Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Thomas named Citizen of Year during banquet
By ROSIE FLORES
A longtime worker at the West of the Pecos Museum and participant in many other activities in Pecos was honored as Citizen of the Year at this year’s Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held Saturday.
Debbie Thomas was presented with the 2004 award by Mayor Dot Stafford during the banquet at the Reeves County Civic Center. The award was the last of those presented Saturday night to local residents for their work within the community.
“For many years, Debbie volunteered with the area Girl Scouts in various capacities, including setting up programs, projects and field trips for the Scouts,” said Stafford.
Thomas was an active member in the Business and Professional Women’s Club and was elected president in 1992 and 1997; for several years she served on the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee as the Box Seat Manager; has been involved with the Night in Old Pecos and Cantaloupe Festival for several years and has been chairman for the last couple of years; is one of the originators of the Flea Market and Auction and works countless hours of organizing this growing event.
“She feels passionate about the Main Street Project and is currently the president of the Main Street Board,” said Stafford. “She has been instrumental in helping to get the Main Street accreditation for Pecos.”
Thomas is also a member of the Key Opinion Leaders Board and is very dedicated and excited with working with various community leaders that share her vision on how to make Pecos a better place, she added.
A tearful Thomas accepted the award and thanked everyone.
Other award winners on Saturday included Pecos police officer Mike Balog, who was instrumental in helping out all the citizens of Toyah during last April’s flood and was named Hidden Hero for 2004 and awarded the Ruiz Profile of Courage Award.
Balog helped find shelter and provide clothing for Toyah residents, after their homes were flooded when a levee broke in the overnight hours of April 4, flooding two dozen homes in the community.
Balog currently serves on three different boards in the West Texas Area, the American Red Cross of South West Texas, the Permian Basin Regional Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Keep Pecos Beautiful. He is coordinator of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Disaster Action Team. The team won the Red Cross Disaster Team of the Year and Balog awarded Disaster Volunteer of the Year by the Red Cross for his help during the Toyah flood.
Balog is a Red Cross Disaster Instructor, and is an instructor for the Red Cross for first aide, CPR and AED, is the coordinator and an instructor for the Citizens Police Academy, is the coordinator for the Citizens Police Academy Alumni - which have won awards and he has involved its members in several community boards such as Crime Stoppers, Keep Pecos Beautiful and Fall Fair to name a few.
Balog is the coordinator for the Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and Campus Crime Stoppers, is coordinator for the Citizens Emergency Response Team and was able to obtain over $17,000 in grant monies from Homeland Securities for this project.
Balog is in charge of a local program “National Center for Missing and Exploited Children” and was able to obtain a grant for a local computer system. He initiated and raised funds and worked with the city council to get a Skate Board Park started in Pecos for the youth.
Balog is a TCLEOSE Instructor, teaches at the OC Police Academy, is a firearms instructor, crime prevention inspector, SWAT Team member, a member of the Underwater Search and Rescue Team and is the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.
He does two programs a month on KIUN Radio on Crime Prevention and coordinates the “Behind the Badge” program on KIUN Radio.
Brenda McKinney presented the award to Balog and said, “While a lot of these programs fall under the realm of his job as Community Officer for the Pecos Police Department, most of them are above and beyond the call of his job description.”
“Mike gives 100 percent to everything he is involved in and is somehow able to keep a smile on his face at all times. His hat rack must be pretty loaded to handle all of the hats he wears,” said McKinney. “Did you know he was involved in so many things? I am sure you did not. That is what a hidden hero is. One who is willing to give and give, and not brag about what all he/she has accomplished,” she said.
“I enjoy serving this community,” said Balog.
Balog went on to thank McKinney and the city council for backing all his projects.
“This community is awesome, they give and give,” said Balog. “There is one person here in Pecos that is my personal hidden hero, that gives 100 percent to everything, my wife, Anita Balog.”
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews presented the Educator of the Year Award to Brian Williams.
Williams and taught and coached in Pecos since 1979. He has coached 9-10 year old pee-wee football; and has served as health-physical ed. teacher, high school trainer, junior high coach (football-basketball track), JV boys basketball-track; head girls basketball coach - assistant track; department chair for Social Studies last three years and UIL Coordinator last two years.
“I came from Oklahoma a long time ago, and I know it was a long time ago, because kids that I taught will come in and I’ll ask them what they’re doing there and they say, ‘I came to see my son’,” said Williams.
“Pecos is a great town to live in, and its like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz said ‘there’s no place like home,’” he said.
Williams thanked everyone for the award and said that he enjoyed living and teaching in Pecos.
Council awaiting final decision on rifle range
By JON FULBRIGHT
A meeting to discuss the fate of the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Range was held Monday morning, after City Council members were given an update on the status of the range amid complaints by nearby golfers and staff at the Pecos Municipal Airport during the council’s meeting on Thursday at City Hall.
The council discussed problems with the rifle range earlier in February, after they were told by Pecos Municipal Airport manager Isabel Blanchard that bullets from one of the target areas at the range were going over the berm and landing on the runway and taxiway at the airport.
A commission was set up following that meeting, and Police Chief Clay McKinney told the county that the 100-yard range, which is angled towards the airport, has been closed.
“There is a meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss making this range safe,” McKinney said. “We have some ideas on it, or if not, we can close it down.”
Members of the committee met on Monday at City Hall, and the results of that meeting will be discussed by the council during their next regular meeting on March 10.
Councilmember Gerald Tellez, who is a member of the committee, said he talked with Blanchard about meeting with the Federal Aviation Administration about the status of the airport.
“We can request a survey by the FAA to determine if it’s safe on the approaches, Blanchard said. “We can request by completing a form an airspace survey.”
However she said that if the request is made the airport would be in non-compliance with the FAA rules on safety until after the survey is completed. Because of that, she said the range should be shut down completely before any survey request is made.
“I can relay that request to the committee,” McKinney said. “I’m sure they want to do what’s right.”
Local resident Greg Mitchell also spoke to the council on Thursday about the possible dangers the range poses to golfers at the nearby Reeves County Golf Course. The council was told earlier last month that the Pecos Men’s Golf Association had voiced concerns about the range, which is located to the west of the holes at the south end of the course.
Council members approved a request by Dennis Thorp of the Pecos Emergency Medical Service to offer a flat-rate annual fee for ambulance service to offer the EMS Lifeline program to local residents.
He said the program already is being offered in Odessa and is a voluntary service that would cover any ambulance costs during the year for local residents for a flat $60 fee.
“If you’re covered by insurance, you’re membership in the program covers the deductible,” Thorp told the council. He said insurance usually covers about 80 percent of the ambulance cost, and that the average cost per person transported by the EMS is about $600.
Thorp said the offer would save money for those using the service while at the same time helping the Pecos EMS with its chronic budget deficit problems, due in part to difficulties collecting payments.
“For people of Medicaid, if they say you’re going to pay X amount of dollars for the bill we have no legal recourse ,” he said. “With Medicare, they pay even less on the dollar.”
“For people with no insurance, if you are a member you will not receive a bill, so it’s a good thing both ways. It helps them and it helps us with the bottom line deficit of the EMS.”
Thorp said initially the program in Odessa was used by only 1 percent of local residents, but that number increased after residents were given the option of attaching the fee to their monthly water bill. He said if 10 percent of local residents participated, that would give t he Pecos EMS an additional $42,000, based on 7,000 households in the city.
Thorp said the new city software could handle that type of addition to the water bill, and that officials with Madera Valley Water and the city of Balmorhea also were receptive to the plan.
“We can help pay the Balmorhea EMS with their problem, because their collections are not any better than ours,” he said. “They only make 50-60 calls a year, so we can help those guys out for very little money.”
“I always thought it was a good idea since it was advertised in Odessa,” mayor Dot Stafford said, and council members approved the proposal pending final review by city attorney Scott Johnson, who was not at Thursday’s meeting.
In other action, the council approved on second and final reading a tax abatement ordinance for the Pecos downtown historical district. Under the new law, building owners who put $2,000 or more in improvements into their structure will receive a 100 percent tax abatement on the improvements for one-year, with the abatement declining by 20 percent for each of the next five years, until full taxes are paid on the building in the sixth year.
The council also authorized the removal of two junked vehicles from 621 S. Maple St., after efforts to find the owners of the van and car failed.
“Isn’t there a 90-day or 100-day sticker put on the vehicle,” asked council member Danny Rodriguez. McKinney said that rule applied to vehicles abandoned on highways, and city manager Joseph Torres said the action to remove the car and van complied with he city’s 60-day rule on abandoned vehicles. He added that the wrecker service that removes the vehicles would also have to attempt to contact their owners.
“We do have a pretty serious junk vehicle problem in the city,” said councilman Frank Sanchez. “I drove around a couple of weeks ago with the city manager and he showed me the problem.”
Community Affairs Officer Mike Balog also updated the council about plans to apply for a 2005 Citizens Corporation Grant, though the Department of Homeland Security. He said the city received a grant from this program last year and is seeking $20,338 this year.
“The bulk of (the last grant) was to train community emergency response teams and to get new equipment,” Balog said. “This grant would pay for equipment to train 20 additional members and to refurbish Neighborhood Watch Program signs.”
He added they were planning to purchase 300 new Neighborhood Watch signs for Pecos.
City eyes grant to build, rehab low-cost homes
By JON FULBRIGHT
Town of Pecos City Council members authorized city officials to seek funding for a housing project that would provide as many as 10 new homes or the rehabilitation of up to 20 homes occupied by low-income residents.
The $500,000 grant would come through the Home Investment Partnerships Program of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. It would allow for the construction of up to 10 homes at $50,000 each, or the rehabilitation of as many as 20 local homes, council members were told by Edgardo Madrid, the city’s public works and utilities director.
He said that as part of a 2001 study by the state, it was determined there were 321 occupied homes in Pecos that were considered dilapidated and in need of replacement. Overall the study said there were 2,000 houses in need of rehabilitation, and that the city had 52 dilapidated homes in need of demolition, while just five new homes were being built per year.
“The good thing about this is the planning study is going to help us out,” Madrid said. “That information is with the state right now, so they know we do need help.”
Madrid said there were three options available to the city to receive the state funds, but favored the TDHCA option.
“The city has to have matching funds, but it’s minimal and something the city can afford at this time,” Madrid said. He added that Balmorhea received a similar housing grant from the state last year.
“I don’t want to be put in the same situation as with the ORCA grant. The council wasn’t fully informed,” said councilman Frank Sanchez, referring to a 2002 housing grant the cit received from the Office of Rural Community Affairs.
The $400,000 grant the city received thee years ago was to be used to help with the construction of 20 homes along Washington and Adams streets. But the project has only produced one new home so far because many people were unable to qualify for the loans needed to get one of the homes, and no new construction at all has been done in the past 14 months.
The city was due to begin repaying the grant to the state in March, but has received a one-year extension from ORCA on its first repayment date, city secretary Connie Levario said on Friday.
Madrid said any action taken towards getting the new grant would require final approval from the council. Thursday’s vote was only to authorize seeking to apply for the project.
“At this point we are not paying for it. The state is paying for it, so let’s go ahead.”
Madrid passed out a sheet to the council listing the criteria for selecting local residents to receive new or rehabilitated homes. They include income level, age, single head of household, family size and disability. Other factors include length of local residency length of current home ownership, structural conditions and any veteran status for the homeowner.
Families who qualify would have to earn no more than 80 percent of the area median family income, which on the list provided by Madrid came to $29,000 for Reeves County.
“We’re talking handicapped people, low income, elderly,” Madrid said. “These people sometimes can’t afford to make a payment.”
Aside from the state funds, Madrid said there were two other options for the city. They involved receiving U.S. Department of Agriculture housing rehab funds, which would be $7,500 per home, or going through the Texas Community Development Board. However, Madrid said the city already has an outstanding TCDB grant, which is going to fund the current water line improvement and sewer line extension projects.
Council member Angelica Valenzuela asked Madrid if there would be any requirements for upkeep for those receiving the new or rehabilitated homes. Madrid said city officials would get back with the council on working out the requirements after work is done drawing up the grant application.
Teen found dead east of Toyah after accident
An Odessa teen was killed in an overnight accident Saturday morning east of Toyah on Interstate 20 that wasn’t discovered until several hours later.
Jeremy Clinton Sanchez, 19, of Odessa, was killed when the pickup he was driving went off the road and down an embankment in the Salt Draw area of I-20, 5.2 miles east of Toyah. According to the report filed by Department of Public Safety trooper Roy Lytle, the accident probably happed about 2 a.m. as Sanchez was driving westbound towards Toyah on I-20.
Lytle said the pickup first drifted left across the roadway before going into the center median. It continued westbound in the media before going off the embankment and rolling several times. Sanchez was partially ejected, but because the vehicle went down the embankment it was not discovered until after sunrise on Saturday.
Sanchez was pronounced dead by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, and his body was taken to Pecos Funeral Home, which is handling funeral arrangements. There were no other passengers in the pickup with Sanchez.
Longtime HS band director Carrico dies
The longtime band director for Pecos High School in the 1960s and 1970s died last week in San Angelo.
Wilfred Thomas “Bill” Carrico, 84, who served as PHS band director for 20 years, died on Feb. 24, 2005 in San Angelo, after a short illness.
“We would like to thank each and every person who took the time to e-mail our dad, wish him well and reminisce with him. He received more than 100 e-mails from former students,” Carrico’s family said in an e-mail. “His memory was remarkable to the end. He remembered each and every person who wrote him; remembering details about the instruments they played, part they sang and more. He relived the stories you told and many more that he remembered about you.
The family said the funeral Mass for Carrico would be on Wednesday at Holy Angels Church in San Angelo, followed by a graveside service at 4 p.m. in Vance, Texas.
“Several years ago former students started a scholarship in his name. As a small token of our appreciation, please know that we, his children, are making a donation to the Bill Carrico Scholarship Fund in your name, ‘Friends of Bill Carrico’,” the family wrote.
Carrico, who earned numerous honors for his musical career as both a performer and director, retired 22 years ago after heading of the music department at Pecos High School for 33 years. In 2000 the band hall at Pecos High School was renamed in honor of Carrico, who served as director fro 1960 through 1980.
He had also taught at high schools in Eldorado, Laredo, Fort Stockton and Alpine.
Carrico was born in Dallas, Texas to William Lee and Lefa Ellen Harper Carrico, on Jan. 1, 1921.
Carrico was featured with his parents and older brother John as the Carrico Family Quartet at the 1932 Chicago World’s Fair.
Carrico, who was honored as the top high school trumpet player in the state of Texas for three consecutive years, was called the youngest director in the Southwest because he began his directing career at age 11. He earned both his bachelor and master degrees in music education from Sul Ross State University. The high school choirs and marching, concert and stage bands he directed for over 42 years earned hundreds of awards and honors in Texas and Oklahoma. Beginning as a teenager and continuing into his 70s, Mr. Carrico also played in several professional bands that performed throughout Texas.
He was a founding member of the Texas Music Educators Association and was inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.
For several years, he served as a judge for the Reno International Jazz Festival, then the largest in the world, as well as numerous state and local competitions in the Southwest.
Carrico ran a summer twirling school in Pecos for many years that attracted students from across West Texas and also taught at many music camps, including an annual summer camp at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
He was an active member of Phi Beta Mu, the American Federation of Musicians, the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and the University Interscholastic League state music advisory committee over the years.
Carrico is survived by sons and daughters-in-law Craig and Laura Carrico of North Richland Hills, Texas; Brett and Kathy Carrico of Chugiak, Alaska; Lance and Kathleen Carrico of San Angelo, Texas; and daughter and son-in-law Mary Lisa and Terry Boose of Norwalk, Ohio. He has 13 grandchildren - Katy, Travis, Danielle, Orrin, Lucas, Ethan, Megan, Shannon and Jack Carrico; and Will, Brynna, Weston and Joel Clayton Boose.
Other survivors include sisters-in-law Sammie Jo Lane, of San Angelo; and Helen Carrico, of Reno, Nevada. He also is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Reba Modell Burleson Carrico, in 1983 and by a grandson, Clayton Thomas Carrico Boose, in 1988.
Gomez completes basic training
Pvt. Jaime Orona Gomez Jr. of the Army Reserves graduated from Basic Training on Feb. 11, in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
He was transferred to Fort Lee, Virginia where he is to continue his training.
Gomez is the son of Connie Orona and Jaime Gomez of Pecos.
His grandparents are Santiago and Manuela Orona, Mary Gallegos and the late Cipriano Gomez.
An international affairs program held
The Modern Study Club met recently in the home of Etta Bradley in Pecos for an International Affairs Department Program planned and presented by Nan Cate, Department Chairman. Her thought-quote for the program was - “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” - Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Cate’s program was entitled, “A United Europe: Advantages and Problems.”
Prior to her presentation Mrs. Cate passed out maps of Europe and a sheet showing the Structure of the Government of the European Union.
Mrs. Cate then told that the Study of the European Union was being presented to show how the Union of 25 countries have joined together to form an institution which has been advantageous to all, economically and politically.
She continued, “It started with one man, Robert Schuman, who in 1951 saw the potential for conflict on the borders of France and Germany of the coal mines and steel mills. There had been conflict there before and he thought it would be better for all to cooperate. Six countries, Belgium, France, German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands joined together to form the European Coal and Steel Community. This union was successful and in 1973 Briton, Denmark and Ireland joined and the name changed to the European Union. Other countries have joined and now 25 nations have joined, with the rest of the countries of Europe petitioning to join.
Certain criteria must be met in order to be allowed to join - the country must have a democratic government, show respect for human rights, must obey the law and it must have a free market economy, she said.
Mrs. Cate told that the European Union is becoming a powerful force in the world. Only China and India have more people united, only the United States has a higher Gross Domestic Product.
The European Union government is organized in much the same manner as other democracies of the world with some variation - a parliament, an Executive Commission and a Court of Justice, according to Mrs. Cate.
In conclusion she stated that the European Union government does not take the place of the governments of the member states but is instrumental in delivering stability, peace, prosperity and has strengthened Europe’s voice in the world.
Mrs. Cate’s presentation was very informative and interesting.
Club President Lena Harpham presided during the meeting. The Club Collect was led by Jean Olsen. The pledges to the United States of America flag and the Texas flag were led by Catherine Travland. Secretary Joyce Morton read the minutes of the Nov. 10, Dec. 14 and Jan. 12 meetings which were approved as read.
Joyce Morton, Reports Chairman, sent 17 reports in to Western District Chairman, prior to the Feb. 1 deadline. Modern Study Club members serving as District Chairmen were reminded of the deadline for their reports to be sent to the state.
A copy of The Modern Study Club’s Club Profile which had previously been sent to Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Archives in Denton on the North Texas State University Campus was filed with the minutes.
Paula Fuller, Ways and Means Chairman, recommended the Fund Raiser Bake Sale be held on March 11 and this date was chosen. Trans Pecos Bank will be the location.
Nan Cate, parliamentarian, recommended a change in Article III, Section 7 of the by-laws pertaining to dues. Joyce Morton made the motion to amend, it was seconded by Catherine Travland and carried by vote. Mrs. Cate will present planned changes at the next meeting.
It was reported that the supplier of the Books for Babies provided by The Modern Study Club for Newborn Baby Packets at Reeves County Hospital no longer carries the books. There has been difficulty in locating a new source.
Arts Chairman Joyce Morton presented each member with a booklet of poems written by club members at the previous meeting.
Roll call was answered by telling where one’s ancestors came from.
Hostesses Martha Jay and Catherine Travland served delicious refreshments to the 10 members present.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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