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Monday, February 28, 2000

Pecos to regain Amtrak service under new plan

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Feb. 28, 2000 - Rail passenger service will soon be returning to Pecos for the first time in over 30 years, but at a price to residents of Alpine, Del Rio and Sanderson.

Amtrak has announced plans to shift its Sunset Limited service from cities along U.S. 90 to the Interstate 20 corridor through West Texas, allowing it to serve the more heavily populated areas around Abilene and Midland-Odessa. The corporation was scheduled to make the formal announcement in Washington, D.C. this afternoon.

Amtrak plans to increase Texas passenger rail service overall, including making the Texas Eagle from San Antonio to Chicago a daily service, and adding a San Antonio-to-Mexico route. The changes, most of which are expected to be implemented this summer, are the most dramatic in a network restructuring that the financially shaky railway designed after a first-ever economic analysis of its route structure.

The only downside for Texas would result from the cessation of service to three West Texas locales _ Del Rio, Alpine and Sanderson _ in a rerouting of the Sunset Limited. But Amtrak envisions expanding the Sunset Limited's route to Abilene, Big Spring, Eastland, Odessa and Pecos within the next two years.

"I'm sorry for the people in Alpine, but I'm happy for us," said Town of Pecos City Manager Kenneth Neal.

Neal and Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford briefed city council members last year about the proposal. Neal said at the time said the route will originate in Chicago and continue to Los Angeles, but Amtrak changed that, and the line will now begin service in Jacksonville, Fla., and continue through New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio, and then turn north to the Fort Worth area, before continuing west to El Paso and Los Angeles.

Passengers headed east along the new Sunset Limited route would be able to connect with The Texas Eagle in Fort Worth, which would serve Dallas, Tyler, Marshall and Texarkana on it's way to St. Louis and Chicago.

The Pecos stop would be at noon at the "large, beautiful brick depot building" which the city owns, Neal said. The depot is already slated to house the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame, for which the city and the Pecos Chamber of Commerce just received approval, but Chamber Executive Director Tom Rivera said the passenger service addition would not cause any problems.

"We have no specific details yet, but some we will set aside some space for them to use," Rivera said.

Neal said last year Amtrak planned to make Pecos an unstaffed "flag stop" for passengers embarking and disembarking. "It will stop if there is anybody to get off or on," Neal said. "You would call an 800 number with a credit card to get a ticket, and they will stop."

If no passengers are getting on or off in Pecos, the train will continue through town without stopping.

"This will definitely be an asset to us," Rivera said, though the fact that service through West Texas is only being moved, not increased, did not sit well with Rep. Henry Bonilla, whose sprawling West Texas district includes the cities along the current Sunset Limited route, as well as Pecos.

"We are concerned about the impact the potential closings will have on Del Rio, Sanderson and Alpine," the San Antonio Republican said today. "We have not heard a rational argument for the closings of these already existing stops."

Neal said Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison pushed for the route, which will serve more people than the current run through the Big Bend area. The route will remain the same east of San Antonio and west of Sierra Blanca.

"She's chairman of the Transportation Committee and is pushing for additional rail lines in Texas," Neal said last year. Hutchison put pressure on Amtrak three years ago not to abandon the Texas Eagle service entirely, and the state also had to offer the rail company a loan to maintain the route, which is not being expanded to operate daily through 19 Texas cities.

Amtrak officials had said in past years that track conditions along the Union Pacific's Fort Worth-to-Sierra Blanca line were not good enough to permit passenger trains to operate along the I-20 corridor. Union Pacific is currently implementing a major rail and rail bed replacement project on the route, for which reconstruction work though Pecos was just completed earlier this month.

Among the other changes Amtrak plans:

- Restructuring the Crescent route that runs from New York to New Orleans, with a new segment splitting off at Meridian, Miss., and going to Fort Worth via Shreveport, La. That allows Amtrak to develop its mail and shipping business from the East Coast to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

- Rerouting the Sunset Limited, which runs east and west across the United States, through the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

- Creating a new Aztec Eagle route from San Antonio to Monterrey, Mexico. The route would provide daily connections to the northbound Texas Eagle, and would allow Amtrak new shipping routes into Mexico over Mexico's Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana.

Eagle swimmers 5th at state finals

See  Sports

Traffic stop by Task Force nets 205-pound pot seizure

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 28, 2000 - The Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force's newest employee helped lawmen sniff out a large marijuana stash Friday afternoon just outside of Pecos, which led to six arrests on drug-related charges.

A routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of one man here and five others in Lubbock, after Leo, the task force's new drug-sniffing dog, alerted officers to over 200 pounds of marijuana, according to Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

Tomas Delgado, Jr., 33, was stopped during a routine traffic stop, at 12:35 p.m., on mile marker 37 in Reeves County, just west of Pecos.

"He was originally coming from El Paso, en route to Idalou, by Lubbock," said sergeant Billy Hull, who does interdiction for the task force with his trusty companion, "Leo", a Belgian Malomal dual-purpose canine.

Delgado was stopped on a traffic violation and after receiving consent, Hull and Leo, searched the vehicle and discovered the wrapped bundles in the trunk of the 2000 Dodge Neon, driven by Delgado.

"He also had a warrant out of Lubbock," said Hull.

Street value of the 156 bundles, which weighed 205 pounds all together, was estimated at about $116,645.

Delgado is currently in the Reeves County Jail, charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and less than 2,000. His bond was set at $25,000.

As a result of this arrest, five other individuals in Lubbock were apprehended. "They were turned over to the DEA and FBI and the investigation is continuing," said Richards.

"We did a controlled delivery and we might get some cars and other property, as a result of these arrest," said Richards. "This is still under investigation."

"We're working really hard in fighting the war on drugs and the trafficking of drugs through Reeves County and today we were really successful," he said.

Richard praised the work of sergeant Hull and the other officers who assisted him. "We're real proud of all they are doing," said Richards. "They're working really hard and are being successful."

"And out of this arrest, we were successful in getting who is believed to be one of the major drug dealers in Lubbock," said Richards. "The person who placed the order was caught."

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.

Red Cross holding professional CPR course in Midland

The American Red Cross will offer a CPR course for the professional rescuer on Sunday, March 12, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cross' office in Midland, 2306 Elizabeth St.

CPR for the professional includes two rescuer CPR and the use of a bag valve mask. The cost of the course is $50 per person, and there are no prerequisites for enrolling.

Participants can register either through the Red Cross office in Midland (915-570-6161) or Odessa (915-332-5641).


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 10-12-25-32-42-48. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: one. Winning ticket sold in: Palestine. Matching five of six: 84. Prize: $1,316. Matching four of six: 3,837. Prize: $103.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 12-14-44-58. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 1. Prize: $25,000. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 0. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 359. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 11-17-26-20-37. Number matching five of five: 4. Prize per winner: $21,418. Winning tickets sold in: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Brownsville. Matching four of five: 255. Prize: $504.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-2-0 (six, two, zero)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-2-2 (seven, two, two)


Bertha Carrasco

Bertha Carrasco, 55, of Pecos, died Sunday, Feb. 27, 2000, at Odessa Medical Center Hospital.

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

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 29, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born Nov. 15, 1944, in Chihuahua, Mexico, was a longtime Pecos resident, a homemaker, and a Catholic.

Survivors include her husband, Reyes Carrasco of Pecos; her parents, Manuel and Manuela Rodriguez of Pecos; one son, Eric Carrasco of Pecos; five brothers, Hector, Jaime, Jose and Rojelio Rodriguez of Pecos, Benjamin Rodriguez of Houston; one sister, Martha Baeza of Pecos and one grandchild.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Ina Mae Jenkins

Services are incomplete for Ina Mae Jenkins, 80 of Pecos, who died, Friday, Feb. 25, at the Pecos Nursing Home.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Frances Pallanes

Frances Pallanes, 88, of Hobbs, N.M., died Saturday, Feb. 26, 2000, at Good Sam Nursing Home in Hobbs, N.M.

A rosary is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., today at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 29, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Fairview Cemetery.

She was born May 27, 1912, in Pecos, was a homemaker and a Catholic.

She was preceded in death by her husband, two brothers and four sisters.

Survivors include four sons, Angel, Ines and Felix Pallanes, Jr. of Hobbs, N.M. and Isabel Pallanes of Midland; three daughters, Servanda Bustamante and Margarita Acosta of Eunice, N.M. and Dominga Acosta of Andrews; seven sisters, Nora Nunes, Norverta Jaso, Carmen Jaso and Florentina Dominguez and Antonio Mendoza of Pecos and Eva Rodriguez and Crispina De La O of Odessa; one brother, Xisto Sais of Odessa; 18 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Feb. 28, 2000 - High Sunday 80. Low this morning 41. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 40s. West wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday...Partly cloudy. High in the mid 70s. Northwest wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night...Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 40s. Wednesday...Partly cloudy. High in the upper 70s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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