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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, June 17, 2005

Plenty of water for farmers

Staff Writer

It was pretty much business as usual at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Red Bluff Water Power Control Board. The only new business on the agenda was the current water allotment and there is more than enough water to meet current demand.

According to Managing Director Randal Hartman Red Bluff lake has 120,000 acre/feet of water in it and that is good.

The lake has a total capacity of 280,000 acre/feet.

“One hundred twenty thousand is good for us,” he said.

That means there is plenty of water for downstream farmers in the area - actually there is more water than farmers this year.

“We could irrigate another 2,000 or so acres right now,” Hartman said.

Delivery, however, is giving Red Bluff some problems as it is taking twice as long or more to get water from the lake to the farmers downstream.

“We are having a hard time getting water delivered - the river seems to be soaking it up,” Hartman said. “This hasn’t happened in the past.”

The group would be studying the problem in the future he said.

Demand for water by downstream farmers is up slightly, and Hartman said he expected it to pick up gradually if water levels remained good. “Right now there is some hay and cotton farming in the Barstow area but Grandfalls and Imperial show the most activity,” he said.

Hartman said that in the past it would take an average of three days to get water to farmers in Barstow but recently it had taken nearly a week.

While Red Bluff Lake is open for recreation, residents do not need to bring their fishing poles.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife said that they would not be stocking the lake this year,” Hartman said.

Golden algae is still showing up in samples taken by TP&W and it was a bloom of the algae that killed all the fish in the lake about three years ago.

“As long as the algae is present they won’t re-stock,” he said.

Chamber hears about rodeo, events

Staff Writer

Tickets went on sale Wednesday for the Annual West of the Pecos Rodeo, at the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Office.

West of the Pecos Rodeo member Brenda McKinney told chamber directors that the tickets would go on sale for the public on Wednesday and that the books would open June 16 and close on the 17th.

McKinney said that by Monday the group would know which cowboys were coming. To find out about the rodeo individuals can visit the website at “They have a lot of good information,” said McKinney.

McKinney said that the group is working on final preparations and getting ready for the yearly event.

“A lot of things are done at the last minute, but we’re getting there,” said McKinney. Preparations are also underway for the annual parade scheduled for Wednesday, June 29. Judges for the event will be the NewsWest 9 crew including Jay Hendricks and Stephanie Rivas. Grand Marshal will be Steven Begay.

“We still need volunteers to help us with the lineup,” said parade organizer Elsa Palomino.

Night in Old Pecos events are coming along great with 19 booths already signed up. “We’re still receiving calls from individuals that need information and we’ve heard from a couple of D.J.’s and bands,” said Debbie Thomas.

“The deadline for the bands and D.J.’s is Friday,” said Thomas.

The chamber will be sponsoring a coke booth and volunteers are still needed.

Women’s Division President Michelle Workman told the group that this year there will be 12 girls competing for the title of Golden Girl of the Old West and 15 little girls competing for the title of Little Miss Cantaloupe.

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, June 24 and tickets are on sale at the Chamber office for $8 apiece.

“This year we also have 10 out-of-town belles,” said Workman.

Workman said that with all the contestants there would be at least 14 floats in the parade. “We only have about 200 and something tickets left for the event and they can be purchased at the chamber office,” said Workman.

The girls were interviewed by Channel 7 on Tuesday and have been practicing every evening, according to Workman.

“There will be a swimming party for all the participants and everyone who helped with the event following the pageant,” said Workman.

Workman thanked all the volunteers and the sponsors for their help with the yearly event. Reeves County Detention Center III Warden Martin McDaniel spoke to the group about the prison. “I was shocked to find out that I was named Warden of the Year,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel was named Warden of Year by the GEO Group, who manages the local facility among others around the country.

McDaniel said that he was surprised and pleased by the award. “When you have wardens from South Africa, Australia and New York, you really don’t expect to receive such a great honor,” he said.

McDaniel said that things are coming along great at the prison and that they have been training some young individuals to work there.

“Of course, like always I want to talk about our special project, the Special Olympics,” said McDaniel. “Last year we raised $7,000 and so far this year, we have raised $4,000,” he said.

McDaniel said that they will be having several fundraisers throughout the year and will have a booth selling barbecue brisket at the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

The group will also be sponsoring games at the Night In Old Pecos event. “We also have scheduled a golf tournament in July and are selling raffle tickets to win a trip to San Antonio,” he said.

“I have enjoyed working here and work closely with Warden Tony Garcia, who manages RI and II,” said McDaniel. “I appreciate the fact that Pecos has given us a really good reception and that everyone has been really nice to us,” he said.

Rodeo Hall of Fame to induct six

Staff Writer

The Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame here in Pecos will induct six new cowboys Saturday, July 2 at a ceremony starting at 3 p.m. at the West of the Pecos Museum.

“This year’s inductees are Tuffy Cooper of Monument, New Mexico; Jim Davis of Abilene; and Arnold Felts of San Angelo; Shawn McMullan of Iraan, Sonny Davis of Kenna, New Mexico and Louis Powers of Sonora,” board member Peggy Walker said.

McMullan, Davis and Powers are being inducted posthumously.

“All six of these cowboys played a vital role in the development of the West of the Pecos Rodeo and have won many, many honors when competing at Pecos,” Walker said.

Walker said that the Hall of Fame first inducted members last year when eight cowboys were inducted.

“There are no set qualifications except that the cowboy must have competed in the West of the Pecos Rodeo and made a contribution to the rodeo,” Walker said.

Applications to nominate a cowboy to the Hall are available at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.

“Everyone is invited to the ceremony and the reception,” Walker said.

School Board contemplates drug testing or kids

After a lot of discussion and planning a drug policy for students in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has been implemented and board members had the first reading of the policy at their regular meeting held Tuesday evening.

The contemplated policy calls for random testing of all students enrolled in any extra-curricular activity and testing of specific students if a coach or administrator suspects they might have used drugs.

The meeting had previously been scheduled for Thursday, but the group was unable to meet due to a lack of a quorum.

A drug policy had been the topic of discussion at previous board meetings and board members had approved adopting a policy for the district for students in grades 7-12. “After a lot of discussion with the committee and our lawyers we have come up with something that will benefit our district,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews. Matthews said that they would have the first reading of the policy on Tuesday and the second reading in July.

“And then we’ll get it approved,” said Matthews. “We need to get three quotes to get someone to do the drug testing,” he said.

Matthews said that he had received a call from one of the board members to talk about it. “One of the things that came up, was that if the offenses were accumulative,” said Matthews.

Matthews said that ‘yes’ in the policy to be implemented by the district the offenses will be accumulative. “After the third offense the student will not be allowed to drive or participate in extracurricular activities,” said Matthews. The policy reads in part: “All offenses are cumulative for the student’s enrollment in grades 7-12 in the district.”

Matthews said that the other question that arose pertained to the first offense. “The community felt that we needed to add some consequences for the first offense as well,” he said.

Matthews said that if the student commits an offense in the seventh grade and then in the ninth grade, that would be two offenses. “In other words, the offenses, won’t be erased,” said Matthews. “It might be a good deterrent,” he said.

“Is that what other school districts are doing?” asked board member Crissy Martinez. “Good question, but most of the other districts go from 9th through 12th grades,” said Matthews.

Board member Paul Deishler, who is also a member of the Pecos Police Department, said that they have had more problems with junior high kids this year, than with the older students.

“We’ve put a lot of thought in to this,” said Matthews.

Hospice team provides support to patients, family

It would seem Maxine Wickson has looked at life through rose-colored glasses…raised in Pecos during the Great Depression, serving the men of our military at the Pecos Army Airfield PX during World War II…serving up a mean milkshake she’d be the first to tell you. But the latest chapter in her story offers a true witness to her dignity, and love of life.

In January, this former “pistol-packin’ Citizen on Patrol” discovered she has cancer. Mrs. Wickson now called GG by her entire family, including great-great grandchildren, refuses to believe God intends her to live the rest of her life in a hospital. One round of chemotherapy proved unbearable.

“I had had all I wanted. I trust the Lord will make me well if he wants to,” said Mrs. Wickson.

Wickson’s doctors at Alliance Hospital determined she was well enough to leave the hospital, but not well enough to go home. With her doctor’s blessing, Wickson left Alliance on Easter Sunday to stay at the Hospice House in Odessa.

She remained there for two weeks and became well enough to move to her daughter Becky’s home with the help of Home Hospice.

“They’ve helped so much, I look forward to seeing them every morning. It’s like they’re privileged to be out here taking care of Momma. I can’t say they’re praise enough,” said Becky Iverson.

Home Hospice nurse Donna Sledge said it’s patients like Wickson that help her to be very grateful for what she has, and that keeps her re-directed.

“Mrs. Wickson is such a sweetheart. She takes no medicine for her discomfort. (She’s never been a pill-taker). She has always been the caregiver, and she doesn’t want her family to worry about her,” said Sledge.

Iverson said the hospice team makes it possible to have peace of mind. “If we need anything, we call them, and they’re right here. They’re so reassuring, even if it’s ten o’clock at night,” she said.

Home Hospice serves 19 West Texas counties. A dedicated team of professionals provides medical care and support services not only to the patient but also to the patient’s family and loved ones.

Hospice also pays for medications related to the illness as well as medications used for comfort care.

Durable medical equipment and supplies are covered as well. Hospice care is provided to patients in private homes, nursing homes and inpatient facilities. No patient or family member ever receives a bill.

City Council approves land sale, tobacco grant

Staff Writer

The Town of Pecos City Council met Thursday June 9 at City Hall.

According to the Municipal Court report the city took in $9,543.25 in fines and court costs in April and 167 cases were filed in the court.

Twenty-nine cases were filed in the county and district courts ranging from criminal trespass to falsification of a drug test to possession of cocaine.

According to the Juvenile Report eight youths were referred to the Juvenile Court and two were detained. Fourteen juveniles are currently on official probation and 31 are under some type of supervision.

Of the eight referrals one was for violation of court order, one was for criminal trespass, two were for possession of marijuana, one was for contempt of court, two were home intervention cases and one was for harassment.

The report goes on to state that seven of the eight were males and all were Hispanic.

After approving the reports the Council then approved the sale of 3.07 acres near Hwy 17 to M & W Hot Oil, Inc. The company bid $614 for the tract of land.

The Council also approved a deal with Carlos Vargas to administer a $400,000 grant the city received from the Texas Community Development Program for water system improvements. Vargas will receive $23,169 for his services.

The Council also approved a Tobacco Compliance grant application submitted by Pecos Police Officer Mike Balog.

“We did this last year,” Balog said. “The stipulation on the money is that each state must remain below 20 percent on underage smoking.”

Last year $50 million came to Texas through the program, according to Balog, but that teen smoking edged up toward the magic 20 percent mark.

Balog said that the grant money was used by the police to do three things: 1) educate tobacco sellers, 2) inspect sellers to make sure they are in compliance with the law, and 3) sting operations where minors are sent into stores to try and purchase tobacco.

Hospital stay is a walk in the park

By Peggy McCracken
Staff Writer

If it is possible to enjoy a hospital stay, Reeves County Hospital is the place to do it. Except for nurses triggering the loud latch on my door to check on me about ever 15 minutes during the first night - and waking me up in the process - I was comfortable and entertained.

The second night, I told the nurse assigned to me that I wanted to be left alone so I could sleep. And bless his heart, he told everyone to get their tests or pill dispensing done early. I got a good night’s sleep and felt like I could go home the next day.

I told another nurse, Jeannette, that I would bring duck tape on my next visit to the hospital, so I could silence that loud latch. She used surgical tape to hold the latch open, so I had no more problem with that.

My first meal, lasagna and broccoli, was delicious. The quality went downhill after that, but I ate most of it anyway. My sisters brought oranges and grapes, my normal breakfast, and I ate fruit for snacks.

Everyone marveled at my instant recovery. I never had a pain, and was able to be up and about without help the next morning. The elastic surgical stockings bothered me, and nurse Whitener said they could come off as soon as I was up more than I was in bed. So I stayed up a lot and walked. Then I took them off myself.

Smokey Briggs visited me on Tuesday, then again on Thursday. I told him I would be getting out Thursday afternoon and would be ready to return to work.

“You’re not coming to work today,” he ordered.

Dr. Bang came that night after my sister had already taken most of my stuff to the car. He wanted to keep me another night, but upon my protest, he released me, with orders not to work on Friday, and to come to the hospital emergency room over the weekend if my bandage got soaked.

It was good to get home! I did miss that hospital bed, though. Large pillows under my head and knees were a poor substitute.

My bandage did get soaked, so I went to the emergency room Saturday night, where Dr. Bang gave me a fresh one. I asked if I could go to work Monday, and he said, “No. You stay at home and think about what you are going to write.”

Lone Star fugitive Task Force arrests Smith, dismantle lab

A fugitive was apprehended and a meth lab dismantled in Odessa recently. On June 13, the Pecos Division of the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force arrested Clyde Ray Smith Jr.

Smith was wanted for State Parole Violation by the Texas State Parole Commission. Smith had previously been incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on a conviction for Dangerous Drugs.

Deputy U.S. Marshals searched a residence at 4200 Winchester Street and located Smith hiding in a garage on the property. Deputies also located chemicals and components that appeared to be a methamphetamine manufacturing lab. After taking Smith into custody, deputies contacted the Odessa Police and Fire Departments to assist with the lab.

Agencies responding to the scene including the Odessa Police Narcotics Unit, Odessa Fire Department, West Texas Narcotics Task Force, Department of Public Safety Narcotics Service and Ector County Sheriff’s Department.

United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas LaFayette Collins said, “The United States Marshal Service is committed to preventing any fugitive from justice from having even one peaceful nights rest in the Western District of Texas. The fine police work by the United States Marshals Service, Odessa Police and Fire Departments, West Texas Narcotics Task Force, DPS Narcotics, and Ector County Sheriff’s Office has demonstrated once again that no fugitive can feel safe in the Western District of Texas.”

Willis named to President’s List

GeNelle Elizabeth Willis was recently named to the President’s List for the Spring 2005 semester at Howard Payne University.

Willis is the daughter of Nelson and Glenda Willis and is currently majoring in Music. Students must earn a grade point average of 4.0 to be named to the President’s List. Howard Payne University is a private university located in Brownwood.

HPU was ranked in U.S. News’ America’s Best Colleges 2005 among Comprehensived Bachelor’s Degree granting colleges in the Western Region as fourth in Best Value, eighth in Campus Diversity and 17th overall.


Ginette Brown, Evelyn Hopkins, Delfina Navarrette and Joe Ortega, Jr.

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