A beautiful spring scene near Natural Bridges National Monument.  Skyler Madison photo
A beautiful spring scene near Natural Bridges National Monument. Skyler Madison photo
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Cast of EOTS musical production of Lucky Stiff includes: (left to right) Dr. Kelly Jeppson, Miko Crippin, Carrie Joslin, Jake Joslin, Scott Young, Ed Larson, Etsy Hancock, Jeannie Hawks, Jeana Grover and Lynnette Adams. Lucky Stiff runs at 7 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday at the Blanding Arts & Events Center.  Courtesy photo
Cast of EOTS musical production of Lucky Stiff includes: (left to right) Dr. Kelly Jeppson, Miko Crippin, Carrie Joslin, Jake Joslin, Scott Young, Ed Larson, Etsy Hancock, Jeannie Hawks, Jeana Grover and Lynnette Adams. Lucky Stiff runs at 7 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday at the Blanding Arts & Events Center. Courtesy photo
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Democrats pare list of candidates, eliminate sitting commissioner
Apr 09, 2014 | 943 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Approximately 200 San Juan County residents crowded the San Juan County library in Blanding on April 3 for the local county convention of the Democratic Party. The group initially met in precinct caucus and then held a county convention to consider candidates for office. County Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy, who has been a Commissioner for two terms, was defeated in convention by challengers Rebecca Benally and Roger Atcitty. Benally and Atcitty will meet in a Democratic Party primary in June to determine who will be the party candidate in the general election in November. The primary election is for voters in the five precincts that make up the Second District Commission district. Maryboy is also a candidate for Navajo Nation President. In other business at the convention, Kendall Laws secured the party nomination for San Juan County attorney. Laws defeated Walter Bird after receiving approximately 69 percent of the delegate votes. In the Democratic Party, a candidate who secures more than 60 percent of the delegate votes avoids a primary election. A new state law, which will go into effect after the current election, restructures how candidates are selected. While the caucus and convention system are retained under the new law, candidates can force a primary election if they secure enough petition signatures. In addition to the contested races, three candidates for county office were unopposed and will represent the Democratic Party in the general election. They include assessor Howard Randall, clerk Dawn Shaw, and recorder Tina Corrao. County Clerk Norman Johnson said that primary election ballots will be sent to voters who are registered as Democrats. Since the Democratic primary is open to all registered voters, non-party members will need to request a ballot to participate in the primary election. All county elections will use mail-in ballots in 2014.
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Heath Service District optimistic about the future
Apr 09, 2014 | 545 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While there are still many hurdles to be cleared, local healthcare officials are optimistic about the financial and operational challenges facing the San Juan Health Service District. Interim Health District CEO Laurie Schafer says that collections have increased dramatically in the district, doubling from roughly $400,000 in January to more than $800,000 in March. “We are current on all of our bills and our cash balance is growing,” said Schaefer, who adds that as progress is being made, “there are a lot more smiles on faces around here.” As the cash situation has improved, Schafer reports that the personnel situation at the district is also improving. “We are actively recruiting new physicians from two recruiting firms and receiving resumes from other sources,” said Schafer. She said the district is also reworking the terms of the physician contracts. “Our family practice physicians will work four days a week on a 40-hour-a-week contract, which includes additional emergency room call only if they want,” said Schafer. The district plans to utilize more mid-level providers and a group of physician’s assistants to handle emergency room call. The scramble for physicians is the result of the January resignations of Dr. Curtis Black, Dr. Paul Raey and Dr. Bryce Peterson. In addition, the contract of District CEO Phil Lowe was not renewed in December, 2013 and surgeon Kris Hayes lost his licensure. Lowe was replaced by Schafer. Dr. Juan Carlos Vasquez is performing surgical services. The three physicians are completing their contracts and will leave in coming months. Schafer reports that a series of organizations have helped the district maneuver through the crisis, including the Utah Department of Health, University of Utah Medical Center, specialists in Grand Junction, CO and Provo, UT, and the Intermountain Medical Center (IMC). District officials state that one event that helped trigger the financial challenge is the purchase of an expensive Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system from Cerner approximately one year ago. The system cost $1.4 million to purchase and includes a $29,000 per month service fee. The monthly fee is now $25,000. In addition to the internal developments, Shafer reports that there has been increased collaboration between the three health systems in San Juan County: San Juan Health Services, Blue Mountain Hospital, and Utah Navajo Health Systems. A committee made up of representatives from all three organizations is meeting once a month. They have developed a mission statement, which states: “By integrating and coordinating staff, processes and programs, all organizations will benefit by reducing duplication of programs and allowing patients greater choice and access throughout the county.”
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