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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

February 17, 1999

Sadler becomes first local entry in May elections

A former Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members has become the first person to file to run in the May 1 school board election.

Billie Sadler has filed as a prospective candidate in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board elections, which will be held on May 1, along with the Balmorhea ISD election and those for city positions in Pecos, Balmorhea, Toyah and Barstow. Two seats on the Reeves County Hospital District board will also be up for election at that time.

Sadler served on the school board in the early 1990s, before resigning to avoid a conflict of interest when her son Mike was named Zavala Middle School principal in 1995. She'll be seeking one of the two available seats on the P-B-T board, currently held by trustees Daisy Roquemore and Alfred Alvarez, whose three-year terms expire in May.

There have been no filings reported since Monday, the first day to do so, in the Town of Pecos election.

Voters will select three city councilmen for two-year terms, with the seats held by Gerald Tellez Jr., Johnny Terrazas and Randy Graham coming up for election.

In the Reeves County Hospital District' race, the seats of board president, Jeannette Alligood, in Precinct 4 term and Precinct 2 representative Marcella Lovett are expiring.

Prospective candidates may pick up forms for the city election from Geneva Martinez, city secretary, at City Hall; from secretary Jo Allgood at the school administration office; and from administrative assistant Nadine Smith at Reeves County Hospital.

Allgood will also hand the Barstow City Council election, while candidates in Balmorhea can pick up forms for the school race at the Balmorhea ISD office and at Balmorhea City Hall for the council election.

Martinez said that March 17 is the last day to file for the election.

Debbie Thomas, elections administrator, will handle early voting for all three entities within Pecos.

Pot seized, four jailed after Tuesday drug raid

Staff Writer
Four people were arrested Tuesday night after a search warrant executed by the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and Pecos Police Department Multi-Agency S.W.A.T. Team resulted in the seizure of marijuana and drug paraphernalia from an Eddy Street residence.

Police Pecos Police Investigator Ernest Lazcano said the search was conducted at 9:30 p.m. on a warrant issued by Municipal Court Judge Phyllis Salyer for the residence, located at 407 S. Eddy St.

"Found in the residence was one big plastic baggy containing about one quarter of a pound of marijuana, one medium size bag containing marijuana, and a metal canister containing drug paraphernalia," said Lazcano.

Arrested at the residence and charged with possession of marijuana under five pounds and over four ounces in a drug free zone (within 1,000 feet of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD bus yard), a third degree felony, were Julie Deandra Lara Urquidez, 20; Amy Diane Daniels, 23 and Jerry Herrron, 20, according to Police Reports.

Arrested for possession of an alcoholic beverage and drug paraphernalia both Class C misdemeanors was Clifton Ikeler, 18. Ikeler was charged with Minor in Possession.

All four were transported to Reeves County Jail are currently awaiting arraignment.

Customs agents kept busy by marijuana discoveries

U.S. Customs Service agents reported making 19 drug seizures along the Rio Grande border between El Paso and Presidio during the past six days, including a 318-pound marijuana bust at the Presidio port-of-entry on Monday.

According to Customs officials, the marijuana was found in a hidden compartment within the I-beams of a trailer at the U.S. 67 checkpoint on Monday. Arrested was the driver of the vehicle, Roberto Alonso Moreno-Gutierrez, 37, of Cuahtemoc, Chih., Mexico, in connection with the smuggling attempt.

Customs said the other large seizure over the holiday weekend involved 358.7 pounds of marijuana hidden in the walls of a van that attempted to pass through the Ysleta checkpoint in El Paso last Thursday. Agents arrested 18-year-old Jose Alonso Rodriguez-Urbina in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

Agents also reported seizing $40,000 in unreported currency, 75 Cuban cigars and undeclared prescription medications as the result of searches at the border during the period from last Thursday through Tuesday.

Group seeks to stir interest in Fair

Staff Writer
Gardners, plant your seed now for a fall harvest to display at the Reeves County Fall Fair Oct. 3-4.

Locally-grown produce is one of the many ideas thrown out Tuesday at the first meeting of the fall fair committee, chaired by Barbara Creager of Mentone.

Creager said that last year's fair had all the attraction of a morgue, with few booths and most of those unmanned. She proposed putting some life into the annual event by adding activities to attract children.

Other ideas, some in response to a survey mailed out by the Reeves-Loving County Extension staff, include a fall fair walk of fame, with pictures and ribbons of past winners; merging Tejano and Country music in the concert; a jumping balloon booth, photo booth with character cutouts; woodworking and food.

Each food vendor would be given a guarantee that no other booth would be allowed to sell that particular item, whether it be barbecue sandwiches, candy apples, beef burgers, pancakes, popcorn or cotton candy.

Marilyn Oden said that the Pecos Art Association would sponsor the children's art booth, as they have for 32 years. She proposed setting the deadline for entries 10 days in advance to give them time to label all the pictures and place ribbons on them before the fair opens on Friday.

She suggested signs at the entrance to the display rooms so fairgoers will know what to expect.

Roy Prewit volunteered to be in charge of the quilting display, and the Pecos Senior Citizen's Center will work on a quilt during the fair.

Creager said the quilts, and photography could be displayed in the center of the front room of the civic center on forms placed in an octagonal shape.

"That would take up a massive part of that one room," she said.

Children's activities could include finger painting, crafts or cookie decoration, with a small charge of 5 to 10 cents being made for each item.

Linda Gholson said that a talent show has increased attendance in the past, and the pet show was popular when the fair opened on Thursday night. She suggested the pet show be moved to Saturday afternoon after the livestock show.

Reminiscing about successful fairs in the past, the group remembered health care booths, furniture and automobile displays, cake walk, turkey shoot, ribbon roping, bingo, electricity arching show and firemen's display.

With early planning, the group hopes to attract some of those and more to revive the fall fair.

Board set to review computer, budget troubles

Staff Writer
A Y2K overview will be heard and solutions for financial situation for 1999-2000 school year due to decline in oil/gas revenues discussed during the regular meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday.

The school board will meet in the board room, 1304 S. Park to hear about any pending problems and potential solutions involving the Y2K computer problem within the school district, while the financial situation will deal with the estimated loss of over $700,000 in oil and gas valuations as the result of declining prices during the past year.

A list sent out by State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office last week showed P-B-T will be among the 20 hardest hit school districts in Texas by the oil price decline. Other school districts, including Iraan-Sheffield and Andrews, face multi-million dollar valuation losses as they prepare their budgets for FY 2000.

Board members will also discuss several other items, including a contract and agreement between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and Reeves County for GED testing at the Juvenile Detention Center; a report on TEA monitoring team for Carver Alternative Education Center; discuss/approve instructional policies (local), revising local policy DB (employees must reside within district), revise policy EIE and delete policy EMC and discuss a technology plan.

Other items for discussion and approval include:

* Order school trustee election and appoint early voting clerk.

* Selection of election judges, alternate judges, early voting ballot board judge and alternate and central counting officials.

* Election calendar.

* Budget calendar.

* Request by U.S.A. Volleyball representatives to use the old gym for volleyball during February, March and April and waive fees.

* Changing date for March board meeting

Under old business the group will discuss selection for Texas registered engineer/architect for design and construction of administrative services for roof replacement for Pecos High School Building A.

School board members will recognize the swim team and state qualifiers in Business Professionals of America, state qualifiers in Distributive Education Clubs of America and Judy Holland as Teacher of the Year for Texas Business Technology Teachers.

Other items to be discussed include discussing the 1998-99 budget amendments, attendance report, tax report, depository securities report, cafeteria report, commodities received report, current bills and financial report, investment transaction report and the reconciled bank balance report.

The group will also meet behind closed doors in executive session to discuss personnel, including the administrators' contracts: administrative assistant/personnel director, business manager, career and technology director, special education director, principals, assistant principal, food services director, tax collector, AEP manager, maintenance director and athletic director.

Gramm aide visiting Pecos on Thursday

An aide to Texas Senator Phil Gramm will be in Pecos at 7:30 a.m. at the Swiss Clock Inn to discuss issues related to agriculture within the Trans-Pecos area.

Everyone is invited to attend the Dutch Treat breakfast meeting.

N.M. buys water rights to fulfill compact

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) Some $6.3 million worth of newly purchased Pecos River water rights will allow New Mexico to send the water downstream to Texas.

It's by far the largest water purchase by the Interstate Stream Commission and is meant to help address New Mexico's difficulty in delivering Texas' share of the river water.

Interstate Stream Commission chief engineer Norman Gaume called the deal, reached last week with the city of Carlsbad, "a major accomplishment."

The purchase of Carlsbad water is expected to yield about 3,600 acre-feet at the state line, about one-third the amount New Mexico was short-changing Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in a decade ago. The purchase also doubles the amount of permanent water rights the state has for its obligation to Texas.

Included in the price of staying out of water trouble with Texas is about $10 million in annual water leases.

Those leases are expected to continue, especially since the state is having trouble finding enough water to buy.

"It's getting more difficult," Gaume acknowledged.

Under a 1988 Supreme Court order, New Mexico is not allowed to fall short on its deliveries of Pecos River water to Texas. The state is required to send Texas about half the water available in the river each year.

To keep from falling short, New Mexico has spent about $26 million since 1991 to shop for permanent water rights and, as a stopgap, to lease water on an annual basis.

State officials have warned that without those measures, they could be forced to shut down wells, perhaps even those used by the cities of Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad.

Shutting wells could cause $200 million in economic damage to the state in the first year alone, according to a study paid for by the Interstate Stream Commission, which negotiates and administers compacts that govern water in streams that cross state borders.

The Pecos River problem is more complex because the state can't simply take the water from the newest water rights owners, leaving the older rights alone. On the Pecos, newest water rights are for wells, but the state needs surface water to be able to deliver water quickly.

Heavy snows in New Mexico in early winter last year allowed the state to meet its committments without any difficulties. Red Bluff Lake, just south of the state line, had a water level of nearly 100,000 acre/feet last winter, but was holding 30 percent less water as of the end of January.

The purchase deal was originally to be a three-party agreement that would have yielded more than twice as much water to deliver to Texas. But IMC Kalium, a potash mining company, pulled out after it became clear it would have difficulty replacing the water it planned to sell.

The company had expected to replace the water with wells drilled into an aquifer that extends under Lea County. But Lea County farmers, worried that increased pumping would dry up their wells, were willing to fight the deal.

"The Lea County water users could block them indefinitely with appeals and protests," Gaume said.


Lillian Birkla

Lillian Birkla, 87, died Tuesday, Feb. 16, 1999 at Reeves County Hospital.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday at Mount Evergreen Cemetery with Rev. Billy Foster officiating.

She was born Jan. 4, 1912 in Perry County Ind. and was a housewife.

Survivors include three sons, George Birkla of Pecos, Clyde Birkla of Silver City, N.M. and Paul Birkla of Wink; two daughters, Barbara Blevins of Hobbs, N.M. and Juanita Hill of Conroe, Tx.; 21 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Goldia Mask

Goldia McNeill Mask, 84, died Monday, Feb. 15, 1999 in Odessa.

Services will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, at First Methodist Church in Balmorhea with Rev. Jim Miles assisted by Rev. Ernie Vineyard officiating. Burial will be in Balmorhea Cemetery.

She was born May 23, 1914 in Fort Stockton, was a past owner/operator of a restaurant and a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She was very active in the senior citizens center and the Well-Kept Community Club both in Balmorhea.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Carl R. Unkefer in 1980; a husband, A.H. McNeill in 1985; a second husband, J. Leland Mask in 1993 and a great-granddaughter, Savanna Harbour in 1986.

Survivors include one daughter, Janice Harbour of Fort Stockton; four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Fort Stockton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


High Tuesday 63. Low this morning 31. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low around 40. West wind 10-20 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy. High around 70. Northwest wind 10-20 mph and gusty.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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