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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

Commissioners told jail overcrowded

Enterprise Editor
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez told county commissioners
Monday that his jail is overcrowded due to too many
prisoners waiting too long to go to trial, as well as those
whose probation has been revoked, and said the probation
department isn't doing anything with them.

According to Gomez, one prisoner has been in his jail
awaiting trial for 10 months. He said he has spoken to 143rd
District Attorney Randy Reynolds and Probation Department
about the situation and they have said they will attempt to
help resolve the problem one way or another.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo noted that he and the sheriff
have a meeting with the state jail commission later this
week to discuss the overcrowding. Reeves County Jail is also
handling prisoners for the U.S. Marshal's Service as they
are brought in and out of the area for trials and hearings
as well as regular detention.

The discussion was part of a routine agenda for the
commissioners at their second regular meeting of the month.

Commissioners approved the certified tax appraisal roll
which shows net taxable value of property at $150,340,820
for real estate as compared to $150,129.150 for last year.
The mineral valuation is $211,325,850 as compared to
$210,579,020 for last year.

Valuation is up $1,173,850. Exemptions were discussed but
will be set when the budget and tax rate are adopted. The
county expects to collect about 92 percent of taxes. This
past year, 93 percent was collected but due to the economy,
collections are expected to be down.

Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco
recommended the hiring of Guadalupe Regalado, 51, as
assistant warden at a salary of $45,000 with a $6,000 travel
allowance. He is now a unit manager at the LaTuna Federal
Correctional Facility near El Paso, and is due to retire to
assume the position here Aug. 9.

Franco noted that the number of inmates at RCDC is now 906
and that will be increasing later in the week and again next
week to about 1,000 in the near future.

Contract for the current assistant warden, Charlie
Marmaleja, was not renewed.

Tony Perez, another assistant warden, was given a pay raise
from $60,000 to $65,000. Captain LaVaughan Garnto was
increased from $34,000 to $38,000 due to increased work load
and responsibility.

Commissioners approved providing a three-year guarantee to
Texas-New Mexico Power Co. to install 49 new poles with 59
additional flood lights in order to provide better lighting
for security purposes, as recommended by the U.S. Bureau of
Prisons for the RCDC.

In other business, the county established the central
counting station for the November election and approved an
agreement between the Reeves County Golf Course and American
Cancer Society for a fund raiser agreement for people making
a donation to play a number of golf courses within the next
year, a continuing program.

In a final action of the housing rehabilitation program,
commissioners approved a change order for the Tomas Orona
house in the amount of $5,140. The program ends this month
and all work will be finished by that time.

Commissioners also awarded the coffee and spice bid for RCDC
supplies to DeCoty Coffee Company, an item that had been
rebid because of questions on prices. That saved the county
about $3,300.

State's tobacco deal nets RCH $280,000

Staff Writer
The final scores are in, and Texas has trumped the tobacco
industry to the final tune of $17.3 billion.

Texas Attorney General Dan Morales announced on Friday the
details of the renegotiated tobacco lawsuit settlement that
adds an extra $2.275 billion to the state's coffers.

In Reeves County, the first payment on this money adds up to
$279,963 -- a "nice windfall," as Reeves County Hospital
District Interim Administrator Charles Butts termed it --
with more to come.

The money will most likely be spent on much needed
equipment, such as a new sterilizer, and building repairs,
Butts said.

The additional $2.275 billion settlement comes as a result
of a provision in the original $15.3 settlement. This
agreement stated that should other states receive a better
deal from the tobacco companies, as Minnesota did recently,
Texas may reopen settlement negotiations.

Morales said on Friday that the state settlement is now
"resolved with finality."

The additional $2.275 billion is being doled out to Texas
counties in three tidy sums: $300 million in January of
1999, $100 million in 2000 and $50 million in 2001.

A permanent trust fund will be set up by the Texas
Comptroller with the remaining $1.8 billion. The Texas
Department of Health will help the comptroller determine the
pro rata distribution. An advisory board, made up of
representatives form hospital districts, counties and public
hospitals, will be created by the Texas Legislature to
provide the comptroller with advice on the investment of the
trust account funds.

In 1999, Crane County will receive about $82,159; Culberson
County will receive about $60,171; Ector County nets about
$2,100,502; Midland County about $1,882,865; Jeff Davis
County should see $34,368; Loving County $1,890; Pecos
County about $259,176; Ward County about $231,625; and
Winkler County is slated to receive about $152,344.

The money is paid to whatever entity within the county is
responsible for indigent health care.

Texas is one of four states, along with Mississippi,
Minnesota and Florida, that have already settled lawsuits
with the tobacco industry for more than $36 billion. But the
tobacco companies face other lawsuits from dozens of other
states, and representatives from nine other states met
Monday in New York City to continue their settlement talks
with Big Tobacco.

States participating in discussions are California, New
York, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma,

Congressional action to settle the state lawsuits in
exchange for money and concessions from the tobacco industry
has broken down. Tobacco companies, states and anti-tobacco
activists had reached a deal last summer that would have
called for the companies to pay $368.5 billion in return for
dropping the suits, but that deal required congressional

Seven enter guilty pleas in federal case

Staff Writer
Seven members of an alleged drug smuggling organization
pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Midland, and two
others plan to enter guilty pleas before the trial starts
Monday in Pecos.

Two defendants who got new attorneys in Friday's proceedings
were granted a continuance to a later date.

Entering guilty pleas to one or more of the 37 counts
alleged in the second superseding indictment were:

-- Raul Gardea-Luna, money laundering and continuing
criminal enterprise;

-- Josie Ann Gardea, using a communication facility to
facilitate a drug trafficking crime;

-- Blas Lopez-Jurado, possession with intent to distribute

-- Leticia Jo Esparza, possession with intent to distribute

-- Jose Gardea-Carrasco, possession with intent to
distribute marijuana;

-- Stephanie Ann Cordova, possession with intent to
distribute marijuana;

-- Johnny Tony Calderon, possession with intent to
distribute marijuana.

Odessa attorney Antonio Jose "Tony" Chavez and his
investigator, Moises "Boy" Hernandez, signed plea agreements
admitting they provided relief and assistance in order to
hinder apprehension of Raul Gardea-Luna, in connection with
two loads of marijuana moved from near the Rio Grande to the
Midland-Odessa area in 1997.

Roseann Holmberg admitted hauling the two loads, totaling
581 pounds, and implicated Gardea. She is cooperating with
government prosecutors.

Chavez will receive a two-level upward adjustment to the
sentencing guidelines for abuse of a position of trust or
special skill, but will receive three points downward
departure for acceptance of responsibility, and the
remaining charges will be dismissed at the time of

He is represented by Gerald Goldstein.

Hernandez will receive three points downward departure for
acceptance of responsibility and dismissal of remaining
charges. His attorney is Neil Calfas.

Senior Judge Lucius Bunton accepted the guilty pleas and set
sentencing for Nov. 2 in Pecos.

In an unrelated case, Adrian David Aranda pleaded guilty to
possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Also last week, Judge Bunton sentenced the following
defendants who had earlier been convicted on drug counts:

-- Elsa Vasquez, 30 months in prison for marijuana

-- Pedro Cuevas-Gonzalez, 24 months, marijuana possession;

-- Aaron Anchondo-Ruiz, 60 months, concurrent, for importing
and possessing marijuana;

-- German Booker, 84 months, possession of PCP;

-- Janet Fay Salvato, 26 months for marijuana possession.

County's librarian plans to check out

Staff Writer
Reeves County will be searching for a new librarian to
provide area residents with vital information.

Current Reeves County Librarian Nancy Bentley submitted her
resignation on Monday, July 20, noting that her last day on
the job will be Friday, Aug. 7.

"We're very sorry to see her leave, we appreciate her
service and dedication to the community," said County Judge
Jimmy B. Galindo.

He said the library is very important to community life and
can help people find the information that they need in their
daily lives.

"The library is an integral part of the community, something
vital that benefits everyone," Galindo said, adding that he
and other county officials will do everything they can to continue to help make this library the best for a community this size.

The position will be advertised later and applications will
be taken at that time to fill that slot as soon as possible.

"We want to have someone available to help everyone in their
search for information," said Galindo.

The Reeves County Library also has access to the Internet, a
program aimed at helping find information in a more
efficient manner.

Bush aides to outline task force plans

From Staff and Wire Reports
Gov. George Bush is not giving up on a state-led drug task
force for the Permian Basin, despite opposition by 15 Texas
sheriffs who met last week in Monahans to form their own
task force.

The Governor's Criminal Justice Division has scheduled an
information and planning meeting for 1 p.m. Thursday in the
Colonial Inn in Monahans to discuss formation of the West
Texas Narcotics Enforcement Task Force.

Thirty area law enforcement and government officials were
invited to the meeting, which initially was barred the press
and general public. However, when Ward County Judge Sam
Massey pointed out the meeting is subject to the Texas Open
Meetings Act, it was posted as a public meeting.

Linda Edwards of the governor's office said invitations were
sent to police chiefs, sheriffs and other officials who
indicated an interest in forming a West Texas Narcotics Task

Gov. Bush dismantled the Permian Basin Drug Task Force on
May 31 amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing and
misappropriation of funds. Soon after, he ordered that a new
task force be formed under the jurisdiction of the Texas
Department of Public Safety.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter said that law
enforcement officials from the counties that made up the
Permian Basin Drug Task Force got together last week to
discuss re-forming the drug task force without the state's

Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez was not among those
attending. He has said he would wait to hear what the
Governor's office proposes.

Many locals are uncomfortable with the idea of a new task
force headed up by the DPS, Painter said.

``No one's seen a DPS narcotics officer in years, and no one
has filed any cases in years, either,'' Painter said. ``Now
they're saying, `Trust us, we know what we're doing.' That's
like saying `Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to
help you.'''

The governor's office has the power to form new task forces
and provide funding, but local authorities can refuse to

``We believe in local control,'' Painter said. ``We don't
need a babysitter like the DPS telling us our business. We
have the expertise, the knowledge and the ability to run our
own task force

``We're trying to get the task force back like we had, under
state control and not DPS policy.''

Painter said the group plans to make its views known at the
Thursday meeting. The lawmen hope that the state
representatives they've invited to attend will carry word of
their displeasure back to Bush.

``We've always believed that Governor Bush was never told
the truth or all of the facts regarding the Permian Basin
Drug Task Force, and that his actions were based on the
recommendations of people who had no knowledge and were
incapable of doing the job they were assigned to begin
with,'' Painter said.

Should Bush not change his mind about the DPS task force,
Painter said the group is prepared to forge ahead on its

``We're going to serve our citizens, not as well without the
grant money, but we would still perform our duties,''
Painter said.

While state-funded task force members are able to go
undercover for weeks at a time, Painter said their task
force would just have to settle for two or three day

Of course, Painter said, they are hoping they would be able
to find a grant or some other sort of funding to assist

``We're just trying to show them that we don't need DPS
babysitting us,'' Painter said. ``We just want them to give
us our grant and allow us to re-do our task force so we can
put people back to work and start working narcotics.''

Powerball defied to reach $250 million

From Staff and Wire Reports
The odds are against any Texans who drive to New Mexico or
Louisiana in order to play Powerball coming away with the
$250 million lottery prize. But ticket sellers in border
towns in both states can expect to see thousands of visitors
from Texas between now and Wednesday night.

The game has not had a winner since a $10 million prize went
to a group of Missouri utility workers who pooled their
money for the May 23 drawing, three days after an Illinois
couple won the $195 million jackpot, the previous U.S.
lottery record.

The odds of two such high-jackpot lotteries occurring less
than three months apart are not as high as the odds of
actually winning, but the lottery's director said the
chances of a $250 million jackpot alone are less than
one-half of one percent.

``It is a statistical anomaly,'' said Charles Strutt,
executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association,
which operates the Powerball game played in 20 states and
the District of Columbia.

``A quarter of a billion dollars -- statistically, it's 0.4
percent of the time we should get to this level. This is
surprising us.''

Since then, 18 drawings have resulted in dozens of $100,000
winners who matched five numbers but not the Powerball.

The longer the game goes without a jackpot winner, the more
intense the interest in Powerball grows despite the
1-in-80.1 million chance of winning.

Iowa was selling Powerball tickets Monday at the rate of
1,000 a minute, Connecticut remained a hotbed for sales with
people streaming in from New York, New Jersey and
Massachusetts, where the game is not played.

The nearest sites to Pecos where Powerball tickets are sold
is in Loving, N.M., a 75-mile trip. Other sites closest to
Reeves County are in Carlsbad and Jal, N.M.

Powerball is played in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware,
Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New
Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin and
West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Vivian Whitehurst of New York City drove an hour Monday to
Stamford, Conn., only to stand in a slow-moving line of
about 50 people.

``You have dreams of what you can do,'' Whitehurst said.
``Everybody is making their plans of what they want to do.
My son called and said he was ready to tell his boss he
wouldn't see him again -- and a few other things -- if we
had hit (last week's $183 million jackpot).''

In Phoenix, Pat Gonzales already had spent $20 on tickets
and expected to buy another $10 worth. She and her boyfriend
buy tickets at eight different convenience stores.

``Right before Powerball closes, we have a route and we'll
go around and put $4 at every place,'' she said.

As intense as sales have been, stores were bracing for even
more activity on Wednesday, when two-thirds of this
drawing's tickets are expected to be sold.

A single winner in Wednesday night's drawing could win,
before taxes, a lump-sum payment of $137 million or $10
million annually for the next 25 years.

Dan Hefty, a manager at Lions Quick Mart in Janesville,
Wis., said he has extra everything on hand to accommodate a
crush of would-be millionaires.

``We ordered extra paper, extra ribbons (for the Powerball
machine),'' he said. ``And we'll have somebody extra here to
deal with the Powerball rush. Wednesday is going to be nuts.
... People will drop $50 or $75 at a time and think nothing
of it.''

That kind of free spending worries gambling opponents, who
say that people who can least afford to spend money on
lottery tickets are among those standing in line.

``I wonder if government feels really proud of itself
watching people lining up and losing money?'' said the Rev.
Tom Grey, executive director of the National Coalition
Against Gambling Expansion, based in Hanover, Ill.

``The role of government ought not to be in creating in its
citizens a sense that the way out of anything is the hope
they hit a lottery,'' Grey said. ``It's a false hope.''

But Vance Smith, who sold nearly 1,500 tickets in two days
at his convenience store in a low-income area of south
Phoenix, said that hope means a lot to people who want to
change their lifestyle in quick fashion.

``When it gets this high, you can tell they are racking and
scraping to buy that Powerball ticket,'' Smith said. ``But
you've got to realize, if you never had a piece of a dream,
the odds don't matter.

``It's that catchy little phrase, `If you don't play, you
can't win,''' he said. ``People just figure if they can just
get a piece of it. I mean at $250 million, that's quite a

GTE agrees to Bell Atlantic merger

AP Business Writer
NEW YORK -- In the latest mega-combination to transform the
telecommunications industry, Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE
Corp. announced today a $52.9 billion deal that would create
the second-biggest telephone company behind AT&T.

The merger would combine Bell Atlantic's dominance of local
telephone services from Maine to Virginia with GTE's unique
offering of both local and long-distance services to mostly
rural and suburban areas scattered across the nation.

The addition of GTE would enable Bell Atlantic to crack the
long-distance market but initially only in GTE areas.

The combined behemoth would have 63 million local telephone
lines in 38 states and revenue of $53 billion. Only AT&T,
once it completes its planned acquisitions, would be bigger.

The new Bell Atlantic-GTE would include the phone systems
centered in the Pecos area, and stretching eastward to
Imperial and westward to Fabens. GTE acquired that system in
its 1990 merger with Contel, but reports over the past year
have indicate the company was considering selling off its
smaller rural operations and concentrating on its more urban
systems, such as those in the San Angelo and Dallas areas.

While Bell Atlantic is using its stock to pay for the
transaction, the deal was described as a merger of equals in
which the new board of the combined entity would be drawn
equally from each company.

In early trading today, Bell Atlantic's stock was down 87½
cents at $44.12½ on the New York Stock Exchange. GTE was
down $2.75 to $53 after falling the day before on news of
talks between the companies.

GTE's shareholders will get 1.22 Bell Atlantic shares for
each GTE share. Based on Bell Atlantic's closing price of
$45 Monday, that works out to $54.90 for each share of GTE,
less than the $55.75 it closed at Monday.

The Bell Atlantic-GTE merger comes on the heels of a series
of major transactions that are transforming the way
companies market and sell telecommunications services, from
local phone service to Internet access.

A federal law intended to force more competition in
telecommunications has touched off a spate of attempts by
the industry's biggest players to buy their way into each
other's businesses.

Just two days ago, AT&T Corp. and British Telecommunications
PLC unveiled a new global venture to combine their
international operations and sell a range of services to
large multinational companies.

Last month, AT&T agreed to buy cable giant
Tele-Communications Inc., for $31.7 billion, with the
intention of using TCI's cable TV lines to provide local
phone service to millions of U.S. homes.

Earlier this year, SBC Communications and Ameritech, two
major local phone companies, also agreed to merge in a deal
valued at $60 billion. Like Bell Atlantic, both those
companies are ``Baby Bells'' formed in the court-ordered
breakup of AT&T that was completed in 1984.

SBC had previously merged with Pacific Telesis, which
operated in the former Bell System areas along the Pacific
Coast. SBC originally consisted of system run by
Southwestern Bell and stretching from St. Louis to El Paso,
while Ameritech served Bell System customers in the Midwest.

Bell Atlantic, itself the product of a merger with Nynex,
another Baby Bell, is the largest U.S. local phone company,
with some 40 million phone lines in 13 states in the
Northeast and mid-Atlantic region.

GTE, based in Stamford, Conn., is the third-largest local
phone service provider in the United States after Bell
Atlantic and SBC with about 21 million local phone customers
in 28 states, mostly in suburban and other less-populated

It also is a seller of long-distance service in all 50
states and has a big presence on the Internet because of its
acquisition last year of BBN Corp., which operates regional
computer networks and offers services for businesses such as
dial-up access, consulting and developing World Wide Web

GTE's top executive, Charles R. Lee, will be the new
company's chairman and co-chief executive officer. Bell
Atlantic CEO Ivan Seidenberg will be president and will
share the CEO title with Lee.

The decision on what to name the combined company will be
made shortly, the companies' announcement said.

Earlier reports of the pending Bell Atlantic-GTE deal drew a
mixed reaction in Washington. Some congressional aides and
telecommunications lobbyists said it reminded them of the
last scuttled marriage between similar telecommunications

When AT&T was in talks to merge with SBC Communications last
year, the Federal Communications Commission chairman at the
time, Reed Hundt, effectively killed the deal before it was
announced by saying such a combination would be

A similar situation could develop with a Bell Atlantic-GTE
deal, some congressional aides and consumer advocates said,
worrying about stifled local phone competition.

``It would be a troublesome combination that would not help
break open the local telephone market,'' said David Moulton,
aide to Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

``It would create another body blow to the drive for local
telephone competition,'' said Gene Kimmelman, co-director of
the Consumers Union's Washington office, who believes the
merger would eliminate yet another company to challenge the
regional Bells' local phone monopoly.

The Federal Communications Commission and antitrust
authorities declined to comment.

Some antitrust experts said a Bell Atlantic-GTE union would
not face the same opposition as the proposed merger of AT&T
and SBC because GTE's long-distance business is so small
compared with AT&T's.

State giving CCRC $95,860 to help with bills

Staff Writer
Some Reeves County residents, along with others in
surrounding counites, will get some relief from the Texas
heat wave thanks to emergency funds.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (THCA)
announced that it will be the lead agency in administering
the state's $32.7 million share of federal emergency funds
earmarked for low-income families with high utility bills
resulting from this summer's extreme heat wave.

"They're still working on the guidelines and the criteria,
but they have stated that this program will prioritize the
elderly and those with children under six years of age,"
said Family Service Director for Reeves County Community
Council Bertha Meierhoff.

She said she had spoken to Greg Sigalia with the Texas
Department of Housing and Community Affairs, who confirmed
the amount of the funds that is designated for the CCRC's
service area of Reeves, Loving, Ward and Winkler Counties.
The time and place for distribution of the funds will be
announced at a later time.

"We just don't when we will be receiving the funds, so that
we can start taking applications," said Meierhoff.

Total amount the four counties will receive is $95,860.

A portion of the funds will also be used for weatherization
assistance for homes with inadequate insulation. In
documented emergency situations, funds may also be used to
purchase and distribute portable window air conditioners.

"The funds we get this time will go towards air conditioners
for those who qualify," said Meierhoff.

The Clinton Administration authorized the release of $100
million in funding through the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services' Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) to Texas and 10 other southern and southwestern
states. A majority of the LIHEAP emergency funding -- which
is administered in Texas by TDHCA's Comprehensive Energy
Assistance Program (CEAP) -- will help low-income families
pay for soaring home energy bills.

Eligible low-income citizens include the elderly, disabled,
families with very young children, and households with the
lowest incomes and highest energy costs. CEAP's target
population is households with incomes at or below 125
percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

A family of four, for example, must have an annual income
not exceeding $20,563 to be eligible for utility payment
assistance. An individual must have an income not exceeding
$10,063 to be eligible.

Meierhoff stated that the Energy Assistance Program has four
components, the elderly assistance, the energy crisis
program, the weather-related crisis and the co-payment

The heat wave funds would fall under the weather-related
crisis, she said.

"Other programs help individuals with heaters and cooling
systems and will even provide water heaters where needed,"
Meierhoff said. "Right now, we're looking at air
conditioners because of the weather," she said.

The $32.7 million in federal funds are in addition to about
$1.47 million in state aid granted last week through the
Governor's Office and the State Energy Conservation Office
of the General Services Commission. Once received, all funds
will be allocated directly to each of 54 non-profit
community action organizations and county governments
currently providing services on a local level in conjunction
with the state.

Under the CEAP energy crisis component, households are
potentially eligible to receive up to $1,000. However,
benefits are based on the actual cost of energy consumed.
Households are potentially eligible to receive up to $1,000
in utility assistance under the regular utility assistance
components, and up to an additional $1,000 under the heating
and cooling component, which is an energy efficiency program.

Funding criteria includes the percentage of local population
below the poverty level, relative weather conditions, and
overall population, among others. The community
organizations working with the state represent all of Texas'
254 counties, and each is eligible for assistance. Larry
Paul Manley, TDHCA executive director, expressed optimism
that these organizations would receive their portion of the
funds this week.

"We have already instructed local service providers
throughout Texas to being meeting with prospect clients and
to start processing applications," said Manley. "It is also
important to recognize that these funds are supplementing an
existing program that currently assists hundreds of
thousands of low-income households each year," he said.

In a related note, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta
is advising citizens that at very high temperatures -- high
90s and above -- fans are in ineffective for cooling and may
actually increase heat stress and the risks of heat stroke.
As a result, the state recommends that persons without home
air conditioners seek shelter in an air-conditioned
environment, rather than relying on the use of electric
fans. It for this reason that TDHCA discourage the use of
fans and allows for the purchase of air conditioners under
emergency situations.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is
Texas' lead agency responsible for affordable housing,
community development and community assistance programs, as
well as regulation of the state's manufactured housing
industry. The Department annually administers funds in
excess of $500 million -- most of which is derived from
mortgage revenue bond financing and refinancing, federal
grants and federal tax credits.

Gramm sends aide to view effects of drought

U.S. Sen Phil Gramm is sending a team of senior staff
members on a drought damage assessment of Texas, and one is
scheduled to be in Pecos Wednesday morning to meet with
local officials and hear their concerns about the deepening
drought and water shortages that have developed this summer.

Margarita Velez, director of Gramm's regional office in El
Paso, will meet with local farmers and ranchers to assess
the drought damage during a 7:30 a.m. briefing at the
Meeting Room, Texas-New Mexico Power, 1126 Stafford Blvd.
Velez will be available to the media after the tour.

Also participating in the briefing will be Mayor Dot
Stafford and City Manager Kenneth Neal.

"The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station's current
assessment of this year's economic impact of the drought in
Texas now exceeds $4.3 billion," the three-term Republican
senator said. "It is important that we work together to
identify ways to provide help to struggling farmers and
ranchers across our state."

The Senate recently approved a Gramm resolution urging the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to streamline the drought
declaration process and make sure Farm Service Agencies have
sufficient personnel to deal with the expected volume of
loan requests.

Gramm, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, praised
the vote. "Senators who are working on the Agriculture
Appropriations Bill have recognized that the drought which
is ravaging Texas will require Rapid response," he said.

The resolution also directs the U.S. Forest Service to help
the state combat wildfires, and to allow haying and grazing
on land that is part of the Conservation Reserve Program.

"Texas agricultural producers are in dire need of immediate
assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and
haying on CRP acreage will provide relief to livestock
producers as well as help minimize fire hazard conditions,
the senator said.


High in Pecos Monday 100 degrees. The low this morning was
72. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the upper
70s. South wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, sunny morning, partly
cloudy afternoon. High near 101. south wind 10-20 mph.

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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 1998 by Pecos Enterprise