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Archive 2003

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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Dedication held for county's newest dairy

Staff Writer

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 this year.

Norwood said low milk prices currently are slowing things down for dairy farmers, while getting final state approval for Flat Top Farms also took time.

"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

Staff Writer

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 said.

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 70s.


Ynes Dominguez, Linwood Mote and Byron Smith

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