Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Ice shuts I-10, sleet predicted in area tonight
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- Temperatures in the low 20s greeted Pecos
residents this morning, but the weather here was better than conditions
both to the south and east of town, as icing was reported on Interstate
20 east of Midland and caused the closing of Interstate 10 east of
the Pecos River.
More bad weather was expected to arrive in the area tonight, and the National
Weather Service was predicting a chance of freezing rain in the Pecos area
through Wednesday morning, with a greater chance for rain or snow around
Guadalupe Pass and in the Carlsbad, N.M. area.
Hotels in Fort Stockton experienced an extremely busy day Monday night
and this morning, due to the closure of I-10, as freezing rain and icing
force the Texas Department of Transportation to shut down 225 miles of the
highway, from San Antonio to the Pecos River overnight and into this morning.
Eastbound Interstate 10 traffic was stopped at Fort Stockton and advised
of the roadway closure due to freezing rain and heavy icing between Ozona
"We've been really busy," said Alma Abila, a clerk at Comfort Inn in Fort
Stockton. "We weren't full, but still more than half of the rooms were occupied."
Individuals couldn't get on the road yet and Abila said that some guests
had left the motel yesterday only to return and ask for their rooms back.
"Some will probably want to get back on the road today," said Abila. "We
heard they were going to open the Interstate at lunchtime or a little after."
The highway was expected to be re-opened about noon today.
Holiday Inn clerk Emily Acosta said that the hotel was booked. "We're
booked today and had quite a few stay-overs yesterday," she said.
"The interstate is still closed and more people are stopping by," said
Acosta. "We have been really busy and this will probably last until late
today," she said.
The worst of the winter weather was reported in north and central Texas,
and was blamed for at least one major accident, in the Waco area.
An ambulance skidded off the road and flipped en route to a six-car
pileup on Interstate 35 in Bellmead. The chain reaction crash happened
about 9 p.m. just before a Texas Department of Transportation truck
was to apply sand to the overpass, said Capt. Joe Molina with the Waco
Fire Department. None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening.
On Tuesday morning, at least half of American Airlines' inbound and
outbound flights - about 220 _ out of Dallas-Fort Worth had been canceled
and more were expected throughout the day, American spokesman John Hotard
Delta canceled 27 departures Tuesday morning, and other flight cancelations
and delays are expected, DFW spokesman Ken Capps said. A train that
carries passengers from one terminal to another was shut down as a precaution,
but extra buses were put into service.
At Dallas Love Field, Southwest Airlines canceled all arrivals and
departures until 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to its Web site.
Highway crews salted and sanded overpasses and bridges throughout
the night. Woodall Rodgers Freeway, which connects North Central Expressway
and Interstate 35 north of downtown Dallas, remained shut down Tuesday.
Also closed Monday night were portions of U.S. 75, Interstate 35 and
The Dallas-Fort Worth area was expected to get 1 to 3 inches of sleet
by Tuesday morning with up to 5 inches in some areas immediately north
of the area. Temperatures were in the high teens across North Texas
on Monday night, and readings are not expected to rise above the middle
20s on Tuesday.
Sleet began to fall in Austin late Monday afternoon. In north Austin,
about 11,000 people were left without power because of wind and ice,
said Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark. The outages started about 5:30
p.m., but all service was restored by midnight Monday, Clark said Tuesday.
The University of Texas at Austin canceled its classes and shut its
office buildings Tuesday because of the weather.
Lightning was reported in the Stephenville and Granbury areas, said
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Robbins. Small hail was
reported in and around San Angelo and Abilene.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
OC cites local benefits since center's opening
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- Odessa College has put over $1.5 million into
the local economy in terms of local wages, salaries, supply purchases
and student loans since the college's Pecos Technical Training Center
opened three years ago, the school said last week.
In a press release Odessa College officials said the Pecos campus has
had an operating budget of $422,307 from 2000-2003. Of that total, wages,
salaries and supply purchases have accounted for $267,342 of the total allocated
budget, while Pecos students have received just under $1.1 million in financial
aid funds since operations began in May of 2000.
Pecos Technical Training Center Director, Michelle Workman said that though
the report is based on the impact has had on Pecos' economy, she sees it
more on a students' prospective.
"In Spring of 2003 we have seen an enormous amount of students interested
in attending college," Workman said.
She credits the interest to the variety of courses that they have to offer
to the students.
She also added that they have also seen a large variety of teenagers attending
"We have seen more teenagers attending college here instead of moving
to a different community," Workman said.
Along with more teenagers attending classes at the OC branch in Pecos,
Workman said that there has also been a good number of teacher's aids who
are pursuing the associates degree attend some classes.
"All of this boils down to a good number of classes," Workman said. "As
well as the tutorial skill of reading, math and writing."
The OC press release said that the school also received $75,000 from the
Pecos Economic Development Corp. to train Anchor Foods employees, after the
November 2001 decision by new parent company McCain Foods to close the facility.
The plant has reopened, but with several hundred fewer workers, and to date,
$59,000 has been spent for English as a Second Language (ESL), Graduate Equivalency
Diploma (GED) and Workforce Training.
Students outside of those who worked at Anchor also are seeking their
GEDs, Workman said.
"There is a good number of students pursuing their GED and moving on to
college classes," she said, adding that most students who attend college
at the OC branch are on financial aid.
"Most of the students are getting assistance with the cost of tuition
and books," Workman said.
Along with the number of students enrolling to the college, Workman said
that they appreciate the help they receive from the community.
"We appreciate the fact that community members go beyond an 8-5 job to
promote higher education," she said.
Some of those teachers are teachers who teach the local schools and are
business owners, Workman said.
"Without them we would not be able to offer that many classes," Workman
Workman said that they have also seen a lot of students who will be graduating
with their Associates Degree from the Pecos branch who then move on to earn
"More then several of them have earned a certificate in their designated
career choice," Workman said. "They get excited and want to move on and earn
their Associates Degree."
Knights plan Civic Center dinner for Fat Tuesday
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- Dinner and more will be a part of the activities
planned at the Reeves County Civic Center next week, to mark the beginning
"Fat Tuesday," will be celebrated with a spaghetti dinner, from 6-9 p.m.,
Tuesday, March 4, at the Reeves County Civic Center.
The event which is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus marks the
beginning of Lent, even though all religions are invited to participate.
The dinner will consist of spaghetti with all the trimmings, including
salad, tea, garlic French bread and dessert.
"This is not only for Catholics, but for everyone," said Knights of Columbus
member Michael Benavides. "The event is to replace our annual fish fry."
"We want to include the whole community, not just one religion, but everyone,"
Dinner is $5 for adults and children can pay $2.50 at the door. Tickets
can be purchased from any Knights member, or individuals can pay at the door.
"I've spoken to some of the local pastors and they are announcing it to
their congregation and hopefully we can get a good response," said Benavides.
Games for the children are planned for the evening. Knights' club members
will man duck pond, dart throwing and other games.
"We'll also be handing out Mardi Gras beads and music will be provided,"
Cat the D.J. will be on hand to provide the musical entertainment for
The event is family-oriented and no alcohol will be served or allowed
during the event.
"This is our first year to do this and hopefully we'll get a good response,"
said Benavides. "Next year, if we choose to have it, we can make improvements
and we welcome any new ideas."
Benavides also said that the group is short-handed at this time and in
need of volunteers. "If anybody would like to help us out, we'd really appreciate
The Knights sponsor several projects throughout the year, including their
Annual Cinco De Mayo Golf Tournament, scheduled for May 3-4. The event is
a three-man scramble, golf tourney.
"We also host the Knights of Columbus Memorial Golf Tournament," said
That event is held the third weekend in July. "We usually name the tournament
in honor of someone in the community who has died," said Benavides. Last
year the tournament was named in honor of slain Trans Pecos Drug Task Force
Officer Jaime Rodriguez and his family.
Proceeds from the events the club sponsors go towards scholarships for
the youth in the community, churches and local charities.
"It's a revolving door, we have money coming in and money going back
out," said Benavides. "That's what the Knights are all about, that's what
they want to see, is to see the money go towards those who need it."
Benavides said that the club usually doesn't have any money, because it
goes towards the charities and scholarships. "We always have a low bank account,
with little to operate on, because it's always used for charitable purposes,"
"Kids from Balmorhea also benefit from our scholarships," said Benavides.
Benavides said that the scholarships are not just for Catholics, but that
any student of any religion can apply.
RCH board schedules vote on expansion bids
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- Reeves County Hospital Board members will
award the bid for the hospital's planned expansion and renovation project
this evening, during the board's monthly meeting in the classroom at Reeves
Board members reviewed the bids and discussed funding for the project
during a special meeting earlier this month. Board president Linda Gholson
said at the time that the project's architects, Hammel-Green-Abrahamson,
Inc., would review the bids to make sure all of the specifications from each
individual bid matched up.
"They (HGA) will then give their findings to (RCH administrator) Robert
Vernor who will review them and then make a recommendation at our February
25 meeting," she said.
Board members also voted on a resolution authorizing the reimbursement
of certain expenditures from bond funds by the hospital during their Feb.
4 meeting. Vernor said at the time that the cost of the reimbursement is
not to exceed $8 million.
Action on the bids and on the revenue bonds to finance the project are
among the final items listed on this evening agenda. Also scheduled for action
is the purchase of a portable ultrasound device for the obstetrics department,
the purchase of a monitor for surgery, the purchase of a new dictation system
and the purchase of new furniture for the administrator's office.
The board will also vote on the approval of a charity plan, order elections
for May 3 and set election judges for that date, discuss the sale of property
located at 1320 S. Oak St. and 512 S. Walnut St., and hear a joint conference
In the medical staff reports, board members will hear the administrator's
report from Vernor and will discuss action on clinical privileges for Dr.
Peter Way in the RCH emergency room, Dr. William G. Reilly for the courtesy
staff, and Dr. Anju A. Mani for the courtesy staff in the field of pathology.
The board will also hear public comments and the report from the RCH auxiliary,
and will consider the monthly tax report, financial statements and budget
amendments and payment of bills.
Museum seeking 40th anniversary cookbook recipes
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- West of the Pecos Museum is asking for
recipes for the 40th Anniversary Museum Cookbook.
Bring your favorite recipes to the museum at First and Cedar streets,
or call 445-5076 for more information.
Deadline to submit recipes is Friday, March 28.
PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 -- High Monday 37. Low this morning 24. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain or freezing rain. Lows
in the lower 30s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. The chance of precipitation
is 30 percent. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance
of rain or freezing rain in the morning. Becoming partly cloudy in
the afternoon. Highs in the upper 50s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.
The chance of precipitation is 20 percent. Wednesday night: Partly
cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in
the lower 60s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Highs
in the mid 60s.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise