Page 1

November/December 2020

MICHIGAN

COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

PIE&G AMI And Fiber Update

2019 Communities First Fund Annual Report

MAGIC

TEN T I M E H MEETS T


WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 26% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2020 1

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Caro Kozy Home Htg & Clg (989) 673-4328 geo4less.com

Indian River M & M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 sandusky geothermal.com

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Aire Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 aireserv.com/ southern-michigan

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating cooling.com

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Traverse City D & W Mechanical (231) 941-1215 dwgeothermal.com Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000 watergeofurnace.com

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 mwphonline.com

visit us at waterfurnace.com 1. 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021 • WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc.


Contents Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

countrylines.com

November/December 2020 Vol. 40, No. 10

/michigancountrylines

/michigancountrylines

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

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

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

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

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

(Required by U.S.C. 3685) 1. Publication: Michigan Country Lines. 2. Publication No.: 591-710. 3. Filing date: 10/1/20. 4. Issue frequency: monthly, except Aug. and Dec. 5. No. of issues published annually: 10. 6. Complete mailing address of office of publication: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing, MI 48933. 7. Complete mailing address of headquarters 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 1% 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: Sept. 2020. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: Avg # of copies Actual # of copies of single issues each issue during preceding 12 mo. published nearest to filing date A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I)

Total No. of copies................................. 243,264 ...................... 243,312 Paid and requested circulation ............ 243,264 ...................... 242,882 Total paid and requested circulation ... 243,264 ...................... 242,882 1) Free distribution by mail.......................... 160 .............................. 160 2) Free distribution outside mail ................. 809 .............................. 887 Total free distribution ................................... 969 ...........................1,047 Total distribution................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Copies not distributed.......................................0 ...................................0 Total ....................................................... 244,233 ...................... 244,359 Percent paid and/or requested circ.......... 98.7% .......................... 99.7%

16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2020 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, editor

#micoopcommunity 6 BEST OF MICHIGAN: RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW

These member-suggested restaurants pair a scenic Michigan view with quality cuisine.

10 MI COOP KITCHEN

Dips & Dressings—Jazz up your salads and appetizers with these zesty recipes.

Fall is officially in the air. @dlope.works (Destiny Lopez)

14 MAGIC MEETS THE MITTEN

Colon, Michigan, resident Rick Fisher helps ensure the town continues to be the “Magic Capital of the World.”

18 HOME HEATING ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 2020–2021

Be featured!

For those struggling to pay their bills this winter, there are many places to turn to for help.

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY

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

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community

MI CO-OP KITCHEN

BEST OF MICHIGAN

GUEST COLUMN

MYSTERY PHOTO

Up Next: Stir Fry Favorites, Soup, Tacos Share your favorite recipes.

Up Next: Winter Fun! Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.)

Submit your fondest memories and stories.

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

Win a $50 bill credit!

Win $150 for stories published!

Win a $50 bill credit! See page 7

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

3


2020 In Review And Looking Ahead To 2021

pieg.com /PIEGCooperative/ BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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

Allan Berg, Chairman 1117 E. Heythaler Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2020 Sandy Borowicz, Secretary 5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2021

John Brown 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2020 Sally Knopf 1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2021 Kurt Krajniak , Vice-Chairman 7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2022 Brentt Lucas 15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2022 Daryl Peterson P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2021 Raymond Wozniak 6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2022 President & CEO: Thomas Sobeck tsobeck@pieg.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 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

A

s I begin to put my thoughts together for this update, I always look back on last year’s letter as a starting point. The title for my Nov./Dec. 2019 article was “Our commitment to our communities continues.” That statement is as fitting today as it was then, but as I read the article, the remarkable progress we have made on that commitment over the past 12 months came into clearer focus. Construction on our new PIE&G headquarters facility is in full swing, and site development will continue through the first half of 2021. We are hoping to begin moving in during July or August. We are also moving forward on the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, having just completed vendor selection for that effort. Very soon, you should begin seeing progress as we install the communications towers, and we expect deployment of the new meters to begin in early 2021. We remain very excited about the benefits both projects will afford our PIE&G membership. The new building and AMI projects are expected to add efficiencies to our operations that will serve to improve both reliability and power quality, as well as help to hold down costs in the long run. Three other items that typically occur this time of year include sharing our Communities First Fund Annual Report (which seems fitting as we move toward the holiday season,) the cooperative’s issuance of capital credit checks, and the PIE&G Annual Membership Meeting. In the 2019 Communities First Fund Annual Report (on pages 12–13), you can review the philanthropic work we are accomplishing together for our communities. As a reminder, you can support this effort by enrolling to round up the change on your utility bill to the next whole dollar. The impact of that small donation on local organizations that benefit is vital to their continued success. I also want to thank the Communities First Fund Board of Directors for its time and efforts as well. Each director does great work, and it is all voluntary. Last month, you may have received a capital credit check. Your PIE&G Board of Directors authorized the retirement of approximately $1.34 million, reinforcing our cooperative business model for the 10th consecutive year. Lastly, we just concluded our first-ever, virtual Annual Meeting. As I write this note to you several weeks before the actual meeting, I hope it turned out well. Trust me, conducting this important meeting virtually was not the format we had planned or how we wanted to share our operating updates, but like everything else in 2020, that decision was made for us. I know our staff worked very hard on the meeting planning, as well as all the other projects I’ve written about today. This has been another busy and productive year, and I am immensely proud of our employees for their individual and combined efforts over the past 12 months. Here’s wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

CHEBOYGAN PRESQUE ISLE

OTSEGO

MONTMORENCY

OSCODA

ALPENA

ALCONA

4 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Correction: Please note the Sept./Oct. 2020 issue had an incorrect financial line item under Liabilities Long-term Debt. The correct amount for 2018 is $58,272,209.


CO-OP NEWS Fiber-To-The-Home Update Many of you have called or written to ask, “What is going on with fiber?” The short answer is, “We’re working on it.” It is a lengthy process with many steps and decisions to be made along the way. I can assure you, just as I have done with those who have called, that if it is at all possible, we will strive to bring fiber to your home. The time frame is not yet set in stone. If our initial analysis is accurate, it would likely take several years to build out the infrastructure and more like four to six years for fiber capabilities to reach every member within our nine-county service area. We ask for your continued patience as we work through this extensive process, and please be assured that as soon as we can make our final decision, we will. When that happens, you will be the first to know, so stay tuned.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Update Many PIE&G members have expressed interest in our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. Some have also expressed concerns over perceived health impacts and privacy issues. PIE&G has considered many different vendors and technologies for this project and has always kept member privacy and safety in mind. We have also paid close attention to the cost and potential benefits of an AMI system. We believe we have selected technology that will provide our members with the most advanced, cost-effective, safe, secure, and reliable system available. We look forward to implementing the project over the next 12 to 24 months. PIE&G is currently in the process of identifying suitable sites for the communications infrastructure. Some of our members may have already received an AMI meter. PIE&G expects to receive the bulk of these meters beginning this November, and it is our hope to begin full-scale deployment in early 2021.

Your Board In Action At its most recent meetings, the PIE&G Board of Directors: • Approved the 2020 General Plant Expenditures Budget in the amount of $988,600. • Established the fall meeting date for electric member regulation on Sept. 22, 2020. • Conducted the annual review of Board Policy 204 – Financial Policy. • Approved amendments to Board Policy 116 – Member Comment at Board Meetings (clarify the process), Board Policy 204 – Financial Policy (increased the asset capitalization limit). • Adopted Board Policy 106 – Director Committee Assignments (define process). • Approved cooperative participation in the Low Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) for the upcoming year at the reduced monthly surcharge of $0.91 per meter per residential site. • Appointed individuals to serve on the 2020 Nominating Committee and the Election and Credentials Committee. • Approved a resolution of support for Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative’s upcoming rate filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

At its special open electric member regulation meeting held on Sept. 22, the board: • Approved and set the 2021 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor to a maximum of (negative) $(-0.00439)/kWh for bills rendered on or after Feb. 1, 2021.

W I N T E R H O L I D A Y S O F F IC E H O U R S From our families to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season! Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op will be closed for the holidays on the following dates:*

T H A N K S G I V I N G : Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27 C H R I S T M A S : Thursday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 25 N E W Y E A R ’ S D AY: Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 As always, you may access your account anytime online at pieg.com using our free SmartHub app on your laptop or mobile phone. Take care of payments or meter readings by calling toll free, 1-866-999-4571 (please have your account number available). To report outages or other emergencies, please call 1-800-423-6634. For gas emergencies only, please call 1-800-655-8565. *At press time, our office remains closed due to COVID-19, but employees are still working. Please call 1-800-423-6634 or visit pieg.com for updates.


MI CO-OP Community

2 3 6 4 8

Best Of Michigan

RESTAURANTS WITH A VIEW 1

5

1

Bentwood Tavern

New Buffalo This gem of a restaurant is located in the Marina Grand Resort. There is scenic outside dining with great service and a great selection of delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is light and airy, and you can feel a good energy. Jeff Dorr, Presque Isle  bentwoodtavern.com

3

6

7

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Stafford’s Pier Restaurant

2

UP NEXT

Harbor Springs Dining during the summertime can be either inside or out on the terrace overlooking the municipal marina. Once a week, the Harbor Springs Concert Band plays on the lawn nearby to add to your dining experience. Stafford trains their staff well, and it shows! Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy staffordspier.com

Harbor Lights Grille

Carp Lake It’s like stepping back in time. They have wonderful food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and amazing homemade desserts. There is a beautiful lakeside view. The staff is very attentive and friendly. Rebecca Rhea, Great Lakes Energy harborlightsgrilleonthelake.com

Knot Just A Bar

Omena There are breathtaking views of the bay whether you’re on the beautiful deck or inside. They offer a great drink and food selection with fresh flavors. Judy Skowronski, Cherryland knotjustabar.com

WINTER FUN!

Tell us about your favorite winter activity location (downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, ice skating, etc.) Submit your favorites at countrylines.com/ community by Jan. 25, and look for it in our February issue.

4


5

Clifford Lake Inn

Stanton They have amazing food, and their desserts are delicious! The views of Clifford Lake from the deck are gorgeous, especially during sunset. It has a relaxed vibe, and they are very friendly. Sometimes floatplanes will land or take off from the water, which is a treat to see! Jenna Irani, HomeWorks Tri-County cliffordlakeinn.net

6

Where In Michigan Is This? Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

Palette Bistro

Petoskey This has a spectacular view of the bay, especially at sunset. Make sure you get a window seat to take in the unforgettable lake action while enjoying an exciting, eclectic menu. A customer favorite, the Forest Floor Soup, teeming with delectable mushrooms, never disappoints! The servers are knowledgeable and are always on point. Treat yourself to a relaxing meal overlooking Petoskey’s jewel. Mary Ennis, Great Lakes Energy palettebistropetoskey.com

Blue Lake Tavern

Mecosta This amazing place is a historic log cabin and sits above the lake. The view never fails and the food, service and atmosphere are all A+. I take people there during all Michigan seasons. Lonna Bear, HomeWorks Tri-County

Barrel Back Restaurant

7

Walloon Lake There’s delicious food and a great atmosphere, and it overlooks Walloon Lake. On nice days, they open the huge garage-style doors for open air dining and incredible views! Marlene Clark , Great Lakes Energy barrel-back.com

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.

8

September 2020 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Courtney Thompson, HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City. Photo by Jody Strang. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/ December.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

7


PHOTO

MOST VOTES!

CONTEST

Cutest Pets 1. Mud is a girl’s best friend! Chelsea Amborski 2. BATDOG—Abby Dandy 3. Well, hello there—Betty Sherburne 4. Odie—Traci Butler

1

5. There is no “lion” about this cuteness!—Gloria Zalewski 6. Callie in Cali, chasing waterfalls—Shania Jewell 7. Brotherly love?—Misty Furgeson 8. Pippa taking a ride down the Indian River—Melissa Brown 9. Mesmerized by those eyes—Amie Coloff 10. Michigan four wheeling is the best!—Ellen Eichar 11. Dazed and confused—Linda Soulliere 12. Lulu after a swim—Sandy Menge 13. Ollie at his best—Erin Griffith 14. Ellie Mae, queen of our hearts!!!!—Jeanie Stevens

Enter to win a $200 energy bill credit!

2

Submit Your Favorite “Magic of Winter” Photos! Submit your best photo and encourage your friends 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 Nov./Dec. theme is Magic of Winter. Photos can be submitted through November 27 to be featured in our January 2021 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 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2021 bill.

8 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

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98

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MI CO-OP Recipes

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

DIPS & DRESSINGS Complement your meals with these unique recipes.

WINNING RECIPE!

RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE Tracy Fisher, Thumb Electric

1 ¹⁄ ³ 2 ¼ 1 ½ 1 Win a

$50

energy bill credit!

RECIPE CONTEST

Stir-Fry Favorites due December 1 • Soups due January 1 Tacos due February 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.

10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

cup frozen raspberries, thawed cup olive or canola oil tablespoons lemon juice cup white vinegar tablespoon honey cup sugar (add to taste) tablespoon poppy seeds

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This vinaigrette goes great with a strawberry spinach salad. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos


BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP Laura Campbell, HomeWorks Tri-County

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or riced cauliflower for vegetarian option) 8 ounces cream cheese ½ cup of favorite buffalo sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot) ½ cup ranch dressing ½ cup shredded mozzarella Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Set to high heat, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are blended/melted (about 1–2 hours). Then set to warm heat while serving. Serve with celery and tortilla chips. You can adjust the ranch to buffalo sauce ratio depending on your preferred spiciness level.

GRANDDAUGHTER’S FAVORITE DIP June Dougherty, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 1 1 •

(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened package ranch dressing (8 ounce) can corn, drained small red pepper, chopped black olives, chopped (amount to your liking)

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

LEMON VINAIGRETTE Laura Burke, Great Lakes Energy ¼ 1 1 ¼ ¼ ½

cup fresh lemon juice teaspoon dijon mustard large clove garlic, minced teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper cup vegetable oil

Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually add oil in a steady stream, whisking until blended. Toss with green salad or pasta salad.

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

11


Powering Communities, Empowering Members

2019 PIE&G Communities First Fund Awards:

$57,659

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 13 of this issue to enroll.

2019 COMMUNITIES FIRST FUND GRANT SUMMARY APPLICANT AMOUNT

APPLICANT AMOUNT

Rogers City Area Seniors, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500.00 Floor, refrigeration & curbing improvement Presque Isle County Historical Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000.00 Northern Lake Huron Native American Pow Wow and Trapper Rendezvous Cheboygan Carnegie 501(C)(3) in partnership with Holbert LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500.00 The Building Stabilization Project for the Carnegie Free Library The Pony Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500.00 Therapy center—Help build new therapy room inside one of the miniature horse barns Black Lake Preservation Society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $300.00 Invasive Species Education, Prevention & Control Program Village of Hillman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $500.00 Emerick Park Horseshoe Pit Project Rogers City Community Theatre (RCCT). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $500.00 Junior Summer Jamboree—Lions, Panthers and Pumbas...Oh My! Hillman United Methodist Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $700.00 Back to School Bash Montmorency County 4-H Fair Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $705.50 Campground electrical upgrade Peace Lutheran Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,000.00 Peace Hygiene Pantry Alpena Area Senior Citizens Council Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,100.00 Liquid Nutrition Program Rogers City Area Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500.00 Weight Room Project Thunder Bay River Restoration Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,543.00 Thunder Bay River Recreation Improvement Project Presque Isle Township. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,780.00 Fire department—Ice Rescue Fund Brush Creek Mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $323.00 Replacement—computer & monitor

Lewiston Downtown Development Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $750.00 Lewiston Fall Fest Rogers City Youth Football Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,320.00 Safety equipment & bags Hillman Area Senior Citizens, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500.00 Furnace replacement Together We Can Food Pantry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,400.00 Together We Can food distribution Long Rapids Township Volunteer Fire Depart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500.00 LRRD Cascade System Metz Township. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,950.00 Metz Fire Historical Trailside Park Case Township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $653.81 Summer Youth Program arts & crafts Straits Area Audubon Society (SAAS). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $700.00 Snakes Alive! In Our Schools Feb. 2020 Rogers City Area Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $734.00 Emergency preparedness grant Onaway United Methodist Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500.00 Caring Closet Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,500.00 Technology updates to support the Habitat Mission Thunder Bay River Center, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,700.00 Reel Fun Ice Fishing Tournament District Health Department No. 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,000.00 Girls on the Run Sunrise Side After School Program Grand Lake Community Chapel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,500.00 God Loves You! Food Pantry (GLUFP) 15 Local High School Seniors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $14,500.00 Total College Scholarships


PIE&G Communities First Fund Statements of Financial Position December 31, 2018 and 2019 ASSETS CURRENT ASSETS: Cash

Cash – restricted

Accounts receivable TOTAL ASSETS

NET ASSETS

Unrestricted

Unrestricted, designated

2019 $

96,141

$ $

Permanently restricted TOTAL NET ASSETS

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS ACTIVITIES AND CHANGE IN NET ASSETS REVENUE Contributions – Members Contributions – PIE&G

2018 $

95,896

102,795

$

106,530

61,237

$

69,971

3,000

3,654

38,558 3,000

$

$

Interest

TOTAL REVENUE

EXPENSES Grants

Scholarships

$

106,530

51,184

14,078

97

$

65,359

$

51,158

$

38,756

2,725

8,983

1,399

TOTAL EXPENSE

1,345

64,942

CHANGE IN NET ASSETS

66,334

(3,735)

$

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.

106,530 102,795

13,500 3,750

9,660

Directors’ expense

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.

47,326

106,530

61,207

Program expense

NET ASSETS, end of year

$

97

33,559

3,000

102,795

13,784

7,634

$

Professional fees

NET ASSETS, beginning of year

102,795

3,000

(975)

$

107,505

106,530

Enroll To Help Your Community

Yes!

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


TTEN I M E H MEETS T By Emily Haines Lloyd

M

any small towns in rural Michigan are quaintly magical. But in the tiny hamlet of Colon (population 1,100-ish), magical is more than an adjective, it’s a way of life.

The history of Colon’s relationship with magic goes back to the Roaring ‘20s, when famed magician Harry Blackstone Sr. (who was on par with Houdini and Thurston) did as many Chicago entertainers did in the sweltering city summers—escaped to cooler climates, like Michigan’s lake communities. Blackstone’s wife was the one who happened upon the 220-acre plot of land that they would eventually call home. The entire Blackstone troupe traveled to the other side of Lake Michigan and settled on what the magician called Blackstone Island (though not technically an island) on Sturgeon Lake to work up the coming year’s act. “It was in the late ‘20s that Blackstone met an Australian magician, Percy Abbott, and invited him to visit Colon,” recalls FAB Magic Company owner Rick Fisher. “The two built the Blackstone Magic Co. Eventually, Abbott met a local girl, got married, and stayed behind and tended to the business.” The partnership was beset with drama equal to their own acts, and the two magicians parted ways as business partners, though both remained in Colon—rumored never to have spoken to one another again. Abbott renamed the magic shop Abbott Magic Novelty Co. in 1933 and the draw kept magicians, and those with magic addictions, coming to explore its wonders, with many of them staying on themselves. Lester Lake, also known as The Great Marvello, was one of them. He was known for his wild escapes, including one from chains while engulfed in flames in the middle of the road in downtown Colon. With so many folks visiting from the industry and many of them sticking


“ I W AN T TO K E E P TH AT EX C IT EM E N T G O IN G FO R AS LO N G AS I’M AB LE . B EC AU SE IF W E DO N ’T TAK E C AR E O F TH E M AG IC — IT R E ALLY C O U LD DISAP P E AR .”

around, Lake coined Colon “The Magic Capital of the World.” It was in 1991 that the small town was finally recognized officially by former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Decades later, it was Fisher’s turn to fall in love with the magic of Colon. “My family owned a lake cottage in Columbus City, and we visited Abbott’s when I was 7,” recalls Fisher. “I was hooked.” Each summer, Fisher would save money from mowing lawns, beg for a ride to the magic shop, and buy a new trick. His mother was given some leftover fabric and sewed the first tuxedo for her precocious son.

Fisher has high hopes to keep the magic alive in the future too, even as the industry itself faces difficult times. One of the largest magic manufacturers out of California actually closed its doors recently. A looming sadness that Fisher hopes the Magic Capital of the World can avoid. “I’m lucky to see the faces of the families and especially the youngsters as they look around the shop. There’s so much possibility. So much excitement,” said Fisher. “I want to keep that excitement going for as long as I’m able. Because if we don’t take care of the magic—it really could disappear.” For more information, visit magiccapitaloftheworld.com or call 269-432-4017.

The childhood hobby became a lifelong obsession. While always keeping magic near and performing on the road, Fisher also lived your average life as a sales representative, father of four, and loving husband. However, after a hospital stay in 2002 due to a blocked artery, Fisher found himself with time to think and came to the realization that the future isn’t promised. He told his wife Cheryl he wanted to start a magic shop in Colon. “I told Cheryl we should do it. Buy a shop. Luckily, she agreed,” Fisher said. “I mean, it’s never been easy, but we’ve never looked back.” FAB Magic Shop and Abbott’s Magic Co., as well as Sterlini Magic Mfg. and Theater, are all still in business and participate in an annual magic festival the first week of August each year. Even COVID-19 was no match for the ultimate illusion of normalcy, as a socially-distanced flea market with booths and shows still made its way to Colon’s streets. Over 150 people turned out, not sure if the magic would show up at all. But the community is always up for the next trick. That’s what Fisher loves about his adopted hometown. Colon is as quirky as it is quaint, with banners along Main Street calling it the “Magic Capital of the World” and the high school giving its mascot—a rabbit—the name of “Hare E. Blackstone.” There’s also the Magic Walk of Fame along East State Street and over 35 magicians buried in the town’s cemetery. The town’s history is rooted in magic. “Magic has put Colon on the map,” said Fisher. “You can talk to almost anyone in the magic industry from anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Colon.”

MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

15


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 06/30/20.

Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used Fuel source

Your co-op’s fuel mix

Regional average fuel mix

Coal

21.34%

41.81%

Oil

0.17%

0.41%

Gas

16.11%

23.61%

Hydroelectric

1.94%

0.76%

Nuclear

42.90%

26.61%

Renewable Fuels

17.54%

6.80%

Biofuel

0.33%

0.79%

Biomass

0.15%

0.47%

Solar

0.54%

0.14%

Solid Waste Incineration

0.11%

0.02%

Wind

16.23%

4.95%

Wood

0.18%

0.43%

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

PUBLIC ACT 342: THE CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY WASTE REDUCTION ACT 2019 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op—MPSC Case Number U-18278

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op contracted with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to administer the Energy Optimization (EO) efforts to comply with PA-295. MECA filed a four-year Energy Optimization plan with the MPSC on Aug. 3, 2015, as required by PA 295. This EO plan was approved by the MPSC on Dec. 22, 2015, and we began implementing our 2016–2019 EO Plan on Jan. 1, 2016. On Sept. 14, 2017, we filed a Biennial Plan as required by PA-342 of 2016. This Biennial Plan was approved by the MPSC on Dec. 1, 2017. WECC was selected to implement all residential, commercial, and industrial programs and the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR—previously EO) website, www.michigan-energy.org. In November 2018, WECC and Seventhwave merged and are now doing business as Slipstream, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Slipstream has subcontracted with WES Utility Services, Michigan Energy Options, and Nuwati, LLC to assist with the implementation of the EWR programs. MECA contracted with DNV-GL as the independent third party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. In 2019, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op collected $539,177 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $652,795, resulting in an under-collection of $113,618. Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op achieved 2,651 MWh of energy savings in 2019 compared to its annual kWh goal of 2,393 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your cooperative’s headquarters and at www.michigan-energy.org or http://efile. mpsc.state.mi.us/efile.

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix

NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF PRESQUE ISLE ELECTRIC & GAS CO-OP The Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Board of Directors adopted the following changes to the cooperative’s electric tariffs at a Special Open Meeting held Sept. 22, 2020, in accordance with P.A. 167. The board approved and set the 2021 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor to a maximum of (negative) $(-0.00439)/kWh for bills rendered on or after Feb. 1, 2021. 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.

Regional Average Fuel Mix

NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF PRESQUE ISLE ELECTRIC & GAS CO-OP

Case No. U-16596—2019 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary

Emissions And Waste Comparison lbs/MWh

Type Of Emission/Waste

Your Co-op

Regional Average*

Sulfur Dioxide

0.55

1.25

Carbon Dioxide

649.9

1,248.0

Oxides of Nitrogen High-level Nuclear Waste

0.40

0.91

0.0097

0.0060

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

16 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Michigan law requires all Michigan electric utilities to get approximately 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2019. Under this requirement, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op submits an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2019, Presque Isle acquired a total of 35,496 renewable energy credits and 585 incentive credits. All credit transfers were directed through Presque Isle’s wholesale power supplier, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc. Wolverine will continue to generate renewable energy and bank unused renewable energy credits for future use and compliance with statutory renewable portfolio standard requirements on behalf of all of its members. A full copy of the cooperative’s Renewable Energy Plan annual report that was filed with the MPSC is available on the cooperative’s website at www.pieg.com or by request at any of the cooperative’s offices.


Do You Believe In Energy Savings? he holiday season is upon us and with it comes shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. With so many festive activities, who can think about home heating and cooling? A Wi-Fi enabled or smart thermostat might be the answer.

T

Standard programmable thermostats are great for setting schedules that raise and lower the temperature at specific times on certain days. But unless you remember ahead of time to change the schedule, your heat or A/C will kick in as programmed—wasting energy and money.

Taking Control Thanks to new advancements in technology, Wi-Fi enabled thermostats allow homeowners to remotely control their home’s temperature 24/7—whether you’re at work, shopping, or traveling to Grandma’s. Simply log in online or use the thermostat’s app on your phone to adjust your settings.

Smart Thermostats Smart thermostats are currently the most advanced residential devices available. Not only are they Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to adjust the temperature from your

mobile device or tablet (as long as you’re connected to the Internet)—they can program themselves as they “learn” your behavior patterns and desired temperatures for certain days and times during the week. It is important to do your research before investing in a new gadget. Remember, not all “Wi-Fi enabled thermostats” are smart thermostats. Only true smart thermostats can sense when you are home and program themselves. Additionally, not all aftermarket thermostats are compatible with all heating and cooling systems. Make sure the one you choose will work properly with your system.

REBATES AVAILABLE! The Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives toward the purchase of qualifying Wi-Fi enabled and smart thermostats. Start saving energy and money today! Visit michigan-energy.org or call 877.296.4319 for additional energy-saving information and incentives.

HOME ENERGY S AV I N G S I S R E A L Give the gift of savings on home heating and cooling with a Wi-Fi enabled or smart thermostat. • control home temperatures remotely 24/7 • a smart thermostat learns home temperature patterns for optimal performance • save money on energy

$75 REBATE ON QUALIFYING WI-FI AND SMART THERMOSTATS Online: michigan-energy.org

Phone: 877.296.4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between January 1, 2020 and December 31 2020. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit michigan-energy.org.


Home Heating Assistance Programs 2020-2021 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 $19,140 25,860 32,580 39,300 46,020 52,740 59,460 66,180

Add $6,720 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. 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 Dept. 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 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)

You do not have to be a DHHS client to apply for help with a past due bill, shut-off 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.

If you receive a DHHS cash grant, you may use part of it toward heat and electric bills. Contact your local DHHS or call the Home Heating Hotline, 855-275-6424.

Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program

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) or if you participate in the Dept. of Health and Human Services Family Independence

Program or receive SSI. Weatherization may include caulking, weatherstripping, and insulation. Contact your local Community Action Agency for details. Visit mcaaa.org to find one in your area.

United Way

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.

Medical Emergency Protection 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 or a public health or social services official that a medical condition exists. Contact your gas or electric utility for details.

Shut-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 nonpayment between Nov. 1 and April 15. For a list of electric providers that opt out of collecting the LIEAF, go to michigan.gov/energygrants.

Contact: Michigan Dept. of Treasury # Exemp.

0–1 2 3

Max. Income

$14,036 18,964 23,892

# Exemp.

4 5 6

Max. Income

$28,820 33,748 38,676

Add $4,928 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

Contact: Local Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), michigan.gov/mdhhs

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or UWmich.org/2-1-1

Contact: Local Utility Company

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2020 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

MI Energy Assistance Program Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November

18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Dial 2-1-1 for more information on heating and other human services programs.


Well-Connect has SAVED RURAL MICHIGANDERS MORE THAN $1 MILLION on energy bills.

i

control your COMFORT There’s a lot you can’t control, but you can

TO CA DA LL Y!

Don’t let winter fuel costs drain your budget or keep you from dialing up the thermostat. With a Well-Connect heat pump, you can heat your home for less than $600 all winter long!

HYBRID GEOTHERMAL H E AT I N G A N D C O O L I N G Harnessing the energy from existing residential water wells, Well-Connect systems: • Heat homes for half the cost – for decades. • Are twice as efficient as air-source heat pumps. • Reduce dependence on propane, fuel oil & wood.

CALL TODAY OR VISIT US ONLINE FOR A FREE ASSESSMENT!

989.356.2113 • WellConnectGeo.com


/PIEGCooperative

pieg.com

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 2020-21 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 last week of school in September.

Best wishes to all kids and teachers for a successful year of learning!

Profile for Country Lines

Nov/Dev 2020 PIE&G  

Nov/Dev 2020 PIE&G  

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