Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, August 1, 2001
RCH board plans look at feasibility of dialysis center
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors
gave approval for a financial feasibility study for a dialysis center in
Pecos during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, in the classroom
at Reeves County Hospital.
Richard Murphy, president of CRM Management Group, Inc., informed the
board that he asked Larry McGowan with Nephrology Services International,
Inc., to do a preliminary review on the possibility of a dialysis center
Murphy, the hospital's former interim administrator, said that in the
past the possibility of having a dialysis center in Pecos has not been
very positive and he continued to think that it would not be beneficial
for the hospital when this review was started.
"I didn't think that our probability would be good," he said.
McGowan, who has worked with Murphy in establishing other dialysis centers,
found the probability to be good.
In a letter to the board, Murphy said he attached a copy of McGowan's
report, "which is more positive than (he) had expected."
"I don't think I had quite a hold on the necessity of a center here,"
Murphy explained to the board that there are many people in Pecos and
the surrounding areas that require dialysis treatment.
He said that all of those patients have to travel to either Midland
or Odessa to receive that treatment three days a week.
With the time it takes to travel to the treatment center, the time it
takes to receive treatment and the time to get home, Murphy said it virtually
takes up a full day.
Murphy said that that is very hard for the patients.
"These patients are like no other patients," he said. "They are financially
strapped and can't work."
Board member Leo Hung said that he has talked with many people in Pecos
who are considered "borderline" patients that need treatment, but could
go without treatment for a while.
"A lot of patients have contacted me who are borderline patients and
they are not going to seek help," he said.
Hung said that these people have chosen to put off treatment because
they can not afford to miss work and travel such a long distance three
times a week.
"Some of them said I'd just rather die," he said.
He also said that some patients who absolutely need treatment choose
to move to Midland or Odessa.
Hung said that if Pecos established a dialysis center here then patients
from Alpine, Presidio and other surrounding cities would more than likely
travel here for treatment because it's closer to home.
"If they could come over here it would save a lot of distance," he said.
The board approved continuing with a financial feasibility study.
In other action, RCH Administrator Robert Vernor informed the board
that he will soon ask a physician recruitment company to look into recruiting
a family practitioner and obstetrician for Pecos.
Vernor told the board that he has been looking into some possibilities,
but so far has been trying to recruit doctors with little success.
He said that only one person has called about the position but he was
not someone the hospital would want.
During an interview this morning, Vernor said that the physician who
called had not practiced in seven years.
"We're just not interested in that," he said. "We want somebody that
is ready to go when they get here."
The board also discussed the prescription drug program for the hospital
Under the current prescription program, the employees pay one co-pay
for a one-month supply and three co-pays for a 90-day supply.
In a previous meeting, the board asked to see if the hospital's prescription
drug company insurer, Blue Cross, could change the co-pay to one co-pay
for one-month supply and double for anything over that.
Blue Cross informed the hospital that they could not change the policy.
The board decided to continue with the current co-pay program while
looking into other companies' policies.
Also on Tuesday, the board approved keeping Debbie Thomas as elections
coordinator as well as appointing Lydia Prieto to calculate the effective
tax rate and rollback rate for 2001.
They also approved the 2001 budget-planning calendar and the 2001 certified
appraisal roll as well as the monthly tax report, financial statements,
and payment of bills.
Austin Elementary set for third grade move
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- With school just around the corner, parents
are not the only ones making arrangements for it. So is the administration.
Students going into the third grade will be attending Austin Elementary
instead of Pecos Elementary. With school starting in less than three weeks,
everything for the third grade classes has now been moved, including teachers.
According to Assistant Superintendent Gome Olibas, the move was made
for two reasons.
"The main thing for the move was because we wanted to align the curriculum
of grades first, second and third," Olibas said. "The other reason was
because of the budget, we would save money."
After losing a total of about 142 students last year, the move become
"We lost so many students that we had 10 or 11 empty rooms at Austin
Elementary," Olibas said.
Pecos Elementary is the third school closed in the past four years by
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD. Barstow Elementary was shut down before the
1998-99 school year while Lamar Middle School was partially closed a year
ago, with sixth graders moved to Zavala Middle School, while the newer
half of Lamar was turned over to the district's alternative education program.
Pecos Elementary, which was built in 1938, will now be used as a storage
facility for the district. Maintenance will be kept up, and a new a sprinklers
system was recently installed, Olibas said.
As far as principals, Gail Norris, third grade principal of Pecos and
Austin Elementary retired, causing the move of Zavala Elementary Principal
Cindy Duke to Pecos Kindergarten. Cindy Armbruster will be the Assistant
Principal for Austin Elementary, with Victor Tarin remaining as principal.
With Duke being moved to take over at kindergarten, Pecos High School
Assistant Principal Benny Hernandez was moved to Zavala. This created a
spot for new Assistant Principal for the high school, which will be filled
by new P-B-T hire John Fabela.
Pecos pair plead guilty to federal drug charges
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- Two Pecos men have pled guilty and are
awaiting sentencing on drug related charges in connection with federal
indictments returned in February by a grand jury in Midland.
Gregorio Navarrete, 46, of Pecos and Thomas Herrera were among a group
of people arrested by local law enforcement agencies earlier this year
as part of an investigation that began two years ago into a major drug
smuggling operation in West Texas.
Navarrete pled guilty on Monday to count 20 of the 21-count indictment,
which alleges that the defendant aided and abetted by others, did possess
with intent to distribute more than 100 kilos of marijuana. The alleged
incident occurred on April 24, 1999.
Three remaining defendants have pled guilty as well, including Herrera
who pled this morning to the same charge as Navarrete, after his trial
had begun in U.S. District Court in Midland.
The guilty pleas entered carry possible sentences of 5 to 40 years in
Navarrete's attorney is Brian Chavez of Odessa and his sentencing date
has been set for 5 p.m. on Oct. 2 in Midland.
A sentencing date for Herrera has been scheduled for late October or
Herrera and Navarrete were already in custody on separate charges when
the indictments were returned. Two other Pecos residents and a former Pecos
resident were among the 19 people charged in the indictment, but had reached
plea bargain agreements earlier this year.
One other suspect involved in the smuggling effort had pled guilty at
the start of the three-day trial and the jury was released after all the
defendants had pled, according to U.S. Attorney Jeff Parras.
Isidro Sanchez, a.k.a. "Chilo," pled to the same charge as Herrera and
Navarrete. The alleged incident occurred in June 1998 and he faces 5-40
years in prison.
Two other individuals charged in February who are from Presidio also
entered guilty pleas. Arturo Valdez pled to aiding and abetting by others,
did possess with intent to distribute not more than 100 kilos of marijuana.
His plea carries a possible sentence of 0 to 5 years in prison.
"Another defendant had pled in early July," said Parras.
Catalina Sanchez pled to a lesser charge and is facing 0-3 years in
prison, according to Parras.
"This takes care of all the 19 we had on the list, all that remain are
the fugitives," said Parras.
He added that there are four remaining fugitives from the February drug
In a related case in Odessa, out of the 12 defendants, 10 have already
agreed to plead and one remains a fugitive.
The individuals are accused of helping smuggle tons of marijuana into
the United States through their involvement in two closely linked West
Texas drug rings.
The arrests were made after a federal grand jury in Midland returned
a 12-count sealed indictment on Feb. 21, charging 24-year-old Jose "Josecin"
Sanchez of Presidio, (the alleged leader of the organization) and 11 other
people with transporting some one to two tons of marijuana from Ojinaga,
Mexico to Odessa.
The indictment was unsealed in March by U.S. Magistrate Judge Durwood
Edwards in Alpine and contained a charge of conspiracy to possess with
the intent to distribute a controlled substance and substantive charges
of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Back-to-school clean-up effort date is changed
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- A Back-To-School Cleanup scheduled for this
coming Saturday morning has been pushed back to Aug. 18, program co-ordinator
Michael Benavides said
Volunteers are needed to help get Pecos ready for back to school and
clean up the community, and those who participate in the clean-up were
scheduled to get T-shirts. But Benavides said the T-shirts will arrive
late, resulting in the delay in the clean-up effort.
School starts for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD students on Monday, Aug. 20.
P-B-T tax office to halt collections due to renovations
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax office will be
undergoing some renovations on Thursday, Aug. 2, and is asking the public
for their patience, while undergoing the changes.
The office will be getting new carpet and the collection system will
have to be shut down during this time.
Personnel will still be on hand to help all customers and they can call
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 1, 2001 -- High Tuesday 101. Low this morning 72. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Low 70 to 75. East wind 5 to 10 mph. Thursday:
Partly cloudy. High around 101. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night:
Mostly clear. Low 70 to 75. Friday and Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows 70
to 75. Highs from the upper 90s to around 102.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise