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Thursday, January 25, 2001

Lions kings of new Maxey Park Zoo exhibit

LION AROUND IN NEW HOME - Boomer, the new 6-year-old male African lion at the Maxey Park Zoo, casts a wary eye on visitors as he sits in front of Brigit, his 5-year-old female companion, shortly before noon today.  The lions arrived at the zoo from Ackerly on Wednesday, and City Parks and Recreation Director Armando Gil said they plan on bringing in a camel from the same site sometime next week.

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 25, 2001 - There's a new attraction at the Maxey Park Zoo that's pretty hard to miss _ either with eyes or ears - and zoo officials are hoping enough people will come to see it this summer to help pay for the upkeep of the exotic animals at the expanded facility.

Boomer and Brigit, a pair of African lions arrived in Pecos on Tuesday, and have made a home in their new cages in the central section of the zoo. Boomer was in full roar while protecting Brigit during a photo session this morning, which will definitely provide the park with a different sound than the normal ones from picnickers or softball players in the nearby area.

While the lions' native habitat is Africa, Town of Pecos City Parks Superintendent Armando Gil said the two already are West Texas veterans.

"They're on loan from Jim and Linda Perry of Ackerly, Tex.," Gil said. Ackerly is located near Big Spring, and the Perrys dropped off Boomer and Brigit at the zoo on Wednesday.

"Both Jim and Linda were amazed at the quarters we had built when they brought them down," Gil said. The cage features double fencing, along with an interior shed for the lions.

Gil said Boomer is a 6-year-old male, while Brigit is a 5-year-old female who had been living with the Perrys. "Where they had them, their cage was way, way smaller than this one," Gil said. "But at night they used to turn them loose to sleep on the front porch to kind of guard the house."

While it's unlikely anyone is going to try and climb in the cage with Brigit and Boomer, the zoo has had some problems with animal abuse in the past, and Gil said special security lighting would be put up beginning today to protect against any problems.

"One thing about it, if anyone is caught in here after hours they will be prosecuted _ no ifs, ands or buts," he said. "Or if anyone is caught feeding the animals or molesting them."

He said the no feeding rule is there "because every one of the animals is on a special diet with specially prepared foods."

With Boomer and Brigit settling into their new home, Gil said another native African animal _ though from a different part of the continent _ would be the zoo's next acquisition.

"Next week, weather permitting, we're going to go to the same location and pick up a camel," he said. "The camel's pen will be were the wallaby is," on the south side of the zoo.

The new animals will be on permanent exhibit at the Maxey Park Zoo, Gil said, and the facilities are in compliance with rules for zoos by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But he added their arrival would also mean another change for the zoo.

"With the expansion of the zoo, we're hoping when the crowds pick up by the first part of the summer and the groups start to come out here we'll start charging (admission) at the front gate," he said. "We'll set up a concession area and charge $1 per person which will provide the funds for the animals' feed and care."

Gil said he also plans to promote the new additions to the zoo though TV stations in the Midland-Odessa area.

Hospital board approves pact with Murphy

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 25, 2001 - The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors approved an extended contract with Hospital Administrator Richard Murphy during the regular meeting on Tuesday in the hospital classroom.

Board President Marcella Lovett said the management contract with Murphy would allow him to continue on as an employee as well as manage his company.

"We approved a contract so we can retain him for the next few months," she said.

Murphy, who arrived in Pecos to take the place of former administrator Charles Butts this past fall, originally had a contract with Covenant where he would come to Pecos for 90 days.

His contract recently expired with Covenant and the hospital's contract with Covenant also expired allowing them to negotiate a new contract with each other, according to Lovett.

Since he has been here, Lovett said that Murphy has really gotten to know the hospital and employees making business run smoothly.

"Mr. Murphy is real good and he's well liked by the employees," she said.

Lovett said that Murphy is unable to move to Pecos on a full-time basis because of his management company he owns.

"At this point in time he is not able to do that," she said.

She said that he and the Board agreed that the hospital administrator needs to live in the community in order for the hospital to continue running smoothly.

Lovett explained that the hospital would interview some of Murphy's employees for a full-time "assistant" administrator position.

"He will send a couple of his employees for us to interview," she said.

Once hired that "assistant" administrator would live in Pecos and run the hospital under the direct supervision of Murphy, Lovett said.

As part of the contract, Murphy would make a trip to Pecos at least once a month for a visit.

Lovett said that the Board and staff is pleased with the contract because they believe Murphy has done a good job and is able to keep the hospital is good shape.

"He will be a direct employee of Reeves County," she said. "We found that a plus since we like Mr. Murphy."

During the meeting, the Board also presented a contract of service to Dr. William Bone of Indiana.

Lovett said they are trying to attract Bone to work in Pecos because they believe he would make a "good mix for this community, just like Dr. Jiffy."

Bone has made two trips to Pecos to "check us over," according to Lovett.

He has not agreed to move to Pecos but is expected to go over the contract and then decide, she added.

"I'm just hoping Dr. Bone really likes the community," she said.

The Board also approved purchasing a new Telerad unit for the Radiology department.

The Telerad unit gives the radiology department the capabilities to review X-rays via a computer and modem.

In a memorandum from Murphy to the Board, he explained that the current telerad unit is old and hard to find parts for.

"The current `telerad' unit was purchased in the early 90's and has been used extensively over time," he said in the memo.

Because the current unit is no longer manufactured, replacement parts have to be sought out in "bone yards" of other units, according to the memo.

The Board approved the purchase of a new unit for $47,600 with Intelemed out of Oklahoma.

In other business the Board approved the bid of $1,500 for the sale of property located at 409 E. Fifth St., to Edubigen Ocon.

They also approved the purchase of software for the hospital and approved the monthly tax collection report, the financial statement and the payment of bills.

The request from Lodging Enterprises for tax abatement was tabled until the Board has received more information. The company is in the process of building a 40-room motel on Interstate 20, mainly to house Union Pacific Railroad workers.

The Board had not approved this request late last year because legally they needed to wait for a report from the city that they had approved the tax abatement, according to Lovett.

She said they had only recently received word from the city that they approved the abatement and still need more information.

Traffic stop nets police 150-pound pot bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 25, 2001 - Over 150 pounds of marijuana was confiscated and two women were arrested Wednesday evening following a routine traffic stop west of Pecos.

At about 9 p.m., last evening Investigator Sgt. Arnulfo Rivas, with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force conducted a traffic stop on a 1998 Ford F-150 Pickup which was eastbound at the 30 mile-marker on Interstate 20 in Reeves County.

Upon inspection of the pickup, Rivas found 105 pounds of marijuana in the driver's side and passenger side panels and the spare tire. The marijuana was wrapped in brown packaging material and fabric softener, according to Task Force Commander Gary Richards. "They use the fabric softener to mask the smell of the illegal drug," he said.

Rivas was accompanied by his trusty companion "Leo," the Task Force's drug-sniffing dog, who alerted to the marijuana bundles.

Street value of the marijuana has been set at $53,130.

Arrested during the search were the driver of the vehicle, Clara Navarro Trevino, 33, Fort and Paula N. Trevino, 28, both of Fort Worth. The two were charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and less than 2,000, a second-degree felony.

Traveling with the adults were two girls, ages 8 and 10, who were then turned over to the Child Protective Services following the Trevinos' arrest.

"They took very good care of the little girls at the police department," said Richards. "They gave them toys and everything."

The Trans Pecos Task Force was assisted by Reeves County Sheriff's Department, the Pecos Police Department and the 143rd District Attorney's office in making the arrest. The task force is in its third year of operation and includes the counties of Reeves, Ward, Winkler, Jeff Davis, Culberson, Andrews, Midland, Loving and Reagan Counties.

"Drug interdiction is part of the service the task force provides to the community and surrounding counties in our efforts to stop the flow of drugs in West Texas, besides our ongoing undercover investigations," said Richards. "That's just part of what we do to stop the flow of drugs coming into this area."

"We currently have four interdiction officers," said Richards.

"We're very proud of all our officers and the work that they do," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "They are highly trained and very professional."

Gomez said the officers work extremely hard, and have been a very good job of keeping West Texas safe.

Both women remained in Reeves County Jail as of press time.

Tickets remain for Chamber's awards banquet

PECOS, January 25, 2001 - Tickets are still available for the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet and Dinner scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3.

The annual event will be held at the Reeves County Civic Center.

About 203 tickets have already been sold.

Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at the chamber office or by calling 445-2406.

Guest speaker will be the Honorable Gary Walker, Texas House of Representatives for District 80, which includes Pecos and Reeves County.


PECOS, January 25, 2001 - High Wednesday 57. Low this morning 42. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low around 30. Southwest to west wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy and warmer. High in the mid 60s. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low around 30. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. High in the 50s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 35 to 40. High in the 60s.

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