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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

Pecos At Work

February 27, 1998

More Pecos At Work

AN Finance's local office gets award

AN Finance would like to give you, it's customers, a warm
thank you for their office's Office of the Year award for

Office Manager Norma Ramirez said that the office, one of
six area branches, was recently rated No. 1 in the area on
the amount of loans it carries, its service and quality of
the service they offer to their customers. She said that its
been a long time since the local office, located at 113 W.
Third St., has received the award, "and we'd like to thank
them for making us number one."

The office is manned by Ramirez and Loan Officer Becky
Gomez. It is owned by Angel Navarrete of Monahans and
supervised out of El Paso.

AN Finance provides its customers with cash loans up to $400.

"We have Rapid Refund, Electronic Filing and we prepare
returns for mail in," said Ramirez, who added that both
Navarrete and their supervisor provide the local office
employees with in-house training for preparing income tax
refunds for the residents of Pecos and the surrounding area.

Their hours are currently, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through
Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays.

Radio Shack has electronics, phones

It's a good idea to remember the old phrase, "it doesn't
hurt to ask," when walking into the shop located at 1120 S.
Eddy Street.

Radio Shack products aren't all you'll find at Dave Thomas'
place of business.

One can only be made aware of his assorted supply of
electronic, medical and athletic equipment, and cellular
phone service and supplies by asking.

A Plateau Cellular Network agent, Thomas outlines various
price plans and service packages to interested parties.
Along with the cellular service, he carries a diversified
stock of bag, flip, and most recently, designer cellular

Company plans for three or more phones runs $20 to $25 per
month for 100 free minutes, he said.

With activation under PCN, a home call ranges from the area
near El Paso to Sonora and from northern New Mexico to the
Texas-Mexico border.

For $25 a month, PCN customers can get 100 free minutes in
the home area. For $29.95, 80 free minutes are available in
the Expanded Home Area, which borders beyond the
aforementioned scope of service.

Also offering an array of land-line telephones, Thomas or
his staff will show you through their assortment of
cordless, desk, wall and featured phones.

The Radio Shack dealer also carries line cords, handset
cords, duplex jack and other accessories for phone

Under a recent agreement venture, Radio Shack will soon be
selling Sprint phones and services, said Thomas. "It's like
a store within a store," he said.

Don't need any type of phone, phone service or accessory?

Well, Thomas also offers a variety of the ever-so-popular
scanners, hand-held electronic games, Tandy computers and

A Radio Shack Unlimited stand can be found in the South
Pecos store where customers are introduced to over 100,000
parts and products that Thomas can order almost
instantaneously via his computer.

How about a satellite dish?

In the last year or so RCA and PrimeStar dishes started
making their way into Thomas' selection of goods.

"Things are really going to get exciting," he said regarding
the purchase of a Primestar dish. "They've recently started
adding 60 channels."

Primestar customers pay a small equipment rental fee in
place for the replacement of any parts and different price
plans are available.

A Pecos resident for 40 years now, Thomas first started out
as a medical technician from where he integrated into the
medical supply enterprise.

Under this hat, the Pecos entrepreneur rents and sells wheel
chairs, commode chairs, hospital beds, shower chairs and
grab bars.

For the young at heart or simply the young, 14-foot
trampolines are still available at the local shop.

Texas-New Mexico's `97 earnings up

TNP Enterprises, the parent company of Texas-New Mexico
Power Company that serves Pecos and Reeves County's
electrical needs, improved its earnings for shareholders
last year from 1996 and credited most of the gain to TNMP.
Texas-New Mexico Power Company also pays back its customers
by participating in the communities it serves.

TNP earned $29.5 million for share holders last year,
according to company officials. The 1997 total was improved
from 1996 total earnings of $22.9 million. In 1997, TNP
shareholders earned $2.26 per share compared to $2 per share
for 1996.

Company officials said the 1997 increase from 1996 was due
to higher earnings at TNP's principal subsidiary, Texas-New
Mexico Power Company.

TNMP first began to serve Pecos in 1926 when electricity was
a relatively new product used mainly to light homes. TNMP
now provides community-based electric service to 85
communities and more than 222,000 customers in Texas and New

In addition to providing reliable electric service,
Texas-New Mexico Power Company strives to be an active
member of the communities it serves. TNMP maintains a local
office in Pecos and offers programs such as student
scholarships and mini-grants for teachers. The
scholarships,awarded annually to high school seniors, may be
used at the junior college, college or university of their
choice. The teacher mini-grants assist K-8 classroom
teachers in math, science and energy education.

Another community-focused program of the company is Customer
Connection, that uses money donated by its employees and
shareholders, along with customer contributions, to fund
worthy community-based initiatives. TNP will match donations
up to $100,000 annually.

"Our customers are able to nominate and be involved in
determining which projects receive funding," said Pauline
Moore, TNP business unit manager. "We'd like to see 100
percent involvement from all of our communities."

This year, TNP awarded a Customer Connection $5,000 matching
grant to Kids Play in Kermit.

As part of its community program TNP maintains its 25-foot
Community Coach, a traveling exhibit available for community
programs and area fairs, festivals and other public
gatherings. TNP also has several programs in place to help
customers make the most of their energy usage. From
specialized billing and reporting to assistance in design
and construction, TNP's services extend far beyond
electrical power.

TNMP's increase in earnings this year was somewhat offset by
a loss at Facility Works, Inc. -TNP's wholly owned,
unregulated subsidiary - in addition to the dilutive effect
of the issuance of two million shares of common stock in
October 1996. Facility Works provides integrated mechanical,
electrical, plumbing and other maintenance and repair
services to commercial customers in Texas metropolitan areas.

TNP also attributes improved 1997 revenues to higher GWH
sales and revenues from new transmission rates, as well as
reductions in interest expense from lower debt and interest

Sales increased due to solid residential and commercial
growth, increased industrial sales and power marketing sales.

TNMP's electricity sales for 1997 were 10,150 GWH, compared
with 7,862 GWH for 1996, an increase of 2,288 GWH, or 29
percent. Residential and commercial sales increased about
one percent and 2.7 percent, respectively during the last
year, despite slightly overall milder weather.

Industrial sales increased by 1,726 GWH, or 45 percent, due
primarily to contractual arrangements with an existing
cogeneration customer during the last half of 1996.

During 1997, TNMP began power marketing activities that
resulted in the resale of 495 GWH to off-system customers.
These sales, while in large quantities, have low margins,
according to TNP officials.

During 1997, the construction segment of Facility Works
(which began operations in mid-1996)lost $10.8 million or
$0.82 per share. This includes an estimate for the disposal
of the construction segment in 1998. Due to the continued
losses, TNP management discontinued the construction
activities during the fourth quarter of 1997 and refocused
FWI to concentrate on the maintenance and repair segment of
its business.

On July 31 TNMP filed a transition-to-competition plan with
the Public Utility Commission of Texas. TNMP claims that the
plan, in its current form, will bring lower rates to
customers, while simultaneously mitigating TNMP's potential
stranded costs during the transition to a deregulated
environment. TNMP has reached agreement with a large number
of interested parties and hopes to have a final resolution
by mid-1998.

For more information about programs and services, visit
TNP's local office at 424 South Cypress, or call 445-4501.

Sonic continues monthly specials

Pecos' Sonic Drive-In owners Craig and Mary Moore are well
into their second decade of serving customers at the 505 W.
Third St., location.

Moore and his wife, along with their daughter Candice, moved
to Pecos in April of 1983 after many years of traveling
around the United States, trouble-shooting for the Sonic

"I just said one day, `It's time to put down roots and rest
awhile,'" Moore said.

The Moores have grown to like Pecos because of the town's
friendliness. "People here take to you. I've never felt like
a stranger," Moore said.

Known for its burgers, coneys, fries and drinks, Sonic also
offers a new special every month. Beginning on Saturday, the
special for March will be the burger and tator tots for just
$1.99. "That's a heck of a deal," said Moore, who keeps
track of things from his office behind the restaurant.

Pecos' most popular special is the Brown Bag, which gives
the customer two hamburgers, two orders of french fries and
two soft drinks for $6.49 Moore said. But the Pecos Sonic
also has its own, unique dish, the locally famous Chili
Cheese Fries.

"The kids invented these, so I put them right on the menu.
They're probably our biggest seller," Moore said.

Moore has also posted birthdays and anniversaries on the
restaurant's message board over the years. On any given day,
you can drive by the restaurant's location and see the names
of another group of local people, advertising some turning
point in their lives.

"That sign just happened," Moore said. "We put up a sign
celebrating an employee's birthday, then the next day one of
our regular customers came by and asked if he could
advertise his daughter's birthday. After that there was no
stopping it. People call in every day asking us to put new
names on the sign."

Sonic doesn't charge for putting Pecosites' names on the
sign and, Moore said, having it points up the most important
element of Sonic's business policy - the customer is always
number one.

Moore said he stresses that to his new employees.

"For most of our workers, this is their first job, and their
first day on the job I ask them, `Do you know who your boss
is?'," said Moore. "`You?' they'll ask.

"But I'll point out to where people are parked and say, `I
sign your checks, but there's your boss,'" he explained.

"I like the fact, too, that I'm some people's first
employer, that I have the opportunity to teach them things
like `be punctual, wear the uniform and smile for the
customer,'" he said.

Those aren't bad values to learn, Moore said. He added that
Sonic combines good food with high standards. A company
"secret shopper" visits the locations regularly to check on
cleanliness, quality and that all-important smile.

"Styles and technology will change with time, but I think
we'll always try to keep the personal touch," he said.
1997 story

Less cotton seen in `98

Bob Bickley, Trans-Pecos Cotton Growers Association
executive director, was not optimistic about cotton for the
new year. But he pledged that Trans-Pecos Cotton would
support any growers interested in switching out cotton
acreage for other products, such as melons, vegetables or

"The acreage we'll be planting this year will be much
reduced," said Bickley.

Overall production in Reeves County last year came to 8,085
bales. 8,000 was upland cotton, the rest was extra long
staples, also known as pima, cotton. Last year in Ward
County, 1,700 total bales, all upland cotton, was ginned.
And in Pecos County a year ago, 9,662 bales were ginned, 83
bales of which were pima.

According to the National Cotton Council, Texas growers
planted 5.5 million acres of cotton in 1997. Projections for
1998 come to just a little over 4.9 million - a decrease of
9.5 percent. "We'll be lucky if we reach that," said Bickley.

The trend is not confined to Texas, said Bickley, but is
reflective of what has been happening nation-wide. "This is
a direct reaction to the 1996 Farm Bill, when support prices
were decoupled," said Bickley. Also, the high price of
producing cotton and frustration with boll weevil programs
are also inspiring farmers to plant non-cotton crops this

Bickley estimated that 75,000 acres in the Pecos Valley are
suitable for cotton production. While fertilizer and insect
control can cut into a farmer's profits, Bt cotton that is
resistant to insect damage offers some relief.

The "ideal" planting time for cotton, said Bickley, is
between April 10 and May 10.

Life-long farmer Larry Turnbough, recently elected president
of Texas Pest Management Association, has served as
president of the Trans-Pecos for seven years. He is also a
board member on the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication
Foundation, producer delegate to the National Cotton
Council, member of the Pecos/Reeves County Farm Bureau and
serves as a member on the local water irrigation district
board and on the board of directors of Texas Cotton Growers.

The Trans-Pecos Cotton Growers Association was incorporated
on July 1, 1947. Directors are Dennis Braden, Elmer Braden,
Ted Godfrey, Jesus Ruiz, Dale Toone, Kenneth Lindemann,
David Z. Hess, Sam Miller and Ysidro Renteria. Jaroy Moore
is an advisory director.

RCH shows major improvement

Reeves County Hospital has come up with a number of
accomplishments in the period from January 1997 though
October of 1997, chief executive officer Terry Andris said,
without having to borrow money, increase taxes or sell

"When one looks back to 1995 when in order to make the
payroll, the district had to borrow money from the bank; it
seems impossible that the district has achieved its present
success," said Andris, who arrived in Pecos after the
hospital affiliated with the Lubbock Methodist Hospital

"The citizens of Reeves County are fortunate to have a
business-oriented, visionary board leading the hospital into
the 21st century. Over the past 18 months the health care
industry has changed to the extent it would be
unrecognizable by any one who has been outside of the
boardroom during this period of change.

"The future is bright, but changes are taking place almost
daily and if a board member does not have a feel for the
global impact of health care on the local facility, a
facility could be doomed to failure," Andris said.

"It is indeed an honor and pleasure working for a board such
as Reeves County Hospital District has in place. It is a
team effort and without the additional cooperation and
support of the medical staff, hospital staff auxiliary and
Methodist hospital support the success of the organization
would not have been realized."

Andris listed the following accomplishments achieved at
Reeves County hospital:

- Refurbishment of halls and patient rooms;
- Reduced amounts payable from $425,000 to $193,000;
- Reduced days in accounts receivable from 87 to 76 days;
- Increased cash flow to the point that hospital is cash
flowing daily;
- Renegotiated all contracts and insurance coverage:

Emergency room - $37,000 savings
Health insurance - $45,000 savings
CIC Contracts - $24.0000 savings
Workman's comp - $15,665 savings
Boiler and personal property - $27,000.00 savings
Purchasing contracts - $31,000 savings over next 12 months
Pharmacy contract - $45,000 savings
Quorum contract vs. Methodist contract $300,000;

- Installation of new phone system
Purchase of capital equipment $175,000.

- Diversification of services:
Physical therapy
Upgraded rural health clinic
Established home health service
Established pulmonary rehabilitation program
Women's health program - mammography
Puncher of new ambulance $80,000;

- Progressive upgrading of building and grounds;

- Employees activities, cookouts, special sundae surprises;
- Attendance at trustees meetings - upgrading skills and
knowledge as board members allowing for vision of the whole
health care system and not limit themselves to only local
- Effective board self-evaluation system;
- Establishing banking relationship with TexPool undressing
interest on account from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent;
increasing interest income from $650 a month to, $9,000 per
month plus yearly bonus awards to the TexPool account based
on annual interest rates.

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