Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Work begins on first home in city project
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- Construction is underway on the first of
20 planned homes for the central part of Pecos, as part of a project to
provide affordable housing for more local residents.
City Manager Carlos Yerena said that construction crews were well on
their way to finishing the first house in the Airlawn Addition, and
that it was already under contract to be purchased by a family here in
"This one will not go under the low-income category, but the
low-income units will be comparable in size to this first one," Yerena
said. "Once this house is complete, work will begin on the next unit
and so on."
Ground was broken in March of 2002 on the project, located in the
800 and 900 blocks of Washington Street. The grant, totaling $400,000,
required the city provide the land, sidewalks, fire hydrants, sewer
lines and utility hook-ups.
Utility work was done this past winter followed by the construction
of curbs and sidewalks. The city contracted out the construction to
Ameriway Construction Company, which will cover the building costs and
in-turn sell the houses to recoup their investment.
Eleven of the homes must be sold at an affordable level and the
remaining nine may be sold at a higher price to cover the costs.
"We have recently received another grant to aid the low-income
applicants, if qualified, that will help them cover closing costs and
down payments," Yerena said, "the grant totals approximately $300,000,
which will allow us to help 22-25 families get into affordable
RCH weighs rural clinic status change
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- Reeves County Hospital Board members
discussed a classification change for the under-construction Rural
Health Clinic at the hospital, and also discussed approval of the
district's 2003 tax rolls during their regularly scheduled monthly
meeting Tuesday night in the classroom at the hospital.
Board members were presented an update from the hospital
administration on its study of making RCH into a federally qualified
healthcare center (FQHC), an effort the Bush Administration is backing
for rural hospitals in the United States.
Recently the hospital received a $55,000 grant from the state to
look into the possibility of converting the new Rural Health Clinic
that is still under construction on the north side of the hospital into
a FQHC. The conversion would allow RCH to collect federal money to
reimburse the cost of indigent and poverty level care provided at the
"We are starting to look at which option is going to be most
beneficial to the hospital and the community," Hospital Administrator
Robert Vernor said. "This program would allow the hospital to collect
federal money for the care provided to low-income patients instead of
the cost coming from the tax money that RCH collects."
This is a similar program to the rural health clinic that is
currently underway; but Vernor said only the FQHC program is the one
currently being backed strongly by the federal executive branch.
"This program (FQHC) is Bush's proposed idea to take care of access
problems to healthcare service for rurally located Americans," Vernor
"What if the program is not backed in a few years if the
administration changes," Board member Leo Hung inquired, "will the
hospital be able to convert back to the rural healthcare clinic
"That is what the grant is here for, to look into all of the
possible routes, benefits and drawbacks to becoming a FQHC," Vernor
said, "The Sanderson facility has already converted, and due to our
larger size we should qualify for more funds than they have been
RCH is projected to collect a total of $1,632,258 off of the 2003
tax roll. That is an increase from 2002's tax roll by approximately
$12,000. Also the hospital board looked at the corrections for the
previous year's tax roll. The total for 2002, $4,129, comes from late
filings of exemptions, clerical errors, deleted property, tax refunds
and resale of foreclosed property. This figure adds to the revenue the
hospital can expect to receive in its collections for the year.
In other business, the board looked at the monthly tax report, the
payment of bills, the financial statements and budget amendments under
the consent agenda. All accounts payable were approved, but the board
had questions as to the decreased income for the month of October.
"The hospital has experienced larger numbers of outpatient services
that has led to a decrease in revenue," hospital CFO Bill Conger said,
"the high number of Medicare insured patients we treat here dictates
that those patients must go through the outpatient program as opposed
to other insurance providers that allow the inpatient program to be
utilized for a higher number of kinds of services."
The inpatient route draws more revenue for the hospital by allowing
the patients to stay longer after a procedure, thus increasing the
overall bill to the insurance company.
The board also addressed inquires by Town of Pecos City officials as
to the possibility of the hospital covering a larger portion of the
cost of the emergency medical services provided by the city.
"Councilman Danny Rodriguez and City Manager Carlos Yerena have both
contacted me to in order to see about the hospital contributing a
larger amount of money for the service," Vernor said, "for this I have
told them that they would have to get on the agenda for future meetings
and be heard in front of the board."
Vernor also commented during his 'administrator's report' that
construction on the hospital addition was ahead of schedule and under
budget as had been hoped, but warned the board that the new
construction was the easy part, it would be once the addition was
finished and the renovation of the existing facilities began that
unforeseen problems could arise.
The board also heard from Vernor on the progress on the J-1 visa
application-approval process for the two new doctors slated to help
staff the new wing.
"Both doctors have been selected for visa consideration, and I have
spoken with people overseeing the process and have been told that both
candidates look very strong. Dr. Abdo has already been approved for his
state license and Dr. Moorti is still in the application process,"
Halloween parade revived, relocated after break
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- Ghosts, goblins, princesses and
warriors are all invited to participate in the Annual Mother Goose and
Friends Halloween Parade, which will be held in a new location this
year after not taking place at all in 2002.
The parade is scheduled for Friday afternoon along West Third
Street, instead of in the downtown area as in previous years. Line-up
will be at 4:15 p.m. with judging at 4:30 and the parade will begin at
This year's parade will start at Hackberry and Third Street and will
end at the old Ben's Spanish Inn parking lot, located at Oleander and
Age categories are birth through three years of age; four to six
years; seven to 12 years of age and groups of two or more.
The event is sponsored by the Women's Division of the Pecos Area
Chamber of Commerce.
With Halloween on a Friday this year, Town of Pecos City officials
have designated that day for all trick-or-treaters. The city has moved
the date in previous years, when Halloween has fallen in the middle of
the week or on a Sunday.
Extra law enforcement officers will be out on Halloween night making
sure that the youngsters in the community enjoy a safe holiday. "That's
our main concern, is to keep everyone safe, especially the children,"
said Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney.
"We want to keep the kids from getting hurt and the community safe,"
McKinney added that the officers would also be on the look out to
make sure nobody's property is destroyed.
"Try to have the children dressed in some type of reflective costume
or clothing, that will be easily seen as they cross the street," said
McKinney. "Also, try to provide adult supervision at all times so that
the children do not get hurt in any way."
He advised everyone that if they see mischief being done on
someone's property to report it to the Pecos Police Department. "We'll
be here to help and to send officers out where they are needed," he
On top of the list of precautions to take, is to visit the homes of
relatives and friends, or those homes whose lights are on.
"We usually don't set a deadline as to when trick-Or-treating ends,
but since it gets dark early, we advise everyone to take the younger
ones out early," said McKinney. "We want everyone to enjoy themselves,
but to be safe."
Anti-drug shows for PBT students set
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah 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 gym.
The event is part of Red Ribbon Week in the P-B-T ISD. A section of
the gym has been reserved for all law enforcement agencies. Law
enforcement agencies are encouraged to bring a banner to display at the
program, and community groups are also urged to participate in
Blimp spends night in Pecos on western trip
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- The Fuji Film blimp stopped in at the
Pecos Municipal Airport Tuesday and allowed the city close up view of
something they see from so far away typically.
The ship, which is the largest in the country, measures just under
200 feet long and is powered by two Porsche model 930 engines,
producing a combined horsepower of 510. The senior captain, Mike
Fitzpatrick who has been flying for 30 years, his two junior captains
and the ground crew, comprise the 22 people that it takes to keep the
ship going. The three captains fly the ship while the ground crew
follows in an entourage of seven vehicles behind it, or in front of it
depending on the wind conditions that day.
The ship has a maximum speed of 35 mph with no wind; therefore head
and tail winds play a large role in the distance the ship can cover.
Its last stop was in Midland, and after Pecos the ship will continue
westward. The planned departure is for tomorrow, depending on wind
conditions, and the next probable stop will be in Deming, N.M.
The blimp is currently on tour, on its way to Las Vegas for the
Comdex computer convention. It is based out of New York, but will
winter in Southern California until it is time to return to the East
Coast. The blimp is sponsored by Fuji and has been under contract with
the film company for 22 years.
The stop by the ship brings commerce to the town with all of the
crew eating at local restaurants and sleeping at local hotels. The ship
is fueled up on aviation grade fuel at the airport and the caravan of
trucks following the ship fill up on gas here in town. The captains
have a choice where they land, and chose Pecos according to the fixed
base operator, Isabel Blanchard, due to the warm reception they receive
from town's people.
PECOS, Wed., Oct. 29, 2003 -- High Tues. 82. Low this morning 42.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 55. SW winds 10 to 20
mph. Thurs.: Mostly sunny. Highs 85 to 90. West winds 10 to 15 mph
increasing to 15 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Thurs. night: Partly
cloudy. Lows near 50. SW winds 15 to 25 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph
after midnight. Fri.: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. SW winds 10
to 15 mph. Fri. night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s. Sat.: Partly
cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower to
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