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Van Horn Advocate |


August 5, 1997

Electric company promises lower rates, choice

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 5, 1997 - By the year 2002 Pecos residents should see a six-percent reduction in electrical utility rates from the Texas /New Mexico Power Company (TNMP) and be able to chose which utility company to purchase electricity from, according to company representatives.

Last week TNMP filed a transition-to-competition plan with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) that commits the utility company to a series of two-percent rate reductions for residential customers in 1998, 2000 and 2002. The same plan includes one-percent rate reductions for commercial customers for a total three-percent rate reduction by 2002. No reductions were announced for industrial customers.

Last year, TNMP had proposed freezing its rates for five years to recoup the cost of the TNP-1 power generating plant. Now TNMP has proposed a customer transition charge at the end of the transition period if it has not recovered its potential stranded costs. The customer transition charge, also called competitive transition charge, will be charged for a maximum of five years on all firm (non-interruptible power requested. This charge is estimated to be 0.62 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The TNMP plan also proposes to give the company's Texas utility customers a choice of energy providers by Dec. 31, 2002. By then, TNMP utility customers could chose their own power company rather than have the city decide which electric company will provide power.

"With the advent of competition in the electric utility industry, the old model of a traditional rate case no longer has a role in today's market environment," said TNP Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Jack Chambers. "We are moving our plan forward now because we want our customers to realize price reductions immediately, as opposed to waiting on them being part of a legislative mandate in a few years."

The plan submitted by TNMP to the PUCT also includes: a redesigned rate structure to provide greater overall equity, offsetting of stranded costs through an earnings cap and accelerated depreciations of TNMP's lignite-fueled power plant, simplification of rate structure and a customer transition charge at the end of the transition period for any remaining stranded costs.

TNMP also responded to a request for a rate filing of a review of rates by eight of the 76 Texas cities the company serves. Those cities have 185 days from July 31 to evaluate the rate-review filing.

When choice becomes available to TNMP electricity consumers TNMP wires will still deliver power to customers but those customers can chose which company generates the power they use, according to TNMP media representative Valarie Smith.

"Under the plan we use in New Mexico you don't have to chose, you can just keep status quo," Smith said. "No one is forced to chose if they don't want to. In some areas we are seeing customers choosing based on environmental friendliness rather than price. Some people are choosing green energy or better service."

Cities receiving franchise fees from power companies will not have those fees impacted by customers having a choice in power suppliers, according to Chambers.

"If rates go down because of competition then technically the revenues cities receive from franchise fees could go down," Chambers said. "But we are not opposed to renegotiating the fees."

Such increases in franchise fees are generally passed on to the consumer, Chambers said.

TNMP provides electric service to 85 cities and more than 220,000 customers in Texas and New Mexico.

Pecos youth to participate in
World Youth Day in France

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 5, 1997 - Several Pecos young people will embark on an adventure of a lifetime as they travel to France for World Youth Day.

"World Youth Day bound youth! Many people in the Pecos area have heard that phrase many times before," said Mickey Vasquez.

Still many people have no idea what the phrase means, according to Vasquez.

"To this group, it means a lot," he said.

World Youth Day happens once every two years. It is a time when youth from all over the world, and from all denominations, come together to share their faith and love in one God, according to Vasquez.

In 1993, World Youth Day was held for the first time in the United Sates in Denver, Colorado. Vasquez is the only one from this group who made that trip to Denver at that time.

At the final mass in Denver, given by the Pope, about 700,000 people were gathered, according to Vasquez.

"The numbers should be the same, if not more, in Paris, France, which is where World Youth Day '97 will be held," he said.

The group is very excited about this particular trip, stated Vasquez.

"However, having fund-raisers almost every weekend since November has taken its toll," he said.

"I hope we have energy left for the trip itself," said Becky Gonzales, who is one of the sponsors going on the trip.

The group, which will be traveling with another team from El Paso, will leave Thursday morning and will travel to Rome for some sight seeing before heading to Paris.

"We did want to thank the community for their support during all of the fund-raisers, especially Bob's Thriftway for all the donations," said Vasquez.

"One more thing we would like to ask of the community is to keep us in your prayers while we are away," he said.

Strike has little effect in Pecos

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 5, 1997 - The teamsters union strike against United Parcel Service (UPS) is having a slight effect on the U.S. Post Office in Pecos, but the effect hasn't been bad so far, according to Pecos Postmaster Ramona Sterling.

"It is affecting us," she said. "Business has picked up, which is good," Sterling continued, and said "We don't mind sending anybody's packages."

The teamsters union strike was called against UPS mainly because of the package delivery company's disproportionate use of part-time workers. On a national average, about 12 percent of transportation workers work part-time, according to the union, but about 60 percent of UPS workers are part-timers, who work nearly as many hours as full-time employees, but for only a little more than half the pay, according to Associated Press reports.

There has been a nationwide directive for post offices to limit the number of packages that a customer could send at one time to a total of four, but Sterling doesn't feel that it is necessary to apply that policy here at this time.

Sterling said that directive "applies more to the big cities." She said, "We have been able to handle everything so far."

She said that although the Pecos post office can handle more that the four package per customer limit, she does ask that anyone who needs to mail more than that at one time call the post office in advance because special arrangements may need to be made. The Pecos post office phone number is 445-4415.

"I really do not believe that we'll have to refuse anyone or any business. I don't foresee that happening," she said.

Sterling said, "We're working hard and keeping up. Everything goes out the day it is received. Nothing stays overnight." She said that even though her people have had to work some overtime to keep up with the extra load, they have had no major difficulties, and plan to keep on doing everything possible to serve all the needs of the people of Pecos.

PBT board special meeting for Thursday

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 5, 1997 - There will be a special meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board of Education at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 7, in the board room at 1304 South Park Street during which selecting a principal for Pecos Elementary will be discussed.

Principal Juanita Davila was moved from Pecos Elementary to Crockett Middle School, where she replaced Principal Danny Rodriguez. Rodriguez was recently named as principal at Pecos High School, replacing Alice Duerksen, who resigned to take a teaching position in her home town, Fort Stockton.

Other business on the agenda includes the presentation of information by representatives from TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) and Region 18 concerning the district's search for a new superintendent. The past superintendent, Mario Sotelo, left the district recently to take the position as superintendent for the Edinburg school district. Interim Superintendent Wayne Mitchell is performing the superintendent's duties while the search for a permanent superintendent takes place.

There will also be discussion/approval of the P-B-T ISD elementary and secondary codes of conduct, both elementary and secondary student handbooks, a consultant for conducting the superintendent search, the seven-hour school day as required by Senate Bill One and 1997-98 salary schedules.

Also, there is a closed session (third item) and a budget workshop (ninth item) on the agenda for the meeting.|

Teachers aides may fill lack of teachers

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Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN (AP) August 5, 1997 - As Texas schools cope with a shortage of certified teachers, teacher aides may help fill part of the gap under a new law allowing them to pursue their educator certificates without paying college tuition.

"We must find new supplies of certified individuals willing to work in the classroom," Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, sponsor of the scholarship program, said Monday.

At least half of Texas' 241,440 educators are teaching at least one subject outside of the field in which they are certified, according to the State Board for Educator Certification.

In mathematics alone last year, more teachers without their certification in that subject conducted classes (13,994) than did certified teachers (13,938).

"That is not good news for Texas. That might explain why the students are still doing poorly in mathematics," Barrientos, D-Austin, said at a Monday news conference with the Texas Federation of Teachers to promote the teacher aide scholarship program.

The news may get worse, Barrientos said.

In the next eight years, the number of retirees in the Teacher Retirement System is expected to grow by 31 percent, while the student population continues to grow as well, Barrientos said.

Last school year, there were nearly 10,000 more spaces for certified teachers than there were available educators, said certification board spokesman Glenn Greenwood.

With the help of the new law, Austin teacher aide Ann Anderson wants to be part of the solution to the educator shortage problem.

One of more than 43,000 educational aides in Texas, Ms. Anderson said until now, she couldn't afford to pursue her goal of becoming a certified teacher.

The tuition exemption is enough of a boost to allow her to go to Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, where she said she has already been accepted.

"I feel that I was actually born for this role of being a teacher. I'm a mother first, and mothers are the first teachers," said Ms. Anderson, 52. She has five grown children and is in her fifth year of being a teacher aide.

The tuition exemption is available for Texas public colleges and universities.

To be eligible, teacher aides must meet certain criteria, including at least two years of experience working directly with students and proof of financial need. They must be Texas residents and continue working as aides while attending college.

The program will be funded by at least $4 million from the state this year, TFT President John Cole said.

Although San Marcos is 30 miles south of Austin, Ms. Anderson is undaunted by the prospect of the commute.

"My husband and I took the drive Saturday night. We're calculating how I would be able to do that," said Ms. Anderson. "I can do it. ... Nothing's impossible if you just get out there and try."

Group calls for INS to disband

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NEW YORK (AP) August 5, 1997 - The Immigration and Naturalization Service would be disbanded and its responsibilities farmed out to other federal agencies under a proposal by a bipartisan commission, The New York Times reported today.

The INS in its current form suffers from "mission overload," according to a draft copy of a report by the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform obtained by the Times.

Under the proposal, the Justice Department - currently the parent agency of the INS - would retain responsibility for controlling the border and removing illegal immigrants, the Times said.

The State Department would oversee immigration services and benefits, such as citizenship applications. The Labor Department would be charged with enforcing laws governing the hiring of foreign workers, the report said.

"It's very hard for one agency with so many conflicting missions and so much fragmentation to have priorities set and missions realized," said commission member Bruce Morrison, a former Democratic congressman from Connecticut.

Morrison said the eight-member, bipartisan commission considered a proposal to create an independent immigration agency, but decided it would be more effective to assign the INS' duties to other agencies.

The commission's report, "Structuring, Organizing and Managing an Effective Immigration System," is to be released by the end of next month.

Clinton Administration officials expect the report to be the starting point for a debate over how to manage the country's immigration system, according to the Times.

The report said some members of Congress who were briefed on the proposal were supportive. Last month, the House Appropriations Committee directed Attorney General Janet Reno to review the commission's report and, along with other federal agencies, come up with a plan to restructure the immigration system.

The INS and the Justice Department would oppose any dismantling of the agency.

"We're against splitting up INS," Justice Department spokeswoman Carole Florman told the Times. "We believe the enforcement functions and the benefit functions really do work hand-in-hand."

INS deputy commissioner Chris Sale said discarding the agency would reverse its years of efforts to respond to criticisms.

Many state and federal leaders have expressed frustration with the INS' failure to control rising citizenship applications, a steady flow of illegal immigrants entering the country and criminal aliens living in the United States.

The arrest in Brooklyn last week of two illegal aliens charged with plotting to bomb New York City subways drew harsh criticism of the INS by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He suggested the agency let one of the men into the country even though he had a criminal record in Canada and may have had terrorist ties.

The INS has been one of the federal government's fastest-growing agencies in recent years. Its $3.1 billion budget this fiscal year is double its budget of four years ago.

More human bones found in
backyard search for human bodies

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) August 5, 1997 - Bones believed to be from a human hand and possibly part of a jaw have been found in a grave behind a San Antonio home where officials last month found other skeletal remains.

The bones were unearthed Sunday by archaeologists and police. Officials spent the weekend digging through a shallow grave behind Leonard Rizzo's home where there believe as many as three bodies may be buried.

Archaeologists from the University of Texas at San Antonio's Center for Archaeological Research continued their work in Rizzo's back yard Monday.

Detectives first uncovered bones, including a human jaw, after an anonymous caller told authorities in early July that Rizzo's wife, Monika - who was reported missing June 5 - could be found in a grave behind the home.

A Dallas laboratory confirmed that the bone fragments it has examined do not belong to Mrs. Rizzo, 44.

She was last reported seen on May 27 when she left her job at the Department of Human Services for lunch.

Investigators said police may need three days to confirm that all the discovered remains are human. Detectives say they don't know the identities of the bodies.

Police are using a metal detector to find fillings that could have been on the teeth of a skull or jaw found July 7 by homicide detectives.

Police said tests will be run on a mattress, carpet and other evidence collected during a search on Saturday.

Rizzo lived at the home until Friday, when police returned to search for more bones.

Monika Rizzo's parents, Bill and Monika McKinney, waited outside the residence Sunday as police and archaeologists continued to search for more body fragments.

Mrs. McKinney cried as she sat on an American Red Cross cooler behind yellow tape that police use to control access to a crime scene.

She said she's desperate for information about her daughter's whereabouts. Mrs. McKinney said she last saw her daughter at a birthday dinner in January when she gave Mrs. Rizzo jade earrings and a ring as gifts.

McKinney said he believed his daughter had fled the city when she was reported missing, but then found her passport, driver's license and Social Security card in June at her home.
"It's a waiting game," he said.

Mexican army generals implicated
in drug theft from police station

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MEXICO CITY (AP) August 5, 1997 - Two army generals have been implicated in the theft of nearly half a ton of cocaine from a northern Mexican police station and are being held at a military prison, local news media say.

The two generals served as military commanders in the same district of northern Sonora state where the cocaine was seized by army troops in May and stolen from police custody on May 21.

Formal charges have not been brought against the generals, Antonio Ramon Mimendi and Antonio Morales, the Mexico City newspaper Reforma reported Monday. Prosecutors believe nine judicial police agents and two soldiers took part in the theft. The cocaine shipment has not been found.

The 1,047 pounds of cocaine, worth $10 million, was seized by the Mexican army May 12 from a small plane that landed in the San Luis Valley, just south of Yuma, Arizona.

Army officers were apparently involved in handing the cocaine over to a local federal attorney general's office in the town of San Luis Rio Colorado "without any legal reason for doing so," according to a statement by the attorney general's office.

The disappearance of the cocaine further embarrassed both police and military authorities, some of whose top officers have been accused recently of cooperating with drug traffickers.

The army acknowledged Sunday that 34 military men have been placed under investigation this year for alleged ties to drug dealers.


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PECOS, August 5, 1997 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Jesus Calzadillas Ordones was arrested the morning of August 2 for public intoxication.


Jose Jesus Ramirez Salazar was arrested at 2:52 a.m. on August 2 for public intoxication.


Arturo Aguirre was arrested on August 2 in the early morning for assault under the family violence act.


Sandra Ronquillo Munoz was arrested August 2 at 2:52 a.m. for public intoxication.


Cruz S. Saenz was arrested on August 2 at 7:28 p.m. under the family violence act.


Carlos A. Ramos was arrested at 12:29 a.m. on August 3 on East 3rd Street for public intoxication.


Epifanio Montoya was arrested at 1:26 a.m. on August 3 for public intoxication at C Street and Highway 285.


Diane Mendoza was arrested at 1:26 a.m. on July 3 at C Street and Highway 285 for public intoxication.


Walter L. Stevens was arrested on the 400 block of E. 6th St. for public intoxication at 2:05 a.m. on August 3.


James Robinson was arrested on a warrant service at 10:13 a.m. on August 3 on the 100 block of N. Alamo. A $500 bond was set.


Victor Romo was arrested at 11:52 p.m. on August 3 for resisting arrest at Maxey Park. A $500 bond was set.


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Roman Almanza

MONAHANS, August 5, 1997 - Roman Almanza, 85, died Sunday, Aug. 3, in Monahans.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Harkey Funeral Home Chapel in Monahans.

Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John Catholic Church with Father John Lucido officiating. Burial will be in Monahans Memorial Cemetery.

Almanza was born Feb. 28, 1912, in Barstow. He was retired from the City of Monahans and a Catholic. He had moved to Monahans in 1957.

Survivors include: three sons, Ernesto and Adolfo Almanza of Monahans; five daughters, Ofelia Juarez of Barstow, Otelia Garcia, Josefa Segovia and Lucila Quiroz of Odessa, and Connie Naegle of Bloomfield, N.M.; two brothers, Antonio Almanza of Monahans and Miguel Almanza of Odessa; one sister, Josefina Gonzales of Barstow; 55 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.
Harkey Funeral Home of Monahans is in charge of arrangements.


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PECOS, August 5, 1997 - High Monday, 98, low this morning, 74. Isolated to widely scattered showers and thunderstorms will dampen portions of North Texas and West Texas tonight and Wednesday. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight and early Wednesday form the Big Bend across the Trans-Pecos into extreme West Texas. Highs Wednesday will be in the 90s over most of West Texas, ranging from the 80s in the mountains to near 102 in the Big Bend area. Some widely scattered showers and thunderstorms were reported before dawn today in northern portions of the low rolling plains, the eastern section of the South Plains and in the Permian Basin.

Attorney General rep. in Ft. Stockton


State News
San Angelo Standard Times
Abilene Reporter News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Morning News
Texas Press Association

National News
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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, 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 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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