Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, November 19, 1998
Crews work overtime to re-open interstate
By ROSIE FLORES
Toyah business owners will be a little bit happier Friday
morning when Interstate 20 reopens for the first time in a
week to eastbound traffic.
Crews for Fort Worth based Gilbert-Texas construction and
the Texas Department of Transportation have been working
16-hour days this week to reopen the main lanes of the road,
which were closed from the just east of junction with
Interstate 10 to about 12 miles west of Toyah starting
about 1:30 a.m. last Thursday.
"We'll open the Interstate for sure on Friday morning," said
Texas Department of Transportation area engineer Doug
The road was closed after newly-laid asphalt and rock failed
to adhere to the road correctly and pulled off the
highway's roadbed by passing trucks then thrown into the
path of trailing vehicles. A service road detour was set
up, but truck traffic caused that road to deteriorate,
and a new detour, along I-10 and State Highway 17
through Saragosa, was set up at midday last Friday.
Eastbound traffic rejoins the interstate in Pecos, bypassing
Toyah, and several business owners there expressed their
dissatisfaction about the inconvenience. They said that the
loss of revenue from traffic coming in Toyah throughout the
week really hurt them.
Eichorst stated that the construction crew and Texas
Department of Transportation employees were working hard to
fix the problem as soon as possible. "We have been working
late and trying to get as much done as possible," said
The group has been laying about four miles of highway per
day and working late into the evening in their efforts to
repair the damage. "Our main problem had been with the hot
mix," said Eichorst. "The plant in Hoban (just north of
Verhalen) has been producing about 120,000 pounds of the mix
per hour and trying to get it to us as fast as possible,"
Still, he said that about 2,800 tons were needed for the
repairs the crews were working on. "We need quite a bit of
it and they (Trans-Pecos Materials) have been cooperating
great with us," he said.
"We'll be working late today, using big lamps to see in the
dark and have it opened early Friday morning as soon as it
cools off," said Eichorst.
The hot mix is being laid on top of an underseal which is
water proof, according to Eichorst.
But, Eichorst stated that they were going to do whatever it
took to get it open by Friday morning.
Business owners in Toyah questioned the closing and stated
that the eastbound lanes could have been fixed by closing
only one lane at a time and leaving the other open. However,
officials with TxDOT stated that this was a very unsafe
procedure that required a lot of material that was not on
hand at the time.
"If we had the big concrete barriers we might be able to use
those, but it's still a very unsafe procedure," said TxDOT
public relations director Glen Larum.
"We feel like nobody cares," said Toyah mayor Paul Budlong,
who is also employed at the Toyah Texaco. "I just don't
understand why they couldn't just close one lane."
Budlong said the business owners in Toyah have been talking
to everyone they can think of in an effort to make their
concerns heard. "First they told us it would be Monday
before they opened it back, then Wednesday and now Friday,
it's just too many days to lose that much revenue," he said.
Budlong stated that through Tuesday of this week, Toyah
Texaco had not had any customers since the previous Friday
when the highway was shut down.
"A lot of people here are really upset about it," said
"I feel bad for the people in Toyah, but this is something
that just had to be done," said Larum.
Budlong stated that there are five main businesses off the
highway which depend on the traffic for their livelihood.
"This is what we rely on, the traffic," he said.
Howard Dennett, with Toyah Mechanical stated that the whole
town had just been cut off. "Everybody I talk to is just
making excuses and it's nobody's fault," he said.
Dennett stated that he had lost close to $2,000 worth of
work already and by Friday it would be more. "In other
cities they just use close one lane and use the other one,"
Larum stated that's usually the case in big metropolitan
areas, but this was very unsafe to do here.
"We're just thinking of the motorists, we want them to be
safe," said Eichorst.
"Diverting traffic to one side of the road, without proper
safety measures would jeopardize the motorists," said Larum.
"We need those concrete dividers to do that and they just
weren't available to us," he said.
Texas is one of a number
of states that uses concrete dividers to separate interstate
traffic in construction zones, to avoid head-on collisions.
Work was already being done on one lane on I-20 in the
westbound direction when the eastbound paving problems
occurred, and there is only one service road, on the south
side of the interstate, in the construction zone.
"We also have crews working on the service road, upgrading
it," said Eichorst. The service road has been used so little
that it was in dire need of repairs which are also being
made at this time, he explained.
The road was closed when rocks and asphalt were picked up by
trucks and carried in their tires for up to 30 miles, before
being thrown free and into the path of any trailing
vehicles. Local law enforcement authorities were called out
after damage was reported to a number of vehicles, and TxDOT
closed the road a short time later.
Ogleby wins top honors at annual Pecan Show
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
W.R. Oglesby's Cheyenne pecans won the grand champion trophy
in the Reeves-Loving County Pecan Show, held this morning in
the lobby of Security State Bank.
John Griffis took the reserve champion honor with Burkett
pecans that had 62.10 percent edible kernel.
First place winners were Oglesby, Cheyenne; Mrs. James
Canon, Western; Carmela Gomez, Seedling; Carmela Gomez,
Success; John Griffis, Mohawk; and Griffis, Burkett.
Other awards are: Bill Oglesby, Seedling, second; Bill
Oglesby, Western, third; John Griffis, Western, second; and
Nelda Nagel, Burkett, second.
Additional entries were by M.A. Withers, Western; Laura
Teal, Western; Victor Tarin, Western; and Nelda Nagel,
City's tax rebate check shows jump
By JON FULBRIGHT
Sales tax numbers for November were good news for both the
Town of Pecos City and the city's newly-created economic
development corporation, as State Comptroller John Sharp's
office sent back a check 36.2 percent higher than a year ago.
Pecos' November sales tax rebate, based on sales in
September, totalled $84,622, up from the $62,126 check the
city received last November, as its 1 1/2 cent share of the
state's 8 1/4 cent sales tax.
Voters on Nov. 3 approved a measure that would dedicate
one-quarter cent of the city's sales tax towards economic
development. Based on the latest sales tax numbers, that
would give the corporation a $14,104 share of Pecos' $84,622
The new 4A Sales Tax measure will cut the city's share of
the 1 1/2 cent sales tax by 16.6 percent, but for the year
tax rebate checks sent back from Austin to Pecos are up 8.39
percent, from $676,509 to $733,327. Pecos' tax rebate check
has show increases in most months of 1998, though October's
check was down by 7 1/2 percent.
Balmorhea and Toyah also received higher rebate checks this
month, though area-wide, November's results were mixed.
Balmorhea got back $1,224 from Sharp's office for their one
cent sales tax, up 19.76 percent from the $1,022 the city
got in November of 1997. For the first 11 months of the
year, Balmorhea has seen its tax rebates climb just under 31
percent, from $6,078 to $7,959.
Toyah's rebate check was boosted by it's recently-approved
half cent rise in the local sales tax, from one cent to 1
1/2 cents. The city received $617 back from Austin, up 43.84
percent from the $429 it got 12 months ago. Overall for
1998, Toyah has gotten $4,552 in tax rebates, a 10.44
percent rise from 1997's 11-month total of $4,121.
Monahans and Odessa also benefited from increases in their
sales tax rates during the past year. Monahans' check for
$92,645 on its two cent sales tax was up by nearly a third
over 1997, while Odessa upped its tax rate 1/4 cent in the
past year and saw it's rebate check grow 24.1 percent, to
1,299,909. That's $10,000 more than neighboring Midland got
back this month off its one-cent sales tax, a drop of 2.56
percent from a year ago.
Among other area cities, Fort Stockton, Van Horn and Wink
joined Pecos in reporting double-digit increases in their
tax rebate checks, while Andrews, Alpine and Kermit followed
Midland in seeing their rebate checks decline this past
The Reeves County Hospital District, which collects a 1/2
cent sales tax in the county each month, saw its November
check increase 7.11 percent, from $23,600 to $25,279. For
the year, the hospital's tax checks are up 12.28 percent,
from $260,999 to $293,062.
Statewide, Sharp's office reported tax rebates for the month
were up 7.27 percent over 1997, with $227.9 million sent out
to Texas cities, up from $212.4 million last year. Houston
received the biggest rebate check, $31.7 million, up 4.4
percent from a year ago.
Beulah Joplin, 82, died Monday, Nov. 16, 1998 at the Pecos
Services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 20, at First
Baptist Church with Reverend Greer Willis officiating.
Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.
She was born June 30, 1916, in Eldorado, was a homemaker and
a member of the Pecos Garden Club and the Palette Club. She
was noted for her Afghans which were used for fundraisers at
the West of the Pecos Museum. She had lived in Pecos since
1938 and was a Baptist.
Survivors include her husband Frank Joplin of Pecos; one
son, Tom Joplin of Burke, Va.; two daughters, Loyce Brown of
Rochester, Minn. and Barbara LeBarron of Houston; two
stepsons, Wayne Joplin of Winnesboro, Tx., Jerry Joplin of
Odessa; eight grandchildren; five step-grandchildren and
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be
made to the First Baptist Church or the West of the Pecos
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Abel L. Sanchez, 66, died Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1998 at his
residence in Balmorhea.
A rosary is scheduled for today at 7 p.m. at Christ the King
Mass will be held at 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, at Christ the
King Catholic Church in Balmorhea.
He was born Jan. 1, 1932, in San Antonio Del Bravo, Mexico,
a lifelong Balmorhea resident, was retired and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Maria Louisa Sanchez of
Balmorhea; two daughters, Rosa Dominguez of Balmorhea and
Barbara Prito of Iraan; four brothers, Eulojio and Francisco
Sanchez of Van Horn and Salvador and Manuel Sanchez of
Mexico; three sisters, Jesus Quintana of Van Horn, Sarah
Mendoza of Hobbs, N.M., Francisca Hernandez of Fabens and
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Wednesday 84, low last night 43. Tonight, becoming
cloudy, breezy and colder. Low near 40. north to northeast
wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Friday, mostly cloudy and cooler.
High in the mid 50s. Northeast to east wind 5-15 mph.
Ned Cantwell, 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