March 31, 1998
Financial help available for employee training
By RICK L. SMITH
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - If you run a small business and have
employees who need training, you need to know about the
Smart Jobs Fund that can give you as much as $2,500 per
employee for training.
About 15 people yesterday attended a seminar sponsored by
the Pecos Chamber of Commerce aimed at informing small
business owners about money available to help train
The Texas Department of Economic Development has about $102
million available from unemployment taxes that small
businesses can tap into to train their employees, said Peg
Callahan, Smart Jobs Coordinator for the Small Business
Development Center of The University of Texas at San Antonio.
The Smart Jobs Fund is a program designed to assist Texas
employers in training the work force of the future, Callahan
told those at the seminar.
Half of the $102 million available for training is targeted
at small businesses (the other half for large businesses)
and 20 percent of that is aimed at minority-owned businesses.
Any company is eligible to receive training money through
the Smart Jobs Fund if it has been in business for at least
one year; has at least one employee; is current o state tax
obligations; and is financially sound.
Callahan told those attending the seminar that the Smart
Jobs Fund program is employer-driven, meaning the company
receiving the funds decides who to train, when to train and
who will do the training.
On-the-job training, college courses, seminars and many
other types of training are all covered by the program.
"We want to help businesses invest in people,"Callahan said.
"Because business owners pay unemployment taxes they have
already paid to participate in this program."
Callahan told the audience that large business has already
claimed its 50 percent of available training funds and Texas
Department of Economic Development is especially targeting
small businesses to make them aware of the program. The 79
counties in West Texas covered by Callahan are mostly rural
and funds are available for almost any kind of training, she
"The training does have to be formal and measured," Callahan
said. Employees being trained must take tests before the
training and after to ensure the training occurred.
To apply for the training funds small businesses must
include financial statements indicating that the business is
stable and will be around after the training is completed.
Businesses who receive Smart Jobs Fund monies can spend as
much as $2,500 per trainee. Companies approved for the
funding pay for the training up-front and bill the state to
be reimbursed. Once the training is completed the state
refunds 75 percent of the cost and after the employee has
remained with the company for 90 days after the training is
completed the employer will receive the final 25 percent of
the training cost from the state, Callahan said.
"Every small business needs a training plan," she said.
"Because if you don't know where you're going, you'll end
up some place else."
The Smart Jobs Fund program has been in place, in one form
or another, for almost four years, Callahan said. She
expects the program to remain in place for the foreseeable
For more information about the program call 1-800-888-0511,
or call Callahan at 210-458-2472. Or you can call Michael
Levine, Director Big Bend Region Minority & Small Business
Development Center at Sul Ross State University, at
Information about the Smart Jobs Fund is also available on
the Internet at www.tded.state.tx.us/smartjobs.
Family project becoming a home
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - Anybody in this country is free to
pursue the American dream, but sometimes you have to do a
lot of work to make your dream come true. Last year, on June
17, the Pecos Enterprise published part one of a series
about a local man who set out to buy a vacant home that had
been on the delinquent tax rolls for quite some time.
That man, Salvador Carrera III, better known to most Pecos
residents as "Howdy," did manage to convince all of the
local governing agencies concerned to sell him the abandoned
property, and with the help of his family has begun to
repair and remodel the house at 310 South Mesquite Street.
Only it isn't just a house anymore, it has become Howdy's
Howdy and his brothers, Monse, Salvador and Pedro made some
repairs to the house when he first bought the property, then
did inside remodeling jobs as the weather worsened as winter
Interior improvements have included fixing holes that had
been punched through walls, cleaning graffiti and fire
damage left by vandals, replacing broken windows, painting,
texturing ceilings, converting a closet into a laundry room
and installing new carpet.
The house was fixed up enough to be livable within several
months, and Howdy and his wife, Mirta, moved in on Jan. 1.
Although Howdy didn't remember the exact date, Mirta
supplied the information readily, explaining that she had no
problem remembering when they moved "because it was a lot of
In the mean time, Howdy has gone back to working for his
former employer and works six days a week, managing Bob's
Thriftway on Eddy Street for Fenn Foods. He is also a
volunteer fireman. That doesn't leave a lot of spare time,
but the Carrera family works together on Howdy's dream
house, and despite time and financial constraints, the work
is getting done.
Howdy said that he has already spent $9,400 beyond the cost
of the property on materials for the various repair and
remodeling projects. Luckily, his brothers do not charge him
for their labor of love.
Now that spring has brought warmer weather back to Pecos,
Howdy and his brothers are working on the house again,
whenever they can find the time and opportunity to get
The Carrera brothers' current projects include putting new
windows on the east side of the building and painting the
outside of the house, when the weather allows outside work.
Monse, Salvador and Pedro were in town last week and over
the weekend helped Howdy and Mirta work on their house, and
had most of the front of the house repainted by Friday
"It's going to be good...once it's painted, it will look
nice," said Howdy. "My mom wants us to plant cactus in the
Tenants protected under Texas law
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - Holes in the roof would be leaking
rain onto your bed -if it ever rained in West Texas -and the
electrical outlet in the kitchen has started to smoke. The
landlord says there is nothing he can do. What can you, as
the tenant, do to get the repairs made so that your family
can live in relative safety?
According to Attorney General Dan Morales, under Texas law
the landlord guarantees that the rental property, whether
house or apartment, is a fit place to live.
"You have a right," said Morales, "to demand that the
landlord repair any condition that materially affects your
health and safety. This includes problems caused by normal
wear and tear to the building."
The landlord may not evict or otherwise punish you for
requesting repairs to be made. If he or she refuses your
request, one thing you should not do, according to Morales,
is refuse to pay your rent.
"A landlord is liable for repairs if you are not delinquent
in your rent; you have given written notice of a condition
needing repair; the condition materially affects the
physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant; and the
landlord has not made a diligent effort to fix the problem
after a reasonable time has passed," said Morales.
After the first written letter is given to the landlord,
notifying them of the problem, you should allow seven days
for a response. If a week comes and goes without an answer
you may need to draft another letter. The tenants options at
this point include ending your lease, filing suit against
the landlord, or, if the problem demands immediate
attention, paying for the repairs yourself and deducting it
from your monthly rent. However, if you caused the damage
yourself the landlord is not responsible to repair it.
Nellie Gomez, executive director of the Pecos Housing
Authority, said that a lot of people "settle for what they
can get and don't realize the hazards to their health and
safety. They just want a roof over their heads."
Gomez said that the PHA is required to provide running
water, access to heating and cooling, working plumbing,
smoke detectors, bolt locks, water heaters and homes free of
lead-based paint for tenants in sub-standard housing. She
said she suspected the laws concerning private landlords
were similar to the guidelines of the PHA.
Tenants with persistent problems may contact their local
tenant council or Better Business Bureau. Customer
complaints may also be filed with the Attorney General's
Light luminaires to fight cancer
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - Orders are now being accepted for
luminaries to be lit in Pecos during the American Cancer
Society's upcoming "Relay for Life."
For a $2 minimum donation per candle, you can dedicate the
glowing tribute in honor of, in memory of, or in
appreciation of any friend or family member who has survived
cancer, has cancer, or has died from cancer. Names of
honored individuals will be read throughout the 18-hour
The "Relay for Life" will be held in Pecos at the Buck
Jackson Rodeo Arena on Highway 285 from 6 p.m. May 15 until
noon May 16. All citizens of the community are invited to
attend a special ceremony at 9 p.m. on May 15 to see the
luminaries come to life. Proceeds from luminary sales will
benefit the Reeves-Loving Unit of the American Cancer
Society, which is dedicated to cancer research, service and
education. Call Marie Cardenas at 447-9041 for a luminary
PBT board meets Thursday
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - There will be a special meeting of
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board of Education at 6 p.m.
Thursday, Apr. 2, in the board room at 1304 S. Park Street.
The meeting will begin with a closed session for the board
to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel.
When the meeting resumes in open session, the board will
consider termination of probationary contracts at the end of
the contract period. The board will also discuss/approve
professional personnel resignations, retirements, transfers
and appointments and discuss/approve amending the
cheerleader and mascot constitution.
Devil's River Minnow to get federal endangered' label
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) pushes back the deadline on public comments
concerning the possibility of adding the Pecos pupfish to
the federal endangered species list, another lesser known
fresh-water minnow is also being proposed for the list.
According to officials at the USFWS, the Devils River
minnow, which is already on the state's threatened species
list, is limited to the spring-fed streams in Val Verde and
Kinney counties and northern Mexico.
Factors in the minnow's demise, USFWS officials state,
include declines in water quality and quantity and predation
from non-native fish, including the small-mouth bass.
Congressman Henry Bonilla has spoken out strongly against
the USFWS's move to add the minnow to the federal roster.
"This is a classic example of the federal government once
again jumping in and ignoring the rights of landowners in
Texas," said Bonilla. "The people of South and West Texas
have cared for their land and the environment for
generations. Bureaucrats in Washington can learn a lot from
these folks when it comes to forming a plan that protects
wildlife in these areas.
According to Bonilla, landowners near the Devils River are
working diligently with the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department (TPWD) to devise a conservation plan for the
The USFWS will accept public comments and information on
this proposal until July 27, 1998. Once the comment period
is closed officials at USFWS will evaluate all submissions
and decide within a year of the date of the proposal whether
the species will be added to the federal list of endangered
But Bonilla warns that the pattern of the USFWS is to
conduct surveys, illicit public comments and then "go ahead
and push their agenda anyway, without regard for the
concerns of private property owners."
All comments regarding the proposal should be sent to: U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnett Road, Suite 200,
Austin, Texas 78758.
March 31, 1998
Maria T. Barreno, 61, of Pecos, died Monday, March 30, 1998,
at her residence after a lengthy illness.
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 1, at
Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, at Santa Rosa
Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
Barreno was born March 10, 1937, in Juarez, Mexico. She was
a lifetime Pecos resident, a convenience store clerk and a
Barreno was preceded in death by one son, Pedro Luis Barreno.
Survivors include: her father, Pedro Estrada of Pecos; four
sons, Johnny Estrada of City of Commerce, Calif., and Jesus,
Jose and Marco Barreno of Pecos; five daugthers, Laura
Gonzales and Ana Barreno of Pecos, Maggie Estrada of Belle,
Calif., Tere Gaytan of Rialto, Calif. and Dora Valeriano of
Irving; four sisters, Maria Martinez of Juarez, Mexico,
Socorro Estrada of El Paso, Genoveva Nuniz and Marta Estrada
of California, three brothers, Gilberto and Pedro Estrada of
Calif. and Enrique Estrada of Pecos; 32 grandchildren; and
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Adela Machuca, 39, died Monday, March 30, 1998, at Reeves
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, at Martinez
Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Emily
Catholic Church in Toyah with burial in Toyah Cemetery.
Machuca was born July 11, 1958, in Pecos. She was a lifetime
resident of Toyah, a manager at a motel and a Catholic.
Survivors include: her husband, Carlos Vasquez of Toyah; six
brothers, Guadalupe, Jesus M. and Jose Machuca of Midland,
Dulces N. Machuca and Roberto Machuca of San Angelo and
Dolores V. Machuca of Toyah; two sisters, Elvira M. Garcia
of Monahans and Virginia M. Gomez of Midland.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, March 31, 1998 - High Monday, 64, low this morning,
40. Clearing skies will bring pleasant weather to all of
Texas on Wednesday. But temperatures tonight will be cooler
than the ones recorded for the past several days. It will be
fair at night and mostly sunny across West Texas. Lows
tonight will be in the 20s in the mountains of Southwest
Texas and in the 30s and 40s elsewhere in West Texas, highs
Wednesday will be in the 60s and 70s in West Texas, ranging
upward into the lower 80s in the Big Bend area.
Thunderstorms accompanied by high winds and some hail roared
across North Texas on Monday evening. There was some wind
damage in northeastern sections, but the activity quickly
moved eastward out of the area.
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