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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Chamber told Fall Fair adding Old West events

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- Old West re-enactors will be on hand for this year's Reeves County Fall Fair, along with other events depicting the area's history and a new chuckwagon cook-off, Pecos Chamber of Commerce members were told on Tuesday.

"This year will be doing re-enactments and living history," said Debbie Thomas, during the monthly Chamber Board of Directors meeting, held at the Pecos Senior Center.

Thomas told the group that Gary Clay Allison, a descendant of the famous gunfighter Clay Allison, would be on hand during the annual event.

"The museum will be doing living history and Mr. Allison, who also travels to Fort Stockton for events such as this, will be here," said Thomas.

Thomas said that the group has scheduled a gunfight, "rowdy behavior" and a toy monger will also be depicting American history. "We want to draw more people out to the fall fair," said Thomas.

"We're also waiting to hear from some 'scandalous' women from El Paso, that might come to Pecos to participate in our living history," said Thomas.

The Chuckwagon Cook-off is also a new addition to this year's fall fair. "There will be eight chuckwagons that will participate," said Jason Garduno. "They will set up Friday night."

The Chuckwagons will cook and be judged on several food items and then the food will be offered to the public.

The Annual Barbecue Beef Cook-off will also be taking place that weekend with few changes, according to organizer of the event Cody West.

"I would like to see more businesses and organizations involved this year," said West. "In that past few years entries have declined and before that, there used to be a lot of businesses that participated," he said.

West said that he would like to see more entries in the annual event and welcomed everyone to join.

Ranch rodeo events have also been expanded to be a two-day event. "Thanks to the community, we had a good response when we went out to look for sponsors," said Garduno. "There are still a few sponsorships left if anybody is interested."

Chamber members were also given an update on the Hawaiian Beach Party planned for Friday, Aug. 29 with a reception planned for 5-7 p.m., at West Texas National Bank.

"We had a great response last year and hope this one is even better," said chamber director Linda Gholson.

Gholson said that if anybody wanted to start decorating now they could.

Chamber members voted not to have the Wayana Inka group back this year. "The price keeps going up and we lost money the last time they were here," said chamber president Al Gomez.

Pecos Police Officer Mike Balog was guest speaker at the chamber luncheon and talked to the group about implementing a "Business Watch," which would work something like the neighborhood watch.

"We had our first neighborhood watch last Friday and had a great response," said Balog.

Balog told the group that neighborhood watches were important, but that businesses also needed to look after each other. He offered his assistance in implementing one or in offering tips to deter shoplifters and keeping the businesses safe.

"I have about 40 different community projects that I am working on," said Balog, adding that businesses need to stick together and help each other out, to deter criminals from vandalizing their businesses.

"They should also share information about shoplifters, to keep them from coming to their businesses," he said.

Balog said that he also had a lot of material that businesses could use to help them. "They can also do a map of their business and that way, when we get a call we know where everything is," he said.

Balog said that he was available to the public to help with either a neighborhood watch or business watch. "You can contact me at the police department and I will be happy to help organize something," he said.

Balog also told Chamber members that the new group for the Citizens Academy would be meeting on Tuesdays. "This will be for 10 weeks from 7-10 p.m.," said Balog.

There will also be two Saturdays that the group attends. "We go out to the shooting range and learn and have a good time," he said.

Construction of the Skateboard Park at Seventh and Alamo streets is underway, and the community has been really helpful, according to Balog.

Two employers were honored during the meeting by the Texas Workforce Commission. Best Western and Swiss Clock Inn Restaurant employers, Jean Wingett and Silvanna Licon received an award for demonstrating an extra effort to benefit the workforce.

Wingett is manager of the Best Western Motel, while Licon is the manager of the restaurant.

Rain fails to help raise Red Bluff Lake's level

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- Farmers downstream on the Pecos River still aren't getting any water releases from Red Bluff Lake this summer, but that didn't stop the lake from losing almost 3,000 acre/feet of water during July, Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members were told during their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Meeting in Pecos, the board voted to keep the water allotment item on the board's future agenda, but again opted not to authorize any water release for irrigation from Red Bluff Lake, which has not had enough water to provide irrigation downstream since the summer of 2001.

Levels last year dropped as low as 40,000 acre/feet at the lake, which needs to release two acre/feet of water for every one that makes it downstream to the seven irrigation districts. Meanwhile, the earthen Red Bluff Dam needs at least 20,000 acre/feet of water in the lake to maintain structural integrity.

Winter water releases from New Mexico helped boost the lake's level as high as 60,000 acre/feet earlier this year, and board members discussed a late release if more rains hit the area. However, managing director Randal Hartman said the lake lost water due to heat and wind evaporation in July, falling to 54,376 acre/feet on Aug. 1, from 57,029 on July 1.

"During a rainstorm last week we didn't gain an inch. We actually lost storage during the storm," he said, adding that the lack of significant summer rains means a late-season water release is unlikely.

"I don't want to rule it out, but we'll just keep it on there (the agenda) at this late date," he said. "We don't have enough water to wet the canals right now."

Despite the lack of revenue from water sales, board members were told the district's finances were in good shape.

"At the end of October we should be at or above where we were last year," he said. The district has $233,492 on deposit at Security State Bank in Pecos and another $529,745 in its interest account at U.S. Trust in Fort Worth, which is part of the 1989 settlement between Texas and New Mexico that paid the Red Bluff District $14 million in damages for violations of the 1946 Pecos River Water Compact.

Board members were also updated on the Malaga Bend salt alleviation project during the meeting. Hartman said the district would file papers in Carlsbad, N.M. to allow Loving Salt Co. to increase its pumping at Malaga Bend by an additional 200 acre/feet.

Loving Salt is pumping water from a salt spring that feeds into the Pecos River into man-made ponds, where water is evaporated and the salt eventually will be mined for sale. Currently 450 gallons of water a minute is being pumped into the ponds, and Hartman said, "For every gallon, it has 2.2 pounds of salt.

"The city of Pecos' water probably has about 1,500 parts (of salt) per million. This is 15,000 parts per million," he added.

With the increase in pumping, Hartman said Loving Salt would build additional ponds in the Malaga Bend area.

As of now, the pumping has not lowered the salt content entering Red Bluff Lake, but board member Lloyd Goodrich said it would take time to lower the water level of the spring that bubbles up into the river at Malaga Bend. "There's no way to gauge how much is running in the interface right now," he said.

Hartman also told Goodrich that information on salt levels above and below Malaga Bend should soon be available on-line. Earlier in the meeting, the board tabled another issue involving the Internet, declining for now to pay for part of the satellite Internet service at Red Bluff Lake for employee Tommy Moseley.

Moseley is seeking a one-year payment of $50 per month for the satellite, while he would pay the $59 monthly access fee.

"I don't see any problem if we had more money coming in, but I'd like to wait on it," said Hartman. "He is isolated up there, and his wife uses it and his children will need it."

Goodrich said Moseley can also use the service to check the gauges on the Internet, when those figures are put on-line.

Amigo's owner to open bids on sale of holdings

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- Rio Grand Distributors plans to hold a liquidation sale Thursday in Midland of its West Texas convenience store and retail gasoline operations. But founding partner, Jerry Smith said that neither of Amigo's Texaco stores in Pecos would be shut down.

"There are no plans to close anything," Smith said.

Both of the Pecos Amigo's stores are located on South Cedar Street, one at 14th Street and the other on Interstate 20.

The auction, which begins tomorrow, will also include stores in Marfa, Alpine, Fort Stockton, Odessa, Midland, Sonora and Toyah. It will also include the company headquarters and a half-acre vacant lot in Fort Stockton, the bulk oil plant in Marfa and a handful of tanker trucks and trailers.

"We will receive bids tomorrow and then decide from there," Smith said.

In regards to whether one of Pecos's Amigos was sold to an outside bidder and the other one was not, Smith said that they would still continue to run the remaining store.

"If we don't sell it all, we will continue to operate what is left," Smith told the Big Bend Sentinel for its August 7 edition.

According to the Sentinel, sealed bids were being accepted until Tuesday, August 5, at 5 p.m. When the deadline had passed, the Amigos in Marfa and one of the three Alpine properties had received bid but the names of the bidding parties were withheld.

Properties left unsold will be offered at tomorrow's noon auction held at the Midland Hilton.

Texaco gas card accounts currently run out of the Marfa bulk oil plant would likely be transferred to the new owner, Tranzon Haley told the Sentinel.

Council changes time for meeting

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council has rescheduled the time for its regular morning meeting on August 14.

The time was changed from its normal 7 a.m. start due to that fact that a quorum would not be in attendance because of a teacher workshop in Odessa Thursday morning.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Commissioners set meeting on hiring attorneys

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m., Thursday, in the third floor courtroom.

The group will discuss a proposal to hire attorneys to investigate and file all claims for under-valuations of real property (mineral interest only) for purposes of determining liability for ad valorem taxes, and underpayment of ad valorem taxes, and underpayment and non-payment of royalty interests and for any further recovery of all related claims.

The group will also take action on semi-monthly bills.

Caverns' yearly bat flight event set

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- Carlsbad Caverns will be hosting its 46th Annual Bat Flight Breakfast at sunrise on Thursday at the entrance to the caverns, located 95 miles northwest of Pecos.

The event, which will go from 6 to 8 a.m. CDT, gives visitors the opportunity to see the bats return to the Carlsbad Caverns after a night foraging for insects. The bat colony, estimated at 300,000, is capable of eating literally tons of insects a night.

Before entering the cave the bats circle several hundred feet overhead and then dive in clusters into the natural entrance.

The price of the outdoor breakfast will cost $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 12 and under, and will be served by National Park Service employee volunteers near the bat flight amphitheater.

Park rangers will serve up eggs and sausage, as well as interpretive information about the bat colony and their early morning return flight.

The first 75 visitors will be treated to a special guided tour into the Carlsbad Caverns via the natural entrance. Entrance to the self-guided portions of the cave will be free to all Bat Flight Breakfast participants.

The annual event was started in 1958 by park employees as a way to encourage visitors to come and watch the spectacular morning return flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats to the caverns. The event is held on the second Thursday of August and has attracted 300 to 500 spectators.

For more information you may call (505) 785-3024 or visit the park's website at


PECOS, Wed., Aug. 13, 2003 -- High Tues. 96. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Thurs.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Thurs. night: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 60. Fri.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. The chance of rain 20 percent.


Victor Prieto and Janie N. Rodriguez

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