WARM HEARTS

Maria Nievas of Argentina found the day cool enough for gloves as she hands out phones at Alaska Cruiseship Services, one of a growing number of businesses that cater to cruise ship crews. Read more on our crew page. Dimitra Lavrakas

Good news, sad news for Clinic
New X-ray machine coming, longtime provider leaves

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS
The Skagway Medical Clinic received news last week that it will receive a $120,000 grant for the purchase of a new X-ray machine, said Clinic Administrator Shawn Keef. The grant was submitted by Bartlett Regional Hospital on behalf of the clinic, he said.
“There’ll be an award ceremony in Juneau and we’ll receive the funds after that,” Keef said.
In the meantime, Keef is beginning to research what kind of X-ray machine the clinic would need.
“We might get the same one as Bartlett and interface so we can go digital,” he said. “Then, instead of sending it by courier, we can do it over the phone lines.”
The old X-ray machine will not have replacement parts available after the first of the year, he said. Keef said they will look at the present X-ray room to see if it needs modifications for the new equipment.
“Hopefully, we’ll see a new machine in three months,” Keef said.
Keef said he feels the grant is a substantiative example of how well the agreement with Bartlett is working.
Since the city took over the clinic July 1, some changes in personnel have occurred. Advanced Nurse Practitioner Lynn Cameron, and Medical Aides Allie Dorn and Mary Tadic had been rehired by the city after applying for their former positions.
However, Cameron changed her mind about accepting the contract offered her. Medical Aides Mary Tadic and Allie Dorn, after accepting job offers, gave their resignations effective July 31 and Aug. 20 respectively. Dorn said she had no comment.
But on Monday, Tadic said she had changed her mind and would stay on, saying the situation had changed for her. She wanted to allay people’s fears that the clinic was losing good people.
“The former employees who left the clinic were caring, dedicated employees and the ones who are here now are too,” Tadic said.
After nine years at the clinic, Cameron said she arrived at her decision to leave, “after a lot of consideration of a lot of different things.” She said if people want to talk to her about it, she’s “in the garden.”
Cameron came to the clinic as a medical assistant for four years after her nurse practitioner credentials lapsed, and for the remainder of her time, she was a nurse practitioner after going back and getting credentialed again.
As for the rumor she may open her own clinic, she said she’s considering it.
At a board work session on July 9, the board decided to advertise Cameron’s provider position nationally.
With Staff Director Kendell Simm on vacation last week and part of this week, the clinic was covered by Nurse Practitioner Kathy Sterner and Jim Cassell, who is in his last rotation before going back to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and getting his Physician’s Assistant degree.
The clinic board is comprised of Leslie Dodd–president; Dotie DeMark–secretary, Sydney Smith, Don Hather – vice president, Laura Moscatello, John Warder, and Jeremy Simmons.
Board committees include a Finance Committee, Planning Committee, Executive Committee, and Joint Conference Committee.
The board’s Planning Committee held a work session July 24 after this issue went to press, and the next regular board meeting is on July 31 at 7 p.m. at the library.

Officer disciplined over incident with mischievous kids
Youngsters called 911 repeatedly from public pay phones

By ROBERT WARREN
Donna Powell was just taking a peaceful walk. It was the disturbance of that peace that affected Powell enough to address the City Council.
On July 17, she told the Council, as she walked down Second Avenue near Spring Street, she happened upon a group of young children being scolded by Sgt. Brent Moody.
Powell was concerned that no parents of the tearful children were present. As she comforted one of the youths, another tearfully tugged at her shirttail and said, “You know me, too.”
They were so scared they were shaking, she said.
Sgt. Brent Moody was there on the scene doing his job. He was investigating a series of 911 calls that originated from pay phones near the children.
The five children, ranging in age from six to 11, eventually admitted to placing the calls, but Powell said Moody continued addressing the youths with an elevated tone.
“Kids were crying, and he was still yelling...this was clearly verbal abuse,” said Powell. “This man lost his temper. That’s what I witnessed.”
Sherina Cotton, mother of two of the children, also spoke at the City Council meeting on July 26.
While acknowledging the wrong-doing of the kids, she was upset that she wasn’t notified sooner.
“Procedures did not require that parents be contacted,” City Manager Bob Ward said later by phone.
Tom Cochran also voiced his opinion at the meeting on a similar issue. He was concerned that his 15-year-old son was involved in a motor vehicle accident, and he wasn’t notified.
Cochran proposed the creation of a city ordinance to remedy the issue, and Cotton said one will likely be proposed.
According to a July 5 letter from Chief Dennis Spurrier to Cotton, a violation of a Police Department policy did occur, and that disciplinary action was taken. However, the violation concerned how Moody addressed the children, and not that parents weren’t called sooner.
The Police Blotter submitted to the newspaper had no mention of the incident.
When contacted by the paper, Moody referred all questions to the Chief, and neither Spurrier nor Ward would discuss the issue further, saying it was a personnel matter.
Cotton is pleased with how the Police Department has dealt with the issue, and hopes the City Council will pass an ordinance to address the issue.
“Kid’s don’t know their rights. That’s my job as a parent,” said Cotton.

Segway in Skagway – no way! yes way!

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS

With the news that Alaska Travel Adventures intends to begin guided tours and rentals on Segway personal scooters here beginning May 2004, the city may take action against them.
At the Skagway City Council meeting July 17, City Manager Bob Ward said the Council needs to look at amending the traffic ordinances.
“We may want to look at that, obviously, that’s something we don’t want – 12 people scooting on sidewalks,” he said.
Senate Bill 100, signed into law by Gov. Tony Knowles and effective October 2002, allowed for the use of an “electric personal motor vehicle” on a sidewalk, bike path or vehicular way or area restricted to the use of pedestrians.” But the regulation did not apply to a municipal ordinance regulating electric personal motor vehicles enacted to meet local requirements. They do not require a driver’s license.
According to a press release from ATA, “the self-balancing Segway uses the latest advances in gyros, tilt sensors and high-performance motors. Able to reach speeds of up to 12 mph, riders lean forward to go forward, lean backward to back up and stand erect to stop.”
Gary Odle, a spokesperson at ATA, said the company isn’t sure if it will offer tours or just rentals. It all depends on the particular area and what it’s suited for.
Each client will have a helmet that has “built-in interactive two-way radio communications system providing a means for the guide to share interesting and entertaining commentary while the group is underway. The system also allows participants to ask questions and communicate with each other during the tour,” said the press release.
The company plans to also introduce the Segway in Sitka, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and possibly other communities. The company said its Segway tour will be similar to its guided Jeep programs in other Alaska towns.
Retailing at approximately $5,000 each, it is expected that it will be many years before the general public commonly uses Segways. –DL

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