Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, September 20, 2002
Unemployment continues rising for city, county
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- Unemployment in Reeves County and the Town
of Pecos City remained at high levels in the wake of the closing of
the Anchor Foods plant in June, as the county's jobless rate hit 19.9
percent in August while the city's figure jumped to 22.4 percent.
Anchor's closing prior to the sale of its Pecos plant to Trans-Pecos Foods
put 700 people out of work, compared with the same period a year ago. Some
workers have been rehired by Trans-Pecos Foods, but operations are currently
at a much lower level than a year ago, when McCain Foods purchased the company.
McCain announced plans to shut down the Pecos facility last November.
According to figures released Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission,
Reeves County's unemployment rate is up 13.3 percent from August of a year
ago, climbing from 6.3 percent to 19.9 percent. However, much of that increase
is due to an increase of almost 1,100 workers in the local labor force, despite
the closing of the Anchor plant.
Reeves County had 6,951 people in the labor force in August of 2001, and
6,514 had jobs, the TWC said. Last month, the county had 6,429 jobs, 85 less
than last year, but the workforce had swelled to 8,031 workers, resulting
in the sharp jump in the jobless rate.
The numbers were similar for the Town of Pecos City. Its jobless rate
has climbed by over 15 percent in the past year, from 7.2 to 22.4 percent,
mainly due to the jump in the city's labor force. The TWC said Pecos had
5,417 workers last August and 391 people without jobs, while last month the
commission reported 6,394 people in the workforce and 1,434 without jobs.
Pecos' jobless rate was up two-tenths of a percent from July, when the
rate was at 22.2 percent, while Reeves County is also up by .2 percent, from
19.7 percent in July.
While Pecos and Reeves County saw their unemployment levels rise, the
numbers for the state and for the Permian Basin went down in August. The
basin's jobless rate declined from 6.3 percent in July to 6.1 percent, as
a small drop in jobs was offset by a larger decline in the regional labor
force, the TWC said. Unemployment in Texas went from 6.6 percent to 6.3 percent,
also due to the drop in the state's labor force offsetting a slight loss
Midland, Odessa, Monahans and Crane were among the cities reporting drops
in their jobless rates, and the counties they are located in also saw their
jobless figures drop.
Pecos County was one of the few counties to join Reeves in reporting an
increase in it's jobless rate, though the level was far lower, at 7.3 percent,
up from 6.6 percent in July. That was due to a drop in the number of jobs
outpacing a slight decline in the county's workforce.
Loving County, the state's least-populated county, saw its rate unchanged
last month. Loving had 54 people in the workforce, and all but two had jobs,
for an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.
Ex-Pecos residents performing as part of Austin rap group
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- New groups featuring former Pecos residents
will be in town Saturday performing their own brand of music,
during a concert and dance scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Riverside Ballroom.
D.J. "Curly-Q" of Austin will be joining former Pecos residents in bringing
a new sound to Pecos. Curly-Q will join rappers MVP, (Ruben Ramirez Jr.),
Strezz-Free, (Angel Garcia) and "Buda" (Kingsley Nwaka).
Garcia and Ramirez are former Pecos residents who graduated from Pecos
High School and moved to Austin to continue working toward their goals of
The concert will also feature singer, K-Mo-G, who will be singing a variety
Ramirez graduated from Pecos High School in 1993. He moved to Austin,
where he attended the University of Texas and graduated in June 2001 with
a Bachelors in Radio-TV-Film.
"My homeboy Robert Chavez and I decided to become filmmakers and get into
the entertainment business," said Ramirez. "We know it is going to be tough,
but we were never the ones to go out the easy way. Our goal is to accomplish
the impossible and become the voice of our people through our art."
Ramirez began filming shows and videos for a local group called the "Flo-Mob."
"They introduced me to the rap game and taught me how to work a keyboard
and I realized at this time that I loved music so much that I wanted to create
my own sound," said Ramirez. "So my brother Manny and I put half on an Ensoniq
keyboard and formed `Ground Up Records,'" he said.
Ramirez put in countless hours till he got better and better. "The first
song I ever wrote was called, "MVP" and this is how I got my rap name," he
"After we graduated from UT, we formed our own independent production
companies," said Ramirez. Chavez started "Visual Vagos," a video production
company specializing in video and film. "My brother and I started "Ground
Up Records," an audio production company specializing in music and sound.
"We have done several short films, songs, and produce our own show in
Austin called `ATXposure,'" he said.
Ramirez said that their goals are to keep creating and producing art.
"We have a script about Pecos called "Tarillaz" that is in pre-production,"
he said. "We are planning to shoot most of it here in Pecos in the near future."
Ramirez recently released his first album entitled "Ball-Star" which he
has been promoting this summer. "I recorded two other songs in Miami with
a close friend of mine and a former Pecos native, Aldo Ramon," said Ramirez.
"I felt that I needed to perform my first real show in Pecos, because this
is where I am from and I will never forget it."
Ramirez adheres to the motto that, "To know where you are going, you must
know where you come from."
"When I return to Austin I will begin preparing for my sophomore album
release entitled `Illego Alien'," said Ramirez.
Ramirez said that his father introduced him to music at an early age.
"We'd be cruising in his lowrider listening to the legendary sounds of Santana,
Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, and the oldies," he said.
"My hip-hop roots began around the third grade when Breakdancing was in,"
said Ramirez. "I remember watching Joe Calva and the "Streetmasters" do their
thing, and began imitating their moves."
Ramirez said that in the sixth grade they would rhyme the words to "Whodini"
and other songs. "As I grew up I started changing popular songs around and
making them my own," said Ramirez. "Austin is where I rediscovered my love
for music and it gave me the resources to create in a creative atmosphere."
Everyone is invited to come listen to the new sounds of the groups, featuring
There will also be a freestyle concert and a rap and dance contest open
to the community.
Board approves three-cent hike in RCH tax rate
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- A year after lowering their tax rate due
to an increase in valuations, Reeves County Hospital District board
members voted to increase the district's tax rate for 2003 by almost
three cents, due to a drop in valuations compared with 2001's totals.
The hospital district increased their tax rate from .33 cents per $100
in valuations to .3596 cents during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday
in the classroom at Reeves County Hospital. The increase comes after the
board cut the rate a year ago by one cent, after valuations for oil and gas
in Reeves County increased sharply over 2000's totals.
According to Chief Financial Officer Bill Conder, the .3596 tax rate "will
give us the same amount as last year."
Conder is newly arrived at Reeves County Hospital, and said he hasn't
had a chance to look at the full budget situation.
He said he arrived at a bad time because when he joined the hospital,
they were already at the tail end of establishing the budget for the 2003
fiscal year. By next year he hopes to find out where they are at in the budget.
In setting the tax rate, the board accepted a rate of .3596 with board
member, Hugh Box making the motion and board member Bill Wendt seconding
While reviewing and adopting the 2003 Operating and Capital Budget, Conder
informed the board that though he did not have time to negotiate the Capital
Budget this year he would the following year.
Board member Leo Hung then asked Conder if a dictation facility would
really cost $60,000 to which Conder responded that it would cost that much.
However he added that the price could possibly be negotiated down.
Hospital CEO Robert Vernor also added to the conversation that the facility
would be used hospital wide for doctors to dictate medical reports, and would
be located in a central location.
Moving on to the hospital exemptions, the board approved exemptions of
$15,000 for the citizens over 65, $12,000 for disabled veterans and $10,000
for the medically disabled.
Box made the motion for approval with Wendt seconding it.
The board went on to approve the bank resolution with Wendt making the
motion and seconded by Box.
The TexPool resolution was also passed with Vice President/Secretary Chel
Flores making the motion and Box seconding it.
Box the made a motion to approve the Reeves County Hospital By-Law changes
with Flores seconding it.
The organizational chart was also approved with Box making the motion
and Wendt seconding it.
The minutes from several of its previous meetings were also approved with
Box making the motion and Flores seconding it.
Commissioners to study hiring builders for center
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- Construction management professional
services for the new Balmorhea Community Center will be one of the topics
of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 23, in the third
Along with plans for the community center, commissioners will discuss
and take action on contracts between Reeves County and Taylor County Juvenile
Center, Midland County Juvenile Center and Hays County Juvenile Center.
Commissioners will discuss and take action on;
— bid No. 05-02 juvenile probation transportation van;
_ Ford Motor Credit application for lease vehicles for the Trans Pecos
Drug Task Force;
_ finance plan with Ford Motor Credit for vehicles purchased from
_ payment to Physician's Network Association for Medical Professional
Services at the Reeves County Detention Center for August;
_ authorization for Physician's Network Association for Medical Professional
Services at RCDC for Sept.-Oct, 2002;
_ Twin Cities Technologies Billings for Emergency Management Antenna
_ ACCU Weather Paging Service fees;
_ Cellular phone policy; 2003 sheriff's and constables fees under
local government code, 118.131;
_ official bond and oath for Lynn Owens, county auditor;
_ Nov. 5, 2002 General Election Order and Notice to publish the Nov.
5, General Elections and
_ Indigent Defense Grant Program Resolution.
Regular agenda items include: inmate transportation crew mileage payments;
reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers;
personnel and salary changes (RCDC); minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly
Rec department begins sign-ups for youth soccer
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- The Reeves County Community Sports and
Recreation Department is signing up boys and girls for youth soccer between
now and Oct. 19.
The leagues are open to boys and girls ages 4 ½ to 14. Parents
can pick up enrollments forms at the Recreation Department office in the
old Pecos High School gym during office hours. Entry fee is $10 per child,
and forms must have the signature of both parents and a birth certificate
also must be provided.
For further information, call the recreation department at 447-9776.
PECOS, Friday, Sept. 20, 2002 -- High Thursday 80. Low this morning 55.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 55 to 60. Southeast winds
5 to 10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs 90 to 95. Southeast winds
5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Sunday:
Partly cloudy. Highs near 85. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 55
to 60. Highs 80 to 85.
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
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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise