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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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October 8, 1997

City manager stands knocking at the door

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 8, 1997 - Pecos City Manager Kenneth Neal, although new to the area, has grand dreams for development in Pecos. Recently transplanted from Anson, Tex., by way of Knox City, Neal believes that Pecos, now economically depressed, can get on its feet again.

Neal is currently pursuing a 501(c)3 account that would enable the city to apply with over 26,000 private grants organizations for money to create improvements in the city.

A 501(c)3 designation would allow the city to establish a separate non-profit foundation (tentatively to be called the Community Foundation of Pecos) that could then generate the necessary funds to make improvements in Pecos.

Neal already knows some ways to run with the money. Renovating the old movie theater on Oak, restoring the train depot, and construction of a baseball field are just a few of his plans.

"I don't like to turn down free money," Neal said.

The application for the 501(c)3 account is currently being reviewed by City Attorney, Scott W. Johnson, and should be ready to be mailed to the Secretary of State, who then incorporates the city's foundation, by the end of this month.

"In the very near future we will have a board of directors," said Neal.

Already, he has begun working on a grant application for the construction of a new EMS building, to be located on property donated by Norman Eisenwine at the corner of Eddy and Walthall.

"There are four or five organizations that give money without a 501(c)3," Neal said, "but I've beat those four to death since I've been here."

The city manager still recalls the work the city of Anson did on an old opera house, which dated back to 1918. "It was an old dilapidated building that had been closed since the oil bust," he said, "We received over four million dollars from both the Medis and the Johnson foundations. We got a new roof, seating, air conditioning, heating, an elevator and a new stage.

"Some people said that nobody would go if we did anything to the building, but I said 'let's try.'"

This same opera house (which was re-opened around 1980) now hosts a local country music talent show on Saturday nights, has sponsored a gospel festival, and is often visited by students from Abilene that come down to put on theatrical performances. The venue is still operating today.

Neal said that he was "at the door knocking," and felt confident that he would soon get what he needed to pursue development and restoration in Pecos.

House Oks radiactive waste dump

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) October 8, 1997 - An agreement allowing Maine and Vermont to ship their low-level radioactive waste to Texas has moved a step nearer to reality with House endorsement of the deal.

By a resounding 309-107 vote Tuesday, House members ratified a tri-state pact that has been vocally opposed by anti-nuclear activists, environmentalists and many in West Texas, where the waste dump is slated to be built.

Two years ago, the House rejected the same Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact.

This time, lobbyists for the states of Texas, Maine and Vermont, along with nuclear industry officials, mounted a full-court lobbying blitz to pass the deal. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation in the coming weeks.

The House approved an amendment from Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, ensuring that only waste from Texas, Maine and Vermont is accepted. The compact's original language, ratified by all three states' legislatures, gives the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority leeway to open the dump to non-compact members, sparking fears that Texas could become a national waste repository.

Doggett's amendment was approved on condition it passes muster with the three states' governors and state legislators.

The timing of Tuesday's vote had been temporarily cast in doubt after last-minute opposition emerged from an unlikely source: Maine's largest generator of low-level radioactive waste.

The chairman of the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant urged Congress to delay ratifying the compact, saying the landscape has changed since the deal was envisioned. Maine Yankee's owners voted recently to close the plant a decade ahead of schedule - meaning that decommissioning could be underway long before the Texas dump is built.

The Texas deal - the 10th and by far most controversial compact up for congressional consideration - was negotiated under terms of a 1980 law that nudges states to find a common solution for their radioactive waste disposal problems. Forty-one states already are covered by compacts.

In exchange for taking the two states' waste, Texas would receive $25 million apiece from Maine and Vermont.

Although the compact is silent on location, Texas officials want to build the dump near Sierra Blanca, 90 miles east of El Paso. The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority is seeking licensing approval to build the dump on state land near Sierra Blanca, an impoverished town of less than 3,000 inhabitants.

The dump would house radioactive components from dismantled nuclear power plants, medical and industrial waste.

Rep. Henry Bonilla, whose district includes Sierra Blanca, urged rejection of the compact, citing widespread opposition among his constituents. The San Antonio Republican warned that the issue is more than a local one, noting that the waste would travel through many states to get to Texas.

"This is not just a case of my people glowing in the dark if there's an accident. It could be your people too," Bonilla said.

The compact bill was sponsored by two Texans: Reps. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, and Ralph Hall, D-Rockwall. Most of the Texas congressional delegation backed the measure.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, whose El Paso district is near the proposed facility, wasn't impressed by colleagues' support for the dump. "If it's such a good deal, why don't they put it in their district?" he asked.

Countered one compact supporter, Rep. Thomas Allen, D-Maine: "We can't wish away low-level radioactive waste. It has to go somewhere." Compact advocates say such an agreement is necessary to allow Texas to control its destiny. Absent a compact, "We could find ourselves having to accept waste from any number of states," Hall said.

Proponents also argue it's more dangerous for hospitals, universities and nuclear power facilities to house their waste on-site rather than at one central location.

Critics contend the Sierra Blanca site is environmentally and geologically unsound - located just 16 miles from the important Rio Grande watershed. They say fault lines run through the proposed site, which sits over an aquifer, raising the possibility of groundwater contamination.

Authority officials say there is no danger the waste containers - designed to last 500 years - would leak because the waste would be solid. The area is among the driest and least densely inhabited in Texas, they note. The dump also is designed to withstand earthquakes, they say.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Reeves County Fall Fair Schedule
Oct. 9-11 at the Reeves County Civic Center

Thursday, Oct. 9

9 a.m. - Entries & Juding for Homemaking & Arts Exhibits

At 9 a.m., all non-perishable entries will be accepted to be displayed.

In division 1, youth and adult foods, the categories are, cookies, candies, breads, pies, cakes and canned goods.

Division two is made up of adult and youth clothing and division three will be featuring youth and adult hobbies and crafts.

Division four is for youth needleworks and adult needleworks. Categories in this division include, quilts, knitted and crocheted articles and creative stitchery.

Youth and adult ceramics will be judged in division five and division six will have youth and adult photography.

Adult arts is set aside in division seven.

Best of show ribbons will be awarded along with honorable mention.

5 p.m. - Fall Fair Officially Opens.

6 p.m. - Pet Show

Sponsored by Zavala Middle School. Sign-up is at 5:30 p.m.

Tip Top Carnival is in town, Reeves County Civic Center grounds, sponsored by the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, Oct. 10 9 a.m. - Fair Opens.

9-9:30 a.m. - Food entries accepted.

10 a.m. - Food and non-perishable entries judged.

4:30 p.m. - Livestock Show Weigh-In.

Lamb Show, Steer and Heifer Jackpot will be held on Oct. 10-11, at Reeves County Civic Center. The entry fee is $10 per lamb and $15 per head of cattle.

Deadline for entries is today, Oct. 8.

Prizes of $400 will be given to the owners of the grand champion lamb and steer.

Tip Top Carnival is in town, Reeves County Civic Center grounds.

Saturday, Oct. 11

7-10 a.m. - Rotary Pancake Breakfast at the Reeves County Civic Center.

9 a.m. - Fair Opens.

9 a.m. - Livestock Show Judging Begins.

There is a four pound weigh-back on lambs, which will be shown at 9 a.m. Steers and heifers will follow the lamb show.

Food entries can be picked up from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

10 p.m. - Reeves County Fall Fair closes nightly.

Tip Top Carnival is in town, Reeves County Civic Center grounds. |

History to come alive for Balmorhea students

BALMORHEA, October 8, 1997 - When students from Balmorhea Elementary School and Bessie Haynes Elementary School in Pecos climb aboard the bright yellow bus for a field trip later this month, they'll go down the road about 60 miles, and back in time about 130 years.

These students will be among the hundreds from 17 West Texas school districts that will participate in Living History Days 1997, a two-day living history celebration at Historic Fort Stockton.

Friday, Oct, 31, has been set aside as Education Day, when the grounds of the historic army post will be open only to the visiting students, their teachers and chaperones. They will enjoy a living history lesson, visiting with dozens of historical re-enactors - soldiers and civilians, native Americans, artists, craftsmen and musicians - as they recreate the American Civil War era, the Indian Wars and the settlement of the Texas frontier during the 19th century.

While in Fort Stockton, the students will also visit the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum, with its collection of West Texas history and culture, and James Rooney Memorial Park.

Living History Days 1997 takes place Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, on the grounds of Historic Fort Stockton. On Saturday, Nov. 1, the grounds will be open to the general public. Admission to the event is free.

For more information about Living History Days 1997, contact LeAnna Biles, Historic Fort Stockton Curator, at 915-336-2400.

Hail damages pepper crop

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 8, 1997 - Yesterday's thunderstorm doesn't appear to have caused any damage around the city, but there was some hail damage to one of Pecos Cantaloupe's fields that is planted with bell peppers.

The thunder and lightning rain storm dropped .17 of an inch of rain in Pecos, for an October rain total of .17 of an inch and a year-to-date total of 8.47 inches.

According to A.B. Foster, Pecos Cantaloupe spokesman, "there was some (hail damage) in the Barilla area...but we don't know how much."

Foster said that "there doesn't seem to be any damage at any of the other farms," but that "it's pretty bad on that one 15-acre block."

No damage of any kind has been reported to the city health department, according to its director, Armando Gil. Pecos police did not receive any reports of damage, either.

Livestock show entry deadline is today

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 8, 1997 - Today is the deadline for entries for the TCLA Lamb Show, Steer and Heifer Jackpot to be held on Oct. 10-11, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Entry fee is $10 per lamb and $15 per head of cattle and check-in time will be held on Friday, Oct. 10, between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

"This year's show will be basically the same as last year's, except that this show will be the first of three scheduled for this district," said Reeves County Extension Agent C.W. Roberts.

Roberts explained that this is the first of the three, with the second being held in Monahans in November and the third scheduled in Big Spring in December.

"The kids will accumulate points for their participation in each of the shows and at the end of the year will receive awards," said Roberts.

"This is for our district, which is District 6," he said.

Don Richardson, a retired county extension agent from Big Spring will again be on hand for the judging.

Prizes of $400 will be given to the owners of the grand champion lamb and steer. Last year's winners were all from out of town.

J.C. Stelzer of Post won grand champion banner in the lamb category, Stacy Bookmiller of Grandfalls showed the grand champion steer, and Vanessa Ivey, formarly of Pecos, placed both grand champion and reserve champion heifers.

Locally, Courtney Clark won the showmanship honors in the steer/heifer division with her reserve grand champion steer.

There is a four pound weigh-back on lambs, which will be shown at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11. Steers and heifers will follow the lamb show.

The Reeves County Appraisal District board of directors meet this afternoon at 5 p.m. in the Appraisal District's office at 403 S. Cypress St.

Board members will hear proposals on participation in the Texas Municipal League's risk pool insurance program as well as proposals for a new phone system.

Other items include a progress report; the 1998-99 data processing contract; discussion of litigation with LBO energy; discussion of appraisal courses for the district's staff; PACRAT update; and discussion and approval of expences and balances for the third quarter (July-Sept.) of 1997.

Local man killed in New Mexico crash

TUCUMCARI, N.M., October 8, 1997 - A local man was killed, along with another man from Carlsbad, N.M., in a one-vehicle rollover near Tucumcari, N.M. yesterday.

Roque "Nuno" Madrid, Jr. of Pecos was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Alfredo Franco of Carlsbad. At 12:30 a.m. yesterday, the driver lost control of the vehicle at the junction of N.M. State Road 54 and State Highway 285, according to a New Mexico State Police report.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, which rolled three times. The men were wearing seat belts and alcohol was not involved, according to the report. The report did not say what caused the accident, nor did it tell what injuries the men died from.

Councilors help students deal with death

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 8, 1997 - There will be a Care Team from Region 18 at Pecos High School tomorrow to provide grief counselling to students and members of the community in the wake of the death of Joseph Strain, a May 1997 PHS graduate who died last Thursday.

"We know that some of our students are having a hard time with this tragedy," said PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez.

In addition to the full-time counselors at PHS, who are also available to talk to students about their feelings, a team of six counselors from various locations throughout Region 18 will be at the PHS auditorium on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Care Team will consist of Linda Jolly and Andy Saustaida from the Regions 18 Service Center, Donna Jones from Grandfalls, Joe Moore and Gayla Langley from Monahans and Linda Ziegler from Wink.

"These counselors are trained in this area and have experience dealing with things like this," Rodriguez said.

"We understand that it's hard for people to handle something like this. We want to express our sympathy and help the community," said Rodriguez.

This day-long counseling event is open to the public as well as PHS students.


Olga V. Orona

Olga V. Orona, 44, died Friday, Oct. 3, 1997, in Austin.

Mass was held at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 6, at St. Gregory The Great Catholic Church with Rev. Michael O'Gorman officiating. Burial was in Mission Burial Park North, in San Antonio.

Orona was born March 12, 1953, in Pecos, was a resident of Austin for the past four years and a Catholic.

Survivors include: her husband, Benito Orona of Austin; her mother, Eduvina Vasquez of Carlsbad, N.M.; one daughter, Grace Apolinar of San Antonio; two sons, Steve Apolinar of San Antonio and Benito Apolinar of Carlsbad, N.M.; three sisters, Hilda Munoz of Pecos, Gloria Baeza of San Antonio and Edwina Salcido of Hobbs, N.M.; two brothers, Lupe Vasquez of Indio, Calif. and Carlos Vasquez of Odessa; and three grandchildren.

Mission Park Funeral Chapels North, 3401 Cherry Ridge Dr., San Antonio, Tx. 78230, was in charge of arrangements.

Roque Madrid Jr.

Services are incomplete for Roque "Nuno" Madrid, Jr., who died Tuesday, Oct. 7, 1997, in auto accident in New Mexico.


PECOS, October 8, 1997 - High Tuesday, 90, low this morning, 62. Pecos received 0.17 of an inch of percipitation in the past 24 hours, the first rain of the month. The year-to-date total of rain for the area is 8.47 inches. Thunderstorms pounded Texas today and temperatures cooled across the state. In West Texas, scattered showers and thunderstorms continued today across the region. Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s. Winds were variable at 5 to 15 mph. The forecast for West Texas predicts showers and thunderstorms Thursday. Highs will reach the 70s and 80s, with 90s along the Rio Grande. Lows will be in the 40s and 50s.

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