Sept. 19 Thumb

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September/October 2019


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative


Meet Lineman Brandon Bruce

A Firsthand Perspective Of Youth Tour 2019


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In This Issue September 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 8

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives




Your photo could be featured here.


Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer

Follow Us On Instagram!

Design and Production: Karreen Bird Recipe Editor: Christin McKamey Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

michigancountrylines One day the sky decided it wanted to come down to earth and spend a day on the beach. #lakemichigan #whoa Really cool capture by @janomurf

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.

The 1,004-foot cargo ship, the Edwin H. Gott, is home to both long-time crew and those training as mariners. The massive freighter’s bow is pictured on the cover against the backdrop of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. Learn more about life as a cadet at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy on page 14.

POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358


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

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

6 THE DRIVING FORCE: PLUG INTO ELECTRIC VEHICLES On The Road: Norm Rosema Takes Electricity For A Spin Emily Haines Lloyd

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Kick-off Tailgating Season With These Winning Recipes


ATTENTION READERS: The publisher of Michigan Country Lines magazine is working with NRECA Market Research Service, a reputable public opinion research company, to conduct a confidential survey for Michigan’s electric cooperatives. If NRECA contacts you by phone or email, please be assured they are not selling anything. The short, confidential survey will help your co-op serve you better. Thank you for your time and help with this survey.

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Best of Michigan

14 FEATURE Life On A Freighter

UP NEXT! BAKERIES: We’re on a sweet journey to find the best bakeries in the state! Share your favorites. We will publish this member–recommended list in our November/December issue. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by September 20.

Taylor Brown, courtesy of Traverse Magazine

18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best Of Michigan Crafts Beers

Pour yourself a cold one from this member-recommended list. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!





TEC’s Mission Statement


Dallas Braun, General Manager

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 Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Mission Statement: To safely provide our members exceptional, courteous, and reliable services at a competitive cost.


our electric cooperative was formed in 1937 to provide electric service to the farms and homes of those living without it in the rural areas of the Thumb. On June 18, 1938, Thumb Electric Cooperative, began for the first time bringing the benefits of electric service to approximately 5,000 farm homes. One of the biggest changes since that life altering historic event is how electricity is used. Back then, a farm home consisted of a few lights and maybe an electric icebox (refrigerator). In 1941, TEC members collectively used 3.4 million kilowatt-hours. As time progressed, new electric equipment, appliances, and devices became available in homes to increase comfort. With the use of new electric manufacturing processes, farms and businesses became more competitive and expanded their operations. Electricity quickly became an invaluable resource to grow the economy and to raise the standard of living. Fast forward 82 years to the present. While we have added other service options such as propane, private tree trimming, and energy efficiency to name a few, our main core of business continues to be providing electric service in a manner described in the Mission Statement above. Today, electric service is provided by TEC to over 12,500 homes and businesses in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties. In 2018, TEC members collectively used over 175 million kilowatt-hours. We take pride in being able to deliver electricity in the amounts needed by all the businesses and homes in TEC’s service area. We understand that our product (electricity) will be used for different purposes. Whether it is used for your home, greenhouse, farm operation, manufacturing process, grow-operation, or any other purpose, it does NOT matter. We support, promote, and make available unlimited use of it to every TEC member for any purpose, provided payment is made for all electricity used. If a member fails to pay for their electricity consumption, we will disconnect their service. If the electric meter is tampered with in any way to divert or steal power, the same will happen. Also, for any electricity theft or meter tampering, the local law enforcement will be called out to the site to investigate. So if you do not want the police on your property, do not give us a reason to call them. If someone tampers with the meter and/or service, steals electricity, or fails to pay for electricity consumed, all other TEC members end up paying these costs. This is not acceptable and the appropriate actions will be taken, including legal action. If there are suspected activities like this, anyone can anonymously report this to our office at 1-800-327-0166. Stealing from the cooperative is stealing from the members, which means you.

Electric Cooperative Youth Tour 2019

Arika Booms, a Junior at Harbor Beach High School, was an area high school student chosen to represent Thumb Electric Cooperative on this year’s National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in June. Here, she shares her thoughts on the experience.

An Unforgettable Experience Guest Column By Arika Booms, Harbor Beach High School


verall, I loved the Washington D.C. trip so much; I cannot thank Thumb Electric and the organizers enough. There is something really special about being in the nation’s capital, where some of the most significant events in history took place. I would often take a moment and think in amazement, “Here’s where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I have a dream...’ speech or here is where the laws that influence my life were made.” It was amazing to realize that almost every president lived and led our country here. I learned more about history and gained a greater appreciation for it. I loved meeting so many wonderful, beautiful people. We did more than trade state pins and stickers; we made connections and friendships from all across the country. After this trip, I felt inspired to learn more about politics and get more involved. This trip was an opportunity of a lifetime! I cannot thank my electric co-op enough for their

generosity and eagerness to empower the next generation of people with the skills they need to lead. Youth Tour opened my eyes to what it means to be a part of an electric co-op. About 75 years ago, electric cooperatives changed the lives of rural Americans by providing them with electricity and opportunity. Ironically, electric co-ops were formed in a similar way to our country: people coming together to change something for the better. Cooperatives today are still nonprofit and community-based. It’s for the people by the people. I feel comfort in knowing that. Electric co-ops continue to find ways to improve and reach out to those in need. I was genuinely enlightened on the role electric co-ops have in our country and other countries. Thank you for this opportunity to represent Thumb Electric and Michigan.

NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF THUMB ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE A special Member Meeting is set for October 15, 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 October 15, 2019, to be held at the cooperative office at 2231 Main Street, Ubly, MI. 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: • Amendment of Article VIII, Section 3 of the cooperative bylaws to expand the definition of Security Interest to include amounts owed to the cooperative’s subsidiary, Thumb Energy Services (TESC). • Amendments of the cooperative bylaws to eliminate the option of Proxy voting by members. • Establish the 2020 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 community solar renewable energy tariff. • Revise the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) applicable surcharges. 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 an accommodation to participate should contact Thumb Electric Cooperative at 800-327-0166 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



The Driving Force: Plug Into Electric Vehicles

Norm Rosema and Roger Bradshaw worked together to plan Norm’s EV road trip from Michigan to California.

On the Road Norm Rosema Takes Electricity For A Spin By Emily Haines Lloyd

Norm and Donna Rosema loved taking drives together.

Not long after, a plan started piecing together.

Norm, now 82, lost his beloved wife of 57 years unexpectedly in February, 2018 in an automobile accident. The devastation of such a loss can be insurmountable, but it was perhaps that shared love of taking drives that helped Norm heal.

Friends in California had missed Donna’s memorial service, and Norm had never felt quite right about that. He began thinking of driving from his home in Fremont, Michigan, to where his friends lived in Southern California, over 2,000 miles away.

As in the case of most curative stories, family and friends can be found at the heart of each.

Planning cross-country road trips takes a certain amount of organization. Taking cross-country road trips in an electric car takes a tribe.

A friend of Norm’s, Roger Bradshaw, purchased a Chevy Bolt in 2018, replacing his previous electric car, a Chevy Volt purchased in 2012. Over the years, Roger and Norm frequently talked about electric vehicles, how they were evolving, and why Roger was hooked. “Eventually, I thought, ‘I say I care about the environment and want to reduce my carbon footprint,’” said Norm. “If that’s true, I’m either going to quit driving or do something about it.” In August 2018, Norm purchased a Chevy Bolt. 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

While dates and routes were being considered, Roger was a huge help, utilizing his experiences over the years with his electric vehicles and identifying useful resources to find charging stations along the way. Roger and Norm also took a small test run to Brighton, Michigan—about two and a half hours away. “Plug Share was a beneficial resource in finding charging stations along Norm’s planned route to California,” said Roger. “Norm did a great job of identifying dealerships that also offered charging capabilities.”

“Eventually, I thought, ‘I say I care about the environment and want to reduce my carbon footprint. If that’s true, I’m either going to quit driving or do something about it.’” —Norm Rosema

What Do EV Charging Levels Mean?

Norm set out on his trip the day after Easter in 2019, with maps, OnStar, and his friend Roger just a phone call away. Norm navigated the range anxiety (concern of running out of power without a charging station nearby) and even settled into traveling at a slightly slower speed to conserve energy. Having Roger available for quick online checks was another way that Norm felt he had his buddy in the passenger seat supporting him. Norm found dealerships very helpful and courteous—offering him their lounges and cups of coffee while his Bolt recharged. It wasn’t until a charge at Petrified Forest in the Painted Desert on his way to Flagstaff, Arizona, that Norm ran into his only challenge. After charging at a Level 2 station, with approximately 50 extra miles available on his charge, Norm experienced the effect of the altitude changes on the way to Flagstaff. Increased incline uses more power, and as Norm pulled into his reserved hotel that evening, he had very little energy left. The hotel had misinformed Norm about their charging capabilities, sending him elsewhere for a Level 2 station, which ended up being out of service. After a bit of a scavenger hunt, Norm pulled up to a final station and his car ran out of juice. He’d pulled up just far enough to plug in, but the car wouldn’t accept the charge. One tow truck later and Norm and his Bolt were at a local dealership. The serviceman on duty said they didn’t have a certified Bolt technician, but they decided to plug it into an older Volt charging station and try their luck. At first—nothing. But finally, a green flashing light indicated the car was receiving a charge. The serviceman offered to drop Norm at his hotel, as the man was heading out on a date with his wife. He then offered to swing by the dealership on his way home to check on the Bolt and give Norm an update. The following day, that same serviceman came in on his day off to meet Norm and make sure his Bolt was charged enough to make it on his next leg of the trip. “The people you meet along the way, I tell you…” said Norm. “I’ll always remember folks like that guy and Roger who made this trip a success.” Norm made it to his next stop to meet friends in Phoenix and finally to his destination in California. “There were a lot of emotions as I arrived in California—having that time to remember Donna and do some thinking and grieving,” said Norm. “There was also a total feeling of success and being so blessed. Being with friends just accentuated it all.”

Level 1—Home Charging: Level 1 charging cords are standard equipment on a new EV. Level 1 charging only requires a grounded (three-prong) 120V outlet and can add about 40 miles of range in an eight-hour overnight charge. Overnight Level 1 charging is suitable for low and medium range plug-in hybrids and all-electric battery electric vehicle drivers with low daily driving usage.

Level 2—Home and Public Charging: Level 2 charging typically requires a charging unit on a 240V circuit, like the circuit used to power a common electric clothes dryer. The charging rate depends on the vehicle’s acceptance rate and the maximum current available. With a typical 30 amp circuit, about 180 miles can be added during an eight-hour charge. Level 2 chargers are the most common public chargers, and you can find them at places like offices, grocery stores, and parking garages. Public Level 2 chargers have a standard EV connection plug that fits all current vehicles, except for Teslas, which require an adapter.

DC Fast Charging—Public Charging: DC fast charging is the fastest currently available recharging method. It can typically add 50 to 90 miles in 30 minutes, depending on the station’s power capacity and the make of EV. Courtesy of



Thumb Electric Saves Members Energy And Money


ince 2009, Thumb Electric has been required by PA 295 to offer programs to members to help them reduce their usage and, as a result, save them money. Starting in 2017, PA 342 of 2016 replaces PA 295 with a few minor changes, such as a name change from Energy Optimization to Energy Waste Reduction. In 2018, TEC’s goal was to achieve an overall savings of 1,861,016 kWh. Through programs such as LED lighting rebates, HVAC upgrade rebates, appliance recycling rebates, and rebates for Energy Star appliances, we were able to overachieve and save 2,052,538 kWh with over 1,000 members participating in some form. For every $1.00 invested in Energy Optimization over $4.00 in savings is achieved. The program continues in 2019 with very similar costsaving programs in place for 2019 and beyond. Thumb Electric has a long history of saving members money and energy, offering programs in heating and cooling (such as energy audits) to show members how much they can save

by installing cost-saving equipment, such as geothermal furnaces, air source heat pumps, and baseboard heating. For more information on energy saving rebates, please visit or give us a call at 800-327-0166.

Recycle That Old Refrigerator Or Freezer And Get Cash Back!


Receive $50 for an old refrigerator or freezer and $20 for an old window AC* unit or dehumidifier.* Call 844-631-2130 to schedule your pick up today! *Small appliances will only be picked up in conjunction with a larger unit.

Photo Contest Most Votes On Facebook!








Sunrise/Sunset 1. T here is love in every sunrise. By Monica Gamet 2. A sunrise peeking out by our house. By Karen Biskey 3. Enjoying Grousehaven Lake sunset! By James Taylor 4. Sunsets are proof that no matter how the day went, it can end beautifully. By Macanna Briolat

5. A great summer morning for fishing in Saginaw Bay. By Debra Polega

6. Sunrise on the farm. By Denise Rulason 7. Pure Michigan! By Steve Niemiec 8. Glowing sunrise. By Denise Rulason


Submit Your “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes from our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Our September theme is Ugly Christmas Sweaters. Photos can be submitted through September 20 to be featured in our November/December 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


Tailgating Favorites Kick-off your tailgating party with these winning recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

Winning Recipe!

Garlic Cheese Bombs Mindy Emerson, Great Lakes Energy

1 (16-ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (non-flaky) 4 mozzarella cheese sticks (cut into 6 pieces) or 24 mini mozzarella balls 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted 1 large clove garlic, minced 3 tablespoons fresh parmesan, grated 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1½ teaspoons dry) ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning • kosher salt, to taste Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease two mini-muffin tins (24 muffins total) or one large baking sheet with butter/non-stick spray. Take refrigerated biscuits and cut each one in thirds, then roll each piece out until it’s ¼–¹⁄ 8 inch thick. Place one mozzarella ball on the edge of your dough strip and roll dough over the cheese until it wraps over itself. Make sure to seal any openings at the seams with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough bombs and transfer to greased muffin tins or baking sheet. 10 SEPTEMBER 2019

In a microwaveable bowl, combine butter with minced garlic and microwave until melted (30–45 seconds). In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, parmesan, parsley, Italian seasoning, and salt, then dip cheese balls individually in the mixture, coat, and place them back in the muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Makes 24 cheese bombs. Note: I make these a day before and refrigerate the dough until I am ready to bake right before the tailgate. I place them in an aluminum pan and cover with foil to keep them warm. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Rod’s Dog Sauce What’s more American than tailgating at a Detroit Tiger’s game while enjoying a Michigan-made Koegel’s hot dog? Well, I’ll tell you——putting my amazing dog sauce in the mix hits your tastebuds out of the park! Rod O’Connor, HomeWorks Tri-County 1 pound ground beef 3 garlic cloves, chopped 2 habanero peppers, chopped 1 medium white onion, chopped 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon black pepper 3 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin

1 12-ounce can Budweiser 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ cup rinsed dark red kidney beans

Brown beef with garlic, peppers, and onion. Drain fat. Stir in dry spices; salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Add beer and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium-low. Mix in stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes, then add the beans. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Pack in cooler and reheat in a pot on the grill.

Fresh Poppers Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta

1 large (2-pound) bag sweet mini peppers 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 pound package bacon, cooked and chopped (or pre-cooked bacon) 2–3 jalapeños, finely diced 1½ cups finely shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese

Touchdown Cheeseball Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy 1½ cups pecans 2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1½ tablespoons mayo 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 (2.25-ounce) jar dried beef 4 green onions

Pull cream cheese out to soften. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread pecans on a baking tray and toast for 5–6 minutes. Let cool. Cream together the softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder until light and fluffy. Chop dried beef and green onions; mix into cheese mixture. Spoon mixture into plastic wrap and form into football shape. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Chop the cooled pecans. Roll the chilled cheese ball in the toasted chopped pecans and serve with assorted crackers or veggies. It can be stored in fridge for 3–5 days or freeze before rolling in pecans.

Remove the cream cheese from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to mix with the other ingredients. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy (or use already cooked bacon). While the bacon is cooking, cut the mini peppers in half lengthwise and clean out seeds. You can also take this time to finely dice the jalapeños and shred the cheese. Once the bacon is done and cooled a bit, use a large knife to chop into small bits. In a medium to large bowl, use a spoon to mix together all of your ingredients except for the mini peppers. Use a small spoon or mini spatula to stuff the mini peppers with the mixture.

Christmas Cookies: due September 1

Comfort Food: due October 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.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Go to for more information and to register.





with brandon bruce

How long have you worked at TEC?

This September will be 14 years that I have worked at TEC as a journeyman lineman.

What is your favorite part about living in the Thumb area? I love living near the Saginaw Bay and being surrounded by so much agriculture. Most of my friends and family live here, too.

What is the toughest part of your job?

The toughest part of my job is probably having to miss family events because of outage situations. When a storm takes the lights out, we’ve got to turn them back on right away—regardless of what the home calendar says. On the flip side, restoring power to members after an outage is my favorite part of the job.

Tell me about your family.

I am married to my wife, Christina, and we have two kids. Our son, Blake, is nine, and our daughter, Brystal, is seven. Both of them are active in sports. Brystal plays soccer and softball while Blake plays football and baseball.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to spend time with my friends and family. In the summer we camp and in


the winter we snowmobile. I also enjoy running. I recently completed a 10K race.

So you’re a runner, eh?

I suppose you could say that. I’ve completed several half marathons.

How did you get into running?

We have friends who had a daughter born with a congenital heart defect. They asked me to run a 5K benefit race with them in her honor. I committed to run it, but I had never run before in my life. I didn’t even know how far 5K was! The training was brutal, but I made it through. And ever since I have really enjoyed running.

Do you think you’ll try running a full marathon anytime soon?

Probably not anytime soon. Right now, I have too much going on to devote the time needed to run that distance without injury. To train for the half marathons, I ran an average of seven miles, four times a week. A full marathon, of course, would require more. Maybe someday!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

You can accomplish great things if you don’t allow the fear of failure to stop you from starting.

Proud parent of two students at Unionville-Sebewaing Area Elementary

Regular donor at local blood drives

Lineman at THumb electric cooperative

Frequent Camper at Berwagana Family Campgroud

Brandon wears

a lot of hats

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





SAIL THE STRAITS. Take in gorgeous views like this one.



TEC Employee News Journeyman Lineman Jason Lawhorn was recently hired to work out of our Caro location and comes from Cloverland Electric Cooperative in the U.P. where he worked for eight years. Prior to that he worked for contractors out of local 71 and was a graduate of the Alpena Community College lineworker program. He has earned several certifications by attending additional educational programs in the industry. A native of the Thumb area, his four children and all of his family live in the nearby area. Jason’s hobbies include woodworking, traveling, motorcycle trips and spending time with family. Apprentice Lineman Jacob Waun is the son of Gary and Denise Waun of Harbor Beach. He attended Harbor Beach Schools, graduating in 2017 and then attended Alpena Community College graduating from their utility technology program in 2018. He then worked for New River Electrical Corporation before joining Thumb Electric. He enjoys anything outdoors, including hunting and fishing.

Jason Lawhorn

Jacob Waun

Apprentice Lineman Shane Maurer is the son of Dwayne and Tracy Maurer. A native of the area, Shane is a graduate of Alpena Community College’s utility technology program and comes to TEC from Consumers Energy where he was also an apprentice lineman. Shane is a fan of the Detroit Lions and his hobbies include golfing and spending time with family.

Thumb Electric Cooperative welcomes Jason, Jacob and Shane and looks forward to partnering with them in service to you, our members.

Shane Maurer

Public Act 295: The Clean Renewable and Efficient Energy Act

Notice to Members of Thumb Electric Cooperative

2018 Annual Energy Waste Reduction Report Thumb Electric Cooperative MPSC Case Number U-18279

Case No. U-17801 2018 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary

During 2018, Thumb Electric Cooperative administered its own Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) plan in order to comply with PA-295. Previously, Thumb submitted its EWR plan with the MPSC. This EWR plan was approved by the MPSC and Thumb began implementing the 2018 EWR Plan. Thumb implemented all residential, commercial, and industrial Programs. Thumb contracted with KEMA, Inc. (doing business as DNV-GL) as the independent third party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. The overall Thumb Electric Cooperative EWR program exceeded the savings goals while being under budget. A copy of the report can be obtained from Thumb Electric Cooperative.


2008 PA 295, as amended, requires all Michigan electric utilities to get 10% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2018. Under this requirement, Thumb Electric Cooperative submits an annual report to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2018, Thumb acquired a total of 16,733 renewable energy credits (15,075 credits and 1,658 incentive credits) all from Thumb’s wholesale power supplier, CMS Energy. Thumb through CMS Energy will continue to generate renewable energy and bank unused renewable energy credits for future use and compliance with statutory renewable portfolio standard requirements on behalf of all of its members. A full copy of the cooperative’s Renewable Energy Plan annual report that was filed with the MPSC is available at the cooperative’s offices.

Important Seasonal Member Information


s required by the Michigan Public Service Commission, Thumb Electric Co-op recently has done or will do a meter reading for seasonal members who receive electric service under Rate Class 2 and have a $22.50 monthly service charge. Billing for most seasonal member consumption during the past 12 months will occur on October 2.

Each month, nearly 200 seasonal members report their meter readings and the dates they are read. They make monthly payments for electricity consumed, in addition to the monthly service charge, to avoid receiving the annual bill. Seasonal members are encouraged to read their meters and include the reading date whenever possible, to reduce the potential for electrical problems and billing concerns.

THUMB ELECTRIC MEMBERS Celebrate Milestones Over the past year, we have had the privilege of presenting three Thumb Electric Cooperative members with recognition from the Historical Society of Michigan through their Centennial Farm Program. Since 1948, the program has recognized more than 6,000 farms for ownership in the same family for more than 100 years. Farms can currently qualify in one of two categories: the noted Centennial Farm, and a Sesquicentennial Farm, which means a farm has been in a family for over 150 years. All of us at Thumb Electric congratulate these family farms for their longevity and wish them many more years in the farm industry. If you are interested in applying for farm certification, please contact us. Applications are available at our Ubly office, from the Michigan Centennial Farm Program at 517-324-1828, or visit

Thumb Electric members that were recognized in the past year included: Centennial Farm Certified Farm Name: William H. Jones Farm Certification Date: 2/13/2019 Founding Date: 9/27/1873 Current Owner: Robert and Mirian Greenan, Robert and Blayne Marsh Farm Location: Downington Rd., Deckerville in Marion Township Centennial Farm Certified Farm Name: William James and Mary Catherine Harper Farm Certification Date: 11/14/2018 Founding Date: 3/12/1906 Current Owner: Noble James and Marianne Louis Harper Farm Location: Loree Rd., Deckerville in Bridgehampton Township Sesquicentennial Farm Certified Farm Name: James and Sarah Adams Farm Certification Date: 1/28/1970 Founding Date: 6/24/1864 Current Owner: Terry L. and Peggy L. Hunt Farm Location: Genesee Rd., Millington in Arbela Township


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

5 1 2 7

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

Best Beer




Our beautiful state boasts some of the best beer in the nation. You can’t throw a rock in Michigan without hitting a great brewery these days. Discover a new favorite craft beer, recommended by MCL readers, at these breweries around the state. Cheers!


Summer Love—Mackinaw Brewing Company, Traverse City As a northern Michigan pioneer in micro-breweries, Mackinaw Brewing Company in Traverse City has been serving up craft beers for 22 years, and during that time, brewmaster Mike Dwyer has been creating some of the finest brews in all of Michigan. I like Mike because he does a great job at pleasing beer connoisseurs with his Dark Stouts and Red Ales, as well as catering to novice drinkers, like me, with his American IPAs and Belgian Whites. My all-time favorites are his seasonal growlers of Summer Love with a hint of lemon and his Heritage Cherry Lager named in honor of the T.C. Cherry Festival Heritage Day Parade. Rumor has it he will be brewing up a fall seasonal craft named October Fest, which will be a nice multi German Amber Lager. Can’t wait… Allys Dreves, Cherryland


Lake Phantom—Ludington Bay Brewing, Ludington The best beer on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan is Lake Phantom by Ludington Bay Brewing. Mary Campbell, Great Lakes Energy


Two-Hearted—Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo The best brew is Two-Hearted by Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. It’s also the #1 Craft Beer in the United States. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Jennifer Grosskurth, Midwest Energy & Communications


Prima Hoparina—BAD Brewing Company, Mason Go try Prima Hoparina, a double IPA, brewed and served at BAD Brewing Company in Mason. They have lots of awesome craft beer! Hilda Wittingen, Great Lakes Energy


Juicy New England Style IPA— Petoskey Brewing, Petoskey Juicy New England Style IPA from Petoskey Brewing is my favorite. It has mouthwatering citrus and tropical hop aromas. Leland Wolken, HomeWorks Tri-County


Experimental Ales—Greenbush Brewing Company, Sawyer Greenbush Brewing Company in Sawyer offers a large portfolio of house-brewed beer, including experimental Ales. Walter Maciaga, Midwest Energy & Communications.

July/August 2019 Photo by Heather Patterson



Walter Gets Buzzed—Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, Muskegon Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in Muskegon makes a tasty brew called Walter Gets Buzzed, a lighter beer with a hint of coffee taste. Linnea Miller, Great Lakes Energy

Best of Michigan UP NEXT! BAKERIES: We’re on a sweet journey to find the best bakeries in the state! Share your favorites. We will publish this member–recommended list in our November/December issue. Submit your favorites at under the MI Co-op Community tab by September 20.

Hybrid Geothermal

It Pays for Itself


Your financing cost and the cost to heat with Well-Connect is typically less than your current cost.

“Well-Connect is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We are able to maintain our home at a warm and comfortable temperature during the cold months. Likewise, during the warmer months, the added benefit of the air conditioning keeps our home nice and cool. The best part is we are spending significantly less on our energy costs to have a more comfortable home."

- Aaron & Dawn Hamp, PIE&G Member “When I could no longer physically cut 20 cords of wood, I installed a Well-Connect. The system has met all claims and surprised me. If people are heating and cooling with propane, fuel oil, or wood and have their own well, they have a need and don't realize it. That need is to cut those heating & cooling costs by at least half (as well as emissions). As for cooling, it has cost us $9.00 to cool this month (July)!!”

- Jess Steed, Cherryland Electric Member

IT PAYS FOR ITSELF The cost to finance and heat with a Well-Connect is typically less than your current heating cost.

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Well-Connect works in combination with your home’s current heating system. This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home.


Thumb Electric Cooperative

Annual 24th

Thumb Octagon Barn

Fall Family Days Featuring our theme for 2019:

Food Industry Past & Present

Saturday and Sunday, September 7 & 8 Fish Fry Dinner

Gate Admission

Country Style Breakfast


Friday, Sept. 6, 4–7 p.m. Saturday, Sept 7, 8–11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, 8–11 a.m.

$5.00 (Age 6 and older) Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

For more information, please visit or call 989-665-0081. The barn is located just outside of Gagetown at 6948 Richie Road.

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