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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Cuellar, Cornyn campaigns plan Pecos stopovers

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- Citizens of Reeves County will have two chances to meet with U.S. Congress and Senate candidates within the next week at the Reeves County Courthouse.

Congressional candidate for District 23 Henry Cuellar will be making a short stop in Pecos tomorrow when he meets with elected officials and community members from 11 a.m. to noon, at the Courthouse, while U.S. Senate candidate John Cornyn will be in Pecos next Tuesday as part of a campaign swing through West Texas.

Cuellar's Press Secretary Veronica Ruiz said that Pecos is the only stop in this area that Cuellar is planning to take at this time.

She said he hopes to discuss pertaining to the local community while in town.

"He's going to meet with elected officials and citizens to talk about local issues and the importance of education," she said.

Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, is a 14-year veteran of the Texas Legislature and served as Texas' 102nd Secretary of State after being appointed by current Gov. Rick Perry. He is seeking the seat currently held by Republican Henry Bonilla, who was first elected to office in 1992.

In a press release, Cuellar expressed his hopes to work with citizens of Reeves County to "accomplish great things in Washington."

"Together, we will work towards putting education first, improving health care, workforce development and job creation, fighting crime to ensure safe streets and communities, improving transportation infrastructure, protecting our environment and quality of life, and cutting taxes and the regulatory burden," he said.

Cornyn, who was elected Texas Attorney General in 1998, will be stopping in Pecos next Tuesday. He is seeking to replace fellow Republican Phil Gramm in the U.S. Senate and will meet with area residents beginning at 1:45 p.m. at the Courthouse.

While in Pecos, Cornyn plans to outline his plans if elected to Senate. In a press release, he listed protecting the most vulnerable in society, strengthening our national defense, reducing the burden of the government and fighting for Texas values as some of his key issues.

Cornyn is running against former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who won the Democratic nomination in a runoff last month against Victor Morales, who was defeated by Gramm in the 1996 U.S. Senate election.

Anchor layoffs begin; no word on sale

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- Anchor West employees who were laid off during the first week of May gathered for one last photograph and bid a tearful farewell to the plant that they have called "home" for as long as a dozen years.

"Some of these employees have been here since it first opened," said Pamela Anchondo who was one of the employees with the first group to be laid off at the plant, which began operations in Pecos in 1990.

Anchor Foods opened the plant with about 200 employees and expanded the facility to 700 workers by the time the company agreed to be bought out by Canadian-based McCain Foods in August of 2001. Three months later, McCain announced it would close its Pecos facility and invest $10 million toward expanding an onion processing plant the company already owned in Grand Island, Neb.

At the time, McCain said the plant would shut down by sometime in the spring of 2002, and Anchondo said that they had already shut down one line.

"They talked to us on the Monday before we were laid off and told us about the package we were getting," said Anchondo, who has worked at the facility for four years.

She said it was very hard to say goodbye since many of the employees had formed a strong friendship while employed there. "We just wanted to get together and have one last picture taken together," said Anchondo, who added that not all the employees laid off were able to make it for the picture.

More than 100 employees were laid off at the first of the month and more layoffs are scheduled. "We're anxious to try and resolve this to let everyone know," said Bob Thomas, vice-president of McCain Foods, which is best known in the United States for its Ore-Ida brand of frozen potatoes.

The closing of the Anchor West onion processing plant in Pecos is still scheduled for sometime around the end of this month, but company officials said they are in talks with another company on purchasing the facility, which was Reeves County's single largest employer at the time of the closing announcement.

"Nothing really has changed, the plant is still closing," said Thomas.

Last month, Thomas said that there were a couple of parties interested in buying the facility. However, even with the talks, he said Tuesday that, "At the end of the month the production end will be concluded."

Thomas added that some of the administration people and others would still be on hand to decommission the facility.

"The production people will be employed until the end of the month, when that part will be completed," said Thomas. "This will vary a few days."

"The possibility of the sale of the facility is still in the works," said Thomas. "We're optimistic, we're continuing talks, trying to reach an agreement."

Thomas said that company officials remain optimistic about the sale of the facility and hope to soon disclose something. "We can't really say at this time, who the other company is because of the confidentiality clause in the contract," said Thomas.

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

McCain vice president Steve Prater said in November that with the buyout of Appleton, Wisc.-based Anchor, the company had an overcapacity of onion production plants. McCain is keeping open Anchor's plants in Wisconsin, which were the leading producer of stuffed jalapeno pepper appetizers at the time of last year's sale.

First grader credited with saving family from fire

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- A first grade student at Austin Elementary School is being given credit for saving the lives of her grandparents after the home she shared with them caught on fire last week.

The Pecos family was left homeless last Tuesday after a fire destroyed the inside of their house, at 214 W. Daggett St.

Eight-year-old Abigail Orosco, a first grade student at Austin Elementary, was the first to notice that their home was on fire. The blaze broke out in the bedroom of the home about 7:40 p.m. and all seven units for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department plus Pecos Emergency Medical Service personnel responded to the fire.

"I was outside playing and filling up my new pool with water," said Abigail, when she saw her grandmother's window on fire and ran inside and got her grandfather who was in a different room of the house.

"I didn't think about it, I just ran in and told my grandpa that I saw fire in my grandmother's window," said Orosco. "My grandpa then went and woke up my grandmother who was asleep."

Orosco didn't think she was being brave at the time, but only thought about her grandparents, whom she lives with and loves dearly.

"I wasn't scared to go inside, all I could think about was them," said Orosco.

After Abigail got her grandparents, they all ran outside and a woman who was passing by and is a friend of the family's called 911. After fire and ambulance workers arrived, her grandmother was transported to Reeves County Hospital by EMS personnel for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Pecos Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that the fire seemed to have been started by a cigarette that had fallen onto a bed in one of the bedrooms.

"It started in the east back bedroom," he said. "The entire structure on the inside was pretty much gutted."

The family lost their home and everything in it and is trying to get back on their feet.

"Everything is lost," said Priscilla Orosco, Abigail's mother. "It's a good thing she was there, because she's the one who first noticed the fire," she said.

"We also lost our cats, some of them were little and the others were big," said Abagail, who added that some of the cats died from smoke inhalation.

Orosco has been receiving some help from her classmates who have pulled together and brought her clothes, toiletries and other items

"The students have been really great," said Suzanne Flowers, Orosco's teacher. "They have been bringing in clothes and other items for her."

Priscilla Orosco said that her daughter was still trying to save things after the firefighters were already there, especially her kittens. "She was so cute, because she still wanted to try to save things, and trying to rescue her cats," said Orosco.

Orosco's older daughter, 12-year-old Crystal, was not at the home at the time of the incident.

"We're all very proud of her, because she wasn't even afraid," said Orosco.

Abigail didn't think she was being brave and unafraid at the time. "I didn't think at all," said Orosco. "I just knew I had to tell someone."

The family is still in need of household items such as blankets and clothes and is currently staying in a trailer at 1310 Johnson St., if anybody would like to donate any items or help out in any way.

Pageant candidates make debuts at Style Show

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- A total of nine girls are vying for the 2002 Golden Girl of the Old West title this year and all were able to practice for the pageant set for June during the annual Style Show held last Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The contestants along with 13 Little Miss Cantaloupe Contestants modeled clothes provided by local businesses during the Style Show.

Golden Girl for 2001 Deserae Tercero and 2001 Little Miss Cantaloupe Marissa Tarango were also present to model at the show, which is held annually in the month prior to the pageant.

Nominees for the 2002 Golden Girl pageant include Kristian Aguilar, Denise Ann Chabarria, Dena Dutchover, Erica Franco, Hannah Paz, Rebecca Reynolds, Rachel Ann Rubio, Lara Weinacht and GeNelle Willis.

Little Miss Cantaloupe nominees include Brittney Alligood, Valerie Carrasco, Dana Conger, Jo Maureen Darpolor, Marissa Elizondo, Lara Gonzales, Harlee Lozano, Myranda Martinez, Gabriana Nichols, Krysta Orona, Kendra Rayos, Zandria Rodriguez and Kirsten Valdez.

The Style Show Committee spent many hours preparing for the big day and decorated the civic center in a Red, White and Blue Patriotic theme.

Committee members included Maria Villanueva, April Castillo, Melonie Ikeler, Rhonda Wade, Cathy Teague, Dot Stafford, Rosario Villanueva and Barbara Castillo, who are all members of the Women's Division of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce.

The local singing group Amazon Outfitters also entertained the audience.

Fashions modeled by all the nominees were provided by Bealls, Desiree's Boutique, Hollywood Blvd., Needleworks, Etc., Olga's Shop, Selena's and Wal-Mart.

Gathering planned for eighth graders on Saturday night

PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- Crockett Eighth Grade students are invited to an End of Year Gathering from 5:30 p.m. -- 11 p.m., on Saturday at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Barn.

Crockett parents are hosting the gathering for the eighth grade students.

For more information on the gathering call 447-3870 or 445-7548 after 5 p.m.


PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 -- High Tuesday 86. Low this morning 60. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy and breezy. Lows around 65. South winds 15 to 25 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs around 95. West winds 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows around 65. Friday: Partly cloudy: Breezy: And cooler. Highs around 85. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. Highs around 85.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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