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Tuesday, February 8, 2000

City reps explain reasons for sewer plan expansion

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - Rumors were laid to rest, options and suggestions taken into consideration at a meeting held Monday evening at the Santa Rosa Catholic Church Hall on proposed changes in the use of wastewater on the eastern edge of Pecos.

The Committee to Save East Pecos hosted the informative session and invited elected officials, city officials and concerned citizens to attend.

"This is the first step to solving our community problem," said Chairman of the committee Eleuterio Garcia. "The topic is to share information."

The committee believes that spreading the effluent from the city's sewage treatment plan on such a large disposal area all along the eastern edge of Pecos would cause the air quality to suffer an offense described as putrid, rancid, rank and reeking of rotten eggs. Most of the year, and especially in the summer, the wind is from the easterly direction, the committee said in a statement last week.

The area involved includes property from the Pecos River West along Highway 80 to the radio tower South along the Eastern boundary of the city limits to the West of the Pecos Rodeo Grounds.

Ricky Herrera, Town of Pecos City Councilman, spoke for the city and explained the situation at the sewage plant, located east of Collie Road near the Pecos River.

"This situation dates back to 1991, when we had a flood," said Herrera.

He said rains had affected the sewage plant, due to the conditions of the lines and the sudden arrival of so much water, and the ponds filled up to the point that they started to run over.

"At that time, the water superintendent had to make a quick decision, let the water overflow the plant or cut a ditch and let the water run out through there," said Herrera. The ditch was cut to lead water away from the east side of town towards the Pecos River.

After the city cut out the ditch Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) found out about and said it was illegal to dump water on an unauthorized area. "TNRCC found out about this, but it was something that had to be done at the time, and they fined the city about $7,000," Herrera said.

TNRCC had a hearing and put the city on an agreed order. "We had to report to them every three months," he explained. "We had to show that we were working on putting a plan together to remedy that situation."

Herrera said the plan that was put together was set in three phases. "All the $200,000 was put into this project," he said. "They put us off the agreed order and we told them we were working on the project."

"One of the items to be worked on was some improvements on waste water treatment," he said. "We also had two ponds not authorized, so that when we filed the plans, we filed for permission to approve the other two ponds, in case we ran into that problem again."

Herrera said that once they get the lines fixed, the sewage plant would collect more water, which is why the city sought approval for those other ponds. "We need those ponds in case we do need to use them again," he said.

That's one of the reasons the city has included another 150 acres to address those problems, according to Herrera.

S.T. Martinez, secretary/treasurer for the Committee to Save East Pecos, said no notice was given to the people who live on the East side. "A legal notice in the newspaper was the first time we found out they were doing anything," he said.

As for not contacting the land owners who live on Martinez Street and Rancho Road, Herrera explained that TNRCC is the one who decides which landowners will be notified.

"The city submitted a list of the individuals who live adjacent to the plant," said Herrera. "But we have rules and regulations that we have to follow."

S.T. Martinez said people who actually live out on Martinez Street and Rancho Road were not notified and efforts from the group to speak to city officials were fruitless.

"The list contained 21 names of people that don't even live there, they live elsewhere," he said. "We got a list of people who actually live out there."

"The other thing they did wrong was there's no record of the lots already sold on Martinez and Rancho Road," said Martinez.

He also told the group that the city hired a lawyer to prevent the committee from meeting and letting the people in Pecos know what is actually going on.

Herrera stated that the city has done everything according to the law.

"We're working on several projects, doing smoke tests, new sewer lines and camera work, on the sewer system," said Herrera. "We're here to serve the people and listen to their concerns and we're doing everything we can to make this a better community."

"However, everything takes money and with the economy the way it is, it's hard to make the people pay by raising the taxes," he said.

Martinez said one of the suggestions the committee has to offer is to cure the water, to be used by the parks and golf course. "But to just give it away costs us a lot of money," he said.

Martinez said that other communities use the water. "They could also send it back into the ground, to be used as drinking water, other cities do this," he said. "They could also sell this water to ranchers or other individuals that have use for it."

Martinez stated that there are grants and funding that can help with these projects.

Gilda Vejil, a concerned citizen, stated that she felt it was the city's responsibility to inform the people and give them proper notification.

"You're responsibility is the people of Pecos city, the council should make sure that the people are notified," she said.

Herrera responded that while the council is here to serve the people of Pecos, it also has to follow the rules and regulations imposed upon them. "Ultimately, it was TNRCC who has to decide that and we have to abide by the rules and laws set forth," he said.

Bob Crouch, who resides on the Ward County side of the Pecos River, offered some land to the city that could be used for a park or a pond.

Garcia was on hand for the meeting.

"We've looked at all these options, but again, they all cost money and we don't want to raise taxes at this time," said Town of Pecos City Water Superintendent Octavio Garcia, who also attended the meeting. "We're working on the sewage plant, making improvements to better the community."

Garcia stated that the city is currently working on different projects.

No quick answer seen for gas outage

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - A full report on the cause of this weekend's gas outage in Pecos probably won't be available until next week at the earliest, according to Southern Union Gas Co. officials.

"We're still looking into several things," Danny Shelton, manager of the company's Pecos office, said this morning. "We still don't know right now what caused the problem."

Gas pressure was lost in the early morning hours Saturday when both gas lines leading into Pecos failed. Pressure was brought back up about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, but most customers had to wait until Sunday to get gas for their utilities turned back on, since crews had to go house-to-house throughout the city to restore service.

"I'm saying it will be at least a week until we can say for sure why we got where we got," said Pete Nanos, the Permian Basin area manager for Southern Union. "The (Texas Railroad) Commission is looking into this. They're conducting the bulk of the investigation, and until they tell us, we don't know."

The Texas Railroad Commission supervises oil and gas operations in the state of Texas. Spokesperson Lisa Wheeler said this morning that TRC investigators have a 30-day window in which to file a report on the cause of the outage.

"I've been with this company a long time, and I've seen maybe three of these situations," Nanos said Monday. He said the incidents involved cities about the same size as Pecos. "Usually, it's typical when a town has only one or two feeds coming into it."

"Until we find out for sure, we don't want to say anything," Nanos said.

Crockett plans, uniforms on P-B-T agenda

PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board will continue discussions on the Crockett Middle School expansion project and will hear results of a survey on school uniforms as part of a long agenda for tonight's monthly meeting.

Members will meet at 6 p.m. in the school board room, 1304 S. Park St., and have 24 new items of business on their agenda, along with four items of old business, including the Crockett and school uniform issues.

The board will discuss/approve a competitive sealed proposal for the basic scope work and all alternatives for the Crockett addition. The district is planning to consolidate seventh and eighth grade classes at Crockett, move sixth grade students into the current seventh grade building at Zavala Middle School, and close down Lamar Middle School on the north side of Pecos.

After hearing the results of the school uniform survey, the board will discuss/approve plans to introduce uniforms in P-B-T schools.

Board members will also be introduced to the Pecos Police Department's new drug dog and handler, who will be used in district buildings, while under new business they will discuss/approve a Reeves County Probationary Department after-school program.

Discussion and approval of administrators' contracts is scheduled by the board following a closed session on the issue, along with discussion of other personnel in closed session. Those due for discussion are the P-B-T business manager, career and technology director, technology coordinator, special education director, principals and assistant principals, food service director, tax collector, AEP manager, maintenance director and athletic director.

Other items on the agenda include:

_ Discuss/approve resolutions for the "Save Our Youth Program" Grants I and II;

_ Discuss/approve ordering school trustee election and appointing early voting clerk for the May 6, 2000 election;

_ Discuss/approve selection of election judges, alternate judges, early voting ballot board judge and alternate and central counting officials for the May 6 election;

_ Discuss/approve 1999-2000 budget amendments and budget calendar;

_ Discuss 2000-2001 school calendar;

_ Hear report on student success initiative accelerated reading instruction program for kindergarten;

_ Discuss/approve 1999-2000 auditor;

_ Discuss/approve resignations, assignments, reassignments and change of contract for profession personnel.

The board will also discuss the district's tax, deposit securities, cafeteria, commodities, current bills and financial reports, along with investment reports, bank balance reports and a report from the Reeves County Community Recreation Department.

Task force arrests eight after traffic stops, chase

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - It was a bad week for drug dealers traveling through the Pecos area, with eight arrests made and drugs and money confiscated by the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force.

Marijuana was found in the back of a car, during a routine traffic stop at about 4 p.m. Friday, task force officials said, and two girls driving a Ford Mustang were arrested following a routine traffic stop on Interstate 20 near mile marker 56, between Barstow and Pyote. A second car traveling ahead of the girls was then located and stopped at a roadblock, following a 100-mile chase through the area.

Leo the drug dog alerted the officers to the back to the car, where the marijuana was located. "The girls stated that the dope belonged to the owner of the car, some individuals that were traveling further up, in a separate vehicle," said Assistant Commander for the task force, Bo Semmlar.

He said the group was headed to Vernon, west of Wichita Falls. "At this point, the district attorney (Randy Reynolds) and his investigator pulled up along with two officers from the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force," he said.

"The D.A. and his officer spotted the vehicle about three miles up the road," said Semmlar.

At this point, a pursuit ensued, which lasted about two hours. "We lost them south of Pyote," said Semmlar. The vehicle, a Dodge Stratus containing four boys, remained in the area and apparently doubled-back to the north of I-20.It was finally stopped at a roadblock one mile south of Wink on State Highway 115.

Department of Public Safety officers, Winkler Sheriff's Department deputies, Wink Police Department officers and Ward County Sheriff's Officers, assisted in the incident.

Officers confiscated about 12 pounds of marijuana with a street value of about $23,000.

The two teen arrested in the Mustang were identified as Kristy Tubbs, 18, of Vernon and Lauren Holloway, 17, of Dallas. Both were charged with possession of marijuana over five pounds and under 50, a third degree felony and criminal conspiracy.

The four boys, Nicholas Cardenas, 17, Chadwick Flye, 27, Brad White, 21 and Joe Grenning, 22, all of Vernon, were charged with possession of marijuana over five pounds, under 50, criminal conspiracy and evading arrest. All are currently in the Ward County Jail.

The second incident occurred Monday, at about 11:30 a.m.

"This happened in the morning we were called out on a routine traffic stop," said Investigator Billy Hull.

Hull and "Leo" assisted officers from the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force on I-20 in far western Reeves County, near the Interstate 10 junction.

"The arrest was made at mile marker one, east of the split, where the vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation," he said.

The canine alerted officers to the front console and money was found under the dash.

The cash, which totaled $11,919, was seized because officers believed it was to be used in a drug transaction.

Arrested in this incident was Gregorio Salazar, 20 and Peter Estrada, 21, of Odessa, who were both charged with money laundering and are currently in the Reeves County Jail.

The two were traveling in a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville.

"We've made about $43,000 in two months," said Hull.

The Trans Pecos Drug Task Force was formed in 1998 and covers over a half dozen counties in West Texas. It is headquartered in Pecos and is under the direction of Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and commander Gary Richards.

Voter registration deadline Monday

PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - Area residents have less than a week left to register to vote in order to cast ballots in the March 14 primary elections.

Next Monday, Feb. 14, is the final day to register to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries next month, while the deadline to submit an application by mail is March 7.

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 to Florez.

Absentee voting is from Feb. 28 until March 10, or individuals can vote in person from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 14.

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 office.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 6-7-9-12-36. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $40,757. Winning tickets sold in: Odessa, Wimberley. Matching four of five: 244. Prize: $501.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-7-6 (zero, seven, six)


Tito Levario Gavaldon

A funeral mass for Tito Levario Gavaldon, 85, will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2000, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, with Father Manuel Munoz officiating. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery, under the direction of Martinez Funeral Home.

Gavaldon died Monday, Feb. 7, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital after a long illness. A rosary is scheduled for tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Gavaldon was born on Feb. 6, 1915 in Cuchillo Parado, Chih., Mexico. He was a longtime resident of Pecos, a retired laborer and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by one daughter, Gloria G. Sanches. Survivors include his wife, Petra L. Gavaldon of Pecos; four sons, Epiamenio O. Gavaldon of Odessa, Jose Luis L. Gavaldon of Monahans, Sergio G. Flores of Hobbs, N.M. and Cristian G. Reyes of Pecos; nine daughters, Nacha G. Jimenez, Maria G. Reyes and Bertha G. Aguilar of Odessa, Hela G. Matta, Irma L. Gavaldon, Manuela G. Reyes and Socorro G. Serna of Pecos; Christina G. Munoz of Roswell, N.M. and Marissa G. Garcia of Clovis, N.M., 61 grandchildren, 83 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.


PECOS, Feb. 8, 2000 - High Monday 74. Low this morning 35. Forecast for tonight: Fair. Low 35-40. South to southwest wind 5-10 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and continued unseasonably warm. High around 80. Southwest wind 10-20 mph and gusty. Wednesday night: Fair. Low around 40. Thursday: Partly cloudy and unseasonably warm. High around 80.

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Pecos Enterprise
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