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


January 22, 1998

Vintage piano teamed with modern electronics

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 22, 1998 - So many articles have been written
in the Pecos Enterprise about Jim Blanchard and his many
projects that he feels like people might be tired of reading
about him and his hobbies. But he just keeps doing
interesting things that are fun to write about and make good

Blanchard's current project is the restoration of a
nine-foot-long Mason & Hamlin concert grand piano built in
1922. The piano belonged to Sul Ross University for 45 years
until a West Texas rancher purchased it. For 30 years the
piano sat in the rancher's home, mostly unused, until a
piano teacher purchased it with the intent of restoring it.

Blanchard said he purchased the piano last August for five
times what the piano teacher paid for it. In its current
condition Blanchard has already received offers to sell the
piano for twice what he paid for it, he said. When the piano
is restored and modified Blanchard believes he in turn can
get five times what he paid for it, if he decides to sell

"This piano is considered to be the Stradivarius of pianos,"
Blanchard said. "It was made in the old Mason & Hamlin
Boston factory and was built by craftsmen who knew what they
were doing. There are details on this piano that aren't done

Some attributes of Mason & Hamlin pianos cannot be placed on
other pianos, such as the Centripetal Tension Resonator that
was patented Oct. 2, 1900, and helps give the piano a unique

Blanchard has replaced the action of the piano and has had
the outside refinished. Since he restrung the piano he has
tuned it himself and will tune it again about four more
times as the new strings stretch out. For the final tuning,
Blanchard will call in a professional piano tuner.

When Blanchard finishes with this piano it will not only be
a fine sounding and valuable piano, it will also play
itself. But player pianos have come a long way from the days
when they operated from a role of paper with holes punched
in it.

Blanchard, who is a distributor of player piano mechanisms,
has installed a player mechanism on the piano that will
allow a CD to be inserted into a CD player connected to the
piano and the piano will play along with the CD.

The player mechanism does not simply mechanically hit notes.
With 127 different levels of intensity, the player mechanism
reproduces the intensity that the author of the music being
played intended, Blanchard said.

For now, the piano sits in Blanchard's workshop connected to
his computer. The computer is loaded with music software
that plays the piano. Blanchard has varieties of music from
classical to modern on the computer that can be played on
the piano with accompaniments of other instruments played
through his sound system.

Blanchard, who says he has always been a woodworker, began
restoring pianos, especially player pianos, in the late
1960s when he fixed a clock for a friend and got paid with a
broken player piano.

"When I started to work on that player piano I was amazed at
what it took to make it work," Blanchard said.

After studying a couple of books on player pianos Blanchard
rebuilt that piano, sold it for a profit and purchased
another piano, thus beginning his hobby of restoring pianos.

"I kept at it because I made more money doing that than
working then," Blanchard said. "I do it now because I enjoy

When Blanchard ran a little short of cash while building his
home he sold one of his pianos for $40,000.

Blanchard is a co-owner of Industrial Communications in
Pecos. Industrial Communications has been in business in
Pecos for 45 years providing mobile phone and paging services

District court clears docket

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 22, 1998 - Attorneys meeting with U.S.
District Judge Royal Furgeson Tuesday for a status
conference on five felony cases were able to work out a plea
agreement in three cases to avoid jury trials. Two others
were continues.

Judge Furgeson accepted guilty pleas in eight cases and
sentenced five defendants on Tuesday, completing the week's
docket in one day.

Roman Rafael Nunez, 25, of Alpine, drew a five-year sentence
for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Judge
Furgeson recommended he be incarcerated at La Tuna, a
federal correctional institute near El Paso.

Cesar Enrique Ramirez was sentenced to 33 months, also at La
Tuna. He will serve three years supervised release after
completing his prison sentence.

Gabriel Nava-Gonzalez drew 18 months in prison for illegal
entry after deportation.

Allen Wayne Whyde was placed on five years probation for
possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Maria Bertha Melendez pleaded guilty to importing marijuana
and was sentenced to time served.

Others pleading guilty to possession with intent to
distribute marijuana are: Saul Caraveo Aragon, Noemi
Gonzalez-Hernandez, Herbert Nauman and Dolores Nauman and
Cesar Humberto Martinez.

Jessica Martinez pleaded guilty to importing and possessing
with intent to distribute marijuana.

Alcario Hernandez pleaded guilty to misprison of a felony
(knowledge of a felony without reporting the crime).

They are to be sentenced April 13.

Don't forget to register to vote

PECOS, January 22, 1998 - Last day to register to vote in
the March 10 Primary Election is Feb. 9 and applications can
be picked up at the Reeves County Clerk's office.

"This is just a reminder for those who want to vote in the
March Democratic Primary Elections," said county clerk
Dianne Florez.

Applications for a ballot by mail can also be picked up at
the courthouse in the county clerk's office, or they can
call the office for more information.

"They can call this office or the Secretary of State, if
they want more information on the voting process or who's up
for election," said Florez.

Information can be obtained at the clerk's office, at
445-5467 or the Secretary of State at 1-800-252-8683.

"They're always very helpful and eager to help anybody,"
said Florez.

Early voting for the election begins Feb. 23 at the
courthouse lobby. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. until 5
p.m. and will be open throughout the lunch hour.

Freeport announces year-end earnings

Freeport McMoRan Sulphur Inc. (FSC on the New York Stock
Exchange), which began as an independent company following
the December 1997 merger of IMC Global Inc. (NYSE:IGL) and
Freeport McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FTX), recently announced their
fourth quarter and year-end earnings.

The fourth quarter of 1997 brought in a reported net income
of $51 million and a pro forma net loss of $8.4 million.

Fourth quarter net income for 1996 was $0.8 million with a
pro forma net income of $0.5 million.

The year ending December 31, 1997 FSC reported a net loss of
$374.2 million and a pro forma net loss of $286.4 million
compared with the net income of $12.4 million and pro forma
net income of $7.7 million in the '96 period.

FSC established an unsecured $100 million revolving credit
facility, enhancing liquidity and financial flexibility,
upon its formation as an independent company in December,
1997. Since the end of 1997, FSC has no debt or outstanding

As a result of the FTX-IGL merger, FSC acquired IGL's 25
percent interest in the Main Pass sulphur and oil joint

As part of its open market share purchase program which
began this year, FSC has purchased 49,800 shares of its
common stock through January 16 for $536,300 -averaging
about $10.77 per share. Around 950,000 shares remain under
FSC's one million open market share purchase program.

Housing board meets tomorrow

PECOS, January 22, 1998 - Utilization of a community
building located at 902 E. 10th St. will be discussed during
the regular meeting of the Pecos Housing Authority Board at
5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23. The meeting was rescheduled from
last Friday, since the group didn't meet for lack of a

The board will discuss the CIAP 96 bubble charts, bar charts
and the letter to residents on the order to start work on
rehabilitation projects.

A letter from Ed Vaughn, architect for construction of
administration facilities for current renovation projects,
and a local contact to provide onsite observation of these
projects will be discussed along with a letter from Steve
Brewer regarding the status of restructuring for the HUD
Fort Worth (district) office of public housing.

Under unfinished business, the group will discuss the 96
CIAP and receive an update and discuss the executive
director's merits for PHA Fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 1996
and Fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 1997.

New business for discussion will include PHA/FLH Annual
report for 1997; resolution, operating budget for fiscal
year 1998; discuss disposition of excess, salvageable and
unsalvageable, equipment, materials and personal property.

In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting members
will discuss transferral of funds from reserve and security
accounts to the operating account; discuss up to date and
pending repairs/expenses and discuss computer program and
other upgrading options.

In regular business the group will discuss:

* Monthly financial statement.

* Monthly accounts payable, Jan. 1998.

* Monthly occupancy status report, Jan. 1998.

* Rent roll and cash journal, Jan. 1998.

* Monthly income and expense report (PHA & CIAP 96).


PECOS, January 22, 1998 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Information
contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports
filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County
Sheriff's Office, 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.


Israel Lozano was arrested at 2:30 a.m. Jan. 14 for
resisting arrest and assault of a peace officer.


Harold J. Jones, 30, Albuquerque, N.M., was arrested at
12:21 p.m. Jan. 15 during a traffic stop for theft of
service, then it was discovered that the vehicle he was
driving was reported stolen from Las Vegas, Nev.


Antonio Manuel Rodriguez, 17, 506 Mesquite, was arrested at
2 a.m. Jan. 17 at 9th and Pecan for minor in possession of
an alcoholic beverage.


Rolando Raul Hernandez, 21, 719 W. 4th St., was arrested at
2 a.m. Jan. 17 at 9th and Pecan for minor in possession of
an alcoholic beverage.


Rodey Wade Curry was arrested at 2:03 a.m. Jan. 18 at 8th
and Pecan for public intoxication and no valid drivers


Primitivo Martinez, 18, Tulia, was arrested at 12:53 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Wal-Mart for theft under $50.


Ramiro Pando, 35, 2309 Lindsay Rd., was arrested at 12:10
a.m. Jan. 21 in the 200 block of S. Sycamore for public


Pedro A. Burciaga, 29, 802 S. Cypress, was arrested at 12:10
a.m. Jan. 21 in the 200 block of S. Sycamore for public
intoxication and outstanding DPS warrants from Lubbock.


Rogelio Pando, 26, 2309 Lindsay Rd., was arrested at 12:10
a.m. Jan. 21 in the 200 block of S. Sycamore for public


Ruben B. Aguirre, 28, 216 N. Alamo, was arrested at 12:10
a.m. Jan. 21 in the 200 block of S. Sycamore for public


Uriel M. Gardea, 22, 2305 Sandia Rd., was arrested at 12:10
a.m. Jan. 21 in the 200 block of S. Sycamore for failing to
display a drivers license and failing to provide proof of
insurance during a traffic stop.


Carmen Hernandez was arrested at 10:35 a.m. Jan. 15 in
Balmorhea on a warrant for making alcohol available to


Carlos Madrid was arrested at 9:58 a.m. Jan. 15 on a warrant
for aggravated assault.


Scott A. Pavlick was arrested at 12:52 p.m. Jan. 16 on I-20
for driving while intoxicated.


Felipe R. Morales was arrested at 2:15 a.m. Jan. 17 during a
traffic stop in the parking lot of the Officina Club for no
tail lamps, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine)
and felon in possession of a firearm.


Florentino Florez was arrested at 11:53 a.m. Jan. 17 on a
warrant service for forgery.


Rodrigo R. Nunez was arrested at 10:07 a.m. Jan. 19 for no
seat belt, no liability insurance, capias warrants and


PECOS, January 22, 1998 - Crime Stoppers will pay up to
$1,000 in reward for information leading to the arrest and
Grand Jury indictment of person(s) responsible for the
incident described below. Anyone having any information on
this crime or any other crime can call "Crime Stoppers" at
445-9898 and you will remain anonymous.

Shortly after midnight Nov. 16, 1997, the Pecos Police
Department was dispatched to the 700 block of South Cedar in
reference to a burglary of a motor vehicle. The complainant
advised that sometime between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and
12:08 a.m. a person or persons burglarized a 1988 Chevrolet
pickup which was parked in the 600 block of East Third
Street at the Santa Rosa Hall parking lot. Taken was a black
detachable-face Toshiba am/fm cassette player.


Mildred Bettis

Mildred "Bill" Bettis, 89, formerly of Brownwood, died
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 1998, in LaMarque, Tx.
Graveside memorial services will be held at 2 p.m.,
Saturday, at the Blanket Cemetery.

Bettis was born in Blanket, July 9, 1908, and attended
Blanket schools and Daniel Baker College. During World War
II she worked in California in the war plants. She later
resided in Pecos, where she was employed by the Texas
Highway Department, Drs. Camp and Hay, Pecos Hospital, and
retired from the Red Bluff Water District Office. She was a
lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church and a member of
the American Businesswoman's Club.

She was preceded in death by her parents, J.A. "Chux" and
Dalah Bettis; one brother, W.J. Bettis; two sisters, Melba
White and Ione Stewart.

Survivors include: one sister, Mrs. Allean Brightman of
Maryland; three nieces; four nephews; 13 great nieces and
nephews; and numerous great-great nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to the Teki Island Chapel, P.O. Box
3468, Galveston, Tx. 77552.

Robert Downen

Robert H. Downen, 83, died on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 1998, at
his home in Carlsbad, N.M.

Survivors include: his wife, Lenore Zachry Downen of
Carlsbad, N.M.; two daughters, Elizabeth Lavy of Waco and
Robbie Willis Jones of Pecos; two sons, Dick Downen of
Charlotte, N.C. and Zachry Downen of Trophy Club, Tx.


PECOS, January 22, 1998 - High Tuesday, 63, low this
morning, 34. It will be partly cloudy tonight and Friday
across West Texas. Clouds will be decreasing across western
and central areas of North Texas with cloudy skies to
continue across the east. It will be mostly sunny in western
and central areas on Friday while eastern areas will have
partly cloudy skies. A cold front moved into the Gulf of
Mexico, taking most of the precipitation with it. Lows
tonight will be in the 20s and 30s, highs Friday will be in
the 40s in the Panhandle and in the 50s and 60s elsewhere in
West Texas.

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

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

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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise