In October 2015, a Bigfork Valley Community Health Needs Assessment determined that obesity was the most serious
physical health concern for the community. Since that time a group of Bigfork citizens has been meeting under the
banner of Healthy Community Conversations, proposing various ideas to tackle that problem.
One proposal was to acquaint children with good gardening practices and eating healthy foods grown locally. Thus was
born the idea of a school garden at the Bigfork School! Jeanette Pangburn and Tom Renquist agreed to lead the effort.
After much discussion over the last three months, your board of directors has approved a 2017 budget that calls for
a zero percent rate increase to our members.
There were numerous factors that played into this decision. Our primary power supplier, Great River Energy, projects
a 0.9 percent increase for 2017 while our other power supplier, Minnkota Power, projects a 3% increase. Though we will
see our cost of power increase in 2017, we believe we’ll be able to absorb it within our present rate structure and still
meet our financial requirements set forth by our lenders.
Over the last year, we’ve worked to decrease internal expenses. We expect operational expenses to decrease in 2017 compared
to 2016 which weighed heavily in the decision. I’d like to commend our employees for their commitment in this area as they
work to keep costs as low as possible. The approved budget includes $1.2 million in work plan projects that will increase
reliability to the distribution system. We are looking at many projects over the course of 2017 which I’ll touch on in later articles.
What is “stored heat energy"? Heat produced by electrical current which can be transferred to a medium that is able to retain it for future use.
When we talk about heating our homes or businesses with storage heat, electricity is used to produce heat and then tranferred to a medium such as sand,
water or bricks.
Unlike fossil fuel where liquid remains as a liquid until it is needed, electricity needs to be produced first before it is available for use. Fossil
fuels sit in a tank, idle, until the thermostat is turned up and the furnace starts. Electricity cannot be stored unless transferred to a medium which
can retain it. Electricity does not have a tank to access when needed, but needs to be produced simultaneously with use.
As electric vehicles (EVs) continue gaining popularity even among conventional car drivers, most everyone
leasing or purchasing one is doing so for the first time. So, how do you know if an EV will suit your lifestyle?
And what information do you need to know when heading to the dealership to find out which kind is best for you?
One of the biggest roadblocks for people to overcome when considering a transition from gasoline to all-electric
is “range anxiety,” or the belief that the car’s charge won’t be able to get them to where they need to go for an
entire day. But according to a 2013 study conducted by Consumer Reports and the Union of Concerned Scientists, 69
percent of U.S. drivers travel less than 60 miles on weekdays – well within the range of many EVs available today
and newer models to be released in the next year or two.