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July 11, 1997
Warning sirens sounded after funnel sighted
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By SHANNON BRYER
PECOS, July 11, 1997 - A funnel cloud was spotted northwest of Pecos
yesterday afternoon at about 3:45. A warning was issued shortly
"Lupe Nieto set off the alarm about 4 p.m.," said Laurie Orona,
communications operator for the Pecos Police Department. Nieto is the
Pecos Emergency Management Assistant.
"We got three reports of a possible storm cloud west of town. Santiago
Ortega, who is another weather tracker, and I drove out west on Second
Street to see it. We saw a wall cloud with a counterclockwise rotation,"
said Armando Gil, the Emergency Management Director for Pecos.
After Gil watched it for about 30 seconds, the cloud developed a funnel.
"That's the next step to becoming a tornado. Once a funnel hits the
ground it is a tornado," Gil said.
He then notified the Health Department office to turn on the sirens.
The National Weather Service received several reports of funnel clouds
between Pecos and Barstow. "We saw a storm on the radar with very weak
indications of rotation. The atmosphere was very moist, more tropical.
It was very different from usual West Texas weather. Also, this wasn't
like the funnel clouds we get in the spring. Sure, these clouds could do
damage if they touched down, but it wasn't very likely that they would
develop into a tornado," said Greg Murdoch, N.W.S. meteorologist.
The funnel was two miles northwest of Pecos. It then headed northeast
toward Ward County.
Some people in town left work to pick up their children and check on
elderly relatives and neighbors when they heard the warnings. People
filled the doorways of businesses on Cedar Street trying to see the
funnel clouds. Others called the police and fire departments to get more
information, but the more advisable action is to turn on the radio and
"One of the most important things to do when you hear a tornado
warning," said Nieto, "is to turn on the radio. It is important to have
a battery-powered radio. Tune in to KIUN. Without electricity, most of
us are lost, but it is important to have a radio with batteries in
weather like this," Nieto said.
It is better to get information about the storm from the radio than by
calling the police or fire departments.
"I am the only one answering 911 calls here, and people kept calling 911
just to ask if it is real. It makes it difficult for anyone who is
really hurt to get through because all the lines are tied up with
non-emergency calls. People shouldn't do that," Orona said. "We can
easily converse with Bill Cole at the radio station. It would be easier
for us to have him announce any developments over the radio."
Then it is best to seek shelter. "Just take cover, that's the thing we
most try to tell people. Take cover immediately when you hear a tornado
warning, whether it is real or not. You're supposed to get in and not be
in the streets. If you go outside to look or drive around, you're
putting yourself in more danger. That makes it more difficult for the
limited number of emergency personnel," Orona said.
"You never can tell when there will be a tornado. We do have an unstable
warm air mass near Fort Davis that precipitates this weather," Gil said.
"You need to seek shelter in the interior part of the house away from
the windows. If you have a mattress, put it over you," Nieto continued.
The last severe weather warning in Pecos was two years ago when a
disturbance occurred near the prison, according to Nieto.
No other storms affected Pecos last night.
Housing board calls for immediate audit
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PECOS, July 11, 1997 - Pecos Farm Labor Housing Board of Commissioners
held an emergency meeting last night at 5:00 at their administration
office. The four board members present voted to contract an auditor to
conduct a Pecos Farm Labor Housing audit immediately.
"We suspect a misappropriation of funds," said board chairman Frank
Perea. Nellie Gomez, executive secretary to the board, reported that
there might be a problem with some Pecos Farm Labor Housing funds. The
meeting was called on Wednesday under the emergency clause, which states
that they must give at least two hours advance notice.
"We don't yet know the magnitude of the problem, but the audit will
cover from April 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997," said Ken Winkles, a member
of the board.
The board didn't care to comment on whether they suspect a staff member
of misappropriating funds. "No one has officially resigned, but we're
not saying that any particular person is still here, either," said Winkles.
Deadline nears for new Texas
essential education standards
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AUSTIN (AP) July 11, 1997 - When the process of developing new Texas
education standards began, John Stevens' son was an eighth-grader. As
the State Board of Education wraps up its work, the younger Stevens is
about to begin his senior year of high school.
Debate over the standards has highlighted a divide on the 15-person
board between six Republicans backed by religious conservatives - who
among other objections say some standards aren't rigorous or specific
enough - and other members.
The rift deepened with a 9-6 vote Thursday to approve, as a package, a
new curriculum for English, math, science, health and social studies.
Final action is scheduled for Friday on the Texas Essential Knowledge
and Skills, which supporters say set high standards but give educators
leeway in how to reach them.
For Stevens, who has worked on the standards as executive director of
the Texas Business and Education Coalition, the important thing isn't
It's the superior education he believes his son, Jason, would have
received under the new curriculum, which represents the first wholesale
overhaul of education standards in more than a decade.
"He will not benefit at all from this," Stevens said of the rewrite,
which he calls considerably stronger than existing standards.
"They establish learning standards that will serve our students well
when they go out into the world."
Education board members already have approved a new curriculum for
geometry, Algebra I and II and enrichment courses, including fine arts
and career and technology. The curriculum, which forms the basis for
statewide tests and the adoption of instructional materials, will begin
being implemented in the 1998-99 school year.
Among other changes that will benefit people as they enter the working
world, Stevens said, the rewrite puts an emphasis in mathematics on
important skills of probability and statistics; and it addresses the
need for students to be able to write clearly and concisely, not just in
a more flowery literary style.
Stevens said his group began participating in education forums
concerning the issue in 1993. The curriculum document has been worked on
by educators, parents, curriculum specialists and business
representatives since 1994, and it has undergone numerous changes and
Despite the many changes, some board members and others say improvements
still are needed, particularly in such areas as English language arts,
to make them more specific and academically rigorous.
A teacher-led group has put forth an alternative document. Supporters of
the rewrite endorsed by the board majority say it has incorporated some
aspects of the alternative document, noting it has been praised by
Consideration of the issue drew a standing-room-only crowd to Thursday's
board meeting, where several board members who opposed the rewrite said
a public hearing was skewed to allow more supporters than opponents of
the plan to be heard. Backers of the plan said that wasn't true, and
that board policy on public speakers was followed.
The board members who opposed the document were thwarted in an effort to
have separate votes on the different subjects considered, saying there
were some they could support but that they couldn't vote for all of
Board member Donna Ballard of The Woodlands, among those voting against
the curriculum, said the board majority "managed to squelch public
hearing and to disallow comments and amendments to particular learning
areas where perhaps we could have put ourselves in a position where we
could have voted for these unanimously."
Others who voted against the curriculum were David Bradley of Beaumont,
Richard Neill of Fort Worth, Robert Offutt of San Antonio, Randy
Stevenson of Bullard and Richard Watson of Gorman.
Board member Joe Bernal of San Antonio, a Democrat, said he and others
didn't believe they were preventing public comment, saying there have
been extensive debate and hearings. He said the desire to consider
subjects separately was a delaying tactic by curriculum opponents.
Board Chairman Jack Christie of Houston, a Republican, said he didn't
want to prolong the process.
"It's been hashed and rehashed for three years," he said. "The children need higher standards yesterday."
Applications being accepted for
farm conservation program
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PECOS, July 11, 1997 - Farmers and ranchers may apply for the new
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) beginning today through
August 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural
Resources Conservation Service.
The new conservation program, a result of the 1996 Farm Bill, offers
technical, financial, and educational assistance to a limited number of
producers who have serious soil, water and other natural resource
According to John P. Burt, State Conservationist for USDA Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), EQUIP is not like the former
Great Plains Conservation Program (GPCP) or Agricultural Conservation
Program (ACP). This program is extremely limited and is for persons
engaged in livestock or agricultural production who would provide the
greatest environmental benefits at the least cost to the program.
"Applications will be prioritized after August 1, 1997, according to
specific criteria," Burt said. "After Farm Service Agency (FSA)
determines producer eligibility, IRCS conservationists and the producer
will make an inventory of the natural resources, identify natural
resource problems and concerns, determine treatment needs, and agree
upon the land management and structural practices the producer will
Burt added that the extent of the conservation practice, fields and
acres to be treated, and cost-share rate and incentive payment levels
the producer will accept, as well as the total program payments, are
included in a ranking formula.
Twelve Geographic Priority Areas (GPA), encompassing 67 counties, are
the primary target for over $8.7 million EQIP funds allocated to Texas.
Each GPA has similar natural EQIP sign up resource problems and concerns
which EQIP can address. Water conservation, excessive wind and water
erosion, limited water supply and brush invasion are a few of the
specific resource concerns identified in the GPAs.
Producers in counties outside of a GPA are also eligible for the
remaining $4.7 million EQIP funds provided it will solve identified
statewide natural resource concerns, such as excessive erosion and
ground and surface water quality.
Each applicant will compete with other applicants in their GPA, while
those outside of the GPAs will compete against each other.
"Contracts will be awarded based on their ranking, regardless of
location," cautioned Burt. "That means some counties may not have any
contracts, even though they are located inside a GPA," he said. Burt
added that applications for a single conservation practice on an
individual field addressing a single natural resource concern may not be
competitive in a GPA or with the statewide natural resource concerns.
Acceptance into EQIP will require a 5- to 10-year contract, even if only
one year of cost-share is needed. Contracts are for a maximum amount of
$50,000 with a maximum 95 percent cost-share. Though entire farms or
operating units are not required to be included in a contract, the
proposed area must include that portion with the identified resource
concerns which meets the goals and objectives of he GPA or statewide
natural resource concerns. Producers may increase their chances of
acceptance by submitting a lower than maximum cost-share rate, enrolling
entire operating units in the contract and by agreeing to fully meet
treatment needs of all identified natural resource concerns on the fame
For more information about EQIP, contact your local USDA-NRCS office,
Soil and Water Conservation District office, or FSA office in your
county or call (817) 298-1214.
This information is also available in Spanish.
Esta informacion tambien se encuentra disponible en Espanol. Por favor
comuniquese con la oficina de Servicios para la Conservacion de los
Recursos Naturales (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) al telefono (817) 298-1214, estamos para servile.
Judge enters not guilty plea for ROT members
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FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) July 11, 1997 - A judge has entered not guilty
pleas on behalf of Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and three
other separatists who were involved in an armed standoff with state
McLaren and followers Gregg Paulson, Karen Paulson and Robert Otto
refused to make their own pleas at their arraignment Thursday on charges
stemming from the week-long siege in the Davis Mountains.
"I had to enter a plea of not guilty for all of them," said 394th
District Judge Kenneth DeHart, who presided over the hearing.
He said none of the four had attorneys. All but Otto have refused
representation, the judge said.
Asked if the hearing followed normal procedures, since Republic
followers refuse to recognize Texas courts, DeHart said: "There were
some unusual things. But being the judge I'd rather not comment on
McLaren and his followers have each been indicted on a single charge of
engaging in organized criminal activity, a first degree felony carrying
a penalty of five to 99 years or life in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
The defendants are held in the Presidio County Jail in Marfa, 20 miles
south of Fort Davis. McLaren has been denied bail, the others are held
in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The group is accused of conspiring to kidnap two neighbors in the Davis
Mountains Resort, a rough rural subdivision where the Republic members
had set up an "embassy" in a McLaren's trailer and wooden cabin.
McLaren and his followers contend Texas was never legally annexed by the
United States and remains an independent republic.
The April 27 abduction, in retaliation for the arrest that day of a
group member on weapons charges, led to the standoff between the
separatists and 300 Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas
The siege ended May 3 after McLaren and some followers laid down their
Two others, Richard F. Keyes III and McLaren bodyguard Mike Matson, fled
into the mountains. Matson was killed May 5 in a shoot-out with
authorities. Keyes remains a fugitive.
McLaren has also been indicted in Dallas along with his wife, Evelyn, on
federal charges of bank and mail fraud and conspiracy. Mrs. McLaren
pleaded innocent and is free on $20,000 bond. McLaren has not entered a plea.
Commissioners meet this Monday
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PECOS, July 11, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners will hold a regular
meeting at 10 a.m., Monday, July 14, on the third floor of the Reeves
Items on the agenda include:
* Bids for vehicles for the Reeves County Sheriff's office
* Classification of additional staff for the sheriff's office
* Presentation on an economic development initiative
* Rescinding employee uniform bids for the sheriff's office and Reeves
County Detention Center (RCDC) and re-award of the bid
* Adoption of a compensation policy for the RCDC
* Additional staff positions at the RCDC
* Contract employment of assistant warden for RCDC
* Rescind tortilla bid for RCDC and re-award
* Authroization to submit 1997 grant application to Texas Forest Service
Public Outreach Challenge grant program
*Restructure term of RLF for Ismael Dutchover
* Declare refrigeration truck surplus and request bids
*Agreement between Reeves County and Office of the Attorney General for
the Title IV-D Program-Child Support Division
* Develop Parks and Recreation Master Plan for Reeves County
*Approve reports from various departments
* Approve budget amendments and line-items transfer
* Approve personnel and salary changes for the golf course, county
attorney, RCDC, North-side Pool and Juvenile Detention Center
* Approve minutes from previous meetings
* Approve semi-monthly bills
* Spread on minutes: notice of over-axle, over-gross weight permit,
census taken 1990 for population in Reeves County, continuing education - Jimmy Galindo, Bernardo Martinez and Felipe Arrendondo
GTE invests millions in local upgrade
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PECOS, July 11, 1997 - GTE is investing more than $1.8 million in new
switching equipment for Pecos, Balmorhea, Imperial, Mentone and Orla to
provide the latest in digital telecommunication equipment and new
calling services and more than $2.2 million for new outside lines.
"In the two Pecos offices we are adding equipment to provide for the new
caller name or number identification and an number of other new special
services," according to Joe
Thornton, area manager-customer operations for the Pecos area.
Also included with addition is a new Integrated Services Digital Network
(ISDN). The ISDN service is designed to provide customers with two
high-speed data circuits for voice, image and data transport and one
circuit for signaling and sending packetized data, Thornton said.
GTE is replacing the current central office switches with new digital
equipment in Balmorhea Aug. 20, Imperial Aug. 14, Mentone Sept. 24 and Orla Sept. 24.
AREA ROUND UP
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The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, July 10, 1997 - Texas Department of Public Safety
officers investigated a police car accident involving Fort Stockton
Patrol Officer Johnny Cardenas, who was responding to an emergency call
and had his lights operating when a Nissan pickup pulled out of a
parking lot in front of him. Cardenas slammed into a wall of Nolen's
Pharmacy on Dickinson Boulevard in order to avoid hitting the pickup.
Cardenas was not hurt.
The Big Bend Sentinel
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, July 10, 1997 - Peregrine falcons have produced
a record 17 young in Big Bend National Park and long the Rio Grande Wild
and Scenic River this year, according to Superintendent Jose A. Cisneros.
The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, July 10, 1997 -Approximately 60 people attended the meeting at
the Alpine Civic Center, most of them adamantly opposed to the Air
Force's proposed plan to train German pilots in low flying missions over
the Big Bend-Davis Mountain region.
The International, Presidio Paper
CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO, July 10, 1997 - Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the
Juarez drug lord who was reputed to be Mexico's top narcotics
trafficker, has died. With his death could come a turf was for control
of the cocaine smuggling business along the border.
The Sanderson Times
SANDERSON, July 10, 1997 - Sanderson Elementary School has attained the
status of "Title I Honored School" by the Texas Education Agency,
according to Norman Woolsey, principal. The designation is based on the
academic performance of Title I students of the reading and math
sections of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test during the
1994-95 and 1995=96 school years. 157 Texas schools have received this
The Monahans News
MONAHANS, July 10, 1997 - Monahans residential customers of TU Electric
will have a potential $22.50 break on their August energy bills because
of cheaper nuclear fuel and higher than anticipated earnings, reports
Kevin Slay, the Monahans-TU manager.
The McCamey News
McCAMEY, July 10, 1997 - The Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) virus has
cropped up again, affecting a handful of horses in New Mexico and
Arizona. Texas livestock health officials are watching here for signs of
the painful blistering disease and are working to inform producers about interstate and international movement restrictions.
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PECOS, July 11, 1997 - High Thursday, 89, low this morning, 70. The area
received 0.19 of an inch precipitation in the past 24-hours bringing the
monthly total to 0.29 of and inch and the yearly total to 4.01 inches.
Showers and thunderstorms dampened portions of West Texas early today,
mainly from the South Plains northward into the Panhandle and low
rolling plains. More showers and thunderstorms are forecast for most
areas of the state tonight and Saturday. But since they will be of the
scattered to isolated variety there's a good chance that most areas will
not see any precipitation. There is a chance of showers and
thunderstorms over all of West Texas through tonight with the activity
expected to continue in the Trans-Pecos and Big Bend areas on Saturday.
Lows tonight will be in the 60s and 70s. Highs Saturday will be in the
80s and 90s.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.
Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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