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April 7, 1997

Council picks Neal as new City Manager

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Staff Writer
PECOS, April 7, 1997 - Kenneth Neal wasted no time Friday in accepting
the Pecos City Council's invitation to serve as city manager. And he
promised to be on the job Tuesday.

When he arrived at a special council meeting Friday for a follow-up
interview, Neal said he had enjoyed his previous visit and found local
people to be friendly.

Council members went over duties and expectations with Neal and gave him
a six-month probationary period to prove he can do the job.

"We spent 1½ hours with him going over everything and telling him what
we expect," said councilman Elvia Reynolds. "We will review him at the
end of six months."

Dr. Reynolds said he believes Neal will do a good job for the city. He
replaces Harry Nagel, who retired Dec. 31, 1996, but is serving as
interim city manager on a contract basis.

Neal is finance and human resource director for Wilson Mfg. Corp. of
Anson. He previously served as city administrator for Knox City
(1990-93) and for the city of Anson (1974-90).

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Western Illinois University in
Macomb, Ill. in 1991. Other education includes extension courses in
personnel management, municipal accounting and budget preparation, and
EPA regulations and enforcement.

Other college courses include grant writing for HUD grant funding,
financial management for municipalities, grant writing for funding from
foundations, grant writing workshop to hone skills to prepare
applications, and basic industrial development.

He is currently studying land use and real estate courses offered by
Hardin-Simmons University, "to improve my skills in the field of
economic development," and water, wastewater and landfill management
through Texas A&M Extension Services.

He has also attended an Americans with Disabilities informative seminar
and a risk management workshop hosted by the Texas Municipal League.

Councilman Ricky Herrera said he is pleased with Neal's background in
grant writing, which should benefit Pecos.

All councilmen were present for Friday's meeting with Neal, the only
item on the agenda.

Neal was selected after the council's initial choice to replace Nagel,
Andrew Weyman, North Richland Hills' assistant city manager, declined
the job three weeks ago.

Madla eyes rural area health plan

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 7, 1997 - Health care groups are supporting Senate Bill
1246, sponsored by Sen. Frank Madla of San Antonio to preserve rural
health care.

The bill would create a rural health system to contract with local
community health plans to deliver health care services within small,
rural communities.

The system would serve as an alternative to urban-based Medicaid health
maintenance organizations now operating in rural Texas.

Terry Andris, chief executive officer for Reeves County Hospital, said
today that "nothing much" has happened on the bill sponsored by Madla,
who represents southern and central Reeves County in the Texas Senate.

Endorsing the rural community health system legislation are Texas
Medical Association, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, Texas
Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, Texas Hospital
Association, Texas Association of Rural Health Clinics and Texas
Association of Surgical Centers.

"We must make sure that rural physicians and rural hospitals survive in
the new marketplace," said Dr. Sheri Talley, a Fort Stockton family
physician and president of TAFP.

"This bill will provide a vehicle to ensure that the fragile
infrastructure that is rural health care is not damaged or threatened by
the state's move toward managed care, particularly in Medicaid," she

The community health system would be a non-profit entity governed
equally by hospitals, physicians and community leaders including
employers, health care consumers and local government officials.

"This is a rural health care preservation act," said John Boff,
president and CEO for Texas organization of Rural and Community
Hospitals. "The health of patients, hospitals and communities is best
served when we can provide treatment and services on the local level."

Andris said that Reeves County is scheduled for managed care under
Medicaid in the year 2000. The hospital will receive a fixed amount of
Medicaid funds to provide services to all Medicaid patients.

"There is a cap on what they will pay, and it is up to you to provide
services," Andris said. "What's going to happen between now and the year
2000 we are watching very closely."

Trimming costs, diversifying services and trying to generate outpatient
services are some of the actions already underway. A new home health
agency operated by the hospital staff is part of that plan.

Under the managed care plan, the more in-patients a hospital has, the
worse off it is, Andris said.

"They are not going to pay for in-patients. They will pay for wellness
programs and outreach," he said.

Cable viewers won't see digital TV soon

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 7, 1997 - Although highly touted as the next generation in
television, digital TV will probably not be offered to Pecos cable
subscribers until most of them have purchased the new sets and demand
digital cable broadcasting, according to a Classic Cable representative.

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission gave the nod to
digital technology for television broadcasts. Digital TV is superior in
picture and sound to the current analog television.

The new digital TV sets, with price tags around $5,000, are expected to
be in stores in time for Christmas gifts next year. About 23 television
stations have stated that they would begin broadcasting with digital
technology by the time the sets are on the market.

According to reports, television stations will cease broadcasting analog
signals altogether in about nine years. In the meantime, television
stations converting to digital signals will broadcast on two
frequencies, one digital and one analog. The government is going to
provide the additional channel at no cost during the transition period.

Rowdy Whittington, Classic Cable's Southern Regional Manager, said his
company is only just beginning to discuss the implications of digital

"Digital technology is only a test program right now," Whittington said.
"The FCC authorization just gives a push toward high definition

Whittington said that Classic Cable currently had the ability to upgrade
to digital broadcasts, at a cost of about $100,000. However, cable
subscribers who did not own one of the new digital television sets would
have to install a converter box on their analog television in order to
continue cable service with the digital broadcasts.

The converter box would cost the 3,000 Pecos cable subscribers who did
not have the new digital sets about $300 per TV, and the analog set
owners would experience no improvement in picture or sound quality.

"The demand would have to be there before we converted to digital,"
Whittington said.

Television viewers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area are expected
to be the first Texans to enjoy digital TV. However, even Metroplex
residents may have to wait for digital television on cable as only one
cable company in the nation is currently digital.

Out of 68 million cable viewers in the country, only those hooked up to
Tele-Communications Inc. in Hartford, Conn. can currently receive
digital signals on cable. However, many cable companies are currently
preparing to make the transition.

"We are really shying away from digital right now because not many
subscribers will want to put a converter on top of their television,"
Whittington said. "Most televisions are set up for cable now and don't
require a converter box. That's one thing that sets us apart from
satellite systems, they have to have converter boxes."

Whittington said that most modern televisions can receive up to 150
channels. Because of that capability Classic Cable is working on
compressing their signals in order to offer additional channels in the
future. The company currently offers 42 channels to Pecos subscribers.

Christmas light donations put at $2,600

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 7, 1997 - A total of about $2,600 has been raised so far by
the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and other area organizations in an effort
to revitalize the city's Christmas decorations, according to chamber
"If we can get good community support in this project we will approach
our taxing entities and ask them to match what we raise or at least
match 50 percent," said Tom Rivera, Executive Director of the chamber.
Of the 115 fixtures used to decorate Pecos streets during the holiday
season about 65 percent of them need repairs, according to Rivera.
Estimates for repair costs run about $95 per fixture, he said.
Those organizing the Christmas light project would like to purchase 176
additional fixtures at an average cost of about $235 apiece, Rivera
"We would like to purchase at least 38 new fixtures and refurbish the
ones we have this year," he said. "That would give us 153 fixtures to
cover Cedar Street from the civic center to the north part of town. From
there we will place fixtures on Third Street to Eddy and down Eddy to
about the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant (Jefferson Street).
"We want to put a fixture on every pole."
The Pecos Lions and Rotary clubs have each donated $1,000 for the
project. The Evening Optimist Club and the Pecos Enterprise have each
donated $250.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.
Mac McKinnon, Enterprise Publisher, has encouraged area store owners to
donate $250 each to pay for fixtures in front of their businesses.
McKinnon said he believes it is important for Pecos to present a good
image for both visitors and citizens alike.

Year's rain totals up throughout Texas

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From Staff and Wire Reports
April 7, 1997 - The drought brought a taste of hell to Texas last spring
and summer, but plentiful rains have revealed a glimpse of heaven in
1997 in some parts of the state.

It even rained a little more than usual in normally-dry Reeves County.
February that saw more than twice the amount of rainfall on Pecos than a
nine-year average shows.

To date, the National Weather Service has measured 1.55 inches of
moisture this year, about .30 inch above normal. April started out slow,
with only .02 inch recorded to date. Normal for April is a little more
than half an inch.

While some grass is greening up and weeds are growing where the winter's
drought left pastures brown, much more rain is needed here.

Last year, Pecos got just .75 inches of rain during the first 5½ months
of 1996. The city received just under 10 inches of rain over the final
6½ months of last year.

Elsewhere, wildflowers may supplant wildfires as the dominant roadside
attraction once again, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, as dry weather draped a brown shroud over the vast Texas
landscape, water levels fell in lakes and underground aquifers fell.

Crops failed. Stunted range grass provided cattle little to eat. Big
ranchers bought expensive supplemental feed, but many others liquidated
herds at unfavorable prices rather than face the additional expense.

``We were all very, very depressed about everything,'' Dale Bates, a
West Texas rancher, told The Dallas Morning News. ``Everybody's attitude
was terrible.''

But that was last year.

This year, every major Texas city except Wichita Falls has received
above-average rainfall.

Last week alone, between two and seven inches of rain drenched huge
hunks of Texas, adding more sheen to the brightening water picture.

``The whole thing has turned around,'' said Bates, who owns a 5,000-acre
ranch near San Angelo. ``The country is gorgeous. Wheat is good.
Livestock prices are up. I could handle twice the livestock I've got
right now.''

In the first three months of last year, more than 1,500 wildfires
scorched pastures and pine forests in a 52-county area of East Texas,
according to the Texas Forest Service.

This year, from January through March, an estimated 159 fires burned
only 2,226 acres in that same East Texas region.

``Rain is the reason,'' said Mahlon Hammetter, a spokesman for the Texas
Forest Service. ``It's been the difference between night and day.''

Edgewood, about 60 miles east of Dallas, came within two weeks of
running out of water last year. The town of 1,000 people spent $20,000
renovating an abandoned lake for water storage. But rain is the biggest
difference this.

``I'd say we had about three months of water last March,'' Mayor Fred
Covert said. ``Now we have about 30 months of water on hand. Millions of
gallons instead of thousands.''

Wildflowers are important to the tourist industry in Central Texas. The
flowers were a bust last year. This year, luminous bluebonnets and
orange-red Indian paintbrushes are bursting with color.

``It's definitely a feast for the eyes right now,'' said Laura Lozier,
manager of the visitor center in Kerrville.

The Texas Water Development Board monitors 77 major reservoirs with a
total water capacity of 34.5 million acre-feet. An acre-foot is 325,851
gallons and would cover a football field with one foot of water.

The 77 lakes held 3.3 million more acre-feet of water this March than a
year ago.

Possum Kingdom Lake, 70 miles northwest of Fort Worth, is full. So are
most other lakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Highland Lakes chain of seven reservoirs on the Colorado River -
from Lake Buchanan on the north to Lake Travis near Austin - were
brimming in March.

``In fact, we have some concern about too much water in the chain to
handle rainfall in the next 60 days,'' said George Bomar, senior
meteorologist at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

Last March, Texas beef producers were getting an average price of 55
cents a pound. This March, the average price was 67 cents a pound,
according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Pastures are green and stock tanks are full. Farmers and ranchers,
usually taciturn and guarded, are talking positive.

Phil Smith, who runs a 2,500-acre farm 15 miles northeast of Amarillo,
said two to three inches of rain last week will boost the region's
all-important wheat crop.

``From the road, we still look dry, but our attitude has improved a lot
over last year,'' he said.


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Maria Gonzales

Maria Dolores Aguilar Gonzales, 91, died Sunday, Apr. 6, 1997. Services
will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Marfa.
Rosary will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Memorial Funeral Home in Marfa.

She was born April 14, 1905, in Candelaria and was a retired seamstress
in Marfa.

Survivors include one son, Santos S. Gonzales III of Odessa; two
daughters, Consuelo G. Hernandez of Fort Stockton and Elodia G. Cedillo
of Pecos; 15 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and three great-great

Bernice Cranfill

Services for Bernice Cranfill, 83, were at 10 a.m. today in Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel, with burial in Barstow Cemetery. She died Friday,
April 4, 1997, in Midland Memorial Rehab Hospital.

She was born June 17, 1913 in San Diego, Calif. and was a retired
restuaruant owner and a Methodist.

Survivors include one son, James Cranfill of Pecos; one daughter, Helen
McCutcheon of Victoria; one brother, Hugh McGinty of El Paso; two
sisters, Louise Cranfill and Ruth Willman, both of Barstow; six
grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Felipa Carrasco

Felipa Carrasco, 82, died Friday, April 4, 1997, in Odessa Medical
Center. Services were at 2 p.m. today in Pecos Funeral Home Chapel, with
burial in Mt. Evergeeen Cemetery.

She was born Feb. 21, 1919 in Fort Hancock and was a Baptist.

Survivors include one daughter, Juanita Florez of Pecos; and one


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High Sunday 74, low last night 46. Tonight, becoming mostly cloudy. A
slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower 50s. East to
southeast wind 10-20 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent. Tuesday, partly
cloudy. A slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High 70-75. North
to northeast wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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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