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Archive 2002

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, September 27, 2002

Council gets update on economic development projects

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 27, 2002 -- Pecos City Council members were given an update on activities of  the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, including two projects in the  Flat Top Farms area southeast of town, during their regularly scheduled  meeting on Thursday at City Hall.

The council heard from PEDC executive Gari Ward, who told the council that representatives from Del Monte Foods in Crystal City had made a trip to Pecos to talk to local growers about growing such things as green beans, potatoes and other vegetables.

"They talked to six or seven growers about helping them meet their demands," Ward said.

He added that one area that was looked for growing the vegetables was Flat Top, located off U.S. 285 between Pecos and Fort Stockton.

"They took water and soil samples from Flat Top," Ward said.

The representatives from Del Monte told farmers that they would come in and plant the vegetables and harvest them. The farmers would just watch over them and provide them with irrigate, Ward added.

Ward also told the council about the three dairy barns under construction at the Leche Farms site in the Flat Top area, which will be home to up to 6,000 cows at the new dairy.

The carousel used to milk the cows will be shipped either on October 26 or 28 from New Zealand to Houston. When it arrives in Houston, it will then be brought to Pecos, Ward said.

The carousel will milk 540 cows an hours or one cow ever seven minutes, Ward said.

"There will be two shifts of people working 18 hours," Ward said.

Ward added that the two shifts would be full-time shifts.

In talking with employees at the Texas A&M Experiment Station, Ward told the council that the growing of jalapeno peppers in the Pecos area could be done. The main pepper harvesting areas currently are in the Rio Grande Valley of southern New Mexico, about 275 miles west of Pecos.

Because the peppers would have to be hand picked it would also provide them with labor, Ward said, while adding "The market and the price is there."

In the Duplex housing project Ward told the council that they plan on starting the project at a site on Veterans Boulevard and Texas Street.

The issue of a new Reeves County Library has yet to be decided, Ward said. However, there is talk about joining in with Odessa College and building a College/County Library too replace the small facility at Fifth and Park streets.

Though he is not ready to discuss the project, Ward told the council that they have talked about creating a racing facility on the Smithers Automotive Testing Center property. The company gave the property to the city last year, after Smithers closed its Pecos facility and moved operations to the Laredo area.

Ward also said two openings on the Pecos Economic Development Corporation's board have been filled.

West Texas National Bank President, John Grant, filled the three-year term and Councilman Johnny Terrazas took the one-year term.

Along with hearing from Ward, PEDC board member Oscar Saenz also updated the council on recent activities. He told them that when General Motors decided not come to Pecos to use the Smithers facility, the board decided to focus on the area's strongest asset, agriculture.

Because there was an itch for dairy farms in arid areas, and the fact that the Texas Panhandle was too cold in the winter, it just seemed right to establish the dairies, Saenz said.

"We have the land, water and labor," Saenz said.

He also advised the council that the economic development would only get harder because the money will be going to the cities and not any rural areas.

Therefore, purpose of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation is to help businesses grow and get better.

Saenz also added that there are acquisitions like that between TransPecos Foods and McCain that got to other states.

In Saenz opinion small businesses in Pecos could export their items to other parts of the world.

"Peggy Walker (owner of Needleworks) could export her stuff," Saenz said.

This idea of Saenz comes from hearing about a lady that exports her jams to other parts of the world. According to Saenz the lady now has 30 or 40 people working for her.

Councilman Frank Sanchez asked Saenz if they have gotten with the Main Street Director, Tom Rivera to work on the economic status of Pecos.

"The Main Street Project is a part of the economic status," Sanchez said.

City approves new budget, maintaining current tax rate

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 27, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council members approved the second  and final reading of the budget and tax ordinances for the 2003 fiscal  year, during their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday at City Hall.

Council members also approved a contract for work at the city's new landfill, and heard a report on the Pecos Police Department's new Community Service officer during the afternoon meeting.

The council had voted for the ordinances during a special meeting on Tuesday, and the second vote was needed to make both measures official. The ordinance for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2002 and ending on September 30, 2003 was approved with Pro Tem Gerald Tellez making the motion and Councilman Frank Sanchez seconding it.

The second ordinance called for maintaining the city's current tax of .6967 cents on each $100 valuation of property. The motion to approve that was made by Councilman Johnny Terrazas to approve the ordinance and was seconded by Councilman Michael Benavides.

In other action, council members awarded the contract for construction at the Town of Pecos City, type I sanitary landfills to a local contractor, Lindsay Western Construction Company.

According to Edwardo Madrid with the city's engineering consultant, Frank Spencer & Associates, Lindsay Western Construction Company is a good contractor to do this amount of work.

City Manager Carlos Yerena told the council that the contract states that the work for the sanitary landfills will be completed within 120 days. The 120-day timetable provides a cushion in case of bad weather days, he added.

Benavides made the motion to approve the contract, with Tellez seconding it. However, after the motion passed Tellez asked that Lindsay Western Construction Company also use local trucks and personell during their work on the landfill project.

In other business, Police Chief Clay McKinney, filling in for the Pecos Police Department Community Service Officer, Mike Balog, informed the council on the projects that Balog is working on.

Balog has been working with the department for about two or three months in the position. "One of the projects he is working on the Citizens Police Academy," McKinney said. "People will see how the police department operates."

People will learn about criminal law, the swat team, the laws on drugs and many other things, McKinney said.

According to McKinney the cutoff number was going to be 10 participants. However, because of the large response they have decided to make the cut off number 20.

"These will be the first alumni of the academy," McKinney said. "A banquet after each academy will be held in which we will bring those people back."

The council was impressed with the project and Sanchez told McKinney that the project seemed like a good public relations tool that would open the eyes and ears of the community.

McKinney added that the project would also help people understand the rules that they must follow in for each case.

Another project that Balog is working on a bike safety program, McKinney said.

"Officer Balog already has a bike donated for the program," McKinney said. "He is now trying to get helmets donated."

A third project in the works is a child safety program. That project comes after the increase in concerns over child abductions, McKinney said.

According to McKinney children in Pecos will be fingerprinted and the parents will then be able to keep the prints of the child.

McKinney added that Balog would also set up a booth at next weekend's Reeves County Fall Fair. Sanchez asked if a booth could be set up at the Austin Carnival on October 26, and the chief said that it could be done.

"He (Balog) is doing a great job," Mayor Dot Stafford said.

When the position was created, McKinney thought that he could keep Balog busy so he created the Community Service Officer as a part-time position.

"I make a mistake thinking I could keep him busy," McKinney said. "I did not realize I could keep him this busy."

Stafford asked if the position could become a full-time job.

"I would have to get with Mr. (city finance director George) Bejarano about that," McKinney said.

"I would like to see him be full time," Sanchez said.

In discussing the purchase of properties located on 1102 E. Third and 310 W. 13th streets the council asked tax assessor/collector Lydia Prieto if she know what would become of these locations once they were purchased.

According to Prieto, the property on 1102 E. Third, the Jalapeno Express, would become a restaurant. Prieto did not know what would become of the house located at 310 W. 13th.

However, Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said that the lot would probably be worth more if it were vacant.

The purchase of both properties were approved.

The approval of the accounts payable report was accepted with Terrazas making a motion and Sanchez seconding it.

In reviewing the curfew violations of 24 juveniles, Stafford asked McKinney if the curfew worked for the police department.

"It is working for us," McKinney said.

With that said McKinney also told the council that last Friday he, superintendent Don Love and Austin Elementary Principal Cindy Duke talked about a plan to work on the congestion of traffic in that area.

Sanchez also asked if officers could be sent to Bessie Hayes as well to relieve some of the same problems of traffic congestions around that school

The municipal court monthly report for August was then approved, followed by the the monthly tax collection report for August.

The minutes of the regular council meeting of September 12, was approved with Tellez making the motion and Benavides seconding it.

In discussing items for the next agenda, councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela asked that Tom Rivera have a report on the Main Street Project he supervises for the city.

Volunteers sought for Saturday's east side clean-up

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 27, 2002 -- Faithful volunteers will once again try to "spruce up" Pecos  and clean empty lots and other areas of town, during a volunteer  clean-up effort Saturday morning.

Organizers for the citywide cleanup are seeking volunteers to meet at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, in the parking lot of the Pecos Technical Training Center-Odessa College.

Volunteers will focus their efforts on the East side of town this Saturday. Groups will clean up empty lots, the Santa Rosa Cemetery, and the East Side Park.

"We'll be cleaning up any area on that side of town that needs attention," said Michael Benavides, organizer of the event

"I have some volunteers that always show up," said Benavides.

Among the "faithful" volunteers that help him out tremendously is 87-year-old Bub Eubank.

"He is always one of the first to show up," said Benavides. "The first time he came to one of our cleanups, he told me, Michael, call me up anytime and I'll be happy to help you."

"He helps us out tremendously, he's my number one volunteer," he added.

Benavides said he wished he had more volunteers like Eubank. "He told me call me `Slim' and call me anytime you have a cleanup and I'll show up and he certainly has," he said.

Others who have helped out with the clean-up efforts include members of the Reeves County Sheriff's Explorer (a youth group), Reeves County probationers and Manny Porras and his daughter.

"I still need volunteers, because we want to do a good job, and really clean up that area," Benavides said. "I'm always looking for volunteers, new faces and we welcome everyone."

Benavides, who is also a member of the Pecos City Council, said that with the opening of the city's new landfill scheduled four months from now, it would make it easier to clean up and haul off large items in the future.

"It'll make it better for us, we'll be able to start tearing down old buildings and hauling off that material to our landfill," said Benavides. Currently, the items have to be collected for disposal at the regional landfill in West Odessa.

Temperatures are supposed to rise into the 90s by Saturday afternoon, but will be in the mid- to upper-50s when the group meets at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, and Benavides suggested that volunteers dress appropriately.

"I'm really excited about this and hope to see more individuals come out and help make this community a nice, clean one that we can all enjoy," he said.

Fall product sale for Girl Scouts getting underway

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 27, 2002 -- The Girl Scouts have begun a fall product sales effort, which will continue through Oct. 13.

The effort began on Thursday, and each Girl Scout troop will receive 10 percent of all product sales and this sale will help them earn more money off of Cookie Sales in the spring. The sales include nuts and candies as well as magazine subscriptions

To order these products, contact your favorite local Girl Scout, or call Jenny Abottt at 447-9225.


PECOS, Fri., Sept. 27, 2002 -- High Thurs. 91. Low this morning 55. Forecast for tonight:  Clear.  Lows near 60. SE winds 10 to 15 mph. Sat.:  Sunny. Highs 90 to 95. SE winds 10  to 20 mph. Sat. night:  Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 50s. Sun.:  Mostly  sunny. Highs 90 to 95. Mon.:  Partly cloudy. Lows near 60. Highs near 90.


Virginia Martinez and Frank Zubia

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