Jan. 2023 PIE&G

Page 1

MUSIC TO OUR EARS Big Water Creative Arts Bringing Music Education to Northern Michigan Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op January 2023 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES PSCR Factor Increase Effective Feb. 1 PIE&G Director Elections College Scholarships Available For HS Seniors

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Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933.

Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors.

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill, HomeWorks TriCounty 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 editor@countrylines.com

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.

Instagram Contest

Recipe Contest


Guest Column

Mystery Photo


Contents January 2023 Vol. 43, No. 1 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines countrylines.com
#micoopcommunity Instagram contest winner Upper Peninsula of Michigan @kaushik0805 (Kaushik Sur) 6 GET IN, GET OUT, GET TO WORK
10 MI
Arts bringing music
Alpena Community College
offers a certificate program for line-clearance arborists.
CO-OP KITCHEN Healthy Living: Feel good from the inside out.
Water Creative
Northern Michigan. 18 GUEST COLUMN The reluctant Boy Scout— A co-op member reflects on how his experience turned out to be one of the best things he has ever done.
enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit
MI Co-op Community To
Win $200
See details on page 18.
details on page 10. Vegetarian due Feb. 1; Breakfast For Dinner due Mar. 1 Win a $100 bill
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. Win $100 for photos published!
details on page 18. Win a $100 bill credit!

Director Election Results

PIE&G held its 85th annual membership meeting on Friday, Oct. 28, at Onaway High School. Elections are held annually for three (3) positions on the PIE&G Board of Directors. After all ballots were counted, the successful candidates winning election to a three-year term (2023-2025) are: Kurt Krajniak (incumbent, Alpena District), Brentt Lucas (incumbent, Alpena District), and Raymond Wozniak , (incumbent, Presque Isle District). The number of votes that each candidate received are to the right.

Immediately following the meeting, the board of directors also held elections of officers for the new 3-year term as follows: Chair – John Brown; Vice Chair – Allan Berg; Secretary – Sandy Borowicz; and Treasurer – Daryl Peterson.

Donald D. from Rogers City won the $100 bill credit for voting by mail. In other business, members heard reports from the cooperative’s auditor and the chief executive officer, Thomas Sobeck.

Your Board In Action:

At its most recent meetings, the PIE&G Board of Directors:

• Reviewed and approved the 2023 Utility Plant Construction Plan totaling $4,889,201 in electric and natural gas plant construction and rehabilitation.

• Reviewed and approved the 2023 Business Plan/ Operating Budget as a reasonable forecast for the 2023 fiscal year and as a useful business planning tool.

• Set the 2023 annual meeting date, time, and location for Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, to begin at 10 a.m. and to be held at Onaway High School.

• Authorized CEO Sobeck to sign an amended letter of credit with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

• Accepted Team Reports.

.. 1,047
814 Eric
558 Warren
... 523
........... 927
............. 506
Kurt Krajniak
Brentt Lucas
Raymond Wozniak
Linda Dymond
Mary Hentkowski
Presque Isle District: (One Vacancy) Alpena District: (Two Vacancies)

Get In, Get Out, Get to Work

Tornados in Michigan are unexpected and rare—but they can, and will, happen. Proof is the EF-3 class tornado that tore through Gaylord, Michigan, in May of 2022, leaving a swath of destruction and claiming two lives.

After the tornado, area residents were left without power. That is when the utility lineworkers and line-clearance arborists rolled in to begin the massive restoration process.

What is the difference between lineworkers and line-clearance arborists? While the lineworker focuses on the equipment related to the electrical conductor, line-clearance arborists focus on the vegetation surrounding energized systems. Neither can function properly without the other.

Utility companies and line-clearance contractors both constantly scrutinize weather forecasts and right-of-way maintenance in anticipation of events. When an outage occurs, the power company is dispatched to assess the damage while line-clearance arborists are alerted to clear the trees and vegetation from the damaged power lines after the utility company de-energizes them. It is a true team effort.

The second significant difference between the two job titles is training. Traditionally, if someone wanted to become a line-clearance arborist, they would apply at a tree service company, go through their orientation, and then complete close to one year’s worth of on-the-job training. Conversely, lineworkers often undergo substantial classroom and field training, over an extended period.

Tree service workers in general face many hazards in the course of their work. Those hazards increase further

for line-clearance arborists whose work involves electrical lines. That’s why proper training is so important. Alpena Community College (ACC) has taken its mastery of training lineworkers and expanded it to offer a safety-centric certificate program for line-clearance arborists. This new, noncredit, one-semester Utility Arborist Line Clearance Program is designed for those interested in working in this industry, allowing students to complete the required training and have the potential for job offers in just four months. Work in the program is coordinated with the established Utility Technology Certificate Program and allows the Utility Line Clearance students to build skills around de-energized primary wires, which is not offered by similar programs at other institutions.

Making a living as a line-clearance arborist has many of the same draws as a utility lineworker: excellent compensation, opportunities to grow, the freedom to work outside, a team environment, the ability to help people—and the thrill of climbing. The ACC program is built for those who like to work outside, are adventure seekers, are up for a challenge, are able to work in a team, and do not want to sit in an office.

For more information on how to become a line-clearance arborist or to register for the training program, contact Program Director Walter Wiltse at 989-358-7284 or wiltsew@alpenacc.edu, or visit https://discover.alpenacc.edu/ programs/degrees_and_programs/ utility_arborist.php.


• Anyone 18+ who likes to work outside

• Thrill/adventure seekers

• Up for a challenge

• Physically fi t

• Able to work in a team

• Doesn’t want to sit in an offi ce

• All training required to be a utility arborist

• Chainsaw safety

• OSHA 10

• First Aid/CPR certifi cate

• Knowledge to pass pesticide application test

• Preparation for CDL training

• Electrical Hazard Awareness Program training

• Aerial rescue training

• Highly qualifi ed instructors

• Alpena Community College, Alpena, Michigan

• After program completion, job opportunities anywhere in Michigan

• Many career options such as management, equipment operator, right-away operator, and leadership opportunities

• First cohort of program— all students were offered a job with at least $40k annual salary plus benefi ts



PIE&G awarded four members with a $50 bill credit for being selected in a drawing of all contest entries that appeared in Michigan Country Lines in 2022. Thank you to the many members who participated. Members are welcome to send in photos for our 2023 contest. Harvesting the “new” old-fashioned way. Diane LaHaie (Sept.) Four brothers working together to trim the tree. Melissa Cumper (Nov./Dec.) Straits of Mackinac blue ice. Sally Dizon (Jan.) “Hey Tuck, I think you took a wrong turn.” John May (Mar.)

To enter the contest, visit pieg.com/photocontest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50

4 7 8 2 6 3 1 Enter to win up to a $50 energy bill credit! Submit Your “Pets” Photos By
Jan. 20! Submit your best photo and encourage others to
The photo receiving the most votes in our photo contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines, along with some of our other favorites. Our January theme is Pets. Photos can be submitted through Jan. 20 to be featured in our March issue.
PHOTO CONTEST 5 MOST VOTES ON FACEBOOK 2. Archie’s Adventure. Ishpeming, MI. Victoria Frailing 3. Three-year-old Ryker catching air on his dirt bike. Debbi Glossop 4. Mirror fishing. Makisha Shrader 5. Enjoying the fall colors at the lower Tahquamenon Falls. Danielle Zalewski 6. Dipping into the northern lights. Kathleen Berger 7. Thunder Bay River Rascal. Todd Agee 8. Fishing days in northern Michigan. Brittany Sage 1. I’m just a wildflower. Maria Fenech Outdoor Adventures 9 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
credits on your January 2024 bill.



Kerri Hanson, Great Lakes Energy

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)

2 cups almond milk or milk of choice

1 cup plain Greek or nondairy yogurt ¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey

Topping Options:

• Blueberry: blueberries (fresh, frozen, or dried) and chopped walnuts

• Pina Colada: pineapple tidbits, 1 tablespoon coconut, ½ teaspoon vanilla

• PB&J: jam on bottom, peanut butter on top

• Pear: diced pear, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and chopped pecans

• Caramel Apple: diced apple, caramel sauce, and chopped peanuts

• Chocolate Raspberry: raspberries (fresh or frozen), 1–2 teaspoons cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips

To make the base, in a medium bowl, mix together the oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup/honey. Stir until combined. Portion 1-cup servings into 4 wide-mouth, 16-ounce canning jars (or another airtight container) and top with any additional toppings as desired.

These toppings can be stirred into the base recipe, or customize each jar by putting them separately in the bottom of the jar before filling. The possibilities are endless. Place lids on and refrigerate overnight. When refrigerated, these overnight oats can last for up to 5 days.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes submitted by MCL readers and tested by recipe editor Christin McKamey
CO-OP Recipes
Recipe Contest Win a $100 energy bill credit! Vegetarian due Feb. 1, Breakfast For Dinner due Mar. 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 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 recipes@countrylines.com HEALTHY LIVING Feel good from the inside out. 10 JANUARY 2023



1 cup quinoa

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

1 can drained medium ripe olives, or 1 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup green bell pepper, diced

½ cup diced celery

1 cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

½ cup walnuts, halved


½ cup olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 shallot, diced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Combine dressing ingredients and add to the cooked quinoa while still warm. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and stir until combined. Enjoy!

6–8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

• olive oil or butter

• salt and pepper, to season

1 onion, thinly sliced

2–4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans chopped Italian-style tomatoes

½ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ –½ cup feta cheese

1 can black olives

2 cans quartered artichokes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown chicken breasts in oil or butter in frying pan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. Add more oil or butter to pan; sauté the sliced onions and garlic. Add the canned tomatoes and blend the spices in with the onions and garlic. Bring the tomato mixture to a simmer, then pour over chicken breasts in baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven and sprinkle feta cheese, olives, and artichokes over the top. Put back in oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with orzo, couscous, or rice.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ¼ -inch cubes

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup tomato juice

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon dried thyme


teaspoon celery salt

1 bay leaf

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once simmering, add onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften, about 5–7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Pour in broth and tomato juice and stir. Add the diced tomatoes, cabbage, salt, black pepper, sugar, thyme, celery salt, and bay leaf. Bring contents to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30–40 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted and the vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaf. Enjoy!


Judy Bergeski, Presque Isle

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons seasoned salt (Lawry’s) or homemade seasoning mix (below)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into 1-inch thick slices *cut from top down, so the slices look like cauliflower “trees”

• fresh parsley, for garnish

Homemade Seasoning Mix:

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried dill

Mix together the brown sugar and seasoned salt (or homemade seasoning mix). Preheat grill to medium-high heat (can also use a panini maker) and lightly oil/spray the grill. Brush olive oil on one side of each cauliflower slice. Then sprinkle the sugar/seasoning mix over top. Repeat on other side. Save leftover spices for the next time. Place on grill or in panini maker and close lid. Cook 2–3 minutes per side. Check for doneness; should be forktender, but not mushy. Transfer to plate and sprinkle with fresh parsley (optional). Serve with ranch dressing for dipping, or balsamic glaze. Goes well with diced tomatoes and some crusty bread.

Joan Bissonette, Great Lakes Energy Virginia Czarnecki, HomeWorks Tri-County Finedell, Great Lakes Energy


ooking for a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep but pays off big? Resolve to save energy and money with PIE&G’s Energy Optimization program!

We’re here to make saving simple in the new year. The Energy Optimization program rewards customers for energy-saving efforts at home, at their business, or on the farm. Take advantage of immediate savings by earning cash incentives for energy-efficient upgrades now, and save on energy costs for years to come.

Unlike other resolutions, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, quality, or convenience with the Energy Optimization program. There are a variety of energy efficiency rebates offered in 2023 that make it easy to save:

• Efficient heating and cooling equipment NEW! Complete system bonus—$200

• Electric Lawn Equipment

Electric string trimmer, electric leaf blower, and electric chainsaw—$40 each

year. New resolutions.
• Efficient appliances
Presque Isle Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan 1, 2023 and Dec 31, 2023. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit pieg.com New year. New resolutions. Resolve to save energy and money in the new year with PIE&G’s Energy Optimization program! Take advantage
energy efficiency rebates to save big without sacrificing comfort, quality, or convenience. u Efficient appliances u Efficient heating and cooling equipment NEW!
u Electric Lawn Equipment • NEW! Electric
electric leaf
each u Income-qualified opportunities u Electric vehicles and home charging u Commercial and industrial incentives u Agriculture opportunities VISIT pieg.com/eo • CALL
and home charging
Commercial and industrial incentives
Agriculture opportunities
of a variety
bonus: $200
string trimmer,
chainsaw: $40
877-296-4319 •
opportunities •
Not sure where to begin? PIE&G offers consultations with Energy Advisors for both residential and commercial customers. To learn more, call 877-296-4319 or visit pieg.com/eo. L

Big Water Creative Arts Bringing Music Education

To Northern Michigan

So many of us have fond memories of art and music classes in our school days. So often, it was a chance to decompress from math, science, English, or history, but the arts in learning have always been about a bit more. Studies have shown improvements in math, reading, and critical thinking can all be linked to engagement in artistic or creative endeavors.* So, it is not just a sense of melancholy that makes it upsetting that so many school systems have had to decrease funding for art programs and sometimes eliminate them altogether.

It’s this reality that spurred Michelle Chenard and Pete Kehoe of Big Water Creative Arts to turn their passion for music into a bigger purpose.

“Music has always given Michelle and me so much,” said Kehoe, director of the board at Big Water Creative Arts. “It felt like time for us to return the favor.”

Chenard and Kehoe are longtime friends and sometimes creative partners who have enjoyed their own lives as musicians. Chenard, originally from the Upper Peninsula, took her talent on the road working the music circuit in the southern United States and finally back to Michigan. Kehoe, from Gladwin, has been in Petoskey since 1999. While they’ve worked on songs together and played in Michigan for decades, it was a songwriting workshop they were holding on Mackinac Island that was the first step in creating Big Water Creative Arts.

14 JANUARY 2023

“We had been doing this threeday songwriting workshop for a few years, but never quite got in the black,” said Kehoe. “Then we started talking and realizing we wanted to also do something that had a more far-reaching impact.”

The two were keenly aware that school music programs had been losing funding year after year, with many rural communities in their own backyard with no programming at all.

It started with a songwriting workshop for Mancelona Public Schools. Music programming spread to Petoskey, Pellston, Gaylord, Cheboygan, and so on. Today, Big Water Creative Arts offers multiple programs for arts education for elementary and middle school students, as well as senior and adult special education programs.

While BWCA offers these music classes free to all students, they depend on grants, donations, and fundraising from their

annual event in September. As interest grows amongst students and school administrators, the strain on the nonprofit’s budget increases.

“We are always looking for community partners who want to help bring music education to Northern Michigan,” said Kehoe. “We want to take the cost barrier out of the equation so it can be available to all.”

This is what the folks at Big Water Creative Arts do. They see a need, look at their resources, and make musical magic happen in their community.

“It’s our dream that every kid who wants to play, sing, or express themselves musically can do that without worrying about economics or funding,” said Kehoe. “Music is a right for everyone. It makes for more engaged, confident, and happy people. And that just makes the world better.”

If you’d like to help support Big Water Creative Arts, here’s how:

To donate: bigwatercreativearts.org smile.amazon.com (BWCA) bigwatercreativearts@gmail.com Big Water Creative Arts, Inc. P.O. Box 124, Petoskey, MI 49770

For more information: /bigwatercreativearts /bigwatercreativeartsinc


*Source: President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, 2011

“Music is a right for everyone. It makes for more engaged, confident, and happy people. And that just makes the world better.”
Photos by: Jessica Wynder Photography (top of page 14), Johnny Ulibarri (left), and Alex Childress (cover and top right)

PSCR Factor to Increase Feb. 1, 2023

As published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Country Lines, at a Special Open Meeting held Sept. 27, 2022, the Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Board of Directors approved the 2023 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor at a maximum of $0.01169/kWh for bills rendered on or after Feb. 1, 2023. This is up from $0.00762/ kWh in 2022 and represents an increase of around $2.80 per month for the average monthly residential member using 661 kilowatt-hours per month.

For the last six of seven years, the PSCR factor was a negative number, which effectively reduced members’ bills during those years. The increase is primarily due to the increased costs of natural gas used for cleaner generation of electricity.

What is the PSCR factor?

As an electric distribution cooperative, PIE&G purchases electricity from its wholesale supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative. Wolverine, a generation and transmission cooperative, sells power to PIE&G, delivering it via transmission lines to PIE&G’s substations. From the substations, PIE&G distributes electricity directly to its members.

Each year, electric utilities compare projected costs of electricity for the next 12 months with long-term projected energy costs to determine the adjustment charged to customers on the monthly bill. This adjustment to the base energy charge is called the Power Supply Cost

Recovery (PSCR) factor. At the end of the year, utilities must reconcile the monies collected from members throughout the year for energy, with the actual cost of energy paid to the supplier. That difference and the following year’s forecasted costs are incorporated into the projected PSCR factor calculation for the upcoming year.

The purpose of the PSCR process is to ensure that a utility only collects the costs that it incurred to purchase wholesale energy on behalf of its members or customers. This mechanism is a legal requirement for all electric utilities in Michigan.

Power supply or energy costs are a pass-through cost and do not contain any margins for PIE&G.

For specific details of any Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op tariffs or fees, please call 1-800-423-6634 or visit our website at pieg.com.

Scholarships For Graduating High School Seniors

Applications due March 1

The PIE&G Communities First Fund has awarded scholarships to graduating high school seniors since 1999. The scholarship program includes all accredited colleges or universities located in Michigan. The award is $1,000 and payable upon successful completion of the first semester. The A. Barkley Travis Memorial Scholarship ($500) and the Peterson Vocational School Scholarship ($500) are also available.

Eligibility requirements and applications are available online at pieg.com or by contacting PIE&G at (800) 423-6634 and selecting extension 1011. Completed applications with all supporting documentation must be received at PIE&G by the close of business on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Scholarships will be awarded by June 1.

16 JANUARY 2023

Fiber Update

During 2022, eight zones, Onaway 1, Onaway 4, Canada Creek 3, Canada Creek 4, Black Lake 3, Black Lake 4, Tower 2 and Tower 6, were opened for internet service. An easy way to determine your zone and to understand which zone will be opening next can be found on the piegconnect.com website. Once you are on piegconnect.com, click on the “About” tab at the top navigation bar, and from the drop-down menu, choose “Fiber Construction Status Map”. The open zone map is shown at the top of the webpage, and the way to find your zone information using your electric bill is shown at the bottom of the page.

In December, we made good progress and connected our 500th subscriber, with over 3,000 other members indicating that they are interested in receiving service when it is available. Feedback from members who are using the internet service has been extremely positive.

In-home installations will continue throughout the winter, except for homes that require underground or buried fiber cables due to frozen ground conditions. For these members, PIE&G Connect will hold their service orders for installation until spring, when the ground thaws. Crews are currently working in the Fingerboard and Mullett Lake areas. We appreciate everyone’s patience with our fiber crews!

AMI Update

Work continues with the installation of AMI equipment on our 100-foot poles in Presque Isle, Cheboygan, and Montmorency counties. We are proceeding with agreements to install AMI equipment on several local radio towers early this year.

We are collaborating with Bois Blanc Township to find a mutually beneficial solution to ensure that AMI service is available on the island.

As of December, we have deployed 32,303 AMI meters, or 89%, of the 36,202 active electric meters.

We are evaluating and testing our Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT) gas modules. The ERT module for natural gas meters is comparable to advanced metering technology for electric service.

This a friendly reminder to members to please continue to read and report your meter readings until the meter reading boxes on your billing stub have been removed. You may submit meter readings several ways: by returning your billing stub to us with your payment (by mail or in our Drop Box), using Pay-By-Phone service (1-866-999-4571), or using SmartHub (online at pieg.com or with our free mobile app).


Where In Michigan Is This?

The Reluctant Boy Scout

Inever considered Scouting until my father told me I was going to become one. My younger brother decided he wanted to be a Cub Scout and my dad figured I could be very useful keeping tabs on him. I really didn’t think it was for me, but I dutifully joined Troop 57 at the local school. This turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done.

I was a year older than most of the “Tenderfoot” Scouts, but I quickly qualified for 2nd and then 1st class scout and eventually became den chief for my brother’s pack. Our family was already into camping, and the Scouts camped several times a year at Rota-Kiwan in Texas Corners. There were canoe trips, jamborees, the Klondike Derby, and plenty of other events that I loved.

My best friend, Rod, was my assistant when I became the leader of Hawk Patrol. Eventually, my brother joined us, along with several other boys. Our Scoutmaster, Mr. Brown, was an outstanding leader, and several other parents were great mentors and teachers for all of us. In less than three years, I was a Life Scout working on Eagle when I was chosen to join The Order of the Arrow.

Scouting opened so many doors for my brother and me. Our record score and time in the 1964 Klondike Derby still stands! I was big for my age, and soon the other boys began to call me “Hoss” after the Bonanza character played by Dan Blocker. To this day, some of them still greet me that way when I see them. The camping, boating, swimming, crafting, first aid, and other skills I learned during those years still serve me well. I am so grateful that my parents decided to help me on my way to an experience I will never forget.

About The Author: James is retired from a career in the audio/video business. He was also a DJ for more than 40 years. He and his wife enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

They have performed recorded music at nearly 500 wedding receptions and parties, beginning in 1973. Nov./Dec.
2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Leslie Miller, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Hartwick Pines Chapel in Grayling.
are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/ August, September, and November/December.
MI CO-OP Guest Column Guest Column Win $200 for stories published! Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit. Mystery Photo Win a $100 energy bill credit!
Identify the correct
to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter
18 JANUARY 2023
location of
photo above by Jan. 20
be entered into a drawing
your guess at countrylines.com/community
989-356-2113 wellconnectsaves.com 1-833-GEOWELL wellconnectgeo.com Geother mal Made Af for da ble HEATING WITH WELL-CONNECT IS LIKE PAYING 70¢ Per Gallon of Propane Well-Connect works in combination with your home’s current heating system. Well-Connect can be installed in 1-day, anytime of the year. No excavation or drilling is required. ENJOY YEAR-ROUND COMFORT IN YOUR HOME REDUCE DEPENDENCY ON FUEL OIL OR PROPANE GO GREEN WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY Financing, rebates & tax credits available. VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR DETAILS. MICHIGAN MADE IN

2023 Energy Efficiency Calendar

There are so many ways you can save energy! Saving energy helps reduce your family’s monthly bills—and it helps our environment. Change your energy use habits by following the monthly tips below. Keep this calendar on your refrigerator to remind family members to be energy efficient throughout the year.


Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.

Instead of turning up the heat, put on an extra layer of clothing or stay cozy under a blanket.

Turn off lights when you leave a room.

Plant a tree away from power lines to help shade your home in the summer.


Decorate your backyard or porch with solarpowered lights.

Take short showers instead of baths.

Dry heavy linens outside on a clothesline instead of using the dryer.

Schedule a reminder to change the A/C filter every 60-90 days.


Turn off running water while brushing your teeth.

Unplug energy vampires, like chargers, gaming consoles, and cable/ satellite boxes.

Remind family members to use cold water when washing clothes.

Decorate your home with energy-saving LED holiday lights.

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