Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, May 23, 2001
TxDOT seal-coating work to begin on area highways
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- Motorists may find slow and sticky going on
the Interstate 20 frontage roads in Reeves County for the next few
days, as construction crews put down fresh asphalt "seal coats"
to refresh and extend the life of the road surfaces.
"They'll be putting on a new surface from Toyah to the Barstow exit,"
said Texas Department of Public Safety public relations director Glen Larum,
who added that other sections of highway in Reeves and western Ward County
also are due for seal coating over the next several weeks.
The sections to be resurfaced by TxDOT include: Interstate 20 frontage
roads from FM 2903 at Toyah to near FM 516 (Barstow exit). That includes
both the sections through Pecos and those west of town, and the section of
frontage road along I-20 east of town that dead-ends at the Pecos River.
Others roads to be seal coated include RM 2355 from FM 516 north of Barstow
to SH 115 in Pyote; FM 873 from FM 3398 near Sullivan Bridge to FM 516 in
Barstow; Business I-20 from the Reeves County line to east of Interstate
20 and RM road 1927 from Spur 57 in Pyote south to FM 1776.
"They should be done in 3-4 days with the work being done from Toyah to
Barstow and they'll be working in that area for a while longer on the other
roads, because there are several roads in that area that will be seal-coated,"
Work on the projects go underway this week, May 21, and should be wrapped
up by the middle of June, barring cold weather or rain, according to Jerry
McGuairt, the Texas Department of Transportation's project manager in Fort
Lipham Construction Co., Inc. of Aspermont, is putting down the new asphalt
Motorists along these stretches of highways will encounter flaggers at
major intersections, flaggers and a pilot car in work zones, brief lane closures,
and a reduction in traffic speeds in those areas where seal coat work is
"We may reduce the speed of traffic in these construction zones, but the
flow of traffic will not be stopped," said McGuairt. "Drivers should always
use caution and drive carefully in those areas to avoid windshield and pain
damage," he said.
"Whenever possible, I suggest people find alternate routes for a few days,"
The seal coat work on Reeves and Ward county highways is part of a summer-long
$6.83 million preventive maintenance program involving nearly 400 miles of
highways throughout the 12-county TxDOT district.
"Seal coat" is a rock and asphalt layer put down on the highway surface
as a preventive maintenance measure to seal the surface and keep moisture
from damaging the road base. The seal coat extends the life of the highway.
Toyah to replace water lines with grant
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- Replacing 65-year-old distribution lines and
putting in a new water storage tank are part of the improvements that
will be made in Toyah with a $350,000 grant awarded to city this week.
"We're just very thankful that we received this funding," said Toyah City
Mayor Diana Tollett. "We want to keep our community alive."
The grant Toyah received was part of $57.8 million given out to cities
and counties as part of the Texas Community Development Program (TCDP) grants
announced by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).
Both Toyah and Balmorhea received $350,000 for their projects, while Pecos
didn't fare as well and received $50,000.
Tollett said that the city has been doing work on their water system in
a three-step project. "We put in distribution lines in the north part of
town and a new treatment facility and now we want to complete the distribution
lines and replace main lines along the tracks," she said. "Those have been
there since 1936."
Tollett said after that, the city's whole water system would be current.
"Of course, we use surface water, so we need to have a treatment facility,"
said Tollett, who added that Toyah officials had been working on this particular
grant for about a year and a half.
"We're really grateful that we were awarded this funding, we worked really
hard to get it," said Tollett.
The 222 grants announced represent biennial funding from TDCP's Community
Development Housing Rehabilitation and Planning and Capacity Building funds,
as well as annual funding from both the Colonia Construction and Colonia
Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena said on Tuesday that work on
improving drainage facilities in Pecos would be carried out using the city's
$50,000 grant, while Balmorhea Water Superintendent Luis Contreras said they
would upgrade their city's water system, install a new storage tank in Toyahvale
and put in new fire hydrants with their $350,000 in grant funds.
TCDP awards cities under 50,000 in population and counties under 200,000
in population federal Community Development Block Grants for public works,
housing, planning, and economic development projects. Financial assistance
is also available to certain counties for eligible activities in colonias,
substandard housing developments in unincorporated areas of the border region
typically lacking proper infrastructure. All TCDP projects must primarily
benefit low-to moderate-income households in accordance with TDHCA and U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements.
"These funds will provide or improve affordable housing and basic public
services for thousands of low-income Texans, necessities many of us take
too much for granted," said Daisy Stiner, TDHCA Executive Director. "Equally
important, these funds can also help smaller cities better plan for their
housing and public facilities needs in the future," she said.
Stiner said that because of the isolated nature and low population density
of rural communities, public facility improvements are more expensive per
capita than for urban and suburban communities. As a result, these communities
are often without the financial resources needed to issue bond debt for improvements.
"These grants are absolutely vital for Texas' smaller towns with limited
funding options," she said.
The Community Development Fund is awarded through a biennial competitive
application process and focuses principally on infrastructure needs such
as water, wastewater, drainage and road improvements. It is the largest of
TCDP's seven funds, accounting for $48.8 million of the $57.8 million in
grants announced by the Department.
The Housing Rehabilitation Fund awards grants through a biennial competition
for projects rehabilitating existing housing, with a particular emphasis
on projects that make existing housing accessible for persons with disabilities.
The Planning and Capacity Building Fund, also a biennial funding award, is
designed to improve a community by preparing for its future housing and infrastructure
The Colonia Construction and Colonia Planning funds are awarded annually
for eligible public facilities and planning activities benefiting low-and
moderate-income households living in an unincorporated area of a country
located within 150 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.
Inaugural Shrimp Festival set for Balmorhea
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- Shrimp cocktails. Shrimp-Ka-Bobs and shrimp
scampi are just some of the dishes that will be cooked up at the inaugural
Shrimp Cookoff and Festival, scheduled for Saturday in downtown Balmorhea.
Organizers of the Memorial Day weekend event will pass out the shrimp
at 9 a.m. and food, crafts and D.J. music will begin at 10 a.m.
Entry fee for the event is $75 and will include five pounds of raw shrimp
and a one-night stay in the RV park.
Arts and crafts booths will be set up and vendors are welcome to come
join the fun.
The group will also be selling raw shrimp for $9 a pound.
Live music will be featured from 1-3 p.m. and at 3 p.m. the judging will
An "Open Mike" event will held at 3:15 p.m., for those want-to-be comedians
The winners of the Shrimp Cookoff will be announced at 5 p.m. and awards
and prizes handed out at that time.
The evening will end with a street dance at 8 p.m.
For more information contact the organizers of the event: Pat Brijalba
at 915-375-2323; Norman Roman, 915-375-2206 after 5 p.m. and Kelly Rowden,
`Father Brockdus' served wide area of Big Bend
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features
on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- Circuit Rider Nicholas Brockdus Eaaken was born
in Belgium in 186l and came to Fort Davis in 1892 just one year after
the Fort was closed. As the Indians were no longer a threat, the last
soldiers stationed at Fort Davis marched to Marfa on July 31, 1891,
and there they entrained to go to other forts. The loss of the soldier's
pay was harmful to the economy; however, there was a small community
with ranching as the main industry. One of the citizens living there
was Diedrick Dutchallover. They later dropped the "all" and became
"Dutchover." Mr. Dutchover died in 1904 and is buried in an old cemetery
on the west side of the Alpine highway. As you know, some of his descendants
live in Pecos.
The Circuit Rider came to be known as "Father Brockdus." He established
the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Fort Davis. He could have been the "qualified
person" who said a prayer at the funeral for two boys named Frier who were
killed when they were found with stolen horses. The faithful Priest also
held services in Alpine in a residence until 1900 when Our Lady of Peace
Catholic Church was built across the street from the present post office.
In Alpine, he learned of the many people in the Big Bend area. The villages
of Terlingua and the two Lajitas (one on each side of the Rio Grande) became
part of his parish. Lajitas was a long 138 miles from Fort Davis but this
did not deter this faithful priest.
It took two days to reach Terlingua and he would camp out with one of
the three to six wagons that traveled the road. It took another day to reach
Lajitas and with a two-day stay in each of the villages, a total of ten days
was required for the round trip. This trip he made every three of four months.
Word was passed on to the people in the area and when the Priest arrived,
there was always a crowd to greet him. It was reported that there were ninety
families or 540 men, women and children at Lajitas. Each family had their
own shrine but no church building was available for services. A small church
was built in Terlingua and Lajitas with local men making the adobe and doing
the construction. The only expense was for lumber for framing windows and
doors and that was paid for by contributions from merchants in Alpine and
The Circuit Rider continued this difficult work for 30 years. He did replace
his team and surrey with a Model T Ford. The Ford enabled him to spend an
additional day in each of the towns but was still a difficult journey.
The majority of information in this, the previous and the next two stories,
came from a small book by W. D. Smithers, "Circuit Riders of the Big Bend"
Mr. Smithers came to Alpine in the late 1920s or early 1930s. A Federal
Government book, The Big Bend, stated that Smithers came to Alpine
as a mule teamster in 1916. As the Federal government is prone to err and
Smithers was in the army between 1915-1920, I believe the later dates. Mr.
Smithers' photos and later his manuscripts became an important part of West
My "Mature' advisors are not meeting for a while as they had an argument
as to the way toilet paper should come off the roll. Should it come off toward
the wall or toward the front? If you readers-if there be any- can help these
old men decide the proper way paper should be placed on the dispenser, please
let us know so that these grouchy old men can again have coffee together.
City to discuss agreement on prisoners for new jail
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City Council is scheduled
to discuss and consider an interlocal agreement with the U.S. Marshals
Service during the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at City Hall.
The agreement is for housing of federal prisoners awaiting trial at the
Lucius D. Bunton III Federal Courthouse in downtown Pecos at a new Pecos
Municipal Criminal Justice Center.
Ground was broken in April for the facility, which will be located on
Florez Boulevard between Texas and Moore streets on the southwest side of
town. It will initially have 96 beds and will also serve as the new home
of the Pecos Police Department and Town of Pecos City jail.
The $5.6 million Criminal Justice Center was designed by Eversole-Williams,
while Hale Mills Construction, Inc. is General Contractor for the
project, which is expected to take about a year to complete. Currently
most prisoners awaiting trial in Pecos federal court are kept at out-of-town
facilities by the U.S. Marshal's Service.
In other action Thursday, the council is scheduled to discuss a resolution
for the installation of an automated weather observing system (AWOS) at the
Pecos Municipal Airport.
The city has qualified for a grant that would allow the city to receive
75 percent of the cost to install the system with the city matching 25 percent.
Along with providing better information for aircraft taking off and landing
in Pecos, the AWOS could also allow Pecos to be included in the statewide
weather statistics complied daily by the National Weather Service.
Also on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting is the consideration by the
Council for appointment to the Pecos Housing Authority and employee recognition.
The Council is also scheduled to discuss an offer to purchase foreclosed
property located at 1320 W. Fifth St., as well as the monthly tax collector's
report, accounts payable and the minutes from the previous meeting.
Rec department announces hours during summer
PECOS, Wed., May 23, 2001 -- Summer hours have been announced at the Reeves
County Community Sports and Recreation Center, while Thursday is the
final day to sign-up boys and girls for the department's summer T-ball,
Taekwon Do and chess programs.
The recreation center at the old Pecos High School gym will be open Monday
through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 10 p.m. beginning
next Tuesday. On Fridays, the facility will be open from 10 a.m. to noon
and from 1 to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays it will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
during the summer.
Sign-ups for the youth T-ball program is for boys and girls ages 4 through
7. The summer Taekwon Do class, which will run two days a week for six weeks
and is open to boys and girls ages 5 through 10, and the chess class is open
to those ages 6-10 and will also run two days a week for six weeks.
Registration fee for all three is $10 per child, and a birth certificate
and signatures from both parents are required with the returned enrollment
form. For further information, call 447-9776.
High Tuesday 87. Low this morning 52. Forecast for tonight: Mostly
clear. Low near 55. Northeast 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy.
High around 90. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy.
Low near 55. Friday and Saturday: Partly cloudy. Low around 55. Highs
80 to 85.
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