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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, September 20, 2002

Unemployment continues rising for city, county

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- Unemployment in Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City  remained at high levels in the wake of the closing of the Anchor Foods plant  in June, as the county's jobless rate hit 19.9 percent in August while the  city's figure jumped to 22.4 percent. 

Anchor's closing prior to the sale of its Pecos plant to Trans-Pecos Foods put 700 people out of work, compared with the same period a year ago. Some workers have been rehired by Trans-Pecos Foods, but operations are currently at a much lower level than a year ago, when McCain Foods purchased the company. McCain announced plans to shut down the Pecos facility last November.

According to figures released Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission, Reeves County's unemployment rate is up 13.3 percent from August of a year ago, climbing from 6.3 percent to 19.9 percent. However, much of that increase is due to an increase of almost 1,100 workers in the local labor force, despite the closing of the Anchor plant.

Reeves County had 6,951 people in the labor force in August of 2001, and 6,514 had jobs, the TWC said. Last month, the county had 6,429 jobs, 85 less than last year, but the workforce had swelled to 8,031 workers, resulting in the sharp jump in the jobless rate.

The numbers were similar for the Town of Pecos City. Its jobless rate has climbed by over 15 percent in the past year, from 7.2 to 22.4 percent, mainly due to the jump in the city's labor force. The TWC said Pecos had 5,417 workers last August and 391 people without jobs, while last month the commission reported 6,394 people in the workforce and 1,434 without jobs.

Pecos' jobless rate was up two-tenths of a percent from July, when the rate was at 22.2 percent, while Reeves County is also up by .2 percent, from 19.7 percent in July.

While Pecos and Reeves County saw their unemployment levels rise, the numbers for the state and for the Permian Basin went down in August. The basin's jobless rate declined from 6.3 percent in July to 6.1 percent, as a small drop in jobs was offset by a larger decline in the regional labor force, the TWC said. Unemployment in Texas went from 6.6 percent to 6.3 percent, also due to the drop in the state's labor force offsetting a slight loss in jobs.

Midland, Odessa, Monahans and Crane were among the cities reporting drops in their jobless rates, and the counties they are located in also saw their jobless figures drop.

Pecos County was one of the few counties to join Reeves in reporting an increase in it's jobless rate, though the level was far lower, at 7.3 percent, up from 6.6 percent in July. That was due to a drop in the number of jobs outpacing a slight decline in the county's workforce.

Loving County, the state's least-populated county, saw its rate unchanged last month. Loving had 54 people in the workforce, and all but two had jobs, for an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

Ex-Pecos residents performing as part of Austin rap group

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- New groups featuring former Pecos residents will be  in town Saturday performing their own brand of music,  during a concert and dance scheduled for 8 p.m. at the  Riverside Ballroom.

D.J. "Curly-Q" of Austin will be joining former Pecos residents in bringing a new sound to Pecos. Curly-Q will join rappers MVP, (Ruben Ramirez Jr.), Strezz-Free, (Angel Garcia) and "Buda" (Kingsley Nwaka).

Garcia and Ramirez are former Pecos residents who graduated from Pecos High School and moved to Austin to continue working toward their goals of making music.

The concert will also feature singer, K-Mo-G, who will be singing a variety of songs.

Ramirez graduated from Pecos High School in 1993. He moved to Austin, where he attended the University of Texas and graduated in June 2001 with a Bachelors in Radio-TV-Film.

"My homeboy Robert Chavez and I decided to become filmmakers and get into the entertainment business," said Ramirez. "We know it is going to be tough, but we were never the ones to go out the easy way. Our goal is to accomplish the impossible and become the voice of our people through our art."

Ramirez began filming shows and videos for a local group called the "Flo-Mob."

"They introduced me to the rap game and taught me how to work a keyboard and I realized at this time that I loved music so much that I wanted to create my own sound," said Ramirez. "So my brother Manny and I put half on an Ensoniq keyboard and formed `Ground Up Records,'" he said.

Ramirez put in countless hours till he got better and better. "The first song I ever wrote was called, "MVP" and this is how I got my rap name," he said.

"After we graduated from UT, we formed our own independent production companies," said Ramirez. Chavez started "Visual Vagos," a video production company specializing in video and film. "My brother and I started "Ground Up Records," an audio production company specializing in music and sound.

"We have done several short films, songs, and produce our own show in Austin called `ATXposure,'" he said.

Ramirez said that their goals are to keep creating and producing art. "We have a script about Pecos called "Tarillaz" that is in pre-production," he said. "We are planning to shoot most of it here in Pecos in the near future."

Ramirez recently released his first album entitled "Ball-Star" which he has been promoting this summer. "I recorded two other songs in Miami with a close friend of mine and a former Pecos native, Aldo Ramon," said Ramirez. "I felt that I needed to perform my first real show in Pecos, because this is where I am from and I will never forget it."

Ramirez adheres to the motto that, "To know where you are going, you must know where you come from."

"When I return to Austin I will begin preparing for my sophomore album release entitled `Illego Alien'," said Ramirez.

Ramirez said that his father introduced him to music at an early age. "We'd be cruising in his lowrider listening to the legendary sounds of Santana, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, and the oldies," he said.

"My hip-hop roots began around the third grade when Breakdancing was in," said Ramirez. "I remember watching Joe Calva and the "Streetmasters" do their thing, and began imitating their moves."

Ramirez said that in the sixth grade they would rhyme the words to "Whodini" and other songs. "As I grew up I started changing popular songs around and making them my own," said Ramirez. "Austin is where I rediscovered my love for music and it gave me the resources to create in a creative atmosphere."

Everyone is invited to come listen to the new sounds of the groups, featuring Pecos' own.

There will also be a freestyle concert and a rap and dance contest open to the community.

Board approves three-cent hike in RCH tax rate

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- A year after lowering their tax rate due to an increase in  valuations, Reeves County Hospital District board members voted to increase  the district's tax rate for 2003 by almost three cents, due to a drop  in valuations compared with 2001's totals.

The hospital district increased their tax rate from .33 cents per $100 in valuations to .3596 cents during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday in the classroom at Reeves County Hospital. The increase comes after the board cut the rate a year ago by one cent, after valuations for oil and gas in Reeves County increased sharply over 2000's totals.

According to Chief Financial Officer Bill Conder, the .3596 tax rate "will give us the same amount as last year."

Conder is newly arrived at Reeves County Hospital, and said he hasn't had a chance to look at the full budget situation.

He said he arrived at a bad time because when he joined the hospital, they were already at the tail end of establishing the budget for the 2003 fiscal year. By next year he hopes to find out where they are at in the budget.

In setting the tax rate, the board accepted a rate of .3596 with board member, Hugh Box making the motion and board member Bill Wendt seconding it.

While reviewing and adopting the 2003 Operating and Capital Budget, Conder informed the board that though he did not have time to negotiate the Capital Budget this year he would the following year.

Board member Leo Hung then asked Conder if a dictation facility would really cost $60,000 to which Conder responded that it would cost that much. However he added that the price could possibly be negotiated down.

Hospital CEO Robert Vernor also added to the conversation that the facility would be used hospital wide for doctors to dictate medical reports, and would be located in a central location.

Moving on to the hospital exemptions, the board approved exemptions of $15,000 for the citizens over 65, $12,000 for disabled veterans and $10,000 for the medically disabled.

Box made the motion for approval with Wendt seconding it.

The board went on to approve the bank resolution with Wendt making the motion and seconded by Box.

The TexPool resolution was also passed with Vice President/Secretary Chel Flores making the motion and Box seconding it.

Box the made a motion to approve the Reeves County Hospital By-Law changes with Flores seconding it.

The organizational chart was also approved with Box making the motion and Wendt seconding it.

The minutes from several of its previous meetings were also approved with Box making the motion and Flores seconding it.

Commissioners to study hiring builders for center

PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- Construction management professional services for the new Balmorhea Community Center will be one of the topics of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 23, in the third floor courtroom.

Along with plans for the community center, commissioners will discuss and take action on contracts between Reeves County and Taylor County Juvenile Center, Midland County Juvenile Center and Hays County Juvenile Center.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on;

— bid No. 05-02 juvenile probation transportation van;

_ Ford Motor Credit application for lease vehicles for the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force;

_ finance plan with Ford Motor Credit for vehicles purchased from Colt Chevrolet;

_ payment to Physician's Network Association for Medical Professional Services at the Reeves County Detention Center for August;

_ authorization for Physician's Network Association for Medical Professional Services at RCDC for Sept.-Oct, 2002;

_ Twin Cities Technologies Billings for Emergency Management Antenna Tower;

_ ACCU Weather Paging Service fees;

_ Cellular phone policy; 2003 sheriff's and constables fees under local government code, 118.131;

_ official bond and oath for Lynn Owens, county auditor;

_ Nov. 5, 2002 General Election Order and Notice to publish the Nov. 5, General Elections and

_ Indigent Defense Grant Program Resolution.

Regular agenda items include: inmate transportation crew mileage payments; reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes (RCDC); minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

Rec department begins sign-ups for youth soccer

PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is signing up boys and girls for youth soccer between now and Oct. 19.

The leagues are open to boys and girls ages 4 ½ to 14. Parents can pick up enrollments forms at the Recreation Department office in the old Pecos High School gym during office hours. Entry fee is $10 per child, and forms must have the signature of both parents and a birth certificate also must be provided.

For further information, call the recreation department at 447-9776.


PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- High Thursday 80. Low this morning 55. Forecast for tonight:   Mostly clear. Lows 55 to 60. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Saturday:   Mostly sunny. Highs 90 to 95. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night:   Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Sunday:  Partly cloudy. Highs near  85. Monday:  Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Highs 80 to 85.


Sarah Blair

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