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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Commissioners give OK to area water line work

Staff Writer

Reeves County Commissioners agreed to help Toyah remove sludge as part of a water line reconstruction project, by transporting it to the Pecos landfill, and approved a contract between Reeves County and the Office of Rural Community Affairs for Madera Valley Water during their regular meeting held Monday morning in the third floor courtroom.

The group met to discuss several items, including the request by Toyah Mayor Sandra Terry who was on hand to discuss the Toyah problem.

“We are in the process of finishing our grant,” said Terry.

Toyah’s water line just south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks broke a year ago, leaving 70 families without water. When the break occurred the Texas Water Development Board allowed Toyah to divert $25,000 out of the city’s sewer grant to use for emergency repairs to the water line until more extensive work could be done.

Terry said that when they first began the project of replacing four miles of water line, they had been told that they would not have to remove the sludge and cart it off.

“A few weeks ago we were told that we would have to, so we stopped the project right there,” said Terry.

Terry said that she had talked to Road and Bridge Administrator Russ Salcido who had agreed to help remove the sludge and take it to the Pecos landfill.

“At first we thought it would about two loads, but it turns out it will be between 25-35, so Russ said that he would need to get approval from the commissioners court to help,” said Terry.

Terry said that Salcido had also said that the crew would need help with the fuel.

“He said he would need about $1,200 for the fuel, so that’s why we stopped the project right there, so that we would have funds for the fuel.

Terry said that they applied for another grant, which they hoped would take care of the rest of the project.

“Since you declared us a colonias, we can apply for more grants,” said Terry. “Has the city of Pecos said that they would accept the sludge and do you have the money to pay the fees?” asked Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Terry assured Galindo that they had enough funds for both the fees and the fuel.

“In terms of the Road and Bridge budget, fuel is one of those line-items that has been hit hard, so any contribution will be greatly appreciated,” said Galindo.

Terry said that the Federal Emergency Management Administration had estimated it would cost about $1,680 to transport the sludge.

“We probably need to have an interlocal agreement that will provide the labor and fuel, in case anyone asks later on,” said county auditor Lynn Owens.

The group also approved a contract between Reeves County and the Office of Rural Community Affairs for Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation Water Systems Improvements.

Galindo said that the grant was for the amount of $350,000 and would be used to improve the lines for the Madera Valley Water system in the Pecos area.

“This will be for 22,500 linear feet of 6 inch PVC pipe,” said Galindo. “It will benefit 721 people, that’s most of the people on the north side that receive water from Madera Valley Water,” he said.

Commissioners also agreed to hire attorney Dennis Dennis to represent Reeves County in a legal matter involving a road next to Balmorhea State Park in Toyahvale.

“There’s been some problem with the right of way into County Road 326,” said Galindo. Commissioner Precinct 1 Roy Alvarado said that have been working on a project that they can’t complete because of this problem. A bridge about half a mile south of the intersection of CR 326 and State Highway 17 was in the process of being replaced, until the question arose of whether or not the road along the west side of the Balmorhea swimming pool is a public or private road.

“We have two projects that we are working on and don’t have any problems with the one in Toyah, but the owner says that it’s his land and can’t get going on this project,” said Alvarado.

The group also approved the 2001 bond/lease payment in the amount of $495,000; the 2001 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166; the 2005 bond/lease payment in the amount of $345,611 and the 2005 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166.

Commissioners declared property at Reeves County Detention Center that will be disposed of as salvage.

Commissioners also approved a number of new hires. Those on the list at the Reeves County Detention Center III, with a starting salary of $22,880, correctional officers; Elia Florez, Patricia Fuentes, John Garcia, Alexander Ramirez, Jennifer Rayos, Jennifer Serrano, Miguel Fuentes, Bobby Herod, William Meierhoff, Jr. and Francis Valenzuela. At the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office as a secretary, part-time, Vanessa Olivas and at the Reeves County Library, part-time, Veronica Arredondo at $6 per hour.

At the Reeves County Detention Center I&II: Maria Urias, personnel clerk at $36,025; Daniel Perez, correctional officer upgraded to $31,179 and Jacob Guzman and Holly Jarocki, new hires.

State reports slight rise in area unemployment

Staff Writer

Reeves County’s unemployment rate increased by one-tenth of a percent in September, according to figures released on Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. With the summer cantaloupe and onion harvest seasons ending, the TWC said the number of jobs within Reeves County fell from 3,817 in August to 3,762 last month, while the number of workers dropped from 4,164 to 4,108. The changes actually cut the number of people in the county on unemployment from 347 to 364, but the lower total number of workers caused the jobless rate to rise from 8.4 to 7.9 percent.

The TWC numbers continue to show a decline in both the labor force and the number of jobs from September of 2004 along with an increase in the unemployment rate, despite sales tax numbers for the county that show collections are up almost 10 percent from a year ago. According to the Workforce Commission, the jobless rate last September was 7.9 percent, with 4,015 jobs in Reeves County and a labor force of 4,360 people.

Other area counties also reported slightly higher jobless rates for this month, compared with August’s totals and some also with their numbers from September of 2004. Midland County, with the area’s largest labor force, was 4.2 percent , up from 3.9 percent, while Ector County’s jobless rate was up from 4.8 percent in August to 5 percent in September. However, Midland’s rate fell from 4.3 percent a year ago, as the number of jobs and the labor force were both up by about 600 people, and Odessa’s rate was down from 5.6 percent a year ago, as the city added nearly 700 jobs while the workforce remained unchanged.

n Andrews County saw its rate rise from 4.5 to 4.7 percent last month, while its rate is up from 4.8 percent a year ago. However, the number of jobs and the workforce are up about 1 percent from last year.

n Brewster County’s unemployment rate was up from 3.2 to 3.5 percent in September. Compared to 2004, the rate is down from 3.7 percent, while the county has increased its workforce by about 4 percent.

n Crane County’s rate rose from 5.6 to 6.0 percent last month, and was up from 5.9 percent in September of 2004. Crane County’s labor force was down by about 5 percent from a year ago.

n Culberson County’s jobless rate was up from 4.5 to 5 percent last month, but down from 5.7 percent in September of last year. The local labor force was down by 3 percent during that period.

n Dawson County’s jobless rate was up from 6.8 to 7.3 percent, and up from last year’s 6.9 percent. The labor force declined by 1 percent during that same period. n Howard County reported a 5.8 percent jobless rate, up from 5.5 percent in August, and up from 5.6 percent last year. The county’s labor force was about 2 percent lower than last year’s figure.

n Pecos County’s rate was up from 4.8 to 5.2 percent last month, but down from 5.7 percent in September of 2004. The labor force was down about 1 1/2 percent from last year.

n Presidio County’s rate for September was 10.1 percent, which was unchanged from the previous month, but down from 14.7 percent a year ago. Presidio lost 40 jobs during that period, but its workforce fell by over 200 people, or seven percent.

n Ward County’s rate was 6.2 percent, up from 6 percent in August, but down from 6.4 percent last September. The local labor force was down1 percent during that same period.

n Winkler County’s rate was up from 5 percent to 5.5 percent for the month, but down from 6 percent a year ago. The labor force was down by under 1 percent, while the number of jobs remained virtually unchanged.

The number of unemployed in Loving remained the same as in August and in September a year ago. The nation’s least-populated county had only three people without jobs, but with the labor force climbing from 44 to 45 people, unemployment went from 6.7 to 6.8 percent. It was 6.3 percent last year, when the county had 48 people in the workforce.

Police join program to track missing persons

Staff Writer

A new system to alter local residents of a missing child or elderly person is being implemented by the Pecos Police Department, and will involving getting the information out quickly to as many local residents as possible.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said his department would be participating in the “A Child Missing” (ACM) program, which includes not only children under the age of 18, but also the elderly and the disabled who cannot take care of themselves.

“It originated in Florida and just moved into Texas,” he said. “Right now, it’s primarily used in Eastern and Midwestern states.”

McKinney said anyone who discovers a child, senior citizen or disabled person is missing should still call the police on the 9-1-1 line, and the department will handle the other notifications by contacting the national ACM toll-free number.

“We make one phone call 24-7 and they will place 1,000 phone calls within the area of the missing individual within 60 seconds,” he said. “They will give the case narrative, and tell people if they see the individual to call the police department.”

According to the program’s brochure, those manning the 800 number use computer-mapping technology to identify the area where the individual was last seen. A 3-D satellite imagry program is also used to increase accuracy and also help visualize “hot-spots” where a missing child might be taken or an older missing person might wander. “An individual message is then recorded,” McKinney said. That message is then phoned to homes and businesses in the specific area. If a lead is obtained, the search can then be expanded in that area.

ACM has 50 million phone numbers in its database, though it does not include unlisted phone numbers. The group claims a 98 percent listen rate when a phone is answered, and can add unlisted numbers of people who want to be able to participate in any searches in their area.

The group has the ability to send out phone calls in multiple languages, and does conduct check-backs with the local law enforcement agency until either the person is found or the search is called off. ACM has handled over 9,000 cases in the eight years since it was first created.

Activities planned as part of Red Ribbon Week

Pecos High School students were adding their names to a drug-free pledge board on Monday, and all Pecos-Barstow-Toyah students and community members are asked to participate in Red Ribbon Week, the annual drug-free event, which began Monday and continues throughout this week.

The drug-free pledge board and other displays were set up Monday morning by area law enforcement agencies near the Pecos High School cafeteria. The displays dealt with the dangers of drug use, and PHS counselor Eva Arriola said a special presentation will take place on Thursday at the high school auditorium in connection with the To help celebrate the festivities everyone is asked to follow the daily activities planned: Monday - Put a CAP on Drugs (wear a hat or cap).

Tuesday - LEI off of Drugs ( Hawaiian Day Luau).

Wednesday - Put a STOP to Drugs. Say No! (wear red).

Thursday - Follow your DREAMS, Don’t do drugs! (wear pajamas).

Friday - Show your Eagle SPIRIT and be Drug Free (wear purple and gold).

Gallego participates in Chicago marathon

Alan Gallego participated in the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon held in Chicago, Ill., on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Gallego ran 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers) and his finishing time was 4:07:54.

About 40,000 runners participated in the event and the individuals came from all of the U.S. states and 125 different countries.

Gallego was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Blanca and his daughter Blanca.

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