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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

County issues warning after bee sting victim dies

Staff Writer

Reeves County officials are cautioning residents that there are cases of Africanized bees in the county and to take precautions, after confirming a man who was attacked by a swarm of bees in late June in Balmorhea died three weeks later.

The man identified as 49-year-old Joe Edward De Leon, of California, died on July 8 at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa. De Leon, who was traveling through Reeves County on June 22, stopped at a home in Balmorhea to ask for directions when he was attacked by the swarm of bees and stung several hundred times.

Reeves County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Herrera received a call about 9 p.m., on June 22, from the Pecos Police Department about the in Balmorhea on County Road 315. He responded along with Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Lionel Garza, who was the first local official notified of De Leon’s death.

“The family got in touch with Lionel and let him know that the man had died,” said Herrera, who added De Leon’s death was due to both the bees and to other complications. Specimens were sent off following the attack to determine if the bees were Africanized or not.

“We received the results, which showed that they are Africanized,” said Herrera. “He was stung over 400 times and I immediately sent off the specimens,” said Herrera. Herrera said that the first specimens were not enough, and even though he had been treating the hive, he still had enough specimens to send out some more.

He received the information from Texas A&M College Station, Texas Honey Bee I.D. Lab Department of Entomology. Herrera said the initial report was delayed until the lab received more specimens from the swarm.

“I sent in about 10 specimens and when I talked to them they told me I needed about 40-50 specimens,” said Herrera.

“We want to caution the community and let them know that there are cases of Africanized bees here in this county,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. “We want to urge them to take precautions and to be very careful.”

Herrera had previously said that there are cases of Africanized bees in Reeves County and this case proved to be correct. The county was added to the state’s quarantine list for Africanized bees after a swarm was removed from an abandoned home in the 300 block of South Cypress Street three years ago.

“We do have Africanized bees here in Reeves County,” said Herrera. “You can’t tell just by looking at them, so we have to get some specimens to sent them off.”

Africanized honeybees are well established in the wild population of honeybees in Texas. The Africanized bee is a hybrid (mixture) of African and European honeybee subspecies. Both are not native to the Americas. As a hybrid the Africanized bee appears identical to European honeybees. Individual foraging European and Africanized bees are highly unlikely to sting. A swarm rarely stings people when in flight or temporarily at rest. However, established Africanized colonies are more highly defensive toward perceived predators than European colonies.


Look the same.

Protect their nests from predators by stinging.

An individual bee can sting only once and then dies.

Have the same kind of venom.

Pollinate flowers, produce honey and wax

. Africanized Bees:

Respond quickly to disturbance by people and animals 50 feet or more from the nest.

Sense vibrations from power equipment 100 feet or more from the nest.

Sting in large numbers.

Will chase an enemy up to 1/4 mile or more.

Have a higher rate of reproduction (swarm more frequently).

Nest in smaller cavities and sometimes underground (e.g. water meters and animal burrows).

What to do if you find bees on your property.

Stay away from all honeybee swarms and colonies.

Get away from bees as quickly as possible.

While running away protect your face and eyes as much as possible.

Take shelter in an enclosed area such as a car, truck or building.

Call a local beekeeper, pest control company, or local cooperative extension agent for assistance.

Do not hid in water or thick brush.

Do not stand still and swat at bees, rapid movements will cause them to sting.

What to do if stung:

Get away from bees as quickly as possible. Go to a safe area away from the bees such as inside a car, truck or building.

Pull or scrape stings from skin as soon as possible. Most venom is released within one minute.

Wash stung areas with soap and water like any other wound to prevent infection. Apply ice to relieve pain and swelling.

Seek medical attention if breathing is difficult, if stung many times, or if allergic to bee stings.

For more information contact the emergency coordinator at 447-3542 or the county extension agent at 447-9041.

P-B-T reviews criteria for enhanced program

Staff Writer

New criteria for the school’s enhanced program, along with the student code of conduct and handbook were all topics of discussion during a special Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting held Thursday, in the Technology Center.

Board members discussed the enhanced program criteria during the special meeting. The program for advanced placement students was eliminated by the board in April, then reinstated following a special election in June that came after several community members voiced their concern that the lack of a program would hurt P-B-T ISD in comparison with other area schools.

Board members voted 5-2 to reinstate the enhanced program for the district on July 14, after earlier voting by a 4-3 margin to eliminate the program, and then deadlocking 3-3 on a motion to reinstate the program just before the May 7 election. That voted ended in a tie between board president Billie Sadler and challenger David Flores, who then won the June 16 tie vote election. Sadler had voted to eliminate the program, while Flores voted on July 14 for its restoration.

Board members did discuss changes to the criteria at that time, and Thursday’s meeting went over those modifications.

“I had asked for this item to be put on the agenda,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews.

Matthews said that if they don’t have enough students to fill the class under the current criteria, they would take the students that are right on the baseline.

“Those students that are just at the line where they almost meet the criteria will be asked if they want to be in the program,” he said.

“They might be just a little off from meeting the criteria, but if we don’t have enough students to fill a classroom, they will be placed in there,” he said.

Matthews said that he just wanted to keep the board members updated on the program. “I think it’s a good idea, because we’re pressed for time,” said board member Amy Miller.

“How are the classes filling up, are you having problems?” asked board president Lila Cerna.

“One of the classes was a little short, which is why we came up with this,” said Matthews.

Teachers were going to be assigned for the program last Friday and the deadline to register for the program was Monday.

“Let’s say if they don’t fill the class, we’ll be flexible,” said Matthews.

In other action, the group listened to the first reading to Texas Association of School Boards Policy EIC Local: Academic Achievement: Class ranking.

\Pecos High School Principal Steve Lucas said the change would be done to make it easier for the district to determine its class academic rankings before the end of the school year. Lucas said that they will know the class rankings by the fifth six weeks instead of waiting until the sixth six weeks of school.

“This will give us time to get the certificates and frames and everything ordered,” he said. “Also, the other change is going from six to four semesters,” said Lucas. In the past, a student had to be enrolled at P-B-T ISD for six semesters (three years) before being eligible for Valedictorian or Salutatorian.

“We’re just making it comparable to other schools,” said Lucas.

The group also discussed the Student Code of Conduct and noted that there were just several small changes.

“We’ve added in there the random drug testing policy,” said Lucas.

Board members approved appointments, resignations and reassignments during the special meeting.

Appointments included:

John Barfield: certification, Secondary Physics grades (6-12); Secondary Physical Science grades (6-12); Vocational Agriculture grades (6-12); degree, Bachelor of Science/Sul Ross State University; assignment, Physics and Chemistry teacher at Pecos High School- part-time teacher teaching three class periods per day with one conference period.

Rita Gilbreath: certification, Elementary Self-Contained grades (1-8); Kindergarten grades (PK-KG); degree,

Bachelor of Science/Texas Tech University; assignment, fifth grade teacher at Bessie Haynes Elementary.

Becky Granado: certification, All-level Physical Education grades (PK-12); Secondary Government grades (6-12); degree, Bachelor of Science; assignment, history teacher at Pecos High School.

Dana Howard: certification, Teacher Certification Program; degree, Bachelor of Science/Sul Ross State University; assignment, Second grade teacher at Austin Elementary.

Joshua Nunn: certification, All Level Physical Education; degree, Bachelor of Science/McMurry University; assignment, Discipline Teacher/Coach at Lamar AEP. Diana Renz: certification; Teach Texas Teacher Certification Program; degree, Bachelor of Arts/Sul Ross State University; Master of Arts/ Sul Ross State University; assignment, English Teacher at Pecos High School.

Jerry Workman: certification, Professional Superintendent; Mid-Management Administrator, Secondary Science (grades 6-12); Vocational Agriculture grades (6-12); degree, Masters in Education/Sul Ross State University; assignment, Physics and Chemistry Teacher at Pecos High School, part-time teacher teaching three class periods per day with one conference period.


Becky Granado - Physical Education Teacher/Head Volleyball Coach at Pecos High School.

Coaching reassignments:

Debbie Garcia - From Middle School Girls’ Coach to Head Volleyball, JV Basketball and JV Softball Coach.

Cantaloupe competitions attract over 50 entries

Staff Writer

Cantaloupes were in abundance Friday at TransPecos Bank, during the Cantaloupe Food Show and Kids Cantaloupe Decorating Contest sponsored by the West of the Pecos Museum.

The First Annual Cantaloupe Food Show was sponsored by the museum, and organizers for the event stated that it was a huge success.

“We are just very pleased that we had that many entries and that the community responded great by showing up and tasting the many food entries,” said museum curator Dorinda Millan.

The show attracted 31 entries, and in addition to the food show, the museum had a Kids Cantaloupe Decorating Contest.

Wide variety of dishes were entered in the Food Show including: Cantaloupe Nut Bread, Grilled Ham with Cantaloupe and Pineapple, Cantaloupe Crumbies, Cantaloupe Chiffon Cake, Tipsy Cantaloupe Alaska, Cantaloupe Nut Raisin Bread, Cantaloupe Cobbler, Cantaloupe Cake, Cantaloupe Shrimp Cocktail, Cantaloupe Caribbean Chicken, Chicken and Cantaloupe Salad, Cantaloupe Cheesecake, Cantaloupe Brownies, Summer Cantaloupe Pizza, Cantaloupe Summer Salsa with Salmon, Cantaloupe Salsa, Cantaloupe Bread with Praline Glaze, Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Mint and Jalapeno, Cantaloupe Parfait and Cantaloupe Punch.

Five out of town judges had the difficult task of choosing the winners.

The Judges Choice Award went to Carol Clark, Cantaloupe Punch; Best Presentation of Cantaloupe Award - Sib Higginbotham with her Caribbean Chicken; Surprise M-M-M Award to Barbara Creager, Cantaloupe Parfait and the People’s Spoon Award to Barbara Creager, Grilled Cantaloupe and Ham with Pineapple. This award was given to the entry that collected the most spoons, the public put their spoons in a jar next to the entry that they liked the most.

“The judges had a hard time choosing winners as they all were most tasty,” said Millan. The winners in the Kids Cantaloupe Decorating Contest were, Most Creative Award - Nathan Box, Cantaloupe Baseball Player and the Most Unusual - Dana Conger, Cantaloupe Caterpillar.

There were 20 entries in the decorating contest. “This contest was also difficult for the judges as all the decorated cantaloupes were outstanding,” said Millan.

After the judging, the Cantaloupe Food tasting was open to the public.

A large crowd was on hand to sample Pecos’ Sweet Cantaloupe recipes.

Most of the recipes were taken from the museum’s new “Cantaloupe Delights West of the Pecos” cookbook.

The cookbook is available at the museum bookstore and contains 150 mouth-watering recipes.

“The crowd was pleasantly surprised with the beautiful display of eye-pleasing and palette tasting goodies,” said Millan. “Who knew cantaloupe could be prepared so many different ways.”

Council given guidelines for Main St. restorations

Staff Writer

Guidelines for restoration and rehabilitation work on buildings in downtown Pecos were handed out to Town of Pecos City Council members on Thursday, with a vote on approving those guidelines scheduled for early August.

The council heard from Main Street Program Coordinator Tom Rivera and from Debbie Thomas, head of the Main Street Program Committee, during their regular meeting at City Hall. The guidelines given out to the council were for work on buildings that would qualify for the city’s recently approved tax abatement law for the downtown area.

“The most important part is enforcement. We’ve wasted our time if we don’t get it enforced,” Thomas said about the guidelines, which would apply to work on buildings within the designated downtown historic district.

She said the design group talked to officials with Main Street programs in five other Texas cities about their guidelines, which will be given to building owners within the historical district.

Rivera said the group will either mail or hand-deliver the packet to 75 owners in the historic district. “Then we’ve got to have the backing of the city to enforce what we go with.”

Under the new law designed to promote economic development within the area, any improvements made to downtown buildings will have a 100 percent tax abatement in the first year following construction, and the abatement will decline by 20 percent for each of the next five years, until the building is taxed at its full assessed value. As part of that law, Thomas said Reeves County Chief Appraiser Carol King Markham would have to do a walk-through of the building both before and after the improvements are made, to determine the change in value of the structure due to the improvements.

Rivera said the restoration work needs to be in line with the original look of the downtown area, under the guideline proposal. “We’re working with the (Texas) Historical Commission and have got a line of paint colors that would have been used in those years,” when the buildings were first constructed.

The guidelines also call for new building owners in the area to bring those buildings up to code within 100 day of purchase.

The council was given the guidelines to look over, and have scheduled a vote on approval of the new rules for their next scheduled meeting, on Aug. 11.

In other action, council members granted requests by two companies to drill wells within the right-of-way of two side streets, as part of an effort to clean up leading underground gas tanks at two former service stations on West Third Street.

The council allowed Shaw Environment to drill three wells along the edges of Plum Street, to remove leaked gasoline from the former Newell Oil Co. service station and another station on the opposite side of Plum Street. It also approved drilling a well alongside Cypress Street, in order to clean up leaking gas from the just-closed Greyhound Bus Station at 202 W. Third St.

State funds are being used to clean up the Newell site, while the council was told private funds were being used to pay Meridian/Alliance for clean-up work at the Greyhound site, which also was a service station before being converted into a bus depot.

John Sullivan with Shaw Environment told the council that they needed to put the wells in the Plum Street right of way because the street was about 20 feet wider than a normal side street. The company plans to remove the gas and contaminated water and soil from beneath the area and run it through filtering devices to be set up on-site.

“Once the system is clean and once we get clearance from the state, all the piping will be pulled out and it will be put back the way it was,” Sullivan said. He added that they wanted to start drilling work in August, so it would be completed by the end of the state’s fiscal year on Aug. 31.

Public Works Director Edgardo Madrid said the city has submitted a letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that outlines the monthly sewer fees the city would charge the project for disposal of treated wastewater into the sewer system. Sullivan said at this time he couldn’t say how much treated water would be pumped into the sewer for disposal.

City told action needed on voting machines

Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City Council delayed action on contracting for election services for the November general election, and were told action needs to be taken soon on purchasing new voting equipment for the 2006 elections.

Members did approve a request to apply for a new grant to purchase a portable defibrillator, along with tax sales of a number of local properties, during their regular meeting Thursday evening at City Hall

Council members were planning to renew the election service contract to Debbie Thomas, but delayed a vote due to changes in the price of the contract. The price was not listed on the new agreement, city finance director Sam Contreras said, while Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax collector Lydia Prieto said she believed the school had raised its fee paid to Thomas.

Thomas said she had not had a pay increase in the election contract in seven years, and council members then tabled the item.

Thomas also told the council they were still awaiting word on the new voting machines the local election districts are looking to buy. Under federal law, the current Votematic punch card ballots must be replaced by the end of 2005, and Thomas said the Automark optical scanning voting machine is the preferred choice as its replacement.

“We’re still waiting to see if the equipment we really like is approved by the state,” she said, adding that grant funds could be used to purchase the machines, which also have voice recognition software and a reader to enlarge the print on the ballot. However, the cost of buying the machines to count the ballots will have to be borne by the city, Reeves County, the P-B-T ISD and the Reeves County Hospital District.

“I think if by coming together and splitting it, it will come to the $40,000-$50,000 range,” she said.

“We’re running out of time. The four entitles really need to get together,” Thomas said. The defibrillator grant is being requested by police chief Clay McKinney, and is similar to other grants the city already has received to buy the $2,000 portable devices.

“The goal is to have one in each jail, the PD and in the police cars,” McKinney said. The equipment offers voice instruction to the user on how to apply the pads to a person suffering cardiac arrest, and when to set off the signal and to apply CPR on the subject. In other action, city public works director Edgardo Madrid told the council there were a few problems with the new water meters put in last year by Johnson Controls, but those were easily replaced, and the company would pay the cost of the work.

“We will charged $20 per meter for each meter that needs repairs,” he said, adding that the total at this point should come to about $400.

Madrid said they’ve had to replace about 100 of the new meters without having to pay costs, but added there are other new meter installations that were not included in the original survey that will incur charges for the city.

The council agreed to a new contract with Prieto to handle tax collections for the upcoming fiscal year. Prieto also told the council that tax collections for June totaled $21,608, and the collection rate stood at 84.45 percent, up .7 percent from the previous total.

Approved for sale were properties seized for non-payment of taxes at 624 S. Mulberry St., for $500 to Delma Gonzales; at 805 S. Cherry St., for $500 to Alicia P. Ramirez; 1808 s. Missouri St., for $200 to Richard J. Hays; 1100 S. Pecan St., for $750 to Robert A. Ramirez; 715 S. Almond St., to Ruben v. Baeza for $479; and a series of buildings and lots, at the Hillcrest Trailer Park, Second and Ash streets, 101 S. Alamo St., 520 S. Hackberry St., and 718 S. Walnut St., to Roy Pogue. Total purchase price for those properties was $6,500.

The council also authorized city attorney Scott Johnson to work out a formal agreement with Nelson Aero for rental of a hanger at the Pecos Municipal Airport. Council members were told Nelson has had an agreement in the past to use a hanger, but there was no written contract.

Darnell, Box exchange wedding vows

Michelle Dawn Darnell of Amarillo and Koh Young Box of Justin were married June 11 at Westminster Church in Amarillo with her uncle, Ken Avaritt of Harrison, Arkansas officiating.

The bride is the daughter of Cindy and Melvin Darnell of Amarillo. She is a graduate of Goddard High School in Roswell, New Mexico and West Texas A&M in Canyon. Michelle is employed by Northwest ISD at Haslet Elementary in Justin.

The groom is the son of Gail and Hugh Box, and the grandson of Grace Box and Birdie Slack of Pecos. He is a graduate of Pecos High School and Tarleton State University. Koh is a master electrician and co-owner of Box Stephens Electrical Contractors in Dallas.

Katie Avaritt, the bride’s cousin, of Harrison, Arkansas, served as maid of honor.

Honorary bridesmaids were Lori Bien, the groom’s sister, of Ponder, Angela Perkins of Irving, and Heather Fields of Weatherford. The groom’s father, Hugh Box served as best man. Groomsmen were Brooke Perkins of Irving, Kevin Grove of Acton, and Brent Darnell, brother of the bride, of Amarillo. Flower girls were Adeline Bien, the groom’s cousin, of Lewisville.

Serving as guest book attendant was Rayann Box, and handing out programs was Nathan Box, both cousins of the groom from Pecos.

The couple took a wedding trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Car show to help Special Olympics

A car show to raise funds for Special Olympics is one of the events planned by employees at the Reeves County Detention Center III for this Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The West Texas Heat Wave Car Show will be held from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday, at the Civic Center.

The event is co-sponsored by the Reeves County Detention Center III/GEO and the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce.

Admission will be $6 per person and $1 for children 8 and under accompanied by a parent/guardian.

All contestants will be able to drive in at 6 a.m., Saturday.

For more information on the event contact Garry Hill at 432-447-2920, ext. 1535.

There will be about $1,000 in Trophies that will be handed out at the car show.

Street Low Magazine will be on hand to cover the event.

Police Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

*** Maria S. Mendoza, 30, 101 S. Park St., was arrested by police on July 26 at 7:35 p.m. at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St., on two warrants for theft and failure to appear. She was transported by police from the store to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. ***

Rene Leonard Dominguez, 18, 2384 Madera Rd., was arrested by police on July 26 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at 614 S. Cypress St. ***

Crissy Sanchez Lopez, 308 N. Putnam St., in Barstow, and Rafael Carrillo Salcido, 706 S. Henry St., in Monahans, were arrested by police on July 23 at the Family Dollar store, 1202 S. Eddy St., on a charge of theft, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said store officials reported they had taken $19.74 in merchandise without paying. Both were taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. Police said the charge of theft against Salcido was enhanced because of his past criminal record. ***

Erica Marie Tarin, 25, 409 E. Second St., was arrested by police on July 27 and charged with public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred after they were called to 708 E. Fourth St., in response to a family disturbance. Tarin was escorted from the home, and then later arrested when she was seen walking back towards the residence.

*** Robert Hinojos Ramirez, 24, 806 S. Walnut St., was arrested by police on July 24 and charged with assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrested was made following an incident at 1516 Iowa St., and Ramirez was then taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Jesus Arturo Villalobos, 35, 324 S. Orange St., was arrested by police on July 23 and charged with public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 413 N. Hickory St., after police were called to the scene in response to a fight in progress.

*** Jessie Dean Williams, 34, of Breckenridge, was arrested by police on July 22 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to 205 E. ‘F’ St., in response to a man tearing up the inside of a trailer at that location.

*** A male juvenile was arrested by police on July 19 on a probation violation. Police were called to 915 S. Cherry St., in response to a call that the juvenile, who had run away from home, had returned to the residence. He was taken by police to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was turned over to staff.

*** Jessie Vera Medrano, 41, of Snyder, was arrested by police on July 17 and charged with public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor, and assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred after they were called to 2126 S. Alamo St., at 2:33 a.m., where they found a female who had been assaulted and was unconscious. Medrano was arrested after officers received a report he was in the 2100 block of South Alamo Street at 4:35 a.m. He was found nearby, in the 1100 block of Yucca St., and was placed under arrest and taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. The woman was taken to Reeves County Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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