Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, January 27, 2000
Council voices support for PEDC's work
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Jan. 27, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City, City Council had nothing
but praise for the Pecos Economic Development Corp., this morning
during the regular meeting of the council.
All members of the council were present except mayor pro tem Danny Rodriguez.
"These guys (PEDC) have done a good job this year. Gari (Ward) and his
board of directors have been instrumental in helping Mr. (Joe) Hoodenpyle
get the dairy started and attracting the Odessa College campus to Pecos,"
councilman Johnny Terrazas said.
Mike Burkholder, vice chairman of the PEDC board of directors gave a
short report to the council.
"In think we've done a good job, especially with attracting Odessa College.
The college should be worth a lot to Pecos in the future," Burkholder said.
"I give all credit to Gary. Although the dairy would have probably happened
anyway, Gary has been very helpful to him, and he was instrumental in bringing
Odessa College here," he said.
Ward, director for PEDC, told the council that the corporation had found
a way to fund the renovation of the White's Auto Building that was donated
for the campus site in Pecos.
"I'm happy to report that an EDA grant for $860,000 has been approved
for funding in Washington," he said.
Ward added that he expected the bid for the renovation project to be
awarded next Thursday, Feb. 3.
He also reported that Odessa College had applied for a Department of
Education Grant for $450,000, renewable for five years, to help fund campus
Members of the PEDC board of directors are Burkholder, Pauline Moore,
Oscar Saenz, David Dutchover and Frank Spencer, Ward said.
In other action today, the council discussed the broken water well at
the Reeves County Golf Course.
According to City Finance Director Steve McCormick, the well went down
before Christmas and is needed by greenskeeper Royce Cassel to water the
The well is owned by the city and used by the county for watering the
fairways as part of the agreement the city made with the county when the
county agreed to take over operations of the golf course, McCormick said.
The problem is that the city agreed to supply water to the golf course,
the city doesn't want the golf course to use drinking water to water the
fairways, and the well is the alternative source, McCormick said.
City Water Superintendent Octavio Garcia estimated that it would take
$7,000 to fix the existing well.
A long discussion ensued concerning the city's obligations to the county
as to fixing the well and supplying water to the golf course.
"We don't want them to use drinking water to water the fairways," McCormick
said, "and we don't want to have to keep paying the bill to keep this well
McCormick estimated that it costs the city $50,000 a year to operate
McCormick's suggestion was to drill the county a new well and give it
to the county, but not to accept any further maintenance obligation for
the new well.
Councilman Terrazas asked if the city could ask the county to foot the
bill for repairing the well.
"We fixed it the last time it broke and it seems like the county would
be willing to fix it this time," he said.
"We've agreed to provide water to the golf course," City Attorney Scott
Johnson said, "but that is all the city has agreed to do."
Councilman Ricky Herrera suggested drawing up an agreement with Reeves
County where the city would not have sole responsibility for maintaining
"My first concern is that we keep the golf course in good shape for
the citizens of Pecos. My second concern is that we honor our obligations.
It is my hope that we can work something out with the county that would
be acceptable," Herrera said.
"Negotiations haven't been going well with the county on anything,"
Terrazas said. "We don't want them using city water for this but I don't
think the city should have to pay for fixing the well every time it breaks."
The council finally voted to fix the well and to bring up the future
obligations regarding the well at the upcoming mediation scheduled between
the county and the city regarding an ongoing dispute over out-of-town water
rates, centering on charges for water used by the Reeves County Detention
The mediation is scheduled to begin on Feb. 8 in Austin, Mayor Dot Stafford
All members of the council voted for the resolution except for Terrazas
who voted against it.
The council also heard from Frank Spencer and Associates and authorized
the firm to advertise for bids on the construction costs associated with
closing the existing landfill.
Spencer's firm estimated that it would take $396,000 to complete the
City Finance Director Steve McCormick told the council that the money
was available in the city's bond fund.
The council also discussed a law enforcement firing range and training
area. Police Chief Clay McKinney recommended that the city build a new
facility on existing city land.
Currently, local law enforcement utilizes the Rifle Range south of town
that is controlled by the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club.
McKinney also presented a safety evaluation he commissioned that evaluated
safety concerns at the existing Club range.
According to the report the first concern deals with bullets flying
over the current backstops (berms) when law enforcement officers practice
"speed rock or hip shooting" drills.
The report stated that the firing line needed to be closer to the berm
to prevent accidental firing of projectiles over the top of the backstop.
The second problem dealt with the fence around the range. The report
stated that with the current fence it was possible for trespassers to enter
the range without being noticed, especially when law enforcement was using
a "shoothouse" that is located behind the 200-yard backstop.
The report recommended improving the fence to make this entry more difficult.
The council voted to recommend Chief McKinney confer with the Pecos
Rifle and Pistol Club and Frank Spencer and Associates in working out an
agreement that would suit the needs of all parties.
Spencer volunteered the services of his firm without cost to the city
in mapping out a new range or re-designing the old one, if it would help
solve the problem.
In other business the council adopted a resolution, pending review by
the city attorney, stating that the city was interested in having Texas
Star Mortgage Company make application for grants for first-time home buyers
and home improvement loans.
Jeanne King asked the council to approve the resolution.
"This is necessary for Texas Star Mortgage to begin the process," she
said. "It doesn't obligate the city to anything. Once approved we would
come back with a specific proposal."
According to King, Texas Star Mortgage is a not-for-profit organization
that specializes in these type grant programs and covers cost through a
commission from the grant money.
Effort begun to boost local census count
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - A "Complete Count Committee" for Reeves County
has been organized to help with the Census 2000 and the group has scheduled
their next meeting for two weeks from now.
"We now have a complete count committee which was set up by Reeves County
Judge Jimmy B. Galindo," said Census 2000 Community Partnership Specialist
Charlene Romero Wurtz. "It's a pretty big group with about 22-23 people."
The next meeting for the group has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday,
Feb. 8, on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.
"They had their first orientation and it's going good, but we still
need some people," said Wurtz. "We're getting ready to start working on
The kick-off is an event that will be held to introduce the committee
to the community.
Each county committee has a chairman, which for Reeves County is Louis
Matta. Sub-committees are formed from that committee, with a chairman appointed
for the different groups.
Sub-committees include government, with Ricky Herrera acting as chairman
there. Jimmy Dutchover is chairman for education; George Vasquez for religion;
Michael Benavidez for organizations; Johnny Terrazas for business and David
Flores for housing.
Wurtz said she will be in Pecos on Feb. 8 to talk to the Pecos Chamber
of Commerce at their monthly luncheon and will be at the Balmorhea High
School in the afternoon.
"This was all set up by the members of the committee," she said.
The Community Council of Reeves County will be set up as a questionnaire
assistance center. "As soon as they receive their questionnaires, they
can go to the community council and the individuals there will help fill
it out," said Wurtz. "I'll be meeting with them also."
She said the group has pretty much finished with the mailing list, which
was drawn up by the county and the city.
"So, we're ready to roll now," she said. "Now we're trying to get all
the religious organizations all the information."
"It's very important that everyone fill out the questionnaires and that
everyone be counted," said Benavidez. "They need to give a complete count
of each person that's in their house."
State and federal funding is often based on census figures, so if local
residents fail to fill out their forms both the city and county could see
the amount of money available to the area drop after the year 2001.
"Through this census we can get funding for our county, so we want to
make sure everyone in Reeves County is accounted for," said Reeves County
Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "This is very important."
The Bureau will be sending out the information in the next month or
month and a half, according to Wurtz.
"By law people are required to answer and respond to the census," said
The local effort is part of a $167 million campaign, which began in
November and will pick up in the next month and run through Census Day
on April 1. The target audience is every adult in the country.
"It's the first time ever the Census Bureau is using paid advertising.
We hope the campaign will be successful because it's not your typical government
campaign," said Jennifer Marks, the bureau's chief of publicity for Census
"Our hope is that all these multiple efforts will get people to send
that form back," she said.
The Census Bureau all but concedes it will not be able to count every
person in America, leading to a battle between Democrats and Republicans
over the use of statistical methods known as sampling to estimate the final
The bureau estimates 1.6 percent of the population was undercounted
in the 1990 census. Since many undercounted individuals are presumed to
be minorities and inner-city residents who vote Democratic, GOP strategists
fear sample-adjusted numbers could be juggled to threaten Republican legislative
This year's census is considered even more crucial because the 1990
survey was the first to be considered statistically less accurate than
the previous one _ 65 percent of census surveys were mailed back in 1990,
compared with 78 percent in 1980.
The first questionnaires will be mailed out in early March. At stake:
about $185 billion in federal aid distributed by the federal government
to states, cities and local communities, as well as the redrawing of congressional
district lines according to new population data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Federal suit planned over low-level flights
By SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press Writer
RENO, Nev. - Ranchers and environmentalists in Nevada and eight other
states are banding together to sue the Defense Department to halt low-level
military training flights they say harm livestock, fish and wildlife.
Lawyers for the citizen activists said they would file the lawsuit in
U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., today seeking an injunction to
ban all Air Force overflights until the government conducts a broad assessment
of their environmental impact.
Some of the military aircraft fly as low as 100 feet off the ground
at speeds up to 645 miles per hour, the lawsuit says.
"It's kind of like a tornado that almost sucks your roof off. It shakes
the house like a dead rat," Richard Smucker said Wednesday from his ranch
near Austin, Nev.
One of the routes used by the Air Force runs through parts of southern
Reeves County, and the Air Force is expected to announce in the new few
months it has selected the Pecos area for its new low level bomber training
area. Jets from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Barksdale AFB near
Shreveport, La., will target three electionic scoring sites on their route,
two of which would be located in Reeves County.
The bombers will fly in a loop around Pecos, making their runs as low
as 200 feet near the target areas in southern and east-central Reeves County.
Air Force officials last year said they would try to have the jets avoid
thge Balmorhea and Saragosa areas during the runs, and that the scoring
sites in the Alamo and Toyah Lake areas would bring 48 new jobs into the
The suit accuses the Air Force of violating the National Environmental
Policy Act, intentionally underestimating the impacts of the overflights
by assessing the flight routes individually, rather than as a whole across
"For over a decade, the Air Force has been trying to mask the nationwide
scope and impacts of its program by breaking up the required analysis into
many site-specific documents," said Simeon Herskovits, a lawyer for the
Western Environmental Law Center in Taos, N.M.
The flights are "sometimes deafening and startling to human beings and
animals, causing wildlife and livestock to panic and stampede and impairing
their ability to reproduce and raise their young," said Peter Galvin, a
biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz., one
of the plaintiffs.
Air Force airspace used for the flight training program covers nearly
1 million square miles, the lawsuit says. Most of it covers public lands
in the West.
Cumulatively, Galvin said, the low-level flights are harming numerous
wildlife species, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, bighorn sheep
In addition, the flights harm ranchers and farmers by causing livestock
to panic and stampede, injuring themselves and causing other property damage,
the suit says.
Smucker said he backs the lawsuit because the military refuses to reimburse
him and others for damages caused by the flights. In his case, the flights
originate at Fallon Naval Air Station, a Navy airbase in Fallon, Nev.
"The majority of the time out here, it is quiet and peaceful," said
"Sometimes the only thing that warns us they are coming is the sonic
boom. One got us here two years ago and raised the ceiling off the house
about a half of an inch. We've had ranch hands kicked by horses," he said.
"I have the utmost respect for the pilots and the military because they
protect our country, but when they do damage, they should pay for it,"
said Smucker, who estimates damage to his home at $22,000 over the past
The Rural Alliance for Military Accountability based in Reno and the
Nevada Outdoor Recreation Association based in Carson City are among the
plaintiffs in the suit.
Others are: Colorado Airspace Coalition, Westcliffe, Colo.; Custer County
Association, Westcliffe, Colo.; Open Space Alliance, Crestone, Colo.; Amigos
Bravos, Taos, N.M.,; Oregon Natural Desert Association, Bend, Ore.; National
Airspace Coalition, Bloomington, Minn.; Downwinders, Salt Lake City; Trans-Pecos
Protection Group, Alpine, Texas; Committee for Idaho's High Desert, Boise,
"These citizens are united in the belief that the Air Force's program
requires analysis that is national in scope to determine the national effects,"
said Grace Potorti of Reno, executive director of the Rural Alliance for
"As the Air Force continues to expand its low-level flight training
program, the people who live and work in these rural areas are increasingly
exposed to the sudden onset and deafening roar of low-level military overflights,"
Most of the overflights in Nevada originate at Fallon Naval Air Station,
which is not named in the lawsuit. However, a significant number of flights
originate at Nellis Air Force Base north of Las Vegas, which would be covered
by the lawsuit.
Mike Estrada, a Nellis AFB spokesman, said base officials had not seen
the lawsuit but they typically do not comment on pending litigation.
"I've not heard anything about it," he said Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the public affairs office at the Air Force in Arlington,
Va., said Wednesday there was no one immediately available to comment because
a snow storm had closed their offices.
Skiing columnist cites Rediger to boost rating system
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - Pecos pharmacist John T. Rediger found himself
being used as an example by a columnist for a national skiing magazine
this month, who was seeking wider use of a rating system he developed 33
John Fry, columnist for SKI magazine, established the National Standard
Race (Nastar) for skiers during the winter of 1967-68. In an article in
the magazine's January issue, he explains the system is designed to do
for amateur skiers what the handicap system does in ranking golfers.
The system compares skiers' efforts down a set course against the results
of a professional skier. But while the system has been around for over
three decades and is used for competitive purposes, it has yet to earn
complete acceptance in the North American skiing schools.
In pushing for Nastar's adaptation, Fry cites Rediger's accomplishments
over the 21 years since he took up the sport. "The only hill in his hometown
of Pecos, Texas is the ramp off the Interstate, but Rediger wasn't discouraged,"
Fry wrote. "At 5 a.m. he would set paper cups on the incline and practice
roller blading through the improvised gates.
"Winter after winter he attended Billy Kidd and Toni Sailer racing camps.
Finally, two years ago Rediger accomplished his dream. He became the fastest
recreational racer in America, with a 1 handicap, better than skiers half
That success earned Rediger a mention in Sports Illustrated's "Faces
in the Crowd" section just over a year ago. "I knew about the Sports Illustrated
piece, but I didn't know this was going to happen," said Rediger, after
receiving his copy of the magazine in late December.
"The man who wrote the article is a good friend of Billy Kidd (a U.S.
Olympic medal winner in skiing) up in Steamboat (Springs in Colorado).
I think he told them about it," he said.
Rediger explained that under the Nastar system, skiers are rated on
running the same course after a standard is set. In the southwestern states,
"All skiers go to Vail (Colorado) in November. One skier off the National
Ski Team sets the handicap, based on three runs," Rediger said. "All the
racers in the respective area follow him down and the times set the handicap."
He explained that if the professional skier does the course in 30 seconds
and an amateur does it in 33 seconds, "That's a 10 percent difference,
which translates into a 10 handicap."
Fry said he created the system after serving as editorial director for
Golf Magazine in the mid-1960s. He designed it in order to give amateur
skiers a chance to see how they rated in comparison to the nation's top
"Many people today ski proficiently, even elegantly, when they're able
to choose anywhere to make a turn. The instructor observes, applauds their
form and advances them to a higher class," he wrote. "But can you make
such a turn at a given spot? What about making a must-do turn, one you
have to make at high speed to avoid a tree? Or one good enough to let you
feel what it's like to be an Alberto Tomba in the gates?"
"It's far more difficult to turn at a given spot, again and again. You
have to master skills like gliding, skidding, drifting, pivoting, rebounding,
absorption and stepping, as well as carving, to get specifically from Point
A to Point B. In short, you have to become a true skier. A ski school would
monitor your advancement by periodically inserting you into a Nastar race.
Your handicap would become a measure of your progress," according to Fry.
"My times compared with all other racers across the U.S. comes up with
a 1 handicap, which also compares to all other age groups" Rediger said.
"I don't want to toot my own horn, but it takes a lot of work to stay at
that level. You have to stay in shape.
Rediger travels north often this time of year to ski, and said he paid
the price last year, breaking his clavicle in a fall while skiing at Steamboat
Springs. But he's back at Steamboat for the 1999-2000 winter season.
"Just to be ranked No. 1 in Texas the last seven years is something.
To be ranked No. 1 in the nation takes a lot of effort," Rediger said.
Registration to vote in primary runs until Feb. 14
PECOS, Jan. 26, 2000 - Registration to vote in the March 14 primary elections
will continue until Feb. 14, with a deadline of March 7 to submit ballots
Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez said anyone wanting an application
for a ballot by mail can contact her office at 445-5467.
Early voting by personal appearance will begin on Feb. 26 and the last
day to vote early by personal appearance has been set for March 10, according
The dates are the same for voters in Barstow, but they will have to
go to Monahans to vote early in the Ward County primary elections. Barstow
voters can obtain early voting mail ballots from the Ward County Clerk's
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 2-6-7-18-23-28. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching
six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 119. Prize: $832. Matching four of
six: 4,992. Prize: $71.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 4-7-8 (four, seven, eight)
High Wednesday 67. Low this morning 33. Forecast for tonight: Increasing
clouds. Lows in the mid 30s. North to northeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday:
Mostly cloudy. High around 55. Friday night: Mostly cloudy. Low around
20. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High around 55.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise