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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, September 28, 1999

County OKs new RCDC medical officer

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- A new head of the Reeves County Detention Center's health services department and new computer hardware for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Lamberto Herrera were approved during the regular meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court.

Commissioners also were asked to take up a plan by Utah-based Envirocare to locate a low level radioactive waste dump in northwestern Ward County, eight miles east of Barstow and 14 miles east of Pecos, during their regular meeting on Monday.

Commissioners approved a contract between Jim Claire and Reeves County for Claire to head the health department at the RCDC. His salary has been set at $50,000.

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco said Claire is a retiree from public health service who had been employed at the La Tuna Prison outside of El Paso. He has a master's degree in Business Administration, Hospital Administration with 27 years of health care management experience and accomplishments with progressive responsibility in a broad range of line and staff positions.

His work experience has been very extensive, including working for the United States Public Health Service since 1981. Claire was health services administrator at two JCAHO accredited prison medical departments, FCI McKean and FCI La Tuna, where Franco previously served as warden.

He developed the Immigration and Naturalization Service Health Care Program and was responsible for administrative operation of eight clinics. He developed staffing and space requirements for medical facilities.

He has been an Associate Administrator, United States Public Health Service Outpatient Clinic, Washington, D.C.; Internal Auditor, Hansen's Disease Center and participated in the closure process of the 35 USPHS hospitals and clinics. He resolved the payment of over $2 million of unpaid claims against merchant seaman and USPHS Commissioned Officers.

"That's a very good deal, Mr. Claire is very good at what he does and I believe he will be an asset to the facility," said Franco.

Franco said that something needed to be done towards building for the future. "We hope he can bring his expertise and provide other employees with vital information."

He said he wants to see a local individual take over that position some day.

"This has been my focus from the beginning, to educate these personnel and make this facility the best we can," Franco said, adding he knows there is already some resentment towards outsiders coming into Pecos and retaining key positions at the facility. "But what we want to do, is set up some systems that will benefit everyone."

The focus is to bring leadership skills and expertise to share with the other employees. "We're getting older, more experienced employees in key management positions, but they will someday be replaced with local employees, that are already at the facility," said Franco.

"There's always been a conflict between homesteaders and outsiders," said Franco. "It's a classic situation."

Franco said Claire's addition to the facility would enhance the health department and help other employees that would like to work in that field. "We certainly want to encourage everyone to better themselves and learn more about their field of training," said Franco, who added, "We're going to set up some programs, courses and correspondence courses that will benefit all the employees."

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that some displaced employees, including former Pennzoil/Freeport Sulphur workers, are already employed at the facility in different areas.

"They took the opportunity to go back to school and have come back to work at the facility," he said.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of computer hardware for Herrera, the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4.

"I got a request from Mr. Herrera that he wanted a computer," said commissioner precinct 4 Hivi Rayos, who had first requested that both software and hardware be purchased for the JP's office. Total cost for both would be about $10,000.

Galindo responded, saying, "$10,000 could go a long way towards curbing in your precinct."

"Well, he said he needed a computer so I thought I would bring it up," said Rayos. "He said other Reeves County personnel could also use it."

"So you mean this is a higher priority than your (campaign) platform issue?" said Galindo.

County auditor Lynn Owens said that in a year or two, Herrera's office would have to be linked to the state system.

"I think all we need right now is the hardware though. It would be a lot cheaper," said Precinct 2 commissioner David Castillo.

Under reports from various departments, Texas Department of Transportation area engineer Paul Henderson told commissioners he wanted to request an item to be put on the agenda for their next meeting.

"I was hoping you were here to talk about our landscaping project," said Galindo.

"No, but I wanted to talk about a company called Envirocare, who along with a Barstow resident, are looking to make a radioactive waste dump eight miles east of Barstow," said Henderson.

He said this site is closer to Pecos than it is to Monahans and would pose more a problem to this community than Monahans. "We need to let the community know and make a study on our behalf," Henderson said. "We need to let them know we are against the radioactive waste in our area."

Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin who has been one of the main opponents of radioactive waste dumps in the area said county residents need to let Envirocare know that we are against the dump, which would be 24 miles west of Monahans.

While the site would be closer to Barstow and Pecos than to Monahans, most of the benefits being discussed with Envirocare by Ward County officials would be directed towards the Monahans area, including the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD and Ward Memorial Hospital, neither of which serve Barstow residents.

"Our main concern is for the community, for the people who reside in our community," said Tarin. "And we need to let them know that this certainly isn't something that we want."

Galindo said there was a need for a resolution to oppose this radioactive waste in our area.

"This is something we have to be firm about, something that needs to be done," said Tarin.

"If they want to set it up closer to them (Monahans), that's another story," said Castillo.

Galindo told Henderson the item would be posted on the next agenda.

Also on Monday, commissioners approved the oath and deputation of Ruben Dominguez at the Reeves County Sheriff's Office, while personnel and salary changes included Maria Rivera at the RCDC, promoted to Food Service III at $23,000 a year.

Commissioners discussed the Reeves County Civic Center, in conjunction with semi-monthly bills. "We had to move some money into that line-item, because they don't have any more funds," said auditor Lynn Owens, who told the group the center had received a disconnect notice from Texas-New Mexico Power Co. company.

"I had to pay that bill, with the fall fair coming up and everything we need electricity out there," he said.

Owens said the chamber doesn't have any funds left for the center, which is funded with $5,000 from the county and $5,000 from the city. Rental fees should make up the difference for bills incurred at the center, but Owens said, "We haven't received a report from them."

A request by Jo Cooksey, of the Reeves County golf committee, to purchase furniture for the area inside the pro shop before Oct. 8 was approved.

"She came up with a couple of suggestions on some furniture and they would like to purchase it before Oct. 8, when there will be a tournament," said Commissioner Precinct 2 David Castillo.

"We can move about $1,200 and make those arrangements, if you all agree," said Galindo.

Galindo said he would get the recreation director Nora Geron, to obtain the furniture and have it moved into the pro shop before the scheduled golf tournament.

"We need to make a good impression for the out-of-town golfers," said Castillo.

Reeves County Sheriff's Office fees were approved as presented. "They range anywhere from $10 to $50 for various services they provide," said Galindo.

A copier for the Reeves County Annex was approved under state pricing at $445 a month.

Hudspeth files federal lawsuit for dump cash

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

Sept. 28, 1999 -- Hudspeth County's failed low-level radioactive waste dump has resulted in a federal court suit against the states of Maine and Vermont.

The two New England states had an agreement with Texas to send their radioactive waste to the dump that never materialized.

In that 1998 agreement, Maine and Vermont agreed to pay $2.5 million for community assistance projects designated by the host county. Half of the payment was due on the first day of the month following ratification of the compact by Congress (Oct. 1, 1998).

The other half was due on the first day following the approval of a facility operating license by Texas' regulatory body. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission rejected the license in October, 1998 because of a fault that lies underneath the proposed dump site.

Hudspeth County was designated the host county under the terms of the Compact and was entitled to receive $1.25 million each from Maine and Vermont on Oct. 1, 1998, the suit alleges.

Neither state made the payments and both have refused Hudspeth County's demand for payment, the suit alleges.

Hudspeth County alleges breach of contract and seeks to recover $1.25 million from each state for the half payment that was due Oct. 1, 1998.

The suit was filed in the Pecos Division of federal court because Hudspeth is one of the 10 counties comprising the division.

Dennis Bailey, press secretary for Maine Gov. Angus S. King Jr., said the governor has not seen the suit, which was filed Monday, and he could not comment on it.

No response has been made to a previous claim letter from Hudspeth County, he said.

Susan Allen, press secretary for Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, did not return a phone call before press time today.

Reed given newly-created position

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- Jamison Reed finds himself in a unique position as supervising probation officer for the Pecos Division of U.S. District Court.

"My position is unique because I still have to do probation office work, while most others have larger staffs and all they do is manage," Reed said of the newly created supervisory position.

Reed was the first probation officer assigned to the Pecos Division, taking the oath in September, 1997. Previous to that, probation officers from Midland or El Paso served the Pecos Division.

Now four probation officers and three clerks are stationed in the Pecos courthouse at 410 S. Cedar St. Reed supervises officers Oswaldo Hinojos, Karen Eisenberg and Dianna Tijarina, and clerks Irma Benavides, Barbara Arreguy and Ida Baeza.

"This is an honor, and I am pleased to serve in this new position," Reed said this morning after his co-workers celebrated with a pot-luck breakfast.

Schedule announced for Fall Fair events

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- A Grand Opening Ceremony will kick off events for the 55th Annual Reeves County Fall Fair, scheduled later this week in Pecos.

The Fall Fair will officially open at 1 p.m., Friday. However, a carnival will be set up at the Reeves County Civic Center parking lot on Wednesday and will be open for the next four nights from 6-11 p.m. and well as on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

On Thursday, from 1-7 p.m., entries will be accepted for all categories except culinary items and herbs: cut stems, live plants.

Entry deadline for the Reeves County Livestock Show will be 5 p.m., on Thursday. Friday events will begin at 7 a.m., with entries accepted in the culinary department and herbs. Judging begins on all fair entries in the home economics/art exhibits at 10 a.m.

From 4:30-7 p.m., weigh-in for the livestock show will be held at the civic center; from 4-10 p.m., an enchilada plate sale is scheduled inside the center, sponsored by the Pecos Eagle Band Boosters.

The Barbecue Beef Cookoff will get underway at 6 p.m., Friday, at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Arena and the fall fair carnival will be open from 6 p.m. until midnight. The fair will close at 10 p.m.

Saturday events will commence at 7 a.m., with a Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Pecos Rotary Club. Tickets are $5 for adults. The fair will officially open its doors at 8 a.m., with livestock judging starting at 9 a.m., with the lamb show. It will be followed by the West Texas Steer and Heifer Show.

Barbecue Beef Judging will be held at 3 p.m. and at 4 p.m., ribbon/photo presentation for the Civic Center's Art Show is scheduled.

An enchilada plate sale will again be held from 1-10 p.m. at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The fall fair concert will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Headlining the event is Pete Astudillo with Los Jinetes Del Bravo, Alianza Nortena, La Distancia and Expresiones performing during the evening. The carnival will be open from 6 p.m. until midnight.

The fall fair will officially conclude at 10 p.m. at the Civic Center.

PIONEER FAMILY

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the West of the Pecos Museum held an Open House in honor of this year's Hispanic Pioneer Family, the Doctor Jose B. Cortes Family. West of the Pecos Golden Girl Sara Matta presented the family a special award for this honor. Doctor Cortes was a pioneer doctor at the turn of the century in Reeves County in Balmorhea. The Open House was co-hosted by the Business and Professional Women's Club. The exhibit was put together by the West of the Pecos Museum staff and it depicts downtown Balmorhea. The exhibit will be on display through Thursday.

Deadline today for homecoming parade entries

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- The 1999 Pecos High School homecoming parade has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, with an entry deadline of 5 p.m. today to participate.

Line-up for the parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the 1000 block of West Third Street, and the parade will run from Third and Eddy streets to the west parking lot of Eagle Stadium, on Iowa Street.

To participate, please call the PHS office today at 447-7222.

Midland man faces charges

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officers have been busy in the Midland area over the past several days.

Task force officers arrested Jerrad M. Foster, of 5300 Polo Club Road, Midland, last Thursday, following an investigation into alleged drug trafficking. Foster was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

The arrest came as a result of an investigation of alleged drug trafficking from the Foster residence, according to Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

The investigation found Foster to be in possession of alleged narcotics to include, L.S.D., Psilocybin (mushrooms), cocaine and marijuana.

Also seized was an undisclosed amount of cash found with the narcotics, which is believed to be proceeds from drug trafficking, Richards said.

Since the origin of the task force, officers have been busy with alleged drug activity across the area. Midland is one of several cities and counties participating in the task l force, which is headed by Richards with Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez project director for the task force. Pecos is the home base for the force.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 17-23-34-35-37. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 296. Prize: $804.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 8-5-1 (eight, five, one)

Weather

PECOS, Sept. 28, 1999 -- High Monday 94; lowlast night 63. Tonight, cloudy, breezy and cool with a 20 percent chance of showers. Low near 50. Northeast wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Caution advised on area lakes. Wednesday, decreasing clouds and cool. High near 70 Northeast to east wind 10-20 mph. Extended forecast, Wednesday night, partly cloudy. Low 45 50.



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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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