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

Top Stories

March 23, 1998

Monahans has out-of-this world encounter

Meteor fragments reportedly found after Sunday landing

Staff Writer
Officials from both NASA and the Smithsonian Institute are
headed for West Texas today, to investigate the discovery of
at least two rocks believed to have come from a meteorite
which lit up the sky across West Texas as it fell to earth
Sunday evening.

Residents across the area reported hearing a `boom' which
lasted for about five seconds, and others saw a streak of
light travel from southeast to northwest about 7 p.m. Sunday.

A four-inch piece of rock, believed to be a meteorite,
landed about 30 yards from a group of youngsters playing
basketball on the north side of Monahans, while a second,
slightly larger rock, was found by a Ward County Sheriff's
Deputy at a nearby site this morning.

The first rock was brought into the police station shortly
after it was discovered. "We still have it here at the
police department, and it has been tested for radiation,"
Monahans Police Captain Dave Watts said this morning.

Watts said the department was called out to the scene after
a group of youngsters reported something falling from the

At 7 p.m., about a dozen youngsters were playing basketball
next to a vacant lot on the north side of Monahans where the
rock landed. One of the youths, ranging in age from 8 to 16,
said the rock "glowed red hot," when it first landed,
according to the Monahans News.

The rock was lighter in color than most of the nickel-based
meteor fragments discovered over the years, and was about
the size of a large fist, the News reported.

"Right now, we don't know what we're going to do with it,
but the Smithsonian Institute has contacted us," said Watts.

The second rock was found this morning by a deputy driving
to the location of the first one.

"It matches the first one in description, the color and
everything else," said Watts.

The second rock was found about 800 feet, embedded in the
roadway. "It's a little big larger than the first one, but
other than that, it looks about the same," said Watts.

The deputy was driving to the location of the first one,
when he spotted it, recovered it and took it in to the
police department, according to Watts.

"It made a pretty good imprint in the asphalt," he said.

He added that the second rock has not yet been tested for
any signs of radiation.

A woman who answered the phone at the Monahans Police
Department, but declined to give her name, said the rock was
about 3 inches wide. Monahans radio station KLBO reported
the charred rock was about 9 inches long and landed about 50
feet from five homes.

Monahans' meteor fragments arrived at a time when the
subject has been a hot item in the news. A motion picture
about an asteroid striking the Earth is due out later this
year, and earlier this month reports went out world-wide
that a `killer asteroid' was on a possible collision course
with the Earth in the year 2028. The report was retracted a
day later after further calculations were made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Gramm-Byrd agreement brings highway funds

Staff Writer
At a time when there are only enough funds available to meet
one-third of the transportation projects through-out the
state, according to Texas Transportation Commissioner Robert
Nichols estimates, an additional $1.7 billion is great news
for Texas.

An agreement sponsored by U.S. Senators Robert Byrd (D) and
Phil Gramm (R) will pump $26 billion toward building and
repairing highways across the nation by utilizing the
4.3-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax added in 1993. "We have
reached an agreement," said Gramm, "that will guarantee that
over the next six years every penny collected in the
4.3-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline will go to build roads
and only to build roads."

The Senate approved the Byrd-Gramm agreement by unanimous
vote. The measure would amend the federal highway funding
bill currently being debated in the Senate and would bring
the new highway spending ceiling up to $173 billion through
the year 2003.

The bill creates a $450 million fund to finance such
programs as the special "NAFTA Highway" designations that
are being sought for I-35, the planned I-69 in south and
East Texas, and the I-10/I-25 link at El Paso. All three
programs would be eligible for funding from this account,
said Gramm.

The Byrd-Gramm agreement was co-sponsored by 53 senators,
including John Warner (R), and Max Baucus (D).

No explaination for Thursday 911 outage

Staff Writer
Problems with the 911 phone system for Reeves County are the
responsibility of GTE, Pecos police said Friday, after a
family reported they were unable to get through on the
emergency umber.

The the phone company was unable to explain as of today why
the system went down briefly on Thursday, when a Pecos
resident tried to call 911 twice to summon an ambulance
during a family emergency but got nothing but a busy signal
both times.

The family took the victim to Reeves County Hospital on
their own Thursday night, fearing that they did not have
enough time to try to reach help through a non-emergency

Locally, 911 calls are handled at the Pecos police
department. Police department supervisor Dianne Tersero said
Friday morning that another operator had been on duty during
the incident, and that she did not know that it had
happened. However, she added "We've had problems like that
in the past."

Tersero explained that GTE maintains the 911 service, and
that the problem had cleared up on its own by the time GTE
technicians came to fix it in the past.

A spokesman for GTE who was contacted Friday said that the
local repair office would be contacted and given the
information necessary to research the complaint. However, as
of 11 a.m. today the company had not offered any other
information about why the 911 outages are occurring or what
can be done to fix them.

Play time for PHS students in Big Spring

Staff Writer
Pecos High School actors will take their show on the road,
Tuesday, as they travel to Big Spring to compete against
other schools in UIL one-act play competition.

The cast members will be competing against five other
schools in District 4-4A for the right to advance to
regional competition next month..

Hecuba, a play by Eurpides, adapted by Burton Crane, will be
the performed for the competition, according to play
director Ben Price.

A dress rehearsal is scheduled for 7 p.m., today at the
Pecos High School Auditorium, and everyone is invited to
attend this free event.

"We'd like to invite everyone to come out and see our young
performers," said Price.

He added that he is very enthused about the play. "I have my
fingers crossed that we'll do real well," Price said.

The group received an alternate position last year at
competition and had more students named to the All-Star Cast
than that of the winning school, according to Price.

Price stated that it's very unusual to get more students on
the All-Star Cast than the winners and stated that he is
very proud of the students. "I hope we do better this year,"
he added.

The other District 4-4A schools competing are Andrews, Fort
Stockton, Sweetwater, San Angelo Lake View and Big Spring.

Local actors are Erica Rodriguez, Ana Gonzales, Jocelyn Paz,
Efrain Rodriguez, Christine Gonzalez, Maribel Pena, Jeff
Perkins, Ali Castillo, Scott Pounds, Luis Nieto, Al Tillman
and Matt Ivy. Crew members are Luis Madrid and Briar Prewit.
Alternates are Laura Marquez and Isaac Solis.

Terri Morse has been helping Price in directing the play.

Enterprise earns two firsts at APME awards

From Staff and Wire Reports
The Pecos Enterprise claimed two of the five special awards
given out on Saturday, at the Texas Associated Press
Managing Editor's convention in Houston.

The Enterprise won first place among Class A papers of
10,000 circulation or less for team effort and for online
new pages.

The team effort award was for "The Memories Remain," the
special section the paper produced last May to mark the 10th
anniversary of the Saragosa tornado which left 30 people
dead and 121 injured. The online award was the first-ever
given to a newspaper in Class A, after papers in all four
size categories competed together last year, when the award
was first introduced.

The judge called the section a ``thoughtful, extremely
comprehensive look back'' on the 10th anniversary of the
Saragosa tornado, ``a tragedy that left one in six people in
a small community dead.''

Other papers winning first place awards in the special
divisions included The Brazosport Facts, which won the Class
AA community service award for uncovering a videotape
showing inmates being beaten in the Brazoria County
Detention Center.

The community service award in Class A for newspapers under
10,000 circulation went to the staff of the Corsicana Daily
Sun for ``Crisis of our Youth.''

Janet Jacobs of the Longview News-Journal won in Class AAA
for newspapers between 30,000 and 124,999 for ``Chicken pits
under fire in East Texas.''

The Austin American-Statesman won in Class AAAA for
newspapers over 125,000 for ``Austin's endangered East Side:
Pollution and Solutions.'' The paper also won that
division's team effort category for coverage of the deadly
tornado in Jarrell.

Other area newspapers winning first place awards included
the San Angelo Standard-Times, which won three firsts in
Class AAA on Sunday, when the remainder of the APME awards
were announced.

Texas APME also recognized Texas Southern University as the
first recipient of a Texas APME journalism school grant.
Sherri Daye, a junior journalism student at Southern
Methodist University, received the group's first minority


The Fort Stockton Pioneer

FORT STOCKTON, Thursday, March 19, 1998 - Fort Stockton
city councilmen have presented local cable service providers
with concerns and complaints they have received from
citizens, and are encouraging those same citizens to speak
directly to those cable service providers themselves. All
this came under discussion during last week's meeting of the
Fort Stockton City Council, in which Daryl Hodyker, Regional
Manager of U.S. Cable of Seminole, spoke to the council on
how that company had arrived at its decision to introduce
new cable channels, realign existing channels and raise the
rates charged for providing those channels to local viewers.

The Alpine Avalanche

ALPINE, March 19, 1998 - The final date for opponents to
comment on the Air Force proposal to increase bomber
training over West Texas has been set for April 3. Three
training routes have been proposed by the Air Force to allow
B-1 and B-52 pilots from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and
Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La., to train over
varied Southwest terrain.

The Sanderson Times

SANDERSON, March 19, 1998 - Four couples belonging to an
organization called NOMADS, arrived in Sanderson the first
of last week from different parts of the country to paint
the interior and exterior trim and to put a new roof on El
Buen Pastor United Methodist Church. NOMADS is an acronym
for Nomands On a Mission Active in Divine Service.

The McCamey News

McCamey, Upton County, March 19, 1998 - John Hernandez of
McCamey High School competed and tied for first place in the
Texas High School Powerlifting Association regional meet in
Colorado City on Saturday. John bench pressed 240 pounds,
squatted 435 pounds, and dead-lifted 490 pounds for a total
weight of 1165 pounds.

The Monahans News

MONAHANS, March 19, 1998 - Ward County Commissioners have
set May 2, for a referendum on whether leasing or selling
Ward Memorial Hospital will remain an option to cure the
institution's fiscal and operational ills. The election on
the future of health care in Ward County will be held on the
same day as school district and municipal elections in the


Lidia Bitolas

Lidia Bitolas, 53, of Pecos, died Sunday, March 22, 1998, at
her residence.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at Pecos Funeral
Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 4 p.m., Tuesday at Our Lady of Refuge
Catholic Church in Barstow, with Father Antonio Mena

Bitolas was born Jan. 18, 1946, in Barstow, attended school
in Barstow, and was a 1967 graduate. She attended college at
Sul Ross State University and obtained her Bachelor of
Science Degree in 1979. She taught school for 24 years.

Survivors include her husband, Bobby Bitolas of Pecos; her
parents, Felix and Maria Rodriguez of Barstow; two
step-daughters, Olivia and Bonnie Bitolas of Pecos; two
brothers, Reyes Rodriguez of Pecos, Manuel Rodriguez of
Barstow; three sisters, Cruz Anaya of Pecos, Freda Griffin
and Susan Rodriguez of Barstow.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Jewell McNeil

Services are incomplete for Jewell Florence McNeil, 83, of
Pecos, who died, Sunday, March 22, 1998.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Warmer temperatures are in store across all of Texas
tonight and Tuesday. The warming trend began over the
weekend and is expected to continue across most of the state
through the end of the week, forecasters said. It will be
mostly fair tonight and mostly sunny on Tuesday across West
Texas where temperatures will climb into the 80s and 90s by
Tuesday afternoon. It will be partly cloudy, warm and windy
across North Texas through Tuesday. South Texas will have
partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures. Some patchy fog
is possible Tuesday morning along the immediate coast. Lows
tonight will be in the 30s in the mountains of Southwest
Texas and in the 40s and 50s across the rest of West Texas,
the 40s and 50s in North Texas and in the 50s and 60s in
South Texas. Highs Tuesday will be in the 80s and 90s in
West Texas and in the 70s and 80s elsewhere across the state.

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
e-mail news@pecos.net

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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise