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Wednesday, January 26, 2000

RCH board OKs communications system funding

Special Correspondent
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - Reeves County Hospital District board members voted unanimously on all recommendations proposed by the Reeves County Hospital Finance Committee, including the installation of a new patient/nurse communications system.

Hill-Rom representative Tom Earhardt, along with two technicians, was on hand to answer questions from the board and hand out brochures of the proposed system.

"Tom has been instrumental in getting the price down for us," said Chief Executive Officer and RCH Administrator Charles Butts. He said the proposed cost had been reduced from $77,000 to the current $63,354.

"We have been waiting for a system like this for a long time," said board president Hiram Luna, "and we need to move quickly on this."

Luna asked Earhardt on how much easier patients would be able to use the new system from their rooms.

"The system includes universal symbols and pillow speakers," Earhardt said, noting that the system's operation was self-explanatory.

Asked about employee training by board vice-president Marcella Lovett, he said, "It's a very straight forward system and its features are pretty well spelled out," on the individual units. "The buttons are inherently known. On the technical side, we'll train the bio-medical people," a task that should be accomplished with, "some ease."

Lovett asked Earhardt, "from start to finish…how long will it take?"

"About nine to ten weeks," replied Earhardt.

"Not good enough," commented Lovett. "We've been committed to this for three years. You guys will get the brunt of our displeasure. I was just wondering how committed you are to this."

Earhardt assured the board that he would work hard on bringing the completion time down. In response to a question from Luna, the technicians stated that they saw no obstacles throughout the facility that would deter their efforts.

In response to board members Holly Key's question, Earhardt told the board that most problems could be handled through the phone or next day if parts are needed.

Lovett commended the efforts of the CEO. "Charles, you've worked really hard on this and we appreciate your getting us to this point," she stated.

The proposal included a price of $34,220 for a Comlite system, $2,234 for certification, $22,900 for installation and $4,000 for the removal of the old system.

In other business, board members rendered unanimous votes for the purchase of various orthopedic surgical items for the hospital, following an inquiry by courtesy staff member Dr. William Reilly, who proposed the idea of allowing the hospital's courtesy staff members to perform local, outpatient surgeries.

The equipment sought after will cost the district $9,999.00, but will be recovered within a four to eight month period depending on referrals, according to Richard Mathis, chief financial officer.

"I liked the time of the cost recovery," stated Luna. "We [finance committee] thought this was a good feature."

Board members made some concerning advertising Reeves County Hospital on area cable TV channels. The proposal looked at by the finance committee and approved by the board was for an annual investment of $8,736.

Board member, Elizer "Chel" Flores, asked Mathis how much was spent annually by the hospital on advertisement. "Between $31,000 to $34,000," answered Mathis, noting that 85 percent of that is spent locally and on required legal postings.

"Rather than cutting our advertisement budget," said Butts, "we're looking at spending it smarter."

"I personally would like to see our services and physicians targeted," in the commercial, said Butts. "We've got a good staff, good hospital, good employees and I think that people just don't realize that and we need to get the message out."

Once produced and edited the commercial will run year-round on TNT and ESPN in Pecos, Monahans and Kermit. CableRep Advertising of Midland will handle advertising services.

Financially, Lovett said, "December seemed to be a really good month," and the board approved the RCH financial statement unanimously. Also approved was the payment of bills, which showed linen costs were down 35% from December 1998, said Mathis.

L.G. Crawford of the ambulance service told the board that their concerns involving the high cost of patient gowns due to their disappearance could be credited to the treatment of accident victims, "whose clothes are badly torn up," and they leave with the hospital garb.

In a meeting with Nancy Ontiveros, director of program development and community services, Crawford told the board that they discussed the possibility of keeping street clothing stored at the hospital for the purpose of releasing patients whose clothing was damaged during treatment or an accident.

"The community might want to help with that," commented Lovett.

Butts told the board during the administrators report that after review by the hospital safety committee, the front entrance doors will be replaced with automatic doors.

Crawford added to the administrator's report by telling the board that trauma certification classes, sponsored by Midland Memorial Hospital, will be offered locally.

"We always had to send people out of town," he said, adding, "but now they're coming to us. It's a big benefit to us," he said because larger groups can be trained, "instead of sending two people at a time."

Twenty-eight staff members were approved re-appointment during the medical staff report as presented by Dr. Bang.

To the Active Medical Staff were: W.J. Bang, MD; Joseph Darpolar, MD; James Cam, MD; John Libbie, DPS; Orville Cerna, MD and David Lovett, DDS.

Re-appointed to the Courtesy Staff: Michele Cser, PAC; Jerry Giardina, CRNA; Constance Lawson, RN and Cindy Whitley, RN.

To the Courtesy Medical Staff: C.S. Lee, MD; Gary Elam, MD; Thomas Turner, MD; Phillip Zeeck,MD; Timothy George, MD; Suresh Gadasalli, MD; Sudhir Amaram, MD; Pankaj Khandelwal, MD and Steven Wiehle, MD.

Consulting Medical Staff member are: Anthony Sforza, MD; William Sullivan, MD; William McGee, MD; Richard Juel, MD; Faith Blakely, MD; Carlos Mattioli, MD; Stanton Kremsky, MD and Paparao Adusumilli, MD.

Louis Novoa-Takara was appointed to consulting staff with clinical privileges.

Dollar coin gets early release locally

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - A special promotional offer by Wal-Mart through the United States Mint got a slightly early start in Pecos this week.

The Mint has given Wal-Mart customers a chance to purchase a brand new Golden Dollar even before it's available at local banks. The promotion is not scheduled to start until this Sunday, but a few of the dollar coins were handed out as change to customers on Tuesday.

On the front, the coin will bear the image of Sacagawea with her infant son, Jean Baptiste. Sacagawea was the Native American interpreter and navigator who accompanied Lewis and Clark on this historic expedition to the Pacific Ocean 195 years ago. An American eagle, along with 17 stars, one for each of the states at the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition, will adorn the reverse side of the coin.

"We're very excited about this new idea," said local Wal-Mart assistant manager Leroy Nunn. The higher count of retails and exposure is what prompted the U.S. Mint to choose Wal-Mart for this project, according to Nunn.

"Every week we have about 100 million customers go through our stores," said Nunn.

Although Wal-Mart inadvertently released the coins a few days early, the promotional is scheduled to run from Jan. 30 through February.

"We had to pull them back out, because we accidentally released them a couple of days to early, but they will be back out on Jan. 30," said Nunn.

A circular will support the promotional for February, according to Nunn.Each customer will be offered the opportunity to purchase a gold coin, clerks will be asking if they want it, but customers can also ask for the coin beginning Jan. 30."We will limit each transaction to $10, any one transaction can get up to 10 coins," said Nunn.Even though customers have asked if they can purchase a roll of the coins, the Wal-Mart Store is not allowed to sell them because of the limited supply, according to Nunn.The government has entered into a similar promotion with General Mills, which placed the new coin inside selected boxes of Cheerios at the beginning of January. A lone dollar coin was accidentally released by the Mint in late 1999, and was auctioned off on e-bay earlier this month for almost $1,000.The golden coin will be available at the first week of February at Security State Bank and the second week of February at First National Bank in Pecos.Authorized by the Dollar Coin Act of 1997 and based upon lessons learned from the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the U.S. Mint is launching the new Golden Dollar coin. The coin is easily distinguishable from other coins, as it is golden in color; it has a smooth edge, similar to a nickel, and has an extra-wide border. A special alloy was produced for the coin that matches the electromagnetic signature, size and weight of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, allowing the Golden Dollar to be used in millions of coin-operated machines nationwide that currently accept that coin. The Golden Dollar was created to replace the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which has not been minted in 20 years. The Anthony coin was often confused with a quarter because of its size and look, which the Mint hopes will not reoccur thanks to its alterations.Because coins last longer than paper money, the U.S. Mint hopes to save money if the Sacagawea coin is able to replace the current one-dollar bill. The George Washington bill has been the most common form of currency in the U.S. since the government discontinued silver dollars 70 years ago.To foster acceptance of the Golden Dollar, the U.S. Mint is undertaking an unprecedented consumer awareness and education campaign. The initiative will include a nationwide television, radio and print advertising campaign, select retail and banking partnerships, business-to-business marketing efforts and an extensive public relations campaign.

Pena touts industry in bid for county post

PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - Rogelio "Roy" Pena is seeking the office of Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 1, because he wants to be a representative in the highest governing body court in this county.

"I am a native son of Pecos city, having lived in this precinct for the past 55 years," said Pena, who is one of four candidates seeking the position in the March 14 Democratic primary election. Incumbent Felipe Arredondo, Anita Baeza and Jesse Baeza are the other candidates in the race.

Pena's parents are Eliborio Pena and the late Sara Pena. He has been married to Mary Gochicoa for the past 34 years and the couple has raised three children and has one granddaughter.

"For the last 12 years, I have been an employee of Reeves County in various departments, including the jail division, civic center, courthouse and now, under the Reeves County Recreation Department," said Pena. "I also serve as your present fire chief."

Pena said the volunteer fire department has the latest up-to-date equipment to better serve the community and the people of Reeves County.

"I have devoted more than half of my life to the betterment of this community," said Pena.

Pena has been a member of the Evening Optimist Club, Pecos Little League, having the privilege of being president of both organizations.

"If elected, I would like to bring more industry (jobs) to Reeves County, good paying companies, high tech jobs that can be very prosperous to the county and especially to the people," said Pena. "Many factories, plants are being forced to cease their production because of bad weather conditions in the northern states."

In this area the weather is not a problem, according to Pena. "I know that the competition of attracting industry to this area is tough, but, we can try, we have the work force," he said.

Pena stated the monies that were funded and given to the economic development corporation "are not what I've been hearing as a step to better this county. The wheels of progress are not turning fast enough.

"The main reason for not brining business to this county is the taxes. With the people behind me and God before me, I will do the best I can to promote jobs for this county," said Pena. "For the betterment of the young people, working people and especially the people that do not have jobs. We all need to unite and give Pecos city a facelift first."

What has taken place at the Reeves County Detention Center is good. But, not everyone is cut out for that kind of job, according to Pena.

"What I hear is people getting training and some receiving their jail commission certification and moving out of this county seeking better pay," said Pena. "Money is the solution. I will do the best I can to resolve this situation."

Another major issue and concern is water. "My friends, the city council was informed six years ago about our about our current water problem, that the Worsham and Ward county water fields at this rate would provide the Town of Pecos City with drinkable water only through the year 2008," said Pena. "In the last three years five wells have been lost. That at the present has left us with nine wells going full blast."

"The wells are 50 to 60 years old and could give out any time, cutting the year 2008 to less. The city council has approved the drilling of two additional wells on the south Worsham water field."

This will help some, according to Pena. "Something should have been done a long time ago."

"I'm asking for your vote and support. Together we can all work to find a solution to this problem. I cannot do it by myself. The commissioners court consists of four and I will work with the three," said Pena.

"A town hall meeting will be held by me if elected, at my own expense, to better inform the public and my precinct of Reeves County as of how your hard earned taxpayers monies are being spent," said Pena.

"I will propose to the commissioners court of the hiring of an individual to work at the Eastside Cemetery 30 hours a week, year round," said Pena. "Besides those duties he or she will help assist the wonderful program, Meals on Wheels, with their deliveries."

Pena stated that we have many veterans in this county that need assistance with transportation and other problems that they encounter. "I will act on that too," said Pena.

"I pledge to you, the voters, that I will treat you with respect, dignity and equal treatment," said Pena. "To you, the employees of Reeves County, I promise to listen and to hear your grievances, also, with respect, dignity and equal justice."

"I will not stand for retaliation from anyone in public office," he said.

Pena stated that he plans to keep the public aware and informed of what is going on in our community, something that has not been done by some of our elected officials.

"If you want change, vote for me, I am your man, your servant and your voice," said Pena.

Council to hear report by PEDC

TPECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - own of Pecos City Council will listen to a status report from the Pecos Economic Development Corporation when they meet for their regular meeting beginning at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, in city council chambers.

The group will discuss and consider a water well at the golf course; possible closure of the landfill and Immigration and Naturalization Service  fingerprinting contract.

Council members will discuss and consider a law enforcement firing range and training facility; the 1999 Narcotic Enforcement Stats for the police department and approve placement of signs on U.S. 285 (Cedar St.).

Other items for discussion and consideration include approval of contract for engineering services for Town of Pecos South Worsham Well Field; home program with Texas Star Mortgage Company-Jeanne King and items to be placed on the next agenda.

The group will meet behind closed doors in executive session to discuss and consider employee review: Chief of Police.

Feds OK grants for geothermal energy studies

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - Hoping to tap underground heat for 10 percent of the West's electricity by 2020, the Clinton administration plans to spur the growth of the fledgling geothermal energy industry with $4.8 million in research grants.

The grants could benefit Pecos and other areas of the western Permian Basin, where a study is currently underway to see if unused oil and gas wells can be converted to geothermal production.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced a series of grants Monday, totaling $4.8 million for research in California, Nevada, Utah, Texas and North Dakota. The money will fund research into finding and producing the geothermal power more cheaply.

"It is a clean, reliable and renewable energy resource available in all western states," Richardson said. "I think in the western United States this is a bonanza."

Geothermal plants are built over underground hot spots, where magma is relatively close to the Earth's surface. Water or steam heated underground is used to power generators.

The process pollutes less than gasoline or natural gas. But the cost of finding drill sites and building plants has hindered exploration and development so far.

Seventeen states have the potential to develop geothermal energy sources, but California, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii are now producing electricity from underground heat.

One proposal made last year by Midland geologist Douglas B. Swift would study the feasability of using capped wells within the Delaware, Val Verde, Anadarko and Appalachian Basins as a source of geothermal energy. The basins stretch roughly along the Pecos River from near Red Bluff Lake to the Sanderson area, and if built, turn the superheated water into electricity for use as a power source for cities within a 700-mile radius.

A total of 2,800 megawatts of geothermal power is produced in the United States, 2,500 megawatts of that in California. (100 megawatts would power a city of about 200,000 people.) "U.S. production began in 1960 at Geyserville (Calif.)," Swift said, which boasts the world's largest geothermal field, at 15 square miles. But as the name of the town implies, the geothermal activity there is above as well as below ground, and commercial use of the field can exceed the water recharge rate, causing the geysers to disappear.

Richardson said his goal is to double the number of states with geothermal plants to eight by 2006 and expand production to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, which would represent 10 percent of the electric market in the West. Geothermal isn't completely clean. A project that provides 25 percent of electricity needs on Hawaii's Big Island has drawn complaints for years because of smelly hydrogen sulfide gas it releases. The Hawaii County Council agreed to buy up 36 homes nearby. "Recharge limits cause geysers to go extinct, which is bad public relations for the companies," Swift said.

In addition, some prime geothermal areas, like Yellowstone National Park, are off limits to development. And areas where the water passes through igneous rock tends to pick up heavy metals, such as Mercury, Arsenic and Cadmium. Deposits such as mercury are mainly found in the Shafter-Presidio area of West Texas, but not in the Delaware Basin region.Geothermal plants also can release radon gas, carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia, notes a report from Arizona State University's electrical engineering department.

"Every electricity generation scheme has its drawbacks," said Keith Holbert, associate chairman of the department.

Among the low-pollution alternatives, hydroelectric and natural gas are cheaper, but government and industry officials hope to cut geothermal costs by determining better where to drill. "It's got a lot of risk," said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association, a Washington advocacy group of 80 companies.

One company has found a way to help make geothermal pay. A plant under construction near California's Salton Sea will extract zinc from the heating water, said Jonathan Weisgall, a vice president of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-9-12-32-35. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $38,993. Winning tickets sold in: Houston, Midland. Matching four of five: 173. Prize: $676.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-6-3 (zero, six, three)


PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - High Tuesday 62. Low this morning 29. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low 35-40. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers. High 45-50. East wind 10-20 mph: Becoming northeast. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy. Low 25-30. Friday: Becoming partly cloudy. High around 50. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Low 25-30. High 50-55.

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