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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Riley wins JP2 election in only local runoff race

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- Reeves County voters in Precinct 2 voted out a seven-term incumbent on Tuesday, in the area's only local election race.

Over 60 percent of Precinct 2 voters voted to elect Jim Riley as Justice of the Peace in the run-off election on Tuesday over J.T. Marsh, who had served as JP for the area that covers Toyah and much of the west side of Pecos since 1975.

Riley received approximately 60 percent of the votes on Tuesday, with a total of 209 votes while Marsh picked up 119 votes, or roughly the 35 percent of the total votes cast in Precinct 2.

Riley and Marsh went into the run-off election for the Democratic nomination after Riley finished first and Marsh second in a three-way race for the position in the primary election on March 12. Riley's margin of victory was wider on Tuesday, though both candidates received fewer votes than they did in last month's race.

In that election Riley received 324 votes while Marsh received 244 votes. A runoff was needed because Riley did not receive 50 percent of the vote in the March 12 election, which also included challenger Jaime Salgado, who resigned last December as Precinct 2 constable to seek the JP position.

Riley is excited about the election results and is looking forward to taking office in eight months.

"I'm just glad to be able to have an opportunity to serve the citizens of Reeves County," he said.

With the results of this election, Marsh would be ending over two decades of service to the county and its citizens.

As for Riley it is a beginning of a new career that holds many opportunities and tasks.

"I think this is a different career type move for me," he said. "I'm excited about it."

Riley, who has been a volunteer fireman for many years, plans to stay with the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department.

United States Senator nominee Ron Kirk won the run-off election against candidate Victor Morales even though he did not win in Reeves County.

Reeves County voters favored Morales who won in this county by over 50 percent.

Kirk and Morales were just two of the five Democratic candidates in the primary this March for the open Senate seat currently filled by Republican Phil Gramm, who is not seeking re-election this year. State Attorney General John Cornyn will be the Republican nominee in the fall.

Barstow voters in Ward County also had one local election to decide on Tuesday, for 143rd District Clerk. In that runoff election, Patricia Oyerbides defeated Pam Bingham, but vote totals for Barstow and all of Ward County were not available for that race at press time.

County judge goes in on buying Bud building

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- The Rio Pecos Sales building on East Third Street in Pecos, which was the longtime home of the area's Budweiser distributorship, has been purchased by Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo and another county employee, Randy Baeza.

Galindo and Baeza purchased the 9,000-square-foot building in March from Standard Sales Company, out of Midland/Odessa, which acquired the building when they bought the distributorship last year, and already have a temporary tenant for the facility.

Galindo said that the purchase was simply a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

"We made an offer on the building, which Standard Sales accepted," he said.

The two offered $40,000 and was able to make a $5,000 down payment leaving $35,000 to be paid off by March 1, 2005, according to the Warranty Deed filed at the Reeves County Courthouse.

Overall, Galindo said that he and Baeza each paid $250 of the down payment after raising $4,500 by renting the building to Wal-Mart.

"We were able to get a contract with Walmart during their renovation for $1,500 a month for three months," he said. "So we were able to use that at the closing as a down payment."

Galindo explained that he and Baeza felt that $35,000 was a good price for the purchase of property that is worth much more.

"The property is currently appraised at over $100,000," he said. "So we believed that $35,000 is a very good market price for a 9,000-square-foot of refrigerated space in the middle of the Chihuahua desert."

Right now, Wal-Mart is using the space as a warehouse in order to store materials during the renovation, Galindo said.

After the local Wal-Mart finishes the renovation, Galindo said that the Fort Stockton Wal-Mart has expressed interest in using the building for the same reason this summer.

Galindo said that allowing Wal-Mart to use the building has created jobs for a few people.

"The warehousing of materials has created three to five temporary jobs," he said.

Also, if Fort Stockton does decided to rent out the same space this summer, Galindo said that it would extend those three to five jobs another three months.

Galindo said that there is also a Snyder man who has expressed interest in using the refrigerated building for a few months in early fall to store cantaloupes.

He explained that he has not spoken with the man yet but does know that he has planted cantaloupes and honeydews in this area and needs a space to preserve the fruit for shipping.

"That is just in the preliminary stages," Galindo said.

For now, Galindo is happy with Wal-Mart using the building as storage because it gives the two owners time to find a more permanent renter.

"The long term objective would be to try to attract a company that would warehouse food products or other products that need refrigeration," he said. However, right now we're committed to renting it to Wal-Mart."

"That gives us four months or so to really focus on finding a user on a more permanent basis."

Chamber discusses planning for Rodeo Week, Fair events

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- Special events for the upcoming months were discussed during the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at noon Tuesday.

The first meeting of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade committee was held recently. A theme entitled, "Red, White and Blue and Cowboys, Too," was chosen at the meeting, according to committee member Kathy Hurley.

She told the group that the committee is already making plans for the annual event which will be held in conjunction with the West of the Pecos Rodeo in July.

"We want everyone to sign up for the parade, whether it be vehicles, groups, riding groups or floats," said Hurley.

Hurley said she would need a lot of volunteers the morning of the parade to help with lining up all the individuals that were participating in it. "If anyone wants to be in it they can call Lupe at the chamber and sign up," she said.

Plans for Night in Old Pecos are also underway, with committee members digging up old files on previous events to gather more ideas. "We're trying to get new ideas for it, have more activities," said Debbie Thomas.

She said that the group is planning on having more games for the youngsters and more activities for everyone.

"We always have a lot of food booths, but we need more activities to keep the people there and to purchase more food at the booths," Thomas said. "If we keep the kids more interested, maybe the parents will stay longer."

Windmill Square Players have also met and outlined their melodrama for this year. "We'll have it on the Fourth of July weekend and we will have our traditional melodrama," said John Grant. "I'm the villain this year."

He said that this year the group will have about the same cast, with two or more individuals joining them.

"If anyone wants to join us for after the melodrama, we need oleos or short skits done right after the melodrama," Grant said, adding that individuals can do a skit or oleo at the end of the play.

The melodrama will take place on Monday and Tuesday, July 1-2, and there will be no matinee on Sunday as was customary. Instead, the melodrama will be held on Thursday afternoon, July 4, at the State Theater.

Fall Fair Committee members have also met and plans made. "There will be some changes this year," said Interim Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson.

She said the lack of a carnival contract is their biggest problem at this time.

"The carnival that was here last year, will not be accepted this year," said Gholson. "If anyone has any contacts or knows of any entertainment people that can help us contact a carnival please let us know."

The Harlem Entertainers will be in Pecos on April 19, at the Pecos High School New Gym.

"We've done some advertising and have tickets at the office," said Lupe Davis, chamber of commerce office manager.

Four local teams will be competing against the entertainment group and a "fun" referee will be on hand for the event.

"We have someone that will be doing the concession stand and special entertainment planned for half-time," said Gholson.

Tickets in advance are $5 for children 12 and under and $7 for adults. At the door they will be $7 and $10.

"It ought to be a fun night," said Gholson.

Women's Division President Laura Briggs updated the group on the many events the women are currently working on. "We met on April 5 and had a great turnout," she said.

Briggs told the board that the Newcomer's Basket, something the Women's Division has been working on for a while, will go into action this week.

Newcomer's Baskets will be delivered personally to new families in the community as a form of welcome to Pecos.

"A letter will go out to all the businesses in Pecos explaining what the group is doing this week and asking for a little something to put in the basket," said Briggs.

Briggs said that the item didn't necessarily have to be something expensive. "It can be a map, a menu or just anything," she said.

Briggs told the group that the women would be having a bake sale during the Harlem Entertainers event.

"We have 10 Golden Girl nominees and they will forming a team for Relay for Life," said Briggs. "They're very busy girls and they still want to find time to participate in this worthy event."

"I think this is really ambitious of them," she said.

Briggs said the girls needed to come up with $500 to start a team and encouraged chamber members to help them out by donating to the young ladies and helping them in their efforts.

"Last night we had our mother-daughter tea for the Golden Girl nominees and a mother-daughter tea will be held for the Little Miss Cantaloupe Contestants as well," she said.

Briggs said that so far this year 51 women have already paid their dues compared to 20 last year.

"Before the next chamber meeting, we'll have our Style Show for both the young ladies and the little girls," said Briggs.

The Style Show has been set for noon, Saturday, May 11 at the Reeves County Civic Center. Tickets are $10 and will include a barbecue lunch. There will be patriotic theme for the event and all the candidates have tickets to sell.

Gholson told the group that a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was going to be held at 9 a.m., on April 26 for the Movie Gallery at 11th and Cedar streets. "Later at 11 a.m., there will be grand opening for the Small Business Resource Center located next to the Community Center on Oak Street," said Gholson.

Red Bluff approves funds for mesquite removal

Staff Writer
PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members voted to pay for removal of mesquite trees on the south side of Red Bluff Dam and near the Imperial Reservoir, and discussed several other water-related items during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pecos.

Managing Director Randall Hartman said an airplane would be used to spray the south side of the dam, at a cost of between $2,000 and $3,000, while spraying along the upper diversion of the Pecos River canal in the Imperial area was expected to cost another $3,000.

Hartman said ground spraying of the dam was not feasible. "It's too steep and too deep to get in there," he said, while the road near the diversion canal has been made mostly impassable by the trees.

Board members were also told that more rains around Red Bluff Lake recently have meant less water in the lake, but that less water in the lake has meant better water quality overall, in discussions on the current drought situation and the salt alleviation project at Malaga Bend in New Mexico.

Red Bluff Lake did gain about 700 acre feet of water in March, but the 41,525 acre/feet as of March 31 is still not enough to allow water allotments to farmers along the Pecos River this growing season.

Most of the water came from water coming down the river from New Mexico. "On the lake we did get some rain, but the weirdest thing was we got about a quarter inch of rain, and you'd expect to gain water, but we lost it," Hartman said. "The only thing I can figure is we lost water to evaporation, because of the wind from the thunderstorms takes out the water unless you get a substantial amount of rain."

"The wind really sucks up the water. It really increases the surface area of the lake when it chops the surface up," said board member Lloyd Goodrich.

Hartman also told the board that the drought has caused New Mexico to cut water allotments to its farmers from 30 inches to eight this year, which has resulted in the increase in underground pumping along the Pecos River. However, the board was told later that the lack of water just north of the state line has also slowed the flow of the salt spring at Malaga Bend into the Pecos River, which has improved the quality of the water entering Red Bluff Lake from New Mexico.

"The two readings (above and below Malaga Bend) are not as bad as in the past. If we could get some more water we could make an allotment next year or this year if the quality holds up," Hartman said.

He also told the board that the final contract on the salt alleviation project has been sent out, according to the Sun West Salt Co., which will contract with Red Bluff to pump water from the salt spring into man-made ponds, where it will be evaporated and the salt then mined out.

"Everything between Texas and New Mexico has been settled," Hartman said. "As soon as we have a signed contract we'll give it to (attorney) Tom Bolt and he will proceed from there. Mr. Thrasher (Pecos River Compact Commissioner J.W. Thrasher) seemed to think it would proceed because the river master is in favor of it."

Water already in Imperial Reservoir also came up for discussion at the end of the meeting. Tom Nance, with Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 in Barstow, questioned why Pecos County water districts at the reservoir were able to get about 700 acre/feet of water out of the lake, while districts upriver are going without any water this year.

"I want to go on record opposed to giving water to one district and not to another," said Nance, while board members said the water in the lake was left over from the 2001 water allotment.

"We had a case where we could let it get so briny we'd have to dump it or use it real quick," said Hartman. "It wouldn't look good to New Mexico dumping it in the river with nobody else having any."

Goodrich said the Pecos County water districts paid for the water last year, but didn't use all of it because of rains in the area. "We meter it into the reservoir and meter it out," he said. "They asked for it. It's paid for water; they paid for it last year."

The board also approved March's cash disbursements and accounts payable, and discussed the trip several members will take today and Thursday to Ruidoso, N.M., for the annual meeting of the Pecos River Compact Commission. A reception was scheduled for this evening, and the meeting itself will begin at 10 a.m. CDT on Thursday at the Ruidoso Civic Center.

P-B-T board to discuss street's reopening

PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- Granting permission for Town of Pecos City to re-open 10th Street between Willow and Cherry streets is one of the topics that will be discussed at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

The group will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy and the public is invited to attend.

The street, located in Block 15 and Block 33 of College Addition, was closed to allow for more yard space for Pecos Elementary. But with the closing of that school last year, the board will discuss seeking to have the street reopened to thru traffic.

In other action, board members will recognize Zavala Elementary Regional Science Fair students and Crockett Middle School UIL academic students and band students (concert and sightreading).

The group will review letters from TEA _ PEIMS submission (PID) error rate and from the Texas Department of Health.

Under old business, board members will receive a report on renovations at Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School, Bessie Haynes Elementary, Zavala Elementary, Lamar AEP and Pecos Kindergarten.

Board members will discuss and approve the District's benefit obligation to employees through TRS ActiveCare and take action on District's contributions and options; 2002-2003 early release days; Nadine Smith are replacement for Iris Rives as Central Counting Judge if Rives moves before May 4; set date for canvass of election returns for May 4 election; use of Pecos High School classroom by Justice of the Peace to hold court for truancy and Texas Education Code violations and request by Pecos Chamber of Commerce for use of the Pecos High School New Gym for the Harlem Entertainers and waive fees.

To be discussed and approved: offers to purchase foreclosed properties; summer school; 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 Summary of Finance; 2001-2002 budget amendments; resolution for Media Honor Roll nominee(s); amendment to enhanced curriculum guidelines; job description for Curriculum and Special Programs Director, job classification and pay scale for the 2002-2003 school year; job description for PEIMS and Student Accounting Coordinator, job classification and pay scale for the 2002-2003 school year and job description for secretary for Curriculum and Special Programs Director, job classification and pay scale for the 2002-2003 school year.

The group will meet behind closed doors, as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et seq., Section 551.074: to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel, Level III complaint: Jimmy Dutchover and discuss other personnel. Section 551.071: Private consultation with the board's attorney.

They will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

Regular items on the agenda to be discussed and approved:

Professional personnel: resignations, retirements, appointments, change of contract.

Tax report.

Cafeteria report and commodities received.

Depository securities report.

Investment transactions report.

Reconciled bank balance report.

Current bills and financial report.

Community Recreation Department report.

Date and time for next regular meeting.

Calendar of events.

Request for items for next agenda.

Council to discuss computer system for city's new jail

PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council is starting off their day early Thursday, with their regular meeting scheduled for 7 a.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

The Council is set to discuss a voluntary citizen donation for the Pecos Ambulance Service along with awarding bids for a computer system at the new Pecos Municipal Criminal Law Enforcement Center.

Also on the agenda is the awarding of engineering services for the Pecos single family subdivision.

Regular items on the agenda include the municipal court monthly report, the juvenile monthly report, the accounts payable and the minutes for the previous meeting.

PECOS, Wed., April 10, 2002 -- High Tuesday 80. Low this morning 49. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 55. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 90. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs near 85. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 55. Highs near 85.


H.L. Cox, Juliana Galindo and Vicente Machuca

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