Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, February 2, 2001
Air Force briefs residents on progress of RBTI plan
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - Construction on an electronic scoring site
southwest of Pecos is set to begin in March and will help the local economy,
Town of Pecos City and Reeves County officials were told Thursday afternoon.
The group met Thursday afternoon with officials from Dyess Air Force
Base in Abilene along with a colonel from Lackland Air Force Base in Florida
for the meeting, held at the Odessa College-Pecos Technical Training Center.
The meeting was designed to update city and county officials and area
residents on the status of the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative (RBTI),
according to Lt. Wes Ticer, with public affairs at Dyess Air Force.
Ticer, a former Pecos resident and a 1985 graduate of Pecos High School,
was one of the officials on hand for the special meeting, along with Lt.
Col. Dwight Williams and Lt. Col. Bill Garrett.
The RTBI project involves B-1 bombers from Dyess and B-52 bombers from
Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La., which will fly high altitude bombing
runs over the Lancer MOA area between Lubbock and Snyder, while the IR-178
low-level flights will travel through the western Permian Basin and Big
Bend areas, including a loop path around Pecos.
The Air Force plans to build a manned electronic scoring site southwest
of Pecos as part of the project, which officials said would employ 31 people
and bring $1.6 million to Reeves County annually.
The site will be located 18 miles southwest of Pecos, on land within
the Conservation Reserve Program and about a mile nearer town than originally
"For some of you this will just be a review," said Lt. Col. Garrett.
He told those assembled that that Air Force wants to make sure the young
people entering the service are properly trained. "They are our biggest
asset, we're obligated to make sure these people are properly trained and
According to Garrett if they can survive the first 10 missions of the
year, they can survive almost anything. "We want to make training for these
young people are realistic as we can," he said. "The whole gist is to make
sure we can provide that type of training."
Garrett said that the Air Force wanted to make sure that they could
consolidate a package, with a good training center, make sure they are
doing their best to put taxpayer money to work and to get those bases within
600 miles of the target locations.
Garrett gave the group a brief history on the Air Force and the many
"The concept has grown vastly," said Garrett. "One of the positive things
is that the number of requirements of low-level missions that these guys
will fly has gone down."
The missions are called "sorties," according to Garrett.
"The IR-178 route has been around for many years," said Garrett. "As
the requirements have gone down, we can make the number of sorties exactly
as they are today."
The number of flights annually had originally been proposed at 2,560,
but that number has since been cut to 1,560. "That's about six flights
per day," said Garrett. "Since the requirements came down, that has allowed
us to go back down."
He said that at one time this type of meeting would not be happening,
but that things have changed. "We want to make sure it's as mutually beneficial,"
said Garrett. "It's been very helpful and enlightening."
RBTI benefits include more effective training for officers and will
have a $3.2 impact in Texas in maximum taxpayer dollars, according to Garrett.
"We'll have a waiting period of 30 days, from when construction will
begin," said Garrett.
Garrett explained about the route that would be taken and said that
they would fly no lower than 500 feet.
Bomber flights from Dyess and Barksdale currently have to make far longer
flights for their training missions, ranging as far north as Montana, with
scoring sites in Colorado.
"If everything goes well, we'll be closing one of our other sites in
October and depending on construction open that site in January 2002,"
Once that site operates for two weeks and they make sure training is
going well, the Air Force will shut down the second site and consolidate,
according to Garrett.
"We want to have training in one particular location, have an electronic
scoring sites central," said Garrett.
Garrett gave the group a toll-free number that ranchers and farmers
can call if they have any questions, complaints or suggestions. "They can
call this toll-free number and speak to our representatives," he said.
That toll-free number is 1-877-843-9280.
Depending on how the paperwork goes, yes, March will be the start of
construction, according to Garrett.
Ontech out of San Diego, Calif. will have the contract to train all
the personnel, according to Garrett.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and commissioner Precinct 2 David
Castillo are planning a visit to San Diego within the next few weeks to
meet with the contract company Ontech.
"We want to discuss the transition with the contract company for the
20-30 employees and offer our assistance to make it a smoother transition,"
"We've got some concerns, but the Air Force has gone out of their way
to address these concerns and keep us informed," said Galindo.
"Will the personnel be living here?" asked Oscar Saenz.
"Since this will be a permanent thing, more than likely they will move
their families here," said Garrett.
"Will it be a 24-hour facility?" asked Security State Bank President
"The need to operate 24-hours is really not necessary, but the personnel
will be on hand for an `x' number of hours on any given day," said Garrett.
"La Junta is presently like Dyess, on a nine-to-midnight shift," said
Dwight Williams. "We anticipate something like that depending on where
we'll be flying."
"The numbers we don't expect it to change, but hours we don't know,"
said Williams. "We have a number of hours that we have to be on the ground."
Pecos Economic Development Corportation Director Gari Ward said that
the Air Force will lease some property and buy the land where the site
The sites are very remote sites on a normal basis, according to Williams.
"There will be approximately 20-28 contractors and two quality Air Force
guys that will look like civilians," said Garrett.
"Are you prepared, or is anyone properly trained?" asked landowner Marie
"We had some training for local individuals in Abilene, but we can surely
set something up here," said Ticer.
The Air Force plans another manned electronic scoring site in connection
with the Lancer MOA section of the flight path, to be located near Snyder.
The higher altitude flights over the South Plains have already been challenged
by a lawsuit filed by a group of ranchers and farmers in the area south
A similar lawsuit against the RBTI portion of the plan could be filed
by ranchers in the Trans-Pecos and Davis Mountains area, who say the low-level
fights have scared their livestock and damaged homes and other buildings
beneath the flight path.
Some of the same ranchers were able to successfully halt plans two years
ago to increase flights over the region by German Luftwaffe jets operating
out of Holloman AFB in New Mexico.
Ticer said that they still stand behind everything in the Environmental
Impact Study. "We will continue with what we have to do within the limits
of the law," he said.
Main Street coordinator tours downtown area
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - Town of Pecos City officials plan to be a
little more "aggressive" in meeting criteria to become a part of the Texas
Main Street Program, after the city's application was turned down last
"We're organizing and doing preparatory work to be ready when we apply,"
said Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena.
He said the city's goal is to revitalize the downtown area and invited
Kay Harvey-Mosley, State Coordinator of the Texas Main Street Program,
to Pecos on Thursday.
"We're getting organized and doing the things that she will identify,"
The group toured the downtown area on Thursday afternoon and spoke at
length with Harvey-Mosley.
"She'll be able to identify buildings and show us some tools to diversify
our economy," said Yerena.
Yerena said that the group had met with both Security State and West
Texas National Bank about starting a low-interest program for people seeking
to locate in the downtown area.
Harvey-Mosley shared her expertise and ideas about what other Main Street
cities have done.
"By becoming an official Main Street city, you have an opportunity to
be eligible for funding and get technical assistance," said Harvey-Mosley.
Pecos had applied for the program last year, but was turned down. The
city was invited to become self-designated by reapplying in 2001.
"It's not unusual to be turned down the first time or even the second
time you apply," said Harvey-Mosley. Cities can apply as many times as
they like until approved, she added.
"The population has to be under 50,000, so Pecos is a good size," said
Also geography is very important and the group wants to work with more
West Texas cities, according to Harvey-Mosley. Cities are invited to apply
as many times as they like.
Only four cities in Texas were approved for the program in 2000, according
"It's probably the top program in the nation," said Yerena.
"We're working with 80 cities right now," said Harvey-Mosley, who said
that applications are taken once a year, in July.
The four cities that were chosen this year include Canton, Carthage,
Floresville and Huntsville.
"The population has to be under 50,000, so Pecos is a good size," said
Also geography is very important and the group wants to work with more
West Texas cities, according to Harvey-Mosley.
"If the city is chosen as a Main Street city, we provide heavy technical
assistance for three years, but the services continue thereafter," she
"It's important for the city to be recognized for Main Street," said
Yerena, adding that they have several projects in mind to better the chances
of becoming part of the program.
"We want to be fully prepared and with this lady's help I think we can
achieve our goals," he said.
"It helps to clean up the city before we come in and board up buildings
appropriately," said Harvey-Mosley, who will be offering further tips to
officials to better their chances.
Yerena said that Harvey-Mosley is helping them identify any issue that
the city has to address and wants to make sure that the whole community
is behind this program. "We want to show them that the city is aggressively
pursing this program and that everyone is interested," he said.
"Some of the issues we have already talked about are, cleaning up, addressing
the health issues, such as boarding up old buildings appropriately and
improving the overall look of the city," said Harvey-Mosley.
Yerena added that the project would take time. "It can't be done overnight,"
Scarce water part of area's long history
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of
features on historical locations in Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - Ranching and farming have been an important
aspect of the economy in West Texas as far back as the Indians with their
small, irrigated fields. Both agricultural endeavors require water and
West Texas has water; the problem is getting it the cattle or the plants.
Early exploration of this area for a route from El Paso to San Antonio
recorded over forty watering spots and the distances between each. As early
as 1585, a young Spanish lieutenant, Antonio de Espejo, made mention of
Comanche Springs near Fort Stockton and San Solomon Spring and Phantom
Lake near Balmorhea. We have several aquifers in this area that at one
time supplied ample water to over 500 irrigation pumps.
The Pecos River, now a trickle, was once a mighty stream and ranchers
told of the river flowing bank to bank and said it was dangerous to ride
in the dark as you would unknowingly be on the riverbank and could be swept
Diverting water from the river began in the middle 1870s. By 1914, work
had been started or completed on ten projects to divert river water. Many
of the projects were abandoned and some were incorporated into water districts
now in operation. 173,000 acres were included in the ten river projects,
however, only 30,000 acres were under cultivation and they had a shortage
GETTING READY - Jenny Abbott
and Pecos Chamber of Commerce Women's Division President Laura Briggs work
along with her daughter, Ruby, on rolling out table clothes on the tables
for the Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.
Banquet's dinner sold out, seats still available
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - Tickets for the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce's
Awards Banquet dinner are sold out, but tickets to just attend the banquet
are still available to community members at the door at 7 p.m., Saturday
night at the Reeves County Civic Center.
This year, the Chamber is serving steak dinners as opposed to previous
years where barbecue was served, and Executive Director Tom Rivera said,
"We're sold out."
Rivera said it is unusual for the Chamber to sell out of tickets for
this type of dinner but assures the community that anyone without a $20
dinner ticket may purchase a $10 ticket in order to see this year's awards
"We are going to allow people to go to the banquet but they won't get
the dinner," he said. "They're welcome to come out."
Pecos Rotary Club members are in charge of cooking 290 steaks for the
Rivera said that the number of tickets sold has been a combination of
the steak dinner and the added interest of the guest speaker, Texas Representative
Gary Walker (R-Plains). Walker's District 80 includes Pecos and all of
Representatives from area Chambers of Commerce from Midland, Monahans
and Fort Stockton would also be attending the banquet, according to Rivera.
He said that this is the first time in many years that the Midland Chamber
of Commerce has attended the local banquet.
"We appreciate those folks making the trip down," he said.
Rivera also said he and the Chamber appreciate the interest from the
"I'm very pleased with the turnout and the support from the community,"
"I hope everybody comes out and has a good time," he said.
Along with Walker's speech, which will focus on activities in the current
107th Texas Legislature, the Chamber will also hand out its
annual awards on Saturday. They include Citizen of the Year, the Women's
Division Award of Service, the Agricultural Award, Student of the Year,
Educator of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, the Ruiz Profile
in Courage/Hidden Hero Award and Outstanding Chamber Director for 2000.
Swim team gets pep rally at gym before regionals
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - The Pecos Eagle Swim Team will be honored at
a Pep Rally scheduled for 3 p.m., Wednesday in the Pecos High School Old
Everyone is invited to come out and cheer for the group, as they prepare
to travel to Lubbock to compete in the Regional 4-A Swim Meet.
The regional meet will be next Thursday through Saturday at the Pete
Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock, with the top finishers advancing to Class
4A state competition in Austin.
PECOS, February 2, 2001 - High Thursday 56. Low this morning 27. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 20s. South to southwest wind
5 to 10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny and warmer. High 65 to 70. West wind
5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Low 30 to 35. Sunday and Monday:
Mostly sunny days and fair at night. Low in the upper 30s. Highs around
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