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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

April 23, 2001

City looks to keep RTBI families in area

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 23, 2001 - With construction underway on the Air Force electronic bombing and scoring site near Verhalen, the Town of Pecos City is starting to take steps to insure that the workers who will be brought in to operate the site and their families will have everything they need.

"We're going to do whatever we can to try to get them to relocate in our city," City Manager Carlos Yerena said.

Lt. Col. Dale Garrett from Langley Air Force Base, who visited Pecos a few weeks ago, said that each individual family has to opportunity to live wherever they would like to once they come here.

In other words, they have the option of living in Pecos, Monahans or any surrounding city.

"They get a chance to live where they want to live," he said. "That'll be up to them as individual citizens."

The Pecos Economic Development Corporation (PEDC), which began working this project almost a year ago after the Air Force announced its plans for the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative (RBTI), sent out questionnaires to the 16 prospective families with numerous questions pertaining to their lives and how they live.

According to the questionnaire, nine of the 16 families said that they plan to buy a home if they move to Pecos with five stating that they would rent.

PEDC President Gari Ward said that questionnaire helped them to get an understanding of what the families are like.

"This created a real good profile for us to work with," he said.

Yerena said that the city plans to organize a "get together" for the city and the families in order to show the families Pecos and to "see how we can serve their needs."

"We're going to do whatever we can to try to get them to locate in our city," he said.

Officials with other companies, such as Pennzoil Sulphur and Smithers Tire Testing Service, chose in the past to live in Carlsbad, N.M. and Monahans instead of living in Pecos, despite the longer commute the trip involved.

The RTBI electronic scoring site being built by the Air Force will be located midway between Pecos and Balmorhea, about 17 miles south of Pecos. Commuting from either of the other two main area cities, Monahans or Fort Stockton, would involve an additional 80-mile drive each day.

Yerena said that he believes that Pecos has a good education system and overall is a good city that would be pleasing to the families.

"I think we have the quality of life that will be to their liking," he said.

Yerena said that the first step has been completed in getting the Air Force to construct the site just outside of Pecos.

"To complete the Economic Development Initiative is hopefully getting as many people to come to the City of Pecos," he said.

The Air Force hopes to have the RTBI site in operation by next year, though there are currently two lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court in Pecos and Lubbock seeking to block implementation of the flights by B-1 bombers from Dyess AFB in Abilene and Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La., over the area.

The bombers will fly a loop around Pecos at altitudes as low as 500 feet near the electronic scoring site. A similar site will be built between Snyder and Lamesa, though the bombers there will fly at an altitude of about 3,000 feet when making their practice runs.

Mom, daughter die in rollover near Balmorhea

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 23, 2001 - A mother and daughter were killed when the vehicle they were in rolled over early this morning along Texas Highway 17 in Jeff Davis County, 12 miles south of Balmorhea.

According to a report from the Department of Public Safety office in Alpine said that a family of five was traveling to Chihuahua, Mexico, in a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by the mother when the vehicle rolled over on Highway 17 in northern Jeff Davis County at approximately 3 a.m., this morning.

"We feel that she fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle," the DPS spokesperson said.

Both Pecos and Balmorhea Ambulances were called to the scene of the accident along with the Aerocare Ambulance, Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies and DPS troopers.

All five passengers were injured, with two transported to Reeves County Hospital in Pecos while a third was flown by Aerocare to Lubbock before reaching the hospital.

The names of the family members and which one was taken to Lubbock were not released at press time, but the mother apparently was not pronounced dead at the scene, according to the DPS report.

The daughter, a five-year-old, was pronounced dead at 5:46 a.m., at Reeves County Hospital by Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon.

DPS Troopers from Alpine are still investigating the accident.

The accident happened well after Sunday's high winds in the Trans-Pecos had died down. Winds in the area were gusty throughout the weekend, and were high enough on Sunday for Texas Department of Transportation crews to close Highway 17 late Sunday morning, due to blowing dust near the Lindsey Addition and in the Verhalen area.

Salt cedars still plague Pecos River

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations in Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer

PECOS, April 23, 2001 - The salt cedar, once considered a blessing, is now considered a curse and we are spending large sums to eradicate it. How it got into this country is disputed with some thinking it was sold to Old American Nursery in Philadelphia. Others think that the Spaniards introduced it to this country and the name, Tamarix, is named after the Tamaris River in Spain. The tree was used for shade, windbreaks, to stabilize streambeds and as ornamental shrubs. The Orient Hotel, now the West of the Pecos Museum, had salt cedars in front of the entire building.

The U. S. government planted the cedars along the Pecos River in the early part of the twentieth century and they soon spread outside its cultivation area. A cedar tree has roots that extend deep into the soil and sends roots out to take in surface water. This tree is tolerant to various stress conditions such as drought, cold, heat and high concentrations of salt. Salt cedars takes up salt solutes and deposits it on the ground making it difficult for naïve plants to grow. A documented study of salt cedar infestation on the Brazos River beginning in 1941, showed that in 1979, the river depth reduced from 18.4 feet to 10.2 and the width changed from 515 ft. to 220 ft. The narrow width causes flooding and the river overflowing countryside.

There are several methods to control salt cedar and none are 100% effective. The Pecos Enterprise reported that the Bureau of Reclamation tried eradicating the tree from the New Mexico state line to two miles south of Orla. The Pecos River Commission brought about the clearing of salt cedar from Girvin to the headwater, however, little clearing happened above Santa Rosa. Mechanical clearing was the method used and it proved to be less than successful. At the time, people would ask how much water would it add to the river and the answer was, "None, but everyone else is getting government money and so should we." A poor reason to spend tax revenue.

Michelle Koidin with the Associated Press reported that 28 miles of river had been sprayed by helicopter and that they would have to wait until spring to see the results. The Department of Agriculture has received permission from USDA to release 3000 eggs of Chinese leaf beetles at sites across western U.S. These beetles eat only Old World species of salt cedar. They will be placed in cages while one year of experiments is conducted. You must protect the nesting places of flycatchers, don't you see.

The manager and directors of Red Bluff Water District are trying to improve the quality of Pecos River water by diverting salt from entering the river in New Mexico. This and the elimination of the water guzzling salt cedar should make it possible to have more and better farming with the river water.

CCRC fundraiser for school supplies set for next Friday

PECOS, April 23, 2001 - Community Council of Reeves County will be having a fundraiser on Friday, May 4, to raise funds for school supplies.

The fundraiser will be a flauta plate sale and surplus sale, which will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the CCRC office, located in the Reeves County Annex building at 700 Daggett St.

Plates will consist of four flautas, rice, beans, salad, sour cream and guacamole. Tea will be offered for eat-ins only.

Cost per plate will be $4.


Edna Cook


PECOS, April 23, 2001 - High Sunday 81. Low this morning 43. Forecast for tnight: Clear. Low around 40. East wind 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday: Sunny. High 75 to 80. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low in the lower 40s. Wednesday through sunday: Mostly clear. Lows from the mid 40s to the mid 50s. Highs from the mid 80s to the lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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