Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Rollover, fire cause fatality outside Toyah
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- One man was killed and a woman seriously injured
in a one-vehicle rollover that occurred Sunday near Toyah.
The accident occurred at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, 4.6 miles south of Toyah on
Farm Road 2903.
Nathan Pittman, 30, of Orlando, Florida was pronounced dead at the scene
by Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon following the accident, in which he
was trapped in his car when it caught fire after the accident. His body was
taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home.
Pittman was the driver of the vehicle, which was northbound on FM 2903
when it left the roadway and struck the east bar ditch. The driver then overcorrected
and skidded across the road and into the west bar ditch, striking a concrete
culvert, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Terry Gilchrest,
who investigated the accident.
The car then overturned and came to rest on its top where it burst into
flames. "The driver was trapped inside the vehicles and the passenger, Brenda
Bushman, 20, of Kingwood, exited through the passenger side window," said
Gilchrest in his report.
Bushman was transported to Reeves County Hospital in critical condition
with internal injuries and later airlifted to University Medical Hospital
Students take over after commissioners pay bills
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- Balmorhea students had the opportunity to
see real government in action and to participate in a commissioners
court meeting on Monday.
A group of students were at the Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos Monday
morning to observe the regular meeting of the commissioner's court as part
of National County Government Week.
Commissioners met at 9 a.m. for their regular meeting and the students
then had their own `mock commissioners court meeting, with several of the
students taking on the roles of the county judge and the four commissioners.
During their regular meeting, the commissioners discussed and took action
on several items, including approval of payments to several contractors currently
working at the construction site of the Reeves County Detention Center III.
Those included LMD Architects; Scott Thane Ditching Service; Abco Fire Protection;
Tank Builders, Inc.; ISI Detention Contracting Group; R.W. Jones and Sons;
Acme Electric Co.; Howard's Mechanical, Inc.; N.C. Sturgeon and Carothers
Also approved were reports from various departments; budget amendment
and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes; minutes from previous
meetings and semi-monthly bills.
The commissioners tabled any action on enrolling Reeves County with Trans
Pecos weather Modification Association.
Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin thanked the students
who were on hand to learn more about county government.
"There are currently 3,066 counties in the U.S. and we're here to celebrate
County Government Week," said Tarin.
Tarin said that the Reeves County Commissioners have this celebration
every year to keep the community updated on events and to allow the students
an opportunity to learn more about local government.
"This is your future, someday one of you may be sitting up there as a
commissioner or county judge," said Tarin. "It's very important you learn
as much as you can," he said.
The community also had the opportunity to eat outside the courthouse and
to enjoy Mariachi music as part of Monday's events, sponsored by the county
elected officials and their staff.
Local teacher from 1950s school helps with reading
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- A nun and former Pecos teacher was a guest
reader at Pecos Kindergarten last week, and other volunteers are encouraged
to donate their valuable time and read to the little students.
Angela Pafacio taught in Pecos in 1957 at the Santa Rosa School, which
was run by nuns at the Santa Rosa Church and was located behind the church
on the east side of Pecos. On Friday, she a guest reader and listener for
a couple of classes at the kindergarten.
"We always need volunteers to come and listen to the children read," said
teacher Judy Fuentes, who is a lifetime friend of Pafacio. She added that
the nun is her mother's best friend and the two have kept in touch over the
Pafacio was also her teacher when she was a child, Fuentes said. "She
taught me to read and now I enjoy her coming and reading and listening to
the children. She's a great teacher," she said.
Fuentes said that nun had inspired her to go into the teaching field.
"She's also been a principal," she said.
Fuentes said that Pafacio has taught hundreds of students, many in Pecos,
and even though she's retired now she continues to donate her time by volunteering
to read to the children.
Pafacio volunteers once a week and Fuentes sends her a survey.
"The students also do journals and I read them for them," said Pafacio.
"I really enjoy, it's a lot of fun."
Pafacio taught school for 52 years before retiring. "But I'd rather be
teaching the children to read or listening to them," she said.
Rifle matches scheduled for Saturday
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club will hold the
second John C. Garand and Service Rifle matches of the season this Saturday
morning at 8 a.m. at the Club range. The Garand match resembles a Service
Rifle match in form but is limited to "as-issued" M-1 Garands, M-1 Carbines,
1903 Springfields and 1917 Enfields. The Club will issue ammunition for the
match. The Service Rifle match is scheduled to begin after the Garand match.
The Club holds the matches every second Saturday from March through October.
For more information contact Smokey Briggs at 445-5475.
El Paso Energy shifts ownership of Waha gas plant
HOUSTON (Dow Jones/AP) - El Paso Energy Partners L.P. confirmed it completed
the acquisition of some of El Paso Corp.'s midstream assets for $750 million,
including natural gas plants near Coyanosa and Carlsbad, N.M.
On Monday, El Paso Corp. said it sold $750 million worth of midstream
assets to its master limited partnership.
In a press release Tuesday, El Paso Energy Partners said it acquired 10,677
miles of Texas and New Mexico natural gas transportation and gathering pipelines.
The partnership also acquired the Waha natural gas gathering systems located
west of Coyonosa and the Carlsbad plant in southeast New Mexico, as well
as a 42.3 percent non-operating interest in the Indian Basin gas processing
and treating plant and associated gathering lines.
Visitor's Center at Observatory officially opens
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- State Representative Pete Gallego was on hand
to help in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new McDonald Observatory
Visitors' Center Saturday afternoon.
Gallego along with numerous guests and staff of the McDonald Observatory
gathered to celebrate the official opening of the new visitors' center.
The new center opened to the public in March and is 12,000-square-foot
in size, which is five times larger than the old visitors' center at the
site, 90 miles southwest of Pecos.
McDonald Observatory Director Frank Bash discussed numerous topics relating
to the Observatory including the new visitors' center, current research being
performed at the observatory and new opportunities the new center brings
"We now have new abilities we've never had before," Bash said.
The new visitors' center houses a bilingual interactive exhibit, a 90-seat
theater, the StarDate Cafe and an astronomy gift shop.
There are also expanded outdoor venues that would be able to accommodate
more visitors during the Observatory's famous star parties, constellation
tours and solar viewing
The outdoor venues include an Astronomy Park, which is still under construction.
Once completed the Astronomy Park will have two large-aperture telescopes
and a large outdoor amphitheater.
The new center employs 19 people, according to Bash.
Tours of the center and the three telescopes (Hobby-Eberly Telescope,
Harlan J. Smith Telescope, Otto Struve Telescope) are available to the public.
Bash also added that the Observatory staff would also be able to give Spanish-speaking
tours, if needed.
Bash explained during a press conference that the Observatory would now
be taking a larger role in the education of students between Kindergarten
and 12th grade.
With the addition of astronomy into grade school curriculums, Bash said
that the Observatory hopes more area schools would take advantage of having
one of the top observatories in the world right in their own "backyard."
He also said that the world is becoming a more technological world and
believes that all children should have the opportunity to prepare themselves
for the future by learning about science and technology now.
"We use astronomy to excite those kids to a future career in science and
technology," he said.
As part of the education program, McDonald Observatory would be hosting
a number of teacher workshops that would allow teachers to learn more about
astronomy before they teach it in the classroom.
The workshops would be held in the Observatory's classroom, which is also
located in the visitors' center, and are certifies by the State Board of
Education to provide continuing education credit.
Teachers from the surrounding areas would also be eligible to receive
scholarships that were funded by a $35,000 gift from Midland oilman and investor
The scholarships would cover all expenses including room and board for
the three to four day workshops.
"All they have to do is pay for transportation," Bash said.
Along with the teacher workshops, the Observatory staff is glad to host
numerous school students during student-field trips.
In fact, a Pecos High School group from science classes taught by Cary
Hannsz and Barbara Scown has already visited the observatory this year.
On Saturday, media representatives were able to take a tour of the Hobby-Eberly
Telescope (HET), which is one of the largest telescopes in the world.
The 9.2-meter telescope has 91 mirrors and is used everyday, weather permitting,
according to Bash.
The HET was dedicated in 1997 and is a joint project of the University
of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, Penn State University and two German
Bash said that the HET along with the two other telescopes are used every
day possible for several projects that help scientists better understand
"One project is to look for planets orbiting around stars," he said.
During the dedication ceremony, Bash thanked numerous donators and Observatory
"friends," including Gallego, whose district will include Reeves County beginning
Bash explained that during the last two legislative sessions the Observatory's
budget has grown as a result of Gallego's help.
During the ceremony, Gallego expressed his support for the Observatory
saying that it allows children, young and old, to educate themselves, which
provides hope for the future.
"This place will sow the seeds of curiosity," he said. "Curiosity leads
to education. Education leads to hope."
The McDonald Observatory is expected to attract as many as 130,000 visitors
within the next year, according to a press release sent out by the Observatory.
Anyone who wishes to support the Observatory could become "friends" of
the Observatory by making contributions that would go toward the education
programs, according to Press Officer Rebecca Johnson.
By being a "friend," supporters may receive numerous gifts such as a membership
card that allows them to get into the Observatory for free.
For more information on becoming a "friend" of the Observatory or for
more information on the facility itself log onto www.mcdonaldobservatory.org.
PECOS, Tues., April 9, 2002 -- High Mon. 84. Low this morning 51. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed.:
Partly cloudy. Highs 80 to 85. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed. night: Partly
cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. Thurs.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of thunderstorms. Highs near 85. Thurs. night: Partly cloudy. Lows
50 to 55. Fri.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms.
Highs 75 to 80.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise