Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
May 14, 1998
One step closer to free Internet access
By RICK L. SMITH
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - Ward County Commissioners Monday
approved regulations for free public access to the Internet
with computers located at the Ward County Public Library.
Although the hardware (two state-of-the-art computers and a
printer) is now in place to access the Internet, the service
is not yet available to the public because library staff has
not been trained to assist the public in Internet access,
according to Bonnie Moore, head librarian.
"The grant people are taking care of training on a regional
basis," Moore said. "They are contacting technology people
in the area for training."
While Moore said she is not sure when the three librarians
at the facility will be trained for Internet use nor when
the Internet access will be available to the public, the
terms of the grant for the project dictate the service be
available within one year from when the grant was awarded.
Gary Grogan, TIF Director of Programs, said TIF is in the
process of receiving proposals from Internet technicians
until June 1. In early June TIF officials will evaluate the
proposals they have received and make a decision on who will
provide Internet training for grant recipients.
"We hope to get the training started by mid-June," he said.
"But we don't know for sure."
Internet access training is part of the TIFTECH training
program, Grogan said. TIFTECH was developed by educators,
librarians, teachers and industry leaders to provide a basic
level of training.
"It's a very comprehensive training class," he said.
Last January the library received a grant of $9,996 from the
Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) for
Internet access, Moore said. TIF has awarded Internet
service grants to at least 150 public libraries to allow
dial-up or direct Internet access for library patrons. More
than 600 such grants have also gone to Texas public schools.
"We're pleased to provide the opportunity for schools and
libraries to access the Internet," said TIF Board Chairman
William Mitchell. "We will continue these efforts, as well
as expanding programs to encompass institutions of higher
education and health care facilities."
TIF was created in the 74th Legislative Session to provide
grants and loans to K-12 public schools, public libraries,
institutions of higher education and non-profit health care
facilities for telecommunications infrastructure. A list of
grantees can be located on the TIF web page at
www.tifb.state.tx.us under the Grant and Loan Information
The grant to the Ward County library covers necessary
hardware and software as well as training and one year's
subscription to Internet access through a service provider.
When the service becomes available to the public at the Ward
County library use will be limited to research only in
"There will be no e-mail, chat-rooms or business related
usage," Moore said. "Users are responsible for what they
bring up and if they break the regulations they will have
their privilege to use this equipment removed."
Some of the rules for accessing the Internet at the library
- Users must have a Ward county library card in good
- Users 17-years-of-age and older must show a picture ID at
check-in and have a signed waiver card on file.
- Minors 16-years-of-age or younger must be accompanied by a
parent or legal guardian and have a signed waiver card on
- Users must sign up for one-hour blocks of time. If no one
is scheduled to follow, user may stay on the computer for a
maximum of two hours total. No user may have more than two
hours per day at the computer.
- Users are not permitted to display any visual images
containing nudity, obscenity or graphic violence. One
warning will be given regarding this rule; a second
violation will result in permanent loss of Internet
privileges at the library.
In other commissioners' court business, commissioners
approved the purchase of two 1998 pickups from Motor City
in Monahans for $32,851. Commissioners also approved the
purchase of a 2-ton dump truck from Shamrock Chevy in
Commissioners approved allowing the Southwest Sandhills
Water Distribution District to place a water tower on county
property in the Farr Addition.
Bids will be received beginning June 8 on several paving
projects in the county.
Rick McCurdy told commissioners that some people had
complained to him that the $1-a-day per-child fee for access
to the swimming pools in Pyote and Wickett was too high.
McCurdy said they wanted the season pass reinstated.
"It will not only benefit the families in Pyote and Wickett,
it will also help those families in Barstow and Grandfalls
that can not afford to pay $1 per child," he said.
Commissioner Julian Florez pointed out that on June 24,
1996, season passes were reinstated for all Ward County
swimming pools. Season passes to the pools are $50 per
family or $30 per person. The commissioners' court voted to
continue the season pass policy.
Commissioners approved a proposal to close nine holes of the
Ward County Golf Course every Monday for maintenance. The
nine holes to be closed will be rotated each week.
Lubbock Methodist takes hospital reins
By RICK L. SMITH
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - A "handshake agreement" between the
Ward Memorial Hospital Management Board and Lubbock
Methodist Hospital System officials sealed the deal last
Thursday turning administrative control of the hospital over
to Lubbock Methodist until final corrections can be made to
the management contract.
Lubbock Methodist hopes to begin reviewing the hospital this
week and place a new interim administrator by the end of the
While leading the hospital management board meeting
Thursday, in the absence of board chair Glen Vance, Dyer
Moore opened discussion of the proposed contract between
Ward Memorial and Lubbock Methodist by saying the contract
should be binding on any entities succeeding Lubbock
Last month the hospital board voted to have Lubbock
Methodist assume administration responsibilities over the
hospital. However, Lubbock Methodist is in the process of a
merger with Saint Mary's of the Plains Hospital. Hence, the
hospital board told Jim Bullard, Lubbock Methodist Vice
President of Regional Services, the contract between Ward
Memorial and Lubbock Methodist should reflect the merger.
Bullard agreed with the board on all suggested changes to
the contract during the Thursday evening meeting. The board
and Bullard also came to a "handshake agreement" to get
Lubbock Methodist started with initial contact with Ward
Memorial staff until the contract between the two can be
officially changed and signed by the board.
Bullard said that the merger between Lubbock Methodist and
Saint Mary's is expected to be completed by early June. When
the merger is completed a new board of directors will be
formed to oversee the newly formed entity with one CEO
appointed over the Lubbock hospital and another over Saint
By early 1999, Bullard said, an entirely new corporation
holding company will be formed with all assets of Lubbock
Methodist and Saint Mary's combined. Bullard also said the
current board of Saint Mary's supports the agreement between
Lubbock Methodist and Ward Memorial.
Besides providing a new Ward Memorial administrator, Lubbock
Methodist officials plan to review the entire hospital,
improve efficiency, improve public relations, update
equipment and improve relations between administration and
physician staff members.
Bullard told the hospital board that Lubbock Methodist will
design a compliance plan to help Ward Memorial avoid
problems such as mistakes on billings.
Lubbock Methodist will help Ward Memorial avoid potential
computer and equipment problems with the "2K bug," a
potential computer glitch expected to affect many computers
with the coming of the year 2000. Many computers only read
the last two digits of a year. When dealing with the year
2000 and beyond these computers revert back to 1900 causing
"We will have a consultant come in to all our facilities and
do an inventory of all our computers and equipment that are
not 2000 compliant," Bullard said. "They will then go to the
manufacturers to see what it will take to get the equipment
Bullard pointed out that when a company goes to a
manufacturer with 100 machines that need work it gets a
better response than one company with one machine. The use
of a Lubbock Methodist consultant coming in to solve the
"2K" problem will be more efficient than Ward Memorial
trying to cope with it all, he said.
As a 501-C3 non-profit organization, Lubbock Methodist bears
a responsibility to give back to the community, Bullard told
"We've agreed to give back to the communities we serve 10
percent of our net income," Bullard said. "Lubbock Methodist
projects to gross in the $600-$700 million range in 1999.
"I'm not exactly sure what the net will be, but it will be
Because Lubbock Methodist considers access to care to be an
important issue in West Texas, Bullard said the company
plans to invest dollars to form local clinics in communities
where it has facilities.
"For example, Saint Mary's operates a dental van that
travels to communities and sees people in their charity
program," Bullard said. "I can see that coming in as
Lubbock Methodist officials plan to place an interim
administrator in Ward Memorial by the end of May when the
current interim administrator's appointment runs out,
according to Bullard. Ray Massey will remain interim
administrator until then.
After the appointment of an interim administrator, Lubbock
Methodist will help Ward Memorial board members to chose a
Ward Memorial needs a cheerleader for an administrator,
Bullard said in response to questions about how the hospital
can change its image. Such an administrator would get out in
the community and promote the hospital and educate the
community about the quality of service and the services
available at the hospital.
Bullard told the hospital board that Lubbock Methodist would
present several candidates for the CEO position and help the
board chose the best person for the job. Lubbock Methodist
officials will help the board look at each candidate's
qualifications, such as, experience, education, personal
life and where the candidate currently lives.
"We feel folks familiar with this part of the world will do
better here," Bullard said. "You have to have a little West
Texas in you to do well out here.
"Selecting a hospital director is the most important thing
you'll do because it'll set the tone of the whole facility."
Lubbock Methodist officials had indicated that one of the
first things they planned to do was perform a review of the
entire hospital and make recommendations to the board based
on the findings from the review.
"Do you plan to get to the review quickly?" Moore asked.
Bullard replied that the review would probably begin
sometime in the week of May 11.
"Good," Moore said. "The review is essential to us getting
things turned around here."
The review could take two or three days, beginning with the
hospital supplying Lubbock Methodist with some preliminary
data, Bullard said. Lubbock Methodist officials will review
the hospital data then begin an on-site review of the
hospital, including a meeting with hospital department heads.
Findings of the review will be presented to the hospital
board with recommendations from Lubbock Methodist.
"Every decision after that will be 100 percent up to the
(Ward Memorial) board," Bullard said. "If we think you are
making a bad decision we will tell you. We give advice and
tell you what happens other places."
Lubbock Methodist officials hope to improve relationships
between the Ward Memorial physicians staff and
"Doctors are usually analytical and use to making quick
decisions," Bullard said. "Nothing is more frustrating for
them than to need answers from administrators and get no
decision. They would almost rather be told no than to get no
"Because of that we want a very decisive administration at
Also, Bullard added, Lubbock Methodist officials plan to
include the physician staff at the hospital on all aspects
Immediate goals for Ward Memorial, according to Bullard,
are: 1. Determine the level of service to be offered; 2.
Make outpatients feel welcome (65 percent of Ward Memorial
clients are outpatients); 3. Make the hospital a part of the
"Too many regional hospitals are viewed as libraries,"
Bullard said. "They are pretty to look at but nobody wants
to go inside and read the books."
Water bills may be shocking
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - Some Monahans residents may have
already been shocked by their water bills this month.
No rain for at least two months has resulted in an increase
in water consumption in the city. Residents who now have
nice, green lawns are paying the price for watering. Those
who did not want to pay the price mostly have burnt out
lawns by now.
"Our water bills are running way above average this month,"
said Monahans City Manager David Mills. "We usually get rain
in April and May but this year we haven't. The water bills
in the mail right now are a lot higher than this time last
Roughly 22 percent higher on the average, according to
figures from the city. For this period last year the city
consumed 69,330 million gallons of water. For the same
period this year the city has consumed 84,379 million
gallons of water. That is a 15,049 million gallon increase.
Mills said this spring Monahans residents have had to chose
between irrigating their yards or conserving water.
"We're not used to high water bills in April," Mills said.
"We usually don't have to deal with that until July and
With no rain in sight, there is not much hope that
conditions will change any time soon.
However, Mills said Monahans is in no danger of running out
of water. He said that while water consumption rates for the
city this year are above last year, they are still well
below water usage in the early 1980s.
Two meteorites end journey at City Hall
By RICK L. SMITH
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - If anyone ever asks you for the
longitude and latitude coordinates of Monahans you can tell
them 102(degrees)53'30"W and 31(degrees)36'30"N, or at least
that is where NASA scientists say one of two meteorites
crashed to Earth in Monahans last March.
NASA scientists took the two meteorites to Houston for
study. The two space rocks were returned to Monahans this
week along with a report from the scientists who studied
them explaining what they discovered by examining the two
The two meteorites will be on display in an air tight case
at Monahans City Hall by sometime this summer, according to
City Manager David Mills. The display will include
information honoring the boys who found one of the
meteorites and the sheriff's deputy who found the other.
Also on display will be the four inch "meteorite crater"
created by one of the meteorites when it crashed into the
asphalt of Allen Street.
Some of the boys who found the first meteorite are Javier
Juarez, Robert Lyles, Flavio Armendariz, Delvaro Lyles, Eron
Hernandez, Jose Felan and Neri Armendariz.
The two meteorites were examined by scientists from The
Johnson Space Center in Houston; the Marian Blakemore
Planetarium in Midland; and Lockheed Martin, NASA-JSC in
The meteorites, named Monahans 1998, I and II, scored at
least one first according to the report that states, "To our
knowledge, this is the first report of these minerals
(halite - NaCl, with minor inclusions of the related halide
sylvite - KCl) within an ordinary chondrite, and they appear
to represent the coarsest examples known from any meteorite."
According to the report, it is possible that halite (rock
salt) combined with the meteorites as they passed through
asterodial brines (salt water solutions in space). If that
happened there might be traces of the space salt water
within the salt crystals in the meteorites. Other signs of
contact with salt water might be present on the meteorites,
but the scientists did not indicate if that is the case.
In earlier interviews with the Monahans News, Everett
Gibson, a space scientist and geochemist with the Lyndon B.
Johnson Space Center near Houston, said the rocks were stony
meteorites rather than the more common nickel-iron
meteorites. Gibson speculated that the two meteorites came
from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
The scientists also noted that the quick response by those
who found the meteorites, and city officials, allowed the
meteorites to be examined while they were still fresh,
resulting in more complete observations.
"If not noted within a few days of its fall, any halite
present in a chodrite may be routinely overlooked or
destroyed," the report said.
The first meteorite was discovered about 6:50 p.m. March 22
after a fireball was observed across a 150-mile stretch
centered around Monahans. Two sonic booms followed by
rumbling and a large dust train accompanied the fireball.
The first space rock found weighed 1,243 grams (just under
three pounds) and fell 40 feet from eight boys where it made
a penetration crater four inches deep in loose sand. It was
slightly warm to the touch when recovered within one or two
minutes after falling.
The second meteorite weighed 1,344 grams and was recovered
800 feet SSE from the first rock the following morning. It
was found 10 feet from its penetration crater in the street.
The crater measured four inches by five inches and was two
inches deep in the road asphalt.
School board members sworn in
By RICK L. SMITH
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - Most of the business of the
Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD board meeting Monday night
concerned people. New board members were sworn in to office,
new board officers were elected and outstanding students
New board member Patsy Carrasco and re-elected board member
John Sconiers were sworn in to the board.
The board re-elected Johnny White as president. Steve Swarb
was elected as vice president and Sconiers was elected
Ruben Martinez was chosen to represent the MWP ISD board at
the annual TASA/TASB Convention scheduled for Sept. 25-28 in
Houston. Steven Hurst was chosen as an alternate.
Outstanding student groups progressing beyond district were
recognized in girls golf, UIL Academic Competition, boys
track, girls track, girls softball and VICA club.
Representatives from Pritchard & Abbott told the board that
the Ward County economy was heavily dependent on oil and
gas. They said that despite a decrease in the price of oil
property values on oil and gas leases are solid in the MWP
school district leaving the district in a good position to
MWP Superintendent Cliff Stephens told the board that
student enrollment is down by 30 students at the end of
April this year compared to the same time last year.
Stephens said that about 150 students would graduate from
Monahans High School this year compared to 122 graduates
The board voted to rescind the local tax on freeport goods
and to grant a tax abatement to the M.M. Reif Company. Both
the city and county have already rescinded freeport tax.
"We have never received any money from freeport taxes
anyway," Stephens said.
The city granted Reif a tax abatement in April, according to
"This is not a blanket abatement agreement," Stephens said.
"If we decide to do tax abatements with other companies each
will be on an individual basis."
MHS senior becomes state champ
By RICK L. SMITH
Monahans, May 14, 1998 - A Monahans High School senior became a State Champion this week when he brought home a First Place in State UIL Academic Competition.
Jeremy Sanchez became the State 3-A Champion in Persuasive
Speaking with his first place win in that division last
"This honor caps an impressive high school career for Jeremy
in speech competition," said his coach Delores Hill.
"Besides winning the state meet, Jeremy has qualified for
the State CX Meet for three years and the State TFA meet in
both Cross Ex competition and Foreign Extemporaneous
Sanchez has acquired numerous trophies and honors, being
named Outstanding Debater at Seminole and placing among the
top finishers against competitors from 5A and 4A schools.
"I had a lot of support from both of my parents, my coach
and even the other competitors," Sanchez said. "This is the
best way I could have had to end four years in high school."
He plans to attend Texas Tech and pursue a career in
Sanchez apparently owes much of his success to his
take-no-prisoners attitude and a personal motto of, "Trample
your enemies and hear the lamentations of the women."
Joining Jeremy at the state meet were Lanny Hayes who
competed in Lincoln Douglas Debate and Audrey Cox who
competed in Feature Writing.
"These young people are to be commended for representing
Monahans extremely well," Hill said.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.