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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


September 25, 1997

Odessa College eyes Pecos

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - The School Board Room filled up quickly Wednesday morning with community leaders eager to hear from representatives of Odessa College, now in its 51st year, here on a fact-finding mission about possible needs in Pecos for an educational extension service.

Odessa College President Dr. Vance Gipson said the college was "very interested in off-campus operations" and was favorably impressed by the "strong turn out for the meeting.

"We are here to get feedback for whatever programs (you feel) we should be looking at bringing into your community," he said.

Odessa College is in a better position to be looking at opening more extension programs. In the last several years the college proper has seen an increase of enrollment of 4 percent, while its of-campus programs have increased enrollment by almost 20 percent. Also, the reversal of the Coordinating Board of Texas' decision, which ruled that there must be 50 students per class average, allows for more flexibility in extension services.

Gipson said that the college was working closely with local industry on "wrap-around" programs, where, working closely with local industry, many students start in the occupational programs and, after entering into an apprenticeship, begin taking accredited classes for advanced training.

The three needs Gipson pointed out that must be met before progress on the extension service could be made included the location of facilities that may be converted to house the schools, the exact type of program that the community needs must be determined, and three or four volunteers to act as liaisons to the college. Within minutes twelve names were on the list.

Judge Gallindo, who was one of the volunteers, thanked the representatives for coming to "pursue this dream," and suggested programs for teachers, nurses, and correctional professionals be located in Pecos.

The representatives from Odessa College asked for and received permission for their Institutional Research Office to administer a survey to the business community in Pecos at large in order to get an accurate response on the specific needs of the area. President Gipson agreed that teachers and health practitioners were in short order in West Texas.

Businesses in the area may expect to begin receiving the surveys as early as October.

"We won't drop the ball," Gipson remarked at the close of the meeting, "just roll with it a little faster."

More steps take to attract industry

Enterprise Editor

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - Pecos Industrial Foundation, founded in 1957 to help locate industry for Pecos, is now Pecos Economic Development Corp., with new officers and will soon have a new set of by-laws.

Industrial Foundation members voted last week to change the group's name and, in a meeting last night, elected officers from an expanded membership list and named a committee to draw up new by-laws.

Pauline Moore, who had been heading the Pecos Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Committee, was elected interim president with Bob Curry, her co-chair on the committee, as vice president. Linda Gholson was named secretary and Paul Hinojos was appointed treasurer.

Named to the by-laws committee were representatives of the taxing agencies that will help finance the new thrust in economic development as well as members of the new corporation. Those representatives are Freddy Lujan, schools; Dot Stafford, city; Jimmy Galindo, county; Jeanette Alligood, hospital; along with corporation members Tom Rivera, Oscar Saenz and Gilbert Abila.

A general meeting of the corporation will be held to elect a permanent slate of officers as well as approve new by-laws when the re-write of the by-laws is completed.

A meeting has been called to work on the by-laws for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6.

Curry noted that it is hoped that work can be finished on the by-laws and other organizational needs in time to place advertisements before the end of the year to being the search for an economic development director.

Members of the group expressed enthusiasm on prospects for the future as a number of irons are in the fire including an application for a state youth correctional facility here, the prospect of Odessa College having a campus here and other discussions on industry.

Pecos unemployment rate drops

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - Unemployment in Pecos dropped by almost three percent in August this year compared to August of last year, the largest percentage of decrease in the area, according to figures supplied by the Texas Workforce Commission, TWC.

The Pecos unemployment rate, at 11.4 percent in August last year, decreased to 8.6 percent for the same month this year, according to the Permian Basin Civilian Labor Force Estimates from the commission. The estimated number of employed persons in Pecos increased from 5291 for the month last year to 5338 for the month this year while the number of unemployed persons decreased from 681 to 500.

However, contributing to the decrease in unemployment in Pecos was also a decrease in the labor force from 5,972 in August last year to 5,838 for the month this year.

Other area cities experiencing a decrease in the unemployment rate for the period include: Fort Stockton, from 6.2 percent to 6 percent; Lamesa, from 8.1 percent to 6.3 percent; Midland, from 4.5 percent to 3.8 percent; Seminole, from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent; and West Odessa, from 7 percent to 6.5 percent.

Employment rates increased in: Andrews, from 5.4 percent to 6.2 percent; Kermit, from 7.6 percent to 8.8 percent; Monahans; from 6.8 percent to 6.9 percent; Rankin, from 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent; Stanton, from 3.6 percent to 5.9 percent; and Wink, from 4 percent to 4.6 percent.

The Big Spring unemployment rate remained unchanged for the period at 4.9 percent.

The unemployment rate for the Odessa-Midland MSA declined by six tenths of a percent from July to August this year as well as compared to August last year, according to TWC estimates. The Odessa-Midland MSA has the 15th lowest unemployment rate in the state. The total civilian labor force for the area dropped by 1,182 for the month but increased for the year by 238. The drop in the rate, over the month, is largely attributed to the seasonal factors of the summer ending and the education sector starting up again, according to the TWC report for the month.

Total non-farm employment for the Odessa-Midland MSA increased for the month by more than 200 or more than 0.2 percent. The service producing sector was the main growth area with an increase of more than 400 or about 0.6 percent, with government (+300) being the largest growth sector in service producing.

Goods producing in Odessa-Midland declined by about 200 or 0.8 percent. In goods producing, mining had the biggest decline at 200, while construction increased by 100 and manufacturing decreased by 100.

Total non-farm employment from a year ago rose by about 800 or 0.8 percent. Goods producing increased by 500 and service producing increased by 300.

Salt Cedar eradication plan stalled

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - Progress has stalled on plans to rid the Pecos River of salt cedars that thrive along its edge. Until a herbicide that is unapproved for use in rivers is approved for the purpose, salt cedars may remain where they are.

Spraying of the salt cedars cannot begin until either the herbicide of choice, Arsenal, which does not have an aquatic label, achieves a rewrite of its label which approves such use or the Environmental Protection Agency approves the use of the herbicide as a special case. A change in labeling classification may take until the year 2000, according to representatives of American Cyanamid Corp., the producers of the chemical. As it stands now, Arsenal is permitted to be sprayed right up to the waters edge, but not in the water.

Representatives from the Pecos River Compact Commission, American Cyanamid, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency were present at Friday's meeting, sponsored by the Red Bluff Water Power Control District and held at the Pecos Country Club, to discuss ways of eradicating the salt cedars which thrive along the Pecos River. The condition of the river is an issue, as one rancher attested, in that when the river is high it seems a fine water source for the livestock, but when the water level is low, cattle have died from drinking its water.

Greg Weiler, of the Environmental Protection Agency, said, "The first call I'm going to get is from someone who doesn't understand (the specifics of this issue), and asks me `What's all this white stuff they're spraying on the water?' Then," he said, "they may look at the label and it says don't spray on water."

However, Weiler said that as long as the pesticide was used in accordance with the restrictions of its label the EPA would stay out of the situation.

One of the attendees spoke up at this point, declaring, "I don't see what the big deal is. You guys are worrying about things that don't apply. You could spray the whole Pecos River and nobody would see you."

These salt cedars, planted along the Pecos River in some areas in the hopes of controlling erosion, have proved extraordinarily hearty (quickly enveloping much of the river bank) and thirsty. Some estimates of the water lost to the trees hold that each tree may soak well over 30 gallons a day from the river, effectively diminishing the flow of the Pecos by as much as 50 percent.

Salt cedars were brought to this country as an ornamental plant from the Mediterranean region around 1850. One participant at Friday's meeting could even remember when his grandfather made a trip down river to acquire the new trees to help control soil erosion.

New Mexico has already adopted a strategy to get rid of its cedar problem. They took several years to gather wide grassroots support for their eradication plan, but the general consensus at Friday's meeting was that several years are too long to wait to take action on the salt cedars which are soaking up so much of the water supply.

Participants also felt that Texas could not accept the conditions that New Mexico agreed to abide by, particularly regarding a 50 foot buffer zone in spray control. The situations in Texas and New Mexico are too different for that. In New Mexico, the main concentrations of salt cedars do not inhabit the area along the river (referred to as the river "vega"); in Texas the main concentrations are right up on the river bank. "And," according to Mike McMurry of the Texas Department of Agriculture, "in Texas it is right in the river bank. Some areas it even overlaps the river.

"It's a more sensitive site," McMurry said. "We (TDA) went to look at the river with the Soil Conservation and the EPA. Cyanamid needs to go examine it."

Nathan Allen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said that it was possible that endangered species may benefit from the eradication of Salt Cedars.

"My experience on the Pecos is that the Salt Cedar is not beneficial and I have no problem endorsing (eradication) as a general practice," he said.

Allen also voiced some concern over what should be done after removal of the salt cedars. He wondered if the sudden loss of ground cover on the Pecos may not lead to erosion.

Brad Newton, Texas Commissioner, Pecos River Compact Commission, encouraged those present to write their representatives in Washington to try to get special permission to spray the river without a label revision.

"Every letter received in Washington (the politicians estimate) reflects the sentiments of 1200 people with the same views," he said. "Hand written letters count even more."

Newton encouraged those in attendance before the meeting was dismissed. "The eyes of Texas really are upon us," he said, "What we do here will probably spread all over, because the salt cedars are spreading."

Even after the label issues are cleared and commitments are divided among the public and private land owners, there still remains the difficult task of figuring the boundaries. One participant noted, "Nobody even knows where the boundaries are. There hasn't been a survey (of the river lands) since the 1800s." And so the task continues.

Deputy will seek commissioner spot

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - Gilberto (Hivi) M. Rayos, has designated his sister, Lorina Martinez, as treasurer for his campaign in his quest for Reeves County Commissioner, Precinct 4.

He filed the treasurer designation with the Reeves County Clerk, Sept. 24.

"I made this decision in December of last year," said Rayos.

Rayos, a lifelong Pecos resident, said he wants the commissioner position, "to help the people of Reeves County and to help in lowering taxes for the community."

"I think taxes are really high and I just want to do the best that I can for the people of Reeves County," he said.

Rayos has been in law enforcement since 1986 and has been working here in Reeves County.

He was supervisor for the Law Enforcement Center transportation department for two years, currently the Reeves County Detention Center.

Rayos later attended the police academy and became deputy under the former sheriff, Raul Florez. He is still a deputy with the current sheriff, Andy Gomez, which will not conflict with his quest, according to Rayos.

Superintendent has plenty of experience

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - A retired teacher, coach and superintendent, has been appointed the new interim superintendent for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district. Ken Norris has replaced Wayne Mitchell, who said he had to resign the position for health reasons.

Norris was a teacher/coach at Eastland Junior High for 13 years, and from there, he went to Eagle Lake High School where he also was a teacher/coach. He coached football and track in addition to being the head basketball coach.

After that, Norris moved to the Cisco ISD, where he was a teacher/coach for four years, then served as principal there for two more years.

Norris became a superintendent in his next position in Carbon, which he held for nine years. He then served as superintendent for the Grandfalls-Royalty ISD for three years, and after that, he moved to Terrell County, where he spent seven years as Sanderson's superintendent.

Norris retired in June, 1996, then served as the interim superintendent for Fort Davis for four months, starting this January.

Norris and his wife, Becky, a math teacher, have three children. Their daughter, Amy, followed in her parents' footsteps and teaches Spanish in Keller.

Their son, Kenny, is a doctor at Andrews Air Force Base, and their other son, Gabe, is a sophomore at Angelo State University.

"The rumor that Wayne Mitchell stepped down as interim superintendent for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for any reason other than his health at the urging of his doctor is absolutely untrue," said secretary to the superintendent Jo Allgood.

Allgood said that Mitchell is being treated for a heart condition.

"He started feeling bad soon after he came here, and kept hanging on against his doctor's advice because he's a very conscientious person and hated to leave anything undone. Finally, his doctor gave him no choice," Allgood said.

Police Report

PECOS, September 25, 1997 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Surety, 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 instances we will indicate payment and release.


Victor Sandoval was arrested at 6:01 p.m. Sept. 18 during a traffic stop on W. 3rd St. for driving while license suspended.


Melba Fuentes was arrested at 4:44 p.m. Sept. 18 on a capias pro fine warrant service, paid the fine and was released.


Santiago J Fuentez was arrested at 1:37 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Town & Country Motel for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.


Ana Barreno was arrested at 1:37 p.m. at the Town & Country Motel for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.


Toney Rodriguez was arrested at 2:02 a.m. Sept 23 during a traffic stop at 9th and Ash when he failed to identify himself to the officer.


At 5:30 p.m. on Sept 17 a suicide attempt was made by an inmate at the Reeves County Detention Center.


At 9 p.m. on Sept 20, a saddled was reported stolen from a storage building on the 100 block of Lincoln St.


Hector Rodriguez, 19, 2015 S. park, was arrested at 11:30 a.m. on Sept 20 on the 500 block of Cedar St. for assault causing bodily injury.


The theft of a .22 caliber Colt revolver from a residence on E. 8th St. was reported at 11:08 a.m. Sept. 22.


PECOS, September 25, 1997 - High Wednesday, 80, low this morning, 56. The sun is expected to emerge from behind the clouds across most of Texas Thursday after the first few days of fall ushered in cloudy skies and cooler temperatures. Skies were mostly sunny in West Texas Wednesday as high pressure continued to increase area wide. Temperatures were in the 60s and 70s. Rain showers are possible Thursday and temperatures are expected to warm into the 70s and 80s with lows in the 50s and 60s.

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