September 2021 PIE&G

Page 1

September/October 2021


COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op



Meet Your Director Candidates— Pages 4, 5, and 8

2020 PIE&G Annual Report New Logo Announced For PIE&G



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September 2021 Vol. 41, No. 8


/michigancountrylines 6 ROAD TRIPPIN' Christal Frost takes us to Ludington with the new all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Seafood: These recipes will be your catch of the day.

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives

14 ADVENTURE AWAITS The pandemic inspired a Michigan jeweler to literally bury his livelihood ... much to the delight of treasure seekers throughout the state.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Casey Clark EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha

18 GUEST COLUMN Grandma's Quilt: Her grandmother's penchant for socking things away and her mother's love provided Tricia Udell with the quilt she'd always longed for.


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, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

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


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.

Be featured!

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


Are Canadian geese just called geese when they’re in Canada? #repost @corey_niedzwieki

MI CO-OP COMMUNITY To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit! Up Next: Asian Inspired, due Nov. 1. Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for stories published!

Submit your fondest memories and stories at community.

MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

Enter a drawing to identify the correct location of the photo. See page 18.


3 /PIEGCooperative/

Meet Your Candidates! See instructions on the cover wrap of this magazine for voting details.


Charles Arbour, Treasurer 23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2023


Allan Berg, Chairman 1117 E. Heythaler Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2023

I have lived in the Onaway area my entire life and am a veteran of the Gulf War. My wife, Paula, and I have raised two children and have been married for 29 years.

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

John Brown, Vice-Chairman 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2023 Sally Knopf 1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2021 Kurt Krajniak 7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2022

Dallas Hyde, Onaway

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

From 1990 to 2008, I represented the Presque Isle District on the PIE&G board, serving as board secretary for 16 years. In 2009, I was elected as Director At Large. I’ve also served on the Wolverine Power Supply and Rural Electric Supply Cooperative boards.

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

President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck

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

Sally Knopf, Rogers City

Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515 Toll-Free: 800-423-6634 Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565

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


Through the director education program, I achieved qualifications as a Certified and Credentialed Director for Board Leadership and attained NRECA Director Gold status. I believe my years of experience help me to understand the complex energy issues of today. I feel strongly that reliable and affordable energy now and for the future is very important. I hope to continue serving you and would appreciate your vote.

2020 CEO Annual Compensation: $209,362 2020 Director Compensation Rate: • $920 per regular meeting • $270 per special meeting New memberships in 2020: • Electric—1,542 • Natural Gas—204 2020 Non-member Revenue—$2,082,539

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

Supplying electric, natural gas, and internet service to our rural communities as economically as possible is important to me. It would be a privilege to be your representative.

My husband, Eldon, and I live on our Centennial Farm and have been co-op members for over 50 years.

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

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

My career in public service began as a volunteer EMT for Onaway Ambulance Service, where I am currently the manager. I obtained a paramedic license, an associate degree in business, and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. For the last 22 years, I have served as director of Cheboygan Life Support. Preparing budgets, financials, and overall operations are just a few of my duties.

I’m a lifelong resident of Presque Isle County, residing in Rogers City until retirement, when I moved back to the family farm in Metz. I’ve worked on dairy farms, in excavating, in logging operations, in commercial and residential plumbing, and in heating and construction. At Calcite, I was a crew leader, pipe fitter and did millwright work, and was a supervisor for 25 years involved in milling, shipping, quarry, maintenance and operating, and safety committee.

Warren Kowalewsky, Metz

I have a journeyman plumber’s license and a Class B CDL. I use the internet, Facebook, iPhone, GPS, and email. I’m a third-generation co-op member and a member of St. Peter’s Church and the church council. I believe my work experience will help me contribute to the safety and success of PIE&G.

DIRECTOR AT LARGE My husband, Jack, and I are lifelong residents of Cheboygan. We’ve been married for over 32 years, have two grown children, two grandsons, and have been co-op members for over 20 years. I am the vice president of marketing for The Brook Retirement Communities, where I’ve been employed for over 10 years. I believe in community and volunteerism and served on the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce, Cheboygan DDA, and McLaren Hospital Guild boards.

Kimberlee Pappas, Cheboygan

I want to make our communities a better place to live, work, and play, now and for future generations. I believe my competence in budgeting, marketing, and for communications are critical factors that would allow me to be a dynamic board member. It would be my distinct pleasure to serve, and I would be grateful for your vote!

My name is Jesse Streich from Rogers City. Currently, I am the owner/operator of On Target Spraying, the co-owner and president of Up North 23 restaurant and lounge in Rogers City, and the co-owner of MI Northern Espresso of Rogers City. On Target Spraying is an agricultural business that sprays crops and sells seeds to farmers in northeast Michigan. Up North 23 has become a destination for people from all over northern Michigan to dine and enjoy the view of Lake Huron. MI Northern Espresso is a beautiful coffee shop located in downtown Rogers City, selling Michigan-made goods along with all coffee-related drinks.

Jesse Streich, Rogers City

With my background in various industries, I would bring a unique perspective to the future of the PIE&G Board of Directors.

Don’t Miss Your Co-op’s 2021

ANNUAL MEETING Posen High School

Friday, Oct. 22 10 a.m.

• Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. • Lunch is provided Note: The Annual Meeting will be in-person unless it is not allowed under COVID social distancing rules. SEE YOU THERE!

 Onaway




CHEBOYGAN DISTRICT My husband, Harold, and I have been PIE&G members for over 40 years and lifelong residents of Cheboygan County.



10575 Michigan Ave., Posen, MI 49776

I have a bachelor’s degree in human resource management from Spring Arbor University. As an account manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for 28 years, I worked with many large businesses and government and industry leaders throughout northern Michigan. I volunteer as an usher at the Cheboygan Opera House and at my church.

Sandra Borowicz, Cheboygan

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to serve on the PIE&G board for the last seven years. I’ve participated in training to achieve my Director’s Gold Credential. This experience has deepened my knowledge and understanding of the cooperative. I want to continue to serve the people of northeast Michigan and would very much appreciate your vote.

After graduating from high school, I took several computer programming courses. I worked as a secretary at J.L. Hudson and several other companies, including American Motors as a secretary. I spent 34 years in the auto industry working in traffic, engineering, and production control. After visiting the area my entire life, I moved to Cheboygan after retiring. I served the Friends of the Cheboygan Area Public Library as secretary and currently volunteer as trustee at the Cheboygan County Humane Society.

Luanne Thomas, Cheboygan

I’m interested in a director position because I want to contribute to the decisions that affect the future of our communities. As a member, I understand the frustrations of losing power. I can bring insight and believe that changes can be made to ensure positive actions.

(Continued on page 8)


 Cheboygan




prize drawing for voting by mail, with an additional $50 if you are present at the meeting! Just like you, these candidates are member-owners of the co-op.

Your vote is important! See the back cover of this magazine and the ballot cover wrap for voting details. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


It's Electrifying! Charging up the Mustang at Great Lake Energy's Level 3 fast charging station in Scottsville.



t’s a picturesque Saturday morning in Traverse City as I arrive at Fox Motors to pick up the all-new, all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. I must admit, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of driving something that didn’t have an engine. Even my vocabulary suffered as I struggled to describe the car to my friends without using terms like “horsepower,” “fuel efficiency,” and “gear shifting.” The fact is, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, like her other electric counterparts, doesn’t have those things. But what the Ford Mustang Mach-E has in spades is moxie. After all, it takes moxie to present the iconic muscle of the Ford Mustang to the masses without the rumble of an engine. But stepping into this car—with its sleek and stylish interior and gorgeous curves—I knew I was stepping into the future of America’s favorite pony. On our latest Road-Trippinʼ episode, a round-trip Traverse City to Ludington adventure, we tested the limits of the Mach-E. Spoiler alert: I’m in love with this car.





A big thank-you to Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Fox Motors for making this test drive possible.

I am talking throw-your-head-back, heart-pumping, instant-smile fast. The Mach-E GT can go from 0–60 in an unbelievable 3.5 seconds, making it the quickest Mustang ever. Its superior acceleration and ability to produce immediate maximum torque truly make electric vehicles the Torque of the Town.


Without the constant vibration of an engine, the Mach-E delivers a downright serene and effortlessly steady ride. Upon returning my borrowed Mustang and getting into my gas-powered ride, I was uniquely aware of every pulse, oscillation, and tremor. The only bumps felt in the Mach-E are on the road, and even those seem softer.


I’ve heard many people remark that electric vehicles might be too quiet, but I don’t see it this way after driving one. Yes, the ride is quiet. It’s supposed to be quiet. Without the revving of the engine, EV drivers are left with a tranquil and relaxed driving experience. Passengers don’t have to speak up to contend with the sounds of a motor. Listening to the radio is easier and, quite frankly, more enjoyable without the competition of shifting gears. Even the quietest combustible engine is no match for the silence of a battery.


Admittedly, the idea of a drained battery worried me. After all, no one wants a road trip to end stranded on the side of the road looking for charging stations. That isn't a problem with the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Depending on the model, the Mach-E has an EPA-estimated battery range of 305 miles. However, thanks to expanded technology and great partnerships with grocery stores and electric cooperatives, fast-charging stations are popping up across the state and beyond. Although we didn’t need the charge, we stopped by Great Lakes Energy in Scottville to check out the charging process at one of its four DC fast-charging stations. The Mustang was nearly fully charged after just 30 minutes. A full charge at a fast charge station has an estimated cost of under $4. Don’t forget to check with your electric co-op about electric car tax credits, incentives, and rebates!

Christal Frost is a media personality who can be heard on Today’s Country Music-WTCM, The Christal Frost Show on NewsTalk 580-WTCM AM. She is also a feature columnist for GT Pulse on 9&10 News, published every Friday at 11 a.m.


We enjoyed a wagon ride at the Amber Elk Ranch, which introduced us to hundreds of prize-winning elk and even allowed us to feed them!

Pro Tip: Stay at the ranch to enjoy an incredible BBQ lunch.


The Ludington Waterfront Park offers a playground, breathtaking views of the harbor, and a series of sculptures. These are just a few of the sculptures scattered throughout Ludington, and they make up a part of the Mason County Sculpture Trail.

Fox Grand Traverse Ford, Traverse City

Pro Tip: Grab dinner to go in nearby downtown Ludington and enjoy incredible sunsets from the park!


Retail stores and restaurants abound in downtown Ludington, and you can find everything you’re looking for at

Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Grawn

Pro Tip: Whenever you’re in

Ludington, don’t forget to check out Ludington State Park!



• Ludington Waterfront Park • Downtown Ludington • Ludington State Park


Great Lakes Energy, Scottville

See the FORD MUSTANG MACH-E in Action

Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on

10 Amber Elk Ranch


Meet Your Candidates! (continued) MONTMORENCY DISTRICT Thank you for your previous votes in my candidacy for the PIE&G board. During my tenure, I have actively participated in several committees, such as strategic planning, audit, finance, policy, and have served as the chair of the new headquarters building committee. With the new headquarters, AMI, and fiber projects, this has been very interesting work. I also established the Peterson Vocational School Scholarship through the Communities First Fund.

Daryl Peterson, Hillman

As a PIE&G member for over 25 years, I have seen tremendous progress in delivering electricity, gas, and soon fiber to our membership. I am progressive in my thinking but also watch the dollars. I think about five years down the road, not just five days. I would again appreciate your vote.

My wife, Nancy, and I moved to Lewiston in 1967 and raised our four children. We lived in Lewiston for 13 years and were partners in the Redwood Steak House until selling and moving to Traverse City. We returned to Lewiston eight years ago, where we plan to retire. I’m the owner of Render & Associates Land Services, specializing in the leasing of gas & oil mineral rights and easements for renewable energy projects.

Curtis Render, Lewiston

Affiliations: former PIE&G board member, military veteran, Lewiston Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, Moose Lodge, former school board president & board member, Methodist Church Men’s Group. My background and work history provides me the necessary skills to represent the Presque Isle Electric & Gas Board of Directors and the Montmorency District professionally and capably.

ADD THESE TIPS TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE AND SUBTRACT DOLLARS FROM YOUR UTILITY BILL.  Turn off lights – an easy way to start saving.  Open your refrigerator less frequently – average opens = 33 times a day.  Use your microwave for cooking = less heat, shorter cooking times.


Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualified items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit





1. Lake sunset. Michelle Daniels  2. Captured this cool photo on a warm Sunday evening. Jena Zawacki  3. Jubilee enjoys the family early morning waterskiing ritual on Mullett Lake. Dan Tuttle  4. A splash of red on Tomahawk Lake. Ellen Putman  5. God bless America. Judy Black  6. Gilligan and the skipper. Kanisha Perkins  7. Fall colors at Tahquamenon Falls. Misty McKenzie  8. Best friends. Beth Kain  9. “Tranquility,” Horsehead Lake Canada Creek Ranch. Steve Huetteman  10. Lake May serenity. Russell Martin  11. Water meets sky, here fishy fishy!!! Wilma Tulgestka











Submit Your “Santa” Photos!

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 Sept./Oct. theme is Santa. Photos can be submitted through Sept. 27 to be featured in our Nov./Dec. issue.

Enter to win up to a


energy bill credit!

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 2021, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your January 2022 bill.




MI CO-OP Recipes

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


Fresh and light recipes from under the sea.



Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 24 2 • 2 2 2



energy bill credit!


Asian Inspired due Nov. 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

ounces cream cheese, softened tablespoons mayonnaise zest of 1 lemon tablespoons lemon juice tablespoons horseradish sauce pounds cooked salmon, chopped (or use canned, drained)

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and horseradish sauce. Stir very well until combined. Fold in the fish and stir again to combine. Serve immediately. This recipe makes about 4 cups of dip. Adjust recipe accordingly for smaller serving sizes. Enjoy!

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at


Lynne Oosterhouse, Great Lakes Energy 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets Marinade: ½ cup soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 teaspoons sugar Wasabi sauce: ½ cup mayo 2 teaspoons soy sauce


Cheryl O’Brien, Great Lakes Energy 1 • • ¹⁄ ³ to ½ 1 • •

pound salmon filets Old Bay seasoning salt and pepper, to taste cup mayonnaise 16-ounce jar Chi Chi’s salsa parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon 2 teaspoons wasabi powder Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the salmon for 2 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add fish and marinade; cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over. Reduce heat to medium; cook 8 minutes or until fish is done. Combine the wasabi sauce ingredients and serve with the salmon.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut salmon into 2-inch squares and spread them on the bottom of 9x13 pan. Sprinkle generously with Old Bay seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread thinly with mayonnaise. Pour Chi Chi’s salsa over all. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 45 minutes. Serve over rice if desired. This recipe became a regular on our menu during the summer tournament season. Enjoy!


Sandy Bartels, Great Lakes Energy Marinade: • zest of 1 lime 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil • pinch of salt and pepper Salsa: 4 radishes, finely sliced ½ cup red onion, finely chopped 4 green onions, finely sliced ¾ cup red cabbage, finely chopped 1 medium fresh tomato, finely chopped • chopped cilantro or parsley 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil Crema: ¹⁄ ³ cup sour cream 1 tablespoon lime juice Tacos: 1 pound mild white fish 4 corn tortillas 1 avocado, sliced • bottled hot sauce, if desired • jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped, if desired

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Lay fish flat in a glass pan and pour marinade over; turn a few times to coat. Let rest 10 minutes, then turn over and let rest for another 10 minutes. While the fish is marinating, prepare the salsa. In a medium bowl, add the radishes, red and green onions, cabbage, tomato, and cilantro/parsley. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to coat; set aside. To prepare the crema, mix the sour cream and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Next, char the tortillas: Spray a skillet lightly with vegetable spray over medium heat and place the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, and move them around the pan. Turn to char both sides, remove from pan, and set aside. Add a bit of olive oil to the skillet and keep over medium heat. Put a tablespoon or two of the marinade in the pan, cook about a minute, and then add the fish. Cook about 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes until fish is flaky, but not dry. Transfer fish to a plate and cool for 1 or 2 minutes, and cut into chunks. Assemble the tacos on top of the tortillas. Lay thin slices of avocado on each tortilla, add fish, and top with salsa. Add crema and hot sauce and/or jalapeño peppers if desired. Enjoy. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


YOUR CO-OP’S 2020 ANNUAL REPORT peers in Michigan and our neighboring investor-owned utilities.

To Our Member-Owners: 2020 was a year in which the cooperative achieved several historic milestones, all while adapting to the pandemic. We commenced construction of our new Headquarters and Service Center and look forward to the many member and employee benefits that a state-of-the-art facility will offer. We’ve also continued the deployment of smart grid technology, which involves Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This, too, will provide increased operational efficiencies and member convenience. In addition, our natural gas and electric operations continue to provide positive margins. Our annual analysis of the 2020 electric operating margins did result in an increase in distribution rates of 1.73% overall, which will be effective Sept. 1, 2021. Still, our electric rates remain very competitive with our cooperative

The board of directors remains committed to the cooperative business model, once again authorizing a return of patronage capital. In 2021, the cooperative will return approximately $1,425,000 in capital credit retirements to members. We have also begun the development of a Fiber-to-the-Home project in our service territory. We will begin offering high-speed internet access to members who are in phase one of the project beginning in 2022 through PIE&G Connect, our newly formed fiber division. This will usher in a new era at the cooperative, using our time-tested and member-focused business model. The future holds exciting prospects for all of us, including completing the new Headquarters and Service Center, deploying an Advanced Metering

Allan Berg

Thomas Sobeck

Infrastructure, and providing highspeed internet access to northeast Michigan. We’re elated about our progress, and we look forward to serving your needs now and well into the future! Respectfully, Allan Berg, Chairman of the Board Thomas Sobeck, President & Chief Executive Officer

Where Your Energy Dollar Goes: 52%

Cost of Energy


Operations & Maintenance


Depreciation, Interest, & Tax Expense


Member Capital Contribution

2020 Statistical Summary: 12 SEPTEMBER 2021



Active Meters . . . . . . . . . . Energy Sold. . . . . . . . . . . . New Services. . . . . . . . . . . Miles of Line . . . . . . . . . . .

34,137. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,739 246,588,784 kWh . . . . . . . . . 10,519,692 CCF 305 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 3,828 (overhead). . . . . . . . . . 875 1,108 (underground)






Cost of Purchased Power



Operations & Maintenance Expenses
















Capital Credits—G&T and Other



Non-Operating Margins—Other





Total Utility Plant



Accumulated Depreciation



Net Utility Plant





Cash & Cash Equivalents



Accounts Receivable



Materials & Supplies



Other Assets



Deferred Debits






Total Operating Expenses Member Capital Contribution NON-OPERATING MARGINS



Investments in Associated Organizations


Charles Arbour

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op’s Statement of Operations and Balance Sheet for the years ending Dec. 31, 2020, and 2019 are included in this annual report. As indicated by these financial reports, the cooperative has completed another successful year. Our electric and natural gas operations continue to provide competitive energy alternatives to our members. Our independent auditor, Harris Group, has confirmed that the financial statements and records presented to them accurately reflect the cooperative’s financial position. The reports of the results of our operations are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. It has been my distinguished pleasure to serve as treasurer for the past year. Charles Arbour, Treasurer

Margins & Equities Patronage Capital Other Equities Total Margins & Equities



















Liabilities Long-term Debt Notes Payable Accounts Payable Other Current & Accrued Liabilities Total Liabilities TOTAL EQUITIES & LIABILITIES


While the global pandemic offered its fair share of disappointments and loss, one couple opted to mine for the treasure in the mayhem and offer up a rainbow at the end of the storm. As a second-generation jeweler, apprenticed by his father, Johnny Perri always had an eye for treasure. An avid metal detector and admitted “eccentric,” Perri has always looked for adventure, as well as the silver lining in life. “Losing the rhythm of life and work had me in a real funk,” admits Perri. “I was going out of my mind a little.” Then, a bit of exciting news. Perri happened across an article about famed Santa Fe treasure hider Forest Fenn, who supposedly hid his treasure many years ago, with thousands of folks looking for it over the years. The article revealed that someone had finally found it.


with JOHNNY’S TREASURE QUEST By Emily Haines Lloyd

“’We should do that,’ I thought,” said Perri, first to himself, then aloud to his then-fiancé, now wife, Amy. “It was that simple, that wild. What if I hid everything from the jewelry store? Buried it? And then came up with riddles and clues for people to go out and find it?” With this simple but possibly crazy idea, Johnny and Amy spent the next several weeks driving around the state, basically dropping Perri’s entire livelihood into the ground (eventually replaced with GPS“infused” wooden X’s) to quite literally mark the spot where the treasure could be found. The couple created their website and let the world know that buried fortune was

just a treasure hunt away. The excitement and outpouring of interest was almost as improbable as a guy burying his life’s work in the ground. “People are as excited as we are,” said Perri. “Who hasn’t dreamed of uncovering a mystery or something valuable? It’s such a thrill.” Each quest is located in a different county in Michigan, with a private Facebook group for ticket holders and the perfect amount of Sherlock Holmeslevel sleuthing and Indiana Jones outdoor adventuring. The Perris recently expanded their treasure quests with a “Silver Ticket” hunt a la Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was a fun extension for seekers.

"It’s the

memories that

people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

The operation is still small and tightly knit, with a core of treasure buriers and administrators equally passionate about the process and keeping the surprises coming. “We’re so lucky to have the team we have, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else right now,” said Perri. “It’s so much fun for us to see the excitement in other people’s faces as they head out or come back from an adventure.” Those interested in embarking on just such an adventure can visit and look for an open treasure hunt. Then buy your ticket and prepare for an adventure. “What we’ve come to realize is, yes, the treasure might be the immediate draw,” said Perri. “But it’s not about that, really. It’s the memories that people make when they’re out on the hunt. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

START your QUEST /johnnystreasurequest @johnnys_treasure_quest




n 2019, PIE&G launched several ambitious projects, including constructing a new headquarters building after 60 years, deploying new smartgrid technology, and completing a feasibility study for fiber internet. With all the changes underway, there was discussion about whether a name change and new logo might be appropriate to reflect the new era at the cooperative. PIE&G wanted to hear from its members on these issues and enlisted a third party to select a focus group of members and conduct a survey to learn what members’ perceptions were concerning the latest projects and business developments. The member feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the co-op and its direction. The member group shared a common belief that the co-op was a trusted and reliable electric and natural gas provider and affirmed that pursuit of the fiber project not only made good business sense, but that bringing high-speed internet service to the area

was a much-needed and highly desirable project. The consensus was twofold: PIE&G should retain its name in keeping with the co-op’s long-standing reputation as a valued provider in northeast Michigan, and that a new tagline should be incorporated to reflect PIE&G’s past and future. The group suggested a new tagline of “Connected—Trusted—Reliable.” PIE&G’s name will remain in keeping with these recommendations. The existing logo has been updated to reflect its electric and natural gas divisions better while incorporating the new tagline (shown above). Furthermore, as announced in our July/August issue of Country Lines, PIE&G formed a new, separate division for fiber, called PIE&G Connect. On behalf of PIE&G’s management and directors, we extend sincere thanks and appreciation to the members who participated in the focus group and gave us their valuable feedback.

Your Board In Action At its most recent meetings, the PIE&G Board of Directors: • Nominated members to the Election and Credentials Committee. • Approved participation in the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund (LIEAF) for the period of Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022. • Selected the auditing firm Eide-Bailly to perform the cooperative’s financial audit for the three-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2021. • Approved the 2021 Annual Membership Meeting Notice. • Appointed voting delegates to serve for the Rural Electric Supply Cooperative and CoBank annual elections.

• Authorized CEO Sobeck to enter into a partnership on the cooperative’s behalf with Cheboygan County to apply for grant funding for the Fiber-to-theHome project from the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration.

• Approved the quarterly bad debt write-off ($19,999.83).

• Accepted team reports.


Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Case No. U-16596 2020 Renewable Energy Plan Annual Report Summary Michigan law required all Michigan electric utilities to get at least 12.5% of their power supply from renewable sources during 2020. Under this requirement, Presque Isle Electric and Gas Cooperative submits an annual report to the MPSC regarding its Renewable Energy Plan. In 2020, Presque Isle acquired a total of 31,905 renewable energy credits and 607 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 filed with the MPSC is available on the cooperative’s website at or by request at any of the cooperative’s offices.

Public Act 295 as amended: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act 2020 Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op MPSC Case Number U-20386 Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op contracted with the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to administer the Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) efforts to comply with PA-295 as amended. MECA filed a two-year EWR plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on July 28, 2019, as required by PA 295 as amended. The MPSC approved this EWR plan on Dec. 8, 2019, and we began implementing our 2020-2021 EWR Plan on Jan. 1, 2020. WECC was selected to implement all Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Programs and the Energy Waste Reduction website, Slipstream has subcontracted with WES Utility Services, Michigan Energy Options, ES Contracting, and Nuwati, LLC to assist with implementing the EWR Programs. MECA contracted with DNV-GL as the independent third-party evaluation contractor for the certification of kWh savings. In 2020, Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op collected $558,038 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $599,223, resulting in an under-collection of $41,185. Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op achieved 2,810 MWh of energy savings in 2020, compared to their annual kWh goal of 2,422 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your cooperative’s headquarters and or


Best wishes to all our mini-members (and parents) for a wonderful school year!

Guest Column

Grandma’s Quilt

By Tricia Udell, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member


y paternal grandmother was a talented woman whose greatest pride was taking care of her family. Her recipes remain family favorites, and the quilts she made for family members have blanketed them with love for years. I was always a bit jealous of my older siblings, who each had one of these quilts on their beds. I never got one, though, because my grandmother passed away from cancer when I was a toddler. When I was 11, my grandpa was getting ready to move out of the family home. I looked through all of the rooms remembering the times spent there, taking in the smells and sights. My grandma was a saver, and in the back bedroom closet, I had found the honey hole of my grandma’s stash! A true vintage ’60s and ’70s collection, olive greens and golden yellows, and bold flower patterns. Among these assorted and varied fabrics, I found a quilt top! Imagine my excitement to see something she had made buried like a lost treasure. A crazy quilt stitched from small, tiny scraps of fabric. I could even see some of the same patterned pieces that were in my siblings’ quilts. I snagged that quilt top right up. I stored the quilt in a plastic bag and stuck it in my closet. Decades later, while cleaning, my parents come across this plastic bag, and to my mom’s surprise, she finds the quilt top with a scribbled child’s handwritten note that reads “from Grandpa Howard 1984.” She is astounded at the find, we look at all the little pieces, and my dad has memories, “That piece is from Mom’s apron, and this is from a dress she wore.” Have you ever had that “filled up” moment when you feel all warm inside with happiness? I had that. My dad encouraged my mom to finish the project because he knew how much it meant to me. What a surprise on Christmas when I received the finished quilt as a gift. The quilt top is estimated to be over 45 years old, thread wears out, and material deteriorates. She painstakingly preserved each stitch. The quilt is a treasure! A combined project of my grandmother and my mom. I truly believe the adage, “Those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love.”

Win a


energy bill credit!

Tricia is a member of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. She enjoys spending time with family, staying busy on her hobby farm, and quilting.

WIN $150!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by Sept. 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at July/August 2021 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Paul Malhoit, a HomeWorks Tri-County Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods, Indian River. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September, and November/December.

It Pays for Itself


Your financing cost and the cost to heat with Well-Connect is typically less than your current cost.




“Well-Connect is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We are able to maintain our home at a warm and comfortable temperature during the cold months. Likewise, during the warmer months, the added benefit of the air conditioning keeps our home nice and cool. The best part is we are spending significantly less on our energy costs to have a more comfortable home."



- Aaron & Dawn Hamp, PIE&G member “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). As for cooling, it has cost us $9 to cool this month (July)!!”

- Jess Steed, Cherryland Electric member

IT PAYS FOR ITSELF The cost to finance and heat with a Well-Connect is typically less than your current heating cost.

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK? Attaches to your home’s existing heating system, it does not replace it. Delivers 90% on average of your home’s heating needs and 100% of your home’s cooling needs. If you have a well, simply add a Well-Connect to reduce your heating costs associated with traditional energy sources while enjoying a more comfortable home. Installs in a day.




When children are old enough to understand rules, then it’s a good idea to have house rules around electrical safety. Make sure that an electrical safety plan is part of your overall emergency preparedness plan. When your children know what to do and not to do around electricity, accidents are less likely to occur.


DON’T plug too much stuff into one outlet or extension cord. It could damage the electrical

Keep electrical stuff far away from water. Water and

electricity never mix. Use caution outdoors and keep all electrical appliances at least 10 feet away from hot tubs, pools, ponds, puddles, and wet surfaces. Never place electronics near the shower or bathtub, and keep liquids and drinks away from computers, video games, and TVs, or anything that has a cord and plug.

system in your house or even cause a fire. Show children how plugs work, and let them know that even if they are curious about the slits of an electrical outlet, nothing else should be placed inside.


Never put metal objects in an appliance or outlet.



DON’T yank an electrical cord from the wall. Pulling on a

DON’T ever climb the fence around an electrical substation. If a ball or

cord can damage the appliance, plug or outlet.



DON’T FLY! Teach children to never

fly kites or carry helium balloons on long strings under or near power lines. Electricity is always looking for a route to the ground; kites and balloons make the perfect conduits. If a kite gets stuck in a tree that’s near power lines, don’t climb up to get it. Contact your local electric cooperative for assistance. The kite and the string may conduct electricity—sending it right through you to the ground.


some neighborhoods, power lines are buried in the ground. It can be difficult to tell where these lines are located. Teach children not to dig in the ground in any areas you have not told them are safe.


pet gets inside the fence, contact your local electric utility for assistance— they’ll come and get it out for you.



Transformers are often large, green, metal boxes sitting on the ground. Teach your children that these are not mountains to be climbed or treasures to explore. Tell your children that if they notice one of these boxes open, they should alert an adult immediately.


Look out for power lines before you climb a tree. The electricity can go right through the tree branch—and right through you!



When lightning strikes, it’s time to head inside. Children should know to go indoors when storms are approaching, but especially when thunder sounds and lightning strikes.