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Archive 2003

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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Heater blamed for starting fire

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- A fire caused major damage to a home on the north side of city this morning, but only minor injuries were reported.

Four fire units were dispatched to 219 N. Ash St., a little before 10 a.m. in response to a house fire, which is being blamed on a portable electric heater in use in the bedroom of the home.

"The cause of the fire was that the people that lived there had a space heater that was too close to a bed and it caught fire," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.

There were two people inside the home at the time. One of the two, a woman, was taken to Reeves County for minor burns, according to Brookshire.

"Major fire damage was done in the bedroom and attic and the rest of the house sustained a lot of smoke and heat damage," said Brookshire.

The fire was extinguished in a little over an hour, according to Brookshire, who warned that at this time of year, people should be cautious when using electric heaters.

Suit seeks halt to Pecos River water releases

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - A Carlsbad farming couple filed notice with the state that they intend to object to the proposed settlement of a lawsuit over water on the Pecos River.

Carlsbad farmers Louise and Francis Tracy filed notice last week that they intend to object to the proposed agreement, which would settle a longstanding water rights adjudication lawsuit known as the Lewis case.

The dispute has been in court since 1956. The settlement would establish the Carlsbad district's right to divert up to 125,200 acre-feet from the Pecos and Black rivers and require the Interstate Stream Commission to buy the land with water rights in the Pecos River Basin.

The state wants to buy 12,000 acres around Roswell and 6,000 acres in the Carlsbad Irrigation District. It then would pump the water that would have been used for irrigation into the river to meet its obligations to deliver water downstream to Texas under the Pecos River Compact.

A special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that New Mexico was in violation of the 1946 Compact. Under an agreement approved by the special master, New Mexico paid Texas $14 million in damages and guaranteed that it would fulfill its water release obligations under the original terms of the agreement.

But drought conditions in New Mexico over the past two years have made New Mexico's efforts to fulfill the terms of the agreement more difficult, and have pushed forward efforts to buy back water rights in Southeastern New Mexico to permit the required water releases to Texas.

The Legislature has approved $30 million and there's $10 million more in bonds to buy land and water rights around Roswell and Carlsbad. As a condition of spending the money, the Legislature specified that the Lewis case be settled.

RCH board OKs bonuses, fetal monitor

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board approved holiday bonus checks and approved the purchase of a new fetal monitor during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night in the classroom of the hospital.

The board also discussed scheduling of the December board meeting around the Christmas holiday period and other regular monthly items on the agenda.

All board members were in attendance to approve the yearly employee appreciation awards for the holiday season. The awards will be for $100 for full-time employees and $50 for part-time. This carries on the tradition of the holiday bonus at the hospital as opposed to a large party that might incur some sort of liability, according to RCH Administrator Robert Vernor.

The board also voted to move next month's meeting ahead 10 days, from Dec. 23 to Dec. 13, due to its close proximity to the Christmas holiday. The proposal passed unanimously on a motion by Chel Flores, which was seconded by Pablo Carrasco.

Board members also heard from Director of nursing Carla Windsor-Rivas on the future purchase of new fetal-maternal monitors. The current monitors have been in use for as long as 20 years.

The suggested replacements are slated to cost the hospital around $38,000, but should include many new features, along with possible upgrades, if the hospital chooses to do so in the future.

Rivas suggested to the board two possible replacements for the outdated models currently in use. She pointed out that the current models could be used for a while longer, but the company had stopped making replacement parts to keep the machines in working order.

The two suggestions put forth by Rivas included models from GE and Phillips. Rivas stated that both models did the job efficiently, but the GE model had certain features that make it a much better buy.

First, the GE model had a much larger screen that could be observed by the nurses at different locations in the room; the Phillips monitor could only be viewed directly in front of the unit. In addition, the same company that had manufactured the previous models the hospital had used that had lasted for so long also makes the GE unit.

Rivas added that the GE representative was much more willing to work with the hospital in getting the peripheral equipment needed to accurately test the monitors out during the trial period. She said that the Phillips representative dropped the unit off and wasn't heard from until it was time to pick the trial unit back up.

"The only written comments we have received were from a nurse in support of the GE model. The verbal support, once the employees became familiar with the different models they came out in support of the GE for its ease of use," Rivas said. "Also, both Dr. (Joseph) Darpolar and Dr. Dele (Dr. Oladele Olusanya) have verbally given support for the GE model."

Board member Leo Hung asked Rivas if she had received any negative comments on the monitors. Rivas saidy she had only heard about the small size of the Phillips monitor screen being the sole negative comment during the trial period. She went on to point out that while the Phillips model was slightly cheaper, the GE representative was currently working hard to find any and every discount available to RCH.

The proposal to buy the GE fetal monitor passed unanimously on a motion from Leo Hung and a second by Chel Flores.

In other business, the board heard from Vernor's monthly Administrators report. He pointed out that the 80 percent inspection was approaching and that construction was still ahead of schedule and under budget.

"The Texas Department of Health has scheduled the 80 percent walkthrough for Dec. 29. The architects will be having their monthly meeting on Dec. 3, but will be returning for the walkthrough and holding their January meeting the same day," Vernor said.

"I recently looked at an article on the new hospital facilities being constructed in Colorado City. The project is currently $4 million over budget, due in large part to the large number of change orders and the 58 problems that arose during the TDH walkthrough, and they haven't started on the parking lot yet. I tell you this to illustrate the value of choosing a quality architectural firm like the one we have. They might cost a little more, but in the end I believe will be well worth the extra up front expense in the money they save us," he added.

The board then entered into executive session to discuss personnel issues, and decided to take no action on the personnel matters item on the agenda listed under the executive session.

Businesses, government offices taking holiday off

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- Local entities and businesses will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and some are planning to remain closed on Friday as well.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools were closed today and will remain closed until Monday, while Town of Pecos City will be closed Thursday and Friday and resume their regular hours on Monday.

Reeves County Courthouse, Lucius Bunton Courthouse and all the utility companies will be closed Thursday to observe the holiday.

Both Security State and West Texas National Bank will be closed on Thursday. Security State Bank will open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Friday and West Texas National Bank will be open all day Friday.

Texas-New Mexico Power Company will be closed both Thursday and Friday.

La Tienda Thriftway will be open from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., Thursday and all day Friday, while Bob's Thriftway will be closed Thursday and open regular hours on Friday. Local convenience stores will be open for their regular hours on Thursday.

The Pecos Enterprise will not print a paper on that day. The Enterprise will publish on Friday, but will close at 4 p.m. The paper will resume regular business hours on Monday.

Dawdy enjoys 20 years in local law enforcement

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- Tony Dawdy, the jail administrator for the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, has been working for law enforcement agencies here in Pecos for almost 20 years.

Born in Dallas, Dawdy moved to Pecos when he was 9 and attended local schools, graduating from Pecos High School in 1976. He played for the Eagle football team all four years of high school as a defensive end and tight end on offense, and was part of the state semi-final qualifying team that year.

After high school Dawdy realized that law enforcement was the way he wanted to take his life.

"One of the main reasons I became a police officer to defend those who cannot defend themselves. I could see the relief on peoples faces when a squad car pull up and I knew that the job I was worth while."

In 1984 Dawdy joined the Reeves County Sheriff's Department as a jailer. After a while the opportunity arose to get promoted to the transportation director, but the position required a law enforcement degree. Therefore Dawdy attended the Pecos Police Academy and served in that position for two years.

"We were in charge of transporting prisoners to and from court, typically for the BOP and Marshal's Service," he said. "The job required mostly trips back and forth to El Paso, but the pay was good and I liked my job."

"In 1991 a position opened up with the police department here in town and I applied, beginning my career with the city. I started as a patrolman, which I did for four years, then I moved up to sergeant for another four years, lieutenant for two years and then I was promoted to jail administrator, which I have been serving as for the past two years."

With 13 years serving with the police department and his time in the Sheriff's office, Dawdy has seen changes in the city in the past 20 years.

"I really like the town itself. It is sad that it is declining; we just need our leaders to bring in industry and fix up the looks of the town," he said. "I love living in a small town, people know each other and will help if they think you might be in trouble."

Dawdy thoroughly enjoys working with the people in the police department today.

"I don't think I have ever worked with a finer group of people. Everyone here is dedicated to the job and I believe it is the staff that really makes this facility run so well," he said. "Each employee that has worked at the CJC since its beginning has contributed the overwhelming success of it."

In his time on the force Dawdy has faced some pretty scary moments. From opening doors on routine calls and having pistols pointed at my face to a 1992 murder-suicide.

"One time we received a call to a house for a domestic disturbance, and when we arrived, we observed a man lying in the garage shot, well I charged into the house, to stop any more people from being shot. I didn't think about, I just ran in," he said. "I thought about it later and realized that I could have been killed if he had been waiting for me, but he wasn't and I guess I lucked out."

"I owe my like many time over to my God and Savior keeping me alive to fulfill his work he has for me on earth," Dawdy said. " I know that the job I have is dangerous, as well as everybody that puts on a badge. We know that this day could be our last. That is why this line of work requires such a different kind of person. You never get off on holidays or get to see your family as much as you should. I think that is why there is such a high rate of divorce in law enforcement."

Tony is

Museum seeking Christmas Tree program sponsors

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- Christmas has arrived at the West of the Pecos Museum and 11 sponsors are needed for the 14th Annual Christmas Tree Program.

These live Christmas Trees will be decorated by local students. After the holidays the trees will be planted at the schools.

For more information contact the West of the Pecos Museum, 445-5076.


PECOS, Wed., Nov. 26, 2003 -- High Tuesday 74. Low this morning 46. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 35. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Thanksgiving day: Sunny: Cooler. Highs near 55. Northwinds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s. Northeast winds near 10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. Light and variable winds. Friday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s to the lower 30s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 70. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s.


Erasmo Valdez

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