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Thursday, July 13, 2000

City asking residents to limit water use

By LEIA HOLLAND
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Council approved the recommendation to place the city on a mild condition water conservation plan, during their regular meeting today.

The city is facing a minor water shortage and the situation cannot be rectified in a short period of time so the Council is asking for the community's cooperation.

Being under this mild condition means the community should look for ways to voluntarily reduce water use.

An example is watering lawns every other day as opposed to everyday. The city will also cut back on watering the public parks and athletic fields.

"What we're looking at is trying to preserve the water we have at the Worsham Well Field," Scott Johnson, City Attorney, said.

The city is in the process of trying to drill new wells in the Worsham Well Field, one of two fields that provide water for Pecos.

The water conservation plan is a result of the well field slowly drying up and the city is currently trying to find new wells to get the city by until the new South Worsham Water Field can be built over the next several years.

The Council passed a declaration of emergency on drought conditions to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) in order to be able to drill in the Ward County field.

The TNRCC would take between 45 and 60 days to grant Pecos a permit to drill in Ward County unless there is an emergency declared.

"The emergency will let us go faster," said engineer Frank Spencer, owner of Frank Spencer and Associates.

In answering a question from Mayor Ray Ortega on how many wells are in operation in the Worsham field right now, Spencer said there are nine operating wells and they are building one more.

Ortega expressed concern on how much water the city would need to cover the new 1,000-bed addition to the Reeves County Detention Center.

Spencer said to safely cover the 500,000 gallons of water for the RCDC they would need three to four more wells.

The Council also approved hiring Raba-Kistner Consultants, Inc. to help Spencer and Associates with engineering services for the Worsham Well Field Environmental Impact Document.

Johnson recommended to the Council that they approve the agreement.

Raba-Kistner is out of El Paso and Spencer said they have worked with his company before.

The Council also heard a report from Spencer for the proposal of his company to begin the design and planning phase for South Worsham Field. Spencer told the Council the project would cost approximately $450,000 and estimated work would be done within three to four months.

"This process can take from six to nine months," Spencer said.

Because of the need for more wells and the lack of water the Council approved the project.

In other action today, Corplan Corrections talked to the Council about the feasibility of a Municipal Law Enforcement Center and a Municipal Court Facility.

If built, this facility would house prisoners from the Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Immigration Naturalization Services and the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Corplan spokesman James Parkey presented the Council with charts and diagrams of the proposed facility.

U.S. Marshall Gary Brown out of El Paso spoke to the Council about the housing of the prisoners. He said that Pecos has a prime location and the benefits of having a federal courthouse so the facility could very well be full at all times.

"If you had a 200 man facility today I would ask if I could put 200 men here," Brown said.

Ortega talked to Pecos Chamber of Commerce members on Tuesday about building a 144-bed facility, but Brown suggested that if the city were to build the detention center that they only build a 96-bed facility to start with, but could add on later.

Brown said the 96-bed facility would allow the staff to become aware of policies and procedures.

Councilman Ricky Herrera asked Brown if having this facility would compete with the Reeves County.

Brown said the new facility would not be taking away from the county. He assured the Council that he would be willing to use all the space he would be given.

The Council also talked to the Sheriff of Winkler County, Robert L. Roberts, Jr. who has been running a 96-bed facility for the past five years. Roberts explained to the Council his experience with this facility and that he is in the process of trying to add on more space.

After listening to all the men who spoke to them, the Council decided with the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Danny Rodriguez, they would look at the possibility in the future.

Coyanosa man fails to appear at murder trial

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - Law enforcement officials are looking for a Coyanosa man who failed to show up for court on Monday in Fort Stockton to stand trial for a February, 1999 murder.

Fabian Douglas Castaneda, 20, who was free on a $50,000 bond in the fatal shooting of Javier "J.J." Tellez Jr., 19, of Fort Stockton was scheduled to appear in court there on Monday. But Alma Gonzales, a secretary with the Fort Stockton Sheriff's Department,

Said he did not appear as schedule and as of today, "There is still no word of him and law officials are still looking for him."

Bond had been posted for Castaneda by Liberty Bonding Company and B&M Bonding Company.

"No reward has been set up yet, they have been talking about that and about contacting CrimeStoppers," said Gonzales.

Tellez's body was found March 1, 1999, in a brushy area along a farm-to-market road known as "70 road" three to four miles west of Fort Stockton.

Tellez had been shot several times in his upper body with a small-caliber pistol.

At the time of the slaying, Pecos County Sheriff Bruce Wilson said he believed drugs were involved in the shooting death.

Deputy Sheriff Larry Jackson said today that Castaneda gave police a statement about the shooting. "It was over a drug deal," said Jackson. "Two hundred dollars worth of cocaine."

Wilson said that Tellez's body was spotted by a passerby near a fence just off Farm Road 70 west of Fort Stockton, three days following his disappearance.

Wilson said Tellez had apparently been shot at another location and dumped alongside the road in a brushy area.

Castaneda appeared before Fort Stockton Municipal Judge Lali Minjarez last year on the murder charge. Bond was later set in 83rd District Court, and Castaneda was released after it was posted by the bonding companies.

Jackson said a fugitive warrant was issued for Castaneda on Monday and he believes he might even be in Mexico by now.

Jackson said the crime caught the community by surprise. Castaneda and Tellez came from good families and hadn't been in trouble with the police before.

Castaneda has now been charged with failure to appear, along with the murder charge. He is described as a Hispanic male, who is five feet, six inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes, is medium built with a light complexion.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Castaneda they are asked to call the Fort Stockton Sheriff's Department at 915-336-3521.

Toone set to close grocery after 52 years

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - A longtime Pecos business will be closing its doors soon with a feeling of sadness.

"It's been a most enjoyable 52 years, but I need to close down before I make a career out of it," said a smiling Jimmy Toone, who will be closing the doors to Toone's Grocery Store for the last time this month.

Toone's, located 2136 W. Third St., Has spent over a half century in Pecos providing groceries and supplies to many farmers, ranchers and community members.

Toone came here from the El Paso area in October of 1948, during the Bracero season when Pecos would see between 25,000 and 28,000 cotton pickers in the area.

"We catered mostly then taking care of laborers for the farmers," said Toone.

In about 1946-47, many farmers from the El Paso area moved to Pecos and started putting in new land, drilling wells and growing cotton, according to Toone.

The building was an old army barrack, which was remodeled to resemble a store. "We operated for 2-3 years and saw very few of our customers," said Toone. "Orders were written out in Spanish."

In the early `50's, the store got a Bracero contract and they'd bus laborers here from the El Paso area. "They brought them here to grocery shop," Toone said. "Many times, there would be about 1,000 men waiting outside the store to buy groceries.

"Pecos people have been very supportive and we are greatly appreciated," said Toone, a World War II veteran who served as a pilot, before returning to civilian life, opening up his store in Pecos and raising a family here.

He and his wife, Melba, who died in 1993, raised three children, Sherma, Johnny and Jaime. He also has six grandchildren.

"I'm looking forward to some repairs to old age," said Toone about his upcoming retirement.

Toone plans to have hip and knee surgery that he hopes will get him back on the golf course in the future.

"I hope to be back on the golf course some day and I only dream of being on the tennis court," Toone said.

He added that if his health were better he wouldn't even be thinking of retirement. "If I felt good, I wouldn't think about quitting. It's not my desire to throw in the towel."

Toone said that he and his assistant Joe Herrera, who has been with him almost since the store opened, were thankful for the support of the people and the many friends they made throughout the years.

Herrera has been a Toones employee for over 40 years.

Its been a lot of work, but Ive enjoyed being associated with Pecos and the people, said Toone. It has been an enjoyable 52 years.

He thanked the community, farmers and ranchers for the past 50 something years and stated that he would miss each and every one of them. Im sure going to miss everyone and visiting with them. But I thank them for being here for us and for being such good friends, he said.

City's sales tax rebates show slight rise in July

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - Sales tax figures for July continued to reflect a slight improvement for Pecos, a big improvement for Balmorhea and a big loss for Toyah, according to figures released Wednesday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office.

Pecos' July sales tax rebate check was up 4.27 percent from the same period a year ago, based on sales made during the month of May. The city got back $54,807 from Rylander's office, up from $52,561 a year ago.

Last month's tax rebate check, based on the city's 1 ½ cent share of the state's 8 ¼ cent sales tax, showed an increase of 6.6 percent, though for the first seven month of 2000, tax rebated are up just 1.94 percent, at $447,558.

Balmorhea's tax rebate check for the month was up nearly 193 percent, from $130 to $382, and for the year so far, the city has seen its payments rise 56.11 percent, from $2,823 to $4,407. However, most of that rise is due to a ½ cent increase in the city's sales tax since last year.

Toyah, which is facing the loss of its Union Pacific crew changing station to Pecos in the near future, has seen it's rebate checks drop sharply this year, after being unusually high in 1999. July's check for $248 was down just under 30 percent from the $353 of a year ago, and for the year the city has gotten $2,616 back, a 72.28 percent decline from the first seven months of 1999.

The rebate totals for most other Permian Basin cities also were similar to those from last month. Midland got the biggest rebate check, for $1,198,906, a rise of 48.69 percent, but like Balmorhea part of that was due to a ¼-cent increase in the city's sales tax since last year. Odessa' rebate check for July totaled $989,558 and was up 23.84 percent.

Monahans and Alpine did reverse sales tax check declines from June. Monahans' July check for $58,697 was up 16 percent and Alpine's $55,663 check was up 14.17 percent. Andrews also reported a double-digit rise in their tax rebate checks, while Fort Stockton and Big Spring were up 7 ½ and 8 percent respectively for the month.

The Reeves County Hospital District saw a big gain in its rebate check for the month, getting $24,071 from Rylander's office. That was up 23.23 percent from last year, but overall for 2000, the hospital's tax rebates are still behind last year's by 0.4 percent, at $172,348.

County added to drought list for SBA loans

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - Businesses depending on farmers and ranchers in some New Mexico and Texas counties, including Reeves County, can now apply for low interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are available to help businesses meet normal operating expenses that cannot be met due to the effects of a disaster.

Drought that occurred from September 1999 to the present, caused many farmers and ranchers to experience reduced incomes which may have had an adverse economic effect on businesses depending upon these producers.

Farmers and ranchers are not eligible for this loan program but may be eligible for disaster assistance through other Federal agencies. However, nurseries that are victims of drought disasters can apply.

To obtain an application or receive additional information call the SBA toll-free at 1-800-366-6303 or TDD 817-267-4688 for the hearing impaired.

The deadline is February 23, 2001.

Obituary

Ramon Mata Jr.

Ramon Mata Jr., of Pecos, died Thursday, July 6, 2000, in Galveston, following a lengthy illness.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at 1117 Cherry Street.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, July 14, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

He was born April 24, 1949, in Pecos, was a laborer, a longtime Pecos resident and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by his father Ramon Mata Sr. and one brother, Alvaro Abila.

Survivors include his mother, Magdalena Abila of Pecos; one son, Ramon Mata III of Pecos; one daughter, Rosemary Mata of El Paso; one brother, Robert Abila of Pecos; five sister, Lupe Abila, Maria Gallegos and Lucy Ortiz of Pecos, Jane Abila of Austin, Anna Mata Moody of Alpine and Elauteria Mata of Odessa and two grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, July 13, 2000 - High Wednesday 104. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High around 105. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 70s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Low around 75. High around 105.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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