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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, April 5, 1999

Air Force preparing to `bomb' Alamo ranch

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April  5, 1999 -- Joe Vernon fears the U.S. Air Force's plan to "bomb" a fallow field near his country home will disrupt his family's daily routine and hamper his work in the oil patch.

He plans to voice his opposition to a proposed training flight route around Reeves County in a public hearing at 5 p.m. Friday in the Pecos High School cafeteria.

Vernon, a pumper, uses a small airplane in his work, and he hangars it near his house on the 225-acre ranch at Alamo, 22 miles southwest of Pecos.

With his wife, Helen, and sons Austin and Cody, Vernon runs a few cattle and horses, sells eggs from a flock of hens and enjoys the quiet country life. They also have one goat.

Bombers flying 200 feet from the ground would be unwelcome guests in that setting, the Vernons said.

The Air Force proposes to install an electronic scoring site in the Alamo area near the Vernons' property. Training bombers from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene would approach the site at 200 feet above the ground, simulating a bombing attack on the scoring site.

The site will be centered on a 15-acre plot 800 feet-by-800 feet square. Its operations center will be a three-acre paved lot with a 7,000-sq. ft. building with septic and water storage tanks and antennae for the electronics equipment.

Each scoring site will have an emitter, operations center and maintenance center.

Two such sites are proposed for Reeves County; one at Alamo and another at Toyah Lake, the dry salt lake beds about six miles southeast of Pecos.

"It is going to ruin the airspace. When I look at everything we have worked so hard for out there, and are still building," Vernon said. "I can fly out of the house to do my work. That will be taken away. I don't see how it would be possible for me to fly the way I do. The vortices from jets will tear that up."

Aircraft vortices represent a safety issue raised during scoring, the draft environmental impact statement says.

As aircraft move through the air, they create vortices from their wing tips. These vortices, collectively called wake turbulence, trail immediately behind the aircraft for thousands of feet while diminishing in strength farther from the aircraft.

At cruising altitudes, wake turbulence directly behind the aircraft can cause handling difficulties for following aircraft, especially when a small aircraft trails a larger aircraft.

"The vortices can hang around within a one-mile radius for a long time," Vernon said. "You can't see it, so you don't know it is there. Thirty minutes after a big jet takes off or lands, the wind vortice is still there."

FAA regulations dictate safe following distances and procedures to avoid wake turbulence, both in flight and during landing or takeoff.

Aircraft flying closer to the ground also create wake turbulence, which trails behind the aircraft generally moving downward and lessening in intensity.

By the time it reaches the ground, or the tops of structures, the turbulence causes no more than a light breeze, the report says. Wake turbulence would not be expected to affect the safety of people, vehicles or structures, the EIS says.

Noise from the dive is also a concern, Vernon said.

"A racket like that will cause a horse to lose all his hair; it will spook the cattle. They will have broken legs trying to run through the fence," he said.

J.C. White, who has a small ranch east of the Vernon property, said his cattle and horses have become accustomed to crop dusters skimming the ground in the area and pay no attention to them.

They did stampede when a hot-air balloon took off from an adjacent field, though.

"It rose 100 feet off the ground and came drifting across, and my cows and horses raised holy Toledo," White said. "A propane tank builds a big fire that forces hot air up in the balloon...and it roars. It was a real good show."

"Crop dusters, they get so used to them," White said. "And believe me, they fly low."

Vernon said he fears the low-flying jets will endanger crop dusters. "F-14s and crop dusters don't mix," he said.

Precinct 3 commissioner Herman Tarin said he has not talked with crop dusters, but he has been telling ranchers and residents of Balmorhea, Saragosa and Brogado that the planes are coming.

In fact, they already are flying over that area, and an increase to perhaps 30 flights a day would not be welcome.

Travelers have been startled by the jets zooming over so low "it seems like you can reach out your hand and touch them," Tarin said.

"If you don't know they are coming, you think you are having a blowout or a train is after you," he said.

Ranchers in the area are also opposed to the flights, because they think their cattle will be spooked, Tarin said.

"I know for a fact that planes do cause a problem with cattle," he said.

Tarin works at a cattle feedlot where a low-flying plane recently caused a stampede.

"We have 150 in each pen. They tore up the fences, water troughs and everything," he said.

He believes the Air Force could change the route so they wouldn't be flying over the small communities, and he expects a large number of people from his precinct to attend the hearing Friday to make that suggestion.

The proposed training flights would allow pilots from Abilene to train within a short distance of the airbase, rather than flying to distant states like Wyoming, Utah and Arizona.

Two of three target sites in Reeves County

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 5, 1999 -- Two electronic scoring sites in Reeves County were chosen from among 72 possible sites for realistic bomber training, the U.S. Air Force reports in its draft environmental impact statement. The third site chosen is near Abilene.

Within the 15-acre site, an electronic scoring site provides for scoring of ordanance delivery, simulates threats from an electronic emitter and provides feedback on electronic combat training by bomber aircrews.

In the first step, 72 training routes met the criteria of being about 600 nautical miles from Dyess and Barksdale Air Force Bases. Twenty of those met the terrain variability requirement and are 300 nautical miles in length.

Eight of those were eliminated because they did not have 240 nautical miles of contiguous high or moderate terrain variability. Six more failed to have 50 nautical miles of contiguous low terrain variability, leaving four that qualified.

One of those failed the final test for combination of route, military operating area and electronic scoring site locations, leaving only three candidates.

Alamo and Toyah Lake are the two proposed Reeves County sites. The Alamo site is considered prime farmland.

The Air Force has extended the comment period on the plan until June 16 and set hearings for five West Texas cities this week. The first will be in Abilene Tuesday, the second in Snyder Wednesday and the third in Big Lake Thursday.

Pecos hosts a hearing in the high school cafteria at 1201 S. Park Street Friday. All weekday hearings are from 5 to 9 p.m.

In Alpine, the Saturday hearing begins at 10 a.m., recesses for lunch and continues from 1 to 5 p.m., in the Alpine Recreation Center.

Those who are unable to attend the hearings may mail comments to Major Brent Adams, RBTI EIS Project Manager, HQ ACC/CEVPP, 129 Andrews St., Suite 102, Langley AFB, VA, 23665-2769.

District governor speaks to Pecos Rotary members

PECOS, April 5, 1999 -- John Heetland, District Governor of Rotary district #5730 visited the Pecos Rotary Club Thursday.

Visiting with Heetland was the district secretary Howard Wilkerson.

Heetland updated the local club on the status of rotary throughout the world.

Heetland stated that Rotary District 5730, which included Pecos, includes a total of 53 different Rotary clubs with more than 2,500 members.

Heetland also discussed the status of various programs sponsored in whole or in part by Rotary including the group's scholarship program, its involvement in the push to eliminate polio and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards  program.

"Rotary has granted more than 27,000 scholarships since this program began in 1947," Heetland said.

The scholarships granted this year will amount to $23,000 for each scholarship, he said.

On the international scene Heetland stated that the drive to eliminate polio throughout the world was ahead of the projected schedule.

"This program began as an idea in 1982," he said. "Today, Rotarians can be very proud that they have contributed significantly both in funds and time in helping eliminate the polio virus."

Heetland said that today the virus was isolated in pockets of Africa and Asia and nonexistent in the rest of the world.

Heetland also discussed the district's RYLA camp attendance from last year, and projected attendance this year.

The RYLA program is designed to allow top high school students to attend a week-long leadership camp.

District 5730's camp is located near Capitan, N.M., and there is a separate camp for boys and girls.

This year's camps will be held in June.

The Rotary Club meets every Thursday at twelve noon at the Pecos Valley Country Club.

City, hospital district candidates win by default

PECOS, April 5, 1999 -- Reeves County Hospital District directors will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday to declare unopposed candidates in the May 1 election to be elected.

The elections coordinator is to present certification to the board that neither of the two candidates is opposed.

Marcella Lovett is unopposed for re-election to the Precinct 2 position, and Holly Key seeks the Precinct 4 seat vacated by Jeannette Alligood.

Board meetings are held in the hospital classroom, and are open to the public.

Pecos City Council plans the same action on Thursday, when the three council candidates will be declared winners.

Gerald Tellez Jr. and Johnny Terrazas seek re-election, and Larry Levario filed for the position now held by Randy Graham. Graham is retiring from the council.

Pecos 4-H Club meeting Tuesday

PECOS, April 5, 1999 -- The regular monthly meeting of the Pecos 4-H Club will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Reeves County Extension Office, 700 W. Daggett St., Suite E.

County extension agent C.W. Roberts said all 4-Hers are urged to attend and to bring one item to put into an Easter basket to be delivered to the Pecos Nursing Home. For further information, call Roberts at 447-9041.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) One ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said.

The ticket was worth an estimated $10 million. The ticket was sold in Kaufman. The numbers drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 11-17-21-25-31-32.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 7-9-14-23-38. Number matching five of five: None. Matching four of five: 330. Prize: $738.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 15-23-28-89. Number matching four of four in Group One: None. Number matching four of four in Group Two: None. Number matching four of four in Group Three: One. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 534. Prize: $300.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-6-5 (nine, six, five).

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-1-6 (zero, one, six).

Obituary

Ceasar `Chayo' Nevarez

Funeral Services for Ceasar "Chayo" Nevarez were held Thursday, April 1, 1999 at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Clovis, N.M. Nevarez, 55, was a former Pecos resident. He died March 28, 1999.

Survivors includes his wife of 39 Years, Delia Nevarez; his sons, Danny Nevarez and Ceasar Nevarez Jr.; two daughters, Virginia Nevarez and Susan Gaona; his parents, Pilar Nevarez Sr. of Fresno and Sara Orona of Fresno; two brothers, Pilar Nevarez Jr., and Robert Nevarez, both of Fresno; two sisters, Corina Hernandez and Aurora Hernandez, both of Fresno, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Clovis Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, April 5, 1999 -- High Sunday 88; low last night 43. Tonight, mostly clear. Low in the lower 40s. West wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday, mostly sunny. High around 80. Light and variable wind becoming south 5-15 mph in the afternoon.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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