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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Monday, November 1, 1999

N-dump's foes voice concerns

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
MONAHANS, Nov. 1, 1999 - About 140 residents from Reeves, Ward and surrounding counties attended the first meeting sponsored by the "Friends of Ward County," a group that is strongly opposed to construction of a low-level radioactive waste dump site proposed by Envirocare of Texas for the Trans-Pecos area.

"I think it was a very good turnout to begin this process of informing the residents of Ward County and to keep informing the residents of Reeves County," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

Galindo and Reeves County Commissioners signed a resolution recently to oppose a site that would be located in northwestern Ward County. They allocated $20,000 in funds towards "legal research and expenditures," to seek legal counsel to help develop a strategy to fight the construction of the radioactive waste storage facility that would be six miles northeast of Barstow and 14 miles northeast of Pecos.

It's one of three sites Envirocare is looking at, with the other two located to the north of the Barstow site in Loving County and the other 160 miles to the northeast, in Borden County.

"After reviewing the specifics of compact, it's obvious that the compact entails shipments of nuclear reactor parts that will be decommissioned at a facility such as this," said Galindo.

Secondly, there's no question that the radioactive life of some of those materials ranges in thousands of years, according to Galindo.

"If they place these materials in a storage facility, that material will be in that storage for thousands of years," said Galindo. "By no means is it short-term and poses a risk to the community of Barstow and Pecos," he said.

"As I've mentioned before, it's closer to us than it is to Monahans," Galindo added.

"I appreciate the people of Monahans becoming more informed about this issue, we hope to continue to inform the public and make them aware," he said. "This meeting was a very good start."

He added that even though the Barstow site hasn't been confirmed, "we can't wait until they decide where."

"The big question is, `do we want West Texas to become the dumping ground of radioactive waste for the rest of the country?'" he asked. "One of their provisions is that we allow them to transfer waste for the rest of the country."

Galindo added this morning that Rick Jacoby, Envirocare of Texas' president, testified before a Senate committee in 1997 that 70 percent of the waste received by any low-level facility would come from nuclear power plants within Texas, and would also include waste from plants from Maine and Vermont, as part of the three-state compact approved in 1994. The other 30 percent would be from sources such as universities, hospitals and manufacturing facilities.

Galindo said in response from a question by State Sen. Carlos Turan, Jacoby said that carbon 14 that would be stored there has a half-life of 5,700 years _ meaning it would take that long for its radioactivity to decline to half its current level.

"It would take 85,000 years for that to decay (completely)," Galindo said.

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 an underground 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.

"Actually, there are two reasons, why Gov. Bush rejected it," said Clark Lindley, who also attended Sunday's meeting. "The state administration also cited failure of waste authority to adequately assess the risks of the socio-economic well being of the people in the Sierra Blanca area."

He said that Wayland Martin, owner of Martin Water Labs in Monahans, had said that one thing is extremely consistent in instances of water contamination, 99.9 percent of all water well contamination comes from the surface.

"One of the risks means, that in effect, carry contamination into an aquifer area where several communities take their water," said Lindley. "That's one of the things Martin mentioned."

"Also, note, that the county government in Childress and Borden informed Envirocare that they did not want to be considered as a potential site," said Lindley.

"Ninety-nine percent of the radioactive waste will come from nuclear reactors," said Lindley.

Lindley stated that the "Friends of Ward County," had already had about 500 people sign on to petition and added another 68 to the Friends of Ward County. "We counted about 140 people at that meeting," he said.

Lindley said that a smaller group lingered after the meeting including people who had participated in the preparations and meeting, to discuss how to proceed on this day forward.

"At that time, Judge Galindo, suggested that we began process of discussing this directly with the voters of Ward and Reeves County on a person to person basis," said Lindley.

Lindley stated that Barstow City Council was opposed to the proposed site. "And they said Ward County Water District No. 1, passed a resolution last Tuesday, at their meeting, in opposition," he said.

TxDOT awaits revised bids for  paving project

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 1, 1999 - Bidders have a week to submit proposals for concrete work on Business I-20 through Pecos, said Gary Rumbaugh for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Rumbaugh is a graphic designer for the area office located on BI-20 at its intersection with Texas Highway 17, where the project will begin.

Curbs and gutters will be moved in six inches on each side of the paved surface, leaving more room for sidewalks to be installed all the way from Hwy. 17 to Orange St. on the south side and Pine St on the north, Rumbaugh said.

Landscape aggregate is also part of the project.

Despite being narrowed by a foot, the highway still will carry one lane of traffic in each direction and provide a center left-turn lane.

Once the concrete work is finished, TxDOT will let bids on the resurfacing project, which will include re-doing the base where a new sewer line was installed earlier this year.

"Then we will resurface the whole width and put in loop detectors on all three intersections," he said.

Loop detectors operate a switch to change the light from red to green when a vehicle stops at the intersection crossing BI-20.

Commissioners mull cuts in JP, constable posts

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 1, 1999 - Reeves County Commissions were scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. today to decide if they want to avoid the effects of a constitutional amendment that will be on Tuesday's election ballot which would prevent low-population counties from cutting the number of constables and justice of the peace positions after today.

Proposition 16 on the ballot would set the number of JP and constable positions in Texas counties. Counties over 50,000 in population would have no less than four and no more than eight precincts, while those between 18,000 and 50,000 would have not less than two and not more than eight precincts.

However, counties that are divided into four precincts as of Nov. 2, 1999 must continue to have at least four precincts for JPs and constables, which is why commissioners are meeting today, in order to beat the amendment's deadline. Commissioners will decide today whether or not they want to cut the number to two or three to beat the deadline, should voters approve the amendment.

The proposition is one of 17 on Tuesday's ballot, for which early voting closed on Friday.

A total of 117 voters cast their votes by personal appearance, Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez said. "We only received one ballot back by mail and we had mailed out six," said Florez.

The clerk's office will be closed Tuesday for the elections, and will reopen Wednesday for their regular hours.

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Reeves County Civic Center, for all in-town boxes, which include Box 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12.

Box 4 will be in Toyah, Box 5; in Balmorhea at the Balmorhea Senior Citizens Hall; Box 6, in Saragosa will be at the Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center and Box 9, Orla, will be at the Red Bluff Office.

"If anyone has any ballots that they haven't mailed in, they need to take them to the post office, so they can put it in the clerk's box," said Florez.

Florez stated that the last time she will check the post office box would be at 7 p.m., Tuesday, for any ballots that have been mailed in.

If anybody has any questions they can call the clerk's office at 445-5467.

Aside from Proposition 16, here are the remaining eight propositions that will be on Tuesday's ballot. Propositions 1 through 8 were summarized over the past two weeks in the Enterprise:

Proposition 9: Judicial Salary Commission

The legislature sets the salaries for members of the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the 14 courts of appeals and the 418 district courts.

Proposition 9 would amend the constitution to authorize the legislature to create a judicial compensation commission to make recommendations for judicial salaries. The recommendations of the commission would become law if neither the Texas Senate nor the Texas House of Representatives, by majority vote, rejected the recommendations.

Proposition 10: Appointing HHS Commissioner

The Health and Human Services Commissioner is appointed by the governor to a two-year term, subject to approval by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. The commissioner oversees and coordinates the health and human services programs that are provided by 11 different agencies of state government.

Proposition 10 would amend the constitution to allow the governor to appoint and replace the Health and Human Services Commissioner at the governor's pleasure.

Proposition 11: Local Government Insurance Policies

The Texas Constitution prohibits political subdivisions, such as cities or school districts, from becoming stockholders in any business. The courts have ruled that this prohibits political subdivisions from buying insurance from mutual insurance companies. In a mutual insurance policy, the policyholders act as stockholders in that they are entitled to share in any company surpluses and also are responsible for meeting, within limits, any obligations or losses of the company.

In 1986, voters approved an amendment to the constitution that allowed political subdivisions to buy life, health and accident insurance policies from mutual insurance companies as long as the policies are "non-assessable." In non-assessable policies, the policyholder has no obligation beyond payment of the policy premium.

Proposition 11 would amend the constitution to allow political subdivisions to buy non-assessable property and casualty insurance from mutual insurance companies, similar to the current constitutional provision that allows them to buy life, health and accident insurance from mutual companies.

Proposition 12: Leased Vehicle Tax Exemption

The constitution requires the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxes personal property not held or used to produce income. However, the constitution also gives local taxing units, such as cities and school districts, the option to tax most exempted personal property. Motor vehicles that are not used to produce income are not taxed by local taxing units if the motor vehicle is owned by an individual. Vehicles that are owned by leasing companies, because they are used to produce income for those companies, are subject to ad valorem taxation.

Proposition 12 would amend the constitution to allow the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxes motor vehicles that are leased if the vehicles are not held primarily for the production of income by the persons leasing the vehicles.

Proposition 13: Bonds for Student Loans

Since 1965, Texas voters have approved five constitutional amendments authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds to provide student loans. The state issues the bonds and guarantees repayment of the bonds. The bonds are repaid from the loan payments made by students.

Proposition 13 permits the legislature to authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue up to $400 million of general obligation bonds with the proceeds used to provide education loans to students.

Proposition 14: Size of State Boards

The constitution authorizes the legislature to establish six-year terms for members of some state boards and requires that one-third of the board's membership be appointed or elected every two years. As a result, the number of members on those state boards must be divisible by three. Boards with an even number of members have the potential for tie votes.

Proposition 14 would amend the constitution to provide that some state boards that have six-year or more members, with one-third or as near to one-third as possible, being appointed or elected every two years. The amendment also adds a temporary provision that gives the legislature two legislative sessions to change the affected boards to an odd number of members.

Proposition 15: Community and Separate Property

Texas law recognizes separate property, held individually, and community property, held by both spouses jointly, in a marriage. Generally, property acquired during the marriage is considered community property unless proved to be separate property. The Texas Constitution allows community property to be converted to separate property if both spouses agree.

Proposition 15 would amend the constitution to allow separate property to be converted to community property if both spouses agree in writing.

Proposition 17: Permanent University Fund

The Permanent University Fund (PUF) was established by the Texas Constitution to provide perpetual support for the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems. Dividends, interest and other income from the PUF are distributed to the Available University Fund (AUF). The AUF is used primarily to pay the bond debt for capital improvement bonds. However, the principle and capital gains of the PUF must remain in that fund and cannot be distributed to the AUF to be spent.

Proposition 17 would amend the constitution to allow the annual distributions from the PUF to the AUF to be based on the total return on all PUF assets, including capital gains, rather than only dividends, interest and other income. The amendment authorizes the board of regents of the University of Texas System to determine the amount of the annual distribution to the AUF within certain limitations.

The amendment also allows the PUF assets to be managed and invested using the standards that a "prudent investor" would exercise. This change would replace the slightly narrower "prudent person" standard currently in the constitution.

Texas' HHS looking for uninsured children

PECOS, Nov. 1, 1999 - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is seeking area volunteer and community-based organizations to contact families with uninsured children and help them apply for the state's Children's Health Insurance Program.

Contracts will be awarded in January based on a competitive reivew of proposals submitted by interested organizations. The deadline to submit a proposal is Nov. 22.

Contracts will fund groups in the area to mobilize volunteers to contact families with uninsured children and assist those families with completing an insurance application form.

Kaye Moore, regional CHIP coordinator, encouraged school districts, civic clubs, child avocacy groups and coalitions, health centers, faith-based organizations and others to apply for the outreach contracts.

She may be contacted at 915-783-1149 for a copy of the request for proposals. It is also available on the HHSC web site, www.hhsc.state.tx.us/ipisi/chip1.html.

Beginning in the spring of 2000, the state will provide comprehensive health insurance to uninsured children under 19 in eligible families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Museum hosting election day chili lunch

The Annual Chili N' Fixins Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Election Day, at the West of the Pecos Museum.

Proceeds from the fundraiser help support the museum.

The 1999 Chili N' Fixins fundraiser is being co-sponsored by Texas-New Mexico Power Company.

Everyone is invited to come out and eat a hearty lunch and visit.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-12-21-22-23-39. Estimated jackpot: $7 million. Number matching six of six: none. Matching five of six: 102. Prize: $1,241. Matching four of six: 5,430. Prize: $84.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 75-67-95-93. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0 Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0 Number matching four of four in Group Three: 0 Number matching three of four in any group: 367. Prize: $300.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 06-37-03-17-20. Number matching five of five: zero. Matching four of five: 239. Prize: $898.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-3-3 (four, three, three)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 5-3-7 (five, three, seven)

Obituary

Flora Baca

Flora G. Baca, 76, died Saturday, Nov. 30, 1999, at Odessa Regional Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Guadalupe Catholic Church in Barstow with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

She was born April 26, 1923, in Barstow, was a housewife, a lifelong Pecos resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include four sons, Frank Baca, Jr., Eddie Baca and Pablo Briones of Pecos and Juan Baca of Odessa; five daughters, Grace Lopez, Linda Lopez, Millie Navarrete and Tillie Baca of Pecos and Licha Ortiz of Monahans; two brothers, Joe Garcia of Barstow and Robert Garcia of Lubbock; two sisters, Isabel Ramos of Abernathy, Tx. and Eloisa Rubio of Riverside, Calif.; 32 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, Nov. 1, 1999 - High Sunday 74; low last night 39. .Today...Sunny and warmer. High in the upper 70s. Northwest wind 10-15 mph. Tonight: Partly cloudy and windy. Low near 40. North wind 20-30 mph and gusty. Tuesday: Partly cloudy and cooler. High near 60. Northeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear and cold. Lows 30-35.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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