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 Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Commissioners OK abatement for new motel

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners granted a tax abatement to Lodging Enterprises, Inc. for Oak Tree Inn Hotel, following a lengthy discussion during regular meeting held Monday morning on the third floor of the courthouse.

Roy Riggs with Lodging Enterprises, spoke to the commissioners and told them that the venture would bring about 15 new jobs to Pecos. The motel would be located next to the Flying J on Interstate 20 and would be used primarily to house Union Pacific Railroad train crews.

"Basically, a number of rooms will be set aside for Union Pacific while a few will be for commercial use," said Riggs. "And the Union Pacific employees that stay here, will spend money in Pecos."

Riggs told the group that being in the Enterprise Zone, gives them all sorts of benefits, but that he was speaking to the group only about tax abatement.

He provided the group with information on the Enterprise Zone, which runs mainly along I-20, and briefly discussed the benefits and how they qualify.

Commissioners requested that Pecos Economic Development Corp. Director Gari Ward be on hand to answer questions and provide input.

"The Town of Pecos City are the originators of the Enterprise Zone," said Ward. "And they're the ones that passed the resolution."

Ward told the group that this particular entity would be within those boundaries.

"If the city is the primary activator, then what is Reeves County role?" asked Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

"Basically nothing, they're just here to ask for tax abatement," said Ward.

"I'm brining a project into Pecos that will help the economy and create a few jobs," said Riggs.

Commissioners agreed that more industry is needed in Pecos and more jobs and voted for the tax abatement.

In other action, Commissioners 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.

Commissioners also approved reports from various departments, minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

New hires for the county included at the Reeves County Detention Center, as Correctional Officer's I at a salary of $19,000 per year: Ashley Abila, David Baeza, Mario Carrasco, Esmeralda Garcia, Amanda Goodman, Leticia Lujan, Ricardo Molina, Christopher L. Ryan, Daniel Marquez, Cristian Reyes, Cesar Zermeno and Samuel Valencia.

Rene Guerra has been promoted to Correctional Officer II at $24,000 per year; Fred Woodruff has been promoted to Sports Specialist-III at $26,000 per year; Teresa B. Lyles has been promoted to Correctional Officer III at $26,000 per year, at the Reeves County Detention Center.

At the Reeves County Sheriff's Department, Eligio Lujan was promoted to sergeant of Patrol to fill a vacancy at $28,000 per year. Farrah Prewit has been hired to work in the county clerk's office assisting with mail out ballots at $7 per hour.

Resource team reviews suggestions for city

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - A cleaner Pecos, more jobs and better communication between the entities were the main items discussed by concerned citizens during a meeting with the Texas Rural Development Council, held last evening at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Darren Clark, coordinator for TRDC for this area was at the meeting to hand out the report written by the group and to discuss their findings.

"Reeves County is one of the counties in my service area," said Clark. "Back in June we came in as a six-person team, we toured Pecos, the good and the bad, and invited people from the community to come in and be interviewed."

The Resource Team toured the city and interviewed approximately 98 individuals during a 3½-day period from June 6-8.

The team interviewed representatives from the following segments: agriculture; government/library/museum; education/churches; senior citizens; youth; retail business/utilities; civic organizations; banking; law enforcement/EMS/VFD; and others.

"Each participant was asked to respond to three questions designed to begin communication and discussion, and to serve as a basis for developing the action plan," said Clark.

The final written report provided by the Resource Team will be available to anyone who would like to see it at the Chamber of Commerce Office and the Town of Pecos City Hall.

"What we did as a team was listened to the responses and wrote up recommendations based on what you gave us and what we saw," said Clark. "We're not providing a salvation, but opportunities and potential solutions and some areas that you can capitalize on resources that you already have."

Contact person for Pecos was city manager Kenneth Neal, but is replaced by chamber of commerce director Tom Rivera after Neal left his position in August.

"As we looked through the responses, we found that many of the things that people told us were duplicated," said Clark. "For instance, some of my responses were the same as those of some of my team members, which leads us to believe that there are some things that are very important to you.

"We sat down as a team and each one of us made our own notes and then we summarized them," he said.

"There are good things in here and there are some bad things, now we need to decided which bad things to work on first," said Clark.

He said the team found that leadership was a big issue for this community. "Not enough people stepping up to the leadership role," Clark said.

Resource team members worked with the information provided and came up with a plan, a guide to start planning.

"This could be something to get started and doing something about it," he said.

Members at the meeting briefly discussed the good and bad things listed in the report and how to work on some of these items.

"Sometimes when you work on the little things, the bigger things come into focus and you can start on those," Clark said.

He told the group that one of the items listed on the report was the communication problem between the entities. "This happens a lot in small towns and sometimes in big towns, too," said Clark. "Turf-fighting is a problem everywhere."

He suggested everyone start working together, instead of "nit-picking."

Clark stated that he had been talking to chamber president Jeannette Alligood about possibly doing a retreat. "I think that's a great idea, she has asked me to be the facillitator," said Clark.

A retreat sounded like a good idea to the assembled group, but they suggested it be made of everyone in the community and not just government entities. "It needs to be clear that that's what this meeting is about, discussing problems and not one that will lead us into the promise land," said Steve McCormick.

"The community needs to get involved and it will take everyone to get a plan going," said Rivera.

"I do believe that Pecos needs a plan," said Richard Creasey.

"Does Pecos have a master plan?" asked Clark.

Bill Oglesby told the group that the group had a retreat in 1968 and most of the things outlined in the plan were accomplished with the exception of one or two minor items. "In the early '80's we had another one," he said.

Clark also suggested hiring someone to help with the master plan.

"I don't think we need to hire anybody, but it should come from the community itself," said Clark.

"People will get the idea that the city will do it, if we wait for the master plan, nothing will happen," said Alligood.

"You've got to get to the clubs and let them know, now is the time to get things done," said McCormick.

Ken Winkles suggested getting the churches involved. "Go back to your churches, is that not something we're supposed to do in church, is help your fellow man and reach out," he said.

He said Pecos has enough churches and that the churches have enough people that can get involved in helping improve Pecos. "We need to get those people involved and we need to come together as a community," Winkles said.

Cleaning up the town was one of the main priorities the group talked about.

Creasey told the group that there is a club call the Beautification Committee, made up of the Rotary Club and the Pecos Downtown Lions Club which is working on cleaning up Pecos. "We have another trash-off scheduled for Nov. 18 and we welcome everyone that wants to come out and help," he said.

"Michael Benavides has done an excellent job of organizing these trash-offs," said Creasey.

He added that the group has also been talking about possibly recycling the old bottles. "When we go clean up the main thing we see on the sides of the road are beer bottles," said Creasey. "We've been talking about ways to possibly recycle those," Creasey said.

One thing everyone agreed with at the meeting, was that the community as a whole needs to get involved and it takes everyone's participation to get things done.

The written report on the results can be obtained at city hall or the chamber office.

Red Bluff force to cut off water line to cabins

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - Red Bluff Water Power Control District cannot provide any water to residents at Red Bluff Lake under current operating procedures, so board members on Monday voted to discontinue the service as of the end of this year.

The vote was one of only a few items the board took official action on during their regular monthly meeting in Pecos. Members also heard a pair of presentations, on cloud seeding in the Red Bluff area and a new plan to move forward with the Malaga Bend salt alleviation project.

Red Bluff has been providing water to cabins near the west side of Red Bluff Dam for many years. Water from Red Bluff Lake is not drinkable, but was used by residents for other purposes, and supplemented the fresh water trucked in for cooking and drinking.

But following discussions with district lawyer Tim Brown, the board voted to discontinue that practice, saying even providing water for use in bathrooms or for watering lawns was a violation of state law.

"Brown's opinion says the water must be potable if we supply it," said board member Lloyd Goodrich, "What it amounts to is we're not going to go into the water supply business."

The board discussed the issue while talking with Joyce Kagel, one of Red Bluff Lake cabin's part-time residents, about improvements those residents are hoping to make in the recreation areas on the southwest side of the lake.

Red Bluff General Manager Jim Ed Miller listed a couple of options the residents have.

"We can let them form their own co-op and give them the pipeline and we wouldn't have to supply anything," he said, while adding, "I think it would be smarter for them to drill their own surface wells."

Board members said the wells wouldn't have to be too deep to strike water, which would have about the same levels of salt as that currently is being pumped from Red Bluff Lake.

Board member Dick Slack, a former state representative, said he believed the board could get the current law amended in the 2001 session of the Texas Legislature, but in the end the board voted to set a Dec. 31 deadline for cutting off the water supply.

Two other items addressed by the board, but for which no action was taken, involved getting more water and better quality water into Red Bluff Lake.

The board heard from Albert Wagner, president of Loving Salt Co., about the latest plan to get the long-delayed Malaga Bend salt alleviation project off the ground, and were given a slide presentation on cloud seeding by George Bomar, who works with the Upper Colorado River Municipal Water District for the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission on their ongoing cloud seeding project.

Bomar said he was involved with the state agency 25 years ago when Red Bluff attempted its last cloud seeding effort, which was hampered by costs and the lack of co-operation from New Mexico, where most of the Pecos River basin that feeds into Red Bluff Lake is located.

Bomar said New Mexico has become much more cooperative since then on cloud seeding projects, and one area includes three New Mexico counties working with the High Plains Water Conservation District in Texas. He added that the average cost for cloud seeding is about nine cents an acre and can be divided among various counties and water districts that would benefit from the process.

The favored method today is to drop silver iodide flares into the upper area of convective clouds, where super cooled water attaches to the iodide crystals, increasing the chance of rain. About 10 to 30 flares containing 40 grams of silver iodide are used per cloud, and Bomar said one gram produces 100 trillion ice crystals per cloud.

Bomar said 30-year studies of cloud seeding in the Upper Colorado MWD show rainfall increased 36 percent above normal in the affected counties, and said a TNRCC study showed a $500,000 cloud seeding project in the High Plains WCD resulted in $350 million in benefits to the Panhandle economy.

For the Red Bluff area, Bomar said "A six-month effort would cost about $300,000, with the local entity putting up half of that," while the state would fund the other $150,000.

"I'd like to do it, but we don't have the extra money right now," said Hartman, who noted most of the district's funds currently are going towards the Red Bluff Dam renovation and gate replacement project.

While New Mexico is more cooperative on cloud seeding now than in the past, the Red Bluff board has continued to run into trouble with state officials on getting an agreement to pump water from a salt spring at Malaga Bend away from the Pecos River.

The district was seeking a permit so that Wagner could pump up to 650 acre/feet of water a year away from the river and into six-man made ponds, where the water would be evaporated and the salt then extracted. But after the latest roadblock this past spring, district members had all but given up on the project.

Under Wagner's new plan, which required no action on Monday by the board, he would sign a contract for from three to five years to buy water rights from a landowner south of Malaga Bend, at a cost of $22,500 annually. That water could then be released downstream to meet New Mexico's release commitment under the Pecos River Water compact, while an equal amount of water could then be pumped from Malaga Bend to Loving Salt's ponds.

"We have a lot invested in the project, and we don't want to walk away from it," said Wagner, who also asked the board to release a $25,000 bond Red Bluff has been holding since the original plan was worked out in 1996. He also asked board members if he could delay payments on salt sales until the water lease agreement is paid off each year.

Wagner said the deal could be completed three weeks after legal notices are published in the newspaper (the Carlsbad Current-Argus). Hartman said action on the plan would be put on the board's November agenda, pending approval of the district's lawyers.

The water report for October showed the lake has gone down by about 45 percent since the irrigation release season began. Red Bluff contained just over 47,000 acre/feet of water as of Sept. 30, with 20,874 acre/feet of water having been used by the seven sub-districts along the Pecos River. Water releases are scheduled to end as of Sunday, so that work can begin on the dam rehabilitation project.

Posse to run cookoff for next year's Fair

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - A new group will be taking over the Annual Reeves County Fall Fair Barbecue Beef Cookoff, the awards banquet will be held earlier and Fall Fair events turned out well, according to reports discussed during the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors meeting held Tuesday at noon.

The group discussed the Annual Barbecue Cookoff, which has been scheduled for this past weekend but was cancelled due to lack of entries.

"The Pecos Sheriff's Posse voted the other day, that they want to be in charge of it for the following year," said chamber director Tom Rivera. "We'll still help out and hopefully make it a success again."

The Annual Awards Banquet, which is usually held in February, will be held in January of 2001, according to chamber president Jeannette Alligood. "We're talking to a guest speaker and we're hoping we can have it in January," she said.

Rivera reported that things went really well at last weekend's Fall Fair and that Barbara Creager did an outstanding job. "I think we probably broke even, as far as money goes," he said. "I was very impressed with the work they did inside and we had a great turnout," he said.

The Ranch Rodeo did not fare as well with about 25 people at the event on Friday evening and double that amount on Saturday due to temperatures in the 1ow- to mid-40s. "But Jason (Owen who was in charge) was very pleased with everything," said Rivera. "Maybe he'll want to do it again next year."

Rivera also thanked all the chamber volunteers who braved the cold weather and were on hand to help out. "I really want to thank Dick Alligood, who came up with the idea of selling chocolate and coffee, we did really well with that," he said.

Women's Division President Jenny Abbott told the group that the division had sponsored the Pretty Baby Contest during the fair. "So far, we have only one person that has volunteered their home for the Tour of Homes, so we might have to cancel that this year," said Abbott.

Abbott told the group the women were going to sponsor the Second Annual Fireman Appreciation Dinner, Thursday at the West of the Pecos Museum. "We had 160 head count, which is double from last year," she said.

The Women's Division will also sponsor the Halloween Parade, originally scheduled for Halloween Night, Tuesday, Oct. 31. "But I understand that Trick-or-Treating may be moved to Saturday, so we might have to change the date on that," she said.

Alligood reminded the group that a Town Hall meeting would be held that evening at the civic center, to listen to the report given by the Resource Team that was in Pecos recently doing a survey on Pecos.

Alligood stated that they had also been talking about possibly doing a retreat and inviting community members from all aspects, city, county, and businesses, to come join them to discuss a plan for Pecos. "We might want to do it for a weekend and just go to Indian Lodge or somewhere and give input and ideas," she said.

Board member Larry Sloan talked about a Permian Basin Career Group. "They have some money that they want to give away and I wanted to ask for your permission to apply for the grant," said Sloan.

New president of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee Brenda McKinney was on hand for the meeting. She told the group about upcoming plans for next year's rodeo. "We just finished with the rodeo, but already we're working on next year's events," said McKinney. "We're talking to new rodeo clowns and a new announcer."

Vendors at the event did real well and the group is looking at that and hoping to expand on it, according to McKinney.

"It's a continuous thing, we're always working on new ideas and plans for the rodeo," she said.

Alligood said they have been working on getting computer classes and have finally scheduled some. "These are just to get people familiar with Windows and other programs," she said.

A Windows 98 class will be held on Oct. 24-26, from 8 a.m. until noon, at the Odessa College Pecos Training Center. Cost will be $39 for chamber members and $59 for non-members. An MSWord class is scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and an MS Excel, from 8 a.m. until noon, on Nov. 7-9.

Each class will be eight hours long and taught by Danny Fleming. Individuals can register at the Training Center on South Eddy Street. Classes will be held in Room 106. Textbooks are not required but are available in the OC-Pecos bookstore.

Madera Valley receives funds for pipeline

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - Community Development Specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture John Perkins presented the Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation Board members a check for $251,000 Tuesday in Verhalen, which will go towards improvements in Madera Valley's water system to the Lindsey Addition.

Funding for Madera Valley's project is one of many announced by the Clinton Administration under its Water 2000 initiative.

Madera Valley Water applied for the federal grant in April of this year, which is broken down into a $62,800 loan with the rest in grant money.

"It's supposed to be 75 percent grant money and 25 percent loan," Perkins said.

He said Madera Valley submitted the application and all necessary paperwork including an engineering report in order to qualify.

"Based on that we approved the loan and grant," Perkins said.

Madera Valley Water manager Peggy Cox said the money would be used to finish laying pipe from the Hoban Station, right outside Verhalen, to the Lindsey Addition.

A portion of the pipe is already in place but was not completed because of lack of funds.

Perkins said Madera Valley Water had started the project with state grant money but the amount was not enough to complete the job.

"Because the price of pipeline is going up and they changed from six inch to eight inch the state money ran out," he said.

Cox said the new pipeline would help the families living in the Lindsey Addition a great deal.

"That's going to increase the capacity and give them more water," she said.

Originally the Lindsey Addition was built with a two-inch pipeline and 100 connections to the pipeline, according to Cox.

She said that now there are two to three houses connected to each connection making it virtually impossible to get water during high-use periods, when water pressure is low.

Cox said it is so bad that some people have to haul water for everything and the residents at the Lindsey Addition are asked not to water their yards or wash their cars.

She said the residents are enthusiastic because this new line would allow them to have enough water to use everyday.

Before the presentation yesterday the board members opened up bidding for the construction and received bids from six companies.

The board is scheduled to meet Monday to award the project to a company to begin construction. Once that happens Cox said the project is expected to take 45 to 60 days to complete.

Board to study plans for school roofing projects

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - A Drug Free Pep Rally, a report on Crockett Middle School Lab addition project and Pecos High School and Austin Elementary School roofing projects will be topics of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

The group will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, in the board room. The public is welcome to attend.

Board members will recognize Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney; present plaques to "Recognized" campuses; letter from the Texas Association of School Boards: TASB Trustee position vacancy and a letter from PHS teachers commending Jodi Exum.

The board will discuss and approved Texas Agriculture Extension Service as an amendment to existing interlocal agreement between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City; Barstow Volunteer Firemen's request to purchase property or lease (long term) property located at Block 47, Lot 2, Barstow Orig. Town _ Barstow Elementary School property and guidelines for foreclosed property bid stop date/time.

In other business the group will discuss and approve, resolution to appoint representatives to serve on the Reeves County Appraisal District Board of Directors; 2000 tax rolls; CATE designated fund balance; Reading Academy K-5 busing; a report on Principal's strategies and methods to improve TAAS scores and 2000-2001 budget amendments.

Regular items to be discussed and approved include:

· Professional personnel: appointments, resignations, change of contract.

· Tax report.

· Depository securities report.

· Cafeteria report and commodities received.

· Investment transactions report.

· Current bills and financial report.

· Reconciled bank balance report.

· Enrollment report.

· Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.

· Date and time for next meeting.

· Calendar of events.

· Request for items for next agenda.

The group will also meet behind closed doors to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel and a private consultation with the board's attorney.

Council to again discuss pact with county

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss the amendment to the water distribution and sanitary collection and treatment services agreement between the city and Reeves County in the regular council meeting at 7:30 a.m., tomorrow at City Hall.

The city and county had an agreement in March where the county would pay $400,000 a year to the city for the use of the water. The county did not make the first payment by the Aug. 31 date, but reached an agreement last month with the city to place the money in an escrow account. The account funds are needed to help Pecos receive a state loan for the development of South Worsham Well Field.

The Council will consider the engineering agreement with Frank X. Spencer and Associates for the arid exempt landfill and site development modifications.

The Council will also discuss the awarding of a bid for the construction of six test holes and one water supply well for city as well as the funding of engineering fees for planning and design of the South Worsham field.

Roy Riggs of Lodging Enterprises is scheduled to meet with the Council to discuss the tax abatement request for Riggs' company to construct an Oak Tree Inn to house Union Pacific Workers during their stop offs.

Jack Burns will also meet with the Council representing Duncan Disposal to discuss their contract with the city.

The Council is also scheduled to discuss purchasing water from Stave Taylor, purchasing a portable building from Odessa College and adding an employee of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation to the city benefit plan.

Youth league soccer sign-up deadline nears

PECOS, October 11, 2000 - Saturday, Oct. 21 is the deadline to sign up boys and girls for the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department's fall soccer league program.

The league is open to boys and girls ages 5 through 12, with a registration fee of $10 per player. Parents can register their children at the RCCRD office in the old Pecos High School gym Monday through Saturday. The child's birth certificate and signatures from both parents must be presented at time of registration.

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


Loy Collier

Services are incomplete for Loy Collier, 79, who died Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2000 at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Ramon Meneses

Ramon "Kiki" Meneses, 35, of Saragosa, died Monday, Oct. 9, 2000, in Houston.

Services will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Saragosa, with burial in Saragosa Cemetery.

He was born April 8, 1965, in Pecos, was a lifetime Saragosa resident, a Texas Department of Transportation employee and a member of the Catholic Church.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ramon and Lydia Meneses.

Survivors include one brother, Jesus Alfredo of Oakland, Calif.; and one sister, Rita M. Valdez of Houston.

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 were scheduled for 2 p.m. today, at Greenwood Cemetery with Rev. James Henderson officiating.

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

Survivors include numerous friends.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, October 11, 2000 - High Tuesday 66. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Increasing cloudiness. Low 45-50. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 70s. South wind 15-25 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower 50s. Friday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower 50s. High in the lower to mid 70s.

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