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PECOS, MAY 27, 1987 - Twelve people remained in area hospitals today
with injuries received in the Saragosa tornado last Friday night,
although most of the patients have now been released.
At Reeves County Memorial Hospital seven of the original eight have been
released. Still hospitalized is Olga Mendoza, who is listed in stable
condition, according to Lily Serrano, medical records director at the
At Medical Center Hospital in Odessa the condition of Raul Lopez has
been undated to stable condition and he is out of the intensive care
unit, according to hospital spokesperson Katy Wythe, Dorothy Berdon and
Ramon Meneses are still in ICU.
The hospital reports Socorro Vasquez and Candelaria Mondaragon have been
released from the hospital.
Seven people in stable condition remain as patients at Medical Center
Hospital. They are Adrian Casillas, Lisa Carrillo, Juana Bejaran,
Dorothy Hidalgo, Aurora Briceno, Merium Mondragon and Theresea Quintana.
Seven people admitted to Pecos County Memorial Hospital in Fort Stockton
have been released and one remains in stable condition, hospital
personal report. The hospital would not release names of the patients.
According to Linda Wiklie, director of nursing at Brewster Memorial
County Hospital in Alpine, all of the six people admitted to that
hospital have been released.
Ward County Memorial Hospital attended to one tornado victim who was
released Tuesday, according to Sue Rinehart, LVN.
Craig Clark, resident engineer for the Texas Department of Highways and
Public Transportation in Pecos, said today his men will move damaged
houses to the dump ground but need homeowners' permission before
removing the houses.
Also, he said they need homeowners' assistance in locating water and gas
A place has been reserved on the bulletin board at the sheriff's trailer
in Saragosa where homeowners can write their names and indicate where
they can be reached, Clark said.
Or they can call highway department employee Jose Rodriguez in Balmorhea
(375-2550) or the Pecos district office (445-3800).
Herbert Edward Burdan, 70, of Saragosa, is to be cremated and a memorial
service in his honor is still pending.
Burdan, a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Saragosa, died
as a result of injuries he received Friday.
A funeral mass was held at Saint Catherine's Catholic Church in Pecos
Monday for two Pecos residents killed in the disaster.
Thirteen victims were buried Tuesday in Saragosa Cemetery and four were
buried in Balmorhea after a funeral mass was conducted by Bishop Raymond
Pena at the Saragosa cemetery.
Six were buried in Kermit Cemetery after services held Tuesday in Wink
Community Center Three were Wink residents, and three were residents of
A funeral service was held at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Fort
Davis Tuesday for a Toyahvale resident, with burial following in the
church cemetery in Fort Davis.
Services are to be held in Ojinaga, Mexico, later this week for two
Saragosa residents, a husband and wife, who died from injuries received
in the Friday night tornado.
They also decided that Hospital Corporation of America should take over
operation of Reeves County Hospital beginning Monday.
Reeves County Commissioners and HCA wrapped up terms of the final
agreement at a commissioners meeting late Tuesday afternoon.
Under the three-year contract, which takes effect June 1, HCA is
responsible for the administrative direction of Reeves County Hospital;
reserves the right to hire an administrator and with county approval can
hire a controller.
The agreement, which will earn HCA a fee of $84,000 per year, can be
terminated by either party after the first year and is automatically
renewed unless the county or HCA decides to abandon the contract within
90 days before its expiration date.
The county also provided that the contract with HCA can be terminated at
the end of the three year period.
HCA agreed to defer management fees until Jan. 1.
"HCA will manage the hospital but the county will still own it," Andy
Epps, HCA district vice president, said.
"All the rural hospitals in the U.S. and Texas are in trouble from one
degree to another," he said. "However, with this hospital it's not
questionable; it has a chance."
Commissioner Bernardo Martinez was against acceptance of the contract
and told the Court they were making a "hasty decision."
Martinez voiced strong opposition to the contract because the court did
not have a final draft of the agreement, which included the changes
agreed to by both parties yesterday.
He said his opposition is mainly because the court agreed and signed a
contract that is not even finished.
County attorney Scott Johnson said a final copy of the contract should
be delivered to him tomorrow.
"I think what we ought to do is to just get our own administrator and
get with it," Martinez said.
Before the meeting, Martinez cited increased collections by the hospital
for April and May as the reason for wanting to hire an administrator
exclusively instead of the firm.
The hospital, which is presently under the direction of the county,
collected $24, 631.06 during April and $58,632.57 during May, according
to Martinez. Despite this the hospital is still in debt.
Martinez is also opposed to the contract because it does not allow
county residents to vote on making the hospital a subdivision of the
county. The contract automatically makes the hospital a subdivision.
A first meeting at 1:30 p.m. was recessed because County Judge Bill
Pigman was scheduled to tour the Saragosa area with Gov. Bill Clements.
The meeting resumed at 5 p.m.
The court also voted to publish an intent to issue certificates of
obligation amounting to $750,000 which includes an increase from the
original $500,000 they decided earlier was needed to pay for expenses at
the county hospital.
The increased amount of the certificates provides a safe base for the
county in case more money is needed later.
The court will take bids June 8 on a computer system for the county
hospital and turned down a proposal to pay over $8,000 to a computer
firm for starting the process of installing computers at the hospital
which would alleviate the tedious process of keeping hospital records by
"Revenue is going through the cracks in the floor because they can't do
it by hand," the county judge said.
Also defeated was a bill to pay a Cincinnati, Ohio, legal firm which was
hired by the previous operators of the hospital to disintegrate its
contract with the county.
The seniors, many of whom lost relatives or have some that were injured
in the Saragosa tornado, had considered foregoing their graduation
"They got together this morning, talked it over, and decided that life
has got to go on," said Balmorhea superintendent Bob Clanton.
"They will graduate June 5 at 8 p.m. in the high school gymnasium," he
said. "And we will bar all reporters from it."
Reporters, relief workers and volunteers bringing supplies and food to
Balmorhea have tossed Saragosa's sister city in the wake of Friday's
Balmorhea schools were shut down a week early, and they have since
served as relief stations and funeral parlors.
Students and school officials, along with Balmorhea residents, have
spent the past week mourning the deaths and helping to serve the
survivors of Friday's tornado.
Clanton's wife, Elaine, acting city secretary for Balmorhea, said
out-of-town relief workers will likely begin moving out soon, and
residents are prepared to make a full-time effort of distributing the
many items that have been sent there.
"We have canned goods, and stuff stacked to the ceiling in some places,"
He said the need for the space of Balmorhea school facilities was one
reason he called off the last week of classes. The main reason was
because of the tragedy itself.
"The tornado involved so many of our kids that either lived there or had
relatives there," Clanton said.
"we lost two of our sophomores, and two staff members - a custodian and
a cafeteria worker," Clanton said.
Though Saragosa is officially a member of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah attend
school in Balmorhea, which is about 20 miles closer than Pecos.
Clanton ended the school year on Saturday simply by "word of mouth," he
said, and then notified the Texas Education Agency of his decision.
He said TEA was in full support and waived the schools' having to make
up the lost week.
"They offered to help in anyway they can," Clanton said.
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