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Monday, January 31, 2000

Post Office's new building facing delays

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 31, 2000 - Construction of the new United States Post Office to be built on South Cedar Street is four to six weeks behind schedule, and that is why no work has started at the site.

That's the word from Pecos Post Master Ramona Sterling.

"The Postal Service is working on about 25 new post offices simultaneously and the paperwork is behind," Sterling said. "It is my understanding that the bids for a general contractor will be posted in the early part of February."

The Post Office building will be built on the east side of Cedar between Eighth and Ninth streets. It will replace the 65-year-old post office building located at Fourth and Oak streets.

Sterling said that the bids would have to be advertised for 30 days before the Postal Service began the process of awarding the contract. She expects the contract to be awarded sometime in March.

"Once the contract is awarded thing should proceed quickly," she said. "The contract should specify a time frame of 150 to 180 days for completion. I would be surprised if the contractor took much longer than that."

Sterling said that she was looking forward to moving into the new facility.

"The new post office will be much better than the current building," she said, noting that the current post office was built in the 1930s.

"It will be especially nice for our senior citizens who won't have to cope with the steps we have here," she said.

Sterling said that on icy days the steps outside the post office posed a hazard for everyone, and especially senior citizens.

"We haven't had much ice this winter but it has been a problem in winters past," she said.

Sterling said that traffic flow around the new post office should be much better than around the current building.

"It should be a lot nicer for everyone concerned," she said.

Eagles claim boys' district swimming title

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - The pool was a little hot and the times were a little slow for the District 3-4A swim meet Saturday, but there was an explanation for both and neither ended up making much of a difference in the outcome of this year's meet.

The Pecos Eagle boys scored an easy win for their ninth district title in 11 years, taking top honors with 127 points to 79 for runner-up Andrews. On the girls' side Monahans won its third title in the past four seasons, beating out Pecos by a 93-75 final margin.

Even with temperatures outside in the 20s, it was hot and humid for swimmers and fans inside the Fort Stockton High School pool during Saturday morning's preliminaries. Conditions were a little cooler by the time the finals rolled around at 5 p.m., but for the first time in several years, no new records were set by any of the swimmers.

While the water temperature had something to do with that, Eagles' coach Terri Morse said the creation of a regional meet for Class 4A and below schools for the first time this year was a bigger factor.

"All the kids who could have set records at the meet, the coaches didn't rest them before the meet because of the 4A-5A split," she said. "They want to set things up for the regionals. The only ones I rested were the ones who may not have had a chance to go to regionals.

The boys collected eight of the 12 first place finishes at the meet, including a sweep of all three relays. The 200 yard medley relay team came closest to setting a new mark, finishing with a 1:45.11 time, one second off Pecos' own district record of two years ago. The 200 yard freestyle team had the closest race, with Cortney Freeman pulling away on the final leg to give the Eagles a 1:37.11 to 1:38.91 win over Monahans, while the 400 freestyle relay team won by nearly 18 seconds over Monahans, with a 3:32.88 time.

Senior Kevin Bates was named the outstanding swimmer on the boys' side for the second year in a row, though he fell short of breaking his own district mark of 22.07 in the 50 freestyle, winning with a 22.62 time. Bates also just missed his 1999 mark in the 100 freestyle, winning with a 50.20 time, which was .61 behind last year's record.

Also winning a pair of gold medals was Tye Edwards. He was edged in the prelims of the 100 butterfly by Abilene Wylie's John Ouimette, but came back to win in the finals with a 58.21 time to 58.43 for Ouimette. Later, Edwards won the 100-yard backstroke with a 58.35 time.

Pecos' other gold medal came from Randall Reynolds, who won the 200 freestyle with a 2:01.17 time, just .43 seconds ahead of Andrews' Michael Ashabranner. Reynolds also tied Ouimette for second later in the 500 freestyle, with Andrews' Justin Waldrop winning with a 5:33.51 time to 5:33.87 for the Eagle and Bulldog swimmers.

Pecos had three other second place finishes Saturday. Freeman was second to Bates in the 100 freestyle with a 23.61 time, Grant Holland was edged by Walldrop in the 200 individual medley, 2:16.13 to 2:16.80, and Jason Lopez was second by one second to Monahans' Chris Cain in the 100 yard breaststroke with a 1:06.08 time.

Holland placed third in that race, while Freeman was third in the 50-yard freestyle and Lopez was third in the 100 fly. Other Top 6 finishers in the meet, who automatically earned berths at the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock on Feb. 10-12, were Patrick McChesney, third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 free; Scott Pounds, fourth in the 100 freestyle and fifth in 1 meter diving; Wesley Roberts fourth in 1 meter diving; Mike Howard, fifth in the 500 freestyle; Luis Nieto, sixth in the 100 yard backstroke; and Craig Wein sixth in the 100 yard freestyle.

Pecos' girls were actually ahead of Monahans in points until the

FSA sets meeting on farm aid programs

PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - The Reeves/Loving County Farm Service Agency is as busy as ever these days, offering several programs that are being administered for local producers.

These include AMTA, NAP, CDP, CRP, EQIP, and OP programs, according to Kathy Williams, County Executive Director for the Pecos office.

A meeting for producers who would like more information about the various programs will be held Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Texas-New Mexico Power Co.'s Reddy Room on Stafford Blvd. Williams will be on hand to answer any questions from local producers.

The AMTA program is the annual payment for farms signed into the Production Flexibility Program back in 1996. This program is scheduled to run through 2002 with an annual payment which producers can request to receive in any month between October and the following September, in two 50 percent increments or 100 percent in any one month. The local office makes these payments on the last week of the month to any eligible producer who has requested payment in that month.

CDP is the 1999 Crop Disaster Program and is for all crop losses in 1999, insured, non-insured and non-insurable. Sign-up for the disaster program has been underway since December and will continue through February 25.

"We have had a good deal of response to the disaster program this year" said Williams. "However we have had only one application for quality adjustment. I don't think most of our cotton producers are really aware that the production reported to our office from the insurance companies do not include quality adjustments."

Quality adjustments are based on loan value by the unit. Producers can see the loan value of their cotton by looking at their recap sheets from the gin. For the disaster program the quality adjustments come into play if a producers loan value for a unit is less than .5106 per pound. The .5106 is the county adjusted loan rate for 1999.

For example a producer who had 10782 pounds of cotton with an average loan rate of .4121 would have an adjusted production of only 8701 lbs. This lower production quantity increases the amount of disaster payment due to the producer.

"Any producer who is unsure of whether or not he qualifies for the quality adjustment needs to come by the office and we can figure it out pretty quickly, we don't want any producer to miss out on any benefit to which he or she is entitled," according to Williams.

Any producers who have never reported his or her acreage to the FSA office may still be entitled to the disaster payments for 1999. "Just because we don't have information about a particular farm in our files doesn't mean that that producer did not suffer a loss in 1999. Some people don't feel their operation is big enough to warrant reporting to our office and this could lose them some benefits over the years," Williams said.

The acronym CRP stands for Conservation Reserve Program. The 20th CRP sign-up started the third week of January, and producers who wish to put their land into CRP must make application prior to Feb. 11. Currently cost-shares are being paid for grass planted for previous sign-ups that have been held in this area, according to Williams. The annual CRP program payments are made in October of each year.

EQIP is the Environmental Quality Improvement Program. Williams said the Reeves/Loving office has just received word that another EQIP funding window will be open in February. "Anyone wishing to apply for a practice to be cost-shared should come to the office as soon as possible to have their application rated in time for the funding window in February," said Williams.

Applications are taken year-round, but usually there is only once or twice a year when the funding windows are made available, and this is when the applications are rated and some applications are chosen to receive cost-share.

NAP is the non-insurable crops assistance program. This program is for producers who have suffered a loss on crops currently not insurable in Reeves County. "We had several producers lose cantaloupes and onions and hay crops due to the hail we had in May and June of 1999," Williams said. "In order for the county to qualify for 1999 NAP benefits we must show the county suffered a 35% loss of these specific crops. Until all the eligible producers report their production on these crops this office can not prove a 35% loss and apply for the NAP benefits."

The newest program to be announced is the 1999 Oilseeds Program (OP). For this program a producer's payment will be based on the higher of the 1997 or 1998 planted acreage of each specific oilseed or for new producers, the 1999 crop planted acreage. Any producer who planted oilseeds, which include sunflowers, safflower, soybeans, rapeseed, mustard seed, canola, flaxseed, or crambe, and did not report those acres to the FSA office may come in and report those acres.

The producer must indicate the crop, acres, and crop use on an aerial photocopy and file an FSA-578D. These reports can only be accepted when the producer provides acceptable evidence of the existence and disposition of the oilseed acreage. The deadline to report oilseed acreage is February 18, and there will be no late-file fees involved.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman has announced that USDA will be administering cash payments to assist dairy farmers who have been hurt by low prices. This Dairy Market Loss Assistance Program provides payments based on an operation's milk production in 1997 or 1998, up to the first 26,000 hundredweight of production. All dairy farmers who produced milk during the last quarter of calendar year 1998 are eligible for the program. Farmers who participated in last summer's program will automatically receive payments and do not need to reapply for assistance. Eligible dairy farmers who did not participate in the program last summer must sign up at their local Farm Service Agency Office.

Carrasco: Helping area behind county attorney bid

PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - A desire to help the community he grew up in is the reason Louis U. Carrasco says he has returned to Pecos and is seeking the position of Reeves County Attorney in the March 14 Democratic primary election.

Carrasco, who is the son of Luis Sr. and Mary Lou Carrasco and the grandson of former prominent Hispanic businessman Julian Urquidez, is running against incumbent Walter Holcombe in the March 14 race.

"I'd like to thank the community in advance for their support and encouragement because without your support I wouldn't be here today representing your voice of change. I'm very excited about the opportunity this county has been given, but more importantly I'm excited about the opportunity I've been given as a voice of the future," Carrasco said.

"As with any career, you normally choose a general area to work or study in and then hope you're happy for the rest of your life. In my case, I've always known that I wanted to serve my community in some capacity, especially the citizens of Reeves County, which also includes my fellow citizens of Saragosa, Balmorhea, Toyah, Mentone and Orla. Coming back to the City of Pecos and Reeves County has provided me with a chance to give back to a community that has given so much to me, not to mention a great education and for that I am eternally grateful."

Carrasco was educated in Pecos-Barstow-Toyah schools. "(I) attended `Harvard on the Hill' for most of you it's still Sul Ross State University. After I graduated from Sul Ross State University, I was employed as a social worker for many of the different agencies the State of Texas offers to our citizens," he said.

"It was during those years working for the State of Texas that I was able to develop my patience and my skills in listening all while finding a way to give something back to my clients. Whether it be advice, a thank you or going the extra mile to ensure quality in their service needs, I always wanted to help.

"What I also learned during those years was that system was not created to be fair for the majority of our citizens. It was then that I knew that I had to seek further education so that I may better serve the citizens of this great state. Consequently, I attended and graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law and with license in hand, I stand ready and willing to represent them in any issue they may have," Carrasco said.

"I was born in Pecos and have resided here all my life, except for the time I spent educating myself. I may have been away in body, but never in mind or spirit, I have always been a Pecos City boy and have never forgotten that. I feel that one of my better attributes to my campaign is that I am fluent in Spanish thus, enabling me to better serve the whole community.

"As to experience, I've been a part of murder trials, misdemeanor trials and countless personal injury cases. In my last position, my duties ranged from preparing and developing cases that dealt with immigration law, contract law, criminal law and all while under the pressures of heavy caseloads," he said. "The ability to deal with these heavy caseloads provide an attorney with the mental capacity to organize and prioritize job tasks and responsibilities. I feel more than confident to deal with the heavy case loads placed on the County Attorney's office and, yes, it is very important to have experience, but what is more important is to use that experience in doing your job.

"After reviewing the public record, I would like for the citizens of Reeves County to know that I would like to restore credibility back into the community, schools, and with our law enforcement agencies. The amount of cases actually being prosecuted by the County Attorney's office has significantly dropped not to mention the amount of juvenile cases either with little or no behavior modification," Carrasco said. "We do have a youth problem and I stand ready to assist those families whose children need help in following the law and respecting the laws of our society.

"The current problem with our troubled youth has placed a strain on our families, our educators and on our community as a whole and if we don't address this issue now and move for a change in the status quo, then we as a community will lose more credibility than what we have already lost. If elected I would be more than willing to work with those families that need help with their children. If elected as your next County Attorney, I will always have an open door policy and I will listen to your needs.

Additionally, I would like for the county to know that if I am elected as your next County Attorney I will support the county commissioners and their court in any capacity they will need me. If asked, why am I excited about this opportunity to run for the position of County Attorney, the answer is simple, I simply did what my parents, my teachers and my heart asked me do and that was to get educated and make a difference in this world. Reeves County, I'm here to stay! I'm here to work hard for you and will stand by you all the way!"



AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 3-13-20-25-46-47. Estimated jackpot: $7 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 60. Prize: $2,074. Matching four of six: 3,883. Prize: $116.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 14-41-74-96. Number matching four of four in Group One: 1. Prize: $1 million. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 0. Number matching three of four in any group: 328. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 5-17-20-21-27 Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $41,867. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Corpus Christi, Harlingen. Matching four of five: 226. Prize: $556.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-2-4 (seven, two, four)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 8-7-9 (eight, seven, nine)


PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - High Sunday 58. Low this morning 31. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph becoming northeast late. Tuesday: Cloudy and colder with a 30 percent chance of rain. High in the mid 40s. North to northeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Decreasing cloudiness. Low in the mid 20s. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 50s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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