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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Local stores preparing for sales tax holiday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- This coming weekend is a good time to buy new clothes  for youngsters with school right around the corner, as the State of Texas  will be holding its third annual Sales Tax Holiday.

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander said that most clothes and shoes can be purchased tax-free during the upcoming holiday, which will be this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"This is the one weekend when hard-working Texans can keep their dollars in their pockets for their family priorities," said Rylander. "No state or local sales tax will be charged on clothes and shoes priced under $100.

"This well-deserved tax break for hard-working Texas families applied to new school clothes for the kids and work clothes for mom and dad," she said. Uniforms for school or work can also be purchased tax-free.

Rylander estimated that Texas families will save a combined $39.6 million in state and local sales taxes this weekend.

In 2000 shoppers saved $37 million in sales taxes and in 1999 they saved $32.6 million during the Sales Tax Holiday.

Local department stores will be participating in the tax-free weekend and have already prepared for the many customers.

"We'll be participating in the tax-free weekend again this year," said Beall's Department Store Manager Delma Arreguy.

She said the store has been receiving freight everyday and the employees have been working diligently in getting ready for the big event.

"We've been busy getting everything in order," said Arreguy. "We had a big turnout last year and hopefully we will have a bigger one this year."

Store hours for the weekend are from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 12-6 p.m., on Sunday.

"We will be participating in the tax-free weekend again this year and have prepared ourselves," said Olga Guebara, manager of Wal-Mart. "We've stocked and are expecting a good crowd."

Guebara said that underclothes were the biggest sellers last year and the store is fully stocked and prepared.

The store will be open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., on Friday and Saturday and from 11-7 on Sunday.

Other local stores that will be participating include Hollywood Boulevard, Desiree's Boutique, Needleworks, Family Dollar Store and Dollar General Store.

The Sales Tax Holiday applies to most clothing and footwear priced under $100, but does not include accessories, jewelry, watches, handbags, wallets and briefcases.

Tax free items will include, baby clothes, bathing suits, belts with attached buckles, boots-cowboy or hiking, caps/hats-baseball, fishing, golf or knitted, choir robes, coats and wraps, costumes, diapers-adult and baby, dresses, gloves (generally), gym suits and hooded sweatshirts, hosiery, jackets, jeans, jerseys-baseball and football, jogging apparel, such as bras, suits and shorts, neckwear and ties, pajamas, pants and trousers, raincoats and ponchos, robes, shirts, shoes-sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis or walking, socks (including athletic), shorts, suits, slacks and jackets, sweatshirts, sweat suits, sweaters, swimsuits and trunks, tuxedos (not rentals), underclothes, work clothes and uniforms.

Items that will be taxed this weekend are: accessories (generally)-barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets and watches, backpacks, baseball cleats and pants, belt buckles (without belt), boots-climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski and waders, buttons and zippers, cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics, dry cleaning services, football pants, golf gloves, handbags and purses, handkerchiefs, hard hats, helmets-bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle and sports, ice skates, jewelry, laundering services, leather goods-except belts and wearing apparel, pads-football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee and shoulder, personal flotation devices, rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear, and costumes), roller blades and skates, safety clothing, glasses, shoes-bicycle (cleated), bowling and golf.

New city jail construction progressing

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- Concrete for the first section of the new Pecos Law Enforcement  Center is due to be poured in the next few days, as construction on the  $5.6 million facility enters its second month.

Corplan Corrections Corp. is constructing the municipal criminal justice center, which will house both local inmates and U.S. Marshal Service inmates awaiting trial at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse here in Pecos. Construction on the project, to be located on Raul Florez Boulevard between Texas and Moore streets, is expected to take a year.

"Right now we have the building pads in and we're doing the sub-slab plumbing right now," said project superintendent Steve Nelson. "The concrete people are starting the foundation work, and we should be starting to pour the slab (which will be) probably about a third of the entire building slab within 10 days."

Nelson said the first pouring would be about 10,000 square feet out of the total 27,000 square-foot building. He added that the first section poured, "will be the inmate housing area, where the cells will actually be. Then we'll move into the kitchen area, and we'll do the administration area last."

Right now, Nelson said he has nearly two-dozen people at work on the Law Enforcement Center. "Today I've to 10 plumbers, seven concrete people and five dirt workers out there," he said. Along with moving dirt around, workers were in a trench at the center of the site where some of the sub-slab plumbing pipe will be laid.

After the project is completed, the 96-bed facility will be run by the city, which will in turn be paid a per diem rate by the U.S. Marshal's service for housing inmates in Pecos. Inmates waiting court dates in Pecos currently are being kept at other jail facilities around the Permian Basin.

City's 100-degree streak hits 25th consecutive day

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- With temperatures in Pecos surpassing the 100-degree mark  for the 25th consecutive day on Monday, and no cooling trend expected in  the near future, the National Weather Service has released  some information on heat waves, which could be helpful to area  residents dealing with the extreme heat in Pecos and the surrounding areas.

According to the Texas A&M Agriculture Extension Station's temperature records, temperatures in the month of July were 100 or above for most of the month. The only three days in July that were below 100 degrees were July 3, 4, and 5.

With such a high average temperature, residents of Pecos and Reeves County should be aware of the dangers of being out in the heat.

According to the weather service, Pecos is experiencing a heat wave, which is a prolonged period of excessive heat and humidity.

People should be aware of the heat index, which is a number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.

For instance, exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.

The weather service has given out a sheet of information that explains what could happen to a person who has been exposed to the heat for long periods of time and what should be done to avoid any heat related illness.

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion.

They usually involve the abdominal muscles or legs.

It is generally thought that the loss of water from heavy sweating causes the cramps.

If you get a heat cramp the best thing to do is get to a cooler place and rest in a comfortable position.

Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids by drinking a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.

Do not drink liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them because they could make the condition worse.

Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.

Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs.

This results in a mild form of shock.

If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen and the body temperature would keep rising and the victim may suffer a heat stroke.

A person who is suffering from heat exhaustion may have cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion.

However, the body temperature would be near normal.

To help someone with heat exhaustion get the person out of the heat and into a cooler place.

Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets.

If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks a half glass of water every 15 minutes, slowly.

Just as with heat cramps, do not give the person alcohol or caffeine.

Let the person rest in a comfortable position, and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.

A person could also suffer from a heat stroke, otherwise known as sunstroke, which is life threatening.

In the case of a heat stroke the victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working.

The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death could occur if the body is not cooled quickly.

A person with heat stroke has hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing.

The body temperature could be very high—sometimes as high as 105 degrees.

If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, the skin may be wet; otherwise, it would feel dry.

Since a heat stroke is life threatening, help is needed fast so call 911.

Then move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the body.

Immerse the victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it.

Watch for signals of breathing problems and keep the person lying down while continuing cooling down the body any way you can.

If the victim refuses water, is vomiting, or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.

In order to prevent any illness during a heat wave the weather service suggests many things that would help you protect yourself.

First of all, slow down and avoid strenuous activity.

If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day.

Stay indoors as much as possible.

If air-conditioning in not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun.

Remember, electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. The light colors would reflect away some of the sun's energy.

Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty.

Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.

Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine, they can make you feel good briefly but it makes the heat's effects on your body worse.

Eat small meals and eat more often.

Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.

Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

Commissioners study RCDC budget, schooling plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- A workshop for the Fiscal Year 2002 budget and an educational  agreement program with Odessa College were among the items discussed at a  special meeting of Reeves County Commissioners Court held Monday morning.

"This is just one workshop we'll be having to discuss next year's budget," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco told the group that a department head would be on hand to make a presentation to the group before the budget for the prison was set.

"We need to have it approved by October, so that we can have the public hearing in mid-September," said Galindo.

Franco said his staff would be ready to make their presentation and have everything in order by the middle of August.

"We can have our workshop on Aug. 13 and have the final public hearing in mid-September," said Galindo.

County auditor Lynn Owens said that valuations are up this year. "This is a good opportunity to set the three percent increase for the effective tax rate," said Owens. "It won't affect the local people, just the oil companies," he said.

"It won't raise or penalize anybody," said Owens. "Using the effective tax rate keeps the same level of money coming in each year," he said.

Franco reported that an open house is planned at the 1,000-bed addition, which has been named RCDC II, for mid-September.

"Operations are starting flow real well," said Franco. "We've stabilized the inmate flow."

Franco said the staff has grown to accommodate the prison population increase, and become more capable. "We've gotten rid of the people that don't belong there, that want to get into mischief," he said.

Franco said that they would be inviting dignitaries, both local and out-of-towners. "Other wardens from the region, the regional director from Dallas and others will be invited," said Franco.

Franco said the employees wanted to put on a real good presentation for the community and to show them what they do. "A lot of people have misconceptions about prisons and we want to show them what we do and what kind of operation we're running," he said.

Commissioners discussed an educational agreement between the RCDC and Odessa College.

"The personnel director made a presentation on this agreement on July 21 and we just need to formalize," said RCDC employee Belinda Salcido.

Salcido told the group that OC is providing training to the employees at $280 per person.

"This is only if the individual is not approved by TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)," said Salcido. "If they are approved TWC will pay for it."

Otherwise the county pays for the guard training, according to Salcido.

Salcido said that there had already been one class with 20 individuals in that class. "We're starting a new one today," she said.

Galindo asked how many had passed the required training. "We haven't gotten the results back yet, probably sometime this week and we'll let you know," said Salcido.

Galindo suggested trying to get an agreement or something going for evening classes, since the current classes that are being offered are held during the day.

"There might be some individuals that want to make a transition from the job they currently hold, but can't afford to quit yet, to take these classes," he said. "Maybe we can set some up in the evenings, so that they can still keep on working."

Salcido said she would look into it.

Deregulation plan won't affect area until 2002

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- As the electric deregulation begins today, and  Texas-New Mexico Power Company is preparing to enter the program by  offering Question and Answer seminars as well as providing any  organization information through various avenues.

The deregulation program does not affect any local customers yet, but T-NMP's West Texas Business Unit Manager Angela Romero said that by offering these seminars they will explain the Senate Bill 7 and what this means to customers when the program comes to the Trans-Pecos region next year.

"The whole idea of deregulation is new. We would also explain the set up of the utility companies and talk about the advertising, such as our logos and common names," Romero said. "The electric providers have to have different names."

However, Romero added that they would not be able to discuss rates.

"We can not get into discussing rate formulation," Romero said. "We will be able to provide them a list of electric providers that they will be able to contact."

The list is made by the Texas Public Utility Commission, in which all electric providers listed have been registered with the state before accepting customers.

Romero said that they would also provide Web Site addresses so that those looking for more information on the issue could get it on their own.

At 12:01 a.m., officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas began switching customers who signed up for Texas' electric deregulation pilot program to new electric competitors.

About 75 customers were switched over night. More than 90,000 customers have signed up for the pilot program, which allows up to 5 percent of a utility's customers to sign up for the trial run, said ERCOT spokeswoman Jennifer Taylor.

"We will continue switching customers and testing the system over the next seven months," Taylor said.

The pilot program which began today will end on December 31, 2001. After that, deregulation will become available for the entire state January 1, 2002, and will be the second of two phases, according to Romero.

The first phase is the pilot program, which is just a test to give electric industries experience with deregulation.

"We are making sure all market participants will be ready," Romero said.

With only a certain number of people who qualified for the pilot program none are from Pecos, Romero said.

The pilot program was first scheduled to begin June 1, but was delayed two months after computer problems caused three delays.

The second phase, which will begin on January 1, 2002, will begin the competition with all electric providers.

According to Romero, in the second phase there will be three parts to the utility service. They are generally who provides the electricity; transmission and distribution, which build the lines of electricity; and provide the customer service.

Out of the three parts, generation and the customer service will be the competitive area, while the transmission and distribution will continue to be regulated.

And for Texas-New Mexico Power Company this means that their affiliated retail provider would be First Choice Power Company.

Romero said they also wanted to make sure that customers would not be paying for features they had not asked for so they established a customer protection plan.

Some of the features are that customers will receive the features they have asked for and they will also be able to sign a paper in which would put them on the Do Not Call List.

"We will continue to maintain and build lines," Romero said. "We are here to stay, our reliability will not diminish."

Romero added that any organization wanting to set up a seminar, to call the region office for more information. Web Sites also offering information on the pilot program are,,,,, and

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

City vehicle used by pair jailed for PI

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena said today that  the truck that two local men were using when they were arrested  this weekend for public intoxication belonged to the city.

At about 4 a.m., Sunday morning, Michael Roy Pena, 18, who was driving a 1989 white Chevrolet pickup, was arrested along with Richard Paul Rodriguez, 17, and Juan Carlos Abila, 17, at Allsup's on Eddy Street, all for public intoxication.

The Pecos Police Department was called to the Allsup's after an employee pressed a panic alarm.

During an interview yesterday, Investigator Kelly Davis said that the employee pressed the alarm because there was a fight happening in the parking lot.

After given Breathalyzer tests on the scene, the three men arrested were determined to be legally drunk.

Yerena said that the vehicle that Pena was driving had been issued out to Pecos Fire Chief Roy Pena, Michael Pena's father.

He said that the fire chief had been using the white pickup while other volunteer firemen were using the fire chief's red truck to drive to fire school.

Yerena said that the chief was unaware that his son was using the white pickup.

"Apparently it was taken without the authorization by the fire chief," he said.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that there have not been any reports that the white pickup was stolen.

"As of today, the police department has not received a stolen vehicle report," he said.

Yerena said that the city does not have any plans to bring charges against Michael but they are taking steps to make sure something like this would never happen again.

"The city is going to take appropriate action to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "My issues are not with his son. My issues are with the chief."

McKinney said that there have not been any charges filed at this time involving unauthorized use of the city vehicle or the fight that occurred the morning of the arrests.

If any charges will be filed involving the city vehicle, McKinney said that the city will be responsible for it.

"The city would be the one responsible for filing charges," he said. "Because the city's the owner."

Back-to-school clean-up effort set for Saturday

PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- A Back-To-School Cleanup will be held this coming Saturday morning.

The group will meet at the Odessa College Campus Parking Lot on South Eddy Street beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Volunteers are needed to help get Pecos ready for back to school and clean up the community.


PECOS, Tuesday, July 31, 2001 -- High Monday 104. Low this morning 71. Rainfall last 24  hours at Texas A&M Agriculture Experiment Station .30 inch.  Total for month .46 inch. Total for year 3.10 inches. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 70s. Southeast wind 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High around 100. Southeast wind 5 to  15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid  70s. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Highs  from the upper 90s to 102.

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