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Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Work begins on first home in city project

Staff Writer

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 Pecos.

"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 housing."

RCH weighs rural clinic status change

Staff Writer

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 facility.

"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 added.

"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 system?"

"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 qualified for."

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," Vernor said.

Halloween parade revived, relocated after break

Staff Writer

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 5 p.m.

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 Third Street

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," he said.

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 said.

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 Thursday's program.

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 mid 80s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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