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Van Horn Advocate |


July 30, 1997

Merger could make sulphur
operations largest in the world

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Staff Writer

PECOS, July 30, 1997 - A planned merger of the Freeport-McMorRan Inc. operations with another sulphur company could result in a new company that will be the largest producer of Frasch sulphur in North American and the largest marketer and transporter of sulphur in the world, according to a press release from Freeport.

The change will have no impact on daily operations at the Culberson mine, according to a company spokesman. If the merger is completed probably the only noticeable change will be in the name of the Culberson operation to Freeport Sulphur Company, said Garlin Robinette.

IMC Global Inc. (NYSE: IGL) and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FTX) earlier this week announced that they have signed a non-binding agreement for the merger of IGL and FTX, with IGL as the surviving company with the new company name of Newco.

Representatives of the two companies expect the merger to be completed by the end of August. The merger is expected to save at least $33 million immediately from the elimination of FTX and Freeport-McMoRan Resource Partners, Limited Partnership (NYSE:FRP). The savings is expected to increase about $40 million per year for the next several years.

Company executives will apply to list Newco on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Newco will have an 83.3 percent interest in the Main Pass 299 sulphur, oil and gas operations and will be debt-free. This interest and Newco's Culberson sulphur operations will represent total proven and probable reserves of 68 million long tons of sulphur and 6.2 million barrels of oil as of June 30. Newco will be the largest producer of Frasch sulphur in North America as well as the largest marketer and transporter of sulphur in the world.

"We are extremely pleased to have reached this historic agreement in principle with FTX and believe the merger will allow shareholders of both companies to realize substantial benefits," said Robert E. Fowler, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of IMC Global. "This merger will represent a major step in IMC Global's growth strategy and reaffirms our commitment to being the world's leading, low-cost supplier of agricultural products and services. Key among the merger's numerous benefits are a simplified management structure for the phosphate business and considerable cost savings.

"Clearly, the joining of IMC and FTX will greatly improve our earnings potential and cash flow, as well as our ability to vigorously pursue other growth opportunities."

Fowler also noted that in today's competitive market, "being nimble and having the ability to make decisions and move quickly are key factors for success. This merger will greatly enhance both of these factors.

"Since the transaction would leave the company with stronger cash flows and low leverage, IGL intends to restructure is balance sheet to achieve a more efficient capital structure and largely eliminate any earnings per share dilution that would otherwise occur."

IMC Global is one of the world's leading producers and marketers of phosphate and potash crop nutrients and animal feed ingredients, with fiscal 1997 revenues and EBITDA of nearly $3 billion and $500 million, respectively. Global is also one of the nation's leading distributors of crop nutrients, including nitrogen, and related products through its FARMARKET and Rainbow distributions networks. Additionally, it sells potash and other products to industrial users, produces sulphur and oil through joint venture operations and markets lawn and garden products under its IMC Vigoro brand name.

PBT board revises dress code

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Staff Writer

PECOS, July 30, 1997 - At last night's special school board meeting, the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board of Education voted unanimously to move Principal Juanita Davila from Pecos Elementary, the third-grade school, to Crockett Middle School, the eighth-grade campus.

The school board also unanimously voted to pay Interim Superintendent Wayne Mitchell at the same rate as the former Superintendent, Mario Sotelo, but on a per diem (daily) basis, instead of as a salary, as it is not known how long he will be filling in until a permanent superintendent is hired.

The school board's attorney made some revisions to the dress code which was approved last week subject to his approval. The dress code, with the revisions, was unanimously approved yesterday evening.

The dress code originally was published in the Pecos Enterprise last week.

Rule four of the code referring to T-shirt logos was omitted entirely, and number two was reworded as follows:

"Students may not wear cut-off pants, swimsuits or ragged apparel or clothing that has unnecessary holes torn or cut into the garment, or which is modified to or displays writing or pictures that suggest or depict any sexual activity, disrupts the educational process, disrupts discipline, violates the rights of other students, or suggests an affiliation or identification with groups that advocate unlawful activity, including violence, drug, alcohol or tobacco use."

Rule seven was changed to read, "Tank tops and muscle shirts are not allowed. Undershirts are permitted only if covered by another non-underwear type shirt."

Rule nine now states, "Students are not allowed to wear tightly fitting tops or tops that expose the student's midriff or that have a low cut front, side or back."

Rule 10 was changed to say, "Straps over the shoulder of dresses must be at least one and one half inches wide."

The exemption of grades kindergarten through third was removed from rule 11.

The only thing changed about rule 15 is that measurement of skirt or dress length will be done by a district employee of the same gender as the student.

The official list of school supplies needed for children in grades kindergarten through six and special education will be published in tomorrow's edition of the Pecos Enterprise.

The Secondary Code of Conduct was also approved unanimously, but the interim superintendent still has to discuss it with the school district's attorney to clarify the attorney's opinion on it. The 18-page code is too lengthy to print here, so concerned persons should contact the school district administration about viewing it if they feel that it is necessary to do so before school begins next month.

Trustee Freddy Lujan said that the wording in the Secondary Code of Conduct would be confusing to some people, and asked that a Spanish translation be made available, because parents will be asked to sign the code, and all of them need to be able to clearly understand what they are signing.

Changes are being made to the Elementary Code of conduct, and it is not yet ready to be voted on.

Board members also unanimously approved a change order on roof repairs for Pecos High School Building B. The change will increase the cost of the repair project by an estimated $14,000 and will possibly add 20 calender days to the length of the project.

The change is the supply and installation of up to 26 new roof drains. All school board members agreed with Mitchell that the measure is necessary and prudent at this time.

Mitchell said that there are currently not enough drains, and some which are there do not work properly. He said that it would be better to fix the problem now than to have to pay for additional repairs in the future.

"We don't want to have to worry about putting buckets in the building," to catch rainfall that leaks into the building because current drains aren't sufficient, Mitchell said. Also, the roof must drain properly for the warranty to remain in effect.

Personnel changes approved last night include the following:

*Catherine Allen will teach special education at Pecos Elementary;

*Mathew Todd Coleman will teach special education at Crockett Middle School;

*Ramiro (Ron) Garcia will be a second grade bilingual teacher at Austin Elementary, teaching on an emergency permit;

*Phillip Ray Garrison, Sr. will teach social studies at Crockett Middle School;

* Clara Lichty will be assigned to the Carver Alternative Education Program;

*Katherine Jean Hardin-Rinne will teach sixth grade at Lamar;

*Pamela Kay Miller will teach sixth grade at Lamar;

*Ismael Lujan resigned as U.S. history teacher at Pecos High School;

*Mary Rutledge resigned as nurse;

*Jennifer Deglar transferred from teaching sixth grade at Lamar to fifth grade at Bessie Haynes;

*Robin Land transferred from physical education teacher at Zavala Middle School to physical education teacher at Austin.

Pecos pair seriously injured

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PECOS, July 30, 1997 - A Pecos couple were flown to a Lubbock hospital early this morning following a late afternoon accident on Highway 17 at the Interstate 20 overpass.

Carlos Herrera and Juanita Herrera were flown to Lubbock Methodist Hospital shortly before 1 a.m. as a result of the accident, which occurred at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, according to Pecos Police.

A complete report was unavailable from the police this morning, but the Herreras were reportedly in a Chevrolet pickup which was struck by a truck-trailer, driven by Virgil Story of Stuttgart, Ark.

Story was not reported to have been injured in the collision, while the Herreras were transported by ambulance first to Reeves County Hospital before being flown to Lubbock. Juanita Herrera was listed in critical condition this morning at Lubbock Methodist, while Carlos Herrera was listed in stable condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Both are in ICU at the hospital.

An account has been set up at both First National and Security State Banks to help the couple with medical expenses. The accounts are set up in Carlos and Juanita Herrera's name, in care of Connie Herrera.

Toyah fire "suspicious"

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PECOS, July 30, 1997 - A house fire in Toyah has been labeled "suspicious" by the Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire and the house considered a total loss.

"The fire started in the floor of the utility room and spread throughout the house," said Brookshire.

An investigation is ongoing, according to Brookshire.

The call came in at about 3:30 a.m. and two fire trucks from Toyah responded. After about an hour and a half, Toyah personnel called Pecos for backup. Two more units from Pecos responded at about 4:48 a.m.

The owner of the home, located in the 300 block of N. Front Street, was not at home at the time.

"She was in the process of moving and at the time of the fire was not home," said Brookshire. "She lives alone," he said.

"We will continue to investigate it and at this time have ruled it `suspicious,'" he said.

Policy of military partols on border under review

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PRESIDIO COUNTY, (AP) July 30, 1997 - A district attorney said he would present surprising new evidence to a grand jury meeting today concerning the shooting of a teen-ager by U.S. Marines patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We have more evidence than you all reported," said Albert Valadez, the district attorney whose jurisdiction includes Presidio County.

"I have more than the newspapers have published and a lot more than the military knows," Valadez told the Austin American-Statesman.

He said the evidence would include the .22-caliber rifle carried by Esequiel Hernandez Jr. and a copy of the military rules of engagement.

On the eve of the opening of the grand jury investigation, military officials announced Tuesday that all anti-drug patrolling by the military has been suspended.

Joint Task Force-Six, which was helping the Border Patrol watch the border for drug traffic, has "ceased all of their ground troop operations," said Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the U.S. Atlantic Command based in Norfolk, Va.

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said the "entire policy" involving military troops helping in anti-drug patrolling and reconnaissance along the border is under review.

Although anti-drug patrols in Texas were suspended shortly after the shooting, Defense Secretary William Cohen has broadened the order to cover all anti-drug units along the border.

Cohen made the order last Thursday, but it was not made public until Tuesday.

The grand jury will be asked to consider whether 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Clemente Banuelos should face charges in the Hernandez shooting. The military claims the Marine fired in self-defense.

A part of the military's inquiry will be the legal rights of the military personnel taking part in the border patrols, Bacon said.

"That review has several elements to it," he said. "One is whether it's appropriate for troops to be involved in border patrol activities. Another is, if it is appropriate for them to be involved ... what are the proper procedures for them, what's the proper relationship between them and the Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies?"|

Marijuana crimes top district court docket

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Staff Writer

PECOS, July 30, 1997 - Bench trials and sentencings comprised the docket of U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson this week. Jurors who reported for duty Monday afternoon were sent home after the defendant opted for the judge to decide his guilt of innocence.

Furgeson also heard testimony in a motion to suppress filed by Jeff Parras, attorney for Alejandro Lopez-Ayala on a drug possession charge. When one of the witnesses was unable to be present, Judge Furegson granted Parras' motion for continuance. Motions to suppress were denied after hearings in the marijuana possession trials of Alvaro Machado-Vega, Benjamin Montoya-Hernandez and Kevin D. Fletcher.

Machado and Montoya were found guilty and will be sentenced Sept. 17. Fletcher's trial was set for Sept. 15.

Sentences meted out include:

* Jesus Rodriguez-Rivas, 92 months each for conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, to be served concurrently, with four years supervised release.

* Arturo Martinez-Ceniceros, 27 months each for conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute 231.54 pounds of marijuana, concurrent, with three years supervised release.

* Asencion Escajeda-Rincon, Valentin Rosales-Gonzales, and Gustavo Gallegos-Solis, 27 months plus three years supervised release for importing marijuana.

* Gabriella Espinoza-Santill, 37 months plus three years supervised release for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

* Cesar Bejarano-Sias, 27 months plus three years supervised release on each of two counts: importing and possessing marijuana, to run concurrently.

Singers, speakers, scooters
all part of inspirational rally

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PECOS, July 30, 1997 - Music, motorcycles and motivating speakers are all part of the inspirational rally from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Maxey Park.

The duo "Blessed Hope" is one of three singing groups that will perform during the rally. Candace Sabo, 24, and Cheyenne Reeves, 22, are "Blessed Hope." They have been singing together in prisons and churches for more than two years.

Sabo is from Pittsburg, Tex. and Reeves is from Modesto, Calif. The two met in San Angelo, recognized a common love of singing contemporary Christian music, and became a team.

"Blessed Hope" began performing in prisons because Cheyenne's husband was in prison when they met. They sensed a need for encouragement and inspiration for prisoners and their families.

During the rally speakers will share how God has changed their lives. The Christian Motorcycle Club from Midland will make an appearance. Free copies of the "Jesus" video will be available as long as they last and refreshments will be served.

Indicators show Texas economy growing

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AUSTIN, July 30, 1997 - Economic conditions continue to be strong in Texas as the Index of Leading Texas Economic Indicators, which is at 130, shows a 2.6 percent increase compared to last year and the Texas Stock Index (TSI) has climbed to a new record high for the third consecutive month, according to State Comptroller John Sharp.

"The TSI rose 10.1 points in June, to 366.9. That is 59 percent higher than one year ago," Sharp said.

"In comparison, the Standard and Poor's 500, which tracks a nationwide sampling of stock prices, rose 36.8 points. In percentage terms, the Standard and Poor's index rose 4.3 percent, while the TSI rose 2.9 percent," Sharp said.

The TSI's finance, insurance, and real estate sector is at its highest level in nearly 10 years, due largely to population growth and high demand for new homes and businesses. The overall value of stocks in the sector rose 19.4 points, or 6.0 percent in June. Among the companies whose stock gained value are Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc., Centex Corporation, American General Corporation, and American National Insurance Company.

Energy stock prices are at their highest level since 1983. The TSI's energy sector rose 3.3 points, or 2.7 percent. Energy stock values are 22.8 percent higher than one year ago. Dresser Industries, Inc. saw its stock price rise as the company announced plans to sell a variety of sea vessels to Global Industries for $102 million.

A discovery of new oil and gas reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico boosted the stock price for Mesa, Inc. Tests in an oil field 95 miles off the Louisiana coast revealed potential production of more than 6,000 barrels of oil and 13 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Other Texas energy companies whose stock prices rose in June include Tenneco, Inc., ENSERCH Corporation, and Halliburton Company.

Texas technology stocks gained value for the tenth time in 12 months. Prices rose 26.8 points, or 2.5 percent in June, and are currently 172.6 percent higher than one year ago.

Dell Computer Corporation stock gained value as the company announced a 4-13 percent price cut on its OptiPlex line of corporate personal computers. It is the third price cut on OptiPlex computers so far this year.

Other technology companies whose stock price rose include DSC Communications Corporation and Tech Sym Corporation. Compaq Computer Corporation stock lost value, despite news that the company plans to purchase Tandem Computers, Inc. for $3 billion in stock.

General business stock values climbed 5.7 points, or 2.4 percent, and are currently 10.9 percent higher than one year ago. Two Texas-based airlines, Continental and Southwest, saw their stock values rise. Continental Airlines announced plans to offer non-stop service between Houston and Vancouver. Southwest Airlines reported that passenger traffic is up 4.5 percent compared to one year ago. Pier 1 Imports, Inc. saw an increase in its stock price, along with a 53 percent increase in company profits. Other general business stocks that gained value include Justin Industries, Inc. and Southdown, Inc. Temple-Inland, Inc. stock fell.

"The Texas economy has everything going for it right now," Sharp said. "New businesses are opening across the state, and that means more jobs. Plentiful jobs generate strong consumer confidence and strong investor confidence in Texas businesses, boosting the state's economy even further," Sharp said.

The Texas Stock Index, consumer confidence, the Texas Help Wanted Index, and new business incorporations are the strongest components of the economic indicators Index.

The Texas Stock Index, a measure of investor confidence in Texas businesses, rose to 352.5 in May. That is 52.9 percent higher than one year ago.

Texas consumer confidence during May was up 19.2 percent compared to one year ago, and up 8.9 percent compared to the previous month. Retail sales are up 0.3 percent compared to one year ago. Early summer is traditionally a slow period for many retailers, as consumers postpone purchases in anticipation of back-to-school shopping.

The Texas Help Wanted Index, a measurement of job listings in Texas newspapers is up 8.1 percent compared to one year ago. Texas has gained more than 208,000 jobs since May 1996. New business incorporations are up 4.1 percent compared to one year ago.

In other employment-related indicators, the Texas unemployment rate is down 0.3 percent compared to one year ago. Claims for unemployment benefits are down 2.7 percent. The average number of manufacturing hours per work week is up 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

New home construction remains very strong, with 9,549 new home construction permits issued in May. That is up 3.6 percent compared to one year earlier.

Only one indicator fell. The price of crude oil is down 1.7 percent compared to one year ago. In May, Texas crude sold for $18.50 per barrel.

The U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators, a component of the Texas Index, is currently 103.8, up 1.7 percent compared to one year ago. The U.S. economy continues a pattern of slow, steady growth, and that is good news for the Texas economy. The Comptroller's office produces the monthly Index of Leading Texas Economic Indicators to help compare Texas to the nation as a whole, and to help predict changes in the Texas economy up to six months before they occur. The current Index points to moderately strong economic growth in the coming months.

The TSI's finance, insurance, and real estate sector is at its highest level in nearly 10 years, due largely to population growth and high demand for new homes and businesses. The overall value of stocks in the sector rose 19.4 points, or 6.0 percent in June. Among the companies whose stock gained value are Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc., Centex Corporation, American General Corporation, and American National Insurance Company.

Energy stock prices are at their highest level since 1983. The TSI's energy sector rose 3.3 points, or 2.7 percent. Energy stock values are 22.8 percent higher than one year ago. Dresser Industries, Inc. saw its stock price rise as the company announced plans to sell a variety of sea vessels to Global Industries for $102 million.


July 30, 1997

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Esteban V. "Steve" Lara

Esteban V. "Steve" Lara, 18, of Midland, died Sunday, July 27, 1997 in an auto accident in Midland County.

Funeral services were at 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Midland. Burial will be in Resthaven Memorial Park. Rosary was 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ellis Funeral Home Chapel.

Survivors include: his parents, Secundino "Dino" Lara Jr. and Gracie Lara of Midland: two brothers, Dino Lara III and Jaime Lara of Midland; a sister, Anna Maria Lara of Midland; his grandfather, Manuel Villa of Midland; his grandmother, Inocencia Lara of Midland, his great-grandmothers, Juanita Hinojos Bitolas of Odessa and Maria Rivera Lara of Bakersfield, Calif.; and numberous aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family requests that memorials be directed to Our Lady of Guadalupe Grotto, 1203 E. Cherry Ln., Midland TX 79701.
Arrangements are being handled by Ellis Funeral Home.


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PECOS, July 30, 1997 - High Tuesday, 98, low this morning, 71. Slightly cooler temperatures are in store across most of Texas tonight and Thursday in the wake of a thunderstorm-producing cool front that is moving slowly southward across the state. Only South Texas will miss the temporary cool snap. It will be partly to mostly cloudy across West Texas with showers and thunderstorms possible over most of the area through Thursday. Highs Thursday will be in the 90s over most of West Texas, ranging from the 80s in the mountains to near 103 in the Big Bend. Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms dampened portions of the Panhandle before dawn today. Severe thunderstorms were reported over portions of West Texas late Tuesday afternoon. Amarillo got 2.80 inches of rainfall in 39 minutes and a total of 3.47 inches on Tuesday. The Panhandle city was also pelted by hail 1 inch in diameter.

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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