Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 18 NO. 1  -  January 2015

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

Co-op Connections Business Profile 

Kocian's Family Market

by Sally Sedgwick

Where would you be shopping if your cart held jalapeno summer sausage or Parmesan garlic breakfast sausage?

It’s likely you would be in Kocian’s Family Market in Bigfork. Since the 1970s the family grocery store has been smoking meats, and developing and refining recipes...a process that is more art than science, according to second generation store owner Mike Kocian.

The store’s most popular smoked product is summer sausage, said Mike, with jalapeno being the newest flavor. Bratwurst is also popular, including the apple brat that the store tried one fall Applefest and found they had to make year around because of the demand. The newest recipe for brats is Philly cheesesteak.


Board approves 2015 budget, rate adjustment needed 

by Jared Echternach, CEO

Your Board of Directors, staff and employees have worked diligently to prepare what is a prudent and reasonable budget for 2015. However, a rate adjustment is needed in 2015 to maintain financial stability, achieve target financial ratios and satisfy our lenders. Your Board of Directors does not take this responsibility lightly and strives to maintain fair and equitable rates designed to provide sufficient margins. Wholesale power costs will increase 4 percent in 2015 and while we absorbed a small increase in 2014, we cannot absorb this increase and ensure financial stability. Wholesale power costs account for roughly 60 percent of our total costs. In other words for every dollar you spend on electricity, 60 cents goes to the cost of wholesale power.

As I reported last month, your cooperative conducted a cost of service study using an independent third party to evaluate our rate structure and determine the true cost of serving our members by rate class. The intent of this process is to ensure that each rate class is contributing to the margin and to identify if any cross subsidization is taking place. As a result, some rates will remain unchanged, some will be reduced and some will increase.


Touchstone Award

Over 50 Club wins Touchstone Energy Community Award 

The Over 50 Club in Bigfork has won the 2014 North Itasca Electric Touchstone Energy Community Award.

The award recognizes an organization or business that has made a special contribution to its community. Award nominations were solicited in October from North Itasca Electric’s membership.


Voyageur's Classic set for Jan 9-10 

by Sally Sedgwick

“This race is so very, very exciting for the area,” said Race Director Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak.

She was describing the Voyageur’s Classic Sled Dog Race which brings teams of 8 dogs to travel 78 miles from Northome to Barney’s Resort near Spring Lake and back, and more teams to travel a second, 28 mile race from Northome to Squaw Lake.

Mushing brings history to life, she explained, representing how the Voyageurs traveled this area getting furs out and supplies in.


Sharing Success 

The City of Mizpah was recently awarded a $1,000 matching grant from CoBank’s Sharing Success program. The money will be used to purchase new playground equipment at the Mizpah Community Center.

North Itasca Electric Cooperative is a member of CoBank, a lending cooperative headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado, whose Sharing Success program helps improve the quality of life in rural communities.

grant awarded
Mizpah Mayor Dave Steinhorst (right) accepts the check from North Itasca Electric CEO
Jared Echternach who made the presentation on CoBank’s behalf.

Roxanne's Sales Talk 

by Roxanne Prather, sales assistant

I hope this finds everyone winding down after Christmas, I know I am. It was a very mild December and it sure made a difference in how many people were out and about. We had a really good turnout for our Christmas open house this year. There were a quite a few more people than last year. It was fun seeing all of you and visiting. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules to come in and join us.

Looking back at last year it was around -20° on Friday night when we did the sleigh rides. I think it was 20 some above this year and it showed, there were a lot more kids taking rides as well as kids waiting to go on rides well past the quitting time.


January 2015 Calendar of Events 

5 School resumes, Bigfork, Deer River, Northome schools
6 School resumes, Blackduck School
6 Burning of the Greens at Suomi Lutheran Church, County Road #48. All welcome whether you have a tree to burn or not. Chili will be served afterward. For more info, call 246-2740.
8 Evergreen Friendship Club meets at noon at a local restaurant. For more info, call 659-2683.
8 Classic movie at the Edge Center in Bigfork, the comedy Ball of Fire (1941) with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, 6:30 p.m.