Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, November 22, 1999
City joins opposition to N-dump site
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Nov. 22, 1999 - Town of Pecos City Council approved a resolution
opposing the dumping of low-level nuclear waste in Ward County this morning.
Clark Lindley was on hand to advise the council and according to City
Attorney Scott Johnson helped with drafting the resolution.
"This resolution is a compilation of several drafts and I think we've
taken the best language from each in creating this one," Johnson said.
Lindley advised the council that no official bodies had gone on record
supporting the proposed site but that several had gone on record opposing
the site including Reeves County, Barstow, Red Bluff Water Power Control
District, the City Council of Grandfalls, and Ward County Water Improvement
Districts 1 and 3.
The main points of the resolution were:
_ Radioactive waste has a very long hazardous life;
_ Low-level waste as defined can contain such items as control rods
and other reactor waste;
_ Containers will not last as long as the waste they contain leading
to "planned leakages;"
_ That the legislature in House Bill 1910 sought to authorize private
companies to hold a license from the State that would allow private companies
to contract with any organization to store waste and in effect allowing
the license holder to accept waste from any source and not just the Texas,
Maine and Vermont;
_ That the people of four counties (Reeves, Ward, Winkler and Loving)
were dependent on water from the Cenozoic Pecos Alluvium Aquifer that could
be harmed by radiation contamination; and,
_ That recent history reflects repeated incidents of mismanagement of
hazardous radioactive wastes by government and private companies.
The resolution then states that, "Whereas, it appears that the primary
risk to lives and economic effort from this proposed site will ultimately
rest upon the people of this area…rather than Envirocare, the utility companies
who create most of the radioactive waste, or the State Governments who
made the decisions regarding the Compact:" _ that is resolved that the
City Council of the Town of Pecos City strongly opposes development of
the site in western Ward County.
The resolution passed unanimously with Councilman Gerald Tellez not
After the vote the council also asked City Manager Ken Neal to make
sure the finished resolution was forwarded to the area's political representatives.
In other business the council authorized City Finance Manager Steve
McCormick to send in the paperwork for the new method of computing the
telephone company franchise fee.
McCormick said that the legislature passed House Bill 1777 in the past
session, which consolidated telecommunication franchise fees under a state
The Bill relieves the telecommunication companies from negotiating franchise
rates with each individual city as was the practice in the past, McCormick
McCormick said that the new method of computation might mean a slight
hike in local telephone bills as telephone companies usually pass the franchise
costs own to the consumer.
"The new system should increase our revenue (the city's)," McCormick
The council also voted to close the East 100 block of Fourth Street
on December 10, for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Reeves
County Courthouse, to be held after the Christmas parade. The street will
be blocked off from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Roy Pena was also approved for another two-year term as fire chief for
the volunteer fire department.
The council also met in closed executive session to discuss the following
_ discuss/consider exchange of and/or lease of real property- rifle
_ discuss/consider possible litigation _ Reeves County Water rate case,
_ discuss/consider evaluation of city employee: fire chief.
The council referenced sections 551.071, 551.072 and 551.074 of the
Texas Government Code in justifying the executive session.
Section 551.071 authorizes closing the meeting when a governmental body
seeks council with an attorney pending possible litigation.
Section 551.072 authorizes closing the meeting when the governmental
body will be deliberating the purchase, exchange or lease or the value
of real property if deliberation in open session would have a detrimental
effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a
Section 551.074 authorizes closing a meeting for the discussion of personnel
In the following open session the council tabled both the rifle range
item and its evaluation of the fire chief.
In the matter of the possible litigation with Reeves County over water
rates the council voted to hire a water consultant for no more than $10,000
to advise the city. The city and county are at odds over the rate charged
for water delivered to the Reeves County Detention Center.
Commissioners OK RCDC performance review
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Nov. 22, 1999 - Reeves County Commissioners approved an agreement
with Mgt. of America to conduct a performance review of operations at the
Reeves County Detention Center, during their regularly scheduled meeting
Commissioners also awarded bids of several contracts, while tabling
action on two others, agreed to salary changes for personnel in county
departments, and delayed action until Tuesday afternoon on the proposed
construction of a racquetball court and batting cage addition to the old
Pecos High School gym, part of the county's sports and recreation department.
County Judge Jimmy Galindo said the performance review would be similar
to those conducted in the past by former State Comptroller John Sharp's
office, and that Mgt. of America is led by a former Sharp deputy, Greg
Hartman. The review would focus on three areas at the RCDC; food services,
managing information systems and staff salaries.
Galindo and warden Rudy Franco said the review would be designed to
show where improvements needed to be made at the facility, which will double
in size to 2,000 inmates next year.
"Things are happening so fast if you don't periodically look at your
systems you are going to be left behind," said Franco. "Our facility is
doubling in size, and it's kind of sobering what is going on. Within a
year we will have the second biggest facility associated with the (U.S.)
Bureau of Prisons."
Galindo said he hoped the review would provide more cost-efficient ways
of buying food for the expanded prison. "Food service entails close to
$2 million. That is going to be one of the major operations within the
new prison," he said.
Franco cited the current problems with the commissary bookkeeping system.
"Right now there are three distinct manual operations. We're going to double
in size, and can you imagine three distinct transactions with 2,000 inmates?"
Galindo said the review would also look at future computer networking
at the RCDC and tying the system into the BOP's computer network, which
Franco said would allow them to keep better track of overall federal inmate
On salaries, Galindo said the RCDC is having fewer problems today with
guards leaving the prison for higher paying jobs at state or federal facilities
in the region. However, Franco later added, "I believe in the future we're
going to have to be competitive and in-line with the prevailing wage rate
in the area with federal projects."
He restated that when asked by Commissioner Herman Tarin about where
the financial resources would come from to match regional salaries. "I
believe the eventual trend will be to pay the prevailing wage rate if we're
dealing with federal projects. Hopefully, the resources will be there,"
The performance review took up the most time on this morning's agenda,
which lasted just under two hours. The only other item that commissioners
spent much time on was a side discussion between Galindo and Precinct 4
Commissioner Hivi Rayos about use of county road and bridge crews.
Rayos noted the work road and bridge supervisor Russ Salcido has been
doing paving tracks both at elementary schools in Pecos and at the Balmorhea
ISD, using recycled material from the Texas Department of Transportation.
"Since we were elected to help the county, we need to work on the roads
first. If we have extra time we can work with the schools," Rayos said.
"We need to do at least something on the north side. I've been here a year
and haven't seen any improvement."
Galindo said Salcido's crews were working on roads on the northwest
side of Pecos three weeks ago, and other commissioners pointed out that
the recycled materials would not be good enough to use again on local roads.
"When we repave the roads we want to put good stuff on there. I don't
know if recycled material would last for a long time," Tarin said.
The discussion came just before commissioners awarded a bid to Bridges
Asphalt of Garland for asphalt and emulsions. County auditor Lynn Owens
said the bid represented a 10-cent increase from a year ago, but was five
cents lower than the bid commissioners accepted in 1997.
No bids were received for providing surface aggregates, and the only
bid the county got for surplus food from the RCDC and Reeves County Jail
was for zero dollars from Ismael Dutchover. Both items were tabled and
will be re-advertised for bid.
Commissioners approved a contract with Desert Distributors for providing
motor oil and fuel. Owens said their bid was lower across the board than
the other bid the county received, from West Texas Gas.
Insurance contracts were awarded to Pecos Insurance, the lone bidder,
for law enforcement on public officials liability. Owens said the contract
needed to be approved before the current insurance policies expire on Nov.
Pecos Insurance bid $96,572 for the law enforcement contract, up seven
percent from a year ago, while the public official insurance bid was for
$19,569, a 17 percent rise. In response to a question from Tarin, Owens
said the Texas Association of Counties did not submit an offer for insurance
Commissioners also approved bonding and oaths for Patricia Tarin, Connie
Lozano and Yvonne Abila, and accepted department reports and agreed to
line items transfers of $10,000 for the juvenile probation facility and
$3,000 apiece for autopsies and meals and lodging for county employees.
Salary changes included the hiring of Henry Morgan and Paul Natividad
for Correction Officer 1 positions at the RCDC, at salaries of $19,000
annually; hiring Rachel Orona to a part-time job at the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department at a $6.50 hourly rate; hiring Tracy Machuca as a deputy clerk
at the Reeves County Tax Assessor-Collectors office at a salary of $14,000,
and hiring of Lee Michael Payan, Chriselda Florez, Monica M. Hinojos and
Herby T. Hinojos as part-time juvenile detention officers at salaries of
$6 an hour.
The salary of Dennis Rayos at the road and bridge department was raised
to $20,384 a year by commissioners, and the salary for Ike Ward was increased
to $14,061. At the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department,
Mike Hall was hired as a part time physical fitness trainer and Luis Rodriguez
was hired as programs coordinator, both at $8 and hour salaries.
Galindo said the item on the gym expansion, part of the recreation department
project, was tabled until he can meet with architect Lorraine Dailey Tuesday
morning. Galindo said the cost for adding on the racquetball courts and
batting cages has come in slightly over budget, and he wanted to talk with
Dailey about ways to lower the cost before the items goes before the commissioner's
Commissioners voted to adjourn until taking the item up on Tuesday,
starting at 1 p.m. in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse.
PHA given HUD approval for CIAP budget
By ROBERT RAMIREZ
PECOS, Nov. 22, 1999 - The Pecos Housing Authority's $238,000 budget
was approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the
1999 CIAP housing renovation program, board members were told during their
regular monthly meeting Thursday.
The renovations, which will begin in January, will be on the PHA's Second
Street apartments, said executive director Nellie Gomez.
The renovation, which includes wind turbine vents, ceiling fans, and
light kits, will take three weeks per unit, said Gomez.
The HUD grant is not for the authority's regular account, but for the
CIAP project. "It's a grant for improvements," said PHA chairman Frank
In other action, board members plan to hold a called meeting on Dec.
2 to clarify their CIAP and operating budgets and decide which resident
to recommend for resident commissioner to the mayor.
Board members also approved all monthly reports.
Area unemployment declined in October
PECOS, Nov. 22, 1999 - Harvest season continued to wind down in October
in Reeves County, cutting both the number of jobs and the number of people
seeking work according to statistics released Thursday by the Texas Workforce
Reeves County's jobless rate fell from 11.2 percent in September to
10.5 percent last month, despite the loss of over 570 jobs. The TWC showed
the number of jobs within the county fell to 5,664, but that was offset
by a decline in the local labor force, from 7,016 to 6,328 workers.
The 10.5 percent rate is the lowest of the year in Reeves County, and
unemployment across the Permian Basin was also down, as the oil industry
continued to recover from prices that hit 12-year lows last winter.
Unemployment in Pecos remained higher than that of the county as a whole,
but was also at its lowest level of 1999. The TWC put the city's October
unemployment rate at 12 percent, with 4,370 people employed out of 4,964
in the labor force. September's jobless rate was 12.8 percent, with the
decline also due to a cut in the city's workforce that offense a decline
in seasonal jobs.
Big Spring was the only area city to report an increase in unemployment
during October. It's rate climbed from 5.3 to 5.7 percent. Midland and
Odessa saw their rates fall to 6.1 and 7.8 percent respectively, while
Andrews and Monahans had rated of 8.3 percent, Fort Stockton reported a
nine percent jobless rate and Kermit fell to 9.3 percent.
Presidio continued to report the state's highest unemployment rate,
though it also was down from 30.3 to 27.1 percent last month, and overall
the TWC said Texas' jobless rate dropped .1 percent in October, from 4.5
to 4.4 percent.
Third jury gives death penalty in deputy's slaying
FORT STOCKTON (AP) - A West Texas jury decided last week that a thrice-convicted
cop killer should die for his crimes - the suspect's third death sentence
in 10 years.
The 12-member panel deliberated for less than three hours before deciding
Charles Edward Smith should die by lethal injection for the 1988 shooting
death of a Pecos County lawman.
Smith, from Kansas, showed no reaction Thursday as District Judge Brock
Jones read his order to place Smith on death row.
Defense attorney Martin Underwood said he planned to appeal the sentence.
"We're in the appellate mode once again, which is nothing new to us,"
Underwood told the Odessa American.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has already overturned Smith's two
previous death sentences. After Thursday's punishment was handed down,
Underwood said he would file another appeal with the higher court in "a
The family of slain officer Tim Hudson shouted with joy and clapped
when Jones read the verdict.
Hudson's daughter, Gwen Hudson-Simmons, said she was eager to see Smith
die for the murder.
"This has gone on long enough. I hope for a speedy execution," she told
According to testimony and court records, Smith and his cousin escaped
from a minimum-security prison in Kansas in August 1988. Then they stole
a car and drove to South Texas.
Once in Houston, they stole a handgun, license plates, credit cards
and a van.
Monahans holds `Toys for Tots' tourney
A volleyball tournament to benefit the Monahans Toys for Tots program will
be held on Dec. 11 at Walker Junior High School in Monahans.
Entry fee for the one-day tournament will be $90 per team, with a deadline
of Dec. 3 to register.
For further information, call 943-4781.
NEW CURBS GOING IN
PECOS, Nov. 22, 1999 - Workers are clearing out the dirt area in
front of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce on South Cedar Street, where a new
curb will be put in place. The work began last week with the removal of
the old concrete and curbs along Cedar Street in the central part of town
are scheduled to be redone over the next several months, as part of a Texas
Department of Transportation project. Curbs were redone and sidewalks installed
on Cedar Street on the south side of Pecos last year as part of a TxDOT
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 18-23-29-32-37-43. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number
matching six of six: none. Matching five of six: 74. Prize: $1,503. Matching
four of six: 3,806. Prize: $105.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 28-29-32-48. Number matching four of four in Group One:
none. Number matching four of four in Group Two: none. Number matching
four of four in Group Three: 1. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of
four in any group: 347. Prize: $300.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 02-08-16-22-39. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$84,734. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Dayton. Matching four of five: 309.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 0-5-9 (zero, five, nine)
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 1-8-3 (one, eight, three)
High Sunday 83. Low this morning 45. Forecast for tonight: Clear, with
lows in the low 40s. Tuesday: Turning cooler, with highs in the mid 60s.
Winds turning northerly from 15-25 mph.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise