AlaskaDigest

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005

High school design on display

JUNEAU - Drawings of the design for the planned high school at Dimond Park can be viewed in the conference rooms of the downtown and Valley branches of the public library.

They will be on display Monday, March 21, through Friday, March 25, during regular library hours, subject to the meeting schedules of the conference rooms.

Tlingit food history unearthed

JUNEAU - An illustrated lecture by Madonna L. Moss titled "What Archaeology Can Contribute to Understanding Tlingit Food & Culture," will be given at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Cedar Room of the Goldbelt Hotel.

The presentation is in honor of the publication of "Haa Atxaayi Haa Kusteeyix Sitee, Our Food is Our Tlingit Way of Life."

Moss is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of Oregon.

She will recap some of what she has learned about Tlingit foods over the last 25 years.

She will explain how archaeologists study the long-term history of Tlingit use of fish, wildlife, and plant resources from the contents of archaeological sites across Southeast Alaska.

She will discuss the study of specialized site, such as fishing weirs and traps, as well as how archaeologists study animal bones and carbonized plant remains found in shell middens.

The event is sponsored by Goldbelt, Juneau's urban Native corporation and the U.S. Forest Service.

Powerless tanker has close call

ANCHORAGE - The captain of an oil tanker is getting credit for using good sense after his ship lost power near Prince William Sound.

The empty oil tanker was approaching the sound last weekend when it lost power to its radar system. The captain made a sharp turn away from land and an oncoming ship carrying 900,000 barrels of crude. The tanker then briefly lost engine power.

The 894-foot Overseas Washington regained engine power after about 20 minutes and the tanker traveled under its own steam to a safe place.

A Coast Guard marine inspector, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Lingaitis, said the ship never came close to hitting land or the other tanker.

A variety of engine and electrical specialists went aboard the tanker and concluded the problems were likely due to human error in operating a manual steam throttle valve in the engine room, said Anil Mathur, president of Alaska Tanker Co., the Beaverton, Ore., firm that operates the Overseas Washington and several other tankers on behalf of BP.

After tests showed the tanker's systems were operating correctly, the Coast Guard cleared the vessel to resume operations.

Medicaid thefts bring indictments

ANCHORAGE - A grand jury indicted a nurse and her company for allegedly stealing more than $1.5 million from Medicaid.

Nurse Sherry Trotter is president of her home health care business, On-Call Nursing of Alaska. The business provided personal care assistance for clients, such as cooking, bathing or performing other daily services that they could not perform for themselves.

On-Call is no longer seeing patients, said Jim Gilmore, the lawyer representing Trotter, who declined further comment.

Trotter was indicted Friday on 13 felony counts of scheming to defraud and stealing from Medicaid. A trial date has not been set.

In 2003, state and federal agencies suspended On-Call Nursing's license and removed its Medicare and Medicaid certification, citing problems with care that potentially put patients at risk for harm.

Medicaid, an insurance program for low-income people, is funded through the state and federal government.

A state investigation uncovered $1,501,647 in Medicaid overpayments. The 13 counts against Trotter and On-Call Nursing charge that she and her business didn't complete assessments for patient needs before billing Medicaid.

Other counts charge that On-Call Nursing billed for more hours than the patient assessments called for, or billed for more hours than were listed on personal care assistants' time sheets.

On-Call Nursing also was charged with double-billing Medicaid and keeping a $132,972 check that Medicaid erroneously sent the business.

The state investigation reports said that On-Call Nursing billed six patients after they had died. In one case, the company kept billing up to four months after death, investigators said.



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