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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Hispanic group buys GTE's area systems

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- GTE is selling its telephone systems in Pecos and other parts of Texas and New Mexico to a group of Hispanic businessmen led by former New Mexico governor Tony Anaya.

The local system is among 400,000 customer access lines that will be sold by GTE to dba Communications, LLC, a closely-held new entrant in the telecommunications industry. About three-quarters of those lines are in Texas.

The transaction, according to GTE, includes 197 of GTE's local telephone exchanges and 307,180 access lines (YE'98) in Texas located in Andrews, Brownfield, Dumas, Levelland, Perryton, and Pecos in West Texas and Crockett, Fairfield, and Texarkana in East Texas. The remaining 91,904 customer access lines are in New Mexico.

Irving, Texas-based GTE on Tuesday agreed to sell the lines for between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion, unnamed sources familiar with the deal told The Dallas Morning News.

At the sale's closing, more than 400 GTE employees in the two states will become employees of dba Communications. But federal and state regulators still have to approve the deal.

"There should be no impact on the Pecos office," said Charles Watkins, GTE Public Affairs Director for the Western Division. "Nothing will change in that local office," said Watkins.

Watkins said all employees would retain their positions. "That's something we made sure in keeping with GTE standards, is to make sure employees are taken care of."

"The other company will be a smaller company, so Pecos will one of the larger territories in the 400,000 land lines in Texas and West Texas," said Watkins.

Watkins said Reeves County and Pecos will be the largest territory and it would take a while for the transition to occur. "It will be the middle of next year before all that transpires," he said.

Upon closing, dba Communications will be among the 20 largest local exchange companies in the United States, as measured by access lines.

This is the most recent agreement in GTE's previously announced initiative to sell approximately 1.6 million telephone lines in the United States. To date, GTE has agreements to sell more than 1.3 million access lines in 10 states.

"Today is an exciting day for the Hispanic business community, our new customers in New Mexico and Texas, and GTE employees in those states," read a joint statement by the group of 12 investors. "We look forward to working with the dedicated employees who are currently serving GTE's customers in Texas and New Mexico to provide enhanced, high-quality telecommunications services to these customers."

"We are pleased with this transaction. It represents another significant milestone in our wire line property repositioning process and a major step toward increased ownership diversity in the telecommunications industry," said John Apple, president-GTE Network Services. "Equally important, the agreement includes provisions for the fair and equitable treatment of the affected GTE employees in Texas and New Mexico."

It was also announced that Anne K. Bingaman, formerly a member of the senior management team at LCI International (now Qwest Communications) and former U.S. Assistant Attorney General of Antitrust, would serve as Chief Executive Officer of dba Communications.

"dba is excited about the opportunity to serve our new communities in Texas and New Mexico," Bingaman said. `We are confident that with the dedicated team of local employees already in place, dba will continue to offer quality voice and data communications services and become a valuable partner in the communities we serve."

Thomas E. McInerney, a general partner at Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe, said: "dba represents the latest in a series of large transactions sponsored by WCAS in the telecommunications industry. The formation of dba Communications to acquire these properties from GTE reflects the belief that the local access market in rural communities provides a unique investment opportunity. dba Communications will focus on providing outstanding local customer service and providing additional services and features to its customers to allow them to benefit from the continued evolution of communications technology, including Internet access and high-speed data access."

Federico Pena, senior advisor to Vestar Capital Partners and former Secretary of Transportation and Energy in the Clinton Administration, said: "We and the Hispanic investors appreciate the opportunity GTE has provided to encourage minority entry into the rural telecommunications market and we look forward to delivering quality service to the communities we will be serving in Texas."

Since May, GTE has reached agreements to sell:

* 186,839 GTE customer access lines in Arizona, California and Minnesota to Citizens Utilities,

* 20,564 access lines to Alaska to the Alaska Telephone Exchange Acquisition Corporation (ATEAC), a consortium of four Alaska-based companies,

* 280,422 access lines to Iowa to Iowa Network Services, Inc.

* 116,149 access lines in Missouri to Spectra Communications Group, LLC,

* 213,651 access lines in Arkansas and 64,798 access lines in Wisconsin to CenturyTel, Inc.,

* 61,612 access lines in Wisconsin to Telephone USA of Wisconsin, LLC,

* GTE Government Systems, except for the Information Systems Division, to General Dynamics, and

* GTE Airborne to Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Proceeds from the sale of GTE wireline properties - as well as GTE Airfone and GTE Government Systems - will be used for investment in other strategic initiatives, including GTE's recent purchase of Ameritech wireless properties in Illinois and Missouri.

The deals do not affect GTE's offering of wireless, long distance and Internet services to customers in Texas. Current directory publishing agreements will continue at least until Dec. 31, 2001. In addition, current rates will remain in effect, but may be subject to review by state and federal agencies after the closing of the transaction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Moore land auction blocked by Parks

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- Auctioneers held the attention of dozens of potential buyers Tuesday in the monthly sale from the steps of Reeves County Courthouse.

Bill McAnally of Fort Stockton drew the largest crowd when he auctioned several tracts of farmland in the Alamo/Verhalen area. Only one tract sold, however.

A buyer from Estancio, N.M. purchased 413.29 acres south of Interstate 10, formerly owned by Joe Lee McMahon, McAnally said. Three other McMahon tracts failed to attract bidders, he said.

Victor Prieto, chief sheriff's deputy, also offered properties, as did other trustees.

But one tract that has twice been posted for sale was withdrawn on a temporary injunction signed by District Judge Bob Parks.

First National Bank posted for sale 10,728.57 acres of the former Banky Stocks Ranch in Reeves, Jeff Davis and Culberson counties, now owned by John M. Moore and wife, Doris H. Moore.

The Moores filed a petition for injunction to stop the sale on Thursday, claiming that the bank knew when they loaned Mr. Moore $1.25 million on Aug. 15, 1997 that he would be unable to pay the note when it became due.

The bank had pulled the first notice of sale, set for Aug. 3, and wanted to negotiate a settlement with Mr. Moore, the petition alleges.

Moore said he attempted to negotiate a good faith settlement with the bank, and in the middle of the negotiations, the bank reposted the property for foreclosure on Sept. 7.
 

City's housing needs discussed at meeting


By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- Several concerned citizens have taken a step towards meeting the housing needs of the community, following talks last week with state and federal officials.

Six Pecos citizens concerned with the housing needs of the community met with officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to learn what programs were available for our area.

The six individuals include, Tom Rivera, Nellie Gomez, Kenneth Neal, Linda Gholson, Jesse Stephens and Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford.

Alvino Lopez with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs explained the many programs that were available for the Pecos community. Frank Arredondo and Miguel C. Rincon, Jr. with the HUD office in Lubbock talked about their 203(K) program that could help many Pecos people hoping to buy a home and rehabilitate it or just improve their home.

When a date is set, the two government offices will hold a meeting for the general public to explain in detail the ways that they can help people accomplish their housing needs.

"There will be a lot of advertising of this meeting so please listen for the date, time and place and plan to attend," said Jesse Stephens.
 

Council to consider budget, tax rate

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- Pecos City Council on Thursday will consider the proposed $3.2 million budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year and set the tax rate.

As proposed, the budget calls for the same tax rate as last year, 69.67 cents per $100 valuation. Because the property valuation is lower, taxes generated would be $24,000 less than in 1998-99.

Of $804,108 estimated tax collections, $517,109 would go to the general fund and $286,999 to the interest and sinking fund.

Other revenues come from water and sewer user fees, $2.5 million; sales, hotel-motel and other taxes, $773,500; Franchises, $332,000; Permits, $6,250; Interest earned and other income, $36,100; Fines, $71,200; arrest fees, $5,500; health & sanitation billings, $793,000; land lease, I-20 electric revenues, swimming pool, storage fees, miniature golf course lease and recycling revenues, $61,000.

Expenses include a 3 percent wage and salary increase for employees, with related increases in benefits. Cuts in supplies and new vehicles helped pare expenses so a tax hike would not be required.

The council will also consider an amended ordinance setting temporary water rates and possible agreement with Reeves County for mediation.

Reeves County Detention Center, which is outside the Pecos city limits, has been paying less than the going rate for out-of-town users, under an agreement that expired years ago.

After setting a new rate of $5.50 per thousand gallons for out-of-town users, city officials notified Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo that they would be back-billed for water used since the agreement expired.

Galindo summoned Mayor Dot Stafford and two councilmen to a recent commissioners' court meeting to discuss the rate.

Other agenda items include sale or lease of city property located at 5202 S. Cedar (abandoned service station that has been condemned), policy regarding use of city vehicles and rifle range, consider Texas Home Investment Partnership Program, and hear monthly reports.

In executive session, the council will discuss the position of district attorney investigator.

Councilman Ricky Herrera will lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag to open the 7:30 a.m. meeting in the council chambers of City Hall. Larry Levario will voice the opening prayer.
 

Platt accepts federal court pleas

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- U.S. Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt on Tuesday accepted "not guilty" pleas from several criminal defendants on felony charges and heard four pleas of guilty.

Pedro Petino-Torres, 22, of Guanajuanto, Mex., pleaded guilty to illegal entry after deportation, as did Esequiel Imbarra-Barron, 22, of Monclova, Coahuila, Mex.

Jesus Nava-Carrillo, 23, of Williamsburg, N.M., pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Juan Carlos Arroyo-Hernandez, 21, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.

School eyes budget, gym addition

PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- An interlocal agreement with Reeves County for the construction of racquetball courts at the old Pecos High School gym, and 1999-2000 budget amendments will be the main topics of discussion at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD regular monthly board meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, at 1304 S. Park St. The public is invited to attend.

The district is in the process of finalizing its budget and tax rate for the upcoming year, while the plans for the racquetball courts were drawn up as part of the renovation of the old PHS gym to be used by the newly created Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department. Plans to use the small side gym for racquetball courts were rejected due to the low roof in the area.

In other business the board will discuss and approve a proposal for facility value assessment by Hunter Corral Associates, along with public correspondence, the drug-free pep rally and hear the results of district's report card.

Board members will also discuss and approve a recommendation by DEIC for reasons and time for staff to leave campus early and the job description for computer technician.

Board members will also discuss and approve:

* Amending job description for Technology Coordinator.

* Commissioner of Education recommended student performance domain or local development of a student performance domain to be included in the Superintendent's evaluation.

* Opting out of HIPPA.

* Old obsolete computers, printers, other office machines and equipment and playground equipment at Barstow are of no further use to the district and method and place to dispose of property that is no longer necessary for the operation of the school district (TEC 11.151)(c).

* Y2K report.

* Tax roll errors and corrections for 1998 and prior years.

* Application to TEA for textbook waiver for Zavala 7th Grade Saxon Math.

* Enrollment report.

* Tax Report.

* Depository securities report.

* Current bills and financial report.

* Investment transaction report.

* Reconciled bank balance report.

* Date and time for next regular meeting.

* Calendar of events.

* Request for items for next agenda.

The board will meet in closed session to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel and for a private consultation with the board's attorney.

In open session the group will take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.
 

College info offered at  assembly

PECOS, Sept. 8, 1999 -- A Pre-college Senior Assembly will be held at 9:55 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

Agenda items to be covered during the assembly include SAT Tests, TASP, TAAS, College Letters, Scholarships, Common Application and Financial Aid.

The assembly is sponsored by Pecos High School Counselors, Eva Arriola and Pat Cobos. Parents are welcome to attend this special meeting.
 

Lotto


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-12-27-29-33. Number matching five of five: 3. Prize per winner: $26,243. Winning tickets sold in: Brownsville, De Soto and San Antonio. Matching four of five: 191. Prize: $618.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 8-0-6 (eight, zero, six)
 

Obituary

Bartolo Sanchez

Bartolo Sanchez, 74, died Sunday, Sept. 5, 1999, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 9, at St. Emily's Church in Toyah with burial in Toyah Cemetery.

He was born March 19, 1925, in Candelaria, Tx., was a veteran of the U.S. Army, life-long Toyah resident, a farmer and a Catholic.

Survivors include four sons, Jesus and Bartolo Sanchez Jr. of Toyah, and Daniel and Domingo Sanchez of Odessa; four daughters, Paula Sanchez and Elidia Valdez of Toyah, Connie Esparza of Pecos and Delma Machuca of Midland; two brothers, Ben Sanchez of Toyah and Ted Chavez of Odessa; two sisters, Catalina Salcido and Nena Marquez, both of Odessa; 29 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
 

Weather

High Tuesday 100; low last night 67. Tonight, partly cloudy and cooler with a chance of evening thunderstorms. Low in the lower 60s. Northeast wind 10 20 mph. chance of rain 30 percent. Thursday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers. High in the mid 80s. Northeast to east wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain is 20 percent. Extended forecast: Thursday night, a slight chance of showers, otherwise partly cloudy. Low near 60. Friday and Saturday, partly cloudy and a bit warmer. Highs near 90.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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