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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Police on guard to stop vandals at PHS bonfire

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 18, 2002 -- Extra precautions will be taken today and tomorrow for the  annual Homecoming Bonfire, held in conjunction with  homecoming activities for the Pecos Eagles.

The bonfire is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, at the old landfill. But for the past two years, vandals have burned the bonfire the day before the actual event, forcing workers to scramble to rebuild the pile each time so that the bonfire would go off as scheduled.

"We'll have extra security both today and tomorrow for the bonfire," said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney.

He said that due to the events that occurred last year, extra officers will be on duty this evening and tomorrow, during the big event.

"We always have officers at the bonfire and this year, we'll have extra patrol out at the sight tonight as well," said McKinney.

McKinney said that there has been no indication that any trouble will arise tomorrow evening, but that the department will be taking extra precautions anyway. "We haven't received anything or heard of anything that will occur tomorrow night, but we'll be prepared," he said.

Last year, the homecoming bonfire pile was set on fire about 1:30 a.m., the day before the scheduled bonfire last year. The Pecos Volunteer Fire Department were called to the bonfire site, south of the Reeves County Golf Course, at 1:45 a.m., were they found the fire going strong.

Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that the fire was started by someone lighting up debris surrounding the bonfire.

"They just set the debris that was out there and it just kept spreading until the whole thing was on fire," he said.

Two years ago, that bonfire was also set on fire before it was time and the students rebuilt that one as well.

The Homecoming Parade is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, along Eddy Street in Pecos and the bonfire is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Carden Circus sets Pecos show for Rodeo Arena

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 18, 2002 -- Elephants, leopards, flying trapeze and many other attractions will be seen at the circus scheduled for this coming Monday at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

Showtime for the George Carden Circus International has been set for 7 p.m. and tickets are $8 for children and $10 for adults.

Carden is the fifth generation in show business and has been in the circus business all of his life. He has acquired knowledge of all aspects of the operation from front to back and is one of the largest producers of the circus in North America.

His father, Larry Carden, owned a Circus and George was able to acquire first hand knowledge of all aspects of the operation. He has worked a cat act and presented camels and elephants in the actual circus show, along with running the circus' behind-the scenes operations.

Carden started his own circus in 1981 and then purchased his father's circus and integrated the two into an extremely successful business. To accommodate all of his business, three units were created.

The circus travels over 40,000 miles each year in the United States and Canada. The season lasts 42 weeks, during which part of the time the circus has two units on the road. They also own and maintain 27 pieces of rolling equipment including tractors, trucks and trailers. However, Carden's pride and joy will always be his elephants. He currently owns 11 elephants.

The circus' Winter Quarters are located in southwestern Missouri, where he houses his entire operation. A 20-acre farm, with large shops for building, painting and maintaining equipment, houses the many performing animals owned by the circus.

Reeves/Loving FSA seeking committee election nominees

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 18, 2002 -- The Reeves/Loving County Farm Service Agency Committee elections for LAA 1 (Loving County) will be held on December 2, 2002. Eligible voters have the right to nominate the candidate of their choice by petition.

Nomination forms may be obtained at the County FSA Office 1417 W. Third St. in Pecos. Nominations should be submitted to the County FSA Office no later than October 28, 2002.

Persons nominated should be currently engaged in the operation of a farm or ranch and be well qualified for committee work. A farmer or rancher is eligible to be a county FSA Committee member if the producer lives in the LAA and is an eligible voter. County FSA Committee members may not hold positions in certain farm and commodity organization, if these positions pose as a conflict of interest with FSA duties. These positions include functional offices such as president, vice-president, secretary, and positions on boards or executive committees. Additional information on eligibility to hold office may be obtained at the County FSA Office, at 1417 W. Third St, Pecos, TX.

The duties of county FSA Committee member include:

· Informing producers of the purpose and provisions of the FSA programs

· Keeping the State FSA Committee informed of LAA Conditions

· Recommending needed changes in farm programs

· Participating in county meetings as necessary

· Performing other duties as assigned by the State FSA Committee

The county committee person you elect will make decisions on the local level that affect the benefits received by all persons engaged in farming and ranching in the county. This system of locally elected representatives frequently receives criticism from persons wanting to keep all decisions at the national level. If you wish to retain the locally elected system of county committee members, please show your support by voting in this election!

Hospital board, Vernor agree to 3-year CEO contract

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 18, 2002 -- Reeves County Hospital District board members voted to offer  hospital administrator Richard Vernor a new three-year contract under which he  will be responsible directly to the hospital board, members unanimously  decided on Tuesday.

The board also received an update on the proposed emergency room expansion project, and was given details by Vernor on how the new arrangement will look once completed.

The board took the action on retaining Vernor following an executive session, which dealt with making a decision on the contract of CEO.

"A motion was made to approve the three-year negotiated contract with myself as the CEO," Vernor said.

The motion passed in a 5-0 vote with Chel Flores making the motion and Hugh Box seconding it.

Board members voted 3-2 on Sept. 4 not to renew an agreement with the hospital's management contractor Richard Murphy, and to buy it out before the contract expires next year.

The contract, which expires after January 15, 2003, provided the board with Vernor's service as administrator, but through the services of Murphy. Board members voted against the contract with CRM Management they said, because it gave control over hiring and firing of the hospital's administrator to Murphy, not to the board.

Earlier in the meeting the board received an update on the expansion project.

According to Vernor, HGA architects were in Pecos two weeks ago and met with some people at the hospital in connection with the project. At that time the architects made some significant changes to the layout of the expansion project, Vernor said.

"We went back to the emergency room area," Vernor said. "The ambulance entrance is a little bit more patient friendly."

Sliding doors will be used for the entrance, creating a straight shot into the trauma area, Vernor said.

"We will have a waiting area for visitors," Vernor said. "There will also be a family waiting area making it more private."

According to Vernor an X-ray machine that comes down from the ceiling would also be accessible in the emergency room so that patients would not have to be taken to a room outside of the ER.

However, the biggest change would be the location of some of its rooms.

The specialist room is now adjacent to the emergency room, while the physical therapy will be two doors down. The rooms will be divided by the procedure room, which Vernor said would be accessible from both the specialist and the physical therapy rooms.

Because there will only be one procedure room, those needing to use it will have to schedule times and dates the room will be used by them, Vernor said.

With the other changes, the kidney dialysis area will also need some reconfigurations, Vernor said.

At that point board member Leo Hung said he would like to see some more visible studies.

"I would like to look at the numbers," Hung said.

In looking at the numbers for the kidney dialysis, Hung hopes that it will keep the hospital from suffering a loss on the project if it can be avoided.

"I would like to at least see an estimate," Hung said.

After that, Vernor passed out a letter from HGA that said even with the changes the amount for the project would be the same. HGA said all the board would have to do is approve the expenses and then send in a revised letter back to the architects.

Box asked Vernor if they were anywhere near the end of approving the changes of the expansion.

"We should be done by the middle of next month," Vernor said. "The architects will be coming next week."

With all the details finished, Vernor said that they hope the plans would be ready to go out for bids by the end of December or the first of January.

In other action, the sale of four properties up for foreclosure were approved with a motion being made by Box and seconded by board member George Wendt.

Joe Keese of Security State Banks also advised board members on investing the hospital's certificates of deposit. Keese told the board that in the time since the last discussions, the stock market has gone down.

Keese asked the board to place $4 million into insured CDs based on a six, 12 or 24 months.

Though it would require more paperwork on the part of the bank, Keese said it was not a concern for the board. He went on to tell the board that he would continue to watch the stock market for them and keep them informed.

Keese informed the board that $4 million would be enough of its money that it would make some revenue for the hospital.

"It is a timing issue," Keese said.

Now is not the time to invest in Security Bonds, Keese said.

Box made the motion to invest in the CDs with Hung seconding it.

In reviewing the monthly tax report, Chief Financial Officer, Bill Conder told the board that he receives a report every Monday explaining the events of the accounts receivable.

As of now the receivables are down, and Hung asked if there was some kind of problem with it. "We need to be able to break even." Hung said.

Conder also discussed documentations of the hospital bills to Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross. He assured the board that they would get it all worked out soon and if there were a loss they would have an explanation of why.

With that said, Box made the motion to accept the monthly tax report with Hung seconding it.

Lawyers report settlement for 5-12 persons killed

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Settlements have been reached in the cases of five victims of a pipeline explosion that killed 12 extended family members camping on the Pecos River near Malaga, N.M. two years ago, an attorney said Tuesday.

Dick Blenden, who represented the relatives of the five victims, said now that the confidential settlements have been reached, no cases stemming from the explosion will be going to trial.

He said the final settlements were reached the last week in August, but some paperwork is still pending.

The family members had filed negligence lawsuits against El Paso Natural Gas and its parent company Houston-based El Paso Energy.

A message left at El Paso Energy on Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

The victims were camping near a fishing hole in southern Eddy County on Aug. 19, 2000, when a natural gas pipeline ruptured in the early morning hours.

Martha Chapman and Jerry Rackley represented the estates of Amy Heady, 18; Terry Smith, 23; his wife, Amanda Smith, 25; their 3-year-old son, Dusten; and Rackley's mother, Glenda Sumler, 47, Blenden said.

Blenden said he could not disclose the amount of compensation the victims' families received.

"Hopefully the compensation was enough to get the company's attention so that these kinds of things don't happen," Blenden said.

The other seven victims' cases were settled earlier. The others killed were: 5-year-old Kirsten Sumler Smith; Don Sumler of Loving; RoyLe Heady, 20; his three daughters 22-month-old Kelsey and 6-month-old twins, Timber and Tamber; and Bobby Smith, 43.

The amounts of other settlements were not disclosed, except for a $14 million settlement reached between the company and the wife and son of Bobby Smith.

The trial of the final lawsuit had been set for Sept. 30 in Roswell.

Clerk's office taking ballot applications for voting

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 18, 2002 -- The Reeves County Clerk's office is currently accepting applications for ballots by mail for the November elections.

Deadline to get a ballot by mail application has been set for 5 p.m., Oct. 29.

For more information contact the clerk's office at 445-5467.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report  is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,  Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of  either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs  are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated  that the fines were paid.  In such instances we will indicate  payment and release.
Thomas Marquez, 34, was arrested at 12:17 p.m., on September 16, in  the 1200 block of Willow Street, for a warrant for default payment.
Lauro Villalobos, 30, was arrested at 1:31 p.m., on September 16 in  the 2300 block of Sage Street, on a warrant for default payment.
Jo Anna Arredondo, 31, was arrested at 7:66 p.m., on  September 16, in the 1900 block of Plum Street, for a Reeves County Sheriff's  warrant of theft by check and a Ector County warrant for theft by check.
Romelia Herrera, 55, was arrested at 8:23 a.m. on September 17, in  the 1500 block of Johnson Street, on a capias warrant for default payment.
Jose Morales, 20, was arrested at 10:22 a.m., on September 17, in  the 2200 block of Cactus Street, for capias warrant default payment.
Adriana Orona, 25, was arrested at 3:27 p.m., on September 17, in  the 1400 block of Normandy Street.
Xochitl Armendariaz, 23, was arrested at 10:56 p.m., on  September 17, in the 400 block of `D' street for a warrant for theft by check over $20  / under $500.
Javier Herrera, 39, was arrested at 5:54 p.m., on September 17, in the  1700 block of South Alamo Street for a warrant for theft by check over  $20/under $500. And a Reeves County Sheriff's warrant for theft by  check over $20/ under $500.
Belinda Dominguez, 35, was arrested at 10:06 p.m., on  September 17, in the 900 block of Fourth Street, for a warrant for theft by check  over $20/under $500.
Debra Lara, 42, was arrested at 1:20 a.m., on September 18, in the 400  block of South Mesquite Street, for a warrant for theft by check over  $20/under $500.


Jovita Ramirez

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Pecos Enterprise
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