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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Odessa slaying suspect, officer stable in MCH

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- An officer involved in a shooting last Friday remains in  stable condition, while and the man who shot and killed his wife and was  then shot by the officer in the incident will face murder and attempted  murder charges after he recovers from his injuries.

Joe Albert Ramon, 41, will be charged with first-degree murder and attempted capital murder, according to Odessa Police Information Officer Sherrie Thompson after he leaves Odessa's Medical Center Hospital.

The shootout involved three former Pecos residents in Odessa Friday afternoon and his estranged wife dead and Cpl. Greg Travland is listed in stable condition at Medical Center Hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Estela Cadena Ramon, 36, was shot and killed by Joe Albert Ramon at her place of employment in downtown Odessa. Joe Ramon then wounded Travland in the leg, but the officer was able to shoot Ramon several times in the chest while being wounded in the leg by Ramon, according to the Odessa Police Department.

All three persons involved in the shootout are former Pecos residents. Ramon remains under police custody at Medical Center Hospital and will face a court hearing once he is discharged from the hospital.

Odessa police said the incident began when they received a call at approximately 2:36 p.m. on Friday from a business formerly known as Lou's Clinical Lab at 115 W. Sixth St. Travland arrived at the business and contacted a woman, later identified as Estela Ramon, office manager for Drug Screen Compliance and Consortium of the Southwest, in regards to a domestic problem.

About 30 minutes later, as the officer was taking the report from Ramon, a man identified as her estranged husband, Joe Albert Ramon, entered the building and began firing at Estela Ramon, who was shot and killed. Ramon and Travland, then exchanged shots inside the business, the Odessa police report said.

Travland is the son of J.E. Travland and the stepson of Catherine Ashley-Travland of Pecos. He had been employed as an Odessa Police Department Cadet on Jan. 1, 1980 and began his service as an Odessa Police Officer on March 30, 1981.

"He's doing a little bit better today and listed in stable condition," said J.E. Travland. "We're just glad he's doing okay."

Travland holds a Master Police Officer Certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education and has served as a Patrol Officer, Crimes Against Persons Detective, Narcotics Investigator and K-9 Officer.

Travland was the recipient of the V.F.W. Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in Texas and the recipient of the 1999 V.F.W. of the United States "J. Edgar Hoover Award" as the National Outstanding Peace Officer of the Year, which was recognized by Governor George W. Bush.

He was also the 1999 City of Odessa Employee of the Year Nominee and has 15 letters of commendation in his file.

Currently, an investigation is being conducted in regards to this shooting by the Texas Rangers, and the Criminal Investigations Bureau of Odessa Police Department. In addition to those agencies, the Inspectional Services Unit of the Odessa Police Department will conduct an investigation as required by Odessa Police Department rules and regulations in situations of an officer involved shooting.

Funeral services for Estela Valenzuela Cadena, 36, of Midland, are scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, at Our Lady of Peace Church in Alpine with burial following in Holy Angels Cemetery. Geeslin Funeral Home of Alpine is in charge of arrangements and a funeral director at the facility; Larry Cadena is Estela's brother.

First dust storm of New Year hampers accident site workers

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)  closed down Texas Highway 17 for a short time on Sunday due to blowing  dust, according to the Department of Public Safety, about an hour after  a one vehicle rollover occurred on the highway five miles south of Pecos.

The DPS office reports that the highway was shut down at 4:36 p.m., on Sunday and re-opened at 5:05 p.m. The blowing dust could have been the cause of an accident at approximately 3:16 p.m., that same day, on Highway 17. No further information could be obtained at press time, but Pecos Emergency Medical Service personnel called to the scene reported zero visibility at the accident site.

With drought conditions in the Trans-Pecos entering their 10th year, blowing dust problems have been on the rise in recent years in Reeves County, and have forced the closing of Highway 17, U.S. 285 and Interstate 20 due to blowing dust conditions that have led to accidents during the past year.

In a separate accident unrelated to Sunday afternoon's high wind and dust conditions, a Pecos man was transported to Reeves County Hospital early Sunday morning after being involved in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. 285.

DPS Trooper Derrick Evans said that the man, whose name could not be released, was traveling back to Pecos from Fort Stockton in his 2001 GMC extended cab pickup truck at approximately 4:30 a.m., when the accident occurred.

"The truck was heading northbound on US 285 when it ran off the road," he said. "The vehicle came back on the road and rolled over."

Evans said that the man had been drinking but was wearing his seatbelt.

The vehicle rolled one time landing on its wheels.

Pecos EMS transported the man to Reeves County Hospital with minor injuries.

Evans is still investigating the accident.

Veteran legislators seek new supporters in Pecos

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- Pete Gallego and Henry Cuellar are familiar to each other, from  working together for a decade in the Texas Legislature.

Now the two Democrats are hoping to make themselves more familiar to Reeves County voters, as both prepare for elections against Republican opponents in November.

Both men greeted each other warmly when they met in Pecos Friday night at the Reeves County Democratic Party's "Meet The Candidates" chili dinner at the Reeves County Civic Center. Neither candidate faces opposition in the March 12 Democratic primary election, but both figure to face tough battles in November _ Cuellar against five-term incumbent Henry Bonilla and Gallego against Uvalde County Attorney Pete Nieto.

Gallego, who was in his 20s when he was first elected to the Texas Legislature, was given Reeves and four other new counties under the recently approved House redistricting plan, figures to have the easier road, having been named in the past by Texas Monthly as one of the top members of the Texas Legislature, and already having some connection to the Trans-Pecos area from his hometown of Alpine, where the new Special Events Center at Sul Ross State University has been named in his honor.

While adding Reeves, Ward and Loving counties in West Texas and Uvalde and Edwards counties near San Antonio, Gallego lost Maverick and Kinney counties south of Del Rio. "I'm sad to lose Maverick County. It was the one that pushed me over the top in my first election," he said, and a few years later, an elementary school in Eagle Pass was named after the 40-year-old Gallego.

"It's easy to campaign when everybody is running around with `Pete Gallego Elementary' T-shirts on, but this area is a lot closer to home, and I really feel at home here," he said.

"It's been very difficult over the last 10 years being represented by Republicans," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo during Friday's Democratic Party meeting, while adding, "I'd like to thank Pete Gallego for his help in keeping radioactive waste out of this area."

Gallego has worked for several years in the fight against a radioactive waste site in his 74th District near Sierra Blanca, and helped Galindo last year fight the creation of a proposed waste dump northeast of Barstow in Ward County.

Aside from the radioactive waste battle, Gallego said "We've got some work to do on essential elements of quality of life issues" in West Texas, including rural area economic development, water rights and education infrastructures.

Gallego could be in a strong position on those issues if Democrats maintain control of the Texas House next year, since he would be in line to head up the House Appropriations Committee. But Gallego said that the same redistricting plan that added Reeves County to his district might also help Republicans take control of the House in 2003.

"I think there will be a Republican majority, but that's OK. Things change and the pendulum will swing back," Gallego said.

Cuellar's race against Bonilla for the 23rd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives could go along way towards determining control of that body in 2003. Republicans hold a slim majority now, but were in the minority when Bonilla was first elected 10 years ago in his first try at public office.

Cuellar was already a veteran of the Texas Legislature at that time, having first been elected to the House serving the Laredo area in 1986. It was a position he held for 14 years, before being appointed Secretary of State by Gov. Rick Perry last year.

Cuellar's resignation from that post last fall came as a surprise, and speculation at the time was the University of Texas law school grad would try to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Phil Gramm. Instead, Cuellar announced on Jan. 2 he would run for the 23rd District seat, which includes Laredo and parts of both San Antonio and El Paso along with Reeves County.

"I am familiar with the legislative body and what it can do," he said. "The families of Congressional District 23 need a new voice, and one that can work with both parties."

"He (Bonilla) is a good man. I respect him, but I think he's put his party before the interests of the people, and something has to be done," Cuellar said. "You've got to look at voting records, my voting record and his voting record."

Cuellar cited his work in getting health and education programs passed during his seven terms in the House, five of which were spent as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

"My father had a sixth grade education and may mother only had a third grade education," he said. "I learned from there that you've got to work hard and get a good education.

"I was the author of the Texas Grant, which is the largest financial aid program in history (for student college funds), and I was chairman of the budget committee on public schools and higher education until I became Secretary of State," Cuellar said.

"While I was in Austin I emphasized health care, and started the CHIP program in Laredo, which is now statewide," Cuellar said. He added that he would like to see further expansion of health insurance programs, but said, "I've talked with local government officials and what they don't want is unfounded mandates, and I know from my experience we certainly don't want unfounded mandates coming in from Washington."

Cuellar's appointment as Secretary of State came prior to the state of last year's Texas Legislature. "The first time when Perry approached me he knew I know the border and he wanted somebody working with both Democrats and Republicans, and he wanted to emphasize education and knew I was a big believer in education," he said.

Cuellar's work last year with Perry, who was appointed governor after George W. Bush was elected president in December 2000, stood in contrast to his problems a year ago with one of the Democratic candidates seeking to run against Perry for governor this fall, Tony Sanchez. The Laredo businessman, who is running against former Attorney General Dan Morales for the Democratic nomination, was accused last March of hiring private investigators to look into Cuellar's background and who reportedly spread rumors that Cuellar had written a threatening note to Sanchez.

"My parents told me to learn to forgive," said Cuellar, who added he and Sanchez talked earlier this month about last March's allegations.

"On January 1 I got a call from Tony Sanchez to my house. He called and said `Let's start off the year right'," said Cuellar. "He sent a letter of apology, and I've learned life is too short to worry about something like that, and you've got to go on with your life."

Alzheimer's group schedules meeting Thursday

PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- The Pecos Evening Support Group of the Greater West Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Pecos Senior Center.

Topic will be, "Caregiver stress and burnout." This is part of the Caregiver Education Series. There will be a short support group meeting after the program.

SSB opening up new branch in Sierra Blanca

PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- Security State Bank of Pecos has announced that it has acquired certain assets and liabilities of the former Bank of Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County and will operate a full service banking facility at the former bank's location beginning today.

The new banking office will be operated as TransPecos Banks _ Sierra Blanca, a branch of Security State Bank. TransPecos Banks will be notifying each customer of any changes that may occur with their accounts in the future, but for now Bank of Sierra Blanca customers will be able to continue using their checks, deposit slips and ATM cards.

"TransPecos Banks looks forward to serving Sierra Blanca and greater Hudspeth County communities," said Bill Oglesby, President of Security State Bank. "We are part of a West Texas based bank holding company with over $100 million in assets. Our banks have a combined history of over 120 years of service to the West Texas areas."

"We are committed to serving the ranchers, farmers, local businesses and families in the TransPecos area," said Oglesby. "We have a number of customers in the area and look forward to having a full service banking facility in Sierra Blanca to serve Ft. Hancock, Dell City and Van Horn."

All existing employees will be given the opportunity to work at the bank, which is located 120 miles west of Pecos. TransPecos Banks will expand product and customer offerings in order to better serve the community.

In addition to Sierra Blanca, the bank maintains officers in Pecos and Marathon and has a sister bank in Iraan.

For more information, contact Joe Keese, Chief Executive Officer, at 915-445-9000.


PECOS, Tues., Jan. 22, 2002 -- High Monday 70. Low this morning 39. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 35 to 40. Southwest winds 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday: Increasing clouds. Highs near 70. Southwest winds  10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy and breezy with  a 30 percent chance of rain or snow. Lows near 30. Thursday:  Cloudy: Breezy and much cooler with a slight chance of rain or snow  early. Highs near 40. The chance of precipitation is 20 percent.  Friday: Decreasing clouds. Lows in the mid 20s. Highs in the mid 50s.

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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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