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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, December 23, 2005

New hopefuls move towards primary runs

The list of candidates for the Democratic primary election in Reeves County is steadily growing with more individuals filing their treasurer’s designation as the first step towards entering the March 7 race.

The potential candidates also have to file with Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean by Jan. 2 to officially enter the March primary race, while under state law treasurer’s designations have to be filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s office.

Those filing a treasurer’s designation include Richard Slack, who is currently filling the unexpired term of the Reeves County Attorney. Slack named Gloria O. Florez as treasurer of his campaign.

Slack took over the post in November, after county attorney Luis Carrasco resigned at the end of October, amidst allegations of missing funds. The incident is currently being investigated by the Texas Rangers.

Alvesia “Tita” Tarin filed her treasurer’s designation, naming herself as treasurer, to run for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2. The position is currently held by Norman Hill, who has already filed to retain his seat.

Amonario P. Ramon filed his treasurer’s designation to retain his seat as Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.

Two candidates have already entered the race for Reeves County Judge, while a former commissioner has taken the first step towards entering that race.

Local restaurant owner and former Pecos Chamber of Commerce President Al Gomez was the first to enter that race, while Town of Pecos City finance director Sam Contreras filed his treasurer’s designation, naming himself as treasurer, and also filed with Dean last week to run for county judge.

Two other have filed treasurers’ designations: Bernardo “Chaquen” Martinez and Israel Campos. Martinez was a five-term commissioner for Precinct 4, serving from 1978 to 1998, while Campos has been a Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy for a number of years. 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. Heriberto “Eddie” Rodriguez filed for justice of the peace for Precinct 4, a position currently held by Lamberto Herrera.

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; andWalter Holcombe, who is running for a new term as Reeves County Court-at -Law judge.

Almost all county elected officials over the years have run in the Democratic primary and won its nomination, though candidates can also run as Republicans in the March primary election, or as write-in candidates on the November 2006 election ballot.

Individuals who would like to file for a position in the Democratic primary 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.

Voters will also elect candidates for several regional races, along with the governor’s race, the race for U.S. Senate and other statewide positions.

While the last day to file for a position is Jan. 2, that will also be a holiday, due to New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday in 2006. Candidates can still file with Dean, but the final day the County Clerk’s office will be open before the deadline is Friday, Dec. 30.

Washington state man dies in U.S. 285 crash

A Washington state man was killed and three other persons were injured Monday night, following the collision of two pick-ups 40 miles south of Pecos.

The accident occurred at the intersection of U.S. 285 and FM 1776 at 11:30 p.m. on Monday, and claimed the life of 55-year-old Eleno Martinez, who was one of three persons in a 1992 Chevrolet pick-up that was traveling southbound towards Fort Stockton on U.S. 285.

According to the preliminary report from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the pick-up was driven by Adolfo Martinez, 26, also of Warren, Wash., and was struck by a 2001 Ford pick-up, driven by Carlos Terrazas, 30, of Pflugerville. According to the report by DPS trooper Beau Martinez of Fort Stockton, the pick-up driven by Terrazas was northbound towards Coyanosa on FM 1776 when it failed to stop at the U.s. 285 intersection, 14 miles north of Fort Stockton, and struck the pick-up driven by Adolfo Martinez.

Eleno Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene, while Terrazas, Adolfo Martinez and 1-year-old Marcos Martinez were all injured in the accident and taken to Pecos County Memorial Hospital. Terrazas was then transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, while Adolfo and Marcos Martinez were flown to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Attorneys hired by county over city water fight

Reeves County Commissioners agreed to hire the two attorneys that drafted a contract between the county and the city on water supplies and loan repayments, to review the contract and make a recommendation on the city’s breach of the agreement, as alleged by Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

Commissioners met Monday morning to discuss a variety of issues, but the main one concerned a contract that the county signed with the Town of Pecos City in 2000, which dealt with water supplied to the Reeves County Detention Center and $4.2 million in payments being made by the county over a 10-year period to repay a loan for the construction of the city’s new water field.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told commissioners that he had been meeting with city officials and informed them of their breach of that contract.

On hand for the regular Commissioners Court meeting were Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres, Main Street director Tom Rivera, city utilities director Edgardo Madrid and city councilman Gerald Tellez.

Galindo argued during two city meetings on the water rates that under the agreement between Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City signed five years ago, the county would make repayments on the first 10 years of a 20-year loan used to fund construction of he new South Worsham Water Field. The agreement was worked out in order to provide adequate water supplies to both city customers and to the Reeves County Detention Center, which accounts for 17 percent of the city’s water use.

“What I would like for you to consider is the conclusion and hire our own consultants to analyze their work and figures,” said Galindo.

He said the deal limited transfers of water and sewer funds by the city to the general fund to only $500,000 per year. However, under the new water ordinance, $500,000 is being transferred to the general fund from the water rate fund, while another $670,000 is going to the general fund from the sewer rate revenues.

“This is a breach of our contract and an indirect tax to the whole community,” said Galindo.

Galindo said the water and sewer rate funds should be kept to pay the cost of the state-mandated city infrastructure projects, and to build up a fund towards 2011, when the city will take over the annual $422,000 loan repayment for the South Worsham water field. “We agreed to take up the payments for the first 10 years, to give the city a chance to recuperate and not shock residents of the community with their rates,” said Galindo. “For the first five years the city did not increase their rates, but no adjustments were made to capital improvements, except the breach of contract,” he said.

Galindo told commissioners that every year, more funds were being taken out of the sewer and water and put into the general fund.

“That was not part of the agreement and this is a breach of contract,” said Galindo. Madrid said that he realized that what Galindo was saying was true, but that there was nothing else the city could do at this time.

Councilman Tellez told the group that the county had also breached the contract, because they didn’t notify the city of any further expansion, when they decided to build Reeves County Detention Center III. The agreement with the city was signed at the time the RCDC II unit was being completed.

“We still continued to give you water,” said Tellez. “Even though you didn’t tell us of the expansion.”

Galindo said that he had notified the city of the expansion at the detention center. “I’ll find it in the minutes, but I did notify the city, maybe not in writing, but I was at the meeting,” he said.

City officials approved water and sewer rate increases averaging $28 a month for residential customers, but the RCDC will see its water bill rise by about $4,000 a month under the new rates. City officials have said it would take an increase of 55 cents per $100 in property tax valuations to make up the difference in the $670,000 in sewer funds currently being transferred by the city into its General Fund.

Tellez said that whatever decision the county makes will impact the community, because Pecos makes up the majority of Reeves County.

“What it boils down to is the population of this community,” he said.

In other business Monday morning, commissioners awarded bids to different providers and approved new hires.

Alvarado part of family ticket for top state jobs

A former University of Texas instructor seeking the Texas lieutenant governor’s position paid a visit to Pecos on Wednesday, as part of a 17-city tour across the state. Maria Alvarado is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the position, currently held by Republican David Dewhurst. As of Wednesday, no one had officially filed to run in the March 7 primary on the Democratic side, but Alvarado said she’d do that before the Jan. 2 deadline.

“Right now I’m collecting 5,000 signatures from across the state to qualify for the ballot. After that, we’ll sum up what we have, and we’ll either file the petition or pay the filing fee,” she said.

Alvarado is from San Antonio, but lives in Austin, where she recently resigned her position in the University of Texas-Austin’s psychology department. Prior to that, she spent 21 years in the military, and is a retired master sergeant.

“This is my first run for office,” she said. “My previous political experience was as campaign manager for my brother, Felix Alvarado who ran for congress in 2002 against Joe Barton. As part of that experience it convinced me I’m a Democrat.”

Maria Alvarado is running this time as part of a team with her brother, who is seeking to run for governor in the March Democratic primary. Both are running on the campaign theme of ‘One Texas For All.’

“Basically it is to serve all the people of Texas, whether they’re rural, urban or suburban. In the great state of Texas we should look at all issues fairly,” she said.

She said education reform remains the top issue in the state, and that despite the problems the Texas Legislature has had resolving the issue over the past several years, “I know there’s an answer for the education problem. We just need to frame the problem so it’s soluble to get to some solution.

“Education is important, but any increase in taxes isn’t going to get support, and Texas has enough money now to support it,” she said.

“Texas is very different from north to south and east to west. We need to bring everybody together on these concerns and make sure it’s the people’s issues that are addressed, not big business.”

Alvarado said her trip across the state began last Friday, and will continue through next Thursday, Dec. 22, when she’ll return home to Austin.

Willis defends work as A.D., seeks changes

Problems with the athletic program at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD have been a topic at the regular school board meetings for the past two months, and this time the athletic director had an opportunity to give his side of the story about the program.

Parents and community members discussed the issue at the November school board meeting and brought it to the attention of the board. Last Thursday, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Athletic Director Patrick Willis was on hand for the board’s December meeting at the Technology Center, and replied to some of the charges made during the audience portion of the meeting.

“In June of 2003, Mr. (Don) Love, Mr. (Gome) Olibas, and the board at that time felt I was the person for the Athletic Director/Head Football coaching position here in Pecos and I thank them for this opportunity,” said Willis, who added that he was intrigued by the challenge of coming to Pecos and building a successful all-around athletic program.

“Being a first time head coach, I was a little naïve in thinking it would happen overnight and totally blind to the handicaps that reside in Pecos,” he said. “First of all, I will start with the football program since it is the most high profile. Yes, my record is five wins and 25 losses over three years. We have been two and 18 over the past two years, not very successful in the wins and losses columns.

“My record is what it is. I am not the first A.D. to take over a program and have a slow start. I have been a part of turning a program around before, and sometimes there are growing pains. I chose the path that we have taken thus far. I believe that in order to learn to play at a championship level, you must play teams that play at a championship level.

So, we played the Sweetwaters and the Midland Christians in the preseason knowing our program does not have the tradition, the talent, or the stable coaching staffs that those programs have. We, however, have no control over our tough district schedule. Yes, we took our lumps. However, I feel that in the long run the program will benefit from playing those types of teams.”

Willis told the group that for 18 years prior to him coming to Pecos, Pecos averaged four wins per year. If you take away the El Paso district, it drops to three wins per year.

“If four or five wins is what we are looking for here, that can be easily arranged by making an easier schedule, especially now since we will probably be going back to the El Paso district. Yes, to my own fault, we are below that four-win average. My goal is to be a perennial playoff team. Although we were one and nine the past two seasons, we took steps forward as a program.

“When Sweetwater, Greenwood, and Monahans (all established program) walked off the fields, they respected Pecos. They knew they had to play to win. Yes, there were games we should have won. Yes, there were games we were out coached. Each year we learned from our mistakes and have grown together as a staff, which is a major part of any successful program.”

Willis told the group that as far as coaches were concerned, when he was brought here, he heard all mumbling and grumbling about the coaches that were presently here.

“People told me to get rid of those coaches. I evaluated these coaches for myself and found out that these coaches weren’t any different than coaches from anywhere else.

They wanted to win, they didn’t mind hard work, and they loved the kids. However, most of them have never worked in a successful program. We don’t learn how to be coaches in college. There is no class in college to teach you how to coach.

“Good, successful coaches are taught from being on good staffs that support and groom you. I have been fortunate enough to have been on successful coaching staffs and have learned from some fine coaches. I feel that the coaches that work under me feel that way now and they have learned a lot of football over the past three years,” said Willis.

As far as the overall high school staff, Willis said he felt that we have a good nucleus of coaches that are willing to do whatever it takes to help our athletes be successful. “I believe that will show in the future,” he said.

“Yes, I am aware that our junior high program has a long way to go, not because of who is coaching them, but because of who is not coaching them,” said Willis.

Willis said that this is where Pecos handicaps its coaches.

“First of all, I am not blaming anyone for anything. Mr. (Superintendent Ray) Matthews, Mr. (PHS principal Steve) Lucas, and Mr. (Crockett Jr. High principal Victor) Tarin have been very supportive of the athletic program,” he said.

“We are the only school in our district (probably in West Texas) that does not allow our middle school coaches to have two athletic periods or our offensive and defensive coordinators, head volleyball, and head basketball coaches to have a junior high athletic period. I can’t do it all by myself. Thus, those coaches are not allowed to oversee the development of their feeder programs.

“Questions were raised, ‘Why do we win at the junior high level and lose at the high school.’ You can win on talent alone in the lower levels. However, if you are not being taught fundamentals. The programs that are teaching them will gradually catch you. It has been that the district can’t afford to allow another athletic period for coaches. It doesn’t cost anything. It will only make a few classes increase their sizes by two or three students,” Willis said.

“No, I am not putting athletics ahead of academics. However, if we truly want to compete with successful athletic programs, we have to make the same sacrifices that they do and give our athletic program the same advantage. We have good kids here. Do they not deserve every advantage that everyone else has?,” he said.

Willis said that he has heard rumors that he is supposed to be out by Christmas so the new A.D. can get in here and get started.

“I am in no way going to politic for this job or any other job, and this is not a plea to keep my job. Whether I am here or not, the athletic program will not have long-range success unless things are changed. I have also been told for the past year that certain board members want me out. If that is the case, I have no problem with that.

“If everyone can honestly say that they have been objective about the situation, that I have truly been judged in a fair and law abiding way, and this is truly what the majority of the people whom you represent feel, then I will ride out into the sunset with my dignity intact, knowing that I did right by the athletes of Pecos. However, I don’t feel this is the case and I hope the people of Pecos seek the truth, the whole truth, and ask all the questions that need to be asked,” said Willis.

P-B-T ISD board members are currently in the process of seeking a replacement for Matthews, after the superintendent announced his plans to resign at the end of the current semester to take the same position with the Marlin ISD in Central Texas. The board currently is in the process of working with the Texas Association of School Boards in finding an interim superintendent for the spring semester and to begin advertising for a permanent replacement.

Slack’s Red Bluff board status in doubt

Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members were short of a quorum for their monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pecos, and may be short a member, depending on a ruling by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office.

Only three of the board’s seven members were at the Red Bluff office on Tuesday, and one, Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2 representative Richard C. Slack, said his status on the board was unclear, after Reeves County Commissioners appointed him last month to serve as Reeves County Attorney, following the October resignation of Luis Carrasco from the position.

Board members were seeking word from the state on whether Slack can legally hold both elected positions at the same time. If not, Slack will have to step down from his position as RCWID 2 representative.

“We’re waiting on a call back from the attorney general to see what he decides,” said Slack, who has served for the past 10 years on the Red Bluff board, and before that served for 28 years as the area’s representative in the Texas Legislature, where he helped created the county attorney position he was appointed to in early November.

Slack attended Red Bluff’s November meeting following his appointment, but has not been paid for participating in the meeting to avoid any conflict over holding two paid elected positions. Board president Randall Hartman said the group would probably try again to meet this coming Tuesday, and were hoping for a ruling on Slack’s status by then from Abbott’s office.

Police Report

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.

*** Rodney Randall Rodriguez, 22, 2314 Country Club Dr., was arrested on Dec. 12 on charges of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) under one gram, a State Jail Felony, and possession a drug paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred at 10:34 p.m. as the result of a search warrant in which the cocaine and the paraphernalia allegedly were found inside the residence. Rodriguez was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Eric Medrano, 18, P.O. Box 101 in Barstow, was arrested by police on Dec. 9 on a charge of evading arrest or detention and unlawfully carrying a weapon. Police said the arrest took place after they were called on a report of criminal mischief at 10:59 p.m. in the 800-900 blocks of South Cherry Street. Police were given information about a vehicle involved in the incident, and when it was stopped a short time later, the suspect fled on foot northbound on the 700 block of Hickory Street and across the 400 block of West Seventh Street. Police said Medrano was eventually caught in the front yard of an abandoned residence, where two baseball bats he reportedly had been carrying with him also were found. Medrano was then transported by police to the Criminal Justice Center.

*** Carlos Juan Martinez, 41, 805 S. Cherry St., was arrested on warrants involving assaults at two Laundromats. Police said the incidents occurred on Dec. 10 at Alicia’s Laundry, 1330 S. Cedar St., and at Got Laundry?, 2230 S. Eddy St. Officers located Martinez after the second incident, at 6:24 p.m. and persued him west on Stafford Boulevard to Bickley Avenue, where he was stopped and placed under arrest on charges of aggravated assault, evading arrest or detention, assault causing serious bodily injury and assault causing bodily injury. Martinez was then taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Jesus Manuel Martinez, 28, 1410 S. Plum St., was arrested by police at 9:11 p.m. on Dec. 11 and charged with theft under $50 and public intoxication. Police said the arrest occurred following the report of a beer theft at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St., and Martinez was located a short time later in the 100 block of West Ninth St. He was then taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Emilio Acosta, Jr., 25, of Monahans, was arrested by police on Dec. 9 on a warrant charging him with assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 8:44 p.m. at Sixth and Eddy streets, and Acosta was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Donna Curry, 35, of 95 FM 2119, was arrested by police on Dec. 10 on warrants charging her with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). Police said the arrest took place at 11:19 p.m. in the 800 block of South Pecan Street following a traffic stop, when a records check showed the outstanding warrants. Curry was arrested and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charges.

*** Jerald Ray Gonzalez, 19, 301 S. Lincoln St., was arrested by police on Dec. 10 on a warrant charging him with evading arrest or detention, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 10:11 p.m. in the parking lot at Wal-Mart, 1903 S. Cedar St., and Gonzalez was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charge.

*** Steve Allen Potts, 50, 601 S. Cypress St., was arrested by police on Dec. 7 on a warrant out of Winkler County on a charge of motion to revoke on a 3rd degree felony DWI. Police said the arrest took place at 8:20 p.m. at Potts’ home, and he was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charge.

*** Jose Heriberto Garcia, 21, 920 S. Orange St., was arrested by police on Dec. 7 on a charge of aggravated sexual assault, a first degree felony. Police said the arrested took place while Garcia at 7:48 p.m. was already in custody at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Three people were arrested by Pecos police on Dec. 2 on charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. Police were called to the Quality Inn on South Cedar Street on a report of drug use inside Room 258 of the motel. Officers met with the three people in the room and were given permission to search the area, at which time a substance believed to be methamphetamine was discovered.

The three were identified as Omar Valles Medina, 39, Debbie Anchondo Millan, 31, and Elise Rodriguez, 25. Police said marijuana was also found on Rodriguez, and paraphernalia used in the smoking of methamphetamine and in the packaging of the drug were also located inside the room. All three were taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and were charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, with Rodriguez also being charged with marijuana possession.

*** Priscilla Wright Orosco, 37, 2308 Cactus St., Apt. A, was charged on a warrant for motion to surrender principal on an original charge of tampering with evidence. Police said the arrest took place at 2:07 a.m. on Dec. 3 in the 800 block of East 12th St., Orosco was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charge.

*** Juan Antonio Franco, 20, 510 Martinez St., was arrested by police on Nov. 22 on a charge of failure to identifiy to a peace officer. Police said the arrest took place after Franco was stopped for double-parking in the 1100 block of Washington Street and gave the officer involved two false names and a false date of birth. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charge.

*** Emily Jessica Anderson, 17, and Justin Ray Farrar, 19, both of Tulsa, Okla., and Kelly Jean Bailey, 17, and Brian Joseph Osburn, 17, both of Tahlequah, Okla., were arrested by police on Dec. 1 on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Police said the arrest took place at 3:53 a.m. after they were called to Wal-Mart, 1903 S. Cedar St., in reference to a suspicious vehicle, and found after a records check the vehicle had been reported stolen by the Cherokee County (Okla.) Sheriff’s Department. Anderson and Osburn were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the charge.

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