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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Wednesday, April 14, 1999

Chamber updated on pre-rodeo pageants

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- Seven girls will be vying for the title of 1999 Golden Girl in June, while participants for the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant are still being sought.

The report on the two pre-rodeo pageants was made during the regular Chamber of Commerce Director's meeting held at noon Tuesday.

Women's Division President Judy Tipton said that the last day to sign-up for Little Miss Cantaloupe is April 30. Packets for the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant can be picked up at the chamber office, 111 S. Cedar.

The Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant will be held June 25, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

A mother/daughter tea was held Tuesday evening at the Weatherby House, 423 S. Oleander, a house donated to the West of the Pecos Museum and used for special occasions. The girls and their mothers/guardian were briefed on the rules the girls were to follow.

They were also updated on everything that will be involved in being a nominee and Golden Girl, if chosen.

In conjunction with Golden Girl, a style show, featuring attire from local businesses will be held May 8 at the Pecos Valley Country Club.

"We also had a membership drive and have acquired 16 new members," said Tipton.

She said the group was pleased that the number of members had gone up. "I think this membership drive was a real success," she said.

Plans for the annual Reeves County Fall Fair were also discussed during the meeting.

"About 18 people attended the last fall fair meeting," said Barbara Creager, who told the group that plans for the fair are coming along well and the group plans to continue putting articles and updates in the newspaper and on television.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm about it and we're just very excited that so many of us are interested in making this fair a success," said Creager.

Chamber of Commerce President Linda Gholson told the group that if anyone had any ideas or comments about the fair to attend the meetings. "We want to bring this fair back up to what it used to be years ago," said Gholson. "We want to make it bigger and better."

Larry Sloan reported on education, stating that a committee needed to be formed in order to better serve the students in Pecos.

"We need to address some issues and pull together to bring the quality of education for everyone in Pecos up," said Sloan, who added that education changes are moving very fast and are nothing like they used be even two years ago.

"If you want to work with us before the next meeting, call me at 447-7263," he said.

Jesse Stephens updated the group on the housing problem in Pecos. "When I first started this, I thought it would be so simple, but as it turns out it's more complicated," he said.

Stephens said he had noticed at least 24 homes in Pecos that were boarded up and need of repairs, but were empty. "We wanted to get these boarded up houses and get someone to renovate them and then rent them out," said Stephens.

According to Stephens, there is a great need for rent homes in Pecos.

"I've spoken to the people at USDA and HUD and I think with both working together, we can do something about these houses," he said.

In other business, chamber directors voted not to sponsor the West of the Pecos Golden Gloves next year. This item was discussed at length at the last meeting.

Pecos has hosted the Golden Gloves the past five years, but February's two-night event drew a small crowd and organizers needed to know if the chamber wanted to sponsor it again or let someone else take over.

Tournament organizer Fred Martin was on hand at the March meeting and told chamber members that the decision needed to be made soon, so that someone else could take over the event.

Chamber director Tom Rivera said that the logo for the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame had been approved by the state, with a few minor changes. "We're just going to make the minor changes and send it back to them," he said.

"We need to establish a new 501C3," said Rivera, which would give the organization tax breaks.

Gerald Tellez made the motion to bring this up before the city and see if the city would let them use their 501C3.

Pecos man faces pot charges after raid

PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- A Pecos man was charged with possession of marijuana and other charges are pending after a drug search warrant was executed last evening at his Cypress Street home.

Raul Garcia, 26, is currently being held in the Reeves County Jail, charged with possession of marijuana, (over four ounces and under five pounds), following a raid in his home last evening, according to Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

At about 10:05 p.m., officers from the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office executed the search warrant at 812 S. Cypress St. After all the subjects inside the residence were secured, officers proceeded to search the residence, according to Deishler.

"During the search, nine separate bags containing a substance believed to be marijuana was found inside the residence," said Deishler.

Also found inside the residence was paraphernalia commonly used in the selling and use of marijuana.

"After completion of the search, Mr. Garcia was placed under arrest," said Deishler. He said Garcia was charged with a felony offense, because his house was within a 1,000 feet of a school, (Pecos Elementary).

"The case is currently being investigated and other charges are pending at this time," said Deishler.

P-B-T board to discuss sale of debris

PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- Zavala Middle School seventh graders who will compete at State UIL mat and Crockett Middle School eighth graders students who will compete at State UIL math and science will be recognized during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

Members will meet in the board room at 6 p.m. and will also recognize UIL Sweepstakes Winners and make a presentations and announcement of Teachers of the Year.

Board members will discuss and approve declaring debris of Old West Pecos Gym as no longer of any appreciable value and authorize disposal of said debris; discuss methodology for appraising oil and gas property and oil and gas pricing and discuss student out of state travel for national competition.

In other business board members will hear a Y2K report; listen to the first reading of TASB Policy Update 60 and discuss and approve summer school.

Other items for discussion and approval include:

* Bid for Block 1, Lot 17, Meadowbrook Addition, located at 1500 Cherry Street.

* Revised Local Policy DB.

* Enhanced curriculum and selection criteria.

* Putting the TASB Policy Manual on-line.

* Approve District's investment policy.

* A possible interlocal agreement with Reeves County, Town of Pecos City and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for repair/replacement of the Pecos High School track.

* Pecos High School Modified block schedule.

* Taking applications for Head Football Coach.

* Discuss 1999-2000 school calendar.

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.

The group will also meet behind closed doors in executive session to discuss personnel: appointments, resignations, retirements, reassignments and transfers.

Sales tax figures for Basin cities fall

PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- Sales tax rebate numbers were higher in the mountains and lower in the basin this month, according to area figures released by State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office.

Towns in the Permian Basin, including Pecos, saw their April tax rebate checks fall compared with the same time last year, due in part to the recent low oil prices and resulting industry layoffs. However, cities in the Davis Mountains and the Big Bend area followed the lead of the rest of the state, and reported increases in their tax rebate checks compared with 1998.

Pecos' rebate check for April, based on February's sales tax collections, was $49,014, down just over 8 percent from the $53,312 sent back from Austin last year. For the first four months of 1999 has gotten back $248,819 in taxes, based on its 1-1/2 cent share of the state's 8-1/4 cent sales tax. That's a 1.35 percent drop from a year ago.

Balmorhea and Toyah went the other way, and showed gains for the month. Balmorhea's $429 check was 54.2 percent higher than the $278 check they got last year, and Toyah got back $489, up 84.64 percent from the $262 check in April, 1998, though that was due in part to an increase in the city's sales tax rate since last year.

Odessa also has raised its sales tax rate in the past year by 25 percent, and that allowed it to show a 10« percent gain in its rebate check over a year ago. Neighboring Midland, with no rate increase, reported sales tax collections down by 9« percent, and other area towns that rely on the oil industry reported even sharper drops.

Fort Stockton's check dropped 12.1 percent, Monahans' total fell 12.8 percent, Andrews was down 19.2 percent and Crane's total dropped by nearly 49 percent. Kermit, the town probably hit hardest by the oil industries problems in recent years, got a break in the tax collection numbers, as it's $18,625 check was just .9 percent behind last year.

The Reeves County Hospital district also saw their 1/2-cent sales tax check shrink by 3.9 percent, falling from $24,638 to $23,678.

To the south and west, things were much better. Alpine reported a 4.6 percent rise in their tax rebate, Marfa was up 8.9 percent, Presidio saw their check climb 19.4 percent and Van Horn's $20.508 check was 47.1 percent higher than last April.

Statewide, Rylander sent out $170.7 million in tax rebate checks this month, a 7.4 percent increase from a year ago. Houston again received the largest check, for $20.4 million, a 4.3 percent rise, while Dallas got back $13.4 million, up 4.2 percent from a year ago.

Tornado destroys south Midland homes

By JAY JORDEN
Associated Press Writer
Dozens of families are homeless and some residents were injured as twisters, baseball-size hail and heavy rains pounded West Texas, with some storms also producing straight-line gusts above 70 mph.

The U.S. Army Reserve, Red Cross and Salvation Army were summoned late Tuesday to help up to 150 southeast Midland County residents whose homes were ravaged by a storm of hail, rain and wind.

The storms formed mid-afternoon along a line from near Odessa to east of Fort Stockton. The heaviest damage around Midland was reported south of Interstate 20 and on a line stretching from Texas 349 (Rankin Highway) east to the area near Greenwood.

At least 20 homes were destroyed, said Lt. Judy Altom, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman. About 60 others were damaged or left without power, said Doug Belcher, a volunteer with the Red Cross Service of Southwest Texas.

More than a dozen relief agencies, under the glare of floodlights, converted Cotton Flat Baptist Church at Rankin Highway and County Road 150 into a command post that Belcher said will remain open for the next few days.

"We'll be open as long as shelter and feeding is needed," he told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

The DPS said some minor injuries were reported.

"We've had quite a bit of damage," said Ms. Altom. "There were some nasty storms that moved through here."

Although a funnel cloud reportedly touched down in the Valley View area south of Midland, Ms. Altom said authorities have not been able to confirm the twister. She said the wind did reach speeds of 70 mph and greater.

The National Weather Service said twisters touched down near Rotan, McCamey, Upton and Greenwood, where up to 3-1/2 inches of rain fell. No injuries were reported there.

Dozens of homes were also damaged in Wellington as a cool front and accompanying squall line raced through the Panhandle.

"We have a list of extensive damage to 43 homes _ roofs torn off and such _ along with a lot of (power) pole damage," said LeAnn Popwell, dispatcher-jailer for Collingsworth County. "But we now have most of the electricity back on. The storm was fast. All of the sudden, it just whipped up here."

As the storms approached the Dallas-Fort Worth area, high winds damaged at least two weekend homes at a lake. The roof was blown off a house at Possum Kingdom Lake and a residence next door received minor damage from debris, said Brazos River Authority spokesman Mike Cox.

He blamed the damage, which also included toppled trees, at the area 70 miles west of Fort Worth on straight-line winds.

Southeast Texas also tasted some of the bad weather this morning. Conroe police said a twister touched down at 8:43 a.m. at the Woodcreek Shopping Center, destroying at least one business and damaging others. The shops were not yet open for business, and there were no injuries.

Hail also was a problem in West Texas, where golfball-sized pellets fell at Lorraine and at Colorado City, where windows at the sheriff's office were broken out. Other large hail was reported across the Panhandle down toward the Abilene-San Angelo area.

A state trooper's car windshield was broken by hail near Panhandle.

Winds were clocked at 70 mph at Sweetwater. Gusts downed trees and power lines in Winters and Runnels County.

In the Midland area, hail covered the ground in drifts and high winds ripped off roofs and uprooted large trees.

"It was raining and then it went to hail," John Buntin, a resident, said. "You couldn't see five feet from the window. The wind was blowing hard. One of our neighbors is a weather watcher and he said he saw a funnel cloud and clocked the wind speed at 80 mph or better.

"That roof over there," he said, pointing at storm debris, "it came from over there: a barn about a quarter-mile from the house."

DPS Trooper John Barton said County Judge Bill Morrow had declared the damage site a local disaster area.

WIPP planning formal opening for Saturday

From Staff and Wire Reports
U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will be at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site southeast of Carlsbad, N.M. on Saturday to deliver the keynote address at the formal opening ceremonies for the long-delayed nuclear waste storage facility.

Richardson, a former New Mexico congressman and U.N. ambassador who took over as Energy Secretary last year, will speak at the dedication ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m. CDT on Saturday. Other officials from New Mexico and the Carlsbad area are scheduled to attend the 2 1/2 hour ceremony.

The ceremony comes four weeks after the first shipment of waste was transported from Los Alamos National Laboratory in northwestern New Mexico to the WIPP site, and 10 days before the first long-haul shipment of radioactive waste is due begin traveling to the site.

The shipment is expected to be first of 4,900 to make the 1,400-mile trek from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to WIPP, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday. It will contain "non-mixed" waste, meaning it will not include hazardous chemicals, WIPP spokesman Dennis Hurtt said.

"That would initiate the shipments from Idaho, but subsequent to that initial shipment we don't have any scheduled dates for additional shipments. That will be determined in the future," Hurtt said.

Los Alamos has already sent two waste shipments to WIPP, which is located 25 miles southeast of Carlsbad and 75 miles north of Pecos. Three other sites are scheduled to transport their waste south through New Mexico to the storage facility, while five sites in the Southeast and Midwest will send radioactive waste to WIPP on a route along I-20 and U.S. 285 that will travel through Pecos.

New Mexico and the DOE have committed $120 million to upgrading U.S. 2885 from two to four lanes in New Mexico, as well as building bypasses for the WIPP trucks around Santa Fe and Roswell, N.M. There are no plans for road improvements in Texas to accommodate the WIPP trucks.

Like two Los Alamos National Laboratory shipments already received at WIPP, the Idaho one will be "transuranic" waste, made up of incidentally contaminated materials used in nuclear research, such as gloves. A third Los Alamos shipment of non-mixed transuranic waste is to be trucked to WIPP early Thursday, Hurtt said.

The April 27 Idaho shipping date honors a 1995 agreement settling a lawsuit by the state of Idaho that allowed spent nuclear fuel to be brought to INEEL for storage, a DOE news release says. Under that agreement, the DOE had pledged to begin removal of transuranic waste from INEEL by the end of April 1999, according to the news release.

The initial Idaho shipment will include 42 drums containing 55 gallons of waste per drum.

"It would be transuranic waste, what we call non-mixed waste that doesn't have the hazardous chemical component in it," Hurtt said. "We know from records and processing what's in the waste, and this particular waste doesn't have any of the chemical components."

That means the state of New Mexico has no regulatory authority over it, the DOE contends. The state does have jurisdiction over hazardous chemical waste. A state hazardous waste permit is expected to be issued this year. WIPP already has a radioactive waste disposal permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory contains the largest store of transuranic waste in the country, Hurtt said.

"Most of it came from Rocky Flats (Colorado) in years past," he said.

Transuranic waste includes no high-level radioactive waste.

INEEL eventually will send the equivalent of about 205,000 drums of waste, or about 4,900 shipments, to WIPP by the end of the year 2018, the DOE news release says.

Each shipment would take about 32 hours to get from INEEL to WIPP, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, where it will be buried in ancient salt caverns 2,150 feet underground.

En route, the initial INEEL shipment will pass through Wyoming, Utah and Colorado as well as Idaho and New Mexico, the DOE said.

WIPP is designed to take about 38,000 shipments over about 35 years, said Hurtt. Shipments largely would come from 10 DOE installations around the country.

Madera Valley board holding meeting tonight

PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- The Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation will hold its regular board of directors meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the corporation's office in Verhalen.

Items to be considered include a request by Sandy Kelly and an application by Lucia Lozano, along with a water bill from the district to Robert Smart.

Financial reports and a director's report are also scheduled for discussion, along with other applications, transfers and adjustments.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 2-6-22-25-34. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $44,079. Winning tickets sold in: Benavides, San Antonio. Matching four of five: 219. Prize: $604.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-0-8 (zero, zero, eight)

Obituary

Jimmy Bryant

Jimmy Alvin Bryant, 59, died Tuesday, April 13, 1999, at his home in Gallatin, Tenn.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m., Thursday, April 15, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel with Brother Leamon Flatt officiating. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Visitation will be after 6 p.m., Wednesday, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel.

Bryant was born in Pecos, is the son of Ruby Fay Newton and the late Park Bryant. He was finance manager and a musician, a 1956 graduate of Pecos High School and attended Texas Tech University.

Survivors include his wife, Della Brooks Bryant of Gallatin, Tenn.; two sons, Jeff Bryant of Gallatin, Tenn. and Dewayne Bryant of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; one daughter, Durhonda Yaklin of Orange Grover, Tx.; his mother, Ruby Faye Newton of Odessa; one sister, Parka Willis of Odessa; two stepsisters, Pat Dawson of Waller, Tx. and Glenn Ryan of Midland; one stepbrother, Michael Newton of Waller, Tx. and five grandchildren.

Weather

PECOS, April 14, 1999 -- High Tuesday 89. Low this morning 57. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low upper 30s. North wind 10-20 mph. Thursday, sunny and cool. High near 65. Northeast wind 5-15 mph.



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