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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Friday, January 4, 2002

Cause sought for overnight blaze at house

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 -- Pecos Volunteer Firemen were up early this morning fighting a  structure fire on the north side of town.

Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that the firemen were called to the 600 block of North Ash Street at approximately 3 a.m., this morning where a house was had caught fire.

Brookshire said that all the fire units and Pecos Ambulance Service responded to the fire and was able to put it out without any injuries.

"One person was in the house at the time the fire started," Brookshire said. "But he got out safely."

The same house caught fire last year leaving the residents with the task of repairing the damage, which they were still doing.

"It burned at about the same time last year," Brookshire said.

According to Brookshire, the man, whose name is unknown at this time, had been working on the house, which did not have any active electric lines.

"They had done a lot of repair on it," he said. "But there was no electricity."

Having immediately ruling out the possibility of the fire starting with electrical problems, Brookshire said that he would be looking into the possibility that the fire was caused by a natural gas source.

Fire personnel were called to the same house at approximately 8:30 a.m., this morning after the fire rekindled.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Ex-area residents arrested in major drug bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 -- Two brothers who are former Reeves County residents  were arrested New Year's Even in Juarez, Mexico along with two other  siblings, following an extensive drug investigation by Mexican police.

The investigation led to the arrests the four, who allegedly masterminded a cocaine smuggling ring in El Paso and Juarez for the past 10 years, officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's El Paso office helped Mexico's new Federal Investigative Agency work on the case, DEA spokeswoman Angie Gurrola said.

The brothers are Mexican citizens Hernaldo Beltran Perea and Raul Beltran Perea and U.S. citizens Jesus M. Beltran and Rodolfo Beltran.

Jesus and Rodolfo Beltran are former residents of Balmorhea and Pecos, according to local officials.

"We arrested Jesus Beltran here in Pecos a few years ago on money laundering charges," said Trans Pecos Drug Task Force lieutenant Larry Arredondo, while Rodolfo Beltran was arrested on Nov. 2, 1994 on a charge of delivery of cocaine, according to police records.

According to the El Paso Times, the brothers were arrested during a family holiday party at Ajua, a popular restaurant frequented by many El Pasoans and other tourists.

Officials said that the organization smuggled drugs through El Paso and that they were then distributed to cities in Texas, Kansas, California and other states.

"The organization was headed by Hernaldo and Raul Beltran, who organized the smuggling and distribution and sale of 50 to 100 kilograms of cocaine per week, while Jesus and Rodolfo (Beltran) recruited drivers and collected the payments," according to a statement from the Mexican federal attorney general's office.

The Times said both Pereas and both Beltrans were taken to Mexico City, where they will be processed for extradition to the United States on drug charges, said Lorenzo Aquino Miranda, Chihuahua state director for the Mexican federal attorney general's office.

Anchor closing subject of story in N.Y. Times

PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 -- A story on the closing of the Anchor Foods plant in Pecos was part of the national section of this past Sunday's New York Times.

Entitles "Texas Desert Town Thirsts for Lost Jobs and People" the story, by San Antonio-based writer Ross E. Milloy, focused on the announcement of the closing of the 700-worker plant by McCain Foods in November and the job situation locally, including the additional jobs being created by the expansion of the Reeves County Detention Center.

The story is available on the New York Times' website, , but the link requires registration.

Year In Review

Pageant, rodeo winners crowned in July

PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 --
This is the seventh in a series of stories on events in the Pecos area in 2001. Today's story covers the month of July.


Monday, July 2, 2001—Desirae Tercero wowed the audience with her song and took home the coveted title of Golden Girl of the Old West during the Annual Golden Girl of the Old West/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant held Friday evening at the Pecos High School Auditorium. Earlier in the evening, Marissa Tarango, the daughter of Gaston and Mary Tarango, was crowned Little Miss Cantaloupe for 2001 out of 12 girls competing for that award. Runner-up in the Golden Girl competition for 2001 was Kristina Dominguez, who did a dance routine to a song by Jennifer Lopez. The Miss Congeniality Award went to Nikki Walker, while Shanna Tredaway was the recipient of the advertising award. Cassie Foster and Kattie Davis were this year's other Golden Girl candidates. In the Little Miss Cantaloupe competition Josie Paz was the runner-up behind Tarango.


Tuesday, July 03, 2001—U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson questioned the evidence and questioned his own actions during jury selection, citing them as the main reasons for his reversal of the jury's guilty verdict against six undocumented illegal aliens on charges of marijuana smuggling in Pecos Federal Court two weeks ago. Furgeson reversed the jury verdict on June 22, following a week-long trial in federal court, and released his official opinion on the case on Monday.

After several months of asking for assistance with a potentially dangerous problem, the Avila family in Barstow finally got the help it asked for. The home of Manuel Avila had been swarmed with bees for some time now and it seemed that even when they called to get help, no one responded. Ward County Animal Control officer Pablo Navarette, acting in an unofficial capacity was able to kill off the bees Monday night, but needed to set off six foggers inside the house to do so.


Thursday, July 05, 2001—An autopsy has ruled out foul play in the deaths last month of two of the newest arrivals at the Maxey Park Zoo, and officials said the zoo soon could have replacements for those animals. Two African lions, Boomer and Brigit, six and five years old respectively, arrived in Pecos in January in a new facility built just for them. Gil said that the autopsy report showed the lions had died from a liver or kidney infection. Officials feared that the lions had been poisoned but quickly ruled out that possibility.

Hundreds of community members and visitors gathered along the streets of Pecos to enjoy the annual Fourth of July Rodeo Parade Tuesday morning. This year's parade theme was Disney characters in a Western theme, which left participants dreaming up lots of ideas. Golden Girl nominee Shanna Treadway won the Golden Girl float category by taking a spin off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with her float "Belle Shanna and the Seven Deputies. The West Texas National Bank staff gathered on their "Toy Story 2; Woody's Roundup," winning first place in the commercial category.

After the first night of the rodeo the 2001 West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee made sure to take strong measures in insuring that no alcohol is sold to minors. John Deering, Agent IV with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, said that he observed a young male allegedly purchasing alcohol with a military identification card.


Tuesday, July 10, 2001—A longtime Barstow resident and member of the city council was killed this morning when the pickup he was driving collided with a Union Pacific freight train on the east side of town. This fatality occurred one block east of where a car carrying six people was struck by a Union Pacific train on May 11, sending four people to Reeves County Hospital.

Two employees of McDonald's received an early morning wake up yesterday when an unknown man robbed the store of over $1,000. Pecos Police Investigator Kelly Davis said that the man is believed to be white and approximately six-foot with a stocky build.


Wednesday, July 11, 2001— The Brant Street crossing, where a Barstow alderman was killed on July 10, had already been scheduled for closure under an agreement between the city and Union Pacific Railroad. The actual responsibility for closing the crossing on the east side of town was unknown, even while residents of Barstow are asking why no action has been taken three months after the agreement was signed. According to Barstow Mayor Benny Hernandez, the City Council had approved a resolution that would close the railroad crossing on April 11.


Thursday, July 12, 2001— A young girl died and three others were seriously injured following an early morning traffic accident on Interstate 20 east of Toyah. The accident occurred at 3:50 a.m., today, at mile marker 27, on Interstate 20, five miles east of Toyah. Killed in the accident was 12-year-old California girl who was pronounced dead at 7 a.m., at Reeves County Hospital by Justice of the Peace Lamberto Herrera.


Thursday, July 13, 2001 —After seven years of service to the city, Geneva Martinez is resigning from her position as city secretary to take another job. Her last day at city hall will be Friday, and she is planning to start her new job at American Home Health on July 23, where she'll be working for owner Leo Hung.


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.


Wednesday, July 18, 2001—A former Reeves County Detention Center employee was indicted last Thursday by United States District Court grand jurors meeting in Pecos. Kimberly Dawn Orona, 24, was charged with two counts in the indictment, the first for providing or possessing of contraband in prison and the second for bribery of a public official.


Thursday, July 19, 2001—The Pecos Economic Development Corp. accepted the donation of the Smithers Automotive Testing Center by the Ohio-based company, during a special meeting held this morning on the second floor of the Security State Bank building. The 5,800-acre tire and automotive testing complex was closed in May because of an inadequate business volume over the last several years, which adversely impacted operations, Smithers said. While the donation of the property will open up the area for possible use by the Town of Pecos City and Reeves County for an underground water field, it will also take the 5,800-acre site off the local property tax rolls.


Friday, July 20, 2001—Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD employees got some good news in the form of pay raises on Thursday, following action taken at during a special meeting of Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board. Following a lengthy discussion, board members agreed to give school administrators a three percent raise; raise the salaries of all auxiliary and professional personnel by five percent, and increase stipends for all coaches, UIL sponsors and class sponsors. P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love presented the board with different pay scenarios and told the members to proceed with caution when approving the pay scales and the tax rate.


Monday, July 23, 2001—A Pecos woman died as a result of a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 285 early Sunday, one of numerous accidents that occurred this weekend. The woman died after the vehicle she was traveling in rolled over and ejected her from the vehicle at approximately 6:45 a.m., on Sunday, about 5.8 miles south of Pecos.

The Pecos Police Department is continuing their investigation into the death of a man whose body was discovered in a mobile home late Friday afternoon in the 200 block of Walthall Street. Police believed the body had been there for approximately three days when it was discovered.


Tuesday, July 24, 2001— Monday's closing of the Brant Street railroad crossing in Barstow was not in response to the death of a Barstow City Councilman two weeks ago, according to a Union Pacific Railroad Company spokesman. Spokesman Mark Davis said that UP has been working with the city council in Barstow for many months on closing off that crossing.


Thursday, July 26, 2001—Charlene Jeannette Alligood, former president of both the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and Reeves County Hospital District Board and a frequent volunteer at her church and with local community groups, died Wednesday at Odessa Medical Center Hospital following a brief illness. Alligood was a member of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years, serving as president of that organization for 1999.


Monday, July 30, 2001—The Town of Pecos City's Athletic Pool has only three weeks remaining before it is scheduled to be closed permanently, due to new state regulations. But city officials have been looking into many options that would help keep pool at Maxey Park open next year. Because Texas now has new regulations on maintaining swimming pools, the city has been looking at what needs to be upgraded at the pool in order to keep it open.


Tuesday, July 31, 2001—Concrete for the first section of the new Pecos Law Enforcement Center is due to be poured in the next few days, as construction on the $5.6 million facility enters its second month. Corplan Corrections Corp. is constructing the municipal criminal justice center, which will house both local inmates and U.S. Marshal Service inmates awaiting trial at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse here in Pecos. Construction on the project, to be located on Raul Florez Boulevard between Texas and Moore streets, is expected to take a year.

Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena said today that the truck that two local men were using when they were arrested this weekend for public intoxication belonged to the city. At about 4 a.m., Sunday morning, Michael Roy Pena, 18, who was driving a 1989 white Chevrolet pickup, was arrested along with Richard Paul Rodriguez, 17, and Juan Carlos Abila, 17, at Allsup's on Eddy Street, all for public intoxication.

Study required before picking electric provider

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 -- Pecos consumers expecting easy shopping for cheap electricity in  the state's newly deregulated market may be disappointed when they  start looking for the cheapest rates and services in their area. 

As of January 1 local residents can shop from among four retail electrical providers that have signed up with the Public Utilities Commission to sell electricity in the area, but smart shoppers will have a lot more to compare than a simple price per unit of power.

First Choice Power is the new retail company that was split off of Texas-New Mexico Power Company (TNMP) _ the company that has been supplying Pecos with both power and service for decades.

It is one of three utilities that have served the area over the years. West Texas Utilities (WTU) provided power for southern Reeves County, including Balmorhea, while TXU, the former Texas Utilities, was the power provide for Ward County and is the state's largest electric company.

With deregulation TNMP will still be handling the physical delivery of electricity in the Pecos area of central and northern Reeves County.

"TNMP is now what is called a transmission and distribution utility, and First Choice is one of four retail electric providers offering service in the Pecos." Said Valerie Smith, the director of communications for TNMP.

If you were a TNMP customer in 2001 then you started out the year as a First Choice customer. From then on it is up to the consumer, she said.

Smith explained that one difference for consumers would be whom they called when there was a problem.

"If there is a power outage or any other transmission problem then Pecos residents will still call TNMP, but for billing and similar problems customers will need to call their retail provider," she said.

For First Choice customers that means calling the same people they have been calling all along at the local First Choice billing office. Customers that switch providers will need to call their provider's office, wherever that office happens to be.

Smith said that most importantly, consumers need to make sure that they are comparing apples to apples when they shop.

As far as price goes, that means making sure that the price the provider is quoting is the whole price.

"People should ask if the quoted price is the `total delivered price," she said. "That way they can be sure that all fees and costs are figured into the price being quoted."

Smith also suggested calling the toll free information line at 1-866-797-4839 or logging on to before making any decisions.

From the power-to-choose web page consumers can follow links to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) web site and links to information such as: what companies are offering electricity in the area, how to contact those companies, and good questions to ask when shopping for electricity.

The same information is offered via telephone at the toll-free number as well.

The PUC suggests the following list of questions for shoppers to ask each provider before contracting for electricity:

- What is the total delivered price per kilowatt-hour?

- Is the price fixed, or can it change over the term of the contract?

- Is the price per kilowatt-hour affected by how much electricity I use or when I use it?

- Will I be required to sign a contract and if so, for how long?

- Will there be a switching fee or meter reading fee if I switch?

- Is there a membership fee or any other fee?

- Is there a cancellation fee if I change my mind?

- Is there a customer incentive for signing up?

- Are any other services offered in addition to electric service?

- What happens when my contract expires?

- Is there an average payment plan?

Smith added that once a consumer has answered these questions another good question would be, "Why should I choose your company over the others?"

That will give the company a chance to speak to issues such as service, how clean the power is in term of method of generation, and other issues that cannot be reduced to numbers.


PECOS, Fri. Jan. 4, 2002 -- High Thursday 56. Low this morning 30. Forecast for  tonight: Cloudy with a slight chance of rain: Possibly an evening  thunderstorm. Rain may mix with or change to snow after midnight. Lows 30 to  35. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph: Becoming north after  midnight. Chance of precipitation 30 percent. Saturday: Mostly cloudy and  breezy with a 20 percent chance of morning snow. Highs 45 to 50.  Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Saturday night: Becoming mostly clear. Lows  around 25. Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs 55 to 60. Monday: Mostly clear.  Lows 25 to 30. Highs 55 to 60.


Paul Budlong, Norman Eisenwine, Consuelo Lozano and Matilde Salgado

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