Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, June 17, 1998
Anchor abatement extension request
fails to impress hospital board
By GREG HARMAN
The Reeves County Hospital Board was unconvinced at last
night's meeting why local employer Anchor West, which missed
this year's tax abatement due to its own clerical error,
should be granted a two year extension on its abatement
agreement, but found room in its heart to grant newcomer
Brunswick Bicycles a Freeport tax exemption.
Consultant to Anchor West John Wojtkun explained that years
of depreciation would reduce the value of equipment at the
facility - thus a two year abatement extension for 2001-2002
would be closer to the amount the company is being taxed for
this year. Though he confessed, "As far as absolute numbers
there is no way to calculate."
Board member Marcella Lovett asked that in the future the
board be kept informed of Anchor's activities. "It would be
a courtesy to keep the entities informed, since we are
granting you an abatement and so many employers in town are
not. We have no record if you've complied with (the terms
of) the abatement or not."
She voiced her disfavor for Anchor's request, saying, "We're
being asked, because they dropped the ball along the line,
to extend the abatement two years because of their mistake?
In my book when you make a mistake you have to pay for it."
Anchor West, Reeves County's largest private employer, was
issued a five year tax abatement when it first set up shop
south of U.S. Interstate 20 in 1990. The hospital, city and
county all agreed, on Anchor's request in January, 1996, to
extend that abatement for an additional five years.
Two abatement forms, one sent to Anchor's Wisconsin
headquarters, the other to the local address, were sent by
the Reeves County Appraisal District in January. A second
form was sent by Chief Appraiser Carol King Markham, along
with a handwritten note to Anchor West's General Manager
Oscar Saenz. All were unreturned.
Wojtkun, citing the company's good track record as an
employer in the county, stressed that these "conditions
exist, now we need to look at how to recoup."
Board Vice President Greg Luna asked Wojtkun how long it
would take to recoup its losses from this year's taxation.
Board President Jeannette Alligood interjected that since
there is no way of knowing what the tax rate would be in
2002, estimating such numbers is "extremely difficult."
Lovett asked why the taxpayers should be asked to pick up
the bill for Anchor's mistake and was surprised that the
extension was being requested "without any facts and
figures" to support it.
Wojtkun agreed to write an analysis with projections but
reminded the board, "You need to understand we're dealing
with a tax rate of the future that is rather iffy."
The item was tabled until Wojtkun has prepared his report.
As Luna said, "For this board to make a sound decision we
require more information."
The total taxable value of Anchor West is about $4.68
Howard Atkison, Vice President of Mexico Operations at
Brunswick Bicycles, had more success with the board.
Brunswick, whose distribution hub is a new arrival to the
Balmorhea area, was granted a Freeport Exemption that will
help them double their current 16,000 square acre facility.
The $600,000 appraised value of the company's property would
double with such an expansion, said Atkison, while they were
only asking for a portion of their inventory value to be
exempted. "It is a very reasonable request," he said.
Alligood said, "And that doesn't take into consideration all
the drivers who will be stopping and eating in this area."
Assuming the expansion takes place this year, Atkison
estimated the taxable value of the property would jump from
$1.6 million to $3.3 million. The tax with exemption for
Brunswick for 1998 and 1999 would rest at about $15,876.
The request was approved as presented.
Office will be closed on Thursday
By ROSIE FLORES
The Reeves County Clerk's office will be closed Thursday,
June 25, but those wanting to obtain information from the
office can still call on that day, according to Reeves
County Clerk Dianne O. Florez.
Florez stated that any individual who needs a birth
certificate or marriage license on that day can call her
office and she will open the office after 5 p.m. to issue
"We'll be closed during the day to receive training, but if
they really need something we will have a part-time employee
taking messages," said Florez.
The training which will be conducted at the clerk's office
on that day is to further their education in reference to
issuing birth certificates for all individuals who are born
in the state of Texas.
"Representatives from the State will be in Pecos to provide
this training," said Florez. "This will go into effect after
June 18," she said.
Florez was referring to the fact that birth certificates
will now be available at the clerk's office for all those
individuals who are born in Texas, a project she has been
very instrumental in getting into effect.
"This is a long-term plan I have been working on and
something we are very proud of," she said.
In anyone needs a document on Thursday they can still call,
445-5467 and leave a message.
Board votes to grant Brunswick Bicycles an exemption
By ROSIE FLORES
Balmorhea School board members voted to grant Brunswick
Bicycles a Freeport exemption at their regular meeting held
"What it was, is that the board voted to rescind a
resolution that was adopted in December of 1989, the
Freeport Exemption, this was repealed," said Balmorhea
School Superintendent Carl Hoffmeyer.
Hoffmeyer explained that with rescinding this resolution,
the Freeport Exemption will be allowed.
The Brunswick Bicycles distribution center, located in
Balmorhea, receives materials from Ojinaga, Mexico and this
will allow the center a percentage of the materials to pass
through without being taxed, according to Hoffmeyer.
"This will increase productivity, it doesn't hurt the tax
base and doesn't affect tax money," said Hoffmeyer.
Only a percentage of the materials will be tax-free,
"We feel very positive about this decision and think it's a
good idea," he said.
During the meeting, Hoffmeyer was noted for receiving a
doctorate degree. Hoffmeyer received a Doctor of Education
from Baylor University in May.
Defendant sentenced to prison
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton accepted guilty pleas in five
cases Tuesday, sentenced one defendant to prison for dealing
drugs and revoked the supervised release of another.
Arthur Lloyd Rodriguez was sentenced to 18 months in prison
and a $1,000 fine on each of two counts of importing and
possessing with intent to distribute marijuana Feb. 9.
In an amended judgment, Bunton sentenced Robert Anthony Rose
to 16 months in prison and three years supervised release
for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute on Sept.
He revoked the supervised release of Jorge Sanchez-Carrasco
and sentenced him to nine months in prison.
Pleading guilty to marijuana possession were Arturo
Becerra-Gutierrez, 35, Odessa, Samuel Mancinas-Porras, 19,
Odessa, Aracely Galindo-Pando, 27, of Austin, and Apolonio
Ortega, 48, of Andrews, admitted importing marijuana on
March 8. Two additional counts were dismissed in the plea
Grant put 31 employees out of work
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Jack Brewer had a job waiting for him when the Permian Basin
Drug Task Force folded, but 30 others were not so fortunate.
Now warden for the Ector County Detention Center, Brewer
said the state's grant refusal for the task force put 31
employees out of work. One officer has joined the Ward
County Sheriff's Office, but as far as Brewer knows, all of
the others are drawing unemployment compensation.
Brewer was assistant to Tom Finley, task force commander.
Before joining the task force, he was chief deputy for
Reeves County Sheriff Raul Florez.
"He is a damn good administrator," said Gary Ingram, who
served as Florez's chief deputy prior to his retirement. "He
will do a good job."
Ector County has contracted with Civigenics Texas Inc., a
company that operates private prison facilities all over the
Brewer said that a retired Texas Ranger captain, Bob Prince,
is the recruiting agent for Civigenics, and he had contacted
Brewer months ago about the warden position.
"I knew Prince in 1974, when he first made Ranger," said
Brewer. "I thought I would join and jump aboard."
Brewer's experience includes monitoring the Reeves County
Law Enforcement Center while working for Florez, and what he
learned there has helped, he said.
"I have an awfully good staff," he said. "I have 47 people
working for me. It is a good company to work for. I look
forward to it."
Remodeling the old Ector County Jail to hold federal
prisoners is underway, and it will accommodate 225 inmates
when it is completed. As of Tuesday, the prison had a
population of 89 with another bus due from El Paso.
"We will probably be getting most of our inmates from El
Paso or Del Rio," Brewer said.
U.S. Marshal Jack Dean has contracted with Ector County to
house marshal prisoners - those who have been arrested on
federal charges but have not yet been sentenced.
"Jack Dean has been good to this county, and we want to be
good to him," Brewer said. "He is also an ex-Texas Ranger. I
knew him whe he was a Ranger in Waco."
Brewer's only regret is that he didn't accept the warden
"I have been talking with this company four or five months.
I probably should have taken it before I got my name dragged
through the mud," Brewer said. "I am no crook, and I don't
want to be accused of doing anything wrong."
State officials refused to renew task force funding,
claiming Brewer and Finley were suspected of mishandling the
$1.6 million grant last year.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has taken over the
operation, which Brewer and others claim is a political move
by Gov. George Bush.
Texas Rangers have been investigating the task force for 18
months. Brewer said Finley requested the investigation after
a former employee made allegations of wrongdoing.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Future "Cape Canaveral" en route?
By GREG HARMAN
It only seems natural in this age of "reduce, reuse,
recycle," that space exploration would get into gear. Being
hailed as the next generation space shuttle, VentureStar, a
reusable launch vehicle, is being developed in the form of
half-size X-33 prototype by a contingent of industry
If successful, Venturestar will make the launch, orbit and
landing of outerspace vehicles a synchronous event, minus
the waste of discarded fuel tanks.
This prototype, fitted with liquid hydrogen tanks and
thermal protection system far more durable than the Space
Shuttle's ceramic tiles, is scheduled to make its first
flight in July, 1999. It is possible the VentureStar may be
on the assembly line in the early years of the upcoming
An extensive area just south of the Reeves County line and
off from U.S. Highway 285 in Pecos County is one of many
areas around the country being considered for a future space
operations complex to be used by the craft.
A barren scrub of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, known as
Blue Ridge Farm, has already undergone a preliminary
inspection by Texas Aerospace officials who will be
returning to meet with civic leaders in Fort Stockton and
Sanderson on Thursday, June 25.
Blue Ridge, formerly owned by Billie Sol Estes and later
purchased by the City of Fort Stockton from the Latter Day
Saints, would be transformed into a high-tech oasis in the
primarily oil and cattle country of West Texas.
"We are assessing various areas around the state," said
Texas Aerospace Commission (TAC) Executive Director Tom
Mosser. "We are trying to determine if we could have this
here and where the best site would be."
Mosser stressed that the RLV project is a commercial
enterprise and the operations complex would be something
similar to an airport. And considering the price per pound
improvement the VentureStar represents, the port may be a
It currently costs companies about $10,000 per pound to send
satellites into low orbit via rocket. The VentureStar
project could bring that price tag down to $1,000 per pound
of payload, without the waste of discarded fuel tanks and
"Once we reduce the cost that much," said Vice President of
the X-33 project Jerry Rising, "a lot of people will step
forward and say they want to put additional satellites into
Many are banking on increased satellite activity, citing the
world's growing dependence on the technology.
Working on the X-33 project are eight Lockheed Martin
companies; four private industries, including Allied Signal,
BF Goodrich Aerospace, Boeing Rocketdyne Division, and
Sverdrup; three subcontractors; eight NASA centers and NASA
headquarters; four U.S. Air Force centers and the Jet
The Texas Aerospace Commission is looking, according to
Pecos County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gregg McKenzie (who
first brought the prospect before the attention of county
officials two months ago), for an area of about 6-7,000
acres with potential for a 15,000 foot runway.
McKenzie said that seven counties in Texas being considered,
but Pecos is at the "top of the list" following the
preliminary assessment. "We had seven `blues' (positive
marks). Only one other had seven `blues' but they also had
some `reds' which means they are in an environmental impact
area. With our environment and our weather we have them
beat," said McKenzie. "We don't even know what rain is
The complex, if brought to Pecos County would bring about
1,000 aerospace jobs and the resulting tourism of a high
profile aerospace facility. "It would be another Cape
Canaveral," said McKenzie.
Mosser agreed the potential of the complex was great. "This
could be a big thing," he said. "Commercial space is here to
stay. We have seen its value to the general public."
Family members still in intensive care
By GREG HARMAN
Three members of the Tays family, involved in a one car
accident one mile north of Pecos on Highway 285 last week,
are listed in critical, serious and satisfactory conditions
at University Medical Center in Lubbock this morning.
A white '93 model Ford Econoline van was northbound at about
10:45 p.m. last Thursday when the 16-year-old driver,
Marlene Harris Tays, fell asleep at the wheel. She awoke,
according to a Department of Public Safety accident report,
"due to a scream in the vehicle."
It was then she found herself driving in the median of the
road. She overcorrected the steering wheel - first to the
left, then to the right - and sent the vehicle into a
sideways skid off the road. When it hit some softer sand it
began to roll.
The van rolled four times, during which time two of the
passengers (Melanie Harris Tays, 13, and Charri M. Tays, 46)
were thrown from the vehicle. Of all six passengers, only
the driver was wearing her seat belt. The van came to rest
on its side, causing $350 of damage to a barbed wire fence.
Pecos EMS arrived at the scene within eight minutes of the
911 call. All six were transported to Reeves County
Hospital. Three were treated and released that evening and
three were air-lifted to University Medical Center in
Melanie is listed in "serious" condition and is being
treated in the pediatric intensive care unit. Charri is
listed in "critical" condition as is being treated in
intensive care unit, and Melvin, who was trapped inside the
van, is listed as "satisfactory."
A second one vehicle roll-over occurred at 8:10 that same
evening 2.6 miles west of Balmorhea on U.S. Interstate 10.
The '92 Honda four-door had a blow-out of the right rear
tire. The driver lost control of the vehicle and skidded
into the median, flipping the vehicle two times.
The driver, Laticia Carrillo Contrerras, was pronounced dead
at the scene by judge Joel Madrid at 9:10.
Mari Armendarez Acosta, 44, and Paula Machado Carrillo, 69,
were in stable condition at Reeves County Hospital.
Ruben Enrique Contrerras, 18, and Louis Robert Contrerras,
21, were treated and released.
None of the passengers, all from San Antonio, were wearing
There will be a few showers and thunderstorms around the
state, but most Texans will only be teased as the hot
weather continues tonight and Thursday. Yesterdays high
reached 106 degrees in Pecos. The low was 68.There is a
slight chance of showers and thunderstorms over the low
rolling plains, the Concho Valley and Edwards Plateau in
West Texas through tonight. Lows tonight will be in the 60s
and 70s in West Texas. Highs Thursday will be in the 90s in
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