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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Reeves County Jail escapee recaptured in Odessa

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- An escaped inmate from the Reeves County Jail was  apprehended Wednesday at a residence in Odessa, following six months of freedom.

Steven Perez, who escaped from Reeves County Jail on March 8, when he was on a work detail, was returned to the jail just before 1 p.m. today.

"For the past six months, I've been working with Border Patrol Agent Jeff Gibson, who works with the gang unit in El Paso and Gary Hill, who works with the gang unit at the Reeves County Detention Center," said Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Dominguez. He said officers had traced Perez to Juarez, Mexico and the El Paso area where he had been for awhile.

"I went to Juarez last month and looked for him out there," said Dominguez. But once out there, the deputy found that Perez had been moved to Odessa.

"He was in a house in Odessa which is where we found him yesterday," said Dominguez.

Dominguez said he had that particular house under surveillance for a while. "We got lucky after having the surveillance on the house and found him there," he said.

A warrant for Perez was executed at 4 p.m., yesterday and Dominguez was accompanied to Odessa by Sgt. Danny Leos. "Sgt. Mancha with the Ector County Sheriff's Department helped execute the warrant, since this was in Odessa," he said.

Dominguez said that Leos covered the back door, while he and Mancha entered through the front door of the residence.

"He looked really surprised to see me," said Dominguez. "The first thing he told me was gee, I was going to turn myself in, Mike."

Perez was transported to the Ector County Jail Wednesday before being returned to Pecos today by sheriff's department jail supervisor Alfonso Esparza and deputy Arturo Granado.

"It took a lot of teamwork, we all worked really well together," said Dominguez. "We covered a lot of area."

Dominguez said that Perez is part of a jail gang that has members nationwide.

"The head gang member is in El Paso, he's from Juarez, but he is serving time in El Paso," said Dominguez. "That's why part of the time Perez was there."

Dominguez said that traveling to Juarez and El Paso to look for Perez was an interesting, yet frightening experience. "As soon as we got to Juarez, everybody started whistling to let him know we were there," he said. "It was kind of scary, too, because these are big gangs."

Dominguez said that he doesn't know what charges will be brought against Perez. "At this point, this is just a warrant service," he said.

Dominguez said that he is working on getting more details on the "accomplices" that helped Perez get out.

"I have it broken down to the point where he left to yesterday when we picked him up," he said.

Dominguez said that Perez hadn't changed his appearance or altered anything. "He looked the same," he said.

Perez stated that he had "fun" while he was on the lam.

"Mr. Perez had been on the run for approximately six months," said deputy Victor Prieto. "Escapees do not have a very good record of not getting caught," he said.

"They get caught. It is just a matter of time. I am proud of Lt. Mike Dominguez," said Prieto. "He has done an excellent job of staying on the trail and following up on leads and the whereabouts of Mr. Perez."

School board to hear update on enrollment drop, budget

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- An enrollment report and its effect on the 2002-2003 budget will be one of the items for discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting scheduled for this evening.

The board will meet at 6 p.m., at the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy and everybody is invited to attend.

The board was told last month that enrollment for the school district was down more than predicted at the start of the current school year. Opening week enrollment dropped by 200, and Superintendent Don Love said at the time the closing of the Anchor Foods plant at the end of the previous school year probably forced some families to move out of the area to look for jobs.

Anchor was the area's largest employer prior to its closing, with 700 workers at the start of the 2001-2002 school year. The loss of students also threatened to cut state funding for P-B-T ISD. State funds are given to districts based on their property valuations and student enrollments.

In other action, the board will recognize PHS 2001 Concert Band students and 2002 UIL State Solo and Ensemble students.

Under correspondence is a letter from TEA concerning Coordinated Review Effort (CRE) March, 2003 and a letter from TASB Trustee Region 18- Board Training.

Old business will consist of a report on renovations at Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School, Zavala Elementary, Bessie Haynes Elementary, Austin Elementary, Pecos Kindergarten and Lamar AEP.

A report from Environmental Consultant on water damage at Pecos High School Building A will be discussed; 2001-2002 Summary of Finance Report; District's Report Card; tax roll errors and corrections for 2001 and prior years; 2002-2003 budget amendments; first reading for TASB Policy Update 68; ratifying the 2002-2003 adopted line item budget without changes to adopting the 2002-2003 budget by fund and function to facilitate future budget amendments and requests for purchase foreclosed property.

The group will meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. seq., Section 551.074: discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel.

Board members will return to open session and take action if any, on items discussed in closed session.

City Council OKs housing, water grants

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council tabled action on the city's  2003 budget and tax rates, during their regular meeting this morning,  while taking action on projects involving water development and  housing construction in the city.

City Manager Carlos Yerena said the Texas Water Development Board has agreed to help the city improve its water quality by providing it with $70,000, for which the city will have to provide matching funds.

"I have already told Frank Spencer that we need $70,000 from the budget," Yerena said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez made a motion and councilman Frank Sanchez seconding it.

City Manager, Carlos Yerena informed the council that they are working with Texas-New Mexico Power Co. on the construction of several new water wells which would be constructed in a 60 to 90 day period. The city is in the process of developing the South Worsham Water Field, which is designed to replace the Worsham and Ward County water fields.

The council also approved the contract with the Office of Rural Community Affairs for the HIF Project, which involves the construction of up to 20 new homes in the central part of the city. Councilman Johnny Terrazas made the motion and councilman Michael Benavides seconded it.

The contract states that $400,000 will be given to them for the affordable housing infrastructure, which is planned for the 700 block of Washington Street.

The council then voted to table both the ordinance on the budget for the 2003 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2002 and ends September 30, 2003, and discussion on the ordinance levying taxes for the use of and support of the municipal government for the upcoming year.

The city's tax assessor-collector Lydia Prieto said that she recommended the council table the tax issue till after the budget was proposed.

According to Yerena the council will have to hold a special meeting between now and Oct. 1 to approve the new budget and tax rates, due to the fact that each of ordinances would to have two readings. The council had only one more regularly scheduled meeting in September.

Prieto also told the board that when they do vote on the tax rate, they can either approve the local option over 65 years exemption or the local option for medical disability, but not both options. According to Prieto there are 34 disabled homeowners in Pecos, 756 over the age of 65 years and a total of 122 disabled veterans.

The council approved closing streets on the east side of Pecos this weekend for the annual 16th of September Fiestas. City Water and Utilities Superintendent Octavio Garcia told the council the fiesta organizers want to close Third, Fourth and Locust Streets around Santa Rosa Hall and Santa Rosa Church on Friday from 6 p.m. till midnight and Saturday from noon till 1 a.m.

Sanchez made the motion to approve the closure of the street with council member Angelica Valenzuela seconding it.

Sanchez also asked Garcia to look into adding an additional crosswalk at Austin Elementary.

"People are passing the buses," Valenzuela said. "And there has been confrontations over it,"

According to Pecos Police Department Officer Juan Vasquez, for the past two weeks Lt Kelly Davis has been parked in an unmarked car at the school and has issued citations to two or three people for going around the buses.

Community Officer Michael Balog has also been working with the schools to solve the traffic problem.

On the recommendation of Mayor Dot Stafford, the council approved Bill Hubbs as the city's new representative on the Permian Basin Airport Board. Stafford told the council that Pecos Police Department Chief, Clay McKinney had told her that he does not have time to be on the board for a second term.

"Bill Hubbs has plenty of time," Stafford said.

Sanchez made the motion to accept Hubbs as the replacement of McKinney with Valenzuela seconding it.

The council went on to table a third item of the presentation by the Pecos Economic Development Corporation till the board prepares their budget on September 26.

After sending out six letters for the selection for the engineering services for he 2003 Texas Community Development fund and only receiving three responses, the council choose to hire Frank Spencer of Pecos.

Sanchez made the motion to accept the Spencer bid and Benavides seconding it.

Stafford also informed the council that Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department Director Nora Geron had told her that the city's representative on the board, Nancy Ontiveros had only attended two meeting this year.

Stafford also told the council that she would be replacing Ontiveros as board member.

Earlier, during the public comment portion of the meeting, Second Grade Teacher, Mary Tarango complained to the council that she had been unable to register her daughter for the department's youth volleyball program.

Tarango stated that she did not know who she should talk about her problem and since she knew that funds are supplied to the center by the council she choose to state her problem to the council.

Tarango informed the council that she had gone to the recreational center to drop off an application for her 9-year old daughter to join volleyball, unaware that the recreational center was closed on Sunday. She was unable to turn in the application again later that same week because the center's office was closed due to a volleyball tournament.

Tarango told the council that when she did turn in the application to Geron on Wednesday, September 4, she denied the application because it was past the registration deadline.

Tarango also told the council that even though her daughter had cried and pleaded with Geron that she wanted to play volleyball, she continued to deny the application.

"Here is a copy of the application," Tarango said while passing it out to the council. "The registration fee is $10 with a late registration fee of $5."

On the recreational center application the registration day is set for August 24, but according to Tarango there is no mention of a late registration deadline.

"There are a total of 39 girls registered," Tarango said. "One more girl would not have hurt."

In asking around, Tarango became aware that parents wanting to register their child for tee-ball were also turned away but parents registering their child for softball were accepted through out the season.

"Since asking around, I have heard so many complaints," Tarango said.

Tarango asked the council to please set a late registration deadline on the application.

"Set a date for late registration," Tarango said.

Wanting answers, Tarango asked if the reason for which her daughter was turned away was because Geron did not like her.

"I have also heard other people tell me, `You just caught her on a bad day,'" Tarango said.

City Attorney, Scott Johnson informed the council that he had experienced some of the same situations as well.

Because the application requires two signatures, Tarango asked that the applications go through the school mail so that time could be saved.

Johnson informed Sanchez that he as a board member could request a meeting to discuss the issue of the application interpretation.

Councilmen Michael Benavides told the council that no one was turned away for Peewee football.

Tarango also told the council that Geron has a low turn out in volleyball.

"A few extra girls would not have hurt," Tarango said.

"I'm sure Mr. Sanchez will take care of it," Mayor Dot Stafford told Tarango.

Congratulations were given to Tom Rivera for the Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony Wednesday.

"Tom, congratulations on the ceremony yesterday," Stafford said.

With that the council went to approve the accounts payable report with Sanchez making the motion and Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela seconding the motion.

While reviewing the accounts payable, Sanchez asked Finance Director George Bejarano if there was anything out of the ordinary, to which Bejarano responded with a "no".

Tellez made the suggestion that with homecoming around the corner, trees and old lumber could be used for the annual bonfire.

Moving on to the juvenile monthly report, Stafford was surprised to see the number of youths under supervision.

"It amazes me the number of youths currently under the supervision," Stafford said. "They have 19."

In saying that, Benavides makes the motion to approve the juvenile monthly report with Tellez seconding it.

Tellez asked that John Deering be placed next agenda so that the council could hear about the programs that he has for the children and the adults.

Barstow teen detained in Odessa for sex assault

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- A 13-year-old Barstow boy remains in an Odessa detention center after being removed from his Barstow home following a juvenile hearing in 143rd District Court in Monahans on Tuesday.

The youth was charged with sexual assault of a 5-year-old child in connection with an incident which occurred on July 10. According to Ward County Attorney Kevin Acker, the youth was given a psychiatric evaluation following an investigation into reported sexual abuse of another child and the evaluation found the youth can be rehabilitated over a long term period, according to Acker.

The county attorney said this case would be reviewed within 10 days. The youth's attorney has requested a jury trial and a tentative date of Tuesday, Oct. 1 has been set.

Acker said that existing conditions in the home contributed a lot to the problems of the 13-year-old.

TxDOT reports bridget projects almost finished

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- Work has been completed on repairing the U.S. 285 bridge at Toyah Lake, and work could be completed by the end of this week on the Business I-20 bridge between Pecos and Barstow, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Glen Larum, public information officer for TxDOT's Odessa District office, said Knight Construction of Big Spring has completed the final surface work on the Toyah Lake bridge, located about seven miles south of Pecos.

Work on that crossing began in August of 2001 and reduced traffic to one lane in the construction zone. The bridge itself was reopened to two lanes of traffic in late August, and the final resurfacing work followed.

Knight Construction is also handling the Business I-20 project, which involved replacing the narrow 62-year-old `long bridge' with a wider structure. That project began last November and wasn't scheduled to be completed until the end of this month, but Larum said on Tuesday, "They're pretty close to being done with that. All they have left is to put on the surface and remove the detour."

A two-lane detour was built next to the bridge during construction. The same type of detour was not allowed under state law for the Toyah Lake work, since the lake is considered a navigable body of water, even though it has been dry since the mid-1990s.

"I think they beat the deadline for themselves. We're pleased with what Knight Construction did," Larum said.

TxDOT's next major project for the Pecos area will be in northern Reeves County, where about a 20-mile section of U.S. 285 between Orla and the State Highway 302 intersection near Mentone is due to reconstruction. Larum said Jones Bros. Construction of Odessa would handle the project.

Band Boosters selling birthday calendars for $10

Band students are taking orders for the first community Birthday Calendar.

The cost for the calendars is $10 each.

For more information contact Pecos High School Band Director Merle Lenfest at the PHS Band Hall at 447-7218, Norma Wentworth at 447-3264 or Bertha Natividad at 447-2225.


PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- High Wednesday 89. Low this morning 62. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.  Lows around 70. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy  with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs 90 to  95. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy with  a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows 65 to  70. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of  thunderstorms. Highs around 90. Sunday: Partly cloudy and a little cooler. Lows  60 to 65. Highs in the lower 80s.


Jewell Brey and Frederico Gomez

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