Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Baskets given to 600 locally by Food Bank
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 14, 2001 -- Approximately 600 families will be having a
better Thanksgiving after receiving various food products from the
West Texas Food Bank and numerous local charities this morning at Winkles
Trucking on Highway 17.
The Food Bank, along with North Temple Baptist Church, Santa Rosa Catholic
Church, Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida and Compassionate Care, handed out 150
pounds of food, including turkey, to needy families in Pecos between 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m., today
Executive Director of West Texas Food Bank Dolly Neff said that this is
the first year that the Food Bank has joined efforts with local charities
in the 22 counties the Food Bank serves for the holiday season.
According to Neff, there are 211 America's Second Harvest Food Banks across
the United States with the West Texas Food Bank being one of them along with
18 other food banks in Texas.
"We all serve multiple counties," she said. "The West Texas Food Bank
served 22 counties in rural West Texas, covering 45,000 square miles."
Neff and a crew of Food Bank employees, truck drivers and volunteers have
spent the past week boxing up and delivery food to needy families across
West Texas and delivered 42 tons of food in Pecos today.
Stops along the way to Pecos have included Midland, Big Spring, Fort Stockton
and Presidio with upcoming stops in El Paso and Odessa.
Neff said that at each stop, the Food Bank delivers food to at least 300
In 1985, Neff began working for the West Texas Food Bank when it was a
She began the work when her youngest child was in high school.
"I started working with the Food Bank because I wanted to help people,"
Neff explained that there was a need for food banks in 1985, but when
she began working there she expected the need to go away.
"We never thought we would be needed past a few years," she said.
However, Neff now believes that food banks across America are a major
infrastructure for the people.
She compares the importance of having food banks to having utility companies
"You've got to keep this one strong," she said. "We've got to stay healthy
and contribution is what makes you healthy."
Neff encourages people to donate money or food to local charities in order
to help stifle hunger in America.
She said that families in need go to the charities all year long but that
they can only give so much.
"They can only do what they can do when people support them," she said.
"So they need your support."
Neff said that a donation as small as five dollars would help and that
the donations are tax deductible.
Proof of what donations could do was seen today at Winkles Trucking when
many people received food that would last them a month to six weeks.
However, being a non-profit organization does have costs involved, according
She said that the Food Bank would not be able to help so many people across
West Texas without hiring truck drivers and purchasing use of tractor-trailers
to deliver all the food.
Neff said that the Food Bank uses a small portion of donations to enable
them to do so but recently received a generous donation of a tractor-trailer.
She said that Ford Motor Company and Abell-Hanger donated the tractor
and trailer separately, which is now known as the West Texas Food Bank truck.
Neff refers to Ford and Abell-Hanger, along with the many companies that
donate food and the numerous volunteers and organizations as "West Texas
"Without them none of this could happen," she said.
Kenneth Winkles, owner of Winkles Trucking and member of the North Temple
Baptist Church, said that Neff does a lot for the people of West Texas.
"She is a very wonderful lady," he said. "Her heart is dedicated to giving
these people a wonderful Thanksgiving."
Neff explained that many people only think that hunger happens in the
next town or the next country and does not realize that people need help
"When you ask someone if there is hunger it's always `in the next town',"
she said. "But it's right next door to you."
Winkles said that he never realized how many local people need help until
this morning but does understand the number of elderly people, widows and
widowers and single parent homes that would need help.
"We sometimes forget that there's a lot of people not as fortunate as
you or me," he said.
Neff said that the beauty of America is the willingness to help and the
idea that no one should go hungry and with the help of the charities in West
Texas and donations there might not be hunger during the holiday.
"In America, we don't think anybody should go hungry," said. "Nobody
has to go hungry in West Texas if we work together."
Neff said that she appreciates the help that the local citizens and organizations
have done to help the Food Bank deliver the food today and hopes that people
would help by donating directly to the local charities.
Donations to the Food Bank, either independently or on behalf of local
charities, may be mailed to West Texas Food Bank; P.O. Box 4242; Odessa,
Local officials seek ideas to help Anchor's workers
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 14, 2001 -- Community members and elected officials came
together this morning in a special meeting to talk about solutions
to the pending shutdown of Reeves County's largest employer.
The meeting was held on the third floor of the courthouse to discuss the
planned closing of Anchor Food's plant in Pecos, with Judge Jimmy B. Galindo
presiding over the informal gathering.
Representatives from different entities were on hand to discuss possibilities
and offer their help to the 700 employees who face the loss of their jobs
by the middle of next year unless a buyer is found for the facility.
Parent company McCain Foods announced its plan to close the plant on Monday,
three months after acquiring the facility in a buy-out of Anchor's operations.
Appleton, Wis.-based Anchor began their Pecos operations in 1990 processing
batter dipped onion rings locally, but McCain Foods officials said they had
an overcapacity in onion ring processing plants following the August purchase.
McCain plans to continue regular operations at the facility for the next
3½ months, before closing down lines and laying off workers starting
around March 1. Steve Prater, senior vice president of operations and supply
chain, said the shutdown would be completed by the middle of 2002, but added
the company would help out in trying to find a buyer for the plant.
Galindo said that three main points came out of this morning's gathering.
One was to coordinate a job/information fair for employees of McCain's Foods,
which would be held the last part of November. "The advantage we have, is
that we have put together two different job fair and all team member are
experienced in putting on the job fair," said Galindo.
The second, he said, is the consensus, the commitment to sit down as elected
officials, city, county, and school, to discuss the tax abatement policy.
"We want to have a discussion on tax abatement and achieve a consensus to
have a uniform policy for all small businesses," said Galindo. "A small business
retainment policy for existing business and to use the revolving loan fund
and private bank loans, both Security and West Texas National to expand or
retain business here."
He added that they hope to have that meeting next month.
The third was to coordinate a plan to organize GED classes in English
and Spanish for the employees out there that may not have their GED's to
give them an opportunity as they approach the transition, according to Galindo.
Odessa College-Pecos Training Center Director Michelle Workman said that
the college was offering their help. "The president of OC called and was
very concerned and wanted the community to know that he would help in any
way that he could," said Workman.
Workman said that some of the displaced employees were worried about getting
another job because they did not have their GED's. "We only have one instructor
for that class and that class is already full," said Workman.
She said she had surveyed the students at the OC campus to find out how
they felt about Anchor's closing and how it would impact the community. Out
of the 67 surveys, a lot of the students wrote down that they were the sons
or daughters of parents who worked at Anchor and were helping them out, some
said their spouse worked there and other students were employees at the plant
themselves, according to Workman.
"It will have a major impact on everybody," said Workman. "If we can try
to find some people to help us out with the GED's that would really help,"
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD School Board President Crissy Martinez said that
she saw no problem with that and would address the teachers and the board
about the problem. "I think we can recruit some teachers to help out with
the GED's, beginning with my mother," she said.
"We have to provide immediate help," said Galindo.
Alfredo Gomez, of Alfredo's Restaurant said that he had already received
about five applications from Anchor employees. "We need to keep the people
in Pecos, instead of relocating," he said.
Gomez told the group that we really don't have an effective economic plan
in place. "As a small business owner, we tend to think sales and the main
thing is to keep the people in Pecos," he said.
Gomez suggested getting together with the city, county and chamber and
coming up with an effective economic plan.
"At the moment we have a crisis and it's almost Christmas," Gomez said.
"Maybe we can educate some of these employees and send them to work at the
prison," he said.
"We're trying damage control," said Galindo. "On a short term basis we
need to do everything we can as far as offering some incentive to new businesses,
but there are certain aspects to that."
Galindo said that the government didn't own the building, it was locally
owned and that the owner might not want to sell or lease. McCain Foods owns
the machinery inside the building, but the facility itself on West Pinehurst
Street is being leased from A.B. Foster of Pecos Cantaloupe Company, which
had their operations there before moving to their current site on Highway
17 in 1990.
"I think we should have stayed in touch with Anchor more," said Gomez.
"When Anchor asked for something we always gave it to them," said Galindo.
"When it changed ownership, we held a special meeting so that McCain's could
get the tax abatement that had been granted to Anchor."
Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2 David Castillo told the group that
the former manager at Anchor, Steve Cordova, had been his neighbor. "I talked
to him every evening and he assured me that Anchor was not closing, that
it would generate 20 percent to their bottom line," said Castillo. "So this
took all of us by surprise."
Galindo told the group that the county had created 300 new jobs at the
prison and with the new addition would create 200 more.
"That's what we can do as elected officials," said Galindo.
Galindo said that there were a number of discussions outside of this one.
"We also have the revolving loan fund that new businesses can use, there's
about a half million dollars in there," he said.
Galindo said that despite past problems with the fund the money could
be used to help establish a business in the community.
Texas Department of Human Services Director Rey Carreon told the group
that the agency wanted to help. "We've called Anchor and told them that we're
willing to go out there and talk to the employees," he said.
Carreon said that they would be talking to the individuals as well. "The
first thing we tell them is to not panic, don't quit your jobs, but let's
see what we can do for you," he said.
Chamber discusses banquet, fundraisers
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 14, 2001 -- Plans for the Annual Pecos Area Chamber of
Commerce Banquet and other fundraisers were discussed during the regular
meeting of the board of directors of the chamber of commerce held Tuesday
at noon at the Pecos Senior Center.
Executive director for the chamber told the group that the speaker for
the annual chamber banquet would be Ray Stone, who hosts the daily Dallas
Cowboys update on radio stations across Texas and surrounding states.
"We're very excited that he is going to be here," said Rivera. "His fee
is $1,000 and we will pay for one night's stay."
Rivera said that Stone would also donate a photo of Bob Lilly, Troy Aikman
and Tom Landry, along with a football. "We'll have these items on display
at both banks and then auction them off, as a fundraiser for the chamber,"
The banquet is scheduled for Jan. 25 at the Reeves County Civic Center
and tickets will be priced the same as last year, according to Rivera.
"We'll be looking for a caterer, we've already sent out letters to all
the restaurants in the area," said Rivera.
Chamber members also discussed contracts with the Harlem Entertainers
basketball team and the San Antonio-based musical group Wayanay Inka as possible
"The group which was here last year, the Wayanay Inka Band wants to come
back and do another concert," said Rivera. "But this time they want to have
a seminar for the Pecos High School band students."
Rivera told the group that if they decided to go with this fundraiser
he would negotiate with them. "We can make some money out of this, now that
they've been here, I think we can get more people to attend," he said.
Rivera said that Harlem Entertainers had also said they would like to
come put on a performance in Pecos. "We would get 40 percent of the ticket
sales," he said.
"We'll put a local team together, of officials and others, to play against
them," he said. "If you missed the Wayanay concert it was a good concert
and the next one should be better."
Kevin Duke, filling in for president Barbara Creager, said that tickets
are on sale for the Pecos Eagle football playoff game against El Paso Parkland,
scheduled for Friday. "We need to go out and support the Eagles," he said.
Duke also invited everyone to the community-wide pep rally which will
be held at 7 p.m., today in the new gym.
Rivera told the group that they had received a copy of the new bed tax
agreement from the city. "They came up with a new contract and they're giving
a portion of the bed tax to the Main Street program," he said.
Rivera said that this would mean less money for the chamber, including
$8,000 less for the office. "We'll just have to tighten our belts and find
ways to economize, but I think we'll be alright," he said.
Rivera said there were still some questions that needed to be resolved
on the contract.
Grid playoff tickets for Friday on sale at business office
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 14, 2001 -- Football tickets are still available for
the Pecos Eagles' playoff game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday at Eagle
The Eagles will be playing the El Paso Parkland Matadors in the bi-district
round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs for the second year in a row.
The winner will face either Hereford or Frenship in the area round of the
playoffs Thanksgiving weekend.
Tickets for students are $3 and $5 for adults and can be purchased at
the school's business office, 1302 S. Park St., located across the street
from Pecos High School.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 14, 2001 -- High Tues. 80. Low this morning 56. Rainfall
last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment station .02 inch. Forecast
for tonight: Showers likely with a few thunderstorms. Lows in the lower
50s. SE winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent. Thurs.: Cloudy
with a 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs 60 to 65.
SE winds 10 to 20 mph. Thurs. night: Cloudy with a 30 percent chance
of showers or thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 40s. Fri.: Cloudy with
a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 60s.
Sat.: Cloudy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows 45 to
50. Highs in the lower 60s.
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 2001 by Pecos Enterprise