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Monday, April 17, 2000

Envirocare opens Monahans office;  sues WCS

From Staff and Wire Reports
MONAHANS, April 17, 2000 -- Envirocare of Texas, which is seeking to build a low level radioactive waste dump in western Ward County, opened its community relations office in Monahans today, at the same time the firm's owner is suing a rival over claims that the company spread rumors to undermine his efforts to license a radioactive waste dump in Texas.

Meanwhile, a state senator has scheduled a hearing to discuss plans for radioactive waste storage and other environmental issues concerning West Texas on Wednesday in Midland.

The defamation lawsuit was filed Friday by Khosrow Semnani in the U.S. District Court for Utah against Waste Control Specialists, a year after both firms sought to locate low-level radioactive waste dumps in western Andrews County, near the Texas-New Mexico border.

The companies were seeking to store waste originally destined for the state-run radioactive storage site near Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County. A state panel rejected that site in late 1998 due to concerns over possible earthquake fault lines in the area.

Five months later a report from the University of Texas indicated both the Envirocare and WCS sites in Andrews County were above part of the Ogallala Aquifer, making them unsuitable for storing radioactive waste.

Envirocare then began studying sections of Ward County before settling on a site located eight miles north of Barstow, and 14 miles northeast of Pecos. Envirocare vice president Rick Jacobi said in December the site was chosen for its lack of an underground aquifer and the fact that water runoff would drain away from the Pecos River and into Soda Lake, a normally dry depression northeast of Barstow.

Although the waste site would be closer to Pecos than it is to Monahans, Envirocare officials have dealt mostly with Ward County and city of Monahans representatives over the past 10 months, with the office in Monahans being the latest by the company in that area.

Gene Brown, who has served as pastor of the First Christian Church in Monahans and Trinity Christian Church in Kermit for the past 11 years, was hired by Envirocare to serve as their director of West Texas Community Relations.

"We are very excited about opening an office in Monahans and we are fortunate to have found a person as committed to Ward County and the surrounding region as Mr. Brown is," Semnani told the Monahans News earlier this month. "We look forward to becoming a good corporate citizen of this county for many years to come."

While the office is open and phone lines have been installed, work still needs to be done inside the building, Brown said today. Envirocare is planning an Open House at the Monahans Community Center on April 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jacobi, Brown, along with other company officials and a geologist serving as a consultant to Envirocare, are expected to be in town both days.

Brown told the Monahans News he expected to be going to Utah for training, and cited the financial benefits Toole County in Utah has seen from Envirocare's storage facility there.

"Envirocare of Utah provided Toole County almost $4 million last year," he said, explaining the company agreed to provide the county with five percent of its annual gross profits.

Aside from worries over the long-term security of the radioactive waste, which would be kept in above-ground bunkers covered by dirt, officials in Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City have voiced concerns that emergency services to the site, such as fire and ambulance personnel, would likely come out of Pecos, while only the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD would receive any local tax benefits from the facility.

The land, sold to the company by Ward County rancher John Forrester, may also sit under the flight path for the Air Force's Realistic Bomber Training Initiative. The Air Force plans to fly B-1 and B-52 bombers in a loop around Pecos, at altitudes as low as 500 feet off the ground while targeting electronic scoring sites in the area.

A hearing about overall radioactive waste storage plans has been scheduled for the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum Midland on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. by State Senator J.E. "Buster" Brown, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Along with radioactive waste, the meeting is also scheduled to discuss the region's oil and gas industry, water management issues and an overview of the state's groundwater resources and river authorities in relation to the 1997 Brown-Lewis Water Management Plan.

The public will be allowed to testify during the hearing on each of the committee's interim charges.

WCS was able to get a bill through the 1999 Texas Legislature that would have allowed waste, from Texas, Maine and Vermont originally destined for the Sierra Blanca site to be stored in Andrews County. The bill was supported by State Sen. Teel Bivins and Rep. Gary Walker and passed before the UT report on the underground aquifer was released.

At the same time, the battle between WCS and Envirocare over receiving a contract to store the radioactive waste led to Friday's lawsuit being filed in Utah.

According to court documents, among the statements Semnani claims are false are:

-That Envirocare was engaged in illegal arms trading, diverting radioactive waste to weapons brokers, financing Middle East terrorists and threatening to kill anyone who opposed Envirocare;

-That Semnani used sexual relationships with female regulators to obtain inside regulatory information and favorable treatment;

-That Semnani has illegal relationships with environmental regulators that are being covered up by the highest levels of state government;

-That the company accepts waste that it is not legally permitted to take, including high-level wastes from Kuwait;

-That Semnani used money from a state environmental fund to buy real estate in Hawaii;

-And that Semnani is a bigamist.

WCS president Eric Teus said Saturday that he had never heard any WCS employees spreading such rumors.

The lawsuit alleges WCS officials made the statements to "instill fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of Envirocare's customers and regulators concerning the viability of Envirocare" and nearly cost the company its license.

Envirocare's low-level dump in Clive, Utah, about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City, is the only commercial facility in the nation licensed to accept low-level radioactive waste.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from WCS, its former president Kenneth N. Bingham, and a private investigator hired by WCS.

WCS also has a lawsuit pending, claiming that an illicit business deal between Semnani and Larry Anderson, the former director of the Utah Bureau of Radiation Control, gave Envirocare an unfair business advantage.

Semnani has admitted to paying Anderson $600,000 worth of cash, real estate and gold coins. Semnani claims Anderson extorted the money.

Anderson was indicted a year ago on extortion charges and is awaiting trial.

Semnani pleaded guilty in December 1998 to helping Anderson file a fraudulent tax return.

Firefighters answer call for Pecos races

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 17, 2000 - Firefighters from around the area were very busy Saturday in Pecos, but it wasn't because of a major fire.

The firefighters were in town for the semi-annual meeting of area volunteer fire departments.

Events started with a little ceremony and registration at the Reeves County Civic Center before the firefighters met at the Maxey Park for the fire races.

"We had a great time, everything went really well," said Pecos Fire Chief Roy Pena.

There were about 18 team fire departments represented, according to Pena.

Teams represented were from Fort Stockton, Seminole, West Odessa, Rankin, Plains, Kermit, Howard County, Denver City, Grandfalls, Barstow, Marfa, Alpine, Crane, Monahans and Wink.

"The (group) that had the most individuals sign in was Wink, with 33 registered," said Pena. Overall, 211 firefighters registered, with about 280 people from the different area towns that showed up.

"Pecos set the pace, but didn't compete for the different trophies," said Pena.

Trophies were awarded for Most in Attendance, Most Miles Traveled and Best Sportsmanship, among others.

Nine teams participated in the races, while five or six others competed in the women's auxiliary division.

"We picked up some door prizes from local merchants and the women picked up door prizes for the women's auxiliary," said Pena.

A barbecue dinner was held in honor of the firefighters at the civic center, with a dance held later featuring Wayne West and Robert Barreno.

"Everyone had a lot of fun," said Pena. "We're very pleased with the turnout, and hope we can do it again someday."

All the fire departments are here only once every eight or nine years, according to Pena.

Attendees at Field Day  view salt cedar project

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 17, 2000 - Local residents and other officials took a trip to view the results of the salt cedar eradication project Friday to cap off the Salt Cedar/Arsenal Project Field Day held at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The final events for the field day were held at the bridge on State Highway 302 near Mentone, where attendees could compare a section of the Pecos River that had been spayed with the herbicide Arsenal and a section that had not.

"We stopped spaying at the bridge," District Conservationist for the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District Barney Lee explained. "So you can compare the results on one side with untreated salt cedar on the other."

The results were obvious. The thick growth of salt cedar that lines the banks of the river was brown and leafless north of the bridge while the untreated growth to the south was green and healthy.

"I don't think there is any doubt how effective this treatment was," Lee said. "It will be two years before we can assess the complete effectiveness though."

Lee explained that they couldn't be sure the chemical had killed the roots of the trees until another year passed, but that at this point, it looked like the treatment had done the job.

"We're very pleased," he said.

Putting the possible benefits in perspective Lee said that if the project was successful and the whole length of the river was treated, enough water would be conserved to irrigate another 2,000 to 10,000 acres of farmland that is currently barren.

Texas A&M Agriculture Extension Agent Terry Holder said that during the field day attendees were walked through the project from start to present.

"The salt cedar has been a problem for years. It was originally introduced from Asia as an erosion control plant but has done more damage than good," Holder said.

Holder explained that the tree does double damage by using large quantities of water and also increasing the salinity of the river.

"A mature salt cedar can use as much as 200 gallons of water a day," he said. "At the same time, the tree absorbs salt from the ground and then deposits it on the surface through dripping sap. That salt then gets washed into the river."

Holder said that attendees were briefed on the problems the project had with getting permission for using Arsenal on the trees and also the reasons that aerial spaying was done by helicopter rather than more traditional fixed-wing aircraft.

"Getting permission to use Arsenal on land that is classified as crop/range land, and beside a river was a major hurdle," he said.

Holder said that it was also decided to apply the chemical by helicopter rather than traditional fixed-wing aircraft.

"The helicopter application cost more per acre, but because it is so precise, we could actually afford to treat a longer section of the river by helicopter than we could have by airplane for the same money," he said.

Holder said that the spraying was done in August1999.

A second problem the project now faces is getting rid of the dead brush.

"We're looking into different ways to get rid of the dead trees," Holder said. "Burning is one solution. Another would be for land owners to allow people to come on their land and harvest the trees for firewood."

Former Pecos mayor Parsons dies at 76

PECOS, April 17, 2000 - Funeral services have been scheduled on Tuesday for former Town of Pecos City Mayor Marilea Parsons, 76, who died Sunday at Midland Memorial Hospital.

Parsons was born Sept. 8, 1923, in Pecos and was a longtime Town of Pecos City employee, serving for many years as city secretary. She also served in a dual role in the late 1980s as the city's Municipal Court judge, but in December 1989, when she attempted to retire as city secretary while remaining as Municipal Court judge, the Pecos City Council removed her from both jobs.

Parsons then ran for mayor in May of 1990 and was elected, serving one term in the job before leaving office in May of 1992.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. J.E. McCormick officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.

Rollover kills ex-Pecosite near Odessa

A former Pecos resident was killed in a one-vehicle rollover south of Odessa early Sunday morning.

According to a report by the Department of Public Safety, Noe Garcia, 34, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, one-half mile south of Odessa on FM 1882 (West County Road). The report said Garcia was northbound on FM 1882 in excess of the posted speed limit at 1:57 a.m. Sunday when he was distracted and lost control of his 1994 Pontiac. The car went onto the shoulder as Garcia overcorrected, skidded, then went over an embankment after he overcorrected again. The vehicle rolled over twice before coming to a stop.

Garcia was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, according to trooper Shawn Mundy of Odessa, who investigated the incident. His report did not say if Garcia was ejected from the vehicle or if alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Little League sets Tuesday meeting

PECOS, April 17, 2000 - A mandatory coaches meeting for all Pecos Little League coaches will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday at the Chano Prieto Little League Field on Walthall Street

All Little League coaches are urged to attend.

Lions Club holds broom, mop sale

PECOS, April 17, 2000 - The Pecos Downtown Lions Club will be conducting their annual Broom and Mop Sale on Wednesday, April 19, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The sale will take place at the La Tienda parking lot on South Eddy Street.

Items for sale include, brooms, mops, brushes, and many other items including quality cleaning aids for home, business or industry.

Proceeds from this sale are utilized by the Pecos Downtown Lions Club to provide eyeglasses for local children who are in financial need and other worthwhile community projects.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-18-32-38-43-46. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: None. Matching five of six: 66. Prize: $1,695. Matching four of six: 3,261. Prize: $124.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 18-47-53-75. Number matching four of four in Group One: None. Number matching four of four in Group Two: None. Prize: $25,000. Number matching four of four in Group Three: One. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 357. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 4-10-11-13-25. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $85,117. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Hempstead, Texas. Matching four of five: 290. Prize: $440.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 8-1-7 (eight, one, seven)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 2-2-1 (two, two, one)


Noe Garcia

Noe J. "Nene" Garcia, 33, of Odessa, died Sunday, April 16, 2000, in an automobile accident in Odessa.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

Garcia was born Aug. 18, 1966, in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico, was employed with Arco Steel, LS.I. Oilfield. He was a longtime Pecos resident, who had moved to Odessa four years ago and was a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Neyma Mendoza Garcia of Odessa; two sons, Noel Garcia of Midland and Vance Garcia of Odessa; two daughters, Noelee and Vanessa Garcia of Odessa; his parents, Juan and Gregoria Garcia of Pecos; five brothers, Ruben, Hector and Ramon Garcia of Pecos, Jesse Garcia of Waco and Johnny Garcia of Denver City; and three sisters, Romelia Madrid of Pecos, Corina Valenzuela of Pecos and Socorro Valenzuela of Denver City.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Marilea Parsons

Marilea Parsons, 76, of Pecos, died Sunday, April 16, 2000, at Memorial Hospital in Midland.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday in Pecos Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. J.E. McCormick officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.

She was born Sept. 8, 1923, in Pecos, was a lifelong Pecos resident, a retired Town of Pecos City Secretary and city judge.

Survivors include two sons, William Parsons of Midland and Claude Lee Parsons of Pecos; two daughters, Marilyn Johnson of Pecos and Mary Jane Maheffy of Katy.; one brother, Norman Boles of Reno, Nev.; one sister, Cheryl Todd of Carlsbad, N.M.; 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, April 17, 2000 - High Sunday 93. Low this morning 51. Forcast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy and windy. High 90 to 95. Southwest wind 20 to 30 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 55 to 60. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High near 90.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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