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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Bees are studied following attack on Pecos couple

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 8, 2000 - Buzzing bees descended on a home in Pecos late Monday morning, attacking the couple living there and sending them to Reeves County Hospital.

Most of the bees were killed off following the attack, and some have been sent off to determine whether or not the bees are native to the area or the more aggressive Africanized bees that have been found in surrounding counties.

The bees had built a nest between the outside and inside wall at a home located in the 2200 block of Arizona Street, and Pecos Emergency Medical Services personnel were called out to the home when a family member reported the couple had been attacked about 11:45 a.m. Monday.

"Apparently they had been nesting there for awhile," said EMS attendant John Cravey.

"They called our office, but we told them they needed to contact a professional test exterminator," said Town of Pecos City Health Inspector Armando Gil. "The city or the county don't have a legal obligation to go out and exterminate."

Gil said this type of situation requires someone that is professionally trained. "The property owner needs to contact a professional and get them exterminated," he said.

"They contacted the Golden Bee Keepers to come out and exterminate and see what type of bees they were," said Cravey.

"They sprayed and killed most of them," he added.

The couple attacked by the bees were treated for the bee stings and then released from Reeves County Hospital. Names of the couple were not available.

Africanized bees have been reported in West Texas since the mid-1990s, and both Ward and Pecos counties were among those placed under quarantine about a year after their arrival from Mexico by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The bees are a hybrid of African and European bees that were accidentally released into the wild in South America in 1957 and have been migrating northward since then. Colder temperatures in the United States and the region's ongoing drought have combined to slow the bees' northward migration.

Gil stated that a study of some of the dead bees would need to be done by the Texas Department of Agriculture to determine what type of bees were inside the couple's home. "There have been some instances where they were Africanized bees in Texas, but not in Reeves County," said Gil.

Gil stated that the bees that were located at the home in Pecos are probably just the normally milder European honeybees, and not the dreaded Africanized variety.

"They'll need to report it to the entomologist in Fort Stockton," said Gil.

Water woes may limit city's bid for prison

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 8, 2000 - State officials may press for a new round of prison construction and renovation, three years after completing a $1.7 billion prison expansion, but Pecos may not be able to compete for one of the three new facilities proposed under the plan due to a lack of available water.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the proposed $775 million expansion will be a topic of discussion at a special meeting of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice in Dallas on Wednesday.

Alfred M. Stringfellow, panel chairman, said the board is expected to adopt its 2002-03 budget recommendations including the request for a bond program to build as many as three new units and to upgrade many aging facilities in the state's 107-unit prison system.

"Whether or not we get it is up to the Legislature," Stingfellow said to the Star-Telegram last week.

The prison expansion follows a larger expansion program in the early 1990 the resulted in three new prisons being built in the region, near Snyder, Lamesa and Fort Stockton.

Pecos, Monahans and Fort Stockton proposed a site near Coyanosa in the last round of prison building, while Fort Stockton also proposed a site in the Belding area west of town. Officials from Pecos and Monahans declined to send any representatives down to Austin during that selection process, opting instead to allow Fort Stockton's representatives to argue for both sites before the Texas Board of Criminal Justice.

In the end, TBCJ awarded a 1,500-bed prison to Fort Stockton, and agreed to take over a then-unoccupied 500-bed facility built by N-Group for Pecos County, after it had failed to attract inmates.

Pecos Economic Development Corporation president Gary Ward said he thinks it would be good for the city to make an effort to bring one of the new prisons here.

"The city is in dire need for additional revenues," Ward said.

However, Town of Pecos City Manager Kenneth Neal does not foresee the city participating in the bidding for the new prisons due to the possible jail expansion and the shortage of water wells in the Worsham Well Field.

"All of it depends on our ability to provide water," he said. The city is currently in the process of developing a new water field near the Reeves-Pecos County line.

Reeves County is currently in the process of expanding the Reeves County Detention Center to house 2,000 U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates. The county is currently discussing a jail expansion that will allow Reeves County to lease beds to house U.S. Marshal's Service inmates, and the Town of Pecos City is also discussing building a facility to house inmates due in U.S. District Court in Pecos who are currently kept in out-of-town jails.

Neal said he is not sure what the city would do. He said he would know more after the City Council discusses the jail expansion in their regular meeting on Thursday.

In recent weeks, lawmakers have heard reports that the state may need to double the number of beds it leases from county jails and private operators to house its prisoners for the near term.

At present, about 3,700 beds are leased. By year's end, the prison system will be authorized to lease as many as 6,100 according to the Star-Telegram.

The paper also reported Glen Castlebury, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said that although the prisons are operating near capacity, the system is in no danger of becoming overcrowded in the near future.

"When we were doing all of that building, starting in the early 1990s, we expected that it would carry us until the turn of the century, which it has," Castlebury said. "And we knew all along that we could lease beds from the counties to cover any overages, which is what we are doing."

The state pays about $40 per inmate per day when it leases space and only sends low-risk offenders to county facilities and private jails, Castlebury said. It costs about $30 per inmate per day to keep low-risk offenders in state units, he said.

If lawmakers approve the bond package when they return to Austin in January, the issue couldn't go before the voters until November 2001. If approved a bond sale could begin the following spring, and site selection and construction would follow over the next 24 to 30 months, according to the Star-Telegram.

Shop owner achieves goal of taking to skies

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 8, 2000 - A Pecos man came home triumphant yesterday after officially becoming what most only dream of.

Rocky Blackstock, owner of Blackstock Automotive Repair, has been training for months at the Pecos Municipal Airport to become a pilot.

After all that training his work finally paid off when he was able to radio the airport for permission to land as a licensed pilot.

Four months ago, Blackstock asked Isabelle Blanchard, airport manager, how to go about working for a pilot's license.

"He asked what he could do," Blanchard said. "He said it was something he really wanted to do."

Blackstock, who has lived in Pecos since the late 1950s, said he has been hanging around the airport for about 10 years and wanted to do this for a long time.

"It's just something you always want to do, so I just broke loose and did it," he said. "It's one of life's many goals."

Blanchard has taught flying lessons before and has been an instructor for many years. She said since her two children, Michael and Lenora, were born she stopped teaching.

Blanchard said she could see how much Blackstock wanted to learn and decided to take him as a student, the first in about 10 years.

"I came out of retirement for him," she said. "He was just so clearly enthusiastic."

Blackstock convinced Blanchard to teach him and with the support of his wife, Darla, and their family he began to train in his spare time.

In order to be able to take the final test, Blackstock said he had to fly solo for 18 hours and go through lots of bookwork.

Finally yesterday was the day he had been training for.

Blackstock took a four-hour test, two and a half-hour oral exam and one and a half-hour-flying exam in Big Spring.

He said he was nervous but he got through it.

After he passed his test and received his license, Blackstock flew the hour and 15 minutes home to be welcomed by Blanchard's son on his bicycle carrying a sign that read "Welcome Home Rocky."

Blanchard said she was very proud of him.

"It's a big accomplishment," she said. `It takes a lot of hard work and you really have to stay focused."

"It makes it very pleasurable to have a student who worked so hard," she said. "He's a good pilot."

Blackstock said he enjoyed learning to fly but now he has to get back to business.

"Now the fun is over," he said. "It's time to go back to work."

Blackstock said he plans on flying as much as possible when he is able to afford renting a plane.

Blackstock also said he recommends learning to fly to anyone.

"Everyone should do it," he said. "That's how much fun it is."

Youth volleyball, grid registration still underway

PECOS, August 8, 2000 - Registration for youth football and volleyball programs is continuing at the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation.

The deadline for the Pee Wee football program is next Friday, Aug. 18, with a draft of players set for the following day. The program is also open to those entering grades 3 through 6, and has a registration fee of $20 per player.

Boys and girls entering grades 3 through 6 are eligible to participate in the volleyball league, with a registration fee of $10 per player. Deadline to sign-up is Friday, Sept. 1.

For further information on either program, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.


Ismael Lara

Ismael M. Lara, 68, of Pecos, died Saturday, Aug. 5, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.

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

Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Aug. 27, 1932, in Mertzon, was retired from Pecos Valley Southern Railroad and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Albina Lara of Pecos; daughter, Yolanda and her husband, Israel Rubio of Pecos, grandchildren Senovia and Austin Rubio; daughter, Lucy and husband Manuel Gonzales, grandchildren, Lomas and Lara Gonzales; one brother, Mike Lara of Pecos; six sisters, Helen Tapia, Irene Licon, Lola Garcia of Pecos, Sophia Devault of Atwater, Calif., Otelia Balles of Los Banos, Calif. and Margie Adams of Houston.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, August 8, 2000 - High Monday 91. Low this morning 71. Rainfall this morning at Texas A&M Experiment Station .18 inch. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 70-75. South wind 10-20 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High 98-103. South wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 70-75. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Low 70-75. High 98-103.

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Pecos Enterprise
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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