Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 18 NO. 3  -  March 2015

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

Co-op Connections Business Profile 

Riley's Cannibal Junction

by Sally Sedgwick

When Jon Bakkedahl’s father Russ purchased the restaurant and bar in 1989 from the Beckers, the family renamed it Riley’s Fine Food and Drink.

But the original name was just too memorable.

In fact, for years afterward, Jon recalled, Riley’s would still be accepting checks written to Cannibal Junction. Now the two names have come together: the restaurant’s Facebook page can be found under Riley’s Cannibal Jct.


Wes Waller chosen chair of Minnesota Rural Electric Association 

Wes Waller, North Itasca Electric Cooperative vice president, was recently elected chair of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. Waller has served on the MREA board since 2008, most recently as vice president, and on the North Itasca Electric board for 25 years, 17 years as vice president.

The Minnesota Rural Electric Association is the statewide organization for rural electric cooperatives and provides a number of key services and educational opportunities in safety and loss control. MREA also provides legislative research service and lobbying to ensure the ability of the state’s electric cooperatives to operate safely and reliably. The association provides training programs and marketing assistance to its members.

A fourteen member board represents 44 distribution and six generation and transmission cooperatives across the state, all of which are locally owned and governed.

Solar project update 

by Jared Echternach, CEO

Last September I shared with you some information regarding a project our wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy undertook to develop a 250 kW solar array at its headquarters facility. The solar array has been operational for nearly a year now and GRE continues to monitor the array’s output, learning more about integrating renewables into the electric system.

I also shared with you some details on community solar projects throughout the state and more specifically the opportunity locally at North Itasca Electric. As part of the state-mandated renewable energy requirement of 25 percent renewables by 2025, GRE will be installing 20 kW solar arrays at 18 cooperative locations, including North Itasca Electric. Our 20 kW array will be located at the Bigfork Substation and will be constructed in 2015 and is scheduled to be online by the end of the year.


RoundUp® Spring Grants 

Application deadline: Friday, April 3

RoundUp® is a program that rounds up participating member bills to the next dollar, providing an opportunity for community organizations to apply for funding for worthwhile projects. Over 80 percent of North Itasca Electric members support the program, allowing about $10,000 to be distributed by the community trust board twice a year.

This spring the applications are due in the headquarters office by Friday, April 3 at 4:30 p.m. Grants will be determined on April 16.


North Itasca Electric Open House 

North Itasca Electric would like to invite its members to an Informational Open House on March 25 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

We encourage all members to stop by and learn about the different programs your electric cooperative offers.

Jerry Loney, energy management specialist, will be available to answer questions about energy efficiencies, load management programs and devices required, DSM (Demand Side Management), rebates available, and what is necessary to participate in programs leading to lower heating and cooling bills.

Roxanne Prather, sales associate, will be available to help you with appliances and other merchandise questions.

Daryl Pederson, line superintendent, will be available to help with any questions you may have concerning distribution lines, clearing, outage causes and procedures and all crew activities.

Office staff also will be available for questions.

March 2015 Calendar of Events 

2 "Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations," a statewide traveling exhibit will be at the Edge Gallery in Bigfork, March 2-27. Opening Ceremony and reception, Wednesday, March 11, 1:30 p.m. Gallery open Weds., Thurs., Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Public welcome.
5 Storytelling, Marcell Town Hall, 2 p.m. Subject: St. St. Urho and St. Patrick's Day stories. Everyone welcome, treats and coffee served.
5,6,8 Bigfork High School Drama Club presents The Foreigner, a comedy at the Edge Center. Call the school for more information, (218) 743-3444.
7 White Oak Sled Dog Race, 9:30 a.m. starting at the Fur Post just north of Deer River on Hwy 6. Two races: 18 miles to Gosh Dam Place on Hwy 71, 46 miles round trip to Itasca County Fairgrounds, Grand Rapids. Breakfast $5, 7-9 a.m. Snow conditions decision Feb. 28. More info: Robin Oberton, (218) 398-3596.
7 Cabin Fever Reliever at the Marcell Family Center, 5:30-10 p.m. Speakers and booths on outdoor information, hunting and fishing. Dinner, raffles, free kids giveaways. $20 adults, $10 youth 12 and under. Fundraiser for the MFC. See p. 13 for more info.