Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 22, 1998
Sierra Blanca N-dump hearing underway
By RENAE MERLE
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN -- The state's environmental agency today began a
hearing to decide where to bury radioactive trash, an issue
that has hung over the heads of West Texans for more than a
The three-member Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission convened to consider granting a license for the
proposed low-level dump seven miles southeast of Sierra
Blanca in south-central Hudspeth County.
The hearing room was filled with spectators as TNRCC
Chairman Barry McBee said the panel would hear oral
arguments this morning and probably reach a decision in the
A ``yes'' vote would set in motion plans to begin
construction. A ``no'' could potentially kill the project,
which has been in the works in some form since 1983.
Sierra Blanca resident Bill Addington, who has fought the
dump for years, said, ``It's frustrating to have someone 500
miles away make a decision that will affect your entire
``I wish I could be able to predict what they're going to
do,'' said Eddie Selig, spokesman for Advocates for
Responsible Disposal in Texas, a group lobbying for the
The vote could actually go one of three ways.
The TNRCC commissioners, appointed by Gov. George W. Bush,
can side with two administrative law judges who reviewed
scientific studies of the site and recommended against the
dump. They also can issue the license or return the issue
for more study to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste
If the license is denied, the disposal authority could
request a rehearing from the TNRCC and, failing that, could
appeal to a state district court provided the Legislature
agreed that was an appropriate course, said authority
general counsel Lee Mathews.
Approval likely would spur a barrage of legal challenges
from opponents, some of whom have already sued in federal
court to stop the project.
Both sides have vowed to continue the struggle, which has
raged since the state first began looking for a dump site 15
The dispute spilled into the streets of Austin as anti-dump
activists marched on the governor's mansion and a group of
Mexican congressmen continued a hunger strike.
Mexico has protested the dump, which would be less than 20
miles from the Rio Grande.
The facility is intended to hold tons of radioactive waste
from across the state, 90 percent of which would come from
Texas utilities. Congress has approved a compact allowing
Maine and Vermont to use the dump as well.
Supporters say the proposed site is safe.
Opponents contend the Sierra Blanca site poses a hazard
because it sits in the most seismically active region of the
state and above a key source of groundwater for West Texas
Texas Waste Dump History
By The Associated Press
A chronology of Texas' efforts to build a low-level
radioactive waste dump:
June 1981 -- Texas Legislature creates the Texas Low-Level
Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority (TLLRWDA) to develop
and operate a waste facility.
February 1983 -- Texas begins searching for a dump site.
February 1987 -- After studying several locations, the
disposal authority prepares to designate a site at Fort
Hancock, 60 miles east of El Paso, but a suit filed by
adjacent El Paso County temporarily stalls the agency's
January 1991 -- An El Paso court prohibits further work at
May 1991 -- The Legislature passes a bill defining a
400-square-mile area in Hudspeth County in which the dump
should be located.
February 1992 -- TLLRWDA selects a new site near Sierra
Blanca, 90 miles east of El Paso.
March 1993 -- Bill introduced in Legislature authorizing
negotiation of a compact allowing Maine and Vermont to use
future Texas dump.
June 1993 -- Maine adopts compact pending approval of U.S.
December 1993 -- TLLRWDA submits final application for dump
license with Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
April 1994 -- Vermont adopts compact pending approval of
April 1996 -- Texas conservation commission issues
preliminary dump license for public review and comment.
August 1996 -- Public hearings begin on license application.
Jan. 21, 1998 -- Evidentiary hearings on proposed dump begin
before administrative law judges Kerry Sullivan and Mike
July 7 -- Sullivan and Rogan recommend against issuing a
Sept. 20 -- President Clinton signs tri-state waste compact
Oct. 22 -- TNRCC commissioners to consider final vote on
Early voters showing up despite showers
By ROSIE FLORES
Reeves County voters have been going to the courthouse to
cast their votes early for the Nov. 3 elections, despite
this week's rainy conditions,
"Today we've just had 20 come in to vote early," said early
voting clerk Nora Briceno.
She said the early voting totals are at 317 since voting
began four days ago. The early voting period at the
courthouse runs through Oct. 30, and applications for
ballots by mail will be accepted until 5 p.m., Oct. 27.
"If you have not received a ballot by mail and have already
sent in your application call our office," said county clerk
Early voting will also be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.,
Saturday, at the Reeves County Courthouse lobby area. "This
is to accommodate the individuals that work during the week
and are too busy to come in," said Florez.
The only local race is in Precinct 2, where Democratic
nominee David Castillo is being challenged by write-in
candidate Marlow Summitt. Both are seeking to replace
two-term commissioner Dr. W.J. Bang, who did not run for
re-election. Castillo was unopposed in the March primary
However, all voters in Reeves County can cast ballots to
decide the future of Reeves County's eight-year-old unit
road system. A `no' vote would eliminate the current system
and return the one used before 1990, when each of the four
commissioners would run their own road department.
Voters in Pecos will cast their ballots for the 4A sales tax
proposal, which would take one-quarter cent of the city's
current 1 1/2 cent sales tax for use in economic development.
Both items have been the topic of discussion for some time
and the 4A tax plan has been debated in several recent Town
For more information call the Reeves County Clerk's office
Livestock ruling faces third appeal
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Now it's unanimous. All nine defendants and the plaintiff
have filed motions for a new trial in the Reeves County vs.
Pecos River Livestock Inc. suit on debt.
Through their attorney, Michael T. Morgan, defendants John
F. Teague, Trevor Teague, Rosemary Wilke, Mark Wilke, David
Kidd, Wiley B. Kidd and Roger Simmons seek a new trial,
citing five areas of the judgment by visiting judge Paul
1. The guaranty was modified without the consent of anyone
other than Rosemary Wilke. "The court acknowledged in the
judgment that the guaranty was modified, but failed to
proceed with the only appropriate remedy - dismissal of the
2. Reeves County was not authorized to make the loan and was
not authorized to employ independent counsel.
3. No evidence was given to support attorney fees except
"ridiculous testimony for contingency fee award." John
Stickels, who was hired to represent Reeves County,
testified he was paid on an hourly basis.
4. Judge McCollum should have given full credit for $19,650
guaranteed by Randy Reynolds, who is not a party to the suit.
5. The court should sustain the cross action of these
parties, other than John and Trevor Teague, because evidence
"demonstrated insider transactions by Elvia Reynolds and
Danny Reynolds, and there was no showing by them of fairness
or propriety of transactions which were questioned by these
Other defendants cited the same objections as in 1, 2 and 4
above. Reeves County seeks a new trial because Judge
McCollum did not find each defendant liable for the full
Reeves County filed the suit after the corporation failed to
make any payment on the principal loan of $131,000, which
was to start a goat dairy that never got to the point of
selling milk and/or cheese.
Elvia Reynolds was first to file a motion for a new trial,
saying last week that in addition to the objections 1, 2 and
4 he was not unjustly enriched as determined by the court.
Dr. Reynolds sold Pecos River Livestock Inc. an 80-acre
tract of land south of Pecos, where they built a goat barn
and milking barn before defaulting on the loan. Judge
McCollum found that the corporation did not overpay Dr.
Reynolds for the real property.
Groups prepare for Thanksgiving dinners
By ROSIE FLORES
Plans are already underway for the annual free Thanksgiving
dinner, sponsored by the Pecos Christian Home.
"We're trying to get prepared and need food item donations,"
said director of the home Bruce Dury. "It's just six weeks
until Thanksgiving and we need to start gathering items."
This year's Thanksgiving Dinner is scheduled from 10 a.m.
until 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 26 at the Reeves County Civic
"We'll also have a Christmas dinner," said Dury. The
Christian Home sponsors the dinners annually on both
The dinners are for everyone, including those who are
homeless, out of work and the elderly. Volunteers also are
needed to deliver dinners to the elderly who cannot leave
"We're expecting a big crowd," said Dury.
In conjunction another group will be having a door-to-door
food drive, on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The Santa Rosa Food Bank is sponsoring the food drive, with
the youth group from the church helping out by going
"This food drive is to gather items for our Thanksgiving and
Christmas baskets," said Mary Apolinar.
The baskets will then be distributed to the needy, jobless
and the elderly during the holidays.
Woman sentenced in pot smuggling case
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Alma Rosa Perez, 32, of 707 S. Palm St., was sentenced to 84
months in federal prison this week for her role in a
marijuana smuggling operation.
Perez and Gilbert Gonzales Juarez, 29, of Barstow, were
arrested May 4 with 509.80 pounds of marijuana in their
A federal court jury acquitted Juarez after Perez pleaded
guilty and testified in his trial.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton sentenced Perez, along with
Odessa attorney Tony Chavez and his investigator, Moises
"Boy" Hernandez. They received 30 months and 21 months each,
respectively, for "accessory after the fact" in two 1997
drug smuggling operations involving the Raul Gardea
organization. Chavez was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine
Leticia Jo Esparza, one of 18 defendants indicted along with
Gardea, received 36 months in prison on her plea of guilty
to importing marijuana.
Another defendant, Hector Holguin, pleaded innocent, and his
trial concluded this morning. Jurors were deliberating at
It was not marijuana, but methamphetamine, that landed
Thomas Brient Sykes of California in prison for 262 months.
After failing to appear for trial when it was scheduled,
Sykes entered a plea of guilty.
His attorney, John Calhoun, objected to the pre-sentence
report that branded Sykes as a career offender and boosted
his sentence guideline range to 262-327 months.
"He was already serving 11 years when he got caught in
California," Calhoun said. "He's not a person who is a
danger to society."
"The actual reason he commits these crimes is because he has
diminished capacity," Calhoun said.
Judge Bunton disallowed the objections. "I gave you a break
so you could leave and go back to California," he said. "You
asked for an extension and I gave that to you, and then for
whatever reason, you didn't come back. You skipped. It
doesn't leave a very good taste in my mouth."
In addition to the 262 month (21 years, 10 months) sentence
on the original charge, Judge Bunton assessed 120 months for
failure to appear, but made the terms concurrent.
Others sentenced were:
* Armando Medrano-Rodriguez, 18 months in prison and a
$1,200 fine for marijuana possession;
* Arturo Ontiveros-Olivas, 39, of Ojinaga, Mex., 21 months
plus $315,684.19 restitution to the U.S. Export Trading
Association in San Antonio. He pleaded guilty to the
conspiracy count of a three-count indictment alleging
interstate and foreign transportation of stolen goods and
removing goods from a U.S. Customs bonded warehouse at
* Robert Granado, 31, of Odessa, 63 months for possession
with intent to distribute marijuana.
* Luis Carlos Flores-Baeza, six months for illegal entry
* Wendy Sue Butler, 26, of Georgetown, 24 months for
possession with intent to distribute marijuana (211.12
* Ricardo Adrian Dorado, 27, of Fort Worth, 90 months for
possession with intent to distribute 1,602.30 pounds of
"We need all kinds of canned goods, turkeys and any kinds of
meat that people would like to donate," said Apolinar. "In
the past we have received many items from the community and
I'm hoping they'll come through for us again," she said.
The food drive will be held from 11 a.m. until the
afternoon, or items can be dropped off at the Santa Rosa
Food Bank, located behind the church.
Second Texan freed from Mexican jail
From Staff and Wire Reports
For the second time this month, Mexican authorities have
released a Texas man jailed for illegally carrying arms
across the border.
The latest release involved a Vidor man who had been in jail
since March for crossing the Mexican border with a box of
bullets in his truck.
Tommy Bean, 59, was arrested in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, while
crossing the border for lunch during a gun show. He was
convicted of transporting ammunition and sentenced to five
years in prison.
Bean was part of a routine prisoner exchange last month, and
was transferred to a federal prison in El Paso on Sept. 21.
Applying U.S. law to the case, the U.S. Parole Commission
determined Wednesday that Bean should immediately go free,
U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson said.
On Oct. 9 an Andrews man was freed from jail in Ojinaga,
Mex., after illegally crossing the border with a rifle.
Rusty Salmon, 38, was freed after spending two months in
jail when Mexican guards discovered a .22-caliber rifle and
box of ammunition in the cab of the pickup. A second man
traveling with Salmon was released in September.
Mexico has strict gun laws, aimed at curtailing gun
smuggling across the border. Nearly 70 American citizens are
currently imprisoned on gun charges in Mexico, but U.S.
officials said not all appear to be innocent travelers.
High Wednesday 55. Low last night 51. Rainfall .04 inch.
October rainfall 1.28 inches. Year-to-date 5.44 inches.
Tonight, mostly cloudy, becoming partly cloudy late. Low in
the mid 40s. East to southeast wind 5-10 mph. Friday, partly
cloudy and warmer. High in the mid to upper 60s. South wind
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise