Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
PEDC chairman seeks state help on Anchor plant
By PEGGY MCCRACKEN
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 13, 2001 -- Frozen food processing will continue
in Pecos if the Pecos Economic Development Corporation is successful in
their efforts to market the plant being closed down by McCain Foods.
Oscar Saenz, chairman of the PEDC and former plant manager for Anchor
Foods, said this morning that they are "on top of the Anchor situation."
McCain Foods, which recently purchased Anchor's Wisconsin and Pecos
processing facilities, told Pecos employee on Mondays that they plan to
shut down the plant by the middle of next year. The closing, which is scheduled
to be done in stages, will leave 700 people, roughly 10 percent of the
county's current workforce, without jobs unless a way can be found to keep
the plant in operation.
"We are setting up a task force composed of financial institutions,
private citizens and the city and county to market this facility or to
try to keep it open," he said.
Calling for statewide help, Saenz enlisted Jeff Moseley, executive director
of Texas State Economic Development, and he will send someone to Pecos
to take data and help market the plant.
"We have already called and put an ad in the Texas Food Processors Association
announcing that a frozen food facility here will be available," Saenz said.
Employees who face layoffs should not panic, he said. With their cooperation,
PEDC hopes to get the plant back in operation soon.
McCain senior vice president of operations and supply chain Steve Prater
said on Monday the company had an excess of onion processing facilities
after their August purchase of Anchor's plants in Pecos, along with those
in Wisconsin and Mexico. The Pecos plant produces mainly onion rings, while
McCain will continue operation of Anchor's plant that processes stuffed
Saenz said he had a feeling McCain would shut down the Pecos plant and
had been working for some time to market it to another processor.
"We already have some inquiries about the plant, but have to work out
details with McCain while they are still here. If we are successful, the
people will keep their jobs or be called back to work."
County OKs payments for prison expansion work
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 13, 2001 -- Payments for construction work at the
Reeves County Detention Center III, approval of a new assistant warden
for the facility and the approval of independent auditors for the county
topped the agenda during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court
meeting on Monday.
The group met Monday afternoon at the Reeves County Courthouse, despite
the fact that employees were not working due to the Veteran's Day holiday.
The RCDC project is the just-started 960-bed expansion of the 2,000-bed
prison facility on the southwest side of Pecos. Commissioners approved
payments to Carothers Construction, Inc., payment number two in the amount
of $462,000; payment to LMD Architect in the amount of $11,608.50; the
first payment for Jarratt Dirt Work in the amount of $63,977 and a payment
to Frank X. Spencer in the amount of $1,875.
"The one to Spencer has been revised by Lorraine and is recommended
that we process and charge it back to the contractors, which were Banes
General Contractors," said county auditor Lynn Owens.
Owens told commissioners that he would also like to recommend that they
engage in the contract with Smith, Wilson and Rives, independent auditors.
"We'd like the consideration to have the same contract for the next two
years," he said.
Commissioners approved Reeves County Detention Center Transportation
Crew mileage payments and a new assistant warden for RCDC-III. Warden Rudy
Franco said that there was opening for the position and recommended the
hiring of Tommy Duncan who works for the BOP.
"I talked to him at length and finally convinced him," said Franco.
Franco said that Duncan has an extensive background and several years
experience with correctional facilities.
"The timing to come on board with this excellent staff is perfect for
me, it will be a great challenge opening up the new facility and I'm looking
forward to it," said Duncan.
Duncan will come on board at $70,000 a year on a three-year contract
with $6,000 travel allowance.
Commissioners also approved a food service agreement for RCDC III. "There
are still three other bid packages that need to be negotiated," said Reeves
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
"This covers all the major bid packages for the construction," he said.
Work at the construction is coming along great and everything is on
schedule, according to Galindo.
Franco gave the group a brief update on the transportation department
during reports from various departments.
The new bus has brought in about $909,000 this year and will continue
to project revenue, according to Franco.
"Our bus did break down in Albuquerque, outside of Estancia recently,"
Franco said that alternative measures were taken to bring the inmates
in from the Albuquerque area. "We had to send some vans to bring the inmates
in, but transportation continues," he said.
The transmission on the bus broke, but is on warranty and the bus was
towed in to Albuquerque.
"The officers on the bus utilized the emergency plan, by bringing in
sheriff's deputies and police officers to help out while they waited,"
said Franco. "The group on the bus is very experienced and know what they
are doing," he said.
"We hope to get it back as soon as possible," he said. "We will continue
and proceed at the same rate," he said.
The group approved the rental of Ward County rental property located
in Reeves County.
"This woman, Laura Nickelson, bid $25 and wants to use the place as
storage, for a minimum of 12 months," said Owens. "It's in our right to
inspect the property before and after, we don't want to clean up a lot
of debris after them."
Owens said that the county might as well make $300 out of the unused
Deputation and oath for Ramon Ortiz, Jr., as a sheriff's deputy was
Officials set meeting to discuss plant's future
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 13, 2001 -- With their biggest employer announcing
its plans to close some time next year, Town of Pecos City and Reeves County
officials plan to push forward for more economic development, according
to Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena.
"We're looking ahead," Yerena said.
McCain Foods, new owner of Anchor Foods, informed over 700 employees
that the company would be closing its Pecos plant by the middle of next
year. The total represents about 10 percent of Reeves County's workforce
and about 12 percent of the Town of Pecos City's labor force.
McCain announced the closing just three months after the Canadian-based
company bought the local plant and other facilities owned by Anchor Foods
of Appelton, Wis. The company, which is best-known for its Ore-Ida brand
of potatoes and also markets frozen onion rings nationwide, said it did
not need Pecos' onion processing facility to go along with plants it already
operates elsewhere in the United States.
The company said layoffs would probably not begin until after March
1, although Elva Arreguy, manager of the Texas Workforce Commission's Pecos
office, said some Anchor workers were already at her office when it opened
this morning after the Veteran's Day holiday looking for other possible
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo is organizing a meeting with numerous
elected officials and public figures in Pecos to discuss McCain's announcement
and try to organize and make plans for the future.
Galindo said that he would be calling up officials and inviting them
to meet in the Reeves County Courthouse Third Floor Courtroom sometime
"I'll call a majority of the elected officials and some community members
and invite them to meet in order for us to sit down and talk about what
we can do to help in this transition," he said.
Galindo, along with Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo, said that
the impact of Anchor closing would be great on the community.
"This is going to have a deep impact on the community," Galindo said.
"Indirectly, it is going to hurt a lot of people," Arredondo said.
However, Galindo is hopeful that Anchor employees and the community
would have a better transition if everyone can organize and devise a plan
to deal with the loss of plant.
Galindo hopes to cover many topics in tomorrow's meeting that would
help the employees and community with the news of the closing.
He said that his objective in having the meeting is to discuss what
can be done to keep McCain Foods here, what can be done as a community
to help and to put together a plan, as a team, on how to make the transition
and take care of the employees.
"I think that we can meet locally, discuss and develop a plan to move
forward," he said.
Yerena said that he understands the impact the closing would have on
the community but the city it looking to the future.
"It's going to impact the community tremendously but our intent is to
move forward and continue with our economic development initiative," he
Emergency response training session set next week
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 13, 2001 -- Local emergency responders and elected officials
are scheduled to meet for an Emergency Preparedness Workshop from 8:30
a.m. to noon, on Nov. 20, in the Quality Inn Meeting Room.
Emergency Management Coordinator Armando Gil has organized the meeting
to discuss emergency operations plan, standard operation procedures, terrorist
threat response procedures, and training.
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 13, 2001 -- High Mon. 80. Low this morning 49. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms.
Lows in the mid 50s. SE winds 10 to 20 mph. Wed.: Mostly cloudy with a
30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 60s. SE
winds 10 to 20 mph. Wed. night: Rain likely. Thunderstorms also possible.
Lows near 50. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent. Thurs.: Rain likely.
Thunderstorms also possible. Highs 60 to 65. The chance of precipitation
is 60 percent. Fri.: Cloudy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms.
Lows 45 to 50. Highs in the lower 60s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2001 by Pecos Enterprise