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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Commissioners OK plan for RCDC expansion

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Reeves County Commissioners adpoted a resolution and signed documents Tuesday that will move the proposed $40 million expansion of the Reeves County Detention Center a step closer to reality.

Commissioners met in an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon, to discuss the financing of the 1,000 bed addition to the facility.

Barry Friedman, president of Carlyle Capital Markets, who financed the original prison in 1986, was on hand for the special meeting, along with John Murray, CPA with Speer and Murray, Ltd.

"This is the last aspects of closing of bond issue for financing of the 1,000 bed addition," said Friedman.

Friedman explained the procedure to the group, explaining that the best credit rating the county could receive was a Triple A rating for better interest rates. "What the county received is a Triple B, which is an investment grade rating," he said.

Friedman said that they had enlisted the help of Speerman and Murray, who went back and analyzed the financial history of Reeves County. In addition, they enlisted the help of Fitch Credit Agency to do a credit report.

"In essence, they found that the the long-term liability with BOP as a client is very strong," said Friedman. "BOP indicated that this was a joint partnership with the county."

Commissioners signed the resolution and approved documents and authorization to submit the paperwork to the Texas Attorney General's office.

Friedman said that this is the first step in procuring the financial means to continue with the project. "Once we have the documents signed we can go to the AG's office, they will give us validation of funds, so that we can settle this by June 10," he said.

Construction on the project is set to begin this summer and should be completed by August of 2000.

Total project financing is set at $40 million, 12-year loan, with an approximate 7.39 interest rate, according to Friedman. "We usually have these for 20-25 year loans," he said.

Fixed-price construction contract for the construction of the 1,000 bed addition to the RCDC is $23.1 million. Additional costs area for professional service fees, $2.3 million; $2 million for additional construction expenses; $2 million for addition improvements and modifications; $4.4 capitalized interest; $4.4 for debt service reserve and $1.5 million, bond insurance premiums.

"The 4.4 capitalized interest is because we'll do the final closing in early June and pay for the use of the money, but we won't start making any payments on the loan until the year 2001. that's when we'll make the first payment," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

"When construction starts, will you have to move any inmates?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin.

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco assured Tarin that inmates would not have to moved and construction would not interfere with the daily operations of the facility.

Franco and assistant warden Tony Perez, were also on hand for the special meeting.

"With the help of our warden, assistant wardens and the staff, if we run at 100 percent that would keep us more competitive and our per diem rate could remain stable," said Galindo.

Friedman also advised the group that the county should change their accounting system from a cash basis to an accrual basis within 12-15 months, to assure the financial stability of the facility.

"It's vital that we go from a cash basis to an accrual and automate our accounting system at the RCDC, so input won't have to be done twice," said Galindo.

Murray will help with upgrading automation to smooth out the operations of the new facility.

"This will help Mr. Owens (county auditor Lynn Owens) and will mean less manpower," said Galindo.

Key joins RCH board, Luna named president

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Holly Key took her seat on the board of the Reeves County Hospital District Tuesday and helped elect Greg Luna as president. Marcella Lovett will serve as vice-president and secretary.

Luna presented outgoing President Jeannette Alligood a plaque in appreciation for her service.

"We are very pleased to have had you as chairman of this board," Luna said. "You were here during up and downs. We are very grateful for your tenacity and also for all the good things you participated in. You made some major decisions."

"It has been an honor to serve with all of you, and a very rewarding experience," said Alligood.

Luna will replace Alligood as signator at both local banks and Tex Pool, along with Lovett and hospital staff involved in financial matters.

Lovett will also serve on the committee for resale of property struck off at tax sales.

Alligood, who served on the committee last year, said that representatives of the taxing entities planned the annual sale in a brief meeting.

The resolution for respite care was approved, giving administrator Charles Butts authority to negotiate terms and sign the contract.

Butts said that respite care takes up where home health leaves off, giving home living aid to the elderly and infirm.

Jason Bullard of Covenant Health Systems said that the state provides respite care, which is a "basic maid service 12-14 hours a day. Routinely, once patients are on Medicare skilled services side and they are no longer needed, but they need homemaker service. That way we keep them."

If the hospital did not provide respite care, another agency would take over, and they might not return to the hospital for skilled nursing care when it was needed again, Bullard said.

"It is a good complementary service," he said.

Bullard said that home care reimbursement will be changed, because last year's federally-mandated changes caused up to 40 percent of home health agencies to close.

"They realize they overshot their projections," Bullard said. "They wanted to eliminate fraud, which they did. But their budget was $15 billion over five years. Now it is $56 billion. They overshot it drastically."

The new payment plan will be on a diagnosis basis, and safeguards have been put in to protect small rural agencies like RCH.

On recommendation of the finance committee, the board approved purchase of a portable ventilator that can be used to transfer patients and as a backup for the hospital, in case an extra one is needed.

Butts said that RCH co-sponsored the American Cancer Society Relay for Life held Friday and Saturday at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena. Eight teams participated.

Other sponsors were Security State Bank, First National Bank and American Home Health, he said.

"We had 102 walkers and collected more than $7,000," he said.

On-the-job disaster training occurred on May 9 when nine victims of a traffic accident were brought into the hospital emergency room, and five others were already there, Butts said.

"It shows we have the ability to care for them," Butts said, noting that the experience will count as one of the required disaster training events.

He reported that a man whose relative was in the hospital last week was very pleased with the staff and the "excellent care."

"It makes you feel good," he said. "So many times you only her the bag things. There's a whole lot more good that goes on in these little hospitals. The community doesn't understand what they have in physicians and quality of hospital personnel. It is a real plus."

The board tabled action on tax abatement for the Border Patrol building and appointing committees.

`Night in Old Pecos' funding help sought

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writers
PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Organizers of the Night in Old Pecos/Cantaloupe Festival are asking for the community's financial help in making this year's annual event a success.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Rivera said the downtown event, held the Saturday before the start of the West of the Pecos Rodeo, "is not a profit making event, but is a custom of this community."

However, Rivera said due to increasing costs to stage the event, organizers are asking the community if they would be interested in making a small donation to cover some of the expenses.

"Entertainment is the highest expense, we have to pay for two bands even though there is no charge to the public," said Rivera.

Donations can be made to the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 24, Pecos, Tx., 79772, or for more information call the office at 445-2406.

Night in Old Pecos/Cantaloupe Festival will be held beginning at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 28, in downtown Pecos.

Activities this year will include, a dunking booth, a cake walk, Sarsaparilla in the courtyard, a talent show, arts and crafts booths, great food and ice cold sodas.

Anyone interested in participating in the talent show for a chance at $50 first prize can contact the chamber. Entry fee for the talent show is $5.

Entertainment scheduled throughout the evening will include: a TaeKwon-Do exhibition, and the Golden Girl of the Old West production number. Music will be provided throughout the evening.

Two separate street dances will be hosted by the chamber, featuring Eddie Rivera and the Breeze performing the latest in country-western on Windmill Square, and Imprezzion providing the best in Tejano music, on the Oak Street Stage.

Booth spaces are still available, and non-profit organizations are eligible to reserve space free of charge, by contacting the chamber office.

Emergency training planned for future deliveries

PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Radiological transportation, which will involve trucks traveling through Pecos in the upcoming years, is the focus of a training course set for Tuesday, said Armando Gil, emergency management coordinator.

The "First Responder Training Course" will be conducted by the Texas Department of Health at Quality Inn from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Eddy County, N.M.

Course contents include introduction to radiation, waste acceptance, package design, transportation regulations and enhanced safety measures. The course also deals with initial responders actions, first responder action plan, decontamination, disposal and documentation, and a glossary of related terms.

Gil said that all responders are highly encouraged to attend.

Trucks carrying transuranic waste from five sites in the Eastern United States will travel through Pecos and Reeves County on U.S. 285, from Interstate 20 to the New Mexico state line on their way to the WIPP site southeast of Carlsbad, N.M.

Elementary students go on trip to OZ

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Dorothy and her faithful dog, Toto, opened a stage production of The Wizard of Oz this morning with a rousing rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," joined by the entire cast backstage.

Third graders at Pecos Elementary, along with an after-school Spanish class of 4-6 graders, produced the classic, which they will perform for the public at 7 p.m. Monday in the school auditorium.

Schoolmates packed the auditorium this morning for the dress rehearsal.

Eva Garcia directs the production, assisted by fellow third-grade teacher Lanette Portillo. Financial support in the form of a $200 grant from Texas-New Mexico Power Company made the production possible, Garcia said.

Garcia's Spanish students have been pen pals with her third graders this year, and they are getting acquainted through the play, she said. Spanish music is part of the production, with dialogue in English.

PHA to name contractor on CIAP project

PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- A contractor for CIAP 98 Renovation Project will be the topic of discussion at the regular Pecos Housing Authority Board meeting scheduled for 5 p.m., Thursday, at the PHA/FLH Administration Office, 600 Meadowbrook Drive.

The group will open award bids for purchase of a new truck for the maintenance department and award bids for the purchase of appliances, refrigerators, stoves and water heaters.

Board members will also award audit proposals for Fiscal Year ending Dec. 31, 1998.

Correspondence will include a public housing management assessment program score and status for Fiscal Year ended Dec. 31, 1998: total weighted PHMAP assessment score 96.25 percent (designated as high performer) and 100 percent in modernization (designated as mod-high performer).

Monthly financial statements, accounts payable, occupancy status and rent roll and cash journal will also be discussed.

In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting the group will open and award bid proposals for audit for FY ending March 31, 1999; discuss monthly financial statement; monthly account payable; monthly occupancy status and rent roll and cash journal.

Grievance case, insurance matters on agenda

PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, behind closed doors to discuss a level II grievance presentation and for a consultation with the attorney concerning insurance issues.

The Level III grievance presentation may be in open session if so requested by the employee.

P-B-T ISD employee Eleuterio Garcia has requested the item be presented in open session.

The board will return to open session to take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

Board members will take consideration of, and possible action on, Level III grievance of employee.

Board members will meet in the board room, 1304 S. Park St.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-22-25-31-34. Number matching five of five: none. Matching four of five: 213. Prize: $1,003. Matching three of five: 8,079. Prize: $26.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 3-6-6 (three, six, six)

Weather

PECOS, May 19, 1999 -- High Tuesday 87; low last night 63. Tonight, increasing clouds late. Low 60-65. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy and breezy. High around 90. Southeast to south wind 15-25 mph and gusty.



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