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Top Stories

Friday, January 19, 2001

Air Force plans Feb. 1 meeting on bomber site

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - Representatives from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene will be in Pecos on Thursday, Feb. 1 to give local residents an update on the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative and the construction of a manned electronic scoring site between Pecos and Saragosa.

The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, at the Odessa College-Pecos Technical Training Center on Eddy Street in Pecos.

"The meeting will be held to give an update to the city and county officials as to where RBTI is," said Lt. Wes Ticer, with public relations at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene.

The RTBI project involves B-1 bombers from Dyess and B-52 bombers from Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La. The bombers will fly high altitude bombing runs over the area between Lubbock and Big Spring, with the low-level flights scheduled to run in the Permian Basin and Big Bend areas, including a loop path around Pecos.

The Air Force plans to build two manned electronic scoring sites in connection with the plan, one near Snyder and the other southwest of Pecos as part of the project. Officials said the site, near the Alamo area of Reeves County, would employ 31 people and bring $1.6 million to the county annually.

Three individuals from Air Combat Command and two or three people from the Dyess Air Force Base will be on hand for the briefing, according to Ticer.

The current project is facing a lawsuit, filed against the Air Force by a group of ranchers and farmers south of Lubbock. "The Air Force has a period of time to respond to the court," said Ticer. "We don't know if it'll have any effect on our efforts."

Ticer said that they still stand behind everything in the Environmental Impact Study. "We will continue with what we have to do within the limits of the law," he said.

Part of the reason the Air Force officials will be here in February will be to do an environmental assessment. "They moved the site (location) where they're going to put it and this also will be discussed," said Ticer.

The site will be located slightly closer to Pecos, one mile north of the original site selected. It will be located 18 miles southwest of Pecos, on land within the Conservation Reserve Program.

"It has existing road and power lines," said Ticer.

The group is still looking at a couple of sites for the unmanned station. "This will be discussed as well and by then they will have more of an idea of when construction will begin," he said.

Everything is going along well, the site was changed from the original location and the air force will be leasing the land, according to Ticer.

"Other than that, everything is coming along great and officials in Pecos will be receiving more information during the briefing," he said.

Parks incident reenacted for Head Start kids

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - A re-enactment of what times were like in 1955 and the impact Martin Luther King had on American History was presented to a group of Head Start students at the Reeves County Library on Wednesday, two days after what would have been Dr. King's 72nd birthday.

"The story of Martin Luther King and how he changed America was illustrated beautifully," said Reeves County Librarian Sally Perry. "How is strength, courage and determination is still honored and felt today, was demonstrated."

Parks' refusal to move to the back of a city bus as ordered in Montgomery, Ala., and the protests that followed her arrest propelled Dr. King into the national spotlight and are considered the start of the modern civil rights movement, which led to the end of segregation in the south in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The story was planned and directed by Kim Ewing. She was helped by many from the community who played the various parts people demonstrated during the hard-earned civil rights movement in the United States.

Dr. King's civil rights struggles were acted out by Reita Prewit, Emily Fernandes, Fatu Darpolar, Clarence Oster, Billie Sadler, Judy Greenwood, Velma Bradley, Bill Scarber, Faye Scarber and Kim Ewing.

The teachers of the Saragosa Head Start and Pecos Head Start had requested this program at the library and 60 children and 10 adults attended.

The play ended with everyone singing," We shall overcome."

"I just want to thank everyone who participated and who attended," said Perry. "And especially for the enthusiasm of all who volunteered," she said.

"It was a sincere celebration of Martin Luther King's pursuit for freedom. The preschoolers and adults attending felt his importance in all our American histories," said Perry.

Wrestling show to benefit PHS boosters

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - Local wrestling fans will be able to see two to three hours of live performances put on by South Central Wrestling at 7 p.m., tomorrow night at the Pecos High School New Gym.

Pecos Eagle Athletic Booster Club President Paul Deishler said that PHS football coach Gary Grubbs invited the wrestling company to perform in Pecos, with the proceeds benefiting the athletic program.

"We're trying to raise enough money to buy matting for the field house," he said.

Deishler said that the athletic program is looking into buying matting similar to the kind in the Reeves County Recreation Center weight room.

The wrestling show will consist of five separate matches with wrestlers from all over the U.S. and Mexico.

The main event will feature a match between "The Warlock" from Midland and "Mr. Big Time" from New York, NY.

Just before the main event there will be a tag team match with "Junk Yard Dog, Jr." of Charlotte, NC and "Chief Running Deer" of Great Falls, Mont. versus "Texas Cowboy" and "Justin Tuff" both of Lubbock.

Deishler said that South Central Wrestling is just a "smaller version of the WWF."

"It'll be good entertainment," he said. "It'll be something different in Pecos."

Tickets are currently on sale at Terraza's Restaurant and Dan's Music and Video and also can be purchased from the high school coaches for $5 per ticket.

Deishler said that approximately 400 tickets have been sold so far.

"I think a lot of people in Pecos like wrestling," he said.

Tickets will be available at the door as well.

Seating for the show will be in the stands but there will also be ringside seats available on a first come, first serve basis, according to Deishler.

"If they want a ring side seat they need to get there early," he said.

The booster club will have the concession stand open and there will be Pecos Police Officers on site.

"We'll be there to make sure it'll be safe and fun," Deishler said.

Deishler said he hopes the community members will come out for a good show and to support the students.

"The bottom line is to support the kids," he said. "It all goes back to them."

WIPP shipments to resume after probe into missed turn

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - A missed turn by a truck carrying low-level radioactive waste resulted in a two-month suspension of deliveries to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant east of Carlsbad, N.M.

But Department of Energy officials said the problem has been corrected and will resume transportation of the waste from a site in Idaho to WIPP on Monday.

Tri-State Motor Transit is responsible for shipping the waste from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to WIPP. It's one of five sites in the Western United States due to ship transuranic waste to the site for disposal 2,150 feet underground.

The trucks are required to use the Interstate Highway system until reaching U.S. 285, from where they travel south on U.S. 285 to the WIPP site, located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad. But the DOE said on Nov. 21 a truck missed the turnoff onto U.S. 285 and continued southbound on Interstate 25 towards Albuquerque for another 27 miles.

The DOE said the truck was spotted by New Mexico State Police, who then contacted the TRANSCOM control center in Albuquerque, which used its satellite-based system to get the location of the truck and then call the drivers on cell phone to notify them of their mistake.

As a result, shipments were stopped and Tri-State conducted an internal investigation and presented the results to the DOE's Carlsbad office. The DOE said the report identified a series of corrective actions, including providing additional training and exercises for its drivers to ensure that they are completely familiar with WIPP shipment routes and notification procedures.

"While this is an isolated incident, and deviation from the established route is a matter of importance to the Department of Energy," said Dr. Ines Triay, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Field Office. "The CBFO reviewed all findings and actions to determine the causes of the incident have been corrected. We expect DOE transportation carriers to adhere to the highest standards and ensure that we safely ship waste to WIPP."

WIPP received its first shipment of transuranic waste two years ago, and so far all shipments have come to the site from western states. Shipments from sites in the east are scheduled to travel through Texas along I-20 to Pecos, then exit and go north on U.S. 285 to Loving, N.M.

"We are looking at February at the earliest for the first shipment from the Savannah River site," said WIPP spokesman Dan Balduini. "Right now there's nothing coming on I-20."

Savannah River is one of five main eastern sites due to ship waste to WIPP, though Balduini said, "There are small quantity sites" that also have radioactive waste due to shipment.

"There are another 11 to 20 of those we're working with to see which ones will ship here directly and which will ship to other sites for consolidation," he said. "Part of the plan for smaller sites that don't have characterization facilities to do disposal is to have them characterized for shipment, and we're working with state regulators to do the final characterizations at WIPP."

"It would save millions of dollars to do it here," Balduini said, adding the move would be done, "not only for the cost but for a safety factor to minimize the number of trucks on the road."

Under the current road plan, the route between Pecos and Loving, N.M. is the only section of U.S. 285 not scheduled for widening from two to four lanes, to improve safety for the WIPP trucks. The DOE provided $60 million in funds to help widen U.S. 285 in New Mexico and put in other improvements, but Balduini said those actions were mandated for New Mexico by Congress.

The Texas Department of Transportation has placed construction of a loop around the east side of Pecos to be used by the WIPP trucks on its list of future projects. But work currently is not scheduled to begin until 2005 at the earliest.

Abortion opponents to march on Sunday

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - Abortion opponents in Pecos will participate in their own march to mark the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision on Sunday, which will be one of many held across the United States and in Washington, D.C. that day.

Monday marks the 28th Anniversary of "Rowe vs. Wade," the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion nationwide. The annual "March For Life" in protest of that ruling will take place in Washington, D.C. on Sunday where thousands of Americans, young and old, of every race and religion will march.

Pecos will mark the event with the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus sponsoring a march on the same day at 6 p.m., beginning at Santa Rosa Church, located at the corner of Peach and Fourth Streets.

March supporter Eddie Vasquez said, "We march to give voice to the children. If abortions continue, we can be sure they do not continue unopposed. We march to challenge mistaken policies of our government."

The group believes that no human government can legitimately deny the right to live. "We march to encourage one another," said Vasquez.

The pro-life movement is a great cause, urge and worthy of our time, energy and commitment, he said. "We march to be faithful to God. By taking part in this event, we can stand before God and say, `I did speak out. I was not passive in the face of the greatest injustice of our day,'" said Vasquez.

Vasquez said the "March For Life," is not a Catholic event, a Baptist event, a Methodist or any denominational event. "This march is a life or death event," said Vasquez. "Thousands of unborn babies are murdered each day, and this event helps voice our outrage of the senseless killing."

The "March For Life" will begin at Santa Rosa Catholic Church and end with a prayer service at St. Catherine's Church at the corner of Walthall and Plum Streets. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served at the parish hall after the service.

Commisioners to disuss BOP deal Monday

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - An intergovernmental agreement between Reeves County and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will be discussed the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for Monday.

The group will meet at 9:45 a.m. Monday, on the third floor of the courthouse. The public is invited to attend.

The BOP supplies most of the inmates for the Reeves County Detention Center, which recently completed an expansion from 1,000 to 2,000 beds. The county is currently looking at another 1,000-bed expansion for the prison, located on the southwest side of Pecos.

In other business, commissioners will discuss and take action on the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department interlocal agreement between Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City; a resolution on Reeves County U.S. 285 Trunk System designation by the Texas Department of Transportation; U.S. 285 Trunk System Designation resolution in support of Pecos County, and a contract between Reeves County and the Pecos County Juvenile Probation Department.

An agreement between Reeves County and West Texas Centers for MHMR is also on the agenda to be discussed and considered.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on County Road and Bridge equipment purchase and bidding.

Oath and bonds for Reeves County employees Sylvia Garcia, Annabel Orona and Mary Lou Chavez are for discussion and approval.

Regular agenda items to be discussed and take action are:

- Reports from various departments.

- Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

- Personnel and salary changes, (RCDC, library, county judge's office, county treasurer's office and maintenance).

- Semi-monthly bills.

Spread on the minutes: release of judgment line against Louis Lively; release of judgment lien against John and Trevor Teague; amendment to water distribution agreement between Reeves County and City of Pecos; escrow agreement for water distribution; notice of over-axle/over-gross weight permits; Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics 46th Annual Conference-Dianne Florez; County and District Clerks Association-Dianne Florez; Texas Department of Transportation Off-System Bridge Resolution and LMD Architects Professional Services for RCDC 3-Design Services.

Border Patrol, INS seeking donations for quake victims

PECOS, January 19, 2001 - The Pecos offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Border Patrol are asking for donations to assist the victims of the recent earthquake in El Salvador. The earthquake took place on Jan. 13. The latest estimates show the earthquake damaged or destroyed 91,000 homes, caused $1 billion in damage and left at least 10,000 people homeless.

The Consulate General of El Salvador in Houston said they are looking for the following items: Camping supplies (tents, sleeping bags, mats, lanterns, flashlights); blankets and sheets, canned foods, can openers, powdered milk, dry foods (cereal, rice, beans, pasta); disposal diapers, toilet paper and medical supplies (except flammable items such as alcohol).

Once all donations are received, the local INS and Border Patrol will coordinate with El Paso District INS and Marfa Sector Border Patrol to transport the items to the Consulate in Houston.

Donations can be taken to the INS office at 250 E. Palmer St. or the Border Patrol station at 300 E. Palmer St. Donations can also be picked up by contacting Felix Chavez at 447-4102. Deadline for donations is Jan. 26.


Mary Barbier, Felisitas Medina, and Dessie Prendergast


PECOS, January 19, 2001 - High Thursday 39. Low this morning 24. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low in the upper teens. Light south wind. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 50s. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 20s. Sunday and Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 25 to 35. Highs from the mid 50s to the lower 60s.

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