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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, April 19, 2002

McCain says Anchor plant sale talks underway

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- The closing of the Anchor West onion processing plant in Pecos  is still scheduled to begin three weeks from now, but company officials  said they are in talks with another company on purchasing the facility, which  is Reeves County's single largest employer.

"No, it hasn't been sold yet," said Bob Thomas, vice-president of McCain Foods, the Canadian-based company that acquired the plant when it bought out Appleton, Wisc.,-based Anchor Foods last September. However, Thomas said that there are a couple of parties interested in buying the facility.

"We are much further along in negotiations with one of the parties," said Thomas. "We're reluctant and really can't talk about the party that is interested in purchasing the facility."

Thomas said that the reason for not wanting to disclose the party that McCain is negotiating with is because it could jeopardize negotiations.

"We don't want to disclose any details at this time, in regards to this party," said Thomas.

Thomas said that as soon as the company had any kind of news they would release it and let the employees know.

"We're hopeful, but we can't presume anything until everything is finalized," said Thomas.

McCain Foods announced the purchase of Anchor's plant in Pecos, along with other processing facilities in Wisconsin and Mexico in August of 2001, and the deal was closed one month later. Then on Nov. 12 of last year, McCain announced it would close its plant in Pecos, leaving 700 workers without jobs, and would invest $10 million in a processing plant the company already operated in Grand Island, Neb., expanding the workforce there from 350 to 450 employees.

Anchor began operations in Pecos in 1990 expanding over the next 10 years from one line to four, and from 200 to 700 workers. Of that number 640 people were still employed at the plant as of the end of March. The 640 employees represent about 10 percent of Reeves County's workforce.

McCain originally said layoffs in Pecos would begin at the end of February and run through the end of spring, but earlier this year said because of increased demand, the plant would remain at regular production levels through March, and would close on May 6, 2002. Under its latest plan, the bulk of the workforce will be laid off in three weeks, while others will work until about Memorial Day, when the remainder of the workers will lose their jobs.

Job Fair for Anchor workers is scheduled for next Thursday, April 25, from 1 to 8 p.m. at the company's plant on Interstate 20. It is the second job fair this year and the third since the company announced its plans to close the Pecos facility.

Companies seeking to participate in next week's Job Fair can either call Nancy Ontiveros at Reeves County Hospital (447-3551) or Maribel Alvarez with the Texas Department of Human Services (445-5487).

McCain-Anchor facilities had an overcapacity of onion production plants, which is what Pecos primarily produces, Steve Prater, McCain vice president, said when announcing the plant's closing in Pecos in November. McCain has not announced plans for the Anchor onion processing facility in Mexico, and plans to maintain operations at Anchor's jalapeno pepper production plants in Wisconsin.

Commissioners to discuss joining cloud-seeding group

PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- Reeves County Commissioners will discuss formally joining a cloud seeding program for the Trans-Pecos region and discuss a request by the Reeves County Detention Center Employee Club for soft drink concession for employees and visitors at the prison facility during their regular meeting on Monday.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday in the third floor courtroom and the public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss enrolling Reeves County in the Trans Pecos Weather Modification Association, which is seeking to establish a cloud seeding program for Reeves and surrounding counties, similar to other programs that have been set up in West and South Texas.

Along with that and discussion and possible action on the soda concession, commissioners will discuss and take action on the American Cancer Society's Texas Golf Pass Program; an interagency agreement between Town of Pecos City and Reeves County for the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force; authorization of Federal Home Loan Bank letters of credit as collateral for Reeves County Investments per HB-2957, amending government code section 2256.009 and property bids on two properties- 503 S. Ash and 1607 S. Eddy.

The group will discuss and take action on requests for payments from Trinity Engineering and Frank X. Spencer, both contractors currently working at the Reeves County Detention Center III.

Regular agenda items include: reports from various departments, budget amendments and line-item transfers, personnel and salary changes, minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

Delay in layoffs at plant helps lower jobless rate

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- Reeves County added both workers and jobs in March, according to  figures released Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission, though the  county is still facing a big drop in jobs and a probable rise in its unemployment  rate later this Spring, depending on the fate of the Anchor West onion plant.

Parent company McCain Foods is planning to close the facility next month, a move that would cost Reeves County its largest employer and leave over 600 people without jobs. McCain is currently looking for a buyer for the facility, which it acquired last September, and announced in March that it had delayed the initial layoffs at the plant until the first week of May. Final layoffs are scheduled for Memorial Day.

McCain's action in March allowed Reeves County to report an increase of 112 jobs over the total in February, from 5,844 to 5,956, while the local labor force grew by 103 workers, from 6,313 to 6,416. Combined, the two numbers helped drop the county's unemployment rate from 7.4 to 7.2 percent.

The job situation in the county last month was also better than the numbers from a year ago, according to the TWC. Reeves County had a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in March of 2001, with 5,913 jobs and 481 people out of work, compared with 460 jobless workers in March of 2002.

The numbers were similar for the Town of Pecos City, with the jobless rate falling from 8.5 percent in February to 8.2 percent last month. The TWC said the city had a labor force of 5,007 people and 4,595 jobs, while in February there were 4,929 workers in the city and 4,509 jobs.

Pecos' unemployment in March of 2001 stood at 8.6 percent, with 431 people out of work compared with 412 people a month ago.

Across the area, jobless rates generally showed only slight changes in March, with the overall Permian Basin unemployment rate rising from 5.0 to 5.1 percent, while the state's jobless rate dropped from 5.8 to 5.6 percent. Midland's unemployment fell by one-tenth of a percent, which was offset by a .1 percent rise in unemployment in neighboring Odessa.

Presidio County continued to see its jobless rate plunge from the state's highest levels. The county, which had a jobless rate of over 30 percent two years ago, saw unemployment fall to 16.6 percent last month, down from 18.7 percent in February and 22.4 percent from a year ago.

Statewide, the TWC said job growth in government and trades was offset by losses in manufacturing, mining and services.

The commission had previously reported February unemployment was 5.7 percent, but it revised that figure up to 5.8 percent in reporting the March figures.

The jobless rate has risen more than one-third in the past year; it stood at 4.3 percent in March 2001.

Nearly 45,000 more Texans were employed in March; all except for 4,700 of the new jobs were attributed to seasonal hiring patterns, according to a commission report.

Following are the March unemployment rates for Texas metropolitan areas, with February numbers in parentheses. The figures were not seasonally adjusted.

Abilene 3.8 (3.7); Amarillo 3.2 (3.4); Austin-San Marcos 5.2 (5.3); Beaumont-Port Arthur 6.8 (7.1); Brazoria 5.9 (6.0); Brownsville-Harlingen 9.8 (9.5); Bryan-College Station 1.6 (1.5); Corpus Christi 5.2 (5.3); Dallas 6.4 (6.6);

El Paso 7.9 (8.4); Fort Worth-Arlington 5.5 (5.7); Galveston-Texas City 5.9 (6.1); Houston 5.0 (5.1); Killeen-Temple 4.8 (4.9); Laredo 7.2 (7.3); Longview-Marshall 5.9 (6.2); Lubbock 3.0 (2.5); McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 12.0 (12.5);

Odessa-Midland 5.1 (5.0); San Angelo 3.1 (3.1); San Antonio 4.5 (4.6); Sherman-Denison 6.8 (6.9); Texarkana 5.1 (4.7); Tyler 4.0 (4.4); Victoria 4.6 (4.6); Waco 4.3 (4.3); Wichita Falls 3.7 (3.7).

North Temple Baptist Church holding revival

PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- A revival featuring upbeat music and special guests is scheduled beginning at 7 p.m., Sunday.

The revival will be held at the Reeves County Civic Center at 7 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday. Evangelist Josh Tapia will be on hand along with Jimmy Edward, who will provide special music for the occasion.

The event is sponsored by North Temple Baptist Church and pastor Mac McCormick.

Van rides will be available by calling 445-4804 and everyone is invited to attend.

Evangelist Josh Tapia of San Antonio, travels throughout Texas for youth rallies and revivals. He also fills in at churches that don't have pastors. His greatest joy is his family, which consists of his wife, Lisa and his young daughter, Adriana.

Jimmy Edward was born and raised in San Antonio and started singing at age 16 in 1966 with then local band, "The Dreamers" playing then popular songs of the Beatles and their style. The Dreamers would then start playing during intermission with Sunny and the Sunliners, where he met Sunny's music organizer and son writer Rudy Guerra (who has been called the composer and the Godfather of now known "Tejano Music"). In 1969 Guerra left Sunny and the Sunliners to form his own band, "The Latin Breed Band" and asked Jimmy Edward then 18 years to be the lead singer and it was then that his popularity soared and took the Latino baby-boomer generation like a storm with his Tom Jones-like voice and the new style beat that the "Latin Breed Band" had to offer.

It packed ballrooms wherever they went. After hearing the gospel preached to all 12 members of the group for the first time about the "Lords Second Coming" by a minister in Lubbock, the message took root to half of the group and with praying moms and praying wives some made a commitment to Christ. Guerra left the group in 1975 to be a fulltime minister of the gospel and is now singing and playing his saxophone for the Lord.

And Edward would wrestle with the Lord another 20 years until he lost his marriage due to drugs and a life without Christ. "After I lost everything I felt I had nothing else to live for and I had a gun ready to take my life and when I saw a picture of my two young daughters, then the Lord started speaking to me through that picture telling me, `you will take your life and your daughters will go on suffering without,'" said Edward. "That made me break inside and tears were flowing as I went on my knees and I asked the Lord forgiveness for all I had done and it was there I felt this heavy burden lifted off of me and my life has never been the same, that was in May 1994," he said.

Edward now like his friend and mentor Rudy Guerra travels thousands of miles each year sharing the good news of the gospel. His new English CD is entitled, "You Will Never Walk Alone."

Tool company setting up sale at Swiss Clock Inn

PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- A sale of air tools, power tools and hand tools will be held Saturday at the Best Western Swiss Clock Inn on Interstate 20 and Country Club Drive.

Homier Mobile Merchants will hold the sale from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and feature quality, name brand tools at prices 30 percent below that of the competition.

Realizing that a company is only as good as the service it provides after the sale, Homier Mobile Merchants has made an uncompromising commitment to customer service. Unlike transient vendors, who are often "here today and gone tomorrow," Homier has a "No Questions Asked" policy for returns and refunds, and a toll free customer support line.

This insures that long after the sale has left town, customers will be able to contact them should there be any problem with the purchase. At any time of the year, day or night a customer may also order products from their website's "online" catalog at

The Mobile Merchandising concept was the brainchild of company president and CEO Chuck Homier. Instead of building and operating "bricks and mortar" sites at a limited number of locales, Homier figured out that he could take his shows on the road and eliminate the cost of expensive overhead.

"Our concept was to eliminate the middle man, and then pass those savings directly to the consumer," says Homier. "As an added bonus, the Mobile Merchandising concept insures that everyone throughout the country…at one time or another…has a chance to share in the Homier savings."

Enterprise seeking candidate profiles for May 4 election

PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- The Pecos Enterprise will be publishing profiles of candidates in the area's contested city, school and hospital district elections this coming Thursday.

Candidates in the Town of Pecos City, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Balmorhea City, Balmorhea ISD and the Reeves County Hospital Precinct 3 election are invited to submit profiles of up to 480 words, along with a photograph, for publication in the April 25 edition of the Enterprise. The deadline for submission of profiles is Wednesday, April 24.

Early voting began on Wednesday in the area elections and continues through Tuesday, April 30. Election day this year is Saturday, May 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 -- High Thursday 92. Low this morning 72. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms,  some storms may produce large hail and damaging winds. Lows near 60.  South winds 10 to 20 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy and breezy with a 20  percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 90. South winds 10 to 20 mph in  the morning, becoming southwest and increasing to 15 to 25 mph  by afternoon. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance  of thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs 80  to 85. Monday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of  thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Highs 80 to 85.


Albino Acosta and Joyce Brown

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Pecos Enterprise
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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