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Ben Shanahan, Arizona Daily Sun 

Basis Flagstaff’s Nick San Souci (23) shoots the ball over Northland Prep’s Fred Gooding (5) Thursday evening at Basis Flagstaff.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

The Railroad Springs neighborhood in west Flagstaff was the scene of an officer involved shooting just before 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

Flagstaff man killed in officer-involved shooting at Railroad Springs

The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that 20-year-old Marcus Gishal was killed after allegedly initiating an officer-involved shooting on West Topeka Avenue in Flagstaff on Wednesday night.

The second suspect, Preston Oszust, 20, was also shot and taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of critical injuries, the department reports. Both suspects are residents of Flagstaff, DPS reported Thursday afternoon.

The officer involved in the shooting was shot in the left hand, and taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.

Christine Cantu, a resident of Alaska Avenue located one street north of West Topeka Avenue, explained that she just moved to the area and loves it for its kind neighbors and tranquility.

"It's a safe place," Cantu said. "I never thought in my life that this would happen here."

The traffic stop

DPS reports that at 7:42 p.m., officers attempted to stop a black SUV for a traffic violation. The driver allegedly stopped in the Maverik gas station located at the intersection of South Thompson Street and West Route 66.

Once the officer exited his vehicle, DPS alleges the driver sped from the scene in the black SUV in the direction of Railroad Springs Boulevard.

The officer did not chase the vehicle, instead coordinating a search perimeter including additional DPS officers, Flagstaff Police Department officers and a DPS helicopter crew to search for the suspect. The responding agencies searched for more than an hour.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun 

A pair of Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers made a crime scene perimeter Wednesday night following an officer-involved shooting in the Railroad Springs neighborhood.

Once in the Railroad Springs neighborhood, the driver and passenger allegedly abandoned the SUV and fled on foot, DPS reports.

Around 8:44 p.m., a resident called 911 to report the location of the suspects. According to DPS, almost 10 minutes later, the suspects were located in front of a residence on West Topeka Avenue. As the DPS officers approached the suspects, Gishal pointed a handgun at the officers and opened fire, striking one of the officers in the hand.

Officers on the scene returned fire and struck Gishal, while the second suspect, Oszust, was also shot in the firefight. Gishal was pronounced deceased on the scene while Oszust was taken to the hospital with "critical injuries," DPS reports.

DPS reports that three other officers were involved in the shooting, but were uninjured.

DPS officers blocked off West Topeka Avenue below Railroad Springs Boulevard to investigate the crime scene. A witness who lives in the neighborhood reported they heard several shots shortly during the firefight.

The neighborhood

When the shots outside her window erupted, Cantu and her daughter dropped to the floor.

"I was worried about my neighbors and bullets coming through their houses as well. I was worried for my daughter's safety," Cantu said.

Cantu said she was anxious about the shooting and reached out to her neighbors. She explained that they were all anxious and just looking to know more about what happened.

Her anxiety even led to her having trouble sleeping Wednesday night.

"It can happen anywhere," Cantu said. "It doesn’t mean anything if you live in the best neighborhood, this stuff can just happen."

Multiple law enforcement vehicles responded to the area and blocked traffic in the tight neighborhood streets. The area was still blocked off Thursday as officers continued their investigations.

Flagstaff police officers characterized the response as a "heavy police presence" during the investigation.

Suspects' past

DPS reports that Oszust has an active felony warrant for a probation violation.

Past arrest records allege that Gishal was contacted by DPS officers in 2017 for a traffic stop. The officer attempted to arrest Gishal on drug-related charges, but DPS alleged that Gishal resisted, causing a fight.

Gishal was eventually taken into custody with marijuana, a handgun and other drugs in his possession after the November 2017 incident.

The incident is still under investigation and more information will be provided as it becomes available.

Northern Arizona Healthcare to enact new strategic plan

Northern Arizona Healthcare has allocated $300 million to facility renovation – much of which will occur at the Flagstaff Medical Center – as part of its New Era Strategic Plan to become a fully integrated, community-based health system.

Last week, certificate holders of FMC met with NAH President and CEO Florence Spyrow for the first community presentation of the plan since it was announced in early November.

Certificate holders are influential, civic-minded citizens nominated and elected by the foundation’s Executive Committee to supply direct community feedback to the foundation and will be integral in ensuring the strategy is implemented over time.

Rick Smith, NAH Foundation president and CEO, said in a statement, “The certificate holders of FMC is an important group of ambassadors who serve as a two-way line of communication. We keep the certificate holders informed about what’s happening with the hospital, and they keep us informed about what’s going on in the community. This connection is essential for putting us in touch with what Flagstaff needs, wants, and expects from community healthcare.”

Two new community leaders, joining approximately 110 existing ones, were introduced at the meeting: Chris Reed, Senior Pastor of Christ’s Church of Flagstaff, and Tim Dodt, SVP and Senior Commercial Loan Officer at Alliance Bank. The group has existed since 1954, when it was created by Dr. Charles Sechrist, the founder of what is now FMC.

Facility projects

The $300 million will be divided among the entire NAH community, including FMC, the Verde Valley Medical Center and 33 outpatient ambulatory sites located in Flagstaff, Cottonwood, Sedona and Camp Verde.

Spyrow explained that FMC, which houses the fourth-busiest trauma center in Arizona, will specifically expand its trauma services, as well as vascular care and behavioral health provisions.

Ambulatory care, same-day care occurring outside of hospitals, will also increase with the creation of new facilities throughout the region, especially in east Flagstaff. The Children’s Health Center, for example, will be expanded into the old La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery just north of the Flagstaff Mall. Continuing health care and urgent care facilities will also be introduced in eastern areas of town.

“We need to bring our services more to the community than centralized locations,” Spyrow said. “We need to be accessible and convenient to our communities.”

Within the existing medical center, inpatient care will also be redesigned to create all private rooms, the catheterization laboratory and operating rooms will be expanded and a new medical-surgical unit will be established on the third floor.

Along with the other components of the plan, Spyrow said that facility projects will be added and adjusted over time through what the plan calls a “relentless pursuit of clinical excellence.”

More than sick care

The strategic plan – the first of its kind for NAH – has been depicted as a triangle, with strategies playing an equal role as the organization’s new mission, vision and values.

To achieve the mission and vision, a group of colleagues and partners determined five new values to be practiced in every facility: Do amazing work, respect differences, build community, show compassion and be better together.

Spyrow said these values are fundamental to every member of the NAH community and are necessary if the organization hopes to achieve the goals and initiatives established in the strategic plan.

“Values and beliefs within an organization really drive that culture and how everybody treats each other and the decisions they make every single day. By emphasizing the behaviors and recognizing staff that follows those values, we’re going to drive that culture to then deliver that great experience at every location, every time, with every patient.”

A large portion of the plan works to better integrate NAH’s various facilities, allowing patients to move more fluidly between them when receiving care. Like the Mayo Clinic, whose success with similar integration has been a source of inspiration for NAH leaders, the organization will be implementing a system of service line leaders to oversee areas like orthopedics, oncology and cardiology throughout the entire region.

Valuing people

NAH says it will strive to treat all involved individuals with equal quality through this new plan.

Alice Gagnaire, RN, Chair of the NAH Board of Directors, said in a statement, “We were able to create a framework for NAH’s leadership team that allows it to be focused on you -- our colleagues, providers and our communities -- as we embark on a new healthcare journey.”

While patients will have the added benefit of new facilities and value-driven interactions with staff, employees themselves are already noticing differences after being awarded four hours of paid volunteer time annually to be used at one of a list of qualifying nonprofits that improve the health of their communities.

The initiative was launched at the beginning of this week and should benefit the community more than employees. Although half a standard work day may not be much for a single person, all employees at every level – totaling more than 3,500 individuals – were awarded this time, a potential 14,000 volunteer hours that can be used to improve health throughout the region.

“Many of our employees have already been involved in the community, so it’s really easy now for them to continue,” Spyrow said. “We hope to make this a fun opportunity for all employees and for us to share across the system how we’re working to improve the health of our communities.”

Through feedback from the public and its certificate holders and constant evaluations of community needs, NAH hopes to rank within the top national percentiles for colleague and provider engagement, service performance, patient experience and affordability.

“We want community members to feel like NAH is a critical and important fabric of each of their communities and that it serves them well,” Spyrow said.

Senate rejects rival plans for ending shutdown

WASHINGTON — A splintered Senate swatted down competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown on Thursday, but the twin setbacks prompted a burst of bipartisan talks aimed at temporarily halting the longest-ever closure of federal agencies and the damage it's inflicting around the country.

In the first serious exchange in weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., quickly called Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to his office to explore potential next steps for solving the vitriolic stalemate. Senators from both sides floated a plan to reopen agencies for three weeks and pay hundreds of thousands of beleaguered federal workers while bargainers hunt for a deal.

At the White House, President Donald Trump told reporters he'd support "a reasonable agreement." He suggested he'd also want a "prorated down payment" for his long-sought border wall with Mexico but didn't describe the term. He said he has "other alternatives" for getting wall funding, an apparent reference to his disputed claim that he could declare a national emergency and fund the wall's construction using other programs in the federal budget.

"At least we're talking about it. That's better than it was before," McConnell told reporters in one of the most encouraging statements heard since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

Even so, it was unclear whether the flurry would produce results.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whose relationship with Trump seems to sour daily, told reporters a "big" down payment would not be "a reasonable agreement." Asked if she knew how much money Trump meant, Pelosi said, "I don't know if he knows what he's talking about."

Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said Democrats have made clear "that they will not support funding for the wall, prorated or otherwise."

Contributing to the pressure on lawmakers to find a solution was the harsh reality confronting 800,000 federal workers, who on Friday face a second two-week payday with no paychecks.

Underscoring the strains, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., angrily said on the Senate floor that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had forced a 2013 shutdown during which "people were killed" in Colorado from flooding and shuttered federal agencies couldn't help local emergency workers. Moments earlier, Cruz accused Democrats of blocking a separate, doomed bill to pay Coast Guard personnel during this shutdown to score political points, adding later, "Just because you hate somebody doesn't mean you should shut the government down."

Thursday's votes came after Vice President Mike Pence lunched privately with GOP senators, who told him they were itching for the standoff to end, participants said. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said their message to Pence was, "Find a way forward."

The Democratic proposal got two more votes Thursday than the GOP plan, even though Republicans control the chamber 53-47. Six Republicans backed the Democratic plan, including freshman Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who's clashed periodically with the president.

The Senate first rejected a Republican plan reopening the government through September and giving Trump the $5.7 billion he's demanded for building segments of that wall, a project that he'd long promised Mexico would finance. The 50-47 vote for the measure fell 10 shy of the 60 votes needed to succeed.

Minutes later, senators voted 52-44 for a Democratic alternative that sought to open padlocked agencies through Feb. 8 with no wall money. That was eight votes short. It was aimed at giving bargainers time to seek an accord while getting paychecks to government workers who are either working without pay or being forced to stay home.

Flustered lawmakers said Thursday's roll calls could be a reality check that would prod the start of talks. Throughout, the two sides have issued mutually exclusive demands that have blocked negotiations from even starting: Trump has refused to reopen government until Congress gives him the wall money, and congressional Democrats have rejected bargaining until he reopens government.

Initially, partisan potshots flowed freely.

Pelosi accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of a "'Let them eat cake' kind of attitude" after he said on television that he didn't understand why unpaid civil servants were resorting to homeless shelters for food. Even as Pelosi offered to meet the president "anytime," Trump stood firm, tweeting, "Without a Wall it all doesn't work.... We will not Cave!"

As the Senate debated the two dueling proposals, McConnell said the Democratic plan would let that party's lawmakers "make political points and nothing else" because Trump wouldn't sign it. He called Pelosi's opposition "unreasonable" and said, "Senate Democrats are not obligated to go down with her ship."

In consultation with their Senate counterparts, House Democrats were preparing a new border security package that might be rolled out today. The Democratic package was expected to include $5.7 billion, the same amount Trump wants for his wall, but it would be used instead for fencing, technology, personnel and other measures.