Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Commissioners OK TransPecos loan
By JON FULBRIGHT
Reeves County Commissioners approved a resolution in favor
of giving TransPecos Foods a $500,000 loan out of the county's
Revolving Loan Fund, during their meeting Monday at the Reeves
The resolution is a follow-up to action taken by commissioners in
late November. At that time, they granted the company the loan for a
10-year period at three percent interest, and also granted the maximum
tax abatement for the same 10-year period.
Company officials were seeking the tax abatement to help
TransPecos Foods with any future expansion. The conditions under which a
business can get the maximum tax abatement include that the company
implement the creation of 15 jobs and investment of over $100,000.
TransPecos Foods took over operation of the former
Anchor Foods onion ring processing plant in Pecos this past fall, after it was
closed by new owner McCain Foods at the end of May. The facility was
Reeves County's largest employer in 2001 with about 700 workers, roughly
10 percent of the local labor force.
TransPecos Foods reached an agreement to purchase the facility
in June and formally took over operations in September.
The company since has acquired a contract to supply onion rings
to Texas' 650 Dairy Queen restaurants, but the number of workers at the
plant currently is about 30 percent of the former workforce.
The money from the loan fund comes from a
Community Development Block Grant. Following passage of the resolution, the
loan request will be submitted to the Office of Rural Community Affairs for
review and approval.
In other action, commissioners approved a number of new hirings
at the Reeves County Detention Center, along with promotions at the facility.
In a formal letter to commissioners, warden Rudy Franco said
Alan Ballard had completed his certification for captain and would
be promoted to that position, with a salary of $41,000 per year.
Other promotions included Belinda Salcido to RCDC personnel director, at a
salary of $31,500, while Betty Zakshesky, David Ramirez and Gilbert
Carrillo were promoted to Corrections Officer II level, at salaries of $24,000 per year.
Hired for the prison facility as Correction Officer I guards at
salaries of $19,000 per year were Teresa Anaya, Jason Baker, Raymond
Bill, Raymundo Bravo, Jessica Carrasco, Rachel Dominguez, Adrian
Fierro, Antonio Garcia Jaime Gomez, Freddy Hinojos, Reynaldo Navarro,
Kenneth Palmatier, Adrian Rayos, Oscar Rodriguez, Esequiel
Venegas, Reynaldo Serrano, Mario Medrano and Jose Loa.
Other county hires were Isabel A. Lara, hired as a part-time worker
the Reeves County Library at $6 per hour, and Billy Edwards, hired as a
part-time jailer at the Reeves County Jail at $7 per hour.
Commissioners also approved sending out letters to 25
local residents, in hopes of getting nine people to serve on the
county's salary grievance committee for 2003. Reeves County Clerk Diane
Florez said the names were picked off the grand jury list, and that
her department often has to make several mailing before finding nine
county residents willing to serve on the committee.
Switching date for area codes nearing
The dividing up of the 915 area code in West Texas is just over
two months away, but area customers will have another six months to
get used to dealing with the new 432 area code.
Pecos residents can start using their new 432 area code on April
5, but the old 915 area code will still work throughout the region
until October 4 of this year, Yolanda Franklin with Valor Telecom said.
Valor is the area telephone company, with a territory
stretching from Sierra Blanca to Imperial, and includes all of Reeves County.
The area code change was mandated last year by the
Public Utilities Commission which forecasts that the old 915
territory will run out of telephone numbers by early 2004.
Currently, area code 915 covers a territory ranging east-west from
El Paso to Abilene and north-south from Seminole to Big Bend
According to Guy Andrews, area manager of external affairs for
SBC (formerly Southwest Bell Communications)
telephone customers throughout the region can check
www.Texas-code.com for information regarding the area
On April 5, the 915 area will be split into three area codes with
El Paso and the areas west and north of Van Horn retaining the 915 code.
The 432 area will include Pecos, Midland, Odessa, Seminole, Fort Stockton,
Fort Davis, Alpine and Van Horn. The 325 area will include San Angelo,
Brady, Brownwood, Abilene and Snyder.
April 4 marks the beginning of the permissive dialing period when
phone numbers that are changing to 432 and 325 can be reached by either
dialing 915 or the new area code. But after October 5, telephone numbers
within the new area codes will not be connected if the 915 code is dialed.
A message reminding the caller of the new area code will be played
Except for the new area code, residents should not see any
material changes in the way numbers are dialed in the region, unless they live
near the dividing line between two area codes.
In this situation, there will be times when a call is considered a local
call but the caller will have to dial the area code plus the number to make
Pecos will not be in that situation.
Drop in labor force cuts jobless rate
From Staff and Wire Reports
A drop in Reeves County's labor force during December caused a
drop of over 3 percent in the county's unemployment rate, according
to figures released last Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission.
The number of workers in Reeves County was 6,073 in December,
down from 6,313 in November, while the number of jobs within the
county dropped only slightly, from 5,254 in November to 5,238 last month.
That caused the jobless rate to drop from 16.8 to 13.7 percent, the
lowest level since May, when McCain Foods completed shutdown of its
Pecos facility that the company purchased from Anchor Foods in September
The effect of the shutdown of Anchor, which at one point
employed 700 workers, can be seen in the TWC unemployment numbers
from December of 2001, just after the closing was first announced.
Back then, Reeves County had 6,342 workers _ almost the same number
as reported in November _ but the county had 5,901 jobs, or 663 more than
in December of 2002.
Unemployment in December 2001 was 7 percent, which is slightly
more than half of the current jobless number.
The unemployment rate for the Town of Pecos City were
slightly higher than Reeves County's totals, but also was down in December
due to a drop in the workforce.
The city had 4,789 workers, down from 5,002 in November, while
the number of jobs dropped by 13, from 4,054 to 4,041, which
cut unemployment from 19 to 15.6 percent.
Unemployment in the city reached as high as 22.3 percent in
August following Anchor's closing. Last December, the city's jobless rate
stood at 8.7 percent, with a workforce of just under 5,000 people.
Across the area, unemployment dropped in December from 6.0 to
5.4 percent. The jobless rate in Ector County (Odessa) fell from 7.1 to
6.5 percent, though like Reeves County, that was due to a drop in the
county's labor force offsetting a smaller decline in jobs. Midland County also
reported a loss of workers and a smaller drop in the total number of jobs, which cut
its unemployment rate from 4.1 to 3.7 percent.
Winkler County also saw a drop in its workforce that was greater than
its job loss, which lowered unemployment from 10.5 to
9.1 percent, while Ward County's jobless rate dropped from 9.1 to 8.1
percent, as its workforce declined, while the total number of jobs in the county
was unchanged, at 3,453.
Area counties reporting drops in their jobless rates while the
workforce and employment increases included Andrews County, where the rate
fell from 5.3 percent in November to 4.9 percent in December, and
Howard County, where the rate dropped from 4.9 to 4.4 percent. Pecos County
saw its workforce decline by 43 while the number of jobs in the county grew
by 58, which cut unemployment from 7.2 to 5.6 percent.
Two other counties in the area continued to have
double-digit unemployment rates. Crane County's jobless rate in December was
13.7 percent, the same as Reeves County and down from 16.8 percent
in November, while Presidio County's rate last month was 20.7 percent, a
.2 percent drop from November.
Statewide unemployment declined slightly to 6.2 percent in December
as construction, services and government sectors added
jobs, offsetting losses in manufacturing, the TWC said Friday.
The November jobless rate was 6.3 percent after being adjusted
for seasonal employment patterns, the commission said. A year earlier, it
was 5.7 percent.
Last month's unemployment level was the highest for December
since 1992, the commission said.
Following are the December unemployment rates for
Texas metropolitan areas, with November rates in parentheses. The local
figures were not seasonally adjusted.
Abilene 3.8 (4.0); Amarillo 3.4 (3.6); Austin-San Marcos 4.8
(5.1); Beaumont-Port Arthur 7.8 (7.9); Brazoria 7.0 (7.0);
Brownsville-Harlingen 10.2 (11.1); Bryan-College Station 1.7 (1.8); Corpus Christi
5.4 (5.8); Dallas 6.1 (6.6);
El Paso 8.1 (8.8); Fort Worth-Arlington 5.4 (5.9);
Galveston-Texas City 6.9 (7.2); Houston 5.4 (5.7); Killeen-Temple 5.1 (5.2); Laredo
6.6 (6.6); Longview-Marshall 6.0 (6.4); Lubbock 2.6 (2.7);
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission 13.3 (13.7);
Odessa-Midland 5.1 (5.6); San Angelo 3.2 (3.8); San Antonio 4.7
(5.1); Sherman-Denison 5.8 (6.0); Texarkana N/A; Tyler 4.2 (4.4); Victoria 4.4
(4.7); Waco 4.4 (5.2).
Bonilla to speak at TML meeting
U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla will be the featured speaker on
Friday when the Town of Pecos City hosts the Texas Municipal League's
Region IV meeting at the Reeves County Civic Center.
Bonilla, who is entering his 11th year as Congressman for the
23rd Congressional District, will speak
to those in attendance from Pecos and surrounding cities in Region IV.
The event will be open to invited guests, and will begin at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report
is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,
Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.
The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of
either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs
are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated
that the fines were paid. In such instanced we will indicate
payment and release.
Pilar Chavez Jr. 26 and Arturo Hernandez 21, was arrested at
3:49 a.m. on Jan. 17 in the 1400 block of South Plum Street both for
Rick Ornelas Ortiz, 20, was arrested at 1:18 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the
1200 block of East Third Street for warrants relating to a state jail felony.
Jesse Valdez Rodriguez, 19, was arrested at 3:21 p.m. on Jan. 19 in
the 1800 block of Washington Street for driving while license suspended.
Eric Florez, 24, was arrested at 6:02 p.m. on Jan. 20 in the 2100 block
of South Hackberry Street for public intoxication, a Class C offense
and resisting arrest a Class A offense.
Carlos Valdez, 29, was arrested at 8:05 p.m. on Jan. 20 in the 400
block of South Park Street on a warrant for parole violation.
Theodore Cabral, 44, was arrested at 2:40 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the
Criminal Justice Center on a warrant for assault.
Thomas Caromona, 53, was arrested at 9:40 p.m. on Jan. 21 in
the 400 block of South Cedar Street for warrants for no proof of
liability insurance and violation promise to appear.
Katrina Bell, 17, was arrested at 6:52 p.m. on Jan. 22 in the 1000 block
of South Cypress Street for terroristic threat under the family violence
act, class B.
Hector Garcia Jr., 18 was arrested at 12:20 a.m. on Jan. 24 in the 300
block of South Cypress street for a warrant for theft.
Gerardo Mendoza, 23, was arrested at 9:40 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the 800
block of East Fifth Street for possession of a controlled substance cocaine
over 4 grams and under 200 grams, a
2nd degree felony.
Hector Garcia Jr., 18, was arrested at 10:51 a.m. on Jan. 24 at the
Criminal Justice Center for possession of marijuana, a Class A offense
Gustavo Tapia, 22, was arrested at 12:33 a.m. on Jan. 25 at the
Suavicito Club in the 900 block of South Cedar Street on a warrant for motion
to revoke secured bond.
Damaris Gallegos, 22, was arrested at 9:38 p.m. on Jan. 24 in the
2200 block of South Alamo Street on a warrant for theft by check out
of Reeves County.
Martin Miranda, 29, was arrested at 12:24 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the
Criminal Justice Center on warrants for No Drivers License, and Violation
failure to appear.
Elizabeth Martinez, 36, was arrested at 1:44 a.m. on Jan 26 at
the Zoo II bar in the 2700 block of Toliver Street, for failure to appear, non
Eduardo Fuentes, 36, was arrested at 10:28 p.m. on Jan. 25 at Cactus
and Plum streets for outstanding DPS warrants for over tandem axels
and failure to appear.
Deidra Castillo, 19, Jennifer Levario, 19, and Ilidia Juarez, 19,
were arrested at 7:14 p.m. on Jan 26 in the 300 block of South Eddy Street,
all for disorderly conduct.
High Monday 75. Low this morning 23. Forecast for tonight: Mostly
clear. Lows 30 to 35. West winds 5 to 15 mph, becoming north 10 to 20 mph
after midnight. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and cooler. Highs 55 to 60.
Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows around
30. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs 65 to 70. Friday: Mostly clear. Lows
around 35. Highs 65 to 70.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise