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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, October 12, 2001

Area FBI agents involved in security checks

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents in the Permian Basin have also been involved in the efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks, even though the Sept. 11 tragedies in New York and Washington occurred nearly 2,000 miles away.

"We had had some agents in the Coyanosa area, basically talking to crop-dusters," said FBI Supervisor Bill Vanderland, of the FBI's Midland office.

Vanderland said that the agents had been talking to the crop-dusters as a precaution to make sure nobody had approached them about using their crop-dusting planes for any reason.

Three of the terrorists reportedly involved in the Sept. 11 airplane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., reportedly talked with crop duster owners in Florida about use of their planes prior to the attacks. Officials fear terrorists might attempt to use the planes to fly over a city and spray chemical or biological weapons in the area.

"One of the things we had to do was locate all the local crop-duster operations," said Vanderland.

Agents also spoke to a group of people of Palestinian origin who are living in that, and had farmed crops on land in northern Pecos County during this past summer.

"We wanted to make sure that they were not being bothered by anybody because of their national origin," said Vanderland. "We wanted to make sure their rights were not being violated, if they were not doing anything wrong."

He added that the agents have also been speaking to all the oil and gas officials in the surrounding areas. Federal officials are also concerned about possible sabotage against oil and gas pipelines and refineries by terrorists in the United States.

"We have also tried to reach all of the airports in this area and talk to the managers," said Vanderland. "I don't know if the agents have had a chance to speak to the Pecos airport officials, but we've been trying to reach all of them," he said.

Vanderland said that these are just precautions being taken. "This is nothing that the public needs to be aware of or concerned about," he said. "These are all just precautions we are taking to ensure the public's safety."

Vanderland agents may be in the surrounding area speaking to more individuals, but that there is nothing to worry about. "We're just trying to cover all our bases," he said.

Meeting set on Anchor appraisal lawsuit

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Attorneys for both Anchor Appetizers Group and the Reeves County Appraisal District (RCAD) are preparing to meet in December to discuss the company's lawsuit against the Appraisal District.

Chief Appraiser Carol King-Markham said that the two sets of attorneys are scheduled to meet on Dec. 19, in Austin, to hold a status conference and to file a joint status report.

Markham updated the RCAD Board of Directors at the regular meeting held on Wednesday at the Appraisal District office.

She said that she along with the Board are still as confused as ever as to why Anchor has filed the lawsuit.

"We all continue to be puzzled why they sued us and what they want," she said.

In late August, Anchor filed a lawsuit in 143rd District Court against the RCAD. The suit came the same day the company announced it had agreed to be bought by Canadian-based McCain Foods.

In their lawsuit, Anchor claims that the Appraisal District placed the value of Anchor's property in Reeves County over market value and that the district did not apply their Freeport Exemption correctly.

Markham said that in setting the valuations for the company, she used all of Anchor's figures.

Anchor opened its processing plant in the former Pecos Cantaloupe Co. building in 1990 to process batter dipped onion rings, and since then has grown to be Reeves County's largest employer, with over 750 workers.

Markham explained earlier this year that Anchor applied for an abatement in 1989, which was granted by the city and county for 12 years, the Reeves County Hospital for 10 years and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for five years.

She said that Anchor has had the abatement for 11 years with one year remaining, which will be voided if the Anchor sale is closed.

This is, however, the first year that the company has applied for the Freeport Exemption, which gives partial tax exemption to Anchor's inventory, according to Markham.

Markham said that Anchor has been granted the Freeport Exemption.

She said with all that the taxpayers have given Anchor she does not understand the reasoning behind suing the appraisal district, which the taxpayers would have to pay for.

"After all the exemptions they have received in Reeves County this is not a very good thank you," she said. "It's sad for everyone because Anchor has received so much from Reeves County taxpayers."

Markham is hoping that after the attorneys for both sides meet the reason for the lawsuit could be understood.

"Maybe it will be more clear," she said.

A court date has been set for April 8, 2002, with 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks presiding.

Anchor officials were contacted for comment to this article but could not be reached at press time.

Volunteers sought for clean-up, blood drive

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- The Keep Pecos Beautiful Committee will be hosting another cleanup early Saturday morning, this one in the area near Fairview Cemetery and the Pecos River on the east side of town.

The group will meet at 7:30 a.m., at the Odessa College campus parking lot on South Eddy Street.

"We'll then clean up the area around the cemetery before heading out to the Pecos River," said organizer Michael Benavides.

Benavides said that the group would not actually be cleaning up the river, but the area around and the highway.

"We'll be cleaning up around old Business Highway 80," said Benavides.

Volunteers are asked to dress warmly and bring gloves. "We think it'll be really cool in the morning, so they will probably need a light jacket," said Benavides.

He said that the group is planning other clean-up projects in the area in the upcoming months.

"We're planning a bigger clean-up project for later and would like some more volunteers," said Benavides. "Everybody has been really great about helping out."

Hospital and United Blood Services hosting a blood drive

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Reeves County Hospital Auxiliary and the United Blood Services will be hosting a special community blood drive from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday in the hospital lobby.

"While there's a critical nationwide shortage of blood there is also a critical need in West Texas," said Director of Program Development and Community Services Nancy Ontiveros.

Each person that donates blood can save three lives, according to Ontiveros.

"We're asking the community to please come out and support this effort," she said.

Many individuals responded positively for a special drive following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed around 6,000 Americans, "So we hope we have many new donors as well as previous donors," said Ontiveros.

A person can donate blood every eight weeks and individuals who have donated in the past two drives should be able to donate tomorrow, according to Ontiveros.

A free gift will be given to each donor and cookies and juice will be provided.

To donate blood an individual must be 17 years of age, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.

If anyone would like to schedule an appointment to donate at a certain time they can call 447-3551, extension 350.

Swisher to be featured at annual Harvest Day

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- First United Methodist Church of Pecos is inviting former members and guests to its 48th annual Harvest Day, which this year will be held in conjunction with the church's Founder's Day celebration.

Harvest Day is a celebration of the many blessings _ the "bountiful harvest" _ that God has given the past year. Founder's Day honors the early members of the church and reflects on the church's history. Both are times of thanksgiving, praise, worship and fellowship.

This year's celebration is highlighted with thanksgiving over recent church refurbishing projects, noted pastor Bruce Abbott. The church building, 3rd and Elm Streets, has a new roof, and plans have been made for repairs and painting.

"These things are amazing, considering they have been done almost against all odds," said Abbott. "People just came through, came together in faith, and made it happen," he said.

Church members have invited guests and former members to share in the Oct. 14 celebration. The 10:55 a.m., morning worship service will be followed by a covered dish luncheon.

"We hope to have a lot of folks come to share," said Abbott.

Abbott will join church members in welcoming evangelist and preacher Dr. Stephen Lowell Swisher as guest speaker for morning worship.

Dr. Swisher currently serves as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Monahans, a congregation of more than 500 members. He is also involved in numerous civic activities, supporting Monahans Sandhills State Park, the Monahans Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Association, and the Rotary Club.

An honors graduate of New Mexico State University, the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and the Fuqua International School of Christian Communications, Swisher has done further graduate study at Oxford University and Wesley Seminary in Bristol, England.

Dr. Swisher was one of four pastors selected nationwide to comprise the inaugural group of a doctoral program entitled, "Proclamation and Leadership for the 21st Century," in conjunction with United Theological Seminary and the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Ca. His graduation ceremony occurred on Jan. 28, 2001, at the Crystal Cathedral and was aired live on the Hour of Power television series.

Swisher served as pastor of Evangelism at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio from 1991 to 1994. He then served until 1996 as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Iraan, a congregation that more than doubled its size during his appointment and established a vital youth outreach program as well. From Iraan, Swisher served three years at Zia United Methodist Church in Santa Fe, N.M., which became the fastest growing church in the Albuquerque District of the Methodist Church.

Currently, Swisher is an elder in the New Mexico Conference of the United Methodist Church, and is director of evangelism for the Odessa District. He is president of Swisher Evangelistic Association, Inc., and he has traveled to more than 30 countries to bring messages of hope and faith.

Swisher has shared motivational messages in a variety of settings, including universities, seminaries, churches and service clubs, and he is a frequent resource person for both retreats and seminars. Swisher has been a guest preacher at the Crystal Cathedral, speaking at both the English and Spanish worship services. He has received several state and national honors, including the Gabriel Award from the Religious Broadcasters of America for a nationally syndicated radio program.

During his work in Santa Fe, Dr. Swisher served on advisory committees for both Gov. Gary Johnson and U.S. Representative Tom Udall. He has opened the New Mexico House of Representatives, the New Mexico State Senate and the Texas State Senate in prayer.

Dr. Swisher's first book, God's Way to Good Health, with foreword by Dr. Robert A. Schuller, was released on Dec. 1, 2000. The book is a culmination of Swisher's doctoral work focusing on the correlation between faith and health as well as the benefits of Possibility Living.

First United Methodist Church was started in 1887 with six members.

It was in July, 1886 that Mrs. Sophia Bucholz arrived just as the last house was moved from old Pecos down on the river to the new Pecos at its present site.

Hot and dry in Pecos when Mrs. Bucholz arrived, she wondered where she was going to get water. She met Sam McWhorter, the waterman. He invited her to church at the little schoolhouse south of the courthouse. Other denominations used the building but the fourth Sunday each month was reserved for Methodists.

It is stated in the January 25, 1916 Methodist Episcopal Church Directory that the church was organized in 1887 with six members; McWhorter, his son and two daughters, Mrs. Bucholz and "a man from Toyah."

In the spring of 1887 some widow ladies moved to Pecos…Mrs. Duffie Collier, grandmother of Howard Collier, Jr., Mrs. Willie T. Manahan, mother of Charlie Manahan, Mrs. Carnwell, Mrs. Koen, and Mrs. Chilton. By the faithfulness and zeal of these loyal women, God blessed their humble efforts, Methodism was able to stand in Pecos.

A building committee was appointed and a building was built at the corner of 4th and Plum Street, where the Presbyterian Church is today. This was an adobe building completed in 1892 that served until the building we now use was built in 1912. This second building was a red brick building and in 1951 was remodeled to its present condition.

Pecos Methodists will celebrate Founders Day, by recognizing those who have been members of the church for 50 years or more. This year the church will recognize and honor 17 men and women.

The following have been members of First United Methodist Church for 50 years or more, Catherine Jones, James Moore, Elizabeth McCree, Dagma Wynne, Edna Stanton, Bonnie Green, Norine Hoover, Mary Farnum, Pearl Barker, Mary Miller, Emma Shepherd, Emmet Miller, David Alan Smith, Irene Holm, Lloyd Goodrich, Mitch Hoover and Patsy Bowles.

Local sales tax rebates show jump for October

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Sales tax receipts for the Town of Pecos City were up by over 13½ percent in October after a smaller increase in September, though tax collections for the first eight months of 2001 still are down slightly from the same point a year ago.

According to figures released today by State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office, Pecos received a check for $68,728 this month, as their 1½-cent share of the state's 8¼-cent sales tax. That's up 13.55 percent from a year ago and follows an increase of just over 5 percent last month.

For the first 10 months of the year, the city's tax rebate checks have totaled $634,326, which is 1.52 percent below 2000, when Pecos got back $644,140 between January and October.

Of the $68,728 sent back this month from Austin, one sixth of that total, or $11,455, is designated for funding the Pecos Economic Development Corp.

Balmorhea and Toyah also saw their tax rebate checks rise by double-digits this month. Balmorhea's $434 check was up by 40½ percent and Toyah's $271 check represented a 43.6 percent increase. For the year, Balmorhea has gotten back $6,568, a drop of 4.77 percent, and Toyah has received $5,785 from Austin, up 56.27 percent from 2000's 10-month total.

A number of other cities also saw their tax rebate checks increase by 10 percent or more, though there were some cities that reported drops for October.

Andrews, Kermit and Monahans saw their checks increase by over 30 percent compared with last year, while Fort Stockton, Marfa, Odessa and Van Horn joined Pecos in reporting increase of between 10 and 20 percent. Crane, Alpine, Big Spring and Wink were among the towns to see their October checks decline from a year ago.

The Reeves County Hospital District's tax rebate check for the month, based on their ½-cent sales tax, was $30,869, which was up 5.55 percent from a year ago. For all of 2001 so far, the hospital has gotten back $266,521, which is up 1.42 percent from a year ago.

Statewide, Rylander sent out checks totaling over $203.2 million to Texas cities and counties this month, up 3.8 percent from the $195.8 million of a year ago. Houston's check for $25.2 million was the single largest check and was up by 5.24 percent from last year, while Dallas had the second largest check, for 14.8 million, which was a drop of over 10 percent from last year.

Band Boosters plan meeting on Monday

PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Pecos Eagle Band Boosters will hold a meeting at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15, in the Bill Carrico Band Hall at Pecos High School.

The PHS band will be in Clint tonight, and will be competing in the UIL area marching contest next Saturday, Oct. 20, at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa. New Band Booster members are always welcome.

Deadline next week for credit by exam registration at PHS

PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- Credit by Examination (without prior instruction), sign up deadline will be next Friday, Oct. 19, in the counselor's office at the Pecos High School.

Students can sign up with Pat Cobos or Eva Arriola.

Test dates are Nov. 13, 14, & 15 at 4 p.m., at the high school.

Credit by examination for acceleration allows students enrolled in grades nine through 12 to be awarded credit toward high school graduation through credit by examination for acceleration.

Students who wish to obtain credit for any class that counts toward graduation may apply to take the examination for acceleration. The student may not have been previously enrolled in the class. Application may be obtained from the student's guidance counselor.

Credit is granted to students who attain 90 percent or above mastery on the examination for acceleration. The test will only be administered once in the fall and spring semesters.

A copy of the testing schedule and application deadlines may be obtained in the counseling office.

`Jeepers Creepers' offers scary ride for audiences

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- What can be said about MGM's Jeepers Creepers except that it just might give you the heebie jeebies?

Jeepers Creepers is one of those scary movies in which you, as the audience and a smart person, know that the lead characters, played by newcomer Justin Long and Gina Philips (Telling You _ 1998), should NOT go back to investigate anything.

But as in all scary movies, they do.

That starts off the scary ride that you don't know if they'll ever get off of.

The movie is wonderfully scary until is just turns weird but in a good way.

The rest of the movie is just as scary but you spend the rest of the movie just as confused at the characters.

The movie provides some well needed humor with a few comic lines and camera shots that if you were paying attention would make you laugh.

Long and Philips, who play brother and sister, provide most of the humor with their constant bickering just as normal brothers and sisters do.

Although, despite the fighting Long and Philips are able to convince the audience that they do love one another as true siblings do in times of need.

Jeepers Creepers is a great trip into the world of nightmares that you are glad to leave behind in the theater.

Jeepers Creepers is rated R.


PECOS, Fri., Oct. 12, 2001 -- High Thursday 84. Low this morning 55. Forecast for tonight: Breezy early with north winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph: Diminishing and becoming northwest 10 to 20 mph. Partly cloudy with lows around 40. Saturday: Sunny. Highs near 70. Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Saturday night: Clear. Lows 40 to 45. Sunday: Sunny. Highs near 75. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 40 to 45. Highs 75 to 80.


Terry Burkholder

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