Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise


Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, December 14, 2000

Council agrees to purchase new pumper

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 14, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council awarded Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., the bid on a 1,000-gallon pumper/tanker fire truck in the regular meeting this morning at City Hall.

Pecos Fire Chief Roy Pena reported to the council that he and first assistant Lynn Foster have been working on gathering information for quite some time about different fire trucks depending on what the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department needs

On Monday, Pena and Foster reviewed the bids and determined that Ferrara was the better company.

In June, Pena and Mayor Ray Ortega attended a conference in Dallas where they met with about 17 companies to go over the specks of a new truck. "We were going from station to station giving them the specks," he said.

"They asked questions. They knew what they wanted," said Doug Bradford, Sales Representative from Ferrara. "They asked questions and they wanted answers."

Pena said that of all the companies they visited with, only three turned in bids for the new truck, including Ferrara, E-ONE Daco and American La France. The council approved Ferrara's bid at a cost of $121,115.

The new truck would replace truck 306, which the city has used since 1976, according to Ortega.

The new truck is almost identical to city fire truck 304, which has a 1,000-gallon capacity.

Pena said the current truck needed to be replaced because the firemen have had a lot of problems with it as far as repairs.

"Every year we have money budgeted for repairs," he said. "Since I have been here, about 70-75 percent of that money has been used on that truck."

Bradford told the Council that his company would build the truck to suit the city's needs.

He said he and Pena had discussed what the fire station needs and decided that using galvanized plumbing would be cheaper and better because of how often the truck would be used.

"It would be tougher out in the field," Bradford said.

Councilman Ricky Herrera asked Pena if they have had a lot of trouble with the galvanized plumbing on the current truck.

The Council agreed that using stainless steel plumbing would last longer because of the local water.

"I think for $1,000 more it's worth it," Herrera said.

After the Council awarded the bid to Ferrara with the plumbing changes, Bradford assured the Councilmen that the new truck would be ready within 120 days.

He said Pena made a stipulation that if the truck is not ready in 120 days there would be a $500 penalty per day that it runs over.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Chamber of Commerce President Jeannette Alligood gave the Council some good news.

Alligood said the city-received news that Pecos was not chosen to be a Main Street Project city.

"We thought we were totally out of it," she said. "They are requesting that we self initiate the Main Street Project."

Alligood said that if the city does that it would increase the chances of receiving funds and recognition as a Main Street city in 2002.

She said there would be two one-week training conferences in January and February in Austin that would be beneficial to attend.

Alligood requested the council to place the subject on the next agenda so the councilmen could discuss the matter and possibly send someone to represent Pecos.

The council also approved the employment contract with new City Manager Carlos Yerena with a few minor changes in wording.

City Attorney Scott Johnson said Yerena had reviewed the contract and approved it.

In other business, the Council approved the annual report from Certified Public Accountant Dan Painter as well as approving a renewal of contract with Painter for the 2000-2001 audit.

The Council also set the Christmas holidays for city employees to be December 25 and 26.

School and city tax assessor Lydia Prieto reported bids for three foreclosed properties.

The Council approved the bids from Lupe Michaelis in the amount of $4,000 for property on 824 N. Elm Street; Afred Garcia in the amount of $1,000 for property at 814 S. Cypress Street; and Sergio Rodriguez in the amount of $350 for property 609 S. Almond Street.

President of Corplan Corrections James Parkey was scheduled to make a formal presentation about the site selection for the new Municipal Law Enforcement Center but was unable to attend the meeting due to bad weather in Dallas.

Pecos Chief of Police Clay McKinney requested the Council to table the item until the next meeting.

The Council went into executive session to discuss possible litigation against Security State Bank and Dawana Shinkle for forgery. That report will be in tomorrow's addition of the Pecos Enterprise.

Envirocare's dump plans moving slowly

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 14, 2000 - A year after announcing plans to build a low-level radioactive waste storage facility in western Ward County, Envirocare of Texas finds its proposal moving very slowly through the licensing process with the Texas Department of Health.

Envirocare announced late last year they wanted to build a site eight miles northwest of Barstow to store the waste, which originally had been scheduled to be put in an underground site near Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and Texas Gov. George W. Bush ended up rejecting the site in December 1998, agreeing with critics that the location was not completely safe due to earthquake fault lines in the area.

Envirocare then sought permission last year to build the Ward County site, which comes under the jurisdiction of the TDH because it would be an aboveground facility. But company vice-president Rick Jacobi said today Envirocare and the state agency are at odds over two items relating to construction of the site.

"Some of the issues they talked about involved the process of designing the facility, and we've also been talking about the financial assurance of the facility _ whether it would be spread over a 500-year period or a short period," Jacobi said. "We have even talked with the Texas Radiation Advisory Board and outlined our situation."

Phil Shaver, who heads up the review effort for the Bureau of Radiation Control's Special Licensing Program, said, "right now we are waiting for them to respond fully to a letter we sent on May 22 requesting additional information on their application."

He said Envirocare has sent back "not a full response. They've responded in part, not in total."

"Each time we receive a complete response from them we have a 90-day clock imposed on the agency in which to respond," Shaver explained. "Either we have more questions to provide to them or we provide issuance or denial."

Radioactive waste to be kept at the facility would be housed in storage containers inside a concrete building for hundreds of years, though Envirocare said earlier this year its "assured isolation" proposal would allow the waste to be removed and decontaminated in the future, if a process to do so is found.

That would still require a facility that would maintain its structural integrity for a very long time, and the design of the building is another source of contention.

"They sort of want to put the cart before the horse," Jacobi said. "In our way of thinking we would do the system function design description then do the formal design. TDH says they want to see the final design now."

Shaver said even after that, TDH officials would still have to visit the Ward County site before any action is taken.

"At some point in time after we move along with the review, there will be a site visit by someone on the staff," he said.

Meanwhile, Jacobi said the settlement of Envirocare's lawsuit against Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists is taking up most of the company's time right now.

The defamation lawsuit was filed in April by Envirocare owner Khosrow Semnani in the U.S. District Court for Utah against Waste Control Specialists, a year after both firms sought to locate the low-level radioactive waste dump in western Andrews County, near the Texas-New Mexico border.

The companies were seeking to store waste originally destined for Sierra Blanca, but a report in the spring of 1999 by the University of Texas indicated both the Envirocare and WCS sites in Andrews County were above part of the Ogallala Aquifer, making them unsuitable for storing radioactive waste. However, both firms still plan to use those sites for storage of non-radioactive hazardous wastes.

A settlement was reached last month, but Jacobi said, "Until the details are committed to paper and the principals have signed out the agreement it (the Barstow site) is still on hold."

"Also the legislature is coming to a new term and there will be a whole new leadership with the governor and on the Senate site," he said. "(Senators) Warren Chism and Senator (Robert) Duncan have some ideas on how it should proceed and Representative (Bob) Turner also has some ideas about a local referendum."

Jacobi said at least one bill relating to radioactive waste already has been filed, by State Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), which would repeal an earlier law mandating the site be in Hudspeth County, which is part of Gallego's district.

As far as when a final decision may come, Shaver said there's no set deadline for Envirocare to answer the TDH's questions, "because of the nature of this and the complexity of the application.

"We don't require a response deadline on the application, unless we don't get a response in about a year. Then we'll start asking them to move along."

Southern Union offering plan to average out high gas bills

PECOS, December 14, 2000 - Higher gas bills this December will take a toll on everyone and the local provider is offering some recommendations to help out this winter.

The United States Department of Energy this week issued a report stating that home heating bills may jump 50 percent or more this winter for consumers of natural gas. For a Pecos residential heating customer, using 100 Ccf (Hundred Cubic Feet) of natural gas, these record gas prices would mean an increase of $31.40 in their overall natural gas bill this month versus last December.

"Unfortunately, like natural gas consumers across the United States, our customers will feel the effects of record-breaking natural gas prices this winter," said David Stevens, president of Southern Union Gas. "We understand the impact this will have on our customers and we are strongly encouraging them to take action now to minimize the impact of these high gas prices."

Southern Union recommends that customers conserve energy and join their Average Bill Calculation, or ABC Plan, to minimize the impact of these high market prices. The ABC Plan is free of charge and allows customers to spread out their monthly payments.

Instead of large fluctuations in gas bills from summer to winter, a customer on the ABC Plan would pay the same amount each month. This simplifies the budgeting process and protects consumers from winter price spikes. "I joined the ABC Plan and I strongly encourage all of our customers to do the same," said Stevens.

In Southern Union's current billing statement there is a yellow and black ABC Plan insert that provides information on the ABC Plan and offers a convenient method to sign up. Customers can fill out this form, place it in their return envelope when they pay their December bill, and return it to Southern Union. They will then be enrolled in the ABC Plan.

Customer can also go to the Southern Union's web site,, and click on the ABC Plan Enrollment tab on their home page to get additional information on the ABC Plan and to sign up on line.

While Southern Union Gas Company strives to provide safe and reliable, low-cost natural gas service, the wholesale market determines the price that all natural gas distribution companies pay for natural gas supplies. In accordance with regulations, Southern Union Gas Company purchases natural gas at wholesale prices from producers and resells it without markup to customers. The Company is hopeful that wholesale prices will return to more normal levels by early 2001.

Board to study consolidation, block scheduling at meeting

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 14, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members will take up the question of block scheduling at Pecos High School and discuss the possible closing of Pecos Elementary during their regular monthly meeting, set for 6 p.m. today in the P-B-T boardroom, 1304 S. Park St.

Along with public comment on block scheduling, TAAS scores at Pecos High School and/or PHS test scores and PHS block schedule chart from Nov. 9, board members will discuss consolidation of Pecos Elementary third grade with Austin Elementary first and second grades.

In other business, board members will discuss budget and anticipated loss in student revenue and recommended cuts for remainder of the school year; listen to a report on Crockett Middle School lab addition project and Pecos High School roofing projects; discuss/approve audit for 1999-2000 and implementation of a Blood-borne pathogen exposure control plan, as required by HB 2085.

Up for discussion and approval will be offers to purchase foreclosed property located at 313 S. Oak St.; tax abatement agreement made and entered into by and between the Town of Pecos City and Lodging Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Oak Tree Inn (owners) the owners of taxable real property in Reeves County; the second reading and discuss/approve amendment to Policy DEC (local): Compensation and Benefits; Leaves and Absences and second reading and discuss/approve Policy FDD (Local): Admissions and Attendances: Absences and Excuses.

Other items on the agenda are to discuss and approve board member to serve on Community Justice Council for a two year term (if elected); second reading and discuss/approve Policy CDA (Local) Other Revenues: Investments and 2000-2001 budget amendments.

The group will meet in closed session, as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. Seq., sections 551.074: Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel, Section 551.071: Private consultation with the board's attorney. (1) Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel (2) Discuss extending superintendent's contract.

Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

The group will discuss and approve extension and terms of superintendent's contract.

Under regular agenda items the board will discuss and approve:

Professional personnel: resignations, retirements, assignments, reassignments, change of contract.

Tax report.

Cafeteria report and list of commodities.

Depository securities report.

Current bills and financial report.

Investment transaction report.

Reconciled bank statement report.

Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.

Miscellaneous: time and date for next meeting; calendar of events and request for items for next agenda.

Feb. 3 date set for Chamber's awards banquet

PECOS, December 14, 2000 - The Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its Annual Awards Banquet and Steak Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 3.

The banquet will be held in the Reeves County Civic Center and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. This year's speaker will be State Representative Gary Walker from Plains.

The awards ceremony will include: Out-going President's Award, Hidden Hero/Profile of Courage Awards, Women's Division Award of Service, Outstanding Student Award, Teacher of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Agricultural Service Award, and Citizen of the Year Award. Those retiring from the Board of Directors will be recognized this time, as well as the incoming directors and newly elected officers.

Tickets will be $20 per person and may be purchased through the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce office.

Reservations may be made by mail to: Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 27 or 111 S. Cedar, Pecos, Tx. 79772.

For more information call 915-445-2406.


PECOS, December 14, 2000 - High Wednesday 65. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight: Considerable high cloudiness. Low in the mid 30s. South to southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Friday: Decreasing cloudiness. High in the lower 70s. West wind 15 to 25 mph and gusty. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 30s. Highs in the 60s to near 70.

Search Entire Site:

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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise