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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Friday, June 1, 2001

Anchor sees solution to smell soon

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 1, 2001 -- Problems with a new wastewater treatment system  are to blame for the smells coming from south of the  Anchor Foods plant in Pecos, and the company said the  problem is being addressed as quickly as possible.

The odors have been blown across the south side of Pecos when winds have come out of the south, resulting in complaints from people in the area, including those at the Reeves County Golf Course, Tra-Park RV campgrounds and at the Best Western Swiss Clock Inn.

In cooperation with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Anchor Foods has been working to enhance the nitrogen reduction capability of its wastewater treatment system in Pecos, according to Anchor's plant manager Steve Cordova.

Several alternatives for this treatment capability were considered by Anchor, before the company settled on construction of two small settling ponds, followed by five constructed wetland cells. Cordova said this innovative "natural" treatment system will provide nitrogen reduction using native aquatic vegetation, and will have a secondary benefit of providing habitat for local wildlife.

Several species of wetland plants were planted in the treatment system when the new system was placed in operation in April. Unfortunately, Cordova said a number of temporary conditions associated with startup activities and in-plant equipment maintenance have combined since April to create odors that have affected nearby property owners.

"Anchor is taking steps to control and monitor these odors, and expects the problem to be temporary," said Cordova.

Accumulation of vegetable waste in the settling ponds is likely a key source of the odors. Anchor is taking immediate steps to have this material removed. In addition, water levels have been adjusted in the wetland cells to reduce the occurrence of anaerobic conditions that may also have produced odors during this startup period.

"Anchor anticipates any odor problems to be minimized by the actions undertaken and these actions should be completed by the end of June," said Cordova.

"We regret any inconvenience that may have been caused by the initial start up activities," said Cordova. "We are confident to have this problem resolved by the end of June."

Rains skip over site of wildfires near Fort Davis

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 1, 2001 -- Rains hit Fort Davis on Thursday, but they failed to fall in the  nearby areas where firemen have been battling a pair of wildfires for the  past four days.

Firemen continue to battle the twin wildfires, which were caused by lightning strikes on Memorial Day. No rain was reported from those thunderstorms and Catherine Flemming, fire department spokeswoman, said that the firefighters didn't get any assistance from the rain that hit Fort Davis Thursday night.

"It rained everywhere but where we needed it," she said.

Approximately 150 to 200 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Texas Forest Service, the Nature Conservatory and area departments have come together to fight the fires that as of yesterday burned approximately 2,000 acres of land.

"Anybody who is anybody in firefighting is here," Flemming said.

This morning brought a little luck for the firefighters on Pine Peak near the Davis Mountains Resort.

Flemming said that the wind is working with the fighters for the moment but that there is still danger to some structures in the resort. The fire was reportedly within half a mile of structures at the Resort, located southwest of Fort Davis, on Thursday.

Yesterday, nine members of the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD) assisted in the effort to put out the fires.

Second Assistant for the PVFD Arturo Granado said that the group met at the Pecos Center Fire Station at 6 a.m., Thursday in order to meet with the crews in Fort Davis by 8 a.m.

The U.S. Forest Service asked the Department of Public Safety to contact the PVFD and request their assistance on Wednesday, according to Fire Chief Roy Pena.

He said that he was able to get approval from Mayor Ray Ortega and the city to allow the firefighters to assist.

Granado said that they were placed on Pine Peak near the structures to protect them from the fires.

He said that while they were protecting the structures a group of professional firefighters from New Mexico, called Hot Shots, were busy trying to contain the wildfires on the mountain.

Granado said that they had airplanes dropping fire-retardant material in efforts of containing the fire as well.

Flemming said that everything they can use is being used to fight the fires including water and foam.

The Pecos firefighters were released at the end of the day and arrived back home at about 8 p.m., according to Granado.

"When we left yesterday it was just about contained," he said.

Flemming said that while the winds are helping the firefighters on Pine Peak the firefighters have about 70 percent containment in Madera Canyon, located north of Fort Davis.

Granado said that the local firefighters enjoyed their experience in Fort Davis because they have not had the chance to fight wildland fires.

"It's an experience for us," he said.

Granado said that the PVFD is ready and willing to help again if they are needed.

"We told them we were ready if they needed us to go back," he said.

Commissioners OK doc, job promotions at RCDC

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 1, 2001 -- A new doctor has been hired for the staff at the Reeves  County Detention Center and several employees moved up in the ranks  at the center, after action on Tuesday by Reeves County Commissioners.

Dr. Roy Woods will be joining the staff at the detention center after commissioners approved his hiring at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon. Woods will be the clinical director at the facility at an annual pay scale of $120,000. Dr. Joseph Darpolor will assist Woods and be on hand when Woods is unavailable.

Woods is a graduate of Baylor Medical School and was previously practicing medicine in Sierra Blanca, where he had a family practice and also experience in correctional facilities.

Dr. Woods had previously been in Seattle, Wash. and also had correctional experience there as well.

"I love Pecos, the people are so friendly," said Woods, who plans to make his home in Pecos, and said that he is enjoying himself at both home and work.

"This is a real asset to our facility and will only enhance our health care services," said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco. "We welcome him on board," he said.

Commissioners also approved personnel and salary changes including one new hire and a series of promotions from within the current staff.

"We like to reward our hard-working employees," said Franco. "We have a really good staff," he said.

Promotions at the facility were: Debra Brown, Nathaniel Fobbs, Fred Jernigan and Amanda Roman promoted to Correctional Officers II, at $24,000 per year; Joe Rodriguez, Sr. and Charles Hunter promoted to Food Service Officers II at $24,000 a year; Samuel Carrasco, Rudy Villegas and Aaron Roman promoted to Central Laundry III at $26,000 per year; Bart Sanchez, to Food Service Officer III at $26,000 per year; Louis Villalobos to Case Manager at $28,000 per year; JoAnna Villanueva to Commissary Officer III at $26,000 per year; Catalina Ybarra to Food Service Officer III at $26,000 per year; Charles Hannah and Arturo Hinojos to Maintenance Officers III at $26,000 per year; Rudy Villegas, to Central Laundry III at $26,000 per year; Ricardo Valencia to Maintenance Officer III at $26,000 per year and Ricardo Salgado to Medical Transportation III at $26,000 per year.

Also, Jerry Hernandez, to Sports Specialist III at $26,000 per year; Rene Guerra, to SIS Technician III at $26,000 per year; Belinda Salcido, Personnel Officer III at $26,000 per year; Jackie Hernandez, Case Manager at $28,000 per year; Moises Martinez to Case Manager at $28,000 per year; Christopher Matta to Case Manager at $28,000 per year; Silvia Aguilar to Unit Counselor at $27,000 per year; Art Gomez, Unit Counselor at $27,000 per year; Teresa Lyles to Unit Counselor, at $27,000; Nancy Mosby, Unit Counselor ,$27,000 per year; Pearl Ramos, Unit Counselor, $27,000 per year; Rose Rodriguez, Case Manager, $28,000 per year; Michael Baeza, Shift Lieutenant, $31,500 per year; Mark Lyles, Shift Lieutenant, $31,500 per year; Linvel Mosby, Shift Lieutenant, $31,500 per year; Rey Muniz, Shift Lieutenant, $31,500 per year and Lee Serrano, Shift Lieutenant, $31,500 per year.

The new hire at the RCDC was Stephen Cox, at an annual salary of $19,000 per year.

A new hires for the county Road and Bridges Department by commissioners was Rolando Espudo as a full-time Maintenance Supervisor I, at a starting salary of $26,520, while commissioners also approved a promotion for Dennis Rayos at $22,755.20 per year. At the Reeves County Sheriff's Department Joe Luis Hernandez has been hired as a jailer at $19,000 per year.

PHA discusses hosting area meeting

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 1, 2001 -- Pecos Housing Authority (PHA) Board members approved hosting  the West Texas Council quarterly meeting for July during the regular  meeting last night at the administration office on Teague Drive.

Each housing authority in West Texas takes turns hosting a quarterly meeting, according to Nellie Gomez, executive director of the PHA.

"We meet six times a year," she said.

Gomez said that the PHA did not host a meeting last year but they did host one the year before at which they held a grand opening for the PHA park across the street from the PHA offices.

Gomez said that she would like to be able to have another such ceremony this year.

"I hope to have a grand opening for this (administration) building," she said.

Gomez requested that the board consider catering a barbecue as part of the opening ceremonies.

"We could cater a barbecue for everyone who comes to the meeting and then have tours of the building," she said.

Gomez assured the board that the only expense the PHA would have to spend is for the catering itself. She said that they are looking to spend under $500 total for the grand opening.

The board approved having the grand opening at the same time as the quarterly meeting.

They also discussed the annual physical inspections by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development REAC program.

Gomez presented the board a letter from the inspector that stated what would be looked at, including everything from the PHA property project grounds, to the office maintenance, laundry rooms and a random number of individual units.

"He explained all that we need to have ready for him when he gets here," she said.

As part of the inspection, HUD will be passing out surveys for the residents of the PHA that would allow them to give feedback to the PHA on what they think is going well and what needs improvement, according to Gomez.

She said that the surveys would not be handed out to every resident.

"They'll just do a random thing on the people they survey," she said.

Gomez also updated the board on the roof damages that various buildings within the PHA sustained after high windstorms this spring.

She gave the board a copy of the insurance check that the PHA received for over $9,000.

Gomez said that the check was deposited into the Farm Labor Housing (FLH) account and that they would reimburse the PHA for everything spent.

Gomez gave a report to the board on how much has been spent already and what all has been fixed.

"All the southside and Second Street have been taken care of," she said.

All that is left, according to Gomez, are the East Side and the FLH Apartments

An approximate total of $8,000 has been spent and Gomez assured the board that the remaining money is enough to finish the job.

Chairman Frank Perea informed the board that Commissioner Alberto Alvarez' term has expired and that the board could give suggestions on who would replace Alvarez.

"The mayor called and wanted to know if we were ready to submit candidates," Perea said.

Commissioner Juanita Davila said that she had spoken to Jimmy Dutchover who said he was interested in the position.

Perea said that he also spoke to Freddy Lujan about the position as well.

The board voted to submit the two candidates to the mayor for the Town of Pecos City Council to review at the next Council meeting.

In other business the board approved the monthly reports, the minutes of the last meeting and the update on the 2000 capital funds budget.

Discussion on the revised interlocal cooperation contract between Reeves County, the Town of Pecos City and the PHA was tabled because Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo was unable to attend.

On the FLH side of business the board discussed possibly proceeding with the conversion of the FLH project status to a Multiple Family Housing Project status under the USDA Rural Development.

Gomez said that it is hard for the FLH to receive funding right now but if they could change over to multiple family housing it would be easier.

Davila asked Gomez if it would be beneficial to the FLH if they decided to go for the conversion and Gomez said that it would help.

"So it would be an advantage to go in that direction," she said.

The board approved in proceeding with the application for conversion.

In other business, the board approved the minutes of the last meeting, the financial statements, the revised 2001 budget and the monthly reports.


Refugio Chavez

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