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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Officials still seek suspects in Monahans PD bombing

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- Law enforcement officials from federal, state and local agencies continue to investigate a reported firebombing that caused severe damage at the City of Monahans Police Department in the early morning hours Monday.

Monahans Police Department officials did not say this morning whether or not they have any suspects in the blaze, which caused an estimated $350,000 in damage. Other city offices that are part of the same building in downtown Monahans suffered smoke damage from the fire.

Officials said Monday they suspected a `Molotov cocktail' _ a gasoline-filled bottle with a flaming rag _ was thrown through a window on the west side of the police station about 3:30 a.m. Monday, where the department's mailroom and other equipment was located.

A Monahans police dispatcher discovered the fire after checking out the sound of glass breaking, said Ward County Sheriff Michael Strickland.

No one was injured, but Strickland said the flames heavily damaged two to three rooms in the station, including the department's radio equipment and 911 emergency services. The rest of the station sustained smoke damage.

The dispatcher who discovered the fire immediately called for assistance, and patrol units from the Monahans Police Department and the Ward County Sheriff's Department responded to the call. The Monahans Volunteer Fire Department responded and quickly brought the blaze under control.

The City of Monahans requested assistance with the investigation to determine the origin and cause of fire, according to a press release issued by the Monahans Police Department.

Monahans Police quickly secured the scene to preserve evidence of the fire and state and federal investigators arrived in Monahans this morning to determine what caused the fire.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Texas Fire Marshal's Office, the Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers, Pecos Police Department, Monahans Police Department and Ward County Sheriff's Department are investigating the suspicious fire.

The police station is currently operating out of offices in the Monahans city annex building, while the Ward County Sheriff's Department and other local agencies are handling the department's dispatching and 911 calls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Vacation short for summer school students

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- Though the regular school session might have ended for some students last Thursday, for others it was just a nice three-day weekend until they began classes again on Monday.

According to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Summer School Principal Juanita Davila, students that attend summer come for various reasons.

"Students that come to summer school come because they are retainees, did not meet the attendance criteria set by the district or come for remediational classes," Davila said.

The classes offered to the students are the four course subjects of English, History, Math and Science. However, this year a 45-minute class of physical education is also being offered to grades first through sixth.

This year's total of summer school students is over 300 according to Davila, representing over 10 percent of the district's student population.

"We have over 300 students, about 317 or so in grades kindergarten through eighth," Davila said.

With this many students attending summer school, Davila said that finding a staff for summer school was not a problem.

There is one aide per grade level except for grades seventh and eight grade, which share an aide. Then there are two teachers per grade levels for kindergarten through fifth, sixth graders have four teachers and seventh and eighth graders share four teachers.

Davila believes that the summer school program works for students because they receive different teaching styles.

"We try to provide different teaching styles to try to reach those students that were unsuccessful with the teaching styles of other teachers. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't," Davila said.

According to Davila, each student must pass with at least a 70 to be promoted to the next grade level or they will still be retained at the recommendation of the teacher.

A free lunch is provided to the students beginning at 11 a.m. for kindergarten through second and then about every ten minutes the next class is brought in. The last class is brought in at 12:30 p.m., but lunch is served until 1 p.m.

"Breakfast and lunch is available to any child up to the age of 18-years-old for free, whether they are attending summer school or not," Davila said.

According to Davila, they are still trying to contact students that need to attend summer school because a criteria was not meet. Those students can either go by the school or call.

"Right now we are trying to contact any student that needs to come to summer school because of attendance. Any student that knows that they need to attend summer school may come by or call and talk to Mrs. Mitchell, Mrs. Lujan or myself," Davila said.

Students in grades first through eight attending summer school attend Crockett Middle School and kindergarteners attend Pecos Kindergarten. Classes for all students begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at about 3 p.m. for kindergarten through second grade, students in grades third and fourth end at about 3:20 p.m. and fifth through sixth graders end their day at about 3:25 p.m. Students in the seventh and eighth grade just come to the classes they have not been successful in.

According to Davila the kindergarten has one bilingual class for kindergarten that ends at noon, two regular kindergarten classes and a migrant program. Unlike the summer school program that ends on June 12, the migrant program will end on July 12.

Agent testifies on attack by Sierra Blanca man

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- Testimony began Monday and is continuing today at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos in a trial involving a Sierra Blanca man allegedly involved in a drug smuggling case that occurred five years ago.

Sol Oden Thomas, of Sierra Blanca, is on trial for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a weapon after an incident that prosecutors said involved both drug smuggling and a machine gun attack on a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Defense Attorney Daniel Hurley, of Hurley, Reyes &Guinn in Lubbock, started off today's trial session by cross-examining Supervisor Border Patrol Agent Lonny Hillin about the incident that occurred on April 3, 1997.

The agent testified that the incident occurred on Chispa Road near Sierra Blanca when Hillin noticed two trucks, one flat bed and one stake bed, coming toward him while he was inspecting another vehicle he had stopped along the road.

"The two vehicles were coming up toward me and made a rapid turn," Hillin said during testimony.

Hillin explained that he was planning to inspect the two vehicles approaching him as well, since they would have had to stop because his and the other vehicle were blocking the road.

However, before he could those two vehicles turned and Hillin began pursuit.

Once the pursuit stopped, Hillin said he got out of his vehicle and climbed a small hill close to where the two vehicles had stopped and shots were fired toward him.

Thomas is the man that allegedly fired the shots toward Hillin. The indictment against Thomas alleges a machine gun was used in the attack.

The trial against Thomas is scheduled to run through Wednesday of this week.

School hosts workshop for parents

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- A Parental Involvement Workshop will be held next Monday, June 10, to give parents information on what summer school is about, according to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Summer School Principal Juanita Davila.

Parents will also be given information on the optional extended program and on the Gifted and Talented Program and what they should look for in this program.

Information will also be given on the new TASK test and on how to read the reports of the test and to let the parents know what is expected from the test, which will replace the state's TAAS test next year.

A consultant will be brought in from Region 18 to hold these sessions, Davila said.

Two sessions will be given to the parents, with the first one running from 1:30-2:30 p.m., and the second one running from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.

"Parents just need to show up to either session. We will help them by providing babysitting while they attend the sessions," Davila said.

She added that school officials encourage parental involvement and that any parent wanting to volunteer their time to just go by Crockett Middle School and they would gladly put you to work.

"Devil's cave" part of legend involving image

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations in Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- As we know where the Devil is, how he was imprisoned in a cave down river from Ojinaga, we should now learn of a great miracle that took place in Ojinaja about the time the Devil was imprisoned. The story is told in Elton Miles' book, Tales of the Big Bend

One day a stranger asked for a night's lodging at an adobe farmhouse at the foot of the mountain where the Devil's cave overlooks the valley. The lady fed the stranger and showed him to his room.

Next morning when the stranger failed to appear for breakfast, the hostess opened the door to his room and to her surprise, the bed had not been slept in and there was a mysterious box the size of a coffin on the floor. She lifted the box lid and was startled to find a life size image of Christ.

She crossed herself and ran down the dusty road to the small church in Ojinaga to find the priest. She related the story of the stranger asking for lodging and how he never slept in his bed but left a large box with a beautiful image of Nuestro Padre Jesus in side.

The priest accompanied the woman to her farmhouse and she showed him the box where the image lay. He crossed himself for protection against black magic and slowly lifted the lid. He said to the woman, "Senora, this is a beautiful work of art. A miracle of God brings it for us to place in our poor church in Ojinaga. But is much too fine a figure for our little run-down church. We must have a larger and nicer building, one that is worthy of this miraculous image."

The priest had asked the bishop in Chihuahua for money to build a better church in Ojinaga without success. He now thought that the bishop would give him the money if he could hear of the miracle and see the beautiful image. The priest made plans to take the image to Chihuahua as soon as possible.

That very day, the priest hitched a mule to a wagon and loaded the image in the wagon and secured it with ropes. His journey took him at the base of the mountain where the Devil's cave looks out over passers by. He crossed himself and when the wagon had traveled halfway around the mountain, the mule stopped. The priest yelled, beat and talked to the mule still he refused to move. He said, "You are doing the work of the Lord." He climbed down from the wagon and prayed that the mule would go on to let the bishop see the image. The wind started blowing and it started to rain and then it came in torrents. He concluded that the image wanted to stay where it was intended and that it would never leave Ojinaga.

My "mature advisors" were discussing world events when one was accused of being a pessimist. He proved that he was not a pessimist when he told them that he had just bought 500 coffee filters. They agreed that a man his age to buy 500 filters was an optimist.

SRSU, Main St. project plan business workshop

PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- The City of Pecos Main Street Project and the Sul Ross State University Small Business Development Center will be co-sponsoring and presenting a business planning workshop.

The workshop will be held from 6-9 p.m., Thursday at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak. The workshop is free of charge and open to everyone.

This workshop is designed to help people who are in business, thinking of going into business, and/or are about to apply for a business loan by focusing on: Who are their current and potential customers? Where are they coming from _ geographically? How are you servicing them? What can you do to attract your customers?

Other items will also be discussed. For more information or to register call Tom Rivera at 445-9656.

Meeting scheduled to discuss proposals

PECOS, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 -- A meeting is planned for 7 p.m., Thursday for all interested juniors and seniors and their parents, to make plans for the prom and Senior's 2003 class trip.

The meeting will take place at the home of Anabel Aguilar, 2100 S. Plum St. For more information contact Aguilar at 447-9170.

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