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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Teen jailed after shooting now charged in stabbing

Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 - A local gang member who was arrested earlier this month following the shooting of a 16-year-old Pecos boy was arrested again Monday night and charged with the stabbing of another 16-year old Pecos boy at the Sonic Drive-Thru on West Third Street.

According to Pecos Police Lt. Kelly Davis, a call came in at 8:56 p.m. about a fight in progress at the local Sonic Drive-Thru, in which weapons were involved.

Lt. Davis said that the suspect was arrested after a short foot pursuit.

"When policemen arrived they apprehended the suspect leaving the scene," Davis said.

The suspect was identified as 17-year old Fabian Orona, a member of the BPG gang.

Davis said that they believe this incident may also be related to a previous incident.

"Both members belong to a gang," Davis said. "But relevant to a different incident."

Davis went on to say that Orona was the only gang member who took part in this incident.

"He was the only one involved in this particular deal," he said.

At this point, Davis said that police have a large number of eyewitnesses and they still will be interviewing people.

The weapon, a knife, was recovered, he said.

According to Davis the victim is doing well and suffered no serious injuries.

"He is doing good. He was not transported to the hospital," Davis said. "It did not look like a serious injury."

It was the second arrest for Orona in the past nine days.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 4, he was arrested along with three others following the shooting of 16-year-old Ysidro Acosta.

Acosta was shot in the head with a small caliber weapon in the 1200 block of South Cherry Street. He is continuing to recover from his wound at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

As of today no one has been charged with the shooting, but police arrested four others at the scene on separate charges.

The four were identified by police as Orona, Peter Barreno, 18, Gilbert Placencia, 21 and James Burciaga, also 21. Orona and Placencia were all arrested for disorderly conduct.

Barreno was also arrested for disorderly conduct and for public intoxication.

"They do not want to talk to us," Davis said following the Aug. 4 arrests.

Barreno and Placencia are also members of the BPG gang, Davis said.

Following Tuesday night's stabbing incident Davis said Orona was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

"He will see the judge this morning," Lt. Davis said. "If he can make bond he will be out."

Red Bluff turns to request for cloud seeding funds

Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 -Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members gave their support to a proposal to save the habitat of the Pecos River pupfish while at the same time keeping it off the endangered species list, but turned down a request to contribute funds for a weather modification project, during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday at the district's office in Pecos.

Tom Nance of the Ward County Water Improvement District No. 1 in Barstow made the request to the board earlier this year to help sponsor the program, which would involve seeding clouds with silver iodide crystals over Reeves and surrounding counties. The cost of the program was put at between 8 and 9 cents an acre earlier this year by George Bomar, a meteorologist with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, who has been the longtime supervisor for the State of Texas' cloud seeding programs.

For the area involved, it would mean the project would cost about $350,000, out of which half would come from state and half from local funds. Nance said the state of New Mexico was also willing to help with funding for Lea and Eddy counties, where most of the water that feeds into Red Bluff Lake originates.

"I just want to see if you all want to contribute any money at all or give your support to the weather modification program," Nance said, and while the board was willing to help fund installation of additional weather stations in the area to measure the program's results, they declined to offer a financial contribution.

"I don't want to put in any money, but I do want to get some baseline data," said board member Lloyd Goodrich. "Right now it's 60 miles between the points where the weather is measured."

"You say if you need weather stations put around the area we'd be willing to do it," said managing director Randall Hartman before the board voted unanimously against helping fund the project.

"I just hate to hear you're supposed to be here to help the farmers, but you won't contribute a little bit," said Nance following the board's vote.

"It's not economical for the way you're trying to do it, Tommy," said Goodrich. He said the number of cattle per acre in the weather modification area that would benefit would not justify the costs, while Nance said the number of cattle could be increased if the program was able to increase the annual rainfall amounts in the area.

Earlier, the board voiced its support for a project presented by Tim Schuman with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife that would build a new fish barrier across Screwbean Draw, which feeds into the Pecos River south of Red Bluff Dam.

The barrier would be designed to prevent the migration of the sheepshead minnow further upstream in the draw, which is one of the last remaining habitats for the Pecos River pupfish.

"We want to put it in upstream from (Ranch Road) 652 and downstream from (County Road) 453," said Schuman. The plan also calls for removal of salt cedars along Screwbean Draw in order to increase the flow of water there.

"What I want to do is help the fish out and hopefully help the farmers out as well," he said, though Hartman said that through the first 2½ years of the Pecos River Salt Cedar Eradication program, they have not been able to detect an increased flow on the river.

"My feeling is if they don't regulate us or cost us, I want to be helpful," said board member Dick Slack.

Hartman said that aside from Schuman's proposal, he also has talked with officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque, who also have plans to remove salt cedars along Screwbean Draw, which runs heavily during flooding, but at other times dries up into standing pools that are still able to serve as the pupfish's habitat.

Schuman said the fish barrier "would be more like a sediment trap than a dam." The structure is designed to create falling water to prevent the sheepshead minnow from migrating upstream while at the same time avoiding creating any fishing hole above the dam.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Service biologist Gary Garrett, who also was at the meeting, said the sheepshead minnow originally is from the Texas Gulf coast, but was introduced as a baitfish into fishing holes and lakes in West Texas. It then took over the habitats of the Pecos River pupfish.

Garrett said the state has worked out an agreement with federal officials to avoid getting the pupfish placed on the endangered species list, which could lead to federal control of water releases along the Pecos River.

"Under the conservation agreement we were given five years to fix the problem. If after five years we've fixed the problem everyone goes away, but if not, they're going to put it on the list," Garrett said.

In other action, the board approved accounts payable, cash disbursements and the district's quarterly investment report, and was updated on several other projects by Hartman.

He said work had been completed on clearing out roads along the fence line on the east side of Red Bluff Lake, along with building a new road below the dam in order to make inspection of the structure easier.

The board also voted to spend $2,812 to buy a spray rig to spray pesticides along the fence line, which would prevent brush and trees from growing up over the roadway again.

Hartman said work is continuing in New Mexico on building evaporation pits for the Malaga Bend salt alleviation project, which will divert a salt spring away from the Pecos River. Sun West Salt Company will mine the salt from the pits, and Hartman said he is waiting further word on the project following a meeting of company investors later this week in Chicago.

The water report for July showed the lake level had risen slightly during the month, to 42,360 acre/feet.

The total is still well below the amount needed to allow for water releases to farmers downstream.

Only a minimal amount of water has been released this year, causing the Pecos River to go dry in sections south of Barstow Dam.

Ward irrigation district theft suspect re-arrested

Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 -A former employee of the Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 in Barstow, who was arrested on theft charges late last year, was rearrested this week for a probation violation.

Marlene Briceno Roman, 33, was arrested for Motion to Adjudicate and had been held in the Reeves County Jail.

Roman was transferred to the Ward County Jail in Monahans today and bond was set at $50,000.

She was arrested in December 2001, two months after an investigation was begun by local law enforcement officials into the theft of funds from the irrigation district, which serves the Barstow area. The Ward County Grand Jury indicted Roman on a charge of theft of more than $20,000 and less than $100,000.

"She violated her probation, I don't know if she wasn't paying or what," said Ward County Sheriff Mike Strickland. "And she has been unable to make bail."

According to the indictment, Roman used her position as Office Manager for Ward County Irrigation District #1 to steal the money from Barstow area farmer Tom Nance.

Roman was forced to resign her position as WCID #1 secretary in October, and Ward County sheriff's deputy Ben Dieshler called in the Texas Rangers to assist them in the investigation.

Dieshler said in late October that the investigation began after a complaint was filed, and deputies met with Texas Ranger Gerry Villalobos of Fort Stockton. The water district's board of directors requested an investigation into several irregularities at the water district office, according to Dieshler.

Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 is one of seven sub-districts to the Red Bluff Water Power Control District, which regulates water releases from the Pecos River to farmers between Red Bluff Dam and the Girvin area in northeastern Pecos County. Red Bluff board members assign water allotments each year to the seven districts, and the boards of those districts in turn allot water to the farmers in their areas. Because of the ongoing drought, the district had no water to allocate for the 2002 growing season.

Chamber sets Hawaiian festival Labor Day weekend

Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 -A big Hawaiian celebration is scheduled to bid farewell to a long hot summer.

Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring a "Hawaiian Beach Party" and is encouraging all community businesses and members to join them at the end of this month.

"We had discussed this at the last board meeting," said Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Linda Gholson, and the discussion continued at the Chamber's monthly meeting, held Tuesday at noon. "We want to get everyone in the community involved."

The big event is planned for Friday, Aug. 30, which is the start of this year's Labor Day weekend. Businesses and individuals are asked to decorate their offices and wear Hawaiian or beachwear during this day. Prizes will be awarded to the best-decorated business and individuals.

"We'll need judges to go around and judge the businesses," said Gholson.

A big finale for the day is planned at the West of the Pecos Museum Courtyard, from 5-7 p.m. and will be hosted by Peaceful Garden Funeral Home.

"Hopefully the schools will participate in this as well," said Gholson.

Chamber president Kevin Duke told the group about the Frijole Cookoff scheduled for the same weekend in Balmorhea. "We help sponsor that also, so we hope that some of you can be there," he said.

The cookoff will be on Saturday, Aug. 31, and Duke said that the motels in Balmorhea are booked, so out-of-towners will be coming to Pecos to stay.

"The motels are having specials for this weekend to accommodate the people that will be coming in for that," he said.

Gholson told the group to try to get as many businesses and individuals to participate in the Hawaiian Beach Party. "We want to make it a huge success," she said. "And we want to make it fun for everyone."

The recent wrestling match that was sponsored by the chamber didn't make as much money as anticipated, but was still a big success. "Maybe next time we can do something different, but all the people that attended had a good time," said Duke.

"We're in the hole $168, but everyone really enjoyed it," said Gholson.

"The wrestlers were really nice and signed autographs and when KWES 9 was here they were on television," said Gholson.

Gholson said that the chamber's part in the event was to sell 250 tickets and the chamber sold only 129 pre-sale tickets. "Then they sold some at the door, they sold 57," she said.

Chamber member Mark Zuniga said that even though not many tickets were sold the individuals who attended had a great time.

"The kids were harassing the wrestlers, the wrestlers harassing the kids," said chamber member Al Gomez. "It went pretty smoothly."

He said that everyone who was there appeared to be having a great time and really enjoyed the event.

"The recent Fly-In breakfast held at the airport was a huge success also," said Duke. "If anyone sees Dennis or Isabelle Blanchard be sure and thank them for the event. They did a great job," he said.

Duke told the group that kids had the opportunity to fly free and a cantaloupe bombing contest was held for the pilots.

"The Lion's Club, some of those are members of the chamber as well, provided the breakfast," said Duke. "Pecos provided great hospitality and everyone had a good time."

Plans for the Reeves County Fall Fair are coming together and the group that is helping to host it met recently, according to Gholson.

"This year we're going to have different events scheduled," said Gholson. "Team roping will be held in the arena and they will be giving away two belt buckles and two saddles," she said.

Women's Division President Laura Briggs told the group that the group will be meeting at noon today. "We have a full agenda to discuss and the newcomer's baskets will be sent out beginning next week," she said.

Gordita, asado plates to be sold on Friday

PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 -Gordita and Asado Plates will be sold on Friday at the Santa Rosa Hall from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.

The Gordita Plates will come with two gorditas, beans and rice. The gorditas will be available in green chile with meat or meat and potatoes.

The Asado Plate will be come with asado, rice, beans and one tortilla.

The cost for the plates will be $4. The cost for single gorditas is $1.75.

Calling 445-2302 can place a delivery order for three plates or more.

Diez y Seis Queen Candidate Crystal Muniz will sponsor the Gordita and Asado Plate Sale.


PECOS, Aug. 14, 2002 - High Tuesday 102. Low this morning 72. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of evening thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe with large hail and damaging winds. Lows in the lower 70s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 102. South winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows 70 to 75. Friday: Partly cloudy with isolated afternoon thunderstorms. Highs near 102. Saturday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows 70 to 75. Highs near 100.

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Pecos Enterprise
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