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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

New housing needed, RCDC warden tells Chamber

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., May 14, 2003 -- Things are going well at the Reeves County Detention Center, but one of the main concerns is affordable housing for those working at the facility, according to RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.

Franco was a guest during the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at noon Tuesday and talked to the group about the local facility, which recently expanded its capacity to nearly 3,000 beds.

"I believe the RCDC will be the mainstay of what happens here in Pecos," said Franco, who has served as warden at the facility for the past seven years.

He said that the facility is running close to 98 percent capacity and is the largest county-run facility of this kind in the country.

"One of the biggest issues we're facing is affordable housing for our employees," said Franco. "We have right now, about 15-20 people traveling to work here from Odessa, Monahans and Fort Stockton."

He said that these employees would be willing to move down here, if they could find affordable housing, and sought help in getting and creating new local housing.

"A lot of them are single and want to move here to work," he said.

Franco added that the facility's reputation had become better.

"We have worked hard on resolving a lot of issues, public relations problems," said Franco, who took over as RCDC warden following a series of escapes and prison disturbances in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In other business, Debbie Thomas gave the chamber an update on this weekend's Pecos Peddler's Open Air Flea Market and Auction, to be held at the Reeves County Civic Center grounds.

"So far we have 12 booths and last year at this time we had about the same," said Thomas. "It picked up on Friday and we added a few more booths, so we expect the same this year."

"If you have anything you would like to peddle, you can take it out there Saturday," said Thomas.

Thomas said that booths cost $50, but if the individuals clean up the area at the end of the day, they get $25 back.

"It will cost $1 to get in," she said, which is the same admission price for the public as at last November's flea market.

Thomas said that the group is getting a lot of door prizes to give out during the day.

"The door prizes will be in the form of certificates, so the winners will have to go into the businesses and maybe they'll spend a little bit more while they are there," she said. "We thought this would help out the local businesses as well," she said.

Thomas said that some of the participants included Reeves County, Town of Pecos City and both Security and West Texas National Banks. "We also have a registered auctioneer lined up," she said.

Chamber members were also told the West of the Pecos Museum will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary with a reception scheduled from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 22, in the museum courtyard.

"We want to thank the Reeves County Teacher's Credit Union for providing this reception for the museum," said chamber director Linda Gholson. "Everybody dress up in your 60's outfits and join us.".

The West of the Pecos Parade committee has met and a grand marshal for the event has been chosen. "We had chosen the theme to go with the museum's anniversary, and that's what it will be," said Kathy Hurley. "Some people have come up to us and asked us why we didn't do a patriotic theme with everything going on, but we had already chosen this particular theme a long time ago."

Plans for the Reeves County Fall Fair are coming along great and new ideas have been incorporated. "Theme for the fall fair will be saluting red, white and blue," said Barbara Creager. "We'll have a ranch rodeo and chuck wagon cookoff.".

Creager said that this year the books for the fall fair will be printed by the chamber and that will save the group some money.

The Pecos Palette Club will handle the art show and Joyce Morton is in charge of the student's art show. "We don't want to let go of the student art show, because it's very important to the children and the community," said Creager.

A Lamb Show and the annual beef barbecue cookoff will also be held during the fair.

"Our display of quilts will be a little different this year," Creager said. "We'd like to encourage everyone to please participate," she said.

Windmill Square Players are looking for extras who would like to participate in their Annual Play, which will be held at the Bessie Haynes Elementary School cafeteria during Rodeo Week this year.

"It's a really funny play and we're still looking for extras who want to join us," said John Grant.

Grant said that there would be one and possibly two, matinees scheduled. "We'll have the matinee on Sunday, June 29 and then the play will be held Monday, June 30 and Tuesday, July 1," he said.

RCH invites public to 25th birthday celebration

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., May 14, 2003 -- Reeves County Hospital will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary at it current location on Texas Street on Thursday, with events scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. in the hospital lobby.

"We decided to celebrate it this week because it is National Hospital Week, which focuses on the power of care in our community," said Director Program Development Community Services Nancy Ontiveros.

She said the hospital wanted all of the community to join in Thursday's events, and added, "Next year we will have a different type of celebration. It will be the grand opening of the new facility."

Work began last month on expansion of the hospital, the first major construction at the hospital since its completion in 1978.

The celebration is a community birthday to celebrate all of the births that have taken place at Reeves County Hospital within the past 25 years, Ontiveros said.

She said that there will be many prizes and awards given out which everyone would be able to register for on Thursday.

"There are three prizes that are designated," Ontiveros said. "One is for the furthest traveled, the second one for the first person born at the hospital's new location and the third one is for the most recent person born at the hospital."

She added that there would also be a prize for multiple births.

"Specific prizes are selected," Ontiveros said. "One prize is a silver dollar to go with the silver anniversary of the hospital, we also have a coin set, a pen set and many other prizes. We would also like to thank Security State Bank and West Texas National Bank for the donation of the coin set and the silver dollar."

Everyone who was born within the past 25 years and presents themselves at the community birthday party will receive a commemorative birth certificate with a digital group picture that will be taken during tomorrow's celebration, Ontiveros said.

She said that the certificate would have the person's date of birth, the date it was issued and it would be signed by RCH Administrator Robert Vernor.

While there will be specific door prizes for those born at the hospital, Ontiveros added that there would also be regular door prizes for everyone else.

"We will have a birthday cake," she said. "We welcome everyone to come. Those that were not born here are also welcomed to join use in the 25th celebration."

"We want the community to come and share the power of care we have provided over the 25 years," Ontiveros.

Red Bluff board updated on finances, salt project

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., May 14, 2003 -- Red Bluff Water Power Control District Board members went through routine items quickly on Tuesday, during their regular monthly meeting at the district's office in Pecos.

The board approved cash disbursements, receipts and fund balances, along with the quarterly investment report and went over reports on the water levels at Red Bluff Lake and the Malaga Bend salt alleviation project during the 35-minute meeting.

"We're in good shape," said managing director Randal Hartman of the district's finances, even though as of now Red Bluff has not been able to release irrigation water downstream to farmers for the second year in a row due to the drought in the Trans-Pecos region.

"We don't have as much money in the bank as we used to," said board member Lloyd Goodrich. "If it would just rain we could get some (water sale) money."

The lake report for April showed water levels dropped 1,510 acre/feet, to 58,942 acre/feet by the end of the month. "Most of that's due to wind (evaporation)," Hartman said.

Hartman also told the board that Sun West Salt Co. is busy pumping salt spring water from Malaga Bend into the man-made ponds nearby for future mining. Sun West plans to mine the ponds for salt after the water evaporates.

"It will probably be next March before we show any money off the new pumping," Hartman said. Sun West made a payment of $583 to Red Bluff for mining salt out of Queen Lake, and still owes $12,000 in back payments to the district.

Goodrich also asked about the status of the new sensors put into the Pecos River north and south of Malaga Bend to measure conductivity above and below the pumping site.

"I want to know what we're getting for our money," he said, while Hartman told the board that the U.S. Geological Survey has not taken the first data from the new monitors yet.

"The man in charge (for USGS) just up and retired last month, and the new man is not yet up to speed," Hartman said. "He has to give the report to the (New Mexico) Interstate Stream Commission, so we're going to get it."

In other business, board member Teresa Walker read a letter from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, in response to a question about House Bill 2854, which Walker said would take away water rights from landowners if the rights had not been used for the past decade.

Walker said Combs replied that HB 2854 had been heard and was left pending by the House Natural Resources Committee on April 9. "We will continue to monitor this and other bills that have a negative impact on Texas agriculture," Combs' wrote in her letter.

"It sounds like she's taking a strong stand on the fence," board member Richard Slack said of the letter. Slack served in the Texas Legislature during the 1960s and 1970s, and said, "Heck, I used to write them by the dozen."

The board also discussed the status of trees at Red Bluff Lake, but took no action since the item was not on Tuesday's agenda. Board member Charlotte Wilcox wanted to see other types of trees besides pines planted at the lake, while Hartman said the district is trying to irrigate the trees through a new pumping system that would take water from the center of the lake, instead of the current well near the west side of Red Bluff Dam that is saltier than the lake itself.

Board members issued a commendation to Mr. And Mrs. Donald Howell for their work tracing the history of the Zimmerman Dam in the Grandfalls area. The Howells are seeking to have the low water dam rebuilt, which they said would boost groundwater supplies in the area, but the board took no action on the dam project itself.

Hartman also said the salt cedar eradication project along the Pecos River is currently on hold due to the state's budget situation. Salt cedars along the river have been killed off from Red Bluff Dam to the brush dam at Grandfalls, he said, though some areas back upriver will have to be re-sprayed in the future.

Skateboard park meeting planned Thursday evening

PECOS, Wed., May 14, 2003 -- A meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, in the Pecos Police Department training room, to talk about the proposed skateboard park in the 700 block of South Park Street.

All individuals who are interested or would like to help are asked to attend this very important meeting at the Police Department, located at Moore Street and Raul Florez Boulevard.


PECOS, Wed., May 14, 2003 -- High Tues. 108. Low this morning 71. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms in theevening. Lows in the mid 60s. Light and variable winds. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Winds becoming west 10 to 20 mph. Thurs. night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Fri.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Sat.: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s. Highs in the lower 90s.


Rafael Acosta, Jr. and Manuela Gutierrez

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