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Wednesday, November 15, 2000

South Plains groups sue over bomber flight plan

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, November 15, 2000 - Ranchers and an environmental group have filed a federal lawsuit the stop the Air Force from conducting proposed low-level bomber training missions.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Lubbock by the Heritage Environmental Preservation Association and 18 ranchers, claims the noise would violate the federal Noise Control Act and have an adverse effect on humans and livestock.

The Air Force is proposing flying B-1 and B-52 bombers from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana through a series of training areas starting near the Big Bend and ending in the Lancer Military Operations Area south of Lubbock.

The jets would not drop bombs but would fire an electronic signal monitored by radar.

The flights over the South Plains counties would be at approximately 3,000 feet above the ground, Air Force officials said earlier this year, while the flights traveling through Reeves County would dip to levels as low as 500 feet while approaching the planned electronic scoring site near Verhalen.

The route that would loop Reeves County, designated the IR-178, is already used by some Air Force training flights out of both Dyess AFB and Holloman AFB in New Mexico. In July, County Judge Jimmy Galindo talked with Dwight Williams, Air Space Manager for Dyess, about flight patterns the B-1 and B-52 bombers will take over the county.

"The air force is taking all the concerns of the citizens and answering questions," said Galindo. "They are really trying hard to work with everyone and educate them about their mission."

Dyess Air Force Base Public Information Officer Lt. Wes Ticer said building the monitoring stations could provide economic benefit to the mostly rural areas.

Ticer also said having a local training area would be convenient and make better use of training hours for pilots, who currently must fly to Utah, South Dakota, Colorado or Arkansas for similar training.

But Buster Welch, a longtime rancher in Scurry, Kent and Fisher counties, all of which would be included in the flight path, said the noise could put him out of business.

"I know I couldn't run my horse outfit because horses are real sensitive to noise," he said in Wednesday's editions of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "If I miss that income, I'm out of business."

Town Hall focuses on city's trashy look

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 15, 2000 - Cleaning up Pecos and doing something with old abandoned buildings were the topic of discussion at the second town hall meeting with the Rural Resource Team held Tuesday night.

Darren Clark, with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, was on hand to help those attending make decisions and plan ahead for Pecos.

After the meeting the group agreed to meet one more time on Jan. 9 and hopefully take on some additional projects.

"We met last month and made some headway and talked about some projects," said Clark, who presented a short video and talked about some of the projects discussed previously.

The video showed individuals in other towns, talking about leadership and what can be done to achieve the city's goals.

"The video talks a lot about how important leadership is and how they work together to achieve their goals," said Clark.

Clark told the group that he wanted to implement a Texas Leadership Program for the area. The course would involve four counties: Reeves, Ward, Pecos and Terrell counties.

"I'll see what I can do about setting up this program, it takes just 15 people and surely with all four counties we can make a group," he said.

Those on hand at Tuesday's meeting discussed the Trash-Off scheduled for 8 a.m., this coming Saturday. The Pecos Beautification Committee is heading the trash-off and is encouraging other groups to join them Saturday at Maxey Park.

Ken Winkles, who was on hand at the first meeting, had suggested involving the churches in the trash-off. The Baptists are challenging other churches to come to the trash-off.

Clark told the group that the trash-off was a good way to start cleaning up Pecos and urged everyone to participate. "This is a good way to start, because it seems to be one of your biggest complaints," he said.

"They will meet at the miniature golf course and each group will take a section, then they will meet back at the park for lunch," said Chamber of Commerce Secretary Estella Ornelas.

A retreat with members from each entity and the private sector was also an idea presented at the first meeting. "Jeannette's (Alligood) idea of having a retreat and locking everyone up in a room to hash out ideas was also a great one," said Clark. "I mentioned this to other communities and they thought it was a great one, also," he said.

"There's a number of things you mentioned in the report that were a problem, I'm here to help, but I can't tell you what to do," said Clark.

Community member Jo Cooksey stated that the number of abandoned homes, some that were burned out posed a problem. "Take for instance, the old Colonial building that is near the Pecos High School," said Cooksey. "It's located near our new gym, the Natatorium and visitors coming to sporting events see this."

Cooksey stated that building has been abandoned, is full of graffitti and rumors are that kids are going in there. "It's a terrible eyesore," she said.

Cooksey stated that she had inquired about the old, abandoned buildings before and was told that because there was not a landfill to take the remains, nothing could really be done about it. "I was told that if you demolish it, the landfill won't take the remains," she said.

"It would be great, if they just demolished all these old buildings so the town wouldn't look so bad," she said.

The old Glover House on Alamo Street is one of the old, burned out buildings that needs to be demolished, according to Reeves County Librarian Sally Perry.

"If we start with the old Colonial building, clean it up, spruce it up, maybe we could go from there," said Cooksey.

"I checked on the old Glover house, because there were kids going in there," said Perry. "The former city manager told me there was no place to put debris."

Town of Pecos City Council member Danny Rodriguez told the group that a few years back there was a list of old, abandoned houses that needed to be demolished. "We demolished a few of those, about 25, but we still have a lot to go," he said.

Rodriguez echoed Cooksey's statement that since Pecos no longer had a landfill of its own, there was no place to put the debris. "We are however, in the process of applying for a Type IV landfill," said Rodriguez. "The city wants to have their own landfill and that will make things easier. It might solve this problem."

"One of the other things we have considered is having a controlled burn to do away with the debris, but it would have to be just all wood products," said councilman Gerald Tellez.

Texas-New Mexico Power Company employee Roy Alvarez said in his job, they get to go up and down all the alleys. "This town has never been this trashy," he said. "We were totally disgusted with what we saw in those alleys, old mattresses, furniture, plastic bags everywhere."

Alvarez said he had talked to former mayor Dot Stafford, and she had stated she would look into it, take some council members up and down Pecos, but that nothing was ever done about it.

"It's still the same," said Alvarez, who added he is disappointed with the new waste disposal company, Duncan Disposals.

"I don't think they're doing the job they should be doing," he said. "And I have never seen a sign yet, on No Littering."

"I think this is what's wrong, not having any pride in Pecos," said Cooksey. "It looks so trashy."

There were some people at the last meeting who complained about the "brown bottles," and that seems to be a big problem, according to Perry. "You drive down Eddy Street and you just see a bunch of these," she said. "Close to the hospital, someone even arranged them very nicely."

"On Saturday, is it certain places that will be cleaned up or the whole town?" asked Clark.

Ornelas stated that the groups would be assigned a section and they would take it from there.

"It's sad to see people penalized, but maybe that's what it will take," said Alvarez. "I think Pecos has been way, way to lenient," he said.

Alvarez added that the number of old, abandoned cars in people's yards also is an eyesore. "Some of these vehicles don't even have any tires on them, and the people who rent don't care about the houses, they have the cars in the yard and the yard all torn up," he said.

Jimmy Dutchover told the group that in South Texas there was an extra tax for beverages in bottles. "They really hit the drinker that drinks from glass, since it's more expensive to recycle," he said.

"What about law enforcement?" asked Clark.

"We have a code enforcer that does all that," said Town of Pecos City Utilities Director Octavio Garcia. "Of course, right now, Duncan has us over a barrel, but if you call he office and tell them about the complaint, the code enforcer will look into it," he said.

"I found little dumps where people were dumping everywhere," said Alvarez. "I think law enforcement should also check this out."

Gilbert Abila told the group assembled that at the last trash-off only 10 people showed up. "I think we need more volunteers," he said.

Estella Ornelas stated that the Youth Advisory Group, sponsored by the city usually helps in cleanups, but will be unable to do so this Saturday, because of their prior commitment to help the Christmas for the Kids Program.

"They are a proud, hard-working group of kids, but if there are kids out there that are not interested in helping, it's because of the parents," said Ornelas. "The parents need to take the initiative."

Ornelas stated that it should start with the adults.

"Maybe educating the public about the consequences of littering, not just legally, but to get them to thinking,""said Clark.

Paula Fuller suggested reaching individuals and students through the schools. "If we get the teachers involved, maybe they can pass the message on to the students," she said.

"It could be a class project or something," said Abila.

"What about doing something like TxDOT does, and taking sections and maybe the classes can put up a sign or something, stating that who did the work," said Clark. "Kids love recognition and they'll feel proud," he said.

"They could also have like a little competition among the groups at school, like the athletic groups and see who can do more," said David Castillo.

Perry suggested placing trash cans around town.

"We used to have them in the downtown area, but I don't know what happened," said Cooksey. "Having them, will maybe encourage them to pick up the trash and if there's a trash already there, place it in there."

She said she would contact the principals and schools and see if something could get started as far as groups forming to help out.

"What I'm really concerned about is these old structures, we can pick up all the trash in the world, but these burned-out shells are really an eyesore," said Cooksey.

Both council members present stated that they would make sure Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire would be on hand at the next meeting to answer their questions.

"I've heard every excuse from taxes being paid on the property to the landfill not taking debris," said Cooksey. "These buildings are a danger to kids and the neighbors."

Abila stated that maybe getting together and making a list of the top five priorities and taking it from there. "Maybe, we could focus on those five things, get those done and take it from there," he said.

Rodriguez suggested they continue meeting and possibly form a committee from the individuals on hand.

Both he and Tellez stated that they would make sure the fire marshal would be on hand to respond to the complaints and that they would make a list of condemned buildings and see what could be done about the problem.

Clark also stated that he would look into the leadership course and provide more information to set it up.

Chamber briefed on plans for scheduled 2001 events

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 15, 2000 - A circus is part of future plans for entertainment in Pecos, Pecos Chamber of Commerce directors were told during their brief noontime meeting on Tuesday.

The group received information on a Carson and Barnes Circus, scheduled for April of next year.

"The circus wants to come to Pecos next year and we can discuss at the next meeting or early next year," said board member Fred Dominguez.

Chamber members also heard an update on the 2001 West of the Pecos Rodeo. The rodeo committee has been busy with plans for the annual event, and the dates have been set for July 4-7. Rodeo committee president Brenda McKinney is negotiating with the clowns and announcer, along with talking with the national sponsors of the yearly event.

"At the last meeting we talked about a grant application, we put it together and have sent it off," said member Larry Sloan, referring to the Permian Basin Schools-to-Career Initiative. The grant would help provide funds to bring secondary school teachers into the workplaces to educate teachers about other types of employment.

Sloan told the group that they had taken the initiative and sent some people to the conference in Corpus Christi, including chamber president Jeannette Alligood and her husband Dick. "That's where they are right now," he said.

Jesse Stephens reported that he was waiting to hear from a lawyer on the housing project, to look at the by-laws. "I have since turned to two other people and we're hoping to get this thing done," he said.

Business seeking signatures backing Eagles

PECOS, November 15, 2000 - Citifinancial is sponsoring a Fan Support Page for the Pecos Eagle Varsity Football Team.

Branch Manager Rosa Guerrero came up with the idea to allow anyone who wants to show support to the Eagles could sign a signature page to be published in the Pecos Enterprise on Thursday, the day before Pecos' home playoff game against El Paso Parkland.

Interested fans and supporters may go down to the Citifinancial office at 201 S. Oak Street today and tomorrow morning and sign the page with a $1 fee.

The deadline for signatures is at 10 a.m., on Thursday.

For more information call Citifinancial at 445-4985.


PECOS, November 15, 2000 - High Tuesday 59. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower to mid 30s. West wind 10-20 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 50s to near 60. Northwest wind 10-20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 20s. Friday: Increasing cloudiness and cooler. High near 50.

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