Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, November 10, 2000
Train ride part of UP's safety program
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - Area residents had the opportunity to ride
a train and learn more about train safety and statistics during a special
tour Thursday sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad.
Union Pacific Railroad operated a special five-car passenger train during
a five-day 600-mile, West Texas Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Safety
Tour. It came through the Monahans-Pecos-Toyah area yesterday afternoon
after beginning in Fort Worth on Monday. The tour ends in El Paso today.
Highway-railroad grade crossing safety presentations were given to hundreds
of students, law enforcement officers and community leaders along the tour
"During the tour we had people on board recommending safety tips, giving
statistics on accidents and providing safety measures," said Public Relations
personnel John Bromley with Union Pacific Railroad.
"One of the reasons is that the number of trains passing through the
areas has grown and we expect it to grow some more," he said, and the railroad
is trying to increase safety awareness in towns along the line.
Bromley said Union Pacific does this all over the country. "Particularly
in the areas where there's more traffic," said Bromley. "That's our main
concern is the safety of the people, we want to cut down on the number
of train/vehicle accidents."
After starting off in Fort Worth, other stops in West Texas during the
past several days included Abilene, Sweetwater, Colorado City, Big Spring,
Midland, Odessa, Kent and Van Horn. Today the train will continue on from
Van Horn to Sierra Blanca and El Paso.
"We want to educate the public in regard to crossing the tracks," said
R.L. Savage, Operation Lifesaver Presenter with the El Paso Unit of Union
Savage offered safety tips to the passengers and said most people believe
train/vehicle accidents happens during the dark. "Two-thirds of these accidents
happen during the day," said Savage.
Law enforcement officials take an active part and ticket people on violating
the laws, according to Savage.
Savage stated that very often individuals who arrive at railroad crossings
take it for granted that there won't be a train coming. "You get so used
to crossing the tracks, that you're lulled into a sense of security," he
Savage told the group that it takes the train 18 lengths of a football
field in order to stop. "In order for us to stop it will take about a mile
(5,280 feet) or so," said Savage.
"We have the right of way, because of course there's no way for us to
swerve, like a car would," he said.
"Our wheels are locked and the only thing we have is forward, neutral
and reverse," said Savage.
Savage showed the different signs stating that there is a train crossing.
"The first sign advising of a train crossing is the yellow circular
sign tell you, you're approaching a train crossing," said Savage. Another
is the mandated crossing bars at any. "This is a regulatory sign and in
the State of Texas it means `yield,'" he said.
Savage stated that vehicles should yield the right of way and come to
a complete stop.
Flashing red lights anywhere also indicate that the vehicle must make
a complete stop, before proceeding.
"Anytime is train time, it can come in any time, we don't have schedules
anymore," said Savage. "We would ask you not to proceed, until you make
sure another train is not coming."
Do not pass at a railroad track. "We also ask people with shift vehicles
not to shift on the tracks, but to wait until they have crossed it to do
so," said Savage. "If it stalls, get out of the vehicle as soon as possible,"
On every crossing there is a number that you can call and it tells the
dispatcher you're location, according to Savage. "If you have to, call
that number and the dispatcher will send someone out right away," he said.
"It is private property, no hitchhiking, riding, or running on the tracks,"
said Savage. Hunting, fishing or sitting on the tracks also is not allowed.
"Look, listen and approach with caution, but most importantly, we want
you to live," he said.
The first car on the train is the power car, which carries the supplies
for electricity and heating. A big generator provides these functions for
the train, according to Mike McCarthy, superintendent with Union Pacific
Union Pacific is no longer runs passenger trains, since Amtrak took
over 28 years ago, but maintains a fleet of 58 vintage coach cars, dining
cars and sleeper, which are housed in Omaha, Neb.
The `special' trains are used only during certain occasions such as,
the Democratic, Republic Conventions and campaigning, during the Super
Bowl and for a lot of the customer specials. "They wine and dine the customers
and they are used at such occasions such as this," said McCarthy.
The passenger trains are then taken back empty to Omaha, Neb. where
they are stored and maintained.
"Right now, during this tour we're just running them during the daylight
hours," said McCarthy.
The passenger cars were built in the early 1950's. "The Ander is named
after ancestral owner, Edward Harriman," said McCarthy. "He bought the
Union Pacific out of bankruptcy as a passenger train in the 1950's and
then one of his sons bought it and used it for business."
The rear car was used as a business office, by the younger Harriman
and is now used by the vice-president of Union Pacific, when he tours.
"This is where he sits when he goes with us for inspections," said McCarthy.
"He has allowed me to have the use of this car on this trip," he said.
The five-car train contains a dining area, bedrooms, restrooms, passenger
space and the rear office room. It also has a small kitchen complete with
all the latest appliances.
The five-car train was capable of transporting anywhere from 220 to
240 people. "Usually it's just a conductor and an engineer, but right now
we have several staff on board for safety purposes," said McCarthy.
Trains no longer have cabooses, according to McCarthy.
"The only reason we used to have a caboose, was so that he could see
the air pressure, because it has to have a certain amount of air pressure,
but the now the engineer has the technology for that," he said. "We have
so much technology now, that the number of people on board has decreased."
In some areas there used to be one train each way a day, where now it
can be up to 13, since Union Pacific merged with Southern Pacific three
years ago. Southern Pacific operated the main east-west route through Alpine,
Del Rio and San Antonio, and some trains formerly on that line have been
moved to the line running through Pecos.
"Since then, all of a sudden, we have the fastest, most director way
to Los Angeles," said McCarthy. "We went from two trains to 13-14 a day."
Eventually Amtrak is planning to shift its Sunset Limited passenger
service from the Alpine-Del Rio line to the northern route, running from
Fort Worth to El Paso with a flag stop in Pecos. Additional track work
will have to be done before that change is made, Union Pacific officials
said this summer, and crews spent last winter replacing the tracks and
building a new siding in the Pecos area.
"We have section inspectors, who inspect the tracks daily," said McCarthy.
"It's all done very high-tech now," he said.
"With all this traffic, we want the people to be aware of all the safety
procedures and to follow them," he said.
School board approves plan for softball fields at Crockett
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board approved
a new recreation facilities agreement with Reeves County as part of a lengthy
agenda on Thursday, during the board's monthly meeting.
School board members approved an amendment to an interlocal cooperation
contract for community sports and recreation with Reeves County, Town of
Pecos City and Reeves County Hospital.
P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love told the board that there's a possibility
of developing two softball fields at Crockett Middle School. Pecos' high
school girls' softball team is currently using the county's Martinez Baseball
Field, which requires a temporary fence in the outfield. Other area school
districts, including Andrews and Fort Stockton, have build new softball-only
facilities in the past year.
In the agreement, the county would contribute 1,000 feet of used chain
link fence; two scoreboards with controllers; four spectator stands that
would be three-tired and approximately 10-15 feet in length; four dugout
benches and two sets of softball bases, including home plate/pitcher's
"All of it is used equipment," said Love.
The county will repair, maintain and/or improve the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD athletic fields at Crockett Middle School and Pecos High School on
an annual basis during the winter months.
At the same time, the school would convey its interest in the property
owned jointly by the taxing entities of Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Reeves
County, Town of Pecos City and Reeves County Hospital District, located
at 2202 Balmorhea Highway, Block 17, Veterans So. 300' of N. 675.5, 300'
by 289.4' to Reeves County to be used by the Texas Agricultural Extension
"Is there any hint of non-compliance?" asked board president Louis Matta.
"Mr. (Terry) Holder has been going to the hospital and city and there
is concurrence," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
The school, county and city have been in the recreation agreement for
the past three years, and new racquetball courts are currently being built
at the old Pecos High School gym under the agreement.
Galindo told the group that on behalf of commissioners' court, "we appreciate
your consideration and cooperation. It's been a tremendous success and
we believe it's because of this great partnership."
In other business, a report on the Crockett Middle School science lab
addition was given by Monte Hunter.
"We're down to 4-5 items, I'll make sure they're taken care of and we'll
mark them off," said Hunter. "We're still holding five percent of their
pay until all these small items are taken care of."
Roofing proposals for Pecos High School cafeteria and the field house
were discussed. "We received two proposals and both are in order," said
Board members approved the proposal from Midwest in the amount of $54,579
with a $2,000 contingency for deck repair.
An air conditioning proposal was awarded to the Darville Company in
the amount of $21,030. Darville was the lowest out of six bidders, including
a Pecos company, Pecos Air Conditioning, who had the second lowest bid.
Commissioners set to review parks and recreation proposal
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - A Reeves County Parks and Recreation master
plan Town Hall public review meeting will be one of the topics of discussion
at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for
Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m., on the third floor of the Reeves
County Courthouse and the public is invited to attend.
Commissioners will discuss an interlocal cooperation agreement for community
sports and recreation between Reeves County and P-B-T ISD.
The group will discuss and take action on the Reeves County Golf Course's
Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission License; DRG's request for payment No.
1-racquetball courts; senior center Permian Basin Area Agency on the Aging
Renewal Contract; DRG request for payment invoice No. 208 and 209; award
bid No. 17-2000- walking/jogging track; award bid No. 18-200-ATM Machine;
Canon Copy Machine lease for RCDC and RCDC budget analysts report from
Speer and Murray, Ltd.
Under regular items the group will discuss and take action on:
* Reports from various departments.
· Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, sheriff's office).
· Minutes from previous meetings.
· Semi-monthly bills.
· Spread on the minutes: Banes General Contractor's Inc. Change
Order request No. 4 & 5; continuation certificate for Toyah Walker
and Notice of over axel and over gross.
Information being collected for city directory's new book
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - Joe Walker and Ronnie Prather are walking
the streets of Pecos, drumming up business for the new city directory to
be published by CDI.
"We will be in town through Wednesday or Thursday of next week," said
They are contacting businesses who have advertised in the city directory
in the past, or who may want to advertise in the future. Each business
who purchases an ad will get a free business directory.
Walker said the business directory has the white pages listing every
residence in town, plus listings of street and telephone numbers in numerical
order for easier searches for a particular individual.
CDI has published the Pecos directory every other year since 1993, when
Johnson Publishing went out of business.
"We have published city directories for 47 years," Walker said. He and
Prather together have 58 years experience in the business.
Before the directory is published, enumerators will attempt to contact
everyone listed in the 1999 directory to ensure that the information is
correct and to add any updates. Individuals will be given the opportunity
to order a copy of the basic directory.
Each residence will be listed in the home edition white pages, with
the head of the household, the spouse, their job or business, whether they
own the home, and the names and birthdays of children living at home.
In addition, the white pages will list each business and when it was
Pecos Chamber of Commerce will offer the directories for sale at their
office, 111 S. Cedar St., after the 2001 publication date.
Tradition of `grave scraping' brought from Africa, Spain
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - Scraping graves has been a Texas custom starting
before the ones doing the scraping could remember how it ever got started.
The scrapers seem to think that it just looks good or it is in keeping
with the farmer who chopped weeds in the field before he died and his relatives
were not going to let grass or weeds disgrace his grave.
According to Terry G. Gordan in his book Texas Graveyards, the
practice started in Africa. In Nigeria graves were covered with mud plaster
and in the Ashanti hinterland in Ghana they erected conical mud mounds
over their graves. Many times the dead were buried in the earthen floor
of their house, in the swept-earth yards or in tilled gardens.
The Spaniards brought to the New World the practice of establishing
a "blessed field" to establish a special sacredness. Burials could be in
the church floor. Families of wealth and influence considered church burials
as a status symbol. Camposantos were fine for the poor and converted
Indians, but not for rico. (Terry Gordon book Texas Graveyards.)
It could be that Americans scrap the cemeteries because it looks good and
eliminates watering and mowing.
There is a beautiful example of a scraped cemetery north of Barstow
on the paved road to the Mi Vida gas plant. The Catholic cemetery is next
to the highway and then the scraped graves. It is well maintained, without
grass or weeds, and has evergreen trees, a curb and fence on its perimeter.
The practice of scraping graves is dying and some of the old ones are
now partially or wholly covered with grass. Customs do change and some
call that progress but in the case of scraping graves, I feel that a part
of our heritage is dying.
Pecos Rifle Club schedules match
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - The Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club will sponsor
a Service Rifle Competition Saturday at the club range starting at 8 a.m.
There will be two classes: A modern service rifle class and an antique
service rifle classs. Entry fee is $6.
In honor of Veterans' Day, all veterans of WWII are invited to come
out and shoot a few rounds through a vintage M-1 Garand after the match.
For info. call Mike Mason at 447-6157, or Smokey Briggs at 445-5475.
Raymond Carrasco, 49, of Balmorhea, died Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2000, at Reeves
A special service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, at Seventh
Day Adventist Church in Saragosa.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., Saturday, at the Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Abner Razon officiating.
He was born Dec. 1, 1951, in Fort Stockton, was a safety manager at
the Reeves County Detention Center, and a member of the Seventh Day Adventist
Survivors include his wife, Katherine Carrasco of Balmorhea; one son,
John Carrasco of Austin; three daughters, Rachel Carrasco of Austin, Monica
Carrasco of Balmorhea and Dede Hernandez of Lubbock; his mother Dominga
Carrasco of Balmorhea; two brothers, Rosendo and Ruben Carrasco of Balmorhea;
one sister, Velma Baeza of Cleburne.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, November 10, 2000 - High Thursday 65. Low this morning 32. Forecast
for tonight: Becoming mostly cloudy. Low in the upper 30s. South wind 5-15
mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the upper 60s. West wind
15-25 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Sunday: Partly
cloudy with a slight chance of showers. Low in the upper 20s to the mid
30s. High in the 50s to the lower 60s.
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