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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Galindo, Air Force discuss bomber route

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 18, 2000 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo discussed flight patterns with an official from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, was in Pecos yesterday to discuss the planned Realistic Bomber Training Initiative, which will involve low-level bomber runs over southern sections of the county.

"This is an opportunity for us to establish a new partner in the community," Galindo said this morning.

He had requested that Dyess send an official to address some concerns brought forth by citizens in the community, and met with Dwight Williams, Air Space Manager for Dyess, in an informal meeting on Monday.

"The air force is taking all the concerns of the citizens and answering questions," said Galindo. "They are really trying hard to work with everyone and educate them about their mission."

Galindo stated that he along with other officials in the community, have been trying to designate an exact route for the B-1 and B-52 bombers that won't fly directly over homes.

"We want to work with them and they with us, after all, we're looking at 31 new jobs," said Galindo.

"We told them to come and please bring a GPS system," said Galindo.

The system outlines the exact route where they're passing and gets the exact data.

The route the group is looking at is from Farm to Market Road 3334 and Highway 17, just north of Saragosa and west of Verhalen.

"This is a mile to a mile and half, over a 10-mile area," said Galindo.

Galindo stated that with the jet going at nine miles a minute, it would take just over a minute to cross that area.

"There's farmland there, but there are absolutely no homes," said Galindo.

The area would be over by Balmorhea Feeders, just north of Saragosa, and Galindo said the flight path would not affect the Balmorhea area either.

Galindo said the meeting went really well and the relationship between the community and the air force is very important. "We understand they have a mission and we want to help as well," he said.

"They're very interested in any ideas and suggestions that we might have," said Galindo.

Galindo said another tour of the Abilene facility is going to be open to the community in September, and anyone interested in going on the tour can contact the Reeves County Judge's Office at 445-5418.

"There is room for about 20 people and 10 have already committed," said Galindo. "But if we have enough people interested, we might look at getting another bus for the tour."

The tour will be on Friday, Sept. 8, and community members are welcome to attend. "I think as many people as can, should attend this tour and learn more about the air force and what they do and what they want to accomplish," said Galindo.

The RTBI is designed to cut down on the distances bombers from Dyess and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana have to fly to run their training missions. The current path carries the jets as far north as Montana on their training runs.

The Air Force also has said it will build a manned electronic scoring site in the Verhalen area, which would employ 31 people and bring an additional $1.6 million annually into the local economy.

RCDC addition on target for Sept. 1 opening

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 18, 2000 - Construction is on schedule and the Reeves County Detention Center will be completely filled with new inmates by January of next year.

"We'll be ready by Sept. 1 to bring in 100 new inmates," said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.

The on-going construction began last year, which will expand the prison to house 1,000 new inmates and add over 100 new employees to the staff.

"The projected plans are to bring in 100 new inmates by September, because logistically we can only transport so many at a time," said Franco.

About 200 additional inmates will then be transported to the renovated facility with 400 more in November and 800 in December. "By January of next year it will be up to full capacity, 2,000 inmates," said Franco.

The local facility is the second largest operation under one management associated with the Bureau of Prisons.

The current employment total is up to 288 and will be up to 417 by the end of the year, according to Franco.

"All the new positions are being filled by promotions, so those positions are being left vacant," said Franco. "So that means that we will be hiring new employees to fill those slots."

This is part of the ramp-up plan outlined by the officials at the facility, according to Franco.

The new addition is located on the north side of the current facility. Water towers for the new addition are up, with one located in the front of the facility and the second located in the back.

Reeves County Commissioners are planning to tour the facility and the on-going construction at their next regular meeting scheduled for this coming Monday.

Police probe outbreak of bicycle thefts

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 18, 2000 - Bicycles have been disappearing all over town, and while Pecos police say several have been recovered, they are still investigating the recent incidents.

Last week the Pecos Police Department received calls on seven stolen bicycles, three of which Police Chief Clay McKinney said they have recovered. He said his department is still trying to recover the other missing bikes.

"We're always on the lookout for stolen property," McKinney said.

He added the community should try to prevent the thefts from happening.

"The preventive aspects of keeping property from being stolen is always the best option," McKinney said.

He said since bikes are so easy to steal, always put them in a secure area such as a backyard or storage area. If that is not possible then the bicycle should be locked up.

McKinney said the police recover many bikes a year but the biggest problem is the owners not being able to identify them.

He said the thieves could change tires, seats, handlebars and the color of the bike very easily. McKinney said permanently affixing a name or social security number on the bikes betters the chance of returning them to the rightful owner.

"We recover so many bikes at the end of the year we have to auction them off," McKinney said.

Any information on the stolen bikes or any other stolen property can be taken at 445-4911.

Juries return different verdicts in pot, illegal smuggling trials

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 18, 2000 - Two trucks allegedly with two illegal loads produced two different verdicts in U.S. District Court in Pecos last week.

A jury on Wednesday found one truck driver guilty of six counts of transportation of illegal aliens, after 39 illegals were reportedly found in the back of the trailer he was hauling when it was stopped at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint in January.

However, a second jury a day later found two Mississippi men not guilty of possession of marijuana with intent too distribute, after 110.62 kilograms of marijuana were allegedly found in a trailer there were hauling when it was stopped at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint in March.

Both trials were held last week before U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson. The first, for Jason Franklin McDevitt, involved the truck he said contains rocks that he was hauling from El Paso to Alabama on Jan 21, 2000. According to testimony at the trial, a K-9 unit alerted to the rear of the trailer, where the 39 illegal aliens were discovered.

A passenger who was sleeping in the rear of the truck rig at the time of the Sierra Blanca stop, identified as Danny Mearse, was scheduled to stand trial as a co-defendant with McDevitt. However, Judge Furgeson declared a mistrial, and Mearse will be tried on the charges at a later date.

In the other trial, Larry Daniel Gholar, 41, of Hattiesburg, Miss., and Tommie Lee Gholar, 43, of Jackson, Miss., were found not guilty by jurors of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Border Patrol agents said a K-9 unit alerted to the rear of their truck, where duffle bags containing the marijuana were found hidden behind boxes of produce. Larry Gholar said they had driven a load of chickens from Jackson to Long Beach, Calif., and then returned with stops at Yuma and Nogales, Ariz., to pick up the loads of produce.

According to the testimony, the Gholars had tried to stop at a truck stop at the Airway Blvd. exit in El Paso on March 27, but ended up parking on a side street because the truck stop was full. They went to sleep there in the truck, but were awakened by a Border Patrol agent, who told them to move because they were in a high-crime area.

The agent also testified he conducted an inspection of the truck and did not find any marijuana at the time. The two men later stopped and spent the night at the Petro Truck Stop at Horizon City, before heading east to the Sierra Blanca checkpoint.

On Monday, in a civil trial before Visiting Judge Eldon E. Fallon of Louisiana, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate was awarded $1,000 by a jury for injuries he said he received at the Lynaugh (Belding) Unit located west of Fort Stockton.

Michael A. Brown charged that TDCJ guard Mario Munoz had ordered a second inmate, identified as Ricky C. Campbell, to assault him following a dispute in a field at the prison on Oct. 30, 1996. Munoz testified that Brown had been disruptive and after being ordered to hold a bag of cotton over his head as punishment, attacked Campbell and then tried to flee the scene.

Testimony entered by the defendants, who included Munoz, guard Terry Foster and other TDCJ personnel at the scene, said Brown had first complained of back and neck problems four months before the assault, and did not complain of the problems again until May of 1997. The jury ended up awarding Brown $500 for compensatory damages and another $500 for punitive damages.

Rec department youth volleyball sign-ups begin

PECOS, July 18, 2000 - The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is enrolling children for their fall volleyball league.

Boys and girls entering grades 3 through 6 are eligible to participate, with a registration fee of $10 per player.

Deadline to sign-up is Friday, Sept. 1, 2000. For further information, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.


PECOS, July 18, 2000 - High Monday 108. Low this morning 74. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 70s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and continued hot. High near 108. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday night: Fair. Low in the 70s to near 80. Thursday: Mostly sunny hot, fair at night. Lows in the lower 70s. Highs 104-109.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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