Sept. 2022 PIE&G

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DeepRootsThe OF APPLEMICHIGAN’SINDUSTRY Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op September 2022 COUNTRYMICHIGANLINES Meet PagesDirectorYourCandidates—4and5 PIE&G’s 2021 Annual Report

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Contents September 2022 Vol. 42, No. 8 /michigancountrylines

The Mitten State’s climate— coupled with their growers’ devotion—make apples a booming business for local farmers. Michigan’sCooperativesElectric MI CO-OP COMMUNITY


MYSTERY PHOTO Win a $50 bill credit!

RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey


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.

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

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.

EDITOR: Christine Dorr GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Karreen Bird

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha

GUEST COLUMN Win $150 for published!stories

RECIPE CONTEST Win a $50 bill credit!


CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 248-534-735848933

Submit your fondest memories and stories at

18 GUEST COLUMN An everyday raccoon hunt became a lesson in courage that will last a lifetime for one PIE&G member. #micoopcommunity A blue heron takes flight @sarah.k.smith.180 (Sarah Smith) Be featured! Use featuredfor#micoopcommunityachancetobehereandonourInstagramaccount.


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

Up Next: Healthy Living, due Nov. 1 Submit your recipe at, or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to 6 ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH CHRISTAL FROST Legends, Loss, & Restoration: A day spent on South Manitou Island. 10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Pasta Salads: These classics are perfect for your next cookout!

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.


ALPENA DISTRICT instructions on wrap of magazine

for voting details. Meet Your Candidates!

I was raised in Alpena County and have been a PIE&G member since 1984. I retired from Verizon with 38 years of service in the communication utility industry, working with inside/outside plant copper and fiber engineering and installation. My experiences with various utility companies, customer service, outages, operations, and budgeting have provided me with a well-rounded utility background.  The new headquarters building, AMI meter upgrades, and the fiber internet project have all been critical decisions affecting the members. I understand the challenges facing PIE&G members and am committed to working for affordable energy and reliable service. It has been a privilege to serve on the PIE&G board. I would be honored to continue representing PIE&G members as a director and would appreciate your vote. Thank you.


Brentt Lucas Alpena

natural gas rates and charges are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. /PIEGCooperative/

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Charles Arbour 23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2023 Allan Berg, Chairman 8400 Lost Lake Rd., Hawks, MI 49743 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2023 Sandy Borowicz, Secretary 5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2024 John Brown, Vice-Chairman 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2023 Sally Knopf 1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2024 Kurt Krajniak 7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2022 Brentt Lucas 15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2022 Daryl Peterson, Treasurer P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2024 Raymond Wozniak 6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2022 President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck Communications Director/Co-op Editor: Mairè PresqueChagnon-HazelmanIsleElectric&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 2021 CEO Annual Compensation: $210,431 2021 Director Compensation Rate: • $920 per regular meeting • $270 per special meeting New memberships in 2021: • Electric—1,618 • Natural Gas—215 2021 Non-member Revenue: $100,886 Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is an equal opportunity provider and employer. PIE&G

Kurt Krajniak Alpena

My wife Deb and I have been married for 35 years and have two adult daughters and two busy grandsons. We live on our beef cattle farm in Lachine. We’ve been co-op members for over 25 years.

Eric Smith Lachine

the cover

I am a lifelong Wellington Township resident and have served on PIE&G’s board for the last 6 ½ years. My wife Michelle and I have four children: Hailey, 16, Landon, 14, Brayden, 9, and Eliana, 4, and we operate a small hog business. I am also partnered with my parents and youngest brother at Lucas Dairy Farm LLC. I’m active in Alpena County 4-H and also volunteer to serve on the 4-H Council. I graduated from Alpena High School and the MSU dairy tech program. Maintaining quality utility service is not only important to me and my operations, but also to my community. Keeping affordable electric and gas services in our rural area is a challenge that, as a board member, must be met and maintained. I appreciate the opportunity to serve PIE&G.

After graduating from U of M-Flint with a degree in business management (accounting), I spent about 10 years working for BDO Seidman as an auditor, primarily in northeast Michigan. In 1991, I was recruited by a client, Panel Processing, Inc. in Alpena, and currently serve as president and CEO. I have extensive board experience in the Alpena area. I currently serve on the MyMichigan Health board of directors in both Alpena (15 years) and Midland (six years). I’ve been on the Green Township board for 26 years, with the last 16 as supervisor. I believe my varied experience would bring a unique perspective to the PIE&G board of directors.


A businessman for over 30 years, I have had the opportunity to work in operations, manufacturing, service, and sales. My roots have always been in the Alpena area, which I now call home. I am refurbishing the family farm, which makes me the fourth generation to own the Spragg farm.  I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in business communications and an advanced degree from Penn State. I have two grown sons, Warren IV, 26, a policeman, and John, 23, a Homeland Security officer. We all are avid hunters and fishermen, as well as snowmobilers. I am a member of the Spratt Methodist Church, as well as the Moose and Elks clubs.Warren Spragg Alpena I met Jim Dymond while he was still working for GM. We were married in 1993 and moved up to the family home in Onaway when he retired in 1995. I have been living here ever since then. I spent many years as a substitute teacher for most of the local school systems. In 2012, I joined the staff of the History Center of Cheboygan County as a volunteer, where I set up their research library and connected to their website. I was presented with their volunteer of the year award in 2014. I became the owner and operator of Cheboygan Sun Shop in 2015.  Since then, Jim has passed away, and I recently sold the shop. Now I would like to spend my time and energy becoming more involved in the wonderful community we live in.

Linda Dymond Onaway

My husband and I are lifelong residents of Presque Isle County. For the past 36 years, I’ve lived in Posen. I have three grown sons and five adorable grandchildren. I established and own a small business here for 30 years. I’ve been a K-12 religious education director at St. Casimir Church for the past eight years. I served on the board of the PI Academy in Onaway for two years. I volunteered at various community service agencies, including Knights of Columbus, Rosary Sodality, a food pantry, Posen Schools PTO, and PI Basketball Association. Serving PIE&G’s members would be an honor, particularly as costs are rising. I bring skills in business management, conflict resolution, and public relations. It’s vital that members are invested and confident about energy security, affordability, and, more recently, fiber optic service. I would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you.

RaymondWozniak Posen ONAWAYONAWAYHIGHSCHOOL 4475 M-33  Indian River RogersCity  211 M-33 M-68 M-33-68 5MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

HentkowskiMary Posen

ALPENA DISTRICT (Continued) PRESQUE ISLE DISTRICT Onaway High School Friday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is provided ANNUAL MEETING Don’t Miss Your Co-op’s 2022 prize$100drawing 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. N SEE YOU THERE!

My community service includes serving as a firefighter and also as fire chief in Posen. I retired after 34 years as an electrician at the US Steel—Calcite Iplant.understand the energy challenges and I‘m committed to working for a sound energy future and keeping energy affordable to all members. I would appreciate your vote and hope to continue serving you. Thank you.

My wife Laurie and I have been PIE&G members for over 50 years. I am currently a PIE&G director and have also served as director on each of the boards for Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative and Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA). As a director, I also participated in the education program and attained the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Director Gold Certificate.

South Manitou Today

Legends, Loss, & Restoration A Day Spent on South Manitou Island

The History Settled in the 1830s by William Burton, the island was first seen as another resource for timber, but logging operations eventually fizzled because of difficulty getting there. A small village formed, and at one point many thought South Manitou might become a vacation destination, but, again, the travel difficulty ended those plans.

Although two family cottages remain, it’s not home to permanent residents. Instead, it’s occupied by National Park Service rangers, campers, and day trippers, like us.

Arrival When our ferry docked and we set foot on South Manitou, the first thing I noticed was the beauty. Lake Michigan is remarkable from any vantage point, but being surrounded I by her blue waters was magnificent. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly quiet the island is, immersing myself in the natural sounds of rustling wind in the trees and light waves almost tiptoeing to meet the shore.

think everyone can relate to wanting to “get away from it all.” The chance to disconnect from our modern lives and reconnect with nature, and ourselves, is not just appealing…it’s necessary.

That’s what I kept thinking about as I hiked through the majestic beauty of South Manitou Island, just 16 miles off the coast of Northwest Michigan and yet another world away from where I’d woken up that morning.

Fueling Up The day began in downtown Leland at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co.’s Breakfast Bistro, where I enjoyed a delicious omelette and steaming mug of Sumatra dark roast. Afterwards, a quick stop across the street to the Leland Mercantile for supplies, and then down to the waterfront to Manitou Island Transit—our ride to South Manitou.

By Christal FrostTRIPPIN'ROAD

Pro Tip: Be sure to bring snacks, lunch, and water with you to the island!


In the southwest corner of the island lies a valley of cedars that time forgot, twice the typical size. Being underneath

Exploring Manitou Island Transit offered a tour, and our first stop was a “farmhouse” with the most amazing waterfront view I’ve ever seen. Built by the Burton Family in the late 1800s, this idyllic structure—featuring eight rooms, each with its own sink—was purchased in the early 1900s by those who wanted to push the island resort transformation. As previously noted, that never came to be. Now, the boarded-up house is home only to a large bat population.

Christal Frost filmed her adventure, now available on



There are three campgrounds on S. Manitou Island. Campers must bring their own tents and water filtration equipment because there is no source of purified drinking water. There is no transportation for gear, so campers must pack in their own supplies. No outside firewood is allowed on the island. Instead, campers may collect dead and down wood for personal use.Christal Frost is a northern Michigan native and frequent explorer of the Mitten state.

See the

these gigantic trees reminds me of the Japanese concept of “forest bathing,” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” No soap and water required—the practice encourages you to spend time in nature, citing all the restorative effects that time in the woods has on a person. The island has seen its fair share of tragedy and is riddled with heartbreaking tales of slaughtered native tribes, sailors dead from cholera thrown into mass graves, and lighthouse keepers losing children to the harsh waves of the Manitou Passage. And, of course, the over 50 shipwrecks surrounding both North and South Manitou. None are more visually striking than the Francisco Morazon, located off the southern shore. She passed over another shipwreck and ran aground in 1960. Seven years later, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed a lawsuit to have the wreck removed, citing rotting cargo and leaking fuel oil as a health hazard. The next day, the Francisco Morazon caught fire, and all its contents were consumed in flames. The shipwreck is now property of the state. Saying Goodbye As we sat on the dock, awaiting the ferry’s return, I couldn’t help but already miss the island I had yet to leave. It is a place to slow down, reflect, and appreciate the strident majesty of Lake Michigan. Plans to return to camp are already in the books.




use.  Tune

Building “envelope”—this includes windows, walls, a roof, and insulation. Check for leaks and proper insulation throughout the building. Make sure the roof is in good condition. Replace windows or window shadings if needed. These things might cost you more up front, but in the long run will help you save.

As a business owner, you are busy with other activities such as payroll, inventory, and customer service. This makes energy-efficient equipment upgrades often a second thought. But simple maintenance improvements or behavioral changes can help save energy and money without investing in expensive new equipment.

Lighting —consider replacing outdated bulbs with DesignLights ConsortiumTM (DLC) or ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs. Also, just like your mother said, turn off the lights when you leave the room. Or better yet, install a simple occupancy sensor so you don’t have to. HVAC —usually the biggest portion of your utility bills. Keep windows and doors closed while running the HVAC. Change the filters regularly. Install a programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat. Simple, right?

Bigbusiness.Smallsavings. S

Presque Isle Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op electric service Other restrictions

Office equipment —buy ENERGY STAR certified products. Utilize the power or sleep modes. Invest in smart power and money on your electric bill by upgrading to energy-efficient equipment. PIE&G’s Energy Optimization program provides financial incentives to make upgrades more affordable. Learn more by visiting or call 877-296-4319 may apply For complete program details, visit off lights and equipment when not in up heating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. a programmable thermostat. Replace fluorescent lights with DesignLights ConsortiumTM (DLC)-listed LEDs. 87 296-4319

mall businesses come in a variety of sizes. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), over half are home-based. Other business owners own or rent building space to house their small business. Wherever you run your business, lighting, heating, air conditioning, and power are a necessity. They consume lots of energy and can cost you a lot of money.


Small Businesses Can Save Big



 Install

Small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy.* * with these energy-saving tips: Be more energy e cient and cut costs  Turn

31 5 6 2 4 Farms & Harvest 1. Lincoln cooling off and getting a drink after working in his garden. Tina Choszczyk 2. WOW…those are some big dogs! Gloria Zalewski 3. Fun with Farmer Jack, Cheboygan County Fair! Connie Ehlke 4. Breakdown while harvesting grain. The green machine rolled in to get ‘er done! Sharon Wyman 5. Harvesting the “new” old-fashioned way. Diane LaHaie 6. Our little pumpkin in the patch! Megan Hagadone Submit Your “Christmas Trees” Photos By Sept. 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 September theme is Christmas Trees. Photos can be submitted through Sept. 20 to be featured in our Nov./Dec. 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 2022, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your January 2023 bill. Enter to win up to energy$50abillcredit! PHOTOCONTEST MOST VOTES! 9MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

MCL Readers and Tested by Recipe Editor Christin McKameyMI CO-OP Recipes SUMMER ORZO SALAD Linda Kindy Hoch, Cherryland 1 pound uncooked orzo ¹⁄ ³ cup basil pesto (homemade or jarred) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons lemon zest + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon) 1 (15-ounce) can white beans (I use cannellini), drained and rinsed 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, coarsely 1choppedcuphalf-moon sliced cucumber (from a large cucumber or 2–3 mini cucumbers) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), ½dividedcuproasted, salted pistachios, chopped Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse


mixture. Stir to combine. Let

the touch.

Add the pasta, beans, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, salt, and a ½ cup feta cheese to the

oil, lemon juice, and zest


|| Recipes Submitted


cold water until




Serves 8. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at WINNING RECIPE! RECIPE CONTEST Healthy Living 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 Win energy$50abillcredit! PASTA SALADS These classics are perfect for your next cookout! 10 SEPTEMBER 2022

½ cup



Photos by Robert Photography by with pasta feels cool to While pasta cooking, together pesto, in a large bowl. pesto stand minutes. with pistachios remaining of feta cheese. salt pepper to taste.



Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook pasta, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes.

2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons dried oregano • salt and pepper, to taste ²⁄ ³ cup extra-virgin olive oil 10 cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small red onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 red bell pepper, chopped ½ cucumber, partially or fully peeled, sliced ½ cup sliced black or Kalamata olives ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons taco seasoning

3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for 4 hours. Serve immediately.

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Jean Nishimoto, Great Lakes Energy

5 ounces Spicy V8 juice • salt and pepper, to taste 1 small box couscous (about 1 cup dried)

1 pound ground beef, cooked/ drained (for vegetarian, sub 1 can black beans—or half meaty and half meat-free)

2 cups shredded cheese (choose your favorite, we like sharp cheddar)

6 ounces short-cut elbow macaroni • diced or sliced radishes, green peppers & green onions (equaling the amount of the cooked macaroni)

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram leaves • scant teaspoon chopped mint leaves • salt & pepper, to taste • Hellmann’s mayonnaise (don’t substitute), to taste Prepare the day before serving to allow flavors to blend. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse under cool water. Add vegetables, eggs, herbs, seasonings, and mayonnaise. Extra mayo should be added the next day to moisten the salad. Makes 6–8 servings.

Rinse with cold water and drain well in a colander. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, green and red peppers, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and mix together. Cover and chill for 3 hours before serving. Serves 8.

1 pound rotini (or any shape of pasta), cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water • any color bell pepper, diced • small onion, diced 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or quarters if they are big fellas)

1½ cups French dressing

2 cups penne pasta

9¾ ounce bag nacho-flavored Doritos, crushed Pasta salad is great, and so are tacos. Why not bring the best of both together? Stir together beef (or black beans) with the taco seasoning. In a big bowl, combine beef (or black beans) with the noodles, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Then mix in the French dressing until everything is well combined. Lastly, stir in the chips (wait to do this until you are ready to serve so they keep their crunch!).

MACARONI SALAD Nancy Masters, Great Lakes Energy

Martha Grose, Great Lakes Energy

¼ cup red wine vinegar


1 fresh red bell pepper, diced 1 red onion, diced 1 cucumber, diced ½ bunch cilantro, chopped ½ bunch parsley, chopped ¼ bunch mint, chopped 4 tomatoes, diced 3 lemons, juiced ¾ cup olive oil

On behalf of the board of directors, management, and employees, we thank you for your trust and support.

The future holds exciting prospects for all of us, including the deployment of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure Smart Grid and providing high-speed 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!

Where Your Energy Dollar Goes: Summary:Statistical2021 ELECTRIC NATURAL GAS Active Meters 34,547 12,934 Energy Sold 258,071,694 kWh 10,355,995 CCF New Services 412 206 Miles of Line 3,820 (overhead) 886 1,137 (underground) Your Co-op’s 2021 Annual Report To Our Member-Owners: Allan Berg Thomas Sobeck 52.6% Cost of Energy 31% Operations & Maintenance 20% Depreciation, Interest, & Tax Expense -3.6% Member Capital Contribution 12 SEPTEMBER 2022

2021 was a year in which the cooperative continued to achieve some historic milestones while adapting to the ongoing pandemic. We’ve continued deployment of smart grid technology, which involves the use of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This will provide increased operational efficiencies and member convenience. Our natural gas operation continues to provide positive margins, while the annual analysis of our 2021 electric operations resulted in an increase in distribution rates of 5.09% overall, which took effect Sept. 1, 2022. Still, our electric rates remain very competitive with our cooperative peers in Michigan, as well as our neighboring investor-owned utilities. The board of directors remains committed to the cooperative business model by, once again, authorizing a return of patronage capital. In 2022, the cooperative will return approximately $1,437,000 in capital credit retirements to members. We continue the development of a Fiber-to-the-Home broadband project in our service territory through PIE&G Connect, our newly formed fiber division. We began offering high-speed internet access in July 2022 to members who receive electric service within Phase One of the project. This will usher in a new era at the cooperative, using our time-tested and member-focused business model.

Respectfully, Allan Berg, Chairman of the Board Thomas Sobeck, President & Chief Executive Officer

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op’s Statement of Operations and Balance Sheet for the years ending Dec. 31, 2021, and 2020 are included in this annual report. These financial reports indicate that the cooperative has completed another successful year. Our electric and natural gas operations continue to provide competitive energy alternatives to our members. Our previous independent accounting firm for many years, Harris Group, decided to retire from the utility accounting audit business at the end of 2020, so your board of directors chose the firm of Eide Bailly as a replacement. Eide Bailly is a nationally recognized auditing firm specializing in utility auditing. They have extensive experience working with utility cooperatives nationwide, and perform audits for several other cooperatives in Michigan. The PIE&G staff worked diligently with the new firm, and Eide Bailly found nothing out of the ordinary in their very detailed audit. They have 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. I would like to thank the PIE&G staff for their cooperation with the new auditors and look forward to another great year in 2022!

Treasurer’s Report

Daryl Peterson, Treasurer STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS 2021 2020 OPERATING REVENUES $49,340,198 $46,506,749 OPERATING EXPENSES Cost of Purchased Power 25,959,068 24,091,855 Operations & Maintenance Expenses 15,052,787 12,207,482 Depreciation 5,431,454 5,244,046 Interest 3,155,009 2,803,245 Taxes 1,427,239 1,256,319 Total Operating Expenses 51,025,557 45,602,947 Member Capital Contribution (1,685,359) 903,802 NONOPERATING MARGINS Capital Credits—G&T and Other 1,873,364 1,565,685 Nonoperating Margins—Other (610,800) 1,869,093 NET MARGINS (422,795) 4,338,580 BALANCE SHEET ASSETS Total Utility Plant 196,647,665 181,103,741 Accumulated Depreciation (83,233,329) (78,861,950) Net Utility Plant 113,414,336 102,241,791 Investments in Associated Organizations 23,953,102 23,948,108 Cash & Cash Equivalents 5,703,297 2,889,575 Accounts Receivable 7,719,371 6,263,943 Materials & Supplies 7,363,697 2,709,315 Other Assets 182,659 390,775 Deferred Debits 251,665 100,946 Total Assets 158,588,127 138,544,453 EQUITIES & LIABILITIES Margins & Equities Patronage Capital 56,374,384 57,910,587 Other Equities 21,064 21,064 Total Margins & Equities 56,395,448 57,931,651 Liabilities Long-term Debt 79,391,733 67,483,649 Notes Payable 0 0 Accounts Payable 22,435,752 12,649,713 Other Current & Accrued Liabilities 365,194 479,440 Total Liabilities 102,192,679 80,612,802 TOTAL EQUITIES & LIABILITIES 158,588,127 138,544,453 Daryl Peterson 13MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

t’s easy to picture roadside stands and quaint orchards when we think about apples, but right along with those nostalgic mental pictures is a booming industry in our state.

Over a five-year period, Michigan apple orchards produced approximately 25 million bushels on over 700 farms, making the Great Lakes state the third-largest producer in the nation. Our doctor-repelling products are sold in over 30 states and nearly 20 different countries, making Michigan apples a pretty impressive business.


By Emily Haines Lloyd I

It’s easy to see apples in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but there are many less-obvious areas where Michigan apples are utilized. Interestingly, Michigan apples

“It’s easy to think that the only way to support local apple producers is to buy from the farmer’s market or a nearby orchard,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “But every Michigan apple farm is family-owned, so when you buy Michigan apples in your local supermarket or even a big-box store, you’re supporting a local farm and family.”

—Jon Friske are particularly coveted for the production of pies for national brands, as well as the more recent need for highquality apples in the “fresh slice” industry (think about your kid’s favorite Happy Meal) and the booming hard cider Michiganindustry.apples appeal to all industries because of their wide variety of flavors. Michigan’s specific climate and weather conditions lend to the specific flavor profiles, with local soil, temperatures, and the warm days and cool nights of the Mitten State adding to the tastiness. Growing conditions aside, Michigan apples are particularly special due to the farmers’ hard work and energy put into the crop.

“We take pride in all of our products,” said Scott Kromer, owner and operator of Knaebe’s Apple Farm, a PIE&G member in Rogers City. “We’re not only feeding your family, but our own. The orchard is our yard. It’s part of the community—and we put our whole heart into what we do.”


“The connection a family has to their farm is unique. The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

Jon Friske, a third-generation farmer and Great Lakes Energy member who runs Friske Farm Market in Ellsworth with his siblings, Heidi and Rich, agrees.


If reliable energy enables the farms, it is the farmers’ hearts and souls that truly power the industry.

“The connection a family has to their farm is unique,” said Friske. “The roots literally run deep. It’s about family, food, as well as a legacy for us.”

“All of our apple farmers are this amazing combination of artists, gamblers, and scientists. It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world,” said Smith. “We’re so proud of the work they do and the legacy they have created and continue to build for our state.”

The pride in growing amazing products is vital, as is a reliable energy source, according to both farms. At Knaebe’s, Kromer and his family had a tree fall on a power line the day before they took over ownership of the farm, but with a quick response from PIE&G, they were able to face their opening day with running coolers and operating cash registers. At Friske Farm, they’ve invested in several energy upgrades, including a solar photovoltaic system for their on-site housing unit, and are evaluating and considering a geothermal system for the new farm market.


“We appreciate the way our co-op communicates with us. We get a lot of information and feel very involved,” said Friske. “It really is a partnership.”

Standing in front of Ida Red apples planted by Grandpa Friske (Richard Sr.).

Knaebe’s Apple Farm

If you’re looking to support the hardworking apple farms of Michigan, check out this handy locator:

Friske Farm Market

Pictured from left to right: Evelyn (who was pregnant with now 3½-month-old son Laith), Jon, Ryker, Kasey, Tessa, Rich, Richard Jr., Wendy, Heidi, Eddie, Clara, and Kenny.

Pictured from left to right: Scott, Matthew, Alison, and Luke.

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. This EWR plan was approved by the MPSC 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/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 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 2021, Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op collected $564,102 through the Energy Waste Reduction Surcharge and spent $603,468, resulting in an under-collection of $39,366. Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op achieved 2,987 MWh of energy savings in 2021 compared to their annual kWh goal of 2,394 MWh. The full report can be obtained at your cooperative’s headquarters and at or


The board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its special meeting on Sept. 27, 2022, to be held at the cooperative’s office at 3149 Main Street, Onaway, Michigan. The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. and is open to all Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members.

Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op MPSC Case Number U-20386

SEPTEMBER IS BACK TO SCHOOL MONTH! Best wishes to all our mini-members (and parents) for a wonderful school year!

The following items will be discussed:

Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op A Special Board Meeting is set for Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m.

• Consideration of revisions to the cooperative’s billing rules. 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.

Public Act 295 as amended: The Clean and Renewable Energy and Energy Waste Reduction Act Energy Waste Reduction Annual Report

• The board will establish the 2023 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor, to be applied to the cooperative’s retail member-consumers’ kilowatt-hour use. The Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) Factor represents the power supply costs established by the cooperative in conjunction with Wolverine Power Cooperative. The factor is established annually and reviewed monthly; and

Participation: Any interested member may participate and should contact Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 800-423-6634 a week in advance to request information. Comments may be made before the meeting date by calling CEO Thomas Sobeck at 800-423-6634 or emailing at


First residence (top left): Pictured (L to R) are Ruthanne Largent—director of broadband operations, PIE&G members Deborah and James Palomaris, Jason MacArthur—senior service technician, and Tom Sobeck—PIE&G CEO.

IE&G continues to implement technology improvements with its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. Employees and contractors resumed work in April. At that time, PIE&G had installed approximately nine 100-foot poles (manufactured for PIE&G by Moran Iron Works of Onaway) in strategic areas. As of August, an additional seventeen 100-foot poles are scheduled to be set by year-end. Equipment mounted high on the poles will help PIE&G collect meter readings, detect outages for faster restorations, and identify potential power quality issues for maintenance and improved reliability. So far, PIE&G has installed approximately 27,000 advanced meters, or about three-quarters of its active electric system. PIE&G’s AMI system will provide members with the most advanced, secure, and reliable technology available.


20 members residing close to the PIE&G headquarters participated in a pilot program to test the network and related support systems. The new fiber division announced a significant milestone in August when it connected its first official residential account to members James and Deborah Palomaris and the first official business account to The State Street Dairy, owned by Cassie DeMaestri (see photos). Connections are moving forward in the Onaway area. Members are encouraged to submit their interest in receiving fiber service at, and when fiber is available in their area, a PIE&G member services representative will contact members who have submitted interest to discuss next steps. Service will be available to members receiving electric service. Visit for details.


First business (bottom left): Pictured (L to R) are Jason MacArthur—senior service technician, Tom Sobeck—president & CEO, Cassie DeMaestri—owner, State Street Dairy, and Ruthanne Largent—director of broadband operations.

PIE&G Connect began building its fiber internet network in the Onaway area last fall, and earlier this year, about P Watch for updates at, on Facebook, or in Spotlight and Country Lines.

Together, these projects will allow PIE&G to provide members with modern, enhanced services. The new building headquarters and AMI projects are expected to add efficiencies to daily operations, and AMI will improve reliability. Access to high-speed internet has become a staple in everyday life and we view it to be as essential as our electricity and natural gas service.

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 y dad had 17 coon hounds and a war surplus Willys Jeep (circa 1940s). It had a canvas top, a windshield, and no doors. I often went with him coon hunting. He would drive his Jeep slowly down back roads with the dogs strapped in the back seat of the Jeep. When the dogs would pick up the fresh scent of a raccoon, they would start howling and jumping around. Dad would stop the Jeep and let the dogs out. They would run off into the woods howling and running like their tails were on fire. Then Dad would wait until the raccoon would tree (climb into a tree) to get away from the dogs. The hounds would bark, howl, and stay there until Dad came and shot the raccoon. Then he would take the raccoon and the dogs back to the Jeep. Then started the process over as many times as possible within the limited time he had. One of our most memorable adventures started just like every other hunt. He and I went about four miles south of Maple Valley with two dogs in the back of the Jeep. The dogs started howling. Dad stopped and turned them loose. They were still heading east when their howling started to get fainter off into the woods. We started after them. I clearly remember walking a long time. I wasn’t paying attention to the dogs or anything except keeping up with Dad. It was a pleasant fall night, and we went far into the woods. Finally, Dad stopped and said, “Let’s take a break. OK??” I said, “Sure, Dad.” We sat and leaned against a giant oak tree. The next thing I remember was waking up in daylight. I was resting against my Dad, covered with his coat and very comfortable. He said it was time to go home. He took off his coat and left it next to that oak tree. He said the dogs would get tired of chasing that raccoon and track our scent back to the tree. They would lay down on the coat. He would come back and get them later. I figured it

John is a Vietnam combat veteran with two Purple Hearts. He is retired from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and enjoys his time hunting, fishing, and enjoying northern Michigan’s outdoors.

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

was a part of the plan. Mom was upset about us being out hunting all night when we got home. I thought a little more about that hunting trip until I got older. When I look back on that night, what stands out is the appearance of normalcy. No hint that we may have been lost. No talk about anything that may have made me, a child, worry. I have tried to keep that strength whenever I get nervous or frightened with my family.

By John Vick, a Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op member

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $150 for stories published. Visit to submit.$150!Win Win a $50 energy bill credit!

July/August 2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Connie Bortle, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Crossroads Village Carousel and Huckleberry Railroad park in Flint.

Where In Michigan Is This?

M Guest Column Coon Hunt

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