Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 11, 2000
Railroad eyes new motel for train crews
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - Union Pacific Railroad is making plans to locate
a crew change point in Pecos and build a motel to house them on their overnight
But while the change is good news for Pecos, it's bad news for Toyah,
which will be losing its longtime crew change site under the proposal.
"They're in the process of working with the union because they want
to move the crew change point from Toyah to Pecos," said Mark Davis, spokesman
for Union Pacific Railroad.
Management will have to work with the two unions involved with the railroad
employees to move the crew change from Toyah to Pecos, according to Davis.
The next step will be to hire a crew for constructing the motel and
restaurant. "They'll need a little motel that they can stay in and a restaurant
that will be open 24 hours a day," said Davis.
The motel will be for the railroad employees only, but the restaurant
would be open to the public, according to Davis.
"They're always analyzing the railroad and service and how to operate
better," said Davis.
When Union Pacific merged with Southern Pacific in 1996, they did a
lot of work on looking at crew change points, which are where the company
physically changes train operators on the line between Fort Worth and El
Paso, according to Davis.
Crew changes are at El Paso and Toyah. Union Pacific also had one at
Big Spring, but changed it to Sweetwater. The other is in Fort Worth, according
"We have crew change points where a train crew can make it to point
`A' from point `B', without working over 12 hours," said Davis. "Twelve
hours is the maximum a crew can work," he said.
"What we require is a place for the train crew members to stay and a
restaurant that will be open 24-hours," said Davis.
Davis stated that train management looks at a location where you can
have a change of crew, to get to El Paso to Toyah or Midland/Odessa within
a 12-hour limit.
Pecos is the midpoint between El Paso and Sweetwater, 210 miles from
both cities, while Fort Worth is another 200 miles to the east of Sweetwater.
Typically, when they do a crew change point, an away from-home crew
will live in El Paso or Sweetwater and they will just be overnighters in
Reeves County, according to Davis.
"But they do spend money at the crew change points, which will be good
for the Pecos economy," he said.
Employees will be needed to clean the hotel and to operate the restaurant.
"So there will be a little bit of increase in employment as well," said
The timeline, if everything works out well, is that about this time
next year, 2001 the hotel and restaurant will be in place. "We still need
to get a construction crew as well as getting labor equipment in place,"
The point of the new change crew location is to place where trains change
and a location that's midway in between two other locations where train
crew changes. "For example, the line between Fort Worth and El Paso, the
crew would take this train from Fort Worth to Sweetwater where the crew
from Fort Worth would get off and crew from Sweetwater would get on," said
Davis. "This would take them to Toyah and then that crew takes over."
Toyah is just a little further west than the El Paso-Sweetwater midpoint,
which is one of the reasons for the change, according to Davis.
"This is all in the process of starting, if it works out with the unions,"
said Davis. "They're usually agreeable in changing locations."
Pecos also stands to benefit from the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific
merger next year, when Amtrak trains begin running through the area, with
a flag stop planned locally. Union Pacific has upgraded its Fort Worth
to Sierra Blanca line enough to allow the higher-speed passenger trains
to return. Currently, Amtrak's Sunset Limited uses the former Southern
Pacific line between Sierra Blanca and Houston.
County OKs library grant for Internet
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - A grant application to benefit the Reeves County
Library was approved during the regular meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners
Court on Monday morning.
Reeves County Librarian Sally Perry made a special presentation to the
court and explained the grant and the purpose of the application for the
grant from the foundation created by the founder of Microsoft. "We want
to get approval to begin the process of possibly getting four new Internets
(terminal connections)," said Perry.
The grant the library has received is in the amount of $19,246 and comes
through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
With these funds, the Reeves County Library will be getting four new
terminals, three set to operate in English and one in Spanish, according
"We want to send in our acceptance application for this, and 700 libraries
have already done this," said Perry. "It's wonderful that we have done
this, because it will benefit a lot of people."
The Internet terminals would be placed in front of the main desk and
would be for the public's use.
The purpose of this grant is to expand public access to computers and
the Internet, according to Perry.
"I want to commend you for your efforts in trying to better serve the
public," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
"About how many persons per day go to the library?" asked Reeves County
Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin.
"We average about 300 per day," said Perry. "I'm counting each and every
person that walks through the door."
Perry stated that the library is a busy place and now that summer is
here more parents are taking their children.
"We had story hour last week and we had about 50 children," said Perry.
Perry stated that funds are still needed for furniture for the new computers.
"We still need study areas, desks, chairs and tables," she said.
Donations from private citizens and businesses are being accepted to
help with the new project at the library.
Commissioners approved the sale of machine gun equipment that is currently
at the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.
"We have been offered $3,000 for this equipment that has been in storage
for many years, and want to use the money to buy vests for the deputies,"
said sheriff Andy Gomez.
Gomez told the court that the equipment needs to go to a licensed dealer
or other law enforcement agency.
"It's just been sitting in the safe for over 20 years and we would rather
use the funds to go towards our deputies," said Gomez.
Each vest costs about $500 and this would be a good way to get the money
to fund the special equipment.
Commissioners awarded a bid for inmate boots and jackets to Desiree
Boutique of Pecos.
Other bidders were ICS, the current supplier and Gibson True Value.
Desiree's bid for both jackets and boots and Gibson bid on just jackets.
"We had some samples, from Gibson and Desiree's, and the jackets and
boots were heavier from Desiree's," said county auditor Lynn Owen.
Reports from various departments and minutes from previous meetings
were approved during the regular meeting.
New hires included at the Reeves County Sheriff's Office, Jose Millan
Gonzalez as a deputy for the Balmorhea area; Stephen Cross as a Tae Kwon
Do instructor at the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation at $8
per hour and part-time employees at the recreation department, Asencion
Banuelos and Reynaldo A. Dominguez.
Malaga Bend project faces new roadblock
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - The Malaga Bend salt alleviation project is probably
going to need help from higher-ups in the State of Texas if it's ever to
become a reality, Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members were told
during their monthly meeting on Monday in Pecos.
General Manager Jim Ed Miller told the board the Interstate Stream Commission
in New Mexico has reversed the position it took originally, and has now
denied the district and Loving Salt Co. the right to divert brine water
from an underground stream feeding into the Pecos River to man-made ponds
to be built upstream by Loving Salt Co.
Miller said Loving Salt Co. president Albert Wagner planned to talk
with Herman Settlemeyer with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission
about the problem, and added the state Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs
would also be involved.
Board members talked with Combs about the problem earlier this year
when the commissioner was in Pecos to tour the salt cedar eradication project
along the Pecos River. About the same time, Miller told the board New Mexico
officials had changed their minds, and said a drilling permit to pump the
Malaga Bend water would have to be in the name of the Red Bluff district.
Miller said when the drilling permit request was originally filled out
in Roswell, New Mexico officials told them to put the Interstate Stream
Commission's name of the permit request. That produced the initial delay
this year, before the Interstate Stream Commission's latest decision not
to allow the transfer of the Malaga Bend water, which normally enters the
Pecos River just above the Texas-New Mexico state line.
About 50 percent of the salt content of the Pecos River at Red Bluff
Lake comes from the Malaga Bend salt spring, according to monitoring sites
upstream and downstream from the spring's confluence with the river.
The board took no action on the situation after listening to the update
In other business, board members approved the budget for fiscal year
2000, which will run through Oct. 31 of this year. They also approved cash
disbursements, accounts payable and the water report for July.
Disbursements included a May 31 payment to district lawyer Tim Brown
for his work on the Malaga Bend project for $3,664, while the water report
showed the seven Water Improvement Districts had used 6,365 acre/feet of
their 2000 water allotment of 32,870 acre/feet, with 2,433 acre/feet used
during June. The water level in Red Bluff Lake was 66,873 acre/feet, down
about 4,000 acre/feet for the month and down just under 23,000 acre/feet
for the year.
Emergency personnel to attend course
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - All emergency personnel in Pecos and the surrounding
areas are invited to attend a fire-emergency vehicle response training
class, set for tonight at the Pecos Community Center, 510 S. Oak St.
The class will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Fire Chief Roy Pena said the city,
fire department, EMT, police department and the different department heads
are invited to join in the training.
This class is designed to review driving habits and conduct of personnel
operating emergency vehicles. Ronnie Sexton, a Loss Prevention Training
Specialist is the instructor for this class and is sponsored by the Texas
Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool.
"It explains to you about the laws in driving an emergency vehicle,"
Pena said members of the emergency rescue teams need to understand that
just because they drive an emergency vehicle they are not above the traffic
"It's good training, especially for the new guys," he said. "We still
have to follow the laws, especially the school zones."
Pena explained that the emergency vehicles should not pass other vehicles
unless they are given the right of way.
Sexton will discuss many topics with the emergency personnel. These
are Texas Transportation Codes as they pertain to use of emergency vehicles,
supervisor responsibility to ensure employee safety, development of policies
and procedures, punitive damages/tort liability, use of lights and sirens,
high speed hazards, intersections and passing and speed.
Pena said there is another training class planned for September that
will cover emergency response to terrorism. That class will be open to
all supervisory officials in town, including school administration members.
Dell City fights El Paso's water pumping plan
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - El Paso - Fearing city officials' plans to
buy West Texas ranches to fatten municipal water supplies, officials in
Dell City want to quintuple the size of their water district to block El
Paso tapping into plentiful reserves in Dell Valley.
Water officials from the town of about 780 told the Hudspeth County
Commissioners Monday they want to expand the city's water district from
225 square miles to about 1,180 square miles, according to the El Paso
Times' Tuesday editions.
"Someone wants to buy our water, and we are trying to protect our livelihood.
It has put a kind of fire under us," said Gene Lutrick, vice chairman of
Hudspeth County Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, which covers
The expanded water district would block plans by El Paso and Hunt Building
Corp. to buy West Texas ranches, and the water underneath them, to supplement
the city's water supply when the Rio Grande is running low.
The El Paso plan calls for a minimum of 15,000 acre-feet of water per
year to be pumped out of West Texas aquifers and blended with 30,000 acre-feet
of brackish water from the Hueco Bolson.
Hunt, one of the nation's largest builders of military family housing
and one of El Paso's major real estate developers, plans to complete a
study on the project by November.
Although the initial idea was to buy ranches near Valentine and Van
Horn and pump it to El Paso, Hunt Corp. executive vice president Ron Glover
confirmed the company has bought land near Dell City.
Officials in Culberson and Jeff Davis counties already have taken action
to try and limit El Paso's ability to pump underground water from the Van
Horn and Valentine areas. Water rights also are available at this time
beneath the Freeport-McMoRan land in northern Culberson and Reeves counties.
Town of Pecos City officials looked at the site as a possible new water
field, but are currently focused on developing the South Worsham Field
site and are looking at underground water rights on land near the Reeves-Pecos
County line to provide the city with its future water needs.
The Hunt Corp. bought a 3,000-acre ranch just across the state line
from Dell City in New Mexico's Otero County and a 563-acre farm near Dell
City and is in the process of buying another one of about 650 acres.
Glover said the expanded district wouldn't protect any more water the
"I don't think (expansion) benefits anyone in the Dell City area because
there is no large underground aquifer in Hudspeth County except what's
within the current boundaries of the district, other than what is in New
Mexico," Glover said.
Ed Archuleta, general manager of El Paso Water Utilities, said officials
would cooperate with Dell City if the West Texas pipeline project comes
"I think El Paso definitely would participate completely in regulation
or in partnership to make sure that ... we're a good steward for the community
or the area," Archuleta said.
The city's plan hinges on getting enough Hudspeth County landowners
to petition the county for inclusion in the larger water district. If enough
sign on, the expanded water district would then be voted on by landowners
who would be annexed.
The city could then keep the water by using a provision in the bylaws
that requires a permit to move water out of the district's boundaries.
But the landowners are the same ones who could benefit from selling
their ranches to Hunt Corp.
Members of the Hudspeth County Commissioners Court said they supported
Dell City's plan to expand its water rights.
"You may not be able to protect yourselves against El Paso, but this
should put you in a better position," Commissioner Curtis Carr said.
The expansion will next be discussed at the water district's July 18
meeting in Dell City.
Balmorhea ISD board to review student codes
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - The Balmorhea school board will disuss the district
vision, mission and goals and student code of conduct at the regular meeting
The board will meet at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at First and El Paso
The board will also discuss air conditioning installation in the school
gymnasium/auditorium. There will be discussion about the finance report
and appointing of a person to calculate effective tax rates.
Other topics on the agenda are the head custodian, medical plan, worker's
compensation agreement with TASB and a board member continuing education.
The board will go into a closed meeting to discuss personnel.
Ignacia Acosta, 66, of Grandfalls, died Thursday, July 6, 2000, at Ward
Mass was held at 2 p.m., Monday at St. John's Catholic Church in Monahans
with Father John Lucido officiating. Burial was in Grandfalls Cemetery.
She was born July 31, 1933, in Terlingua, was a homemaker and a Catholic.
Survivors include four sons, Pedro and David Acosta of Grandfalls, Rafael
Acosta of LaPort and Robert Acosta of Odessa; three daughters, Yolanda
Acosta of Grandfalls, Maria A. Jordan of Midland and Juanita Brandenburg
of Grandfalls; one brother, Mike Cadena of Midland; seven sisters, Tomasa
Vasquez, Tina Acosta of Grandfalls, Francis Dominguez of Crane, Rosie Williams
of Monahans, Isabell Salmon of Pecos, Lucy Prieto of Lubbock and Mary Cavazos
of Crane; 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Harkey Funeral Home of Monahans is in charge of arrangements.
Maria Pena Natividad, 55, of Barstow, died Monday, July 10, 2000, at Odessa
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 12, at Our Lady of Refuge
Catholic Church in Barstow with Father Ben Flores officiating. Burial will
be in Barstow Cemetery.
She was born Aug. 7, 1944, in Barstow, was a homemaker and a Catholic.
Survivors include her husband, Edwardo Natividad, Sr. of Odessa; one
son, Eddie Natividad, Jr. of Maple Heights, Ohio; three brothers, Jose,
Candelario and Silverio Pena of Barstow and one sister, Consuelo Arreguy
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, July 11, 2000 - High Monday 104. Low this morning 78. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Isolated evening thunderstorms. Low 70-75. Southeast
wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High
near 104. South wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Low 70-75.
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