Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
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
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
The makeovers of many Texaco stations can be traced to Texaco's 2001 merger
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
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
"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
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
By ROSIE FLORES
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
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,"
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
By ROSIE FLORES
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
By JENNIFER GALVAN
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
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
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
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.
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