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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Opening ceremony held for Trans-Pecos Foods plant

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- A large crowd gathered this morning for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for TransPecos Foods' Pecos.

The group held a formal opening ceremony this morning in front of the company's production facility on Interstate 20, which for 11½ years had been the home of Anchor Foods' U.S. onion processing plant.

Anchor was purchased by McCain Foods, USA last fall, and the company announced in November of 2001 it would close the plant the following spring, leaving 700 employees without jobs. The plant closed at the end of May, but a week later TransPecos Foods announced an agreement to purchase the facility.

The deal was finalized in July, and operations were restarted 60 days of the plant's closing. The plant has hired back a number of former Anchor employees, though production and employment levels at this time are still below those of a year ago.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, who was unable to attend the ceremonies due to foggy weather conditions, said in a press release, "It is an honor to be invited to be a part of the grand opening ceremony of TransPecos Foods, one of our GO TEXAN companies," said Combs. "By combining agricultural products and rural development, the company is bringing jobs and promise to the people of Pecos and Reeves County. This is a giant step forward for rural Texas."

TransPecos Foods is a proud member of the GO TEXAN program sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. It is designed to promote Texas agribusiness to both wholesale and retail consumer groups.

Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of the Board of TransPecos Foods, said, "Our experienced workforce is the strength of the operation and it is in large measure due to their expertise, determination and commitment that we owe our success."

"TransPecos Foods is committed to quality products and good value," said Kennedy, who also serves as Chairman of the Security State Bank of Pecos.

Kennedy spoke of the role played by TransPecos Development Corp, a community development corporation that is a subsidiary of the Security State Bank, in re-opening the plant.

"Banks in many ways are public trusts and should reflect the communities they serve," said Kennedy. "We formed TransPecos Development Corporation to provide financial advice and equity capital to businesses in the TransPecos and Southwest Texas region."

"It was through this organization that TransPecos Foods became a reality," said Kennedy. "TransPecos Foods corporate philosophy parallels that of the bank. We are committed to providing our employees a safe and pleasant work environment, to producing a quality product that will return value to the community and to promoting the community as a great place to work and live."

Kennedy said that the group was not just there to celebrate the opening of the facility, but the people who operate the facility, the leaders of the community and all those who worked so hard to keep the plant going.

Kennedy recognized the leaders at the facility including plant manager, Bruce Salcido and the individuals located at their headquarters in San Antonio.

"I have so many people to thank for helping us come together and make this operation a success," said Kennedy.

State Representative Pete Gallego, Reeve County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and Pecos Mayor Pro-tem Gerald Tellez all spoke in support of TransPecos Foods' contribution to the region's economy and commitment to Texas agribusiness.

Also participating in the opening activities was the Color Guard from the Reeves County Detention Center, members of the Pecos High School Band under the direction of Merle Lenfest and an ecumenical blessing of the TransPecos Foods plant by Father Ben Flores, pastor of Santa Rosa Catholic Church; the Rev. Greer Willis, First Baptist Church and the Rev. Bruce Abbott, First United Methodist Church.

"I'm sorry Susan Combs could not be with us, because she was very excited about this and I know she wishes us luck," said Kennedy.

Jack Stallings, with Combs' office in El Paso spoke on behalf of the agriculture commissioner. "We're very proud to be a part of this and are looking forward to a long partnership with Pecos and this community," he said.

South Worsham Field plans get council's approval

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council members were updated on the city's South Worsham Water Field construction program, during its regularly scheduled meeting this morning in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Mayor Dot Stafford and Councilwomen Angelica Valenzuela were absent today, while the four remaining council heard from engineer Ashek Rana, with Frank X. Spencer and Associates on the final change order for the development of water wells at the South Worsham Project Part B.

The South Worsham project was begun eight years ago, when the city was told the current Worsham and Ward County water fields could only provide Pecos with adequate drinking water through the year 2008.

According to Rana, during the last construction meeting with the contractor and city officials the group decided that they would make some changes at the end of the project.

Under the current contract 18 new wells were to be built and two old wells would be repaired, allowing the city to pump a total of 4,000 gallons of water from the 20 wells. However, they now have 17 wells in operation capable of producing a total of 4,000 gallons of water, Rana said.

Councilman Johnny Terrazas made a motion to accept the changes and Councilman Michael Benavides seconded it.

After that vote, the council took up approval of the final plans and specifications for the development of South Worsham Project Part C, which involves the water transmission line, lateral lines and well tie-ins.

Rana informed the councilmen that they have proposed advertising for bids through Nov. 5, opening the bids on Dec. 5 and a Dec.12 contract day for the project, pending the approval of the Texas Water Development Board.

The approval of the final plans and specifications was made by Councilman Frank Sanchez with Benavides seconded it.

In other action this morning, the council recommended moving forward the night for local youths to go trick-or-treating this year, because Halloween, Oct. 31, on is on a school night. The council decided to set the recommended date for Saturday, October 26 during the Halloween Carnival, with Sanchez making a motion and seconded by Benavides.

"I am impressed that we have that power," Terrazas said about setting the date. Oct. 31 falls on a Thursday this year.

Main Street Program Director Tom Rivera made a presentation to the councilmen on his projects and informed the councilmen that Chairwomen Debbie Thomas was also available to answer any questions.

"We will pick a building once a month to get with the owners and fix up the displays," Rivera said.

The also added that maybe they would be able to get some paint donated and paint the trimming on the buildings.

City Manager Carlos Yerena gave the councilmen a brief background on the project. Yerena informed them that the Main Street Project was started about two years ago. The city's first application for the state program was rejected, but for some time now the Town of Pecos City has been a self-initiated Main Street Program, and again in seeking state approval.

In looking for a full-time director, Rivera was brought in as of February of this year to work on the Main Street Program full time, Yerena said.

According to Yerena, Rivera and the board have created database of building owners and whether Pecos becomes an official Main Street Program they will continue with it.

"The program is not going away if we don't get designated," he said.

Yerana believes that the program will take a long-term approach and with persistent it can be done.

According to Rivera, he is working on small business development and Yerana said that they are trying to work on creating small businesses.

In approving the Municipal Court report, the councilmen asked Judge Amonario Ramon how things were going.

"Very thing is running smoothly," Ramon said. "We are catching up."

Sanchez then asked Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney if they had a lot of curfew violations over the weekend because of the Fall Fair.

McKinney responded that they had not received any.

With that said Sanchez made a motion to accept the report with Benavides seconding it.

A motion was also made by Sanchez to accept the minutes of the regular council meeting held on September 26, witch Terrazas then seconded it.

Terrazas then asked Yerena that if they were spraying for mesquites because this morning he had heard on the news that Odessa had had its first case of the West Nile Virus.

"Yes we are spraying in the mornings and at nights that is why we don't see them," Yerena said.

During discussion on accounts payable, McKinney told the council that the Police Department's antenna has not been fixed, but McKinney added that he had received a letter about an antenna 18 miles south of Pecos that could be donated to them.

According to McKinney the tower stands 200 feet tall and is valued at $4,000 dollars.

Finance Director George Bejarano told the council that they must first look at all of their avenues before they decide to accept the donation.

They must see if the antenna would need any repairs, if the tower would match up with the system they already have and to see if the soil around the tower is contaminated.

No items discussed to be put on the next agenda and so the meeting adjourned with Sanchez making the motion and Benavides seconding it.

City's October tax rebate check drops sharply

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- Sales tax rebate checks for October were either up a lot or down a lot for most Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos cities. Unfortunately for Pecos, their rebate check fell into the "down" category, according to figures released Wednesday by State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office.

The city got back $56,042 from the comptroller's office this month, based on collections made during August on the city's 1.5-cent share of the state's 8.25 percent sales tax. That total is down 18.45 percent from a year ago, when Pecos got back $68,728 from Austin.

Out of the city's rebate check, one-sixth, or $9,340, will go to the Pecos Economic Development Corp.

The drop is the second straight month the city has seen a significant drop in its tax rebate checks, and comes at the same time as unemployment in Pecos jumped 15 percent, due in part to the closing of the Anchor Foods plant in Pecos this past May. However, for the first 10 months of 2002, Pecos' tax receipts are still up slightly, according to Rylander's office. The city has gotten back $642,699 this year, a 1.31 percent rise compared to 2001's totals.

While Pecos saw their rebate check drop by double-digits, Balmorhea's rebate check was up double digits. The city got back $724 this month, up by two-thirds over last October's $434 total. For all of 2002, Balmorhea has gotten back $10.094, a 53 percent increase from last year.

Toyah is one of the few cities to report virtually no change in their rebate check. The city got a check for $278, which was only $8 above last year's total, a 2.8 percent rise. For the year, Toyah has gotten $5,777 in tax rebates, just $7 less than for the first 10 months of last year, a drop of 0.12 percent.

The Reeves County Hospital District's October rebate check, based on their ½-cent sales tax, came to $27,816, down just under 10 percent from last year. For all of 2002 though, the district is up by more than 13 percent, having received $301,366 back from Austin.

Monahans church schedules bazaar, dance

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- Bingo, jumping balloon, food booths and more will be a part of the festivities planned for the St. John's Church Bazaar and Dance in Monahans this Saturday.

The events will take place at the church, which is located at Fifth and Ike Streets in Monahans.

"The last one we had was six years ago and we thought this would be a good time to have another one," said Father John Lucido, of St. John's Church.

Activities will begin at 10 a.m. and a car wash will be held at the church parking lot. Car washes will be $5 for a car and $7 for trucks, according to Lucido.

A bingo, jumping balloon, 10 game booths, a raffle and several food booths will be set up during the festivities.

"We're also going to have a `sand dig,' by grade level," said Lucido. The `sand dig' is a game for children, where individuals hide coins and the children get to dig for them.

"They are going to change every hour," he said.

Other activities include bone marrow testing, which will be done at the festival by United Blood Services, of Odessa, for those individuals interested in becoming a donor. LULAC of Odessa is bringing the group in, in an effort to find a match for an 8-year-old boy from Andrews who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

From 2-3 p.m., a mariachi group will be performing and a rock band will play during the day.

Entertainment throughout the day include, baton twirlers, karate club, Mexican dancers, break dancers, a rock band and singers.

Food booths will feature tamales, hamburgers, sausage on a stick, flautas, tacos, brisket burritos, hot dogs, popcorn and pickles.

A dance is scheduled for the evening from 7 p.m. until midnight. Cost is $3 per person and $5 for couples.

"We will be selling menudo at the dance," said Lucido.

The group will also be having raffles every 30 minutes. Funds raised from the raffle and other sales will be used for a new air conditioner for the CCD classrooms.

"We would like to invite everyone in the surrounding communities to join us and have some fun, while helping out a worthy cause," said Lucido.

Anyone wanting to purchase a

School board to hear updates on renovations

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members will be updated on this summer's renovations to the district's campuses, and will discuss several other items at the regular board's regular monthly meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the P-B-T ISD Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy Street.

A report on renovations at Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School, Zavala Elementary, Bessie Haynes Elementary, Austin Elementary, Pecos Kindergarten and Lamar AEP will be discussed under old business.

Under new business: enrollment report and discuss effects on Summary of Finance for 2002-2003; consider and possible action on 2002 tax roll, 2002-2003 budget amendments; review updated (legal) policies and act on (local) policies on Texas Association of School Board's update 68; discuss Reading Academy K-5, Safe and Drug Free Rally on Oct. 25 and request for proposal for retail electric service provider beginning Jan. 1, 2003.

The group will consider and take possible action on requests to purchase foreclosed property; District Improvement Plan; method of procurement for Pecos High School baseball awning; Dyslexia Plan and Handbook and three appointments for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD's representatives on the Reeves County Appraisal District's Board of Directors.

Board members will meet behind close doors in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act. The group will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session .

Reeves, Loving to be included in LCP program

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- Carol Laney, CED said this week that Reeves and Loving Counties have been approved for the Livestock Compensation Program. The county office staff will begin accepting applications immediately.

Please call for an appointment and be sure to bring your livestock numbers and categories with you at the time of your appointment. Livestock categories and payment rates are as follows:

* Adult beef cattle (cows and bulls) - $18.00 per head

(Must have calved at least once by June 1, 2002)

* Beef, dairy replacement heifers (500 lbs. and over - $13.50 per head

(Must not have borne any offspring before June 1, 2002)

* Adult dairy cattle (cows and bulls) - $31.50 per head

* Beef, dairy steers (500 lbs. and over) - $13.50 per head

* Non-breeding beef, dairy heifers (500 lbs. and over) - $13.50 per head

* Beef, dairy bulls (500 lbs. and over) - $13.50 per head

Under 2 years of age on June 1, 2002

* Sheep (all) - $4.50 per head

* Goats (all) - $4.50 per head


PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 10, 2002 -- High Wednesday 80. Low this morning 58. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 85 to 90. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Saturday: Mostly clear. Highs 80 to 85. Sunday: Increasing clouds and much cooler. Lows 50 to 55. Highs in the mid 60s.


Robert Fuentes

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