October 1, 2015


Cook Hospital to welcome Dr. Josie Norberg on Oct. 19

The Cook Hospital and Scenic Rivers Medical Clinic will have a new doctor come Oct. 19. Dr. Josie Norberg will be starting orientation at the hospital on that date. She is the third new doctor to come to Cook in the past year. The Cook-Orr Healthcare District Board heard the good news at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
Administrator Teresa Debevec reported they are still having a nursing assistant shortage. Julie Gerzin, director of nursing for the Nursing Home, and Taby Tapio, MDS coordinator, will attend training to become certified instructors.
The Minnesota Department of Health performed a Case Mix Review on Aug. 24 and 25. There were two changes. This was reported to be the best review in many years. Congratulations went out to Taby Yapio, MDS coordinator.
The recent Health Fair was very successful. There were 287 people registered and that included 56 youngsters.
Debevec met with the hospital's attorney to start preparation for upcoming union negotiations. The four contracts expire Dec. 31.
DSGW, the district's architect for the new construction at the Nursing Home, is verifying the lower and upper levels in order to create an accurate background. They are working with the civil engineer to get the survey of the site completed in the next couple of weeks and also are obtaining soil borings.
For the month of August, the hospital reported a loss from operations of $19,256 compared to a budgeted loss of $6,465. With non-operating income such as the levy added in, the hospital showed a profit of $101,043 compared to a budgeted profit of $104,534. The year-to-date profit after non-operating income was added in is $630,797 compared to a budgeted profit of $402,730.

ISD 2142 approves preliminary levy to the max, accepts Principal Metsa's retirement/resignation


The ISD 2142 board met at the South Ridge School Monday at 5 p.m. with mostly personnel matters on the agenda.
North Woods Principal John Metsa's retirement/resignation was accepted as of June 30, 2016. Metsa could remain as a legislative consultant for three years if an agreement is met.
Business Manager Kim Johnson told the board they should approve the preliminary levy for the maximum amount. The final one will be in December and then they can lower the levy, but not raise it.
Supt. Steve Sallee who attended the recent Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) meeting reported schools are having trouble finding qualified teachers. The word about the 2016 Legislative Session is that there won't be extra money for schools, that the session will be about roads, bridges and pensions and the session should be a short one of around six weeks.
South Ridge Principal Andrew Bernard reported that school started great and enrollment is 603, including Learning Readiness. He said the students like the laptops they have received, the bus garage was going up, and the Family Fun Night was well attended.
CTI Director Kristi Berlin said their goals include increasing academic achievement, staff development, ensure all students are school career, college and community ready and encourage, assess and train para-professionals.
Business Manager Kim Johnson presented the monthly financial report which showed cash on hand at $8,96l,678.20 compared to $7,188,727.85 at the start of August. This figure includes $5,000 for scholarship and $881,218.59 that was set aside for the Cherry construction. The Cherry construction is completed and one bill left.
Bob Dunsmore of South Ridge, who was a driving force for their school forest and the trails on the new campus, spoke up about the trails. He noted they have a 5K (3.1 mile) ski, snowshoe, hiking trail and this trail is also open to the public. He noted the formation of the South Ridge Nature Club which takes care of the trail. He said they should have skis on hand for every student to use. These were acquired through grants. He also spoke up about building tennis courts.
Ben Allison, the soccer promoter, noted they have 80 youngsters in soccer and thanked the board for their support.
The Principals' Contract for 2015-2017 was ratified. It calls for raises of 2 percent a year.
An additional 0.5 FTE Special Ed. teaching position was approved on the recommendation of Dr. Reggie Engebritson, executive director of the NSEC.
Genevieve Wiitanen resigned from her 0.2 FTE Special Ed. position, but will continue as 0.6 FTE Elementary Music Teacher at North Woods.
Cathy Anderson was hired as a long- call substitute teacher at North Woods to fill a 1.0 FTE Arts position.
Probationary teachers Nathaniel LeBeque, 720 hours Title I, and Rachael Grotberg, 0.2 FTE FACS at Cherry were hired.
The resignation of support staff personnel Caroline Roesch, para-professional at Tower-Soudan, Shelby Forneris, cook aide at South Ridge, and Samantha Reichensperger, para-professional at Tower-Soudan, were accepted.
The board next approved the hiring of support staff personnel Ryan Roarty as a paraprofessional and Kelsey Velcheff, also as a paraprofessional, for NER; Natalie Graves as a speech aide for Cherry; Melissa Morse and Mary Carlson as paraprofessionals for South Ridge; and Cassandra Ableman as a teacher aide at North Woods.
The resignation of assistant cross-country coach Savannah Kent at South Ridge was accepted.
Jeremy Digiovanni was hired as assistant boys basketball coach at South Ridge, and Jason Marsh and Jordan Christianson as co-assistant football coaches at Cherry.
The meeting adjourned at 6 p.m.

St. Louis County Board lowers property taxes in 2016

The St. Louis County Board has voted to hold the maximum property tax levy flat for 2016 at $116.6 million, a 0 percent increase over last year. This is doubly good news for taxpayers, because in addition to no increase in the levy, the growth in the economy and tax base means the county-portion of the property tax statement should decrease for the majority of residents.
"This has been our vision to achieve and deliver a zero levy increase," said Board Chair Pete Stauber. "I am so appreciative of the hard work of my fellow commissioners and staff for making it attainable. At the same time, I want to assure people that our services will not be affected. Our investment in roads and bridges, in public safety, in services to our most vulnerable citizens, is as strong as ever."
The 2016 levy was achieved through good management of finances and long-term planning. It includes continued investment in core services of public safety, transportation, and public health and human services, as well as many other services such as forestry and minerals management, veterans, public records and assessments, septic system design and permitting, and programs for youth.
More information on the levy, along with video commentary by commissioners, and the interactive budget explorer can be found online at stlouiscountymn.gov/budget.
In St. Louis County, the levy ­ revenue collected from property taxes ­ makes up about one-third of the budget. Each year, in establishing a preliminary levy, the board must find balance between its goals for the services it wishes to provide, and the tax impact on citizens based on the cost of providing those services.
Two meetings have been set to collect public input on the levy and budget. They will be Dec. 3 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, and Dec. 10 at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. Citizens are also welcome to provide input at any County Board meeting or by contacting commissioners directly. Contact information can be found at stlouiscountymn.gov/countyboard.
By law, Minnesota counties must set their maximum preliminary levy - that portion of the budget collected through property taxes - by the end of September. As the board and staff work to finalize the 2016 budget over the next few months, the levy amount may be reduced, but it cannot increase. Commissioners are set to vote on the final capital and operating budget on Dec. 15.


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

Miss Minnesota crowns Rachel Land, Collin Janssen 2015 North Woods Homecoming King and Queen

North Woods Football Parents' Night - September 25

'Wings and Things' this Saturday at the VFW

Letters to the Editor...