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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 21, 2003

Water board hears opposition to pumping plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- Representatives of the state's General Land Office heard criticism of a plan to pump underground water out of West Texas to other parts of the state, during a meeting of the the Far West Regional Water Planning Group in Van Horn.

Land office policy director, Trace Finley explained their plan to enter into a contract with the Midland based company, Rio Nuevo, to a crowd of hundreds, at the Van Horn Convention Center. Finley told the crowd that Rio Nuevo had proposed to pay $4 million for the scientific studies and to give an undetermined amount of bonus money to the Permanent School Fund in exchange for the sole right to apply to the various ground water districts for the permits necessary to extract water from the area.

The land under consideration encompasses 355,386 acres, with 33,789 acres located in Culbertson County, 68,927 acres in Presidio County, 3,187 in Jeff Davis County and the 249,481 in Hudspeth County, according to Finley.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the General Land Office said the partnership intends to pump at least 50,000 acre feet of water a year, or 16.3 billion gallons, from aquifers in the region known as the West Texas Bolsons.

The proposed deal states that Rio Nuevo will pay for all of the exploratory studies to determine the environmental and economic impact of the extraction, in addition to determining the amount and location of underground water resources, Finley said. He also asserted that the General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson would never enter into a deal if "it would negatively affect the community where the water resources are located."

The presentation met with fierce opposition from residents who are currently in the middle of a drought that has lasted for over a decade.

Residents from Presidio County presented a petition containing over 450 signatures requesting the General Land Office to reject the proposal on face value.

Concerned residents also voiced their opinion that while the final control was in the hands of the local ground water districts, once the contract was signed the legislature could take control out of their hands and give it to a state government entity.

Issue was also taken with the General Land Office's trusting of the scientific data put forth by a company that stands to profit from a favorable finding. Citizens wanted to know why the state was not doing the studies to keep it fair and impartial.

"It will be up to the local ground water district boards to decide if Rio Nuevo's science is sound," Finley said. "If the board rejects Rio Nuevo's proposal, then it will be dead, as long as Commissioner Patterson feels the rejection was fair and objective."

"A local water board would be hard pressed due to lack of funds, to fight against Rio Nuevo's information well enough to disprove it," Tom Beard, Chairman of the Far West Regional Water Planning Group said.

"We feel we are being left out of the loop during the most important part of the contract negotiations, we don't want to be handed a done deal," Beard added. "Why doesn't GLO put the contract on the table and let the public see what is really going on."

"We are trying to get to that point," GLO General Council Bill Warnick said, "At the School Land Board meeting on Dec. 2 in Alpine these concerns will be addressed. It is then that we will take the types of comments that we are hearing today."

Beard retorted that by the time the public will see specifics of the deal it will already be signed, "why aren't we waiting to see the findings of the exploratory studies before entering into a contract with Rio Nuevo?"

Finley said that the only way to get Rio Nuevo to commit the $4 million for the research and the bonus check to the Permanent School Fund was to enter into this contract that gives Rio Nuevo sole access to the local ground water districts for permit application.

It is these permits that will allow the local ground water districts to control when, where and how much water may be taken out of a community for export, Finley said. "The applications to the local ground water districts would have to be consistent with the state water plan and abide by the guidelines set forth in negotiations with the water district itself."

Permits would also have to be obtained from the water district boards for the erection of wells on School Land Board property that wasn't currently under a water district's authority, but was contiguous with one, Finley added.

"The fact is that we don't know how much water is out there, and Rio Nuevo is willing to do the research for us. If the studies find that there is no water to be had then that will be the end of the deal," Finley said.

Audience members shouted that the check to the Permanent School fund would go though no matter what the deal, and the lack of competition for the contract smelled like the bonus check was a bribe.

Change soughton Wackenhut prison contract

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- An amendment to the management services agreement between Reeves County and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation will be the topic of discussion during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

Wackenhut signed a 10-year contract earlier this month to manage the Reeves County Detention Center. The contract is due to take effect once the county has cut the number of jobs at the prison to 343 workers. A total of 31 people were laid off last week, and County Judge Jimmy Galindo said another 39 workers are due to be let go to meet the 343 worker requirement.

Under the current contact, Wackenhut will pay Reeves County $430,000 a month for one year to go towards bond payments on the new RCDC III addition, which has not attracted enough inmates to meet its bond payments. However, Wackenhut's first payment, due Dec. 1, can be delayed for a month or until the prison's staff is cut to 343 workers.

The item is one of several on the agenda for the 10 a.m. meeting on Monday in the third floor courtroom of Reeves County Courthouse. The public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on an amendment to RCDC III Utilization Availability agreement between Reeves County and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and employee assignment agreement between Reeves County and Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation.

The court will discuss and take action on request for qualifications for financial advisory services; proposal No. 35-03 general liability insurance; proposal No. 36-03 public officials liability insurance; proposal No. 37-03 law enforcement liability insurance; proposal No. 38-03 workers compensation insurance; proposal No. 39-03 real/personal property and heavy equipment insurance; proposal No. 40-03 auto liability and physical damage insurance and Carothers Construction request for payment No. 22-RCDC III bond funds.

The group will discuss the 1999 lease payment in the amount of $420,757 and the 1999 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on Arturo Granado and Isaac Diaz as reserve deputies for the Reeves County Sheriff's Department; bond and oath for Yvonne Abila and Connie Lozano; reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes; minutes from previous minutes and semi-monthly bills.

Christian Home seeks holiday food donations

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- Several food items are still being sought by the Pecos Christian Home to complete the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner next Thursday.

"We still need more turkeys, cranberry sauce, dressing and desserts," said volunteer Velma Bradley.

She said that there were still a number of items that were lacking to complete the annual event, which will be held on Thanksgiving Day at the Reeves County Civic Center. Items the group also needs are mashed potatoes and sodas or other drinks.

"We try to provide something for them to drink, especially if they have children," said Bradley.

The dinner is an annual event and will be held beginning at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Volunteers will be on hand at the civic center beginning at 8 a.m. and the dinners to the Meals on Wheels recipients will be delivered at 9 a.m. "We'll start serving those that want to eat here at 10 a.m.," said Bradley.

There are about 100 Meals on Wheels recipients that have their holiday meals delivered to them. "We like to deliver those first," said Bradley.

About 250-300 people attended last year's event. "We are counting on serving anywhere from 300-400 people this year. With the economy the way it is and all the layoffs we've been seeing, we might be serving more than that," Bradley said.

Volunteers are especially appreciated during this time of the year.

"We welcome anyone that can to come and help," said Bradley. "We always need volunteers."

She said the dinner has been a success each year, and she feels confident the community will once again reach out and help.

Donations can be taken to the Christian Home, located at 1201 S. Elm Street or by calling 445-2049 and someone will pick up the items.

Clinics scheduled on lambs, goats, horses Saturday

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- There will be a lamb and goat clinic held beginning at 9 a.m. at the 4-H pens.

A Horse Clinic is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Saturday, at the 4-H pens.

Anyone interested is invited to attend.


PECOS, Fri., Nov. 21, 2003 -- High Thursday 82. Low this morning 39. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows 45 to 50. South winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 80 to 85. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Windy. Lows in the lower to mid 40s. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph shifting to the northwest 20 to 30 mph after midnight. Sunday: Mostly sunny. Windy. Much colder. Highs in the lower to mid 50s. Northwest winds 20 to 30 mph. Sunday night: Clear: Cooler. Lows in the lower to mid 20s. Monday: Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s to the lower 60s. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30.

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 instances we will indicate payment and release.


Marissa Legarreta, 17, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 19, at 2:25 p.m., in the 600 block of S. Oleander St.


John Michael Garza, 27, was arrested on a warrant for assault causing bodily injury on Nov. 18, at 10:55 a.m., one-quarter mile south of town on U.S. 285.


Sonia Yadira Rodriguez, 29, was arrested on a warrant out of the Ward County Sheriff's Office for theft by check on Nov. 17, at 10:08 a.m., at the intersection of Third and Oleander streets


Shawn Green Christopher, 30, was arrested for driving with no insurance and later served with a warrant for felony theft out of Shreveport, LA while in custody at the Criminal Justice Center. The original stop occurred on Nov. 15, at 9:25 p.m. at the Reeves County Civic Center.


Samuel Metcalf, 31, was arrested for public intoxication, class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 16, at 2:18 a.m., in the 110 block of S.outh Orange Street.


Enrique Romero, 32, was arrested for enhance public intoxication on Nov. 14, at 11:34 p.m., at Club Suavecito in the 900 block of South Cedar Street.


David Myric, 18, was served with a warrant for probation violation, for criminal trespass, on Nov. 15, at 4:00 a.m., while in custody at the CJC.


Nell Harrison

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