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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, June 15, 2007

Inmates restless at RCDC III

Discord and complaints are being taken care of the Reeves County Detention Center III, after some problems arose last week.

On June 7, the Reeves County Detention Center III had approximately 340 of the facilities’ 1,163 inmates actively participate in a group demonstration, according to the new warden, Kevin Moore.

“The inmates refused to comply with required procedures,” said Moore.

Pre-established procedures were used to gain compliance of the 340 inmates, according to Moore.

“There were no staff or inmate injuries,” he said.

The inmates were offered meals in the housing area, however, some chose to consume their own food items purchased from the facility commissary.

On June 9, all inmates began consuming facility prepared meals, according to Moore.

“The facility continues on a progressive lockdown status,” he said.

Cheap barbeque and fireworks scheduled for July 4

A fireworks display to be held on Wednesday July 4 and other activities throughout that day were discussed during the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held Tuesday at noon.

West of the Pecos Rodeo President Joe Keese told the group that the committee is planning several events to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“Since we won’t be having a rodeo on that day, we decided to have different activities for the entire family,” said Keese.

Keese said that there will be a jumping balloon, slide and other kids’ rodeo events held that day.

“We’ll have music throughout the day and be selling barbecue plates,” said Keese.

Keese said that the barbecue plates will be very inexpensive and that they welcome everyone to come out and join them.

“We wanted to attract more people and we thought if we made the barbecue plates cheaper, more people would come out and eat and enjoy the activities,” said Keese.

The barbecue plates will be $2 and there will be no charge for the jumping balloon or the slide.

“There will be rodeo events for the kids, such as stick horses, barrel race and a clown contest,” said Keese.

Keese said that the fireworks display is planned for 10 p.m. and alcoholic beverages will be available.

Chamber members agreed to help out with $5,000 for the fireworks display, which will run about $13,000.

“The whole thing will cost around $13,000,” said Keese. “We’ve raised $5,000 so far,” he said.

“We want to have activities and things for both adults and kids to do,” said Keese.

Keese said that 649 cowboys will be on hand and that they have 674 entries for the regular rodeo.

“A lot of the cowboys entered more than one event,” said Keese. “Some of the top cowboys will be here,” he said.Keese said that Thursday night will be “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” at the rodeo.

“We encourage everyone to wear pink and we will be donating a $1 to the cancer society,” said Keese.

Gail Box told the group that in conjunction the group has formed a Pecos Area Cancer Foundation and that they will raise money that will go towards the local group.

“This money is for people who locally need help,” said Box.

“We will have T-shirts and all the proceeds will go towards the local foundation,” she said.

Keese said that the idea of forming a local group came from member Kevin Duke.

“There’s just so many people in the community in need of these services,” said Box. “They need money for gas or other necessities,” she said.

The West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade will be held Wednesday, June 27 at 10 a.m.

“No three or four-wheelers this year, we had some last year and they didn’t behave very well,” said chamber president Venetta Seals.

Box told the group that tickets for the Annual Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant are on sale now at the chamber office.

“This year we have five Golden Girl nominees and 18 Little Miss Cantaloupe Nominees,” said Box.

Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the chamber office.

“We’re still having problems with housing and office space,” said chamber director Linda Gholson. “The apartment houses at the country club will be taking applications this month,” she said.

Gholson said prison employees are still looking for housing.“What about a trailer park?” asked board member Jim Ivy. “Have there been any efforts in establishing a trailer park,” he said.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Dick Alligood said that a company will be moving six trailers into Tra-Park.

“We’re trying to re-establish that trailer park and make it the way it used to be in the ‘80’s, when there were a lot of nice trailers out there,” said Alligood.

Bill Oglesby reported that a Texas Pecos Trail meeting will be held July 26 in Pecos.

“We’ll have quite a few people coming in,” said Oglesby.

Debbie Thomas told the group that they are currently working on some bags that will be handed out during that time.“If any business has something that they would like to contribute, we would appreciate it,” she said.

Thomas said that they needed about 100 bags.

Night in Old Pecos committee members met and more volunteers are needed this year, according to Thomas.The event is scheduled for July 28.

Rifle club holds first match on new range

Gallons of sweat, six years of time, no-telling how much money, no small amount of blood and a lot of work came to a conclusion for the Pecos Rifle Club Saturday was the group held its first Service Rifle match on its new range located between Pecos and Ft. Stockton.

“It has been a long journey,” club Vice President Larry Longoria said.

Fourteen competitors attended the match that Longoria described as a “break-in” for the new range.

“This was pretty informal and on short notice,” he said. “In the fall we plan to host a league with a match each month through the spring.”

The new range is fairly unique with firing lines out to 600 yards and target butts set into a pit like military ranges. “There are not many ranges like this around and very few owned by private clubs,” Longoria said. “The closest ranges like this are in Roswell at NMI and in Capitan, owned by the club there. There is also a range at Camp Wolters in Mineral Wells.”

Service rifle matches require competitors to shoot at 200, 300 and 600 yards from various positions and speeds. “This was a 50 round match, not counting sighters,” he said. “You can also hold an 80 round match.”

At the beginning of a match competitors are divided into two groups. One group goes into the pits to work the targets while the other group shoots. Then the groups swap.

Saturday competitors began by shooting 10 rounds from a standing position at 200 yards at what Longoria called a “slow fire” pace that translates to 10 minutes for 10 shots.

Then they fired the 200-yard sitting that is a rapid-fire phase where shooters have 60 seconds to fire 10 shots and they must reload during the phase.

At the 300-yard line competitor shot a similar string of 10 shots in 70 seconds from a prone position.

The final phase of the match is held at 600 yards where competitors shot 20 times and had 20 minutes to fire their shots. “We started holding matches in 2000 on the old range by the golf course,” Longoria said. “There we were limited to shooting at 200 yards on reduced targets.”

“We wanted to be able to hold full-distance matches and we also could see the handwriting on the wall regarding that range. Eventually, between the airport and golf course, we figured we would lose the political battle. So, we started looking for land to build a new range on.”

“Buying the land and doing the dirt work were the most expensive things we had to do. The impact berm (where the bullets hit) is 100 yards long and over 20 feet high, and the pits for the targets are 12 feet deep. After that it was mostly just a lot of sweat, blood and work,” he said.

“This is really impressive,” long-time service rifle shooter and Midland attorney Dick Holland said. “The pits and the target carriers are really well built. These guys have put a lot of work into this facility and it shows.”

Fourteen shooters showed up for the match.

Dennis Clayton of Midland won with a score of 430 out of a possible 500 points.

John Drissel of Midland was second with 418 points and Bill Perry of Midland took third with a score of 414.

Jim Tom Cardwell of Alpine was fourth with 403 points.

“This was a great match and this range will be great for West Texas shooters,” Cardwell said.

“A lot of people had a hand in building this range,” Longoria said. “Some are here today and some aren’t. After six years though, it feels really good to see it up and running.”

New homes for Pupfish cost money

If you could sell it by the pound, the Pecos River Pupfish might be worth as much gold when you consider how much money and effort has been spent trying to preserve it.

The expensive little fish just got a little more expensive Tuesday during the regular meeting of the Red Bluff Water Power Control District board meeting.

Bart Reid, a long-time Imperial Reservoir shrimp farmer and manager of the Organic Aquaculture Institute, addressed the board regarding creation and maintenance of new habitat for the pupfish. Reid is also president of Water District Number Two in Imperial and a marine biologist.

Reid came to West Texas to farm shrimp, having farmed shrimp and redfish along the coast.

“The water resources drew me here. It’s good water for aquaculture and we did not have to compete with housing developments for land or recreational uses,” he said.

Facing the huge rise in cheap seafood imports Reid turned his farm into a not-for-profit research institute and the Organic Aquaculture Institute was created by Reid and several university professors.

“It’s still experimental. We study uses of water resources, we do feed studies and that sort of thing, and we are looking at alternative species to grow because the shrimp business has gone downhill,” he said.

Reid has been involved with the Pupfish since the issue first came to a head in 1998 when he was retained by the Red Bluff board to locate the habitats of the pupfish.

“There was a lot of concern by outside organizations that U.S. Fish and Wildlife was not protecting the pupfish. At the time Fish and Wildlife was threatening to put the Pupfish on the endangered species list.”

It is generally agreed that federal control of the Pecos River to protect the Pupfish would seriously impact local water uses.

“That is what we were trying to avoid then, and what we are trying to avoid now,” Reid said.

In 2006 Reid and Organic Aquaculture Institute signed a five-year contract with U.S. Fish and Wildlife as part of the private stewardship program.

The program is meant to encourage private landowners to become involved in maintaining wildlife habitat, he said. “The department wants to save the species and stimulate some economic development as well,” he said.

A few years earlier Reid participated in a similar program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“The first program was similar but smaller in scale. Its goal was to enhance wildlife habitat on private property. It’s term ended and we wanted to expand and go longer.”

Reid wrote a proposal for a grant and received $200,000 from Fish and Wildlife to create artificial habitat for the Pupfish and the Mosquito fish, another fish considered threatened.

“Our program will cost about $300,000 and the grant money is for construction, so we have to come up with about $100,000 in matching funds to be successful,” Reid told the board.

Reid told the board that he thought he could get some of the money from other wildlife preservation organizations, but when he approached these organizations the first question asked was, “Why don’t you have any local support?”

“I need to be able to show these organizations, and the feds, that there is local support for this program,” he said.

Reid said that he was currently about a year into the program and that construction of four new habitats was underway. The new habitats are not connected to the river where the two main threats to the fish exist - interbreeding with non-native species for the Pupfish, and lack of habitat for the Mosquito fish.

The Pupfish has interbred with the Sheephead minnow that was introduced by fishermen as a baitfish he said. For the Mosquito Fish, the river has become too channelized, eliminating the shallow water areas the fish needs to survive, he said.

Reid hopes to have fish in some of the habitats by fall.

“It takes some time once you construct the habitat before it can support the fish,” he said.

“Eventually we have to be able to show that there are these going populations of these endangered fish in the new habitats if we want to keep Fish and Wildlife out of the river,” he said.

“Local water districts are on the front line and they will be the most impacted if Fish and Wildlife takes control of this river,” he said.

“Right now, they are pleased with the progress we have made but I need to show some local support.”

“I think it’s worthwhile,” Randall Hartman said. “I remember what we went through the first time Fish and Wildlife came in and it was expensive.” Hartman is the executive director for Red Bluff.

“If I remember correctly it cost us at least $25,000 and closer to $50,000 when Fish and Wildlife entered the picture,” Hartman said.

The board eventually voted to give the project $10,000 this year and $10,000 in 2008 and agreed to re-examine the project’s needs in 2009.

Horses and riders graduate from one-day school

Some bad horses went to school last Saturday, along with their riders, during the Winkler County Horsemanship Clinic hosted by the Winkler County 4H club. Young riders from Ward, Reeves, Culberson, Pecos and Winkler counties attended the clinic.

Marti Haws, a veterinarian’s tech at Pecos Animal Clinic and a 4H leader, organized the all-day event.

Young riders were invited to show up with their mounts, especially if the horse was giving them some problems, to learn from some of the best horse trainers in the area, Haws said.

Haws said that Charlie White, who ranches south of Pecos; Silvio Cervantes who runs the Brininstool Ranch near Jal; and Russ and Kayla Slaughter, a father daughter team with a ranch between Pyote and Wink, all teamed up on the horse training and horsemanship side of things.

“Patrick Herring, a master ferrier, also spent the day teaching the kids about horse anatomy and proper hoof care,” Haws said.

“The theme for the day was basic horsemanship and safety but we ended up with a lot of small children with a number of misbehaving horses, “ she said.

Haws said the event worked out well.

“We spent a lot of time on basic horsemanship - how to tie your horse, how to sit in the saddle - the basics of riding and reining and using your legs to control the horse,” she said. “We also covered how to warm up your horse and why jerking, pulling and hitting your horse is a bad idea.”

Other topics covered by the volunteers were trailer loading, selection of tack, roping and jumping.

“The day turned out really well. We had a very good turnout. Judging from the hamburgers we served we had more than 80 adults and children attend.”

Haws’ husband Dale cooked the hamburgers for the free event.

“I never dreamed it would be this big,” Haws said.

“It was really three days worth of material presented in one day so it was pretty hectic,” she said, “ But we had a lot of good feedback.”

Haws said that plans were in the works to do it again, and that she hoped for things to be a little more organized the second time around.

Talent program takes field trip

The Talent Search Program took their summer field trip to San Antonio, on June 6-9.

Participants were from the Middle School cohort and were from Alpine, Marfa, Pecos and Presidio.

The students experienced San Antonio’s historic Riverwalk with a boat tour of the Paseo Del Rio. Students learned about the creation of this famous tourist spot and the worst flood San Antonio had ever seen in 1921. The Alamo was also a must-see on their educational field trip. Students were treated with a talk from one of the Alamo Guides and learned the history of the Alamo and those 13 fateful days in 1836.

An Imax 3-D theater presentation of Deep Sea was enjoyed by all and was a pre-cursor for the students behind-the-scenes tour of Sea World. Students visited Sea World and took a tour of what happens behind closed doors at this famous park. Students were able to pet a baby shark and a sting ray. They also saw the first baby killer whale that has been raised by humans. After the tour the students were able to enjoy the park’s shows, amusement and water rides.

The Talent Search Program is federally funded by the Department of Education at $220,000 annually. Students or parents interested in the program can contact the office at 432-837-8651 or visit the office at Centennial School Suite 100 in Alpine.

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