Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 12, 2007
Orgainzers happy with WIPP accident drill results
A training exercise involving a radioactive waste truck accident went smoothly, according to the Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and area EMS personnel were involved in the 2 1/2-hour drill, as part of training for a possible accident involving a truck bound for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.
“Things went smoothly and everyone was pleased with the outcome,” said Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera.
He said that there are always things that need to be improved upon, but that all emergency responders did really well.
A total of 150 individuals, from all areas of emergency response were on hand to participate in the exercise.
“We had all different kids of agencies participate, local emergency responders, local officials, department heads from the city and some regional agencies,” said Herrera.
Department of Public Safety Officials and TxDOT employees were also on hand.
“The exercise itself worked out great, everybody was pretty much able to carry out their function,” said Herrera. “We were really pleased with the outcome.”
Herrera said as a result of the drill, they plan to make some improvements. “But this is why we have these exercises, to make sure everything is done correctly and that the safety of the community is protected.
“That’s the whole idea of the exercise to improve on our procedure and that is something we are going to look at after we turn in our report,” he said.
Herrera said that they will turn in a report to the government division of Emergency Management.
“We turn in this report, so that we can all get credit,” said Herrera.
Herrera said that the office of emergency management would like to thank everyone that helped carry it out.
“Through this exercise we are able to keep the people in the community safe,” said Herrera. “The public health and safety is our main concern and to protect private property,” he said.
Herrera said that it is very important that they work together to do this exercise.
The exercise started at 9 a.m. and ended at about 11:30 a.m., according to Herrera.
Reeves County Office of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) hosted the full-scale Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Transportation Exercise (WIPPTREX) in Pecos.
The WIPP site began operations when it received its first transuranic waste shipment from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico on March 26, 1999. The first shipment routed through Texas was received at the site in May 2001. As of September 2007, more than 6,000 shipments from all generator sites have been received at the site. Of these, 800 shipments have traveled through Texas on Interstate 20 to Pecos, then north on U.S. highway 285 to the Carlsbad area.
Photography, painting winners at Fall Fair exhibit announced
Several entries in painting and photography at the Reeves County Fall Fair received a ribbon and recognition following judging at last weekend’s event at the Reeves County Civic Center.
In the student photograph: natural history, first, second and third places, Rachel Barrett; scenic, Best of Show, Rachel Barrett and first, second and third places, Rachel Barrett.
In the feature-human interest: first place, Rachel Barrett; vanishing past, first place, Rachel Barrett; dried arrangement, first place, bean pot, Shirley Worrell, second, arrangement, brass bucket, Shirley Worrell, basket, Jan Chandler and Best of Show, Jan Chandler.
Art Show: oil, first place, Five Wolves, by Jan Chandler, second place, Chickens in the Rain, Shirley Worrell and third place, Yucca Sunset by Shirley Worrell; watercolor, first place, flower vase in chair by Shirley Worrell, second place, Poppies and Daisies, by Shirley Worrell; third place, Purple Iris by Doris Tillery and Overall Best of Show, Indian Girl by Shirley Worrell.
Fundraiser set to aid families for Christmas
A barbecue fundraising luncheon is scheduled Friday to help raise money for the Annual Christmas For Kids foundation, and the group will also begin taking applications for gift recipients starting next week.
The elves are already getting ready for the Christmas holiday, and applications to be recipients of the special toys and items provided by the volunteers will be available beginning next Friday, Oct. 19, and running through Nov. 16. Applications can be picked up at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
“All applications must be completed in order to qualify for the program,” said elf Sofia Baeza.
In conjunction the group is holding a fundraising barbecue luncheon this Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Plates will be $5 and all funds will go towards the program.
To order call 445-3400 on Friday or the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department before Friday, at 445-4901.
The group is comprised of volunteers who raise funds to provide the essentials for children in the community, who would otherwise lose out on having a Merry Christmas.
“Our main goal is to provide a happy Christmas for as many children in the community as we can,” said Baeza. “We don’t just provide toys, but the essentials, such as coats and shoes.”
Last year the group helped out 418 children, who were part of 126 local families.
While the deadline to fill out an application to be a recipient of the Christmas for Kids is still a month away, Baeza said that people wait until the last minute to fill out the applications. Officials with the group would like to have them right away in order to check for eligibility requirements.
Only one application is allowed per household. If three adults live in a household, only one adult is allowed to complete and turn in an application.
The applications will also be screened to see if the children really do exist and that the names are not fictitious, and family household income will also be taken into consideration.
The “Christmas for Kids” program is aimed at helping to bring a cheerier holiday for children of less fortunate families in the community.
Baeza also said, “This is for children in Reeves County only,” and the children must be attending Pecos-Barstow-Toyah or Balmorhea ISD, with the exception of babies and toddlers.
Baeza and Linda Clark said that she wanted to thank everyone in the community, the businesses, organizations and especially the volunteers.
Donations are always being accepted for the program.
Anyone wanting more information on Christmas for the Kids could call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, at 445-4901.
Public Affairs meeting held by the Modern Study Club
The Modern Study Club of Pecos met for a meeting of the Public Affairs Department Program on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the parlor of the First Christian Church.
The program was planned by Lena Harpham, Chairman of the Public Affairs Dept. The thought-quote for the meeting – “And give me strength to go to those who need healing care” – from the song “God’s World Today” by Ed Seabrough.
President Margie Williamson presided and during opening ceremonies Paula Fuller led the collect and the pledges to the United States of America and Texas Flags were led by Pearl Gustafson.
Chairman Harpham introduced Dennis Thorp, Chief of Pecos, Ambulance Service, who spoke on qualifications of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He told of the area they cover, the hours worked, training as paramedics, required license, continuing education, state counseling if members need it, and response time getting to a 911 call. He noted that there were certain medical procedures that paramedics can perform on 911 patients such as starting IVs and C-sections.
Thorp also said that soon funding the Pecos Ambulance Service will be shared by hospital, city and county and that the hospital would like for the local ambulance service to take over transport of patients to other hospitals. He told of plans to build a new ambulance service facility on property the VFW donated for their use when they disbanded. They currently have six members.
The 2007-2008 club yearbooks were distributed. It was noted that Joyce Morton did a splendid job preparing them.
Minutes of Sept. 12 were read by secretary Catherine Travland and approved as read.
Treasurer Betty Lee gave the treasurer’s report concerning club finances.
Margie Williamson, scholarship chairman, reported that district chairman Bobbe Mitchell has sent the Alma Van Sickle Scholarship money to Sul Ross State University for Sylvia Davis.
Mrs. Lee reminded member about the bake sale scheduled at Trans-Pecos Bank.
Paula Fuller, Federation Chairman, reported that President Pierce became the first individual member to pledge she would distribute information and enroll other individuals and organizations in the million voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America.
Mrs. Fuller reminded member to plan 2007 ACT in October activity to increase membership.
She also pointed out the influence of images of women in media, saying that from a young girls view images that affect how they interpret their role in society and how they create their own self-image.
Members were reminded about the Western District Fall Board Meeting to be held Oct. 27, at Coahoma and about brining baked goods for the “Country Store Bake Sale Fundraiser.”
Several of the 2007-2008 meeting sites are at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall and to help with heating and cooling the club decided to donate $50 to the church to help cover those expenses by unanimous vote.
Western District President-elect Catherine Travland presented a most informative report on the 11th Annual Fall Board meeting of the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs held in Austin, Sept. 20-22, which she had attended.
She also reported that there would be no traveling team of TFWC State Officers, as we have known it in the past, during the summer.
By-monthly projects for this meeting are to contribute to the West of the Pecos Museum and to maintain the bridal suite at the West of the Pecos Museum.
Roll call was answered by responding to the question – What did you learn about being an EMT?
Hostesses Paula Fuller and Margie Williamson served delicious refreshments to club members and three guests.
Commissioners to seek bids for sheriff’s vehicle cameras
New cameras for the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department vehicles will be bid out, Reeves County Commissioners decided during their regular meeting on Monday.
Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Roberts spoke to the commissioners about a plan to purchase new digital video cameras for the deputies’ cars.
“About five years ago, the federal government had some funding and we purchased some, but now they are outdated,” said Roberts.
He told commissioners that the camera usually last about five years, but that some already have broken down.
“Today, we have probably three or four units that don’t have one and some are not working,” said Roberts.
He said that they are in violation, because the cameras are protection for the officers from a liability standpoint.
“We have some people, who we ask for the consent to search and give it and then when they are arrested they say that they didn’t consent,” said Roberts. “I then pull the camera out.”
“We spend a lot of money on legal issues and that’s why the sheriff wanted me to look into a camera system,” said Roberts.
Roberts said that they are looking at equipping 12 vehicles.
“Let’s say you have a deputy that made a felony arrest, it can’t go to court, because they’ll dispute it,” said Roberts.
Roberts said that the Department of Public Safety has gone to digital as well.
Roberts told the commissioners that they currently have $30,000 to purchase the units, but that they need about $28,000 more.
“You’re right, it’s a very good investment and something that is definitely needed,” said Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras.
“These cameras help us out with false accusations,” said Roberts.
Roberts said that the cameras they are looking into also have GPS locating equipment.
“Let’s say I’m following someone and they throw dope out the window, the GPS will let us know exactly where and after we apprehend them, we can go back and pick it up later,” he said.
The commissioners then agreed to bid the item out.
In other action, commissioners also approved hiring Gaston Tarango to help out with the Reeves County Extension Agency. The position has been vacant since the county agent resigned and moved out of town.
“He will help out with the purchase of the animals,” said Contreras.
Commissioners also approved regular agenda items during their regular meeting.
New TP Foods management introduced to Chamber board
New top officials at the TransPecos Foods plant were introduced to Pecos Chamber of Commerce members, during their monthly meeting, held on Tuesday at the Pecos Senior Citizens Center.
TransPecos Foods Chairman Patrick Kennedy was in town for the announcement of the new appointments on Tuesday, and introduced the members of the senior management team during the noon meeting.
Jose Daniel Anaya Cuellar was appointed Plant Manager effective Tuesday. Kennedy said Anaya has had a history of successful food manufacturing experience. He has a degree in Industrial Engineering and brings extensive experience to the growing Pecos operation. Mr. Anaya held the position of plant manager at Anchor de Mexico in Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua.
Kennedy also announced that Roger Garcia has recently assumed the position of Plant Controller. He has is a native of El Paso and holds an MBA from University of Texas at El Paso. Mr. Garcia has over 20 years of finance and accounting experience in manufacturing. He most recently held the plant controller position with a large food processing facility in El Paso Texas.
TransPecos Foods also announced the promotion of Albert Gonzalez to the position of Assistant Plant Manager. Gonzalez has worked at the Pecos processing facility for the past 12 years. He most recently held the position of Research and Development and Quality Control Manager.
In addition, Tom Richter recently joined the Company as Manager of the Maintenance/Engineering Department. He is also a very experienced veteran of the food industry and is originally from San Antonio, where he had a long career with Richter’s Bakery.
Roberto Navarette has also joined the Company as Purchasing Manager. He has had a 15-year history in purchasing and is a native of El Paso.
Finally, the Company announced the promotion of Lupita Natividad as Manager of Quality Control. Natividad has had a long and successful tenure with the Company and its predecessor.
TransPecos Foods acquired the Pecos Texas facility in mid 2002 following the closing of the Anchor West plant after its purchase by McCain Foods. It currently employs about 185 people.
The plant produces a high quality line of battered and breaded vegetables, cheese, pepper appetizers and onion rings under its Pecos Valley Farms label and a number of private labels.
Kennedy told the group that they plan to become members of the chamber and be more involved in the community.
Another guest at the monthly luncheon was Andrea Ramirez, of Van Horn, with the Big Bend Gazette.
“I spoke with Keith Godwin and she wanted to know if we could do a similar guide for the Texas Pecos Trail,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez said that she noticed that Van Horn always got cheated with the Big Bend Guide and that she was told that the more ads you have the more editorials you will get.
Ramirez said that she wanted to help promote the Texas Pecos Trail and would be on hand if anyone had any questions.
Chamber member Nancy Martinez told the group that Office of Rural Community Affairs will be having a public hearing in November at the civic center if anyone was interested in attending.
“They will be speaking about the availability of funds,” she said.
Bill Oglesby, with the chamber’s advertising committee, talked about the recent repairs done to some buildings.
“The put a new roof at the Mesquite House, which is one of the oldest buildings in the community,” said Oglesby.
Oglesby said that they plan to get that area spruced up.
“We also got some billboards out,” he said.
West of the Pecos Rodeo President Joe Keese told the group that they are trying to get Mexican Charro Tomas Garcilazo to perform again at next year’s event.
“He’s going to see if he can come back, because he has a performance scheduled in Reno,” he said.
Keese said that they are trying to get everything together early and not wait until the last minute.
“We’re way ahead of the game and will be sending out sponsorship packages,” said Keese. “We’re pretty well organized and won’t be in a panic, I hope.”
Chamber director Linda Gholson told the group that last weekend’s Fall Fair went smoothly and everyone enjoyed it.
“Flying J was there and they plan to get more involved,” she said.
Martinez told the group that the Christmas lighting event, held annually at Maxey Park, was scheduled for Nov. 27.
“This year, they are including the putt-putt area and that will be lit up as well,” said Martinez. “The fireworks will be better this year and the plans are to make it bigger and better.”
There are still some spots open for donations, according to Martinez.
Board members also approved Joe Keese as the president-elect and board vacancies were filled by Emma Workman, Olga Keese, Gail Box and Greer Willis.
Council seeks PEDC director, PHA land deal
The Pecos Economic Development Corporation is looking for a new executive director this week, while at the same time looking at a land deal that was turned down less than a month ago by the Town of Pecos City Council.
Meeting in special session on Tuesday night, the council authorized the new PEDC 4B board to enter into talks on purchasing 34.23 acres of land owned by the Pecos Housing Authority, less than a month after the council rejected a request by the PEDC 4A corporation to buy the land from the PHA at a cost of $230,000.
The council also voted to have the new PEDC board draw up a list of duties for the position of executive director, after interim executive director Mike Burkholder submitted his resignation from the post, two days following his appointment.
Burkholder, who served as executive director of the 4A PEDC, was named interim executive director on Oct. 3, during the organizational meeting for the new 4B PEDC board. On Friday, Burkholder e-mailed city manager and interim PEDC 4B board president Joseph Torres of his intent to resign from the position, effective immediately.
Burkholder’s e-mail offered no reason for his resignation, but he had been at odds with members of the council and the PEDC board over both information released on the corporation’s activities and the executive director’s salary, which was cut from $60,000 to $42,000 in 2006 and increased to $52,000 earlier this year.
Burkholder told the new PEDC board last week if they decided to look for a new executive director, they would not be able to find a qualified applicant at the current salary level, based on salaries being paid to other EDC directors in the area.
Along with seeking to define the duties of the PEDC executive director, the council also approved a motion to conduct a final audit of the 4A corporation, before the 4B PEDC officially assumes its assets.
“With Mike Burkholder resigning, we haven’t had a chance to see how much we have in the bank,” said Torres, who will serve as interim executive director until a full-time director is hired.
City voters in May approved conversion of the PEDC from 4A to 4B status. The change allows funds acquired by the 4B corporation to be spent on a wider variety of projects for economic development, such as tourism-related projects and business retention. Opponents of the change had argued that the 4A PEDC had only a limited amount of funds compared to other area cities and should focus on attracting new businesses to Pecos.
Burkholder and PEDC 4A board president Joe Keese had pushed for approval of the PHA land purchase. Under the deal, the $230,000 given to the Housing Authority would be put towards the purchase of the city’s Farm Labor Housing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 34.23 acres, located along Interstate 20 between Country Club Drive and West County Road, could then be used as possible sites for commercial and industrial development.
But the council declined to approve the deal during a meeting on Sept. 14, citing concerns by city attorney Scott Johnson that the new 4B corporation could not be held liable for debts incurred by the 4A corporation.
Keese, who is president of TransPecos Bank, told the council at the Sept. 14 meeting that his bank would loan the PHA the funds, since the government’s $230,000 expired on Sept. 17, and the bank would then help them seek a buyer for the I-20 land to repay the money. PHA executive director Nellie Gomez said in late September that due to federal laws, the land would likely be put up for bid, as opposed to any negotiations with a single bidder.
On Tuesday, Torres told council members the 4B PEDC had receieved approval of its articles of incorporation from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ office. Johnson said the 4B PEDC’s operations can start before the final audit on the 4A PEDC is completed.
“Now that we have the articles of incorporation from 4A to 4B we can directly affect negotiations on the land,” Torres said.
He said he would talk with PHA board president Frank Perea about the land. However, any action on purchasing the property would require public hearings under the state’s 4B EDC law, and as a result, couldn’t be completed until early next year.
The PEDC receives 1/4-cent of the city’s 1 1/2-cent sales tax for its operations. Because it was not officially created until Oct. 1, the 4B PEDC’s first check won’t arrive until December, based on sales tax collections made this month. The 4A PEDC received a check for over $27,000 this week, based on city sales tax collections of just over $163,000 made during August, and will get one more check in November, based on September’s sales tax collections.
Editor’s Note: A Saragosa resident, June Pedigo, has submitted her third column to the Pecos Enterprise and we hope that our reader’s enjoy it.
By JUNE PEDIGO
As a grandchild said not long ago, “One good thing about old people, they no longer have to pretend to be normal.”
It seems to me, pretend we did. After reading the front page news and the number of dysfunctional adults in TYC’s, on the internet, and lurking in the shadows, shame and disgrace is in order. What has happened? It seems we can not even define right or wrong. Did we simply sit back and watch the Lone Ranger, I Love Lucy, and Leave it to Beaver with no clue? Looks like to me maybe we did, “leave it to Beaver!” And for lack of knowledge, we perish?
Now that I am old and know I not only do not know everything, I wonder if I ever knew anything. Can anyone tell me why there is such an evil deluge and vicious attacks on the helpless children of the world? What and where did we go wrong to allow people to think they could do any and every evil thing to children and take no responsibility for it?
I will advise if anyone remotely considers the Bible a possible guideline to right and wrong, they might read Matthew 18, verse 10, new King James version, where it states (paraphrased), “All little children have angels that go to the face of God continually (recording everything that is done to them).”
Meaning child abusers will answer for it in due season. What is done in secret will surely be exposed, by and by. Something to think about and consider in any case, don’t you think?
For those who think Matthew 18 is hooey, then continue on I guess. For sure water will reach it’s level. No disputing that.
It is true, we old folks have to turn over the reigns to this younger generation. I apologize for the mess we have left you. I do hope it is a “New John Wayne” generation. Beaver enjoyed the circus. The rides are shut down and the five cent cotton candy store is closed, but the circus is anything but quiet.
Well, that is it from the Senior Side.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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