Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, July 15, 2005
Commissioners approve DeLay lobbyist contract
Reeves County Commissioners opted to renew a contract with a Washington, D.C. lobbyist they first contracted with two years ago, and dealt with several other issues during their regular meeting held Monday morning.
Commissioners agreed to a new contract with Randy DeLay and Public Private Strategies, Consult, Inc. DeLay is a Washington lobbyist who the county contracted with in 2003 to help with negotiations pertaining to the Reeves County Detention Center.v
“As you know the term of the last contract ended June 30 and in order for Mr. (county auditor Lynn) Owens to pay DeLay or keep him is to renew the contract,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Galindo said that this time however, the group will be retaining Mr. DeLay on a month-to-month basis instead of entering into a contract for a long period of time.
“My recommendation would be that we move forward on a month-to-month basis at the current rate,” said Galindo.
The group had hired DeLay of Public-Private Strategies, Inc., on a 12-month contract at a total annual cost of $120,000 when they were unable to secure a contract to house federal prisoners at the new $40 million Reeves County Detention Center III unit. That agreement was renewed by the county last year, although commissioners had by then reached agreement to house State of Arizona inmates for RCDC III.
At that time, Galindo said, “I understand we were not able to negotiate a contract with him on a two or three month basis. We could only negotiate for a full year to get his services,” Galindo said. “DeLay can represent our political interests better than anybody else up there.”
DeLay is the brother of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Galindo said the county needs political influence in Washington to help get funds appropriated for the RCDC, which continues to house over 2,000 U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates at RCDC I and II.
“There will be a number of things we will need help with in the coming months,” said Galindo. “At this time we can hire him on a month-to-month basis.”
Reeves County Commissioners Precinct 1 Roy Alvarado, Precinct 2 Norman Hill and Precinct 4 Hivi Rayos voted for retaining DeLay on a month-to month basis.
Commissioner Precinct 3 Saul Herrera voted against the motion.
“This is an extension of the existing contract,” said Galindo.
In other action, commissioners approved a grant award from the Office of Rural Community Affairs for $350,000.
“This is for improvements to the Madera Valley Water Supply and will start June 22,” said Galindo. “However, it will take awhile to get contractors, but we need to accept the grant and give Madera Valley the go ahead with these funds,” he said.
Colonia designation for Toyah gets county’s OK
Reeves County Commissioners approved a resolution designating Toyah as a Colonia and set Road and Bridges Fees for FY 2006, during their regular meeting on Monday at the Reeves County Courthouse.
Commissioners approved the designation for Toyah, which will allow the city to qualify for special grants for water and sewer construction.
Toyah residents are still recovering from the April 4, 2004 flood that damaged or destroyed two dozen homes on the north side of the city. The flooding also was blamed for causing a break later in the year in the city’s main water line under the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
Commissioners also approved the Road and Bridge surcharge to Reeves County vehicle registration fees.
“This is something we do every year,” said county Auditor Lynn Owens. “We charge $5 on vehicle registration and it has been working out well,” he said.
In other action, lease options for patrol cars for the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department were approved.
“Our vehicle mileage expenses are going up and we’ve decided to try to go with leasing instead of buying,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.
Gomez said that the department's fleet needed to be replaced, along with vehicles for the Trans Pecos Task Force, which comes under the sheriff’s department.
The fleet, which will be leased, includes four pickups and two cars, according to Trans Pecos Task Force Commander Gary Richards.
“We’re worried about the reliability of these vehicles,” said Richards. “The pickups we’re looking at are extended cabs.”
“What about the risks of a prisoner riding in the front seat?” asked Galindo.
“With the extended cab we can put them in the back seat,” said Richards.
Sheriff’s Deputy Reno Lewis said that there was a way to restrain a detainee with the seatbelts. “We also carry belly-chains and restraints for those that are more uncooperative,” said Lewis.
Lewis said that it is also a custom to have another deputy along to help with the transfer of inmates.
Lewis said that the cars are used to transfer more than one inmate.
“Most are usually very cooperative,” said Richards.
Red Bluff won’t appeal ruling to seat Ward district members
Red Bluff Water Power Control Board will seat representatives from Ward County Water Irrigation Districts 1 and 3 on the district’s board sometime within the next two months, ending a dispute over the status of those positions that began last year.
Board members took no action following an executive session on the matter during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pecos. But district secretary Robin Prewit said on Wednesday the board decided not to appeal a ruling late last month by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that found in favor of the two Ward County districts in their effort to be given full voting rights on the Red Bluff board.
Writing for the 8th Circuit, Judge Ann Crawford McClure ruled that representation on the Red Bluff Board does not conflict with Chapter 55 of the Texas Water Code, because that position is subject to the state’s general election code. The decision overturned a ruling made last year by 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks in favor of the board.
Red Bluff had refused to seat Tom Nance and Ava Gerke as new members of the board in May of 2004, arguing that by changing from a Water Improvement District to a Water Irrigation District, both Ward County WID 1 and 3 had violated the rules for placing members on the board, due to changes in voting rights.
Parks agreed that by changing from a Chapter 55 to a Chapter 58 Water District, Ward County WID 1 and Ward County WID 3 no longer conformed to the Red Bluff Water Power Control District’s organizational rules. Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman said in a letter last fall that the change in status of the two Ward County districts resulted in a change in voting rules within those districts.
Chapter 55 water improvement districts only allow residents within the district to cast ballots in elections, while landowners are allowed to vote in Chapter 58 elections, whether or not they reside within the district. However, the 8th Circuit agreed with the argument made by Ward County WID 1 and 3 attorneys that the ruling only applied to elections involving the boards of those districts, and not the board of the Red Bluff Water Power Control District.
The case is currently in the 45-day period during which Red Bluff can appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. But Prewit said the board has decided not to seek a hearing before the state’s highest court.
She said the 8th Circuit will sign the final ruling after the 45-day period ends. “After the 45 days, we’ll seat Tom and Eva,” Prewit said, though she didn’t know if that would occur before the next meeting.
Board members did discuss taking legal action to void a contract between Red Bluff and Brown Partners of Chicago, the parent company of Sun West Salt Co. of Loving, N.M. Sun West has been involved with the district for the past decade in restarting the Malaga Bend Salt Alleviation Project.
Sun West drilled a well and built containment ponds at Malaga Bend to pump water from an underground salt spring away from the Pecos River. The water was then to be evaporated in the ponds and the salt mined, while the project was expected to cut the salt concentration of the river as it entered Red Bluff Lake.
However, Prewit said the company has not been pumping water at the rate agreed to in the original contract, and as a result, the district is seeking to void the agreement and possibly take over operations. Red Bluff received no money from Loving Salt as its royalty for salt sales last month, according to receipts presented to the board at Tuesday’s meeting.
Prewit said Red Bluff members voted to send a copy of the contract to the district’s attorney, Robert Scoggins of Kermit. “He’s going to read the agreement and see what we can do and whether we can cancel the contract,” she said.
Red Bluff did received just under $44,000 in oil and gas royalties last month from three companies, with $42,398 from Shenandoah Petroleum. Board members also approved cash disbursements, accounts payable and the financial report, which showed the district had $365,839 in its account.
The board also approved the June water report, which showed the lake level declined from 125,360 acre/feet to 113,840 acre/feet. Of the 11,520 acre/feet of water released 9,430 went for irrigation to the sub-districts and the upper division of the Red Bluff District.
City extends landfill hours, OKs new alley trash rules
Landfill hours will be extended on Saturdays for a two month trial period this summer, Town of Pecos City Council members decided on Thursday, as the council approved changes to both landfill and alley clean-up rules, during their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall.
The landfill hours on Saturdays will be extended from the current 8 a.m. until 12 noon to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the next two months, after which the council will review the number of people using the landfill during those extra five hours.
City public works director Edgardo Madrid told the council that late arrivals at the landfill on Saturdays cause problems for city workers, since the computers used to keep track of items dumped shuts down at 12 noon.
“I understand Saturday is when people usually do their yards, and they’re ready to go to the landfill around 11,” said Madrid, who initially proposed to extend the hours on a over a six month period from mid-spring until mid-fall, with an estimated price tag of $6,000 for the extra hours employees would have to work.
Madrid said the landfill attracts on average three loads each Saturday of residential garbage, and councilman Michael Benavides said, “Just based on these figures you’re going to have a lot of down time for these guys. I think they won’t be that much to do after 1.”
“Let’s go from now until September,” Benavides added. Mayor Dot Stafford suggested the hours be extended only until 2 p.m., but in the end the council approved the Saturday extension until 5 p.m. for the two month test period.
The council also approved enforcing rules on covering items destined for the landfill with a tarp, though they did agree t accept refuse from first-time offenders without making them pay extra for not following the city ordinance.
“Some come in a second and third time and don’t follow the rules,” he said. “We have some disputes that come between our employees and the customers.
Customers who fail to cover their debris or who fail to cut up tree limbs to their required length face charges of up to $35 a ton for disposal. People who don’t have the money with them will see the fee added onto their water bills.
Madrid also said he would look into a request by local resident Randy Blount for the landfill to provide some sort of written print out of the weight of trash taken to the landfill, for loads over the 2,000 pound limit for which no fee is assessed.
“You need to put a printer out there to show whatever legally comes across the scale,” said Blount, who told the council he was told by landfill workers that his last two loads weighed in at exactly 10,000 pounds.
“They wouldn’t let me inside to see the numbers, but they let me inside to collect their money,” he said.
Under the alley clean-up plan first outlined by Madrid during the council’s June 23 meeting, the city will clean up alleys and then will put fliers on the doors of homes in the area, as well as advertising on KIUN and in the Enterprise that once the initial clean-up effort is done, crews will only come out to pick up large items from homes of the elderly or disabled.
Others will have to bring their items either directly to the landfill or to one on 13 designated sites within the city, where a roll-off dumpster would be set up to collect large trash items from neighborhood residents during a one-week period. Each site would host the dumpster for one week, and all sites would be the location for large-item trash pick-ups four times a year.
The collection sites would accept refrigerators and other white goods, air conditioners, mattresses, sofas, tree limbs, cut -up trees and wood. Madrid said a technician would be at the collection site to drain Freon from the refrigerators and air conditioners.
“The reason we did this is because some residents have been taking advantage of what we’ve been doing,” Madrid said. “We’d clean the alley and find two weeks later that people would be calling us because they have more trash in the alley.”
He said the new trash in alleys that already have been cleaned of debris and weeds is keeping city crews from working to clean alleys in other parts of town. The changes will free up workers to continue the program, which began earlier this year, Madrid said.
“We feel this is going to work,” he said. “It will allow us to keep up with the clean-up of the alleys.”
Construction demolition, roofing materials, concrete and hazardous materials would not be allowed to be dumped into the roll-off at the collection sites. Those items will still have to be taken directly to the landfill.
Madrid told the council the program could take effect as soon as the council approved it, though the exact location of the 13 collection sites on city-owned hasn’t been determined yet. He said when all 13 sites are picked, their locations will be included on the fliers sent out to residents.
Madrid said the program is similar to one instituted by the city of Midland, though he added they have had some problems with disposal of the largest items.
“People are having trouble putting things into the dumpsters,” he said, adding that building a ramp to the dumpster was suggested during a discussion of the proposal on Wednesday at the Pecos Lions’ Club meeting.
Enstor changes lets city support $65m Waha site
Town of Pecos City officials have given their tentative support to plans by a Houston area energy company to build a $65 million natural gas storage facility in eastern Reeves County, after the company took steps toward finding an alternative source of water for the construction segment of the project.
Enstor Corp. and its Waha Storage and Transportation, L.P. subsidiary are seeking to build a 7.2 billion cubic foot high-deliverability salt cavern gas storage site on two sections of land in far eastern Reeves County. The plan was announced last year, and is expected to create about 125 construction jobs, according to the company.
But the plan met with resistance from city officials, over concerns that the 200 million gallons of water Enstor plans to use to carve out the salt cavern will affect the city’s Worsham and South Worsham water fields.
City public works director Edgardo Madrid said in April that while Enstor was seeking to use the Pecos Alluvium Aquifer for its water and the city’s water field was on the Santa Rosa Aquifer, the proposed salt dome site was between 6-7 miles east of the city’s water field, and the two could interact, leaving the Santa Rosa with brine water contamination.
In its initial proposal Enstor said water could be pumped in from an alternative underground aquifer, the Capitan Reef, but that would require a longer pipeline along with a permit from the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, which controls water usage at the Capitan Reef Aquifer site, located east of Coyanosa.
City Attorney Scott Johnson told council members that while Enstor attorneys had been arguing against the need to use the Capitan Reef Aquifer during a public hearing before the Texas Railroad Commission in April, since then they have reached an agreement to drill wells into the deeper Capitan Reef formation.
“Waha got a drilling permit from the Middle Pecos Water Conservation District on the Capitan Reef,” Johnson said. He added that Waha crews had drilled only one well on the actual salt dome site, and that was for drinking water.
“We’ve got some assurance from them, so we can let the permit proceed,” Johnson said. “There are some good economic benefits as long as the water is not impacted.”
“They didn’t say that it Austin,” said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford.
“They said down there it’s our water and we can do what we want with (water) capture, but they’ve really changed their story,” Johnson said.
However, he added that while he supports the project based on the use of the Capitan Reef water, “I don’t feel comfortable withdrawing (the city’s objection) fully yet,” due to the problems encountered during the Austin hearing.
Council members the agreed to support the plan, but to have Johnson and City Manager Joseph Torres continue to oversee the work to make sure the city’s water fields are not threatened.
The Waha gas hub in Coyanosa is one of the major gas hubs in the country, where prices are determined. Enstor plans to store natural gas in the salt dome and release it to the hub at selected times. They chose to locate the dome site in Reeves County instead of Pecos County due to the lack of an underground water district, which allows landowners free use of the water beneath their land.
However, Pecos officials argued that fouling of the Worsham and South Worsham fields would not only threaten the city’s water supply, but also the $9 million loan the city received from the Texas Water Development Board for construction of the new South Worsham field.
Coyonosa area farmers also opposed the use of the Pecos Alluvium Aquifer, which they use for irrigation of fields in eastern Reeves and northern Pecos counties. Johnson said Zan Matthies with the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District would also continue to oversee the Waha project; to make sure the Capitan reef water is used for hollowing out the salt dome.
Harrison receives Sam Walton scholarship
Jeremy Harrison, of Wink, has been selected to receive the Sam Walton Community Scholarship.
Harrison was a member of the National Honor Society, student council, received the Greatest Wildcat Award, was on the football team, basketball, track, VICA, was named Salutatorian of his graduating class, a member of 4-H, livestock judging, junior leadership and academic all-state.
He received the National Scholar/Athlete Award from the United States Army Reserve, Gold Star Award from 4-H and Outstanding Senior 4-H’er.
Harrison plans to attend Texas Tech University to major in sports medicine or range and wildlife management.
He is the son of Jerry and Grace Harrison of Wink and the grandson of Helen Harrison of Pecos.
Enmon, Salcido exchange Wedding vows
Bobbi Jo Enmon and Gary Salcido exchanged wedding vows on at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 18, at the Barstow Community Center with Justice of the Peace Jim Riley officiating.
The bride is the daughter of Jodi and Ruben Hernandez and Bobby and Martha Enmon of Phoenix, Ariz. She is currently attending Odessa College and is employed at the college.
The groom is the son of Manuel and Frances Salcido, of Pecos, and is currently employed at Trans Pecos Foods as an operator.
The couple has been dating for the past 10 years, beginning on June 18, 1995.
Maid of Honor for the special event was Mallory Enmon, of Phoenix, the bride’s sister; bridesmaids were Pamela Avila, bride’s best friend; Tiffany Orona and Amy Rodriguez, friends, of Pecos.
Flowergirl was the couple’s daughter, Jazlynn Salcido, of Pecos.
Joe Manuel Barrera, of Pecos, a nephew, served as Best Man and ushers were Colton and Josh Enmon, the bride’s brothers, of Phoenix and Tanner Petrilla, of Odessa, the bride’s cousin. Gary Salcido, son of the couple, was ringbearer.
The bride wore a long ivory dress and carried a bouquet of red roses.
Other attendants included: Lally and Bernie Martinez and family; Clariss and Erick Salcido, Jayla Petrilla, Vido Matta, Kiko Gonzales and family and LeeAnne Saenz.
Decorations for the special event were in black, white and red and white roses.
The bride was given in marriage by her mother, Jodi Hernandez and Bobby and Martha Enmon.
Cates celebrate 60th Wedding Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. M.A. (Al) Cate celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary over the 4th of July weekend with a gathering of their family at their home in Verhalen.
Milton Alfred Cate and Nan Carpenter were married July 14, 1945 at the Methodist Student Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Tenn.
Cate was stationed at Oceana, Virginia. He was a F4U Corsair Fighter pilot in the Naval Air corp. Mrs. Cate was doing graduate work in Nutrition Research at the University of Tennessee.
They have three children, Michael Cate of Granbury; Bruce Cate of Austin and Pahoa, Hawaii and Molly Cate Peterson of Crowell. They have five grandchildren and one-step great grandchild.
Mr. and Mrs. Cate have resided in Verhalen for 50 years. They owned and operated Verhalen Mercantile for many years. Mr. Cate was instrumental in establishing Madera Valley Water Supply Corp and managed it for over 20 years. Mrs. Cate assisted him in these endeavors and was Reeves-Loving County Extension Agent in the early eighties.
They are members of the First United Methodist Church of Pecos and for 20 years were members of the Balmorhea Methodist Church. They have both been president of the Administrative Board.
Mr. Cate is Church historian and Mrs. Cate is president of the United Methodist Women. She is also a member of The Modern Study Club of Pecos. They both play bridge.
Valenzuela earns degree in San Marcos
Crystal Yvonne Valenzuela graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos recently.
Valenzuela graduated from Texas State University-San
Marcos with a double major in Mass Communications and
Spanish in May 2005.
While at Texas State Crystal has excelled in many areas. Her internship with Univision-Austin, along with her high academic
achievements through the† prestigious Dean's List, have
made Valenzuela a true leader.
While attending Texas State,she was a Co-coordinator for the Latino Leadership Conference and attended The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institutional Conference in Washington D.C.
She is the daughter of Rosa M. Valenzuela and the granddaughter of Bertha Valenzuela.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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