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Tuesday, December 10, 1996

Texas left out of WIPP road safety plan

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 10, 1996 - The federal government has approved over $100
million in funds for the widening of U.S. 285, in order to make future
transportation of radioactive materials to the Waste Isolation Pilot
Plant safer.

But funds have only been approved for widening the highway from two to
four lanes in New Mexico, although some radioactive shipments may travel
along U.S. 285 in Texas on the way to the site near Carlsbad beginning
late next year.

While New Mexico is currently the only state scheduled to receive
federal funds for the expansion of U.S. 285, the possibility of such
monies for Texas is being examined.

A spokesperson for U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla (R-San Antonio),
who sits on the nation's Appropriations Committee, said last week that
the issue is being looked into.

U.S. 285 travels through Bonilla's District 23 in Texas, and some
radioactive waste may be shipped to the site from South Carolina along
that highway and Interstate 20.

"WIPP funds," as New Mexico Department of Transportation and Highways
calls the donation, were awarded to the state by the U.S. Department of
Energy for use related to housing the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant,
located some 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad.

Funds totalling $120 million from the DOE will be appropriated to the
State of New Mexico for widening U.S. 285, the primary access road to
the WIPP. These funds will be issued over a six-year period at $20
million a year, according to Benny Roybal, deputy secretary for New
Mexico's DT&H.

In addition, Roybal said the state has bonded $100 million for the
project, which will cover a stretch of almost 200 miles.

Created and overseen by the DOE, the WIPP is designed to permanently
dispose of transuranic waste left from the research and production of
nuclear weapons, according to a DOE news release.

Project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient,
stable salt formation 2,150 feet, almost half a mile, underground.

Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other
disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive
elements, mostly plutonium.

The site is scheduled to open for waste receipt in November 1997. By
which time the NMDTH hopes to have underway a, "two-year priority plan,"
according to Bureau Chief for Preliminary Design George Herrera.

Herrera said under current projections work will begin "on a portion of
the whole corridor," which will cover a stretch of U.S. 285 from Roswell
to Encino. The work will begin next month, and the funds have to be used
by December of 1998.

Herrera said that a five-year plan has been panned out to, "address the
whole stretch," that covers just north of Carlsbad up to Clines Corners,
where 285 intersects with Interstate 40.

Traffic coming in from the east and west off I-40, and from Colorado off
Interstate 25, will head south on U.S. 285 from Clines Corners to the
radioactive dump site.

However, in 1991 federal officials designated Interstate 20 and U.S. 285
through Pecos to Loving, N.M., as a transportation route for low level
radioactive waste being brought to WIPP from the southeastern United

As of now, the State of Texas has no plans to widen the 50-mile stretch
of road from Pecos to the New Mexico state line, Texas Department of
Transportation Officials said.

"At this point, (plans for widening U.S. Highway 285 from the Texas end)
are not in our long range plan," said Glen Larum of TxDOT's Midland
District Office.

Jerry Selby of the TxDOT Planning and Programming Division in Austin
said, he was, "not aware of any plans (to widen U.S. Highway 285),"
within a short-term scope.

Pecos-area emergency management officials were briefed four years ago on
handling any possible accident involving radioactive waste trucks headed
towards the WIPP site, and a vehicle similar to those that will haul the
low-level waste was displayed to local residents.

Nagel sets retirement for Dec. 31

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 10, 1996 - City Manager Harry Nagel has submitted his
resignation as of Dec. 31, and the Town of Pecos City Council will
consider appointment of a replacement on Thursday.

Numerous local citizens have indicated an interest in the city manager
position, but the council is expected to advertise widely for applicants.

Nagel had planned to retire next March, but moved up the date to
maximize his retirement benefits, said City Attorney Scott Johnson. The
council will discuss hiring him as a consultant/manager on an interim
basis while looking for a new city manager.

That discussion and evaluation of Police Chief Troy Moore will be held
in closed session.

Other agenda items for the 7:30 a.m. meeting include amending
administrative guidelines for interviewing and hiring an election
coordinator for the combined city, school, hospital district election;

* Discuss with citizens of Toyah to possibly hire the Pecos animal
control office to help control animals in their city;

* Consider approval of Barstow water rate adjustment;

* Consider approval for the city to operate a Type IV landfill and
setting landfill disposal fees;

* Consider changing the next council meeting date, which falls on Dec.

* Consider employee recognition;

* Monthly reports from tax collector, municipal court, hotel/motel
occupancy tax, fire department and financials.

The meeting will be held in the council's chambers at City Hall.

Minimum sentence given in coke possession case

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Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 10, 1996 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton on Monday handed down
the minimum sentence on a cocaine possession conviction and ordered the
young defendant to participate in a drug rehabilitation and treatment
program while in prison.

Corey Tyrell Garfield pleaded guilty earlier to possession with intent
to distribute cocaine on July 10. The maximum sentence he could have
received is 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

When released from prison, Garfield will be placed on supervised
release for five years. Should he violate terms of release, he could be
sent back to prison for an additional five years.

Judge Bunton accepted a conditional plea of guilty from Arturo
Blanco-Luna, 50, of Mexico.

Blanco admitted re-entering the United States on Aug. 24 after being
deported March 27, 1995.

His attorney, Albert Armendariz Sr., said he will try to document
Blanco's citizenship before he is sentenced on Feb. 3, 1997.

"As I understand it, there is some question whether he can prove
derivative citizenship, and the papers are in California," said Judge

Armendariz said he intends to go to California to look for the

Judge Bunton said that he will allow Blanco to withdraw his guilty plea
if proof of citizenship is presented before sentencing.

Orla, Mentone, Barstow voters casting ballots in runoff

Area vote may decide Senate control

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From Staff and Wire Reports
Voters in three Texas congressional districts were headed to the polls
today for uncommonly late elections, with freshman incumbents in two of
those districts trying to retain their seats.

At the same time, voters in West Texas were selecting a state senator in
a race that could guarantee the GOP a majority in the Texas Senate for
the first time in more than a century.

Locally, voters in Orla are the only ones in Reeves County affected by
today's District 28 Senate election. Voters there can cast ballots at
the Red Bluff Lake Office until 7 p.m..

Voters in Barstow and Mentone also are eligible to vote today. Mentone
voters can cast ballots at the Loving County Courthouse, while those in
Barstow must drive to the Pyote Community Center before polls close at 7
p.m. to cast their ballots. The election boxes for Barstow and Pyote
were combined due to the expected low turnout for today's State Senate

Early voting in the election was held last week, and only two persons
out of the Orla-Red Bluff area's 20 registered voters cast ballots. In
Loving County, just eight ballots were cast during the early voting

GOP state Rep. Robert Duncan is taking on Democrat David Langston, a
former mayor of Lubbock, in a special election to replace Democrat John
Montford. Montford quit to become chancellor of Texas Tech University.

Republicans hold a 15-14 majority in the 31-member Senate, their first
majority in the chamber since Reconstruction.

A Duncan victory would ensure a Republican majority.

If Langston wins, the focus will shift to Democrat Jim Turner's East
Texas district. Turner is leaving the Senate for a congressional seat he
won last month and that race early next year could set up a
winner-take-all contest for Senate control.

The unusual December congressional balloting is the result of a
court-imposed redrawing of boundaries in three Texas districts in the
Dallas and Houston areas to eliminate what federal courts found was
gerrymandering based on race.
Changing those district lines also affected adjacent districts, voided
March primary results and set up a November free-for-all in 13 Texas
districts while the rest of the country was settling House races.

And when the top vote-getter in three Texas districts - all in Southeast
Texas - failed to attract more than 50 percent of the ballots cast in
November, it forced voters to return to the polls today to select from
the top two finishers in each race.

The outcome will determine whether the Democrats retain the edge in the
30-member House delegation or have a 15-15 split with the Republicans.

In the 9th District, which stretches from the Houston-Galveston area
along the Gulf Coast to the Beaumont area, Republican Steve Stockman
faced Democrat Nick Lampson, a former Beaumont tax assessor.

Incumbent Democrat Ken Bentsen, nephew of former U.S. Sen. Lloyd
Bentsen, was being challenged by Republican Dolly Madison McKenna in the
25th District of south and east Houston. Bentsen led the Nov. 5
balloting with 34 percent to Ms. McKenna's 17 percent.

The winner will succeed Republican Jack Fields, who did not seek
re-election. Fields has endorsed Kevin Brady, who got 41 percent of the
vote last month. Gene Fontenot had 39 percent.

Whatever happens in the congressional balloting will have little impact
in the House's overall party tilt. Republicans, with minimal losses
nationally last month, hold a 227-205 advantage with one independent
House member.

The campaigns in the three remaining congressional districts have
degenerated into a mudslinging barrage of charges and countercharges,
with the Stockman-Lampson feud holding center stage.

Stockman, a 40-year-old accountant, stunned the political establishment
two years ago by ousting 42-year Democratic incumbent Jack Brooks.

Last month, Stockman received 46 percent of the vote, two percentage
points more than Lampson. A third candidate, Democrat Geraldine Sam,
whose votes threw the race into the runoff, surprisingly threw her
support to Stockman. That prompted allegations from the Lampson camp of
a payoff, accusations denied by Stockman and Ms. Sam.

Lampson also has asked the Justice Department to monitor today's voting,
alleging that Stockman supporters in November intimidated black voters,
accusations also denied by Stockman.

For his part, Stockman has hammered on Lampson's ownership of a home
health care agency that had to reimburse Medicare for nearly $2,500 to
cover services not properly documented. Lampson insists there was no

Democrats have repeatedly branded Stockman ``extreme,'' accusing the
gun-control foe of ties to militia groups - a charge Stockman has

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.


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PECOS, Dec. 10, 1996 - High Monday 83, low last night 45. Tonight,
partly cloudy. Low in the upper 40s. Southwest to west wind 5-10 mph.
Wednesday, partly cloudy. High in the upper 70s. West wind 10-20 mph.

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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