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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, April 29, 2002

Balmorhea cable waiting to see about KPEJ signal

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- The signal for Midland-Odessa's Fox network  station has been restored on Gomez Peak for viewers in  Reeves, Culberson and Jeff Davis counties. However, while  Pecos cable TV customers shouldn't notice any change,  the manager of the cable company in Balmorhea said  they might not put KPEJ-TV back on their system.

"We had been off the air, due to a conflict between the transmitter," said Aaron Evans with Fox 24, KPEJ out of Odessa, which was forced off its translator station on Ch. 18 last year when Spanish-language station KUPB began broadcasting in the Midland-Odessa area.

"They have issued us a new frequency which went up today (Thursday) and will be up to full speed next week," said Evans. Fox officials said last year they applied to have a new signal on UHF Ch. 20 in the Pecos area.

KPEJ's signal was unavailable in Pecos for about five months, until Classic Cable began receiving the signal via microwave relay, the same way it receives KMID, the Midland-Odessa ABC affiliate. But the microwave costs are far higher than receiving the signal via a translator station, and the Fox signal was only available to Pecos cable customers, not to those in other area towns or to people with antennas or satellite dishes.

The station's signal was out for local cable customers on Sunday while the switch was made back from the microwave relay signal to the antenna off of Gomez Peak, but had been restored by this morning.

Between June and November of last year, Classic Cable in Pecos carried Fox Net, the satellite network that broadcasts Fox programming. However, it aired only one Dallas Cowboys football game during the fall, causing a number of local complaints until the KPEJ signal was restored.

"We will have all the Dallas Cowboys games next season," Evans said, which will be available to all viewers in the area.

However, the manager of Balmorhea TV cable, Lawrence Neu, said he was taking a wait-and-see attitude towards restoring KPEJ's signal, because of the poor reception the old signal off Gomez Peak provided local viewers.

"Right now I'm probably disinclined to put KPEJ on because they never had a good signal," said Neu, who has been offering Fox Net to customers in Balmorhea. "Basically, what we'll do is talk with the general manager of the station, who we're good friends with, and ask if he intends to provide an adequate signal to the community. The old signal was snowy all the time, and they had periods of outages where the signal wouldn't be restored for three or four days."

He said being able to offer all the Cowboys games Fox will air next fall "is an advantage to carrying the signal. We'd want to be able to restore it for that reason alone," but said the company would do it's own testing first before making any switch from the Fox Net signal.

"We'll go down there within the next couple of weeks and our technicians will check it out to see if it's a good enough signal to put back on."

Evans said that KPEJ workers were in Pecos Thursday afternoon to do a promotional entitled, "Welcome Back Pecos."

"We're taking pictures of businesses and individuals that will be featured on Fox," said Evans.

The group was also selling "spots" for the station and welcomed any business or individual to buy one. "They will be featured on Fox, but what we're doing today is for free."

The segment will be aired sometime soon, according to Evans.

Movie Gallery has strong opening day box office

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- The staff of Movie Gallery celebrated their grand opening  with members of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Friday morning at  the new store's location, at 11th and Cedar Streets.

District Manager Lee Wagner said that the Pecos store is latest opening of the over 1,400 stores operated by the video rental chain in 41 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces.

Movie Gallery is the third largest video retail store in the nation and has been in operation for 16 years with headquarters in Dothan, Ala., according to Wagner.

"It's just now expanding in this area," he said.

While Friday was first official day the store was open, Wagner sad that they decided to open ahead of schedule at 2:30 p.m., Thursday.

Wagner said that the staff of seven did very well with the first day rush.

"It went great," he said. "Once word got out that we were open early it just flourished." The store was also busy with first-time customers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Wagner said that the store's seven employees and local manager, Suzi Vasquez, trained in Andrews before the local outlet opened.

The new rental store offers new and old releases in both DVD and VHS formats as well as video games for Playstation, Playstation 2, Nintendo 64, X-Box and Game Cube.

Wagner also said that there are previewed DVD and VHS movies for sale, all of which have a lifetime guarantee.

"If anything happens to the video bring it back and we'll replace it for them," he said.

For the first six weeks the store is open, Wagner said that all video rentals would be 99 cents each with a rental period of one day for "hot" new releases and five days for all other movies and games.

Wagner also added that the late fees would be the price of a re-rental period.

Anyone would be able to apply for the free membership with two forms of identification.

Wagner said he and the staff of the local store are looking forward to the weekend and hope to see many new faces come in.

"We just want everybody to come see us," he said.

Movie Gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Friday and Saturday.

Black powder rifle match scheduled for Saturday

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- The Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club will hold the first black powder rifle match of the year this coming Saturday at the club range north of town. The match will be limited to iron sights. Shooters will fire 10 shots from a bench and 10 shots from standing. There will also be a "Miss and Out" match if time permits. For more information contact Ed Curtis at 445_1551.

Early vote lags 2000's turnout for local races

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- Individuals who want to take advantage of early voting and  cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, have just two more days to do so.

"It's been going great, though not as well as two years ago," said elections coordinator Debbie Thomas about voting in Pecos for local city, school and hospital district races.

To have as many individuals vote during early voting as they did two years ago, 200 more individuals would have to vote today and tomorrow, which is the last day for early voting.

"Two years ago, we had 1,402 and as of Friday evening we had 1,003," said Thomas.

"If we were to get 200 today and 200 tomorrow, we could tie that," she said.

As of 10:30 this morning, 18 individuals had cast their ballots early at the Pecos Community Center, according to Thomas.

There were 368 ballots mailed out to voters and 109 have been returned.

Early voting is taking place at the Community Center, located at 510 S. Oak St., next door to the former Pecos Police Department offices. Early voting is also underway in the Balmorhea city and Balmorhea ISD elections, and will also continue through April 30.

Voting is scheduled for May 4 at the different polling sites, including the Community Center for Pecos' local elections; the Balmorhea Fire Hall for Balmorhea for city, school and hospital elections; the Multipurpose Center in Saragosa and Toyah City Hall for those individuals in Toyah for those voting in both the school and hospital races.

City elections in Toyah and Barstow are uncontested this year, but both the mayoral and council races in the Town of Pecos City and Balmorhea elections are contested this year, as is the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea ISD board race. Under state law, both Toyah and Barstow can cancel their city elections in order to save money.

In the city election, Pecos Mayor Ray Ortega is being challenged by former mayor Dot Stafford, who he defeated two years ago. Ortega is seeking his second two-year term, while Stafford is seeking a third term as mayor.

In the city council race, newcomers Angelica Valenzuela and Michael Benavides are challenging Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera.

In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board election, both incumbents are seeking new terms. Billie Sadler has filed for a new three-year term on the school board, while Michele Galindo, who was elected last year to fill out an unexpired term on the board, is also seeking a full three-year term to that school board seat.

The two are challenged by Paul Deishler, who was defeated last year in his bid for a full-term on the school board, and Connie Herrera.

In the Reeves County Hospital District Board of Directors race, only one of the three races on May 4 will be contested. Jim Breese, of Pecos and Bill Wendt and Janelle Ward, both of Balmorhea, filed for the two-year term on the board for Precinct 3, currently held by Jesse Prieto. Prieto was unable to file to retain his seat, since he now lives in Precinct 2.

Incumbent at-large board member Leo Hung, and Precinct 1 board member Chel Florez are unopposed for re-election, but voters can still cast ballots in both those races.

In Balmorhea, Mayor Ruben Fuentez will be challenged by Balmorhea ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz. In the city council race, Teresa "Terry" Barragan and Yolanda M. Hernandez are challenging incumbent councilmen Eddy Roman and Rosendo Galindo.

In the Balmorhea ISD race the three incumbents up for election are among five people seeking three-year terms on the board. Regina Lozano and Dora Machuca will challenge Jimmy Barragan, Jesus Matta and Javier Lozano in the May 4 election.

In Toyah, current Toyah Mayor Ann Marsh in unopposed in her re-election as is incumbent Sharon Sanchez on the city council and the only other candidate for the two available seats, Shaina R. Enmon.

In Barstow, Mayor Benny Hernandez and council incumbents Robert Ortega and Carol Gonzales are unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms.

Four runaways at youth ranch tracked down

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Deputies are still investigating how four children from the High Frontier Children's Ranch escaped this weekend.

The four youths were all captured Sunday night and early this morning on State Highway 166, west of Highway 17, according to the Department of Public Safety. According to dispatches from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the four were in possession of two guns they had stolen when the search was conducted by are a law enforcement officers.

One of the guns, a rifle, was reportedly recovered at the time the first two youths were taken into custody late Sunday night. The other two were located early this morning, but there was no word on the recovery of the second gun.

More information should be released tomorrow after the Jeff Davis Deputies investigate the incident further.

PHS concert band earns Division I at Dallas event

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- Pecos High School Concert Band members have come home with  a happy heart and a brand new trophy after receiving three first divisions  at the Sandy Lake Music Festival this weekend in Dallas.

Concert Band Director William Goff proudly explains that after having a tough time at UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest last week in Odessa, his band was able to pull themselves together, make adjustments and play their heart out at the music festival.

"They put it together and had a really great performance," he said.

Goff said that this first division means a lot to his band since it is the first time in quite a long time that such a feat has been displayed.

"This is the first first-division by a concert band in 17 years," he said.

The last time any PHS band has traveled to the Sandy Lake Music Festival was seven years ago where the 1995 Symphonic Band received a second division.

Goff said that for the past few weeks his band had to make some major readjustments after losing little over half the band due to eligibility.

The remaining group of 42 students had to shuffle around music and in some cases change instruments one week before UIL contest.

"They weren't all together ready for UIL," Goff said.

Goff explained that his band had some trouble during their concert performance at UIL, which caused them to receive a third division.

However, the students were excited to receive a second division for the sightreading portion of the contest, according to Goff, who continued saying that no concert band had ever received a second division in sightreading.

After coming home from UIL contest earlier in the week, the symphonic and concert bands traveled to Dallas on Thursday.

While in Dallas, the bands were able to take a relaxing break at Six Flags Over Texas before the music festival on Saturday.

The day of the music festival brought with it a lot of heat, which effected tuning for all the bands.

"They had to endure a tremendous amount of heat, which effected tuning," Goff said.

Before taking the stage at the festival, Goff said the band spent quite sometime making major adjustments to their instruments since the heat changed the sound tremendously.

Goff said however, the band took the stage and played better than they had at UIL contest just a few days earlier.

"The kids made all the corrections on the UIL concert contest on Tuesday," he said.

The music festival judges loved the concert band's performance, according to Goff.

"One of the judges said it was a neat and super performance," he said.

Goff said he is very proud of his band and was amazed that they were able to made the necessary adjustments in such a short time.

"For the kids to put it together even though they had not rehearsed in two days is really really outstanding," he said.

As for the band members, Goff said they were so excited they didn't even want to let go of their trophy, which they presented to PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez this morning.

"They were tickled when they got a first division," he said. "It was unbelievable."

The only other bands at the music festival to receive first divisions were "first" bands, according to Goff.


PECOS, Monday, April 29, 2002 -- High Sunday 92. Low this morning 57. Forecast for tonight:  Partly cloudy. Lows 60 to 65. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday:  Partly cloudy. Highs near 105. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night:  Partly cloudy. Lows near 65. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs  near 93. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 55. Highs near 83.


Marcos Martinez, Sr.

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