Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 19 NO. 3  -  March 2016

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

RiverWalk construction begins in Bigfork  

Seven years ago, the idea of a recreational trail along the Big Fork and Rice rivers first got public support. Five years ago the first major grant applications went in the mail.

Today over a million dollars has been raised and clearing for the RiverWalk has begun. The construction is being administered by Itasca County along with this summer’s highway projects on County Roads 77 and 78.

The bituminous trail will handle all kinds of non-motorized use from walking to wheelchairs, and will be plowed for use in the winter. It extends from the Bigfork City Park and the Highway 38 kiosk at the north end of the city, across the Rice River (the footbridge will not be redone at this time) and around the high school. From there the trail extends south of Bigfork Valley Hospital through the wooded areas to the east. In total the distance will be about 2.3 miles.


Chris Corradi

Chris Corradi  

North Itasca Electric Cooperative will welcome Chris Corradi, current Manager of Finance and Office Services for the cooperative, as CEO beginning March 28, 2016. Current CEO Jared Echternach will be moving to head Beltrami Electric Cooperative.

It has been an honor  

by Jared Echternach, CEO

I’ve never been good at beating around the bush, so here goes. This is my last column as CEO of North Itasca Electric Cooperative. I have accepted the CEO position at our neighboring cooperative, Beltrami Electric, headquartered in Bemidji. My last day at North Itasca Electric is March 27.

It has truly been an honor serving the North Itasca Electric Cooperative membership over the past three years. The Board of Directors, employees and members are first rate. The warm welcome my family received when we moved to the area was heartwarming and we will treasure the friendships we’ve made.

North Itasca Electric members can be very proud of their cooperative. We have strong leadership in our Board of Directors who truly cares about the communities we serve. Our employees are dedicated to providing our members with the best possible service. We are active in our communities and we are engaged on both the state and national levels regarding energy issues affecting our members. Those commitments are what North Itasca Electric’s founding members envisioned for our cooperative and we will continue those commitments now and into the future.

Regarding the future, your Board of Directors has hired North Itasca Electric Electric Cooperative Manager of Finance and Office Services Chris Corradi as its next CEO. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of finance, accounting and member services and is committed to ensuring your cooperative continues to thrive and provide value-added services to our membership. I congratulate Chris on his appointment and wish him and all of the employees and directors at North Itasca Electric continued success.

It has truly been an honor to serve you over the past three years. I thank you for your support and I wish North Itasca Electric all the best in the years to come.

Green Touch May 7 

This year marks the 16th year that Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will join together to spruce up our state parks for project GreenTouch. GreenTouch Day, when electric cooperative employees and members volunteer in various parks throughout the state, is set for Saturday, May 7. Participants will help fix existing structures, brush trails, plant trees, remove invasive plants and provide general cleanup.

Locally, North Itasca Electric employees, members and friends will work together to provide spring cleanup at Scenic State Park, seven miles south of Bigfork on Highway 7.

Every electric cooperative that participates in project GreenTouch is a member of Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, a collection of rural electric cooperatives throughout the state that have the same values. Touchstone Energy is a co-brand shared by cooperatives across the nation to convey what local electric cooperatives stand for: Integrity, Accountability, Community Involvement and Innovation.


March 2016 Calendar of Events 

3 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 2-4 p.m. Everyone welcome, Come and reminisce and share stories. Coffee and treats served. If weather is bad call 246-2007.
3 Committee meeting for Bigfork Wilderness Days, 5:30 p.m. at Pizza Parlor, Bigfork. On Facebook, BigforkWilderness.com or BigforkWilderness@gmail.com .
4 Carnival at Northome School, 6-7:30 p.m.
5 White Oak Sled Dog Race, White Oak Fur Post north of Deer River on Hwy 6. 12, 23 and 46 mile races to Itasca County Fairgrounds. Races start 9:30 a.m., finish 3-5 p.m. Meet mushers March 4, noon-7 p.m. More info 326-3718; whiteoakhistoricalsociety.org.
5 Winter Rummage Sale at Marcell Family Center, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 832-3444.
7 ISD 318 School Board meets, 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. public forum). Via telepresence at Bigfork School.
8 Stop and Stitch at Marcell Family Center, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring $1, project to work on and a sack lunch. Come and go. Contact Rhonda 259-9220 or Judy at 832-3237