August 28, 2014

Cook-Orr Healthcare District Board raises levy $100,000

Thanks to increased payments to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, a federal mandate from President Barack Obama for a 2 percent cut due to the sequestration to cut the budget, an increase in PERA (Public Employee Retirement Act) and increases in employee contracts, the Cook-Orr Healthcare District board, at their meeting last Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the board room, moved to raise the district's levy $100,000. The cost for all of those increases in costs and cuts in payments comes to around $500,000 a year. After a long discussion, the board held a secret ballot on the motion with the increase passing seven to five.
It was reported that a property valued at $300,000 would see an increase in taxes for the levy of $31.
The board also approved the credentials of new doctors Matt Holmes and Nick Vidor to practice in the hospital.
Also approved were John Buria, CRNA; Jane Hovland, PhD; Gary Jensen, OD; Steven Sutherland, MD; and Claudia Weber, LP.
Administrator Al Vogt visited with Minnesota's Commissioner of Health and walked the Moose Walk with him, discussing health problems in the area.
Chair Judy Pearson discussed with the Executive Committee how to proceed with the replacement of CEO Al Vogt when he retires at the end of this year. She formed an Ad Hoc Committee to come up with a plan. The first meeting will be Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. with an interview of one interested candidate. This will be a closed meeting.
The Nursing Home Feasibility Task Force report was given by Mike Enzmann and Assistant Administrator Debevec who is leading the study. The community assessment for the Health-care District has been completed, with a very high rate of return of 32 percent. A report at next month's meeting will be given by Kami Norland from the National Rural Health Resource Center (RHRC). The RHRC will assist the board in their health priority establishment based on the community needs assessment. The architectural firm of DSGW discussed with Debevec the need to develop a plan around a 28-bed, private room nursing home. This matches the current license for size.
The Cook Hospital was informed by Fairview in Hibbing that the Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist is leaving Hibbing, so the Cook Hospital could be losing those services unless the Hibbing hospital replaces this specialist. Administrator Vogt is in discussions with Orthopedic Associates to provide these services at the
Cook Hospital.
Vogt reported he is still working with St. Luke's of Duluth on the Administrative Advisory Affiliation Agreement.
The Cook Hospital Patient Satisfaction Report was give to the board with 98 percent of patients agreeing or strongly agreeing they received excellent care at Cook.
The month of July financial report prepared by CFO Kaylee Hoard showed the Cook Hospital reporting an operating profit of $5,295 compared to a budget of $130,692. The year-to-date profit was a negative $456,294 against a budget loss of $378,489. The loss last year at this time was $345,123. The profit after non-operating income was added in was a positive $100,732 against a budget of $228,097. Last year the year-to-date profit was $201,189 after non-operating income was added in. This compares to a profit this year-to-date of $265,423 against a budget of $303,342.

Three new principals address ISD 2142 board on school openings


The regular meeting of the ISD 2142 board was held Monday at 5 p.m. in the District Office Board Room with the three new principals, Kelly Engman for Northeast Range, Scott Hall for Cherry and Andy Bernard for South Ridge in attendance to give reports on the start of schools.
Supt. Steve Sallee reported that the new Cherry School construction was still behind schedule. The big issue is the drying of the cement floors so they can put tile on them. He also reported that he had visited the North Woods School and saw their Credit Union office, BOSS working. He noted that board member Jody Feist, who works at the Cook Area Credit Union, said they are thinking of expanding this, maybe to Northeast Range. It has been very successful.
Sallee met with the superintendent of the International Falls Schools to discuss forming a wrestling co-op between the two districts. He wanted to make sure it wouldn't water down other sports.
Sallee spoke on the procedure for capital improvement projects and making sure the board approved the projects and the payment of bills. He also reported that the principals have been given a $5,000 budget for capital items, but these have to be approved by the board. Board members were also told they would be receiving a monthly financial report from Business Manager Kim Johnson.
Sallee thanked Tower-Soudan board member Troy Swanson for his work in marketing the district.
Northeast Range Principal Kelly Engman reported they have 18 new students, have had 13 transfer out and have 16 students in kindergarten. She reported that the Community Task Force has three goals: 1. Improved communication between school and communities, 2. Community and School Partnerships, and 3. Boosting Northeast Range pride in school and in the communities. She also said they have a new mentor program for seventh-grade students with mentors called "North Stars."
South Ridge Principal Randy Bernard reported the building was in great shape and ready for their open house. He also reported they have hired five new elementary teachers.
Scott Hall, Cherry's new principal, reported that construction is behind schedule, but they have contingency plans to start school using rooms such as the teachers' lounge, weight room, etc. to get teachers and students into a classroom. The forecast by Max Grey Const. for finishing classrooms for high school is November. Their problem is they are short of laborers.
DaNeil Sirjord reported as of August, they have 458 children ages 0-5 years in Early Childhood Family Education, and 410 parents. Learning Readiness has 134 students, so far. She noted attendance is excellent; children miss very few classes. If they attended all sessions, they would participate in 294 hours of preschool service. She noted that Learning Readiness teachers are passionate about their jobs and vested in each individual student. Comments from parents were extremely favorable.
Supt. Sallee noted that ISD 2142 has invested significant dollars in technology and he wants to be sure they are getting as much out of it as they should. He asked the board for permission to hire a Technology Consultant who would come to ISD 2142 for a week. The board unanimously approved this request.
An MOU (Memo of Understanding) between ISD 2142 and the Arrowhead Head Start to create a joint program between Learning Readiness and Head Start at Northeast Range was approved.
Staff, including board members, will be given a free pass to go to athletic games. It was felt having them at these event's was good for the district.
The District Office, which hasn't seen any renovation since 1975, will be undergoing painting, new flooring, etc. thanks to a motion by the board to spend $55,000.
Tenured teacher Jessica Bialke was recalled for 0.5 FTE Dean of Students and 0.2 FTE Social Studies.
Probationary Teacher Susan Moriarity was hired for 1.0 FTE teacher at North Woods, Hope Christianson for 720-hour Title I at North Woods, Joel Anderson as 1.0 FTE teacher at North Woods, and Crystal Poppler as 1.0 FTE elementary at Northeast Range.
The retirement of Peg Makkyla, elementary teacher at Northeast Range, was accepted.
Science teacher Cheyenne Deters at South Ridge and Special Ed. teacher Heidi Owens at Cherry had their resignations approved.
Van driver Rachel Johnson at North Woods had her resignation approved.
Assistant football coach Ryan Lucas at Cherry had his resignation approved.
Business Manager Kim Johnson had her contract approved, which gave her no raise from 2011-2013 when she made $79,590.60 a year, gave her a $1,500 stipend for the 2013-2014 school year, $88,000 for 2014-2015 and $90,000 for 2015-2016.
The changes were approved with Orr board member Nancy Glowaski voting "no."
A motion to hire Cherry board member Lynette Zupetz as a substitute teacher came under discussion when Cotton board member Chet Larson thought that a "no" vote would put this motion in defeat. She would make less than $8,000 a year. The motion was withdrawn. Supt. Sallee showed Larson the laws on this and the board could hire a board member making under $8,000 a year by a simple majority vote.
The meeting adjourned at 6:41 p.m.

Classic and Antique Boats to shine at Lake Vermilion Boat Show this Sunday

.Memories of the early days of power boating with wooden boats will be brought up this Sunday (Aug. 31) from noon to 4 p.m. when the annual Lake Vermilion Classic and Antique Boat Show is held at The Landing docks on Lake Vermilion. The band "Payback" will be playing acoustic rock from 3 to 7 p.m.
This annual event is hosted by The Landing and sponsored by Hagerty Insurance, who specialize in insuring classic and antique boats, and Sure-Wood Boat Restorers. An honorary sponsor is the Lake Vermilion Fire Brigade, who will have their two state-of-the-art fire boats on hand.
This event draws large crowds to see these beautiful wooden boats that were built originally by some very skilled woodworkers. They woodwork on these boats will be shined to a high gloss. In other words, they will be beautiful. There will be speedboats, cruisers, sailboats, canoes, row boats, etc. on hand for viewing. There will be many wishing they could have owned one of these beautiful boats. Bring your cameras and make a day out of it.
The Fire Brigade will be holding a fundraiser which will include sales of their many boat items. They will also be holding a silent auction with all profits going to keep this special brigade going.
This boat show is a great way to celebrate the Labor Day weekend.
Don't miss it.

Women's Health Expo has presentations on mammograms, Sage Screening, local providers

The Women's Health Expo held at the Cook Hospital last Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. provided the ladies present with much needed information on several items. The Expo was sponsored by Scenic Rivers Health Service, Cook Hospital, Minnesota Department of Health, SAGE, and the American Cancer Society.
Gay Lynn Richards, who has been the regional coordinator for Sage (Minnesota Cancer Screening Program) spoke of the risk factors which included females, older women, family history, hormones, and genetic mutations. She said cancer was the second leading cause of death, so screening was important.
Marj Johnson of the American Cancer Society spoke of cancer diagnosis using community resources.
The Cook Hospital had a presentation on their Occupational Therapy, including lymphedema treatment offered at the hospital.
Scenic Rivers told the ladies that they now have a secure, online health connection that allows them to access their health information any time of the day. They also spoke of their Sliding Fee Scale discounts.
The Expo closed with a complimentary lunch and prizes/giveaways for the ladies.


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

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