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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, July 18, 2003

Mills sentenced to 10 year term for Leigh death

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 -- A man who initially was believed to have had fired at a fleeing house burglar, but who was later charged with murder, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday after agreeing to a plea-bargain deal on a manslaughter charge.

Reuben Mills, 22, was sentenced to 10 years on the manslaughter charge on Thursday in 143rd District Court in Pecos. Mills was arrested on March 20 by Pecos police and charged in the shooting death of 21-year old Keith Leigh. He was found dead from a gunshot wound to the back two days earlier by officers in an alleyway two blocks south of Mills' house.

Mills, of 325 N. Pecan St., was charged with murder by police, who were originally called to the home at 2:14 a.m. on March 18 on a report of a house burglary. Police said Mills told investigating officers he fired at Leigh as he was attempting to escape from his home, but murder charge were filed two days later following further investigation.

Mills was scheduled to stand trial on the murder charge, but agreed to plead guilty to the manslaughter charge, which carried a lesser sentence.

"Based on the investigation it showed that the shooter and the victim knew each other and because of other facts we do not believe the incident was a burglary," said Pecos Police Lt. Kelly Davis at the time of Mills' arrest.

Leigh's death was one of six shooting incidents reported in Pecos so far this year, and suspects in several of the other cases are still waiting trial dates in 143rd District Court. The other five cases occurred in a five-week period between Memorial Day weekend and the end of June

"In the Missouri Street shooting (at 2223 Missouri St. on June 25) we have made two arrests and are looking for a third," Davis said. "In the East Eighth (shooting on June 20) we have made two arrests, in the Country Club (May 25 shooting) we anticipate to make several arrests and in the (Jonathan) Matta case (a June 28 shooting) we made an arrest and anticipate on filing additional weapon charges."

The May 24 shooting occurred in the 2300 block of County Club Drive. Two alleged gang members were shot and a third person was beaten following an incident on the south side of Pecos.

The incident at 2223 Missouri St., involved drive-by shooting and an attempt to also firebomb the residence, in which no one was reported injured.

Davis said that a June 22 shooting incident out in the Lindsey Addition area is being investigated by the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.

"We believe that the Country Club and the Missouri cases are connected and gang related," Davis said. "The East Eighth incident involved the brother of a gang member and the Matta case is not gang related. Neither was the Mills incident."

Currently neither the Country Club Drive nor the Missouri Street incidents are in the hands of District Attorney Randy Reynolds, Davis added.

Reeves County Lt. Mike Dominguez said that drive-by shooting incident is still under investigation and no arrests have been made.

"Those are Matas," Davis said. "But they are not related to the (Jonathan) Matta incident."

Of the other incidents, one was a June 20 shooting, reported about 10 p.m. at 708 E. Eighth St. When officer arrived at the scene they found a male juvenile with a gunshot wound to the mouth area.

The other occurred on June 30, in which Matta suffered a gunshot wound to the elbow. Five individuals were arrested a short time later in connection with that incident.

"We are working on charges on the Matta case," Davis said. "We have filed charges on the East Eighth incident and I think the DA has that case."

While making arrests in connection with each of the shooting incidents Davis said that they have recovered a lot of illegal and stolen weapons.

"We seemed to have slowed them down their activities," Davis added. "We have not had any gang banging."

Local author gets four-book deal

PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 -- Local author/songwriter Alonzo Acosta has joined forces with Wisdom and Associates in a Joint Venture Project for publication of four books.

"I am very grateful for this opportunity to write full time, as writing is my passion," said Acosta.

The books that are to be published are as follows:

"WHY MEN STRAY" which is an in depth look at why married men do what they do when they are married;

"BATTERED WOMEN" which is composed of four different sections, A., True-life accounts of women who were battered and were able to get out and now lead productive happy lives. B., True-life accounts of both the husband and wife getting counseling and learning how to live a healthy life with out violence. C., True-life accounts of women who were killed by their spouses. And D., Information from police officers and district attorneys as to how to handle a battered situation, and were to go to get help;

"GET CLEAN AND STAY CLEAN", which is an insight to drug and alcohol addiction. It focuses in on the premise that addiction is the masking of the real problem and ways to focus on fixing the problem and not the symptom.

"THE ADVENTURES OF PINKY THE GRAPE" is the fourth book, and is a children's storybook for ages 4-10. It focuses on instilling morals and common courtesy in children.

The joint venture contract also include the recording of audio books on CD format as well as the selling of e-book versions of these books on the Internet.

"We have already bought the equipment necessary to record the CDs." Acosta said, adding that he is well versed in the recording industry as his two brothers Tito, and Tony owned Sounsational Recording Studios, Inc. in McAllen.

"I have gone portable in the recording end of it, as I am able to use my equipment to record anywhere in digital format utilizing my laptop computer," he said.

"I have written all my life, but it was not until two years ago when my son Jacob urged me to get published that I decided to get busy," Acosta said. "I was told by one of the Joint Ventures that to her I was the 'Michael Jordan of writing' and that is why they decided to approach me in regards to investing in me. She liked my website"

On Saturday, Acosta is scheduled to be in San Antonio with Marcela Landres from Simon and Schuster to discuss one of his manuscripts. "I have to admit all this is very exciting and exactly what I have prayed for," stated Acosta. "I will just continue to write what I feel and to paint pictures with words." These are not the only pieces of literature that I am writing, at present I am also working on a play portraying a Chicano family and the dilemmas of getting an education and how it affects that whole family.

Acosta is also heard on Tuesday nights in Odessa on 91.3 KOCV Radio, where he is the host of Blues Street.

Workforce falls, jobless rate rises during June

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 -- Unemployment for both Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City jumped in June, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, as the number of jobs in the city and county fell faster last month than the decline in the number of people in the local workforce.

The TWC said the unemployment rate for Reeves County in June was 12.0 percent. This is up from May's 10.5 percent, but down from the 22.3 percent rate for this time last year, following the closing of the Anchor Foods plant. Out of a 5,527-person labor force, there are 4,866 people who are employed.

Unemployment traditionally has risen slightly in June each year, due to the end of school and an increase in the local workforce. But the TWC's figures show the county labor force went down by nearly 400 workers from May, when 5,949 people were listed by the state agency. Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the county in May was put at 5,327, leaving 622 people unemployed. In June, there were 661 people without jobs, the TWC said.

The unemployment rate for the city of Pecos also rose from May to June. The rate went from 11.9 percent in May to 13.6 percent in June. This is considerably below the 25 percent rate of a year ago, but that is due to a plunge in the city's workforce.

There were 5,699 people in the labor force in June of a year ago and 4,276 with jobs and 1,423 unemployed following the Anchor plant's shutdown. This June, the TWC said the city's workforce stood at only 4,346 people, with 3,754 with jobs and 592 unemployed.

Other area counties also showed their traditional increase in unemployment following the end of the school year, even though statewide, unemployment was reported down last month by the TWC.

Pecos County posted an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent for June. The unemployment rate is up from May's 5.0 percent. Ward County's rate jumped from 7.0 to 8.4 percent, and Winkler County increased from 7.1 to 7.7 percent in June.

Ector County's unemployment rate was also up last month at an 8.0 percent unemployment rate, compared to May's 6.8 percent rate.

The statewide unemployment rate was at 7.5 percent for the month of June. This is up from May, which was at 6.5 percent. This increase is the highest that the unemployment rate has been since September 2002.

However, when seasonally adjusted, the TWC said unemployment dropped to 6.4 percent in June, while the number of manufacturing jobs fell, marking the industry's largest monthly loss since March 2002. The TWC did not seasonally adjust the rates for cities and counties in Texas.

Texas' June unemployment was down from May's 6.8 percent, but was higher than the 6.2 percent figure a year ago.

The unemployment rate, the most widely watched measure of the Texas job market, was adjusted for seasonal patterns in hiring and firing. Most economists believe that adjusted figures give a better reading of the job market by weeding out seasonal changes. .

The Permian Basin WDB said that the unemployment rate should fall slightly next month, as more students find summer employment. Area employment also tends to rise in July, during the height of the onion and cantaloupe harvest season.

The strongest job market in the state was in education and health services, which added 5,300 jobs in June, a second straight increase for the industry.

Government employment grew for the sixth consecutive month, adding 3,200 jobs in June.

Construction also saw an increase, adding 1,100 jobs in June, rebounding from a 1,400 drop in May. The increase is the industry's seventh boost in the past nine months.

Manufacturing lost 6,000 jobs in June. The industry's annual growth dipped slightly, ending a 14-month period in which annual growth rates improved.

Claims for unemployment rose for the second time this year to 173,800 in June. That's up from 171,000 in May. The good news is that the number of claims dropped during the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year. There were 3,900 fewer claims this year.

Following are the metropolitan statistical areas ranked by unemployment rate for June 2003.

Bryan-College Station, 2.9; San Angelo, 4.5; Amarillo, 4.6; Lubbock, 4.6; Abilene, 4.8; Tyler, 5.3; Texarkana, 5.6; Wichita Falls, 5.6; Victoria, 5.7; Waco, 5.7; Killeen-Temple, 6.1; Austin-San Marcos, 6.2; San Antonio, 6.2; Odessa-Midland, 6.6; Fort Worth- Arlington, 7.1; Longview-Marshall, 7.5; Houston, 7.6; Corpus Christi, 7.7; Sherman-Denison, 7.8; Dallas, 7.9; Laredo, 8.5; Galveston-Texas City, 9.2; Brazoria, 10.3; El Paso, 10.5; Beaumont-Port Arthur, 10.7; Brownsville-Harlingen, 11.9; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, 14.2.

Dairy Queen holds Saturday car wash

PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 -- A Car Wash is scheduled for 9 a.m., Saturday at Dairy Queen, 1226 S. Eddy St.

The fundraiser will benefit the Children's Miracle Network.

Cars to be washed will cost $8; trucks, $10 and suburbans, $12.


PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 -- High Thursday 94. Low this morning 71. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 100. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 100. Monday: Mostly clear. Lows near 70. Highs in the upper 90s.


Raymond Brown, Beverly Hardy, Elvia Reynolds and Melba Talley

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