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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

City seeks grant to add on homes to sewer system

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City Council authorized the city to submit an application for a grant through the state of Texas for sewer line improvements during a special meeting at noon on Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

City Manager Carlos Yerena said that the grant is through the Economically Distressed Areas Programs (EDAP) which the city hopes to use "to provide adequate sewer connections primarily for low income houses."

Yerena said that the grant would be approximately $300,000 and with that money the city hopes to connect 32 houses to the sewer system. Most of the homes involved are located on the north side and the southeast side of town.

"We're hoping to get sewer connections to just those houses that qualify and those not currently connected to the sewer," he said.

Council members were asked in late June to speed up installation of both fire hydrants and sewer line connections on the southeast side of town. Linda Bailey asked the council if the city would be putting in any fire hydrants on 13th Street because there are not currently any in that area, along with asking about plans to connect houses on that street to the city sewer system.

Bailey said that previous administrations had promised to add the homes to the system for many years but it has still not been done.

City Finance Director George Bejarano assured Bailey that despite what has happened in the past, the current administration would be sure to get it done.

"If this administration says it will happen, then it'll work," he said.

Yerena said this morning that there is no deadline to apply for the grant but that the city is planning on submitting it as soon as possible.

"We're going to get it in as soon as we can," he said.

The city would submit the application through the Texas Water Development Board for approval.

Yerena said that the Council decided to authorize the city to submit the application because the city is eligible for the grant and they want to bring more citizens online with the sewer system.

"At this point we feel good about submitting the grant," he said. "Because we're eligible for it and we feel good that we are in good standing for it."

Yerena said that many cities in Texas are eligible for the grant and could apply for it because they qualify for several requirements for the grant.

"It (qualification) depends on several factors," he said. "The main one is you have to have low income."

Chemical leak from trailer causes truck stop clean-up

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- A husband-wife truck driving team received a scare on Sunday when they discovered hazardous material leaking from the tractor-trailer when they stopped at Flying J Truck Stop while on the way to California.

Pecos Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil said that the couple's good observations and quick response helped make the clean up easier.

Gil said that the couple was hauling material belonging to Micro Blend Chemical Company out of Georgia, which included numerous cleaning supplies, windshield cleaner, industrial degreaser as well as methanol and sodium hydroxide, which where both labeled as flammable and hazardous.

"They were en route to Petro Lock Incorporated in California," he said.

Gil said that the couple had stopped at 4 p.m., at Flying J to fill up with fuel and to take a break when they noticed a leak in the middle of the trailer.

While performing a visual inspection of the trailer, Gil said, the wife noticed that there was a leak and immediately they moved the trailer from the pumps to the Northeast corner of the parking lot, which is a dirt area. They then called the Pecos Police Department to inform them of the leak.

Gil said that Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire was nearby when the call came in, and Brookshire then informed him of the leak.

The two then went to the truckstop to inspect the leak and decided to call a hazardous material clean up crew out of Midland from the Eco-Logical company.

Gil said no one was in any immediate danger at any time from the leak but they wanted to be sure because they were not sure it the material would react with anything.

"It wasn't a very extensive leak," he said. "No one was in danger at that time, but we didn't want to take any chances."

Once the clean up team arrived, Gil said that it took 10 hours to clean up the spill.

He said that since the leak was coming from the middle of the trailer, the team had to unload the back of the trailer before reaching the source, which was a gallon plastic jug.

Gil said that the jug that the material was in had only leaked about a half-gallon but the clean up crew took no chances.

They proceeded to clean up the truck and soil that the material had leaked on and safely packaged up the jug and cardboard that was surrounding the area for safe transport, according to Gil.

While cleaning up the trailer, the team found one box of barbecue sauce as part of the cargo, Gil said.

"The sauce was far enough away form the leak that it did not receive any contamination," Gil said, and the box along with the other contents of the truck, where allowed to continue on to California.

Once the crew finished cleaning up and loading the trailer again at 2 a.m., Monday morning, the couple was able to continue their journey.

Gil said that the couple did everything they should have and that they were very cooperative in the clean up efforts, which he appreciates.

"There was very good response on their part," he said.

Fabela wants more parental involvement as new assistant principal

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- An open door policy and a lot of parental involvement will be a part of the new Pecos High School assistant principal's plans for the upcoming school year.

"I'd really like to see more parents get involved and if they have questions or a problem, come to down to the school," said John Fabela, who will be taking over as the assistant principal's post at the high school starting next month.

"Don't be afraid to stand up for your rights, it's a public school," said Fabela.

Fabela has a Master of Arts/Education Administration from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He has eight years experience and has taught at different school districts.

Originally from Fort Stockton, Fabela had most recently been teaching fifth and sixth multi-level bilingual education in Midland.

Fabela also taught bilingual classes in Odessa and has taught at all grade levels, except kindergarten and first grade. He has also taught ESL (English as a Second Language).

"I met with Mr. Rodriguez, (PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez) and visited the school," said Fabela.

Fabela said he had a good impression of the school and noticed that it had a lot of talent. "I noticed the art work and realize there's a lot of talent there," he said. "It's a nice school and I would like to work on getting it `Recognized'," he said.

Fabela had also worked with middle school students in Fort Worth in a special program called the Vital Link Project.

"This is for kids to try to find out more about job opportunities and to see where their talents lie," said Fabela. "They found out what careers they were cut out for or really enjoyed."

The students would visit businesses and get a mentor, ask questions, and at the end of the project would do a presentation and write a journal. "At the end we would have a celebration," he said.

Fabela said the program was really good and helped students learn more about the different careers and to choose a career of their choice.

Included in his plans for PHS is the goal of getting the parents more involved in school activities.

"What I'd like to see is family involvement, invite parents to the school and become more involved in school, visiting and volunteering," he said. "If we really focus on the students, we can do more things and help the students more.

"We're on the same side, but ultimately the parents are the first teachers and then they send them to us, we're the second teachers," he said.

Fabela added that both parents and teachers have the same goal in mind for the students. "We want them to have the best education and make sure they stay in school," he said.

"I believe in education. It will open a lot of doors and if you have to make a sacrifice for it, do it, because it's the best gift you can make," he said.

"It's a challenge and I hope I can contribute my ideas and help," said Fabela.

Fabela and his family will be making their home in Pecos soon. "I had a great welcome, this is a very close-knit group, which is what I was looking for. I hope I can contribute some of my ideas and hopefully help a lot of students become successful," he said.

Fabela's wife, Rosa, is currently working on her teaching certification and does substitute teaching in Odessa. The couple have three children, John Davis, 21, a marketing major at UTPB; Myra Fabela, 27, a social worker and Debra, who is a registered nurse in Lubbock.

"All of them graduated with honors and were in the AEP program at OHS, which is something I'm very proud of," he said.

RCDC addition Open House set for September

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- An open house is planned for the middle of September and the community will have a chance to see the most recent addition to the Reeves County Detention Center.

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco said that they are planning an open house and reception in September for the RCDC II project, which was completed late last year. Franco made his remarks during the reports from various departments item at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Monday morning.

"You currently have about 21 vacancies at the facility?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, who was filling in for County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo, who was unable to attend the regular session.

"We're getting some people back from jail school today, so that number should be less," said Franco.

The 2,000-bed RCDC II project was completed several months behind schedule and finishing touches are still being added to get it completely ready. "We'll be sending out invitations and it will probably be a good time to get some community participation," said Franco.

Commissioners approved request for payments to LMD Architects, who worked on the expansion project.

The group tabled a request for a proposal for the Martinez Lighting Field project.

"We only had one bid, for $42,300 from Techline out of Austin," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

"I think this is figure is too high," said Tarin, and Owens told the group that the bid did not have to be awarded.

"I think we should table it until we can renegotiate the price," said Tarin.

Commissioners approved to declare items from the Sheriff's Department as surplus and also a modification of a bid on bread products.

"The sheriff had some items that he wanted declared surplus, but when he went out there most of them were gone," said Owens.

The bread bid had previously been awarded to Ben E. Keith, but upon further inspection, they were not lowest bidder. El Paso Baking was the lowest bidder on that item and the first bid was rescinded and the bid awarded to El Paso Baking.

The group approved the re-classification of the foreign medical students, to allow them to be non-exempt and accumulate comp time

A copy machine in the county clerk's office will be purchased, rather than spending money on sending the item back. "It's been a headache," said Owens.

The cost to ship it back to New Jersey would probably be the same as the purchase price of $1,000. "And we've already sent them three more payments since we quit using it," said Owens.

Personnel and salary changes approved included, Benjamin Mendoza, to CO II at $24,000; Tracy Munoz, Jimmy Leonard, Arthur Nickelson, Michael Estorga and Tony Hinojos to CO II at $24,000 per year; Alice Tidwell was promoted to Food Services Foreman at $25,000 per year along with Julia Rayos. New hires at the RCDC at a beginning rate of $19,000 per year are Manuel Adame, Bobbie Aguilar, Wendy Calzada, Isaac Chabarria, Stephanie Chavez, Timothy Garcia, Bobby Hidalgo, Angela Martinez, Ernest Martinez, Chris Munoz, D'Andra Ortega, Mary Rivas, Anne Ruiz, Dagoberto Rodriguez, Jr., Thomas Rives, Consuelo Semental, Christina Sotelo, and Dulcia Warren.

Erica Rubio will be working as a part-time clerk for Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon and Rebecca Bustillos will be a part-time kitchen employee at the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.

Closing of street, death not linked UP offical says

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- Monday's closing of the Brant Street railroad crossing in Barstow was not in response to the death of Barstow City Councilman Lucio Florez Sr. two weeks ago, according to a Union Pacific Railroad Company spokesman.

Spokesman Mark Davis said that UP has been working with the city council in Barstow for many months on closing off that crossing.

"We started working with the city on thinking about closing the crossing in March 2000," he said. The plan was approved by Barstow aldermen, including Florez, during a meeting in April.

Florez died on July 10, when the pickup he was in was struck by an eastbound Union Pacific freight train shortly after 7:30 a.m. Following the accident, officials with the city, the railroad and the Texas Department of Transportation said they were not sure who would handle the work of closing the crossing.

About six years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration began working with communities in analyzing the number of crossing and asked the communities if some crossings could be closed, according to Davis.

He said that the federal administration traveled through communities with the local government and railroad companies to look at the number of vehicles that travel through the crossings and if they could easily use another crossing if any are closed.

The only way a crossing could be closed is if the city or county approves the closure.

"The city and county has the power to close the crossing, the railroad doesn't," Davis said.

After the Barstow City Council approved the crossing closure, UP had to coordinate schedules with maintenance crews before the crossing could be eliminated, Davis said.

He said yesterday's closure was not affected by the recent accident.

"It may have been coincidence that (the accident) happened prior to it being closed off," he said.

Davis said that UP officials have not been in touch with any Barstow community member since the accident.

He said that the only time the officials spoke to the community was when the accident happened in order to get eyewitness accounts of what happened during their investigation.

The Brant Street crossing was one of three main crossings Barstow residents living north of the railroad tracks used to travel to and from Business I-20. The nearest crossing to Brant Street is FM 516, which is located one block to the west and is equipped with flashing lights to warn drivers of approaching trains.

Area KFC stores stay open despite Taco Bell closings

PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- Officials with TB Foods, Inc., said Permian Basin Kentucky Fried Chicken Stores will not be affected by the closing of several Taco Bell outlets in the Midland-Odessa area.

Mike Treadwell, president of TB Foods, said the closing of eight of the nine area restaurants would have no effect on the eight KFC outlets in the area which are also owned by Restaurant Systems, Inc., a Missouri company which operates a total of 41 KFC restaurants and 10 KFC/Taco Bell 2 in 1 restaurants in Texas and other states.

KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants are all under the same national ownership, with stores around the United States owned both by the company and by independent franchises. Treadwell said all employees of the eight closed Taco Bell restaurants have been offered employment at the Midland-Odessa KFC stores operated by RSI.


PECOS, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 -- High Monday 107. Low this morning 74. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 70s. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High around 102. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs from the upper 90s to 101.


Genoveva Gonzales, Jose Mata and Hilda Stoner

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