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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Friday, May 24, 2002

Council pushed to focus on alley clean-up efforts

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council made cleaning up the city their  first priority during the regular meeting last night at City Hall.

During a very vocal public comments portion of the meeting the council discussed plans to beautify Pecos, which included a new recycling glass program and landscaping project.

However, after some discussion the council agreed that cleaning up alleyways and other areas around town should be their first priority.

"We're going to move forward to try to overall beautify the city," City Manager Carlos Yerena said. "But we'll be prioritizing, making sure we take care of the city first."

That decision came after some debate on whether or not to push forward with a plan to "zero-scape" City Hall before cleaning up all areas of the city.

Local resident Gilda Vejil expressed her concern over the city spending time "zero-scaping" around City Hall while many areas of town are so dirty.

"I think (landscaping City Hall) is a wonderful idea but my main concern is we're trying to cover up what is really underneath," she said.

She explained that she has seen first hand at how dirty alleyways, lots, even numerous front yards have gotten in the past few years and hopes the city would start issuing tickets in hopes of forcing property owners to clean up their property.

"I've seen the best of Pecos and I've seen the worst and we're at our worst," she said.

Ray Cisneros, who works with Pecos Valley Resource Conservation and Development, presented the council with plans to "zero-scape" the building with rocks and native plants that would be more economical for the city.

Cisneros responded to Vejil's concerns by stating if the city were to continue with the landscaping plans it would possibly cause the residents to take interest in cleaning up their own areas.

"This project would hopefully begin to build civic pride," he said. "Hopefully it could expand into other neighborhoods in other parts of town. We hope people will buy into it."

Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela agreed with Vejil that the city should be able to do something about cleaning up the alleyways and the public needs to be personally affected.

"I don't think people will buy into it until it affects people and persuades them to clean up," she said.

Yerena explained that it is hard for the code enforcer, Oscar Ornelas, to hand out tickets for items left in the alleyways because most of the time he can not determine who did dump them.

"It is difficult to determine where it's coming from," he said.

He also added that hopefully things would start improving once the city is approved for the new landfill.

However, until then Yerena assured the council that he would talk with Duncan Disposal to make arrangements for the city to use their equipment and the city's manpower to try to get the alleyways clean.

After the meeting, Councilman Michael Benavides said that the city will work hard to clean up the whole town.

"Our intentions are good and we going to start cleaning up," he said.

Pecos High School Art Teacher Walter Holland also made a presentation during the public comments portion of the meeting in reference to a program that would help recycle the glass bottles around town.

Holland explained that former Mayor Ray Ortega had approached him asking him to make up a proposal that would allow the city recycle the many bottles that are on the city streets.

"I did some research and came up with several unique ideas," he said.

What Holland came up with is an innovative program that would combine the city's, county's and school district's efforts to beautify Pecos.

In the proposal Holland handed to council members he explained that with the new statewide container law that was recently passed more and more alcohol related containers have be improperly disposed of on the streets and lawns of Pecos.

He said most of the problem is the lack of financial incentive to collect and recycle bottles, unlike aluminum cans.

"To bring attention to the problem we propose that a glass art program be put in place to demonstrate to the community the viability of glass recycling," Holland said in the proposal.

The program would be in conjunction with the Pecos Main Street Program, the apprenticeship program of Reeves County and art education through Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.

"This will demonstrate the city's, county's, and school district's commitment to improving the community and environment," he said.

The flagship of the program would be to construct a portable glass furnace that would allow students and guest artists to blow glass sculptures, which would recycle glass.

Holland explained that this portion of the program would create interest in not only this community but also surrounding communities.

"There are no other programs in the state like this," he said. "This would be the first."

"If we did this we'll have a lot of people and cities wanting to do this right after," he continued.

Another portion of the program would to grind up excess glass to use in road repair and maintenance, which has been proven to help tremendously through a study done by Texas Tech University.

Holland will soon start working with the County Juvenile Department teaching the juveniles how to design and construct stained glass projects.

Together the three projects would bring attention to the city make more grants available to improve Pecos, according to Holland.

The school district and county have already committed money to the project, Holland said, and he would soon be able to apply for grants through the state to help cover the total cost of $21,929 for the project.

Yerena said that the city has $3,000 allocated to the Main Street Program that could be used for this project if the council were inclined to join in.

Holland explained that the $29,000 would not have to be paid all at once, it could be used over time.

"We don't have to do a full blown project to start with," he said.

Even though the council could not take action on this item, the council members seemed supportive of the idea and are looking forward to seeing it started, which Yerena said would begin soon.

"We're going to utilize funding to move forward with the glass project," he said.

In other business, the council awarded Frank X. Spencer & Associates the bid for engineering services for the Pecos Single Family Subdivision Project.

Spencer & Associates would be drawing up the plans and specs for the street, sidewalk, water and sewer systems.

Yerena recommended that the council award the bid to the local engineering office based on their qualifications.

The council also approved the offer to purchase property on Fourth and Pecan Streets by Elpidia Fuentes for $100.

The council approved the closure of Oak Street for Night in Old Pecos that is scheduled for June 29.

In other business the council approved the monthly tax  collection report, the accounts payable and the minute of previous council meetings.

Stories differ on Barstow's loss of Ward County seat

By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- Many people have the mistaken view that the  county seat of Ward County was stolen from Barstow and  taken to Monahans. The county records were moved  to Monahans in 1938 but it was done legally.

There are three printed versions of the events that led to the move from Barstow to Monahans: Alton Hughes' Pecos A History of the Pioneer West, the Pecos Enterprise and the Monahans Junior Chamber of Commerce book Water, Oil, Sand and Sky. A History of Ward County, Texas. I shall attempt to summarize two versions of the event. Alton Hughes' version is a combination of the other two.

The Junior Chamber of Commerce version goes like this: The oil boom in 1938 was causing Monahans to grow faster than Barstow. Monahans citizens' feelings were ruffled as the county seat was in the smaller town and that town was on the west part of the county. The book quoted the Pecos Enterprise May 11, 1938 edition "Yesterday Ward County voters for the second time is six months, balloted for removal of the county seat from Barstow to Monahans. The margin in favor of it was even more decisive than the first election November 9. But that still doesn't settle the question."

After a legal election, the Ward County Commissioners voted to move the records to Monahans from Barstow. The vote was three to two. Sheriff F. Irby Dyer was given the order make the move. The only unusual element in the removal of the records was the sudden appearance of a goodly number of Monahans citizens, "volunteer moving men," at the Barstow courthouse within minutes after the order was given.

It was reported that Viola Burkholder, Deputy County Clerk and District Clerk, drove at breakneck speed to Kermit where the District Judge was holding court. She obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the removal of county records from Barstow. With the restraining order in hand, she went to the location of the vans that had removed the records to get the Ward County seal to fix to the records. The driver of the van wouldn't permit her to get the seal without an order from his boss. (The order also called for returning the records if they had been moved.)

Barstow citizens were justly proud of their fine courthouse built in 1893 of red sand stone from their own quarry. If anyone knows what happened to the sand stone courthouse, please contact the Enterprise.

The Pecos Enterprise version goes like this The Monahans council agreed that the November 9th election was void under the statute calling for an elapse of 10 years between elections to move records. The 10-year limit was changed to five years. Judge J. A. Drane interred an order to the effect that the election was void. Barstow contended that the Drane order merely set aside the result but did not void the election and that another election would be illegal. But, the Enterprise May 13, 1938 article stated that another election was held and the vote was 1649 to 453 to make the move.

Ward County Commissioners voted to move the county seat with Commissioner Ralph Burkholder not attending. An order was given to Sheriff Irby Dryer to carry out the order. Five large moving vans were nearby and a driver and two helpers made the move.

Barstow, thinking that the records were not safe, instructed attorneys Hill Hudson and Henry Russell to file a temporary restraining order to keep the records from being moved and if they had been moved, to return them. Judge Drane, from his hospital bed in Kermit, signed the order. Barstow decided to not push the writ. The $104,000.00 courthouse erected in 1892 (1893?) was now empty.

Woman jailed after Thursday narcotics bust

PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- A narcotics search warrant has landed a Pecos woman behind bars in the new Criminal Justice Center, after officers located "a little bit of everything," in illegal drugs and drug-related items during a search of her home.

Officers with the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Department executed a narcotics search warrant Thursday evening at the home of Willie Mae Simmons and other family members, located at 212 W. 14 th St.

"During the search of the residence, a substance believed to be marijuana was located inside the residence," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler. Also found inside the house was a syringe, which is commonly used in the injecting of heroin and a substance believed to be heroin, according to Deishler.

Officers also located pipes, which are commonly used in the smoking of crack cocaine and a substance believed to be cocaine.

Officers completed the search of the residence and placed Simmons under arrest on the offenses of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Simmons also had a motion to revoke warrant, which was issued by the 143 rd District Court.

She is currently in the Criminal Justice Center, where charges are pending and other arrests in the near future could be made, according to Deishler.

Balmorhea announces top grads for Class of 2002

PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- Balmorhea senior Isaiah Rodriguez will be the valedictorian and Arturo Rodriguez will be the salutatorian for the 2002 high school graduation ceremonies, scheduled for Saturday night in the Balmorhea High School auditorium.

The two will be among 21 seniors crossing the stage Saturday night to receive their diplomas. Scholarships will also be given out during the ceremony, which will begin at 7 p.m.

Both Rodriguezes have been active in academics and athletics during their four years at Balmorhea High School, participating in football and basketball as part of their extracurricular activities.

Businesses closing for Memorial Day

PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- Local businesses, along with schools, city, state and federal offices in Pecos will be closed on Monday in honor of Memorial Day.

Both Security State and West Texas National Bank will also be closed in honor of the holiday, as will the Pecos Enterprise. All local businesses and government offices will reopen for regular hours on Tuesday.

New RCH board to discuss OKing new hospital doc

PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- The Reeves County Hospital District Board of Directors swear in its newest members of the board and discusses appointment and clinical privileges for a new doctor during the regular meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., on Tuesday in the hospital classroom.

Members that would be sworn in are Chel Flores, Leo Hung and Bill Wendt. Flores was re-elected to the Precinct 1 seat and Hung as the at-large representative, while Wendt won the open seat for Precinct 3.

After the newly elected members are in place they would join in discussing several items including appointing Oladele Olusanya, MD, clinical privileges for active staff at the hospital.

The board will also discuss approval of the next step for the Facility Master Plan and purchasing a new birthing bed for the Labor and Delivery Department.

Also on the agenda is the sale of property at Fourth and Pecan Streets as well as the lease of land in Pecos County.


PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- High Thursday 97. Low this morning 59. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s. South winds 10 to 20 mph.  Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 90 to 95. Northeast winds 10 to 20  mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of  thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Sunday:  Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near  90. Memorial Day: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon  and evening thunderstorms each day. Lows 60 to 65. Highs near 90.

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Pecos Enterprise
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