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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, July 19, 2001

PEDC accepts donation of Smithers' test facility

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., July 19, 2001 -- The Pecos Economic Development Corp. accepted the donation of the Smithers Automotive Testing Center by the Ohio-based company, during a special meeting held this morning on the second floor of the Security State Bank building.

The 5,800-acre tire and automotive testing complex was closed in May because of an inadequate business volume over the last several years, which adversely impacted operations, Smithers said. It held an auction in late June of surplus items at the center, located 20 miles east of Pecos, at relocated its operations to the Laredo area, where it is working with a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler that operates that test track.

In a press release sent out by Smithers this morning, President of the PEDC, Gari Ward said that he welcomed the donation made to them by Smithers.

"We are delighted that Smithers agreed to give us this land and the opportunity to utilize its resources for the betterment of this community," Ward said. "Those resources included access to the existing water system on the land for possible use by the town of Pecos City and Reeves County, Texas."

Smithers President and CEO, J. Michael Hochschwender, said that he was glad the land would still be used to help the area. "We are pleased that this facility may still be used for the benefit of the Pecos community," he said.

Though there are still some points to negotiate, the PEDC board approved the appointment of Ward to negotiate the contract.

While the donation of the property will open up the area for possible use by the Town of Pecos City and Reeves County for an underground water field, it will also take the 5,800-acre site off the local property tax rolls. As of now the land has not been taken off the tax roll, but Ward said that that will happen when a contract is approved.

Chairman Oscar Saenz agreed with Ward in said that the donation would be good for Pecos.

"It is a good deal for Pecos and Reeves County," Saenz said.

Smithers took over the test track in 1988, after the Uniroyal tire company relocated its operations to Laredo following their merger with B.F. Goodrich. Akron, Ohio-based Smithers employed several hundred people over the past decade, though the number of jobs at the site had dropped sharply in recent years.

The test track the company is moving to is the same one Uniroyal/Goodrich had their operations at, until they relocated their tire testing operations from Laredo to Mexico in the late 1990s.

In other action, PEDC board members approved purchase of the P.C.S. Phosphate property, which totals 13.89 acres and is located off Business I-20 located west of Pecos. Purchase price for the property was listed at $5,000.

Unemployment for county, city rose in June

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., July 19, 2001 -- The workforce numbers were down and the number of people without jobs was up last month, as Reeves County's unemployment level rose by 1½ percent in June, according to figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The county's jobless rate, which sank to its lowest level since the 1980s in May, climbed back from 5.6 to 7.1 percent in June, according to the TWC. The higher unemployment rate was the same in almost every county in the Permian Basin and is normal for June, since it is the first month after the end of high school and college semesters, which normally raises the jobless rate, both due to students entering the workforce and the lower number of school-related jobs, which are part of the government/public employment sector.

However, June usually shows an increase in the local labor force, which wasn't the case last month. The TWC figures show Reeves County's workforce declined by 235 people last month, while the total number of jobless jumped by 97, from 417 to 514.

Still, the 7.1 percent jobless rate is the lowest in Reeves County for the month of June in over a decade. The last time the county's June unemployment rate was below 10 percent was in 1990, when the rate was 9.0 percent, and the jobless rate was as high at 16.2 percent in 1992, 14.3 percent in 1993 and 13.5 percent as recently as June of 1999.

Unemployment in Pecos was up by 1.8 percent last month, according to the TWC, from 6.3 to 8.1 percent. The workforce in the city dropped by 164, while the number of jobs in Pecos fell by 254, to 5,206. Like Reeves County, the city's 8.1 percent rate is the lowest for the month of June since the oil boom of the 1980s.

Overall joblessness in the Permian Basin climbed 1.1 percent in June, from 4.1 to 5.2 percent. Midland County, with the area's largest labor force, saw its jobless rate rise by half a percent, to 3.8 percent, while the number of people without jobs in Ector County (Odessa) grew by over 1,000 last month, raising its jobless rate from 4.7 to 6.3 percent.

Midland and Ector counties, along with most other are counties, did see their labor forces increase in June, which was part of the reason for the rise in the jobless rate. And the TWC report said, "The jump in unemployment in June is a seasonal pattern that has been seen every year since 1990 Since June 2000, employment is the Permian Basin WDA (Workforce Development Area) has increased by 38,32 workers. Continued claims for unemployment insurance have decreased 17.3 percent, or 288 claims, since June 2000."

Loving County, the nation's least populated county, added three people to both its workforce and unemployment list. With only 50 people in the labor force, that increased the jobless rate from 8.5 to 14 percent.

Brewster County continues to have the area's lowest jobless rate, at 2.3 percent, which is up from 1.9 percent in May, while neighboring Presidio County continues to have the state's highest jobless rate. It climbed from 20.4 to 25.1 percent last month, though today's bad news was offset by the announcement of a new factory, which will be built in Presidio.

MIC Group, Inc. plans to build the 20,000 square-foot facility that will employ about 100 workers. The company is owned by J.B. Poindexter and Co., whose owner, John Poindexter, also owns the Cibolo Creek Ranch north of Presidio, according to a press release by West Texas Utilities, which helped arrange the construction of the parts manufacturing plant.

Churches prepare for VBS activities starting Monday

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., July 19, 2001 -- Children from preschool age through junior high school will be learning lessons next week, when they travel to West Park Baptist Church for the annual Vacation Bible School.

Rey Carreon, pastor, said he looks forward to seeing students who have attended before and others who will be making their first trip to the church at Sixth and Eddy Streets.

"Four churches have pooled their talents for this special event," said Carreon. "Teachers from Calvary Baptist, St. James and House of Prayer will join the West Park team for the best-ever VBS. We expect to have children from all over town come for the morning sessions."

Early birds may arrive as early as 8 a.m. to watch a Bible story video, he said. At 8:30, the children will march into the auditorium behind the American and Christian flags and the Bible to sing, pray and pledge allegiance to the flags and Bible.

"We also have a video that will introduce the theme for each day's Bible study," Carreon said. "It is set in Egypt, where the children of Israel began their journey to the Promised Land. Enroute they received the 10 commandments from God, and we will be seeking the secret of those stone tablets."

Carreon and his wife, Teresa, will teach preschoolers, with Elizabeth Carreon as assistant. Bible teachers for older children are Nancy McAnally and Jessica Carreon, kindergarten; Joyce Morton and Jennifer McDaniel, younger children; Ron Garcia and Bryan Chowning, older children; and Kim Ewing and Freddy Barton, junior high.

Dallas and DesaRay Goff will lead music; Timothy Lara recreation; Pat McDaniel missions; and Judy Greenwood's crew will serve snacks.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on the church lawn, led by Ruth Rasberry and Selma Carrell. Classes end at 11:30 a.m., but children of working parents will have supervision until they are picked up.

"VBS is one of the most exciting events of the church year," Carreon said. "I encourage parents to see that their children do not miss this opportunity to learn more about our creator and Lord."

Pistol match set Saturday at local range

PECOS, Thurs., July 19, 2001 -- A Defensive Pistol Match will be held Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. at the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club Range south of Maxey Park.

Contestants will need a revolver of semi-auto pistol, enough magazines or speed loaders to shoot 18 rounds during timed events, and a holster. The match will be modeled after the regular International Defensive Pistol Association match.

For more information contact Mike Mason at 447-6157 or Smokey Briggs at 445-5475.


PECOS, Thurs., July 19, 2001 -- High Wednesday 106. Low this morning 76. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low 70 to 75. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High near 103. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Low 70 to 75. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Highs 100 to 105.

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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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