Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise


Archive 62
Archive 74
Pecos Country History
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99

Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

State fire marshal investigates gym blaze

Staff Writer
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 burning.

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," Brookshire added.

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 of arson.

"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

Staff Writer
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 pricing.

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," he said.

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 flat trend.

"Price projections by themselves do not determine market value," said Henderson.

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 property.

"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 to Henderson.

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

Staff Writer
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 warns.

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

Staff Writer
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 production.

"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 zone's acreage.

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 voted against.

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

Staff Writer
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 have decided.

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 with graffiti.

"We have gone and painted over them, but this is getting tiresome," she said.

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 any families."

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 public’s help.

“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 remain confidential.


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, thirty-five)


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.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise