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Friday, July 13, 2001

Balmorhea `bare' bust

Naked man in attic among three arrested during morning sweep

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- A fugitive on federal drug charges was "uncovered" _ and arrested _ by area law enforcement officials early this morning, during warrant searches of several homes in the Balmorhea area.

Members of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, U.S. Marshals, Jeff Davis, Reeves County and the Pecos Police Department were in Balmorhea at about 6:30 a.m. to search for a fugitive.

"The U.S. Marshals had asked for our assistance in locating this fugitive believed to be in Balmorhea," said Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

Arrested at a Balmorhea residence was Concepcion Martinez, 26, who was wanted on Federal drug charges. Martinez was wanted on conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana and cocaine, stemming from a grand jury indictment.

Task force officials said Martinez was found hiding naked in the attic of the home they were searching. He was placed under arrest and transported first to Pecos, before being transferred to Midland County Jail.

While they were in Balmorhea, law officials executed two other warrants on fugitives wanted on state charges.

Hector Briceno, 52, was wanted for State charges out of Reeves County for abandonment, endangering a child, with a bond of $25,000. Briceno was found hiding under a pile of old laundry, task force officials said.

Also arrested in Balmorhea was Felipe Duran Lopez, Jr., 43, who had two warrants, one a misdemeanor for theft by check and the other a State Jail Felony Charge, motion to revoke, forgery. No bond had been set for that charge, according to law officials.

Both Briceno and Lopez were also taken to Pecos, and remained at Reeves County Jail as of early this afternoon.

"This was a joint effort to try to bring these fugitives in to face their charges," said Richards.

Richards said that the cooperation showed between the agencies played a big part in executing the search warrants successfully. "It takes team cooperation and I'm glad that we are all working on the same team and for the same cause," he said.

Martinez is just one of about four or five fugitives who are being sought in the drug conspiracy.

"We'll be looking for the others," said Richards. "And will bring them in soon as well."

Lights mean heavier use for Martinez Field

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- Things are being "spruced up" at Martinez Field, which will soon be taking on a new look and be more available for local athletes to use.

The 20-year-old field located south of Interstate 20 near the Reeves County 4-H Barn is getting a much-needed "facelift" beginning with landscaping and installation of a lighting system for the first time.

"We're going to put in a new lighting system," said Ricky Herrera, Reeves County employee in charge of several county projects.

Herrera said that the county had advertised for bids about two to three weeks ago, and that the deadline is next Tuesday. "After that we'll order the components and start doing the installation," he said.

Martinez Field was built in 1981 at a cost of just under $100,000. The field's size and stands were a near copy of the Monahans High School baseball field, but without lights it could not be used for night games, and Pecos' hot summer temperatures limited its use during the daytime.

Martinez Field was given a new paint job and a new temporary fence back in 1998, when Pecos High School began its girls' softball program, and has also been used for youth T-ball games the past two years. Before then, its main use was for men's semi-pro baseball on Sundays during the spring and summer.

Along with putting in a new lighting system, the county will be installing a new sprinkler system and planting some grass at the field.

"Right now we're working on doing some of the dirt work," said Herrera.

The infield will be done to the official USSSA softball regulations, so some of the dirt has to be removed from the infield to bring it up to the specifications, according to Herrera.

"It was originally made for hardball, which requires a bigger infield," said Herrera. "We're going to bring in some good soil to put in there," he said.

The field will be used by both the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department's men's softball teams and the recreation department's girl's softball teams, along with continuing as the home field for the Pecos Eagles' softball team.

"We're working on several projects simultaneously," said Herrera. "As soon as we get a small break in one project, we go ahead with the other one."

Herrera said some of the trees had come in that will be placed near I-20, which is another project the county is working on in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation. "We want to start planting those and do the landscaping in that area," he said.

The county is working on installing lighting systems at both the Maxey Park baseball fields and the Reeves County golf course, according to Herrera.

"Some of these projects we are doing in phases," he said.

Herrera said that plans are to put lighting at the driving range at the golf course. "We just put in some trees there and plan to install a sprinkler and some grass," said Herrera.

Herrera said that the group would be working diligently on all the landscaping projects and hoped some would be completed by this summer.

Local sales tax rebates up slightly for July

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- Sales tax rebate checks for July were up for most cities across the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos, with Pecos' rebate check showing a slight increase from a year ago. But overall, the city's tax rebate numbers for the first seven months of 2001 are still lagging five percent behind 2000's totals.

State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander on Thursday released July's sales tax rebate figures, which are based on May's sales in cities, counties and special purpose districts across Texas. Her totals showed the town of Pecos City got back $56,664 this month, based on their 1½-cent share of the state's 8¼-cent sales tax. That's up 3.38 percent from a year ago, when Pecos got back $54,807 in July of 2000.

But overall, the city's tax rebate total of $425,047 is down by just over five percent from last year, when $447,558 was returned to Pecos from Austin during the first seven months of the year.

One sixth of the city's sales tax goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp., which will receive $9,444 this month.

Across the area, most of the medium-sized cities showed increases of between two and nine percent in their rebate checks this month. The exceptions were Andrews, up over 24 percent, Alpine, up nearly 15 percent, and Big Spring and Crane, which both saw their checks decrease from a year ago. Odessa's tax rebate check of nearly $1.09 million was up 9.85 percent from last year, while Midland's check for just under $1.28 million was the largest for any Permian Basin city, and was up 6.61 percent from last year.

Balmorhea got back $485 this month in tax rebates from Rylander's office, a 19.05 percent increase, while Toyah received a check for $238, which was 4.07 percent lower than a year ago. However, for the first seven months of the year, Balmorhea's rebate total of $4,338 represents a 1.57 decline from last year, while Toyah's $4,496 is 71.86 percent higher than at this time a year ago.

The Reeves County Hospital District did better than the area average in its July rebate check. The hospital got back $26,659 as its ½-cent share of the state sales tax, up 10.75 percent over last year, when it got back $24,071. For the full seven months, however, the hospital's rebate check is virtually unchanged at $172,759, up 0.23 percent.

Statewide, Pecos' increase this month was close to the average, according to Rylander's office. The comptroller sent out $201.8 million in rebate checks, up 4.9 percent from last year's $192.3 percent total. Houston's rebate check for $24.3 million was again the largest single check sent out, but was 0.88 percent lower than last year, while Dallas' check was next, at $15.3 million, was down 6.95 percent from July of 2000.

OC's orientation scheduled to start later this month

PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- New student college orientation and registration for the Fall 2001 Semester at Odessa College is beginning later this month.

Sessions scheduled are: at 1 p.m., on Monday, July 23, with the reservation deadline set for next Tuesday, July 17; at 5 p.m. on July 23 with a reservation deadline, July 17; and at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, with a reservation deadline, Aug. 7.

To reserve a seat for one of these sessions, call 445-5535.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers is asking for the community's help in locating a fugitive from justice on their "Most Wanted" list.

Hector Brito Pando, 48, is wanted by the police on a charge of motion to revoke, original charge drug delivery.

The subject was born Aug. 29, 1952, is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

If you know where this subject is hiding it will be worth a "cash reward" of up to $1,000 once the subject is in custody.

Call Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 and you will remain anonymous.

"Legally Blonde" pairs Harvard, Witherspoon together in comedy

Staff Writer
PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- Have you ever wondered what would happen if the whole cast of Clueless graduated from college and went off to law school?

You might find the answer with MGM's latest release, Legally Blonde.

Reese Witherspoon (Pleasantville _ 1998) stars as Elle Woods, the ditziest blond on the face of the planet who has always been rich and has gotten what she wants.

Although Witherspoon has been known to play very dramatic roles perhaps she shines the most in her comedic roles including this one.

As Woods, Witherspoon is able to pull the audience in from the beginning with her extreme "blonde nature," which makes most girls want to hate her and most guys want to date her.

Despite the fact that in all reason you should hate her you can't help but love her from the beginning because of her kind heart and willingness to include others.

Witherspoon reminds audiences that everyone, including the rich little princesses, at some point in life is made fun of and could feel left out.

The "villains" who make fun of Witherspoon are the blue-blood preps, Vivian, played by Selma Blair, and her own boyfriend, Warner, played by Matthew Davis (Pearl Harbor).

In this movie, Davis is the man you could hate only if you talked to him. He is good looking and popular but like most good looking and popular men he is a jerk.

His character, Warner, has to have everything that he believes would make him look good no matter how many people he has to hurt.

Blair, who also appeared in Cruel Intentions (1999) with Witherspoon, is a creepy little, stuck up, judgmental girl that doesn't give anything she doesn't understand a chance.

Blair, a brunette, is exactly opposite of Witherspoon and because of that she thinks somehow she is better and smarter from the moment she meets Witherspoon.

But because of that hatred, she and Witherspoon are able to play off of one another in a very amusing way.

No matter how nice a person a girl could be, every girl at one point or another have known a girl that they hate as much as Blair's character hates Witherspoon.

The light of hope in the movie comes from Luke Wilson (Home Fries _ 1998) who plays a third year law student that seems to be the only one who believes in Woods.

Fans of the recent hit American Pie might recognize Woods' friend Paulette, who is played by the same woman who played the oh so desirable "MILF", Stifler's mom.

If the movie reminds you somewhat of the 1999 movies 10 Things I Hate About You it's because the screenwriters of that movie also created this movie.

Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith have a knack of creating fun-loving scripts that appeal to young audiences as well as adults.

If you liked 10 Things, you will surely like Legally Blonde, which is opening in theaters nationwide today and can also be seen at the State Theatre starting at 7 p.m. at 9:15 p.m.

Cody West of 98X will be giving away shirts, clipboards, pens, body glitter, CDs and posters from the movie during his live remote tonight at the State starting at 6 p.m.

Legally Blonde is rated PG-13.


PECOS, Friday, July 13, 2001 -- High Thursday 106. Low this morning 71. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low around 70. Southeast to east wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High around 100. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low around 70. Sunday and Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Highs between 100 and 105.

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