Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Credit union fixes up, knocks down buildings
By JON FULBRIGHT
A longtime downtown building, which at one time served as the home of the Pecos Enterprise, was demolished last week, while the vacant adjacent building will soon be home to a relocated local business.
The Reeves County Teacher’s Credit Union will be moving into part of the old Firestone Tire building at the corner of Third and Cedar Streets. That building had most recently been home to Dan’s Music and Video, but had been vacant for just over a year, after owner Ronnie Daniel relocated his music and video business and his Pizza Pro operations to South Eddy Street.
The move of the Reeves County Teachers Credit Union comes just a few months after the Winkler County Credit Union opened a new office in Pecos at 13th and Cedar streets.
However, RCTCU president Jimmy Dutchover said their group had been planning for a while to move into a larger building, and made the move now because improvements to the new building qualify for tax abatements, as part of the Pecos Main Street program.
“Mr. Daniel had this one and the other one,” Dutchover said of the two buildings. “We looked to see if we could do anything with it, but we found the most beneficial this was to knock this building down and put in a parking area. We will put in a drive-thru and eventually an ATM machine.”
Dan’s was the longtime tenant of the building at 312 S. Cedar St., before moving into the neighboring building in the mid-1990s, when the store added its Pizza Pro franchise.
Before Dan Daniel bought the building, it served as the home of the Pecos Enterprise during the 1940s and 1950s. The paper moved into its current location at 324 S. Cedar St. in the early 1960s, while the former building had been used by Dan Daniel’s son, Ronnie, as a storage area for the past few years.
“We had brought this up for the last couple of years,” Dutchover said. “Ideally, it wasn’t good for the credit union to do this until the Main Street program came in. Then we got approval from the board of directors to go through.”
Town of Pecos City Council passed a tax abatement program earlier this year that is part of the Main Street downtown revitalization effort. The new law gives businesses a 100 percent abatement during the first year for improvements made to buildings within the downtown area, with the abetment declining by 20 percent for the next five years until full taxes are paid in the sixth year after the improvements are completed.
“Ronnie was looking to get his business in Dallas off the ground, so it was just a matter of timing,” he added. Daniel moved to the Dallas area last year after moving his Pecos business over to South Eddy Street, near where the RCTCU currently is located.
The interior of the old Firestone building has been emptied out, and plans are for the credit union to operate in the south side of the building, while the north side, including the former tire service bays, will be rented out.
“It will have its own entrance,” Dutchover said. “We didn’t want to beautify just one part of the building. So we got approval from the board to do that, and we’ll either lease it out, or keep it empty for a while and expand into it later.”
He said work on redoing the building should continue through the spring and most of the summer.
“What we’re shooting for is by the first of September, barring any delays, plus getting funding for all the other things we need,” Dutchover said. “There will also be a transition period for closing up the old office and opening up this one, because we don’t want to create obstacles for our customers.’
Commissioners OK fire system for RCDC units
By ROSIE FLORES
A fire alarm system contract was approved while a new voting system for local elections was discussed Monday morning by Reeves County Commissioners. But it and several other items were tabled by commissioners, during their regular meeting on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.
A contract/agreement between Reeves County Detention Center and Systech-Fire Alarm System maintenance was approved by commissioners, after RCDC Units I and II Warden Tony Garcia told the group that they are currently not in compliance.
“We’re in need of getting in compliance, since 2003 we have been out of compliance,” said Garcia.
Garcia said that they were not in compliance with the OSHA and part of the Statement of Work Agreement.
“The GEO Group has also picked up on this,” said Garcia. GEO is the management firm for all three units at the prison.
Garcia said that he had spoken to the company and that they could do monthly payments or quarterly payments on the system.
“The most important issue is liability,” he said. “We haven’t had inspection since March 25, 2003.”
“I suggest that if they do quarterly inspections, we do quarterly payments as well,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
The payments would amount to $3,495 every quarter or $13,980 per year.
After discussing the issue, the group agreed to table procuring a voting system for the county.
Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez told the group that the county would need to purchase a new voting system before next year’s primary elections. “The federal deadline is 2006,” said Florez. “Recently we received an update on funding,” she said. The new information specified when funds would be available and how much could be used to purchase the new equipment.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that $41,000 has been allotted for the new equipment for Reeves County.
Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean said that it would be better to purchase computers with a paper trail. Complaints have been voiced in other parts of the country that the lack of a paper read-out on touch-screen voting machines makes them more susceptible to tampering.
“A touch-screen that will print out a piece of paper, in case we need to do a recount,” said Dean.
Voting coordinator Debbie Thomas said county officials had seen several different systems.
“But none of them had the paper trail,” said Thomas.
“The system also has to be accessible to mail-in ballots,” said Dean.
Thomas suggested having a “mock” election during the summer, if they do purchase the new equipment by then.
“This will be a fun way to introduce the new equipment and familiarize the voters with it, before the actual election,” said Thomas.
Galindo agreed that this would be a good idea.
“I think we should all get together and come up with something,” he added.
“That’s a good idea, because the sooner we get this done, the better,” said Florez.
The group approved an agreement between Reeves County and the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department, but suggested the agreement be re-written differently.
“We have always had an agreement with them, but this time it also says that the fund in the escrow account can also be used for repairs to the fire hall,” said Galindo. “We all think this is very important and are glad to contribute to this fund.”
Galindo said that the fire hall is in desperate need of repairs including installation of a new roof.
“The wording says that it can be used for repairs or the purchase of a new building,” he said. “I think they’re going to try to repair it first.”
County Auditor Lynn Owens said that he would much rather have the repairs done in the regular budget and leave the fire truck budget as is.
“The reason for this, is because fire equipment is so expensive and prices are escalating every day,” said Owens. “They really need to have that money in case they need another fire truck.”
“It is still a reduction from previous budget,” said Galindo.
He explained that the county and the city share the fire fund equally. “They say that $76,000 is 50 percent of the budget, and what I’m saying is to contribute $85,000, with $10,000 going towards the fire truck fund,” said Galindo.
The group approved contributing $85,000 and $10,000 going towards the fire truck fund.
Another tabled item Monday was an engagement letter with Elms, Faris and Co. for 2004 Fiscal Year Independent Audit.
“It’s a standard engagement letter and their fee is based upon the number of hours,” said Owens.
Owens said that the fee was $24,450, but would not include items the group had discussed before. The audit will be done to meet requirements by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, in connection with the RCDC operations.
“This will just cover regular items and will not include inmate accounts either,” said Owens. “Those have to be separated.”
“I think it would be best to include everything and the independent audit (on the inmate accounts) done the way the BOP requires it,” said Galindo.
Galindo said that he thought it would be best to incorporate everything into one.
“This is to incorporate RCDC audit and that it will meet BOP audit requirements,” said Galindo.
Galindo suggested that they draw up a new engagement letter to incorporate the RCDC.
“We had already incorporated the juvenile detention center,” he said.
El Paso bishop conducts mass in Pecos
Santa Rosa Catholic Church were scheduled to host a Holy Hour and Mass in honor of Pope John Paul II on Monday, featuring the Bishop of El Paso, with Holy Hour beginning at 5 p.m. and Mass at 6 p.m.
Bishop Armando X. Ochoa will be officiating with Rev. Manuel Munoz and Rev. Gustavo Lopez in attendance at the church, located at Fourth and Peach streets. The Mass will be the only one specifically in honor of John Paul II in the El Paso diocese. The Pope died on April 2 at Age 84 after a long illness.
Everyone is invited to join the service, begins at 5 p.m., with a Eucharistic Procession and Holy Hour and at 6 p.m., a Special Mass for the Conclave, followed by a 24-hour vigil in solidarity with the Vatican as the church prays for the election of our new Pope.
City’s sales tax check falls after double-digit increases
By JON FULBRIGHT
After three straight months of double-digit increases, the sales tax check for the Town of Pecos City was down 6.2 percent for April, according to figures released last week by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office.
The city received $63,508 back from the comptroller’s office as its 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8 1/4-cent sales tax. That’s down from the $67,690 Pecos got back last April in tax rebates, based on sales made during February. However, thanks to the strong first quarter of tax rebates, the four-month total for 2005 of $284,575 remains 13.2 percent ahead of the total for the January-April period of a year ago.
One-sixth of the city’s sales tax check goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp., for its operations. The PEDC’s share of this month’s check is $10,585.
Reeves County’s other two cites both saw big increases in their 1 1/2-cent sales tax rebate checks, with Toyah getting a check for more than double last year’s total, after three straight months of losses.
Toyah’s check for $422 was 121.5 percent ahead of last year’s $191 check, though their four-month total of $1,188 remains 24.4 percent behind last year. Balmorhea’s check for $705 was up 14 percent from last April’s $619 total and continues that city’s upward trend over 2004. Balmorhea has gotten $3,658 back from the comptroller this year, which is 27.9 percent more than the first four months of a year ago.
The Reeves County Hospital District also reported a lower tax rebate check for the month, based on its 1/2-cent sales tax. The hospital received a check from Strayhorn’s office for $25,964, a drop of 6.3 percent from last April’s $27,721. That’s about the same drop as for Pecos, but unlike the city, the hospital district’s rebate totals for all of 2005 are below those of last year. The district has gotten $108,348 so far this year, down 2.3 percent from the $110,920 it had gotten in 2004.
Overall in the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos area, most cities continued to report higher sales tax collections in February, and statewide, sales tax rebate checks were up by 6.3 percent. But some joined Pecos in seeing their April checks decline compared with 2004.
Midland received the single-largest check of any area city, getting just under $1.64 million back for its 1 1/2-cent sales tax, an increase of 7.9 percent from last year.
Odessa’s check for its 1 1/4-cent sales tax was $1.07 million, which was up just under 7 percent from the previous April.
For area cities collecting a 1-cent sales tax, Andrews received $68,364 back from Austin, a 13.92 percent increase; Kermit got a check totaling $30,858, which was 44.5 percent better than last year; Pyote received a $280 check, up 26.35 percent; Wink got a check for $3,285, down by 20.4 percent from a year ago; and Wickett got a check for $4,555, which was 118.8 percent better than last year.
For other cities collecting at the 1 1/2-cent rate, Alpine received $61,642 back from Austin, down 3.5 percent; Crane’s check for $29,446 was up 25.6 percent from a year ago;
For cities collecting a 1 3/4-cent sales tax, Marfa received a check for $15,378, which as up 18.8 percent, and Van Horn received $25,450 in tax rebates, which was 4.4 percent above April of last year.
Among the cities collecting sales taxes at the maximum rate of 2-cents, Big Spring got a check for $291,802, which was 4.5 percent up from last year; Fort Stockton got $117,248 back, up 5.21 percent; Monahans’ check for $64,462 was down 2.6 percent, and Presidio got a check for $19,026, which was a drop of 0.4 percent from last year.
Houston again had the largest single check for any city in Texas, at $26.1 million. That was down 5 percent from last year, while Dallas had the second-largest check for the month, at $13.6 million, which was 0.8 percent better than a year ago
Newell, Gay exchange vows in afternoon ceremony
Casey Lynn Newell of Odessa, Texas and Andrew Taft Gay of Medway, Massachusetts were united in marriage on March 27. The afternoon ceremony was held at The Historical Mills House Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina and performed by Minister Lynn Lewis.
Parents of the bride are Linda Robinett of Odessa, TX and George Newell of Haslet, TX. Grooms parents are Thomas and Cathy Gay of Medway, Massachusetts.
The bride wore a white satin creation by Maggie Sottero. The princess line gown featured a chapel length train and an empire bodice covered with delicate embroidery and beading. A fingertip 2-layer veil with a delicate rolled edge and tiara of Swarovski crystals was worn. She carried a hand tied bouquet of pink charming roses and stargazer lilies.
Attending the bride as Matron of Honor was her sister, Criston Chavarria of Charleston, South Carolina. Bridesmaids were sister of the groom, Carly Gay, Medway, Massachusetts, Erin Keith, Mystic, Connecticut and Maija Horton, Odessa, Texas. They were attired in black strapless tea length dresses and carried long stem stargazer lilies tied with pink organza ribbon. The flower girls were nieces of the bride; Shelby Lux of Odessa, Texas and Hayle Chavarria of Charleston, South Carolina. They wore floor length white dresses tied with a black satin sash and carried kissing balls of baby pink roses entertwined with pink organza ribbon.
Serving the groom as best man was Jeff Foley of Boston, Massachusetts. Groomsmen were Adam Gay, brother of the groom, Mark Edmunds, both of Boston, and brother-in-law of the bride, Michael Chavarria of Charleston, South Carolina.
Following the ceremony, the bride’s parents hosted a reception in the Planters Suite of the Mills House Hotel. Tables were candlelit and adorned with silver mint julep cups containing pink roses. Guest dined on fried green tomatoes, sautéed shrimp, crab cakes and whipped potatoes with sirloin tips and button mushrooms. A fruit and cheese extravaganza was also served.
Elaine Mincey of Johns Island, South Carolina, designed the bride’s cake. It was a three-tier butter cream cake with white Italian icing and adorned with fresh pink roses and stargazer lilies. For the groom, she created a chocolate cake, iced in chocolate buttercream, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with fresh strawberries.
Parents of the groom hosted a rehearsal dinner the evening of the 26th at the 82 Queen Restaurant in the historical French Quarters of downtown Charleston.
After the wedding reception, the couple departed for a honeymoon on Tybee Island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia.
The bride graduated from Burnet High, Burnet, TX in 1999 and attended Odessa College. She is currently attending Southern Union College in Auburn, Alabama and is employed with the Financial Aid Department. The groom is a 1999 graduate of Medway High in Massachusetts and enlisted in the United States Navy. He is an engineering student at the University of Auburn and will be a commissioned officer in the Navy upon completion of his degree. The newlyweds will make their home in Charleston, South Carolina after graduation.
Marriages for January 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Alfonso Garcia and Claudia Ivonne Ortega Sigala.
Luis Fernando Salgado and Kalyn Denise Lara.
Dominique Granado Franco and Elizabeth Reyes.
Marriages for February 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Oscar Garcia Archuleta Jr. and Heather Lauren Abila.
David Florez Levario Jr. and Christine Candia Acosta.
David Rodriguez Reyes and Marissa Payen Valeriano.
Gilberto G. Gonzalez and Gina Lujan.
Fabian Medrano and Michelle Allana Martinez.
Pedro Natividad Dominguez and Valerie Pargas Rodriguez.
Joseph Louis Ortiz and Maylene Matta Contreras.
Marriages for March 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Jimmy Earl Lofton and Petra Chacon Alvarado.
Mark Anthony Navarrette and Lilibeth E. Holguin.
Divorces for January 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.
Gloria Hernandez Martinez and Jesus Armando Martinez.
Divorces for February 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office.
Luis U. Carrasco and Eban M. Carrasco.
Melody Shaw and Ronald Morgan Shaw.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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