Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue giving generously through their voluntary round-up of change on their electric and natural gas billings to assist area community organizations and individuals. These member contributions to the PIE&G Communities First Fund enable grants and scholarships in their local communities within PIE&G’s service area.

At its June meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund board of directors finalized the review of applications and made awards of $11,628.50, and at its September meeting, awarded $11,743 in grants to the recipients below.

Alpena County

Alpena Area Senior Citizens Council Inc. ($1,100) to purchase nutritional supplements for the liquid nutrition program for the most frail, homebound, and nutritionally at-risk seniors participating in the Alpena County Meals on Wheels program. The grant will be distributed equally among the 11 participating seniors. The mission of the Alpena Senior Citizens Council is to promote and protect the dignity, independence, and welfare of older adults living in Alpena County.

Long Rapids Township Volunteer Fire Department ($2,500) to aid in the purchase of an on-site air tank pressure unit (cascade system), which will be installed at the emergency facility. The unit is capable of quickly refilling and pressurizing a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to full capacity so resources are quickly available when needed by the firefighters.

Thunder Bay River Restoration Inc. ($2,543) for equipment purchases for the Thunder Bay River Restoration Improvement Project, including three chainsaws, four life vests, one life-saving throw ring, two winch cables and two gallons of chain saw fuel. The group strives to keep the channel open by cleaning up fallen trees and debris, such as the stretch between the James Road access in Green Township and the Herron Road Bridge in Maple Ridge Township.

Cheboygan/Presque Isle Counties

Black Lake Preservation Society (BLPS) ($300) for signage and brochures regarding their invasive species education, prevention & control program. The BLPS produced brochures to increase awareness of invasive species (mussels, weeds, and other marine plants and animals), as well as informational signs which were placed at locations around Black Lake, including at the boat launch in Onaway State Park.

Montmorency County

Brush Creek Mill ($323) toward the purchase of a new computer and monitor. The existing computer is failing and outdated. The all-volunteer organization relies on the computer to conduct operations, including accounting, maintaining the membership database, preparing meeting minutes and marketing materials, managing the gift shop consignment program and the video history project, and for archiving records.

Hillman Area Senior Citizens Inc. ($1,500) toward the furnace replacement project at the Hillman Senior Center. The center has been in operation for 38 years and hosts a variety of events. It’s also used to prepare and serve meals both on-site and for delivery to homebound seniors.

Hillman United Methodist Church ($700) to purchase school supplies and hygiene products for the “Back to School Bash.” At this one-day event, the church gives school supplies and hygiene products to children returning to school, as well as providing other services such as eye exams and haircuts. For seven years running, the Back to School Bash has grown from helping 32 children the first year to 141 last year. The event helps to alleviate the financial stress on families in need as the school year begins.

Lewiston Downtown Development Authority ($750) for the purchase of craft supplies (paintable fall ceramics) for the Lewiston Fall Fest. The free event promotes family bonding and development with family activities, including hayrides, a petting zoo, a hay maze, pumpkin bowling, craft projects, a balloon artist, and musical entertainment. Every child receives a free pumpkin and goodie bag.

Montmorency County 4-H Fair Association ($705.50) for campground electrical service upgrades to enable families to use water heaters, air conditioners and space heaters in their campers while attending the fair. The improvements will make the 25 campsites safer and expand comfort options.

Village of Hillman ($500) to purchase sand to build new horseshoe pits at Emerick Park. The Emerick Park Horseshoe Pit Project was formed to construct professional horseshoe pits that meet National Horseshoe Pitchers Association standards so that tournaments can be hosted at Emerick Park. The pits will also be available for public use.

Oscoda County

Together We Can Food Pantry ($2,400) to purchase a two-month supply of food from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for the Together We Can Food Distribution project. The pantry distributes food to residents of Oscoda County and serves, on average, 193 households, or approximately 420 people, each month.

Presque Isle County

Presque Isle Township ($2,780) to assist the Presque Isle Fire Department in purchasing four Mustang Ice Commander Rescue Suits. The Presque Isle Fire Department serves Long Lake and Grand Lake, and the rescue suits allow the department to be prepared with the necessary equipment to perform emergency ice or water rescues.

Peace Lutheran Church ($1,000) to purchase personal hygiene items for the Peace Hygiene Pantry. The pantry is open every third Monday of the month. It gives away about 40-50 bags of hygiene supplies such as shampoo, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, laundry soap, and dish soap to about 100 people (adults and children).

Metz Township ($2,950) to purchase trees, plantings and fauna-flora interpretive signage for Metz Fire Historical Trailside Park. Metz Township is constructing a rustic campground at the Trailside Park, and the proposed campground will be located parallel to the NEST bike trail within the park property boundary.

Rogers City Area Schools ($1,500) to purchase six Wright Foam Plyo Cubes (20 inches by 24 inches by 30 inches) for the Weight Room Project. Additional equipment and improvements will accommodate students in a class or a team, so all can use the equipment during the session or practice. The new exercise equipment will help students focus on their physical health.

Rogers City Community Theatre (RCCT) ($500) to cover the cost of costumes for the Junior Summer Jamboree—titled “Lions, Panthers and Pumbaas—Oh My!” The jamboree is a three-day workshop where students ages 8 to 17 participate in the Summer Youth Theatre program. Taught by professional actors and musicians, the program increases confidence and improves conflict resolution and team-building skills. The RCCT cast approximately 20-30 youth in the Junior Summer Jamboree, and held rehearsals the following eight weeks leading up to the performance of “The Lion King Jr.”

Rogers City Youth Football Inc. ($1,320) to purchase four football helmets. The organization serves fourth- through eighth-graders, and safety is the organization’s priority. Its mission is to instill ideals of good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage, and respect in the game of football and life. The league is comprised of youth from Rogers City, Onaway, Hillman, Posen, Atlanta, and Mio.