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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 11, 2005

Chamber picks Hannah as 2004’s top EMT

An emergency room employee and longtime ambulance volunteer was named EMT of the Year during the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, held two weeks ago at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Blaine Hannah has been employed in the emergency room at the Reeves County Hospital since May 11, 2002, and also makes ambulance transfers and takes calls from the ambulance service.

Hannah is the single father of five children and the son of Shirley and Andy Hannah of Pecos.

The hospital’s Director of Public Services, Venetta Seals, presented the award to Hannah during the evening’s events.

“One of the goals of the Chamber of Commerce is to promote community involvement and, that most often comes in the way of volunteerism,” said Seals.

A perfect and shining example of volunteerism in our community is the volunteer firefighters, EMT’s and paramedics, Seals said, while also recognizing the businesses that these firefighters and EMS personnel work for.

“On a moment’s notice these men and women may have to leave their jobs to respond to a fire or a medical emergency,” said Seals.

Hannah, like most EMT’s and paramedics, has a full time job and a family in addition to being out on call for the Pecos Ambulance Service. “This person is always friendly, courteous, and professional,” said Seals.

“In the past year this person has overcome many personal adversities all the while maintaining a very positive attitude,” she said.

“I’m honored to say he is a full time EMT in the emergency room at Reeves County Hospital and also helps with the medical transfers for the hospital,” said Seals.

Few local races to be contested in May election

One small local community will have a contested race during the May 7 elections, while the Town of Pecos City and Reeves County Hospital District races will have six unopposed candidates, after filing ended for area races on Monday.

Only two races, for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board and the Toyah City Council, will be contested. Toyah has three seats up for election, with four possible contenders. The seats up for election include those currently held by Bart Sanchez, Ann Marsh and Dianna Tollett.

Candidates for that position are incumbents Bart Sanchez, Ann Marsh and opponents Donna Brightman and Naomi Valdez.

There were no filing at the deadline for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school elections, but three candidates already had filed for the two available three-year terms. 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.

In the Town of Pecos City Council only the three incumbents filed to run on May 7. Mayor pro-tem Gerald Tellez and councilmen Danny Rodriguez and Frank Sanchez are all seeking new two-year terms on the council.

Under normal conditions, since no other candidates filed in the city or hospital district races, the elections could be cancelled in order to save money. However, because the city also has a ballot measure on the May 7 ballot to increase hotel and motel taxes by 2 percent, city elections will be held that day, along with early voting from April 20 to May 3.

The tax increase would go towards repairs of the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena. Council members approved calling the election for May 7 during their regular meeting on Thursday, and also appointed election officers, ballot counting officers and designated Reeves County Courthouse as the central counting location for the May 7 election. Reeves County Hospital District can cancel their election, as only one candidate filed for each of the three seats.

Saragosa resident Terry Honaker filed to fill the unexpired term for Precinct 3 on the RCH board just prior to the deadline. The Precinct 3 seat is a one-year term, which became vacant last year due to the death of board member Bill Wendt.

With no opponents, board president Linda Gholson will be automatically reelected for a new two-year term representing Precinct 2, while Pablo Carrasco will serve another term as Precinct 4 representative. Honaker will join the board following the May 7 election. Barstow voters will also have no election on May 7, with only incumbents there filing for new terms. 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.

In the Balmorhea city elections incumbent Ike Ward and Dan Raul Rodriguez are the only ones that have filed to run for those positions. 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.

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

City roving for new range to train RCDC staff

Pecos City Council members opted to delay any action on the fate of the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Range on Thursday, but voiced support for closing the facility if it threatens the safety of planes at the nearby Pecos Municipal Airport.

Council members discussed the situation during their 7 a.m. meeting, along with the problem closing the range would create for both local residents and local law enforcement officials, including guards at the Reeves County Detention Center.

The council heard reports from members of the committee appointed to look at the situation, which was brought before the council earlier this year by Pecos Municipal Airport manager Isabel Blanchard. She said that bullets had been found on the taxiways and runway of the airport, which were believed to have come from shots fired over the dirt berm on the south side of the range.

Blanchard again spoke to the council on Thursday about asking the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct an airport safety survey, while city attorney Scott Johnson told the council that he had talked with an official from the Texas Department of Transportation, which oversees Texas airport safety rules for the FAA.

“The study when started would take about 60 days, and he said in every other case out there that’s come up with the location of a rifle range in proximity to an airport has been ruled an unsafe condition, and he has the authority to close the airport,” Johnson said. “He said he would not do that right now, but finding bullets at the airport is an immediate health hazard.”

“I believe we would not be in compliance with the safety conditions of the federal grants we receive if the airport is not closed,” Johnson said.

Blanchard told the council last month that once an FAA study is requested, the range would have to shut down until a final safety report is released. Johnson said on Thursday that once the report is released, “If they find it’s not a safety hazard they can reopen the range. If they do, we can find another location.”

“I feel like we have to explore other options,” said Pecos Police Cpt. Kelly Davis. “We need to have a place for citizens to go shoot. But even though the airport’s been there 42 years and we haven’t hit one yet, Murphy’s Law says if we go out there today, we’ll probably hit one.”

“I concur with Kelly. Let’s get a ruling and find where we stand with the FAA,” said Smokey Briggs, president of the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club. “I think one thing we need to look at, if we don’t have this range is we’ll find a lot of people shooting in a lot of areas, and that’s not a good situation, either.”

Local landowner Roy Lindsey has agreed to lease land north of Acid Delinters to the city for use as a shooting range by the Pecos Police Department. Davis showed the council a proposed layout of the new range but under the agreement with Lindsay, the public would not be allowed to use the facility.

Along with the police department, other law enforcement agencies also use the rifle range near the airport, including the Reeves County Detention Center. Alfredo Paz, training director for RCDC I and II, told the council he needed some type of range for his guards to train on.

“We have 200 staff members who need to be qualified annually, plus the new hires who need to attend a three-day firearms training school,” Paz said. “When we go out there, we’re not out there to play. Our job depends on us being qualified.”

Paz said they had moved their targets and shooting positions on the 200-yard range closer to the berm, in order to decrease the chance of any bullets flying over the dirt hills. He told the council there was a planned qualification class set for the end of April, but it could be moved up a month if they could use the range before it is shut down. He also said he could cut the days needed from five to four if that helped the situation.

“The 200-yard berm doesn’t line up with the airport, but it could line up with the flight pattern,” Davis said. “If Mr. Paz sees a plane or hears a plane, we stop.

“If it’s just one group going out and taking firearms instruction, I don’t see where it’s a problem,” he added.

Johnson said if police supervisors were also at the site, “Under the circumstances, I don’t see where a one-time use would be that much of a liability.”

“The safety issue is a lot like being pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t,” said Briggs, about the selective use of the facility.

Councilman Frank Sanchez, who is also a reserve officer with the Pecos Police Department, said RCDC staff could seek temporary use of the range in Monahans while a new range in Reeves County is sought.

“If you sign a waiver notice not to hold the city liable, you can use it,” Sanchez said. “I know I personally signed the waiver, and I’m authorized to use the range, because I’m a peace officer.”

Councilman Danny Rodriguez said Paz could also look into using the city of Fort Stockton’s range if the Pecos range is shut down.

Aside from the airport concerns, the council also heard from Starkey Warren of the Pecos Men’s Golf Association, who told them the range also poses hazards for players on the Reeves County Golf Course.

“I’ve been out there with bullets flying over my head. It’s important to do something before someone gets hurt,” Warren said.

Holes 5 and 6 at the course border the north side of the rifle range. Reeves County also has been looking at acquiring land around the range for expansion of the golf course into a full 18-hole facility.

City manager Joseph Torres said the committee named to look at the situation would hold another meeting next week to discuss possible options for the range and the RCDC employees, and would report back to the council during its March 24 meeting.

The new police department range would be built using city equipment and materials, and would operate under a five-year lease with Lindsey that is automatically renewable. But Davis told the council, “The landowner specifically requested it to be limited to the police department.”

Davis said the new Pecos PD range would have a 25-yard pistol range, and a longer range for rifle training, with an 18-20 foot high berm pointed towards the northwest, away from homes on the north side of Pecos.

Red Bluff board asked to fund removal of dead trees

Red Bluff Lake has lots of water, Malaga Bend has lots of salt and the Pecos River has lots of dead trees.

All three items were topics of discussion for the Red Bluff Water Power Control Board on Tuesday, during their monthly meeting in Pecos. And while no action was taken, the board did look at a proposal to remove dead salt cedar trees from along the river that will be on April’s agenda, and also were briefed by managing director Randal Hartman about a proposed buy-out of the company currently pumping salt spring water at Malaga Bend. Salt cedars have been killed off along most of the Pecos River from Red Bluff Lake to Amistad Lake over the past five years, but the dead trees remain in the banks along the river. In connection with that, the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District sent a letter to the Red Bluff board seeking its financial aid in removing the trees from the river.

The plan calls for prescribed burning of the dead trees along the river, and the UPSWCD is seeking the initial funds in an effort to obtain addition money for the tree burning work.

The plan would enlist the services of Dr. Larry Brown, a private consultant and grant writer, Red Bluff members were told. “With the initial fee of $5,000, Dr. Brown will be assisting the District in acquiring grant funds to leverage local and state funds to continue the Project,” the letter said.

Hartman said that since the project extends to land outside Red Bluff’s coverage area of the New Mexico state line to Girvin, he thought landowners to the south should also contribute to the project. “I don’t see why only a few people should be footing the bill,” he said.

“Your remarks are well-taken, but it if gets all the way down to dealing with the individuals, you’re going to find some not willing to do anything,” said board member Dick Slack, who supported going ahead with the project even if other landowners are not brought in. “Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.”

“I would think we need to get rid of it at some time, but it should all be tied in,” Hartman said. “It looks to me if the money is available it would be easier to obtain it for the whole river than just for part of it.”

Tom Nance, the non-voting representative from Ward County Water Irrigation District No. 1, said the landowners south of Girvin had their land sprayed as part of a joint state and federal program. “The federal government paid 75 percent and the state paid 25 percent if the landowner just signed up to have the land sprayed,” he said.

Nance added that because that project was just done recently, the salt cedar kill-off hasn’t progressed far enough to remove the trees. “None of that stuff will be ready to burn for two years,” he said.

“We need to take it and read it and see what we think about it,” Hartman said of the UPSWCD letter and a second letter from Dr. Brown, stating his proposal.

Earlier in the meeting, the board was told the water level at Red Bluff Lake was above 123,000 acre/feet at the beginning of March. “That’s the best the water situation’s been since 1988,” said board member Jay Lee, while Hartman said the lake could receive more water in the next month or so, when the snow pack in northern New Mexico begins to melt.

“If it melts slowly we don’t get much of it, but if it comes rain, we’ll get a large amount,” he said.

The board was also told last Sunday’s storms dumped about three inches of hail south of Red Bluff Lake and boosted the flow of Screwbean Draw. Nance said WCWID 1 would delay the release of its water allotment to see how much of that water would reach the Barstow area.

On Malaga Bend, Hartman said he would be meeting with a group putting together a proposal to buy out the assets of Sun West Salt Co., which is pumping the salt water from Malaga Bend into ponds. The project began two years ago, and Hartman said, “They should have been harvesting and selling salt by this time.”

“There not doing what I would do, but we can’t do anything about that as long as they’re pumping salt,” he said.

“The salt is very high-quality water softener salt. Once they start harvesting it, it’s going to move quickly.”

“I’m going to be meeting with those people in the next week or so, to see what we can come up with,” Hartman said. “They said they’ve secured quite a bit of money, but want to have $2 million before they’re operating.”

Band Booster auction next Saturday

The Pecos 26th Annual Band Booster Auction has been set for Saturday, March 19, at the Bill Carrico Band Hall.

Band students and parents are asked to bring baked goods which will be sold during the auction.

The event will be televised live on Channel 11beginning at 10 a.m. until all items are auctioned off. Special phone numbers will be listed.

Barbecue plates with all the trimmings will be available for $3.50 per plate. The auction will be held at the Bill Carrico Band Hall, the bake sale and barbecue plate sale in the high school cafeteria.

Workforce offers job application info

The public is invited to the Pecos Workforce Network, 215 W. 2nd Street, on March 18, 2005 from 2 to 3 to acquire valuable information on filling out a job application the appropriate way. Limited sitting, please call ahead to ensure a seat. (445-9664) Individuals who are 18 to 21 and need assistance with acquiring a High School Diploma or GED, or have completed High School or GED and just been having trouble landing a job can also go to the Pecos Workforce Network and let them assist them with job search assistance or training for a new demand career.

Ask for Norma at the Pecos Workforce Network. The facility is located at 215 W. 2nd Street.

Scholarship fundraiser set at Wal-Mart

The Reeves County Juvenile Department Scholarship Fund will host a fundraiser at noon this Sunday at Wal-Mart.

The group will be selling burritos.

After church individuals can come purchase homemade burritos for $2 each.

Call 447-6901 for advance orders.

DVD for Class of 2005 to be sold

The Junior/Senior Prom Committee will be making a souvenir DVD in honor of the Senior class of 2005. The DVD will be premiered at the Junior/Senior Prom on April 30. If anyone has a group or individual photos that include seniors from the class of 2005 that they would like included in this memory DVD mail them to: Junior/Senior Prom Committee, 2027 Nebraska, Pecos, Texas 79772.

Due to time restraints they may not be able to include all photos submitted. All photos submitted will be returned to the return address. The group is not responsible for lost photos.

After the prom DVD’s can be purchased for $5 each.

Advanced orders are welcome.

Photos must be submitted by March 30.

Red Cross offers CPR, swim lessons

The American Red Cross of Southwest Texas will be hosting a Spring Break Babysitter’s Training Class in Odessa on Wednesday, March 16, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $35 per person.

Class is for youth ages 11-15.

Class objectives include: infant and child CPR; first aid, babysitter’s responsibilities and babysitter’s role.

The Red Cross of Southwest Texas will also host an Odessa Spring Break certified Lifeguard Training class.

Class starts on Tuesday, March 15 through Thursday, March 17. Class is for ages 15 and up and strong swimmers.

Class objectives include: CPR for the professional rescuer; first aid; lifeguard responsibilities and pool safety.

Cost is $150 per person.

Registration is required and class size for both activities is limited.

Call 570-6161 for more information.

Motel guest checked out in coke bust

An individual who was staying at a Pecos motel last Saturday ended up relocated to a bed at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, after police executed a search warrant at the room he was occupying.

Police said on March 5 at 3:16 p.m., officers executed a narcotics search warrant on Room 30 at the Budget Inn Motel, located at 2128 W. Third St.

“Once the search warrant had been executed by police officers and the motel had been secured, officers proceeded to search the room,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

He said that officers located a substance believed to be cocaine inside the room. Officers also found various types of narcotic paraphernalia commonly used in the selling of cocaine and the smoking of cocaine, according to Deishler.

Officers completed a search of the room and Javier Villegas, 24, who had rented the room, was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Villegas was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and released to the jail staff for booking on the charges.

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.

*** Pecos police arrested a male juvenile on March 7 at 10:37 p.m. on a charge of evading arrest or detention. Police said the juvenile was arrested after running out the back door of a home at 1014 E. Eighth St. He was found inside the garage of a nearby home and was transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

*** Mireya Leticia Munoz, 36, 2100 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on a warrant for theft by check, a Class C misdemeanor, on March 4. Police said the warrant was issued by the Reeves County Sherifff’s Deparment, and the arrest took place following a traffic stop on Highway 17 at Locker Road.

*** Christopher Paul Sims, 30, 624 E. 13th St., was arrested on two warrants on March 3 at 11:53 p.m. at Eighth and Pecan streets. Police said the warrants were for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession of marijuana under two ounces, a Class B misdemeanor. Sims was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following his arrest.

*** Cathy Rodriguez Ortiz, 49, 1013 Martinez St., was arrested by police on March 1 on charges of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, under 1 gram, and for possession of a controlled substance, heroin. Police said the arrest was made after officers and Pecos EMS personnel were called to her address in reference to a drug overdose. Police said Ortiz had passed out and fallen off her bed, landing with her head behind a door. A syringe was found in her hand, drug paraphernalia and heroin paper were found on the dresser in the room, and cocaine was found in a hat in the room, according to police.

Warm weather is forecast for Saturday’s park events

Food, fun, games and music will be a part of Saturday’s activities at Maxey Park in Pecos.

“This is something good for the youth in the community,” said Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson about the special events planned for local students who have been out of school for the past week. “This is something fun for them to do during Spring Break.”

Gholson said that the event is sponsored by the Pecos Youth Advisory Committee and Pecos Main Street.

Temperatures are forecast in the mid-80s for Saturday, when events will start at 9 a.m., at the park with putt-putt, basketball, volleyball and horseshoe tournaments.

At 1 p.m., the music will began with Marcos Mendoza, one-member band performing. He will perform from 1-3 p.m. and then the Roman Brothers will take over with live music from 3-6 p.m.

Sponsors for the bands are Alfredo’s Restaurant, West Texas National Bank, Trans Pecos Banks, Winkler County Credit Union and the Chamber of Commerce.

Different local civic organizations will have booths set up offering a variety of food items including hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks water and baked goods.

“It’s hopefully the first event of more to come,” said Gholson.

Gholson said that this was a wonderful opportunity for the youth in the community and surrounding area to come out and enjoy themselves, “and to use the super facility out at the park.’

Gholson said that the group hopes to attract a lot of people and that they welcome everyone to come out and enjoy the day at the park.

“We just want a big turnout out there,” said Main Street Director Tom Rivera. He said that the Pecos Lion’s Club would be selling hamburgers; the Citizen’s Police Academy would be selling chili sauce and other vendors would offer a wide variety of food items and “goodies.”

“The chamber members will be manning the putt-putt and will be selling sno-cones,” said Rivera. “We just want to welcome everyone and hope that they decide to join us at the park Saturday.”

Pecos students receive degrees from OC

Several Pecos students received their degrees from Odessa College.

Some of the students graduated with honors ranging from Summa Cum Laude to Cum Laude honors.

Honors designations are restricted to graduates who complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of courses at Odessa College and are based on a cumulative grade point average on all collegiate level work taken at OC. Honors graduates are recognized according to the following criteria. Summa Cum Laude, cumulative grade point average 3.90-4.00; Magna Cum Laude, cumulative grade point average 3.70-3.89 and Cum Laude, cumulative grade point average 3.50-3.69.

Summa Cum Laude graduates included Angie C. Barreno of Pecos; Magna Cum Laude, Josefina C. Samaguey and Cum Laude, Rosa M. Valenzuela.

Receiving an Associate in Science Degree was Alexa Ann Marquez, exercise and sports science option; Associate in Applied Science, Linda Gallego Briceno, child and parent development; Angie C. Barreno, Carolina Mendoza Salcido, Josefina M. Samaguey, Rosa M. Valenzuela, office systems technology and Carolina Salcido, office systems technology -legal emphasis.

In addition, three Pecos students were inducted in to the Phi Theta Kappa, including Angie C. Barreno, Carolina Mendoza Salcido, Josefina M. Samaguey and Rosa M. Valenzuela.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming. Today, Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1.3 million members and 1100 chapters in 50 states, U.S. territories, Canada, Germany and Japan. In 1929 the American Association of Community Colleges recognized Phi Theta Kappa as the official honor society for two-year colleges.

Phi Theta Kappa offers a variety of campus, state, regional and national service, social and educational programs to its members. The letters phi, kappa and theta represent three Greek words that mean wisdom, aspiration and purity. Oak leaves and laurels are also incorporated into the Phi Theta Kappa logo. The oak leaves symbolize stability and strength of character, the laurel symbolizes achievement and success.

Study Club hosts guest speaker for Federation meeting

The Modern Study Club of Pecos recently met in the home of Alfred and Nan Cate of Verhalen for a Federation meeting.

Mary Vongsavath, TFWC Western District President, from Alpine, was special guest speaker. The GFWC Motto “Unity in Diversity” is our goal was the quote for the meeting.

Mrs. Vongsavath, a graduate of Sul Ross University with a Master of Arts in Public Administration, spoke about how she was invited to attend a meeting of the Women’s Club of Alpine where she became impressed with Federation. In a short time she became president of the club and helped organize The Purple Sage Club of Alpine. While serving Western District as President Elect she was instrumental in the organization of the Alpine Juniorette Club.

As Western District President, Mrs. Vongsavath, was responsible for the Western District Yearbook being published for the first time in 2004. The Yearbook has a history of each club in the District, a listing of current officers of each club, all club members with their addresses, and times and places of meetings. Also, a Calendar of Events for GFWC, TFWC and Western District is included.

Also, Mrs. Vongsavath, during her tenure as WD President, chose as her Special Project, “Women’s Health Care.” She said that Dr. James Lukey is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Western District Spring Convention in Alpine, April 8-9. During the Convention there will be a “GFWC Arts in the Community Spring Show” open to all Texas artists, and an “Arts and Crafts Show” featuring Fine Arts Division, Needlecraft Division, Hobby Craft Division and Photography Contests.

Mrs. Vongsavath was presented with a single rose, a book of devotionals, and a monetary gift.

Club President Lena Harpham conducted the business meeting. Juracy McCall led the Collect and Joyce Morton led the Pledges to the American Flag and Texas Flag.

Margie Williamson reported progress being made on candidate for Alma Van Sickle Scholarship.

Roll call was answered on “What can you do to help support our Western District President’s Goals?”

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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