Sept/Oct Thumb

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September/October 2020


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative


Co-op Director Election and Annual Meeting Updates

Beneficial Electrification Propane Safety


and it isn’t just corn. You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS

Bad Axe/Cass City Thumb Clg & Htg (855) 206-5457 thumbcooling Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmich Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Caro Kozy Home Htg & Clg (989) 673-4328

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sandusky

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138

visit *26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


September 2020 Vol. 40, No. 8



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey 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: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please

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

#micoopcommunity 14 LEGACY ON THE LAKES Jim Hogan continues his family's tradition of captaining the J.W. Westcott II, a mail boat with the only floating ZIP code in the nation.

Cover Photo: Neil Schultheiss

6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost travels to Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in Michigan.

18 BEST OF MICHIGAN: WINERIES For a taste of Michigan in every sip, enjoy these memberrecommended wineries for your next getaway or celebration.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Simple, kid-friendly recipes to make family time fun.

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


United we stand, divided we fall. Loving these patriotic straw bales captured by @jodystrangphoto.

Be featured!

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit





Up Next: Salad Night Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Restaurants With A View Tell us about your favorite dining location with a scenic Michigan view you can pair with the cuisine.

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo.

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win a $50 bill credit!


3 /thumbelectric

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.




2020 Annual Meeting And Director Election Update 2020 has certainly proven to be a challenging year, and that is no exception at your electric cooperative when it comes to hosting an Annual Meeting and holding board of director elections. The current state of Michigan mandates make it nearly impossible to hold large gatherings, and Thumb Electric’s Annual Meeting is no exception. At this point, there is a tentative plan to hold a small, scaled-down version of an Annual Meeting on Saturday, Dec. 5. If that date is not possible due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, rest assured that we will still have an election to determine your board of directors. We will continue in 2020 to offer voting by mail that was initially introduced in 2019, and for the first time, we will offer online voting. In-person voting may or may not be an option this year, depending on circumstances. Here is a breakdown of how to vote if not in person. • Voting by mail. With the November/December issue of Country Lines magazine, you will be mailed a ballot that is unique to you. You will vote as you wish, put the ballot in a provided postage-paid envelope, and put it in the mail so it arrives at our election company by the Dec. 2, 2020, deadline. Please do not mail the ballot to TEC or drop it at the office. It must go to the address on the envelope. • Online voting. Members with a valid email address on file will receive an email notifying them that voting is open. Members will be able to click on a provided link (unique to each member within the broadcast email) and will be directly logged into their web ballots. Please consider making sure you have a valid email on file if you would like this option. A second option is once you receive your Country Lines magazine, you can go to the website listed. Once there, you will put in your provided credentials from the magazine. This will open your ballot and allow you to vote online. Director candidates will be detailed in the November/December Country Lines magazine. With more voting options available to members, we hope to get more participation from members, which is a better representation of the democratic process. As always, if you have any questions, please let us know.


Important Seasonal Member Information


he normal seasonal rate (Class 2 with a $22.50 monthly service charge) reading will take on a different process this year as Thumb Electric is currently changing meters for a new AMI system. Instead of just reading your annual reading, we will also be changing your meter. You

will be billed the annual usage as normal, but going forward, you will be billed on a monthly basis for kilowatt-hours used. Our goal is to have all the seasonal meters read and changed by the end of the year. If you have any questions about this issue, please call our office at 800-327-0166.

Thumb Electric Members Celebrate Milestones Thumb Electric congratulates members who received state Centennial Farm certification. Farm name: Ezra and Elisabeth Fader Certification date: 8/26/2019 Founding date: 9/25/1902 Current owner: Sharon Kay Giddings Farm location: 5455 N. Remington Road, Unionville, Tuscola County Farm name: Leon and Frances Guza Certification date: 4/17/2020 Founding date: 3/15/1917 Current owner: Sandra Guza Farm location: 1001 S. MacDonald Road, Harbor Beach, Huron County

Over the past year, we have had the privilege of presenting two Thumb Electric Cooperative members with recognition from the Historical Society of Michigan through its 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. You can also get one by calling the Michigan Centennial Farm Program at 517-324-1828, or by visiting

Road ’ n i p p i Tr

With Christal Frost To Sault Ste. Marie! raveling to Sault Ste. Marie is almost like traveling back in time. Sault Ste. Marie, or as the locals say, The Soo, is the oldest city in Michigan, and the third oldest in the United States. Nestled along the shores of the St. Mary’s River, along the U.S.-Canadian border, this Upper Peninsula gem is chock-full of both history and innovation.


Mackinac Bridge

For a Lower Peninsula native like myself, any trip to the Upper Peninsula includes venturing over the Mackinac Bridge. The Mighty Mac was born from a dream to connect the two peninsulas over the Straits of Mackinac that stems from the 1880s. That dream came true, thanks to the engineering and design of David Steinman and three and

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a half years of construction, when the bridge opened to traffic on Nov. 1, 1957. The bridge has been well-traveled ever since, boasting thousands of cars crossing each year.

Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant

In 1945, a tradition was started of selling the freshest whitefish in the area. The owner of the Lockview Restaurant, along with his dishwasher, would walk across the street to the Soo Locks after breakfast every morning to catch the fish they would serve for lunch that day. The dedication paid off, and in just two years, Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant had outgrown its space, forcing the expansion of the first floor, followed by the addition of a second story less than 20 years later. The Lockview is a postcard for Sault Ste. Marie. Its


Soo Locks



Goetz’s Lockview Restaurant

commitment to serving the freshest fish is as important now as it was in 1945, and its tribute to the storied history of The Soo is on display from the wall décor to the menu. Do yourself a favor and order the Soo Locks Wrap.

Soo Locks

History: Prior to the installation of the locks, the St. Mary’s River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron, was a fiercely moving river with a 21-foot drop. The rapids proved a challenge for portaging canoes until a French-Canadian based fur trading company constructed a small lock and canal large enough for its canoes to access. The original lock was destroyed in the War of 1812, leaving the river without a lock until 1855, when the state built the aptly named "State Lock." The lock and canal system helped to grow the mining production in the Western U.P. and also proved to be a valuable tool for the Civil War, as iron ore from Lake Superior was used to make Union cannons. Industry eventually demanded larger locks to accommodate bigger freighters, and several locks have been built and rebuilt since, resulting in the current system of four. The locks raise and lower vessels easily without a pumping system, relying only on the water leveling through gravity. Seeing the Locks in Action: We boarded the Nokomis on a Saturday afternoon to see the locks in action, thanks to Soo Locks Boat Tours. Traveling along the St. Mary’s canal, we were given the okay to proceed to the MacArthur Lock. Once we tied off, the gates were closed and the filling valve opened, allowing water from Lake Superior to fill the lock. The Nokomis was gently lifted 21 feet to meet the water level of Lake Superior and we continued our tour, drifting side by side with massive freighters along international waters. Looking to the future: A new lock, measuring in at 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long (roughly the size of the Poe Lock), began phase one of construction in May at the site of the now decommissioned Sabin and Davis locks. The $922 million project will increase the lock system’s ability to accommodate large freighters and vessels, 85% of which currently utilize the Poe Lock. The Soo locks are an inspiring reminder of human ingenuity and innovation. Be sure to put Soo Locks Boat Tours on your Michigan bucket list today!

Mackinac Bridge

Clyde’s Drive-In

When you’re in Michigan’s oldest city, it’s only appropriate to step back in time, and no visit to the Soo is complete without a stop at the original Clyde’s Drive-In. Founded in 1949 by Clyde VanDusen, Clyde’s is a casual spot with a view, right next to the Sugar Island Ferry. I’m told Clyde still owns the place and stops by every now and then to check in, and grab a “Big C”—a three-quarter-pound hamburger available with all the toppings you can handle. I went for an olive burger, onion rings and a chocolate shake that did not disappoint. Clyde’s is a good example of the pride of the Soo community—firmly planted in its roots, but always looking to the future. Whether you’re in for a day trip to Sault Ste. Marie, or you’re planning to spend a whole vacation, you’ll marvel at the combination of history and progress in Michigan’s oldest city. Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM. She is also a feature columnist for GT Pulse on 9&10 News, published every Friday at 11 a.m.

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Clyde’s Dri ve-In


Rive r

See Sault Ste. Marie In Action

Christal Frost filmed her Sault Ste. Marie adventure, now available on MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


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 2019, TEC’s goal was to achieve an overall savings of 1,861,276 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 2,084,367 kWh, with over 1,200 members participating in some form. For every $1 invested in Energy Optimization, over $4 in savings is achieved.

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 costsaving equipment like geothermal furnaces, air source heat pumps, and baseboard heating.

The program continues in 2020 with very similar cost-saving programs in place for 2020 and 2021. Thumb Electric has a

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.



Michigan’s Natural Beauty 1. Make a wish—Ona Warchuck  2. Lake Devoe mornings—April Taylor  3. Sanilac sunset— Britny Eley  4. We were camping and captured the Milky Way outside Alpena—Denise Rulason  5. Mother and child—William Strech  6. Tiny natural beauty—Annette Decker  7. Reflections on the Fourth!—Karen Hitchcock  8. A glimpse of fall—Nancy Bartle  9. What a beauty—Alan Engler

Most votes on Facebook!

Enter to win a chance for a


energy bill credit!










Submit Your “Cutest Pets” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our September theme is Cutest Pets. 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 2020, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2020 bill. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


MI CO-OP Recipes

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey

KID-FRIENDLY COOKING Simple recipes to make family time fun.


KIDS’ CHICKEN NUGGETS Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

2 1 2 6

cups finely crushed potato chips egg tablespoons milk small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½ -inch cubes ¹⁄ ³ cup butter, melted • dipping sauce of your choice

Win a


energy bill credit!



Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour potato chips into a shallow dish. Beat egg and milk together in a separate shallow dish. Dip chicken cubes in egg mixture. Press chicken into potato chips until evenly coated. Transfer coated chicken to a baking sheet. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake until chicken is no longer pink in the center and coating is golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Salad Night (Hearty Salads For Dinner) due November 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to for more information.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Lianne Briggs, Great Lakes Energy 3 1 1 1

(1-pound) loaves frozen bread dough, thawed can pizza sauce bag shredded mozzarella cheese package pepperoni, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heavily grease three bread pans and line with parchment paper. Place the thawed bread dough on a cutting board. Add the pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and chopped pepperoni. Use a French knife to cut and mix ingredients together until well combined. Divide the dough evenly among the three bread pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Bake about 45 minutes, until evenly browned. Cool in pans for approximately 20 minutes. Finish cooling on a wire rack. Serve immediately.

TRAIL MIX COOKIES Pauline Haskin 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 3

cup butter, softened cup brown sugar, packed cup granulated sugar eggs teaspoon vanilla cups flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon baking soda cups trail mix (I use a mix of small nuts, raisins and M&Ms) 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1½ cups granola cereal (a mix of honey and almond goes well with the trail mix) Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; thoroughly mix. In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking powder and soda. Add flour mixture to butter and egg mixture and mix until all is combined; do not overmix. Stir in trail mix, oats, and granola. Use a large cookie scoop (15 ⁄ 8") and shape dough into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cookies will double in size. Bake 13–15 minutes or until edges of cookies become a light brown color. Remove from oven and wait three minutes prior to moving cookies to cooling racks. NOTE: Dough can be refrigerated and baked as needed.


Diane Johnson, Great Lakes Energy 1 chocolate cake mix with pudding (I use triple chocolate, chocolate fudge, or dark chocolate) ¹⁄ ³ cup oil 2 eggs ½ cup mini chocolate chips, optional 12 ounces Rolo candies (can use mini Reeses instead) Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, and eggs. Beat with hand mixer for two to three minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Take a small ball of dough and roll a Rolo in the middle (if batter is sticky, you can add flour to your hands, or chill batter before using). Use just enough dough to cover the Rolo. Place on parchmentcovered cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake for six to seven minutes, or until the tops have cracks in them. It is very important to leave them on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing them. Serve immediately.



Electrify your life so it can run on

cleaner energy.



If you’re in the market to upgrade your lawn care equipment, you may want to consider electric (or battery-powered) options. Electric lawn care equipment options offer consumers faster charging times, longer battery life, and quieter, greener products compared to their gas-powered counterparts. Here are three ways you can electrify your lawn care.

Most people think they prefer a gas stove, but that is because they are comparing it to a standard electric stove. Induction electric cooking is different. It is magnetic-based vs. heatbased and has several advantages.

• Electric lawn mower: suitable for most lawn care needs, with batteries that typically require about one to two hours to fully charge. Most batteries can run for a full hour. • Electric trimmer: quiet and easy to use. Most batteries last about 30 to 45 minutes. • Electric leaf blower: lightweight and easy-to-maneuver. • Other battery tools include chainsaws, pole-saws and power washers.


• Fast: can boil water faster than gas. • Controllable: turns up and down very quickly. • Easy to clean: just wipe if off. • Healthier: no combustible gas to breath in. TIP: Try a $70 induction hot plate. If you love it (which there’s a good chance you might), the next time you buy a stove, you can purchase an induction stove.

ben·e·fi·cial e·lec·tri·fi·ca·tion A term for replacing direct fossil fuel use (e.g., propane, heating oil, gasoline) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs—taking advantage of the renewable wind and solar generation in TEC’s energy mix.



Electric heat pumps are more energyefficient than furnaces because transferring heat is easier than making it. You can choose from a variety of central heating and/or cooling systems to fit your needs.

Have you considered going electric for your next car? From Chevy to Tesla, electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes are hitting the road at a wide range of price points. Why? Because the costs and benefits of EV ownership are too hard to pass up.

• Geothermal heat pump: transfers heat to or from the ground, achieving up to 600% efficiency. • Air-to-air heat pump: transfers heat to or from the outside air, achieving up to 300% efficiency. • Mini-split heat pump: a compact version of the airto-air heat pump that can be used without traditional ductwork in a home.

• Cheaper to operate: require less maintenance (no more oil changes!). • Environmentally friendly: no exhaust coming from a tailpipe. • No more gas stations: just plug in your EV at home. • Performance: quieter, smoother, and zippier than gasoline-powered engines.


By Emily Haines Lloyd || Photos by Neil Schultheiss


“I’m a water guy,” said Jim Hogan. “That’s who I am.” It’s not just that Hogan likes water, or has lived and worked on it most of his life. He is the fourth generation to operate the J.W. Westcott II, a mail boat and the first floating ZIP code with the U.S. Postal Service. The love of water goes back to Hogan’s great-grandfather, Captain John Ward Westcott, who founded the J.W. Westcott Company back in 1874. Back then, it was simply John rowing a small boat out to commercial ships passing through the Detroit River. He started by delivering shipping orders and updates on routes and ports. Nearly 150 years later, the vessel and the operation have grown, while never seeming too big. “Before cell phones, one place things didn’t change immediately was on the water,” said Hogan. “You wrote a letter and hoped it would get there in a week and wait for a response in another week. Boy, things have changed.”


Changed indeed. Now instead of handwritten letters and telegraphed route instructions, it’s online prescriptions, packages from Amazon and occasionally, a locally-baked pizza. The pizza started as a fun service the Westcott provided for a river tour. However, open radio channels being what they are, sailors caught wind and some have ordered up pies as their ships pass through the Port of Detroit. “While it’s sometimes crazy how much things have changed since even I started,” muses Hogan, “out here, there is still a pace that is consistent with life on the water.” Hogan started in the company’s 100th year after he graduated from high school in 1974. These days the Westcott runs 24-hour shifts, seven days a week, from the time it launches in April. The three shifts are operated by two veterans who have been with Hogan over 30 years—Sam Buchanan and Bill Redding. No two days are the same, with the possible exception of

TIME LINE 1874: John Ward Westcott founds J.W. Westcott Company off Belle Isle, using a rowboat to deliver messages to passing ships 1877: Company moves to new location at foot of Woodward Avenue, near Detroit-Windsor ferry 1910: The J.W. Westcott Company purchases the J.W. Westcott I, its first powerboat

the fresh pot of coffee put on at the beginning of each shift, as each crew swaps stories. If other ships are in the neighborhood, the fresh crew can jump right into the fray—loading, unloading and/ or delivering “mail by the pail.” This literally consists of large buckets on ropes that are raised and lowered between passing ships and the Westcott—delivering mail addressed to the individual, their ship’s name, and Marine Post Office, Detroit, Michigan 48222. Among the crew sweeping in for a shift is Captain Jimmy Hogan, Jim’s son and the fifth generation of Westcotts to work the ship. While the elder Hogan had started working right out of high school, he wanted to make sure his sons didn’t feel obligated to join the family business. “We wanted to make sure the kids did something that drove them in their lives. We didn’t want the business to feel like a burden,” he said.

For 147 years and 5 generations there is a legacy by any standards. But if Jim Hogan knows anything, it’s that life on the water is constantly ebbing and flowing. He’s found himself spending more time down at the riverfront office since April. Considering his 47th season with the business, seeing how things have changed. Seeing how things have stayed the same. Wondering, as we all do when reflecting on our lives, what it was all about. “This isn’t a ‘get rich’ business,” muses Hogan. “But I’ve come to realize that I’ve been so fortunate with the experiences I’ve had in my life. Experiences that I owe to a wild idea my great-grandfather had.” Hogan pauses like any great seaman setting up the moral of the story and says, “To be blessed by the opportunity to be associated with so many good people in my life—such a great crew. I guess I am rich.”

1948: The J. W. Westcott Company is awarded its first Highway Route Contract (HRC) as a Star Route from the United States Postal Service 1949: The J. W. Westcott Company takes possession of the M/V J. W. Westcott II, built by Paaushe Shipbuilding Company out of Erie, Pennsylvania. It is named after the son of the founder, Captain John Ward Westcott 1974: The J. W. Westcott Company celebrates a historic 100 years in business. The great-grandson of founder James M. Hogan joins the firm as a deckhand 1995: Company marks its 100th anniversary of maritime mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service and/or its contractors at the Port of Detroit 2002: James Joseph Westcott-Hogan joins the firm (the fifth generation) 2010: James M. Hogan becomes president of the firm

To learn more about the legacy of this Michigan business, visit or search for J. W. Westcott Co. on Facebook.

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

AirTech Heating LLC 3661 Day Rd., Kinde, MI 48445 989-551-6555

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roots Heating and Cooling 4074 Huron St., North Branch, MI 48461 810-688-4813

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

Geomasters, Inc., Plumbing & Heating 57 Ward St., Croswell, MI 48422 810-679-2251

Annual Operating Costs

Holland Heating and Cooling 9160 Lapeer Rd., Davison, MI 48423 810-653-4328 Ingell Refrigeration 1115 4th St., Port Huron, MI 48060 810-982-4226 J & B Plumbing & Heating 7641 Pigeon Rd., Pigeon, MI 48755 989-453-3931

For An Average 1,800-Sq.-Ft. Home (45,000 BTU heating load, 20,000 BTU cooling load) $3,500 $3,000

Jack McCain Plumbing & Heating 9651 Weale Rd., Bay Port, MI 48720 989-453-2277


Kowaleski Heating & Cooling, LLC 3977 Ruppel Rd., Port Hope, MI 48468 989-550-0739


Kulek Heating & Air Conditioning 14421 Jeddo Rd., Yale, MI 48097 810-387-4452 Kundinger & Kroll 31 E. Main St., Sebewaing, MI 48759 989-883-2770 Lakeshore Improvements Plumbing & Heating 7825 Big Gulley Rd., Palms, MI 48465 989-864-3833








Natural Gas





Electric Baseboard

Fuel Oil

$500 0

A/A Heat Pump w/ Electric Furnace

A/A with LP Gas


Factors Used: Electric Baseboard, Air-Source Heat Pump (A/A) and Geothermal—based on TEC’s 7.790¢/kWh dual-fuel rate. Liquid Propane (LP) gas—based on $2/gal. and 90% efficient furnace. Fuel Oil—based on $2.20/gal. and 80% efficient furnace. Natural Gas—based on $1.08/therm., 90% efficient furnace including $9/mo. service charge. (Electric baseboard costs do not include air conditioning.) *All electric system comparable to natural gas!


Well Connect-Terra Caloric P.O. Box 307, Alpena, MI 49707 989-356-2113



If You Smell Gas...


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


No Flames Or Sparks!

Immediately put out all smoking materials and other open flames. Do not operate lights, appliances, telephones, or cell phones. Flames or sparks from these sources can trigger an explosion or fire.


Leave Immediately!

Get everyone out of the building or area of the suspected leak.

Shut Off The Gas.

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

Report The Leak.

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

Stay Away.





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

Thumb Electric Utility Poles Are Not Bulletin Boards . . .

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Case No. U-17801 2019 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law (MPSC) requires all Michigan electric utilities to get 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2019.

Unauthorized utility pole attachments are not ever permitted. These include nails, staples and tacks used to hang flags, signs, yard lights, feeders and any similar objects. They create dangerous obstacles for workers and will be removed immediately, potentially at the installer’s expense. Thank you for your cooperation.

Under this requirement, Thumb Electric Cooperative submits an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2019, Thumb acquired a total of 19,447 renewable energy credits and 1,753 incentive credits. All credit transfers were directed through Thumb’s wholesale power supplier, CMS Energy. 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 on the cooperative’s website at or by request at any of the cooperative’s offices.

MI CO-OP Community


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Tell us about your favorite dining location with a scenic Michigan view you can pair with the cuisine. Submit your favorites at by October 25, and look for it in our November/December issue.

Win a


energy bill credit!


Blustone Vineyards, Leelanau


45 North Vineyard & Winery, Lake Leelanau

This winery has spectacular views and friendly, entertaining and knowledgable staff. Corina Rybka, Cherryland

Located on the Leelanau Peninsula, they have a beautiful tasting room and a great selection of wines and ciders. They also have their own mountain bike trails open to the public and groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing and fat bikes. Katie Yonkers, Cherryland



Leelanau Cellars, Omena


Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery, Alanson


Hickory Creek Winery, Buchanan


Seasons of the North Winery, Indian River

Free wine tastings is a plus, but the views from the tasting room are breathtaking. Friendly staff and some really great Michigan wine make this a must-visit winery on the Leelanau Peninsula. Karen Snyder, Midwest Energy & Communications

For a taste of Michigan in every sip, enjoy these member-recommended wineries for your next getaway or celebration. Michigan wineries offer a lifetime of memories along with award-winning wines.

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Chateau Grand Traverse, Traverse City

They offer amazing wine and charcuterie. Jay Gibson, Cherryland

Best Of Michigan



The Port, Portland

So unique! This is a tasting room for Modern Craft wines, which are designed to be mixed with other drinks and beverages. You can make up your own signature cocktails. The owner is super accommodating and inviting. They have wine, cheese, special menu items and comfortable seating. Brian Hass, HomeWorks Tri-County

The owners Geoff and Gail are both knowledgeable and passionate about their vineyard and take great pride in educating others. A bonus is that they have so many great tasting wines too! The panoramic views from the porch are an amazing place to enjoy wine and unwind. Joelle Wilcox, Great Lakes Energy

One of the smallest wineries in Southwest Michigan, this is a quaint place with a very wonderful staff. We have not found a wine of theirs that we have not enjoyed. The owner Adam McBride is talented in his winemaking skills and also creates a very welcoming atmosphere that makes you want to keep coming back. James Springsteen, Midwest Energy & Communications

I like it best because it’s not a large operation and the wines are fantastic. With names such as Burt Lake Breeze (my favorite), Michigan Sunset, Lake House, Back Roads...just a very friendly place with very friendly people. They take the time to talk to each person and they interact with everyone. Renee Butka, Great Lakes Energy

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo on the left by September 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at July/August 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Amy Fritz, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Fishtown in Leland, overlooking the Village Cheese Shanty. Photo by Karen Farrell Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.





2020 has been unpredictable, but your heating and cooling bills don’t have to be. Adding a Well-Connect locks you into lower heating and cooling bills for decades. • Heats & Cools Year-Round • Financing Available • No Noisy Outdoor A/C Unit


HEAT YOUR HOME as low as



HOW IT WORKS Well-Connect is a water source heat pump that is simply added to your home’s existing system. It can be integrated with your current heating and cooling methods, including propane, fuel oil or electric resistance. It is cost-effective, eco-friendly and only takes one day to install.


989.356.2113 •

Thumb Electric Cooperative

AMI Also Benefits TESC’s Metered Propane Service! AMI does not just benefit members on their electric service; it also has great benefit for those that choose to use our metered propane service. Some of the benefits are: • Automatic daily readings—no need for members to read their own gas meter • More accuracy in tank percentage means there is less chance of annoying runouts* • Accurate 30-day billing, keeping your budget in line and more manageable * Leaks happen, so as always, it is a good idea to monitor your tank’s percentage from time to time.

If you are a current scheduled fill with us or another propane company, and like the thought of a budget-friendly metered service, give us a call at 800-327-0166. We know switching companies can be a hassle, but we are here for you if you do. Remember, TESC Propane adds equity to TEC through an annual dividend, and that increases your patronage.

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