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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Third RCH spot gets candidate before deadline

The only remaining race without a candidate in the May 7 city, school and hospital district elections in Pecos now has someone running for that spot, but only one election was assured of being contested going into the final hours before the filing deadline on Monday.

Saragosa resident Terry Honaker filed to fill the unexpired term for Precinct 3 on the Reeves County Hospital District board, RCH Administrative Assistant Nadine Smith said Monday morning. The Precinct 3 seat is a one-year term, which became vacant last year due to the death of board member Bill Wendt.

Two other seats are up for election in May on the hospital board, and as of Monday morning only the incumbents had filed to run in the election. Board president Linda Gholson has filed for a new two-year term representing Precinct 2, while Pablo Carrasco has filed for another term as Precinct 2 representative.

The only race assured of being contested is the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD race. Incumbents Paul Deishler and Billie Sadler are seeking new three-year terms and will be challenged by former school board member David Flores in the May 7 election. P-B-T secretary Tracey Shaw said the drawing for positions on the May 7 ballot would take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the P-B-T school administration office, located at 1302 S. Park St.

In the Town of Pecos City Council all three incumbents have filed, but as of Monday there were no challengers for the seats on those two boards.

Mayor pro-tem Gerald Tellez and councilmen Danny Rodriguez and Frank Sanchez are all seeking new two-year terms on the council. If there are no other candidates to file in the city or hospital district races, those elections can be cancelled in order to save money. In the Balmorhea city elections incumbent Ike Ward is the only candidate to have entered the race so far. Along with Ward, the seats currently held by Sammy Baeza and Dora Woodruff on the council are up for election.

In the Balmorhea ISD elections, the terms of Jesse Matta, Javier Lozano and Jaime Barragan are up this year, and the three incumbents have filed for re-election, but as of yet no challengers have entered the race.

Barstow voters will be deciding four races in the May 7 vote. Olga Abila, Dora Villaneuva and Ted Porras won election two years ago to the seats that will be decided in May. They all have filed for new terms, as has Abram Flores, who was elected in 2004 to an unexpired one-year term, city secretary Jo Allgood said.

Early voting for the May 7 election will get underway on April 20 and run through May 3.

Council delays move to change economic development tax use

Pecos City Council members took no action this past Thursday took no action on a proposal to convert the city’s 4A sales tax to 4B use, which would allow the tax to be used to fund a wider variety of projects.

Council members are scheduled to discuss a plan to procure infrastructure improvements for the downtown Pecos area under the city’s Main Street program, during their meeting set for 7 a.m. this Thursday at City Hall, and will also receive an update on the status of the rifle range near Pecos Municipal Airport as part of their regularly scheduled meeting. Under the current law the city is operating under, sales tax funds going towards the Pecos Economic Development Corp. can be used for business purposes only. Conversion to a 4B corporation would allow funds to be used for a wider range of projects, such as sports facilities and parks.

“For better education for the council, members felt that they weren’t as well informed on the 4B rate as they wanted to be,” said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford. She added that the council plans to talk with state officials about the differences between 4A and 4B corporations before any action is taken.

“We’re going to talk with Scott Joslove with the State Economic Development Board, and we’re thinking about having a Town Hall meeting, so not only the council members, but the whole community could be better informed,” Stafford said.

Conversion to a 4B corporation would allow tax funds to go towards projects such as upgrading the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, which had to undergo emergency repairs to its south stands last June, just prior to the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Funds already are being sought for the project through a ballot initiative that will be part of the May 7 general election. Council members approved a referendum that would institute a city/county venue tax on local motel customers. The 2 percent tax would be designed to fund renovations to both the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and the Reeves County Civic Center.

For this week’s council meeting, along with the downtown infrastructure and the riles range update, the council will also consider an ambulance subscription service proposal, award pharmaceutical bids and discuss and officially order the May 7 election, while approve the central counting station and appointment of officials for the election.

The city has been discussion closure of the rifle range since bullets were found on the runway and taxiway at the Pecos Municipal Airport. A committee was appointed to look into the situation, and see if changes could be made to the range, or if it would have to be shut down permanently.

The council was briefed on the subscription plan during their Feb. 24 meeting. Under it, local residents would pay a flat fee annually for ambulance service usage, and would not be charged above that amount during the year. Dennis Thorp of the Pecos EMS said the plan is being used in Odessa, and would allow the service to improve its current budget situation, while providing residents insurance against unexpected ambulance usage costs. Other items on Thursday’s agenda include monthly municipal court and juvenile reports, and payment of bills for Feebruary.

SWAT team’s drug raids net pot, coke busts

Pecos Police officers were busy last week executing narcotics search warrants at four locations that led to the arrest of five individuals for various offenses, including cocaine and marijuana possession.

Three of the four incidents occurred last Tuesday, March 1. In the first, Police said that at 7:08 p.m. the department’s SWAT Team executed a narcotics search warrant at 733 Martinez Street.

“Two male subjects and a female subject were inside the residence at the time,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

Deishler said that Joel Escontrias Alvarado, 18, was arrested for the offense of being in possession of dangerous drugs (unmarked pain pills) at the time and was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center where he was released to the jail staff on duty. Alvarado also held an active capias Pecos Police warrant at the time for a Class C Misdemeanor.

Also arrested during this narcotics search was Rene Quinones, 19, for possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, a State Jail Felony; possession of marijuana under two ounces, a Class B Misdemeanor and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C Misdemeanor.

On that same day, at 8:39, the Pecos Police Department SWAT Team executed a narcotics search warrant at 2025 Ivey St., and arrested Omar Valles Medina, 38, for possession of a controlled substance, cocaine- Second Degree Felony, at his residence. Medina was transported to the Pecos City Jail where he was released to the jail staff on duty.

The third search warrant executed by the SWAT team was for a home at 915 S. Elm St. “Upon officers’ arrival the defendant fled on foot from uniformed officers,” said Deishler.

“He was then detained and searched and a white powdery substance was located on his person,” he said.

Arrested was Raul Dominguez Gabaldon, 32, was arrested for evading arrest or detention - Class B Misdemeanor; assault causing bodily injury - Class A Misdemeanor and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) - a Third Degree Felony.

The fourth search warrant was executed last Thursday, when police officers executed a narcotics search warrant at 801 N. Cypress St., the home of Domingo Mata Jr., 38. “During the search of the residence, officers found inside the residence a substance believed to be marijuana,” said Deishler.

Also during the search, officers found various types of narcotic paraphernalia commonly used with the smoking of marijuana, according to Deishler.

Officers completed their search of the premises and Mata was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school (Lamar A.E.P.), a Third Degree Felony and possession of drug paraphernalia - Class C. Misdemeanor. Mata was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and released to the jail staff for booking.

RBTI management firm earns state award

The company hired to manage the RBTI sites in Reeves County and surrounding areas has been nominated for the Texas Environmental Excellence Award for small business. Ahntech Inc., which is based in San Diego, manages the Air Force (Pecos) Electronic Scoring Site (ESS) whose main location is in Reeves County. They also have sub-locations in Pecos County near Imperial, Girvin and Bakersfield as well as the Smithers Test Track area in Reeves County and near Nine Point Mesa in Brewster County.

Ahntech was awarded a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) C2 compliance certificate last August. The nomination came last fall to the surprise of the sites Quality Control Inspector, Mike Barber of Monahans, who manages the sites environmental program. Barber spearheaded an overhaul of the sites program at the request of the Site Manager, Bill Kilby of Fort Stockton, and wasted no time in making sweeping changes.

Barber invited the TCEQ to come and have a look at the sites procedures. The TCEQ has a no cost program called “Site Visit Program for C2 Certification”. Through this program an outside environmental consulting agency comes in and takes an in depth look at a companies overall environmental program. Several months later the company receives a report on areas for improvement. Barber made quick work of making the necessary changes and started the process rolling.

In January the site was visited by a group of inspectors from the Air Combat Command Headquarters in Langley AFB in Virginia, who could not find one area of environmental concern. Kilby attributes this to the attention to detail paid by Mr. Barber and his efforts in assuring that follow-ups and closure was accomplished on each item.

The winner of the award will be announced by mid April. Ahntech has also been invited to the awards banquet to be held in Austin on May 3, 2005.

Sheriff’s group seeks members for association

Responding to the increased number of citizens wanting to assist law enforcement officials and build a stronger partnership in the fight against crime, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez announced that local citizens are being invited to become associate members of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas.

Membership will go out in the mail shortly. The funding provides critically technical resources, training, and legislative support on key criminal justice issues.

In addition, dues will be used to support crime prevention and awareness programs, promote public safety, fight drug abuse, provide additional training for Sheriffs and their Deputies, and provide scholarships for children of law enforcement officers.

Contributions are tax-deductible.

“The Associate Membership Drive helps provide the funding which is vital to helping us carry out our mission of making our communities safer places to live, work and play,” said Sheriff Gomez.

Citizens not receiving a membership appeal or desiring more information can obtain it by contacting the Sheriff’s Association of Texas at 1601 S. IH-35, Austin, Texas 7874 or visit the website at .

The Associate Membership Program was begun to provide citizens with an opportunity to lend their support to more effective law enforcement and to better help local Sheriffs protect the lives and property of citizens.

“As the need for building stronger public-private law enforcement partnerships in this county continues to escalate, programs such as this continue to grow in importance,” said Gomez. “I encourage every citizen and business receiving a membership appeal to consider joining forces with us by becoming an Associate Member. It is a valuable investment in our future,” he said.

Founded in 1874, the Sheriff’s Associate of Texas is a non-profit professional and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of peace and the protection of the lives and property of the citizens of Texas.

Steve M. Westbrook serves as the Executive Director. Headquarters are located in Austin.

The Sheriff’s Association of Texas does not make solicitations by telephone. If you receive a phone call from someone who uses this name, report it to your local sheriff, county attorney or district attorney.


Elsie Barton and Iva Lucas

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