Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, March 6, 2003
Dedication held for county's newest dairy
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Thurs., March 6, 2003 -- Dedication ceremonies were held this morning
for the Flat Top Dairy's go-around milking machine, the focal point
of the county's newest dairy, located 21 miles southeast of Pecos.
Town of Pecos City and Reeves County officials, along with other local
residents, attended the 9 a.m. ceremonies, along with the dairy's owner,
E. Eugene Norwood of Goldwaithe and his wife Jeannie. Norwood built the facility
to handle as many as 6,000 cows at one time and to milk about 3,000 at a
time, though currently the dairy only has a quarter of the maximum number
of cows it's licensed to handle.
"We've got 1,500 cows and we're milking about 460 right now," Norwood
said prior to the dedication ceremonies.
Pecos Economic Development Corp., board chairman Oscar Saenz, who served
as the event's master of ceremonies, said the go-round itself can handle
80 cows at one time and milk as many as 540 cows per hour. Those at the dedication
ceremony were able to tour the facility and see the carousel, as well as
other sections of the main building, which remains under construction.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs had been scheduled to deliver
the keynote address, but was forced to cancel her trip to Pecos, along with
several Town Hall meetings scheduled for today, due to cutbacks in the department's
funding because of the state's budget deficit.
PEDC board member Mike Burkholder read a letter sent by Combs to Saenz
congratulating the corporation and Norwood on the opening of the facility,
and Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo took the agriculture commissioner's
place in delivering the keynote speech.
"Mr. Norwood and I met six years ago, and I discussed the project with
him before they established the Economic Development Corporation," Galindo
said. "Mr. Norwood described his vision to me, and what you see here is the
result of that vision."
Galindo said with the decline of cotton farming in the Trans-Pecos and
the closing of the sulphur mine that once provided several hundred jobs to
Reeves County, the are needs to look at projects like the dairy and related
businesses as ways of adding more jobs.
"For a long time we've known there have been environmental issues in East
Texas with regard to the dairies," he said. "Reeves County is a prime location
for those issues to be resolved."
Flat Top is the county's fifth dairy, and Saenz said there are currently
about 5,000 dairy cattle being milked in Reeves County, though PEDC president
Gari Ward said last year he hoped that number would be as high was 10,000
Norwood said low milk prices currently are slowing things down for dairy
farmers, while getting final state approval for Flat Top Farms also took
"Getting the health department here was the biggest problem, he said.
"Because the state doesn't have the money, I couldn't get an inspector to
come out here.
"They finally came by a couple of days ago, and I had no problems. I've
worked with them before, so I knew what things they wanted," said Norwood,
who also operates a dairy in the Goldwaithe area that handles 2,700 cows.
Along with the milking carousel in the 120-foot by 180-foot barn, the
facility also has two tanks to hold up to 14,000 gallons of milk at one time,
and cooling fans that can circulate 120,000 cubic feet of air per minute.
Ex-Pecos officer pleads guilty to federal charges
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thurs., March 6, 2003 -- A former Pecos Police Department employee
who most recently worked as a security guard in a Midland junior high
school pled guilty to two counts of soliciting child pornography in
federal court in Midland on Wednesday.
John Peter Marquez, 41, pled guilty to the two counts, involving four
pornographic photographs of teenage males performing illicit sex acts on
men. He was caught after e-mailing the images to an undercover postal inspector,
and prosecutors also revealed during an early hearing that Marquez had been
dismissed from the Pecos Police Department 12 years ago after reportedly
molesting two boys.
Marquez was fired from his five-year job with Midland Independent School
District following his Feb. 11 arrest. During most of his tenure with the
school district, Marquez worked as a guard at Goddard Junior High on the
north side of Midland.
He pled guilty to two counts on the eight-count indictment including:
the first count, sexual exploitation of a minor and count two, importation
or transportation of obscene material. Court records show Marquez used the
Internet to transport images of young boys and also used Federal Express
or the U.S. Mail to send out obscene material.
Court documents indicate Marquez also sought to purchase pornographic
videos of junior high aged boys from an undercover agent.
While MISD said there were no complaints against him, Marquez was forced
to resign from a previous 11-year position as a Pecos police officer amid
allegations he had molested the two boys.
At the time of Marquez' Feb. 18 hearing before U.S. Magistrate Stuart
Platt, Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney said that he could not
comment on the allegations of Marquez' dismissal from the local police force.
McKinney was not in office at that time, but both he and former Pecos Police
Chief Troy Moore were subpoenaed by federal prosecutors
MISD officials told the Midland Reporter-Telegram that the school district's
background check failed to reveal allegations of past misconduct because
Marquez was never prosecuted on the Pecos allegations. In-between the time
he left the Pecos PD and took his job with the Midland schools,, Marquez
worked for the Texas Youth Commission.
U.S. Postal Inspector J.K. Terry said during the Feb. 18 hearing that
Marquez admitted to having sexual contact with a 13-year-old male and with
a 16-year-old male when he was in his late 20s," which would coincide with
the time he worked at the Pecos Police Department.
Marquez is expected to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rob Junell
in the next 70 days and meanwhile remains in custody. The Reporter-Telegram
Rotary Club sets March 29 date for shrimp boil
PECOS, Thurs., March 6, 2003 -- The Pecos Rotary Club will be serving
their famous and delicious shrimp boil dinners on Saturday, March 29, at
the Reeves County Civic Center.
Plates will be $12 and will include, 10-12 large shrimp, little red potatoes,
cold slaw, bread and dessert. Children under 12 years eat free.
Eat there or take it home.
Proceeds will go towards local projects.
PECOS, Thurs., March 6, 2003 -- High Wed. 71. Low this morning 43. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. West winds 5 to 15
mph. Fri.: Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s. SW winds 5 to 15 mph.
Fri. night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Sat.: Partly cloudy. Highs
near 80. Sun.: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. Highs in the upper
Ynes Dominguez, Linwood Mote and Byron Smith
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise