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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, March 18, 2002

TxDOT says bridge projects ahead of schedule

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., March 18, 2002 -- Construction crews have been working hard on constructing  the new `long bridge' between Pecos and Barstow, which has  caused them to move ahead of schedule.

"We're ahead of schedule," Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Public Information Officer Glen Larum said, but he added that does not mean that the bridge would be completed ahead of schedule, according to Larum.

He explained that the same crew, from Knight Construction, Inc. of Big Spring, is also working on replacing a bridge at Toyah Lake on U.S. 285 and would be changing back over to that bridge soon.

Work on replacing the 59-year-old Ward County bridge between Pecos and Barstow, which was narrower than other bridges on the two-lane highway, began in November. The crew is working on laying the support and side beams on the long bridge on Business 20 and would soon move to the Toyah Lake bridge, where they have already completed one side.

The Toyah Lake bridge could only be replaced one side at a time because it is considered to run over a navigable body of water, even though the ongoing drought has left Toyah Lake dry for most of the past decade.

"Even though we're ahead of schedule, we probably won't be finished a couple months ahead," he said.

So far TxDOT has not had any trouble with motorists driving through the construction sites.

"Traffic has been very responsive to the speed advisories," Larum said.

In fact only one accident has occurred since the construction started, which was late at night when the crew was gone for the day.

Knight Construction is scheduled to complete both bridges by the first of October, Larum said.

"If things go really well maybe the middle of September," he said.

TxDOT is also working on resurfacing Interstate 20 between the Pecos River and Pyote in Ward County, according to Larum.

"They'll be milling off the surface of the roadway and put down a new surface," he said.

The crews would start on the Eastbound lanes, closing off one lane of traffic in order to work on that side.

Larum said once the surface of the lanes has been milled they would wait a few weeks and begin re-surfacing.

He said that once that process started it should only take two to three weeks to complete. Resurfacing work is also currently being done on a two-mile stretch of I-20 east of Toyah in Reeves County

AF dedication of bomber site set for Tuesday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., March 18, 2002 -- U.S. Air Force officials from the  7 th Bomb Wing and representatives from the city of Pecos will hold a  ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning southwest of town to officially  open the Air Force's Realistic Bomber Training Initiative Electronic  Scoring Site in south-central Reeves County.

"It looks great out there," said Pecos Economic Development Director Gari Ward. "It looks like a space station," he said.

The facility was built as one of two scoring facilities to support the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative. Work on the other site, located between Snyder and Lamesa, is scheduled to be completed in June, according to Air Force officials.

The site will be part of a linked military airspace and ground-based system, which will provide B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, near Shreveport, La., and B-1s from Dyess AFB linked integrated combat training.

The RBTI program and the IR-178 flight path over Reeves County, has been in the works for more than four years. The scoring sites will support the training by simulating missile threats to bomber aircraft, and score their evasive actions and simulated weapons use.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 11 a.m., with a fly-by of a B-52 as part of its regular operations in the training area. There will be a B-1 fly-by later in the ceremony.

Ward said that the public is also invited to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the RTBI site, located about six miles west of the intersection of State Highway 17 and FM 869.

Air Force personnel who will be on hand for the special occasion include, Col. Jim Rowland who will deliver the main address; Col. Tim Stockings and several other Air Force officers will also speak, along with Dwight Williams, Air Space Manager for Dyess AFB.

Guy Hemmingway, who is in charge of operations at the Pecos facility, will be on hand along with his supervisor, Dahl McClean, with AHNTECH of San Diego, the company the government has contracted with to run the site.

"All the elected officials and administrators in Pecos have been invited," said Ward. "We'll also have representatives from the different entities and organizations in Pecos."

"We're looking forward to it, it's been a combination of a year and half's worth of work," said Ward.

Ward said that officials and employees from the facility have been getting settled in Pecos and seem to be enjoying the community.

"We're really looking forward to the grand opening and welcome all the Air Force personnel coming in to town," said Ward.

"We look forward to a long and good relationship with the Air Force," he said.

In addition a special dedication and presentation will be made to Jean Burkholder.

The RTBI site was first announced by the Air Force two years ago. At the time, Lt. Wes Ticer of Dyess AFB explained that building the site would bring Reeves County $1.5 million a year, while construction would cost about $6 million.

The Air Force said the new site would bring in 30 people, a number of whom moved down from the site near Colorado Springs, Colo., that the Pecos site is replacing.

Ticer said the route in the Pecos area has been a route flown by Air Force aircraft for over 15 years and the flight patterns would not change.

There would be the same number of flights going through the Pecos area in a day but the only difference would be the addition of the electronic signals.

Flights over the RTBI site in Pecos will come in as low as 500 feet as part of the electronic scoring run, while the Lancer Military Operations Area site in Scurry County will have B-1 and B-52 bombers flying at altitudes of about 3,000 feet.

In November of 2000, Ranchers and an environmental group filed a federal lawsuit the stop the Air Force from conducting the low-level bomber training missions, and a similar suit was filed in U.S. District County in Pecos last year by the group of farmers and ranchers in the Trans-Pecos and Big Bend areas.

The lawsuits claim the noise would violate the federal Noise Control Act and have an adverse effect on humans and livestock. The suits, by the Heritage Environmental Preservation Association and 18 ranchers in Lubbock federal court, and by the Davis Mountains Heritage Association in Pecos federal court, remain unsettled, but Air Force officials said they are seeking to consolidate the two lawsuits into one suit, which would be held in Lubbock or some other site in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Enterprise wins Associated Press contest awards

PECOS, Mon., March 18, 2002 -- The Pecos Enterprise took home four awards over the weekend at the Associated Press Managing Editors Convention, held at the Radisson Hotel in Fort Worth.

The Enterprise picked up one first place award for sports writing in Class A competition, by Jon Fulbright for a story on the Aug. 31 football game between the Pecos Eagles and Kermit Yellowjackets. He and reporter Rosie Flores also shared two honorable mention awards for the Nov. 12, 2001 story on the closing of the Anchor West plant in Pecos, while the paper also collected a second place award for webmaster Peggy McCracken and the paper's online edition.

The online edition award was announced Saturday and the other awards were given out Sunday at the Radisson Hotel. Class A is for daily newspapers in Texas with 10,000 or fewer daily subscribers and is one of four classifications for Texas newspapers.


PECOS, Mon., March 18, 2002 -- High Sunday 68. Low this morning 60. Forecast for tonight:  Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Lows around 50. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday: Mostly  cloudy: Breezy: And cooler with a 50 percent chance of showers  and thunderstorms. Highs around 60. North winds 5 o 10 mph:  Increasing to 15 to 25 mph. Tuesday night: A 20 percent chance of showers  and thunderstorms, then decreasing cloudiness. Lows around  35. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs around 70. Thursday: Mostly  clear. Lows around 40. Highs 70 to 75.


Lola Sauter

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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