Advocating for Electric Reliability— MPSC Decision Recap Fiber Update Thumb CentennialCongratulatesElectricFarms DeepRootsThe OF APPLEMICHIGAN’SINDUSTRY Thumb Electric Cooperative September/October 2022 COUNTRYMICHIGANLINES
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Contents September 2022 Vol. 42, No. 8 /michigancountrylines countrylines.com/michigancountrylines CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information. The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised. EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Emily Haines Lloyd 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 248-534-735848933 email@example.com Michigan’sCooperativesElectric MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit! Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18. GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for published!stories Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community. RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Healthy Living, due Nov. 1 Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to firstname.lastname@example.org 6 ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH CHRISTAL FROST Legends, Loss, & Restoration: A day spent on South Manitou Island. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Pasta Salads: These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 14 THE DEEP ROOTS OF MICHIGAN’S APPLE INDUSTRY The Mitten State’s climate— coupled with their growers’ devotion—make apples a booming business for local farmers. 18 GUEST COLUMN An everyday raccoon hunt became a lesson in courage that will last a lifetime for one PIE&G member. #micoopcommunity A blue heron takes ﬂight @sarah.k.smith.180 (Sarah Smith) Be featured! Use featuredfor#micoopcommunityachancetobehereandonourInstagramaccount. 3MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Lately, it’s becoming evident that the balance is off, and electric reliability is at stake. Electric grids are becoming stressed as baseload power plants (mainly coal plants, but also nuclear) are being closed before their replacements are ready to be deployed.
In June, we asked for your assistance in lobbying the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), state legislators, and Governor Whitmer. You helped us ask them to prevent the premature closure of several generating power plants owned by Consumers Energy.
THUMB ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE 2231 Main Street Ubly, MI E-mail:email@example.com BOARD OF DIRECTORS HURON COUNTY Randall Dhyse, Treasurer District 1 • 989-551-6533 Craig Osentoski, Director District 2 • 989-658-8512 Vacant District 3 SANILAC COUNTY Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 810-679-4291 Mike Briolat, Secretary District 2 • 989-284-3405 Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 810-837-3828 TUSCOLA COUNTY Louis Wenzlaff, Director District 1 • 989-683-2696 Jonathan Findlay, President District 2 • 989-551-8393 Matt Sommer, Director District 3 • 248-444-0496 Dallas Braun, General Manager PAYMENT STATIONS Huron County Bad Axe—Northstar Bank Pigeon—Northstar Bank Tuscola County Akron—Northstar Bank Caro—Northstar Mayville—MayvilleBankState Bank Millington—Mayville State Bank Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. /thumbelectric tecmi.coop HURON TUSCOLA SANILAC @thumbelectric
4 SEPTEMBER 2022
Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) explained our concern about the possibility of rolling blackouts this summer and in future summers. The ask was to build replacement generation before shutting off more 24/7/365 generation. It was all about keeping the lights on, which has been this cooperative’s mission since 1938.
Advocating for Electric Reliability, Together
Dallas Braun, General Manager
I am happy to report that TEC members, along with members of several other Michigan electric cooperatives, answered the call. Almost 8,000 individuals generated a total of 44,282 emails to the MPSC, state representatives, state senators, and the governor through the Voices for Cooperative Power platform. It was the largest response the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has ever seen on a single advocacy issue. Unfortunately, the MPSC approved the early retirement of power plants that are essential to sustaining electric reliability. The good news is that policymakers clearly heard your voice, which is critical as we continue to advocate for reliability.
Through the Voices for Cooperative Power platform, nearly 8,000 individuals sent 44,282 emails to the Michigan Public Service Commission, state representatives, state senators, and the governor.
I am proud of the cooperative members across the state for taking action on such a large scale. We proved that the grassroots could be mobilized quickly and in meaningful numbers. We were a united team working for an important goal—reliability. Today, I thank every member who answered the call when we needed you the most.
here’s no doubt that America’s energy system is going through a fundamental transformation. This transformation must be managed carefully, with a balanced approach that considers reliability, environmental impact, and affordability.
The Thumb Electric board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its Sept. 20, 2022 meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the cooperative office at 2231 Main Street, Ubly, Michigan. It is open to all members of Thumb Electric Cooperative, in accordance with PA 167 of 2008.
Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Tariff Changes Effective Nov. 1, 2022
The Thumb Electric Cooperative board of directors acted on and adopted the following changes to the cooperative’s tariffs at a special open board meeting held July 19, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167:
• Establish the 2023 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor of a $0.002/kWh credit to be applied to the cooperative’s retail member-consumers’ monthly kilowatt-hour use. The Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor represents the true-up costs for the cooperative’s actual power supply costs.
• Revised tariff D-23.21 Distributed Renewable Energy Program 20 kW and Less that caps the current generation credit at a maximum of $0.065/kWh.
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.
• Revised tariff D-23.32 Distributed Renewable Energy Program Greater Than 20 kW and Not More Than 150 kW that caps the current generation credit at a maximum of $0.065/kWh.
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:
Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. The location of the board meeting site is accessible, including accessible parking. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Thumb Electric Cooperative at 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 at 1-800-327-0166 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For specific details on any Thumb Electric Cooperative tariffs, please call 1-800-327-0166 or visit TEC’s website at tecmi.coop.
5MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Special Board Meeting—Sept. 20, 2022
South Manitou Today Although two family cottages remain, it’s not home to permanent residents. Instead, it’s occupied by National Park Service rangers, campers, and day trippers, like us.
In the southwest corner of the island lies a valley of cedars that time forgot, twice the typical size. Being underneath
The History Settled in the 1830s by William Burton, the island was ﬁrst seen as another resource for timber, but logging operations eventually ﬁzzled because of difﬁculty getting there. A small village formed, and at one point many thought South Manitou might become a vacation destination, but, again, the travel difﬁculty ended those plans.
Pro Tip: Be sure to bring snacks, lunch, and water with you to the island!
Afterwards, a quick stop across the street to the Leland Mercantile for supplies, and then down to the waterfront to Manitou Island Transit—our ride to South Manitou.
6 SEPTEMBER 2022
Arrival When our ferry docked and we set foot on South Manitou, the ﬁrst thing I noticed was the beauty. Lake Michigan is remarkable from any vantage point, but being surrounded I by her blue waters was magniﬁcent. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly quiet the island is, immersing myself in the natural sounds of rustling wind in the trees and light waves almost tiptoeing to meet the shore.
Exploring Manitou Island Transit offered a tour, and our ﬁrst stop was a “farmhouse” with the most amazing waterfront view I’ve ever seen. Built by the Burton Family in the late 1800s, this idyllic structure—featuring eight rooms, each with its own sink—was purchased in the early 1900s by those who wanted to push the island resort transformation. As previously noted, that never came to be. Now, the boarded-up house is home only to a large bat population.
Legends, Loss, & Restoration A Day Spent on South Manitou Island By Christal FrostTRIPPIN'ROAD
The day began in downtown Leland at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co.’s Breakfast Bistro, where I enjoyed a delicious omelette and steaming mug of Sumatra dark roast.
That’s what I kept thinking about as I hiked through the majestic beauty of South Manitou Island, just 16 miles off the coast of Northwest Michigan and yet another world away from where I’d woken up that morning.
think everyone can relate to wanting to “get away from it all.” The chance to disconnect from our modern lives and reconnect with nature, and ourselves, is not just appealing…it’s necessary.
Christal Frost is a northern Michigan native and frequent explorer of the Mitten state.
See the MANITOUSOUTHISLANDinAction Christal Frost ﬁlmed her adventure, now available on countrylines.com.
There are three campgrounds on S. Manitou Island. Campers must bring their own tents and water ﬁltration equipment because there is no source of puriﬁed drinking water. There is no transportation for gear, so campers must pack in their own supplies. No outside ﬁrewood is allowed on the island. Instead, campers may collect dead and down wood for personal use.
The island has seen its fair share of tragedy and is riddled with heartbreaking tales of slaughtered native tribes, sailors dead from cholera thrown into mass graves, and lighthouse keepers losing children to the harsh waves of the Manitou Passage. And, of course, the over 50 shipwrecks surrounding both North and South Manitou. None are more visually striking than the Francisco Morazon, located off the southern shore. She passed over another shipwreck and ran aground in 1960. Seven years later, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley ﬁled a lawsuit to have the wreck removed, citing rotting cargo and leaking fuel oil as a health hazard. The next day, the Francisco Morazon caught ﬁre, and all its contents were consumed in ﬂames. The shipwreck is now property of the state.
these gigantic trees reminds me of the Japanese concept of “forest bathing,” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” No soap and water required—the practice encourages you to spend time in nature, citing all the restorative effects that time in the woods has on a person.
FIE L D N O T ES:
Saying Goodbye As we sat on the dock, awaiting the ferry’s return, I couldn’t help but already miss the island I had yet to leave. It is a place to slow down, reﬂect, and appreciate the strident majesty of Lake Michigan. Plans to return to camp are already in the books.
Thumb Electric Saves EnergyMembersandMoney
After Vassar and Millington, the next substation to receive service is Columbia. Construction is currently underway in this area, and we anticipate that this will be active by the end of 2022. Make sure to follow the TEC Facebook page for updates on the fiber buildout.
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 2021, 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 2,000,000 kWh, with nearly 900 members participating in some form. For every $1 invested in Energy Waste Reduction, over $4 in savings is achieved. The program continues in 2022 through rebates on heating and air conditioning systems, as well as battery-powered yard care equipment. 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 tecmi.coop or give us a call at 989-658-8571.
After Kingston, the next substation to be lit up is Vassar, followed by Millington. If you live in these areas, make sure you are preregistered on our Crowdfiber site. You can also preregister at www.tecmi.coop/fiber.
To see what substation you are served out of, please visit yourfront_end/zoneshttps://tecfiber.tecmi.coop/orscantheQRCodewithphone’scamera.
At this time, the Kingston substation is “lit,” meaning that the fiber lines are active and service is now available for customers in this area. If you receive electric service out of the Kingston substation, go to www.tecmi.coop/fiber and register if you have not done so already. Once registered, you will receive an email from us detailing the next steps of the sign-up process, so make sure to check your inbox.
54 6 2 31 Submit Your “Christmas Trees” Photos by Sept. 20! Submit your “Christmas Trees” photos by Sept. 20 for the 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 tecmi.coop/photo-contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2022, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2022 bill. Enter for a chance to win a energy$50billcredit! Farms & Harvest 1. Crop tour after a much-needed rain! Gary and Dawn Burns 2. Making the hard work fun. Cam Koglin 3. Beet planting ‘22 on Smalley Farms. Rebecca Zurek 4. Ruth Elevator in the winter. Ona Warchuck 5. Farm life. Sarah Durr 6. Cornfield in morning sun. Robert DanielsPHOTOCONTEST MOST VOTES! 9MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, coarsely
2 teaspoons lemon zest + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 pound uncooked orzo
1choppedcuphalf-moon sliced cucumber (from a large cucumber or 2–3 mini cucumbers)
Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (I use cannellini), drained and rinsed
SUMMER ORZO SALAD Linda Kindy Hoch, Cherryland
¹⁄ ³ cup basil pesto (homemade or jarred)
WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST Healthy Living 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 micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to email@example.com Win energy$50abillcredit! PASTA SALADS These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 10 SEPTEMBER 2022
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), ½dividedcuproasted, salted pistachios, chopped Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. While pasta is cooking, stir together the pesto, oil, lemon juice, and zest in a large bowl. Add the pasta, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, salt, and a ½ cup feta cheese to the pesto mixture. Stir to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pistachios and remaining ½ cup of feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.
NO-COOK TABBOULEH SALAD Jean Nishimoto, Great Lakes Energy
2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook pasta, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still ﬁrm to the bite, about 11 minutes.
1 pound ground beef, cooked/ drained (for vegetarian, sub 1 can black beans—or half meaty and half meat-free)
2 cups penne pasta
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
• Hellmann’s mayonnaise (don’t substitute), to taste Prepare the day before serving to allow ﬂavors to blend. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse under cool water. Add vegetables, eggs, herbs, seasonings, and mayonnaise. Extra mayo should be added the next day to moisten the salad. Makes 6–8 servings.
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
• scant teaspoon chopped mint leaves • salt & pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram leaves
Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, green and red peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving. Serves 8.
1½ cups French dressing
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
TACO PASTA SALAD Kimber Adair
GREEK PASTA SALAD Martha Grose, Great Lakes Energy
10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small red onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped ½ cucumber, partially or fully peeled, sliced ½ cup sliced black or Kalamata olives
5 ounces Spicy V8 juice • salt and pepper, to taste 1 small box couscous (about 1 cup dried) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours. Serve immediately.
MACARONI SALAD Nancy Masters, Great Lakes Energy 6 ounces short-cut elbow macaroni • diced or sliced radishes, green peppers & green onions (equaling the amount of the cooked macaroni)
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1 pound rotini (or any shape of pasta), cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water • any color bell pepper, diced • small onion, diced 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or quarters if they are big fellas)
²⁄ ³ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons dried oregano • salt and pepper, to taste
9¾ ounce bag nacho-ﬂavored Doritos, crushed Pasta salad is great, and so are tacos. Why not bring the best of both together? Stir together beef (or black beans) with the taco seasoning. In a big bowl, combine beef (or black beans) with the noodles, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Then mix in the French dressing until everything is well combined. Lastly, stir in the chips (wait to do this until you are ready to serve so they keep their crunch!).
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
1 fresh red bell pepper, diced 1 red onion, diced 1 cucumber, diced ½ bunch cilantro, chopped ½ bunch parsley, chopped ¼ bunch mint, chopped 4 tomatoes, diced 3 lemons, juiced ¾ cup olive oil
2 cups shredded cheese (choose your favorite, we like sharp cheddar)
• 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.
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.
• 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.
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.
• Controllable: turns up and down very quickly.
Electrify your life so it can run on cleaner energy.
12 SEPTEMBER 2022
• Fast: can boil water faster than gas.
• Mini-split heat pump: a compact version of the airto-air heat pump that can be used withoutductworktraditionalinahome.
• Air-to-air heat pump: transfers heat to or from the outside air, achieving up to 300% efficiency.
• Performance: quieter, smoother, and zippier than gasoline-powered engines. 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.
• Environmentally friendly: no exhaust coming from a tailpipe.
• Cheaper to operate: require less maintenance (no more oil changes!).
• No more gas stations: just plug in your EV at home.
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.
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.
ben · e ·fi· cial e · lec ·tri·fi· ca·tion
It’s easy to see apples in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but there are many less-obvious areas where Michigan apples are utilized. Interestingly, Michigan apples
OF MICHIGAN’S APPLE INDUSTRY
Over a ﬁve-year period, Michigan apple orchards produced approximately 25 million bushels on over 700 farms, making the Great Lakes state the third-largest producer in the nation. Our doctor-repelling products are sold in over 30 states and nearly 20 different countries, making Michigan apples a pretty impressive business.
“The connection a family has to their farm is unique. The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”
—Jon Friske are particularly coveted for the production of pies for national brands, as well as the more recent need for highquality apples in the “fresh slice” industry (think about your kid’s favorite Happy Meal) and the booming hard cider Michiganindustry.apples appeal to all industries because of their wide variety of ﬂavors. Michigan’s speciﬁc climate and weather conditions lend to the speciﬁc ﬂavor proﬁles, with local soil, temperatures, and the warm days and cool nights of the Mitten State adding to the tastiness. Growing conditions aside, Michigan apples are particularly special due to the farmers’ hard work and energy put into the crop.
“We take pride in all of our products,” said Scott Kromer, owner and operator of Knaebe’s Apple Farm, a PIE&G member in Rogers City. “We’re not only feeding your family, but our own. The orchard is our yard. It’s part of the community—and we put our whole heart into what we do.”
By Emily Haines Lloyd I
“It’s easy to think that the only way to support local apple producers is to buy from the farmer’s market or a nearby orchard,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “But every Michigan apple farm is family-owned, so when you buy Michigan apples in your local supermarket or even a big-box store, you’re supporting a local farm and family.”
Jon Friske, a third-generation farmer and Great Lakes Energy member who runs Friske Farm Market in Ellsworth with his siblings, Heidi and Rich, agrees.
14 SEPTEMBER 2022
t’s easy to picture roadside stands and quaint orchards when we think about apples, but right along with those nostalgic mental pictures is a booming industry in our state.
Friske Farm Market friske.com
Knaebe’s Apple Farm mmmunchykrunchyapplefarm.com
Standing in front of Ida Red apples planted by Grandpa Friske (Richard Sr.).
Pictured from left to right: Scott, Matthew, Alison, and Luke.
The pride in growing amazing products is vital, as is a reliable energy source, according to both farms. At Knaebe’s, Kromer and his family had a tree fall on a power line the day before they took over ownership of the farm, but with a quick response from PIE&G, they were able to face their opening day with running coolers and operating cash registers. At Friske Farm, they’ve invested in several energy upgrades, including a solar photovoltaic system for their on-site housing unit, and are evaluating and considering a geothermal system for the new farm market.
“The connection a family has to their farm is unique,” said Friske. “The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”
“We appreciate the way our co-op communicates with us. We get a lot of information and feel very involved,” said Friske. “It really is a partnership.”
If reliable energy enables the farms, it is the farmers’ hearts and souls that truly power the industry.
Pictured from left to right: Evelyn (who was pregnant with now 3½-month-old son Laith), Jon, Ryker, Kasey, Tessa, Rich, Richard Jr., Wendy, Heidi, Eddie, Clara, and Kenny.
“All of our apple farmers are this amazing combination of artists, gamblers, and scientists. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world,” said Smith. “We’re so proud of the work they do and the legacy they have created and continue to build for our state.”
If you’re looking to support the hardworking apple farms of Michigan, check out this handy locator: michiganapples.com/Where-to-Find.
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Ryan Kain started as TEC’s field engineering technician on June 21. He has three brothers and one sister. Ryan graduated from Ferris State University in December 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Before coming to TEC, he worked briefly in the automotive industry. In his free time, Ryan enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors. He also loves traveling to new places.
Anthony Schember started June 20 as TEC’s safety coordinator. He has a 6-year-old daughter named Emmalee. Anthony has a diverse working background, with experience in manufacturing, electrical, renewable energy, and construction. Anthony shoots pool in a local men’s traveling league in the fall and winter. In the summer, he enjoys riding motorcycles. He also likes repairing vehicles and DIY projects. Anthony was born and raised in the Thumb of Michigan and is proud to be part of the TEC team.
Ryan is excited to be a part of the co-op and can’t wait to see what the future brings.
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.
New Employee Spotlight
16 SEPTEMBER 2022
Daniel Land started at TEC as a journeyman lineman on July 5. He is married to his wife, Kaylyn. Daniel comes to us from Consumers Energy in Flint and has also worked at Midwest Energy in Adrian. In his free time, Daniel enjoys fishing, hunting, and hiking.
Thumb Electric congratulates members who received state certification.
Thumb Electric Members Celebrate Milestones
All of us at Thumb Electric congratulate these family farms for their longevity and wish them many more years in the farm industry.
Certified Centennial Farms
Current Owner: Michael Trainor and Keith Agar Location: 4800 Miller Road, Marlette in Marlette Township MICHIGAN
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.
Frederick Karg Farm Certification Date: 4/15/2022 Founding Date: 2/7/1918
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 centennialfarms.org.
Founding Date: 11/7/1921
Current Owner: Dennis and Marcia Karg Location: Minden Road, Harbor Beach in Bloomfield Township David Agar Farm Certification Date: 1/28/2022
Then Dad would wait until the raccoon would tree (climb into a tree) to get away from the dogs. The hounds would bark, howl, and stay there until Dad came and shot the raccoon. Then he would take the raccoon and the dogs back to the Jeep. Then started the process over as many times as possible within the limited time he had. One of our most memorable adventures started just like every other hunt. He and I went about four miles south of Maple Valley with two dogs in the back of the Jeep. The dogs started howling. Dad stopped and turned them loose. They were still heading east when their howling started to get fainter off into the woods. We started after them. I clearly remember walking a long time. I wasn’t paying attention to the dogs or anything except keeping up with Dad. It was a pleasant fall night, and we went far into the woods. Finally, Dad stopped and said, “Let’s take a break. OK??” I said, “Sure, Dad.” We sat and leaned against a giant oak tree. The next thing I remember was waking up in daylight. I was resting against my Dad, covered with his coat and very comfortable. He said it was time to go home. He took off his coat and left it next to that oak tree. He said the dogs would get tired of chasing that raccoon and track our scent back to the tree. They would lay down on the coat. He would come back and get them later. I ﬁgured it
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 countrylines.com/community.
John is a Vietnam combat veteran with two Purple Hearts. He is retired from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and enjoys his time hunting, ﬁshing, and enjoying northern Michigan’s outdoors. was a part of the plan. Mom was upset about us being out hunting all night when we got home. I thought a little more about that hunting trip until I got older. When I look back on that night, what stands out is the appearance of normalcy. No hint that we may have been lost. No talk about anything that may have made me, a child, worry. I have tried to keep that strength whenever I get nervous or frightened with my family.
y dad had 17 coon hounds and a war surplus Willys Jeep (circa 1940s). It had a canvas top, a windshield, and no doors. I often went with him coon hunting. He would drive his Jeep slowly down back roads with the dogs strapped in the back seat of the Jeep. When the dogs would pick up the fresh scent of a raccoon, they would start howling and jumping around. Dad would stop the Jeep and let the dogs out. They would run off into the woods howling and running like their tails were on ﬁre.
By John Vick, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.$150!Win Win a $50 energy bill credit!
July/August 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Connie Bortle, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identiﬁed the photo as the Crossroads Village Carousel and Huckleberry Railroad park in Flint. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.
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Thumb Electric Cooperative tecmi.coopfacebook.com/thumbelectric The House. The Home. 100 Years. Saturday and Sunday, September 10 & 11 Fish Fry Dinner Friday, Sept. 9, 4–7 p.m. Farmer’s Breakfast Saturday, Sept. 10, 8–11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, 8–11 a.m. For more information, please visit thumboctagonbarn.org or call 989-665-0081. The barn is located just outside of Gagetown at 6948 Richie Road. Fall Family Days Thumb Octagon Barn Gate Admission $5 (Ages 6 and older) Hours Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Featuring our theme for 2022: 26th Annual