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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, March 11, 2002

Escaped RCJ inmate may be in Dallas area

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies are continuing their search for  an inmate who escaped early Friday morning from Reeves County  Jail, with the search focusing on the Dallas area.

Steven Carrasco Perez, 31, of Pecos, apparently escaped from the jail before 9 a.m. on Friday when he was believed to have been working in the front portion of the building. However, his escape was not noticed by jail personnel until 9½ hours later.

Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez said that Perez was a trustee cleaning floors in the office portion of the jail when he decided to make his escape.

"He was up here, up front and he could have just walked out the front door," he said.

An eyewitness gave a statement that Perez was seen leaving the front door of the Sheriff's Department and walking by the Reeves County Courthouse.

Perez was awaiting transfer to a Texas Department of Corrections facility where he would serve two years for parole violation.

He had been an inmate at the Reeves County Jail since January 3, Gomez said.

Jail staff did not realize Perez had run away until later in the day when the Jailer Bea Wilson noticed he had not shown up for any of his meals, according to a report made by Sgt. Danny Leos.

"(Wilson) stated that she had seen inmate (Perez) cleaning around the booking area around 8:30 a.m., (Wilson) further stated that she passed out meals to the inmates at 12:15 p.m., and as she passed out meals in tank 2 (Perez) was not in the tank," the report said. "(Wilson) stated that she thought that inmate (Perez) was still cleaning down stairs."

As the day went by the staff was still unaware of Perez' escape.

The report continued, "(Wilson) states that she went back up stairs at 6:40 p.m., to pass out supper to the inmates. (Wilson) states that as she was passing out the meals in tank two she called out (Perez)' name and he did not answer, (Wilson) states that she asked the inmates in tank two where Steven was and no one answered her."

After informing her co-workers, Wilson conducted a head count of all the inmates and was unable to locate Perez.

Gomez said that he does not believe that Perez is dangerous stating that he has been arrested mainly on charges of burglary and drugs in the past.

"He's only had one assault charge when he was 17," he said. "In that case he fought with his cousin."

Sheriff Gomez and his deputies believe that Perez might by attempting to travel to Dallas, because he had talked about wanting to visit his son, who is in a Dallas hospital.

"He's got a baby in intensive care in Dallas," Gomez said.

Gomez has informed Dallas County law enforcement officers and the hospital treating the baby to be on the lookout for Perez.

He has also informed numerous law enforcement agencies in the Permian Basin and Dallas areas as well as Midland-Odessa television stations KOSA (Ch. 7), KWES (Ch. 9) and KMID (Ch. 2).

Gomez said that none of the inmates knew about Perez' escape and does not believe that Perez planned the escape.

"I think it was just that he had the opportunity and he took it," he said.

Perez is five foot six inches tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

He has several tattoos with a few prominent ones including one on his chest of an Indian chief and the other his name Perez tattooed on the back of his neck.

The Reeves County Sheriff's office has issued an escape warrant for Perez, which is a felony offense in the third degree.

Pecos Valley Crimestoppers is offering an award to any persons giving information leading to the arrest of Perez, however the amount of that award is undetermined at this time.

Anyone with any information may call Crimestoppers at 445-9898.

"Any information will be appreciated," Gomez said.

Gomez also said that any persons found to have helped Perez would also be prosecuted.

"If anybody is caught assisting him they'll be prosecuted with aiding and abetting," he said.

As far as the jail is concerned, Gomez said that Investigator Michael Dominguez is still continuing to investigate the escape.

"We're investigating and trying to see where the mistake was made," he said. "Then we'll work on correcting that mistake to make sure it never happens again."

Gomez said that no action has been taken against any staff member at this time.

"You can't blame any one person," he said.

Final early vote total surpasses 2,150 for primary election

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- Early voting election clerks had a busy afternoon on Friday, the final day of early voting for Tuesday's election at the Reeves County Courthouse, which ended with over 2,150 people having already cast ballots in the local and state primary races.

As of Friday 1,823 people voted by personal appearance and the election clerks received a total of 342 ballots by mail.

For those who have not voted there is one more chance to vote Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 11 sites in Reeves County, while Barstow voters can cast ballots in the Ward County election during those same hours at the Barstow Community Center.

In Reeves County, two voting boxes have been relocated and a third has been consolidated for Tuesday's Democratic Party primary election, while anyone wanting to vote in the Republican Party primary race in Reeves County will have one site to go to in order to cast their ballot.

In the Democratic primary, voting Box 2 has been moved from Pecos Elementary to the Pecos Technicial Training Center on South Eddy Street, while Box 11 has been changed from Bessie Haynes Elemtenary to the Haynes-Sadler Community Center, near 12th and Locust streets. Box 9, which formerly had been at the Red Bluff Lake office in Orla, has been consolidated with Box 8, at the Lamar AEP campus in the 100 block of West `F' Street.

The other voting sites are Box 1 at the Pecos Community Center, Box 3 at Pecos High School Gym, Box 4 at Toyah City Hall, Box 5 at Balmorhea Fire Hall, Box 6 at Saragosa Multi-purpose Center, Box 7 at Reeves County Library, Box 10 at the Reeves County Annex building, and Box 12 at Texas New Mexico Power Company.

This year's local primary election has been focused on the race for county judge between incumbent Jimmy Galindo and challenger Louis Matta. All county voters will also cast ballots in the race for Reeves County Clerk, where Sofia Abila is challenging incumbent Florez, and votes in all Boxes will also cast ballots in the contested primary races for governor and U.S. Senate.

The three other local contested races are all in Precinct 2. In the county commissioner's election, incumbent David Castillo faces challenger Norman Hill; Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, where incumbent J.T. Marsh has two opponents, Jim Riley and Jaime Salgado, and Precinct 2 Constable, where Jerry Matta and Clint Glenn are seeking the constable position vacated in December by Salgado, when he decided to run for Justice of the Peace.

Other races that are uncontested include the Precinct 4 commissioner's race, where Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos is unopposed for a second term and the County Court-At-Law election, where Walter M. Holcombe is unopposed after being appointed in December. Also running unopposed are incumbent District Clerk, Pat Tarin; County Treasurer Linda Clark; Justice of the Peace, Precinct #1 Amonario P. Ramon; Justice of the Peace, Precinct #3 Rosendo Carrasco; and Justice of the Peace, Precinct #4 Lamberto T. Herrera.

County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean is also unopposed in his bid for a new term.

Barstow voters in the Ward County primary election will have four contested races, including County Judge, where incumbent Sam Massey is facing Joann Widdess.

Ward County Clerk Natrell Cain will face Phelitha Kay Schmidt in another race, and in the District Clerk election, there are four candidates challenging incumbent Pamela Bingham. She'll face Patricia Oyerbides, Jane Martin, Irma Tejada and Leona "Ann" Parker in Tuesday's election.

The other contested race is for County Treasurer, where Nell Berry is retiring. Three candidates, Teresa Perry, Melissa Taylor and Mary "Miki" Mitchell, are seeking the job.

Those are the only contested elections for Barstow voters, who are part of Precinct 1, where Justice of the Peace candidate Pascual Olibas is unopposed.

Only incumbents filed for the numerous races in Loving County, according to Loving County District Clerk Beverly Hanson.

School board updated on Spring Break repair work

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- A report on renovations at several area schools, a method  of procurement and a TIF Special Projects Grant for Pecos  Kindergarten were all approved during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school  board meeting.

The group met Thursday evening in the new Technology Center to discuss and approve several items.

P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love updated the group on new renovations scheduled for this week at Pecos High School and three other campuses while students are away for Spring Break.

"Asbestos abatement will be done over spring break in the north end of the freshman wing at the high school," said Love. "They will utilize the same air sampling protocol as on the auditorium to ensure fiber levels are acceptable before students return from spring break."

Lamar roofing demo began the final week of February and actual roofing is being done this week, while the contractor was scheduled to lay out duct work and units on roof at Crockett, for the HVAC this week as well. "Work will be done this spring and coordinated around student activities," said Love.

At Pecos Kindergarten, all but six rooms have been carpeted. "Over the spring break these six rooms will be completed and the entry tile installed. The project is scheduled to be completed spring break.

Work on the Pecos High School tennis courts was completed last month.

At Bessie Haynes Elementary School, the majority of work will be done this summer. Some roofing work will be done during spring break.

At Zavala work will begin on the roof (AC units and piping) this spring. Interior work will be done this summer.

"They are currently preparing construction documents and proposals will be due in April to allow us to bring proposals to the board at the April meeting," said Love.

Love suggested competitive sealed proposals as a means of construction procurement method for Bessie Haynes Elementary, Crockett Middle School, Austin Elementary School and Lamar AEP grant projects.

"This method has worked well for us in the past," said Love.

Board members approved the method or procurement suggested by Love.

Pecos Kindergarten Principal Cindy Duke requested permission from the board to apply for a TIF grant in the amount of $44,000. The money will be used to purchase different equipment for the kindergarten.

"This is free money and it sure will help," said Love.

"The application is due on April 30 and we should know something by May 30," said Duke.

Board members approved a request by the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Girl Committee to use the Pecos High School Auditorium for the Golden Girl Revue and waive fees.

"They just gave us $1,000 to use towards the auditorium repairs," said Love. "That money will be put to good use and we surely thank them."

Tentative dates of need are as follows: April 15, first look at girls talent; June 1, stage set-up; June 3-26 daily rehearsals for the revue; June 27 preliminary revue and June 28 Golden Girl Revue and Little Miss Cantaloupe.

Students will be helping to defray electric bill costs by "monitoring" the use in classrooms and other areas.

Student council members gave the board a summary of a program they would like to implement at the high school to control and help reduce electric bills.

"All lights will be turned off except in corridors," said student council member Daniel Quintana.

Student council sponsor Karen Hill told the group that the students would check the classrooms and make sure the lights were turned off. "If they are not turned off the students will leave the teacher a note and if they are, they'll leave them a positive note telling them how they appreciate them saving energy," said Hill.

"All money used by the student council comes from fundraisers," she said.

The students will be from the energy committee of the student council, which consists of six students, according to Hill.

Board members approved an Anti-Crime, Anti-Drug Poster contest which will be sponsored by the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department.

"This is for all the schools," said Love. "Louise Moore, juvenile probation chief, really knows how to stretch her money and does great things for the students."

Prizes will be awarded for first through third places for each category. There will be five categories, which will include special needs youth. All entries will receive a certificate of appreciation and a special prize.

Posters may be dropped off with the school secretary at the student's school during the school day or dropped off at the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The contest will begin March 11 and end April 22, at 4 p.m. Winning entries will be displayed at the Reeves County Courthouse during the week of April 15-19. All students enrolled in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD or the Balmorhea ISD or who are home schooled and reside in Reeves County are eligible to enter the contest.

Entries should be on regular size poster board in any color and the subject should be "anti-crime or anti-drug." Students whose parents are employees of the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department or Holdover center are not eligible to enter.

For more information contact Louise Moore, Mike Mason or Alma Garcia at 447-6901.

TxDOT begins work today on I-20 section

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- Drivers on Interstate 20 in Reeves and Ward counties will be encountering construction work over the next three months, as crews begin resurfacing two sections of the highway between Pyote and Toyah.

The Texas Department of Transportation said that crews would begin stripping asphalt off the surface of a two-mile stretch I-20 between the Salt Draw bridge and Toyah today in preparation for resurfacing, which will be followed by the removal of surface asphalt on a 12-mile stretch of I-20 between Pyote and the Business I-20 exit at Barstow.

"Work will begin on Monday, March 11, in the westbound lanes, with traffic constricted to one lane, but we expect that traffic will continue to flow smoothly," said Kelli Revennaugh, the TxDOT engineer in charge of the project."

TxDOT said Jones Bros. Paving Contractors of Odessa would be in charge of the project, the lane closures near Toyah will only be during daylight hours, and both lanes will be open at night, barring unforeseen circumstances.

After the pavement is removed, the resurfacing work is scheduled to begin about May 1, and will include the two-mile section near Toyah and a 15-mile section in Ward County, from the Pecos River to Pyote.

The section between the Business I-20 exit and the Pecos River was resurfaced in November of 2000 after part of the asphalt was cut down in late 1997 due to rutting problems. The right lane of I-20 between Pyote and the Barstow exit was cut down last year to alleviate the running problems caused by large trucks on the highway.

Total cost of both I-20 projects is just under $1.44 million, and is scheduled to be completed by June 1.

County Clerk's office to close during election

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- The Reeves County Clerk's office will be closed on Tuesday, due to the primary election being held all day.

County Clerk Diane Florez said the office will reopen for regular hours at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

GOP primary voting location on Toliver St.

PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- Voters wanting to cast ballots in the Republican Party primary on Tuesday can do so between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 2323 Toliver Street, located to the west of the Texas-New Mexico Power Co. office on Stafford Boulevard.

There are no contested local races in the Republican Primary, but voters can cast ballots in the contested primary election for U.S. Senate and other regional and state races.


PECOS, Mon., March 11, 2002 -- High Sunday 65. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Mostly  clear. Lows 35 to 40. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph: Becoming light and  variable by midnight. Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Highs 80 to 85. Light northeast  winds, becoming south 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly clear.  Lows in the mid 40s. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and unseasonably  warm. Highs in the upper 80s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid  40s. Highs in the mid 80s.


Thomas Chavez, Sr.

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