February 13, 2020

Ray and Vanessa Ingebretsen new owners of RE/MAX in Orr


RE/MAX Lake Country, located at the intersection of Highways 53 and 23, is under new management. Deena Congdon, who started the business, sold the well-known real estate business to Ray and Vanessa Ingebretsen last December, but she will be around for a while until Ray gets his broker's license.
Vanessa is from this area having graduated from Orr High School in 1977. She relocated to Illinois where she met Ray. While there she worked in a hospital. Ray had his own businesses installing lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems. The two were married and moved back to Orr in 1995. They went into business for themselves in 1997 when they purchased Aspen Resort. They raised three daughters, Brittney Pew, Kelsea Sonnier, and Alexis who is attending school in Milwaukee with a goal to work for the CDC in the labs finding cures for different diseases.
After running the resort for 20 years, they sold it in 2017. The two had a couple of different jobs, such as Ray working for Voyageur Log Homes and Vanessa delivering mail to Crane Lake. Ray went to work at RE/MAX, earned his real estate license and when the opportunity came to buy the business from Deena, Ray and Vanessa purchased it. Ray is the agent and Vanessa his assistant. Ray is working on obtaining his broker's license, which takes three years to earn and he is almost there.
They kept the present employees, Sandy Wardas who is really well-known and greets customers with a great smile, and Jeff Miller who has worked for the business for three years.
Ray and Vanessa love the area and the people. Vanessa said she "likes dealing with the customers and interacting with them." She felt that owning their own business will give them a lot of freedom. She said that Deena has built up a good business and RE/MAX has a good name. They are very pleased with the location of their office, right in the center of town with Crane Lake one way, Vermilion going south, and Kabetogama and Rainy Lake going north. They feel the economy is good and good times are ahead of them. They specialize in lake and hunting land, plus homes.
Ray and Vanessa like working together. They were married in 1986 and have worked together most of their married life.
Deena will be around for a while until Ray gets his broker's license, so it will be business as usual under the new owners.
Good luck to Vanessa and Ray.

Minnesota DFL senators drop longtime leader Sen. Tom Bakk for Metro Senator Susan Kent


Northeastern Minnesota received a kick in the teeth last week when the DFL senators caucused and dropped Sen.Tom Bakk as Miniority Leader. Bakk has led the DFL Senate since 2011. The caucus was held in a carpenters' union hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 1, and it lasted six hours. The caucus voted to have Sen. Susan Kent of Woodbury replace Bakk. The meeting was held behind closed doors and the voting results were not given after the meeting.
Bakk has not released any information on the vote or what he plans for the future. Bakk was first elected to the Legislature in 1994.
Bakk will apparently be sorely missed by residents of District 3 and the Northland. He was known as a very good negotiator, a friend of the working man and woman.
Bakk is known for his love of the outdoors and what is probably one of his proudest moments was the creation of the new Vermilion Campground along with Gov. Mark Dayton. Having Sen. Bakk in a position of power in the Senate has been a plus for northern Minnesota. Many have wondered how he has held the job since Twin Cities legislators easily have the majority, but Bakk has had control of the DFLers in the Senate.
Beating Bakk was Sen. Kent from Woodbury who beat Ted Lillie, who was part owner of Lillie Suburban Newspapers, in 2012. She won that race by a 1,924 margin.
Senate Republican leader Paul Gazelka of Virginia quickly stated, "I want to speak to you folks up on the Range. The Democrats have turned their back on you, I just want you to know that. I want it to be crystal clear. They threw out Tom Bakk as their minority leader, a legend frankly doing great work for mining, paper mills and all the work up there. Now they have a leader from the Cities. It's a different day. I want you to know that I've got your back up on the Range. You need to be aware of what's happening because the things you hold dear on the Range are not held dear by the Democrats in control in the Twin Cities."
The question as to where Bakk should go now is up in the air. Some Republicans have invited him to change parties, which probably won't happen.
In the meantime, the Range and Northeastern Minnesota have lost a lot of clout in the Legislature and this could hurt them in the long run. Gov. Walz seemed to be supportive of mining when he ran for the governorship, but his actions have seemingly changed.
Politics, politics, what will happen now?
All 67 senators are up for election this year so it will be an interesting time.

Cook Hospital ends 2019 with $727,496 net profit

The year 2019 ended on a positive note for the Cook Hospital. At their regular board meeting on Jan. 28, the Cook-Orr Healthcare District heard the good news from Administrator Teresa Debevec that the hospital showed a profit at the end of the year of $727,496 or double the projected profit of $359,487.
For the month of December, the hospital reported income from operations of $1,215,739 compared to a budget of $1,057,281. For the year, the operations had a total of $14,088,451 compared to the budget of $14,294,178. For the year, the hospital posted a loss from operations of $1,051,937 compared to the budgeted loss of $920,023. When non-operating revenue was added in, the hospital had a loss of $14,332 for December compared to a budget of $159,702. The year-to-date profit was $727,496 compared to a budgeted profit of $359,487. The hospital had a profit more than double their projection.
The hospital has hired a Director of Radiology, but still has openings for nursing assistants, physical therapist, rad techs, housekeeping, dietary, Director of Nursing (Care Center) and maintenance.
The Care Center had four open beds, however, they have three residents who just moved in, so one bed is open currently.
The hospital is working on a contract for Ultrasound and Echo coverage for two days a week so patients have more available days for these services.
The hospital recently purchased a 2018 Chevy Equinox which is being used for ADS/Activities. As the hospital goes forward, the car will be used by the lab to drive to the Tower Clinic.
Hospital employees donated 51 turkeys to the Food Shelf over the holiday season.
Congratulations went to Shirley Sanborn who recently completed training for her Advanced Trustee Certification.


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

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber speaks out against Metro-backed anti- copper-nickel bill

Beargrease Marathon Results: John Fisher Almost Made It!

Letters to the Editor...