Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 14, 1999
RR crossings kept, zoo street shut by council
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - "No," said the Pecos City Council this morning
to closing railroad crossings on Willow, Alberta and Locust Streets as
requested by Union Pacific Railroad Company.
"Yes," said the council to moving the Eddy Street fence around Fairview
Cemetery to allow room for a six-foot wide sidewalk to be installed by
the Texas Department of Transportation.
"Yes" to a truck route around Pecos on the east.
"Yes" to closing Toliver Street for the two blocks inside Maxey Park.
"Wait" to Betty Oster Collier and Jerry Carbajal on the Texas Home Investment
Partnership Program to finance housing rehabilitation for elderly, low-income
and disabled homeowners.
"Well done" to Valera Gatewood for eight years of service on the Reeves
County Appraisal District board of directors, whom they re-appointed.
Noting that Gatewood is the only board member with a perfect attendance
record over the past two years, Councilman Johnny Terrazas made the motion
to reappoint her.
"She's eight for eight," said Terrazas. "She represents us well."
Mayor Pro Tem Danny Rodriguez took over the gavel for Mayor Dot Stafford,
whose voice gave out after the first agenda item. When the meeting continued
for more than two hours, Rodriguez quipped that Stafford had "put everything
in the air" on the two-page agenda.
Routine items approved with little discussion included awarding contracts
for management and engineering services on the new $350,000 water system
improvement grant to Carlos Colina-Vargas and Frank Spencer & Associates,
respectively, and approving four signators for checks;
- Increasing dependent health care coverage premiums from $100 to $125
- Adopting the airport layout plan proposed by the Texas Department
- Hiring a part-time Municipal Court Clerk;
- Performing an internal audit of Municipal Court
- Juvenile court, ambulance and fire reports, and accounts payable.
Onion shed owner Randy Taylor and A.B. Foster voiced opposition to closing
the railroad crossing on Willow Street.
Foster said the shed is in operation during June, July and August, employing
70-80 workers. In addition, 20-30 field trucks per day cross the tracks
with loads of onions, and 15-20 semi-trucks haul them from the shed to
markets throughout the United States.
"If we closed this street and made access off Elm, that would entail
a lot of work," Foster said. "It is only a dirt road. There's bridges and
culverts where you turn off Elm and it would be hard for the trucks to
make that turn."
The shed, just north of the tracks off Willow Street, has been in operation
since 1964, Foster said.
"It would be a definite hardship on us if they close this crossing,"
Utilities Director Octavio Garcia said that closing the Locust Street
crossing would create a hardship for families who live in the area on both
sides of the railroad.
"Alberta is just a crossing to residences outside the city limits, and
they can use Alamo Street," he said.
Rodriguez said that when the closings were considered previously, emergency
personnel objected that it would hinder their reaching victims north of
the tracks when a mile-long train is blocking U.S. Highway 285.
Consolidating the six crossings into three would increase the hazard
as well has having an economic impact, said councilman Ricky Herrera, who
seconded Rodriguez's motion to reject the proposal.
John Salcido reported that TxDOT plans to install a six-foot sidewalk
around Fairview Cemetery on the Eddy Street side to make it safer for pedestrians,
particularly school children. The cemetery fence needs to be moved at least
two feet, he said.
City Manager Kenneth Neal said the fence can be moved farther to the
west, leaving evergreen trees and the watering system outside the fence.
"We are also going to landscape the island on Washington Street," Salcido
said. The sidewalk will also connect with ramps that comply with the Americans
with Disabilities Act, he said.
Armando Gil presented a plan to close Toliver Street between the buffalo
pen on the north and Kid's City on the south, to protect children both
playing in the area and crossing the road to view animals on both sides
of the street.
"Another problem is vandalism at night," Gil said. "People are driving
through there, drinking and throwing beer bottles inside the animal pens."
The council approved fencing off the closed roadway, but rejected a
suggestion to install a narrow gate in the north end for foot traffic.
Councilman Larry Levario said that TxDOT does not want to encourage
people to park on the I-20 access road and enter the park.
City Attorney Scott Johnson drew up an ordinance closing the street,
which was approved on first reading. The second reading will be at the
next council meeting Oct. 28.
Chamber eyes Civic Center alcohol permit
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - Applying for a liquor license to sell alcoholic
beverages at the Reeves County Civic Center was a suggestion brought before
Chamber of Commerce Board members during their regular meeting, held Tuesday.
Dyer Lightfoot, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent in charge
of the Odessa area, and David Jackson were on hand for the meeting to answer
questions and provide input.
Dick Alligood told board members that the taxing entities can't continue
to maintain operations at the civic center, and other ventures need to
be looked at.
"We need to take a look at the facility and possibly think about filing
our own license for alcoholic beverages," said Alligood.
He told the group that people who rent out the center sometimes get
temporary licenses, but if the chamber had a license they could keep the
funds generated from the sale of alcoholic beverages at the facility.
"At looking at the concert and other events, we're very well aware of
what we can do with the sales of alcohol," he said.
Alligood said that the chamber would need to look into the legalities
of it and assess the liabilities, before taking that step. "And also, do
we want to be in that type of business," he said.
"We need to find out if we as a chamber can file, or do we have to form
a separate corporation," he said.
Lightfoot told the group that the chamber could apply to have a license,
since they have the lease on the facility. "You also have to consider that
this lease is for 365 days a year, so the chamber would essentially be
in charge of all alcoholic beverage sales out there," he said.
Lightfoot said that the group would either have to hire some management,
or could do it themselves, but would have to go through some training.
"The liability factor is always there, when holding this type of license,"
he said. "It's important to train people and keep them abreast of all the
Lightfoot said that the chamber would have to keep tabs on the individuals
at the facility if they had their own liquor license.
"If you've got a problem with someone there, take care of it, if there's
someone there that looks to young to be drinking don't sell them alcohol,
if there's someone who is drunk, find them a ride home," he said.
The chamber would also go through a criminal history check. "But that's
standard procedure when applying for the license," he said.
Alligood said that by owning the license, the chamber could monitor
activities at the facility better.
"We've had incidents where the facility is rented out for a private
occasion, then chamber staff will go out to the facility on Monday and
find graffiti and other damages done," he said. "If the chamber was selling
the alcoholic beverages out there, they could keep better tabs on the people,
and possibly prevent these things from happening."
The license would cost from $700-$800 the first year, but the cost would
go down in the second year, upon renewal, according to Lightfoot.
All beer sales funds would go to the chamber and the license would belong
to the chamber.
"In other words, people who rent it out can't bring in their own alcoholic
beverages, except liquor," said Lightfoot. "Beer sales would belong to
the chamber, but it could also sell set ups for mixed drinks."
Chamber members agreed to look into the matter further before deciding
if they want to apply for the license.
"We need to discuss this and see if want to do this," said chamber president
Linda Gholson. "We need to discuss if we even want to be in the liquor
Alligood said that if the chamber does opt to apply for the license,
the city would need to be in on it as well, along with the West of the
Pecos Rodeo Committee.
"We invited Starkey (Warren) to be with us today, because he is the
president of the rodeo committee," said Alligood.
Lightfoot said the liquor license would not interfere with beer sales
at the annual rodeo events, since they are two separate facilities. "The
rodeo grounds have a different address and they hold a license of their
own, so it wouldn't interfere with their sales at all," he said.
In a related subject, Gholson gave board members an update on the results
from the Annual Fall Fair and concert.
"Things were great at the fall fair, we did really well," she said,
referring to the events at the Reeves County Civic Center. "It was a huge
Chamber director Tom Rivera told the group that the cookoff had generated
some funds. "It was up in the air there for awhile, but at the end it made
some money," said Rivera.
Total expenditures for the cookoff totaled, $1,714 and the income was
The Annual Stock Show held in conjunction with fall fair events, was
a huge success, the largest it's been. New Reeves County Extension Agent
Terry Holder told the group that this was in part because of the TCLA lamb
show. There were 170 lambs in the show, 14 steers and seven heifers.
"We had a lot more entries because of the lamb show, which brought a
lot of people into Pecos," said Holder.
The steer and heifer number was down a bit, but Holder said he had heard
nothing but good comments about the stock show in general. "Hopefully next
year we'll do this well," he said.
Although turnout for the Fall Fair concert was lower than previous years,
chamber members also made money there, where the group was in charge of
booth sales and beverage sales.
"The women's division also held a barbecue dinner for the firemen at
the museum, which was a huge success," said Gholson.
The Fall Fair Committee will meet next Tuesday, at noon, at Cattleman's
Restaurant. "If anyone has any ideas or just want to provide some input
for next year's event, please attend this meeting," she said.
Debbie Thomas told the group that the route for the Mother Goose Halloween
Parade had been changed again. "The parade will now start at the First
National Bank, as originally planned and will end at the West of the Pecos
Museum, where a little carnival will be set up," she said.
The date of the annual event had also been changed earlier, from late
September to Oct. 21. In past years, the event was held in conjunction
with the fall fair, but this year the event was scheduled towards the end
of the month and the name changed to Mother Goose Halloween Parade.
The Women's Division of the chamber reported that this year there will
not be a gift show and Tour of Homes. "We've held the Tour of Homes for
the past two years and it's kind of hard to find people for the tour,"
said Thomas. "We decided not to have it this year, and think about maybe
having it next year, along with the gift show."
Jesse Stephens talked about the home project. A meeting has been scheduled
for Nov. 18 with members of HUD scheduled to be present.
Stephens said this was a project he felt they needed to pursue. "There's
a lot of money in the form of grants that can be used to renovate older
homes, get rid of vacant lots and houses," he said.
PHS band heads to El Paso
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - The Pecos Eagle Band will be in El Paso this weekend
competing against several other Class 4A bands in the University Interscholastic
League area marching contest, at the Socorro Athletic Center Complex.
Eagle band members will be performing at 2:15 p.m., El Paso time at
Socorro Stadium, located a mile north of Interstate 10 on Loop 375 (Exit
34), on the east side of El Paso.
"Putting it Together," "Be Bop A Lula" and "Jericho" are some of the
selections the band will perform in competition.
"We're hoping for the best," said Eagle Band Director Bill Goff. "If
we win at that competition, we can go on to area competition," he said.
Goff said the band has been practicing diligently and "are doing a lot
"We have a more powerful band this year than we did last year," said
The Eagle Band earned a Division I at last year's competition in El
Paso, but Class 4A schools did not advance to area competition in 1998.
High School bands can advance to regional and state competition ever other
year, under rules set down by the UIL in 1992.
City seeks to move up Halloween to Saturday
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - Halloween trick or treat will be on Saturday,
Oct. 30, the Pecos City Council decided this morning.
Mayor Dot Stafford made the recommendation because October 31 falls
on Sunday, when many people attend church in the evening.
"I didn't know we had that kind of power," quipped Councilman Johnny
"You could move Thanksgiving to Friday," suggested City Attorney Scott
Pecos Elementary School will have a Halloween carnival on Friday night,
Oct. 29, Stafford said.
Council members also approved a lease agreement with Larry Kingston
for use of the big airport hangar where he parks his crop duster.
The contract prohibits Kingston from washing the airplane at the airport
and from storing chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.
Health Inspector Armando Gil said that he regularly inspects the hangar,
and there has been a problem in the past with Kingston washing his plane
and storing chemicals.
"This is a little tougher than the old agreement," said Johnson.
Kingston is to pay $1,320 per year for hangar lease.
No action was taken following executive sessions regarding the duties
of the animal control officer and possible litigation with Reeves County
over water rates for the detention center.
City Manager Kenneth Neal said the council was updated on the new animal
control officer, Jaime Renteria.
School board to discuss request for drug dog
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - A proposal by Pecos Police Department for a Drug
Detection Dog Project and a maintenance agreement for synthetic track surfacing
with Wilkins Associates will topics of discussion at today's regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD Board meeting.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m., in the P-B-T board room at 1304
S. Park St..
Board members will recognize Region 18 Teacher of the Year nominees
for state, discuss interlocal agreement with Reeves County for racquetball
courts and batting cages on the west side of the old Pecos High School
gym, and reasons and times for staff to leave campus early.
In other business, the board will discuss the facility value assessment
K-8 proposal report by Monte Hunter; an agreement with Pecos Nursing Home
for relocation of nursing facility residents in case of emergency; request
by Town of Pecos City to accept donation of property located at Lot 1-6,
Block 8, Central Section for a future sports complex.
Board members will also discuss and approve:
· A resolution to recognize the Reeves County, Texas 4-H organizations
as an extracurricular activity.
· A resolution to appoint three representatives to the Reeves
County Tax Appraisal District Board of Directors.
· Policies and procedures for transportation department.
· 1999-2000 textbook committees.
· 1999-2000 budget amendments.
* Enrollment report.
* Tax Report.
* Depository securities report.
* Current bills and financial report.
* Investment transaction report.
* Reconciled bank balance report.
* Date and time for next regular meeting.
* Calendar of events.
* Request for items for next agenda.
The board will meet in closed session to discuss personnel or hear complaints
against personnel and for a private consultation with the board's attorney.
In open session the group will take action, if any, on items discussed
in closed session.
Environmental groups threaten suit
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will face a
lawsuit in 60 days unless it designates additional areas of critical habitat
for the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow, two environmentalist groups
The government's present plan for recovery of the fish fails to protect
its current habitat, let alone areas of historic range along the Rio Grande
in Texas and New Mexico, according to Forest Guardians of Santa Fe and
the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces.
The failure violates the Endangered Species Act, said Matt Kenna, attorney
for the plaintiffs.
"If you do not remedy these violations within the next 60 days, I will
file suit on behalf of Forest Guardians and the Southwest Environmental
Center in order to compel you to do so," Kenna said in his formal notice
of intent to sue, filed Wednesday with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's
office in Washington, D.C.
The warning also applies to areas of the Pecos River, and to the Rio
Grande in Texas and New Mexico. The Pecos is habitat for another protected
fish, the Pecos bluntnose shiner, but the environmentalists also would
like the silvery minnow reintroduced in that river, from Fort Sumner to
above Brantley Reservoir.
The government's final designation of critical habitat for the minnow
only includes a portion of current habitat, which is only 5 percent of
its historic range, the notice warns.
Since the fact that the minnow occupied only 5 percent of its historic
range led to its endangered status, Kenna said, "preservation and restoration
of that habitat alone could never lead to its delisting."
The final designation excludes six miles of Rio Grande where 99 percent
of the minnow population currently exists, the groups noted. Those six
miles extend from the San Marcial railroad bridge across the Rio Grande,
about 30 miles south of Socorro, to Elephant Butte.
The Fish and Wildlife Service office was closed by the time the groups'
announcement was released late Wednesday, so federal officials were unavailable
The agency's minnow recovery plan recognized in July that the species
could recover only if it were re-established in three or four areas of
"The current critical habitat doesn't even protect the existing population,"
said Kevin Bixby of Southwestern Environmental Center.
Biologists have been concerned because the minnows have become concentrated
in the same short stretch of river between the San Acacia Diversion Dam
and Socorro, where thousands of fish perished in 1996. Biologists are studying
whether and when to undertake an emergency rescue in which minnows would
be captured and released upstream before next spring's spawning season.
John Horning, spokesman for Forest Guardians, said the groups would
like to see the silvery minnow reintroduced in Texas along the Rio Grande
between Presidio and Amistad Reservoir and from Falcon Dam to the Gulf
But he said potential Pecos River habitats for the minnow in Texas are
less desirable and of a lower priority.
Last year, the minnow population was estimated around 10,000, he said,
and "this year they (federal biologists) think it's 2,000 or less."
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 16-24-25-40-46-50. Estimated jackpot: $18 million. Number
matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 74. Prize: $2,191. Matching
four of six: 4,695. Prize: $125.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 9-2-3 (nine, two, three)
Michela Hernandez, 73, of Balmorhea, died Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1999, at Medical
Center Hospital in Odessa.
A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., today at Christ the King Catholic Church
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 15, at Christ the King Catholic
Church in Balmorhea with Father Rodriguez officiating. Burial will be in
She was born March 5, 1926, in Balmrohea.
Survivors include six sons, Ed Hernandez of Fort Stockton, Carmen and
Art Hernandez of Balmorhea and Raul, Lee Roy and Joe Hernandez of Odessa;
two daughters, Minga Lopez of Odessa and Shelia Rodriguez of Lubbock; two
brothers, Trini Flores of Balmorhea, Jose Flores of Odessa; 30 grandchildren
and 35 great-grandchildren.
Services are incomplete for baby Tarango of New Hampshire.
Survivors include parents, Felix and Terra Tarango, of Concord, N.H.;
maternal grandparents, Mike and Betty Spencer of San Marcos; paternal grandparents,
Seferina T. Polanco of Pecos and Mike Polanco; three aunts; and numerous
cousins and relatives.
PECOS, Oct. 14, 1999 - High Wednesday 93; low last night 52. Tonight, clear.
Low 50-55. South wind 5-15 mph. Friday, sunny. High around 90. South to
southwest wind 5-15 mph. extended forecast, Friday night, fair. Lows 50-55.
Saturday, becoming windy and cooler. Highs 65-75. Sunday, mostly cloudy,
windy, and colder. Lows 40 45. Highs in the 50s.
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