Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, April 13, 1998
El Nino's effects nada on Pecos weather
By CARA ALLIGOOD
and JON FULBRIGHT
Tornado season officially began in the central United States
two weeks ago, and experts are wondering whether or not El
Nino the warm water current in the Pacific Ocean will affect
the strength and location of this year's crop of storms.
This year, El Nino has gotten the blame for heavy rains and
snows in California, as well as for killer storms that
struck central Florida in March and ripped across Alabama
and Georgia last week. But through the first three months of
1997, El Nino has had almost no effect of the weather in
West Texas, compared with a non-El Nino season two years ago.
Pecos endured high winds and got little rain during the
first 5½ months of 1996, and is going through the same
conditions again in 1998.
The city got just .75 inches of rain from January through
mid-June two years ago, while enduring plenty of windy days.
Gusts reached as high as 88 miles per hour on one day in
January of 1996, and hit 163 miles per hour at Guadalupe
Those weather patterns have returned during the first 4½
months of 1998. Pecos has received just .12 inches of rain
since January 1, while high winds have again blown through
the area, and are expected to continue to do so through this
Winds in Pecos on Saturday afternoon didn't come close to
their 1996 peak, but they still were strong enough to cause
damage to a metal storage building and close a street on the
city's east side.
The 300 block of South Ash Street was closed to traffic
beginning Saturday night and continuing all day Sunday
because sheets of metal had blown off the old
Foxworth-Galbraith building and fallen in the roadway.
According to a report by Pecos Police, a woman came in to
the police station at 6:55 p.m. Saturday and complained
about debris in the roadway in the 300 block of Ash Street.
Octavio Garcia, the city's water department supervisor, said
that he received a call from the police department on
Saturday afternoon to erect barricades to close the street
off while the high winds were still blowing because the
flying debris was potentially dangerous to passing motorists.
Garcia said that his crew removed some debris from the road
when they went out to put up the barricades. The barricades
were removed this morning, Garcia said.
Isabel Blanchard, co-manager of the Pecos Municipal Airport,
reported that winds reached 45 miles per hour at 4:35 p.m.
While weather in the Trans-Pecos has shown few El
Nino-related effects, Meteorologists do agree that El Nino
the intense warming of the Pacific Ocean off South America
has intensified in the United States and shifted south the
jet stream's winter winds, bringing floods to southern
California and heavy rains and winds to Florida.
Will El Nino add kick to this season's tornadoes?
Predictions fluctuate like a meteorologist's wind gauge.
William Monfredo, a graduate student at Mississippi State
University in Starkville, is sanguine. Earning a master's
degree in geoscience, he studies tornado data, El Nino
statistics and atmospheric models. His conclusion: The
Midwest will see fewer strong tornadoes.
A factor or not, El Nino faces tough precedents. The
planet's fiercest tornadoes touch down most often in the
United States. On average, 836 sightings are reported each
From its Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded
more than 38,000 segments - twisters that stay on a straight
path between 1950 and 1995.
Those storms caused nearly 71,000 injuries and more than
4,100 deaths. That's an average of two injuries per twister,
according to data compiled from newspaper accounts and
National Weather Service reports.
An Associated Press analysis of that data shows that 75
percent of the tornadoes touched down in 17 states - in the
Plains, Midwest and Southeast. These include Alabama,
Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Florida,
Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska,
Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
Just this past week, tornadoes swept through Alabama,
Georgia and Mississippi, leaving dozens of deaths in their
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Panhandle desalinization project set to begin
From Staff and Wire Reports
If calculations are correct, future generations in 11 West
Texas cities will have clearer, tastier water than their
parents and grandparents ever enjoyed.
Construction on a project aimed at ridding the Lake Meredith
reservoir of saltwater could begin within three months. If
it doesn't work, though, residents of Lubbock, Amarillo and
the other cities will continue relying on a huge underground
reserve in remote Roberts County that's intended only as an
``Obviously we want to use it (salt-free Roberts County
water) in the short term to get within drinking water
standards, but in the long term we don't want to deplete our
groundwater resources,'' said Tom Edmonds, a Borger attorney
and engineer who sits on the Canadian River Municipal Water
``We need to (improve) the quality of the water coming down
the river,'' he said.
Lake Meredith's problems are similar to those at Red Bluff
Lake north of Pecos. Water there isn't used for drinking,
but the high salt content has affected its use by farmers
for irrigation over the years.
Lake Meredith, the Texas Panhandle's only major lake, has
about 75 percent more salt than federal tap water guidelines
allow. The source is a natural brine aquifer that's seeping
into the Canadian River just across the New Mexico border.
The interim fix is to blend Meredith water with about 9
billion gallons annually pumped from Roberts County, where
residents have fought for years - without success to keep
the CRMWA from exporting their water to member cities.
Authority general manager John Williams said up to 30
percent of the water flowing to CRMWA cities will come from
Roberts County if the wells begin pumping in early 2000 as
planned. However, officials fear a recent Sierra Club
lawsuit against the U.S. Interior Department seeking
protection for a rare minnow could spur pumping
That makes the long-awaited $10 million river desalination
effort even more urgent.
``Desalination has been discussed and cussed back and
forth,'' Edmonds said. ``Geology is geology. Mother Nature
could always throw you a curve subsurface, but we think
we've got (the problem) identified and we think over a long
period of time (desalination) will show some progress.''
Officials with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation knew their
lake 30 miles north of Amarillo would be salty when Sanford
Dam was built in the 1960s. There's been talk of addressing
the problem ever since.
Under the diversion plan, saltwater will be drawn from the
brine aquifer and injected about 3,000 feet below ground.
The idea is to relieve the pressure that's squirting the
brackish water into the Canadian.
It's no overnight solution: Even if the brine stops entering
the river, the lake still needs fresh rainfall to begin
diluting existing salt.
``It might take as long as 10 years to see the effects of
the (desalination) project, where with the groundwater we'll
see immediate effects,'' Williams said.
Had something been done about the salt inflow before 1981,
Williams said, heavy rains at the time would have cleansed
Ten years is a thin slice of time in water planning, said
Elizabeth Harrison, area manager for the Bureau Reclamation.
``When we talk about planning for water, we are looking in
terms of hundreds of years,'' said Elizabeth Harrison from
her Austin office. ``They're looking at this project as
long-term and seeing how they can affect the reservoir.
People think 5-10 years is a really long time, but in water
terms it's not.''
The other CRMWA member cities are Borger, Pampa, Plainview,
Brownfield, Lamesa, Levelland, O'Donnell, Slaton and Tahoka.
Red Bluff Water and Power Control Board members are seeking
to fix their salt problem with an above-ground solution.
Officials are hoping to divert water from Malaga Bend, just
north of the Texas-New Mexico state line, to three man-made
lakes, from where the salt would later be mined for
Red Bluff members were to meet today and get an update on
the project during their April board meeting.
Report gives Texas' schools high marks
By CARA ALLIGOOD
Texas' system of standards, assessment and accountability
has school children performing well on a national basis and
is drawing nationwide attention and praise, according to the
Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).
"I am proud that Texas public schools have become the role
model for public schools nationally," said TASB President
David Sublasky. He pointed out a recent issue of Policy Review from the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., that the article "The Gold Star State" noted, "Texas has become one of the highest performing states in the nation."
"It doesn't surprise me. I think locally, we're doing
great," said Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board president
Frank Perea. "We have a super professional and support staff
and this is the result."
Among the 39 states that participated in the 1996 National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) in fourth-grade
math, Texas finished in the top 10, right along states such
as Maine, North Dakota and Wisconsin, which have far fewer
low-income and minority students, according to Policy Review.
"We're doing great and heading in the right direction," said
Perea. "I want to personally congratulate everyone" on their
achievement in reaching academic excellence.
"Last year, people all over the nation began noticing what
was happening in Texas," said Sublasky.
"I think Texas has been doing things right the past few
years, no doubt about it, and the teachers have been bearing
down and getting after it," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent
"Our scores (on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills
tests) have continued to rise each year since the
accountability system came into place," said Love. "I don't
see it doing anything but getting better. It really makes
you feel great when you see the growth and improvement."
County voters to decide runoff elections
Reeves County voters will have two local races to decide,
but all area voters can make their voices heard tomorrow
between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., by voting in the run-off election.
Voters in Precinct 4's Democratic primary election will
decide the commissioner's race between incumbent Bernardo
"Chaquen" Martinez and challenger Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos,
while Precinct 3 voters will cast ballots for the justice of
the peace race, between incumbent Joel Madrid and former
Precinct 3 JP Rosendo Carrasco.
All county Democratic voters can cast ballots for the U.S.
House District 23 runoff between Charlie Urbana Jones and
Joseph P. Sullivan.
Pecos boxes at their normal locations are: Box 1, at the
Pecos Community Center, 506 Oak Street; Box 7, at the Reeves
County Library at 505 South Park Street; Box 8, at Lamar
Elementary at the corner of Oak and F streets, and Box 10,
at the Reeves County Annex. Boxes 2, 3, 11 and 12 will be
consolidated at the Reeves County Civic Center at Cedar and
Out-of-town boxes are as follows: Box 4, Toyah City Hall in
Toyah; Box 5, Senior Citizens' Hall in Balmorhea; Box 6,
Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center in Saragosa; and Box 9 at the
Orla Red Bluff Office.
Dozen indictments returned by federal court
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
A local man is among 12 defendants indicted Thursday by the
federal grand jury in Pecos, half of whom are from the area.
Tony Earl McGrew, 39, of 515 S. Elm St., is charged with
importing and possessing 159.08 pounds of marijuana on April
Melissa Moreno Pena, 27, of Kermit, is charged with
possession with intent to distribute 21.88 pounds of
marijuana on March 29.
Ivan Villalobos, 19, of Alpine, is charged with possession
with intent to distribute 26.25 pounds of marijuana on April
Celia Quintanilla Urias, 34, of Presidio, is charged with
possession with intent to distribute 48.50 pounds of
marijuana on April 8.
Martin Torres-Sanchez, 18, of Odessa, is charged with
possession with intent to distribute 61.12 pounds of
marijuana on March 27.
Bertha Alicia Marquez, 39, of Odessa, is charged with
structuring currency importation to avoid reporting
requirements and with failure to file a currency importation
report on Oct. 3, 1997. She allegedly imported more than
$10,000 within one calendar day without making a report.
Two defendants who failed to show up for Senior Judge Lucius
Bunton's court this week are charged with failure to appear.
Warrants were issued for Luis Exiquio Carrillo, 18, of El
Paso, and Martin Gonzalez, 29, of Chihuahua, Mex.
Gilberto Minjares-Barrera, 32, of Chihuahua, Mex., is
charged with importing and possessing 761.8 pounds of
marijuana on March 23.
Jose Luis Contreras-Lara, 26, and Ezequiel Chavez-Salcido,
22, both of Mexico, are charged with importing and
possessing 62 pounds of marijuana on April 3.
Lorenzo Rojo-Aguilar, 25, of Porvenir, Mex., is charged with
illegal entry on March 25 after deportation subsequent to
conviction for an aggravated felony.
Jones seeks local support for runoff
By GREG HARMAN
Democratic congressional hopeful Charlie "Urbina" Jones
visited with area voters on Friday, hoping to gain support
in his primary runoff against Joseph P. Sullivan on Tuesday.
Jones and Sullivan are seeking the Democratic nomination to
run against Republican Henry Bonilla in the November general
election. Jones is seeking a rematch with Bonilla, who
defeated him by a 62-36 percent margin two years ago.
Jones, a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, former San
Antonio teacher, geologist, member of several small business
committees and current private-practice lawyer, said during
a Friday afternoon interview that "public service is a rite
Jones, a believer in bipartisan politics, foresees
communities such as Pecos and Fort Stockton working together
as distribution centers under a re-tooled North American
Free Trade Agreement. While expressing the need for small
business incentives, Jones said, "We need to change to keep
jobs in Texas."
"The 23rd District is one of the poorest districts," in
Texas, he said, endowed with a "marginal growth rate."
Recovery, he believes, must start with industry. And to
become attractive to outside companies will take cooperation
and an inventorying of resources.
Jones, who sits on the board of NAFTA free trade alliance,
said that "in an era of downsizing we need to help people
fish for themselves." A globalizing economy has some dire
consequences and "a lot of good people" are out of work.
Jones' campaign aide, economist Fernardo Contreras, said
that the two were examining ways that small town economies
may be "linked-up" for total area re-vitalization.
"Years ago," said Contreras, "many people lost jobs in the
oil industry. And recently, about two months ago, oil
companies talked lay-offs again. We need to do what we can
to help the independent oilmen (while) moving toward natural
gas. It is a matter of creating incentives."
On the recent push to bring a low-level radioactive dump to
Sierra Blanca, Jones said he has serious concerns regarding
He recalled the earthquake near Marathon which occurred
three years ago today and registered 5.6 on the Richter
scale. The engineers, he said, "could not guarantee" that
the waste containers would not crack and leak if a quake
took place in the Sierra Blanca area. In that event, Jones
warned, "You'll have an area that glows in the dark for the
next 10,000 years."
Concerning the EPA and endangered species, Jones said he
wanted to work towards a "win-win" situation.
A scholar in the field of environmental studies, Jones
complained that "The EPA is set up in a way that pits people
against the critters. I propose economic incentives for the
care of endangered species."
In regards to military, Jones said that as a country we must
not cut back too far. "It gets to the point that the cuts
are too severe. We're not fighting the Russian Bear anymore
but we need to be prepared for fighting with these
Pecos resident Linda Faulkner, 53, died yesterday at the
Sierra Medical Center in El Paso. Funeral arrangements are
currently being made at the Pecos Funeral Home.
Tomas "Tom" Navarette, 80, died Wednesday, April 8, at
Methodist Hospital in Lubbock.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. today at our Lady of
Guadalupe Catholic Church. Burial followed at Resthaven
Memorial Park. A Rosary was held at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 12,
at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
Navarette was born Oct. 20, 1917, in Kent. He was a resident
of Lubbock since 1991 after moving there from Marfa.
Navarette was a retired electrician and a World War II U.S.
Army veteran. He was also a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Survivors include: his wife, Tomasa "Tommie" Navarette of
Lubbock; three daughters, Helen Nevares of Kingsville, Tx.,
Teresa Vasquez of Lubbock, and Dolores Tellford of Dallas;
five sons, Robert Navarette of Corpus Christi, Tom Navarette
of Carlsbad, Calif., Raymond Navarette of Laredo, Mike
Navarette of Caracas, Venezuela; and David Navarette of San
Diego, Calif.; one sister, Rosa Millan of San Diego, Calif.;
30 grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Resthaven
Funeral Home of Lubbock.
High winds continued to sweep the middle of the country
today, while heavy rain was forecast for the West Coast and
the mountain states. The blustery winds that swept through
the Plains and the Midwest on Sunday were expected to move
into the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, bringing with them an
increased chance of rain from the Mississippi Valley north
to the Great Lakes. Some gusts were expected to reach speeds
of 70 mph. A storm expected to hit the Pacific Coast was
likely to spread rain up and down the coast, and inland to
Arizona and Colorado. Snow was expected in Idaho, Montana,
Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico, Utah and into Nevada.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise