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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Big turnout for shrimps in Balmorhea

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 -- The second annual Memorial Day Shrimp Cook-off and Festival  drew many people from the Permian Basin and Davis Mountains area to  the tiny town of Balmorhea this Saturday for the all day festival.

Participation in the shrimp cook-off doubled from last year, according to cook-off organizer Kelly Rowden, even though a few cook-off teams that were planning to participate did not show up.

Rowden said the cook-off was still a success with the six teams that entered, adding, "We had a real good turnout."

Approximately 2,000 people showed up for the festival and many enjoyed the various kinds of shrimp that were sold at a booth during the festival.

"We had a 50 foot line for a solid six hours," Rowden said.

Shaina Enmon, of Toyah, took home the first place trophy, $50 and 10 pounds of shrimp after winning the competition with her shrimp kabobs.

Fried bacon wrapped shrimp delighted the six judges enough to award them with the second place trophy.

Jimmy and Pamela Salcido, of Fort Davis, were the ones who cooked the second place shrimp and also received $30 and five pounds of shrimp.

Fidel Vasquez, of Odessa won the third place trophy, five pounds of shrimp and a water can after cooking a shrimp gumbo.

Rowden said he hopes more people would have enjoyed the cook-off and festival enough to test their cooking skills next year.

"If we double our participation every year we should be doing well," he said.

The shrimp were judged on the basis of appearance, aroma, taste and presentation, according to Rowden, and each judge based their opinion on a scale of one through 10 with the totals added up at the end.

The cooks were able to pick up their shrimp at 10 a.m., Saturday morning and spent all day preparing for the judging at 3 p.m.

The winners were announced at five that evening.

Festival-goers had various things to see including music entertainment and a washer-pitching contest. The Roman brothers band began performing on a stage set up in the downtown plaza at 9 p.m. and continued until about 1 a.m., with much of the crowd remaining until after midnight.

Earlier in the day, several teams entered the washer-pitching contest with awards given to the top three places.

First place went to the team of Lucas Garcia and Brian Mendoza.

Israel Hernandez and Wes Horton took home second place while third place went to Gabriel Rodriguez and Tino Lara.

Rowden hopes that the festival and cook-off will continue to grow with the hopes of someday it could be as big as the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

"If it keeps going like it is it ought to be a pretty big deal," he said.

Police deal with holiday weekend accidents

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 -- The Pecos Police Department had a busy Memorial  Day weekend after responding to five separate  accidents around Pecos.

Police Investigator Kelly Davis said that only two people were slightly injured as a result of the accidents, while five people were issued citations.

Timothy Huffman, 21, of Pecos and a five-year-old boy were both injured as a result of an accident in the 1200 block of West Second Street. However neither Huffman nor the boy were transported to Reeves County Hospital.

That accident occurred at 2:58 p.m., on Friday when a 1993 Toyota pickup, driven by Amanda Matta, 17, of Pecos, struck Huffman, who was in a 1988 Chevrolet pickup.

Davis said that Matta caused the accident by driving into Huffman's path after stopping at a stop sign.

"(Matta) failed to yield the right of way after stopping at a stop sign at Second and Alamo and struck (Huffman)," he said.

Matta was cited for failure to yield right of way.

At 9:37 a.m., on Saturday a three-vehicle accident occurred in the 2100 block of West Third Street after Francisco Saenz, 41, of Pecos, failed to yield the right of way.

The accident also involved Ruben Orona, 38, of Pecos and Jerry Byrne, Jr., 42, of San Angelo.

According to Davis, Saenz, who was driving a 1986 Chevrolet pickup, was cited for failure to yield the right of way and turning when unsafe after striking Orona, who was driving a 1982 Continental and Byrne, who was driving a 2001 Chevrolet pickup.

"(Saenz) failed to yield the right of way while traveling west on West Third Street," he said. "He turned in front of (Orona) striking (Orona). He then continued sideways and struck (Byrne) who was at the stop sign."

Randall Reynolds, Jr., 19, of Pecos, was also given a ticket for failure to yield right of way after causing another accident at 9:54 p.m., on Saturday in the 1000 block of South Cedar Street.

Davis said that Reynolds was driving a 2000 Cougar and was struck on the driver's side of the vehicle by Mark Carrasco, 17, of Pecos, who was driving a 1985 Chevrolet Blazer.

"Reynolds failed to yield the right of way while attempting to drive into a public roadway," he said.

On Sunday, an accident occurred at 7:36 p.m. in the 100 block of North Alamo Street when one vehicle backed into another.

Felix Hernandez, 52, of Pecos was driving a 1986 Chevrolet pickup when he backed into a 1998 Chevrolet, driven by Elvia Rios, 49, also of Pecos.

Davis explained that Hernandez had stopped in front of a house when he must have decided to move back without looking for other vehicles.

"(Hernandez) started backing up and hit (Rios), who was behind him," he said.

Hernandez was cited for unsafe backing.

A little less than two hours later, the final weekend accident occurred, at 9:22 p.m., in the 700 block of South Cedar Street.

Julio Zaragoza, 78, of Pecos, was driving a 1986 Chrysler New Yorker when he was struck by a 1990 GMC pickup driven by a 16-year-old female from Barstow.

Davis also said that Zaragoza failed to yield the right of way.

"(Zaragoza) pulled out of a private driveway and struck the second vehicle," he said.

Zaragoza was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

Commissioners discuss RCDC transit situation

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 -- Reeves County Commissioners discussed transportation  safety issues involving Reeves County Detention Center inmates, and  lower income in recent months the county has received for  transporting prisoners, during their regular  meeting this morning at the Reeves County Courthouse

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco was on hand to discuss the transportation with the commissioners. "The last two months have been kind of slow, the last amount we brought in was $49,000," said Franco.

"There are a couple of reasons for this, though," he said.

Franco said that the reason the transportation department had slowed down was because all of the detention centers were full. "There's just no place to move them," he said.

Also, this region is not accepting inmates from the West Coast. "They're also busting at the seams," said Franco.

As far as the transportation department there is no problem whatsoever, according to Franco. "We have excellent drivers, that do a great job," he said. "There are no problems with safety issues either."

Franco said that after an unfortunate incident had happened to another county _ referring to the April 10 van crash 45 miles west of Pecos that killed two U.S. Marshal's Service inmates bound for the Ector County Detention Center in Odessa — the RCDC had upped their safety procedure.

"What kind of driver's license do they have to have?" asked commissioner precinct 3 Herman Tarin.

"They have to have their CDL and before they get that CDL, the school district provides instruction and they go through a local driving course," said Franco. "They are also taken on a test run by our transportation director."

In the last four years, there has only been one accident, which was minor and no injuries occurred, according to Franco. "I don't even think they had inmates on the bus at that time," he said.

Franco said that the accident occurred when two buses bumped into each other during traffic hour in Houston. "We also have a very good mechanic, Joe Martinez, who does an excellent job of keeping the buses in tip-top shape," he said.

"We do everything we can to prevent accidents," said Franco.

Franco said that the group receives a series of safety training and are always cautioned not to speed. "That's our main concern, that they will get in a hurry, so we try to stress no speeding," he said.

Franco said that extra precaution is also being taken when transporting inmates by bus to a medical facility. "We use the black box system, which is not a requirement by the BOP, but something extra we like to do," said Franco. "The black box goes on top of the handcuffs, as extra precaution," he said.

"We're very confident that with these procedures, we're doing everything we can to prevent accidents," he said.

Franco said that initially the transportation crew was hesitant driving the big bus, especially around the busy Houston area. "They've gained more confidence and don't even mind driving through rush hour in downtown Houston," he said.

"That's a challenge for everybody, but now they seem to feel more confident about it," he said.

Also during this morning's meeting, commissioners approved payments to contractors currently working at the RCDC III construction site and transportation mileage payments.

Commissioners approved payment invoice No. 239 from LMD Architects in the amount of $41,353; Frank Spencer's request for payment No. 200161 for engineering fees in the amount of $5,616 and Frank X. Spencer for construction observation process in the amount of $2,227.

"We had hired him to be in on this process so that we can be clear of where we are," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

The group approved inmate transportation crew mileage in the amount of $1,369. "All the data was approved and everything was checked out," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Rec department's summer schedule starts next week

PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 -- The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department will begin summer hours at the old Pecos High School gym next Monday.

Beginning on June 3, the gym will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 7 p.m. on Fridays.

The gym will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Summer hours will continue through the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year in August.


PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 -- High Memorial Day 97. Low this morning 62. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening thunderstorms. Lows in  the lower 60s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is 20  percent. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of  afternoon thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 90s. South winds 5 to 10 mph.  The chance of rain is 20 percent. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy  with a slight chance of mainly evening thunderstorms. Lows 60 to 65.  The chance of rain is 20 percent. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a  slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 95. The chance of rain is 20 percent.

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