March 27, 1998
Duncan Disposal gets property, but no MTV for Pecos
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - Music Television, better known as
'MTV', may not be broadcasting on Pecos airwaves anytime
soon, but Classic Cable Operations Manager Ben Hernandez
informed the City Council at yesterday morning's meeting
that his company had received a petition in favor of it. The
City Council, who asked the representative to the meeting to
discuss cable subscribers' complaints, received the
"How many signatures have you received?" asked Mayor Dot
Stafford, breaking the silence. Hernandez responded that
Classic Cable had received about 250 signatures. Not enough
to bring the channel to Pecos.
Of the 3,300 cable subscribers in Pecos, said Hernandez, it
would take a "clear-cut majority" to bring in a channel like
MTV. The operations manager said in a later interview that
he had received one phone call from Pecos urging him not to
bring MTV. Hernandez said the caller, who claimed to
represent "some kind of a church alliance," was seeking to
have Classic Cable bring religious programming to Pecos.
This type of programming, he said, is difficult because of
all the various denominations.
Regarding the cable trouble reports, Hernandez distributed
copies of the December and January logs of trouble calls and
outages to all the council members. In December, said the
representative, Pecos subscribers reported 40 trouble calls
and a total of 5 outages, representing about 16.7 hours, to
the cable company. "That's less than one percent of the
subscriber base," he said.
In January, Pecos subscribers reported 38 trouble calls and
three outages, which represented 36.75 hours. "That sounds
like a lot of time," said Hernandez, "but 24 hours was
because of a lost character generator that we had to have
Fed-Exed." The remaining 12.75 hours was comprised of 10.5
hours of channel seven being off the air (the television
station's fault, said Hernandez) and two hours of channel
five being off the air (Classic Cable's fault).
"The pattern I'm seeing is a channel here and a channel
there," said Hernandez, "but not any major outages."
Councilman Gerald Tellez asked Hernandez how things were
progressing with getting unwanted signals blocked out of
some Pecos residences. Hernandez said that presently the
company was back-logged on the "traps" which block the
Councilman Ricky Herrera asked the representative at what
point the company would consider compensating their
customers for outages. Hernandez replied that the average
cost per channel per day for customers was about two cents
and he didn't consider two cent refunds to be viable. "I
think the value that customers place on their favorite shows
is much greater than two cents," said Herrera.
The council asked that Hernandez continue to provide copies
of the monthly complaint logs, but said it was not necessary
for him to attend the meetings personally.
Duncan Disposal, Inc., formerly Wes Tex Waste, was granted a
year's free rent at a former truck wash at US 285 and I-20
in exchange for repair work the company would perform on the
facility. The council approved the provision pending the
preparation of a written lease agreement.
"It is my understanding that Wes Tex Waste will spend
considerable money to refurbish the property," said City
Manager Kenneth Neal, "So it is my recommendation that the
first year's rent go toward getting the facility operational
and after that start rent payments."
Councilman Johnny Terrazas suggested that Neal and Ronnie
Ruiz, manager of the transfer station, work out a check list
of agreed repairs to be performed by the company.
Texas-New Mexico Power's Senior Vice-President Jack Chambers
attended the morning meeting to announce that hearings with
the Texas Public Utility Commission had finally ended and a
final decision is expected in June. "Then there will be a
three percent rate reduction retroactive back to Jan. 1.
Hopefully just in time for the hot weather," he said.
The company's proposed five-year transition to competition
plan, that, according to company officials, will lower
residential rates by nine percent and commercial rates by
three percent, was originally scheduled to go into effect on
March 28 was declared Leadership Awareness Day by the
council. According to the resolution, "the example set by
the young men and women participating in the John Ben
Sheppard Public Leadership Student Forum should inspire all
citizens to become involved in public issues to help make
our community a better place to live." The youth forum will
be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, in the
new gym of Pecos High School.
The council also approved monthly reports from the tax
collector, municipal court, ambulance and municipal
financials. Tellez cautioned department heads that the
mid-point of the financial year was approaching, so they
should "watch those budgets." Accounts payable was approved
Student rewarded for reading
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - One Bessie Haynes Elementary School
student has reached his reading goal and will be enjoying
music on his new CD boom box.
Michael Razon, a 12-year-old fifth-grade student at the
school, netted 200 points, his goal to purchase the boom
He was the first student at the school this year to reach
"Students receive points for books they read," said school
librarian Cynthia Armbruster.
The more difficult the book, the more points it is worth,
according to Armbruster.
"The students are then given a comprehension test in the
computer lab," she said.
The test also ensures that the students comprehend what they
are reading and don't just receive points for reading the
book, according to Armbruster.
"We want to make sure they understand what they are
reading," said Armbruster.
Razon stated that the next book he plans to read is, Little
Women, which is worth 36 points. After purchasing the boom
box and using up all his points he had netted 20 more points
on that day.
Books are worth points, ranging from one point to 36 points,
depending on the difficulty and the length, according to
"We're going to have to purchase new items to put in our
little store," said Armbruster.
According to Armbruster, the students have been doing so
well with this reading program, they have been purchasing
"We're just very proud of all our students, they have been
doing really well, they read a lot," she said.
Prizes range from stickers to balls, such as basketballs and
volleyballs to the big prize of a boom box.
"We just had a D.J. party to raise more funds, to restock
our 'store'," said Armbruster.
Armbruster stated that this is a great way to get the
students to read and actually comprehend what they are
"The students get really excited about this also, because
not only are they learning more, but are getting rewarded
for it," she said.
Right behind, Razon, is Gilbert Barragan who has 193.7
points and is also wanting to purchase the big item.
"I'm glad I got the boombox, now I don't have to share with
my younger brother," said Razon.
Razon stated that he wants to save his points and probably
will purchase a walkman or a basketball next.
He likes to read and spends his time reading at home or
playing basketball. "I also enjoy drawing, and spend my
extra time doing that also," said Razon.
He is the son of Abner and Nef Razon.
Council proposes program to help
By RICK L. SMITH
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - People who need, but cannot afford,
prescription medication may soon get help from the Comunity
Council of Reeves County, according to the council executive
"Cara Alligood and I have kicked around some ideas to start
a program to benefit residents who seem to fall in the
cracks," Caprice Cox said during the council board meeting
held last night in Pyote. "These people are working but have
no insurance or the job doesn't offer insurance. They are in
the gray area.
"Mr. Ray Carreon from the DHS (Department of Human Services)
has shared som information with us from a company in
Missouri that will match people with pharmaceutical
companies to obtain free prescription medicine."
Cox said a $5 setup fee would be the total cost to those
eligible to participate in the plan if it is adopted by the
Cox also told the council board she is working on a program
to help the aged and disabled to obtain money to pay for
medication and doctor visits.
In other business, Ward County Commissioners agreed to help
with funding for the Meels on Wheels Program, according to
Cox expressed displeasure at the way Card, Graham and Co.
handle the books for the council.
"They have balked about filling the needs of the council,
even though they agreed to the terms of the bidding
Cox said many mistakes are found in paper work returned by
Card, Graham and Co., and corrections have to be made.
Appointed to the private sector of the council board were
Jessie Heard, a member of the Grand Falls City Council; and
Suzie Smith. Sherri Downing was removed from the board due
to lack of participation.
Also on the council agenda was a review of Executive
Director Cox' job performance.
"The evaluation went well and she received a good rating,"
said Community Council Board President Bill Wendt.
The council board offered Cox a $500 a year raise but she
refused to accept it, Wendt said. Before the board entered
executive session to evaluate Cox she had stated that she
wanted a raise and would use the additional money to help
fund a council-sponsored medical relief program for the poor.
According to Wendt, the council had $1,500 available to give
Cox as a raise but some board members did not want to give
her the full amount.
Cox refused the $500 raise because it was not enough money
to make a difference for the medical program, Wendt said.
"It kind of hurts," Wendt said, "because she was not going
to use $1,500 for herself. She was going to use it for the
medical program to get it going. That's what upset her, she
knew $500 wouldn't meet program needs. Even $1,500 would
only be a token but would get the program going."
In other community council business, the council board
agreed to hire an attorney to handle a lawsuit brought
against they council by a person who fell and was hurt on
council property, Wendt said.
Meteorite eye-witnesses sought
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - Did you see it? People from as far
as 120 miles from the Monahans meteor crash site Sunday
reported witnessing the bright descent of extra-terrestrial
rock. But the odd thing is, said Steve Schmidt, director of
the Blakemore Planetarium in Midland, nobody west of the
crash site in Monahans has reported viewing the object as it
Schmidt is working with a team of scientists from NASA and
elsewhere on studying the recovered meteorites. "It is
extremely rare that so many observed the event," said
Schmidt, "and then for it to be recovered so quickly."
Any eye-witness accounts, especially including video or
audio tapes, of the event by Pecos-area persons would be
enthusiastically welcomed by the team of scientists at
Blakemore Planetarium. "We are particularly asking that
(merchants) with monitoring cameras review their tapes from
Sunday night." These tapes, he said, may contain very slight
lightening caused by the meteor's flash or reactions of
shoppers that may help pinpoint the exact time and direction
of the meteor.
Video evidence of meteors has been helpful to scientists in
the past. Much was learned about the El Paso Superbolide,
which crashed through the Earth's atmosphere on Oct. 9,
1997, by eye-witness accounts of the meteor's vapor trail.
Also, in the early `80s, a meteor that struck an automobile
in Peakskill, N.Y. was found before the owner of the vehicle
was aware of the incident due to extensive recordings by
football fans who videoed the meteor as it streaked by near
the football stadium.
When a meteor is recovered as quickly as Sunday's twins were
much may be learned about where the meteor came from by
studying the radio isotopes issuing from the meteor. "Many
of these are not harmful to humans," said Schmidt, "and have
extremely short half-lives (or, lifespan). One lasts only
for 72 hours."
Schmidt said he had been able to perform a visual survey of
the twin meteorites. By studying these unique rocks,
scientists will be able to view the condition under which
the matter was fist formed. "It's sort of like looking back
in time," said Schmidt.
To report any information about the Monahans meteor call
915-683-2882 during regular business hours.
Tips on storm spotting offered
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - As a cold front rolled over Pecos,
filling the sky with thick dust that shielded the Earth from
the Sun, National Weather Service Warning Coordinator and
Meteorologist George Mathews made some national weather
predictions based on what could be seen in the
violent-looking sky above.
With a small class of interested pupils ringed about him,
some from the police and fire departments, some simply
interested citizens, Mathews pointed to a gathering
"cumulus" cloud -a small mountain of white floating
independently in the sky. "As soon as it gets to Odessa or
Midland, where it can get some moisture, it will probably
become a continuous thunderstorm that will move through
Dallas, Louisiana, and to the Eastern Seaboard later in the
week," he forecasted.
The worst Pecos could expect from the strong winds was
possible "verga-showers," he said, when rain evaporates
before it can hit land, causing cold air to "crash" into the
ground. But nothing dangerous would occur in Pecos as a
result of this gathering storm.
Nine people attended the evening meeting yesterday,
including some who had lost loved ones to the Saragosa
tornadoes 10 years ago, at the Pecos Community Center to
learn how to safely spot and report violent weather.
Safety was the first topic discussed by Mathews. "The safest
place during a tornado is the lowest floor possible in an
interior room," the instructor said. The first thing a
tornado will take is the roof, then the outside walls and
lastly the interior walls. Bathrooms with showers are
especially good hiding places because the pipes in the wall
help to stabilize it.
To be a successful weather spotter, one must not only be
able to find and identify dangerous weather, but it is
critical to be able to report it. "Otherwise," said Mathews,
"how does that help the community at risk?"
Keys to safe spotting include: always spot with a partner
(driver drives, and spotter `spots'), know your local
environment (always have an escape route in mind and keep a
five-mile buffer between yourself and the storm), and
remember that lightning and flash floods kill more people
than tornadoes do. Be aware of all elements of a storm.
If you are caught in a rural area by a tornado the first
thing to do is get out of your car, said Mathews. Then, get
as low as you can.
The class spent the next couple hours learning the different
visual elements of storms on slides and video presentations.
Along with this came the new language of storm spotters.
Words like metacyclone, supercell, wall cloud, back-sheared
anvil and rear flank downdraft were flowing loosely over
tongues by the break-up time of 10 p.m.
Mathews cautioned the group that while Reeves County has
been fairly quiet in the past few years (with 7 warnings
issued in 1996 and 1997, compared with Pecos County's 35 and
50), the weather service expects this to be a "particularly
active" year. El Nino is to thank, he said. So, while with
proper knowledge of storms comes the power to protect one's
community, the violent fingers of air, known as tornadoes,
are nothing to trifle with.
The Jarrel tornadoes, which reached top wind speeds of 260
mph, "strong enough to rip flesh from the bone," said
Mathews, left 70 vehicles unaccounted for. "They were either
buried so deep in the mud or tossed so far they couldn't be
found," he said.
And with tornado season approaching in Texas, where more
tornadoes will form than any other state, several more
meetings will be held by the National Weather Service to
prepare communities in the Trans-Pecos. An advanced meeting
will be held in Monahans on Monday, March 30. Others will
meet in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Presidio, Fort Davis, Alpine, Van
Horn, with a "wrap-up" session being held in Odessa on
Thursday, April 23.
For more information, call (915) 563-5006.
Pilar D. Dominguez, 83, died Friday, March 20, 1998, in El
Services were held March 23, at St. Paul Church with burial
at Restlawn Memorial in El Paso.
Dominguez was born Jan. 13, 1915, in Pecos. He had lived in
El Paso for more than 40 years, was retired from the civil
service, El Paso ISD and Circle K Corp.
Survivors include: his wife, Cruz M. Dominguez of El Paso;
one son, Reymundo Dominguez; seven daughters, Dora Lara, Eva
Archuleta, Martha Calderon, Cruz Franco, Patsy Torres, Betty
Leon and Helyn Jones; seven brothers, Ciprano, Eziquel,
Ruben, Roberto, Chente, Ysidro and Oscar Dominguez; four
sisters, Josepha Chacon, Mary Jane Villanueva, China Galvan
and Paola Gonzalez; 19 grandchildren; and five
Luceal Behrens Wright, 91, died Wednesday, March 25, 1998,
in San Saba, Tx.
Services are scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, March 28, at
Howell-Doran Funeral Home Chapel in San Saba, with Rev.
Keith Robertson officiating. Burial will be in San Saba City
Wright was born Dec. 26, 1906, in San Saba. She was a
housewife and a former member of the Rebecca Lodge in Pecos.
Wright was preceded in death by her parents, Augusta and
Andrew Behrens; her husbands, Wesley Miller in San Saba,
1928, James E. Wright, in 1966; and one grandson.
Survivors include: two sons, Benton Miller of Locker and
Dell Wright of Houston; one daughter, Anna Talley of Alpine;
six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be
made to the Masonic Lodge "Lamar Scholarship," in care of
John Bannister, P.O. Box 937, San Saba, Tx., 76877.
PECOS, March 27, 1998 - High Thursday, 98, low this morning,
52. Clear skies and pleasant temperatures are expected
across Texas tonight and Saturday. But forecasts called for
showers and thunderstorms across most of the state today.
The precipitation is being triggered by a combination of a
low pressure system and and upper level system that also
generated high winds across most of the state for the past
two days. Skies will be fair tonight and mostly sunny on
Saturday across West Texas. A chilly night is in store for
West Texas as temperatures will dip into the 30s and 40s.
Highs Saturday will be in the 70s and 80s statewide. Showers
and thunderstorms were reported in West Texas early today
from the Panhandle southward into the Edwards Plateau area.
Another line of showers moved across North Texas during the
early morning hours.
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