Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Ward ready to push a Pecos of possibilities
By GREG HARMAN
Gari Ward's first impression of the possibilities Pecos
represented came while observing the continuous stretch of
traffic on Interstate 20. Truck traffic tucks its head and
barrels past with scarce a nod. Of the multitude of
18-wheelers transporting raw materials and finished product,
Ward said, "We need to figure a way to get these trucks off
the highway and into Pecos."
Ward, hired two weeks ago as economic development
coordinator for Reeves County, has moved into an office
space at Security State Bank and by his own admission is
already "moving 90 miles an hour" contacting associates
nationwide by phone and fax.
Though he is still new enough to the Trans-Pecos that he has
to read off his new zip code from an address book, marketing
is something he knows through and through.
Ward's experience with economic development is extensive.
From helping to open a 640 acre industrial park on the
Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla., that gave birth to the
Port of Muskogee (now home to an annual Azalea Festival that
draws hundreds of thousands), to a six month stint in Sitka,
Alaska, where he worked with the largest economic
development company in the world, Lockwood Green, Ward has
traveled and taught communities to sell themselves to
After six months marketing the southeast region of Alaska to
stateside corporations, and a brief respite in Oklahoma
visiting his parents, Ward is ready to start pushing Pecos.
"Existing industry comes first," said Ward. "First we need
to identify the problems in existing industry."
The formula follows: take care of existent industry. Help
them expand their markets. Then begin targeting outside
industries to come set up shop in Reeves County. New
industry not only creates new jobs, said Ward, but it adds
to the county's tax base and brings disposable income that
helps mom and pop enterprises survive and thrive.
Identifying four to eight industrial classifications and
developing a marketing strategy is the next step to economic
Ward said that Pecos was "potentially attractive" because of
its large labor force. Many areas of the country, he said,
did not have the labor necessary to bring in new industry.
The final, and supremely important, step is getting city
leaders into an industrial team training program. The
once-a-week class would city leaders how to sell their Pecos
to the world.
"I can market the community but I can't sell the community,"
said Ward. "Local leaders have to sell to corporate America.
We need to teach these people how to do it."
Economic Development, as Ward defined it, is a good
investment in the future of the community.
"I'm really excited about the people I'm working with. It's
going to be a fun project. The leadership here truly wants
to create results."
But, he cautioned, "It will be rewarding, but the rewards
won't come overnight."
Commissioners take reins of grant
By GREG HARMAN
Reeves County Commissioners took charge of local housing
projects provided by a grant through the Texas Department of
Housing and Community Affairs yesterday and discovered that
many Pecos homeowners who have been expecting help through
the grant to restore debilitated properties will be left to
their own devices.
The former grant administrator, Mari Maldonado, resigned
before the project was completed and yesterday's action was
an attempt to recover control of the program.
Commissioners reviewed old records to find what money had
been spent and what was left to accomplish before the July
County Judge Jimmy Galindo urged his fellow commissioners to
work through the figures with him as he paced before their
desks distributing photocopied sheets with multi-colored
"We have got to act on this now because of the short time
frame," said Galindo. "Let's start with what we know and
work our way back."
What the commissioners agreed on after they examined the
history of the grant fund was a that many changes to
existent work orders had added $45,000 to the program's
total cost, that Final Touch Construction, the company
awarded several of the construction projects, was incapable
of performing its duties, and that Maldonado had made
promises to Pecos homeowners that no one could keep.
The commissioners first voted to rescind all agreements with
Final Touch and award two of the three contracts to the
second highest bidder - in this case Villareal Construction
in Fort Stockton. The third contract had a discrepancy in
its agreed price and commissioners voted to get another work
write-up and re-advertise for bid proposals.
Galindo informed commissioners that the Department of
Housing required 18 projects completed to match the county's
money. Galindo said he would contact officials in Austin to
see if they would make an exception because of the $45,000
in change orders approved by the housing department that had
severely handicapped the operations in Reeves. He blamed the
large change order amount on Maldonado and an oversight on
the part of housing officials in Austin.
Commissioner of Precinct 3, Herman Tarin, blasted Maldonado
for making promises of grant assistance to over 10 other
homeowners that will not be receiving help. "There is not a
problem telling someone, `Hey, there's no money,' but there
is a problem when they say, `They told us we were going to
Felipe Arredondo, commissioner of Precinct 1, questioned
whether Maldonado was on record as making such promises and
Tarin walked across with a list of names he had checked.
"These are not even being considered," Tarin told Arredondo.
"Someone needs to be a gentleman and write them a letter."
Both Tarin and Arredondo agreed to work to keep pressure on
the contractors to make sure that the work is finished by
the grant's extended deadline of July 30.
Galindo informed the commissioners that they must come up
with $52,000 of "in-kind" services ($10,000 in
administration and $42,000 in demolition service) to qualify
for the grant.
The $70,000 housing grant began on July 1, 1995, and was to
end on April 30, 1998. The county applied for and was
granted a three month extension. The new deadline is July
By GREG HARMAN
It was with an over-billing matter that Reeves County
Commissioners opened their morning meeting yesterday. County
Auditor Lynn Owens brought it to the attention of the
commissioners that Valcom Computer Center was over-billing
the county by $1,000 for computer software and hardware
installed at Reeves County Detention Center.
Though the Midland company had been awarded the contract by
submitting a bid of $29,618, they submitted a bill to the
county of $30,719.
The difference occurred, Owens explained, when the company
was unable to purchase a preferred hardware component and
had to purchase a more expensive unit.
Owens recommended paying the original bid price of $29,618
and purchasing an UPS File Server, an item not included in
the bid but necessary to the system's operation, for an
The commissioners approved paying the company a total of
The day-room construction project at RCDC is nearing
completion and Warden Rudy Franco presented the
commissioners with a last-minute modification to the
additional beds. Each bunk will be fitted with a plastic
storage space to help keep personal effects off of floors
and, as Franco stressed, improve the sanitary conditions at
Texas Jail Centers will be inspecting the new facilities on
Thursday, June 18, to issue final approval.
"The quality of life for the inmates has been improved,"
said Franco, "It is an excellent construction."
furthur informed the commissioners that the inmate
population will be jumping from its current 760 to 900 by
Problems at the Reeves County Sheriff's Office were brought
to the attention of the commissioners. According to Owen,
part-time wages for 1998 have been expended for the year and
the department is out of money for equipment and jail
supplies. "This is going to be a continual problem," said
A series of personnel and salary changes were approved by
One regular part-time employee at the District Clerk's
office, one promotion at the Sheriff's Office (countered by
one retirement), one full-time and one part-time employee at
the Juvenile Detention Center, two Maxey Park Swimming Pool
employees and several promotions and three full-time
employees were all approved by the commissioners.
Fierro sentenced to prison
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson on Monday sentenced Juan
Fierro-Rodriguez to 46 months in prison for marijuana
possession with intent to distribute. His was the longest of
six sentences imposed.
Others sentenced for marijuana possession were Jose Efrain
Gustavo Loera Caldera was sentenced to 24 months in prison
Judge Furgeson continued sentencing for Martin Todd Stone on
Michael B. Seeley was found guilty of three counts related
Following a hearing on motion to suppress evidence against
Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt accepted several guilty pleas,
Board designates $50,000 to project
Members of the Red Bluff Water Power Control Board agreed to
designate $50,000 to a salt cedar eradication project at
their regular monthly meeting held Monday afternoon.
Board members voted to designate the funds towards the
The project would involve the use of arsenal herbicide to
"This arsenal will not hurt anything else, so there won't be
The funds would go towards the chemical and application only.
"They told us that they would get the permits for us and we
"I think its a good project and we should go for it," said
"The USGS wanted us to pay them for them to do the title
"I think we should just ignore those guys, send out the
Goodrich also suggested talking to Tim Brown to help with
The $50,000 allocated will take care of funding 30 miles of
"It's not a bad chemical and the pupfish people can't
Board members also approved accounts payable, May
Drought proclamation issued for 207
By MICHAEL HOLMES
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) -- An emergency proclamation was announced
Monday for 207 of the state's 254 counties due to an early
drought and extreme danger of wildfires.
Gov. George W. Bush asked President Clinton for federal help
to place fire-fighting equipment and personnel in advance in
areas with the greatest risk of fire.
Bush called on county officials to evaluate the need for
local outdoor burning bans, fireworks restrictions and water
``Texas is already dry and we face a long, hot summer,''
Bush said. ``Already in early June we are seeing August-like
conditions with the bulk of the summer still ahead.''
``It is threatening crops and could pose major fire and
water problems unless we act now.''
State officials likened the situation to the 1993 and 1996
droughts. They said precautions need to be taken now to be
ready to fight fires and begin saving water.
``I hope this preventative action will help save lives and
property,'' Bush said. ``Of course, what I really hope is
that we don't have any fires.''
The 207 counties covered by Bush's proclamation include most
of the state. The Texas Forest Service listed the danger of
wildfires in those counties as ``extreme.''
Only those counties in the northeastern corner of the state
weren't covered, but the wildfire ranking for them still is
``high,'' according to the forest service.
``We are in drought conditions. We urge counties to step up
and assess their situations, assess whether or not they need
burning bans, assess whether or not they need to put
conservation measures in place,'' Bush said.
Asked whether he would recommend counties prohibit use of
fireworks as the July 4 holiday approaches, Bush said: ``My
advice would be to be cautious. I would urge county
commissioners to take extreme caution because we're dry and
the winds are high.''
According to the Texas Division of Emergency Management and
Texas Water Development Board, about 80 percent of the state
is in drought.
More than 50 counties have burning bans in place. Many
counties report rain shortfalls of 78 percent or more.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley received only 17 percent of
normal rainfall for the March-May period, and officials
estimated potential damage to cotton, corn and sorghum crops
at $97 million.
List of counties in drought proclamation
Crash kills family of six
By ANN GIBSON
Associated Press Writer
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - A piece of metal lying on an
interstate highway set off a chain-reaction crash that
killed a family of six and another woman.
One southbound car had already hit the pole-like piece of
A family of six from Madison, Ind., died in the collision in
The family was returning to Indiana after visiting friends
The driver of the van, Roxanna Jakob, 59, of Chattanooga,
The truck driver, Arnando Tizon, 41, of Toronto, Ontario,
``Our prayers are with him, too,'' said Ralph Jones' mother,
Of the children, she said: ``Ernie was a worker - he was
Kidneys removed from man in Kevorkian's presence go unused
By RANDI GOLDBERG
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT (AP) - No doctors wanted to use the kidneys removed
from the body of a quadriplegic who killed himself with the
help of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. And a coroner said whoever took
the organs mutilated the body.
Dr. Michael P. Kaplan, a transplant specialist with Wayne
``Let's assume I put one of those kidneys into one of my
Kevorkian's attorney Michael Schwartz estimated his office
The agency that coordinates organ donations in Michigan said
Earlier Monday, county medical examiner L.J. Dragovic said
``They didn't remove his sweater. They just pulled it up,
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
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 undicated that the fines were paid. In such
instances we will indicate payment and release.
Simon Patino, 58, died Saturday, June 6, 1998 at Midland
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 9 at 1123
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 10, at St.
He was born Feb. 28, 1939, in Pecos, was a lifetime Pecos
He was preceded in death by his mother Lucia Villa.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Patino of Pecos; his
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Gene Owens, 69, died Sunday, June 7, 1998 at his residence.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, June 10, at
He was born Sept. 24, 1928, in Durant, Okla., was a lifelong
Survivors include his wife, Beatrice Owens of Pecos; two
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Showers and thunderstorms will continue across much of
the northern half of the state tonight and Wednesday, but
most of parched South Texas will remain dry. West Texas will
have partly to mostly cloudy skies with a chance of
thunderstorms over most of the area. On Wednesday there is a
chance of thunderstorms in western and north central areas
and a slight chance elsewhere. Lows tonight will be in the
60s and 70s in West Texas, the 70s in North Texas and in the
70s and 80s in South Texas. Highs Wednesday will be in the
80s and 90s over most of the state.
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