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 North Itasca Electric
Community Trust Board twice a year.
This spring applications are due in the headquarters office by Friday, March 31 at 4:30 p.m. Grants will be
determined at a trust board meeting in mid-April.
Recently, a contingent of your board of directors and I traveled to St. Paul for the Minnesota Rural Electric
Association annual meeting. This meeting is a great opportunity to visit with electric cooperatives from across
the state. Most importantly, this meeting provided us the chance to meet with area legislators to advocate on
behalf of cooperative members. Combining our efforts with neighboring electric cooperatives, we urged our
Senators and Representatives to help keep electric rates affordable and ensure that cooperatives retain their
There was a lot of change in the House and Senate in the November election. The visit to St. Paul gave us the
opportunity to meet face-to-face with our local legislators. While there, we were able to visit with Senators
Bakk, Utke, Eichorn and Tomassoni. We also met with Representatives Grossell, Ecklund, Bliss, Layman and Sandstede.
To many, MNTEG (Minnesota Touchstone Energy Group) may be a new abbreviation. MNTEG started with Minnesota
Cooperatives which are members of Touchstone Energy working together to uphold Cooperative values. These values
include: Innovation, Integrity, Accountability, and Commitment to Community. Partnering with Touchstone Energy,
this group was formed to help and educate Minnesota cooperative members as to what a cooperative is and the
benefits of being a cooperative member. As the saying goes "Many hands make for light work"; with all our
cooperatives working together, the work becomes lighter and, with more resources available, greater things
can be accomplished using professionals aiding in member education.
The 12th annual Empty Bowls project will be held at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
on Thursday, March 16. Community cooks supply a rich assortment of soups, breads and desserts for a supper to
support the North Itasca Emergency Food Shelf in Bigfork. The Wanigan cafeteria at Bigfork Valley will also be
serving a soup meal for a free will donation to the NIEFS.
Last year almost $17,000 was needed to keep the food shelf stocked for the needs of the area. Last year about
260 people were helped, from over 90 households.
Empty Bowls is a major fundraiser for the food shelf; all proceeds from the event go directly to the NIEFS.
White Oak Sled Dog Race: 46, 23 and 12 mile (big dog) races between the White Oak Historical Site just north
of Deer River and the Itasca County Fairgrounds. Race begins 9:30 a.m. Spaghetti dinner Friday, 4-7 p.m.
breakfast Saturday 7-9 a.m. Each $5, open to the public. Info, www.whiteoakhistoricalsociety.org.
ISD 318 School Board meets at the Bigfork School, 7 p.m. Public forum 6:30 p.m.
Mizpah City Council meets in Mizpah Community Center, 7 p.m.
ISD 363 South Koochiching-Rainy River School Board, 7 p.m. in Indus and at Northome ITV studio.
Bigfork Lions Club meets second Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Golf on the Edge.