COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op
K C I R N A G M U BA
Annual Meter Readings Begin In May
Get Involved In Your Co-op Save Money By Recycling That Old Refrigerator!
� E TN
FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2022
Not seeing is believing.
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Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com
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Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890 candormechanical.com
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Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Topnotchheatandair.com Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 airserv.com/southernmichigan/ Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 waltonheating.com Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com
Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 dwmechanical.com Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 geofurnace.com
May 2022 Vol. 42, No. 5
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives
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.
6 ADVENTURE AHEAD AT DEER TRACKS JUNCTION In addition to being a safe haven for its animals, Deer Tracks Junction soothes the souls of its human visitors as well. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN On The Grill: Fire it up for dinner tonight.
CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 email@example.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.
Head over hooves about the weather warming up #spring @dds_photo (Danielle Sullivan)
18 GUEST COLUMN Floating Michigan Rivers: For one GLE member, time spent frolicking on the river is a source of enjoyment and daily life lessons.
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.
14 NICK BAUMGARTNER: MY NEW FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD Persistence and determination helped an Iron River native capture gold at the Beijing Olympics ... providing the perfect culmination of his 30-year snowboarding career.
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account.
MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community
RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit!
Up Next: Pasta Salads, due July 1 Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!
Submit your fondest memories and stories at countrylines.com/community.
MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!
Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Electric Rates— Frustration And Optimism
Tom Sobeck, President & CEO BOARD OF DIRECTORS Charles Arbour 23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2023 Allan Berg, Chairman 8400 Lost Lake Rd., Hawks, MI 49743 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2023 Sandy Borowicz, Secretary 5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2024 John Brown, Vice-Chairman 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2023 Sally Knopf 1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2024 Kurt Krajniak 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, Treasurer P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2024 Raymond Wozniak 6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2022 President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck email@example.com Communications Director/Co-op Editor: Mairè Chagnon-Hazelman Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 3149 Main Street (M-211) Onaway, MI 49765
Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515 Toll-Free: 800-423-6634 Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565 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.
4 MAY 2022
t’s time once again for our annual review of expenses and their impact to rates and, while I’m frustrated, I feel a sense of optimism too. We’re addressing electric distribution rates (what our costs are to get the electricity from substations to your home or business) and we do have some control over those costs. We’ve provided a summary of those changes in this month’s magazine as well. So, let’s start with the frustrating part. Last year, we began two ambitious projects—constructing a new headquarters and service center building and deploying an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. The PIE&G board was adamant about limiting the impact of both projects to member rates. PIE&G management conducted studies, engaged consultants, and presented all the options and details to the board. All analyses led to a resulting increase to electric bills of about $10 per month when all was said and done. Mind you, that $10-a-month figure is no small matter to your directors, and I couldn’t agree more. To that end, we took our tasks very seriously and worked extremely hard to advance our projects with the overall goal of remaining on budget. We were substantially successful in meeting that goal and we’re quite proud of that. Then, as is often the case, life has a way of letting you know that you don’t get to control everything! Our power supply costs began to steadily increase because of economic and environmental pressures well beyond our control in northeast Michigan. As electric generation moves away from coal and towards natural gas and renewable energy sources, and as natural gas supplies are reduced due to increased demand, costs inevitably go up. It’s not my intent to promote one fuel or resource over another; I’m just stating our frustration with plotting a sound course, developing confidence in reliance on our plan and then having outside factors negatively impact that plan. That is what happened a few months ago when a rate increase was needed to reimburse our supplier (Wolverine) for the difference between what we paid them to purchase power on your behalf, and what their actual costs were to supply it. So, where’s the optimism in all of this? It may be of little consolation during a time of overall rising costs and inflation in our global economy, but your electric service is still very competitively priced when compared to other Michigan cooperatives and our investor-owned competitors. We’ve been providing reliable service for many years and that will continue. Another bright spot in this review is that throughout the construction and completion of our new HQ facility, we’ve been able to hold our natural gas distribution rates constant. We will continue to strive to meet the challenge of balancing affordable energy with reliable delivery of energy services. As always, we appreciate your understanding and support, which are essential to our success. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with essential services that make your lifestyles a bit brighter, warmer, and more comfortable.
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—Alcona, Alpena, 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, pieg.com). 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 of director 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, P.O. 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, Oct. 28 in Onaway.
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 2022, two directors from the Alpena district will be elected, as well as one from the Presque Isle district.
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.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Adventure Ahead At Deer Tracks Junction By Emily Haines Lloyd
hile Deer Tracks Junction Adventure Park and Site 57 Safari isn’t an animal rescue, it might be hard to convince any of the hundreds of animals who call it “home” that it’s not. Deer Tracks Junction was started as a family-owned breeding stock facility by Hilary and Kelly Powell, raising whitetail deer and elk for sale. Ultimately, selling the animals became less and less inspiring, and sharing the animals became the family’s true passion. The Powells initially brought animals onto their 80 acres to ensure that their son, Tyler, had the experience of farm chores just like his dad had growing up. Once Kelly retired from his construction business, the animal adventure really got started. “People would inquire about our animals and ask for tours,” said Hilary. “Little by little, bit by bit—the idea of the park came into focus. And with blood, sweat, tears, and prayer—it became real and keeps evolving.” The park offers two entirely different experiences. The ﬁrst—the Adventure Park—can include a fully immersive experience of petting pigs, feeding camels, snuggling rabbits, and bottlefeeding baby goats. Then there’s the Safari, which opened in 2020 on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a “trail” to wander the open terrain in your own vehicle. It provides an opportunity to feed animals like alpaca and bison from your car window. You’ll also drive through the black bear paddock and get about as close as you’d dare to these magniﬁcent creatures. The bears actually were rescues who had only ever lived on cement. “They were so nervous at ﬁrst,” remembers Hilary. “They’d never felt grass under their paws. They went from six years on cement to a really beautiful natural enclosure with a huge play structure that they can forage through. It’s so heartwarming to see them go from hesitant to happy.”
The Powells’ goal is to take that hesitation out of their visitors as well, by offering opportunities to interact with the animals and see them up close. While bear feedings aren’t on the itinerary, climbing around on structures is something visitors can also enjoy. Handmade jungle gyms designed by Kelly and built with the help of Tyler, now in his mid-20s, are another joyful adventure for those who visit. Deer Tracks Junction is a family affair all around, with three generations all contributing to creating a one-ofa-kind experience—right up to the homemade churned ice cream served on-site in freshly made wafﬂe cones.
It’s likely the close family ties and connections are the very reason visitors feel welcome and at home. The Powells have hosted family outings, date nights, and even wedding proposals. It’s a relationship as beautiful as those experienced between the guests and the animals themselves. “It’s not just about the adventure of seeing and experiencing the animals,” said Hilary. “It’s such a blessing that people choose to make family memories with us. We couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of people’s lives in that way.”
“It’s such a blessing that people choose to make family memories with us. We couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of people’s lives in that way.”
Deer Tracks Junction Adventure Park opens Memorial weekend and closes in September, depending on weather conditions. To ﬁnd out more, visit deertracksjunction.com. 7850 14 Mile Road, NE Cedar Springs, MI 49319 616-863-3337
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
1. This is my 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner. We take it to all kinds of shows all over the country. It is very special to me as it was my dad’s car, and he left it to me to care for after he passed away in 2012. Brad Notter 2. Our sweet ride is a 1973 Mach 1 Mustang. Ivan Buck 3. The 1932 Model B Ford pickup on barn moving day. Rosemary Neuman 4. The old wood boat. Melissa Brown 5. 1941 Harley-Davidson WLA. Jack Burgett 6. Joy ride. Megan Hagadone 7. Antique car emblem, Onaway Car Show 2018. Donald Wilton 8. One horse town. Jill Wells 9. 1957 Jaguar XK 140. A very pretty example of an exceptionally rare and desirable Jaguar model. Sandra Adair 10. This is my dad in the car he painted and gave me on my 16th birthday. It was a ‘76 Chevy Vega. You could always see me coming. Maryann Beck
11. Bonnie and Clyde with their dog hiding out in Presque Isle County. Sharon Wyman 12. Evening ride. Bryan Leach 13. Oldies but goodies. David Nowak
Enter to win up to a $50 energy bill credit! Submit Your “Ice Cream” Photos By May 20! Submit your best photo and encourage others to vote! 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 May theme is Ice Cream. Photos can be submitted through May 20 to be featured in our July/August issue. 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 2022, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your January 2023 bill. 8 MAY 2022
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
ON THE GRILL Fire it up for dinner tonight
WINNING RECIPE! GRILLED MARINATED SALMON WITH SUGARED PINEAPPLE Anne Forgrave, Great Lakes Energy
Marinade: ¹⁄ ³ cup brown sugar ¹⁄ ³ cup teriyaki sauce ¹⁄ ³ cup soy sauce ¼ cup water ¼ cup oil 2 cloves garlic, minced • lemon juice, to taste Salmon: 2-pound salmon ﬁlet(s) • salt and pepper, to taste Pineapple: 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into spears or slices ¾" thick ½ cup brown sugar ½ cup melted butter ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus small amount for dusting)
RECIPE CONTEST Win a
energy bill credit!
10 MAY 2022
Pasta Salads due July 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mix marinade ingredients and pour into a 1-gallon plastic bag with zip-lock seal. Season salmon ﬁlet with salt and pepper. Add seasoned salmon to plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for at least two hours (overnight is best). Grill salmon until it ﬂakes; time depends on thickness of ﬁlet. Can put salmon directly on grill (wiped or sprayed with oil) or use a grill pan. For pineapple, spray grill with oil or use a grill pan. Lay pineapple on pan in single layer. Dust with cinnamon. Mix the brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon to make a glaze. If the glaze is thick, microwave it for a few seconds until pourable. Pour over pineapple. Grill in single layer for 2–3 minutes per side or until golden and just tender. Great with a tossed green salad, asparagus, and crusty bread. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
JALAPEÑO CRUNCH BURGER Joseph Brewer, HomeWorks Tri-County
5 jalapeños, diced (w/ seeds to make it spicier/hotter, no seeds for a milder taste) 1 green bell pepper, ﬁnely diced 2 large yellow onions, ﬁnely diced 2 tablespoons butter, for sautéing 3 pounds ground beef (room temperature) 3 eggs 3 teaspoons black pepper 3 teaspoons salt 3 teaspoons red pepper (cayenne pepper) 3 teaspoons paprika 3 teaspoons cumin • queso dip or pepper jack cheese • Fritos or French’s Crispy Fried Onions (for the crunch)
Dice up your vegetables (jalapeños, green peppers, and onions), and sauté them in butter until tender/caramelized. You can sauté them together or separately. Once the vegetables are sautéed to your liking, set aside and allow to cool. In a large bowl, add in the meat, eggs, seasonings, and cooled sautéed veggies. Mix thoroughly, making sure to try and spread the seasonings and sautéed veggies as evenly as possible. Form your patties, and grill to desired temperature (if you are using pepper jack cheese, add it to your burger while it’s still grilling). Top burger with desired crunch (Fritos or French’s Crispy Fried Onions) and queso dip (or can have with pepper jack cheese). Serve on a sesame seed bun and enjoy!
TEQUILA LIME CHICKEN Mary Card, Great Lakes Energy
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves—trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry; set aside on platter ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice ¼ cup tequila (gold) ¼ cup fresh orange juice 1½ teaspoons chili powder 1½ teaspoons minced garlic cloves 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced, optional 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper In a large bowl, prop up a large, open zipper-top bag and add the lime juice, tequila, orange juice, chili powder,
garlic cloves, jalapeño, salt, and pepper. Add chicken to bag and zip the top. Massage chicken in bag to combine and place bowl in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight, turning bag every few hours, or at least twice. Prep grill for medium heat (charcoal or gas). Drain marinade off chicken and place chicken on grill rack. Cook chicken 5 minutes, then turn and grill another 5–8 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, or internal temperature is 160 F. Move chicken to clean platter and let rest, covered with foil, about 5 minutes, to allow juices to set. Garnish with lime wedges for squeezing over chicken. Serves 6.
DUCK ON THE GRILL Margie Guyot, Great Lakes Energy 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
duck (5–6 pounds), defrosted tablespoon salt teaspoon black pepper teaspoon smoked paprika orange, cut into quarters head garlic, top trimmed celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
Set up your grill for indirect grilling. For a gas grill, put a large drip pan in the center. Preheat the grill on high, then reduce the temperature to medium/low when the duck is placed on the grill. For a charcoal grill, arrange charcoal pieces around the side of a drip pan and let them burn until medium/hot (coals mostly covered in ash). Rinse the duck inside out with cool, running water. Pat dry. Use a large sharp fork and prick the skin all over, but be careful not to pierce the meat (or the meat will be dry). Mix the salt, pepper, and paprika. Rub the duck inside and out with the spice mixture.
Stuff the cavity of the duck with the orange quarters, whole head of garlic, and celery pieces. Fold the neck skin under to cover the cavity. Close with a skewer. Set the duck, breast side up, on a rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook for about 1½ hours. If you’re using a charcoal grill, add 10–12 briquettes every half hour or so to keep the temperature up. After 1½ hours, drain the juices and fat from the drip pan and ﬂip the duck, breast side down. Continue cooking for another 30–60 minutes until the meat is tender. Flip the duck back to breast side up for the last 10 minutes to crisp the skin. The internal temperature should be 175 F at the thickest part of the thigh. Allow the duck to rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Remove oranges and celery from the duck’s cavity and throw away (ideally on your compost pile). The roasted head of garlic can be used as a spread on bread. Carve duck and serve. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
PIE&G Board Approves Electric Rate Increase
t its Special Open Member Regulation Meeting held on March 29, 2022, at the cooperative, the board of directors reviewed a cost of service study to evaluate electric rates that incorporated recent expenses for contractors to conduct a complete pole and equipment inventory of PIE&G’s electric distribution system. The inventory was necessary to incorporate technology advances and to allow for digital mapping. After review and discussion, the board approved an electric rate increase for all rate classes, as outlined in the chart (right). The average full-time Residential member will see an increase of approximately $5.71 per month or $68.52 per year, based on PIE&G’s average full-time Residential member’s monthly usage of 666 kWh. The average Seasonal Residential member will see an increase of approximately $3.34 per month, or $40.08 per year, based on PIE&G’s average Seasonal member’s monthly usage of 258 kWh. The monthly availability charge will not change. The rate increase will become effective for bills rendered on or after Sept. 1, 2022.
PIE&G Electric Rate Increases (per kilowatt hour) Effective For Bills Rendered On or After Sept. 1, 2022 Rate Class
Large General Service
Large Power Time of Day
40W LED T5
70W LED T3/T5
Outdoor Lighting—Monthly Charge
Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Electric Tariff and Rule Changes
Access To Rules And Rates
The Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op board of directors adopted the following changes to the cooperative’s electric tariffs at its Special Open Meeting and regular board meeting held on March 29, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167:
Please be advised that the following information is available to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members:
• Approved the reconciliation of the 2021 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor net undercollection of $840,499.34 and incorporation into the 2022 PSCR factor, and continued collection throughout the 2022 calendar year;
1. Complete rate schedules;
• Approved the 2021 Electric Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) analysis requiring a revenue increase of $2,031,825 to be equitably allocated among the following rate classes: Monthly Residential, Seasonal Residential, General Service, Large General Service, Large Power Time of Day, Primary Service and Outdoor Lighting. The rate increase will be effective with bills rendered on or after Sept. 1, 2022, and will increase the cost to the average residential member using 666 kWh/month by approximately $5.71 per month; • Approved revisions to the cooperative’s Renewable Energy Tariffs to accommodate provisions for the Buy- All/Sell-All (all member electric generation by solar and wind renewable energy up to 100kW) and Distributed Renewal Energy Programs (member net-metering of solar or wind renewable electric generation up to 20kW). 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. 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.
12 MAY 2022
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 pieg.com or contacting Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 989-733-8515.
Fuel Mix Report 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 12/31/21.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and a happy Fourth of July holiday! Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op will be closed to celebrate the following summer holidays:
Your co-op’s fuel mix
Regional average fuel mix
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
Memorial Day—Monday, May 30 Independence Day—Monday, July 4 Payments may be made anytime at the co-op’s drop box (checks or money orders only), using PIE&G’s SmartHub account management tool (available on the web at pieg.com or by free mobile download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store), or by calling 1-866-999-4571. In case of emergencies, call 1-800-423-6634.
UTILITY POLES ARE NOT BULLETIN BOARDS OR FLAG POLES Please do not attach signs, flag poles, or flags!
Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs or fliers and flag poles and flags create dangerous obstacles for electric lineworkers.
Their jobs are dangerous enough— help us keep them safe!
Regional Average Fuel Mix
Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Type of emission/waste
Oxides of Nitrogen
High-Level Nuclear Waste
*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21. Presque Isle Electric & Gas purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
K R C I N GA M U BA
� E TN
FAVORITE COLOR IS GOLD
By Yvonne Whitman || Photography by Keven Zini
It’s not every day that an Olympic gold medal finds itself in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But that’s what happened after Nick Baumgartner of Iron River captured first place with teammate Lindsey Jacobellis while competing in the mixed team snowboard cross event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. This event, which made its debut in this year’s games, features a male and female rider from the same country paired and placed into a multi-team bracket. Competitors tear down a course with turns, jumps, rollers, and drops designed to push them to their limits. Competitive snowboarding is not for the faint of heart. “Snowboard cross is chaos in every sense of the word,” Baumgartner said. “We are doing something that is so unpredictable. We go down the course at highway speeds of 50–60 mph on a ﬁve-foot-long board with metal edges that are sharp as a sword, with
14 MAY 2022
nothing to protect us except for the helmet on our head.” At 40, Baumgartner was the oldest medalist in Olympic snowboarding history—but he started riding early. “When I was 10 years old, I got this funny-looking plastic snowboard for Christmas, and I took it to the sledding hill behind my house,” Baumgartner said. “Fast-forward 30 years, and that plastic snowboard and my persistence turned into an Olympic gold medal at age 40. To think that 18 years after I started on this team, here I am still going, I would never have
imagined it. You’re never too late to take what you want from life.” When reﬂecting on receiving his gold medal, Baumgartner said, “I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ It hits a little bit different when you’re standing there on the podium and listening to it being played because of something you did. It was a proud moment and very emotional for me.” That emotional celebration followed him back to the U.P. A born and bred Yooper, Baumgartner wasn’t surprised when crowds of local people welcomed him home from Beijing. “I know the people of the U.P., and I know Yoopers, and it didn’t surprise me at all that the celebration started so far away with people standing out on the side of the road hooting and hollering in the freezing cold weather, holding signs that they had made,” Baumgartner said. And when he says, “so far away,” he means it: His supporters began lining the route 60 miles from his hometown, where a community parade awaited him.
But even a 60-mile celebration couldn’t hold a candle to the welcome home from his 17-year-old son Landon. “Getting a gold medal is wonderful, but Landon is my greatest accomplishment. It has meant so much to me to be able to share this journey with him and to have him be proud of me,” Baumgartner said, his voice brimming with emotion. “That’s what really matters to me. I’ve been trying to show him through my whole career what it takes to be a champion, how you don’t give up on your dreams, and that you can accomplish anything. I think he learned those lessons along the way, but winning the gold medal deﬁnitely cemented those ideas for him.” Nick Baumgartner is a model of commitment and determination. Entering the elite atmosphere of gold medal athletes did not come easy. It took considerable work, endless training, and competing at countless events for many years, but he made it to the top. Michigan is not just proud to be the home of an Olympic gold medal winner, but incredibly proud to be the home of Nick Baumgartner.
FAST FACTS ABOUT NIC� BAUMGA�TNER
• This was his fourth time in the Olympics. He also competed in 2010, 2014, and 2018 (where he placed 4th). • He is an assistant coach on son Landon’s track team and will be the commencement speaker at Landon’s graduation ceremony. • When training, Nick lives out of a van four days a week with his dog Oakley to stay closer to his gym, which is 90 minutes from his home. • He played football at Northern Michigan University. • Nick built his own house. He is a union concrete worker. • No stranger to medals, Nick has also procured gold and silver in Snowboard Cross at the X Games. • He next plans to compete in the Snowboarding World Championships in 2023.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Out With The Old; Spring For The New t’s time to start planning that summer yard sale you’ve been talking about, which means numerous trips to the basement and garage to sort through boxes of clothes, dishes, and paperback books. While you ponder over those old bowling trophies, take a closer look at the “extra” refrigerator in the corner. It’s been great for storing the overflow of soda cans, water bottles, and holiday leftovers over the years, but if it’s older than 15 years, it may be costing you more than $300 per year to run it!
Money in your pocket Ready to save? Recycle your old refrigerator (no, not at the yard sale). Schedule a free pickup for your outdated, functioning appliances and earn some cool cash incentives from the Energy Optimization program. Qualifying Appliances
Refrigerator (Full-size, 10 cubic feet or larger)
Chest Freezer (10 cubic feet or larger)
Cold, hard facts
Window Air Conditioner
• More than 60 million refrigerators and refrigeratorfreezers in the U.S. are over 10 years old, costing consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs.
• An older refrigerator uses twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator.
Replacing your appliances with a new, efficient ENERGY STAR appliance may also qualify you for additional incentives.
• Recycling old refrigerators prevents refrigerants and foam from entering the environment, preventing 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution.
Check out additional energy-saving opportunities through Presque Isle’s Energy Optimization program by visiting pieg.com/eo or call 877-296-4319.
An outdated refrigerator uses nearly twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR® certified model. Recycle it & earn cash incentives! Refrigerator: $25 rebate Chest Freezer: $25 rebate Window Air Conditioner: $25 rebate (ride-along item) $25 rebate (ride-along item)
Time to upgrade? SCHEDULE A FREE PICKUP CALL: 877.296.4319
INCENTIVES AVAILABLE FOR NEW APPLIANCES! VISIT: pieg.com/eo
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, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit pieg.com.
DO-IT-YOURSELF SAFETY TIPS Many of us are spending more time at home and finding new, creative ways to enhance our living space. Tackling do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for the home can be fun and cost-effective, so why not roll up those sleeves and get started! Whether you’re painting the front door with a fresh hue or finally upgrading those patio lights, successfully completing a DIY home project is incredibly satisfying. But many of these projects do not come without risks. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as you get to work.
Start by selecting a designated work area.
The amount of space you’ll need will depend on the size and scope of your project, but make sure you have adequate lighting and ventilation (if necessary). Required tools and equipment should be located in your workspace and organized for easy access.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is your friend. We know you’re a pro, but investing a few bucks in PPE is essential for most home projects. Stock up on safety goggles, dust masks, earplugs (or noise reduction ear protectors), gloves, and any other kind of protection you’ll need for your project. Remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. (Ditch the sandals for this!)
Work slowly and clean as you go.
When you rush through a DIY project, you’ll likely end up with less desirable results than you intended, or worse, you could make a costly or dangerous mistake. Take your time and remember that you are in control of the project. It would be best if you also clean as you go to ensure a safer workspace. Pick up any scrap materials, tools that aren’t in use, and any tripping hazards.
Be cautious with power tools.
Annually, 8% of electrocutions in the U.S. are attributed to improper use of power tools. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following safety tips: • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) with every power tool to protect against electrical shock. • Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes. • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated. • If a power tool trips a safety device while in use, take the tool to a manufacturer-authorized repair center for service. • Do not use power tools without the proper guards. • When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electrical shock.
Remember, you should only tackle DIY home projects within your skill and comfort level. We strongly recommend you hire a licensed, qualified electrician for assistance for projects that require extensive electrical work.
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 17
Floating Michigan Rivers By Julie Kate O’Brien, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member
he rivers of Michigan have danced through my soul since an early age. Bank ﬁshing, trolling, and canoeing was where I learned much about family love and respecting the Good Lord’s grace in nature. The joy of big brothers upstream and the upland bird dogs romping and resting on the river’s edge taught the daily practices of contentment, gratitude, faith, and joy, as well as praying and dancing with the Great Spirit. The AuSable and Manistee Rivers are home. There is nothing better than watching a dog weave the river’s edge, ﬂushing birds for hours, and then inﬂating our tube, ﬂoating back home, and dropping a line. Many lessons of life can be learned by watching anglers, rivers, and dogs, as well as those big brothers upstream. From age 7 to now age 70, big brothers have always been upstream watching over. Life’s successes and failures gain understanding because of family members just being on the river together. There appear to be three types of anglers on the rivers. The newbies, the locals, and the “don’t get it” crew, and on some rivers, we may fall into each category. The newbies are fun and often kindly referred to as “trunk slammers,” as they return to their vehicles frequently. They often have the newest ﬁshing gear and are still learning about the concept of effortless movement. The locals may live anywhere but have ﬁshed the same area for generations. They move gracefully and effortlessly and understand going with the ﬂow and the concept of catch and release on the river, as well as with life’s issues. The “don’t get it” crew is trying so hard that they don’t succeed much. They often share their frustration with others. Their movement reﬂects impatience. Setting healthy boundaries in life and respecting other people’s differences are two lessons learned on a river. So ﬂoat, ﬁsh, canoe, grow old with your big brothers upstream, or just watch the rivers of Michigan ... experience the beauty of any season of life on the river banks and ﬁnd the peace that nature brings.
Win a $50 energy bill credit!
Photo is from south M-72 bridge on the Manistee
Julie is retired from Otsego Memorial Hospital. She enjoys hiking and watching sports on TV (Go Green! Go White!). She loves shooting pool and having grilled ham and cheese at Tony Deckers in Oscoda.
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit.
Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com/community. March 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Lisa Brodeur, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identiﬁed the photo as The Tridge in downtown Midland. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/ December.
Add a Well-Connect to your Existing Furnace TODAY.
Cool (and heat) for half with your well.
Add a Well-Connect for $0 down and as little as $80/month.
Typical heating cost savings over $100/month. Air conditions for pennies a day. Well-Connect pays for itself.
LOW COST COOLING Air-condition and dehumidify your home for pennies a day. Say goodbye to box fans and noisy window or outdoor units.
LOW COST HEATING
PREDICTABLE ENERGY COSTS
Heat your home for an estimated 50%-70% less than propane, fuel oil, electric or eliminate the need to burn wood.
Stop worrying about rising energy costs. Instead, install a Well-Connect in a day and reduce your energy costs tomorrow.
Well-Connect™ is a water source heat pump designed to provide efficient heating and cooling all year long. It is designed for rural homes that have a well and where either propane, fuel oil, electric resistance or wood is used as the heating source. Well-Connect is ideal for use in rural areas to deliver clean, economical heating and cooling. It works with an existing furnace, it does not replace it, and greatly reduces the expense associated with burning fossil fuels and keeps the up-front cost of the system as low possible.
wellconnectgeo.com (989) 356-2113
Geothermal Made Affordable
ADVENTURES FOR RURAL VETERANS—APPLY BY MAY 13 IN-PERSON EXPEDITIONS WILL TAKE PLACE IN JULY AND AUGUST Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate. No Barriers is a five-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experiences in challenging environments (climbing, rafting, and hiking).
If you are a disabled veteran, or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete the form on our website:
countrylines.com/nobarriers *Must have VA disability rating to be eligible.