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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, February 1, 2002

Police preparing staff, equipment for jail's opening

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- Finishing touches are being put on the new Pecos Municipal  Criminal Justice Center, though all the work won't be completed by the time  Grand Opening ceremonies for the 98-bed facility are held next week. 

The Open House for the new facility, located on Raul Florez Boulevard and Moore Street, is planned for 11 a.m. next Wednesday.

"We're really excited about this and looking forward to moving to the new facility," said Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney. "We have a great, hard-working staff."

Although the opening ceremonies will be on Feb 6, McKinney said the new staff will not become familiarized with the Criminal Justice Center until the following week, and the police department's communications center will remain at the current Pecos PD office on South Oak Street until federal approval to relocate the site is received.

"We'll have a week of orientation for new jail staff for the week of Feb. 11," said McKinney. "And all that staff has been hired."

Training and orientation will cover uniforms, training procedures, orientation with the building, U.S. Marshal's Service training and evacuation procedures, according to McKinney.

"This will be for all new jail staff," said McKinney.

After that week of training, the new hires will then be assigned to their respective different shifts, according McKinney.

"On Feb. 19, we will start accepting inmates from the U.S. Marshals," said McKinney.

The CJC will hold Marshal's Service prisoners awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in Pecos, along with persons arrested by the Pecos Police Department who currently are held in the Reeves County Jail. The police department offices will be also be located at the new facility.

"As for the PD, we're waiting for the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), for permission to move communications to another location," said McKinney. "I filed the application with the FCC in November, but I still haven't heard from him."

Phone services at the new facility are another item that McKinney is working on completing. "We opened the bids up in late January and I'm meeting with the city manager today to discuss that," said McKinney.

"Communications and 911 are my priority before I move anything else concerning the PD," he said.

RCDC kitchen fire causes only minor damage

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- Pecos Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical  Service personnel were called to a possible structure fire last night at the  Reeves County Detention Center, though only minor damage was reported  to the kitchen area of the facility.

Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said that the staff of the 2,000-bed facility called for fire units at approximately 8:45 p.m., last night, after a guard noticed flames coming from an exhaust system on the roof of the kitchen building.

"It was an electric motor and an exhaust fan that caught on fire," he said.

It is a policy for the RCDC to call for fire personnel once a fire is spotted and then working on putting out that fire, according to Brookshire.

Once the fire department was contacted, Brookshire said that the RCDC personnel shut off the power to that exhaust system.

"They killed the power to the exhaust fan and once they did that the fire went out itself," he said.

The fire personnel made sure that the fire was not a threat when they arrived at the prison and were allowed inside by guards.

No one was injured as a result of the fire and the fire did not damage anything other than the exhaust system, according to Brookshire.

"They came out pretty lucky on that," he said.

Chamber honors Gerke with ag award

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- A long-time farmer and rancher was honored last Friday with the Agricultural Service  Award, at the Annual Pecos Area Chamber of  Commerce Awards Banquet.

Texas Agriculture Extension Agent Terry Holder presented the award for 2001 to Calvin Gerke at the banquet held on Jan. 25 at the Reeves County Civic Center.

"He and his brother first came to Pecos in 1967, operating their cotton stripper business," said Holder. "In 1981, he moved to Pecos and began farming in Reeves County and later, in Ward County."

Holder said that Gerke has raised cotton, cantaloupe, and vegetables. "He has cattle and is planting small grains for year round feed," said Holder.

Gerke was elected to the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation Board in 1997. He has been instrumental in starting the Salt Cedar Eradication Program in 1999 to clean up the Pecos River and its success in 1999 and 2000 has secured a state grant to continue the project.

He has been on the Ward County Irrigation District Board for two years and just started his second term. Concerned over our limited water resources and the effects of the drought, the board has drilled wells to supplement the river water and recently, investigated the possibility of a cloud seeding program for our area, to increase rainfall.

The agriculture service award was one of several given out last Friday at the annual Chamber awards banquet.

Cocaine, cash found in raid on west side home

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- An investigation is continuing following a narcotics search  warrant that was executed last week and which led to the arrest of one person on  the west side of Pecos.

Lead Investigator Lieutenant Michael Dominguez with the Reeves County Sheriff's Office said the warrant was executed at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23, on a home at 1910 Wyoming Street, near the Austin Elementary School campus.

"We located a little over four grams of cocaine and it was in a drug-free zone," said Dominguez. "Because it was a drug-free zone, it's a first degree felony."

Arrested in the incident was Oscar G. Archuleta, 40, and charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) over four grams and under 200 grams.

"We also recovered packaging materials, some firearms, the cocaine and some currency," said Dominguez. "A little over $5,000 was confiscated."

The assets are believed to be assets from the sale of narcotics, according to Dominguez.

"After a lengthy investigation into narcotics being sold out of this residence led us there and gave us the justification to get a warrant to search the premises," said Dominguez.

Dominguez said that it was a joint effort and thanked those who helped in the incident including, the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, the sheriff's department and their trusty canine friend, "Guerro." "It was actually `Guerro' who found the narcotics," said Dominguez.

Dominguez said that Archuleta has been arraigned and is currently out on bail.

"The investigation into this is continuing," said Dominguez. "We will continue to investigate this incident and others."

Love sends out letter to parents on gun seizures

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Don Love has  issued a letter to all parents, community and employees of the PBT-ISD  school district in regard to two separate incidents involving weapons  on school grounds last month.

An Austin Elementary student brought an unloaded gun to class on Jan. 9, while a Pecos High School student placed a sawed-off shotgun into his locker two days later. A PHS teacher was dismissed last week after helping the student remove the gun from campus without reporting the incident to high school administrators.

"Like many school districts across our nation, and state, earlier this month, our school district confiscated a gun from the high school and a gun from Austin Elementary School," said Love. "I commend the excellent work done by the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the school employees who were involved in seeing that the weapons were removed."

"Please be assured that appropriate discipline has been administered to the students involved and appropriate personnel action has been taken," Love added in the letter.

The district takes the issue of any weapon on our campuses very seriously and maintaining a safe environment for all our children and employees at all Pecos campuses is paramount, the superintendent said. As stated in every Student Code of Conduct that is issued to our students, any student bringing a weapon to school will be expelled in accordance with local policy and state law and referred to local law enforcement officers.

"We ask for your help and support in emphasizing the seriousness of this matter to your children," said Love. "We also ask that you place all weapons in secure places to prevent unauthorized access to such items."

Love told parents that with their help, we can teach our children that guns at schools are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

He said in the district's continuing efforts to keep our campuses gun free, we will continue to work with all law enforcement officials and continue to provide training to our staff so our children's learning environment can be as safe as possible.

"Although as school officials, we cannot discuss the specifics of any student discipline issue, I will be happy to talk to any parent, community member or employee about our commitment to safety and what we are doing to keep our campuses as safe as possible," said Love. "The administration, faculty and staff pledge to continue our vigilance in keeping our schools safe."

City Council appoints Garza to Housing Authority board

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council appointed John Garza to the  Pecos Housing Authority during the council's regular meeting Thursday night  at City Hall.

Mayor Ray Ortega swore Garza in as resident commissioner during the meeting.

The Pecos Housing Authority Board of Commissioners recommended Garza for the position after discussing him briefly during their regular meeting earlier this week.

The council also appointed five members and two alternates to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The members will serve a two-year term as well as the alternates, who would fill in for any members not able to attend any meeting.

The council appointed Jim Breese, Joe Coody, Mark Zuniga, Roy Rich and Bob Trammel along with Jerry Matta and City Secretary Connie Levario as alternates.

Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire informed the council that three of the seven people appointed are new to the Board.

"Most of them are serving right now," he said.

Coody, Matta and Levario are new to the Board.

The council approved a bid of $2,500 for the store located at 305 South Sycamore Street submitted by Armando Rodriguez.

The school board and hospital district already approved the bid for the foreclosed property.

The council also approved the municipal court report, the juvenile monthly report, accounts payable and the minutes of the previous meeting.

Museum hosting meeting for Golden Girls

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- All girls interested in participating in the 2002 Golden Girl Pageant should attend an information meeting which will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday at the West of the Pecos Museum, 120 E. First St.

Deadline for Golden Girl entries is Friday, Feb. 15.

For more information contact Laura Briggs at 445-5155 or the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Office at 445-2406.


PECOS, Fri., Feb. 1, 2002 -- High Thurs. 55. Low this morning 24. Forecast for tonight: Partly  cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat.: Mostly cloudy. Highs  near 50. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat. night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid  30s. Sun.: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Mon.: Mostly cloudy. Lows in  the mid 30s. Highs 50 to 55.


Bobbie Hicks

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