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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, November 8, 2001

Thigh `high' doesn't get by drug dog on Greyhound bus

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- A California man was arrested and over 1½ pounds of  cocaine were taken off the streets following a bus interdiction  operation Wednesday night.

About 7 p.m., Wednesday, officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force bus interdiction team arrested Joseph Jackson, Jr., 30, of Long Beach, Calif., for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

The team, along with the task force's drug-sniffing dog, Aries, were at the Pecos Greyhound station doing a bus interdiction operation, when they found Jackson was body-carrying the illegal drugs while a passenger on a westbound Greyhound bus, heading for California.

"He had the illegal drugs strapped to his thigh," said Lt. Larry Arredondo. "He was wearing tight biker shorts and had the cocaine strapped to the inside of his thigh."

Total amount of the cocaine on Jackson was put at one pound, 10 ounces and the confiscated drug had an estimated street value of $58,240.

Jackson was also carrying about $899 in what officials said was suspected "drug money," money used in illegal activities.

He was also wanted on two warrants out of California for felony assault and attempted kidnapping and making terroristic threats. Bonds for those had been set at $200,000 in California.

"He'll have to face charges here before he is extradited to California," said Arredondo.

"We have a group of hard working individuals who want to make this community a safer place to live," said Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards. "Any amount of drug we take off the streets helps."

Richards said that the officers are always on the lookout and are dedicated to their jobs. "We're dedicated to Reeves County to provide the best service possible," he said.

Church's facelift work almost completed

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- First United Methodist Church, at Third and Elm, is receiving a facelift. James Ross, crew foreman with The Fix It Company, Brandon Lusk, of Odessa and three helpers, including two men from Pecos, expect to complete the painting of the 17,000-square-foot of exterior walls of the church within about three days.

Ross said that the company has been painting the church for about a month, occasionally being held up because of winds and dust. They also had to await completion of necessary stucco work, which was performed by Roberts Construction, a local Pecos company.

Bruce Abbott, pastor of the church, said the renovations have been an ongoing project for close to a year. The work began with the re-roofing and was done by Jack Rogers, a church member who died of cancer shortly after finishing that part of the project. About 40 broken windows were replaced, and then the building was power-washed before the painting began.

Abbott said the total cost for renovations is in the neighborhood of $70,000, with paint alone costing over $16,000, an expensive undertaking for a church with a membership of about 100 people.

Abbott is a graduate of the seminary at Emory, in Atlanta, Georgia, and this is his third church. Before Pecos, he was in Cimarron, N.M., north of Taos; and he's been at First United Methodist Church for the last four years. Sunday morning worship service is at 10:55 a.m.

Council OKs $1.07 million water field bid

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City Council awarding the bid for development  of the South Worsham Water Field to West Texas Well Service of  Odessa at a cost of nearly $1.1 million, during their regular meeting this morning  at City Hall

City Finance Director George Bejarano said that West Texas Well Service bid the lowest at $1,071,816 for development of water wells. Bejarano added that the bid is almost $130,000 lower than the next bid.

The city council was told be engineers in 1994 that the current Worsham and Ward County Water Fields only contained enough water to supply Pecos through the year 2008. Since that time, the council has been involved in locating and developing a new water well field for the city.

After looking at several sites in the area, the city decided three years ago to develop the South Worsham Well Field, which is located about 20 miles southeast of Pecos near U.S. 285.

Along with that item, the council authorized the city to advertise for bids on the replacement of a ground storage tank in Worsham Well Field.

In other action today, the council approved changing city insurance companies, after City Manager Carlos Yerena said that changing from the current company, New Horizons, to Dallas General would be beneficial for the city and its employees.

"It's a good deal for the city and the employees because it gives us more benefits without adding more liability," he said.

The city has used New Horizons for the past several years, according to Yerena. However, the liability cost to the city on each incident has gone up to $40,000.

On the new insurance policy, Yerena said that the cost for liability is $10,000.

Dennis Burkholder, a representative of Employee Benefit Administrators (EBA) in San Antonio, assured the council that the city would not see as many problems with Dallas General as they did with New Horizons.

Burkholder has been the city's insurance administrator for the past ten years and is familiar the city and the employees.

He said that he knows the city has had trouble with New Horizons not paying claims quickly and said that with Dallas General, he would be completing the paperwork on all the claims, making it easier on the city.

"With Dallas General, we process all the claims, even theirs," he said.

Yerena said that the city's insurance committee, made up of city employees, approved Dallas General as the new insurance provider out of approximately five bids.

"This is the one we liked the best, the city and the employees," he said.

Yerena explained that with the new insurance company the employees would have a $20 co-pay on office visits along with a better prescription plan and dental plan.

The new insurance plan is scheduled to begin in January, according to Yerena, but as off now it does not include life insurance.

Yerena said that before the transition from the current insurance provider to Dallas General is complete he and the city would look into adding life insurance along with coverage on optical.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney, who is a member of the insurance committee, said that the committee believes that the new insurance would be good for the city.

"This does look best for the employees," he said.

Burkholder told the council that he would work with the city to find what is best for the employees.

"I don't work for the insurance company, I work for you," he said. "We won't let you down. We'll give you the best service we can."

Also this morning, the council gave permission to the Rotary Club to use Maxey Park for the community Christmas lighting at the end of November.

Lighting Chairman Leo Hung informed the council that last year the Rotary Club used about 120 strings of lights to construct the Christmas tree.

He said that in addition to the 120 original strings of light the Rotary Club is adding 120 more strings.

The council approved the list of newly elected Pecos Volunteer Fire Department officers during the meeting as well.

PVFD Fire Chief Roy Pena, who was re-elected by the fire assembly, said that 32 out of 42 members of the fire department met on Nov. 1 to elect officers.

Those elected that night included:

First Assistant Chief Arturo Granado by acclamation,

Second Assistant Chief Jim Riley by acclamation,

Secretary Javier Contreras by acclamation,

Safety Officer Gabriel Gonzales,

Safety Officer Harvey Gonzales,

Fireman Representative Salvador "Howdy" Carrera,

Training Officer Lynn Foster.

Those eight officers make up the Fire Department's Board of Directors, according to Pena.

Cesar Zermeno and Noe Ybarra were also elected to the Benevolent Committee as well as Roque Mata to the Pension Board.

All city offices are scheduled to close on Monday, Nov. 12 in celebration of Veteran's Day.

The council approved adding Veteran's Day to the list of city holidays during this morning's meeting.

City misses housing grant, will continue efforts

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- Town of Pecos City officials plan to continue their efforts to bring  affordable housing to the community after one of the city's grant applications was  not approved by state officials.

"We'll still be seeking other projects and working on getting affordable housing for this community," said Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena.

Town of Pecos City officials had applied back in June for a Home Improvement Partnership Program grant through the state of Texas that would be used to help in purchasing affordable housing in Pecos.

Yerena said that the $300,000 grant would be through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and was designed to help subsidize housing costs for local residents, and could be used toward either new or existing housing in Pecos.

The $300,000 would have been divided up into $10,000 increments and would go toward closing or a down payment for families trying to buy a house, but Yerena said, "It seems like we did not get the grant for the down payment assistance."

Yerena said that they have not received word yet on whether they received a second grant to help with housing construction, "but we'll be pursuing other ventures," he said.

"We have another grant out there, so we'll wait and see if we get that one," he said.

Yerena said that the city of Pecos is in need of more affordable housing now and in the future.

"We need affordable housing because Pecos is on the verge of a growth spurt," he said.

Yerena said that the city has been working on economic development and bringing in new businesses.

"With the economic development and brining in new businesses, we need affordable housing for the employees who will be coming in," he said, while adding that it would be no use bringing in new businesses if the city could not house the employees.

"Housing would have to be built on land that the city owns," he said.

Yerena said that the city would donate the land to the program that would be used for the new homes. Officials have talked about using land located behind Gibson's True Value south of Washington Street, though questions about the use of that land have been raised by members of the Pecos Ambulance Service, who said the land was originally given to them to construct a new ambulance hall.

Yerena said that with the additional labor force coming in with the county's 960-bed prison addition, the city's new 96-bed jail and the U.S. Air Force's Realistic Bomber Training Initiative manned scoring site, affordable housing could become a problem. However, for right now, local employers didn't see a major housing shortage in Pecos.

Anchor Manager Bruce Salcido said that a number of employees for the company come from Fort Stockton, Monahans and Kermit. "We have employees from the surrounding area, but I don't know if it's because of lack of housing," said Salcido. "It's more because of their job, a job they enjoy with good benefits."

Anchor is the city's largest employer, but Salcido said that while some out-of-towners have found work in Pecos, they are keeping their homes in other communities.

"Some don't want to leave their homes and families and just want to commute," he said.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that the prison also employs individuals from surrounding communities. "But we also have a lot of employees from this community, that have been residents for a long time and want to stay in Pecos," said Galindo.

Galindo said that the number of individuals who live in the community is larger. "We have a small number coming in from out of town," he said.

Garage sale planned for Santa Rosa Hall

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- A garage sale will be held from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday at the Santa Rosa Church Hall, 600 E. Third St.

A wide variety of inexpensive, second-hand items will be for sale.

Delicious food drinks and games for everyone will also be provided.

Retreat for choirs set for next week

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- A Retreat for all choirs is scheduled for next weekend in Pecos.

The retreat will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 at Santa Rosa Hall, 600 E. Third St. Everyone is invited to attend.


PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 8, 2001 -- High Wed. 80. Low this morning 49. Forecast for tonight:  Mostly cloudy. Lows around 40. NE winds 10 to 20 mph. Fri.: Partly cloudy.  Highs near 60. NE winds 10 to 15 mph. Fri. night: Partly cloudy. Lows around  40. Sat.: Mostly clear. Highs 65 to 70. Sun. Mostly clear Lows 40 to 45. Highs  70 to 75.


Florence Howell

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