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Woman claims Haven of Lakeside ran out of food
  • Updated

LAKESIDE — After Julie Bell endured a week of her father being hospitalized, she now says he was not properly fed while being housed at The Haven of Lakeside Skilled Care and Rehab Facility over Thanksgiving weekend.

Bell’s father, 87-year-old Thomas E. King, suffered severe internal bleeding on Saturday, Nov. 20, and drove himself to the hospital. He was admitted as a patient and it took doctors six days to figure out what was causing the internal bleeding, according to Bell.

Bell, who lives in the Phoenix area, came to Show Low to help care for her father.

“He had been in the hospital for six consecutive days without being bathed. This was mostly due to his inability to move, stand or walk on his own. He lost strength and muscle tone in both legs, ankles, hands, and shoulders. Initially, he was diagnosed with internal bleeding in his small intestines. He had lost 2/3rds of his blood,” she wrote in a letter to the White Mountain Independent.

After five days in the hospital, doctors determined what was happening inside his digestive tract, according to Bell.

“Finally, on Thursday, Nov. 25, he had a procedure, upper GI endoscopy, very successfully discovered ulceration in his stomach and not in his small intestines. The next day, he was released to The Haven of Lakeside for physical therapy to strengthen his arms and legs,” she wrote.

According to his daughter, King was discharged and transferred to The Haven of Lakeside Skilled Care and Rehab Facility on Friday, Nov. 26, at 4 p.m. He had still not received a bath, according to Bell.

“I was told upon arrival, my father would be bathed on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, the next morning. This never has taken place up to the composing of this letter (sent Sunday Nov. 28),” she wrote.

This is where Bell describes an even more disturbing incident.

“On Saturday, Nov 27, while in the Haven of Lakeside the nursing staff were going up and down the hall delivering dinner to the five patients on his wing. One attendant stuck his head into my father’s room and told us they ran out of food and needed to go back to the kitchen to fix my father his dinner,” she writes.

Bell said 20 minutes later a staff member arrived with “a Styrofoam food container with a stale hamburger bun with a tablespoon of potato salad in the center, broken potato chips and watered-down grape Kool-Aid.”

Bell said she was shocked that such poor-quality food was served to residents of the nursing facility.

“I asked the employees of the Haven, ‘What is this, Is this his dinner? Tell me what is this!’ The employee stated, ‘it was potato salad.’ I told him my father was not going to eat that, the meal was not suitable for him or anyone else! I am heartsick and disgusted at what was served.”

Finally, someone from the kitchen arrived in King’s room to explain the situation.

“The cook was sent into our room…he explained his reason for preparing such a horrible meal. The cook stated, ‘The food truck expected to deliver food for all the patients had not delivered any food to the Haven and had run out of food to serve the patients in this facility.’ They made do with what they had in the kitchen, which was assorted bread, potato salad, chips and Kool-aid,” Bell said.

She added, “Not only did my father not get food, the lady across the hall didn’t. I asked her what she was eating for dinner and she looked at me and said, ‘They told me I’m am having a turkey sandwich.’ I said, ‘May I open your sandwich with a spoon and fork?’ I opened it up and she had the same dollop of potato salad between her two slices of bread that my dad had between his two slices of hamburger bun. She had a different type of potato chip than my dad but they both had Kool-aid. Who serves an adult Kool-aid? They couldn’t explain why they didn’t have food other than it didn’t come. If I were in charge, I’d be getting my credit card out and go down and buy some damn food and give everyone the food. This is unacceptable,” Bell said.

The following morning, according to Bell, staff brought her father breakfast, but he refused it. Bell said they attempted to serve him about two teaspoons of scrambled eggs, a cinnamon roll about three inches round and cold watered-down coffee.

Bell said that she was concerned that her ill father could be harmed by the poor-nutrition meals since he just was hospitalized.

“I cannot believe a nursing facility serving so many residents and community members, served this type of crap in place of a nutritious and balanced meal. My understanding is that my father is to receive the food listed on the menu I was given. My father did not receive the breakfast, lunch or dinner that is expressed on the menu,” Bell wrote in her letter to the Independent.

On Sunday after the “food-shortage” event, Bell said she prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for him at his home and brought them into Haven.

“I cooked here at the house. His breakfast was scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheese on it and toast. I made a fruit salad,” she said.

Thomas E. King is an Army veteran and he served in Vietnam.

“He has many medals and many decorations. He and my mother travelled all over the world. My mother became an Army wife when they were 19 or 20. She passed away in 1996 when she was just 59. When she died he moved up here to Lakeside. He’s made his home up here. Fishing, hunting and everything he loves to do is here,” his daughter said.

Phone calls and messages from the Independent to the director of The Haven of Lakeside Skilled Care and Rehab Facility and their parent company, Health Group Management (AKA Haven Health Group), headquartered in Phoenix, went unanswered.

The company owns and operates 19 facilities in Arizona.

Two years on since Tonto Creek tragedy
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GLOBE — Last Monday marked two years since the drowning deaths of three children who were allegedly swept out of a vehicle in Tonto Creek, and the beginning of criminal charges against local contractor Daniel Rawlings and his wife, Lacey Rawlings.

Daniel is charged with three counts of manslaughter (he was allegedly driving the vehicle) both the Rawlingses were charged with seven counts of child abuse for allegedly “causing or permitting” a child to be endangered. The Rawlingses are presumed by law to be innocent.

The case was scheduled to go to a jury on Jan. 4, 2022 in the Gila County Superior Court in Globe, Judge Timothy M. Wright presiding, but the trial has once again been rescheduled. Whether the delay was the result of a flurry of new motions or the fact that Judge Wright’s home reportedly burned down during the summer’s wildfires, is unknown.

As the trial date approached, the volume and tone of the litigation rose as well. The latest fight concerned what a jury will be allowed to hear regarding how drivers have treated “road closed” signs that periodically appeared at the Bar X crossing of Tonto Creek; since then, state and county officials have secured $21 million federal grant to built a bridge over the creek.

That location is where seven children (Rawlings’ own and nieces and nephews) and the Rawlingses themselves were swept out of a large military style vehicle, called a “unimog” by some and called a Stewart & Stephenson military truck by others. Regardless of what it is called, it is described in court records as “an 18,000-pound vehicle” with one observer estimating that it has a clearance of around four feet.

Court papers say that the family had crossed Tonto Creek near Punkin Center earlier that day without incident — they had gone to get a tarp of some sort for their home. Lacey Rawlings was a passenger, as were the seven children on board. The tragedy happened when they attempted to cross again at the Bar X crossing. The adult Rawlings and four of the children survived.

It took about one year going up and down the appellate courts to try to resolve an issue about exactly when certain state evidence had to be disclosed to the defense. The defense read the rule of court which governs such things to require full disclosure before the preliminary hearing on the charges, and the judge agreed. The prosecutor had a different view of the rule and asked both the Arizona Court of Appeals and The Arizona Supreme Court to overrule Judge Wright, which both courts declined to do.

In the end, the prosecutor took the matter to a grand jury which rendered the whole exercise about the timing of the disclosure moot.

In August 2020, the prosecutor then asked the court to revoke the Rawlingses’ release (and hold them in custody) because there had been contact between the two Rawlings families, Daniel’s and his brother’s. The state said that was a violation of the terms of their release, but the Rawlingses had not signed the release documents yet, so the court denied that motion as well.

In November 2020, the prosecutor then said that they had filed a complaint against Judge Wright in an unrelated case with the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct; therefore they argued, Judge Wright must take himself off the Rawlings case, called a recusal. It doesn’t appear that the commission did anything about the complaint against the judge and he refused to recuse himself, anyway.

Finally, in the most recent motion, Chief Deputy County Attorney Bradley M. Soos seized upon a line of questioning that “defense counsel” have employed in interviewing witnesses that “road closed” signs were regularly ignored at the spot by other drivers. Soos assumed that the defense intended to argue that there was selective prosecution of the Rawlingses, which can be a defense under very limited circumstances.

That’s when Lacey Rawlings’ lawyer Kathryn G. Mahady of the Law Offices of Aspen, Watkins & Diesel P.L.L.C. of Flagstaff responded and explained that Lacey wasn’t even driving and their side has never said they intended to urge that defense. Further, that the conduct of other drivers is indeed relevant to counter the state’s allegation that Lacey “permitted” the endangerment of the children by being aware of a substantial risk and then disregarding it, which is the legal definition of “recklessness,” the mindset that the state has accused Lacey of having at the time. Daniel, represented by Bruce Griffen of the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC of Flagstaff, joined in Lacey’s motion.

In a Nov. 12 order, the judge agreed with the state that the way others had treated road closed signs there is not relevant, nor is the way that law enforcement enforced the signs. However, if the Rawlingses choose to testify at trial, they certainly can tell the jury what they saw other motorists do at the crossing, including what “he/she/they observed where they (the Rawlingses) became stuck in the time period immediately preceding their attempted crossing,” the judge wrote. That legal hair splitting took three months to resolve, from August 12 (when the prosecutor filed the motion) to Nov. 12 when the court decided the issue.

According to the latest ruling, the jury trial is now set for March 30, 2022, with trial dates set for March 30-April 1, April 6-8, April 13-15, with 12 jurors, in Globe. A final pre-trial conference is set in Payson for Jan. 18, 2022.

Painting holiday windows
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SNOWFLAKE — Most families have holiday traditions. Kimberly Scott, a fifth-grade school teacher in Snowflake, carries on a family tradition with her daughters which was started by her own mother, Annalee Bunch, 52 years ago — spreading holiday cheer by painting businesses’ windows.

Scott started painting with her mother around the age of 10 and has not missed a Christmas painting since she was 12 years old. She had six other siblings and they also painted. Scott passed the tradition on to her own daughters who are now grown, yet take leave from their jobs each year to participate in this generational tradition.

Bunch taught art and was a professor at Northland Pioneer College. She started painting windows around the age of 24 and taught her own mother, Genevieve Smith in Las Vegas, Nevada how to paint the windows, too. Bunch still does window painting in St. George, Utah at age 76. Smith died at age 94.

Usually, Thanksgiving weekend ushers in paint season for Scott and her girls, Matti and Skylee. They paint all over the White Mountains, Flagstaff, and Gallup, N.M. This year, Snowflake schools were off the entire week of Thanksgiving rather than just two days, so Scott and her daughters began early.

Having attended school in Flagstaff, Scott still has clients she amassed while a student. The biggest window they paint is theTwin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, outside and inside the banquet rooms.

Armed with special paint which they order from California at the end of their holiday painting season, along with craft sponge brushes — preferably ones made in the U.S. which are the best; detail artist brushes — dollar gloves (which only last through three or four jobs due to paint freezing on the gloves) and the car running with the heater on for periodic warm ups, they “splash and dash,” so the daughters call it, from window to window.

The team generally works from about 9 a.m. to dark and then goes somewhere for dinner. The holiday paint time is their special together time each year.

“We can make money together and everyone leaves us alone because they see we are working,” said Scott.

A lot of the paint they pre-order and use is fluorescent. When her mother and grandmother were painting in Las Vegas they had to have a paint that could fight the Vegas lights. The quality paint they order costs around $75 to $100 a gallon and can withstand the weather. Scott says an artist can spot cheaper paint easily, especially the tones.

“I am very particular about our paints,” said Scott, who says they learned by trial and error.

They have painted in weather as low as 19 degrees, but this year’s weather has averaged around 40; of course, 60 would be their ideal.

“I have painted and looked down and seen paint on the ground but didn’t know it dropped because my hands were frozen,” said Scott.

Scott knows what her regular clients like for them to paint on their windows. The Olive Oil Company in Pinetop has an Alpaca addition to the store and so they always paint an alpaca on that window. A cupcake accompanies the holiday fare on Hushhh Bakeshop’s window. For new clients, she asks them what their interests are to know what to paint for them.

She does have her favorites though.

“I love to do winter scenes — a lot of greetings, candles and poinsettias. I do gold and white or blue and white — non traditional colors from the red and green. I like to freelance. Some have a pattern but I like to paint what I feel like,” said Scott.

Using primarily the sponge brushes, but picking up a detail brush, Scott said, “Sometimes things come alive with a little stroke of white. It is a matter of putting life on to the window.”

Painting was a forced love as a child, said Scott, but she enjoyed it. By the time she got to NAU, her first semester, not knowing she could spread things out, she took 21 units of art — calligraphy, silk screening, etc. because she loved it and wanted it all.

She teaches general studies to her fifth graders but implements art into the curriculum.

“If students get their spelling packet done, they get to do art on Friday. They’ll do anything to get to do art,” said Scott.

The window, no pun intended, to do their holiday window painting is short.

“A lot of people have Christmas parties. We try to shoot for the 7th or 8th, but really it is the 9th or 10th, or when the phone quits ringing. We put the paints up before Christmas Eve,” said Scott.

“Mother always said the last few weeks help you pay for stocking stuffers.”

You can find the Holiday Window Painters on Facebook or you can call them at (928) 243-2197. They also do seasonal painting projects and special business promotions throughout the year.

Silver Creek Senior Center closed because of water damage
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SNOWFLAKE — The Silver Creek Senior Center in Snowflake suffered major damage over the Thanksgiving weekend when one of the water pipes in the ceiling broke.

“We believe one of the pipes to the swamp cooler froze,” said Faith Trembley, director of the center. “It split the copper tubing, and the ceiling in the kitchen and part of the dining room caved in.”

Daily meals at the center are shut down for now, although the center is still preparing meals for Meals on Wheels and Head Start, courtesy of Our Lady of the Snow Catholic Church, which has opened its kitchen to the center for meal preparation.

“We do want to give special thanks to the church for coming along beside us and helping us out,” Trembley said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

On average, about 25 people come to the center on a daily basis for their meals, she said — but there’s no telling, at this time, how long the dining area will be closed.

“We’ve already got Restore Pro in to clean it up and fix it,” Trembley said. “But we could be down up to two months. We don’t know right now what kind of electrical damage we have. It’s major.”

Trembley wants the public to know that the thrift store is still open, and the food bank is open.

“We definitely want people to still come in and visit the thrift store, as it supports us,” she said.

Right, Round Valley’s Jessica Madrid competes in the Division 4 state cross country meet on Nov. 13 at the Cave Creek Golf Course. Below, Madrid shares an emotional finish with sister Catherine Madrid as Round Valley coach Joshua Burton looks on.