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Friday, June 22, 2001

Smithers to shut test facility after weekend auction

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, June 22, 2001 -- After 14 years of operations, Smithers Scientific Services, Inc. will be closing its doors this weekend with an auction of all remaining on-site equipment.

"Items that are to be put up for auction are office supply and furniture, various tools, vehicles and equipment", Project Coordinator- Systems Administrator Mari Maldonado said.

The auction will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, at the company's facility, located off FM 1450 about 15 miles east of Pecos, and will continue until all items are sold.

Terms of the auction are cash cashier's checks; personal or company checks with irrevocable bank letter or guarantee from your bank dated June 23, 2001.

The items will be sold "AS-IS, WHERE-IS" without warranty. There will be no credit cards, minimums or reserves allowed at the auction.

In a press release sent out in early April, the company said that it was closing its tire and automotive testing complex due to an inadequate business volume over the last several years that has adversely impacted operations.

Mike Fay, director of Communications said that the company will join with a subsidiary of Daimler/Chrysler in Laredo on a joint venture.

"What we will be doing in Laredo will be different," Fay said. "We will be doing different operations and the testing will be different."

In their April statement, the company said employees were being offered equivalent jobs at other Smithers' locations.

"Our people in Pecos did a phenomenal job over the last couple of years to keep the facility open through cost-cutting initiatives and efficiency improvements," said Smithers' President and CEO J. Michael Hochschwender.

The business of Smithers Scientific Service bought the testing facility January 1987 from the Uniroyal-Goodrich Tire Co., and over the years provided employment for hundreds of local people.

Uniroyal had operated the facility for several years after merging with Armstrong Tire Co., then moved their operations to the same facility Smithers is relocating to after merging with B.F. Goodrich. The combined company abandoned the Laredo facility several years ago, after which it was taken over by Daimler/Chrysler.

`Dumped'drug defendant held without bond

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, June 22, 2001 -- A suspected drug trafficker who was kidnapped by agents of the Federal Judicial Police in Mexico and taken to the Rio Grande border crossing at Presidio where he was turned over to U.S. authorities, was ordered held without bond after a court hearing in Pecos Thursday.

Luis Ernesto Valeriano Valles, aka "El Negro," a former Pecos resident, was turned over to U.S. authorities about a week ago and had been placed in the Brewster County Jail in Alpine.

Valeriano-Valles had been a fugitive since 1999, when he was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a major federal conspiracy case.

He was named on four counts in the 15-county indictment and appeared in court Thursday for a detention hearing before U.S Magistrate Judge Durwood Edwards at the Lucius Bunton Federal Courthouse.

According to The (Presidio) International Valeriano-Valles was barbequing outside his son's home on June 14 in the coloina Emilano Zapata when he was kidnapped by the federal agents, said the son, Luis Valeriano Payen, in filing a complaint against the Federal Judicial Police with the Chihuahua State Prosecutor's office.

The paper said Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez said deputy Mitch Garcia received a call from someone saying there was a man handcuffed by the Rio Grande and he should check it out. Garcia reportedly found Valeriano-Valles and called Border Patrol Special Agent Wayne Wiemers, who did a background check and found the outstanding federal warrants for his arrest.

Valeriano-Valles was ordered detained without bond and placed back in jail by Judge Edwards. The indictments include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to import a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and money laundering.

The conspiracy case is a 21-defendant case, according to court records.

A case of six defendants who were "backpacking" from Mexico into the United States carrying illegal drugs is continuing at the courthouse before District Judge Royal Ferguson.

Commissioners to study RCDC project dispute

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, June 22, 2001 -- Reeves County Commissioners will meet behind closed doors at their start of their regular meeting on Monday to discuss possible action centering on a dispute with Banes General Contractors and the Reeves County Detention Center's recent expansion project.

Commissioners will meet at 9:45 a.m., Monday to arbitrate/litigate/employ all necessary professionals and authorize all necessary action in their dispute with Banes during the closed portion of the meeting. The company was responsible for the 1,000-bed expansion at the RCDC that was due to be completed last September, but came in several months behind schedule.

The county is currently planning another 960-bed expansion of the prison, and in open session on Monday commissioners will discuss and take action on professional services contract between Reeves County and LMD Architects, PLLC for RCDC III Project; professional services contract between Reeves County and Carothers Construction Inc., for RCDC III Project and professional services contract between Reeves County and Frank X. Spencer and Associates for RCDC III Project.

The group will discuss and take action on request for payments for several items for Lorraine M. Dailey, architect; interagency agreements with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and Midland County and City of Pecos; water line easement on County Road 404; deputation and oath-Lionel Garza; property bids; RCDC inmate transportation crew payment for service and reimbursement of lost property.

The group will again meet in closed session to discuss and take action on real estate property acquisition by Reeves County.

Regular items on the agenda to discuss and take action, include:

Reports from various departments.

Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, recreation department, county judge, road and bridge).

Action on minutes from previous meetings.

Semi-monthly bills.

Spread on the minutes: Contract between Reeves County and Garza County Regional Juvenile Center.

Local youth choir to perform on Midland station Saturday

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, June 22, 2001 -- A group of Pecos youngsters will be in the spotlight when they appear on the Prime Time TV Show on KMLM-TV this weekend.

A group of children, between the second and seventh grade, from the First Baptist and New Life Baptist Churches have come together to form a children's choir and will be performing a musical on the Christian station in Midland.

Choir Director Eva Garcia said that the musical would be televised at 2 p.m., Saturday on Cable Ch. 10 in Pecos.

Garcia said that the musical was a part of the recent Vacation Bible School that was held at First Baptist Church. Of the 250 children enrolled in Bible school, 35 volunteered to perform in the musical.

"It was open to all the students who wanted to participate," she said.

Pastor for New Life Baptist Church, Pablo Garcia, said that this is the third year that the children of Pecos have appeared on the TV station.

He said that this is becoming a tradition _ performing on television after their Bible school.

A few years ago, Garcia said that he was invited to preach on the program the children will be performing on, and he happened to mention that they had a children's choir.

He said that the director was interested in the choir and invited them to perform on the program as well.

This year, the choir is performing the musical Truth Trackers, which is based on the gospel of John 14:6.

"It's based on the gospel of John where they're seeking the truth," Pastor Garcia said.

In order to prepare for their television performance, Mrs. Garcia said that the children have been practicing about two hours a day for two weeks.

Pastor Garcia also said that the church has taken the children's choir to Alamogordo, N.M., to perform at a church for a couple of years as well.

In addition to the Alamogordo trip, the choir is also planning to perform at a small church in Lubbock later this summer.

Garcia said that the children have a lot of fun on these trips and that they take them swimming and to White Sands, N.M. in addition to their performances.

He added that he believes that the children's choir is good for the children and is very proud of them.

"I've always thought that there is no better place for kids than church," he said.


PECOS, Friday, June 22, 2001 -- High Thursday 99. Low this morning 72. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low 65 to 70. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the upper 60s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High 90 to 95. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 65 to 70. Highs 90 to 95.


Julia Acosta

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