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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Health Fair participants list growing

Staff Writer

Preparations for this Saturday’s Reeves County Hospital Health Fair are entering their final phase, according to RCH Board President and Heath Fair chairperson Linda Gholson.

“We currently have 70 participants signed up, but we are still working on the actual layout for the event,” Gholson said in an interview this morning.

“We will be offering several free screening, and several will be offered at a nominal cost,” Gholson said.

The complete blood test will be offered for $20, but Gholson added that for the test to be accurate participants need to fast for at least 12 hours before the blood is drawn. “This will be the first time we have offered the bone density test, that Dr. (Orville) Cerna will be conducting, as part of an osteoporosis screening,” Gholson said.

“We are allowing people to pre-register on Friday from 3-6 p.m.,” Gholson said. “That will not allow them to skip ahead in the line, however. It will allow them to have their paperwork filed out and save that step on the day of the testing.”

“Doors will open Saturday at 8 a.m., and we will be going until 2 p.m.,” Gholson said. “We are still looking for volunteer to help with the event. People will be assigned according to their skills. We still need people to help move tables, and health care professionals to help with the blood collection and labeling,” Gholson said.

“We really appreciate all of the participation that the local doctors have given to the event,” she added.

Reeves Couth Hospital’s Public Relations Director Venetta Seals, added that every thing was going along very well, and said that they had had calls as late as this morning from individuals and businesses looking to get booth space for the event.

“We had four more calls this morning requesting space at the health fair, and we have had lots of hone calls from people looking to volunteer for the fair,” Seals said.

She added that volunteers would have the opportunity to have their test done early, but to qualify for the early testing, they must work the actual event.

“We will be testing the volunteers from 7-8:30 a.m. the morning of the fair, to allow them to get their tests completed before the event begins,” Seals said.

Seals added that all blood must be drawn at the hospital this year. “In years past we had allowed some of the heath care providers to bring in blood from their patients, but this year we are requesting that all test recipients be on site for the tests,” she said. Vendors will be allowed to start setting up on Friday after lunch.

“We are really excited about the osteoporosis screening and the fact that we will have a registered dietician on hand giving around a 30 minute presentation covering topics such as diabetes and overall general nutrition,” she added.

The booths and displays for the health fair will all be located in the existing part of the hospital. Final work is continuing on the $8 million addition to Reeves County Hospital, which will include a relocated emergency room and new kidney dialysis center.

The addition originally was scheduled to open on March 11, but has been delayed twice since then, due to a late state inspection and then to bad weather, which delayed final exterior dirt work at the site.

Unemployment for county, city fell in February

Staff Writer

Reeves County’s unemployment rate was down 4 1/2 percent in February from the same time a year ago, according to figures released on Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. But a drop in the local workforce was the main reason for the decline, as the total number of jobs within the county also fell during the past year.

The county’s unemployment rate fell from 13.9 percent in February of 2003 to 8.4 percent last month, the TWC said. The drop was due to a 10 percent decline in the local workforce, from 6,028 in 2003 to 5,439 last month. That decline offset a loss of just over 200 jobs during the last year, and accounted for the overall jobless rate decline. Reeves County had 4,984 jobs last month, and 5,193 a year ago, the TWC reported.

On the positive side, the county did increase its total number of jobs from January to February of this year, even while the total number of people in the local labor force dropped.

Unemployment in January was 9.7 percent, when jobless rates traditionally rise in the post-Christmas period. The county had 5,500 workers in January and 4,966 people employed, according to the Workforce Commission’s statistics.

Jobless rates were higher for the Town of Pecos City, but last month’s unemployment rate did drop back below 10 percent for only the second time since June of 2002, when McCain Foods finished shutting down its Anchor West plant in Pecos. McCain had purchased the plant nine months earlier, and the shutout left 700 people without jobs, and at one point sent the city and county jobless rates above 22 percent.

Unemployment in Pecos stood at 15.7 percent in February of 2003, with 4,755 people in the city’s labor force and 4,007 wit h jobs. Those numbers for last month showed a workforce of 4,252 people, of which 3,845 were employed.

January’s numbers showed an 11.1 percent jobless rate in the county, with 4,310 workers overall and 3,832 with jobs.

Area-wide, the jobless rates for February were down from January’s post-holiday spike. Unemployment in the Permian Basin fell from 5.6 to 5.2 percent, and statewide the rate dropped from 6.7 to 6.1 percent. Midland County had the largest workforce and the highest number of jobs, and saw its unemployment rate fall from 4.6 to 4.0 percent, while Ector County (Odessa) reported an unemployment decline from 7.0 to 6.4 percent between January and February.

Andrews County’s jobless rate dropped to 4.8 percent last month, from 5.5 percent in January and 5.4 percent a year ago, with the number of jobs and the local workforce increasing during that period. Pecos County lost jobs and workers from January, but gained from the same point a year ago, and saw its jobless rate fall from 6.0 to 5.2 percent. Ward County’s rate fell from 7.3 percent in January and 8.3 percent a year ago to 6.8 percent last month, as the number of jobs in the county increased slightly while the workforce remained stable during all three reporting periods.

Murder suspect sentenced in Alpine escape

Staff Writer

One man who failed in his attempt to escape from Brewster County Jail did manage Thursday to escape a prison sentence for that attempt. The one who did escape was found guilty.

Billy Ray Gonzales, who was in Brewster County Jail in Alpine on a state murder charge, made good his escape the night of October 22, 2003. Because three other inmates in the cell were being held on federal charges, the escape charge was a federal offense. A U.S. District Court jury here found him guilty Thursday night, after deliberating five hours.

However, Sergio Nava-Reyes was found not guilty of attempted escape, although two co-defendants, Joe Ray Sosa Millan and Kenneth D. Wood, testified against both men. Millan, who was being held on a marijuana possession charge, pleaded guilty to attempted escape, and Wood admitted aiding and abetting the attempt.

Law enforcement officers involved in the investigation said that Millan obtained a hacksaw while in the Brewster County Jail, and that the four inmates used it to saw through the air conditioner vent in their cell.

Gonzales’ slender build enabled him to wriggle through the opening, but he was unable to pull the corpulent Millan through. When Millan got stuck, Nava-Reyes tried unsuccessfully to push him through. Millan suffered a cut in the foiled escape attempt. Officers soon located Gonzales and returned him to the county jail. Following his indictment on federal charges Jan. 8, he was placed in federal custody to await trial.

Local churches announce Easter special services

Special services are scheduled in the area in preparation for the Easter holiday.

Services will be held Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m., at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church, Barstow; at 8 p.m., at Santa Rosa Catholic Church and St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Pecos.

On Good Friday, April 9, services will be at 3 p.m., in Barstow; at 7 p.m., at Santa Rosa and at 6 p.m., at St. Catherine’s.

On Saturday, services are scheduled for 7 p.m., in Barstow; 9 p.m., at Santa Rosa and St. Catherine’s.

Easter Sunday services will be held at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and noon at Santa Rosa Catholic Church and at 10:30 at St. Catherine’s.


High Monday 77. Low this morning 41. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s. Light and variable winds becoming southeast near 10 mph in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s. Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 80. Friday night: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 50.


Grady Lee Kellar

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