Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, December 14, 2000
Council agrees to purchase new pumper
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council awarded Ferrara
Fire Apparatus, Inc., the bid on a 1,000-gallon pumper/tanker fire truck
in the regular meeting this morning at City Hall.
Pecos Fire Chief Roy Pena reported to the council that he and first
assistant Lynn Foster have been working on gathering information for quite
some time about different fire trucks depending on what the Pecos Volunteer
Fire Department needs
On Monday, Pena and Foster reviewed the bids and determined that Ferrara
was the better company.
In June, Pena and Mayor Ray Ortega attended a conference in Dallas where
they met with about 17 companies to go over the specks of a new truck.
"We were going from station to station giving them the specks," he said.
"They asked questions. They knew what they wanted," said Doug Bradford,
Sales Representative from Ferrara. "They asked questions and they wanted
Pena said that of all the companies they visited with, only three turned
in bids for the new truck, including Ferrara, E-ONE Daco and American La
France. The council approved Ferrara's bid at a cost of $121,115.
The new truck would replace truck 306, which the city has used since
1976, according to Ortega.
The new truck is almost identical to city fire truck 304, which has
a 1,000-gallon capacity.
Pena said the current truck needed to be replaced because the firemen
have had a lot of problems with it as far as repairs.
"Every year we have money budgeted for repairs," he said. "Since I have
been here, about 70-75 percent of that money has been used on that truck."
Bradford told the Council that his company would build the truck to
suit the city's needs.
He said he and Pena had discussed what the fire station needs and decided
that using galvanized plumbing would be cheaper and better because of how
often the truck would be used.
"It would be tougher out in the field," Bradford said.
Councilman Ricky Herrera asked Pena if they have had a lot of trouble
with the galvanized plumbing on the current truck.
The Council agreed that using stainless steel plumbing would last longer
because of the local water.
"I think for $1,000 more it's worth it," Herrera said.
After the Council awarded the bid to Ferrara with the plumbing changes,
Bradford assured the Councilmen that the new truck would be ready within
He said Pena made a stipulation that if the truck is not ready in 120
days there would be a $500 penalty per day that it runs over.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Chamber of Commerce
President Jeannette Alligood gave the Council some good news.
Alligood said the city-received news that Pecos was not chosen to be
a Main Street Project city.
"We thought we were totally out of it," she said. "They are requesting
that we self initiate the Main Street Project."
Alligood said that if the city does that it would increase the chances
of receiving funds and recognition as a Main Street city in 2002.
She said there would be two one-week training conferences in January
and February in Austin that would be beneficial to attend.
Alligood requested the council to place the subject on the next agenda
so the councilmen could discuss the matter and possibly send someone to
The council also approved the employment contract with new City Manager
Carlos Yerena with a few minor changes in wording.
City Attorney Scott Johnson said Yerena had reviewed the contract and
In other business, the Council approved the annual report from Certified
Public Accountant Dan Painter as well as approving a renewal of contract
with Painter for the 2000-2001 audit.
The Council also set the Christmas holidays for city employees to be
December 25 and 26.
School and city tax assessor Lydia Prieto reported bids for three foreclosed
The Council approved the bids from Lupe Michaelis in the amount of $4,000
for property on 824 N. Elm Street; Afred Garcia in the amount of $1,000
for property at 814 S. Cypress Street; and Sergio Rodriguez in the amount
of $350 for property 609 S. Almond Street.
President of Corplan Corrections James Parkey was scheduled to make
a formal presentation about the site selection for the new Municipal Law
Enforcement Center but was unable to attend the meeting due to bad weather
Pecos Chief of Police Clay McKinney requested the Council to table the
item until the next meeting.
The Council went into executive session to discuss possible litigation
against Security State Bank and Dawana Shinkle for forgery. That report
will be in tomorrow's addition of the Pecos Enterprise.
Envirocare's dump plans moving slowly
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - A year after announcing plans to build a
low-level radioactive waste storage facility in western Ward County, Envirocare
of Texas finds its proposal moving very slowly through the licensing process
with the Texas Department of Health.
Envirocare announced late last year they wanted to build a site eight
miles northwest of Barstow to store the waste, which originally had been
scheduled to be put in an underground site near Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth
County. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and Texas Gov.
George W. Bush ended up rejecting the site in December 1998, agreeing with
critics that the location was not completely safe due to earthquake fault
lines in the area.
Envirocare then sought permission last year to build the Ward County
site, which comes under the jurisdiction of the TDH because it would be
an aboveground facility. But company vice-president Rick Jacobi said today
Envirocare and the state agency are at odds over two items relating to
construction of the site.
"Some of the issues they talked about involved the process of designing
the facility, and we've also been talking about the financial assurance
of the facility _ whether it would be spread over a 500-year period or
a short period," Jacobi said. "We have even talked with the Texas Radiation
Advisory Board and outlined our situation."
Phil Shaver, who heads up the review effort for the Bureau of Radiation
Control's Special Licensing Program, said, "right now we are waiting for
them to respond fully to a letter we sent on May 22 requesting additional
information on their application."
He said Envirocare has sent back "not a full response. They've responded
in part, not in total."
"Each time we receive a complete response from them we have a 90-day
clock imposed on the agency in which to respond," Shaver explained. "Either
we have more questions to provide to them or we provide issuance or denial."
Radioactive waste to be kept at the facility would be housed in storage
containers inside a concrete building for hundreds of years, though Envirocare
said earlier this year its "assured isolation" proposal would allow the
waste to be removed and decontaminated in the future, if a process to do
so is found.
That would still require a facility that would maintain its structural
integrity for a very long time, and the design of the building is another
source of contention.
"They sort of want to put the cart before the horse," Jacobi said. "In
our way of thinking we would do the system function design description
then do the formal design. TDH says they want to see the final design now."
Shaver said even after that, TDH officials would still have to visit
the Ward County site before any action is taken.
"At some point in time after we move along with the review, there will
be a site visit by someone on the staff," he said.
Meanwhile, Jacobi said the settlement of Envirocare's lawsuit against
Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists is taking up most of the company's
time right now.
The defamation lawsuit was filed in April by Envirocare owner Khosrow
Semnani in the U.S. District Court for Utah against Waste Control Specialists,
a year after both firms sought to locate the low-level radioactive waste
dump in western Andrews County, near the Texas-New Mexico border.
The companies were seeking to store waste originally destined for Sierra
Blanca, but a report in the spring of 1999 by 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.
However, both firms still plan to use those sites for storage of non-radioactive
A settlement was reached last month, but Jacobi said, "Until the details
are committed to paper and the principals have signed out the agreement
it (the Barstow site) is still on hold."
"Also the legislature is coming to a new term and there will be a whole
new leadership with the governor and on the Senate site," he said. "(Senators)
Warren Chism and Senator (Robert) Duncan have some ideas on how it should
proceed and Representative (Bob) Turner also has some ideas about a local
Jacobi said at least one bill relating to radioactive waste already
has been filed, by State Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), which would repeal
an earlier law mandating the site be in Hudspeth County, which is part
of Gallego's district.
As far as when a final decision may come, Shaver said there's no set
deadline for Envirocare to answer the TDH's questions, "because of the
nature of this and the complexity of the application.
"We don't require a response deadline on the application, unless we
don't get a response in about a year. Then we'll start asking them to move
Southern Union offering plan to average out high gas bills
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - Higher gas bills this December will take a toll
on everyone and the local provider is offering some recommendations to
help out this winter.
The United States Department of Energy this week issued a report stating
that home heating bills may jump 50 percent or more this winter for consumers
of natural gas. For a Pecos residential heating customer, using 100 Ccf
(Hundred Cubic Feet) of natural gas, these record gas prices would mean
an increase of $31.40 in their overall natural gas bill this month versus
"Unfortunately, like natural gas consumers across the United States,
our customers will feel the effects of record-breaking natural gas prices
this winter," said David Stevens, president of Southern Union Gas. "We
understand the impact this will have on our customers and we are strongly
encouraging them to take action now to minimize the impact of these high
Southern Union recommends that customers conserve energy and join their
Average Bill Calculation, or ABC Plan, to minimize the impact of these
high market prices. The ABC Plan is free of charge and allows customers
to spread out their monthly payments.
Instead of large fluctuations in gas bills from summer to winter, a
customer on the ABC Plan would pay the same amount each month. This simplifies
the budgeting process and protects consumers from winter price spikes.
"I joined the ABC Plan and I strongly encourage all of our customers to
do the same," said Stevens.
In Southern Union's current billing statement there is a yellow and
black ABC Plan insert that provides information on the ABC Plan and offers
a convenient method to sign up. Customers can fill out this form, place
it in their return envelope when they pay their December bill, and return
it to Southern Union. They will then be enrolled in the ABC Plan.
Customer can also go to the Southern Union's web site, www.SUGas.com,
and click on the ABC Plan Enrollment tab on their home page to get additional
information on the ABC Plan and to sign up on line.
While Southern Union Gas Company strives to provide safe and reliable,
low-cost natural gas service, the wholesale market determines the price
that all natural gas distribution companies pay for natural gas supplies.
In accordance with regulations, Southern Union Gas Company purchases natural
gas at wholesale prices from producers and resells it without markup to
customers. The Company is hopeful that wholesale prices will return to
more normal levels by early 2001.
Board to study consolidation, block scheduling at meeting
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members will
take up the question of block scheduling at Pecos High School and discuss
the possible closing of Pecos Elementary during their regular monthly meeting,
set for 6 p.m. today in the P-B-T boardroom, 1304 S. Park St.
Along with public comment on block scheduling, TAAS scores at Pecos
High School and/or PHS test scores and PHS block schedule chart from Nov.
9, board members will discuss consolidation of Pecos Elementary third grade
with Austin Elementary first and second grades.
In other business, board members will discuss budget and anticipated
loss in student revenue and recommended cuts for remainder of the school
year; listen to a report on Crockett Middle School lab addition project
and Pecos High School roofing projects; discuss/approve audit for 1999-2000
and implementation of a Blood-borne pathogen exposure control plan, as
required by HB 2085.
Up for discussion and approval will be offers to purchase foreclosed
property located at 313 S. Oak St.; tax abatement agreement made and entered
into by and between the Town of Pecos City and Lodging Enterprises, Inc.
d/b/a Oak Tree Inn (owners) the owners of taxable real property in Reeves
County; the second reading and discuss/approve amendment to Policy DEC
(local): Compensation and Benefits; Leaves and Absences and second reading
and discuss/approve Policy FDD (Local): Admissions and Attendances: Absences
Other items on the agenda are to discuss and approve board member to
serve on Community Justice Council for a two year term (if elected); second
reading and discuss/approve Policy CDA (Local) Other Revenues: Investments
and 2000-2001 budget amendments.
The group will meet in closed session, as authorized by the Texas Open
Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. Seq., sections
551.074: Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel, Section
551.071: Private consultation with the board's attorney. (1) Discuss personnel
or hear complaints against personnel (2) Discuss extending superintendent's
Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on
items discussed in closed session.
The group will discuss and approve extension and terms of superintendent's
Under regular agenda items the board will discuss and approve:
Professional personnel: resignations, retirements, assignments, reassignments,
change of contract.
Cafeteria report and list of commodities.
Depository securities report.
Current bills and financial report.
Investment transaction report.
Reconciled bank statement report.
Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.
Miscellaneous: time and date for next meeting; calendar of events and
request for items for next agenda.
Feb. 3 date set for Chamber's awards banquet
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - The Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting
its Annual Awards Banquet and Steak Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 3.
The banquet will be held in the Reeves County Civic Center and is scheduled
to begin at 7 p.m. This year's speaker will be State Representative Gary
Walker from Plains.
The awards ceremony will include: Out-going President's Award, Hidden
Hero/Profile of Courage Awards, Women's Division Award of Service, Outstanding
Student Award, Teacher of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,
Agricultural Service Award, and Citizen of the Year Award. Those retiring
from the Board of Directors will be recognized this time, as well as the
incoming directors and newly elected officers.
Tickets will be $20 per person and may be purchased through the Pecos
Area Chamber of Commerce office.
Reservations may be made by mail to: Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce,
P.O. Box 27 or 111 S. Cedar, Pecos, Tx. 79772.
For more information call 915-445-2406.
PECOS, December 14, 2000 - High Wednesday 65. Low this morning 38. Forecast
for tonight: Considerable high cloudiness. Low in the mid 30s. South to
southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Friday: Decreasing cloudiness. High in the
lower 70s. West wind 15 to 25 mph and gusty. Friday night: Partly cloudy.
Low in the mid 30s. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 30s.
Highs in the 60s to near 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