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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 28, 2006

City preparing to start project to repair sewers

Preliminary work has begun on the construction and repair of 6.7 miles of sewers in the Town of Pecos City, following notification that the city has received a $350,000 grant from the state’s Office of Rural Community Affairs.

“We don’t have the contract signed yet, but they will allow us to start work on the contract,” said city utilities director Edgardo Madrid. The preliminary work includes surveying the north and east sides of town for the project, while actual construction work isn’t scheduled to get underway until the end of this year.

Madrid said Frank Spencer and Associates has been hired to conduct the surveying work for the area, which includes the North Pecos and Hillcrest subdivisions on the north side of town, and the east side of Pecos from Pecan Street east from Second to Seventh streets, and from Cedar Street east from Seventh to the Rodeo Grounds and between First and Second streets.

“Usually surveying and designing takes three months to get that,” said Madrid. He said following that stage, it would take a couple of months to get approval for the plans from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and to take bids for the materials for the project.

“I would say November we should be ready to start with the construction crews, or no later than December,” Madrid said.

The grant is designed to pay for the materials to extend and repair the aging sewers, which have been cited for defects by state environmental regulators. Madrid said the work will probably start on the north side, and will take about 1 1/2 years to complete.

“We only have one crew,” Madrid said, noting that the city is saving money by keeping the work in-house.

“We’re not going to have a contractor involved. By doing that we’re just extending the range of the project,” he said. “Instead of doing one mile or two miles of the project, we’ll be able to do 6.7 miles, which will include 850 connections and 141 manholes.”

He said the work will involve replacement or installation of sewer lines in alleys on the north and east sides of the city. “We’ll be working strictly on the alleys, no streets, which is why we chose 6- and 8-inch lines.”

He said the work will force city workers to close down alleys at times, as the sewer lines are placed alongside the water and gas lines, and next to the existing sewers.

“It’s going to be tough to install,” Madrid said. “I’m not going to say we are not going to have any breaks in the water lines or even the gas lines, but we will work in co-ordination with the gas company.

“As far as service for the residents, we’re not going to disconnect the lines. We’re going to build alongside them and just move the (sewer) taps,” he said.

The work on the sewer lines in the alleys on the east side will come before the main project, which will replace the existing main sewer line along East Third Street that carries wastewater to the city’s Collie Road treatment plant. The sewer line on Third Street between Ash and Palm Streets was replaced eight years ago.

Hospital hires firm to search for new doctor

Reeves County Hospital District board members agreed to a contract with a recruiting firm to locate a new internal medicine doctor, during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday at the hospital, and also began training for a new director of nursing for the hospital’s dialysis department and for two new hospital technicians.

The agreement with Texas Recruiters at a cost of $22,500 will be to seek a replacement for Dr. Haitham Jifi, who is planning to close his practice in Pecos on June 15. Hospital CEO said the contact was for a base fee of $6,000, and a monthly fee of $1,000 over a six-month period, with the remainder going towards the new doctor.

The hospital had been hoping last month to fill the vacancy without using the recruiting firm by signing a contract on their own for a new physician to replace Jifi.

Conder said Joselita Bunuan is the new director of nursing for the kidney dialysis unit to replace Sherry Gilber, who Conder said has moved back to Arkansas. “We also lost an RN who moved to Carlsbad,” he said, and board members approved a dialysis-training contract to prepare a replacement, along with hiring of a consultant to train two new hospital technicians.

The board tabled action on a proposal by the Town of Pecos City for an interlocal agreement on demolition of abandoned homes that remain on local tax rolls. The city was seeking financial support for the demolition plan, and city manager Joseph Torres and Martin Arreguy, in charge of the clean-up effort, discussed the plan with the board, which would use city workers to tear down the houses.

The board approved the sale of three of five properties on which back taxes are owed; located at 2416 Cactus St., 815 S. Almond St., and 109 S. Mulberry Street. They rejected bids on property at 510 W. Lincoln St., three lots at 515, 517 and 519 E. Second St., and a lease proposal for Section 179, Block 13 of the H&GN RR Co. Survey in Reeves County. “It was just way too low a bid,” Conder said. “They offered $150 and we have been getting $300.”

Commissioners discuss boot, basketball camps

Reeves County Commissioners took no action on a proposed contract on a boot camp facility, and discussed a plan to bring a basketball camp to Pecos in late May and early June.

Commissioners tabled action on the agreement, between the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center and Texas Adjudicated Female Juveniles.

Juvenile Probation Director Louise Moore was on hand for the regular commissioners court meeting and told the group that it was just a standard contract.

“It’s a standard contract for a boot camp facility,” said Moore.

While Moore was on hand, Galindo asked her about the plans the juvenile department had of bringing in the basketball camp, featuring some members of the Boston Celtics and New York Knickerbockers.

“I received it more in the form of criticism,” said Galindo. “They want to know who’s going to pay the $10,000 it will cost to bring them in.”

Moore told the commissioners that the event is being co-sponsored and that there are several sponsors on board to help foot that bill.

“That isn’t a program approved by the commissioners court,” said Galindo.

“This is not a new concept, we’ve done all kinds of programs, we’re just spending the money in a different method,” said Moore. “We have sponsors who have come on board, we’re not spending all this money.”

She told commissioners that the program was an anti-drug, anti-gang program, and later said it was also something new that they are trying to deter kids from turning to drugs or gangs.

“The (juvenile probation) board has always been very supportive of our programs,” said Moore. “It’s thanks to them that we can sponsor such programs.”

Board members include: Walter Holcombe-Chairman; Bob Parks and Jimmy B. Galindo. Moore said that if a juvenile had to go into a drug and alcohol treatment facility it would cost about $625 per day.

“They usually require that the juvenile stay there from four to six months and the facility in Midland charges $625 per day, of which we pay at last $75 per day, which for 90 days would come out to be $7,750,” said Moore.

Moore said that that is why it’s so important that we have prevention programs.

“We’re trying to keep these kids from having to go into these facilities,” said Moore. “It’s very expensive,” she said.

Basketball City, the official instructors for the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks youth camps, will bring the anti-crime, anti-drug “Make Good Choices” basketball camp to Pecos on May 30, 31 and June 1. Applications for the camp are currently being accepted at the juvenile program department.

The camp coming to Pecos is based upon a program called “Jump Start” which uses sports and recreation to reach out to youth to help them learn and develop the life skills they need to be successful. The “Jump Start” program tries to help young people develop characteristics like self-esteem, leadership, teamwork and generosity that are vital traits in the development of young people to help them grow into productive adults.

Education and awareness play a key role in keeping our youth drug fee and crime free. The Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department, the court system, law enforcement agencies, parents and many individuals, believe in prevention. “We try to be proactive as well as interactive with the youth in our community. Our goal is to reach youth before they enter into the juvenile or criminal justice system, to help them make good decisions in their lives-so we don’t have to be reactive,” Moore.

Local law enforcement officers and community members have agreed to volunteer to help camp instructors with the camp and serve as role models for the youth. “We are still in need of additional volunteers,” said Moore.

Anyone interested in volunteering or making a donation call 447-6901 to sign up.

At this time the following are co-sponsors: American Home Health (Leo Hung), TransPecos Banks (Bill Oglesby), Richard Slack, James Pattee, Bill Weinacht Law Firm, Valor Telecom-Cody Falwell, 143rd District Attorney’s Office - Randy Reynolds, Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department, Town and Country, Lindsey Brothers Earth Movers, Inc.

Wal-Mart is donating the basketballs for the camp.

“We still have out some request for additional co-sponsors and we are waiting to hear from them. We will announce additional co-sponsors as they sign on,” said Moore.

The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is supporting the camp by waiving user fees.

Basketball City ( ) has agreed to bring the camp to Pecos for $10,000. “This is quite a discount considering the camp usually cost between $200-$375 per youth. The co-sponsoring are all contributing financially to the camp,” said Moore. Moore said that the people she has spoken to in the community have been excited and supportive about the camp and feel that our kids deserve a program like this.

There are 300 spots available and so far 135 youth have signed up.

The camp is for youth ages 8-18.

“This is a different way to approach and reach young people in our community, but similar programs exist around the country, such as the P.A.L. (Police Athletic League) program,” said Moore.

Commissioners delay action on RCDC vans

Reeves County Commissioners tabled a number of items during their regular meeting held Monday morning at the courthouse, including action on new transportation vehicles for the Reeves County Detention Center.

The group discussed transportation vans for the RCDC but opted to table the purchase of new vans at this time.

Alan Ballard, with the Reeves County Detention Center, told the group that they had received bids for two vans to be used by the transportation department.

However, after discussing it at length with the commissioners, they opted to take no action until they can receive more information.

“I think it’s important that we lay out the history and provide more information for the new commissioners,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

During the discussion, Galindo said that since January 2004, before Tommy Duncan (former transportation director) left the group had discussed going to the “turtle top” type of transportation vehicle.

“We wanted to get away from these vans,” said Galindo. “There was a really bad accident out there at the intersection and it was one of these vans that was involved,” he said.

“I think we need to think of the safety situation first,” said Galindo.

“If it’s turtle top we want to look at, there’s no problem,” said Ballard.

Galindo said that his suggestion was to look at this again and look at the turtle top version. “We can go with the experience that we’ve had with the vans, and that accident you’re talking about, was also driver errors, it wasn’t just the van,” said Ballard. “We’ve had very good luck with these vehicles.”

“If the customer is going to make some changes, I don’t think we should get into $50,000-$100,000 at this time,” said Galindo.

“Are we willing to turn down trips that will bring money into the county?” said Ballard. “We’re running into this now, that we’re not making any money at all.”

Ballard said that if they purchased these vans they would pay for themselves. “We need to get at least one van,” he said.

“At $3.80 cents a mile that we’re making, I don’t think that with the price of gas at $3 a gallon, it would help us,” said Galindo.

The group did approve: lease payment for RCDC I&II, in the amount of $495,000; RCDC I&II maintenance reserve payment, $29,166; RCDC III lease payment, $346,524 and RCDC III maintenance reserve payment $29,166 and transportation mileage reimbursements.

Fugitives captured at Presidio border checkpoint

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Presidio port of entry in west Texas apprehended a man who escaped from the Rankin County Detention Facility in Mississippi on Sunday.

They also nabbed the man’s girlfriend, who is accused of assisting in the escape.

The apprehension was made early Tuesday morning when a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix entered the Presidio port from Ojinaga, Mexico. Officers selected the vehicle for a secondary inspection. As part of the inspection, they asked for identification documents from the driver and passenger and learned that they were both being sought by Mississippi authorities in connection with a jail escape that occurred on Sunday. The Border Patrol agents contacted law enforcement officials in Mississippi to confirm the warrants.

CBP officers then turned the couple over to the Presidio police department for transport to the Marfa County Jail to await extradition to Mississippi. They are identified as 34-year-old Timothy Boyce Kelly, and 36-year-old Tammy Beard, both of Flowood, Miss.

“Mexico has historically been a favored destination for fugitives trying to evade the long arm of U.S. law enforcement,” said John Prewit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Presidio port director. “In almost every case, those people will eventually try to return to the U.S. which is when the CBP inspection process identifies them and places them back in custody. It is something we see regularly here in Presidio and other border ports.”

CBP officers performing intensive anti-terrorism inspections at border ports of entry in West Texas and southern New Mexico have apprehended almost 600 wanted people since Oct. 1, 2005, the beginning of the fiscal year. Last year CBP officers apprehended in excess of 1,200 wanted people while performing inspections at area ports of entry.

Anti-terrorism remains the primary mission of CBP. The intensive process associated with the anti-terror mission continues to yield impressive enforcement numbers in all categories.

Credit by Exam deadline set

Credit by Examination (without prior instruction), sign up deadline will be Tuesday, May 2, in the counselor’s office at the Pecos High School.

Students can sign up with Pat Cobos or Eva Arriola.

Test dates are May 16, 17 & 18 at 3:30 p.m., at the high school.

Credit by examination for acceleration allows students enrolled in grades nine through 12 to be awarded credit toward high school graduation for acceleration.

Students who wish to obtain credit for any class that counts toward graduation may apply to take the examination for acceleration. The student may not have been previously enrolled in the class.

Application may be obtained from the student’s guidance counselor. Credit is granted to students who attain 90 percent or above mastery on the examination for acceleration. The test will only be administered once in the fall and spring semesters.

A copy of the testing schedule and application deadlines may be obtained in the counseling office.

Sul Ross sets summer camp dates

Sul Ross State University’s Gear Up Summer Camp will be July 23 through July 28.

This camp is for all 7th graders that will be in the 8th grade in the fall.

You may pick up enrollment papers at the Crockett Middle School office. All enrollments are due by May 5.

For any questions, call Gear Up Coordinator Anne Hess at 432-294-3925 or 432-448-1039.

Sul Ross to sponsor enrollment workshop

Sul Ross State University is holding a college enrollment workshop, at 6 p.m., on May 3, at the Balmorhea High School.

This is a chance for anyone interested in furthering their education to meet with representatives to help get into any Texas college or university. Sul Ross State University recruiters, financial aid counselors, residential living representatives, current college students, and many others will be available to assist your needs.

These representatives will answer questions regarding admission requirements and TSI compliancy, help with applications such as the Texas Common Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and explain the opportunities available on college campuses such as intramural sports, academic and honor clubs, student activities, life on campus, and most importantly, the benefits of a college degree.

Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be given away.

For more information, contact Liz Castillo in the Office of Recruiting at Sul Ross State University at 1-888-722-7778 or at 432-837-8343.

Cate named Western District Outstanding Clubwoman Volunteer

Nan Cate, of Verhalen, sponsored by The Modern Study Club of Pecos, was named as Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs, Western District, 2006 Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer at the 46th Annual GFWC Texas Western District Spring Convention held at Presidio, April 8.

Six other Modern Study Club members attended the annual meeting and were present to cheer their representative was chosen for the elite honor as Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer. Frances Dunn, TFWC-WD Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer Chairman, presented Cate with a lovely plaque and Mary Vongsavath, Western District President gave her a GFWC medallion.

Cate has been an active member of The Modern Study Club of Pecos since 1975 and prior to that was a member of the Coahoma Study Club. She participates in all club activities and has served as The Modern Study Club President for four years and as Vice President for four years, as Club Parliamentarian for four years, as Federation Chairman for four years, attended district meetings and conventions many times and has, given devotionals at Western District meetings and presented programs pertaining to Home Life and/or International Affairs for every year she has been a member of The Modern Study Club. She has served as hostess many times and hosted most of the end-of-year luncheons and some Christmas Socials in her home.

Cate began her education at a small country school, graduated from Big Spring High School, completed her freshman year of college at McMurray University and graduated Texas Technological University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foods and Nutrition. She also attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and did undergraduate work in English, History and Math at Sul Ross State University.

She is active in her church and has taught adult and children classes at the First United Methodist Church of Pecos and played the piano for the Balmorhea Methodist Church. She has had leadership roles in various church and community activities.

Cate is a member of Friends of Reeves County Library, supporter of the West of the Pecos Museum, and has served as president of Cotton Valley Progress Club of Verhalen two different terms and while president of the Verhalen Community Center was built and paid for with fundraisers; Progress Club, that organization won first place in State Community Achievement of the Year 1954 - an award sponsored by Progressive Farmer Magazine and Texas Home Demonstration Service.

She was a Girl Scout and 4-H Leader for several years and has judged at food and craft shows at Reeves-Loving County Fall Fair and also served in that capacity at 4-H District level shows. She served as president of the local extension club, chairman of Reeves County Extension Council and delegate to District Council and was Reeves-Loving Extension Agent for four years, 1980-84.

She was bookkeeper for Verhalen Mercantile for 20 years, bookkeeper for Madera Valley Water Supply, represented Madera Valley Water Supply at Texas Rural Water Association, Austin and served at state and national levels as delegate.

She considers her most worthwhile achievement, “the raising (with my loving husband of 61 years) three productive children, Michael, Bruce and Molly. They share five wonderful grandchildren and one beautiful great-granddaughter.

Cate’s nomination entry will now advance to state level where the 2006 Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer of Texas will be named at the Awards Gala of the 109th Annual Spring Convention of The Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs meeting in Richardson, in late April.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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