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Monday, February 7, 2000

City warms up after weekend gas outage

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - Southern Union Gas customers in Pecos were warming back up this morning, after spending most of the weekend without heat due to a loss of pressure on lines coming into the city.

Residents of Pecos were the only ones affected by the outage, according to Pete Nanos, Southern Union's Permian Basin area manager.

Nanos said Southern Union was not ready to say why both lines feeding into the city went out. "We're still investigating what the actual cause was. There are several things that can be gathered that could have caused the problem," he said. "We lost the main feed, and the backup feed did not backup."

"The Railroad Commission (which oversees oil and gas operations in Texas) is involved and they'll be investigating also," Nanos added.

First reports Saturday said the loss of pressure extended as far east as Monahans, but Nanos said the area "was just isolated to the Pecos town plat."

Even so, Southern Union had to call in crews from as far away as Luling, Austin and Mineral Wells to help restore service on Sunday. "We did release some crews to go home who came the farthest," Nanos said. "The crews from South Texas and Austin have flown back home, and I figure by noon we'll probably release the rest of the crews

Southern Union has two lines coming into Pecos from different directions. "It's not unusual to lose one or the other, but it's real unusual to lose both," said Nanos. "We've been here since 1947 and we've never had this happen."

Pressure was lost in the early morning hours Saturday, and local residents woke up to find their heaters fans running with no hot air, along with no hot water for showers and no gas on their stoves to cook breakfast. That problem was the most severe for some local restaurants, which were unable to operate normally over the weekend.

Gas pressure was brought back up about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. But most customers had to wait until Sunday to get gas for their utilites turned back on, since crews had to go house-to-house throughout the city to restore service.

"We had to shut off everything before we could turn it back on, because some people didn't safeties (interior gas controls). They just has space heaters, so to do it safely we had to shut off the gas and then turn it back on, or else some people would have had raw gas in their house," he said.

"We have a system that shows all the houses, and our crews attempted to make calls. They hit some houses three or four times before they found someone home," he added.

A crew of Southern Union employees Bill Goen and Cary Scott were working the area of Jackson Boulevard and Jefferson Street Sunday morning, trying to restore service.

"A lot of people may still be at church, so we'll have to wait until they get back to get to them," Scott said, while some homeowners did turn pilot lights on their utilities back on after the lines were repressurized but before the crews went into their houses.

"Anybody who had any hardship cases, we went to them immediately. If someone had just gotten out of the hospital or was sick, we went to those houses first," Nanos said.

Temperatures stayed in the 30s Saturday night, after dipping into the 20s in the early morning hours Saturday, when pressure was first lost. "What a lot of people did was go to Wal-Mart and Gibson's and bought electric heaters," Nanos said.

"As soon as they started saying the gas might not be back on until Sunday, we sold out of all our heaters," said Gibson True Value owner Larry Windham.

Local crews will handle restoring the remaining homes in town, along with businesses that were closed over the weekend. However, the loss of power also created problems for some homeowners whose gas utilities were not up to city code.

"We have some where he went into the house and found the lines leaking. We weren't able to turn those back on, but for the most part we've been able to light up everything with just a few exceptions," Nanos said.

Loss of service left local restaurants cold

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - This weekend's loss of gas pressure in Pecos shut down many area restaurants on Saturday, but critical facilities such as Reeves County Hospital and Pecos Nursing Home were not adversely affected.

"Maintenance was here all night Saturday, but we have up to 24 hours of hot water in the system so the we (the hospital) were not really affected," said Richard Mathis, the chief financial officer for Reeves County Hospital.

Mathis said that the hospital's heating system is run on hot water and with the 24 hour supply keeping patients warm wasn't a problem.

"We conserved the hot water we had, but since the outage was pretty short, and we didn't have a large number of patients admitted, it didn't pose a problem," he said.

Mathis said that in case of a longer-term outage, the hospital has an agreement with West Texas Gas and Southern Union Gas that the hospital is a priority customer.

"We would receive gas from alternative sources, if regular delivery was interrupted for a longer period of time," Mathis said.

Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney said that there were no problems to speak of for law enforcement because of the gas outage.

"We had a few calls complaining about the gas outage, and several calls about suspicious vehicles in alleys that turned out to be gas company trucks, but there were no real problems from our standpoint," he said.

Area restaurants didn't fare so well.

"Without gas we can't cook," said Frank Rodriguez, who is the general manager for Pizza Hut at 524 S. Cedar.

"We had to close all day Saturday, and that really hurts," he said.

Rodriguez said that Saturday was the second busiest day of the week for him, after Friday.

Ray Ortega, part owner of Cy's Big Burger at 903 East. Third St., reported similar problems.

"We had to shut down on Saturday," Ortega said. "We got the gas turned back on about 2 p.m. on Sunday and we were open after that."

"It really hurts to be closed on Saturday. It is one of the best two days of the week, so we will feel it financially," he said.

According to Jim Lofton, Administrator for Pecos Nursing Home, his facility didn't have any problems dealing with the outage.

"There were no real effects for us," he said.

"We have plenty of extra blankets for short-term problems like this and we have contingency plans for long term problems," he said.

Lofton said that in a worst-case scenario, the facility would look for alternative sources of gas, acquire portable heating, or as a last resort, place patients at other facilities until the heat was turned back on.

"Our first concern is patient welfare, and we try to plan for any possible contingency," Lofton said. "Keeping our patients warm during a crisis is part of that planning."

Fifth Circuit to honor Bunton

PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - U.S. District Judge Lucius D. Bunton will be honored in May by fellow judges of the Fifth Circuit of the United States District Court, at the group's annual meeting.

Bunton, the former Chief Judge of the Western District of Texas and current Senior Judge for the Pecos and Midland-Odessa Divisions, will be honored at the Fifth Circuit's Judicial Conference, according to a memo sent out by District Judge Royal Furgeson last week. Furgeson added that Bunton would also be honored by the State Bar of Texas with its Texas Bar Foundation Fifty-Year Lawyer Award.

"All of us are honored to work and associated with Judge Bunton," Furgeson said in his memo. "He is one of the giants of the bench and the legal profession. He is a living legend among us. I know that you join me in congratulating him and his devoted wife Mary Jane on his well-deserved recognition."

Bunton began his legal career in Uvalde in 1948 and moved to Marfa in 1951. He practiced law in Odessa from 1960 until being appointed to the federal bench in 1979. Bunton was also instrumental in getting a new United States Federal Courthouse built in Pecos in 1994, to replace the overcrowded facility the federal court shared locally with the U.S. Postal Service.

After recovering from cancer surgery last year, Bunton has returned to regular duty in Pecos federal court, and had several cases listed on his court docket this morning and afternoon, along with the swearing in of Presidio County attorney Pene Ferguson to practice in the Western District of Texas.

Security State adds Saenz to board of directors

PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - Security State Bank of Pecos has announced the election of Oscar Saenz to the Board of Directors for the bank.

Saenz has served as Director of Plant Operations for Anchor West, Inc., in Pecos, since 1990. In such position he has full responsibility for over 720 employees and the entire operation. In addition to his responsibilities in Pecos, Saenz oversees the company's Mexican Operations in Cuauhtomec, Chihuahua, Mexico.

He has been a leader in the Pecos community for many years and has served on the PBT ISD Board, Reeves County Appraisal Board and is currently President of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation. He also serves as a member of the Texas A&M University President's Council and as President of the Texas Food Processors Association.

Saenz is a member of the State of Texas Food Safety Task Force, the Executive Council of Buffalo Trail Area Boy Scouts and is a member of the Finance Council at Saint Catherine Catholic Church in Pecos. He has been married to Mary for 37 years; the couple has three children and two grandchildren.

"We are extremely pleased to have Oscar Saenz as a Director of Security State Bank. His depth of involvement and record of achievement in the community will be of great benefit to the bank as it serves its community in the new millennium," said Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr. who made the announcement for the bank.

Security State Bank was acquired last August by TransPecos Financial Corporation. The company, which is owned by Kennedy already operated Iraan State Bank at the time of the purchase. The sale occurred following a six-month search for a buyer by Security State's Board of Directors.

As of June 30, 1999, Security State Bank of Pecos had total assets of $72 million and stockholders' equity of $9.5 million.

Appraisal review appeal hearings set  Tuesday

PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - The Appraisal Review Board of the Reeves County Appraisal District will meet at 9 a.m., Tuesday at the district's office, located at 403 S. Cypress St.

According to Property Tax Code Sec. 25.25, the Appraisal Review Board will hear three late mineral protests: Aquila Southwest, Norton Drilling, and Rio Grande Pipeline. The ARB will hear all testimony at that time, examine, and equalize the appraisal records of the Chief Appraiser according to Texas Property Tax Code, Chapter 41.

The Appraisal Review Board will review and approve the supplemental corrections for 1999.

The Appraisal Review Board will be in session on other days, notice for which will be duly posted.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 09-12-27-35-36-40. Estimated jackpot: $14 million. Number matching six of six: Zero. Matching five of six: 112. Prize: $1,483. Matching four of six: 6,022. Prize: $99.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 23-25-33-79. Number matching four of four in Group One: Zero. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 1. Prize: $25,000. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 1. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 319. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 15-21-30-31-33. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $89,497. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Killeen, Texas. Matching four of five: 265. Prize: $506.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-1-5 (seven, one, five)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-9-3 (seven, nine, three)


Jose Dominguez

Jose "Pepe" Dominguez, 50, of Pecos, died Friday, Feb. 4, 2000, at Odessa Medical Center Hospital.

Services will be held at 2 p.m., today at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born April 10, 1949, in Ojinaga, Mexico, was a long-time Pecos resident, a construction worker and carpenter and a Catholic.

Survivors include two sons, Jose Adelarto and Gabriel Dominguez of Odessa; one daughter, Sandra Dominguez of Odessa; two brothers, Humberto and Guillermo Dominguez of Pecos; and three sisters, Josefina D. Valenzuela of Ojinaga, Mexico, Maria De La Luz of Odessa and Hortencia Dominguez of Dallas.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

William Hart

William Bruce Hart, 56, of Stanton, died Saturday, Feb. 5, 2000, at his residence.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Mt. Evergreen Cemetery with Rev. Bruce Abbott officiating.

He was born Feb. 12, 1943, in Pecos, had lived in Stanton since 1989, was retired and a Methodist.

Survivors include one son, Jefferey D. Hart of Del Rio; one daughter, Miera Janell of Brackettville and numerous aunts and uncles.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Guillermo Montoya

Guillermo "William" Montoya, 50, of San Antonio, died Saturday, Feb. 5, 2000, at University Hospital in San Antonio.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Santa Rosa Cemetery.

He was born Jan. 28, 1950, in Pecos, was a U.S. Army Veteran, a land care technician, and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Otilia Gonzales Montoya; four brothers, Sisto Barrera Montoya, Pablo Gonzales Montoya Jr., Felipe Barrera Montoya and Jose Barrera Montoya.

Survivors include one son, William Montoya, Jr. of Dallas; one daughter, Yvette Montoya of San Antonio; his father, Pablo Montoya, Sr.; five brothers, Andres B. Montoya of Crystal City, Epifano "Pifi" Barrera Montoya of Pecos, Rogelio "Roy" Garza of El Paso, Benito Gonzales Montoya and Tiodoso "Tio" Gonzales Montoya of Odessa; six sisters, Elvira Montoya Mendoza of Crystal City, Armida Rico, Emma Montoya Carrasco and Ninfa Montoya Hernandez of Pecos, Otilia "Tillie" Montoya Valenzuela and Delia Montoya of Odessa; and one grandchild.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Feb. 7, 2000 - High Sunday 78. Low this morning 35. Fair. Low 30-35. Light east wind. Tuesday: Partly cloudy and unseasonably warm. High in the mid 70s. South wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Fair. Low around 35-40. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and unseasonably warm. Low From the upper 30s to the lower 40s. High 75-80.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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