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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Museum planning events to mark 40th anniversary

Staff Writer

West of the Pecos Museum is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, and museum officials have planned several events to mark the special occasion.

"We'll be having different exhibits and events throughout this year," said West of the Pecos Museum Curator Dorinda Millan.

The museum is located in the 99-year-old Orient Hotel building, which also includes the neighboring No. 11 saloon, which opened in 1896. The Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a party for the museum on April 12. "That's the same day the museum held an open house in 1963," said Millan.

Millan said that community members hosted an open house at the museum when it first opened in the hotel building, which had been sitting idle at the corner of First and Cedar streets since the mid-1950s.

"Since the year it opened was 1963, we will center our activities and exhibits around that time," said Millan, who is currently working on an exhibit on John F. Kennedy, who was president at the time the museum was opened.

"We will have a little bit on Lyndon Johnson, because he was our president in November and December of that year," after Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Millan said.

A photograph exhibit will feature black and white photos and some colored photographs of JFK, his family and other memorabilia. "We'll also have a video about his life and the speeches he made," she added.

Millan said that the exhibit and the video were free of charge to the public and everyone was invited to attend.

Newspapers, magazines and other items, featuring Kennedy and the 1960's will also be available to the public, according to Millan. "We'll have that exhibit throughout the month of February," she said.

Millan is also planning to feature some of the businesses that were in operation at that time.

The Rotary Club and the Pecos Chamber of Commerce originated the Golden Girl Revue in 1963. The Revue, which is held annually in late June, before the start of the West of the Pecos Rodeo, was a way to raise funds for the newly opened museum. Forty years later this great tradition continues.

"It not only supports the West of the Pecos Museum, but provides a most unique and entertaining show for the community," said Millan.

In 1963, the Golden Girl Pageant admission was 50 cents for kids and students and $1 for adults. Today the admission for the pageant is $8 for everyone.

Some of the events planned at the museum include: in February a 1963 Presidency Photographic exhibit; in March _ a photographic exhibit West of the Pecos Museum first 40 years; April _ Student Art Festival: Decorating Easter eggs and egg hunt; April 12: Reception for museum's 40th anniversary hosted by the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, theme the 1960's; July _ West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade theme: "Salute the 40 years of the West of the Pecos Museum; July 2: the 39th Annual Old Timer's Reunion 9:30-noon; August _ Living History Day, including old fashion games, camp fire gathering, horse shoeing, etc.; September _ Folk artist at museum and school; October _ 40 "Eagle" students (advanced students) will release balloons with messages; November _ museum and school time capsule and December _ Christmas tree them "museum rooms."

PEDC to focus on attracting

ag-related businesses to area

Staff Writer

The Pecos Economic Development Corporation's board of directors discussed plans for the grand opening of the Leche Farms Dairy in March, and discussed attracting other agriculture-related businesses to the area this morning, during the board meeting on the second floor of the Security State Bank building.

Board members also went over the PEDC's current financial statement and the corporation's marketing strategy with President Gari Ward during the 45 minute meeting, and were briefed by Ward on a possible new use for the idle automobile test track east of Pecos.

Ward gave board members a list of invitees to the March 6 dedication, which will include Texas Agriculture Secretary Susan Combs. She'll be the keynote speaker for the one hour dedication ceremony, which Ward said would also involve city, county and school officials and the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.

The 6,000 head dairy is one of two that has opened in Reeves County in the past year, but while the PEDC is hoping to attract more dairies and related businesses to the Pecos area, Ward said it's tough to attract new businesses right now due to low milk prices.

"I was going to go to California to a dairy show, but because the prices are so low we just decided to advertise in the California dairy magazine," Ward said.

He added that the PEDC also has cut down its advertising for now in the Texas Dairy Review to four times a year, but will take out a full page ad to announce the Leche Farms opening.

"It seems to me that we can go to other trade shows and conventions and it might be better than an ad," said board member John Grant, but board president Oscar Saenz said he went to a recent economic development meeting in Austin, "and there wasn't much there because of the way the economy is. It was just crying on everybody's shoulders."

The comments came during discussion of the financial report by auditor Randy Graham. Ward said PEDC had $28,000 in the bank and $1.6 million in assets. "The budget is similar to what we had last year," said Saenz.

Liabilities for the PEDC were listed at $20,000, which Ward said was now down to $18,000 due to a recent payment on a note by the corporation.

Board member Johnny Terrazas said the Town of Pecos City Council has not voiced any complaints with the PEDC's revised reports to the city. The corporation was created in part by the city, and received one-sixth of Pecos' monthly sales tax receipts.

"At this point in time, I don't think there are any questions," said Terrazas, who is a member of the city council.

Saenz said in terms of marketing strategy, "We've put out feelers and made calls, and are concentrating on the dairies," while adding that a Mennonite group has been in town looking at starting a cheese production facility here.

"There's a cheese plant locating in New Mexico, but we don't have near enough cattle here to support that kind of operation," said Grant, while Saenz replied that the Mennonites were planning a smaller start-up.

"The Mennonites would put in their own equipment and sell their own cheese," he said.

"It was out first meeting and that's our marketing strategy; to concentrate on dairies and with the supporting businesses around it," Saenz said. "We know we're not going to bring General Motors or other big guys in, but people like that are calling and Gari's talking to them and following up."

Board member Frank Spencer also told the board they should attempt to use some existing federal programs to try and start up new local businesses, including those that would supply the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The way things are with the economy, the funds are not out there to do what we want," said Spencer. "But there are funds in the DOD right now that are not in other programs."

He said something like a palate manufacturing company could be started under the government's 8A program. "Agencies like the Navy need things like palates," he said. "If we spend a little time getting a feel for what's out there, we might be able to get some people here who can do that kind of stuff."

Spencer also said the city was eligible to have local businesses considered under the federal "hub program," which helps businesses in economically distressed areas that employ 35 percent of their workers from those areas. He also talked about a "mentor-protégé" program, in which larger companies are paid up to $3 million by the federal government to help smaller businesses develop as subcontractors.

Ward also said that the Texas Corvette Club would be in Pecos this coming Saturday, and that officials from the Houston and Dallas chapters of the Sports Car Club of America have been looking at the former Smithers Automotive Testing Center track for possible use by their club members.

"They're the largest sports car club in America, and they're looking to see if they can do something with the track," Ward said. The track has been closed since the middle of 2001, when Smithers entered into an agreement with Dahlmer/Chrysler to conduct tests at their facility in the Laredo area.


PECOS, Jan. 22, 2003 - High Tuesday 74. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 40s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s. Friday: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Highs in the mid 60s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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