Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
Thursday, June 20, 2002, PECOS ENTERPRISE
for Pecos Country of West Texas
County, city jobless rates
showed big jump in May
By JON FULBRIGHT
Reeves County's unemployment rate jumped by almost two percent
in May, according to figures released today by the Texas
The jump, from 7.4 percent in April to 9.3 percent last month,
coincided with the first round of layoffs by McCain Foods at its Anchor
West plant in Pecos. Most of the remaining workers were laid off by McCain
at the end of May, just days before the company announced the
proposed sale of the facility to a new company owned by the Chairman of
Security State Bank.
The Anchor Foods plant employed over 700 people last
year and still had over 600 on staff this year, representing 10 percent
of Reeves County's labor force. According to the latest TWC
figures, the number of people without jobs in the county jumped from 506 in
April to 649 last month, while the number of workers within the county
also rose, with the beginning of the onion harvest season.
There were 7,008 people in the local labor force, up from 6,862
The June 5 announcement by McCain Foods USA and
TransPecos Foods of the agreement to sell McCain's onion ring plant and
certain equipment to TransPecos Foods is subject to certain
conditions including receipt of local, state and federal governmental
approvals, which the companies said were anticipated within the next few
weeks. At the time of the announcement, there was no word on when the
plant would resume operations or how many workers would be employed
if production is restarted by TransPecos Foods.
Jobless figures were also up for the Town of Pecos City, which
saw its unemployment rate climb back into double digits for the first time in
over a year.
The city had 581 people without jobs last month out of a workforce
of 5,487 people, for a 10.6 percent jobless rate. That's up from 8.5 percent
in April and from 6.9 percent in May of 2001, when the labor force was at
5,496 people _ almost identical to last month _ but only 379 people
were without jobs.
Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City were the only
Permian Basin reporting areas to show a significant jump in its jobless rate
Other area counties reported unemployment numbers that
were virtually unchanged from April.
The Midland-Odessa area's jobless rate held stable at 5.3
percent, while the state unemployment rate was up .1 percent, from 5.7 to
5.8 percent. Both the state and the Midland-Odessa jobless rates are
up by slightly more than one percent from a year ago.
Midland, Andrews, Howard, Dawson and Ward counties
were among those showing slight drops in their jobless rates, while Ector
and Pecos counties reported minor increases.
Crane County's jobless rate dropped by over four percent
from April, but at 14.4 percent is still nearly 10 percent higher than a year ago
and the second highest in the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos
region, behind only Presidio County, which had an 18.2 percent jobless rate
Wednesday rain, hail bypass Pecos, hit Barstow
By JENNIFER GALVAN
Thunderstorms hovered over part of Pecos on Wednesday, but
delivered only more dust to local residents, while residents in Barstow to the east
and Flat Top Farms to the south received rain.
"We received some showers," Clay Taylor, owner of Pecos
Cantaloupe Shed said of the farms, located about 25 miles southeast of town. "There
was no heavy rain."
The strongest storm passed just to the northeast of Pecos and hit
Barstow late Wednesday afternoon. Enterprise circulation manager Lorna
Navarette, who also lives in Barstow, said this town received some rain as well as
golf size hail.
While the National Weather Service has no exact weather information
on these areas, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Alpine
and Terlingua in Brewster County, and a spokesperson for the NWS office
in Midland said areas like Johnson Ranch, Carlsbad and into the Big Bend
did receive some rainfall.
However, the National Weather Service did say that they did get a
report of .08 of an inch of rainfall south of Pecos.
Most of the rain had moved out of the area by midnight. A few
showers and thunderstorms were reported in the western Panhandle and South
Plains early Thursday morning, but rainfall there was light.
Temperature extremes this morning were Marfa in 66 degrees and 84
degrees in El Paso.
Thursday's forecast was calling for sunny skies in West Texas and
partly cloudy conditions in eastern parts of the state.
The northeast and southeast parts of the state could get some
Church plans `homecoming'
for current, former members
By ROSIE FLORES
A "Country Church Homecoming" is scheduled
for Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, at the First Baptist Church
"We thought this would be a good time to schedule it," said
First Baptist Church Pastor Greer Willis. The event will be held during
the time West of the Pecos Rodeo activities are underway.
Special events will begin with a men's breakfast scheduled for
8:30 a.m on June. A registration reception will be held from 10 a.m. until 2
p.m. and women's tea will take place from 2-4 p.m. All events will be held at
the church located at 423 Hickory St.
Saturday evening an ice cream social will be held at the
church beginning at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, the church will feature a special expanded worship
service, which will begin at 10 a.m.
"A lunch is scheduled tentatively for noon," said Willis, who
added that they are planning for 200 guests.
"Everybody's welcome, that would like to join us with
the celebration and homecoming," he said.
During the worship service a color guard with the Marine
Corps will kick off activities. "We'll sing the national anthem,
recognize people from out-of-town, have patriotic music and at least
three instrumental specials," said Willis.
There are four living pastors of the church, three past pastors and
a current one. Leslie Smith, Dudley Bragg and Willis will be on
hand during the celebration. Past pastor Gary Boyd will not be able to
make the special event, according to Willis.
One past music minister, Ed Whittener will also join the
group during that weekend.
Gilda Vejil will be decorating in a special red, white and blue
theme and the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse will be cooking the beans
and potato salad.
Tables will have memorabilia from five decades of the church,
according to Willis.
"We'll do a large group picture at the end of the service, which can
also be a souvenir for those who attend," said Willis.
Willis said that other give-away souvenirs will be handed
out including, the church celebration centennial plates from 1985.
"We had some history done at that centennial, which we'll be
giving out and we'll also be giving out bookmarkers as souvenirs
for everyone," he said.
"We've tried to contact as many people as possible," said
Willis. "We've also tried to contact members of the church that have moved
away, to come join us," he said.
Anybody who is interested or would like to know more about
the special church celebration can call 445-4921.
"We're very excited about this event and welcome everyone to
join us for one or all of the events," said Willis.
Feds jail Alpine man following anthrax letter hoax
An Alpine man has been arrested in connection with a false report
of anthrax at Sul Ross State University and may be facing punishment of
jail time as a result of the Halloween day hoax.
The West Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Sul
Ross University Police Department said that Richard Villalba Portillo, 43,
of Alpine had been arrested as the result of an arrest warrant based upon
a complaint alleging that he violated Title 18, United States
Code, Sections 35 and 1001.
These statutes relate to conveying false information about a crime
and making false statements about a matter within the jurisdiction of
Each statute carries a maximum punishment of five
According to a report released by the FBI, Portillo's arrest arises out
of an investigation of an anthrax hoax at Sul Ross University on Oct.
On that date an envelope containing a powdery substance
was found in a mail slot at the University resulting in the deployment
of emergency response equipment and personnel.
The incident was one of several false anthrax reports that occurred
in late October and early November last year, after anthrax sent through
the mail resulted in the deaths of one person in Florida, one in
Connecticut and two others in Washington, D.C.
The FBI said the Alpine case reflects the previously stated
position of law enforcement that hoaxes, threats and similar actions
regarding weapons of mass destruction will not be tolerated, but will instead be
fully investigated and prosecuted.
tourney next week
The Balmorhea library is sponsoring the First
Annual Balmorhea Library Monopoly Tournament scheduled for 8 a.m.
until noon, Saturday, June 29, at the library building in Balmorhea.
Kids ages 10 to 18 are invited to participate in this three
round tournament to determine the Balmorhea Monopoly Champion.
Entry is free, but limited to 25 competitors.
First, second and third place trophies will be awarded.
Drawings for prizes after the champions is crowned, will be held.
Refreshments will be served.
Come by the library to register and remember seats are limited.
Each competitor will have a sponsor and proceeds will be used by the
library for programs and materials.
High Wednesday 108. Low this morning 77. Forecast for
tonight: Clear. Lows around 70. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday:
Partly cloudy. Highs around 100. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday
night: Partly cloudy. Lows around 70. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 95
to 100. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows around 70. Highs 95 to 100.
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