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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Anchor hosting job fair with closing pending

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- Anchor West employees facing the loss of their jobs within the next five weeks will have another opportunity to search for a new job at another job fair planned for Thursday.

With the closing of Anchor West onion processing plant in Pecos scheduled to begin on May 6 and conclude sometime around Memorial Day, the Job Fair will be held 1-8 p.m., Thursday, at the Anchor West facilities' lunchroom.

Anchor is Reeves County's single largest employer, with about 650 workers still employed at the plant on Interstate 20 in Pecos. McCain Foods, which purchased Anchor's parent company last September, announced plans to close the facility in November, opting instead to expand a smaller facility the company already owned in Grand Island, Neb.

McCain officials from there will be among those on hand at the Job Fair, while locally, the Department of Human Services will be taking applications for Medicaid, and will also have a list of available jobs.

"We will have a hotel board made up of three hotels, the Swiss Clock Inn, Quality Inn and Oak Tree and each one will have the positions they have open posted," said Department of Human Services employee Maribel Alvarez.

R.M.S. Foods out of Hobbs, N.M., will be one of the employers who will be on hand tomorrow taking applications from prospective employees.

"We're very excited because this company has several job openings," said Alvarez. Sam Hausman Meat Packer, Inc. out of Corpus Christi is another food processing company that will have representatives at the plant.

Wal-Mart and Beall's Department Store will also have the positions they have open posted at the job fair, aimed at helping the displaced employees, according to Alvarez.

"We'll have the job fair from 1-8 p.m., but if there are employees that need special accommodation, they can talk to Jesse Manciaz, who is the human services representative from Anchor," said Alvarez.

Individuals who want more information on the job fair can also contact Alvarez at 445-5487 or Nancy Ontiveros at the Reeves County Hospital, 447-3551.

While McCain Foods has not made any changes in recent weeks to its closing schedule for the Pecos facility, after moving the shut down date back two months from the original March date announced on Nov. 12 of last year, company vice president Bob Thomas said that McCain is currently in negotiations with another company for purchase of the facility.

Thomas said he could not disclose the name of that company.

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-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.

Permian Basin, Trans-Pecos gets 432 area code

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- Pecos residents will be changing from the 915 to the 432 area code next year, the Texas Public Utilities Commission announced on Tuesday, as part of a move to split the state's largest area code into three regions.

The Trans-Pecos and Permian Basin will be getting one of the two new area codes taking effect next year, which are to handle economic growth in West Texas. The 915 area code will only remain in El Paso and two neighboring counties after Oct. 5, 2003.

In February the PUC issued an order that divided the 915 area code into three individual area code regions. The Commission designated the El Paso area to retain the 915 area code because of its concentrated population, extensive bilingual network and well-developed international commerce. The 915 area code will also cover all of Hudspeth and the northwestern part of Culberson County.

Pecos will be part of the 432 area code, along with Balmorhea, Toyah and Barstow. Other cities in the 432 area will be Midland, Odessa, Monahans, Andrews, Kermit, Fort Stockton, Alpine, Fort Davis, Presidio, Crane, Rankin McCamey, Van Horn and Big Spring.

While the 432 area code will be mandatory for people from other parts of Texas and the United States calling into Pecos and surrounding towns after Oct. 5, 2003, the area code itself will be put into effect on April 5, 2003. Customers dialing the old area code will get a recorded reminder until Dec. 7, 2003. An extensive customer education program to introduce customers to the new area codes will begin in early 2003.

The 325 area code will be for the eastern section of the current 915 area and will include San Angelo, Abilene, Snyder and Brownwood.

Current estimates predict that the 915 area code will run out of numbers in early 2004. The three-way split approved by the PUC will prevent the need for additional area codes in the three regions for an estimated 17 to 20 years.

While approximately two-thirds of customers in the current 915-region will have to change their area code, the PUC determined the three-way split is the best way to preserve local interests. For example, the three-way split allows the Midland-Odessa metropolitan area to continue sharing a common area code (432). The three-way split also allows customers to keep seven-digit dialing for local calls. The approved plan received overwhelming support from both residential and business customers during the public comment period.

West Texas is one of the last areas of the state to see its long-time area code split into separate regions. Growth in the central and eastern parts of the state of the past 15 years has forced the introduction of many new area codes due to the increase in phone service, with the Dallas area by itself sharing three side-by-side area codes, 214, 972 and 469, while Houston also has three area codes, 713, 281 and 832.

Hospital board delays update on master plan

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors tabled discussion on the finalized master plan during the regular meeting last night in the hospital classroom.

Board member Leo Hung made a motion to table the discussion of the master plan, stating that he would feel better if they made a decision with all board members present.

"I would like to digest (the information) until the next meeting since we have two members missing," he said.

Two of the five board members, Jesse Prieto and Hugh Box, were absent from the meeting.

Hung brought up many questions he had about the cost of the renovations and construction outlined in the master plan.

Hospital Administrator Robert Vernor explained that the construction would be split up into phases over a period of four to five years.

The board is planning to discuss the project further at the next meeting.

The board approved two separate resolutions, both of which are yearly formalities, according to Vernor.

One resolution is for a trauma designation for the medical staff and the board.

Vernor explained that the designation helps the hospital continue their trauma certification and keep the staff members trained.

"It helps keep our people on their toes," he said. "It helps keep them trained."

The other resolution authorizes the hospital's Chief Financial Officer Frank Seals to received information for the TexPool account.

The board also approved advertising for bids on a mineral lease the hospital holds.

Vernor explained that a company had made an inquiry on the lease after which he explained that the hospital would have to advertise for other bids on the same property.

The board also approved setting the date to canvas the upcoming election for May 7.

In other business, the board approved the monthly tax report, financial statements and budget amendments and the payment of bills.

Kindergarten holding Book Fair this week

PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- A Scholastic Book Fair is being held this week from 8:10 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. daily at Pecos Kindergarten on West 10th Street.

Everyone is welcome to come in and browse.

Student Art Festival scheduled Thursday at Pecos Museum

PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- The 15th Annual Student Art Festival will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday at the West of the Pecos Museum.

Everyone is invited to a special reception and awards program.

The 2002 theme is "Celebrate Your Name."

The art will be displayed at the museum beginning Thursday April 25 until Thursday, May 16.


PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 -- High Tuesday 98. Low this morning 64. Forecast for tonight: Increasing clouds and breezy. Lows in the mid 50s. Northeast winds 15 to 25 mph. Thursday: Cloudy: Breezy and cooler. A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs 65 to 70. East winds 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 50s. Friday: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Highs 85 to 90.


Alan Hoefs and Mitchell Hoover

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