September 2021 TEC

Page 1

September/October 2021


COUNTRY LINES Thumb Electric Cooperative



System Activities Update

Recycle And Get Cash Back Fall Harvest Safety



Lasting is believing.

When you pay good money for something, you think it should last. We agree. Especially when it’s your family’s comfort. The lifespan of even the most expensive conventional a/c is just 15-18 years. With a WaterFurnace geothermal unit, you can expect a lifespan of 25 years—sometimes even more. Plus, the life expectancy of the underground infrastructure is at least double that. Longer unit life means less cost to you and less waste in our landfills. And that makes WaterFurnace the better choice. Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 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

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 southern-michigan Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

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

visit us at

The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


September 2021 Vol. 41, No. 8


/michigancountrylines 6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost takes us to Ludington with the new all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Seafood: These recipes will be your catch of the day.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

14 ADVENTURE AWAITS The pandemic inspired a Michigan jeweler to literally bury his livelihood ... much to the delight of treasure seekers throughout the state.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha

18 GUEST COLUMN Grandma's Quilt: Her grandmother's penchant for socking things away and her mother's love provided Tricia Udell with the quilt she'd always longed for.


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


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.

Be featured!

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


Are Canadian geese just called geese when they’re in Canada? #repost @corey_niedzwieki

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Asian Inspired, due Nov. 1. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.


3 /thumbelectric @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 Craig Osentoski, Director District 2 • 989-658-8512

System Activities At Your Cooperative

Beth McDonald, Secretary District 3 • 989-550-7470 SANILAC COUNTY Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291

Dallas Braun, General Manager

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

Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, Director District 1 • 989-683-2696

Jonathan Findlay, President District 2 • 989-551-8393 Vacant Seat District 3

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.





am not sure where the first eight months of the year have gone. They say time flies when you are busy. I guess that helps explain a lot. Whether it is planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, evaluating, and analyzing opportunities, or just staying on top of our normal day-today activities, things are busy at your cooperative. The summary below lists some of the activities that are or will be occurring throughout the cooperative’s system.


Construction and upgrades continue We have an electric construction contractor, Overhead Lines LLC, on the property. They will be working on three separate construction projects consisting of rebuilding a total of 12 miles of three-phase electric circuits. Our system assessment identified these circuits as needing to be upgraded due to age and being an integral part of a main three-phase circuit. While the crews are working on these electric projects, they will also be installing fiber on these new pole structures, as these 12 miles will eventually be part of our main fiber backbone infrastructure. The first project that will see activity

will be the two-mile stretch in Lincoln Township along Verona Road between Cross and Filion roads. The crews will then move to another two-mile project in Sigel Township along M-142 between MacDonald and Verona roads. The crews will then finish out their rebuild projects with an eight-mile stretch in Paris and Sherman townships along Leppek Road between MacDonald and Ruth roads, one mile along Ruth Road between Leppek and Priemer roads, and two miles along Priemer Road between Ruth and Buhl roads. While a majority of the 12,000 meters on the system have been replaced with the new AMI meters, there are approximately 150 specialty meters that have yet to be delivered. It is expected that the remaining meters will be replaced by the end of this year.

Business as usual for line crew TEC line crews in both Caro and Ubly remain busy with maintenance, new hookups, service upgrades, singlephase circuit rebuilds, condemned pole replacements, and other system improvements. While our system only has approximately 20 miles of primary underground (out of 2,000 miles),

“Whether it is planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, evaluating, and analyzing opportunities, or just staying on top of our normal day-to-day activities, things are busy at your cooperative.” a majority of it was installed in the 1970-1980 time frame. The lifespan of this cable is starting to come to an end, as we have started to see multiple failures and longer duration outages as a result. Prior to the end of the year, our linemen and apprentices are scheduled to replace primary underground cables in the following areas: 1) Ellington Township of Tuscola County along Metcalf Road, 2) Indianfields Township of Tuscola County along Bruisee Road, 3) Fremont Township of Tuscola County off of Washburn Road, 4) Dayton Township of Tuscola County off of Lee Hill Road, and 5) Arbela Township of Tuscola County along Brewer Jr. Road.

Tree clearance and pole testing Right-of-way clearing crews from Kappen’s Tree Service continue making progress. Crews have a presence in the following townships within our system: Vassar, Forester, Watertown, Fremont, and Sherman. A big thank-you to members and property owners for working with Kappen crews to allow removal of trees rather than trimming. Trimmed trees eventually grow back and additional money needs to be spent on those same trees. Since we started getting more aggressive on removals in 2013, our outage numbers have steadily declined. We are not where we need to be yet, but with your cooperation, we will get there. Later this fall, American Energy Services will have crews in the field to test approximately 3,500 poles on our system to determine if any of the poles need replacing due to degradation. Our system has an eight-year testing cycle for

distribution/service poles and a five-year testing cycle for transmission poles. Believe it or not, we have many original 1937 poles still standing and performing well on the system yet today.

Fiber project underway NRTC field surveyors and engineers are on TEC property in Tuscola County as the team continues the fiber infrastructure design. The field design has been completed in circuit areas served from TEC’s Kingston and Vassar substations, and material for the construction build-out has been ordered with anticipated delivery in mid-September. Fiber construction crews are expected to begin shortly thereafter. Phase 1 of the overall $80 million infrastructure build-out will occur in and around TEC’s service areas of Kingston, Vassar, Millington, Columbia, and Decker in Tuscola County. As the project gets started, expect to see a lot of information being shared. If you do not follow TEC on Facebook, I would encourage you to do so. As mentioned at the Annual Meeting held in June (the recording can be found on TEC’s website), we have been performing our due diligence thoroughly evaluating a couple of opportunities that could enhance and possibly speed up our complete fiber infrastructure build-out to all TEC members, which is currently scheduled to be completed over a five-year period. While it appears all the stars are aligning on these opportunities, at this point in time, I am unable to share any specifics. Stay tuned for future updates regarding these opportunities. These are exciting and busy times for sure.

Cousins Steps Down From Board After 10 Years Of Dedicated Service After 10 years of serving on the Thumb Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, Carl Cousins has decided to step down. Carl became a director in June of 2011 and retired on Aug. 3, 2021. All of us at TEC want to thank him for his service, and we wish him the best in retirement.



It's Electrifying! Charging up the Mustang at Great Lake Energy's Level 3 fast charging station in Scottsville.



t’s a picturesque Saturday morning in Traverse City as I arrive at Fox Motors to pick up the all-new, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. I must admit, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of driving something that didn’t have an engine. Even my vocabulary suffered as I struggled to describe the car to my friends without using terms like “horsepower,” “fuel efficiency,” and “gear shifting.” The fact is, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, like her other electric counterparts, doesn’t have those things. But what the Ford Mustang Mach-E has in spades is moxie. After all, it takes moxie to present the iconic muscle of the Ford Mustang to the masses without the rumble of an engine. But stepping into this car—with its sleek and stylish interior and gorgeous curves—I knew I was stepping into the future of America’s favorite pony. On our latest Road-Trippinʼ episode, a round-trip Traverse City to Ludington adventure, we tested the limits of the Mach-E. Spoiler alert: I’m in love with this car.





A big thank-you to Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Fox Motors for making this test drive possible.

I am talking throw-your-head-back, heart-pumping, instant-smile fast. The Mach-E GT can go from 0–60 in an unbelievable 3.5 seconds, making it the quickest Mustang ever. Its superior acceleration and ability to produce immediate maximum torque truly make electric vehicles the Torque of the Town.


Without the constant vibration of an engine, the Mach-E delivers a downright serene and effortlessly steady ride. Upon returning my borrowed Mustang and getting into my gas-powered ride, I was uniquely aware of every pulse, oscillation, and tremor. The only bumps felt in the Mach-E are on the road, and even those seem softer.


I’ve heard many people remark that electric vehicles might be too quiet, but I don’t see it this way after driving one. Yes, the ride is quiet. It’s supposed to be quiet. Without the revving of the engine, EV drivers are left with a tranquil and relaxed driving experience. Passengers don’t have to speak up to contend with the sounds of a motor. Listening to the radio is easier and, quite frankly, more enjoyable without the competition of shifting gears. Even the quietest combustible engine is no match for the silence of a battery.


Admittedly, the idea of a drained battery worried me. After all, no one wants a road trip to end stranded on the side of the road looking for charging stations. That isn't a problem with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Depending on the model, the Mach-E has an EPA-estimated battery range of 305 miles. However, thanks to expanded technology and great partnerships with grocery stores and electric cooperatives, fast-charging stations are popping up across the state and beyond. Although we didn’t need the charge, we stopped by Great Lakes Energy in Scottville to check out the charging process at one of its four DC fast-charging stations. The Mustang was nearly fully charged after just 30 minutes. A full charge at a fast charge station has an estimated cost of under $4. Don’t forget to check with your electric co-op about electric car tax credits, incentives, and rebates!

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.


We enjoyed a wagon ride at the Amber Elk Ranch, which introduced us to hundreds of prize-winning elk and even allowed us to feed them!

Pro Tip: Stay at the ranch to enjoy an incredible BBQ lunch.


The Ludington Waterfront Park offers a playground, breathtaking views of the harbor, and a series of sculptures. These are just a few of the sculptures scattered throughout Ludington, and they make up a part of the Mason County Sculpture Trail.

Fox Grand Traverse Ford, Traverse City

Pro Tip: Grab dinner to go in nearby downtown Ludington and enjoy incredible sunsets from the park!


Retail stores and restaurants abound in downtown Ludington, and you can find everything you’re looking for at

Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Grawn

Pro Tip: Whenever you’re in

Ludington, don’t forget to check out Ludington State Park!



• Ludington Waterfront Park • Downtown Ludington • Ludington State Park


Great Lakes Energy, Scottville

See the FORD MUSTANG MACH-E in Action

Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on

10 Amber Elk Ranch


Thumb Electric Saves Members Energy And Money S

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 2020, 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 2,252,824 kWh, with nearly 1,000 members participating

in some form. For every $1 invested in Energy Optimization, over $4 in savings is achieved. The program continues in 2021 with very similar cost-saving programs in place. 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 like geothermal furnaces, air-source heat pumps, and baseboard heating. For more information on energy-saving rebates, please visit or give us a call at 989-658-8571.

Notice to Members of Thumb Electric Cooperative Case No. U-17801 2020 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law (MPSC) requires all Michigan electric utilities to get at least 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2020. Under this requirement, Thumb Electric Cooperative submits an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2020, Thumb acquired a total of 19,666 renewable energy credits and 1,692 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 filed with the MPSC is available on the cooperative’s website at or at





Water 1. Sunset over St. Marys. Bryan Tomlinson  2. Our little mermaid! Denise Puvalowski  3. Sunset at Hook’s. Heather O’Kronley  4. Turnip Rock. Nancy Mattice  5. Untouched beauty. Renae Trisch  6. Summer fun. Lisa Lewis  7. Hoping for a bite in Grindstone! Emily Wisneski  8. Strolling Grand Marais Harbor. Robert Daniels




3 5

6 Enter for a chance to win a


energy bill credit!



Submit Your “Santa” Photos!

Submit your “Santa” photos through Sept. 20 to be featured in our Nov./Dec. 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 2021, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2021 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


Fresh and light recipes from under the sea.



Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 24 2 • 2 2 2



energy bill credit!


Asian Inspired due Nov. 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

ounces cream cheese, softened tablespoons mayonnaise zest of 1 lemon tablespoons lemon juice tablespoons horseradish sauce pounds cooked salmon, chopped (or use canned, drained)

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and horseradish sauce. Stir very well until combined. Fold in the fish and stir again to combine. Serve immediately. This recipe makes about 4 cups of dip. Adjust recipe accordingly for smaller serving sizes. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Lynne Oosterhouse, Great Lakes Energy 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets Marinade: ½ cup soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 teaspoons sugar Wasabi sauce: ½ cup mayo 2 teaspoons soy sauce


Cheryl O’Brien, Great Lakes Energy 1 • • ¹⁄ ³ to ½ 1 • •

pound salmon filets Old Bay seasoning salt and pepper, to taste cup mayonnaise 16-ounce jar Chi Chi’s salsa parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon 2 teaspoons wasabi powder Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the salmon for 2 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add fish and marinade; cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over. Reduce heat to medium; cook 8 minutes or until fish is done. Combine the wasabi sauce ingredients and serve with the salmon.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut salmon into 2-inch squares and spread them on the bottom of 9x13 pan. Sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread thinly with mayonnaise. Pour Chi Chi’s salsa over all. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 minutes. Serve over rice if desired. This recipe became a regular on our menu during the summer tournament season. Enjoy!


Sandy Bartels, Great Lakes Energy Marinade: • zest of 1 lime 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil • pinch of salt and pepper Salsa: 4 radishes, finely sliced ½ cup red onion, finely chopped 4 green onions, finely sliced ¾ cup red cabbage, finely chopped 1 medium fresh tomato, finely chopped • chopped cilantro or parsley 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil Crema: ¹⁄ ³ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lime juice Tacos: 1 pound mild white fish 4 corn tortillas 1 avocado, sliced • bottled hot sauce, if desired • jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped, if desired

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Lay fish flat in a glass pan and pour marinade over; turn a few times to coat. Let rest 10 minutes, then turn over and let rest for another 10 minutes. While the fish is marinating, prepare the salsa. In a medium bowl, add the radishes, red and green onions, cabbage, tomato, and cilantro/parsley. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to coat; set aside. To prepare the crema, mix the sour cream and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Next, char the tortillas: Spray a skillet lightly with vegetable spray over medium heat and place the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, and move them around the pan. Turn to char both sides, remove from pan, and set aside. Add a bit of olive oil to the skillet and keep over medium heat. Put a tablespoon or two of the marinade in the pan, cook about a minute, and then add the fish. Cook about 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes until fish is flaky, but not dry. Transfer fish to a plate and cool for 1 or 2 minutes, and cut into chunks. Assemble the tacos on top of the tortillas. Lay thin slices of avocado on each tortilla, add fish, and top with salsa. Add crema and hot sauce and/or jalapeño peppers if desired. Enjoy. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


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. heat based 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, polesaws, 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 breathe 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 energy efficient 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.

While the global pandemic offered its fair share of disappointments and loss, one couple opted to mine for the treasure in the mayhem and offer up a rainbow at the end of the storm. As a second-generation jeweler, apprenticed by his father, Johnny Perri always had an eye for treasure. An avid metal detector and admitted “eccentric,” Perri has always looked for adventure, as well as the silver lining in life. “Losing the rhythm of life and work had me in a real funk,” admits Perri. “I was going out of my mind a little.” Then, a bit of exciting news. Perri happened across an article about famed Santa Fe treasure hider Forest Fenn, who supposedly hid his treasure many years ago, with thousands of folks looking for it over the years. The article revealed that someone had finally found it.


with JOHNNY’S TREASURE QUEST By Emily Haines Lloyd

“’We should do that,’ I thought,” said Perri, first to himself, then aloud to his then-fiancé, now wife, Amy. “It was that simple, that wild. What if I hid everything from the jewelry store? Buried it? And then came up with riddles and clues for people to go out and find it?” With this simple but possibly crazy idea, Johnny and Amy spent the next several weeks driving around the state, basically dropping Perri’s entire livelihood into the ground (eventually replaced with GPS“infused” wooden X’s) to quite literally mark the spot where the treasure could be found. The couple created their website and let the world know that buried fortune was

just a treasure hunt away. The excitement and outpouring of interest was almost as improbable as a guy burying his life’s work in the ground. “People are as excited as we are,” said Perri. “Who hasn’t dreamed of uncovering a mystery or something valuable? It’s such a thrill.” Each quest is located in a different county in Michigan, with a private Facebook group for ticket holders and the perfect amount of Sherlock Holmeslevel sleuthing and Indiana Jones outdoor adventuring. The Perris recently expanded their treasure quests with a “Silver Ticket” hunt a la Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was a fun extension for seekers.

"It’s the

memories that

people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

The operation is still small and tightly knit, with a core of treasure buriers and administrators equally passionate about the process and keeping the surprises coming. “We’re so lucky to have the team we have, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else right now,” said Perri. “It’s so much fun for us to see the excitement in other people’s faces as they head out or come back from an adventure.” Those interested in embarking on just such an adventure can visit and look for an open treasure hunt. Then buy your ticket and prepare for an adventure. “What we’ve come to realize is, yes, the treasure might be the immediate draw,” said Perri. “But it’s not about that, really. It’s the memories that people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

START your QUEST /johnnystreasurequest @johnnys_treasure_quest



Fall Harvest Safety Thumb Electric would like to remind all members who do farm work during harvest season—don’t forget to look up. Coming into contact with a live wire could prove to be extremely dangerous or even fatal. Anyone who works with farm machinery or heavy equipment should take an extra second to be aware of his/her surroundings. The life you save could very well be your own.


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**, dorm-style refrigerator**, or dehumidifier.** Call 844-631-2130 to schedule your pick up today! *Program scheduled to end around Nov. 15, 2021. **Small appliances will only be picked up in conjunction with a larger unit.

Retiring Employee Ewald Has Been A Valuable Asset To TEC fter nearly 29 years of dedicated service with Thumb Electric, Rick Ewald has decided to retire. He was hired on Oct. 5, 1992, as an operations & engineering technician. In June of 1996, Rick became the assistant operations supervisor. In January 2012, his title was changed to assistant operations supervisor/safety coordinator. Rick retired on July 2, 2021. His knowledge and experience will be missed at TEC.


All of us at TEC wish Rick the best in retirement.

Thumb Electric Members Celebrate Milestones Thumb Electric congratulates members who received state certification.

Sesquicentennial Farm Certified

Centennial Farm Certified

Centennial Farm Certified

Centennial Farm Certified

Farm Name: William Maurer Farm Founding Date: 08/12/1862 Current Owner: Keith Maurer Farm Location: Purdy Road, Bad Axe in Paris Township

Farm Name: John Franzel Farm Certification Date: 02/26/2021 Founding Date: 1913 Current Owner: Greg and Carrie Franzel Farm Location: E. Cass City Road, Ubly in Austin Township

Farm Name: Leonard and Lucilia Bell Farm Certification Date: 08/05/2021 Founding Date: 09/22/1919 Current Owner: David and Phyllis Bell Farm Location: 745 E. Hoppe Road, Unionville in Columbia Township

Farm Name: Ogle C. Blair Farm Certification Date: 08/05/2021 Founding Date: 11/29/1905 Current Owner: John Blair Farm Location: 3201 Sebewaing Road, Bad Axe in Sheridan Township

Over the past year, we have had the privilege of presenting four 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 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17

Guest Column

Grandma’s Quilt

By Tricia Udell, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member


y paternal grandmother was a talented woman whose greatest pride was taking care of her family. Her recipes remain family favorites, and the quilts she made for family members have blanketed them with love for years. I was always a bit jealous of my older siblings, who each had one of these quilts on their beds. I never got one, though, because my grandmother passed away from cancer when I was a toddler. When I was 11, my grandpa was getting ready to move out of the family home. I looked through all of the rooms remembering the times spent there, taking in the smells and sights. My grandma was a saver, and in the back bedroom closet, I had found the honey hole of my grandma’s stash! A true vintage ’60s and ’70s collection, olive greens and golden yellows, and bold flower patterns. Among these assorted and varied fabrics, I found a quilt top! Imagine my excitement to see something she had made buried like a lost treasure. A crazy quilt stitched from small, tiny scraps of fabric. I could even see some of the same patterned pieces that were in my siblings’ quilts. I snagged that quilt top right up. I stored the quilt in a plastic bag and stuck it in my closet. Decades later, while cleaning, my parents come across this plastic bag, and to my mom’s surprise, she finds the quilt top with a scribbled child’s handwritten note that reads “from Grandpa Howard 1984.” She is astounded at the find, we look at all the little pieces, and my dad has memories, “That piece is from Mom’s apron, and this is from a dress she wore.” Have you ever had that “filled up” moment when you feel all warm inside with happiness? I had that. My dad encouraged my mom to finish the project because he knew how much it meant to me. What a surprise on Christmas when I received the finished quilt as a gift. The quilt top is estimated to be over 45 years old, thread wears out, and material deteriorates. She painstakingly preserved each stitch. The quilt is a treasure! A combined project of my grandmother and my mom. I truly believe the adage, “Those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love.”

Win a


energy bill credit!

Tricia is a member of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. She enjoys spending time with family, staying busy on her hobby farm, and quilting.

WIN $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Sept. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at July/August 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Paul Malhoit, a HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods, Indian River. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

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 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? Attaches to your home’s existing heating system, it does not replace it. Delivers 90% on average of your home’s heating needs and 100% of your home’s cooling needs. If you have a well, simply add a Well-Connect to reduce your heating costs associated with traditional energy sources while enjoying a more comfortable home. Installs in a day.


Thumb Electric Cooperative

Annual 25th

Thumb Octagon Barn

Fall Family Days Featuring our theme for 2021:

Farm Family Life

Saturday and Sunday, September 11 & 12 Fish Fry Dinner

Gate Admission

Farmer’s Breakfast


Friday, Sept. 10, 4–7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, 8–11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, 8–11 a.m.

$5 (Ages 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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