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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Tuesday , July 6, 1999

Freeport holds ceremony to mark mine closing

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 6, 1999 -- Families of Freeport Sulphur employees toured the facilities Friday as a goodbye to the mine that provided their sustenance over the past 30 years.

Phil Tyree, who has managed the mine during its decline and shutdown, welcomed the families and handed out awards to employees at the headquarters building before a luncheon and bus tour.

The mine, which opened in 1969, ceased production Thursday. Of the 91 employees, 27 took voluntary severance. The remaining employees will be phased out in coming months as various tasks related to the shutdown and mothballing are completed, Tyree said.

Employees are receiving severance packages including two weeks base pay per year of service with a minimum severance of two months base pay and a maximum of 12 months base pay.

Prior Pennzoil service will be recognized for the purpose. McMoRan Exploration Co., the new name of the parent company that owns the mine, will pay for the first six months of employees' available 18-month COBRA coverage and will provide outplacement counseling services.

Freeport-McMoRan bought the mine from Pennzoil Sulphur Company in 1995. Pennzoil had purchased the mine from the Duval Corporation.

"Employees at the Culberson Mine worked diligently in the depressed sulphur market to keep the mine operating for the last several years," said Bill Collier, director of communications for McMoRan.

"Sulphur prices have been driven down to a level at which it is no longer economically feasible to operate the mine," Collier said.

Sulphur production from the Culberson Mine has totaled 46 million long tons. Only an estimated six million long tons of sulphur remain in the mine.

Collier said that a dramatic change in the method of sulphur production has made the Frasch mining method used at the Culberson Mine unprofitable. In 1988, 37 percent of world sulphur was mined, compared to 63 percent produced as a byproduct of oil and gas production.

In 1988, only 10 percent of the world supply of sulphur came from mines, and 90 percent comes from oil and gas production.

During its 30-year life, the mine had 1,782 wells where hot water was injected into the sulphur deposit to liquefy it for pumping to the surface.

It was shipped to market by train. One trainload remains to be shipped.

Collier said that work crews have been plugging and abandoning 300 wells and have 80 left, which should take about three months.

MMR has not yet decided what to do with the buildings and facilities located at the mine or the 36,000 acres surrounding it, Collier said. MMR will consider purchase offers for the property.

The company's Main Pass 299 mine, located offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, will continue to produce sulphur to meet MMR's customer requirements.

Murray's rides claim rodeo title

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 6, 1999 -- Early leads held up and the top-ranked cowboys mostly lived up to their billing at the West of the Pecos Rodeo, with seven-time All Around World's Champion Ty Murray collecting over $11,000 to claim the title at this year's rodeo.

Total payout for this year's rodeo was a record $233,592, up 10 percent from last year's total. Crowds were also larger for the final three nights of this year's rodeo compared with a year ago, as temperatures dropped from a high of 117 on the first night of competition into the upper 90s, making things more tolerable for spectators at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

Murray rode on the opening night of the rodeo, taking the lead in saddle bronc riding and posting the second highest score in both bull riding and bareback. Three nights later, the Stephenville native was in the same spots, winning the saddle bronc with an 80 point ride on "Maybelline" and taking second to Jeff Collins in bareback competition and tying for second with Jeremiah Wilder in bull riding behind Vince Stanton.

Stanton scored 85 points in Wednesday's special bull riding second aboard "Copenhagen Bad Leroy Brown," and earned $5,526. Murray rode "Hot Child" the following night for 84 points and Wilder closed out Saturday's performance with an 84-point effort on "Flaco." Both earned $3,047.

Collins also competed early in the rodeo, scoring 86 points on "Skoals After Midnight" just before Murray scored an 83 on "Skoals Free Ride." Collins picked up $4,572, Murray $3,503 and third place Kirby Berry earned $2,591 for his 82 point effort on "Material Girl."

After struggling in Pecos last year, failing to place on two of his three attempts, Murray's three successful rides this time around netted him $11,642.

It also allowed him to gain some ground on the current leader in the All-Around race, Fred Whitfield, who stood first in the 1999 standings to Murray's fifth place ranking going into last week's rodeo. Whitfield picked up $3,322 after placing third in calf roping Sunday night, behind T.J. Good and Cash Myers, who set a new record for the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

Myers combined time on three rides was 29.8 seconds and he won $3,923 for his victory. Good earned $3,665 for his combined times of 31.4 seconds, .4 ahead of Whitfield. In the short go on Sunday, Myers won with a 9.7 second time, while Whitfield had a 10.6 and Good a 10.9 time.

Defending National Finals Rodeo team roping champs Speed Williams and Rich Skelton of Llano cruised to victory in that event, winning by nearly two seconds over Kevin Stewart and Marty Lucero and setting the new arena record despite failing to place among the top four in Sunday's short go. The two pocketed $5,834 apiece for their combined 22.5 time on three rides, with Stewart and Lucero earning $3,930 for their 24.3 total.

The pair managed to stay just ahead of Billy Stephens and Jeff Medlin on Sunday with a 7.8 time, second best of the night. Stephens and Medlin had a 7.9 time and finished with a 24.5 total, good for $2,854 each. Brady Winn and Shot Brannam, fifth overall, had the night's best time, at 7.7 seconds.

The biggest surprise may have come in steer roping, where 13-time national champ Guy Allen missed on his fourth and final attempt in Sunday's short go. Bucky Hefner won the final night, with a 12.4 time after capturing the first go round last Tuesday, but troubles in-between left him in fifth place overall.

Leo Campbell, the second go round winner, ended up taking top honors in the average, along with $6,564 in prize money, for his 52.2 time on four rides. Campbell was second on Sunday with a 13 flat time and his combined total was better than 4 1/2 second ahead of runner-up Rocky Patterson. He collected over $3,000 for his 56.9 effort, while Neil Worrell was third, with a 57.4 time.

In steer wrestling Ote Berry went from third place in the first go round to a tie for first in the second go, then claimed sole possession of first in the short go on Sunday, giving him the overall title. His 4.9 time on his final ride gave Berry a 14.4 total and earned him $6,531.

Byron Walker, who tied Berry for first in the second go round, tied Clayton Spencer for second on Sunday and wound up second in the average, at 15.7 seconds. He earned $4,528 while Sid Steiner, fourth in the short go on Sunday, was third overall at 16.4 seconds, and won $3,439.

In the ladies barrel race Corley Cox of Cottula saw her ride of 17.54 seconds on Wednesday hold up through all four regular rodeo performances. Cox won $2,902 while Darlene Kasper was second at 17.64 seconds, worth $2,467. Kay Blanford took over third place on the final night of the rodeo, with a 117.65 ride worth $2,031.68.
Early results

Madera still dealing with water woes

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 6, 1999 -- Cooler weather over the weekend helped relieve a water shortage at the Lindsay Addition and on the Duval Highway where Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation serves rural residents.

Dia Renteria, who lives on the Duval Highway (Farm Road 2119), said they have had water problems off and on lately, "but we have water right now. It is not clear like it should be."

Water pressure drops late in the day, she said, and her in-laws five miles down the road have no water at all.

Bob Enloe, who is an operator for Madera Valley, said he hand-pumped water to that area for eight hours last week while waiting for an electrician to repair the pump.

Lindsay Addition residents who complained last week about low and no pressure said they have water now.

Slim Heath said that after he complained Friday to Madera Valley board president Herman Tarin, "we had water in an hour and a half."

Tarin went to the Heath home to check for problems, said Frances Heath.

"He climbed on top of the house to see if water was getting to the air conditioner," she said. "He came inside to see if it was comfortable in here. So somebody did care."

Enloe said that the Lindsay Addition tank was full one day, and residents used 30,000 gallons of water in 3.5 hours.

Tarin said he thought people were watering their yards, but Heath said lawns are scarce out there, and he saw nobody watering outside.

Tarin said that part of the shortage occurred because Toyah had cut off Madera Valley's supplementary water supply from their tank.

However, Toyah Mayor Diana Tollett said this morning that Toyah did not cut off Madera Valley, they just reduced their volume while their tank refilled.

Tollett said Toyah's water comes from Balmorhea's lines in the Davis Mountains. A line had broken, she said.

To keep from pumping mud into Toyah's tank, they cut down the inflow volume, and Madera Valley was pumping out more than was coming in, Tollett said.

"Someone had turned up the meter to Madera to 105 gallons per minute," Tollett said. "We had to cut them back to 60 gpm to get our tanks filled."

Toyah's water supply was never in danger, she said.

With the help of two grants, Toyah has installed new distribution lines and plans to build a new filtration plant, she said.

Overloaded plane blamed for fatal crash

JAL, N.M. (AP) A plane that went down about a quarter mile from the Lea County Airport in 1998, killing four, crashed because it was overloaded and not flying fast enough on a hot day, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report.

Pilot Charles S. Haywood, Miguel Arellano and Guadalupe Armando Chavez, all of El Paso and Rick Michael McFerrin of Jonesboro, Ark., were killed when the single-engine Cessna 182 crashed on July 25, 1998.

No flight plan had been filed for the trip, but investigators believe the plane left El Paso about 3 p.m. that day and was approaching the airport when it crashed, according to the report released Friday.

"It looked like the plane was trying to make approach to runway," a witness wrote.

"The plane went flat down like a

RCH to weigh change in bylaws


Reeves County Hospital District directors will consider bylaw changes for the medical staff during their regular meeting Thursday.

The board will meet at noon in the doctor's lounge.

Medical staff by-law changes concern professional liability insurance.

Other agenda items include the tax collector's report, appointment of an individual to calculate the 1999 tax rate, financial reports and bills, and the administrator's report.

Museum marks area's history

Two events held over the Fourth of July weekend, celebrated the history of Reeves County and Pecos from its early days, in the late 19th Century. Saturday afternoon, a special ceremony commemorated the placement of a new tombstone outside the West of the Pecos Museum for "Gentleman Gunfighter" Clay Allison. The tombstone was provided by the government and the ceremony included Members of the 19th Texas Infantry Company A Re-Enactors. It came after a reception Saturday morning inside the Museum honoring the Seddie Ligon family, as Reeves County's Pioneer Family for 1999. Seddie Ligon brought his family to the Reeves County in the early 1900's. Ligon was born Jan. 8, 1851 and died in 1940.
 

Obituary

Mary Palomino

Mary Palomino, 42, died Sunday, July 4, 1999, at Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m. today at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Barstow.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 7, at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

She was born Sept. 29, 1956, in Barstow, was a homemaker, a lifelong Barstow resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include one daughter, Melanie Palomino of Austin; parents, David and Chole Palomino of Barstow; grandmother, Nila Palomino of Barstow; six brothers, David Palomino, Jr., Alfredo and Ruben Palomino of Austin, Mike Palomino of Corpus Christi, Robert Palomino of Barstow and Raul Palomino of Pecos; two step-brothers, Joe Lopez of Pecos, Robert Abila of Pecos; one step-sister, Becky Silvas of Pecos.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 01-02-12-13-20-45. Estimated jackpot: $14 million. Number matching six of six: none Matching five of six: 95. Prize: $1,569. Matching four of six: 5,432. Prize: $99.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 6-8-13-16-32. Number matching five of five: none. Matching four of five: 277. Prize: $826.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 3-8-10-15-16. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 250. Prize: $753.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 27-55-60-89. Number matching four of four in Group One: none. Number matching four of four in Group Two: none. Number matching four of four in Group Three: one. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 447. Prize: $300. ***

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-1-0 (four, one, zero)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 3-6-2 (three, six, two)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-9-4 (zero, nine, four)

Weather

PECOS, July 6, 1999 -- High Monday 94; low last night 74. Tonight, partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, partly cloudy. High in the lower 90s. Southeast wind 10 20 mph.
 



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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