Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 16 NO. 9  -  September 2013

Army worms…are they on the march? 

by Sally Sedgwick

They don’t make tents, and they aren’t really army worms, but those facts don’t make it better for homeowners whose yards are taken over by an outbreak of the forest tent caterpillar.

In 2011, 70,000 acres in Minnesota were defoliated by the hungry worm. In 2012, that number had increased to about a quarter million acres. This year’s numbers may be a little higher, said Mike Albers, forest health specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. And probably, they will increase again next year.

It’s cyclical. In 2001-2002 close to 8 million acres were defoliated in the state.

This year has been spotty. There’s an area close to Talmoon, another large area in Grand Rapids in southwestern Grand Rapids. And there’s a sizeable spot southwest of Mille Lacs.


Copper theft – a dangerous proposition  

by Jared Echternach, CEO

Metal thieves seem willing to take any type of risk just to make a quick buck. It’s an incredibly risky criminal practice, one that almost always includes the possibility of electrocution.

But as worldwide demand for copper and other metals rises, so does the price, and with it theft continues. Toss in stubbornly high unemployment and illegal drug use into the mix, and things only get worse.

Just recently a copper thief managed to make off with a minimal amount of wire from one of our substations. Fortunately there was no sign of injury and the act did not affect service to our members. What is alarming, however, is that the perpetrator(s) avoided what could have been deadly consequences. Law enforcement was notified and the repairs have been made, however we are gravely concerned about these acts and the potential devastation they can cause to life and property.


Operation Round-Up® trustees to hold grant meeting  

Insulation for a community center, walleye restoration project, nature programs, kid's fishing, Christmas gift program, city beautification: last April over $12,000 was distributed to vaious communities and organizations in the area toward worthwhile projects thanks to the generosity of nearly 80 percent of the Members of North Itasca Electric Co-op.

The deadline for grant applications is Friday, Oct. 4. 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 joelk@nieci.com or here. You can also contact one of the Trust Board Members listed on the continuing page.


Roxanne's Sales Talk 

by Roxanne Prather, sales assistant

Fall Maintenance

Fall is coming and along with this comes all kinds of things that a person probably knows but doesn’t always think about. Here are a few things worth remembering:

  • You should have a smoke detector on every level of your home and just outside the sleeping areas.
    A good smoke detector can save lives, but unless we take the time to change the batteries regularly, they are useless. In most detectors you should change the batteries twice a year. One way to remember is to change them at the same time when you set your clocks back for Daylight Savings. Some of the new detectors come with a ten year battery and are designed to be replaced as a unit. If you have this kind, then you don’t have to change batteries - just replace the unit in ten years.

  • Keep areas around your heating system clear
    Keep areas around your heating system clear, change filters regularly.

Coal Creek Trip 

by Jerry Loney

North Itasca Electric sponsored another good trip visiting Coal Creek Station, Falkirk Mine, Garrison Dam, Fort Mandan and the old Governor’s mansion on August 19-21.

This was not only my first trip to see these facilities, but the first time putting a trip like this together. We had the same number of people get off the bus as we had get on, and the faces looked familiar - so I believe we got everyone home.


September 2013 Calendar of Events 

3 School starts, all schools.
3 North Country Gardeners joins the Grand Rapids Garden Club for its annual tour of the North Central Research and Outreach Center. NCROC is the northern-most testing center for various plant trials and does cold weather testing for our Zone 3 area.
5 Groundbreaking for new Aspen Circle memory care addition at Bigfork Valley Hospital, 2 p.m.
5 Storytelling at the Marcell Town Hall 6:30 p.m. Subject is "A story about a special friend or character you have known." All ages welcome.
6 Opening reception for Upcycling (Art from Nothing), Edge Center Gallery, Bigfork, 5-7 p.m. Show runs Sept. 5-Oct. 5. Gallery open Th, F, Sat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission free.