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Monday, January 6, 2003

RCH welcomes first 2003 baby over weekend

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Jan. 6, 2002 -- It took a couple of days to finally arrive, but Pecos' 2003  New Year's Baby made its appearance over the weekend at  Reeves County Hospital.

Adriana Vasquez gave birth to an eight pound, 1.8 ounces baby boy at 7:46 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 4, at the hospital.

"I didn't expect him so soon and I certainly didn't think he was going to be the New Year's baby," said Vasquez.

Ethan Michael Vasquez was 21 ½ inches long at birth and wasn't due to arrive until Jan. 10.

Vasquez received a basket full of "goodies" from the Reeves County Hospital Auxiliary women, who were on hand this morning to make the presentation.

Dr. Joseph Darpolor of Pecos helped welcome the new bundle into the world.

"I'm just glad he's here and that he's fine," said Vasquez.

Year in Review -- May 2002

Task force death, Anchor closing occurred in May

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a series of stories on the major events that occurred in the Pecos area during 2002. Today's story covers events in the month of May.


PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 — Early voting went well for the city, hospital and school board elections, but not as well as it did two years ago

At the end of early voting, which concluded Tuesday evening, there had been 1,295 individuals who voted early by personal appearance. There were 368 ballots mailed out and 279 that have come back to the elections clerks, according to Thomas.


PECOS, Thurs., May 02, 2002 — The Pecos Police Department had the most referrals of cases to the  143rd District Attorney's office last  year, while the Reeves County Sheriff's Department had among the  lowest number of referrals, according to figures released by District  Attorney Randy Reynolds.

For 2001, Reynolds' report showed 440 cases were referred to 143rd Judicial Attorney and staff in 2001, 285 were new cases and 155 were probation cases. Of that number, the most cases sent to the DA's office from any law enforcement agency within the district was 66, from the Pecos Police Department, which translates into 5½ referrals per month .


PECOS, Friday, May 3, 2002 — An estimated $15,000 in heroin was seized Thursday and a  Presidio man was arrested and taken to Reeves County Jail following  an afternoon arrest in Pecos.

The three-month investigation was concluded Thursday at 1:30 p.m., an investigation that included the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, the Reeves County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Public Safety officers.

Arrested in the incident was Luis Rios Hernandez, 58, of Presidio, who was charged with delivery of a controlled substance.


PECOS, Monday, May 6, 2002 — The Town of Pecos City will have a new, but `veteran' mayor in  office later this week after former mayor Dot Stafford won the mayoral election  by 255 votes over current mayor Ray Ortega in Saturday's local election.

Voters also opted to elect two new candidates to the city council seats up for election, favoring challengers Angelica Valenzuela and Michael Benavides over incumbents Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera.

Meanwhile, the closest race of the day was for the one contested seat on the Reeves County Hospital board, where Saturday's vote totals gave Bill Wendt a narrow victory over Jim Breese in a three-way race.

Billie Sadler was the overall winner in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board elections, with 1,042 votes. Sadler won re-election to one of the two three-year terms up for grabs on the board, and will be joined by Paul Deishler, who picked up 982 votes to place second out of four candidates in Saturday's elections.

Balmorhea voters stayed with their incumbent politicians in their local elections. In the city races, Mayor Ruben Fuentez gathered 128 votes to beat challenger Elizabeth Saenz who claimed 59 votes, while incumbents Rosendo Galindo and Eddie Roman hung on to their council seats. Galindo got the most votes in the open election with 110 while Roman received 95 to earn new two-year terms.


PECOS, Monday, May 6, 2002 — The Pecos Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire is investigating the  cause of a fire early Sunday morning that destroyed a vacant house on  South Plum Street.

All fire units were called out to the fire just after 4 a.m., on Sunday at 105 S. Plum St. Upon arrival the firefighters found the rear section of the home, belonging to Rev. James Henderson, was already engulfed in flames.


PECOS, Monday, May 6, 2002 — A trucker was found dead Saturday inside his vehicle that may have  been parked for as many as three days at a rest stop in Jeff Davis County  and inquest is continuing.

Larry Gay, 57, of Cottondale, Fla., was reportedly found inside his vehicle shortly after12:30 p.m., Saturday, at a rest stop on mile marker 186, just west of the Interstate 10-Interstate 20 junction.


PECOS, Wed., May 8, 2002 — A Pecos family was left homeless Tuesday after a fire destroyed  the inside of their house in the 200 block of Daggett Street.

All seven units for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department plus Pecos Emergency Medical Service personnel responded to the fire call at approximately 7:40 p.m., last night, and arrived to find that the fire had spread throughout the home, with flames shooting out onto the front porch.

Pecos Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that the fire seemed to have been started by a cigarette that had fallen onto a bed in one of the bedrooms.

"It started in the east back bedroom," he said. "The entire structure on the inside was pretty much gutted."

PECOS, Thurs., May 9, 2002 — The Town of Pecos City officially has a new mayor and two new Council members after the three winners in last Saturday's election were sworn into office this morning during the regular Council meeting at City Hall.

Notary Lisa Reynolds swore newly elected Mayor Dot Stafford into her newest term at office during the meeting. Once officially taking office, Stafford got down to the business of swearing in the two new Council members, Michael Benavides and Angelica Valenzuela.


PECOS, Friday, May 10, 2002 — Teachers of the Year for each of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD's  campuses were recognized during Thursday's monthly school board meeting, and  the elementary and secondary teacher chosen as Teacher of the Year were  also announced to the board.

The Elementary Level Teacher of the Year for the District is Anabel Chavez and the Secondary Level Teacher of the Year for the District is Olivia Herrera, who were two of six teachers selected from the P-B-T campuses.


PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 — Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officers seized $77,000 in drugs  over the past week, arresting two people during the second of the two  drug seizures, which occurred on Friday west of Pecos. 

The incident occurred at 10:15 a.m., Friday, May 10, in the eastbound lanes of I-20 at mile marker 34, five miles west of Pecos. Arrested in the incident were two individuals from El Paso, Stanley Drennon, 29 and Jose Luis Mora, 21, for possession with intent to distribute.


PECOS, Tuesday, May 14, 2002 — A resolution for authorizing a grant application of  over $300,000 for sewage system improvements to rural  homes in Reeves County was approved Monday by  Reeves County Commissioners.

The commissioners approved the submission of a Texas Community Development Program Colonia Construction Fund Application to the Office of Rural Community Affairs at their regular meeting, Monday morning in the third floor courtroom at Reeves County Courthouse.


PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 — Anchor West employees who were laid off during the first week of May gathered for one last photograph and bid a tearful farewell to the plant that they have called "home" for as long as a dozen years.

Anchor Foods opened the plant with about 200 employees and expanded the facility to 700 workers by the time the company agreed to be bought out by Canadian-based McCain Foods in August of 2001. Three months later, McCain announced it would close its Pecos facility and invest $10 million toward expanding an onion processing plant the company already owned in Grand Island, Neb.


PECOS, Wednesday, May 15, 2002 — A first grade student at Austin Elementary School is being given credit for saving the lives of her grandparents after the home she shared with them caught on fire last week.

Eight-year-old Abigail Orosco, a first grade student at Austin Elementary, was the first to notice that their home was on fire. The blaze broke out in the bedroom of the home about 7:40 p.m. and all seven units for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department plus Pecos Emergency Medical Service personnel responded to the fire.


PECOS, Thursday, May 16, 2002 — A man and woman wanted for two killings in Georgia were arrested  this morning following a 90-minute standoff at a motel on the south  side of Pecos. One of the murders took place on Mother's Day.  No information was available regarding the second murder the two  are suspected of. 

James Robert Moody II, 23, and Tabitha Hope Colson, 23, were taken into custody about 8:15 a.m. following the standoff, which took place in a room at Motel 6, on the northeast side of the building. Guests from adjacent rooms were evacuated over a three-hour period, after Pecos Police Sgt. Ismael Gamboa discovered the pickup the couple was driving, and which reportedly belonged to one of the murder victims.


PECOS, Thursday, May 16, 2002 — A Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officer and a bus passenger were killed and a woman passenger was  wounded, following a  gun battle on board a Greyhound bus in Pecos.

The Los Angeles-bound bus was stopped at the Greyhound station at Third and Cypress streets in Pecos, which is located next to the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force's office on South Cypress Street. Task Force Officer, Jaime Rodriguez was on the bus with a second officer, Mike Henderson, when the shooting occurred about 9:35 a.m.

Rodriguez was pronounced dead at about 4 p.m., Thursday, at Covenant Medical Hospital in Lubbock. Rodriguez had been airlifted to Lubbock from Pecos and was undergoing surgery on two gunshot wounds to the abdomen. He was shot by a passenger he was interviewing at the back of the Greyhound bus, which was headed for Los Angeles.


PECOS, Friday, May 17, 2002 — Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officer Jaime Rodriguez had one last chance to talk to his family after being shot by a passenger on a Greyhound bus Thursday morning.

"He had a chance to talk to his children and tell them how much he loves them," said Elodia Hartnett, Rodriguez' mother-in-law.

Hartnett's daughter, Diana Rodriguez a first grade teacher at Austin Elementary School and his two children, Jessica, 17, a senior at Pecos High School and Jayme Lee Rodriguez a first grade student at Austin Elementary School, were able to visit with Rodriguez at Reeves County Hospital before he was flown to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock where he died while undergoing surgery for gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

Rodriguez said that he then gave his daughter, Jessica his badge and gave his son, Jayme his watch.


PECOS, Monday, May 20, 2002 — Hundreds of Law Enforcement Officers attended the funeral for  fallen officer Jaime Rodriguez today at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.

Rodriguez died in Lubbock about 6½ hours after being shot twice in the abdomen while performing a routine drug check on a Greyhound bus on Thursday morning in Pecos.

Along with numerous family and friends approximately 20 different law enforcement agencies from Texas and New Mexico paid their respects at the funeral.

Authorities on Friday identified a 19-year-old Austin resident as the man who fatally shot Rodriguez, a Trans Pecos Task Force officer, and wounded a passenger after Rodriguez asked the man for identification The man, Richard Colunga II, was killed when officers returned fire, according to the Department of Public Safety.


PECOS, Monday, May 20, 2002 — Grand Marshals for the Annual West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade  were chosen and committee members are working on other plans to make  this year's event a success, one of the organizers of the event told Pecos  Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors during their lunchtime  meeting last Tuesday.

The Marcos Martinez family and the West of the Pecos Cattlewomen will lead the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo. "We're also working on other things such as bringing in a helicopter or something like that," said Kathy Hurley, one of the organizers of the event.


PECOS, Tuesday, May 21, 2002 — Despite cool, windy conditions, hundreds of people participated  in this year's Relay for Life and raised more money than ever before  Friday night and Saturday morning at Eagle Stadium.

Relay for Life Chairwoman Terri Spence said the walk was great and with the help of the 11 teams participating they were able to break their goal of $19,000.

Spence said that not all the money has come in yet therefore the Relay committee does not have a final total.

She said the total, as of the closing ceremony on Saturday, is $20,500, most of which the teams raised themselves.

Awards were handed out to those who raised the most money during the closing ceremony Saturday.

Security State Bank won the most money raised by a team award while Olga Mendoza and Dena Dutchover won the most money raised by an adult and a youth respectively.


PECOS, Wed., May 22, 2002 — One of two bullets that hit a Trans Pecos Task Force Officer came from the gun of one of his colleagues, but a Greyhound bus passenger who opened fire on the officer during a routine check while the bus was stopped in Pecos fired the shot that killed Trans Pecos Task Force Officer Jaime Rodriguez, according to a report released Tuesday.

Rodriguez was fatally wounded last Thursday, during a routine bus interdiction at the Pecos bus station. On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety released preliminary reports both on the shots that struck Rodriguez on the bus, and on the autopsy done following his death in Lubbock about 6½ hours after the shootout.

"We won't have the ballistics report until another six months, but it could take up to a year," said Lt. Judy Altom with the Department of Public Safety's office in Midland.


PECOS, Wed., May 22, 2002 — U.S. Senate candidate John Cornyn made a brief stop in Pecos yesterday to speak with community members and officials at the Reeves County Courthouse about his plans for the future if elected as Senator .

Cornyn pulled up to the courthouse in his "Spirit of Texas" tour bus with a John Philip Sousa march playing over the loudspeaker in the style reminiscent of political campaigns portrayed in old movies.


PECOS, Thursday, May 23, 2002 — A U.S. District Court jury in Pecos has convicted a 75-year-old  Alpine man on three counts of importation of aliens for immoral purposes.

Jack Wayne Whisenhunt, AKA "El Maestro," faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison per count, following his conviction on May 16, in Pecos.

Whisenhunt is an Alpine resident who was arrested on July 18, 2001, in Fort Hancock. At the time of his arrest he was on probation for indecent exposure in Hudspeth County _ a violation involving children. As part of his probated sentence, the court ordered that Whisenhunt not leave Brewster County without permission, and refrain from having


PECOS, Friday, May 24, 2002 — The Town of Pecos City Council made cleaning up the city their  first priority during the regular meeting last night at City Hall.

During a very vocal public comments portion of the meeting the council discussed plans to beautify Pecos, which included a new recycling glass program and landscaping project.

However, after some discussion the council agreed that cleaning up alleyways and other areas around town should be their first priority.

That decision came after some debate on whether or not to push forward with a plan to "zero-scape" City Hall before cleaning up all areas of the city.


PECOS, Tues., May 28, 2002 — The second annual Memorial Day Shrimp Cook-off and Festival  drew many people from the Permian Basin and Davis Mountains area to  the tiny town of Balmorhea this Saturday for the all day festival.

Shaina Enmon, of Toyah, took home the first place trophy, $50 and 10 pounds of shrimp after winning the competition with her shrimp kabobs.


PECOS, Wed., May 29, 2002 — Pecos Police are investigating an incident that sent  a local teen to the hospital with stab wounds early  Sunday morning.

Fabian Orona, 17, of Pecos, was treated for "several stab wounds" at Reeves County Hospital, according to Police Investigator Kelly Davis.

Davis said police believe Orona received the wounds after being involved in a gang-related incident.


PECOS, Wed., May 29, 2002 — Preliminary work is scheduled to begin in early June on the  new Balmorhea ISD gymnasium and agriculture facilities,  Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz said Saturday.

In addition to the gym and agriculture buildings, Saenz said the district also plans to do some repairs and renovations to existing facilities in the main building in the upcoming months, though the final cost of the project is still to be decided.


PECOS, Thurs., May 30, 2002 — Harvest has already begun on onions in the Pecos area and  things are looking really good, according to onion growers.

Taylor said that the company would start running some through the Pecos processing facility next week. "We've already begun the harvest on the fields and will start running some here at the facility on Monday," said Taylor.


Friday, May 31, 2002 — One lucky ticket buyer in Pecos is helping the Texas Lottery  celebrate its 10th anniversary this week  by taking home a one-third share of Thursday's $54,800 Cash 5 drawing.

Wednesday was the 10th anniversary of the first Texas Lottery game, and the winner of the so-far unclaimed Cash 5 ticket from Thursday will get $18,269, according to figures released today by the Texas Lottery Commission. Kristina Tirloni, press spokesperson for the TLC, said the winning ticket was sold at the Kwik Stop at Third and Eddy Streets, while two other tickets that matched Thursday's Cash 5 drawing were sold in Beaumont.


PECOS, Friday, May 31, 2002 — McCain Foods is shutting down production today at its  Anchor Foods onion processing facility in Pecos, and a luncheon is  scheduled for Saturday in honor of all Anchor employees who decided to stay  after McCain announced in November it was closing the plant.

Plant Manager Bruce Salcido said that today is the last day of production for the workers at the plant and over 300 of the remaining employees would be laid off on Monday.

Alzheimer's group to hold first meeting of the year

PECOS, Mon., Jan. 6, 2002 -- The Alzheimer's Association STAR Chapter will be sponsoring the Pecos Support Group first meeting of 2003, scheduled for 4 p.m., Thursday at the Pecos Senior Citizen's Center, 119 S. Cedar St. Topic will be "Combativeness" and everyone is invited to attend.


PECOS, Mon., Jan. 6, 2002 -- High Sunday 74. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy in  the evening then clearing. Lows in the lower 30s. Northeast winds 5 to  10 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Light and  variable winds. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.  Wednesday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs in the upper 60s. Thursday:  Increasing cloudiness. Lows in the lower 30s. Highs in the mid 60s.


Harold Gustafson and J. Trevor McNutt

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