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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 4, 2005

Extradition sought in abduction case

Staff Writer

A suspect in the disappearance of a Pecos girl in September is apparently an American citizen, and will face aggravated sexual assault charges if he is returned to the United States from Mexico.

Jose Garcia, 21, will face those charges in connection with the disappearance of 13-year-old Rosario J. Cerna from her parents’ home on Sept. 7. The whereabouts of Cerna and Garcia were unknown until Oct. 27, when Garcia, contacted Mexican law enforcement authorities and told them he and Cerna were in Durango, which is located about 250 miles southwest of Monterey, Mex.

“We had the defendant Jose Garcia telephone asking if authorities had warrants for him in Texas,” McKinney said on Monday. “That’s when we found out where he was at.”

Garcia turned himself into law enforcement officials in Durango, but was released pending a determination on whether he was a U.S. citizen or a Mexican national.

“At this point in the investigation, it tends to show the defendant is an American citizen,” McKinney said on Thursday. “We should have confirmation of that today or tomorrow. If we find out this is true, we will start extradition procedures with the U.S. Marshal’s Service.”

McKinney said the Marshal’s Service would then contact the Mexican consulate and work through there to bring Garcia back to the U.S. However, he said he had no timetable on how long that might take.

Cerna was reunited with her mother in Juarez on Oct. 29, the day after police received the report she had been found in Durango. She was turned over to her family by Mexican child service agency officials, and then brought back to Pecos.

McKinney said investigator Olga Lopez was scheduled to meet with the 13-year-old sometime later on Thursday to get information on the seven weeks she was away from home with Garcia.

Katrina relief items finally headed to Louisiana

Staff Writer

Items that were gathered in Pecos for the Katrina Relief Effort in September will finally be on their way to Louisiana next week, according to the Public Information Officer for the local Katrina Relief effort.

“There was a delay in getting donated goods out to Louisiana,” said Public Information Officer Nancy Martinez about the items, which were donated in the two weeks following Labor Day.

The items were gathered in a truck donated by Winkles Trucking, which was then to be taken to the New Orleans area. However, Martinez said that after many attempts at contacting various parishes, they still had not responded about where to send the items. “After many attempts at contacting various parishes and organizations via e-mail, they still failed to let us know of a location to where to send the items,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that the group then took it upon themselves to make further contacts and see who this area would be traveling to Louisiana and knew of where to send the items to. “The West Texas Food Bank will be going to Louisiana next week and the items were already transported to them on Tuesday,” said Martinez.

“The trailer has been emptied in Odessa and they will be on their way to the final destination next week,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that the group had been making an effort to send those items to Louisiana. “But because of unforeseen circumstances on their part we had been unable to do so,” she said.

“However, we spoke to several individuals involved in the restoration and they have told us that the people in Louisiana will be needing those items and can still use them,” said Martinez. “They told us that they will be needing help for a long time.”

Martinez said that on behalf of the Katrina Relief Group, they wanted to thank everyone who went to the Katrina truck and donated an item or who helped in any way for the Katrina Relief Effort.

Local group, police still split on conditions for stray dogs

A group of local citizens concerned about the treatment of stray animals by the Town of Pecos City remains unhappy with the response of the city to their concerns, while Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney disputed some of the claims made by the group on Tuesday about their meetings with him about the issue.

The problem centers around 19 dogs being kept at an abandoned cotton gin on the southwest side of town. The group voiced their concerns to McKinney two weeks ago, and said on Tuesday they are still the ones providing food and water for the dogs at the cotton gin.

The women who spoke on Tuesday said care stopped for the animals at the cotton gin after Danny Dominguez left the job as city animal control officer (ACO). Billy Jack Brookshire was appointed the city’s new animal control officer earlier this year, and is still undergoing training in his job.

The group noted that no one at the city is certified to handle animal euthanasia, and that the class Brookshire was scheduled to attend wouldn’t begin for four months. McKinney agreed that the city is without a certified ACO right now, but said he and Lt . Juan Vasquez would attend the course at the end of February along with Brookshire.

“We had one, but went our last animal control officer resigned, we don’t have one,” McKinney said. “That’s why myself and Lt. Vasquez are going, so we’ll always have someone certified.”

He said the 12-hour course would cost $245 per person, and that Brookshire would attend another class prior to the Feb. 28 certification course. “He’s scheduled to go to a basic ACO class in Wichita Falls the first of the year. That’s the closest one we could get him into,” he said.

Along with the concerns about feeding, the women said the city was euthanizing the dogs without tranquilizing them first.

“I know Billy Jack uses tranquilizing medicine,” McKinney said, but added he didn’t know if it was being used on the animals prior to euthanizing. “It’s rather expensive. If we have a dog that needs to be picked up and it’s a vicious dog, we’ll tranquilize him before the animal control officer picks him up.”

McKinney disputed a statement by the women that he was taken out to the cotton gin in response to the problems with the conditions for the dogs, but did not go into the building. The group also said donated items such as flea and tick spray and de-wormer donated by Wal-Mart had not been picked up by anyone from the city.

“I did not go out to the gin,” the police chief said, while adding he did not know about the Wal-Mart donations, only that group member Ruth Luster had brought some supplies over the Brookshire.

Earlier, McKinney said reports were incorrect that the city had been shooting dogs, though the group still said that was what the city was doing to stray animals. “There were a lot of rumors going around the area that we were shooting dogs, which was the way we were euthanizing them. That was false,” he said.

McKinney said on Thursday that he had just send off information requested by the group on the city’s line-item budget for the animal control officer’s department.

McKinney also said that the larger and smaller dogs, along with dogs and cats, are being kept apart at the city animal shelter, and that he is presented a list each Monday by Brookshire that includes the number of adoptions, impoundments, traps, euthanizings, bites, quarantines, licenses sold and other items that are the responsibility of the animal control officer.

Group members said they had offered to feed the dogs at the shelter on weekends, but needed to get permission to do so. They also said they had not yet talked with anyone at City Hall about the problem.”

Officials to seek state funding for restoration work

Town of Pecos City officials plan to be in Odessa next Thursday to attend a workshop on receiving state funds to help with improvements to transportation-related projects. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials are seeking candidate projects for the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program, which provides funding to cities and counties for projects with a relationship to the surface transportation system. The workshop will be held in the Large Conference Room of the TxDOT district complex at 3901 East Highway 80 in Odessa on November 10 at 1:30 p.m., according to Glen Larum, TxDOT public information director for the Odessa District.

“I’m going to be there, and hopefully we’ll have two or three other people,” said Tom Rivera, director of the Town of Pecos City’s Main Street Program.

The Main Street Program is designed to help restore the downtown area of Pecos, and Rivera said there were a couple of projects that could qualify for Transportation Enhancement Program funds, including the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot, which the city is seeking to turn into a home for the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Some work has been done on restoring the 92-year-old depot, but additional funds are needed. Larum said previous calls for projects for the Transportation Enhancement Program included funding for the restoration of the historic Santa Fe railroad depot in Fort Stockton.

“There’s also the Conoco station on Third Street,” Rivera added. The former Conoco station at Third and Cedar streets was originally opened in 1937 as a Texaco station, while proposals by architects with the state’s Main Street Program have called for renovating the building to serve as a rest area and visitor’s center in downtown.

Other projects in the area that have been funded through the program include a hike-bike trail at Buffalo Wallow Memorial Park in Odessa and several pedestrian-biking trails in Midland. Those projects are similar to one Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo has been seeking in recent years to create a hiking-biking trail through the south side of the city. Larum said TxDOT's goal for the program is to encourage different kinds of transportation, increase the community’s benefit from the transportation investment, strengthen partnerships between state and local governments, and promote citizen involvement in transportation decisions.

The program call for the submission of candidate enhancement projects will begin on Nov. 1 and will end at 5 p.m. on April 28, 2006. Information regarding the 2005 program call and nomination forms are available on the TxDOT website at or from Rick Hopkins [432/498-4759] at the TxDOT Odessa District office, 3901 East Highway 80, Odessa, TX 79761.

Amendment early voting ends Friday

Individuals who would like to cast their vote early have one more day to do so, before next Tuesday’s constitutional amendment election.

Early voting for the November elections ends Friday in the lobby of the Reeves County Courthouse and a total of 154 people have already cast their ballots in the election.

Elections are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8 at the Reeves County Civic Center. All in-town boxes have been consolidated and everyone in the city can cast their ballot at that location.

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

All out-of-town boxes will have their own polling places including Balmorhea, Saragosa and Toyah.

There are no elected offices to be decided in Tuesday’s election, but voters will be deciding on nine amendments to the Texas Constitution.

The most controversial is Proposition 2, which would limit judges from sanctioning same-sex marriage in the state.

Opponents call the amendment unnecessary since state law does not recognize same-sex marriage. They label the amendment a poorly drafted statement of discrimination that could even interfere with the legality of traditional marriage.

Other amendments include Proposition 5, which would allow the Legislature to raise maximum interest rates on big commercial loans, but not affect consumer loans or home mortgages, and Proposition 7, which would allow line-of-credit advances on home mortgages by seniors.

If approved, Proposition 5 would sanction a bill already approved by the Legislature that would let banks and borrowers negotiate any interest rate on commercial real estate loans of $7 million or more and other commercial loans of $500,000 or more.

Approval of Proposition 7 would allow reverse mortgages, in which seniors borrow against the equity in their homes and receive a line of credit. Carole Barasch, a spokeswoman for AARP of Texas, said a line-of-credit option would let seniors borrow against their homes only when they need money.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Texas Heritage program held by study club

The Modern Study Club met at 3:30 p.m., on Oct. 12, for a Texas Heritage Department Program with chairman Juracy Ray in charge. Club members and numerous guests gathered at the First Christian Church for the meeting.

Mrs. Ray chose as her thought-quote -“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.” - Proverbs 3:13.

Dr. Nathan Galloway of Odessa presented the program entitled, “The Courthouses of Texas,” giving a beautiful slide presentation of many styles of courthouses in all areas of Texas.

Dr. Galloway and his lovely wife of 49 years, have two children and they wanted their children to know Texas History and hence the traveling of Texas to photograph and study it’s courthouses.

He told of the efforts of President Bush to restore the courthouses over 50 years old and that 23 countries have structures which were designated original.

Dr. Galloway stated that courthouses were usually about 30 miles apart and at the center of the country at the E-W and N-S intersection of most towns. He told of circumstances when courthouses were moved and sometimes stolen. The railroad sometimes caused the moving.

He continued, the courthouse in Marshall, Harrison County, was moved from Missouri; Texas has two courthouses not in the county seat, which are Guthrie and Montague, and they are fenced to keep out the cattle; the Tarrant County Courthouse was built by the WPA and they did an add-on of concrete in 1990; and 1890 was the age of cast iron and there are numerous stairways of iron.

Dr. Galloway thinks the Gatesville Courthouse with its rotunda and balcony is the prettiest one, while others prefer Waxahachie. He said the courthouse in Glenrose still has it’s outhouse; Albany has a jailhouse with a lovely collection of art; the one in Zapata at one time was flooded by the Rio Grande River and that we lost one county in 1906 to Indian Territory which later became a part of Oklahoma.

The speaker said he had gained a lot of his information, as he pursued his quest, from old and new handbooks of Texas, Texas Almanacs and Texas Boundaries and Roadside Geology books.

Dr. Galloway currently holds the position of Ector County Medical Examiner. He was born in Goose Creek, Texas last century and was reared in Humble camps in all of the Ecosystems of Texas except West Texas. He attended Tulane University and Tulane Medical School and met and married his wife while in New Orleans. They moved to Columbia, Missouri in 1959 where he completed his medical education and was associate professor of Medicine.

In 1968 they moved to Odessa where he founded the Odessa Internal Medicine Association with Dr. William Lauderdale. Dr. Galloway retired from practice in 1992. The guest speaker received a beautiful oil painting of a West Texas landscape as a thank you gift.

President Lena Harpham conducted the business meeting. During opening ceremonies Juracy Ray led the Club Collect and Joyce Morton led the pledges to the United States of America and the Texas flags.

Treasurer Betty Lee gave a statement of club finances and Secretary Joyce Morton read the minutes of the previous meeting. The club voted to contribute $25 to the Reeves County Library, which is their usual annual cash contribution.

Plans were finalized for the Western District Fall Board Meeting slated in Pecos. The food for the Continental Breakfast was planned with various members volunteering to bring contributions, members brought or volunteered to bring the china cups and teapots needed for decorations. At this time, 24 ladies were registered. Various committee heads were to meet with Jean Siptak, manager of the Swiss Clock/Alpine Inn to complete any details.

Paula Fuller, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, will announce the date for the club’s bake sale at the next meeting.

Plans were also made for the upcoming meeting when the club members will meet at West Park Baptist Church to make presentation gowns to be donated to the Reeves County Hospital for still born babies.

Hostesses Betty Lee, Iris Reddick, and Lena Harpham served delicious refreshments to 17 guests and 11 members following the courthouse program.

Clerk’s office shut on Election Day

The Reeves County Clerk’s Office will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 8, due to the November elections.

The office will resume it’s regular hours on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

GED testing dates announced

GED Testing will be held at 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5 and Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Pecos High School.

Registration is set for between 1-4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 28, at the Pecos High School Counselor’s Office.

Examinees must present a Texas driver’s license or Texas Department of Public Safety ID Card.

For more information call Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselors at 447-7229.

Museum bake sale set for Friday

The Friends of the Museum will be sponsoring a Bake Sale beginning at 9:30 a.m., Friday at the West of the Pecos Museum.

Lots of delicious baked goods will be available.

Library hosts Monday story hours

Children’s Story Hour will be held at 10 a.m. and another Story Hour at 2 p.m., Monday at the Reeves County Library, 505 S. Park.

Everyone is invited to come and read to the children or to participate in any way.

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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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