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Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Pecos untouched by UIL's realignment

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 - The Pecos Eagles will be staying where they are for the next two years, under the University Interscholastic League's Class 4A realignment for the 2000-2002 period, while the Balmorhea Bears will lose their main rival in six-man football, following release of the UIL's list this morning.

The Eagles, who saw their success in football improve sharply after being moved into El Paso-based District 2-4A in 1998, will be with the same five schools again for the next two years, under the UIL's bi-annual realignment plan. Pecos will be paired with Clint, El Paso Mountain View, Fabens, Canutillo and San Elizario through the spring of 2002.

Meanwhile, the Eagles' old district lost two of its members, Fort Stockton and Sweetwater, to Class 3A, and underwent a major change Its four remaining members will stay together, but Andrews, Big Spring, Snyder and San Angelo Lake View will now be paired with Lubbock Estacado, Frenship, Levelland and Plainview to form an eight-school district for the next two years.

Those schools will be part of District 4-4A, making them potential area round playoff opponents for Pecos. Under the current alignment, they are part of District 5-4A and play schools from the Fort Worth/Wichita Falls area in the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

Pecos had gone 23 years without a post-season appearance in football until their move into District 2-4A in 1998. They shared the district title that fall and made the playoffs as the third place team this past season. Pecos also won the district title in tennis and volleyball in 1998 and was runner-up to Clint in both those sports for 1999. The Eagles are the defending district champions in baseball, softball and tennis going into the Spring 2000 seasons.

The 1998 realignment hasn't benefited Pecos either in basketball, where the Eagles have won just three district games in 1½ seasons, or in cross country, where Pecos moved into the state's toughest district, with Fabens claiming the Class 4A boys state title this past November.

The UIL raised the bottom cutoff for Class 4A enrollment by 65 students this year, from 780 to 845. That would have dropped Pecos into Class 3A two years ago, but an increase in high school enrollment, from 835 to 895 students, kept the Eagles from following Fort Stockton and Sweetwater down into Class 3A.

Two of Pecos' district rivals, Clint and Fabens, are below the Class 4A cutoff, but petitioned the UIL to remain in Class 4A in order to save on travel costs. Schools are allowed to go to higher classifications by the UIL, but cannot move to lower ones.

Two years ago, San Elizario and Fabens petitioned to stay up in Class 4A. This year, San Elizario reported a 915 enrollment, making them the third-largest school in District 2-4A, behind Canutillo and El Paso Mountain View.

The only extracurricular sport in which Pecos is not a member of District 2-4A _ swimming _ will also remain unchanged next year. None of the Eagles district rivals have a swimming program, so Pecos will continue to be matched up with Andrews, Fort Stockton, Monahans, Seminole, Big Spring and Abilene Wylie as members of District 3-4A.

Balmorhea, meanwhile, saw four-time defending district champion Grandfalls-Royalty and Buena Vista move into District 7A, where they'll be paired with Sands, Klondike, Grady and Loop for the next two years. The Bears will be part of District 8A, and will keep their other four district rivals: Dell City, Sanderson, Marathon and Sierra Blanca.

The creation of a new six-man district in the area on either side of Midland-Odessa will mean the end of the first round bye in six-man playoffs Balmorhea's district has enjoyed for the past two seasons. The District 8A champion and runner-up will play teams from District 7A next fall.

In basketball, the Bears will move from District 1 to District 9 and will also get a break there if they make the playoffs. The UIL has divided Class A schools into Division I and Division II for basketball with two playoff brackets and two state champions, the same way football is divided in Classes 2A through 5A.

The split will be mostly, but not entirely, along six-man and 11-man lines, and the Bears will see a little tougher district competition for the next two years, with the addition of the Fort Davis Indians to their group. Fort Davis will remain in 11-man football, paired with Fort Hancock, Wink, Marfa, Rankin and Iraan, which drops back down from Class 2A.

Aside from adding Fort Davis, the Bears - who currently lead District 1 on the boys side in basketball with a 3-0 record and are second on the girls' side with a 2-1 mark - will again be paired with Dell City, Valentine and Sierra Blanca for the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years.

The elimination of District 5-4A was the only major change in West Texas for schools in the larger classifications. Both Crane and Alpine, which had been rumored to be headed down to Class 2A, will stay in Class 3A, after the UIL kept bottom enrollment there at 345 students. Fort Stockton will take the place of Midland Greenwood in District 4-3A, joining Crane, Alpine, Monahans, Presidio and Kermit.

Greenwood moves over to District 3-4A, where they'll take the place of Colorado City, which did drop from Class 3A to 2A under the UIL realignment. Seminole, Lamesa, Denver City, Brownfield and Slaton are the other schools in that district.

Sweetwater, meanwhile, leaves Class 4A for District 5-4A, and will join Abilene Wylie, Ballinger, Clyde, Early and Merkel. The move comes after the Mustangs missed the Class 4A football this past season for only the second time in 16 years.

The situation in Class 5A is unchanged for the next two seasons. The UIL kept San Angelo Central in District 3-5A for football only, with the six Midland, Odessa and Abilene schools remaining in District 4-5A. Central will join those schools for all other sports and academic extracurricular activities.

Also unchanged are the alignments for El Paso's two Class 5A districts and their other 4A district. District 1-4A will again be made up of El Paso High, El Paso Bowie, El Paso Burges, El Paso Parkland, El Paso Riverside and El Paso Ysleta, with Riverside and Ysleta again falling just under the Class 5A cutoff, which is 1,864 students.

By remaining in District 2-4A Pecos will continue to endure some of the longest in Texas, with no other district school closer than 175 miles. But the honor of having the longest district trip in the state will go to Ozona and Anthony in Class 2A. Those schools, 370 miles apart, will be paired together again after a four year break, and will be joined by Reagan County, McCamey, Tornillo and Van Horn.

Radiation board to study  Barstow N-dump site

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 - Envirocare of Texas took a step towards gaining approval of their proposed radioactive waste storage facility near Barstow on Saturday, when the Texas Radiation Advisory Board agreed to address the issue of above ground storage as a means for the long-term isolation of radioactive waste.

Envirocare is seeking to build an aboveground facility at a site eight miles northeast of Barstow and 14 miles northeast of Pecos in western Ward County. The company announced its plans in November to purchase land owned by John Forrester and to build an above ground facility at the location.

However, their first permit request to the Texas Department of Health was turned down, with the TDH saying long-term isolation of radioactive waste was different than storage of the waste above ground, which is currently considered a short-term solution. The department told Envirocare to make additions to its application before it would continue the processing of the permit request.

"We're very happy with their decision," Envirocare vice president Rick Jacobi said Monday.

"We're pleased that the application for an aboveground long-term waste storage facility is going to get a full hearing from the state," Jacobi said. "We believe that our proposal gives the state the best method of monitoring and inspecting the waste over a long period of time."

The Radiation Advisory Board serves in an advisory capacity to the State of Texas on matters related to radiation policy. It was the board's decision in 1998 that the state's proposed underground radioactive waste storage facility near Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County did not meet safety standards that led Texas Gov. George W. Bush to veto the proposed site.

The underground site was under the jurisdiction of the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commissioner, while the aboveground site is regulated by the Texas Department of Health. "As long as the permit is for an underground side it's regulated by the TDH. If they seek an underground permit then we get involved," said Brad Newton, the former Pecos River compact commissioner who is now working with the TNRCC's regional office, during a water board meeting in Pecos in December.

The rejection of the Hudspeth County site led Envirocare and Waste Control Specialists, Inc., to seek permits to build aboveground storage sites in western Andrews County, near Eunice, N.M. However, those sites ran into problems when a University of Texas study indicated there were underground aquifers in the area.

When the current site was selected, Jacobi said it was located on land that was not above any aquifer, and that any water from the site would drain towards Soda Lake, a dry lake bed north of Barstow, and not towards either the Pecos River or Barstow area farmland to the southeast.

Still, the plan has encountered strong opposition, both in Ward County and in Reeves County. It was the subject of a meeting on Jan. 22 in Monahans by Friends of Ward County's `Leaders Against Nuclear Dump.'

"Your commissioners, Mayor (David) Cutberth, Judge (Sam) Massey invited this into your homes," Bill Addington told the large crowd. Addington is a member of the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund and has been active in the fight against nuclear waste dumping for eight years.

Don Moniak, program director of Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping and Mavis Belisle, director of Peace Farm, also spoke at the meeting. Belisle said in her presentation that the best solution was for the U.S. Department of Energy and private, nuclear waste organizations to target, "land that can never be used again," because of former nuclear processing, storage and dumping, "instead of proposing to bring it into clean land."

Jacobi has said the aboveground facility would be safer that a proposed underground site, since monitoring and removal of the radioactive waste would be easier if it was stored in concrete bunkers at ground level.

Cutberth has been the site's most enthusiastic supporter among area politicians, and Envirocare has promised to upgrade emergency facilities in Monahans if the site is built. However, because the location is twice as far from Monahans as it is from Pecos, ambulance and fire personnel are likely to come out of Reeves County for any emergency situations.

Jacobi did say that because of the site's location, "You (the Pecos-Barstow area) are more likely to benefit from any new jobs." He added that while Ward County would benefit from property taxes on the facility, it would also be located within the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for taxing purposes.

With an estimated value of $8 million, the facility would generate about $120,000 in property taxes, based on the current P-B-T tax rate of $1.4371 per $100 valuation, Jacobi said.

C of C banquet to feature OC president as speaker

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 - The president of Odessa College, which is in the process of building a satellite campus in Pecos, will be the guest speaker for the Annual Pecos Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Steak Dinner scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 12, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Dr. Vance Gipson, who has been the president of Odessa College since 1995, will be the guest speaker for the annual event. Tickets for the banquet and dinner are $15 and can be purchased at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Office or by calling 445-2406.

Gipson was born Feb. 4, 1947, graduated from Garrison High School in 1965. He received his Associate of Arts Degree from Panola Junior College in Carthage and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, received a B.S. with a major in History, in 1969.

He received his M.A. degree from Stephen F. Austin, with a major in History and a minor in Political Sciences in 1971, and received an education doctorate with a major in Education Administration, minor in Secondary and Higher Education in 1981 from East Texas State University, in Commerce.

Before becoming president of OC, Gipson, was president of Frank Phillips College in Borger, and vice president of Academic and Student Affairs at Frank Phillips College.

Gipson is married to Marilyn Bell Gipson, a librarian at LBJ Elementary School in Odessa. The couple has one daughter, Karen G. Caddell, of Hattiesburg, Miss., and one son, Blake, and eighth grader at Bonham Junior High in Odessa.

He has written 14 articles and monographs and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Odessa Partnership, Permian Basin Regional Workforce Development Board, Rotary, and First United Methodist Church. Gipson is also involved in numerous charities and activities.

No action taken by city council in water dispute

PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Council members took no action this morning following an executive session to discuss the city's ongoing dispute with Reeves County over water fees for the Reeves County Detention Center.

The council met this morning in executive session to discuss possible litigation with Reeves County over the rates charged at the Detention Center. The city is seeking back payment from the county for water, based on rates charged to customers outside the city limits.

Reeves County proposed to pay $4 million of city debt in an effort to conclude the ongoing dispute of the County's water bill at Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC). The council took no action last month on the offer, and the dispute is scheduled for a mediation session in Austin next Tuesday if no settlement is reached before then.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 6-9-13-19-31. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $39,950. Winning tickets sold in: Houston, San Antonio. Matching four of five: 292. Prize: $410.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-9-0 (one, nine, zero)


Chon Hignojoz

Chon Hignojoz, 69, died Jan. 23, 2000, in Kermit.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Jan. 26, in Abilene.

He was born Aug. 15, 1930 in Pecos.

Survivors include one brother, Gilbert Hignojoz of San Antonio; three sisters, Bernice Anderson of Chicago, Ill., Nancy Ballez of Los Banes, Calif. and Juanita Marquez of Pecos.

Barbara Mason

Barbara Grace Lockridge Mason, 68, died Jan. 24, 2000, in a car accident on Interstate 10, near Kent in Jeff Davis County.

Services were held at 3 p.m., Friday Jan. 28, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Nassau Bay, Texas with burial in Forest Park East Cemetery.

She was born Aug. 4, 1931 in Washington D.C. She was the daughter of a U.S. army officer and grew up in various locations across the country. She graduated from High School in Nagoya, Japan. She graduated with a BSN from Vanderbilt School of Nursing Magna Cum Laude in 1955. She practiced nursing in Albuquerque, N.M. where she met and married John A. Mason Sr. in 1956.

She received her Masters degree in nursing from Texas Women's University in 1977 and a doctorate in education from the University of Houston in 1987. She was a tenured Associate Professor of Nursing at UTMB in Galveston where she taught from 1977-1995.

Her activities included being an officer in the Nassau Bay Garden Club. She was very active in the Texas Triumph Register Car Club. She enjoyed quilting, traveling, her beach house on Bolivar, and her family.

Survivors include her husband John A. Mason Sr.; two sons, John A. Mason Jr. M.D. of College Station and Michael K. Mason of Clear Lake; five grandchildren; her mother, Marion Grace Lockridge of Cape Canaveral, Fla.; three sisters; Ruby Marie Johnson of Orlando, Fla., Mary Dunagan of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Beverly Maged of Cape Canaveral, Fla.; two brothers; Col Robert W. Lockridge Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee, and James R. Lockridge of Akin, S.C. She is also survived by many other relatives and dear friends.

Jack Rowe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 - High Monday 62. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low in the upper 20s. Northeast wind 5-10 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. High in the lower 50s. Wind light and variable. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 25-30. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in the 60s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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