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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 22, 2005

City seeks limit on storage site’s water use plans

Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City officials will be in Austin on Friday to testify to the Texas Railroad Commission about their concerns over construction of a underground natural gas storage area near Coyanosa, and how it might affect the city’s Worsham and South Worsham water fields.

Waha Storage and Transportation, LP, a subsidiary of Enstor Corp. out of Houston, is seeking permission to create a 7.2 billion cubic foot high deliverability salt cavern gas storage site on two sections of land in far eastern Reeves County. The two sections of land are along FM 1450, just to the west of the Pecos County line and the Coyanosa area. Mayor Dot Stafford and Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres will make the trip to Austin, along with city utilities director Edgardo Madrid and city attorney Scott Johnson for the 9 a.m. hearing. Stafford said the city plans to voice its concerns over the use of underground aquifer water by Enstor, to hollow out the salt dome beneath the land in the eastern part of the county.

“In order to create the cavern they’re going to have to inject water and then get the brine water out of their,” Madrid said back in October, when the city first started looking at the proposal.

Madrid said Enstor is planning to use 200 million barrels of water over a five-year period to create the cavern in the project. Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens said in October the project had an estimated price tag of $90 million.

Mark Henthaws with the Texas Railroad Commission visited with local officials back in October to support of Enstor’s plans. Madrid said Henthaws told city officials that using water to carve out salt caverns was a common practice in the area, and that a similar facility is located near Kermit in Winkler County, operated by Unocal.

Enstor wants to take natural gas heading for the nearby Waha hub and store it in the underground facility until it decides to sell the gas and send it to the hub from the salt dome The concern the city officials have is what aquifer Enstor plans to get its water from to build the site, and Torres said they would make those concerns known on Friday. “We will voice concern about the amount of water and concerns about the contamination of the water field,” Torres said, though that didn’t mean the city planned to opposed the project outright on Friday.

“We will oppose the application to the extent the municipal water supplies are impacted,” he said.

Torres said he has been in contact with both Reeves County officials, and with officials for the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, based in Fort Stockton. District official Zan Matthies talked with Torres on Tuesday and asked him to check and see what aquifer Enstor is seeking to use.

“On the permit, they’re supposed to say which particular aquifer they would be drawing water from,” Torres said. “We’re concerned if we don’t go to be heard about the aquifer, they will draw water from the Cenozoic Pecos Alluvium Aquifer, which is closer to one of our water fields.”

The Cenozoic Pecos Alluvium Aquifer is a shallow level water source that farmers use for irrigating fields to grow onions, Pecos cantaloupes, cotton and other crops in the Coyanosa area. Most of those fields are in Pecos County, which is part of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District. Matthies said the amount of water Enstor wants to pump could cover 25,000 acres of land in one foot of water.

The Waha gas hub is also located in Pecos County, but Enstor opted to build its storage site in Reeves County because landowners and other local residents were unable to get together on formation of an underground water district several years ago. That left the county under the state’s right of capture law, which allows landowners far greater rights to pump water.

Back in October, Matthies said in an e-mail that Coyanosa, Pyote and Odessa get drinking water off the Pecos Alluvium Aquifer. He also said the Town of Pecos City gets water from their, but Madrid said that based on a study by Arcadia, the city’s engineering consultants, the water supply for the Town of Pecos City comes from the Santa Rosa Aquifer.

The Santa Rosa Aquifer is a deeper aquifer than the Pecos Alluvium, but the two are located in the same area of eastern Reeves County, and the salt dome site is about 10 miles east of the city’s existing Worsham and newly-opened South Worsham water fields.

“We spent all that money on the South Worsham Water Field, and we just spent more money on two new wells. “That field is going to be our lifeblood for water for the foreseeable future. If they pump (the Pecos Alluvium), it’s possible that under the formation could be contaminated, or cause us to lose water in the formation. That’s why we’re concerned.”

Madrid said in October that Reeves and Pecos County planned to have new hydrology studies done by Arcadia and another engineering firm out of San Antonio on the project. However, Torres said on Tuesday the city had not received the results of that report, but that the city officials would ask the Railroad Commission to have Enstor use a different aquifer than the Pecos Alluvium for the project.

“We recommended they utilize the Capitan Reef Aquifer. It is specific to that area,” Torres said.

In its original filing, Enstor identified the Capitan Reef formation as an alternative source of water. Madrid said back in October the Capitan Reef Aquifer rests to the north of the Coyanosa area and stretches into Ward and Winkler counties. It’s also the aquifer Unocal used to carve out its salt dome near Kermit, but it would add to the cost of the Reeves County project.

Enstor would have to dig deeper wells to get to the Capitan Reef formation, and construct a longer pipeline, about 13 miles, to get the water to the salt dome site.

The company is seeking an Enterprise Zone designation for their project if it is approved by the Railroad Commission. The request was made in October and Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo said at the time while they hoped to get the $90 million project, “The first concern would be our water fields.”

Deputies make arrests in battles by Balmorhea families

Staff Writer

An ongoing dispute in Balmorhea that led to two incidents five months apart is being investigated by the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department.

The dispute began back in November, with the most recent case reported to the sheriff’s department two weeks ago.

“In the first case, we turned in everything to the county attorney,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez about the November 18, 2003, incident. In that one, Sandra Navarrete reported that she had been assaulted by a man at her home in Balmorhea. Reeves County Sheriff Deputy Lionel Garza investigated the incident and Tommy Dominguez was arrested for assault. Dominguez turned himself in on Nov. 20, and on the same date went before Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco, where his bond was set at $5,000.

Dominguez was booked in and released on a personal recognizance bond. The second dispute was reported on April 10, to the sheriff’s department and involved one of the same individuals.

Complainant Tobi Gomez wanted to file charges against Sally Ann Dominguez, for the offense of assault causing bodily injury.

In his report, Garza said that he met with complainant Gomez and her mother Carmela Gomez. Carmela Gomez had two black eyes, according to the sheriff’s report.

Both complainants stated that Dominguez started arguing with them and when Sally Ann Dominguez showed up they started fighting with the Gomezes.

Both committed the offense of assault (bodily injury) a class A-misdemeanor, by assaulting Carmela and Tobi Gomez, Garza said.

The deputy took pictures at that time and turned them in as evidence to the county attorneys office, along with a bloody white shirt.

In his report, Garza, said that he met with both Tommy and Sally Ann Dominguez later that evening.

Both alleged that Tobi Gomez started fighting with Sally Ann Dominguez.

Deputy Garza said that he observed that Tommy Dominguez had some injuries, a scratch between his nose and left eye, scratches on his left and right neck, a scratch on the inside of his forearm, and a scratch on his left bicep.

Sally Ann Dominguez had scratches on her face, on both hands, right ankle, from the left ankle to her left knee.

Deputy Garza confiscated a red shirt and blue shorts, from Sally Ann Dominguez, who said that the blood belonged to Carmela Gomez.

Statements from both were given to Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco of Balmorhea, who issued a change of venue, on both complainants (Tobi and Carmela Gomez) to Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley of Pecos.

On April 12, Judge Riley issued three arrest warrants, for Tommy Dominguez Sr. and Sally Ann Dominguez. Both were released from the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office on PR bonds.

On Wednesday, Judge Riley issued arrest warrants for Tobi Gomez and Carmela Gomez, after the Dominguezes filed charges on them.

“All this is being turned over to the county attorney’s office,” said Sheriff Gomez. “Yesterday, Judge Riley went ahead and issued warrants for the other two involved in the fight,” he said.

Sheriff Gomez said that he had referred the first victim, Sandra Navarrette to Crime Victims Services who helps individuals who have been a victim of a crime.

Bonilla plans trip to Pecos, tour of RCDC

Staff Writer

U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla will be visiting Pecos next week and the community is invited to come out and welcome him.

A community reception will be held from 11:15 a.m. until noon, at the West of the Pecos Museum on Monday for Bonilla, a seven-term Republican who has represented Reeves County in Congress since 1993.

Guests are asked to come through the east gate located on U.S. 285. The museum is closed on Monday, so visitors are asked to come through the east gate of the museum, which leads to the courtyard of the museum.

The Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the reception.

“We want to welcome him and let him know we appreciate his representation in Washington,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Galindo said that they had invited Bonilla long time ago to come to Pecos.

“We will have a briefing at the prison in regards to operations at the Reeves County Detention Center,” said Galindo.

The congressman will also receive a tour of the facilities before going to the reception to be held in his honor.

Bond changes expected to cuts costs for county

Staff Writer

Reeves County Commissioners will take another step in restructuring the financial situation at the Reeves County Detention Center during a special meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The group will meet at 2 p.m., Friday, in the third floor courtroom, Reeves County Courthouse.

“We have been working towards restructuring the bonds, which were completely sold last week,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Galindo said that the bonds total approximately $40 million, and are no longer traded under “junk bond” status.

Galindo said that the rating had been raised to Triple B minus, the first level above junk bond status, which forces those issuing the bonds to pay higher interest rates to investors. The change will save the county money in terms of repayment rates it will have to make on the bonds, along with making the securities easier to sell in the bond market.

Standard and Poors’ Ratings Services raised its underlying rating (SPUR) on Reeves County, lease-rental certificates of participation debt outstanding two notches to ‘BBB’- from ‘BB’ in March, based on improved coverage levels the company said should result from the county’s debt service restructuring.

The outlook is stable, according to the new rating, which lifted the county’s certificates out of junk bond status.

The county saw its bond ratings drop two years ago, when it was unable to find inmates to fill its new $40 million RCDC III unit. The unit has since been filled with prisoners under a contract with the State of Arizona.

The upgrade to ‘BBB’ is contingent on management’s refunding of the debt outstanding identified in the offering memorandum. Should the refunding not occur, the rating on the debt outstanding would revert back to the previous ‘BB’ rating, the company said.

In 2004, Reeves County and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons finalized an agreement in which the bureau will continue to use only Reeves County Detention Center’s sections I and II. Management used the most recent certificates of participation to finance the construction of RCDC III, but could not get the BOP to provide inmates for the new 960-bed facility. The BOP did agree to a new per diem has been set at $48.25 for a minimum of 2,025 federal inmates. The new agreement will extend to Jan. 31, 2007, with annual per diem adjustments. The bureau has placed inmates at the facility since 1986.

With the BOP using only space available in RCDC I and II, the county negotiated an agreement with Arizona Department of Corrections in February of 2004 to house a minimum of 778 of the state’s inmates in RCDC III of the facility at a per diem of $44.80. Inmates began arriving at Reeves County Detention Center in March 2004. The contract was extended later that year to June 30, 2005.

Early voting beginning slowly for school board, city elections

Staff Writer

It’s been a slow start for early voting, but early voting clerks are hoping the pace will pick up.

Early voting for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board and a resolution are the two items on the ballot for the May 7 elections.

The two positions up on the school board are those positions currently held by Billie Sadler and Paul Deishler. Both incumbents are running to retain their seats and are being challenged by former school board member David Flores.

Yesterday , there were 23 individuals who cast their vote early and 12 voters today. “It’s been really slow, but we’re hoping for more voters,” said election judge Debbie Thomas.

The school board race is the only contested local election on May 7 in Pecos, but voters will also be deciding a referendum on establishing a city-county venue tax on local motel customers. The 2 percent tax would be added to motel bill in Pecos, and the money would initially go towards refurbishing the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and the Reeves County Civic Center.

City councilmen Danny Rodriguez, Gerald Tellez and Frank Sanchez will also be on the May 7 ballot, but are unopposed for re-election. The Reeves County Hospital District election was cancelled, because there are no contested races for any of the three seats up for election.

Early voting ends Tuesday, May 3, and individuals can cast their vote early until then at the Community Center, located on Oak Street.

Darnell, Box announce June wedding plans

Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Darnell of Amarillo announce the engagement of their daughter, Michelle Dawn, to Koh Box, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Box.

Miss Darnell, a graduate of West Texas A&M University, is a third grade teacher at Landergin Elementary in Amarillo.

Mr. Box graduated from Tarleton State University and is co-owner of Box Stephens Electrical Contractors in Dallas.

A June 11 wedding is planned in Amarillo.

The couple will reside in Justin, Tx.

Police Report

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 agencies. 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.

*** George Flores Gutierrez, Jr., 30, of Odessa, was arrested by police on April 15 at 2:01 a.m. on a warrant out of Ector County charging him with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). Police said Gutierrez was a passenger in a 1995 Lincoln that was stopped in the 800 block of Stafford Boulevard for a traffic violation. A records check turned up the warrant out of the Ector County Sheriff’s Department, and Gutierrez was placed under arrest and taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Crissy Sanchez Lopez, 35, and Rafael Carrillo Salcido, 36, both of 307 Putnam St. in Barstow were arrested by police on April 16 at the Budget Inn, 2128 W. Third St., on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said the arrests took place after they received a warrant to search Room 118 at the motel and discovered a leafy substance believed to be marijuana and a pipe inside the room. Lopez and Salcido were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Imelda Jimenez Garcia, 47, of 1014 E. Eighth St. was arrested by police on April 15 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to the 2200 block of Missouri Street, and Garcia was taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Tomas Baeza Salgado, 34, of 2301 Country Club Dr., was arrested at his home at 10:36 p.m. on April 16 on a warrant charging him with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), a State Jail Felony. In addition to the warrant arrest, police said a baggie containing a white powdery substance was found in Salgado’s right front shirt pocket. An additional charge of possession of a controlled substance over 1 gram and under 4 grams, a 3rd Degree Felony, was added, and Salgado was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.

*** Cynthia Perea, 35, 2006 Wyoming St., and Jose Luis Ortiz, Jr., 25, of 704 Rancho Rd., were arrested by police on April 17 at 1117 S. Orange St. on theft by check warrants. Perea’s warrant was out of the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, while the warrant on Ortiz was issued by the Ector County Sheriff’s Department. The two were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following their arrests.

*** Pedro Renteria Castillo, 39, 2222 Arizona St., was arrested on April 14 and charged with evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle. Police said they were called to Castillo’s home after a 911 hang-up, and said the defendant was leaving the residence in his Fort Thunderbird when they arrived. Police said they followed Castillo from his home to the 2200 block of Scott Street and then back to his house before he finally stopped, and was placed under arrest.

*** Sharon Kay Schuessler, 50, of 200 S. Alberta St., was arrested by police on a warrant charge of possession of dangerous drugs. Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop in the 100 block of West ‘F’ Street, and Schuessler was then transported to the Reeves County Jail.

*** Jose Guadalupe Perez, 28, 1608 W. Sixth St., was arrested by police on April 8 at 11:22 p.m. in the 100 block of East Sixth Street, on a warrant out of Multnomah County in Oregon charging him with felony assault. Perez was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Lupe Mendoza Marchan, 42, 707 S. Alberta St., was arrested by police on April 7 and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said the arrest was made after Marchan failed a field sobriety test after running a stop sign at Sixth and Bois D’arc streets. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Eloy Cabello Rodriguez, 30, of Fort Stockton, was arrested by police on April 6 in the 300 block of Walthall Street and on a warrant charging him with probation violation on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Rodriguez was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.

*** Glenn Franklin Bryant, 52, of Abilene was arrested by police on April 10 at 6:53 p.m. on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrested was made after Bryant was found in an intoxicated state in the 900 block of South Elm Street.

*** Alberto Rodriguez, 20, 1109 S. Walnut St., was arrested on April 9 in the 800 block of South Locust Street on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), within a drug-free zone, a 3rd Degree Felony. Police said Rodriguez was arrested on a warrant following a traffic stop at 3:15 a.m., and a small baggie containing a white powdery substance was found inside the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier he was driving. Rodriguez was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.

*** Maria Seneda Mendoza, 101 S. Park St., was arrested by police on April 9 at her home on a warrant charging her with forgery, for an incident that occurred at La Tienda Thriftway, 810 S. Eddy St. Mendoza was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following her arrest.

*** Randall Wayne Blount, 47, and Randall Wayne Blount II, 17, both of 1816 W. Fifth St., were arrested by police on April 7 on charges of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made after they were called to the home in reference to a family disturbance, and both Blounts were transported to the Pecos Criminial Justice Center.

*** Ian Sebastian Dominguez, 22, 1413 S. Oak St., was arrested by police on April 5 on a warrant charging him with assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 7:14 p.m. at the intersection of Johnson and Lincoln streets.


Thomas Gerke

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