Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 18 NO. 7  -  July 2015

Co-op Connections Business Profile 

Plum Tree

by Sally Sedgwick

"The best little antique store in northern Minnesota."

Junk is a verb, as in “to junk.”

That’s one thing to remember when talking to the Plum Tree Girls. Retired from professional careers, the trio met while pursuing their favorite hobby...junking.

They became best friends, explained Brenda Veit-Hill, and decided to make their hobby a second career. They now jointly run Plum Tree & Co., an antique and gift shop at the corner of Hwys 38 and 286 in Marcell.

It works well, they said, because along with being best friends, they have very different tastes. Brenda appreciates classy antiques, explained Marie Duffy, one of the three. Marie herself likes “red and funky fun stuff,” while the third, Bobbie Burnson, concentrates on rustic primitives.


Saving money with co-op programs 

by Jared Echternach, CEO

At North Itasca Electric Cooperative, we are dedicated to making sure you receive electric service at a price your family can afford. But it doesn’t stop there. Did you know your electric co-op offers programs to help you reduce energy use and save on your monthly bill?

Need an energy evaluation or heat loss calculation? We provide this service free of charge. Want to update your old light bulbs with new CFL or LED bulbs? We can help by offering those bulbs at a more affordable price through rebates. Considering a new heating or cooling system? We have tremendous rebates and financing programs that will not only save money on the up-front system cost, but can reduce your overall energy bill.

We also offer a variety of free member education programs, including safety programs, energy education programs and power plant tours, just to name a few.


Roxanne's Sales Talk 

by Roxanne Prather, Sales Assistant

It is that time of year when our bills seem to run a little higher. We have had a few calls this past month from people thinking there is something wrong with their meter because their bill increased from last month.

One thing that I have learned that was helpful is meters don’t speed up. If they fail they slow down and eventually quit.

The first thing we should do is determine what took place that month. Did you buy something different? Plug something in or turn something on that wasn’t on last month; for instance dehumidifiers, air conditioners, new big screen TV? Did you have company so you were cooking more, more showers, more laundry? If nothing has changed and you believe there is something going on with your bill or that there is a mistake please call the co-op. Sometimes a meter does stop and it is less painful to catch that right away rather than to wait. After all nobody wants to get a bill with a few months of electric use.


Nominations Open 

Touchstone Energy Community Award

Do you know an organization that has made outstanding contributions to the local community? North Itasca Electric is seeking applications for the Touchstone Energy Community Award, which recognizes businesses, nonprofit and community groups that have shown a strong commitment to the community. Any organization that has helped in servicing North Itasca Electric’s service territory making it a better place to live and work is eligible for a $500 cash award.

Community members may nominate an organization, association or business by completing an application form, available at North Itasca Electric, 301 Main Avenue Bigfork MN 56628 or online here. Questions may be directed to Jerry Loney at (218) 743-3131. The application will require a description of the program or event and the positive impact it brought to the community. Completed applications must be received at North Itasca Electric’s office by October 31.

“As an electric cooperative servicing this area, we have a high regard for community involvement,” CEO Jared Echternach said. “This award allows us to highlight and encourage those individuals or organizations that have shown an outstanding commitment to the community.”

The award recipient will be announced in the WATTS NEWS and then contend for the statewide Touchstone Energy Community Award, which has a cash prize of $1,000. The statewide award winner will be recognized at the Minnesota Rural Electric Association annual meeting in spring 2016.

The Minnesota Touchstone Energy cooperatives are part of a national alliance of more than 700 electric cooperatives in 46 states that adhere to the values of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.

Local Events in August 

  • Bear Country Shoot There will be fast riding and marksmanship in Northome on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16.

    It’s new to this area, but it’s a growing sport active for 20 years – the cowboy mounted shoot. Called the Bear Country Shoot and hosted by Wild Rice Peacemakers, the event will be held in the Harold Lowe Memorial Arena on the Koochiching County Fairgrounds located just west of Northome on Highway 71.

    Using single action 45 caliber pistols and special blanks for ammunition, riders negotiate a course with ten target balloons and are scored on time and accuracy in pistol marksmanship. The 4 stage main event begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. following an 8 a.m. public Cowboy Church service with Kent Dudley and Bended Knee.

    Competition in cowboy mounted shooting uses shotguns and rifles as well as pistols. Courses on the use of shotguns and rifles will follow the main event on Saturday.

    For more information on the sport or to register for the event, visit www.wildricepeacemakers.com. Event information is also available from Libby Wickum at (218) 556-2551. The Bear Country Shoot logo was designed by Northome High School 2015 graduate Rachel Fahey.


August 2015 Calendar of Events 

7/30-8/29 The Edge Gallery, Bigfork presents Bog Tapestries: Elizabeth Blair photography Opening Reception Fri, July 31, 5-7 pm. The Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open Thurs-Sat, 10 am-4 pm.
7/31-8/2 White Oak Rendezvous and History Festival at the Fur Post on Hwy 6. Fri, Sat 10 am-7 pm, Sun 10 am-4 pm.
8/6 Storytelling, Marcell Town Hall, 6:30 p.m. Subject: "County or State Fair stories." Everyone welcome, treats and coffee served.
7-9 Koochiching County Fair, Northome. Fri: Grandstand Variety Show, 5k and 2 mile Sinkhole Scramble, parade, Mud Run, music in the grandstand,fireworks. Sun: Bocce Ball tourney and horse show, kids' games.
8 Piano Bar at the Edge Center with the Northern Lights Trio, 7 p.m.