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Tuesday, January 18, 2000

PEDC touts college, dairy recruiting success

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 18, 2000 - College and cows were two success stories the Pecos Economic Development Corporation's board of directors were updated on Monday evening, during their meeting on the second floor of the Security State Bank building.

The board heard about progress on Odessa College's new Pecos campus and the increased local enrollment figures, and were also told construction of a new dairy to handle 2,000 cattle should be completed in six months.

Kyle Hoodenpyle said the dairy would be located between Pecos and Toyah, past the Texas A&M Experiment Station on Interstate 20 and would handle 2,000 Jersey cows. "Most of the cows around here are Holsteins, but Jerseys handle the hot weather better and have a high butter fat and (milk) protein content," he said.

Hoodenpyle brought numbers showing the expenses the dairy will require, much of which can be spent in the local community. He also discussed the efforts needed to attract other dairies into the Trans-Pecos area.

"We'll have 20 employees," said Hoodenpyle, and the dairy will be a 24-hour operation. "I've had a lot of people come out there looking for jobs."

He said in terms of feed, the dairy would require 317 trucks of silage, 317 of alfalfa hay and corn, 40 trucks of cottonseed, and 40 more of other types of feed for the cows annually. Much of the grain can be bought locally, and at a cost of $3.20 per day to feed one cow, the costs per year for 2,000 head would come in at over $3.3 million.

"The dairy business overturns 2 ½ times spending in the county," Hoodenpyle said. "The net worth of the dairy is $4 million. Where else is Pecos going to get a business this size to spend this much money?

"A lot of farmers out there are looking to grow silage for us," he said, adding it's also an easier crop for area farmers to harvest.

While the area's heat will require special misting and cooling systems to be installed, along with some other new milking technology, Jim Hoodenpyle told the board the dry conditions around Pecos boost the chances of relocating dairies here from other parts of the country.

"Environmental concerns are driving dairies out of areas like California, Colorado and East Texas," he said. Waste management and disposal are a major concern, and have hurt dairies in the Sulphur Springs area, Hoodenpyle said.

Kyle Hoodenpyle said the dairy would produce one tanker of mile daily, which would be sent to Co-ops either in Lovington or Roswell, N.M., where a number of dairies already have relocated. He also gave PEDC board members several articles on dairy relocation, and said Pecos should draw up a plan to attract dairy owners.

"You need to take care of all these (relocation) problems for them. Offer them a package instead of just throwing money at them," he said. Hoodenpyle added that the Texas Department of Agriculture has a financing program to help such businesses get established and stimulate the state's agricultural economy.

Before the report on the dairy, the board heard from Ned Pilcher of Odessa College, who told them registration for the Spring 2000 semester is at 234 for classes outside of the school's criminal justice course. That's up from 63 at the same point last year.

"We still have two weeks of late registration to go," Pilcher said, noting that registration for OC's Pyote campus has declined. "Many people taking courses over there are coming back to Pecos."

The college began renovation last week of the old White's building in the Airlawn Shopping Center for use as the school's Pecos campus. "The facility should be ready by May," Pilcher said. "The rule of thumb is when a community college has a facility in town you can expect about four percent of the population to be enrolled. Pecos, with 12,000 people, you can expect about 480 to register."

"When we started this last year, I expected the college to be two or three years down the road. I'm really surprised at how fast we've gotten this done," said board member Mike Burkholder, who credited PEDC director Gari Ward for speeding up the project."

Bob Curry of BCTI also credited Ward with his company's success in getting an enterprise zone designation for its expansion plans. "I have to commend Gari for BCTI getting this enterprise zone approved. Other people and small businesses need to take advantage of this and need to see Gari," Curry said. "They key is he knows people in Austin and can hand-carry the (enterprise zone) applications there."

"We're not going to be a large employer like we were a couple of years ago," Curry said, but the company, which was sold back in May to International Reclamation of Vancouver, B.C., and is now called BCTI-RC. "We've got 10 working right now, and we hope to increase that to around 25 workers," along with going to 24/7 operation.

He said the enterprise zone allows BCTI-RC to get back 80 percent of the 6¼-cent state sales tax the company sends to Austin. The designation does not affect the two-cent share that goes to Pecos and the Reeves County Hospital District.

Board members said they would go through what the PEDC has done over the past year and discuss its near-future plans with the Pecos City Council during their Jan. 27 meeting. That came during a discussion of the corporation's budget and by-laws at the end of the meeting.

The board approved the $124,000 budget for 2000, and voted to recommend to the council keeping the board's present membership for another year. Officers for the board also will be the same as in 1999.

Board member Frank Spencer also asked Ward if he could look at finding businesses that could take advantage of some of the local labor force from the Freeport McMoRan sulphur mine, which closed down last year. "They've got some welders and others who are pretty computer literate," he said. "We can go find out through TEDC (Texas Economic Development Corporation) what the market demand is."

RCH hoping drive can ease blood shortage

Staff Writer
Blood is becoming one of life's most precious commodities with the demand for it increasing during this year's busy flu season.

"We're hoping for a big drive," said Reeves County Hospital Director of Program Development, Community Services Nancy Ontiveros about the blood drive, which began today and will continue throughout the afternoon and early evening.

"There's not only a national shortage of blood, but also a shortage in the area," said Ontiveros. "With the increase of patients in all the hospitals, the need for blood has increased."

Reeves County Hospital, the Auxiliary and the United Blood Services of Odessa are coordinating the effort in an attempt to keep supplies above critical levels.

"We're hoping to get at least 40 units," said Ontiveros. "We'd be thrilled if we got a 100 units, but we're hoping to get at least that."

"We've also extended the hours, we'll be here until 7 p.m.," said Ontiveros. "This was because of replies from the community, so we're accommodating the community also."

A successful blood drive will at least help to keep the local supply at a steady level, according to Ontiveros.

Hospitals have been full over the past few weeks and the need for blood supplies has risen dramatically.

Donating blood today will help replenish the supply that the hospital is using daily. "We've far exceeded our usage," said Ontiveros.

T-shirts and free snacks will be given out to all who want to donate, according to Lead Donor Specialist Ray Chavana, with United Blood Services.

An aphrasis machine will be used today during the donations. "This machine separates the blood into platelets and plasmas, Havana explained. "It not only helps by separating the blood, but it also gives the recipient a better product."

Everyone is encouraged to donate blood today and help family members, friends and community individuals health-wise.

Conservation Reserve sign-ups get underway

PECOS, Jan. 18, 2000 - The Reeves/Loving County FSA Office announced that the next general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) would be held over a four-week period beginning today and running through Feb.11, 2000.

This will be another opportunity for landowners to sign up for a voluntary program to get financial and technical assistance for improving their land, water and wildlife resources. Farmers who either haven't tried to get into the program, whose CRP contract offers were not accepted during Sign-up 18 last year, or who have contracts expiring, this is the time to make new contract offers.

Under this voluntary program, landowners enter into contracts with USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to place erodible and other environmentally sensitive cropland in conservation practices for 10 to 15 years. In exchange, landowners receive annual rental payments for the land and cost share assistance for establishing those practices.

Annual rental payments are made based on the agricultural rental value of the land and cost-share assistance is provided in an amount equal to not more than 50 percent of the participants costs in establishing approved practices.

Under Sign-up 20, all eligible offers will continue to be evaluated and ranked using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) based on the environmental benefits expected to accrue if the land is enrolled in the CRP. Use of the EBI ensures that only the most environmentally sensitive lands are selected and that all offers are considered fairly and equitably.

Interested producers and landowners should contact the Reeves/Loving Farm Service Agency office at 1417 W Third St., or call 915 445-2616 for additional information.

Gomez seeking third term as  sheriff

PECOS Jan. 18, 2000 - Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez has filed to run for a third term as Reeves County sheriff in the upcoming Democratic primary.

Gomez, who was first elected in 1992, will face challenger Tony Aguilar in the March 14 primary election.

He was born and raised in Reeves County, the son of Raymundo J. Gomez and the late Nieves Bustamantes Gomez.

Gomez attended school in Pecos and then joined the armed forces. He received his Associate Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Odessa College.

"I have lived in this area and understand the needs of the people who live in Reeves County," said Gomez. "This understanding has helped me in making decisions on how I run my department and how best to provide the service that the people of Reeves County expect from their sheriff."

He has worked for the community since 1977, when he started in law enforcement working for the Reeves County Sheriff's Department. "I worked in the jail and on the streets as a deputy, and this has helped me in running the overall operation of the department as sheriff," said Gomez.

"I will continue to fight the war on drugs in this community and I am also committed to the young people of this county. They are our future and we as adults need to help guide them to make the most out of their lives," he said.

To reach his goals in the fight against illegal drugs in the community, Sheriff Gomez helped form the Reeves County/City of Pecos Drug Task Force.

"We can effectively fight the war on drugs when both the county and the city, state and federal agencies in order to provide the best protection and service to the community," he said. "That is why I helped form and also serve as Project Director to the newly formed Trans Pecos Drug Task Force. The Trans Pecos Drug Task Force works within the communities in this region in partnership with the other agencies to help in fighting illegal drugs."

Gomez has also had his department join the S.T.A.R. program, in order to provide assistance and manpower to other communities in the event of a disaster or riot.

"The S.T.A.R. program is a commitment that the sheriffs and chiefs of police who have joined the program have made to provide each other special equipment, training, and manpower that normally would not be available to our departments in times of disaster, jail riots or escapes, bombings or hostage situations," he said.

He has also worked to combat juvenile crime in Reeves County by providing a Deputy Sheriff, who serves as a juvenile officer to work with the school district to combat gang problems and truancy problems.

"Young people need to stay in school and get their education. They can't be productive citizens of this community, if the only education they get is on the `streets' instead of in school," said Gomez. "If re-elected, I will continue to work with the parents, the concerned citizens and the school district to help the youth in our community."

Sheriff Gomez said he has improved the department by hiring men and women who are dedicated to providing service to the citizens of Reeves County.

"I went to a `fleet' system, which brings fully equipped and marked cars for the deputies to drive. This helps in preventing crime due to the increased visibility of the deputies in the community."

Gomez has computerized the sheriff's department in order to increase efficiency and accuracy in record keeping, has worked to meet jail standards, and has worked with the Reeves County Commissioners Court to keep his department within budget in order to keep taxes low.

"We have to work smarter with less money, but I will always strive to provide the best law enforcement service to this community. I will continue to look for ways to improve the Reeves County Sheriff's Department," he said. "With your vote and continued support, I will continue to work to keep the citizens of Reeves County safe, to protect their property, and to help make this a good community to live and raise our children."

Democrats set candidate forum  Friday

The Reeves County Democratic Party will host a "Meet the Candidates," Chili Supper, at 7 p.m., this Friday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Guest speaker will be the honorable Linda Lowrey, a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee.

Admission fee of $2 will be charged to help pay for the cost of the meal.

Come and listen to the candidates talk about their campaigns.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-8-15-21-34. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $74,849. Winning ticket sold in: Borger. Matching four of five: 234. Prize: $480.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 3-2-0 (three, two, zero)


PECOS, Jan. 18, 2000 - High Monday 82. Low this morning 44. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. Wind light and variable. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and continued unseasonably warm. High near 80. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 70s.

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