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

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map

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

March 30, 2001

Committee hears local opposition to area N-dump

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 30, 2001 - Two area officials were on hand in Austin on Thursday to testify before the Senate Natural Resource Committee against a nuclear waste disposal site in the area.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo testified in front of the Senate Natural Resources Committee in Austin for the second time in as many weeks, in opposition of a bill by State Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) that would allow nuclear waste dump sites in West Texas.

Duncan represents Loving and northern Reeves County in the Texas Senate. A similar bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa).

Ward County Commissioner Precinct 1 Julian Florez, whose precinct had been scheduled to be the site of a proposed low-level radioactive waste dump until earlier this year, joined Galindo in Austin, and the two were among a number of people who testified about the plan.

Supporters say that the bill allows Texas to meet its requirements to contain the waste under a compact agreement with Maine and Vermont.

The compact - passed by Congress in the 1990s - is part of a nationwide plan to store low-level radioactive waste regionally.

Environmentalists opposed to the plan say Texas could become the nation's largest nuclear waste dump under a bill, which would set up the state's first radioactive disposal site.

Officials in Reeves and parts of Ward County have been opposed to one site proposal, by Envirocare of Texas to locate a waste dump eight miles north of Barstow back in January. That plan was abandoned as part of the settlement of a lawsuit with Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists, but Andrews County is seeking to have the dump located on WCS land 30 miles from Andrews and six miles from Euince, N.M., and Galindo said WCS also has an option on the Barstow site.

"The decision to dispose of radioactive waste in this region of Texas, should allow the people in that region to vote," said Galindo.

Galindo said that he was testifying for the second time before the Senate Natural Resource Committee.

"The other issue is we also testified that the intention of the compact was to minimize the amount of waste, however the compact has a big loophole that will allow the state to bring in waste from all over the country," said Galindo.

The compact protects the states involved from having to accept waste from other states. Maine and Vermont are close to capacity, while Texas has no permanent site.

"The potential exists for this facility to become a national dumpsite for the rest of the country," said Galindo. "Over the last 20 years compact throughout the country have been trying to establish disposal sites and none have been successful," he said.

Florez said that the main thing was that the site is closer to Pecos than it is to Monahans. "Everyone that is going to be affected should have a right to vote," said Florez.

Florez said that while testifying before the committee, Senator Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin had asked him what about his constituents and what their opinion was on the matter. "He asked me what are you constituents telling you and that's when I told him what their concerns were," said Florez.

Florez said he had told the committee that his constituents were concerned because they felt they were targeting our community. "They told me that they felt that because they were Hispanics they were targeting this area," he said.

"They said they were concerned for their forbearers and want a future for the other generation," said Florez. "It's a health risk and they just don't want it here, period," he said.

Under the bill, a county would be able to contract a private company to build a storage facility. The state would own the land where the site was located, as well as the waste itself. The contractor would be paid with fees charged to waste producers.

The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission would manage and license the operation to ensure the safety of the state.

Galindo said that if the people were going to have to live with a dump in their backyard for the next 500 years then they should have a say as to whether or not they want this in their area.

"The Texas, Maine, Vermont Compact to dispose of nuclear active waste has a provision that will allow importation from all over the country," said Galindo.

For West Texas that's bad, because it would make West Texas the dumping ground for the rest of the country, according to Galindo.

"I also noted for the commission that 70 percent of the waste will come from decommissioning of nuclear power plants," he said.

The waste site would be the state's first permanent storage facility. There are 59 radioactive waste generators in Texas, according to the Bureau of Radiation Control. Many of these sites must store their waste at their own locations in specialized containers.

Nuclear power plants send some of their waste out of state, but in eight years that facility will be closed to Texas radioactive waste producers.

Sen. Duncan's bill would allow these producers to send their radioactive rubbish to one centralized storage site.


The low-level radioactive waste radioactive bill is SB 1541. The house bill is HB 3420.

Emergency planners offer WIPP update

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 30, 2001 - Local emergency responders were able to learn more information about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) located near Carlsbad, NM during a meeting held at Thursday afternoon at Council Chambers in City Hall.

Mike Rutherford, emergency planner for the Texas Department of Health, and Anthony Buck, assistant radiological emergency planner for the Texas Department of Public Safety, met with the emergency responders to discuss the transportation and shipment of hazardous waste through Reeves County to the WIPP site, which is scheduled to begin later this year.

Rutherford and Buck have both visited with various communities in Texas that are located on the designated route for the hazardous waste to travel through.

"We have made a complete loop through Texas on I-20," Rutherford said.

"We are really trying to get this information out to the public," Buck said.

WIPP officials designated Interstate 20 as the route that would bring hazardous waste through Texas from the East Coast to the WIPP site.

According to a handout Buck provided to the responders, WIPP is "a cornerstone in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) national clean-up strategy."

The WIPP facility is designed to "permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense program activities."

Rutherford explained that the radioactive waste is stored in 50-gallon plastic lined drums where the waste is placed in another plastic bag and sealed inside the drum.

According to the handout, "transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium."

Due to the fact that the U.S. has been producing such waste for about 50 years with the manufacturing of nuclear weapons the government has spent most of that time looking for ways to dispose of it.

Rutherford said that the National Academy of Science suggested storing the waste in salt where it would stay dry and out of harms way.

Once at the WIPP site the waste is taken over 2,000 feet below the surface into a "disposable room" in the salt vein where it would stay for eternity.

Rutherford and Buck explained that the salt would slowly creep around the drums by three to five inches a year soon sealing it off.

Rutherford said that the shipments would arrive at the plant unescorted by tractor-trailer loaded in special containers called Transportation Packaging Transporter Model 2, or TRUPACT-II.

"Each container weighs a little less than 20,000 lbs. fully loaded," he said.

He explained that the drivers who would be hauling the waste across country have many guidelines and standards in which they have to abide by.

"The drivers are not allowed to have any moving violations on their commercial record," he said.

Rutherford said that once travel began the at least one driver would be with the shipment at all times and would make a thorough inspection 25 miles from the pickup site as well as once every two hours or 100 miles.

Buck explained that each truck is hooked up to a TRANSCOM system, allowing the state, WIPP, and other users to track the status of each truck.

"So I'll be able to watch the truck coming through Texas," he said.

Rutherford said that each truck has four means of communication to the outside "world" with each truck equipped with TRANSCOM, a satellite phone, a cellular phone and a CB radio.

Buck explained that the DPS office is willing to help communities in the path of the waste material protect themselves with local planning.

He said that the DPS office has a sample of various annexes including Annex D, which involves radiological protection.

Rutherford said he appreciates the cooperation that Reeves County has given to them and the WIPP project over the years and believes that of all the counties in Texas that would deal with this material, Reeves is the most prepared and qualified to handle matters is an accident were to occur.

He added that local Emergency Management Coordinator Armando Gil and the Assistant Coordinator Lupe Nieto are well trained and capable of handling anything.

"I feel comfortable that they know how to respond," he said.

Rutherford explained that both Gil and Nieto have hundreds of hours in emergency training and are known by major state officials all over Texas.

"These two people are a major asset to the community and to the state," he said.

Rutherford and Buck said that the DOE is more than willing to come back to Pecos to give an eight hour training course to the local emergency responders free of charge and would help the citizens of Pecos and Reeves County in any way.

For more information on the transporting of the nuclear waste contact Rutherford at or Buck at

For more information about WIPP or to schedule a tour of the WIPP facility contact Kenneth Aragon at

I-20 crash kills Clint woman after vehicle strikes guardrail

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 30, 2001 - A Clint woman was killed in a one-vehicle rollover on Interstate 20 just east of Toyah Thursday night.

The accident happened at 9:05 p.m., on I-20 near mile marker 23, one-half mile east of Toyah according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, who identified the victim as Diana Gonzales Romero, 22, a secretary from Clint.

Romero was found unresponsive and with no pulse in the vehicle when officers arrived at the site of the accident. Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh pronounced her dead at the scene and her body was taken to Pecos Funeral Home.

According to the accident report by DPS Trooper Eric White of Monahans, the vehicle was eastbound on I-20 at a high rate of speed. The driver was inattentive and she lost control of her vehicle.

The vehicle veered to the right and slid broadside into a guardrail with the driver's side impacted severely on the end of the guardrail.

The vehicle came to rest 45 feet from the road facing northeast.

Ex-Pecosite set to try hand at kickboxing competition

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 30, 2001 - A former Pecos resident fights towards the world championship this weekend at Graham Central Station in Odessa.

Russell Jones, a 1996 Pecos High School graduate, is scheduled as the main event at a Tae Kwon Do tournament, Saturday, where he will be fighting an opponent from Holland.

Jones has spent most of his life training in Tae Kwon Do and recently started up kickboxing.

"I've been doing Tae Kwon Do tournaments since fifth grade," he said. "I took up kick-boxing as a compliment to my skills about three years ago."

What started out as just a hobby has now become Jones' passion and life.

Jones trains six to seven days a week and competes in several tournaments with an amateur status for both Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing.

"All Tae Kwon Do tournaments would be considered amateur, since we don't get paid even at the world competition level," he said. "As far as kick-boxing, there is a lot more spotlight attention. Currently, I am amateur, waiting for the right time and place to turn pro."

Jones said he trains for at least three to four hours a day and sometimes all day long on the weekends.

"It is not unusual to arrive at the training hall at about 7 a.m., on a Saturday or Sunday and stay until 8 p.m., at night," he said. "Those days seem to never end. But, it's the price you gotta pay, ask anyone at the top, in anything they do."

Jones hopes to raise enough money this year to be able to participate as an USA team member at the world championship that will be held in Italy.

Jones said that like many other sports organizations in the U.S., the United States Tae Kwon Do Federation (USTF) is not funded by the government so the money has to come from sponsorships and donations.

"The USTF pays for some of my trip, but not all," he said. "It costs on average about $5,000 for each athlete to go to a world championship."

This is not the first year that Jones has been honored with a slot of the U.S. team. He has been named to the U.S. team three times, which Jones said was his greatest accomplishment.

"My biggest accomplishments are being chosen to represent USA in the world championships held every two to three years," he said. "I was on the team in 1997 for St. Petersburg, Russia, and in the 1999 for Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am currently on the 2001 USA team for competition in Rimini, Italy this summer."

Jones has been one of many fighters from all over the U.S., representing our country at world championship competitions but this year he is a little closer to the team than usual.

"This time is different, Odessa swept all 12 slots at Nationals in Denver this January," he said. "The whole team is from Odessa."

Along with the many years of fighting experience and training, Jones has many titles under his belt.

In 1995, while still in high school, Jones was named Heavyweight Champ of North America.

He also won the title of Heavyweight Champ of USA in 1997 and the Hyper-Heavyweight Champ of USA in both 1999 and 2001.

Jones was also ranked fifth in the world in 1999.

In kickboxing, Jones is the current Heavyweight West Texas titleholder.

While not competing or training, Jones spends his time helping others.

Jones is a Tae Kwon Do instructor at the second largest junior high school in Texas, Ector Junior High in Odessa.

"I teach Tae Kwon Do to all sorts of kids, I have about 250 students," he said. "It's something I love to do."

Jones said that teaching has many rewards especially when he knows he is helping a student.

"Its rewards are knowing that I was involved in helping guide someone who needed help," he said. "I also feel that somewhere in that school, I will find the next someone to one day out do me and make me proud, for that is any teachers' only true dream to come true."

Jones will hopefully make his students, friends, family and teammates proud as he is competing in the main title event this Saturday at Graham's Central Station in Odessa.

Graham's is located at 4240 Preston Smith Road. The fights start at 4 p.m. and will run until about 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the door at $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under.

Postal service ends for Hill after 40 years

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 30, 2001 - One long-time Pecos Post Office employee plans to take it easy and enjoy his grandchildren following his announcement that he will be retiring.

Norman Hill, who has been a post office employee for the past 40 years and eight months, is bidding farewell to his co-workers and customers today.

A farewell reception was held at the Post Office for a Hill and another gathering is planned for tomorrow.

Hill has lived here since 1948 and worked at Duval and other jobs, before starting as a letter carrier, which he did for several years. He was later promoted to sales associate and has been a friendly face behind the counter for several years.

"We're going to miss Norman tremendously," said Pecos Postmaster Herman Armendariz. "He has been a real asset and a great friend."

Hill said that now he plans to just take it easy and spend more time with his children and grandchildren.

He and his late wife Arlene had four children, Conda Zimdars, of Fort Davis, Craig and Gary Hill and Debbie Riley of Pecos. He also has eight grandchildren.

At his farewell gathering this morning at the post office, Armendariz presented Hill with a plaque for his 40 years of service and a watch engraved on the back.

His children Craig and Debbie were on hand at the post office and both said they would enjoy spending more time with their father.

Daylight Savings to resume Sunday

WASHINGTON (AP) - Many Americans will lose an hour's sleep this weekend.

That's because it's time to spring forward to daylight-saving time.

For most of the nation the official change occurs at 2 a.m. Sunday, though most will probably change their clocks before hitting the sack Saturday night.

Those who forget will be an hour late for church, work or other events on Sunday. Daylight-saving time lasts until Oct. 28.

Safety officials suggest that this annual ritual is also a good time to change the battery in each smoke detector, to be sure they will work if needed.

Some parts of the country don't observe daylight-saving time. Those include Arizona, Hawaii, the part of Indiana located in the Eastern time zone, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.


PECOS, March 30, 2001 - High Thursday 75. Low this morning 48. Forecast for tonight: Increasing cloudiness with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low 40 to 45. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High in the lower 70s. West wind 10 to 20 mph becoming north during the afternoon. Saturday night: Clear. Low around 40. Sunday and Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 40s. Highs from the mid 70s to the mid 80s.

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