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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hair cutting one of Woodard’s many crafts

Staff Writer

Lessie Woodard, better known as Woody, is a craftsman. Whatever he is doing, his craftsmanship shows through.

Woody has been cutting hair since 1969. One time personal barber to Billy Sol Estes, Woody has seen Pecos’ hair styles change many times but cuts each with the same care and precision as he would his own.

“I have always enjoyed my profession, he said. “In my time here, I have been really lucky to have had some of the neatest customers, who I really enjoy visiting with, learning their like and hobbies, and just getting to know them.”

As Woody talks, ex-commissioner Bernardo Martinez sits in the adjacent chair calmly awaiting his turn with the barber. Kids come in and out repeatedly checking to see if the line has diminished since they last checked. All the while, Woody keeps cutting hair and relating the more interesting aspects of his life to those who will listen.

“I once was a Baptist preacher for the North (Temple) Baptist Church here in town. Did that for seventeen years, but now I just cut hair,” he said as he cut the young man’s hair in the chair before him. “Now I am just an old man who enjoys bluegrass music and fishing.”

“My interest in music has been with me since I was a boy. Passed down from my father when he showed me a few notes on the fiddle, I was hooked and have been ever since.” Woody plays the guitar, mandolin and the fiddle, and according to him “will never get the time to play all the music I want to. Even had a hand in starting some of the local boys who made it big out of Pecos.”

“You know Dewayne Bryant? Guess most folks around here call him Junior. Well he plays with a band called Ricochet out of Austin, and I showed him the first few notes on the guitar he ever learned. Also, Laney Jackson, who plays for Mark Chestnut, used to come around here to learn something.”

When not cutting hair, or playing a fiddle, Woody is an avid angler. Once a fisher for souls, he is now a fisher for fish. “I once caught a 10.5 lb largemouth bass. It was a catch and release lake, so I had to throw him back. And you know what, that lake dried up the next year, so it didn’t do any good.”

Woody has crafted over 65 different fishing lures, and even had one published in a bass fishing magazine contest. “I went down and got a regular old child’s toothbrush from Wal-Mart, made it into a fishing lure and it won.”

“I have had some good designs, once I started making this lure on Wednesday, finished it on Friday, and that Saturday took it fishing and caught and 3.5 lb bass on the first cast, not the third or fourth, but the first.”

Woody describes himself as a chronic inventor, and claims to have invented a fishing rig that will make him a million dollars, “but I am not sure it I should tell you for copyright reasons and all,” he said with a grin.

In addition to the fishing, Woody spends much of his time carving, and even experienced a holiday rush one year.

“I had carved a wooden Santa for one of my family members, and next thing you know all them were asking for one. I had three weeks to complete all 18 of the little…” sentence trails off.

He has had one of his carving take best of show in the local Reeves County Fall Fair’s craft show.

“I carved a hand holding a bird, and aptly named it ‘a bird in the hand.’ I was really surprised when it won, there were so many nice things there, items like quilts, that people had spent a lot of time on.”

It is not surprising that a man that has been crafting works of art most of his life that no matter what he is doing, Woody is truly a craftsman.

Recount of tight Precinct 1 race expected to follow ballot canvass

Ballots from Tuesday’s Democratic Party primary election are scheduled to be canvassed late this afternoon at the Reeves County Courthouse, after which incumbent Pct. 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo is expected to seek a recount of Tuesday’s final results, which left him one vote short of qualifying for the April 13 runoff election.

Robert C. Natividad picked up 209 votes to 208 for Arredondo, and as of today will face Roy Alvarado in the runoff for the Precinct 1 seat. Arredondo said on Wednesday he would ask for a recount of the final vote totals, and has 72 hours to submit papers and the required fee for the recount procedure.

The Precinct 1 runoff is one of two scheduled for Reeves County on April 13. In Precinct 3, Bailey Wheeless was the top vote-getter in the race for the commissioner’s seat being vacated by Herman Tarin, and will face Joel Madrid for the four-year term. Three other races were decided on Tuesday. Incumbent Andy Gomez defeated Jeffrey Baeza in the race for Reeves County Sheriff. Baeza, a former sheriff’s deputy, won Balmorhea, Saragosa and the early voting in Toyah, while Gomez took the Pecos area and election day voting in Toyah to win nomination to a fourth term in office.

Incumbent 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds used a more than 2-to-1 vote advantage in Reeves County to offset a 500-vote loss in Ward County to former 143rd DA Hal Upchurch and win nomination to a third four-year term as district attorney for Reeves, Ward and Loving counties. The other contested race was for Precinct 3 constable, where incumbent Tomas “Tommy” Martinez won renomination by a 584-172 vote margin over challenger Alma Fleenor.

The other three constables seeking reelection in Reeves County, Arnulfo H. Granado is Precinct 1, Jerry C. Matta in Precinct 2, and Heriberto “Eddy” Rodriguez in Precinct 4, all ran unopposed for new terms. Other unopposed local and area candidates included 74th District Rep. Pete Gallego, who picked up 1,827 votes; 143rd District Judge Bob Parks, who also had 1,827 votes; County Attorney Luis Carrasco, who received 1,714 votes; County Tax Assessor-Collection Elfida Zuniga, who received 2,195 votes, and County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean, who received 1,425 votes.

County voters also went for Democratic hopeful Joe Sullivan by an 846-511 margin over Virgil W. Yanta in the race to challenge Republican Henry Bonilla for the 23rd Congressional District seat in November. Sullivan also won the district overall and will challenge Bonilla for the third time in the fall election.

All local candidates are currently unopposed in November.

State gives OK for city to open new water field

Staff Writer

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has given the Town of Pecos City preliminary approval to begin pumping water from the South Worsham Water Field, and a dedication ceremony has been set for later this month by the City Council.

Council members met this morning during their regularly scheduled meeting to go over several items, including a report on the status of the South Worsham Field, which has been under development for the past decade.

“We’ve gotten a letter from TCEQ giving temporary approval to use the water wells now,” said Edjardo Madrid, engineer for Frank X. Spencer and Associates, who along with Spencer briefed the council on the current situation. Madrid added that the levels of aluminum in the water is slightly above normal levels, and those will have to be lowered before the state agency gives the field final approval.

“The well is on-line and the telemetry (monitoring) system is working, so anytime the city wants to open the valve, it can,” he said.

City officials were told in 1994 that the current Worsham and Ward County water fields would only be able to supply adequate water to Pecos through 2008. The city then began a search for a replacement field, before settling on the South Worsham site. A contract for $1.1 million was awarded in 2001 to West Texas Well Service of Odessa for developing the new field, which is supposed to solve the city’s water needs through the middle of the 21st Century.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said council member Frank Sanchez, while Madrid told board members that due to recent problems with existing wells, the city faced the threat of water shortages earlier than 2008.

“Wells 12, 17 and 2 are no longer in service. Twelve and 17 are dry, and No. 2 in Ward County has had problems with cave-ins,” Madrid said.

“When you see the number of wells we’re losing, we got this in the nick of time,” Spencer said. “If we hadn’t started when we did, we’d be in trouble.”

The council then decided to hold a dedication ceremony at the well sites, and scheduled it for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24.

Spencer said that once the South Worsham field is put on-line, water from that field and the existing fields will be mixed together before being pumped into Pecos. “Then within the next month or 45 days people should begin noticing a difference in the water,” he said.

The South Worsham field has an estimated lifespan of from 45 to 50 years. Spencer said the Worsham Field has been on line since the late 1930s, while the Ward County field was added to Pecos’ water system about 40 years ago.

Spencer also said the city has a future water source with the nine sections of land at the former Smithers Tire Testing Center/Automotive Proving Grounds. Smithers gave the land to the Pecos Economic Development Corp. when it moved its operations to Laredo four years ago, and the PEDC in turn donated water rights to the city.

Spencer said water lines on the east side of the new South Worsham project were build with enough excess capacity to handle the APG site, but added he didn’t see any need in developing that site any time in the near future.

Red Bluff board member Goodrich dies at home

Staff Writer

Red Bluff Water Power Control Board member Lloyd Goodrich was found dead outside his home in Loving County on Tuesday, after he failed to show up for the board’s monthly meeting in Pecos.

Board members were concerned when Goodrich failed to make the 10:30 a.m. meeting, and Red Bluff secretary Robin Prewit said “After he didn’t show up we sent Tommy (Mosley, a Red Bluff employee) that way, and Maribel Jones went out there, too, after she was finished voting.

“Tommy found him out in his yard. Apparently it was a heart attack,” Prewit said. She added that Goodrich was found next to a cement mixer that was still running and that a Chevy Suburban was also found running outside the home.

“Tommy said he knew when he came around the corner and the Suburban was still running it wasn’t good,” she said.

Prewit said Goodrich was in his early 60s, and had been a member of the Red Bluff Water Power Control Board for the past 29 years, having represented the Loving County Water Improvement District since 1975. He served as the board secretary and was the longest serving member for the district.

Before sending Mosely to Goodrich’s home on Tuesday, the other Red Bluff board members discussed several routine items during their 30 minute meeting, including continued drought problems in New Mexico that have hampered water releases down the Pecos River, and progress with the new salt evaporation pits at Malaga Bend.

“The numbers are not sounding real up in New Mexico. It hasn’t rained and it looks like it never will,” said Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman about the ongoing drought in the Pecos River basin. Combined with the drought in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas, it left the water level at Red Bluff Lake at 56,425 acre/feet at the beginning of March, up just 403 acre/feet for the month, despite the rain and snow in the area during the middle part of February.

“But with the way the wind blew last week, we probably lost 400 acre/feet,” said board member Jay Lee, though Board member Teresa Walker did point out last week’s snowstorm that hit northern New Mexico should help the Pecos River upstream.

Red Bluff has been unable to release water downstream to farmers in the seven sub-districts over the past two years. Last year, the lake was at about 52,000 acre/feet when the board decided it did not have enough water for release downstream.

Hartman also told board members that Loving Salt Co. has made the required modifications to their man-made ponds at Malaga Bend in order to resume pumping salt spring water away from the Pecos River.

“They do have the liner in the pit and are pumping water into it,” he said. “It’s already got about a foot of water in it and is starting to turn to salt.”

The liners were put in so that the salt wouldn’t leak back into the ground through the original clay liner put in when the pits were built in 2002. “They will line another one shortly,” Hartman said. “With two they can work for a long time.”

The pits are about four feet deep and can hold about 3-4 feet of salt when the water is evaporated out. The salt is then mined by Loving Salt, which pays Red Bluff, while the mining removes salt from traveling downstream from Malaga Bend to Red Bluff Lake. Board members also discussed attending the 58th annual meeting of the Pecos River Commission. This year’s event is scheduled for April 1 in Senate Hearing Room E at the State Capitol in Austin. Officials from both Texas and New Mexico will be in attendance, though most of the board members were unsure if they would attend this year’s meeting.

Chamber updates on Perry visit, health fair plans

Staff Writer

Pecos Chamber of Commerce board members discussed activities for the end of March and April during their monthly Board of Directors meeting, held Tuesday at noon.

Chamber director Linda Gholson told the group that they are getting ready for the visit of Texas First Lady Anita Perry, scheduled for March 30. Perry will be in town to help officially dedicate Pecos’ Main Street Program.

“She will only be here for an hour and 15 minutes,” said Gholson. “We want to make a good impression and are inviting the entire community to come out and join us,” she said. Gholson said that there will be a formal ceremony and a presentation of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad depot, the planned home of the new Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame. “We want to have lots of red, white and blue, we have ordered flags and pinwheels for the kids,” said Gholson. “We are also asking the merchants to take out their rodeo banners early and put them up.”

She said that volunteers and sponsors to help with the costs of the items are still needed.

“The county, along with the county extension agent will be trimming trees and helping with cleanup,” said Gholson.

There will be a ceremony at Windmill Square, weather permitting. “If it is too windy or the weather is bad, we will change it to the American Home Health building,” two blocks from Windmill Square, said Gholson.

There will be a media room, where the radio station, newspaper or television stations will have 10 minutes to talk to the first lady, according to Gholson.

Chamber president Al Gomez also told the board he had been approached by Lion’s Club president Mark Zuniga about helping with their Family Health Day scheduled for Saturday, April 10. “They are ordering T-shirts and other things for the children and are asking our help,” said Gomez. “This is a great event and we should all go out and support it,” he said.

A week before the Family Health Day, which will be held at Maxey Park, Gomez said that the Reeves County Hospital’s annual Health Fair will take place.

The Health Fair is scheduled for Saturday, April 3. “There are a lot of good events coming up in April and I encourage everyone to participate,” he said.

The grand opening of the hospital’s new wing originally was scheduled for today, but has been delayed due to weather and other slight problems, according to RCH Administrator Robert Vernor.

Vernor told the group that the delay was due to state inspectors not having yet given final approval to the new facility, which will include an expanded emergency room and the hospital’s new kidney dialysis center.

“They are going to be here inspecting it during these few days and it is 99.6 percent complete,” said Vernor. “We’ve had some weather delays and other delays that have kept it from getting completed.”

Pending the inspection, Vernor said that the grand opening has been re-scheduled for Thursday, March 25.

“If the inspection goes well and we get the parking lot finished and get as close to inspection as we can, we can have the grand opening then,” he said.

That will give hospital staff a week to get the equipment in place, according to Vernor. “We won’t have any patients in there until the last part of April,” he said.

Vernor added that none of the Health Fair events on April 3 would be held in the new addition.

“Everything will be held in the old part of the hospital,” he said. “The only access to the new part will be on the west side.”

Vernor said that the dialysis center won’t be ready until July. “Then we will begin to look at working on Phase II, renovating the existing building,” said Vernor.

Chamber members were also told that the Pecos Peddlers Flea Market and Auction is scheduled for Saturday, April 17 at the Reeves County Civic Center. It will be the fourth flea market held, and the third to include an auction of items, including surplus goods from local taxing entities.

Chamber members opted to help out with the Relay for Life, scheduled for May at Eagle Stadium, by sponsoring a survivors lap, for $150.

Catholic students conformation retreat set for Saturday

A Confirmation Retreat for second year students has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Saturday at the Barstow Community Center.

This is for all Catholic students in their second year of confirmation.

For more information call Santa Rosa Church office at 445-2309.


High Wednesday 82. Low this morning 53. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy. A chance of rain then rain and thunderstorms likely after midnight. Lows in the mid 40s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent. Friday: Rain and occasional thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 50s. East winds near 10 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent. Friday night: Cloudy with a chance of rain and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 40s. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Warmer. Highs in the mid 70s. South winds near 10 mph. Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows near 40. Sunday: Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of rain in the morning and cooler. Highs in the mid 50s. Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.

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