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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Wednesday, May 20, 1998

RCH may lose debt fight; alters holiday pay

Staff Writer
Reeves County Hospital will likely have to forget about being repaid
over $100,000 by two doctors who had been sued for violating the terms
of their contract, hospital board members were told during their regular
monthly meeting Tuesday.

The debt report was one of the items covered quickly by the board of
directors during their half-hour meeting. The three re-elected were
sworn back in for new two-year terms, and they then voted to maintain
the district's current officers.

Jesus Prieto, of Precinct 3, Elizer "Chel" Flores, of Precinct 1, and
at-large board member Greg Luna were all sworn in for two more years of
service on the board after concluding successful campaigns earlier in
the month. Prieto was the only candidate who had faced an opponent, and
election results had been canvassed at the board's May 5 meeting.

An unanimous vote retained Jeannette Alligood as board president and
Luna as vice president. "We just saved a bunch of money for the
district," quipped Alligood, referring to not needing to change board
members' title on district letters and documents.

The $104,000 debt, which the hospital incurred three years ago, may have
to be written off, Interim Administrator Charles Butts told the board.
He said Drs. Orson and Eunice Anderson had been discharged from the debt
by the California bankruptcy courts, and recommended the board forget
about it and move on with other business.

The couple was sued by the hospital for failing to fulfill the terms of
their payback agreement they signed with Reeves County Hospital before
moving to Big Spring in 1995, where Orson Anderson set up a private
practice and Eunice Anderson worked for Shannon Medical Center's health

The couple previously agreed to stay on in Pecos and work instead of
paying back $104.062.25. After leaving Big Spring, the couple moved to
California, where they filed for bankruptcy.

Marcella Lovett said of the debt, "California once again says, `We don't
have to honor that.'. . . I don't like it bragged about that they took
us to the cleaners."

Luna asked about the court's rationale, wondered why the hospital's
attorney in this matter was not the one providing the information to the

Butts informed Luna that "Mr. Johnson (Town of Pecos City Attorney Scott
Johnson) was invited to this meeting," and recommended the board request
a written report from Johnson.

"This is a dead horse we continue to whip, but there's a good reason for
it," said Lovett.

In other business, citing the failure of the old holiday system, which
according to Director of Nursing L.G. Crawford created more overtime pay
than it saved, Butts presented the board with the new holiday system.

"Two percent will groan," said Butts, "but this should make it easier
for employees to plan."

Under the old system, when an employee was scheduled to work a holiday
they were given a deferred day off in its place, within a 30 day
timeframe. Under the new system, employees that work a national holiday
are paid for the day worked as well as the holiday, if it has been
rescheduled by the hospital district.

Holiday time is paid at the regular hourly rate, not in overtime hours.

Federal inspectors are expected at the hospital sometime today to
perform an initial survey that will decide if the home health program
will be Medicare and Medicaid certified.

Home Health Alternate Administrator Tojia Criss said she was very
optimistic about the survey. "Everything looks to me that it is fine,"
she said. "We're doing a little extra above the baseline, especially in
resolving customer complaints."

The survey may last one to two days, said Criss, but the final decision
will be known by the hospital before the inspectors leave Pecos.

High school announces top four grads for 1998

Staff Writer
Pecos High School officials announced the names of the top four students
for the Class of 1998, with graduation ceremonies scheduled for Friday
night at Eagle Stadium.

The names of the valedictorian and salutatorian will be released just
before the ceremony and will be chosen out of the four students, each of
whom excelled in everything from athletic to extracurricular events
throughout their high school years.

Penny Armstrong began her freshman year in band as a section leader,
played basketball and ran track.

She joined Mu Alpha Theta her sophomore year, was section leader in
band, played basketball, ran track and joined the Latin Club.

Armstrong was inducted into the National Honor Society her junior year,
along with becoming band president, section leader, captain of the
basketball team, ran track and continued in the Latin Club.

This year, Armstrong is president of the National Honor Society,
president of Mu Alpha Theta, band president, section leader, captain of
the basketball team and ran track, where she qualified for regionals for
the second year in a row.

Her strongest subject areas are science, English and history, with
science and history being her favorite. She describes herself as being
trustworthy, honest and hard-working.

Armstrong lists her greatest accomplishment in high school as "getting a
Division I at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest, 1996-97.

She was Who's Who in 1996-97; Who's Who athletic 1994-95 and 1995-96;
received honorable mention all district in basketball in 1996-97;
received the Outstanding Student Award in Health, Latin I, and computer
science and was awarded the 1997 Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

Armstrong plans to continue her education possibly at Texas A&M
University where she will study pre-pharmacy.

She is the daughter of Scott Jr. and Regina Armstrong.

Jeff Brownlee plans to attend Texas Tech following graduation and join
the medical field.

His proudest accomplishment in high school was receiving the Bill Dean
Memorial Award.

He started out his high school years, by joining the track team, Mu
Alpha Theta, Latin Club and participating in UIL events.

As a sophomore he ran track, was in Mu Alpha Theta, Latin Club, UIL and
was named to Who's Who.

His junior year, he was on the track team, Mu Alpha Theta, Latin Club,
UIL, Who's Who and was inducted into the National Honor Society.

During his senior year, he kept up with the same activities he had as a

His strongest subject areas are biology and chemistry, with biology
being his favorite.

Brownlee is described as being attractive, smart and funny.

He was awarded the advanced placement English award; honorary chemistry
award; Bill Dean Memorial Award for excellence in academic and athletics
and went to regionals for the second straight year in track in shot put
and discus. He is also a member of the ANGELS program, a program aimed
at helping younger students look up to peers.

He is the son of James and Josie Brownlee.

Megan Freeman is hoping to attend A&M University following graduation
and get into pre-pharmacy.

As a freshman student she was in the band and the swimming team; her
sophomore year she was in band, swimming, Latin Club and Mu Alpha Theta;
in her junior year she was in band, section leader, swimming, Latin
club, student council, committee chairman, and class vice-president. She
was also inducted into the National Honor Society and was in Who's Who,
received the U.S. achievement award and band achievement award.

This year she has been involved in the band, section leader, was
publicity officer for the student council, was vice-president of her
class, was a regional qualifier on the swim team, was vice-president of
the National Honor Society and treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta.

Her strongest subjects are calculus and English. Calculus is her
favorite subject with biology being her weakest.

Freeman is honest, hardworking and trustworthy. Her greatest high school
achievement is receiving a division I at state solo and ensemble contest
in band her junior year.

She is the daughter of Ronnie and Jeannie Daniel.

Veronica Dionnie Munoz plans to attend West Texas A&M University and major in pre-veterinary medicine.

As a freshman she joined the swim team and Mu Alpha Theta; her sophomore
year she was in the same two groups; and her junior year she was
inducted into the National Honor Society and continued swimming.

This year, Dionnie, was again one of the top swimmers and a regional
qualifier for Pecos High School and was one of five swimmers recognized
by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association and named
as an Academic All-American for swimming.

She received the outstanding student awards in U.S. History her freshman
year; in English her sophomore year and animal science her junior year.

Her strongest subjects are geometry, trigonometry elementary analysis
and biology, with biology being her favorite. Her weakest subjects are
Spanish and English.

Munoz is a determined, trustworthy and creative young lady who lists her
greatest high school accomplishment as being ranked one of the top four
in her graduating class.

She is the daughter of Socorro and Benjamin Munoz.

Separate arrests made in coke, heroin cases

Staff Writer
After a Department of Public Safety lab report revealed that a "trace"
amount of suspected cocaine seized in a raid earlier this month was, in
fact, the real stuff, Pecos resident and area rancher Paul Armstrong was
arrested on charges of drug possession.

Armstrong, of 1902 Jackson Boulevard, was arrested at 1:26 p.m. Tuesday
on charges of possession of a controlled substance under one gram. He
was taken to Reeves County Jail, where he was arraigned before being
released on bond.

The arrest resulted from a search of Armstrong's west side home early on
the morning of Friday, May 8. The search, a combined effort of Reeves
County Drug Task Force and the Permian Basin Drug Task Force, uncovered
a small amount of suspected cocaine. It was sent to the DPS lab for
confirmation before the arrest was made.

Police Chief Clay McKinney stated at the time that the department liked
to get such confirmation from the lab before making any arrests.

Pecos Police Department officer Paul Videtto made the arrest. Armstrong
was released on a $7,500 bond late Tuesday afternoon.

In another operation which was assisted by the Permian Basin Drug Task
Force, Reeves County Sheriff's Department narcotics officer Jeff Baeza,
assisted by Pecos Police narcotics officer Paul Deishler, executed a
search warrant at 8:17 a.m. Tuesday on 304 East Eighth Street. The
subsequent search revealed a substance believed to be heroin and various
drug paraphernalia.

Ruben Porras Hernandez was arrested on charges of drug possession and
booked at Reeves County Jail at 9:40 a.m.

Players take longshot at $175 million jackpot

From Staff and Wire Reports
Pecos area residents who are willing to make a 75-mile drive to Loving
or Jal, N.M. can have a shot -- a very long shot -- at claiming
tonight's $175 million Powerball jackpot.

New Mexico is one of 20 states, along with the District of Columbia,
that participates in the Powerball lottery, and gas stations and
convenience stores in Loving and Jal are the nearest ones to Pecos where
tickets can be purchased.

Tonight's $175 million drawing is the largest jackpot ever in the United
States, but the odds of one person's matching all six numbers for a
share of money are 80.1 million-to-1.

Put another way, players are 40 times likelier to die falling out of bed
than they are to win even a piece of the jackpot. They are 320 times
more likely to perish in a plane crash than to strike it rich with some
of the winnings.

The tough odds didn't deter tens of thousands of people across the
District of Columbia and the 20 states that take part in the Powerball.
Thousands of people flocked to play the game from bordering states.

``It's just a buck,'' Danny O'Conner said at a store in Charleston,
W.Va. ``If you don't play, you can't win.''

Players lined up at convenience stores, gas stations, tobacco shops,
liquor stores and malls to take their chances.

``I don't expect to win,'' Noel Hassen said as she clutched her ticket.
``I'm just doing it for the fun of it. But on the other hand, it only
takes one.''

Charles Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery
Association, which handles Powerball, wouldn't hazard a guess as to the
odds of one person winning all the money. But he said the chances are 60
percent to 70 percent that there will be at least two winners.

Statistically, all kinds of things are more likely to happen to someone
than winning, according to ``The Book of Risks'' by Larry Laudan, a
philosophy professor at the University of Hawaii. He gives these odds of
ways of dying:

--3 million-to-1 by freezing to death.

--2 million-to-1 by falling out of bed.

--350,000 to 1 of being electrocuted.

--250,000-to-1 in a plane crash.

--5,000-to-1 in a car crash.

Despite the slim-to-none chances of winning, Strutt predicted sales
would easily top the four-day record of $68 million for the July 7, 1993
drawing when the jackpot reached $111.2 million. One ticket, bought by a
Wisconsin woman, won the lottery prize that night.

``I still put about $10 on it every week,'' said Stanley Cashdollar,
whose biggest prize was $14. ``You still got to think, `Maybe I'll do it
this time.'''

The biggest jackpot ever won in the United States was $118.8 million in
the California lottery in 1991. The jackpot was split 10 ways.

Last year's Christmas lottery drawing in Spain -- named ``El Gordo,'' or
``the Fat One'' -- had a $270 million purse, but it was not a
winner-take-all lottery; the drawing offered 130 grand prizes of about
$2 million each.

The Powerball represents the world's biggest jackpot that could be won
by one person.

``I've got as good a chance as anybody,'' said Sabrina Meadows, who went
in with two friends and bought $20 worth of tickets Tuesday.

Even the experts played this time.

``Everybody's doing it,'' said Gail Howard, a White Plains, N.Y., author
of a book on the science of choosing lottery numbers. ``(Whether it's)
good, bad, it's not going to break anybody. All you need is $1.''

One man who didn't play is James Casino.

``I played a long time ago,'' said the retired forklift operator. He
said the odds are better that a person would get bonked on the head by a

Technically, he's wrong. The odds of getting killed by a meteorite are 5
billion-to-1, according to Laudan.

Satellite's woes don't hurt local pagers

From Staff and Wire Reports
Millions of pagers that keep doctors, detectives and loved ones in touch
sat silent today and some radio and TV relays were interrupted because a
$250 million communications satellite lost track of Earth.

Technicians move some paging services to other satellites today, and
considered moving another satellite into position in orbit.

The problem had less of an effect on pagers locally, since previous
problems with the satellite service caused one local company to return
to land lines well before Tuesday's incident.

"We aren't having any problems, because we don't work through the
satellite," said Jim Blanchard of Industrial Communications. "All our
ours (pagers) are going through microwave."

The Galaxy 4 satellite stopped relaying pager messages and media feeds
at about 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday when its onboard control system and a backup
switch failed and the satellite rotated out of position.

Technicians were able to send commands to the craft but could not
restore its orientation toward Earth, said Robert Bednarek, senior vice
president and chief technology officer for Greenwich, Conn.-based
PanAmSat, which owns the satellite.

``We are still not transmitting,'' PanAmSat spokesman Dan Marcus said
this morning.

Paging services' voice-mail function was still operating, but pagers
were not beeping or vibrating to indicate a message was received. People
with pagers must call in to see if any voice-mail messages were

Some paging service was restored by 7 a.m. CDT by switching to a
different satellite, Marcus said. There was no indication when all
paging and media feeds would be restored.

Blanchard said his company had gone back to the microwave system have
previous satellite-related outages.

"The main thing is the reliability. If a satellite goes out, they all go
out," he said, while adding the earlier problems were not due to
mechanical failures.

"Somebody would push the wrong button with the satellite and that would
throw everyone off," he said.

He said Industrial is using both a state and nationwide land-based
microwave system. "It costs about $10,000 a month to operate. It's
probably not any cheaper than the satellite, but it's more reliable."

As far as other communications, Jeannette Alligood of Allcomm Long
Distance said Galaxy 4's problem also were having no effect on cellular
phone service, which also uses a land-based system of towers.

"There aren't any problems that we're aware of," she said.

PanAmSat, which has 17 satellites worldwide, may wind up moving another
satellite into the area where the Galaxy 4 is located, which would take
a couple of days, he said.

Scott Baradell, a spokesman for PageNet, one of several paging companies
whose services were interrupted, estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent
of the 40 million to 45 million U.S. pager users lost service.

``This is the first time in 35 years that pagers have gone silent,''
said John D. Beletic, chairman and chief executive officer of
Dallas-based PageMart Wireless Inc. ``Virtually all paging companies
have been affected.''

At Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, pagers returned to working order
at midmorning today. The problem had posed a minor inconvenience
overnight, but patient care ``has not been compromised in any way,''
said spokeswoman Joann Rodgers.

PageMart announced on its Internet Web page early today that service had
been moved to backup satellites for customers in major cities including
Boston, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Philadelphia, and it was working to
move service for other customers.

Baradell said it would take about a day for his company to finish
switching service for most of its 10½ million customers.

The only customers not affected were those whose connections are through
ground-based radio transmitters, Baradell said.

The pager problem was of particular concern to doctors. Dr. Steve
Dickens, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,
said he spent the night at the hospital because of the problem.

``I have to tell (the hospital) what to do and how to respond,'' he
said. ``We have a good support staff, but protocol says they can't make
a decision without first calling the doctor.''

Dickens' brother is an obstetrician.

``He says it's a nightmare,'' Dickens said. ``He's got eight ladies in
labor right now. Thank God for cell phones.''

New Hampshire state police informed other law enforcement agencies that
the paging system for officers in the major crimes unit was down.

And gas stations were having problems with pay-at-the-pump machines that
weren't accepting credit cards. ``We're going back to the old ways,
manually. It's a pain in the butt,'' said Maurice Tamamian, a manager at
a Chevron gas station in Los Angeles.

Radio stations had trouble receiving feeds from National Public Radio.
For most of the early morning, WSCL-FM at Salisbury State University in
Salisbury, Md., played its own music during times it would normally play
satellite-fed programs. But by drive time, the station began receiving
feeds via phone lines, said station manager Fred Marino.

``The quality isn't the greatest, but it's usable,'' Marino said.

Television stations also use Galaxy 4 to transmit feeds of advance
shows, said Marguerite Sullivan, satellite coordinator for KCAL-TV in
Los Angeles. But it was not clear what - if any - television programming
was affected.

``Hopefully, TV stations will be able to work around it,'' she said.
``It's just satellite space is going to be very tight. It's going to be
a problem for syndication.''

In addition to the syndicated programs, CBS television, the Chinese
Television Network and the CNN Airport Network send feeds through Galaxy

However, CBS had a backup plan to use the Galaxy 7 satellite and was not
affected by the outage, said spokeswoman Amy Malone. ABC and NBC also
said they were not affected.

Galaxy 4 was launched in June 1993 aboard an Ariane rocket. Its coverage
area is primarily the United States and Caribbean, according to
PanAmSat, which is 81 percent owned by Los Angeles-based Hughes
Communications Inc.

PHA board eyes CIAP application

An application for CIAP '98 funds will be the topic of discussion at the
regular Pecos Housing Authority Board meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m.
Thursday, at the administration office, 600 Meadowbrook Drive.

The board will discuss fee accountant services, executive director's
vacation and read a letter from Eileen Rogers, director of public
housing, PHMAP scores for Pecos Housing Authority for 1997.

The cleanup of vacant Airbase lots, removal of unused telephone poles
and disposal of idle transformers will be discussed.

A proposal for fee accounting services, from David Land, Lindsey
Company, will also be discussed.

Other items on the agenda include monthly income and expense reports,
accounts payable and occupancy report.

In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting, the board will discuss
a resolution for the FLH budget for fiscal year, April 1, 1998 to March
31, 1999.

A resolution for fee accountant for FLH project with Lindsey Company
will be up for approval.

Also to be discussed will be a resolution to turn over collection losses
on Sonia Wilson Rayos, for $111; Esmilda Martinez, $275; Jaime
Valenzuela, $33; Maria Serna, $108; Felipe Cabada, $225; and Patricia
Tapia, $33 plus $238, from a previous balance.

Also on the agenda will be monthly financial statement, monthly account
payable, occupancy status and rent roll and cash journal.


High Tuesday 101. Low this morning 66. Trace of rain during last 24
hours. Total for month .03 inch. Total for year .15 inch. Forecast for
tonight: Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of thunderstorms. Low around 70.
South wind 5-15 mph, higher and gusty in and near storms. Chance for
measurable rain is 20 percent. Thursday, partly sunny. High near 100.
South to southwest wind 10-20 mph.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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