Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
County workers face health insurance cost hike
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Reeves County employees will be paying a
little bit more for health insurance, commissioners decided following a
long discussion on the subject during their regular Commissioners Court
meeting Monday morning.
"What is happening is that our funding is going down and we need to
put more money into that account," Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens
Owens said that the employer pays a portion of the insurance and the
employee pays a smaller part of it. "We're looking at putting in $75
more into our bank account and then increasing the employees portion,"
"Employees will be paying about $22 more per pay period for their
health insurance," said Owens.
Owens said that he didn't want the insurance to get to the point
that employees would no longer be able to afford the coverage.
"We paid $412,000 more than what put into the fund and we changed
the options last year," said Owens. "We're hoping to stop the deficit
in our funds and the only way to do that is increase what we are
funding, or else we'll see ourselves in dire trouble," he said.
The county added $75 more per employee per month for funding of the
insurance fund, according to Owens.
County treasurer Linda Clark told the group that the increase would
mean $22.66 more from each employee out of their paychecks.
"We're doing this because we are forced to because of the amount of
claims, aren't we?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin. He said
that he did not want to see the employees have to pay more, but that if
it was a necessary step then it had to be done.
"We want all the employees to have good health coverage," he said.
"The last few years there has been a constant drain on this fund,"
said Owens. "I don't want to price it out to where the employees can't
"You told me that the insurance wouldn't go up again," said Samuel
Urias, an RCDC employee who was in the audience at the time.
"I couldn't have possibly told you that, because we don't know,"
said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Galindo told the group that that's something you can't answer.
"Nobody can answer that, because health insurance and medical coverage
is going up constantly," he said.
"Also, we were under the impression that the deductible for a family
was $500 and now we've been told that it is $1,500," said Urias.
"We're all in this pool together and we need to help fund it as
well," said Galindo.
Urias said that he had never been advised of any changes made in the
"I'm sorry to disagree with you, but there were letters sent out
with paychecks when the changes were first made last year," said Clark.
Urias said that every time his children were sick he had to pay a
large amount of money.
"You get a little bit of a savings with being a county employee,"
said Galindo. "It costs anywhere from $60-$80 an office visit and with
the insurance you're actually paying considerably less" he said.
"Stop and look at the DOL wages you received recently, the people in
the General Fund didn't get any," said Galindo. "It comes down to
solutions, what we need to do."
"Don't you think that $1,500 deductible for a family is a lot?" said
The increase in the insurance is set to take place in November when
it's the insurance's anniversary, according to Clark.
"Nothing has changed, but the claims keep increasing," said Galindo.
"People have to refrain from going to the doctor," said commissioner
precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo. "When we used to get sick, we didn't run
to the doctor every time."
"That's not a solution, commissioner, because when you're kids get
sick you have to take them to the doctor," said Galindo. "You shouldn't
refrain from taking your children to the doctor."
"Ultimately, we have to deposit enough to cover our claims," said
The only way that the health insurance business will see some relief
is if the government does something about pharmaceuticals, according to
"For the past few years, we've made small, incremental changes, but
we've always provided good insurance for our employees," said Galindo.
"It will cost $22.66 a pay period, but we could be asking for the
whole amount each month," said Clark. "We have really good insurance
and we need to do everything we can to keep it," she said.
Under personnel and salary changes, the court approved a new hire at
the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.
Chief Juvenile Probation Louise Moore told commissioners that the
position has been vacant for a while now. "The funding for this
position will come from the state, the county does not have to pay
anything," said Moore.
"Does this position have to be filled right away or can it wait?"
"Since it's funded through the state, yes, it has to be filled right
away," she said.
The court agreed to hire Kevin Losoya at $27,000 per year with an
increase to $30,000 after a six month probation period. The position is
a state funded position and the salary will be paid from funds received
from the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission.
Some of the promotions presented to the court from the Reeves County
Detention Center were denied at this time. Carlos Campos, was promoted
to a Commissary Officer II position at a salary of $24,000 per year.
In the District Clerk's Office, Mary Lou Chavez will receive an
increase from $18,000 to $19,000 per year; Monette Arreguy will be
hired as a Deputy Clerk in the District Clerk's office at a salary of
$19,000 per year and two part-time employees were hired in the
Court-At-Law office, Linda Lester and Flor Herrera, to replace
full-time secretary Elva Contreras who is currently out on Family
Crews fixing sewer collapse shut Third St.
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Barrels that have been sitting in the
middle of the 400 block of East Third Street since last Friday have
been replaced by construction equipment today, and drivers are being
cautioned that there is a detour on Third Street, while Town of Pecos
City employees work on repairing a collapsed sewer line.
A section of the sewer line collapsed last Friday and employees were
busy this morning repairing it.
"We're replacing a 12-inch sewer line in that area," said Town of
Pecos City Water Department Foreman Ray Orona.
Orona said that the sewer line was made of old clay pipe and is
being replaced with PVC pipe. "We'll be replacing about 40 feet," said
The collapse created a low spot in the left turn lane of Third
Street that was blocked off by barrels over the weekend, until repairs
on the street could begin.
"The east bound lane will be closed all day today and tomorrow,
while the employees work on that section," said Orona. "We're
cautioning motorists about the detour and to obey all the signs."
All the parts needed for the repair work have arrived in town, and
city crews will work throughout the today and tomorrow to fix the
problem. "Right now, it is not affecting anyone, it is still flowing,"
Orona said that the major sewer line had been replaced from Oleander
Street to Ash Street, along Third Street several years ago.
"We've replaced that entire sewer line and future plans include to
replace the section from Ash all the way to Orange Street," he said.
"They're working on procuring a grant for that."
"We're just doing a repair on this section now, until we get the
main pipeline in," said Orona.
P-B-T, Balmorhea schools hold anti-drug events
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Red Ribbon Week has kicked off in
Pecos on Monday with a number of events that will continue until
Monday was "Put a Cap on Drugs" everyone wore caps or hats, while
today is "Follow Your Dreams - Don't Do Drugs" day, with students,
teachers and staff wearing pajamas to school). Wednesday will be "High
On Life" (crazy hair day); Thursday "Put a Stop to Drugs", everyone is
encouraged to wear red and Friday, "Eagle Pride Teams Up Against Drugs"
(wear purple and gold).
In conjunction, the school district will be sponsoring a Drug-Free
program, the Patsy Torres Positive Force Tour on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.,
for all kindergarten through sixth grade students and at 1:30 p.m., for
all seventh through 12th grade students, at the Pecos High School new
Torres and the Positive Force Tour will also be in Balmorhea from
2-3 p.m. Wednesday at the Balmorhea School Gym. The public is invited
Balmorhea students and staff will celebrate throughout the week as
well. Wednesday, is "Put a Stop on Drugs" (wear red); Thursday, is
"Black Out Drugs" (wear black) and Friday, is "Drugs are Scary!" "Scare
away the Indians!" wear Halloween Costumes.
In Pecos, Red Ribbon Week is is sponsored by the P-B-T ISD
Counselors with the assistance of the PHS Student Council,
cheerleaders, teachers, administrators, law enforcement agencies, and
other community organizations.
The counselors invite the community to come support the fight
against drugs. A section for Thursday's performances at the PHS gym has
been reserved for visitors.
All schools are decorating with red to support the fight against
drugs. Many activities are held throughout all the schools. The
counselors will distribute ribbons and invite the community to
participate following a Pecos Talking radio show.
"We want to extend a special invitation to all law enforcement and
community groups to participate and wish to thank them for their fight
against drugs," said Austin Elementary School Counselor Rosie Salcido.
A section has been reserved for all law enforcement agencies. Law
enforcement agencies are encouraged to bring a banner to display at the
Basketball referees needed for sub-varsity games
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Referees are being sought for Pecos
Eagle junior high and sub-varsity high school basketball games between
late November and early February.
The games are for both boys and girls teams. Anyone interesting in
officiating boys or girls games should call coach Joe Flores, daytime
at 447-7220 and evenings at 445-2721.
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- High Mon. 78. Low this morning 50.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 45 to 50. SE winds 10 to 15
mph Shifting to the south near 10 mph after midnight. Wed.: Mostly
sunny. Highs 85 to 90. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Wed. night: Mostly
clear. Lows in the mid 50s to the lower 60s. Southwest winds 10 to 20
mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s to the lower 90s.
West winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the
lower to mid 50s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 80s.
Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s.
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.
Mary Lauderdale, 42, was arrested for
public intoxication on Oct. 20, at 6:15 p.m., in the 400 block of
Delma Rodriguez, 31, was arrested on a
warrant for aggravated assault with a knife and a motion to adjudicate
on Oct. 20, at 4:38 p.m., at the corner of Washington and Eddy streets.
Gilbert Ramirez, 23, was served with a
warrant for theft by check from Ector County on Oct. 18, at 3:45 a.m.,
while in custody at the CJC.
Santiago Ortega Jr., 20, was arrested on
five warrants: two counts of failure to display drivers license, two
counts of violation of a failure to appear, a seat belt violation, and
on count of driving at an unsafe speed on Oct. 17, at 11:13 p.m.,
during a traffic stop at Johnson and Walthall streets.
Jeremiah Elijah Stevenson, 22, Michael
Wayne Wendleton, 35, and William Richard Smith, 31, were arrested
during a traffic stop on Oct. 24, at 11:10, in the 800 block of Palmer
Street. Stevenson was arrested for failure to identify and unauthorized
use of a motor vehicle; Wendleton and Smith were also charged with
unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Joe Daniel Wright, 25, was arrested on a
warrant for possession of an open alcoholic beverage container and a
violation of a promise to appear on Oct. 26, at 1:53 a.m., at Club
Suavecito at Ninth and Cedar streets.
Paul Rubio, 45, Toney Rodriguez, 23, and
Hector Jose Perez, 25, were arrested on Oct. 25, at 1:59 p.m., during a
traffic stop in the 1900 block of South Park Street. Rubio and Perez
were charged with public intoxication and Rodriguez was charged with
driving without a license.
Roy Jimenez, 19, was arrested for public
intoxication on Oct. 25, at 5:37 a.m., at the Flying J truck stop.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise