Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map
Pecos Gab

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000
Photos 2001
Photos 2002

Archive 2002

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, January 3, 2003

`Shell game' ahead for most Texaco customers

From Staff and Wire Reports
The Texaco star is dimming on many corners, as the effects of  the rash of oil mergers in recent years trickle down to the service  station level.

The megadeals that created industry giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp., BP plc, and ConocoPhillips resulted in the quick combining of the exploration and refining businesses of different companies. While those shifts occurred largely out of the public view, the latest changes are more noticeable.

In one of the most high-profile examples, the Shell logo is replacing thousands of black-and-red Texaco stars across the country, including both Texaco locations currently in operation in Pecos.

As name-brand changes go, "We're not sure whether we can find another in any industry that's this size," said Russell Caplan, vice president of Shell Oil Products U.S. "We can say confidently it's the biggest thing we've attempted."

The makeovers of many Texaco stations can be traced to Texaco's 2001 merger with Chevron.

Antitrust regulators forced Texaco to sell its U.S. gas stations, which it owned through a stake in a joint venture with Shell and another partnership with Shell and Saudi Refining Inc.

Overnight, Houston-based Shell Oil became the supplier for 21,000 Shell and Texaco stations in the United States, but Shell wanted to supply only 15,000 stations.

As a result, Shell, a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal/Dutch Shell, is selling some company-owned locations and telling some independent Texaco operators it doesn't want them to fly the Shell flag. At the same time, some Texaco operators are turning down Shell.

That's not the case in Pecos, where both Texaco dealers are the Amigos Convenience Stores, located on South Cedar Street at Interstate 20 and East 14th Street. According to Amigos Supervisor Jan McWhorter, the two Texaco stations in Pecos will also become Shell stations.

"It will be in the near future," McWhorter said. "About three or four months." She added that it would be hard to tell how the change would affect customers. "It will be hard to tell because Texaco customers will be receiving Shell Credit Cards," McWhorter said. "It should not effect anything."

Currently there are two Amigos Texaco stores in Alpine, seven in Midland/Odessa, one in Marfa and one in Sonora that will become Shell stations, McWhorter said.

"The two Texaco stations in Fort Stockton will not be Shell," McWhorter said. "There are two Shell stations across from us so they will be something else."

The surviving Texaco stations can move under the ChevronTexaco umbrella as early as June 2004. Two years later in 2006, the San Francisco-based company will regain exclusive use of the Texaco name from Shell.

By then, however, the once-proud Texaco name that grew from the Spindletop oil strike in southeast Texas a century ago may have lost some of its value. In addition to the fact that there will be fewer Texaco stations, the number of loyal customers may also have declined. Shell is in the process of converting Texaco credit cards users to Shell credit cards.

ChevronTexaco officials say the Texaco brand will still have value in 2006, but have not said what they plan to do with the name.

"The Texaco brand has a worldwide reputation as a symbol of quality products and customer service, and it has been one of the most recognized brands in the U.S. for more than 90 years," said Dave Reeves, ChevronTexaco's president of North America Products.

Shell and the Texaco stations it is taking over control about 14.3 percent of the U.S. gasoline market, according to a national survey by the Lundberg Letter, an industry publication. Exxon Mobil is next at 11.8 percent, then BP - formerly BP Amoco- at 11.7 percent, and ConocoPhillips at 11.3 percent.

Scott Swan, who stopped recently at a Texaco in west Houston to refuel his sport utility vehicle, didn't notice a small sign announcing that the station would soon become a Shell. Swan said he is a "mostly Texaco" customer, but he wasn't concerned by the name change.

"It sounds like everybody is going to be under one umbrella," he said.

If some consumers are blase about the change, it's a big deal to some longtime station operators, said veteran gasoline industry observer Trilby Lundberg, author of the newsletter that bears his name.

"It's almost sacrilegious for a longtime brand observer like me to see that," Lundberg said. "There is some dismay about being at Texaco for many years and facing being turned into a Shell."

Budget woes top Legislature's list for new session

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 3, 2003 -- One of the big issues that the state will be facing this coming year will  be dealing with a shortage of money, according to Reeves County's  new representative in the Texas Legislature.

"The big issues we will be facing will be the same as always," said State Representative for District 74 Pete Gallego, who is entering his seventh term in the legislature, but his first representing Reeves County and the city of Pecos when the Texas Legislature begins its 4½ month bi-annual session in mid-January.

Gallego, an Alpine Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Pete Nieto of Uvalde in the November general election, picking up 71 percent of all votes cast in the 74th District race. He has spent the past several years as one of the senior members of the House Appropriations Committee, which is the committee that oversees spending bills that affect all sectors of the state government.

However, for the 2003 session Gallego said that state funding will be cut, due to the slowing economy over the past two years, and the results will affect everyone.

"I think that the state as a whole will be affected," said Gallego. "We'll be losing about $8-$10 billion."

Gallego said that even when you're looking at a budget of about $108 billion, that was still a large percentage to lose. "Anytime you're looking at cutting $8-$10 billion, that's seven percent," he said. "It will be very challenging."

Education will also be a hot topic, according to Gallego. "The most important thing is to help educate our kids," said Gallego. "That was one of my main issues in my campaign and something I will be working hard at."

Other issues that will be closely scrutinized and worked on include insurance. "We'll be looking at all types of insurances, whether it be homeowners, liability or health," said Gallego.

Gallego said he didn't know which committees he would be serving on yet. "I've been on the appropriations committee for 10 years, but it's too soon to tell if I'll serve on that committee again," said Gallego. "They don't get appointed until the third week of session."

Gallego said last year that if the Democrats maintained control of the Texas House of Representatives, he would be in line to chair the committee, if appointed by then-Speaker Pete Laney. However, Republicans gained control of the House for the first time in 130 years, and the predicted new Speaker, Tom Craddick of Midland, is expected to name a Republican to chair the Appropriations Committee.

Gallego said that the main issues he would tackle would be those he outlined in his campaign. "Like always, I'll just be working hard for the people," he said.

House fires destroyed three homes during April

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of stories on the major events of 2002 in the Pecos area. Today's story covers news during the month of April.


PECOS, Monday, April 1, 2002 — Arson is believed to be the cause of a fire that destroyed  an unoccupied home Sunday night on the east side of Pecos.

Pecos Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that he is still investigating the cause of last night's fire but believes that it was arson since no one was living in the home, located at 13th and Locust streets, at the time the fire started.


PECOS, Monday, April 08, 2002 — More people attended this year's Annual Reeves County Health  Fair than in previous years, according to organizers of the event, who said  the annual event was a "success."

"We estimated that about 1,200 individuals attended this year's health fair," said health fair committee member Nancy Ontiveros. "This is a record."


PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 — One man was killed and a woman seriously injured in a  one-vehicle rollover that occurred at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, 4.6 miles south of Toyah on Farm Road 2903.

Nathan Pittman, 30, of Orlando, Florida was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon following the accident, in which he was trapped in his car when it caught fire after the accident. His body was taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home.


PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 — Reeves County voters in Precinct 2 voted out a seven-term incumbent on Tuesday, in the area's only local election race.

Over 60 percent of Precinct 2 voters voted to elect Jim Riley as Justice of the Peace in the run-off election on Tuesday over J.T. Marsh, who had served as JP for the area that covers Toyah and much of the west side of Pecos since 1975. Riley received 209 votes while Marsh picked up 119 votes.


PECOS, Thurs., April 11, 2002 — Two U.S. Marshal's Service inmates were killed and 11 others injured Wednesday when the van they were passengers in  crashed while traveling from El Paso to Odessa on Interstate 10 in Jeff  Davis County.

The two inmates killed in the accident were identified as Francisco Letkemon-Wiebe, 48, and Jose Rubio, 25. The 11 other inmates and the driver of the van were also hurt and were transported by ambulance to hospitals in Pecos and Van Horn.


PECOS, Friday, April 12, 2002 — Former Pecos law enforcement officer Robert Diaz is listed in stable condition at Medical Center Hospital after receiving a gunshot wound Thursday night in Odessa after responding to a domestic disturbance, according to an Ector County Sheriff's Department news release.

Diaz, 54, was shot after struggling with the suspect of a family disturbance call at approximately 11 p.m., last night in the 1900 block of South Westcliff Street in Odessa.


PECOS, Monday, April 15, 2002 — A fire that began in a van Friday afternoon ended up destroying  two houses on Ross Boulevard, and the cause of the blaze remains  under investigation.

All seven units of the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene, in the 600 block of Ross Boulevard, shortly after 1:30 p.m.

"The fire started in the second house from the corner, inside a van," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire. The fire then spread to the carport on the home and then the attic of that house before setting fire to the second home on the south side of the carport.


PECOS, Friday, April 19, 2002 — The closing of the Anchor West onion processing plant in Pecos  is still scheduled to begin three weeks from now, but company officials  said they are in talks with another company on purchasing the facility, which  is Reeves County's single largest employer.

"No, it hasn't been sold yet," said Bob Thomas, vice-president of McCain Foods, the Canadian-based company that acquired the plant when it bought out Appleton, Wisc.,-based Anchor Foods last September. However, Thomas said that there are a couple of parties interested in buying the facility.


PECOS, Tues., April 23, 2002 — Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez fulfilled his end of the bargain and completed his 24 hours on the roof of PHS on Saturday morning.

After challenging the students of PHS to raise their TAAS scores, Rodriguez was held to his end of the deal and spent a full day on top of the building, finally climbing down at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Rodriguez said that he challenged the students to score at least 80 percent in each section of the TAAS test, which they surpassed.


PECOS, Wed., April 24, 2002 — Pecos residents will be changing from the 915 to the 432 area code next year, the Texas Public Utilities Commission announced on Tuesday, as part of a move to split the state's largest area code into three regions.

The Trans-Pecos and Permian Basin will be getting one of the two new area codes taking effect next year, which are to handle economic growth in West Texas. The 915 area code will only remain in El Paso and two neighboring counties after Oct. 5, 2003.


PECOS, Friday, April 26, 2002 — Parents dropping off their children at Pecos Kindergarten should  have an easier time once the Town of Pecos City opens up the portion of  10th Street just west of the school that has  been closed for many years. The City Council approved the reopening  of 10th Street, next to the former  Pecos Elementary campus, during the regular meeting last night at City Hall.


PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 — The signal for Midland-Odessa's Fox network  station has been restored on Gomez Peak for viewers in  Reeves, Culberson and Jeff Davis counties. However, while  Pecos cable TV customers shouldn't notice any change,  the manager of the cable company in Balmorhea said  they might not put KPEJ-TV back on their system.

KPEJ's signal was unavailable in Pecos for about five months, until Classic Cable began receiving the signal via microwave relay, the same way it receives KMID, the Midland-Odessa ABC affiliate. But the microwave costs are far higher than receiving the signal via a translator station, and the Fox signal was only available to Pecos cable customers, not to those in other area towns or to people with antennas or satellite dishes.


PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 — One teenage boy is in an Odessa hospital, a second is in a  Midland juvenile center and two teen girls are in custody of Presidio  County officials in Marfa after they ran away from the High Frontier  Children's Ranch in Fort Davis on Sunday and later stole prescription drugs and  a rifle from a rural Jeff Davis County home.

The teen was hospitalized after taking the prescription drugs mixed with alcohol that they found inside the home, according to Joe Balderrama, Jeff Davis County Chief Deputy who assisted in his capture Sunday night.

Two arrested in marijuana, cocaine bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 3, 2003 -- Local law enforcement personnel made their first search warrant  drug arrests of the new year on Thursday, which sent two men to the  Pecos Criminal Justice Center after illegal substances turned up inside an  east side home.

Officers from the Pecos Police Department, the Reeves County Sheriff's Department, the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and the 143rd District Attorney's Office, executed the narcotics search warrant on Thursday at the home of Jacob Natividad and family, located at 412 E. Seventh St.

"Once the residence was secured by the SWAT Team, officers proceeded to search the premises and a substance believed to be marijuana was found inside and outside the residence," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

He said that officers also located materials commonly used in the smoking of marijuana, packaging of marijuana and the transporting of marijuana.

"During the search, officers also found a substance believed to be cocaine and paraphernalia affiliated with the use of cocaine," said Deishler.

Jacob Natividad was placed under arrest for the offenses of Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school (Zavala Elementary), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Also arrested was Alex Portillo, who was charged with the offenses of Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance within 1,000 feet of a school (Zavala Elementary School) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Both Natividad and Portillo were transported to the Criminal Justice Center and are awaiting arraignment on the charges.

I-20 crash victim identified, survivors flown to Lubbock

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 3, 2003 -- Two California men are in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital  as the result of Thursday's one-vehicle rollover in western Reeves  County that killed a 28-year-old California woman.

The accident occurred four miles west of Toyah on Interstate 20, in Reeves County, at 11:11 a.m. on Thursday, according to a report filed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. DPS Trooper David Murphy of Kermit said the1999 Ford SUV was traveling east on I-20 when the driver, identified as Thomas Edward Simons, 27, fell asleep and went onto the center medium.

The vehicle then went into a side skid causing it to overturn four times stopping on the side of the driver facing southwest.

Celeste Mariah Richard, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley at 11:53 a.m. Richard became the first traffic fatality of 2003 in Reeves County. Her body was taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home.

The report stated that she was wearing her seat belt.

Injured in the accident were Edward Simons and another passenger, identified as Herbert Simons Jr., 39, also of California.

Both were transported by Emergency Medical Service personnel to Reeves County Hospital and were then air lifted to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Herbert sustained internal and head injuries. Thomas sustained internal injuries. Both were listed in critical conditions when they were airlifted out of Pecos, while a nurse at Covenant Medical Center said late this morning that both men are still in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit in critical but stable conditions.

The DPS report stated that Herbert was not wearing his seat belt and Thomas was wearing his seat belt.

Conditions were dry and clear, the report stated.

Rec department hoop registration ending Saturday

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 3, 2003 -- Saturday is the last scheduled day for parents to sign up their boys and girls for the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department's winter Pee Wee basketball program at the old Pecos High School gym.

The league will be divided into age groups, starting with children 4½ and up and continuing through sixth grade boys and girls. Parents can pick up their registration forms at the recreation department office today and Saturday.

Parents returning registration forms must also provide a birth certificate and signatures from both parents on the form. Registration fee is $10 per child. For further information, contact the recreation department at 447-9776.


PECOS, Fri., Jan. 3, 2003 -- High Thursday 58. Low this morning 30. Forecast for tonight:  Mostly  clear. Lows in the lower 30s. Light and variable winds. Saturday: Mostly sunny.  Highs in the upper 60s. Light and variable winds. Saturday night: Clear. Lows  in the mid 30s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 70s.  Monday: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Highs in the mid 60s.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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