Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, February 4, 2005
City expecting housing project grant extension
Town of Pecos City officials are hopeful that state officials will approve a one-year delay on a $400,000 grant the city received thee years ago to build affordable housing the central part of Pecos.
The grant, which was to be used to help with the construction of 20 homes along Washington and Adams streets, has only produced one new home so far, and no new construction at all has been done in the past 14 months. But Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres said he is optimistic that both the extension on the grant will be approved and several new homes will be started at the site in the near future.
“The grant was actually to put roads and sidewalks and to place all utilities in the area, so the contractor could come and put in the homes,” Torres said Thursday.
He said the homeowners themselves then had to qualify for one of two loan options, either a first-time home buyers grant, which would pay for $10,500 the cost of construction, or a 1 percent load through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A number of families have sought those loans, but Torres said as of now, none have qualified.
“The USDA isn’t going to grant a one percent loan if there’s any problem at all with the credit rating, and some of the others just haven’t had the finances in place to get the loans,” he said, while adding that they currently do have a list of several people who should be able to qualify for the home construction funds.
“With that, we have submitted an extension request,” Torres said. “We had a meeting with Refugio Negrete with the office or Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) last week. He’s the rural service coordinator and we’ve asked for a one-year extension.”
Ground was broken on the project in March of 2002 after the city received the grant, and was contingent on the homes being built over the next three years. After the street and utility work was completed, first home on the site was built in the fall of 2003 at Washington and Johnson streets, but no other homes were built in 2004.
Torres said there were a number of reasons for that, mainly due to the area’s struggling economy and the uncertainty over the status of the Reeves County Detention Center III project. “But now that the economy is turning up, with the new credit union, a new Auto Zone in town, the test track reopening and the prison situation looks more stable, there is some optimism that there are several people will qualify to buy the houses, and some come from the RCDC corrections officers.
“I feel comfortable people will be able to get them loans,” Torres said. “We do have some very solid candidates for housing.”
He said local realtor Reccia Pigman has been asked to help with the potential home-buyers, while former Pecos City Councilman Hardin Moore, who now operates a home mortgage company, also has talked with city officials about granting loans for the Washington Street project.
“They (ORCA) don’t want to come back and tell us ‘You owe us $400,000’,” Torres said. “They want to work with us on building affordable homes.”
Jerry Reiner, president of Ameriway Construction Company, which built the first facility, remains involved with the project, Torres added. Under the original agreement, home buyers can choose one of four floor plans that they want built and would also be able to participate in the selection process of many things for the home, such as carpet and paint color. Torres said on Thursday that the only homeowner so far, Janet Natividad, has added some other items onto her house, such as fencing, since it was completed in November of 2003.
Reiner said back in 2002 that each home would have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. However, the size of the homes varies from 993-square feet to 1,200-square feet.
Construction on the homes is scheduled to take 60 days, and the completed homes will include a number of interior items for the homeowners.
Town of Pecos City officials had applied back in June of 2001 for a Home Improvement Partnership Program grant through ORCA. At the time the grant was sought, RCDC III was beginning construction and Anchor West was employing 700 workers at its plant in Pecos, many of who were traveling to work in Pecos from Fort Stockton, Monahans, Kermit and other neighboring towns.
But by the time the city had received the grant, Anchor had been purchased by McCain Foods, which then shut down the facility. It has since re-opened as TransPecos Foods, but with less than one-third of its 2001 workforce. Meanwhile, the status of the RCDC III project was up in the air for most of 2003, as the facility opened but failed to secure a contract to house inmates until February of last year. Reeves County has since secured an agreement with the State of Arizona to house inmates at the $40 million prison, and while the agreement only runs through June, prison officials said last month they would be able to maintain a prison population in RCDC III even after the current contract expires.
“With Anchor West closing and RCDC III, economic development wasn’t a plus on selling mortgages at the time. But right now I feel real comfortable about housing and ORCA giving us an extension,” Torres said.
Park faces new delays, liability concerns
Bad weather and a good economy have combined to add new delays to the construction of the new skateboard park at Seventh and Alamo streets in Pecos, while city officials are also looking into concerns over liability issues once the park finally is completed.
“The major setbacks have been the weather and the contractor has been tied up with other projects,” Torres said on Thursday. “They’re volunteering their equipment and volunteering their workers and time, and because they’ve been busy with their real business, that has caused delays.
The plans for the park were approved in 2003, and the city council agreed to name the park the ‘Mata-Rodriguez Memorial Park,’ after Johnny Mata, one of the first soldiers killed in the 2003 war with Iraq, and Jaime Rodriguez, a Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officer killed in a shootout on board a Greyhound bus in Pecos in May of 2002.
At roughly the same time, Jeff Lindsay, manager of Lindsay Western Construction pledged to do the earthwork for free, which was expected to save the city $12,000 to $15,000 in costs. But since that time the price of oil and gas has doubled, and drilling projects around the Pecos area have spiked up in the last 18 months.
“The oilfield exploration has been keeping his workers busy,” Torres said.
He added that the city’s director of engineering, Edgardo Madrid, has done work on modifying the design of the park, in part due to safety concerns.
“My biggest concern is kids getting hurt on public property,” Torres said. “That’s where we have concerns over liability, because there are kids out there doing some dangerous stunts who could land on their head and suffer serious injuries. A lot of kids who aren’t that athletic are doing flips out there and getting hurt now, and that’s my concern.”
Along with the liability issue, Torres said the city and area residents are discussion other venues for the local parks, such as concerts to be held for youths, “in order to give them something to do.”
Wal-Mart says shoppers using overnight hours
Local residents are taking advantage of the opportunity to do some after-midnight shopping in Pecos, something that had been limited to bigger cities in the past.
Wal-Mart, which has kept its Supercenters open 24 hours a day since they began building the larger stores in the late 1980s, began keeping their smaller retail outlets, like the one in Pecos, open overnights beginning just before Christmas.
“Since we changed our hours to 24/7, we have had a lot of customers,” said Wal-Mart Support Manager Richard Franco.
Franco said that the new hours went into effect on Dec. 18, and that since then they have seen a lot of customers shopping during the late-night hours.
“We’ve been getting all kinds of shoppers, both local, truck drivers and older individuals who are just traveling through the area,” said Franco.
Franco said that the local store has not heard anything yet, about opening a Supercenter.
“Our manager does have some plans that she has been working on, but she hasn’t said what they are yet,” said Franco. “We just want to provide better quality and offer more variety to our customers,” he said.
Wal-Mart’s larger Supercenters, such as the ones in Midland and Odessa, contain up to 200,000 square feet of retail space. But recently the company has begun opening smaller versions of those stores, including one that recently opened in Sweetwater.
Wal-Mart reportedly has been looking at building a Supercenter in Fort Stockton, while
Franco said that they don’t know yet what the company plans to do with the Pecos store.
“We want to provide more positive things for the community,” said Franco. “There won’t be any changes, we’ll just remain the same for now.”
Franco said that they are currently working with other vendors to bring more variety to the store.
“We look at what they have to offer and try to pick out more variety for our customers and bring them more things that they would like to see in our store,” said Franco.
Franco said that one of the newest items is their freezer section. “We have added some freezers and now offer ice cream, such brands as Blue Bell and Haagen Daz,” said Franco.
Franco said that the store manager has been busy with new plans, but that she hasn’t announced them yet. “I know she’s been working on several projects, but she hasn’t told us yet what they are,” he said.
Franco said that another department that has been expanded a bit more is the garden department. “We’re trying to bring in grass sod, I know that a lot of people have been asking for it,” he said. “We want to expand the garden center,” he said.
Marriages for December 2004, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Jaime Ornelas Jurado and Delilah Madrid Fuentes.
Christopher James Popenhagen and Patricia Lynn Huertas.
Jerry Infante and Martina Rodriguez Armendariz.
Roman Hernandez Galindo and Soraida Samaguey.
Juan Garcia Botello and Lillian Chavez.
Corey Trent Davis and Shirhonda Lanae Bell.
Marriages for January 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Israel Lara and Brandi Michelle North.
Jason Paul Aguilar and Bobbie Orosco Aguilar.
Cosme Ortega and Martha Elaine Rangel.
Jose Jaime Delacruz and Jeanette Lynn Marruffo.
R.S. Smith, Jr. and Yvonne Rodriguez.
Marriages for February 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Antonio Hernandez Navarro and Aurelia Sosa Martinez.
Divorces for December 2004, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.
Sylvia J. Garcia and Guadalupe G. Garcia.
Lionel Garcia Garza and Maria Guadalupe Garza.
Merrie Blount Ward and Clyde Lee Ward, Jr.
Divorces for January 2004, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office.
Claudia Aguilar and Sergio Arturo Cerna.
Peggy Evelyn Cox and Douglas Earl Cox.
Yesenia E. Garay and Oscar T. Garay.
Elva F. Cano and Pedro Luis Cano.
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.
Police arrested Adrian Nunez, 30, of El Paso, on Jan. 25 at 7:51 a.m., in the 100 block of Raul Florez Boulevard on a charge of money laundering. Police said Nunez's 1995 Chevy Impala was stopped on a traffic violation for cancelled license plates, and during a search of the car, $29,019 in currency was found inside the vehicle. Police said Nunez was taken to the Criminal Justice Center, where he gave officers a written confession about the money in the Impala.
Jose Manuel Garcia, 50, 411 W. 10th St., was arrested by Pecos police on Jan. 20 at 6:06 p.m., on a warrant issued out of the TDCJ's Austin Parole Division. Garcia was wanted on a parole violation for an original charge of burglary of the building. He was arrested at his home and transported to Reeves County Jail.
Police arrested a male juvenile on Jan. 20 at 1:18 a.m. On a change of evading arrest or detention. The arrest occurred after police spotted the juvenile in the alley between the 300 blocks of South Cypress and South Elm streets. The juvenile was arrested in the parking lot of Trans-Pecos Bank and was taken to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.
Police arrested Ricardo M. Estrada, 31, of 1205 S. Walnut St., at 1:40 a.m. On Jan. 22 at the Suvacito Club, 902 S. Cedar St., on a warrant out of Ward County for burglary of a habitation, a Second Degree felony. Estrada was transported by police to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.
Pedro Hernandez Marquez, 25, of 2240 Barilla Rd., was arrested by police at 8:10 p.m. On Jan. 21 on a charge of operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license and operating a motor vehicle without insurance. Police said the arrest was made after the 2000 Ford Expedition Marquez was driving was stopped in the 100 block of South Cherry Street.
Police arrested Samantha Mendoza, 25, 2021 Ivy St., on Jan. 23 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to Mendoza's home in regards to a family disturbance.
Police arrested Michael Chad Brown, 20, of Fort Stockton, on Jan. 22 in the 1900 block of South Cedar Street, on a charge of minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Police said Brown was the passenger in a pickup that was stopped for a traffic violation, and a quart bottle of Natural Light beer was found wrapped in paper towels behind the console on Brown's side of the vehicle.
Police also arrested the driver of the vehicle, identified as Dino Gonzales Galvan, 45, of Fort Stockton, and charged him with driving without a license. Both were transported to the Criminal Justice Center following the arrests.
Police arrested a male juvenile at 3:31 p.m. On Jan. 24 on a warrant charging him with evading arrest or detention. The arrest occurred in the 1000 block of East Eighth Street.
Ross Paul Ballance, 43, of Big Spring, and Jeffrey Paul Wendling, 33, of Melbourne, Fla., were arrested by police at 11:28 a.m. On Jan. 24 and charged with possession of marijuana. Police said a substance believed to be marijuana was found on the two men following a traffic stop in the 300 block of West County Road.
Two female juveniles were arrested by police at 9:30 a.m. On Jan. 24 on charges of evading arrest or detention. Police said the two were arrested after they were seen going through private property in the 300 block of West Lincoln Street. The two girls were taken first to the Criminal Justice Center, and then to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.
Joel Richard Porczak, 32, of Marina Del Ray, Calif., was arrested by police on a charge of failure to identify. Police said the arrest was made on Jan. 26 at 9:23 p.m., after they were called to the Wal-Mart parking lot on South Cedar Street. Two truck drivers were holding Porczak, and told officers he had attempted to burglarize their vehicle parked at the site. Porczak refused to give his name to police, and was then taken to the Criminal Justice Center.
Paul Serrato Diaz, 28, 706 S. Locust St., was arrested by police on Jan. 29 at 4:42 p.m. on a warrant charging him with driving while license suspended. Police said the warrant was issued out of Ward County, and the arrest was made following a traffic stop in the 500 block of South Locust Street.
Rene Rodriguez Garcia, 40, 723 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on Jan. 31 and charged with assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to the home to stand by while some items were removed from inside.
Dante Cerna, 25, 1202 S. Ash St., was arrested at his home on Jan. 31 at 9:50 p.m. On two warrants. Police said one was a local warrant for Theft Under $50 issued by Municipal Court Judge Amanario Ramon, while the other was a warrant out or Crane County for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. Cerna was taken to the Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.
Police arrested Arturo Franco Jimenez, 40, 604 S. Mulberry St., on Jan. 31 on an outstanding warrant. Police said Jimenez was arrested while he was working outside of Reeves County Hospital,2323 S. Texas St., and then taken to the CJC.
Police were called to 411 Bois D'Arc St., the morning of Jan. 31 in reference to an unattended death. Herculano Aguirre was found inside the home unresponsive, and Pecos EMS personnel were called to the scene and determined that the subject had died. He was pronounced dead at 12:05 p.m. by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Lamberto T. Herrera, and his body was taken to Pecos Funeral Home.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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