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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Tax payment, surrender of lots avoids Ortega violation

Staff Writers
PECOS, Thurs., April 18, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Mayor Ray Ortega has taken steps to avoid being in violation of the Town of Pecos City charter's requirements for running for a new term as mayor next month.

However, Ortega was in violation of Section 2.02 the city charter while serving as mayor up until March 13 of this year.

The violation centers around property taxes owed by Ortega, who is seeking a second two-year term as the city's mayor. The information about three plots of land he owned was made public by Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo, in connection with property on the east side of Pecos Ortega co-owned with Louis Matta, who ran unsuccessfully against Galindo in the February Democratic primary. Galindo ran an ad in the Feb. 21 Pecos Enterprise that showed three pieces of property the two owned on which taxes totaling over $7,000 were owed, according to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax office. The back taxes date back 11 years on the largest of those three properties.

Ortega also owed taxes on a separate property on the east side of town, for which non-payment of the city portion of those taxes would have barred the mayor from seeking a new two-year term under Section 2.02 of the city charter, which was approved by the Town of Pecos City Council on May 25, 1989.

The Section states that, "The mayor and each of the five city councilmen, shall…..not be in arrears in payment of any taxes or other liability to the city. A member of the council ceasing to possess any of the qualifications specified in this section, or convicted of a felony while in office, shall immediately forfeit his office."

Based on that, Ortega could have been subject to forfeiture of office from the time he became mayor in May of 2000 until March 13, 2002, when his taxes on property at 201-203 S. Walnut St. were paid.

Ortega paid off the city portion of his property taxes for 201-203 S. Walnut St. (Lot 1-2 Blk. 17) that day, though he continues to owe taxes on that property to other local entities.

As for the three properties co-owed with Matta that were at the center of the debate in the county judge's race, Ortega and Matta deeded back that property to its former owners on Dec. 6, 2001, and they are now liable for payment of the city, school, hospital and county taxes on that land, located in the 200 block of South Pecan Street.

The property is identified as Lot 3 of Block 18 of the Original Town of Pecos City plat, and two empty lots, consisting of portions of Lots 1 and 2 of Block 18 of the Original Town of Pecos City plat. They were sold to Ortega and Matta on June 16, 1996, and on Dec. 6 of last year a "Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure" was filed with the Reeves County Clerk's office deeding the property back to four of the owners, identified as Jose Tersero, Antonio Hernandez, Margarito Matta and Reeves County Commissioner Felipe Arredondo.

The main property is a building located at 209 S. Pecan St., and the smaller two properties, both empty lots, are adjacent to the property. Of that amount, $9,460.74 is owed on the property at 209 S. Pecan, and $85.66 is owed on the two vacant lots.

"We were going to try and turn it into a grocery story, but it didn't pan out," Ortega said this morning. He added that on those lots, "The property that Louis and I owned was deeded back to the property owners, and they've agreed to pay the taxes."

"I'm going to pay the taxes," Arredondo said Wednesday. "I started paying them last month."

The taxes on the Pecan St. building have been delinquent since 1991, and those on the two vacant lots are delinquent since 1998.

Taxes have been owed on the Walnut Street property since 2000, but records at the P-B-T tax office _ which handles property taxes for the city, school and hospital districts _ showed city taxes on that property were paid on March 13, one week before the filing deadline for the May 4 election.

"There are no city taxes that I owe," said Ortega, who is being challenged for mayor by Dot Stafford, who he defeated in the 2000 mayoral election.

Remaining taxes owed by Oretga on the 201-203 S. Walnut St. property for the school and hospital districts total $450.11. The original amount owed on the property was $624.65.

In light of the tax question's prominence in the primary and the wording of the city charter, the decision was made at the Pecos Enterprise to look into the tax situation of each of the current candidates for city office. A similar check of mayoral candidate Dot Stafford's property holdings revealed that she and her husband own one piece of property, their home, and that the taxes are current.

Ortega's responses this morning on his property tax payments and the relinquishing of the Pecan Street properties were made in response to information complied by Enterprise publisher Smokey Briggs. The mayor later delivered a letter to the office restating the fact that all his city taxes are current, while adding, "any attempt to distort the facts or discredit me or my campaign will force me to look at all of my legal options against your newspaper."

Hill receives State VFW's teacher award

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., April 18, 2002 -- A renewed sense of patriotism after the tragedy of September 11 was one of the many reasons a local teacher was awarded the Citizenship Education Teacher Award for the state of Texas.

Pecos High School Geometry Teacher Karen Hill was recently recognized as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year at the VFW's State Conference in Austin after a fellow teacher nominated her for the award.

The award is decided after many teachers are recognized in local chapters and advanced to district and state level.

According to the entry pamphlet, the contest is based on nominees submitted by the VFW's local chapters, which are called posts, who would recognize one outstanding teacher in that area from grades K-12.

The VFW Posts then submit the winners' names to their District level judging who would forward their winners to the Department (or state) level.

After judging, each Department then forwards the names of its winners to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.

Hill said that in order to participate she had to be nominated by someone, which PHS Teacher Sandy Overcash did, and then write an essay explaining what she does in her classroom to promote citizenship.

"I had to write an essay," she said. "It was about how I teach citizenship and patriotism."

In the essay, Hill explained that through her role as PHS Student Council sponsor she was able to implement a Pledge of Allegiance program as well as making sure that each classroom had an American and Texas flag hanging as well as new voting policies.

She said that all these projects came about after the tragedy of September 11

"As a public school teacher and student council sponsor, I incorporate citizenship ideas and values through projects such as implementing a pledge program on Monday mornings, making sure every classroom has both American and Texas flags, holding official elections for homecoming queen and student council offices, participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program, and following parliamentary procedures during council meetings," Hill said in her essay.

Hill said she and two other teachers, one for elementary and the other for junior high, were recognized and received plaques as well as $500.

She was amazed at how well she and the other teachers were received by the veterans.

"It was amazing," she said. "They were so appreciative of the teachers."

Hill and her husband of two years, Craig, traveled to Austin with the help of the local VFW, which donated $500 for travel and expenses.

Hill said she never realized how many veterans belong to the VFW organization, stating that literally thousands of veterans attended the dinner where she was recognized.

"I was very honored to be there just because of the number of people there," she said.

Hill grew up in the Texas Panhandle in a small town called Stratford, one of five children of Keith and Carollee Waters.

After graduating from Stratford High School, where she was one of 36 students, Hill moved on to attend college at Wayland Baptist University, a private school in Plainview.

While there, she decided to study to become a teacher and graduated from there with a secondary certification, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in business.

When it came time for Hill to decide what she wanted to study, she had no problem going for her teaching certificate.

"I always wanted to be a teacher," she said. "I can't imagine doing anything else."

She is one of only two people in her family who has become teachers, the other being her older, and only, sister who is now a principle.

Hill said she knew teaching was what she wanted to do at an early age, perhaps being the only student of the 36 in her class that loved school.

"I always liked school," she said. "I loved going to school and I loved playing school when I was younger."

In fact, the only other dream Hill had of doing is owning a business, a dream she still carries today, however it has changed just a little. She now wants to own a business while still teaching.

Right now, Hill said she is just enjoying teaching for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, where she has been for a decade.

She is looking forward to possibly having a family with her husband and spending time with her recently extended family.

Hill is currently plans to look into studying for her master's degree.

As for her award, Hill credits her students for their work, stating that without them she wouldn't have the award.

"None of this would be possible if my kids weren't there and involved in the many projects," she said. "I just got recognized for the projects they helped instigate."

Hill has also received a certificate from the national chapter of VFW, which recognizes her for her award at the state level.

Hill is now nominated for the national award, which would be chosen sometime in August.

Crockett band members given excellent rating

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., April 18, 2002 -- Crockett Junior High Bands fared well in Region 6 U.I.L. Junior High Concert and Sight-reading contest held at the Ector Junior High in Odessa recently.

The Symphonic band was awarded a second division excellent rating in the concert portion of the competition which is the highest rating a Crockett Band has received since the 1994-1995 school year.

The Concert Band was awarded a third division rating of good, which equals the best rating a Crockett Band has received since the 1995-1996 school year.

This is also the first time in many years that Crockett has had two bands performing at this contest. Both bands were given fourth division ratings of poor in the sight-reading portion of the contest. "This shows that although we have improved we still have much work left to do," said Eagle Band Director Merle Lenfest.

The community would have been proud of the way these students represented Pecos, Barstow and Toyah during the contest and afterwards while eating at Mr. Gatti's Pizza, according to Lenfest.

"This is one of the most important achievements these students have made this year," said Lenfest. "Any learning requires discipline, however, in the junior high bands where there are 55 or 65 students in one class, discipline is a must."

Lenfest said that in music they are reaching for a standard of performance higher than any other part of the student's school day. "If the students earn a 90 on a test they receive an `A'; if we get 90 percent of the music right it still sounds awful, we must get 100 percent on everything we do," said Lenfest. "I hope the students have learned that their improvement this year came because of their hard work, cooperation, and especially discipline."

Lenfest said he would like to congratulate Scott Bostwick and the Symphonic Band members for this year's success. "I would also like to thank his Concert Band for all the hard work and improvement they have demonstrated this year," said Lenfest. "Also, we appreciate our boss, Juanita Davila, for driving all the way to Odessa by 8 a.m. to hear the groups perform."

Tickets still available for "Entertainers' game

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., April 18, 2002 -- Tickets are still available for the special basketball game with the "Harlem Entertainers," scheduled for this Friday evening at the Pecos High School New Gym.

The game will begin at 7:30 p.m., and Interim Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson said, "Ticket sales have picked up today, but we still have some available."

"Everyone is invited to come out and join us for a great evening of fun," she said.

The Harlem Entertainers, the "professional clowns of the court," will be on hand that evening to perform and to play against four local teams.

"We'll have four local teams that will `compete' against them, including one made up of Lion's Club members," said Gholson.

The team made up of Pecos Lion's Club members will be coached by player Fred Dominguez; the Reeves County Detention Center will have a team coached by Raul "Pony" Palomino; the community has put together a team and a half, which will be coached by Lawrence Burleson and the coaches will have half a team. "The community team will have some players that will help out the coaches team," said Gholson, "So it will all even out," she said.

"Each team will play one quarter," said Gholson.

The Pecos Eagle Athletic Booster Club will have the concession stand open and a referee who is not certified will be on hand.

A bake sale, sponsored by the Women's Division and the Golden Girl nominees, will take place in the lobby during the event.

Tickets for the event are in advance, $5 for children 12 and under and $7 for adults. Tickets at the door will be $7 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults.

Tickets can be purchased at the chamber office, located at 111 S. Cedar St., or call 445-2406 for more information.

"This will be a very entertaining evening for everyone and we want everyone to come out and join us," said Gholson.

Special entertainment is planned for the halftime show.

The Harlem Entertainers consist of "Wizard" Washington who played for Goose Tatum; "Showboat" Brannon _ played with the Harlem Wizards; "Badnews" Hardiman _ played for the Harlem Wizards; "Dr. Dunk" Leroy Harper of Brooklyn, N.Y.; "T-Bone" Posey of Burnsville, MN; "Razzle Dazzle" Jo Von Singleton of Los Angeles, Calif.; "Silky" Leroy Hudson _ Atlanta, Ga.; "Youngblood" Washington _ Milwaukee, WI and "Sidekick" Rhomie Chamberlain _ Portland, Ore.


PECOS, Thurs., April 18, 2002 -- High Wednesday 92. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph in the evening: Becoming south 5 to 15 mph by midnight. Friday: Partly cloudy: Breezy: And continued warm with isolated late afternoon thunderstorms. Highs 90 to 95. South winds 15 to 25 mph in the morning: Becoming southwest 15 to 25 mph by afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 55 to 60. Highs in the mid 80s.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

Augustin Muro, 43, was arrested at 7:44 p.m., on March 31 in the 700 block of Cherry Street on a Ward County warrant for motion to revoke on original charge of driving while intoxicated.

Thomas Marquez, 34, Orlando Baeza, 22, and Gonzalo Madrid, 53, were arrested at 9:32 p.m., on March 31 at Second and Sycamore Streets all for public intoxication.

Larry Granado, 35, was arrested at 2:50 a.m., on April 3 in the 3000 block of South Cedar Street for possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Ruben Contreras, 44, was arrested at 2:54 p.m., on April 2 at the Pecos Police Department on a warrant for cruelty to animals.

Raymond Vega, 35, was arrested at 8:13 p.m., on April 1 in the 1100 block of East Sixth Street for assault under the Family Violence Act and a warrant for terroristic threat.

Lee Roy Vasquez, 21, was arrested at 12:33 p.m., on April 1 at Town & Country on Palmer Street for theft under $50.

Leonel Ramirez, 24, was arrested at 5:34 a.m., on April 9 in the 900 block of West Fourth Street for public intoxication.

Guadalupe Rodriguez, 31, was arrested at 3:13 a.m., on April 7 in the 300 block of East Third Street on a warrant for no operator's license.

Casimiro Magana, 17, was arrested at 3:54 a.m., on April 4 in the 200 block of West F Street for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

Lee Varela, 18, was arrested at 4:47 a.m., on April 7 in the 2200 block of South Eddy Street on a warrant for probation violation.

Mark Renteria, 23, was arrested at 7:45 p.m., on April 5 in the 1900 block of South Cedar Street on Capias Pro Fine warrants for running a red light and no insurance.

A female juvenile was arrested at 1:17 a.m., on April 6 in the 400 block of East D Street for assault.

Pedro Barreno, 18, was arrested at 6 p.m., on April 4 in the 1200 block of Willow Street on a Capias Pro Fine warrant.

Jorge Armendariz, 24, was arrested at 7:19 p.m, on April 4 in the 500 block of East Fourth Street on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

A male juvenile was arrested at 11:45 a.m., on April 4 on FM 1761 for indecent exposure.

Jose L. Garcia, 42, was arrested at 9:01 a.m., on April 9 at the Valley Trailer Park for abuse of aerosol paint.

Sammuel Valencia, Jr., 22, was arrested at 10 a.m., on April 9 at the Reeves County Sheriff's Office on a warrant for burglary of a habitation.

Rojelio Brito Pando, 30, was arrested at 2:41 p.m., on April 9 at the Reeves County Sheriff's Office on warrants for running a stop sign and a unrestrained child under two years-of-age.

Chasidy J. Alvarez, 26, was arrested at 3:30 p.m., on April 9 at the Municipal Court on warrants for possession of an alcohol beverage-open container and violation of promise to appear. Alvarez paid the fine and was released.

Efrain H. Adame, 21, was arrested at 2:40 p.m., on April 17 at the Municipal Court on a Capias Pro Fine warrant. Adame paid the fine and was released.

Joseph Urias, 26, was arrested at 2:40 p.m., on April 17 at the Municipal Court on a Capias Pro Fine warrant. Urias paid the fine and was released.

Elva Florez Contreras, 44, was arrested at 3:04 p.m., on April 17 at the Municipal Court on a warrant for cruelty to animals.

Katrina Bell, 17, was arrested at 9:25 p.m., on April 14 in the 1000 block of Cypress Street on a warrant for resisting arrest.

Yolanda Rubio Vela, 39, was arrested at 9:42 a.m., on April 14 at the Criminal Justice Center on warrants for possession of an alcoholic beverage-open container and violation written promise to appear.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise