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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, June 3, 2002

Diplomas given to 164 graduates of Class of 2002

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- Pecos High School's Class of 2002 received their diplomas  Friday night at Eagle Stadium, with 164 seniors crossing the  stadium platform to receive their degrees at the conclusion of the  90-minute ceremony.

Class valedictorian Candace Hilliard covered several topics during her commencement address, thanking both friends and family members for their help over the years.

"Of all the things I've learned over the past year, the greatest is what it means to be a hero," she said. "From the tragic events of September 11 to the recent loss of a local officer, I realize a hero lies in each of us."

Hilliard had overall grade average of 98 and a local GPA of 4.333, and received many honors and awards during her four years at PHS.

She is an All American Scholar, an Outstanding Student of America, on the National Honor Roll, a member of Who's Who Among American High School Students, a member of the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference Ambassador and Pecos' representative for Region 18's Outstanding GT Student of the Year.

Class salutatorian April Grace Hernandez made two trips to the podium Friday, the first to deliver her address and the second with Desirae Tercero for a duet on the song "Lean On Me."

"You all have made high school a wonderful experience for me," said Hernandez, who was a transfer into Pecos High School as a sophomore. "I don't know what emotion will arise when I walk across that stage, but I know it will be another memory in my life."

Hernandez has been a member of National Honor Society for two years and the PHS Student Council for one year. She competed in various UIL events for two years, participated in One Act Play for all three of her years at PHS and was on staff of the Eagle Echo and the yearbook committee for one year each.

Guest speaker Dr. David W. Watts of the University of Texas-Permian Basin, greeted the audience in both English and Spanish, and later told the graduates that UTPB would match any local scholarship they receive, and would also do so in future years.

He also stressed five points the students should follow to be successful after graduation, and urged the graduates to continue their education after high school, saying that getting good paying jobs without a college degree is getting tougher. "The more you know about the knowledge explosion, the less you will be hurt by it," Watts said.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members David Flores and Steve Valenzuela handed out the diplomas to the students and to their parents on the stage set up on the Eagle Stadium track.

Wrong-way drive on Interstate proves fatal

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- A two-vehicle accident took the life of one Crooksville man and  injured three others Sunday morning, creating a detour for  travelers traveling west on I-20 for several hours.

The accident occurred just east of the Frontage Road exit at mile marker 58 on I-20 and involved a 2000 Freightliner Tracker Trailer and a 1995 Nissan pickup. According to a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the accident occurred at 6:48 a.m., Sunday when the tractor hauling a 2001 Utilities Box Trailer, was traveling westbound on I-20 when it was stuck head-on by the Nissan, which was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes.

The pickup came to rest in the center of the medium adjacent to the point of impact, and both the driver and one passenger in the vehicle were ejected onto the westbound lane of the highway.

The two were identified as Beau Buchanan McDaniel, 24 and Markam Kolten Perkins, 20, both of Crooksville. Justice of the Peace, Ronald Ray, of Prescient 2 in Ward County pronounced McDaniel dead at the scene at 7:50. McDaniel was taken to Harkey Funeral Home in Monahans.

Perkins was taken to Covenant Center in Lubbock with serious head injuries.

McDaniel, the driver of the Nissan pickup, was found to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident. No information was give on whether the passenger had also been drinking.

Both men were oil field construction workers, according to the DPS report.

The tractor trailer ended up crossing the eastbound lanes of I-20 after impact, and came to rest on south service road, about 486 feet southwest were the impact occurred.

The two truck drivers in the tracker trailer were Humberto Medina Reyes, 58 and Jose Carmen Gomez, 41 both of El Paso. Reyes suffered from neck injuries but is in good conditions at Reeves County Hospital. Gomez who also suffered from neck injuries refused treatment.

According to Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Glenn Larum, the road was first closed between the Frontage Road exit and Pyote at 7:30 a.m., then reopened for some time and then closed a second time Sunday afternoon. Traffic was detoured onto the north service road of I-20 while the main lanes were shut down.

"The second time it was closed was so that the DPS officers could take measurements of the skid marks from the accident," Larum said.

Larum did not know the exact length of time the road was closed.

DPS Trooper Eric White of Monahans investigated the accident.

Former Pecos resident to head for TxDOT

PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- A former Pecos resident and Pecos High School graduate has landed a top position with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Maribel Pena Chavez heads up the Transportation's Department's Fort Worth District, one of the largest of 25 in the state.

The district employs 743 people who oversee transportation in nine counties, mostly in the western half of the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Erath, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise. District engineers play a key part _ and are ultimately responsible for _ any state highway project in their areas.

"I don't always know absolutely when a project is going to happen, but I do decide which ones we're going to fund and how we're going to fund them," Chavez told the Arlington Morning News.

The district engineers answer to the Transportation Department's executive director, who in turn is responsible to the state transportation commissioner.

Chavez lives in Fort Worth with her husband, Daniel. They have four children.

The only other woman ever to serve in one of those top spots is Mary Owen, who heads the 407-person Tyler district.

Chavez was district engineer in Abilene from 1992 to 1998 and then in El Paso for three years. She also headed up TxDOT's Pecos office in the 1980s and has also worked at the agency's state headquarters in Austin.

After 20 years in the field, Chavez doesn't give much thought being a woman in a still traditionally male industry. "I can tell you I never really felt like I was being treated any differently," she said.

Chavez grew up just outside of Pecos and the family ran a cotton farm and lived without indoor plumbing and running water. Chavez and her three brothers entertained themselves by swinging from the rafters with potato sacks and swimming in irrigation ditches.

Chavez, who had long been urged by her brothers to go into engineering, paid for college by working summers as a roustabout for Gulf Oil, where she and the otherwise all-male crews hauled drill pipes and inspected pumping units.

When she was pregnant with her daughter, who is now 16, Chavez insisted on remaining on assignment _ she was working on a bridge widening at the time _ until before she delivered.

Monahans police building gutted by firebombing

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- Monahans Police felt "the heat" this morning and are hunting  along with other law enforcement agencies for the person who broke a  window at the police station and threw in a device that caused heavy fire  and smoke damage to the police department's downtown office.

According to reports from the Monahans News, which is located across from the police station at Second and Alice Streets, the fire started at approximately 3:30 a.m., this morning, after an unknown person or persons broke a window in the front of the building.

Monahans News publisher Linda Stephens said someone broke one of the windows on the west side of the police station and then threw in the flammable device, which started the fire.

Police Chief Charles Sebastian did not release any information as to what kind of device started the fire; he only referred to it as an "incendiary device."

Stephens said only the dispatcher was in the building at the time of the fire and safely got out of the building before the whole place caught fire.

The police station was "gutted by fire," according to Stephens, but did not damage the surrounding offices and buildings on that block.

Federal, state and area law enforcement agencies are assisting in the investigation including the Pecos Police Department, the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Texas Rangers.

A press release is scheduled to be released sometime today with more information.

The Monahans police have temporarily moved into a City Hall annex building, and Strickland said the sheriff's department is handling the police dispatching,

Schools offering meals for students, parents in summer

PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be sponsoring the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided at the Crockett Middle School, 1801 Missouri.

The program began today and runs through July 12. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Cost to adults will be breakfast $1.50 and lunch $3. Any child 18 years of age or younger may participate.

Summer school students attending school at the Crockett campus are eligible for both breakfast and lunch.

People who are eligible to participate in the program must not be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion or political belief.


PECOS, Monday, June 3, 2002 -- High Sunday 106. Low this morning 68. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows 65  to 70. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a  slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Southeast winds 10 to  20 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy  with a chance of thunderstorms. Lows 60 to 65. The chance of rain is 30  percent. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy: Breezy: And cooler with a slight chance   of showers and thunderstorms. Highs 80 to 85. The chance of rain is  20 percent. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Highs 95 to 100.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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