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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Friday, April 5, 2002

Observatory's visitor's center ready to open

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, April 5, 2002 -- State Representative Pete Gallego and University of  Texas-Austin President Larry Faulkner will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting  ceremony of the new McDonald Observatory Visitors Center on  Saturday afternoon, at the observatory on Mount Locke, outside of Fort Davis.

The two will be among the invited guests and media representatives at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will be followed by a tour of the new facility.

The general public is welcome to visit the facility on Sunday as part of a free Open House at the Observatory, located 90 miles southwest of Pecos.

The new visitor's center is expected to attract as many as 130,000 visitors each year, according to a press release.

"I'm pleased to report that Jeff Davis County, Texas now has one of the best small science centers in the country," McDonald Observatory Director Frank Bash said.

The new 12,000-square-foot visitors center houses an interactive bilingual exhibit, a 90-seat theater, the StarDate Cafe and an astronomy gift shop.

The expanded outdoor venues surrounding the building will accommodate more visitors than ever during the observatory's famous star parties, constellation tours and solar viewing.

In addition to numerous families and vacationers who would visit the observatory, the new center will take on a larger role in K-12 education.

"It's important to McDonald Observatory to promote K-12 science education," Bash said. "The new facility will help us excite students about science and technology, and is designed to inspire them to pursue careers in those fields."

The original center, which is now used as office space for staff members, was built in 1980 to handle 20,000 visitors per year.

By 1988, the visitor's center was handling 130,000 visitors per year at which time the observatory decided to begin raising funds for a new facility.

Since then more than $6 million were raised through contributions from donors, foundations, grants, and revenues.

The festivities for media representatives are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., tomorrow.

Some polling site moved for runoff election

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, April 5, 2002 -- Today is the final day for early voting at the Reeves  County Courthouse for the Democratic primary runoff elections, while  voters can also go to the polls on Tuesday in the two runoff election races.

As of Thursday, 208 individuals had voted early and 34 mail-in ballots had been returned. "We had 398 mailed out, but have only received 34 back," said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.

Contact the county clerk's office at 915-445-5467 for more information or if you have questions concerning the Democratic primary runoff election.

The election will be held Tuesday, April 9 at six polling places in Reeves County, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The only local runoff race is in Precinct 2, where incumbent Justice of the Peace candidate J.T. Marsh faces challenger Jim Riley, while all county voters are eligible to cast ballots in the U.S. Senate runoff election, between Ron Kirk and Victor Morales.

A three of the normal voting boxes in Precinct 2 _ at the Pecos High School new gym, the Toyah City Hall and the Texas-New Mexico (First Choice) Power Co. Reddy room will be open as normal, but other election boxes in Precincts 1, 3 and 4 have been consolidated due to the limited number of races.

All Precinct 1 voters will cast their ballots at the Haynes-Sadler Community Center on East 12th Street, while all voters in Precinct 4 will cast their ballots Election Day at the Pecos Community Center, 510 S. Oak St. Precinct 3 voters in both Balmorhea and Saragosa will vote on Tuesday at the Balmorhea City Hall, while the Precinct 3 box in Pecos, Box 10 at the Reeves County Annex, will be open as usual on Election Day.

Barstow voters also have two runoff elections on their ballot, and can vote early until 5 p.m. today at the Ward County Courthouse in Monahans, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Barstow Community Center Along with the Kirk-Morales race, 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 Commissioners, 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.

Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Dean said that on Saturday, the party will hold its County Convention at 10 a.m. in the 143rd District Courtroom of the Reeves County Courthouse.

Delegates will be elected to the State Convention to be held June 14-15 in El Paso.

If you voted in the Democratic Primary, you are eligible to be elected as a delegate to the State Convention.

"Please come and participate, I look forward to seeing you on the sixth," said Dean.

RCDC, cloud seeding on county's agenda

PECOS, Friday, April 5, 2002 -- Requests for payments to companies and individuals working on the construction of the new Reeves County Detention Center III project, and joining a proposed Trans Pecos cloud seeding project will be discussed and action taken on Monday during the regular Reeves County Commissioners court meeting.

The group will meet at 9 a.m., in the third floor courtroom and the public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on requests for payment on the 960-bed prison expansion project by LMD Architects, Scott Thane Ditching Service, Abco Fire Protection, Inc., ISI Detention Contracting Group, Acme Electric Co, R.W. Jones and Sons, Howard's Mechanical, Inc., N.C. Sturgeon and Carothers Construction, which is supervising operations on the project.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on enrolling Reeves County with Trans Pecos Weather Modification Association after discussing the plan with Tom Nance of the Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 last month. Nance is seeking to get area commissioners and other governmental bodies to support implementation of a cloud seeding program for the Trans-Pecos, which has been under drought conditions since the summer of 1992.

Other items on Monday's commissioners court agenda include a contract agreement between Reeves County and Hemphill County Juvenile Boot Camp/Detention and change order No. 1 for Jarratt Dirt Work and Paving, Inc. for RCDC III.

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

Daylight Savings beginning Sunday in most of nation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Set the clocks ahead Saturday night.

Daylight-saving time returns at 2 a.m. Sunday, providing an extra hour of evening sunshine until Oct. 27 for most of the United States.

It's also a good time to replace batteries in smoke alarms, safety advocates urge.

Some parts of the country don't observe daylight-saving time.

Those include Arizona, Hawaii, the part of Indiana located in the Eastern time zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.


PECOS, Friday, April 5, 2002 -- High Thursday 75. Low this morning 48. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. Southeast winds 10 to 20  mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers  and thunderstorms. Highs near 80. Southeast winds 10 to 20  mph. Saturday night: Mostly cloudy and breezy with a 30 percent chance  of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s. Sunday:  Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms  early. Decreasing clouds in the afternoon. Highs near 80. Monday:  Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Highs 75 to 80.


Paula Urista

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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