Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 19 NO. 7  -  July 2016


New Restaurant Opens in Northome  

by Sally Sedgwick Teener

It’s a lesson in persistence…and the power of community.

Colleen “Teener” Swang is known for her baked goods. But she also does general cooking and, for the last several years, has catered the North Itasca Electric annual meeting. About eight years ago, she decided to open a café of her own. But that deal and several more through the years fell through.

Yet the need was there. Koochiching County’s future planning initiative, Voyage Forward, had identified one of the top priorities for residents in the Northome area was a year around restaurant. Northome formed its own planning session, and after hearing of Teener’s goals formed another group – Team Café - to help make it happen. They looked at different possible locations, but identified the old Mandi’s Café as the most economical.

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Highway 38 Project 

At a public meeting in June, the Minnesota Department of Transportation shared plans for the 2017 reconstruction of a section of Highway 38 from Pughole Lake to Marcell.

The construction is intended to address the structural condition of the road, replace about 40 culverts that have deteriorated and repair an additional 9 culverts, improve areas of the road that have erosion and one section often covered by water (milepost 26), and improve sight lines over about 1200 feet at Wildernessa Road (milepost 14.5).

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CEO Report: Annual Meeting  

by Chris Corradi, CEO

Thank you to all who attended your cooperative’s 76th annual meeting at the Bigfork High School. We had more than 275 members and guests attend the event. We were served a delicious breakfast prepared by Teener Swang and guests enjoyed energy information booths, CFL Charlie, LED Lucy, safety demonstrations, raffle prizes and business reports. Thank you for making the meeting a success!

I would also like to thank our dedicated employees for all of their work before, during and after the meeting. Without them an event like this wouldn’t be possible.

I’d like to congratulate Bruce Leino (District 7), Terry Schmitz (District 8), and Roy Bain (District 9) on their re-election to your board of directors. The proposed bylaw changes were tabled until next year due to a mailing problem experienced in Districts 7, 8 and 9. As the year goes on, I will give you more information regarding proposed bylaw changes and the benefits your cooperative believes will come with the changes.

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Annual Meeting  

by Sally Sedgwick

Our promise is that “we will run your co-operative as effectively and efficiently as we can,” said North Itasca Electric CEO Chris Corradi. He was speaking at the 76th annual meeting of the cooperative last month, held at Bigfork School.

Corradi, who became CEO in March after almost three years as CFO and Office Manager, gave special recognition to employees, a dedicated staff who truly care for the membership and linemen who are willing to go out on calls no matter what the weather conditions.

It was an unusual year for the local electric industry, he explained – the second warmest recorded winter, which led to lower electrical usage. Still, the cooperative was busy with service upgrades and replacement of older lines.

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Load Management Receiver Checks  

by Jerry Loney, Energy Management Specialist

During previous summers you may have seen North Itasca Electric trucks out checking load management receivers. Even though this is an ongoing activity; the new PLX meters being installed will eliminate this process.

The previous meters had equipment called "turtles" in them, sending signals back to the office every 27 hours. This made it impossible to know if the load management equipment was functioning properly or not during controlled periods. The new PLX meters do not require the slow outdated turtle technology and are now able to read each meter every 15 minutes. The turtle technology at one time was revolutionary and did save much time and expense, but the new PLX meters save even more as we are able to better monitor activities from the office.

The PLX meter change out began in January 2016 and should be complete in July. Unlike the previous mechanical meters, PLX meters are digital and do not have moving parts causing them to eventually slow down or wear out. Now we can receive usage, demand and activities during load control periods throughout the day, pinpointing times when energy was consumed.

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Local Events in July  

Area events in July include the 2016 Health Expo at Bigfork Valley on Saturday, July 16, the 33rd annual Blackduck Woodcarvers Festival and Arts & Crafts Show on Saturday, July 30, and the North Star Stampede and Effie Rodeo Daze on Friday, July 29- Sunday, July 31. All events will be held rain or shine.

Health Expo

The Health Expo returns to Bigfork Valley in 2016. Held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, this event includes activities, tours and healthy living resources for all ages. This year displays include blood typing from North Memorial Blood Centers, the Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors pontoon, North Memorial Air Ambulance (weather and emergencies permitting), a chance to operate and/or recharge a fire extinguisher, phenologist John Latimer and many more area resources plus the event’s famous root beer floats. Visit BigforkValley.org or Facebook.com/bigforkvalley for more information.

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July 2016 Calendar of Events 

1 Bowstring Chapel Annual Pie & Ice Cream Social, Hot Lunch & Bake Sale, 4:30-7 p.m. Free will offering benefits food shelves, children's programs and more.
1 Opening of juried exhibit Art on the Edge at the Edge Gallery, Bigfork, 5-7 p.m. Show runs until July 30. Voting for People's Choice until 6 p.m.
4 Annual July 4 celebration in Big Falls. Community events, parade and fireworks.
3 Last day of school, Deer River, Bigfork
7 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 6 p.m. Subject: "Your favorite play or movie." All ages welcome, Coffee and treats served..
8-10 Deer River Lions host the 68th Annual Wild Rice Festival. July 8: Pow Wow, live music; July 9: Wild Rice Run, medallion hunt, bike rodeo fireworks; July 10: parade, kidde tractor pull. Midway, flea market. See wildricefestival.com.
9 Riley’s 10th annual Pig-Eye Memorial Scramble, 9 a.m. Blueberry Hills Golf Course. Teams up to 5 person, $25/person. Call Jon, (218) 832-3656.

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