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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Hospital has plan to fight off Y2K bug

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 29, 1999 - Reeves County Hospital has been making their own plans to deal with any possible computer-related problems resulting from the Y2K bug. But controller Richard Mathis is hoping some other groups also have their Y2K problems solved in order to make the hospital's upcoming weekend easier.

"We rely on the city and the power company to provide us with our water and electricity," said Mathis, who is serving as the hospital's Y2K preparedness coordinator.

"We rely on the city to provide us with water and remove waste," he said. "I've talked with (city water superintendent) Octavio Garcia, He said we're on the same (sewer) line with the prison, and he said the lift station is one of their top priorities.

"We're on a different water line from the prison, so that should help," he added.

Mathis said even if there were problems with power or water, the hospital has a contingency plan.

"If Texas-New Mexico (Power) has a problem we're not so reliant on the utility. We've got a contingency plan that can carry us for at least seven days," he said. "We've got to carry a generator. It's required by Medicare."

For the water and waste, Mathis said, "We have personal hygiene kits and waterless baths. With the staff we've got those individual hand cleaners, and we're bringing in some of those portable toilets for the staff just in case."

"Y2K is closely aligned with the disaster plan we modify every year," he said. "We diligently plan for it every time, so for the most part we've been training for it for many years."

"We went through and tested what we think are our mission-critical devices, and from our testing, we don't have anything we feel will pose a problem," Mathis said. He added that a company which has tested between 75 and 100 hospitals also has looked at Reeves County Hospital's system. "Of the rural hospitals, we fared better than most of them."

As far as staffing goes, Mathis said he, RCH administrator Charles Butts, and other department heads would be at the hospital Friday night and early Saturday morning, in case an emergency does arise.

The medical staff has added one extra doctor this week to deal with any problems, and for the weekend, "We've got our typical on-call folks. We do have our first-wave response folks, which is six additional staff on-call in case there is a response."

The hospital will also have its usual weekend staffing personnel in the emergency room, which will run from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. on Monday.

For those on the nursing staff not on call, Mathis said, "If they wake up (Saturday) and find any disruption of utilities, they are to report to the hospital."

The hospital also has stocked up on some medical supplies, Mathis said, "Whether it be Ivs or antibiotics. Any kind of heart medicines or things that would be critical we'll have on hand."

"We also have to take care of some patients that are homebound who are in our home health program, along with those in other programs," Mathis said. "They've told us we're their first option."

Nationwide, hospitals are making preparations for possible New Year's problems, and have spent $8 billion so far. They range from high-tech items to items to $5 bells for patients to call nurses if buzzer systems are disabled.

At New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, the hospital will hand out penlight flashlights to patients. A staff member will be with each patient at midnight, too, said spokeswoman Janice Sullivan.

Like many hospitals, a special Y2K-compliant command center will be set up to make sure all is well, Ms. Sullivan added.

At Swedish Hospital in suburban Denver, some, but not all, patients will get a bell or whistle.

"You wouldn't want to have a whole floor of bells and whistles," said hospital spokeswoman Sara Spaulding. "We have identified the patients who are the highest risk if the power goes out, and those folks will be given a choice of a bell or a whistle."

Rick Wade, spokesman for the American Hospital Association, said hospitals have spent $8 billion to get ready for Y2K, from the infrastructure to the bedside.

He said he had not heard of the bell and whistle buys, but could understand how the noisemakers might be reassuring.

Hospitals have a larger-than-normal percentage of elderly patients during the holidays, since many younger patients go home and little elective surgery is scheduled.

Wade said no matter what happens New Year's Eve, it won't be new for hospitals.

"They deal with disasters all the time," he said. "They are all prepared for power failures, like in North Carolina during the hurricane."

Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., emptied its swimming pool to flush toilets during Hurricane Floyd. And nurses from North Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., rescued stranded patients with a Humvee during Hurricane Bonnie.

"We been through six hurricanes in the last four years and in many ways we are treating this like another one," said Scott Whisnant, spokesman for New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Traffic stop west of Pyote nets $30,000, Jeep

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 29, 1999 - A routine traffic stop on Wednesday west of Pyote netted more than $30,000 in currency and officers confiscated a 1993 Jeep Wrangler.

The incident happened at about 2:06 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 28, when Sgt. Billy Hull, an investigator with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, conducted a traffic stop on a 1993 green Jeep, at mile marker 63 on Interstate 20 westbound, two miles west of Pyote in Ward County.

Hull found $30,800 in currency, hidden behind the glove compartment and inside the center console, eight bundles of currency.

Further investigation linked the U.S. currency to a drug transaction, according to task force commander Gary Richards.

Both the driver and the passenger were taken into custody and transported to the Ward County Jail in Monahans. The currency and the jeep were seized.

The driver was identified as Jesus Ayala, 27 of Fabens and passenger and owner of the vehicle, Jorge Pacheco, 23, of Tornillo.

Charges on Ayala were dismissed, while Pacheco was charged with money laundering. Bond was set at $10,000 on Pacheco today.

Investigator Hull was assisted by deputies with the Ward County Sheriff's Department.

Commissioners plan to discuss golf course fees

PECOS, Dec. 29, 1999 - Proposed policies and fee changes for the Reeves County Golf Course and a golf agreement between Reeves County and the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be topics of discussion at the final Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting of the year, scheduled for Thursday.

Commissioners will meet at 10 a.m., on the third floor of the courthouse to discuss several items aside from the golf course, which were late additions to the Thursday agenda.

The court will discuss and take action on Reeves County Senior Citizen Grant Coordinator/Writer; classify new position of H.S.A.; classification of WHS/Safety Manager Position and FY 2000 budget amendments.

In other business, commissioners will discuss and take action on employee uniforms; discarded food products and surface treatments.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on:

· Reports from various departments.

· Budget amendments and line item transfers.

· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, maintenance department, county clerk, county treasurer and sheriff's office).

· Minutes from previous meetings.

· Semi-monthly bills.

· Spread on minutes: district court administrator Cathy L. Adams salary and continuation of education of Lynn J. Owens, county auditor.

The court will also meet behind closed doors to discuss litigation between Reeves County and City of Pecos.

Construction set for I-20  near Odessa

Drivers headed east on Interstate 20 in the first few months of the year 2000 can expect to see a detour and some possible delays, as they head into Odessa, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

TxDOT will begin construction on a new interchange at Moss Avenue on I-20, between the FM 1936 (Odessa) and FM 866 (Goldsmith) interchanges. According to Dan Dalager, the TxDOT engineer in charge of the project, a portion of Moss Road and the north frontage road of I-20 will be closed, and interstate traffic will be closed down to a single lane for about a two-mile stretch.

Work will begin first on the westbound lanes, and traffic will be diverted onto the eastbound side of I-20 beginning Monday, Jan. 3. The project is expected to cost $6.7 million, TxDOT said.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 01-14-15-24-36. Number matching five of five: one. Prize per winner: $75,746. Winning ticket sold in: Houston. Matching four of five: 186. Prize: $611.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-7-0 (six, seven, zero)


Velma R. Smith

Velma R. Smith, longtime resident of Pecos, died December 21, 1999 at her home in Yukon, Oklahoma.

She is survived by two daughters, Alta Bechtel of Yukon, Okla. and Jean Keffer of Dallas; three grandsons and one great grandson.

Vincent Jeremiah Lara

Vincent Jeremiah Lara, a three-day old baby, died Dec. 26, 1999, at Lubbock Methodist Hospital.

He was born Dec. 23, 1999 in Pecos and was a Catholic.

A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 30, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

Survivors include his parents, Bobby and Diana Lara of Pecos; grandparents Richard and Lydia Thompson of Littlefield, Ruben Navarette of Monahans and Ana Navarette of Pecos.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Nancy Holt Rediger

Nancy Holt Rediger, 85, of Pecos, died Saturday, Dec. 25, 1999, at a Katy hospital.

Visitation will be Thursday morning, Dec. 30, at Pecos Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday at Mt. Evergreen Cemetery with Rev. Bruce Abbott officiating.

She was born July 29, 1914, in Ogemaw, Ark. and was co-owner of Rediger's Pharmacy.

Survivors include her husband, F. John Rediger of Pecos; one son, John T. Rediger of Pecos; one daughter, Deborah Rediger Kahn of Dallas; two granddaughters and two great-grandsons.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Dec. 29, 1999 - High Tuesday 69. Low this morning 34. Forecast for tonight: Fair skies. Low 35-40. West wind 5-10 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High in the lower 70s. Northwest wind 5-15 mph. Thursday night: Clear. Low around 30. Friday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 60s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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