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Area Newspapers


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

Top Stories

Jan. 28, 1999

Sharp wins bid for parts

In a fast-paced meeting, the Monahans City Council awarded
bids for fertilizer and water system supplies, sold some
land and heard a request from TU Electric Manager Kevin Slay
to implement a sliding rate scale within the City limits.
The Council met in regular session Tuesday afternoon.

K.W. Sharp, Inc. out of Brownfield submitted the low bid of
$20,989.15 for the water system parts, purchased annually by
the City.

The fertilizer bid was awarded to BWI out of Carrolton with
a bid of $8661.75 for the City's fertilizer needs and a bid
of $23,452.19 for the more specialized needs of the golf
course. The purchase of the golf course chemicals was
applied to the $30,000 subsidy the City recently voted for
golf course support.

"By combining the needs of the golf course with the City's,
we hoped to secure a better price for them," said City
Manager David Mills. That would give the Golf Course
Association more value for their dollar. The City has
already purchased some other supplies needed for the
facility and installed a wire cage over the inlet in the
pond on the course to keep waterdogs and salamanders from
being sucked into the equipment.

Bids were also opened for two parcels of land owned by the
City. The first, a 30'x92' tract located south of the
Methodist Church was sold to Paulino Fuentes for $200. Two
lots next to Rutherford Machine were awarded to James L.
Byrum for $300.

After assuring the Council he was not there to secure a rate
increase, Slay explained that TU Electric needed the City's
approval to implement three optional time-of-use rates for
residential and business customers within their city limits.
The Public Utilities Commission approved the sliding rate
scale for areas outside the City six months ago, he said.

Customers who are able to shift their on-peak energy use to
pre-determined off-peak times will benefit the most, he told
the Council. These would likely include churches, businesses
and residents who are not using electricity during the high
demand hours from 2 to 8 p.m.

"I have seen this. I think it's a very good deal - glad to
see it coming inside the city limits," said Mayor David

Designated as Ordinance No. 1006, the request was passed on
first reading.

As a point of information, Mills told the Council that the
City was no longer tied to the water contamination lawsuit.
He said the plaintiffs agreed to drop the company that had
pulled the City in, WOC Acquisitions from the suit, and that
automatically "dropped us".

He also told the Council that Cliffwood Oil and Gas
Corporation had sold their interest in the South Monahans
Queens Unit to Texas Heat of the Permian Basin. The Council
postponed any action on the sale pending the Company's
completion of the City's bond and insurance requirements.

Hospital board nixes recruitment funds

A request from Dr. William Davison for physician recruitment
funds to assist in paying a new doctor's salary was once
again tabled as Ward Memorial Hospital's Board of Managers
considered hospital expenditures. The group met Tuesday
night in the hospital's classroom. Board Chairman Dyer
Moore, noted that Dr. Noel Villanueva, the hospital's newly
elected chief of staff, was present in the audience.

Vicki Yates, head of the finance committee, said they are
still considering Dr. Rowe's request for hospital
recruitment funds for his new doctors and that a commitment
cannot be made to Dr. Davison until a decision has been made
concerning Dr. Rowe's request.

As an information item, the finance committee also presented
figures for the purchase of a new ambulance. The group
expressed their hope that funds from the tobacco "windfall"
could be used for that purpose.

Concern was expressed about the legal expenses expended in
the lawsuit with Dr. Judith Moss.

Hospital administrator Joe Wright told the News that, after
an executive meeting, the Board voted to provide the
hospital's attorney permission to find a joint auditor that
will "represent the facts rather than either party. If we
can figure out objectively who owes who, then we may not
have to go to trial," he said.

A report was heard on the status of the administration's
move from the hospital annex to the hospital.

According to Wright, the administration offices need to be
"where things are happening" rather than across the street.
After some remodeling, Home Health will be moved into the

"It is our desire," said Wright, "to have everything that
belongs to the hospital in hospital space."

Federal fugutive caught

by Joe Warren
Jesus Rodriguiz, 43, of Odessa is in the Ward County jail on
federal warrants out of Dallas.

Rodriguiz was taken into custody after DPS Officer Darren
Storer pulled over his black Chevrolet pickup for defective
equipment and expired tags Wednesday morning. Rodriguez was
west bound on I-20 at mile marker 83 when the trooper
stopped him.

When a license check turned up the warrants, Rodriguez was
arrested and taken to Ward County jail.

Further search of the vehicle turned up two semi automatic
rifles hidden under the vehicle, Storer said. Rodriguez was
searched and and officers found an alleged user amount of
cocaine on his person.

Bond will be set by federal court in Pecos as soon as all of
the complaints are in. According to Storer, that should be
some time Thursday.

Rodriguez was traveling with his wife who has been taken
into custody and as of press time, not charged.

A full search of the vehicle and investigation was underway
Wednesday and officers said all complaints should be issued
as soon as the vehicle search is completed.

Commissioners back oil industry

The Ward County Commissioners Court approved a resolution
supporting the oil industry when they met Monday in the
County Courtroom.

The resolution was requested by Kermit independent oilman,
John Bell, as part of his drive to get governmental support
for the sagging oil industry. January 18, Bell organized a
march in Austin on behalf of the oil workers.

The Resolution read, in part:

". . . the Ward County Commissioners Court supports all
reasonable efforts to stabilize the oil economy of West
Texas through the relaxation of bureaucratic red tape,
mandates and regulations; state purchases of oil related
products, adjustments to the oil severance tax and lobbying
efforts toward the federal government to stop the ever
increasing dependence on foreign oil."

The court tabled a request for waiver of fees for use of the
community centers in the County for individuals and a
similar request for reduced rates for frequent users. Judge
Massey and Commissioner Kathy Fausett, who is responsible
for booking of the County-owned facilities, will research
the existing policy and present a recommendation at the next

Allen Martin was appointed Emergency Management Coordinator
for the County. Martin volunteered for the position formerly
held by Commissioner Rick McCurdy. Responsibilities of the
post are carried out under Judge Massey. There is no pay or
benefits associated with the job.

Commissioners voted against helping to fund a regional water
planning commission for the Colorado Municipal Water
District. Though the County's portion would only be $1154,
Judge Massey expressed concern that so much of the funding
would go to the salaries of three officers on the Commission.

In other business, the Commissioners approved accounts
payable, employee changes, budget amendments and officers
reports. Following the regular meeting, the group moved to
executive session to interview two prospective candidates
for the position of interim sheriff. Six men have come
forward requesting the job to date. They are: Jerry D.
Heflin, Jim Price, Steve Vestal, Mike Stricklin, Tommy King
and Candido Guiterrez.

Lack of financing closes Reif Mfg.

M.M. Reif Manufacturing closed its doors this week with no
apparent plans to reopen the business. An employee on site
told the News Monday, ". . . this will be it."

City Manager David Mills said the closing was a result of
the company's inability to get financing from its home bank.
Reif is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa.

The manufacturing plant was the first victory for the
Monahans Economic Development Corporation and its director,
Charlie Walker.

Reif signed a grant agreement with the MEDC Sept. 29, 1997,
and purchased the old Camelot building on South 15th in late
October of that year. Production began only two months
later, on Dec. 15, just a little over 10 months from the
formation of concept and goals for Reif Manufacturing.

In a story to the News last Spring, the Company projected
expanding its employee base to 75 or 100 over the next five

The MEDC grant was for $238,000 and according to terms of
the grant agreement, was contingent upon Reif operating with
at least 10 full-time employees through May 31, 2008. Once
the plant opened, if the Company ceased to fulfill those
terms anytime within that time frame, Reif was to refund the
grant. The amount of the refund was set up on a sliding
scale according to the length of time the Company kept its
Monahans plant in operation.

If the plant shut down prior to May 31, 1999, the "refund
obligations of Reif" portion of the agreement states that if
"Reif thereafter ceases to employ at least 10 full time
employees and such cessation continues for a period of three
or more consecutive months, Reif shall refund to MEDC . .

MEDC chairman, Mark Gatzki, said, "I can't speak to what the
future plans are. The current status [of Reif] is that some
management are still left on site; the current employment
base is not working this week." He believes it is "way to
early to speculate," adding that, "lots of things can

MEDC director, Rick Taylor, said, "Monahans made a very good
deal out of it. It looks bad now because it didn't work out,
but we only invested about $1700 per job; you can get that
back." He said many cities invest $100,000 or more per job
in attracting new industry to their area.

"It's a fact of life," he continued. "Businesses come,
businesses go. We have to stay positive."

Taylor told the MEDC Board Monday afternoon in their regular
monthly meeting that he has at least four serious prospects,
including a couple of expansions, one of which "approached

He also said the MEDC is considering a plan to co-op and
"start our own business".

"We are not going to get a Dell Computers or something like
that," Taylor added.

"We will get the Reif size -- 40 employees or so."

Tobacco windfall helps budget

Ward County has received a check for $231,624.98 from the
State of Texas to help recoup some of the costs of providing
health care to indigent patients with tobacco related
illnesses. Since the County is responsible for the costs of
treating indigents, the check came directly to Ward County
rather than the hospital.

"The funds . . . amount to 'found money' for Texas cities,
counties and hospital districts," explained State
Comptroller Carol Rylander. "The money is the result of a
clause in the Texas tobacco settlement increasing payments
from the tobacco companies as a result of the 'Most Favored
nation' provision. When the State of Minnesota and the
tobacco industry reached agreement, the clause kicked in the
extra revenue for Texas." The money from the settlement is
in addition to the $15 billion amount negotiated by the
State of Texas with the tobacco industry.

"Before we make any decision as to what we will use the
money for, we want to hear the hospital's recommendation,"
said County Judge Sam Massey. "If we could get through until
budget time, we will know for sure what our income will be
and we can make a decision then." Massey noted that the
County spent $180,000 on indigent care last year which means
they may have to look at increasing the budgeted amount this

"We usually budget $100,000 and generally spend less than
that," he said. Budget workshops will begin in April.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Comptroller's office
is scheduled to distribute another $100 million in April
2000 and $50 million in April 2001, using a formula based on
unreimbursed health care expenditures.

An additional $1.85 billion to be received from the
settlement over the next four years is to be deposited to a
Permanent Trust Account. The income from this permanent fund
will be distributed pro-rata to the cities, counties and
hospital districts providing indigent health care in
proportion to their amount of unreimbursed health care

"We won't be putting that money in our annual budget," said
Massey. "I don't believe the 'check is in the mail' until we
have it in hand."

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Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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