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


September 30, 1997

$550,000 pledged for new juvenile facility

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 30, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners last night
dedicated $450,000 toward the construction of a juvenile corrections
facility, if the state awards the project to Pecos. In addition, the
Town of Pecos has pledged $100,000 to help build the facility for a
total cash incentive of $550,000 to entice the Texas Youth Commission
(TYC) to award the project to Pecos.

The commitment from the commissioner's court came after several members
of the community asked for the county's help, voiced their support of
the project and pledged contributions to help create a package they hope
will make Pecos stand out among the applicants to TYC for the project.

A total of 317 people would be employed at the 600 bed facility with a
total payroll of more than $1.8 million.

Pauline Moore, President of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation
and Division Manager for Texas/New Mexico Power, said anything the
county could do would help improve the chances of Pecos landing the
juvenile correction facility. With 26 applications from other entities
already turned in to the TYC Moore said, "We have a lot to compete

As an example of the competition for the project, Pecos City Manager
Kenneth Neal told the commissioners of an Abilene newspaper article that
told of Jones County loaning $500,000 with a three-year payback to help
Abilene's bid for the project.

"One proposal we have to you is to see if the money in the county's
revolving fund can be used to support our bid for the project," Neal

The city's proposal must be presented to the TYC by this Friday, Oct. 3.

Bob Curry, Manager of Battery Conservation Technology, Inc. and Vice
President of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, said, "If the
county could make a loan of $500,000 with a three- to five-year payback
for this project it would be a benefit to everybody."

Dudley Montgomery, CEO for The Security State Bank, said he was present
at the meeting to gain information about the project and let the
commissioners know that he was in support of the project.

"The bank is very interested and we want to do what we can," Montgomery
said. "We've prepared a letter to go with the application package."

Mike Burkholder, owner of Trans-Pecos Gas, said his company would run
gas lines to the facility at no cost. Burkholder said running the gas
lines would be a $30,000 to $40,000 project.

"I also would enter into a five-year contract to provide gas to the
facility at cost plus 50 cents," Burkholder said.

Oscar Saenz, Manager of Anchor West, said he was glad to see the
community supporting this project.

"I think we are finally getting it together to show we do want them to
come here," he said. "The money from the revolving loan could at least
show we are sincere."

Commissioners agreed that if the city was awarded the project to
construct the juvenile corrections facility the county would give the
city $100,000 and make a loan of $350,000 from the revolving fund.

"From my perspective, the county could make the loan of $100,000," said
County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

County Auditor Lynn Owens said he saw no problem with the county using
money from the revolving fund for such an economic development project
as the proposed juvenile facility.

In addition to the items already listed, the city and county agreed to
contribute labor and equipment to prepare the proposed 120 acres for the
facility, build a 500 foot road from Hwy. 17 to the facility and
contribute 10,000 cubic yards of material each for roads and parking at
the facility.

Also, the county will transport prisoners to and from the facility.

In other business, commissioners approved changes to the Texas Community
Development Project Contract for housing rehabilitation projects in the
county. The wording of the contract was causing holdups in the project
and the corrections will allow the project to progress.

Commissioners also approved an additional $6,439 (out of an available
$13,000) in salary to Mari Maldonado for grant administration for the
project until April 1998.

Reading program needs a little help

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 30, 1997 - Bessie Haynes Elementary School needs your
help to encourage students to read improve their reading comprehension.

The school will be having its Second Annual Read-A-Thon, a program
designed to encourage students to make reading a part of their everyday
existence, according to librarian Cynthia Armbruster.

Each child is tested with a computer and assigned a reading level.

"Not all children read at the same level, some are at a higher level and
some at a lower level," said Armbruster.

All library books are color-coded, according to the levels. The student
is then given a reading log and after they turn the book back in, the
child is tested on comprehension.

"This test is also done through a computer," said Armbruster. "The real
key is for them to stay at their level and then move up," she said.

After they turn in the test, the teacher initials it and writes a few
comments on the side. The students are supposed to make an 85 or better
and are given five points if they do.

"If they make less than an 85 they earn less points," said Armbruster.

Each week the top readers' names are posted in front of the library.

"Your support and encouragement of our students to participate in this
program will not only enhance reading skills but will also help Bessie
Haynes to earn Accelerated Reader test disks and even more books for the
library," Armbruster said.

Armbruster explained that to help the program, "all you have to do is to
sponsor a child, thus supporting him/her to read or be read to for 600

"We'd like those sponsoring to donate a penny per reading minute," she

When a child has completed the 600 minutes in the allotted time, a
sponsor will be donating six dollars for the child and the program,
according to Armbruster.

"It's so exciting, the students are checking out about 1,000 books per
week," said Armbruster.

Last year, the school earned about $2,000 and Classic Cable matched it,
enabling the school to purchase new equipment.

"We were able to purchase a few new books and other things that we
needed here at the school," said Armbruster.

Armbruster encourages everyone that knows a student in Bessie Haynes to
help promote the program.

Local businessman has high hopes

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 30, 1997 - Mike Burkholder hopes that the Freedom to
Farm Act will be as lucrative as its supporters in Congress say it will,
but he can't help being skeptical.

A lifelong resident of Pecos, Burkholder has been close to the land and
the laws affecting it for a long time. "It all comes down to government
policy," he said.

He holds the belief that conservative legislators and the press are to
blame for most of the farmers' woes. Publications like the Wall Street
Journal, Dallas Morning News and Readers Digest smeared the subsidy
programs of the 1970s and 1980s, he said. Now with the new Freedom to
Farm Act, that eliminates the safety net and all subsidies, farmers will
be left to their own devices.

"That's fine if you have an open market," Burkholder said, "but that we
don't." Foreign growers benefit from strong subsidies and this makes it
very difficult for farmers here to compete in a global market, he said.

As an example of the market family farmers must compete in, Burkholder
pointed to what is known as the Great Grain Robbery of 1972. At the
time, Russians, with a missed crop at home, bought large quantities of
U.S. grain, bought heavily into the grain futures market, and then sold
the futures back for a profit.

Burkholder made his switch from farming about 20 years ago. "In the '70s
a long term contract between the gas company and the farmers expired as
gas prices were escalating," Burkholder said, " and the farmers sued
Del-Hi Gas (a subsidiary of Texas Oil and Gas)."

Insulted, Texas Oil and Gas pulled out of the area. Burkholder, who at
the time was president of the Trans-Pecos Cotton Growers, approached the
company and told them that the growers "must have gas," and suggested
they sell the area service to another company.

"They called me later and told me to come to Dallas to buy their
pipeline. I said I didn't want it." According to Burkholder the company
said if he came to Dallas they would offer him a deal he could not
refuse. "And I did. And they did."

Difficulties are many in the gas industry and only part of those have to
do with rapidly fluctuating prices. Texas Oil and Gas sold out to U.S.
Steel after selling the pipeline to Burkholder. U.S. Steel then began
charging Burkholder higher prices. Burkholder had to pass on the price
increase to his customers. To make matters worse, El Paso Natural Gas
then started approaching Burkholder's customers and, before the price
decreased, took half of them.

Burkholder said that he has seen many ups and downs in the economy, but
this was the worst down he had seen yet.

"Anchor is a good example (of positive businesses coming in)", he said,
"but they mainly provide low-wage jobs...only four or five out there
have high salaries." He maintains that many of Pecos' ills have to do
with the fact that "we lost all our executives."

On a positive note, Burkholder says Reeves County has a "huge inventory
of aerable, flat, deep soil...and a reservoir of water that is regularly

He hopes that, as areas like California find more and more demands on
their water supply coupled with environmental demands, one day Pecos
will be rediscovered and have a viable agricultural industry again.

Perhaps there may even come a day when growers will be able to purchase
their parts and equipment in town again.

Teenagers save school from fire

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 30, 1997 - Three teenagers put out a fire at Lamar
Middle School last night, saving the structure from extensive damage.

Investigators ruled that the fire at the school was arson. The fire only
damaged the outside of the building near a rear entrance to the
sixth-grade campus.

The teenagers were walking past the school when they spotted the fire
and reported it about 8:30 p.m. The three also extinguished the fire,
according to Lieutenant Kelly Davis, Pecos Police Department

"They did a good job of putting out the fire and probably saved the
school from further damage," Davis said.

"I was looking for my little brother and was walking down the street
when I saw the school was on fire," said Mosses Quiroz, who helped put
out the fire along with his sister, Katrina and Gilbert Rodriguez. "I
went back to get them after that."

"We came over here and put some more dirt on it to put it out," Katrina

"When we got there, the fire was completely out," said Fire Marshal Jack
Brookshire. "It hadn't been burning very long. The only thing burning
when the fire was reported was a flammable liquid, which had been poured
on the concrete," Brookshire said.

Brookshire said that the fire has already been ruled arson.

"We've got some things we're looking at, but we haven't even finished
the report yet," said Davis, who added that they have a male, juvenile

One window appeared to have been melted or broken, and there was a
narrow, charred trail from under that window leading to a set of double
metal doors next to two vertical windows. The lower of those windows had
been broken out. The window above it was also broken and black with
soot, but still mostly intact.

Paint on the doors appeared chipped or peeled, but the doors themselves
did not appear to be severely damaged.

"There's nothing inside the school damaged," said Davis.

"There wasn't any explosion," Brookshire said. He explained that windows
become brittle during a fire, and that the sand and gravel the boys
threw on the fire to put it out may have broken the windows.

"The alarm never even went off," said Lamar Principal Gome Olibas, who
heard about the fire on a police scanner.

"It's going to take most of the day before we have any more answers,"
Davis said today.

Union Pacific ships goods by sea

Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) September 30, 1997 - Union Pacific, the nation's
largest railroad, plans to put freight on a ship and send it through the
Panama Canal because its own rail lines across the country are backed

Using a ship will approximately double the normal six-day cross country
trip, but the company has been desperate to relieve a backlog that has
television sets, tennis shoes, clothing, paper goods and appliances in
3,000 containers the size of trucks sitting in the Los Angeles area.

"In order to unclog that area we had to look in the box for something we
normally would not do," railroad spokesman Mark Davis said. "It is safe
to say this is the first time that we have ever done anything like

The railroad will use APL Ltd. of Oakland, Calif., to move 660
containers around Mexico, through the Panama Canal and up into Savannah,
Ga. The trip will take two weeks. Omaha-based Union Pacific predicted
growing pains when it merged with Southern Pacific one year ago to
become the country's biggest railroad, with 35,000 lines spreading west
out of Chicago. But cobbling together computer systems, labor agreements
and dispatching duties has slowed the integration of the two railroads.

Aggravating the merger difficulties are three train derailments that
killed seven people over the summer and prompted a safety crackdown by
the Federal Railroad Administration. Also the strong economy with
heightened demand for train service, a record fall wheat harvest and the
coming Christmas season have taxed the Union Pacific system.

Union Pacific traffic is backed up, sometimes by two weeks, particularly
in its southern tier from California across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
and into the East Coast.

"I thought this merger would probably go pretty smoothly," said Eugenia
Simpson of investment firm Kirkpatrick Pettis in Omaha. "Apparently it's

Chemical and plastic manufacturers say they are losing $36 million a
month and idling thousands of workers because Union Pacific is not
hauling materials to and from plants in Texas. Lumber, steel and grain
producers in the Northwest say they are worried about long service

Ripple effects of the backlog are felt across Union Pacific's system as
empty rail cars sit in jammed rail yards across the West, without enough
locomotives or people to move them.

"We haven't made any secret of the fact that this backlog has caused
problems throughout our system," said railroad spokesman Mike Furtney in
San Francisco.

Nor is rival Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad pleased. The nation's
second-largest railroad wants temporary joint control of rail operations
in the Houston area and to use Union Pacific lines to bypass Houston and
ship straight in and out of Mexico. It is turning to shippers to put
pressure on the railroad, and contends that under UP's merger deal with
Southern Pacific, the federal Surface Transportation Board could force
such moves.

"Union Pacific is not living up to its commitments, and as a result we
are not either," said Burlington Northern's Jim Sabourin.

Union Pacific's Mark Davis replied that it is taking steps to alleviate
the problems, and Burlington Northern's proposal would do more harm than

Union Pacific hopes benefits of the merger, including a combined
computer system, expanded rail yards, improved rail lines and new labor
agreements, will be felt by late October or early November. It plans to
hire more dispatchers and engineers, and it will have 330 new
locomotives in service by next year. Labor agreements will allow
Southern Pacific workers previously under contract with that railroad to
work on Union Pacific lines.

"You're seeing some improvement now in Texas," Davis said. "We're
looking at the last part of October, early November to see marked
improvement in that area."

But businesses hurt by the crunch will not see immediate relief, Furtney
said. "We can't make everybody perfect today," he said. "If anybody
thinks this will happen by magic, they are wrong."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Separatist's request to postpone

arraignment granted by judge

FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) September 30, 1997 - A Republic of Texas member
scheduled for arraignment Monday on an organized crime charge was
granted a postponement so he could have time to hire an attorney.

Richard Frank Keyes III, who slipped away when other group members
surrendered to Texas Rangers following an armed standoff, was making his
initial court appearance since being captured Sept. 19 north of Houston.

State District Judge Kenneth DeHart said he has not set another
arraignment date yet.

Keyes is accused of storming a house in the remote Davis Mountains
Resort and taking two people hostage, sparking the weeklong
confrontation between an armed Republic faction and 300 state troopers.

The siege ended May 3 when faction leader Richard McLaren and four
others involved walked into custody.

But Keyes and McLaren bodyguard Mike Matson fled into the wilderness
surrounding the group's so-called embassy, a cabin hidden away in the
Davis Mountains 200 miles southeast of El Paso.

Matson was later killed in a gun battle with police.

Authorities searched for Keyes, but eventually abandoned their efforts
May 7, speculating he was probably dead.

McLaren and three other followers, who believe that Texas is an
independent republic, are scheduled to go to trial Oct. 27 on felony
charges of engaging in organized criminal activity stemming from the
hostage situation.

DeHart said he will likely decide this week whether to move their trial
out of Fort Davis.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Clowns breaking into the big

top with State Fair gigs

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, September 30, 1997 - Lance Brown's devotion to his art is
evident in his studied performance as the back half of a donkey.

He's hunched over in there with his arms pinned at his sides, and it's
stuffy, and there's nothing to look at but his partner's, er,

No sacrifice, however, is too great when you're a rookie clown with a
shot at the big time.

"It's worth it as long as I'm getting people to laugh," Brown said
bluntly, rolling up a pants leg above a flipper-size shoe to show the
scrapes and shin barks he's gotten while performing in the dark.

Brown, 17, and 19 other fresh graduates from Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Clown College star several times daily in a half-hour all-clown
circus show titled the "Big Shoe Revue" at the State Fair of Texas. For
most of them, it's their first paying gig as working clowns.

"It's easy to do silly stuff without actually being funny," novice clown
Mark Gindick, 21, said Monday. "Getting people to laugh is hard."

Judging from one of their four performances Monday in the Coliseum, the
rookies are getting the hang of this "laff riot" business. The show is
busy and colorful enough to keep even the smallest kids' attention, with
enough sly gags to keep the grown-ups happy.

And before every performance, the clowns invite kids in the audience to
come down into the ring to try juggling, wear the big shoes, get their
faces painted and even swing in a trapeze harness.

The interaction goes a long way toward breaking the ice with smaller
children who might initially find a clown in full regalia a little

"I like to get down on the floor with the really little kids, and I
don't approach them 'til they're ready," said Dan Legare, 18, who had
changed into a tan jumpsuit after the show but still wore his
greasepaint makeup and bulbous honker.

Legare figures that if you can win over the smallest kids, the rest of
the audience is gravy. What's tough for him is the human pyramid stunt
that opens the show. As the tower's base, he has to grin and bear the
weight even with an aching back.

Boss clown Jay Stewart said that's the lesson that most of the rookies
are learning during their three-week State Fair stand. The gags and the
flips and the unicycling are easy, he said, compared with learning to
keep the act fresh even when you're tired or sore or just flat don't
feel like being funny.

"Show business is very exciting, and it's also very hard work," Stewart
said. "Maybe you have an upset stomach, but you still have to go out
there and shine."

Dick Monday, who directs the State Fair show and the Clown College in
Sarasota, Fla., said about half the rookies already have contracts to go
on to one of the company's two touring circuses after their fair

For the rest, he said, these three weeks may be the turning point that
leads them to decide whether they want to stay in the circus business.

"We've never had any engagements quite this rigorous for our new
graduates," Monday said, pointing out that the act is as athletically
demanding on the clowns as a full three-hour circus.

The show has alternating variations, switching out two especially
strenuous segments, a trampoline flip-fest and a stilt-walking act. It's
not much of a break when you factor in the flips and falls and
ball-walking and cartwheeling that every show, four shows a day,

"They learned the art during Clown College," Monday said. "Now they're
finding out the amount of work it takes to become a great clown."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Governor headed to Texas to get

media talk refresher course

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) September 30, 1997 - Gov. Gary Johnson has talked
about la-la land, the chicken bone thing and nanny-nanny boo-boo.

Now he's headed to Texas for a little training on how to be more
quotable when he speaks.

"A lot of this is a learned art. This doesn't come naturally," Johnson

The course at Fairchild/Oppel in Dallas is scheduled to coincide with a
talk Johnson is giving in the area.

Johnson said his training will be focused on delivery, not content.

He said he will send videotapes of some of his television appearances,
which instructors will analyze.

Ken Fairchild, Fairchild/Oppel president, said Monday the media
consulting company "prepares people for answering questions and provides
some public speaking training."

"We show them how to speak the media language, and to be more quotable,
frankly," he said.

Doug Turner, a Johnson adviser, said the trip will cost less than
$1,000, and the bill will be footed by the New Mexico Republican Party.

"It's a refresher course on communication - how to get your message
across," Turner said.

In 1995, Johnson accused the New Mexico Legislature of living "in la-la
land" during a fight over the public school budget.

That same year, he accused state Supreme Court justices of using "a
chicken bone thing" to make decisions. "They put a bunch of chicken
bones in the microwave and take them out and ... there's a certain thing
they need to do as the result of the way the bones lie," he said.

The following year, he described political games with the Legislature as
"nanny-nanny boo-boo."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


PECOS, September 30, 1997 - High Monday, 93, low this morning, 63. The
calendar may say it's autumn, but the weather seems more like summer
across Texas. And it's going to stay that way through Wednesday. It will
be clear to partly cloudy across West Texas. Lows tonight will be in the
50s and 60s, highs Wednesday will be in the 80s and 90s.

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