Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, March 28, 2003
City seeking grant to fund house loans
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., March 28, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council agreed to summit
an application to the State of Texas Home Investment Partnership Program
Grant during its regular council meeting held Thursday evening, in the Council
City Manager Carlos Yerena asked the council to submit an application
for a grant of $275,600 that would be used as loans for city's housing project
in the Airlawn Addition. He also told the council that they had applied
for that same grant in 2001 but were denied.
Yerena said that the grant would provide 25 families with loans to help
them purchase a home. However, he added that the family would have to live
in the home for a certain amount of time before they would be able to acquire
title to it.
Feeling that they had nothing to lose with submitting the application,
Councilman Frank Sanchez made the motion to submit the application with
Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela seconding it.
Council members also approved the policy for continuing education during
Thursday's meeting, after studying the issue for over a month.
City Attorney, Scott Johnson told the council it was a department-wide
suggested policy for city employees, with some additions since the original
discussion of the plan in February.
The policy reads that regular, full-time city employees must first complete
two years of city service, previously having completed at least 30 basic
credit hours behind them. Then, if approved by the supervisor of that department
and the City Manager and upon passing the course with a grade of a 'B' or
better, the employee will be eligible for 80 percent of a reimbursement
for the expenses of their tuition and books.
The policy continues to say that no more then six courses per year will
be eligible for reimbursement and that if the training or education is required
for the job, the employee will be eligible for travel, hotel and meal expenses.
The training or education must also not interfere with the employee's
duties with the City, and that any sums paid to the employee would be taxable
as income. If the employee did not remain in the City's employment for at
least one year after receiving reimbursement, all sums must be repaid to
the City within 60 days after leaving employment.
The policy also reads that because of budgetary limitations, expenditures
for non-mandatory training shall be limited to the amount of funds budgeted.
Priority will also be given to employees who must receive training or education
to fulfill government requirements.
The policy concludes that any employee who is denied education or training
under this policy may appeal the decision to the City Council in writing
within ten days after the date of denial and that the City Council will
promptly act upon the appeal.
The policy was approved with Sanchez making the motion and Councilman
Johnny Terrazas seconding it.
During the public comments portion Becky Millan, a parent of a skateboarder,
asked if she could receive an update on the skateboard park and whether
it would be finished by this summer.
According to Yerena, Edgardo Madrid, an employee of Frank X. Spencer
and Associates, is researching the two possible locations along with the
pros and cons of the material that will be used for the park.
Yerena told Millan that he would meet with her and Pecos Police Department's
Community Officer Mike Balog next week.
Council members all agreed that with all of those people who are donating
their time and material is a big step in seeing the skateboarding park coming
"It is one less thing we have to over come," they said.
Police Chief Clay McKinney said the police department is committed
to the project as well.
However, because the skateboards have to wait for their park, they asked
where they could skate while the waited.
"Most of this is private property," Mayor Dot Stafford said. "You would
have to get permission from the owners."
Madrid also asked the council about installing regular soccer goals at
the field at Maxey Park.
With pee-wee soccer league around the corner, Madrid told the council
that coaches would bring in teams from Odessa to play soccer out at the
football field located on the south side of Maxey Park.
He also told the council that the goals could be removed when necessary
but only with a backhoe.
"The hooks for the net are closed hooks so that no one will get hurt,"
He added that the goals could be used during both children's and adult's
game soccer games.
The request was approved, with Councilman Michael Benavides making the
motion and Sanchez seconding it.
The council also approved the offer of $500 by Maria M. Martinez of the
purchase of property located at 611 S. Elm. Benavides made the motion and
Terrazas seconded it.
The accounts payable report of $780,974.79 was approved with Terrazas
making the motion and Benavides seconding it. Council members also approved
the municipal court report and the monthly tax collection report for the
month of February 2003.
Before adjourning for the afternoon council members, City Secretary Connie
Levario, Yerena, Johnson, Finance Director Sam Contreras, Chief EMT John
Cravey, Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire and Judge Amonario Ramon sang Happy
Birthday to McKinney.
Task Force jails El Paso man in 50 pound cocaine seizure
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., March 28, 2003 -- An El Paso man traveling through Reeves County
with a hefty amount of cocaine ended up in Reeves County jail following
a traffic stop by a Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officer six miles west of
The incident happened Wednesday, at 10:43 a.m., when Task Force Officer
Kevin Roberts stopped the 1994 truck, at mile marker 34, about six miles
west of Pecos on I-20, on a traffic offense.
"After I stopped the vehicle I obtained verbal consent from the driver
to do a search," said Roberts. "We found that he had outstanding warrants
out of Missouri."
During the search and after Roberts called for backup, both he and Reeves
County Sheriff's Deputy Fernando Valenzuela uncovered a large amount of
cocaine in the vehicle.
"We found about 50 pounds of cocaine in the truck," said Roberts.
Roberts said the officers had found 19 bricks of cocaine inside the vehicle,
which amounted to 19 kilos or 50 pounds.
"Street value of the cocaine is $2 million," said Roberts. "That's a
really large amount for someone to be transporting," he said.
The driver of the vehicle Ruben Gregorio Martinez, 50, of El Paso was
the only occupant of the pick-up. He was arrested for the outstanding warrants
and also charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with
intent to distribute over 400 grams.
"This is a first degree felony," said Roberts.
Martinez is currently in the Reeves County Jail awaiting arraignment.
"Our officers are doing an outstanding job of stamping out drugs in our
county," said Task Force Commander Gary Richards. "This was a big load that
was taken off the streets, we're very proud of the work they do."
Wednesday's cocaine seizure remains well below the largest single cocaine
seizure in Reeves County, when a truck-tractor carrying 7,000 pounds of
cocaine from El Paso to Chicago. The cocaine was seized by Pecos Police
during an interdiction on Interstate 20 that was part of a federal drug
investigation 10 years ago.
Gulf soldier sends letter on feelings about protests
PECOS, Fri., March 28, 2003 -- Soldiers serving our country in the Persian
Gulf during the current war with Iraq welcome letters and support from those
here in the United States.
The Pecos Enterprise received an e-mail from a Pecos native serving his
country in Kuwait.
"The below letter was passed around today in formation here in Kuwait,"
said CWO3 Mario G. Villescas. "I think it's worth passing and if you could
print it in the newspaper, that would be great."
"The majority of us here couldn't have said it any better. The support
that we get from back home means a great deal to us out here," said Villescas.
Villescas is a Pecos resident and the son of Tilo and Julia Villescas.
He is married to Cynthia Florez Villescas and is currently serving in the
U.S. Marine Corps with the 1st Marine Division in Camp Commando, Kuwait.
The letter he said was actually a letter of a letter to another serviceman
stationed in the Persian Gulf. It read:
A California mother whose son is right now in Kuwait poised to knock
Saddam's block off, wrote her son asking how he would feel if she joined
other relatives of service members in an anti-war demonstration in Hollywood
After reading her son's response, she elected not to participate.
It's really your decision to march if you want to or not.
You are the one who has to decide if what we are doing out here is right
or not. My opinion is not yours. I do, however, have things I would like
for you and Grandma and everyone else at home to know.
I am a United States soldier. I was sworn to defend my country against
all enemies, foreign and domestic. People may not agree with the things
we are ordered to do. I would like to address those people by telling them
that terrorism is not only a threat to us as Americans, but to many other
innocent people in the world.
What type of country would we be if we didn't defend the rights and freedoms
of others, not because they're Americans, but how about just because they're
We live in a country where people feel secure with their daily lives.
They do business like usual and don't worry about the thought of terrorism
actually happening to them. The people of 9-11 thought the same thing. We
now know that it can happen to anyone at any time.
Yet as Americans we're afraid of losing our soldiers to defend our security.
I can only speak for myself when I say that my life is an easy expense to
ensure that my family and friends can live in peace.
I strongly believe in what we are doing and wish you were here to see
for yourselves the honor and privilege that American soldiers aboard this
ship are feeling, knowing that we are going to be a part of something so
strong and so meaningful to the safety of our loved ones.
Then you would know what this potential war is about. We will stand tall
in front of terrorism and defeat it. We as soldiers are not afraid of what
may happen. We are only afraid of Americans not being able to
understand why we are here. I ask for your courage as Americans to be
strong for us.
I ask for your understanding in what we believe is right. I ask for your
support in what we are sworn to do: defend our country and the life of all.
We will succeed in our task and will end the threat of terrorism in our
We will also end the threat of terrorism in our neighbors'. We have to
remind ourselves of what this country stands for: life, liberty and justice
for all. In order to maintain those rights we have to stop the threat of
I am proud to be here. I will be coming home, but not until I know that
it's going to be safe for all Americans and for everyone I love. My family
is first. My country is where they live. I will defend it.
Lonnie J. Lewis
C Co. 1/4 WPN PLT
FPO AP 96613-9726
P.S. Mom, please send this to everyone who has a hard time understanding
why we are here. Ask the paper to put what I've said in a column so that
others will know why we are here and what we are here for.
I love you all and will be home soon. I left my address so that if anyone
feels like writing to let me know how they feel, they can.
Band Boosters hold 24th annual auction on Saturday
PECOS, Fri., March 28, 2003 -- The Pecos Band Boosters will be hosting
their 24th Annual Auction on Saturday at the Pecos High School cafeteria.
The auction will be televised on Channel 11 beginning at 10 a.m. till
all items are sold.
Barbeque plates with all the trimmings will be sold for $3.50.
Baked goods will also be auctioned.
PECOS, Fri., March 28, 2003 -- High Thursday 91. Low this morning 38.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. A slight chance of showers. Lows in
the lower 30s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. The chance of precipitation
is 20 percent. Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. Light and variable
winds. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the upper 20s. Sunday: Sunny
Highs in the upper 60s. Monday: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. 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