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Thursday, August 26, 1999

Council OKs water study at Freeport site

Staff Writer
PECOS, Aug. 26, 1999 -- The Town of Pecos City Council voted in regular session this morning to employ ARCADIS/Geharty and Miller to do a hydorology study on the water field at the Freeport McMoRan Sulphur Mine.

Freeport has offered the water field for $4 million, and it is estimated it would take another $4 million to pipe the water to town.

The council also made changes in the $8.2 million loan application to the Texas Water Development Board for money to finance a water field - whether at Freeport or the South Worsham field.

Freeport McMoRan announced in June of 1998 that it would close the sulphur mine it purchased four years earlier from Pennzoil, which is located 40 miles northwest of Pecos, in Culberson County. Production ceased at the mine on June 30 of this year, and Freeport said they would be willing to sell off the mine itself and other rights on the land now that they were no longer needed.

A study done for the city in 1994 showed the Worsham and Ward County water field currently in use would only be able to provide satisfactory water supplies to Pecos through 2008. A search was begun at that time to secure a new water field for the city.

In other action this morning, the Texas Department of Transportation completed purchase of airport land along Interstate 20 for their new offices, paying the city $127,000.

That money will have to be used on airport improvements, said City Manager Kenneth Neal. With a $1.5 million grant in the works that requires a 10 percent match, Neal said the payment is timely. The new TxDOT office will be on land adjacent to the north end of the airport.

Another real estate matter saw Hector's Tire Service leasing the land where a condemned service station stands on the southeast side of the I-20 overpass. Neal said that Hector will use the land for parking and storage for his tire service, located across the highway.

Salt cedar eradication along the Pecos River in Ward County where the city owns a water field also was approved.

The council employed Raul Garcia as associate municipal judge. He was one of four candidates for the position of municipal judge, which Amonario Ramon now fills.

Closure of streets around Santa Rosa Catholic Church for the Sept. 16th Fiestas was approved, as was the anticipated tax collection rate of 95 percent, as presented by tax assessor-collector Lydia Ramon.

The tax rate will be set in the next council meeting, along with adoption of the 1999-2000 budget. As proposed, the budget calls for the same tax rate as 1998.

Labor force decline cuts jobless rate

PECOS, Aug. 26, 1999 -- Pecos' July unemployment rate remained at a high 13 percent, but the total is down over half a point from June's total, the Texas Workforce Commission said Tuesday.

Unemployment in the Permian Basin remains near or above the 10 percent mark in most cities, with Pecos' rate the third-highest in the region, behind Kermit and Presidio. However, the rate is lower than in June, when the TWC reported a 13.7 percent unemployment locally.

Other cities in the area reporting double-digit unemployment were Odessa (10.2 percent), Andrews (11.1), Monahans (10.7) and Fort Stockton (7.6). Faring better last month were Midland (7.6 percent), Big Spring (6.6) and Crane (8.6).

Reeves County's adjusted unemployment rate for July showed an even bigger drop, falling from 13.8 to 11.4 percent, due mainly to a decline in the county's workforce. TWC reported there were 149 fewer jobs locally than in June, but the labor force went down by nearly 400, accounting for the lower unemployment totals.

Compared to July of 1998, the jobless rate is down slightly, from 11.8 percent, with a loss of 260 jobs offset by a cut of 275 people in the labor force.

Other area counties reported unemployment levels down from June of this year, but up from July of a year ago.

Ector County's 10.4 rate was two percent lower than the previous month, but 3.3 percent above July 1998's total. Midland County had a 7.7 percent rate, down from 8.3 percent in June but up from 4.5 percent 12 months earlier, as the drop in oil prices last year and early this year continues to affect local employment.

Pecos County's unemployment fell from 10.2 to 8.9 percent last month, but is still above the 6.5 percent level last year. Ward County's jobless rate is up two percent from a year ago, but its 10.3 percent rate is down from June's 12.1 level. Unlike Reeves, both Ward and Pecos counties reported increases in their workforces during the past year, and Ward County also reported a rise in the total number of jobs compared with July of 1998.

District jurors acquit in kidnap case

PECOS, Aug. 26, 1999 -- Jurors in 143rd District Court on Tuesday acquitted Juan Daniel Sanchez of aggravated kidnapping charges.

Sanchez, 33, of Balmorhea, was indicted for allegedly kidnapping a woman Sept. 5, 1998 with intent to violate and sexually abuse her, using a handgun to threaten to kill her.

Jury selection was held on Monday and 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks presided for the two-day trial.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds prosecuted for the state, and Jesse Gonzales was defense attorney.

Boosters host dinner to greet teams

PECOS, Aug. 26, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles Athletic Boosters Club will sponsor a fall sports spaghetti dinner and watermelon feed on Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pecos High School cafeteria.

The dinner will be to introduce all coaches and athletes on the 1999 Pecos Eagles fall sports teams, which include football, volleyball, tennis, cross country and swimming. Cost per plate for the event will be $3.50 per person.

The dinner will continue past the conclusion of the first day of the Pecos Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament, which will be held at the Pecos High School new and old gyms Friday until about 6:45 p.m.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 4-10-22-32-33-34. Estimated jackpot: $18 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 102. Prize: $1,685. Matching four of six: 6,165. Prize: $100.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-2-5 (four, two, five)


High Wednesday 92. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Isolated evening showers and thunderstorms, otherwise partly cloudy. Low 65 70. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Friday, mostly sunny. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Extended forecast, Friday night, mostly clear. Low in the mid 60s to near 70. Saturday through Monday, mostly sunny days and fair nights through the period. Lows in the mid 60s to near 70. Highs in the mid 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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