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Top Stories

Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Clean-up planned in downtown area for 'Night' event

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- Night in Old Pecos is right around the corner and volunteers are  gearing up to make the area cleaner and brighter for the big event.

A Pre-Night in Old Pecos cleanup has been set for this Saturday, and more volunteers are always welcome to help out, according to organizers of the event.

"We always need volunteers and welcome everyone that can to come out and help," said Michael Benavides with the Keep Pecos Beautiful Committee.

The group will meet at 7:30 a.m., at the corner of Third and Cedar streets, across the street from Uncle's Convenience Store.

"We'll meet at the old gas station there and clean up the area behind it," said Benavides. "Then we'll start cleaning up and down Oak Street, along that area."

Benavides said the group will pick up trash, debris and sweep up the area to spruce it up in time for the big Night in Old Pecos scheduled for the following Saturday, June 30.

Groups that are planning to help out include Keep Pecos Beautiful Committee, Pecos Lion's Club members, members of Knights of Columbus, employees from the Texas Workforce Commission, individuals doing community service from Municipal Court, Wal-Mart employees, along with Duncan Disposals and it's employees.

"I want to plan one big project and have that project done every year," said Benavides. "I'm going to talk to the members of my committee about this idea."

Benavides said that he wants to talk to the committee about the big project and that following it he wants to organize a big barbecue or hamburger cookout.

"I want to see if the committee agrees on the big project and having something after that project, such as a hamburger or barbecue cookout to thank all of our volunteers," he said.

The Keep Texas Beautiful will be having a convention from June 26-29. After the convention the regional governors will travel to the individual cities to pass out signs to be placed in the cities, designating them as part of the Keep Texas Beautiful.

"This is the official confirmation that we are part of the Keep Texas Beautiful Committee," said Benavides.

The signs will be placed at the entrances to Pecos and will be awarded during a city council meeting, according to Benavides.

"It'll be a big deal, because it will make it official," said Benavides. "We'll be certified as a Keep Pecos Beautiful Committee."

Those who will be handing out the signs in Pecos will be Keith Floyd of El Paso and Sharla Hotchkiss of Midland. Both are part of the Keep Texas Beautiful Committee, and are regional governors in their respective cities.

Pilots, ranchers given RTBI update

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- Local ranchers and pilots were offered an aviation safety  promotion through education and training at the Pecos Municipal Airport  Monday evening, and were told U.S. Air Force flight paths through the area  have changed only slightly due to the implementation of the  Realistic Bomber Training Initiative bomber flights through West Texas

John Boatright, Principal Operations Instructor with the Federal Aviation Administration, was one of the instructors at the seminar. Other instructors at the seminar were Dwight Williams of the Civil Service Aerospace Management and pilots from the Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Lt. Col. Clinton Taylor, Chief of Safety and Lt. Col. Tim Stocking.

The focus of the meeting was to let the ranchers, pilots and residents of Pecos know what the FAA is doing in the West Texas area, Williams said, though he added "We are not doing anything different," than in recent years.

The RTBI project is designed to train B-1 and B-52 pilots and crews along a flight path closer to their home bases at Dyess and Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La. Although two lawsuits seeking to block the project have been filed in federal court, construction on an electronic scoring site is proceeding about 17 miles southwest of Pecos.

Boatright said that the area in which they are focusing on for RTBI is not anything new or different, but rather it is the same route that they have had for years. "We have been doing this same route for some years now," Boatright said.

Boatright also said that this route offers the Air Force pilots a realistic training in an area in which the least amount of people will be affected.

Stocking said that when the Air Force first started the training exercise in 1976 they practiced with B-52's and since 1986 with B-1's.

However, the only difference in the route that exists today is that some areas on the route were extended and a new route was added which will run across Reeves, Ward and Loving counties north of Pecos.

The current bomber routes loop through southern Reeves County, coming from northeastern Pecos County and from northeastern Culberson County and through the Big Bend area and Lea County in southeastern New Mexico. The new route will have planes flying over the Pyote area of central Ward County, near Mentone in Loving County and near Orla in northern Reeves County.

"We have added some space in certain areas," Stocking said. "In most areas we cannot fly lower than 500-feet above ground."

According to Williams the total amount of area that was added to the old route has been about three thousand feet, but also varies in some sections. Approximately 15 percent of the route is new and 85 percent is the original.

City, county unemployment falls again

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- Unemployment in Reeves County declined again in May, according  to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission, as  the jobless numbers for both the county and the Town of Pecos  City continued to move closer to the statewide and national averages.

Reeves County's jobless rate fell to 5.6 percent in May, down one-tenth of a percent from April's numbers and the lowest figure for the county since the 1980s. The TWC said the county had a workforce of 7,497 people last month with 417 unemployed, compared with April's numbers, when 427 people were without jobs out of a labor force of 7,533 people.

The county's unemployment rate has dropped by over eight percent in the past two years, due mainly to the rebound of the oil and gas industry in the area. Higher natural gas prices have made Reeves County one of the busiest counties for exploration in the Permian Basin, with 10 drilling rigs in operation as of last week.

The 5.6 percent jobless rate is still above the statewide and national averages, but is now far closer to figures for the rest of Texas and the United States. The TWC said April's jobless rate for Texas was 4.2 percent, while nationally unemployment last month was at 4.1 percent.

Unemployment numbers for the Town of Pecos City remain slightly higher than those of Reeves County, but also continued the downward trend. The TWC said Pecos' jobless rate last month was 6.4 percent, down from 6.5 percent in April. There were 5,836 people in the city's workforce, with 373 people without jobs.

Overall last month, unemployment in the Permian Basin was 4.1 percent, up from 4.0 percent in April. Both Midland and Odessa reported increases of one-tenth of a percent in their jobless figures, while the biggest increases in jobless rates came from Pecos County and Ward County, which were up 0.6 and 0.8 percent respectively in May.

At 6.1 percent, Ward County's jobless rate is above Reeves County's total for one of the rare times in recent years, while Pecos County's jobless rate last month was 4.8 percent. Pecos County added jobs overall, but saw it offset by an increase in the overall labor force, while Ward County's jump was due to a slight rise in its workforce combined with a slight drop in the total number of jobs in the county.

Senior cyclist traveling to raise cancer funds

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- The love for others has brought many adventures to a Florida woman over the  years while journeying across the Western Hemisphere on a motorcycle.

Catharine Rambeau has spent most of her adult life on motorcycles, and continues to ride not only for her but also for children with cancer.

Before she began lengthy cycle trips, the 66-year-old Rambeau worked as a writer and editor in a number of places, including the national music magazine Country Weekly.

"I did it for years and years and years and I'm good at it," she said.

While working, Rambeau managed to save some money that helped her get started in her future career on motorcycles.

"I finally had enough money not to do this (working) anymore," she said.

Rambeau said she still writes and edits and is currently working on an author's mystery novel.

She said she would never write about anything or for anyone she doesn't care about again.

"It feels like I just got out of jail," she said.

Since Rambeau began riding in her mid-30s, she said she has owned four motorcycles including her newest one, which has yet to get a name.

"I'm not sure but I think her name is Nikita," she said.

One of her cycles is now housed in the American Motorcycle Museum because it was the bike she used to journey through Mexico, Central America and South America.

Rambeau decided in 1988 to travel through South America by herself on her trusty bike, "Mojo," not knowing that she would become the first American woman to do so.

Rambeau said although she was scared about the South America trip at first, she soon relaxed and said, "It was really fun."

While on the trip she found her favorite spot on Earth, the Valley of the Moon in the southern part of the continent.

Rambeau said that this valley is in the desert where the land is shaped by wind, which she compares to a Dali painting.

She said she got to the valley just as the sun was setting, and was able to observe the phenomenon of the sun setting as the moon is rising.

Once night falls the moon shines bright and she explained with great excitement that the sand sparkles so beautifully.

Rambeau said she loves that place so much that she wants at least some of her ashes to be placed in a box and set out in the valley where the wind will cover it up.

"I want my son to place some of my ashes there when I croak," she said.

Rambeau was born in Philadelphia and was greatly influenced by both her parents. She said she remembers a very important lesson that her mother taught her when she was 12 that is now a part of her today, though at the time she did not realize its importance.

Rambeau said that it all started one day when her mother wanted to take her and her brothers, George and James, to the dentist.

Rambeau said that her mother liked this particular dentist so much that she took her children 40 miles on a road that was covered with a sheet of ice.

She said that her mother was so determined to get to the dentist that she crept along on the ice in attempt of reaching their destination.

At one point, Rambeau said that the car started spinning and all her mother did was calmly turned off the engine and wait for the car to stop.

Once it stopped, Rambeau said that her mother asked if everyone was okay and patiently maneuvered the car back on the right track and continued onto the dentist's office.

Rambeau said that her mother's actions that day stayed with her forever and taught her a lesson that she uses to this day.

"Don't panic, take a deep breath, make sure everyone's okay and go on," she said.

Rambeau said that is how she gets through everyday life.

Rambeau is currently traveling along the borders of Texas alone in hope of gaining support for Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, and made a stop here in Pecos last Friday.

Rambeau started her current trip on May 13 in Conroe, and since then has traveled approximately 2,500 miles.

She said she averages approximately 100 miles per day and takes the ride nice and easy.

"That's the purpose - seeing things," she said, though this is not the first time the mother of one and grandmother of three has made this trip around Texas.

She made a similar trip a year ago but this year has added on a few additional stops, mainly in the Texas Panhandle, that she had to miss due to weather.

Rambeau said that she chose to ride in Texas not only because the children's hospital is located in Houston but also because Texans are "real polite" and the state has good roads.

"I picked Texas because in 1999 I knew when the millennium came along I wanted to do something spectacular," she said.

Rambeau said she likes to travel around Texas along the borders because all the big cities are in the middle, and the most amazing people live on the borders.

"The borders of Texas are where the heart is," she said.

During last year's trip, Rambeau said she remembers where she was the day Vice-President Al Gore became President followed by George W. Bush.

She said that she was in Lubbock and ate at one restaurant where a lot of regulars congregated, and most of the waitresses favored for Gore.

She said that she would talk to the waitresses and all of them knew she was from Florida.

"When I walked in the morning Gore wasn't President anymore, all the waitresses turned and said, `It's her fault,'" she said laughing.

Rambeau has accumulated many more stories with her adventures and has met many people, who have inspired her. She remembers them fondly by name, and visits them whenever she passes through.

"You meet these really terrific people," she said with tears in her eyes.

The people she gets most emotional talking about are the children she helps when she raises the money.

She said that she has been able to meet two of the children that she and the hospital call warriors.

"If there were only those two kids, it would be worth it," she said. "They're little warriors, by God."

While on her journeys, Rambeau said she puts together a "warrior report" for the little warriors at the hospital telling them what she has done and seen.

Rambeau said that she chose to raise money for children with cancer because everyone knows someone with, or who has died from the disease.

Rambeau said that the children at the hospital range in ages and sizes.

"All ages, all sizes, all backgrounds…It's a mean disease," she said.

Rambeau never takes money from anyone; all she does is hand a card with the address of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston to anyone willing to donate money to the children.

Anyone who would like to donate money to help children with cancer please send it to the attention of the Motorcycle Ride; Texas Children's Hospital; Development Office, MC 4-4483; P.O. Box 300630; Houston, Texas 77230-0630.

As for Rambeau, she'll continue to ride, always with a helmet and with love, to inform people of the "little warriors" in Houston that need so many people's love and kindness.

Heart attack suspected in death of Big Spring trucker on I-20

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- A Big Spring man died on Interstate 20 Monday afternoon in  western Reeves County before Pecos Ambulance personnel could arrive on  the scene.

Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh pronounced Hoyt Wayne Johnson, 65, of Big Spring dead Monday afternoon at mile marker 10 on Interstate 20, about 12 miles west of Toyah

Pecos Police Department received the call at 2:15 p.m. and Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies, Pecos Police Officers and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

According to Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Damon Compton, Johnson was in a green Peterbilt tractor-trailer truck with two other drivers, Henry Farquhar and Robert Forman.

Johnson was employed with Lonestar Transportation.

Compton said that the trio pulled over because Johnson was believed to be having a heart attack.

After arriving on scene Compton said that when the ambulance personnel arrived they couldn't find any "signs of life" on Johnson.

Compton did not find any signs of visible injury or foul play.

"Both drivers stated that Johnson had complained of chest pains while in El Paso but refused to go see a doctor," Compton said in his report.

Marsh ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death and the body was transported to Pecos Funeral Home.

Farquhar drove the truck to Toyah where it will stay until it can be picked up.

Sheriff Andy Gomez said that there is no evidence that indicates any foul play and that the investigation is pending due to the autopsy.

"Investigation will continue until the autopsy report comes in but for now it's being considered a natural death," Gomez said.

Jackrabbit derby races held in '37

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features  on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region

By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- In the good ole days, before we became obsessed with TV,  people read and enjoyed playing jokes on their friends.  They enjoyed  having games that they knew would be fun and they would enjoy reading  the comments in The Pecos Enterprise and, of course the paper had a  few comments to make also.  

One such game was reported for several weeks starting May 28, 1937. A front-page headline, "Good Will Trips To Boost Rodeo, Jackrabbit Derby." They then stated that Pecos could be recognized as the home of the first rodeo and also the originator of the "Jackrabbit Derby."

Anyone could enter a rabbit for a small fee that would go for prizes, and tickets would be sold to cover more prizes. Barney Hubbs, owner and publisher of the Enterprise, was named straw boss as they figured that he had more time than anyone else. (That trait lingers in the Hubbs family to this day.) Buck Jackson was to erect the tract in front of the rodeo grandstand. Hubbs promised to be fair even though the Enterprise had an entry named Man O'War. It later turned out that Man O'War was a female and they changed the name to Sob Sister. Sob Sister crossed the finish line three days after the race began.

Jack Simmons, the Enterprise chief of the jackrabbit-catching division, caught several rabbits but had to release them as they were only two or three feet tall. I couldn't say that in California, as the environmentalist would shut down all activity in the area to preserve an endangered species. N. F. Chapman, owner of Murder Inc., a manufacturer of ant poison, wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the abuse he was receiving by the articles in the paper. He stated that his rabbit was nursing five kittens and the ballpark lights in the neighborhood bothered her. The rabbit took advantage of the lights, as she would graze on the neighbor's brushes and flowers.

Keith Camp, owner of a grocery store, planned to catch rabbits and sell them to less mobile people. The paper said that was a bad idea as most of us got enough rabbit catching experience during the depression and running down the long eared pest is still a cinch.

The fun game caught on and area newspapers got in the act and other towns planed to enter a rabbit. It was a simpler way of life in 1937 and no one said that there was nothing to do. They made something to do.

My "Mature" advisors have another problem. One of them heard of a book that said monogamy was bad for your health and, if so, they thought, a little playing around would lead to a long, healthy life. Each of these men has enjoyed a long life and each is in good health. There was a time of silence as they looked at one another with an accusing, suspecting or envious look. I was unable to interpret their looks and the subject was changed.

Rec department signing-up kids for golf program

PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is now enrolling children for its summer golf lessons class, which will meet two days a week for six weeks.

Parents of children between the ages of five through 12 who are interested may pick up enrollment forms at the recreation office during regular hours.

Entry deadline is July 13 and individuals need to bring the student's birth certificate and both parents' signatures.

Cost is $10 per child and they will need to provide their own clubs.

For more information call 447-9776.


PECOS, Tuesday, June 19, 2001 -- High Monday 103. Low this morning 67. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly clear.  Low in the upper 60s.  Southeast wind 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny.  High in the upper 90s.  Southeast  wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy.  Low in the mid  to upper 60s. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy with a slight  chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Lows in the mid 60s.  Highs in  the upper 80s to the mid 90s.


Ysidro Zermeno, Jr.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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