Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
`Straightaway' making rounds with message
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- A group of nine teens and young adults from
the Houston area were in Pecos this morning, putting on a drug awareness
performance for students at the Pecos High School auditorium.
"Straightaway" was performing for the second year in a row at the high
school, and the stop in Pecos was one of three the group had scheduled for
today, said Rebekah Kischka, one of the group's members.
"We'll be in Fort Davis and Marfa today, and tomorrow we'll be in Lenorah
(Grady), Crane and Garden City, so we've got a lot of driving to do," she
said. The group will criss-cross the Permian Basin this week, performing
in Midland on Thursday and then going all the way down to Terlingua on Friday.
Kischka's brother Luke introduced the group to the students at the auditorium.
His sister said they range in age from 15 to 26 years old and come from families
who have been affected by drugs in the past.
"We do some dance, we do some rap and we do some motivational speaking,"
she said, adding that the nine in Pecos are one of two groups from the Straightaway
program touring Texas. "The other is in Dallas right now, and between the
two teams we'll see 700,000 students this year."
Paul Killingsworth, who handles the sound system for the group, said the
performances are before groups of from 100 or so to 2000 students, depending
on the location, and that the total number of people who see the show is
over 700,000, when non-school groups from churches or youth organizations
"We do about 60 shows a month, and with the two teams, that's about 120
shows, but somehow it all works out," he said. "We try to get home as much
as possible, but sometimes that doesn't work out. We're probably on the road
three weeks at a time for one week at home right now."
Today's show was sponsored by Pat Cobos and Eva Arriola and the Pecos
High School guidance and counseling department.
State's shortfall no big problem for city, county
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- Local entities don't expect their budget to
change a lot due to the state's looming cutbacks, but are still awaiting
the response as the Legislature begins its 2003 session facing a deficit
of almost $10 billion.
"We do receive funding from the state in the area of grants, but not any
directly," said Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens.
Owens said that the county budget wouldn't change because of the cutbacks
being made by the state, because the county does not receive any direct funding
from the state.
"We receive grant funds and that is generally done through federal funds,"
Owens said that the only department that might be affected would be the
Reeves County Juvenile Probation. "They receive grant funds on a fiscal year
that began in August, so they won't be affected this year, but they might
cut them some in August," said Owens.
"That's the only state funding that we receive through grants, but they
are done federally," he said.
Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena said that the state fund cutting
would not really affect the city or the Main Street Program the group is
currently working on.
"The Main Street Program is self-initiated, we've been getting technical
advice, but no funding from the state," said Yerena.
Yerena said that they have been working on getting the board together
and getting everything in place first.
"We want to have everything in place before we actively pursue the funding,
but we do have a technical agreement with the state," said Yerena.
"I'm not aware of any state funding that we will lose, but that could
change," said Yerena. "With the legislature in session, them meeting today,
that could change, but we don't know yet."
The largest amount of state funding locally goes to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD, based on both property valuations and attendance figures. However, P-B-T
Superintendent Don Love was out of town today and unavailable to comment
on how the current budget situation might affect school funding.
However, state education officials already are lobbying to avoid any cuts
to education programs.
"The large deficit is certainly going to be a challenge, but it should
not be a reason for the Legislature to ignore the funding problems facing
Texas' public education system," said Doug Rogers, executive director of
the 100,000-member Association of Texas Professional Educators.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn told lawmakers on Monday the current
$114 billion will be short $1.8 billion because of higher than expected Medicaid
and other social services costs, but the state faces an additional $8.1 billion
shortfall in keeping services and programs the way they are now.
Republicans, who will rule both chambers for the first time since Reconstruction,
have vowed there will be no new taxes.
Gov. Rick Perry, gearing up for his second session as governor, said Texas
will be able to function with the $114.2 billion expected to be available
for the next budget because lawmakers will set priorities.
Year In Review -- November 2002
Area's turnout moderate for elections in November
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 11th in a series of stories
on events that occurred in the Pecos area during 2002. Today's story covers
the month of November.
PECOS, Friday, Nov 1, 2002 — Sports fans in Pecos didn't have any
problem watching Game 7 of the World Series last Sunday on Fox.
But those wanting to watch Emmitt Smith break the all-time NFL rushing
record in the Dallas Cowboys' game against the Seattle Seahawks earlier in
the day were out of luck, as local viewers instead were shown the Atlanta
Falcons-New Orleans Saints game. And Cowboy fans may not have any more luck
in watching their team play this Sunday afternoon.
That's because of new problems with the translator station for Midland-Odessa's
KPEJ, which forced Classic Cable to switch back to the FoxNet satellite signal
at the start of the World Series two weeks ago.
PECOS, Mon., Oct. 4, 2002 — With the Professional Rodeo Cowboys
Association under a new set of rules that will affect which rodeos the nation's
top riders decide to attend, the question remains on whether it will have
a huge effect on the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
According to an article in Sunday's edition of the Odessa America, the
changes will affect the number of rodeos that would count for the Wrangler
National Finals Rodeo, cutting the number by 50 percent in some cases.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 6, 2002 — After a slow start, turnout was moderate
for Tuesday's general election, and Reeves County voters were greeted
with no surprises, since all the local races were uncontested after
voters made their decisions during the spring Democratic primary elections.
However, county voters found themselves going against the trend in the
statewide election races, as Republicans swept all state positions while
Democrats took the majority of votes in Reeves County in those same races.
A total of 2,580 people cast ballots on Tuesday and in early voting for
the general election, one third of the 7,601 voters registered in Reeves
County. That's down about 30 percent from the March Democratic primary, when
just over 3,400 ballots were cast.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 6, 2002 — Incumbent State representative Pete
Gallego easily won the majority of votes in Reeves and Ward counties on Tuesday,
and cruised to a seventh term in office as well throughout the
74th State Representative District.
Gallego, an Alpine Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Pete Nieto
of Uvalde, picking up 71 percent of all votes cast in the 74th
PECOS, Thus., Nov. 7, 2002 — The Reeves County Hospital Board approved
the final design and development phase of the hospital's expansion
project during their regular meeting in October.
According to Reeves County Hospital Administrator, Robert Vernor, the
board approved the final design of the expansion project.
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 11, 2002 _ Pecos police are investigating an armed robbery
that occurred early this morning at the Allsup's Convenience Store on South
Eddy Street, one of two armed robberies reported at convenience stores in
West Texas last night.
A third armed robbery also was reported in Fort Stockton, but Pecos County
Sheriff's Department officials said that incident later turned out to be
According to Pecos Police Lt. Kelly Davis, they received a call at 12:44
a.m. in reference to a robbery at the Allsup's Convenience Store in the 2200
block of South Eddy Street.
Davis said that a male suspect came into the store and had displayed a
gun to clerk Eduardo Fuentes, the only employee in the story at the time.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 13, 2002 — A hearing scheduled this morning for
the man accused of firebombing the Monahans Police Station in early
June was canceled, according to the United States District Clerk's
Office in Pecos.
According to Kevin Fry of the District Clerk's office, the government
filed a motion for a continuance of the case against Travis James Harris,
who had been scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson
in Pecos federal court this morning. No new date had been set as of yet for
PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 14, 2002 — Town of Pecos City Council members
voted 3-1 this morning to renew the contract of City Manager Carlos Yerena,
following an executive session evaluation that was part of the council's
regularly scheduled meeting.
With Councilwomen Angelica Valenzuela unable to attend the meeting after
having her baby, Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez and councilmen Johnny Terrazas
and Michael Benavides voted in favor of renewing Yerena's contract, while
councilman Frank Sanchez opposed the approval.
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 — About 45 para-professionals currently
employed by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will need to complete some
college requirements within the next 3½ years if they
want to hang on to their jobs, school board members were told during
Thursday's monthly meeting.
Board members approved a program that will help at least two employees
in connection with the new requirements, which are part of a federal law
that took effect earlier this year.
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 19, 2002 — Reeves County Commissioners made a
few adjustments in staffing for one department, and then adopted the
county's budget for 2003 and set the tax rate for the upcoming year
Monday evening, during the budget hearing held at the Reeves County
Commissioners approved a budget of $5.7 million for 2003, down from the
estimated $5.9 million budget for the 2002 fiscal year. At the same time,
the commissioners voted
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 22, 2002 — Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Athletic Director
Bubba Williams will be moving from the baseball field to the football field
in 2003, after taking over the position of head football coach for
the Pecos Eagles on Thursday.
Williams replaces Fred Carter, who resigned after one season as head coach
for Pecos. In accepting the head football position, Williams is stepping
down as head baseball coach for the Eagles, a position he held for 21 seasons.
PECOS, Mon., Nov. 25, 2002 — Providing the appropriate medical care
to inmates is harder and should be handled differently than regular county
physician services, which is why an outside provider was acquired for
services at the Reeves County Detention Center, Reeves County Commissioners
were told this morning.
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco and Assistant Warden Tommy Duncan were on hand
at the regular Commissioners Court to talk about the services currently being
provided by PNA to the prison's 2,000 inmates, housed under a contract with
the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 26, 2002 — The local Baptist churches of Pecos
are asking that two of their Ten Commandments be returned after their
signs were painted over.
According to Ken Winkles, a member of the North Temple Baptist Church,
the two missing commandments they're concerned with are the ones on either
side of a billboard located off of U.S. 285 heading towards Fort Stockton.
The churches erected billboards along five of the highway entrances to
Pecos, each with two of the Ten Commandments on either side.
The signs on the south side of Pecos, which read `Thou shall not bare
false witness among thy neighbor,' and `Thou shall not covet anything that
is thy neighbors,' were located on the property of Hector Garcia's business,
which is located on the southwest side of the U.S. 285 intersection with
Interstate 20. The signs now contain the words `Hector's Tire and Wrecker'.
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 26, 2002 — Reeves County Commissioners approved
a contract to proceed with construction plans of the Balmorhea Community
Center, during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday at the Reeves
Commissioners approved a professional services contract by Anderson Building
and Development Group, Inc. for the Balmorhea Community Center and authorization
to bid construction.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 27, 2002 — Reeves County Commissioners took steps
towards reviving what was the county's largest single employer until earlier
this year, granting the maximum tax abatement for a 10-year period to
TransPecos Foods during their regular meeting held Monday.
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 29, 2002 — Local businesses were thriving today
on what is called the "busiest shopping day" of the year.
"We have been busy all morning," said Wal-Mart manager Olga Guebara.
Guebara said that the store was sponsoring a big sale on the day after
Thanksgiving and that the store had been full all morning. "We opened at
6 a.m. and already there were customers waiting," she said.
Unemployment benefit extension will have big effect
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- The Texas Workforce Commission announced Friday
that they would extend the Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation
program (TEUC), a move that could affect several hundred people in
the Pecos area.
The extension was signed into law January 8, by President George W. Bush.
Prior to that, those without jobs for an extended period faced the end of
their unemployment benefits, an action that would have affected the Pecos
area severely. Unemployment locally has hovered around the 20 percent level
since the start of summer following the closing of the Anchor Foods plant
in Pecos, which had been the city and county's largest single employer.
The extension is part of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of
2002, which temporarily provided up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for
eligible, unemployed Texans who exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Manager for Pecos, Eva Arreguy, said
that the extension would affect them as well.
"It will affect all of us, due to the number of unemployed individuals
in this area," Arreguy said
Anchor's plant has reopened under the TransPecos Food management, but
with about 70 percent fewer workers than the 700 Anchor had employed in 2001.
Arreguy said that they are working with some of the people who worked at
Anchor and placing them in training.
She added that those people had come in to ask about their exhausting
claims due to the fact that they had received their last check in December.
She said that they would then refer them to the Tele-Center where according
to Arreguy they have filed the individual's claim online.
The Tele-Center would then determine the individual's eligibility, Arreguy
The latest extension allows individuals who established a valid TEUC claim
and had a balance remaining when the previous program ended on December 28,
2002, to draw the remainder of those benefits.
The extension would also allow Texas to continue to establish TEUC claims
until May 31, 2003, for individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment
The press release stated that any individual who exhausted their TEUC
benefits prior to December 28, 2002, are not entitled to additional benefits
under this extension.
While regular unemployment benefits are funded by employer taxes, the
TEUC benefits are entirely federally funded and employers will not be charged
for any claims paid out through this extension.
TWC's unemployment Support and Customer Service Department will be mailing
letters to all potentially eligible claimants within the next two to three
weeks to tell them how to apply, the press release stated.
The press release went on to say that since most claimants filed their
claim certifications through December 28, 2002, individuals calling to apply
for the additional TEUC benefits should call their Tele-Serv on their designated
day or open filing day.
Claimants who need to update their address information can contact their
local unemployment Tele-Center.
Commissioners OK payments for RCDC items
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners approved payments
to the several contractors currently working at the site of the Reeves
County Detention Center III during the group's first regular meeting
of 2003 on Monday on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.
Commissioners approved LMD Architect's request for payment invoice No.
270 in the amount of $41,353; LMD Architect's request for payment invoice
No. 271 in the amount of $266.67, a reimbursement for services that total
$30,000, but were broken up in monthly installments; Frank Spencer and Associates
request for payment invoice No. 2001069.ADD, $3,507; Strategic Equipment,
$74,631; ACME Electric Co., in the amount of $252,225; Texas Commercial Fence
Co., payment in the amount of $38,985; SamCorp General Contractors, $528,577;
Carother's Construction Co., $63,494; Howard's Mechanical, $316,488 and ISI
Detention Contracting, $84,031.
The group also approved a lease agreement for a Xerox Copy Machine for
the RCDC III in the amount of $201 per month.
A bid for employee uniforms for the Reeves County Detention Center was
discussed in length after employees at the center had requested that the
contract be awarded to the highest bidder.
"We received two bids, one from Unitec and one from Unifirst," said county
auditor Lynn Owens.
Owens said that personnel at the RCDC had requested that the bid be awarded
to Unifirst, who was the highest bidder.
Warren Michaelsen with Unitec was on hand to make a presentation to the
court and explain the different options his company provided.
"If there is a decision to use unspecified garments, it will mean a savings
of 17 percent to the county," said Michaelsen.
Michaelsen that there was only a limited amount of fabrics and materials
that are used in this business.
After a lengthy discussion, the group agreed to award the bid to the lowest
bidder, which was Unitec.
Personnel from the RCDC were on hand to discuss why they wanted the county
to choose the highest bidder, citing difficulties in receiving the merchandise
in a timely fashion and the quality of the material being used.
"With as much turnover and new employees that we have coming in, we need
to have a good supply of uniforms," said RCDC Training Director Alfredo Paz.
He said that some uniforms had been ordered in November and the order
finally filled completely in January. "That's almost two and a half months,"
Paz said that the company usually has at least a month to deliver the
uniforms, but that more time would cause problems at the facility.
Michaelsen assured the group that the same problem would not occur this
time and that he would make Reeves County one of his main priorities.
Personnel and salary changes included at the Reeves County Library, a
part-time employee Jacob Sanchez; at the Reeves County Juvenile Probation
Office, part-time, Kimberly Sue Clark and David Hernandez; at the Reeves
County Detention Center, Ernest Garcia, as maintenance officer III at $26,000
per year; Jennifer Fuentes, was promoted to CO-II at $24,000; new hires at
the RCDC at Correctional Officers I at $19,000 per year were: Gabriel Gonzales,
Robert Heidecker, Fernando Hernandez, Noel Marquez, Oscar Mendoza, Francisco
Ramos, Daniel Saenz, David Saenz, Frank Talamantez, Raul Tarin and Rocheya
Thomas. Evarista Mora was promoted to personnel officer III at $26,000 per
year; Randall Wilson to CO-II at $24,000 and John Davis, CO-II at $24,000.
GED registration set for next week in office
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- GED Testing has been scheduled for 4:45
p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28 and Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Pecos High School.
Registration will be held from 1-5 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 21 and Wednesday,
Jan. 22, at the Pecos High School Counselor's Office.
Examinees must present a Texas driver's license or Texas Department of
Public Safety ID Card.
For more information call Pat Cobos or Eva Arriola, Pecos High School
Counselors at 447-7229.
PECOS, Tues., Jan. 14, 2003 -- High Monday 62. Low this morning 34. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. South winds 5 to 10
mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs near 70. South winds 5 to 15 mph,
becoming southwest 15 to 25 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Becoming
windy. Lows near 30. Thursday: Partly cloudy: Colder and windy. Highs
in the mid 40s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 20. Highs near 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
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