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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Monday, August 13, 2001

Pecos residents killed in crashes near VH, Mason

Staff Writer
PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- Vehicle rollover accidents took the lives of two Pecos residents  and injured a Pecos teen over the weekend.

Sherry Lee Brantley, 39, and Estephen Lopez, 49, both of Pecos were killed in separate vehicle accidents, the first one occurring about 105 miles west of Pecos and the second about 275 miles east of Pecos.

Brantley was killed in the second accident, which occurred on Saturday morning after the 1992 Chevrolet Suburban she was driving rolled over one and a half times, ejecting her from the vehicle.

A Department of Public Safety spokesperson said the accident occurred around 9:10 a.m., on the eastbound lane of State Highway 29, approximately 11 miles east of Mason on the northwestern edge of the Texas Hill Country.

"The driver (Brantley) fell asleep and entered the south barrow ditch and over corrected entering the north barrow ditch and rolled about one and a half times," the spokesperson said.

Brantley was ejected from the vehicle while her son, 14-year-old Clifton Brantley, was partially ejected and pinned under the driver's side door.

Dr. Robert Martin of Mason pronounced Brantley dead at the scene and her body was then transported to Mason Funeral Home before being returned to Pecos. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Pecos Funeral Home.

Clifton Brantley was taken by ambulance to Llano Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition.

Lopez's death also came as the result of a one-vehicle accident, this one at approximately 11:23 p.m. CST, on Friday at mile marker 125 on Interstate 10, midway between Van Horn and Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County.

The DPS spokesperson said that Lopez was driving westbound on I-10 in a 2001 Freightliner pulling a 1999 Wabash trailer.

"The vehicle was westbound on I-10 and drifted onto the north  shoulder for approximately 300 feet when it impacted the west side of a  concrete culvert," the representative said.  "The cab separated from the frame  and overturned end over end coming to rest facing southeast on the  passenger side of the tractor."

Hudspeth County Justice of the Peace Margie Aguilar pronounced Lopez dead at the scene at 11:50 p.m. MST.

Lopez' body was taken to the El Paso Mortuary in El Paso before being returned to Pecos. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Martinez Funeral Home.

An accident closer to Pecos on Friday afternoon sent three people to Reeves County Hospital after the minivan they were in rolled over approximately 15 miles north of Pecos on US 285.

The accident occurred at 1:33 p.m., on August 10 with Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies, DPS, Pecos Volunteer Fire personnel and Pecos Ambulance personnel responding with the JAWS of Life unit.

The destination of the vehicle and the names of the passengers involved were not provided by the local DPS office.

August's tax rebate check for city almost unchanged

PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- Sales tax rebate figures for June were virtually unchanged for the Town of Pecos City, while Toyah, Balmorhea and the Reeves County Hospital District all saw declines in their rebate totals for the month, according to figures released on Friday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office.

Rylander sent out August rebate checks last week, and Pecos' total of $77,330 was up 1.93 percent from last year, when the city got back $75,859. However, for the first eight months of 2001, the city remains down by four percent in their rebate totals from a year ago, at $502,377.

The city's tax rebate is based on its 1 ½ cent share of the state's 8 ¼ percent sales tax. One sixth of the city's sales tax goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp, which will receive $12,880 back from the comptroller's office this month.

Balmorhea, and the hospital district also are down in tax rebates slightly from a year ago, while Toyah's year-to-date rebates are up by over 50 percent despite a decline this month. Balmorhea's check for $1,375 was down 11.82 percent from a year ago, Toyah's $546 check was 17.42 percent lower than last year and the hospital district's $32,911 check represented an 8.82 percent drop from August of 2000.

Overall, Balmorhea has gotten back $5,713, down 4.25 percent this year, the hospital district has received $205,670, a 1.33 percent drop, while Toyah has gotten $5,042 back from Austin, which is up 53.84 percent from a year ago.

Across the area Odessa, Kermit Alpine and Monahans all reported double-digit increases in their tax rebate checks this month, while Midland, Andrews, Big Spring, Van Horn and Fort Stockton all showed increases of between 3½ and 9½ percent this month.

That was in line with the overall state figures, which showed cities and counties in Texas averaged just under a 6 percent rise in their sales tax rebate checks from a year ago. Houston's rebate check for $33.47 million again was the largest single check sent out, and was up just over 3 percent from a year ago. Dallas received a $20.99 million check this month, which was down 1.45 percent from last year.

Ward deputies help police recover stolen car

Staff Writer
PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- Pecos Police, with the assistance of the Ward County  Sheriff's Department, were able to recover a vehicle that was stolen at a  local convenience store this weekend.

"We were advised at 3:16 p.m., on the 10th that a vehicle was stolen from in front of Uncle's on Cedar (Street)," Police Investigator Kelly Davis said.

Davis said that someone stole a 1997 maroon Cadillac after the owner, Amos Felts of Joplin, Mo., exited the vehicle to go into the store Friday afternoon.

"He advised us that he went into Uncle's and left the keys in the car and somebody stole it," he said.

Davis said that the police department reported the stolen vehicle to other law enforcement agencies.

He said that there were a couple of witnesses who saw the vehicle in Monahans, which led to the recovery of the vehicle at the roadside park between Pyote and Monahans in the early morning hours on Saturday.

The witnesses had heard about the stolen vehicle over the scanner and noticed it at a Monahans convenience store.

"They saw the maroon car there in Monahans at a convenience store," Davis said.

Ward County Sheriff's Deputies discovered the vehicle abandoned at the roadside park.

No arrest was made in the case, but Davis said that the suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male, five foot nine, 165 pounds, with dark hair and a barbed wire/rope tattoo on his neck.

This is the third stolen vehicle that has been reported to the police in the past two months, according to Davis.

"We've recovered all of them," he said.

He said that there was a stolen vehicle that was found on fire in July as well as another stolen vehicle that was pulled over by Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies.

Davis said that two boys were discovered driving the second stolen vehicle in July but they ran when they were pulled over. He said that the police and Sheriff's office do not know who the boys were and have no suspects.

Davis has some advice to car owners when they leave their vehicles.

He said that the person should always take their keys with them, lock the doors and hide any valuable possessions from sight.

Davis also said that if anyone sees any suspicious activity or is approached by anyone to buy anything feel free to contact the police.

"The police department would be glad to check it out for them," he said.

If anyone has any information on these stolen vehicles contact Crime Stoppers at 445-9898. All callers would remain anonymous.

Ghost Writer

History of county includes two hangings

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region

By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- I have been requested to write of the hanging of Lon  Cardenas Martinez who, according to Alton Hughes' account in his book  Pecos _A History of Pioneer West, was the only person to be hanged legally  in Reeves County.  His account of the recorded events, trial and hanging  are complete with the exception of one thing.  Mrs. Annie  Hamilton befriended Mr. Martinez and, while in jail, Mr. Martinez made a small  box and carved her name on it.  This box is in the Lynn Hamilton display at  the West of the Pecos Museum.

There is no need to relate the story again and bring up ill feelings as some people think that he was innocent. There is a story of another hanging in Reeves County but there is no written record of the event. It seems that a young Anglo was hanged for horse stealing.


A less controversial story happened in 1940 when a Pecos lawyer, William Kerr, was retained to represent an oilman in Fort Stockton. His intention was to show that an oil well was not commercial. The other side said that the well was, in part, commercial. An oil lease was dependent upon the results of this trial. While the trial was in progress, the Railroad Commission ruled that the owner of the well had to plug it or produce it. Both options would be costly. The end result: nine lawyers were hired to lose the case. I have known some lawyers who could lose the case without help. That seems to be their specialty. The Enterprise heading for the story was, "Man Bites Dog."


My. "Mature" advisors were right on target when they questioned the accuracy of astrology. I have just learned that one can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in Astrological Arts and Sciences at Kepler College. (Mr. Johannes Kepler, (1571-1630) who discovered three laws of planetary motion must be turning in his grave.) India wants to create astrology departments in 24 universities. There is a crusade to add astrology to our public school curriculum as "multicultural studies."

In this free country, where people can carve out their own destinies, it is unthinkable to teach people that the planets control their lives. There is no evidence to support astrology. Why do people want something or someone to control their lives? I must be out of step as so many voting people vote for more regulations and less freedom. Name a regulation that does not give the government more power and the people less liberty.

My "Mature" advisors, quite familiar with funerals as it is often their contemporaries being buried, were talking about what they would like the preacher to say at their funeral. One wanted it said of him that he was thrifty in all that he did. They all agreed that it was not necessary to say that he was thrifty, as everyone knew that by the pine box he had rather than a coffin. They also thought that "tight" or "cheap" might be better than "thrifty."

Begays offer lesson to kids on fitting in 

Staff Writer
PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- A session at Vacation Bible School in Pecos last month  was extended into a trip to Toyah last week for a group of children,  who received a few lessons in horse training and gardening from  local residents Steve and Bertha Begay.

The couple hosted six boys and girls last Tuesday at their house, three of whom are Navajos, like Steve Begay, said Suzie Zuniga of Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana in Pecos, who said both she and Bertha Begay were involved in last month's Vacation Bible School activities in Pecos, which attracted 121 local boys and girls.

"I saw how she teaches, so I called her us and asked if we could go visit her, especially the Navajo kids," Zuniga said. "We would have had a lot of other kids come, but we didn't have enough help to bring them here."

"The kids were leaving the church because most of it is in Spanish, and they were having a hard time," Begay said. "I asked them what the problem was and they said `we can't speak Spanish, we're Navajos.' So she (Zuniga) decided to hold a little ministry for them to build their self-esteem."

Steve Begay took the kids to his corral where they learned a little about horse training, and the six boys and girls also got to feed a baby horse, which was being kept in the family's front yard. Bertha Begay said like their other animals, the baby horse was adopted after it was abandoned.

"It was found in the wild out in the mountains in Arizona. It's mom left it out there, and it was found and we ended up adopting it," she said, adding that she hoped the lesson would help show the Navajo children that they could fit in to unfamiliar places and could lead a more religious life, without the problems, such as drinking, that have plagued Native Americans on reservations in the Southwest as they get into their teen years.

"We tried to show them even if you're a little different, it's OK and you can fit in," Begay said.

Eagles holding night workout at field Tuesday

PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- A "Meet the Eagles" practice session has been scheduled for the 2001 Pecos Eagles football team this coming Tuesday night at Eagle Stadium, head coach Gary Grubbs said on Wednesday.

The Eagles will hold a night practice at the stadium, which will be followed by a watermelon feed at the conclusion of the workout, which will get underway about 7:30 p.m.

We're going to have a little bit of practice under the lights, and then have a scrimmage," Grubbs said. "It will be open to the public, if anyone wants to come out and meet the players and coaches."

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 cash reward for any information on an armed robbery that occurred a few weeks ago.

Pecos Police were advised of a robbery that occurred at McDonald's at approximately 12:41 a.m., on July 18.

Upon arrival, officers were advised that two employees opened up that morning to begin their work.

Both employees had forgotten to lock the front door.

While one employee was opening the vault, she heard a noise behind her.

The employee turned around and saw a man standing behind her with a knife in his hand demanding money.

The man was described as wearing dark clothing and the suspect was wearing a homemade ski mask.

The suspect was very belligerent toward the employee demanding the money.

After the employee complied, the suspect ordered both employees to enter the freezer vault.

The suspect then left the scene while the employees stayed there until they felt it was safe to exit and call the police.

If anyone has any information on this crime or any other crimes call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898. All callers may remain anonymous.


PECOS, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- High Sunday 100. Low this morning 69. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers  or thunderstorms. Low around 70. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday:  Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High  in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly  cloudy. Low around 70. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper  90s. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon  and evening showers and thunderstorms. Lows around  70. Highs in the mid to upper 90s.


Sherry Lee Brantley and Estephen Lopez

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Pecos Enterprise
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