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Loving officials undecided on dump site

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 29, 1999 -- Reeves County officials have continued to voice their opposition to a proposed low-level radioactive waste dump in northwestern Ward County, while Loving County Commissioners have taken a "wait and see" attitude towards another proposed site somewhere in their county.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo stated that Reeves County will have to "dig deep" to find the funds to allocate for the "legal research and expenditures" to seek legal counsel to help develop a strategy to fight the construction of a low-level radioactive waste storage facility that would be located six miles northeast of Barstow and 14 miles northeast of Pecos.

"We've allocated $20,000 for this, but we'll have to find somewhere to get the funds," said Galindo.

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

City officials in Monahans, 32 miles east of the site, have voiced their support for Envirocare's plan, while Julian Florez, Precinct 1 Commissioner in Ward County, has joined Reeves County Commissioners in opposition. Florez' precinct includes Barstow and the area around the Envirocare site.

A meeting sponsored by the "Friends of Ward County," is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sunday at the Ward County Convention Center. The group is another opponent of the Barstow location.

The site was selected due to the absence of an underground aquifer in the area. Underground water forced Envirocare to abandon plans earlier this year for an aboveground waste storage site in western Andrews County.

The Utah-based company, along with Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists, is seeking rights to store low-level radioactive waste under the proposed Texas-Maine-Vermont compact. Texas had planned to store the radioactive waste at a site near Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County, but a commission studying the plan and Texas Gov. George W. Bush rejected it last year due to earthquake fault lines in the area.

Along with the Ward County site, Envirocare is also looking at locations in Loving and Borden counties.

Loving County Judge Don Creager stated that he has not been contacted recently about any new developments. "This has been an ongoing thing for several months now, but I haven't heard from them in a month or so," he said.

Creager said at this time he and Loving County commissioners are neither for nor opposed to building a waste dump in their county.

"We need to study the issues and look at it closely before we form an opinion," said Creager. "But at this time, we don't even know where it's going to be located.

. "It could end up being in Borden for all we know," said Creager.

"We need to look at it and see were it's going to be and what it's going to do," he added. "At this time, we can't say anything about it, since we don't know exactly which site it will be in."

Loving County is adjacent to both Reeves and Ward counties, and is the nation's least-populated county, with just over 100 people living within in borders.

Galindo said the radioactive waste dump plan is one of those issues where you only get one shot at it and he wants to get started right away.

Reeves County Commissioners approved a resolution recently to oppose the storage of the waste in Ward County.

"The compact between Texas, Maine and Vermont clearly allows for decommissioned nuclear reactor parts at the compact," said Galindo. "The compact allows Texas, Maine and Vermont to put up to 20 percent of the total volume of disposal facility to be nuclear reactor parts."

Galindo said that Rick Jacobi, president of Envirocare of Texas, said that even without the three-state compact, a waste dump site was still viable.

"He said it was still good because Texas produced 70 percent of radioactive waste that is nuclear reactor waste," said Galindo.

"We don't West Texas to become the dumping ground for the rest of the country," said Galindo.

Galindo said that if the site is in Ward County, it would affect everyone in West Texas, not just those in that area. The site would be about 65 miles south of the federal government's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which began accepting low level radioactive waste earlier this year for storage in salt caverns 2,150 feet underground.

Walnut Street site hit by fire again

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 29, 1999 -- Pecos volunteer firemen were out late last night fighting a fire at a location they've visited several times in the past few months.

Firefighters responded to a fire at the 1200 Block of S. Walnut, at 11:10 p.m., Thursday night.

"We went to this same location in early October," said Fire Chief Roy Pena, who added they had also been at a fire at the corner of this same block about twice in the past few weeks.

"All in all, we've been in that same block at least nine times in the last month and a half," said Pena.

It took firefighters about 40 minutes to contain the fire, as all units responded and plenty of volunteers were on hand, according to Pena.

Pena said there was a lot of junk behind the house located on Walnut Street, but stated that the cause of the fire has not been determined. "The fire marshal will investigate it and let us know what the cause was," he said.

Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire has been in Austin for training courses this week, and isn't scheduled to be back at work until Monday, according to a City Hall secretary.

Pena said the department would be on full alert this weekend, with the Halloween on Sunday and local trick-or-treating scheduled for Saturday.

"We'll be ready for anything," said Pena. All firefighters will be on 24-hour call, and will be ready for any emergency that might arise, he added.

Firemen were already planning to be at the fire station on Cedar Street Saturday for a benefit car wash from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. "We're going to cut it short so that we can be prepared for anything that might arise," said Pena.

"Everyone is ready and we hope to have a safe and happy Halloween," said Pena.

"We want to make sure the community feels safe, with us fully prepared," he said.

Bail jumper leaves pal facing $25,000 debt

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 29, 1999 -- A former Pecos resident is being sought by both her friend and area law enforcement officials after jumping bond in Odessa earlier this month, and a reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information on her whereabouts.

Josephine Madrid, 23, was arrested in Odessa on Oct. 4, for possession of a controlled substance, a Felony II. She was released from the Ector County Jail in Odessa the same day on a $25,000 bond, after being charged with possession of cocaine, a second-degree felony.

Shortly after her release from jail, Madrid's bond has been withdrawn by the sureties firm, when it was unable to contact her. On Oct. 8, Ector County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 issued a warrant for Madrid's arrest, and the woman who signed the bond release form, Priscilla Orozco, now faces having to pay off the $25,000 bond if she isn't found.

"She just left a note and we haven't seen her since," said Orosco, who is working with Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers to offer a reward for her arrest.

Orosco signed the $25,000 bond for Madrid, who originally had a late October court appearance scheduled. "And now they moved it to November and I'm desperate to find her," she said.

When a bonding company signs for the bond, they become liable for that person and the money.

"I'm not a bondsman, but I'm good friends with Judy, from Judy's Bonding in Odessa," said Orosco. However, Judy's Bonding didn't sign the bond, but Orosco did.

"She was a good friend and I just wanted to help her out," said Orosco. "I did her a favor out of good faith, and now she doesn't even bother to show," she said.

Orosco stated that Madrid has family and friends here in Pecos, in Odessa, El Paso, Monahans, Kansas and Mexico, where she believes she might have fled.

"But I just came back from Mexico and nobody has seen her there either," said Orosco.

"I'll be going to El Paso and leaving her picture there as well," said Orosco.

Madrid had previously been living at the Sunset Apartments in Odessa and when she left took none of her belongings. She also left behind three children, two little girls and one boy.

"I think she left, because when they arrested her they told her she was facing from 10-20 years in prison," said Orosco.

Madrid is 5'1, weighs 123 pounds, and has long dark brown hair and a cataract on her left eye.

Anyone with information on the location of Madrid is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898. All callers will remain anonymous.

Orosco said people can also call 447-6562 in Pecos, or 915-362-4005 or 1-800-288-4023 in Odessa and ask for Lulu or Judy. Individuals can remain anonymous and they can call collect, according to Orosco.

Austin  PTO sets Monday meeting

PECOS, Oct. 29, 1999 -- Austin Elementary Parent Teacher Organization will have a meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday at the school.

The meeting is for all parents of students at Austin Elementary and teachers.

Topics include seeking volunteers to help in the library with the Accelerated Reading Program each Friday, beginning next week. Helpers also are being sought for popcorn and pickle sales and Fun Night for the students of Austin, scheduled for 6-8 p.m., on Nov. 19.

All the money raised will go towards helping the school's first and second graders.

This year's officers, Sonja Baeza, Armida Johnson, Mayra Munoz and Bruce Abbott are hoping parents will step up and be involved.

"We're also looking at a coat drive for kids. This latest cold spell reminded us that there are children who could use a warm coat or two," said Abbott.

"And, we'll talk about the playground some. Begin looking at what could be done as far as surfacing, water fountains, additional equipment," he said.

Austin Elementary PTO is off to a good start thanks to the work of Linda Thomas, last year's president, according to Abbott.

Props deal with pay for judges, guard supervisor

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of stories on the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that voters will decide on in Tuesday's general election. The remaining amendments will be summarized in Monday's Enterprise.

Staff Writer
Proposition 8: To provide that the adjutant general serves at the pleasure of the governor.

Background: The adjutant general's department is a state agency established by statute to govern certain military matters affecting the state. The department is directed by a single state officer, who holds the title of adjutant general and is appointed by the governor.

Military forces in the department are primarily the Texas National Guard and the Texas State Guard, which are governed by a mixture of state and federal law.

The state guard is a voluntary state reserve force that the governor may call into action if the national guard is called into federal service. The national guard is a military force under the direction of the president in times of military conflict. It responds to the orders of the governor in times requiring assistance to the state because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance.

Under current law, the adjutant general is appointed by the governor and holds office for a term of two years.Under Sections 7 and 9, Article XV, an officer such as the adjutant general may not be removed from office unless he receives a trial or unless the governor who appointed him removes him with the consent of two-thirds of the senate.

The proposed amendment would make the dismissal of the adjutant general an action the governor may take at any time.

Arguments for:

1. Greater accountability is needed for the adjutant general. Allowing for his quick removal by the governor would greatly help in providing that accountability.

2. The governor is the primary state policymaker regarding the state's military forces. He must have a close working relationship with the adjutant general.

Arguments against:

1. The two-year term creates adequate accountability for the adjutant general. Because the governor is elected to a four-year term, the adjutant general's term will expire twice during the governor's term, giving him two opportunities to replace the adjutant general.

2. A detailed provision applying to a specific state officer should not be included in the state constitution. The constitution should be a statement of general principles, not of overly specific constraints.


Proposition 9: Authorizing the legislature to create a judicial compensation commission.

Background: The salaries of the justices and judges of the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, courts of appeals and the district courts are in the amounts provided by the General Appropriations Act, subject to salary differentials under Section 659.012, Government Code.

The proposed amendment woud authorize the legislature to create a judicial compensation commission to make recommendations for those judicial salaries. The recommendations would become law if neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives, by majority vote, rejected the recommendations.

Arguments for:

1. Retirement pensions for state officers in the elected class of membership in the retirement system are tied by statute to the salaries of district judges. That membership class includes members of the legislature. Thus, when the legislature votes to increase judicial salaries, it may be perceived as a conflict of interest.

2. A judicial compensation commission charged exclusively with the responsibility of determining appropriate judicial compensation is best able to discharge that duty because the commission will be able to focus solely on the task of setting proper judicial salaries in order to determine a level of compensation necessary to attract the most highly qualified individuals to the judiciary and to retain an experienced judiciary.

Arguments against:

1. Section 1, Article III of the constitution vests the lawmaking power of Texas in the legislature. The proposed amendment would erode the legislature's authority by authorizing a nonlegislative body to exercise limited lawmaking power.

2. The determination of appropriate judicial compensation is a decision better reserved to the legislature rather than a judicial compensation commission because the determination involves the appropriation of state funds. A determination that involves the appropriation of state funds should be made by an elected body rather than an appointed commission.

Taken from the Texas Legislative Council's publication, "Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments." Next: Prop 10, providing that the commissioner of health and human services serves at the pleasure of the governor.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 30-28-26-24-15. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $79,385 Winning ticket sold in: Houston. Matching four of five: 299. Prize: $398.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-8-4 (zero, eight, four)


High Thursday 85. Low this morning 46. Forecast for tonight: Increasing cloudiness and breezy with a less than 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 40-45. Southwest wind 15-25 mph. Saturday, mostly cloudy and much cooler with a 20 percent chance of Morning showers. High in the lower 60s. North wind 20-30 mph. Saturday night, decreasing cloudiness. Lows 35-40.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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