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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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April 2, 1998

Celebrate Children

Family Pride Council schedules fete in Park

Saturday in Rudy Park, from 10 a.m. until noon, maybe a
little longer, The Ward County Family Pride Council plans to
celebrate children, according to an announcement from the
not-for-profit organization's county chair, Fe Gregorio

The celebration focuses on children and is designed to honor
both families and children, says Gregorio.

Says Gregorio "Come join us as we celebrate families and
children, a day in the park, Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m.
until noon in Rudy Park across from Cullender Kindergarten
in Monahans."

Especially for the children will be a visit from Valentine
the Clown, an egg hunt, a coloring contest and lunch.
Several prizes donated by Ward County merchants will be
given away at drawings.

In addition, there will be a coloring contest in which the
children will color the Family Pride Lion logo.

Gregorio says the purpose of the celebration of children is
to start a series of events in April which is Child Abuse
Prevention Month.

"More than 50,000 Texas children are confirmed victims of
abuse and neglect each year. This number does not include
the many unreported incidents of child abuse and neglect,"
notes Gregorio. "Children depend on those who care for them
to provide for their health, safety and emotional well
being. When parents and other care-givers are not able to
meet this responsibility, the result to children and to
society is often tragic.

". . .It is time to reflect on what we are doing as a
community to support children and families."

Early voting for run-off starts on Saturday

Saturday, April 4, marks the first day of early voting for
the April 14 Democratic Primary candidates, reports Ward
County Clerk Pat V. FInley.

With three run offs for three county wide offices (county
Clerk and two county commissioners races), logic says that
there will be interest enough in the run off to guarantee a
voter turn out at least comparable to the 45 percent that
voted in the primary.

Tradition does not support that logic. The County Clerk
notes that in the last party primary run off two years ago,
with run offs in two county races, only 990 Ward Countians
out of 6,467 registered voters bothered to cast a run off
ballot, about 13 percent. In that same year, the GOP run off
where three appeals court races were undecided, only 13 Ward
County Republicans voted in the run off.

Finley warns those who may have voted in the Republican
Primary that they cannot legally cast a ballot in the
Democratic run off. She also notes that it is permissible to
vote in the run off even if the voter did not cast a ballot
in the primary.

"We are going to open the office Saturday, April 4, from 9
a.m. to 2 p.m. and then we will be open for early votes next
week Monday through Thursday," says Finley. "The Courthouse
will be closed on Good Friday so there can be no early votes
on that Holy Day. That is why I chose to have the office
open on Saturday for those who wish to cast their ballots in
the run off."

She notes that the early vote period prior to the run off
election this year is short. If this Saturday is counted, it
is only five days.

Finley, Ward County's chief elections officer, notes the run
off is on a Tuesday but the May 2 elections are on a

No City municipal election this year

There will not be a city election in Monahans this year and
the city council in their next regularly scheduled meeting
will pass a resolution to that effect.

The reason is that no one signed up to oppose any of the
four candidates seeking re-election. Those candidates are
Mary Garcia, Place 1; Jeppie Wilson, Place 2; Ted Ward,
Place 4 and Clarese Gough, Place 5.

Mayor David Cutbirth gave credit during last week's council
meeting to the city staff for doing such a good job that the
people of Monahans are satisifed with members of the
council, thus no one filed to challenge any of the
incumbents on the City Council.

Also during last week's meeting, the council approved
spending about $21,000 for a water tanker for the fire
department to replace one that is worn out and had a
transmission go out during a fire March 17 in Grandfalls.

Fire Chief Bill Riley said he has found a fully equipped
1989 International in Arizona for sale for $42,000.

It has a 4,000 gallon tank as compared to the 2,000 gallon
tank on the existing truck.

Earlier last week, Ward County commissioners pitched in
$21,000 to finance half of the truck.

In other busness:

City Manager David Mills reported the city has received a
franchise fee check from Classic Cable in the amount of
almost $16,000 and a franchise fee from TU Electric in the
amount of $169,870.

Hospital lease plan withdrawn by firm

Tennesse company cites $500,000 shortfall

The only health care firm that made a legitimate offer to
lease and save Ward Memorial Hospital has withdrawn, reports
County Judge Sam G. Massey.

Massey says the confirmation of withdrawal by Community
Health Care Systems Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., came in a late
Tuesday afternoon telephone call from Bob Hardison, a top
executive of the for-profit health care agency.

Hardison cited a $500,000 shortfall in the county hospital's
collection accounts and continued community conflict, the
county judge says. Hardison told Massey the dissension
involved both local physicians and the electorate.

An election forced by a petition signed by Ward County
voters is scheduled Saturday, May 2. The only county wide
election on a municipal and school district ballot, the
proposition to be decided was whether or not to lease the
financially staggering hospital.

"I got a telephone call," says Massey. "Hardison said, 'No
way!.' He cited a $500,000 deficit in collections since the
last time they looked at the books. They noted resistance
from doctors and others. They didn't go into detail. They
said they don't want to come to Monahans. Their offer was
the only legitimate offer from a company that was well
funded.It's over."

Massey promises county to keep services

Ward County Judge Sam G. Massey promises that he and the
county commissioners will do everything in their power to
keep "a first class, state of the art ambulance service and
an emergency care."

As to what is going to happen at troubled Ward Memorial
Hospital, that Massey says, will be decided by the
Hospital's Board of Managers, who are appointed by county
commissioners. That became the problem of the hospital
trustees when a for profit health care firm withdrew an
offer to lease and manage the institution.

"We're through," says Massey of the Commissioners Court.
"Community Health Care Systems Inc. was the only acceptable
offer. The hospital board will decide how to proceed. They
will prepare a real budget and they'll live within that
budget. As budget officer of the county, I'll make sure that
they do."

Massey says forcing the hospital to live within a budget
almost certainly will mean "drastic cutbacks" in workers and
salaries because the county no longer has the money to
continue bailing the hospital out of its continuing
debt-filled morass - without a tax increase.

Hospital lease to vote must go on

Texas law requires the May 2 vote must be held on whether
or not Ward Memorial Hospital can be leased to a third
party, says County Clerk Pat V. Finley.

"Had the commissioners called the election it could have
been cancelled when lease ceased to be an option," says the
county clerk. "But because the election was initiated by
petition it must be held although it means nothing."

Finley estimates the county wide election's cost at about
$4,000 but that does not allow for all the factors she has
not had a chance to consider.

"It is going to be pretty expensive," notes Finley, "to
decide an issue that no longer exists."

Main Street today

State team to report to citizens on the City

Members of the Texas Historical Commission Resource team
will report to the citizens of Monahans at a Monahans Main
Street Town Meeting at 2 p.m. today in the Ward County
Convention Center.

Members of the Resource Team have been in Monahans since
Tuesday talking with various county and city officials and
taking walking tours of the downtown area.

That visit is the beginning of the three-year assistance
program provided to Monahans as a designated Texas Main
Street City, reports Monahans Main Street Project manager
Suzi Blair.

The five member team consists of Terry Colley, Texas Main
Street Program Director, Dick Ryan, THC Architect, Amy
Giles, Highland Mall Marketing Manager, Barbara Austin,
Senior Landscape Architect from the firm of Richardson
Verdoom, and Kathy Hendrick, Business Development Director
for the City of Denison.

Wednesday, April 1, was an official "work day" where the
team visited business and property owners in the Central
Business District to get input and make assessments of the
entire downtown area for building rehabilitations, retail
and marketing improvements, landscape projects and
promotional ideas.

Their visit will end Thursday, April 2, with a Town Hall
Meeting to be held at 2 p.m. at the Ward County Convention
Center Auditorium. There the Resource Team will present
their ideas and help the community set goals for the Main
Street Project. The Town Hall Meeting is open to the entire

"I hope we will have a great turn-out for this meeting.
This is a wonderful opportunity for every person in Monahans
to see what the Main Street Program can do for us and will
give everyone a chance to help set goals for our community",
says Main Street's Blair.

Monahans meteorites to aid space base design

HOUSTON - Two meteorites that fell into Monahans on Sunday,
March 22, are expected to yield data which will help in the
design and engineering of the International Space Station,
reports a space scientist.

Everett K. Gibson, a planetary chemist with the Lyndon B.
Johnson Space Center near Houston, is the director of an
intensive study of the meteorites now underway in the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration laboratories
at Johnson Space Center.

He made the comments in a telephone interview with the
Monahans News on Monday, March 30.

Gibson took the meteorites, both weighing just less than
three pounds, from Monahans to Houston on Tuesday, March 24.
He is scheduled to return them to the control of the City of
Monahans by about Memorial Day, according to the current
study schedule.

Christened Monahans '98 I and II, the space rocks, Gibson
reports, are in the subterranean laboratory 60 feet below
the surface at the Johnson Space Center within 50 hours and
10 minutes after their falls into a vacant lot and into the
asphalt of a Monahans street.

So far, it appears the move to a sophisticated laboratory of
spatial material like the Monahans Meteorites is the second
fastest scientists at the space center can identify.

Gibson says the previous fastest retrieval of meteorites for
study in a comparable laboratory was believed to be in the
early 1970s.

In that instance, he recalls, the space debris was taken to
a study facility in Richland, Wash., within 40 hours of fall.

Gibson attributes that speed of recovery to the immediate
retrieval on site by a group of children playing basketball
and their parents as well as Monahans police who recognized
the importance of the objects for research.

Speedy retrieval of meteorites is necessary to identify
radiation information of various isotopes with short
half-lifes - for example, nucleotides of Sodium-24 has a 15
hour half-life.

Extensive delay means essential information may be lost that
may be useful in both space engineering and pure science.

"We'll be able to use the information we gain in the
research to help in the construction of the International
Space Station," says Gibson.

This is especially a factor in the effects of radiation in
space for humans, spacecraft and space bases, the scientist

Studies of Monahans '98 I and II have particular application
to the International Space Station, a joint United
States-Russian operation that is designed to be a permanent
scientific base in Earth orbit.

Currently, American and Russian scientists began Phase I of
the operation in 1994.

This includes American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts
working both in the Russian Space Station Mir and the United
States space shuttles on various missions.

International Space Station Phase II and III started last
year when a core module containing a U.S. Laboratory was
placed in orbit.

By 1999, plans call for assembly of a complete,
sophisticated orbiter to start.

By 2002, the International Space Station is scheduled for
completion and to be fully on line.

"Information from the Monahans Meteorites will help make
this happen," says Gibson. "It is a by-product of the
studies but they will be used."

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
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