Nov/Dec 2022 PIE&G

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A Story 100 Years In The Making With Mammoth Distilling Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op November/December 2022 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES AMI and Fiber Updates Communities First Fund Annual Report Holiday Savings with Energy Star Appliance Rebates
You may not realize it, but your home is sitting on a free and renewable supply of energy. A WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system taps into the stored solar energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling, and hot water. That’s money in the bank and a smart investment in your family’s comfort. Contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today to learn how to tap into your buried treasure. WATERFURNACE UNITS QUALIFY FOR A 30% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THROUGH 2032 YOUR LOCAL WATERFURNACE DEALERS THERE’S A TREASURE IN YOUR BACKYARD visit us at WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. Allendale Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937 Bad Axe/Ubly Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986 Berrien Springs Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667 gogreenmichgeo Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717 Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691 Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 adamsheating Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201 Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890 Mancelona Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052 Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500 Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822 Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665 Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906 Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138 Traverse City D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251 Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231) 943-1000

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives



EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

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

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

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill , HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr , president and CEO.

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


Cooperative Association,

Townsend St., Ste. 900, Lansing,


November/December 2022 Vol. 42, No. 10 /michigancountrylines /
the Cover: Owners of Mammoth Distilling Chad Munger, wife Tracy Hickman, and their distillery dog Dawson. Photo courtesy of Sandra Wong 6 ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR 2022-2023 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Holiday Side Dishes: The perfect pairings for your festive feast. 14 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING The rediscovery of Michigan Rosen rye took equal parts of serendipity, location, teamwork and passion. 18 GUEST COLUMN The Salted Christmas Goose: A HomeWorks member recalls how a cooking catastrophe created better family communication. #micoopcommunity Instagram contest winner Flowers give this old Ford a facelift @lexannrebecca (LexAnn DeWeerd) MI Co-op Community To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit Guest Column See details on page 18. Win $150 for stories published! Recipe Contest See details on page 10. Win a $50 bill credit! Instagram Contest Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. 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: 10/1/22. 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
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. 2022. 13. Extent and nature of circulation: A) Total No. of copies 245,503 246,919 B) Paid and requested circulation 244,543 246,070 C) Total paid and requested circulation 244,543 246,070 D) 1) Free distribution by mail 157 157 2) Free distribution outside mail 809 849 E) Total free distribution 966 1,006 F) Total distribution 246,469 247,925 G) Copies not distributed 0 0 H) Total 246,469 247,925 I) Percent paid and/or requested circ 98.7 99.7% Avg # of copies each issue during preceding 12 mo. Actual # of copies of single issues published nearest to filing date 16. Publication of statement of ownership: November 2022 17. Signature and title of editor: Christine Dorr, editor Contents 3MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Charles Arbour

23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746


• Term Expires: 2023

Allan Berg, Chairman

8400 Lost Lake Rd., Hawks, MI 49743


• Term Expires 2023

Sandy Borowicz, Secretary

5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220

• Term Expires 2024

John Brown, Vice-Chairman 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099

Sally Knopf

• Term Expires 2023

1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779


Kurt Krajniak

• Term Expires 2024

7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707


Brentt Lucas

• Term Expires 2022

15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776

989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2022

Daryl Peterson, Treasurer P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746


• Term Expires 2024

Raymond Wozniak

6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776


• Term Expires 2022

President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck

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

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 3149 Main Street (M-211)

Onaway, MI 49765

Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515 Toll-Free: 800-423-6634

Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565

PIE&G natural gas rates and charges are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

’Tis The Season For Gratitude

This column is likely to find you preparing for your holiday season. Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and Christmas will be here before we know it! It is the time when we look back to review our work over the past year. I must say, it has been a year of significant achievements here at your cooperative! Our employees have spent another year doing incredible things with little fanfare. They simply know what needs to be done, and they go about doing it. I am so proud to represent such a highly skilled, dedicated group of individuals.

To recap, we have nearly completed our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system installation and plan to begin reading most electric meters remotely over the next few months. There are still some gaps in communications coverage, and we will spend the winter months determining the best way to address them. Then, next spring, we’ll deploy more equipment to capture those remaining meters. We’ll also begin the necessary steps to deploy this technology to our natural gas meters by adding custom modules. We expect implementation to be completed by the end of 2023.

Our other significant achievement has been the introduction of high-speed fiber internet in our service territory. We are currently providing service in the Onaway area but plan to open zones in the Black Lake, Wolverine, and Mullett Lake areas over the next few months. Then it’s on to Phase 2 and the Cheboygan area, followed by Hammond Bay, Millersburg, Hawks, and Posen. While it took some time to lay the foundations, and we’ve overcome several obstacles, we’ve managed to reach the point where we are connecting members and expanding our mission to provide yet another essential service. Fiber internet access will undoubtedly change the economic prospects of our region in positive ways. We’re excited to be part of such a significant change, and we can’t wait to continue the project throughout the rest of our service territory.

In closing, as Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near, I wish all a safe and prosperous holiday season! In keeping with the season, we thank you for trusting us to meet your energy needs and for allowing us to provide you with the bestin-class fiber internet service for your communications needs!

Happy Holidays

PIE&G will





NEW YEAR’S Monday, Jan.


Report outages or natural





be closed on the following dates:
Nov. 24 & Friday, Nov. 25
Dec. 23 & Monday, Dec. 26
gas emergencies anytime by calling
Access your accounts anytime, on our SmartHub mobile app, or
Pay By Phone

PIE&G Members

Receive Centennial Farm Designation

Joseph R. and Darlene Ciupka of Posen were presented with their new Centennial farm sign, sponsored by PIE&G through an application to the Michigan Historical Society. The original farm of 80 acres was purchased on Dec. 30, 1921, by Joseph’s grandparents, John and Zofia Ciupka, who settled in the area from Austria. The farm has been in the family since that time. At one time, Joseph’s father grew hay, oats, wheat, and potatoes on the farm. Today, Joseph and Darlene are happily retired on their 43-acre farm in Posen.

Pictured (left to right) are PIE&G Directors Brentt Lucas and Kurt Krajniak, Darlene and Joseph Ciupka, and PIE&G CEO Tom Sobeck.

Your Board In Action

At their most recent meetings, the PIE&G board of directors:

• Accepted management’s recommendation for the 2023 PSCR Factor of $0.01169/kWh, an increase of $0.00407/kWh over the 2022 PSCR Factor.

• Authorized CEO Sobeck to sign a Letter of Intent with Alcona County for the continued development of a potential fiber to the home project outside of the PIE&G electric territory in Alcona County.

• Approved management’s request to close the business office except for drive-through service on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, the date of the Annual Membership Meeting.

• Appointed Michael Dombrowski to the Communities First Fund board of directors, representing Montmorency County.

• Reviewed an update on PIE&G Connect, the cooperative’s fiber to the home project presented by Director of Broadband Operations Ruthanne Largent.

• Accepted Team Reports.

Fuel Mix Report


Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix Regional Average Fuel Mix
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 6/30/22. Emissions And Waste Comparison *Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/21. Presque Isle Electric & Gas purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data.
Of Fuel Sources Used NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix. Type of emission/waste lbs/MWh Your co-op Regional average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.62 1.16 Carbon Dioxide 676.4 1,133.0 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.43 0.82 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0.0090 0.0060 Fuel source Your co-op’s fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 21.85% 36.27% Oil 0.20% 0.39% Gas 17.13% 26.18% Hydroelectric 0.56% 0.87% Nuclear 41.79% 27.82% Renewable Fuels 18.47% 8.47% Biofuel 0.34% 0.71% Biomass 0.20% 0.47% Solar 0.66% 0.32% Solid Waste Incineration 0.10% 0.05% Wind 16.96% 6.50% Wood 0.21% 0.42% 5MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Winter Protection Plan

Contact: Your Local Utility Company


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 above.

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.

Earned Income Credit


• U.S. Treasury Dept., Internal Revenue Service,

• Michigan Dept. of Treasury,

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable federal income tax credit for lowincome 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.

You may claim a Michigan earned income tax credit for tax year 2021 equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for which you are eligible.

State Emergency Relief Program (SER)

Contact: Local Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services

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

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 receive a DHHS cash grant, you may use part of it toward heat and electric bills. Apply online using MI Bridges:

Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program

Contact: Local Community Action Agency

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 to find one in your area.

United Way

Contact: Call 2-1-1 or

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 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

Contact: Local Utility Company


later than Sept. 30 each year.

must be filed

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.

Income Guidelines 2022–2023
in Household 150% Poverty Guide Maximum Income 1 $20,385 2 27,465 3 34,545 4 41,625 5 48,705 6 55,785 7 62,865 8 69,945 Add $7,080 for each additional household member.
Assistance Programs 2022-2023 Season Home Heating Credit Contact: Michigan Dept. of Treasury # Exemp. Max. Income # Exemp. Max. Income 0–1 $14,949 5 $35,717 2 20,141 6 40,909 3 25,333 7 46,101 4 30,525 8 51,293 Add $5,192 for each exemption over 6. You can apply for a Home Heating Credit for the 2022 tax year if you meet the income guidelines listed above (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 The Home Heating Credit claim form
with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury no

Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Emergency Grant Program

Contact: MI Veterans Trust Fund

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 800-642-4838 or

Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund Administering Agency: Michigan State Housing Development Authority

The MIHAF provides funds to customers with assistance preventing homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement. Applicants must demonstrate financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 on or after Jan. 21, 2020.

MI Energy Assistance Program

Contact: Utility or 2-1-1 in late November

The 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

Holiday Tips

The holidays are a magical time, and it’s also the most expensive time of year for many of us. Here are tips to reduce the financial burden with efficient ways to use less energy at home and lower your monthly bills.

Home Practices

If you are hosting guests, your household will consume more electricity than normal. Be prepared with efficiency basics:

• Have your thermostat programmed at 68 degrees when you are home and dialed back by eight to 10 degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep.

• Run the clothes washer on cold with full loads.

• When not in use, turn off lights and the TV; fully shut down computers and gaming systems instead of putting them in sleep or standby mode.

Cooking Efficiency

• Use the oven light to check the food. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25 degrees, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

• When possible, make use of a slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven, or warming plate, which uses less energy than an oven and stovetop.

• Let hot food cool to room temperature before placing it inside the refrigerator. This ensures you don’t increase the temperature inside your fridge and cause it to use more energy to cool down.

Holiday Lighting

• LED holiday lights consume 70% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands.

• Use light timers so you don’t have to remember to unplug your lights every evening. You can also choose to upgrade to smart holiday lights that offer a wide range of app-controlled options, including time, colors, music, and modes.

Out-of-Town Efficiency

If you’re visiting family and friends during the holidays, prepare your home to use less energy while you’re away.

• Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill, according to DOE. Switching your water heater to vacation mode will reduce wasted energy by keeping the water at a lower temperature. If your water heater does not have vacation mode on the dial, you can adjust it to the lowest setting.

• Set your thermostat to around 55 degrees so you’re not wasting energy to heat the home while you’re away.

• Consider upgrading a lamp or fi xture to a smart lightbulb. This allows you to control lights from afar and set a schedule for the light to go on and off.

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


Home Appliances

Portable Room Dehumidifier

ENERGY STAR ® qualified. Limit 4.

Room Air Conditioner ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit

Room Air Purifier

ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Clothes Washer ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Clothes Dryer: Standard ENERGY STAR qualified. Electric dryer w/ moisture sensor. Limit 1.

Clothes Dryer: Heat Pump ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.


ENERGY STAR qualified. Compact not eligible. Limit

Chest or Upright Freezer ENERGY STAR qualified. Limit 1.

Induction Range/Stove Induction range, stove, or cooktop with a minimum of 3 burners. Gas

or stovetops not


up to

and last up to 10 times longer than

lights. Save even more

lights on a timer.

• Turn off room lights when your tree is lit. Focus on

spectacular tree by turning off as many lights as possible and enjoy the glow of the tree lights. Maybe add a fire to the fireplace for some additional heat and an extra glow to the room.

• Bake several dishes at the same time. If you’re cooking

make the most of the energy that goes into heating your oven by cooking multiple dishes at once. Also, preheat your oven as late in the cooking process as possible to avoid wasting energy.

• Use candles to create an inviting glow. Save electricity

produce an enchanting ambience in your home with candlelight. Use scented candles for an extra touch of holiday cheer!

For a complete list of incentives and savings ideas through the Energy Optimization program, visit or call 877-296-4319

Presque Isle Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op electric service Other restrictions may apply For complete program details, visit locations only. Incentive applies to quali ed items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022. Save more in the new year with ENERGY STAR® appliances! You will save energy and earn rebates to help you save money. Eligible products include items such as:  Room air conditioners $30 REBATE  Clothes washers $40 REBATE  Refrigerators $50 REBATE  Induction ovens/stoves $500 REBATE For the full list of appliance rebates, VISIT • CALL 877 296-4319 NEW APPLIANCES ON YOUR HOLIDAY Have Yourself A Little Holiday Savings That doesn’t sound possible, does it? It’s a wonderful time of the year—but also one of the most expensive. But there are ways to save, and that will make any grinch happy. • Add new ENERGY STAR® appliances to your holiday list. You can earn incentive rebates now and save more on energy costs in the coming new year. • Switch
LED holiday lights. LED lights use
90% less electricity
traditional string
energy by putting your
for company,
4. $30
1. $50
eligible. Limit 1. $500
3 1 8 5 9 10 6 2 7 4 Christmas Trees 1. Four brothers working together to trim the tree. Melissa Cumper 2. Christmas fun! Kathie Medvedik 3. The Cat in the Hat reading stories in our Christmas tree! Donald Wilton 4. My cat loves Christmas! Sheila Zwolinski 5. Home sweet home. Hannah Palmer 6. Through the eyes of a child. John Chmielewski 7. Finnegan’s first Christmas. Theresa Molnar 8. Beautiful Christmas trees go so well with ugly sweaters. Sharon Wyman 9. Best present ever. Kathie Medvedik 10. Memories of a Florida Christmas. Carol Stauske Submit Your “Family Time” Photos By Nov. 20! Submit your best photo and encourage others to vote! The photo receiving the most votes in our photo contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines, along with some of our other favorites. Our Nov./Dec. theme is Family Time. Photos can be submitted through Nov. 20 to be featured in our February issue. To enter the contest, visit Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your January 2024 bill. Enter to win up to a $50 energy bill credit! PHOTO CONTEST MOST VOTES! 9MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes Submitted by MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes TASTY TUSCAN BUTTER MUSHROOMS Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 4 tablespoons butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 pound baby bella mushrooms, cleaned 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved ¼ cup heavy cream ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper ¹⁄ 8 –¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 3 cups fresh spinach • chopped fresh basil, for garnish Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook until mushrooms are tender and tomatoes start to burst, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and Parmesan, and season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Add spinach and cook until sauce is thickened and spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Garnish with basil before serving. Enjoy! Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST National Cherry Month due Dec. 1 • Fish Fry due Jan. 1 • Vegetarian due Feb. 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to Win a $50 energy bill credit! HOLIDAY SIDE DISHES Serve alongside your holiday dinner. 10 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022


1 package chicken stuffing

6 cups sliced zucchini


1 (15-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup






Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare chicken stuffing according to package directions.

Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add sliced zucchini and chopped onion. Boil for 5 minutes; drain well. In a bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Stir in carrots. Fold in drained zucchini and onion. Combine stuffing with butter. Spread ½ of the stuffing mix in bottom of 10x7x2-inch baking pan. Spoon zucchini mixture on top. Sprinkle remaining stuffing on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 head cauliflower

1 stick butter


Jane Ellison, Great Lakes Energy

1 (12-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon horseradish

• salt and pepper, to taste

Cut cauliflower into just bigger than bite size. Steam the cauliflower for 30–35 minutes (do not boil, or it will be mushy). Drain the water from pot. Add all ingredients to the pot. Use a potato masher to mash and combine. Top with additional cheddar cheese and serve.


Teresa Peterman, Presque Isle

1½ pounds baby potatoes, halved (20–24 potatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

tablespoon melted butter, for drizzling

sprinkle of sea salt

Parmesan Mixture:

cup grated Parmesan (fine texture)

teaspoon garlic powder (or onion powder)

teaspoon dried oregano or thyme

teaspoon paprika


coarse black pepper

Dipping Sauce:

cup sour cream or plain yogurt, or a combination of both

cup finely

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all of the ingredients for the “Parmesan Mixture” in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil in 9x13 glass baking dish. Tilt dish to spread all over the base. Use a spoon to scatter the Parmesan Mixture over the base and spread as evenly as you can. Once sprinkled, do not touch or try to spread. Place halved potatoes, cut side down, on top of Parmesan, pressing firmly. Drizzle top of potatoes with melted butter (or spray with butter spray), then sprinkle with salt. Bake potatoes for 35–40 minutes or until they are soft and the Parmesan crust is deep golden (note: you can check through the bottom of the glass). Let rest for 5 minutes. Use a small spatula to cut between every 4–5 potatoes, cutting through the Parmesan crust that binds the potatoes. Serve cheese side up. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together and serve with potatoes (optional). Serves 4–5 people.

Correction: The October version of this recipe did not list zucchini in the ingredients,

standard loaf pans were not included in the instructions, and the frosting has been

to optional. We apologize for the omissions.


Cindy Thome, Alger Delta

Frosting (optional):

cup soft butter

cup soft cream cheese

teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan or two standard loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together all cake ingredients until combined. Pour into the pan. Bake for 40–45 minutes. Cool completely before frosting. To make the frosting, in a small bowl, combine all of the frosting ingredients and beat in a mixer for 2 minutes. Frost the cake and enjoy.

Dennis Gocha, Great Lakes Energy
¼ cup chopped
cup sour
cup shredded
½ cup melted
¼ teaspoon
½ teaspoon
chopped green onions or chives
½ cup butter ½ cup vegetable oil 1¾ cup sugar 2 beaten eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cups shredded zucchini (approx. 3 medium) 2½ cups flour 4 tablespoons cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups powdered

2021 PIE&G

Powering Communities, Empowering Members

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” 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. Since its inception in 1998, the PIE&G Communities First Fund has made nearly $2 million in donations to local charitable organizations and high school seniors.

To those who participate in the fund—

For those who would like to join the cause and help their community, please see the enrollment form (right) on page 13 to learn how you can put your change to good work!

Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity $3,162 Building Energy Efficient Upgrades (Lighting)

Forest Township

$2,669 Tower Park Fitness Phase 2

Alpena Area Senior Citizens Council Inc $3,853 Liquid Nutrition Program

Cheboygan County Child Advocacy Council $1,113 Project Car Seat Safety

History Center of Cheboygan County Inc

$3,000 Exhibit Update (photo and artifact display cases-5)

Friends of Plaza Pool $2,500 Project Protect Our Community Kids 2021 (session 2 for 50 children)

Greenwood Township Ambulance Committee $1,000 Greenwood Twp First Responder Equipment

Brush Mill Creek $811 Point of Sale System

Cheboygan VITA $2,880 Technology Update

Posen Area Fire & Rescue $1,950 Education Equipment Updating and Lifting Project

Onaway United Methodist Church $1,500 Caring Closet

Junior Achievement of Northern Michigan $700 Preparing Youth for Future Financial Success

Child and Family Services of NE MI, Inc

Parents as Teachers Educational Programming


Karli Myers

Noah Demers

Madelyn Maltby

Jaden Dove

Emma Hardies

Emalie Lis

Elliana Prow

Luke Chappa

Austin Bielas



Mackenzie Bruning $1,000 Megan Delekta........................................... $1,000

Emma Stempky

Marisa Perry (A. Barkley Travis Memorial Scholarship) $500 Zachary Kazyaka (The Peterson Vocational School Scholarship) $500

Communities First Fund Awards: $39,163
Total Grants ....................................
2021 Communities First Fund Grant Summary
Total Scholarships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13,000
School Scholarship Recipients 12 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021



The PIE&G Communities First Fund was created in 1998. Funds for this program are generated when PIE&G

volunteer to “round up” their utility

to the next whole dollar. The average

is about 50 cents per month per meter. All contributions are tax-deductible.

call our Member Services Department at 800-423-6634 to join.

may also mail the completed

form on this page with

utility payment or find the form at









your PIE&G Communities First Fund Statements of Financial Position December 31, 2020 and 2021 ASSETS 2021 2020 CURRENT ASSETS: Cash $ 105,449 $ 93,952 Cash – restricted 3,000 3,000 Accounts receivable 3,405 3,498 TOTAL ASSETS $ 111,854 $ 100,450 NET ASSETS Unrestricted $ 79,234 $ 72,577 Unrestricted, designated 29,620 24,873 Permanently restricted 3,000 3,000 TOTAL NET ASSETS 111,854 100,450 TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS $ 111,854 $ 100,450
AND CHANGE IN NET ASSETS REVENUE Contributions – members $
Contributions – PIE&G 14,428 13,286 Interest 101 93 TOTAL REVENUE $ 63,084 $
Scholarships 11,000
Professional fees 2,850
Program expense 10,285
Directors’ expense 1,293 576 TOTAL EXPENSE 51,680 60,890 CHANGE IN NET ASSETS 11,404 (2,345) NET ASSETS, beginning of year 100,450 102,795 NET ASSETS, end of year $ 111,854 $ 100,450 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 Yes! Enroll To Help Your Community

A Story 100 Years In The Making

With Mammoth Distilling

When Chad Munger held just a palmful of Rosen rye seeds in his hand in 2020, it was the beginning, or at least the continuation, of a 100-year-old story.

Munger, the founder and owner of Mammoth Distilling, with its flagship tasting room in Central Lake, and whiskey maker Ari Sussman had first spoken about these valuable seeds a few years earlier when he made a discovery while army-crawling his way through the agriculture and food archives at Michigan State University. He came across a full-page ad for Old Schenley rye in a 1934 issue of Vanity Fair touting that it was made with Michigan Rosen rye: “The most compact and flavorful rye kernels Mother Earth produces were used for this luxurious brand,” it said.

“Ari called me right away,” said Munger. “First, we couldn’t believe this rye had basically existed in our own backyard and we hadn’t heard of it before. And then the wheels started spinning on how to bring this rye back.”

The seeds had been successfully grown just off the Leelanau Peninsula

on South Manitou Island for the first time 100 years ago. With the seeds shipped from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s to Joseph Rosen, they eventually found a home at MSU, where Rosen worked with colleagues to test the flavor. The more the Mammoth team dug into the details, the more amazing the story became. They came to a simple conclusion— this was not your average rye.

“It quickly became coveted by the country’s top whiskey makers,” said Munger. “Unfortunately, it had a fatal flaw—it cross-pollinated very easily and would quickly lose the magical flavor that made it so special.”

Enter South Manitou Island: Being 16 miles from the Michigan coastline and not too far from MSU, it eliminated the danger of immediate cross-pollination. While Rosen rye had a good run supplying whiskey makers for decades, post-Prohibition times brought a hefty hurdle. During those “dry” years, folks had become accustomed to the low price tag of corn-based whiskey.

As the folks at Mammoth kept pulling threads on this unraveling story, they

quickly addressed the obstacles of bringing Rosen rye back, as well as introducing interested parties into the existing story of the strain.

“We didn’t create it, we rediscovered it,” said Munger. “It really felt like we were being charged with keeping the story alive.”

Many amazing groups helped to keep that story alive, from the USDA, to MSU, to the National Park Service


(which manages South Manitou Island as part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore), in order to bring Rosen rye back to Michigan.

The initial crop, just 14 acres, was planted in October 2020, nearly 100 years after the first seeds made their way to Michigan. Eighty years after the last crop of Rosen rye left South Manitou Island, members of the Mammoth team celebrated the first Rosen Rye Day this past August to harvest the grain. The hope is to continue this historical process for years to come.

None of it has been easy. Or even logical. Farming on South Manitou Island comes with its own set of unique obstacles, including no irrigation, no pesticides, a lot of work done by hand, and concerns that the team won’t know for years how the whiskey will taste.

So, why do it? Why spend the time, energy, and, let’s be honest, money on a venture that may never pay off? Munger suggests that the entire team, including those at Michigan State,

the NPS, and the whiskey community at large, all agree—“Because it’s the right thing to do. Bringing the grain back is good for the world.”

If that’s the “why,” Mammoth is certainly slogging their way through the “how.” Watching the research, the passion, the grit, the sweat on the brow, and the vision, it’s not a simple path and it takes more than falling in love with a great story. It takes a leap of faith.

Munger identifi es the simple, but not at all easy, path forward: “All we need to be willing to do is the unreasonable thing.”

Unreasonable or not, there’s an excitement around this agricultural rediscovery and a connection to history, land, and rich storytelling that is at the heart of Mammoth Distilling.

Mammoth Distilling has locations in Adrian, Bay Harbor, Bellaire, Central Lake, and Traverse City.

“We didn’t create it, we rediscovered it. It really felt like we were being charged with keeping the story alive.”
/mammoth_distilling /MammothDistillingTC 15MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

Can I Streamline My Passwords?

Ah, passwords—the internet’s most helpful headache.

No matter how much you want to protect your data, it can be tempting to simplify your ever-growing password collection. But you don’t want to solve one problem only to create new ones.

In the examples below, four people have tried to solve their password overload—let’s see how each one did.

“More passwords, more problems.” That’s the motto of One-and-Done Will.

Will decided using the same password for every account would make it easier to remember his login information. He wouldn’t have to think when making new passwords either.

Hackers and bots are big fans of Will’s method. Once they figure out his password, they can use it to log into every single one of his accounts without breaking a sweat.

Will needs to have a varied set of passwords. Otherwise, his security is one and done too.

Nick the Notetaker has a theory: If all your passwords are written down, you won’t have to worry about memorization, and hackers can’t guess them. Nick writes his passwords in his notebook, which he keeps in a drawer at his desk.

Nick is getting there. There’s one major problem, though—if Nick can read his password off a list, everyone can. Even if he locks his desk drawer, all it takes is a misplaced key to make his passwords freely available.

Quizmaster Kelly likes to use trivia about herself to craft easy-toremember passwords. “423KingStreet” (her address) and “July1963!” (her birth month) are just two of her masterpieces.

Kelly has successfully thwarted the laziest of intruders by switching up her passwords. She still has a problem: If a bot has collected any of her personal data, or if someone she knows is trying to hack her, her passwords are almost as transparent as Will’s. It turns out quizzes aren’t so hard when you already know the answers.

Kelly needs passwords with minimum complexity to keep them from being guessable. That means no common names or dictionary words, and a good mix of some or all of the following: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (for example, a question mark or ampersand).

Hackbuster Helen is on her A game. She knows that using a digital password manager can save her login ID and password for every account she uses without worrying about theft, bots, or memorization. The app keeps her passwords secure behind a two-factor authentication system (it texts or calls to verify it’s her when she logs in). While it’s active, the app fills in her passwords automatically when she visits sites she’s registered for. It even helps her generate new, random passwords.

Some of Helen’s favorite password managers include:

Most password manager apps work with a wide range of devices and browsers, and many offer a free tier that’s enough for the average user.

Other options like iCloud Keychain (for Apple devices) and Google Password Manager (a browser-based wallet) are also good, despite some limitations on how and where you can access them.

As with any new software, you should research the features of each before signing up.

Bitwarden LastPass 1Password Keeper #3 Using Easyto-Remember Words or Personal Info #1 Reusing Passwords #2 Writing Passwords Down #4 Using a Secure Password Manager

PIE&G Advanced Metering Infrastructure Update

Twenty-seven 100-foot poles fabricated by Moran Iron Works have now been set. Including the installations at the Cheboygan, Onaway, Moltke, Hillman and Lewiston radio/cell towers, PIE&G now has 32 AMI collectors deployed.

The collectors (communications equipment) are mounted high on the poles and communication towers to receive data that will provide meter readings, outage information which enables faster response and restoration times and will identify repair and maintenance issues.

As of Oct. 10, approximately 89% of all electric meters have been replaced with AMI meters.

Our third-party meter and software partners have also developed a prototype interface to remotely collect natural gas meter readings. Seven of these modules were deployed in the field, and so far, testing has been favorable. This part of the project will continue into 2023.


Your PIE&G Connect team began offering high-speed fiber internet services to members in July, and as of Oct. 7, over 252 subscribers are connected to the network. We’ve received submissions from 3,504 members interested in receiving fiber internet service. Members should go to pieg. com or and click on the red icon labeled “I’m Interested in Fiber” to start the process of obtaining service. As we continue to build the network and open additional zones, PIE&G will contact interested members to indicate next steps.

Currently, PIE&G Connect has four “zones” open for new fiber internet service—Onaway 1, Onaway 4, Canada Creek 3, and Canada Creek 4. Please see our Facebook and Country Lines articles to see our maps of these areas and find your “Map Location” on your electric bill. You can then go to fiber-construction-timeline to find where your map location falls in our construction plan.

Our technical and business teams are working to implement voice services soon with a December target. Members who are now connected to PIE&G Connect high-speed fiber internet have expressed that they are very pleased with the service.

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 on Sept. 27, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167. The board approved the 2023 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor at a maximum of $0.01169/kWh for bills rendered on or after Feb. 1, 2023. This is up from $0.00762/kWh in 2022 and represents an increase of around $2.80 per month for the average monthly residential member using 661 kilowatt-hours per month.

The increase is primarily due to the increased costs of natural gas used for cleaner generation of electricity.

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


The Salted Christmas Goose

Violet Comero, in her own words.

On Christmas Day, Ma always got up first and stuffed the Christmas goose. This year was no different. She stuffed the goose and salted it and put it in the oven, and then went to the barn to do her chores. In the meantime, Papa got up and started the stove in the dining room. Before he went to the barn, he checked on the goose. He thought it didn’t look like Ma salted it, so he salted it and went to the barn.

After a while, my oldest sister got up to make breakfast. She checked the goose and thought it didn’t look like it had been salted, so she salted the goose some more. Later in the morning, Grandma Haeuser showed up, and the first thing she does is go to the kitchen to help. Well, she had to check the goose, too. Didn’t look like anyone salted it, so the poor goose got some more salt.

Everything was smelling good, and we could hardly wait. Finally, we sat down to eat. We all had goose, but no one was eating it. Then they started talking about it and realized what they had done. It was bad. It sat in the house till the next day, but nobody would eat it. So Ma threw it outside for the dog. He wouldn’t eat it, nor the cats. It remained around outside all winter. It would get covered with snow, and some animal would smell it and dig it up again, and leave it lying. That poor goose floated around the yard all winter. In spring, someone felt sorry for it and buried it.

There was much more communication in the house (kitchen) after that.

Where In Michigan Is This?


September 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Nancy Root, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Cranbrook Orpheus Fountain on its campus in Bloomfield Hills.

Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

the correct location of the photo to the left by Nov. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at
Guest Column
Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit. Win $150! Win a $50 energy bill credit!
Memories from 1925, from my mother,


“When I could no longer physically cut 20 cords of wood, I installed a Well-Connect. The system has met all claims and surprised me. If people are heating and cooling with propane, fuel oil, or wood and have their own well, they have a need and don't realize it. That need is to cut those heating & cooling costs by at least half (as well as emissions).”


This hybrid approach allows almost any existing well to become a free, clean energy source for heating and cooling your home. A Well-Connect can be installed in one day, any time of the year, as a DIY or professionally.

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School Friday Folders

PIE&G made its annual delivery of “Friday Folders” for member students enrolled in local public elementary schools for the 2022–23 academic year. PIE&G has donated the folders to member schools since 2003 to help teachers send important student papers home for parents’ review each Friday.

The laminated folders are customized to each school’s name, mascot, and colors, and were distributed the first week of classes in September.
wishes to all our kids and teachers for another successful year of learning!
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