March 2023 HomeWorks

Page 1

THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR ACTIONGLOW 2022 Propane Customer Survey Results Interim District 5 Director Appointed Apply For A $1,000 College Scholarship COUNTRY LINES March 2023 MICHIGAN HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative

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#micoopcommunity Instagram contest winner

Where the shoreline meets the rainbow @morel_momma (Sherrie Sanville)

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

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

Instagram Contest

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. Win $100 for photos published!

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Polish Favorites due April 1; One-Pan Meals due May 1 Win a $100 bill credit!

Guest Column

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

Mystery Photo

See details on page 18. Win a $100 bill credit!

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


Portland office/Mail payments to:

7973 E. Grand River Ave.

Portland, MI 48875

Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday

Blanchard office:

3681 Costabella Ave.

Blanchard, MI 49310

Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Friday

Night deposit box available at both locations.

Electric bill/account questions:

517-647-7554 or 1-800-562-8232

Pay by phone, anytime:


Service questions/outages:

517-647-7554 or 1-800-848-9333

(24 hours for emergency calls)

Tri-County Propane:


HomeWorks Connect



District 1 — John Lord, Vice-Chairman

2276 Plains Rd., Leslie, MI 49251

517-974-2518 •

District 2 — Jim Stebbins

7139 Peddler Lake Rd., Clarksville, MI 48815

616-693-2449 •

District 3 — Luke Pohl, Chairman

15560 W. Hanses Rd., Westphalia, MI 48894

989-292-0427 •

District 4 — Kimber Hansen

6535 N. Wyman Rd., Edmore, MI 48829

989-506-5849 •

District 5 — Theresa Sopocy

6996 E. Wilson Rd., Bannister, MI 48807

989-292-0295 •

District 6 — Ed Oplinger, Secretary-Treasurer

10890 W. Weidman Rd., Weidman, MI 48893

989-644-3079 •

District 7 — Shirley Sprague

15563 45th Ave., Barryton, MI 49305

989-382-7535 •

Editor: Charly Markwart, CCC

Electric Capacity Concerns Don’t Take A Holiday

Winter Storm Elliott was a nightmare for millions, causing delayed flights and widespread power outages. Behind the scenes, the energy industry faced an even bigger issue threatening to bring down the power grid: a lack of energy supply.

Since last summer, we have been highlighting the growing risk of rolling blackouts in Michigan. As electric demands continue to grow and the industry continues to retire many of its workhorse power plants, the electric grid is less able to ride through extreme weather. Winter Storm Elliott was yet another warning of just how vulnerable the grid is becoming.

Winter Storm Elliott, although not particularly cold by Michigan’s standards, resulted in record energy demand and caused severe strain on the eastern power grid, particularly in parts of Tennessee and the Carolinas. Regional power grid operators called on customers to voluntarily conserve energy, and in some areas needed to initiate rolling blackouts on Christmas Eve.

Back home in Michigan, our energy supply also was threatened due to the interconnected nature of the electric grid.

At our co-op, the regional grid operator was one step away from requiring us to ask all our members to reduce their energy consumption through measures such as turning down the heat, turning off unnecessary lights, and taking other conservation measures in order to prevent rolling blackouts. Fortunately, we didn’t have to call on you, but we were uncomfortably close to needing to take this step.

The reality is that while our power supplier, Wolverine, has sufficient generation to meet the needs of our members, we are connected to a larger grid that is currently operating close to capacity in terms of meeting the demand for electricity. That’s why we continue to advocate for time, transmission, and technology to ensure reliability through the clean energy transition.

I wanted to share this information with our members so that you can understand the current state of the grid and the challenges it is facing. If we do have to ask you to conserve electricity in a tight supply situation in the future, I hope this will provide some context and help you understand why it is important. We, as a co-op, will continue to work towards a sustainable and reliable energy future for all our members.

4 MARCH 2023
To understand how a cold front can impact electric supply in Michigan, you have to understand how connected our power grid is. Our state is a part of the Eastern Interconnect grid, where electricity may flow from one region to another to balance supply and demand.


Conducted & compiled by Inside Information® Inc.

As a subsidiary of a member-owned electric cooperative, our mission at HomeWorks Tri-County Propane is to provide a reliable and affordable propane service for customers within our service footprint. To help us gauge how well we are achieving that objective, we send out a satisfaction survey every few years to a randomly selected group of our customers. We analyze the results and use them to help guide our future operations. Here are some highlights from our October 2022 survey:

91% of customers report being “SATISFIED” or “VERY SATISFIED” with our overall performance as a propane provider.

93% rating for providing timely deliveries and reliable service

93% rating for friendly and courteous employees

89% rating for communicating effectively with members

American Customer Satisfaction Index Score



88% rating for responding promptly to service requests

The ASCI is the only national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. Our score puts us 10+ points above the national average for propane providers. It also ranks us significantly higher than:

Apple McDonald’s Lowe’s Wal-Mart Facebook DISH Network and many more!

Thank you to each and every customer who took the time to fill out our 2022 survey. We appreciate the insight you provided and will work to become a better provider because of it!

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.

6 MARCH 2023

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.”

Banish Mold And Mildew!

Spring and the onset of warmer weather leads to lots of new growth—but that doesn’t have to be the case inside your home. Prevent your residence from becoming a breeding ground for mold and mildew with an ENERGY STAR® whole-home dehumidifier.

Moisture matters.

High humidity is not only uncomfortable, but can be damaging to your home and health. Excess moisture in the air can cause wood to rot or paint to peel. Humid air is also the culprit for many indoor air pollutants that can lead to serious health issues, such as dust mites, mold, and spores.

ENERGY STAR whole-home dehumidifiers are specifically designed to maintain the proper level of humidity in your entire home, with advantages that allow you to breathe easy:

Eliminate unhealthy air.

• Increase air comfort

• Protect from mold & mildew

Reap the rewards.

A whole-home dehumidifier can also relieve the demands made on your air conditioner during hot, humid days. Drier air feels cooler, so you can turn your thermostat up a few degrees. The A/C doesn’t run as often, saving electricity and cutting costs.

Save even more energy and money by choosing an ENERGY STAR dehumidifier over less efficient conventional models. Plus, earn a $700 incentive from HomeWorks when you install a new ENERGY STAR whole-home dehumidifier in your home!

See incentive details and check out additional savings available through HomeWorks’ Energy Optimization program by visiting

HomeWorks Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualiied items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit MOISTURE
Maintain the proper level of humidity and breathe easy this spring with an ENERGY STAR® whole-home dehumidifier. u Eliminate unhealthy air u Increase air comfort u Protect from mold and mildew u Reduce demand on your A/C $700 REBATE ON QUALIFYING MODELS CALL: 877.296.4319 VISIT:

Happy Birthday, HomeWorks!

Submit Your “Bikes” Photos By March 20!

We have implemented a new photo contest format for 2023! Each month, members will be able to submit photos on our website for our photo contest. The photo receiving the most votes is published here, along with some other selections from that month. Our March theme is Bikes. Photos can be submitted through March 20 to be featured in our May 2023 issue. Note: The broken link issue on our website has been resolved, so you can simply follow the instructions below to submit your photo(s)!

To enter the contest, visit Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you, too. The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Country Lines, along with some other favorites. If your photo is published in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $100 credits on your December 2023 HomeWorks bill!

In honor of HomeWorks’ 86th birthday on March 25, we thought we’d do something different this month and take a look back at some historic snap shots from the Co-op’s early days!

1. Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s first manager, Dolph H. Wolf, who led the Co-op from 1937–1954.

2. The cover of a 1952 copy of the Co-op’s newsletter.

3. TCEC linemen and other employees attending the Co-op’s 1948 annual meeting.

4. A 1941 newsletter article celebrating the dedication of the Co-op’s Portland generating plant.

5. Early Co-op employees unloading a stockpile of electric poles.

2 3 1 4 5


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.


Theresa Sopocy Appointed As Interim District 5 Director

The HomeWorks District 5 director seat that has been vacant since the September 2022 resignation of Corinna Batora has been filled on an interim basis. At its Jan. 20 meeting, the board of directors voted to appoint Theresa Sopocy of Bannister to fill the seat until the district’s membership can hold a director election this May and officially seat a director at the Co-op’s August annual meeting.

“I applied for the interim District 5 director position because I’ve always been impressed with HomeWorks Tri-County Electric,” says Sopocy. “I love the outstanding and reliable service, as well as the affordability the Co-op strives to give all of its members. I’ve recently retired and have the time to devote to the director position, and I am very excited to serve the members of District 5 and work with all of the directors to continue to support affordable and reliable service to all HomeWorks TriCounty members.”

Sopocy retired in 2021 after a 30-year career as an elementary teacher in the school districts of St. Johns, Okemos, and Spring Lake. Currently, she’s making use of her strong background and experience in education in a part-time role as the coordinator of faith formation at her church, St. Cyril Catholic Church in Bannister. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Aquinas College and a master’s in reading instruction from Western Michigan University.

Theresa and her husband Steve have been HomeWorks members since 1996. She has announced her intention to run in this year’s District 5 director election to contend to remain in her seat through the end of the current threeyear term, which will run through August 2025.

Learn About Your Co-op Engage With Your Co-op Win Big Prizes! District 1: Monday, May 8 District 2: Tuesday, May 9 (Director election) District 3: Wednesday, May 10 District 4: Thursday, May 11 (Director election) District 5: Monday, May 15 (Director election) District 6: Tuesday, May 16 District 7: Wednesday, May 17 SAVE THE DATE FOR YOUR 2023 VIRTUAL DISTRICT MEETING! We hope you’ll make plans to join us for your virtual 2023 HomeWorks District Meeting! The meetings will take place on the following evenings: Tri-County Electric Cooperative Look for more details to come via mail, email, and Country Lines as the dates near.

Your Board In Action

Meeting in Portland on Jan. 23, your board of directors:

• Reviewed a presentation detailing the results of the Cooperative’s October 2022 member/customer satisfaction surveys for the electric, propane, and fiber internet businesses.

• Received a quarterly update on the People Fund’s recent grants given, along with an annual financial report for the program comparing 2022 to 2021 contributions, grants paid, and net assets.

• Completed an annual director compensation and expense review.

• Approved the Co-op’s 2023 virtual district meeting schedule.

• Discussed and accepted Cooperative Bylaw Sections 2.3-2.7, as revised.

• Approved the Cooperative to begin a pilot broadband infrastructure project with the City of Portland upon completion of the HomeWorks Connect network buildout.

• Learned there were 94 new members in December.

• Acknowledged the December safety report, listing employee training as well as minor employee and public incidents involving electric, propane, or fiber optic.

• Acknowledged the December physical & cybersecurity report, noting that there were no security breaches or incidents to report for the month.

Time Set Aside for Members to Comment Before Cooperative Board Meetings

The first 15 minutes of every board meeting are available for members who wish to address the board of directors on any subject. The next meetings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 27 at Portland and 9 a.m. on April 24 at Blanchard. Members who wish to have items considered on the board agenda should call 517-647-7554 at least a week in advance of the meeting.


Fund Grants Over $3,900 To Support Youth And Families

Meeting remotely on Jan. 18, our People Fund board made three grants totaling $3,946, including:

• $2,495 to an Eaton County family, to cover housing and vehicle repair costs;

• $1,000 to the Ionia County Great Start Collaborative, to support its transition to kindergarten program; and

• $451 to a Mecosta County family, to help cover utility costs.

How to Apply for a Tri-County Electric People Fund Grant

The Tri-County Electric People Fund provides grants to individuals and organizations in the Co-op’s service area for food, shelter, clothing, health, and other humane needs, or for programs or services that benefit a significant segment of a community.

Write to 7973 E. Grand River Ave., Portland, MI 48875, for an application form and grant guidelines, or visit the People Fund page at

Note: Applications must be received by March 28 for the April meeting or by May 9 for the May meeting.

C o-op
Principle #2: Demo cratic Memb er C ontrol
Distric ts 2, 4, and 5 have direc tor seats up for elec tion this year. I f you are a member of one of those distric ts, watch your April Countr y Lines for your mail-in ballot and information about your direc tor candidates!
Ever y member has a voice and a vote.



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

Downed and Dangerous

If you see a downed power line, always assume it is energized and dangerous. Avoid going near it or anything in contact with the power line.

35 ft.

Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 ft. away—so keep your distance.

Never drive over a downed line or through water that is touching the line.

If you see a downed line, notify the local authorities immediately.

Never try to move a downed power line, even if you think the line is deenergized or if you’re using a nonconductive item—this will not prevent injury or death!

16 MARCH 2023
A T T E N T I O N H I G H S C H O O L S E N I O R S ! L A S T C A L L T O A P P L Y F O R O U R 2 0 2 3 C O L L E G E S C H O L A R S H I P S C u r r e n t h i g h s c h o o l s e n i o r s l i v i n g o n o u r e l e c t r i c l i n e s a r e e l i g i b l e t o a p p l y f o r o n e o f o u r $ 1 , 0 0 0 s c h o l a r s h i p s ! APPLY BY MARCH 31! Apply at

Mystery Photo

Win a $100 energy bill credit!

Where In

Michigan Is This?

Identify the correct location of the photo above by March 24 and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at

Nature Memories

January 2023 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Jason DeLille, a Midwest Energy & Communications Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Michigan State University Beaumont Tower in East Lansing. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/ August, September, and November/December.


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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“There is no better designer than nature”
18 MARCH 2023
Alexander McQueen
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