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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Boicourt becomes 3rd possible Tarin challenger

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 17, 2003 -- One more person has thrown their hat in the ring to run in the Reeves County Democratic Primary elections.

Elizabeth "Lisa" Boicourt filed her treasurer's designation with the Reeves County Clerk to run for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3. Boicourt designated Thomas R. "Tommy" Boicourt as her treasurer.

The information filed with the Reeves County Clerk's office is only one of two steps candidates need to take before January 2 in order to run in the March 9 primary. The other step required filing either a petition or paying a filing fee with the local party chairman.

However, Reeves County Democratic Party chairman Robert C. Dean has said he will not provide any information on candidate filings to the Enterprise.

"I refuse to give the Pecos Enterprise any information because Smokey (Pecos Enterprise Editor Smokey Briggs) called me a blackmailer," said Dean.

"That is what I called him," Briggs said, in explaining the incident earlier this year that led to Dean's action.

"Earlier this year a very upset Mr. Dean came to me to complain about an ad that had run in the Enterprise. The ad urged voters to vote in favor of Proposition 12 and was run by a local person. Accidentally we left off the small print required on political ads that tells readers who paid for the ad.

"Apparently Mr. Dean was a Proposition 12 opponent.

"I told Mr. Dean that we would be sure to correct the mistake the next time the ad ran, and he said that wasn't good enough - he wanted us to run an ad or ads supporting Proposition 12.

"I told him that we would be glad to run his ad," Briggs said. "Unfortunately, not only did he want us to run the ads, he wanted us to do it for free to 'make up for the our mistake.' I told him that I was not going to run his ad for free.

"Then he told me that if I did not run the ad for free he would report me to the Ethics Commission and then I told him that he was a blackmailer. I also tried to point out the irony in the situation but by that point the conversation was somewhat heated. I think he missed the point," Briggs said.

"Mad or not Bobby's refusal to speak with the paper seems pretty third grade," he added.

Any candidate that has filed with Dean can call the Pecos Enterprise directly and provide the necessary information. The Enterprise appreciates the candidates' cooperation.

Proposition 12, which was approved by Texas voters in September, allows the Legislature to limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice and other civil lawsuits.

Proponents of the measure included the Texas Medical Association and Texans For Lawsuit Reform. They said limiting non-economic damages such as pain and suffering would help eliminate frivolous lawsuits and reduce the cost of doing business for physicians and private companies by getting rid of arbitrary damage awards.

Groups who opposed the measure included AARP, MADD, the consumer group Texas Watch, and several police associations, who said the amendment would take away the ability to hold criminals accountable in civil court.

Boicourt is the fourth person to file a treasuer's designation with Reeves County Clerk Diane O. Florez in the March 9 race for Precinct 3 Commissioner. She joined incumbent Herman Tarin and two other challengers, Manuel "Manny" D. Lopez and Bailey E. Wheeless.

Two persons have filed with Florez's office in the race for Reeves County Precinct 1 Commissioner. Incumbent Felipe Arredondo filed his treasurer's designation in September, while Elizer "Chel" Flores, who currently holds the Precinct 3 seat on the Reeves County Hospital District board filed with the County Clerk earlier this month.

Along with the county positions, other local offices that will be up for election on March 9, are Reeves County Attorney; 143rd District Attorney and 143rd District Court Judge.

Judge Bob Parks filed in Austin to retain his position as 143rd District Court Judge.

The District Attorney and District Judge positions cover Reeves, Ward and Loving Counties. Former District Attorney Hal Upchurch of Monahans already has announced his plans to seek re-election to the position he last held 12 years ago. Randall W. Reynolds currently holds the position, and was first elected too office in 1996.

Both the District Attorney and the District Judge candidates will file their petitions or pay a filing fee in Austin.

Other local incumbents who also plan to seek re-election but as of now have no opponents include Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez; Reeves County Tax Assessor/Collector Elfida Zuniga; Precinct 2 Constable Jerry C. Matta and Precinct 3 Constable Tomas "Tommy" Martinez.

To file officially, candidates must file a petition with 50 names or pay a filing fee to the local party chairmen, so the individuals who have filed with the county clerk, will now have to take this second step. Almost all candidates in Reeves County run in the Democratic primary and file Dean.

Filing for the Reeves County primary elections in March will continue through Friday, Jan. 2 .

RCH seeking patient transfer improvements

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 17, 2003 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board discussed the need for an on-call staff to assist in the transfer time of critical patients to other facilities and heard from a Balmorhea EMS representative on their need for additional operating funds Tuesday night, during their final regular meeting of the year.

According to the administrator's report, the hospital is presented cases that need to be transferred to other facilities occasionally. "We need to improve transfer time and quality of staff accompanying the transfers to other facilities from our ER and from any inpatient services that require additional care," Hospital Administrator Robert Vernor said.

"We have been trying to get more people involved in the transfer team, and to accomplish this we have posted a notice of a ECA (Emergency Care Attendant) course that will be held at the hospital for the benefit of our employees. We have received 14 applicants already, and once those people have completed the course, they could move on to EMS or paramedic in the future," Vernor added.

Board member Bill Wendt said that the ECA qualification could satisfy the state's requirement as long as two were present in the ambulance during the transfer. The ECA, or emergency care attendant, requires a 60-hour course, Wendt added.

Board member Leo Hung asked how the staff on transfer calls would be paid and whether the hours would apply to the workers' regular weekly hours that could lead to overtime.

Vernor said that the ECA's would receive $30 on top of their hourly wage and if the total time for the week was over 40 then the overtime rate would have to be paid.

Chief of medical staff Dr. W.J. Bang, added that the need for the transfer staff to "know what they are doing and to be aware of the complications and treatment needed for some of these time-critical cases.

"For example, there are two types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic," Dr. Bang said. "For the first, which is bleeding in the brain, nothing can really be done while it is happening, but for the second, which is a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain, care can be given to lessen the effect of the condition. The first response from the transfer team is critical in these types of circumstances, so having these transfer teams ready around the clock would make a big difference."

Vernor added that the visit by the future Pecos residents, Dr. Ziad Abdo and his fiancÈ Lailah Zindani, went very well, and that when they left their attitude was very upbeat and positive about the community. He added that Zindani was very enthusiastic and had found a couple of houses that she liked during the visit.

Vernor also presented the artistic renditions of the new front entrance of the hospital, which is currently under construction. Vernor also went on to remind the board that the construction of the new expanded facility was still under budget and on schedule.

In other business, the board heard from Elia Estrada, of the Balmorhea EMS service, who attended the meeting as part of the agency's annual request for funds from the hospital district.

"I am here to report on the total area that the Balmorhea EMS services and to request additional funds from the board due to the large area that our EMS covers," Estrada said.

"Originally the Balmorhea EMS only covered the town of Balmorhea and the Balmorhea Lake. However, our area of coverage now extends to all of the southern region of Reeves County, including: the convergence of I-10 and I-20 to the west, the Jeff Davis County to the south, and half way between Pecos and Saragosa to the north," Estrada added.

"As part of the original agreement, the Balmorhea EMS received $5,000 from the Reeves County Hospital District annually. However, with the added coverage area, we are asking for an additional $5,000 per year," Estrada said.

Board President Linda Gholson asked whether this type of request could be taken to the administrator and the board could base their decision off of his recommendation.

Hospital CFO Bill Conger recommended that since the board would not be meeting again until after the first of the year, when the funds were typically distributed to the EMS service, that the board could approve the regular $5,000 and if approved, pay the rest later in the year.

Estrada added that the City of Balmorhea loans the EMS services $6,000 per year, and collects the money back over the year through the billing of the EMS's patients. She said that the EMS service had repeatedly asked the city to separate the EMS's funds from Balmorhea's general fund, but the city had refused. The separation of the money is specified in the EMS service's contract with the city, and Board President Linda Gholson added that she would like the issue taken back to the city of Balmorhea and have the money handling clarified.

"I don't think that we should put $10,000 into the Balmorhea General fund. If the accounts were separate, then when the hospital district is audited, where the money went would be easy to prove," Vernor said.

The board voted to table the discussion on the additional funds until the issue was straightened out, but to pay the normal amount on the first of the year. The motion by hung and on a second by board member Pablo Briones, the motion passed unanimously, with Wendt abstaining due to a conflict of interest. Wendt is a member of the Balmnorhea area EMS service.

City's rebates nearly unchanged for month, year

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 17, 2003 -- The final sales tax checks for 2003 were up for all three cities in Reeves County and for the Reeves County Hospital District, though overall for the year, all four saw their tax rebate checks from State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office drop compared to 2002.

The Town of Pecos City had the smallest increase for the month and the smallest decrease for the year, according to figures released last Friday by the state comptroller. The city's 11/2-cent share of the state's 8 1/4-cent sales tax was $54,523 in December, which was up 1.78 percent from a year ago, when the city got back $53,576 for the month, based on sales made during October.

For all of 2003, Pecos got back $754,832, which was down three-quarters of a percent from 2002, when the city received $760,563 back from Austin.

Out of December's total, one sixth of the amount received by the city, or $9,089, goes to help fund the Pecos Economic Development Corp.

Toyah's numbers were reversed from Pecos' results for the month. The city reported the largest increase compared with December of 2002, but their 12-month total was down more than any other taxing entity in the county.

Toyah got back $502, which was 86 percent above the $270 that city received last December. For the year, Toyah received $5,739 in sales tax rebates, which was down 15.6 percent from last year's $6,802 total.

Balmorhea's December check for $664 was 26 1/4 percent higher than last year, when the city got a check for $525. Overall in 2003, Balmorhea received $11,085 in tax rebates, down 7.31 percent from $11,959 in 2002.

The Reeves County Hospital District's tax rebate total for December on their 1/2-cent sales tax was $ 27,767, which was up 13.36 percent from last year's $24,494. However, the hospital's total for all of 2003 came to $322,189, which was 9.67 percent lower than a year ago, when the hospital received $365,717 in tax rebates.

Most other area cities joined Pecos in seeing their rebate checks virtually unchanged for the month. Midland, Odessa, Big Spring and Van Horn showed slight increases, while Fort Stockton reported a slight decrease in their tax rebate check for the month.

The exceptions on the positive side included Alpine, which was up over 46 percent, and Presidio, which was up 12 percent. Marfa also reported a double-digit increase, but that was due in part to an increase in the city's tax rate since last year.

On the negative side, Andrews, which saw a sharp spike in their tax rebate checks for most of 2002, saw those totals return to more normal levels in 2003. As a result, its numbers were down for both the month and the year as a whole by about 25 percent. Monahans also saw a double-digit drop in its tax rebate check for December, as die Kermit, Crane and Wink.

Christmas' gifts to be delivered to families today

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 17, 2003 -- Christmas for Kids volunteers are scheduled to deliver gift to the families of needy children in the Pecos area this evening, beginning about 5 p.m.

Christmas For Kids organizer Sofia Baeza said the group will be giving out gifts to 512 children in the area this year, 20 more than in 2002. Anyone wanting to help out with the deliveries can show up at the Reeves County Sheriff's Department office beginning about 4 p.m. to prepare for the deliveries.


PECOS, Wed., Dec. 17, 2003 -- High Tuesday 54. Low this morning 28. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 30. West winds near 10 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs 60 to 65. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows near 30. East winds near 10 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 30s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 70s. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 30s.


Lorenzo Olivas

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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