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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 3, 2006

City told UP blocking efforts to start new businesses

Staff Writers

Business in the oil field is booming and with it comes the need for appropriate transportation to provide the required services.

However, a Tulsa, Okla. company looking to establish an oil and gas drilling service stockpoint in Pecos is saying it can’t get railcar service from Union Pacific, and has asked city officials to help with the problem.

Robert A. West, CEO of Anchor Drilling Fluids, sent a letter to Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood on Oct. 27 outlining his company’s problems with the railroad after securing land adjacent to the short line Pecos Valley Southern Railroad.

PVSR operates from Pecos to the Verhalen area, mainly serving Trans-Pecos Aggregates. West said he had spoken with Guy Williams of PVSR and reached an agreement on the property, but ran into problems when they entered into talks with the Omaha, Neb., based railroad.

“Since Anchor requires rail service to supply our stockpoint, Mr. Williams recommended that we visit with Mr. Kyle Carroll of Union Pacific Railroad in Odessa to assure that rail service would be available,” West wrote in his letter to Alligood. “Anchor’s David Cunningham and Eldon Westenburg visited with Mr. Carroll and were provided with the following discouraging messages:

“UP does not want any new business in Pecos, Texas.

“The UP focus is long-haul, coast-to-coast shipping. Short line service is a nuisance.

“UP currently has business with PVSR, but they plan to take the cars out of service.

“UP cannot refuse to service Anchor’s needs but cars would be dropped in Big Spring and UP could not promise when they would be spotted in Pecos.”

West said that talks with other UP officials in Dallas did not change the company’s position, and told Alligood that they had previously refused other companies’ requests for service to Pecos.

Union Pacific current stops almost all of its trains both east and westbound in Pecos, but only for crew changes and occasional connections with PVSR. However, a company spokesman denied that the railroad is refusing to serve local businesses.

“We do provide local service to the Pecos area, I don’t know the specifics of the individuals who are having problems attaining service,” said Union Pacific representative Joe Arbona. “We’ve got an extremely busy service, with the cost of fuel,” said Arbona. “Our services are in real demand.”

“Our services in bringing in freight is also limited, there are only so much service you can provide them,” said Arbona.

Arbona said that how you serve a customer is sometimes where you make the decision. “When the main line is tied up you reduce the service you provide the customer and we don’t want to do that,” said Arbona.

Arbona said that they are required to make certain stops, such as to change shifts and other procedures. “Stopping and tying up the lines for other services, can pose all kinds of problems,” he said.

“We have to be careful how we serve our customers,” said Arbona. “There are also some circumstances that would require us to do upgrades or changes and we have to be careful where we put our dollars,” he said.

Arbona said that they have to be selective where their customers are concerned and sometimes it wasn’t possible to provide a service to everyone seeking those services.

“I may not be cost-effective and the main thing is that we want to be a viable company,” said Arbona.

UP services a larger short-line railroad operating out of Monahans. The Texas-New Mexico Railroad runs north through Kermit to Lovington, N.M., and a spokesperson for the company’s office in Brownfield said they had not had problems getting UP to connect freight and tanker cars to their line.

“We get anywhere from 60-80 cars a trip,” he said, adding the line offers daily freight service and makes connections to UP’s line in Monahans to swap out cars about every other day.

Alligood said other cities have said businesses there have had problems getting service from UP, and questioned if the company would take the same attitude towards the proposed FutureGen coal-fired power plant. Penwell is a proposed site for the planned low-emissions test facility, due in part to its proximity to UP’s main line between Fort Worth and El Paso. Arbona said that he hadn’t seen the specifics on FutureGen, but that he would look into the situation and provide some answers.

Feds OK compensation to city on CJC back pay

Town of Pecos City will receive $212,000 from the U.S. Marshal’s service for the cost of back pay owed to guards at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, as a result of a ruling by the U.S. Labor Department ordering the city to raise their salaries to meet federal pay guidelines.

Council members were also told during their Oct. 26 meeting that they were hopeful that the Marshal’s Service would soon agree to an increase in the man-day rates paid to the city for housing federal inmates, to compensate for the Labor Department’s order that came down a year after the city had signed a 10-year contract with the Marshal’s Service.

“The response is very favorable,” city finance director Sam Contreras told the council. He called the latest move, “A step in the right direction,” but added the city did not know if the payment would be in a lump sum, or in installments, if the Marshal’s Service agrees to compensate the city for the higher salaries paid out over the past three years.

The Labor Department ordered the city to raise jailer’s salaries to just over $31,000, to match salaries paid at the Reeves County Detention Center, which houses U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates. The move also forced the city to raise starting salaries for their police officers, so they would be paid at least the same rate as the jailers.

In other business, Police Chief Clay McKinney said the city had been approved for a new $10,500 grant to buy bulletproof vests for officers, to replace vests that have passed their warranty date. He said the grant was a 5 percent match.

Council members were told by Lydia Prieto that just under $1 million in property taxes was collected by the city during the 2005-06 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, and the collection rate of 87.49 percent was slightly higher than the previous year.

The council also voted to change its first regular meeting each month from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting in December. The council already holds its second regular monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m., and councilmen said they had received complaints that the 7 a.m. starting time was inconvenient for residents to attend.

Members heard a presentation, but took no action, on the proposal from Jose Rodriguez of Naismith Engineering to handle engineering work on Pecos’ upcoming sewer and wastewater treatment plant projects. Rodriguez talked about the firms work with other cities in Texas on similar projects, including the city of Alpine, while councilman Danny Rodriguez asked the engineer if his company could get rid of the sewage smell at the east side wastewater plant.

“You can never eliminate it, because you’re dealing with wastewater, but there are chemicals and equipment you can put it,” said Jose Rodriguez, who added his firm had worked with the city of Pharr on a similar problem.

City utilities director Edgardo Madrid said it would be difficult to fix the treatment plant problem due to the type of system Pecos uses, but different types of odor-reducing chemicals can be tried in an effort to reduce the smell.

Bonilla touts NRA endorsement during Pecos visit

U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla made his second trip in eight days to Pecos on Tuesday, bringing an endorsement from the National Rifle Association, as the seven-term incumbent seeks to avoid a runoff after Tuesday’s special election.

Bonilla is in a race against seven other candidates for the 23rd Congressional District seat, in a special election ordered after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Texas had to redraw the boundary lines of the 23rd District to increase its Hispanic population. Bonilla is expected to win Tuesday’s election by a double-digit margin, but needs to get at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff against the second place finisher in December.

Bonilla, who also visited Pecos on Oct. 23, made several stops in West Texas on Tuesday accompanied by Chris Cox, the NRA’s Executive Director for its Institute for Legislative Action. Cox spoke on behalf of Bonilla, offering the group’s endorsement for his support of gun owners Second Amendment rights over the years he’s been in Congress.

“Henry Bonilla is a leader when it comes to all the things we value,” Cox said, during the noontime gathering outside Gibson True Value on Walthall Street. “Without people like Henry Bonilla to stand up for those freedoms, its just words on a piece of paper.”

Cox mentioned legislation Bonilla helped pass during the current congressional session, including a bill limiting lawsuit liability against gun manufacturers for crimes committed with weapons, and a bill to prohibit the seizure of weapons by law enforcement agencies, as occurred in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“We want to make sure what happened in New Orleans is the last time it happens,” Cox said.

“Assaults on our Second Amendment rights goes on on a regular basis,” Bonilla told the audience. “If you believe we should be like a different country, you should go live in a different country. You’ll be back here soon, thanking your lucky stars.”

Bonilla’s aides also passed out a copy of a 1996 letter sent to the San Antonio Express News by Lukin Gilliland, who along with former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez is considered Bonilla’s main competitor in Tuesday’s election. Gilliland, who was co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign a decade ago, questioned the Express-News’ endorsement of Bob Dole in the 1996 election, while listing President Clinton’s achievements, including the passage of the Brady Bill mandating a waiting period to buy a handgun, and passage of the assault weapons import ban, which has since expired.

During a campaign stop in Pecos last month, Gilliland criticized the efforts of Bonilla in brining federal dollars back to Texas during his years in Washington. He also said Bonilla has voted to cut veterans benefits and plans that called for consolidations and closings of VA hospitals.

Along with his NRA endorsement, Bonilla asked for support on Nov. 7, saying he has followed through on his campaign promises while in Washington.

“People who have known me for years know I will look you straight in the eye,” he said. “You’ll never find an instance of my going to Washington and voting a different way.”

Aside from Pecos, Bonilla made stops in Sonora, Fort Stockton and Alpine before returning to San Antonio on Tuesday.

Contreras, Hanks discuss plans as county judge; anonymous mailing

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the general election scheduled for Tuesday, and with only one contested local race on the ballot, the Enterprise has asked Reeves County Judge candidates Sam Contreras and Bobby Hanks to provide statements on their plans if elected to the position next week.

Both Hanks and Contreras also deal with an anonymous flier sent out to local residents last week that included charges leveled against Hanks during a divorce proceeding seven years ago. As of today, no one has come forward to claim responsibility for sending out the fliers.


My esteemed opponent has made a critical error in judgment. He believes our citizens are not smart enough to uncover a dirty trick when they see one. When I found the outrageous mailer sent attacking my opponent’s personal life; I immediately informed, all who would hear me, that I would not tolerate such negativity in my campaign. Every member of my campaign staff and corps volunteers has sworn to me, that they had no hand in disclosing my opponent’s unfortunate divorce, in the development of, or in sending the mailer.

On the contrary, many in the community have stated that he himself, or one of his many personal adversaries, may have sent the now infamous mailer. I will not entertain personal attacks and I am the one and only candidate for Reeves County Judge to file a Fair Campaign Practices pledge, when I entered this campaign to serve with HONOR, all the citizens of Reeves County.

For the record, the current County Judge is not a part of my campaign staff, has never entered my campaign headquarters, nor has he contributed a single penny to my campaign. While I welcome all and will never deny anyone access to me and my staff, I will continue to serve with freedom, fervency, and zeal ALL the citizens of Reeves County without bias and when elected County Judge, I will welcome all who seek to serve honorably. I have never had a cross word with either the County Judge or my opponent and offer myself, subject to lie detector proof, to show who is right and who therefore seeks to deceive!

There is a saying in Spanish that goes somewhat like this; “El que tiene hambre, en comida piensa.” Roughly translated it says, “He who is hungry thinks of food.” I think he does protest too much; and maybe his problems do lie within.

Nonetheless, we have fought the hard war and have shown the Citizens of Reeves County we have POSITIVE pro-growth ideas in Economic Development, water rights, new non-tax revenue and a personal and professional “Code of Ethics” head and shoulders above the rest of those who would seek the office. I don’t hold a Liquor License as my opponent does and therefore I can represent all without that conflict of interest; as County Judges in Texas have general overview of Liquor License applications within the County.

I have a long-time record of accomplishments in my professional and personal life. I have a college degree in finance, which I earned on my own, by myself. I am a Navy Veteran and a continued reservist in service to my Country. I have served the citizens as a volunteer in community associations and within my church. I associate with people of good rapport and have openly heard and support each and every idea, whether they are mine, or from someone else, that may serve to better our community; should truth and justice be served.

My name is Sam Mata Contreras and I am POSITIVELY YOUR Democratic Nominee for Reeves County Judge.


To the Citizens of Reeves County:

My name is Robert L. (Bob or Bobby) Hanks and I am a candidate for Reeves County Judge. I am a single parent of two young men, Robby and Jesse. Robby resides in Grand Prairie and Jesse is a senior at Pecos High School. My advisors are telling me I need to tell the public something about me and my past.

I graduated from Pecos High School in 1969, immediately moved to Dallas and enrolled in college. In January of 1970 after attending college for two semesters I found that I could not work and attend college full time. Not having the finances I needed to work part time and continue my education I elected to move to Odessa. My aim was to work full time and attend Odessa College part time. After moving to Odessa I was fortunate in obtaining a position at J&J Steel and Supply Co. Six months after joining the company I was transferred to Markle Steel Company in Houston, the main office. There I continued my employment in the sale department. To learn the business I worked late during the week and on weekends with President and CEO John Brooks Williams, a lawyer, an accountant and the smartest individuals I have ever met. Thirty-six years later I still feel the same.

I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with him. While there I was offered the opportunity to continue my education at the University of Houston and then attend law school. I turned the offer down. My interest at that time was in business and I felt I already had the only professor I would ever need. After six years I was given the position of the assistant to CEO John Brooks Williams and I never looked back. For the remainder of my employment at Markle Steel I managed the credit department, wrote joint venture contracts with man companies in Texas and was over the purchasing of American mini mill steel products which are the cheapest producers of the steel in the world. Markle Steel was the oldest steel company in the southwest, the first to represent the Mexican Government in America with their flat and structural steel products, owned subsidiaries Markle Manufacturing in San Antonio, which built steel structures for the highway industry, Markle Manufacturing in Amarillo, which built stainless steel vessels for the petrochemical industry, and of course J&J Steel & Supply in Odessa. Mr. Williams passed away in 2002. His estate has donated over 20 million dollars to colleges and universities in Texas and North Carolina. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to assist and work with him.

In 1978, I left Markle Steel Company to accept a third interest in Western Petroleum Products in Dallas. The first year there we incorporated Western Pipe and Steel Company, Inc., Western Petroleum, Inc., purchased a large interest in Metro Bank in downtown Dallas and entered into a joint venture with Mennen Corp. (skin bracer) in New York. While in this joint venture Western Petroleum Products became the largest distributor of imported drill pipe in the United States, was one of the largest distributor of imported drill pipe in the United States, was one of the largest companies in the export of American made oil and gas industry replacement parts to the Middle East. We also had the opportunity to become the exclusive agent for the Chinese Government in both imports and exports. We turned this down due to the views in America at that time on the war in Vietnam and communism. That year I started Trans-Pecos Steel and Supply in Pecos, which is now Miller Steel. In 1980 I bought Western Pipe and Steel Company from our partnership, started a mud and salt water hauling business with 20 trucks in Brenham, formed a retail steel business in Lubbock and opened a wholesale steel business in Houston. In the latter part of 1983 I became seriously ill and was hospitalized. My doctors informed me it was my health or my business. I sold my interest in most of these businesses and moved to Pecos in 1985.

After arriving in Pecos and knowing that I had to slow down, I, with the help of my parents operated Trans-Pecos Steel and Pipe Supply and Western Pipe & Steel Company. In 1986 I purchased Western Package Store and in 1996, I purchased the Western Package Store property and Cut Rate Liquor Store property from the estate of my good friend Jessie Allen. Since 1986 I have operated these stores (except for a short period), acquired a Texas Agents Insurance License and was representative for Roswell Livestock Auction in Pecos for 13 years.

Today, I am seeking the position in Reeves County as the Peoples County Judge. I believe the best rule a public servant should follow is part 552.001 of Texas Statutes Government Code Chapter 552, which states the following:

Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principal that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist of remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

I believe in this philosophy. I believe the people have a right to know. I believe the County Judge’s office should always be assessable to the public. If elected, I will make sure this office is open to al. I also intend to make sure all public records are open and assessable to the public.

I would like to thank Smokey Briggs and Jon Fulbright for the opportunity to speak to you through the Pecos Enterprise. Inserted in this paper you will find a copy of my second newsletter. You will find the positives I have for Reeves County and the changes I will make if elected, along with my response to a recent cartoon mailed to many in our community and distributed to the teachers at the Pecos High School.

Again, thanks to Mr. Briggs and Mr. Fulbright. Remember, Tuesday, the 7th of November is the day to vote in the general election. Remember, you do not have to vote Democrat just because you voted this way in the primary. Please vote! This is your right as a citizen of the United States of America and your way of voicing your opinion.

Robert L. Hanks

Ontiveros celebrates his 11th birthday

Phillip John Ontiveros celebrated his 11th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 22, with a party held in his honor at his home.

The theme of the party was WWE John Cena.

His birthday cake had a picture of Cena on it.

Ontiveros and his guests also enjoyed a wrestler pińata and the group played games and ate a variety of goodies.

Friends and family were on hand to help celebrate the special occasion.

Rodriguez celebrates third birthday

Jocelynn Rodriguez celebrated her third birthday with a party hosted by her parents in her honor.

She was born Oct. 22, 2003.

Dora the Explorer was the theme for the special occasion.

Guests were served asado, rice, beans, cake and ice cream.

Many friends and family were on hand to help her celebrate her special day.

Rodriguez is the daughter of Angelica and Sammy Rodriguez of Pecos.

Grandparents are Olga and Ramon Orona and Norma and Al Wentworth.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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