Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Homeowner kills burglary suspect
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- Pecos police are investigating the death
of a man who reportedly was shot by a homeowner while trying to break into
a north side house early this morning.
Police officers were dispatched to a 325 N. Pecan St. in reference to
a burglary of a residence at 2:14 a.m. today, and found the body of the
suspect about two blocks away from the home.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that the complainant stated that
he had been awakened by two individuals who had gained entry into his residence.
"The complainant acquired a rifle from his own home and fired several
shots at the intruders," McKinney said.
After talking to the homeowner, Sgt. Armando Garcia and Officer Ricky
Martinez began to search the immediate area in an attempt to locate anyone
who might have possibly been hit by the gunfire, McKinney said.
"The officers located an individual in the alleyway of the 100 block of
North Pecan," McKinney said.
The individual appeared to have an apparent gunshot wound to the upper
back. The officers said the individual was dead at the scene, and a Justice
of the Peace was notified, McKinney said.
He added that an autopsy has also been ordered.
"No names can be released at this time because the next of kin has not
been notified," McKinney said.
The investigation continues today with statements being taken from several
witnesses, McKinney said. No charges have been filed in the case, and the
name of the homeowner has not been released.
He added that at this point they could not determine whether anything
had been stolen from the residence before the owner was awakened by the
Inadvertent inmate release not major concern
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- Three U.S. Marshal's Service inmates who
were "mistakenly" released from the Criminal Justice Center last Friday are
probably back home in Mexico by now, and while federal officials are continuing
their search for the trio, the incident is not considered a major problem.
"We talked to the marshals and they are just considering it as a release
from here and not an escape," said Criminal Justice Center Jail Administrator
Dawdy said that the three inmates had already served their time, but were
supposed to have been released to the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS), rather than just let go from the CJC, which houses U.S. Marshal's
Service inmates under a contract between the federal government and the
Town of Pecos City.
"That day we had people coming in and had a lot of releases at the same
time," said Dawdy.
Dawdy said that the CJC had received a fax from INS advising them to
release several individuals. "These three were supposed to have been released
to the INS and not the street," he said.
The INS is still looking for three inmates, who are considered non-violent.
"They were not in here because of violence, but were pickup up for illegal
entry," Dawdy said. "The three were released at 9:30 a.m., Friday."
The three are Hispanics, had already served their time and are considered
non-violent. "They are probably already home by now," said Dawdy.
He added that the CJC has taken steps to ensure that this scenario isn't
repeated in any future releases.
"We have taken several measures to make sure this never happens again
and have adopted a new system," said Dawdy. "It was just a human mistake
Balmorhea eyes groundbreaking date for gym
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- Balmorhea Bears basketball teams will face
opponents in a new facility during the school year in 2004, following the
completion of a new gym, the second of several major renovations to the
Balmorhea ISD facilities.
"They've already begun breaking ground for our new gym," said Balmorhea
ISD Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz, though the official ground-breaking
event probably won't take place until next week.
Saenz said that plans have already begun for extensive renovations at
the old high school building, including a new technology center. "The extensive
renovations, which will include a new technology center at our old high
school, will be completed by May or June of this year," said Saenz.
Renovations at the high school began last November and the community
is excited about all the new and renovated buildings. A new agriculture
facility, classroom and working area, has been completed, according to Saenz.
"The new gymnasium will be completed in January of 2004," she said.
"We're just very happy that all this is happening," said Saenz. "It's
something everybody has worked very hard for."
The old gym was last renovated in 1985, after a fire destroyed the east
side of both the gym and the Balmorhea ISD building. The old gym will still
be used for physical education once the new facility is completed, but will
also serve as a multi-purpose center for meetings or other gatherings.
"This old gym was not handicap accessible, which is the main reason we
are getting a new one," said Saenz.
She said that she would be speaking to the Balmorhea School Board this
evening about when to have a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility.
"It will be one day next week, we're looking at either Tuesday, March
25, or Wednesday, March 26, in the morning," Saenz said.
She added that the community has responded well to all the new ideas
happening at the high school. "The staff is really excited and we're just
glad that this is finally going to become a reality," she said.
RCH board Precinct 4 race gets first candidate
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- With one day remaining before the filing
deadline, the first candidate in the Precinct 4 race for the Reeves County
Hospital District has filed, Human Resource Director Nadine Smith said this
Pablo T. Carrasco filed to run for the Pct. 4 seat currently held by Hugh
Box. Officials said last month that due to redistricting last year, Box's
home is no long part of Precinct 4, making him ineligible to seek re-election.
The Precinct 4 seat is one of two up for election on May 3. The other
seat is in Precinct 2, where incumbent Linda Gholson is the only person so
far to file for that two-year term.
The deadline to file in the hospital district election, all with all local
city and school elections, is 5 p.m. on Wednesday. As of this morning, the
only contested local race is for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board, where
four candidates will be seeking the two available three-year terms.
Incumbents David Flores and Steve Valenzuela filed for new three-year
terms on the board, and will be challenged by Randy Baeza and Amy Montgomery
Miller. In the other area school election, for the Balmorhea ISD board,
Incumbent Tommy Rey Dominguez has joined challenger Sharon Oates in seeking
the two available seats, which are currently held by Dominguez and Paul
In the area's council elections, Mayor Pro-tem Gerald Tellez And councilman
Frank Sanchez have filed to retain their seats on the Pecos City Council,
while Danny Rodriguez is seeking to return to the council after a one-year
absence. The other council member whose term is up in May is Johnny Terrazas.
In Balmorhea, Ike Ward has filed to retain his seat on the council, one
of three seats up for election this year. Sammy Baeza is currently holds
another seat up for election, and the third seat is vacant.
In Barstow, incumbents Olga Abila, Dora Villanueva and Ted Porras have
filed for new two-year terms on the city council and Angel Abila has filed
for the one-year unexpired term.
Police seeking further arrests in probe of credit card abuse
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- A credit card that was stolen nearly a year
ago is the focus of an investigation that resulted in the arrest of six
local residents last week, and could result in the arrest of at least two
other individuals in the near future.
The six were arrested last Friday by Pecos Police on charges of abuse
of a credit card. Gang Officer/Criminal Investigator Armando Granado, Jr.,
said that the credit card belonged to Rio Pecos Sales - Budweiser, which
was bought out by Standard Sales of Odessa last year.
"The card was stolen back in May of 2002," Granado said.
Granado said that the card was being used at Dessert Distributors where
the suspects would use it for fueling up their vehicles.
"They even had the pin number of the credit card," Granado added.
Granado said that Martha Leonard Rubio, 35, had received the credit card
from a male subject who had originally stolen it.
"Different people then began to use it," Granado said.
The credit card was used on a regular basis and a total of $5,450 in
fuel reportedly was charged on the card, Granado said.
"The card was being used from the time it was stolen till the first week
of March 2003," Granado said. "They would use it two to three times a day."
Currently those arrested have been identified as Rubio, Jack Benjamin
Stickles, 17, Jason Rodriguez, 17, Justin Evans, 19, Jae Ewing, 19 and Jeffery
"We hope to find two other subjects we have warrants on," Granado said.
There are also four juveniles, three male and one female who have charges
pending, Granado said.
During the time the credit card was being used, Granado added that one
of the persons arrested gave police a statement that at times they would
pay to use the credit card.
"It is an ongoing investigation," Granado said. "We believe there to
be more people involved. We are looking at 20 more people."
He added that they hope to get more names and make more arrests as the
Of the six who have been arrested, Stickles and Rodriguez are currently
students at Pecos High School students while Evans, Ewing and Martinez are
recent PHS graduates.
The six individuals have been charged with credit card abuse, which is
considered a state jail felony.
The individual have posted bond and are out of jail.
"Once the case is complete it will go to the District Attorney and then
to the Grand Jury," Granado said.
Radar set up for area's new cloud seeding project
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- There's a new egg-shaped object that's nesting
on a tower at the east end of the Pecos Municipal Airport, which if it works
as planned will hatch a few more thunderstorms for the Trans Pecos area
beginning this year.
A Doppler weather radar tower has been set up at the airport, as part
of the new cloud seeding program that was set up last year for Reeves, Ward,
Culberson and Loving counties. It's a smaller version of the Doppler radar
used by the National Weather Service at the Midland International Airport,
though it's not functional yet.
"It's connected, but it's not calibrated. We haven't turned it on right
now," said Tom Nance of Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 in Barstow,
who has been spearheading the Trans-Pecos Weather Modification Program.
The radar will be tied into a trailer located at the base of its tower,
and behind the hangar where the program's two airplanes are being housed.
"We're still waiting for the phone lines to be put in so we can have
Internet access to the most up-to-the-minute weather forecasts," Nance said.
"The accuracy on this radar because of the curvature of the Earth is
80 miles, but it will reach out over 200 miles," he added.
The radar, along with the two Cessna 340 airplanes, their pilot and a
meteorologist, are all expected to begin working on seeding clouds in the
four-county target area beginning next month. The total cost of the project,
along with the test equipment and spare parts, is $475,000, Nance said.
The funds are coming from Nance's WCID No. 1, as well as the Reeves County
Water Improvement District No. 2.
George Bomar, a meteorologist with of the Texas Department of Licensing
and Regulation, spoke about the costs during a meeting in January of 2002
on the proposed program. Bomar, the longtime supervisor for the State of
Texas' cloud seeding programs, put the cost at between 8 and 9 cents an
acre for the first year, which would put the total cost at between $250,000
and $300,000 per year for the four-county area. Half of that would come
through state funding.
Nance said the cloud seeding program would probably run for about six
months, from April through October.
Family Health Day events at Maxey Park
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- Family Health Fitness Day will begin at
7 a.m. this Saturday at Maxey Park.
Bicycle riding, jogging and other events are planned throughout the day.
Breakfast and lunch will be served and several spots will be designated
as "water stops," for those jogging, walking and biking.
The event is co-sponsored by the Pecos Rotary and Lions Clubs.
PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 -- High Monday 69. Low this morning 47. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of showers. Lows in the mid 40s.
West winds decreasing to 15 to 25 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Windy. Slight chance of showers. Highs in the
lower 70s. West winds 20 to 30 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent. Wednesday
night: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of showers. Lows near 40. The chance
of rain is 20 percent. Thursday: Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. Friday:
Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Highs in the mid 70s.
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