The West News (West, Tex.), Vol. 102, No. 52, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 24, 1992 Page: 6 of 20
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The West News • Thursday, December 24,1992
Rainwater collection offers viable alternative
Shortages of Laboratory Professionals
Can Compromise Healthcare
Texans are growing more and more con-
cerned about water. In the Panhandle, we work
to keep the vast Ogallala Aquifer free of con-
tamination for our cities and farms. In central
and south Texas, the debate rages over how best
to protect the Edwards Aquifer from overuse
and industrial contamination. Cities and towns
all over Texas encourage us to conserve
water.While citizens and a variety of water
agencies grapple with water supply issues,
some Texans are addressing this problem by
putting a new twist on something our grandpar-
In the Texas Hill Country, Dr. Mike
McElveen and several other families are col-
lecting rainwater, treating it and using it for all
their household needs, including drinking. And
they are so pleased with the results they
wouldn't think of using anything
else."Everybody is drinking rainwater," says
Dr. McElveen. "The only difference is what that
rainwater hits before it gets to your lips."
On acreage between Austin and Dripping
Springs, Dr. McElveen and his wife, Kathy,
began collecting rainwater six years ago when
they noticed their well water was hurting their
houseplants. They pul a gutter on one section of
their roof and caught rainwater in a whisky
barrel, screened to keep out mosquitoes.
Their plants perked up and what's more, the
slightest rain would make their barrel overflow.
Their aspirations grew. They put a horse
trough under a gutter on their tractor shed, and
it, loo, overflowed quickly with only a small
They soon added a larger tank to collect
water for their garden, which was irrigated by a
Finally, they decided to collect rainwater for
all their needs.
"We had needed a storage bam for some
time, so we built a pole bam up the hill behind
the house," says Dr. McElveen.
"We installed a sheet metal roof and alumi-
num gutters, which channeld the water into two,
new 8,500 gallon fiberglass tanks. The water
flowed down hill to the house by gravity alone
through PVC pipe," he said.
Just before the water enters the house, a
small, half-horsepower pump increases the
pressure for the dishwasher. At that point, the
water passes an uiiraviolct light, which disin-
fects it to a level of purity nearly equivalent to
that used in kidney dialysis.
Several families in the area have seen Dr.
McElvecn's system and used or modified his
ideas to create systems of their own.
"It’s wonderful," says Jane Sims, who with
her husband, Keith, built a hill country home a
year ago and decided to depend entirely on rain-
"If we’ve had a problem," says Jane, "it was
learning how to handle the overflow. "We've
never come close to running out."
Rainwater gets rave reviews.
"It's kind to your body and clothes, and just
great for shampooing," says Jane Sims.
Lots of farms and ranches used to collect
rainwater in open cisterns, and many still do.
Often it is put to limited use - watering live-
stock, washing hair or irrigating gardens.
Today's rainwater systems have one foot in
the past and the other foot firmly in the present.
Collection tanks arc usually enclosed to elimi-
nate algae growth and to keep out mosquitoes
and airborne contaminants.
A number of filter and treatment systems are
available to today s rainwater collectors. Rain-
water can be sent through a microporc or paper
filter to remove small particlesof leaves or other
organic matter. Some folks use a charcoal filter.
Many use the UV light to treat their water, be-
cause of its effectiveness in killing a wide vari-
ety of possible contaminants.
Dr. McElveen drank his rainwater for two
years without any treatment whatsoever, and
with absolutely no ill effects. Importantly, he
gets his rainwater tested regularly to check for
possible contaminants. Even when his water
was not being treated, it passed all tests with
Rainwater is soft. With so much of Texas'
well water overburdened with limestone, which
is very alkaline, rainwater is like a breath of
fresh air. Water heaters; coffee makers and other
appliances last longer. Dishawashers and
Dr. Mike McElveen built his pole barn to collect rainwater in the two 8,500 gallon tanks
behind him. Those tanks provide more than enough water for all his household uses.
The smaller tank below, supplied by the overflow of the two main tanks, was added to
raise catfish. (Photo: Morris Media Associates)
clothes washers use far less soap with soft water.
And soft rainwater feels great and tastes even
The cost of adding a rainwatercollection sys-
tem is comparable to the cost of drilling a well
of500-700 feel and adding a pump large enough
to lift the groundwater that high. And there is
very little maintenance, especially compared to
Even if you are connected to a city water
system, you can collect rainwater for special
purposes in a small scale system of your own
For example, you can collect rainwater from
a metal roof down a gutter into a small container
like a new metal or rubber trash can. Fit the can
with a spigot and you have easy access to great
water for making coffee, washing your hair or
watering your houseplants.
"If you are going to drink rainwater," cau-
tions Dr. McElveen, "be sure to have it tested.
You would certainly lest your well water. Be
sure to lest your rainwater, too."
Rainwater collection is very satisfying on a
personal level. For some folks, that satisfaction
transcends both the economic and environ-
"One of the best things about collecting rain-
water," says Dr. McElveen, "is that you take a
more active role in meeting your own needs. Y ou
really feel good about it."
Does that sound like a Texan or what?
A half hour videotape and 50 page booklet
called Rainwater Collection Systems isavailable
from Morris Media Associates in Austin. For in-
formation, Call (512) 343-7900.
For more information about public drinking
water issues, contact the Texas Water Resources
Institute, Texas Experiment Station, College
Station, TX 77843, or the Texas WaterCommis-
sion, Water Utilities Division, P O Box 13087,
Austin, TX 78711.
(DM)—Shortages of trained medical
laboratory personnel, the profes-
sionals who perform medical labo-
ratory tests, are worsening according
to results of the third biannual Wage
and Vacancy survey sponsored by
the American Society of Clinical
Pathologists (ASCP). “Everyone
who has ever had or will ever require
a medical laboratory test is affected
by this shortage and it must be
reversed,” said Steve Wright,
MT(ASCP), Chairman of the ASCP
Board of Registry. “Percentages of
laboratory personnel shortages far
outdistance the highly publicized
shortages of nurses, he continued.
Experts agree that the continuing
laboratory shortages pose serious
threats to the quality of medical care
in the US. Clinical physicians rely
on the diagnostic information pro-
vided by laboratory tests in treating
their patients for such conditions as
heart disease, hepatitis, diabetes,
thyroid function, HIV infection and
AIDS, cancer, leukemia, and ane-
mias. More than nine billion labora-
tory tests are performed annually in
The 1992 survey commissioned by
the ASCP Board of Registry, the
largest and oldest certifier of medi-
cal laboratory personnel, showed
that 13.8% of staff medical technol-
ogist positions are vacant due to lack
of trained personnel to fill them.
Vacancies in medical technologist
manager positions have more than
doubled since the 1990 survey.
ASCP continuing surveys provide
the only biannual comparisons of
vacancy and wage rates for labora-
Significant salary increases for
cytotechnologists have improved
the high vacancy rate in this spe-
cialty—but more than one in five
positions still is currently unfilled.
The average pay rate for staff posi-
tions has reached $16.70 per hour,
or $34,736 annually for a standard
40 hour work week. Cytotechnolo-
gists examine cells under the micro-
scope to detect signs of cancer and
are best known for their role in
evaluating Pap smears to diagnose
cervical cancer in its earliest and
most curable stages.
The ASCP believes many solu-
tions to the laboratory shortages
must be pursued, including in-
creased federal funding for training
allied health professionals, im-
proved salaries and working condi-
tions, and recruitment programs for
high school students—measures
that have successfully reversed the
nursing shortage. Since government
funding for medical laboratory edu-
cation was eliminated in 1982, pro-
grams have declined from 639 to the
current 410 programs. Thit' means
fewer graduates annually. In 1982,
5,996 medical technologists were
graduated, while the 1991 graduates
totaled only 2,932.
“Wages play an important part in
recruiting students to a field and
retaining professionals currently
practicing/’ Mr. Wright noted. The
nursing shortage is an example.
When salary levels increased, more
students entered nursing education
programs. Starting registered nurs-
es were paid approximately $32,600
in 1991. “Cytotechnology has fol-
lowed a similar trend. As wages
have risen, student enrollment in
training programs has almost dou-
bled, from 131 graduates in 1988 to
259 graduates in 1991,” he said.
But the law of supply and de-
mand is not yet working in most of
the medical laboratory field. In
1992, the median starting salary for
medical technologists is $24,500,
significantly lower than nurses who
often have less education and train-
ing. "The low wage rates are espe-
cially troubling in the '90s, when
the high school age population is
the smallest it has been in 30 years
and health care is competing with
other fields for the limited pool of
students,” Mr. Wright concluded.
Vacancy Rate and Annual Salaries in Medical Laboratories
Champion of World’s Largest Chili Cook-Off
Carries on Family Tradition
C indy Reed of Houston. Texas, and
her ”Cin-Chili” won the 26th annual
Terlingua (Texas) International Chili
Cook-Off held November 7 to benefit
local and national charities. To those
who know the Reed family, this
should come as no surprise.
With the Reeds, chili cooking is a
family affair. Both ofCindy's parents,
Maxine and Don Reed, are award
winning chili cooks. Several other
relatives have been competing in
chili cook-offs for years. A third-
generation cook. Cindy has only
cooked and competed for three years.
This year was the first year she
has competed at the Terlingua Inter-
national Chili Cook-Off.
"I'm so excited about being the
champion and carrying on my fami
ly's chili-cooking tradition." Cindy-
said. "It’s truly an honor to win at
Terlingua because all of the chili is
so good. Every chili cook yearns to be
the Terlingua champion, and I feel
lucky and proud to be the winner."
Cindy competed against more than
250 cooks at the Terlingua Cook-Off
while a crowd of more than 7,000
looked on and tasted samples. Cindy-
competed in 17 regional and local
cook-offs during the past "chili" year
(October 1 September 301 to earn the
right to cook at Terlingua. Before
November 7, Cindy’s highest chili
cooking honor was winning the Wild
Goose Chili Cook-Off in Eagle Lake,
Texas in 1990.
The Terlingua International Chili
Cook-Off, the largest and only inter
national competition in the world, is
held under the auspices of the Chili
Appreciation Society International
(CASIl and has a logical sponsor:
Gaviscon Antacid’ "The Heartburn
CASI consists of 42 clubs, know n as
"pods," nationwide. Cindy is a mem
ber of the “Chili Dynasty," so named
Winner Cindy Reed with her
because of her family's involvement.
Her aunt and uncle started the pod
in 1985, and about eight relatives are
active members The chili cooking's
all done for fun — and charity. In
1992, CASI w ill raise more than $4
million for charities at chili cook oil’s
like the one held in Terlingua.
For her efforts, ( indy received a
trophy and will represent CASI
throughout t he United States during
the year Her award w inning recipe
Recipes ofprecious champions eiw
be obtained h\ sendinp $'t /myiihle
In Chill Recipe,. I'D. litix bUtlt).
Kansas City. Missouri, h i 111
1992 (CASI) Terlingua Chili
Cook-Off Winning Recipe
2 lbs. beef chuck tender * * -
cut into 3/8 inch cubes
1 tsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. dark chili powder
2 tsp. garlic (granulated)
In a three-quart heavy saucepan,
add the above ingredients while
browning the meat.
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 1/2 oz. can beef >
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. jalapeno powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp, w'hite pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano
24 oz. spring water
1 tbsp. dark chili powder
Combine seasonings and add to
beef mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce
heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
I thsp. paprika
1 pkg. sazon seasoning
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. white pepper
5 tbsp medium and dark
Combine seasonings and add to
beef mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce
and simmer for 20 minutes. You may
need to add small amounts of water
or beef broth for consistency.
2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
Add the above ingredients and
simmer for another ten minutes.
Citrus fruit was first cultivat-
ed in China more than 4,000
1988 1990 1992
1988 1990 1992
Table courtesy of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists Board of Registry, 2100 W. Harrison Street,
Chicago, Illinois 60612
Lidinovsky's Soper Save Grocery
(Formerly West Super Save Grocery)
203 W. Pine West, Texas
Ad good Dec. 16 thru Dec. 29, Plus additional items
through Dec. 29.
Hours: 7 a.m. ■ 7 p.m. Mon. - Sat.; 7 a.m. -1 p.m. Sunday
By Nina McMahan
Bill and Molly Gillmore were host
and hostess last Friday night in their
lovely home in Gholson, which was
decorated throughout in the Christ-
mas spirit they welcomed their guests
Those present were Edward Lee
and Ann Stacy, T.W. and Sally Ken-
nedy, Donald R. and Wanda Adair,
Travis and ThelmaMcMorrough, Bud
and Dolores Cammack, Ernest and
Jewel Maler, Kirk and Becka Gamer,
Allen and Kathy Lord, Don and Eu-
nice Huffines, Rick and Janna Austin,
Albert and Belle Crabb. Also Vivian
Puckett, Virgie Clements, Jessie Mae
Odie, Martha Neel, Brenda Adair and
Nina McMahan. Snacks of sand-
wiches, dips, chips, deviled eggs,
cheeseballs, candies, cookies of all
kinds, pics, tea, sodas and coffee. Gifts
were exchanged. Goodbyes were
exchanged and thanks to the Gillmorc's
for such a lovely party and fellowship.
Kara Whalen of Waco and cous-
ins. Weldon and Whitney Whalen of
Holland, visited over the weekend in
the home of their grandparents, Wel-
don and Bettyc Sue Whalen.
Doug Austin, Walter Mcllgrcn, Jr.
and Caprice McMorrough flew from
Dallas Sunday night to spend the
Christmas holidays in Camrose, Al-
berta Canada with Ron and Becky
Wilson and their daughters, Erin and
James and Jean Harkins were in
Killeen, Alabama for several days with
their son, Mike Horton, who had been
rushed to the hospital with a mild
heart attack. They found he had one
artery almost stopped up. They did the
balloon surgery Monday. He came
through O.K. and is doing much belter
and the Harkins will return home
Merry Christmas to ail and a won-
derful New Year.
LAW OFFICE <d/c)
105 S. Main
Licensed for General Practice.
Not certified by The Texas
Board of Legal Specialization
Del Mont* Golden Ripe
7-Up, Sunkist or A & W
gal. Homo or Lo Fat
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Knapek, Larry. The West News (West, Tex.), Vol. 102, No. 52, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 24, 1992, newspaper, December 24, 1992; West, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth716329/m1/6/: accessed March 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting West Public Library.