Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Red Bluff board OKs $672,000 dam rehab bid
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members
got an unpleasant surprise, when bids for Phase II of the Red Bluff Dam
Renovation Project came in well over the estimate made by the district's
engineering consultant late last year.
Board members awarded the bid for replacement and repair of the dam's
gates and irrigation tunnels to Houston-based Orion Construction, at a
cost of $672,000, during their regular monthly meeting in Pecos on Monday.
The bid was one of only two received by the board, which voted unanimously
to accept it even though it will likely mean the district will have to
borrow money to meet overall operating expenses over the course of the
next two years.
HDR Engineering gave the district a $750,000 estimate for the entire
project last November, after a bid for Phase I of the rehabilitation work
at the dam was accepted by the board.
Stolt-Comex-Seaway of Houston was awarded that contract, which involved
blocking off water flow into the dam last winter in order to inspect the
dam's deteriorating gates and interior valves, for a cost of $122,105,
while the contract for the new sluce gates were awarded this past February
to California-based Waterman Industries, which bid $97,470 for fabricating
the 42-inch gate for the west side of the dam and the 48-inch gate for
the east side.
The combined Phase I, Phase II and sluce gate bids come to $891,575,
or $141,575 over last November's estimate.
David Wheelock of HDR Engineering attended Monday's meeting, and said
Stolt-Comex-Seaway submitted the only other bid for Phase II of the project,
at a cost of $695,000. He explained that the bids were a variation on one
of three repair options drawn up by HDR in a 1996 report and those variations
were to blame in part for the higher-than-expected bids.
"They're going to put a brand-new concrete wall in for the sluce gates,"
he said, while other repairs to the interior of the dam also are necessary
to the corrosion caused by the high salt levels in the water at Red Bluff
"Anything made out of cast iron or carbon steel is gone. Part of the
sluce gate (installed in 1976) is gone, the piping through the dam and
the diffuser cone are gone," he said. Replacement parts will be made of
stainless steel, as will the gates themselves.
"I don't like the price. It's way more than what we expected, but I
don't know what we can do, plus we've already spent the money to build
the gates," Red Bluff General Manager Jim Ed Miller said.
Phase I of the project and the cost of the gates came in under what
had originally been estimated. Miller said last November he thought Phase
I would cost in the $200,000 range, while the estimate at that time by
HDR for the sluce gates was $150,000
The district wants Phase II of the project to get underway beginning
on Oct. 15, so that it would be completed by March 31, 2000, when the next
irrigation season begins. The contract has a 170-day construction window,
though Wheelock told the board Orion wanted to delay the start of the work
until December, when the construction manager for the rehab work will have
finished another project. "We're trying to get them here earlier," Wheelock
Currently, only the west gate of the dam is operational, and emergency
repairs had to be made in it last year when it was found one of the guides
had rusted away. After the Phase II work is completed, both gates of the
64-year-old dam will be available for use.
"They plan to do rehab work on one side, and then do the other, so one
side should be done well before (March 31)," Wheelock said. The contract
carries a $1,000 per day penalty if Orion fails to complete the work within
the 170-day period.
Red Bluff receives a payment of about $1 million a year as part of the
1989 Pecos River Compact settlement with New Mexico, but the added cost
of the project means "we'll probably have to borrow money to finish up
next year," Miller said.
"It's going to be like old times," added board president Randall Hartman,
referring to the time before the district was awarded the $14 million settlement.
"This is something that's been talked about for so long, but we need
to do it," added board member Charlotte Wilcox, and the motion to award
the contract to Orion passed unanimously.
Hartman said once the construction bills are paid off, "We can probably
pay the note back in two years."
State issues new fire ban warning
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - Reeves County is under extreme fire condition
with a fire ban in effect.
This year's rain has not helped the county even though the total is
slightly higher than last year, according to Reeves County Extension Agent
Terry Holder said.
"It's been dry for the last nine years," Holder said.
He said the drought, which began in 1991 in the Trans-Pecos, has affected
ranching in Reeves County.
"We are at about 20 percent of caring capacity for cattle," Holder said.
"The ranchers had to sell 80 percent because of no grass."
Pecos Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said the fire ban prohibits open
fires. He said nobody is allowed to burn of grass, weeds or trash.
People who live in the country whose only way of disposing trash is
burning should burn it in a container with a screen on top so as not to
allow embers fly out, Brookshire said.
Trash burning is not allowed inside the city limits.
"The city has an ordinance against burning in the city limits," Brookshire
Violators of the fire ban could be fined and faced with several charges
depending on the severity of violation.
"If they're caught burning, they can be fined $500," Brookshire said.
"They could also be subject to arrest and liable for any damage caused."
As of September 2, 177 of Texas' 254 counties are under fire ban, including
Ward, Pecos, Winkler, Brewster, Presidio, El Paso and Hudspeth counties.
Brush fires caused damage to areas of South Central and East Texas over
the Labor Day weekend, while a brush fire earlier this year in the Glass
Mountains near Marathon resulted in the death of one firefighter.
The Texas Forest Service is tracking the bans as a public service.
Brookshire said citizens should use common sense and protect themselves
from damaging fires.
He said people should keep weeds and grass cut around their homes.
"The less you have around the house the can burn, the better off it
will be," Brookshire said.
The Texas Agricultural Extension Service has a list of precautions to
avoid considerable damage to homes in case of a wild fire.
- Maintain a 30 to 100 foot safety zone around your home.
- Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs-clear all flammable vegetation.
- Remove flammable materials including leaves and rubbish from under
structures where wind blown embers may spark a fire.
- Stack firewood uphill and at least 30 feet from your house.
- Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and barbecue grills.
- Store gasoline, oily rags, and other flammable materials in approved
safety cans and place the cans in a safe location away from the base of
- Prune branches from trees within the safe zone to a height of 10 feet
above the ground. Also remove shrubs, small trees, or other potential "ladder"
fuels from beneath large trees.
- Trim branches, which extend over the eaves of your roof. Remove branches
within 15 feet of the chimney.
- Regularly clear roof and gutters of needles and leaves to eliminate
an ignition source for embers and firebands, especially during hot, dry
- Reduce density of surrounding woodland areas at least 100 feet out
from the home site. Thin trees so crowns do not touch each other.
- Post addresses or lot numbers so that it is clearly visible for approaching
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near
bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries annually or according to
the manufacturers suggestion.
- Plan and rehearse a home fire escape drill.
- Know where safety areas are near your home or within your subdivision.
Know all emergency escape routes.
- Report all fires immediately to your local fire department.
Brookshire said the Pecos Fire Department is on call 24 hours a day.
Sign-ups scheduled for children's insurance
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - An effort by community agencies to reach
uninsured children in Reeves County will be holding its second registration
period Wednesday through Saturday, after surpassing the state-mandated
quota during the first sign-up period earlier this year.
Reeves County Hospital, Texas Department of Human Services, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD, Community Council of Reeves County, the Reeves County Judge's Office
and West Texas Opportunities, have teamed together to provide an open enrollment
for CHIP's (Children's Health Insurance Plan).
CHIPS is the low cost or no-cost health insurance that is available
to working families in the State of Texas. To apply parents are asked to
provide proof of income for a one-month period, proof of child support
either paid out or received, and proof of childcare.
The first Open Enrollment was held this past May and the second would
be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in specified Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
schools, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
"We feel this is very important, because as a hospital district, Reeves
County Hospital is responsible for the health care needs of this community,"
said Director of Special Services at RCH Nancy Ontiveros.
"We'll actually be doing all of the applications, with our first round
of enrollment on May 31," said Ontiveros. "We were able to enroll 350 children
into the CHIPS program."
The state had set a quota of 99, so Reeves County signed up 3 ½
times that number in May, according to Ontiveros.
"We were very fortunate to have so many agencies who want to join together
for the health care needs of the children in our community," said Ontiveros.
"While we have already exceeded our numbers, statistics show that there
are still 1,600 potential (children) eligible," she said, "so our group
has set a goal of reaching those children to assure that they are insured
by the end of the year."
"We'll also be going to Balmorhea on Sept. 28," said Ontiveros, who
added that the Balmorhea superintendent Elizabeth Saenz was very receptive
to the program.
"She was delighted that we were coming and enrolling these children,"
said Ontiveros. "She was very pleased and was totally in favor of the program."
The schedule of enrollment at each school is as follows: Wednesday at
Pecos Kindergarten, Austin Elementary and Pecos Elementary schools.
On Thursday, enrollment will take place at Bessie Haynes Elementary
School and Zavala Middle School and on Friday, enrollment will be held
at Crockett Jr. High School and Pecos High School.
For additional information, call Reeves County Hospital at 447-3551,
ext. 350 or TDHS at 445-5487.
City's sales tax totals unchanged from `99
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - Sales tax rebates, both for the month and for
the year in Pecos, remain at almost the exact same levels as in 1999, according
to figures released on Friday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's
The comptroller's office sent out checks to cities and counties for
September last week, based on sales made during July. According to the
figures, Pecos' check totaled $60,176, up four-tenths of a percent from
the $59,924 it got back from Austin in September of 1999.
For the first nine months of 2000, the city has gotten $583,614 back
from the state, based on its 1½-cent share of the 8¼-cent
sales tax. That's up three-quarters of a percent from a year ago, when
tax rebates for Pecos from January through September totaled $579,246.
Meanwhile, tax rebate numbers for Balmorhea continued to show a sharp
increase over last year, while Toyah's rebate totals continued to be down
sharply from 1999.
Balmorhea's $621 check this month was up 816.57 percent from the small
$77 check it got last September, and for the year the city has gotten $6,588
back, from Austin. That's up 50.45 percent from the $4,379 last year, but
the period also included a 50 percent increase in the city's sales tax,
from 1 to 1½ cents.
Toyah's September check was for $236, which was down 65.21 percent from
the $678 it got from Rylander's office a year ago. For the first nine months
of 2000, Toyah's tax rebates are $3,513, down 72.18 percent from the $12,629
it received in 1999.
The Reeves County Hospital District's check for its ½-cent sales
tax was $25,081, up 22.19 percent over last year. For all of 2000, the
hospital has gotten $233,525 in tax rebates, a rise of 2.8 percent from
Rebate checks for Permian Basin towns were up slightly overall, though
some cities did report lower checks for the month.
Midland received the area's largest check, for just under $1.13 million,
which is up 35 percent, but includes a 25 percent rise in the city's sales
tax since last year. Odessa's check for $940,665 was up 11.2 percent, while
Andrews and Alpine reported increases of over 20 percent in their tax rebate
At the other end, Fort Stockton's rebate check for September was down
by more than 10 percent, while Kermit saw its check for the month drop
by 15 percent.
Statewide, rebate checks were up 12.43 percent, to just over $194 million.
Houston got the largest rebate check from Austin, $23.2 million, an 8.88
percent rise, while Dallas was next, with a $15.5 million check, up 14.76
Eagles football season tickets on sale
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - Season tickets remain on sale through Friday
for the Pecos Eagles' five 2000 home football games. Tickets can be purchased
at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD business office, 1302 S. Park St.
Pecos' 2000 home season opener is this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the
Alpine Bucks. Other home games this season are Sept. 22 against Presidio,
Oct. 13 against Fabens, Oct. 27 versus Canutillo and Nov. 3 against El
Paso Mountain View. Homecoming will be against Clint this season.
Individual tickets will also be available for Pecos home games this
year, at a cost of $5 each for adults.
Dru Carruth, 63, of Andrews, died Sunday, Sept. 10, 2000, at her residence.
Services will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Means Memorial
United Methodist Church with Rev. Eddie Marcum, officiating. Burial will
be in the Andrews North Cemetery.
She was born June 11, 1937, in Alpine, was co-owner of Chocks Well Service
Co., in Andrews, was a member of the Means Memorial United Methodist Church
and active with the Andrews 4-H.
Survivors include her husband, Chock Carruth of Andrews; one son, Chris
Carruth of Andrews; one daughter, Paula Sommers of Andrews and five grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to Andrews
4-H, P.O. Box 103, Andrews, Tx. 79714.
McNett Funeral Home of Andrews is in charge of arrangements.
Ruth H. Daugherty, 91, of Kerrville, died Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2000 in a
Kerrville car center.
Private family graveside services were held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept.
9, at Fairview Cemetery in Pecos.
She was born May 6, 1909, in Lamkin, had been a Kerrville resident for
three years, after residing in Alpine for 12 years and Pecos from 1930
until 1963. She was a retired childcare worker and a member of the Baptist
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Daugherty in 1960.
Survivors include one daughter, Sara Smallwood of Los Angeles, Calif.;
one son, William Daugherty of Kerrville; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to the
Alzheimer's Foundation or the charity of one's choice.
Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville is in charge of arrangements.
Services are incomplete for Carmen Sanchez, 84, who died Thursday, Sept.
12, 2000 at Reeves County Hospital.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, September 12, 2000 - High Monday 106. Low this morning 75. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. East wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday:
Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. East wind 10-20 mph. Wednesday night:
Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Low in the
lower to mid 60s. High in the mid to upper 90s.
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
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise