Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, May 30, 2003
Eddy St. wreck leaves one dead, three others hurt
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- One person was killed and three others were
taken to Reeves County Hospital with injures after a pickup truck struck
a light pole in the 900 block of South Eddy Street about 2 a.m. this morning.
Jose Felix Mesta, 20, was pronounced dead by Precinct 1 Justice of the
Peace Amanario Ramon about an hour after the pickup he was driving slammed
into the light pole on the driver's side of the vehicle. Deputies said Mesta
died minutes after the accident, and his body was taken to Pecos Funeral
Home, where arrangements are pending.
Police did not have a full report on the accident this morning, but five
persons were reportedly in the Chevrolet extended cab pickup, which was
northbound in the 1100 block of South Eddy Street. The vehicle apparently
was traveling at a high rate of speed when it failed to negotiate the curve
at Eddy and Walthall Street and began to veer off to the right side of the
street. The driver then overcorrected, causing the pickup to go into a skid
across Eddy, before slamming into the light pole next to Fairview Cemetery.
Pecos police and Reeves County sheriff's deputies were called to the
scene, along with EMT personnel and Pecos Volunteer Fire Department members,
who used the jaws of life to cut away at the side doors of the pickup to
get to the surviving passengers.
Three of the four passengers were taken by ambulance to Reeves County
Hospital. Their names and conditions were unavailable at press time. The
fifth passenger in the pickup, identified as Victor Sandoval, was able to
leave the scene of the crash on his own and was located by police about
two hours later. His condition also was not released.
Skateboard park meeting planned at CJC
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on
Tuesday at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on Raul Florez Boulevard to
discuss plans for the new skateboarding park in the 700 block of South Park
The meeting will be in the Pecos Police Department offices at the Criminal
Justice Center. Everyone is urged to attend the meeting.
Nance says first cloud seeding effort a success
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- The Trans-Pecos Weather Modification Program
got a chance to seed its first clouds on Memorial Day weekend, and the program's
chief organizer was happy with the results in the areas of northern Reeves
and Loving counties.
"We did some seeding up in the Red Bluff area, west of the lake," said
Tom Nance, with the Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 in Barstow, which
has been the main financial supporter of the new cloud seeding program.
"We flew for about two hours seeding the clouds and we feel like we increased
the amount of rainfall. From the reports I received up there, the rain gauges
reported from 1 3/10 to 7/10 inches of rain."
The cloud seeding program was re-established in the Trans-Pecos region
after a 25-year break, with plans to cover the areas of Reeves, Loving,
Ward and Culberson counties. But the project also has its critics, and in
fact, the Cessna 340 planes and Doppler weather radar equipment used in
the new program were bought from the High Plains Weather Modification District,
after critics of the program there were able to cut out funding for the
region north of Lubbock.
Pilot Lance Beardon also came from the High Plains project to the one
based at the Pecos Municipal Airport, though the start of the project had
to wait until the arrival of an on-site meteorologist. Archie Ruiz, from
the Texas Weather Modification Association out of San Angelo, served in
that position for the initial flight last Sunday, and is currently training
new meteorologist Katie Simpson to handle the work.
The meteorologist determines whether or not there are any clouds that
can be seeded. "To me, yesterday (Wednesday) looked real good. We had plenty
of clouds, but none of the cloud were seedable, said Nance, who added even
if some potential clouds are seen on the radar, it's still up to Beardon
to decide whether or not to release the silver iodide crystals into the
cloud once he's in the air.
"We went up prior to that (last Sunday), but didn't seed anything," he
said. "We went to Culberson County, but none of the clouds were suitable."
The cost of the program is being split between the state and local taxing
entities, but the $475,000 cost of the equipment is being shared by Ward
County Irrigation District No. 1 and Reeves County Irrigation District No.
2, both of which are sub-districts of the Red Bluff Water District, which
determined water releases out of the lake just south of the Texas-New Mexico
The ongoing drought, both in Texas and New Mexico, has kept the lake's
water level below 60,000 acre feet for the past two years, and dropped it
as low as 40,000 acre/feet in 2002. As a result, farmers along the Pecos
River have received no water releases during irrigation season since 2001.
Red Bluff board members were hoping earlier this year that enough water
would reach the lake to allow at least a partial release season, and last
Sunday's cloud seeding project was designed to help that along.
"We seeded west of the lake and it rained west of the lake, on the lake
and east of the lake," Nance said. "The cloud was going northwest to southeast
the way it turned out."
The clouds in the area Memorial Day weekend were part of a line of storms
that came through West Texas. The strongest storms were reported in areas
east of the Trans-Pecos, with street flooding reported in Midland-Odessa.
Other rains were reported around Fort Stockton and in the Davis Mountains,
but the showers for the most part stayed just to the north of Pecos and
western Ward County.
"The next chance for clouds looks like it will be Sunday. That's what
Archie said," Nance said on Thursday. The program itself is scheduled to
run through the end of the current agriculture season in the Trans-Pecos,
in the early fall.
Aguilar, Salcido named top PHS grads for 2003
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- Pecos High School's valedictorian and salutatorian
were announced Thursday afternoon by school officials, and graduation ceremonies
will be held tonight for the 150 students for the Class of 2003 at Eagle
This year's Valedictorian is Kristian Aguilar. Aguilar had a grade point
average of 4.323. She is the daughter of Gino and Annabell Aguilar.
Phillip Salcido was named this year's Salutatorian. Salcido had a grade
point average of 4.303. He is the son of Ruben and Lisa Salcido.
The two will deliver their valedictory and salutatory address tonight,
during the 2003 PHS commencement ceremony. The event is scheduled to begin
at 8 p.m., at Eagle Stadium, though in case of bad weather, the ceremony
will be moved indoors to the Pecos High School gym.
Guest speaker for this year's commencement will be State Representative
Telethon to feature Pecos family's miracle baby
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- A tiny Pecos resident will make his debut on
television during the Annual Children's Miracle Network telethon scheduled
for this weekend.
Landon Ray Matta, who was born Aug. 27, at Medical Center Hospital in
Odessa weighing only one pound, four ounces, will be one of the babies featured
during the fundraiser.
Debbie Matta was carrying twins and was only five months along, when
she went into labor and delivered little Landon. Matta's actual due date
was expected to be December 19.
The other baby, Amber-Lee, did not survive. She had suffered massive
brain hemorrhage and her lungs had not developed. But little Landon proved
that he was a fighter and was meant to come into this world, beyond several
obstacles, including heart surgery just two weeks after he was born.
"He had a valve that wasn't closing right," said Debbie Matta. "After
the surgery, a day or two later, his lungs were filling up with fluid."
She said at that time what saved him was the fact that she requested
steroids. "For a week or two they gave him steroids and some medicine that
helped the valve close appropriately," said Matta. "But after two weeks
it opened up again and they again did surgery."
This time the surgery took only about 20 minutes and that right after
that he started breathing and his lungs started working again, according
"There were two or three occasions when the doctor would come out and
tell me to prepare myself because he wasn't going to make it," she said.
"But I always knew he would."
Matta said that the day she delivered her two babies a doctor specializing
in high-risk pregnancies told her that her babies were not going to survive.
"He said that they were both going to die during labor or shortly after,
both of them," she said.
Still, Matta held on to hope that at least one of her little ones would
make it into this world. And her prayers were answered, when Landon was
"He had problems, but I felt it in my heart that he could make it," she
Landon has also undergone two eye laser surgeries and came home with
both an oxygen tank and heart monitor.
"He doesn't use the heart monitor anymore and the oxygen I use it occasionally
to make sure his lungs are filled up enough," said Matta. "He always has
breathing treatments, but other than that he is really active and alert."
Landon was welcomed home by his parents, Debbie and Steve Matta and an
older brother, Allan Michael Almuina. His mother said that when she first
brought Landon home she had to constantly take him to the doctor.
"We had different doctors we had to take him to, such as the eye doctor,
the pediatrician, but now, we don't have to go as often," Matta said.
"We have to take him to a specialist in Dallas, we took him in April and
go back in three months," she said. "He said that if he continued doing so
well, maybe he wouldn't have to go back."
Matta said that when she had Landon, she didn't realize babies could be
born so small. "I didn't think babies that little could survive, and he's
the youngest preemie that has ever survived that was born at Medical Center
Hospital, at only 22 weeks" she said.
Now, five months later, Landon weighs a whopping 10 pounds and has doubled
his length to 231/2 inches long.
"The only thing we do now is he never took to the nipple so he eats formula
through a feeding cup," said Matta.
"He's just a little miracle," said Matta, who added that he had made a
lot of friends while hospitalized at Medical Center Hospital, including
a little girlfriend. "He had all the nurses and doctors wrapped around his
little finger and now it's us," she said.
There's going to be a reunion, for all the preemies that were born at
Medical Center Hospital or spent time at the Neo-Natal Unit at the hospital,
from 2-4 p.m., Saturday, May 31, at Music City Mall, near the Dillard's
The Children's Miracle Network will be aired on KWES-Ch. 9 from 7 p.m.
until midnight on Saturday and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday. For pledges individuals
can call 1-800-MCH-KIDS.
"KICKS 99.1, a country music station out of Odessa, is also helping to
raise funds for CMN," said Matta.
The radio telethon will be aired Saturday, 8-9 p.m. and Sunday, 7 a.m.
until 5 p.m. "They said they would do it longer," said Matta. For pledges
Williams retires from coaching, AD jobs
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- Citing health concerns and a desire to spend
more time with his family, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah head football coach and athletic
director Bubba Williams announced his retirement on Thursday, effective at
the end of June.
The announcement comes just six months after Williams assumed the role
of head football coach, stepping down from his job as head baseball coach,
a position he held for 21 seasons after serving 10 seasons as an assistant
coach. Williams compiled a 324-211-2 record between 1982 and 2002, but in
April of last year was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy.
"Due to health concerns I feel like this is best for me and my family,"
Williams said this morning. "Right now getting back on my feet and staying
there is my main concern. I was very sick last year and I don't want to fall
back into the position I was in last year."
"I had 31 years of teaching and coaching at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD,
and it's been really great for my family. I've enjoyed all 31 years," he
said. "Mr. (P-B-T Superintendent Don) Love and all the other people have
been very supportive of the program."
Williams had served as an assistant football coach for over 20 seasons,
under Jerry Milsapps, Daylon Whitehurst and Felix Urias. He became P-B-T
athletic director in 1998, when head football coach and athletic director
Mike Balew was reassigned by Love.
"Coach Williams has been here 31 years, and during that time pretty much
every coach who has gone through the system has worked with him," Love said.
"I was an assistant right along beside him in baseball. We're going to miss
Williams was making regular visits to a doctor in Dallas after being diagnosed
with muscular dystrophy, and had to use a motorized scooter to move around
on campus much of the time. His condition has improved since then, but he
said "I had been looking into it (retiring) for the last two months.
"I go to the doctor in Dallas every three months for a check-up, and this
last time he kind of felt this was a good idea on my part to do it while
I can and enjoy is," Williams said. "Plus, I want to spend time with my grandkids.
My daughter is in Austin, so I very seldom get to see my grandson, but I
"He'll be greatly missed. He's a good man," said P-B-T Personnel Director
Gome Olibas, who added that he has already begun placing advertisements
for the head football coach and athletic director's position.
Olibas said the notice would be posted in the Odessa, San Angelo and Lubbock
newspapers, while Love said it would also be advertised on the Texas High
School Coaches Association and the Texas Association of School Administrators
"We'll have it up for a minimum of 10 days to fill," Love said. That would
put the closing date for applications before the P-B-T school board's next
meeting, but Love said "We'll probably have a special board meeting after
that," to appoint Williams' replacement.
This will be the second straight June the school district will be seeking
a new head football coach. Gary Grubbs resigned from the position in June
of 2002 after three seasons, and at the end of the month the board hired
former Pecos junior high coach Fred Carter as the new head coach. However,
after winning their first game of the season, the Eagles dropped their final
eight contests, and Carter was reassigned in November by Williams, who took
over the position himself while turning over his head coaching duties in
baseball to assistant coach Elias Payan.
The new head coach will be the sixth for Pecos' football program in the
past decade. Prior to that, the Eagles had only two head coaches over the
previous 24 seasons.
Van driver indicted for smuggling illegal aliens
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- A federal grand jury in Pecos indicted a 28-year-old
El Paso man on Thursday on four counts of transporting illegal aliens in
connection with Tuesday morning's discovery of 17 illegal aliens crammed
into the back of truck on Interstate 20 west of Pecos.
According to the indictment, Hugo Ricardo Ramirez was driving the truck
that DPS Trooper Arnulfo Rivas pulled over for speeding just before 2 a.m.
Tuesday morning near mile marker 33 on I-20, seven miles west of Pecos.
During the traffic stop Rivas discovered the 17 illegal aliens hidden
behind furniture in the truck.
Ramirez, a United States citizen, was detained and two of the illegal
aliens are also being held as witnesses.
The rest of the aliens were returned to Mexico, John Carter said. Carter
is the agent in charge of the U.S. Border Patrol office in Pecos.
The indictment handed down yesterday accuses Ramirez of four separate
counts of Transporting illegal aliens - a violation off Volume 8 of the
United States Code Section 1324 (a) (1) (A) (ii) and (v)(II).
Counts one and two of the indictment accuse Ramirez of transporting illegal
aliens and placing the life of another person in jeopardy.
Counts two and three of the indictment accuse Ramirez of the same offense
and add the further accusation that he committed the offense for commercial
The maximum sentence for transporting illegal aliens is five years in
prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
However, according to the indictment, if Ramirez is found guilty of transporting
the illegal aliens for commercial gain he could receive10 years in prison.
If he is found guilty on the two counts of placing the life of another
in jeopardy while transporting illegal aliens he could receive a maximum
of 20 years in prison on each count.
According to the United States District Clerk's office no detention hearing
had yet been held and bond had not been set in the case.
PECOS, Fri., May 30, 2003 -- High Thursday 100. Low this morning 63. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s. Southeast winds 5 to
15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 101 to 108. South winds 5 to
15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Sunday: Partly
cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 100. Monday:
Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s.
Highs in the upper 90s.
Jose Felix Mesta and Miguel Contreras
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