Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map
Pecos Gab

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Archive 2001
Archive 2002
Photos 2000
Photos 2001
Photos 2002

Archive 2003

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Army confirms Pecos grad among soldiers MIA

From Staff and Wire Reports
A Pecos High School graduate has formally been added to the names of those missing in the war in Iraq.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, who is assigned to the 507th Maintenance Company out of Fort Bliss in El Paso, was officially added to the list of those missing by the U.S. Department of Defense in its latest report, which was released early this afternoon. It was one of five new names added to the list of those missing as part of a group of soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company who were involved in a fight with Iraqi troops last Sunday.

A spokesman at Fort Bliss said late Wednesday morning that the post wasn't planning on providing any additional information.

The soldiers were ambushed near An Nasiriyah in central Iraq. The post had confirmed only that about 10 members of the company were missing. Some prisoners of war shown in an Iraqi television video identified themselves as being from the 507th.

Iraqi television has shown four bodies it said were Americans from the attack.

Mata was not among those shown in the video, but reports of his disappearance were first given to family members on Monday.

The other four names newly added to the list were Army Sgt. Donald Walters, 33, of Salem, Ore.; Army Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, Cleveland; Army Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, El Paso, and Army Spc. James M. Kiehl, 22, Des Moines, Iowa

Mata was a 1986 graduate of Pecos High School. His family was contacted this afternoon by the Enterprise and did not want to make a formal statement.

However, they did say they have been contacted the government and all they know at this time is that he is missing in action. They are concerned and praying for all the troops out there and the families of those who have someone serving, according to Javier Contreras, a family spokesman.

The list of names of personnel missing in action is being updated twice a day by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Enterprise received the updated version at 12:33 this afternoon by the Associated Press and the names included the name of the Pecos native. Our sympathy goes out to the Mata family and our prayers are with them at this time.

KWES Channel 9 was in town today, requesting an interview with the family that was also denied.

Across the United States, families of other missing or captured soldiers from Fort Bliss' 507th Maintenance Company awaited word on their loved ones.

The family of prisoner of war Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, tried to spend a quiet day in their north El Paso home on Tuesday, waiting for information from the International Red Cross on her condition.

"She has a lot of friends and of course they've been calling," said Erika Johnson, the soldier's 26-year-old sister. She said Fort Bliss officials had not spoken with the family since Sunday when they said her sister was a prisoner of war.

"Nobody really expects this kind of news and especially because my dad heard it on Telemundo (television)," Erika Johnson said from the family's modest red-brick home on the farthest north edge of El Paso.

The soldiers besides Johnson shown on the video aired Sunday who are in Iraqi custody are Spc. Edgar Hernandez, 21, of Mission, Texas; Spc. Joseph Hudson, 23, of Alamogordo, N.M.; Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, of Park City, Kan.; and Sgt. James Riley, 31, of Pennsauken, N.J.

In Comfort, about 45 miles northwest of San Antonio, Randy and Janie Kiehl have been huddled around the makeshift command center in their living room since Sunday. Using two satellite televisions, telephones and the Internet, the couple scour all sources for information about the fate of their only child, Spc. James Kiehl, who's been listed as missing in action in Iraq.

James Kiehl, a 22-year-old computer repair technician with the 507th Maintenance Company, is believed to have been with members of the company when it was ambushed near An Nasiriyah.

Kiehl said he talks to his daughter-in-law Jill every two or three hours during the day. Jill Kiehl is staying with her parents in Des Moines, Iowa, as she expects her first child.

The boy is due the last week of April, and the family's already chosen a name - Nathaniel Ethan.

"Right now, in my mind, he's just missing," Jill Kiehl said from her parents' home on the south side of Des Moines. "That's what I've got to keep remembering, that he's alive, and they're going to find him, and he's going to come back home."

More than 300 friends, family members and residents of the rural West Virginia town of Elizabeth began gathering 45 minutes early on Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil for Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk with the 507th who is also missing in action. Residents lit candles, sang songs and prayed for Lynch and other troops.

"There is just something about a woman in this situation," said Adriene Hopkins of Elizabeth. "She's got to be looked up to. This woman was there to do it."

Besides Kiehl and Lynch, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 22, of Tuba City, Ariz. and Pvt. Brandon Sloan, 19, of Bedford Heights, Ohio, are also missing members of the 507th, family members said. The names of other soldiers missing around An Nasiriyah were not available.

Official list of U.S. soldiers in Iraq 

reported missing, captured, killed

By The Associated Press
U.S. troops who have died, been held captive or reported missing, according to the U.S. military or relatives. Not all names are available.

March 25:

Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone, 40, Boise, Idaho, grenade attack

March 24:
Marine Cpl. Evan James, 20, La Harpe, Ill., drowned in canal

Army Spc. Gregory P. Sanders, 19, Hobart, Ind., combat

March 23:
Marine Sgt. Michael E. Bitz, 31, Ventura, Calif., combat

Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, 20, Cedar Key, Fla., combat

Marine Lance Cpl. David K. Fribley, 26, Fort Myers, Fla., combat

Marine Cpl. Jose A. Garibay, 21, Costa Mesa, Calif., combat

Marine Cpl. Jorge A. Gonzalez, 20, Los Angeles, combat

Marine Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan, 42, Enfield, Conn., combat

Marine 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., 31, Tonopah, Nev., combat

Marine Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker, 21, San Diego, combat

Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum, 22, Thornton, Colo., combat

Army Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, 27, Easton, Pa., grenade attack

507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas:

Army Spc. Jamaal R. Addison, 22, Roswell, Ga.

Army Pfc. Howard Johnson II, 21, Mobile, Ala.

March 22
Army Reserve Spc. Brandon S. Tobler, 19, Portland, Ore., vehicle accident

Navy Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, 27, La Mesa, Calif., helicopter collision

Marine Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski, 26, Buffalo, N.Y., machine gun accident

March 21
Marine Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin, 36, Waterville, Maine, helicopter crash.

Marine Capt. Ryan Anthony Beaupre, 30, Bloomington, Ill., helicopter crash

Marine 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers, 30, Harrison County, Miss., combat

Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, 22, Los Angeles, combat

Marine Cpl. Brian Matthew Kennedy, 25, Houston, helicopter crash

Marine Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, 29, Baltimore, helicopter crash

Date not given:

Marine Sgt. Nicolas M. Hodson, 22, Smithville, Mo., vehicle accident

March 24

Crew of Army Apache attack helicopter:

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ronald D. Young Jr., 26, Lithia Springs, Ga.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 David S. Williams, 30, Orlando, Fla.

March 23
507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas:

Army Spc. Edgar Hernandez, 21, Mission, Texas

Army Spc. Joseph Hudson, 23, Alamogordo, N.M.

Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson, 30, Fort Bliss, Texas

Army Pfc. Patrick Miller, 23, Park City, Kan.

Army Sgt. James Riley, 31, Pennsauken; N.J.

March 24:

Marine Sgt. Brad Korthaus, 29, Davenport, Iowa, disappeared near canal

March 23
507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas:

Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, Palestine, W.Va.

Army Spc. James Kiehl, 22, Comfort, Texas

Army Pvt. Brandon Sloan, 19, Bedford Heights, Ohio

Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, 22, Tuba City, Ariz.

Army Sgt. Donald Walters, 33, Salem, Ore.

Army Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, Cleveland

Army Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, El Paso, Texas

Army Spc. James M. Kiehl, 22, Des Moines, Iowa

Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, El Paso, Texas

Election cancellations likely in several races

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., March 26, 2003 -- Elections in Barstow, Toyah and the Reeves County Hospital District, which are scheduled for May 3, may be cancelled since there are no contested races in those election races.

In Toyah, there are three, two-year seats open and one unexpired term. Incumbents Diana Tollett and Bart F. Sanchez, have opted to retain their seats on the council, with Larry Claverie, joining them in his quest for the third seat on the council.

Dolores B. Machuca signed up for the unexpired one-year term. Since all are unopposed the city does not have to hold an election and this will save money.

In Barstow, there are four candidates for four available seats. 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.

In the hospital district race, both the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 seats are uncontested. Pablo T. Carrasco filed to run for the Precinct 4 seat and will replace Hugh Box, whose home in no longer within the Precinct 4 boundaries. In Precinct 2, incumbent Linda Gholson is unopposed for that seat.

City officials in Balmorhea only reported one candidate filing for the three available seats in the May 3 election. Ike Ward filed to retain his seat on the Balmorhea City Council. Sammy Baeza currently holds the other seat and there is one other seat vacant.

Under state law, elections that are uncontested can be canceled by the elected officials in order to save money.

Three elections in the are will be contested on May 3, for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea school boards, and for the Town of Pecos City Council.

In the city elections, challengers Mark Bragg and Danny Rodriguez and incumbents Gerald Tellez and Frank Sanchez are seeking the three two-year terms up for election.

Town of Pecos City officials had a fourth candidate file at the last minute to run in the May 3 Town of Pecos City elections, after determining he is eligible to run for office. The other council member whose term is up in May is Johnny Terrazas, who did not file for a new two-year term.

In the P-B-T ISD race, four candidates will be seeking the two three-year terms up for election. Incumbents David Flores and Steve Valenzuela are challenged by Randy Baeza and Amy Montgomery Miller.

In the Balmorhea ISD race, incumbents Tommy Rey Dominguez and Paul Matta have three challengers in their bids for re-election, in Sharon Oates, Abel Baeza and Courtney Ballard.

Applications to vote by mail are currently being accepted in the area's contested races. Early voting by personal appearance for Pecos voters will be held at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St., from April 16-29, while Balmorhea ISD voters can cast ballots early at the Balmorhea ISD officer during that same period.

The last day a person may register to vote in the elections is next Friday, April 3, and the last day to receive applications for early voting ballots to be voted by mail is April 25.

Bessie Haynes science students claim fair prizes

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., March 26, 2003 -- Young, future scientists converged in Odessa last weekend for the annual Permian Basin Science Fair and several Pecos students had the opportunity to participate in the event.

Four Bessie Haynes Elementary School students fared well at the annual event and brought home ribbons and a trophy.

This was the first time for all the Pecos students to attend the area science fair. The students placed in the Bessie Haynes Science Fair, before going on to compete in the area event.

Pedro Reyes, a fifth grade student at Bessie Haynes, brought home a trophy, the NACE Top Project Trophy. His project was in the corrosion category and was titled, "Rust Busters."

"I really enjoyed it and plan to work on another project next year," said Reyes, the son of Freddy and Manuela Reyes.

"My advice to other students wanting to do a project, is to do plenty of research first before they do the project," said Reyes. "My project was a fun project and another student could probably do it."

Reyes said he recommended that students find a project that is right for them before beginning anything.

Augustine Mendoza, "Gus," as his friends know him, brought home a second place medal, for his project titled, "Bacteria," in the chemistry category. He is the son of Albert and Annette Mendoza.

Michael Blanchard also brought home a second place medal for his project, "Brain Food," in the Behavioral Category. Michael is the son of Isabel and Dennis Blanchard.

Both students said that this was their first time to attend the area science fair.

"I had a lot of fun," said Blanchard. "When we had the science fair here at the school I was really nervous, but in Odessa I wasn't nervous, because I had already done it before and knew what it was like."

Blanchard's advice to younger students, "Don't do a show and tell project. We saw those and they didn't work."

Mendoza said that students should do a lot of research on their project. "I really enjoyed myself and I learned a lot," he said.

Jeremy Guerra, a fifth grade student and the son of Cynthia and Roy Guerra placed third in the area science fair. "If they're going to do my project, it's really complicated, it took me two weeks to do it," said Guerra.

Guerra said he had a slight problem with his project at the beginning, which took him a week to figure out. "It was the type of rope I was using," said Guerra.

The students all agreed that it was worth the hard work and something they would recommend that younger students participate in.

District Clerks to hold meeting in Pecos Friday

PECOS, Wed., March 26, 2003 -- Reeves County District Clerk and the Reeves County Clerk's offices will be hosting the Area 3 County and District Clerks Association spring meeting this Friday.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Both the district clerk and the county clerk's offices will be closed on Friday, due to the area meeting.

Both offices will re-open at their regular times on Monday.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Esequiel Olgin Ornelas, 46, and Manuel Rivera, 51, were arrested at 4:01 p.m., on March 25, at the 1600 block of S. Eddy St. Ornelas was arrested for controlled substance - heroin - 3rd degree felony. Rivera was arrested on an Ector County warrant for theft by check.


Jesus Rodriguez was arrested at 10:45 p.m., on March 24, in the 1200 block of E. Fourth Street for public intoxication.


Francisco Coria, 21, was arrested at 8:34 a.m., on March 23, at the Criminal Justice Center on a warrant for tampering with physical evidence.


Daniel Sotelo, 28, was arrested at 9:30 p.m., on March 22, in the 2100 block of Hackberry Street for assault - family violence act.


Rosa Miranda, 41, was arrested at 1:45 a.m., on March 23, in the 2900 block of Toliver Street on warrant - Capias Public Intoxication.


Albert Contreras Jr., 20, Alex Plasencia, 19, Jose Sauceda, 19 and Lee Varela, 19 were arrested at 7:19 p.m., on March 22, at the corner of Yucca and Eddy streets. Contreras, Sauceda and Varela were arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon - class A. Plasencia was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon - class A and on a Reeves County Sheriff's Office warrant for open container violation.


Yvette Williams, 27, was arrested at 2:35 a.m., on March 22, at the Criminal Justice Center on an Eastland County warrant for bail - secured bond.


Elojio Rubio, 43, was arrested at 10:24 a.m., on March 20, in the 400 block of North Cypress Street for criminal trespassing - class A.


Rojelio Pando, 31, was arrested at 1:12 p.m., on March 20, at the 100 block of North Alamo Street for assault - family violence act - class A.


Fred Lara, 46, was arrested at 3:12 p.m., on March 20, at the Allsup's, 708 S. Cedar St., for criminal trespassing.


Simon Jaquez, 36, was arrested at 4:57 p.m., on March 19, at the Criminal Justice Center on a warrant - theft - class B.


Jose Luis Falcon, 22, was arrested at 4:19 p.m., on March 19, at Allsup's, 2232 S. Eddy St., on Capias Pro - Fine warrant for minor in possession.


Jeronimo Hinojos was arrested at 8:30 p.m., on March 18, at the Criminal Justice Center on a warrant for no liability insurance.


Sam Edge, Jr., 34, was arrested at 9:55 p.m., on March 17, at the Flying J Truck Stop, 100 E. Raul Florez Blvd., for public intoxication.


PECOS, Wed., March 26, 2003 -- High Tuesday 78. Low this morning 45. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 40s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday: Windy. Partly cloudy. Highs in theupper 80s. Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph. Thursday night: Windy. Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Friday: Partly cloudy and cooler. Highs near 60. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Highs in the mid 60s.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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