Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, January 7, 2000
Air Force set to OK area bomber flights
From Staff and Wire Reports
Low level bomber flights around Pecos and over sections of Reeves County
appear a step closer to reality this week, after a New Mexico senator said
the U.S. Air Force has ruled out an alternative route for the training
flights over the mountains in the northern part of his state.
A route over northern New Mexico had been in the running as a possible
a training ground for about 2,600 annual low-altitude flights of B-52 and
B-1 bombers from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.
But Sen. Jeff Bingaman said Wednesday that Air Force officials told
him an environmental study will recommend the planes fly over West Texas.
"This report will confirm what we have known in New Mexico all along:
the proposed route is a bad idea," said Bingaman, D-N.M.
The proposed route would send low level bomber flights in a loop around
Pecos, with low level bombing runs starting near the Reeves-Pecos County
line, and traveling along the eastern edge of the Davis Mountains, passing
over the Balmorhea and Saragosa areas to northwestern Culberson County
west of Orla. The re-entry route would run over the Pecos River from Red
Bluff Dam to Mentone, and then through the Pyote area of central Ward County
before flying south to the Pecos-Reeves line.
The route begins in the Big Bend area, and heads north before making
its loop over Reeves County. The route also crosses into the far southeastern
corner of New Mexico around Jal, and passes to the west of and north of
Crane before ending at the Lancer Military Operating Area south of Lubbock.
Two of the three electronic scoring sites would be located in Reeves
County - one in the Alamo area north of Balmorhea, and the second near
Toyah Lake, southeast of Pecos. The third would be located north of Sweetwater
in the Lancer MOA.
The final decision will be up to the secretary of the Air Force, and
will probably come next month.
The Air Combat Command will list the Texas route as its preferred alternative,
Air Force officials told Bingaman. The New Mexico route was among four
Air Force spokesman 1st Lt. Don Kerr at Langley Air Force Base, Va.,
declined to comment on Bingaman's announcement.
Area farmers and ranchers voiced their opposition to the Air Force's
plan during a public hearing in Pecos last April. Ranchers said animal
are scared by the low-flying bombers, and legal action against the plan
already is being planned
"I don't know whether the air force is taking a position on this," said
Clark Lindley, who has been an opponent of the low-level flights.
Lindley said a group called HEPA (Heritage Environmental Preservation
Association) has been busy raising funds to oppose the low-level flights
in this area.
"They had found that the atmosphere in southern New Mexico was subject
to greater damage," said Lindley. "And now its Northern New Mexico they
are looking into."
"Both of those alternatives would include Reeves County," said Lindley.
"The only alternative that would not change the situation would be if they
would decide not to pursue this," he said.
In April of 1999, Lindley and Reeves County Commissioner spoke briefly
to Congressman Henry Bonilla while he was in Pecos.
At that time, Lindley told Bonilla that areas that weren't supposed
to be included were now included. "And some of these areas are ranches,
where crops such as cantaloupes, onions and bell peppers are grown," he
said. "We don't know what kind of health problems this will pose and would
like the Air Force to inform us."
"We're just very concerned about this, because everyone I've talked
to doesn't want the bomber training here," said Reeves County Commissioner
Precinct 3 Herman Tarin. Tarin's precinct covers most of the area over
which the flights are scheduled to travel in Reeves County.
Another plan to run German Air Force training flights over a similar
route over West Texas and Southern New Mexico was abandoned by the U.S.
Air Force this past fall. The decision came just before a Luftwaffe jet
carrying four German Air Force crew members crashed north of Carlsbad,
Taos lawyer Lynn Sferrazza, who represents a coalition of local governments
and Indian pueblos that had threatened to sue if the Air Force pursued
the New Mexico route, said planes could continue to fly the northern New
Mexico route once a day _ as they have in the past _ but will not increase
The coalition was concerned about noise and the potential impact on
wildlife from the proposed flights.
"What they generally do when they pick these routes is go over unpopulated
areas, and those are often wilderness areas," Ms. Sferrazza said. "There
are a lot of problems with this with wildlife. In the winter, you send
elk and antelope running for miles when they should be conserving energy."
The northern New Mexico route encompassed significant parts of Rio Arriba,
Taos, Colfax, Mora, San Miguel, Guadalupe, Quay, Harding and Union counties
and into the Texas Panhandle.
The proposal called for bombers to fly at altitudes as low as 200 feet,
Ms. Sferrazza said.
She said the Air Force averaged the flights' decibel levels over 24
hours to arrive at low levels, but said the noise level would be loud enough
to cause permanent hearing damage.
Most flights would involve B-1B Lancers from Dyess Air Force Base in
Abilene, Texas, and B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City,
Santa Fe attorney Frank Bond, who represents Texas ranchers in the Lancer
route, said the decision was expected.
"This is just a huge invasion," Bond said. "The jets create deafening
noise, pain-threshold noise. It's a total disruption of cattle operations,
recreation and other kinds of activity on the land."
Meals program, jail top Baeza's concerns
PECOS, Jan. 7, 2000 - Jesse Baeza says he is very concerned about the county's
government and hopes his experience in law enforcement will prove to be
an asset to the Reeves County Commissioners Court.
Baeza is a candidate for Precinct 1 Commissioner in the March 14 Democratic
Primary election. He is challenging incumbent Felipe Arredondo along with
two other hopefuls, Roy Pena and Anita Baeza.
Jesse Baeza was born and raised in Pecos, attended schools here. He
and his wife Sophia have three daughters and two sons.
"I became involved in law enforcement in 1985 and it is still my livelihood,"
said Baeza. "Due to my involvement in law enforcement, I was fortunate
to attend college courses in the Criminal Justice Field."
Baeza said he has particularly taken courses in corrections and is a
member of the Texas Jail Association and Sam Houston Correctional Management
"I decided to run for this office because I am very concerned about
our county government," said Baeza.
Among Baeza's main concerns is the local Meals on Wheels Program. "Meals
on Wheels is a very important program in Pecos and has served our senior
citizens very well," said Baeza. "However, I have personal knowledge that
the program has had problems recruiting volunteers to assist in the delivery
of the meals throughout our city."
Baeza said he has been very involved as a volunteer for many years and
have taken time to assist in that area. "As commissioner, I would dedicate
my services and will do my best to assist the program to provide continued
services to our senior citizens," he said.
The Reeves County Jail is another of Baeza's concerns. "Our county jail
is in dire need of improvements," said Baeza. "The jail is currently not
meeting Texas Jail Standards and has not passed the annual jail inspections
conducted by the state in the past three years."
This is due mainly on the conditions of the security jail doors, according
to Baeza. "The antiquated condition of the mechanism that operate the doors
is not operating and the doors fail to lock," he said, which creates a
serious breech of security not only to the jail staff but also to our citizens,
according to Baeza.
"The improvements and maintenance of the jail is the responsibility
of the commissioner's court," he said. "As your commissioner I would strive
to see that the jail is improved to meet state standards."
Baeza said he is seeking the public's support and vote for commissioner
of Precinct 1. "I can assure that your vote will not be cast in vain,"
said Baeza. "I will dedicate all my time and resources to accomplish my
mission and goals."
"I am committed and together we can work to improve conditions in the
precinct and the county as a whole," Baeza said.
Baeza stated that his main concern is the county. "I want to make my
voice heard at commissioners court meetings," he said. "I thank you for
your attention and appreciate your vote and support."
Commissioners to review 1999 county finances
PECOS, Jan. 7, 2000 - The financial status of Reeves County for fiscal
year 1999 will be the topic of discussion at the regular meeting of the
Reeves County Commissioners Court.
Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday, in the third floor of
the Reeves County Courthouse.
The Reeves County Civic Center contract and operations, along with DRG
architects request for payment invoice Nos. 154 and 155 will be discussed,
along with the DRG architects request for reimbursement invoice 153. The
payments are for work on the expansion of the Reeves County Detention Center.
Also on the agenda is the selection of the grievance committee for FY
2000 and bond and oath for Norma Chavez.
Other items to be discussed and action taken include:
· Reports from various departments.
· Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, road and bridges, sheriff's
office and the county library).
· Minutes from previous meetings.
· Semi-monthly bills.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery: 24-1-10-23-33 (twenty-four, one, ten, twenty-three, thirty-three)
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 2-4-0 (two, four, zero)
John Tollett, of Pecos, 78, died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2000, in Fort Stockton.
Viewing is scheduled for today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 8, at the
He was born Jan. 6, 1922, in San Angelo, was a retired plumber, a life-long
Pecos resident, a U.S. Army veteran and a Christian.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Ora Mae Arthur.
Survivors include his wife Leola Webb Tollett of Pecos; two sons, Joe
Tollett of Pecos and Wayne Tollett of Toyah; two daughters, Sally Tucker
of Fort Davis and Johnnie Bridges of San Diego, Calif.; one brother, R.D.
Tollett of Hooks; 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Ruben Tercero Jr.
Ruben Tercero Jr., 39, died May 20, 1999, in Ward County.
A memorial will be held Sunday, Jan. 9, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 10, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
He was born June 14, 1959, in Pecos, was a life-long Pecos resident,
a laborer-self-employed and a Catholic.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ruben Tercero, Sr. and one brother,
Survivors include his wife, Juanita Tercero of Gosh, Calif; his mother,
Catalina Garcia of Pecos; two sons, Ruben Tercero III and Javier Tercero
of Gosh, Calif.; one step-son, Jesse Segura of Gosh, Calif.; two step-daughters,
Olivia Molina of Tulares, Calif., Elisa Seguara of Tulares, Calif. and
two brothers, Abel and Ismael Tercero of Pecos.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, Jan. 7, 2000 - High Thursday 65. Low this morning 35. Forecast for
tonight: Cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Low in the mid 30s. Northwest
wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Decreasing cloudiness and warmer. High in the
mid 50s. Southwest wind 5-15 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Low in
the mid 20s. Sunday: Sunny. High 65-70.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise