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Thursday, August 22, 1996

City eyes stable tax rate

Thursday August 22, 1996

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Staff Writer

If the Pecos City Council follows through on the current plan to hold
the 1996 tax rate at the present 69.67 cents per $100 valuation, no
extra public hearings will be necessary, said Lydia Prieto this morning.

Prieto, tax assessor-collector for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, also
collects city taxes. She gave the council a tax calender that they must
follow if they choose to increase the tax rate to more than 71.183 cents.

Because city values went up $4.2 million this year, the effective tax
rate is about half a cent less than last year's rate, or 69.11 cents.

Prieto said the council is allowed to raise that by 1.03 without holding
additional public hearings.

The council expects to complete work on the budget proposal in a
workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In that meeting they will also consider a contract with West Texas Waste
for pickup and disposal of solid waste and the second reading of an
ordinance denying Texas-New Mexico Power Company's "Community Choice"

By unanimous vote this morning, the council passed the ordinance on
first reading after learning that attorneys representing several Texas
cities and T-NP officials have reached an impasse in negotiations.

Randy Graham said that T-NP has refused a compromise proposal that would
require their stockholders to bear part of the cost of the TNP-1 power
generating unit.

T-NP's plan calls for freezing current electric power rates for five
years to enable them to recoup the costs of the power plant. At the end
of five years customers could purchase power from a source of their

Graham said it is not fair for customers to bear the entire cost of the
plant, and the council agreed.

Larry Gunderson, speaking for T-NP, said they are still negotiating,
"but I think we have reached an impasse. The city does have to take

Graham said the decision must be made before Sept. 8.

City Attorney Scott Johnson explained major points of a contract
negotiated with West Texas Waste for pick up and disposal of solid
waste, which includes construction of a transfer station in Pecos and
hauling to Charter Waste Management's landfill near Penwell.

During a 90-day trial period, city employees would continue to do the
work, giving WT Waste a chance to get to know them. They would have
first priority for the jobs, said Don Foard, WT Waste manger.

Foard said he believes their proposal is the best for the city, not just
the cheapest as described by Graham.

"I feel this is in the best interest of the community," Graham said. "It
is the cheapest route. We will get more service..."

Should the three-month trial period be satisfactory to both, they would
sign a five-year contract.

Johnson said WT Waste would lease four vehicles and all dumpsters for
$6,500 per month during the trial period. WT Waste would make monthly
reports to the council on complaints from citizens.

Over the term of the five-year contract, the city would pay $46,667 per
month to WT Waste and continue to collect from citizens.

Pickup would be once a week instead of twice, but WT Waste would provide
enough containers so none would overflow, Johnson said.

The reason for a five-year contract is to allow WT Waste to finance the
$300,000 transfer station, Foard said. But the city still could
terminate the contract at any time and purchase the equipment.

"We want a partnership," Foard said. "We know we have the capability of
serving Pecos better than anyone else in the community. We live here. We
service all around you. We have the best fleet in the country.

"The contract is as long as you don't drop the gavel and we don't drop
the ball," he said.

Danny Rodriguez asked how much of the fuel and other expenses would be
purchased from local vendors.

"We are economically distressed," said Ricky Herrera. "What I'm looking
at is $560,000 vs. $168,000 for dumping fees that's going to leave our
economy. Some of those monies are spent with merchants in this

Jackie Reid, manager of the Midland office, said the trucks will be
housed here, and fuel, parts etc. will be purchased here.

"All the employees will be located here. The dollars leaving you will be
landfill dollars, which is the biggest part," he said.

Herrera said he agrees the city has to get out of the landfill business,
but he said the council should look at other options the city has to

"I just feel a lot more comfortable trying to give our people a chance
first; see what they can do," Herrera said.

Graham said he has looked at other options real close and sees the
opportunity to save taxpayers some money.

City vehicles are purchased out-of-town on state contract to save money,
he said.

"This gives us the option to save substantial money over the next five
years. We have been doing this in-house. We are not punishing anyone by
making changes. People are saying we are over-staffed and spending too
much money in this area."

Herrera said the city can address inefficiency without going to an
outside contract. The 30-day trial period when the city staff hauled
waste to Penwell was not enough to prove anything, he said.

Armando Gil, city sanitarian, said he believes the council is rushing to
privatization too quickly.

"If the council will allow these people 12 months to work on it, we can
show you we can do it for less than West Texas Waste," he said.

Gil said his proposed budget for 1996-97 includes $110,000 to purchase a
high-compression unit to transfer waste. His total budget is $6,000 less
than the WT Waste contract, he said.

The next year's budget would be $100,000 less because he would only have
to purchase one truck, Gil said.

And he said that he has learned of another system that would require
neither route trucks nor a transfer station. He suggested the council
view a videotape of the system, which he went to Gallup, N.M. to see.

It is not the city's employees' fault the costs have been so high, Gil

"The location of the landfill has been the reason we can't keep expenses
down," he said. "It is next to the airport, has shallow water and high

He said he has kept the landfill going three years under the Texas
Natural Resources Conservation Commission with no violations.

"I have been in the business 14 years and operated it perfectly without
violations," Gil said.

Johnson said the city cannot continue to put waste in the landfill.

"We had to raise our rates substantially to build it, and people here
just can't stand another raise like that, so we have to look at other
alternatives to disposal," he said. "We either haul it ourselves to get
someone to haul it for us."

"We need to look at how it will affect the citizens, not our employees,"
Rodriguez said.

Graham said that no employees would be laid off with the WT Waste
contract, as Gil has already made plans to move some into the parks

"This has been a learning experience for everyone," said Gerald Tellez
Jr. "We should look at the options Gil suggests."

The council also approved a contract with Frank Spencer & Associates for
a water and wastewater systems project, while Rodriguez said that the
city of Barstow wants to negotiate with the council for services of the
animal control officer, since Ward County's animal control officer has
retired. It will be placed on the next agenda.

Classic's regional manager

defends recent rate increase

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City Council members met this morning with Roddy
Whittington, regional manager for Classic Cable, to discuss the
company's local service and its recent rate increase.

During this morning's City Council meeting, Whittington explained the
recent rate increase, which changes basic service from 12 channels to 37
and raises the rate from $5.95 to $24.95 for all but residents making
$12,000 a year or less.

Only 145 customers were on the basic service, which is 3 percent of the
subscriber base, Whittington said. And 140 were on the Disney channel,
which was added to the basic service earlier this month, as part of a
series of channel changes made by the company.

Classic Cable makes no profit from the present basic rate, Whittington
said, and some subscribers use a satellite to access additional channels.

"Why should I give a subscriber 12 channels at no profit when they give
a profit to the network?" he asked. "They can buy them from me."

The 1996 Communications Act removes regulation from cable companies,
Whittington said. Complaints will be investigated, but there is no set
figure on rates.

He said he will open an office in Pecos by the end of this month, which
will be staffed by one full-time and one part-time employee.

Mark Hamlin will be the new technician for this area. He may live in
Pecos or Monahans, and he will be the one to contact, Whittington said.

And Whittington will be available in his Brady office at any time.

Randy Reynolds said subscribers did not get sufficient notice of the
rate increase. "It caught some people by surprise," he said.

Whittington said some of the increase goes for research and development.
Classic plans to bring Internet services to the city, which "will be a
tremendous asset" to the schools, he said.

Bonilla touts Dole's plans at fundraiser

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Staff Writer

A group of local residents gathered at the Best Western Swiss Clock Inn
banquet room this morning for breakfast with U.S. Representative Henry
Bonilla (R-San Antonio), who dropped in during his 12-community
fundraising tour, as the November elections rapidly approach.

Bonilla is seeking a third two-year term in Congress, and is being
challenged by San Antonio Democrat Charlie Jones.

After a breakfast buffet, that went for $25 a plate, Bonilla began by
thanking Linda Gholson, calling her his, "best friend in the world in
Pecos," for her support throughout his years in office and for her
organizational efforts during his visits here.

Bonilla's morning fund raiser came after stops in Sonora, Concan (near
Uvalde) and Odessa, Wednesday, and continued with trips to Monahans this
afternoon and Alpine tonight.

The San Antonio native, who represents the 23rd Congressional District,
praised Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole's choice of Jack Kemp
for running mate. "He's the best possible choice," Dole could have made,
said Bonilla.

He added that Kemp is a skillful representative for involving all groups
of people. "And we are a party that includes everyone," said Bonilla,
while pointed that out one of the reasons the current Congress has
opted, "record numbers of party switching (instances)."

The congressman cited Dole's opening statement during his keynote
address at the National Republican Convention in San Diego last week
where he said, "for the people that don't understand that we represent
all groups, the exit doors are clearly marked."

Bonilla continued to boast on his party as he stated that Newsweek, ABC
and CNN polls indicate presidential race point spreads of three, four
and nine, respectively. "Two-and-a-half weeks ago they (point spreads)
were between 25 and 30 points," he commented.

He also cited Dole's comments on immigration, in which he said, "dealing
with illegal immigration is one thing, but dealing with legal
immigration is another thing.

"A family from Mexico that is living here legally," has just as many
rights as any other American citizen, Bonilla quoted Dole.

"It was a week I'll never forget," Bonilla said about his convention

He recalled a small gathering during Nancy Reagan's speech last Monday,
during which he was, "taken aback...overwhelmed," when he was asked, "by
the man himself (Dole)," to second his nomination.

Bonilla said he had just recently finished preparing a speech for the
nomination of Kemp and added, "it was back to square one," on the
preparation of a new oration.

Regarding his own campaign, Bonilla outlined that he was born in a San
Antonio housing project, "but I understood the work ethic."

"Coming from a district that is 65 percent Hispanic, I think its an
insult for anyone to view someone with darker skin, like myself, as
being born into a certain way of thinking." Bonilla said, explaining his
views on being a Hispanic Republican in favor of Free Enterprise and

"I have been making tremendous strides with the messages that I have,"
he said.

As he points out in all of his visiting speeches, Bonilla reminded the
group, "I have held on to my word, since the first day that I ran."

"You have my word that when I walk through those doors in Washington,
my actions will reflect what I'm telling you here," he said.

"This country is at a crossroads," Bonilla said, "and we need to go back
to the good solid, American principles that made this country great."

He denounced the Clinton administration by saying that it has projected
too much federal control over taxes, education and has put the U.S. on
course towards, "a European country in a one world order."

Bonilla also said he had heard Clinton might not sign the welfare reform
bill, that he publicly announced he would endorse.

"I don't understand that," said Bonilla, "how he can make a commitment
of this magnitude on public television and not hold true to his word."

Clinton, who has been attacked from the left wing of the Democratic
Party over his plans to sign the bill into law, did put his signature on
the document shortly before noon today in a Washington, D.C. ceremony.

Upon questions raised by Gary Taylor, Bonilla said he agrees that there
are problems with the U.S./Mexico trade agreement, NAFTA, but, "we've
got to remain trading partners with Mexico and Canada."

In lieu of Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo's question regarding rumors
that the country's deficit is rising by $10,000 per minute, Bonilla
outlined the Republican party's efforts to combat the matter.

Those efforts are include cutting taxes, "giving people more money to
spend,"; proposing a capital gains tax, "that cuts investment rates,"
and hopefully attract company investing.

The GOP plan offered two weeks ago by dole also calls for eliminating
three cabinet agencies, Education, Energy and Commerce, which Bonilla
said, "do nothing to better your life.

"The Energy Department has done nothing to better the energy in Texas,"
he said, while the Davis-Bacon Act, that, "forces the federal government
to pay an exorbitant rate for construction projects," would also be
targeted for repeal.

Pair nabbed in late night burglary try

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Staff Writer

Two Pecos men remain in the Reeves County Jail, each on a $20,000 bond
for burglary of a building, after a botched break-in of the Gibson's
True Value Store early Wednesday morning.

Robert Lujan, 19, 812 E. Fifth St., and Sergio Quezada Saenz, 20, 911 E.
Fourth St., were each discovered and apprehended inside the hardware
store, located at 810 W. Walthall St., after police responded to an
alarm activation about 2:34 a.m., reported Police Captain David

Responding to the call were Police Sergeant Paul Videtto, and officers
Olga Lopez and Michael Dominguez, said the captain. An assistance call
brought in Police Sergeant Tony Dawdy, Criminal Investigator Kelly Davis
and Reeves County Deputy Armando Granado.

Montgomery said that upon checking the building, it was discovered that
entry was gained through a southeast corner wall. Davis explained that
the two suspects apparently used a cordless drill to unscrew the outside
aluminum wall, bent it back and then broke through the inside wall.

The drill was found to be stolen from a previous, unrelated car
burglary, the investigator added. No charges have been filed on that

Before backup arrived, Montgomery said, "the building's outer perimeter
was secured by officers." Others officers observed the two men crawling
inside towards the west portion of the building, away from their port of

Once all officers were in place, a team entered the store to search the
facility and apprehend the two men.

Saenz and Lujan were located in the west end of the store and, "taken
into custody without incident," said Montgomery.

Davis said that two plastic trash bags filled with clothing items were
discovered at different locations in the store.

Along with his bond on the burglary charge, Saenz also had an additional
bond set at $5,000 for evading detention and a $90 fine for an
outstanding fine warrant.

Eden detention center riot put down after 16 injured

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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From Staff and Wire Reports

Calm was restored early today at a private prison where a daylong
disturbance left at least 13 inmates and three guards injured.

Four inmates were hospitalized with injuries from shotgun pellets fired
by guards who were attempting to keep inmates that appeared to be
storming a fence from escaping. Acting prison spokesman Jim Schumann
said they were not shot directly, but were hit by ricocheting pellets.

Prisoners never got past an interior fence and residents were not in
danger during the episode, Schumann said.

Rioting prisoners began surrendering late Wednesday and continued into
the early morning hours of today.

``A lot of them are going to be in a lot of trouble,'' Schumann said,
adding that Concho County authorities would be handling the

Prisoners are designated to the Eden federal jail from other U.S. Bureau
of Prisons facilities, including the Reeves County Detention Center,
said RCDC Warden Joe Trujillo. However, he was not able to comment on
whether or not any of the prisoners involved in his facility's Feb. 28
riot were being housed at or participated in the Eden prison uprising.

Trujillo said that prisoners involved in February's 18-hour riot were
taken to federal prisons in Belton and Lafayette. Trujillo added that no
Eden prisoners have been brought to the Pecos facility since Wednesday's
uprising began.

Both the Eden and Pecos facilities contract to house U.S. Bureau of
Prison inmates, with the majority serving time on illegal entry charges.
The Eden facility opened in 1985 and the RCDC began operations the
following year.

Wednesday's disturbance began as a sit-in about 11 a.m. when prisoners
didn't report to dormitories for roll call in an apparent protest over
prison conditions such as food, dental care and crafts, such as
leatherworking and painting, authorities said.

Officials estimated that about 400 prisoners participated in the
disturbance at the detention center, operated by Nashville, Tenn.-based
Corrections Corp. of America under contract with the Justice Department.

The same company operates a Houston facility from which two Oregon sex
offenders escaped two weeks ago. The men were last seen in the prison
recreation yard Aug. 7 before apparently scaling a razor-wire fence to
freedom. They have not been caught.

A Corrections Corp. of America spokeswoman did not immediately return a
telephone call this morning.

The Eden facility houses 927 prisoners, most of whom are in federal
custody while awaiting deportation proceedings.

One guard suffered a fractured jaw when he was struck by a rock hurled
by an inmate and two guards were treated for heat exhaustion, according
to DPS spokeswoman Laureen Chernow. A high of 93 degrees was recorded in
San Angelo, about 40 miles northwest of Eden.

One of the unidentified inmates was transferred to Concho County
Hospital in Eden, while the others were sent to Shannon Medical Center
in San Angelo, authorities said.

Shannon nursing supervisor Bill Richardson declined comment on the
injuries of those who were admitted to the hospital.

Ms. Chernow said at 2 a.m. CDT today that the uprising was ``essentially
over.'' Most of the prisoners who participated in the disturbance will
be moved to other prisons, she said.

The inmates began surrendering late Wednesday by walking into a prison
yard in groups of three or four. Their hands were bound with strong
plastic ties and they were seated beneath a tree in the prison yard as
they surrendered.

A DPS trooper on the scene said that about 100 prisoners continued to
mill about the yard during the first few minutes of the surrender,
shouting at those who had given themselves up.

Schumann, who serves as a liaison for the city of Eden, the Federal
Bureau of Prisons and the CCA, said it appeared only a small group of
inmates were involved in starting the disturbance.

``We've had a recent influx of new inmates. The count here has been
steadily climbing. There is the possibility of gang-type inmates causing
problems,'' he said.

When authorities began firing pepper spray canisters into the prison,
some inmates scooped them up and threw them back.

Inmates began to tire by 11:30 p.m. Some, parched by the long standoff
and dry heat, yelled ``Agua!'' (water) as officials began negotiations.

The inmates continued to attack the fence and destroy property,
prompting prison officials to call the DPS. Cox said 20 troopers, two
Texas Rangers, an intelligence agent and a helicopter responded.

Cox said the DPS sent in two riot squads. The corrections company also
brought in about two dozen special response officers.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Jobless rates for city, county

down from June, up from `95

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Reeves County's unemployment dropped 2.3 percent from June to July, but
still remained higher than last year's rate.

With a work force of 6,142, 696 were looking for work, for a percentage
of 11.3 percent unemployed.

Last year, the rate was 10.8 percent, with 674 unemployed. The number
holding jobs jumped from 5,244 in June to 5,446 in July.

Town of Pecos City saw a 2.3 percent drop in its jobless rate since last
month, to 11.3 percent. But that's still ½-percent above the rate of a
year ago.

Pecos' workforce of 6,142 was up by about 90 over June's number, but
down by about 95 from the same time last year. There were 5,446 people
employed in the city, 200 more than were working last month and 115 less
than had jobs last year.

Other area counties showed a similar decrease in unemployment, as did
Texas as a whole, the Texas Workforce Commission reported.

The estimated unemployment rate for the Odessa-Midland MSA fell 0.8
percent, from 7.1 percent in June to 6.3 percent in July, while the rate
for the state fell 0.6 percent.

Overall, the total civilian labor force fell by 800 in July, while total
employment rose.

The decrease in the unemployment rate from June to July is due mainly to
the fact that those who entered the labor market in June to look for
work either found employment or left the labor market after not having
found the work they were looking for, the TWC reported.


(Source: Texas Employment Commission)


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Andrews 10,861 4,108 3,886 222 5.4%

Spring 23,258 9,900 9,383 517 5.2%

Stockton 8,712 4,259 3,940 318 7.5%

Kermit 6,925 2,258 2,079 179 7.9%

Lamesa 11,051 5,150 4,692 458 8.9%

Midland 92,005 51,147 48,473 2,574 5.2%

Monahans 8,245 2,924 2,723 201 6.9%

Odessa 91,004 47,165 43,791 3,377 7.2%

>PECOS 12,023 5,142 5,446 696 11.3%


Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Police reports incorrectly listed William "Willie" Gochicoa as having
been arrested by city officers for possession of a controlled substance,
cocaine, on August 1 in the Holiday Inn parking lot. The incorrect
information was published as part of Wednesday's police report of the

The true charge was DWI and it was filed by a Department of Public
Safety officer.

We apologize for the error.

Presidio lawmen hunt two in Wednesday jail escape

Thursday, August 22, 1996

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Staff Writer

Presidio County officials this morning were still looking for two
Mexican citizens who escaped from the Presidio County Jail in Marfa
early Wednesday.

Juan Manuel Zuniga, 28, of Ojinaga, Mex., and Gerardo Jacquez Cabello,
33, used a hacksaw blade to cut through steel bars in the ceiling of
their cell, made a rope of bed sheets and descended from the roof.

They were believed to be headed south on foot toward the Mexican
border, 60 miles away, Chief Deputy Arvin West told The Big Bend

Jailers discovered the two men missing during the 2 a.m. jail
population check, West said. Five other prisoners in the cell stayed put.

Zuniga apparently was the mastermind of the breakout. Having been in
the jail since March 18, it would have given him time to cut through the
bar over a period of time, West said.

Cabello had just arrived on Tuesday from Del Rio where he was arrested
on an immigration violation charge.

Zuniga is charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with an
alleged attack on a family member in Presidio. Those charges recently
had been dropped when the victim declined to press charges. However,
Zuniga had state and federal detention holds on him.

After cutting through the bar, the escapees broke through a skylight to
the roof of the jail, draped a bed sheet braided into a rope over the
side of the one-story building and fled.

West said it appeared that Zuniga had scaled the narrow walls of the
cell's shower stall to gain access to the steel bar to cut it.

How Zuniga came into possession of a saw is a major thrust of the
investigation, West said. Zuniga was a trusty and may have stolen the
saw from the jail maintenance area.

"There is an apparent basic design flaw in the jail," Presidio County
Judge Jake Brisbin said after inspecting the cell.

West said he already has a re-design plan to reinforce the bars and
skylight structures, which are located in most of the cell ceilings.

Roadblocks were set up on all roads leading from Marfa, and law
enforcement aircraft were sent aloft to help in the search.

Scent-sensing canines and their handlers were brought in from the
correctional facility in Fort Stockton. Area law enforcement agencies
are assisting the Presidio County Sheriff's Office.


Thursday, August 22, 1996

Leonard Worsham

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Services are incomplete for Leonard "Bo" Worsham, 82, who died
Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Midland Memorial Hospital.


Thursday, August 22, 1996

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High Wednesday 97, low last night 68. Tonight, partly cloudy with a less
than 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 65-70. East to
southeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of showers or thunderstorms. High in the upper 80s. East to southeast
wind 10-20 mph.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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