Reporter's Notebook published Jan. 26, 2013

By Triplicate Staff January 28, 2013 05:40 pm

The leader of opposition to the proposed regionalization of Sutter Coast Hospital went before the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday with an update and a request for further help.

Dr. Greg Duncan, the hospital’s medical chief of staff, outlined possible ways to oppose Sutter Health in its efforts to replace Sutter Coast Hospital’s Board of Directors with a Bay-Area based board and possibly redesignate the hospital as a critical access facility that would involve downsizing to a maximum of 25 beds.

In the past three and a half months, there were 55 days when the hospital had 25 or more patients, Duncan said.

“This means the hospital would have been closed to new admission on those 55 days,” Duncan said. “On Christmas Day alone five patients would have been airlifted to another hospital had we been a critical access facility. This predates flu season. This is our less busy time.”

He suggested asking the county’s taxing authority to review the hospital’s tax-exempt status.

Supervisor Martha McClure suggested filing a California Public Records Act request to obtain Sutter Health’s fiscal records, bylaws and two critical access impact studies.

“Let them respond to a government agency,” McClure said. “Let’s do a massive records request to them, and let them know we’re not just sitting quietly.”

— Jessica Cejnar

ATM is on the mend

The ATM machine at the downtown Crescent City Chase Bank branch that was damaged in a knife-attack by a local man is expected to be recovered from its wounds and back in operation Monday.

Last Monday, a man threw his hunting knife at the ATM and stabbed its screen repeatedly because he was angry at the bank, authorities said.

A man identified as Brady McConaghy, 25, was subsequently tasered and arrested by officers.

— Anthony Skeens

Inland DN plenty soggy

Del Norte got a bit more rain than the forecasters were bargaining for this week, and one of the ramifications was a slide Friday morning about 10 miles out on South Fork Road.

Wednesday’s constant downpour was partially predicted (“showers in the morning”),  and Friday morning’s renewal of the wet rites of winter further saturated things.

Big Flat weather-watcher Chuck Blackburn figures the ground was good and hard after a couple of cold weeks, making it less absorbent.

He measured 2.75 inches of precipitation Wednesday and Thursday alone.

As for that slide, it made a lot of work for county crews, but it didn’t quite close South Fork Road.

— Richard Wiens