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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 2, 2003

Voters to decide council, school races Saturday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., May 2, 2003 -- Pecos voters will decide a city council race, and voters here and in Barstow, Toyah, Saragosa and Balmorhea will have polling sites open for area school elections on Saturday.

Polls will be open at all sites from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and voters will be choosing between four candidates for three open seats on the Town of Pecos City Council, between four candidates for two seats in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election, and between five candidates for two open seats on the Balmorhea ISD board.

Voting in the Town of Pecos City will be for school board and city council seats and polling for both races will be held at the Community Center.

Those seeking a two-year term on the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD School Board are incumbents David Flores and Steve Valenzuela. Challengers are Randy Baeza and Amy Montgomery Miller.

In the city elections incumbents Gerald Tellez and Frank Sanchez are seeking new terms. Challengers are Danny Rodriguez and Mark Bragg.

Elections in Barstow for the school elections will be held at the Barstow Community Center. Barstow voters will also be casting ballots in the special election to fill an unexpired term in the 19th Congressional District

Toyah and Saragosa voters also will be able to cast ballots locally on Saturday in the P-B-T school elections. Saragosa voters will cast ballots at the Multi-Purpose Center, while Toyah voters can vote in the school election at the city hall.

Orla residents will have to come to Pecos to vote at the Community Center on Saturday.

Early voting in this year's election was down a little under 10 percent from 2002, according to early voting clerk Debbie Thomas.

"We had 765 vote by personal appearance and 249 ballots by mail," said early voting clerk Debbie Thomas following the closing of the early voting period on Tuesday. Another 30 ballots still had not been returned as of Thursday.

Residents of Balmorhea will be voting for the two seats on the Balmorhea School Board may place their vote at the Balmorhea Fire Station.

Those seeking a seat on the Balmorhea School Board are Abel Baeza, Paul Matta, Courtney Mellard, Sharon Oates and Tommy Rey Dominguez.

Loving County residents will be voting for the 19th Congressional District race in which 17 candidates are running to succeed Republican Larry Combest.

Election site in Loving County will be held in the District Courtroom of the Courthouse in Mentone. Loving voters have no city election, and the county is part of the Wink-Loving ISD.

PHA seeks replacements for board members

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., May 2, 2003 -- Pecos Housing Authority board members reviewed project, budget and occupancy information for both the PHA and the Farm Labor Housing Apartments supervised by the board, and also sought replacements for two board members during their regular monthly meeting on Thursday at the PHA office at Meadowbrook and Starley drives.

The board had the minimum three members available to hold a meeting on Thursday, after the two other members, Ray Golden and John Garza submitted their resignations. Golden, a longtime PHA board member and the board's vice-chairman, stepped down for "personal reasons," Chairman Frank Perea said, while Garza, who has been the resident commissioner on the board, is stepping down because he is moving out of the PHA apartments, Executive Director Nellie Gomez said.

"I went through a list of residents, and the only one I talked to was Irene Dominguez," Gomez said. "She works at the hospital, and has been here a long time."

Gomez also suggested PHA tenant Arturo Marruffo as a possible replacement for Garza, but said she has not spoken to him about the position.

"I would go with Irene. She's been on boards before," said Gomez. "She served on the Community Council for about five years."

"You know them better than us," said Perea, and the board later authorized Gomez to speak to Dominguez about filling Garza's unexpired term, which runs through the end of February in 2004.

Golden's term expired at the end of May 2004, and board member Jim Workman recommended Maribel Alvarez, a caseworker with the local Department of Human Services office, to fill the unexpired term.

"I know her, and she's a very hard working individual and very dependable," Workman said.

"I talked at one time about (West Texas National Bank vice president) Paul Hinojos, but he's got too many irons in the fire," Perea said, and the board authorized Gomez to speak to Alvarez about the vacancy.

Board members then went over the revised PHA housing policy, which was drawn up by NELROD, a consulting company for housing authorities. Gomez said the last policy revisions were done in 1998, and needed to be updated.

"I'm looking into having them do personnel policies," Gomez said.

The board approved the changes, and later approved a trip to the NELROD conference in New Orleans for Gomez, Perea and board member Olga Lopez on May 22-23. Gomez said the combined cost for their trip would be $697, and that she planned to spend a few days visiting her son in Alabama after the conference ends.

Gomez also presented board members with updates on the PHA budget and work on the paving, sidewalk and fencing projects.

She said she had already talked to the contractor about the $40,000 sidewalk and paving work, while footing for the new fencing at the East Side Apartments. "We have enough money in the budget to start with the South Side Apartments," she added, which would cover the area from Sage to Meadowbrook.

The board was also told that all of the PHA Apartments are filled and there is a waiting list for new tenants, while during the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting, Perea said the board has to make sure that the remaining tenants are out of the apartments by the end of May, so that seasonal farm workers can move into the West County Road apartments by June 1.

"More than likely we'll have all of them out except for one," Gomez said, who is employed at the new dairy south of Pecos and qualifies to remain in the FLH apartments.

She added that fliers have been made up to notify arriving migrant workers of the vacancies. "We have six applications already from the (Texas) Migrant Council," she said.

The board also discussed the day care facility used by the Migrant Council during the spring and summer months. "After this year we're going to put a new floor in, and they're going to pay half of it," she said. The FLH also plans to offer the Migrant Council a yearly lease agreement, which she said, "would allow them to keep their stuff in there," while the day care center is not being used.

Police arrest three after raids

on drug, sex assault charges

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., May 2, 2003 -- Pecos Police Officers were busy Thursday evening executing narcotics search warrants at two separate locations in Pecos that led to the arrest of three people, two on drug charges and one on a sexual assault charge out of Alabama.

The first search warrant was executed at 810 E. Ninth St., which police said was the home of Fernando Chavez Vela, 43 and Yolanda Rodriguez Rubio, 41.

"Once the residence was secured officers proceeded to search the premises for narcotics or other narcotics-related paraphernalia," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

During the search of the premises, officers found a substance believed to be marijuana inside and outside the residence.

They completed the search of the premises and Vela and Rubio were charged with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) less than five pounds, but more than four ounces.

"This is within 1,000 feet of a school, Bessie Haynes Elementary School," said Deishler.

Deishler said that this offense was a third degree felony and both subjects were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

The second narcotics search warrant occurred at 1934 Scott Street, at 8:45 p.m. Police said. The home was identified as that of Marty Howard, Paula Howard and Brian Shierling.

Once the resident was secured, officers proceeded to search the residence for narcotics or other narcotics-related paraphernalia.

Deishler said that during the search, officers located a substance believed to be marijuana, and also found paraphernalia commonly used with the smoking of marijuana and other drug related paraphernalia within the residence.

In addition, Deishler said, "A records check revealed that Brian Skye Shierling was a wanted subject out of Alabama for the offense of sexual assault."

Shierling, 28, was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the outstanding warrant.

Officers completed their search of the premises and arrest warrants are pending for the Howards, according to Deishler.

Cookout events set next week for RCDC staff

PECOS, Fri., May 2, 2003 -- Correctional officers at the Reeves County Detention Center will be honored next week and recognized during Correctional Worker Week.

The group will receive a special treat when the administration staff at the facility cooks for them on the grounds of the facility.

Correctional officers will enjoy hamburgers from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday.

Each officer will get a free meal cooked by the administration staff including the RCDC Warden Rudy Franco and his support staff.


PECOS, Fri., May 2, 2003 -- High Thursday 93. Low this morning 48. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows in the upper 50s. South winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Sunny and windy. Highs in the lower 90s. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph. Saturday night: Clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Sunday: Sunny with areas of blowing dust. Windy. Highs in the upper 80s. Monday: Clear. Lows in the lower 50s. Highs in the mid 80s.


Alfonso B. Levario

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