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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Winter weather causes crashes, one area death

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- Weather conditions were blamed for an accident that claimed the  life of a Dallas man just before sunrise on Monday and bad weather  has caused several other accidents on Interstates 10 and 20 in  western Reeves, northern Jeff Davis and eastern Culberson County as of  early this morning.

This morning's area accidents have occurred on I-10 mile markers 184 and 186 and on I-20 mile marker 3. The accidents, and Monday's fatal crash, were all around the I-10 junction with I-20, where the highway elevation rises by 1,500 feet from the Pecos area.

One vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe, reportedly went partially through a guardrail barrier near the Springhills exit on I-10 in Jeff Davis County before sunrise today, while Pecos EMS personnel were called out to the accident at Mile Marker 3 in western Reeves County. Details of the accidents were unavailable at press time.

The accidents were caused by winter storm that moved into Texas on Monday and brought snow, ice and freezing temperatures to sections of northern and western Texas. The snow and ice did not extend into the Pecos Valley, where road conditions today were normal, but were affecting roads going east, west and north out of Pecos, and were blamed for Monday's fatal accident.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety in Pecos, Jesus Gonzales Rivas, 55, out of Dallas was killed in the one-vehicle rollover, which occurred 40 miles east of Van Horn on I-10 a mile marker 180 at 6:50 a.m. Monday in Jeff Davis County.

Rivas was driving a 1987 Nissan while traveling westbound on I-10, the report said.

As Rivas traveled a crossover covered in black ice he lost control and spun 180 degrees causing him to leave the roadway into the medium and overturning once.

Rivas was wearing his seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:40 a.m. by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace George Grubbs of Jeff Davis County.

Trooper James Davis out of Marfa is investigating the accident.

The worst winter weather was reported in the Texas Panhandle, but the Texas Department of Transportation issued travel advisories for drivers on I-10 in Culberson County, and I-20 in, Mitchell, Nolan, Taylor and Eastland counties between Colorado City and Ranger.

Temperatures dropped into the teens in the Texas Panhandle at midmorning Tuesday and most of the region remained covered by a half-foot or more of snow, but roads were passable and traffic was moving.

Monday night, the parking lot at the Flying J Travel Plaza truck stop just east of Amarillo was full of vehicles and customers who had pulled off Interstate 40 were milling around inside, trying to stay warm.

But by Tuesday morning, the state highway department had cleared the roads. More light snow fell overnight, but had stopped by daylight.

Icy, snowpacked roads in Amarillo caused almost two dozen collisions on Monday, said police Sgt. Randy TenBrink. He said some businesses and most schools are closed for the holidays.

The National Weather Service said the snow had pretty much ended, giving way to cloudy skies and subfreezing temperatures across the Panhandle.

State troopers were kept busy Monday, working at wreck sites, said Department of Public Safety Trooper Wayne Beighle.

Although most wrecks were minor, One man was in critical condition after being thrown from a vehicle.

Other Panhandle cities reporting snow amounts were Dalhart with 8 inches and Miami, Pampa and Perryton with about 7 inches. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Needy families are given gifts by "Workshop"

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- Children from low-income families in the Pecos community received  a pleasant surprise when members from Santa's Workshop showed up  on their doorstep bearing gifts this week.

"We do this every year and try to help the children in the community by providing a few gifts for them," said Joann Lira, program director of Santa's Workshop.

Santa's Workshop is located inside the Reeves County Detention Center.

"This is something like the Angel Tree," said Lira. "We place ornaments on the tree with children's names and the employees pick out a name, get a gift for that child, we wrap them and then deliver them," she said.

Lira said that the employees have been doing this for several years and this year they received some added help.

A group of youngsters who call themselves the "Team Z-Racers" picked up several ornaments with names on them, bought the gifts, helped wrap them and deliver them.

Two of the members of the group are employees at the facility. "They just took it upon themselves to help us out like this and we really appreciate it," said Lira.

She said a dozen children were helped by the Team Z-Racers. "This was just a genuine, nice gesture on their part," said Lira.

The names placed on the tree come from the schools. "They are the ones that know which kids need these items, so they have been providing us with the names," said Lira.

She said that this year Santa's Workshop helped out 15 families, with a total of 54 kids. "We usually provide at least three items for the kids, we place three separate ornaments for them," said Lira.

Lira said that the gifts include clothes and always a toy.

The Team Z-Racers said that they wanted to do something for someone else and to help Santa's Workshop make this a better Christmas for some children.

"We just wanted to help out and we thought this was a good way," said RCDC employee David Ramirez, who is vice-leader of the group.

"It feels good to help out and we were excited about helping out this year and plan to do it again," said Team Z-Racers leader and RCDC employee Chris Gabaldon.

"We want to thank Noe De Los Santos, manager of La Tienda and the Pecos Housing Authority for helping us with this project," said Ramirez. "We also had a lot of support from our families and together we can make this work."

Silent day for most local business on Christmas

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- Most businesses, utility companies, government offices  and banks will close Wednesday in observance of the Christmas  holiday, and many stores and offices will also be shutting their doors earlier  than usual today.

Town of Pecos City offices and personnel never even opened their doors today _ city workers got both today and Wednesday off in observance of Christmas. Regular hours for all city employees will resume on Thursday.

Security State Bank closed its doors at noon today and will be closed Wednesday. The bank will resume their regular hours on Thursday and be open until 6 p.m., Friday. West Texas National Bank closed at 1 p.m. today and will also resume their regular hours on Thursday.

Federal employees will take the day off Wednesday and resume their regular hours on Thursday.

The Pecos Post Office will be open until 4:30 p.m. today, but will close Wednesday for the holiday. Regular hours will be held on Thursday and Friday.

Both Bob's and La Tienda Thriftway supermarkets plan to close their doors tonight at 7 p.m. and remain closed on Christmas Day, though most local convenience stores will be open on Christmas for some shopping needs.

Another store that will remain open for the holidays, as it always does, is Radio Shack, which will sell batteries that are needed for Christmas toys and electronics. Store owner Dave Thomas said he would be open all day Christmas for people either needing batteries or who wanted to make last minute purchases for the holiday.

Most other businesses in Pecos will close Wednesday for the holiday and resume their regular hours on Thursday. The Pecos Enterprise will close its doors at 5 p.m. today and will not publish a paper on Christmas Day. The office will reopen for regular hours on Thursday.

SBC phone network troubles blamed for outages

From Staff and Wire Reports
A problem on SBC's local phone network that affected callers in a  five-state area was resolved early Tuesday, a company spokeswoman said.

SBC, formerly Southwestern Bell, has 57 million access lines serving 13 states. The problem affected SBC's southwest service area - Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.

Pecos residents were also affected by the problem, even though the city is not part of SBC's service area. The phone problems affected Valor Telecom customers, as well as those using Allcomm Long Distance in the Pecos area.

Officials from Valor were not available for comment today, but Allcomm employee Don Alligood said when the outage occurred on Monday, "Valor put the finger on Southwestern Bell and said that it was Southwestern Bell's fault."

Alligood said that the problem was in one Southwestern Bell's main switches and that the problem had affected everyone in the state. "It wasn't just here in Pecos," said Alligood.

All 800-outbound calls and cellular to land lines were not working. "Cell to cell phone calls were going through, but not the others," said Alligood.

The problem started around 10 a.m. and was corrected by 7:30 p.m., yesterday.

"According to Valor and NTS, it was Southwestern Bell's fault," said Alligood.

The problem caused many callers to be greeted with busy tones, dead air or the recording: "We're sorry, all circuits are busy now. Will you please try your call again later?"

Landline-to-landline calls that were tried again eventually went through. But many landline-to-wireless calls simply would not connect.

Officials with Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS, Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile all said land line calls made to their wireless customers in the Kansas City area were persistently blocked.

Wireless-to-wireless calls did not appear to be affected because they did not have to connect with the SBC landline network.

Nancy Pollock, a spokeswoman representing SBC, said the problem began when connections between SBC's network and Telecommunications Services Inc. went out. TSI provides signaling services to wireless and wireline carriers. TSI's remaining links were unable to handle the load, Pollock said. Workers began restoring traffic to TSI links about 1 a.m. Tuesday, she said.

"No one completely lost service, but there were sporadic congestion issues," Pollock said Tuesday. "We were one of several carriers that were affected."

Other phone companies said they had been informed that a large fiberoptic line, which carries phone traffic from point to point, had been cut in Missouri. But SBC officials said that did not appear to be related to problems on the network.

Pollock said the company did not know how many customers were affected.

People throughout the Kansas City area were losing patience Monday.

"Oh my gosh, it was awful," said Jenna Grey, a legal secretary who works near Crown Center. "People tried to dial out and they wouldn't get anything, or they were talking and they'd just get cut off."

Grey said that when they tried to call back, the callers would run into the "all-circuits-are-busy" recording.

Emergency service providers throughout the metropolitan area and Missouri reported some hassles tied to the phone troubles, but nothing that was serious.

Kansas City Fire Department dispatchers noted there seemed to be some problems with the clarity of calls as well as the "all-circuits-are-busy" message.

"It's not crippling us at any rate," a fire dispatcher said.

Though Springfield emergency dispatchers didn't believe the phone problem had caused anything catastrophic, in a municipality buffeted by snow and its associated hazards, tensions were running a bit high.

"We've had trouble with phone lines, trouble with cell phones, trouble with traffic, trouble with weather," a police dispatcher there said. "People are having a real tough time getting through on their cell phones. You name it, we got it."  

Eagles place seven on all-district football team

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- Four members of the Pecos Eagles were voted onto the first team  All-District 2-4A football team by the district's five coaches, while three  others were named to the second team squad.

The voting was done last month, and the list was released following Midland Greenwood's 27-24 double overtime loss to Bandera in the Class 3A-Division II title game on Saturday in Waco.

Senior running back Matthew Levario and junior receiver John Parent were named to the first team on offense, while two seniors, defensive lineman Hugo Rodriguez and linebacker Will Armstrong, were chosen to the first team on defense this season.

Named to the second team were two underclassmen on defense; junior lineman Victor Reyes and sophomore end Chad Evans, with one senior, tight end Joey Ortega, named to the second team squad on offense from the Eagles.

After four playoff appearances while members of District 2-4A, the Eagles ran into problems this season. Pecos won their season opener against Alpine, but then dropped their final eight games, to finish with a 2-8 mark, with the other win coming by forfeit over Presidio. As a result, the number of all-district picks were down sharply from 2001, when the Eagles had 12 first team players selected and 19 players overall on the first two teams.

Levario and Reyes were repeat first team selections from last season, while Parent and Armstrong moved up from second team picks in District 2-4A to a first team selection in District 4-3A. Ortega was a first team pick last year on the 2-4A team, while Reyes and Evans were first time selections to the all-district team.

Levario made the first team despite the problems with Pecos' offense, which resulted in his rushing total falling from 1,041 yards in 11 games last season to 411 yards in nine games this year, two of which he played in only briefly due to injuries. He led the team with seven touchdowns and also caught six passes for 95 yards and a TD this season.

Parent was the team's leading receiver in terms of number of catches, with 18 for 211 yards and one touchdown, while Rodriguez was the team's top player on the defensive line and Armstrong was the top tackler among Pecos' linebackers during the 2002 season.

Reyes ended up among the leading tacklers on defense, while Evans earned his all-district spot after taking the place of his brother Justin, who earned all-state honors last season. Ortega led the team in total pass receiving yards in 2002, gaining 268 yards on 16 receptions while scoring one touchdown.

Armstrong and Parent were also named to the Academic All-District football team for the Eagles, along with five other Pecos players. They were senior lineman Dallas Goff, senior linebacker Bobby Valenzuela; senior quarterback Freddy Torres; junior defensive back Oscar Parada and junior defensive back Jose Reyes.

Greenwood, which went through the 2002 season undefeated until their overtime loss to Bandera in the state title game, dominated the all-district selections with 11 first team picks, including junior quarterback Dawson Wilbur, the Most Valuable Player on offense, senior linebacker Cody Hollums, who tied Fort Stockton's Joseph Lauderdale for defensive MVP, and head coach Bob Purser, who received Coach of the Year honors.

Wilbur was also named first team kicker, while Monahans' senior Keith Balderez was a first team selection at three different positions _ on offense at tight end, on defense at defensive end and as punter on special teams.

Along with Hollums, who was also named at running back to the first team squad, teammate Tyler Ogden was a two-way pick at center and defensive end, while Monahans' Joey Aguilar was a two-way first team pick, at quarterback and defensive back and Ronnie Robledo was a two-way pick on the line and Fort Stockton lineman Adam Elrod also was a two-way first team choice.

Monahans had six first team players chosen at nine positions, third place qualifier Kermit put two players on the first team and fourth place Fort Stockton joined Pecos with four players named to the first team squad.

All-District 4-3A Team

First Team


MVP _ Dawson Wilbur, QB, 5-10, 185, Jr., Greenwood.

Quarterbacks _ Joey Aguilar 5-10, 170, Sr., Monahans.

Running Backs _Matthew Levario, 5-7, 140, Sr., Pecos; Jeremy Audas, 5-9, 160, Jr., Greenwood; Cody Hollums, 5-11, 185, Sr., Greenwood.

Wide Receivers _ John Parent, 6-0, 185, Jr., Pecos; Kevin Rossler, 5-10, 165, Sr., Greenwood.

Tight Ends _ Keith Baldarez, 6-0, 195, Sr., Monahans; Kyle Maskell, 5-11, 175, Sr., Greenwood.

Center _ Turner Gill, 6-2, 220, Jr., Kermit; Tyler Ogden, 5-9, 168, Sr., Greenwood.

Offensive Linemen _ Luke Frasier, 5-11, 205, Sr., Greenwood; Jason Patterson, 6-0, 195, Jr., Greenwood; Adam Elrod, 6-1, 185, Sr., Fort Stockton; Ronnie Robledo, 6-0, 255, Sr., Monahans.


MVPs _ Cody Hollums, LB, 5-11, 185, Sr., Greenwood; Joseph Lauderdale, LB, 6-1, 180, Sr., Fort Stockton.

Defensive Line _ Hugo Rodriguez, 5-10, 225, Sr., Pecos; Erbey Saucdeo, 5-8, 180, Jr., Kermit; Ulyssis Reynosa, 5-8, 200, Jr., Greenwood; Ronnie Robledo, 6-0, 225, Sr. Monahans.

Defensive End _ Keith Balderez, 6-0, 195, Sr., Monahans; Adam Elrod, 6-0, 185; Sr., Fort Stockton; Tyler Ogden, 5-9, 168, Sr., Greenwood.

Linebackers _ Will Armstrong, 5-9, 175, Sr., Pecos; Blake Higgins, 6-1, 220, Soph., Greenwood; Dennis Porras, 6-1, 190, Jr., Monahans; Ben Swenson, 5-11, 190, Jr., Monahans.

Defensive Backs _ Lupe Munoz, 6-0, 175, Jr., Kermit; John M. Hopper, 6-2, 195, Sr., Greenwood; Kris Ellis, 6-0, 180, Jr., Fort Stockton; Andrew Galvan, 5-10, 170, Sr., Monahans; Joey Aguilar, 5-10, 170, Sr., Monahans.

Kicker _ Dawson Wilbur, 5-10, 185, Jr., Greenwood

Punter _ Keith Baldarez, 6-0, 195, Sr., Monahans.

Coach of the Year _ Bob Purser, Greenwood

Second Team


Quarterbacks _ Landon Forga., 6-0, 175, Soph., Kermit.

Running Backs _ Demis Porras, 6-1, 190, Jr., Monahans; Johnny Rodriguez, 5-6, 170, Jr., Monahans; Logan Hamm, 5-8, 150, Sr., Fort Stockton.

Wide Receivers _ Hunter Hardaway, 5-8, 140, Soph., Kermit; Ryan Bruno, 5-10, 160, Sr., Greenwood.

Tigh Ends _ Joey Ortega, 6-2, 200, Sr., Pecos; Kris Ellis, 6-0, 180, Jr., Fort Stockton.

Center _ Heath Wilson, 6-1, 195., Sr., Monahans; Terrance Ellis, 6-0, 205, Sr., Fort Stockton.

Offensive Linemen _ Zack Evans, 6-0, 180, Soph, Kermit; Matt Bass; 6-2, 180, Jr., Greenwood; Ricardo Florez, 6-3, 365; Sr., Fort Stockton; Gonzalo Arroyo, 5-6, 180, Sr., Monahans.


Defensive Line _ Victor Reyes, 5-8, 175, Jr., Pecos; James Bowen, 5-10, 225, Jr., Greenwood; Mitch Sanchez, 6-0, 230, Jr., Fort Stockton; Leland Walker, 6-2, 215; Sr., Monahans.

Defensive End _ Chad Evans, 6-1, 220, Soph., Pecos; Turner Gill, 6-1, 220, Soph., Kermit; Luke Frasier, 5-11, 205, Sr., Greenwood.

Linebackers _ Eron Sanchez, 5-10, 185, Jr., Kermit; Bronson Harrison, 5-8, 140, Jr., Greenwood; Joey Parrish, 6-0, 220, Sr., Fort Stockton; Grason Hiers, 6-0, 190, Sr., Monahans.

Defensive Backs _ Jeremy Velasquez, 5-10, 160, Jr., Fort Stockton; Noah Miles, 6-2, 185; Sr., Monahans; Michael Akins, 5-10, 165, Jr., Kermit; Brian Zachary, 5-10, 170, Jr., Greenwood.

Kicker _ Eron Sanchez, 5-10, 185, Jr., Kermit.

Punter _ Adam Elrod, 6-1, 185, Sr., Fort Stockton.

Catholic Daughters sponsoring ball on New Year's Eve

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- A New Year's Eve Ball is scheduled from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. next Tuesday, Dec. 31, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Advance tickets are $25 for a couple and tickets will be $30 at the door, the night of the event.

The event is being sponsored by the Catholic Daughters. For more information contact Rosie Salcido at 447-9683.


PECOS, Tues., Dec. 24, 2002 -- High Monday 47. Low this morning 31. Forecast for tonight:   Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. West winds 5 to 10 mph. Christmas Day:   Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 50s. Southwest winds 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday night:  Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. Thursday:   Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 50s. Friday:  Clear. Lows in the mid  30s. Highs in the mid 50s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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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