Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Commissioners OK merging election boxes
By ROSIE FLORES
Reeves County Commissioners approved consolidating all in-town boxes for Pecos in the November 2005 election, during their regular meeting held Monday morning at the courthouse.
There are no contested elected positions on the November ballot, but Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez told the group that she needed their approval before consolidating all the boxes.
“This election is for the propositions and there will be nine items on there to be voted on,” said Florez. “We had only about 600 people the voted on the propositions last time,” said Florez.
The boxes that will be consolidated include boxes: 1,2,3,7,8,10,11 and 12.
The exact location of where voters will cast their ballots on Nov. 5 was not announced. However, Florez did say that out-of-town boxes in Balmorhea, Saragosa and Toyah would remain open.
In other action, commissioners discussed an agreement between Reeves County and the Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s Office to conduct autopsies, but opted to table the item.
“We had this item on the agenda previously, two of the JP’s were interested in checking with El Paso because of the time it’s taking to get the autopsy results from Lubbock,” said county auditor Lynn Owens.
He told commissioners that Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley had received some quotes from El Paso and that they were considerably cheaper.
“The people from El Paso charge $800 for a basic autopsy and Lubbock charges $1,200,” said Owens. “Two of the JP’s indicated that they want to change to El Paso.”
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that what they needed then was a contract.
“We used to use Odessa, but they quit doing out of town autopsies,” said Owens.
“It’s a pretty good savings and we’ve heard good things about them,” said commissioner precinct 2 Norman Hill.
Galindo said that they needed to table the item at this time, until the JP’s can talk to the El Paso County officials and come up with a contract.
Commissioners did approve a contract/agreement between Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department and Bowie County Juvenile Justice Center.
“We haven’t used them since 2004,” said Owens. “Their rate used to be $40 per day and it has since gone up to $60.”
The group approved reimbursement of inmate loss, property payment.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple of property issues,” said RCDC III Warden Martin McDaniel.
McDaniel told the group that about once a month the prison moves out about 100 inmates, while others are brought to the facility under the contract with the State of Arizona.
“They placed the property on the bus and then realized they had the wrong inmate’s property,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel said that Arizona stated that they had returned the property back to RCDC III, but it was never received here.
“They are asking if we could replace it,” said McDaniel. “We would be looking at $141 to replace a television.”
“Unfortunately, we have had one or two instances like that,” he said.
McDaniel said it just a mistake made by the staff, but that Reeves County needed to correct it.
“In the future we will unload and we’ll be late but we’ll be sure to have the right property,” said McDaniel.
“We definitely need to correct that and send them the funds or replace the television,” said Galindo.
Commissioners approved payments for the Reeves County Detention Centers including: 2001 lease payment- $345,067; 2001 maintenance reserve payment - $29,166; 1999 lease payment - $495,000 and the 1999 maintenance reserve payment
City to restart repaving after decade-long break
The first seal coating work on streets in Pecos in nearly a decade will have to wait another week before beginning, after equipment problems delayed the start of the project on the north side of town.
“We found we had a problem with our equipment, so we’re going to have to reschedule the seal coating for either this Friday or this coming Monday,” said Town of Pecos City public works director Edgardo Madrid.
City officials were able to find money in the 2005 fiscal year budget to begin repaving of city streets, after the project had been cut back in recent years by the city council, in an effort to avoid tax increases. Council members approved a tax increase for the fiscal 2005 year, and at the time were told the money for the new budget would include work on city streets.
The first area to be resurfaced will be the north side streets east of Cedar Street. But Madrid said the work would have to wait until the breaks on one of the city’s gravel spreaders are repaired.
“We decided to replace the parts to make sure everything’s fine,” he said. “But all the preparation work is 90-95 percent complete, except for ‘A’ Street.”
Crews were working to spray the oil-based emulsion on ‘A’ Street on Monday, while work on the other streets in the area was done last week. Madrid said residents in the area would receive fliers notifying them of the seal-coating schedule.
“That way the homeowners can get their cars away from the street. We don’t want to damage the cars or get asphalt in their fenders,” he said. “It’s rapid-setting asphalt, that won’t take that long to set, but any co-operation from citizens will be appreciated.”
Once work is done east of Cedar, Madrid said the next area scheduled for seal coating will be on the north side to the west of Cedar Street. Areas of town south of the railroad tracks also are scheduled to have their streets resurfaced, with streets that are in the worst condition getting the highest priority. But how many streets are done will also depend on how much money is left in the city’s budget.
“It depends on the money allotted. If we have the money available we plan on doing the while north side and do some streets on the central, east and west sides,” Madrid said.
“We’ve got a number of streets that are in major need of renovation,” said City Manager Joseph Torres. While seal-coating work in Pecos was suspended in the mid-1990s, the problem with the streets didn’t become severe until the past two years, when a decade-long drought ended. Last year’s rainfall total was double the city’s normal average and created potholes and cracks in many streets throughout town.
Aside from the money and the equipment, Madrid said crews would also have to have the right type of weather to lay down the tar and asphalt.
“We need to have hot weather days too do that,” he said. A cold front due to arrive in the Pecos area on Tuesday is expected to drop high temperatures into the 70s on Wednesday, but highs are predicted to be back in the 90s by Friday.
Part of the new surface for the city’s streets will actually be recycled asphalt that was removed from Interstate 20 last year by the Texas Department of Transportation, as part of the resurfacing of 30 miles of the highway in the Pecos area.
“We’ve already used the asphalt on several projects, including the skateboard park,” Torres said. The used asphalt was donated to the city by TxDOT, in order to save money on the in-town street work.
Feds arrest 14 on drug charges
Fourteen people, all but one from the Odessa area, were arrested last Thursday as part of a drug smuggling ring round-up by federal officials following indictments brought against the group by a Pecos grand jury last month.
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton and Drug Enforcement Administration Resident Agent in Charge Kenneth E. Miller said the 14 West Texas residents were arrested on federal drug charges. The indictment is the result of a joint seven-month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force in Alpine. Arrests were made this morning in Odessa, Midland and Presidio.
Those arrested include: Jesus Jose Tavarez of Presidio, Pedro Jose Juarez of Odessa, Elaynn Mora-Lujan of Odessa, Dorcas Enriqueta Callahan of Odessa, Thomas Jacob Bull of Odessa, Monica Landra Chavez of Odessa, Krista Ann Cuellar of Odessa, Alondra Tercero Hernandez, Jose Miguel Castro of Goldsmith and Manuel Anthony Barrera of Odessa.
Four defendants, all of whom are from Odessa, were already in custody prior to today. They are: Ariel Aurelio Lujan, Rendi Renee Lajaunie, Gary Arreola, and Yvonne Lynette White-Perez. Hernandez, Castro and Barrera are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The remaining defendants were charged by federal grand jury indictment returned in Pecos on June 28, 2005, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute between 100 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Upon conviction of the drug conspiracy charge, each defendant faces between five and 40 years in federal prison. In addition, Lujan, Juarez, Lajaunie, Callahan and Chavez were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Upon conviction of the money laundering conspiracy charge, each defendant faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
According to the indictment, these defendants allegedly are part of an organization which imported and distributed marijuana from Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico to the Midland-Odessa area. The organization utilized various methods to carry out their operation including having individuals back pack the marijuana from Mexico to such locations as the Valentine, Texas, area where others in the organization would retrieve the marijuana and transport it to the Midland-Odessa area for street level distribution. The investigation also revealed that the organization used Western Union wire transfers to launder the profits of their drug distribution efforts and subsequently, used those funds to further their illegal operation. In addition to cash, the organization would receive vehicles-some stolen-for payment of marijuana loads.
The Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force in Alpine includes investigators from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshal's Service, West Texas Narcotics Enforcement Task Force; Texas Department of Public Safety, Odessa Police Department, Midland Police Department; Midland County Sheriff's Office, and Alpine Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Miller.
Man claims police slow to act after assault
A Pecos man who had to be taken to a Midland hospital after an early-morning assault on Friday said police are dragging their feet on investigating the incident at a west side storage area.
However, police said they had not made an effort yet to arrest the suspect in the case because the victim had not given investigators a formal statement on the attack.
James Norman, the manager of Bell U Storage, 2118 West Third St., was hit in the head with a pipe following an argument reported to police at 1:45 a.m. on July 23. Norman was treated at the scene by Pecos EMS personnel, but then drove himself to Reeves County Hospital after speaking with officers, and was later airlifted to Midland Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
“It tore my whole left ear off. The plastic surgeon had to put my ear back on,” said Norman, who was angry that no action had been taken against Jimmy Don Juarez, the man he said attacked him with the pipe.
“The police department said they can’t do anything about it,” Norman said, while Police Chief Clay McKinney said investigators were waiting to get a formal statement from Norman before they took any further action.
“We haven’t picked up Jimmy Don, because we’re waiting for information,” McKinney said. “There’s another witness there we have to interview, and we wanted to take a statement from the victim.”
Police did arrest Sheila Renee Juarez, 41, of 1921 West Fourth St., following the attack, on a charge of public intoxication. According to the report filed by police office Ishmael Gamboa, Norman and Juarez were inside the office at Bell U Storage when he arrived, and than another individual had assaulted Norman and then left the scene.
Norman said after coming back from Midland and not getting a response from police, he went to the Reeves County Sheriff’s office and gave a statement to deputy Reno Lewis. In it, he said Sheila Juarez came to the office drunk, and was scratching and hitting him as he attempted to dial 911.
He said as that was happening, he was attack from behind by Juarez’s son, Jimmy Don Juarez, who hit him with a pipe and then left the area.
Norman alleged Juarez was a gang member and that officers were reluctant to do anything about incidents involving gang members in Pecos. McKinney said his officers were only following proper procedures.
“We just want to investigate the case and gather evidence and then go before a judge and get a warrant,” McKinney said. “We feel that’s a proper procedure instead of arresting someone and then doing an investigation.”
Norman said he and Sheila Juarez had been in a dispute before Friday’s incident. He said he had put a mechanics lien on her car over a $926 repair job he had done, and that he also had reported her to the state Child Protective Services Agency. He also said on Monday he had been threatened by other gang members since Friday’s incident.
“I’m a 68-year-old man, and I can’t live like this. But I’m not going to leave my home,” Norman said.
PHS orientation dates set
Orientation and registration for students attending Pecos High School in the fall of 2005 will be held in the Pecos High School auditorium at the following times:
Monday, Aug. 1 - Freshman; 9-11 a.m., for students with last names ending in A through M and from 2-4 p.m., for students with last names ending in N through Z.
Tuesday, Aug. 2 - Sophomores; 9-11 a.m., A through M and 2-4 p.m., N through Z.
Wednesday, Aug. 3 - Juniors; 9-noon, students with last names ending in A through Z.
Thursday, Aug. 4 - Seniors; 9- noon, for students with last names ending in A through Z.
Friday, Aug. 5 - All new students and students who have not registered.
Students must bring registration form, parent compact form, migrant survey form, health form and student residency form to registration. All forms must be completed and signed before a student can receive a schedule.
Monahans hosts softball tourney
A Men’s Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 6 and Sunday, Aug. 7 in Monahans.
Cost will be $125 per team and first and second place prizes will be awarded.
Proceeds will go towards medical expenses.
Contact Miguel or Mayrha Gomez at 1-432-943-3090.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2003-04 by Pecos Enterprise