Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, July 15, 1998
Balmorhea recieves grant to build park
By GREG HARMAN
BALMORHEA -- Thanks to the prompting of a private citizens's
group, the Balmorhea City Council approved pursuing a Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) grant for construction
of a community park during their Monday night meeting.
Austin grant consultant Carlos Colina-Vargas, employed in
the recently-approved park master plan, agreed to draft and
submit the application on behalf of the city by the July 31
The vision for a community park, championed by Balmorhea
resident Karen Pogue and a small band of interested
citizens, is for two acres inside of town. One acre is
reserved for a children's park, volleyball and basketball
courts and covered pavilion, the other for a nature reserve
intersected by hiking trails for nature lovers and bird
watchers. The park is estimated to cost about $157,300.
The TPWD grant would cover half that amount, the remaining
$78,650 would have to be raised locally or through in-kind
services. Pogue is hoping that the majority of this money
would be raised through in-kind services, such as what the
Reeves County Detention Center inmates have provided by
working on the canal through downtown Balmorhea.
The city council informed the citizen's group that it had no
land to donate for the park, but supported seeking the grant
and private donations.
One concern of the council was for security and maintenance
of the park. "It's an expensive park," said one council
member, "The maintenance will be expensive also."
Councilman Danny Reynolds said he was also pursuing the
creation of a city police officer position in Balmorhea,
along with a part-time judge, but had not heard whether it
had been approved yet.
"We're working on it, we just haven't got it together yet,"
Pogue's concerns revolve primarily around financing the
park's construction. "Until (Monday night's council meeting)
the $78,000 was a concern," said Pogue. "We don't have a
rotary club. We don't have a lion's club to draw from. But
we petitioned Security State Bank and they agreed provide
something." First National Bank, she said, has also been
approached but nothing definite has been agreed to.
Excited at having come even closer to making her dream for a
community park a reality, Pogue said, "I think that
everybody is going to use this park from everywhere. The
council members from the very beginning have been extremely
Colina-Vargas said he was so impressed by Pogue -- that the
push for the park was a "grassroots" effort -- that he was
putting extra time and attention into the project. But if
the funding doesn't come through on this attempt, he said
there is "no reason to be disappointed."
There are two grant cycles every year, Colina-Vargas
explained, and the more you submit the more you are prepared
for the next cycle.
TPWD will make their decision on the park application on
January 1. If approved, a contract would be drafted within
three months and the actual project would have three years
to be completed.
The park master plan, drafted and submitted by Vargas, was
approved by TPWD on July 9, 1998.
Storm lifts rain total near inch mark
Thunderstorms brought a respite from the constant heat in
Pecos Tuesday evening, but others on the outskirts are still
praying for some needed rain..
A brief shower fell on the south side of Pecos about 8 p.m.,
before heavier rains passed through town about 9:30 p.m. The
showers dropped .23 inch of rain on Pecos, which finally
lifted the city's rainfall total under an inch -- at .9
inches -- for 1998.
To the west of town, the Texas Agriculture Extension Service
recorded .28 on Tuesday, but to the east, Coyanosa reported
that they didn't get any rain at all.
"It just went around us," said Gail Fritter of Coyanosa
Tuesday's rains came from clouds that moved in from the
north. Jim Kenney who owns a ranch 100 miles northwest of
Pecos, in Culberson County said that about half an inch to
an inch was reported in that area.
"It was just in some places and in others it was just
showers," said Kenney, owner of D Ranch, Culberson County.
Lightning the storm also was blamed for starting an oil tank
fire just south of Business I-20 west of Barstow. Volunteer
firemen were called to the scene and the fire was
extinguished by 10 p.m.
Rediger touts rodeo Hall for Pecos
By ROSIE FLORES
Rodeo T-shirts on sale year-round, new items at Maxey Park
and a Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame were just some of the ideas
offered by Tuesday's guest speaker at the Pecos Chamber of
Commerce Board of Directors' monthly meeting.
John Rediger, who was a member of the chamber in past years,
told the group that he had come up with a list of ideas to
better promote Pecos.
"If you think they're good ideas we can start working on
them, if not we'll just crumple them up and toss them out,"
One of Rediger's ideas was to assemble a rodeo museum and
state rodeo Hall of Fame in Pecos, depicting only rodeo
items and past rodeo events.
"I think this would be a neat idea to have a rodeo museum,
featuring only Texas," said Rediger, who added that there
are several empty buildings, including the depot, located
next to the West of the Pecos Museum, that could be used for
Rediger said there is another city interested in doing a
Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame. "But what a better place than
Pecos, Home of the World's First Rodeo, to have this," he
A retreat was another idea shared during the meeting. "We
had one when I belonged to the chamber and I think it's a
good idea, since then it just kind of fell apart," he said.
Rediger said chamber members needed to have another one,
while at the same time getting city and county officials,
along with other organizations involved.
"We need to get everyone involved, make out a list of
priorities and work from there," Rediger said. "Back in
1987, when we had that retreat, it worked out great and I
think we need to have another one, get everyone involved and
pull together," he said.
Ideas for older kids to participate in such as a quarter
pipe or half pipe for skateboarders which would be installed
at Maxey Park. "In other cities this is a big recreational
activity, it would help keep older kids out of trouble
giving them something to do and who knows we might get a
champion out of Pecos," he said.
A living desert or a Cienega, such as the one located at
Balmorhea were some of Rediger's other ideas.
Getting some signs in metal art, having a rodeo T-shirt for
sale all during the year and maybe having one channel
promoting Pecos on television at all times.
"It might be impossible to do this at this time, have one
channel that's just about Pecos, but it's certainly
something to think about," said Rediger.
Rediger explained that they could have someone talking about
the rodeo, museum, restaurants and other points of interest
in Pecos on this one channel.
"We could have something for thirty minutes and then rotate
and have something else about Pecos," he said.
"A rodeo T-shirt that was on sale throughout the year would
not only promote the rodeo, but Pecos also," said Rediger.
"Pecos residents could wear these with pride wherever they
go out of town."
Rediger also told the group about a mug that is currently
sold at Rediger's Pharmacy depicting the history of Pecos.
"It was designed by my mother and sister and we want other
establishments to sell them and help promote Pecos," he
Chamber president Richard Crider told the group that the
mugs make good keepsakes and beautiful gifts.
"I have noticed a change in attitude and I think us as the
chamber should set an example for the community," said
chamber director Tom Rivera.
Mike Levine, of the Small Business Administration was
another guest during the meeting. The SBA will host a tax
workshop, from 2-5 p.m., Aug. 4 at the Swiss Clock Inn.
"This will benefit small business owners and others who
would like to learn more about taxes," said Rivera.
Levine told the group that he and Carlos Mendoza, director
of the Small Business Administration, were in town to help
everyone who had questions and needed tax assistance.
"We're just here to help," said Levine.
Rivera told the group about a motivational speaker who would
like to come to Pecos and talk about sucess strategies for
business and life.
"It costs $1,000 or $39 per person and would have to have at
least 28 attendees to bring Tom Starr and have him as a
speaker," said Rivera.
Rivera stated that Starr is very well known and a great
"I'm hoping we can get area communities involved and have
them participate so we can get more to attend," said Rivera.
Paul Hinojos suggested that the chamber contract with Starr
and let chamber members attend for free.
"Maybe for a discount and then really promote this thing,
contact other communities and get people's attention," said
"If we get the members to go we'll at least have
accomplished something," said Hinojos.
The date for the seminar was set for Thursday, Sept. 24.
Women's Division president Suan Cross told chamber members
that the Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant was a
"This is the first year we've done things a little bit
different and everything went real well," said Cross.
Cross told the group the girls were a delight to work with
and the talent was outstanding. Golden Girl for 1998 Erin
Dominguez netted a $1,000 scholarship, while runner-up
Jennifer Martinez received a $500 scholarship.
"And this year for the first time we were able to give a
Congeniality scholarship which went to April Ryan," said
Cross stated that the amount given to the advertising winner
(the one who sold the most advertising for the program) also
went up a little. "We're glad we were able to increase that
a little bit and to donate a little bit more to the museum
this year," said Cross.
Ryan was also the recipient of the advertising scholarship,
who received a total of $500 for both.
"Johnny (Terrazas), who was master of ceremonies for the
occasion did an outstanding job and we're just glad it was a
huge success," said Cross.
Night in Old Pecos was also termed a success, according to
Rivera. "We broke even, which is good, since this year we
didn't take donations from merchants," said Rivera.
Rivera thanked David Madril for his hard work in setting up
and cleaning up after the event.
Prieto adjusting to `desk job' duties
By GREG HARMAN
Victor Prieto is having trouble getting used to his newfound
Named chief deputy of the Reeves Sheriff's Office by Sheriff
Andy Gomez two weeks ago, Prieto doesn't have to wrangle
with nearly as much paperwork as he did while serving as
court bailiff under Judge Bob Parks in the 143rd District
Besides maintaining order during Wednesday and Friday
morning court proceedings, Prieto was constantly on the move
delivering paperwork pertaining to ongoing civil suits,
citations, eviction notices, and notices for failure to pay
"I've enjoyed working in the courts. It was very interesting
-- never boring," said Prieto. "I'll miss the job, too, but
I'll try to make a go of it."
Sheriff Gomez said of Prieto, "He has been with me from the
beginning and he made one heck of a good bailiff. He has
been doing good at everything he does."
Gomez added that he expected Prieto to excel in his new
In his new role as chief deputy, Prieto must monitor the
other deputies at the Sheriff's Office and respond to
complaints from the community, whether they are about other
civilians or fellow officers, he said.
The first few days in his new office, Prieto paced. "I was
surprised. I was unused to sitting at a desk. But, I am able
to spend a lot more time speaking with people and to hear
As for the desk, he thinks he may get used to it, eventually.
Board told district's TAAS scores rising
By MAC McKINNON
BALMORHEA -- District students' TAAS scores continue to
climb, Superintendent Dr. Carl Hoffmayer reported to the
Balmorhea school board Tuesday night in their regular
In tracking students, he noted the scores are going up
dramatically in the math area, thanks to work by teachers
Lee Renz and Jim Meredith.
The 10th grade class, for example, improved their scores
from the 36 percent who passed the TAAS reading test in
1993-94 to 75 percent this past year; in math scores rose
from 27 per cent to 86 per cent, while 100 percent passed
TAAS in writing. They didn't take the test for writing in
Work is still needed on the reading and writing areas, and
those two areas will be emphasized more in the coming year,
Along those lines, the board approved hiring a new reading
and writing teacher for 4th, 5th & 6th grades, Tammy Lynn
Board member Braulia Natividad noted there was a dip in the
fourth grade scores, but Hoffmayer noted that seems to be a
trend between 3rd and 4th grades, everywhere he has worked,
as well as throughout the state.
Hoffmayer also reported that 10 teachers have gone to summer
sessions to work on implementing pre-advanced placement and
advanced placement classes in Balmorhea. Under the programs,
students can graduate with up to as many as 18 college
Work in the pre-AP area will start this coming school year
in elementary grades to get students ready for AP in high
school. AP will eventually replace gifted and talented
classes as well as honor classes.
Also implemented will be a study course for ACT/SAT tests so
that students can qualify for scholarships.
Holly Kingston was appointed to calculate the effective tax
rate. The tax rate is expected to remain the same as it has
been, $1.50. Cafeteria meal prices were set to remain the
same as they have been for the past 15 years.
Hoffmayer reported that work under phase two of the of
capital improvements are now underway, and should be
completed in about two weeks, particularly in the area of
electrical work. Phase one is now about 70 per cent complete.
Painting and yard work is also being completed by summer
workers, outside work in the morning and painting inside
during the afternoon.
The elementary play area is also being reworked.
Hoffmayer noted that he has agreed to let the school grounds
be used for a carnival July 25 to help raise funds for the
proposed new city park. He will be in a dunking booth and
suggested that would help raise money.
Several board members suggested looking into donating school
owned land as a location for the new park and Hoffmayer said
he would look into it.
Carnival set as fundraiser for new park
Hoping to raise money for a Balmorhea community park, a
summer carnival fund raiser has been scheduled for Saturday,
July 25, at the Balmorhea High School grounds.
All ages are invited to attend the carnival from 3 to 8 p.m.
and compete for prizes in a bake-off, bingo and seek to dunk
Balmorhea ISD School Superintendent Carl Hoffmeyer in the
infamous dunking booth.
Other games will include tug-of-war, musical chairs, and a
cake walk. All will be fueled by plenty of goodies for sale,
including barbecue prepared by Carrasco Mercantile, snow
cones, cookies, fudge and candy.
A silent auction will also be held.
A recent car wash held in Balmorhea raised $500 for the
park. Even more is hoped to be collected at the carnival.
GTE to add Balmorhea to calling area
By GREG HARMAN
Some Balmorhea phone users will see a dramatic drop in their
phone bills next month. Others may not be as pleased.
Whatever your calling habits, when it comes to phoning to
Pecos from Balmorhea and Verhalen -- or vice-versa -- long
distance charges will soon be a thing of the past.
Starting Thursday, July 23, customers in Balmorhea and
Verhalen will trade their long distance charges for a flat
service charge of $3.50 per month. Pecos phone users will
notice a 73 cent increase for the same service.
Balmorhea took the lead in securing local calling service
between towns by petitioning GTE through the Public Utility
Commission for Expanded Local Calling -- a service passed by
the Texas Legislature in 1993 that may open as many as six
neighboring towns to a single local calling range.
All 375 prefix customers were issued a ballot after the
request and the resulting votes were in favor of the
According to GTE spokesman Charles Watkins, location is key.
All towns within 22 miles of each other are inside the
possible local calling range, he said. Those within 50 miles
that represent a major employer, government agency,
hospital, or other "community of interest" are also
"It does require an individual or organization to make a
request of towns and send them to the Public Utility
Commission (PUC)," said Watkins.
It is after a public vote by telephone customers that the
PUC advises the service provider to make the switch in
rates. Residential customers in petitioning towns are
charged $3.50 per month and commercial customers are charged
$7 per month. Members of the petitioned towns are charged an
additional 73 cents per month for the service.
The charges will be listed as "Expanded Local
Calling/Surcharge" in the tax portion of the telephone bill.
More information will provided by GTE in their monthly phone
According to GTE, the implementation of this service may
require modification to some telecommunications equipment
such as fax machines, speed calling, PABXs, key systems,
automatic dialers and other equipment that may restrict or
automatically dial long distance numbers.
Balmorhea is the second town added to Pecos' local calling
area in recent years. Toyah residents approved the change
when it was first offered in the early 1990s.
Worth over $23 billion in 1997, GTE is one of the world's
largest telecommunications companies. GTE serves seven
million customers outside of the United States, offering
local service in 28 states and national long-distance.
Crash victim still in serious condition
A San Angelo woman continues to be listed in serious
condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, following
an accident which occurred at noon last Thursday 10 miles
north of Pecos.
Patsy Thompson, of San Angelo, was driving a white Honda,
travelling northbound on U.S. 285 when she crossed the
center median and struck the left rear tandem of a trailer,
driven by Charles Fitz of Floresville, travelling southbound.
Thompson was transported to University Medical Center in
Lubbock at 5 p.m.
Department of Public Safety Troopers Richard Jacobs and
Emmitt Moore investigated the accident.
Pecos Volunteer Ambulance personnel were on the scene and
the jaws of life responded, but was not needed.
P-B-T sets special meeting
Certified tax appraisal rolls and estimated values under
protest will be discussed at a special Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD board meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday at 1304 S.
The board will receive certification of anticipated rate by
tax collector Lydia Prieto, and the calculation of effective
and rollback tax rates.
In closed session the group will discuss personnel or hear
complaints against personnel.
The board will reconvene in open session to discuss
professional personnel: assignments, resignations,
retirements and reassignments.
Also on the agenda is the district's application for a
Telecommunication Infrastructure Fund (TIF) grant and the
Gifted/Talented Program's information for the Student
During this time the board will also hold their budget
workshop and the group will revise the TASB Local Policy
Autopsy results returned on victim
An autopsy report on an unattended death indicated a Pecos
man died of strangulation, secondary to hanging.
Officers were dispatched to a home located at 1120 S. Cherry
St., early Saturday morning, May 23, in reference to an
Officers were called the scene at 4:18 a.m. Saturday
morning, and an ambulance was later called for Alvaro Abila,
who was transported to Reeves County Hospital.
Abila, 42, was pronounced dead at the hospital by Precinct 2
Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh, who ordered the autopsy be
The accompanying toxicologist report, performed by the
Lubbock medical examiner's office, indicated cocaine,
(metabolit and benzoylezgonie) were found in a urine sample.
Abila's blood alcohol was listed at 0.10 percent, with
vitreous-alcohol ethyl was listed at 0.11 percent.
PHA, FLH monthly reports to be studied
The Pecos Housing Authority and Pecos Farm Labor Housing will hold their regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m. on
Thursday, at the PHA administration office, 600 Meadowbrook
Monthly statements for both agencies will be reviewed,
including income and expense reports, accounts payable and
monthly occupancy reports.
Services are incomplete for Joe Kerley, who died this
morning at the Veterans Administration Hopsital in Big
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Tuesday 105 degrees. Low this morning was 76. Rainfall
.23 inch. Total for year .90 inch. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy. A less than 20 percent chance of
thunderstorms. Low 70 75. Light wind. Thursday, partly
cloudy. A less than 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. High
around 100. East wind 5-15 mph.
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