June 2024 PIE&G

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June 2024 MICHIGAN
Internet Connection Speeds Energy Scams Unmasked PIE&G and CoBank Award $10K in Grants
A Historic Icon of the Great Lakes COUNTRY
Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op


Comparing is believing.

When you compare our geothermal system to a traditional gas or electric HVAC unit, the winner is clear.

We’ve got the competition beat on every level. A WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump offers unmatched efficiencies, so your energy costs are much lower than with a conventional furnace or a/c. It doesn’t rely on fossil fuels, so it’s much better on the environment. And the consistent temperatures and low humidity allow you to dial in your ideal comfort. With a 30% federal tax credit1 available, now is a great time to contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today!

Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year



Allendale Htg & Clg (800)327-1937 allendaleheating.com

Berrien Springs

Waterfurnace Michiana (269)473-5667 gogreenmichgeo thermal.com

Big Rapids

Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231)796-3717 stratzgeocomfort.com

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989)761-7691 sanduskygeothermal.com

Filion/Bad Axe Air-O-Dynamic Htg. & Clg. (989)582-0137


Adams Htg & Clg (231)873-2665 adamsheating cooling.com

Indian River

M&M Plmb & Htg (231)238-7201 mm-plumbing.com

Lansing Candor Mechanical (517)920-0890 candormechanical.com

Lowell Arctic Inc. Htg. & Clg. (616)897-4213 heatingcoolingonline.com

Manistique Hoholik Enterprises (906)341-5065 hoholikenterprises.com

Marinette, WI GPS Htg. & Clg (715)732-2111 gpsheatingcooling.com

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517)764-1500 airserv.com/southernmichigan/

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989)772-4822 waltonheating.com

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231)873-2665 adamsheatingcooling.com

Negaunee J-Goods Plmb. & Htg. (906)869-2522 jgoodsplumbingand heating.com

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517)647-6906 esiheating.com

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517)886-1138 mwphonline.com

Traverse City

D&W Mechanical (231)941-1251 dwmechanical.com Geofurnace Htg & Clg (231)943-1000 geofurnace.com


Alger Delta Electric: up to $2,000

Cherryland Electric: up to $2,500

Cloverland: up to $6,275

Great Lakes Energy: up to $5,000

Homeworks/Tri-County Electric: up to $4,750

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op: up to $4,750

Thumb Electric: up to $2,000

visit us at waterfurnace.com/mi The Reliable Renewable is a trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc 1. ENERGY STAR rated units qualify for 30% through 2030 and 26% through 2032 and 22% through 2033

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin Russman

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

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

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

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

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


201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933

248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com

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.

6 10 14


Electric cooperative director recalls life in rural Michigan—and how it changed with electricity.



Tacos & Margaritas: A combination that will spice up your next fiesta.



Glide through Lake Michigan on the only National Historic Landmark that moves.


Grandparents at the Doorstep: A GLE member sings the praises of the “world’s best, most trusted babysitters.”

MI Co-op Community

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit countrylines.com/community

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Casseroles, due July 1; Breads & Muffi ns, due Aug. 1.

Win a $100 bill credit!

Guest Column

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit. Win $200 for stories published!

Contents June 2024 Vol. 44, No. 6 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines countrylines.com


In Appreciation of You



Allan Berg, Chairman 8400 Lost Lake Rd., Hawks, MI 49743 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2026

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 2026

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 2025

Brentt Lucas, Treasurer 15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2025

Chris Nagel

3842 N. Mielke Way, Lewiston, MI 49756 616-240-8727 • Term Expires: 2026

Daryl Peterson

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 2025

President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck tsobeck@pieg.com

Co-op Editor: Sommer Poquette spoquette@pieg.com

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 3149 Main Street (M-211) Onaway, MI 49765

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

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

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

Iam using this month’s column to tell you how much I have appreciated and enjoyed my relationship with the members of PIE&G. I know that not all news from this column has been received with open arms. In fact, I can recall several conversations over the years that left me wondering why in the world I put those thoughts in print. At the end of the day, however, I never regretted any of the columns I have written. As I said earlier, I admit that some articles cost me more discussion time than others. Still, even in those times and during those conversations, one thing always rang true. The dialog with you— the membership—comfortable or not, was one of the most important aspects of my job and always served as a reminder that no matter the decision, the membership’s long-term best interests must be first and foremost on our mind.

As the CEO of a cooperative, I have always said that I am accountable to three groups: the board of directors, the employees, and most importantly, you, the members. The board and employees wouldn’t exist without the members. Your concerns, comments, and criticisms always make us better—not always comfortable, but better.

I’d like to thank you for constantly reminding me of that and for keeping us focused on your concerns. It’s a pleasure and an honor to work on your behalf.

Now it’s my turn to ask something of you. Our annual elections for the board of directors are just around the corner. You’ll see mention of it elsewhere in this edition of Country Lines. Please take a moment to consider whether you might serve us in this capacity; we can always use new perspectives.

Summer Holiday Office Closures

PIE&G’s office will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day and on Monday, Sept. 2, for Labor Day. For any outages or natural gas emergencies, you can contact us at (800) 423-6634 at any time. Access your accounts conveniently at pieg.com, through our SmartHub mobile app, or via Pay by Phone by dialing (866) 999-4571.

4 JUNE 2024

Participate in Your Co-op’s Governance

It’s time to nominate potential directors.

Co-ops are self-governing entities led by members who actively engage in policymaking and decision processes. Both men and women serve as elected representatives on the cooperative board and are accountable to all members. Participation is crucial for the effectiveness of the Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G), as it operates on democratic principles.

Any qualified PIE&G member-owner is eligible to serve on the cooperative’s board of directors, with each term lasting three years. In 2024, three director positions will be open in Cheboygan, Montmorency, and an “at’large” position. In addition, a two-year position will be open in the Presque Isle district.

Candidates must meet the eligibility requirements outlined in Article III, Section 2 of the PIE&G bylaws (details available on our website at pieg.com). Members interested in running for a director position should contact the cooperative’s office to understand the responsibilities involved. Board meetings typically occur on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

To be considered for nomination, please submit a letter of interest by June 20 to the Nominating Committee, PIE&G, PO BOX 308, Onaway, MI 49765. The committee will review all submissions and announce nominations in July. Further details about the Annual Meeting scheduled for Nov. 1, 2024, in Posen will be shared soon.

Four Northeast Michigan Charities Receive $10K in Grants from PIE&G and CoBank

Peace Lutheran Church—Human Care Ministry ($1,000): The Human Care Ministry works to make life a little easier for others. The funds will be used to purchase socks, underwear, t-shirts, hats, gloves, and hygiene items for adult foster care homes in the area. The funds will also be used to purchase headphones, other backto-school supplies for students, and other items for the hygiene pantry.

Onaway United Methodist Church— Caring Closet ($2,000): The funds will be used to purchase personal care products and cleaning supplies for those who receive food assistance and cannot purchase the supplies themselves. The funds will also be used to purchase personal care products, warm clothing, boots, hats, and mittens for school students in need.

Church of Christ—Atlanta Caring Place ($2,000): The Atlanta Caring Place provides food assistance to approximately 125 families monthly and free clothing and housewares to those in the community who need it. The funds will help continue to provide these services to families in need.

Foster Closet of Northern Michigan ($5,000): Foster Closet provides clothing, underclothing, toys, shoes, baby equipment, gear, and furniture to children placed in the foster care system in the state of Michigan. The funds will help to purchase crib mattresses, toddler beds, twin mattresses and frames, bedding, bottles, diapers, and wipes for foster families in Northern Michigan.

Any qualified member can be elected to serve. The term of office is three years.

Your Board

In Action

At their most recent meeting, the PIE&G Board of Directors…

• Approved the selection of Blaise Ryan as the new board attorney.

• Accepted the audit report based on 2023 financial reporting as presented by Eide Bailly, PIE&G’s external auditor.

• Nominated Allan Berg for election to the Rural Electric Supply Cooperative (RESCO) Board of Directors.

• Approved a draft membership agreement (five-year term) with the cooperatives that are members of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association.

• Accepted Team Reports.


Back in the Day

Electric cooperative director recalls life in rural Michigan—and how it changed with electricity

Louis Wenzlaff is somewhat of a luminary in the Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) service area. He was born and raised in Kingston, Michigan, and has spent his entire 87 years of life in the town, working in industries including farming, teaching, banking, and health care. As a TEC board member since 1977, he also has played a large role in ensuring cooperative members receive efficient and reliable electricity— something that, for good reason, he doesn’t take for granted.

The Wenzlaff family heritage in Michigan began when Louis’ grandparents, who were both German-born and had immigrated to Illinois, heard of a 120-acre farm that was for sale in Kingston. The eight children they raised on that property included Louis’ father, also named Louis. Louis Sr. moved to Detroit when he was 16 years old to work for Cadillac, but when the Great Depression hit in 1929, he moved back home to help prevent his family from losing the farm.

Louis Sr. met his soon-to-be wife Elizabeth at the country school, where she was a teacher and he was in charge of starting the potbelly stove fire on winter mornings. As was typical at the time, Louis Sr. and Elizabeth lived at the home of Louis’ grandparents, where they welcomed two daughters and then Louis. All three children were born in the house with the help of their grandmother and local midwives. One of Louis’ earliest memories is a momentous

Louis and his wife Sharon.

one: In 1941, when he was 4 years old, the Rural Electrification Administration (as TEC was known as the time) brought electricity to the farm. Louis said he remembers it “like it was yesterday.”

“You have to think of it,” Louis said. “We had no electricity, no running water, no plumbing, no nothing—it completely changed our lives.” The family’s first priority was to put a few lights in the house, followed by more lights in the barn. Using the well on the property, they then installed plumbing. Their first big appliance purchases were a refrigerator and a wringer washing machine. Next came a toilet—replacing the “three-holer” that Louis said they had in their outhouse because the family was so big. The introduction of these luxuries required the whole house to be remodeled. “They put in a bathroom and kitchen and septic tank—before, it had basically just been four walls,” Louis said.

“You have to think of it. We had no electricity, no running water, no plumbing, no nothing—it completely changed our lives.”

Productivity on the farm increased for the Wenzlaffs due to many factors, but one major difference was in dairy production. Louis said they had 12 cattle that had previously been milked by hand by the light of two kerosene lanterns. “But then we got a machine

from Sears-Roebuck that milked two cows at one time. It was wonderful, really,” Louis said. Adding a milk cooler also saved enormous quantities of time and energy. The family continued to slowly add appliances and new technologies, but they still lived a rather primitive lifestyle. Louis and his sisters would bathe about once a week, in the wash tub outside in the summertime and in front of the kitchen stove in colder seasons. “We just had to learn all the practical things we had to do to survive,” he said. The Wenzlaffs didn’t have much money, but that didn’t stop them from having fun. Louis said his aunts and uncles would visit every weekend. “Mother would play piano, and Dad would call square dances—that old house would just shake,” he said.

The farming life clearly suits Louis as he has, in some capacity, done it all his life. But he dipped his toes into several other careers as well—usually at the behest of others. Louis attended college for three years but left to work with his maternal grandfather, who was a carpenter, and procured a second job at a local lumberyard. His work at the yard consisted of installing plumbing, heating, and electrical services into local homes. He helped set up the area’s first ready mix concrete plant and delivered the cement to farmers. “As far as practicality, I learned more in those four years than I did in the rest of my career,” he said.

His carpentry days ended when the Kingston Community Schools

6 JUNE 2024
The Wenzlaff family farm in the early ‘50s. If you look closely, you can see the light poles installed by REA.

superintendent asked him if he wanted to work for the district. He taught bookkeeping and typing there for four years and was a coach for various sports. (Upon leaving the district, he served on the school board for over 30 years.) While teaching, Louis decided to continue with college and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University...but then a new opportunity arose. “The guy I worked for at the lumberyard was the president of the bank board, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come run the bank?’” Louis said. “I didn’t have much knowledge, but I learned it and I stayed there for 23 years.” He was the CEO until Kingston State Bank was sold, upon which time he moved on to constructing modular home interiors for two years. And then yet another industry came calling for Louis: A former bank customer who was on Sanilac County’s social services board asked Louis if he wanted to oversee the county nursing home. Louis was the administrator of that nursing home for 22 years.

In 2013, Louis finally retired. But he continues to have an impact on the community and stays active in his personal life as well. Louis credits his longevity to “working hard and playing hard.” He and his wife Sharon have five children, two of whom help him out on his hobby farm. And, as mentioned, this is his 47th year of serving on the TEC board, which he says he enjoys for a number of reasons—including the travel benefit. Louis said he was always too busy with work and the farm to go anywhere outside of Michigan, so he’s been grateful for the opportunity to attend national director conferences. Louis certainly has a busier life than the average 87-year-old man, but rest assured, he is looking to slow down. “I might give up golfing,” he said with a laugh.

Louis and his sisters with their parents Elizabeth and Louis Sr.

Louis (middle) and his sisters Shirley (left) and Barbara (right) pose with their Grandpa Wenzlaff.


Heat Pumps: Your Hack for Efficient

All-Season Comfort

t’s June, which means many of us are switching on our A/C units for the first time this year. But before getting back into your summer cooling routine, don’t miss out on possible alternatives, like heat pumps, that could help you save energy while staying cool this summer.

A “Heat” Pump? For Cooling?

While the name can be misleading, don’t be fooled— a heat pump not only helps your home stay comfortable and warm in the winter, but also helps efficiently cool it in the summer.

If you haven’t heard of a heat pump, it works similarly to a refrigerator¹—in the summer, heat is moved from the inside of your home outward (making it cooler inside), while in the winter, the opposite occurs, providing more efficient heating since heat is transferred rather than generated.¹

Heat pumps use less than 50% of the energy of a window A/C unit², and an air-source heat pump can use up to 50% less electricity for heating (compared to baseboard heaters and furnaces).³

And that’s not even including savings from PIE&G rebates!

Get Cash Rebates from PIE&G for Your Heat Pump

If you’re considering making the switch to a heat pump— whether it’s air-source, mini-split, or ground-source—cash rebates are available to you as a customer of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-Op. Rebates start at $1,000 for the purchase and installation of a qualified heat pump system by a licensed mechanical contractor.

See the full list of heating and cooling rebates—and learn about all of our energy-saving programs—by visiting our website at pieg.com/eo or calling 877-296-4319.

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-systems 2 https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/blog/how-to/ keeping-cool-with-heat-pumps

3 https://www.energy.gov/articles/pump-your-savings-heat-pumps

items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2024 and Dec. 31, 2024. Other restrictions may apply For complete program details, visit Presque Isle Energy Optimization programs and rebates are applicable to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op electric service locations only. Rebate applies to quali ed pieg.com/eo V I S I T pieg.com/eo C AL L 877-296-4319 WITH A CASH REBATES STARTING AT $1,000

Fairs & Festivals

Enter to win up to a $50 energy bill credit!

Submit Your “Quilts” Photos By June 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 June theme is Quilts. Photos can be submitted through June 20 to be featured in our September issue.

To enter the contest, visit pieg.com/photocontest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2024, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your January 2025 bill.



2. Watching the rides at Cheboygan County Fair. Amie Schoolcraft 3. Fair memories with Natasha the pig. Michelle Nitzel 4. Happy girl Mya at Rogers City Nautical parade. Tim Lamb 5. Alpena Ice Festival on Feb. 10, 2024. Donald Wilton II 6. Timberfest 2023 in Lewiston. Tom Conquest Balloon glow. Jonna Bopp “Daddy, I want a goat!” Joy Ross-Klarich 9. Not so dark midway. Elyse Maxwell 1. Ferris wheel. Bill Woodbeck
VOTES 3 6 9
1 4


MI CO-OP Recipes WINNING RECIPE! Recipe Contest Win a $100 energy bill credit! Casseroles due July 1; Breads & Muffi ns due Aug. 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com , or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com
MARGARITAS Lisa Kirker, Great Lakes Energy 1½ cups tequila ½ cup triple sec ½ cup light beer (such as Corona Light) 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2–3 medium lemons) ¼ cup fresh lime juice (4–6 medium limes) 1½ cups filtered water Mix all of the ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir. Serve over ice, or mix with ice in the blender for a frozen margarita. This recipe will last in the fridge for up to a week. TACOS &
A combination that will spice up your next fiesta. Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/recipe_ type/videos/ 10 JUNE 2024


Peg Poppler, Cherryland Electric Cooperative

8–10 soft taco shells

1 pound pulled pork (homemade or store bought), keep warm

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1¹⁄³ cup prepared Spanish or Mexican rice

1 cup Mexican cheese blend


1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

¹⁄³ cup finely diced onion

3 tablespoons flour

1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth

½ (4-ounce) can green chiles

½ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

½ cup Mexican cheese blend

• chopped cilantro, optional

• salsa, optional

To prepare the sauce, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the onions; stir and cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Add the green chiles, cumin, garlic powder, and salt and simmer until thickened. Set aside and keep warm. Right before serving, remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream and ½ cup cheese. To make the tacos, place the soft taco shells on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the barbecue sauce into the pulled pork. Evenly divide rice, cheese, and pulled pork onto the taco shells. Drizzle the sauce over the pulled pork and serve immediately. Serve with chopped cilantro and salsa, if desired.


Debra Ford, Cherryland Electric Cooperative

1½ (750-milliliter) bottle

100% agave tequila

1 (750-milliliter) bottle triple sec

1 quart (32 ounces) sweet and sour mix

1 quart (32 ounces) water

• limes, sliced as desired

Mix all liquids in large pitcher or container. Add limes and serve over ice.


Elizabeth Postma, Great Lakes Energy

1 pound ground beef or your choice of protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, etc.)

1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning mix

8 small corn or flour tortillas

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)

½ cup diced onions

¼ cup chopped cilantro

• Optional toppings: salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lime wedges (for garnish)

In a skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning mix to the cooked beef according to the package instructions. Stir well to combine and simmer for a few minutes. If using flour tortillas, warm in a separate skillet or in the microwave until warm and pliable. If using hard-shell tacos, heat according to package directions. Assemble the tacos by placing a spoonful of seasoned beef in each tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and cilantro. Serve with your choice of toppings on the side.


Sharon Libich, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

½ pound ground beef or turkey

6 ounces mild (or favorite spice level) salsa

1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cilantro

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated biscuits

½ –1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare a standard-size muffin tin with muffin cups (ungreased). In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meat (don’t overcook). Drain. Add salsa, onion, and seasonings. Simmer uncovered, over low heat, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Separate biscuit dough and place one biscuit in each ungreased muffin cup, pressing dough up the sides to the edge of each cup. Spoon meat mixture into cups. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Sprinkle each cup with shredded cheese and broil in the oven until melted, about 1 minute. Enjoy!


Understanding Internet Connection Speeds

You have several options when you order your home Internet package from PIE&G Connect.

Speed is often the most important factor since a faster Internet connection will improve your overall online experience. The challenge is that the fastest Internet speeds are typically the most expensive. That’s why it’s important to understand how Internet connection speeds work to ensure you select the right package for the needs of your household.

How is Internet speed measured?

Let’s start with the concept of speed, or bandwidth, as it’s sometimes called. Measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) or Gigabits per second (Gbps), your Internet speed is the amount of data that can be transferred every second over your Internet connection. Your speed determines the type of activities you can do online and how quickly you can do them.

A connection speed of 1 Mbps, for example, allows you to browse web pages easily, but it needs to be faster to stream HD videos on Netflix. According to Netflix, a minimum connection speed of 5 Mbps is required. If you tried to stream an HD video at 1 Mbps, your video would be of poor quality and likely stutter or pause altogether. On the other hand, a speed of 1 Gbps—one thousand times faster than 1 Mbps—is blazing fast, allowing you to do almost anything, including letting multiple family members stream 4K video simultaneously.

Download versus upload speeds: asymmetrical internet packages

When choosing an Internet package, you need to consider two speeds: the download speed and the upload speed.

The download speed is how data travels from a remote location on the Internet to your Internet-connected device. For example, if you are watching a video on YouTube, the download speed is the rate


at which the information in the video stream travels from the YouTube server to your computer or phone.

On the other hand, the upload speed is the speed at which data travels from your connected device to a remote location on the Internet. For example, suppose you post a video or a photo on a social media site like Facebook. In that case, the upload speed is the rate at which the information travels from your device to the Facebook server.

With most Internet packages, the download speed exceeds the upload speed. That’s why you’ll sometimes hear people talk about asymmetrical Internet connections, which means that the download and upload speeds aren’t equal.

Why are download speeds generally faster than upload speeds? Because most of our online activities, like web surfing, video streaming, and application downloads, involve downloading a lot of data. And for certain activities, like online gaming and video streaming, the faster you can download data, the better.

The upload speed may be important for you, depending on the activities you plan to do online. For example, an amateur photographer who regularly uploads high-resolution photos to a photo-sharing site may want to consider ordering a package that offers a faster upload speed. If you work from home or operate a small business from home, you might also require a faster upload speed.

The bottom line

The bottom line? The speed of your Internet connection dramatically impacts the quality of your online experience. So, when choosing an Internet package, ensure both the download and upload speeds are fast enough for your online activities.

Visit piegconnect.com to learn more about our high-speed fiber internet packages. We are accepting applications from our electric members in the following communities: Afton, Black Lake, Canada Creek, Cheboygan, Fingerboard, Hammond Bay, Indian River, Millersburg, Mullett Lake, Ocqueoc, Onaway, Topinabee, Tower, and Wolverine. Call us at (800) 423-6634 to sign up during business hours.



A Historic Icon of the Great Lakes

Common sense says the path of least resistance is the wise choice. But what if the wise choice isn’t the one that can bring you a new, one-of-a-kind experience? Well then, sometimes you take the choppier path.

Folks from Michigan might take the interstate route through bustling Chicago to reach Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Those further north might opt to drive through the scenic Upper Peninsula. But those with an inkling for adventure should consider a third route.

A Historic Journey

The S.S. Badger is the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States. She has provided a fun, reliable, and affordable shortcut across beautiful Lake Michigan for more than 70 years and has transported millions of passengers since her rebirth in 1992.

With ports in Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the S.S. Badger is a floating reminder of maritime history and an enduring symbol of the Great Lakes’ rich heritage. The 410-foot ship can accommodate 600 passengers and 180 vehicles, including cars, RVs, motorcycles, and commercial trucks, during her sailing season of June through early October.

“The Badger is the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States. With Great Lakes surrounding Michigan’s two peninsulas, the state has relied on ferries to transport people, vehicles, and products for over 130 years,” said Sara Spore, general manager of Lake Michigan Carferry, the company that manages the S.S. Badger. “As a moving National Historic Landmark (NHL), she continues to serve as a unique maritime tradition.”

Uniquely registered as a historical site in both Michigan and Wisconsin, the Badger holds numerous accolades, including being designated as a mechanical engineering landmark and named Ship of the Year by the Steamship Historical Society of America.

In 2016, she received the nation’s highest historic honor when the U.S. Department of Interior officially designated the Badger as a National Historic Landmark—making her the only NHL that moves.

14 JUNE 2024

Tradition Meets Entertainment

After making the difficult decision to end the 2023 season early due to unexpected damage to the Badger ’s ramp system, Lake Michigan Carferry is excited to get back at it. While refunds were issued for those who had already booked passage for later in the 2023 season, there were disappointed passengers, as well as a staff who is eager to please each season.

“Our staff, passengers, and both port cities are looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Spore. “The Badger is a fun experience for passengers with many favorite traditions onboard.”

Spore isn’t exaggerating—the S.S. Badger offers more than just transportation; it provides a memorable experience steeped in tradition and entertainment. From free Badger Bingo and onboard movie lounges to kids’ play areas and arcade games, the ship offers many activities to enjoy during the voyage. Additionally, passengers can indulge in food and beverages at onboard bars and restaurants, browse the gift shop, or simply relax on the outside decks, soaking in the scenic beauty of the Great Lakes.

The Badger is the last coal- red passenger steamship in operation in the United States. With Great Lakes surrounding Michigan’s two peninsulas, the state has relied on ferries to transport people, vehicles, and products for over 130 years.”

The Legacy Continues

The S.S. Badger’s journey reflects not only the evolution of maritime technology but also the changing environmental consciousness. Originally designed to transport railcars, the Badger has adapted to meet modern sustainability standards. Lake Michigan Carferry has undertaken significant initiatives to ensure the ship’s environmental impact is minimized. With the cessation of ash discharge into the lake and the implementation of new ash-retention and combustion-control systems, the Badger now serves as a model of eco-friendly maritime transportation.

As the S.S. Badger embarks on another season, it does so not only as a historic vessel but also as a forward-thinking model of sustainability and stewardship, ensuring that its legacy continues for generations to come. With its rich history, environmental initiatives, and commitment to providing an exciting and memorable voyage, the S.S. Badger remains an essential part of Michigan’s maritime heritage and a beloved way to traverse the waters between Michigan and Wisconsin.

/ssbadgerferry /ssbadgerferry /ssbadgerferry ssbadger.com @badgerferry_offi cial

Energy Scams Unmasked

Consumers with water, gas, and electricity connections have long been targets for utility scams. But in today’s digital world, every swipe and click increases the risk of potential scams.

Scammers are more sophisticated than ever before, and they understand our increasing reliance on technology. With their sharpened digital knives, scammers have adapted their tactics to trick unsuspecting consumers through a variety of methods.

PIE&G wants to help you avoid energy scams, whether a financial loss or leak of your personal information. This month, I’d like to share updates on some the latest utility scams, as well as tips to help you stay safe from even the craftiest scammers.

Recent Utility Scams

Scammers typically disguise themselves—either physically or digitally—as utility employees or representatives to steal consumers’ money or personal information. A common trick is to claim a consumer’s bill is past due and threaten to disconnect service if payment isn’t received immediately. Scammers approach consumers through a variety of means, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and even in-person visits. However, the digital line of attack is increasingly more common.

For example, new capabilities disguising caller ID or “spoofing” can make the phone number you see on caller ID appear to be from a trusted source. Spoofing makes it easier for scammers to deceive you because it’s more difficult to immediately verify the call. Another recent

scam uses fraudulent websites that are identical to a utility payment webpage—and what’s worse, these pages are often promoted on search engines to trick consumers into clicking and making a payment.

Another recent scam involves phone calls, text messages, or emails claiming you overpaid your electric bill and will receive a cash or banking refund. This offer may seem too good to be true, and it is—it’s likely a scam aimed to steal your personal information.

Spotting a Scam

There are several red flags you can watch for to identify an energy scam.

Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency, like claiming your electricity or other services will be disconnected if a payment isn’t made immediately.

Additionally, scammers may ask for unusual payment methods such as gift cards or cryptocurrency. If someone is pushing for an unusual payment method, it’s likely a scam.

You’ve probably noticed that many digital scams, like emails or text messages, include poor grammar, spelling errors, and odd email addresses. These are red flags, so when you see these dodgy forms of communication, consider it a potential scam.

What PIE&G Will (and Won’t) Do

PIE&G will never demand an instant, immediate payment and threaten to disconnect your service without prior notice

16 JUNE 2024

or warnings. We strive to resolve challenging situations and work with our members to avoid disconnects.

PIE&G will never ask for your Social Security number or banking details over the phone or through email. We offer several secure payment options, including in-person, pieg.com, scheduled payments, or the SmartHub app.

Avoiding Scams

Whether in-person, over the phone, or online, always be suspicious of an unknown individual claiming to be a


High-Pressure Tactics

Scammers will pressure you, creating a sense of urgency. Claims that your power will be disconnected without immediate payment are common with utility scams.

Sketchy Payment Methods

Scammers may ask for unusual payment methods like gift cards or cryptocurrency. In these cases, it’s likely a scam.

Dodgy Communication

Whether an email, text message, or letter, utility scams typically include poor grammar, spelling errors, or unusual email addresses. These are common warning signs of a scam.

PIE&G employee requesting banking or other personal information. We will only send you text messages if you have opted in for important alerts from the SmartHub app.

If you’re ever in doubt about a potential energy scam, just give us a quick call at (800) 423-6634 so we can assist.

PIE&G wants to help protect you and our community against utility frauds, and by notifying us about potential scams, you can create the first line of defense. We encourage you to report any potential scams so we can spread the word and prevent others in our community from falling victim.

Manage My Account Login & Password Required View Bill & Usage History Make Monthly Payments Manage Recurring Credit Card Opt In To Important Notification Pay Now No Login or Password Required Account Number Required One-time Payment Option Only No Payment Information Stored Notifications Options Not Available FREE SmartHub mobile app available at Google Play or Apple App Store TWO PAYMENT OPTIONS 17 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

Grandparents at the Doorstep:

Building Stronger Families and Happier Childhoods

“When can I have a sleepover at Grammy and (Grand)Dude’s?” my four-year-old asks me as we are wedged in her twin bed reading “The Little Mermaid” for the hundredth time. “Probably this summer,” I reply. She smiles, closes her book, and snuggles in, bringing the covers up to her chin while still smiling. As I lay next to her, I think, “We are so lucky.”

I saw a meme recently that said “The greatest parenting hack is to live close to the grandparents.” This could not ring more true. Having my parents, my mother-in-law, and—before his passing—my father-in-law nearby has definitely been the ultimate parenting hack. Not only are my husband and I so grateful for the (free and last-minute) childcare our parents provide, we also love the special relationships they build with both of our daughters.

I look at my youngest as she holds her hands up in the air with a scrunched-up grin on her face, asking “up up” to my dad. I watch my oldest zip around the house in anticipation of my mother-in-law’s weekly visit and patiently answer questions and talk about her grandpa and why we can no longer visit him anymore. I listen and quietly chuckle as she explains to me that she is eating from the outside of her plate inward because “Grammy told me the food is colder on the outside first.” I smile as she asks if her grandpa knew about her baby sister. “Yes,” her dad responds, “and he was so excited about her, and so proud of the big sister you were becoming.”

The birthday celebrations, sleep-overs, trips to McDonald’s, visits to the library, etc., are of course, fulfilling and enriching for our girls, but it’s also the mundane and the not-so-fun stuff that really makes my heart full. It’s the midnight phone call to watch the oldest while we take the youngest to the ER for a fever that won’t go away. It’s the 6 a.m. text “Can you watch M today? School is cancelled and I don’t have any sick days left.” It’s the “Z won’t stop crying and I don’t know what to do, can you come over?” It’s having the world’s best, most trusted babysitters ready to share their wisdom, time, or possibly just a calm space with our most treasured possessions. Having grandparents live close by is more than just a parenting hack; it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Their unwavering love and support create a foundation of security and joy for our daughters, and I cannot wait to see how their bond continues to deepen in the years to come.

“Having grandparents live close by is more than just a parenting hack; it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

About the Author: Alexandra is an instructional technology coordinator at Charlevoix Public Schools. She enjoys reading, sleeping, and getting outside with her family.

Guest Column

Win $200 for stories published!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/ community to submit.

MI CO-OP Guest Column
18 JUNE 2024

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PIE&G Connect isn’t just another internet provider. Our fiber network is built for our community, by those who live in our community.

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