Communities First Fund awards $7,500 in grants

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue to assist area community organizations and individuals through the voluntary round up of their electric and natural gas billings. Member contributions to the Communities First Fund provide funds for grants and scholarships in their local communities within the PIE&G service area.

PIE&G is currently campaigning to increase member participation in the Communities First Fund. All members enrolled by Feb. 6 will be entered into a drawing to win one of three prizes. First prize is an HP Notebook computer, second prize is a Samsung Tablet and third prize is a $50 bill credit.

Members can call PIE&G at 733-8515 to enroll or print the form found online at pieg.com/community and drop it off or mail to PIE&G with their utility bill.

The PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors recently finalized awards of $7,500 in grants to the following recipients:

∫ Cheboygan Inverness Academy ($2,500): Funds were awarded to purchase new classroom materials such as wobble chairs and laptops, to assist in improving the learning environment. The wobble chairs will be used for youth who struggle to remain stationary for long periods of time.

The chairs have been shown to reduce behavior issues and distractions in classroom settings. The laptops will be used to improve research skills, computer competence, online classes and for word processing. The classroom materials will be used by multiple students throughout the day.

Callie Ann and Jonathan Scheider ($500 each): The awards are to help defray participation costs in the Michigan Ambassadors of Music European Concert Tour created by Voyageurs International, LTD, an organization celebrating its 47th year of sending gifted music ambassadors to other countries.

The two recipients are juniors at Cheboygan High School and will perform as student ambassadors visiting England, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany over 16 days. Both are active in instrumental band programs and have participated in the Honors Band in Petoskey.

Callie Ann plays several instruments, including alto saxophone in the CHS Marching Band, bassoon in the Concert Band, and piano in the Jazz Band and Jazz Combo.

Jonathan plays the trumpet as a member of the CHS Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band and Jazz Combo. He is also an accomplished pianist. The tour is scheduled for July 12-27.

∫ Presque Isle County Historical Museum ($2,000): The award will go toward publication costs for the story of “Steel Rails and Tall Timber: An Early History of Onaway and the Island Settlements in Presque Isle County.” The book will fill a gap in current published histories of Presque Isle County and provide an accurate and interesting look at the inland areas of the county.

∫ Rogers City High School ($2,000): This award is to purchase upgraded woodshop equipment. The woodworking and industrial arts programs allow students to develop and enhance their skills while helping to build self-confidence from their accomplishments. The trade skills and knowledge may provide valuable future employment opportunities.