Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 16 NO. 6  -  June 2013

Report to the Members: The Year in Review 

by Terry Schmidtz, Board President, and Jared Echternach, CEO

2012 was a difficult year for your cooperative. We experienced the loss of a great leader, friend, and community member in Jeff Ortman who dedicated his life to the cooperative.

2012 was also a challenging year financially for your cooperative. Several severe storms ripped through our service territory, resulting in significant damage to the electrical distribution system. Crews were called in from other cooperatives to assist and the expense incurred to restore power and repair our damaged system approached $500,000. As a result, we ended the year with a $54,000 operating loss.


Update from the Line Department  

by Ron Root, Line Superintendent

The only thing you can count on is change! That sums up your cooperative this past year.

Four major storms devastated our service area in 2012 and the cost to restore power, replace damaged equipment and reopen our rights of way was approximately $500,000.

In October, 2012 CEO Jeffery Ortman retired after 39 years of service. Nine days later Jeff lost his battle with cancer.


Spring RoundUp® Grant Awards  

The North Itasca Electric Trust Board has announced its 2013 spring grants. Listed are 59 grant awards totaling $12,240. North Itasca Electric Co-op would like to thank those members who round up their monthly bills making this needed project possible and the members of the Trust Board who donate their time to make the difficult yet rewarding decisions on the grant requests.


The Value of Cooperative Programs 

by Jerry Loney, Energy Management Specialist

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is the Value of Membership. With that, I would like to highlight several of the programs and services available to you as a member of North Itasca Electric.

Efficiency and Conservation Programs

Energy efficiency and conservation has been and will continue to be a large part of North Itasca Electric Cooperative’s commitment to its members. As with all Minnesota electric utilities, the state mandates that 1.5 percent of its gross operating revenue goes toward CIP (Conservation Improvement Programs).


In Bigfork on June 8: Wilderness Days 

Wilderness Day welcomes visitors to Bigfork on Saturday, June 8 from noon to 5 p.m. It will be an afternoon of family fun. Create a float to enter into the parade or a booth to share your favorite craft, food or other items. Or ... enter your pet in the Ugly Pet Contest! (Actually, all pets are welcome with categories covering Ugliest, Cutest, Most Unique, Funniest and Best Costume.)

There will be a hypnotist, jugglers, bouncing tents, pony rides, and live music by Simple Guys and The Master's Men. That's just some of the fun that is being planned. Interested vendors sign up with Jennifer at (218) 743-7053 to reserve your spot. For parade entries, contact Sandra at (218) 743-3798 or (218) 244-6220.

Wilderness Buttons are on sale now for $1 at the following locations in Bigfork: Two Rivers Cenex, First State Bank, Kocians, Huskie Café, Wilderness Bar, Bigfork Hardware, JoAnn’s Floral, Effie Country Service, Neighborhood Tavern and the Effie Café. Hurry and get your chance to win great prizes.

June 2013 Calendar of Events 

1 Graduation, Bigfork High School
2 Graduation, Deer River High School, 2-4 p.m. East Gym
5 Registrations due for Bigfork Valley Community Foundation annual Golf Tournament at Golf on the Edge, Bigfork on June 22. More info, call (218) 743-4116
6 Storytelling, Marcell Town Hall, 6:30 p.m. Subject is "A literary rendition: Read a favorite poem or a story." All ages welcome.
7 Opening reception for Tom Page: Now & Then, sculptures, drawings, paintings at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork, 5-7 p.m. Show June 6-29. Gallery open Th, F, Sat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
8 North Itasca Electric Cooperative annual meeting at headquarters building in Bigfork
8 Wilderness Days starting at noon, Bigfork: Vendors, contests, food, live music, parade.
8 Art and Craft Sale, EOW Art League, Bigfork City Hall, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
8 Grand Opening for new Imaging Center and digital mammography machine at Bigfork Valley, 1-3 p.m.