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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Commissioners give OK to new voting machines

Reeves County Commissioners approved new voting equipment for the county during the regular Reeves County Commissioners meeting, held Monday morning in the courthouse. The equipment will replace the current punch card voting system, which the county has used for many years. Problems with punch card voting during the Florida 2000 presidential election recount led to a new federal law mandating that all such equipment be phased out by Dec. 31, 2005.

The new equipment will be an optical scanning voting system, with special magnifying and voice assistance options for voters who are unable to read the ballot under normal conditions.

“The equipment that was demonstrated to us has been approved through the Texas Building and Procurement Commission,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. “I believe that the HAVA awards would be about $250,000.”

Galindo said that the group had discussed providing an additional two sets of equipment, one for early voting at the courthouse and an additional set in case one of the systems went down.

Election coordinator for the city, hospital and schools, Debbie Thomas asked if the purchase would cover everything, including central counting.

“My understanding is that it would cover everything,” said Galindo.

Thomas said that she didn’t want any of the entities to have to pay too much for any of the “extras” that would be needed. She told Town of Pecos City Council officials on July 28 she expected each of the four major taxing entities in the county would have to pay about $40,000 as their share of the cost for the new machines.

“The most important thing is to find out what is covered by this,” said Thomas. Galindo said that the business before the court on Monday was to get into a contract and work out the details later.

“We can talk about all the little extras later,” said Galindo. “The important thing is to get the purchase approved before the deadline.”

“We would really like to purchase the equipment early, so that we can educate the public,” said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez. “This is the best time to educate the public, with an election coming up.”

In other action, the group approved the Texas Department of Transportation’s request for waiver of a local match fund participation agreement on Federal Off-System Bridge Program Project - Toyah.

“This is a resolution for the re-construction of the bridge in Toyah,” said Galindo. The amount of the grant is for $325,000, with a local match of $32,500.

The funds will replace a bridge on a county road on the northwest side of Toyah that was damaged in the April 2004 flood that hit the city.

“We have three years to complete the match and it will done through the Road and Bridges Department,” said commissioner precinct 1 Roy Alvarado. “We will be doing that and it will take care of our match.”

“The materials won’t be too hard, Russ (Salcido, Reeves County Road and Bridge supervisor) will just have to keep track of the time sheets and everything,” said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Galindo said that Alvarado had shown them some digital pictures and other visuals during a prior meeting. “I think it would be nice if you could make a presentation to the court next time,” he said. “This will be an improvement on County Road 315,” he said. Galindo also praised Alvarado for taking the lead on this project and working with the state in brining this project to this point.

The group tabled approving another bridge project in the Balmorhea area.

“I think there was some dispute with a property owner and I think we should table this one until we can work that out,” said Galindo.

Valerie Thompson, who works with a lot of different communities in the area, talked to the group about the Texas Community Development Program grant project for Madera Valley Water.

“The grant for Madera Valley Water was approved in the first round, there are a lot of low-income people in that area and the sewer is in serious need of repair,” said Thompson.

Thompson said that they have already completed site bids and to proceed.

Thompson said that since Madera Valley Water could not receive the grant, the county would receive it and pass it on to Madera Valley Water.

The grant award is in the amount of $350,000.

“There will be a $17,500 required match, which will be taken care of by Madera,” said Thompson. “The grant will pay 100 percent of the management fee.”

“I have worked with a lot of counties in this area and with a lot of cities,” she said.

Peggy Cox, with Madera Valley Water, told the group that everyone was pleased with all the hard work that Thompson and her staff have done.

Cantaloupes picked up, dropped off at fly-in

Cantaloupes were both picked up and dropped off Sunday morning at Pecos Municipal Airport, as part of the Downtown Lions Club’s 20th annual Pecos Cantaloupe Fly-in Breakfast.

“We had a really good turnout,” said airport manager Isabel Blanchard. “So many things were going on, and I was up in the air for a while, but we had about 30 to 35 aircraft that flew in, and we fed a good 50 to 55 people from out of town and quite a few people from in-town.”

She said filers and their family members came in for the event from as far as 200 miles away. “We had about five come in from El Paso, one from Lubbock, and some the others were from Midland-Odessa, Fort Stockton, Alpine and Monahans. Not everybody registered, so we don’t know where everyone was from.”

Along with being served breakfast with slices of cantaloupe on the side, those who flew in also took home cantaloupes to eat and took up others donated by Pecos Cantaloupe Co. to be used in the cantaloupe bombing run.

“The packing shed donated 100 cantaloupes for breakfast and for the cantaloupe bombing run,” Blanchard said. “We had 73 entries in the cantaloupe bombing. It was $1 per bomb and we had seven people hit the target.

“We’ve never had so many people hit the target, but they were having a good time, and it was infectious, and they just kept trying,” she said.

The winners each earned a share of the money paid to enter the contest, but Blanchard added that some of the winners donated their money back to the Pecos Lions Club.

Blown tire blamed for fatal I-20 rollover

Department of Public Safety officers were busy this weekend responding to a series of accidents, including a one-vehicle rollover that killed a Southern California man on Saturday.

Rudolph E. Whitaker, 45, of San Bernardino, Calif., died when he was thrown from the 1987 Ford Bronco he was driving, when it rolled over while eastbound on Interstate 10 in Pecos County, about 23 miles west of Fort Stockton. According to the report filed by DPS trooper James Nelson of Fort Stockton, the Bronco was eastbound when it blew a tire, causing the SUV to veer into the center median of the highway. The Bronco then skidded and rolled over several times.

Whitaker, who was not wearing a seat belt, with ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene by Pecos County Justice of the Peace Robert Gonzales of Fort Stockton, and his body was taken to Fort Stockton funeral home. Nelson said a passenger inside the Bronco, Sandra Kay Todd, 42, of San Bernardino, Calif., was transported to Pecos County Memorial Hospital and then to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa for treatment of lacerations, bruises and a fractured arm. Todd, who was wearing a seat belt, was listed in stable condition.

Two of the weekend accidents were reported Sunday evening near the Interstate 20-Interstate 10 junction in western Reeves County, with two people suffering injuries in the second incident, which occurred around 6:50 p.m. on I-20, about four miles east of the junction.

According to DPS Cpl. Emmit Moore, a vehicle driven by Sarah Elizabeth Morgan-Dyke of Dallas was eastbound on I-20 when a truck-tractor driven by Julian M. Burciga, of Vado, N.M., drifted high into a curve while in the left lane of the highway. Morgan-Dyke overcorrected and lost control of her vehicle, striking the lower right side of the truck’s cab before skidding off the right side of the road and across an access ramp. The vehicle then rolled over before coming to rest in a bad ditch facing west, on the south side of the road.

Morgan-Dyke had just gotten married and her husband, Javier Prada of Dallas, was a passenger in the vehicle. Both were taken by ambulance to Reeves County Hospital, where Prada was treated for his injuries and released, while Morgan-Dyke was listed in satisfactory condition.

Council to weigh land sale for south side water park

Town of Pecos City Council members will discuss the sale of land for a water park on the south side of town, discuss establishing a paintball field on the site of the former Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club range, and setting the tax planning calendar for 2005 on Thursday, during their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall.

The council will meet at 7 a.m. to discuss a request by Oscar Ortega to purchase 55 acres of city-owned property in the West Airport Addition, located on highway 17 south of Winkles Trucking, for a proposed water park. The proposal is a new item or the council, while the designation of the paintball field was discussed at a previous council meeting, and would include the area just to the south of the planned expansion area for the Reeves County Golf Course. The area has been home to the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club, but it was shut down two months ago over concerns about safety at the nearby Pecos Municipal Airport.

In other action, the council will be given the 2005 tax appraisal roll for the city and will set the tax planning calendar for August and September; they will receive an update from the city utilities department on projects, and they will go over two items tabled at the council’s lat meeting, considering a design guideline for the historic district and renewing a contract for election services.

No action was taken during the council’s July 28 meeting on the historic district guidelines, as part of the Texas Main Street Program, pending a review of the plan by council members, while action on the election services contract was delayed pending a decision on a pay raise for election official Debbie Thomas.

Accounts payable, the monthly juvenile report, public comments and approval of the minutes from the July 28 meeting are the other items on Thursday’s agenda.

Tax-free days help increase sales at stores

From Staff and Wire Reports

Local clothing retailers joined other stores in Texas in reporting higher sales this past weekend, as part of the state’s annual sales tax holiday.

No taxes were charged on clothes, shoes and related items from midnight Friday though midnight Sunday, and most stores said they did see a spike in business during the three-day period.

“We had a better day Saturday than we did Sunday,” said Beall’s assistant manager Irma Valenzuela. But she added, “Sales were over 3 percent up from last year. Two percent was our goal.”

New Wal-Mart Store Manager Tony Currie said that it had been a busy weekend for the local Wal-Mart.

“It went fairly good, we usually do pretty good on weekends,” said Currie. “We had a pretty good crowd during the tax-free weekend,” he said.

This was the first year for the sales tax holiday since Wal-Mart began 24-hour operations locally, while Valenzuela said longer hours helped boost Beall’s sales at their Pecos store.

“We opened at 7 and we usually open at 8. We had people here at 7 o’clock Friday morning,” she said.

Peggy Walker, owner of Needlework’s, said that it had been a good weekend for them at the store.

“We did sell some of the little girl’s cheerleading outfits,” said Walker.

Needlework’s carries the little girl’s outfits in the school’s purple and gold colors.

“I was very pleased to see some of my regular customers, but I do realize a lot of people go out of town during this weekend,” she said.

State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn predicted Texans would save $47.4 million in sales tax during the tax-exempt period. Texas is among a number of states that staged sales tax holidays during the first weekend of August, including New Mexico, which held its first tax-free holiday weekend this year.

Unlike Texas, which has debated, but not passed measures to include school supplies among tax-free items, New Mexico’s new law allows tax free purchases of school supplies under $15, along with clothing under $100, computers costing up to $1,000 and computer monitors, printers and accessories of up to $500.


Marriages for May 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Jose Rey Cedillo, Jr. and Aurora Flores. Alexander Portillo and Yvette Garcia. Jose Roberto Rodriguez and Danya Barraza Jacquez.

Marriages for June 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Michael Varela and Sylvia Campos. Agapito Romero Rodriguez and Neyma Roshell Mendoza. Evan Earl Bates and Elizabeth Michelle Will. Edward Zuniga Mares, Jr. and Rosa Maria Zaragosa. Gary Llanez Salcido and Bobbi Jo Enmon. Ramon Villescas Cardenas and Cindy Alvarez Caldillo. Raul Casarez Garcia and Esperanza P. Torres.

Marriages for July 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Jeronimo Juarez Olivas and Antonia Baeza Dominguez. Terrance P. Arreguy and Carmen Alicia Hernandez Lopez. Reyes Rodriguez Abila and Josefina Garcia Salcido. Elton Lee Garcia and Jessica Modesta Natividad. Rafael Lujan and Maritza Sandoval.


Divorces for June 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office. Jorge Contreras Ramirez and Alicia Rayos Ortega. Even Montez Mendoza and Rachel Leann Mendoza. Celia Portillo Dominguez and Jesus Rodriguez Armendariz.

Divorces for July 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office. Blaine Anderson Hannah and Heidi Louise Hannah. Anne W. Hess and David C. Hess. Marisol Bentley Rodriguez and Concepcion Lozano Martinez. Charles Ray Moore, Jr. and Susan Ann Barlett Moore. Flor Zubiate Perea and Frank R. Perea. Nancy Ann Brents and James Dwight Brents, Jr. Rosalba V. Navarrette and Eloy Madrid Navarrette.

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. ***

Javier Torres Florez, 38, 205 W. Fourth St., was arrested by police on Aug. 6 on a warrant charging him with theft by appropriation, a Class B misdemeanor. The arrest took place at the intersection of Sixth and Peach streets. ***

Guillermo Gabaldon, 29, 805 S. Hickory St., was arrested by police on Aug. 7, on a warrant charging him with permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle and for failure to appear. Police said the arrest took place following a traffic stop in the 900 block of South Cherry Street. ***

Ian Sebastian Dominguez, 23, 1413 S. Oak St., was arrested by police on Aug. 8 on a warrant charging him with driving with an open container of alcoholic beverage; failure to appear on the open container charge; driver unrestrained by a seat belt and failure to appear on that charge. Police said the arrest was made after Dominguez was spotted at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St. ***

Benjamin Orona, 21, of Portales, N.M., was arrested by police on a warrant on Aug. 8 charging him with minor in possession of alcohol and violation of a written promise to appear. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop at 12th and Hickory streets. ***

Shelia Juarez, 42, 605 S. Mesquite St., was arrested on a warrant charging her with burglary with intent to assault, from an incident, which occurred on July 22. Police said the arrest was made on Aug. 5 at her home, and she was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. ***

Camilo Martinez Salcido, 61, 515 S. Almond St., was arrested by police on Aug. 3 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 800 block of East Third Street. ***

Jeremy Wayne Crabtree, 25, 209 N. Alamo St., was arrested by police and charged with assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to Crabtree’s home in response to a disturbance. ***

Jesus Roberto Mendez, 40, 908 s. Willow St., was arrested by police and charged with terroristic threat under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at Mendez’s home after they were called there in response to a disturbance. ***

Edgar Dylan Alarcon, 23, of Odessa, was arrested by police on Aug. 1 on a warrant for failure to appear on a DWI charge. Police said the arrest took place in the 200 block of East Third Street. ***

Krista Diaz, 21, 520 S. Park St., was arrested by police on July 29 at 8:04 p.m. on a warrant charging her with speeding, open container of alcohol, and violating promises to appear on those charges. The arrest took place in the 100 block of East Second Street. ***

James Howard Leigh, 26, 511 W. Fifth St., was arrested by police on July 29 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at the intersection on Interstate 20 and State Highway 17. ***

Jerry Joseph Dominguez, Jr., 24, 1005 S. Cherry St., was arrested by police on July 31 around 12:30 a.m. on a charge of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle, a State Jail Felony. Police said the arrest occurred when a white 2004 Dodge pickup driven by Dominguez squealed its tires while leaving the intersection of Seventh and Eddy streets. Police said the driver refused to stop for the traffic violation, until Dominguez attempted to flee the pickup on foot in the 400 block of South Hackberry Street. Dominguez was located a short time later and was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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