Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 15, 2000
Balmorhea center land donation get OK
By ROSIE FLORES
Balmorhea is a step closer in getting a community center,
following action taken at Monday morning's regular Reeves
County Commissioners Court meeting.
Commissioners approved donation of land by the
Balmorhea Independent School District to be used as the site for the new facility.
"I met with the school officials in Balmorhea, Thursday night and
we talked about this property," said commissioner precinct 3
"Everyone is very excited about this, and we had approved
$150,000 towards a community center in Balmorhea," said Tarin.
The building will double as a senior citizen center.
The property in question is located south of the school property on
San Angelo Street in Balmorhea.
"Some of the land belongs to the city and maybe we can make it into
a community Balmorhea park," said Tarin.
He told commissioners they have received a grant from
the Texas Parks and Wildlife for a kid park. "And Miss Dailey
(architect of the Reeves County Detention Center) will be helping with
the specs and plans," said Tarin.
"We're just looking for a certified appraiser to look at the land
and submit it to the Parks and Wildlife," said Tarin. "We have met with
some city officials and they agreed to maintain the building and
provide water and sewer."
Tarin told commissioners that there are no more houses in that area,
"That old easement could be developed into a nice hike and
bike trail," said county judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
"Everything is looking good, the city and the school are being
very cooperative," said Tarin.
Lorraine Dailey, with Rabke, Dailey and Gondeck, Architects,
outlined plans for the facility.
"We looked at how much money we had available and designed
a facility that would meet the needs of the community," said Dailey.
"It'll have a large meeting room, a kitchen and a support system,
bathrooms, closets and such.
"We also included a porch, a nice-shaded entrance, that could be
a gathering point and meeting area," said Dailey. "There's a lot we
could do in the front, and a metal building will be located in the back."
Dailey stated that she has spoken to Banes General Contractors,
which is currently working on the Reeves County Detention Center
project. They have estimated their cost at about $300,000 plus a
Balmorhea resident Mark Marmillion, stated that there
had been a political meeting held in Balmorhea on Sunday in
the downtown area. "Maybe, this facility could be used for this, host
more events like that," he said.
"The use and user policies will be determined after that, but it will
be much like the civic center here," said Galindo.
"I think everyone will agree that we need a community center there
in Balmorhea," said Tarin. "Everyone is excited and we appreciate the
court for their support on this issue."
Tarin stated that he was hoping the court would approve
the donation of the building and description of the property
during Monday's meeting. "When we have the more definite plans we'll bring
it back to the commissioners court for an update," he said.
"We just wanted to make you all aware that we are working on it,"
"We want to let the school know we're working with them,
a demonstration of our willingness to work with the school and accept
the donation," said Galindo.
In other action, golf course proposed policies for the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD were amended slightly at the regular meeting,
per request of the coaches at the schools.
The first amendment requested really needed no changes,
according to commissioner precinct 2 David Castillo. "This is already
implemented in there and requires no real changes," he said.
The request was that golf players be allowed to play
year-round, according to Castillo. "There's
no change needed, the only request we have is that we get a list of the
golf team members," he said.
The second amendment requested was that coaches be allowed to
play at the Reeves County Golf Course with only one student or more,
during the school year.
The old rule had been that a golf coach had to have five students
in order to play at the course without being charged.
"But now they want it to read that they be allowed to be out there
with only one student," said recreation department manager Nora
Geron. "Sometimes they don't have a big team and can't get five students
at one time, together to out and practice."
Geron stated that up until two years ago, the girl's team didn't
even have five players on their team.
"The new amendment will be that a coach employed by the P-B-T
ISD can go out there with only one student, except on Sundays,
during the school year and not in the summer," said Geron. "There is
no summer golf anyway."
Commissioners approved the two amendments.
In addition, golf tournaments were approved for the Pecos High
School girls and Pecos junior high school teams, along with the women's
and men's association golf tournaments.
The group also met with members of the Pecos Chamber of
Commerce Board of Directors to discuss operations at the Reeves County
Chamber members had met previously to come up with a
proposal to bring to the commissioners. Both parties agreed that the
chamber would be in charge of the booking operations at the center and
the county would take over the disbursement of the bills.
Red Bluff board accepts bid for dam's gates
By JON FULBRIGHT
At least one portion of the Red Bluff Dam rehabilitation project
won't be necessary, Red Bluff Water Power Control District board members
were told at their Monday meeting.
Rick Shoemaker of HDR Engineering said workers won't
have to remove the carbon steel pipe in the outflow tunnel on the west
side of the dam, because thanks to years of exposure to the Pecos
River's salty water, it's not there anymore. "The steel pipe is
completely corroded out of the tunnel," he
said during a presentation to the board. "The only thing left is the
remnants of the steel support posts."
The report came before board members agreed to pay just
under $100,000 for two stainless steel gates to replace the ones currently in
place at the 64-year-old dam north of Orla.
Shoemaker's report was based on trips through the tunnel he and
divers from Stolt-Comex-Seaway Inc. have made over the past four
weeks inspecting the inside areas, in preparation for the replacement of
the dam's gates next winter. He said the money spent for the inspection
was worth the effort, due to "some of the most severe corrosion I've seen in
That included a missing guide on the west gate of the dam, the
only workable gate Red Bluff has right now to hold and release water
downstream to farmers along the Pecos River.
The east gate of the dam is seized shut due to rusting, Shoemaker
said while displaying photos of the inside of the dam. That has preserved
the pipe inside, but it too is severely rusted.
On the west gate, "The side is completely sheered off on the
right hand side. The only think holding the gate together was the stem and
the left-hand gate."
He said a temporary guide has been put in and bolted to the
tunnel wall, "In order to get you through
the next irrigation season."
"We're lucky in the shape it's in it didn't get locked open or shut,"
said Red Bluff General Manager Jim Ed Miller.
Shoemaker did say that components of pipe within the
dam that were made of stainless steel, "are in excellent condition," which
helped convince board members to go with the stainless steel gate option
when they voted on the bids.
Both gates at the dam will be replaced in between late October
and early April of 2001, and the bids came in at about 33 percent below
the estimated cost, Shoemaker said.
Waterman Industries, which has an office in Lubbock but is located
in California, bid $97,470 for fabricating the 42 inch gate for the west side
of the dam and the 48-inch gate for the east side. That was $50,000 less
than the bid by Rodney Hunt, the Massachusetts-based company
HDR used originally to estimate the cost for replacing the gates on the
dam. Waterman's bid includes a 24-week installation period, while
Rodney Hunt had a 30 week estimate for gate installation.
Waterman also bid $77,505 for a second option of a nickel-steel
gate, with a 16-week period to install, while Rodney Hunt bid $105,989 with a
20-week installation period. But based on reports by Shoemaker that
the nickel-steel material already inside the dam has shown signs of
rust, board members voted for the stainless steel option.
Aside from the rusting problems, Shoemaker said some sections
of concrete inside the dam was crumbling and might need
"The erosion in the concrete tunnels could be serious, but
since you're not using the power pin stocks above (for the since-removed
electric generating turbines in the dam), it's not handling a big load on
it," Shoemaker said.
While the work on replacing the dam's gates is scheduled for
the period when water is not released downstream, Red Bluff
board president Randall Hartman suggested during the water allotment portion
of the meeting that water users downstream should be notified
about the end-of-year work coming up.
The board set October 15 as the cutoff date, with the first releases
of 2001 expected on April 15. "We need to tell them the cutoff date
is permanent, with no exceptions," Hartman said. He also said the
notice should tell farmers the reopening date in 2001 is subject to completion
of the project.
As far as the water allotment for 2000, the board will not make
an official determination and set water rates until their March meeting.
But with 87,000 acre/feet in Red Bluff Lake as of the first of the month,
board member Manuel Lujan said, "I think we can safely allot 35,000 acre/feet."
Board reviews salt removal proposals
By JON FULBRIGHT
Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members discussed two
ideas for salt alleviation in the Pecos River that may or may not be
competing against each other, during their regular monthly meeting Monday
The first, a plan by United Salt Company to divert aquifer
water away from the river to their lake east of Loving, N.M., was greeted
warily by some board members concerned about the transfer of 1,000
acre/feet of water rights from Red Bluff under the proposal.
The second, by Albert Wagner of Loving Salt Co., would divert
water from Malaga Bend into six man-made ponds Wagner is seeking to
building near Loving. Board members discussed ongoing delays
in securing land for the ponds, and were told the deal should be
finalized within four months. They then discussed outlines for a contract
Loving Salt's presentation came after the board heard from
Jeff McCartney, geological consultant for United Salt Co., and Tim
Kelly, another company consultant working for Geohydrology Associates
of Albuquerque, N.M. They outlined plans to drill extraction wells into
the brine aquifer of Nash Draw in the vicinity of Laguna de Sal.
United wants to extract salt from that location for its facility, which
at the same time would lower the salt levels reaching the Pecos River
from the aquifer, McCartney said in his presentation. One test well has
been drilled, and the company wants to expand its tests over the next
The questions from the board and its attorney, Tim Brown, came
in regards to the request made by United Salt for a water credit of
1,000 acre/feet per year over what the company suggested was a
five-year time period.
"If, after this trial period, we have not shown that our project
has decreased the salinity of the Pecos River, will relinquish the water
rights credit," McCartney said in his prepared statement.
Kelly explained "The river has so much salt in it because of
artesian pressure. The water is being forced into the river. He said a
similar process occurs in the Syracuse, N.Y. area, where water flows
over underground salt deposits and into Onondaga Lake.
Kelly said the pumping could lower the pressure on the
brine aquifer trying to enter the river, and could result in as much as a 40 to
50 percent reduction in the Pecos River's salt levels.
Brown questioned the need for the water rights credit. "As I
understand it, the project is entirely in New Mexico. Why should Texas have
to give up anything for your project?" he asked.
"My understanding is New Mexico is bound by contract to deliver
so much water to Texas," McCartney said. He said the company was
asking that Texas agree not to acquire the 1,000 acre/feet of water that
United Salt would take out of the aquifer that would not enter the Pecos River.
"Anything that happens in New Mexico due to acts of man should
be New Mexico's water, not Texas'," Brown said. "The problem is
they're trying to think of all the ways they can come up with to reduce
their liability at the state line."
"We're talking apples and oranges here," Red Bluff board member
Lloyd Goodrich told Brown. "You're talking about water and we're talking
about salt. I'm quite willing to pay water for salt (reductions)."
"The State of New Mexico buys up water rights up there and leases
it to farmers. They can certainly pick up 1,000 acres of water rights, lease
it for a couple of years and see if it works out," said Red Bluff
General Manager Jim Ed Miller.
Miller also suggested United Salt work its leases on an annual
basis, instead of on a five-year basis.
"I have no problem with them taking water. I just don't see
them charging us with it," said board president Randall Hartman."
McCartney also said the project would not affect Red Bluff's plans
to pump salt water from Malaga Bend for use by Loving Salt. "This
is supposed to be a stand-alone project. It's not going to take anything
away from him," he said, referring to Wagner.
However, Miller later in the meeting told the board United Salt was
behind efforts to block the city of Carlsbad to sell land to Wagner for
building the salt retention ponds.
Wagner in turn said United Salt's plan might not work, if the salt
closes up around the wells, leaving the aquifer water to simply move
around the pumps towards the Pecos River.
Red Bluff officials were approached last year by Pecos
River Compact Commissioner J.W. Thrasher about United Salt's plan,
but were wary of dealing with the company because of past
problems. Miller said at the time that United Salt backed out of a previous
salt alleviation agreement with the district, and that the new plan came only
after Red Bluff entered into its deal with Wagner.
Wagner said United Salt's latest action has caused a four-month
delay and could force Carlsbad to go through a bidding process to sell
the land. "We're getting together more stuff for the city, and we may not
have to go through bidding, but when it's going to get done I don't know,"
he told the board.
He added the company is looking at other land on which to build
the ponds if the current deal falls through.
Under the agreement discussed between Miller and Wagner
on Monday. Red Bluff would own the lease and permit where the well
at Malaga Bend would be drilled, while Loving Salt would drill the well
and provide the equipment. Wagner hopes to pump about 600 acre/feet
a year from the spring, and the agreement provides for not more
than 645 acre/feet annually to be pumped.
Wagner would pay for operation of the well and would pay
the district 50 cents a ton for what he sells. Red Bluff would give
Loving Salt three acre/feet of fresh water rights, to use to clean
equipment upstream, and the district could not enter into a new pumping
agreement for a year after terminating its contract with Wagner.
Miller said lawyers for Red Bluff and Loving Salt hoped to have
the contract worked out by the next board meeting on March 13, and the
contract is subject to Wagner acquiring the property for the ponds by June
15, though Miller said that date could be extended.
Crash blamed for Saturday's power outage
By ROSIE FLORES
About 300 Pecos residents lost their electricity Saturday evening,
due to a vehicle accident on Balmorhea Highway.
"A vehicle lost control and hit a power line pole, with one of the
main circuits," said Tommy Terry, planner-scheduler for Texas-New
Mexico Power Company.
The accident knocked out the power to about 300 customers on
the west side of town for a short period of time, according to Terry.
"Some had the power out for a little better than an hour, while
others didn't get any power back until 11:15 p.m.," said Terry.
The accident occurred about 7:30 p.m., on Balmorhea Highway.
The vehicle broke the pole, which then landed in the back of the pickup
with electricity still flowing through the attached lines. "There were so
many people out at the accident site, we went ahead and killed the power
out, until we could make sure it was safe," Terry said.
About 6-7 employees were working on the problem that
evening, according to Terry.
"We want to warn people and bystanders, who might be
involved in accidents with power lines, that the individual in the vehicle might
want to stay there until we arrive," he said. "Also, bystanders should not go
near the vehicle in these cases, because power surges might still be active."
When accidents happen with power lines, it creates an even
more dangerous situation, because of the electricity that keeps
flowing, according to Terry.
"That's why we cut the power off, for the safety of everyone around,
the emergency personnel helping the victim and bystanders who
were around the vehicle," said Terry.
"We want them to wait until our crew, from the electric
company arrives to make sure that it's safe to approach the vehicle," said Terry.
"It could have been a far worse situation, because all this stuff was
still energized," said Terry.
Terry cautions anybody witnessing an accident or being
in one, involving utility poles or electricity to please stay away
from the vehicle or to remain inside the vehicle, until the electric company
can assess the situation and make sure it's safe.
Little League meeting planned Thursday night
The Pecos Little League and Senior League will hold a meeting
at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Saragosa Hall on East Sixth Street.
League president Tony Aguilar said all coaches and
anyone interested in becoming a coach for the upcoming baseball
season should attend the meeting. Sign-ups and tryouts for the 2000
Little League, Junior League and Senior League seasons will take place
AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday
night: Winning numbers drawn: 11-22-26-33-39. Number matching five of
five: 1. Prize per winner: $78,903. Winning ticket sold in: Houston.
Matching four of five: 287. Prize: $412.
AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday
by the Texas Lottery, in order: 3-3-7 (three, three, seven)
Ramon Garcia, 82, of Pecos, died Sunday, Feb. 13, 2000, at Reeves
A rosary is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., today at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born March 4, 1917, in Chihuahua, Mexico, was retired and
Survivors include two step-sons, Cosme Valenzuela of Odessa and
Eliacer Valenzuela of Ojinaga, Mexico; two step-daughters, Josefa Cordava
of Terravella, Calif. and Bertha Valenzuela of Pecos; one brother, Jose
Moreno Garcia of Pecos; one sister, Ramona Uribe of California and 28 grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Evelyn Rose Dinwiddie
Evelyn Rose Dinwiddie, 80, of Jal, N.M., died Monday, Feb. 14, 2000, in
a Lubbock Hospital.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Methodist Church
in Jal, N.M. Burial will be in the Cooper Cemetery, north of Jal.
She was born Oct. 17, 1919, in Pecos, where she graduated from
high school in 1937. She married W.D. "Jiggs" Dinwiddie in 1937. They have
lived over 50 years on their ranch west of Jal, N.M.
Survivors include her husband, Jiggs Dinwiddie of Jal; one son, Bill
W. Dinwiddie of the Roswell, N.M. area; one brother, Bill Cooksey of Pecos;
two grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Calvary Funeral Home of Eunice, N.M. is in charge of arrangements.
Patsy Estes, 73, of Granbury, died Monday, Feb. 14, 2000, at All
Saints Hospital in Fort Worth, after a six-week struggle with Adult
Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the
Granbury Church of Christ, at 1905 W. Pearl Street in Granbury. Burial will be in
Estes was born Jan. 29, 1927, in Sweetwater, had moved to Granbury
in August of 1999 from Brady. While in Brady, Estes served as vice-president
of the Brady Museum Board, and the Women's Investment Club and was
a founding member of the Community Church of Christ. Prior to living in
Brady, she lived in Abilene and was a member of the University Church of
Christ where she was active in the bus ministry and P.T.A.
She was preceded in death by her father, D.A. Howe and one sister,
Survivors include her husband, Billie Sol Estes of Granbury; her
mother, Mrs. Howe of San Antonio; five children and 11 grandchildren.
Mrs. Estes' request was that memorials be made to the Bin Barn, c/o
the Community Church of Christ in Brady, Tx., 76825, or The Wednesday
Women's Support Group, c/o P.O. Box 579, Granbury, Tx. 76048.
High Monday 83. Low this morning 48. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. Southwest wind 5-10
mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and continued unseasonably warm.
High 75-80. Southwest wind 10-20 mph. Wednesday night:
Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. Thursday: Increasing clouds.
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