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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Extension appointments await state, local action

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- Texas Cooperative Extension Service has been unable to fill two positions in Reeves County, the agricultural agent and the family and consumer science agent, but is hoping funding from the state and authorization from Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo will soon allow both positions to be filled.

According to Scott Durham, District Extension Director in San Angelo, one of the reasons for the two positions being vacant is the unstable budget at the state level.

"Up until a short time ago, we were not filling any positions because of the nature of the budget," Durham said.

Brenda Rue, the District Extension Director in Fort Stockton, agreed with Durham saying that from January to May, the service underwent a hiring freeze.

"This is when the Texas Cooperative Extension Service stops any external hiring of positions. The reason for this was to wait and see what the state legislature was to do with the state budget," Rue said.

Both Rue and Durham said that the other reason for the job vacancies was the lack of authorization from the county judge.

"At this point, we need authorization in order to fill the positions," Durham said.

Rue, who is the supervisor in charge of filling both positions, said that many letters have been sent to Galindo, but they have not received any responses.

"We sent one to the county attorney (Luis Carrasco) to give to the county judge. We have faxed several over for him to sign, and we have mailed several letters. All of these letters were the same," Rue said.

Rue also said that Galindo's signature is the only thing required in order to authorize filling the positions.

When the County Judge's office was contacted, they issued a statement stating that the judge had been contacted about the positions for the extension service.

Rue said that the Reeves County Extension Service Agent's position have been left unfilled for roughly six months, since the departure of Terry Holder from the job at the end of December.

The position of family and consumer science agent for Reeves County has been vacant for a year, since the resignation of Marie Cardenas from the job in July of 2002.

"We were trying to get the positions filled before the hiring freeze in January, and have been trying since it ended," Rue said.

According to Rue, both positions provide beneficial assistance to the community.

"The Texas Cooperative Extension Service provides research based education to all of the counties in the state. The agricultural agent handles ag related topics, and the family and consumer science agent handles a variety of topics, such as health concerns and financial management," Rue said.

Rue said that the Extension Service provides assistance to youth and adults to develop leadership skills through educational programs. She said that these programs help maintain leadership roles in the community.

The extension service also provides assistance for community economic development.

"We help to develop ways to draw in tourism. The interstate captures a lot of traffic. Agents are backed with research specialists to assess the community in ways that could help recruit more income," Rue said.

According to Rue, the extension service is a great partner for a county to have. She said that these agents deliver a wide variety of information to the community that can help to help it better itself.

Gomez confident of funding in future years

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- A month after getting a scare about its future funding from state officials, the Trans Pecos Task Force doesn't anticipate any future problems with funding, despite fears expressed by the Permian Basin's other drug task force agency.

"We just received notice that they will fund us for the next year and probably the following years," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

A story in today's Odessa American stated that the West Texas Narcotics Enforcement Task Force will be funded for another year, but it might be the organization's last year in existence.

"We're not worried about being funded in the future," said Gomez. "This is something we have to do every year, is apply each year."

Gomez said that the funding is done annually, and that the local task force has received their funding for the 2003-04 fiscal year. "We'll have to do it again the following the year, but we don't expect any problems, as far as funding," he said.

"As far as we're concerned, we'll keep going and the funding will continue every year as normal," said Gomez.

West Texas Narcotics Task Force Commander Sonia Garcia told Ector County Commissioners that congressional funding of task forces through the Edward Byrne Memorial Fund Program might be dicey as Congress cuts expenditures next year, the American reported.

The Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force received a grant in the amount of $503,106 from the Criminal Justice Division last week. In early June, the task force was incorrectly told by state officials that it would not receive funds for the new fiscal year. The error was corrected the following week.

"We're very pleased and know that we will make them proud," said Gomez. "Officers on this task force work very hard and bring about results."

Both area task forces were formed following the dissolution of the Permian Basin Drug Task Force in 1997. The West Texas Narcotics Task Force was set up by the Department of Public Safety and is now run out of Ector County, while the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force is headquartered in Reeves County and includes Midland County in its jurisdiction.

Car thief eludes police after high-speed chase

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- A report of a stolen vehicle led Pecos Police Officers and Reeves County Sheriff Deputies on a high-speed chase through the west side of Pecos and out to the Lindsey Addition late Monday night, which ended with the suspect eluding authorities for now.

According to the police report, officers were dispatched to the Sonic Drive-In in the 300 block of West Third St. at 11:39 p.m., in reference to a stolen vehicle.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that an employee of Sonic had parked his vehicle on the west side of the parking lot and had left his engine running while he went inside to pick up an item.

"When he came out his vehicle was gone," McKinney said.

Patrol Lt. Juan Vasquez said that the report identified the Sonic employee as a male juvenile.

"The report states that a male juvenile called in reference to stolen vehicle," Vasquez said.

"The vehicle is a 1998 Chevy Z71 pickup."

The report goes onto state that at about 11:54 p.m., Officer Julio Quinones spotted the vehicle out on Yucca Street. At that point officers began to search for the vehicle up and down several of the streets in that area and on the south side of town.

"They located it (vehicle) and it took the officers and deputies onto the south side of town and onto FM 1946, (County Road) 205 and 206," Vasquez said. "However, they could not locate it so it was entered as a stolen vehicle."

Though they did not recover the vehicle or locate the person who was driving it, McKinney said that they do have some suspects and have located some witnesses.

"We hope to ID the suspect and obtain an arrest warrant for him," McKinney said.

Junell sets September sentencing date for Harris

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- The sentencing date for Travis James Harris in cases involving both a firebombing and a carjacking-related murder has been scheduled for 9 a.m., on Sept. 9, by U.S. District Judge Rob Junell.

The sentencing will take place in Midland Federal Court, according to U.S. Clerk's Office records.

Harris pled guilty on April 3 in U.S. District Court in Pecos to firebombing the Monahans Police Department building on June 3, 2002. The sentencing in the firebombing case was continued because of Harris' other trial, in which he was found guilty June 25 of a carjacking resulting in the death of Odessan Paul John Ceniceros.

A Midland jury found Harris guilty of two counts. Count one was carjacking, (taking by force a motor vehicle that had been shipped in interstate commerce). Count two included violent crime, carrying a firearm, which resulted in the death of Ceniceros.

Harris was already in jail on the firebombing charge when he was charged in connection with the May 2002 slaying on Ceniceros.

In the case heard in Pecos, Harris, of Monahans, pled guilty to damaging a building by fire and explosive materials and one count of using a destructive device in causing an arson fire in the firebombing of the Monahans Police Department. The fire, which was started by a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window, did extensive damage to two rooms in the building and forced the police department to relocate to a new headquarters in Monahans.

The sentencing for both the firebombing and the killing will take place at the same time on Sept. 9, in the Midland Federal Courthouse.

Alzheimer's support meeting scheduled Thursday

PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- Alzheimer's Association STAR Chapter will sponsor a Pecos Support Group meeting at 4 p.m., Thursday at the Pecos Senior Citizen's Center, 119 S. Cedar St.

Everyone is invited to attend.


PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 -- High Monday 87. Low this morning 73. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds 15 to 25 mph decreasing to 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Sunny. Highs in the upper 80s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Lows in the lower 70s. Thursday: Mostly clear. Highs near 90. Friday: Clear. Lows near 70. Highs in the mid 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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