Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, February 2, 2000
USAF to release impact statement on bomber flights
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - A final environmental impact statement on the
planned route for the Air Force's Realistic Bomber Training Initiative
is scheduled for release on Friday, officials at Dyess AFB announced today.
The announcement confirms the Air Force's plans to use a route through
West Texas for it's RTBI plan, one which has drawn local opposition but
could add over $1.5 million annually to the local economy.
Reeves County was not mentioned in the press release by Dyess officials,
which dealt mainly with the consolidated Military Operations Area north
of Sweetwater and Big Spring on the edge of the South Plains. The MOA would
include the cities of Snyder and Lamesa, and would have bombers flying
at altitudes of 3,000 feet and higher over Dawson, Scurry, Kent, Stonewall,
Fisher, Borden, Lynn and Garza counties.
But the jets would also continue over what the Air Force called "an
existing military training route," that would bring the B-1 and B-52 bombers
in at levels as low as 200 feet off the ground through sections of Reeves
County while targeting electronic scoring sites in the area.
Lt. Wes Ticer with the public relations department at Dyess AFB in Abilene
said under the plan there would be one manned electronic scoring site in
Reeves County, and other "emitter sites" on the route, which would extend
into an area running from south of Van Horn up through Reeves County and
include parts of Ward, Winkler, Crane counties and Lea County, N.M.
Ticer said the emitter sites would be on 15 acre sections of land leased
by the government, while the manned scoring site in Reeves County would
likely be in the Toyah Lake area and would employ 31 people.
"It's a win-win situation. The Air Force gets more realistic training
and Pecos gets economic impact from the Air Force," said Ticer, a former
New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced last month that route had been
rejected by the Air Force, leaving the South Plains-Reeves County route
as the remaining alternative. Air Force officials last week told Congressman
Henry Bonilla's office that the two electronic scoring sites planned for
Reeves County would cost between $3.6 and $5 million to build, and would
bring 31 jobs and an estimated $1.6 million annually into the area.
Although the Air Force has said it would avoid the cities of Balmorhea
and Saragosa and would not increase the number of flights currently using
the route, the RTBI proposal has met with strong opposition from ranchers
in the area and further south in the Big Bend. The group two weeks ago
joined ranchers and environmentalists in other western states in a lawsuit
filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. to stop the flights, on
The environmental impact statement (EIS) for Alternative B is the second
step in the proposed RBTI plan, which the Air Force is hoping to implement
by December of 2001. "The identification of the preferred alternative in
the final EIS does not constitute a final decision," the Air Force said.
"The final Record of Decision on whether the recommendation is accepted
or another alternative is chosen will be made by Lt. Gen. Marvin R. Esmond,
deputy chief of staff Air and Space Operations, no earlier than 30 days
after the release of the final EIS."
The Air Force said three possible plans were selected, with Alternative
B chosen because of fewer conflicts with federal jet routes and civilian
aviation. One of the other routes, though northern New Mexico, also had
more severe weather in winter months that would hamper operations, according
to the Air Force.
Police hunt failed gas station robber
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - An attempted robbery at a Pecos gas station proved
futile for the suspect, but police are still searching for him today.
The incident happened at about 6:15 a.m., Monday, when a male subject
entered the Amigo's Texaco located at 14th and Cedar streets.
"We got the call from the clerk at about that time," said Pecos Police
Department Lieutenant Tony Dawdy, who said the female clerk told officers
that an unknown male entered store.
"He was wearing a long black overcoat and a white T-shirt with holes
cut out for the eyes," said Dawdy. "He asked her for the money and she
said she didn't have any."
The suspect then proceeded to force the clerk into the store's cooler.
"He told her not to come back out until he was gone, which is when she
called us," said Dawdy.
The man took off immediately after that, but took nothing from the store.
"Apparently there was nothing missing," said Dawdy. "Maybe he didn't know
how to open the cash register."
The subject is described as a 5-foot-9 Hispanic male, wearing a long
"Since he was wearing the T-shirt, it's hard for her to describe his
face," said Dawdy. "But we'll be looking for him," he said.
Anyone with information pertaining to this incident should contact
the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911. Anybody with information can remain
City, county get second shot at adding U.S. 285 to plan
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - After missing an opportunity 10 years ago due
to a lack of local participation, the city of Pecos and Reeves County will
get a second chance to have the area's main north-south highway included
in the Texas Department of Transportation's Texas Trunk System project.
TxDOT's plan calls for the widening of key U.S. and State Highways in
Texas from two lanes to four-lane divided highways. But when the last regional
hearings were held in 1990, neither the city nor county bothered to send
As a result, the only section of U.S. 285 in Texas that was included
in TxDOTs plan was the 65-mile stretch between Sanderson and Fort Stockton.
Now, TxDOT is holding hearing across the state this month to discuss
possible revisions to the plan, and local officials are planning to attend
the one for the Permian Basin and Concho Valley, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday,
Feb. 15 at the TxDOT office at 4502 Knickerbocker Road in San Angelo.
"I'm going to the meeting," said Pecos Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director Tom Rivera, "And I know that (Chamber president) Jeanette Alligood
is going for sure."
"I delivered a letter to the county and city yesterday to see if they
were interested in going with us," Rivera said. "I met with the mayor (Dot
Stafford) and city manager (Kenneth Neal) yesterday in reference to that,
and both said they're going," Rivera added. "The more people who show up
the more they'll listen."
Area officials often failed to show up for public hearings or to argue
for state projects a decade ago. At the same time Pecos failed to get U.S.
285 included in the Texas Trunk System plan, the city also allowed Fort
Stockton officials to argue the case in Austin for a proposed state prison
site in Coyanosa.
Fort Stockton officials also made the case for their own site located
west of town, which was selected for a 1,500-bed prison. Reeves County
has only recently made up for that mistake, and the resulting loss of jobs,
with the expansion of the county's own detention center from 500 to 2000
inmates over the past five years.
The trunk system wouldn't directly lead to jobs in the area, but Rivera
said it would help make the U.S. 285 route a better connector for traffic
from South Texas to the Albuquerque, N.M. and Denver, Colo. areas.
"One of the leading criteria for the trunk system is to tie into the
interstate systems. You would have Interstate 10, Interstate 20 and Interstate
40," Rivera said.
U.S. 285 from I-40 south to Loving, N.M. is already scheduled for expansion
from two to four lanes under a combined $120 million project by New Mexico
and the U.S. Department of Energy. The road is being widened and loops
have been built around Roswell and Santa Fe, N.M. to improve safety for
radioactive waste trucks headed for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant southeast
of Carlsbad, N.M.
Trucks from five sites in the eastern United States also are scheduled
to transport radioactive waste to WIPP along a route that travels on I-20
to Pecos, and then north on U.S. 285 to Loving, N.M., and other trucks
could travel along I-10 and then U.S. 285 from Fort Stockton up to Loving.
No federal funds have been earmarked for widening the Texas section
of U.S. 285, though a proposed loop around Pecos is part of TxDOT's proposed
FY 2006 budget.
Firemen quickly deal with Tuesday incidents
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - Pecos Volunteer Firemen were busy Tuesday, handing
two minor incidents in which no major damage or injuries were reported.
Firefighters received a call at about 4:30 p.m., of a fire in the back
of the 600 block of South Oak Street. "It was just a dumpster fire," said
Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.
Brookshire stated that the fire was caused by a lot of clothes in the
dumpster and the flames were quickly extinguished.
Firemen also were sent out later that evening to a reported structure
fire on West Fifth Street.
"This was also a small fire, underneath the house," said Brookshire.
"All the fire units were dispatched to the location, but we ended up just
In all fire calls, all units are dispatched to the site of the incident
until it is determined the extent of the fire and the problem is assessed,
according to Brookshire.
That fire was quickly extinguished and the house sustained minor damage.
No injuries were reported in either incident.
"The cause of that house fire was electrical," said Brookshire.
No shadows seen, but city gets rain on Groundhog Day
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - If you go by the prairie dogs around Reeves County,
winter should be over now, since there were no shadows to be seen anywhere
at sunrise, when clouds continued to cover the Trans-Pecos region.
Area farmers and ranchers also are hoping the clouds are a sign of the
end of the long drought, as they brought the first measurable rain to Pecos
for the year 2000 on Tuesday.
A total of .2 inch of rain fell between Tuesday afternoon and this morning,
according to the Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station west of
town. The rain was part of a cold front that passed through the area, dropping
Tuesday afternoon's high temperature to 48 degrees.
The front wasn't long-lasting, as temperatures warmed to 49 degrees
by sunrise this morning.
Up in Punxsutawney, Pa. part-time weatherman and full-time groundhog
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and predicted six more weeks
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 14-22-28-32-38. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$82,277. Winning ticket sold in: Dallas. Matching four of five: 257. Prize:
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 8-7-1 (eight, seven, one)
Zelpha Mae Drake, 84, died Monday, Jan. 24, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.
Services were held Friday, Jan. 28, at First Assembly of God Church
in Sunray, with Rev. H.L. Stevens, retired Assembly of God Pastor of Dumas,
officiating. He was assisted by Pastor Holly Ensey, pastor of First Assembly
of God in Sunray. Burial was in lane Memorial Cemetery in Sunray.
She was born March 31, 1915, in Red Star, Ark., was a Pecos resident
since 1993, a Sunray resident from 1967 until 1993, a homemaker and a member
of the First Assembly of God Church, in Sunray. She was a Sunday school
teacher for the First Assembly of God Church in Sunray for many years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dan Drake on March 28, 1993,
along with four brothers and four sisters.
Survivors include three daughters, Vera Mae Sellers of Pecos, Jearldean
Kealy of Clinton, Okla. and Wanda Sue Bolt of Cleburne; one sister, Eva
Norris of Talequah, Okla; 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
The family requests that memorials be made to First Assembly of God,
Box 247, Sunray, Tx., 79084.
PECOS, Feb. 2, 2000 - High Tuesday 48. Low this morning 49. Rainfall past
24 hours .2 inch. Total for month .2 inch. Total for year .2 inch. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 25 to 30. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Thursday:
Partly cloudy. High in the upper 60s. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Thursday
night: Partly cloudy. Low 30 to 35. Friday: Partly cloudy. Low 25 to 35.
High 60 to 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