Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Ward County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Jan. 14, 1999
Rig accident fatal to Carter
A 47-year-old Kermit man perished in a Pool Well Servicing
rig-related accident in Pyote Thursday, January 7, according
to reports from the Ward County Sheriff's office.
Michael Ray Carter was working on a deep well pulling unit
when the tubing parted, said Justice of the Peace, Ronold
Ray. Onlookers later told law enforcement that the unit
began to vibrate, and that Carter set the brake and
attempted to leave the floor. But then, witnesses say, his
feet flew up in the air, and he fell to the ground.
Justice Ray, who filled out the death certificate, explains
that the parted tubing causes slack in the deadline, which
in turn can cause a whipping action of the cable and other
related parts. He wrote the official cause of death to be
cerebral laceration due to a skull fracture.
Cary Robinson of Pool Well Servicing declined to comment,
except to say that his company meets the standards of OSHA
(Occupational Safety and Health Act).
School trustees honored
"Texans benefit every day from the dedicated energies and
countless hours devoted by a group of more than 7,000 men
and women across the state," said Clifton L. Stephens,
Monahans School District Superintendent. "These public
servants are elected to serve by the local citizens and
receive no compensation for their tireless efforts. These
men and women are the local school board members of Texas."
January has been designated School Board Recognition Month
and the local school district is joining with other
districts throughout the state to recognize the important
contributions trustees make to their communities.
"These people unselfishly contribute their time and talents
toward the advancement of public education," said Stephens.
"They represent a continuing commitment to local citizen
control and decision making in education.
"Even though we are making a special effort during January
to show appreciation to our school board members, we
recognize their contributions reflect a year-round
commitment on their part," he added. "They are dedicated
individuals who are committed to the continuing success of
our schools and students."
The men and women serving MWPISD by District are Brook
Claborn, 1; Patsy Carrasco, 2; Ruben Martinez, 3; John
Sconiers, 4; Johnny White, 5; Steve Swarb, 6 and Steve
Burglars hit Family Dollar
The local Family Dollar was burglarized Thursday night, the
latest in a string of dollar store thefts.
Two Odessa Dollar General stores have been struck, along
with one in Andrews and another in Seminole. These cities'
law enforcement officers are working together to find the
suspects, says Police Chief Charles Sebastian. They believe
it may be the work of an ex-employee.
Officer Wayne Poor, making his rounds at 1:41 a.m.,
discovered the Monahans' Family Dollar break-in. The glass
of the front door was smashed, and the safe, which contained
an unknown amount of money was missing, he noted in his
If you have any information regarding these burglaries,
contact the police department; your identity will remain
City to help with golf course
The Monahans City Council agreed to assist the Ward County
Golf Association to the tune of $30,000 during the next year
and approved the interlocal agreement defining the City and
County's roles in maintaining the facility at their regular
monthly meeting Tuesday. The money had been budgeted from
the Parks fund for use at the golf course. The City will
also assist the Association by building a metal cage to keep
waterdogs and salamanders from being sucked into the inlet
pipes at the golf course pond.
In his appeal to the City, Association president Randy
Pipkin, told the group that every penny of profit from
operation of the golf course "has to be put back into the
Course". He urged the Council to "forget the past, look to
the future and work together" for the good of Ward County.
"We just want something people in Monahans can be proud of,"
he said. "We're way behind where we need to be comparing
facilities when people are considering coming to Monahans."
Citing years of poor maintenance, he explained to the group
that once "we get things fixed that need taken care of, in
the next two or three years, the budget will drop".
In a related matter, he told the Council that prisoners
could be brought at no cost from the penitentiary at Fort
Stockton to work at the Course, doing maintenance and
upkeep, further saving money. Since the City must give
permission, City Manager David Mills said he would make the
necessary arrangements with the prison.
Pipkin assured the Council that the prisoners would not be
sexual offenders or anyone deemed detrimental to the public.
They will be pulled from those who are in the last term of
their sentence and be supervised by a guard, he said. The
City's only responsibility will be to provide transportation
to and from the prison and a meal.
A management agreement was also entered into with the
Monahans Main Street Association to turn control of the
organization to the Main Street board. The City will provide
funding in the amount of $19,800 for operation of the
Association and office space in the City annex for the Main
Street manager. Most of the board were on hand in support of
In his report to the Council, Mills said the finals papers
had been signed officially bringing the Hahn lawsuit to an
end. The tax suit dates back the oilfield bust of the last
80's. He said the three taxing entities- the City, the
School and the County- will take full ownership of one of
the tracts of land involved in the suit and a portion of
another tract and the Hahns will have ownership of the
remaining portion and a third tract.
The Council met in executive session to hear an update on
the ongoing litigation between several County residents and
Chevron, Gulf, Pennzoil, Okie Crude and 3BJ Drilling. The
City has been drawn into the water contamination suit by the
A resolution was also approved in support of the "Texas Oil
Workers March" set for Jan. 18 in Austin.
In other business, the City voted to increase the fees
charged for unloading asbestos at the landfill. Mills said
this was necessary because the City's fees to the State have
increased along with other expenses associated with
disposing of asbestos at the site. They also approved
accounts payable, tax role adjustments and reports from the
airport manager, building inspector and Main Street manager.
First court meeting short, sweet
County Commissioners made short work of the agenda Monday in
their first meeting of the new year.
Routine budget amendments were made for both the County and
the hospital, bonds and oaths of office for elected
officials were approved along with deputations and oaths of
office for deputies in county and district clerk's offices.
The Tax Assessor-Collector's annual contract with the tax
accounting firm of Pritchard-Abbott was approved, employee
changes brought about by retirement and job reassignments
were okayed and members were appointed for both the
historical commission and salary grievance committee.
Commissioner Florez was commended for his cost-saving
efforts at the Barstow Community Center in assiging the
duties of a vacated position to someone already on staff.
Named to the historical commission were Georgia Clements,
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Dawdy, Eleanor Eudaly, Clarese Gough, Jack
Graham, Elizabeth Heath, Merylene Hebert, Lucille
Herrington, Nancy Jordan, Steve Nixon, Marcos Lujan, Bonnie
Moore, Ophelia Ratliff, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Seikman, Charlotte
Wilcox, Polly Massey, Irene Luckie, John Horak, Lenora Price
and Teresa Walker.
Those appointed to serve on the salary grievance committee
included Barbara Fisher, Beverly Mc-Nutt, Jerry Vogel,
Willard Freeze, Nellie Olson, David Burnett, Vickey Finn,
Michael Eckerty, Conception Jacquez Juarez and Susie Smith.
Sean Mann and Ronald Branden-burg will serve as alternates.
Grievance committee members must previously have served on a
grand jury to be eligible for service.
The Commission will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 25 in the
County courtroom. All meetings are open to the public.
Pepito to quit hospital ER
"I will not renew my contract," Dr. Dante Pepito told Ward
Memorial Hospital's Board of Managers when they met Thursday
night. His comment came as the board and the doctor tried to
reconcile certain parts of the agreement, mostly concerning
the use of out of town medical personnel to staff the ER.
Dr. Pepito has served as head of emergency room services
for the past four years and is responsible for scheduling of
personnel in that area.
At the end of the discussion, the Board voted to exercise a
clause in the contract whereby either party may terminate
their end of the agreement by giving a 60-day notice. After
the 60 days, the contract will be rewritten to the Board's
The group also heard a request by Dr. William Davison,
representing Family Medical Center, for financial assistance
in recruiting a new doctor. Dr. Melvyn Genraich has joined
the staff of the Center and Dr. Davison was asking for funds
from the hospital's physician recruitment fund to help with
his support during the first year. He assured the Board Dr.
Genriach would "be around 10 to 15 years".
The request was tabled, pending action on a similar request
last month from Dr. Rowe and action on physician staffing of
the hospital-owned Sandhills Medical Clinic.
"It's not smart to spend to the bottom," explained Kay
Watson. "A budget is what we expecting, not what we will
In his report to the members, hospital administrator Joe
Wright presented an update on the accounts receivable
situation. As part of a process used to "clean up" the old
accounts receivable, accounts that had been turned over to
collection agencies were reviewed to attempt to determine if
there was any valid reason to pursue them; if not, the
balances were written off, he said.
The Medicare payback is paid in full versus the six months
authorized, Wright added. Part of the problem with the cash
flow at the hospital had been a medicare payback on which
the hospital was making payments. Medicare was also
withholding 20 percent of the current billing which was
applied to the outstanding balance.
In other business, the board approved the accounts payable
and routine personnel changes.
Jailer caught with contraband
Ector County Sheriff's jailer Juan M. Arzate, 36, of
Monahans, was arrested Wednesday morning after a two-week
investigation of increased jail contraband found in random
Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and lighters were among the
smuggled goods, and according to Ector County Sheriff Reggie
Yearwood, officials also suspected the inclusion of
marijuana and cocaine.
Arzate was found with drugs in his possession when arrested,
though Yearwood won't specify what kind of drug it was.
Yearwood said Azarate came under suspicion because of "too
many coincidences". "We'd been watching him for a while," he
According to Yearwood, inmates did not participate in the
investigation. Local detectives were assisted by the FBI
and West Texas Narcotics Enforcement Task Force.
FBI Special Agent Terry Kincaid said that officers are
continuing their investigation; according to Yearwood,
Arzate's arrest "just makes us look all the deeper."
Oil decline hurts tax rebates
Projected shortfalls from the decline of the oil industry
were apparent as January's sales tax rebate check dropped
13.12% in Monahans to $50,497.61 from $58,125.93 last year,
15.75 % in Pyote to $695.06 from $825.02 and 47.17% in
Wickett to $1728.16 from $3271.54. The payments included
local sales taxes collected by monthly filers in November,
at the start of the traditional shopping season, and
reported to the comptroller in December.
Thorntonville's check was $1057.12 up 1395.21% from last
year's $70.70 for the same period and Grandfalls was up
139.99% from $483.28 last year to $1159.88 this year. Even
with those increases, the overall total for the County was
In neighboring cities, Kermit experienced only a slight
drop, $22,610.36 as compared to $22,652.37. Andrews
experienced a more significant drop, $33,741,79 down from
$43610.22 last year. Pecos dropped 4.45% from 50,448.20 last
year to $48201.50 this year and Fort Stockton's rebate funds
tumbled 25.56%, $49,094.93 from $65,957.23.
To the east, Odessa's rebate reflected a healthy 11.27%
increase while Midland's funds dropped 12.05%.
Statewide, sales tax rebates for the period increased 5.1
percent to $163.8 million over last year's $155.7 million.
New State Comptroller Carol Keeton Rylander says this is
caused "as consumers continue to show their confidence in
the growing Texas economy".
Building permits over $2 million
Building permits finished just over a million dollars ahead
of last year as 1998 came to a close. December permits
totaled $39,790 bringing the year's total to $2,525,489 up
from $1,396,216 last year. This month's permits consisted of
$9400 in residential and $30,390 commercial, mainly made up
of roof rework, additions and repairs.
Work on the roofs at Garden Apartments and the Monahans News
made up the commercial figure.
Included in the residential total were permits issued to Joe
Collazo, 1122 S. Doris, workshop; N.W. Burrow, 801 W. 3rd,
move mobile home; Socorro Hernandez, 1305 S. Doris, re-roof
and Francisco Valdez, 612 N. Alice, storage shed.
School board honors football team
Recognition of this year's football team and the renewal of
personnel contracts topped the list of agenda items covered
by the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent School District
board of trustees Tuesday night.
The Loboes had been invited to the meeting, and they showed
the board their numerous trophies. The board expressed
great pride in the boys, and led a round of applause.
The contracts for several personnel were extended by a
Those who will be staying with the school district for
another year are: Assistant Superintendent for Related
Services Mike Fletcher, Assistant Superintendent for
Education Tom Johnson, Business Manager Joe Hayes, Principal
of Monahans High School Kellye Riley, Principal of Monahans
Education Center Lee Sloan, Principal of Walker Junior High
John Horak, Principal of Sudderth Elementary Calvin Carrell,
Principal of Tatom Elementary Dick McClanahan, Principal of
Edwards Elementary Carla Tucker, Principal of Cullender
Kindergarten Randy Johnson, Band Director Tony Gibbs, and
Special Education Director Janna Lilly.
Athletic Director Larry Hanna's contract was extended for
David McCarley of Walker Junior High resigned.
In other business, Kevin Slay of TU Electric explained the
industry's imminent deregulation.
Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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Copyright 1999 by Ward Newspapers Inc.