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

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May 21, 1998

Robinson nominated hospital administrator

Jim Robinson, a veteran health care administrator, is
Lubbock Methodist Hospital's nominee for administrator of
Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans.

Robinson's appointment as "full time interim administrator"
is effective on June 1. He already is on board. The health
care executive met with the Ward Memorial medical staff at
noon on Tuesday, May 19. Robinson has been president and
chief executive officer for the past four years at Hereford
(Tex.) Regional Medical Center.

Robinson, noting he still was in the process of evaluating
the hospital and its operations, did make one promise if his
nomination is confirmed: "This hospital is not coming to
close. This hospital will survive."

He made the statement in reference to an anonymous comment
overheard in a Monahans restaurant. The speaker had said the
hospital would not survive.

Not true, says Robinson, who declares the hospital will
continue and its varied ills be cured "because it will
deliver quality medical and health care efficiently and

More from Robinson: "Ward Memorial Hospital, like any
business, has to control experises. In today's managed
health care environment, you've got to do a better job of
managing expenses. Together, we can do this."

Lubbock Methodist's recommendation of Robinson as the chief
executive of the hospital comes as a result of the
management agreement.

Robinson and Ray Mason, who has been acting administrator of
Ward Memorial since Jan. 29, says Robinson's appointment is
subject to confirmation by the hospital's Board of Managers.
Robinson is scheduled to meet with the Ward Memorial
trustees in a meeting today.

"I will be introduced to the board at that time," says
Robinson. "Jim Bullard also will be there to discuss my
appointment and the management agreement."

Bullard is vice president of regional services for Lubbock
Methodist and is the executive directly in charge of the
various rural hospitals with which Lubbock Methodist has
management agreements or some other affiliation.

Appointment of a Ward Memorial administrator, subject to the
approval of the hospital board, is one of the provisions of
the management agreement between the board and Lubbock
Methodist. Already, representatives of Methodist have
visited Ward Memorial to begin a management analysis of the
way in which the fiscally troubled hospital has operated.

Already techniques suggested by Mason are in place,
including procedures which allow patients without health
insurance or government assistance (Medicaid or Medicare)
options to resolve their payments for services.

Robinson notes he has been associated previously with the
Lubbock Methodist group, most recently at Hereford where he
came to the hospital there under an agreement comparable to
the one under which the Lubbock institution will manage Ward
Memorial Hospital.

He remained at Hereford Memorial as CEO and president after
the agreement there was terminated.

Robisnon, 56, is married and has two adult children. He
already has moved into quarters in a Monahans apartment
complex and is working pending the decision by the Board of
Managers on his confirmation as Ward Memorial administrator.

Interim Administrator Mason, who will return to Midland
where he is the general manager of a physicians group, has
known Robinson both professionally and as a friend. Mason
says of Robinson: "He's a good man. Robinson is a good man
and a good hospital executive."

Mason and Robinson note the Lubbock analysts who visited
last week will report today to the hospital board.

Class of '88 sets reunion for July 17-18

The Monahans High School class of 1988 has scheduled 10-year reunion activities for July 17-18 at the Country Club RV Park and Resort in Monahans.

Those planning to attend the festivities need to contact the reunion committee at 1310 S. Nelson or call 943-7412 by May 31.

Merchants are getting Main Street assistance

Benefits have started for participation in the Texas Main
Street project

Thursday, May 14, a few Monahans merchants began receiving
some of the benefits of being part of a Main Street city.

Kay Harvey-Mosley, a merchandising and design consultant
with the Texas Main Street Center (a branch of the Texas
Historical Society), visited some Monahans businesses.

She offered pointers on how to be more profitable in their

Mosley said the Texas Main Street Center is currently
placing special emphasis on helping the five newest
additions to the 73 Texas Main Street cities, Monahans being
one of the most recent.

Thursday Mosley visited with Adobe Station, Shoppe on Main
Street, Jack & Jill, Vicky's Taco House, and The Corner
offering them tips on such things as lighting and widow
displays. Mosley said she would be glad to return to
Monahans to consult with any businesses in town.

To set up such a consultation business owners should contact
Suzi Blair, Monahans Main Street Project Manager, at
943-3418 during business hours.

Extended calling to be extended

Monahans residents and businesses could be making local
calls to four other area cities besides Odessa under a new
initiative by city and civic leaders.

The areas -Terminal, Pecos, Kermit and Fort Stockton - could
be added to the Monahans extended calling network for the
same monthly fee already paid by phone service subscribers,
says City Manager David Mills.

Mills has set the wheels in motion to maximize the expanded
local calling service already avilable to city telephone

If approval is given by the Public Utilities Commission and
local phone subscribers mark ballots accordingly, Monahans
residents could be calling four more cities within a 50 mile
radius of the Ward County Seat. Mills notes this be with no
increae in the monthly $3.50 per residential line and $7 per
business line already being charged for extended calling
already being charged.

Mills emphasizes the no new cost factor, noting Monahans
residents are not getting their money's worth by naming only
one city for expanded local calling.

He said that occurred because there was some confusion at
the time of voting on the ELC and residents did not
understand that up to five cities could be added to the
local calling service for the one monthly charge.

Another petition to get 100 subscribers is currently being
circulated. Mills has named Suzi Blair, Main Street Manager
as the petition coordinator. Petitions can be signed at
either First National or First State Banks. That petition
will be presented to the PUC on or shortly after June 1,
which allows for an 18-month period to elapse before this
second application is filed.

Mills said both Crane and Grandfalls have added Monahans to
their own expanded local calling nets, allowing local calls
from Monahans to those cities. He suggested petitioning the
PUC to add Terminal, Pecos, Kermit and Fort Stockton to
Monahans' expanded local calling network. The choices for
additional cities are limited because nothing can be added
outside a 50-mile radius from Monahans' telephone exchange.

The addition of the Terminal exchanges would be of great
benefit to Monahans residents and businesses, says the City

He notes several prefixes in Odessa, including the airport
area, are actually Terminal exchanges which are currently
toll calls from the city of Monahans.

After the new petition is presented to the state PUC, its
ruling will be translated into a ballot to be sent to local
telephone subscribers by the phone company.

Mills says at least 70 percent of those telephone
subscribers who return ballots to the phone company must
support adding each city to the expanded local calling

Only those cities on the ballot receiving 70 percent or
better approval will be added. If you have any questions or
need more information, contact Suzi Blair, the Monahans Main
Street project manager, at 943-3418.

Faulty cable was nearly 20 years old

The power cable that plunged the Courthouse into stuffy
darkness when it failed on Monday, May 18, had been in
service for nearly two decades, reports Kevin Slay, the area
manager for TU Electric.

Slay notes it is impossible to predict when such failures
may occur.

TU Electric crews, Slay reports, were on the job quickly.

"We actually had three trucks there with the crew from
Odessa and the Cable Fault locator which found the break,"
says Slay.

Power failure stalls county government

Ward County government stalled and nearly came to a halt on
Monday, May 18, when power to the Courthouse in Monahans

But all government did not cease to function.

In a dark, air conditionless Courthouse where the telephones
rang but did not work and computers were taking a recess,
County Clerk Pat V. Finley sold a marriage license.

She did it the old fashioned way with pen and ink and paper.

Outside, several county officials, including County Judge
Sam G. Massey, waited patiently on the steps for the TU
Electric Work Crews to remedy the problem. Massey had
planned to perform a wedding under the trees on the front
lawn because of the power loss. The nuptials had been
scheduled for late in the afternoon. But the wedding was
postponed although power returned to the Courthouse before
the scheduled wedding hour arrived.

"The Courthouse power was down for a little more than six
hours," reports Kevin Slay, the area manager for TU
Electric. "We got the call about 7 a.m.."

That call came from Rick McCurdy, a county
commissioner-elect who also is Ward County's emergency
services manager as well as its officer for veterans affairs.

Continues Slay: "We found the problem about 10:20 a.m. and
had the Courthouse back in service at 1:15 p.m."

Monahans Police Capt. Dave Watts reports that one Monahans
police officer herd the transformer blow near the Courthouse
at about 3 a.m.

Power blinked in that region of the city but quickly was
restored by backup grids. The Courthouse power loss was not
discovered until shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, Slay says.

Baseball and governors

Baseball pitching legend Nolan Ryan and Texas Gov. George
Bush may help Ward County celebrate Monahans Sandhills State

That was the word Tuesday night, May 19, at the meeting of
the Trustees of Monahans Sandhills State Park.

The two men would be part of a planned Dec. 5 Monahans
celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the State Parks

"We are hoping it will work out where both can attend, but
if even one attends it will be a home run," Texas Parks and
Wildlife Regional Director Delton Daugherty told the Friends

Sandhills Park Superintendent Glen Korth said the contractor
plans to be finished with renovations to the Dunagan Visitor
Center by early August. All the new exhibits and final
touches will not be in place by Dec. 5 due to changes in the
exhibits staff at the State Parks, but a grand reopening
celebration is also being planned for a later date.

"When you're dealt lemons, make lemonade," said Daugherty.

"So wewill have two great celebrations at the Sandhills."

Daugherty attended the meeting of the board of the Friends
group Tuesday to accept the final $40,000 of the $160,000
the Friends raised to renovate the Visitor Center. At
Tuesday's meeting, the Friends board viewed a video produced
by the communications division of the Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department which highlights the Friends of Monahans
Sandhills State Park and its accomplishments.

According to the video, the Friends are a model to be
followed by other groups forming around the state.

The video "Open Line" is available for loan to the public at
Monahans Chamber of Commerce.

Officers were elected for the Friends group Tuesday.
They are President Kathlyn Dunagan, Vice President Clarese
Gough, Secretary Helen Williams, Treasurer Dick Hoyer, and
Reporter Rex Thee.

$88,414 sales tax check highest

Sales tax rebates from the state to Monahans this month are
the largest City Manager David Mills can remember.

The May sales tax rebate check totaled $88,414. Last May,
sales tax rebates to the city totaled $70,679. this year's
rebate represents a 25 percent increase . For the
year-to-date, sales tax rebates to Monahans total $340,958
compared to $269,563 for the same period last year, a 26
percent increase.

In the rest of Ward County, May sales tax rebates were up in
Thorntonville and down in Grandfalls, Pyote and Wickett,
according to the report from Texas Secretary of State John

"This is the largest rebate I can recall," says Mills.

He notes there are two factors - a sales tax increase
effective late last year and an increse in total retail
sales in Monahans.

Notes Mills: "The overall Monahans sales tax rate went from
7.75 to 8.25.

"However this month also reflects an overall increase in the
total volumes of sales.

"The actual increase based on total sales is about 11

Pecos received a 6 percent increase in its rebate for the
month, $72,423 this month compared to $68,218 in May last
year. For the year-to-date rebates to Pecos have increased
11 percent from $293,168 at this time last year to $324,649
this year.

This month the state delivered $236 million in monthly sales
tax payments to 1,092 Texas cities and 118 counties, a 9
percent increase from the $216.5 million allocated in May

This month's sales tax rebates include local sales taxes
collected in March and reported by businesses filing monthly
tax returns in April, and those businesses filing quarterly
returns for January, February, and March.

"The robust growth of the Texas economy still shows no signs
of slowing, with higher employment numbers going
hand-in-hand with higher consumer spending," State
Comptroller John Sharp says.

Year-to-date, rebates to cities and counties are up 10.3
percent over last year." Sharp delivered monthly sales tax
rebates totaling $217.6 million to Texas cities, 9.2 percent
higher than last May's payments of $199.3 million.

Rebates of $18.3 million to Texas counties were 7 percent
higher than allocations of $17.1 million in May 1997.

Another $6.3 million went to 31 special purpose districts
around the state. Odessa received $1.096 million in May
rebates compared to $1.024 million in May last year for a 7
percent increase.

For the year-to-date, Odessa has received $4.566 million in
sales tax rebates compared to $4.184 million for the period
last year, a 9 percent increase.

Midland received $1.315 million in sales tax rebates this
month compared to $1.299 million last May. Year-to-date
rebates to Midland total $5.646 million compared to $5.370
million for the period last year, a 5 percent increase.

The city of Houston, continuing its recovery from the
economic downswing suffered in the 1980s, received a sales
tax rebate of $30.1 million in May, which was 10.8 percent
above the previous May's $27.2 million.

Year-to-date payments to the city of Houston are up by 11.3
percent. The $18.2 million local sales tax allocation to the
city of Dallas for May reflects a 1.6 percent increase from
the $17.9 in sales tax rebate for the same month last year.
The year-to-date increase in payments to Dallas is 9

The San Antonio sales tax allocation for May was $11.8
million, up 13.7 percent over the May 1997 payment of $10.4
million. Year-to-date, San Antonio has received an 11.2
percent increase in local sales tax payments.

The Austin sales tax allocation for May was $9.1 million,
reflecting an impressive increase of 16.4 from the May 1997
payment of $7.8 million. For the first five months of 1998,
Austin's sales tax rebates are 11.8 percent more than those
for last year. Fort Worth's $6.6 million May sales tax
allocation was 9.7 percent more than the city's rebate of $6
million for May of last year, putting year-to-date rebates
9.1 percent ahead of 1997.

Arlington received $5.7 million in sales tax allocation, up
2.5 percent from the $5.6 million payment for the same month
last year. Arlington's rebates are running 2.4 percent ahead
of those for the first five months of last year.

El Paso's sales tax rebate of $3.9 million was up 9.5
percent over the $3.5 million payment delivered in May 1997.
El Paso's local sales tax payments year-to-date are 4.1
percent ahead of those for the first five months of 1997.

May sales tax rebates to a few other selected Texas cities
and their increases year-to-date were: Irving, with a $3.9
million payment, up 7.9 percent; Plano, with an allocation
of $3.3 million, up 6.4 percent; Corpus Christi, with a
rebate of $3 million, for an increase of 9.3 percent;
Abilene, with a payment of $2.3 million, up 6.8 percent; and
Waco, with a $2 million rebate, up 4.7 percent.

The monthly rebate to the El Paso City Transit Department
was $1.9 million, up 3 percent for the first five months of
the year as compared to 1997.

The Laredo City Transit Department sales tax rebate for May
was $322,098, up 12.9 percent year-to-date. The
Comptroller's next sales tax allocation is scheduled for
Friday, June 12.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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