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Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Council goes after cheap housing grant

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 12, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City, City Council authorized the application  for a State of Texas home improvement partnership program grant that  would be used to help in purchasing affordable housing in Pecos during  a special meeting last Friday.

City Manager Carlos Yerena informed the Council that the $300,000 grant would be for affordable housing through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and could be used toward either new or existing housing in Pecos.

Pecos Mayor Ray Ortega explained that the $300,000 would be divided up into $10,000 increments and would go toward closing or a down payment for families trying to buy a house.

Ortega said that the city of Pecos is in need of more affordable housing now and in the future.

"We need affordable housing," he said. "Because Pecos is on the verge of a growth spurt."

During the meeting, Yerena said that the city has been working on economic development and bringing in new businesses.

But, Yerena said that it would be no use bringing in new businesses if the city could not house the employees.

Ortega said that anyone would be able to apply for the affordable housing but the awarding of the money would be based on income.

Despite rumors going around Pecos, the city does not plan to have the affordable housing built on the west side of town, Ortega said.

"These houses will not be built next to Winding Way," he said.

He said that the affordable housing would have to be built on land that the city owns.

During the meeting, Yerena said that the city would donate the land to the program that would be used for the new homes.

Ortega said that he, Yerena and the City Finance Director George Bejarano met with officials from the TDHCA last week and toured possible sites for the new addition.

Yerena told the Council that they had narrowed it down to an existing addition located on Washington and Johnson Streets just behind Gibson's True Value.

Ortega said that the deadline for the application was last night and that the city should be receiving word on who would receive the grant in approximately 60 days.

If the city does not receive the grant this year, Ortega said that they would apply for it again next year.

Yerena said that if the city gets the grant they would be able to apply for additional funding.

"Once we get it we could continue to ask for additional funding in the years to come," he said.

Councilman Johnny Terrazas said that he believes that having affordable housing would benefit the community.

"I think this is good timing," he said.

"This is going to be the beginning of us growing and expanding," Yerena said.

Traffic stop nets 50 pounds of pot

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 12, 2001 -- Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officers, with the assistance of  the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Pecos Police  Department, discovered over 50 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop  early this morning on Interstate 20.

Efren Renteria, 41, of El Paso was arrested at 2:00 a.m. this morning and charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds after being stopped on a traffic violation at mile marker 32.

Renteria was traveling from El Paso to Oklahoma in a 1988 Ford F-350 pick-up truck when Officer Arnulfo Rivas of the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force conducted the traffic stop.

Task Force Commander Gary Richards said that while talking with Renteria, Rivas noticed that the door panel screws had been tampered with.

Richards said that Renteria gave Rivas permission to search the vehicle.

Once Rivas started searching the vehicle he found 47 bundles of marijuana totaling 58.6 pounds, which has a street value of over $33,000.

"The bundles were wrapped in vacuum sealed bags coated in mustard to mask the odor of the marijuana," Richards said.

Renteria is currently being held in the Reeves County Jail.

Richards said that with the help of the Sheriff's Department and the Police Department, the Task Force is continuing to fight the war on drugs and is proud to have officers working for the Task Force such as Rivas.

"Rivas is out there doing a good job," he said. "It was a good job of observation on his part."

Moore briefs commissioners on juvenile expenditures

Staff writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 12, 2001 -- Reeves County "troubled" juveniles have plenty  of opportunities and help to turn their lives around, thanks to the  Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for the Reeves County Detention Center Louise Moore updated Reeves County Commissioners on the many services the facility provides.

The group met Monday morning in the third floor at the Reeves County Courthouse and Moore made her presentation during the reports from various departments portion of the agenda.

"What the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department does is work with young people between the ages of 10 and 17," said Moore. "The young people we work with have made some bad choices and as a result they have become involved in the Juvenile Justice System," she said.

A Certified Juvenile Probation Officer must be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle juvenile intakes. The probation officer must make an immediate decision based on the youth's offense and the best interest of the community and the offender. The officer can release the youth to his parents' or guardians' custody, release the youth on a conditional release agreement, release the youth on electronic monitoring, or decide to detain the youth until a detention hearing can be held. A detention hearing should be held the next working day, according to Moore.

Moore told commissioners that about a year-and-a-half ago, the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center became a holdover center.

"This change was made to save money. Juvenile's can only be held for 48 hours at a holdover center. After 48 hours, the youth must be transported to a certified juvenile detention facility," said Moore. "Detention staff was also cut from five full-time officers to two full-time officers. The full-time officers basically work as transportation officers," she said.

Reeves County currently has detention contract services with three counties: Pecos County, Ector County and Midland County, according to Moore.

"We're trying to provide the best services for the kids," said Moore.

"The kids we work with come from all kinds of backgrounds," said Moore. "We not only work with the children, we also work with the children's parents, victims of their crime, school, police officers, attorneys, and placement facilities," she said.

Moore said she had been approached recently by a gentleman who told her he didn't want to spend money on bad kids, but wanted to spend money on good kids. He said bad kids are just the result of bad parents.

"If that statement was true it would be easy to solve, not only juvenile anti-social behavior, but also adult anti-social behavior," said Moore. "If ignoring troubled kids would solve the problem of juvenile crime, there probably wouldn't be any juvenile crime because some people do think that if we ignore them, they will outgrow the behavior or they will go away," she said.

Moore said that kind of thinking is wrong. "The thing is good parents can have troubled kids, bad parents can have good kids, good parents can have good kids and bad parents can have bad kids", she said.

"One thing that we must remember is that all the children in our community are our children. Each child is a human being and someone loves them and cares about them," said Moore. "We also have to provide a service for the victims of juvenile crime," she said.

Moore told the group that on many occasions parents have come to them to ask for help. The parents who come seeking help in many cases have tried everything they know how to do and the juvenile detention center is the last resort.

"They do not want to hear about not having county funds available, or seeking assistance from TJPC," said Moore.

"Last year we spent $400,000 for an average of less than eight kids," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

"That $400,000 includes our salaries, utilities, transportation _ everything," said Moore. "We had 150 referrals last year," she said.

"I'm going to have to disagree with those figures," said Moore.

"We probably spent less than 25 percent of the juvenile probation budget on the good kids," said Galindo.

"We can't just ignore the troubled kids," said Moore. "They are a part of our community, their parents live here, pay taxes, so we need to provide services for these kids," she said.

"This county has provided more funds for the juvenile detention center than our neighbors," said Galindo.

Galindo said that if they saw signs of trouble in the kids, why not just refer them to TYC.

"They have to meet some criteria before they can be referred to TYC," said Moore. "We recently referred one, but he had been a repeat offender, where probation had not worked, other facilities had not worked, so really TYC is a last resort for these type kids," she said.

Moore said that the part-time personnel were used to transport the juveniles to other facilities.

"Are these individuals trained?" asked Galindo.

"We have a manual that they go by and use the facility's vehicles to do the transporting, which have the screen on them," said Moore.

Galindo suggested using trained transportation officers from the Reeves County Detention Center to do the transportation duties. "We could put these individuals on the list, so that when you need to transport a juvenile, it's somebody that is properly trained," he said.

Moore said she was open to that idea and suggested looking into that possibility.

In other business, commissioners approved interagency agreements with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and Andrews County and the City of Andrews.

Property bids on foreclosed property was approved during the regular meeting. Property located at 606 W. "F" Street, a bid for $2,500 was approved; a bid for $2,500 on property located at 2206 Limpia Road was approved and Lots 7&8, block 34, West Park Addition was approved for $4,250.

"I think we need to put all these properties back on the tax roll," said commissioner precinct 3 Herman Tarin.

Diaz, Matriarch of '98 Pioneer family, dies at 102

By Jennifer Galvan
Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, June 12, 2001 -- Hispanic Pioneer family member, Carlota M. Diaz, was laid to  rest Monday, June 11, 2001, at the Barstow Cemetery.

In September 1998, the West of the Pecos Museum honored her family as Mexican-American Pioneer Family.

The second girl born to Lorenzo Martinez and Blasa Arenivas Martinez on January 3, 1899, she became Lorenzo's right hand helper, Gilda Vejil, her granddaughter said.

In helping her father, Diaz learned the ins and outs of the land.

Diaz could remember the days that seemed long and hard. While her father plowed the fields, her mother was doing the chores of a housewife. She would do the cooking, ironing, and sewing for the public and at the same time she was maintaining the garden and raising the children.

At the age of nine her mom died and Carlota and her older sister Julianita were left to help their father raise their three young brothers, Urbano, Ramon and Raymundo.

"She never was a child," Vejil said. "She had to grow up so soon and I think that is what made her so strong."

At the young age of 16, Carlota met a young man by the name of Bartolo Diaz. The couple met when Carlota would be washing clothes and Bartolo would be traveling across the Pecos River moving longhorn cattle. Without really knowing her, Diaz asked for Carlota's hand in marriage. With her father's approval, the couple was married on September 16th in Colorado City.

After their marriage, the newlyweds went to live with Carlota's father so that they could help rear her younger siblings.

Vejil said that she recalled the times when her grandmother would make soap and would iron using the stove.

Vejil also recalled that her grandmother enjoyed going to church. She liked to wear her gloves and carry a little purse. Diaz would tell her granddaughter that going to church made the rest of the week easier.

In little conversations that the two had, Vejil would tell her grandmother that she would like to live in a brick house with a chimney. Like any grandmother, Diaz would tell her that money was not everything but family and caring for each other was. She would also tell her that one should just be happy with what they have.

The thing that impressed Vejil the most about her grandmother was the fact at she got to live in three centuries. During her grandmother's lifetime she got to see three wars, the first airplane and a man walk on the moon.

In World War II, Diaz lost two sons and a third son was missing in action for six months. Several of Diaz' grandchildren also served in the military.

Vejil remembers that her grandmother was proud to be an American but that she never forgot where she came from.

Vejil said that she is thankful to her grandmother for the artistic skills she and some of her family members have. One of Diaz' sons built her the house in which she lived.

"A lot of us are crafty because of her genius," Vejil said.

When Diaz was a child she enjoyed sewing, making dolls, dressing them and then selling them to the public.

"I thank God for giving me the privilege and honor to serve and do for my grandmother," Vejil said. "I know she is in a better place. One day I will see her again."

Balmorhea sponsoring 4-H Youth Horse Show

PECOS, Tuesday, June 12, 2001 -- Balmorhea is sponsoring a 4-H Youth Horse Show beginning at 1 p.m., Sunday, June 17, at Hoffman's Arena.

There will be four ages groups including 7 and under; 8-10 year olds; 11-13 year olds and 14-19 years of age, (age as of Sept. 1, 2000).

Events will be in barrels, poles, flags, western pleasure, halter-showmanship and dummy roping.

Entry will be $2 an event and all 4-H rules apply. Dress code for show events will apply and ribbons will be awarded.

For more information call 447-9041, 375-2541 or 375-2464.

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