March 2023 Alger Delta

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LINES Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association March/April 2023 MICHIGAN April 18 Is National Lineworker Day Meet Your Re-Elected Directors Weaving A Path To Healing

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Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey

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.

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

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.


Counting 25,000 ducks is all in a day’s work for the Straits Area Audubon Society.

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Seafood Recipes: Healthy options from

14 THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR ACTIONGLOW At first they didn’t succeed ... but then the Porter brothers tried, tried, and tried again with great success!


For one HomeWorks member, tending his garden is a spiritual experience that conjures memories of his father.

MI Co-op Community

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Recipe Contest

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Contents March 2023 Vol. 43, No. 3 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines
under the sea.



District 1—Big Bay

Darryl Small

906-345-9369 •

District 2—Harvey/Deerton

Karen Alholm

906-249-1095 •

District 3—Grand Marais

Mike Lawless

906-287-0007 •

District 4—Cedar River/Palestine

Bill Wotruba 414-507-9787 •

District 5—Gourley/LaBranche/Cornell/Harris

Steve Wery

906-295-1255 •

District 6—Nathan/White Rapids

Jesse Betters

715-923-4946 •

District 7—Stonington/Rapid River

Kirk Bruno 906-399-1432 •

District 8—Nahma/Isabella

Don Johnson

906-280-0867 •

District 9—Hiawatha/Maple Ridge

Stephen Dausey 906-202-3899 •


Mike Furmanski


426 N. 9th St, Gladstone, MI 49837

906-428-4141 • 800-562-0950

Fax: 906-428-3840 •


Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST)

Alger Delta Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Lineworkers Appreciation Day

pril 18 is National Lineman Appreciation Day. This day was established in April 2013, by U.S. Senate Resolution 95, largely due to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. The incredible destruction that the storm produced completely wiped out many electric power systems in a large area. Lineworkers from all over the country were called in to rebuild and repair as needed to get the lights back on so that people could start to rebuild their lives.

While Alger Delta has not had any storms the size of Sandy hit our system, we still get our share of storms. Snow, freezing rain, wind, and thunderstorms can all wreak havoc on the system. And when the weather or other causes interrupt the service to our members, your Alger Delta linemen are ready to respond. Whether snowshoeing into an area and then climbing a pole, operating a tracked vehicle cross-country, or setting up a truck on the shoulder of a busy roadway, they do whatever is needed to get the power turned back on.

Lineworkers must be committed to their career—because it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The long hours and ever-present danger can truly take a toll. Being a lineworker is listed in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Being a lineworker is not a glamorous or easy profession. It takes years of specialized training, ongoing education, dedication, and, equally important, a sense of service and commitment. How else can you explain the willingness to leave the comfort of your home to tackle a challenging job in difficult conditions when most are sheltering comfortably at home? This dedication and sense of service to the community is truly what sets them apart. That’s why we set aside April 18 to celebrate and recognize the men and women who work around the clock to keep the lights on.

Some of the most visible employees of the co-op, lineworkers work tirelessly to ensure our community receives uninterrupted power 24/7. And while there is only one day per year specifically designed to honor lineworkers, we are thankful every day for their dedication. We use Facebook quite often as a way to provide updates on outages. Almost every time we post, many kind words can be found in the comments section regarding the lineworkers and the co-op’s response time. Thank you for these comments. The linemen do see these and appreciate them.

On April 18, and any time you see a lineworker, I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for their exceptional service. I also hope you’ll remember that you have a dedicated team of professionals working behind the scenes at the co-op whose commitment to service runs just as deep. A
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“This dedication and sense of service to the community is truly what sets them apart. That’s why we set aside April 18 to celebrate and recognize the men and women who work around the clock to keep the lights on.”

Distribution Department Updates

Alger Delta Electric Cooperative is pleased to announce several personnel advancements within the distribution department.

Anthony Hamel was recently promoted to foreman of the Marquette Alger Delta crew. Anthony joined Alger Delta on March 7, 2022, with 10 years of lineman experience.

Jon Conger was promoted to the position of foreman of the Gladstone Alger Delta crew. He has worked at Alger Delta since Jan. 6, 2014, when he was hired as an apprentice lineman. He became a journeyman lineman on May 9, 2017.

Apprentice linemen Brandon Lind and Brandon Benda have achieved journeyman lineman status. Brandon L. and Brandon B., who both began working for the co-op in 2019, recently completed 7,000 hours of fieldwork training and testing at Northwest Line College to attain this certification.

Congratulations to all four men on their achievements, and we wish them continued success in their new positions.

April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day

As the “first responders” of the electric co-op family, lineworkers perform around-the-clock duties in dangerous conditions and challenging situations to keep power flowing and protect the public’s safety. Putting their lives on the line every day to keep power on, these brave members of our community go above and beyond to restore power, often in the most hazardous of environments. Alger Delta would like to recognize the members of our distribution department and thank them for their dedication and service.

From left to right: Cody Warren, John Dault, Jon Conger, Jason Ebbesen, Brandon Lind, Brandon Benda, Tom Viitala, Justin Gieszer, Anthony Hamel, Curt Knauf, Riley Corrigan Anthony Hamel Brandon Lind Jon Conger
Brandon Benda

Redhead Ducks

Flock To The Straits Of Mackinac

When a large mass of black suddenly appeared in the Straits of Mackinac, motorists on the bridge called the Mackinac Bridge Authority to report a potential oil spill. But to the bridge personnel and bird lovers who follow such things, they knew it wasn’t an environmental disaster, but rather a natural wonder.

Every winter, masses of birds flock from their northern habitats to seek warmer weather for the cold season ahead. Many of them take a rest in the Straits of Mackinac, including the redhead duck. What is normally a floating group, or raft, of about 7,000 made a bigger splash by topping out at about 25,000 during this year’s annual Christmas bird count.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Straits Area Audubon Society member Steve Baker. “We certainly see peaks some years, but this was an explosion that was really remarkable to witness.”

Redheads are a species of diving duck known for massing in groups that reach thousands to tens of thousands during their early winter migration. Large redhead flocks aren’t necessarily uncommon in the region this time of year, but the shining cinnamon red heads of the males in the sun were a remarkable sight to see.

The numbers collected during the Christmas season are a part of a nationwide effort by conservation groups who identify an area about 15 miles across, congregate into teams for a day, and compile numbers. Baker was in the group escorted across the Mackinac bridge and permitted to count and photograph the ducks for the Christmas Bird Count.

“This goes back to the 1900s when we started seeing birds, like the passenger pigeon, disappear,” said Baker. “Beyond it being a valuable activity that tracks numbers and migration patterns, it’s great fun to be outdoors with people who share your passion.”

The Straits Area Audubon Society actually takes a much broader approach to its interests and activities. While bird lovers flock to the organization, the breadth of what they are involved in reaches beyond their feathered friends.

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The focus of the Straits Area Audubon Society is to “educate the community, including its children, about conservation and enjoyment of the natural world with emphasis on the local natural communities of wildlife,” per its mission statement.

A retired veterinarian, Baker came to the organization as many do. “I was a birder who loved being outdoors and really enjoyed being around a good core group of people. But there’s a lot more to the Audubon Society than just birds,” he said.

The society also spawned the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch, a monarch butterfly banding program, and an extensive educational arm.

“Kathy Bricker was a dynamic leader and member of our group who really kicked off the educational part of our programming,” said Baker. “She brought so much energy and information to our schools and community.”

Bricker, who passed away from ovarian cancer last spring, was a former president of the Straits Area Audubon Society, the founder of Earth Week Plus programs, and the creator of the Snakes Alive program that educated kids throughout Northern Michigan about the outdoors. Bricker’s passion and purpose still resonates in the environmental and wildlife community in Michigan. Her efforts show that a single person can impact how generations to come will see, interact, and potentially fall in love with nature.

“Being part of the Audubon Society and seeing new people join for the same reasons I did when I started is encouraging,” said Baker. “We’re one of the largest citizen science programs out there that hope to keep the outdoors an amazing place for exploration and discovery.”

For more information, visit:


“We’ve never seen anything like this. We certainly see peaks some years, but this was an explosion that was really remarkable to witness.”


Steve Wery, Kirk Bruno, and Don Johnson have been re-elected to the Alger Delta Board of Directors to represent Districts 5, 7, and 8, respectively. All three will serve a three-year term that will end in June 2026. All the candidates, who ran uncontested, bring a vast array of experience and knowledge to the board. Please read on to learn more about each board member.

Three years of experience as a director with Alger Delta is about six times longer than any of my past management consulting projects. I am used to learning and contributing quickly. I have certainly appreciated the opportunity to serve you and have also appreciated your support during my first term as a director.

My focus for our co-op continues to be on our strategic and operating imperatives of safety, reliability, and cost.


Don Johnson of Isabella is the director for District 8 –Nahma/Isabella. He was originally appointed to the position left vacant by the passing of longtime board member Ray Young.

Director Johnson brings significant experience to the position, having served as a board member of the Delta County Mental Health Board, Pathways Mental Health Board, and Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards. These positions have allowed him to participate in strategic planning, fiduciary responsibility, setting policy, and engaging with elected officials and government agencies at the


I’ve been a lifelong resident of Gourley Township and a member of Alger Delta Electric Co-op for 45 years. I’ve been a licensed residential and commercial building contractor for 35 years. For the last 33 years, I have been the Gourley Township supervisor. I have a strong desire for public service and helping others. My strongest statement is that failure is not an option.

I return my phone calls promptly and do all I can to resolve problems. We currently have a strong board of directors, and everyone has a special talent to bring

Our industry is facing more changes now and in the near future than perhaps at any time in history. I intend to utilize my broad background in business and organization development to help lead our cooperative into the future.

For more information on my background and capabilities, you can take a look at my business website,

local, state, and federal levels and given him a working knowledge of political and governmental processes.

Director Johnson has 30 years of experience as an educator and started and managed the Don Johnson Agency for 22 years, which is now owned by his daughter, Jennifer (J.J.) Johnson-Reeves.

Johnson and his family have been longtime members of the co-op. “I have been a member of the co-op since 1969, and my parents were charter members before that. As a director, I look forward to being available to and serving all members of the co-op,” he said.

to each meeting. I am running again to better serve you in the future. Our goal, as a board, is to keep your rates as low as possible. May God bless this great country in which we all love and live in. Thank you for your vote of confidence.

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Submit a photo & win a $50 energy bill credit!

Submit Your Photos & Win A Bill Credit!

Alger Delta members whose photos we print in Michigan Country Lines during 2023 will be entered in a drawing. Four lucky members will win a $50 energy bill credit on their December 2023 bills!

Upcoming Photo Topics And Deadlines:

Bikes, due March 20 (May/June issue)

Camping, due May 20 (July/August issue) Porches, due July 20 (Sept./Oct. issue)

To submit photos, go to We look forward to seeing your best photos!




6. I love traveling with my “Peeps.” Connie Tingley





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1. Leia, the ice fishing person’s best friend. Jennifer Steinhauser 2. Tickling the ivories. Lois Corcoran Tanner and Gunner are the Bruders-lab. Five years old on Feb. 1, 2023. They have the Bruderly-love. Connie Lindstrom Ranger loves Christmas too! Brenda Gustafson Jackson posing for photos, waiting for his treat. Monica Eriksen Haley, our puppy. Joseph Liss Clover’s Big Bay sunset. Rhea Dever Brothers by chance, friends by choice. Daren Landis
Besties! Leslie Brasure


Recipe Contest

Win a $100 energy bill credit!

Polish Favorites due April 1; One-Pan Meals due May 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 , or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to



Ronald Andres, Great Lakes Energy

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound smoked steelhead trout (or smoked salmon), skin and bones removed, flaked into ½ -inch pieces

2 (15.5-ounce) cans great northern beans (use liquid)

2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth

2 Anaheim peppers (braised, then seeds and skin removed), diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning

1 quart heavy whipping cream

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in the hot oil until tender. Add smoked steelhead, great northern beans, cannellini beans, chicken broth, Anaheim peppers, cumin, coriander, oregano, and lemon pepper into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Stir in the whipping cream. Simmer until the whipping cream is hot, but do not boil.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

|| Recipes submitted by MCL readers and tested by recipe
MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography
from under the sea. 10 MARCH 2023
Healthy options


Kathy Shoemaker, Great Lakes Energy

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 medium sweet onions, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

½ green bell pepper, chopped

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup vegetable broth

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1–2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound cod or haddock fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound uncooked shrimp (41–50 per pound), peeled and deveined

1 (6-ounce) can chopped clams, undrained

1 (6-ounce) can lump crabmeat, drained

1 pound scallops, optional

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

• sourdough bread slices

• garlic aioli mustard

In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the first 16 ingredients (do not add seafood yet). Cook, covered, on low for 4–5 hours. Stir in seafood. Cook, covered, 20–30 minutes longer or until fi sh just begins to flake easily with a fork and shrimp turns pink. Remove bay leaf. Add parsley and stir. Toast slices of sourdough bread. Spread garlic aioli mustard over toasted slices of bread and place in a bowl. Spoon seafood cioppino over the bread. Bon appétit!


Dave Neitzke, Great Lakes Energy

1 bag salad greens

• thinly sliced red onion rings

1 (4-ounce) can sockeye (red)


1 sliced hardboiled egg

1 tablespoon capers (salt dried, if possible)

Vinaigrette Dressing:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

(1 large)

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Layer the lettuce on a plate. To the bed of lettuce, add slices of red onion, salmon pieces, egg slices, and capers. To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk to emulsify. Drizzle salad with dressing. Best served with warm crusty garlic bread and a cold lager.


Sherry Cole, HomeWorks Tri-County

¹⁄ ³ cup table salt

¹⁄ ³ cup paprika

¼ cup garlic powder

¼ cup freshly ground white or black pepper

3 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons dried oregano or winter savory

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or mixing bowl, and pour the mixture into an airtight container. This spice mix will keep for years. Makes 2 cups. When preparing seafood, liberally sprinkle the seasoning on the entire piece of fi sh, on both sides, and gently rub into fi sh. Then bake at 350 F, broil, or fry in a pan until fi sh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.


Weaving a Path to Healing

Life often weaves a web that takes us to unexpected places, and U.P. resident Nate Ryckman represents that, both literally and figuratively. Interesting people form the fabric of U.P. residents, and Nate Ryckman represents that as well. Born and raised in Alma, Michigan, the United States Marine veteran served several tours of duty overseas before landing in Skanee, just outside of L’Anse. During his military career, Nate was stationed in Iraq as part of the infamous “Tip of the Spear.” The term “tip of the spear,” a phrase typically associated with the Marines, refers to a combat force at the front lines, usually in harm’s way, used to puncture the enemy’s initial line of defense. His battalion had a reputation for being tough and unstoppable in battle and had led the ground incursion from Kuwait into Iraq, eventually entering Saddam Hussein’s palace in Tikrit.

After serving for six years, he left the Marines in 2004. “I had some issues when I came back, and I wasn’t necessarily in the best place in my life. I decided to hike the Appalachian

Trail, which was life-changing,” he says reflectively. He got 500 of the trail’s 2,220 miles under his belt before severe foot blisters forced him to turn back (in 2017, he returned and completed the entire length of the trail). Along the trail, he met and made friends with many people, including other fellow veterans, but the best gift was meeting his life partner, Robin.

“We were both interested in finding a place we could homestead at,” Nate said. He had fond childhood memories of his parents taking him camping in the Upper Peninsula and so they focused their search there. “The U.P. is just beautiful, the trees, the hills, the lake. It really has it all,” he said. So, for two years, they camped and investigated various locations to find a place where they could settle. “We fell in love with this area and bought one of the original homesteads in Baraga County,” Nate said. Robin is an avid gardener, growing much of their food on their 20 acres of land.

While he was stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, Nate’s

The rug that his mom started and he finished.
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mother passed away. “My mom was a fabric artist, always crafting and weaving rugs, crocheting, and knitting,” he recalls. But his best memories were of her sitting at her loom, making rugs. He said, “My mom used the loom to unwind.” In 2017, his stepdad called to let him know he was doing some downsizing and wanted to know if Nate would like to have his mother’s loom. It was December 2019, and Nate and Robin got a U-Haul trailer and drove to the Lower Peninsula to get the loom. As Nate recalls, “The loom was just as my mom had left it, ‘dressed’ and ready to go.” The loom came with the bonus of about 200 pounds of fabric and yarns.

Once back at their homestead, they found the loom was too large to fit through the door, and the only way to get it into the house was to remove an entire slider door, but they got it done. “I just started to play with it, pushing pedals and seeing things go up and down,” Nate recalls. He began to watch YouTube videos on rug making. “I would watch the same video repeatedly and then practice what I saw,” he said. As Nate learned, he became more confident and began experimenting with bold colors and geometric patterns. And then something important occurred. “I really liked it and felt a connection to my mother while doing it,” he said.

Initially, Nate gave all his rugs away, but in 2021, he began selling them at the local farmer’s market. “The reason I sell my rugs is so that I can afford to give them away to the people I love,” he remarks.

He eventually went through most of the original fabric that came with the loom and began to search for other sources. “I find rug materials everywhere. A woman gave me a tote full of old blue jeans, and I made a rug out of them. I made another rug out of old curtains from my brother’s house,” he said. He refers to these fabrics as “thrifted and gifted material.”

Perhaps most important is the benefit that weaving has had on his well-being. “When I was first starting out, I felt like I had a chance to mean something again,” Nate said. “The major problem with many war vets returning home is that they can’t find anything that means more than their job when they were protecting this country.

“It is impossible to feel like you are important at anything after you’ve

had a gun and bullets in your hands and are told to make sure that the people behind you are protected. There are very few things you can do in your life after that that feel important. I do feel like the weaving does give me some purpose.”

Nate did not hesitate to respond when asked if he had a favorite rug. “It’s the rug by my bedside from the first batch I made,” he said. “When I got my mom’s loom, it was as she had left it—ready to go. My mother started this rug, and I finished it.”

Nate sells his rugs at the L’Anse Farmers Market and via commissioned pieces. He can be contacted at:

Nate also creates fabric art shirts.



In 2012, Dakota, now 26, and Garret, now 23, Porter shot an application video to appear on ABC’s ”Shark Tank,” a reality TV show that features entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to a panel of potential investors or “sharks.”

The brothers’ product—an aftermarket LED light system for action sports equipment like snowboards, surfboards, and skateboards—ended up beating out the initial 40,000 applicants and they had hopes of ending up on the show with an investment deal. This is where many “small-town dreamers make good” stories begin, but that’s not quite the case for the brothers’ company, ActionGlow.

The Porters’ story actually starts back in 2012 when the two were just 16 and 13 years old. The Cherryland Electric Cooperative members, like many from the Traverse City area, were avid snowboarders and were looking for a way to trick out their boards to stand out on the hill. They imagined an LED light system that could be attached to their boards, making an impact on their evening runs. There wasn’t anything like it on the market, so the Porters ordered parts, tinkered around, and took their lighting systems out for a trial run a couple of weeks later.

“We went to Mt. Holiday for the first run,” said Dakota. “It felt like everyone on the whole mountain stopped to look. When we hit the bottom, a group gathered, asking where they could buy one.”

That would have been enough for many teens, just the look of approval and high-fives from their friends, but it wasn’t for the Porters.

“ We tell young people that if they have an idea—to go ahead and do it now. There’s so much to learn and so much less to lose. Take the risk because being young is the perfect time to fail.” —Garret Porter
14 MARCH 2023
Owners of ActionGlow, Dakota (left) and Garret Porter (right).

The former Eagle Scouts took their fundraising skills and raised just enough to apply for an LLC and begin the process of patenting their idea. In 2013, the teens took their revised design online. Within 48 hours, the entire stock they’d built sold out.

In the meantime, ”Shark Tank” was gaining popularity, and the brothers made their first audition tape in 2012 for Season 4. They didn’t make it onto the show, but a year and a half later, a producer checked in on the brothers, who were busy taking their product to trade shows and filling orders. They were asked to apply again for Season 6. The brothers obliged, only to get the call that they wouldn’t be moving forward.

“It was disappointing,” said Garret. “But we knew this wasn’t the end of our business, just this particular opportunity.”

In 2016, a familiar ring from Shark Tank producers came with a request to apply a third time for Season 8. And you know what they say about the third time being the charm?

“We were so excited. We knew this was it. We even took our parents to dinner to celebrate,” Garret said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t.”

This kind of disappointment might plant more than a seed of doubt for many entrepreneurs, let alone two young people getting their feet wet in the business waters, but not the Porters.

“We watched our dad and mom work hard their entire lives,” said Dakota. “We never thought this would be easy. We just knew to keep working.”

As the brothers made connections in the business community and with local investors, their business continued to grow. Their product was being refined, allowing them to network with professional athletes and brand sponsors.

After high school, ActionGlow became the brothers’ full-time focus. But Garret hadn’t forgotten about the Shark Tank dream. In 2022, he filled out the application again without telling his brother. A couple of months later, a familiar email came from the show. Garret had to come clean to Dakota, and the two decided—this would be their last try. But much like the grit that comes with action sports—they gave it one big, final shot. That’s what landed the Porters on Season 14 of Shark Tank, eventually leading to the backing from “shark” Robert Herjavec, who made a $200,000 investment and took a 30% stake in the company. This was 10 years after their first audition tape.

“We don’t know what was different this time. Maybe we paid our dues,” said Garret. “But for sure, we tell young people that if they have an idea—to go ahead and do it now. There’s so much to learn and so much less to lose. Take the risk because being young is the perfect time to fail.”

/ActionGlow /actionglow 15 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
more products and information, visit

Surge Protection 101

Apower surge is an unexpected increase in voltage, and it can occur from a variety of sources. Regardless of the cause, power surges can majorly damage electronic devices and equipment in your home.

Let’s take a look at common causes of power surges and how you can protect your sensitive electronics.

One of the most common causes of a power surge is lightning. Most of us have experienced this during a severe thunderstorm. When lightning strikes an electrical system, the excess current must be channeled somewhere— unfortunately, in many cases, it’s sent through a home. Your best bet is to unplug all unused devices and electronics during severe thunderstorms.

Another common cause of power surges is electrical overload. This happens when devices

or appliances are plugged into an outlet that can’t handle the required amount of voltage, or if multiple devices are plugged into one outlet through an extension cord. If you’re experiencing power surges due to electrical overload, it’s time to call a qualified electrician to evaluate your home’s circuits and electrical needs. Overloaded circuits can lead to low voltage (which can damage electronics as well).

Faulty wiring in a home can also cause power surges. Damaged or exposed wires can cause spikes in voltage, creating a potentially dangerous situation. If you notice signs of faulty wiring, like visible burns on outlets, buzzing sounds from outlets, or frequently tripped circuit breakers, your home may be due for electrical wiring repairs and updates.

Surges can also occur after a power outage. Sometimes, when electricity is being restored and reconnected, it’s common to experience

16 MARCH 2023

a quick surge in current. Similar to advice for a surge caused by lightning, it’s best to unplug sensitive electronics during the outage— then wait to plug them back in after power is fully restored.

Aside from unplugging devices when you suspect a power surge, there are two ways you can take additional precautions to protect electronics in your home.

Point-of-use surge protection devices, like power strips, can protect electronics during most surges. But remember, not all power strips include surge protection, so read the packaging label carefully before you buy, and don’t overload the power strip with too many devices. You can also install specialized electrical outlets that offer additional surge protection. Talk to a trusted electrician to learn more.

Another option is a whole-home surge protector, which can help protect your home from larger, more powerful surges. In most cases, wholehome suppressors are connected to your home’s service panel and include features like thermal fuses and notification capabilities that indicate when a device has been impacted by a surge. Whole-home surge protector prices vary based on the size of the home and suppressor. Wholehome suppressors should always be connected by a licensed electrician, so consider the cost of installation as well.

Occasional power surges are inevitable, but by unplugging devices when you think a surge may occur and using additional levels of protection like power strips or whole-home suppressors, you can better safeguard your sensitive electronics and devices.

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In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or

3. email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider

if you have questions about ways to protect your home from power surges.
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rowing up, our family always kept a flower garden. It was filled with roses, dahlias, and peonies. The Peace rose was my dad’s favorite. He was a WWII veteran, and that rose was named for the celebration of the war ending.

He often traveled for his job and asked me to be the keeper of the garden. I mixed the soil with peat and fertilizer and sprayed the insecticides. I sang to those plants; a chorus of colors sang back. Dusk stepped up the deep-root water soaking. Birds danced in the mist. This garden gave me inspiration for my studies in art and design.

We lived in central Michigan at the edge of the hardwood tree line made by glacier—glaciers over a thousand feet in height. It is a vast land of smooth stones and forest that stops abruptly and then turns to flat, fertile, sandy lands, where sugar beets and potatoes are grown and processed. Evening breezes send the perfume of the potatoes, the beets, and the sulphur of the oil wells. There is a calming rhythm of a well’s pumping, “haw hee...pap pap pap.” A small sludge pond shimmers with a film of blue-green iridescence. Raccoon tracks a hint of last night’s activities.

Come spring, a few abandoned apple trees open their soft, white blossoms. The summer brings sunflowers, purple thistles, and cattails, and intricate colored geometries to our beloved landscape. These forms were the models for my botanical sketch studies. Memories became companions.

This evening I will be tending my garden. Dusk blends its forms and colors. From the corner of my eye, I might catch a flutter and hear the barred owl high in the pines, “whoo choo ha whoo.” The songbirds and purple martins will flit about in the spray of the sprinklers. Later the bats will take over the landscape. Spiders will reweave their webs in the glistening wet grass. My dad, rest in peace, will have a presence there.

About the Author: John is a retired architect and designed prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan for 12 years in the war. He enjoys painting watercolors and cooking with his wife, Mary Louise.

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18 MARCH 2023
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