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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Balmorhea area given $500,000 in telecom funds

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, April 2, 2002 -- A community network that will offer a variety of telecommunications resources to Balmorhea and surrounding rural communities is becoming a reality.

The Oasis of West Texas Community Network was recently awarded a $500,000 grant by the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board (TIF) for the development and implementation of a community network. The Oasis of West Texas Community Network, formed by the Balmorhea Independent School District, the City of Balmorhea and the Reeves County Commissioners Court, was one of 48 awardees from across the state.

The Oasis of West Texas Community Network steering committee originally submitted a proposal to the TIF board outlining their vision for community network. A five-month planning phase began in August of last year to fully develop the proposed vision. Criteria included fostering equitable access to information, citizen training, broad-ranged and enriched local content development, list-serves and local community web-pages, enhanced local economic development and sustainability for the project after the grant funds have been expended. The final proposal by the Oasis of West Texas Community Network was approved this month by the TIF board.

"It is a dream come true for our community," said Balmorhea ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz. "This culminates months of detailed work by the steering committee members in putting together the final proposal. Not only does the project address the educational needs of our students and community members, but the economic welfare of Balmorhea."

"We are excited to start the implementation of The Oasis of West Texas Community Network plan," said Project Director David Carrasco. "Our goal is to provide wireless connectivity to the communities of Balmorhea, Brogado, Saragosa and Toyahvale."

Free public access to the Internet will be available at multiple locations throughout the area. "Tourists coming through Balmorhea will be able to check their emails and access the Internet from places such as the Balmorhea State Park," said Saenz.

Community training classes will be offered at little or no cost to interested community participants, will address multiple areas of interest and will be provided in both English and Spanish. A bilingual interactive website will be designed and implemented for access by both community members and others interested in learning about this area for business or pleasure. "We will use this website to promote tourism by showcasing area attractions, events, and businesses," she said.

In partnership with Mountain Zone TV, the cable company that serves Balmorhea and several other Davis Mountains communities, a bilingual community channel will be developed. It will provide a community bulletin board along with live and/or taped events, activities and meetings in the community network area.

In an effort to provide the best possible education for the young people of the community, a computer checkout program will be available to those families with a child enrolled in Balmorhea ISD. This will provide after-hours access to the school network for research purposes, allow parents and students to access a teacher's website for assignments or review work, and for parents to become better informed as to their student's academic progress and attendance.

"Our district has always been committed to providing the best in technology to our students, but this grant will allow us to expand our dreams to the entire community. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are confident that the next 13 months will result in the implementation of a successful project," said Carrasco.

"We at TIF, are extremely excited about the future Community Networks," said Sam Tessen, Executive Director of TIF. "This is our second Community Network grant initiative. The first group of communities are already well on their way, implementing things such as public training throughout the community, workstations and training in senior citizen centers, public kiosks for Internet access, an portals delineating all the services and attractions that a community has to offer," he said.

"The possibilities of e-commerce, e-democracy and continued e-communication are truly limitless," said Tessen. "These grants have been highly competitive, and we have been fortunate to have so many dedicated communities eager to participate in going the next step to include entire communities in this information era."

Early voting for runoff strong on opening day

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, April 2, 2002 -- Democratic Primary Run-off election clerks were surprised at the number of voters who turned out for the first day of early voting.

The actual run-off Election Day is Tuesday, April 9 however it seems that many people want to vote early with 42 people voting by personal appearance Monday at the Reeves County Courthouse.

"It was more than we thought we would have on the first day," Election Clerk Ester Alvarez said.

Today has gone slower with only 16 people voting as of 12 noon.

Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez said that the deadline for requesting a ballot by mail is 5 p.m., today.

During this run-off election, voters who vote in voting boxes three, four and 12 would have the opportunity to vote for Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2.

The two candidates in the run-off are current JP, J.T. Marsh and candidate Jim Riley.

All Reeves County voters have the opportunity to vote in the run-off election for U.S. Senate with candidates Victor Morales and Ron Kirk.

The last day of early voting is this Friday. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., all this week.

On Election Day, seven voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Those include the Community Center (boxes 1, 7, 8), Sadler Haynes Center (boxes 2, 11) Balmorhea Fire Hall (5, 6), Reeves County Annex building - Community Council room (box 10), Pecos High School Gym (box 3), Toyah City Hall (box 4) and Texas New Mexico Power Reddy room (box 12).

Meanwhile, Barstow residents can travel to Monahans this week to vote early in Ward County's runoff election, or wait until next Tuesday to cast votes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Barstow Community Center.

Along with the Kirk-Morales race for the Democratic nomination for Senate, Barstow voters will also be able to cast ballots in the election for 143rd District Clerk in Ward County, where Patricia Oyerbides and Pam Bingham are in a runoff.

Ward County has two other runoff elections that Barstow voters, who are part of Precinct 1, will not be deciding. In Precinct 4, Eddie Nelms and Glenn Garland, while voters in Precincts 2 and 3 will decide between incumbent Justice of the Peace Ronold Ray and challenger Elizabeth Polanco.

Air Force's border balloon catches power lines

TEMPLE (AP) - The lights are back on along Lake Buchanan's eastern shore after a runaway radar balloon tore down some power lines in the Central Texas retreat.

The Air Force Aerostat balloon broke its tether near Rio Grande City along the Mexican border and floated about 300 miles into Central Texas.

There, law officers fired dozens of shotgun rounds to help bring it down, but not before the balloon trailing a 2,500-foot communications cable damaged trees and downed power lines, Burnet County Commissioner Bill Neve said Monday.

"We started getting reports of the balloon about 7:15 a.m. Saturday, and we continued getting calls during the morning about power being knocked out all over the area," Neve told the Temple Daily Telegram in Tuesday's editions.

A spokesman for the Johnson City-based Pedernales Electric Cooperative said Tuesday that the service has been restored.

The Aerostat balloon is one of a series of balloons used by the Air Force and U.S. Border Patrol as part of its surveillance efforts along the Texas-Mexico border. A similar balloon is in operation in West Texas, near Valentine in Jeff Davis County.

The Aerostat balloon broke free of its moorings at about 4 a.m. Saturday, said Lt. Michael Meridith at Langley Air Force Base, Va. He said the Air Force tracked the balloon from Rio Grande City, where it had begun its unscheduled flight.

After it was entangled in electrical lines at the Silver Creek subdivision, the Silver Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Burnet County sheriff's deputies brought it down, Neve said.

"The deputies put 75 (shotgun) rounds into the thing to deflate it. We thought it would stop when it was tied up in some trees, but the Air Force people told us we better untie it because it could rip trees right out of the ground," Neve said.

Burnet County Sheriff Joe Pollock said it took more than 30 people to bring down the balloon near Lake Buchanan.

"It was hard to bring down because it was filled with helium, and anything that's 100 feet long filled with helium takes quite awhile to deflate," Pollock said.

Pollock said that officials from Lockheed Martin, builders of the balloon, had taken over the balloon site and that helicopters would probably be needed to remove it.

"The Aerostat Radar System is important to our efforts in counter-narco terrorism along the borders and also to NORAD and to the Marine Interdiction Center at March Air Force Base in California," Meridith said. "We will be convening the accident investigating board soon to discover the causes of the accident and also to see what the Air Force can do to prevent this from happening again."

Pistol Match set for Saturday

PECOS, Tuesday, April 2, 2002 -- Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club will hold a pistol match Saturday at the club range. The match will be patterned after the Defensive Pistol Association matches. Competitors will need a revolver or semi-auto pistol of .38 caliber or better and will need to reload during most strings of fire. Competitors should be prepared to shoot 100 rounds of ammunition. Hearing and eye protection are required. For more information contact Mike Mason at 447-6157.

Revivals set for park, jail in early May

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, April 2, 2002 -- Giving people the chance to be saved is what a New Mexico man hopes to do in Pecos this May.

Tito Hernandez is the chairman of Puro Cristo Prison Ministry and has been traveling in the New Mexico, Texas and Mexico area for many years giving thousands of people the opportunity to turn their lives around.

Residents of Pecos and the surrounding areas are invited to attend an area wide rally from 10 a.m., to 6 p.m., on Friday, May 3 in Saragosa Park.

Hernandez will also hold a revival on May 4 and 5 at Reeves County Jail for the inmates housed there.

Hernandez said he was saved in 1988 after 28 years of alcohol and drug abuse and time spent in and out of prison.

"Then one day I went to church and I was saved," he said.

Ever since then Hernandez has been working to help others find God through his numerous rallies and revivals.

Hernandez has been coming to Pecos for a several years now and has conducted a few revivals at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"The Lord put it in my heart three years ago to come here," he said.

Now Hernandez will come back to conduct a revival at the county jail on the invitation of Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez.

Gomez said he asked Hernandez to hold a revival at the jail in efforts to lift the inmates' spirits.

"I think it is good for the moral of the inmates because some have been here for a while and they miss their families," he said.

Gomez said he also thinks that the rally would benefit the community as well.

"I think it will help everybody," he said.

Gomez hopes to have Hernandez come in to the county jail every year.

"We're planning to have this annually," he said.

Hernandez said that during the rally there would be testimonies, live music and praise and worship.

It is also non-denominational therefore everybody is invited, according to Hernandez.

There will also be a separate portion for the younger generations, Hernandez said.

"We're also going to have a youth rally for the kids with candy and doorprizes," he said.

Hernandez said that he also needs volunteers to help with the rally and hopes anyone interested in volunteering would give him a call.

Helping people is what Hernandez hopes to accomplish by having the rally and revival.

After spending most of his life in and out of prisons and being addicted to alcohol, heroin and other drugs, Hernandez' life changed when he went to church and was saved.

"We're trying to reach the people of this area," he said.

Hernandez, who is based in Jal, N.M., said anyone wanting further information can call him at (505) 395-2074 or (505) 395-2684.


PECOS, Tuesday, April 2, 2002 -- High Monday 93. Low this morning 58. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Lows around 40. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and cool. Highs around 60. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph in the morning: Becoming southeast 5 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. Thursday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs 75 to 80. Friday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Highs 80 to 85.

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Pecos Enterprise
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