Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, August 27, 2001
Overnight storms answer Sunday rain prayers
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- Thunderstorms didn't even wait for Sunday's
"Pray For Rain Day" to begin in Pecos, as they paid a surprise overnight
visit to town, dropping over an inch of rain in the city during the
early morning hours.
The rain was part of a line of storms that pushed southward through Texas
over the weekend, and while Sunday's overnight storms increased Pecos' year-to-date
rainfall total by nearly 50 percent, other parts of the state to the south
and east were hit harder by the rains, which caused some flooding in the
Central Texas area.
The thunderstorms passed through the Pecos area about 2:30 a.m. Sunday,
and left 1.35 inches of rainfall downtown, according to the gauge at KIUN
radio. That brought their rainfall total for the year to 4.15 inches, which
is above the low of 4.02 inches recorded in Pecos for all of 1999, but is
still nearly seven inches below the annual average rainfall total Pecos should
receive, according to the National Weather Service. Pecos has not received
above average rainfall since 1991, based on NWS numbers for an annual total
of 10.99 inches.
A few minor power outages and some wind damage were reported, but there
was no hail damage from Sunday's storm.
Because of the ongoing drought, Town of Pecos City Council and Mayor Ray
Ortega designated Sunday as "Pray For Rain Day," during their meeting this
past Thursday at City Hall. Ortega said that Councilman Gerald Tellez brought
the idea to the council after he read an article in the San Angelo Standard
Tellez said that San Angelo proclaimed a day to pray for rain, which was
also scheduled for Sunday, and according to the Standard-Times, the city
got .94 inch of rain Sunday morning, bringing San Angelo's August total to
2.4 inches, nearly an inch above normal.
Rainfall totals outside Pecos in Reeves County were generally lower than
the total recorded in town. The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station seven
miles west of Pecos received about eight-tenths of an inch of rain, while
areas in southern Reeves County received slightly less, with Balmorhea getting
only a little rain out of Sunday's line of clouds.
"In Balmorhea itself there was just a trace, but I have a place close
to where the I-10 Chevron (Fina) is between Balmorhea and Saragosa and I
got about half an inch" said Paul Ward of the Texas A&M Experiment Station.
"Other people may have gotten a little more.
"A little west of Verhalen I heard they got about .7 inch, but coming
to work this morning on (Farm Road) 2903 there was no real evidence of it
going over the road," Ward said of the highway between Balmorhea and Toyah.
Ward said the east side of the Experiment Station's land got .8 inch of
rain, but the west side received only .56 inch of rain.
While Pecos' rainfall Sunday was the largest single rain so far in 2001,
North Austin surpassed the city's total rainfall for all eight months of
the year in just three hours, as storms there dumped up to 5 inches of rain
and caused flash flooding that closed some roads. Power outages were also
reported from lightning strikes and other parts of Travis and Williamson
counties were also hammered after months of near-drought conditions.
During the height of the storm, about 15,000 houses lost power, said Ed
Clark, a spokesman for Austin Energy. Most outages were a result of lightning
strikes blowing fuses in South Austin neighborhoods.
A dozen or more streets were closed Sunday as water levels rose. Also,
traffic lights at many intersections throughout downtown were out, causing
drivers to work together with headlight signals as they crept through the
Forecasters said the storms, which turned most of Central Texas dark several
hours before sunset, could continue Monday, with a 50 percent chance of precipitation.
No serious injuries were reported Sunday.
The lightning was "pretty severe in some places," Clark said.
The storm front extended from northwest San Antonio to Waco. Strongest
storms were just north of San Antonio and moving toward Austin.
Classes at Galindo Elementary in Austin were canceled Monday because of
rain damage. Workers at the school were installing a new roof, and its temporary
cover was blown away by the winds, said Andy Welch, a spokesman for the Austin
Independent School District.
Teen in serious condition, driver charged in accident
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- A weekend accident left one local teen in
serious condition while an Arlington woman was arrested for deadly
conduct at Northside Park following an incident Friday evening.
Kimberly Matta, 15, of Pecos is in serious but stable condition at Covenant
Medical Center in Lubbock with head injuries after falling off the front
of a vehicle and hitting her hand on the ground.
Suzanne Renee Brizzi, 38, of Arlington was arrested at 8:29 p.m., on Friday
at the park and charged with deadly conduct, a Class A Misdemeanor, after
Matta fell off the hood of the 1998 green Chevrolet Blazer she was driving.
Sergeant Danny Leos of the Reeves County Sheriff's Department, stated
in his report that Matta and Brizzi were parked at the picnic tables on the
south side of the park, located just north of Pecos on U.S. 285, when Matta
climbed on the hood of the Blazer and Brizzi started to drive around the
After speaking with Brizzi, Leos said that she informed him that Matta
told her to go faster, while talking on her cellular phone.
According to the report, when Brizzi was turning to go back south Matta
fell off the hood.
After running to where Matta was lying Brizzi found her to be unresponsive
and called for help.
Pecos Ambulance personnel responded to the scene as well as the Pecos
Police Department and the Sheriff's Department.
After arriving on scene and beginning to treat Matta's injuries, EMS personnel
requested AeroCare to fly Matta to Lubbock for treatment.
Chief Deputy Victor Prieto said that Matta had been in a coma on Saturday
but has come out of it.
Sheriff's Department personnel said that no alcohol was involved in the
accident and that it is still under investigation.
Matta is still being treated at Covenant Medical Center.
Galindo, PHA again to discuss golf, park plan
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo is scheduled
to meet with the Pecos Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners during
the regular meeting at 5 p.m., Tuesday at the Administration Office on Teague
Galindo will discuss the inter-local cooperation contract between Reeves
County, the Town of Pecos City and PHA for land and development of new golfing
facilities. Galindo met with PHA board members earlier this year about a
plan to build a roadside park and hiking/biking trail on land owned by the
Housing Authority at the side of the former Airbase Apartments, on the north
side of Interstate 20.
The county was also seeking permission from the PHA to use the former
Airbase Apartment land it owns on the south side of I-20 for expansion of
the Reeves County Golf Course. The county is seeking to enlarge the course
from 11 holes to 18, and under the plan two new holes would be built on the
Airbase land along I-20, four others would be build on land on the southeast
side of the golf course and another hold would be created from within the
current course configuration.
The Board is also set to discuss re-submitting bids for the purchase of
a mid-size van for administration operations, as well as discuss the update
on the 2000 Capital Fund budget.
During the Farm Labor Housing (FLH) portion of the meeting, the Board
is set to discuss the application of conversion of the FLH Apartments on
West County Road to multi-family housing. The conversion would allow the
apartments to be used year-round. Currently, FLH has to hold back occupancy
of some apartments under federal law for farm workers, most of whom have
found other places for lodging during harvest season in recent years.
The Board will also consider approval of the minutes of previous meetings
and monthly reports.
Soaring costs for workers' comp keep commissioners
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- Workers' compensation rates that have nearly
doubled this year topped the Reeves County Commissioners' agenda this
Two representatives of the Texas Association of Counties were on hand
to speak about the rates, but no clear explanation for this year's rates
and next year's projected rates had emerged when commissioners broke for
lunch around noon, with plans to continue the discussion at 1:30 p.m.
Texas Association of Counties Field Services Representative Victor Uvalle,
Jr., explained that increases in the number of employees accounted for some
of the added expense.
"We understand that but it is the tremendous increase per classification
that is our biggest concern," County Auditor Lynn Owens said.
In other action today, Reeves County Tax Assessor Collector Elfida Zuniga
addressed the court concerning tax exemptions for seniors, those who are
medically disabled and disabled veterans.
"Nothing has changed, but the court must still approve the exemptions,"
The court approved the existing exemptions of $15,000 for those 65 years
or older, $10,000 for the medically disabled, and an exemption that ranges
from $5,000 to $12,000 for disabled veterans.
Disabled veterans who are over 65 may be eligible for up to a 100 percent
exemption, Zuniga said.
The court also approved the two-payment option the county offers for paying
property taxes where the first half of the taxes are due by November 30 and
the second half due by June 30. The payment plan allows taxpayers to pay
in two installments without having to pay penalties or interest.
Commissioners allocated about $1,800 for the County Treasurer's office
to hire a part-time employee.
According to County Judge Jimmy Galindo, County Treasurer Linda Clark
plans to hire a high school student to work through the end of the year.
Galindo said that the growth of the prison has increased the workload
for a large number of county offices and that Clark had spoken to him about
hiring a student from Mrs. Judy Holland's business professionals' class.
The court also approved the swearing in of Gilbert Valencia as a volunteer
deputy with the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.
Cook-off to add second division to Fall Fair event
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- The Reeves County Sheriff's Posse will
be the sponsor of the annual Fall Fair Cook-off this coming October, after
a lack of entries forced cancellation of the event last year.
This year's event will be on Oct. 5-6 and will have two cook-off categories,
with country-style pork ribs joining the traditional beef brisket competition.
The Grand Champion who places in both divisions will receiver a silver plate,
while first prize in both the barbecue brisket and pork rib divisions will
receive $500. Second place in both divisions will win $250, third place will
take home $150 and fourth place in each division will earn $50.
Entry fee will be $50 per team, with an entry deadline of 5 p.m. on Oct.
5. For further information, contact the Pecos Chamber of Commerce at 445-2406.
Heath insurance, street designation on P-B-T agenda
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- Health insurance and designation of a
one-way street near two schools on the east side of town will be the topics
for a special meeting for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members, at 12 noon
on Tuesday in the school boardroom, at 1304 S. Park St.
The board will discuss whether to approve employee health insurance for
2002-2003 TRS ActiveCare (State Health Insurance Plan) or go with a District
Self-Insured Plan, and will discuss/approve opening the bus traffic only
lane between Zavala Middle School and Pecos Elementary, between Locust and
11th streets, and one-way suggestions for the area presented by
the Pecos Police Department.
The two items are the only ones on Tuesday's agenda.
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 27, 2001 -- High Sunday 104. Low this morning 68.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly loudy with a less than 20 percent chance
of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the upper 60s. Northeast wind
5 to 10 mph. Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of
showers and thunderstorms. High in the upper 80s. East wind 5 to 15
mph. Tuesday night: Mostly loudy with a less than 20 percent
chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 60s. Wednesday:
Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. High
around 90. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows around 70. Highs
From the lower to mid 90s.
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