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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

State officials issue early West Nile virus warning

From Staff and Wire Reports

Evidence of West Nile encephalitis activity already beginning in Louisiana means Texans probably will start dealing with the virus soon, said an expert on mosquito-borne disease.

"This is probably one of the earliest records of a mosquito-borne virus (becoming active) in the South," Jim Olson, an entomologist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in College Station, said of the Louisiana discovery of the virus in birds across the state and in the mosquito population around Baton Rouge.

West Nile also was discovered earlier this month at Calcasieu Parish, in Louisiana's far southwest corner and directly on the border with Newton, Orange and Jefferson counties in Texas.

West Nile reached Texas in 2002 for the first time, causing 202 confirmed human infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed 13 deaths to the illness.

The virus spread from the southeast and central portions of Texas during the summer and early fall of 2002, and by the end of October the first cases were being reported in the Trans-Pecos area.

At least three horses died from West Nile Virus in the TransPecos region last year before temperatures cooled down in the fall, and local veterinarians said the disease has affected a number of others.

"We have had 15 cases involving horses that have West Nile Virus," Pecos veterinarian Dr. Ronald Box said last October. "This is in my area which includes, Van Horn, Imperial, Ft. Stockton, Balmorhea and Pecos."

At the same, Monahans veterinarian Dr. Charles Sanders said another horse was treated for the disease in the Coyanosa area. Sanders said by the time he went to treat the mare she was paralyzed in her hind legs, but added, "She's doing better now."

It first appeared in the United States three years ago in New York City, and has since been spreading across the nation. It can be fatal if contracted by humans, and at least two of the 13 deaths nationwide occurred in Texas. Both were in the Houston area, while the nearest case to Pecos of a person contracting West Nile virus in 2002 was in the San Angelo area.

The virus is closely related to the one that causes St. Louis encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease that has been present in Texas for years and appears almost annually in the bird and mosquito population in Houston and elsewhere.

Both diseases can sicken humans, birds, horses and some other mammals. Olson suggested horse and mule owners get their animals vaccinated immediately and not to wait for an outbreak to begin.

"There is a delay time from when the vaccination starts and when the horses will build a high enough immunity to be considered protected," Olson said. "That delay time can be up to six weeks."

West Nile fever usually is a mild, flu-like disease in people and is characterized and typically lasts only a few days and does not appear to cause any long-term health effects, the CDC said. Elderly victims, or those with pre-existing health issues, are more at risk.

"Mosquitos feeding on infected birds become infected themselves and then pass that on to other birds," he said. "Or if, by chance, if they feed on horses and humans, they could infect those."

Olson recommends traditional mosquito-proofing methods, including wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing that is difficult to bite through; use of repellents; eliminating sources of standing water where mosquitos can breed; and properly screening windows and doors.

Officials say early voting in city steady

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., April 22, 2003 -- Early voting has had a steady flow of individuals through the first week of casting ballots for the May 3 area elections, with one week left to go in the early voting period.

"We've just had a steady flow, it slowed down a bit, but it's just been steady," said early voting clerk Debbie Thomas.

Thomas said that 165 individuals have already cast their ballots early. "We've had 115 that returned their ballots by mail," said Thomas. She added that 200 ballots have been mailed out.

Polls opened last Wednesday, at the Pecos Community Center, located on Oak Street for the Town of Pecos City and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD elections and will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. through next Tuesday.

The city and school board races are the only ones in Pecos that are contested in the May 3 election. Balmorhea ISD voters will also be casting ballots in their election on May 3, and early voting there also runs through Tuesday, April 29.

Polls on Election Day will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in Pecos for the city and school elections and in Toyah, Balmorhea and Saragosa for the school races. Barstow voters will also be casting ballots in the P-B-T ISD race, along with the special election to fill the vacant seat in the 19th Congressional District.

Four candidates are seeking two three-year terms in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD race, while four candidates are seeking the three available two-year seats on the Town of Pecos City Council.

Incumbents David Flores and Steve Valenzuela are seeking new terms on the school board and are challenged by Randy Baeza and Amy Montgomery Miller, while in the city race incumbents Gerald Tellez and Frank Sanchez are seeking new terms, while Danny Rodriguez and Mark Bragg.

In Balmorhea, Abel Baeza, Paul Matta, Courtney Ballard, Sharon Oates and Tommy Rey Dominguez are vying for the two seats on the Balmorhea School Board.

Loving County voters will also be casting ballots in the 19th Congressional District race on May 3. A total of 17 candidates are running in the race to succeed Republican Larry Combest.

Early voting in that race is being conducted in Mentone for Loving County voters and in Monahans for Ward County voters, including those from the Barstow area.

Administrator's evaluation tops hospital agenda

PECOS, Tues., April 22, 2003 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors will evaluate hospital administrator Robert Vernor and handle several other routine items during their regular monthly meeting this evening, starting at 6 p.m. in the hospital classroom.

During the meeting the board will evaluated the administrator Robert Vernor. The evaluation will be handled in executive session, after which the results, and any action taken, will be announced in open session. The open session evaluation of Vernon is also listed earlier in the meeting, according to the district's posted agenda.

In other action this evening, the board will discuss and consider the sale of property located at 1411 S. Oak, 913 N. Elm, block 14 in Toyah and the nursing scholarship program. A medical staff report on the appointment and clinical privileges on Richard Duke, MD for Specialty clinic and Ellen Dudrey, MD for Pathology will be discuss and considered.

The board will review the minutes from its previous meeting and receive a report from the Hospital Auxiliary and the administrator.

Other items on the agenda will be the monthly tax report, financial statements and budget amendments and the payment of bills.

Junior, Senior League sign-ups set for today

PECOS, Tues., April 22, 2003 -- Signs-ups for the Pecos Junior League and Senior League 2003 baseball season has been set for 5:30 p.m., today, at the Maxey Park Senior League Field. All those interested in participating should be at the field beginning at 5:30 p.m. for registration.

Senior Center plans rally to back troops

PECOS, Tues., April 22, 2003 -- A red, white and blue Ribbon Rally will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday at the Pecos Senior Citizen's Center, 119 S. Cedar St.

A Color Guard will be on hand at 7 p.m., music and a reception will follow.

"We'll have open mike, for anyone who has somebody in the armed forces or who just wants to speak up on behalf of the United States," said director Donna Woodard.

Individuals will have an opportunity to talk about how grateful they are or to just talk about the war.

Everyone is invited to attend.

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.


Raul Arredondo Jr., 29, was arrested at 11:53 p.m., on April 19, on the corner of Seventh and Eddy streets on a capias warrant for possession of alcoholic beverage open container.


Victor Jaramillo, 49, was arrested at 10:03 p.m., on April 18, at the corner of Fouth and Cedar streets for driving while intoxicated - refusal and on a capias warrant for possession of alcoholic beverage open container.


Jack Fuentes, 22, was arrested at 4:37 p.m., on April 18, at the 400 block of South Walnut Street on a warrant for no liability insurance and a warrant for violation promise to appear.


Jose Luis Pando, 38, was arrested at 2:48 p.m., on April 17, at the 300 block of West Ninth Street for possession of a controlled substance - cocaine.


Saury Salgado, 23, was arrested at 5:29 p.m., on April 17, at the corner of Pecan and 'B' Street on a capias warrant for disorderly conduct - fighting, capias warrant for public intoxication, two capias warrants for violation promise to appear, capias warrant disorderly conduct - language and capias warrant possession of alcoholic beverage open container.


Dolores Carrillo, 33, was arrested at 8:09 p.m., on April 14, at the 1600 block of Cowan Streeton a warrant for possession of controlled substance - diazepam - class A and a capias warrant on city ordinance for animal at large.


Mario Rayos, 34, was arrested at 7:01 p.m., on April 14, on the corner of Jackson and Plum streets on an Ector County warrant for motion to revoke - probation violation driving while intoxicated second probation violation.


Michael Meierhoff, 38, was arrested 8:07 p.m., on April 14, at the 500 block of South Peach Street on a warrant for forgery - state jail felony.


PECOS, Tues., April 22, 2003 -- High Monday 79. Low this morning 55. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe with large hail and damaging winds in the evening. Lows in the mid 50s. South winds 5 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is 30 percent. Wed.: Mostly sunny with isolated thunderstorms in the morning. Highs near 80. West winds 5 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph. Wed. night: Mostly clear. Lows near 50.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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