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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, June 6, 2003

"Killer bee" confirmation adds county to quarantine

From Staff and Wire Reports
A swarm of bees that forced a downtown Pecos street to be closed in April has been confirmed as Africanized bees, putting Reeves County on the state's "killer bee" quarantine list.

Reeves became the 147th county in the state to be added to the so-called "killer bee" quarantine list on Wednesday, years after neighboring counties in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico were put on quarantine list.

The quarantine, following the detection of Africanized honey bees, restricts the movement of commercial bee operations outside of the quarantine zone. However, most other Permian Basin and far West Texas counties have been on the list since the late 1990s

"I've been dealing with the bees in Pecos County for the last 10 years," said Town of Pecos City Health Officer Alfredo Gomez, who took over that job last year after moving to Pecos from Fort Stockton. Gomez said the first Africanized bees were found in the 300 block of South Cypress Street, in an abandoned building next to the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force office.

"They had been there for a while, and we reported it to a beekeeper," said Task Force secretary Virgie Palomino. "He said he wasn't able to get them out, because they were too far under the house. You could hear them swarming under the house when you passed by, and it got so bad people couldn't get to their cars parked in front of the house because they would chase you.

"We called Alfred Gomez from the city to come out and check them out," said Palomino. Gomez and other workers were able to get the bees out on April 11, but not without getting stung several times when some of the aggressive bees were able to get inside Gomez's protective clothing.

"They sent me to the doctor in Fort Stockton, because I was not prepared for the Africanized bees in the (Pecos) area," Gomez said. "I respect those bees. They can hurt somebody."

Gomez said the hive under the house was about as large as a desktop, and the bees themselves are larger than the normal European honeybees that have been in the Pecos area for years for use in crop pollination.

"He filled up a whole trash can with bees," after the hive was killed off, Palomino said.

Gomez then sent a sample from the swarm of bees to the Texas Honey Bee Identification Lab in College Station, according to Paul Jackson, chief apiary inspector.

The lab confirmed the bees were Africanized, and Gomez said also said a second hive in Pecos was confirmed as Africanized, out of six reports of bees inside the city limits in recent months.

He said the second hive contained both European and Africanized bees, but "The Africanized bees were becoming dominant within the hive. The third one we sent off was confirmed as regular bees, and we haven't gotten the results back on the other ones yet."

Gomez said the second hive also was located on South Cypress Street, in the 800 block, while the other hives were found off the Balmorhea Highway and on East Fourth Street, near Santa Rosa Catholic Church.

The addition of Reeves County to the quarantine zone actually allows beekeepers in the area more movement now than they've had in recent years. The quarantine law allows beekeepers to move hives within but not out of the zone, which includes 58 percent of Texas' 254 counties.

That includes Ward, Pecos, Culberson, Crane, Ector, Midland, Jeff Davis, Brewster, Presidio, Hudspeth, El Paso, Upton and Reagan counties within the surrounding area. Because of the ban it has been illegal, for example, to move a hive of bees from farms southwest of Pecos to those across the Pecos River in the Barstow area for use in pollinating crops during the past six years.

Loving, Winkler and Andrews counties remain outside the quarantine zone.

The Africanized bee was first detected in the United States near Brownsville in October 1990. Since then, the bee has spread through much of the state and into New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Gomez said because of the aggressive nature of the bees, anyone discovering a hive should contact city or county officials to deal with the problem.

"Don't mess with them, because they can kill somebody," he said. "Last year in Sheffield, which is in Pecos County, they killed an 800-pound horse, so that shows what they can do to a human being.

"The main thing I want to do is let everyone know what to do if they see bees, and notify the right people, because the bees at the task force were exceptionally large and will chase after you if they're disturbed."

Thursday lightning puts radio station in dark

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., June 6, 2003 -- Lightning and rain hit the Pecos area last night, knocking out some equipment belonging to the KPTX Radio 10 miles east of town.

"Our antennae took a hit last night by lightning, knocking out our system," said KIUN/KTPX radio employee Cody West.

West said that repair crews and a tower specialist out of Lubbock would be in Pecos today to assess the situation.

"It could be a few days before the station is back on the air," said West.

West said that the lightning knocked out service to KTPX, the FM station sponsored by the radio station, but the KIUN-AM was still on the air.

"They might be able to fix it today, but we don't know," said West. "We won't know until they come in and look at it," he said.

The severity of the problem will determine how soon service will be restored to the FM station, according to West.

The antennae is located on Beer Hill, East of Barstow. "It's a 300-footer,"said West.

KPTX moved its antenna there last year in order to increase their power and coverage area. The signal is able to reach Kermit, Monahans and Fort Stockton from its current location, after using an antenna north of Pecos for about 20 years.

West said that the technicians would be working on the problem "round-the-clock."

"We want to thank our listeners for their patience and support of 98X," he said.

The station had a big remote planned for tomorrow in Monahans, but that event has been canceled due to the problem that arose. "We had something big planned at WestStar Auto, we've postponed that and we don't know until when we'll re-schedule it," he said.

The storms' southern edge just brushed Pecos about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, leaving under a tenth of an inch of rain locally. KIUN reported .05 inch of rain downtown, while Barstow received .07 inch from the storm.

Rainfall chances are still in the weekend forecast for the Pecos area, but are lower than on Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service. The chance of rain was listed as 20 percent tonight, Saturday and Sunday.

Car wash set to raise funds for hoop camp

PECOS, Fri., June 6, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah summer basketball camp participants will be holding a benefit car wash Saturday morning in the Pizza Hut parking lot in the 500 block of South Cedar Street.

Basketball coach Joe Flores said the car was would begin at 9 a.m. and campers would accept any donations in return for the wash. Flores said the car wash would continue during the morning and afternoon.

The camp itself will be from June 16-20 at the new Pecos High School gym. Registration fee is $5 for one student, $8 for two and $10 for three in each family. Sessions will be divided into 10 a.m. until 12 noon for elementary school students and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. for students entering grades 7-9 this August.

Commissioners to hear report on 2002 audit

PECOS, Fri., June 6, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners will hear a presentation of the 2002 fiscal year financial report audit by Elms, Faris and Company during the group's regular meeting on Monday.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m., in the third floor courtroom and the public is invited to attend.

Along with the audit report, commissioners will discuss and take action on Reeves County HIPAA Compliance resolution for the new federal rules on medical records and privacy; will hear LMD architects' request for payment Invoice No. 287-RCDC I; RCI Technologies proposal for fixed asset pricing and fixed asset management programs.

The group will discuss and take action on property bid for property located at 11th and Cedar streets and at 490 E. 5th St.

Other items on the agenda include: inmate transportation crew mileage payments; reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes (RCDC, Juvenile Department, Library Department's, district courts and Reeves County Judges Office); minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

50 Years Ago This Week


Bowen Acquitted in Dist. Murder Trial

30 Minutes in Deliberation

Tom X. Bowen, Ward County deputy sheriff at Pyote, was acquitted by a 109th District Court jury Thursday of a charge of killing Florencio (Chief)Lozano at Pyote March 1, 1952.

Bowen pleaded not guilty by reason of shooting Lozano in carrying out his duties as an officer of the law as well as defending himself.

The jury deliberated for 30 minutes in determining their verdict.

At no time during the trial did the defense take up argument against the prosecution's examination of witnesses. William L. Kerr of Midland, J.A. Drane, Henry Russell, Hill Hudson, and Dick Starley, all of Pecos, were the defense attorneys.

Warren Burnett of Odessa, 70th District Court, and Gus Garcia, special prosecutor from San Antonio, presented the state's case. John P. Dennison, who resigned Thursday as 109th District Attorney, had disqualified himself.

Both Bowen and his wife testified that the deputy had been called to a Pyote cafe to investigate a disturbance. Mrs. Bowen accompanied him and witnessed the shooting.

Bowen said he had taken Lozano in custody and was putting him in his car when "he wheeled and hit me." The deputy said he was knocked down and Lozano was stomping him.

That was when he fired one shot from his .38 caliber revolver at Lozano in self defense, Bowen testified.

Mrs. Moralez To Complete Nurse Studies

Mrs. Eliza Calderon Moralez, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Eligio Calderon of 320 S. Walnut Street, will be a member of the July graduating class at the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing.

White's Auto Stores Celebrate 23rd Year With Gigantic Sale

Miss Cowan Recognized by Telephone Company for 25 Years' Service

Anthon Woods Surprised with Housewarming


Santa Fe System Lines

America's New Railroad

Progress That Pays Its Own Way

FOR SALE: Steer fertilizer, $1 per yard. Now is the time to fertilize your lawn. We also have packing barrels for dishes. Call Crow Packing Company.


PECOS, Fri., June 6, 2003 -- High Thursday 95. Low this morning 63. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 90. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Monday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Highs in the lower 90s.


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Pecos Enterprise
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