Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Judge race attracting plenty of ponies
By ROSIE FLORES
More candidates have filed to run for office in the March Democratic Primary elections, by either filing a treasurer’s designation, or filing with the Democratic Party Chairman.
Town of Pecos City finance director Sam Contreras filed his treasurer’s designation with the Reeves County Clerk to run for the office of Reeves County Judge, naming himself as treasurer. Thursday morning, Contreras also filed with Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean.
Filing a treasurers’ designation also were: Bernardo “Chaquen” Martinez who filed for Reeves County Judge along with Israel Campos.
Martinez was a long-time commissioner for precinct 4 and Campos has been a Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy for a number of years.
Heriberto “Eddie” Rodriguez filed for justice of the peace for Precinct 4.
Meanwhile Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Jim Riley has filed with Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean to retain his seat. Riley was first elected to the position in 2002.
The one-month filing period opened on Saturday and the first challenger to file with Dean was Al Gomez, who is seeking the county judge position currently held by Jimmy Galindo. Gomez filed his treasurer ‘s designation about two months ago and filed on Monday with Dean to seek a four-year term in office.
The other incumbents who have filed include Diane Florez, who is seeking re-election as Reeves County Clerk; Linda Clark, who is seeking re-election as Reeves County Treasurer; Walter Holcombe, who is running for a new term as Reeves County Court-at -Law judge; and Norman Hill, who is seeking re-election for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2.
Individuals who would like to file for a position can contact Dean at 940-4944. He will also set up a temporary office at the old Greyhound bus station at Third and Cypress streets, and will have the appropriate paperwork to fill out on hand.
Positions up for re-election include Reeves County Clerk, District Clerk, Reeves County Precinct 4 Commissioner and the unexpired term of the Reeves County Attorney. Voters will also elect candidates for the county’s four Justice of the Peace positions, and will have primary elections in several regional races, along with the governor’s race, the race for U.S. Senate, along with other statewide and regional positions.
The last day to file for a position will be Jan. 2.
Local Santa’s delivering Thursday evening
By ROSIE FLORES
Christmas elves will be delivering gifts to children less fortunate in the community on Thursday evening.
Christmas for Kids volunteers will deliver their “goodies” on Thursday and the group is excited about the event.
“We’re just happy we were able to help so many families and kids,” said elf Sofia Baeza.
The group is comprised of volunteers who raise funds to provide the essentials for children in the community, who would otherwise lose out on having a merry Christmas.
“Our main goal is to provide a happy Christmas for as many children in the community as we can,” said Baeza. “We don’t just provide toys, but also the essentials, such as coats and shoes.”
“If anyone wants to volunteer to help us deliver the gifts, they can come to the sheriff’s office,” said Baeza.
The Christmas for Kids program is aimed at helping to bring a cheerier holiday for children of less fortunate families in the community.
Baeza said that she wanted to thank everyone in the community, the businesses, organizations and especially the volunteers.
Donations are always being accepted for the program.
Anyone wanting more information on Christmas for the Kids could call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, at 445-4901.
Pecos left desperate for Housewives into 2006
By JON FULBRIGHT
KMID general manager Chris Pruitt said he was hopeful that the area’s ABC network station would be again available in the Pecos area in 2006 - but until then residents will have to find other ways to watch ABC’s television series “Desperate Housewives.” But Pruitt said he didn’t have an exact timetable for that change and said the final negotiations would be up to the local cable system and a satellite service planning to beam the station’s signal to its Permian Basin customers.
Pruitt spoke on Thursday at the Pecos City Council’s regular meeting about the status of KMID, the Midland-Odessa station that has been off the local system for most of the past three years, since it lost access to a microwave transmission facility that brought the signal into Pecos.
Pecos cable customers have been receiving their ABC programs via satellite from WABC in New York since January of 2005. Council members have heard and voiced complaints recently about the lack of regional Big 12 football games available on WABC, along with the absence of KMID’s local news. Thursday’s presentation by Pruitt was set up following a meeting last month between him, city manager Joseph Torres and Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford in Midland.
Pecos receives Midland-Odessa stations KOSA and KTPX directly from their antennas west of Odessa, but Pruitt said KMID’s antenna site north of Midland International Airport made it impossible to get a strong signal directly to Cebridge Connections, the city’s cable operator. He also said the station is currently operating at 100,000 watts, the maximum power allowed by the Federal Communications Commission.
KPEJ, the area’s Fox Network affiliate, also has an antenna located north of the airport, but gets its signal into Pecos via a translator station on Gomez Peak, 40 miles southwest of the city. However, Pruitt said with the “local-into-local” satellite option planned by Dish Network, a similar expense by KMID would not make financial sense.
“Local-into-local is already up in most of the larger markets. Wichita Falls has it, Abilene has it, and they just went into San Angelo, so we should be next up on the chart,” he said. “It should come up on Dish Network way before Direct TV.”
Pruitt estimated the service could begin sometime between January and the end of summer in 2006, but it would then be up to Cebridge to negotiate a deal with Dish Network for use of the KMID signal. “Once that happens, everything’s fixed,” he said.
In other action on Thursday, the council approved a contract calling for a 25 percent split of hotel-motel bed tax money between the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, its advertising committee, the West of the Pecos Museum and the Pecos Main Street program.
The one-year renewable deal was worked out following a long series of discussions, and also includes a yearly review by a CPA hired by the city and paid for by the four participating entities.
The council also approved a big for $4,470 by Oscar Ortega, for 4.47 acres of land owned by the city between the Pecos Municipal Airport and State Highway 17 on the southwest side of town.
“We received only one bid, and talked to Mr. (Pecos Economic Development Corp. president Mike) Burkholder, and he said the price of the bid was acceptable to him,” said city utilities director Edgardo Madrid.
Madrid said Ortega told the city he planned to have used equipment on the site, and would put up two sheds on the land, located next to M&W Hot Oil.
“There are some deed restrictions,” said city attorney Scott Johnson, regarding any building that might interfere with the nearby airport. He added that because the land is part of the original airport site, the final agreement may need FAA approval.
Council members declined a request by Madrid for an office manager to handle administrative duties at the city’s Walthall Street warehouse. Madrid said the request had been made during budget hearings in August and September, and the position was needed to sort out problems keeping accurate records at the warehouse, including information on equipment, parts and repairs that have to be sent to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“When we agreed to this part in September, I don’t think we had all the budgetary restraints we have now,” said councilman Frank Sanchez. “I feel like we’ve been talking about cross-training employees, and we should look at doing that. Then we can look at this in the future when we get out of these financial straits.”
“I understand the concerns about the budget,” Madrid said. “If the council wants to keep it that way I wouldn’t have a problem. We’ll just live with it for one year and wait and do something with it next year.”
PEDC looking into land along I-20
By JON FULBRIGHT
The Pecos Economic Development Corp. is looking at acquiring land from the Town of Pecos City and the Pecos Housing Authority along Interstate 20, and have one possible buyer for some of that land lined up, president Mike Burkholder told the PHA board during their meeting last Tuesday.
Burkholder said the PEDC is in talks with the Housing Authority about the acquisition of 22.5 acres of land bordering I-20 east of Country Club Drive, and with the city on land it owns along the Interstate between State Highway 17 and Reeves County Hospital.
“We’re working on the appraisal, and then we’ll see if we can negotiate with the PHA to buy it from them,” Burkholder said.
He added that PHA Executive Director Nellie Gomez said approval would have to also come from Housing and Urban Development officials, both at the regional and federal levels.
“The local HUD probably has to convince them that they don’t need it for subsidized housing,” said board chairman Joe Keese, while Burkholder added that HUD officials in Fort Worth didn’t think the sale would be that difficult.
The city owns two-thirds of the land sought by the PEDC near Reeves County Hospital. “We may have a potential prospect for a motel,” said Burkholder. “They like the location near the (Highway 17) exit.”
Burkholder also showed the board the new signs that will be going up at the former Smithers Transportation Testing Center, which is in the process of being reopened by the Texas Transportation Institute and New Mexico-based Applied Research Associates. The group has also dedicated the $1 million secured for the track by Texas Sen. John Cornyn towards the purchase of a paving machine for the facility.
“They’re going to use that money and some of their money to buy the paving machine, which costs $1.5 million,” he said. “They’re going to build roads, and test the roads for endurance for TxDOT. The 10 districts out here in West Texas already have agreed to contribute to the testing.”
Burkholder said the corporation that will run the facility has been formed, with Keese as one of the members. Both he and Keese will be in Dallas on Tuesday for the organizational meeting.
Burkholder also gave board members copies of a 16-page survey, which he eventually hopes to give to all businesses in town. “It will really help us get a handle on the Pecos business situation,” he said, adding he plans to visit businesses individually to urge them to complete the survey.
Modern Study Club sews presentation gowns for hospital
The Modern Study Club met Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Fellowship Hall of the West Park Baptist Church in Pecos for a Home Life Department Program with Catherine Travland, Department Chairman, in charge. The thought-quote for the gathering was -“ the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” - Job 1:21b KJV-Holy Bible.
Mrs. Travland planned the sewing of presentation gowns and blankets by members of the club to be given to the Reeves County Hospital to be used for stillborn babies born at the facility. Several guests also joined in working on the project at the meeting. Also, several members have continued the sewing in the homes.
President Lena Harpham presided during the meeting. During opening ceremonies Paula Fuller led the Club Collect and Nan Cate led the pledges to the United States of America and the Texas Flags.
Secretary Joyce Morton read the minutes for the previous meeting and Treasurer Betty Lee presented a statement of club finances.
A letter of appreciation from Western District President Mary Vongsavath of Alpine was read thanking The Modern Study Club for their excellent handling and hosting of the 46th Annual Western District Fall Board Meeting held in Pecos at the Best Western Swiss Clock Inn recently.
Catherine Travland was reimbursed for expenditures concerning the WD Board meeting. A Bake Sale was planned under the guidance of Paula Fuller, Ways and Means Chairman.
The club’s support of the Reeves County Library and also the Bears on Patrol Project was discussed.
Thank you cakes were baked and delivered by Catherine Travland to Dr. Moorthi, Mrs. Venetta Seals and the Kidney Dialysis Staff for their assistance during the board meeting and the following tour of the Reeves County Hospital Kidney Dialysis Center.
It was also reported that a letter of appreciation had been sent to Jean Winget thanking her and her staff for their assistance prior to and during the WD Fall Board meeting.
President Harpham thanked club members for foods prepared and brought to the continental breakfast and the beautiful table decorations, a special thank you goes to Joyce Morton, décor chairman.
Roll call was answered by stating ideas concerning what can we do in support of our hospital. Writing letters of appreciation about our good care when we or family members are patients at the hospital and joining the “Pink Ladies” were among suggestions given.
Hostesses Joyce Morton and Paula Fuller served delicious refreshments to five guests and nine club members.
Pecos man faces sex assault charges
By ROSIE FLORES
A man who fled with a Pecos teen and was later found in Mexico has been returned to face charges of aggravated sexual assault.
Jose Garcia, 21, of Pecos, has been charged with sexual assault after being returned from Mexico.
“We apprehended him at the Port of Entry in Presidio,” said Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney.
McKinney said that Garcia had been in a Mexican prison and was handed over to Pecos Police Officers at the Port of Entry.
“We already had transportation officers in Marfa and they picked him up in Presidio and he was brought back to Pecos,” said McKinney.
McKinney said that he was placed in Criminal Justice Center and later transferred to the Reeves County Jail.
“It’s standard procedure to transfer them to the county jail when the suspects are facing felony charges,” said McKinney.
Garcia had been sought by authorities after the parents of a 13-year-old girl requested that they look for the couple.
“He’s facing sexual assault charges mainly because of his age,” said McKinney.
Garcia and the 13-year-old girl disappeared from her parents’ home on Sept. 7. The whereabouts of the couple were unknown until Oct. 27, when Garcia, contacted Mexican law enforcement authorities and told them he and the juvenile were in Durango, which is located about 250 miles southwest of Monterey, Mex.
At that time McKinney said, “We had the defendant Jose Garcia telephone asking if authorities had warrants for him in Texas.” “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.
The investigation revealed that Garcia was a U.S. Citizen and the Pecos Police Department started extradition procedures with the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The juvenile 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.
City insurance bids come in over budget
The Town of Pecos City took another hit in their budget on Thursday, when bids for the city’s 2006 health insurance came in above projections for the new fiscal year.
Council members voted to retain their current health insurance provider following a presentation by Rick Holder of RH Administrators, which will include both higher costs and tighter controls on health services covered under the plan. Holder said the problems centered around two high-cost claims on the city’s health insurance during the past year.
“We’ve got to start to do something, because your health insurance this year could be in the $1 million range,” Holder told the council, adding that the 2005 claims were expected to end up in the range of $650,000.
“You guys had a worst-case scenario last year. In fact you may be getting a little bit back from your stop-loss carrier,” he told the council. “That sounds like a good thing, but it’s not, because when you spend those guys’ money, they’re going to pop you on the rates.”
Holder said the amount of costs still outstanding from the current year’s large claims is about $13,500, which he recommended the city pay for out of its own pocket, since an expanded coverage plan for 2006 would cost an additional $28,000.
Among the changes included in the new health policy are having workers call a 1-800 number to receive pre-certification for medical procedures. Holder said this would both allow the insurers to get a better idea of the city’s medical costs, and allow the company to question certain proposed treatments that may be unnecessary.
“This call is to track all your people as they incur costs,” he said. “This is absolutely nothing that will hurt your employees unless they don’t pre-certify.”
He said the penality for failing to pre-certify treatments would be $500. Persons needed emergency medical treatment would have within 48 hours after the procedure to post-certify in order to meet the policy’s rules.
He said physicians retained by the insurers also plan to track diagnostic costs for city workers more closely this year. “Your diagnostic testing is way out of whack,” he said. “The employees are going to complain, but if we have a doctor say it’s not medically necessary, than it’s to pay for his boat payment.”
The new policy also includes a $20 office visit co-pay for a regular doctor’s visit and a $40 co-pay to visit a specialist. Prescription co-pays will be $15 for generic drugs, $25 for brand names and $30 for non preferred medications. Holder said currently, generics account for just 21 percent of the prescribed medication for city workers.
Holder also brought up the city’s policy on health insurance coverage paid out by city workers. “You guys have had a Mercedes contract, which pays premiums for all employees and their dependants,” he said.
The city’s policy covers workers and their dependants for a flat $125 fee.
“If I can get five people covered for $125, that’s a great thing for me, but you have to determine if you can still afford that,” Holder said, adding that the average premium paid on policies for 3-4 people was in the $750 to $1,200 range.
“I think the city budget can’t sustain another $400,000 hit,” said city attorney Scott Johnson, who urged the council to look at a sliding scale premium in the future.
Council members balked last year at raising that fee to $145 and on Thursday again opted to maintain the employee payment at $125.
“We try to do what we can for our employees,” said councilman Frank Sanchez. “They’re the lowest-paid employees in the area.”
“That’s why I’m not recommending any big increase in the premiums, because they’ll just drop it,” Holder said.
“That’s why we made the premium lower, because they can’t afford it,” said mayor Dot Stafford.
The council then approved the new insurance proposal, with councilman Danny Rodriguez asking Holder to look at allowing prescriptions to be filled by mail for city workers in the future.
Editor’s Note: Marriage and divorce records are public record and may be accessed by anyone. All marriage records are kept in the Reeves County Clerk’s office, while divorce records can be located in the District Clerk’s Office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Marriages for September 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Daniel Perez Aguilar and Guadalupe Vasquez.
Daniel Angel Marquez and Tracy Elena Morales.
Julio Antonio Placencia and Marie Elena Zuniga.
Marriages for October 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Jesus Rodriguez Armendariz and Angela Marie Galindo.
Lamberto T. Herrera, Jr. and Rosa Isela M. Velador.
Darren L. Walker and Clarissa D. Fobbs.
Kenneth E. Sledge and Trina Abaline Mena.
Samuel M. Contreras and Anna M. Marquez.
Marriages for November 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Xabier R. Acosta and Semyase Y. Contreras.
Juan C. Abila and Melanie J. Meierhoff.
Frederico M. Contreras, Jr. and Monette Pena Arreguy.
Christopher Allen Barron and Valerie Michelle Tersero.
Divorces for October 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office.
Michael Jason Foster, Jr. and Rosella Elizabeth Foster.
Divorces for November 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.
Margarita S. Corrales and Jose Luis H. Corrales.
Eida Garcia and Jesus Leonel Garcia.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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