Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 1, 1998
August floods still affecting Del Rio water
DEL RIO (AP) -- Springs that have provided fresh water for
more than 100 years are still too muddy to drink a month
after a devastating flood.
Nine people were killed when flooding, fueled by rain from
remnants of Tropical Storm Charley, hit the border city on
Aug. 23-24. Six people remain missing.
Del Rio, which does not have a water treatment plant, gets
its drinking water from underground springs that flow into
San Felipe Creek.
When rain water gets underground and contaminates the
springs, as it did during the tropical storm, the city has
to wait for the water to clear up. The muddiness, or
turbidity, in the water must fall to state-mandated levels
before residents are given the green light to drink.
As of Wednesday, samples taken from Del Rio springs still
showed turbidity levels just above the state standard, the
Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission said.
``It's never lasted this long,'' said Del Rio City Manager
Beth Eby. ``It's never been more than a couple of days. We
presume we're going to have to wait for nature to flush
As a result, some National Guard troops have remained on
duty in the border town, handing out bottled water to
residents and trucking in tankers of water for hospitals and
schools, Ms. Eby said.
Other residents are boiling water.
Del Rio, which for generations has prided itself on its
clean spring water, is under a mandate from the TNRCC to
build a water treatment plant by next May.
The city has secured $10 million in grants and will be
taking out another $20 million in loans to fund the project,
Ms. Eby said. The deadline was imposed before the flood hit
and the city is trying to get an extension. The plant is
expected to be operating within 18 months.
The new water treatment plant will use a filtration system
that will allow clean water through and keep dirt out, Ms.
``It's a real simple process and there's no chemicals in it
at all,'' she said.
The water filtered through the plant will have chlorine
added to it, something already done to the current water
supply. The material removed from the water would be safe
enough to return to the San Felipe Creek, Ms. Eby said.
``It's clean, it's safe and better for environment,'' she
City was both cooler, drier last month
Temperatures were slightly cooler in September than they had
been in August in Pecos, but the city also saw it's rainfall
totals drop from the previous month.
Pecos received .68 inch of rain in September, after getting
2.4 inches during August. While this past month's total was
down by over two-thirds, it still ranked September as the
second-wettest month of drought-plagued 1998. The city
received just 1.08 inches of rain over the first seven
months of the year.
All of the rain last month fell on just three days -- Sept.
15, 22 and 23, with the rains on the last two days dropping
Pecos' highs from 100 on Sept. 22 to just 79 degrees on
Overall, high temperatures remained in the mid-90s for most
of the month. The high was 102 on Sept. 21, and a 101 on
Sept. 15 was the only other day of the month in triple
digits. The month's lows were one Sept. 11 and 12, when the
temperature dipped to 61 degrees.
According to the National Weather Service, October could get
off to a wetter start in the Trans-Pecos. Forecasts for
tonight call for mostly cloudy skies with a chance of
thunderstorms. However, rains are just considered a slight
threat for this weekend's Reeves County Fall Fair and
Concert and for the Pecos Army Air Field Reunion, with
partly cloudy skies predicted for Friday, Saturday and
Bunton swears in Hinojos as probation officer
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Oswaldo Hinojos took the oath of office this morning as a
probation officer for the Pecos Division of federal court.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton administered the oath.
Ruby Lehrman, chief probation officer from San Antonio,
welcomed Hinojos as the third probation officer for Pecos
and said that a fourth is "waiting in the wings" to be sworn
Judge Bunton said that when he came to the court about 20
years ago, not one probation officer was stationed in Pecos,
and the Midland staff handled the work load.
But with the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, it "just about
tripled everybody's responsibility, and it tripled the
length of the reports."
"Now we have a facility you can work in. We are not renting
space down the block and across the street. Now you will
know when we have court, you are right downstairs, Johnny
on-the-spot," he said.
Presenting Hinojos with a cap adorned with the wings of
Mercury, Judge Bunton told Hinojos that he would have to
speedily travel over a very large area. A Crocodile Dundee
hat "is to remind you that a lot of your work is going to be
trying to get stuff from `down under.' Not Australia; not
from the bottom of the Pacific ocean; but south of the Rio
Grande," he said. "You won't have a whole lot of success."
Hinojos was a 1991 Pecos High School graduate and comes to
the federal court with five years experience in working with
both adult and juvenile offenders, sex offenders, substance
abuse offenders, and has prepared pre-sentence
investigations for his court.
He was most recently employed at the Reeves County Community
Supervision and Corrections Department in Pecos. He had done
similar work in Winkler County and also worked with the
Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center in Pecos.
Graduating from Sul Ross State University in Alpine with a
bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, Hinojos is
bilingual and computer literate.
Masons donate building to hospital
By ROSIE FLORES
Reeves County Hospital received a pleasant gift recently in
the form of a downtown building which will be used for
The members of the Pecos Valley Masonic Lodge #736 recently
voted to donate their Masonic Lodge Building, located 624 S.
Oak St., to the Reeves County Hospital Foundation.
"This action was taken because the membership of the local
Masonic Lodge had gotten to such a small number that the
group did not need a building of that size and could not
maintain it properly," said Masonic Lodge member David
The Masons were faced with a decision to sell the building
for whatever price they could, disband, or affiliate with
another Lodge (transferring all assets), such as Monahans,
or finding some way to keep a Masonic Lodge in Pecos, and
continue their philanthropy in their community, according to
Local Masons then became aware that the Reeves County
Hospital needed a large building for storage and possibly
some community programs.
Some of the lodge members met with Charles Butts,
Administrator of Reeves County Hospital, and an agreement
was formed that if the Masonic Lodge would give the building
to the hospital, the hospital would allow the Masons to use
a portion of it to continue to hold their monthly meetings.
This arrangement allows a Masonic Lodge to remain in Pecos,
while at the same time the Masons are giving something back
to the community through the hospital, according to Lovett.
"This met with the approval of the Grand Lodge of Texas and
will be used as an example for other lodges in the state of
Texas that are faced with similar problems," said Lovett.
"To start out with, the building will be used for storage
and later may be used for something else," said Butts. "We
would have had to purchase a building for storage, so this
comes as a great surprise," he said.
"This is a really nice gift and the timing was just great,"
Files and other items that occupy too much space will
initially be stored at the facility, according to Butts.
Several items from the Lodge were also donated to local
churches and the Pecos Senior Citizens Center.
Lubbock checks for `Year 2000' bugs
By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer
LUBBOCK -- A cold front was icing streets and causing power
outages. A riot at a prison outside town was using up
valuable police resources. To make matters worse, the 911
emergency system was broken.
The nightmare scene didn't really happen, but Lubbock
officials imagined it did Wednesday as part of a test of how
the city could react if, as many fear, computers driving
vital public systems fail to recognize the year 2000.
The west Texas city of more than 180,000 people didn't test
any equipment but rather conducted a drill to see how city
personnel responded to mock crises. It was called the first
such citywide simulation of the problem in the nation.
City manager Bob Cass, scheduled to testify about the
experience Friday before a U.S. Senate committee, said the
clear lesson was that cities risk being blindsided if they
don't work on contingency plans for the worst-case ``Y2K''
``This is the one disaster that we know exactly when it
could occur, but it's also the one disaster that we have no
idea how bad it will be,'' Cass said. ``One thing that
sticks out in my mind is that there is the potential for so
many things to go wrong all at once.''
Some computer scientists fear the Y2K bug could cause water
systems to shut down, traffic lights to go haywire or
life-support systems to fail. When a Chrysler plant ran a
Y2K test on a computer system, it was discovered that
security doors were stuck closed.
The Lubbock experiment coupled such effects with mock
emergencies that would make for an extra-busy night at the
``Our simulation took into account things like slick roads
and traffic accidents that would be standard fare for New
Year's Eve,'' Cass said.
The test was essentially a role-playing game.
Exactly what or when the ``disasters'' would occur was kept
secret until the drills started Wednesday evening. The only
thing announced was a four-hour window, starting at 5 p.m.,
when anything could happen.
Test conductors sent e-mail messages to city officials
notifying them of mock natural disasters or failed systems.
Emergency officials, including police, fire and utility
workers, then had to react. A system was set up to judge
At emergency management headquarters, officials frantically
practiced deploying police officers to deal with problems
and posted red flags on a giant city map to highlight
The illusion was made complete with reporters summoned for
``news conferences'' and mock reports from a National
Weather Service official.
As the drill began, officials were told the city's 911
emergency system had failed. Officials quickly switched over
to a county system and broadcast two new police and fire
department emergency numbers on television.
Cass said city workers improvised well when unexpected
``We pulled together and acted like a team,'' he said. ``A
lot of these agencies aren't used to dealing with each other
like they had to tonight.''
Mayor Windy Sitton said the test revealed that Lubbock needs
to study how to better respond to natural gas shortages.
When fake gas outages left hundreds of homes without heat,
officials had to devise a plan to set up shelters in the
parts of town that still had power.
Sibyle Woodard, 78, died Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1998 at Reeves
Services are scheduled for 11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 2, at Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Les Woodard officiating.
Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.
She was born Aug. 29, 1920 in Goldboro, was a housewife, had
lived in Pecos for 61 years and was a member of North Temple
Baptist Church. She had a lifelong involvement in country
music and the Pecos Jamboree.
Woodard was preceded in death by her husband Lewis Woodard
in March of 1995.
Survivors include one son, Lessie "Woody" Woodard of Pecos;
two daughters, Merna Joy Woodard of Waco and Pat Raines of
Cleveland, Okla.; eight grandchildren and 18
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Wednesday 97. Low this morning 67. Forecast for
tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of
thunderstorms. low in the lower to mid 60s. Southeast wind
10 20 mph. Friday, partly cloudy. High near 90. South to
southwest wind 10-20 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