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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 20, 1998

Council keeps tax rate at current level

Staff Writer
Three times may be the charm, but a change in state law
demands that the city must hold a public meeting to adopt
its current tax rate for a third year running.

In a special meeting last night, the Pecos City Council
voted to publish a notice announcing the public hearing set
for 7 a.m. next Thursday, August 27, at City Hall, 110 E.
6th Street.

Increased property values -- largely the result of local
employer Anchor West missing its tax exemption filing
deadline this year, say City Manager Kenneth Neal and Chief
Appraiser Carol King Markham -- will be increasing the
city's revenues for the 1999 tax year even though it adopted
the same tax rate as the previous two years, $0.6967 per
$100 property valuation.

According to the notice, tax on the average household will
decrease by $22.72, or 12.19 percent.

The current tax rate is expected to increase municipal
revenues by 1.9 percent.

Tax Assessor-Collector Lydia Prieto said that the change in
law, according to the state comptrollers office, was the
amendment of Senate Bill 841, which states that the taxing
unit to "hold a public hearing to impose an amount of
property tax that exceeds the preceding year's property

The bill also deleted the three percent allowance, that let
taxing entities raise taxes by three percent without holding
a public meeting, she said.

While taxation on households has decreased, Prieto said,
that on commercial and mineral properties may be higher this

The council also briefly examined the proposed budget, which
City Manager Kenneth Neal called "pretty much on track."

The fifth budget workshop will be held this Monday at 5:30
p.m. The council hopes to adopt the ordinance at their
second September meeting to be ready for the new fiscal
year, which begins on October 1.

CCRC offering heat wave expenses aid

Staff Writer
Community Council of Reeves County will be on hand at
different locations starting next week, helping individuals
in Reeves County to deal with a variety of bills and
necessities caused by this summer's heat wave.

the CCRC is sponsoring mass assistance for any and all
programs due to "extreme weather."

"We recently received a grant from the Texas Department of
Housing and Community Affairs (THCA) along with another
grant to help the residents of Reeves County," said Family
Services Director Bertha Meierhoff.

THCA announced earlier this month that it would 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.

The amount allocated for the CCRC's four service counties,
including Reeves, totaled $95,860. Loving, Ward and Winkler
are the other counties that will share the grant.

Assistance with rent, rent deposits and utility deposits
will be available until Aug. 31, according to Meierhoff.

"We have the applications now, individuals can take them
fill them out and bring them back on the dates that we will
be at the different sites," said Meierhoff. "This will speed
up the process, if they come for the application now and
have all the required forms, when they go turn it in."

The council will be at the Community Center in Barstow on
Monday from 9 a.m. until noon taking applications, and will
do the same in Pecos next Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Reeves
County Civic Center. Applications from the elderly and
disabled will be taken from 9 a.m. until noon and from the
general public from 2-5 p.m.

Community Council employees will be in Balmorhea on
Thursday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. until noon for everyone
including the elderly, disabled and general public at the
Balmorhea Housing Authority, and they will also be at the
Multi-Purpose Center in Saragosa that day, from 9 a.m. until
noon taking applications from everyone.

In addition to utility bills, the CCRC is offering help with
air conditioning. "If they already have an air conditioner,
we will audit it to make sure they do need a new one, or to
see what the old one needs," said Meierhoff. "We will also
purchase new ones for those who don't have one and qualify
for one."

New car seats are also available to loaned out for as long
as the user needs it, according to Meierhoff.

Required documents include social security numbers for all
household members, proof of income for everyone living in
the home, copies of utility bills for last 30 days, last 12
months of billing history, for both gas and electric.

"We also have monies to provide water bill assistance for
those who have extremely high water bills and are eligible
for this program," said Meierhoff.

Meierhoff stated that volunteers are also needed to screen

"They can contact me, here at the community council offices
at 700 Daggett, Suite F," said Meierhoff.

Individuals who would like to obtain an application can go
to the CCRC office or to Balmorhea Housing Authority in
Balmorhea to pick up the applications before next week.
Applicants are asked to bring all required documents with
them when they come to the mass assistance in order to avoid
any delays.

For more information call 447-4913.

Officials reporting first days' enrollment up

Staff Writer
Enrollment figures for the first day of the 1998-99 school
year are up compared to last year's numbers, according to
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials.

On the first day of school, Tuesday, the total count was set
at 2,829 students up by 40 from last year's opening day of

Total count for Wednesday, the second day of school, was
2,904, up by 34 from last year's count.

Enrollment figures will go up a little each day until Labor
Day, when all students who will be attending school in Pecos
should be present, according to officials.

Missing students during the past school year resulted in the
loss of some state aid for the P-B-T district, and the
shortfalls was cited as one reason for the pending 10 cent
per $100 valuation property tax increase.

Pecos High School currently has 770 students in grades 9-12;
while the three middle schools -- Crockett, Zavala and Lamar
-- have almost equal numbers of students. Crockett reported
233 eighth graders in class, Zavala had 231 seventh graders
and Lamar reported 232 sixth graders.

In the lower grades, enrollment at Pecos Kindergarten was
308 students, Austin Elementary School had 429 first and
second graders in school; Pecos Elementary reported 218
third graders and Bessie Haynes Elementary School and 412
students in its fourth and fifth grade classes.

School officials said 51 other students in different grades
were attending Carver School, located at 600 E. 12th St., an
alternative education school that handled two different

Drop-outs and at-risk students attend the alternative
education program, and manager Jimmy Dutchover said, "We
also service students with discipline problems, from all

Currently students attending the alternative education
program are from seventh grade through 12th grade. "We don't
have any seniors, possibly because this is their last year
and they don't want to mess it up," said Dutchover.

Storm gives city biggest rain of year

From Staff and Wire Reports
Thunderstorms dotted the Trans-Pecos region on Wednesday,
giving Pecos its single-biggest rainfall total of 1997 and
bringing showers to areas both north and south of town.

The rains that hit Pecos about 5 p.m. dumped .77 inch of
rain on the city -- not the greatest, but in this
drought-plagued year, it upped the annual amount by nearly
50 percent, from 1.63 to 2.40 inches.

The center of the storm moved northeast into Ward County
before playing itself out later in the evening, while other
thunderstorms left water on the roads in southern Reeves
County east of Saragosa, and around Gomez Peak in the
western part of the county.

Farther north, rain was reported around the Guadalupe
Mountains. "I don't know how much we got yet," said Jim
Kenney of the D Ranch in Culberson County, "but I talked
with one of the boys at the (Guadalupe Mountains National
Park) headquarters and he said it rained about an inch at
Pine Springs.

Showers are in the forecast again tonight, but with only a
20 percent chance for the area, as the bulk of the rain
moves towards the southeast, where storms have dumped
double-digit rainfalls totals on the southern edge of the
Hill Country this week.

The chance of showers and thunderstorms will be increasing
across South Texas. An area of disturbed weather in the Gulf
of Mexico will move closer to shore, causing an increase in
the chance of showers and thunderstorms along the coast.

Columns added to Enterprise's website

What was the country along the Pecos River like in the late
1800s when settlers began to arrive with cattle herds and
the railroad?

The late Alton Hughes captured the spirit of the old West in
his weekly newspaper columns he titled "Just Musin'."
Early-day ranching, farming, government, rodeo, gunfights
and personalities are among the hundreds of topics Hughes
researched and revealed in his popular columns, written
during the 1970s.

Compiling those Pecos Enterprise columns into two hard-bound
volumes, Hughes made "Pecos, A History of the Pioneer West,"
a treasured part of many personal libraries. Those volumes
are out of print, but the interest in local history has not

Responding to numerous requests from family history
researchers, the Pecos Enterprise has indexed Hughes'
columns and is offering them for sale through our Internet

To view the list of topics, you may access the page at

Payment may be submitted by credit card, either online or
over the telephone; by check or money order. Delivery will
be made by e-mail to the address listed on the form.

"I believe the Enterprise is filling a need by offering
these columns for sale," said Publisher Mac McKinnon. "We
hope to index more of our microfilm files in the future,
making available news and obituaries dating from 1912."

McKinnon said the newspaper already has archived on the
Internet important news stories from the Billie Sol Estes
years, the Saragosa tornado of 1987, a Pecos tornado in
1974, and daily news from 1995 to date.

"We have found that the cost to convert stories from
microfilm to electronic files that can be published on the
Internet is prohibitive," McKinnon said. "Perhaps by
offering them for sale, we can fill the need of researchers
at a modest cost to all concerned."

South Plains needs rains

Associated Press Writer
LUBBOCK -- Nobody has to tell Don Stafford this is one of
the worst droughts of the century.

The cotton farmer has a field of dry, hard dirt to attest to

``Most of my dryland cotton didn't break ground,'' Stafford
said. ``I lost everything. Not much can help now.''

In fact, farmers such as Stafford are already worried about
how this year's drought will affect next year's crop.

``The rain we're getting now is too late for this year, but
it might help next year's cotton,'' he said.

Scientists say that rain could begin to refill the depleted
groundwater that crops rely on to help them grow. Without
rain over the next few months, the chance of crop losses
next year goes up.

``A few weeks of rain now would go a long way towards
helping the soil prepare for next year,'' said Randy Boman,
a Texas Agricultural Extension Service cotton expert.

``It's not too early to start thinking about softening up
the ground and replenishing the groundwater supply for next

A low-pressure system combined with moist, unstable air has
brought rain to the South Plains and Trans-Pecos areas this
week. But little additional rain is expected in the region
for the next two weeks, according to forecasters.

Wednesday, the drought of 1998 officially became the worst
since the legendary seven-year dry stretch of the 1950s,
with university researchers estimating agricultural losses
at more than $2.1 billion.

Projected impact on the state's economy far surpasses that
of any droughts since the 1980s and is some $800 million
higher than the 1996 drought, said extension service
researcher Roland Smith.

``The devastation experienced by this year's cotton and corn
crop will leave the agriculture industry in Texas reeling
for some time to come,'' Smith said.

But the losses aren't occurring solely because more crops
were lost than in prior years.

Unlike 1996, Texas crops are suffering a great deal worse
than those in other states, meaning that prices remain low
because there are few shortages. Shortages lead to higher
prices and sometimes help farmers recoup some of their

Smith said nobody has tried to figure the economic losses
from the prolonged dry spell of the 1950s, but it would be
far worse than this year because of its sheer length.

``You'd have to go back to the Depression era ... to get
something that would be comparable,'' he said.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is
obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,
Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those

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.
Felix Guajardo, 39, was arrested at 2:15 a.m., on August 15,
in the 300 block of Sycamore Street, for driving while
intoxicated. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.

Raul Barrera, 29, was arrested at 6 a.m., on August 16, at
the corner of Fifth and Sycamore streets, on a warrant for a
probation violation on possession of a controlled substance.
He was transported to Reeves County Jail.

Ruben Carrasco, 36, was arrested at 7 a.m., on August 16, at
2305 Linsey Rd., for assault under the Family Violence Act,
a class "C" misdemeanor. He was transported to Reeves County

Esiquela Martinez, 42, was arrested at 8 p.m., on August 19,
at the corner of Seventh and Sycamore streets, on a warrant
for terroristic threat, a class "B" misdemeanor. She was
transported to Reeves County Jail.


High Wednesday 94. Low this morning 68. Rainfall .77 inch.
Total for month 1.32 inches. Total for year 2.40 inches.
Forecast for tonight: partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of thunderstorms. low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5 10
mph. Friday, partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent
chance of thunderstorms. High around 90. Southeast wind 5-15

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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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise