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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, April 15, 2002

Van fire destroys two Ross Boulevard homes

Staff Writers

PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 -- A fire that began in a van Friday afternoon ended up destroying  two houses on Ross Boulevard, and the cause of the blaze remains  under investigation.

All seven units of the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene, in the 600 block of Ross Boulevard, shortly after 1:30 p.m.

"The fire started in the second house from the corner, inside a van," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire. The van was parked in the area between an unoccupied home and a house where the family of Elda Fuentes lived.

Brookshire said that the fire started inside the van, then spread to the carport on the unoccupied home and then the attic of that house. "After that house was on fire, it spread to the other house, the one located right on the corner," said Brookshire.

Heavy smoke poured out of the garage area of the first home, at 611 Ross Blvd., for about 30 minutes. The garage continued back from the house to the rear alley of the home, and was blocked at the back by a brick wall in the alleyway. The garage was also located only a few feet from the corner home.

The burning van was parked at the front of garage, and firemen used a pick-up truck to pull the vehicle out of the garage and towards the street after the van had been destroyed.

A windowsill that caught on fire on the north side of the Fuentes' home was also extinguished, and firemen seemed to be getting the blaze under control around 2:15 pm. But the fire in the inaccessible rear section of the garage continued to burn, while the fire from the burning van had spread through the roof of the garage and into the attic above the main section of the house.

By 2:45 p.m., the first home was fully engulfed in flames, and the fire then spread to the second home, setting the roof on fire and eventually causing it to collapse. Both homes were totally destroyed, according to Brookshire.

All units were on the scene and the firefighters were there until 6:30 p.m., according to Brookshire.

"We were there for five hours," said Brookshire. "We didn't have any problems, except that one fire plug was broke, but it wasn't a problem, because there was another down the road."

The fire department did have to take one fire truck and several other workers off the Ross Boulevard fire about 30 minutes after arriving on the scene, when a second fire call was reported at the Pecos Enterprise offices at Fourth and Oak Street.

Firemen checked the rear area of the building, where smoke and smell of burning wood was reported. They were unable to find the source of the smell and the smoke for about 10 minutes, until it was discovered to have come from wood being cut with a circular saw in the adjacent building. The firemen then returned to the scene of the Ross Boulevard blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. "All we know at this time is that it did start inside the van and spread from there," said Brookshire.

A fundraiser is currently underway for Fuentes and her family.

"We've been collecting dishes, clothes and anything that people would like to donate to her and her family," said La Tienda store manager Noe De Los Santos.

"Everything was destroyed, so the family is in really in need," said De Los Santos. Fuentes worked during the daytime at the Eddy Street supermarket and was also employed at Dairy Mart, at Third and Eddy streets.

He said that La Tienda is taking these donations for the Fuentes family and storing them in a back room of the local grocery store.

"We'll accept anything, because right now, the family doesn't have anything, they lost it all," he said.

The store is also collecting cash donations. "I'm putting the cash in a separate bag and storing it in the safe," said De Los Santos. "We're also accepting cash donations for Elda and her family."

Workers give Rives sendoff after 25 years in hospital job

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 -- Reeves County Hospital employees bid an emotional  farewell to their good friend and co-worker Iris Rives during a farewell  reception Thursday afternoon in the hospital lobby.

Friday was Rives' last day at the hospital after working there for almost 25 years.

Rives' husband Jerry, who works for the Soil Conservation Service, has been transferred to Weatherford, which is why the couple is moving.

Rives said that they would be living in Cleburne, approximately 40 miles southwest of Weatherford.

She is excited about moving even though she is having a tough time leaving her friends and family here in Pecos.

"It'll be exciting," she said. "It's just hard leaving family and friends. The people of Pecos are my family."

Director of Program Development/Community Services Nancy Ontiveros said that the staff of RCH had a hard week last week knowing that Rives would be leaving.

"It's been so difficult for all our employees," she said. "She's been the glue that holds us together for so many years."

"The hospital is losing a very valuable employee," she said. "She has been an inspiration to all the employees here because of her dedication to the hospital."

And it is dedication that Rives has shown over the time she has been here by doing various jobs throughout the hospital.

Ontiveros listed a number of the jobs Rives has held over the years including Home Health Administrator, Registered Nurse, Quality Insurance Coordinator, Infection Control Manager, Risk Manager, Swing-bed Director, Assistant Administrator, Utilization Revenue Coordinator and Compliance Officer.

"She has even been an acting administrator in times that we didn't have one," she said.

When she and her husband first moved to Pecos in January of 1978, Ontiveros pointed out that they only expected to stay here for five years.

Over the quarter century that Rives has been here she has made numerous friends, some so close she considers them family, and has watched her children, Marianne and Dan, graduate from Pecos High School.

Rives said that her children are happy for their parents who have the opportunity to start new in another community, however, they would always consider Pecos home.

"They said it's not going to feel like home when they come and visit us," she said.

During the reception, Ontiveros introduces several of Rives' friends to say a few words about working with her and how they feel about her.

Many described how much they would miss her as their friend and colleague with Dr. Orville Cerna stating that he would miss her sense of humor as well.

RCH Administrator Robert Vernor gave Rives a plaque as a reminder of the hospital and her many years of service, stating that he wished he would have had the chance to work with her longer.

Along with the thoughtful words and the plaque, the staff of RCH put together a memory board with pictures of Rives over the years, a memory book and address book that they could write addresses and notes in to Rives and a money tree with over $300 on it so Rives would be able to purchase something for her new home.

Ontiveros also wrote two poems for Rives, which she read out loud during the reception.

Rives said her husband is happy about the move and she knows she'll be okay once she leaves but plans to visit often.

"He's very happy," she said. "I will be after I get used to leaving everybody."

With tearful eyes, Rives describe how she feels about the people of Pecos and what they mean to her and how much she appreciates the reception.

"It's just a wonderful wonderful party," she said. "These people are my family, they are very special."

"I love Pecos and I love this hospital," she said. "It's sad to be leaving, I just wish the best for everybody."

A poem for Iris Rives by Nancy Ontiveros

Goodbye our dear Iris
We bid you farewell
You're leaving your friends

And co-workers as well.
It seems like a lifetime
It just seems so wrong

To lose our dear friend
Whom we've known for so long.

When we've needed guidance, and often we do.
There's never a doubt, we come to see you.

Whenever we question, what's wrong or what's right.
You show us the way, you show us the light.

You're part of our family
And always will be
You're etched in our hearts
For eternity.

School board approves hospital benefit plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members discussed and  approved the district's benefit obligation to employees through ActiveCare during  their regular monthly meeting Thursday evening.

Superintendent Don Love recommended a plan that would put the district's obligation to employees as $315.

The board went along with Love's recommendation and approved the insurance plan through ActiveCare for the employees.

The recommendation includes that if an employee is covered by other insurance, such as their spouse or otherwise, that they can use the $315 towards other health benefits or options only.

"They can use that money for health insurance or other health options," said Love.

Other options would be health items, such as dental, life or other health insurance, but not towards salary.

"We apply the $315 toward health insurance and they can use it towards other health benefits, if they don't need the health insurance," he said.

In other action, the board agreed to set aside a room located next to the Parental Involvement Office at the Pecos High School will be used by one of the county's Justices of the Peace to hold court for truancy and Texas Education Code violations.

Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez told the board that the JP had discussed the issue with him. "We showed an empty classroom and the room adjacent to the Parental Involvement Office at the high school," said Rodriguez, who did not identify the JP involved.

Rodriguez said that the room adjacent to the Parental Involvement Office would serve his purposes. "As you know attendance is critical and we want to take care of this issue right away," said Rodriguez. "With an office located right here at the school, it will makes things a lot easier," he said.

Rodriguez said he had already spoken to the school's attorneys and that he had been told they could use local policy, with the board's approval.

"We're trying to pick these up a little quicker, because sometimes it would take a while to get the offenders to court and by then they had missed even more days of school," said Rodriguez.

"Some parents can be fined up to $500 a day for every day they miss or they make the parent come to school," said Love.

"This will speed things up and we can have court at least twice a month," said Rodriguez.

"This is strictly for truancy and TEA violations," said Love.

Three individuals were nominated for the Media Honor Roll. Bill Randall Cole for KIUN radio station; Jodi Exum for Channel 11 school news and Rosie Flores at the Pecos Enterprise.

"All these individuals do outstanding jobs in reporting school news," said Love.

Little League delays games, schedules meeting

PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 -- The Pecos Little League has postponed its games scheduled for tonight and Tuesday due to TAAS testing at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah schools, but will hold a coaches meeting at 7 p.m. tonight at Saragosa Hall.

League president Ismael Mendoza said tonight's games would probably be rescheduled for Saturday, April 27, while Tuesday's games will probably be moved back just one night, to Wednesday. The games both nights were for `C' Division teams, who began their seasons last Thursday. The `A' Division teams opened play on Saturday and the league's `B' Division will start their 2002 seasons on Thursday.


PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 -- High Sunday 90. Low this morning 58. Weekend rainfall at Texas  A&M Experiment Station trace. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. A 20  percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 55 to 60.  South winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs around  90. Southwest winds increasing to 15 to 25 mph. Tuesday night: Partly  cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy.  Highs around 90. Thursday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Lows in the mid  50s. Highs around 90.


Dulces Aguilar, Sylvia Contreras, Eliseo Jaramillo, Stanley Lindsey and Jesus Pacheco

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