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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Wednesday , July 7, 1999

`Pot pit' probe nets new arrest

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- David Pando, 17, of 5401 Sierra Rd., remained in the Presidio County Jail this morning on two warrants out of Pecos involving an investigation into a marijuana bunker found earlier this year just outside of town.

Bob Cook, Presidio County Jail administrator, said that Pando was arrested on a disorderly conduct warrant out of Reeves County. Later officials learned of a second warrant issued by Municipal Court Judge Phyllis Salyer for possession of marijuana less than 2000 pounds but more than 50 pounds.

Pando was to appear before a magistrate this morning for bail, which Salyer recommended be set at $10,000, Cook said.

Pecos Police narcotics investigator Paul Deishler said the arrest warrant is one of many to be issued in an ongoing drug investigation into a large amount of marijuana found in a bunker north of Pecos.

Deishler, his partner Ernest Lazcano and other members of the local drug task force located the bunker on April 25 and recovered about 720 pounds of marijuana.

A related search of ostrich pens on Rancho Road turned up a number of weapons and ammunition. Thomas Herrera, 55, was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.

Deishler said the marijuana is believed to be connected to a large drug smuggling ring that uses teenagers to transport marijuana from Mexico to Pecos. It is then moved to Dallas and points east.

David Gomez, 19, was arrested April 9 after crossing the Rio Grande near Presidio in a 1987 Monte Carlo carrying 37.8 pounds of marijuana. He was charged with a federal violation, and the 17-year-old Pecos teen accompanying him was released because he was a minor under federal statutes.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said today that the local drug task force has been so successful that it will continue to operate despite organization of a regional task force based in Pecos.

McKinney said he has assigned patrolman Billy Hull to the task force, where he will be an interdiction officer and possibly a K-9 handler.

Ernest Lazcano, who was assigned to the local task force by Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez, has resigned the S.O. and joined the police department as a patrolman.

Two new slots, including a juvenile gang prevention officer, will be added to the force if McKinney's application for a COPS grant is approved, bringing the number of officers to 21.

Soil district backing salt cedar project

By ROBERT RAMIREZ
Contributing Writer

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- The Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District approved adoption of a salt cedar eradication project during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

The salt cedar project, which will be overseen by the Texas Department of Agriculture, involves spraying 100 to 150 miles of salt cedar along the Pecos River while collecting water and grass samples.

Efforts are being made to eliminate salt cedars from along the river to increase water flow by as much as 50 percent. A test project has already been conducted by the State of New Mexico along the Pecos River south of Artesia.

Red Bluff Water Power Control District has $50,000 ready for the project, which is half of the total estimated cost.

The board plans to begin spraying Arsenal as soon as negotiations have been made for use of a helicopter later this year. Arsenal is designed to kill the salt cedars while leaving surrounding grasslands unharmed. Wetlands permits, and studies on Arsenal's effect on animals had to be conducted before any application could begin.

In other action, money for the Environmental Quality Incentives program (EQIP), which resolves environmental concerns in rural areas, should be available this month.

The board also designated funds for the water camp, for which 17 children are signed up. The camp is designed to teach children from across the area about proper water management and usage.

Garcia says flouride levels no big worry


By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- A test of the drinking water in Pecos indicated that the level of fluoride was a "tad" too high, but is not something residents should be concerned about, according to the city water superintendent.

The last chemical analysis report of a sample of water collected from the Town of Pecos City Water Department indicated a fluoride content of 2.2 mg/1, which exceeds the maximum limit of 2.0 mg/1 as set by the Texas Department of Health's "Drinking Water Standards."

Many public water systems are required by federal regulation to routinely analyze for fluoride levels in the drinking water they provide to consumers.

"Ours is just a little high," said water superintendent Octavio Garcia. "It's just barely above the maximum of 2.0, so that amount is very little."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a standard for fluoride at 2.0 mg./1 to minimize the occurrence of objectionable dental fluorosis.

"We don't have a problem, because it's not that much," said Garcia, who added that nothing can be done about lowering fluoride levels in the water.

"We have asked the people in Austin for solutions to this and they tell us there is nothing that can be done about the fluoride," said Garcia. "That as a matter of fact, there is fluoride in all the drinking water.

"We actually don't have that much, like they do in Andrews," Garcia said. "There it is four-point-something."

Fluoride, at the appropriate levels in the drinking water of children up to the age of nine, reduces cavities. However, children exposed to levels of fluoride greater than 1.0 to 2.0 mg/1 may develop dental fluorosis in their permanent teeth.

Dental fluorosis, in its moderate and severe forms, is a discoloration (brown staining) and pitting of teeth.

Because fluoride affects only developing teeth, households without children would not be expected to be affected by this level of fluoride. Individuals with children under the age of nine are encouraged to seek other sources of drinking water for their children.

"All in all, we're still in good shape," said Garcia.

The EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for fluoride is 4.0 mg/1. That standard is based upon protection from crippling skeletal fluorosis, which may result from levels of 4.0 mg/1 or more. The MCL is an enforceable standard and has been set to protect public health.

Garcia said that hopefully in another couple of years a new well would be installed for the residents of Pecos, which may reduce the city's fluoride level.

"This is something we are working on, and hopefully we'll get the new well in a couple of years," said Garcia. "This would provide us with water for a long time."

Council eyes testing  mine's water field


By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- Water, a perennial problem, is the top agenda item for the Pecos City Council again Thursday in their regular meeting.

The council will consider a proposal from ARCADIS Geraghty & Miller to perform an evaluation of the Duval water supply field located west of Pecos.

Used by the Freeport Sulphur mine, the well field is for sale since the mine shut down last week.

AG&M estimates a cost of $19,500 to review available data about the well field, compile and evaluate it, and prepare a report to the council. Additional field work may be necessary, and the cost for that would be added to the estimate.

Freeport is asking $4 million for the well field. AG&M will estimate the cost per thousand gallons for the water in the well field based on this asking price.

The city has been working toward development of a new well field southeast of Pecos that is estimated to cost $8 million for a supply that will last 50 years.

Another agenda item is to nominate Battery Conservation Technology Inc. as an enterprise that would be eligible for tax abatement.

BCTI is located in the city's enterprise zone off Western Avenue. Under new ownership, the battery recycling company expects to add new jobs as part of the qualification process.

Also on the 7:30 a.m. agenda are discussion of the East Side Civic Center, placement of street light in 1900 block of Missouri Street, advertising for bids on a pickup for the parks department, and evaluation of the city manager and city secretary.

School weighs Barstow campus sale

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- A lease agreement between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and Greater Opportunities of the Permian Basin (Head Start) to sell the Barstow School facility will be the topic of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, in the board room, located at 1304 S. Park. The public is invited to attend.

P-B-T school board members approved the closing of Barstow Elementary as a cost saving measure last summer. Students in Grades 1-5 were bused to schools in Pecos, and the campus was closed for several months until a deal was reached to use it for the local Head Start program, which had outgrown its facility on the east side of Pecos.

In other action on Thursday, board members will discuss promoting Census 2000; consider Pecos High School track repair/replacement bids and discuss and approve a revised interlocal agreement with Reeves County and Town of Pecos City for repair/replacement of Pecos High School track.

High school, middle school and elementary handbooks and student code of conduct will also be discussed along with several bids, bread bids, milk/dairy products bids and vehicle fleet.

In other business, board members will discuss consolidating payroll deductions; 1998-99 budget amendments; adoption of TASB Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) resolution authorizing the district to issue a tax and revenue anticipation note pursuant to the 1999 program.

Other items for discussion and approval include:

* Resolution extending depository contract.

* Officer to calculate effective tax and rollback tax rate.

* Change order for PHS roofing project

* Renewing contract for election services.

* Salary and compensation plan for administrative/professional and auxiliary employees for the 1999-2000 school year.

* First reading of Policy revisions to DEA (Local) resulting from pay study.

* 1998-99 budget amendments.

* Attendance report.

* Professional personnel: assignments, resignations, retirements and reassignments.

* Tax report.

* Cafeteria report.

* Commodities received report.

* Depository securities report.

* Current bills and financial report.

* Investment transaction report.

* Reconciled bank balance report.

* Time for next meeting.

* Request for items for next agenda.

The group will meet in closed session, to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel.

Appriasal board to eye 1999 records


PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- Final supplements for the 1998 tax year and appraisal records for 1999 are on the agenda for the Reeves County Appraisal District review board's Friday meeting.

The three-member board will convene at 9 a.m. in the district office at 403 S. Cypress Street.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery:

8-26-27-28-33 (eight, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, thirty-three)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order:

4-5-6 (four, five, six)
 

Weather

PECOS, July 7, 1999 -- High Tuesday 96; low last night 67. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low 65-70. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy. High 90-95. Southeast wind 10-20 mph.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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