Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Stockton men arrested in I-20 marijuana bust
By JON FULBRIGHT
Pecos Police arrested two Fort Stockton men on Feb. 11 following a traffic stop on Interstate 20, after 105 pounds of marijuana were found inside the car’s spare tire.
Police officer Oscar Machuca made the arrest, with the assistance of officer Kevin Roberts of the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force, at 2:29 p.m. on I-20, at the 36 mile marker west of Pecos. Machuca said a Dodge Stratus was stopped for having an expired license plate tag, and the driver then gave consent to search the vehicle.
“There was a tire too big for the vehicle that was found in the trunk,” said Pecos Police Cpt. Kelly Davis. A drug-sniffing dog also was called to the scene and alerted to the tire, which was opened and the marijuana in bricks was found hidden in the wheel well.
Arrested was the driver of the Stratus, identified as Geomar Calderon, 18, and a passenger, Aaron Mata, 20, both of Fort Stockton. Both men were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, where they were charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 200 pounds.
Candidate filings go slowly for local elections
By JON FULBRIGHT
One of two incumbents up for re-election on the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board has filed for re-election, but there was no other activity reported last week in filings for the May 7 general election, with the deadline to file two weeks away.
Paul Deishler filed for a new two-year term on the board last week. He and school board president Billie Sadler are the members whose three-year terms expire in May. Deishler was elected to a full term in 2002, after being appointed to an unexpired term in 2000 and then losing his first election bid the following year.
Incumbents so far are the only ones to have filed in the local elections, with two of the three incumbents in the Town of Pecos City Council race already seeking re-election, while both of the incumbents whose seats are up for election on the Reeves County Hospital District board have filed for new two-year terms.
In the city council election, Danny Rodriguez and Frank Sanchez have filed for new two-year terms. Rodriguez is seeking a second consecutive term on the council after regaining a seat in the 2003 election. He previously served on the council between 1994 and 2002. Sanchez is seeking his third term on the council, after serving as Town of Pecos City Mayor for two years in the 1980s.
Incumbent Gerald Tellez is the other council member whose term is up for election in May. Tellez has been on the council for the past 10 years.
In the hospital district race, board president Linda Gholson and Pablo Carrasco have filed for new terms, representing Precincts 2 and 4 respectively. Voters in Precinct 3 will also be casting ballots in the May 7 election to fill an unexpired term, which was created last year by the death of board member Bill Wendt. That seat, along with the Precinct 1 and at-large seats on the hospital board, will be up for election again in 2006.
Voters in Balmorhea, Barstow and Toyah will also be deciding city elections, and Balmorhea voters also will be looking to fill three seats in the school board election. The deadline to file in all local elections is March 7.
If there are no contested races in any of the local elections as of the filing deadline, those elections can then be cancelled by the group involved in order to save money. Early voting for the May 7 election will get underway on April 20 and run through May 3.
Council set approve tax abatement ordinance
Town of Pecos City Council members will discuss an ordinance to create a tax exemption for improvements to downtown buildings, as part of their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday evening at City Hall.
The council will also get an update on the status of the rifle range near the Pecos Municipal Airport, consider employment of personnel for a city clean-up, and discussion of a grant and housing rehab help during their 5:30 p.m. meeting.
The ordinance will be the second and final reading of a measure designed to make opening downtown businesses more attractive. Under the new law, taxes on repairs or renovations to buildings within the downtown area would be exempted 100 percent for the first year after completion, and would decline by 20 percent over the next four years until full taxes would be paid on the property.
The exemption is part the city’s Main Street project. Pecos was admitted last year to the state’s Main Street program, which is designed to boost usage of downtown areas, along with restoring older buildings in the area and along the main entry routes into town.
The city clean-up project is part of an agreement with Reeves County and Reeves County Detention Center III. Under the plan, low-risk prisoners housed at the prison will be used to help with city clean-up efforts. City equipment and law enforcement personnel are to assist with the clean-up.
Council members will be updated on the rifle range problem discussed at their last meeting. The council was told bullets being fired from the east side of the range were landing on the runway and taxiways at the Pecos Municipal Airport. A committee was appointed to discuss short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.
The grants the council will look at include discuss/consider approval of the 2005 Citizen’s Corp. Grant, and discuss/consider authorization to procure housing rehab assistance programs.
Other items on the agenda include regular department reports, payment of bills and discussion of the removal of junk vehicles from a home on Maple Street.
State schedules meeting to plan for WMD drill
By JON FULBRIGHT
A mock disaster involving weapons of mass destruction will be enacted in Pecos in early April, and local officials will be attending a planning meeting Tuesday morning at the Reeves County Civic Center to hear plans for the event from officials of two state agencies.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the Division of Emergency Management has scheduled at Weapons of Mass Destruction Tabletop Exercise for Reeves County on April 14. The planning meeting for that event will take place on Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 12 noon at the Reeves County Civic Center.
According to a press release from Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera, officials from TEEX will be in Pecos on April 14 to conduct the one-day exercise, which will also provide an evaluation element of the local response. “The governor’s Division of Emergency Management will have a representative here,” Herrera said, along with the TEEX staff.
Those involved will be local political leaders, department heads, emergency team leaders, potential incident commanders, and key Emergency Operations Center staff. The event will also include senior members of support agencies or organizations such as volunteer group active in disasters, schools or private industry and representatives of state and federal agencies with a presence in the local area that may be called on to assist local government during a major emergency.
Herrera said along with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo and Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford, others to be involved include Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials and those from Reeves County Hospital. “I’m also trying to get the mayors of Toyah and Balmorhea involved, since we serve their jurisdictions,” he added.
Those to be involved with the April 14 event are being asked to attend Tuesday’s meeting at the Civic Center. The program will provide an informal overview of the exercise and the planned schedule of events, and is expected to last three hours. For further information, contact Herrera’s office at 445-5418.
RCH board to discuss personnel
Reeves County Hospital District board members will have an executive session to discuss personnel issues during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, while dealing with several other routine items as part of their 6 p.m. meeting in the hospital’s classroom.
The board will officially order an election for May 7 and appoint election workers, while discussing the sale of property in Balmorhea. Board members will also hear the medial staff and administrator’s reports, along with the monthly tax and financial statement and payment of bills.
Auto Zone starts up small town operations
By ROSIE FLORES
Batteries, floor mats and a vast assortment of auto parts can be found at the newly constructed Auto Zone, located at 1901 S. Cedar St.
“We’ve been open since last Tuesday,” said manager Rene Gomez, whose store is one of several being opened by the company in smaller West Texas communities.
Gomez and his crew, which includes four other employees, have been busy since over the past week with a steady stream of customers.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of local people, but also customers from out of town, that are traveling through,” said Gomez. “We’ve also had people come in from Fort Stockton and Monahans,” he said.
Gomez said that Fort Stockton will soon be getting an Auto Zone in their community. “They’re building a store in Fort Stockton, which is set to open in May,” he said.
Gomez said that they have been receiving phone calls inquiring about commercial accounts, but said the company is waiting to see how well things go for the nation chain in smaller communities than where Auto Zone has operated in the past.
“We don’t have any commercial accounts set up yet, because the corporate office wants to see how this store does first,” said Gomez.
Gomez said that when dealing with little stores, the main office wants to see how the business is going to do. “They want to see how much business we do and how well this store operates before we can open any commercial accounts,” said Gomez. “That will take from six months to a year.”
Gomez said that a lot of local businesses have been asking about that and it’s something he would like to offer them at a later date.
“We carry everything for automobiles and if we don’t have it in stock, we can order it for them,” said Gomez. “It’s usually here by the next day.”
Gomez said that they have two different options that they can offer a customers, one day delivery, or delivery in five days.
“Business has been steady even though we have not had much publicity,” said Gomez. “A lot of people don’t know we’re open already,” he said.
Gomez said that they are planning a grand opening in three weeks and will be offering a variety of specials. “We also plan to have some kind of a reception outdoors, and offer hot dogs or other refreshments,” he said.
“We want to get the store going to it’s full potential, right now we’re getting everything ready, well stocked,” said Gomez.
“During the grand opening, we’ll offer specials throughout the store,” said Gomez. “We’re also thinking of getting someone out there in the parking lot and offer free oil lubes,” he said.
Gomez said that they have a lot of sales going on throughout the store now.
“We want to welcome everyone to come in and just browse,” said Gomez. “We can look for anything they need and get it to them right away,” he said.
Gomez said that they will also be carrying “performance parts.”
“These are parts for sports cars,” he said.
Gomez said that their plans for the future at the store include expanding and offering commercial accounts. “This will be of great help to local mechanics and individuals who own their own businesses,” he said.
“We want to take care of our customers and hope everyone will come in,” he said.
Employees at the new auto parts store include, Gomez, Dalton Willis, Lawrence Burleson, Sam Muela, Gloria Fierro and Diana Garcia.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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