Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, November 7, 2001
Bridge repairs east of Pecos get underway
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- Frequent travelers between Pecos and Barstow
will find a new sight on Business Interstate 20, one that's expected
to be in place for about the next 12 months.
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has began working on widening
the long bridge between Barstow and Pecos in October and has now opened a
two-lane detour road to the side of the bridge until construction on the
new bridge is completed.
Assistant Area Engineer for TxDOT Kelli Revennaugh said that the long
bridge is now in the process of being torn down and replaced.
Construction of the bridge should be completed next fall.
"The contractor's schedule says that construction should last through
October of 2002," Revennaugh said.
TxDOT is also working to replace a bridge just south of Pecos on U.S.
285 along with the bridge between Pecos and Barstow that was erected in 1942
when the road was designated as U.S. 80.
"This is in conjunction with the bridge out on Toyah Lake," Revennaugh
"Toyah should be finished around August 2002," she said. The U.S. 285
project began back in August, but because Toyah Lake is considered a navigable
body of water _ even though drought conditions have left the lake bed dry
since the mid 1990s _ work on that crossing has required one-lane traffic
to be routed across the bridge and traffic control lights be placed at either
end of the crossing, since TxDOT cannot build a temporary road across the
TxDOT is replacing both bridges in order to make them wider.
Revennaugh said that the removal process for the 59-year-old bridge on
Business I-20 should begin soon.
"It should start within the next few weeks," she said.
While construction is going on both highways, Revennaugh asks the public
to travel safely through the construction sites.
"I'd like to advise the travelers to be aware of the construction and
watch out for the workers," she said.
County, state voters approve all 19 amendments
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- Road building, in the state's jam-packed cities
and in remote spots along the Texas-Mexico border, took center stage
in the constitutional amendments election.
Campaigning with the theme "Keep Texas Moving," supporters of two transportation
propositions credited Republican Gov. Rick Perry with ensuring their success
at the ballot box Tuesday.
"You've got to give credit where credit is due," said state Sen. Eddie
Lucio, D-Brownsville, a backer of border road bonds. "I've got to thank him
All 19 proposed constitutional amendments were approved. Voter turnout
was low - an estimated 8 percent - as was expected because there were no
statewide candidates on the ballot.
Voter turnout in Reeves County also was low, with only 229 people casting
ballots on the 19 amendments, 131 of those on Tuesday at the Reeves County
Civic Center and the other four polling sites in the county, in Balmorhea,
Saragosa, Toyah and Orla.
Voters in the county agreed with those statewide, and favored all 19 amendments
in Tuesday's election. Of those, Proposition 7, which allowed the Veterans
Land Board to sell up to $500
million in bonds to finance additional home mortgage loans to veterans,
while permitting the use of certain assets for creating, operating and improving
veterans' cemeteries, received the most votes in favor, 186, with 35 voting
The closest vote, both in Reeves County and statewide, was for Proposition
3, which exempts coffee and cocoa at the Port of Houston from property taxes.
In Reeves County, 106 voters approved the proposition, while 96 voted against,
and statewide, uhe proposition passed with 415,350 votes, or 52 percent.
Voting against were 385,255, or 48 percent.
On the two amendements involving funding on transportation projects, local
voters approved by a 134-87 margin Proposition 2, which authorized the issuing
of up to $175 million of state general obligation bonds and notes to assist
counties for access road projects to serve border colonias. Proposition 15,
which authorized creation of the Texas Mobility Fund to finance the construction,
acquisition and expansion of state highways and would partly pay for public
toll roads and other public transportation projects, passed by over a 2-1
margin in Reeves County, 146 votes to 72, and overall, Texas voters approved
it by almost the exact same margin, with 542,450 votes (68 percent) in favor
and 258,922 (32 percent) against.
Voting in Harris and Travis counties figured heavily into the outcome
because local elections drew people to the polls.
In Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, Mayor Lee Brown and City
Councilman Orlando Sanchez were headed to a runoff after none of the six
mayoral candidates collected 50 percent of the vote.
Voters also were asked about the fate of light rail and whether the city
should be banned in the future from offering health benefits to the same-sex
and domestic partners of city employees.
In Austin, former city councilman Gus Garcia defeated seven challengers
to finish the unexpired term of former Mayor Kirk Watson, who resigned to
run for Texas attorney general.
The governor spoke out only on the transportation propositions. His trips
across the state touting the two amendments paid off, said proponents of
Both amendments will make for safer and reliable roads and spur economic
development, Perry said.
"This constitutional amendment election will long be remembered as one
that helped to dramatically change our state's approach to building roads
and highways," Perry said.
Voters also overwhelmingly approved allowing the sale of up to $500 million
in bonds to finance home mortgage loans to veterans and operate and improve
And they approved a constitutional amendment that will authorize up to
$2 billion in bonds for water projects.
"This is the beginning of the down payment to make sure we have water
to serve our needs for the next 50 years," said state Sen. J.E. "Buster"
Brown, R-Lake Jackson.
Propostion 19 passed statewide by a 64-36 percent margin. In Reeves County,
130 people voted in favor of the water bond amendment and 70 votes against.
The Sierra Club opposed the amendment, suggesting that the money would
be used for large water projects that could harm the environment.
The Texas Water Development Board in issuing the bonds "needs to live
up to its claims that it would provide for waterways and water projects for
small communities," said Ken Kramer, the Sierra Club's state director.
Proposition 8, which won approval, will authorize $850 million for repairs
and maintenance at 13 state agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Texas Department
of Criminal Justice.
Proposition 8 passed in Reeves County by a 132-86 vote margin.
"This will mean that we'll finally finish a backlog of repairs, that
systems will now be brought up to snuff and that we'll no longer be bogged
down in a backlog of maintenance problems. This also will let us tackle some
new neat programs," said Andy Sansom, TPWD executive director.
The mobility fund could lead to new types of financing for state road
construction, including bonds, although the amendment doesn't provide money
for the fund. That would have to occur in the 2003 legislative session, said
state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, who hopes that $100 million will be
"I will work diligently with my colleagues, both in the House and the
Senate, to make sure that we put money into the mobility fund," she said.
While opponents have spoken against using bonds for road building, proponents
said it was time for the state to move beyond its traditional pay-as-you-go
Other measures which gained approval on Tuesday included Proposition 5,
which allows a municipality to give outdated or surplus equipment, supplies
or other firefighting materials to an
underdeveloped country, and Proposition 6, which requires the governor
to call a special legislative session so that lawmakers can appoint presidential
electors when it is likely an election outcome won't be clear before the
federal electors deadline.
Prop 5 was designed mainly to allow border communities to sell surplus
firefighting equipment to neighboring cities in Mexico, and passed in Reeves
County by a 154-62 margin. Prop 6 resulted from last year's disputed Florida
election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, and was approved by voters 148-69.
Utility preparing for name change, deregulation
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- Customers across Texas will soon see the signs
of transition in the electric utility industry as the First Choice
Power name replaces existing signage at the Texas-New Mexico Power
First Choice Power was organized to be TNMP's affiliated retail electric
provider. Its new signs are appearing at offices throughout TNMP's Texas
service territory. The company will officially unveil its new signs for local
offices during ribbon-cutting ceremonies to be held after TNMP offices convert
to First Choice Power on Jan. 1, 2002, when electric competition begins in
"Our new signs indicate change in the industry," said Manjit Cheema, First
Choice Power president. "However, one thing that won't change is the commitment
to exceptional customer service customers have known all along from Texas-New
Mexico Power Company."
Under the state's power deregulation program, customers will be given
their choice on who will provide power to their homes or businesses. Customers
who do not choose an electric company provider will have one designated for
them based on their area of the state, and set by the Texas Public Utilities
To learn more about First Choice Power, visit the company web site at
TNP Enterprises is the holding company for First Choice Power and for
Texas-New Mexico Power Company, which provides community-based electric service
to 85 cities and more than 238,000 customers in Texas and New Mexico.
Asbestos abatement projects on agenda
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- Competitive sealed proposals for asbestos
projects at Bessie Haynes Elementary and Pecos High School, tennis court
renovations at PHS and the Pecos Kindergarten carpet project will be topics
of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting.
The group will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom. The public is
invited to attend the open session of the meeting.
Board members will also discuss and approve competitive sealed proposals
for Retail Electric Service Provider, a topic the group had discussed at
their regular meeting held last month.
A public hearing for Academic Excellence Indicator System and for Operation
of a High School Equivalency Program will be held during the meeting.
Under correspondence the group will read a letter from Texas Association
of School Bosrds requesting selection of one member for legislative liaison,
letter from Texas Education Agency's on-site visit cancellation, and under
old business the board will hear a report on the new CATE technology building
on South Eddy Street.
Board members are also scheduled to discuss and approve adjustments to
pay ranges for all employees; resolution for appointing three representatives
to the Reeves County Appraisal District Board of Directors; corrected stop-loss
application _ HCC Benefit Corp.; 2001-2002 budget amendments; District Improvement
Plan; attendance committees; Crisis Management Manual- suspicious mail and
changes to policy GKD Local; District facilities approved for use by non-school
groups and fees.
Board members will meet behind closed doors in closed session as authorized
by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et
seq., Section 551.074: to deliberate the appointment, evaluation, reassignment,
duties, discipline or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or to hear
a complaint or charge against an officer or employee; Section 551.071: private
consultation with the board's attorney regarding Cause #01-05-17069-CVR.
The group will reconvene in open session and discuss/consider Cause #01-05-17069-CVR
including possible settlement of matter.
Board members will discuss and approve professional personnel: resignations,
retirements, appointments, reassignments, and change of contract.
Under regular agenda items:
Cafeteria report and commodities received.
Depository securities report.
Investment transactions report.
Reconciled bank balance report.
Current bills and financial report.
Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.
Date and time for next regular meeting.
Calendar of events.
Request of items for next agenda.
Council to discuss awarding Worsham water field contract
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss
awarding a contract for development of the South Worsham Well Field during
the regular meeting set for 7 a.m., tomorrow morning at City Hall.
In addition to the bid award the Council will discuss beginning advertising
for bids on a replacement of a ground storage tank and booster pump station
in the Worsham Well Field.
Also on the agenda for the morning meeting, the Council plans to give
permission to the Rotary Club Christmas Tree Committee to use the Maxey Park
for the community Christmas Tree lighting scheduled for Nov. 29, 2001.
The Council plans to consider adding Veterans' Day as a city holiday,
and to approve the newly elected Pecos Volunteer Fire Department officers.
PECOS, Wed., Nov. 7, 2001 -- High Tuesday 80. Low this morning 49. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s. Southwest winds 5
to 10 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy: Windy: And turning cooler. Highs
in the upper 60s: With temperatures falling into the 50s during the
afternoon. Winds becoming north 20 to 30 mph: Decreasing to 10 to 20 mph
during the afternoon. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper
30s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs 60 to 65. Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows
in the 40s. Highs in the 70s.
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 2001 by Pecos Enterprise