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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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May 28, 1998

Building permits double last year

Building permits issued in Monahans so far this year more
than double in dollar value permits issued in the first four
months of 1997, according to a report from City Inspector
Bobby Sinclair.

A $55,000 building permit for an addition to Reddy Ice Corp.
at 1310 East Sealy Avenue was issued in April by the City
of Monahans, according to the report. The Reddy Ice building
permit was the largest of the $84,649 in total permits
issued for construction last month by the city.

Sinclair says the April permits bring the total for the year
to $916,496. This compares with $308,995 through April of
last year.

Residential construction permits totaled $26,348 in April;
commercial construction, $58,300.

In addition to the Reddy Ice building permit, individual
permits issued in April for new construction or repairs
included ones to:

Lonny Bingham, $6,500 for a garage at 1201 South Allen

Diana Granado, $3,000 for a garage at 509 North Carol Avenue.

Caroll Williams III, $3,000 to move a mobile home at 703
South Gail Avenue.

Andy Diez, $2,600 to roof a building at 811 Second "A"

City of Monahans, $2,500 to reroof a building at 101 East
Sealy Avenue.

Omar Porras, $2,000 for an addition at 403 North Carol

Tommy Pittman, $1,800, for carport, roof and patio work at
809 South James Avenue.

Milton Alexander, $1,500 to reroof a building at 200 South
Franklin Avenue.

Rosie Reyna, $1,500 to move a mobile home at 102 South Maple

Court prohibits burning

Continuing drought this week triggered a Ward County
Commissioners' ban on all open burning in the county.

The prohibition on burning applies to both unincorporated
and incorporated areas. It requires that burning can be done
only in fire department approved containers.

The ban is effective until after it is lifted by county
commissioners. County Judge Sam G. Massey says that won't
happen "until we get a couple of at least one-inch rains."
He emphasized two heavy rains would be necessary before the
commissioners consider lifting the open burning order.

"This is an important step," says the county judge. "Banning
open burning at this time is just common sense."

Significant rain has not fallen in the area this year.

The judge notes there have been no major wild fires in Ward
County this season although fires have been reported in
adjacent areas, including Ector County. Smoke from one wild
fire in Presidio County added to the haze in the Permian
Basin caused by wild fires in Mexico before the Presidio
County blaze was controlled and extinguished.

"Banning open burning was something the County
Commissioners' Court felt needed to be done," says Massey.
"We have an emergency situation."

In other Commissioners Court action on Tuesday:

Commissioners decided to open fertilizer bids for Ward
County Golf Course on June 22.

Henry Cutbirth and Jim Fredericks were appointed to the
Industrial Development Board. It was a reappointment for
A group from Reeves County reported on the proposed
establishment of an underground water district that will
include an area of Ward County around Barstow. It was
informational only.

Southwest Sandhills Water Corp. was given permission to
cross county rights of way with water lines.

It was decided to act on the new courthouse elevator in a
workshop meeting scheduled on Monday, June 1.

Grant lowers power bills

Shirley Hill, executive director of the Monahans Housing
Authority, found a way to reduce utility bills for the
authority and its tenants.

Thanks, Hill notes, to a grant from TU Electric Co., monthly
power costs to the about 400 residents will be reduced 15 to
20 percent. The average monthly electric charge in the
apartments is about $40 a unit. Water consumption, according
to estimates by TU Regional Manager Kevin Slay, will be cut
about 50 percent.

Residents of the authority's 120 units in Monahans pay their
electric bills. The Housing Authority pays the water bill
for its units at 11 different locations around the city. And
the work already has been finished.

"Every one wins," says Hill. "Clients pay less for
electricity and all of them now have ceiling fans which
makes their personal environment better. Before many clients
had no cooling in their apartments."

The Housing Authority received a TU Electric check for
$25,040 on Tuesday, May 26, to pay for work already
completed in the Housing Authority apartments. But cash was
not all TU provided.

From Hill: "They gave us new shower heads and they gave us
faucet aerators for all the apartments."

It was the new shower heads and the faucet aerators which
translate into a saving of as much as 50 percent on the
water bill the Housing Authority pays. The new shower heads,
Slay reports, are designed to operate on 2.5 gallons a
minute compared with the five gallons of water a minute that
flowed through the old showerheads.

"It will cut in half the price of taking a shower," says the
TU regional manager.

Cash was used to provide two ceiling fans in each of the
apartments, an extensive amount of caulking for better
insulation and the purchase and placement of fluorescent
lights, which provide more light while using less power. Ivy
Electric Co. of Monahans installed the 240 ceiling fans in
the living rooms and large bedrooms of the units, many of
which are occupied by single, elderly residents on fixed

Says Hill: "We used a local contractor (Ivy). We didn't go
out of town. We kept the dollars at home."

Hill initiated the process to enhance and upgrade public
housing in Monahans when she heard of the TU Electric grants
available as part of the utility's corporate citizen
projects. That was last November. Executive director Hill
and the Housing Authority staff prepared their proposals and
transmitted them to TU.

"We got final acceptance in March,"

recalls Hill. We began construction in and it was finished
in late April about three weeks ago. The work was completed
in about 30 days."

One more comment from Shirley Hill: "This TU program is very
wonderful . . .clients are very, very pleased. All of them
can run ceiling fans to save the cost of the air
conditioner. Many, because of their economic condition, did
not have air conditioning. Now they at least have ceiling

Martinez replaces Vance on board

Glenn Vance, a Monahans entrepreneur, has resigned from the
Ward Memorial Hospital Board of Managers.

County Judge Sam G. Massey read the hospital board chair's
letter of resignation to hospital trustees at a meeting of
the board on Thursday, May 21.

Tony Martinez, who owns a laundry in Monahans and works for
an oil company in Coyonosa, has been appointed to succeed
Vance on the board. County Commissioner Julian Florez of
Barstow made that appointment on Tuesday, May 26.

Hospital trustees will vote on new board officers in their
meeting scheduled on Thursday, June 4, reports Dyer Moore,
acting hospital board chair.

In the resignation letter, Vance cited time commitments as a
reason for his decision to leave the board and promised he
would still be available for citizen input on hospital

"This resignation is effective today," Massey said on

Massey sits as a hosital trustee who votes on board matters
only in the case of a tie.

Vance's letter was written to Massey, the Ward County
Commissioners' Court and the board which he had led into a
management agreement with Lubbock Methodist Hospital, an
agreement hospital trustees feel already has proven to be a
positive step toward stabilizing the fiscally troubled
county-owned hospital in Monahans.

Vance was not present and had not been present at the
hospital board meeting that immediately preceded the meeting
at which the county judge read his letter of resignation.
Moore served as acting chair.

The resignation came only about three weeks after Judge Bob
Parks of the 143rd District Court ordered Vance to pay a
total of $17,887 in damages, attorney's fees and court costs
as the result of a civil suit filed by an Odessa couple,
Michael M. and Karen M. Jones. The order was signed on April
29 and filed with the District Court in Monahans the next
day, April 30. It was alleged in the plaintiff's petition
that the odometer of an automobile sold by Vance to the
couple had been rolled back by 100,000 miles.

In an interview, Vance says he is exploring possible legal
options for a potential appeal of the district judge's order
in the case.

Vance also reports "there had been some concern" about his
continuing on the board, on which trustees serve without
pay, in the wake of the district court's judgment.

"It was a voluntary resignation," emphasizes Vance.

Vance was chair and a member of the county's hospital board
through a stormy period in which major problems with revenue
and meeting expenses had crippled the financial operation of
the hospital.

It was under his leadership that the management agreement
was forged between Lubbock Methodist and the Ward Memorial
Hospital Board of Managers.

Vance notes there are "issues for improvement of hospital
services that are still in the mix," items with which he had
worked and in which he has a citizen's interest. These
include enhanced geratric services.

Trustees tighten hospital reins

Trustees of Ward Memorial Hospital Tuesday, May 26, took
immediate steps to extend their control over the financially
ailing county-operated hospital in Monahans.

Members of the Board of Managers unanimously passed by-law
changes which allow the hospital's chief executive officer
to spend no more than $3,000 on any item without board

In addition, the trustees adopted policy changes which
restrict the hospital administrator to allowing no more than
a 15 percent discount in the negotiation of managed care

The action took place in a terse meeting held at the Ward
Memorial administrative offices.

While adopting the budget control policy changes, the
trustees noted the hospital's commitment to providing
medical and health care to those working taxpayers who do
not have access to private medical insurance and who do not
qualify for Medicare or Medicaid because they are not on the
welfare roles.

From the resolution adopted on managed care contracts:

". . .The Board of Managers of Ward Memorial Hospital
acknowledges that the cost of health care has become
cost-prohibitive for some families and individuals. . .

"The Board of Ward Memorial Hospital acknowledges the role
of the hospital in making health care available to residents
of Ward County . . .

"The Board of Ward Memorial Hospital recognizes its
obligation to provide health care for residents of Ward

Finders keepers

Seven Monahans children want back the meteorite they
retrieved when the space rock zipped over their heads and
smacked into a vacant lot on Sunday, March 22.

Members of the Monahans City Council are considering the
request. The Council, pending a survey to determine exactly
where the rock fell, instructed City Manager David Mills to
place the question on the Council agenda for action on June

Orlando Lyles, father of two of the children, says: "We
believe the meteorite belongs to these seven kids. They were
the ones who found it."

He suggests the parents are ready to go to the courts, if
necessary, to get the meteorite back.

Lyles says the rock that came from the Asteroid Belt has
monetary value, dollars that can be used by the children for
their education or anything they may choose.

Steve Arnold of International Meteorite Brokerage based in
Tulsa, Okla., says the space rock may bring as much as
$25,000 on the world market. Arnold, who was in Monahans
Tuesday to meet with the children and their parents, says he
already has offers of about $20,000.

If a decision is made that the city retain the meteorite,
Mayor David Cutbirth says he will be the first to donate to
a special trust fund that could be established to help pay
for college tuition for the Meteorite 7.

District 2 Council Member Jeppie Wilson says: "I can
understand these children may believe they are being done
wrong. I can understand. They don't want to be run over."

Says District 1 Council Member; Maria Garcia: "We just want
to do the right thing."

It is in Garcia's district the meteorite finders and their
families reside.

The comments were made on Tuesday, May 26, when the children
and their parents appeared before the Council. They asked
for their rock which ended its journey in the edge of a
vacant lot between the home of Lyles and a neighbor, Manuel
Juarez In Spanish, Juarez says he plans to give the
meteorite to the children if the survey finds the space
debris landed on his property.

The Council, its members note, does not want to turn the
conflict into a City Hall versus the Kids Fight in which the
Council loses politically even if it keeps the meteorite
christened Monahans '98-I. Custody of Monahans '98-II, a
sister meteorite to the one the children found, is not at

Monahans '98-II fell onto a city street the same day and was
recovered by a sheriff's deputy on his way to work the next
morning. Both meteorites currently are in safekeeping at
City Hall.

Lyles spoke for the group when they appeared before City
Council on Tuesday, May 26, to request the city return
Monahans '98-I to the seven boys who found it. Lyles, other
parents and the children, had attempted to have their issue
placed on the agenda, a request denied. They spoke as part
of the citizen comment section of the agenda.

"We believe the meteorite belongs to these seven kids,"
Lyles told the Council as he gestured to the children seated
behind him. "They are the ones who found it."

Lyles noted he had been told by city officials that Monahans
98 1 and II would be displayed in an exhibit at City Hall
and that the boys and sheriff's deputy who found the second
would recognized in the display by photographs and news

The boys say they want their space rock back now that
federal scientists have finished base studies and returned
it to the City of Monahans.

In that letter to Lyles from City Manager David Mills, Mills
writes: ". . .I believe the most prudent position for the
city is to consider the meteor as property of the Citizens
of Monahans. The City would retain the meteor until such
time that the appropriate judicial court of record
determines otherwise."

Lyles said Monahans police had told him the meteorite would
be returned when the scientific studies were finished.

Those studies were finished and the space rock returned to
Monahans City Hall.

"We don't want to have to go to court," Lyles told the
Council. "If that's what we have to do, that's what we all
will do."

Mayor Cutbirth assured the Meteorite 7 that the meteor would
be given to Juarez immediately if a survey finds that the
property on which it landed was his property and not on city

Outside City Hall, young Neri Armendariz, one of the
Meteorite 7, wondered: "If they want our rock so bad, why
don't they just pay for it?"

No one answered at first. An adult assured him Monahans City
Council would do the right thing.

Meanwhile, television cameras rolled with the Tale of the
Meteorite 7. Meteorite broker Arnold says he'll be back in
Monahans June 9.

No lifeguards, no swimming

The City of Monahans Municipal Swimming Pool will not open
as scheduled on Saturday, May 30.

Officials say it is not known when the pool will open.

City Manager David Mills says the reason is no lifeguards
have been hired. Guards are required by law to be present if
the pool is open, In addition, the city also has not been
able to hire a pool manager.

Mills notes that life guards must be Red Cross certified as
guards, pool chemists and in first aid. Three guards are
required to open the swimming pool, the city manager notes.

"We have not had any applications from any lifeguards," says
Mills. We need three competent certified people. We won't be
able to open the pool until we do."

Mills informed the Monahans City Council of the municipal
pool's operating status at the City Council meeting on
Tuesday, May 26.

Wednesday, May 27, several persons requested applications
for the lifeguard positions. Pool manager applications also
were requested.In the past, Mills told the council, members
of the Monahans High School swim team had served as
lifeguards at the Hill Park Pool.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
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