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Wednesday, January 29, 1997

Attorneys granted extra time

in Pecos River Livestock case

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 29, 1997 - Five months after hearing testimony in the
Reeves County vs. Pecos River Livestock, et al, case, visiting Judge
Paul McCollum has granted an additional two weeks for attorney briefs.

John Stickels, representing Reeves County, asked for the delay to allow
him time to reply to a supplemental brief filed by Robert Scogin on
behalf of one of the defendants, Louis Lively.

Ten limited guaranty clauses to the promissory note securing Reeves
County's loan to Pecos River Livestock makes it impossible for the 143rd
District Court to enter a judgment in the suit, Scogin said.

Reeves County sued Pecos River Livestock Inc. and nine of its directors
who signed the guaranty. A 10th director signed an agreement to pay his
share of the $131,000 debt, and he was not a defendant in the suit.

Judge McCollum heard testimony for three days, then gave attorneys six
weeks to submit briefs before rendering judgment. Those briefs were
filed, but when no judgment was rendered, Scogin filed the supplemental

The guaranty clauses, taken as a whole, over-guaranteed the underlying
obligation by 1½ times, Scogin said in his brief.

"This creates an uncertainty as to enforcement by Reeves County against
the various guarantors of the obligation of Pecos River Livestock Inc.,"
Scogin said.

"There is no uncertainty as to the liability of Pecos River Livestock,
Inc.; however, there is uncertainty as to the liability of each separate
guarantor," he said. "The burden of proof is on Reeves County to prove
the certain liability of each separate guarantor on the
note, which is an impossibility because of the multiple limited
guarantors who are not jointly and severally liable for the
entire amount, and there is no method to compute a certain liability of
any single guarantor."

Scogin said that the court should render judgment for Reeves County,
subject to any credit, against Pecos River Livestock Inc., and enter a
take nothing judgment as to all guarantors.

"Not only is this legally correct, but in equity the loss is spread
among everyone because each guarantor was an owner of shares in Pecos
River Livestock Inc., and lost their investment in the project," he said.

Reeves County Commissioners made the loan for a goat dairy, which Pecos
River Livestock established south of Pecos. After buying dairy goats,
bucks and producing numerous kids in early 1994, the group still had not
completed a milking barn and purchased milking equipment.

When they failed to make payments on the note, Reeves County foreclosed
on the note and sold the dairy.

Officials think RCJ

escapees border bound

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 29, 1997 - Law enforcement officials along the border
have been asked to be on the lookout for three Mexican convicts who
escaped from Reeves County Jail sometime between Monday night and
Tuesday morning.

Chief Deputy Fred Lujan said this morning the jail staff was made aware
of a possible escape about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Discovered missing were: Gerardo Caballero Jaquez, 24; Ruben Griego
Perez, 21 and Hector Baeza Flores, 31.

The three U.S. Marshal prisoners are Mexican nationals and believed to
be headed for the border.

Both Lujan and Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said they could not
comment on an exact time of the escape from the downtown jail.

The sheriff said that the break-out could have occurred late Monday
night or early Tuesday morning, when temperatures dropped into the
mid-20s and snow accumulated on lawns and cars.

Prior to his Sept. 17, 1996 booking into the Reeves County Jail, Jaquez
had been indicted for a felony jail escape after having broken out of
the Presidio County Jail. He was doing time at the Marfa facility for a
conviction for illegal.

Jaquez's partner in the Marfa escape on Aug. 21, 1996, Juan M.
Zuniga-Urias, is reportedly doing time in an Ojinaga, Mex. jail for
shooting his wife and stealing an automobile.

The RCJ booking card on Jaquez showed he was incarcerated here for
illegal entry and did not list his jail escape conviction nor the
18-month sentence imposed Dec. 16, 1996 by Senior Judge Lucius Bunton.

Perez and Florez were transferred to Pecos from an El Paso jail. Perez
was booked into the local facility last month and Florez earlier this
month, records indicate.

Gomez speculated that the inmates crawled out onto the roof through the
air conditioning ducts and then jumped down.

Lujan said the prisoner's jail clothes were discovered on the roof,
leading to the theory that they changed to regular street clothes while
on top of the two-story building.

"Because of the time frame," said Lujan, no effort was made to locate
the prisoners but, "we disseminated descriptions," of the escaped
convicts through the teletype and to all border points, along with their
mug shots.

The chief deputy said this was, "routine," and called it, "an escape
action plan."

The downtown jail has been at or near capacity in recent months, after
it resumed housing prisoners for the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Toyah council cleared in

pickup purchase probe

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Staff Writer

TOYAH, January 29, 1997 - Questions have been raised about business
dealings involving the Town of Toyah and activities by its mayor and
city council.

A preliminary investigation was conducted by Texas Ranger Jerry
Villalobos on the purchase of a pickup by the Town of Toyah for its
water department, in which no deliberate violations were found, while
there has been no official investigation so far over the disputed sale
of a parcel of land by the city.

The truck was purchased at a price that exceeded the $15,000 maximum
amount for which a used public vehicle can be bought, according to

Toyah Secretary Elpidia Valdez reported that an advertisement for bids
was published July 15 through 26 in the Enterprise, and council members
met July 26 to open sealed bids, "but none were received."

"What are we supposed to do?," in this sort of situation, Mayor Pro-Tem
Diana Tollet asked Tuesday. She added that a verbal bid was received by
Valley Motors of Pecos.

Valdez then said that Mayor Charlotte Waight stated that the city's
truck, was deteriorating fast, and several options were discussed at an
Aug. 13 meeting to resolve the matter.

Tollett then made the motion to allow a water department employee to
shop around for a used pickup in Odessa. The motion carried.

On Sept. 10, Valdez said, the council approved the purchase of a 1995
Ford pickup for $14,839. However, after finance charges, the cost came
to $17,955, exceeding the legal limit and leading to the investigation.

Villalobos said that it was ruled in this case that there was, "no
intent to violate the law."

Villalobos explained that steps were taken within the Texas Department
of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Rangers, prior to the
preliminary investigation, which had been ordered by 143rd District
Attorney Randy Reynolds.

Villalobos said, "I found some discrepancies in the law," concerning
Toyah's purchase of the pickup, "but not enough to warrant a full-scale
investigation, and the district attorney agreed."

Reynolds confirmed Villalobos statement.

The second incident involves the sale of property by Mayor Waight to a
Toyah couple after the mayor had transferred the deed to herself.

"I just want people to be sure that I had no intention of crookedness,"
she said about the matter during an interview Monday morning.

The incident began when the Toyah City Council unanimously voted to
accept a bid of $500 from Mitch Budlong for Lot 12, Block E, Wills
Addition, during their Feb. 14, 1995 meeting.

Toyah City records show a receipt for $500 paid by Mitch Budlong for the
property, dated Feb. 21, 1995, although there is nothing in county
records that show this property belonged to Budlong.

AN anonymous source on behalf of Budlong contends it was the city's
responsibility to issue a deed to Budlong.

Questions remain regarding who owns the property following Budlong's
failure to file a deed with the Reeves County Courthouse.

Reeves County records do show a deed reading that the city sold this
property for $500 to Mayor Waight on May 23, 1996, 15 months after
Budlong's bid was accepted.

The first paragraph of the document reads Mayor Waight paid $500 for the
property and that the sale was authorized by the council and the motion
was recorded on official minutes.

"I went to the council to see if they could give me the deed," Waight
explained, and said that she later had, "tax lawyers," write her up the
document, which listed Toyah City as the grantor and herself as the

However, there is no receipt for $500 from Mayor Waight for the sale of
this property. Mayor Pro-Tem Tollet, and council members Bart Sanchez
and Linda Compton also said that -, although not recorded on the minutes
- the council specifically advised the mayor during their May 14, 1996
meeting against deeding the property to herself. The council took no
action on the matter.

Waight said her actions were based on an agreement she entered with
Budlong involving $2,000 she borrowed from a credit union, which she
then loaned him for fixing up the house on the property. The pact was
made, Waight said, without an official note, because, "his brother
always paid me back."

The mayor said she loaned Paul Budlong, Mitch's brother, money to
purchase a house and, "he paid back every penny of it. He was never late
on a payment," and added she felt she had no reason to put the agreement
with Mitch in writing.

Budlong left town soon after he paid for the property in 1995 and was
gone for 20 months. He returned earlier this month, when the Mayor
transferred the property deed to the Toyah couple she in turn sold it to
for $500 in September of 1996.

Waight said she is still paying on her credit union account and will
have paid $2,400 by the time it is closed out. She added that she used
the $500 the couple paid her against the note.

"I had no intention of doing anything wrong," she explained.

Texas Ranger Villalobos said that no preliminary investigation has been
conducted on this business and, "it appeared to us at first that there
was no criminal violation," but added that it was up to the district
attorney if he wished to pursue an investigation.

He also said he felt that this is more of a civil matter and not a
criminal one.

Reynolds, who took over as district attorney in January, said during an
interview Tuesday morning, "I can neither confirm or deny," an
investigation is planned.

Jenkins hits the highway

in new deputy position

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 29, 1997 - Patrolling county highways, Bobby Jenkins said
he's glad to be serving the community he's been a part of all of his

"I'm enjoying it," he said of his appointment as Interdiction and
Transportation Officer for the Reeves County Sheriff's Department two
weeks ago. "There's never a dull moment," he added.

"I work straight interstate," said the 33-year-old Jenkins, who
graduated from the Odessa College law enforcement program in 1994 and
has worked for the RCSD since 1995.

"It's something I've been wanting to do," Jenkins said.

He said he's the only member of his family to become a law enforcement
officer and thanks Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, "for giving me this
opportunity to enforce the law."

"I'm willing to give 110 percent," said the enthusiastic county employee.

Flores protests RCH board's actions

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Jan. 29, 1997 - Chel Flores would probably disagree with an
assessment of the Reeves County Hospital District board of directors
made Tuesday by Ray Mason of Methodist Hospital Systems.

Mason complimented the five-member board on their improvement during the
year that Methodist has managed RCH.

"I have seen a tremendous change in you as a board for the positive,"
Mason said. "It has been one of the most exciting changes I have seen in
a hospital board in a long time. You are talking, working together,
progressing, exchanging thoughts.

"I have been coming to Pecos for four years, and I have seen a
tremendous positive transformation of a good, productive board," he said.

The compliment came after board members received forms to aid in
evaluating the hospital's performance under Methodist management, which
they will submit in a later meeting.

Flores missed that discussion, which came after he left the meeting
following disagreements with other directors on a self-evaluation by the
board, appointment of an investment officer and ratification of previous
action to establish a pharmacy, offering jobs to the current staff, who
are employed by the contract pharmacy.

In a special meeting called Jan. 9 to award pharmacy bids, the board
voted to reject all bids and allow Chief Executive Officer Terry Andris
to set up a hospital pharmacy. All board members were present.

Andris was to offer pharmacist Steve Valenzuela the position,
negotiating a salary and benefits package.

Flores said he thought Andris was to report back to the board on his
negotiations, but Andris said that was not correct. Ratification of that
action was necessary for legal reasons, he said.

"The action we took was not really a part of the agenda, but we are
already into it," Andris said. "We are setting it up. All of the staff,
as the board requested, were asked if they wanted to stay with no cut in
pay. It is their decision."

As to changing the investment policy and appointing an investment
officer, Flores asked, "What is wrong with the bank? We have always done

Andris explained that state law has changed, requiring an in-house
investment officer.

"Your administrator or chief financial officer is usually appointed to
handle the money, through the finance committee," he said. "We just want
to have a policy to make sure you as a board member are protected from
misuse of these funds."

On a motion by Marcella Lovett and second by Jesse Prieto, the board
approved the policy amendment, with Flores casting the only "no" vote.
Greg Luna made the motion to appoint Andris as investment officer,
Prieto seconded, and the motion passed. Flores did not vote.

Investments allow the hospital to earn interest on surplus funds, Andris

Board president Jeannette Alligood suggested the board hold a closed
meeting in mid-February for self-evaluation, possibly with the use of a
facilitator and in a more casual setting than the hospital classroom.

"The only evaluation I need is the taxpayers that elected me as proof I
am doing a good job," Flores said.

Alligood said the evaluation is of the board as a whole, "how we are
working together; if we have set goals, how we are meeting the goals."

"I appreciate that, but people either compliment me or complain against
me," Flores said. "The less complaints I receive, I know I am doing a
good job. I can't say if you are a good member. I'm not an expert in
judging other people."

"That's from the emotional side, and then there is the practical side,"
Greg Luna said. "For example, right now we are in a time of transition.
The question is, do we understand our mission? Are we in compliance with
our mission? Are we planning in that direction, and if so, how
successful are we?"

Luna said the board needs a checkup to ensure that everything is going
as planned, "rather than going on emergencies."

"I feel very strongly we need to know what our charge is and what
direction we are taking and if we are going to accomplish that," he
said. "We can measure that very effectively."

Lovett said an outside facilitator could help with the evaluation and
asked if Methodist could supply such a person.

Andris said they can, and at no charge. "The evaluation is also a time
for the board to evaluate the administrator and his interaction with the
board," Andris said.

Lovett said she agrees with Flores that directors should listen to those
who elect them.

"But they also realize we are privy to information to make a decision
that they are not," she said. "We have to take in all this information."

Some of that information pertains to foreign physicians who are allowed
to practice in under-served areas of the United States, which Lovett has
opposed in the past.

That program has been suspended because of numerous rule violations
relating to the special visa waivers, Lovett said.

About 1,550 foreign physicians received waivers in 1995, twice as many
as in 1994. None of those were recruited by RCH.

Michelle Cser, who has operated the hospital's rural health clinic as a
physician assistant, has resigned to work with Dr. Orville Cerna, Andris
said. An interim physician will be recruited while the hospital seeks a
replacement, he added.

The board approved three new physicians for the emergency room, as The
Gould Group will take over emergency room services on a contract basis
beginning Feb. 1.

Dr. James Cam presented the names of Shannon Paul Starr, M.D., Sung Chul
Kim, M.D. and Peyton L. Thompson, M.D. for consulting staff and clinical

He asked that Luanna Lettieri, M.D. be removed from the courtesy staff
because she is no longer associated with Texas Tech.

In other action Tuesday, Pecos Diesel Service won the bid to install a
rebuilt engine block in the hospital's ambulance for $6,200. Sewell Ford
bid $6,296.

Andris said the engine was ruined when the motor oil "turned to
molasses." He said an investigation of the circumstances is underway.


Enid Davenport

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Enid Davenport, 75, died Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Reeves County Hospital.
Services are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Pecos Funeral Home
Chapel with burial in Mt. Evergreen Pioneer Cemetery.

She was born Sept. 25, 1921 in Pecos, was a Baptist, a homemaker and had
been involved in various community activities.

Survivors include her husband, Bill Davenport of Pecos; five daughters,
Lynn Hughes of Houston, Donna Pepper of San Antonio, Frazee Arledge of
Denton, Julie Canon and Melanie Lee of Pecos; one brother, Jesse W.
Bush of Pecos; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the
West of the Pecos Museum, 120 E. First, Pecos, Tx., 79772 or the
American Cancer Society, in c/o Georgia Morrison, P.O. Box 47, Pecos,
Tx., 79772.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Guadalupe Ramon

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Guadalupe L. Ramon, 83, died Monday, Jan. 27 at Odessa Medical Center

Services are scheduled for Friday, at 3 p.m. at Pecos Funeral Home
Chapel with burial at Mount Evergreen Cemetery.

She was born Sept. 29, 1913 in Rio Grande City, Tx., was a member of the
Jehovah's Witnesses, had lived in Pecos since 1948 and was
owner-operator of Ramon's Grocery Store on South Locust Street in Pecos
for many years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Rafael Ramon, Sr. in 1995.
Survivors include four sons, Armando and Rafael Ramon, Jr. of Baytown,
Alvaro Ramon of Pecos, Rosbel Ramon of Odessa; one daughter, Gloria
Fitzgerald of Pecos; one brother, Isidro Martinez of McAllen; 16
grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.


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PECOS, Jan. 29, 1997 - High Tuesday 47, low last night 23. Tonight,
mostly cloudy. Low in the upper 20s. North to northeast wind 10-20 mph
becoming variable 5-10 mph after midnight. Thursday, partly cloudy. High
in the mid 50s. Variable wind 5-10 mph.
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