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City studies rancher's offer for water field

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 25, 1999 -- Good water is available to the city of Pecos on land owned by former Pecos resident Dub McNeil, said Town of Pecos City utilities director Octavio Garcia on Friday.

The city has been looking for a new water field since 1994, when city council members were told the current Worsham and Ward County fields would only provide adequate supplies to Pecos trough the year 2008.

Garcia said that McNeil learned of the city's water crisis and offered to sell water rights on his 40-section ranch south of Pecos.

"I took samples and sent them to the lab to see what type of water it is; if it is drinkable and what kind of chemicals are in it," said Garcia. "I tasted water from the well, and it is really good tasting."

The ranch, 22 miles south on U.S. Highway 285, is about 10 miles farther than the South Worsham Field that the city has been working to develop, Garcia said. "But it is a lot closer than other places we have looked at."

Garcia said the ranch adjoins Flat Top Farms, where grapes once were grown. The city of Fort Stockton owns water rights on some of the Flat Top acreage.

McNeil now lives in El Paso and plans to sell his interests there and return to Pecos, Garcia said. He would continue to run cattle and horses on the ranch if the city obtains the water rights.

Aside from the South Worsham site, the city also has talked to Freeport McMoRan about aquiring water rights on land around their recently-closed sulphur mine, in northwestern Reeves and northeastern Culberson counties. However, Garcia said tests have shown the water quality there is no better than what the current fields deliver, while the distance would be much further than building a connection southeast of Pecos.

Eagle band misses out on state finals

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 25, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagle Band didn't advance to Class 4A State Marching Finals on Saturday, during the UIL Area Marching Competition, but the show they performed was excellent, according to Pecos Eagle Band Director Bill Goff.

"I'm very proud of them, we did real well," said Goff, of Saturday night's performance at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

"Everybody that saw us came away with a good feeling, a feeling of knowing that the kids did really good," he said. "And everybody commented on how well they performed."

The group placed 10th overall in their first trip to regional competition since 1995. Pecos scored a Division 1 the previous weekend in El Paso to advance to the area competition, where the top 2 finishers advanced to the 4A finals in Waco. Pecos also earned a Division 1 in El Paso a year ago, when Class 4A bands did not have area competition.

Goff stated he expects great things from the Eagle Band this coming year. "We played real well, despite the fact that we did a more difficult format and more marching was involved," said Goff.

This is the first time since 1994-95 that the band has earned a Division 1, two years in a row, according to Goff.

Goff said the Eagle Band also had the fewest number of directors and that it also ended up being one of the largest at competition.

Frenship and Plainview had the biggest bands on the field, with the Eagles' band being the third largest.

"They had said Andrews would have a big band, but they didn't march as many kids," he said.

Goff stated that this band is also very young, with a lot of the band students being freshmen and sophomores. "They were scared to death out there, they were very nervous, because it was their first time," he said.

"We're building the program from down there, and expect it to just keep getting stronger," said Goff.

Goff said that when they picked the music they would be performing at the beginning of the year, the students had stated that there was no way they could play those selections. "They didn't think they could do it and they did and won with it," he said.

Goff stated that the eighth grade band is also practicing diligently and he predicts they will add strength to the band in the next couple of years.

"We'll be more solid, in a couple of years, we're already getting more solid," he said.

"It's going to be fun to watch this band over the next couple of years," said Goff. "We'll be really awesome," he added.

Prop 4 would give charities new tax break

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of articles on the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that voters will decide on next week, in the Nov. 2 general election.

Staff Writer
Proposition 4: Authorizing the legislature to exempt property owned by institutions engaged primarily in public charitable functions from ad valorem taxation.


Includes institutions that also conduct auxiliary activities to support charitable functions. In addition, makes a conforming amendment to provide that a small business incubator operating under the authorized program is exempt from ad valorem taxation in the same manner as a public charity.


Current constitutional limitations require that all real property and tangible personal property, unless exempt, must be taxed according to its value. Section 2 authorizes the legislature by general law to grant exemptions for "institutions of purely public charity." The Texas Supreme Court has construed that to mean the organization must be operated "exclusively" for charitable purposes and the property in question is used exclusively for those purposes.

The proposed amendment substantially broadens the authority of the legislature by allowing them to exempt property used "primarily" for charitable functions.

Arguments For:

1. The performance by private institutions of public charitable functions relieves the government of burdens that would otherwise fall to the taxpayers. The legislature should be authorized to encourage private institutions to perform those functions by broadening the availability of property tax exemptions to institutions engaged primarily, though not exclusively, in performing charitable activities.

2. Currently, the law relating to charitable exemptions is administered inconsistently. Some organizations that use property primarily, but not exclusively, for charitable functions receive property tax exemptions, while other organizations are denied those exemptions.

3. It is unfair to grant a property tax exemption to an organization that uses its property exclusively for charitable functions while denying any tax relief at all to an organization that uses its property primarily, though not exclusively, for charity.

Arguments Against:

1. If the legislature acts to broaden the availability of property tax exemptions to charitable organizations as authorized by the proposed amendment, the tax base will be eroded.

2. Although the law relating to charitable exemptions may be administered inconsistently, it is nevertheless clear.

3. A property tax exemption should be available only to an organization that uses its property exclusively for charitable functions. An organization that uses its property primarily for charitable functions but also for "auxiliary" functions should not be granted a tax exemption since use of its property for those functions does not constitute taking on a burden that would otherwise fall to the taxpayers.

Taken from the Texas Legislative Council's publication, "Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments. Next: Prop. 5, allowing state employees to receive compensation for serving as a member of a governing body of a school district, city, town or other local governmental district.

Winning parade costumes selected

PECOS, Oct. 25, 1999 -- Raggedy Ann (Lauren Villareal) and Andy (Julian Millan) were among the top winners at the Annual Mother Goose and Friends Halloween Parade, held this past Thursday in downtown Pecos.

The two placed first in the birth through four-years-old division. Second place went to a Bumble Bee, Josiah Garcia and Hilarie Villanueva dressed up as a Ladybug took third place in that division.

In the five-seven years of age division, first place went to Marcus Williams, dressed up as the Prince of Egypt; second place was Chuckie, or Tanner Petrella and third place, Karina Quintana, as Raggedy Ann.

Ruben Cervantes, decked out as The Cat in the Hat, placed first in the 8-10 years of age division; Guthrie Long, a vampire, took second and Diedre Morales, a Scull Warrior placed third.

Little Boy Blue, Zachary Johnson, took first place in the bicycles division; Parker Johnson, a Ninja, placed second and Carissa Rede, dressed up as an Angel took third place.

In the groups division, Little Miss Muffett, comprised of Gabriana Nichols and Danielle Hernandez placed first; Five Little Monkeys, with C.J. Portillo and Eric Salcido, took second place and third place went to The Pumpkin Patch, Victoria Montoya, Amber Vega and Dana Conger.

This year's parade was moved back from late September in order to be closer to the Halloween holiday. More photos from Thursday's parade are on Page 7 of today's Enterprise.

County included on disaster aid list

PECOS, Oct. 25, 1999 -- Reeves County is one of 227 Texas counties declared eligible for federal disaster assistance loans due to extreme fire hazards.

President Clinton declared an emergency disaster in Texas, based on damages and losses that occurred on August 1 and continuing.

The emergency disaster declaration number is EM3142.

Federal disaster assistance includes Farm Service Agency emergency loans for eligible family farmers who have specific losses due to fire.

The local FSA office has details on this program.

Golfer  Stewart feared dead in jet crash

AP Aviation Writer
A Learjet co-owned by golf champion Payne Stewart flew uncontrolled over the nation's heartland for hours today before crashing in South Dakota, apparently with five people aboard. There were no survivors.

Government officials feared that the U.S. Open golf champion was among the victims and that the plane may have suffered a pressurization failure. The golfer's mother, Bee Stewart, said in Springfield, Mo., she didn't know if her son was on the plane but said he was a part owner of the jet.

The aircraft left Orlando, Fla., this morning bound for Dallas, and the last communication was when the plane was over Gainesville, Fla., said Tony Molinaro, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Chicago.

Stewart, who lives in Orlando, had been expected in Houston on Tuesday for practice rounds in advance of the Tour Championship, the PGA Tour's final tournament of the year for the top 30 players on its money list.

Stewart went to SMU in Dallas and still has friends in the area.

The plane had flown as high as 45,000 feet and the crew did not respond to repeated inquiries from air traffic controllers, said Paul Turk, an FAA spokesman.

An Air Force F-16 fighter jet from Tyndall, Fla., was diverted from a routine training flight to check out the Learjet, Air Force officials said. Two F-15 fighters from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., then took over to follow the Learjet, and they later handed off the monitoring to two Air National Guard F-16s from Tulsa, Okla.

Gene Abdallah, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, confirmed that the plane had crashed about two miles west of Mina, S.D., in the north-central part of the state. No one survived, South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow said. No one on the ground was hurt, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

There was no confirmation as to the identities of those on the plane, but one official said authorities had information from a flight plan and the jet's registration number that led them to believe Stewart was among those on board.


Ola Birkla

Ola "Pat" Birkla, 72, died Thursday, Oct. 21, 1999, at her residence in Pecos.

Graveside services were held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23, at Mount Evergreen Cemetery with Rev. Bruce Abbott officiating.

She was born Aug. 24, 1927, in Indiana, was a homemaker and a member of the Pentecostal church.

She was preceded in death by two sons, Mike and Mark Birkla and one daughter, Georgia Birkla.

Survivors include her husband, George Birkla of Pecos; one son, Matt Birkla of Albany, Tx., and four grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Dorothy Dean

Dorothy Finley Dean, 88, died Friday, Oct. 22, 1999, after a prolonged illness.

Services were held at 11 a.m., today at the First Presbyterian Church of Pecos with Dr. William Daugherty officiating. Burial was held in Fairview Cemetery.

She was born Nov. 15, 1910, in Roswell, N.M., was educated in El Paso, moving to Pecos upon her marriage to William W. Dean, II in 1928. After Dean's death, at age 25, she joined in business with her father-in-law at Dean and Dean Insurance and Abstract. Later she established ownership of Dorothy Dean and Associated Insurance and Real Estate.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one brother and two sisters.

Survivors include one son, William W. Dean III of Ruidoso, N.M.; one daughter, Katchie Crews of Pecos; two grandsons; five granddaughters; and 10 great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Pecos, West of the Pecos Museum, or American Home Health/Hospice of Pecos.

Pecos Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Billy Jason Foster

Billy Jason Foster, 67, died Oct. 23, 1999, at his residence, after a two-year battle with cancer.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Greer Willis and Donald Brent officiating. Burial will be in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born Jan. 26, 1932 in Atwell, was a U.S. Navy veteran, and a Baptist Minister for 40 years. He served as pastor for seven churches in Texas and New Mexico. At the time of his death he was retired.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Juanell Gardner and two brothers, Jerry Foster and David Crockett Foster, Jr. and two baby boys.

Survivors include his wife, Billie June Foster; three sons, Randy and Mike Foster of Pecos; one sister, Juanita Harlow of Lovington, N.M.; one brother, Emmet Wiley Foster of Wichita Falls; one aunt, 13 nieces and nephews.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Hipolito Lira

Hipolito Lira, 53, died Saturday, Oct. 23, 1999, at Reeves County Hospital.

A rosary is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born May 17, 1946, in Juarez, Mexico, was a lifelong Pecos resident, a maintenance and bus driver for Head Start in Barstow, and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Estella Lira of Pecos; three sons, Hipolito Lira, Jr., Daniel and Alfredo Lira all of Pecos; two daughters, Sandra Lira of Pecos, Rosela Bullis of Odessa; one brother, Elias Lira of Palm Dale, Calif; four sisters, Eunice Mancinas of Juarez, Mexico, Beatriz Melendez of El Paso, Juana Moreno of California; Rosa Lira of Juarez, Mexico and four grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 10, 12, 14, 16, 31, 40. Estimated jackpot: $38 million. Number matching six of six: one. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Baytown. Matching five of six:233. Prize: $1,583. Matching four of six: 13,381. Prize: $99.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-8-70-76. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 0. Number matching three of four in any group: 337. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 2-5-21-24-30 (two, five, twenty-one, twenty-four, thirty). Number matching five of five: one. Prize per winner: $83,160. Winning ticket(s) sold in: La Grange. Matching four of five: 229. Prize: $544.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-2-3 (nine, two, three)


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 8-8-8 (eight, eight, eight).


High Sunday 89, low this morning 42. Forecast for tonight: Clear, with lows in the upper 40s. Fair and sunny on Tuesday with highs in the low to upper 80s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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