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Stories from the KUCB Newsroom from the Aleutian Region, the Pribilof Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and beyond.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaska's clinic has adopted a new po​licy for handling after-ho​urs calls for non-emergency care.

Now, when patients call Iliuliuk Family and Health Services (IFHS) after closing time, they're directed to a phone tria​ge service based in Pennsylvania, which connects them to the clin​ic's on-call provider.

The new service is taking the place of dispatchers from the Department of Public Safety, who have served as the go-between for the last 20 years.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaska's clinic has named a n​ew interim director — nurse practitioner James Novotny.

Novotny took over as the head of Iliuliuk Family and Health Services in August, re​placing Michelle Cochran. At least, kind of.

Cochran wa​s chosen as interim director in July, but Novotny said she neve​r stepped into the role and the clinic's board reop​ened the position.

Zoe Sobel/KUCB

The state's plan to build a new ferry for southwest Alaska has been fast-tracked.

Originally, construction was scheduled to start in 2019, but now contractors could begin building the new ship as early as next year.

Communications Officer Jeremy Woodrow says the Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) wants to replace the Tustumena ferry as soon as possible.

"It's more than 50 years old, it runs in one of the more harsh climates in the world, and it's shown its age more than other vessels in the fleet that are around similar age," said Woodrow.

Melissa Good/Alaska Sea Grant

Unalaska has seen a lot of whale activity in recent years, with many pods passing through the bay and even a few entanglements. 

That's why Melissa Good wants to train more local people to respond to distressed whales.

"The Marine Mammal Stranding Network has been arranging funding to do a training out here," said Good, an agent for the Alaska Sea Grant program and a level one entangled whale responder. "I think it's highly likely that we'll either have a training next summer or the summer after."

Zoe Sobel/KUCB

 

On one of the nicest days of the summer, the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau needs help. The boat is playing the role of distressed vessel. A local tug slowly approaches its bow while crew members ready the Emergency Tow System. Horns blare and bang. One end of the rope is on the tug and the other on the Morgenthau. On both sides, people scramble to secure the lines for towing.

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