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Mar. 13, 1997

Wayne's (and Amalie's) world

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By Steve Patterson
Of the News

MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - In 1950, on the advice of his doctor, Wayne
and Amalie Long moved from the damp climate of Corpus Christi to the dry
heat of the West Texas Desert. Here, far away from the water of the
Gulf, Wayne Long would become obsessed with bringing a body of water to
land-locked Monahans.
Eight years after coming to Monahans, Wayne was finally able to put
his dream to reality when he filled what is now the Million Barrel Tank
in his effort to create a forerunner to the now-common water-theme park.
Apparently, Long was before his time.
Indeed, West Texans now give little thought to the Water Wonderland
Park on the stretch of interstate between Odessa and Midland, but then
again, this is 1997. In the mid-1950s, to say that Long's idea was met
with skepticism would be an understatement.
The support of the people of Monahans was "not overwhelming" recalled
Long's widow, Amalie, in a recent interview. There were a few
supporters, but they tended to keep their support quiet.
Long, a drive-in theater owner and real estate speculator, is still
remembered today by several of his surviving friends as a near-genius in
self-promotion with a great love for practical jokes. In talking with
Amalie, the feeling comes across that she believed her husband to be a
misunderstood visionary.
The fact that the mention of Wayne Long's name today still brings a
diversity of comments and opinions - some positive, some negative - is
living testimony that he was "a man who knew how to get things done."
Long was active in several civicorganizations, most notably the Lions
Long-time members still remember Wayne as bringing some of the best -
if somewhat expensive - programs the membership ever enjoyed. One time,
the legend goes, Wayne brought in a troupe of Hispanic women bullwhip
artists to perform for the Lions. Although it was great entertainment,
some members were not amused.
One close friend of Wayne's recalled the time Wayne was responsible
for bringing in a visiting Swiss diplomat.
Long talked a program chairman of the Lions into writing a letter to a
state senator in Austin inviting him to speak at an evening meeting at
the Best Western.
The senator wrote an apologetic letter back to the organization
explaining that his schedule made it impossible to accept their
However, the letter went on, there was to be a visiting Swiss
ambassador in the West Texas area and the senator would be glad to try
and arrange a visit.
The diplomat's dinner became the hottest ticket in town with many
non-Lions "big shots and city officials" pulling strings to attend.
The Best Western, according to the story, was crowded with Monahans'
best wanting to rub elbows with a real European diplomat.
They were not let down when the distinguished-looking gentleman rose
to address the gathering. He was dressed to the nines in an elaborate
coat festooned with geegaws. In a heavy Swiss accent, the ambassador
started telling jokes that brought down the house.
The mood quickly changed when the visitor started dumping heavy
criticism on U.S. policy. An awkward silence filled the room until at
last someone recognized the diplomat to be none other than Cactus Pryor,
a noted prankster from Austin.
Credit for engineering the evening quickly went to Wayne Long and
several of those in attendance - especially non-Lions - were visibly
It was Long's dedication to his vision of what the Million Barrel tank
- long abandoned by Shell Oil - could mean to the area. In the midst of
an town where the economy was oil and gas, here was a lone voice
pushing tourism as a plausible proposition.
Wayne started promoting his idea when he served in 1953 as chairman of
the Chamber of Commerce's Tourist Promotion Committee.
He began the negotiations with Shell Oil Midland to lease the mammoth
facility to the city for a token fee of $1 per year. Shell made the
offer with the proviso that the city be ready to begin construction on
needed improvements to the tank immediately.
According to Amalie, it took the city fathers six months to decline
the offer. Obviously, the city council failed to share Wayne's
Disappointed but undaunted, Wayne decided to put his money where his
mouth was and bought the tank himself in July of 1954 for between
$28,000 and $30,000.
Wayne began a search for a source of water to fill the tank to its 45
million gallon capacity. Several influential voices in and around
Monahans let it be known in coffee shop conversation that they
considered the plan a hare-brained folly because the tank leaked.
Just as it made her do in the mid-50s, Amalie Long still bristles with
indignation at the suggestion that the tank leaked. Her husband maynot
have foreseen some of the problems in undertaking such an ambitious
project, but he certainly did not buy a tank that leaked.
"It really irritates me that some people here in Monahans believe that
leakage was a problem... that's why they think Shell Oil abandoned it,
but that's not correct at all. Sure there was seepage, any structure of
that size is going to have seepage, but the main problem was
Amalie contends that just as evaporation was a major problem for Wayne
to overcome, it was also the problem for Shell Oil. Even after the
company skinned a huge roof over the tank, it was still plagued by
losses due to evaporation. The company had a considerable investment in
more than just the Monahans tank. It had also built Million Barrel tanks
in Rankin and Bakersfield, Calif. To this day, Amalie defends the
structural integrity of the tank.
According to a Fort Worth Star Telegram article written by columnist
George Dolan around 1958,
Wayne drilled 11 wells in his search for water and struck oil in nine of
them. Two of the wells, however, did provide Wayne with his water and
when Dolan visited the site, there was reportedly 220 gallons per minute
being pumped around the clock into the structure.
According to Amalie, there was not enough oil for Wayne to grow rich
from, just enough to mess up his plans.
In September of 1958, Wayne told The El Paso Times that he was losing
about half of his daily water supply to evaporation and seepage. Still,
the tank was filling and he optimistically predicted that he would be
floating canoes and a barge/dance floor by the following month.
In the four years it took Wayne to fill the tank with water, he also
spent a great deal of time emptying the tank of years' accumulation of
trash and rubbish.
Once emptied and cleaned, he sponsored some hot rod races and other
Through it all, he never lost his vision of bringing a lake to Monahans
and all the possibilities which he could float in that lake.
(NEXT WEEK: The Wayne Long Dream, Part Two.)
(The bulk of information in this article was provided by the Ward County
Historical Commission as well as personal interviews.)

Stage Stores Inc. acquires C.R. Anthony Co.

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MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - C. R. Anthony Co.'s department store in
Monahans is expected to survive the acquisition of the parent company on
its diamond anniversary by Houston-based Stage Stores Inc., report
company executives.
They say no changes in work force are projected and the store will
remain open. Stage will bring the special expertise of its growing
retail outlets to the operation.
But Anthony's-Monahans on Stockton Street will receive a new name, most
likely Beall's, which has high name identification in West Texas; less
likely, Stage. Beall-Ladymon was acquired by Stage in November of 1994.
If the $93 million deal for Anthony's is approved as expected by the
appropriate federal agencies, confirmation is expected in June or July.
Directors of both companies approved the merger last week.
Under the plan, Stage Stores acquires the Anthony stock for about $73
million. In addition, Stage assumes about $15 million in Anthony debt.
"Except for the assimilation of C.R. Anthony's headquarters and
distribution center (at Norman, Okla.) over time, few, if any, work
force reductions are expected to occur as a result of the transaction,"
says a communique to the Monahans News.
Anthony's-Monahans employees said they were notified of the scheduled
transition last Thursday about the same time Stage released the results
of the individual board actions in a joint statement from Stage and
Says that statement: "The transaction, which was approved by the Boards
of Directors of both retailers, will result in a company with over 550
stores across small towns and communities in 23 states and sales in
excess of $1 billion (a year)."
The acquisition by Stage was the third major expansion move for the firm
in three years. It acquired Beall-Ladymon in 1994 and Uhlmans in 1996.
Under the plan, C.R. Anthony Co. will become a Stage subsidiary and
Stage Stores CEO Carl Tooker will be its chief operating officer.
Stage's take over of Anthony's has ended a troubled period for the
venerable retailer, established by Charles Ross Anthony in 1922 at
Cushing, Okla. By 1982, Anthony's operated over 300 stores in 21 states.
In 1987, a group of investors bought out the Anthony family and ran into
the tough retail markets of 1991 forcing Anthony's to seek Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection from its creditors in 1991.
From an Anthony's statement: "The company rose out of bankruptcy in
1992 much healthier with a more defined customer focus and product
In the five years hence, Anthony closed 23 "under performing" stores
(one at Kermit) and opened 67 new ones primarily in small to midsize
Says Tooker of Stage: "This transaction is a compelling opportunity and
represents a major strategic step in our ongoing plan to position Stage
Stores as a growth retailer. C.R. Anthony represents an excellent
geographic fit, offering significant market adjacencies with minimum
overlap. . .both of our companies place great emphasis on customer
service, quality and value. As a result we are looking forward to a
smooth transition. We believe the transaction will bring significant
value to the shareholders of both companies.

"Doctors are sued by Ward Memorial

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MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - Ward Memorial Hospital has filed breach of
contract suits against two physicians.
It was the first salvo in a legal tangle between the hospital and its
contract physicians that promises to be long, expensive and acrimonious,
according to insiders. The issues will be dollars and obligations by
both sides - the hospitals and the doctors.
It was the first open attack in a dispute between the doctors and the
hospital that has plagued administration-doctor relations for months.
Counter suit is promised by at least one of the physicians sued this
The defendants are Drs. Phillip F. Jackson and Joel L. Adams.
Lawyer Jack R. Stern, who represents Jackson, said in a Jan. 31 letter
to the Ward County Commissioner's Court:
"In the event that litigation ensues, you are respectfully notified
that Dr. Jackson will be retaining the services of a Big 6 accounting
firm to audit his practice as well as billing professionals to go
through all records to determine what services were and weren't billed
out. In addition to defending himself, my client will have no other
recourse than to counter sue for breach of contract and other torts as
Lonnie Hobbs and David P. Zavoda of the Odessa firm of Hirsch, Stroder &
Hobbs are the attorneys of record for the suit against Adams and
Jackson. Ward County Attorney Kevin D. Acker is not listed as
representing the county hospital.
In the hospital petitions filed by Hirsch, Stroder & Hobbs, Ward
Memorial demands a total of nearly a quarter-million dollars in
compensation from the doctors for alleged breach of contracts with the
From Jackson, the Monahans hospital seeks $187,618.85; from Adams,
$36,331.54. In addition the individual suits seek other remedies which
may be provided by law. Both suits seek trial by jury.
The pleadings were filed in the 143rd District Court late Tuesday, March
11, in Monahans.
From the petition filed by the hospital against Jackson:
"On the 28th Day of July, 1995, Plaintiff (Ward Memorial Hospital) and
defendant (Jackson) executed the written contract that is attached . .
.Under the terms of the contract, Defendant agreed to establish a full
time private practice of medicine in Monahans . . .in his particular
area of expertise, within a reasonable distance from the hospital, for a
period of two years. Defendant also agreed to develop a full time
private practice of medicine which meant he was required to devote an
average of at least 40 or more hours per week for 46 weeks during a year
and defendant is required to maintain reasonable office hours."
Under the terms of the contract, according to the pleadings, Jackson
agreed that if he ceased to be a member of the hospital's staff or if he
discontinued his practice within two years of Aug. 28, 1995, he would be
obligated to pay the hospital funds advanced to him.
The petition alleges that Jackson "wrongfully has terminated his
practice" and has not fulfilled the terms of the contract and seeks
$187,618.85 from Jackson.
In the letter from Jackson's attorney, Stern, to the Commissioner's
Court, Stern wrote to the commissioners:
"Regrettably, Ward Memorial Hospital was the first party to breach its
obligations under its contract with Dr. Jackson by failing to manage his
practice in a competent and professional manner. Although I have
listened to the Board's 'spin control' on the situation - Dr. Jackson is
not a good business man."
Then in Stern's letter he wondered if the same were true of three other
physicians working under hospital contracts, including Adams.
More from Stern's letter:
"Perhaps Mr. (William) O'Brien (hospital administrator) sees Dr. Jackson
as the instigator of this 'mutiny on the county.' On the other hand
maybe Mr. O'Brien needs someone to take the heat off him and the
Here a references is made in the letter to the inspections by the Joint
Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.
Stern notes the billing questions raised by Jackson (The hospital, under
the contract, was to provide billing and accounts service to Jackson and
the other four physicians.)
Stern also refers to the dollars the hospital says in its petition that
it is owed by Jackson.
"Dr. Jackson thought this matter was settled when the hospital retained
approximately $20,000 of receivables that was owed to him - receivables
that should have been billed out 90 days prior to the expiration of his
contract. Apparently, such is not the case."
In the letter Stern told the commissioners that the hospital
administration and the hospital board of managers depended upon the
commission for authority to fund litigation like that filed against
Jackson and Adams.
Wednesday, County Judge Sam G. Massey said he was talking with attorneys
to determine what the commissioners options might be. He said he knew
about the possibility of suit against the physicians named as defendants
but he did not know suit had been filed. He also says dollars to hire an
Odessa law firm to handle the case "were not budgeted." County Attorney
Kevin D. Acker said he had not been informed of the filing of the suits
until he was contacted by the Monahans News.
From Stern's letter to the commissioners:
"Neither Dr. Jackson nor myself is dependent on Ward County to make a
living. Each of you will answer to your constituents. Dr. Jackson is
willing to answer to a jury."
In the comparable suit filed by the hospital against Dr. Joel L. Adams,
it is alleged that the contract claimed to be breached was dated Sept.
29, 1993. The hospital seeks $36,331.54 from Adams.
In both suits, the hospital also seeks attorney's fees plus other costs
of the action.

Jobs, dollars coming back to oil patch

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By Jerome P. Curry
Of the News

MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - Jobs and dollars are coming back to the oil
patch in Ward and Winkler counties.
Oil and gas field wages in Ward and Winkler County are up more than $1
million a year. Production values and economic factors in the two
counties pushed past $1 billion last year.
John Kruse of the Texas Workforce Commission reports that in the second
quarter of 1996 wages paid to workers in oil and gas extraction in Ward
County totaled $5,135,000 compared with $4,968,000 for the second
quarter the year before. That was an average weekly wage of $574.13 for
Ward County oil workers. In Winkler County, the numbers were $3,231,000
and $3,184,800 with an average weekly wage in the second quarter of
Kruse notes those are the latest numbers available and they show a
definite trend up after the Oil Patch dive that began about a decade and
one-half ago.
But there's more.
John Stineman of the Railroad Commission of Texas notes in 1996: :"Ward
County produced 6,117,150 barrels of oil and 64,869,804 million cubic
feet of natural gas with wellhead value of $243 million and economic
value of $707.2 million.
"Winkler County produced 5,018,928 barrels of oil and 68,655,805 million
cubic feet of natural gas with wellhead value of $218 million and
economic value of $634.4 million."
Carole Keeton Rylander, the Texas Railroad Commissioner, flatly states
that the economic resurgence in the Ward and Winkler County Oil Patch is
"We're seeing a lot of optimism," says Rylander. "This may not be a boom
but this is definitely a bang. And that's great for Texas!"
What is happening in the West Texas Desert, Rylander says is reflected
across the state.
"I think it's a testimony to good ol' Texas grit and American ingenuity,
if you will, that anybody is in the oil and gas industry anymore when
you look at the burdensome regulations and the excessive taxation and
environmental compliance costs," notes Rylander. "In 1996, Texas oil and
gas producers rolled up their sleeves and went to work to reenergize the
energy industry."
So far, it is working.
Last year, according to Railroad Commission statistics, the Oil Patch:
1. pumped more than $60 billion into the state economy. Rylander says
that is one out of every nine dollars produced in Texas.
2. provided more than 500,000 jobs.
3. allocated more than $131 million to the state's Permanent School Fund
and $64 million to the Permanent University Fund.
4. Paid nearly $1 billion in indirect sales taxes.
From January of 1996 to January of this year, according to the Texas
Workforce Commission's Labor Market Review, the number of oil and gas
extraction jobs in the state increased from 145,700 to 150,600, up 3.5
percent. Statistically, 4,202 persons were employed overall in Ward
Count, say the statistics, with 313 counted as unemployed who would
ordinarily work, an unemployment rate of 6.9 prcent The number of those
jobs related to The Ward County Oil Patch was not known.
In January, Baker Hughes Co. of Houston reported the Texas rotary rig
count was 303, up from 242 rigs running in January and two less than the
state's rotary rig count in December.
The economic struggles in the oil and gas industry began about 15 years
From an analysis in the Texas Labor Market Review:
"Between 1973 and 1981, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) drastically increased their oil prices. Over production
of oil by non-OPEC producers soon followed, making the higher OPEC
prices unsustainable. This marked the beginning of the 198-0s oil bust.
Dramatic declines in the level of employment in the oil industry soon
Then the Oil Patch busted again in 1986.
But the numbers seem to indicate, as noted, that the industry is
returning in Ward and Winkler counties as well as in the state, note
officials of oil and gas service companies operating in the Monahans

Hiring heats up in oil patch

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MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - Hiring oil and gas workers in Ward County has
turned into a chore unheard of as little as a year ago, reports David
Cutbirth of Monahans Nipple-Up Service Inc.
David, the mayor of Monahans, and his brother, Henry, control the
The reason, says David Cutbirth, is that the oil and gas fields are
humming, which they haven't done for a while.
"Not too long ago," reports Cutbirth, "I would advertise for crews and
have 200, 300 apply for just a few jobs."
Currently, the process is different. Monahans Nipple-Up has been
advertising for crews. They need mechanics, drivers with CDL licenses,
oil field workers.
Says Cutbirth: "We have had zero applications from mechanics and people
with CDLs. We have had only a few apply for the jobs who would qualify."
At Monahans Nipple-Up, company policy prohibits ear rings, beards and
requires short haircuts.
"It may be that no body wants to work in Ward County but it is more
likely that the work force just is not there right now," says

Two more jail guards approved

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MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - Sheriff Ben Keele says approval of two new
guards will bring the crowded Ward County Jail up to Texas state
Keele notes the jail prisoner census has accelerated this year, a
combination of intensive law enforcement and housing federal prisoners.
"It appears we will have more than 500,000 prisoners in the jail this
year, " says the sheriff.
In 1996, Keele says about 450,000 prisoners were clients of the Ward
County Jail at one time or another.
Built for a daily census of 72 prisoners, the Ward County Jail count on
Wednesday was 79, 20 of whom were federal prisoners booked into the jail
on Wednesday.
Ward County receives $40 a day for each federal prisoner.
The jail had been operating with eight guards; not enough, according to
the report Keele received on Feb. 26 from the State Commission on Jail
"We needed 10 jailers," notes the sheriff. "The state requires eight
jailers up to 48 prisoners. We have to have 10."
Ward County commissioners approved the two additional jail guard
positions on Monday. It will cost the county, the sheriff estimates,
about $40,000 a year.
But Keele also says revenue from federal prisoners will more than cover
the costs of two new guards.
The sheriff emphasizes that approval of hiring the additional jail
officers avoids potential problems with state regulators nad meets the
commission's demands.

Training grants help area law enforcement

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MONAHANS, Mar. 13, 1997 - Law enforcement agencies in Ward County have
received $5,501.81 from the State Comptroller's office for education and
training of their officers.
State Comptroller John Sharp notes the dollars allocated are part of
more than $5.9 million in supplemental training grants to 2,156 Texas
law enforcement agencies. Says Sharp: Texas legislators provided for the
funds in 1995 when it enacted a special $2 court cost for continuing
education of law officers. Sheriff Ben Keele's office received
$2,557.93; Monahans police, $1,648.39; Precinct 2 constable, $647.88;
Precinct 1 constable, $647.61.

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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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