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Top Stories

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

P-B-T not told of Envirocare's offer to Barstow

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 - The vice president of a company seeking to locate a low-level radioactive waste dump in northwestern Ward County has told Barstow residents they may be able to get their recently-closed elementary school re-opened, if they agree to play host to the dump site.

However, no one has talked with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD about such a plan, according to superintendent Don Love.

"We haven't heard anything from them, they have not contacted anybody from the school district," said Love.

An article in the Sunday's Odessa American quoted Rick Jacobi, vice president of operations for Envirocare of Texas, stating that the tax revenue generated by the facility could easily reopen Barstow Elementary, which was closed prior to the start of the 1998-99 school year

Envirocare is a Utah-based company wanting to establish a radioactive waste site 10 miles north of Barstow, and among other things have indirectly offered Barstow residents a park.

The company is seeking a permit to receive and store low-level radioactive waste from Texas, Maine and Vermont in one of three West Texas counties. The 320-acre block located northeast of Barstow in Ward County is one of three sites under consideration.

The Barstow school falls under the jurisdiction of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, which is currently looking at closing other campuses in Pecos as a way of saving money.

"The school in Barstow is currently being used by Head Start, we have a lease agreement with them and it's working out really well," said Love. "We have no plans to re-open the campus."

Love said neither he nor any other member of the board or school district has been contacted by the company in regards to re-opening the campus as a public school.

"We're talking about consolidation here in Pecos, so no, we don't have plans to open any other campuses at this time," said Love.

Ward County Commissioner for Precinct 1, Julian Florez of Barstow, said he had traveled to proposed site, as part of the Monahans Committee, Friends of Ward County. The "Friends" are opposing the site.

"Jacobi said at that time, that if the city grows, we could open the school up," said Florez.

Florez told Jacobi that the students were now being bused into Pecos and were doing real well. "They like the schools they are attending now, and besides the school is now being used by Head Start," he said. "He was basing it on school taxes, but you can't do that."

"That's just not going to happen," he added.

Florez said that the statement was just an angle the company is using. "He also told us that we could do some recreation, something with the park," said Florez. "These are just things they are saying to win people over."

Florez said the parks in Barstow are in good shape and have plenty of equipment thanks to the school district. "The equipment from the school is in the park now and being used there," he said.

Florez said he told Jacobi that the community is doing really well and is in good shape.

"Our community is self-sustaining and we don't need the support of Envirocare," he said. "That's their angle, their approach to convince people it's a good deal."

Florez said he wouldn't even consider any of their offers.

"Our main concern is the health and welfare of our community," Florez said. "And that's what I'm going to fight for."

Envirocare has talked with Ward County Commissioners and with city officials in Monahans and Grandfalls about locating the waste dump in their county. The company has not talked with officials in Pecos or with Reeves County Commissioners, even though the site would be 16 miles from Pecos, and 32 miles from Monahans.

Reeves County Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the proposed waste site at their last regular meeting. "Those are things being said just to divide the community in Barstow," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Galindo said Barstow has one of the best swimming pools in the area, a fairly new community center and a park full of playground equipment. "It's doing really well," he said.

Investigators take course on handwriting forgeries

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 - Forgers take heed! Handwriting experts at the police station can track you down if you pass a forged check or write a fake suicide note.

Investigators Kelly Davis and Olga Lopez recently completed a handwriting course and became certified handwriting experts.

"We have a lot of forgery cases," said Davis. "If we send a handwriting sample to a laboratory, it may take three months or more for them to send you an opinion. By then our case is cold."

In one case of people taking advantage of an elderly lady, it took a year to get a handwriting analysis, Davis said.

"We decided if we were going to do any good, we would have to become certified," he said.

After Davis became a certified handwriting expert, he looked at papers purportedly filled out by the elderly lady. "In 15 minutes I could tell it was a forgery and which one filled it out," he said.

Certification means the officers can testify in a court trial about their opinion as to who wrote _ or did not write _ the note.

Suicide notes often come under suspicion, and a comparison with the handwriting of the dead person can help officers determine if it is a forgery and they have a homicide investigation.

"We use it for suicide notes, for people with bad checks saying they didn't write the check _ lots of things like that," Davis said.

The handwriting course is just one of the many training opportunities Police Chief Clay McKinney has given his officers.

State OKs funds for BCTI expansion

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 -Nineteen new jobs and a $6.2 million capital investment are expected fruits of an enterprise zone project approved by the Texas Department of Economic Development.

Battery Conservation Technologies Inc. expects to complete construction on their battery reclamation plant in the first six months of Year 2000, said Bob Curry, president.

"It is an enterprise zone program where we can recover a portion of our state sales tax on construction, etc., on improving the new facility," Curry said, noting that the city and hospital district still will receive their portion of the sales tax.

Curry said that BCTI is the first company in Reeves County to apply for the enterprise zone program. He credits Gari Ward, executive director for the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, with helping to fill out the application and guiding it through the approval process.

"The Enterprise Zone Program was created by the Texas Legislature as a means to offer incentives to attract new or expanding businesses to economically distressed areas of Texas," said Jeff Moseley, executive director. "In turn, the program encourages these businesses to create and retain jobs while investing capital into their local economies."

BCTI will renovate and expand the existing plant and purchase machinery and equipment.

The five-year project designation will make BCTI eligible for enterprise zone incentives, such as sales and use tax refunds, in exchange for investing capital and creating new jobs. At least 25 percent of the new jobs must be filled by enterprise zone residents or people who are economically disadvantaged.

TDEC designated the Pecos enterprise zone in 1999 due to an unemployment level of 12 percent and poverty level of 26.6 percent.

Since its inception in 1987, TDEC has designated more than 240 enterprise zones and in excess of 325 businesses as enterprise projects. These businesses have projected to invest more than $8.1 billion in capital and create more than 58,000 jobs.

For more information, call 512-936-0269 or access the agency web site at

Anti-drug rally scheduled for Eagle Stadium

PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 -A District Drug-Free Rally will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. this Friday at Eagle Stadium.

All students will be bused to the stadium Friday morning for the one-hour event, which is being held in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week that will be observed next week in the Pecos public schools.

The rally is sponsored by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Guidance Counselors with the assistance of the Pecos High School Student Council, administrators, teachers and the community of Pecos.

Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 25-29, with a variety of upcoming events planned. Activities scheduled include, "Put a Stop on Drugs!," Monday will be a Red Day _ everyone is encouraged to wear red.

Tuesday will be "Shade Out Drugs!" _ wear sunglasses; Wednesday will be "Put a Cap On Drugs," _ wear a cap; Thursday is "Black Out Drugs," _ wear black and Friday will be "Turn You Inside Out," _ wear T-shirt (purple and gold day) inside out.

All schools will be competing to see who wears the most red during Friday's Drug-Free Rally.

Prop 1 would revise rules on filling  vacancies

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories on the proposed constitutional amendments Texas voters will cast ballots on in the Nov. 2 general election.

Staff Writer

PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 -Proposition No. 1: "The constitutional amendment to revise the provisions for the filling of a vacancy in the office of governor or lieutenant governor."

Texas voters face a decision on the above amendment _ which could come into play if Gov. George W. Bush is elected president next year _ along with 16 others in the constitutional amendment election set for Nov. 2. Most will require more information than the ballot contains to choose "For" or "Against" on the ballot.

The Texas Legislative Council has published an analysis of the 17 proposed amendments, explaining the Legislature's intent in making the change. Arguments for and against each proposition are included in the 182-page booklet that is available for public use through the Texas State Publications Depository Program at the Texas State Library and other state depository libraries.

An online version of the publication can be found at .

Amendment No. 1 would clarify that in the event of a permanent vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor or lieutenant governor-elect would become governor and vacate or forfeit the office of lieutenant governor, with the resulting vacancy in that office filled by the senate under Section 9, Article III.

A temporary gubernatorial absence or vacancy would continue to be treated under current practice, in which the lieutenant governor acts as but does not become governor.

The amendment would also eliminate another minor matter of constitutional uncertainty in which the president pro tempore of the senate acts as governor in the event both offices are vacated. But a later amendment provides that the senate elect a senator to "perform the duties" of lieutenant governor in the event of a vacancy in that office.

Under the proposed amendment, the authority of the president pro tempore to act as governor is limited to cases in which the governor and lieutenant governor are temporarily absent or unable to serve.

Arguments For:

1. The proposed amendment would properly prevent a lieutenant governor succeeding to fill a gubernatorial vacancy from asserting any claim to the office of lieutenant governor. Holding both offices would place far too much power in one person and would undermine the checks and balances that the two offices are intended to exert on one another.

2. By clarifying the succession to a vacancy in the office of governor, the proposed amendment will also clarify that the senate should convene under Section 9, Article III, Texas Constitution, to elect a senator to serve as lieutenant governor when the lieutenant governor becomes governor.

Arguments Against:

1. The proposed amendment leaves current law in place authorizing the senate to fill the resulting vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor for the remainder of the term. The office of lieutenant governor is too important to be filled by the senate, where personal relationships, partisanship and seniority will determine who becomes lieutenant governor. A vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor should be filled by the voters at a statewide election if there are two or more years remaining in the term of office.

2. The proposed amendment, while clarifying some issues relating to succession, leaves other questions unanswered. It is unclear exactly when the absence or disability of the governor or lieutenant governor becomes sufficiently permanent to create a vacancy, so resort to the courts may be required even under the proposed amendment. Also, the amendment does not state with certainty how a double vacancy in the offices of both governor and lieutenant governor should be filled. These matters should be clarified before the amendment is adopted.

Next: Proposition No. 2: Relating to the making of advances under a reverse mortgage and payment of a reverse mortgage.

Students get look at local jobs

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 -Jake Morton still wants a career in law enforcement, even after learning first-hand how hard officers work for a modest paycheck.

Morton and Paul Soto shadowed Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Damon Compton today as part of their career investigation class at Crockett Middle School. They watched and listened as he set up a trip, reviewed a case with the county attorney and showed them how to process a warrant in the computer and follow up on the arrest.

"We reviewed a case with the county attorney to get his opinion whether a man should be brought back here for trial," Compton said. "Walter (Holcombe) went over the need for complete evidence rather than suspicions on cases before you prosecute."

Soto and Morton asked their teacher, Becky Chabarria, to assign them to the sheriff's office because they are interested in law enforcement.

During the semester class, the students learn about various careers, how to use the computer and how to do research.

"They will have one idea in their mind and once they start finding information, they may change their mind," Compton said. "Chabarria goes over what you need to do in that particular field."

To be a sheriff's deputy requires continuous training, Compton said.

"Actually there are more job training sessions and classes than in any other profession I know of," he said. "You are required to review over and over such topics as family violence, cultural awareness and sexual assault."

Both Morton and Soto said they like to go to school, so continuing education would not be a problem for them.

Compton said that working nights, holidays and weekends is common for law officers.

"Everyone assumes from the image on TV that you just sit at a donut shop, but more than likely you won't get holidays and weekends off," he said. "And the pay range is low to medium, especially in rural departments."

Rated as a profession, law enforcement pay scales are at the low end, he said.

Compton can testify to the danger, having been shot at while on the job. But after the shooting stops, the work goes on.

"There is a lot of documentation, public relations," he said. "One of the keys in law enforcement is trying to be neutral and still do your job; getting both sides of the story and doing proper procedures to handle the situation, and it is not always easy to be neutral."

Afrika Franklin got a different view of county business as she shadowed County Clerk Dianne Florez, learning about everything from birth to death, with elections in between.

"I might like to do that when I get out of school," said Franklin.

Florez said she was not fortunate to have the opportunity to learn first-hand about different careers while in school.

"I think it would have helped us all to decide; especially going to college," she said.

Chabarria took students to their assigned mentors and checked on them throughout the day.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 4-15-24-32-39. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $75,702. Winning ticket sold in: El Paso. Matching four of five: 223. Prize: $509.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-4-2 (zero, four, two)


PECOS, Oct. 19, 1999 -High Monday 64; low last night 34. Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Low in the lower 30s. Light and variable wind. Wednesday: Sunny. High in the lower 60s. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Clear and cool. Low in the mid 30s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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