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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 28, 2004

RCH administrator Vernor stepping down

Staff Writer

Reeves County Hospital is looking for a new administrator after Robert Vernor announced his retirement Thursday from that position, after three years on the job.

Vernor’s resignation takes effect on July 2. Board members have not yet discussed plans for finding a replacement.

Vernor said that 28 years in the health care industry was enough, and it was past due time to get back to his hobby of the noble sport of bass fishing.

“I have been thinking about it for the past several months,” Vernor said. “No particular incident triggered the move, I just figured it was time to move on.”

Vernor added that in his three-year tenure at the hospital, there were quite a few accomplishments that he was proud of, led by the recently-opened $8 million addition to the 26-year-old facility. A first-ever kidney dialysis center, which is part of the new addition, is scheduled to open this summer.

“The new addition and the modernization of the facilities here are two important steps forward for the hospital, as well as the bringing in of new doctors to the community. But most of all, making the new dialysis center a reality, providing a completely new service to the community is one project that I am really proud of.”

“Let me add that I has a very supportive board the entire time I have been here,” Vernor said. “It has been really great. They are the ones that have been instrumental in accomplishing the goals that we set out to do.”

Vernor said that the hospital was in very good shape when he arrived, and was still in very good shape now at the time of his departure. “To me that is an accomplishment. To have accomplished all that we have, with the new construction, and still have such a healthy bottom line is really great.”

Vernor said that health care was not his original desired occupation at the out set of college. After receiving his degree in Biology from Sul Ross in 1962, Vernor said that he looked at the salaries for wildlife management and decided that it might not be the right career choice for a person with goals for a family.

He taught middle school science for a few years, when a position for a hospital’s administrator’s assistant became available. He took the job and has been working to improve rural health care in West Texas ever since.

A father of two, Vernor’s daughters have followed both of his career paths. Vonda Kay took up teaching and is a home economics teacher in Wink, and Lesley has pursued health care. She attained her RN status with a master degree in nursing, and recently received her certification as a Pediatric nurse practitioner, an event that he was heading down to San Antonio to celebrate today.

“Working here has really been great, the people of this town have been a pleasure to work for and with, but I have a 16 foot bass boat that is calling my name. I haven’t had the cover off in two years, and every time I walk by it I just have to shake my head.”

Well, not any more. Good luck, catch a whopper.

Council backs plans to raise city’s fee rates

Staff Writer

The Town of Pecos City Council took a preliminary step towards raising municipal rates and fees Thursday night and approved the city manager’s recommendation to fill the post of public utilities director, though officials did not release the name of the person selected following an executive session during their regularly scheduled meeting.

City Manager Joseph Torres made his recommendation for the job of public utilities director last night, and said this morning that the council decided to approve his recommendation.

“The candidate is now hired, contingent on his passing of a drug screening,” Torres said. “We will probably do the drug test in the nest two to three weeks, but his employer is asking for 30 days notice, so we are postponing the announcement of his name until that time.”

“The council was concerned that the candidate might leave in two or three years, but I think we did a good job choosing a applicant that has something invested in the town and will do well in the position,” Torres said. “We cannot have the turnover rate that we have seen in the past few years.”

He added that the candidate had a probable start date of employment around the end of July or beginning of August.

The council’s discussion on raising city fees came following a presentation by city Finance Director Sam Contreras on the status of the city’s current fee schedules, along with water and sewer rates.

Contreras said that many of the fees had remained unchanged for some time, and his presentation included recommendations set out in last Saturday’s workshop session. The recommendations called for around a $5 increase across the board for such permit fees as electrical, gas, and building, and an institution of late fees on past due water bills in the amount of $15, and the creation of a $20 disconnection fee.

Contreras said the disconnection fee was on top of a reconnection fee for the same amount, due to the fact that either action would require equal amount of work from a city employee. He also said that many times the municipal water bill is one of the last bills that people pay when the monthly bills come, and the late fee would remedy this.

“We have around 1,100 delinquent accounts each month. The late fee and disconnection/reconnection fees would help people realize that the after bill is just as important as their electrical bill,” Contreras told the council.

Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela said that she was unsure why the city would want to add new fees at a time when Pecos is not in the best shape financially.

“We looked at the fees, and saw that many of the charges were well below those of other towns in the West Texas area. Not only is the price were asking the same as the cities around us, but we are trying lower the amount of delinquent bills that the city has to face each month,” Contreras said.

The council approved the formation of the increased fees into ordinance form, a move that will require a second hearing by the council during their the next meeting, scheduled for June 10. The second reading of the ordinance will give the council members a final chance to consider the rate hikes before approval.

The move split the fees into two sections, one with the permits and police report fees and the other with the utility fees only for simplification of the approval process.

Along the same lines, the council approved the seeking of quotes from companies that evaluate municipal water and sewer rates. Contreras told the council that having a professional firm evaluate where the charges need to be, is the first step in looking at changing the fees. From daily to weekly - it will work out

Well folks, this is it. If you are reading this you are holding the last daily edition of the Pecos Enterprise.

At least for our present run as a daily which began back in 1970.

The Enterprise traces its lineage through three centuries with the first Enterprise appearing in that chain in the early 1900’s.

Over the years the Enterprise and the many papers that have been folded in with her have printed weekly, twice weekly and daily.

So, maybe one day, we will watch history repeat itself yet again and the Enterprise will start selling papers twice-a-week or maybe even daily.

It will take a change in circumstances for all of us for that to come about.

It is a sad day for me in many ways. We are saying goodbye to some of our comrades here as we transition to weekly publication.

At the same time, I am truly proud to be associated with the crew that turned out a daily Pecos Enterprise with me for the past five years.

They did what industry analysts say cannot be done. For at least five years they put out 255 newspapers each year with a staff that would be short for most weekly newspapers.

For many years we have carried the dubious distinction of being the smallest daily newspaper in Texas, and from everything I have heard, in the United States.

There comes a point though, when sheer effort cannot overcome reality.

We are at that point.

Next week we will put out our first weekly edition. We will take it to press Wednesday afternoon and hopefully be on the street sometime that evening.

We still plan to have street sellers and we will continue to sell from racks and through our many counter-top vendors across town.

Like most weekly papers we will carry a Thursday dateline and officially we will be a Thursday paper.

Subscribers will get their paper with the Thursday mail or can elect to pick their paper up at our office.

Unfortunately it is simply not economically feasible to have home delivery when you only print once a week since the paperboys cannot make enough money to make it worthwhile.

Our first paper will come out next Wednesday, with a Thursday, June 3 dateline. Please hold your judgment for a few weeks as we get used to a new routine.

That first paper will probably be much smaller than the following editions since we will put out our last daily paper today and lose Monday to a holiday.

In the long run we will be a better newspaper. Weekly publication will allow us to spend more time asking questions and writing and we will have more time to devote to the complex issues that occasionally make the news in Pecos.

And, for those occasions when something spectacular happens we always have the option of printing a special edition rather than waiting for Wednesday.

There is not much else to say, so I will shut up.

See ya’ll next Wednesday.

Enterprise’s next edition to be published on June 3

Today marks the final day of daily publication of the Pecos Enterprise. Beginning next week, publication will return to a once-a-week basis for the first time in 34 years. The next edition of the Enterprise will carry a Thursday, June 3, date.

Delivery of the paper will also change to mail for all subscribers. Papers will be mailed out on Wednesday afternoon for arrival on Thursday, and will also go on sale through vending racks and local stores late Wednesday afternoon.

While the paper’s print publication will be scaled back, the Enterprise’s subscription website will continue update top local stories on a daily basis Mondays through Fridays. Those stories will also be published in the weekly paper.

The first business day for the Enterprise under its new format will be Tuesday, due to the Memorial Day holiday. Office hours will remain 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Quintana, Harrison named as top PHS grads

An aspiring pharmacist was named Valedictorian for this year’s Pecos High School graduating class and an Honors Society and Latin Club member who also participate in high school rodeo participant was named Salutatorian for tonight’s 8 p.m. graduation ceremony.

Daniel Quintana will be giving the Valedictorian speech this evening at Eagle Stadium, while Kaci Harrison will deliver the Salutatorian address to those on hand. PHS officials did not release the announcement of the top two graduates for the Class of 2004 until this morning.

Quintana said, “My objective is to obtain as much financial assistance, through scholarships and grants, so that when I graduate from high school I am able to pay as much as I can for college. In doing so, I hope to attend the college of my choice and realize my ambition in becoming a pharmacist.”

His GPA was 4.43and his grade average was 98.53.

During his high school years, Quintana, was a freshman student council representative, sophomore student council corp representative, student council energy committee co-chair during his sophomore year, student council district outstanding energy committee, (10th grade), student council district sweepstakes for energy, DASH and pride committees (11th), student council vice president (12th), student council district outstanding pride committee (12th), Latin Club member (9th), Latin Club treasurer (10th), Latin Club president (11th-12th), National Honor Society Member (11th), National Honor Society President (12th), boy’s swim team captain (11th-12th), band (9th-12th) and was first chair alto-saxophone (11th-12th).

Academic awards that he has received include: outstanding achievement in health (9th), Who’s Who Among American High School Students (9th), Honor Roll (9th), Highest Honor Roll (9th-12th), Outstanding Achievement in TAAS Reading (10th), Outstanding Achievement in TAAS Writing (10th), Outstanding Achievement in Pre AP Chemistry (10th), Outstanding Achievement in Latin III (11th), University of Rochester Humanities and Social Sciences Award (11th), National Honor Roll (11th-12th), Pecos Chamber of Commerce Student of the Year (12th), Outstanding Achievement in Concurrent AP Biology II (12th).

He is a member of Santa Rosa Catholic Church where he was a lector (9th-12th), attended World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada (10th), volunteer in Santa Rosa De Lima Catholic Church Youth Choir Member (11th-12th), Confirmation Year I Catechist (12th), Spanish Ballet Folkloric Dander (11th-12th), American Red Cross of Southwest Texas Lifeguard High Point Score Award (11th), American Red Cross of Southwest Texas Lifeguard Team High Point Score Award (11th) and Pecos Youth Advisory Commission Member (12th). Quintana has received numerous awards in swimming including National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America (NISCA) Sportsmanship Award (12th) and Who’s Who in Sports (11th-12th).

Quintana also received numerous scholarships including the Rochester National Grant. He will be attending college at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York. He is the son of Sylvia and Salomon Quintana.

Kaci Harrison is a member of the National Honor Society, Pecos FFA Chapter - vice president (2002-2003), Pecos Youth Advisory Commission, 4-H, Region II Texas High School Rodeo Association and was Latin Club vice president (2002-2003).

Her extracurricular activities include: National Honor Society, FFA, 4-H, Pecos Youth Advisory Commission, Texas High School Rodeo Association, FFA Senior Chapter Conducting Team, FFA National Qualifying Dairy Cattle Team, High Plains Junior Rodeo Association, American Junior Rodeo Association, Latin Club, Journalism UIL, Gifted and Talented Program and the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP).

Harrison’s awards include: 2004 Chamber of Commerce Student of the Year nominee, 2004 Computer Science II Student of the Year, 2003 Kodak Young Leaders Program Award, 2003 Outstanding student in Pre-Calculus, 2003 Texas State Champions/National Qualifying Dairy Cattle Judging Team, 2002 Outstanding Student in Journalism, 2002 Journalism UIL State Alternate, 2002 HOBY Youth Leadership Ambassador, 2001 Outstanding Student in Advanced Algebra II, 2001 Star Greenhand Award, Who’s Who Among American High School Students and Texas High School Rodeo Association - State Qualifier for three years.

She volunteered for numerous events and worthy causes including, NHS blood drive, delivered turkeys and desserts to the needy during Christmas and Thanksgiving, read to elementary school children, went Christmas caroling at the Pecos Nursing Home, went door to door seeking donations for Christmas for Kids, helped raise money for Christmas for Kids by serving and selling food and helped during various canned food drives.

Scholarships she was awarded include: Texas A&M Regents, Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo, National FFA-Vance Publishing Inc., Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse and the Texas High School Rodeo Association.

Harrison is the daughter of Angela and Roger Harrison.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise