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Wednesday, December 19, 1996

P-B-T budget concerns strike out softball

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 19, 1996 - A high level of enthusiasm by members of the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board on creating a high school girl's
softball program was offset Tuesday by a low level of funds, a shortage
of preparation time and a warning by auditors about deficit spending.

Trustees met for their monthly meeting Tuesday, following a
superintendent training session last week that conflicted with their
normal meeting date of the second Thursday of the month.

Bob Card of Card, Graham and Company, accounting firm, presented the
1995-96 audit of the P-B-T ISD to six of the seven board members on hand
Tuesday. All voted to accept the report.

Card told the board that the report, "fairly present the general
condition of the district."

"The audit went very well, very smoothly this year," he continued, and
expressed his appreciation to Business Manager Cookie Canon and the
P-B-T ISD Business Office staff.

He stated that no federal program funds will be returned and only, "a
few adjustments," were made.

Auditors found the districts total assets to total $3.9 million, which
makes up the districts General Fund, and the Total Fund Equity at $2.3

"This represents about two months worth of the budget," said Card.

He added that the $3.3 million opening balance, "is a significant
number," when compared to the $2.3 million projected at the start of
last year.

However, Card pointed out that total revenues were calculated at $14.6
million, but expenditures of $15.4 million exceed that figure by

These figures did not include the $83,000 transferred over to the
cafeteria fund.

"I do know you're budgeted to spend $500,000 more than what comes in,"
for the 1996-97 fiscal year, said the CPA, and that the "deficit
spending cannot continue."

He suggested to the board that they, "look closely at the situation," or
consider, "raising taxes this year," to continue keeping the Fund
Balance where it is.

In the school district's Allowable Balance (AB), "you're in good shape
there," Card said, calculating a lower figure than last year by $1.2

This fund is considered by the State before allocating funds to the

Last year the district was over by $200,000, Card said, "the State looks
at this before considering cutting funds."

"There were a number of unfavorable budget variations," said Card,
explaining that departments continued to spend more than what was
budgeted to them.

The audit report was taken into consideration by the board when it
considered another report, put together by members of a committee, for
implementing a girl's softball program at Pecos High School.

Speaking on behalf of the committee at last night's meeting were Freddy
Lujan, Peggy Salcido and Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

The committee was seeking the establishment of a girls softball program
by today, the UIL notification deadline to participate in the Spring,
1997, season.

The study put together by the committee listed a sum of $30,000 for
fielding junior varsity and varsity teams at the high school level. This
total included prices for uniforms, equipment, coaches salaries and
out-of-town travel.

Superintendent Mario Sotelo said that everyday travel to and from a
practice field designed for girls softball was not figured in.

Galindo spoke of possibly utilizing a county-run field, either one
located across the street from the Maxey Park or the Martinez Field,
located across Interstate 20 behind the 4-H Barns.

He stated that the southside field has, "the best accommodations for
fans," but restrooms and lights will have to be installed, and they were
not in the county's budget.

A total of $13,993 was included in the presentation figure for the
improvements, but did not include poles or electrical wire, pointed out
Board President Linda Gholson.

"I suggest a mutual agreement," for resolving the matter, said Galindo,
"create a win-win situation."

Galindo added that the lighting system at the Maxey Park fields need to
be enhanced.

Board Vice-President Earl Bates asked P-B-T Athletic Director Mike Belew
what he thought of the idea.

"A softball program is inevitable," he said, "everyone else in the
district has one." But Belew pointed out that there is currently a
shortage of girls coaches and the untimeliness of the matter.

He told the board that it would be difficult to put a program together
at this date and time to open the season in February. Belew later
pointed out his concerns dealt with scheduling, lack of a coach and
conflict with other sports, and said that right now there is no one
employed by the district that has experience in coaching girls softball.

"I'm not opposed to a softball program," said Sotelo, before referring
back to the audit report. "We have to be real careful how we spend our

He suggested that the district, "have something in place for next year."

The superintendent also made the board aware that UIL can penalize the
district if, "we make a commitment and something comes up and we can't

"I think we should follow Sotelo's recommendation," said Frank Perea,
board member. He contended, "we have found funds for other programs,"
and didn't foresee this hindering the implementation of a girl's
softball program.

"We will look at this seriously," he stated.

"The timing is what's bad," said Trustee Hugh Box and recommended Belew
work with the committee to prepare for a 1997-98 softball season.

"I think this would be an excellent asset to the athletic program," said

Gholson remitted, "it takes the entire support of the community," for
the success of any program.

"Definitely for the next school year," said board member Daisy Roquemore.

"This is the best thing now (plan a complete and thorough program for
the following school year), than to jump in now and really make a mess
out of it," Box said.

All board members voted to allow Belew and Sotelo to work with the
softball committee and bring back a plan for the 1997-98 school year.

Cold front drops morning's low to 11

Residents from Canada given reminder of home

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From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, December 19, 1996 - Laurie Vipont got a little homesick for Nova
Scotia Tuesday night as cold wind blew into her bedroom window.

"If I was at home, I would be making snowmen and snow angels," Vipont

She arrived in Pecos Monday to work for American Home Health as a
registered nurse. It is her first trip to Pecos from her home in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, in far eastern Canada.

Residents there, as well as in parts of Alaska, were enjoying warmer
temperatures than in West Texas today, after the second wave of a cold
front brought the lowest temperatures of the year to the state.

The thermometer reached a low of 11 early today in Pecos, while dipping
to 10 in Marfa and Lubbock and 7 degrees at Amarillo.

Heather MacNeil of Antigonish, N.S., has been in Pecos 2½ weeks,
enjoying the 80-degree weather. She finds the flat desert very different
from her hilly home country, where trees and water are abundant.

"Usually it is quite a bit colder there," she said. "We have a lot of

Vipont said rain is more common in Halifax. In spite of the rain, she
enjoys the outdoors, walking and swimming.

"I am looking forward to meeting everyone," she said. "Everyone has
this big smile."

She may get even more homesick tonight, when forecasters predict
mercury will drop 10 degrees.

While West Texas has dealt with sub-freezing temperatures already this
year, areas to the east were facing the prospect of both cold and snow,
while a hard freeze warning has been issued for tonight for all of South
Texas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

The warning comes following an assault on the entire state by blast of
cold, windy Arctic air.

Earlier forecasts indicated that the Valley with its citrus trees and
vegetable fields would escape sub-freezing temperatures.

Forecasters said that temperatures by dawn Thursday will dip into the
lower 20s in Rio Grande City, McCook, San Manuel, Zapata, Hebbronville
and Falfurrias and into the upper 20s over the rest of the Valley,
including McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville and Raymondville.

Forecasters warned that temperatures could again dip to those lows
again early Friday unless a cloud cover that had been expected to
protect the area returns.

A snow advisory was issued today for southeastern and south central
areas of North Texas in the wake of an assault on the state by a blast
of cold, windy Arctic air.

In North Texas, the advisory was along and southeast of a line from
Carthage to Killeen, including the cities of Belton, Bremond, Cameron,
Centerville, Crockett, Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

In South Central Texas, the advisory covers Williamson, Lee, Travis,
Bastrop, Hays, Caldwell and Fayette counties.

Forecasters warned that some areas might get an inch of snow and said
that it could cause bridges and overpasses to become slick and

Some light snow fell in the Houston area on Tuesday, but didn't cause
any serious travel problems. City officials said it didn't get bad
enough to require the use of a snow plow. It's a good thing since they
say the city doesn't even own one.

The rest of the state had bitterly cold temperatures accompanied by
high winds that dropped wind chill factors to near or below zero.

The Panhandle had the state's coldest temperatures with Dalhart
reporting a low of 1 at 5 a.m. Wind chill factors were below zero in the
Panhandle and South Plains and in the single digits and teens across the
rest of West Texas.

Wind chill factors in North Texas ranged from 4 to 9 degrees in the
Dallas-Fort Worth area to 3 below at Wichita Falls and 8 below at

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Teen saves family members from fire

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 19, 1996 - An early morning fire has left a Pecos family
homeless for the holidays, but thanks to the courageous act of one teen
no injuries were reported.

The mobile home fire started just before sunrise in the kitchen, which
was destroyed, and did extensive damage to the rest of the structure,
according to Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.

Owner of the home, Celia Barragan, was at work at the time of the fire,
but five other family members were in the home, located at 2200 Sandia
Rd., in the Lindsay Addition of South Pecos.

"There were no injuries. One of the sons, a 19-year-old, smelled the
smoke and took the other children out of the trailer," said Brookshire.

He credited the young man's quick actions in saving the children's lives.

"He could have possibly saved their lives, by taking them out of there
fast enough," said Brookshire.

Two of the children, ages six and three, were still asleep, while the
third, a 10-year-old, was in the shower at the time the fire started.

This morning's 11-degree temperatures were a factor in causing the
blaze, the fire marshal explained, as the family tried to warm the
mobile home.

"The fire started when the wall behind the stove caught on fire," said

The family had been using the stove to warm up the home throughout the
night and the wall behind the stove overheated, sparking the fire, which
spread throughout the kitchen area.

The home was not equipped with any smoke detectors and was not insured,
according to reports. "This was a mobile home that had been added on
to," Brookshire added, though the blaze occurred in part of the original

"If this fire had started a little earlier while they were asleep, the
results would have been devastating," said Brookshire. "It's thanks to
the quick actions of this young man, in taking his siblings out of the
home, that no injuries occurred."

The fire was reported at about 6:19 a.m. and the Pecos Volunteer Fire
Department responded immediately. "It was contained about 7:30 a.m.,"
said Brookshire.

There are six individuals who lived in the home, but it is not known yet
if a fund has been set up for the family to find alternate living

Hospital board approves home heath care contract

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 19,1996 - Reeves County Hospital District directors on
Tuesday voted to contract with Hospital HomeCare Corporation to create
and manage a home health agency within the hospital.

Dr. James Cam said that an aging population will require more home
health care in the future, and that the new agency should begin to make
a profit after two or three years.

HomeCare projects revenue of $593,593 the first year and $702,338 the
second year.

Their management fee, which is based partly on the number of home visits
per month, would be $58,000 the first year and $63,000 the second.

The variable fee starts at $4 per visit for up to 750 visits per month
and increases to $8 per visit for more than 2,250 visits per month.

The only other bidder for the management contract was Health Corp.,
whose $11 per visit fee is estimated to cost the hospital $81,180 the
first year and $334,520 the second.

Chel Flores cast the only "no" vote for the agency, after questioning
American Home Health owner Leo Hung about the effect of the hospital's
competition with his business.

Hung said he welcomes competition. "Right now it is hard to tell" what
the effect may be. "There are a lot of factors to be successful," he

Board president Jeannette Alligood said that the hospital may discourage
other home health agencies from coming in.

"Other communities our size have five to seven agencies," she said. "We
have at least three sending nurses in here now."

Adding another service for the elderly, the board agreed to contract
with the Texas Department of Human Services to provide out-of-home
respite care for persons who need temporary care.

Services may include meal preparation, housekeeping, personal care and
nursing tasks, help with activities of daily living, supervision, the
provision of or arrangement of transportation.

Terry Andris, chief executive officer, said the hospital will provide
"baby-sitting" services for those in need of temporary care because
their families are either out of town or need a break.

"It is just another outreach to the community to provide a full-service
hospital," he said.

Action on bids for emergency room and pharmacy services were opened and
read, then referred to the staff for further study before an award is

Primary Medical Emergency Services, Spectrum, EM Care, National
Emergency Service and the Gould Group each offered to provide emergency
room physicians for weekday evenings and weekends. Hourly fees range
from $60.50 (Gould) to $100 (Primary).

Spectrum, the current ER provider, offered an hourly fee of $63.98 plus
$2.50 per chart review, the same as their current rate.

Leo Hung and Steve Valenzuela formed a company called Pioneer Pharmacy
Management to bid on pharmacy services. Valenzuela is employed by
Capstone Pharmacy of New Orleans, the current contractor.

Capstone submitted a bid, as did Med Management of Albuquerque, N.M.

Ambulance contracts with Pecos, Balmorhea and Toyah were approved, as
was purchase of a video gastroscope as requested by the medical staff.

Dr. W.J. Bang said the current scope allows only the surgeon to see
inside a patient. With the video viewer, other doctors on hand can see
the problem, and the video is made part of the patient's record.

In reviewing financial statements, Alligood noted the hospital made a
profit for November.

"The hospital staff has done a wonderful job," she said. "It is great to
see everyone working so well - and to have support from the community."

Andris reported that the staff Christmas party will be at 8 p.m. Friday
in the Reeves County Civic Center; that Pecos Air Conditioning will
install a freezer in the kitchen for $8,504; that the next month's board
meeting will be held Jan. 28, the last Tuesday of the month; that Reeves
County Commissioners opened bids on medical services at the jail and
detention center on Dec. 10, but he has had no word on who will get the
contract; and that a building in Balmorhea is being considered for a
rural health clinic.

He introduced L.G. Crawford, R.N., as the new director of nursing.

Crawford worked in the RCH emergency room upon graduation from nursing
school 14 years ago and has been trying to get back here for several
years, Andris said.

He has been working in the Midland-Odessa area in supervisory positions,
primarily in intensive care.

The board voted to accept a recommendation made by the medical staff
concerning Dr. C.S. Lee. Andris refused to reveal the nature of the
recommendation, stating it was an "executive session matter."

Alligood said she would check with attorney Scott Johnson to determine
the legality of releasing the information. Johnson was in court this

Bears gridders given delayed trophy honor

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"Team players will always succeed," Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
told the Balmorhea Bears football team this morning.

Galindo, along with Commissioner Herman Tarin, were in Balmorhea to
formally present the Bears and their coaches with a well-deserved trophy
for their Nov. 18 six man bi-district playoff victory over Grady.

"It's going to take teamwork for your team...this county...the State of
Texas...this country to succeed," Galindo told the roomful of attentive
young men.

"All of you pulled together," he continued, "you truly are champs."

"We are so proud of you," Tarin told the players.

Balmorhea is well known throughout the State of Texas because of its
football team, he said.

"We're happy you guys could accomplish this great goal and for making
the grade," Tarin said.


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PECOS, Dec. 18, 1996 - High Tuesday 37, low last night 11. Trace of
snow. December precipitation, trace. Year-to-date 10.65 inches. Tonight,
clear and very cold. Low zero to 5 above. Light wind. Thursday, sunny.
High around 35. Wind becoming southwest 5-15 mph.

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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