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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Commissioners told county gets $457,000 border grant

A grant for the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department to help with border security issues was approved by Reeves County Commissioners, during their regular meeting held Monday morning.

Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Richards talked to the group about the grant and said that they had once again received funding.

“We want it approved so that we can go ahead and receive,” said Richards, who added that the grant was in the amount of $457,295.

The money will be used for equipment that the department has been needing, according to Richards.

“We want to purchase some repeaters, night vision equipment and a license plate screener,” he said.

“There were other things we applied for, but were not approved at this time,” said Richards, who added that the grant was 100 percent and the county did not have to match it.

“The county doesn’t have to pay anything,” he said.

Richards said that the license plate reader was to detect stolen vehicles or search for fugitives.

“What it does is that when the car passes the equipment will automatically read the license plate and then we will know if it was a stolen car or if maybe a fugitive is driving that car,” said Richards.

Richards said that the equipment would be beneficial on the highways along the border.

“This is all to help with border security,” said Richards.

In other action on Monday, commissioners listened and approved the fiscal Year 2007 Audit Report from Elms, Faris and Company.

A change order to Jeff Eubank Roofing Company in the amount of $4,450 was approved for work currently being done on the Reeves County Courthouse.

“Are they almost done with the roof?” asked commissioner precinct 2 Gabriel Martinez.

Commissioner precinct 1 Roy Alvarado told the group that they are 90 percent through with the roofing project and were just doing some last minute repairs. “This change order is for some things that were not included in the original contract, but that need to be taken care of,” said Alvarado.

In addition the group approved the payment to the roofing company in the amount of $193,860.

Also approved were: RCDC I &II 2001 Lease payment in the amount of $495,000; RCDC I & II 2001 Maintenance Reserve $29,166; RCDC III 2005 payment in the amount of $346,597; RCDC I & II 2007 payment in the amount of $217,820.

Salcido enjoying work in Chamber office

Bobbi Enmon Salcido played secretary in her grandfather’s office as a child, and now she enjoys her work as a secretary at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce. “I enjoy typing,” said Salcido. “I would always play in (Bobby Enmon’s) office and act like a secretary. I have always enjoyed it; that’s why I studied it.”

Salcido earned her associate’s degree in office systems technology at the Pecos Center for Odessa College.

“I really enjoyed doing that,” she said. “I worked steady for a year, learned a lot and met a lot of people.”

Meeting people is one of the perks of her work at the chamber, where she began in January while still in school. She graduated magna cum laude in May.

“This is a good job to start out with,” she said. “I have learned a lot and been able to use a lot of skills. I hope to stay.”

One of her recent accomplishments was to design and publish the Reeves-Loving County Fall Fair book, which is filled with colorful ads.

She has also worked as a substitute teacher, and she sells trucks for Enmon, who is a wholesale car dealer in Phoenix, Ariz.

But it is family that most interests Salcido. She especially enjoys playing volleyball with her daughter, Jazlynn, 8, and football with son Gary, 6. She and her husband, Gary, also have a year-old daughter, Kaelynn.

“I have a problem finding a baby sitter,” said Salcido. “I am leaving her with family until I can get daycare.”

Salcido’s brother, Josh Enmon, 14, lives with them and plays football at Crockett. “I am proud of him and try to make all the local games,” she said.

She has another brother, Colton Enmon, 18, and a sister, Mallory Cano, 23. Their mother is Jodi Enmon, who last week had a second surgery to remove a brain tumor. The doctor thinks he got all of the tumor, and that it is Grade 2, Salcido said. “It went well and she is recovering,” said Salcido. “We are really excited and hoping for the best. Our prayers were answered.”

Bobbi’s grandmother, Gwen Enmon, taught her to cook American food, and her mother-in-law, Frances Salcido, taught her to cook Mexican food.

“My favorite food is green enchiladas,” said the bubbly mom.

She would also like to learn to sew on the machine given to her by another grandmother.

“I need to hem my kids’ clothes, because they are short,” she said.

Her main concern is to provide for the needs and wants of her children.

“We try to do something with them every weekend, since our time is limited,” said Salcido.

And if time permits, she would like to exercise more, because her secretarial job keeps her at a desk most of the day.

Modern Study Club begins new club year

The Modern Study Club of Pecos met on Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the fellowship hall of the First Christian Church with President Margie Williamson presiding. Her theme is – “Through Vision, Volunteers Making a Great State Greater.”

During opening ceremonies the Collect was led by Etta Bradley and the pledges of allegiance to the United States of America Flag and the Texas Flags were led by Paula Fuller. The thought-quote for the meeting was – “So Many worlds, so much to do. So little done, such things to do. – Tennyson.

Secretary Catherine Travland read the minutes of the May 3 and June 18-19 meetings and treasurer Betty Lee presented a statement of club finances.

The yearbook for 2008-2009, prepared by Joyce Morton, was reviewed by president Williamson as she presented an overview of programs, meeting places and hostess duties.

On the dedication page there was a precious photograph of club members labeling “Books of Babies” in Nov. 1997 taken by president Williamson and the page read as follows: Dedication: Dedicated to Marvelous Women, Some Present, Some Gone.

Shown were Etta Sullivan, Gretchen Luna, Phyllis Stool, Lena Harpham, Doris Moorman, Joyce Morton, Hazel Barmore, Bobbie Lang, Betty Smith, Nan Cate and Frances Wood. What a lovely group of Women! What a delightful group indeed! What diversity of talents! What dedication to the needs! Of Community, State, Nation! These are precious memories –

The club voted to reimburse Mrs. Morton for her expenses in preparing the beautiful yearbook with the delightful and interesting cover theme – “Texas, Whimsical.”

The club voted to contribute $100 to the First Christian Church to assist with utility bills for the use of their fellowship hall for meetings.

President Williamson announced that Harriet Berlin has been nominated by the Marion G. White Study Club of Odessa and will be endorsed by Western District for TFWC Life Membership.

It was reported that Kerry Kay Cook, Western District TFWC Scholarship Representative, issued a challenge to all Western District Clubs to donate $2.00 for each of the state scholarships, totaling $12.00. Mrs. Cook said she would match whatever was given by each club. The club members voted to make the contribution.

Western District President Catherine Travland discussed plans for the Western District Fall Board Meeting, Oct. 11, at Odessa Regional Medical Center, Odessa. She urged attendance to the meeting since TFWC President Marjorie Williamson and TFWC President-elect Dorothy Roberts will be attending and bringing important information from TFWC and GFWC.

President Travland also reported there would be a power-point presentation by Judy A. Drury and Sylvia A. Villa, Community and Justice Liaisons for Safe Place of the Permian Basin, a domestic violence shelter. Mrs. Travland urged members attending the WD Fall Board Meeting to bring gifts for victims of domestic violence at Safe Place in place of door prizes.

President Travland’s theme for the 2008-2009 is “Women Volunteers with Vision” and her special project is “Children’s Issues.”

During committee reports President Williamson informed members that former scholarship recipient, Trent Riley, is receiving international banking training on the west coast, and current TFWC Eleanor Tipps Scholarship recipient Vanessa Valeriano has transferred to Texas Tech for further training to be an architect.

She also reported the Modern Study Club Scholarship money for the fall semester had been mailed to Texas Tech for Joe Villalobos.

Happy Birthday was sung to Lena Harpham and a birthday card made by Joyce Morton and signed by club members was presented to Mrs. Harpham for her Sept. 13 birthday.

Roll call was answered by members stating what they envision for this club year. Hostesses Lena Harpham and Betty Lee served delicious refreshments to those in attendance.

Club projects for the bi-monthly meeting is to participate in “Operation Smile” and for all members to participate in club programs.

PEDC seeks county’s plans to maintain new projects

Pecos Economic Development Corp. members were supportive of a plan by Reeves County to improve local facilities as part of a $17 million bond issue planned for the November ballot. But members also said they want to know how the county plans to maintain those facilities before giving their full support to the proposal.

The board discussed a request by the county for PEDC Executive Director Robert Tobias to help drum up support for the project, and also discussed the sale of additional lots in the Morris Addition Seminole homebuilder Antonio Briones during their 90-minute meeting on Monday at City Hall.

The county is seeking to expand the Reeves County Golf Course, as well as construction of a hike-bike trail and a ballpark complex, as part of the $17 million bond issue.

“Most anybody who looks at these proposals recognizes how important these items are to the quality of life in this community,” Tobias told the board. However, both he and board members noted that the county has failed to maintain four ballparks in Maxey Park it took over from the Town of Pecos City, and wondered if the new facilities would be allowed to fall into a similar state of disrepair.

“We’ve built these quality of life projects, and the first thing is the vandalism issue” said city manager Joseph Torres, noting the problems Pecos has had maintaining the three-year-old skateboard park at Seventh and Alamo streets. “There is a true cost of maintenance and operations to most of these facilities that we don’t know.”

“I know there are a group of things we do need, but when you look at the way some of the thing are maintained now, what makes me think they’re going to be maintained better?” asked board member Bill Oglesby. “I haven’t seen the county finances, but they were strapped before. Now, do they have the money for a bond issue and maintenance?”

Reeves County has talked about building the new ballpark complex on the site of the current Maxey Park fields, or building an entirely new facility at Martinez Field. Tobias said as of now he’s not sure what the county’s plan is for the complex’s location.

“We’ve asked for some figures from the county on where they would obtain the (maintenance) funds. How do we maintain this looking forward 5-10 years,” said Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood, who like Torres is a member of the PEDC board. “My two bits are I’m for this, but they need to sit down and look at how they are going to maintain this five years from now, 10 years from now,” said board member Jimmy Dutchover.

Alligood said the county is looking at either increased fees at the golf course to make it a revenue producer for the county, or leasing operation of the course out to a private business.

“To me, we need to improve our amenities in our community in order to grow,” said board member Paul Hinojos. “I think it’s a necessity, even if it’s not a positive cash flow, because we pay for it with our taxes.

“Our baseball fields are in horrible condition,” he said. “It’s sad that this town is known for baseball, but we can’t even hold Little League tournaments here.”

“I don’t see how you can get a reassurance from the county that they’re going to maintain it,” said board member Leo Hung. “When I buy a car I may wash it every week. After one year I may wash it every month and after five years not at all.”

Hinojos said user activity fees in other cities to help defer maintenance costs are much higher than in Pecos. He called for increased user fees, and said community support would be needed too help those who couldn’t afford the higher fees, while he and Tobias said volunteers would also be needed to help make sure the new facilities are maintained.

Hung said he has been in talks as well with Precinct 4 Commissioner Ram Guerra about construction of a new park just to the north of the West of the Pecos Museum. He said they have been in talks with State Rep. Pete Gallego about receiving matching funds for the plan.

“I think the county proposes $1.2 million for that, and we can probably get to $2.2 million,” including the matching funds, Hung said.

The housing discussion centered on the request by Briones’ West Teas Dream Homes to acquire six more lots across Madison Street from the site where the building currently is putting up the first six houses, under an agreement with the PEDC and the Town of Pecos City.

He said Briones was interested mainly in a corner lot at the site, for which he already had an interested buyer. Hinojos asked if Briones planned to skip around on the site, and leave some lots vacant.

“Wouldn’t that be cherry picking?” he said. “We need to get together as a board and say, guys lets get this block finished.”

Tobias said the deal with West Texas Dream Homes gives Briones first right of refusal on the area in the 700 and the 800 block between Washington and Adams streets. “You can call it cherry picking, but he’s the only one who has come into the office and shown he is dedicated to the project.”

Hinojos also was concerned that the size of the homes might be so different that it would make the smaller homes harder to sell. Currently the homes are expected to be 1,200 to 1,500 square feet, and the agreement calls for a 90-day completion period for construction of each home.

“We can have the city put restrictions on it,” said Oglesby, who also asked if the PEDC would have to pay again for additional utility installations on the second block.

“He needs to put that electric bill into the sale. He doesn’t need to come back to us,” said Dutchover.

The board then voted to support the additional lots for Briones, under the current construction time period rules and with the cost of utility installation to be part of the construction cost.

In other action, the board approved a lease agreement for Tobias to move the PEDC office to the Richard Slack property at Fifth and Cypress streets, at a cost of $1,000 per month. The 4B PEDC office has been housed for the past six months in an office in the TransPecos Bank Building, where the 4A PEDC maintained an office during its nine years of operation, before being replaced by the 4B PEDC last October.

La Tienda burglar given six-year sentence

A Pecos man arrested in late February following an attempt to burglarize La Tienda Thriftway has been sentenced to six years in prison under a plea bargain agreement reached in July.

Richard Bart Adkins, 47, 1801 Jefferson St., received a six-year term for his attempt to burglarize La Tienda on the night of Feb. 25. Store workers allegedly surprised Adkins while he was inside the store and discovered the burglary attempt in the early morning hours of Feb. 25. Police arrested two people outside the store, but Adkins wasn’t arrested until 14 1/2 hours later, when he jumped from the ceiling down to the floor of the supermarket and was caught by employees trying to leave the store.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds said the sentence was handed out in 143rd District Court on July 18. “He had a prior, so it was enhanced to make it more than just a state jail felony,” Reynolds said. “That offense normally carries a two-year sentence, but because of his priors he got six years.”

La Tienda manager Oscar Ramirez said after Adkins was caught that he was spotted by a worker cleaning up back in the meat market area of the store when he finally came down from the ceiling area about 7:30 p.m. and then attempted to leave the building.

“Apparently he jumped down in the market area, and that’s when he fell and hurt himself,” Ramirez said. “Then he tried to walk out nonchalant. But the clean-up guy over there saw him, came up and told management, and that’s when we proceeded to call the police department.”

Ramirez said Adkins apparently had tried to break into the store’s safe and failed, then put about 30 cartons of cigarettes into a two trash bags. “He tried to get them out, but ended up leaving them in the dairy area.”

County’s jobs, jobless rate down for August

Reeves County’s unemployment rate for July was down four-tenths of a percent, according to figures released on Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission, as a drop in the county’s workforce offset a smaller decline in the total number of jobs. The TWC said the county had a 6.3 percent unemployment rate last month, down from 6.7 percent in July. Reeves County had 4,198 people in it labor force in August, a drop of 45 from the previous month, while the number of jobs in the county dropped by 26, to 3,932.

The jobless rate is still up from the 5.5 percent reported by the TWC in August of 2007, due mainly to a jump in the county’s labor force. Reeves County reported 3,841 persons were employed last August, 91 fewer than this year, while the workforce in the county has grown by 132 in that time.

The county’s jobless rate decline was better than average for the area, where most counties reported either unemployment was unchanged or just slightly lower from July to August.

Midland County’s unemployment rate was unchanged for the third straight month, at 3.1 percent. Midland lost 327 workers and 364 jobs last month, the TWC said. Neighboring Ector County’s unemployment also was unchanged from July, at 3.7 percent. The county lost 174 workers from July and 302 jobs.

Andrews County’s rate went from held at 3.3 percent in August. The number of workers declined by 45 and the job total fell by 46 for the month. Brewster County’s rate fell from 3.9 to 3.7 percent, as the county’s workforce jumped by 221 workers while the number of persons employed increased by 316 from July.

Crane County’s rate was unchanged last month from July at 4.1 percent. There was also no change in the labor force while the county added one job. Culberson County saw its rate climb from 2.9 to 3.1 percent with a loss of one person in the labor force and six jobs. Dawson County’s jobless rate also was unchanged, at 6.2 percent, with the number of workers and the number of jobs dropping by 33 from August.

Howard County’s unemployment rate went back to June’s 4.6 percent rate after a jump to 4.7 percent in July. The county lost four workers but added nine jobs. Pecos County’s rate was up from 5.1 to 5.2 percent last month, as the county’s workforce was down by 30 while the job total fell by 39. Presidio County saw its jobless rate jumped again, from 12.8 percent to 13.9 percent, as the county added 33 while the number of jobs fell by seven from July,

In Ward County, unemployment was unchanged at 4.2 percent in August, with the number of workers declining by 62 while the job total fell by 61. Winkler County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.9 to 4.2 percent, dropping eight people from the workforce and 19 jobs from July’s totals.

Loving County saw its unemployment rate jump back into double digits, at 11.9 percent from 9.3 percent in July. The nation’s least-populated county lost one worker and two jobs last month, and now has 42 people in its workforce and 37 employed.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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