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November 10, 1997
Welfare only temporary with new legislation
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, November 10, 1997 - As you enter what appears to be an old
railway station covered in weathered ocher paint, the Department
of Human Services on West Fourth, the message is clear. The credo
of an over-hauled welfare system - From Welfare to Work - presents
itself immediately. Walls pasted with public service announcements
and job opportunities serve as backdrop for an attractive young
latina on a video screen who announces at the start of a looped
22-minute presentation, "You can expect the help you receive to be
That is the message that the new Texas Department of Human
Services Commissioner Eric M. Bost recently trumpeted. That is the
Texas Works program, the latest addition to Welfare Reform. Bost
recently called the Texas Works program "an initiative that we
hope will bury once and for all the old culture of welfare
dependency in our state."
Under Texas Works the Texas Department of Human Services will
outfit most of the agency's field offices with "resource rooms,"
rooms that will contain computers with Internet access to job
listings, job search and interview tips, child care and
transportation information and organizations which provide work
"I want the children of current welfare recipients to...realize
that getting an education and a job are the real keys to success,"
Here in Pecos the changes that Texas Works will bring about are
all about landing a job. All welfare applicants must now file a
brief Texas Works identification sheet that attempts to assess
possible barriers to the recipient getting a job. Once work
history, child care status and access to transportation are
understood it is easier to find a client a job.
"We rely heavily on the want ads...and word of mouth," said Ray
Carreon, Supervisor of the Pecos and Kermit offices of Department
of Human Services serving Reeves, Winkler and Loving counties.
Carreon said that many Texas counties require welfare applicants
to first file with the Texas Workforce Commission before they may
receive assistance. These counties are called Jobs Counties and
are mostly larger counties such as Ector, Midland and Howard. "We
are not a Jobs County, yet," said Carreon.
But, according to Carreon, the Texas Workforce Commission has a
plan in place to make every Texas county a Jobs County. "They were
shooting for December first, but it may be a year or so," said
Carreon. Those seeking welfare assistance in Jobs Counties are
given job training and, if need be, are referred to day care
facilities and helped with transportation problems. Carreon said
that Pecos was in a good position to become a Jobs County
considering there is a Workforce office here.
While our local DPH office will not be receiving a resource room,
Carreon makes a strong effort to provide up-to-date job listings
from a variety of sources for anyone interested. He warned against
throwing in the towel when it comes to job-hunting, "You can't
just throw up your hands and say 'this is Pecos!'"
Local DPH job listings are compiled from regional and local
newspaper want ads, local radio, word of mouth and the TWC and
Governor's job bank websites.
The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 set a five-year limit for those
receiving welfare checks. That leaves just four years of federal
assistance to some families and individuals. The local Department
of Human Services is attempting to reinforce the now-truism,
welfare is temporary, and let families know that it's time to get
"We don't want people to be caught off-guard," said Ray Carreon
Keeping applicants informed of changing policies is a challenge,
but sometimes it isn't even easy for the local DPH office to keep
up with the changes. As new initiatives come in, Carreon said, it
is often necessary to call the regional office in Abilene for
clarification on specifics of new legislation.
Carreon stressed that welfare reform is a gradual project and
anticipates many more changes to come. But some things never
change: volunteers are always welcome.
"If you love to work with people then we'd be more than happy to
have you," Carreon said, "Even two to three hours a week would
Volunteers may expect to assist in clerical, phone, and
information gathering duties. "We've even hired two people in the
past because they had volunteer experience," he said.
Veterans Day closings listed
PECOS, November 10, 1997 - All state and federal offices will be
closed tomorrow in observance of Veterans Day, which is a federal
holiday. Reeves County offices will be closed as well.
Both First National and Security State banks will be closed. There
will be no U.S. Post Office mail delivery.
However, Town of Pecos City offices will be open and so will most
local businesses. The Pecos Enterprise office will be open and the
newspaper will be delivered as usual. In fact, we will be printing
a special page in honor of our local veterans.
Sex-offender registrations rise after law passed
DALLAS (AP) November 10, 1997 - A new law requiring sex offenders
convicted since 1970 to register with local law enforcement has
increased the number of registrations, perhaps as much as tripling
it, officials said.
The number is up, "but as to how many more, I really don't have a
clue," said Paul Jordan, who oversees the sex-offender rolls for
the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The law mandating retroactive registration became effective on
Sept. 1. The DPS will calculate the number of new offenders on the
books when the pace slows in a few months, Jordan said.
Previously, sex-offender registration applied only to parolees and
probationers convicted since September 1991.
Guillermo R. Fierro, 75, died Sunday, Nov. 9, 1997, at his
residence in Pecos.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10, at Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Santa Rosa
Catholic Church, with Father Antonio Mena officiating. Burial will
be in Greenwood Cemetery.
Fierro was born June 25, 1927, in Ojinaga, Mexico. He had lived in
Pecos since 1968 and was a Catholic.
Survivors include: his wife, Rosa Fierro of Pecos; one son,
Guillermo Fierro, Jr. of Pecos; one daughter, Delia Urias of
Pecos; two brothers, Agustino and Eujenio Fierro of Ojinaga,
Mexico; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and nine
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Willie D. Henry
Willie D. Henry, 62, died Thursday, Nov. 6, 1997, at Medical
Center Hospital in Odessa.
Graveside services were held at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 8, at
Henry was born Jan. 6, 1935, in Amite, La. He was a former U.S.
Marine, a longtime Balmorhea resident and a Baptist.
Survivors include: his wife, Faye Chapman Henry of Balmorhea; one
son, David A. Henry of Noble, Okla.; three daughters, Arlene C.
McDonald of McCamey, Donna F. Archer of Fort Stockton and Kim A.
Henry of Lubbock; one brother, Paul L. Henry of Junction; six
grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Martinez Funeral Home was in charge of arrangments.
PECOS, November 10, 1997 - High Sunday, 54, low this morning, 38.
Snow fell in the Texas Panhandle today while rain and
thunderstorms developed to the south as a cold front was slicing
through the state. Snow mixed with sleet was lessening as an
upper-level disturbance moved east of Northwest Texas. Early
morning temperatures ranged from the 20s across the Panhandle and
30s and 40s elsewhere in West Texas. Wind chills in the Panhandle
were in the single digits. Patchy drizzle was expected to continue
through Tuesday. Overnight lows should range from the 20s to the
30s, with daytime highs from the 50s and 60s to 70s along the Rio
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