Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, June 21, 2002
Hearing held for suspect in Monahans firebombing
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- A preliminary hearing was held Thursday in
U.S. District Court in Pecos for a 22-year-old man who was indicted
on arson and other charges Monday for allegedly firebombing the Monahans
Police Department building earlier this month.
Prosecutors say Travis James Harris, who had lived in Monahans for about
two months, is also accused of using a fire to commit a felony, use of a
destructive device in a crime of violence and possession of an unregistered
firearm - the incendiary device used to start the fire, which heavily damaged
three rooms of the police station.
Harris also has been indicted on a state felony arson charge and will
face a hearing in 143rd District Court in Monahans this afternoon.
Harris made an initial appearance on the federal charges at about 1:40
p.m. Thursday at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse before U.S. Magistrate
Judge Durwood Edwards.
Harris, while cuffed at the ankles and dressed in a white Emmitt Smith
No. 22 Dallas Cowboys jersey and black sweat like pants, was escorted into
the courtroom by two U.S. Marshals. As he quietly sat on a bench, waiting
for the judge he gave the people around him smiles and held little conversations
with those who would talk to him.
Judge Edwards then arrived and began reading Harris his rights, then listed
the four counts of which he is accused of, as Harris listened while standing
behind a podium at the front of the courtroom.
When asked by Judge Edwards how much money and property he had, Harris
responded by saying that he only had $22 and no property. The judge then
told Harris that an attorney will also be appointed to him and that a plea
of not guilty will be entered for him.
Though there was no serious injured due to the blaze, a dispatcher trying
to fight the fire did suffer from smoke inhalation, said Jeff Parras, an
assistant U.S. attorney from Midland who is handling the case.
The Monahans Police Department, and other city offices that were part
of the same downtown building, sustained damages in the fire, which began
about 3:30 a.m. on June 3. Harris was arrested in Odessa later that day and
transferred to Ward County Jail on June 4, before being taken to Pecos.
Judge Edward scheduled a detention hearing for June 25 at 1:30 at the
Pecos Federal Courthouse.
If the jury finds Harris guilty of the arson charges and the there was
personal injury to the dispatcher, he could face up to 40 years in prison,
Paras said. Harris faces up to 10 years on the unregistered firearm charge
and mandatory consecutive 10-year sentences for the charges alleging the
use of a destructive device and use of fire to commit a felony.
Initial estimates of the damage caused by the fire were put at $350,000,
but Monahans City Manager David Mills later said that number was "on the
low side." Mills said the department's damaged computer dispatch console
alone was worth $20,000, he added.
Harris was booked at the city jail here in Pecos without bond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
New doctor prepares to start practice in Pecos
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- The staff of Reeves County Hospital is welcoming
a new doctor in town.
Dr. Oladele Olusanya is replacing Dr. James Cam on the hospital's staff
and will be opening his family practice at the beginning of July.
Olusanya just came into town to organize the opening of his practice,
which will be located across from the hospital.
The RCH staff and the community impressed Olusanya, who is better known
as "Dr. Dele," when he first came through town in April.
He said that he would enjoy working in a small town like Pecos because
it allows him to use a variety of skills everyday.
"I like Pecos because small towns like this allows me to do all the things
I've been trained for," he said. "I'm able to use all my skills."
Olusanya explained that his main position would be as a family practitioner
as well as obstetrics and gynecology.
"I also have an interest in treating diabetics," he said.
Director of Special Programs for RCH Nancy Ontiveros said that Olusanya's
interest in treating diabetes would be a great help in this area.
"We have many diabetic patients," she said.
Being a doctor has always been Olusanya's dream, even as a child in his
home country of Nigeria.
"I wanted to be a doctor since I was nine-years-old," he said. "I never
thought of being anything else."
Olusanya said that as a child his whole family always knew he wanted to
be a doctor.
He comes from a big family with six siblings, three brothers and three
sisters, all of who are professionals.
Before coming to the United States seven years ago, Olusanya practiced
medicine in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and England.
"Before I came here I was a doctor for several years," he said.
After arriving in the states, he received his family practitioner training
at Texas Tech as well as in El Paso, so he is happy to practice in "very
"I did my training in Texas," he said. "So I'm used to the southwest
While in Texas, Olusanya has also picked up Spanish, which helps him better
treat his patients.
"I speak Spanish well enough to communicate with my patients," he said.
He also speaks French and Arabic.
Olusanya said he enjoys working with his Hispanic patients and is looking
forward to picking up more Spanish.
"I like the Hispanic culture," he said. "They have a lot of respect for
families and they have a lot of respect for professionals."
He added that that respect is very similar to his culture and heritage
"They are very close to my roots," he said.
Now Olusanya is preparing for not only the opening of his practice but
also the arrival of his 15-year-old son, who will be living with him.
Olusanya's son, Olaide, will be attending Pecos High School as a junior.
Olusanya also has an 18-year-old daughter, Yetsy, who is attending college
at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she is studying pre med.
As far as his practice is concerned, Olusanya will soon take over Cam's
office space when updates to the office space are complete. Cam is retiring
after spending more than a decade on the staff of the hospial.
"He'll be temporarily housed in the Pecos Valley Rural Health Clinic until
July 15, inside the Reeves County Hospital," Ontiveros said.
Ontiveros said that appointments to see Olusanya could be made by calling
the Clinic at 447-3551, ext. 350. She added that once he is moved into Cam's
office, patients might make appointments by calling 447-6387.
"Reeves County Hospital is very pleased to welcome Dr. Dele to our medical
staff and our medical community," she said.
Ontiveros has no worries about how well Olusanya would fit in with the
"He's very friendly and makes friends easily," he said.
Olusanya said he is excited and happy to work at RCH.
"I like the way the hospital looks," he said. "If I didn't I wouldn't
have come here."
However, right now Olusanya seems to be most excited about being able
to attend the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
He said he has never been to a rodeo before and he is looking forward
"I've only watched rodeos on TV," he said. "It should be a great opportunity
to see real cowboys."
Commissioners to discuss fireworks, burning restrictions
PECOS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- An outdoor burning resolution and restrictions
of fireworks use in unincorporated areas during the upcoming July 4th
events will be among the items on the agenda for Reeves County Commissioners
Commissioners will also discuss a local financial match commitment for
Balmorhea's Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant during the regular Reeves County
Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Monday in the third
floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse. The public is invited to
attend the open session part of the meeting.
The group will meet behind closed doors in executive session under Texas
Government Code Section 551.075 to discuss and take action on a professional
services contract between Reeves County and positions network and later in
the meeting again for settlement agreements on pending litigation _ Albina
Lara vs. Reeves County and Pascual Olibas vs. Reeves County under Texas Government
Code Section 554.071.
Other items due for action open include discussion on LMD Architect request
for payment invoice No. 240-241 for RCDC III; Trinity Engineering request
for payment Invoice No. 27845 RCDC III; bid proposal 01-02A inmate work boots;
bid proposal 02-02 category 10 inmate food bids; change order No. 2 for Howard
Mechanical, Inc. for RCDC III and change order No. 3 for Carothers Construction,
Inc. for RCDC III.
Other items to discuss and take action include transfer of country vehicles
to community sports and recreation department; use recreation transportation;
reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers;
personnel and salary changes; minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly
Emergency siren testing scheduled Monday morning
PECOS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- Emergency sirens will be tested at 10
a.m. on, Monday, city officials announced.
The sirens are tested periodically and the public is informed so that
they will know that there is no emergency. This is a test only.
PECOS, Friday, June 21, 2002 -- High Thursday 108. Low this morning 77.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated evening showers and
thunderstorms. Lows near 70. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday:
Partly cloudy. Highs 99 to 100. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Saturday
night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs near
100. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Highs near 100.
Thomas Biggs and Mary Ann Ingram
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