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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, March 22, 2002

Residency rule ends race for city council hopeful

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 22, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council elections will be minus one  candidate, following notification that a candidate who entered the May  4 election on Wednesday has been disqualified because he does not  live within the city limits.

Israel Campos had filed to run in the May elections and listed his address as being on North Hickory Street. But Town of Pecos City Secretary Connie Levario said Campos' home is just outside the city boundary on the north side of town.

"We officially notified him that he cannot run for city council," said Levario. "He lives 500 feet from the city limits."

Campos lives on "Couch Hill" which is located on the north side of town just outside the city limits.

Campos' disqualification still leaves four candidates competing for the two available seats on the city council in the May 4 election. Incumbents Ricky Herrera and Danny Rodriguez will be opposed by challengers Michael Benavides and Angelica Valenzuela for the two-year council terms.

Campos is the third candidate this year to be disqualified from running in local elections after filing on the final day of eligibility. In January, Precinct 4 candidate Alex Ramirez' name was disqualified from the March 12 Reeves County Democratic primary election ballot due to problems with his filing petition, while Precinct 2 candidate Alvaro Herrera was taken off the ballot by Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Dean because the petition he submitted to get his name on the ballot included signatures of voters who were no longer in the precinct due to redistricting.

Aside from the council election, Town of Pecos City voters will also be deciding the race for mayor, which will be a rematch of the election of two years ago. Mayor Ray Ortega is seeking a second term in office and will be challenged by former city mayor Dot Stafford, who he defeated in the 2000 city election.

In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election, incumbent Michele Galindo and Connie Herrera both joined the race on Wednesday, the final day to file for the May 4 election.

Galindo is currently serving on the board after winning an unexpired term last year. Her seat, along with the one held by Billie Sadler is up for election this year. Sadler also has filed for a new two-year term along with Paul Deishler, who was defeated last year in his bid for a full-term on the school board.

In the Reeves County Hospital District Board of Directors race, only one of the three races on May 4 will be contested. Jim Breese, of Pecos and Bill Wendt and Janelle Ward, both of Balmorhea, filed for the two-year term on the board for Precinct 3, currently held by Jesse Preito.

Incumbent at-large board member Leo Hung, and Precinct 1 board member Chel Florez are unopposed for re-election. Precinct 3 incumbent Jesse Prieto was unable to file to retain his seat, since he now lives in Precinct 2, according to RCH Human Resources Director Nadine Smith.

In Balmorhea, Mayor Ruben Fuentez will be challenged by Balmorhea ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz, and Teresa "Terry" Barragan and Yolanda M. Hernandez will oppose incumbent councilmen Eddy Roman and Rosendo Galindo.

In the Balmorhea ISD race all three incumbents up for election have filed for new three-year terms. Jimmy Barragan, Jesus Matta and Javier Lozano will be challenged by Regina Lozano and Dora Machuca.

Toyah and Barstow races will be uncontested this year.

In Toyah, current Toyah Mayor Ann Marsh in unopposed in her re-election as is incumbent Sharon Sanchez on the city council and the only other candidate for the two available seats, Shaina R. Enmon.

In Barstow, Mayor Benny Hernandez and council incumbents Robert Ortega and Carol Gonzales are unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms.

Under state law, both Toyah and Barstow can cancel their city elections in order to save money. Although two of the three seats for the RCH board are uncontested, the hospital district will have to hold elections for all three positions on May 4 due to the Precinct 3 race. All county voters are eligible to cast ballots in the at-large hospital board election.

City sets groundbreaking for single-family housing

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 22, 2002 -- New affordable housing in Pecos is a step closer to becoming a  reality with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pecos Single  Family Subdivision scheduled for next week.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday in the 700 and 800 blocks of Washington Street.

"This will be for a 20-unit single-family housing," said Carlos Yerena, Town of Pecos City Manager.

Yerena said the city was awarded funding to put the infrastructure, such as water, fire hydrants and sidewalks on property that was donated to the city and that will be used for affordable housing.

"Fifty-one percent has to go to low-income families," said Yerena. "But these will be nice homes," he said.

Yerena said the contractor who will build the homes will be on hand during the groundbreaking ceremony and that he would provide information. "We'll also start getting names during this time, of interested individuals who are in need of affordable housing," said Yerena.

"We have a contractor that will build these homes on property that the city already owns," said Yerena. "Eleven of these will be for low-income residents, but if someone else wants to build a more expensive home they can do that too."

Residents will have to apply for the housing and qualify. "This will depend on the number of people in the household and income, as to whether or not they will qualify," said Yerena.

"It's a good project," said Yerena. "We're waiving the sewer and water tap fees and not charging for the property and land."

"They have to be nice homes that are affordable, as long as we have 51 percent that will be for low-income," he said.

"We'll have all that information at the groundbreaking," he said.

The land to be used had been involved in some controversy last year, when the proposal was first announced.

At a September 13 city council meeting Town of Pecos City Council had discussed using the land that, located behind Gibson True Value. At that time volunteer ambulance members informed the council that the Eisenwine family had sold the land in question to the city for future use by the Ambulance Service.

"It was Mr. Eisenwine's intention for the EMS to build a building on that land," Andy Hannah told the council in September.

John Cravey said that he land was donated to the EMS and now the city is using it for its own project.

Hannah said that if Mr. Eisenwine had known that was the intention of the city, he would not have sold the land at such a cheap price.

"If he had known what it would be used for it would have cost you a whole lot more than $10," he said.

"We've been talking to the ambulance crew," Yerena said today. "This is city land."

Yerena said that they had discussed the land dispute and had told the ambulance crew that if they found another piece of property they were interested in, they could build their new ambulance hall at that location.

"We want to work with the ambulance crew," said Yerena. "If they find another piece of property that they like, we'll help them out," he said.

Interested homebuyers are encouraged to attend the groundbreaking ceremony. The city will be providing information relating to the purchase of the homes and the building contractor will be on hand with floor plans and home specs. The city will also be taking applications on-site.

Workers begin clean up of leaks from Gulf station site

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 22, 2002 -- Anyone driving down Eddy Street lately might have noticed  some activity going on at the corner of Walthall and Eddy Streets.

A crew from OES Environmental, Inc., out of Irving has been installing pipeline and a cement slab that would be used in the cleanup of ground water and soil directly under and around the area.

Field Technician Supervisor Ron Bebout said that the storage tanks that were installed long ago underneath what was the old Airlawn Gulf gas station have leaked over time.

The station was destroyed when a truck-tractor crashed through it in the late 1980s, and the site has been used recently as an aluminum recycling center and for a small sno-cone stand.

The new system, which is similar to the one installed just down the road at the old Airlawn Texaco station in front of Bealls, should be completely installed and running in approximately one month.

Bebout explained what the system would do once installed.

"It'll bring up water and clean it through the system," he said. "It also cleans the soil."

The crew of three has been working on this project since Tuesday and should come back in approximately three weeks to install the system equipment.

Today they poured a 20-foot by 30-foot concrete slab that would be the foundation for the system.

Crews from the same company have been in Pecos attempting to clean up the problem for about two years.

Bebout explained that they went through a process of cleaning and monitoring the area before coming in to install the system.

The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, through a program that the owner of the land applied for, funds the clean up.

Bebout explained that the program is designed to encourage landowners to check their land to determine if a clean up is needed by allowing them to pay a deductible of the cost for the clean up.

This program, which began in the 1980s, will only exist for a limited period of time, after which the owners would have to pay for the clean up out of their own pockets.

"It kind of gives people an incentive to check," Bebout said.

The system will stay in place for two to five years running 24 hours a day for seven days a week, according to Bebout.

Once the area is cleaned, OES would then come back and remove all the equipment. However, they would leave the piping in the ground.

Once the concrete sets today, the crew will go back to Irving, allowing time for the equipment to arrive in Pecos.

After it arrives, the crew will then come back to town to install it giving motorists passing the area something new to look at.

Commissioners to vote on resolution,

payment during Monday meeting

PECOS, Fri., March 22, 2002 -- A resolution declaring April 7-13, county government week will be discussed during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting, scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Monday in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, during which commissioners will discuss and take action on an interagency agreement between the city of Andrews and Reeves County; regulation of subdivisions, HB 1445; LMD Architect request for payment invoice No. 233; Frank X. Spencer request for payment invoice No. 2001058; inmate transportation crew mileage payment; salary grievance committee and Democratic Primary runoff central counting station resolution for the April 9 election.

Regular agenda items include reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes; minutes from previous minutes and semi-monthly bills.


PECOS, Fri., March 22, 2002 -- High Thursday 73. Low this morning 33. Forecast for  tonight: Clear. Lows 35 to 40. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly  cloudy and breezy. Highs around 80. Southwest winds 15 to 25  mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Sunday: Partly cloudy  and breezy. Highs 75 to 80. Monday: Mostly cloudy, breezy and  cooler. Lows around 40 Highs 55 to 60.


Susana Aguirre

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