Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Unemployment for city, county at 12-year high
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - Reeves County's unemployment rate climbed to near the 20
percent level, and the rate for the Town of Pecos City soared over 22 percent
for July, as the closing on the Anchor Foods plant combined with
the seasonal influx of workers sent the jobless rate to its highest levels
in over a dozen years.
The closing of Anchor's Pecos plant at the end of May by
McCain Foods shut down the single largest employer for both the city and
county, representing over 10 percent of the area's workforce.
The company employed 700 people when McCain Foods
bought it a year ago.
McCain sold the plant a week after its final closing to the
newly-created TransPecos Foods, which is hoping to have the onion processing
plant back in operation by the end of the year, though the workforce
will probably be lower than in recent years.
But according to figures released by the Texas Workforce
Commission, the jump in the local jobless rate far exceeded the number of jobs lost
due to Anchor's closure, as the number of people in the county's labor
force increased to over 8,000, mainly due to the summer onion and
cantaloupe harvest seasons in the county.
The TWC said there were 1,607 people without jobs in
Reeves County last month, out of a workforce of 8,102 people.
There were 6,495 people employed, according to the
numbers released today by the TWC.
All three totals are up from June, when the local labor force at
7,881 workers, with 6,366 jobs and 1,515 unemployed, for a rate of 19.2
percent. At the same time, the number of jobs in Reeves County is down by
113 from July of 2001, while the local labor force a year ago was put at only
7,069 people, leaving the county with a jobless rate of 6.5 percent.
The county's labor force is at its highest level since September of
1999, when there were 8,149 people in the county's workforce, and
an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent.
The greatest number of workers in the labor force for Reeves
County since January of 1990 came the previous month, when there
were 8,258 people listed by the TWC locally and a jobless rate of 10.5 percent.
The numbers for the Town of Pecos City were similar, with a
sharp jump in the city's labor force from a year ago combining with a slight
drop in the number of jobs to create a major increase in the unemployment rate.
The city had 6,450 workers last month and 1,439 unemployed, for
a 22.3 percent jobless rate. A year ago, Pecos had 5,511 workers, with
only 413 of those unemployed, for a jobless rate of 7.5 percent.
Most other counties in the Permian Basin also reported decreases in
their jobless rates for July, and overall the TWC said unemployment for the
area declined last month from 6.6 percent in June to 6.2 percent.
Ector County saw its jobless rate fall by .3 percent and
Midland County's rate dropped by .4 percent. Andrews and Pecos counties
also reported declines in their jobless rates, though both those
counties also saw their local labor forces and their total number of jobs decrease.
Ward County's unemployment rate went up from 9.1 to 9.6 percent,
and Presidio County's rate went up from 25.4 to 26.9 percent, the highest
in the state of Texas.
The jobless rate across Texas was down from 6.9 percent in June to
6.5 percent last month, according to today's TWC numbers.
That's still up from the 5.4 percent figure a year ago, as the growth
in jobs has not kept up with the increase in the state's labor force.
Cantaloupe harvest over for growers
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - People interested in buying more Pecos cantaloupes this year will
have till the end of this week to purchase them by the box from the
Pecos Farmers Produce Shed.
According to owner, Roger Jones, his shed still has 40 pound box
for sale for $6. He also added that after this week people would have to
go to the stores to buy cantaloupes, but was unsure on whether they
would be Pecos-grown.
"We are the last ones with Pecos cantaloupes," Jones said.
Cantaloupe processing at the Pecos Cantaloupe Shed was
closed last week, sales manager Clay Taylor said.
"We were done last Thursday," he said.
According to Taylor this year's crop was good and they plan
on having about the same size of crop next year.
Pecos Cantaloupe grows most of its crop to the south and east
of Pecos, while Jones' cantaloupes are all grown on the north side of
the railroad tracks of Reeves County.
According to Jones, their last day of harvest was last Friday,
He went on to say that this year's crop was excellent but did add
that the July and early August rains did not help.
"The rain hurts the crop. It is not good for it to rain," Jones said.
"The rain lowers the sugar content for a few days."
Jones also said that when California started to ship off
their crop in late June, also hurt their market. With the California
shipment the market as well as the price started to decline.
"The market started off good this year but then it started to
decline around June 21," Jones said.
"California ships a lot of cantaloupes," Jones said. "It is
hard to compete."
Jones added that he hopes that next year's crop does better in
the market and that they have an earlier crop as well.
Jones said that they are now preparing to plant their fall
"We will be planting our fall cabbage in a couple of weeks,"
"We will then harvest the cabbage around October 15
through November 15," Jones said. "Somewhere in that window.
Pecos cantaloupes are known for their sweet taste and local
residents as well as residents from across the country look forward to
the cantaloupes each year.
Pair arrested on pot charges following search
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - A narcotics search warrant that was executed Wednesday
evening landed two people in the Criminal Justice Center, according
to Pecos police
At 8:29 p.m., Wednesday evening, officers with the
police department, the Reeves County Sheriff's Office and the
143rd District Attorney's office executed a narcotics
search warrant at 1217 S. Elm St.
"During the search of the premises, a substance believed
to be marijuana was found inside the residence and a
substance believed to be marijuana was found inside a vehicle that
was parked outside the residence," said Pecos Police
Investigator Paul Deishler.
He added that officers also found paraphernalia
commonly used with the smoking of marijuana inside the residence.
"Officers completed their search of the premises and
two individuals were arrested," said Deishler.
Arrested during the incident were Javier Vela, 32 and
Juan Ramirez, 51 and both were transported to the Criminal
Bond for the individuals had not been set yet this morning,
pending a court hearing.
Vela was charged with the offense of possession of
a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school
(Pecos Kindergarten) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ramirez was charged with possession of a
controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school (Pecos Kindergarten).
McKinnon buys paper in former hometown
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - A former Pecos Enterprise editor and publisher
during the 1990s has purchased the newspaper in his
Mac B. McKinnon has purchased the Dublin
Citizen, which was sold by Karen Wright on Aug. 1. Dublin is
located midway between Abilene and Waco.
Wright had established the paper in 1990, and at the
time there was a long established weekly which an
out-of-town chain had purchased. Her paper was the only one in town
at the time of the sale.
McKinnon spent nine years as editor of the
Enterprise, from 1989 to 1998, before moving to Colorado, where he
was publisher of the Fort Morgan Times from late 1998 until last month.
McKinnon, who is a 1961 graduate of Dublin High
School, served in the U.S. Air Force, and published a weekly paper for
the service, as well as writing several unit histories. Later he worked as
state editor for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and then purchased
the Colorado City Record, in Texas, where he lived from 1971 to 1980. He
then moved to Midland as news director for KMID, the NBC-TV affiliate at
Returning to the newspaper business, he bought the
Burnet Bulletin-Marble Falls Messenger-Bertram Enterprise, which he
operated from 1983 to 1988. After selling that operation, he wrote a book about
a serial killer, which was published in 1991.
Bill Berger of Associated Texas Newspapers helped him sell
the Burnet newspaper in 1988 and then helped in the sale from Karen
Wright to McKinnon in 2002.
Hearing on Friday on proposed brush program changes
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board will hold a
public hearing at 9 a.m. Friday at the Pecos Community Center.
The public hearing will focus on proposed rule changes to the
Brush Control Program.
The proposed changes are to ensure the rules more
accurately reflect the actual administration of
the program. The recommended changes will reflect the way the brush
program works in the fields and will in no way impact any other TSSWCB programs.
Anyone having questions or concerns regarding the
proposed changes is encouraged to appear and offer comments or statements,
either in writing or verbally, on the issue.
Garage sale, BBQ to benefit Explorer post
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - A garage sale and barbecue plate sale will be held beginning at 8
a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Barn.
Everyone is invited to come out and browse and enjoy the good food.
Proceeds will benefit the Reeves County Sheriff's Explorer Post #600.
PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - High Wednesday 98. Low this morning 74. Forecast for
tonight: Clear. Lows 70 to 75. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly
cloudy. Highs near 102. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly
cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 102. Sunday: Partly
cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows 70 to 75. Highs near 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