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Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN, April 4, 1997 - As the rainless days wore on last year, rivers
dried up, farmers' fields cracked and nearly all the ground water
districts across the state had no plan to deal with the situation.
City councils quickly enacted water use provisions, such as odd-numbered
houses sprinkling their lawns on one day and even-numbered houses
sprinkling on another.
But those were Band-Aid solutions, temporary fixes for a problem that
stood to jeopardize the state's economic viability.
On Thursday, the state Senate took a major step toward correcting the
problem by unanimously approving what could become the state's
first-ever statewide water conservation and drought management plan.
The bill will now head to the House for consideration.
Texas is one of only three of the 12 Western states without a state
drought plan. New Mexico and Wyoming are the others.
The Texas Water Development Board estimates that without planning,
shortages could arise that would leave 15 percent of the state's urban
water demands unmet by the year 2010. Such a shortage would result in a
loss to the Texas economy of up to $40 billion, the board reported.
Ironically, the bill was approved on a day when rains covered the
Capitol and flash flood warnings were in effect.
``Disregard the weather outside and the bountiful rainfall and think
back to last summer, when there was no rainfall,'' said Sen. J.E.
``Buster'' Brown, R-Lake Jackson, the bill sponsor.
``Clean, abundant water in Texas must be a guarantee. There are not any
radical provisions to this bill, but it contains several pieces that fit
together like a puzzle.''
Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock has called the bill the most important facing
lawmakers this session.
``We have laid the foundation and the framework for a plan that will
make sure Texas has enough water to meet both the current needs of our
homes and businesses and the demands our growing population will put on
the state's water resources in the next century,'' Bullock said.
Last year's drought, which resulted in federal disaster relief for 95
percent of the state's 254 counties, cost the Texas economy more than $5
For decades, lawmakers have been unable to agree on a bill creating a
statewide water plan because the regions of the state are so diverse,
and drought hadn't directly affected all parts of the state at once -
until last year. That disaster has mobilized lawmakers into action.
``For those of us in urban areas, water has always seemed plentiful,''
said Sen. Mike Moncrief, D-Fort Worth. ``Whenever you turn on the
spigot, the water flowed. It took a disaster to hit us right between the
eyes to wake us up.''
Under the bill, local water districts and irrigation districts would
submit to a regional planning group designated by the Texas Water
Development Board. A committee representing the regional planning group
would then come up with a water conservation plan for the region.
The combination of the regional plans would form a statewide plan.
The Water Development Board would be required to designate the regions
by Sept. 1, 1998. The regional plans would have to be submitted by Sept.
If a region failed to meet the deadline, no water district in the region
could qualify for state grants or loans.
A constitutional amendment sponsored by Brown would consolidate $1.2
billion in bonding authority for the Water Development Board to assist
local water districts with new projects or improvements.
The bill doesn't alter the state's ``right of capture'' policy, which
allows property owners to pump as much water as they please from their
Current law, however, already allows individual ground water districts
to limit pumping and well spacing through local votes.
Interbasin transfers - the pumping of water from one area of the state
to another - would be more closely scrutinized by the Texas Natural
Resource Conservation Commission under the bill.
Before approving a transfer, the commission would conduct a thorough
analysis to ensure the benefits of the receiving basin don't outweigh
the detriments to the basin of origin.
``Anyone seeking a permit for water use or a transfer must first
demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to conduct
proper water use,'' Brown said.
The basin transfers have been a contentious issue. Cities such as Corpus
Christi and San Antonio have sought to receive water from Austin. San
Antonio has been criticized for wanting to take other cities' water
while voting down referendums to build its own reservoir.
The water bill is SB1.
The request is being brought by a group of PHS students and parents,
following a meeting with high school teachers Thursday night. Another
meeting is scheduled Monday, to allow the public to discuss the proposal
before it is presented to the school board.
"The group met to formulate recommendations to present to the school
board at their next meeting," said Louis Matta, a spokesman for the
group, about Thursday's meeting. He said it included eight Pecos High
School staff members, six parents and six students.
The group met at the high school for about 90 minutes. "It was real
good, and short and to the point," Matta said.
He added that as a result of the discussion, "We're probably going to
recommend going back to the dress code we started the year with."
The recommendations will be outlined at Monday's public meeting, set for
7 p.m. at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St., before being
presented to the school board.
Board members voted to change the dress code during their Feb. 27
meeting, as recommended by a group of eight PHS teachers, who met with
Superintendent Mario Sotelo Feb. 10 and 17 to discuss the proposed
Matta said he believed some of the same teachers were at Thursday's
The changes were made in an effort to resolve an increase in discipline
problems teachers were reporting among students at the high school.
The changes dealt with the length of shorts, skirts and dresses; use of
pants jeans and skirts; cheerleader uniforms; headgear; shades of
lipstick and nail polish and grooming paraphernalia.
Under the new rules, shorts, skirts and dresses will not be worn more
than three inches above the middle of the knee. The approved proposal
reads that a 3-by-5 note card will be used to measure the length of such
The new code states that all pants, skirts and shorts must be worn at
natural waistline and fit properly and cheerleaders will wear warm up
suits to class. Short uniforms will not be allowed.
The revised code prohibits the use of hats and caps in the building.
Confiscated headgear will be held for six weeks, under the new rules.
Also, no black, metallic or dark shades of lipstick or fingernail polish
will be worn and grooming articles will be confiscated if seen in the
The changes were implemented on Feb. 28 and on during four days the
following week, a group of between 20 and 40 students were separated
from the rest of the school and placed in the auditorium for not
complying with the new dress code.
Students and parents contended that they were not informed of the
eminent changes prior to the Feb. 27 school board meeting.
"Our health fair is so popular because of the many low cost health
screenings available," said Nancy Ontiveros, Director of Program
Development/Community Services for Reeves County Hospital.
The 10th Annual Reeves County Health Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 3
p.m. tomorrow at the county hospital at 2323 Texas St.
However, Ontiveros says the health fair is so popular you'd better come
"There will be people lined up at the door by 7 a.m.," she said.
"Between 1,000 and 1,500 people attend the fair each year, whether its
good weather or raining or snowing."
Having the health fair at the hospital allowed the public a chance to
come in and see the medical facility and take advantage of no-cost or
low-cost health screenings on an annual basis, according to Ontiveros.
The 50 organizations with booths at the health fair will offer services
such as blood sugar tests, blood typing, immunizations, blood pressure
checks, a wide variety of information and much more.
The hospital will have nine booths representing some of the services
offered by the hospital such as; surgery, EKG's, laboratory, business
services, dietary, nursing, home health and ladies auxiliary.
Ready Fox will be on hand to represent the Pecos Police Department and
offer children, and parents, information on how to use the 911 emergency
The American Diabetes Association will offer free diabetes risk factor
tests and information about diabetes.
Free immunizations will be provided by the Pecos Valley Clinic.
Permian Basin Blood Institute will conduct a blood drive and provide
free cholesterol tests for those who donate blood.
In addition to the health services offered several organizations will be
selling good food to eat and offering fun activities.
Children will enjoy the free face painting booth operated by hospital
By filling out a form at the Reeves County Hospital nurse's booth you
will receive a five-page personality assessment that will tell you what
kind of personality you have, and more.
Pfizer Labs will provide a free pancake breakfast to the first 125
people to arrive for breakfast. The Masonic Lodge will be serving a
pancake breakfast on the hospital patio for a cost of $4 per person.
The Reeves County Hospital Dietary department will serve barbecue plates
for $4 from 11 a.m. until the food is gone.
PECOS, Apr. 4, 1997 - Zavala Middle School students were counseled
Thursday about what some termed demon possession in a fellow student who
had some type of seizure Wednesday in the cafeteria.
Hilda Woods said her daughter, who sat at the same table with the girl
when she became violent and acted strangely, has been unable to sleep
since the episode.
"She just sits real quiet; she won't talk about it, and she won't sleep
by herself," Woods said. "She's never seen anything like it; it scared
her half to death."
Pecos Police Sgt. Jim Vaughn, who was summoned to Zavala by Pecos
Ambulance Service personnel several minutes after thee 11:25 a.m. call,
said the girl was lying in the hallway in what appeared to be a trance
when he arrived.
Parents of students who witnessed the episode said the girl fell
backward away from the table during lunch and began to act strangely, to
growl and talk in a deep voice.
Chief Sheriff's Deputy Fred Lujan said he had witnessed a young man with
epilepsy having similar seizures, and throat constriction made him talk
in a deep, growly voice.
Vaughn said that ambulance personnel told him the girl did not have an
epileptic seizure. PAS chief Bill Cole said this morning he cannot
comment on any patient and would not say why they summoned police.
The girl's mother told Vaughn that her daughter had been living in
Mexico with her father "for too long." She had recently moved back to
Pecos to live with her mother.
Ambulance personnel transported both the girl and her mother to the
emergency room at Reeves County Hospital, where she was treated and
Zavala Principal Don Love was in an administrative meeting this morning
and could not be reached for comment. Coach Robin Land, who helped
restrain the girl during the episode, said she could not talk without
The herd likely won't be moved until next February, when the agency can
afford the move, said Ron George of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
George said the entire buffalo herd from the historic JA Ranch will go
to one of three places: Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque; Palo
Duro State Park near Canyon; or the Matador Wildlife Management Area
``This herd is from (the South Plains) area,'' George said. ``So we'll
probably keep it there.''
Ranch manager Jay O'Brien said he signed an agreement March 28 to donate
the herd to the state. The Parks and Wildlife Department hadn't received
the signed document by Thursday, George said.
The herd, consisting of 98-percent purebred bison, was started by
pioneer cattleman Charles Goodnight in 1876 on his JA Ranch, about 20
miles northwest of Caprock Canyons.
In recent years, the herd had been wrecking fences and causing other
problems on the ranch, so O'Brien said he needed to get rid of the
``Bison appear to act like cattle,'' George said. ``But when you go to
handle them, their herding instinct is much stronger. These buffalo have
been knocking down fences and things.''
In early 1996, he offered the herd to the state. Parks and Wildlife was
interested, but George said the agency lacked the $100,000 budget needed
to start the project - mostly to erect a bison-resistant fence.
``We simply didn't have this budgeted for this fiscal year,'' George
The Quitaque community and a group from West Texas A&M University in
Canyon have campaigned to keep the herd in the region. Caprock Canyons
State Park has developed a plan with state parks officials fir a fenced
area, but no plans are final, said park manager Geoff Hulse.
The herd's offspring can be spread to various parks throughout the
state, George said.
``We may put offspring of these animals at several areas,'' he said.
``They can be trained to be less aggressive.''
That's right, it's time to ``spring forward'' to daylight-saving time,
shifting an hour of light from those dreary mornings to summer evenings.
The actual moment of change occurs at 2 a.m. Sunday for most of the
nation, when clocks should be shifted forward an hour. Most people,
though, make the change before retiring Saturday - especially those who
want to avoid being late for church on Sunday.
Standard time returns Oct. 26.
The law allows some areas to exempt themselves, and daylight-saving
time is not observed in Arizona, Hawaii, part of Indiana, Puerto Rico,
the Virgin Islands or American Samoa.
Safety officials are reminding Americans that the time of changing the
clocks is also a good time to replace the batteries in smoke detectors.
Ms. Finch arrived Thursday night aboard her restored Lockheed Electra
after a 10-hour flight from Suriname.
She and her navigator are to fly Tuesday to the eastern tip of Brazil
before crossing the Atlantic to Africa on Wednesday.
Ms. Finch is to land in Senegal and then head north to Spain in her
attempt to retrace the 1937 route mapped by Amelia Earhart.
She expects to visit 20 countries before returning to Oakland, Calif.,
where she took off March 17.
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Funeral arrangements are incomplete for Felipa Carrasco, 82, who died
this morning at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Services are under the direction of Pecos Funeral Home.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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