Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 24 NO.9  -  September 2020

CEO Report  

by Brad Dolinski, CEO

Good day NIECI!

It's a beautiful day currently, the sun is shining, and there’s not a cloud in sight!

Today's weather beats the shakedown we have been having lately. The past two weekends have been a little rough on our cooperative. We had dangerous winds on the 9th of August; this event toppled many trees throughout the south end of our system. I was told it was quite the storm to see as it oared across Sand Lake. Many trees in the Avenue of Pines along Hwy 46 didn’t make it through the storm, this indicates the intensity of the event. Those beautiful trees didn’t get that big overnight, they have seen wind events in the past, this one was just too much.


Load Control Audits  

by Jerry Loney, Manager, Member Services,

This summer I have been auditing our Off-Peak radio receivers for proper operation. Proper operation of this equipment is critical to the cost of power North Itasca Electric pays our power providers Great River Energy (GRE) and Minnkota Power which supplies energy to Northome members.

Using GRE as an example, the cost of energy purchased from them changes throughout the day and the time it is consumed determines the cost North Itasca Electric pays for it.


Operation Round-Up Trustees to hold grant meeting  

Grant application deadline is Friday, Sept. 25.

Thanks to the generosity of nearly 85 percent of the Members of North Itasca Electric Co-op., the Board of Trustees for Operation Round-Up will once again have funds available to distribute to various communities and organizations in the area.

The deadline for grant applications is Friday, September 25, 2020. Application forms along with instructions can be obtained by calling the office at 218-743-3131 or 1-800-762-4048, by e-mail to jerryl@nieci.com, support@nieci.com, by contacting your North Itasca Electric Co-op. Director or by contacting one of the Trust Board Members listed.


Business Member Spotlight:
Lakeside Lumber  

by Sally Sedgwick

When Eric Elhardt purchased Lakeside Lumber from long-time owner Ginny Oja at the beginning of 2018, he was already familiar with the business. He had been working at the lumber yard for over 20 years.

Now his three sons, Ethan, Dylan and Aidan (ages 20 to 15) have joined Eric and his wife Kim in the business as well. Along with Matt Elhardt and Andy Schultz, the family makes sure that there are building materials and supplies available close at hand for Edge of the Wilderness homeowners and contractors.


80th Annual Meetingnbsp;

The 80th annual meeting of the cooperative was held in the open air due to COVID-19 restrictions. Still, about 75 member-owners came out to ensure a quorum and hear the business of the cooperative.

Chair Larry Salmela opened the meeting and introduced Secretary Lloyd Kongsjord who sought membership approval to waive reading of the notice of the meeting and minutes of the last annual meeting. CEO Brad Dolinski spoke about employee dedication, the difficult decision to close Coal Creek Station and the work of Operation Round Up.

Salmela presented a plaque to recently retired board member Walt Breeze who served on the board representing District 6 for 30 years. "Your thoughtful leadership on the Board of Directors," read the plaque, "has been appreciated by all."


September 2020 Calendar of Events 

Regularly scheduled meetings, some have resumed in-person meetings. Contact organization for the latest information:

1 Bigfork Valley Hospital Board meeting, 9 a.m. Open to the public via videoconferencing/call-in: call 743-1772 for information.
1 Mizpah City Council, 7 p.m.
2 Northome's Farmers Market: Wednesdays 5-7 p.m. and Fridays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the North Woods Craft Store parking lot. Note that the craft store will not be open this summer.
7 Labor Day