Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, November 21, 2003
Water board hears opposition to pumping plan
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- Representatives of the state's General
Land Office heard criticism of a plan to pump underground water out of
West Texas to other parts of the state, during a meeting of the the Far
West Regional Water Planning Group in Van Horn.
Land office policy director, Trace Finley explained their plan to
enter into a contract with the Midland based company, Rio Nuevo, to a
crowd of hundreds, at the Van Horn Convention Center. Finley told the
crowd that Rio Nuevo had proposed to pay $4 million for the scientific
studies and to give an undetermined amount of bonus money to the
Permanent School Fund in exchange for the sole right to apply to the
various ground water districts for the permits necessary to extract
water from the area.
The land under consideration encompasses 355,386 acres, with 33,789
acres located in Culbertson County, 68,927 acres in Presidio County,
3,187 in Jeff Davis County and the 249,481 in Hudspeth County,
according to Finley.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the General Land Office
said the partnership intends to pump at least 50,000 acre feet of water
a year, or 16.3 billion gallons, from aquifers in the region known as
the West Texas Bolsons.
The proposed deal states that Rio Nuevo will pay for all of the
exploratory studies to determine the environmental and economic impact
of the extraction, in addition to determining the amount and location
of underground water resources, Finley said. He also asserted that the
General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson would never enter into
a deal if "it would negatively affect the community where the water
resources are located."
The presentation met with fierce opposition from residents who are
currently in the middle of a drought that has lasted for over a decade.
Residents from Presidio County presented a petition containing over
450 signatures requesting the General Land Office to reject the
proposal on face value.
Concerned residents also voiced their opinion that while the final
control was in the hands of the local ground water districts, once the
contract was signed the legislature could take control out of their
hands and give it to a state government entity.
Issue was also taken with the General Land Office's trusting of the
scientific data put forth by a company that stands to profit from a
favorable finding. Citizens wanted to know why the state was not doing
the studies to keep it fair and impartial.
"It will be up to the local ground water district boards to decide
if Rio Nuevo's science is sound," Finley said. "If the board rejects
Rio Nuevo's proposal, then it will be dead, as long as Commissioner
Patterson feels the rejection was fair and objective."
"A local water board would be hard pressed due to lack of funds, to
fight against Rio Nuevo's information well enough to disprove it," Tom
Beard, Chairman of the Far West Regional Water Planning Group said.
"We feel we are being left out of the loop during the most important
part of the contract negotiations, we don't want to be handed a done
deal," Beard added. "Why doesn't GLO put the contract on the table and
let the public see what is really going on."
"We are trying to get to that point," GLO General Council Bill
Warnick said, "At the School Land Board meeting on Dec. 2 in Alpine
these concerns will be addressed. It is then that we will take the
types of comments that we are hearing today."
Beard retorted that by the time the public will see specifics of the
deal it will already be signed, "why aren't we waiting to see the
findings of the exploratory studies before entering into a contract
with Rio Nuevo?"
Finley said that the only way to get Rio Nuevo to commit the $4
million for the research and the bonus check to the Permanent School
Fund was to enter into this contract that gives Rio Nuevo sole access
to the local ground water districts for permit application.
It is these permits that will allow the local ground water districts
to control when, where and how much water may be taken out of a
community for export, Finley said. "The applications to the local
ground water districts would have to be consistent with the state water
plan and abide by the guidelines set forth in negotiations with the
water district itself."
Permits would also have to be obtained from the water district
boards for the erection of wells on School Land Board property that
wasn't currently under a water district's authority, but was contiguous
with one, Finley added.
"The fact is that we don't know how much water is out there, and Rio
Nuevo is willing to do the research for us. If the studies find that
there is no water to be had then that will be the end of the deal,"
Audience members shouted that the check to the Permanent School fund
would go though no matter what the deal, and the lack of competition
for the contract smelled like the bonus check was a bribe.
Change soughton Wackenhut prison contract
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- An amendment to the management
services agreement between Reeves County and Wackenhut Corrections
Corporation will be the topic of discussion during the regular Reeves
County Commissioners Court meeting.
Wackenhut signed a 10-year contract earlier this month to manage the
Reeves County Detention Center. The contract is due to take effect once
the county has cut the number of jobs at the prison to 343 workers. A
total of 31 people were laid off last week, and County Judge Jimmy
Galindo said another 39 workers are due to be let go to meet the 343
Under the current contact, Wackenhut will pay Reeves County $430,000
a month for one year to go towards bond payments on the new RCDC III
addition, which has not attracted enough inmates to meet its bond
payments. However, Wackenhut's first payment, due Dec. 1, can be
delayed for a month or until the prison's staff is cut to 343 workers.
The item is one of several on the agenda for the 10 a.m. meeting on
Monday in the third floor courtroom of Reeves County Courthouse. The
public is invited to attend.
Commissioners will discuss and take action on an amendment to RCDC
III Utilization Availability agreement between Reeves County and
Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and employee assignment agreement
between Reeves County and Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation.
The court will discuss and take action on request for qualifications
for financial advisory services; proposal No. 35-03 general liability
insurance; proposal No. 36-03 public officials liability insurance;
proposal No. 37-03 law enforcement liability insurance; proposal No.
38-03 workers compensation insurance; proposal No. 39-03 real/personal
property and heavy equipment insurance; proposal No. 40-03 auto
liability and physical damage insurance and Carothers Construction
request for payment No. 22-RCDC III bond funds.
The group will discuss the 1999 lease payment in the amount of
$420,757 and the 1999 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of
Commissioners will discuss and take action on Arturo Granado and
Isaac Diaz as reserve deputies for the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department; bond and oath for Yvonne Abila and Connie Lozano; reports
from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers;
personnel and salary changes; minutes from previous minutes and
Christian Home seeks holiday food donations
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- Several food items are still being sought
by the Pecos Christian Home to complete the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner
"We still need more turkeys, cranberry sauce, dressing and
desserts," said volunteer Velma Bradley.
She said that there were still a number of items that were lacking
to complete the annual event, which will be held on Thanksgiving Day at
the Reeves County Civic Center. Items the group also needs are mashed
potatoes and sodas or other drinks.
"We try to provide something for them to drink, especially if they
have children," said Bradley.
The dinner is an annual event and will be held beginning at 10 a.m.
until 2 p.m., at the Reeves County Civic Center.
Volunteers will be on hand at the civic center beginning at 8 a.m.
and the dinners to the Meals on Wheels recipients will be delivered at
9 a.m. "We'll start serving those that want to eat here at 10 a.m.,"
There are about 100 Meals on Wheels recipients that have their
holiday meals delivered to them. "We like to deliver those first," said
About 250-300 people attended last year's event. "We are counting on
serving anywhere from 300-400 people this year. With the economy the
way it is and all the layoffs we've been seeing, we might be serving
more than that," Bradley said.
Volunteers are especially appreciated during this time of the year.
"We welcome anyone that can to come and help," said Bradley. "We
always need volunteers."
She said the dinner has been a success each year, and she feels
confident the community will once again reach out and help.
Donations can be taken to the Christian Home, located at 1201 S. Elm
Street or by calling 445-2049 and someone will pick up the items.
Clinics scheduled on lambs, goats, horses Saturday
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- There will be a lamb and goat clinic
held beginning at 9 a.m. at the 4-H pens.
A Horse Clinic is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Saturday, at the 4-H
Anyone interested is invited to attend.
PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- High Thursday 82. Low this morning 39.
Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows 45 to 50. South winds 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 80 to 85. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Windy. Lows in the lower to mid 40s.
Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph shifting to the northwest 20 to 30 mph
after midnight. Sunday: Mostly sunny. Windy. Much colder. Highs in the
lower to mid 50s. Northwest winds 20 to 30 mph. Sunday night: Clear:
Cooler. Lows in the lower to mid 20s. Monday: Sunny. Highs in the mid
50s to the lower 60s. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information
contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the
Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other
officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for
outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control
violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be
printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such
instances we will indicate payment and release.
Marissa Legarreta, 17, was arrested for
possession of drug paraphernalia, class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 19, at
2:25 p.m., in the 600 block of S. Oleander St.
John Michael Garza, 27, was arrested on a
warrant for assault causing bodily injury on Nov. 18, at 10:55 a.m.,
one-quarter mile south of town on U.S. 285.
Sonia Yadira Rodriguez, 29, was arrested
on a warrant out of the Ward County Sheriff's Office for theft by check
on Nov. 17, at 10:08 a.m., at the intersection of Third and Oleander
Shawn Green Christopher, 30, was arrested
for driving with no insurance and later served with a warrant for
felony theft out of Shreveport, LA while in custody at the Criminal
Justice Center. The original stop occurred on Nov. 15, at 9:25 p.m. at
the Reeves County Civic Center.
Samuel Metcalf, 31, was arrested for
public intoxication, class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 16, at 2:18 a.m., in
the 110 block of S.outh Orange Street.
Enrique Romero, 32, was arrested for
enhance public intoxication on Nov. 14, at 11:34 p.m., at Club
Suavecito in the 900 block of South Cedar Street.
David Myric, 18, was served with a
warrant for probation violation, for criminal trespass, on Nov. 15, at
4:00 a.m., while in custody at the CJC.
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