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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Red Bluff OK despite no water sales

Staff Writer

The Red Bluff Water Power Control District "didn't have a bad year, considering you lost $95,000 in income," auditor Randy Graham told the district's board during their regular monthly meeting, held Tuesday morning at the district's office in Pecos.

Board members were also told by managing director Randal Hartman that drilling is expected to be completed this week on the well at Malaga Bend, which will be used to pump salt water away from the Pecos River as part of a long-delayed project.

A lack of any water in the Pecos River during 2002 was the reason for the district's income drop. The drought that had been in the Trans-Pecos since the early 1990s spread north in recent years to the Pecos River basin in New Mexico, and led to a cut in water flowing into Red Bluff Lake, which kept the district from selling water to farmers last year.

The district's income in 2002 was $81,084, while expenses were $146,908, leading to a shortfall of $65,824. In 2001. income was $158,511, which was $20,374 above Red Bluff's expenses of $138,137.

The district's interest income is also down $60,000 in five years due to a decline in overall interest rates. However, while water sales dropped from $95,040 to zero, Graham said oil and gas revenues were up this past year, and represented almost 79 percent of the district's income. In 2001, oil and gas revenues accounted for just under a third of the district's income, while water sales made up nearly 60 percent of the income total.

Graham also noted that the district's insurance payments were up this year, but Hartman said that was due to adding liability insurance at Red Bluff Lake, in case the district is sued over an accident or fatality on lake property. "We'll look at it, and if it's something we can cut, we will, but knowing what I know about insurance, I doubt it," he said.

Graham also told the board that for 2003, they should think about accumulating some cash to fund some major projects planned for the near future.

One expense the board did vote on for now was the purchase of a new all-terrain vehicle for use at the lake. The district estimated spending about $18,000 on the vehicle, paying it off in three years.

"It ought to be a long-lived thing, because it's only going to be used off the highway," said Hartman, who was authorized by the board to get prices on the vehicle.

On the Malaga Bend project, Hartman said drilling is currently underway on the well, which will be used to pump the salt spring water into man-made ponds, which will then be evaporated and the salt harvested by Sun West Salt Co.

"We are technically getting there. They drilled to 195-feet Friday and they should be drilling out today (Monday) and will set the other pipe by sometime tomorrow," Hartman said.

He said the final depth of the well would be about 230 feet, while work is also underway on digging out the pits where the salt will be pumped.

"We've made more progress in the last three weeks than we have in the last five years," said board member Lloyd Goodrich.

As for the lake itself, Hartman said that Carlsbad's "Festival of Lights" Christmas display helped boost the lake's level above 50,000 acre/feet for the first time in over a year.

"We got a little water right before Christmas period, because they had to freshen up the Carlsbad lake," he said. "The boat goes up there with the tourists, and they want fresh water."

However, at 56,559 acre/feet, Hartman said unless more water comes down in the next two months, "There won't be enough to hardly get anybody (irrigation) water, once you look at the loss (downstream). And Carlsbad is looking at one-third of their regular water allotment, so if Carlsbad is getting that, we probably won't get a whole lot of water."

Chamber sets plans for banquet, 2003 events

Staff Writer

Pecos Chamber of Commerce members discussed plans for next month's annual Chamber Awards Banquet, during the group's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pecos.

New Chamber president Al Gomez presided over the first meeting of the year, and will oversee the Feb. 6 banquet at the Reeves County Civic Center. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased from any Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors or the chamber office, those at the meeting were told.

Outgoing Chamber President Kevin Duke told the group that Manuel Phillips, from Texas A&M University, would be the guest speaker. "He's a motivational speaker and humorist, so it should be really nice and entertaining," said Duke.

Individuals can also reserve a table for their company or group, according to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Gholson.

The Women's Division of the chamber will decorate the center for the big event and everyone is invited to attend.

"We also need nominations for the awards," said Gholson.

Along with the banquet, the chamber went over several events planned for the upcoming months that will include the whole family.

A Family Health Day is scheduled for March 22 at Maxey Park. The event is being sponsored by the local Lion's and Rotary Clubs and everyone is invited to participate. "We have come together and planned this event to the entire community," said Lion's Club member Cody West.

"You can either walk, jog or ride your bike, beginning at the Maxey Park and down the I-20 frontage road," said West. "Individuals can go as far as they want."

West said that several checkpoints would be set with individuals handing out water and an ambulance would be available to check blood pressures. "The checkpoints will be set up at various distances," said West. "Packets with health information will also be handed out."

"We'd like a lot of people to come out and join us, and we'll be inviting people from other communities as well," he said.

West said that breakfast and lunch would be served to the participants and a bike would be raffled.

He said that event is still in the early stages of planning so ideas, suggestions and comments were welcome. "If anyone has any good ideas of how to improve this or would like to help us organize it, we welcome them," he said.

The West of the Pecos Museum is also looking to hold a huge celebration this year for their 40th Anniversary.

"Since it is the museum's anniversary, I think someone else should give them the party," said Gholson, who told board members she would like the chamber to host the official party scheduled for Saturday, April 12. "We'd like to go have a co-host," she added.

"Do we have the money?" asked board member John Grant.

"We'll have to find the funds," said Gholson.

Dick Alligood volunteered to form a group and start some fundraisers for the event.

"Why don't you take a look at what we want to do exactly and bring it back to the board with a budget," said board member Jimmy Dutchover.

"The museum does things for the community year-round and I think we should do something for them this year," said Gholson.

Museum director Debbie Thomas said that they appreciated all the help.

Board member Paul Hinojos told the group that another family-oriented event is being planned by the Knights of Columbus, and is scheduled from 6-9 p.m., on Tuesday, March 4, the final day of 2003 Mardi Gras celebrations.

The date is generally known as `Fat Tuesday.' Hinojos said, "This is the ending of Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent. It's a celebration by the Catholics."

A reminder that we came from ashes and will once again become ashes, according to Hinojos.

Hinojos said that the group usually sponsors a fish fry during this time, but that that event was proving costly. "So we decided to do a Spaghetti Supper instead," he said.

The event would be held at the Reeves County Civic Center, and the Knights of Columbus will be in charge of providing all the spaghetti and meatballs, the drinks and garlic bread and they are asking community members to bring in their favorite dish.

"We'll set up all the dishes on a table and then judge them," he said. "But the Knights of Columbus will provide all the spaghetti and meatballs."

Hinojos said that they were going to check with the schools and see if there were any games that day and have the students come in and eat before their games.

Hinojos said that the group was open to any ideas and that they wanted to get everyone out there. "We want to have something for the kids and the parents to do and make it an annual event," he said.

The meal will cost $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.

Gomez introduced the new board members and nominated Jimmy Dutchover as president-elect for next year. The board approved all the nominees and the new president-elect.

"I'm really excited about this coming year and want to have a lot of events here in Pecos," said Gomez, who added that he also wanted to help the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee. "We want to help them to make it better and bring in more people to Pecos," he said.

One of the events Gomez is interested in bringing to Pecos is a Monster Truck Show. "Kevin also started talking about hosting the playoff games here and that's something else we want to keep pursuing," he said.

P-B-T in healthier situation than Monahans

Staff Writer

With the unpredictable weather Pecos has had lately, the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has had a lot of students be absent.

But with a four-day weekend for students coming up, the district currently has no plans to shut down classes early because of a flu virus that has been making its way across Texas for the past month.

According to the attendance report the P-B-T school district had a total of 255 students absent yesterday which is not usually high this time of year of the district. The total represents roughly 10 percent of the district's enrollment.

Problems are more severe at the Monahans Independent School District, which closed its campuses for the remainder of the week due to 20 percent of their student body being out because of flu symptoms on Monday and Tuesday.

P-B-T school officials said in order for the district to think about closing its doors about 366 students would have to be absent, based on the number of its current enrollment.

MISD superintendent Clifton Stephens told the Odessa America that 380 students out of about 2,000 were absent Tuesday.

"The kids kept getting sick," Stephens said. "It seems that it's getting the kids worse than adults, although we do have several teachers out."

School districts across North, East and West Texas were forced to close down due to flu-related absences before the Christmas holidays. In West Texas, Stanton ISD was one of the schools that closed due to student illnesses.

P-B-T ISD schools are open as scheduled today and will be open again on Thursday. But school will be out on Friday for a weather day, and will remain closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday. Classes in the district will resume on Tuesday.

Stephens also told the American that MISD would resume classes on Tuesday because they already have Monday off for Martin Luther King Day.

PEDC schedules board meeting

The Pecos Economic Development Corp. will hold its first meeting of 2003 at 9 a.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 22, on the second floor of the Security State Bank building in Pecos.

The board will discuss review and approval of the PEDC marketing strategy, and will be briefed on the grand opening event scheduled for March 9 at the Flat Top Farms dairy, 20 miles southeast of Pecos. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs is scheduled to speak at the event.


High Tuesday 62. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph: Becoming north and increasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight. Thursday: Sunny and colder. Highs in the upper 40s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Clear and cold. Lows near 18. Friday: Sunny and warmer. Highs in the mid 50s. Saturday: Clear. Lows in the mid 20s. Highs in the upper 50s.


Opal Bowie

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