Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, March 25, 2002
Annual auction collects $3,600 for Eagle band
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Mon., march 25, 2002 -- The Pecos Band Boosters and the Pecos
Band Program received a lot of support this weekend with their annual Band
Boosters Auction held at the Bill Carico Band Hall.
Head Band Director Merle Lenfest said the band boosters were able to
raise approximately $3,600 from the numerous items they auctioned off.
This was the first auction that Lenfest was involved in so he said he
wasn't sure what to expect but believes that it went well.
"I'm so happy it turned out so well," he said.
The group of booster members, parents and students expected the auction
to wind down at about 6 p.m., that night but ended up staying till 9:30
"We had a hard time stopping at 9:30," Lenfest said.
Lenfest explained that many local businesses donated items to be auctioned
off that they still had a few left at the end of the night.
"I'd never seen anything like that," he said.
Lenfest said he appreciates the support shown to the music program by
the local businesses and community members.
"I've got so many nice things to say about Pecos," he said.
Lenfest is amazed at the people of Pecos and their support for the band
program even with the uncertainties that recent events have brought to
the town such as the Anchor plant closing.
"People take an interest in our kids," he said. "The community has dealt
with Anchor closing and financial uncertainties and yet all these businesses
were still willing to donate to our auction. That was very gratifying to
The students also noticed the support they received from the community.
"I really believe that it makes a difference to the kids to know that
the adults support them and the community supports them," Lenfest said.
Lenfest said he was proud of his students especially those that took
the time out of their busy schedules to help with the auction, some of
which stayed most of the day.
"I had kids show up there working who would not be going on the spring
trip because they are so busy," he said.
The spring trip Lenfest refers to is the upcoming trip to Dallas at
the end of April when the Pecos High School Band will perform at the Sandy
Lake Music Festival.
A part of the proceeds from the auction will go towards funding for
that trip, where the students will also take time out to go to Six Flags.
Lenfest said that the rest of the money will be given for scholarships
and used by both the high school and junior high school bands for items
needed next year.
The band boosters also raised money through a bake sale and brisket
plate sale, which sold out by 2:30 p.m., according to Lenfest.
The different bands even competed in the bake sale for a pizza party
to the band that raised the most money.
"For the first time that anybody can remember the high school won the
bake sale," Lenfest said.
Lenfest appreciates the help of the community, students and parents
in supporting the band booster auction and is looking forward to the rest
of the year.
Commissioners approve event for County Government Week
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mon., March 25, 2002 -- County government week is right around
the corner and Reeves County is already making plans in recognition of
the special event.
"It's just right around the corner and especially now, after the Sept.
11 attacks, I think it is very important to let the community know what
county government is all about," said Reeves County Commissioner Precinct
3 Herman Tarin, while discussing county government week, at this morning's
regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting
"Officials are always on hand to protect our citizens and we want to
let them know what it is we do," said Tarin. "All of the things we do are
for our community."
Tarin told the group that the week of April 7-13 has been designated
for this year's events, and as in past years, commissioners would provide
vital information to the community about county government and invited
school groups to the event.
"I think April 8, would be a good day to have a celebration here at
the courthouse," said Tarin.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that this would also coincide
with their regular scheduled meeting. "This shouldn't pose a problem."
"I'd like to invite all the students or maybe visit a few schools and
have a presentation," said Tarin.
Tarin said that hamburgers would be served outside the courthouse as
part of the celebration.
"We can have a late meeting on that day," said Tarin.
All elected officials and the community are invited to come out and
visit with the commissioners and see county government in action.
"I know Mr. Owens (Lynn, county auditor) is not an elected official,
but is always there to help us," said Tarin.
"That goes for a lot of different respects, we really appreciate him,"
In other business during this morning's brief meeting, commissioners
approved an interagency agreement between the City of Andrews and Reeves
County during their regular meeting. "This is for their participation in
the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force," said Galindo.
Regulation of subdivisions, under House Bill 1445, would fall under
city rules, a topic that was discussed this morning.
Galindo told the group that the legislature is mandating the regulation
of subdivisions within the territorial jurisdiction of cities. "We had
approved the regulation for counties, which made the city eligible for
grant money," he said.
"I believe we should ask the city to be responsible for the regulations
of the subdivisions," said Galindo, who suggested talking to the city about
"I think it makes more sense for the city to enforce that code in that
particular area," he said. "I suggest we ask the city to enforce the subdivision
regulations within the extra-territorial jurisdictions of the city."
The group approved payments to LMD Architect for reimbursement of expenses
to the architect in charge of the construction at RCDC III; payment to
Frank X. Spencer for on-site construction observation and office work and
inmate transportation crew mileage.
Commissioners picked out 15 more names for the salary grievance committee
and those individuals will be contacted and asked if they would like to
serve on the committee, according to county clerk Dianne Florez.
A resolution for the Democratic Primary runoff central counting station
scheduled for April 9, was approved, along with the clerks and managers.
Personnel and salary changes included at the Reeves County Detention
Center, promotions to Robert Chabarria, Eleuterio Garcia and Jose Minjarez
to Correctional Officer II's at a salary of $24,000 and Rafael Florez,
Jr. to COIII at $26,000 per year.
Sierra Blanca residents adjust to SSB takeover, probe of bank's failure
SIERRA BLANCA - Hudspeth County Judge James Peace knows that Sierra Blanca
needed a new bank. State regulators closed the old one after finding too
many defaulted loans and evidence of embezzlement.
Even though the Security State Bank of Pecos - which took over the failed
bank - might have more money to lend, for Peace, it's not the same.
"Dealing with out-of-town people is not like dealing with people you
know - or think you know," he said.
Pecos, population 9,501, is 120 miles east of Sierra Blanca. And Sierra
Blanca, population 900, is 90 miles southeast of El Paso.
President Bill Oglesby says he hopes his Pecos bank can offer even better
service than the Bank of Sierra Blanca did for the many farmers and ranchers
who put their money - and their trust - there.
"They had a smaller loan limit," Oglesby said in an interview last month.
"Maybe we can loan a little bit more to people who have a higher need."
The Bank of Sierra Blanca had served residents' financial needs for
about 22 years until it was closed on Jan. 18. Security State Bank took
over operations, renaming the business Trans-Pecos Banks, the same name
as is used by the company's bank branch in Marathon.
Although early estimates that depositors lost more than $700,000 have
been revised to slightly more than $86,000, it's still a blow for Hudspeth
County residents who depended on the bank.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is still investigating the bank
and the FBI is looking into whether any federal laws were violated, but
few details have emerged.
"They haven't spilled (any) beans," Peace said. "The (bank's) board
members, some of those are very close friends of mine and they lost everything."
In fact, the board members, who were the bank's major stockholders,
will shoulder the majority of the losses, said FDIC spokesman David Barr.
Most depositors' money was FDIC insured, but stockholders' investments
are not and they are last in line to be reimbursed as the bank's assets
are sold off.
Jim Ed Miller, a Hudspeth County commissioner and one of the bank's
shareholders, lost money.
"There are things still pending, so I'm not going to talk about it,"
said Miller, who is not related to former Red Bluff Water Power Control
Board General Manager Jim Ed Miller of Pecos.
The FDIC is closing out the process of selling the bank's 400 loans,
worth about $12 million, Barr said.
"We've been in there for over two months now, and we're still in the
transition stage," Oglesby said today. "We're still trying to take care
of the customers and their anxiety over the FDIC selling their loans, but
we've kept four of the employees who previously had been with the bank
and we've been very pleased with them."
Peace said the county had about $600,000 in the bank, but won't lose
anything because the deposits were structured so the entire amount is insured.
Plans to build a new jail and to rebuild the courthouse will continue on
schedule, he said.
The bank first caught the attention of regulators for making a large
number of risky loans, said Gayle Griffin, a deputy commissioner with the
Banking Department of Texas.
He said regulators found the bank's capital at a dangerously low level
as more loans were written off as uncollectable. Still, state and federal
officials probably could have repaired that damage, Griffin said.
But after the theft was discovered, he said, the losses grew to the
point that the bank could not find enough additional money from investors
to remain solvent.
A bank employee has been identified as a suspect, and asked if charges
will be filed, Griffin said, "I don't think it's a matter of if, I think
it's a matter of when."
Because the depositors' money appears to be safe, business owners in
town seemed to shrug off the bank's failure.
Rosenda Carbajal, who owns the Sister's Rock Shop and Gifts, which advertises
snacks, turquoise, jewelry, old bottles and peaceful massage therapy, said
she didn't lose any money when the bank was closed.
"It don't mean nothing to me, it's just another bank to me," Carbajal
said. "I don't know the people or nothing. I know the tellers and that's
probably about it."
Robert Gomez, who operates the Cactus Food and Grill, said he didn't
know the bank was having problems.
"It's just kind of sad that this town couldn't keep a bank," Gomez said.
"You just hate to see somebody else have to come in and take it over."
Overall, Oglesby said, "We seem to be getting good feedback from the
community. A lot of them are just glad to still have a bank in town."
Bank failures are uncommon, Griffin said, but regulators are responsible
for protecting depositors so they have faith that their money is safe.
"If it happens at all it's too frequent because fraud and embezzlement
are involved," Griffin said. "We're trying to maintain public confidence
in the system."
Relay for Life's organizers plan Tuesday meeting
PECOS, Mon., march 25, 2002 -- A Relay for Life meeting will be held at
6 p.m., Tuesday at First United Methodist Church.
Anyone interested in participating in the yearly event is encouraged
to attend this meeting.
For more information contact Terri Spence at 447-4738.
PECOS, Mon., march 25, 2002 -- High Sunday 86. Low this morning 44. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 30 to 35. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Highs 60 to 65. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday
night: Partly cloudy. Lows 35 to 40. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs near
70. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Highs 75 to 80.
Patsy Boynton, Eric Guzman, Frank Joplin, Hilton Lawless
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