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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, June 2, 1999

First suit filed over Y2K problem


By PEGGY McCRACKEN

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 2,1999--A communications company who provides computer systems to the transportation industry is the target of a $75 million Year 2000 lawsuit filed in Pecos federal court.

Comanche Springs Truck Terminal, L.L.C. of Fort Stockton filed the suit on behalf of itself and about 8,000 other businesses who purchased systems from Comdata Network Inc. to track their transactions.

Comanche claims that Comdata designed, manufactured and marketed defective, non-Y2K-compliant Trendar systems to the plaintiffs.

Comdata has refused to provide a free upgrade for the systems, and Comanche was forced to spend $17,522.84 to remedy the defect in the system to make it Y2K-compliant, the suit alleges.

"Since the mid-1970's, the computer industry has been aware of the problems associated with the change of the century; namely, that computers and software which were only programmed to read two-digit dates would, as of January 1, 2000, read the year "00" as "1900," thereby fundamentally impairing the operation of computer systems," the suit claims.

"At no time prior to the sale of the system to Comanche did Comdata inform Comanche that the system was not year 2000 compliant, although Comdata was aware, or should have been aware, of such facts," Comanche alleges.

Comdata is attempting to and is profiting from its own misconduct by requiring Comanche and the other Class members to purchase upgrades to fix the year 2000 defects contained in the Trendar Systems, according to the petition.

Comanche seeks to try the case as a class action, representing about 8,000 truck stops using Trendar systems in the United States.

The systems purport to allow a national network of 24-hour independent truck stop service centers to facilitate communications with Comdata's database and operations centers.

After Dec. 31, 1999, the systems will be unable to accurately record transaction dates and times, Comanche alleges.

The suit was originally filed in the 112th District Court in Fort Stockton and removed to Pecos federal court by Comdata, which has its principal place of business in Tennessee.

Comanche seeks $75 million for the class, plus triple damages under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Practices Act.

Texas legislators recently passed a bill that would restrict litigation on Y2K matters.

Monahans sues business to return grant


By PEGGY McCRACKEN

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 2,1999--Monahans Economic Development Corporation celebrated when they enticed a Philadelphia manufacturing company to open a plant in Monahans, using proceeds from a new half-cent sales tax as a grant incentive.

Just three months after signing a contract, Reif Manufacturing Inc. opened its new plant on Dec. 15, 1997, sewing web products for the military. They employed 40 people.

MEDC financed the startup with a $238,000 grant that was to be repaid in full if the company failed to employ at least 10 people through May 31, 1999. That repayment was guaranteed by the parent company, M.M. Reif & Co.

Citing lack of financing by their home bank, Reif shut down the Monahans plant on Jan. 28, 1999, and all the management staff has moved back to Pennsylvania.

Thus MEDC filed suit in Pecos federal court last week seeking repayment of the full $238,000.

David Mills, Monahans city manager, is handling administrative matters for the economic development corporation, which is without a staff at this time.

Sain announces retirement as pastor


By PEGGY McCRACKEN

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 2,1999--Rev. James Sain, pastor of West Park Baptist Church for the past 11 1/2 years, on Sunday told the congregation he will retire as of June 30.

Having purchased a home in Tulia, where he pastored the Calvary Baptist Church before moving to Pecos in December, 1987, Rev. Sain and his wife, Jessie, will return there to be near their children and grandchildren.

"I have enjoyed being your pastor, and it is hard to leave," Rev. Sain said. "But I feel this is best for my family."

During his tenure, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary, supported members on six international crusades and conducted numerous local crusades.

Rev. Sain is known for his evangelistic fervor, his outreach to the community and his pastoral work among the church fellowship.

"West Park is known as a friendly church," he often said, giving visitors to the services a warm welcome.

"I appreciate the business people and general public for their openness here and the credit they give me for friendship and fellowship and kindness shown to our church," he said.

He said he especially appreciates favors given through the media to publicize events at the church.

"I want to thank the families of the community and church that have allowed me to enter into their times of grief; to minister to them in the name of the church through the years," he said.

Rev. Sain said he is grateful to the church for the efforts to make their church property beautiful and appealing and complimentary to the community.

He cited renovation of the auditorium, new sound equipment installed, new air conditioning units and trees planted to enhance the property and provide shade for the auditorium.

"I appreciate the compliments that have been extended to me and the various ministries, big or little, that we have been able to perform for people," he said. "I felt like I was open to pastor beyond the membership of the church. We have had the privilege of ministering in the homes with our tape ministry - mostly to non-church members."

Once the boxes are unpacked in Tulia, Rev. Sain plans to offer his services to surrounding churches as interim pastor, Bible teacher, supply preacher or for revivals.

"We will be going back into Calvary," he said. "The pastor has already given us a warm welcome to come back."

West Park members will host a going-away party for the Sain family from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, June 12.

"We are inviting the whole town," said Judy Greenwood, hostess committee chairman.

Seal coating work to begin on Interstate

PECOS, June 2,1999--Along with the end of school and the unofficial beginning of summer in West Texas, Memorial Day also marks the annual beginning of street repaving in the Pecos area, with work scheduled along parts of Interstate 20 and its access roads in Reeves County during the upcoming week.

Drivers on I-20 between Pecos and the Pecos River, and those using I-20's frontage roads from the Interstate 10 junction to Toyah will see crews out resurfacing those roads, according to Paul Hoelscher, the engineer in charge of the project.

The seal coating on the service roads comes after they were used this past winter by through traffic, due to roadwork on the main lanes of I-20 between the I-10 junction and mile marker 9, 13 miles west of Toyah.

Lipham Construction Co., Inc., of Aspermont, is putting down the new asphalt surfacing, and the work is expected to be finished by June 10, barring bad weather

"Motorists along these stretches of highways may encounter flaggers, brief lane closures, pilot cars moving traffic, and a reduction in speeds in those areas where seal coat work is being done," said Hoelscher.

State law calls for traffic fines to be doubled when violations occur within a construction zone. Drivers in the area should also slow down to prevent loose rocks from being thrown back by their tires, causing windshield damage to other vehicles.

The seal coat work is part of a summer-long $4.88 million preventive maintenance program involving 36 separate projects throughout the 12-county TxDOT district.

"Seal coat" is a rock and asphalt layer put down on the highway surface as a preventive maintenance measure to seal the surface and keep moisture from damaging the road base, according to Hoelscher.

"The seal helps prevent premature aging of the roadway," he said.

Appraisal district sets dates for hearings

PECOS, June 2,1999--Property owners in the Reeves County Appraisal District will have an opportunity later this month to protest proposed appraisals of their property for local taxes.

The district's appraisal review board (ARB) will begin hearing taxpayer protests on June 18 for minerals, while protested on real estate valuations set for June 21-22.

After the ARB completes its hearings and approves final property appraisals, local governments will use these appraisals to set 1999 tax rates.

Carol King Markham, chief appraiser for the district, outlined the steps a property owner must take to file a protest.

First, the property owner must file a written notice of protest that shows why the owner is protesting to the ARB. The taxpayer must have filed this notice by May 31 or within 30 days after the appraisal district mails the taxpayer a notice of appraised value, which is later.

If a person leases property and, by contract, must pay the owner's property taxes, then the person leasing may protest the property's value to the ARB, if the property owner doesn't protest.

If the ARB sends a property owner a notice of any other kind of change in the appraisal records, or if the chief appraiser issues a notice for a property omitted in the prior year, the property owner has 30 days from the mailing date to file a protest.

Official forms for a notice of protest are available at the appraisal district office. "A letter from the taxpayer is also acceptable, as long as it identifies the property owner and the property protested and indicates dissatisfaction with some decision or action of the appraisal office, Markham said.

Each protesting property owner may offer evidence or argument, either in person or by filing an affidavit with ARB. A property owner may appoint another person to present the protest by filing an "Appointment of Agent" form with the appraisal district. Property owners should know that the ARB has no authority over tax rates or spending and will not hear protests on these topics.

The ARB will schedule hearings as property owners file protests and will tell them the time, date, and place of their individual hearings at least 15 days before the hearing date. Property owners also will receive a copy of the State Comptroller of Public Account's pamphlet called Texas Property Taxes: Taxpayers' Rights, Remedies & Responsibilities, a copy of the ARB's procedures and notice of available evidence at the appraisal office to be presented at the hearing.

Property owners may protest to the ARB any of the following appraisal office actions:

* The appraised or agricultural value of the property;

* Unequal appraisal of the taxpayer's property compared to other property in the district;

* Inclusion of the property on the appraisal records;

* Denial of a partial exemption, such as homestead exemption;

* Denial of agricultural-use, open-space, or timber productivity appraisal;

* Determination that agricultural or timber land has had a change of use and is subject to a rollback tax;

* Identification of the taxing unit or units in which the property is located;

* Determination that the taxpayer is the owner of the property; or any other action of the appraisal office that adversely effects the property owner.

Markham said that hearings will be held for three days and that the ARB expects to approve the final appraisal roll by July 20. State law requires the ARB to review and approve the appraisal records by July 20, or when not more than five percent of the total property value in the district remains under protest.

Those protesting their appraisals should not contact ARB members outside the hearing, the chief appraiser stressed. Each ARB member must sign an affidavit that he or she has had no contact about the protest with a property owner or the appraisal office staff before the hearing.

Texas Property Taxes: Taxpayers' Rights, Remedies & Responsibilities is available at the Reeves County Appraisal District office. For a copy, contact the appraisal district staff at 403 S. Cypress or call 445-5122.

PATCHING PATCHES

Holloman Construction Company workers cut out paving patches around a sewer manhole on West Third Street this morning. The patches, applied after Holloman replaced sewer lines along 12 blocks of the state highway (Business I-20), melted in the heat and created hazardous dips in the roadway. The patches will be replaced with better material, said Octavio Garcia, utilities director for the city of Pecos. Garcia said the crew will work from west to east for the next few days.

First Baptist hosts concert Friday night


PECOS, June 2,1999--Celebrating the donation of a new Baldwin grand piano to First Baptist Church, pianist Judy Love will present a concert of sacred and secular music at 7 p.m. Friday.

In addition to the "good mix" of classical, popular and American piano solos, Love will accompany Dr. Orville Cerna on the violin and Dr. Mike Pharaoh as he sings.

Fred and Ingrid Armstrong donated the piano to FBC.

The public is invited to attend the concert and reception to follow.

LOTTO

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery: 7-8-13-17-38 (seven, eight, thirteen, seventeen, thirty-eight)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-4-2 (four, four, two)

WEATHER

PECOS, June 2,1999--High Tuesday 100. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low in the upper 60s. South wind 10-20 mph and gusty. Thursday, partly cloudy and breezy. High in the lower 90s. south wind 10-20 mph and gusty.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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