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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, May 18, 2000

County's unemployment at two-year low

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - Unemployment in Reeves County dropped below the 10 percent mark for the first time in nearly two years last month, according to figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The county's jobless rate for April was 9.8 percent, the lowest since May of 1998, when unemployment in Reeves County was at 8.1 percent. A combination of the ongoing West Texas drought and plunging oil prices during the spring and summer of 1998 caused the unemployment rate to jump into double digits, where it remained until last month.

The TWC said that while the number of workers in the county's labor force declined by 59 last month, to 6,901, the number of jobs in the county increased by 22 in April, allowing unemployment to drop from March's 10.8 percent figure. A total of 674 people were without jobs the TWC said, down from 755 in March.

Compared to April of a year ago, the jobless rate in Reeves County is down from 11.4 percent, when there were 6,951 people in the local labor force and 793 people unemployed.

Unemployment for the Town of Pecos City remains in double digits, but is also down compared with the totals for both March and April of 1999. The city's jobless rate last month was 11.2 percent, with 603 people unemployed out of a 5,407-person workforce. The total is 1.2 percent lower than in March and 1.8 below last April's total.

The number of jobs in Pecos increased by 17 from March to April, and the 4,804 total is up 53 from a year earlier.

The city and county totals followed the pattern across the Permian Basin, as the improving oil economy has cut joblessness in almost every area.

Unemployment in the Midland-Odessa area for April was 5.8 percent, down from 6.4 percent in March and from nine percent a year ago. Ector County's jobless rate fell from 11 percent last year to 6.7 percent in April, while Midland County's rate fell from 7.0 to 4-9 percent.

Neighboring Ward County had a jobless rate of 8.8 percent in April, down from 12.3 percent a year ago. Pecos County saw its jobless rate fall from 7.8 percent to 5.7 percent in the past year, and Winker County's unemployment has been cut almost in half, dropping from 15.2 to 7.7 percent.

Presidio County continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the area, at 23.6 percent, but that number is down one percent in the past month, and 2.6 percent from a year ago.

Statewide, the April jobless rate was 4.1 percent, down from 4.4 percent in March. The Permian Basin's oil-related problems had only a small effect on Texas' unemployment rate last April, when joblessness was only 4.3 percent, according to the TWC.

Crockett lab construction running on schedule

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - Construction on the Crockett Middle School addition is on schedule, according to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Superintendent Don Love.

The 2000-01 school year will begin with the consolidation of the seventh and eighth grades to Crockett. In order to compensate for the growing number of students next year, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD decided to take sealed competitive proposals for the construction of a new science building.

"We want to take care of the kids," Love said.

Construction began early this spring on a new addition to the school that will include three combination science labs/classrooms, a computer lab and workrooms.

Juanita Davila, Crockett Middle School principal, said construction is moving quickly.

"They've made so much progress in the last week," Davila said.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members were told last week the work on the new building was slightly behind schedule, but Love said today, "We're either three days ahead or behind but not three weeks behind schedule."

Roof construction is scheduled to begin on Monday and should be completed by next Friday.

Funding for the new building comes from the school district's general fund.

With the new labs scheduled to be ready when school starts in August, the old science labs at Crockett have been torn apart and will be converted into classrooms.

"The science labs will be so unique for us," Davila said.

Students will be able to do more lab work because the classes will not have to share lab facilities, Davila said.

All equipment will be state-of-the-art and will include six computers in each combination lab/classroom in addition to the separate computer lab.

The next step will be a new, larger gym for Crockett, to handle both the seventh and eighth grade teams.

"Hopefully we will have a new gym next year," Davila said.

"You've got to continuously look toward the future," Love said.

Davila plans to have a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the building.

The new 7,762 sq. ft. building should be completed by August 1.

Team to survey Pecos to identify community needs

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - A Texas Rural Development Council Resource Team will be in Pecos next month, to help the city better identify needs and project goals for the near future.

The team will be in town on June 6-8 for the event, sponsored by the Town of Pecos City Council. It is made up of a panel of Texas Rural Development Council partners, individuals from outside the community who are actively involved in some area of rural community development. The Resource Team Members volunteer their time and services as a Resource Team Member.

The TRDC Resource Team will try to help Pecos in developing an objective community assessment based on community input; and will hold Listening Session for the community-at-large and facilitate a Resource Team Town Meeting.

Members will then deliver a Resource Team Report to the community, complete with Resource Team Member's personal recommendations and providing Post-Resource Team support and follow-up.

The community is invited to attend Listening Sessions, which are held all day on Wednesday, June 7 and on the morning of June 8, in order to answer the following three questions: "What are the major problems and challenges in your community?"; "What are the major strengths and assets of your community?" and "What projects would you like to see accomplished in the next two, five, 10 or 20 years?"

The Resource Team's Town Meeting will be held the night of Thursday, June 8. During the meeting, the Listening Session responses will be read; and five to 15 of the Major Themes in the community are given. The Resource Team Members will then give the community a preview of their recommendations that will be in the Resource Team Report and the community is given a chance to speak.

In an effort to foster as much community participation as possible, community sectors have been requested to publicize the Resource Team visit and to recruit individuals to attend the Listening Sessions.

"All community members are invited to attend one of the Listening Sessions, even if they have not been previously contacted," said city manager Kenneth Neal.

For information on the Resource Team effort, the Listening Session process, or the Listening Session agenda, contact Kenneth Neal at 445-2421.

PHS grad Holland joining Enterprise staff

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - A former Pecos resident has returned to her hometown to get her feet on the ground and at the same time gather experience.

Leia Holland, the newest member of the Pecos Enterprise will be covering a variety of topics and doing feature writing for the local newspaper.

Holland is a 1996 graduate of Pecos High School and most recently a graduate of West Texas A&M with a degree in Mass Communications, an emphasis on broadcasting.

"I wanted to live closer to my family and at the same time get my feet on the ground, gather some experience in the journalism world," said Holland.

Holland enjoys spending time with her family, her parents, Judy and Walter Holland and her brother, Grant.

"I've been getting closer to my brother and want to spend more time with him, now that we're older," said Holland. "And he'll be leaving soon for college, so this is a good time to spend with him."

Holland also enjoys photography and "home" movie-making. "I want to start editing little movies and doing more photography work."

Holland began work at the newspaper on Monday, writing on different topics.

"It's pretty cool, I just have to get used to being back," she said.

The newspaper business is different from her studies, but so far she states she has enjoyed it. "It's definitely different than what I studied," said Holland. "Before I had to worry about getting one story done in a week and now I actually have to do a story a day," she said.

Holland we'll be seen more around town as she is sent out on various assignments. As for the staff at the Enterprise, they're just glad she's joined the group.

"We're happy to have Leia on our staff," said managing editor Jon Fulbright. "Having grown up here, she already knows a lot about Pecos, and that should help her adjust to her job."

Balmorhea school board superintendent finalists

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - New superintendent candidate finalists will be chosen tonight during a special meeting of the Balmorhea Independent School District board.

Region 18 Executive Director Bryan LaBeff will bring a list of applicants, from all over the state, to the board members, who are looking to replace outgoing superintendent Dr. Carl Hoffmeyer.

In closed session, the board members will choose finalists to go through the interview process.

The finalists will be contacted tomorrow and interviews will begin Monday.

"Depending on how many candidates are chosen, the interviews might begin Sunday," Hoffmeyer said.

The board will also discuss personnel during the meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the boardroom on First and El Paso streets in Balmorhea.

OC schedules summer session registration dates

PECOS, May 18, 2000 - Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College will be having Summer I Registration next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23 and May 24.

Hours for registration on those dates will be 8 a.m. until noon and 1-6 p.m., at 320 S. Oak St., Suite 4.

Final work is being completed on the new Odessa College satellite campus building on South Eddy Street. Summer classes will begin there on May 30 and end July 6.

For more information call 445-5535.


PECOS, May 18, 2000 - High Wednesday 96. Low this morning 60. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 55-60. Wind becoming northeast 10-20 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy and cooler. High in the mid 80s. East wind 10-20 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 55-60. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 55-60. High 80-85.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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