May 2020 PIE&G

Page 1

May/June 2020


COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

Annual Meter Readings Begin In May

Get Involved In Your Co-op PIE&G’s COVID 19 Response

DISTILLING COMMUNITY Michigan Distilleries Lend A Hand And Make A Difference


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visit us at WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. ©2018 WaterFurnace International, Inc. *26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021


May 2020 Vol. 40, No. 5



Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

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

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

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

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner For 40 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information. Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about co-op services, director elections, member meetings and management decisions that members need to know about as owners of the co-op. The magazine also includes legal notices that would otherwise have to be placed in local media at a substantial cost. Sending Michigan Country Lines helps the co-op fulfill one of its essential principles——to educate and communicate openly with its members. The board of directors authorizes the co-op to subscribe to Michigan Country Lines on behalf of each member at an average cost of $3.97 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 49 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome your comments at


6 A DEEP DIVE WITH CHRIS ROXBURGH. As a diver and history lover, Roxburgh has garnered online attention for his documentation of underwater wonders in Michigan waters. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Go meat-free with these vegetarian recipes.

Don’t you want to take this adorable white animal home as a pet? @kelli929kelli #whitedonkey Kelli Marshall

14 DISTILLING COMMUNITY Michigan distilleries join forces to make hand sanitizer during pandemic-driven shortage.

Be featured!

18 GUEST COLUMN Tom McWhorter recalls the thrill of a ‘50s-era train ride to Grand Rapids with his mother and grandmother.


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

Contests, reader-submitted content & more!





Up Next: Kid-Friendly Cooking, Easy Recipes Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Campgrounds Tell us about the Michigan campgrounds you like visiting best.

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

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

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit!

Visit for guidelines and submission information. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Serving Our Members Amid COVID-19







Board Of Directors Charles Arbour, Treasurer

23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2020

Allan Berg, Chairman

1117 E. Heythaler Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2020

Sandy Borowicz, Secretary

5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2021

John Brown

21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2020

Sally Knopf

1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2021

Kurt Krajniak , Vice-Chairman

7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2022

Brentt Lucas

15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2022

Daryl Peterson

P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2021

Raymond Wozniak

6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2022

President & CEO: Tom Sobeck

Communications Director/Co-op Editor: Maire Chagnon-Hazelman

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 19831 M-68 Hwy., P.O. Box 308 Onaway, MI 49765

Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515 Toll-Free: 800-423-6634 Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565 Join us on Facebook. PIE&G natural gas rates and charges are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Tom Sobeck, President & CEO


our energy cooperative has taken action to meet the challenges of serving our membership during this unprecedented time. This is what we want you to know:

• PIE&G recognizes the financial impact of COVID-19 on all of us, including the ability to pay energy bills. Your energy cooperative is here to help direct you to the state and federal resources available if you have lost income as a result of being laid off or the closing of your business. PIE&G workers responding to your inquiries via phone or online want to make sure you’re aware of all available resources. • While we deal with the fallout of COVID-19, we must also keep an eye on the future needs of our members. This crisis has spotlighted more than ever the importance of service reliability and communication. Therefore, once we can proceed safely, we will press forward with our current projects, including a new building, automated metering infrastructure, and a potential fiber-to-the-home project. All are essential to providing enhanced reliability and more efficient, economical service. • In closing, I must acknowledge PIE&G’s dedicated, resilient workers, who are helping us provide exemplary service to you during this crisis. As early as the initial weeks, they linked arms and developed plans for maintaining operations, ensuring that our members continued to receive the services that are so essential to daily life. Our workers are committed to putting their considerable skills to work for you. I am extremely proud to work alongside them. Please know that PIE&G recognizes the broad impact of this crisis, as it falls on our communities and everyone in them. We are committed to working with you to help restore our shared well-being. Thank you for your continuing support.

Your Board In Action PIE&G’s special Member Regulation board meeting scheduled for March 24, 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis to June 23, 2020 (see page 17). At its most recent meetings, the PIE&G Board of Directors: • Accepted the 2019 audit report of the Harris Group.

• Authorized the CEO to engage a consultant to explore co-op rebranding.

• Established the gas cost recovery factor of $0.3450 for Home Rule communities.

• Approved changes in manner and date for the April monthly board meeting, previously scheduled on April 27 in person, to a teleconference call to be held April 20, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.

• Resolved to announce specific Home Rule gas rates under the 2006 Agreement. • Approved the amended estate discount factor for early retirement of capital credits to be 5.88%. • Selected students to attend the 2020 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.* • Approved grants to three local nonprofit organizations through PIE&G’s matching fund partnership with CoBank’s Sharing Success Program. • Approved an amendment to the Wolverine Power Supply All Requirements Contract.

• Accepted team reports. • Accepted management’s recommendation to pursue the engagement of Vision Metering/ OATI for the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. • Authorized the CEO to contract with Moran Iron Works for the manufacture and installation of equipment necessary for the AMI project.

* Due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns for the safety of the participants, Youth Tour 2020 has been canceled. We sincerely thank all of the students selected and extend heartfelt apologies.

4 MAY 2020

Annual Meter Readings Begin In May O

ver the next three months, PIE&G meter readers will begin reading electric and/or natural gas meters for our annual verification. Personnel will carry a PIE&G identification badge. To help make this annual process easier, we ask that you:

PIE&G Meter Reading Schedule By County: MAY—Cheboygan, Emmet, Mackinac JUNE—Alpena, Alcona, Presque Isle JULY—Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego

• Please have animals leashed and away from the meter location or inside. • Make sure the meter is clear from obstructions and is easily accessible for our meter readers.

Thank You For Your Cooperation!

Get Involved In Your Co-op It’s time to nominate potential directors.

Potential nominees must meet the qualifications for the office of director as set forth in Article III, Section 2 of the PIE&G bylaws (available on our website, Any member interested in becoming a candidate is invited to call the cooperative’s office and learn about the duties performed by the directors. Board meetings are usually held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. To be considered for nomination, submit a letter of interest by June 15 to: Nominating Committee, PIE&G, PO Box 308, Onaway, MI 49765. All letters will be given to the committee for review, and nominations will be made in July. Watch for further information about the Annual Meeting to be held Friday, October 23, in Posen.











Any qualified PIE&G member-owner can be elected to serve on the cooperative’s board of directors and the term of office is three years. In 2020, one director from each of the following districts will be elected: Cheboygan, Montmorency, and Presque Isle.




o-ops are self-governing organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives on a cooperative board of directors are accountable to all of its members. Since Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) is a democracy, it works best when you participate in the organization.



Any qualified member can be elected to serve. The term of office is three years.





1979 Ford Pinto, aka the mussel car, Haserot Beach, Traverse City. Photo by Chris Roxburgh


s an electrical contractor, Chris Roxburgh spends his working days bringing light to dark areas. Perhaps it’s not all that surprising that Roxburgh spends his recreational time doing more of the same.

A few years ago, Roxburgh posted his first pictures from the depths of Grand Traverse Bay, revealing a 1979 Ford Pinto covered in zebra mussels. The photos quickly gained online recognition, and while it was the beginning of Roxburgh sharing the wonders beneath the waves, it was by no means the beginning of his love of water.


MAY 2020

Roxburgh has been obsessed with the water since he was a child growing up in Traverse City, Michigan. “Our family was always finding a way to the water,” said Roxburgh. “Every weekend we’d take out the boat and as I got older, I’d take a deep breath, and hand-overhand, I’d follow the anchor chain down as far as I could manage to hold my breath.”

Free diving, also called skin diving, is when the diver holds their breath until resurfacing. Roxburgh may not have been familiar with the distinction as a child, but that didn’t keep him from building the skill. Roxburgh’s free diving continued into adulthood and he used this method to get a closer look at the shipwrecked George Rogers tugboat, located in Grand Traverse Bay at the northern tip of Leelanau County. Roxburgh and his wife Bea had been stand-up paddle boarding when they saw the wreckage below

“I hope to shine a light on how we can all do our part.” –Chris Roxburgh

Drone footage over the Alva Bradley shipwreck, North Manitou Island. Photo by Dusty Klifman

Eber Ward shipwreck in the Straits of Mackinac. Photo by Chris Roxburgh

Chris Roxburgh with his new Sony a7 III camera with Aquatica deep dive housing. Photo by Dusty Klifman

scuba school to see if they would let him get his that winter. With a rented 7mm wetsuit, in 36-degree weather, Roxburgh spent three wintery days with instructors to complete his open water certification. It was the beginning of more than a hobby, but a passion.

Chris Roxburgh on the Francisco Morazan, South Manitou Island. Photo by Bea Roxburgh

the water’s surface. A couple of days later, Roxburgh came back with photographic equipment and his wetsuit to free dive the sunken treasure. “I was so excited by that dive. I became obsessed with the history,” said Roxburgh. “I knew right away that I wanted to get my scuba certification and I couldn’t wait any longer.” And Roxburgh didn’t wait. While most divers get their open water certification in the spring and summer, Roxburgh reached out to the local

Over the course of his new obsession, Roxburgh crossed paths with another Michigan diver who had a similar interest in shipwrecks and history as well. “When I met Dusty [Klifman], things really kicked off,” said Roxburgh. “We had a similar inquisitive mindset and we were gung-ho to explore more.” Klifman, who had been open water diving for 20 years, while Roxburgh had two under his belt, worked as a lineman for an electric company. Their mutual love of water and exploration has led to some epic adventures including the Alva Bradley, a schooner in the Manitou Passage; the Jane, a small freighter off the shore of Arcadia; and the Typo, a schooner that was crashed into by a steamship in Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay. The two have a massive wish list for

the coming year, including the Thomas Hume in southwest Michigan and the Newell A. Eddy in Cheboygan. In the meantime, groups like the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society have invited Roxburgh to share his experiences. Hundreds of people have come to hear Roxburgh’s thrilling stories, as well as witness his testimony as an environmental and conservancy advocate. Roxburgh has seen how pollution, dumping, and everyday littering have impacted the Great Lakes. “I want future generations to have a chance to explore what I’ve been able to experience,” said Roxburgh. “I hope to shine a light on how we can all do our part.”

Follow Chris’s diving adventures: Visit to accompany Chris on an underwater video tour of the Eber Ward shipwreck in the Straits of Mackinac. @chris_roxburgh_



ENERGY STAR LED Light Bulbs Consider changing light bulbs to ENERGY STAR® LEDs. LEDs use 90% less energy than standard bulbs and last up to 15 times longer. LEDs are available in a variety of colors, shapes and dimmable options to meet all your indoor and outdoor needs.

Dust Off Your Dehumidifier

Small changes. Great savings. s we nestle into our homes to remain healthy and safe, it is a great time to think about ways that you can save energy with your everyday habits. Little changes can help minimize the impact of increased hours at home, particularly if you are now working from a home office.


Many people are taking advantage of their time at home and preparing their spring cleaning list. We have a few efficiency tips for you to consider when doing so.

Get your dehumidifier ready for increased humidity. It’s important to control high humidity in basements to prevent mold growth and improve indoor air quality. The Energy Optimization program offers a $15 rebate with the purchase of new ENERGY STAR qualified models.

Home Office Efficiency When your workday is over, don’t forget to turn off your monitor and unplug your laptop. You may even consider using an advanced or smart power strip. These power strips save energy by completely turning off devices attached to your computer or TV when they are not being used. It can make shutdown and startup of multiple devices fast, easy and complete. Apply online for a $5 rebate from the Energy Optimization program. Visit for more ways to save energy and money at home.

SMALL CHANGES. GREAT SAVINGS. You make the changes; we provide the savings. There are many ways to save, from appliances to lighting to maintaining the comfort of your home, with our efficient HVAC programs. Visit to learn more. ONLINE: PHONE: 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit

Most votes on Facebook!




energy bill credit!








Photo Contest Enter to win up to a


Submit Your Favorite “Festivals and Fairs” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites. Our May/June theme is Festivals and Fairs. Photos can be submitted through May 27 to be featured in our July/August issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at 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 2020, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2020 bill.

On The Farm 1. Just a girl and her mini donkey. Terra Koss 2. The secret spot. Renee Roeske 3. A fun hayride on the farm! Gloria Zalewski 4. Kooper says, “Dad won’t go without me!” Molly Stowe 5. Farm wedding. Steven Kemp 6. Ryker and his goat Gigi showing agility in 4-H. Shelly Woidersk 7. Fall pot of gold. Brad Taylor 8. I will love you forever and always. Karen Stevens 9. Waiting for a ride. Lori Reaume 10. Charlotte, our tractor girl. Kaitlin LaLonde



MI CO-OP Recipes

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

VEGETARIAN Go meat-free with these healthy recipes.


SWEET POTATO AND QUINOA BURGERS Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications

2 large sweet potatoes 1 cup uncooked dry quinoa (makes 2 cups cooked) ½ medium red bell pepper, finely chopped ¼ small red onion, finely chopped ½ cup kale, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon oil

Win a


energy bill credit!

10 MAY 2020


Kid-Friendly Cooking due July 1 • Easy Recipes due August 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to for more information.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake, boil, or microwave the sweet potatoes until soft. Discard skins; then mash and allow to cool. Cook quinoa as per packet instructions; cool. In a bowl, add the mashed sweet potato, cooked quinoa, bell pepper, onion, kale, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Mix everything well. When cool enough to handle, take ½ cup each of the mixture and form into patties. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the patties liberally with oil of choice, then place them on the baking sheet and bake until the patties are deeply golden on the outside, about 35–40 minutes, flipping halfway. Patties can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen for fast meals.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

FALAFEL WITH FETA SAUCE Sondra Harr, Great Lakes Energy

FALAFEL: 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 clove garlic 3 green onions • juice from ½ lemon 1 bunch parsley 1 teaspoon cumin ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 egg ¹⁄ ³ cup flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder • flour tortillas or pita bread • oil for frying

FETA SAUCE: ½ cup feta cheese ½ cup Greek yogurt, plain 2 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 garlic cloves, minced To make falafel, place all falafel ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate for ½ hour. Roll dough into balls and lightly flatten. Fry in hot oil for 3 minutes per side. To make feta sauce, combine all ingredients and chill until ready to drizzle over falafel. Serve in a warm tortilla or pita bread with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and sliced cucumber.



Shelley Ehrenberger, Cherryland RICE CRUST 1½ cups cooked rice 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened 2 tablespoons onion, chopped 1 egg EGGPLANT FILLING 1 medium onion, chopped 1 large green bell pepper, chopped 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste 1 cup hot water 1 medium/large eggplant, quartered and sliced ½ -inch thick ½ to 1 pound mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. To make rice crust, combine rice with butter, chopped onion, and egg. Press into bottom and sides of greased 9-inch pie pan. To make eggplant filling, sauté onion and green pepper in butter until transparent. Add tomato paste and hot water, and bring to a boil. Add eggplant; simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon half of eggplant mixture into crust. Add half of cheese. Add the remaining eggplant mixture, and top with remainder of cheese. Bake for 30–35 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.

2 teaspoons olive oil 4 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced 3 ounces goat cheese (can sub with cream cheese) ¼ cup skim milk 6 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow-tie pasta) 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons dry white wine (can sub with vegetable broth) 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage (or sub with ½ teaspoon dried) ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted walnuts Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook slowly until golden and caramelized, about 20–25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Combine goat cheese and milk in small bowl; mix until well blended. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Add garlic to onions in skillet; cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine, sage, salt and black pepper; cook until moisture is evaporated. Remove from heat. Add pasta and goat cheese mixture, stirring to melt cheese. Sprinkle with walnuts. Serve immediately. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


COVID-19 Office Closure Update

provided through press releases to local media outlets (TV and newspapers), on our website at and on our Facebook page.

s of press time, PIE&G has extended the suspension of all nonpayment shutoffs, collections and late fees on delinquent balances for residential and commercial accounts through June 1 and possibly longer. PIE&G will offer extended payment plans to those adversely affected by the crisis, especially seniors, lowincome members and those experiencing financial hardship due to job loss, layoff or illness.

Member Services: 1 -800-423-6634 (M–F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)


PIE&G’s lobby will also remain closed through June 1 and possibly longer while maintaining a full staff, including linemen, natural gas crews and Member Services, all of whom are working to maintain essential utility services. Some employees are working from home and work stations have been moved to accommodate social distancing between employees. We are limiting field personnel to essential tasks and emergencies only. All nonessential appointments have been canceled. Updates will be

These extraordinary steps are intended to protect employees, members, the public and all families from unnecessary risks of exposure during the pandemic. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Pay-By-Phone: 1-866-999-4571 (have account # available) Report power outages: 1-800-423-6634

Natural gas emergencies: 1-800-655-8565 PIE&G will maintain the procedures outlined above in accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 and Michigan’s legislature and will abide by any amendments or new orders as they are announced.


PIE&G provides convenient methods for you to pay your electric bill. Pay Online, By Mobile Device Or By Telephone • Pay online, at our self-service website ( Select Manage My Account powered by SmartHub, º then select “New User,” then “Sign Up.” º Enter billing account number, last name or business name, and email address. Select “Submit” and follow remaining prompts. º • To pay using your mobile device, download SmartHub on the App Store© or Google Play marketplace. • To pay by phone, call 1-866-999-4571. Please have your bill available so you can provide your account number.

Automatic Payment Payments can also be made by automatic withdrawal from your checking, savings, debit or credit account. To use this method, call our office at 800-423-6634.

Pay By Mail

Drop Box

Checks and money orders can be sent to:

COVID-19 Office Closure: Although PIE&G’s office is currently closed to walk-in traffic, you may place your envelope with your check or money order and bill stub in our Drop Box. Otherwise, we encourage you to communicate with us by telephone. Business operations will continue. Please visit and our Facebook page to stay updated.

PIE&G, PO Box 308, Onaway, MI 49765 Please include the bottom stub of the bill to assure that your account is properly credited. Please do not send cash.

Fuel Mix Report Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and a happy 4th of July holiday!

The fuel mix characteristics of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 12/31/19.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op will be closed to celebrate the following holidays:

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used

Memorial Day — Monday, May 25 Independence Day — Friday, July 3

Regional average fuel mix used Your co-op’s fuel mix

Fuel Source

Payments may be made at the co-op’s drop box (checks or money orders only), by using SmartHub, available either at or on our free mobile app, or by calling 1-866-999-4571. In case of emergencies, call 1-800-423-6634.

Access To Rules And Rates Please be advised that the following information is available to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members: 1. Complete rate schedules;

Coal 23.30% Oil




Gas 15.03%





Nuclear 42.39%


Renewable Fuels 17.19%











Solid Waste Incineration









NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

2. Clear and concise explanation of all rates that the member may be eligible to receive; 3. Assistance from the cooperative in determining the most appropriate rate for a member when the member is eligible to receive service under more than one rate; 4. Clear and concise explanation of the member’s actual energy use for each billing period during the last 12 months. The information can be obtained by visiting or contacting Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 989-733-8515.

Regional Average Fuel Mix

Natural Gas Rates Decrease Slightly Effective April 1, 2020, natural gas rates decreased slightly. The Gas Cost Recovery Factor (GCR) was lowered from $0.4154 to $0.3450 per ccf (a $0.0704 decrease), while the distribution rate increased as noted below for each class. Please refer to the table below for the itemized charges and net effect for each rate class per ccf. The monthly availability charge has remained the same for each class.


General Service


Monthly Charge




Monthly Availability




GCR $/ccf




Total $/ccf




Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Co-op

Regional Average*

Sulfur Dioxide



Carbon Dioxide



Oxides of Nitrogen High-level Nuclear Waste





*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/19. Presque Isle Electric & Gas purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.




“Craft distilling in the U.S. is actually quite a tight-knit community.” –Chad Munger

“As a small business, we’re used to pivoting and adapting quickly.” –Kent Rabish

DISTILLING COMMUNITY Michigan Distilleries Lend A Hand And Make A Difference By Emily Haines Lloyd


“We started hearing stories of distilleries in the northwest of the United States who were starting to make hand sanitizer on their stills.”

flattening the curve of the impact of the virus. They noted that in lieu of soap and water, hand sanitizer was also effective.

“Craft distilling in the U.S. is actually quite a tight-knit community,” said Chad Munger of Mammoth Distilling.

The country began to prepare for an anticipated influx of people contracting the virus and the pressure that would be put on the health care and first responder communities. Gaps began to appear in supply chains. Protective gear like face masks and gloves was in short supply. Medical professionals, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all noted that hand washing was a critical step in

“You don’t realize just how much sanitizer is needed in health care and for first responders,” said Kent Rabish of Grand Traverse Distillery. “From reception areas, to disinfecting each exam room, to having on ambulance rigs for each call. And now suddenly, the country realizes, we are going to need even more.”

raft spirits in Michigan is an industry that speaks often about creativity, a sense of community, and of course, good times and fellowship. After the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19, Michigan distilleries, along with the bulk of their hospitality brethren, found themselves displaced, with dining and tasting rooms closed and the bulk of their workforce suddenly without income or purpose. It seemed like the good times were becoming a distant memory.

14 MAY 2020

Michigan distilleries quickly launched into action. Initially, they delivered or



“We rolled up our sleeves and got to work. I think that’s what our distilling community is all about.” –Chris Fredrickson

“We are here to serve our communities.” –Howard Tuthill

gave away the sanitizing runoff they had on hand, which is the byproduct of producing alcohol.

now adapting to a learning curve by distillery workforces who were grateful for a way to pitch in.

“Our employees were dropping off sanitizer to local firehouses, municipalities, and hospitals, just to support our community,” said Chris Fredrickson of Traverse City Whiskey Co. “It was a quick and easy way to step into a strange situation and find a way to help.”

“So much of our industry is about community,” said Howard Tuthill of Iron Shoe Distillery. “We are here to serve our communities. And when we suddenly weren’t able to share moments in person, it felt good to be able to reach out to our community in another way.”

Suddenly, the creativity, ingenuity, and adaptability of this craft industry kicked into high gear. Calls were made to source materials, ensuring they had the federal “recipe” for allowable sanitizer, and distilleries across the state began trading in corn and wheat for ethanol and glycerin.

Dozens of distilleries around the state and country have stepped into this space and are now producing hand sanitizer as quickly as they can acquire the supplies.

“As a small business, we’re used to pivoting and adapting quickly,” said Landis Rabish of Grand Traverse Distillery. “We stay nimble and adapt to new circumstances constantly. This is second nature to us.” Buildings that once hummed and produced handcrafted libations were

“We took the first step, simply because it was the right thing to do,” said Fredrickson. “We had the infrastructure to help people in a really unusual and weird time. This wasn’t a moment to sit back and watch things happen. That’s not who we are as a business. It’s not who we are as a team. So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. I think that’s what our distilling community is all about.”

If you are still looking for hand sanitizer, check out the American Distilling Institute website,, for the most up-to-date listing of distillers who are producing it.

For more information, please visit their websites and follow these distilleries on Facebook and Instagram.



Who is Jennifer Quail? By Emily Haines Lloyd

Jennifer Quail is an old pro at winning competitions. She was pretty excited when she

submitted a recipe to Michigan Country Lines’ online contest and won a $50 credit on her Midwest Energy bill. Her Southwest Mac N Cheese was a hit, but she had no idea then that her winning streak was about to go to a whole new level. Quail grew up on the east side of Michigan near Detroit but found herself in Dowagiac, Michigan, after taking a museum educator position at Southwest Michigan College. Quail’s interest in facts and details certainly directed her in pursuing her museum studies degree. Those same interests were just as instrumental in her transition into a winetasting consultant for Domaine Berrien Cellars (Berrien Springs, Michigan), where she currently educates visitors on the nuances of the wine varietals offered. Quail, a lover of details and trivia, can put her knowledge to the test on the daily, but she always had her eyes on the ultimate trivia test. “I always loved ‘Jeopardy!’ when I was younger,” remembers Quail. “If we got our homework done as kids, we would eat dinner and then get to watch ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Jeopardy!’ It was the ultimate treat.” For 35 years, Quail watched contestants compete to ring in and dazzle host Alex Trebek with correct answers. Quail decided to take on the try-out process for the show—which consists of an online test, a face-to-face audition, and finally, an invitation to be a contestant. She made it as far as the in-person audition three times but didn’t advance to appearing on the show. Her fourth try proved to be the lucky one, and she was selected to compete on “Jeopardy!” Quail flew out to Los Angeles, where the show is filmed, and sat next to the other contestants, as they patiently awaited their turn to pick up a buzzer and show their smarts.

“It was the only time I was really nervous,” said Quail. “You’re sitting there waiting for your name to be called. Otherwise, I felt pretty calm. Once you’ve worked a room of third graders on a museum field trip, you’re pretty much ready for anything.” When Quail’s name finally was called, the nerves seemed to fade into the background. Once she won her first match, her confidence built, and Quail was off. Quail ended up with an impressive eight-game winning streak, going out on her ninth round. Her final earnings were $228,800, but Quail was equally proud that she correctly answered every Daily Double that she rang in on and nailed each “Final Jeopardy!” question except for one. Quail’s impressive run qualifies her for the Tournament of Champions, which she’s quick to admit she’d love to participate in. While the prize money and local notoriety were certainly a nice outcome, Quail has a sincere love of the game and is glad she didn’t give up on auditioning for the show. “It’s a dream come true. To go from being that little kid watching ‘Jeopardy!’ to actually being on the show, it’s amazing,” said Quail. “I’d encourage anyone who is thinking of auditioning for the show to do it. Just take the first step—because you never know where it can lead.”

“ It’s a dream come true. To go from being that little kid watching ‘Jeopardy!’ to actually being on the show, it’s amazing.” 16 MAY 2020

Generator Safety Tips T

he spring and summer storm season is upon us and for some of you, this means installing or using a generator. The purchase and installation of a generator is an important and serious decision. Properly done, you gain peace of mind knowing your family can ride out an outage with some degree of comfort. But an incorrectly implemented generator can become deadly to you, your family, your neighbors and your electric cooperative’s employees. Here are some tips for using generators in your home: • If you are installing a permanent generator, it must have a transfer switch. The transfer switch prevents electricity from leaving your generator and going back onto the utility’s equipment, where it could be dangerous, even deadly, to a lineman or others near downed power lines. Have a licensed electrician install a transfer switch to prevent this issue, known as backfeeding electricity. • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and that the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. • Ensure your generator is properly grounded. • Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.

• Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down. • Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Be aware that generators produce carbon monoxide. • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby. • Never fuel a generator while it is operating, and do not touch it with wet hands. Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Never cut corners when it comes to safety. Hiring a licensed contractor is recommended.

Please let us know if you have a generator. If you recently installed a generator or if you’ve had one for a while and haven’t notified us, please call PIE&G at 800-423-6634. We will add a note to your account that will make our crews aware of your equipment prior to making repairs.

Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op A Special Board Meeting is set for June 23, 9:00 a.m.* The board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its meeting on June 23, 2020, which will be held via teleconference.* The meeting will start at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors. The following items will be discussed: 1. Review and approval of the 2019 Electric Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) analysis; 2. Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Electric Rate Tariffs to accommodate provisions for Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI); 3. Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Aid to Construction Fees and Policies; 4. Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Special Charges to accommodate provisions for Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI); 5. Consideration of revisions to the cooperative’s billing rules. *At press time, Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order (EO) 2020-21 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” is in effect. If EO 2020-21 is not lifted by June 23, the meeting will be held via teleconference. If, however, the Governor’s executive order is lifted by June 23, the meeting will be held “in person” at 19831 M68 Highway, Onaway, Michigan. Members are asked to come to the cooperative lobby by 8:45 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. Notices 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 first-class mail or by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 800-423-6634 a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing or other assistance. Comments may also be made before the meeting date by calling Chief Executive Officer Thomas Sobeck at 800-423-6634, or by email at


MI CO-OP Community Guest Column

Last Train Ride

Lake Odessa to Grand Rapids, Circa 1956 By Tom McWhorter, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member

y grandmother lived in Lake Odessa and sometime in the mid-’50s, she took a train to Grand Rapids. She needed to see a medical specialist and wanted our mother to accompany her. My mom took me, as she wanted me to experience a train ride. She said that I could tell my children about it one day, as she did not think passenger trains would be around much longer.


Lake Odessa was on the Pere Marquette Railway (PMR) line. PMR was sold to Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) and is now operated by CSX. Passenger service was, in fact, discontinued from Lake Odessa in 1971. We went down to the depot, purchased our tickets and waited for the train to arrive. I was excited, I had seen trains from a distance but had no idea of how big and powerful the engine was up close. I am sure that I was filled with both amazement and fear! Unfortunately, I do not remember anything specific about the ride itself. We would have arrived at the old Grand Rapids Central Station, which was demolished in 1961 in order to make way for the construction of U.S. 131. After my grandmother’s appointment, we walked around downtown Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids was for sure the biggest city that I had ever been to, large buildings and department stores with strange names such as Herpolsheimer’s and Steketee’s. After some shopping, we went back to Lake Odessa. So, thank you to my mom and grandmother for giving me this story to tell a mere 64 years later! Tom McWhorter is a retired state employee who grew up in rural Eaton County and now lives with his wife Wendy in Leelanau County. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and his interests include history, writing and traveling.

Win a


energy bill credit!

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo on the left by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at March 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo contest winner from the March issue is Aaron Wiers, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Silverdale school building in Ogontz, located on the Stonington Peninsula in Delta County. Photo courtesy of Kelli Marshall Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

18 MAY 2020

Hybrid Geothermal

CALL FOR A FREE HOME VISIT (989) 356-2113 989-356-2113 /PIEGCooperative

To everyone helping in so many ways and those serving on the frontlines during this pandemic, we THANK YOU.

• Medical Workers • First Responders • Journalists • Civil Service Employees • Delivery Folks • Bank Workers • Farmers • Sanitary Workers • Pharmacy Workers

• Nonprofit Workers • Factory Workers • Truckers • Grocery Workers • Mail Carriers • Utility Workers • Military Personnel • School Employees • Restaurant Workers

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