Jeff Ortman 1949-2012
CEO North Itasca Electric, 1985-2012
by Sally Sedgwick
How remote was the Northern Minnesota electric cooperative that Jeff Ortman joined thirty-nine years ago? When he looked at the first billing for the house he had built, it was the 17th largest account on the system!
That story caught the imagination of his peers at Great River Energy, said CEO David Saggau. It's still famous among employees, he said, and an example of Jeff's disarming humor.
In fact, although Jeff represented the smallest cooperative in the GRE system, his fierce loyalty and pride in North Itasca Electric had a large impact. Next year, GRE will make a ten million dollar investment in bringing a new line down from the Manitoba Hydro line north of Effie so that North Itasca Electric will have the security of a loop feed - a second source of electricity.
It wasn't an easy sell to GRE. "He really just wore me down," said Saggau, referring to Jeff's advocacy for reliability. "Ultimately, it was the right answer." As a result of his persistence, the new substation will be named the Ortman Substation.
North Itasca Electric Trust Board Holds Fall Grant Meeting
On Wednesday, Oct. 17 North Itasca Electric Trust Board held its regular fall grant meeting.
The Trust Board meets twice a year and with each meeting the decisions become more and more difficult as the number of grant requests increases. At this fall's meeting, forty-eight grant requests were received with the amount requested over $105,072.91. Over the previous six months, North Itasca Electric had collected $12,197.64 in RoundUp dollars. After a lot of discussion and difficult decisions, the Trust Board awarded grants to 42 applicants for a total of $12,195.00.
The Trust Board will hold its spring meeting sometime in mid-April. Watch the WATTS NEWS for the announcement of the date of the meeting and the application deadline date.
Location: Highway 4, 2 miles west of Talmoon
Time: 4-7 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $13; children 6-12, $6
Menu: Lutefisk, Swedish meat balls and lefsa
Also: bake sale; cash raffle
Northwoods Saddle Club
Location: Effie Community Center
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $8; children $4
Menu: Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, dinner roll, beverage
Also: baked goods sale, raffle prizes given away every 15 minutes
Location: Northome Senior Center
Time: 4:30 p.m. on
Cost: free will donation
Menu: Meat balls, mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw, fresh buns, bars