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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hospital board weighs search for optometrist

Reeves County Hospital District board members will have an informal talk about whether or not the hospital should attempt to bring an optometrist to Pecos, after the only eye clinic closed its doors earlier this month.

Dr. Russell Subia closed his office on South Eddy Street in Pecos without notice at the start of June. No explanation for the shutdown has been offered, but the doctor continues to operate his Subia Eye Clinic in Alpine., which he had prior to taking over Castle Rock Vision Center from Dr. Charles Gann six years ago.

Returning patients in need of new glasses or a new vision check over the past three weeks discovered the office is closed, and Reeves County Hospital CEO Al LaRochelle said he has been asked to look at the possibility of having the hospital attempt to recruit a new optometrist to Pecos.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do. We haven’t had a chance to discuss it, because we heard about it out of the blue,” LaRochelle said on Wednesday, while adding the issue will be discussed during the hospital board’s meeting this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“Is this something the hospital board wants to do as part of the Reeves County Hospital, or is it something the free enterprise system should be doing?” he said.

LaRochelle said the general rule, as far as population ratios per doctor goes, is that an area can support one optometrist for every 2,500 residents. “In terms of population base, I would think that Pecos could easily support a full-time optometrist here,” he said. “With 15,000 people in the county, we should be able to support four or five optometrists here.”

Dr. Subia was out of his Alpine office on Thursday. However, an employee said patients who have used the Pecos office would be able to pick up their records from him in the near future though the Alpine office.

LaRochelle said the discussion on an optometrist wouldn’t be a specific item on Tuesday’s agenda. “It will just be part of the regular discussion we’re going to have, and it wouldn’t be possible to do anything right now, because we don’t have the space at the Rural Health Clinic.”

The hospital is planning to operate a 20,000-square foot clinic that would house new doctors currently being recruited by the hospital, the facilities Rural Health Clinic, and possibly dentist offices. Three bids have been received to construct the facility on land adjacent to the hospital, and a special meeting of the board will be held on July 1 for the three groups to make half-hour presentations, after which the board will consider awarding of the bid.

“We won’t have space until we have the building built, and I’m starting to think even 20,000 square feet may not be enough,” LaRochelle said.

He said other than the optometrist discussion, the other items on the agenda for the board on Tuesday will be routine business. They include a trauma designation for the hospital, the annual report on the Rural Health Clinic, and action on physician contracts and privileges. The board will meet in the hospital’s classroom.

Pecos man gets 13-year term for carjacking

A Pecos man has been sentenced to over 13 years in federal prison for a carjacking incident that occurred late last year in Midland.

United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced that Wednesday, in Midland, United States District Judge Robert Junell sentenced Jimmy James Montour, 26 years old, of Pecos to 165 months in federal prison for carjacking a Midland man in December of 2007.

According to court documents, on Dec. 27, 2007, Montour and a juvenile accomplice approached the victim in the driveway of his residence on South County Road in Midland. Montour threatened the man with a weapon and forced him to give Montour and the juvenile a ride to a remote location in Midland County. During the ride, Montour and the juvenile put a knife to the man’s neck and threatened to kill him if he did not comply with their instructions. Eventually, Montour and his accomplice ordered the victim out of the car and then drove off.

“Montour is a violent predator who is right where he needs to be, federal prison,” said United States Attorney Johnny Sutton. Montour’s juvenile accomplice is being prosecuted by the Midland County District Attorney’s Office.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation West Texas Area Major Offenders Task Force and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Roque-Jackson.

Family seeking help after fire damages home

A Pecos family is seeking help after their home was damaged two weeks ago, as the result of a fire set in an adjacent vacant home that spread to their residence.

“Their home was burned on the side of the house, when the house next door burned,” said Reeves County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Herrera of the family of Gonzalo Garcia, which has been staying with relatives in Barstow since the fire. Pecos Volunteer Fire Department members were called out around 7:50 p.m. on June 5 to the fire, in the 1000 block of East Second Street. Pecos Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said the fire started in an abandoned home, then spread to a two-story home adjacent to that property.

“It didn’t completely burn down, but they can’t live in it,” said Herrera. “He told me that he had recently purchased that house and that it got burned pretty extensively,” he said.

Herrera said that they have set up an account for the Garcias at Winkler County Credit Union.

“If anybody wants to donate they can get the information from the credit union,” said Herrera. “This family really needs help in getting back in to their home.

At the time of the fire, Brookshire said that the house fire next door had been set, but that they didn’t know if it was arson or just kids playing over there.

Firemen worked on the first floor roof of the second home to keep the fire from spreading any further, after flames from the abandoned home caused it to ignite. Brookshire said the Garcias’ house had pretty major damage to it. “The whole west side of the house was damaged, and there was fire, smoke and water damage on the inside.”

He added that three vehicles, which were not in driving condition were also destroyed by the fire.

Bank endows new scholarship in name of employee

TransPecos Banks has established a $2,500 Scholarship to be awarded to a full time college student from the Trans-Pecos Region. The scholarship will be given in honor of Cecilia Ward, a 34-year employee at TransPecos Banks who recently retired as the senior operations officer of the bank.

Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of TransPecos Banks said, “We are pleased to establish this scholarship in honor of Cecilia Ward, who has dedicated her entire professional career to the bank. Throughout her career, she has exhibited loyalty, dedication and hard work in all that she did at the bank. Cecilia gave many young people the opportunity to hold jobs at the bank and she has been a good mentor.

“In making this scholarship available to full time college students interested in banking and finance, we seek to encourage young people to consider careers in banking and finance. TransPecos Bank’s is always looking for qualified young people interested in learning the business and growing with the company,” Kennedy said.

TransPecos Financial Corp, the bank’s parent company was established in 1998 and has grown from a $15MM company to $150MM, 10 times since then. “We anticipate sold growth and expansion during the next 10 years and fully expect to be a $1.5 billion organization within a decade or sooner,” Kennedy said.

TransPecos Banks has banking locations in Pecos, Iraan, Alpine, Sierra Blanca and Marathon. Applications can be obtained from any bank office, from the bank’s website or by calling 432-445-9000.

Dannelly details African missionary trip

Jay Allen Dannelly has returned from a five-month tour as a missionary to Africa, and plans to spend the summer as a missionary to youth in Pecos.

On Sunday night, he showed slides and reported on his work in Africa to the congregation at First Baptist Church, where he is assistant youth minister for the summer.

Dannelly has also volunteered to lead a community-wide youth program at God’s Army, 1320 Veterans Blvd. on Friday nights. “This is a unified effort by Pecos churches to give young people in grades 7-12 a wholesome place to hang out with friends, play games and spend time with God,” said Bud Nelson of North Temple Baptist Church, one of the sponsors.

Blanca Gallego and Pat Cobos of Assemblia de Dios Immanuel have volunteered to work with Dannelly for the first meeting on Friday night.

Mission work is not new for Dannelly, whose parents served in Africa. His father, Jay Dannelly, died there.

Youth volunteers enlisted by the International Mission Board met in Tanzania for four days of orientation, then teams of two were assigned to work alongside career missionaries.

Dannelly said he and his partner served on the southern tip of Africa. Their work varied from day to day, depending on the situation. Sports and music were among the activities that attracted youth.

“I would like to organize tournaments for the God’s Army activities,” Dannelly said. “We will ask the youth Friday night to sign up for games they are interested in.”

Ping-pong, pool, foosball, basketball, volleyball and skateboarding are among the available activities, he said.

A fire pit offers youth a chance to gather around a campfire and to roast wieners and marshmallows.

Wholesome movies may be screened outside after dark, as well.

Parents may drop off youth at 8 p.m. and pick them up by 11. If they leave the premises before 11, they will not be allowed to return, Dannelly said.

All expenses are paid by sponsoring churches, and admission is free.

Martinez receives degree from Virginia College

R. Randy Martinez, D.O., son of Rudy and Irma Martinez, graduated from Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) on Saturday, June 7, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Randy and his wife, Jessi, along with their two children, Josiah, two years old and Alayna, six weeks old, have moved to Harlingen, where Randy will be completing his three-year residency training at the Valley Baptist Family Practice Residency Program, a Christ-centered program with a strong emphasis on mission medicine.

Grandparents are Tomas Martinez of Saragosa and the late Virginia Martinez and Eva Rodriguez of Pecos and the late Juan Rodriguez.

Flores, Lara announce July wedding plans

Saul and Debbie Flores of Pecos, are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Catherine, to Orlando Lara Jr., son of Orlando Sr. and Mary Lou Lara of Pecos.

Sarah is a 2001 graduate of Pecos High School and 2005 graduate of McMurry University, where she received a B.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies. She is employed by St. John’s Episcopal School.

Orlando Jr. is a 2000 graduate of Pecos High School and a 2004 graduate of McMurry University, where he received a BBA in Management. He is employed by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

The couple will be married July 5, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Abilene.

They will make their home in Abilene.

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