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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

March 6, 2001

Workers cleaning up station's leftover fuel

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 6, 2001 - While the city continues its plans to clean up downtown, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission has committed funding to groundwater clean up under the old Texaco and Fina service station in the parking lot in front of La Tienda, Beall's and Odessa College on Eddy Street.

Bryan Lewis, field supervisor for Alliance Maintenance & Services out of Houston, said that the groundwater under the station has some fuel left from when the station was last open a decade ago.

"The service station lost some fuel," he said. "This is a system that cleans it up."

Lewis and his co-worker Albert Medina have been digging trenches and wells in order to take groundwater samples.

The clean up is scheduled to take about two years to complete and costs approximately $500,000.

The federal government toughened regulations for underground gasoline storage tanks and on cleaning up contamination from those tanks in the early 1990s. Projects like the one on Eddy Street are being conducted all across the United States, according to Lewis who said that cost for the each project varies depending how much fuel is in the ground.

Lewis said that his portion of the job would last about two more weeks, giving him time to set up and test all the equipment, sample the water and make sure everything is clean.

"We install everything, get it running and then we turn it over to the Meridian office," he said, referring to Midland-based Meridian Alliance, which is the sister company to Alliance Maintenance & Services.

Lewis said that eventually an asphalt seal would be placed over the dirt in order to create a vacuum effect on the fuel and protect the land from the elements.

"It's actually for the system to do its job better," he said.

A temporary building will also be placed on the property in order to house the equipment and protect it from the elements, as well as vandalism.

All the work being done at the old station is in compliance with the Town of Pecos City's regulations, according to Lewis.

"We've got to," he said. "We wouldn't want to have to come back."

The service station was torn down four years ago, and last year, Dr. Vance Gipson, president of Odessa College, mentioned the possibility of building a small park in that area as part of the construction of the college's new Pecos Technical Training Center.

Director of the physical plant at OC, Bob Chastain said that that is one of the ideas that OC has come up with to enhance the area around the Pecos extension.

Chastain said that this clean up is separate from Odessa College and has been ordered by the state.

"It has nothing to do with OC at all," he said.

Chastain said Dr. Norman Harris of Odessa owned the former White's Auto Center building and sold it to OC in order to place the new extension on.

He also owns the property that the old station is on, but did not wish to sell that land.

"He chose to keep that facility," Chastain said, adding that at this time there are not plans for OC to purchase that land.

Lewis said that he believes that the clean up is needed and beneficial to the community.

"This is a nice looking town and this is an eyesore," Lewis said.

March drop in gas bills seen after January's record highs

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 6, 2001 - The president of Southern Union Gas Company said customers in Pecos and surrounding areas should see some good news in their March natural gas bills, with prices gas bills substantially lower than in February.

"We are pleased that wholesale natural gas prices continue to decline," said David Stevens, president of Southern Union Gas. "However, the impact of this winter's record-high gas costs won't be forgotten. While we cannot control the market price of natural gas, we will continue to work with the cities we serve, and the Railroad Commission of Texas, to enact measures that may better protect our customers from future price spikes," he said.

Lower wholesale natural gas costs, combined with warmer temperatures, should result in lower utility bills for consumers. Southern Union announced that its cost of gas for March bills had decreased to $.56728 per ccf. (hundred cubic feet), a decrease of $.3730 from January 2001. This 39.67 percent decrease in gas cost when combined with lower consumption, will result in lower March gas bills.

Although March's prices will be down from January's record highs, prices remain higher than historic norms, the company said. Wholesale market prices for natural gas prices have been at elevated levels since spring of 2000 due to increased demand and short supplies. Even with the decrease of wholesale gas prices from February 2001 to March 2001, natural gas prices remain substantially higher than historical levels. The cost of natural gas is almost twice as high as a year ago, increasing from $.29329 per ccf in March 2000 to $.56728 in March 2001.

Natural gas prices charged by Southern Union Gas are based on the wholesale prices the company pays producers. The Texas Railroad Commission and the municipalities Southern Union serves require the company to pass along the cost of gas with no profit. Stevens said the company hopes wholesale prices will continue to drop and return to more normal levels in the near future.

In order to help lower bills until then, Southern Union encourages its customers to:

* Call the company and enroll in the Average Bill Calculation Plan, better known as the ABC Plan, which allows customers to pay a fixed price through the year and protects them from the potential price spikes.

"I joined the ABC Plan and I strongly encourage all of our customers to do the same," said Stevens.

* Have a licensed, professional, heating and air conditioning technician inspect their gas appliances annually to ensure they are functioning properly, efficiently and safely.

* Ensure their home is well insulated. Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors to seal drafts and consider increasing the amount of insulation in your home.

* Keep furnaces filters clean by replacing them monthly.

* Insulate their gas water heater, drain sediment from the bottom of the tank, and set the temperature to 120 degrees.

* Set the thermostat to 68 degrees or lower during the winter months and wear a sweater or light jacket to ward off the chill.

Officials order autopsy into Shelton's death

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 6, 2001 - An autopsy has been ordered on the long-time area manager for Southern Union Gas Company in Pecos, following his death on Monday.

Police and emergency personnel were called to the home of Danny Shelton early Monday morning. Shelton's body was found in the house and the case was classified by police as an unattended death. Shelton's body has been sent to Lubbock for an autopsy, said Pecos Police Investigator Kelly Davis

"I talked to the pathologist and he said that autopsy would be done this morning," Davis said.

It is standard procedure to request an autopsy in the case of unattended deaths, according to police.

Shelton was 56 years old and had been the area manager for the local gas company for several years. He was also president of the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Youth soccer clinic is set for Thursday

PECOS, March 6, 2001 - The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department will be holding a youth soccer clinic on Thursday, prior to the start of the spring soccer league season.

The clinic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, in the Pecos High School old gym.

Registration for the spring soccer season continues through Saturday, March 17, and the recreation department is also seeking anyone interested in either coaching or officiating during the upcoming spring soccer season. For further information on the clinic or on the spring soccer program, call the RCCRD office at the old PHS gym, 447-9776.


Ageda Nunez

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instanced we will indicate payment and release.
David G. Pando, 20, was arrested at 8:56 p.m., on March 5 at Fourth and Peach streets for driving while license suspended.

Benito Salcido, 61, was arrested at 8:14 p.m., on March 5 at Eighth and Ash streets on a warrant for delivery of a controlled substance.

Fred Lara, 44, was arrested at 11:23 a.m., on March 5 at Zavala Middle School on a warrant for criminal trespass.

Eric Garcia, 29, was arrested at 4:05 p.m., on March 5 in the 900 block of Elm Street on a warrant for parole violation.


PECOS, March 6, 2001 - High Monday 74. Low this morning 46. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low around 40. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation less than 20 percent. Wednesday: Cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. High in the mid 60s. Northeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 50 percent. Wednesday night: Cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely. Low in the lower 40s. Chance of precipitation 60 percent. Thursday: Decreasing clouds and cooler with a slight chance of morning showers. High in the mid 50s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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