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Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Local officials push U.S. 285 expansion

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 - A group of Reeves County citizens were in San Angelo Tuesday, to make a presentation to the Texas Department of Transportation on improving the main north-south highway through the county.

"We made a presentation on behalf of Pecos and Reeves County," said Chamber of Commerce Director Tom Rivera, who made the trip to the public hearing on updating the Texas Trunk Highway System. He was joined at the hearing by Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford and her husband Joe, city manager Kenneth Neal and Chamber president Jeannette Alligood and her husband Dick.

"They're checking on public input on existing criteria on establishing a Trunk System and have 285 designated," said Rivera.

TxDOT created the trunk system 10 years ago, and is currently holding hearing to update that plan. Roads listed on the system would be expanded from two lane highways to four-lane divided highways in the fiture.

U.S. 285 is currently not designated as part of the trunk system between Ft. Stockton to the New Mexico area. The section from Sanderson to Fort Stockton was included in the original plan, and Rivera said, "We're pushing for that (designation)."

The group made a presentation to the Texas Department of Transportation and had representatives on hand. "One of our speakers pointed out that one of the criteria in designating U.S. 285 is the hazardous waste traveling on that highway in route to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant," said Rivera.

The speaker stated that it should be included in the criteria, because of the waste site, according to Rivera.

WIPP trucks from five sites in the eastern United States are scheduled to begin using U.S. 285 between Pecos and Loving, N.M. to transport hazardous waste cargo to the underground site southeast of Carlsbad, N.M. Waste from six western sites is also designated for the WIPP site, and the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of New Mexico earmarked $120 million in funds to widen U.S. 285 from two to four lanes from Loving to Interstate 40 in northern New Mexico.

TxDOT did say last year it has proposed funding in the FY 2006 budget to construct a loop around the east side of Pecos, so trucks would no longer have to travel along Cedar Street through the downtown area. The loop would use the existing Collie Road overpass with a new Farm-to-Market highway to be built north of Business I-20 (Third Street) and south of Interstate 20.

County OKs RCDC bills, parking plan

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners approved several requests for payments related to the ongoing expansion of the Reeves County Detention Center and discussed expanding the parking area at the prison during the regular meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court held Monday morning.

DRG Architect's request for payment invoice #156 was approved in the amount of $4,305, along with invoice #160 in the amount of $35,108. A request for payment for Banes General Contractors in amount of $1.4 million and payment to Frank Spencer and Associates in the amount of $2,090 for infrastructure work was approved.

DRG Architects and Banes General Contractors are currently the architects and contractors working on the 1,000-bed addition at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"Everything is on schedule, there's been a lot of progress done, a lot of internal work," said Mark Schumacker with Banes General Contractors.

He invited the court to visit the facility and see the progress of the construction. "We're still under-budget and any amount not spent will be returned to the county," said Schumacker.

In conjunction with the construction at the facility, commissioners discussed parking at the site for the employees who are working on the construction.

"Because of the 100-plus people working out there, it has created some safety issues, because of the vehicles parked on the county roads," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "Taking out the big farm tractors and maneuvering them at that location is posing a problem for one of the farmers there," he said.

Galindo said that establishing a site for parking was one of the solutions brought up. "This will hopefully alleviate some of these safety issues and look into discontinuing the county road or part of it, but that last part would be a future agenda item," he said.

Galindo said Trey Miller owns the farm adjacent to the facility. He has offered to rent out some space for parking at $400 per month for the next eight months.

"We're encroaching on Mr. Miller's property and he was willing to make us a parking area, which will be located right across from the construction site," said Schumacker. "No addition funds will be required to pay for the parking area, it will be taken out of the funds already allocated for construction," said Schumacker.

A resolution was approved for setting the Central Counting Station for the March 14 Democratic primary election, along with a resolution for Texas Community Development Program Contract.

"Early voting will begin Feb. 26, with the election slated for March 14," said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez. "People have been appointed to serve in the central counting station."

On the resolution for Texas Community Development Program Contract, Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin said, "Basically we need to have four signatures to administer this grant that we will receive from the Texas Community Program."

Two signatures are to be able to request for payments and two for purchases, according to Tarin.

"These monies will not be asked for until expenditures are done," said Tarin.

A pharmaceuticals services contract was approved for a two-year period versus the one-year period previously implemented. "I haven't had a chance to speak to Dr. (David) Lovett, but we want to do the same with the dental services," said Galindo.

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco told the group that dental services would soon be handled within the facility. "He'll be going out there to the prison, where a small dental office will be set up basic instruments," said Franco. "This will save wear and tear on the employees and they won't have to bring the inmates into town."

Agreement between the Reeves County Juvenile Center and Pecos County was approved.

Galindo told the group that at the last juvenile board meeting, juvenile probation officer Alberto Alvarez had suggested that the facility cease operations and the local juveniles be sent out to other counties. "Right now, its only being used a holdover facility," said Galindo.

This proposal was only a recommendation by Alvarez and the matter will be discussed again at the next juvenile board meeting scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, on the third floor of the courthouse.

An interlocal agreement between Reeves County and Town of Pecos City FY 2000 and an interlocal agreement cooperation contract for Natural Resources Conservation Services Between Reeves County and Upper Soil and Water Conservation District were approved. Both are contracts already in place that needed to be renewed.

A Reeves County On-Site Sewage Facilities Regulations Amendment was approved by the court. "There was just one item that was found to be in deficiency," said Town of Pecos City Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil. "I went ahead and added that in there."

Everybody that does site and soil work needs to attend a Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission class and pass it. "These were the only changes we received and we already had it published in the paper," said Gil.

Personnel and salary changes included new hire Zulema Dominguez at the Reeves County Auditor's Office at $16,000 per year; Catalina Y. Lozoya as Deputy Treasurer with the treasurer's office at $13,000; Liz Vega, as a low-impact aerobics instructor and a high impact aerobics instructor substitute for the recreation department on a part-time basis at the recreation department at $6 and $8 respectively; Jorge Munoz as a full-time Roadway Maintenance Tech I for the Road and Bridges Department at $13,977 per year; Ruben Cazares from Tech II, to a Welder Position with the Road and Bridges Department, at $16,640; and at the Reeves County Detention Center, Trinidad Ortega, Jesus Orona, Cecilia Muniz, Adolfo Gomez, Rodolfo Hernandez and Letty Armendariz as Correctional Officers I at $19,000 per year.

Balmorhea coping with plant's shut down

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Enterprise reported last month on the announcement that Brunswick Corporation would close it maquiladora bicycle plants in Balmorhea and Ojinaga, Mex., in order to save money by contracting to have the bicycles built in China. This story on the closing was released today by the Associated Press.
Associated Press Writer
BALMORHEA - Already hit hard by drought, the tiny West Texas town of Balmorhea now must cope with the loss of its only real industry.

The company that owns a bicycle distribution center in Balmorhea and two assembly plants in the border town of Ojinaga, Mexico, plans to close them by the end of June and move production to Asia.

The closures mean 750 people in Ojinaga and 24 in Balmorhea will lose their jobs.

"I thought there was room to advance to a higher position - a foreman or something," said Antonio Contreras, a 23-year-old forklift operator at the distribution center. "Now it's just kind of down the drain."

Contreras said he is one of the lucky ones: He has already lined up a job as a machinist in Odessa, 100 miles away.

News of the closures "was very upsetting, because the atmosphere here is wonderful, here and in Mexico," said 23-year-old secretary Teresa Rodriguez, who plans to go back to school. "Everyone's taking it very hard."

Most residents of Balmorhea are farmers or ranchers, while some work for the schools, do maintenance for the state highway department or work for Balmorhea State Park, known for its spring-fed swimming pool.

A long drought has hurt the cotton-farming community of about 750.

Less than three years ago, the so-called twin plants opened in Balmorhea and Ojinaga, a town just across the U.S.-Mexico border from Presidio and 100 miles southwest of Balmorhea.

Balmorhea was chosen for the distribution center because of its access to Interstate 10 and proximity to Interstate 20.

The center ships parts for Roadmaster brand mountain bikes to the two assembly plants in Mexico, which then send finished products back to Balmorhea to be shipped nationwide.

After the opening of the distribution center, which has employed up to 32 people, "everybody was starting to fix their houses and buy some good automobiles," said Mayor Ismael Rodriguez.

Now, Rodriguez said, "they'll probably go on unemployment. I don't know what kind of jobs they're going to look for."

He said the town hopes to attract another twin plant.

The distribution center opened in

McCormicks receive award for work within community

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 - A longtime Pecos couple was honored this past Saturday with the Hidden Hero/Profile of Courage Award at the annual Pecos Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

Mac McCormick, who started a career with the railroad as a telegraph operator and retired as the Vice President after 40 years, and his wife Billie received the honor at Saturday's banquet.

"These two without any fanfare have silently and gently brought great influence to this community, including their family, and countless friends," said Ken Winkles, Sr. who presented the award to the McCormicks. "Not only by their achievements, but by the way they have conducted their own lives."

When anyone was in need of transportation to the doctor they were ready to take them there. When someone is in the hospital they are there to meet their needs, Winkles said. They have traveled many times, to Odessa and Midland just to check on someone, who needs someone to spiritually encourage and uplift them.

On several occasions this couple has put their own health concerns aside to assist otherS, according to Winkles.

"Their spiritual kindness and gentle manner makes them a welcome guest anywhere," said Winkles.

They frequently visit with friends at the nursing home. They have been very compassionate and caring to the residents through the years. On Sundays when their church has the nursing home program many of the residents will come forward to hear him sing one of their favorite songs, "How Great Thou Art."

The couple have lived in Pecos since 1948, and Winkles said the city became a better place, for they came to work, to share, to give of their talents and to serve God and raise their family, and these things they did with all their heart.

"It was here in Pecos that he was ordained a deacon in the West Park Baptist Church, and it was there he felt the call to the ministry, to which he followed God's will in his life. A life that has impacted many others since. In 1963 he took his first Pastorate in Orla, and later in Coyanosa and the past several years at North Temple Baptist Church," said Winkles.

The McCormick's award was a combination of the Hidden Hero and Ruiz Profile in Courage awards, which had been awarded separately at past Chamber banquets.

Board to discuss possible closing of juvenile center

PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 - The Reeves County Juvenile Board will discuss the future of the county's Juvenile Detention Center during their meeting set for 11:30 a.m. Thursday on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.

Officials will discuss Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez's recommendation for the center, located southwest of Pecos. Officials have been considering whether or not to close the facility, since it is unable to hold juveniles for long-term stays.

In connection with that, the board will also discuss/approve a detention contract between Reeves County and Pecos County for detention of Reeves County juvenile detainees.

Other items include approving the juvenile probation/juvenile policy manual, a Texas Juvenile Probation Commission grant contract for JJAEP personnel, and discuss/approve departmental policy on hiring probation and detention personnel.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 3-4-14-20-36. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $39,725. Winning tickets sold in: El Paso 2. Matching four of five: 180. Prize: $662.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-6-2 (one, six, two)


Chance Aaron Felts

Chance Aaron Felts, a newborn baby boy, died Friday, Feb. 11, 2000, at Odessa Regional Hospital.

Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, at Barstow Cemetery with Rev. Greer Willis officiating.

Survivors include his parents, Kenneth and Sonya Felts of Barstow; paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Seltz; maternal grandparents, Sandra Fred of Barstow, Glen Burkhalter of Seattle, Wash.; three brothers, Skyler McCoy and Kenneth Felts III of Barstow and Tyler Felts of Pecos; three sisters, Leslie Tollett, Stormy McCoy and Lorin McCoy all of Barstow.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 - High Tuesday 89. Low this morning 45. Forcast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 40-45. East to southeast wind 5-15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High near 80. Southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low around 40. Friday: Partly cloudy and cooler. High 60-65.

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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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