Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, April 7, 1999
State fire marshal investigates gym blaze
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- Investigators and firemen were on the scene
this morning at the site of Monday's fire that destroyed the West Pecos
Gym, after embers still smoldering beneath the rubble caught on fire again.
"It was just some stuff that was buried beneath the rubble," said Town
of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.
Fire fighters were called to the site at 9:30 a.m. today, and extinguished
the flames quickly by hosing down the area where the embers were still
The 55-year-old gym — which was closed to the public for safety reasons
in December, 1990 — burned in a spectacular fire Monday, following an explosion
which occurred about 7:53 p.m.
Bricks were blown off the east wall of the gym, while flames and debris
shot out windows on the gym's west side. The roof to the mostly-wooden
building collapsed about 30 minutes later, followed by the upper wooden
side walls and the lower brick supporting wall.
A state fire marshal from the Dallas-Fort Worth area was in Pecos today,
along with two from Lubbock, according to Brookshire.
"They also brought with them a special dog, that detects accelerants,"
The dog senses if there are any accelerants in the rubble, such as gasoline
or any other flammable materials that would indicate the fire was the result
"At this point we haven't really gotten far enough to state what caused
the fire," Brookshire said.
He explained that the group hasn't had a chance to look in the debris
for any substances yet, but will continue to investigate the incident.
"We'll know a little bit more this afternoon, after the state fire marshal
have a chance to take a look around," he said.
School board briefed on oil valuations
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members met
behind closed doors for consultation with the board's attorney at a special
meeting held at noon Tuesday.
Board members talked with the district's deliquent tax attorney, Rusty
McInturff, in executive session, after hearing from a representative from
the Reeves County Tax Appraisal District's appraisers about oil and gas
vaulations in open session.
Board members approved an order declaring election of unopposed candidates
and canceled the scheduled May 1 election during the open session portion
of the meeting. A state law passed four years ago allows the cancellation
of local elections to save money, if there are no contested races.
Only two individuals filed for a position on the board, Billie Sadler
and Frank Apolinar, Jr. The two will replace incumbents Alberto Alvarez
and Daisey Roquemore who both opted not to run for re-election.
Victor W. Henderson, petroleum engineer, senior vice president with
Pritchard and Abbott, Inc. valuation consultants briefed board members
on the methodology for appraising oil and gas property and oil and gas
His visit was prompted by a recent lawsuit against the oil companies
filed in state district court in Kermit, but for which P-B-T is currently
listed as a plaintiff. The suit alleges the oil companies undervalued their
properties within the P-B-T, Wink-Loving and Kermit ISDs.
Henderson gave a comparison of projected oil prices versus actual.
"Ad valorem tax is based on what we think might happen to each and every
property," said Henderson.
Severance tax is actual tax, between the oil companies and the comptroller.
Property tax or ad valorem taxes are the best educated estimates using
all the information available since Jan. 1, according to Henderson.
"Very little information is obtained from the oil companies as far as
pricing," he said.
Actual prices have generally trended below P&A's forecasted prices
for at least the last eight years, from a composite standpoint (analyzing
the past eight tax years as a group), according to Henderson.
"This trend holds true whether looking at one-year projections versus
actual price, or lookng at five-year projections versus actual price,"
Some of the over-projection is an inherent result of the passage of
HB 925, effective beginning in tax year 1994, which legislated the first-year
forecasted price must be equal to the previous year's daily average price.
This is particularly true for tax years 1998 and 1997 where it was widely
acknowledged that the price of oil in the immediate future would be lower
than the price in the immediate past.
According to Henderson, some of the over-projection is an inherent result
of the fact that most oil properties that are sold are purchased by a buyer
who has anticipated that prices will escalate over time. Market transactions
occur because the buyer is more optimistic than the seller. Fair market
value calculations must include this rationale (such as, escalate future
prices) whether or not actual price history shows an upward, downward or
"Price projections by themselves do not determine market value," said
Production and expense forecasts are also necessary to derive estimates
of Future Net Income, the actual basis of fair market value for each lease.
In addition, this future net income must be discounted to present worth,
and take into accunt all the various types of risk associated with an oil
"These risks are different for each lease," said Henderson.
Therefore, it is impossible to determine whether any previous tax roll
value is high or low because it is always an opinion of value, according
Reeves County Chief Appraiser Carol Markham was also on hand at the
special meeting, and received praise from McInturff.
"You're blessed with the best chief appraiser and because of her knowledge
the best company is working on this," said McInturff.
"The only claim is that we believe some of the information may be inaccurate,"
said McInturff. "This is no way critical of the appraisal district or anyone
else that was hired."
Y2K scam targets bank accounts
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- Don't give your bank account number to anyone!
That's good advice any time of the year, but especially now as the Y2K
scare has brought scam artists out in droves.
One of those scams was reported to the Security State Bank this week,
and we are passing it on.
The nationwide scam involves a call from someone who claims he is representing
the customer's bank, which is having difficulty meeting requirements to
be computer ready for Y2K.
He then tells them that all bank customers will need to transfer their
accounts to a bond account especially designed to protect their money.
If they don't comply, they will risk losing all their money, the con artist
The con man then asks to verify that he is speaking to the proper account
person by requesting account numbers and verbal authorization to transfer
the funds to this specially designed account.
Once in possession of the account information, the con artist, knowing
balances and account numbers, can create checks and clear out the account.
Both Security State Bank and First National Bank have updated their
computer systems so they will continue working when the calendar rolls
over at midnight Dec. 31, 1999.
So don't worry about your money. And don't take it out of the bank.
And don't tell anyone what your account number is.
Cotton farmers OK weevil eradication zone
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- Larry Turnbough will represent Reeves County
on the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation board of directors for
the new El Paso/Trans Pecos Zone.
Cotton producers voted 112-28 to establish the zone to eradicate boll
weevils and suppress pink bollworms in 15 West Texas counties.
Maximum assessment set by voters is $20 per land acre devoted to cotton
"I'm glad we got it done," said Bob Bickley, executive director for
the Trans-Pecos Cotton Association. "I think we do need it."
Area farmers have made some "extremely good" points on both sides of
the issue, Bickley said.
To officially establish a program in the El Paso/Trans Pecos Zone and
set an assessment, the propositions had to be approved by a two-thirds
vote, or those voting in favor needed to farm more than 50 percent of the
The vote was 80 percent for, 20 percent against, and the percentage
of all acreage in favor was 61.98 percent.
"Producers in the El Paso/Trans Pecos Zone have shown they want a program,"
said Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs. "We look forward to working
with them and the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation in eliminating
this costly pest in Texas."
The Texas Department of Agriculture issued 263 ballots to cotton producers
in the zone who were eligible to vote in the referendum. Some 141 valid
ballots were postmarked by the March 26 deadline and counted.
Of those, 105 voted in favor of the $20 maximum assessment, while 31
Turnbough was elected director by a vote of 101-14. He is a cotton producer
who farms near Balmorhea and has been serving as the commissioner-appointed
director for the new zone.
The El Paso/Trans Pecos zone consists of 60,000 acres in Brewster, Crane,
Crockett, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio,
Reeves, Terrell, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler counties.
PHA offers cash to catch graffiti artists
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- Solving the problem of graffiti on the walls
of buildings at the Pecos Housing Authority is worth some money, PHA officials
PHA Director Nellie Gomez and her staff are offering a $200 reward for
information leading to the arrest and indictment of individual or individuals
who have been vandalizing the buildings owned by housing authority.
"We want to catch these criminals," said Gomez, who said there have
been numerous incidents in which individuals have sprayed the buildings
"We have gone and painted over them, but this is getting tiresome,"
Graffiti had been a problem at the East Side apartments for a while,
but now the problem has moved to the South Side apartments, located next
to the old Airbase housing site.
"This was a problem at the East Side apartments last year, but this
year, it's been the ones located on this side of town and the recreation
building we have worked so hard on," said Gomez.
Gomez said office personnel, with the help of others in the apartment
building, have targeted six families who have children that reportedly
belong to the BPG (Brown Pride Gang).
Some of the graffiti left behind indicated it was done by this group.
"They leave their initials on there along with other graffiti," said Gomez,
and gang members have caused problems in other areas of town.
"We've identified these families, that they have at least one child
in this gang," said Gomez.
She added there will be a meeting inviting the parents and their children
to address the problem. "We don't want to provide housing so that they
can vandalize it," said Gomez.
"It will be before the (PHA) board, so they can address the problem
also," she added. "At this time I will also invite our security officers
and the juvenile probation officer to the meeting, to speak to these individuals."
Gomez said it would be sad to have to ask a family to leave, when there
is only one family member causing trouble.
"This family could have six kids, and only one of them belongs to this
gang, but if he is part of the problem, they all have to leave, leaving
them homeless," she said. "That's not what we want, we don't want to hurt
However, Gomez said, "we have to protect all our other tenants and provide
a good and safe environment for them."
In this case, the PHD director was talking about the recent beating
of one of the tenants. "From what we hear, it was these same people that
did this," she said. "We need to set our foot down and we're going to clean
it up no matter what it takes."
The reward money will be charged back to the parents of those who have
done the damage, according to Gomez.
"We just don't have the funding to be taking care of this problem, because
it shouldn't be a problem," she said. "So, therefore, when we find out
who is doing this, we will charge it back to the parents."
Schools seek help from public to find truants
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- In order to ensure good school attendance and keep
the students safe, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD personnel are asking for the
“We are urging everyone in the community to do their part,” said parental
involvement aide Rosie Carrasco.
If you see any students in restaurants, stores or just roaming the streets
during school hours, please notify the proper school personnel.
If you suspect a student is in high school, the numbers to call at PHS
are 447-7239 or 447-7222. State funding is based on school attendance figures,
so truant students end up costing P-B-T ISD money.
Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated, and all calls will
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas
Lottery: 18-24-25-29-35 (eighteen, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-nine,
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 0-4-8 (zero, four, eight)
PECOS, April 7, 1999 -- High Tuesday 90; low last night 59. Tonight, partly
cloudy. Low in the mid 50s. South wind 10-20 mph becoming west before midnight.
Thursday, mostly sunny, windy and not as warm. High in the upper 70s. West
wind 15-25 mph and gusty diminishing late.
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