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April 21, 1997

Deadline draws near for development project

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 27, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners will meet tomorrow
to discuss the county's application for the Texas Community Development
Project as the deadline approaches this week for tying up the lose ends
for local housing rehabilitation projects and area waterline

Items on the agenda to be discussed include: funding for a county grant
administrator, awarding bids on housing rehabilitation projects and
grant administration services contracts for administration services and
construction management services.

These matters must be settled before April 25 in order to have 50
percent of the money proposed for projects obligated so that the Madera
Valley Water Supply can submit its proposal for a $350,000 grant to the

Decisions have to be made on how to obligate professional services
monies for construction management, grant consultants and grant
administration, according to County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

Agustin Hidalgo has submitted a proposal to oversee the construction
phase of rehabilitating 20 homes at $1,500 per home.

Carlos Colina-Vargas is seeking $25,000 for his services as a grant
consultant on the project.

Funding for Mari Maldonado, a county employee administering grant
awards, must also be included in the proposal.

"If the commissioners award all $25,000 to Carlos Colina-Vargas we won't
have enough money to pay for Mari Maldonado's local administration of
the grant," Galindo said. "That will take at least six to nine months of
construction and one month to do close-out on the project."

Galindo said if the full $25,000 requested by Colina-Vargas is paid the
county will have to change it's original proposal to the state and take
money from the construction phase of the proposal to pay administration

"State officials stated that if we had proposed that from the beginning
we probably wouldn't have gotten the money from the state because it
would have changed our score," Galindo said.

Bids for the proposed housing rehabilitation projects will be opened
tomorrow and discussed by the commissioners. Bid awards are not expected
to be made until later this week after commissioners have had time to
check out contractors' credentials and consider the bids.

The Reeves County Commissioners' Court will meet at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow
in the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.

Jury selection begins in Fobbs assault trial

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 21, 1997 - Jury selection got underway this morning in the
143rd District Court trial of Tyrone Jenkins.

Jenkins is charged with aggravated assault on Booker T. Fobbs, by
hitting him with a beer bottle.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds is prosecuting, and Jeff Parras is
attorney for the defense.

Reynolds on Friday filed a forgery charge against Omar Medina, alleging
Medina passed a check for $869 to Pecos Emporium on Jan. 18. The check
was purportedly signed by Geneva C. Young of Fort Stockton and was drawn
on the Pecos County State Bank.

Pleading guilty to forgery were Eliseo
Venegas Lujan and Felipe Lopez Jr.

Lujan was sentenced to two years, adjudication deferred, a $500 fine,
plus $314.50 court costs and $320 restitution. He was given credit for
the six days he has already spent in jail.

Lopez was sentenced to two years in state jail, but placed on five years
community supervision and fined $1,000 plus $164.50 court costs. He is
to make restitution for three checks in the amounts of $75, $40 and $100.

Felipe Sanchez Jr. pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle and
sentenced to two years in state jail, but placed on five years community
supervision. His fine is $500, and court costs are $164.50.

Charges of criminal mischief were dismissed against Jesus Armendariz and
Margarita Munoz. Reynolds said that recently-discovered additional
evidence warrants further investigation and a possible new indictment.

Early voting light in local elections

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PECOS, April 21, 1997 - Early voters straggled into the Pecos Community
Center this morning, slowly adding to the total of 169 ballots cast in
the first week of voting.

Elections coordinator Debra Thomas said that only six persons had cast
an ballot by personal appearance at mid-morning today in races for Pecos
City Council, Reeves County Hospital District board of directors and
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD trustees.

The polling place at 508 S. Oak Street is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
each weekday. Deadline for early voting is April 29, and election day is
May 3.

PHA addresses handicap needs

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PECOS, April 21, 1997 - Pecos Housing Authority directors will try once
again today to complete their monthly agenda, meeting at 5 p.m. in the
administration office at 600 Meadowbrook.

A story in Friday's Enterprise incorrectly gave the meeting
day as Wednesday.

In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting, the board will
consider a letter from Rural Development regarding handicap
accessibility, review the audit for the year ending March 31, 1996,
approve a budget for multiple family housing project and approve the
proposed budget for FY 1997-98.

They will amend the occupancy policy to collect total monthly rent upon
rental, plus $100 security deposit; approve a trip for the project
manager to the district office for training, and hear monthly reports.

Unfinished business on the HUD agenda includes approval to adopt a
policy to prevent, detect and report fraud, eviction proceedings on two
residents for lease violation, sponsorship of West Texas Council of
Housing Authorities training in June, One Strike training session, and
monthly reports.

Too much rain turns fields to muck

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From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, April 21, 1997 - While rainfall totals in the Trans-Pecos area
are just barely above normal through the first 4½ months of 1997,
following four years of drought, farmers in other parts of the state are
complaining about too much water, after Central and South Texas also
endured drought conditions during 1996.

In Southeast Texas, frequent rains have tortured farmers, turning their
corn, milo, rice and soybean fields into sticky muck covered with weeds.
Each time it started to get dry enough to plant, another heavy rain

Rice farmer Jack Wendt of Richmond, in Fort Bend County, says he will be
lucky to get much planted before May 1. Any hopes of a second crop are
``completely out the window,'' he said.

Farmers in prime crop-growing areas such as Fort Bend, Wharton,
Matagorda and Jackson counties are just starting to plant, a month or
two behind schedule.

This lost time translates into lower income, forcing some to turn to
lower-profit crops and others to live with one harvest instead of two.

When it gets dry enough, which should be any day now, ``every tractor in
the county will be rolling,'' said County Agent Johnnie Cosper in
Wharton. Normally corn planting would have begun around the end of

Sections of the Panhandle from Lubbock north saw their drought end last
year, and were hit by heavy rains a week ago. Rain also have been
falling in eastern sections of the Permian Basin and in the Concho
Valley. But in Pecos, 1997 rain totals through this weekend was 1.93
inches, just slightly above normal for this time of year.

In contrast, from Jan. 1 to this past Thursday, 20.25 inches of rain
have fallen at Houston Intercontinental Airport, according to the
National Weather Service.

That's nearly double the normal total of 10.8 inches.

One Fort Bend County farmer is said to have measured 35 inches from Jan.
1 through March 31, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Some fields in Fort Bend County are covered by weeds and grass ``thicker
than hair on a dog's back,'' said Walter Kelley, who heads the federal
farm Service Agency office in Richmond. ``It's rough when you can't even
get seed in the ground,'' he said.

During last year's drought Mark Wendt averaged 45 bushels of corn per
acre on his farm at Needville, about half of what is considered a good

This year's average will be zero because Wendt returned his corn seed to
the dealer for a refund. The returned seed will be sold to farmers in
Tennessee and Kentucky who use similar hybrids.

Even if it rains when needed, late-planted corn doesn't do well in this
area because the heat interferes with pollination, said Wendt, who grows
corn on one-third of his acreage.

There's also the potential of heat-stressed corn getting infected with
aflatoxin, a carcinogenic mold.

And unless there is a remarkably late fall, rice farmers have now lost
the opportunity for a second harvest by stimulating regrowth from the
stubble left after the first cutting.

This second crop is smaller, but it is more profitable because the costs
are lower.

``That is a $4 million to a $6 million hit, just in this county,'' said
Cosper, the Wharton County agent.

As of April 15 only about 1 percent of the rice in Wharton County had
been planted compared with 96 percent a year ago.

As of Thursday approximately 4,000 acres of corn had been planted
compared with 50,000 to 60,000 acres planted in a normal year in Wharton

Changes made to CCRC policies

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 21 - Directors for the Community Council of Reeves County
on Thursday changed personnel policies to shift some responsibilities
and to add two lines to every job description.

Caprice Cox, executive director, said she will handle all personnel
matters, relieving controller Olga Contreras of those duties.

"Because our personnel director/controller is extremely burdened with
all the bookkeeping, I feel it in the council's best interest to relieve
her of personnel responsibilities and add them to my job description,"
Cox said.

And every employee will work A) More hours as required; and B)
Additional jobs as needed.

The board accepted Mary Jane Ontiveros' resignation as Head Start
director, and Cox will handle those responsibilities until a replacement
is hired.

Cox said that Ontiveros has agreed to act as a consultant on a contract
basis as needed.

Ontiveros reported that all deficiencies in the Head Start program have
been corrected.

Several items in an Enterprise story about Thursday's
meeting were incorrect, Cox said. Opening a battered spouse center in
the region was Cox's idea and not an instruction from the board, as
reported, she said.

"I brought it up because there is not one in this four-county area,"
Cox said. "I have already started looking into this. We can get all
kinds of grant money for it."

As to purchasing space on the Pecos High School Athletic Calendar - and
possibly those in Monahans and Kermit as well - Cox said she must find
out the legality of such advertising.

When questioned by Jerome Curry, reporter for The Monahans
News whether the name of the council should carry Ward and Winkler
counties as well as Reeves, Cox said she knew of no such vote by the

Joyce Wilhelm, a Monahans representative on the board, said the name has
been changed, but Cox said she found no action recorded in the minutes.
In the beginning the council served only Reeves County, but has since
extended services to Ward, Winkler and Loving counties.

Since the board is made up of representatives from Ward, Winkler and
Reeves counties, the by-laws were recently changed to allow regular
meeting locations to alternate between Pecos, Monahans and Kermit.

"In order for us to change the name, the board would have to approve it,
and we would have to get Austin's approval," Cox said.

City looking for new animal control officer

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Staff Writer

PECOS, April 21, 1997 - Ask any city manager or chief of police what
their biggest headache is, and they are likely to answer "dogs."

Stray dogs, caught dogs, dog bites, dead dogs, dog pounds and dog
catchers can always be counted on to cause problems.

Pecos City Manager Kenneth L. Neal has found that to be true his first
week on the job - and now he is looking for a dog catcher. Or animal
control officer, you will quickly be reminded if you call him or her a
dog catcher.

Carmen Mendoza has been the city's animal control officer since Billy
Joe Wilson resigned under pressure last year. She reported to sanitarian
Armando Gil.

Gil and Mendoza apparently had some differences of opinion, and as of
last week Mendoza is no longer employed by the city.

Neal said he is taking applications through Friday. With Gil's input,
Neal will make the final decision whom to hire as the new animal control

Also in Gil's department, but on a lighter subject, Neal said that the
chipper will be moved from the landfill to the city yard on Walthall
Street to make it more accessible by the public.

Citizens are invited to drop off their limbs to be chipped up and used
for mulch around trees, in flower beds and gardens. The chips are free
for the taking, but few takers have gone to the trouble of driving
several miles south on Texas Highway 17 to the landfill and locating the
chipper and chips, Neal said.

"We have been looking at the possibility, and pretty quick we will move
the chipper from the landfill," Neal said. "In this hot weather, chips
make a good mulch to save on water."

When not busy with dogs and tree limbs, Neal has been looking for grants
the city can obtain.

"I put my name in the pot for a CPR doll that the ambulance service can
use for training," he said.

With the $10,000 model he is hoping for, the trainees could tell if they
killed the patient or helped him, Neal said.

"It would really be a help," he said.

Sales tax rebate down for state, Pecos for month

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PECOS, April 21, 1997 - Average April sales tax rebates from the state
to cities and counties were down this year and Pecos fell in line with
the average, according to the monthly report from the State
Comptroller's office.

However, average year-to-date rebates across the state were up 4.3
percent while Pecos remains in the negative for the same period.

Cities in the state received a total of $130 million in sales tax
rebates this month, 2.9 percent lower than April of 1996. Counties
received $12.4 million, also 2.9 percent lower than the same period last
year ($12.8 million}.

Pecos received a $50,029 April rebate, which is down more than 10
percent from the April 1996 rebate of $55,717. Rebates to Pecos for the
year total $224,950, a decrease of 1.42 percent compared to $228,199 for
the same period last year.

Rebates to Balmorhea for the year are up almost 24 percent, increasing
from $1,471 for the period last year to $1,817 this year. Balmorhea
received a $183 rebate for April this year, which was a 27.74 decrease
from the $254 rebate for April last year.

Toyah is down 35.81 percent in rebates for the year ($1,602) compared to
the same period last year ($2,496).

The April rebate to Toyah totaled $172, a 64 percent decrease from $484
for April of 1996.

Monahans received a $44,480 rebate this month, which was an increase of
more than 36 percent from the April 1996 rebate of $32,688. Year-to-date
rebates for Monahans total $198,883, an increase of almost 49 percent
from last year's total of $133,831 for the same period.

The April sales tax rebate for El Paso was $2.8 million, 3.6 percent
more than the $2.7 million payment delivered in April 1996. Year-to-date
sales tax rebates for El Paso are 2 percent more than for the same
period last year.

Odessa received a $666,932 sales tax rebate for April, almost 15 percent
lower that the rebate for April 1996 which was $782,807. Year-to-date
rebates for Odessa total $3.159 million, down 0.41 percent from $3.172
for the same period in 1996.

The city of Midland received a $854,396 sales tax rebate for the month,
which was up more than 8 percent from the $790,688 rebate in April 1996.
Midland rebates for the year total $4.071 million, and increase of 7.42
percent over the same period last year ($3.789 million).

Sales tax rebates paid in April include local sales taxes collected in
February and reported by businesses filing monthly tax returns in March.


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PECOS, April 21, 1997 - High Sunday 92, low last night 67. Tonight,
partly cloudy. Low 50-55. West to northwest wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday,
partly cloudy. High near 80. Wind becoming north 10-20 mph.
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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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