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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, May 24, 2004

City, county unemployment
hits lowest level in two years

Reeves County added over 130 jobs to the local labor force during April, which helped lower the county’s jobless rate below 8 percent for the first time in two years, the Texas Workforce Commission reported last Thursday.

Unemployment locally was at 7.2 percent in April, the lowest since April 2002, when the county’s jobless level stood at 7.4 percent. That rate came just prior to the shutdown of Anchor Foods, the largest employer in Reeves County.

The closing of the onion processing plant put 700 people out of work, and while the facility was reopened later in 2002 by TransPecos Foods and the unemployment rate has returned to early 2002 levels after climbing as high as 22 percent, the number of workers and the number of jobs in the county are still down from two years ago.

The TWC said had 5,547 workers in the local labor force in April, and 5,147 with jobs. In March, the county had both fewer workers and fewer jobs, with 5,468 in the labor force and 5,015 employed, for an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.

Two years ago, the Workforce Commission reported Reeves County had 6,862 workers in the labor force and 6,356 with jobs, while in April of 2001m the TWC said the county had 7,053 workers, 6,618 of whom were employed.

The county’s labor force traditionally increases during the late spring and summer harvest seasons. The 5,547 workers locally is the highest total so far in 2004, while the jobless rate is down from January’s high of 9.7 percent.

The numbers were similar, though slightly higher, for the Town of Pecos City. Its April unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, down from 9.5 percent in February and March and from 11.1 percent in January. The TWC said there were 4,329 people in the city’s workforce last month with 358 unemployed. In March there were 4,275 people in the labor force and 406 unemployed, while two years ago, when joblessness in the city stood at 8.5 percent, the labor force had 5,357 workers, and 453 unemployed.

Unemployment also was lower in other counties in the Trans-Pecos and Permian Basin last month. Andrews County’s rate fell from 4.5 to 3.8 percent; Brewster County declined from 2.6 to 2.5 percent; Crane County dropped from 4.5 to 4 percent; Culberson County was down from 6.6 to 5.8 percent; Ector County dropped from 6.0 to 5.7 percent; Howard County declined from 4.4 to 3.9 percent; Midland County was down from 4.0 to 3.5 percent; Pecos county dropped from 5.3 to 5.1 percent; Ward County was down from 6.5 to 6.2 percent; and Winkler County fell from 6.1 to 4.7 percent.

Presidio County continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate in April, but its 18.4 percent rate was down half a percent from March. Meanwhile, neighboring Jeff Davis County continues to have one of the state’s lowest unemployment rates, coming in ay 0.9 percent in April. And Loving County’s jobless rate remained at 9.6 percent for the third straight month, as the number of workers in the nation’s least-populated county remained at 52, while the number of unemployed held at five for the third straight month.

Police report house burglary suspects jailed

Staff Writer

A teen-age girl and another juvenile have been arrested by Pecos police, who said more arrests are pending in a burglary of a habitation that happened earlier this month.

On May 13, Irene Valle reported to the Pecos Police Department that a person or persons unknown to her had entered her residence at 1418 S. Plum St. without her permission and removed property from inside her residence.

“After conducting an investigation, a warrant of arrest was issued for Belinda Contreras,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

Contreras, 18, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

On May 20, a juvenile was placed under arrest for burglary and released to the juvenile detention center for processing.

“More arrests are pending at this time,” said Deishler.

Rodriguez scholarship award won by senior Ogelsby

Pecos High School senior swimmer has received the Jaime P. Rodriguez Courage Award Scholarship this year for the courage he showed last year.

Will Oglesby was the second recipient of the Courage Award Scholarship, which is given in memory of Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officer Jaime P. Rodriguez, when he sacrificed his life in the war on drugs.

Rodriguez was killed in May of 2002 during a routine bus check at the local bus station. He was a member of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force. In his memory, a $2,000 scholarship was created for a Pecos High School senior, who must display an act of courage or heroism in the course of their life.

Although Oglesby has been an All-State swimmer for the last four years, he received the courage award because of his sacrifice for the team.

In October of last year, he suffered a torn ligament in his shoulder.

The doctor said that his only option was immediate surgery, which would prevent him from finishing the swim season.

Due to this injury, Oglesby could no longer swim his best individual event, which was the butterfly. He opted to delay shoulder surgery and swim his other events with the pain.

Oglesby was still able to earn All-State swimming honors in four events, and was named Outstanding Male Swimmer at the District and Regional meets.

He led his team to a District and Regional Championship and a best-ever finish for Pecos High School at the State Swim Meet.

Oglesby’s willingness to endure pain and sacrifice for his team made him this year’s Jaime P. Rodriguez Courage Award Scholarship Winner.

The award was presented by his swimming coach, Terri Morse.

He is the son of Karen and Bill Oglesby.

Kindergarten kids to receive awards

Awards ceremonies are planned for Pecos Kindergarten students throughout this week. An awards ceremony was held at 2:30 p.m., today for the classes of Mrs. Canalez and Mrs. Fleming.

A second ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., Tuesday, for Mrs. Miller’s and Mrs. Parent’s class; Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., for Mrs. Sadler and Mrs. Tarin’s class and Thursday at 2 p.m., for Mrs. Dominguez and Mrs. Leyva’s classes.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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