Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, January 29, 2001
Snow gets blame for I-10 accident, Super Bowl glitch
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, January 29, 2001 - The Sunday forecast by the National Weather
Service was a little bit off, and the Super Bowl telecast was off for a
little bit, as the edge of a winter storm that moved into the Permian Basin
on Saturday hung around for an extra day, leaving between one and three
inches of snow in the Pecos area.
The forecast going into the weekend was for cold temperatures on Saturday
with a chance of sleet or snow, but for the system to move out of the area
by Sunday. Instead, Pecos was greeted with a seven-hour snowfall during
the day, while areas to the north and east had to endure icier conditions
during the late afternoon and early evening.
It was a combination of snow mixed with sleet that was blamed for knocking
out the signal from Super Bowl XXV in Tampa to KOSA's satellite dish in
Odessa for about 15 to 20 minutes Sunday night, prompting a number of calls
to the station.
"We had to go scrape the snow off the satellite receiver," a KOSA engineer
said this morning. The snow and ice caused the digital signal to disappear
just before the Baltimore Ravens kicked a field goal late in the second
quarter, which gave them a 10-0 lead on the way to their 34-7 victory.
"It (the image) kind of froze. It would have been great for instant replay,"
he said. "It went just that quick - one second it was on, the next it was
The engineer said workers had to get ladders to climb up to the satellite
dishes at KOSA's soon-to-be vacated receiver site on the west side of Odessa.
The station has moved its studios over to the Music City Mall, but the
satellite dishes remain at the old 10th Street location.
The signal was restored midway through the Super Bowl halftime show,
about the same time the snow was ending in the Trans-Pecos.
While snow fell throughout the day, the temperatures remained warm enough
in the area to keep most roads and bridges from freezing over. The Texas
Department of Public Safety reported only one accident, when a pickup skidded
on Interstate 10 just east of the I-20 junction at the 188 mile marker
and struck an exit sign at 2:30 p.m. There were no injured reported in
The biggest problems from the storm came in the South Plains and Texas
Panhandle, where up to a foot of snow fell, forcing highways to close and
canceling flights out of Amarillo and Lubbock.
More than nine inches of snow fell in Amarillo over the weekend, with
12 inches at Dalhart and seven inches at Borger. Dumas, Gruver, Hartley,
Perryton and Stratford each had 10, the National Weather Service said.
The NWS posted a winter storm warning for the Panhandle on Monday.
A treacherous icy glaze remaining in Lubbock on Monday from freezing
rain and snow over the weekend forced a two-hour delay in public school
Crews also began tackling tree damage from heavy ice accumulations.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation has re-opened Interstate
40 from Amarillo west to the New Mexico border. But U.S. Highway 54 from
Dalhart southwest to Tucumcari, N.M., remains closed.
In Midland, police cautioned drivers over the weekend to avoid driving
on Loop 250, a major throughway serving western and northern areas. Drivers
were advised to use alternate routes.
Snowplows were used to clear lanes of Interstate 27 near Lubbock.
"By morning, we may have some sections that are dry, then the first
thing you know you're sliding on ice," said George Dozier, TxDOT district
Members of the theatrical production "Godspell" were stranded Sunday
by the winter storm as highways were closed after weekend performances
in Lubbock. The troupe's 21 members were scheduled to hit the road en route
to Peoria, Ill., where they are scheduled to perform Tuesday.
"What it means is we get to watch the game and drink Shiner Bock," said
Jim O'Connell, a keyboardist.
After freezing rain fell throughout Saturday and Sunday morning, the
precipitation turned to snow Sunday afternoon, leaving a blanket atop a
thick coating of ice. Weekend precipitation totaled 1.5 inches in Lubbock,
the weather service said.
Although some early flights out of Lubbock International Airport were
canceled Sunday, all carriers resumed their schedules by late afternoon.
Passenger buses arriving and leaving Lubbock were delayed throughout the
day, ticket agent Daniel Torrez said.
Ice forcing tree branches onto utility lines knocked out electrical
power to hundreds of Lubbock residents for much of the day Sunday, officials
with Southwestern Public Service and Lubbock Power & Light said.
Since November, the city has received 14.9 inches of snow, weather service
meteorologist Robert Barritt said.
"It's unusual, but it's not unheard of," Barritt said. "It has probably
been more as far as snowfall than we've had for the past 10 years."
The weather service said the months of December and November were the
third and sixth coldest since 1913.
Redistricting tops Legislature's agenda
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, January 29, 2001 - Redistricting will probably end up as the
main issue for the 2001 Texas Legislature, though other issues involving
a variety of issues that affect West Texas will also be dealt with, according
to Pecos' House and Senate representatives.
State Rep Gary Walker (R-Plains) and State Sen. Frank Madla (D-San Antonio)
both put redistricting at the top of the list of issues for the 77th
Legislature to deal with between now and the end of May.
"Redistricting will affect not just the House and Senate, but the State
Board of Education and Congressional seats," said Walker, who added he
plans to discuss this issue this Saturday during the Pecos Chamber of Commerce's
Walker represents District 80 in the House, which runs from Reeves County
north along the Texas-New Mexico border to the Levelland area. Madla's
Senate District 21 runs along the border from San Antonio to near El Paso,
and includes all but the far northern section of Reeves County, which is
part of Senate District 28, represented by Robert Duncan (D-Lubbock).
Madla's district is one of the biggest in the state, but he said due
to the increase in population in East and Central Texas, it figures to
get even bigger by the 2002 election. "I may have to pick up additional
territory, because right now I'm 105,000 to 110,000 people short," he said.
That may be solves by putting some other counties wholly into his district,
including Sutton (Sonora), Medina (Hondo) and Uvalde counties, that are
currently only partially within District 21.
Madla is serving as chairman of the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations
and is on the Health and Human Services Committee in the current legislature,
while Walker is chairman of the House Committee on Land and Resource Management
and is on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Walker, who manages the Sandy Land Underground Water District in Plains,
said water issues will remain important in the current legislature, but
air quality issues figure to be the biggest environmental concern this
"The federal government told us if you don't clean up the Houston-Dallas-Port
Arthur areas they would put restrictions on. They may not allow construction
equipment to operate during the morning hours or where there are a lot
of people going to and from work, and they could lower the speed limits,"
he said. "The equipment to improve the air quality is going to be expensive,
and the bottom line is you and I are going to pay for that because companies
don't pay taxes, they just pass them on."
Other issues concerning the area will involve both agriculture and upgrading
the rural state highway and farm-to-market road systems in Texas, Walker
said, along with improving the highway infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico
Madla said the Senate would be looking at improving health insurance
for teachers and improving salaries for guards at state prisons in Texas,
an issue that came up in connection with the escape of the seven inmates
in December from the Connelly Unit near Kenedy.
One other issue that the legislature could face is another battle over
school funding. The original "Robin Hood" plan created 10 years ago was
thrown out by a state district court in 1996, and the revised plan is expected
to soon face a court challenge from property-rich school districts.
"Right now we have no way of knowing how long it will take. Hopefully,
they will resolve something before the legislature ends," said Madla.
"My guess is we wouldn't have to (deal with school funding) unless we
go to a special session," said Walker. "When they passed the current law,
my district had a lot of property-rich schools, but most of those districts
were out in West Texas. Now Austin ISD is a Chapter 41 (property rich)
school district and they don't like sending money to the state.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is currently at the maximum $1.50 per $100 valuation
school districts are allowed to set their property tax rates at, but Walker
said, "Some school district set their rates around $1.20 or $1.30 and say
their people can't pay any more, and that they can't send any more money
to the state, and the other districts wonder why they have to pay $1.50
when they aren't."
Pecos swimmers score district title sweep
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, January 29, 2001 - For the first time since 1995, both the Pecos
High School boys and girls swimming teams won the District 3-4A Championship
titles this weekend in Big Spring.
Head Coach Terri Morse said she knew the team would do well but was
not prepared for what happened.
"I knew we would have a good meet," she said. "I just didn't know how
The Pecos boys won their 10th title in 12 years, finishing
with a total 142 points ahead of second place Andrews, which finished with
57 points. The Pecos girls ended up with 123 points to beat out Abilene
Wylie with 54 points and win their seventh title in 11 years.
Morse said that she was happy that both teams won and was glad that
the seniors were able to pull off the wins before they graduated.
"I was really happy to see the girls win," she said. "The girls have
been there all year, I'm really happy for them."
Senior Co-Captain Grant Holland said that both teams have been working
toward winning the district titles at the same time for a long time and
happy that it happened this year.
"It's been a long time since that's happened," he said. "And the girls
deserved it, they've been working harder than I've ever seen anybody work."
"I think the girls really pulled through," Senior Co-Captain JoAnn Wein
said. "We did a lot better than we expected to do, especially Becca (Wein)
and Lauren (Wein)."
Morse said that the results of the meet exceeded her expectations especially
some unexpected first place finishes from junior Rebecca Wein and sophomore
Rebecca Wein was able to out touch the competition to take home first
place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:14.02, just two tenths
of a second ahead of Kelli Wallace of Andrews.
Lauren Wein exceeded Morse's expectations and her own when she gave
a very emotional performance pulling just slightly ahead of the pack and
finishing first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:12.10, to beat
out Paula De Carli of Andrews by .22 second.
In addition to the two district champion titles the Eagles brought home
three more awards.
Two of them belong to Morse herself after she was named District 3-4A
Coach of the Year for both the boys and girls teams.
Senior JoAnn Wein also received the honor of being named Female Swimmer
of the Year.
"It was my goal from last year and I was happy to get it," she said.
"There were a bunch of girls that deserved to get it."
The boys A relay of Cortney Freeman, Jason Lopez, Holland and Randall
Reynolds broke the district record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with
a time of 1:34.68.
Holland said they were surprised by the race because it was supposed
to be a tight race between them and the Monahans team, which finished two
"That was cool cause the last time we swam it we couldn't break 1:40,"
The 1999 Pecos team set the previous record when they finished with
Senior Tye Edwards set a new school record for the 100-yard butterfly
that was set by Pecos' Evan Bates in 1995. Edwards placed second in the
race to Wylie's John Ouimette, who broke Bates' 55.75 district record with
After a great day of swimming during preliminaries on Friday the diving
teams started off finals on Saturday morning.
Senior Jenny Alvarez helped the girls by diving well during the eight
dive prelims making it into finals, where she placed third with a total
of 202 points behind second place Lareina Partain of Andrews winner Haylee
Hall of Abilene Wylie, who 263.15 points.
On the boys' side senior Wesley Roberts finished in fourth place while
Michael Juarez and Leroy Rodriguez followed with fifth and sixth. All five
of the Pecos divers will advance to the regional swim meet in Lubbock.
The swimming finals opened with the girls' A team of JoAnn Wein, Rachelle
Eisenberg, Rebecca Wein and Sarah Flores wining 200-yard medley relay with
a time of 2:06.50.
JoAnn Wein continued to gain momentum for the girl's team by winning
the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:13.81, 4 ½ seconds better
then teammate Jessica Minjarez, wo was second Lauren Wein finished sixth
in the race.
Flores and Rebecca Wein finished first and second in the 200-yard individual
medley with times of 2:34.03 and 2:40.39. Flores also placed second
in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:16.71, just one second behind
Eisenberg who won with a 1:15.28 time.
Rebecca Reynolds of Pecos placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly.
The Pecos girls dominated the 500-yard freestyle with first, second
and third place finishes from JoAnn Wein, Minjarez and Betsy Lujan.
Wein finished first with a time of 6:01.68, Minjarez finishd second
with a 6:15.58 while Lujan finished third with a time of 6:20.96.
Tina Grice finished sixth in that race, while Lujan also finished fourth
in the 200-yard individual medley.
Kelsey Holt finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle and then moved
up one place to take third in the 100-yard freestyle. Wylie's Jennifer
Haney and Puja Chopra of Fort Stockton were first and second.
The girls' A team of Holt, Misty Cason, Lujan and Eisenberg placed second
to Wylie in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:53.89, while
the girls' A team of JoAnn Wein, Holt, Eisenberg and Flores pulled way
ahead of the pack taking first in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time
of 4:08.75, 12 seconds ahead of second place Wylie.
On the boys' side, the A team of Tye Edwards, Jason Lopez, Will Oglesby
and Cortney Freeman placed first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time
of 1:44.31, just tenths of a second off of the district record set by the
Pecos team in 1998.
The A team of Reynolds, K.W. Winkles, Holland and Edwards placed first
in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:30.20, four seconds ahead
of second place Big Spring.
Eagle swimmers swept the top three places in the 200-yard individual
medley. Holland placed first with a time of 2:11.83 while Winkles
was second with a 2:14.05 and Oglesby was third with a 2:17.47, who also
placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly..
Lopez won the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:03.36 time, three seconds
up on Holland, who was second.
Freeman took first place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.07
ahead of Ethan Lewallen of Monahans and Michael Carrasco of Big Spring.
Lopez placed fifth in that race.
Reynolds, Patrick McChesney and Daniel Quintana swept the top three
places in the 500-yard freestyle.
Reynolds won with a time of 5:14.94, McChesney took second with a 5:31.59
and Quintana placed third with a time of 5:39.54. Trey Edwards placed
fifth in that race.
Reynolds, McChesney and Quintana earlier were third, fourth and fifth
in the 200-yard freestyle.
Tye Edwards took home first place in the 100-yard backstroke with a
time of 56.46.
Winkles placed second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.42,
behind Douglas Willberg of Big Spring who finished first with a time of
After having some trouble during the race, Freeman finished fifth in
Gary Garcia placed fifth in the 200-yard individual medley and fourth
in the 100-yard backstroke.
Max Key placed sixth in the backstroke and Roberts placed fifth in the
The top six finishers in each event will advance to the Region 1-4A
Championships on Feb. 8-10 in Lubbock.
Bonilla aide sets local office visit to hear concerns
PECOS, January 29, 2001 - An aide to U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla,
R-Texas, will be in Pecos on Thursday and Friday to hold office hours at
the congressman's local office, located in the Reeves County Courthouse.
Tony Carrillo, Bonilla's constituent liaison based in Midland, will
staff the Pecos office both days from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Carrillo will
be on hand to respond to requests for information and to work with residents
of Pecos and the surrounding area on a variety of issues including: Social
Security, veterans concerns, immigration, passport information, agricultural
concerns and others.
"I encourage the residents of Pecos and the surrounding area to stop
by my office and visit with Tony if they have any questions or need help
with any federal issues. I am always looking for better ways to serve the
residents of the Pecos area," Bonilla said.
PECOS, January 29, 2001 - High Sunday 42. Low this morning 35. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 25 to 30. West wind 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday:
Partly cloudy. High 60 to 5. West wind 15 to 25 mph, decreasing 5 to 15
mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 25 to 30. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy
and cooler. Highs 50 to 55.
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