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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Friday, May 19, 2000

City will begin water field work early next year

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 2000 - It will be nine months to a year before construction will begin on the new South Worsham water field, following the announcement this week the Town of Pecos City has received a grant of over $8 million for the project.

City Water Superintendent and Utilities Director Octavio Garcia said work would start at the end of this year or early next year on building the new field, after the Texas Water Development Board approved a loan for $8,375,000, requested by the city earlier this month.

"This will be a new South Worsham Field, six miles south from the original Worsham Field, which is 12 miles from Pecos," said Garcia.

He added that the process will be a long one and will depend on many factors, including cost.

"We're hoping to start drilling some wells by the end of the year," said city manager Kenneth Neal. "We don't know the exact date yet, but we've already started planning."

City officials were told in 1994 that the current Worsham and Ward County Water Fields would only be able to provide Pecos with useable drinking water through the year 2008. The city then began seeking a new well field in the area, settling on the South Worsham Field site, before applying for the funds to proceed with the next step of the project.

Neal stated that the city plans to blend the water with water from Worsham Field, which would extend the life of both fields.

TWDB said the $8,375,000 loan would be repayable at only a one percent interest rate, and the city would also receive an additional $460,000 loan from the Texas Water Development Funds to help with the project.

In addition, to those funds, Reeves County will also help Pecos fund the project, as part of an agreement that settled a dispute over city water used by the Reeves County Detention Center.

"The county will reimburse the city $4 million over a 10-year period," said County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "It has been agreed that the county will pay $422,320 annually to the city for increased water delivery in capacity systems."

Galindo stated that this would be a tremendous boost to the city and the county. "We're working together to continually improve the community," said Galindo. "It takes teamwork to make good things happen."

Garcia stated that they will try to close down by June and will have to have plans in and get them approved. "That should take about six months, so we're looking at nine months to a year before we can start construction," said Garcia.

"It's a long process," said Garcia.

The TWDP said the city qualified for the low interest loan because it is a disadvantaged community. The money will be used to construct 18 new water wells, a groundwater storage tank and a new transmission line, though Garcia said the number of wells could range between 10 and 20.

"It'll depend on cost, because the costs go up so high, we don't know how much it will be by the time we get to that stage," he said.

About seven miles of 24-inch pipe will need to be installed and about 12 miles of eight and six-inch line, according to Garcia. "PVC pipe, which is what we're going to use, has gone up tremendously and if it goes up anymore, that's one of the factors that will affect, the number of wells and the construction time," he said.

Development of the new water field and transmission lines is expected to provide Pecos with adequate drinking water supplies through the middle of the 21st Century.

City's grant writer admits bribery

Staff Writer
The Town of Pecos City's longtime grant administrator pled guilty recently in an Austin federal courtroom to bribery of public officials and witnesses.

Carlos Colina-Vargas was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on March 7 for illegally giving money to a U.S. government official. The indictment on five bribery counts came following a complaint filed on Feb. 14 in Austin, and he was arrested on Feb. 23

The April 20, plea by Colina-Vargas is on a one-count information charge of giving illegal compensation to an employee of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government for services rendered or to be rendered. It came following efforts in early April by his attorney to dismiss the indictment were rejected, according to federal court records.

Money was paid in exchange for favorable action on grant-applications Colina-Vargas sought for various government entities that were his clients, according to federal court records.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Mills of Austin said the crime to which Colina-Vargas pleaded is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison or up to five years probation. In addition, he could be fined up to $100,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 20 in Austin before Federal Judge Sam Sparks and prosecutors have agreed to drop the five indictments after Colina-Vargas is sentenced.

The case against Colina-Vargas came to light after federal prosecutors began investigating the government official, Raymundo "Ray" Ramirez of Austin, the former regional director for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, a federal agency that awards public works grants.

Ramirez last year pleaded guilty to one count of accepting an illegal gratuity, a felony, and was given a three-year probated prison sentence. He also was forced to resign.

According to court records, Colina-Vargas paid Ramirez a total of $12,500 between 1995 and 1997 in exchange for Ramirez helping secure federal public works grants to four of Colina-Vargas clients, the cities of Anthony, Mathis, Mission and George West.

Court documents also indicate that Tom Nance, Colina-Vargas' business partner, also paid Ramirez sums of money. Nance was indicted.

No area officials are reportedly involved in the investigation.

Colinas-Vargas has served as the city's grant administrator for the past decade, and formerly served in the same position for Reeves County.

Despite his legal troubles, Town of Pecos City will continue to use his services. "As far as I know, he is still our grant administrator," said city manager Kenneth Neal. "He's done some good work for us and we don't have any complaints."

Eighth graders look at options after graduation

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 2000 - Career Day gives Crockett Middle School students a head start on life after high school.

Representatives from the Navy, Odessa College, The University of Texas-Permian Basin, Sul Ross State University and the Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College spoke with the school's eighth grade students today about opportunities before and after high school graduation.

"Our main goal was to get the kids introduced to post-senior opportunities," Crockett Middle School science teacher and Student Council representative Jim Workman said.

About 250 students spent 25 minutes with each representative and learned about the different opportunities available to them.

Students were able to listen to the presentations, watch videos and ask questions.

Director of OC's Pecos Campus, Michelle Workman, explained to the students the benefits of taking concurrent classes, which are courses that high school students may take and receive dual credit for both high school and college.

By taking concurrent classes, a senior can enter college as a sophomore, she said.

Jim Workman spent three weeks contacting schools and military and asking them to come and give presentations.

The student council was available to help the visiting representatives with anything needed.

"It was nice seeing the students participating, making it easier for us to come in," Michelle Workman said.

In addition to the presentations, some presenters gave prizes in each session and door prizes were given to students and faculty. at today's sessions.

Council OKs grad party's alcohol sales

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council held an emergency meeting at 9:00 a.m. today to discuss a request to sell alcoholic beverages at the Sheriff's Posse Barn on Sunday.

Posse member Starkey Warren addressed the council on behalf of the Sheriff's Posse.

Warren told the council that the Posse had received a request to rent the barn for a combination college graduation/family reunion on Sunday, May 21.

"The problem is the city ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption on Sundays," Warren said.

City Attorney Scott Johnson advised the council that similar waivers had been granted in the past.

"This is how the Sheriff's Posse raises money and we do patrol the event. It won't turn into a big drunk or anything," Warren said.

The council voted unanimously to grant the waiver with Councilman Johnny Terrazas not in attendance.

Construction nearly finished on OC's Pecos campus

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 19, 2000 - The Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College will be fully functional by May 30, the day summer classes are scheduled to begin, Director of OC Pecos Michelle Workman said.

Finishing touches are being added to the South Eddy Street building.

"We are having furniture delivered everyday up till the day we open," Workman said, and the workers will begin moving furniture and equipment over to the new facility on Tuesday.

The grand opening will be in June.

OC Pecos will offer a wide variety of courses including law enforcement, speech, English, math and nursing. More courses will be added to the schedule as demand comes up.

"We have to plan classes around our students," Workman said.

The new facility will have classrooms, a student lounge and study rooms with Internet access.

Eventually, 40 part-time instructors will be employed at OC Pecos.

Summer registration will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23 and May 24. Hours for registration will be 1-6 p.m., at 320 S. Oak St., Suite 4.

Summer classes will begin on May 30 and end July 6.

The summer sessions will have all local instructors except one who will be driving in from Odessa. There will be a combination of out-of-town and local instructors in the fall.

For more information call 445-5535.

Drought-related burning bans on county agenda

PECOS, May 19, 2000 - Bans on outdoor burning and fireworks within Reeves County, along with a Reeves County Ranch and Farm Disaster Drought Declaration by Texas Gov. George W. Bush, are topics of discussion for the Reeves County Commissioners Court on Monday

Commissioners will hold their regular meeting at 10 a.m., Monday on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse, and the public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss a resolution for the Declaration of Disaster Threat of Wildfires; the Pecos Fire Department Rescue Cam Funding; Public Health Officer appointment and compensation; consultant for Reeves County Telecommunications System and a foreclosed property bid policy for Reeves County.

In addition, the group will discuss and take action on foreclosed property bid for 402 S. Mesquite St.; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Facility Loan Application for Balmorhea Community Center; performance review of RCDC Operations by MGT of America; Reeves County Detention Center Uniforms and RCDC bus proposal.

Commissioners will also discuss and take action on Trinity Engineering Testing Corporation Construction Materials Testing Request for Payment for RCDC 2 Project Invoice of 4-29; Speer and Murray, Ltd. Contract for professional services RCDC independent audit and Texas County District Retirement System vesting period.

Under regular business commissioners will discuss and take action on:

· Deputation and oath of reserve deputies Jose Millan Gonzales Jr. and Arturo Granado.

· Reports from various departments.

· Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, recreation department and sheriff's office).

· Minutes from previous meetings.

· Semi-monthly bills.

· Spread on minutes: White Cap Industries, Inc.

PHS to announce awards on Monday

PECOS, May 19, 2000 - ecos High School will host the annual Outstanding Students Award Assembly, at 3:30 p.m., Monday, May 22, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Balmorhea board picks finalists for superintendent

BALMORHEA, May 19, 2000 - Balmorhea school board members selected five finalists for the position of Balmorhea ISD superintendent on Thursday, during a special called meeting of the board.

The district had advertised for the position and has been busy narrowing the list since Dr. Carl Hoffmeyer announced his plans to resign at the end of the school year.

Finalists for the position include, Wayne Byrd, Middle School Principal, Reagan County ISD; Kenneth M. Rohrbach, Interim Superintendent, Dell City ISD; Elizabeth C. Saenz, Director, Bilingual Programs, Presidio ISD; Teloa J. Swinnea, Director of Instruction, Presidio ISD and Dr. C. Edwin Walker, Assistant Superintendent for Curricular Programs and Technology, Diboll ISD.

The board will make a final decision following the interview sessions.


Maria Castillo

Maria A. Castillo, 87, died Tuesday, May 16, 2000, at an Alpine nursing center.

A rosary will be at 7:30 p.m. today at Our Lady of Peace Church.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday at the church, with burial in Holy Angels Cemetery.

Castillo was born on Oct. 9, 1912, in Aguascalientes, Mex. She was a long-time resident of Alpine, a homemaker, and a member of Our Lady of Peace Church.

Survivors include her son, Teodoro Castillo of El Paso; two daughters, Maria C. Granado of Alpine and Agapita C. Candia of Pecos; one sister, Concha Carpio of Juarez, Mexico; 23 grandchildren; 45 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren.

Geeslin Funeral Home of Van Horn is in charge of arrangements.

Lionel Garrett

Lionel "Buzz" Garrett, 72, of Monahans, died Wednesday, May 17, 2000, at his residence.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday at First Baptist Church of Monahans with Jeff Box officiating. Burial will be in Barstow Cemetery.

He was born Nov. 3, 1927, in Pecos, was a World War II Navy Veteran, was in the Korean War with the Army, a retired technician with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1990 and a member of First Baptist Church.

Survivors include two sons, Larry Garrett of Monahans and Clay Garrett of San Diego, Calif.; two daughters, Kathy Deaner of Santee, Calif. and Sharon Garrett of Lakeside, Calif.; two brothers, Bill Garrett of Fontana, Calif. and Wayne Garrett of Miles City, Mo. and five grandchildren.

Harkey Funeral Home of Monahans is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, May 19, 2000 - High Thursday 97. Low this morning 61. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 55-60. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 80s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s to near 60. Sunday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Low near 60. High in the lower 90s.

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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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