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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Officials hunt missing boy in areas near Ft. Stockton

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- The search continues for a four-year-old boy who has been  missing since 11 a.m., Monday, from his rural Fort Stockton residence,  while officials in Pecos County said foul play is not suspected at this time.

"We don't suspect foul play at this time," said Pecos County Sheriff Cliff Harris.

Harris said that the four-year-old had been reported missing yesterday, after the parents and family had searched for him for two hours. "They live in a rural area, that sits out north of Fort Stockton," said Harris. "These people own land and the child sometimes goes out to play and goes near the animals they own."

Harris said that yesterday morning about 11 a.m., the youngster, Schyler Lee Fain, went out to play in the backyard. "The family went out about 30 minutes later, believing he was there playing and didn't find him," said Harris. "After searching for him for two hours, they called us."

The Fort Stockton Police Department, Pecos County Sheriff's Department, Fort Stockton Fire Department, Texas Department of Criminal Justice and local volunteers were still out searching for the youngster this morning.

If anyone has any information on the missing little boy, they should contact their local police department or the Fort Stockton Sheriff's Department at 915-336-3521.

"We're hoping it will end well," said Harris.

Dust causes Texas, N.M. I-10 pile-ups

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- A dust storm in southern Reeves County is blamed for a major  accident on Interstate 10 on Monday that miraculously resulted in no  serious injuries.

The pile-up occurred one day after a Texas man was killed in a similar Interstate 10 pile-up, caused by a dust storm near Deming, N.M.

Jose I. Berrones, 63, of Houston died at Mimbres Memorial Hospital in Deming from injuries he suffered in the 21-vehicle pile up on I-10 after 5 p.m., Sunday night.

Berrones was driving a rental moving truck when he plowed into the rear of a tractor-trailer rig during the dust storm that injured 20 others.

"It was just one after another inside that wall of dust _ they just started piling up," New Mexico State Police Officer Cesar Duran said of the crashes Sunday afternoon on eastbound I-10, about five miles west of Deming.

Locally, the dust-related accident occurred as thunderstorms built up over southern Reeves County Monday and kicked up strong winds around 3:30 p.m. on I-10, about 20 miles east of Balmorhea.

The crash involved 12 to 14 vehicles. Fortunately only two people were injured in the zero-visibility pileup, according to Balmorhea EMS personnel Bill Wendt.

Wendt, who was at the scene for a short time, said that the pileup occurred in the westbound lanes of traffic while the dust storm was progressing east.

Wendt said that from what he understands is that the first vehicle in the pileup slowed down as it entered the storm followed by a GMC Suburban.

He explained that the driver of the suburban was preparing to slow down when he hit the first car.

Wendt said the chain-reaction pile-ups just continued after that.

"Vehicles weren't able to see that wreck was ahead of them," he said.

Balmorhea and Fort Stockton EMS were called to the scene of yesterday's accident along with fire personnel.

Pecos firemen and EMS were called to assist however were canceled while in route.

Wendt said that the two injured in yesterday's accident were treated for only minor cuts and were the passengers of the suburban.

The dust storm in New Mexico forced state police to shut down the westbound and eastbound lanes at 5:45 p.m., he said. The highway reopened about 11 p.m., Duran said.

Wind, estimated at 40-50 mph, kicked up the dust beginning about 3 p.m., Duran said.

"As we started shutting it (I-10) down, I'd say about 15 minutes later we got several calls of an accident," he said.

"At first, it didn't sound too bad," Duran said. "I went over there to see if they needed any help, and when I go there, it was just chaos.

"Of course the dust storms were still kicking out there and it was kind of hard to breathe and to see how many vehicles there were."

Vehicles that slowed because of the dust were hit by faster vehicles, Duran said.

"The front people, they tend to slow down and a few of them got hit. Then basically, traffic comes to a dead stop," he said.

"We had some vehicles that were doing 75 miles an hour through there," Duran said.

State police officers from Lordsburg, Silver City and Las Cruces responded to the scene, as well as officers from the Luna County Sheriff's Department, the state Highway and Transportation Department and the state Motor Transportation Division, Duran said.

The accident was the second major one on I-10 caused by a dust storm in the past two months.

Stores expecting sales tax holiday to provide boost

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- Local department stores are getting ready for this weekend,  when the State of Texas holds its annual Sales Tax Holiday, which  is considered one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

The holiday is held the first weekend each August, as parents get ready for the new school year. On Friday through Sunday, most clothing and footwear priced under $100 are tax-free. For every $100 spent on qualifying items, shoppers save about $8.

"We've got a full stock ready for local shoppers," said Beall's Department Store Manager Delma Arreguy.

Arreguy said that the local store participates in the tax-free shopping weekend every year and this year will be no exception.

"We're really excited and looking forward to it," said Arreguy, who added that they will be having specials throughout the store in addition to participating in the tax-free shopping.

"We did real well last year, we met our goal and hope it's bigger this year," she said.

Now in its fourth year, the tax holiday weekend continues to grow in popularity.

"People stop me and say thank you," said State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

She estimates Texans will save about $42 million next weekend - $33.2 million in state sales tax and $8.8 million in local sales tax. She said the idea is to help parents "make their dollars go farther as they shop for a new school year."

At Beall's, shoppers and browsers will have an opportunity to sign up for several giveaways. "They can sign up for a Jeep that will be given away," said Arreguy.

Individuals can sign up here at the local store, where one ticket will be chosen to be turned in to Beall's headquarters. Deadline to sign up for the Jeep giveaway is Aug. 11.

"Locally, we'll also be giving away a Dallas Cowboys helmet and a Play Station," said Arreguy. Deadline to sign up for the helmet is Aug. 7 and for the Play Station, Aug. 11.

"Hopefully everyone will come out and shop locally," said Arreguy.

Arreguy said that the store has new and exciting items ready for the back-to-school crowd. "We want to welcome everyone to come in and browse," said Arreguy. "We encourage them to shop Pecos," she said.

Beall's Department Store is located at 910 S. Eddy St.

Desiree's Boutique, 1203 S. Eddy St., is also another local department store who has added to their inventory in preparation for the big weekend. "We ordered more items and are getting ready for this weekend," said Desiree's Boutique owner Josefa Herrera.

"We'll be participating in the tax-free weekend and are looking forward to it," said Herrera.

Herrera said that the store would also have lots of specials and welcomes everyone to come in to the store. "We ordered a lot of extra back-to-school clothes," she said.

Needleworks Etc., 120 S. Cedar St., will be participating this weekend in the back-to-school tax-free weekend sale. "We'll also be having a clearance sale and those items will be included in the tax-free sale," said Needleworks, Etc., owner Peggy Walker.

Walker said she would have specials throughout the store and is looking forward to welcoming everyone to her store. "This would also be a good time for shoppers to come and purchase or put on lay-away the cheerleading outfits for the little girls," said Walker.

The outfits cost $40 and include the name sewed on the outfit.

"This has always been a good day for me and I'm happy to be participating in the tax-free event," said Walker. "We welcome everyone to come out and just browse," she said.

The list of tax-exempt items remains the same as in previous years. It excludes non-clothing items like handbags, wallets, jewelry, accessories, backpacks and school supplies.

While the weekend break does shave the tax off such items diapers, uniforms and tuxedos, Rylander said she will try in the next legislative session to expand the list to include backpacks, school supplies, baby car seats, bicycle helmets and other safety gear. She would also like to see it lengthened to five or six days.

"I'm optimistic that in the next session of the Legislature we'll get that done," she said.

Truckers may detour off MOTRAN's favored route

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- You can lead a trucker to the highway, but can you make  him drive it?

That may be the question members of the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN) will have to answer in the future, as they increase their efforts to bring more commercial vehicles and other travelers through the Permian Basin as part of a corridor running from Topolobampo, Mexico into the panhandle of Texas.

The corridor, La Entrada al Pacifico, is to begin at the Mexican port of Topolabampo, lead up to the state of Chihuahua, then into the city of Chihuahua and finally to Ojinaga and into Texas through the way of Presidio.

According to Gloria Pena, Executive Director of MOTRAN, the 18-wheelers coming in from Presidio will then travel through Marfa, Alpine, Ft. Stockton, McCamey, and then into Odessa-Midland.

Once in the Odessa-Midland area they will then head towards Lamesa, Lubbock and then Amarillo.

However, according to an article in the Alpine Observer, while there has been an increase in the number of trucks using the highway between Chihuahua City and Ojinaga, the trucks have been seen going from Presidio into Marfa, and then continuing straight north, into Ft. Davis, Balmorhea, Pecos and finally into Odessa instead of turning east from Marfa to Alpine.

"We are going to see a number go up through Fort Davis," Pena said. "The truckers will go the way they want to go."

According to Pena, a 20-year long study has shown that truckers prefer the roadways of McCamey, Ft. Stockton, Alpine and Marfa.

Pena said that the grade inclines of the Davis Mountains tend to be less friendly then any of the other routes and therefore she believes they will go the safer routes.

In Mexico, construction is about 50 percent complete on the new highway between Chihuahua and Ojinaga. According to the Observer, the new highway follows the rail line more closely and travels along a valley route, as opposed to the older road that ran through the higher elevations and made travel tougher for truckers.

However, for trucks traveling from Mexico up to Interstate 20, the route through Fort Davis, Balmorhea and Pecos to Odessa is 225 miles, while the La Entrada al Pacifico route between Presidio and Odessa favored by MOTRAN would add on an additional 25 miles to the trip.

Pena also added that truckers tend to make their own roadways. She explained that because of a low bridge east of Marfa, where the old South Orient railroad line splits off from the Union Pacific on its way to Presidio, the truckers decided to just make their own roadway.

"The truckers made a dirt road round the bridge," Pena said.

Truckers making their own roadways are not the only problems that MOTRAN has to deal with.

A community organization, in Alpine, called `Tourists Not Truckers' has shown its opposition against La Entrada, because of environmental and economic reasons said Chris Ruggia, president of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce.

The Council of Governments in El Paso has also shown its opposition against the corridor. The organizations, has passed a resolution opposing major highway development in the "pristine areas of the Davis Mountains."

Though there are concerns about the corridor, Pena said that La Entrada al Pacifico is a route that has attracted trade dating back to the time of the Indians.

"It is not a matter of like or not like," Pena said. "It is something that is going to happen."

Pena went on to say that towns concerned about their tourist attractions could determine how they would like the traffic to flow by setting up detours.

"The ball is rolling," Pena said. "West Texas is the only area that is not benefiting from the NAFTA trade. It could help a lot of these communities."

According to Pena, a ground breaking in Odessa is being scheduled for a Family Dollar Distribution Center for the middle of August.

The location for the Family Dollar Distribution Center was made because of its proximity from Mexico.

Pena said that the airport would work as a port of entry, in which airfreight would be brought into Odessa and then loaded onto an eighteen-wheeler.

A number of trucks will be seen on these roadways by the end of the year, Pena said.

According to Pena, most of this traffic wants to go northeast, so when the truckers hit Amarillo they then get onto Interstate-40.

Pena also said that Lubbock and Amarillo want La Entrada al Pacifico really bad.

KPTX gets OK to move tower, boost signal

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- The staff of KPTX has been celebrating since Friday after  they were notified that the Federal Communications  Commission approved their request to move their tower to a better location  and increase the signal strength for 98.3 FM

The station, better known as 98X, will soon be operating under 9,500 watts of power once they are able to move their antenna tower to the top of the hill just east of Barstow.

Station Manager Bill Randall Cole said that the staff of KPTX was excited after receiving the news from the Federal Communications Commission.

"We got our approval for our upgrade for KPTX," he said.

Once the equipment is shipped to the station, Cole said it would only take one weekend to move and install the transmitter and new antenna.

He said that a tentative date has been set for the installation of the new equipment for August 17 and 18, however, since shipping so much equipment takes some time he is not expecting it to arrive in time.

"I'll say it'll be up by the first part of September," Cole said.

The new antenna would be an eight-bay 300 foot tower, which is almost doubled the size of the current tower that stands 160 feet tall on North Hickory Street.

Cole said that with FM stations, such as 98X, the important factor in transmitting the signal is height, not just power.

"In FM radio, antenna height is everything," he said. That is why the staff is so excited to have the new taller tower placed on a hill on the eastern edge of the Pecos Valley.

KPTX has not had such an upgrade since they increased from 3,000 to 6,000 watts of power approximately three years ago.

Cole explained that the FCC approved the upgrade on July 23 and the station was notified three days later, after a long multiple year application process.

"We started this project probably 10 to 12 years ago," he said.

Cole said that since the local station, which has been on air since 1981, is within 320 kilometers of Mexico it is consider falls within the "border zone."

He explained that falling in the "border zone" requires approval from not only the FCC but also the Telecommunications Bureau in Mexico.

Cole said that members of Congressman Henry Bonilla's staff were very instrumental in helping the station get approval from Mexico, which he is very grateful for.

"We had their (Mexico's) approval in May, which made us very happy," he said.

Cole explained that the wait for Mexico's approval was short with them sending their application to them in December because he has heard of instances where it has taken up to two years for them to approve upgrades such as this.

With the new tower location, Cole said that KPTX's signal should be able to reach not only Pecos but also Monahans and Kermit and possibly Fort Stockton.

He even said that there is a strong chance that the signal would go all the way into Jal and Eunice, New Mexico, however he would not be certain until the tower is up and running.

"You just never know until you are able to get out and drive around," he said.

The local station enjoyed a surge in popularity after changing the format from country to adult contemporary on April 1, 2001.

That change has brought the station many compliments.

"The response has been really good," Cole said. "We're looking forward to sharing our programs with the area."

Now that the station will be heard in a bigger area across the Permian Basin, Cole hopes the popularity would continue to grow.

"This upgrade would enable us to be a regional voice," he said.

Plans are being considered for a few other changes once the upgrade is completed.

Cole said that one of them is possibly simultaneously broadcasting the popular Hotline program on AM and FM for the whole area. The program would also be expanded to an hour-long program.

"It would become West Texas Hotline," he said.

Cole also has plans for putting together a high school football scoreboard each Friday night.

"We're also planning on having a Permian Basin Friday night scoreboard," he said.

Cole said that when the move occurs there could be some disruptions in the signal for short periods of time, however he plans to keep the listeners updated when that might happen.

All in all, the staff is KPTX is excited about the upcoming changes.

"It's going to be a good thing for us all around," he said.

Cole added that KPTX's AM sister station, KIUN, would be continuing its broadcast as normal.

Martinez Field hosting August softball tourney

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- The inaugural Summer Slam Softball Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11, at the newly remodeled Martinez Field in Pecos.

Entry fee is $120 and according to the tournament format ASA rules will apply.

There will be no home run limit and minimum core .47 balls.

Prizes will go to 1st through 3rd place teams, who will receive team trophies and T-shirts.

Other awards include Golden Glove, Home Run King and seven All-Tourney.

For more information contact Randy Baeza at 915-631-3939 or John Garza at 915-448-0318.

Board approves policy to aid single-income families

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- The Pecos Housing Authority and the Farm Labor Housing board  of directors approved implementing an Earned Income Disallowance Policy  for tenants of PHA during the regular meeting last Friday at the  PHA/FLH Administration building.

Executive Director Nellie Gomez explained that the EID is designed to help families with one income get back on their feet.

"It's designed to help a lot of these women to get back on their feet and off the system," she said.

Although the program is designed for different kinds of families, Gomez said that it would mainly help out single mothers.

Gomez said that the program gives assistance to people who have been unemployed for over a year who are in some kind of job training or have found a job.

She said that the program, which is under the Welfare Reform Program, gives assistance up to four years that allows the people to pay the same amount of rent that they did while unemployed allowing them to "get on their feet."

The board also approved purchasing a skid loader for PHA use on property maintenance.

Gomez gave an update on 2001 Capital Fund projects including the perimeter fencing on Orange Street, landscaping and the Daycare Building on 10 th Street.

In other business, the board approved the minutes of the previous meeting and the monthly reports for both PHA and FLH.


PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 -- High Monday 89. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Partly  cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows 70 to  75. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy.  Highs near 100. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night:  Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 100.  Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Highs near 100.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report  is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,  Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

Abel Sanchez, 32, was arrested at 11 a.m., on July 25 in the 1100  block of East Seventh Street on a Capias Pro Fine warrant for theft under $50.

Michael Armendariz Orona, 24, was arrested at 4:04 a.m., on July  25 in the 900 block of South Orange Street for public intoxication.

Mickey Gabaldon, 19, was arrested at 7:22 p.m., on July 23 in the  2200 block of Hackberry Street on Capias Pro Fine warrants for no  driver's license, no seat belt, minor in possession of alcohol and  public intoxication.

Rene Garcia, 37, was 11:07 p.m., on July 23 at Fifth and Pecan Streets  for DWI refusal.

Roger Matta, 19, was arrested at 12:44 a.m., on July 24 at Oak and  `D' streets on a warrant for minor in possession of alcohol and  violating a promise to appear.

William Morse, 39, and Bettye Dobbs, 33, were arrested at 2:48  a.m., on July 24 in the 100 block of West `F' Street both for assault under  the Family Violence Act.

Emilio Acosta, 21, was arrested at 1:42 a.m., on July 29 in the 2200  block of Hackberry Street on a warrant for theft by check.

Bernardo Ramirez, 20, and Jesus Leyva, 53, was arrested at 8:05  p.m., on July 28 at McDonald's both for public intoxication.

Ruben Contreras, 44, was arrested at 12:44 a.m., on July 28 in the  800 block of East Third Street on a warrant for theft over $50 and under $500.

Sonia Rodriguez, 28, was arrested at 11:31 a.m., on July 27 in the  800 block of Eddy Street on a warrant for forgery.

Gloria Menchaca, 24, was arrested at 8:13 p.m., on July 26 at Third  and Mesquite streets on warrants for motion to surrender principal  on offense of controlled substance and motion to surrender principal  on offense of controlled substance in a correctional facility.

Carmen Talamantez, 45, Hilda Miranda, 33, Sally Vargas, 40  and Rosa Miranda, 41, were arrested at 1:40 a.m., on July 27 at the Oasis Bar.   The first three women were arrested for disorderly conduct/fighting  while Rosa Miranda was arrested for public intoxication.

Arturo Hernandez, 20, was arrested at 2:43 a.m., on July 27 at  Saragosa Park for public intoxication, on a warrant for aggravated assault  and furnishing alcohol to minors.

Mark A. Gomez, 18, was arrested at 12:34 p.m., on July 26 in the  1000 block of Monroe Street for no driver's license, his fifth offense.

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