Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Reopening set for Pecos Inn after 15 years
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- A local motel that has been closed since
the late 1980s will re-open its doors beginning tomorrow.
The Pecos Inn, which was last open for regular business in 1987, will
open its doors early Wednesday to accept it's first customers.
"Right now, I just have 15 rooms available," said Richard Hayes, general
supervisor for the motel, located at 2207 W. Third Street.
The motel was first opened over 40 years ago as part of the Ramada Inn
chain of motels on what then was U.S. 80 through Pecos. But following the
completion of Interstate 20 around the south side of town in the mid-1960s,
traffic along the old highway declined, and Ramada sold off the motel in
the late 1970s.
The motel's name was later changed to the Pecos Inn under independent
ownership, before closing. Hayes said it will keep the Pecos Inn name.
The two-story building has a total of 60 rooms, but only 15 will be available
to rent beginning tomorrow, as Hayes continues to work on the remodeling
"I'll open up those for now and continue to work on the many improvements
that need to be made," said Hayes.
"There's still a lot to do, but I want to start generating some income,"
The motel has been completely re-carpeted, new solid oak furniture brought
in, acoustics, textured walls, cable lines plugged into all the rooms, among
numerous other things, according to Hayes.
"We've done a lot to the inside and will now begin on the outside," said
Hayes. "The inside also has other things that will need to be taken care
of," he said.
"It took five months to put all the AC units in and take the other ones
out," said Hayes. "When I came here there were holes in the walls, no carpet
whatsoever and some vandalism," he said.
Hayes said that he now has everything in motion. "I'll continue to operate
it, I'll be running the office, while I finish the remodeling."
The motel was purchased by Jack Patel of Hartford, Calif. Hartford is
located between Fresno and Bakersfield.
When the Patel family came to the United States from India, they had
nothing and slowly Patel began acquiring different businesses and through
dedication and hard work has made them a success. "He and his wife came
to the United States and they had nothing, but they are very hardworking
individuals," said Hayes.
Hayes is a family friend, who helps Patel, not only in his finances and
runs one of his motels in California, but is also a friend to the children.
"I play with them and talk to them about their culture and ours, they teach
me about theirs and I teach them about ours," said Hayes. "In doing all
this, I mentioned to Jack that he needed to buy the children a computer,
so they could learn more and reach out."
Hayes said that he also mentioned that the elder Patel could use a computer.
"You can find anything on the internet and I told him this," said Hayes.
"So he started messing around with it and found a truck he bought."
Hayes said that Patel also found this motel through the internet and decided
he wanted to purchase it. "He came down here, saw it and said he wanted to
buy it," said Hayes.
Patel has four other motels in California, along with franchise stores
with Texaco, Taco Bell, Del Taco, and a convenience store.
Hayes said that while he is in Pecos, Patel is having to do his job. "He
told me, you need to come back I need you here, but then he said he also
needed me to be here in Pecos," said Hayes. "There's a lot to do to get
this motel up and running," said Hayes.
Hayes said that Patel plans to visit Pecos again in the near future. "We're
both very busy at this time, but he does want to come down here," said Hayes.
"While I'm here, he's doing what I used to do up there, I do whatever they
want me to do. I'm just their employee."
Hayes said he doesn't know when he'll be able to hire more employees.
"I'm waiting until the last minute, before hiring more people," he said.
Hayes said that Patel had already spent more than $200,000 in renovations
to the motel.
Patel is married to Hansa and the couple has three children, Oni, 13;
Rena 12 and Jay 10 years old.
"We're very excited and hope to get some business in here soon," said
Families in Texas worry about captured children
MISSION (AP) - The footage from Iraq was grainy from blowing sand, but
in an instant 19-year-old Joel Hernandez recognized his brother driving
the military truck the Mexican television station reported as ambushed.
Within hours Sunday, military and police officers came to the door of
his family's small house to confirm the news. Supply Specialist Edgar Hernandez,
21, who is with the 507th Maintenance Company at Fort Bliss, had been taken
prisoner of war.
"What are the odds? It's crazy," Joel Hernandez said as he sat in the
family living room. "A guy from the (Rio Grande) Valley, has never been
out of Texas, goes to war and gets captured."
No one had slept Sunday, he said. He hadn't been able to focus at his
supermarket job Monday, he said, and his boss let him go home.
The room was full of pictures of his brother - looking proud in his
uniform, posing with his Fort Bliss division, holding his arm around his
Their mother, 53-year-old Maria De La Luz Hernandez, who immigrated
to this Mexican border town from Reynosa, Mexico, held her son's picture
in front of her as she stood out by the road to talk to television reporters.
"It is very hard," she said in Spanish. "He is strong, because he has
a lot of faith."
Hardest was seeing the video released by Iraqi television by the Arab
satellite station Al-Jazeera, in which captors drag a wounded Hernandez
to his feet and order him to say his name and where he is from. "Edgar,"
he answers, and "the United States."
"He was all beat up from his face," Joel Hernandez said. "He was hurt.
I could tell he was really scared."
Hundreds of miles west in El Paso, another Texas family watched, also
with shock and horror.
Relatives of Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson said she was the woman POW shown
on Iraqi television.
Johnson, who is also with the 507th Maintenance Company at Fort Bliss,
is a 30-year-old single mother.
"Shoshana is a strong individual," said her sister, Nikki Johnson, 28,
of Ft. Lee, Va., while sitting in the family's living room in El Paso.
Nikki Johnson told the El Paso Times for Tuesday's editions that she
last spoke to her older sister three weeks ago. "I don't necessarily think
she thought too much was going to happen," said Nikki Johnson, who also
is in the Army, but does not expect to be deployed. "I didn't feel like
we (soldiers) were in real danger."
Shoshana Johnson's father, Claude Johnson, said he learned of his daughter's
capture Sunday morning while watching the Spanish-language network Telemundo.
"I was searching for cartoons to watch with my grandchild (Shoshana's
2-year-old daughter Janelle)," Claude Johnson said.
Officials at Fort Bliss said about 10 members of the post's 507th
Maintenance Company were missing. In the video, some of the captured soldiers
said they were with the 507th. The 507th is a support unit that is not
considered a combat unit, officials said.
U.S. military officials did not immediately release identities of any
of the soldiers whom Iraqi television reported were captured or killed
in an ambush near Nasiriyah, a major crossing point over the Euphrates
northwest of Basra.
U.S. officials have confirmed that at least 10 soldiers were missing
after the ambush.
On Monday there was news that two helicopter pilots from Fort Hood
in Central Texas were captured by Iraqis.
Iraq claimed Monday that an Apache helicopter carrying two soldiers
was shot down and said the soldiers were being held as prisoners. Monday
night, the Pentagon declared the men prisoners of war.
The pilots have been identified as Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D.
Young Jr., 26, from Lithia Springs, Ga., and Chief Warrant Officer David
S. Williams, 30, from Orlando, Fla. Both were assigned to Fort Hood.
Terrazas opts to 'term limit' self off council
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- Keeping a promise to himself, Town of Pecos
City Councilman Johnny Terrazas will not be running for a seat in this years
City Council elections.
"It was a promise I made myself," Terrazas said. "I told myself that I
would serve three terms if I continued to get elected."
Terrazas, whose full-time job is with the U.S. District Clerk's office
in Pecos, was the lone incumbent not to file for re-election before last
Wednesday's deadline for the May 3 City Council elections. Gerald Tellez
and Frank Sanchez will be seeking new two-year terms, while former councilman
Danny Rodriguez and Mark Bragg are the other two contenders for the three
After six years on the council, Terrazas said, "At this point in time
I am a strong believer in new people, ideas and solutions."
He also believes that the past council and the council that is in place
now has turned the direction of the city towards a positive in which things
are being able to get accomplished.
"My first year, we were $600,000 in the red in our city budget," Terrazas
said. "And in the fiscal year of 2002-03 we have approved a balanced budget.
That is the first time in I don't know how long."
However, Terrazas said neither he nor the rest of the council takes the
credit for that, giving most of it to the city's department heads, city manager
and finance director.
"All of them working together to cut back on the spending and making
sacrifices with their budget for equipment made it possible," Terrazas said.
In finding ways to cut back on certain items the city has not had to raise
taxes, Terrazas said.
"Unfortunately, we did have to raise water and sewer rates as a result
of the $8 million loan for the new water field," Terrazas said. "And it
was the Texas Water Development Board who said that we needed to raise the
During his tenure on the council, Terrazas said that it has given him
an incite on how city government works.
"This was the first elected office I ever held," Terrazas said. "I learned
to work with people and take the business approach on the issues but yet
trying to stay way from the political approach."
He added that most people do not understand the work behind city government
and that he has appreciated working with the city employees.
"An average citizen sees how he is effected," Terrazas said. "Serving
on the council I am able to see the reasoning of why the certain things
don't get done right away. And it is not because the city employees don't
want to do it but because guidelines must be followed. Because employees
at the city do a good job."
"I would like to thank everyone for their support, opinions and friendships,"
With April 24, being his last regularly scheduled council meeting, Terrazas
hopes to be able to sleep in later, play golf and coach Little League.
During his tenure he has served with current Mayor Dot Stafford for two
years and one year with ex-Mayor Ray Ortega.
RCDC employees holding benefit luncheon
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- The Reeves County Detention Center Employees
Club will be having a hamburger sale from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday
in front of the RCDC administration building.
Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the scholarship fund, which offers
a scholarship each year to a deserving graduate of Pecos High School.
If the weather is too windy, the luncheon will be canceled.
Lunch will be $3.50 and include hamburger, chips and a drink.
Ortega enjoys longtime spot on Pecos police force
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- A member of the Pecos Police Department for
16 years now, and a long time resident of Pecos Sgt. Cosme Ortega has seen
a lot of people come and go and has worked under three chiefs while working
for the police department.
"I have seen a lot of officers come and go," Ortega said. "We have even
trained some of them here."
Ortega currently works with Ramon Ornelas and Investigator Olga Lopez,
who have also been at the police department since he began.
Ortega began working as a dispatcher for Chief of Police Ed Krevit.
When Krevit left for Midland, Troy Moore was named police chief and
he commissioned Ortega as an officer in December of 1987.
Ortega is currently working under Chief of Police Clay McKinney.
As the supervisor for his shift, Ortega assists the Chief or Lt. Juan
Vasquez and makes sure that all paper work is turned in from his patrol
Officers working under Ortega are Oscar Machuca and Helen Vernon.
The youngest of three children and the only Police Officer in his family,
Ortega said that he remembers enjoying the idea of being a police officer.
"Since I was a little boy I have always enjoyed it," Ortega said, and
recalled the day their home was broken into and the officer who took the
"The officer was Robert Diaz," Ortega said. "I was influenced by the
him as he took the report of the burglary."
Diaz is currently working for the Ector County Sheriff's Department,
and was shot and wounded in the line of duty in Odessa last April.
Along with working for the Police Department, Ortega has been a member
of the Pecos Police Department/Reeves County Sheriff Department's SWAT Team
for the past 10 years.
After working for the Police Department for 16 years, Ortega said that
the best part of his job is knowing that he is helping others and making
a difference in his community.
"It makes me feel good helping his friends and his hometown people when
they are in serious need of help," Ortega said. "It feels good when they
tell you 'thank you,' and when they see you at Wal-Mart or any other store
in town and they come up to shake your hand. It makes you feel very appreciated."
"I like my job," Ortega said. "It is one of the few jobs I have had that
I enjoy coming to."
With the good comes the bad and Ortega said that for him the worst part
of his job was seeing a fellow officer die in the line of duty last May,
when drug task officer Jaime Rodriguez was shot and killed during a drug
interdiction on a Greyhound bus stopped in Pecos.
"The worst part was the Jaime incident," Ortega said. "You think that
something like that could never happen here till it does."
The other thing that Ortega claims to be the worst part of his job is
seeing little children suffer.
"I also do not like to see little kids suffering because of parents lack
of supervision or drug addiction," Ortega said.
Like any police officer Ortega would like to let local residents know
that he along with his co-workers are here to help them.
"I want everyone to know that we are here to help them," Ortega said.
"Everyone at the Police Department is willing to go beyond their call of
duty to do what ever they can."
Working as a Police Officer, Ortega said that he has learned to be honest
with himself and others.
"I believe it is important to respect others," Ortega said. "It helps
me get along with everyone."
With that said Ortega added that he would like to tell the young people
of Pecos to respect their parents and always look ahead and go for the best.
"The most important thing that I have learned as a police officer is that
you must learn how to know and understand yourself before you can learn
and understand others" Ortega said.
Ortega is certified as an Intoxilyzer operator, who can administer Breathalyzer
tests and holds the Advanced Peace Officer Certificate.
He was also named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2001 by
the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.
Ortega appeared on KIUN Radio's Pecos Talking this morning so that the
citizens of Pecos could become familiar with him.
The program 'Behind the Badge,' will feature a Pecos Police Officer the
last Tuesday of every month, which will then be followed by an article on
the officer in the Pecos Enterprise that same day.
List of captured U.S. soldiers
By The Associated Press
According to family members, here's a list of members of the 507th Maintenance
Company stationed at Fort Bliss who are missing or captured after Iraqi
forces ambushed an Army supply convoy around An Nasiriyah.
-Supply Specialist Edgar Hernandez, 21, of Mission, Texas - His mother,
53-year-old Maria De La Luz Hernandez, held her son's picture in front of
her as she talked to television reporters in Mission. "It is very hard,"
she said in Spanish. "He is strong, because he has a lot of faith."
-Spc. Joseph Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M. - Hudson's mother said
she prays that fellow soldiers "will get him out of there." Anecita Hudson
saw her son interviewed on Iraqi television in a broadcast carried on a
Filipino TV station she subscribes to.
-Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, of Park City, Kan. - Miller graduated from
high school in 1998 in Valley Center, Kan., a small town outside Wichita.
The father of two children was a welder before joining the military last
summer to help pay student loans, said his half brother, Thomas Hershberger.
Video footage on Iraqi TV showed Miller answering questions in a shaky voice,
his eyes darting between an interviewer and another person who couldn't
be seen on camera.
-Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, of Fort Bliss - Her father, Claude Johnson,
said he learned of his daughter's capture Sunday morning while watching
the Spanish-language network Telemundo. "I was searching for cartoons to
watch with my grandchild (Shoshana's 2-year-old daughter Janelle)," Claude
Johnson, of El Paso, said.
-Sgt. James Riley, 31, from Pennsauken, N.J. - His parents and sister
said he is a military lifer who wanted to serve even when he was a young
boy growing up in New Zealand. He lived there until the family moved to
Pennsauken when he was 10. He retains dual citizenship.
-Pvt. Brandon Sloan, 19, of Bedford Heights, Ohio - He left high school
last fall to get computer training in the Army, his father said. The Rev.
Tandy Sloan described his son as God-fearing and easygoing. "He smiles easily.
He's got a pleasant demeanor, and he is very loyal to his friends."
-Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.Va. - Lynch dreamed of being
an elementary teacher someday and saw the military as her way to get an
education. "That smile is all you ever see," said Glenda Nelson, a close
family friend from Marmet, W. Va. "No matter what, she always had a smile
on her face and loved kids to death."
-Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 22, of Tuba City, Ariz - Her older brother, Wayland
Piestewa of Tuba City, said his sister, a graduate of Tuba City High School,
joined the military about two years ago and was deployed about four weeks
ago. She's married and has a 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, he
-Spc. James Kiehl, 22, of Comfort, Texas - Kiehl is a computer repair
technician with the Army's 507th Maintenance Company. He is married and
his wife, Jill, is expecting to give birth to their first baby, Nathaniel
Ethan, the last week of April.
Pecos-area military personnel
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- Listed below are the names of service
men and women from our community who are serving in our nation's Armed Forces.
We ask that you keep our brave military personnel in your thoughts and prayers.
Everyone is asked to wear yellow ribbons and fly their American flags
to show their support for our troops. Pray for their speedy and safe return
Individuals from Pecos and neighboring communities include:
Air Force Staff Sergeant Robert Chabarria, Jr., stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Sgt. Edward Lujan, serving in Kuwait.
Sgt. Matthew Gonzales, serving in Kuwait.
Martin Guzman, stationed in Fort Hood, on "standby."
Samuel M. Rodriguez, U.S. Army in Germany, on "standby."
Spec. Adrian Herrera, U.S. Army, stationed in Fort Hood, on "standby."
Spec. Filimon Herrera, U.S. Army, stationed in El Paso, Fort Bliss.
Sgt. Ruben Contreras, Jr., U.S. Army, serving in Kuwait.
Ricardo Garcia, U.S. Marines, serving in Kuwait.
Sgt. Wade Dodson, 82nd Airborn of Toyah, (Pecos graduate), serving in
Justin Ornelas, U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego, Calif.
Benjamin Maldonado, Jr., U.S. Army, stationed in Georgia, on "standby."
LCPL Steven Marruffo, serving in Kuwait.
SPC Jesus "Chuy" Marruffo, stationed in Fort Hood, on "standby."
First Lieutenant Ismael Natividad, stationed in Fort Hood, on "standby."
PFC Jaime Natividad, stationed in Fort Hood, on "standby."
Roger Salinas, U.S. Airforce, serving in Kuwait.
Rene Salinas, U.S. Army, deployed to the Middle East.
Alexa Arredondo, Air Force, stationed in Albuquerque, N.M.
Lee D. Lyles, Senior Airman, Air Force, stationed in San Antonio, on "standby."
Joseph Torres, stationed in Fort Hood, Army, to be deployed to Turkey
Patsy Abila Salinas, U.S. Army, stationed in Fort Bliss.
Benito Juarez, Marines, came from training is in Pecos, will be stationed
in San Diego.
Hector Prieto Rubio, U.S. Army.
Mark Prieto Corrales, U.S. Army.
Robert Prieto Natividad, U.S. Army, stationed in the Persian Gulf.
Melchor Avalos, Marines, serving in Iraq.
Arturo Miranda, Marines, serving on the front line.
Chris Natividad, Marines, serving on the front line.
Logan Humphries, Air Force, deployed to the Middle East.
Amparo Balderas, U.S. Navy, stationed in Japan.
Maria Balderas, U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego, Calif.
Efren Rodriguez, U.S. Army.
Josh Pogue, U.S. Army.
Airman Rebecca Natividad with the U.S. Air Force, serving in Saudi Arabia.
Erlinda Salgado-Ramirez serving with the U.S. Army in South Korea.
First Lt. David V. Carrasco serving with the U.S. Army in Kuwait.
Stephanie and Robert Babcock who are with the 74th Engineering Company
at Fort Hood, to be deployed to the Persian Gulf this week.
Rojelio Marta with the U.S. Army serving in the Persian Gulf.
Fernando Marta with the U.S. Army serving in the Persian Gulf.
Martin Arreguy (former resident and Pecos High School graduate) now serving
with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf.
Mark Abila with the U.S. Marine Corps. serving in Iraq.
Ernest Matta Jr. serving with the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf.
Johnny Villareal Matta serving with the U.S. Army, 32nd Division, in the
Bobby Mitchell Johnson, with the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
Sgt. Robert Overcash, the U.S. Marine Corps.
Roger Cortez, U.S. Army.
Nathan Lujan, U.S. Air Force.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Corrales with the U.S. Air Force, serving in Saudi
Crystal Gayle Garcia, with the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Clovis, N.M.
Michael J. Carrasco, with the U.S. Army, stationed in South Korea.
T.J. Huffman, with the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Iraq.
Jeremy "Jerry" Lara with the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed in San Antonio,
David Carrasco, with the U.S. Army, stationed in Virginia.
Sr. Airman Clint Hounshel with the U.S. Air Force stationed in San Antonio.
Lance Corporal Eric Aguilar serving with the U.S. Marine Corps.
If you would like to add a name to our list, call 445-5475 or come by
the office located at 324 S. Cedar.
PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 -- High Monday 85. Low this morning 52. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Northeast winds 5 to 15 mph.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s. Southeast winds 5 to 15
mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. Thursday: Windy.
Partly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Highs in the upper 80s. Friday:
Partly cloudy. Slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 40s. Highs
in the lower 60s.
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
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise