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Tuesday, January 21, 1997

Unemployment shows decline

in city, county

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 21, 1997 - Pecos' unemployment rate in December was down
by more than one-half percent from November, and down by more than two
percent from December of 1995, according to figures released today by
the Texas Workforce Commission.

The drop comes after a rise in the city's joblessness from October to
November. The latest numbers are just slightly above those reported by
the TWC during October.

A total of 4,564 people, out of a workforce of 5,110, were employed in
Pecos last month, the TWC said, an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent.
While that is still among the highest numbers in the Permian Basin, it
represents a drop of .7 percent from November, and is down by 2.2
percent from the same period a year ago.

Locally, the TWC said there were 41 fewer people working in Pecos in
December than in November, but the city's labor force also fell by 87,
resulting in the drop in the unemployment rate.

Compared with December, 1995, the city had 11 fewer people in the labor
force but 105 more jobs, resulting in the 2.2 percent fall in the
jobless rate.
Danny Conner, TWC's civilian labor force analyst, said pre-Christmas
hirings accounted for some of the decline in unemployment from November.

Pecos' unemployment rate for October, 1996, was 10.5 percent, which
included agricultural workers in the area for the end of the cantaloupe
and bell pepper harvest seasons.

In Reeves County, December's unemployment stood at 9.3 percent, after
climbing from 9.2 percent in October to 10 percent in November. There
were 5,915 people working and 610 without jobs last month, the TWC said.

Most other area towns reported similar declines in their unemployment
numbers last month. Fort Stockton saw their jobless rate decline by 1.5
percent from November, while Andrews, Big Spring, Monahans, all reported
drops of about one-half percent. Pecos' 2.2 percent fall in joblessness
over December, 1995, was well above other area cities, most of which saw
declines of between one-half and 1 percent.

In the area, jobless rates were 5.5 percent in both Pecos and Ward
counties, while in Loving County's 100-person workforce there were seven
people without jobs, for a 7 percent rate.

Statewide, unemployment was just over 3 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth
area and just under 5 percent in Houston. The jobless rate for larger
cities was highest along the border, going from a 10.7 unemployment rate
in El Paso to 17.5 percent in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area.


(Source: Texas Workforce Commission)

Andrews 10,861 4,124 3,946 178 4.3%
Big Spring 23,258 9,842 9,473 369 3.7%
Fort Stockton 8,712 4,164 3,907 257 6.2%
Kermit 6,925 2,268 2,122 146 6.4%
Lamesa 11,051 4,855 4,521 334 6.9%
Midland 92,005 50,695 48,937 1,758 3.5%
Monahans 8,245 2,854 2,692 162 5.7%
Odessa 91,004 46,775 44,209 2,566 5.5%
PECOS 12,023 5,110 4,564 546 10.7%

Red Bluff board receives

good report from Graham

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 17, 1997 - Board members of the Red Bluff Water Power
Control District were pleased with their audit review, and accepted it
unanimously during Monday's monthly board meeting.

"Looks like we did a pretty good job," said Manuel Lujan, Jr., director
for the Red Bluff Water Power Control District, who sits on the
seven-member district board on behalf of the Ward County Irrigation
District #1.

Randy Graham of Card, Graham and Company conducted the audit
presentation. He told the five directors present that compared to last
year, "Your cash is down a little bit, but you're still in excellent
shape. Payables are down from last year," as well.

He told the board that Red Bluff's water sales were down "quite a bit
from last year," while "(natural) gas revenue was up a little bit, as
the price went up considerably."

Lot leases remained the same, said the auditor, and expenses were up due
to the "legal fees," paid out on behalf of the new low-water crossing
south of Red Bluff Dam on the Pecos River.

"The rest of your expenses were pretty much held in line," Graham said.

He added that the district did a good job in keeping within the budgeted
amount for Operation and Expenses.

"Robin (Felts) did you all a good job," he said of the district's
records manager and tax assessor collector.

"I think you all are pretty well in compliance with TNRCC (Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission," said Graham.

Directors took into account Graham's suggestion to write-off a small
account worth some $400 they've had, "forever and ever." It was
originally created for the district checks that were reimbursements for
overpayment of taxes that were not cashed.

In other business, the board approved $31,271.04 in cash disbursements
and $18,420.05 in accounts payables for the month of December following
brief discussion prior to the actions.

The board agreed to go with the Mallon Oil Company proposal to create a

General Manger Jim Ed Miller explained that the company will be setting
up wells on property of which Red Bluff owns 11 percent. The sublease
will obligate the company to pay out 6 percent of their earnings to the
water district.

The board's general discussion included a brief report by Pecos River
Compact Commissioner Brad Newton, who told board members that, "what is
apparently happening is the legislature has woken up and discovered that
Texas doesn't have enough water."

"I feel that they're posing themselves for the next legislature to enact
underground water regulations," he continued, after distributing a
letter from the New Mexico state engineer to each director.

Federal jury holds liable Culberson doc,

hospital in trucker's drug death

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 21, 1997 - Truck driver Lonnie Gaffey was 35 percent
responsible for his own death by crystal methamphetamine ingestion, a
federal court jury decided Friday afternoon following a two-day trial.

Gaffey died Aug. 1, 1994 in Culberson Hospital in Van Horn, where he was
admitted by Dr. B.C. Lipsey in the early morning hours.

The jury found Dr. Lipsey's negligence was 55 percent responsible for
Gaffey's death, and that the hospital was 10 percent responsible.

They awarded Gaffey's daughter, 8-year-old Hannah Hendrix, $22,000 each
for Gaffey's future income, physical pain and suffering and mental
anguish; and for her own loss of companionship and her mental anguish.

Gaffey arrived at Culberson Hospital's emergency room at 3:15 a.m., said
registered nurse Gwendolyn Askew. He said he had taken 3½ grams of
crystal methamphetamine about an hour earlier "to get back at my wife
and boss."

That was enough to kill three men, said Dr. Lipsey. With the elapsed
time, it had already been absorbed into his system, and efforts to empty
his stomach would have been futile.

Rebecca Patterson, the nurse who came on duty at 7 a.m., testified that
Gaffey was lying in the bed, thrashing his upper arms, trembling,
shivering, pale, cyanotic and unresponsive.

She said she notified Dr. Lipsey and he ordered increased fluid
injection and electrolytes and to continue oxygen. He came to the
hospital at 7:45 a.m. and modified the orders.

For the next two hours, Dr. Lipsey modified the orders as lab reports
were returned, but Gaffey's condition continued to deteriorate. He died
at 9:57 a.m. despite attempts to resuscitate him.

Also on Friday, Senior Judge Lucius Bunton accepted a guilty plea to
bank robbery from Felix Joseph Bretz.

Bretz admitted robbing the Van Horn State Bank last year.

Schools vote to end CED, divide funds

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 21, 1997 - The dissolution of County Education District
26 is now official.

Representatives from each of the seven member school districts, with the
exception of Culberson County ISD, signed an agreement earlier today for
the collection and distribution of CED 26 taxes collected some four and
five years ago.

CEDs were created in 1991 in the state's first attempt to equalize
school funding statewide. CED 26 was made up of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD, Wink ISD, Kermit ISD, Balmorhea ISD,
Grandfalls-Royalty ISD and Culberson County ISD.

P-B-T ISD was designated the tax assessor/collector, creating the
Successor-In-Interest Agency Fund to hold the collected taxes. Each
member district's disbursement was set by a formula arranged by the
Texas Education Agency, board member Ray Golden said during an earlier

He added that CED 26 operated for two years until the Texas Supreme
Court declared the CED system unconstitutional, leaving taxes collected
for the 1991-92 and 1992-93 school years in the hands of the CED 26.

Tax collections by the CED, "were not that great," Golden said, and
superintendents and school districts have been trying to dissolve it,
making each district an agent of the CED.

A Balance Sheet report of the Successor-In-Interest Fund drawn up by
Card, Graham and Company indicates that Delinquent Property Taxes
totaled $713,643, while cash receivables fell at $15,314.

With an allowance for uncollectible taxes of $642,279 and total due from
other districts of $255,309, districts were due back some $270,623.
Deferred revenue was shown at $71,364.

On Dec. 17, 1996, superintendents and representatives of each of the
member school districts met and approved the entity's dissolution.

This morning a copy of the agreement was signed by six of the seven
members. Each one handed in a check for taxes collected from their
respective districts.

P-B-T ISD then turned around and gave each district a check for the
amount of their figured distribution, based on the TEA formula.

Jury hearing evidence in federal drug case

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 21, 1997 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton this morning denied
a motion to suppress statements made by Dalton Knight Wilson at the time
of his arrest on drug charges Nov. 11, 1996, and jurors began hearing
evidence at mid-morning.

Wilson, a Jamacian national, and his brother were driving a rental
truck from California to Florida when they were stopped at the Sierra
Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint.

Border Patrol and DEA agents testified they found equipment for a
hydroponic marijuana lab in the truck, along with marijuana seeds and a
baggie of dried marijuana.

Upon questioning by a DEA agent and being confronted with a criminal
record that contained numerous convictions for marijuana possession and
sale of hashish, Wilson admitted the equipment was his.

Wilson said his brother, who was accompanied by his 3-year-old
daughter, was helping him drive and knew nothing of the marijuana lab.
His brother was released.

DEA Agent Mike Stokes of El Paso said that marijuana has been grown in
hydroponic labs for the past 10-12 years.

"It is a method of growing vegetation without soil," he said. "The
fertilizer is in the water. There is continuous feeding and forced
carbon dioxide to multiply the growth rate."

Stokes said he planted 30 of the marijuana seeds to see if they would
germinate, and they produced 30 plants.


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Pecos Housing Authority directors on Friday voted to increase rental on
farm labor housing units by $20 each, making a one bedroom $185 and a
two bedroom $205 per month.

Monday's Enterprise incorrectly stated the two-bedroom rental would be

Nellie Gomez, PHA executive director, said the increase applies only to
the 56 apartments in farm labor housing and does not affect the 130 HUD

The appointment of Stephen Bradley Cross to the Carver Alternative
Center was approved during the Jan. 14 school board meeting.

His name was incorrectly listed in the Jan. 15 Enterprise
story as Stephen Bradley.

We apologize for the error.


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PECOS, Jan. 21, 1997 - High Monday 71, low last night 40. Tonight,
mostly clear. Low in the lower 30s. West wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday,
mostly sunny. High around 70. West wind 10-20 mph and gusty.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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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