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Van Horn Advocate |


August 6, 1997

Area may receive $1 million for water works

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 6, 1997 - Water quality and availability should soon improve for Reeves County residents as three county entities have been recommended to receive more than a million dollars for water improvements in the near future.

Last week the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) informed Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo that the Madeira Valley Water Corporation, the city of Toyah and Pecos City were each being recommended by the TDHCA Regional Review Committee (RRC) to receive $350,000 grants for water improvements.

"This is very good news to see these entities in Reeves County funded," said Galindo. "It'll be a big boost to the county."

The RRC recommendations are not final until approved by the TDHCA executive director. The recommendations will be presented to the State Review Committee in late August for final approval.

"It's very seldom that the State Review Committee changes the recommendations of the RRC," Galindo said.

The monies will come from the 1997 and 1998 Texas Community Development Program Funds.

"Water is key to economic development in this area," Galindo said.

Galindo said he is most familiar with the Madeira Valley Water Commission plans for improvements. He said the commission has developed a three-phase plan to extend a water transmission line first to the Lindsey addition just south of Pecos then to the north side of Pecos.

He also said Pecos City has plans for new water wells to improve the capacity of the city's water supply.

Other entities in the Permian Basin recommended to receive community development funds are: Lamesa, $320,000; Kermit, $350,000; McCarney, $350,000; Wink, $350,000; Seminole, $350,000; Seagraves, $350,000; and Grandfalls, $341,850.

Galindo has also been working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to develop landscaping projects in the area. For the past several weeks TxDOT crews have been making roadside improvements to U.S. 285 in the area around the Reeves County Civic Center.

"I hope we can get TxDOT to continue the sidewalks and improvements in phases further north on 285," Galindo said.

Reeves County and state offices are currently developing a master plan to improve landscaping around major intersections in the area.

"Next we are going to look at landscaping along I-20," he said. "Our first objective is to landscape the intersection of I-20 and Country Club Dr. Then we will move east toward the Flying J and Anchor West."

The county has also recently submitted a grant application to the Texas Forest Service for an $18,000 matching grant to establish an urban forester position.

"A forester would develop strategies to preserve current trees and remove hazardous trees and brush from the county," Galindo said.

Urban Forestry Grants can be used for in a variety of ways. Plano, Euless, West University Place, Odessa, Arlington and Brownsville have obtained grants to hire a new urban foresters to lead municipal tree programs. Keep Houston Beautiful developed a strategy for corridor clean up and beautification along a busy stretch of the Old Spanish Trail.

The county judge went on to say he would like to see the county establish its own nursery to develop seedlings into plants that can be used for landscaping projects.

"We would like to be able to plant 500 trees per year," Galindo said. "We would work together with the Pecos Tree Board on this project. The tree board has done an outstanding job and has planted more than 1,400 trees since it was established in 1986."

Controlling pesky mosquitos
expensive project for city

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 6, 1997 - Recent rains have drawn them out, but they're not really a big problem yet, according to the Health and Sanitation Director for the Town of Pecos City.

The problems in question are the pesky, little creatures that love warm weather and bodies of water.

"Mosquitos love bodies of water, because that's where they breed," said Armando Gil.

According to Gil, right now we don't have a big batch of mosquitos, but the city is already working on larviciding.

"The reason we're larviciding is to control them, controlling them in this stage is better than letting them go ahead and breed," he said.

One of the main mosquito breeding grounds in Pecos is a weeded area near Wal-Mart where water often stands after a rain.

During larviciding, the area is drenched with a chemical that coats the surface of ponded water and prevents growth of larvae into adult stage by not allowing them to breed, according to Gil.

"The larviciding is done with a liquid or briquets (such as charcoal briquets)," said Gil. "The briquets are chunked into the area and it puts a film on top of water, thus suffocating the larvae," he said.

"A small area can breed millions and millions of larvae and we can control it better this way and get of all the larvae and not allow them to breed," said Gil.

According to Gil this is the best and most economical method of controlling the pesky creatures.

"It's a whole lot cheaper this way and when we spray it doesn't affect the mosquitos in flight," explained Gil. "The only effect it has is when they are under the grass and the droplets hit them, they never get affected in flight," he said.

The females are the main problem, according to Gil.

They need the protein found in blood - both human and animal - to reproduce. Female mosquitos produce 100 to 300 eggs at a time and, over the course of a 30-day life-span, lay as many as 3,000 eggs. Every three to five days, a female pricks the flesh of a victim, drinks about five millionths of a liter of blood, and lays her eggs. Sometimes, mosquitos drink until they burst.

The swelling and itch of a typical mosquito bite comes from the insect's saliva. Mosquitos also love human perspiration, breath and body heat.

They can smell human beings 65 to 115 feet away and fly 1.5 miles per hour.

"If we do happen to get a big batch in the area, we will start spraying for them the early part of next week," said Gil.

According to Gil the process of spraying for the annoying creatures is expensive and time-consuming.

"A barrel costs about $3,500, for a 55 gallon drum," said Gil. "And the barrel only lasts for about two days," he added. When you're trying to spray the whole city, it really adds up, according to Gil.

The city usually uses the products Malathion and Dursban.

"We need to look at the labels closely and only use products that won't affect the vegetation, animals and fish," said Gil.

"We have to look at products that the droplets won't stain vehicles or harm them in any way either," said Gil.

The chemicals utilized by the city to spray for mosquitos also have to be EPA approved.

"These are the only type chemicals we will look at," he said.

Gil stated that if mosquitos do become a problem, a city spraying truck will be making the rounds the early part of next week.

"If we can't control them by larviciding and we get a big batch, we'll resort to spraying," he said.

El Paso public school advertises
to boost its declining enrollment

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Associated Press Writer

EL PASO, Texas (AP) August 6, 1997 - Usually limited to hawking clothes, notebooks, paper and pencils, August's ubiquitous back-to-school ads have gotten a new twist in El Paso: they're selling schools.

Hoping to boost its declining student population, one city school began touting its reputation and its district's open enrollment policy on a billboard last year. It worked so well that Desert View Middle School has expanded its advertising and now the district has borrowed the idea.

"Advertising is the way to get all of the school's pluses out in the public eye," said Desert View assistant principal Ione Grimm. "It helped put us on the map as far as the community and parents go."

The school's enrollment problem mirrors a larger dilemma in the Ysleta Independent School District, which is squeezed between two other school districts and is suffering as a result.

Ysleta can barely find room to expand, and the population within its boundaries has stabilized to the point that there are actually fewer children now to enter its schools.

Enrollment in Ysleta, El Paso County's second-largest district, peaked at about 50,000 in the early 1990s and now hovers between 46,000 and 47,000, meaning less state funding since Texas apportions money on a per-student basis.

"If you do the numbers on cost-effectiveness, then we're losing money," said district spokeswoman Lucy Araujo. "If we lose money, we offer less quality, we can't do specialized programs, or do the kinds of things we do with technology."

The district began addressing the problem last year by offering to accept students from anywhere in El Paso, provided they filled out the proper paperwork and the schools they wanted to attend weren't overcrowded.

Still, the numbers were sagging at Desert View.

So Ms. Grimm, who has a background in marketing, approached her principal and broached the idea of putting up one smallish billboard near the school, which sits on the boundary with the Socorro Independent School District.

"We did it, and it has more than paid off," she said.

Ms. Grimm credits the advertising with bringing in some 70 children from outside the district and other Ysleta schools, boosting Desert View's enrollment to just over 600.

Last month, with the new school year approaching, the school put up three billboards on main thoroughfares and began buying radio time. One billboard notes Desert View is recognized by the state for its TAAS scores and urges: "Transfer Students Call Now!"

"It got people calling us," Ms. Grimm said. "They wanted to know about our school. They came and stopped and visited with us."

She said the enrollment will again be over 600 when school starts Aug. 18, exceeding projections of around 500.

"I think it's wonderful," said Barbara Beeson-Weaver, whose 14-year-old daughter attended Desert View last year. "It worked very well last year, and we got some very good high-caliber kids."

The district has also gotten a boost from a billboard it put up in June on Interstate 10, the city's main traffic artery. The ad reminds commuters of the open enrollment policy and highlights the district's magnet schools.

"It's kind of hard to say with any certainty that X number of kids came in because of the billboard, but we do believe the billboard gets the word out," said Ms. Araujo. |

Teen drug use decreases slightly
First decline since 1992

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Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) August 6, 1997 - Use of illegal drugs by teen-agers is down slightly but still much higher than it was in 1992, the government says. Teen alcohol use has also decreased.

The annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse being released today said 9 percent of U.S. teens used drugs in 1996, compared with 10.9 percent in 1995.

It was the first decline in teen drug use since 1992, when the survey showed that 5.3 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds used illicit drugs. That had included sharp increases in teen use of LSD, cocaine and marijuana, with usage about the same across ethnic and economic groups.

Another positive finding this time: Alcohol use among teens dropped from 21.1 percent in 1995 to 18.8 percent last year, the survey said.

"It may just be that more teen-agers are getting the message," said an administration official who discussed the report's findings Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The official credited public and private sector efforts, including an intense focus on the hazards of marijuana, and suggested publicity during last year's presidential campaign on the high drug rate among teens helped focus attention on the problem.

"The rates got so bad, it got back on the screen of the media, which helped galvanize parents and others," the official said.

But she added that while the report gave reason to be "cautiously optimistic," the problem of teen drug use was far from being solved.

Last year's report, which showed drug use doubling during President Clinton's first term, immediately became fodder for the presidential campaign of Republican Bob Dole, who called teen drug use a "national tragedy."

A researcher in teen drug use cautioned not to read too much into the new data.

"It's a little early to say this is anything we can count on, but at least it is the first evidence that this increase we've seen for the last few years is beginning to diminish," said Richard I. Evans, director of the Social Psychology/Behavioral Medicine Research Group at the University of Houston.

Drug use among adults, which has been stable for years, also did not change in 1996, according to the survey, being released by Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Clinton's drug policy adviser, retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

Nationwide, 13 million adults used drugs last year, about half as many as in 1979, the peak year.

According to the official, the new report showed:

-Marijuana use, which accounts for three-fourths of teen drug use, dropped from 8.2 percent of teens to 7.1 percent, but officials said the change was statistically insignificant.

-Tobacco use remained flat at 18 percent, although use of smokeless tobacco dipped from 2.8 percent to 1.9 percent.

-More teens tried heroin for the first time last year, and the number of teens who viewed cocaine as risky dropped. Also, use of hallucinogens edged up.

Body of missing child found

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OZONA, Texas (AP) August 6, 1997 - A Texas trooper on Tuesday discovered the body of a 9-year-old Ozona girl who had been reported missing by her family, and a man who helped search for the child was arrested.

Charges were being prepared against the suspect, authorities said.

Jennifer Lee Gravell had been playing outside her home Monday night when she disappeared. Her body was found Tuesday afternoon about five miles north of Ozona, near Texas 137.

No details were released on how the girl died.
Ozona is about 70 miles southwest of San Angelo.

Hit-and-run driver turns self in,
admits to hitting teacher

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MIDLAND, Texas (AP)August 6, 1997 - A man turned himself in Tuesday night and admitted to driving the vehicle that killed a teacher in a hit-and-run incident, police said.

"We have just obtained a confession. He's going to be filed on for manslaughter. We're in the process of obtaining a warrant now," said Midland Police Lt. Ed Krevit.

Glynda Meadows Jones, 51, was killed Monday night on Highway 158 south about two miles south of Midland.

The man in custody is an independent welder. A witness who saw someone disposing of Ms. Jones' body about a mile from the accident scene said the vehicle was a half-ton truck with welding equipment on top, Krevit said.

Deputies on horseback discovered Ms. Jones' body Tuesday morning. A search had begun Monday night, after the Bush Elementary School teacher failed to return from her walk.

"She was hit on Highway 158, but (the suspect) removed the body and attempted to hide it about a mile away at another location," Krevit said. "As he was attempting to leave the area where he disposed the body, he was observed by a witness."

With the description of the vehicle, "we were able to get information on an individual who might be driving such a truck," Krevit said. "When we went to the residence, the physical damage on the truck matched up and we seized the vehicle."

The suspect was not home at the time, but turned himself in at police headquarters later in the evening.

Drug related mass killing may remain unsolved

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CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) August 6, 1997 - Police are trying to confirm whether a man thought to be the nephew of a drug boss was the intended target in a shooting that left six dead at a restaurant, the El Paso Times reported today.

The man, identified by Chihuahua State Judicial Police as Alfonso Corral Olaguez, is believed to be related to Jaime Herrera, the leader of the Herrera drug syndicate, which has operated out of Ciudad Juarez for decades.

The Times quotes an unidentified source close to the investigation who said information related to family and jobs had become a specific part of the investigation, especially regarding Corral.

"They (investigators) know it's drug-related, but no one wants to investigate. It's probably going to remain unsolved," the source told the newspaper.

Corral was one of six people killed Sunday when two men carrying automatic weapons entered the Max Fim restaurant and opened fire on a table full of people. Five died and three others were wounded inside the restaurant.

A local prison official was gunned down outside, apparently after he left a nearby bar to investigate the shooting. The killings came on the heels of five others over the last month that targeted mid-level drug traffickers in Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, and further raised speculation that traffickers are battling for control of the Juarez drug cartel.

The slayings began after the July 4 death of reputed cartel leader Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who had been identified as Mexico's No. 1 drug lord.

The Herrera drug family, which for years has controlled the black tar heroin trafficking in Mexico, acted as a transportation arm for the Juarez cartel, according to U.S. and Mexican police authorities.


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PECOS, August 6, 1997 - High Tuesday, 93, low this morning, 72. Showers and thunderstorms will be increasing across most of the state tonight and Thursday and a slight cooling trend is expected through Thursday. It will be partly to mostly cloudy across West Texas with a chance of showers and thunderstorms over the entire region. Lows tonight will be in the 60s and 70s. Highs Thursday will be in the 80s and 90s. |

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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