COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op
PIE&G Communities First Fund 2018 Summary
The North Pole Express ALL ABOARD
WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 30% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2019 1
You don’t have to lower the thermostat to control your heating bills. WaterFurnace geothermal systems use the clean, renewable energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. And because WaterFurnace units don’t use any fossil fuels or combustion, the EPA calls it the most environmentally friendly and cost effective way to condition our homes.2 Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer to learn how WaterFurnace is good for the environment, your budget and the feeling in your toes. YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS Bad Axe B & D Htg (989) 269-5280 bdheating.com
Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com
Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 waltonheating.com
Berrien Springs WaterFurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeothermal.com
Hart/Ludington Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com
Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com
Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com
Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com
Caro AllTemp Comfort, Inc. (866) 844-HEAT (4328) geo4less.com
Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 comfort1.net/geothermal
Muskegon Kiessel Geothermal Htg & Clg (231) 747-7509 kiesselsgeo.com
Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 dwgeothermal.com Traverse City Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 watergeofurnace.com
Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 esiheating.com
visit us at waterfurnace.com WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. 1. 30% through 2019, 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 2. EPA study “Space Conditioning, The Next Frontier” (Report 430-R-93-004)
In This Issue November/December 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 10
Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives FEATURED PHOTO FROM
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Executive Editor: Casey Clark
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Editor: Christine Dorr Design and Production: Karreen Bird
Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us
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 are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Tony Anderson, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
@michigancountrylines michigancountrylines A crystal clear reflection of the Ore Dock in Marquette by @justin_palmer_photography
ON THE COVER All Aboard The North Pole Express! One of the few remaining steam-powered engines in the country, the Pere Marquette 1225, better known as the North Pole Express, shuttles passengers of all generations into an idyllic blast from Christmas past each December.
6 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY The Call Of The Michigan Wild
For these three friends from Escanaba, Michigan, their enthusiasm for the outdoors was their strongest bond. Emily Haines Lloyd
10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Spread Holiday Cheer With Festive Cookie Recipes Christin McKamey & Our Readers
Featured Guest Chef: Enjoy this snow storm soup recipe from Kim Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!
14 FEATURE All Aboard The North Pole Express Multiple generations of families share this unique Michigan experience. Emily Haines Lloyd
18 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Best of Michigan: Bakeries
Get ready to devour this member-recommended list of Michigan’s best bakeries. Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!
Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation
(Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication Title: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/19. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except August and December. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of known ofﬁce of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business ofﬁce of publisher: 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 8. Full names and complete mailing address of publisher, editors, and executive editor: Craig Borr, Christine Dorr, Casey Clark, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 9. Owner: Michigan Electric Cooperative Assoc., 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 10. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding one percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None. 11. Tax status: Has not been changed. 12. Issue date for circulation data below: Sept. 2019. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo.
Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to ﬁling date
A) Total No. of copies ................................ 241,500 ................... 242,882 B) Paid and requested circulation ............ 241,500 ................... 242,882 C) Total paid and requested circulation ... 241,500 ................... 242,882 D) 1) Free distribution by mail .........................188 ...........................155 2) Free distribution outside mail .................920 ...........................887 E) Total free distribution ...............................1,108 ....................... 1,042 F) Total distribution.................................. 222,141 ................... 243,924 G) Copies not distributed ..................................... 0 ...............................0 H) Total ..................................................... 222,141 ................... 243,924 I) Percent paid and/or requested circ. .........98.7% .......................99.7% 16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2019 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, Editor
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Our Commitment To Our Communities Continues
CHEBOYGAN PRESQUE ISLE
Board Of Directors Charles Arbour, Treasurer
23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2020
Allan Berg, Vice-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, Chairman
21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2020
1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2021
7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2019
15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2019
P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2021
6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2019
President & CEO: Tom Sobeck email@example.com
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
pieg.com Join us on Facebook. facebook.com/PIEGCooperative Most 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 been busy this year, not only doing our best to serve you every day, but making sure we continue providing that service far into the future.
The foundation for everything we do traces back to our communities and our commitment to the cooperative mission to support them. With that clear purpose in mind, we’re ready to tackle the challenges 2020 will bring: • We look forward to the construction of our new facility with excitement and, frankly, relief. For years, the physical condition of our 60-year-old building— including a lack of safety features, physical security and appropriate mechanical infrastructure—has raised worries about the well-being of our employees and the reliability of our service to you. In today’s world, we must be prepared to react to issues that may arise far from Northeast Michigan; this new facility and technology infrastructure will help us do that. While our investment will provide local governments with a significant tax base for years to come, it will also impact rates. We are committed to carefully balancing rates with the cost of service reliability, employee safety and the security of our equipment. • We continue to research vendors for Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which will help ensure optimum service by wirelessly connecting the homes and businesses we serve to PIE&G. This advancement is critical to our mission of providing safe, reliable, cost-effective energy. • We are working to make a sound business decision on whether to provide high-speed internet in our service area, thanks to a grant that allows us to develop a business plan, hopefully by April 2020. If our communities are to prosper, access to high-speed data services is vital. Your input is critical in this process. You already should have received or will soon receive a Fiber to the Home survey. Your responses will help us gauge what our members want and need. Two winners will be selected from among survey respondents to win a $100 bill credit. We value what you have to say. Thanks in advance for participating. • We again are retiring capital credits, with checks totaling nearly $2.4 million mailed to members this fall. The board of directors continues to support the cooperative business model through the retirement of patronage capital— the difference between income and expenses—back to you. • Finally, as you’ll see in this edition, PIE&G’s Communities First Fund awarded $51,383 this year in grants and scholarships to organizations doing great things in our communities. Many of our members are a vital part of this effort, agreeing to round up their monthly utility bill to the nearest dollar to support the program. Please consider participating; simply call Member Services at 800-423-6634. You can have a significant impact on your neighbors and your community.
Best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season. 4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) Charge Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 95 in 2013, creating the Low Income Energy Assistance Fund or “LIEAF,” authorizing the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to raise up to $50 million annually for low-income energy assistance payments. The money would come from a surcharge of no more than $1 per meter per month for all Michigan electric utilities participating in the LIEAF program. On July 18, 2019, the MPSC issued an order (U-17377) reducing the monthly surcharge from $0.93 to $0.92 per meter for the billing period of September 2019 through August 2020. The surcharge is limited to electric bills only and one electric residential meter per residential site. The surcharge was effective on PIE&G’s electric bills generated on or after Oct. 1, 2019, for service rendered in September. Annual bills generated in 2020 will be prorated accordingly.
Your Board In Action At its most recent meetings, the PIE&G board of directors: • Approved the 2020 General Plant Expenditures (Capital) Budget in the amount of $1,357,850. • Conducted the annual review of Board Policy 204 – Financial Policy. • Approved cooperative participation in the Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) for the upcoming year. • Appointed individuals to serve on the 2019 Nominating Committee and the Election and Credentials Committee. • Authorized a franchise agreement with Allis Township to return its natural gas service to Home Rule rate regulation. • Authorized a cost-sharing grant agreement with Post Road Foundation to develop a business plan to install fiber-to-the-home in PIE&G’s service territory. • Authorized PIE&G’s withdrawal from NRECA's Touchstone Energy Marketing Program. • Adopted a Resolution of Appreciation for retiring employee Scot Szymoniak, manager, Operations and Engineering. • Approved closing of the office to the public on the day of the 2020 Annual Meeting. • At its special open board meeting held in September, the board approved and set the 2020 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor to a maximum of (negative) (-0.00750)/kWh for bills rendered on or after Feb. 1, 2020.
Holiday Office Closings Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op will be closed for the holidays on the following dates: Thanksgiving Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29 Christmas Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25 New Year’s Day Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 As always, you may access your account anytime online at pieg.com or by calling toll-free 1-866-999-4571. To report outages or other emergencies, please call 1-800-423-6634. For gas emergency only, please call 1-800-655-8565.
From our families to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season!
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
The Call Of The
Michigan Wild By Emily Haines Lloyd
n the Midwest, hunting and ﬁshing are more than just seasons, they are often traditions. For a group of childhood friends from Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s a bit of a calling. Mike Aho, Doug Latvala, and Ben Irving grew up playing hockey together, a popular pastime in Escanaba. Aho’s and Irving’s dads also played together in a bluegrass band. However, as the three friends, now grown with families of their own, sit around over beers, their love of the outdoors is possibly their strongest bond. “It seems like everyone in the U.P. has a camp,” said Irving. “Itʻs where you go on the weekends to either hunt, ﬁsh or prepare for hunting and ﬁshing season.” “And drink beer,” adds Latvala. The three laugh and it only takes a moment to realize that Mother Nature nurtures more than the wildlife, it nurtures lifelong friendships. How deep does the love of camp go? Latvala was born on the opening day of deer hunting season and, when his mother went into labor, someone had to head out to the
Get your own Michigan Wild hat from etsy.com/MichiganWild
woods to ﬁnd Latvala’s dad. As family lore goes, dad hung out with his newborn for a few hours and actually went back out to camp. So, it's fair to say, the love goes deep. So deep, the trio still spends a great deal of time out in nature together, even though they are separated by signiﬁcant distances—Latvala lives in Marquette, Aho in the Metro Detroit area, and Irving all the way out in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “The U.P. is more than a location, it’s a way of life,” said Aho. “The outdoors is ingrained into our families. Along the way, we decided to start sharing our photos and experiences on Instagram and called it Michigan Wild (@MichiganWild).” When the guys started Michigan Wild, it was simply a hashtag, but it’s caught on quickly, with more than 9,600 followers who now tag their outdoor adventures similarly. Michigan Wild isn’t a business (although you can buy a cool ball cap with their logo on it), it’s more of a movement. “I live in a cul-de-sac community,” explains Irving. “And the excitement my son has when I tell him we’re going to go on a hike is amazing. I don’t want him to lose his connection to the outdoors. I think we just want to remind people how wonderful and simple it is out there.” “Yeah, that’s it. Camp is simple,” adds Aho. “After being tied down by the grind of work, you wake up at camp, make coffee, talk a little and head out. When you come back, you’re excited to hear everyone’s stories. If someone in a neighboring camp brings in a deer, everyone goes to help. It’s basic hunter/gatherer culture and you’re reliving that. But, with a sauna.”
Photo courtesy of Jim Behymer
The guys laugh again. Each of the men makes it clear that they enjoy the hunting and utilizing the venison from deer season throughout the year, but it’s the community and sheer awe of the wilderness that keeps them connected. One look at some of their most frequent hashtags nods heavily toward that— #getoutdoors #whatgetsyououtdoors #itsinmynature. “A lot of camps are dying out,” said Latvala. “We want to make sure our kids get to have some of these experiences that have literally made us who we are. So, if we can build a little enthusiasm or interest around all the amazing things the Michigan wilderness has to offer, then that’s what we want to do.” Their big takeaway is to not be intimidated by wilderness. “Ask if you have questions,” said Latvala. “Everyone out there is happy to see other faces. Ask the group you see in the forest or ask guys like us online. We hope to encourage you to get out there and enjoy the Michigan wild.”
@michigancountrylines + @michiganwild Usher in opening day with the Michigan Wild crew. Get behindthe-scenes footage of their hunting prep and ﬁrst day in the woods on the @michigancountrylines Instagram account, Nov. 14 & 15.
While the Michigan Wild guys are the ﬁrst to encourage anyone to do things their own way, a few decades in the woods has taught them a tip or two.
This spicy Italian sausage is an Upper Peninsula staple, and if you’re like the guys from Michigan Wild, you enjoy utilizing your own venison and reliving memories from deer camp. Doug Latvala shares his favorite Cudighi recipe. 5 5 2 3 1 1 1 ½
pounds venison pounds pork shoulder teaspoons black pepper tablespoons salt teaspoon cinnamon teaspoon nutmeg teaspoon allspice teaspoon clove
½ teaspoon mace ½ teaspoon ginger 1–3 teaspoon(s) red pepper ﬂakes (depending on heat desired) 1 cup Paisano sweet red wine 1 cup water
Grind and mix pork and venison together. Hand mix all seasonings, red wine, and water ingredients with the meat mixture. Let stand in refrigerator for 24–48 hours to marinate. Package as patties, links or bulk, and freeze or use within three days. Serving suggestion: Make patties and pan fry Cudighi, melting mozzarella cheese over the top. In a separate pan, sauté green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Warm up your favorite pizza sauce. Layer patty, sauce and vegetables on your favorite type of bun and enjoy!
• Don’t be afraid to change your tactics: keep the hunt fun. • Set yourself up so you are ready to shoot. The pain of a beautiful buck walking by without getting oﬀ a shot will sting for a while. • When using binoculars, squeeze them to the brim of your hat for more stability.
• Never pass up a deer on the ﬁrst day that you’d be happy to have on the last day. • Start a deer hunting tradition with your family or friends. It keeps the momentum and the memories going. Simply planning the trip over email or text will be a little ﬁve-minute vacation in your day. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Save Energy And Money On Home Water Heating
econd only to space heating and cooling, water heating is the next largest source of energy consumption in U.S. homes. We use hot water every day for showering, doing dishes, washing clothes and a multitude of other tasks—and the cost to heat that water adds up, especially if you have a standard electric or propane water heater. While standard electric resistance water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase, they are costly to operate. On the other hand, heat pump water heaters cost more upfront, but provide significant savings over time. Advanced heat pump technology helps to slash electricity consumption by up to 70%. Why switch to a heat pump water heater? Heat pump water heaters are up to 3.7 times more efficient than a standard electric water heater. While they do use electricity, they use
a fraction of the energy consumed by a standard electric water heater. Additionally, heat pump water heaters provide: • Quick payback compared to standard electric (recoup the upfront cost within one year with rebate) • Electricity cost savings of 50% or more (compared to standard electric models) • Reliable hot water • Dehumidification of surrounding air • Flexible modes of operation to manage energy use and hot water output • Quiet operation For a limited time, you can receive a $700 rebate. From now until the end of 2019, the Energy Optimization program is offering a bonus $200 rebate towards a new heat pump water heater. The bonus incentive is in addition to the current $500 rebate, meaning you’ll receive $700 off your purchase.
Visit michigan-energy.org/waterheaters for more information or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.
Soak in the
$AVINGS! WITH A NEW HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER
Special offer! Increased incentive of $700 available on heat pump water heaters.
▪ EFFICIENCY — Reduce energy consumption by 50% or more compared to standard electric water heaters. ▪ COST SAVINGS — A four-person household can save up to $300 a year in energy savings. ▪ QUICK PAYBACK — Recoup upfront costs in one year with rebate.
Michigan-energy.org/waterheaters | 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 michigan-energy.org.
Most votes on Facebook!
Ugly Christmas Sweaters 1. In our Sunday best. By Jill Wells 2. Don we now our ugly sweaters! By Steven Kemp 3. U gly sweater family fun! By Lisa Metz 4. A Christmas tree and its star. By Jason Rice
4 Enter to win up to a
Submit Your Favorite “Around the World” 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.
energy bill credit!
Our November theme is Around the World. Photos can be submitted through November 20 to be featured in our January/February issue.
Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!
To enter the contest, visit facebook.com/PIEGCooperative and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at pieg.com/content/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. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Christmas Cookies Spread holiday cheer with these festive cookie recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography Recipes Submitted By MCL Readers And Tested By Recipe Editor Christin McKamey
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies Benjamin and Jessica Bain, HomeWorks Tri-County ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened ¾ cup brown sugar ½ cup white sugar 1 egg 2 teaspoons vanilla
1¾ ¼ ½ 1 1
cups all-purpose ﬂour teaspoon salt teaspoon baking soda cup dried cranberries cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add ﬂour, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Add cranberries and white chocolate chips and stir to combine. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool slightly, then transfer to cooling racks.
Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos
10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Aunt Neenee’s Cream Cheese Cookies Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 1 cup butter, softened 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar
1 1 2½ •
egg teaspoon vanilla cups ﬂour dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir in ﬂour and dash of salt until combined. Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in red and green sugar. Bake 12—15 minutes.
Grandma Huhn’s Spice Cookies Sharon Hoffman, HomeWorks Tri-County
1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 cup lard (do not substitute oil or Crisco) 3 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup sour cream 1½ tablespoons nutmeg 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon allspice 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda 2½ teaspoons baking powder 6½ cups ﬂour
This soup recipe from Kim Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute, can be made with whatever yummy things you have in the refrigerator. Be creative, this is a soup that is never the same. Let it simmer and enjoy!
Cream sugars and lard together. Mix in the remaining ingredients, adding the ﬂour last. You can place dough in ﬂoured freezer bags and freeze for two weeks to let the spices intensify, or you can immediately roll out, cut and bake at 350 degrees F for 7—10 minutes.
Snow Storm Soup
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Mary Ellen Wynes, HomeWorks Tri-County ¾ 1 2 4 2 2 2 ½ 1
cup vegetable oil cup cocoa powder cups sugar eggs teaspoons vanilla cups ﬂour teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt cup confectioners sugar
Mix oil, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and remaining dry ingredients. Chill overnight. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners sugar. Roll in the sugar and form into balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Do not overbake.
Savory Cherries: due December 1 Chili Cook Off: due January 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 micoopkitchen.com for more information and to register.
Enter to win a
energy bill credit!
1 pound bacon 2 pounds ground beef, stew meat or both 1 onion, ﬁnely diced 4 ribs of celery, sliced thin 2 carrots, halved and sliced 6–8 whole garlic cloves, minced 4 cups beef broth 1 lb. potatoes, baked, cooled and diced 2 cups fresh mushrooms 1 can diced tomatoes 2 cups kidney or great northern beans 4 tablespoons ﬂour • salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder to taste • optional: olive oil, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese and whipping cream Cook bacon and beef in soup stockpot. Set aside. Sauté vegetables in the grease, until tender. Add olive oil if needed. Add ﬂour to vegetables and mix until thick. Slowly add broth and bring to a boil to thicken. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for approximately 3 hours——be sure to stir often. The soup is even better the next day! Add shredded Parmesan cheese, cream cheese or heavy whipping cream at the end of your cook time for a creamy ﬁnish. Serving suggestion: For individual servings, you can add toasted bread, top with cheese and put soup bowls under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. The soup is best served with 12 inches of snow and a bonﬁre in the great outdoors! Read the full story about the Steam Railroading Institute on page 14, and ﬁnd this recipe and others at micoopkitchen.com. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Home Heating Assistance Programs 2019–2020 Season Winter Protection Plan
Contact: Your Local Utility Company Income Guidelines 2019–2020 # in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income $18,735 25,365 31,995 38,625 45,255 51,885 58,515 65,145
Add $6,630 for each additional member.
Home Heating Credit
The Winter Protection Plan (WPP) protects enrolled seniors and low-income customers from service shut-offs and high utility bill payments during the winter months (Nov. 1–March 31). If you are eligible, your utility service will remain on (or restored with the WPP) from Nov. 1 through March 31, if you: • pay at least 7% of your estimated annual bill each month, and • make equal monthly payments between the date you apply and the start of the next heating season on any past due bills. When the protection period ends (March 31), you must begin to pay the full monthly bill, plus part of the amount you owe from the winter months when you did not pay the full bill. Participation does not relieve customers from the responsibility of paying for electricity and natural gas usage, but does prevent shut-off during winter months. You qualify for the plan if you meet at least one of
the following requirements: • are age 65 or older, • receive Department of Health and Human Services cash assistance, including SSI, • receive Food Assistance, • receive Medicaid, or • household income is at or below the 150% of poverty level shown in the Income Guidelines chart at left. Senior citizen customers (65 or older) who participate in the WPP are not required to make specific payments to ensure that their service will not be shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31. Service for seniors can be restored without any payments. Note: All customers 65+ are eligible regardless of income. Customers are responsible for all electricity and natural gas used. At the end of the protection period, participants must make arrangements with their utility company to pay off any money owed before the next heating season.
You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2019 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed at left (110% of poverty level) or you qualify based on alternate guidelines including household income, exemptions, and heating costs. Additional exemptions are available for seniors, disabled claimants, or claimants with 5% or more of their income from unemployment compensation.
If you qualify, you may receive assistance to help pay for your winter heating bills. Forms are available mid-to-late January wherever tax forms are provided or from the Michigan Dept. of Treasury (517-636-4486, or michigan.gov/treasury). The Home Heating Credit claim form must be filed with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no later than Sept. 30 each year.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income, working individuals and families who meet certain requirements and file a tax return. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may qualify for the EITC, but must file a tax return to do so.
If married, you must file jointly to qualify. File Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EITC.
State Emergency Relief Program (SER): michigan.gov/ mdhhs You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shutoff notice, or the need for deliverable fuel through the SER. This program, available Nov. 1–May 31, provides most of its utility assistance during this crisis season.
However, limited assistance is available outside the crisis season.
You may be able to receive help with weatherizing your home to reduce energy use if you meet low-income eligibility guidelines (200% of poverty guidelines) and funding is available. Weatherization may include caulking,
weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to find one in your area.
2-1-1 is a free phone service operating 24 hours daily to provide information about help that may be available in a
particular area with utilities and other needs. Dial 2-1-1 or visit mi211.org to find available services.
Contact: Local Utility Company
You are protected from service shut-off for nonpayment of your natural gas and/or electric bill for up to 21 days, possibly extending to 63 days, if you have a proven medical
emergency. You must provide written proof from a doctor, public health or social services official that a medical emergency exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.
S hut-off Protection For Military Active Duty
If you or your spouse has been called into active military duty, you may apply for shut-off protection from your electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. You may request
extensions. You must still pay, but contact your utility company and they will help you set up a payment plan.
Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program
The Trust Fund provides temporary assistance to veterans and their families facing a financial emergency or hardship
including the need for energy assistance. Contact the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund at 517-284-5299 or michiganveterans.com
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) includes services that will enable participants to become self-sufficient, including assisting participants in paying their energy bills on time, budgeting for and contributing to their ability to provide for energy expenses, and being energy efficient. Shut-off protection is provided Nov. 1–April 15 for all residential
customers. The MEAP is supported by the state’s Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF). An electric utility that chooses not to collect for the LIEAF shall not shut off service to customers for non-payment between Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt-out of collecting the LIEAF go to michigan.gov/mpsc.
Contact: Mich. Dept. of Treasury # Max. Exemp. Income
0–1 2 3
$ 13,739 18,601 23,463
# Max. Exemp. Income
$ 28,325 33,187 38,049
Add $4,862 for each exemption over 6.
Earned Income Credit
Contact: • U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service irs.gov/EITC • Michigan Dept. of Treasury michigan.gov/treasury
Crisis Assistance Program Contact: Local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) michigan.gov/mdhhs
L ow-Income Home Weatherization
Contact: Local Community Action Agency
Contact: Call 2-1-1 or UWmich.org/2-1-1
Medical Emergency Protection
Contact: Local Utility Company
You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2019 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.
If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may render part of it towards heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.
Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund
MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November
12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.
Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT On Aug. 1, 2019, Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op (“Presque Isle”) filed an Energy Waste Reduction Plan (“EWRP”) to comply with 2008 PA 295, as amended, MCL 460.1001, et seq., in Case No. U-20386. Any interested person may review the filed EWRP on the MPSC website under Case No. U-20386 at www.michigan.gov/mpscedockets, at Presque Isle’s office, located at 19831 M-68 Hwy., Onaway, MI 49765, or at the office of the Commission’s Executive Secretary, 4300 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing, MI 48917. Written and electronic comments may be filed with the Commission and must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2019. Written comments should be sent to the Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909, with a copy mailed to Presque Isle. Electronic comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments should reference Case No. U-20386. Comments received in this matter will become public information, posted on the Commission’s website, and subject to disclosure. The Commission will review the EWRP together with any filed comments and provide a response indicating any revisions that should be made. If the Commission suggests revisions, Presque Isle may file a revised EWRP. A Commission order will be issued on or before the 90th day following the publication of notice.
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 06/30/19.
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Regional average fuel mix used Your co-op’s fuel mix
Fuel Source Coal 25.67% Oil
Renewable Fuels 16.38%
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
Regional Average Fuel Mix
SUBMIT A NOMINATION TODAY! Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh
Michigan Country Lines is on the hunt for entrepreneurial movers and shakers to showcase in our March 2020 magazine. We know co-op members are awesome and there is no shortage of pioneers, innovators and leaders in our service territory. Featured entrepreneurial endeavors can be small start-ups, large operations or anything in between.
Type Of Emission/Waste
If you know a friend, neighbor or coworker we should consider, nominate them by December 31 at countrylines.com.
*Regional average information was obtained from MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 06/30/19. Presque Isle Electric & Gas purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
Self-nominations are accepted.
Oxides of Nitrogen High-level Nuclear Waste
MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES 13
The North Pole Express ALL ABOARD
By Emily Haines Lloyd Photos courtesy of Steam Railroading Institute Staff Photographers Scott Shields, Matt Churcott, George Dines and Matthew Malkiewicz
f you thought Christmas arrived by a reindeer-drawn sleigh, you haven’t felt the ground shake or seen the smiling faces of eager passengers as The North Pole Express comes chugging into the Owosso train platform outside the Steam Railroading Institute. The Pere Marquette 1225 (the North Pole Express) is one of the few steam-powered train engines in the country still operating today. Every winter it transforms into an
idyllic blast from the past as passengers have their tickets punched by a volunteer conductor. The commitment of nearly 100 volunteers per trip make it possible for passengers to experience the four-hour journey from Owosso to Ashley’s Country Christmas in Ashley, Michigan. Travelers, some wrapped up cozily in their pajamas, enjoy carol singers, card games, and if they’ve been a good girl or boy, a glimpse of Santa once they arrive in Ashley. Hot cocoa and snacks are served along with a healthy dose of nostalgia. “It gets me every time,” said Kimberly Springsdorf, executive director of Steam Railroading Institute (SRI). “Watching the faces of the passengers—multiple generations of families sharing this unique experience together, their smiles and laughter—it’s magical.” The magic that is all around today’s train travel is deeply rooted in nostalgia surrounding trains in the United States. What was once a powerhouse industry of
“Watching the faces of the passengers—multiple generations of families sharing this unique experience together, their smiles and laughter—
its’ maical. ”
building and trade has become something quaint, which is an odd word for mammoth engines like the Pere Marquette 1225, which is 16-feet high, 100-feet long and weighs over 400 tons.
A group of engineering students from Michigan State University formed the MSU Railroad Club ﬁfty years ago with the challenge to see the engine, which was a static display on campus, run again. Their charge was taken up by the Steam Railroading Institute when the 1225 was moved to Owosso. In addition to continuing restoration of the engine, SRI strives to educate the public about steam-era railroading in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Its focus includes the preservation of the skills and technology for maintain steam locomotives by operating steam-era equipment and providing the experience of steam locomotives in operation. The Pere Marquette 1225 stays in working condition through ticket sales from mainline excursions, special events, demonstrations, and tours, as well as individual and corporate donations. “You can’t imagine the time, effort and investment it takes to maintain 1225,” said Springsdorf. “When a part breaks on this engine, you don’t just run down to a shop. You either have to borrow it or build it. From absolutely every aspect, running this engine is a labor of love.”
Love is exactly what you see and hear from the train travelers who plan months in advance to take one of the 22 North Pole Express trips the Steam Railroading Institute offers annually. A variety of other excursions across Michigan, including fall color tours, hobo camp, and an opportunity to run the 1225, are offered by SRI. Tickets sell out quickly, but keep your eyes peeled for a Christmas miracle and a few last-minute seats that may be available. All tour dates are announced in the spring. Visit michigansteamtrain.com to learn more or call 989-725-9464, and ﬁ nd them on Facebook and Instagram, too.
The Maic of
The Moies When moviemakers were producing the now iconic “The Polar Express” starring Tom Hanks, Hollywood crews took a trip to Michigan to study none other than the Pere Marquette 1225. The blueprints from 1225 were used as the prototype for “The Polar Express” and even the sounds of the chugging engine and the whistle were recorded to bring the beloved movie train to life.
Powering Communities, Empowering Members
2018 PIE&G Communities First Fund Awards:
The generosity of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members and their desire to better their communities allow the PIE&G Communities First Fund (CFF) to fulfill its philanthropic mission of distributing funds to help individuals and organizations in need throughout its service area. The CFF is managed by an independent, all-volunteer board of directors. Funds come from members who volunteer to “round-up” the change on their energy bill to the next whole dollar (averages 50 cents monthly). These small contributions add up to make a BIG difference in northeast Michigan. To those who participate in the fund—THANK YOU! For those who would like to join the cause and help their community, please see page 17 of this issue to enroll.
2018 COMMUNITIES FIRST FUND GRANT SUMMARY APPLICANT AMOUNT
Straits Area Audubon Society Snakes Alive! In Our Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,000 District Health Department #4 Girls on the Run After School Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,200 Alpena County Parks Commission Manning Hill Tower Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Presque Isle County Historical Museum Bradley House ADA Ramp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Thunder Bay Theatre Spring 2018 Educational Tour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Alpena Area Senior Citizens Council Liquid Nutrition Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,000 Posen Area Fire & Rescue Portable Radio Upgrade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Hillman Community Schools Operation Continuing Update (Update Book Selection in the Library) . . . . . . . . . . . $1,900 Cheboygan Area Public Library Gallery Display System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $923 South Shore Hubbard Lake Fire Department Community Center & Fire Department Equipment Bay Lighting Replacement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,000 Senior Citizens Housing of Onaway (Lynn Street Manor Apts) Furniture for the Manor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,251 Cheboygan County Junior Golf Academy Foundation 2018 Junior Golf Academy Training Sessions (200 Students——June thru August). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500 Posen Consolidated School District # 9 Posen Youth Football Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,640
Grand Lake Sportsmen’s Club Fletcher-Gilcreast Park Boat Launch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Tri-Township Fire Department Washer / Extractor Continental Con-RMGoss and Installation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500 Cheboygan County United Way Project Connect for Cheboygan 2019 and Presque Isle 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,000 Friends of Ocqueoc Outdoor Center Facility Upgrades——Washer & Dryer / Electrical & Plumbing Hookups . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500 Hillman Community Schools Elementary Beginning Band Instruments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,000 Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development Council Hubbard Lake Preserve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Presque Isle Township Presque Isle County Cemetery Veterans Memorial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,569 The Baby Basket Baby Basket Pantry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Inland Lakes Secondary School CNC Router. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 District Health Department #4 Girls on the Run After School Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,200 Hillman Area Little League Tiger Paw Park Scoreboards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,000 Posen Consolidated School Elementary Chromebooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,700 Atlanta Church of Christ The Caring Place. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000 Onaway United Methodist Church Caring Closet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500
16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
PIE&G Communities First Fund Statements of Financial Position December 31, 2017 and 2018 ASSETS
CURRENT ASSETS: Cash
Cash – Restricted Accounts Receivable
Directors’ Mileage Expense
TOTAL ASSETS NET ASSETS Unrestricted Unrestricted, designated Permanently restricted TOTAL NET ASSETS TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS
ACTIVITIES AND CHANGE IN NET ASSETS REVENUE Contributions – Members
Contributions – PIE&G Accounts Receivable TOTAL REVENUE EXPENSES Grants Scholarships Professional Fees
TOTAL EXPENSE CHANGE IN NET ASSETS NET ASSETS, beginning of year NET ASSETS, end of year
HOW CAN I HELP MY COMMUNITY? The PIE&G Communities First Fund was created in 1998. Funds for this program are generated when PIE&G members volunteer to “round up” their utility bills to the next whole dollar. The average contribution is about 50 cents per month per meter. All contributions are tax-deductible. Please call our Member Services Department at 800-423-6634 to join. You may also mail the completed enrollment form on this page with your utility payment.
Enroll To Help Your Community
I want to participate in the COMMUNITIES FIRST FUND. Please enroll me and “round-up” my bill to the next highest dollar each month.
Name (please print) Account Number Mailing Address
Signature Date Include this coupon in your next bill payment, or mail to: PIE&G COMMUNITIES FIRST FUND, P.O. Box 308, Onaway, MI 49765
Guess this photo and enter to win a
energy bill credit!
3 8 6
Best Bakeries Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by November 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at countrylines.com or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the September issue is Marlene Moreno, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Cherry Point Farm & Market in Shelby. The photo shows the arbors around the central garden and the lavender labyrinth to the outside of the arbors. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.
Great Lakes Bakery and Antiques Mall, Muskegon Sandi Hillis makes the best cakes ever with all-natural ingredients and even gluten-free options (but you’d never guess!) Jennifer Sylvester, Great Lakes Energy Jamsen’s Fish Market and Bakery, Copper Harbor My favorite Michigan bakery, Jamsen’s staff are a hoot and make some of the best pastries in the Keweenaw. “Gotta have it” items include the cheddar, bacon and chive scone and the thimbleberry frosted donuts. Nathan Miller, Ontonagon REA
Boyne City Bakery, Boyne City Boyne City Bakery is the BEST French bakery, in the U.S. Each time I go into this bakery I feel like I’m stepping back into a French bakery in France from the delicious pastries and breads, to the French-speaking baker, to the polite employees, and the French-themed decor and ambiance. Go today and enjoy a “little piece of French heaven”! Evelyn Howell, Great Lakes Energy
Sunset Acres Bakery, Charlotte Heavenly angel food cakes, melt in your mouth molasses cookies, rich rhubarb squares and so much more. Everything from Sunset Acres Bakery is beyond good, it’s delicious!! Robin Musselman, HomeWorks Tri-County
Tecumseh Bread and Pastry, Tecumseh This is a bakery owned by a husband and wife team that bakes fresh each morning and mills their own ﬂours at night. They produce wonderful coffeecakes, cookies, bread, and pies. I always take something from their store to family out of town for my “made in Michigan” gift. Carol Kruse, Midwest Energy & Communications
Goodale’s Bakery, Grayling The best quality ingredients mixed with decades of experience and served by the most helpful staff guarantees the best baked goods you’ll ever ﬁnd. Alan Riegel, Great Lakes Energy
Flour Pot Bakery, Elk Rapids Flour Pot has wonderful pastries, mufﬁns, and cookies. Around Fat Tuesday in February, they make hundreds of paczki (a ﬁlled donut) that are scrumptious! Becky Granger, Great Lakes Energy
Photo by Susan Luter
18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these member-recommended bakeries throughout Michigan.
Bay Bread Co., Traverse City A husband-and-wife-owned team bakes over 40 kinds of delicious artisan loaves of bread and sweets. Stacey Wilcox, Cherryland Electric Cooperative
Stephenson Bakery, Inc., Menominee This is a real bakery with perfect sweet creations—— awesome doughnuts and friendly, attentive staff. Brenda Gustafson, Alger Delta
Best of Michigan UP NEXT! Chocolatiers: Tell us about your favorite places for melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. Submit your favorites at countrylines.com under the MI Co-op Community tab by November 25, and this indulgent list will be published in the February issue.
CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE HOME VISIT
wellconnectgeo.com Hurry, 30% Federal Tax Credit 989-356-2113 decreases onwellconnectsaves.com December 31, 2019
PIE&G School Friday Folders
PIE&G made its annual delivery of “Friday Folders” for member students enrolled in local public elementary schools for the 2019–20 academic year. PIE&G has donated the student folders to member schools since 2003 to help teachers send important student papers home for parents’ review. The laminated folders are customized with each school name, mascot and colors, and were distributed the first week of school in September.
Best wishes to all kids and teachers for a successful year of learning!