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October 21, 1997

Week focuses on women in business

Staff Writer
PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Pink and green ribbons can be seen on people all over town. What do they mean?

The ribbons are in honor of National Business Women's Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

"The green ribbon is for the National Business Women's Week, while the pink one symbolizes breast cancer awareness," said Debbie Thomas, president of the Pecos Business and Professional Women's Club.

Thomas explained that the group decided to combine both this year and make the public aware of the importance of both.

The Pecos Business and Professional Women's Club is proud to honor Women In Business and all the working women in our communities, according to Thomas.

This year the club co-sponsored the Reeves County Hispanic Pioneer Family Reception for the first time.

"We have for several years co-sponsored the pioneer family celebration that is held during the July 4th weekend," said Thomas.

Partners in these events, with the woman's club, are the Friends of the Museum and the West of the Pecos Museum.

"These are great opportunities for families and communities to remember their rich history and renew family ties," said Thomas.

Pecos BPW is well known for their association with the West of the Pecos Rodeo, who begins selling sponsorships to the rodeo program in January.

"This is a big job that takes every member's participation, but with the end result being college scholarships, we rise to the occasion," said Thomas.

"In July, the heat is on for us to sell the programs during the rodeo performances. With a tradition of over 50 years, we smile, we sweat and we sell, and we invite others to join us," said Thomas.

The club is also building a reputation for the meet the candidates forum that the group sponsors, according to Thomas.

"An ideal way to open the future to our young is to make their parents aware of the political goings-on in our neighborhoods," said Thomas. "By sponsoring these events, we believe that we have made it easier for people to question candidates and compare, "she said.

Thomas stated that hopefully more people will use their voting privileges because they understand that they can make a difference.

Meet-the-Candidates for Reeves County will be in February or March and Meet-the-Candidates for the Town of Pecos City/Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD/Reeves County Hospital Board will be in early April.

"We do try to work interesting programs in during the year, concerning pay equity, health issues, workplace conditions and finances," said Thomas.

"We invite any and all to join us at any time, we meet the second and fourth Tuesdays, at 7 p.m., at the Quality Inn on Highway 285 and I-20," said Thomas.

Saturday classes given at Pecos Learning Center

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Child development classes are being taught at the Pecos Learning Center every other Saturday, and while most of the students are Learning Center employees, the classes are open to anyone. The classes are extension courses from Odessa College, worth three college credit hours each.

Local resident Mary Barfield, who holds an associates degree in child development, teaches the classes. People who work in child care are required to take such courses for child development certification, Barfield said, but working in the field is not required to be able to take the classes.

"More important than the certification is the wonderful skills that the students learn," Barfield said.

She stated that the courses would be excellent for teachers aides in the public schools, parents, scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, and anyone who works with children on a professional or volunteer basis.

The class Barfield is teaching this semester is "Creative Activities for Children." She will be teaching another course next semester, but had not decided which course it will be as of press time.

Youth to spread message with candy

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Candy caddies are on the way with bags of goodies, thanks to the Youth Advisory Commission who decided at a meeting last night to distribute bags of candy at the upcoming Pecos Eagles home game, when the Eagles take on San Angelo.

The meeting opened with Vice Chairman Sarah Matta leading the pledge and Graciela Garcia the invocation. Since neither Councilman Gerald Tellez or City Secretary Geneva Martinez were present, the youth could not review the by-laws; and, as Chairman Jonathan Fuentes pointed out, considering the year has not closed, the Treasury Report could not accurately be reviewed. Both items were tabled, by a motion of the commission, until a later date.

Calender events was the one remaining item on the agenda. Several ideas circulated among the students, much of which related to an upcoming Pecos Elementary dance. Several students wanted to help out with the dance's haunted house, others expressed a desire to set up a vending booth to raise funds, and one student suggested that a video game could be imported to the school for the night.

In a motion led by Graciela Garcia, the commission decided to distribute candy at the football game. Included in each bag would be a note stating the commission's purpose, which (according to the by-laws) is to "serve as a liaison between City Council and the youth...and to encourage the positive growth and development of youth."

Fuentes said that he would like the commission to "try to get as active as possible this year...and try to have two events each month." He said that, as well planning on the candy handouts, he would look into the possibility of having a booth at the elementary school dance. "If we need to, we will hold an emergency meeting."

Fire department brings home awards

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Pecos' Fire Department came home with an armful of awards from a series of fire hose races last Saturday in Grand Falls. According to Fire Chief Doug Cox, as many as 15 other departments competed in the race.

The Pecos men's group placed first in the 6-man pumper and 6-man scramble races. They also placed in the 3-man hose race, but Cox was uncertain as to what position they came in at.

The Pecos women's group also did well at the event, placing 2nd in the 6-women pumper race.

Railroad builds to crisis for CEO

Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) October 21, 1997 - Union Pacific Railroad's crisis with its congested rail lines can be measured in part by the hours its chief executive has devoted to clearing up the problem.

"In the last several months, almost every day and a lot of the night of my life," said UP Corp. chairman Dick Davidson. Based in Dallas, Davidson has spent four or five days a week in Omaha, as opposed to one or two days a week if things had gone smoothly.

A "War Room" at the railroad's main dispatching center in Omaha has five or six extra people managing the service recovery plan 24 hours a day.

Under pressure from shippers and federal regulators to unclog its congested system, the railroad told the Surface Transportation Board on Monday that the recovery plan filed with the board Oct. 1 has made progress.

The board is overseeing Union Pacific's year-old merger with Southern Pacific. The filing came just two days before railroad officials meet with investment companies in New York and one week before a national hearing on UP's problems.

About 19 percent of the system's 40,000 excess cars had been cleared as of Friday, the railroad said. The average number of excess cars in the key states of Texas and Louisiana had dropped about 20 percent, Union Pacific Corp. chairman Dick Davidson said.

Those numbers will fluctuate, but the railroad should be back on track within the 90 days projected when the recovery plan was filed, Davidson said. "We're well within the target now," he said.

The board has requested weekly reports from Union Pacific, and a public hearing on Union Pacific's service problems is scheduled for Monday.

Harvest will be challenging, with the third-largest corn harvest in history, a record soybean crop and a large wheat harvest in Kansas, Davidson said. Grain elevators are being told Union Pacific will do its best to get cars to them, Davidson said.

On Friday, Union Pacific said beginning Nov. 1 it will suspend six of 50 trains that run each day between Chicago and Texas. The move will affect consumer goods such as furniture and general merchandise, not raw freight such as grain and coal. Shippers affected can use other railroads or trucks, Davidson said.

Third quarter earnings will be below projections, Davidson said, but investors will be told Wednesday that Union Pacific is making progress.

"We're going to go through some of the good things that are happening as a result of this service recovery, so we can demonstrate that it is working and that we're going to be back to normal in the not-too-distant future," Davidson.

The Surface Transportation Board's meeting next week in Washington will be a chance for Union Pacific to outline what happened to cause the congestion and what the railroad is doing to clear the lines, Davidson said. The railroad has cited a surge in chemical and plastics business and difficulties implementing the merger as some of the reasons for the logjams in Texas that rippled across its system.

"Many people think that this problem occurred because of rushing the merger," Davidson said. "In this case, if we had been able to implement the merger more quickly, we could well have avoided any of these problems," he said. Lines would have been merged more quickly with Southern Pacific and sharing of work crews might have occurred more quickly, he said.

Davidson said if Southern Pacific had experienced the same congestion problems as a stand-alone railroad, it might not have survived financially.

"They might not have had the firepower to recover from it," Davidson said. "That's one of the clear cut advantages of this merger, we do have the strength and we do have the resources and we are going to pull out of it."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Officials warned that sentencing may be unfair

WASHINGTON (AP) October 21, 1997 - In an extraordinary warning, four Supreme Court justices have told Texas officials their rules in death penalty sentencing may be unfair to some convicted killers.

"Although juries are required to assess a capital defendant's `future dangerousness' before sentencing him to death," said Justice John Paul Stevens, "he is prohibited from presenting truthful information to the jury about when he would be eligible for parole if sentenced to life."

Three other justices joined Stevens' opinion. But the four did not vote to hear an appeal by Texas death row inmate Arthur Brown Jr., convicted of four drug-related murders in Houston five years ago.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had upheld Brown's death sentence and the Supreme Court on Monday declined to disturb that ruling.

The four justices who expressed misgivings with Texas' death penalty procedures served notice that they're carefully watching how the state lets juries choose between death or life in prison for convicted murderers.

Texas has become the nation's far-and-away leader in executions with 31 this year of the nationwide total of 59. Since the Supreme Court ended a four-year legal moratorium on capital punishment in 1976, 417 have been executed, including 138 in Texas.

Stevens, whose opinion was joined by Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, noted that Brown would have had to spend 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole if sentenced to life.

Brown sought to have the jury learn of that fact but was prevented from doing so by Texas law.

Stevens cited a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that said convicted murderers can tell sentencing juries when there's no chance they could be paroled if sentenced to life in prison. He said there is "obvious tension"between that ruling and the Texas rule.

"The Texas rule unquestionably tips the scales in favor of a death sentence that a fully informed jury might not impose,"said Stevens.

Nonetheless, the four justices did not disagree with their five colleagues who silently left Brown's sentence intact - even though only four votes are needed to grant review to such appeals.

Stevens said their purpose was to drive home the point that the court doesn't always grant review even when it thinks a lower court was wrong.

"The likelihood that the issue will be resolved correctly may increase if this court allows other tribunals to serve as laboratories in which the issue receives further study before it is addressed by this court,"Stevens wrote.

Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops of Texas are urging a public outcry to abolish the death penalty.

"As religious leaders, we are deeply concerned that the state of Texas is usurping the sovereign dominion of God over human life by employing capital punishment for heinous crimes,"the bishops said. "We implore all citizens to call on our elected officials to reject the violence of the death penalty and replace it with non-lethal means of punishment."

The Supreme Court case is Brown vs. Texas, 96-9187.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Towns not happy about 'abandoned' trains

ABILENE, Texas (AP) October 21, 1997 - Twice in the past two weeks, Union Pacific Railroad crew members have run "out of hours" on their trips and parked freight trains, refusing to go any farther, officials in two West Texas towns say.

Saturday, Clyde police chief Ron Young said, a train blocked three intersections from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., after a crew stopped working to wait for a relief crew, then left the 1.3-mile train unattended.

The week before, another Union Pacific train was left unattended and idling on a Sweetwater side track for several hours. The train was parked near a motel area, and paramedics were called to treat one woman for respiratory difficulties related to inhaling diesel exhaust fumes.

The woman was treated at the scene while police attempted for several hours to contact Union Pacific officials on Oct. 12.

In Clyde, Young said, "They just showed up here in the middle of town and left it." The crew on board said they had "run out of hours" and that the train "would not move an inch" until a relief crew could be brought from Dallas.

Young said the old crew left in a van for Big Spring about noon, and that the new crew did not arrive until 2:30 p.m.

Callahan County dispatcher supervisor Linda Dennis said a similar incident occurred earlier this month when a stopped train blocked a private driveway west of Hayes Road and prevented a resident from leaving her property for four hours.

Young said he asked the crew to "break" the train - to disconnect certain cars and push them apart to leave roadway intersections open. The police chief said the crew's dispatcher told them not to move the train "one inch."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Rates keep dropping below double digits

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - For the second month in a row the Pecos unemployment rate has dropped below double digit figures.

The Pecos unemployment rate for September last year sat at 11.5 percent and decreased to 8.6 percent for the month this year.

Contributing to the decrease in the unemployment rate for Pecos was a drop in the civilian work force from 5,899 in September 1996 to 5,120 in September for the current year. The number of employed people in Pecos dropped from 5222 for the month last yea r to 4680 in September 1997. Unemployed persons decreased from 677 for the month in 1996 to 440 in September this year.

Other Permian Basin city unemployment rates are (Sept. 1996) - Sept. 1997): Andrews, 5.3 percent - 5.8 percent; Big Spring, 4.3 percent - 4.1 percent; Crane, 3.8 percent - 3.5 percent; Fort Stockton, 6.7 percent - 6.6 percent; Kermit, 7.4 percent - 8.1 p ercent; Lamesa, 7.7 percent - 6.0 percent; Midland, 4.3 percent - 3.8 percent; Odessa, 6.3 percent - 5.6 percent; Rankin, 4.5 percent - 4.4 percent; Seminole, 2.6 percent - 2.7 percent; Stanton, 3.6 percent - 5.8 percent; West Odessa, 6.5 percent - 5.6 p ercent; and Wink, 3.9 percent - 4.3 percent.

The Bryan-College Station area has the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the month at two percent. Close behind are Austin-San Marcos at 3.1 percent; San Angelo at 3.4 percent; and Fort Worth-Arlington at 3.5 percent.

McAllen-Endinburg-Mission has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 17.1 percent. Brownsville-Harlingen follows with 11.6 percent and El Paso at 11.1 percent.

Reeves County had an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for September 1997. Other Permian Basin county unemployment rates for the month were: Ward, 7 percent; Ector, 5.7 percent; and Pecos, 5.8 percent. The average unemployment rate in September 1997 for t he Permian Basin was 4.9 percent.

The unemployment rate for the Odessa-Midland MSA declined by .3 percent for the month, from 5.1 percent to 4.8 percent. The Odessa-Midland area has the fourteenth lowest unemployment rate in the state. The total civilian labor force dropped by 1,029 dur ing the month for a total loss of 312 for the year. The drop in the unemployment rate for the month for Odessa-Midland has been largely attributed to the residual seasonal factors of the summer ending and the education sector starting up again.

The total non-farm employment level for the Odessa-Midland area increased for the month by about 800 or 0.8 percent.

The service producing sector grew by about 300 or 0.4 percent. Government was the main growth component of the service producing sector.

Goods producing grew by 500 or 2 percent. Of the goods producing sector, mining and construction had the biggest decline (200) and manufacturing followed with a decline of 100.

Total nonfarm employment level from a year ago for the Odessa-Midland area rose by more than 1,000 or one percent. Goods producing increased by 800 and out grew service producing (200) for the year.

Revival planned for October 26-29

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Fall leaves and cold breezes aren't the only things in the air these days, according to the Rev. Paul Garcia of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Pecos. An old-fashioned tent revival scheduled for Oct. 26-29 is being planned by Primer a members, and "revival is already in the air, " says Garcia.

Bi-lingual services are set for 7 p.m. each day, with the Rev. Ruben Hernandez of San Antonio as the guest evangelist. "Lord, Send A Revival" will be the theme for the revival.

All services will be held in a large tent which holds as many as 500 persons, with the exception of Children's Church which will be held inside the church fellowship hall. The tent will be set up next to the church building, located at the corner of Eighth and Sycamore Streets.

Children's Church will be for ages six to nine. Kevin Kimmel, youth minister of First Baptist, Pecos, will be bringing Bible stories and other special programs. Susie Arenivas is the coordinator for Children's Church and will serve refreshments each night.

Rudy Casteneda, music minister of Second Baptist Church in San Angelo, will be leading the music, as well as singing solo. Casteneda serves as second vice president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas. Primera members and other churches from Pecos will also participate in bringing special music each night.

Although sponsored by Primera, several local and area churches have joined in the effort to bring "revival" to people of all walks of life, regardless of race or denomination. Those helping with prayer, manpower, and finances include Pecos churches: First Baptist, West Park, North Temple, House of Prayer, Barstow Baptist and several Midland churches.

Ruben Hernandez, 45, is an evangelist who is president of Ruben Hernandez Evangelism, International in San Antonio. He has preached revivals, crusades and camps in Texas, California, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri, the Philippines, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Panama.

Hernandez has been conference leader for the World Conference for Itinerant Evangelist sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He has served as associate evangelist and director of operations for the Rudy Hernandez (his father) Evangelistic Association of Grand Prairie.

He also was preacher and organizer for State Youth Conferences with the Division of Evangelism and the Mexican Baptist Convention of Texas. He has preached and sung on radio and television programs in several different countries, including being the producer/director of the Spanish television program, "Solution" for 12 years.

Hernandez began his ministry at the age of 15. He was licensed to preach at the age of 18 and ordained to the ministry at the age of 23 by the First Mexican Baptist Church of Corpus Christi.

Born in Galveston, he attended Dallas and Corpus Christi public schools, graduating form W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi and Howard Payne University in Brownwood. He is also a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

His many accomplishments include pastoring churches in Robert Lee, Dallas, Fort Worth, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs and San Antonio. He is married to Aurora Hernandez and they have two sons, Robert and Abraham.

"We invite and urge the whole city of Pecos to come and receive a blessing, while hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ preached through word and song at this 'God-Sent' revival, " said Pastor Garcia.

The revival is free, as well as a nursery which will be provided inside the church building.

Board of Directors meet tonight at 6:30

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - The Board of Directors of Reeves County Hospital District will meet tonight in the hospital classroom at 6:30 p.m. to review the records of September meetings, entertain public comments, open ambulance proposals and discuss the resale of properties struck off at previous tax sales.

Also scheduled to be discussed are the reports of the medical staff (specifically, reviewing the credentials of Mohammad Salameh, MD, and David Zahaluk, MD) and the administrator. The purchase of a new washer and hospital signs will be considered and the bills are slated to be paid.

Schools to hold "Drug-Free Rally" Friday

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 21, 1997 - Students will have a chance to enjoy themselves, while learning some valuable lessons, on Friday.

A Drug-Free Rally will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Friday at the Pecos High School Stadium.

The rally is sponsored by all the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD guidance counselors, the Pecos High School Student Council, along with the assistance and support of all administrators, teachers and support staff of the district.

"All the campuses will be bused to the high school to participate," said PHS counselor Pat Cobos.

This is the first district-wide rally the district has ever held, according to Cobos.

Students from kindergarten through high school will participate in this event, including Barstow Elementary.

Law enforcement officials, such as the Department of Public Safety, Reeves County Sheriff's Department, Border Patrol and Drug Task Force will be on hand.

"We want to show our appreciation for all these agencies," said counselor Jim Adams.

Visitors are welcome to join the students and are asked to sit in the G-Section of the stadium.

"Everything will be held on the west side and we want everyone to come and participate," said Adams.

Emcees for the event will be Gabi Bafidis and Rosie Salcido. The national anthem will be sung by Cynthia Almanza, with the pledge of allegiance led by Bafidis.

Guest speaker for the event is Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

The high school cheerleaders, along with the junior high cheerleaders, will be on hand to do some cheers and boost morale.

Students from Austin and Pecos Elementary schools will spell "Drug Free" on the field and a competition among the grades to cheer "Victory" will be held.

The Pecos Eagle Band will also be a part of the activities.

"We're very excited about this project," said Cobos.

Newborn baby found in a box with note

PITTSBURGH (AP) October 21, 1997 - A 6-day-old boy was found in a box with a note suggesting that his mother is 12 years old and could not keep him.

The infant, who was conscious but not crying, had a body temperature of only 94 degrees. He is being treated for hypothermia and possible infections and will likely be placed with a foster family.

"If we do not find the mother in six months, this baby can be adopted," police Cmdr. Gwen Elliott said Monday.

Richard Keenan, a security guard, was inspecting the grounds at Magee-Womens Hospital Sunday when he discovered the baby and the note printed on lined paper.

"This is Jacob. Please help him. He's 6 days old. I can't keep him. I'm only 12. He's very good baby," the message read.

It was only 36 degrees in Pittsburgh around the time Jacob was found, the National Weather Service said.

Police were asking for help finding the mother. They said it was unlikely that she was able to keep the infant secret for six days.

"It's not only Baby Jacob that we're concerned about, but about his mother and his family and the potential need for her to receive medical care," said Dr. Charles Bender of Magee-Womens Hospital.

The baby will be turned over to Allegheny County Children and Youth Services, which will probably place him in a foster home while his parents are being sought, Elliott said.

Immigration provision will be extended

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) October 21, 1997 - House Republican leaders tentatively have agreed to a short-term extension of an expiring statute that allows certain illegal immigrants to remain here while filing for legal residence in exchange for paying a $1,000 fine.

A House GOP leadership source said today that aides to Speaker Newt Gingrich and Majority Leader Dick Armey argued forcefully for extension during a meeting Monday.

"I think they are afraid of being viewed as anti-immigrant," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The question confronting leadership is whether to include the provision in a stopgap spending bill Congress must pass this week to keep government operations running. Lawmakers have yet to complete the appropriations process for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

An earlier stopgap spending bill, which expires Thursday, included an extension of the immigration provision.

Opponents, led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., contend the statute fosters illegal immigration and improperly rewards people who broke U.S. laws by entering the country without authorization or overstaying their visas. They also say the measure penalizes people who apply for visas overseas and often must wait years for permission to enter the country.

But supporters say the provision, first enacted in 1994 and supported by the Clinton administration, benefits only those already eligible for legal residence. And they say it doesn't grant filers preferential status over those who apply abroad.

The statute doesn't apply to the entire undocumented population in the United States, which now exceeds 5 million. It is targeted at those eligible for legal residence, either because they're already in line for visas or are the spouse or minor child of a U.S. citizen. Parents of adult children who are U.S. citizens also can apply.

Some 345,000 people took advantage of the rule in 1995 and 1996. This year, an estimated 214,000 are applying.

Facing possible loss of the provision, thousands of immigrants have grappled with a difficult decision in recent weeks: Leave to secure their green cards abroad or remain here illegally. With the application process sometimes taking years, the immigrants would face a lengthy period away from family and jobs if they left the United States.

The Senate has approved a permanent extension. But that approval, which wasn't matched on the House side, is included in an appropriations bill that has yet to be finalized.

Rohrabacher was promised a future vote on the provision after he threatened to disrupt House consideration of the last stopgap spending bill.


PECOS, October 21, 1997 - High Monday, 56, low this morning, 75. A fast-moving cold front triggered rain today in the Texas Panhandle, with precipitation expected in other sections of the state as the system moved southward. Early-morning temperatures ranged from 44 degrees behind the front at Amarillo and Borger to 69 at Galveston. A weaker system extended from Paris in Northeast Texas through Waco to Midland. A stronger front was expected to pass through North Texas by this evening. The National Weath er Service reported thunderstorms and .14 inch of rain near Lubbock and Childress, with light showers in the Childress area. Showers also developed along the Gulf of Mexico near Freeport. High pressure in the southern United States continued to move east, leaving Texas vulnerable to bands of an upper-level low pressure system in the Southwest. A chance of showers or thunderstorms was predicted through Wednesday, with daytime highs from the 40s in the Panhandle to near 80 in Big Bend valleys and mid-80s in Southeast Texas. Overnight lows should range from 30s and 40s in Northwest Texas to 54 southeast.

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