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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Blood drive set during News West 9’s visit

As part of KWES-TV visit this Thursday during their annual “Under West Texas Skies” tour, News West 9 will be assisting with a local blood drive scheduled for five hours outside the West of the Pecos Museum.

KWES-Ch. 9, Midland Odessa radio station La Ley 104.7 FM and Telemundo-Ch. 20 (Cable Ch. 98) will be in Pecos from 3-8 p.m. on Thursday, broadcasting from the Museum grounds, and United Blood Services of the Permian Basin will have their Bloodmobile set up nearby, and donors will get a UWTS T-Shirts.

There will be refreshments, contests and lots of good West Texas socializing. Also, all donors will be entered in to the monthly drawing for a trip for two to Las Vegas (must be 21 years or older to win and travel).

This drive is especially important during the summer, temperatures are rising and so is our community’s need for blood, UBS officials said. Eligible blood donors are encouraged to give blood regularly, three or four times a year, to keep hospital shelves stocked with lifesaving blood.

Watch News West 9 for the latest information or call United Blood Services at 432-561-5539.

Museum sets food show for July 27

Creative chefs and cooks from around the area will vie for awards at the Annual “Cantaloupe Delights” Food Show sponsored by the West of the Pecos Museum in Pecos on Friday, July 27.

Showcasing the World Famous Sweet Pecos Cantaloupe that is available only during a limited time each summer, the entries are a vision in orange, and a feast for the nose as well as the mouth.

The three categories of best presentation, judge’s choice and surprise “MMMMM,” were awarded last year to the winning recipes of cantaloupe pudding pie, avocado and cantaloupe salad, and cantaloupe and jalapeno preserves.

Parents are invited to bring their kids for a “Cantaloupe Decorating Contest” to be held at the same time.

The food show, judging and decorating contest are to be held at the TransPecos Bank, 115 W. Third St., from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

All entries for food show and decorating contest must be registered by July 25 at the West of the Pecos Museum, with dishes delivered to the TransPecos Bank by 2 p.m. on July 27.

Contact the West of the Pecos Museum at 445-5076, for registration and entry guidelines.

This fundraising event for the museum will have special VIP judges from around the region and lost of great photo opportunities with the Pecos area favorite summer fruit.

Museum closes to reduce buzz before Ch. 9’s visit

Even though a swarm of bees wanting to make their home at the old saloon forced its closure for two days late last week, the West of the Pecos Museum will be ready for this Thursday’s activities, when KWES-TV will originate its afternoon and early evening newscasts from the grounds of the facility.

“We had a swarm of bees that started outside and then when the city was cleaning up they decided to come inside,” said West of the Pecos Museum Director Debbie Thomas.The infestation of bees closed the museum to the public on Thursday and Friday, while employees cleaned up the mess left from killing off the insects.

“There were thousands of them and now there are carcasses everywhere,” said Thomas. “I guess the bees just decided to make this their home.”

She said that everything will be cleaned up by Thursday in time for the arrival of News West 9, which is making Pecos the fourth of its five stops this week as part of their annual “Under West Texas Skies” promotion.

The crew will broadcasting live from to Pecos and is asking the community to put their best foot forward and help welcome viewers from all over West Texas to find out what it is that makes the city so great.

From July 16 through July 20 the crew will do a 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscast in a different location each night. They will also do a 10 p.m. newscast in the Big Spring location this Friday.

The group will be in Pecos at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., on the grounds of the West of the Pecos Museum and inside the museum.

Free food will be provided by Sonic and free beverages will be provided by Dr. Pepper.

Individuals will have a chance to register to win a pair of tickets to see Pepe Aguilar in concert in Odessa. One pair of tickets will be given away each day.

Other cities the crew will broadcast from include: Fort Davis on Monday, July 16; Presidio, Tuesday, July 17; Fort Stockton, Wednesday, July 18 and Big Spring, Friday, July 20.

Council wary of UP, TxDOT’s offer to close crossing

An offer by the Texas Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad for up to $160,000 to close the Locust Street railroad crossing was tabled by the Town of Pecos City Council on Thursday, during their regular meeting at City Hall.

Council members were presented with the offer by Robert Martinez with TxDOT’s Odessa District office, who represented both the state agency and the railroad at the meeting. But council members said they couldn’t consider any action on the offer without holding a public hearing, and put off any action until a later date.

Union Pacific has sought several times in recent years to close non-signaled railroad crossings in Pecos, but this was the first time TxDOT has made a presentation in conjunction with the railroad to close the crossing.

Martinez said TxDOT and UP representatives were in Pecos on June 26 to look at the crossing, as part of a new state program to shut down city railroad crossings that do not have warning lights or crossing guards.

“Locust is 1,056 feet, a quarter mile, from the Cedar Street crossing,” Martinez told the council. “The other thing is, this is a changing point for Union Pacific crews, so either way, people have to come down to U.S. 285.”

Union Pacific began changing crews in Pecos five years ago, when it standardized its sites across West Texas at roughly 200-mile intervals. Eastbound trains stop at the Alamo Street crossing to change crews, blocking no crossings within the city limits, but westbound trains stop to change crews at Cedar Street, and routinely block the Locust Street crossing.

City Council members agreed to shut the Alberta Street crossing earlier this decade in exchange for crossing signals being placed at the nearby Alamo Street crossing, but balked at closing the Locust Street crossing, the furthest east crossing in the city.

Martinez said the new offer would pay Pecos up to $150,000 in transportation-related funds from TxDOT through the state program, and $10,000 from UP, which could be used on any city project.

He said the $150,000 could be used to put LED lights at the Cedar and Elm street crossings, similar to the ones in place at Alamo Street, or could be used to put warning lights in at other locations, such as school crossings, pending approval by state officials.

Martinez said that both the railroad and the city would be responsible for blocking off Locust Street, if the closing is approved.

“Once the crossing is closed up, Union Pacific would take out the crossing material at their right-of-way, and up to their rail property. The city would be responsible for placing barricades,” he said.

However, council members and mayor Dick Alligood said any action would have to wait for input from area residents.

“We have to consider the people who use the crossing. I would be concerned about doing it without a public hearing,” Alligood said.

Councilman Danny Rodriguez said the Locust Street crossing allows parents on the north side of Pecos taking their children to east side schools or going to church to bypass the busier Cedar Street crossing. “You also have people who go to church who use that crossing. It’s a major concern for all the people in that area who do use the crossing,” he said.”

“The idea when we closed the other crossing was the ones on either side of 285 (Cedar Street) would stay open,” city attorney Scott Johnson said, before the council voted to table any decision until a later date.

City gets second update on delayed audit report

Town of Pecos City Council members were given another briefing by CPA Tracey Tarter on the city’s 2006 audit report, during their regular meeting on Thursday at City Hall.Tarter had been scheduled to report to the council on the 2006 audit in May, but several delays pushed the initial report back to late June. He appeared at the council’s June 25 meeting to deliver a brief update, and on Thursday noted the city does need to lower its reliance on transfers of water and sewer funds to support operations in the city’s general fund, while adding that the transfer of those funds to support other departments is a normal practice for cities his company has audited.

But Tarter said any future bond issue involving the city’s water or sewer system could come with a requirement that the funds transfers be limited in order to sell the bonds.

Mayor Dick Alligood said the council would hear another presentation on the 2006 audit report during their next meeting.

During approval of the monthly reports, councilman Danny Rodriguez asked about the testing of the city’s larger water meters. Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres said the city’s contract with Johnson Controls for the new computerized meters calls for periodic random testing, but the city can ask the company to check a specific meter.

“This will be ongoing until we cancel. It’s a 15-year service agreement,” he said.

“There are 4-inch meters and 6-inch meters in the (testing) pool,” said city public works director Edgardo Madrid. “Each year the select different meters until they have checked all of them,”

He said the 10-inch meter at the Reeves County Detention Center is not part of the Johnson Controls contract, but that the city tested the meter on its own for accuracy earlier this year.The council also agreed to some line-item transfers in the city budget for the final three months of the 2007 fiscal year, and held the first reading on annexing a home at 801 N. Hickory St. into the city limits.

City accountant Carolina Gonzales gave council member a list of five transfers, which were to move available funds from one area to pay for items in departments running short of funds. The largest shift came from the Water Department’s production repairs account, where $20,000 would be moved to the Electric Service Account, $10,000 to the Travel and/or Training Expenses Account, and another $30,000 to the Building Structures and Maintenance Account.

Gonzales said the Water Department account had $88,000 in available funds for transfer.

The other transfers included $6,300 out of $87,000 in available funds from the Sanitation Department’s Special Services Account to the State Landfill Fees Account; $3,000 out of $49,700 available from the Municipal Buildings Department’s Electrical Services Account to the Water Services Account; $4,000 out of the Parks Department’s available $32,800 Water Services Account to the Animal Feed and Supplies Account; and $2,500 from the $8,000 available in the Capital Outlay Account to the Vehicle Supplies Account.

Council members also approved closing of two blocks of Oak Street and one block of First and Second streets on July 27-28 for the Night in Old Pecos, as part of the annual Pecos Cantaloupe Festival.

The request was added to Thursday’s agenda as an emergency item after it was left off the regular agenda, and Alligood asked Johnson to look into a future resolution that would allow for blanket closings of streets for annual events without having to go through individual action for each event.

Lara graduated from American Commercial College

Carlos & Deana Lara are proud to announce the graduation of their daughter, Amanda Lara, from American Commercial College in Odessa. Amanda graduated on June 8, 2007, as a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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