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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Warm-up begins after temperatures plunge into teens

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 27, 2002 -- Temperatures plunged to near-record lows in Pecos and across most  of Texas overnight, while slippery roads closed Alabama schools and  contributed to a Kentucky pileup on Wednesday as an Arctic front brought an  abrupt end to unseasonably warm weather.

Snow fell in parts of northern Alabama as temperatures fell into the teens. Major highways were open but Cullman County closed schools and other counties told students they could report late.

Snow missed Texas, but record-breaking cold hit overnight in North and Central Texas and some snow flurries were predicted for the area by the weekend.

A persistent high-pressure system that moved into the state behind an Arctic cold front kept clouds away and allowed radiational cooling across a wide area. Temperatures were below freezing over almost the whole state, with the exception of the extreme south.

The low temperature overnight was 14 degrees at the Texas A&M Experiment Station west of Pecos, while KIUN radio reported a low at its downtown studios of 19 degrees today, after temperatures Tuesday morning dropped into the low 20s following a weekend of highs in the 80s.

Highs only reached the upper 30s on Tuesday in the Pecos area, and with clear skies, the temperature quickly plunged into the lower 20s after sunset. However, temperatures today were expected to climb back towards the 60-degree mark.

Roads were dry and there were no weather related accidents in the area due to the cold front, but local firemen were called out in 20 degree weather Tuesday night after a small brushfire was reported west of Pecos.

The mercury plummeted early Wednesday to 19 degrees at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, beating the old record set in 1934 by two degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Austin's low of 13, reached at Bergstrom International Airport, broke the previous record low temperature of 31 degrees for the date set in 2000. San Antonio's low of 17 degrees surpassed the previous record of 28 degrees set in 1977 and previous years.

Early-morning temperatures ranged from 10 degrees at Dalhart to 42 degrees at McAllen, Brownsville and Port Isabel.

Other readings included 25 at Dallas Love Field and 16 degrees at Denton, McKinney and Mineral Wells.

Winds have also decreased over the region. They were generally out of the north or west at speeds of 10 mph or less.

Snow and ice mixed with the cold caused more problems in the states to the east of Texas.

Most school systems in Middle Tennessee also canceled classes because of an overnight dusting of snow, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol said tractor-trailers were backed up in spots because of ice on Interstate 40 between Nashville and Memphis.

Kentucky State Police blamed icy pavement for an 18-vehicle pileup Wednesday morning on Interstate 65 near Lebanon Junction, in the central part of the state.

Six people were taken to hospitals, said Don Howard, chief of the Hardin County, Ky., ambulance service. Officials said an earlier report by a coroner that one person had died was incorrect.

Temperatures fell to record lows Wednesday in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service said, including 5 below zero at Hays, Kan. Morning lows were only in the teens across parts of northern Texas.

Long-distance bicyclist Ronn Sorber wasn't expecting an arctic blast on his way through Louisiana, part of a tour from Arizona to Florida.

"I heard 19 degrees and I said, `I'm not going to freeze again,"' said Sorber, 55, who found a homeless shelter in Baton Rouge to spend the night. He was lucky; the low there was only 27, the weather service said.

The abrupt change in temperatures threatened some garden plants.

It will serve as "natural pruning" for trees that already had started blooming, such as Japanese magnolias and camellias, said Richard Copeland, a gardener for the city of Gadsden, Ala.

"It may kill the new growth off that's trying to come out now, but they'll rebud and come out with a few more branches," said Copeland.

"There are bulbs up of daffodils and tulips above the ground, and 15-degree temperatures are going to hurt the foliage on those," said Sara Melton, manager of the Barn Nursery in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For Thursday, as the cold air moves eastward, a hard freeze warning was posted for much of Florida, as far south as Orlando. The weather service predicted a record low of 15 at Tallahassee.

NASA also braced for the change in temperatures, with forecasters saying there was a 40 percent chance that Thursday's cold could delay the planned launch of the space shuttle Colombia.

Hospital board approves purchase of ambulance, equipment

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 27, 2002 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors approved  the purchase of an ambulance for the hospital to use in  transferring patients out-of-town, during the regular meeting last night in  the hospital classroom.

Board members also approved new ultra-sound equipment, with the total cost of both items coming in at slightly over $157,000, while adopting a resolution on the issuance of $800,000 in revenue bonds for a recently installed CAT (CT) scanner.

Hospital Administrator Robert Vernor presented the board with two bids from two different companies for a new ambulance.

"This is something we have had discussing for quite some time," he said.

Vernor explained to the board and audience that the hospital's current ambulance, which they use to transfer patients to larger area hospitals, always is in need of repairs.

"It's gotten to where it stays in the shop more than it stays on the road," he said.

Vernor gave the board the information from the two bids, one from Wheeled Coach out of San Antonio and the other from San Antonio Ambulance Sales, Inc., also out of San Antonio.

Each ambulance is very similar however the ambulance from San Antonio Ambulance is slightly larger, which is the one that Vernor and the medical staff would prefer.

"We would like to recommend to the board to go with the larger unit," Vernor said.

He explained that the larger ambulance has been used as a demonstration model since it was built for the International Fire Chiefs Show in 2000.

Since it has only been used as a demo the ambulance only has 15,000 miles on it and has never been used in an emergency situation.

The original purchase price of this ambulance was $92,000 but the company authorized a discount it at a rate of one dollar per mile, which drops the price to $77,000.

Vernor explained that an extra $5,000 would be added onto the price to be used for installation of equipment that the hospital would need in the ambulance bringing the total to $82,000.

Board member Chel Florez questioned Vernor on the warranty that would be given if the hospital purchased the ambulance.

Vernor said that he was not sure of what the warranty would be but would certainly check on that for the board.

Florez agreed that that would be best for the hospital to have a written warranty.

"I think it would be better to have it written to see what the warranty is," he said.

The board approved Vernor's recommendation to purchase the larger ambulance, and the administrator explained this morning that he had contacted the company and they promptly faxed a copy of the warranty for the ambulance to him.

"It's fully warranted," he said.

The board also approved the purchase of new ultra-sound equipment from GE Medical Systems.

Vernor explained to the board that the current ultra-sound equipment in use at the hospital is many years old and there is a need for newer equipment.

GE Medical Services turned in two proposals for the equipment.

Vernor explained that both proposals are for a Logic 700 model, both of which were manufactured after 1999.

"The first is a completely remanufactured unit with all new technology," he said adding that the selling price would be $75,200.

The second model has been a demonstration model, which is three to six months old, according to Vernor.

Since it has only been used in demonstrations, the price of that model is over $130,000.

Vernor recommended to the board to purchase the slightly older remanufactured model, explaining that it had been refurbished to include all the up to date technology as the newer model.

The board adopted the resolution to issue revenue bonds for $800,000 that would go toward the payment of the new CAT scan system that the hospital recently purchased. In a previous meeting, the board approved the purchase of a new CAT scan machine to replace an old and outdated machine that had been in use for a number of years.

Board President Linda Gholsen said at a meeting earlier this month that the revenue bond would have a maximum aggregate principal amount of $800,000 that would be paid off within 40 years.

In other business, the board approved the order of election for May 4, 2002 in which the at-large, Precinct 1 and Precinct 3 positions are up for election. Those spots on the board are currently held by Leo Hung, Chel Flores and Jesse Prieto.

Also during the meeting, Vernor gave the board an up date on the facility master plan.

The board has been discussing a master plan since November 2001 in efforts to update the hospital's appearance and enable the staff to provide better healthcare and a better healthcare environment.

The designs include possible plans for both the exterior and interior of the hospital.

Vernor explained that for the exterior they hope to bring the look of the building up to date.

"These are just some ideas that would make it look a little bit more modern," he said.

The plans include a new canopy over the entrance of the hospital and placing the Reeves County Hospital lettering at a higher more eye-catching location.

The design plans for the interior include an addition that would include a new emergency room, a rural health clinic, a specialty clinic, a physical therapy space as well as space for future expansion.

Vernor explained that they would also like to renovate and expand some of the areas in the hospital, however all that would depend on whether or not there would be a new addition.

"It all hinges on whether or not we add a new addition," he said.

Vernor said that the designs could change in the future and that none of the proposed renovations have been decided on at this time.

In upcoming meetings the board will look over the cost of the designs and determine what they could do that would be in the hospital budget.

"All this is right now is just the design process," Vernor said.

Wayanay Inka concert tickets still available

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 27, 2002 -- Ticket sales have been good for this Friday's Wayanay Inka  concert at the Reeves County Civic Center, but there are some still available  for the performance, according to Pecos Chamber of  Commerce officials. 

"We've sold quite a few tickets, especially with the sponsorship," said Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce office manager Lupe Davis.

She said that anybody wanting to purchase tickets can do so at the chamber office or by calling 445-2406. Tickets are $5 for the concert and $10 for the VIP tickets, which include a wine and cheese reception scheduled before the concert.

"The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the concert itself will take place at 7 p.m.," said Davis.

Barbara Creager, past president of the chamber, is in charge of the reception.

"I think it will be a really great concert, it should be a lot of fun," said Davis.

Visitors to the Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio have probably heard the group perform on the mall's island stage, and they have also been heard at other locations in and around the San Antonio area.

The group performed in Pecos at about this time last year and the concert was a huge success.

"We decided to bring them back again because so many people really enjoyed it," said Tom Rivera, the former director of the chamber during a previous chamber of commerce board of directors meeting.

"Wayanay Inka," composed of Jose Albornoz, Gerardo Tovar, Luis Tovar and Dante Montoya, was founded in 1984. This group is originally from Peru, heart of the Inka culture in South America.

"Wayanay" means swallow. It is also the name of an ancient rural community located in the heights of the Andes, far removed from the reaches of technology.

"Wayanay Inka" has established an international reputation as among the finest and most exciting exponents of Andean music, performing music of the Andes Mountains and all of Latin America. Although most of the time the group plays Andean songs, their repertoire is broad, ranging from classical music to traditional songs of several countries to the rock n' roll of the Beatles and Paul Simon.

Blood drive set for next Tuesday at PHS new gym

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 27, 2002 -- A blood drive is scheduled for 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., next Tuesday at the new Pecos High School gym on Iowa Street.

Individuals need to be 17 years or older and over 110 pounds to donate blood.

Everyone is invited to come donate and help the blood shortage hospitals and other health care facilities are facing at this time.


PECOS, Wed., Feb. 27, 2002 -- High Tues. 37. Low this morning 14. Forecast for tonight: Mostly  clear. Lows around 25. South winds 5 to 15 mph, becoming east after  midnight. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s. East winds 5 to 10  mph: Becoming south 10 to 20 mph by afternoon. Thurs. night: Partly  cloudy. Lows around 30. Fri.: Mostly cloudy and windy. Highs 55 to 60.  Sat.: Mostly cloudy, breezy, and cooler. Lows 25 to 30. Highs 45 to 50.

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