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Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Council votes for increased PEDC briefings

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council voted to require monthly updates from the Pecos Economic Development Corporation on its activities, after resuming their discussion about public accessibility to PEDC information and benefits given to its president, Gari Ward, during their regularly scheduled meeting this morning.

The PEDC was created in an effort to boost the struggling local economy by attracting new businesses to Pecos. Part of the PEDC's funding comes from a one-sixth share of the city's 11/2-cent sales tax.

During today's meeting in council chambers at City Hall, Councilman Danny Rodriguez told PEDC board members that he had one question regarding the budget that he did not have answered at the last meeting.

"The way I understand it, typically a person is paid for mileage or car expense, but not both," Rodriguez said.

"In the original contract, the committee assigned with hiring the PEDC president agreed to terms that would pay both," PEDC board Chairman Oscar Saenz said.

Local CPA Randy Graham, who has handled the corporation's audits, added that the $600 per month was paid for car expense, but that the mileage expense was a way for the taxes to be offset.

"If Mr. Ward doesn't turn in any mileage during a particular month, then he has to claim the car expense as income," he said. "However, if Mr. Ward does turn in mileage during a given month, then that takes away from the amount of car expense that must be claimed as income."

Councilman Frank Sanchez then asked Graham if he thought that the monthly expenses need additional review other than his own and Saenz's.

"I think they need to be reviewed. I look at the expenses every month, but the (entire) board needs to look as well," Graham said.

Saenz replied that he had a problem with the statement that the PEDC board needs to be more accountable.

"As chairman I review the expenses, if I see a problem then I take it to Mr. Ward and Mr. Graham, but if I see no problem then I don't understand the need for additional review," he said.

"Does the board call a meeting to review the monthly invoices when they come in?" Mayor Dot Stafford asked.

"No, when the expenses come in I ask the questions and when they are answered, I send a report to the other board members and the City Council," Saenz said.

"As a matter of business practice, the board doesn't meet on a monthly basis to approve expenses?" Sanchez asked.

"No, I don't see a reason to hold meetings just for the sake of holding meetings," Saenz said.

"But don't you think it would be better to hold monthly meetings to allow the public some insight into what the board is doing, at least then there would be a public opportunity for people to ask questions?" Sanchez asked. "The public needs to know what is going on, and if you hold monthly meetings then anyone who wants to come can attend."

"What you are suggesting is that the chairman of the board doesn't have the discretion to oversee this corporation," PEDC board member Mike Burkholder said.

"No that not what I said, I just think that it would be in the public best interest to allow a chance for the taxpayers to ask questions and find out what their money is going towards," Sanchez said.

"The problem with that is at those kinds of meetings people want us to discuss ongoing projects. That kind of release of information causes us to lose potential business," Saenz said. "That is why economic development must maintain some sort of confidentiality."

Mayor Stafford stated that those types of issues that required confidentiality could be discussed in executive session.

"I just feel like there is miscommunication here. If you were to hold monthly meetings, then the public could feel better about the situation," Councilman Rodriguez said.

"I would request that in lieu of these monthly meetings, that one representative of the PEDC board could attend one of the council meetings per month to deliver the monthly expense report and answer any questions that the council might have," Saenz said.

"That is what we are looking for, some way for the citizens to question what is going on," Rodriguez said.

"We have a very big project on the table right now, but it is very confidential," Ward told council members.

"Right there, that is the type of release of information is bad because that spreads rumors around town and if the deal doesn't go through the citizens feel let down even more so," Saenz said.

"Let us move forward in a positive way, if you were to be here for one of the council meeting per month, I think that would allow the public the access they desire to the PEDC," Rodriguez said.

"Why don't the people go to the PEDC directly if they have questions, that is how I was raised, if you had a question then you went to the source for the answer," Councilman Benavides asked.

"The public may not come to the PEDC office because they are not aware of its location or availability for questions," Stafford said.

"I think that the problem can be solved if the PEDC were to send a representative to the second monthly meeting," Rodriguez said.

"I could print off a more detailed report of expenses for each month," Graham said.

The council unanimously approved the motion from Rodriguez and on a second from Tellez to have a PEDC representative attend the second council meeting of every month to answer any questions the council may have about the corporation's activities.

In other business the council voted to move the second council meeting to Monday, December 22, due to the Christmas holiday. Also, Mayor Stafford asked the council members if they had any news on the water leak reported on the radio yesterday. No one did.

KIUN radio reported Wednesday the city water department was asking citizens of Pecos to conserve water until the leak was repaired. City crews have been working on repairing leaks to the Worsham Field water line since Monday, after leaks were discovered last week. However, water superintendent Octavio Garcia was on vacation this week, and was not at this morning's council meeting.

The council also approved the municipal reports for the month of November and placed on the agenda for the next meeting, the hearing of bids for the new police vehicles and the establishment of a committee to screen the applicants for the city manager position.

Police Chief Clay McKinney has been serving as acting city manager since Carlos Yerena resigned last month to take the same position in Kingsville. The deadline for applications is Dec. 19.

Area kids receive flu shots, shortages reported

From Staff and Wire Reports

Flu shots were given to over 120 children on Wednesday, as an early outbreak of the illness across the nation has cut into the available vaccine supplies.

Pecos Valley Rural Health Clinic was on hand at the Pecos Kindergarten administering the vaccine to children in the community who qualified for Medicaid, had CHIPS insurance or no insurance at all.

"It's difficult to determine how many individuals have been hospitalized because of the flu, the state does not require the number of cases to be documented in this county," said Nancy Ontiveros, Director of Program Development/Community Services at Reeves County Hospital.

Ontiveros said that individuals have been hospitalized for complications stemming from the flu. "They have been hospitalized for upper respiratory problems, elevated fever and the elderly and children are more at risk," she said.

Ontiveros said that doctors in the area have reported a high number of flu cases. "All the doctors are booked and cases of strep throat, which is accompanied by high fever," she said.

Texas was the first state this season where the flu was considered widespread, the most severe ranking by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The flu season usually stretches from October to May, peaking in December and January, but this year cases were reported as early as September.

Doctors and hospitals in Texas are not required to report flu cases, so Texas does not have flu case counts.

In a typical year 36,000 Americans die from the influenza virus, but flu researchers expect a higher death toll this year.

Preventative measures can be taken by covering the mouth when coughing, washing their hands frequently and trying to lessen the exposure to sick people, according to Ontiveros.

The Pecos Valley Rural Health Clinic will again be administering the flu vaccine next Wednesday, beginning at 2 p.m.

"We encourage everyone in the community to get their flu shot to prevent serious illness," said Ontiveros. "Even if they get the flu it will lessen the severity of the illness," she said.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, county health departments are running out of flu vaccines.

Denton County administered its last flu shot Tuesday night after hundreds of people "came out in droves" to clinics in Denton and Lewisville the past few days, said clinic director Suzy Hancock.

Collin County ran out before 5 p.m. Wednesday after vaccinating 490 people in one day. As of late Wednesday afternoon, Tarrant County had 200 doses left and expected to run out later in the day.

Because of Dallas County's dwindling supply, health officials on Wednesday started limiting flu vaccines to high-risk patients and canceled a weekend flu shot clinic.

Some providers are having to pay more for flu vaccines as the demand has skyrocketed in recent weeks, said Doug McBride, spokesman for the Texas Department of Health, which was charged $6.60 per dose earlier this season but $10 a dose recently by a supplier.

The Texas Attorney General's Office has not received complaints of clinics or pharmacies charging customers outrageous prices, said spokesman Tom Kelley.

"Prices are higher because the supply is so tight. That's a phenomenon of the market," Kelley said.

School board to get update on new field

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2003 -- A report on the new Pecos High School softball field and recognition of the Texas State Champions - Dairy Cattle Judging Team top the agenda for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting scheduled for tonight.

The board will meet at 6 p.m., in the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy and the public is invited to attend the open session.

The Dairy Cattle Judging Team took top honors at the state competition last May, while the $298,000 softball field is almost completed, in preparation for the start of workouts in late January for the 2004 softball season.

The board will also acknowledge donations from the Pecos Eagle Athletic Booster Club, the Reeves County Teachers Credit Union and the Reeves County Tax Appraiser District.

Other items include a letter from the Texas Education Agency - Certificate of Recognition for Early Implementation of GASB 34 and 2002-2003 School Report Cards from TEA will be discussed.

Board members will discuss and take possible action on revision of TASB Policy DEC Local -sick leave pool; foreclosed properties; request by Reeves County Teachers Credit Union to use the Pecos High School auditorium and waive fees; first reading for TASB Policy Update 71 and 2003-2004 budget amendments.

The group will meet behind closed doors in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. Seq., Section 551.074: a. To deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of a public officer or employee; (1) Discuss extension and terms of Superintendent's contract. B. To hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee.

The board will take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session and consider and possible action on extension and terms of superintendent's contract.

Regular agenda items include: consider and possible action on professional personnel: resignations, retirements, appointments, change of contract, reassignments; tax report; cafeteria report and commodities received; depository securities report; current bills and financial report; investment transaction report; reconciled bank balance and Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.

N. Temple church marking 50th anniversary

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2003 -- A food bank, Bible Study, youth groups and inspirational messages can be found at a church that was chartered 50 years ago and is celebrating their anniversary this month.

The church was a mission church that spun off of West Park Baptist Church. "About two years later, December of 1953, it was organized as an actual church," said church member Kathy Hurley.

Pastor Mac McCormick said that mission church, now called North Temple Baptist Church and located at 300 N. Walnut St., started as a mission church in 1950 and was organized in 1953. "During that time, Rube Patillo was the pastor, when it was a mission church," said McCormick.

A special Christmas Program is scheduled for this Sunday and an anniversary celebration will be incorporated into the event. The service will begin at 6 p.m., Sunday and everyone is invited to attend.

Also, during this time a long-time Deacon at the church will be celebrating his 45th year in that position.

Clarence Cox has been a Deacon at North Temple since the late 1950s and will be honored for his many years of service.

"Our church has also been debt free, we've never had to borrow money for anything," said Hurley.

She said that many renovations have been made to the facility that began as a little church on the north side of town.

"We've done many things to it and through it all, we have never had to borrow any money," Hurley said.

Mac McCormick has been the pastor for the past 11 years. "Some churches change pastors a lot and we're one of the churches that have not seen many changes in that regard," said Hurley.

The church averages about 70 members and about 50 Sunday school students.

"For such a small church, we can still support a food bank," said Hurley.

The food bank is open to non-church members and about 160 boxes are delivered or picked up by families in need around the community.

"Two years ago, we had about 40 boxes each time, that was when we first established the food bank," said Hurley. "In October, we had 488 boxes," said Hurley. "We spent about $1,614, from donations from church members and a few outside donations."

Donations like this are what the keep the food bank going, according to McCormick.

"We have a good group of citizens that attend the church and really help out," he said.

Some of the programs offered at the church include the Women's Missionary Union (WMU). "They study about missionary work and do a lot of donations to mission work," said Hurley.

Children in Action is a program for boys and girls in the first through sixth grades.

"They study about missionary work and do a lot of local projects at the nursing home and hospital," said Hurley, while ACTEENS is also a missionary oriented program for girls in the 7th through 12th grades.

"We sponsor a fall concert and Bible Costume Contest and Chili Cookoff," said Hurley.

The program was established 18 years ago and is an alternative to Trick-Or-Treating. "It's usually very well attended," said Hurley.

Revivals are sponsored by the church every year and the next one is coming up in about three months, according to McCormick.

"We did one at the civic center and will be doing one in March," said McCormick.

The church sponsors the He-Brews Coffee Shop, not only financially, but with manpower. Members volunteer their time at the establishment, which was created for the youth in the community.

"We work with other Baptist churches on local events and have a puppet ministry every Sunday and have the puppets at the Fall Fair every year," said Hurley.

Several years ago, church members attended a workshop on puppeteering.

Janet Prewit is son leader and Carol Bagley is the pianist for the devoted group. Carolyn Winkles is treasurer and Deacons include: Clarence Cox, Kenneth Winkles, Bob Bagley, Bud Nelson and Harold Dickson.

"We have excellent Sunday School teachers. They are well-rounded," said McCormick.

Classes are offered for every age group at the church and everyone is welcome. Sunday School is from 9:45 until 10:45; Worship Services, 11 a.m. until noon; Bible Study is held Sunday night from 6-7 p.m.; Wednesday, a Discipleship; Youth group meets from 6-7 on Wednesday and is open to all junior high and high school students.

The CIA group meets from 5:30-6:45 p.m., on Wednesdays and the WMU's meet the first and third Thursdays of the month.

"Our church pays for the youth to go to camp, something not a lot of churches do or can afford," said Hurley.

"We also sponsor Hot Line, on KIUN, every Thursday and the song of inspiration six days a week," said McCormick. "We also participate in Tuesdays inspirational message."

The McCormicks were honored in 2001, with the Hidden Hero/Profile of Courage Award at the annual Pecos Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

Mac McCormick, who started a career as a railroad telegraph operator and retired as a Vice President after 40 years, and his wife Billie received the honor during the banquet.

"These two without any fanfare have silently and gently brought great influence to this community, including their family, and countless friends," said Ken Winkles, Sr. who presented the award to the McCormicks. "Not only by their achievements, but by the way they have conducted their own lives."

The couple have lived in Pecos since 1948, and Winkles said the city became a better place, for they came to work, to share, to give of their talents and to serve God and raise their family, and these things they did with all their heart.

"It was here in Pecos that he was ordained a deacon in the West Park Baptist Church, and it was there he felt the call to the ministry, to which he followed God's will in his life. A life that has impacted many others since. In 1963 he took his first Pastorate in Orla, and later in Coyanosa and the past several years at North Temple Baptist Church," said Winkles.

KPTX to broadcast Fort Davis-Strawn six-man title game

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2003 -- KPTX Radio will be broadcasting the six-man football state championship game on Saturday between the Fort Davis Indians and the Strawn Greyhounds, scheduled for Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

General Manager Bill Randal Cole said the 98.3 FM signal now reaches down into the Fort Davis area, which will make the game available to residents there beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Fort Davis and Strawn both are 13-1 on the season. The Indians won the District 6-A six-man title this season, and are seeking their first six-man championship after dropping down from 11-man football prior to the start of the 2002 season.


PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2003 -- High Wednesday 62. Low this morning 29. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Friday: Increasing cloudiness. Highs near 60. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Lows near 30. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. West winds 5 to 10 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s to the lower 30s.

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