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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Red Bluff unable to give water allotment to farms

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- Farmers who rely on Pecos River water furnished by the Red  Bluff Water Power Control District will not be getting any allotment for the  2002 growing season due to a lack of water in Red Bluff Lake, board  members decided during their regular meeting held in Mentone yesterday.

The board, which usually sets its annual water allotment in February, was given an update on the level of the lake elevation as of the end of January, which stood at 2,801.20 feet above sea level. The lake contained 39,454 acre/feet of water, about 25,000 acre/feet lower than the same point last year.

As a result, the board voted not to set a water allotment for 2002, but will review the situation on a month-by-month basis depending on the water level of the lake.

Managing Director of the Red Bluff District and Board member Randall Hartman explained that the lake level has not increased much _ in fact it rose less than a foot between December 2001 and January 2002.

"We're not gaining much," he said.

The State of New Mexico previously agreed to give the Red Bluff District some more water from the northern regions of the Pecos River but has not as of this month.

"They either got to give water or pay money," Hartman said.

In the 1980s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled New Mexico had violated the 1946 Pecos River Compact and had shorted Texas 10,000 acre-feet of water per year since the 1960s. The court ordered New Mexico not to fall short again.

New Mexico also paid the Red Bluff district $14 million under a settlement worked out in 1989.

Farmers in seven sub-districts in Reeves, Loving, Ward and Pecos counties receive water for irrigation use during the spring and summer months, based on allotments set annually by the Red Bluff board. But in the past three years, the winter lake level has dropped about 60,000 acre/feet due to the ongoing drought in the Trans Pecos and in eastern New Mexico.

Hartman explained that it is his understanding that if New Mexico does not allot the water to Red Bluff they would only have to pay a fine to the government.

"We wouldn't see anything out of it," he said.

Board member Lloyd Goodrich said he believes that the state of New Mexico is only paying the fines in order to keep the water because of the lack of water in the state.

"They just pay the money and take the water," he said. "There's a battle going on all over the state (New Mexico) with every faction of the state because there's not enough water."

The Board discussed not giving an allotment to area farmers this month because there is not enough water in the lake.

"There isn't anything we can give," Board member Manuel Lujan said.

The Board did not want to cancel the allotment for the whole year; they plan to determine month by month.

"You can't make something out of nothing," Goodrich said.

New Mexico officials announced in January that they would spend $68 million over the next 10 years to buy up farmland and its water rights, in order to pump groundwater into the Pecos River to meet its water delivery requirements for Texas.

Under the plan, the state would buy 6,000 acres of irrigated farmland in the Carlsbad Irrigation District and 12,000 acres worth of water rights upstream from Brantley Reservoir near Carlsbad. Water previously used for irrigation in both areas would be left in the river to augment deliveries to Texas.

Some 20,000 acre-feet of ground water also would be pumped into the river each year from the aquifer under Roswell and Artesia.

The plan also calls for conservation methods and removing water-guzzling salt cedars. Salt cedar removal along the Pecos River in Texas began in 1999 and spraying has now been carried out along most of the length of the river between Red Bluff Lake and Imperial Reservoir in Pecos County.

In other business on Tuesday, the board approved the financial reports, quarterly investment review and the minutes of the previous meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Pecos Rodeo to change stock contractor

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- A new rodeo stock contractor will take over this year's West of  the Pecos Rodeo and plans are in the works to bring back a  popular Peruvian group to Pecos for a concert next month

The plans were discussed at the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting, held Tuesday at noon at the Pecos Senior Citizens Center.

West of the Pecos Rodeo President Trevor Teague told the group that a new contractor will be taking over this year's rodeo events. "This year we're going with Terry Walls, out of Stephenville," said Teague. "It will be a breath of fresh air."

Teague said that the committee had been having problems with the past stock contractor, Mack Altizer and Bad Company Rodeo, which had been the rodeo contractor in Pecos for the past 20 years. "This is right for us, with Walls and they'll put on a good rodeo for us," said Teague.

Walls is based in Stephenville, where he has lived for the past 31 years. He began producing PRCA rodeos in 1996, after producing amateur rodeos in their own arena at Stephenville since the early 1970s.

Teague said that Walls had agreed to ride in the rodeo parade and go on KIUN's Pecos Talking to promote the yearly event.

"Other things we're working on is getting sponsors," he said. " We've gotten some good leads."

"Trevor, how are you doing with special events, like after the rodeo or before?" asked local businessman Alfred Gomez. "As business owners these are things that we are interested in."

Teague said that a special committee has been formed and that they are currently working very hard. "We've gotten together with the sheriff's posse," he said.

Teague said that they had a lot of vendors last year and welcomed more this year. "We want to give the local vendors first choice," said Teague. "These can be selling hamburgers, turkey legs, and 4-H will still do a concession stand and they will be selling bottled water."

Chamber director Tom Rivera told the group that they are working on the upcoming Wayana Inka Concert scheduled for March 1 at the Reeves County Civic Center.

"Barbara (Creager) has agreed to be in charge of the VIP reception," said Rivera. "We really need to push ticket sales, it will be $5 for general admission and $10 for VIP tickets," he said.

Women's Division President Laura Briggs said that the women had met recently for a membership drive. "We had about 33 ladies there and we hope to keep them," said Briggs. "We're looking at having 40 members this year," she said.

Briggs said that looking over last year's projects, one had been left out. "We forgot to honor the EMT's, but that's something we'll be working on, I'll get with them and see what they would like," she said.

Golden Girl signup deadline is scheduled for this Friday. "We have had 10 girls pick up applications and it looks like we're going to have about 20 girls," she said.

Board president Kevin Duke told the group that Rivera, had submitted his resignation as director, a move announced last week. "We held an executive meeting and decided to accept his resignation," said Duke.

Rivera, who will be taking over the Town of Pecos City's Main Street program, said that he had enjoyed the past 10 years with the chamber and that he would be willing to help in anything the chamber needed.

"I recommended that we take our time in filling this position and find the right person to serve the community and do what's best for this town," said Duke.

Duke also urged the board members to spend more time at the chamber office and to try to help out during this vacancy.

"As long as any organization does not work together it won't work and this one does work together," said Rivera. "We've had our bumps, but there's a lot of super folks here and we can make this work, together."

Rivera said he is looking forward to his new position, one that will enable him to continue working with the chamber and the West of the Pecos Museum. "We'll be working on bringing in more people to the downtown area," he said.

"One of the first things I'll do is resubmit the application for the Main Street Project, which is due by July 31, and hopefully we'll go back to Austin and I'll give it my best," he said.

Council puts off expansion plan for new city jail

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council has decided to hold off on  any immediate expansion of the new Pecos Municipal Criminal  Justice Center, following a workshop Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

Mayor Ray Ortega said this morning that the workshop went well but the city does not plan to begin an expansion of the facility right now.

"We're still looking at the numbers," he said.

Dedication ceremonies for the 96-bed facility were held on Feb. 6, but the center has not officially opened yet. Ortega said that the city plans to take a look at possibly expanding again in six months but not before then.

"We want to let the staff get some experience," he said.

Ortega said that if the city decided to expand in six months to a year that would give the staff of the jail a year or more experience before adding more inmates.

"That way we'll be able to work all the bugs, quirks and kinks out of the system," he said.

The new facility will house Town of Pecos City prisoners and U.S. Marshal's Service inmates awaiting trial in Pecos at the federal courthouse. The CJC will also house the Pecos Police Department.

The council is scheduled to discuss bids for computer systems and the inmate phone systems for the facility during the regular meeting set for 7 a.m., tomorrow morning at City Hall.

Finance Director George Bejarano explained that the operational phone systems for the facility and police department are currently being installed and the bids for the inmate phones are for those the inmates are allowed to use to call family and lawyers.

Also on Thursday's agenda are engineering consultants from Frank X. Spencer & Associates, who are scheduled to give the council a presentation and status report on several projects.

Spencer & Associates will give reports on the South Worsham Well Field project as well as the replacement of ground storage tank at the booster pump station in the Worsham Well Field.

The council is also going to discuss the approval of final plans and specifications and start advertising for bids in development of the South Worsham Well Field.

The council also signed a proclamation for African American Month in February.

Other items on the agenda are approval of the accounts payable, juvenile office monthly report and the minutes of the previous meeting.

School board to hear updates on current projects

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- A update on asbestos abatement at the Pecos High School auditorium, PHS tennis court renovation and Pecos Kindergarten carpet project will be discussed during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting on Thursday.

The group will meet at 6 p.m., at the P-B-T Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy St.

Board members will recognize the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, the District/Regional swimming champions and Coach of the Year Terri Morse.

Under correspondence, a letter from Secretary of State and a letter from Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The group will discuss and approve a resolution recognizing the Reeves County 4-H organization for extracurricular status; competitive sealed proposals for Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School, Bessie Haynes Elementary, Zavala Elementary and Lamar AEP renovations; interlocal agreement or amendment to existing interlocal agreement with Town of Pecos City on funding an explosive weapons detection dog; ordering a school trustee election for May 4, and appointing the early voting clerk.

Board members will discuss and approve selection of election judges, alternate judges, early voting ballot board judge and alternate and central counting officials; changing polling place for Orla voters; election calendar; report on board member training; second reading and discuss/approve TASB Policy Update 67 and revise FFAC Local; budget calendar; textbook adoptions; 2001-2002 budget amendments; request for band competition/trip; changing Administrative Assistant/Personnel Director's title to Assistant Superintendent; district effectiveness and compliance (DEC) monitoring visit 2002-2003 and PS 10 TIF grant for Pecos High School and Crockett Middle School.

The group will meet behind closed doors as authorized by the Texas Opens Meeting Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551,101 et seq., Section 551.074: A. To deliberate the appointment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of a public officer or employee (1) discuss renewal of administrator's contracts. B. to hear a compliant or charge against an officer or employee. Section 551.071: Private consultation with the board's attorney, pending or contemplated litigation: Luis Esparza Carpet Dept. vs. Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Cause #01-05-17069-CVR.

Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

They will discuss/approve administrators contracts: business manager, career and technology director, technology coordinator, tax collector, AEP manager, maintenance director, athletic director, special education director, food services director, principals and assistant principals.

Under regular agenda items:

Discuss/approve professional personnel: resignations, retirements, appointments, change of contract.

Tax report.

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.

Child safety seat check-up Saturday

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- A Free Child Safety Seat Check-up will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., on Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

For more information contact Marie Cardenas, with the Reeves-Loving County Extension Office at 447-9041.

Primary election early voting starts on Feb. 23

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- Early voting for the March 12 Primary Elections will begin on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Reeves County Courthouse Lobby and will be conducted all week.

On March 2, early voting will be held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Balmorhea Fire Hall and on March 4, early voting will continue at the county courthouse with March 8 being the last day to vote early by personal appearance.

If anyone wants an application for a ballot by mail call 915-445-5467.


PECOS, Wed., Feb. 13, 2002 -- High Tues. 56. Low this morning 29. Forecast for tonight:  Considerable high cloudiness. Lows near 30. SE winds 5 to 10 mph. Thurs.:  Partly cloudy. Highs 65 to 70. Light south winds: Becoming SW 10 to 20  mph. Thurs. night: Partly cloudy. Lows 30 to 35. Fri.: Mostly cloudy. Highs  55 to 60. Sat.: Mostly cloudy. Lows 30 to 35. Highs near 60.


Harvey Schoen

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