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Thursday, July 22, 1999

Council awaits results on new water well

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 22, 1999 -- Acidizing underway today will determine whether a new water well in the Worsham field is a producer or a dud, Abidur Khan told the Pecos City Council this morning.

Khan said that a pilot hole showed 80 feet of water formation, so the well was completed. However pumping tests showed only 30 gallons per minute in the larger hole when drilled to 260 feet.

Utilities director Octavio Garcia said that acidizing may open up perforations in the casing and the aquifer to allow more water to enter.

If that well, dubbed 10A, proves to be a dud, Khan recommended drilling test holes near wells #9 and #16 with funds remaining in the budget, which the council approved.

The council would have to declare an emergency to drill another well without advertising for bids, Khan said.

Mayor Dot Stafford said that the matter would be placed on the agenda for Tuesday's budget workshop.

With reserves in the Worsham field almost depleted, Khan recommended the city drill test holes in six sections of the South Worsham Field with an eye to beginning development on the south end of the field.

Test holes have already been drilled on the north portion that the city owns, but Khan said development should begin on the far end and work back toward the main transport line.

If the north end is developed first, someone else could gain water rights on the south end before the city does, he warned.

City Attorney Scott Johnson advised the council to wait until they learn whether the Duval water field north of Toyah is viable. Hydrologists will study data on output from the wells and the amount of draw-down on the aquifer, then determine if further testing needs to be done, he said.

McMoRan Exploration has offered the water field for sale at $4 million, and it is estimated that a transportation line to Pecos would cost another $4 million.

Paperwork has been submitted to the Texas Water Development Board for an $8 million loan to develop the South Worsham field.

Garcia said that Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo has agreed to pay the city $400,000 in back-billed charges for water at the Reeves County Detention Center.

When the detention center was built outside the city limits, the council agreed to supply water at the in-town rate, Garcia said. But that contract expired in 1992, and the county should have been paying out-of-town rates since then, he said.

A recent rate increase put the out-of-town rate at $5.50 per thousand gallons. Garcia said the county would be back-billed at that rate for water used since the contract expired.

In a meeting with city officials, Galindo agreed to pay the back charges to help develop the South Worsham field, Garcia said.

"Let's get the funds first, and then we will know how to spend it," said Councilman Gerald Tellez.

The new rate went into effect June 1.

"In the past we have paid $1.70 per thousand gallons, but now we are billed $5.50 per thousand gallons," Owens said. "That is a big increase, as much water as we use out there."

On water used the first five months of this year, the new rate would have cost the county an additional $40,000, he said.

In another water matter, the council accepted the bid of M&M Excavating In. of Carlsbad, N.M. to replace 6,680 feet of the Ward County field transportation line east of the Pecos River at a cost of $304,462.

Other bidders were Scott Thane Ditching of Odessa, $319,371; Holloman Construction of Odessa, $322,143; B&H Maintenance of Eunice, N.M., $329,080; and Key Enterprises of Odessa, $344,909.

"Since our bid is lower than the construction grant, we would like to add additional footage," Khan said.

Garcia said that M&M replaced a portion of the line that crossed the Pecos River, and they built a bridge.

"They did a real good job on the new bridge and installed that line," he said. "They will start from where they finished and continue on.

City preparing for seal coating project

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 22, 1999 -- Seal Coating 82,790 square yards of streets is estimated to cost the city of Pecos $69,543, Abidur Khan told the council this morning.

That would entail applying asphalt and pre-coated aggregates, he said.

The council agreed to advertise for bids to be opened at 2 p.m. Aug. 10.

Mayor Dot Stafford said that the total budget for sealcoating is $65,000, so some streets may have to be eliminated if bids come in at or more than the engineer's estimate.

Good news in the form of cost reports on the Maxey Park Zoo cheered the council.

City Manager Kenneth Neal said that annual costs to feed and maintain the animals is $29,700.

Councilman Johnny Terrazas, who asked for the report, said the cost seems low.

After asking for the report, Terrazas said he learned that animals are provided free of charge.

Parks director Armando Gil said the late city manager J.J. Maxey made an agreement years ago with Louis Waters of Kerrville to loan exotic animals to the zoo, and they are transferred every three or four years.

Gil also has agreements with the Alamita Park Zoo in New Mexico, the Brookfield, Ill. and El Paso zoos for animal exchanges.

"We are inspected by the USDA," he said. "We have only had two violations in the last four years. They wanted a barrier between the people and the wolves so kids couldn't stick their hands in the pen, and a water trough was leaking."

Gil said that he has the offer of a llama and two kangaroos, which can be housed in pens already in use.

"We have a fine zoo, and it is used very much," said Councilman Danny Rodriguez.

Two bus loads of people from Chihuahua, Mex. toured the zoo recently, Gil said.

He estimated the number of animals at 60. He expects to add a female buffalo from Kerrville to replace one that died recently.

"We have an excess of deer we need to take back to Kerrville," he said.

The council approved use of Maxey Park on Oct. 9 from noon to 5 p.m. for Anchor West Inc.'s employee picnic,

* Renewed the contract for elections coordinator Debra Thomas

* Heard a report that Holloman Construction Co. has completed the Third Street sewer project except for testing lateral connections

* Accepted the sole bid of $18,899 for a 3/4 ton pickup for the water department

* In executive session reviewed both the chief of police and fire marshal.

District plans copter assault on cedars

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 22, 1999 -- Air power is being brought to bear in the war against the salt cedar tree along the Pecos River.

The Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District Board met Monday to discuss the tactical aspects of a new campaign in this ongoing battle.

"We want to make sure we get the most bang for our buck," said Barney Lee, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, who is assisting the Upper Pecos District.

During the session the board discussed the relative advantages and disadvantages of different types of aerial application in combination with different mixtures of chemical in relation to price.

"When you add up all the variables it can be pretty complicated," said Dr. Charles Hart, Ph.D., an assistant professor and extension range specialist with the Texas A&M Agricultural Extension Service.

The primary question facing the board was whether to use a fixed-wing crop-dusting service or a helicopter service.

"The helicopter application costs more per acre but because the helicopter is more precise, we should be able to spray more miles of river (than with the fixed-wing aircraft) for the same amount of money," chairman of the board Larry Fernandes said.

Although Fernandes said the helicopter bids averaged $60 more per acre than the fixed wing bids submitted to the board, the board voted unanimously to go with helicopter approach.

Of three companies submitting bids on the project, a company based out of East Texas submitted the lowest bid of $190 per acre.

Currently the board has $110,000 to work with for the eradication project.

Fernandes estimated that for the $110,000 the board should be able to treat about 48 miles of the Pecos River.

The board also voted to look into performing several test applications using fixed wing aircraft and different chemical mixtures of Arsenal, a herbicide produced by American Cyanamid Company.

Dr. Hart said that the recommended mixture on the label is four pints per 10 gallons of water.

A second alternative is to use a fixed-wing aircraft and have the aircraft spray the area twice with a reduced mixture, Hart said.

The reduced mixture would mix two pints of Arsenal with each ten gallons of water.

"The problem with this method is that there isn't any data available showing this method to be effective," Hart said.

If it were just as effective, the double-pass method using an airplane would be more cost effective, Fernandes said.

"We are going to run several tests this year along with the helicopter application. If we find that another method is cheaper and works just as well then we'll have that option open next year. For now, we need to go with the proven method of application," Fernandes said.

Lee said that the salt cedar had been introduced to the region as an erosion control plant. Unfortunately, the salt cedar adapted too well and has several harmful side-effects.

"The salt cedar has virtually destroyed the native habitat along the river," Lee said. "It also takes a lot of water out of the river and does double damage by actually adding salt to a river that already has a high saline content."

Dr. Hart said that the salt cedar actually pulls salt out of the ground through its roots and deposits the salt on the surface as sap drips and leaves fall. The result is salt on top of the soil that erodes into the river.

The official name for the project is the Pecos River Salt Cedar Demonstration Project. Lee said that the project is a cooperative effort between the Conservation District, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Red Bluff Water Power Control District, American Cyanamid, local farmers and ranchers, the Texas A&M Agricultural Extension Service and about a dozen other agencies and water districts.

A similar test project has already been conducted along the Pecos River south of Arteisa, N.M.

Lee said that the Red Bluff Water Power Control District had donated $100,000 to be used over the next two years for the project $50,000 each year.

"The other money has been donated by the local water districts on a voluntary basis," he said.

Lee said that the board plans to begin aerial operations by September 1, 1999.

CCRC accepting school supply applications

PECOS, July 22, 1999 -- The Community Council of Reeves County has begun accepting applications for school supplies at its office at the Reeves County Annex, 700 W. Daggett St., Suite F.

All applications must be received before next Friday, July 30. For further information, call the CCRC at 447-4913.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 13-15-29-31-37-44. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 58. Prize: $1,805. Matching four of six: 3,445. Prize: $110.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas Lottery, in order:

7-5-1 (seven, five, one)


Oma Hartman

Oma Hartman, 83, died Tuesday, July 20, 1999 at Odessa Medical Center.

Services were held at 10 a.m., today, at the Church of Christ in Grandfalls, with burial in the East Hill Cemetery in Fort Stockton, with Minister John Gambino officiating.

Hartman was born in Lovelady, and resided in Granfalls for the past 63 years.

Survivors include her husband, Elton Hartman of Grandfalls; two sons, Randal Hartman of Bakersfield, Tx. and Michael Hartman of Fredericksburg; one sister, Loma Jean Murphy of Midland; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Richard W. Box Funeral Home of Crane is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, July 22, 1999 -- High Wednesday 96; low last night 69. Rainfall in town .08 inch. Tonight, partly cloudy with widely scattered evening showers and thunderstorms. Low around 70. South wind 10 20 mph, decreasing to 5-10 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 20 percent. Friday, partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms. high in the upper 90s. South wind 10-20 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.

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