Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Rainfall beats yearly average for Pecos area
From Staff and Wire Reports
For the first time in a decade, rainfall totals for Pecos and the surrounding
areas will surpass the normal annual average, after the latest round
of showers this past weekend and on Monday.
Clear skies are over the Trans-Pecos today for only the third time in
the past 18 days, but the extended period of rain helped boost year-to-day
rainfall amounts above the 10.99 inches Pecos is supposed to average, according
to the National Weather Service.
The Texas A&M Agriculture Experiment Station reported a total of 11.78
inches of rain so far this year through Oct. 31, while KIUN Radio Station
estimated a total of 11.58 inches of rain through Monday's round of showers.
Rainfall amounts fell as low as 4.02 inches for all of 1999 in Pecos.
This year's total will be the highest since 1992, when the city received
17.47 inches of rain, mostly in the first half of the year. Prior to 1992,
the city had gotten above-average rainfall amounts for eight of the previous
The exact rainfall totals for 2002 were not available for Balmorhea, but
mushrooms are growing wild and frogs are croaking at the Balmorhea State
Park thanks to the abundance of rainfall that has hit the area.
"We're just excited about all the rainfall we've been getting," said Balmorhea
State Park employee Tom Johnson.
Johnson said that mushrooms that they have never seen before have been
sprouting up all over the park and frogs can be heard croaking.
"I have the total of rainfall for each week and we've seen more rain this
year than in the past 11 years," he said.
The latest line of showers moved off to the east Monday night, but rains
are still falling in parts of East and Central Texas, and flood warnings
are out today for coastal sections of the state.
Twenty-four rainfall totals through 6 p.m. Monday included 3.09 inches
in Austin, 3.29 in College Station, 3.85 at Huntsville and 3.78 at Rockport.
Brownsville recorded 1.20 inches. Through the first four days of November,
Brownsville had recorded 4.09 inches, more than twice the normal rainfall
of 1.51 inches for the entire month. The city has recorded 8.61 inches in
the past 17 days.
Although rainfall levels recently have been above normal, drought conditions
persist in the region.
"We've been running deficits for nearly three years," meteorologist Jeff
Philo said in a story in Tuesday's editions of The Brownsville Herald. "It
helps turn the corner to bring us back to normal, but one rain event doesn't
make up for three years of drought. We would need a surplus of seven to nine
inches for the next three years to get back to normal."
Harris headed back to Pecos after evaluations,
but trials may end up in El Paso federal court
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 05, 2002 -- After spending several months under psychiatric
evaluations, the man accused of firebombing the Monahans Police Station
in June and the carjacking of a Midland man in May of this year
is expected to be back in Pecos by Wednesday. But his court-appointed
attorney is hoping any future trial is held outside of the Permian
Travis James Harris had been in custody of officials at a Fort Worth facility
for psychiatric evaluation since late July.
"He was released October 31," Harris' court appointed attorney of Pecos,
Scott Johnson said.
According to Johnson it takes ten days to transfer Harris back to Pecos.
Though Johnson has not yet received the results of the evaluation, he
said that he hopes to have them any day now.
Johnson said that U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson would be back
in Pecos on November 12 and at that time he would then determine any pretrial
matters in the Harris case.
Harris trial for the June 3 firebombing of the Monahans Police Department
is scheduled to be held in Pecos, while his trial for May carjacking Paul
John Ceniceros, 30, whose body was found in a field near Odessa, is scheduled
to be heard before Furgeson in U.S. District Court in Midland. But one of
the pretrial matters to be determined in the case would be the change of
venue for both the firebombing and the carjacking cases.
Johnson said that he has filed a change of venue to move both cases to
El Paso. Harris was first scheduled to appear before the Pecos Federal Court
on September 9. However, because he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation
for the bombing of the police station in Monahans, the trial was then rescheduled
for September 30 and later pushed back to November.
Harris is accused of breaking a window at the Monahans Police Department
building at Second and Alice streets and throwing a `Molotov cocktail' inside
around 3:30 a.m. on June 3. The ensuing fire gutted two rooms inside the
police department, although firemen were able to contain the blaze before
it affected any other offices in the building, which also houses several
other Monahans city departments.
Federal, state and area law enforcement agencies assisted in the investigation
including the Pecos Police Department, the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Texas Rangers.
Harris could face up to 20 years for the firebombing, Johnson said back
in September. An additional charge of Carjacking Resulting in Death and the
Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence has been added.
Election Day vote in county starting slowly
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 05, 2002 -- Election Day voting in Reeves County began
at a slow pace this morning, but officials are hoping that voting picks
up before the polls close this evening.
Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez said that voting was going slow this
morning. "We expect a lot more voters this afternoon, especially now that
the sun has come out," she said.
Florez said that they expected at least a couple of voters to come in
from Orla to vote at their new polling place, at the Lamar AEP campus, located
at Oak and `F' streets on the north side of Pecos.
Florez said that Orla voters who in the past cast their ballots in Box
9 at Red Bluff Lake would now be voting at Box 8, at Lamar Elementary in
Pecos. The change was made prior to March's primary elections and leaves
Orla and Red Bluff Lake area residents with the longest drive to the polls
of anyone in Reeves County _ a 40 mile trip down to Pecos to cast ballots
in today's general election.
"We did this in the primary and had a couple of voters come in from Orla,
so we expect them to come in again," Florez said.
Lamar is one of 11 polling sites Reeves County voters will be casting
votes at today. Eight of the sites are in Pecos, while the other three locations
are in Balmorhea, Toyah and Saragosa.
Locally, there are no contested races on today's election ballot, but
an unopposed local candidate was inadvertently left out of the sample ballot
printed in Monday's Enterprise. The sample ballot given to the paper did
not include Norman Hill's name under Reeves County Commissioner Precinct
2. Hill won the Democratic primary for the Precinct 2 post and like all other
local candidates, has no Republican or other party opposition today.
The lack of any local contested races has cut turnout from March's elections,
though clear skies today may help bring out some additional voters.
Florez said that during early voting they had 1,013 voters to cast their
ballots by personal appearance and 272 who mailed in their ballots. "We sent
out 332 ballots by mail," said Florez.
The combined 1,285 total is 880 fewer than in March, when 2,165 people
voted early or by mail in Reeves County.
Florez said that voters who have questions or don't know exactly where
they should cast their ballots can contact her office at 445-5467 or they
can call the Secretary of State's office, at 1-800-252-8683.
The main races on today's ballot are for regional and statewide positions.
They include the 23rd Congressional District, where Democrat Henry
Cuellar is challenging five-term incumbent Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla,
and the 74th Legislative District, where Democrat Pete Gallego
of Alpine is seeking a seventh term and is being challenged by former representative
Pete Nieto, a Uvalde Republican.
The majority of votes in the 74th District are in the eastern
areas of Uvalde and Del Rio, which is where Gallego and Nieto spent the final
days of the campaign. In the congressional race, the key voting areas are
around San Antonio and Laredo, where Cuellar was campaigning over the weekend,
while Bonilla took a break from his campaign on Monday to introduce President
Bush to a crowd at a Repbublican rally in Dallas.
The two closest statewide races are expected to be for the open U.S.,
Senate seat, where Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Ron Kirk are seeking
to replace retiring Sen. Phil Gramm, and for Lt. Gov. where Democrat John
Sharp is facing Republican David Dewhurst.
Other races county voters will help decide include the governor's race,
where Rick Perry is seeking a full four-year term after being appointed to
the office in 2000, and other downballot races, including for Attorney General,
Land Commissioner, Comptroller, the Texas Railroad Commission and the State
Polls will be open until 7 p.m. today. County voting sites are: Box 1,
Pecos Community Center; Box 2, Odessa College; Box 3, Pecos High School new
gym; Box 4, Toyah Community Center; Box 5, Balmorhea Fire Hall; Box 6, Saragosa
Multi-Purpose Center; Box 7, Reeves County Library; Box 8, Lamar AEP campus;
Box 10; Reeves County Annex; Box 11, Sidney Sadler Community Center; and
Box 12, Texas New Mexico Power Co., Reddy Room.
Barstow voters also are casting ballots today, in the state and Ward County
elections. Polls are open until 7 p.m. at the Barstow Community Center.
Final GED sign-up set for Wednesday at Lamar
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 05, 2002 -- Make-up registration for GED classes will
be held Wednesday evening at the Lamar AEP Campus Cafeteria, at Oak and `F'
streets in Pecos.
Registration will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. Any student who has not registered
by the dates listed above cannot enter the class until January 2003.
GED classes are free of charge and classes will be held on Mondays and
Wednesdays at Lamar from 6-8:30 p.m. Instructors will be Rudy Martinez and
For more information contact the Odessa College Pecos Campus at 445-5535.
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 05, 2002 -- High Monday 48, low this morning 40. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 35 to 40. Light northeast winds.
Wednesday: Sunny. Highs 65 to 70. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday
night: Clear. Lows 35 to 40. Thursday: Sunny. Highs near 70. Friday:
Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Highs near 70.
Mary Lou Richards
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