Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, February 22, 2002
PUC approves new area code for city, county
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City and all of Reeves County
will be getting a new area code in April 2003, the Public Utility Commissioner
of Texas announced on Thursday, as part of a plan to split the current
915 area code into three sections across West Texas.
The PUC issued an order Thursday to create the split after a series of
public meetings and comments on several proposals to accommodate increased
phone use demands.
The growth of cellular phones, computer-only connections to the internet
and mobile pagers has forced the PUC to create a number of new area codes
in Central and East Texas over the past decade due to the decline in available
phone numbers within each area code. With a stagnant population, growth in
phone usage has been slower in West Texas, but the press release from the
PUC stated that current estimates predict that the 915 area code will run
out of numbers in early 2004.
Currently, the 915 area code covers the largest region of Texas, stretching
from El Paso to east of the Abilene and Brownwood areas. Under the plan,
the El Paso area, including Hudspeth County and the Guadalupe Mountains National
Park area of northern Culberson County, will retain the 915 area code. The
PUC said the decision was made because of El Paso's concentrated population,
extensive bilingual network and well-developed international commerce.
The remaining parts of the 915 area code will be divided into two sections.
Section A will include the eastern section of the area, and take in the cities
of Abilene, Brownwood, San Angelo, Sweetwater and Snyder.
Section B will include Pecos and all of Reeves County. The area will stretch
from southwestern Culberson County to northeastern Howard County, and will
also include Midland and Odessa, Van Horn, Alpine, Fort Stockton, Monahans,
Andrews, Seminole and Big Spring.
The new area code number for Section A and Section B will be chosen in
a few months, according to Terry Hadley with the Public Utility Commission.
"We will introduce them in April 2003, but first we have to get the list
of available area codes from the national group," he said.
"There will be at least a few months," between the time the new numbers
are announced and the new area codes will take effect, he added.
Under the plan, there will be a nine-month period after April 2003 where
the 915 area code will still work across the entire region. Callers will
be reminded to dial the new area code beginning in October 2003, and the
new area codes will become mandatory in December of 2003.
The PUC said an extensive customer education program to introduce customers
to the new area codes would begin in early 2003.
Two primary candidates on back tax payment plans
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- Dueling charges between the two candidates
for Reeves County Judge over the past several days have focused on
back taxes owed by Louis Matta, who is challenging two-term incumbent
Jimmy B. Galindo for the county judge's position in the March 12 Democratic
Party primary election.
Both candidates have run ads this week _ Galindo charging that Matta owes
$19,000 in back taxes, while Matta has said in his ads that he is on a payment
plan and has all records of his tax payments.
A check of records at both the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax assessor-collector's
and the Reeves County Tax office, shows both ads are accurate, and that Matta
is one of two candidates in contested races who are on payment plans for
back property taxes.
Aside from Matta, the other candidate in a contested race who is on a
payment plan is incumbent Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax assessor-collector Lydia Prieto, who collects
taxes for the city, school and hospital, said that a lot of individuals like
to take advantage of their payment plan, while Reeves County tax assessor-collector
Elfida Zuniga said her office also offers a payment plan, which both Matta
and Florez are using right now.
Galindo is not listed on the local property tax rolls but does pay taxes
on the Eddy Street home he lives in, which is listed under the name of Juan
Galindo. Matta's taxes are owed mostly on joint property in the 200 block
of South Pecan Street he owns with Town of Pecos City Mayor Raymond Ortega,
who filed this week to seek a second two-year term in office in the May 4
Records provided by Prieto's office and by the Reeves County Tax Office
show Matta owes $970 in taxes for 1999 on property he owns by himself in
the 1400 block of South Plum Street, while the remainder of the taxes he
is making payments on are on the property owned with Ortega, and include
the years 1991 through 1999 and the year 2001.
Florez, who is being challenged by Sofia Abila, owes just under $1,000
in property taxes for the years 1999 and 2000, according to the records of
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax office. That includes $31.25 on 2001 taxes,
but Zuniga said Florez has paid the first half of that and the balance is
The county also offers a payment plan and both Matta and Florez are on
In the other major race in the March 12 primary election, both Precinct
2 incumbent commissioner David Castillo and his challenger Norman Hill, are
current on their taxes.
Reeves County Commissioner for Precinct 4, Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos and district
clerk Pat Tarin are both current on their taxes. Both are also up for election
this year, but are unopposed on the March 12 ballot.
Dawdy adjusting to job as new jail's administrator
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- Helping the public is the primary goal for
the Town of Pecos City's new Jail Administrator Tony Dawdy.
Dawdy was recently appointed to the jail administrator position for the
Pecos Municipal Criminal Justice Center, the new 96-bed facility that just
received its first 20 inmates this week.
Dawdy, a Dallas native, said the new job is a change from his days as
police officer for the Pecos Police Department, though he started out working
in the law enforcement industry as a jailer at the Reeves County Jail in
1984, under then-Sheriff Raul Florez.
"I learned a lot from that man," he said. "I'm here now because of that
At the time he wasn't looking to make law enforcement a career, he just
needed a job.
"I got into law enforcement because I was laid off and I needed a job,"
Since then he has spent time working for the Reeves County Sheriff's Department,
the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Pecos Police Department and he has also
served on the city's SWAT team.
During those first few years of working as a jailer at the Reeves County
Jail, Dawdy said he would see the deputies come off the streets and he wonder
what that would be like.
"I wanted to get out on the streets and experience what it's like," he
Dawdy said the satisfaction from his job comes from helping defenseless
people, those "who are not strong enough to defend themselves."
"I became a police officer because I wanted to help people," he said.
Dawdy moved to Pecos when he was nine-years-old with his parents Jackie
and Vernell Dawdy and his siblings, Debra, Danny and "Peanut."
As a child, he spent most of his time playing sports. Now as an adult,
Dawdy enjoys coaching his Pee-Wee Football the Vikings.
He believes that the children are our future and should be supported in
order to help them grow into wonderful adults.
"People in Pecos needs to get involved with our youth," he said. "They're
looking for affection and someone to care for them."
Dawdy said that he enjoys helping the children and would do anything he
can to do so.
"Anything I can do to help the youth, I'll do it," he said.
He didn't spend much time thinking about what he wanted to be when he
"I don't remember thinking about that," he said. "I guess I did think
that being police officer might be pretty sharp."
As far as he knows, Dawdy said that he was the first one in his family
to go into law enforcement.
Dawdy doesn't mind that people might be scared of him as a police officer;
he believes that if they are scared then they must be doing something wrong
because they are there to protect people.
"We're not out there to scare people," he said. "We're there to help,
that's our job, that's what we do."
Now as jail administrator, Dawdy is protecting different people, his co-workers
and the inmates themselves.
Dawdy believes that a corrections officer's job is the most thankless
jobs you could have.
He said that the correction officers have to protect the lives of many
people with most of those individuals hating them which is makes the job
"When people see a correction officer they should tip their hat to them,"
he said. "They're to be commended on their job because they are never thought
of until something happens."
As far as his new position with the city, Dawdy said he is looking forward
to all the challenges that he would face.
"I'm excited, I like a challenge," he said.
Dawdy believes that his staff at the new jail is exceptional and is proud
of all 18 of them.
"I fell like we have an outstanding staff," he said. "I'm very proud of
them already and we just started."
Plant closing raises job fair participation
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- Over 30 individuals signed in late this morning
at the start of the Third Annual Reeves county Job and Career Fair
and Trade Expo at the Pecos Technical Training Center-Odessa College,
as many workers facing the loss of their jobs at the Anchor Foods plant
in Pecos seek new jobs both with local and out-of-town companies.
"We had 28 businesses that have a booth here today," said Nancy Ontiveros
who is on the planning committee for the job fair. "Six of these businesses
are from out of town and we had one come from out of state."
Ontiveros said that the businesses came from as far away as Corpus Christi,
Dallas, Fort Worth, San Angelo and Vernon, Tx.
"All of the employers we have spoken with are hoping to leave with employees
hired today," said Ontiveros. "We have had a tremendous response from Anchor
and the community and we just got underway not too long ago," she said, early
Doors to the event opened at 11 a.m. and the job fair will continue until
"Registration is being held at the front desk with that we can come up
with a complete count at the end of the day," said Pecos Technical Training
Center Director Michelle Workman. "All of the vendors are bringing in door
Ontiveros said that they expected a high attendance due to Anchor layoffs
that will occur March 18. "That's when the first layoff is planned," said
Ontiveros. McCain Foods announced on Nov. 12 it would close the Anchor plant
in Pecos, which it had purchased along with other Anchor Foods plants in
September. The closing will leave 700 people without jobs.
Both Anchor and the Pecos Workforce Network are working cooperatively
to ensure an easy transition for Anchor employees who will seek other employment,
according to Ontiveros.
"Those employers have been working with the Pecos Workforce Network for
the past month in preparing for today's job fair," said Ontiveros. "We had
classes in resume writing, completing applications properly, addressing questions
asked in interviews and proper attire for interviews."
"Today at the job fair, besides job opportunities, we will also have educational
and financial opportunities and a safety net for health care," she said.
An Anchor Booth featured an Anchor plant, similar to the one in Pecos,
located in Fort Atkinson, Wis. "We have almost he same things as the one
in Pecos, we make onion rings, do the same stuff as the plant in Pecos,"
said David Scheider, a representative of the Anchor facility in Wisconsin.
"We have over 30 job openings and they would be starting up in the middle
of April, which coincides with the closing of the plant in Pecos," said Scheider.
"We will be making job offers today and they will have a few weeks to make
a decision to work on timing and all those other details."
Along with the businesses seeking employees, Workman said that Odessa
College was providing representation from the different departments.
"We have International Truck Driving and Allied Health Department representatives,
along with continuing education and the technical training center," said
Workman. "And all are here to promote our program areas and help students
fill their educational needs," she said.
"We are interviewing for GED and ESL classes today," said continuing education
director Paula Howard. "We will send out letters to let them know when the
classes will be held," she said.
Howard said that as soon as the classes are scheduled they will let the
students know. "We're in the process of hiring teachers and finding out when
it will be convenient for the students to schedule the classes," she said.
Howard said it would probably the middle to end of March. "They will get
a phone call letting them know about continuing education," she said.
All individuals who are Anchor employees and are interested in ESL or
GED classes can contact Howard at the Pecos Technical Training Center.
Depending on the outcome of today's event, there is a possibility of another
small fair prior to the Anchor plant closing, which will occur in May, according
"We're very pleased with the response and this has been a team group effort
between the planning group and Anchor to ensure their employees needs are
met as well as the community's," she said.
Commissioners plan to discuss contract
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- Reeves County Commissioners will meet at
9:30 a.m., Monday, in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse
to discuss several items.
The public is invited to attend.
Commissioners will discuss and take action on Pecos Rifle, Pistol and
Trap Club, Inc., range use contract; Reeves County Library Advisory Board;
interagency agreement between Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and Andrews County;
inmate transportation crew mileage payment; approval for bid property located
at 305 S. Sycamore; Frank X. Spencer and Associates request for payment invoice
No. 7 RCDC III and bond and oath for Patricia Tarin and Corina Matta. Regular
agenda items include: reports from various departments, budget amendments
and line item transfers, personnel and salary changes, (RCDC, sheriff's department),
minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.
Saturday to mark early voting start
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- The first day of early voting for the March
12 primary election will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., Saturday
at the Reeves County Courthouse.
"We will be in Balmorhea on March 2 at the Balmorhea Firehall, located
at 4th and San Antonio Streets," said Reeves County Clerk Dianne
On March 4, they will continue early voting branch for one day and early
voting will be held every day from 8-5 p.m. until March 8.
"We sent out 199 ballots by mail and have received 42 back," said Florez,
who added that the last day to request an application for a ballot by mail
is March 5.
"If anyone has not received their ballot they can contact my office,"
said Florez., at 445-5467.
PECOS, Fri., Feb. 22, 2002 -- High Thursday 57. Low this morning 29. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 30 to 35. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, breezy and unseasonably warm. Highs 80 to 85.
Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near
40. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs 75 to 80. Monday: Partly cloudy and
cooler. Lows near 30. Highs 60 to 65.
Gloria Alvarez and Luis Molinar
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 2002 by Pecos Enterprise