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Top Stories

Thursday, March 16, 2000

P-B-T able to cope with higher fuel costs

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 16, 2000 - Rising fuel prices may be causing problems for most local drivers, but so far they haven't eaten into the transportation budget for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.

Gas prices in Reeves County have jumped by over 50 cents a gallon in the past year, with prices currently ranging from $1.45.9 to $1.51.9 a gallon for regular unleaded. Diesel fuel prices also have jumped by over 50 percent in the past year, which could be expected to impact the school district the most, due to its daily in-town and out-of-town routes, along with trips to the El Paso area for athletic and academic competitions.

But P-B-T superintendent Don Love said the district's budget for the 1999-2000 school year is set up to handle the current situation.

"One thing I did at the start of the year was to visit with (transportation director) Jimmy Dutchover to make sure we have plenty of money for our trips," Love said, adding that, "We don't pay what everybody else pays for fuel. We don't have to pay state taxes at all for fuel."

Love said the school also buys its fuel under an annual contract, which was set long before the recent surge in fuel prices.

Since being realigned two years ago in District 2-4A, Pecos' athletic and academic teams, along with the Pecos Eagle band, face trips between 175 and 220 miles to all their district events. Love said, "We budget 1½ cents a mile for the yellow buses and also in the charters (the district's MCI and Silver Eagle buses), so each group pays about $600 a bus for trips out there and back.

"It's quite expensive to go out there and back, but for us, it's quite expensive to go anywhere. Even when we were in with San Angelo and Sweetwater, we still had 200 mile trips, and if we were back in that other district, we would still be looking at trips to San Angelo, Lubbock and Snyder," Love said.

This past year, the Pecos Eagles' football team logged over 1,500 miles of travel to four games in the El Paso area, while the volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball teams traveled nearly 2,000 miles to and from their five district road contests. "Also, because we've been competing in band in that district out there, we had to up the band budget for travel," Love said.

Almost all of the district's vehicles are diesel-powered, while the few vans or station wagons used for out of town travel are budgeted at 50 cents a mile.

Love said he'll have to get together with Dutchover before the start of the 2000-2001 school year to work out a new fuel budget, which will depend on what the price is six months from now.

"I've worked in the oil patch, so I know the price of these things fluctuates," he said. "We'll take a good hard look at the matter, and see Jimmy and take some calculations to it.

"We're going to be OK on fuel prices, but if the electricity or water were to go up, then we might feel the pinch," he added.

Unemployment rates down, jobs up

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 16, 2000 - Local unemployment dropped by about one percent in February, and jobless rates were down as well across the Permian Basin, according to figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Reeves County's jobless rate dropped .9 percent from January, as the county picked up 200 new jobs to more than offset an increase of 160 people in the local labor force. According to the TWC, unemployment locally was at 11.3 percent last month, still among the highest in the region but down from 12.2 percent in January, and from 12.5 percent in February of 1999.

In Pecos, the jobless rate fell from 13.8 percent in January to 12.9 percent last month, according to TWC figures. There were 682 people unemployed, a drop of 36 from January, while the city's labor force stood at 5,307 workers in February, an increase of 119 from the previous month.

Because Reeves County and Pecos are on the edge of the oil patch, soaring oil prices and increased drilling activity over the past 12 months have not benefited the area as much as it has counties to the east, where unemployment has been cut by as much as 60 percent from February of 1999.

Jobless rates for Winker County fell from 19.7 percent last year to 8 percent in February, and was down from 8.6 percent in January. The county's labor force has remained at just over 2,600 workers during those times. Andrews County saw its rate fall from 13.9 percent to 6.9 percent during the past year, though it labor force shrank by about 400 people during that time.

The Midland-Odessa area's unemployment rate declined from 9.5 to 6.6 percent during the past year, and fell by .3 percent from January to February. Statewide, the TWC said jobless rates for February were at 4.5 percent, compared with 4.7 percent both in January and in February of 1999.

Jaquez closes out 25-year career with county

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 16, 2000 - A longtime Reeves County employee is enjoying her first weeks of retirement, following a lengthy career with the county.

Juana Jaquez, 143rd District Clerk, ended a 25-year stint working for Reeves County at the end of February, when she stepped down from the job she has held for the last 13 years. Jaquez started her career with the county on Jan. 1, 1975, as a deputy county clerk under then-Reeves County Clerk Catherine Ashley.

In 1978, she became Chief Deputy in the clerk's office and in 1986 she ran for the office of District Clerk.

"I won that May (primary) election, but my happiness was short-lived when Annis Rasberry announced she was running as a write-in candidate," said Jaquez. "Being that I was new to the political arena, I didn't know what it entailed."

Despite the late challenge, Jaquez went on to win her first four-year term in the November general election. "I was lucky to run two more terms, in 1990 and in 1994, without opponents," she said. "In 1998, I had two opponents and defeated them."

For personal reasons, Jaquez has opted not to serve out the remainder of her term, instead recommending her Chief Deputy Pat Tarin for the position. Tarin was sworn in Feb. 28, by Judge Bob Parks.

"I want to thank all the voters for their support all these years," she said. "I've enjoyed my position as District Clerk and I will truly miss each and every one of them," she said.

Jaquez said the best part of her job was helping the people of Reeves County and she plans to stay in touch.

"I plan to enjoy life and take it easy," said Jaquez. "I plan to enjoy my retirement, the kids and possibly travel some."

"I will miss the people, however," said Jaquez. "Who knows someday I might just come back and try my hand at something else."

Jaquez and her husband have two children, Selena and Freddy and two grandchildren, Bianca and Zack.

"I wish Pat all the luck in the world, but I'm very confident in her," said Jaquez. "I will miss everyone."

Entries sought for flag football tourney in El Paso

A flag football tournament will be held in El Paso on Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16.

Entry fee is $90 per team with first prize of $200, along with a team trophy and T-shirts. For further information, call tournament coordinator Jace Santillano at 915-588-9820 or 915-921-1913.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 6-15-19-22-38-39. Estimated jackpot: $17 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 91. Prize: $1,806. Matching four of six: 5,746. Prize: $102.


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


PECOS, Mar. 16, 2000 - High Wednesday 87. Low this morning 47. Forecast for tonight: Decreasing cloudiness and cold. Low near 30. North wind 10-20 mph early, diminishing to 5-10 mph overnight. Friday: Partly cloudy and cool. High in the lower 60s. East wind 5-15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Saturday: Partly cloudy and warmer. High near 70.

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Pecos Enterprise
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