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Wednesday, January 5, 2000

Forecasters expect no fast end to drought

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 5, 2000 - How dry was it in Pecos last year?

Very dry, but still nowhere near the city's record low, set back in the 1950s. However, according to long-range forecasts by the National Weather Service, things don't figure to get much wetter any time in the first half of 2000.

The rains that fell over Christmas weekend in Pecos allowed the city to just barely surpass the four-inch mark in rainfall for all of 1999. Pecos' total for the year totaled 4.01 inches, which is still over an inch-and-a-half better than the all-time low of 2.36 inches, set in 1956.

That year was one of a series of drought years that hit the Trans-Pecos in the 1950s, and the current drought has lasted just as long. The last year Pecos received near its 10.64-inch average rainfall was 1992, when 4.38 inches alone fell on May 22, 1992, the rainiest recorded day in the city's history.

Virtually no rain fell in the final three months of 1999, and according to meteorologist Brian Curran of the National Weather Service in Midland, dry weather can be expected at least through the first several months of the new year.

"It looks like it's going to be a lot like last winter. It will pretty much be below normal precipitation and warmer than normal temperatures," he said.

Pecos hasn't been alone in its lack of rain during the fall. Phoenix, Ariz., received its first rains in 101 days this past Sunday, and Curran said clouds are expected to remain in the northern part of the United States through the spring.

"Most of the rain looks like it will be in the Pacific Northwest through the Great Lakes states," he said. "It looks like this weather pattern will continue through March with temperatures well above normal and precipitation below normal."

Last year's rains in West Texas were spotty, Curran said. "Andrews County had a lot of rain, and last spring and summer there was a lot of rains in the Guadalupes, and they also received a lot of rain in the Orla area, but the southern part of (Reeves) county didn't get much."

The lack of rain hurt area ranchers more than area farmers, who are almost completely reliant on underground irrigation water.

"We would need a good soaking for two to three weeks to really make a dent," in the drought, Curran said, and as of now, the best hope won't come until late spring, if the NWS forecasts are correct.

"They're suggesting that (with) the trends at the end of spring we could catch a little bit of relief, but it looks a lot like last spring right now." he said. "These things tend to go in 25-year cycles. Right now, it looks as if we're at the low point of this one. I don't see it getting any worse."

Firemen prevent hot lunchtime at store

PECOS, Jan. 5, 2000 - Customers at Subway in the Town and County Convenience Store on West Palmer Street almost had a little bit hotter lunch than they planned Tuesday, but Pecos volunteer firemen were able to put out the back room fire before it had a chance to reach some highly flammable items.

"We got there just in time," said fire chief Roy Pena, holding his hands about a foot apart to show where the fire was when they arrived. "It was about this close to where the matches and other were being stored. If it had gotten there, we would have had problems."

The fire broke out a little after 1 p.m. and was called in by a store employee. The building was then evacuated, as firemen went in through the back door while smoke poured out of the roof area on the northeast side of the building.

"It was probably just accidental," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.

The fire started in the northeast corner of the storeroom and there were several stacks of paper sacks and matches. "There was nothing else around," said Brookshire. "Right now, we're just ruling it as an accident."

Brookshire stated that there was probably someone smoking and accidentally started the fire, which ignited the paper. "There was a big box of matches sitting there, also," said Brookshire. "So, it could have been a lot worse."

Thanks to the quick response of the fire department, which extinguished the fire rapidly, no major damage was assessed, according to Brookshire. Burnt cardboard and cash register rolls were brought outside by firemen to be hosed down and then thrown in the store's dumpster.

"We're just glad it wasn't worse and nobody got hurt," he said.

PHA to get award from feds

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 5, 2000 - The Pecos Housing Authority received some good news recently and the director of that program will be on her way to Washington, D.C., for a special ceremony.

"We're just very excited and happy about this," said executive director Nelly Gomez, after receiving a letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., informing her that the Pecos Housing Authority will be recognized during a special ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12, in Washington.

"This is the first time the Pecos Housing Authority has been recognized by the national HUD," said Gomez.

The letter said that, based on the PHA's advisory score, the agency has been designated a successful performer. "We've been a successful performer for the last three years," said Gomez.

The recognition is for the fine work that the agency has done to provide housing and supportive services to the low-income residents in this community. Public Housing is working throughout the country due to the hard work of executive directors like Gomez, and the increased involvement of residents in their communities, according to Harold Lucas, assistant secretary for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Through the Public Housing Assessment System, the group is able to measure and recognize their results of the work that agencies such as the one in Pecos have done to house people in need of a decent, safe place to live.

At the ceremony, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo will personally acknowledge Gomez and her other industry partners for continuing to do such a fine job and present them with a commendation for their performance.

"We're all just thrilled," said Gomez. "We work very hard to provide housing for the community and have been working other grants."

"This is the result of a team of good people working together as a team, thanks to the board and all the employees of the Pecos Housing Authority," she said.

Gomez said she has been working with some grants to renovate the Farm Labor Housing projects. "We've been working with CIAP 98 funds in renovating the PHA and that project will be completed by the end of the year," she said.

In conjunction with those renovations, an old, abandoned storage and maintenance facility, (where the old Airbase administration offices were located) will be converted into office space for the PHA administrators.

"Our offices will be completed by September," said Gomez. "The rest of the project will be completed by the end of the year."

Gomez stated the PHA has received funds for providing public housing with capital funds based on number of units administered. "They will be giving us a yearly capital fund allotment to keep up the renovations," said Gomez. "We've been working on the big project, but these funds will be awarded yearly, to keep up the appearances and to keep renovating and upgrading the buildings," she said.

The PHA is also giving a reward to information leading to the arrests of individuals who sprayed graffiti on the building, which is being renovated for office space. "We're offering a $200 reward for any information," said Gomez.

In addition to the graffiti, contractors who are working on the renovations of the building lost about $100 worth of 2-by-6 pieces of wood.

"Some materials were also stolen and we'd like to find out who did it," she said.

Individuals who have any information and would like to share it with Gomez will remain anonymous and no questions will be asked. To offer information they can call the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911 or Gomez at 447-2807.

Basketball league sign-up deadline nearing

PECOS, Jan. 5, 2000 - Friday is the deadline to sign up for the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department's men's basketball league. Registration forms for the men's league can be picked up at the RCCRD office at the old Pecos High School gym until Friday. The office is open weekdays between 5 and 9 p.m.

Sign-ups for the Pee Wee Basketball League, for boys and girls ages 5 through 10, will run from now through Jan. 28. But Recreation Department director Nora Geron said anyone who signs up before Friday, Jan. 7 will receive five weeks of ball handling and basic fundamentals before they start playing in regular games.

For further information on either league, call the recreation department at 447-9776.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery: 36-34-26-37-10 (thirty-six, thirty-four, twenty-six, thirty-seven, ten)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-1-3 (four, one, three)


Marcellette O'Callaghan

Marcellette "Pete" O'Callaghan, 94, died Sunday, Dec. 26, 1999, in Brownfield.

Services were held on Wednesday, Dec. 29, with burial in Brownfield.

She was born on May 23, 1905, in Denton County, was a former Pecos resident and member of St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Pecos and a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Brownfield. She graduated from South Plains College in Levelland in 1985 and was the first woman in Texas to receive the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

She was preceded in death by her husband, J.R. O'Callaghan; two daughters, Mary Jo Revell and Marsha Williford and one son, John Richard O'Callaghan.

Survivors include two daughters, Nancy Foster of Brownfield, Theresa Kessler of Snellville, Ga., and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.


PECOS, Jan. 5, 2000 - High Tuesday 55. Low this morning 18. Forecast for tonight: Fair skies. Lows 25-30. South wind 5-10 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy and a little cooler. High in the mid 50s. Wind becoming northeast 10-20 mph. Thursday night: Fair skies. Low 20-25.

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Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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