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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Commissioners expand alcohol, drug test policy

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- Alcohol and drug tests will be given to Reeves County employees at random, following a proposal outlined by a company that already tests some of the employees in the county.

Lennel Roach, with Midland-based Allied Compliance, outlined the policy and procedures in alcohol and drug testing at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Monday morning.

Roach and her company already administer the drug tests to Reeves County Road and Bridge Department employees, and will now extend their services to include all of the county employees.

Roach told commissioners that her group provides drug testing for other counties as well.

"We look for five specific drugs, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methanol, (opium, heroin) and clycocotone," said Roach.

The company goes by federal guidelines and is accredited with the national association.

Random testing at the different Reeves County facilities will be done by computer. "In other words the computer is the one who comes up with the name and this will be done quarterly," she said.

"Each name will be eligible to be tested at any time," she said.

The program picks out a number, a social security number and that's how we identify it, according to Roach.

She said the county should test 30 percent of their employees annually. "Doing less than 30 percent doesn't make enough of an impact to deter employees from using illegal drugs," according to Roach.

"One name might come up four times in a year," in the random testing procedure, she added.

Employees will have to sign the new drug and alcohol policy upon their employment.

The company will have a list and a report, and the results will come directly to Reeves County. "Everything will be very confidential and we'll make sure the testing is done accurately and that it not be tampered with," she said.

Test for alcohol, similar to those mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, involve a group of less than 30 percent of all workers, Roach said.

Alcohol testing was suggested to go by the same limits used by other counties. "Above a 1.02 reading of alcohol, we suggest the employee be taken off the job for at least 24 hours," said Roach. "If it's 1.04 level, it's a level to be considered for termination."

This will depend on how the policy is set up, though, she said.

"It needs to be written in your policy and we've got to remember that alcohol is legal," she said.

The county attorney will assist in drawing up the proper policy on drug and alcohol testing procedure.

"What they do on their own time is their business, but let's say, if they've been drinking about four hours prior to coming in to work we might get some positive results," she said.

Negative results on the tests are in within 24 hours and 72 if the tests require further observation.

"If it turns up something positive, we test it further and it might not always be an illegal drug," said Roach. "If we find something, we do further testing to determine what it is, then it will take up to 72 hours to get the positive, accurate results back."

Some prescription medication may provide positive readings on a test, according to Roach.

Also, employees will not be warned when they will be subjected to testing, according to Roach.

"There are products out on the market that can adulterate the tests, or the employee might be able to provide another specimen, not their own," she said.

Random testing will make sure that neither of these situations arises. "When they come to collect a specimen, the employee has to be ready to give one," Roach said. "No prior notice will be given," she said.

Coming onto the site will also save some money, according to Roach.

"We prefer that you send in three or four at a time, so that we can have them in and out fast and back to work," said Roach.

Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco said that there are many reasons for drug testing. "We have in place probable cause in the employee's manual," said Franco.

In view of some recent events, random drug testing is certainly needed at the facility, according to Franco.

"The fee schedule looks reasonable and if we have probable cause, it's important to follow up," said Franco. "Thirty percent randomly is a good percentage and we're asking that our employees volunteer."

Franco said they are asking the detention center attorney to draft a sample of the policy to be looked at and agreed upon. "There are many reasons for this testing and especially since the situation where we deal with inmates," he said.

"I'm looking forward to putting a policy like this and hope they do approve it." said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "This is something that is needed to ensure the safety of everyone."

Trans Pecos Task Force Commander Gary Richards also agreed with the new drug and alcohol policy and said the members of the task force are also subject to be tested.

"It will be a great benefit to everyone," said assistant commander Jim Semmler.

Iraan bank owner buys Security State

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- The Board of Directors of Security State Bank of Pecos announced today that the bank has entered into an agreement to be acquired by TransPecos Financial Corporation.

Dudley Montgomery, Chairman of Security State Bank of Pecos said, "We are extremely pleased to have TransPecos as the buyer. They know banking and West Texas."

TransPecos Financial Corp. already owns Iraan State Bank. At the announcement Pat Kennedy, chairman of TransPecos said that, "A new ownership will mean a continuation of the existing management along with the quality of service the citizens of Pecos have come to expect.

"We want to do business with families and businesses. We want to actively participate in the growth of the region by focusing on the needs of our customers," Kennedy said. "We intend to do this through active lending to small businesses and agri-businesses, along with personal, auto and home mortgage loans."

Jim Pattee, member of the board and chairman of the independent board committee, who led a six-month long search for a buyer for the bank said, "I am very pleased with the board's choice - which was unanimous. Not only was Mr. Kennedy the high bidder, but he and his organization have exhibited integrity and credibility. We welcome them to Security State Bank and this community. These are good business men who have already made a commitment to West Texas and its growth."

Montgomery said he will stay with the bank and Kennedy expressed his enthusiasm about working with him. "We are very fortunate to have the expertise of Dudley. He has a great reputation for service and trust and has built a wonderful customer base over the past 40 years with Security State," Kennedy said.

"Security State has one of the few Trust/Investment Departments in West Texas and I look forward to continue building upon these relationships in the coming years," said Montgomery.

Kennedy also expressed confidence in the bank's 30-plus employees. "The people make this bank what it is. We are extremely pleased to have such a qualified group of employees. It's clear their number one goal is taking care of the customer."

"Community banking is not just another business; it's a public trust" Kennedy said. "The community banker has a high duty to the customer and also a duty to be a leader in promoting the welfare of the community. We pledge to take these obligations seriously."

Kennedy, a San Antonio lawyer, has specialized in banking throughout his professional career.

Asked why he chose to buy West Texas banks, Kennedy said that his enormous interest in Texas history made him aware that this area was once part of Bexar County (San Antonio). His family has lived in San Antonio since the 1720s.

"I am still married to my first bride and have four children," Kennedy said. The only daughter is 17, and the boys' ages range down to 11.

Kennedy and Joe Keese will join the SSB board of directors. Keese has been in the banking business 25 years, getting his start in Houston. He has two teenage sons.

Keese said the sale of the bank is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Proxy materials and instructions for all shareholders will be sent within the next several weeks.

As of June 30, 1999, Security State Bank of Pecos had total assets of $72 million and stockholders' equity of $9.5 million.

Officials say local 911 still needs help

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- Paula Conner waited for what seemed like forever early Sunday morning after calling 9-1-1 to summon an ambulance for a cut and bleeding man standing at her back door.

After explaining who she was and that there was an injured man at her back door, Conner gave the 9-1-1 dispatcher the address assigned to her rural residence.

"I was extremely surprised when she told me they didn't have that address on record, even though the number is posted on a blue and yellow sign at my front gate," Conner said.

After giving directions to her residence, Conner waited about 30 minutes before the ambulance arrived, she said.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said that records show the ambulance crew responded in eight minutes, and it took them six minutes to get to the Connor residence.

"It seems longer when you are waiting," he said.

But he admitted the 9-1-1 system is not complete. Not only are some rural addresses missing from the database, a map of the county showing all residences is not yet in the system.

Lack of funding and the death of county road administrator Mack Ham five years ago have slowed input of rural addresses into the 9-1-1 system's computer, said Harvey Reeves, Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission 911 administrator.

"They got started way back there and the guy (Ham) was doing a real good job, then he got killed in a wreck and they had to start all over," Reeves said.

PBRPC gave Reeves County some added funding, and Ham's replacement, Russ Salcido, has continued to assign addresses and install signs.

Once the addresses are assigned, residents are notified, and they are to return a card with complete information to be input into the computer, said Diane Tersero, 9-1-1 supervisor for the Pecos Police Department.

Some cards are returned without complete directions to the residence, and that information has to be obtained before it can be input by GTE, which maintains the computers, Tersero said.

Numerous errors have occurred, and it takes time to correct them. The staff works on 9-1-1 in addition to their regular duties, she said.

Reeves said that GTE has had some computer problems in areas where they bought out a small telephone company, such as the Contel system in Pecos and Andrews.

"I would imagine that's probably one of the reasons," Reeves said.

Andrews County is about complete, but Reeves County is not, because they got behind, he said.

"We probably have more errors in Reeves than in any of the other counties," he said.

Charles Watkins, public relations officer for GTE, said he is not aware of any problems and has had no such indication from PBRPC.

City budget won't require tax increase

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- Holding expenses to a minimum, the Pecos City Council on Tuesday made final cuts to the proposed 1999-2000 budget that will not require a tax rate increase.

"We have to decide if we want to get a balanced budget," said councilman Johnny Terrazas. "If we aren't willing to cut, we need to consider a tax increase. It is tough for everybody. One cent isn't going to do us any good."

"I hate to think about a tax increase," said City Manager Kenneth Neal. "We promised no tax increase before the sales tax election."

Because voters agreed to divert 1/4 cent of the city sales tax to economic development, the city lost $127,000 in annual revenue.

Finance officer Steve McCormick said that this year's expenses have been below projections, and the general fund's budgeted $521,000 deficit has not materialized.

"We are doing pretty doggone good," he said.

Terrazas said that departments have done a good job cutting back and have sacrificed new vehicle purchases to make that possible.

"We are going to re-educate ourselves into saving money," said councilman Ricky Herrera. Employees need to realize that if they don't save money, their job could be cut, he added.

Although the council cut $147,800 from the already-lean proposed budget, a deficit of $574,979 remained.

Councilman Danny Rodriguez proposed that City Manager Kenneth Neal approve all purchase orders in the coming year and that the council evaluate the progress in six months.

Neal said that approving all the purchase orders would put a burden on him and slow down the process.

Despite the deep cuts, the council agreed to a 3 percent wage and salary increase for employees as merited.

McCormick said that payroll is about 45 percent of the budget. However, since not all salary increases will begin the first month of the fiscal year, the amount budgeted for salaries will not all be spent.

Armando Gil, director of parks, health and emergency management, said that utilities would cost less if employees would turn off air conditioning and lights when a building is not in use.

Some air conditioners are left on around the clock, he said.

Citizens can see a copy of the proposed budget in the office of city secretary at City Hall.

Suspect jailed in alleged bomb scheme

By RICHARD BENKE
Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. A Canadian man was accused of plotting to bomb the trans-Alaska oil pipeline on New Year's Day, allegedly devising the scheme in order to reap windfall profits when oil prices spiked upward.

"The reason he was doing it wasn't for any political or ideological terrorism. It was in furtherance of a fraudulent scheme," Larry Bettendorf, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said Monday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Alfred Heinz Reumayr on Aug. 18 in British Columbia, and the extradition process to return Reumayr to the United States has begun, Bettendorf said. The arrest was announced last week but few details of the accusations were disclosed.

The date the plot was to be carried out, Jan. 1, was selected to coincide with the expected problems resulting from the Y2K computer bug, authorities said. The date would provide a "multiplier effect I'm expecting from the whole millennium effect," the affidavit quoted Reumayr as saying.

The arrest was made possible by an Albuquerque-based informant who met Reumayr while the suspect was serving time in a Texas prison for mail fraud and violation of probation.

The ATF said Reumayr, 50, intended to buy up oil futures, then detonate 14 bombs and destroy the pipeline. The informant, whose name was withheld, was supposed to set the bombs, Bettendorf said.

The arrest warrant charges Reumayr, of New Westminster, near Vancouver, British Columbia, with attempting to bomb the pipeline and aiding and abetting in the attempted bombing. Bettendorf said each count carries a possible 20-year prison term.

"We're just glad that the system worked and that the fellow was arrested," said Jennifer Ruys, spokeswoman for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

The informant approached the ATF with word of the alleged plot in May 1998, authorities said. Reumayr said he needed explosives, equipment and a pilot, the affidavit said. Among items mentioned were fuse igniters, a Claymore mine, an anti-personnel mine, an impact fragmentation grenade, 35 pounds of military TNT, C-4 explosives, blasting caps, and three machine guns, it said.

The ATF prepared a photograph of materials that was forwarded to Reumayr.

By June 1999, the informant received a communique identifying three Trans-Alaska Pipeline targets Thompson Pass north of Valdez, Tazlina River and Tanana River.

Suspect enters guilty plea in coke, cash seizure

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- Evigael (Israel) Navarette pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Parras said that he did not offer Navarette a plea agreement, and he entered a plea to the indictment.

Navarette, 41, of 1035 Rancho Road, was arrested by Pecos Police June 6 on a probation violation. Officers found more than 1/2 ounce of cocaine in his possession, said investigator Paul Deishler. They also confiscated $17,500 that was believed to be connected to a drug transaction.

Police suspect Navarette to be one of the organizers of a drug-smuggling operation.

Parras said that a federal agency is assisting the local officers in their investigation.

"Any time a federal agency is involved, there is a big potential for federal charges," he said.

Youth commission takes applications


PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- Applications are being taken from students who would like to become part of the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission for the fiscal year 1999-2000.

City Secretary Geneva Martinez said that the commission's purpose is to assist in minimizing community problems relating to youth and to encourage the positive growth and development of youth by involving them in healthy, enlightening, empowering, social, cultural and recreational activities that are drug and alcohol free.

Any student in grades 7-12 may apply by the Sept. 13 deadline. For more information call Martinez at 445-2421.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 9-17-21-28-30. Number matching five of five: 3. Prize per winner: $25,878. Winning tickets sold in: Krum, San Antonio, Wortham. Matching four of five: 276. Prize: $421.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-4-2 (six, four, two)

Weather

PECOS, Aug. 24, 1999 -- High Monday 106; low last night 70. Rainfall .07 in SW Pecos, .88 at Texas A&M Research Station. Tonight, mostly cloudy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low near 70. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent. Wednesday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the lower 90s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. chance of rain 20 percent. Extended forecast, Wednesday night, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low near 70. Thursday through Saturday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows near 70. Highs in the 90s.

Drought hampers ranchers



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