Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Bonilla's campaign stops at TransPecos Foods plant
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- With one week to go before Election Day, Reeves
County's congressman for the past decade made a stop in Pecos this
morning, visiting with local officials and those involved with the reopening
of the Anchor Foods onion processing plant on Interstate 20.
United States Congressman Henry Bonilla's bus tour stopped at TransPecos
Foods today and met with its management line as well with Chairman Patrick
During Bonilla's visit to TransPecos Foods, Kennedy presented him with
the "Guardian of Small Business Award," which recognizes the congressman
for his leadership on issues that are vital to the future of small businesses
"Small business owners remind us of basic business ethics, skills and
the truth in the American dream. It's essential that Congress focus on legislation
that assists small businesses," Bonilla said in a press release. "I'm thankful
for this award, but even more thankful for the amazing small businesses and
small business owners in our communities who keep our nation prosperous and
The award is given only to the few members of Congress who vote consistently
in support of small business.
Kennedy, who also owns Security State Bank in Pecos, purchased the Anchor
Foods facility from McCain Foods this summer, and the company announced on
Monday it had signed an agreement to supply onion rings to Dairy Queen restaurants
across Texas. McCain had closed the plant at the end of May, after buying
out Anchor Foods last fall. The plant was Pecos' largest single employer
at that time, with 700 workers.
Both Kennedy and Bonilla are San Antonio residents, and the San Antonio
and Laredo areas are expected to be the main battlegrounds for Bonilla and
his Democratic Party challenger, former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar.
Bonilla, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, said that he would
be in Dallas with President George W. Bush during his visit to Texas on Monday.
According to Bonilla, the site of the Republican campaign rally in Dallas
has not been determined as of yet.
Bonilla's race against Cuellar has been predicted to be one of the closes
House races in Texas this year, but the Congressman said he felt his campaign
was looking strong and felt he would win by a wider margin than most predictions.
"I feel that we will win by 20 points," Bonilla said. "And that is our
Bonilla said that he would like to encourage everyone in Pecos to go out
"I'm so thankful to my long-time supporters in Pecos. The people in this
community are what America is all about," he said. "America is also about
Democracy and our right to vote. I'm reminding everyone today to take advantage
of that right and get to the polls on Tuesday (Nov. 5). Every vote makes
"I am asking everyone for their vote," Bonilla said.
In emphasizing the importance of voting, Bonilla and his team handed out
free T-shirts, bumper stickers and yard signs to supporters.
"It's so important to vote. We learned in the last election that every
vote really does count. This is an important year-we have several important
races and mine happens to be one of them." Bonilla said. "I'm encouraging
people to place a bumper-sticker on their car or a sign in their front yard.
Every reminder of the elections helps get people out to the polls."
Bonilla and his team are traveling in an RV to more then a dozen towns
in West and South Texas over a three-day span. At each stop, Bonilla and
his team visit with local residents, businesses and city leaders.
"This mode of transportation is pretty hard to miss. Our RV is decorated
with every piece of campaign paraphernalia known to man," Bonilla said. "It's
all here to show my constituents that we are charged up for Tuesday's election
and excited to continue representing their interests in Washington, D.C."
Congressman Bonilla's congressional district is the largest in Texas.
He is a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which helps fund
important programs in Pecos and throughout the 23rd Congressional
Group reviews city's top needs during summit
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- Issues, strategies and plans to make Pecos
a better community to work, live in and visit were discussed at length
this past weekend by several community members, during the Key Opinion
Leaders Summit held at Indian Lodge near Fort Davis.
"We narrowed it down to five issues that we thought we could handle at
this time," said Pecos Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Linda Gholson.
"There were some issues that we felt were too big and couldn't be handled
in one day and we left those for another occasion," said participant Nancy
Ontiveros said that other issues were just out of reach, so the Key Opinion
Leaders (KOL) group decided to focus on those that the community could work
on under current manpower conditions.
She said that it was a great summit and good results came of it. Twenty
people from different entities and aspects in the community participated.
"These individuals made a commitment to revitalize the Pecos area and
work with a positive attitude and put personal feelings aside," Ontiveros
The first issue that will be addressed is clean up debris, vacant buildings,
trash and general appearance of the town.
"There were seven different strategies we developed to address that issue,"
The projects include the Pride in Pecos Campaign, the 50 Barrel Campaign,
Media Campaign, Alley Clean-Up, Litter Bag Campaign, School Education and
Merchant Initiatives, according to Ontiveros.
"What each of these strategies will do is focus on different areas," said
Ontiveros. "In addition, individuals took responsibility for each of these
projects and some time frames were set and everyone is to report back to
the chamber of commerce by Nov. 8, with a plan on how each of these projects
will be carried out."
The second issue was to encourage and facilitate greater cooperation and
communication between government entities and agencies.
"The strategy identified that we need to have quarterly forums, encourage
participate in the chamber of commerce socials and focus on being aware of
dispute resolution," said Ontiveros.
All chamber of commerce members will read a book on dispute resolution
called, "Getting to Yes," which will be the first phase of improving the
communication and cooperation effort.
The third issue is to increase employment opportunities and improve quality
of labor force.
"Every KOL entity will sponsor a student for GED (Graduate Equivalency
Degree), because many individuals do not have the proper education for available
jobs," said Ontiveros. "Funding will be sought to pay for the tests from
those classes from the entities."
A task force was developed to work on housing, improving labor force,
in a collective effort with Odessa College's Technical Training Center in
Pecos, according to Ontiveros.
The fourth issue on the list is to increase the availability of affordable
housing and improve property values.
"A task force also will work on that issue because of lack of affordable
housing in our community," said Ontiveros.
Improving business opportunities for existing and new businesses was the
fifth issue to be addressed. "We don't want existing businesses to feel that
we want to focus on new businesses only, but that we're here for the existing
businesses and want to help them as well," said Ontiveros.
Gholson said that the summit was implemented because of the many surveys
that have been done in past years. "We had another survey done in 2000 and
all the other surveys before that, indicated that the issues were the same,"
said Gholson. "We wanted to identify the needs and come up with some concrete
plans to address them."
A survey will be sent to all businesses to identify their needs, according
to Gholson. "In trying to improve business opportunities this is one of the
first steps we will take," she said.
Another will be to focus on tourism and landscaping the main corridors
in the community will be done to improve the appearance of the community
and attract more people.
"A task force was set up for landscaping," said Ontiveros.
"In addressing the customer service issue in our community, they will
be offering classes by Odessa College to all businesses, in both the areas
of customer service and leadership training," she said. .
"A letter will go out to all business which will be proactive," said Ontiveros,
adding that they wanted everyone to be aware of the importance of good customer
relations and the impact on the community.
Another issue for further discussion, but that will be addressed by the
city, is the demolition of abandoned and burned-down buildings. "The city
council has a projected timeline of 4-6 months to open the new landfill and
estimate that 50 percent of the problem will be resolved within a year of
that opening," said Ontiveros.
Another area that will be pursued is a smoke-free ordinance in the community
and property tax comparison, according to Ontiveros.
"The top five (issues) that are identified are issues that we felt had
solutions and are issues our community can resolve together," said Ontiveros.
"Pecos didn't get it's problems overnight and they won't be solved overnight,
but by getting a plan and getting as many people in the community to come
together we can make Pecos a better community to work in and visit."
Most importantly, according to Ontiveros, everyone in the community will
be asked to participate in the Pride in Pecos Campaign.
"If we all work together in a more enthusiastic and positive way we can
enable all the other campaigns to work better," she said.
Ontiveros said that the best comment made was, "This was a great step
toward the betterment of the community and this is just the first step."
"We want to encourage the community to participate and if they have any
ideas or express any interest in any aspect they can call the chamber office,"
TxDOT puts 75 mph speed limit on U.S. 285
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- Motorists headed to Fort Stockton or Carlsbad
from Pecos have been able to save a few minutes on their driving time
legally since late last week, after the Texas Department of Transportation
raised the speed limit on U.S. 285 from 70 to 75 miles per hour.
TxDOT crews put the new signs up last week, and the agency formally announced
the change in a press release on Monday.
The change affects U.S. 285 in rural areas for its entire length in Texas,
from the New Mexico state line, 50 miles north of Pecos, to Sanderson in
Terrell County. Speed limits were also raised on two other West Texas highways,
U.S. 90 in rural areas of Brewster and Terrell counties, and State Highway
176, which runs from Big Spring to Eunice, N.M. Speed limits on that road
were raised to 75 mph in Martin and Andrews counties.
Speed limits were also raised slightly by TxDOT on the approaches to cities
on the three highways, but speed restrictions remain in effect on those roads
inside city limits.
In Pecos, speed limits on the approach into town were raised to 65 mph,
and the speed limit on U.S. 285 for traffic going north over the Interstate
20 overpass is 55 mph. Speed limits for traffic on the north side of the
overpass remains at 45 mph from I-20 to the West of the Pecos Rodeo Grounds.
The three roads are among the first two-lane highways in the Permian Basin
to have their speed limits raised from 70 to 75 mph under House Bill 299,
which allowed speed limit increases in counties with populations of less
than 10 persons per square mile. The bill was passed during the 77th
Legislative session in 2000, but TxDOT was required to conduct engineering
studies to determine if the speed limits would be safe.
Speed limits were raised to 75 mph last December on Interstate highways
in West Texas. That included both Interstates 10 and 20 in Reeves County.
Two other two-lane highways, U.S. 67 and U.S. 385 between I-10 and U.S. 90
south of Fort Stockton also have been given 75 mph speed limits.
Reeves is the only county on I-20 to receive the higher speed limit. The
speed limit drops back to 70 mph at the Pecos River crossing, because Ward
County and other counties to the east fail to meet the population requirements
of HB 299. However, I-10's new speed limit is in effect from the Hudspeth-El
Paso County line to the Kimble-Kerr County line 70 miles north of San Antonio,
a distance of over 400 miles.
"The reality is that in rural areas, people usually drove a few miles
over the speed limit because of the distances involved in getting from point
A to point B," said Rep. Pete P. Gallego, who authored the legislation. "The
increase in the speed limit will allow people more room to gauge a comfortable
yet safe driving speed when traveling."
The 10-month difference in changing the speed limits allowed TxDOT engineers
to conduct studies to ensure that a higher speed limit was safe and reasonable
for a particular roadway
According to TxDOT officials, the factors evaluated included prevailing
speeds, roadway width, crash history, horizontal or vertical curves and shoulder
conditions. The amount and location of driveways for residential and commercial
developments were also considered in the engineering studies.
The 75-mph speed limit will not apply to commercial trucks, truck tractors,
trailers and semitrailers. But it will apply to light trucks and light trucks
pulling a trailer. The nighttime speed limit will remain 65 mph.
Eighty-six of Texas' 254 counties, predominantly in West Texas, are eligible
to request a 75-mph limit. Along with the counties affected by the latest
changes, other eligible counties include Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Glasscock,
Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Presidio, Reagan, Sterling, Upton, Winkler, and
Bill will change Reeves County's voting machines
From Staff and Wire Reports
Reeves County voters who are casting ballots this week and next Tuesday
using punch card ballots will be voting on different machines in the
near future, after President Bush signed a bill in Washington today
to update voting equipment across the United States.
One week before Election Day, Bush signed legislation revamping the nation's
voting system and guarding against the kinds of errors that threw his own
election into dispute two years ago.
"When problems arise in the administration of elections, we have a responsibility
to fix them," Bush said as he gathered several Democratic and Republican
lawmakers behind him at a signing desk.
"Every registered voter deserves to have confidence that the system is
fair and elections are honest, that every vote is recorded and that the rules
are consistently applied. The legislation that I sign today will add to the
nation's confidence," Bush said.
The ceremony, staged in a White House office-building auditorium, began
Bush's two-day respite from campaigning for GOP House, Senate and gubernatorial
candidates in next Tuesday's elections.
Under the "Help America Vote Act," states will receive $3.9 billion in
federal money over the next three years to replace outdated punch card and
lever voting machines or improve voter education and poll-worker training.
The new law's protections against voting error will not affect next week's
balloting but are scheduled to be mostly implemented in time for the 2004
congressional and presidential vote, which will most likely include Bush's
Only 13 of Texas' 254 counties used punch card ballots for the 2000 election,
with Reeves being one of those counties. The 13 included Harris County, the
most populated county in Texas, but officials there already have phased out
the punch card voting machines in favor of computer touch-screen voting machines.
The punch card machines already have been in use in Reeves County for
early voting in next Tuesday's general election. Early voting will continue
through Friday at the Reeves County Courthouse, while polls will be open
at 11 locations in the county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
It was Bush's bitter 2000 Florida recount battle with Democrat Al Gore
- with its confusing "butterfly ballots," half-perforated punch ballots and
allegations of voter intimidation - that gave rise to the legislation. Bush's
election was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.
The president made no mention of that Florida debacle in his brief speech.
The state, governed by the president's younger brother Jeb, more recently
had a rocky Sept. 10 primary. Various problems delayed some vote tallies
for a week and polling places did not open on time. The federal government
will post civil rights monitors at the polls in several Florida counties
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, accused
Bush even before the ceremony of playing hypocritical games with the issue.
Conyers recalled that Bush vetoed over the summer a $400 million "downpayment"
on overhauling the election system.
"Without funding this bill is an empty shell and the president's signature
is a cruel and empty promise," said Conyers, D-Mich.
The House approved election changes late last year and the Senate followed
suit in April, but Republican demands for strong anti-fraud provisions stalled
reconciliation of the two versions for months. Lawmakers did not send a final
bill to Bush until last Wednesday.
"This has been a long marathon, but the finish line is finally in sight
and the winner is the American public," said Senate Rules Committee Chairman
Chris Dodd, D-Conn. "This landmark legislation will ensure that everyone
not only has the right to vote on Election Day, but that their voice is heard."
Beginning Jan. 1, first-time voters who registered by mail will be required
to provide identification when they show up at the polls.
By the 2004 vote, states will be required to provide provisional ballots
to voters whose names do not appear on voter rolls. Those provisional ballots
would counted once valid registration is verified.
For 2006 balloting, states will be required to maintain computerized,
statewide voter registration lists linked to their driver's license databases.
States will also be required to have voting machines that allow voters to
confirm the way they marked their ballot - and, if necessary, change their
votes - before they are finally cast.
Such voting software was tested in one jurisdiction in the 2001 Virginia
gubernatorial election. The Century Foundation, which reviewed the results,
found that the "lost vote" rate went from between 600-700 votes in the 2000
election to just one vote in 2001, said Tova Andrea Wang, a staffer to the
National Commission on Federal Election Reform who later oversaw the foundation's
"The bill goes a long way toward addressing a lot of the problems, but
the extent to which the bill works relies on what the states do because they
are given a lot of discretion," said Wang.
"A new polling machine is fine and great as long as people know how to
use it, and there's no specificity in the legislation on poll-worker training
and voter education."
Wang and other election experts also worry that discriminatory enforcement
of the voter-ID requirements could especially disenfranchise minorities,
the poor, immigrants and students. She called the provision "something that
may have to be revisited."
Churches plan youth festival on Wednesday
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- Three churches will pool their game booths
and treats Wednesday night to give all area children a night of fun in a
safe environment, said Greer Willis, First Baptist Church pastor.
West Park Baptist will host the youth-sponsored "trunk-or-treat" festival
on the front lawn and parking lot of the church at Sixth and Eddy streets.
No admission fee will be charged, and all activities are free, Willis said.
Church youth will use the trunks of their cars and pickup beds to set
up traditional carnival booths, such as bowling, bubble capture and apple
bobbing, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
"We will also rent five big inflatable party toys that kids like to jump
around on and slide down," Willis said. "We are looking to bring something
fun for the kids in a safe environment to let Pecos know the churches' good
North Temple Baptist joins West Park and First Baptist in hosting the
Youth commission for 2002-03 named
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City has chosen their
2002-2003 Pecos Youth Advisory Commission.
The advisory commission is made up of local junior high and high school
students, and help with projects in conjunction with the Town of Pecos City
during the school year.
This year's advisory commissioners are seventh graders, Angel Millan and
Joe Gabaldon, eighth graders Jessica Trujillo and Amber Pando, 10th
graders Krystal Matta, Joshua Cobos, Joseph Valencia, 11th graders
Erica Caballero, Kaci Harrison, Betsy Lujan, Bianca Mendoza, Michael Orona,
Pablo Rodriguez, Donald Rey Walker Jr., and Roque Ybarra and 12th
graders Ignacio Aguilar, Jay Dannelley, Amanda Fleming, Annette Levario,
Jonathan Martinez, Orlando Mendoza, Hannah Paz and Phillip Salcido.
PECOS, Tues., Oct. 29, 2002 -- High Mon. 69. Low this morning 47. Rainfall
last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .83 inch. Forecast
for tonight: Clear. Lows 45 to 50. SW winds 5 to 10 mph. Wed.: Partly
cloudy and cooler. Highs in the mid 60s. Winds becoming NE 10 to 20
mph. Wed. night: Mostly cloudy. Lows 40 to 45. Thurs.: Mostly cloudy.
Highs 55 to 60. Fri.: Mostly cloudy and colder with a slight chance
of rain. Lows 35 to 40. Highs around 50.
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
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise