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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, January 9, 2003

Worker killed in Coyanosa plant accident

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- An Odessa man was killed and three others injured during a pressure incident at a gas plant located in Coyanosa Wednesday evening.

"The company is calling it a pressure incident," said Pecos County Sheriff Cliff Harris of the incident, which occurred about 30 miles east of Pecos.

Harris said that the call came in at 7:17 p.m., yesterday and that the Fort Stockton Ambulance Service responded immediately to the location. However no other emergency personnel other than law enforcement officials were sent to the site.

"There wasn't a fire, so firefighters were not called out to the scene," said Harris.

The gas plant is located 2½ miles north of Coyanosa, off of 1776, near the Pecos-Ward County line.

Killed in the incident was Victor Najera, 48, of Odessa, who was employed with the Schlumberger Corp., which is the world's largest oilfield service company.

Three others were transported to the Pecos County Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released.

The names of the three injured workers were not available, but Harris said, "Most of the employees are out of the Odessa-Midland area."

The sheriff said that the gas company that owns the plant and Schlumberger are conducting their own investigation into what occurred and why the accident happened.

"They are continuing the investigation and that will determine where they go from there," said Harris.

Battery plant reopens after financial recharge

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- A battery recycling plant in Pecos that has been in limited operations in recent years is being revitalized following the acquisition by a Canadian corporation.

"We acquired an inactive plant," said Herb Larsen, a representative of an investment syndicate that has bought the Battery Conservation Technology Incorporated facility on Western Avenue in Pecos and changed the name to Battery Reclamation, Inc.

The plant began full operation Monday morning and will continue at its current strength while at the same time planning for expansion, according to Battery Reclamation, Inc. president Bob Curry.

Curry has been president of the facility since 1993 and oversees the day to day operations at the local plant.

"Not only does this impact this facility, but the spin-off for the entire community will be beneficial," said Curry.

Curry said that the facility has been idle now for several years, but it's been revitalized and there will be plenty of activity at the facility.

"All the employees have undergone health and safety training and we have an excellent director in charge of health and safety issues," said Curry. "The safety issues have been implemented, they have had training and been certified by J.R. Safety Associates."

Curry said that the employees have also completed 24-hour hazmat training.

The facility, which specializes in recycling of alkaline batteries, currently employs 22 workers.

"We ship from all parts of the world, including Asia and Europe," said Larsen. "We have been dealing with other countries abroad."

Plans for expansion include a $2.5 million capital upgrade, according to Larsen.

"Within the next 12 months into the operations, we have future expansion plans," said Larsen. "That will be Phase II of our plans."

No more employees will be hired under Phase I, which is what the facility is currently undergoing, according to Larsen, but Phase II will include the hiring of at least 15 more employees. "Phase I is this year and Phase II is next year," said Larsen.

Kathy Cox, vice-president of operations, will be in charge at the local plant. Danny Dominguez is head of Safety and Health Issues and three long-time BRI employees will be returning to the old positions.

Sam Cardona, who had been a BRI employee for 13 years will be returning, along with Roger Matta, an eight-year employee.

Billy Keese will also return to his old position. He had been an employee at the plant for eight years.

"Because of this acquisition, not only those other employees regained their jobs, but 11 new ones were hired," he said.

Larsen said that the Pecos plant is the largest facility in the world that recycles dry-cell batteries and that it has processed over 50 million pounds which has made a major impact in the environment.

The current owners of BRI actually took over operations in August of 2000 and in the period of time since has made tremendous strides by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up efforts at the facility.

"We're hoping for a long and fruitful relationship with Pecos and are excited about our future plans," said Larsen.

In 1992, the Pecos plant began developing a proprietary process of recycling alkaline batteries, which has since become an international solution to governments as well as large corporate entities wishing to be relieved of the perpetual liability inherent with the hazardous waste landfill of batteries.

BRI is fully approved and licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission in Environmental Quality to handle and process spent batteries as well as offer a certificate of full recycle which in turn relieves its clients from any and all long term liability related to future leaching and/or environmental contamination.

P-B-T to discuss new campus consolidation plan

PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members will discuss closing the district's third campus in six years and consolidating sixth grade students with the district's fourth and fifth graders, during the first board meeting of 2003, scheduled for this evening.

Board members will meet at 6 p.m., at the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy Street to discuss several items and the public is invited to attend.

The group will consider and take possible action on moving sixth grade classes from Zavala Middle School to Bessie Haynes Elementary and DAEP/AEP from the Lamar campus to Zavala. the Lamar campus would then be closed.

Due to declining enrollment, P-B-T has shut two other campuses in recent years, Barstow Elementary in 1997 and Pecos Elementary in 2001, while Lamar was downgraded from the district's sixth grade campus to the alternative education campus three years ago. The Pecos Elementary campus now houses Pecos Head Start, while the city of Barstow was given P-B-T's building there.

In other business board members will discuss and consider taking action on the 2001-2002 audit; sale of foreclosed property; Special Education Policies and Procedures; 2002-2003 budget amendments; textbook waiver for Pecos High School astronomy classes; method of procurement for interior renovations at Pecos High School Building A; attendance report; Summary of Finances 2002-2003 and 2003-2004; salary stipend for classroom teachers with Master's Degrees; method of procurement for replacement of HVAC at Austin Elementary and listen to a report on Pecos High School baseball field grandstand awning, 2002 renovation.

The group will meet behind closed doors in "Closed Session" as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act. Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

They will also consider and possible action on extension and terms of Assistant Superintendent's contract and on professional personnel: Appointments, reassignments, change of contract, retirements and resignations.

Regular agenda items include: Tax report, depository securities report, cafeteria report and commodities received, current bills and financial report, investment transaction report, reconciled bank balance report, Reeves County Community Recreation Department report; date and time for February meeting _ Feb. 13, 6 p.m.; calendar of events and request for items for next agenda.

Year In Review -- August 2002

Gang-related incidents occurred during August

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the eighth in a series of stories on major events that occurred in the Pecos area during 2002. Today's story covers the month of August.


PECOS, Thurs., August 1, 2002 — An SUV traveling through Reeves County with `special' tires  on Tuesday ended up getting the driver into trouble and in jail on  drug charges. According to Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officer Kevin Roberts, at 11:28 a.m. on Tuesday he stopped a white Chevrolet Cherokee Laredo, at mile marker 35 in the eastbound lanes of I-20, and found 90.2 pounds of marijuana inside the "housing" part of the tire. Arrested was Wilhelm Neufeld, 36, of Mexico, who was traveling alone.

PECOS, Fri., Aug. 2, 2002 _ All but one of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD's five campuses that were included in the Texas Education Agency's ratings received one of the top two rankings this year, led by Bessie Haynes Elementary School. The district's fourth and fifth grade campus received a ranking of "Exemplary," while the district itself was rated "Acceptable."  

Pecos High School was rated as `Recognized' as were Austin Elementary School and Zavala Middle School. Austin is home to the district's first through third grade classes, while sixth graders attend Zavala Middle School.

PECOS, Friday, August 2, 2002 — The body of a 4-year old Fort Stockton boy missing since  Monday was found this morning in the trunk of a car on the family's property.

Schyler Lee Fain was found in the trunk of a vehicle located outside his great-grandparent's home on the north side of Fort Stockton, Pecos County Sheriff's Department Records Clerk Betsy Spencer said about 11:15 a.m. today.

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 5, 2002 — A 16-year old Pecos boy is in an Odessa hospital after he was shot  in the head early Sunday morning on the 1200 block of South Cherry St.

According to Lt. Kelly Davis, the victim, who was later identified as Ysidro Acosta, was shot with a small caliber due to the wounds he sustained, Davis said.

According to Davis, though no one has been charged with the shooting, four people were arrested.

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 5, 2002 — Pecos children got to learn a little bit about airplanes, and some  pilots got to learn a little bit more about operating the ones they own  under emergency conditions on Sunday, during the annual fly-in breakfast  at the Pecos Municipal Airport.

Between 25 and 30 planes from around the area participated in this year's event, said Airport Manager Isabel Blanchard, while about 68 boys and girls experienced the thrill of flying Sunday morning, when children ages 8-17 were invited to participate in the Young Eagles Program.

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 - A local gang member who was arrested earlier this month following the shooting of a 16-year-old Pecos boy was arrested again Monday night and charged with the stabbing of another 16-year old Pecos boy at the Sonic Drive-Thru on West Third Street.

According to Pecos Police Lt. Kelly Davis, a call came in at 8:56 p.m. about a fight in progress at the local Sonic Drive-In, in which weapons were involved. The suspect was identified as 17-year old Fabian Orona, a member of the BPG gang.

PECOS, Aug. 15, 2002 - Reeves County's unemployment rate climbed to near the 20 percent level, and the rate for the Town of Pecos City soared over 22 percent for July, as the closing on the Anchor Foods plant combined with the seasonal influx of workers sent the jobless rate to its highest levels in over a dozen years.

PECOS, Aug. 16, 2002 - A man accused of firebombing the Monahans Police Department in early June is currently in Fort Worth for a psychiatric evaluation following a motion filed by his attorney.

Travis Harris, 22, who was accused of bombing the Monahans Police Department on June 3, will be undergoing a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial and whether he was insane at the time of the bombing.

PECOS, Monday, August 19, 2002 — Students and teachers alike were enjoying their first day of school  in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, with many students getting their first  looks at several newly renovated campus buildings.

The biggest changes made during the summer as part of the district's $3 million renovations project was to the main building at Pecos High School, where officials said things went smoothly this morning.

PECOS, Monday, August 19, 2002 — A Saturday night fire in a rural area between Pecos and Toyah left  an elderly woman without a home and destroyed most of her possession.

The Pecos Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire call at about 9:40 p.m. at a site east of Shaw Road Saturday night, after a trailer home belonging to 89-year old Ruth Ince caught fire.

PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 — Huge raindrops were a much-needed relief from the hot,  humid weather that has plagued West Texas.

KIUN radio reported 1.2 inches of rain fell in downtown Pecos Monday night, and intersections in the central part of town were underwater after a thunderstorm formed over the city shortly after 7 p.m.

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 — A 35-year-old Pecos man was arrested Wednesday at 11:45  a.m., at his home after threatening his girlfriend and her children, after  the home they were living in was heavily damaged in an overnight fire.

According to Sheriff Andy Gomez, K.C. Jordan was arrested for terroristic threats on his girlfriend, Crissy Florez. Jordan was arrested at 906 S. Walnut St. by deputies, about 10 hours after the fire broke out at Florez' Oak Street home.

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 — A 22-year-old man already accused of firebombing the Monahans  Police Department in June was indicted again on Wednesday in Midland  on additional charges connected with the death of an Odessa man in a  May carjacking.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Wednesday, against 22-year-old Travis Harris of Monahans, charging him with Carjacking Resulting in Death and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.

PECOS, Wed., August 28, 2002 — Construction of a new diagnostic wing for Reeves County Hospital  is in the design and development stage, administrator Robert Vernor told  the board of directors in their regular meeting Tuesday.

Vernor said that the architects are getting down to the fine details of what equipment will be in the rooms and what kind of shelves will be needed.

PECOS, Friday, Aug. 30, 2002 — A month after finalizing the deal with McCain Food USA,  TransPecos Foods has begun its production of onion rings at the former  Anchor Foods plant on I-20.

Patrick Kennedy Jr., chairman of TransPecos Foods, said everyone is excited about the plant reopening.

A skeleton team of about 20 people who knew how to manage the plant and run the production line made the first test batches. Kennedy will hire more employees as production increases.

Kindergarten offers details on program for gifted, talented

PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD provides a program for the students in the district who are identified as gifted and talented.

These children and youths exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative, and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, and/or excel in specific academic fields.

The gifted and talented program is an individual student-centered program that is facilitated through a challenging, differentiated curriculum aimed at encouraging creative thinking and expression, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

Pecos Kindergarten is the process of identifying students for this program. If anyone has any questions about the gifted and talented program, need more information, or would like to nominate a students for the program, contact the campus principal, Robert Garrett at 447-7258.

City awards over $3 million in bids on water field project

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council awarded contracts totaling over $3 million to several companies for the development of the South Worsham Well Field during their meeting this morning at City Hall.

The awarding of the development of the South Worsham Well Field Part C _ Water transmission line, lateral and tie-ins went to BRB Construction Inc, out of Topeka, Kansas.

Frank X. Spencer and Associate employee Edgardo Madrid informed the council that the bids for this portion of the project to increase the city's water supply had opened on December 18, and they had a good response.

He told the council that BRB Construction is currently in Brownwood working on a similar project to this one here and that the Texas Water of Development Board highly recommends them.

Madrid said the company's Brownwood project would be done in two weeks and they could then move to this area if they were awarded the contract.

The bid came in at $2,343,961 in which included the price for placing caliche on the roads. The second lowest bid came from a company out of Odessa.

According to City Manager Carlos Yerena the original plan called for a portion of the main line containing caliche but said that at the price in the bid offer was a good price for fixing the roads.

When asked if the contractor would be hiring labor, Madrid told the council that they would hire local businessmen for things such as blading the road but would be bringing his own employees.

"The equipment will be doing all the job," Madrid said "He will not be needing many people."

Madrid added that BRB has promised to finish the job in five months instead of six months.

The Council then approved the recommendation to award BRB Constructions.

The council members also approved the awarding of the contract for the development of South Worsham Well Field Part E _ Electrical and Telemetry to Texas Systex Inc. out of Arlington.

The other bids were from companies out of San Antonio and Las Cruces, N.M.

Madrid said that even though they have never worked with Texas Systex, they come highly recommended by the manufacture, an engineer and two cities.

"They have the support of the manufacture," Madrid said. "They have also worked with the city on the Reeves County Detention Center and for Balmorhea."

The company out of San Antonio included in its bid spare equipment causing its bid to be higher, Madrid said.

He added that if the spare parts were taken out their bid, it would be the lowest.

After discussing the cost differences, the council voted to approve the bid, at a cost of $429,400.

Council members awarded the contract for the development of South Worsham Well Field Part F- pumps and telemetry to Tejas Partners Company out of Denver City.

According to another Frank X. Spencer and Associate employee, Askek Rana the received two low bidders, one out of Odessa and the other one of Denver City.

Though Tejas Partners has never worked with the City of Pecos, Rana said that they have worked with them, they come highly recommended and they have helped in building the water tank by the Pecos River south of Pyote.

The council then awarded the contract to Tejas Partners for $426,356.


PECOS, Thurs., Jan. 9, 2002 -- High Wednesday 69. Low this morning 54. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday: Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s.Southwinds 5 to10 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30s.Highs in the mid 50s.

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