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Across The Lake

What can you do with a dollars worth of electricity? When a couple dozen locals gathered at the senior center the other night, Sam Mason had the answer. That's enough current to make a 100 cups of coffee, Mason said. He's the marketing expert with Beltrami Electric and was there for a district meeting of co-op members. If that was more coffee than needed, the same amount of electricity would kick out 375 slices of toast. The numbers were averages, he explained, but will still apply with the increase in rates now taking effect.

He had some other interesting numbers, too. Build yourself a windmill and save yourself some money on your light bill, he suggested, but be patient because it will take a while for your investment to pay off. If your wind generator costs $35,000, you can divide that out by your current bill. Solar panels might seem a better bet but not without the federal subsidy to help pay for them.

There was a time, some 75 years ago, when windchargers were touted as a way to bring farm families into the modern world. They had some drawbacks, including the need for a basement filled with glass containers used as batteries to store the output from the propeller on the tower-mounted unit, bringing the 32-volt system to life. Didn't take long for farmers to decide to build their own rural electric system instead.

We learned more about the Einar Gunheim chairs in a letter forwarded by Virgil Israelson. After the story in the American a few weeks ago, he wrote the Royal Norwegian Embassy about "kubbestol" like the chairs Gunheim made at his home near Hines. A reply included a photograph from Drangedal Historielag, the history museum in Neslandsvatn, Norway. The picture depicts a chair identified as no. 4 of Gunheim's chairs. We're handing it all to the History Center folks here -- the chair is beautifully decorated in what I believe is rosemaling.

Israelson lives in Bloomingdale, IL and if you're curious as to why he has an interest in such things, it's a natural curiosity when your wife is the daughter of one-time Blackduck American owner and publisher, Lee Oberg. Lee, in turn, was the son of the paper's founder, Ernst Oberg, who started it Dec. 11, 1901. Barbara Oberg Israelson has contributed a number of early items to be included in a display of American newspaper history along with contemporary additions from current manager Paula Bauman.

Radiation worries are being talked about even as far as in some of our eastern states, renewing some similar concerns from half a century ago. The Soviets were testing their atomic weapons and across some of the states in this country, there were suddenly traces of Strontium 90 in the milk. There were government reassurances about safety and mothers were told not to worry about letting their infants drink their milk. The North Dakota State Health Department reportedly did buy their first Geiger counter. Would be interesting to see if anyone ever followed up.

I'm told this happened not far from Nebish not too long ago and it's one of those stories where no on seems able to remember the name of the person involved. Still, it seems so probably possible, I'll just put tongue in cheek and pass it along as another urban legend. Seems a person got turned around and felt lost in the woods so decided to climb a tall tree to get his directions straight. He was still up in that pine when attacked by an eagle protecting its nest. Knowing they were a protected species, he slid down the tree to get away but got a lap full of splinters as the way down.

Went he went to the doctor to get treated, he had to wait for several hours and when the doctor returned, asked why it took so long. "Well," he was reminded, "I had to check first with the Bureau of Land Management to make sure you weren't on the Reservation but found that since you were on public land when the eagle attacked you, I had to check with the DNR and the Environmental Protection Agency and then with the Forest Service before I could remove that old-growth timber from your leg. Seems now with the new health laws, you're not covered until 2014."

Thoughts while drying the dishes... That Strontium 90 story was big news around Bismarck back then. My Favorite Reader recalled our wondering about it and now is curious if any of our kids were affected -- they drank a lot of milk.

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