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Archive 2003

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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

County workers face health insurance cost hike

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Reeves County employees will be paying a little bit more for health insurance, commissioners decided following a long discussion on the subject during their regular Commissioners Court meeting Monday morning.

"What is happening is that our funding is going down and we need to put more money into that account," Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens told commissioners.

Owens said that the employer pays a portion of the insurance and the employee pays a smaller part of it. "We're looking at putting in $75 more into our bank account and then increasing the employees portion," said Owens.

"Employees will be paying about $22 more per pay period for their health insurance," said Owens.

Owens said that he didn't want the insurance to get to the point that employees would no longer be able to afford the coverage.

"We paid $412,000 more than what put into the fund and we changed the options last year," said Owens. "We're hoping to stop the deficit in our funds and the only way to do that is increase what we are funding, or else we'll see ourselves in dire trouble," he said.

The county added $75 more per employee per month for funding of the insurance fund, according to Owens.

County treasurer Linda Clark told the group that the increase would mean $22.66 more from each employee out of their paychecks.

"We're doing this because we are forced to because of the amount of claims, aren't we?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin. He said that he did not want to see the employees have to pay more, but that if it was a necessary step then it had to be done.

"We want all the employees to have good health coverage," he said.

"The last few years there has been a constant drain on this fund," said Owens. "I don't want to price it out to where the employees can't afford it."

"You told me that the insurance wouldn't go up again," said Samuel Urias, an RCDC employee who was in the audience at the time.

"I couldn't have possibly told you that, because we don't know," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Galindo told the group that that's something you can't answer. "Nobody can answer that, because health insurance and medical coverage is going up constantly," he said.

"Also, we were under the impression that the deductible for a family was $500 and now we've been told that it is $1,500," said Urias.

"We're all in this pool together and we need to help fund it as well," said Galindo.

Urias said that he had never been advised of any changes made in the insurance policy.

"I'm sorry to disagree with you, but there were letters sent out with paychecks when the changes were first made last year," said Clark.

Urias said that every time his children were sick he had to pay a large amount of money.

"You get a little bit of a savings with being a county employee," said Galindo. "It costs anywhere from $60-$80 an office visit and with the insurance you're actually paying considerably less" he said.

"Stop and look at the DOL wages you received recently, the people in the General Fund didn't get any," said Galindo. "It comes down to solutions, what we need to do."

"Don't you think that $1,500 deductible for a family is a lot?" said Urias.

The increase in the insurance is set to take place in November when it's the insurance's anniversary, according to Clark.

"Nothing has changed, but the claims keep increasing," said Galindo.

"People have to refrain from going to the doctor," said commissioner precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo. "When we used to get sick, we didn't run to the doctor every time."

"That's not a solution, commissioner, because when you're kids get sick you have to take them to the doctor," said Galindo. "You shouldn't refrain from taking your children to the doctor."

"Ultimately, we have to deposit enough to cover our claims," said Galindo.

The only way that the health insurance business will see some relief is if the government does something about pharmaceuticals, according to Owens.

"For the past few years, we've made small, incremental changes, but we've always provided good insurance for our employees," said Galindo.

"It will cost $22.66 a pay period, but we could be asking for the whole amount each month," said Clark. "We have really good insurance and we need to do everything we can to keep it," she said.

Under personnel and salary changes, the court approved a new hire at the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

Chief Juvenile Probation Louise Moore told commissioners that the position has been vacant for a while now. "The funding for this position will come from the state, the county does not have to pay anything," said Moore.

"Does this position have to be filled right away or can it wait?" asked Galindo.

"Since it's funded through the state, yes, it has to be filled right away," she said.

The court agreed to hire Kevin Losoya at $27,000 per year with an increase to $30,000 after a six month probation period. The position is a state funded position and the salary will be paid from funds received from the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission.

Some of the promotions presented to the court from the Reeves County Detention Center were denied at this time. Carlos Campos, was promoted to a Commissary Officer II position at a salary of $24,000 per year.

In the District Clerk's Office, Mary Lou Chavez will receive an increase from $18,000 to $19,000 per year; Monette Arreguy will be hired as a Deputy Clerk in the District Clerk's office at a salary of $19,000 per year and two part-time employees were hired in the Court-At-Law office, Linda Lester and Flor Herrera, to replace full-time secretary Elva Contreras who is currently out on Family Medical Leave.

Crews fixing sewer collapse shut Third St.

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Barrels that have been sitting in the middle of the 400 block of East Third Street since last Friday have been replaced by construction equipment today, and drivers are being cautioned that there is a detour on Third Street, while Town of Pecos City employees work on repairing a collapsed sewer line.

A section of the sewer line collapsed last Friday and employees were busy this morning repairing it.

"We're replacing a 12-inch sewer line in that area," said Town of Pecos City Water Department Foreman Ray Orona.

Orona said that the sewer line was made of old clay pipe and is being replaced with PVC pipe. "We'll be replacing about 40 feet," said Orona.

The collapse created a low spot in the left turn lane of Third Street that was blocked off by barrels over the weekend, until repairs on the street could begin.

"The east bound lane will be closed all day today and tomorrow, while the employees work on that section," said Orona. "We're cautioning motorists about the detour and to obey all the signs."

All the parts needed for the repair work have arrived in town, and city crews will work throughout the today and tomorrow to fix the problem. "Right now, it is not affecting anyone, it is still flowing," said Orona.

Orona said that the major sewer line had been replaced from Oleander Street to Ash Street, along Third Street several years ago.

"We've replaced that entire sewer line and future plans include to replace the section from Ash all the way to Orange Street," he said. "They're working on procuring a grant for that."

"We're just doing a repair on this section now, until we get the main pipeline in," said Orona.

P-B-T, Balmorhea schools hold anti-drug events

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Red Ribbon Week has kicked off in Pecos on Monday with a number of events that will continue until Friday.

Monday was "Put a Cap on Drugs" everyone wore caps or hats, while today is "Follow Your Dreams - Don't Do Drugs" day, with students, teachers and staff wearing pajamas to school). Wednesday will be "High On Life" (crazy hair day); Thursday "Put a Stop to Drugs", everyone is encouraged to wear red and Friday, "Eagle Pride Teams Up Against Drugs" (wear purple and gold).

In conjunction, the school district will be sponsoring a Drug-Free program, the Patsy Torres Positive Force Tour on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., for all kindergarten through sixth grade students and at 1:30 p.m., for all seventh through 12th grade students, at the Pecos High School new gym.

Torres and the Positive Force Tour will also be in Balmorhea from 2-3 p.m. Wednesday at the Balmorhea School Gym. The public is invited to attend.

Balmorhea students and staff will celebrate throughout the week as well. Wednesday, is "Put a Stop on Drugs" (wear red); Thursday, is "Black Out Drugs" (wear black) and Friday, is "Drugs are Scary!" "Scare away the Indians!" wear Halloween Costumes.

In Pecos, Red Ribbon Week is is sponsored by the P-B-T ISD Counselors with the assistance of the PHS Student Council, cheerleaders, teachers, administrators, law enforcement agencies, and other community organizations.

The counselors invite the community to come support the fight against drugs. A section for Thursday's performances at the PHS gym has been reserved for visitors.

All schools are decorating with red to support the fight against drugs. Many activities are held throughout all the schools. The counselors will distribute ribbons and invite the community to participate following a Pecos Talking radio show.

"We want to extend a special invitation to all law enforcement and community groups to participate and wish to thank them for their fight against drugs," said Austin Elementary School Counselor Rosie Salcido.

A section has been reserved for all law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to bring a banner to display at the program.

Basketball referees needed for sub-varsity games

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- Referees are being sought for Pecos Eagle junior high and sub-varsity high school basketball games between late November and early February.

The games are for both boys and girls teams. Anyone interesting in officiating boys or girls games should call coach Joe Flores, daytime at 447-7220 and evenings at 445-2721.


PECOS, Tues., Oct. 28, 2003 -- High Mon. 78. Low this morning 50. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 45 to 50. SE winds 10 to 15 mph Shifting to the south near 10 mph after midnight. Wed.: Mostly sunny. Highs 85 to 90. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Wed. night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s to the lower 60s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s to the lower 90s. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 50s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 80s. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Mary Lauderdale, 42, was arrested for public intoxication on Oct. 20, at 6:15 p.m., in the 400 block of Barstow Ave.


Delma Rodriguez, 31, was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault with a knife and a motion to adjudicate on Oct. 20, at 4:38 p.m., at the corner of Washington and Eddy streets.


Gilbert Ramirez, 23, was served with a warrant for theft by check from Ector County on Oct. 18, at 3:45 a.m., while in custody at the CJC.


Santiago Ortega Jr., 20, was arrested on five warrants: two counts of failure to display drivers license, two counts of violation of a failure to appear, a seat belt violation, and on count of driving at an unsafe speed on Oct. 17, at 11:13 p.m., during a traffic stop at Johnson and Walthall streets.


Jeremiah Elijah Stevenson, 22, Michael Wayne Wendleton, 35, and William Richard Smith, 31, were arrested during a traffic stop on Oct. 24, at 11:10, in the 800 block of Palmer Street. Stevenson was arrested for failure to identify and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; Wendleton and Smith were also charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.


Joe Daniel Wright, 25, was arrested on a warrant for possession of an open alcoholic beverage container and a violation of a promise to appear on Oct. 26, at 1:53 a.m., at Club Suavecito at Ninth and Cedar streets.


Paul Rubio, 45, Toney Rodriguez, 23, and Hector Jose Perez, 25, were arrested on Oct. 25, at 1:59 p.m., during a traffic stop in the 1900 block of South Park Street. Rubio and Perez were charged with public intoxication and Rodriguez was charged with driving without a license.


Roy Jimenez, 19, was arrested for public intoxication on Oct. 25, at 5:37 a.m., at the Flying J truck stop.

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Pecos Enterprise
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