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September 27th 5:35 pm | Staff Report Print this article   Email this article   Create a Shortlink for this article

Native association prepares to open new hospital

Last week, the Arctic Slope Native Association hosted a community open house to celebrate the completion of the new Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow. There will be a blessing of the facility followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and guided tours.  

While the open house was earlier last week, doors opened for service on Saturday at 7 a.m..  At that time, the association and the hospital will no longer provide services at the Wellness Center, the old hospital, or the building commonly referred to as ASNA Main.

The main entryway of the new hospital will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the emergency entrance will be open at all times and is located at the back, or southeast end of the facility. The physical address for the new location is 7000 Uula Street.

The 109,000 square foot facility is a much needed and welcome expansion to the North Slope community, the association said. The state of the art facility will provide North Slope residents with additional exam rooms, dental operating rooms, and an expanded pharmacy.   New services will also be offered including physical therapy, CT scan, and an eye clinic. The Indian Health Service (IHS) in partnership with the Arctic Slope Native Association, and the Denali Commission invested over $160 million in both design and construction of the newly constructed hospital.

The hospital is the only hospital and critical access facility within the northern region of Alaska.  Access to the six villages served by the hospital is primarily by air.

Originally formed in 1966, the association is a tribal healthcare nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the well-being of the people of the Arctic Slope.

Alaska Supreme Court to hear case at Barrow High School

The Alaska Supreme Court will visit Barrow High School on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. for the Supreme Court LIVE educational program.  Supreme Court LIVE brings Supreme Court oral arguments in actual cases to student audiences at Alaskan high schools. Designed to help students better understand the justice system, this unique learning opportunity debuted in 2010.  This is only the second time in the court's history and the first time in over 30 years, that it will hear arguments in Barrow, Alaska's northernmost and predominately Inupiaq community. 

 The court will hear oral arguments in a pending case before an audience of high school students.  The case - Nelson Kanuk, et. al., v. State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources (Supreme Court No. S-14776) looks at the role the judicial branch plays in government, including when a court should refuse to decide a case out of deference to the other branches.  In this case, a group of children and their guardians sued the State of Alaska arguing that the State had not adequately addressed carbon emissions and global warming.  They asked the trial court to order the State to protect the atmosphere using a doctrine that requires the State to protect the public's access to navigable waters.  The trial court decided that it should not decide the case because resolving the case would require the court to make policy decisions better made by the legislature or executive branch.   

Volunteer attorneys from the Alaska Bar Association and staff from the court system will visit Barrow High school classes in the days preceding the program to help students understand the appellate process and the cases themselves, using case summaries and information from the court's website: http://courts.alaska.gov/outreach-scl2013-barrow.htm. The program will include question-and-answer sessions with the attorneys arguing the cases, and with members of the Supreme Court.

 The program is open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time for security screening, and must leave all electronic devices and bags at home.  Members of the media wishing to use cameras or other electronic equipment in the auditorium should file an Application for Court Approval of Media Coverage http://courts.alaska.gov/forms/tf-945.pdf with Appellate Clerk Marilyn May by Sept.30.

Facebook supported as means to communicate hunting messages in remote corners of Arctic

Remote caribou hunters turn to Facebook: As a sign of just how pervasive social media has become in the world today, the International Porcupine Caribou Board has announced it is embracing Facebook to try to get its messages on hunting out to people in the most remote corners of the Arctic.

"The board,'' according to a press release, "adopted an interim communications strategy that considers social media while recognizing that radio is still the way to get the message out to some communities.''

Most of those communities are in Canada's Northwest and Yukon territories north of the small town of Whitehorse. Whitehorse, population 24,000, is the largest community in the Canadian north. Only a handful of Alaska communities west of the Canada-U.S. border to the north hunt the Porcupine herd. None of them are connected to the Alaska road system.

The Porcupine herd is the fifth largest in North America and ranges across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the eastern edge of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in Alaska. The herd of more than 160,000 caribou are hunted primarily for subsistence by Gwich'in Athabascans. The press release noted that "in the U.S., the herd's relative inaccessibility has so far limited hunting opportunities...."

 

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