Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, October 13, 1998
Commissioners support task force plan
By MAC McKINNON
A new drug task force to cover nine-counties in the Permian
Basin-Trans Pecos region and headquartered in Pecos received
the support of Reeves County commissioners during their
regular meeting Monday.
After discussions with Sheriff Andy Gomez and Pecos Police
Chief Clay McKinney, commissioners approved a resolution
supporting application to create the task force.
Gomez said that nine counties and four municipalities would
be involved in the undertaking. It would be financed by a
state grant until May 1999, at which time the local entities
would finance 25 per cent of the endeavor.
That money would come from housing federal prisoners in beds
dedicated to that purpose in the nine counties.
Following yesterday' meeting in Pecos, Gomez went to
Presidio County to meet with commissioners there to get
their official approval. Gomez reported Tuesday morning that
Presidio County commissioners tabled the matter to determine
if they could commit beds in their jail to the effort.
The Pecos-based task force would replace the Permian Basin
Drug Task Force that was headquartered in Odessa, but which
was not funded by the state for the current fiscal year.
Several other area counties have gone with a task force
organized by the Department of Public Safety, although the
two task forces will cooperate.
The local task force will have Gomez as project director,
with a board of directors made up of sheriffs and police
chiefs of participating agencies. A task force commander
will be hired. This will create a few new jobs in the region
covered, Gomez noted. There will be 15 officers on the force
in the nine counties.
Counties involved include Reeves, Ward, Loving, Winkler,
Jeff Davis, Presidio, Culberson, Midland and Andrews.
In a summary about the task force it was noted that it's
goal is to fill the gap in curtailing the flow of drugs on
the interstate highways traveling through the areas served
by the task force and to provide undercover operations to
the local agencies participating in the new group.
It was also noted that the task force will actively pursue
forfeiture of the drug dealers' assets, but primarily as a
tool to reduce the drug dealers' assets.
The task force will emphasize credibility of it's officers
and courtesy to the citizens with the operations to be
supervised by a commander who is under the scrutiny of a
board made up of selected persons from the participating
agencies and counties.
Commissioners praised Gomez and McKinney along with District
Attorney Randy Reynolds for their efforts in getting the
task force off the ground.
During the start-up phase, the state will provide $819,000
in funds until the end of May, at which time the
cost-sharing will go into effect. At that time, the
participating counties and cities will contribute 25 per
cent of the total cost, about $375,000.
The total grant would amount to about $1.5 million.
County Judge Jimmy Galindo noted that it would take
commitment of 29 beds in the county jails to raise that much
money each year with the housing of federal prisoners. Gomez
noted that he has most of the beds pledged to the effort by
his and area jails.
RCDC to let public view new addition
By MAC McKINNON
An open house to show off the latest expansion of the Reeves
County Detention Center will be held Wednesday from 9 a.m.
to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the center southwest of
Warden Rudy Franco has invited the public to attend so
everyone can see what is going on at RCDC. An open house
last year was very well attended, he said.
The recent expansion has increased the capacity to 1,000
inmates. The RCDC now employs about 220 persons.
The expansion included three dayrooms to increase usage of
dorm space. Other new facilities are now being added to
In addition, Franco told Reeves County commissioners during
their regular meeting Monday that official dedication
ceremonies for the dayrooms will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday,
with officials from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on hand for
Other business before the court Monday was routine, with
Commissioner Herman Tarin noting he had met with Balmorhea
residents last week about the need for more water at the
The cemetery will now get water twice a week and then once a
week after Nov. 1. Tarin noted that a water well needs to be
drilled and committed $2,400 from his out of county travel
money for the project which is expected to cost about $4,800.
Commissioner Felipe Arredondo also pledged $750 from his out
of county travel money for the project, which is expected to
be completed before the end of the year.
Commissioners also approved in-kind service for
meals-on-wheels program with representative Mary Jane
Ontiveros asking that the county consider letting the
program move to the kitchen at the extension service at the
old hospital building. That will have to be checked out to
see if it doesn't conflict with the extension service,
County Judge Jimmy Galindo noted.
A contract with new RCDC Transportation Director Michael A.
Lecuyer was noted. He will start work Nov. 1. His employment
was approved several months ago.
Contracts with the state for the Balmorhea and Pecos Senior
Centers was approved, as were contracts for interlocal
agreement between the county and the Toyah-Limpia Soil &
Water Conservation District which calls for the county to
give $1,000 to help the district keep its doors open.
The county also gave $1,500 to the Upper Pecos Soil & Water
Conservation District under the same arrangement.
For the upcoming election, commissioners approved at County
Clerk Dianne O. Florez' recommendation naming of election
judges for two boxes. They are Marianne Clark as judge, Flo
Ybarra as alternate for Box 8 and Josie Breese as judge and
Yvonne Martin as alternate for Box 10.
Commissioners also approved declaration of items in the tax
office as salvage/surplus.
Revival held for detention center
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Music coming from the Reeves County Detention Center
Saturday upset some neighbors, who thought the inmates were
enjoying a concert.
Not so, said Warden Rudy Franco. The music was provided by a
Midland group, Ecclesiasticus 12:1, as part of a one-day
revival sponsored by two men who minister weekly at the
Rey Carreon, a deacon at West Park Baptist Church, and
Albino Arenivas, who preaches in Fort Stockton on Sunday,
set up the services after obtaining permission from Franco.
"The spiritual community offered it, and we accepted the
offer," Franco said. "The inmates enjoyed it. I think the
spiritual community does provide a service that's sorely
needed by the inmates."
Carreon said that and Basilio Montes, pastor of the
Hispanic Baptist Church in McCamey, preached in the morning
service, and Sergio Alvarado, former pastor of Primera
Iglesia Bautista, preached in the afternoon.
The singing group consists of two brothers, two of their
sons, and another young man, all from Midland.
"I was just the person to be responsible if anything went
wrong," Carreon said.
And nothing did go wrong. "We started on time, and we
finished on time and disrupted the routine as little as
possible," he said.
After each sermon, the preacher gave inmates an opportunity
to accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and about 45 to 50
responded, Carreon said. Baptismal services are tentatively
planned for next week.
Carreon said that Arenivas obtained a tent for the services,
and it was set up Friday afternoon, with the help of prison
Inmates also helped take the tent down, and all was cleared
away by 5 p.m. Saturday. Nancy McAnally hosted a light snack
for the preachers and singers in the fellowship hall of West
Park Baptist Church before they returned home.
Prison officials provided the noon meal in the prison
cafeteria, Carreon said.
"The prison staff, from Franco on down, were excellent," he
said. "I was very pleased."
"They seemed to be very pleased, so I told David Flores
(coordinator for the prison) that we could do it again next
year. We are looking forward to it again," Carreon said.
"We will let them come back, because we feel a religious
program is certainly part of the inmates' life, and I wish
we could provide more religious services for them," Franco
Several groups minister at the prison during the week, but
this is the first request for an all-day service in the two
years Franco has been warden.
"To get permission, they make a request to us; submit a list
of people to be involved, and we run the list (through a
computer databank) like we do any volunteer or contract
worker to make sure they don't have a criminal record," he
"If they have no record, and it is a legitimate religious
organization, we will let them in. Each request is dealt
with individually. We have to take into account our head
counts," he said.
Since Saturday's services were during the day, no head
counts were scheduled, so there was no interference, he
said. Extra security was needed where the tent was set up in
the recreation yard, as is customary with special events.
"They gave us tremendous help," said Carreon. "Anything we
needed, it was there for us anytime we asked for it. We had
Tour planned of salt spring, salt cedar sites
By JON FULBRIGHT
There was little new information for Red Bluff Water Power
Control Board members on Monday about either of the two
projects the board is seeking to implement to improve water
flow and quality along the Pecos River.
But board members decided, during their regular monthly
meeting, to take a trip in early November to look at two
sites in New Mexico.
The board plans to visit one site on Nov. 5 just north of
the state line, where the district hopes to pump salt spring
water away from the river. The second site is located near
Artesia, where a salt cedar eradication project is already
Red Bluff is hoping to use the herbicide Arsenal on salt
cedars along the Pecos River in Texas, in order to increase
the water flow. But general manager Jim Ed Miller doubted
there would be any quick approval for Arsenal's use in Texas.
"It doesn't look like the (wetlands) label is going to be
approved by the Texas Department of Agriculture by this
year," Miller said, adding that even when it is approved,
"getting permits from landowners in going to be hard."
New Mexico State University is in charge of the test project
near Artesia, and Miller and Pecos River Compact
Commissioner Brad Newton went to visit a similar site last
month along the Rio Grande near San Antonio, N.M.
Miller said that Valley Motor Co. had agreed to loan the
district two vans for the Nov. 5 trip to New Mexico. He
added that students from the Pecos High School environmental
sciences class were hoping to make the trip with board
Carlsbad Water District general manager Tom Davis also was
to meet with the board during their trip. Carlsbad has given
Red Bluff the right to pump salt spring water near Malaga
Bend out of the river and into three man-made lakes, where
Loving Salt Co. plans to mine the salt after the water
However, Miller said like the salt cedar project, the
pumping plans are being held up pending final approval.
"We've settled with Carlsbad city, but not yet with the
Interstate Stream Commission," Miller said. He told the
board an official with the commission wants to have "a
conference" with the district about the plan, but said other
proposal are in front of Red Bluff's and no date for the
conference could be set.
"Somebody in the bureaucracy doesn't want to do it," said
board member Dick Slack, though Miller pointed out under the
deal Carlsbad would get addition fresh water normally
allocated to Texas under the Pecos River compact.
"I'm open to suggestions. I've done all I can do," Miller
said of the delays.
In other action, the district supported keeping Graham, Card
and Co. to handle Red Bluff's 1998 audit, at a cost of
$2,600. District secretary Robin Felts said the price is the
same as it has been for the past five years. Board member
Lloyd Goodrich said no formal motion was necessary to retain
Cash disbursements and accounts payable were approved, and
the district's water report showed Red Bluff Lake's level
had dropped only slightly in September, from 49,801
acre/feet to 48,751.
The lake is about half the level it was before water
releases began in March, and Miller said water for
irrigation was released in September to the Barstow and
Grandfalls areas, along with Reeves County Water Improvement
Flood's death toll put at nine in final report
DEL RIO (AP) -- The Department of Public Safety said Monday
it believes that the final death toll from flooding in Del
Rio will remain at nine people and that the six people that
have been listed as missing were erroneously reported.
The flood on Aug. 23-24, fueled by rain from remnants of
Tropical Storm Charley, was triggered when the Del Rio area
received 22 inches of rain, which swept through some areas
of the community.
At one point 201 people were reported missing, although it
has remained at six people for a couple of weeks.
``We worked very hard to narrow that list down, and we now
think there were only nine victims,'' said Highway Patrol
Sgt. David Morgan.
Officials believe that the six people listed as missing may
have been mistakenly reported.
``In some cases, we had only partial names,'' said Highway
Patrol Sgt. David Morgan. ``We worked very hard to narrow
that list down, and we now think there were only nine
Morgan said officials have exhausted all possibilities to
identify the six names and that they now conclude the people
were not in Del Rio at the time of the flood or simply do
``Despite all the publicity the flood got, and the
publication of the names, we have had no inquiries from
anyone about any of those six names,'' he said. ``We were
fortunate we lost only nine lives. It could have been much
worse and for a while, we thought it was.''
TPW to begin restocking Lake
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department plans to begin
restocking Balmorhea Lake Wednesday morning, six weeks after
all the lake's fish were killed off in order to protect
nearby endangered species.
TPW spokesman Tom Harvey said from 11 a.m. to noon on
Wednesday the department will conduct the first stocking of
more than 3,000 channel catfish and blue catfish -- ranging
from one to 15 pounds -- into the lake, located one mile
south of Balmorhea. Harvey said Wednesday's restocking would
be followed by the addition of 29,000 10-inch channel
catfish in a few weeks, with future stockings planned over
the next three years.
Along with the catfish, Harvey said native Texas largemouth
bass, triplod Florida largemouth bass, bluegill, white
crappie and gizzard shad will eventually be added to the
The lake was drained an chemicals used to kill off all the
fish in late August, in order to eliminate the sheepshead
minnow from the area. The minnow, a non-native fish to West
Texas, was imported into the area and has threatened to
overwhelm the endangered Comanche Springs pupfish, driving
it and other rare fish to the brink of extinction.
Along with the Comanche Springs pupfish, the San Solomon
Springs and Leon Springs pupfish already are on the
endangered list, while the Pecos River pupfish could be
placed on the list, due to the threat of hybridization from
the sheepshead minnow.
The sheepshead minnow was introduced into the lake 30 years
ago, and spread throughout the area when it was taken to
other sites for use as bait fish. The removal of the fish is
also designed to assure the continued water supply for
farmers and ranchers in southern Reeves County.
"Our project to renovate Lake Balmorhea is specifically
designed to remove a source of endangers species problems in
West Texas, but it should also greatly improve sport fishing
and bird watching, giving the local tourism economy a boost
in the process," said Dr. Larry McKinney, TPW aquatic
While the lake was drained, county and private crews helped
to construct three islands that would be created when the
lake was refilled, and would be used as bird sanctuaries.
Other maintenance work has been done around the lake during
the six weeks that it has been without fish.
"Frankly, we're a little concerned about the public
perception of us killing fish to save fish," McKinney said.
"But the facts are that all state and federal authorities
agree it was the best way to go, and Lake Balmorhea will be
a better place for fish and wildlife when the renovation is
Dr. Gary Garrett, TPW fisheries biologist in charge of the
project, said the application of rotenone on Aug. 24 killed
about eight million fish, with sheepshead minnows making up
68 percent of that total. Garrett said rotenone kills
gill-breathing creatures without harming mammals, so the
lake was still safe for humans, wildlife and livestock.
T.R. Chenoweth, 99, of Parkersburg, W.V., died Thursday,
Oct. 8, 1998, at the St. Joseph Hospital.
Funeral services were held Monday, Oct. 12, at the
Ogdin-Kimes Funeral Home in Parkersburg. Burial was in the
Mount Olivet Cemetery.
He was born at Nicut, W.V., attended West Virginia Wesleyan
College, during the early 1930's he was construction
superintendent for Route 16 in Clay County; in the late
1930's he owned and operated an oil and gas trucking
company; in the early 1940's was co-owner of Litman Motor
Freight; later in the 1940's he was the owner of Chenoweth
Wheeler Real Estate Agency; from 1950-1975 he was a cotton
farmer in Pecos and upon retirement in 1976 he and his wife
returned to Parkersburg.
He was preceded in death by one daughter, Mary Etta
Chenoweth Jones; four brothers, Robert, Carl, David W. and
Denver O. Chenoweth and two infant brothers.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Parsons Chenoweth of
Parkersburg, W.V.; one son, Robert Chenoweth of Mendham,
N.J.; one brother, J. Wesley Chenoweth of Parkersburg; one
sister, Etta C. Wheeler of Parkersburg; six grandchildren
and six great-grandchildren.
The family requests memorials be made to North Parkersburg
Baptist Church Christian School in care of the church, at
31st Street and Emerson Avenue.
Ouida Holub, 73, of Gordon, formerly of Pecos, died Friday,
Oct. 9, 1998 in Stephenville.
Funeral services were held this morning in the First Baptist
Church in Gordon with Rev. Andy Anderson, officiating and
assisted by Rev. Randy Smith. Burial was in the New Gordon
Holub was born July 19, 1925 in Gordon, worked in her
fathers grocery store before marrying Johnnie Holub in
Strawn in 1949. They moved to Pecos where she worked in the
First National Bank as a bookkeeper and was a member of the
Pecos Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. She moved back to
Gordon in 1992 where she was active in the Gordon Fire
Department Auxiliary and a member of the First Baptist
She was preceded in death by her husband Johnnie Holub in
Survivors include four sons, Kenneth Holub of Gordon, Keith
and Kevin Holub of Austin, Kir Holub of Boulder, Colo.; two
brothers, Stephen Rogers of Gordon, Raymond Rogers of
Dallas; one sister, Wanda Stallings of Gordon and one
Edwards Funeral Home of Strawn was in charge of arrangements.
High Monday 86. Overnight low 53. Tonight, fair evening,
becoming mostly cloudy late. Low in the upper 50s. South
wind 5 15 mph. Wednesday, morning low clouds, then partly
cloudy. High in the upper 80s. South to southwest wind 10-20
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