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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, August 4, 2003

County meeting set opposite RCDC Town Hall


Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 4, 2003 -- The town hall meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening to discuss recent developments at Reeves County Detention Center will take place as planned, Pecos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Gholson said, despite an emergency meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court, called by County Judge Jimmy Galindo for 6 p.m. today at a different location.

The county is seeking inmates to fill up the 960-bed facility, after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons refused to provide more inmates, to go along with the 2,000 currently housed at RCDC I and II. Funds from housing the inmates were to be used to meet bond payments on the $40 million facility, which was completed in March and has its first bond payment due on Sept. 1.

Since RCDC is a county project, Galindo would be the best source of information on the recent problems.

"A town hall meeting was recommended by the county's Washington, D.C. legal counsel Joe Summerhiel, " Gholson said. "I was surprised when Judge Galindo's court did not schedule such a meeting during the regular county commissioner's meeting last Monday. When they did not I mentioned it and all of the commissioners and the judge agreed to attend and tell our citizens exactly what is going on."

Gholson said that this morning Galindo called her office at 8:40 a.m. to inform her that he was moving the meeting to the courthouse.

"He said he was going to post an agenda for the emergency meeting to be held at the courthouse because it is community business and it needs to be at a community building," she said.

"He also said that the meeting was just going to be a circus, and I still do not understand what he meant by that."

Items due to be covered in the "Special Emergency" meeting in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse include discussion and possible action on the Federal Bureau of Prisons Intergovernmental Agreement Modification #7 and the man day rate adjustment to $47.33.

A public comments session will follow these discussions, and five-minute presentations will be done at this time.

Commissioners also will discuss potential options for use of the RCDC III: present formal proposal to Bureau of Prisons, follow-up on U.S. Department of Homeland Security Contract, continue to acquire United States Marshal prisoners and pursue State of Arizona prisoners.

Gholson said that she had contacted both Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney and Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and that both had promised to have officers on hand at the civic center to remove any citizens who were disorderly.

Gholson said that the planned meeting would be orderly.

"There will be a time limit for each person to speak and we ask everyone to refrain from abusive language and that there be no outbursts. Anyone who does not abide by the rules will be removed," Gholson said.

Gholson said that the legality of the town hall meeting had been questioned.

"There was a question about whether such a meeting would violate the Open Meetings Act, since a quorum of the commissioners court would be present at a meeting that was not posted," she said.

Gholson said that she had spoken with John Fuller, an attorney for county affairs with the state attorney general's office and that Fuller had assured her that as long as the meeting was an informational meeting that it did not violate the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Gholson also said that she had spoken with Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, and that he was planning on attending the meeting.

"There will be a town hall meeting tonight at 6 p.m. and all citizens of the area are invited to attend," Gholson said.

Cousin of fallen soldier returns home

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 4, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City continues to welcome home local heroes as they come in from serving this country in Iraq Friday afternoon.

The Pecos Police Department and Reeves County Deputies escorted United States Marine Corp, LCPL Steven Marruffo, 20, family and friends brought him into town, after his deployment to Kuwait during the recent war in Iraq.

Marruffo said that he wasn't in the area where the most serious fighting occurred while stationed mostly in Kuwait, which served as a southern staging area for U.S. troops bound for Iraq. But he added there were some nervous moments.

"I wasn't in any danger but there were a couple of scares several times," Marruffo said. "But we got through it."

Marruffo is the cousin of Ruben Estrella-Soto a member of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, who died when the convoy he was riding in was ambushed on March 23 in southern Iraq. Estrella-Soto's father lived in Pecos for 10 years and he still has family members in the area, including Marruffo.

In reference to the two fallen soldiers with Pecos ties, one being his cousin, Marruffo said that he did not know anything right away.

"I actually found out through a magazine this guy was reading," Marruffo said. "He asked me if I knew this guy (Johnny Mata) from Pecos." Mata also was killed in the ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company.

He said he then read the article and saw his cousin's name, his Gunny then asked him if he knew him. Marruffo then responded that it was his cousin and at that point he was given permission to call home.

"I tried my best not to think about it," Marruffo said about the loss of his cousin. "If you think about it, it just makes the day longer."

Marruffo said that what got him through his deployment was just taking things one day at a time.

"I did not find out I was being deployed till the day before I was deployed," he said.

His deployment consisted of six months total, with one month in Iraq and five in Kuwait.

"I did my job," Marruffo said. "We went out there and we did what we had to do."

Marruffo's job is in embarcation.

"That means when we deploy I load all the equipment that is needed," Marruffo said. "And I separate it when we land."

In order to keep their spirits up, he added that they would find anything to do such as travel to other military camps for entertainment.

"We would go to the Army camps because they had better stuff," Marruffo said. "They didn't like that much."

Receiving mail also helped raise their spirits, Marruffo said.

As for returning back home, he said that it felt good to be back.

"The best part of being back home is seeing everybody again," Marruffo said. "And eating the food."

He added that he was not expecting all the new media when he arrived.

"I was only expecting my mom and dad to be there," Marruffo said. However, to his surprise KWES Ch. 9 also was there to record his return home.

When he arrived in Pecos not only were two Pecos Police officers and three Reeves County deputies waiting for Marruffo, so was his little nephew, Rey Anthony Muniz.

Muniz said that he was happy that his uncle was home and could not wait to play with him.

"We are going to play whatever he wants to play," Marruffo said. "He's the best tio (uncle) and he's also the tallest."

Marruffo, a 2001 Pecos High School graduate, joined the Marines because for him it was something he always wanted to do.

Marruffo is not the only member in the family in the military, his older brother, Jesus, is a member of the United States Army.

"He was not deployed," Marruffo said. "He was actually going to join the Marines but the Army took him first."

Stationed at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base north of San Diego, Marruffo said that he would be returning to the base on August 18.

He is he son of Israel and Hortencia Marruffo. Marruffo has two brothers Jesus, Joe Anthony Marruffo, three sisters, Dianna Muniz, Veronica and Olivia Marruffo and two nephews, Rey Anthony Muniz and Aaron Shae Mendoza.

Estrella-Soto was returned to El Paso for burial in April, while Mata was buried in Pecos. Other soldiers that have returned from deployment were Eddie Lujan, Adam Seijas, Mark Abila and Mario Villescas.

Several hours before Marruffo was escorted into Pecos, by local law officials, Nathan Lujan was also welcomed home with an escort.

City joining "National Night Out" on Tuesday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 4, 2003 -- The Pecos Police Department's Community Officer Mike Balog hopes that everyone participates in Tuesday's 'National Night Out' as part of an effort to reestablish the city's Neighborhood Watch program.

"August 5th is National Night Out," Balog said. "It is a time for the community and law enforcement officials to come together."

During tomorrow's events, Balog said that they hope to fingerprint as many kids as possible at the block parties. The fingerprints can then be used to locate a child if they turn up missing.

An identification kit would also be handed out so that parents could have IDs for their children.

The Citizens Police Alumni Association will also be at Wal-Mart from 7 p.m. till 9 p.m., to hand the kits out to those not involved in the block parties."

Balog said that the Town of Pecos City had the Neighborhood Watch program in place about 12 to 15 years ago and the signs are still up.

"The signs are still in place," Balog said. "But there is no organization."

Currently Balog said that he has 12 groups forming.

"The Neighborhood Watch program is a crime prevention program that is designed to reduce neighborhood crimes," Balog said.

In re-establishing the organization, Balog hopes that it will help in the lowering crime rates in Pecos.

"It is extremely important because of the raise in the crime," Balog said. "The community can help in putting a stop to the crimes. And those willing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers."

He added that there are not enough patrolmen for every neighborhood.

"This will also help in getting to know your neighbor," Balog said. "They could look out for each other."

For more information contact Mike Balog at 445-4444 or go by the Criminal Justice Center.

Kindergarten sets registration night

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 4, 2003 -- Pecos Kindergarten will be having a formal registration and meet the teacher night on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

Parents and guardians will have an opportunity to tour the campus and bring the students meet their teacher.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 8.p.m.

Individuals can also register their children any day from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and from noon until 4 p.m.

Parents visits are welcome and they can call the school at 447-7258 for more information.


PECOS, Mon., Aug. 4, 2003 -- High Sunday 110. Low this morning 75. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 70s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy with isolated afternoon thunderstorms. Highs near 101. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows near 70. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 90s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Highs in the mid 90s.


Rosa Rodriguez and Marguerite Dubbs

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