Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, June 24, 1999
OC seeking personnel for Pecos campus
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 24, 1999--Odessa College is accepting applications for a
Pecos Community College Center director, said Ned Pilcher, dean of arts,
humanities and distance education.
Pilcher, Dr. Miles Eckert and Robert Munoz attended the regular Pecos
City Council meeting this morning to update the council on progress of
the OC center to be located in the old White's building on Eddy Street.
OC has registered the deed to the building and has plans drawn up for
renovation, said Eckert, who has worked since 1973 to bring college courses
"We started out doing extension work in an elementary school, then in
Pyote," Eckert Said. "Three or four years ago, civic leaders invited us
over and we found you were much in favor of having a center similar to
Fort Stockton's. We have been working in that direction."
Classes will start even before the building is ready, Pilcher said.
He gave the council a list of courses that will be offered for the fall
semester, utilizing space provided by the school district.
Pilcher said interviews for a center director will begin July 1, and
OC hopes to have one hired by July 15 so he can aid students to obtain
financial aid of between $5,000 and $7,000 per semester.
"It is very necessary for the director to have some knowledge of financial
aid," said Eckert. "If you have 200-300 people (the aid) will be over $1
million coming into this city. You see how a college can impact your community,
not only in education, but also economically."
Andrews and Monahans are watching progress of the Pecos center, which
they will use as a model for their own campuses, Eckert said.
The Pyote campus will be open one more year, then it will be closed.
Courses scheduled to be taught in Pecos this fall include art appreciation,
business management leadership, child guidance, introduction to computer
systems, composition and rhetoric, basic English, intermediate algebra,
music appreciation, information processing, jogging and walking, and introduction
All are evening classes.
Pilcher said that academic courses in English, speech, biology and orientation
will be added to allow students to complete an associate's degree.
Certificate courses will include culinary, automotive, cosmology, business
management, office skills, child development and criminal justice. These
courses do not require a college-entrance exam.
Instructional television courses will be available by videotape in accounting,
biology, business management and law, child development, English, government,
history, math, psychology and sociology.
Business management, English, government, history, math, photography,
psychology and sociology are available through Internet-based courses.
Computers will be available on campus for students who do not have Internet
Continuing education courses will also be offered to support business
and industry here.
"With the technology lab space we have, we can offer specialized training,"
Gari Ward, executive director for the Pecos Economic Development Corporation,
said he is working with two companies that might utilize that training.
Pilcher said that one-third of the White's building will be used for
technology training, and that can be cleared out and put in use immediately.
Eckert said the center takes a lot of planning.
"This director has to have the support of the community. Encourage your
and relatives to get to know him and let him help them fill out the forms
for financial aid.
"You will be on the road to new horizons in Pecos that you have never
been before," he said.
Robert Munoz, who has been doing training in Pecos since 1991, said
that he is ready to offer training to industry.
"We feel this is a win-win situation, something we have been looking
for," said Councilman Ricky Herrera. "Odessa College has gotten an influx
of students from our mine closing down the end of this month, so there
will be some more coming in. It is certainly going to benefit the community
and the citizens."
Project funds, sewer fee hike OKed
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 24, 1999--Money: where to get it and how to spend it, consumed
much of the Pecos City Council's three-hour meeting this morning.
They approved on second reading an ordinance raising sewer rates to
ease the financial strain a little, then reluctantly went on a spending
Airport rehabilitation will cost the city $170,000 of the $1.7 million
total project cost. A grant from the Texas Department of Transportation
is to fund the remainder.
City Manager Kenneth Neal said the payment probably won't be due until
2001, and then the full amount may not be required.
Improvements include rehabilitating runways, aprons, taxiways, signs,
"It is in really good shape, but needs some repairs," Neal said. Work
is to be done by TxDOT.
Participation in the Texas Water Development Board's Region F cost the
city $2,050, to be paid in two installments.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin said that Reeves County paid the
first installment in February and was asking Pecos, Balmorhea and the Madera
Valley Water Supply Corp. to pay them back for a pro-rata share of the
The council approved payment of $1,025, with the additional $1,025 to
be paid in February, 2000.
"Being a paid-up member of Region F is pretty important," said finance
director Steve McCormick. "In the future they could stop us from doing
some things we want to do."
Where to get $8,100 cash for track rehabilitation at Pecos High School
- and whether to pay it - caused the most controversy.
The council had agreed to provide equipment and labor to remove the
old track surface and haul material for the new surface from Hoban. But
they had not expected any cash outlay.
Councilman Danny Rodriguez said that the addition of long jump and pole
vault pits to the project, along with engineering costs to ensure proper
drainage, pushed the total cost over what school trustees had approved.
"It will be a community project," said Rodriguez, who noted that citizens
use the track day and night for exercise.
Mayor Dot Stafford asked what budget line item the $8,100 payment could
be charged to.
McCormick suggested using contingency funds, which has a $30,000 balance.
Stafford objected, saying those funds are set aside for emergencies.
Johnny Terrazas' motion to approve the payment and amend the interlocal
agreement passed with opposition.
"I agree we need to go ahead with this, but we need to be careful in
the future, with the airport matching cost," said Ricky Herrera.
The next expenditure approved is $6,000 for the second step in re-opening
the landfill for construction debris and tree limbs.
Roy Knowles of Charter Waste Management said the first $9,000 paid for
monitoring wells that proved the landfill is not contaminating underground
Now it will cost $6,000 to submit the paperwork to the Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission for approval, he said.
Once it is approved, the next step will be to spend $10,000 in engineering
fees to design a new trench, he said.
The Type IV landfill will save the city money in the long run and will
benefit the community, and rural residents could be charged a fee to dump
there, he said.
Another agenda item that would cost money was tabled until the July
Cynthia Quintana had asked the city to install a street light in the
1900 block of Missouri Street.
She said that street lights at each end of the block fail to light the
Neal said that he was unable to locate a place where a utility pole
could be installed.
Mike Hall said that many children are on the street at night, and a
registered sex offender lives just two blocks away.
"That's the major concern; the kids' safety," he said.
Mayor Stafford suggested residents install a night light on their property.
City Attorney Scott Johnson suggested the council look at the area at
night before making a decision.
Also tabled was a discussion on the East Side Civic Center, since those
who requested action were unable to be present.
Councilmen declined a request for city crews to install and remove rodeo
flags purchased by local businesses because they are on private property.
Five persons die in Pecos County accidents
From Staff and Wire Reports
Four persons were killed and three others injured in an accident about
9:15 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 10 between Balmorhea and Fort Stockton.
It was one of two fatal accidents to occur in Pecos County over a 24-hour
period. One person was killed early this morning in a car-truck accident
on U.S. 285, between Fort Stockton and Sanderson.
All seven of the people injured in Wednesday's accident, lived in El
Paso and worked for the El Paso branch of the state Mental Health and Mental
Retardation Department, officials said.
Fernando Fonseca, 40, an orthopedic equipment operator; Juan Carlos
Lopez, 27, a therapy technician; Laura Margarita Riddle, 39, an occupational
therapist; and Renee Hall Siefert, 46, a therapy technician, were pronounced
dead at the scene from head, neck and back injuries.
All were pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Robert Gonzales of
Fort Stockton and taken to Memorial Funeral Home in Fort Stockton. Next
of kin have been notified.
Injured were Robert Piseno, 29, a physical therapy assistant, who was
reported in stable condition, with multiple contusions; Irasema Camacho,
27, a therapy technician listed in serious condition with multiple fractures
and internal injuries; and Irene Rodriguez Carrego, 51, a therapy technician
listed in critical condition, with multiple fractures and internal injuries.
The accident occurred just inside the Pecos County line on I-10, 27
miles west of Fort Stockton as Piseno, the driver of the a 1997 Dodge Ram,
was eastbound on Interstate 10. He veered off the roadway to the left onto
an unimproved shoulder. The driver overcorrected to the left partially
exiting the roadway and then to the right getting back on roadway and skidding
into center median, overturning several times and ejecting all the passengers.
Ambulances from both Fort Stockton and Balmorhea were called to the
Department of Public Safety Trooper of Fort Stockton Joe Dennett is
investigating the accident, as well as the accident this morning south
of Fort Stockton. Dennett was still planning to interview the driver of
the truck at press time, and a full report on today's fatal crash was unavailable.
Arizona, eastern states deal with drought crisis
By PAUL DAVENPORT
Associated Press Writer
PECOS, June 24, 1999--While rains have been heavier in West Texas this
spring than at any time since the early 1990s, areas both to the west and
east are in the grip of a drought that is causing problems for farmers
In Arizona, grazing lands are parched from the state's third-driest
winter in a century and Gov. Jane Hull declared a statewide drought emergency
aimed at gaining tax breaks for struggling ranchers.
Lack of snow last winter and too little rain since then has stunted
grazing grass and dried up ponds and other surface water sources, meaning
many ranchers have had to haul feed and water to their livestock or take
the animals to market early.
It's the same dilemma facing farmers in the East, where a long spell
of dry weather has officials and farmers worried about what the rest of
the season will bring.
Areas of the Permian Basin, Concho Valley and Texas Panhandle that have
seen under an inch of rain during the first few months of the year several
times in the mid and late 1990s have been dealing with too much water over
the past several weeks. Rain totals in some areas have surpassed five inches,
and are threatening to wash out some of the summer and fall crops.
But to the east, parts of the South, Midwest and Northeast are being
slowly strangled by a spotty, but tenacious, drought that has been spreading
for several months.
In New England, crops are withering in the fields or simply failing
to sprout, while firefighters keep an eye out for brush and forest fires.
The Southeast is suffering its second-driest spring in a century.
Mrs. Hull's declaration, issued Wednesday, is aimed at helping ranchers
qualify for reduced taxes on livestock sales forced by the drought.
Heavy summer rains would be a better solution, said Jeff Menges, whose
family has ranches near Clifton and Safford in southeastern Arizona.
"We need the relief right now," said Menges, whose family has already
sold 15 percent of its herd. "We didn't get any growth in the spring and
winter because it is just too dry. We're hoping that the summer monsoon
will just bail us out."
Arizona's winter precipitation this year was the third lowest since
1995, "with an alarming pattern of below normal winter and early spring
rain" for much of the state, according to the Eastern Arizona Counties
Streams have run dry or low in stretches, while lakes have dried up
or are at dramatically low levels. Lyman Lake near Springerville is only
at 2 percent of capacity, while the state's reservoirs overall are below
50 percent of capacity, the counties organization reported.
Back in the East, farmers from Maine to Georgia are in a similar bind.
East Tennessee cattle farmers, with rainfall nearly 4 inches below normal,
are selling off stock because their grass is dying.
"If this dry spell continues, pastures dry up and farmers have to feed
baled hay to their cows in the summer, we could really run into a hay shortage
and problems this winter," said Gary Bates, a University of Tennessee forage
The weather is a continuation of what many dubbed the "Drought of the
Century," which began last summer and caused $700 million in crop damage
in Georgia alone.
Parts of Georgia are 11 inches below average rainfall for the year and
North Carolina's Piedmont region endured the driest May on record. New
England states have had about a third of their usual rainfall for the month.
At Maxwell's Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, manager Bill Bamford is
irrigating 90 acres of fruit and vegetables with several farm ponds.
"I have stuff that I planted that hasn't come up yet and stuff that's
wilting in the midday heat," he said. "I feel like I'm losing ground, because
I can't keep up with the irrigation that needs to be done."
As ever, the dry weather means an increased risk of fires. In New Hampshire,
firefighters already have battled more than 1,000 brush and forest fires
since late March, compared to the average 495, said Paul Leary, a forest
ranger with the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
In Arizona, there are an estimated 155,000 homes at risk from forest
fires, the county group's report said, quoting Forest Service estimates.
Deadlines near for Rodeo's three events
PECOS, June 24, 1999--Friday is the final day for local cowboys
to enter the Second Annual Team Roping Classic, scheduled for Saturday,
July 3 at the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
The roping will be paid on a four steer average Saturday morning. The
top 12 teams from the Saturday morning roping, will come back and rope
one steer in the Saturday night performance.
The team with the fastest time in the Saturday night performance will
win $500 Gift Buckles.
Entries must be postmarked by June 25. For more information and entry
blanks call 915-445-4155.
Entries are open for the wild cow milking and wild horse race and Saturday
is the last day to register. Sign-up entry fee is $50 per team in this
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 4-10-34-41-42-49. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number
matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 58. Prize: $1,716. Matching
four of six: 2,972. Prize: $121.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 2-8-1 (two, eight, one)
PECOS, June 24, 1999--High Wednesday 101. Low this morning 69. Forecast
for tonight: fair. Low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Friday,
partly cloudy. High in the upper 90s. South wind 5-15 mph.
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
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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise