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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Shaffer outlines plans for Women's Division

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- Pecos Chamber of Commerce members were introduced to the new president of the Chamber's Women's Division, during their regular monthly meeting at noon on Tuesday at the Pecos Senior Center.

Chamber President Al Gomez introduced Shirley Shaffer as the new Women's Division President, as part of the board's regular items of business. It came after board members heard from family and friends of Johnny V. Mata, who was killed while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Shaffer was active in the Women's Division last year. "I served on the social committee for the Golden Girls and I really liked it," she said.

Shaffer said that Michelle Workman would be president-elect. "Right now we're getting ready for Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe, will participate in Relay for Life and other events," said Shaffer.

Those events include the Pretty Baby Contest at the fall fair, Night in Old Pecos, helping needy families in the community and Welcome Baskets for newcomers to Pecos.

"Those baskets really help, because they have a lot of valuable information that any new person to Pecos can use," she said, adding that if anybody had anything to contribute to the baskets to contact Lila Cerna, another women's club member.

"And to the Mata family that is here with us today, Johnny was a real hero and we're very grateful to him," said Shaffer. "That keeps our freedom and we'll never forget that and him."

Shaffer said that she came from a military family and knew the sacrifices they have made. "We just want you all to know how very much we are thankful to him and you and how much we appreciate him," she said.

In other business, executive director Linda Gholson told the group that a district clerk's area meeting was held in Pecos recently and brought a lot of people to town.

"The Reeves County Health Fair was also a big success," said Gholson. "Those that had blood work done should be getting their results back this week."

Gholson said that there had been a KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) meeting on April 1 and about 20 individuals attended to discuss things going on Pecos and how to improve the city.

"I had also brought to you at the last meeting, West Texas Day in Austin, but everybody felt it was short notice," said Gholson. "You asked me to find out more information, because at the time I didn't have that much information, well I called and nobody knew the answers either," she said.

Gholson said that she had finally gathered more information and that the group could plan to participate in 2005, when the Legislature meets again in Austin. "We can have 'blow into Austin' day when they meet again then," she said.

Fall Fair Committee members met last week and Barbara Creager will be in charge of the event.

Economic Development Director Gari Ward spoke about the opening of the new dairy at Flat Top Farm southeast of Pecos and the racetrack that he is currently working on bringing to the community, which would be at the site of the former Smither's Tire Testing Center

"We had a good turnout at the Flat Top Go Round Dairy, it's the kind of dairy that welcomes everyone and you can see a carousel of 500 cows an hour," he said.

Plans for the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo set for July 2-5 are continuing, according to Gholson. "They are also working the AJRA and this will be a big opportunity to bring people into town," she said.

Family Health Day held at Maxey Park two weekends ago was a big success, according to Lupe Davis, chamber of commerce office assistant.

The event was co-sponsored by the Pecos Downtown Lions and Rotary Clubs.

"Everyone had a good time, we had a lot of rides for the children and events for the adults," she said. "We had plenty of participation."

The group made about $1,100, which will go towards the many projects they sponsor throughout the year.

"We want to thank everyone that donated something or helped out in any way," said Davis.

The 40th Anniversary celebration for the West of the Pecos Museum has been changed from this coming Saturday to May 22. "It will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and everybody is welcome to come to the museum and enjoy lunch and spend some time there," said Gholson.

Gholson said that a light lunch would be served and individuals had the opportunity to come to the museum anytime between those hours.

A reception for Rob Junell, the new U.S. District Judge for the Pecos Division, is set for 6 p.m., Monday at the West of the Pecos Museum. "We want to give him a big welcome," said Gholson. "Judge Ferguson won't be able to be here, but we want to make a good impression on the new judge."

A Heritage Trail meeting was held in Iraan recently and several chamber members had the opportunity to attend. "There are 22 counties on the Pecos trail," said Gholson. "They say that the biggest industry in the U.S. right now is tourism and this will be a great opportunity for Pecos to bring in tourism."

Council to discuss abatement for TransPecos Foods plant

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss a tax abatement for TransPecos Foods and the duties of two city employees when they hold their regular meeting at 7 a.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers.

While in open session the council members will discuss and consider tax abatement to Trans Pecos Foods, which purchased the former Anchor Foods plant last year and reopened the facility, after it had been shut down by McCain Foods, putting 700 people out of work.

The council in the past had granted tax abatements to Anchor Foods, so that they could expand their operations from about 200 workers in 1990 to 700 when McCain Foods bought them in September of 2001. TransPecos Foods currently has about 160 workers employed at the plant.

Council members will go into executive session to discuss and consider the duties of the Fire Chief Roy Pena and Municipal Judge Amonario Ramon, while other actions in open session include a resolution for the Pecos Ambulance Service to purchase an ambulance and the site for the skateboard park.

The council will also approve the minutes of the regular council meeting for March 27, the accounts payable report and the juvenile monthly report both for March 2003.

Police report heroin found, two jailed in east side bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- Two persons were arrested last Friday after a narcotics search warrant was executed at an east side home and officers found illegal drugs.

On Friday, April 4, the Pecos Police Department executed a narcotics search warrant at 413 S. Mulberry St.

"Once the SWAT team had secured the residence, officers proceeded to search and located a substance believed to be heroin inside the house," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

He said that the officers had also located other drug paraphernalia commonly used in the packaging and injecting of the controlled substance, heroin.

Officers completed their search of the premises and arrested Don Wesley Barton, 49, for possession of a controlled substance (heroin). Ana Luisa Barreno, 43, was arrested for the offense of possession of a dangerous drug.

Both were transported to the Criminal Justice Center.

Chamber hears from family, friends of slain soldier

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- Family and friends of Johnny V. Mata, who was killed while serving with the 507th Maintenance Company in the war in Iraq, were special guests of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, during its monthly board of directors meeting at the Pecos Senior Citizen's Center.

Mata's cousin Sam Contreras and Pecos High School baseball coach Elias Payan, a classmate of Mata's, spoke to the group about Mata, who was one of nine U.S. Army soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company confirmed dead after their unit was ambushed by Iraqi troops on March 23.

"We noticed that other cities are showing support for their loved ones who have died during this war and we wanted to do the same," said Contreras, who along with Payan asked chamber members to please attend the meeting held last evening at the Pecos Community Center, to think of ways to honor one of their own.

"This won't be just for Johnny, but for all servicemen and women who are currently serving overseas," said Contreras, who added that he had already spoken to several organizations.

"We wanted to plan this before Johnny's body is returned to Pecos," said Contreras. "We have planned this meeting and would like the community's support."

Payan said that if you didn't know Johnny it was a big loss, because he was a wonderful individual.

"He was kind, giving, caring, loyal, hardworking, honest, I could go on and on about him," said Payan. "He was a great friend and I feel very honored to have known him and have been his friend."

Payan grew up with Mata and his family. "I'm grateful that I was considered one of the family as well, it was a blessing to know Johnny and have had him in my life," he said.

He said that Pecos had lost one of it's own and that the family and community were heartbroken. "That's why we want to do something, because he died for all of us," said Payan.

"Let's all get together and show America that Pecos is proud of them," said Payan.

Chamber president Al Gomez said that he was proud of the fallen soldier. "He is definitely our hero," said Gomez. "On behalf of the chamber I want the family to know that we will do anything that we can and that we're very proud of him."

Memorial events for Mata planned Thursday, Friday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- Pecos residents and members of community organizations gathered at the Community Center Tuesday evening to discuss a way to honor a Pecos native killed in the war in Iraq, along with honoring the area's other service men and women fighting in Persian Gulf conflict.

Johnny V. Mata, 35, a U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer assigned to the 507th Maintenance Company out of Fort Bliss in El Paso, was one of nine soldiers from the company who were killed as the result of a firefight with Iraqi forces on March 23. Mata was reported missing in action for 10 days, before the Department of Defence confirmed his death to family members last Friday.

During the meeting Sam Contreras, a cousin of Mata, asked that the streets of Pecos be decorated with ribbon and poster that show the town's support, and said that Mata's body would be returned home for burial later this week.

"We were just notified that Johnny will be here on Thursday," Contreras said. "And we would like to decorate the town for when he is brought into town."

Both the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office agreed to escort Mata into town.

"We would be honored to provide the family with security as well," Pecos Police Department Chief Clay McKinney said.

However, Contreras added that it was still unclear when the funeral would be.

As the meeting progressed organization leaders, such as the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse and the Knights of Columbus came together to preparing food for the Mata family.

Both Sheriff's Posse Captain Starkey Warren and Knights of Columbus member Michael Benavides said that they would come together to cook the briskets, which have been donated.

Further donations of briskets will be stored in the Sheriff Posse's walk-in freezer, Sheriff's Posse member Mike Balog said.

Wal-Mart's donation of ribbons, water and paper goods were applauded by those in attedance at Tuesday's meeting.

Contreras also informed the crowd that an e-mail account, a P.O. Box and an account at Security State Bank had been set up for Mata.

"We were also thinking of having a vigil," Contreras said.

At that point School Board Secretary Crissy Martinez offered the Pecos High School Gym, the football stadium or the auditorium.

With Mata's close friend, Pecos High School baseball coach Elias Payan having a game scheduled for Friday night, the family agreed to hold a vigil at the football stadium at 10 p.m., after the Eagles' game against Kermit.

Not knowing where they could come up with enough candles, Contreras asked that everyone bring their own candles to vigil.

The senior class of Andrews High School also received an applause from the crowd when Contreras informed them of their donation.

"The senior class of Andrews had been saving money for their senior trip since their freshman year," Contreras said. "They decided to give the money to Johnny's two children for their education."

Funeral services have been scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at Santa Rosa Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Mt. Evergreen Cemetary.

Peaceful Garden Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

City Hall ceremony in support of troops planned

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- A short ceremony will be held Thursday in front of City Hall at 7 p.m., for the signing of a proclamation titled 'Support our Troops.'

Sixth Street will be closed so that people can walk from West Texas National Bank to City Hall for the ceremony.

Santa Rosa holding Holy Hour to pray for soldiers

PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- Santa Rosa Catholic Church will be holding a Special Holy Hour tomorrow, Thursday April 10 beginning at 6 p.m., were prayers for the soldiers in Iraq and for an end to the war.

A mass will follow at 7 p.m.


PECOS, Wed., April 9, 2003 -- High Tuesday 64. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows near 40. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows near 50. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 80s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. Highs near 90.

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