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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

January 11, 1999

Suspect in hit-and-run out on bond

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
A Pecos woman indicted Thursday by Reeves County grand jurors is out on bond after turning herself in this past weekend.

Rebecca Ann Campos, 33, who is charged with failure to stop and render aid to Jesus Olivas Ortiz on Dec. 20, 1998, after her vehicle struck the victim on U.S. Highway 285 (North Cedar Street), turned herself in Saturday.

Campos failed to give her name, address, vehicle registration number and name of her liability insurance carrier to anyone, and did not assist Ortiz, who was in need of medical treatment, the indictment alleges.

Campos' bond was set at $5,000.

A passing motorist found Ortiz lying in the northbound land of U.S. Highway 285 just north of the railroad tracks just after 2 a.m. He stopped and protected the victim while police and an ambulance were summoned.

Ortiz, 57, was suffering from a head wound, but also showed evidence of having been beaten before he was stuck by the vehicle, said Freddy Contreras, who investigated the accident.

The incident is still under investigation, according to the police investigator.

Times set for annual livestock show

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
Sheep, goats and hogs lead off the weigh-in at the Reeves County Civic Center Thursday for the annual Reeves-Loving County Junior Livestock Show and Sale.

Steers will weigh in at the 4-H complex, said Rickey Exum, show superintendent.

Both starting at 4:30 p.m., the steer weigh-in will close at 5:45 p.m., and the sheep, goat and hog weigh-in will continue until 7 p.m.

Goats are the first to be shown in the civic center, beginning Friday at 4:30 p.m., followed by steers at 5:30 and lambs at 6:30.

Saturday is hog show day, with the first class entering the ring at 8:30 a.m. After the show, a barbecue will be offered at $5 per adult plate from 5 to 6:45 p.m.

Then the premium sale begins in the civic center at 7 p.m., with Dallas Upton as auctioneer, courtesy of Lovington Livestock.

With 109 4-H and FFA members showing 286 animals, the show promises to be one of the best.

Steve Armstrong will announce the show, and judges are Chad Thomas of San Angelo, goat and lamb; Greg Jones of Levelland, steer; and Geoff Cooper of Denver City, hog.

Hugh and Gail Box, with Herb Stewart & Company, will prepare the barbecue. They also offer homemade cobblers for dessert. Children 10 and under may eat for $3 each.

Sale chairman Ray Owen has asked that anyone who has not been asked to buy an animal or to contribute to a pool to help buy an animal to talk with any livestock committee member.

"Every dollar you pledge helps support the animal projects of these young people," Owen said. "We take pledges of any amount."

Last year, the sale was able to purchase animals for 80 youth. Security State Bank paid the top price of $2,200 for Courtney Clark's grand champion steer. The sale total was $53,000.

Bailey Wheeless and Rick Bracy of Pecos, and Bob Bagley of Balmorhea, are FFA advisors. C.W. Roberts is 4-H adviser.

Division chairmen are Paul Armstrong, steer; Gaston Tarango and Cary Hannsz, lamb; Harvey Moore, hog; and Jimmy Martinez and J.J. Exum, goat.

Other committee members are Steve Armstrong, Earl Bates, Nolan Blount, Hugh Box, Ronald Box, Cannon Cook, Pecos Cook, Terry Fowler, J.M. Fowlkes, Jackie Gentry, Roger Harrison,

Jack Hoffman, Isaac Martinez, Trey Miller, Eddie Roman, H.L. Ramsey, Ralph Roach, Ben Stickels, Herman Tarin, Trevor Teague, Paul Ward, Starkey Warren and Alan Zeman.

Show moves up action on Building A repairs

A registered engineer/architect for design and construction of administrative services for roof replacement for the Pecos High School Building A will be the topic of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday in the school board's meeting room at 1304 S. Park St.

"The reason we're having the school board meeting on a Tuesday instead of Thursday like we usually do is so those individuals that are involved in the (Reeves County) stock show can participate in it, without missing the regular meeting," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love.

Board members will discuss a renewal agreement for West Texas Food Service Cooperative and discuss and approve a request for use of PHS gyms for the Reeves County Explorers' basketball tournament which will be held this Friday and Saturday, along with waiving of the fees.

Other items to be discussed include discussing the 1998-99 budget amendments, attendance report, tax report, depository securities report, cafeteria report, commodities received report, current bills and financial report, investment transaction report and the reconciled bank balance report.

Under correspondence board members will discuss a donation by Pecos Swim Team Booster Club.

The group will also meet behind closed doors in executive session to discuss personnel, extending Superintendent Don Love's contract and discuss hiring a principal for Pecos Kindergarten.

Andrews continues push to get N-waste dump

By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer
ANDREWS If Andrews officials have their way, somewhere among the tumbleweeds and cactus about 35 miles west of the city, giant pits will be dug in the wide-open spaces to house nuclear waste permanently.

Local resistance to the plan to bring low-level radioactive waste into the city's back yard has been minimal. Instead, businessmen and local folks talk about the need for Andrews County to diversify its economic portfolio with industries not associated with agriculture or oil.

Andrews isn't alone. Haskell County, near Abilene, also has expressed interest in the project.

In West Texas, nuclear waste has never been so popular.

"There's nothing really out here that will be harmed by it and I'm sure it will be safe," said John Lincoln, who lives about 20 miles from the proposed Andrews site. "Anyway, it will be good business for the town so I'm for it."

While some worry that the dump could harm the Ogalalla Aquifer and the health of West Texans, officials are wooing the waste business, eager to gain its economic rewards.

"This type of stabilizing factor to our economy is the kind of thing we're looking for," said Lloyd Eisenrich, president of the Andrews Industrial Foundation. "We estimate about 40 full-time jobs associated with the site. It also opens other doorways for researchers and other businesses."

The Industrial Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to diversifying and improving Andrews' economy, estimates that the county could reap a $1 million annual economic impact from the dump, which would be located on the Texas-New Mexico state line, six miles east of Eunice, N.M.

In Haskell, about 175 miles northeast of Andrews, Mayor Ken Lane says his office has inquired about the dump but has not decided if it will pursue the site.

"We asked a few questions and are in the preliminary stages of looking at it," Lane said.

Securing the dump would likely be an arduous and controversial process. First, Texas legislators would have to pass a law permitting the state to consider a site other than Sierra Blanca, a town 90 miles east of El Paso and less than 20 miles from the Rio Grande.

Capping a process that took nearly two decades, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission vetoed Sierra Blanca as a storage site in December. TNRCC Chairman Barry McBee and other commissioners were concerned that the state's waste disposal authority, charged with finding potential sites for nuclear waste dumps, didn't thoroughly investigate a geologic fault line there. Any future site would have to get the nod from the commission.

The commission's decision has a couple of other companies scrambling to gain approval elsewhere. Envirocare of Texas and Waste Control Specialists have developed plans to operate a facility in Andrews County that would be overseen by the state.

Envirocare has bought nearly 900 acres in the county where a dump could be built and WCS, controlled by Texas millionaire Harold Simmons, already operates a hazardous waste facility in Andrews County that could serve as the dump site.

WCS spokesman Ron Hans said the company has pressed its message with county residents. "We're willing to go to the nth degree to make people feel comfortable with what were doing," Hans said.

Envirocare says it has more experience in radioactive waste disposal than its competitor.

"We've been in the radioactive waste for over 10 years and we've disposed of tens of millions of pounds of radioactive waste," said Charles Judd, vice president of Envirocare of Texas. "We also have obtained several licenses to dispose of low-level waste over the past 10 years."

Texas Rep. Gary Walker, R-Plains, plans to submit a bill allowing the state to consider a dump in Andrews.

"WCS came in there five or six years ago and did a first-class educational program for the people in Andrews that showed what a benefit their people had as far as a waste plant was concerned," Walker said. "The people are for this. The disposal site will be for low-level radioactive waste hospital waste and things of that nature not stuff that glows in the dark."

Opponents contend that hospital waste would account for only 35 percent of the material dumped. The overwhelming majority of low-level radioactive waste generated in the United States comes from decommissioned nuclear power plants and other industrial usage, they say.

Ready to battle both companies and any Texas counties that try to create a dump is Richard Boren, president of Southwest Toxic Watch, an organization comprised of many of the same people who ferociously fought the Sierra Blanca project.

Boren says Andrews officials should think beyond their pocketbooks.

"Andrews is similar to Sierra Blanca in that the people are going to be dumped on and it is their political leaders that are selling them out," Boren said. "There hasn't been local opposition because once you get the leadership of an area to come out in support, people become afraid to speak out."

For Boren, the problem with putting the dump in Andrews is that the Ogalalla Aquifer lies beneath a large part of the county. The huge reservoir stretches across four states.

"The reason the state didn't select Andrews originally was because of the aquifer. So what has changed now?" Boren asked.

Much of the waste that would be disposed at a Texas dump would be shipped from Maine and Vermont. Each state would pay Texas a one-time flat fee of $25 million, plus $1.25 million to the host county, for the right to store waste here.

Boren and his contemporaries say the Northern states are simply bowing to pressure to get rid of the waste and the liability that goes along with storing it.

"This is just a way for those people to wash their hands of this stuff and let the Texas taxpayers take care of it," Boren said.

Walker complains that the dump opponents don't even live in Andrews.

"You won't find any serious local opposition," Walker said. "People hear know that it can be safe and it's good business."

Ex-PHS teacher caught in Rebel flag flap

MIDLAND (AP) _ A high school principal has censored a student editorial approved by a former Pecos High School teacher which opposed the waving of the Confederate flag at football games.

The editorial apparently took an unpopular stance at a school where the football team is known as the Rebels, and the newspaper in which it would have appeared is called the Dixie Dispatch.

The principal said he killed the editorial to avoid disrupting the school.

Adam Martinez, a junior at Lee High School, said waving the flag at his school's football games irritated him, so he wrote an editorial for his journalism class.

"The purpose of this article wasn't to stir up any revolt or controversy, but I think it is an issue that needs to be dealt with," Martinez told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

The editor of the school newspaper, senior Emily Baker, and Martinez's teacher, John Briggs, approved the editorial.

"I thought that it was reasoned and obviously thought-out and made a strong point," said Briggs. "Perhaps, in retrospect, I should have thought that it might stir up more than an ordinate level of response."

Briggs, who was the teacher in charge of supervising the Eagle Echo, the Pecos High School yearbook, during the 1980s before moving to Midland, sent the editorial to principal George Cooper, whose approval is usually routine. The day before publication, Cooper gave the paper back to Briggs, with an order to delete the editorial.

In place of the editorial, the newspaper ran a picture of a punch bowl with the message, "Happy Holidays from the Dixie Dispatch staff."

Cooper said he cut the article to protect the students.

"Any of the decisions that I make are related to the potential for disruption to the educational process," he said. "I felt like the article that was written had that potential."

Cooper also said the issue has been resolved. In October 1990, an Associated Press story cited Lee High as a school where Confederate symbols were drawing complaints. In 1991, trustees of the Midland Independent School District voted to stop using the Rebel flag as an official school spirit symbol.

Since then, the school has not allowed the flag to be displayed in the halls or school-sponsored publications, and Cooper said he will continue to enforce that policy.

"It was not a positive issue for our school or our community at that time," Cooper said. "There was not any real reason to resurrect that."

Martinez said that although he does not question Cooper's authority to make the decision, he does question his rationale.

"For the principal to turn a blind eye by saying it's a dead issue is incorrect," he said.

Briggs, the journalism teacher, said he did not question Cooper when he learned the article was to be cut.

"I do know that Mr. Cooper and I see the concept of journalism somewhat differently," he said.

Obituary

Morgan Gordon

Morgan "Sonny" Gordon, 69, of Pecos, and formerly of Alpine, died Monday, Jan. 4, 1999 at his residence.

A rosary was held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 7, at Our Lady of Peace. Mass was at 10 a.m., Friday with burial in Holy Angels Cemetery with Father Rick Ruiz officiating.

Gordon was born April 11, 1929, in Alpine and made the military his career. After leaving the Amry, he returned to Alpine then moved to Pecos in 1988. He was a member of the Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and the VFW.

Survivors include two sons, Morgan Gordon III and Perry Gordon of Washington; two daughters, Rita Kemp of Germany and Peggy of California; one brother, Lewis Gordon of Alpine; four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Geeslin Funeral Home of Alpine was in charge of arrangements.

Weather

High Friday 75, Saturday 51, Sunday 68. Lows 27, 23, 27. Tonight, variable high clouds. Low around 45. South to southwest wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday, partly cloudy and continued warm. High in the mid to upper 70s. Southwest wind 10-15 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
e-mail news@pecos.net

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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise