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Thursday, January 9, 1997

Council looks to relax propane tank law

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 9, 1997 - Above-ground propane tanks are safer than those
containing gasoline or diesel, Jerry Patterson of West Texas Gas told
the Pecos City Council this morning.

Kenneth Winkles asked the council to amend an ordinance prohibiting
propane tanks within the city limits so he can install a tank at Winkles
Trucking Co.'s yard on the Balmorhea Highway.

The tank would serve a hot-oil truck operated by M&W Hot Oil Co., he
said. It now is serviced by West Texas Gas, but they cannot provide
service at the late hours the driver returns to Pecos, Winkles said.

Rather than cause a problem, Winkles said he could move the hot-oiler
employee to Kermit or Monahans, where they already own property.

Patterson and Dalton Arnold of Eddins-Walcher Company in Kermit
supported the ordinance change.

"The state is pushing alternative fuel like crazy," Patterson said. "It
is safer and cleaner burning. It is being brought on for environmental

Arnold said his company has installations in downtown Odessa, Midland,
Sonora and Kermit. Users are required to be trained and certified by the
state before they can obtain a card to access the pumps.

"The biggest problem you have is the five to 25-gallon bottles in
people's garages," Arnold said.

Patterson said that in the future people will drive up to a convenience
store and fill up with propane.

"I hate to see any more business leave Pecos," he said. "We have a hard
enough time in this area."

Farmers Irrigation, which is outside the city limits, has a tank across
the street from Valley Motors, he said. "That's worse than what M&W
would be out there by themselves."

Mayor Dot Stafford said the ordinance, which was written in 1967, may
need updating.

Both Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire and emergency management coordinator
Armando Gil proposed changing the ordinance.

"Everyone with a barbecue pit that uses liquid propane is violating the
ordinance," Gil said. "Everyone is going to LPG."

Steve Lawrence, Flying J manager, said that 90 percent of their 95 truck
stops throughout the country have propane tanks, and they will be
interested in putting it here in the future.

Winkles said truck engines using propane last twice as long as those
using gasoline or diesel. His partner, Bruce McKee, has used it for 14
years and his pickup has 350,000 miles on it, he said.

"That's the reason the feds are pushing it - and for environmental
reasons," Patterson said.

Brookshire recommended talking to area towns to see what kind of
ordinances they have.

The council agreed to consider in the Jan. 23 meeting an ordinance drawn
up by City Attorney Scott Johnson, Gil and Brookshire.

Johnson said the ordinance could be amended in 30 days. In the meantime,
the council may not grant an exception to the present ordinance because
it specifically prohibits propane tanks in the city limits, he said.

In other action, the council approved on second reading amendments to
the solid waste pickup and disposal ordinance.

It provides for monthly pickup of material that won't fit in the
dumpster, such as metal, wood, old furniture and scrap lumber.

Tree limbs must be cut to 4-foot lengths and bundled.

Jason Payne of Wes Tex Waste said the bundles do not have to be tied,
but should be stacked so the crews can distinguish between trash and

"At one place they picked up firewood. I got a call on that," he said.

Payne said pickup of Christmas trees and discarded gift packaging went
well. Two extra trucks were brought in during the holidays to make extra
pickups, he said.

"Some of the city got twice-a-week pickups. We had a couple of
complaints, but we took care of them."

Trucks were unable to get into residential alleys Tuesday and Wednesday
due to the snow, Payne said.

"I talked to the drivers this morning and told them to be careful and
safe; to go down alleys they can get down without hitting meters or
fences," Payne said.

Brookshire presented the council a list and photos of 24 buildings he
recommended be demolished. The largest is the American Inn Motel at 2116
W. Business I-20, owned by Thakorbhai N. Patel of Amarillo.

Part of the roof is gone, and ceilings are falling in, Brookshire said.

"It would cost more to re-do it than to start from the ground up," he

Asbestos in the structure may cause a problem in demolition, he said.

"We can get a bid and if we don't have the money to do it, we can hold
off on it," he said. "It is a big health and fire hazard."

The council agreed to advertise for bids to demolish the buildings, with
a price to be quoted on each individual tract.

At the close of the regular meeting, the council went into executive
session to evaluate Brookshire's performance, but tabled action until
they get additional information.

Snow melt gives busy sy troopers, EMTs break

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Staff Writer

PECOS, January 9, 1997 - It didn't take long for two days of sleet and
snow to disappear from area roads Wednesday afternoon, but before then
Department of Public Safety troopers and emergency service workers had
to deal with one of their busiest periods in years.

The snow and ice that accumulated during between Monday afternoon and
Wednesday morning melted away by noon after the sun reappeared, but
yesterday morning's conditions were worse than Tuesday's. And DPS
troopers and ambulance workers could be facing another round of freezing
temperatures and more snow this weekend.

The storm also kept some students away from school for a second straight
day, while the sub-freezing temperatures, following highs in the 80s
last weekend, caused some minor damage to area onion crops.

Bill Bechtel of the communications department for the Pecos DPS office,
said that a total of 59 calls, dealing with accidents caused by weather
conditions, were handled by area troopers and officials on Jan. 6-8.

"There were several more (accidents handled) than that, I'm sure," said
Bechtel, "but these are just the one we have logged down."

Of those called in to the DPS, two involved fatalities just to the east
and west of Pecos on Interstate 20.

One claimed the life of an elderly Arizona woman between Pecos and Toyah
Wednesday morning. Tuesday evening saw the death of a 14-year-old
Mexican student traveling with a group of students and a teacher, who
lost control of her van just south of Barstow.

Pecos Ambulance Chief Bill Randall Cole said that between 2 a.m. and 10
p.m. Wednesday, emergency medical technicians made it out to 11 calls,
with less than half of those being weather-related, he said.

While the worst road conditions occurred Wednesday morning, closing
parts of I-20 between Barstow and Pyote, schools reopened at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, after being closed on Tuesday due to the storm.

However, some school bus routes did not run on Wednesday, and a good
number of students remained at home for a second day, according to
Wednesday's absentee figures.

Pecos Kindergarten numbers showed that there were 123 absences out of a
total of 298 prekindergarten and kindergarten enrollees.

In the first and second grade, 307 students made it to class Wednesday,
while a 152 first and second graders remained at home.

There were 75 absences tallied at Pecos Elementary the day after the
first bad weather, day off for local schools, out of a total 210

A total of 135 fourth and fifth graders didn't make it to class as
Bessie Haynes Elementary reported an enrollment count of 341 for
Wednesday, out of a possible 476.

Almost 20 percent of Lamar's student's were reported absent, as total
shows were calculated at 173 out of 261.

Out of 261 seventh graders, 83 were absent, according to Zavala Middle
School Seventh Grade attendance records.

Seventy-five students enrolled at the Crockett Middle School Eighth
Grade remained at home, while 211 made it back to class following
Tuesday's subfreezing temperatures.

Although Pecos High School attendance and students services were
contacted, no figures were called in as of press time on the total of
absences and attendants in the secondary level.

Pecos Valley temperatures fell nearly 60 degrees between last weekend
and Wednesday, but freeze damage to late-planted onion crops is minimal,
said A.B. Foster, referring to 500 acres planted at Barilla, Stockton
and Coyanosa farms.

"We are still watering and waiting to see how they come out," he said.
"We lost a few. It is too early to tell. Some are real late. It is a
minor part, but we will probably lose some."

Foster said the onion tops freeze to the ground, but most will come back
- especially the older plants.

"The older ones are already coming back and looking good," he said. "We
are sweating out another spell this weekend."

Seedlings planted in Arizona are all right, and they will be set out
here in February, he said.

Plantings are staggered to provide a lengthy harvest season.

Along with the two deaths locally, three other people were killed in a
weather-related accident Wednesday night, and 14 injured when a small
pickup truck collided with a bus on Interstate 10 in Kimble County,
about 30 miles northwest of Kerrville.

A 10-year-old girl died and two others were injured Wednesday after a
tractor trailer slammed into an ice-related pileup 35 miles north of
Amarillo on U.S. 87. Meanwhile, the collision of three rigs east of town
shut down Interstate 40 westbound during the afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Environmental hearing on WIPP set Monday

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PECOS, January 9, 1997 - The public will have an opportunity to comment
on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public
hearing on Monday in Carlsbad.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing
at the Pecos River Village, 711 N. Muscatel. Planned hours for the
hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may
register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session may be adjusted
as registration demand warrants.

The meeting will allow comments on several issues, including changes in
the planned routes for truck transportation to the WIPP site, located 75
miles northwest of Pecos and 26 miles east of Carlsbad, N.M.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic
waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons.

Project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient,
stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground.
Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags and other disposable
items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than
10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites

Some of the radioactive waste destined for WIPP from the East Coast was
scheduled to travel west on Interstate 20, and then through Pecos along
U.S. 285 to the site, under the initial plan released in 1990.

Department of Energy officials announced in November the state of New
Mexico would receive $120 million to widen U.S. 285 from two to four
lanes from Interstate 40 south to Loving, N.M., to make travel for the
waste trucks safer. However, there are no plans to extend the project
south from Loving to I-20 at this time.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the
original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates
the environmental impacts of waste characterization, treatment, and
certification; packaging and the transportation; site operations and
waste emplacement; and long-term performance of the repository.

Along with changes in the proposed transportation routes, other examples

- Inclusion of sites where small quantities of radioactive waste are
generated or stored;

- Changes in the volume of waste since 1990 estimates were made;

- Legislative changes since 1990, such as the 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal
Act and 1996 amendments to the act; and

- Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile.
Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be
postmarked by January 28. Comments postmarked after this date will be
considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments
should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.:
SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted
by electronic mail should be sent to, or by
facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call
the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

FBI probes Ozona shooting

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SAN ANGELO (AP) - The FBI will visit Ozona Thursday to investigate the
shooting of a man by a Crockett County sheriff's deputy last month.

``Other than that, I don't know much else,'' new Sheriff Shane Fenton

Ricky Rodriquez, 31, was shot to death by deputy Lyndon English on Dec.
15 after a fight between the men at Rodriquez's home left En¬ glish with
a severely broken leg.

Former Sheriff Jim Wilson, who retired from office on Dec. 31, has said
his deputy acted in self-defense. Members of the dead man's fam¬ ily
have countered that English used excessive force and his civil rights
were violated, prompting the FBI presence.

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.


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The Fort Stockton Pioneer

FORT STOCKTON, Jan. 9, 1996 - Nearly 100 bus passengers, stranded by
this week's bitter winter weather, found a warm reception in Fort
Stockton, thanks to the efforts of local government, charities and
private business. After being abandoned by two Kerrville bus drivers,
passengers waited four hours before contacting both Greyhound and
Kerrville bus lines. Fort Stockton is the end of the line for Kerrville,
and Greyhound drivers take over westbound buses there. Eastbound buses
were stranded in El Paso, so no drivers arrived to take over the
west-bound buses. When both bus lines refused to provide hotel rooms or
ticket refunds, Pecos County Precinct 2 provided emergency shelter in
the Large Community Hall. Catholic Charities Foundation and Lowe's
Marketplace provided food. City Secretary Aurora Gutierrez gathered cots
and blankets. All resumed their journey by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch

FORT DAVIS, Jan. 9, 1996 - The annual Big Bend Livestock Show
Association show and sale begins Friday in Alpine with a new twist -
events will be under the new roof at the covered arena at Sul Ross State
University's Range Animal Science Center. Dedicated to the late Robo
Cross, the show beings at 10 a.m. Friday with the hog show, followed by
goats and rabbits. Lambs will be judged Saturday.

The Big Bend Sentinel

MARFA, Jan. 9, 1996 - Big Bend long-stemmed bluebonnets grown in
Presidio County soil adorned several floats in the Parade of Roses in
Pasadena, Calif. on New Year's Day. They were supplied by rancher
Waynelle Strachan from her bluebonnet greenhouses in Clint in the El
Paso Lower Valley. Strachan's greenhouse is one of only three in the
state licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture to sell
commercially-grown bluebonnets.

The Alpine Avalanche

ALPINE, Jan. 9, 1996 - To be named "One of America's 100 Best Small
Towns" is worth bragging about, and the Alpine Chamber of Commerce will
do that Friday night at its annual banquet. State Rep. Pete P. Gallego,
an Alpine native, will be the main speaker. He is in his fourth term in
the Texas Legislature and will offer his insights on Alpine's many
facets. Western attire is encouraged. Tickets are $15 at the door.

The International, Presidio Paper

PRESIDIO, Jan. 9, 1996 - The first snowfall of winter arrived this week
in Far West Texas. Presidio received about one inch of snow. In south
Brewster County, the road to the Chisos Basin in Big Bend National park
was closed Tuesday and Wednesday.


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Reina Rodriguez

Reina Rodriguez, 66, of Pecos, died Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Reeves County
Rosaries will be held on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for Saturday at noon at Santa Rosa Catholic Church
with burial at Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
She was born Nov. 19, 1930 in Sierra Blanca, was a Catholic and a
She was preceded in death by one son, Javier Rodriguez in 1968.
Survivors include her husband, Valentin Rodriguez of Pecos; two sons,
Adam Rodriguez of Pecos, Arturo Rodriguez of St. Paul, Minn.; two
daughters, Grace Rodriguez of Pecos, Abelina Carrasco of Phoenix, Ariz.;
one brother, Fernando Aguilar of El Paso; one sister, Ermelinda Juarez
of Pecos; 11 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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High Wednesday 40, low last night 30. Moisture, trace. January moisture
.33 inch. Year-to-date .33 inch. Tonight, clear. Low 20-25. Northwest
wind 5-15 mph. Friday, mostly sunny. High 50-55. Northwest wind 10-15
mph becoming northeast in the afternoon.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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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