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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, July 21, 2000

Stable oil prices boosts drilling, workers sought

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - Stabilizing oil prices over the past several months has meant more people are going back to drilling wells, while more workers are still needed in the oil field business.

"They're going back to drilling more wells and this is working positively," said executive vice-president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association Morris Burns.

Oil prices began their rise late last year, from a low of $10 barrel in late 1998. But many drillers were wary of beginning projects even with the price of oil above the $25 range, in fear that oil could again drop to a level below which new wells could be drilled profitably.

However, over the past several months the price of oil has remained in the $30 range, and drilling activity has picked up. The average number of rotary rigs in operation so far this month in the United States was put at 930 by Baker-Hughes Inc., up from a low of 763 in February of this year.

"They're not only drilling more wells, but restructuring old wells that had been out of production and putting them back into producing," said Burns.

He added that now that more wells are being drilled, personnel are needed to work as oilfield hands. "There are a lot of people that are drilling wells, that are the experts and need helpers to work with them," Burns said.

The oil business is a mature business, but the oil wells in this area won't have any affect on oil prices. "Now, if Iraq or Iran, who produce millions of barrels of oil were to re-open more wells, then it would affect the oil prices positively, they would go down," said Burns.

"If they start drilling more wells, it would affect all the oil prices, but here we only produce about 8-9 barrels of oil (per well), which isn't that much, compared to those countries," he said.

Oil field workers _ the backbone of the industry _ fled the business in droves in the past three years, leaving the companies that persevered through the hard times searching for qualified workers to run their drilling rigs.

The state Labor Department has tracked a decline in the number of workers in the state's oil and gas extraction industries dating back to 1997.

Comparing the month of February to the same month in the previous two years shows a 3.6 percent increase in the number of workers in 2000 from 1999. Compared to February 1998, however, the numbers of oil and gas workers in the state has dropped almost 15 percent _ from 10,200 to the present 8,700.

Nationally, the drain on qualified personnel hasn't been limited to the field. Layoffs and cutbacks have driven knowledgeable oil workers at all levels to competing industries, said Mark Kobelan, president of Marquee Corp. in Houston.

Along with West Texas, the shortage in rig workers has affected neighboring states of New Mexico and Oklahoma as well. Drilling companies in Oklahoma this spring went as far as to begin advertising available oilfield jobs among inmates preparing to leave prisons in that state, in hopes of filling the numerous vacancies.

While U.S. gasoline prices have come down slightly from their historic highs in recent weeks, the price of oil remained at $29.30 a barrel in commodities trading on Wall Street this morning.

Police probe death of man in trailer

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - Pecos police are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered in a trailer shortly after 11 a.m. today.

Police and Emergency Medical Services personnel were called to the trailer, parked outside a home at 510 W. Lincoln St., following a 911 call, but the EMS call was canceled a short time later. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Amanario Ramon pronounced the man, identified as Armando Armendariz, 40, dead at 11:30 a.m.

Police investigator Olga Lopez took pictures of the scene inside the trailer, and officers roped off the area on the Plum Street side of the house as part of their investigation.

"Our department policy is we investigate every death of a suspicious nature as a homicide until we determine otherwise," said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney.

Armedariz lived in the home next to the trailer, and McKinney said his wife was the one who found her husband's body. The police chief said he did not know why Armendariz was in the trailer outside the home, but added the last time he had been seen alive was late Thursday evening.

The cause of death had not been announced as of 12:45 p.m. today, but McKinney said, "There were no weapons found in the trailer that I know of." An autopsy on Armendariz' body was ordered by Judge Ramon, he added.

State Theater set to reopen on Saturday

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - The newly renovated State Theater will open its' doors at 1 p.m., Saturday for the first public showing of "Chicken Run", the first film to play in the Oak Street movie house in 10½ years.

"We're having a soft opening," Lillian Creasy, co-owner, said. "The grand opening will come later."

Creasy said the grand opening would be after they finish the balcony and rest a little.

Her husband, Richard, and she have been working on renovating the theater for a year.

Creasy said before buying the theater, they discussed what they wanted to do for retirement.

"When we came to Pecos and saw the for sale sign we knew that is what would happen," she said.

Creasy said at 8 p.m., tonight there will be a sneak preview for invited guests that have helped the Creasys in the past year.

"We want to thank everybody who has supported us and stood behind us," Creasy said.

The Creasys want to especially thank two boys who have worked for them voluntarily without complaint, Patrick McChesney and Mathew Montanez.

As part of the renovation, the Creasys are having a mural painted by local artist, Jacob Ornelas and would also like to thank him as well.

The Creasys would also like to thank all the applicants for positions at the theater. They hired a few people outside of the ones who have been working for them already. They will be going through the interview process again once school starts.

The theater was last open for movies on Dec. 31, 1989, when United Artists Theaters shut down all of their single-screen movie houses in Texas to concentrate on the more profitable multi-screen theaters. The Creaseys reopened the theater during West of the Pecos Rodeo Week, to allow the annual Pecos Melodrama to be performed on the State's stage, which also was rebuilt as part of the renovation project.

The theater will officially reopen with first public showing of "Chicken Run" at 1 p.m., Saturday, and will show again every two hours. It will be open seven days a week until school starts. Each day the box office will open at 12:30 p.m.

Once school starts the theater will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Each movie will run from Friday to Thursday of each week. "'Chicken Run" will show until Thursday and "Mission Impossible 2" will be the next movie on Friday, July 28.

Admission will be $4 for every individual.

RCSD staff seek pay hike from county

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - Reeves County Sheriff's Department employees will be seeking salary increases at Monday morning's regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

Commissioners will meet at 10 a.m., Monday, on the third floor of the. The public is invited to attend.

Aside from the request for a salary increase from the sheriff's department staff, commissioners will tour the Reeves County Detention Center construction. The tour will follow their regular meeting.

Commissioners will discuss and take action to declare machine gun surplus and authorize sale; maintenance department salaries, and will hear Banes General Contractors' Request for Payment No. 1 Support Services Building and DRG Architects request for payment invoice #193.

The court will also discuss and take action on a bid on paint; construction of a walking/running track; perimeter patrol pickup vehicles and will listen to an update on the waterline construction to the RCDC by Frank X. Spencer and Associates and the Town of Pecos City.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on RCDC vehicles and equipment salvage; an RCDC contract between Eric Holt and Reeves County and appoint election judges/clerks FY 2000-2001. Salary grievance committee FY 2000 will be appointed.

In regular business commissioners will discuss and take action on:

· Reports from various departments.

· Budget amendments and line item transfers.

· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, sheriff's office, recreation department, justice of the peace office).

· Minutes from previous meetings.

· Discuss budget workshop: revenue and expenditures budget: general fund and road and bridge employee salaries.

· Spread on minutes: Trans-Pecos Task Force resolution and cooperative agreement for the formation of and participation in the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and continuing education Certificate Justice of the Peace Clerk _ Elodia Garcia.

Trucker jailed for smuggling illegal aliens

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - U.S. Border Patrol agents stationed in Pecos rescued nine people who were being smuggled in a cargo trailer last Sunday.

According to a Border Patrol Agent, the group was heading for Dallas when a citizen witnessed the driver feeding the illegal aliens inside the trailer at the Flying J Truck Stop. The citizen then called the agents, anonymously.

After arriving on the scene, agents arrested the driver, who is currently being held for alien smuggling.

The group of aliens included three adult males, five adult females and a three-year-old girl.

The child and females were returned to Mexico voluntarily. The males are being held as material witnesses for charges filed against the driver in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

The Border Patrol in their report did not provide the identity of the driver and the illegal aliens.

Fire Department holding car wash for camera funds

PECOS, July 21, 2000 - The Pecos Fire Department will be having a car wash starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Central Fire Hall on South Cedar Street.

Money raised from the car wash will go toward the Fire Department's purchase of a Rescue Cam.

Prices are $8 for cars, $10 for trucks and $12 for Suburbans and other sport utility vehicles. Donations are welcome.

The fire fighters will be able to pick up and deliver vehicles.

For more information or for vehicle pick up and delivery call 445-3519.


PECOS, July 21, 2000 - High Thursday 105. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low 70-75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 95-100. Southeast wind 10-20 mph and gusty. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 70-75. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High 95-100.

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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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