Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, February 19, 1999
Y2K probably overhyped, official says
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - Chris Remmert, a loss prevention specialist
with the Texas Municipal League, believes the Y2K problem may be overblown,
but he's not sure.
"There are no experts, since it has never happened," he said of the
computer glitch that threatens to shut down computers and/or software that
use a two-digit year. When the calendar rolls over to 2000, those two zeroes
may be viewed as 1900, throwing everything out of whack.
"Some may be real, but the major thing we have to worry about is imagined
problems," Remmert told a group of area municipal officials and employees
at a seminar in the Pecos Community Center Tuesday.
Computer consultants are behind much of the hype about Y2K, along with
software companies and vendors, he said.
"Suppliers of systems stand to make a great deal of money. Wonder whether
these are problems you absolutely have to fix," he advised. "Wonder if
we are being sold a bill of goods.
"We have to stay with what's reasonable and practical."
State Senator Troy Fraser, a former representative for Reeves County,
has joined others in filing bills to encourage computer manufacturers and
sellers to identify and correct potential Year 2000 date failures before
The legislation creates incentives for computer manufacturers and sellers
to make a good-faith effort to notify their customers and to offer to correct
the Y2K problems at a nominal cost.
"We want the people who know the most about the problem to make an effort
to fix it," Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said.
Sen. Robert Duncan said the legislation will become the model nationwide
for the resolution of disputes.
Texas Guidebook 2000, commissioned by the office of the governor, has
already become a model nationwide, Remmert said.
The guidebook, distributed free to counties, cities and other local
government entities, is a reference point and resource for getting started
in solving the Y2K problem.
It details what problems may arise in health services, public safety
Not only are computers subject to the date problem, embedded systems
may cause problems as well.
Remmert said an embedded microchip may be found in anything that uses
electricity and acts intelligent. That would include a system that uses
dates for calculations, or where an operator inputs a date. And the system
may be up to 30 years old.
Systems that may have an embedded real-time clock or 100-year calendar
include medical equipment, vehicles, maintenance systems and utilities,
Not only are they subject to failure on 1-1-2000, computer software
may fail on 9-9-99, because programmers use 9999 as an end-of-file marker.
Another impending disaster date is Feb. 29, 2000, which the computer may
not recognize because 2000 is a leap year.
ANGST is the acronym used as a reminder for entities to identify and
inventory systems. They may be labeled Absolutely must have; Need; Good;
Small-time or Throw away, Remmert said.
He recommended each entity contact their own vendors to get a compliance
certificate; test the system yourself; and ask vendors how to test embedded
The guidebook also tells how to make contingency plans in case systems
fail, where to find more information on the Internet, and gives sample
forms to carry out the suggestions.
Under the legislation filed this week, computer manufacturers and sellers
would be granted defenses if they notify computer users at least 90 days
in advance of a potential failure, explain the problem and offer to correct
it at little or not cost.
Included is creation of a Texas Year 2000 Project Office website to
assist computer manufacturers and sellers to inform their customers of
potential Y2K failures and to provide information on how to fix those problems.
A toll-free telephone number would be made available for persons who
are unable to access the Internet.
Love downplays predicted losses in oil valuations
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - Schools across West Texas will feel the impact
of declining oil and gas prices when they draw up their budgets for Fiscal
Year 2000. However, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will not fare as poorly as
first predicted, according to school superintendent Don Love.
Love spoke to school board members and interested community members
about the problem that many school districts will be facing at the regular
school board meeting held Thursday evening.
According to an analysis issued earlier this month by the Comptroller
of Public Accounts, a decline in oil prices could have a devastating impact
on some local school districts.
"While some consumers may welcome lower prices at the gas pumps," Comptroller
Carole Keeton Rylander said, "the trickle down effect on some local property
values could have a serious financial impact for some Texas school districts."
In some areas of the state, where oil and gas reserves comprise more
than 20 percent of the school's value or where oil and gas are valued at
more than $250 million, it is estimated total school district losses for
the next year will be approximately $150 to $160 million.
Love told the group that he had spoken to Omar Garcia, financial director
for Texas Education Agency. "After visiting with him we have figured the
worst case scenario and the best case scenario," said Love. "We figured
she (Rylander) may be a little off on the figures."
The Comptroller's analysis estimates at least 30 districts will sustain
losses of more than $1 million dollars for fiscal year 2000, ranging from
a high of $8.3 million in the Iraan-Sheffield school district located in
Pecos County to $1.07 million in the Post school district in Garza.
"The financial shortages facing some school districts as a result of
the crisis in the oil and gas industry are staggering," Rylander said.
"Without emergency assistance Texas homeowners may see their property tax
rates climb even higher," she said.
However, Love said Rylander's estimate that P-B-T would lose $758,000
in valuations was about three times the worst case scenario predicted by
the TEA. Love said Pecos would lose about $220,000 based on his discussions
"We'll be looking at emergency funds also, when they look at the current
year valuations, so we might not even lose a dime," said Love. "That's
something we could hope for."
"These figures (from the TEA) are low as far as what they are predicting,"
said Love. "But we won't know anything for sure until July 25, when the
appraisals will be completed."
Love said that the P-B-T will be doing its part in cutting down on unnecessary
expenditures for offset the losses, if any occur.
"We'll be cutting down on purchase orders," said Love, who added the
district will not cut down on any activities geared toward the students
"We'll still have our band students traveling and participating in extra-curricular
events," he said.
"Attendance has been down, we've been losing a lot of kids, but we're
still in good shape," said Love.
Last year, major cuts were made and $1.6 in personnel was cut from the
budget, he said.
"The drastic measures were taken then," he said. "Everything that is
essential, we will still buy."
Love said the school will also purchase more library books and continue
with the technology program set out by the technology department.
"The budgetary process is coming up and we'll be addressing some of
these problems during that time," said board president Earl Bates.
The total statewide FY 2000 school district loss will be approximately
$150-$160 million. This is a very rough estimate based on an informal survey
of preliminary figures from local appraisers, according to the comptroller's
PEDC to discuss interim funding
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - Interim funding must be obtained soon for the Pecos
Economic Development Corporation, and the board of directors will discuss
that item in their regular meeting Monday.
Reeves County has paid in $11,890.52 of $20,000 promised. The board
has requested additional financing from the county through the Pecos Industrial
The board will review the proposed 1999 budget, adopt a budget and act
on a request for accounting services to be performed by Steve McCormick,
finance director for the city of Pecos.
President Gari Ward will report on the proposed Odessa College campus
for Pecos, an industrial prospect tour of Freeport Sulphur Mine on Feb.
11, and on an industrial team training program.
Board chairman Oscar Saenz will report on a prospect, Jerry Redfearn.
Also on the agenda is an item titled "other business" and an executive
Saenz said that the executive session is to discuss personnel, including
board members and Ward, "A heart to heart discussion about how we are going
to do things."
The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the snack bar on the second floor of
the Security State Bank building. It is open to the public.
Eight indicted in motel room pot bust
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Eight persons arrested just before Christmas last year in a motel room
raid were among 17 defendants indicted Thursday by the Reeves County Grand
Charged with possession of marijuana, at least four ounces but less
than five pounds, on Dec. 23, 1998, are Ruben Villegas, 19, Erica Marie
Tarin, 18, Tony Rodriguez, 19, Eric Garcia Muniz, 18, Pedro Madrid, 23,
Clifton Ray Ikeler, 18, Christopher Adame, 26, and Alvaro Adame, 19.
Bail for each defendant was set at $10,000.
Cosme Colchado Morales, 28, is charged with delivery of cocaine, at
least four grams but less than 200 grams, on May 1, 1997. His bail is $100,000.
Eric Lozano Lopez, 26, is charged with aggravated assault by choking
Bianca Mendoza until she lost consciousness on Jan. 3. His bail is $15,000.
Charged with possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of school property
on Dec. 28, 1998, are Miguel Castro Martinez, 33, and Irene Lopez Martinez,
35. Their bail is $10,000 each.
Armando Luis Armendariz, is charged with delivery of heroin on July
23, 1998. His bail is $15,000.
Sandra Hernandez Avila is charged with delivery of heroin on July 23,
1998 and on Aug. 13, 1998. Bail on each count is $15,000.
James Tsernos is charged with delivery of heroin on Aug. 13, 1998. His
bail is $15,000.
Ector Hinojos Martinez, 26, is charged with delivery of heroin on July
23, 1998, and on Aug. 13, 1998. His bail is $15,000 on each count.
Maria Jessica Montgomery, 48, is charged with possession of heroin on
Dec. 14, 1998. Her bail is $15,000.
Officials arrest Pecos man for coke, pot possession
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - A Pecos man was charged with two counts of possession
of drugs Thursday and was awaiting arraignment late this morning in the
Reeves County Jail.
Pecos police investigator Ernest Lazcano said officers from the police
department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Department executed a narcotics
search warrant on the vehicle of Raymond Rivera Avila, 21.
"Upon searching the vehicle of Mr. Avila, a substance believed to be
marijuana was found inside the vehicle," said Lazcano.
Also drug paraphernalia used in the smoking of marijuana was found inside
the vehicle, according to police investigator Paul Deishler.
In addition to searching Avila's car, officers also executed a narcotics
search warrant on his home, at 723 S. Plum St.
Upon searching the residence a substance believed to be cocaine was
found inside the residence. The substance was field tested and the results
were positive for cocaine, police said.
Both search warrants were issued by Town of Pecos City Municipal Judge
Avila was placed in the Reeves County Jail and charged with the offense
of possession of marijuana under two ounces and possession of cocaine within
a 1,000 feet of a school (Pecos Elementary), which is a third degree felony.
Former postman sentenced for check theft
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - Former Pecos Postman Paul A. Sabonya will spend
three months in jail and pay restitution of $4,375 for theft of mail, Senior
Judge Lucius Bunton ruled Tuesday.
Sabonya, 52, had earlier pleaded guilty to taking a check from a letter
mailed to a resident on his mail route.
Judge Bunton recommended the jail time be spent in the Winkler County
Jail in Kermit, where Sabonya lives, or in the Reeves County Detention
Reynaldo Ruiz, 38, of Odessa, got the longest sentence of the week:
60 months in prison for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute
and aiding and abetting.
Jesus Manuel Fabela, 21, of Fort Hancock, was sentenced to 41 months
for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Jesus Antonio Montes-Montes, 49, of Odessa, got 41 months for importing
Abel Flores Gonzales, 23, of Presidio, drew six months for assault on
a federal officer.
Margot Lopez, 43, of Hobbs, N.M., will serve 15 months for misprison
of a felony (failure to report a felony violation).
Ricardo Franco-Rubio, 29, of Torreon, Coah., Mex., was sentenced to
six months for making a false claim to citizenship.
Alberto Juarez Jr., 32, of Pasadena, will serve 36 months for possession
with intent to distribute marijuana.
Armando Tarango-Holguin, 56, of Chihuahua, Mex., was sentenced to 30
months for importing marijuana.
Task force announcement set for Monday
By ROSIE FLORES
The Permian Basin Drug Task Force will soon be in operation, thanks
to the combined efforts of several individuals and entities.
Reeves County Sheriff's deputies assigned to the drug task force will
be introduced Monday morning during the regular Reeves County Commissioners
Court meeting, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on the third floor of the county
"We have received a $450,000 grant for this effort," said County Judge
Jimmy B. Galindo. The Pecos-based task force will replace the former Permian
Basin Drug Task Force, based in Odessa, which was denied funding last year
by Gov. George W. Bush's office.
Seizure and confiscation won't be the primary method of meeting the
local match, according to Galindo.
Local governmental entities will pay 25 percent of the total cost of
the project. The PBDTF will establish an agreement to use county-based
bed space, 15-20 beds in Reeves County Jail, to fund the local match portion
of the grant, according to Galindo.
"It also means participating counties will provide us with bed space
in the counties involved," said Galindo.
Parole violators or local inmates will be moved to those beds, along
with people wanting to serve their state sentences, according to Galindo.
"In essence the other counties will provide in-kind services by opening
up those bed spaces," said Galindo.
Another key element is that the PBDTF has made a commitment to offer
drug trafficking interdiction training for all officers in the counties
participating in the task force. "This training is for all the officers,
not just those on the drug task force," said Galindo.
"We're really investing in local police officers and deputies. If someday
the (task force) money is not available, the officers will be trained to
fight the war on drugs," said Galindo.
Inmate studies have shown over 60 percent of the people incarcerated
in federal prisons are in there for drug offenses. About 126,000 inmates
are currently serving sentences in federal prisons, with 60 percent of
those charged with drug violations.
"The ability to work with several counties shows local commitment of
the sheriff to address this problem," said Galindo.
Other items on the agenda for Monday's commissioner's court meeting
* Appoint commissioner David Castillo to County Industrial Commission.
* Award bids for CEA pick-up truck.
* Award bids for RCDC Time-Keeper System.
* Bond and oath for Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies (assigned to drug
* Reports from various departments.
* Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
* Discuss/act on Sheriff's Department/RCDC tortilla bid.
* Personnel and salary changes (Reeves County Drug Task Force, RCDC,
county clerk, sheriff's office).
* Minutes from previous meetings.
* Semi-monthly bills.
Spread on minutes: Notice of over-axle over-gross weight permits.
Ruth Farrar Hudgens
Ruth Farrar Hudgens, 83, of Odessa, died Thursday, Feb. 18, 1999, in Odessa
Medical Center Hospital after a short illness. Services will be at 2 p.m.
Monday at Frank W. Wilson Funeral Directors, with graveside services to
follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
She was born June 7, 1915, in Van Zandt County; was a homemaker and
Survivors include one son, Doyle Hudgens of Borger; four daughters,
Uldene Davis of Odessa, Martralle Morton of Jacksonville, Glenda Fountain
of Langdon, Kan., and Tawana Williams of Odessa; one sister, Billie Jean
Renefro; one brother, Paul Farrar; 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
PECOS, Feb. 19, 1999 - High Thursday 77; low last night 32. Tonight, clear.
Low in the upper 30s. Southwest wind 10-15 mph, shifting to the northwest
after midnight. Saturday, mostly sunny. High around 70. North to northeast
wind 10-15 mph.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise