Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, September 10, 1998
Enterprise zone expansion plan give to council
By ROSIE FLORES
Ordinances topped the Town of Pecos City Council agenda at
this morning's regular meeting, and a public hearing on a
proposed enterprise zone was held right before the regular
The hearing was to get input or discussion from the public
regarding the enterprise zone. They also heard an update
from John M. Wotjkun, who was hired by the council and paid
by Anchor West and the City of Pecos to perform the
necessary research to draw the boundaries and draft a
proposal to secure an enterprise zone designation for Pecos.
Wotjkun explained that the areas in question includes most
of the area on either side of Interstate 20 from Country
Club Road to U.S. Highway 285, and extending from there
mostly south of I-20 to include part of Highway 17, and the
Pecos Municipal Airport. An area north of I-20 near Reeves
County Hospital that has railroad access is also included in
Overall, Wotjkun proposed a total area of 20 square miles,
or three and a half times larger than the previous
designation which is centered mainly along Interstate 20.
The ordinance states that the purpose is to create the
proper economic and social environment to induce the
investment of private resources in productive business and
enterprises located in severely distressed areas of the city
and to provide employment to residents of such area.
"We meet both criterias needed to secure this enterprise
zone," said Wotjkun.
The next step will be a second reading of the ordinance and
then adopt a resolution.
"How much was your fee for drawing up this proposal?" asked
councilman Gerald Tellez.
"It was $4,900, but Anchor West paid for half, while the
city paid for the other half," said Wotjkun.
Tellez explained that the community had previously thought
his fee was much higher, which is why he asked the question.
In other business, the council listed to and approved the
first reading of an ordinance for ordering and establishing
procedures for a special election to be held on Nov. 3. The
election will be on reallocating one-fourth of one percent
of the city's 1 1/2 percent sales and use tax to reduce
property taxes, and a sales and use tax at the rate of
one-fourth of one percent for economic development.
The sales tax will be used for the promotion and development
of new and expanded business enterprises, and supports said
it has been one of the most popular and effective tools
used by cities to promote economic development.
"We also want to explain to the public that this is NOT an
additional sales tax, we already have it, we're just going
to use it for something else," said financial director Steve
McCormick. "It's being changed not added to."
"This is something that we'll have to explain and educate
the public on," added Oscar Saenz.
Saenz thanked the council for approving the first reading of
the ordinance and stated that this would help better our
lifestyle, our community and hopefully bring in new
businesses and expand existing businesses.
"We're already looking for (business) contacts and have met
with one," said Saenz.
"We are working very hard not to alienate the people, the
community and to make it the least politically motivated
that we can," he said.
The contact in question would bring in a new business that
would hire 17 individuals and eventually expand to hire
"We're competing with Brownsville, but they are willing to
come to Pecos and visit and talk to us some more," said
Saenz also told the group that he wanted to lay some rumors
to rest concerning his place of employment, Anchor West.
"I met with our employees to assure them that the company is
not moving out and that we are not closing our doors," Saenz
said. "This is a rumor we definitely want to put to rest,
that we are moving out because we didn't receive the tax
abatement from the hospital district," he said.
Saenz stated that the company is here to stay and that more
people are needed at the facility. "We need to stop this
negative approach," he said.
An ordinance was adopted to vacate and abandon the surface
of Cannon Street in the West Airport addition.
"It isn't paved or being used, but we were advised to just
abandon the surface and keep the rights for underground,"
said city attorney Scott Johnson.
He explained that these rights would be for utility
purposes. "This ordinance has been approved by Frank
Spencer," he said.
An ordinance for the support of the Town of Pecos City for
the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 1998 and ending Sept. 30,
1999 was approved. The ordinance appropriates money to a
sinking fund to pay interest to pay interest and principal
due on the city's bonded indebtedness and adopting the
annual budget of the Town of Pecos City for the 1998-99
The final ordinance adopted was for levying taxes for the
use of the support of the municipal government of the Town
of Pecos City, providing for the interest and sinking fund
for the fiscal year 1998-99 apportioning each levy for its
Levying of taxes, doesn't mean a tax increase. "Some people
who read in the paper that we were levying the taxes thought
that meant we were raising the taxes," said councilman
"It's the same tax rate," said tax-assessor collector Lydia
Prieto. The city's current rate is .6967 cents per $100
Spaceport in short holding pattern
By CLAUDE W. PORTER
Seventeen states are holding their breath as the deadline
comes and goes for the first site-selection criterion for
the VentureStar spaceport.
The Request for Qualifications was due this past Tuesday,
and according to Gregg McKenzie of Fort Stockton,
information should be available in about 30 days as to who
will still be in the running for part of the $5 billion
Lockheed Martin, VentureStar contractor, is expected to
publish a short list of prospects in October, developed from
the "Request for Qualifications" submitted by the states.
Service to the International Space Station, which is to be
sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA), will be by the VentureStar reusable
launch vehicle (RLV) under development by Lockheed Martin.
The VentureStar RLV is being hailed as the next generation
The VentureStar RLV is still in the developmental stage. Its
design includes vertical takeoff, but it will land
horizontally as an airplane. If it operates as projected, it
should lower the cost of launching payloads into low orbit
by a 10 to 1 ratio. Currently, the cost of launching is
$10,000 per pound. The VentureStar could possibly reduce
that cost to $1,000 per pound, creating more favorable
conditions for the use of satellite technology in the future.
Officials are to consider two sites: one to be the primary
launch-and-landing site with assembly of the VentureStar to
take place nearby. The other is to be an alternate site for
launching and landing. It is this alternate site which is
sought by states across the continent from California to
Within Texas, seven counties have filed documents with the
Texas Aerospace Commission. All seek to compete for the
VentureStar spaceport and the 3,000 jobs it would directly
create, plus the spin-off industries which would inevitably
Early this year McKenzie, the County Commissioner for
Precinct 1 in Pecos County, realized the economic potential
the spaceport could offer West Texas. He presented the
information to the Pecos County Commissioners Court, and
also, to the Fort Stockton City Commission. Gaining the
support of both, McKenzie undertook the task of developing a
broad base of support from surrounding cities and counties.
Efforts to capture the spaceport for West Texas have been
endorsed by a host of counties in West Texas, including
Ector and Midland Counties. Several State officials,
including Governor George W. Bush, have written cover
letters for the proposals.
Parkhill, Smith, and Cooper, architectural firm of Midland,
was engaged to prepare the package for presentation to the
Texas Aerospace Commission. At first, a parcel of land just
south of the Pecos-Reeves County line, and east of Highway
285 was proposed. It was learned that space for a 15,000
foot runway, plus a 15,000 foot buffer zone on either side
would be required. A second Pecos County site was
substituted, and numerous revisions in the proposal were
Presently, the Pecos County site, located southeast of Fort
Stockton and south of Interstate 10, holds the No. 2 spot of
the seven Texas sites proposed. Brazoria County, along the
Texas Gulf Coast and just south of the Johnson Space Center,
holds the No. 1 spot.
Pecos County and Fort Stockton are working in conjunction
with the University of Texas to provide the necessary land
mass to accommodate the site. The University of Texas Lands,
with offices in Midland, manages thousands of acres of land
in Pecos County. Mr. Steve Hartmann, Manager of the UT lands
has made a commitment to work with the Aerospace Corporation
and the Texas Aerospace Commission in the event the Pecos
County-Fort Stockton site is ultimately selected.
The final decision on the selection will be made by Lockheed
Martin. Their decision will be based on "best value". The
number of people living under the launch trajectory cannot
be too large. Weather conditions at the site must be
favorable for year-round flights. Existing structures at the
proposed site are benefits. At this point, physical
attributes of the site are being considered rather than
The major objection to the Pecos County site is lack of
infrastructure. However, being an isolated, inland site
could work to the advantage of Pecos County. Since the
VentureStar is to be a recoverable and reusable vehicle, if
a crash should occur, it would approximate the crash of a
large, jet aircraft. Recovery would be greatly enhanced on
land as opposed to recovery from the ocean.
The spaceport is not the first joint effort of West Texas
counties at economic development. An effort was made in the
1980's by Pecos, Ward, and Reeves Counties to land the
superconducting super-collider project for the Coyanosa
area. More recently, the counties and the cities of Pecos,
Monahans and Fort Stockton joined in an unsuccessful bid for
a state prison, but one was built east of Fort Stockton,
which was the only town to send a representative to Austin.
Projecting optimism for the spaceport effort, McKenzie says,
"Tom Moser, Executive Director of the Texas Aerospace
Commission, speaks very favorable of our chances."
"Farming and ranching in West Texas is certainly on hard
times," adds McKenzie. "On top of that, the closing of the
sulphur mine in Culberson County, the closing of Texas
Instruments in Midland, plus other down-turns, makes it even
more imperative that we find employment for our great work
force which has been idled. The spaceport might be at least
a partial answer."
Gulf Coast of Texas braces for storm's arrival
By MADELINE BARO
Associated Press Writer
HARLINGEN (AP) -- Gulf Coast residents in Texas, already
soaked by as much as 10 inches of rain this week, braced for
more rain and flooding today as Tropical Storm Frances
churned slowly offshore.
Beaches and nearby roads were flooded by high tides along
most of the Texas coast, and voluntary evacuations were
suggested for some barrier island shore residents in
Brazoria County south of Houston.
The storm, with winds of 45 mph, was expected to make
landfall somewhere between the northern Mexican coast and
Corpus Christi. Its path and timetable were still uncertain,
however, as Frances remained nearly stationary and its
center poorly defined.
``You have to have some sort of steering winds aloft to move
it, and right now, there is nothing to push it along,'' said
Paul Yura, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
At 10 a.m. CDT, the center of the storm was again relocated
by reconnaissance aircraft, this time about 120 miles east
southeast of Brownsville.
Port Mansfield, on the northern edge of the Lower Rio Grande
Valley 46 miles north of Brownsville, had 10 inches of rain
between Monday and Thursday morning, although most places
had seen 4 to 6 inches in that time period.
Forecasters predicted the outer fringes of the storm would
deliver another 6 to 8 inches of rain along the western Gulf
Coast, raising the potential for flooding today.
Most of the heavy rains are north of the storm's center,
affecting the coast from Corpus Christi to the Galveston
area, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim
In Beaumont's Jefferson County, there was minor flooding
reported along Texas 87, which stretches from Chambers
County to Jefferson and to the Louisiana border. Part of
Texas 124, a north-south artery in Chambers County, was
In Brazoria, several roads and highways along coastal areas
were closed, with the heaviest flooding at Surfside Beach.
The San Luis Pass, which connects Brazoria County with
Galveston County, was closed. A tornado warning was issued,
but no funnel clouds were spotted by mid-morning. On Jamaica
Beach on west Galveston Island, tides flooded streets with
Tides in the Galveston Bay area were forecast to rise to 5
to 6 feet later today, with 4 to 6 feet expected elsewhere
along the coast. A voluntary evacuation was suggested for
residents along the shore from the San Luis Pass to Surfside
In Corpus Christi, several roads remained closed early
today, and others were expected to flood later today. At
high tide later today, water was expected to submerge most
of Corpus Christi beach and nearby U.S. 181, according to
the National Weather Service in Brownsville.
One side of the John F. Kennedy Causeway from Padre Island
to Corpus Christi was closed by flooding, with the other
lane being converted to two-way traffic, said Corpus Christi
police Capt. Richard Lewinski.
Beach waters had risen past the sand dunes on Mustang and
Padre islands, and very few surfers braved the heavy waves.
At Sabine Pass, water cut off access on Texas 87, the only
road linking the historic community with the rest of Port
Arthur. Texas 82, the road between Port Arthur and Cameron,
La., also was blocked by high water. No evacuations had been
Winds also increased along the coast. At 7 a.m., tropical
storm-level winds of 39 mph and gusts of up to 45 mph were
reported in Port Aransas. Corpus Christi Naval Air Station
reported 34 mph winds with gust up to 44 mph.
The storm has already caused trouble for Gulf fishermen, who
had been advised to head for port as the storm gathered
strength. About 40 boats took shelter in the Laguna Madre on
Three shrimp boats ran aground near outside of South Padre
Island, near Brownsville, and a small Coast Guard vessel was
overturned by a 10-foot wave as its crew tried to help one
of the stranded vessels, Coast Guard officials said.
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Cameron County was gearing
up for potential flooding. Several agencies, including the
Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Border Patrol and
Texas Parks and Wildlife were ready to provide assistance,
said Desi Najera, the county's emergency management
coordinator. Three hundred national guardsmen also were
prepared to pitch in.
Blackhawk helicopters and tanker trucks with 5,000 gallons
of potable water each were on standby, Najera said.
The agencies and helicopters also were standing by to help
the Corpus Christi area, said Jo Schweikhard Moss,
spokeswoman for DPS' Division of Emergency Management.
Frances is the third system to develop in the Gulf during
Flooding caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Charley killed
19 people in Southwest Texas and Mexico last month.
Hurricane Earl struck the Florida Panhandle last week with
80 mph winds, killing three.
Investigation says Marines improperly trained
By EDUARDO MONTES
Associated Press Writer
EL PASO (AP) -- The teen-age goatherd shot and killed by
Marines patrolling the U.S. border was the victim of an
inadequate military training program, an investigation into
the slaying has concluded.
In a harshly worded criticism, the Marine Corps report said
brief training on the appropriate use of force did not
balance combat responses drilled into Marines.
``Basic Marine Corps combat training instills an aggressive
spirit while teaching combat skills,'' wrote retired Marine
Maj. Gen. John T. Coyne, who investigated the shooting.
``More is needed to place young fully armed Marines in a
domestic environment to perform non-combat duties.''
Esequiel Hernandez Jr., 18, was killed May 20, 1997, after
coming across four Marines conducting anti-drug surveillance
in Redford, 200 miles southeast of El Paso, at the request
of the Border Patrol.
The military said Hernandez fired his .22-caliber rifle
twice at members of the patrol and that he had raised the
weapon to fire a third time when Cpl. Clemente Banuelos shot
him once with an M-16 rifle.
Relatives disputed the account, saying that Hernandez would
never knowingly shoot at anyone and that he carried the
rifle solely to protect his livestock from wild dogs and to
The shooting led to the suspension of armed military patrols
on the U.S.-Mexico border and an outcry among civil rights
advocates and those who oppose using soldiers in the
domestic war on drugs.
No criminal or military disciplinary charges were filed
against the Marines, and they were cleared by both state and
federal grand juries. The Hernandez family received a $1
million settlement from the government.
Coyne wrote that the mission ``appears to have been viewed
at every level of Marine Corps command as more of a training
opportunity than a real world deployment.''
The Marine Corps rebutted the report in a written response
that argued Coyne arbitrarily concluded the training was
It noted that several investigations, including those
conducted by state and federal grand juries, concluded the
Marines appropriately followed established rules of
engagement and civil rules regarding the use of force.
Critics of military involvement in drug prevention along the
border said Wednesday that the investigation's conclusions
bolster their case.
Kevin Zeese, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy, a
nonprofit educational group based in Falls Church, Va., said
he hopes the report will help persuade officials to halt the
``The whole sense of the report was that the military should
not be involved in domestic law enforcement,'' Zeese said.
``They are not prepared for it. They're not trained for it.
They're inappropriate for it.''
Lt. Col. Mike Milord, a Defense Department spokesman, said
the future of the patrols is still being decided and
declined further comment.
Richard E. Glenn, 74, of Old River, died Wednesday, Sept. 2,
1998, at the San Jacinto Hospice Center in Baytown after an
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 4, at
the Old River Baptist Church with the Rev. Danny Biddy
Graveside services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6, at
Evergreen Cemetery in Pecos with Banky Stocks and A.B.
Glenn was born in Van Horn, was a former resident of Pecos
and has resided in the Old River area for the past 11½
years. He was retired from the maintenance department of the
Texas State Highway Department, he served in the United
States Army during World War II, with the 399th engineer
depot company and was a member of the Old River Baptist
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Eva
Driggers, one son, Clifton Glenn and one grandson, Wendell
Survivors include his wife, Jessie Glenn of Old River; two
daughters, Patricia Broyles and Lora Posey both of Old
River; two sons, James Glenn of Corpus Christi and Bill
Glenn of Waco; 10 grandchildren and seven
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be
sent to the Old River Baptist Church Building Fund at Route
2, Box 114, Dayton, Tx. 77535.
High Wednesday 96. Low this morning 71. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Northeast wind
5-10 mph. Friday, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of
showers or thunderstorms. High in the upper 80s. Northeast
wind 10-15 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