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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, January 7, 2005

Fonville’s closing ends store’s 85-year history

A jewelry store which has served the community under its current name for over 50 years and had been in operation overall for 85 years closed it’s doors forever last week.

Fonville Jewelers began in Pecos in 1950 and had been a part of the West Texas community for the past 54 years, while it’s owners, Bill and Jo Cooksey, were involved in the company for 48 years.

The store was established by Mrs. Cooksey’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Fonville and was moved to its current location on South Oak Street 50 years ago. It was formerly Manahan’s Jewelry.

Mrs. Cooksey’s father, Johnny Fonville purchased the business from his previous employer, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Manahan, who had started the business over 30 years earlier.

Jo Cooksey said that the Manahans had opened the store in 1919 and that she and her family moved here in 1937.

There was also a flower shop in the jewelry store in 1944. “It was moved to its current location in 1954,” said Cooksey of the building in the 300 block of South Oak Street. Before that, the jewelry store used to be located in the parking lot besides the former Classic Cable office (which has since been moved as well), and the West of the Pecos Museum.

Cooksey’s father obtained the store in 1950 and the name was changed to Fonville Jewelers at that time.

Bill and his wife, Jo have been associated with Fonville’s since 1956. The couple bought the store from her parents in 1980 and they have been the sole owners for the last 24 1/2 years.

The jewelry store was an icon in Pecos that outlasted four competitors, and was the only jewelry store in town when it closed.

Along with the Cookseys, two other loyal employees who had worked at the store since the 1970s were Rosa Carrasco ,who had been with the company for 31 years, and Ludi Valencia, who worked there for 34 years.

The employees hosted a reception last Wednesday in congratulations of the couple’s retirement.

“We want to thank the community for being loyal to us for so many years,” said Jo Cooksey.

“We will miss seeing everyone and visiting with them on a daily basis,” said Cooksey.

County’s votes to hire lawyers raise questions

Who pays the lawyer’s bill?

That is one question brought up by Robert Hanks during a hearing December 28 in his on going lawsuit against County Judge Jimmy Galindo, former County Commissioner’s Felipe Arredondo and Herman Tarin, and several county employees.

In the hearing, Galindo had Austin attorney James P. Allison of Allison, Bass and Associates at his side.

In a Dec. 6 commissioners’ meeting the Court voted unanimously to hire “any and all law firms necessary including Allison, to defend any member of the court” against allegations made by Hanks in his petition.

Last Thursday the commissioners met in executive session during a special meeting and hired another attorney, David Botsford, a well-known criminal attorney.

Commissioners agreed on Dec. 30 to hire David Botsford at a cost of $25,000 to represent the county against legal action that was taken against the county and several employees.

After the Dec. 6 meeting Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens wrote a letter to 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds requesting an opinion regarding the commissioners’ decision to hire outside counsel to represent Galindo and the other defendants in the suit. In his letter Owens pointed out that under Section 157.901 of the Texas Local Government Code officials are entitled to be represented in a civil suit by either the district attorney or the county attorney, or that the county can hire a private attorney if “it reasonably appears that the act complained of forms the basis for the filing of a criminal charge against the official or county employee.”

Owens said that the provision is made because the county attorney or district attorney cannot represent someone in an action against the state - such as a criminal charge. Owens also said that Attorney General opinions dealing with the issue all seem to agree that, even in a civil suit, there is a prohibition against using tax dollars to hire private counsel to defend elected individuals or employees unless there is a public need.

Whether there is a public need is a determination for the Commissioners’ Court to make, Owens said, and pointed out that in the Dec. 6 meeting where the court decided to hire Allison no such determination of public need was made and the court hired the firm to defend any member of the court personally.

Owens stated that it was his opinion that the firm could be paid with tax dollars to defend the county, but that any defense of Galindo, Tarin or Arredondo, without a finding of public interest, would have to be billed to the individual members.

Owens asked Reynolds three questions:

Could the Court hire private counsel to represent members of the court purely in a civil matter with no anticipation of criminal charges being filed?

Can the Court hire private counsel to represent members of the court in a civil matter without a prior finding of public need or interest?

Could the Reeves County Commissioners’ Court, which is named in the suit, determine if a public interest or need exists, when their private interest is also being served? If so, would the members of the court named in the lawsuit be required to abstain from voting on such a finding?

Reynolds issued a preliminary opinion on Dec. 30, while saying that he was continuing to research the issue and had requested opinions from several experts in the field as well. In an interview Wednesday, Reynolds pointed out that the law governing paying attorneys with taxpayer money differed between a civil case and criminal charge.

In his response to Owens, Reynolds said that it was his opinion that the Court could legally hire outside counsel to defend in a civil matter when three conditions were met: the County and District Attorneys were not available to defend the suit, the suit involved actions taken by an official with the scope of the officials public duties, and

3) the Commissioners’ Court believed in good faith that the public interest was best served by paying for the private attorney.

Then, however, Reynolds notes that on the same day he was writing the opinion, he was informed that the Court had voted to hire Botsford.

“I am familiar with a David Botsford from Austin whose primary area of practice is criminal law,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds then related that from his research there were different legal requirements regarding hiring an attorney for county officials when the allegations made were criminal.

First, the accused official would have to abstain from voting to hire a defense attorney that would defend him.

Second, the county could not pay for the defense until the case was over.

Third, the county could not pay the defense attorney if the public official was found guilty.

Reynolds also pointed out that the criminal allegations contained in Hanks civil suit had been dismissed by Judge Bob Parks in the Dec. 28 hearing.

“At this time there is no formal allegation of criminal activity,” Reynolds said. In an interview on Thursday Galindo responded that he was sure that the Court’s action in retaining both Allison and Botsford was correct and legal.

“On Dec. 30 the court explicitly made a determination of fact that I, as a public official, acted in good faith regarding the allegations made in the suit,” Galindo said.

“Attorney General Opinion JM-824 clearly states that the county need only determine the official acted in good faith to determine that the public need is at stake,” he said, “so I think we’ve passed that test.”

Also in the Dec. 30 vote to retain Botsford, Galindo abstained from the vote, as he would be a recipient of Botsford’s assistance.

“I think Section 157.901 of the Government Code is pretty explicit in allowing for outside counsel if the county attorney and district attorney are not available to defend against a suit,” Galindo said.

“In paragraph “b” the section states, ‘if it reasonably appears that the act complained of may form the basis of a criminal charge against the official or employee, the official or employee is entitled to have the commissioners court of the county employ and pay private counsel,’” he said.

Galindo said that it was clear to him that the section allowed for the county to pay for any legal expenses incurred in the civil matter and in anticipation of a criminal charge but that if an indictment were handed down, restrictions cited by Reynolds concerning criminal charges would come into play.

“Pre-indictment the County can obligate itself to pay the outside legal fees in a criminal matter. If I’m indicted then the fees are my problem until the outcome of the case. Then, if I were exonerated the County could pay the fees,” Galindo said.

He said that he was anxious for the district attorney’s office to issue a final opinion in the matter since he was effectively without legal counsel until the county auditor had an answer in his hand that stated that the actions of the court in retaining the attorneys was legal.

Reynolds said just prior to press time on Thursday that he still had a few questions regarding the application of the law to the facts of this particular case and was trying to get the answers to help resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Autopsy ordered on man found dead

An autopsy is being conducted into the cause of death of a 53-year-old Louisiana man, though police don’t believe foul play was involved in the Monday afternoon incident at a local motel.

Pecos police said the body of Errol Moore was found in Room 309 of the Pecos Inn, 2207 W. Third St., late Monday afternoon. Police officer Helen Vernon said the body was discovered after she met with motel manager Richard Hays, who told her he believed Moore was dead on the floor of his room. Vernon said she went to the room and found Moore lying face-down on the floor, and had been dead for several hours.

Hayes told Vernon that Moore had knocked on a door near his room at 3 a.m. on Monday and appeared to be intoxicated and having hallucinations. Hayes took Moore back to his room and didn’t discover his body until checking on him again at about 4:15 p.m.

Vernon said she had arrested Moore several months ago on a possession of cocaine charge, and that the subject also suffered from hepatitis C, liver problems and other medical conditions. He was pronounced dead at 5:25 p.m. by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Lamberto T. Herrera.

Herrera ordered an autopsy, but Vernon said foul play did not appear to be a cause of death because of Moore’s existing medical conditions. His twin sister was notified of his death and his body was taken to Peaceful Gardens Funeral Home, where services were to be arraigned.

Pecos man arrested after meth lab found in home

Pecos Police Department officers, with the help of other officials, took down a methamphetamine lab in town over the New Year’s weekend, and arrested one person in connection with the incident.

James Wallace Fisher, 24, was placed under arrest by Officer Oscar Machuca on Sunday initially on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

“After Mr. Fisher was placed under arrest, he was searched,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler, adding that the search turned up a substance believed to be methamphetamine was located.

Deishler said Machuca believed there could be more methamphetamine at Fisher’s home, located at 1523 Johnson Street. He asked for a voluntary consent to search his residence, which Fisher agreed to, said Deishler.

“I was contacted by Officer Machuca and met him and Sgt. Armando Granado at Mr. Fisher’s residence,” said Deishler. “Entering in to the residence, I observed various types of paraphernalia and chemicals commonly used with the operation of methamphetamine lab.”

He said that after observing the paraphernalia and the chemicals, the officers exited the residence for safety reasons. “These chemicals are very dangerous and need to be handled carefully,” said Deishler.

The Department of Public Safety narcotics division was contacted and deployed a team from Odessa to assist with the investigation. The team arrived in Pecos and was taken to the residence on Johnson Street, according to Deishler.

“The DPS team determined that Mr. Fisher had inside his residence a methamphetamine lab,” said Deishler. “The team dismantled the lab and contacted a Hazardous Material Team located in El Paso.”

The Hazardous Material Team arrived in Pecos and removed all the chemicals from inside the residence and the chemicals that were also outside the residence.

“It took the team about two and a half hours to remove all the chemicals and materials,” said Deishler.

Deishler said that he was told that it would cost between $5,000-$10,000 to clean up the lab. “And this was a small lab,” he added.

Deishler said that officers also found a small portable lab. “They use these to cook up the meth out in the country. They just plug it in to the lighter (power plug) in the car,” he said.

Fisher has been charged with possession of a certain chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Deishler warned the public that if they detect a foul odor coming from somewhere, or if the suspect someone is setting up such a lab, to contact the Pecos Police Department. “These labs are very dangerous, if one blows up it can blow up the whole house and take two or more along with it,” he said.

Deishler also warned local stores, that if they observe an individual buying a large amount of cold/allergy tablets to contact them. “They use the cold/allergy tablets to mix up their methamphetamine,” said Deishler. “This is a good sign that someone is busy trying to conjure up the chemicals for their lab.”

Teen sought by police after gun incident

Pecos police are searching for an 18-year-old who they say held a family at gunpoint early Tuesday morning on the north side of town.

Joel Escontrias Alvarado, 733 Rancho Rd., was able to elude officers after escaping from a house at 112 N. Pecan St. after officers raided it shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday. Police received a call at 12:52 a.m. that Alvarado had pulled out a sawed-off shotgun in the home of Sonia Olivas and threatened both her and children inside the house.

Police Capt. Kelly Davis said officers were able to evacuate the family from the house, but Alvarado also was able to get out of the building and a search of the area failed to turn up the suspect, though the shotgun was found in a nearby alley. Davis said Reeves County sheriff’s deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety officers and officers from the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force assisted in the search.

“The subject is believed to be under the influence of narcotics,” Davis said, adding that Alvarado may be armed with a gun.

A warrant was issued for Alvarado’s arrest following the incident. The suspect has a past arrest history, and was described by police as being 5-feet-10 and weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

School board candidate workshop set

Area school board candidates and interested citizens can learn more about the demands and rewards of school board service at a candidate workshop, Monday, Feb. 28, 7-9 p.m., at the Region 18 Education Service Center, 281 LaForce Blvd., near Midland International Airport.

A second workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 7-9 p.m., at Sul Ross State University’s University Center in Alpine for those who are unable to attend on Feb. 28. The workshop will provide interested community members and individuals thinking about running for the board with a better understanding of what is involved in being elected and serving as a local trustee. Experienced school board members will explain board members’ key responsibilities and outline the qualities necessary for effective service.

Topics to be covered include what it’s like to be a trustee, key responsibilities of the board, division of authority with staff, how to campaign constructively, and where to find more information. Participants will also view, A Call to Service, a Texas Association of School Board’s video highlighting many aspects of board service and featuring several experienced school trustees.

The workshop is open to anyone. Admission is free.

For more information about the workshop, call Brenda Canul at TASB, 512-467-0222 or 800-580-8272, extension 6104, or check the TASB Web Site at for other dates and locations.

Library’s January story hour Monday

Story Hour will be held at 10 a.m., this coming Monday, Jan. 10, at the Reeves County Library, 505 S. Park St.

The program will honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

For more information contact the library at 445-5340.

P-B-T ISD starting to ID G&T kiddies

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD provides a program for students in the district who are identified as gifted and talented.

These children and youths exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative, and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, and/or excel in specific academic fields.

The gifted and talented program is an individual student-centered program that is facilitated through a challenging, differentiated curriculum aimed at encouraging creative thinking and expression, problem-solving and leadership skills.

Kindergarten is in the process of identifying students for this program.

If anyone has any questions about the g/t program, desire more information, or wish to nominate a student for the program, contact the campus principal Robert Garrett at 447-7258.

Balmorhea getting prepared for livestock show

Youngsters in southern Reeves County are rounding up their animals to participate in the annual Balmorhea Livestock Show scheduled for this weekend.

The annual event will begin at 10 a.m., with the hog show in the ag barn at the school. A barbecue luncheon will be held at noon in the cafeteria and the lamb show will be next at 1 p.m., followed by the goat show and the steer show in the ag barn.

Everyone is invited to come out and support the Balmorhea Ag students on Saturday. The Balmorhea Livestock Show is held annually the week prior to t he Reeves-Loving Livestock Show.

In the goats division in Balmorhea, those participating include Anastasia Contreras, Cutter Crider, Joseph Dutchover, Daniel Estrada, Jo Gina Gallego, Vanessa Garcia, Noelee Garcia, Sara Lujan and Gabriel Salcido.

Also, Victoria Salcido, Brandi Machuca, Mayle McElroy, Adrienne Bagley, Dailynn Mondragon, Brianna Rodriguez, Joe Able Rodriguez, Mariable Rodriguez, Jose Rodriguez, Diego Estrada, Mia Roman, Adam Roman and James Tarin.

In the lambs division, those entering animals are Adrienne Bagley, Jo Gina Gallego, Jamie Gallego, Mayle McElroy and Adam Roman.

Amber Cook is the only steer show participant, while in the hog show, those entering animals are Levon Barragan, Amber Cook, Cutter Crider, Joseph Dutchover, Casey Dutchover, Vanessa Garcia, Noelee Garcia, Joel Madrid, Mayle McElroy and Anisha Vasquez.

Also, Robert Vasquez, Ryan Woodruff, Kailynn Hernandez, Lorissa Rodriguez, Nigiel Lozano, Tia Lozano, Alexander Mendoza, Joshua Matta, Kristie Rodriguez and Russell Garlick.

Two killed in crashes along I-10

Department of Public Safety Troopers have been busy this week investigating a series of accidents, including two fatalities on Interstate 10 on Tuesday in Reeves and Culberson counties.

The first accident was a one-vehicle accident that occurred at 12:55 p.m. Tuesday on I-10, 5.9 miles east of Balmorhea in Reeves County.

According to the preliminary DPS report, Nateasha Williams, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:30 p.m. by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco. Her body was taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home in Pecos.

Williams was a passenger in a 2001 Ford Explorer driven by Bietta Williams, 37, which was eastbound on I-10, when the right rear tire lost tread. The driver lost control, the vehicle veered to the right, went into left broadside skid, rolled several times, ejected three passengers and came to rest upright in south barrow ditch.

Road conditions were clear and cloudy, roads were dry. The DPS report said Nateasha Williams was not wearing a seat belt.

The driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was reported in stable condition with shoulder injuries at Reeves County Hospital. The two other passengers were identified as Sheldon Williams, 15, a student, who was in stable condition, with leg injuries at Reeves County Hospital, and Brandon Michael Fazon, 21, a student, who was in critical condition with head and chest injuries at Odessa Medical Center Hospital. All of the occupants were from Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

Trooper Roy E. Lytle of Balmorhea investigated the accident.

The second fatality accident occurred Tuesday at 11:30 p.m., on I-10, 12 miles East of Van Horn in Culberson County and involved a truck tractor and two other vehicles. The DPS said a 2001 Volvo Truck Tractor was towing two trailers eastbound when it struck a cow in its lane of travel. A 2005 Chevrolet Impala was behind the truck when it struck and drove over the same cow, causing the Impala to roll over into the center median. The passenger in the right seat of the Impala was ejected, and the third vehicle, a 1992 Dodge Ram Pickup, whose driver observed the first vehicle moving to stop in right bound shoulder then moved to the left lane on I-10 and drove over the passenger that had been ejected and laying in the middle of the road.

Justice of the Peace Oscar Espinosa pronounced Brett Arredondo, 13, of Burleson dead at the scene, at 12:05 a.m. on Wednesday. He was not wearing a seatbelt and his body was taken to El Paso.

The driver and two other passengers in the vehicle were wearing seat belts, the DPS said. They were identified as Edgar Torres, 30, an electrician, who was listed in stable condition with cuts, bruises and contusions at Culberson County Hospital; Roxanne Torres, listed in stable condition, with cuts, bruises, contusions and Hannah Torres, 5 years of age, in stable condition with cuts.

DPS Trooper Brandon Tidmore investigated the accident.

On Monday, DPS Sgt. Richard Jacobs, of Pecos, investigated a vehicle rollover accident on Texas 17 about 13.9 miles south of Pecos.

That accident left an Odessa child in critical condition. Sgt. Jacobs said the accident involved a 1993 Jeep Cherokee driven by Laura Holguin of Odessa.

The vehicle left the roadway and overturned one and 3/4 times. The child, Prescilla Holguin, 8 years old, a passenger in the Cherokee, was taken to Reeves County Hospital before being airlifted to Lubbock.

The driver and two other passengers were less seriously injured in the accident, according to the report.

On Wednesday, the DPS also investigated several area accidents, including one involving a brine truck that rolled over on FM 2355, northeast of Barstow.

The vehicle, which is owned by Winkles Trucking/M&W Hot Oil of Pecos, had just finished filling its tank with a partial load of brine water when it went off the right side of the road while eastbound on FM 2355. The vehicle then jackknifed and overturned, coming to rest on its side facing westbound on the north side of the narrow highway. Holly Key of Winkles Trucking identified the driver as Eric Muniz of Odessa, but formerly of Pecos. Although the truck of the vehicle was crushed in the accident, Key said Muniz’ injuries were relatively minor, though he was kept overnight at Reeves County Hospital after being taken there by Pecos EMS workers.

Lara obtains degree from ASU

Angelo State University conferred degrees upon 358 students during 2004 Fall commencement exercises Dec. 18, in San Angelo.

The 2004 Fall graduates included Pecos resident, Kalyn D. Lara, B.S., cum laude. Areas of undergraduate academic studies at ASU lead to the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Science Nursing (B.S.N.), and Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.).

The following graduate degrees are offered: Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Physical Therapy (M.P.T.), Master of Professional Accountancy (M.P.Ac.), Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)

Woods deployed to Iraq with guard troop

Sgt. First Class Ralph Daniel Woods has been deployed to Iraq, SFC. Woods has been in the Army National Guard for 35 years and serves in the 36 Infantry Division.

SFC Woods will be serving in Iraq for a minimum of one year. The “ThunderboltBrigade” represents the largest deployment of Texas troops overseas since World War II.

On Jan. 1, 2005, a deployment ceremony was held at Baylor University’s Floyd Casey Stadium. More than 31,000 supporters bid farewell and godspeed to Texas National Guard troops.

SFC. Woods is a retired Highway Patrolman who was stationed in Pecos and is currently employed as a Court Security Officer at the Lucius Bunton Federal Courthouse.

His family consists of his wife, Hilda Woods, son, Richard Woods, daughter Victoria Gomez and grand-daughter, Bailey Laureen.

They would appreciate your prayers and good wishes.

They also encourage anyone who wishes to correspond with Ralph “Dan” Woods to e-mail him at

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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