Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 19 NO. 8  -  August 2016

Bigfork Valley celebrates 75th  

At first there was medical care by dogsled, train track trolley and canoe. Later there was a doctor’s office in the Village of Bigfork hall. But a succession of doctors left the remote homestead area to go practice in a city with a hospital. And it was a long way to a hospital from Bigfork.

The Scenic Park PTA called a meeting to talk about forming an auxiliary to support a hospital built right in Bigfork. 150 women came. The men formed a hospital association. In 1938 a cornerstone was laid.

There was a lot of enthusiasm, and all sorts of ways were thought of to raise money: plays, parties, raffles, sales of greeting cards. Pillowcases were stitched. As generous as people were, much more was needed. Still, the community didn’t give up. Federal funding was available for a city-owned hospital, so the Village of Bigfork took over the ownership and the first 8 bed hospital was finished in 1941.


Suomi Centennial August 12-13 

Suomi is 100!

In a two day celebration, join with residents to enjoy a catered dinner, dedicate a memorial byway and purchase commemorative items. If you arrive at the celebration before 10 a.m. on Saturday, you can even enjoy a Finnish favorite…pulla!

On Friday, August 12, a Centennial Dinner will be served at the Deer River Township Hall on Co. Rd. 19 from 6 – 8 p.m. The catered dinner will be a choice of chicken or ham, $15 adults, $10 children under 10. There will be after dinner refreshments and time to reminisce. Centennial items will be on sale both Friday and Saturday.

Saturday’s program will be held adjacent to the Suomi Church, founded by Finnish immigrants in 1918 and still active today. From 9-10 a.m. enjoy coffee and pulla (cardamom bread). The program will begin at 10 a.m. and include speakers, a Veterans Ceremony at the cemetery (10:50 a.m.), a dedication of the PFC Eugene Anttila Memorial By-way at the intersection of Hwy 38 and Co. Rd. 28 (11:30 a.m.), and entertainment.


CEO Report: Getting ready for winter  

by Chris Corradi, CEO

We’ve now passed the half-way point of our Minnesota summer. I hope that you’ve been able to spend time with family and friends. I don’t believe there’s a better spot to spend a summer than northern Minnesota. While the weather is usually very nice this time of year, it can also provide the potential for severe storms. Recently, we’ve experienced a couple of those storms that have kept our line crews working around the clock and our office staff busy with phone calls and walk-in traffic.

Crews were kept busy earlier in July when a severe storm hit the edge of our territory near Deer River. North Itasca Electric line crews worked to restore power to more than 700 members. Early in the morning of July 20, a storm with straight-line winds ripped through a large portion of our service area. This storm system caused the loss of power to more than 1,400 members. Your line crews worked through the night and through the next day to get power restored. Within 24 hours, there were only 20 homes without power. Our office personnel handled hundreds of phone calls giving updates and taking down information relating to the outages.

Please take the time to thank these employees if you see them around. They are willing to work around the clock to make sure our member-owners have the best possible service.


Touchstone Energy Community Award nominations  

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.

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

Completed applications must be received at North Itasca Electric’s office by October 31.


Roxanne's Sales Talk  

by Roxanne Prather, Member Services Representative

Summer is finally here and appliance sales are up. It has been great to see so many people shopping locally.

I'm asked a lot, how do our prices compare to Home Depot? First, I’d like to say the models that big box stores carry are different from what we carry. This is part of the reason they may be a little cheaper. They also get a better deal because they sell so many more appliances. But our prices are not too far off when you take all the discounts we offer.

We offer free installation and delivery, and a Co-op Connection card that allows you to purchase one appliance and take an additional 15 percent off one of equal or less value. To save even more, you can pick up your own appliances and save 10 percent off all appliances purchased. These savings add up fast, the more you buy the bigger the savings.


2016 Koochiching County Fair  

In 2012 a photographer who had visited all of the state’s county fairs for a 2009 book was asked to pick her favorite for the Star-Tribune’s “Best in Minnesota” series. It was Northome’s Koochiching County Fair.

After 110 years, this year’s Koochiching County Fair theme is “Still the Best.” It’s three days of both traditional and one-of-a-kind events with free parking, free admission and free entertainment.

Some of the traditional competitions include Farm Market Produce Competition, Garden Displays, Flower Arrangements and Photography. But there is a children’s Veggie Creature competition, where entries are crafted in a Friday evening class. There is also a Mini-Garden Display competition. For most competitions, entries are accepted from both Koochiching County residents and those living within 25 miles of the county line.


August 2016 Calendar of Events 

4 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 6 p.m. Subject:Any subject of your choice. All ages welcome, Coffee and treats served.
5 Bigfork Valley's 75th anniversary celebration, 4-6 p.m. on the Bigfork Valley campus. Exhibits, barbecue, program. Public invited.
5 Opening reception for David Richter Drawings at the Edge Gallery, Bigfork, 5-7 p.m. Show runs Thurs., Aug 4-Sat., Sept 3. Edge Gallery is open Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
8 Women of the Woods meet at 10 a.m. at Sand Lake Community Center. Call Pat Sievertson at 659-2157 or Marlys Maki at 659-2901.
8 Registration deadline for the Marcell Family Center trip to the International WOLF Center on Aug.16.
8 Blackduck ISD 32 School Board, 7 p.m., Media Center.
8 VFW meets in Bigfork second Monday at 7 p.m.
9 Stop and Stitch at Marcell Family Center, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring $1, sack lunch and a project to work on. Come and go. Contact Rhonda 259-9220 or Judy at 832-3237.
9 Evergreen Friendship Club meets at Sand Lake Community Center, 5 p.m. Pot luck, bring a dish to share. Bud Kitterman will talk about the logging days. Call 659-2683
10 Bigfork Lions Club meets second Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Golf on the Edge.