Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Balmorhea park, frontage roads to get resurfacing
PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 -- Visitors to Balmorhea State Park southwest
of Balmorhea will find park roads a bit sticky this week as construction
crews put down fresh asphalt `seal coat' to refresh and extend the
life of the road surfaces.
The park roads are being resurfaced by the Texas Department of Transportation
(TxDOT), which also plans to resurface the frontage roads along Interstate
10 in the Balmorhea area.
Work on the project should be wrapped up by the middle of the week, barring
cold weather or rain, according to Jerry McGuairt, the Texas Department of
Transportation's project manager.
The contractor, Ronald R. Wagner, Inc., of Spring Branch, is putting down
the new asphalt surfacing. Park visitors will encounter workers who will
direct them through the work zone, and brief lane closures in those areas
where seal coat work is being done.
When the park road resurfacing is complete, the Wagner crew will move
to the frontage roads of Interstate 10 from Balmorhea to the Pecos County
"Drivers should always use caution and drive carefully to avoid inflicting
windshield and paint damage on other vehicles," said McGuairt.
The seal coat work in the Park and along Interstate 10 is part of an annual
$8.4 million preventive maintenance program involving nearly 400 miles of
highways throughout the 12-county TxDOT district.
`Seal coat' is a rock and asphalt layer put down on the highway surface
as a preventive maintenance measure to seal the surface and keep moisture
from damaging the road base. The seal coat extends the life of the highway.
Teen runaway hospitalized, three remain jailed
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 -- One teenage boy is in an Odessa hospital,
a second is in a Midland juvenile center and two teen girls are in
custody of Presidio County officials in Marfa after they ran away from
the High Frontier Children's Ranch in Fort Davis on Sunday and later
stole prescription drugs and a rifle from a rural Jeff Davis County
The teen was hospitalized after taking the prescription drugs mixed with
alcohol that they found inside the home, according to Joe Balderrama, Jeff
Davis County Chief Deputy who assisted in his capture Sunday night.
Balderrama said he received a report at 4 a.m. Sunday that the four teens
had runaway from the High Frontier Ranch, and then conducted a search of
the area, assisted by Department of Public Safety trooper Rhyan Drodch. The
deputy said they were unable to locate the teens during the day, but at 9:30
p.m. he said the sheriff's department received a call that the four had been
spotted hiding out at the Point of Rocks rest area on State Highway 166,
11 miles southwest of Fort Davis.
"I contacted Drodch and told him the four runaways were reported at that
location," Balderrama said. The two then drove out to the site and entered
the rest area from opposite ends.
"The plan was to start walking towards each other, but about 30 seconds
later I heard the trooper yelling to `put your hands up where I can see them,'"
the deputy said. Two of the four teens were able to run off, while one, who
was standing next to a .22 caliber rifle, was pepper sprayed by Drodch when
he failed to comply.
"We found the rifle had live ammunition in it," Balderrama said, and when
the male teen, later identified as Carlos Anthony Soto, 18, became aggressive
and combative, he was again hit with pepper spray.
Along with Soto, a female was also apprehended at the rest area. Balderrama
said the girl, identified as Aliza Hirsh, 17, had a driver's license that
failed to match up either with her or Soto. A check later revealed it belonged
to the owner of the house from where the rifle had been stolen.
After contacting the owner of the home, which was located about a quarter
mile behind the rest area, Balderrama said it was reported that a .22 caliber
automatic pistol and a camera were also stolen. As a result, three other
DPS troopers from Alpine and four U.S. Border Patrol agents from Marfa with
night vision equipment were also called out to assist in the search for the
two remaining teenagers.
A DPS helicopter with night vision equipment was also flown down from
Midland. "It flew around the Point of Rocks area for about 30 to 45 minutes
when it picked up movement with its infrared equipment," Balderrama said.
Using the information, officers on the ground were able to locate the other
two teens and take them into custody.
The deputy said that the second girl apprehended, identified as Natalie
Matts, 18, told them the other teen, a 16-year-old boy whose name was not
released, had thought about taking the pistol from the home, but did not
do so. A later check of the home by the owner turned up the pistol, Balderrama
Matts, Hirsh and the 16-year-old were taken into custody, while Soto was
transported to Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine after it was determined
he had stolen prescription drugs from the home, and taken them with alcohol.
"He took all three medications and ground them up and took them with the
alcohol, so he almost overdosed," Balderrama said. "He continued to get worse,
so he was taken to Odessa Medical Center."
Soto was in stable condition at the Odessa hospital.
The two girls and the juvenile have been charged with Burglary of a habitation,
and Soto will face the same charge when he is released from the hospital,
Balderrama said. He'll be returned to the Presidio County Jail in Marfa,
while the 16-year-old is being kept at the Midland County Juvenile Detention
Early voting in local races passes 1,100
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 -- Early voting for city, hospital and school
elections is scheduled to come to an end at 5 p.m., today, with over
1,100 people having already cast ballots for Saturday's city, school
and hospital district elections.
Approximately 1,107 voters have stopped by the Pecos Community Center
as of last night to vote in this year's elections by personal appearance,
according to elections coordinator Debbie Thomas.
Not included in that total is the 116 ballots that Thomas and her staff
have received by mail.
Thomas said that as of noon today 72 voters have come by to cast their
ballots on the last day of early voting.
Voters would not be able to vote again until Election Day, set for this
Saturday, May 4.
Even though the voting stream seems a little slow this morning, Thomas
said that she is expecting quite a few people stopping by before the polls
close at 5 p.m.
"We expect a big turnout today," she said.
On Saturday the polls are scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election
officials must receive the ballots by mail by 7 p.m., on Saturday as well.
Approximately 368 ballots were sent out through the mail, according to
Several voting sites will be open on Saturday in Pecos and the surrounding
area including the Community Center, Toyah City Hall, Saragosa Multi-purpose
Center, Balmorhea Fire Hall and the Barstow Community Center.
Thomas said that this year's election has run smoothly and they have not
seen any problems with the candidates and their campaigners so far.
"All the candidates have been very well behaved this year," she said.
Kindergarten, Pre-K registration planned next week
PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 -- Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten registration
has been scheduled for next week at the Pecos Kindergarten, 300 W. 10
A child five years old on or before Sept. 1, 2002, is eligible for kindergarten.
A child four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2002, and one of the following:
unable to speak or comprehend the English language, educationally disadvantaged
or is homeless, as defined by federal law is eligible for Pre-Kindergarten.
Registration will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday, May 6; 9 a.m.
until 6 p.m., on Tuesday, May 7; 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., on Wednesday, May 8
and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., on Thursday, May 9.
Individuals who would like to register their child need to bring the child's
birth certificates, immunization record, social security card, the legal
guardian needs to attend and the enrolling child.
PECOS, Tues., April 30, 2002 -- High Monday 101. Low this morning 63.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 65. Southwest winds
10 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs near 90. West
winds 15 to 25 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Lows near 55. Thursday:
Partly cloudy. Highs near 80. Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows 45 to 50. Highs
Marcos Martinez, Sr.
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