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Tuesday, October 10, 2000

RCDC completion date now set for Nov. 18

Staff Writer

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - A mid-November completion date for the 1,000-bed addition at the Reeves County Detention Center was set by the project's contractors during the regular meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court on Monday.

Commissioners approved certificates of payment to Banes General Contractors, change order requests and time extension request, the fourth new completion date for the facility since early September.

Mark Schumacher, with Banes General Contractors, told the court that the new target date for completion has been set for Nov. 18. "After the jail commission did the inspection on the buildings completed we met with the contractors, heating and cooling people, control clerk and everyone else involved, and came up with a schedule," said Schumacher.

He told commissioners that there will have to be one more inspection and presented the court with a draw schedule for payments remaining.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo asked county auditor Lynn Owens if he had any problems with the draw schedule presented by Schumacher.

"As far as the draw, no, I don't have problems with it," said Owens.

The letter on Sept. 19, written by architects Dailey, Rabke and Gondeck, indicated that payments would be stopped until directed by the commissioners court, according to Galindo.

"The important thing to remember is that progress is achieved and payments to workers need to be made for final completion," said Galindo. "I think it's important to realize that they have turned over 394 beds and we are right around the corner to completion."

According to Galindo, 89 percent of the work is completed and is within the Guaranteed Maximum Price.

"It's exceeding the contractual time-frame, but they are doing a great job," he said.

"I though it was important to see how much money is still needed and how much money will be drawn," said Galindo. "$1.1 million for September will be drawn, $1.1 for October and the final draw will be $429,941, through December and January," he said.

Galindo stated that several factors were taken into consideration for the delay in the completion date, including the change orders, a new sewer system and water towers.

"There are legitimate aspects that the court needs to consider," said Galindo.

However, he said the issue of liquidated damages still hangs in the balance and that the completion date was what was important.

Commissioners approved authorizing DRG Architects progressive payments for the next five months, not to exceed the Guaranteed Maximum Price, as certified by DRG.

"Ms. Dailey will work on this schedule until Nov. 18," said Galindo.

Commissioners also approved Geotechnical Engineering Services for the Balmorhea Community Center during their Monday meeting, and discussed the county's bidding procedures.

"We authorized Ms. Dailey to negotiate the fee with Trinity Engineering," said Galindo.

On the county purchasing issue, commissioners discussed competitive bidding requirements and local vendor requirements, but tabled the item until a formal letter from the District Attorney's office regarding the issue can be obtained. District Attorney Randy Reynolds was unable to attend the regular meeting.

"At this point it needs to be clear, there are laws and we need to see what local vendors can do to resolve this issues," said Galindo.

Under the law, anything over $25,000 needs to be bid out.

"I think the county should do it's best to get the best price and items for the county," said Galindo.

"My position is that there are many things we have to buy out there and many times we would have exceeded the maximum," said Owens.

"I have always felt that as long as you purchase the items and there's no intent on day-to-day items, it doesn't matter if you spent more," said Owens. "If you don't do it intentionally of buying the items and they total more than the $25,000, then you're not breaking the law."

Local vendor Larry Windham, of Gibson True Value was on hand for the meeting.

"I understand that your hands are tied, but you should also use common sense," said Windham. "Why send someone all the way to Odessa when you just need to buy a couple of screws," he said.

"Bid out large items, but if you need to buy a 29 cent item, I don't have to send someone all the way to Odessa," he said. "There's no way to bid some of these items out, because you don't know how much you're going to use."

"We've asked the DA for his assistance in this," said Galindo. "Once we get something in writing we'll do most of our purchases in town, up to the legal limit."

"He said he would keep an eye on our purchases and if there was something there, he would let us know," said Owens. "If we get it in writing, then we won't be breaking the law."

"As soon as we receive an opinion, we can go back to business as usual," said Galindo.

Commissioners also approved a security alarm system for the Reeves County Clerk's office. "There are times when one of the clerks is working in the back, another is in court or out of the office and nobody is really up front," said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez. "This alarm system will signal when someone walks in and let the clerks in the back know that someone is in the office."

Florez stated that her office is always busy and sometimes they are unable to tell if someone walked in. "This would help us in letting us know that someone is there, when we can't be up front," she said.

Meneses dies from injuries in '87 tornado

Staff Writers

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - The 1987 Saragosa tornado claimed its 31st life on Monday, when a victim of the 1987 disaster died at a Houston area nursing home.

Ramon "Kiki" Meneses, 35, of Saragosa, had been in a coma in the Houston nursing home, where he was transferred several years ago. He was 22 years old when he became one of the 150 people injured when the tornado struck the small town in southern Reeves County on May 22, 1987.

Rescuers found Meneses unconscious about 2½ hours after the tornado demolished most of the town, including his parents' mobile home. Neighbors said they saw Meneses clinging to the spoiler of his Pontiac Fierro as the wind lifted his body to a horizontal position, and then whirled him away with the rear spoiler of the car still in his hands.

Meneses was thrown head first into the ground, suffering a severe head trauma which left him hospitalized for 18 months, during which he was comatose much of the time.

His cerebellum was injured and short-circuited his memory. Doctors thought he would be a vegetable, but he was slowly regaining his sense of smell and taste when he fell in the hospital bathroom, banging his head.

The fall apparently jarred his memory and he snapped out of the coma.

Meneses, a weightlifter and a maintenance worker for the Texas Department of Transportation, was brought home to his parents' house on Dec. 18, 1988, where he had lived before the tornado struck. After returning home, he continued to undergo treatment for the severe disabilities he suffered as a result of the tornado.

"He understands everything that goes on," his brother Jesus Meneses said at the time he was released from the hospital. "If we say we're going to do something for him, he screams. He can repeat a few words."

Meneses never fully recovered from his injuries, and slipped back into a coma several years ago. After the death of his mother, he was transferred to a nursing home in the Houston area where his sister lives.

Meneses was racing to the home of his aunt, Ninfa Ontiveros, when he suffered his injuries. Ontiveros' home was destroyed and she was one of the original 30 victims of the Saragosa tornado, most of whose victims were attending a Head Start graduation at the town's community center, which was also destroyed.

Saragosa remains the worst tornado disaster in terms of loss of life in the United States in the past 20 years.

Alpine cleans up from Sunday's ice storm

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - Cold weather caused problems for the outdoor events this past weekend at the Reeves County Fall Fair, but the Pecos Valley escaped the cold and freezing temperatures that hit the mountain areas over the weekend, and left some residents in the Big Bend without power this morning.

Rain and sleet coated trees with up to a quarter of an inch of ice and sent them crashing into yards, cars and power lines in the areas around Marfa, Fort Davis and Alpine.

AEP West Texas Utilities said crews were working Monday morning to restore power to 4,500 homes across Jeff Davis, Presidio and Brewster counties. Most of the outages were reported in Alpine, and officials said no injuries were reported.

"We have a devastated courthouse lawn. Trees are precious in West Texas and it looks like we have lost a few. Hundreds and hundreds of trees have been destroyed or damaged across town," said Brewster County Judge Val Clark Beard.

Beard said almost every tree in the courthouse lawn had some form of damage.

"The dearest to us are the pecan trees, they took some really bad damage," Beard said.

Icicles still clung to trees and power lines in Marfa, but less damage was reported. Officials said the longest residents had been without power was about 20 minutes.

Rain and sleet fell over the Big Bend steadily all weekend. Most areas received between 1 1/2 and 2 inches of precipitation, said Chris Smallcomb, a weather service meteorologist in Midland.

"The Chisos Basin had one inch of ice and snow as of this morning," Smallcomb said. "They still had roads closed in the Chisos Basin as of this morning."

The Pecos area received just under one-tenth of an inch of rain on Sunday. "Most of the rainfall was south of I-10," Smallcomb said, though winter storm warnings were out for the Guadalupe Mountains to the northwest over the weekend, as well as in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region to the south.

"It came down pretty vigorously. Basically the reason they are having all the problems out there is because they are in little valleys," Smallcomb said. "Cold air will sit in the valleys. It is still rain but it will freeze in there."

Temperatures Monday morning

Fall Fair's food, handcraft, art events winners named

Staff Writer

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - Despite the cold weather and the cancellation of some annual events the Reeves/Loving County Fall Fair was a success.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce President Tom Rivera said the turnout for the fair was great although temperatures, which never got out of the 40s during the weekend, might have hurt it.

"It was excellent," he said. "It would have been a lot better if not for the weather."

The cookoff and concerts were canceled this year for lack of interest and replaced with a ranch rodeo.

However, next year the cookoff will resume under the control of the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse, according to Rivera.

Rivera said the indoor events, including the livestock show, fair booths and art exhibits, went very well.

One of the most anticipated contests of the Fall Fair each year is the most beautiful baby contest.

This year's winner is eight and a half month old Xavier Rivera III.

Xavier is the son of Ann Marie Henry and Xavier Rivera, Jr., and received $100 savings bond.

In other fair events:

Iva Joe Stephens swept the category of hand pieced and hand quilted quilts winning Best of Show, first and second place.

Stephens also took first place in the machine pieced and hand quilted quilts while Ava Gerke placed second and Lynn Fowler placed third.

In the quilts category of baby quilts, miniatures and wall hangers Sue Toone placed first, Kate Crenshaw placed second and Kathy Pascal placed third.

Roy Prewit walked away with first and second in the machine pieced and machine quilted quilt category while Jerry Needy took third.

Patsy Gerbert and Faye Lease placed first and second in the yeast bread category.

Lease also took second in the sweet bread category with Grace Box placing first.

For the women's cakes, Willie Hamilton placed first, Glenda Willis placed second and Virginia Pena placed third.

For the men's cakes Prewit placed first while the team of Angel Crawford, Gito Crawford and Barbara Cardenas from Reeves/Loving 4-H was first in the youth section.

Lease took another place with first in the cookie category while Gigi Stroup and Catherine Thomas placed second and third.

Thomas placed second in the candy category with Patsy Boles placing first and third.

For the men's candy David Teal placed first and GeNelle Willis took first in the youth candy.

For the youth pies category Katie Fossum received first.

Margie Williamson took first in the women's canned goods-jelly category with second and third going to Virginia Pena.

On the men's side of the canned goods-jelly first place went to David Compton.

For the canned goods-preserves Williamson swept first, second and third place.

She also took third in the women's canned goods-pickles category while Gwenda Reynolds placed both first and second.

For the men's canned goods-pickles Jim Allen placed first and third while Prewit took second.

Best of show went to Hamilton.

In needlepoint, Doris Moorman placed first and second.

Laurie Vipond placed first in the cross stitch-linen and for cross stitch-aida cloth Laura Teal placed first while Bessie Osborn placed second and third.

Joyce Morton swept first, second and third place in embroidery while Jesus Gonzales swept men's embroidery with first and second.

First place for knitting went to Barbara Creager.

For the crochet-Christmas category Janet Prewit placed first while second and third went to Sheri Arlene Liles.

Christie Blake took first place in the crochet-baby category and second in the crochet-dolls category with Jackie Tollett and J. Prewit taking first and third.

For the crochet-lace category Arlene Hill placed first.

Vickie Hannz took first and second for the leather pillows category with Pena, Pascal and Amelia Reyes placed first, second and third in the fabric pillows category.

Pascal also took first place in the hand-stitchery category with Hill placing second.

Pena placed first in the afghan category while Dora Rochen placed second and Doris Tillery placed third.

Sherry Marshall took first place in ceramics while Patsy Boles took second and third.

Martina Chavez swept first, second and third in the China painting category while Sally Perry place first in the recycled items category.

Perry also placed second in the refinished furniture category while Donna Woodard placed first and third.

In men's woodworking, Dick Hays placed first and second with Phillip Stroup placing third.

Ebo Teal swept the men's ceramics category with first, second and third.

For clothing, Tillery placed first and second while Fowler placed third and GeNelle Willis placed first in the youth clothing.

In the youth needlework category GeNelle Willis placed first and second in crochet and Jennifer Brookshire placed first in beadwork while Daniel Quintana placed first in latch hook.

Lauren Wein placed first in the youth pottery and Jena Cranfill placed first in the youth woodwork.

Kema Brookshire placed first in both plastic canvas and beadwork.

In the felt category, Blanca Avila took first while Amelia Reyes took second.

Maria Tellez placed first in the nature category while Moorman received Best of Show.

Williamson received all places given in the photography categories of portrait-black and white and color, natural history-color, old structures-color and black and white, scenic-color, human interest-black and white and Best of Show.

R.L. Tellez took first in photography human interest-color while Williamson took second.

In now categorized photography Calvin Howard placed first while Tellez placed second and third and J. Ross Busby placed first for youth.

Busby also placed first in pencil drawing.

Marshall placed first in the collection-pins category while Boles placed first in both collections of buttons and angels.

Clarence Cox placed first for his polished rocks while Alice Branham took first for geodes and Larry Busby also took first in the petrified category.

Lessie Woodard received all the places given in the specialty items categories of carving, musical instruments, hobbies and Best of Show.

Dan Reynolds was recognized for his yellow cherry tomatoes, miniature red cherry tomatoes, green peppers, Anaheim pepper, spineless okra and dwarf okra in the fresh fruits and vegetables category.

Shannon Busby was recognized for the hot chili peppers and pumpkin categories while David Teal was recognized for his pomegranates.

Also recognized in the fresh fruit and vegetables are Debbie Riley for red cherry tomatoes, Loring Box for pears, Clarence Cox for gourds and Marie Cardenas for pansies.

In the herb category Catherine Thomas was recognized for her herb garden while Margaret Lindley placed first and third in the cut stems while Gretchan Luna placed second and first in the potted herbs.

For the art show Joyce Morton placed first in oils while Jan Chandler and Doris Tillery placed second and third.

Barbara Creager placed first in watercolor, Pearl Gustafson placed second and Williamson placed third.

Nancy McAnally received Best of Show.

From entries from Balmorhea Junior High School James Tarin placed first while Stephanie Iniguez and Jessica Gallego placed second and third.

Daniel Tarin placed first and second from entries from Walter Holland's Gifted and Talented Art Class while Joseph Rodriguez placed third.

From Pecos Kindergarten, Marissa Hinojos took first while Terri Jasso and Bianca Lazcana placed second and third.

Kelly Lease placed first from the entries from first grade while Marissa Tarango placed second and Melissa Penaflor placed third.

For second grade, Tatum Windham placed first, Amber Dawdy placed second and Jasmine Tarin placed third.

Elias Alvarado, Aileen Rayos and Laura Vasquez placed first, second and third from third grade.

Jonathan Ornelas took first in the fourth grade entries while Everett Parker placed second, Kyle Wardlow placed third and Jessica Perea placed first in the framed division.

Miguel Rodriguez and Randy Muniz placed first and second from high school while Rodriguez received Best of Show.

Pilot's license eases Vernon's oilfield job

Staff Writer

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - Joe Vernon climbs into the light just at daybreak in his Cessna 150 and lands eight minutes later at his first job of the day: an oil well located 38 miles from his home near Alamo.

"Driving a pickup, I wouldn't even be out of sight of the house in eight minutes," Vernon said. "The plane saves me eight hours a day in travel time."

That's why Vernon spent two weeks in intensive training last month to qualify for a pilot's license, then passed oral and flight exams at the Midland International Airport.

FAA designated pilot examiner Don Wilkins gave Vernon his check ride on Sept. 28.

"Now I can carry passengers," Vernon said.

His most enthusiastic passenger is his son, Cody, 3.

"Cody will be piloting a plane before he drives a car," said Vernon. "He loves it. He climbs in the plane when it is parked at the house and pretends to be flying."

Wife Helen was a more reluctant passenger when she took her first flight in a small plane after Joe got his license. Holding on for dear life, she nevertheless enjoyed the ride, Vernon said.

"She and the boys were great supporters while I was away from home," Vernon said. He studied late into the night at the Avion North pilot training school, spent the night in their pilot bunkhouse, and then took to the skies early the next morning.

"I drove to Pecos in the afternoon, checked a few wells, then drove back for the evening session," Vernon said. "It was tough, but worth the effort."

Cindy Rea checked the wells Vernon couldn't get to, and she did such a good job that she is now employed full time by the Vernons' oilfield pumping business.

"I appreciate all the hard work she put in, and the quality of her work," Vernon said. "She was out until midnight sometimes."

Vernon's license is realization of a dream he's had since childhood. He learned to fly as a young man living in the Rio Grande Valley, and flew to Pecos many times. Now he can take his family back to the Valley to visit relatives, shaving two days' travel time by renting a plane large enough for all four, plus luggage.

When he does have to drive on the highways, though, Vernon finds he is more careful.

"I am more attentive," he said. "You have to pay attention when you fly. I pay attention more to what's going on around me when I am going down the road. The training does a lot for you mentally."

Flying his own plane also gives Vernon the opportunity to do mission work in conjunction with West Park Baptist Church, the Pecos Valley Association and Texas Baptists' River Ministry.

Joyce Morton, the associational missions coordinator, often drives to Terlingua to deliver medical supplies, food, clothing, appliances, auto parts and other supplies to the Big Bend Baptist Church. From their storehouses, the church ministers to families along the Rio Grande, making frequent trips into Mexico to deliver supplies and to preach at local Baptist churches.

"Sometimes she just has a few items to take, and it is a long trip. Most of the time she'll be there overnight. I can take it in the plane and be back at work by noon," Vernon said.

Vernon's fight with the U.S. Air Force over low-level bomber training missions that put his home directly in the flight path has resulted in a compromise that helps his family and other pilots as well.

Not only was the flight path adjusted to miss his house, the Air Force agreed to put UHF radios in their B-1 and B-52 bombers so the crew can warn pilots of small aircraft when they will be in the area.

Military planes use VHF radios, and Vernon said that he could not legally install a VHF radio in his plane. But the Air Force could install the UHF radios, and they agreed to that compromise.

"I talked to Dwight Williams (air space manager for Dyess Air Force Base) a week ago. They don't have them all done yet, but most do have them," Vernon said.

"A pilot can announce over that frequency where he is, and they will come back and acknowledge your position," Vernon said. "It is putting the burden on them to avoid a collision."

It's not perfect, he said, but "Since we couldn't get rid of them, we are going to have to live with them. Williams put out a great amount of effort to try to make things workable with us."

And when a pilot-in-training flies wide of his designated flight path and rattles the Vernons' windows during the night, Joe is likely to be at home with his family instead of driving on caliche oilfield roads trying to finish his rounds for the day.

"I even have time to attend Austin's PeeWee football games."

Second meeting on waste dump set for Barstow

PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla and Steve Fryar, candidate for State Representative, will be speaking at a public meeting at 2 p.m., Saturday, at the Barstow Community Center.

The subject to be discussed is Envirocare's license application for a radioactive nuclear waste facility, which would be located in the Barstow area.

Everyone is encouraged to attend and express their opinions.

Bonilla, R-San Antonio, is being challenged by Isidro Garza for his congressional seat, while Fryar is challenging Odessa Democrat Bob Turner for the state representative's seat that includes Ward County and the Barstow area. Turner and Garza appeared at a public forum on the same issue held this past Saturday in Barstow.


Martha Medrano

Martha Chavez Medrano, 37, of Pecos, died Friday, Oct. 6, 2000, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

Services were held at 2 p.m., Monday, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel, with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born Oct. 22, 1963, in Pecos, was a longtime Pecos resident, an LVN nurse and a member of the Apostolic Church.

She was preceded in death by her father, Tomas B. Chavez.

Survivors include her mother, Jesusita Lara Chavez; two brothers, Hector Chavez of San Angelo and Arturo Chavez of Pecos; three sisters, Eva Chavez of Pecos, Gloria Chavez Holguin of San Angelo and Anita Chavez of Monahans.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Ramon Meneses

Services are incomplete for Ramon Meneses, 35, of Saragosa, who died Monday, Oct. 9, 2000, in Houston.

Meneses was a Saragosa tornado victim and had been in a coma.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Pauline Yarbrough

Pauline W. Yarbrough, 69, of Pecos, died Monday, Oct. 9, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Greenwood Cemetery with Rev. James Henderson officiating.

She was born June 6, 1931, in Jacksonville, Tx. and was a


PECOS, October, 10, 2000 - High Monday 47. Low this morning 34. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 40s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the mid 70s. South wind 15-25 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with slight chance of showers. Low in the mid 40s. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid to upper 70s.

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