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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, August 9, 2004

Blown transformer blamed for power outage

A blown transformer was to blame for a power outage that forced La Tienda Thriftway to close for about three hours Saturday afternoon.

Store manager Noe De lo Santos said the blown Texas-New Mexico Power Co. transformer caused power to go out inside most of the Eddy Street supermarket shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday. The problem also caused a compressor that handles the frozen food refrigerators in the center of the store to burn out.

“I had to pull those cases, but other than that, we’re up and going,” De lo Santos said on Monday. “The rest of the refrigeration is holding the temperatures OK, the only problem was the compressor going out.”

“We had customers still coming in trying to shop. Our registers were still up, but once Texas-New Mexico came in, they had to turn all the power off to the store,” he added.

None of the other nearby stores was affected by the loss of power, and the incident was unrelated to a larger power outage in the area on Saturday. A strong storm in northern Hudspeth County downed power poles in the Dell City area, causing customers in Hudspeth and Culberson counties in Texas and Eddy and Otero counties in New Mexico to lose power for about 18 to 24 hours.

According to the El Paso Times, the storm knocked down 12 to 14 electrical poles belonging to the Rio Grande Electric Cooperative, Inc. The strong storms were part of a line of storms that moved out of the mountains of southern New Mexico into Texas, before breaking up early Sunday morning just to the north of the Pecos area.

Barstow awaits delivery of new post office

Postmaster Gloria Avila is hoping to have a new home for the Barstow Post Office by this fall, after 3 1/2 years of waiting. But for now, mail is being hand-delivered to post office box customers from a temporary location in the small Ward County community. “They are going to set up a module for me, but it’s going to be awhile,” said Avila, who has been operating out of the back of Ward County Irrigation District No. 1. The temporary site has no provision for post office boxes, as with regular buildings.

“It’s really hard because the customers need to get the mail directly from me,” said Avila. “They can’t just go to a box and get it.”

Avila said that while she’s handing out mail, she can’t do anything else, making her job harder and more tedious.

“The customers have been complaining, because they have to wait until I’m here and office space is a little bit cramped,” said Avila.

The post office is open from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and from 1-5 p.m.

“If the customer wants to get his mail during his lunch hour at noon, he can’t, he has to wait until I reopen,” said Avila.

Barstow has been without a regular post office building for several years, since the original building on FM 516 downtown was shut due to structural safety concerns. For a while, the Post Office operated out of a trailer next to the original building’s site, before moving into the Ward County Irrigation District’s building.

In April of 2001, Avila said that they had been told to move into the mobile unit by officials at the U.S. Postal Service’s main regional office in San Antonio because of concerns about the safety of the unoccupied building next door.

“They said they were afraid the building next door would collapse and that it might fall on the post office,” she said at the time.

Last week, Avila said that while the plan is already in progress for her to get her own “little building” it will be a while before that finally takes place. “They want to do everything by the book,” said Avila.

Avila said that hopefully by October, she could be operating out of her own building space.

“I can’t do anything else when I’m handing out the mail and that puts me behind on some other work,” said Avila.

The new post office will be located at 315 S. Mackey St. “It will be located on the other side of the water department,” said Avila.

Avila said that there are about 230 customers at the Barstow Post Office. “That’s quite a bit of people to take care of,” she said.

Barstow’s need for a new Post Office came at a time when budget cutbacks ended a period of construction of new facilities across the United States. The Postal Service in 1999 announced it would seek a new location for its Pecos Post Office, to replace the three-story Post Office building at Fourth and Oak streets that was built in 1935.

A site at Eighth and Cedar streets was selected later in the year and plans for the new building with added parking spaces was drawn up. But those plans were delayed the following year, and just about the time the problems were found with the original Barstow Post Office site, the Postal Service said it was freezing more than 800 new construction and leasing projects across the country due to the agency’s budget deficit.

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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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