Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
April 4, 2001
Barstow dealing with Post Office building danger
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 4, 2001 - Barstow residents are relying on a post office
with wheels to receive their mail.
The town's Post Office has been moved into a mobile unit located in
front of the regular building on FM 516 due to concerns about a neighboring
structure, according to Barstow Postmaster Gloria Avila.
"We hope this is just temporary," said Avila.
She said that they had been told to move into the mobile unit by officials
at the U.S. Postal Service's main regional office in San Antonio because
of concerns about the safety of the unoccupied building next door. "They
said they were afraid the building next door would collapse and that it
might fall on the post office," said Avila.
Avila said the Post Office has been located in the mobile unit for about
a week and that she hopes it's just a temporary solution. "We won't move
back into our building until we receive word from San Antonio," she said.
In the meantime, she said she is there to help the customers in Barstow
and apologizes for the inconvenience. "I'm here a little bit earlier, from
7:15 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. and from 1-5 p.m.," said Avila.
"Of course, they do have to come and ask for their mail, but I'm happy
to accommodate them," she said.
Pecos Postmaster Herman Armendariz said he had heard about the move,
but didn't know the reason. "I had heard something about the move, but
didn't know why," he said.
The problems with the Barstow Post Office come at a time when the U.S.
Postal Service is considering service cutbacks and possible Post Office
closings to deal with projected financial losses.
Proposals to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and close or consolidate
some post offices and facilities has caused Congressional representatives
to ask why the cuts are needed, especially since a rate increase went into
effect in January.
"We need to know what happened here," Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said
in a statement, noting that the Postal Service was projecting big gains
entering the holiday season last year.
"The Postal Service can't continue to run this way without serious harm
to the affordable mail service the American people deserve," he said.
Postmaster General William Henderson was among those called to testify
at Wednesday's hearing before Burton's House Government Reform Committee.
The Postal Service receives no taxpayer money for its operations, but
remains a government agency and operates under laws set by Congress. After
five years in the black, the post office had a $199 million loss last fiscal
Among the problems cited by the Postal Service are wage rate increases
larger than the rate of inflation, rising fuel costs, greater competition
and increasing use of electronic alternatives like the Internet. There
also has been a drop in mail volume because of the poor economy, further
reducing anticipated income.
Tuesday, the Postal Service announced a study of options to dig out
of its hole, such as cutting back to a five-day schedule that would eliminate
mail delivery on Saturdays. The agency also will examine how much money
can be saved by consolidating and closing postal plants and offices.
The Postal Service embarked on a major modernization effort for its
Post Offices around the United States in the 1990s. New buildings were
built or leased to replace aging structures while the agency was reporting
The Postal Service announced in 1999 it would seek a new location for
its Pecos Post Office, to replace the three-story Post Office building
at Fourth and Oak streets that was built in 1935. A site at Eighth and
Cedar streets was selected later in the year and plans for the new building
with added parking spaces was drawn up. But those plans were delayed last
year, and earlier this month the Postal Service said it was freezing more
than 800 new construction and leasing projects across the country due to
the budget deficit.
The financial savings of going to five-day service could be substantial,
said S. David Fineman, vice chairman of the post office's governing board
and one of those scheduled to testify.
"It could offset the amount of the loss that we have, and we would hope
that whatever actions we take will be able to cause us to ask for less
of a rate increase," he said.
The price of first class mail went up a penny to 34 cents in January.
Postal managers plan to apply this summer for another rate increase, to
take effect next year.
The American Postal Workers Union, which has 366,000 members nationwide,
said it would "vigorously" oppose closing any facilities, which would require
"The effect of such activity on the APWU membership would be dramatic
as the number of duty assignments would be reduced and employees would
be required to relocate to more distant locations," William Burrus, the
union's executive vice president, said in a statement.
Critics of the agency questioned the purpose of the new study.
"The Postal Service should be focusing on issues they can implement
now and management decisions they can implement without congressional approval,"
said Robert McLean, director of the Virginia-based Mailers Council, a coalition
of businesses and mailing groups.
He said the agency should focus on cutting its work force of about 798,000
The new study will examine ending Saturday delivery for all mail except
overnight delivery. The study won't consider closing post office windows
for other Saturday services.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Task force stops cash theif's trip to Reno
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, April 4, 2001 - The Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force seized over $14,000
of what was first believed to by drug money but turned out to be stolen
cash from an Arkansas business during a check of passengers at the Greyhound
Bus Station on Tuesday.
John Wesley Kelp, 31, of Illinois was arrested at 9:15 a.m., when Task
Force agents discovered the money in Kelp's travel bags.
Lt. Larry Arredondo said that upon discovering the money they believed
that it was drug money but soon learned it was stolen money.
"After running a check on him it was discovered that the money carried
by Kelp was stolen money from IGA Grocery Store," he said.
Arredondo said that Kelp had stolen the money from the IGA supermarket
in Mountain Home, Ark.
"He was a night manager with the store and he had stolen the money from
the store safe," he said.
Kelp was on his way to Reno, NV when local Task Force agents discovered
Arredondo said that after running his name through the system, they
discovered that Kelp already had a warrant out for theft by Arkansas police.
The Trans-Pecos Drug Task force is now assisting the Arkansas police
in recovery of the stolen money and is holding Kelp at the Reeves County
Help sought on Saturday for trash clean-up project
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 4, 2001 - Volunteers are still needed to help locally with
the annual Texas Trash-Off, scheduled for this Saturday beginning at 8
a.m. in Pecos.
"We're doing this trash-off in conjunction with the `Don't Mess With
Texas' campaign," said Pecos Beautification Project member Michael Benavides.
The group is going to meet at Maxey Park at the Gazebo and will take
it from there.
Benavides said that he realized the Reeves County Health Fair had been
scheduled for this Saturday as well, but plans for the trash-off were made
to coincide with the Texas Department of Transportation's statewide project.
"We'll have a major cleanup once the city gets the permit for the landfill
and we receive word from them to go ahead," said Benavides.
He said that as part of the future cleanup, the beautification committee
plans to pick up bigger items and old, abandoned houses will be torn down.
"Some of the old, abandoned houses will be torn down, because they are
creating a health hazard," said Benavides. "The problem right now is where
to put the debris."
This Saturday the group will target areas along West County Road, Lincoln
Street and Walthall Street on the south side of Pecos.
"We're going to try to get the employees at Wal-Mart to clean the land
around that area," said Benavides.
Benavides said that the manager of the local store, Olga Guebara is
a member of the Beautification Committee and had agreed to help out with
this weekend's venture.
Lamar AEP Director Jimmy Dutchover will have his students out on Friday,
to kick off Saturday's event. "He'll start out on Friday and we will continue
on Saturday," said Benavides.
Texas-New Mexico Power Company will also start early. They will be cleaning
up Friday, since they are participants at this year's Reeves County Health
Fair, scheduled for Saturday morning at the Reeves County Hospital.
"We're challenging all church and civic organizations to come out and
support the Beautification Committee on Saturday," said Benavides.
"But we plan a bigger clean-up within the next few months," said Benavides.
"By then we hope to have somewhere to dispose of the bigger items," he
More than 100,000 volunteers will take to the highways, streets, vacant
lots and city parks, on Saturday, to declare war on trash in the Lone Star
As participants in the 16th Annual Don't Mess With Texas
Trash-Off, Texans will be going to extreme measures to pick up after those
who have dared to trash their communities. From airlifting junked cars
to picking up thousands of individual cigarette butts, no job is too big
or too small for this `extreme clean brigade.'
"We are extremely grateful for the way our Trash-Off volunteers demonstrate
their Texas pride, but it's hard work for 100,000 volunteers to pick up
after 17 million people," said Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
Travel Division Director Doris Howdeshell.
Don't Mess With Texas Trash-Off volunteers will pick up an estimated
two million tons of litter in time for the spring wildflower season. This
massive statewide cleanup is organized by TxDOT and is fueled by volunteers
from Adopt-a-Highway groups and Keep Texas Beautiful communities around
In Reeves County, there are 13 Adopt-a-Highway groups who keep 16 miles
of road clean during the year. Among the Adopt-a-Highway groups participating
in this year's Trash-Off are Gibson True Value employees; Texas-New Mexico
Power Company; Reeves County Sheriff's Posse and Polo Team; Reeves County
CSCD Adult Probation; Reeves County Sheriff's Department and Reeves County
Juvenile Probation. In addition, Keep Texas Beautiful volunteers will clean
city streets, county roads, vacant lots, and city parks in Pecos and Balmorhea.
Other groups will be urged to join the Adopt-a-Highway program during
According to TxDOT, the number of groups adopting highways in Texas
has hit a plateau of approximately 3,800 volunteer groups at a time when
Texas has more miles of road and more drivers than ever before.
"Currently, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers clean only 10 percent of the
state's roadways and state tax dollars must be used to keep the remaining
stretches clean," aid Glen W. Larum, the Adopt-a-Highway coordinator for
the Odessa District. "Adopting a highway not only helps to keep our section
of the state clean, it also allows tax dollars to be used for road improvements
and beautification instead of trash pickup," said Larum.
Anyone interested in participating in the Don't Mess With Texas Trash-Off
can call 915-498-4746, 1-800-CLEAN-TX, or visit www.dontmesswithtexas.org
and www.ktb.org for more information.
Rec Department continues softball sign-ups for girls
PECOS, April 4, 2001 - The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation
Department is continuing to sign up girls between the ages of 7 and 12
for its softball program.
Registration fee is $10 per player and both parents must sign a form
and bring their daughter's birth certificate when registering at the RCCRD
office in the old Pecos High School gym. Sign-ups began in March and the
deadline to register is April 27.
For further information, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.
PECOS, April 4, 2001 - High Tuesday 95. Low this morning 52. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Thursday:
Partly cloudy. High in the upper 90s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Thursday
night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low near
60. Friday: Partly cloudy and windy: With a slight chance of thunderstorms.
High in the mid to upper 80s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Highs
in the upper 70s.
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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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise