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Thursday, January 21, 1999

Postal Service outlines building proposal

Staff Writer
United States Postal Service administrators were in Pecos on Wednesday to explain the process of procuring a new Post Office for the city during a meeting at the Pecos Community Center.

Bob Tipton, real estate specialist with the Facilities Service Office of the United States Post Service in Dallas, was on hand along with local postmaster Ramona Sterling and operations supervisor Herman Armendariz to answer any questions and gain input from the community.

The Postal Service announced last week its plans to either build or move into a new facility to replace the current 63-year-old Post Office building in downtown Pecos.

Tipton explained that this process is in its infant stages, and an in-house organization with the Postal Service will have a hand in the designing and construction of the building.

"The request that a new post office be built in Pecos was brought in by the district office in San Antonio," said Tipton. He explained district officials had determined that the present post office doesn't have enough room to serve the community.

"It was determined by postal operations, and now we are seeking a site, a location to build a new Post Office," said Tipton.

The first step of the process is advertising for an expanded building. "We will consider an existing building, but usually we have a new one built to federal standards and postal specifications," said Tipton.

He added that, as of Wednesday, community members have 45 days to send in their written comments about the proposal.

"We will evaluate those comments, and consider the input of the community," said Tipton. "We will review those comments and advertise for property sites."

He said the size the Postal Service is looking at is 240-feet by 275-feet - "Roughly an acre and a half." A city block is usually 300 by 300 feet, so the new facility would require about that sized area for construction. "We will consider offers for smaller or larger tracts, however," Tipton added.

The interior would be about 6,500 square feet, Tipton said. "Overall it would be 7,200 square feet, including the dock and the site area (which) would be determined by postal operations."

Vacant land is much more suitable, but property that has other buildings on it will also be considered. Safety, suitability for construction, zoning are other factors, he added.

"After we visit with the city, the site selection committee makes the decision," said Tipton.

"Generally by the time we do all that, there are 90 days, so it will be the first part of July or first of August, before construction will begin," he said.

After the solicitations for the site, a second bid will be advertised for someone to build the building according to postal specifications.

"We'll take options on property and then design the post office and then advertise for person to build it for us," said Tipton. "We'll pass the option on to individual or party, because that person will own the building and we will lease it from them."

The preferred area is bounded on the north by Third Street and on the south by Walthall and 14th streets. The areas is bounded on the east and west by Cedar and Eddy streets.

"We're mandated by Congress to follow certain criteria, so we prefer not to build on highways," said Tipton.

The Postal Service will solicit bids through advertising for 30 days, with the offers due in around mid-April.

"After closing, we will meet with city officials and evaluate all offers based on several things, including location," said Tipton "We will try our best to locate it as close to downtown as possible by businesses."

Environmental factors will be considered. "If we were to go with an existing building, the problem of asbestos would be in question. A lot of older buildings have this problem," said Tipton.

Tipton said the building itself will resemble other newly-built Post Offices in the United States. "They're basically all the same," he said. "The building will be a standard building and the architectural design will include parking and landscape."

Construction will be within 150-180 days for completion five to six months, normally. "There are those that want to rush into it, but that's how long it usually takes," said Tipton.

The Postal Service will lease it for basically a 15-year term, with 3-5 year renewal options. "And usually they're leased for a 30-40 year tenure," Tipton added.

This amount of time usually gives the investors time to recoup the money they have spent.

"They will stay in building a long time and usually the investor can pay for it within 15 years," he said.

The current building formerly housed both the Post Office and U.S. District Court in Pecos. The federal offices moved into larger quarters at the Lucius D. Bunton III Courthouse two years ago, and Sterling the old building has other problems besides lack of space.

"I'm sure everybody knows that we have been sitting on an artisan well," she said. The problem was corrected, but it took thousands of dollars to do so.

"We've just run out of space and employees can't work in such a small space, they need more working floor space," said Sterling.

She added that the parking is also a problem. "For anyone else who can use this building they would have the parking lot in the back to use, with us not here anymore," she said.

Response on one question as to who will take care of the taxes, was "The Postal Service reimburses for taxes and that always helps out," Tipton said. "However, with taxes you never know, since they tend to go up."

"Just like the postal service," said Fred Dominguez.

"A few years ago we had 16,000 people and they got the mail out and we had no problems with parking and now we have a lot less people," said Birdie Slack, who added she liked the current Post Office and feels there is no need to change it.

"Things have a tendency to deteriorate," said Sterling.

"Is it a foregone conclusion that you will build a post office in Pecos, regardless of what the people want?" Slack asked.

"It's not up to me," said Tipton. "If there's a broad consensus against the project, we go on down the road and spend our money elsewhere."

Emily Fernandes said that she is concerned that the group would want to demolish the old building. "It's a historical building and my concern would be that I don't want it torn down," she said.

"No, we usually don't demolish them, we look first to see if a government entity would like to purchase it," said Tipton. "But destroying it is not an option."

One audience member asked if the government would look at it, would it be given to them or sold.

"In the disposal process, mandated by government rules, the normal process would be to get it appraised and evaluated, and then we offer it to any other government agency," said Tipton. "But we try to get the value of it."

"It may be obsolete for us, but it could serve other purposes including a library," he said.

Tipton said that they appreciate everyone's interest in the project and their input.

"The county has a proposal and we welcome others and we will try to be as fair as possible," he said. "When solicitation closes we will get with the mayor and the council and they will be your representatives."

A round of applause was generated when Clark Lindley said, "We appreciate it when someone comes to us and lets us know what is going on."

Chamber still selling tickets for banquet

Staff Writer
Pecos Chamber of Commerce directors have been busy selling tickets to the annual banquet, set for 7 p.m. Friday in the Reeves County Civic Center.

Tickets are also on sale at the chamber office, 111 S. Cedar St., or at the door. Either way they are $15 each. As of mid-morning today, the chamber had sold 150 tickets, with reports still to come in from directors.

Elvia G. Hernandez of El Paso is keynote speaker for the event, which also features awards to the citizen of the year and others; speeches by outgoing president Richard Crider and incoming president Linda Gholson.

Helping people is Hernandez's number one priority.

"I have been involved in the El Paso community for over 40 years," said Hernandez, a city leader and founder of many worthy organizations.

She has 23 years experience in retail and spent seven years in Midland, where she was president and CEO of the Midland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and member of the State Board of Directors.

Hernandez returned to El Paso in January of 1993 to begin work with the El Paso Diablos. "That was also an experience I will always treasure. Two years later I joined the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as director of conventions and tourism, funded by the city," said Hernandez.

Awards to be presented include the Women's Division Award of Service, given to Brandi Owen last year; the Agricultural Award, which went to Larry Turnbough; Outstanding Director, won by Donny Dominguez for 1997; Student of the Year, given to Megan Freeman a year ago; Citizen of the Year, won by Gerald Tellez, Jr., at last year's banquet; the Ruiz Profile of Courage Award, won by Fred Martin; Educator of the Year, which went to Betty Cook; the Hidden Hero Award, given to Joyce Morton; and the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, which was presented to the family of Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Floyd Estrada, who was killed in 1997.

Balmorhea's First Baptist names Porter as pastor

Staff Writer
Claude Porter is the new pastor for the First Baptist Church in Balmorhea.

Porter came to Pecos a year ago from the Calvary Baptist Church in Floydada. He also owned and operated a commercial printing shop in Plainview and had previously pastored the Date Street Baptist Church there.

He has also served as director of printing services at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview and has done extensive church work in Texas and New Mexico, always on a bivocational basis.

Since moving to Pecos, Porter has contributed numerous news features to the Pecos Enterprise. When not working, he enjoys playing the guitar and writing gospel music.

His wife, Joann, teaches school. Their four children are grown and engaged in various careers. One daughter is director of the English language library near the University of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Another is an analytical chemist for Dow Chemical in Houston, and the youngest is a mechanical engineer with Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth.

Their only son is agriculture and regional editor for the Plainview Daily Herald.

"I tried to teach them to work and to enjoy working," Porter said. The oldest and youngest daughters are married, and he has one grandson.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 in reward for information leading to the arrest and Grand Jury Indictment of the person(s) responsible for the incident described below.

On Sept. 11, at approximately 8:41 a.m., Pecos Police Officers were advised of the burglary of a storage building which was located at the Quality Inn. Upon arrival officers were advised that the person(s) entered the building and took a black-colored Spartus brand alarm clock, 20 white bed sheets and a key ring which contained 6 keys. No forced entry was used in entering the building.

Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime including narcotics call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 and you will remain anonymous.

Police Report

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.


Cindy Arenivas, 29, was arrested at 10:59 a.m., on January 14, on a warrant for assault under Class C. She was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Elizabeth Matta, 36, was arrested at 2:30 a.m., on January 14, on a parole violation. She was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Eduardo Fuentes, 32, was arrested at 9:57 a.m., on January 15, for assault causing bodily injury. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Antonio Rodriguez, 18, was arrested at 12:43 p.m., on January 15, for criminal mischief. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Jose Chavez Lopez, 56, and Diane Mendoza, 34, were arrested at 11:50 p.m., on January 15, at the Offecina Club, for public intoxication. They were transported to Reeves County Jail.


Auden Soto, 27, was arrested at 7:37 p.m., on January 16, in the 7000 block of Arlington Street, for assault by threat under the Family Violence Act. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Rafael Montano, 33, was arrested at 2:48 a.m., on January 17, in the 2400 block of Cactus Street, for assault under the Family Violence Act. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Victor Hugo Munoz, 23, and Araceli Armendariz, 18, were arrested at 3:56 a.m., on January 17, at the corner of Alamo and Lunday streets. Munoz was arrested for public intoxication, Armendariz as a minor in possession. They were transported to Reeves County Jail.


Amado Salazar, 47, was arrested at 11:50 p.m., on January 17, in the 700 block of West Sixth Street, for simple assault under the Family Violence Act. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Albino Tarango, 41, was arrested at 5:36 p.m., on January 17, in the 1100 block of South Mesquite Street, for driving while intoxicated. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Juan Valentine Vasquez, 17, and two male juveniles, were arrested at 5:36 p.m., on January 19, between Alberta and Alamo streets on the railroad tracks, for evading arrest or detention after pushing a cart on the tracks. Vasquez was transported to Reeves County Jail, the juveniles to the Juvenile Detention Center.


Myron Jenkins, 26, was arrested at 10:36 a.m., on January 20, at the Sheriff's Office, on a warrant for possession of marijuana (under 2 ounces). He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


PECOS - Jan. 21, 1999 - High Wednesday 80; low last night 44. High wind warning and blowing dust advisory in effect today. Tonight, partly cloudy and windy. Low in the upper 30s. West to northwest wind 20-30 mph and gusty. Friday, mostly sunny and windy. High in the mid 50s. Northwest wind 20-30 mph and gusty.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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