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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Winter storm expected to bring snow, freeze to area

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- The first winter storm of the season is expected to hit West  Texas tonight, with forecasters predicting light snow and two days of  sub-freezing temperatures.

Temperatures across Texas were dropping today, with the National Weather Service office in Midland reporting freezing weather shortly before noon today. Temperatures in Pecos were warmer, at 42 degrees as of 11 a.m., but NWS spokesman Michael Young said that would change this afternoon and tonight.

"The big thing is the temperatures will be below freezing from now until Thursday, which should be enough to bust a couple of water pipes. It could get pretty messy," Young said. "The water outside will also be freezing, so animals will need to be (given) water."

Pecos has had few problems with snow and ice over the past decade due mainly to the Trans-Pecos area's nine-year drought _ the city has had only six days of snow accumulation and one day of sleet since late 1993 _ but forecasters are predicting a 20 percent chance of light rain today and a 70 percent chance of snow tonight.

"We're already getting reports of freezing rain in some areas, though you're not getting any down there," said Young. "Later tonight, there will be ice on the bridges and overpasses, which will make driving hazardous, and by tomorrow the snow will start sticking to the roads."

How much snow the area will get will depend on the weather pattern across West Texas over the next 24 to 36 hours. "A lot of the accumulation will depend on the track of an upper level low pressure system that's above the level of cold air that is coming in and is the coldest so far this season," Young said.

With the cold front, a freeze warning has been issued for all of the Permian Basin by the National Weather Service, and a high wind warning also has been issued today for Guadalupe Pass northwest of Pecos.

Travelers are advised to use caution when driving on area roads, with the chance of freezing rain highest both to the east on Interstate 20 in the Midland-Odessa area, and to the west, in the higher elevations near Gomez Peak and the Interstate 10 junction.

Snow accumulations of up to one inch are predicted for Lea and Eddy County, N.M., and snow is also expected to accumulate in the Panhandle and parts of North Central Texas.

Temperatures already were heading into the deep freeze late Monday in the Texas Panhandle, where a snow advisory was issued for Tuesday.

Accumulations in the Amarillo area were predicted to be from 1 to 3 inches on Tuesday, with an additional accumulation of 1 to 3 inches on Wednesday. The high temperature was expected to reach 28, with the low dropping to 19.

By Tuesday night, rain was expected to turn to sleet and eventually to snow in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to the Weather Service. Temperatures were predicted to drop into the 20s at night and not get above the low 30s on Wednesday. An ice accumulation of a half-inch was possible.

"There's going to be a significant, hard freeze - a killer freeze," said Michael Mach, a meteorologist with the weather service in Fort Worth.

The brunt of the wintry weather was expected to hit the western Red River Valley, including Bowie, Jacksboro and Gainesville, where an accumulation of 1-3 inches of snow was predicted by Wednesday.

A chance of the white stuff during the holiday season sounded nice to Cindy Ketchum, a worker at a Dairy Queen in Bowie. Other parts of the forecast weren't as enticing.

"I'm definitely ready for some cooler weather, and I'm ready for some snow, especially around Christmas," said Ketchum. "I don't like the ice so much."

In the central and southern portions of Texas, temperatures were not expected to be as cold, but still significantly cooler than they have been.

Highs in the upper 50s were predicted for Austin, with temperatures falling into the lower 40s by evening.

Rain and thunderstorms were predicted across southern parts of the state, including the Rio Grande Valley, where some storms could be severe.

Even the valley was not immune from a big temperature drop - but the mercury had much farther to fall.

Highs in Brownsville Tuesday were expected to reach 85, dropping into the 50s by Wednesday.

Counselors ask parents to help with HS plans

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- Parents of eighth graders in the Career Investigation class  at Crockett Middle School are being asked to attend a meeting tonight  at the school to help their students in planning for their course  schedules at Pecos High School next fall. 

PHS counselor Eva Arriola said the meeting will also cover high school graduation requirements and graduation plans, along with other courses to earn high school and college credit. Information will also be provided about the Texas Grant Program to help fund students' college education in the future.

Arriola and counselor Pat Cobos were at Crockett this morning working with students in the Career Investigations class on some of the information that will be provided tonight, and said they and Crockett Middle School counselor Robert Ormsby would be working with other eighth graders this afternoon.

"We'll do the same thing next semester with others who are in the class," said Cobos, referring to eighth graders who are not taking the Career Investigation course during the fall semester. About 95 students are currently involved with the program.

"We're just encouraging parents to come in and get some information for high school registration that students will be needing," said Arriola.

The meeting tonight will begin at 6:30 p.m., and will take place in the Crockett Middle School cafeteria.

Donation aids plan for center in Balmorhea

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- Reeves County Commissioners Court accepted a donation  on Monday of land from the Nature Conservancy of Texas that would  be used for the future site for a community center and park for  the City of Balmorhea.

The Nature Conservancy of Texas recently donated nine acres of land in the Sandia Springs Preserve in Balmorhea to Reeves County, and the donation was accepted during the commissioners' regular meeting in the Third Floor Courtroom in the Reeves County Courthouse.

That amount of land is enough to build a community center building and park just southeast of the Country Inn Motel in downtown Balmorhea for the citizens, according to Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

Galindo explained that Security State Bank owner Patrick Kennedy helped in introducing the Conservancy to Reeves County.

"I'd like to give special thanks to Patrick Kennedy for all his help in facilitating the donation of this land for this project," he said.

Kennedy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy of Texas' West Texas Land Steward Jason Wrinkle explained what the preserve does for wildlife in a news release.

"The 242-acre nature preserve protects Sandia Springs, part of the Balmorhea springs complex, and provides habitat for rare and unusual species," he said.

Wrinkle and Galindo agreed that this donation has been in the works for about a year.

Wrinkle further explained the Conservancy's acquisition of the Sandia Springs Preserve and reasoning behind the donation in the press release.

"We bought the parcel of land in 1997 to create Sandia Springs Preserve," he said. "This particular nine acres doesn't have any special ecological value, so we decided to donate it to Reeves County in order to help the county to develop a community center and park. As such, it will also serve as a buffer for the more sensitive lands on our preserve."

The Conservancy is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization that works with communities and individuals to conserve land that is valuable as wildlife habitat.

The Conservancy also owns an 18,000-acre nature preserve near Fort Davis and another 2,240-acre preserve at Madera Canyon.

Galindo explained to the commissioners during the meeting that this donation of land would make Balmorhea eligible to receive a $60,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife.

The city of Balmorhea has been working toward the grant for about 2½ years, according to Galindo, and is eligible for the grant. However, the city was unable to collect the money because of the lack of matching funds, which are now available thanks to this recent donation.

Galindo said that with the donation, the county and city of Balmorhea has been able to bring the two separate projects together.

Now with the construction of the community center on the nine acres of land, Balmorhea is able to put up the $60,000 match.

"The donation of land has made the park project a reality for the city of Balmorhea," Galindo said.

Galindo said he hopes to work out a construction schedule for the community center within the next two months with contractors currently being used at the Reeves County Detention Center.

He said that if things go well construction could begin in February of 2002.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, who also lives in Balmorhea, said that the community is eagerly awaiting the construction of the new facility.

"We're all excited about the community center," he said.

The commissioners accepted the donation with few changes in the deed.

The changes include the Conservancy's construction of a chain link fence on the perimeter of the land after which they would bill the county for half the cost.

The Conservancy will also place a sign that explains the donation of land to the county and city of Balmorhea.

The final change comes from taking the words "free of charge" from the item in which it states that the Conservancy would be able to use the community center.

"It is against state law for the county to provide any benefit to a private individual or organization," Galindo said.

In order to overcome that, Galindo said that a user fee schedule would be put into place.

Galindo said that he is pleased with the Conservancy's donation of land because he believes that it is rare when a private company would donate something this size to benefit the community.

"It's not often that you have private folks cooperate with the public entities to help the community," he said. "This will greatly enhance and benefit the community of Balmorhea."

Retirement reception for Green at county courthouse

PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- Community members are welcome to help the staff at the Reeves County Courthouse thank Judge Lee S. Green for his years of service to the community at a retirement reception in his honor from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Thursday in the 143rd District Courtroom on the second floor of the courthouse.

The reception is to honor Green who has served the citizens of Reeves County since Sept. 1, 1982.

Democrats schedule BBQ for candidates in Pecos

PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- Brewster and Reeves County Democrats will hold "An Evening with the Candidates" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Saturday at the Reeves County Posse Barn.

All community members are welcome to meet a number of democratic candidates running for local and statewide offices during the March 2002 Democratic Primary.

Participants would be able to meet the candidates as well as enjoy delicious barbecue and wonderful performances from a Mariachi group.

For more information contact Reeves County Democratic Chairman Bob Dean at 445-5461 or 445-7111 or the President of the Big Bend Democratic Women, Nancy Hndryx, at 915-837-3529.


PECOS, Tues., Nov. 27, 2001 -- High Mon. 42. Low this morning 42. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy  with a 70 percent chance of light snow. Lows in the mid 20s. NE winds 10  to 20 mph. Wed.: Cloudy and cold with a 50 percent chance of light  snow. Highs near 30. North winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed. night: Partly cloudy.  Lows near 20. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Highs 45 to 50. Fri.: Partly cloudy. Lows  35 to 45. Highs in the 60s.

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