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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 31, 2000

Phone company, bank preparing to change names

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - The planned name change for First National Bank will soon become a reality, and the bank began this week to promote its new identity.

The regulatory change will take place on Monday, Sept. 18, when First National Bank will be known as West Texas National Bank, which will also be the new name for six other banks in West Texas.

"We still using the name First National, but we have sent out some promotional materials and documents with the new name have already been printed up," said bank president John Grant.

The bank will also receive a "face-lift" with the drive-thru area being remodeled. An automatic teller machine will also be installed within the next 45 days in the bank's drive-thru area.

Construction on the drive-thru will take place before the year-end, according to Grant.

"We're also forming a strategic alliance with Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company for brokerage and investment services and that will be available by year end as well," said Grant.

The bank is also introducing new products and services that will come along with the merger. New extended hours for the drive-thru will also be introduced soon.

Grant had announced that an application to merge had been filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The parties to the merger will be the Seminole National Bank, Seminole and the First National Bank in Alpine. First National Bank, Pecos has existing branches in Kermit and Crane.

Seminole National Bank has a branch in Denver City and First National Bank in Alpine has a branch in Terlingua. First National Bank in Alpine will be the surviving charter as it is the oldest charter of the three charters.

First National Bank of Pecos was chartered in 1907, and is currently in its 93rd year of operations. It moved into its present location at Sixth and Cedar streets in 1967. It has been under the ownership of J.L. Davis of Midland for the past 15 years.

"The new name is indicative of management's desire to provide competitive financial services to all of West Texas," he said.

"The local facility will still provide the same services," said Keith Moore, executive vice-president for the holding company.

"West Texas National Bank will have combined assets of $240 million and capital of $23 million," said Grant. "Existing board members will continue to serve as Community Directors to ensure that each branch is responsive to the needs of our customers and community."

The Board, management and staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality service and competitive products in our communities, according to Grant.

Customers of West Texas National Bank will experience hometown banking at multiple locations. Check imaging, investment and brokerage services, annuity and insurance products, and internet banking are just a few of the products and services that are on the drawing board, according to Grant.

West Texas National Bank administrative offices will be located in Midland; however, local management under the guidance of its community directors will make daily decisions.

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - At midnight tonight, the newest local phone service provider in Texas, Valor Telecom, will assume operational control over 325,000 local phone lines in areas of Texas currently served by Verizon (formerly GTE).

Valor is a privately held company that owns and operates primarily rural local access lines in the Southwest United States. Valor's major investors include Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Vestar Capital, Citicorp Venture Capital and a group of 12 Hispanic investors.

Valor will have control of local phone lines in smaller cities all over the state. In West Texas, those systems include Andrews, Balmorhea, Coyanosa, Denver City, Imperial, Lamesa, Sierra Blanca and Toyah as well as Pecos.

Valor will also begin operations in New Mexico on September 1 with 95,000 local access lines and has already begun operations of 120,000 lines in Oklahoma on July 1.

Valor's corporate headquarters is in Irving, Tex., who also was formerly the home of GTE. It employs approximately 175 people and has a customer service and repair center in Texarkana with 125 employees.

In a press release Valor expresses the company's excitement to have operations in Texas.

"Valor Telecom is proud to serve Texas," Chairman and CEO of Valor Anne Bingaman said. "With our corporate headquarters located in Irving, and one of our customer service centers located in Texarkana, we look forward to bringing a strong and lasting business presence to all the communities we will serve."

According to the press release, On September 1, all customer records and pending orders will transfer to Valor.

Temporary systems will be used in the first 15 days of the transfer while transferred records and service orders are loaded into new automated systems and retested. Current phone service will not be affected by the transition. Current telephone numbers will not change as well.

Valor has hired additional personnel to handle new service orders and backlog pending orders.

Valor wants to inform customers that during the months of September and October they may receive a high volume of calls and customers may experience delays in placing new orders, however, any delays will be temporary during this transition period.

According to the press release, phone rates will be the same but the phone bills will be reformatted. Some of the charges and fees may appear in a different section.

Also, customers will receive two local phone bills for the month of September: a Verizon bill for service through August 31 and a Valor bill for service beginning September 1.

But the transfer will not affect customers' current long distance and Internet services. However, customers who have selected Verizon as their long distance and/or Internet service provider will begin receiving a separate bill for those services.

Valor released phone numbers for customers to use in order to reach the company beginning Friday.

To change or order service and for billing questions, customers should dial 811 for residential between 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Friday or between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays or business between 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

For repairs customers could call 24 hours daily at 611 and from outside customers' local phone service area, they could dial toll free 1-877-520-5220.

"Valor is customer-focused and is committed to being a reliable and responsive telecommunications provider," a Valor press release said. "We value your business and look forward to serving you."

For more information visit the Valor website at

P-B-T teacher competes for top state honor

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - Her love for her profession has earned one Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD teacher several honors, including being named Regional Teacher of the Year.

Eva Garcia, a third grade teacher at Pecos Elementary, has been named Regional Teacher of the Year, by the Texas Education Association and will be competing for the state Teacher of the Year honors.

Her application for the prestigious honor has already been mailed to TEA in Austin and they are in the process of evaluating it. "In the first part of October they will select three and out of those three they will fly to Austin and a panel of judges will select a State Teacher of the Year," said Garcia, who will be competing against 20 other teachers and the teacher who is chosen among the remaining three will represent Texas.

"I love to teach," Garcia said. "I love all the kids and my main goal is to encourage them."

Garcia teaches bilingual education. "I think bilingual education is a good thing, it's very important," she said.

Along with this honor, the Pecos Chamber of Commerce also named Garcia Teacher of the Year in February.

She was born to Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Abrego in San Benito, and grew up in its outskirts in the small town of Los Fresnos. She completed her early years of education there and then moved to the Texas Panhandle where she received an Associate of Arts from South Plains Jr. College in 1976.

She then completed her Bachelor of Arts from West Texas AM in 1978 and began her teaching career in Hereford. To continue improving her teaching skills, she moved to Fort Worth and attended the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to receive training in Christian Education. During this time she was awarded the Fort Worth ISD Teacher Award for developing a motivational multimedia tool to use in the classroom. Her interest in bilingual education persuaded her to obtain a Masters of Arts in that area.

In 1983 she became a published author of curriculum materials for national distribution through The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. She has written materials in both Spanish and English and has served as a consultant for the states in the West Coast for the Sunday School Board.

Garcia also taught school in Albuquerque, N.M., for two years and eight years in the Los Angeles area. Her outstanding achievement was recognized and she was awarded the Honorary Service Award for outstanding teacher in 1991. During this time she had the privilege of working with some of the students of the famous educator, Jaime Escalante.

"He really inspired me a lot," said Garcia.

She was also able to attend talks conducted by Escalante which influenced her to instill in her students that everyone can become successful learners, all that is needed is a desire to learn, which is called "ganas."

Garcia carries a picture that she took with Escalante to remind her to always give her students the best she can of herself.

In 1995 she received a Credential for Administrative Services from the University of San Francisco and then served as a Bilingual Program Coordinator in San Jose, Calif. In 1996 she attended the University of Arizona while teaching in Phoenix and received an Arizona Principal Certificate.

In 1997 Garcia moved back to Texas and began teaching third grade in Pecos. During her time away from school, she enjoys getting involved in the community and works with her husband, Paul Garcia, in enlarging a new church.

Garcia stated that she also enjoys living in Pecos. "I love it here, I like the people, which is one of the main reasons I decided to stay, everyone is so friendly," she said.

She strongly believes that the community and teachers should work together to build a strong team so that everyone will benefit and help make this work a better place to live in.

"Learning has to be fun _ it has to be exciting for the kids to get motivated," said Garcia.

Garcia's message about education is simple. "For the children throughout our country, we need peace and liberty, and for many, this needs to begin at home and in our educational institutions," she said.

"Our country continues to be one of rich opportunities and freedom," said Garcia. "As I drive and pass fields of cotton and other crops, it brings a grand feeling of victory over me. Having traveled the migrant path at a very young age and working long, hard hours in the heated sun made me sensitive to knowing that I wanted something better for myself."

"Dedicated, loving teachers encouraged and motivated me by telling me that I could choose to do with my life as I pleased. They taught me the necessary skills where I was able to pursue a higher education, and I can honestly say they touched my life forever," said Garcia.

"I just hope I can do the same with the children that cross my path," she said.

Museum to honor Hispanic Pioneer Family

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - Descendants of Manuel and Julianita Renteria will be honored Saturday morning at the West of the Pecos Museum, after being chosen as the 2000 Reeves County Hispanic Pioneer Family.

The family will be honored with a program and reception, beginning at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, at the West of the Pecos Museum.

A special family exhibit will be on display all of September and the public is invited.

Manuel Duarte Renteria was born in 1838 (two years after the fall of the Alamo). As a young man Manuel was contracted by both the Mexican and U.S. governments to track renegade Apache bands that were being led by the Chilitans, known as Chihuahua and Victorio. Manuel also worked in the Fort Stockton area laying telegraph lines.

He later returned to San Antonio Del Bravo, Mexico to farm some land that he owned adjacent to the Rio Grande River. On or about 1891 moved his family to Toyah where he began working with the railroad until about 1905. Manuel married and had four children from a previous marriage.

Pablo Renteria born 1872 in Fort Stockton. He worked for the railroad as a machinist in 1904 until the early 1930's. In 1934 Pablo went into business for himself and opened the Pablo Renteria Grocery Store. The store remained in operation until the late 1970's and was last operated by Pablo's youngest son Antonio Renteria.

Pablo married Felicita Gonzales the daughter of Eulogio Gonzales, who lived in Toyah during the late 1800's and later relocated to a farm in Loving, N.M. Felicita was born in 1865 in San Antonio Del Bravo, Chihuahua, Mexico. She died in Toyah at age 70 in 1935 and is buried in the Toyah at age 70 in 1935 and is buried in the Toyah Catholic Cemetery. Children born to this union Sergio married Bengina Lujan, Saturnina married Petronilo Patino (the first Hispanic Pecos City Police Officer), Julia and Modesta never married.

Crespina Contreras, Guadalupe married Simon Leos, Bonita married Refugio Martinez and Antonio who never married. The following siblings died within a four month period, victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic, Santos, Presiliana, Lupe, Celestina and Felipe. Maracaela married Irene Gonzales, Fernando married Dolores Flores, Braulio married Celsa Gonzales.

Manuel married Julianita Matta, who was born on Feb. 28, 1864. Their children were Felipa who married Julian Flores, Juan married Celsa Acosta, Begnina born 1893 died May 21, 1935. Maria married Thomas Talamantez.

Manuel D. Renteria passed away on June 6, 1915, in Toyah and is buried as the Toyah Catholic Cemetery. Julianita M. Renteria passed away in 1916 in Toyah and is also buried in the Toyah Catholic Cemetery.

The last living child of Pablo and Felicita Renteria, Antonio (Tonio) G. Renteria was born June 13, 1914 in Toyah. He retired as a heavy equipment operator for Reeves County Road and Bridge Department. Retired 1979 after 35 years of service. Military Service included serving in the 3rd Army 153rd Infantry regimen from January 1941 (drafted at age 26) until July 2, 1945. He served two years in Northern Alaska and later in Germany. He was wounded in action while attempting to cross the Rhine River, when he was grazed in the back by a German machine gun bullet and on both legs by a German Artillery sharp metal. Antonio was a recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor and his cousin, Alejandro Renteria Ruiz, was awarded the medal of honor of heroism in the battle of Okinawa in the Pacific Theater.

Antonio is the last survivor of 13 children. He continues to reside in a small wood frame house that is located about 100 years from where he was born. The home was previously owned and inhabited by Maria Gil, grandmother of Armando Gil, Director of Health and Sanitation for the City of Pecos.

Antonio attended school in Toyah, but only completed the fifth grade. By the age of 7, Antonio began driving his father's new Model T Ford. Pablo, Antonio's father, always owned new cars, but never learned to drive. As a result Antonio became the family chauffeur at a very early age.

At age 17, Antonio joined the Toyah Hispanic community baseball team known as "Los Tejanos." Antonio played outfielder and he claims that he was a very good player. The team was managed by Alejandro Bitolas.

Prior to being drafted into the Army, Antonio was a self-employed truck driver and recalls hauling equipment, feed, hay, etc., to Toyah area ranchers George Daniels, Albert Tannre, Mr. Calwell and to the KC Ranch near Kent.

Antonio is in good health and is alert and active. He spends his time just ding things around the house and driving into Pecos. He has fond memories of his family and his youth, but he is saddened about the deterioration of Toyah. He enjoys talking about what the town was like when he was growing up.

"We had two schools, several church buildings, a bank, a pharmacy, a hotel, several stores, including a large mercantile and a drug store," Renteria said. "The railroad roundhouse had over 240 workers and operated around the clock seven days a week with three shifts of 80 men per shift."

Antonio never married and all he has is memories of his family, as most family letters, photos and relics were lost to a house fire in the late 1980's.

Housing board to hear mayor during meeting

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - Pecos Mayor Ray Ortega will meet with the Pecos Housing Authority and the Pecos Farm Labor Housing Boards at their regular meetings at 5 p.m., tonight in the PHA/FLH new administration building on Teague Drive.

The FLH board will review the proposal for architectural services from Vaugh Architects Plus to provide design and constructions documents based on the inspection report from February.

They will also consider approving the purchase of three dryers from the PHA as well as approving the monthly reports for August.

The PHA board will review a letter from the director of the Real Estate Assessment U.S Department of HUD regarding the PHA advisory Public Assessment System score for 1999.

The board will also receive an update on the 1998 CIAP Project budget and review and discuss the designs and cost estimates presented by Vaughn for the Eastside Development project.

They will finish the meeting by discussing the Cooperation Agreement with Pecos City and the PHA Annual Contributions Contract and review the monthly reports for August.

Clerk's office taking applications for election

PECOS, August 31, 2000 - Applications for ballots by mail are now being accepted at the Reeves County Clerk's Office for the November general election, said county clerk Dianne Florez.

Individuals can request an application anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or for more information call the clerk's office at 445-5467.

The November General Elections will include the position of President and Vice-President of the United States, U.S. Senate and Congress, The state legislature and local races for Reeves County Commissioners Precinct 1 and 3; Reeves County Tax Assessor-Collector and four Justice of the Peace positions.


Adan Garcia

Adan T. Garcia, 72, of Pecos, died Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2000, in Crane.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 1, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born April 14, 1928, in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was retired, a longtime Pecos resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Maria R. Garcia of Pecos; seven daughters, Maria Carrasco of Crane, Lupe Prieto and Elma Gonzalez of Pecos, Elida Garcia of Las Vegas, Nev., Monica Lopez of Alpine, Sally Cedillo of Odessa and Bertha Benedict of Round Rock; three sons, Adan R. Garcia Jr. of Pecos, Ruben Garcia of Monahans and George Garcia of Harlingen; one sister, Socorro Lujan of Midland; five brothers, Raul, Cano, Beto, Leonel and Alonso Garcia all of Pecos; 32 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Charlie Taylor

Services are incomplete for Charlie Taylor, 73, who died Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2000, at the Reeves County Hospital.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, August 31, 2000 - High Wednesday 99. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low near 70. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High 95-100. South wind 10-20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low 65-70. Saturday through Labor Day: Partly cloudy. Lows 65-70. Highs near 100.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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