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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 23, 2004

RCH services in new facility open Monday

Staff Writer

Reeves County Hospital’s Emergency Room, Specialty Clinics, Rural Health Clinic and the Physical Therapy Department will officially begin operating in their new facilities at the hospital on Monday.

While the grand opening for the hospital expansion project was held on April 15, those departments have just completed relocating their services to the new expansion area. All will be receiving patients through the new entrance, which is located on the northwest side of the hospital, starting on Monday.

The most convenient access to the new parking area is to turn on Schmidt Drive from Texas Street or turn on Pigman Avenue from Stafford Boulevard.

“We are trying to get the word out to everyone that if they are going to the Emergency Room or have an appointment with the Specialty Clinics, Rural Health Clinics, or the Physical Therapy Department that they should use the new entrance,” said Public Relations Director Venetta Seals.

“The new entrance and parking area is much more convenient for patients than parking in the front parking lot as they have been doing for many years. The new entrance is very user-friendly and will save patients a lot of time and walking,” said Seals.

The new section of the hospital will also include the facility’s first-ever kidney dialysis unit. But that section of the hospital is not scheduled for opening until this summer.

Blanchard’s airplane interest took flight in Africa

Staff Writer

Isabelle Blanchard has a love for flying that has taken her halfway around the world and made her an integral part of the Pecos community.

Blanchard was born in Tanzania; a medium sized African country on the east side of the continent. Her dad worked for a Belgian shipping company there, and growing up in the untamed countryside of that region afforded her the opportunity to see animals and plants that most people will never get a closer look at than the television or local zoo. “The land there is so rich, culturally, geographically and in its wildlife,” Blanchard said. “I wouldn’t trade growing up in Africa for anything in the world. We didn’t have much materially speaking, but we were exposed to so many cultures and ideas; it was truly a melting pot,” said the lightly built brunette as she related her saga in a slightly exotic accent and a set of piercing blue eyes that lit up with each mention of Africa or aviation.

Born one of four children, Blanchard is the youngest. At the age of 18, she began taking an interest in flying. Her father expressed his concern at his youngest daughter entering such a dangerous field, but supported her full force once it became clear that flying was her true love.

“He really encouraged me to pursue it, to the point of almost pushing me towards it. My brothers thought it was crazy that I wanted to go into flying. They said that I had taken the story of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ too far,” she said with a sly grin and a wink. Her interest in flying continued to grow as she continued her education after high school.

“I took the equivalent of the first couple of years of college in Kenya, then took a year of agricultural engineering in Belgium, but I just didn’t like it, so I went back to Kenya and started flying.”

After receiving her preliminary flight training in Kenya, Blanchard’s instructor told her that she really needed to continue her education in the U.S. if she wanted to pursue a career in aviation, due to the better curriculum and intensive learning programs offered. “I came over without any intention of establishing a life over here,” Blanchard said. “My mother was diagnosed with cancer shortly after I started school, so I came home to take care of her until she passed. Once I returned and finished school I felt like I just wasn’t ready to go home. So when the school offered to sponsor me while I worked in the U.S., I took the opportunity.”

“I probably sent out over 100 resumes. I took a job in east Texas for a few months but didn’t like it, then a job in Monahans came up and I took it, and I have been working in west Texas every since.”

“I spent about 10 months at that job before I realized that I didn’t have to work for other people. I figured out I could lease an airplane, which I did, and worked as a pilot for hire for various jobs over the next few years.”

“The couple who was managing the airport at the time were very encouraging, so I based my operations out of Pecos. Two years later when the couple retired, I put in my bid to manage the airport and that was 19 years ago.”

Blanchard added that in those 19 years she had seen about every kind of aircraft come through being piloted by every conceivable kind of pilot. “I have seen $25 million dollar jets land right before a 40- or 50-year-old single engine sets down. We have had 18 year old kids flying through on a tour of the country before beginning college, and even had people as old as 88 that had flown all over the world, including around it, in a little Cessna.”

Blanchard attributes her success as an airport manager, success that can be seen by the recent award of “Best Airport Manager in the State of Texas” award she was recently given by Texas Department of Transportation, to the friendly atmosphere that she provides to transitory pilots as they make their way across the state. Hot food and cold drinks await pilots that choose to stop here, in addition to Internet access and even a vehicle for trips to town for little necessities.

“We choose to live here at the field for many reasons, practicality, security, but it really provides us with a sense of home. Work and play tend to get so intertwined that some time it is hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. I am not sure if that is a good thing. It is really just a way of life.”

Suspect faces cocaine charge
following morning drug raid

One person is in jail following a narcotics search warrant that was executed at a residence located near Pecos High School this morning.

Officers with the Pecos Police Department and the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force executed the narcotics search warrant at 7:44 a.m. at 706 Maple St., located northwest of the high school.

“During the search of the premises officers located a substance believed to be cocaine,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

Also during the search of the suspect’s vehicle, officers located inside the vehicle a substance believed to be cocaine, according to Deishler.

Officers completed their search of the premises and Abel Villalobos Velasquez was placed under arrest for the offense of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), within 1,000 feet of a school (Pecos High School).

“This offense is a third degree felony,” said Deishler.

Velasquez was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and is awaiting arraignment.

Council shuts street, delays meter decision

Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City Council members will meet next week to make a final decision on the purchase of new water meters.

Phillip Lowery of Johnson Controls had presented a plan to the council in December that would save the city money on power consumption for both the energy needed to operate the city’s water system and the energy needed to operate municipal buildings, according to their report.

The presentation also included a plan to study and replace possibly faulty water meters throughout the city, to more accurately measure consumption by city residents. The plan provides for a study to be undertaken to first “determine the average accuracy of the meters.” Once the study is complete, the city can decide whether to follow through with the replacement of the older or inaccurate meters if the replacement is cost effective. Council members decided to meet again at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, to discuss the issue and make a final decision.

In other business, city council members approved the removal of barriers on Tolliver Street and the closing of street between Prewit and Cothrun, at Maxey Park.

The street is being closed in order to make the area safer for children and adults moving between the Kid City play area and the Maxey Park Zoo.

The purchase of a new tanker truck was approved for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department, with the city picking up only about 20 percent of the total cost. The truck will be purchased through a grant that the group had applied for in the amount of $100,000 with the city paying only $19,250.

Tire deflation devices were approved for use by the police department. “They already have them and the council approved for them to use them,” said city secretary Connie Levario.

More RCDC lease payments on agenda

Lease and maintenance payments will be the topic of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting slated for Monday.

The group will meet at 10 a.m., in the third floor courtroom and discuss several items, including the 1999 RCDC lease payment, the 1999 RCDC maintenance reserve and the 2001 RCDC lease payment.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on First Choice Power contract rate revision; Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3, rental contract; LMD Architect request for payment Invoice 323 and the salary grievance committee.

Property bids on several properties will be discussed including property located at 223 S. Oak St., 336 W. Walthall St., 115 N. Cedar St., and 1109 S. Walnut St.

The group will discuss and take action on a contract agreement between Reeves County and Andrews County for the 2004-2005 grants; a contract agreement between Reeves County and the City of Andrews; a contract agreement between Reeves County and Midland County for the 2004-2005 and a contract agreement between Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City for the 2004-2005 grants and inmate transportation crew mileage payments.

Regular agenda items include: reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes, (RCDC, road and bridge and general fund); minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

Reeves County grand jurors indict suspect

Staff Writer

Reeves County grand jurors on Wednesday indicted Albert Perez, 23, for the alleged aggravated assault of Enrique Romero Jr. on February 29. His bail was set at $15,000. Romero, 32, suffered a stab wound to the lower right back and was beaten repeatedly over the head with a wooden board, police reported following an altercation at the Perez home, 810 S. Oak Street. He was treated at Reeves County Hospital and released.

Other indictments include Larry Rosales Dominguez, 37, for alleged indecency with a child on Oct. 4, 2003. His bail is $25,000, and he is ordered to stay away from the child. Norma Barrera Avila, 37, is charged with possession of heroin on April 4. Her bail is $2,000.

Fabian Barala Dominguez, 37, is charged with possession of heroin on Feb. 20. His bail is $15,000.

Don Wesley Barton, 50, is charged with possession of heroin on Feb. 20. His bail is $5,000.

Ruben Anaya Mendoza, 33, is charged with possession of cocaine on Jan. 22. His bail is $25,000.

TAAS exit testing next week at PHS

The TAAS Exit test will be administered at Pecos High School at 8 a.m. next week in the library.

Writing will be given on Tuesday, April 27; Math on Wednesday, April 28 and Reading on Thursday, April 29.

Individuals are asked to go the PHS Counselor’s office for more information or call 447-7229.


Federico Contreras and Jesus Villescas

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