385% Gas 85% 30.632% Hydroelectric 0% 0.753% Nuclear 0% 28.581% Renewable Fuels 15% 7.413% Biofuel 0% 0.731% Biomass 15% 0.469% Solar 0% 0.188% Solid Waste Incineration 0% 0.013% Wind 0% 5.562% Wood 0% 0.450%

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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This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home. A Well-Connect can be installed in one day, any time of the year, as a DIY or professionally.

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Quick Tips To Avoid High Winter Bills

Looking to lower


Seal air leaks and insulate well to prevent heat from escaping and cold air from entering your home.

Reduce waste heat by installing a programmable thermostat.

Turn off lights when not in use.

Lower your water heater temperature. The Department of Energy recommends using the warm setting (120 degrees) during fall and winter months.

Unplug electronics like kitchen appliances and TVs when you’re away.

Open blinds and curtains during the day to allow sunlight in to warm your home.

Close blinds and curtains at night to keep cold, drafty air out.

Use power strips for multiple appliances, and turn off the main switch when you’re away from home. Wash clothes in cold water, and use cold-water detergent whenever possible. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy.

Thumb Electric Cooperative
this winter? Use the 10 tips below to conserve energy. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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