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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New totals show sales up

The final sales tax check going to the Town of Pecos City in 2005 was over 30 percent above the amount from last year, with December’s increase bringing the city’s overall sales tax increase for the year to better than 10 percent over the total from 2004.

December’s checks were sent out last week by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office, and they showed Pecos received a December check of $68,342, based on its 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8 1/4-cent sales tax. That total was up 30.43 percent from a year ago, when the comptroller sent the city a rebate check for $52,396.

December’s tax rebate check is based on sales reported to the comptroller’s office during the month of October. For all of 2005, the city received $877,989 in sales tax rebates, which was up 10.4 percent from 2004, when Pecos’ tax rebates totaled $795,252.

Out of the city’s 1 1/2 cent tax, the Pecos Economic Development Corp receives a 11/4-cent share for operations. The PEDC received $11,390 out of December’s check and for the year got $146,361 in city sales tax funds for its operating expenses.

The numbers were even better for December for Balmorhea, but not as good overall in 2005 as they were for Pecos, as that city’s tax rebates were down slightly for the year, while Toyah saw it’s tax rebate check drop by double-digits for both the month and for the year as a whole.

Balmorhea’s $872 check for the month represented a 47.33 jump over last year, when the city received $592 in tax rebates for December. However, the $16,905 the city received overall this year from its 1 1/2-cent sales tax was down 3.47 percent from last year, when Balmorhea got $17,514 in sales tax funds.

Toyah’s December check was for $299, which was down 14.21 percent from last year’s $348. Overall, the city got $4,376 back in 2005, down 21.87 percent from the $5,601 it received in 2004.

The biggest increase for the month locally was reported by the Reeves County Hospital District. It’s 1/2-cent sales tax brought the hospital a $36,919 rebate check for December from the comptroller’s office, which was an 86.98 percent increase from last year’s check for $19,745. Overall for 2005, the hospital saw its tax rebate funds increase 6.96 percent, going from $355,046 to $379,785.

Across the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos regions, sales tax rebates checks for the month were generally higher by double-digit amounts, according to the figures released by Strayhorn’s office.

Midland’s check for $1.9 million on its 1 1/2-cent sales tax was up 29.3 percent from last year’s $1.7 million, while Odessa’s $1.37 million check on its 1 1/4-cent sales tax was up by about 24.5 percent from the $1.1 million check it received last December.

For other cities collecting the 1 1/2-cent sales tax, Alpine received $79,296 from Austin, up 26.78 percent from a year ago; Crane received a check for $34,474, up 26.95 percent from last year; Lamesa got $64,482 back from the comptroller’s office, which was up 15.65 percent; and Seminole received a check for $59,633, which was up 17.36 percent. Among cities collecting a one-cent sales tax Kermit received $35,700 in their rebate check, up 29.69 percent; Pyote received a check for $654, which was 149.79 percent above last December’s check; Wickett received a $3,648 check from Austin, up 46.5 percent; and Wink received a check for $4,117, which was up 46.83 percent.

For area cities collecting a 1 3/4-cent sales tax, Andrews’ check for $137,359 was up 107.85 percent from last year, due in part to a 3/4-cent rise since then in the city’s sales tax. Marfa got a check for $16,481, which was 10.94 percent above last year; and Van Horn received a check for $24,771, which was up 1.8 percent from a year ago.

For cities collecting the maximum two-cent sales tax, Big Spring received $352,263, an increase of 22.79 percent; Fort Stockton received $140,952, up 20.43 percent; Monahans received a check for $101,877, which was up 41.8 percent; Grandfalls got a $1,252 check, up 3.81 percent; and Presidio received $27,626, up 42.56 percent.

Statewide, the average increase for Texas cities and counties was 15.82 percent, as Strayhorn’s office sent out December rebate checks totaling $252.8 million, up from $218.3 million last year. The total amount for all of 2005 was $3.15 billion, which was an increase of 8.72 percent from a year ago.

Houston’s $32 million check was the largest individual one sent out this month, and was 19.7 percent higher than a year ago. Dallas’ check was next, at $15.75 million, which was up by 12.18 percent from last December.

Parade’s prize buying clothes for U.S. troops

Prize money won as part of this month’s Pecos Christmas Parade is being converted into clothing and other items for wounded soldiers in Iraq by members of the Pecos High School swim team.

Swim team members earned $50 for their second place float in the Dec. 2 parade, and coach Terri Morse said an additional $50 was donated, and the $100 total was matched by donations from Wal-Mart and TransPecos Banks.

“The kids voted on this unanimously. This is what they wanted to do,” said Morse.

The $300 was used to buy clothing for soldiers being treated at the 47th Combat Support Hospital in Tikrit, Iraq. The clothing included large and XL warm-up tops and bottoms, and cotton tie string pants, along with flip-flops and slippers between sizes 8 and 12. “We got them house shoes and some low-cut socks so they don’t have to walk on that cold floor in the hospital,” Morse said.

Along with the clothing, she said DVDs and some hand-held games were also being shipped to the hospital in Tikrit, which has been one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq due to the insurgency over the past 2 1/2 years since U.S. troops deposed Saddam Hussein and entered the country.

The items were to be sent to Dustin McCrary, a medic at the 47th Combat Support Hospital, and will then be distributed to the wounded soldiers. Morse said they were hoping the items would get there sometime during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday. “They said it usually takes 1-2 weeks to get there, so I guess it will depend on how backed up it is,” she said.

Unemployment falls locally

Unemployment in Reeves County dropped by one-tenth of a percent in November, according to figures released last week by the Texas Workforce Commission, as a slight increase in the county’s labor force was matched by an increase in jobs locally.

The TWC report still shows the number of workers and the number of jobs within the county are down by about five percent from a year ago, but the county’s jobless rate is down by 1.5 percent from November of 2004.

Reeves County had 4,075 workers and 3,786 employed last month, for a 7.1 percent unemployment rate. In October, the total number of workers in the county was 4,061 while the number of employed stood at 3,770, for an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. In November of 2004, Reeves County had 4,354 people in the local workforce in 3,970 jobs, for an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.

While Reeves County’s unemployment dropped slightly, other area counties either had jobless rates that were unchanged or slightly higher in November.

Midland County’s jobless rate was up one-tenth of a percent, from 3.5 to 3.6 percent. The area’s most populated county added 28 jobs from October to November while the workforce increased by 97 people. Ector County’s jobless rate held at 4.2 percent. The county’s labor force grew by 65 people from October to November, while the number of jobs increased by 26. Ector County’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent a year ago.

Andrews County saw its rate rise from 4 percent to 4.1 percent in November, as the county lost 47 people from its workforce and 50 jobs, according to the TWC. Brewster County’s rate was up from 3 percent in October to 3.1 percent last month, as the workforce lost 18 workers and 24 jobs. Crane County’s rate increased from 5.2 to 5.5 percent, as the workforce remained the same while the number of jobs declined slightly, while Culberson County saw its jobless rate go up from 4.2 to 4.5 percent, as it’s workforce shed 24 workers and 27 jobs.

Howard County’s unemployment rate was 5.2 percent last month, up from 4.9 percent in October, as it lost 46 jobs while the labor force shrank by seven workers. Pecos County rate went back up to 4.6 percent, after falling from there to 4.4 percent in October. The county lost 80 workers and 90 jobs during that span. Ward County’s rate increased from 5.3 to 5.4 percent, as the number of jobs dropped by 44 while the number of workers was down 40 from October. Winkler County’s unemployment rate was 5 percent in November, up from 4.8 percent, as the county had 33 fewer workers and 37 fewer jobs than in October.

Presidio County’s rate bumped up from 7.5 to 8.4 percent, the largest monthly increase, but the county’s rate is still well below last November’s 13.3 percent rate. The TWC said the number of workers within the county was down by about 175 since last November, while the number of jobs was up by 13, accounting for the big drop in the jobless rate.

Meanwhile, Loving County’s rate remained at 6.5 percent for the month, as the nation’s least-populated county continued to have 46 people in its workforce with three unemployed. A year ago, the jobless rate there was 6.4 percent, with 47 people in the workforce, and three unemployed.

Chamber holds lighting contest on Wednesday

The annual Christmas Lighting Contest will be held Wednesday throughout the cities of Pecos and Barstow, according to the President of the Women’s Division of the Pecos Chamber Pecos of Commerce.

The Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce is having their annual Christmas Lighting Contest on Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Michelle Workman, president of that organization, told Pecos Chamber of Commerce member s during their Dec 13 meeting.

Winners of Wednesday’s judging will be announced Friday, Dec. 23.

Judges will divide Pecos into eight sections and include the Lindsay Addition and Barstow. One winner will be chosen from each section. All 10 winners will receive a $25 "Pecos Bucks" certificate that can be used at any local chamber member business establishment.

Judges will also vote on the best decorated residential block and local business. These winners will receive a memorable gift.

For more information, contact project chairperson, Mary Ann Gomez at 445-7776 or the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce at 445-2406.

“We will also be judging local businesses, if anyone wants to be included they can contact the chamber,” said Workman.

The women hosted the Annual EMT and Fireman’s Dinner, which was a huge success, according to Workman.

“We had close to 60 people there, including kids and all their families,” said Workman. Door prizes were awarded during the annual event and almost everyone received one, according to Workman.

“We served spaghetti and meatballs and all the trimmings, with lots of desserts,” said Workman. “We appreciate all the donations,” she said.

The next event the group plans to help with, is the Annual Chamber of Comemrce Awards Banquet scheduled for Jan. 26, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

“We want to start planning the decorations for that evening,” said Workman. In other business at the Chamber meeting, executive director Linda Gholson told the group that the next event scheduled is the Reeves County Livestock Show and Sale, which will be Jan. 13-14, at the Civic Center.

“They are already selling tickets for the barbecue that is held during the stock show,” said Gholson.

Rodeo committee member Brenda McKinney updated the group on the annual event. “The new president is Joe Keese and we think he’ll do a great job,” said McKinney. “He’s a smart businessman and we feel he’ll be a real asset.”

McKinney said that at their next meeting they would be voting for a producer. “We’re lacking a few clowns and other things and we’ll be working on those,” she said.

McKinney told the group that the 2006 rodeo will take place several days before the Fourth of July.

“This next year the rodeos will be held on June 28, 29, 30 and July 1,” said McKinney. “We’ll run a little early, but that might help us, because we compete against other big rodeos and we hope to get the good cowboys.”

Chamber member Martin McDaniel spoke to the group about the many activities that his employees have been involved in.

“GEO wants to become involved in the community,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel said that they have already raised $25,000, which will go towards Special Olympics.

“We’re big supporters of Special Olympics and we thank the community for helping us raise those funds,” he said.

McDaniel spoke about the many opportunities at the prison. “When you talk to people about incentives, don’t forget the prison,” he said. “We have all kinds of opportunities.” McDaniel said that he wanted the group to help him put the word out, that employees were always needed at the facility.

“We sponsored Christmas for Kids and some of the employees bought toys for those children,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel also told the group that if they needed help with anything to not hesitate to contact them.

Board member Bill Oglesby passed out copies of the brochure the advertising group is currently working on.

“We want to make sure everything in there is correct, but this is a copy of what we will be handing out,” said Oglesby.

The big sign that will go up at the entrance of Maxey Park has not been installed due to some delays in the weather.

“We hope to have a dedication ceremony,” said Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres.

Martinez eyes judge’s race, makes promise to cut salary

A longtime Reeves County Commissioner is considering entry into the race for Reeves County Judge, and taken the first step by filing his treasurer’s designation with the county clerk’s office.

Bernardo Martinez, who served for 20 years as commissioner for Precinct 4 in Reeves County, said he is waiting to gauge public reaction before he formally files to run in the March 7 Democratic Party primary election. All candidates seeking to run in the primary have to file forms with county Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean by Jan. 2.

“I served as a member of the commissioners court for 20 years, and I want to continue working to improve the job opportunities for my community as your next county judge of Reeves County,” said Martinez.

However, Martinez said he is waiting to see the reaction of the public to a pledge to cut the salary of the county judge by over 40 percent, before paying the filing fee to enter the race.

“Here is a promise I plan to keep. If elected as your Reeves County Judge, I will lower my salary by: current salary- $55,209, minus salary cut, $25,209, which would lower the judge’s salary to $30,000,” he said.

Martinez said the cut in the annual salary, along with a $1,928.19-FICA-Payroll tax reduction and a $1,764.63 cut in the retirement pay to the judge would go to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health fund.

“In a four year term: $28,902 per year times four equals $115,611, which will be transferred to health insurance fund,” Martinez said. Martinez served from 1978 to 1998 on the commissioner’s court, before losing re-election in 1998 to “Hivi” Rayos, who plans to seek a third term as Precinct 4 commissioner in the 2006 primary election.

Martinez has been a resident of Reeves County all his life. He was born in Saragosa, to the late Eligio Roman Martinez and the late Julia Trevino Martinez, who also lived most of their lives ranching and farming in the Balmorhea and Saragosa area until the family moved to Pecos when Bernardo was five years old.

“My first elected office, January of 1979, was for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 4. I served the voters of that precinct for 20 years. During those early years in office, one of the most important efforts of the commissioners court was to find ways to secure jobs for our citizens. Such an effort was initiated in 1985 when the Reeves County Judge, the local sheriff, the U.S. Marshal from the 12th District, and then Reeves County Attorney Scott Johnson, and I, traveled to Dallas to secure financing for the Reeves County Detention Center,” said Martinez.

Construction of the multiplex center continues to provide jobs for Reeves County residents, according to Martinez.

“The objects was to find ways to create jobs for the community. The effort started in 1985 resulted in probably the second largest employer of the job force in Reeves County with the employees now generating millions of economic dollars. The bottom line: mission accomplished,” said Martinez.

During his tenure as a member of the Reeves County Commissioners Court another accomplishment was securing the $500,000 grant to create jobs at the old Automotive Proving Grounds (APG) facility. The loan was paid in full with interest, according to Martinez.

“A major responsibility of the county judge is the contacts that need to be established with the state and national governments. That is my commitment. I will communicate and visit when necessary with state and national representatives. When Reeves County needs help, we must utilize the resources that are provided by state and national representatives,” he said.

“I will conduct, in the best interests of the citizens of Reeves County, the business of the county in a positive manner for its taxpayers,” said Martinez.

“To assure my commitment to communicate with the citizens whom I serve: my home phone number is 432-445-3712; my cell number, 432-448-7677 and my fax number is 432-445-3153,” said Martinez.

Carillo assigned new position

Staff Sergeant Corine M. Carillo has recently been assigned to the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Bellevue, Washington. His recruiting station is responsible for Army Recruiting on the East Side in Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond and Mercer Island and surrounding communities.

Carillo has had assignments as a 25Q with B Company, 121st Signal Battalion in Kitzingen, Germany (1998-2001) and with B Company, 29th Signal Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA (2001-2005). Carillo enjoys basketball, model planes and boats, drawing and painting.

He is a 1993 graduate of Mazano High School in Albequerque, New Mexico.Carillo is the son of Juan and Cruz M. Carillo of Amarillo.

Carillo was born in Pecos and grew up in Hereford. He and his wife, Stephanie, live in Federal Way, Washington with their children, Marcus, Nicole and Ella. Stephanie Carillo’s parents are Bob Seaton of Los Angeles, Calif. and Linda LaVres of Las Vegas, Nev.

143rd District Court Report

143rd District Court (Ward, Reeves & Loving Counties) Judge Bob Parks, Judge Presiding Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 2005

Civil Cases Filed:

CACV of Colorado, LLC vs. Sylvia Cardenas, account-note-contract case filed 11-30-05. One family case was re-activated on a motion to confirm child support.

Civil Cases Disposed:

State of Texas vs. $19,000 U.S. Currency, et al, a notice of seizure and forfeiture case; agreed final judgment entered wherein $1,900 of the $19,000 was found to be contraband and $17,100 is not subject to forfeiture and is subject to return to Respondents. The $1,900 plus any and all interest accrued is forfeited, 70 percent of the Texas Department of Public Safety and 30 percent to the Reeves County District Attorney, to be placed into the appropriate funds; to be administered in compliance with their local agreement and audited in accordance with law. Also the pistol is forfeited to the TDPS.

Keith Lytle, Jr., as Representative of the Estate of Edna Tyars vs. Luther Tyars, breach of contract case, was settled and an Order of Non-Suit was filed 11-30-05.

State of Texas vs. 1992 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup, a notice of seizure and forfeiture case; motion by the State to dismiss and order entered granting dismissal with prejudice.

General Motors Acceptance Corporation vs. Susie Saenz; account-note-contract case; suit dismissed, without prejudice to the right of Plaintiff to refile. All costs of court having been paid, no execution shall issue. All sureties on Plaintiffs bond for sequestration are released and discharged from liability.

One family case was disposed by order on a motion to modify.

One family case was disposed by an order on a petition affecting parent-child relationship.

Criminal Cases:

State of Texas vs. Diane Morales, offense; tampering with governmental records; defendant filed a motion for early release from probation and order entered overruling the motion.

Two Motions to Adjudicate Guild were filed but the defendants are currently unarrested.

State of Texas vs. Arturo Hernandez, offense; evading arrest or detention with vehicle; an order amending conditions of community supervision (probation) as follows: Defendant shall serve an indeterminate term of not more than 24 months in a residential treatment center and abide by all rules and regulations thereof; pay a percentage of income to the center; participate in all programs; remain at the center and not depart therefrom without written permission; submit to breath anaylsis or urinalysis as directed; participate in alcoholics anonymous or narcotics anonymous or other substance abuse groups as directed; participate in 130 hours in a court-approved work projects (community service sites); not consume alcohol or use controlled or illegal substances; reimburse the county for the fees of court-appointed attorney, if any.

State of Texas vs. Nanette Ramirez, offense: theft by a public servant; defendants community supervision was revoked and she was sentenced to eight years in the Institutional Division of the

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). State of Texas vs. Roger Matta, Jr., an application for writ of habeas corpus was filed and an agreed order reducing bond was filed.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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