Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, August 8, 2003
Natividad glad to be home from Gulf supply detail
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- One young lady from Pecos is happy to be home
safe and sound following her tour in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war,
but feels sad for the families whose loved ones didn't make it back home
or who are still out there.
Rebecca Natividad, arrived in the United States from Saudi Arabia, on
August 1, and reached Pecos on Tuesday.
"I'm happy to be home, but I feel bad for all those who lost a loved
one out there and for those who are still there," said Natividad. "It seems
like there's been more incidents, now that the war is over," she said.
Natividad joined the U.S. Air Force in August of 2001, a month before
the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I was scared out of my mind, because every day something was happening,"
said Natividad. "Sirens were always going off and planes could be heard
day and night."
Natividad said that the first time she jumped out of bed so high. "I
was so stunned I just jumped up and we were always being cautious about
everything," she said.
Natividad was deployed to Saudi Arabia shortly after she joined the Air
Force and completed her basic training.
"They had told me that they wouldn't deploy you until you had served
for two years in the service," said Natividad. "That's not so, we were deployed
Natividad chose to join the Air Force following her high school graduation
instead of going directly to college.
"I knew I needed discipline and if I went to college I would just be
spending my parent's money," said Natividad. "I knew the Air Force could
offer me discipline and I could grow up and earn money for college if I
chose to attend later on."
Natividad said that the experience made her grow up a lot faster and that
she has seen a lot in these past two years, since she joined the forces.
Natividad was sent to the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. "It
was pretty much like a regular base, so I was lucky in that area," she said.
The troop worked six days a week, 10 or more hours a day and later they
worked up to 12 hours. "We worked constantly, but our base had a pool and
a gym, so I was stationed in a pretty good place, compared to others," she
But U.S. troops were still in danger and constantly on alert. "They hit
Riyadh (the Saudi Arabian capital), which is just three miles from where
we were," said Natividad. "We were all so scared, because we were receiving
The base where Natividad was stationed is owned by one of the members
of the Saudi royal family, which was allowing U.S. military troops to use
as a staging area for the Iraq war. "There's really two bases, the first
one is where everybody lives and the other one located close by is where
everybody works," she said.
Buses ran back and forth between the bases. "We went from living in dorms,
to tents and then to trailers," said Natividad.
The sandstorms and the temperature were also a big shock even for someone
who is used to the heat.
"We have dust storms in Pecos, but up there it's sand storms and a lot
worse," said Natividad. "The temperature here in Pecos seems mild compared
to up there."
"When those sand storms came, you couldn't see anything in front of you
and you had to wear these big goggles," she said.
The temperatures at night were usually in the 80s, while temperatures
rose to up about 110 by lunchtime. "Sometimes it got hotter than that,"
Natividad's duties included shipping and receiving different items, and
she also learned how to drive an 18-wheeler.
"We shipped bombs, vehicles, parts and even coffins," said Natividad.
"That was the sad part about it, we had to do all the paperwork on that."
The Riyadh base's staff was made up mostly of men, but everyone became
a family while so far away from home. "There weren't very many girls there,
but we all really bonded and cared for each others," she said.
Natividad became really close with two individuals from her base, another
woman named Alejandira Tavarez, from the Dominican Republic, and a young
man named Leonardo Thomas, from Puerto Rico.
"The experience made me open my eyes and appreciate everything so much
more," she said.
She had to miss her younger brother's graduation back in May, and on
the day that the family was celebrating, she was sitting in front of her
tent crying out of loneliness for her family.
"I'm sitting there in the sand and my family is back home celebrating
my brother's graduation," she said, "I cried so much that day."
Still, Natividad said that she knew when she signed up that that would
be one of the consequences.
"I knew that's what I had to do," she said. "You get used to it, it scared
all of us, but at the same time, we knew that's what we had signed up for."
Right now, she is just enjoying eating her mother's home cooking and
visiting with everybody. "I missed all this," she said.
"I think about all my friends still out there and it kills me because
I wish they could all just come home," said Natividad.
Natividad said that she also cried when she heard the news about the
death of Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Mata during the Iraq war.
"I wish I could have been here and when I saw how people in Pecos came
together for one of their own I was so touched and sad at the same time,"
she said. "I had never seen Pecos pull together for one person and it just
made me cry and I wanted to be here so bad."
Bertha Natividad, Rebecca's mother, said that she felt guilty at times,
because her daughter is home safe, but that other mother's won't have the
opportunity to do the same thing.
"I'm very proud of her, but I feel bad for those other families who
aren't as lucky as we are," said Bertha. "I'm just glad to have her home
and so happy."
She is now enjoying spending time with her family which consists of her
parents, Bertha and Robert, four sisters, Pilar Zamora, Tracy Valles, Marissa
Contreras and Sara Natividad and her brother, Robert Natividad Jr., who has
joined the U.S. Army and will be leaving in September.
Natividad also wants to meet the students who were in Heather Scheier's
second grade class at Austin Elementary School this past school year. The
class "adopted" Rebecca this past year and she received a lot of e-mails,
letters and cards from the group back home.
"I would like to meet them all before I leave and she's trying to arrange
something and so is my mom," she said. "It was great, they made me feel
good, because there wasn't much to do as far as recreation up there."
Natividad said that she and her friends would play cards, go to the PX,
check their e-mails and just "hang out." For security reasons, the troops
were not allowed off the base.
Despite her experience and having to participate in a war during her first
years in the armed forces, Natividad is thinking about re-enlisting.
"I'm still undecided, but I might re-enlist," she said.
She will be heading back to Tampa, Fla., where she will be stationed.
"They run the war from there and everything else is there, until I get deployed
again," she said.
Her experience still hasn't sunk in and she's amazed when people tell
her that she is a war veteran now.
"When we came back to the U.S. they told us we were now war veterans,"
said Natividad. "And for me, it still hasn't sunk in, that I was actually
in Saudi Arabia and that 20 years old, I'm a war veteran."
Drug task force nets 132-pound marijuana bust
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officers were busy
early this morning near Van Horn finding over 130 pounds of marijuana in
a pickup and an SUV on Interstate 10.
At about 1:45 a.m., Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officer Joe Gonzales,
made a routine traffic stop at mile marker 145 westbound on I-10 in Culberson
"The driver of the (Ford) F-150 2001 pickup truck gave me verbal consent
to search the vehicle, following a conversation with her," said Gonzales.
Gonzales uncovered 53 pounds of marijuana hidden in the gas tank of the
"Upon further investigation, we found an additional 79 pounds of marijuana
in another vehicle traveling in conjunction with this individual," said Gonzales.
The other 79 pounds of marijuana was found inside a 1999 Jeep Cherokee.
"That's a total of 132 pounds of illegal drugs taken off the streets," said
Driver of the first vehicle was Cindy Melendez, 32, of Van Horn and the
driver of the second vehicle was her brother, Omar Ray Melendez, 23, also
of Van Horn.
Cindy Melendez was arrested for possession of marijuana over 50 pounds
and under 2,000, a Felony 2, and placed in Culberson County Jail.
"I took her to the jail in Culberson because that is where she was arrested,
while her brother was arrested in Pecos," said Gonzales.
The brother is currently in Reeves County Jail for a suspended driver's
license and will also face charges of possession of marijuana over 50 pounds
and under 2,000.
Last week the local task force confiscated $31,000 in two separate cases,
off of Interstate 20.
In one of the cases, the group confiscated $20,000 and was assisted by
the Attorney General's Office, IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury.
"On Wednesday of this week, two subjects were arrested on I-20, with
numerous stolen items from Wichita Falls," said Gonzales. "Wichita Falls
assisted with that investigation."
"We've had a busy two weeks," said Gonzales. "But this is the first time,
that I do two drugs busts one after another," he said.
RCDC items at special meeting put on agenda
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- Several items discussed and approved concerning
the Reeves County Detention Center at two special meetings over the past
10 days have been placed on the agenda for Monday's regular Reeves County
Commissioners Court meeting.
The group plans to meet at 10 a.m., Monday in the third floor courtroom
and the public is invited to attend.
Commissioners plan to discuss the Federal Bureau of Prisons Intergovernmental
Agreement Modification #7 man-day rate adjustment to $47.33; professional
services contract between Barnes and Thornberg Law Firm; professional services
contract between Public-Private Strategies, Inc., and Reeves County and
potential options for use of RCDC-III.
The items were discussed in two separate meetings held on Wednesday of
last week and Monday evening at the courthouse.
The Pecos Enterprise filed a complaint Monday alleging several violations
of the state Open Meetings Act by the Reeves County Commissioners' Court,
in connection with recent meetings dealing primarily with actions on the
Reeves County Detention Center. The county is seeking inmates for the 960-bed
facility in order to obtain funds to meet bond payments on RCDC III, which
was completed in March.
Enterprise Publisher Smokey Briggs said that he filed the complaint with
Reeves County District Attorney Randy Reynolds, stating that he believed
that the last two meetings held by the Commissioners' Court violated the
law in several ways.
"First, the notice as posted by the Court did not comply with the law.
When an emergency meeting is called the notice has to clearly identify what
the emergency is and neither notice did this," Briggs said.
"Second, a governmental body can only call an emergency meeting to address
a topic that requires immediate action because there is an immediate threat
to public health or safety, or for a reasonably unforeseen situation," he
"I do not see how any of the agenda items on those two agendas qualify
for that exemption."
"The philosophy at the Pecos Enterprise is that the Open Meetings and
Open Records laws were put in place for a reason. The people the elected
officials serve deserve the notice required by law so that they can show
up at meetings and participate in their government," Briggs said.
Reynolds confirmed on Thursday he had received the letter and his office
was looking into the claim.
"When the Commissioner's Court is going to meet and discuss issues of
public business, we must post notice of the meeting at the courthouse and
identify the issues that will be discussed," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy
B. Galindo, in a statement released today.
"Members of the public were calling for the entire Commissioner's Court
to meet and discuss issues concerning the prison," he said.
"No agenda had been posted for such a meeting, as required by law," said
Galindo. "Therefore, I posted legal notice of an emergency meeting at the
courthouse, so that the Commissioner's Court could have a legal meeting
and discuss the issues requested by the public."
"The Enterprise claims that there was no emergency for the meeting, even
though they have been running daily headlines claiming that the prison is
in a state of 'crisis,'" said Galindo. "All of the items posted on the agenda
that the Enterprise is complaining about were related to the state of 'crisis.'"
"Mr. Briggs filed a complaint stating that he did not have sufficient
notice of the meeting. In order to make sure that everyone has a full and
fair opportunity to be heard on this matter, I have re-posted all of the
issues on the agenda for the Regular Commissioners Court meeting on Monday,
Aug. 11, at 10 a.m., on the Third Floor of the Reeves County Courthouse."
Other matters that will be dealt with include discussion of the vacant
Texas Cooperative Extension-Reeves County Extension Agent position; appointment
of a tax assessor to calculate effective tax rate; Reeves County tax exemptions/half
payment options for 2004; property bid for property located at 1100 S. Pecan;
grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office for Reeves
County Juvenile Detention Center; contract agreement between Reeves County
and ProTELL Systems International, Inc., for Electronic Monitoring Services;
and contract agreement between Reeves County and Hays County Juvenile Center.
Items involving work at the Reeves County Detention Center project include:
ACME Electric Company request for payment No. 16 Final -RCDC-III; ABCO Fire
Protection request for payment No. 8 Final- RCDC III; ISI Detention Contracting
Group Inc., request for payment No. 16 Final -RCDC III; Jarratt Dirt Work
and Paving request for payment No. 6 Final -RCDC III; Carothers Construction
Company change order #7-RCDC III; Carothers Construction Company request
for payment No. 20-RCDC III.
School board sets special meeting
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members will
meet in a special meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday in the Technology Center.
The meeting will be held in closed session as authorized by the Texas
Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. Seq., Section
551.074; Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel and Section
551.071: Consultation with the Board's attorney: a. Level III hearing -
Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on
items discussed in closed session.
Weekend highs near 120 seen for Pecos area
From Staff and Wire Reports
With the furnace-like heat baking the state this week, many Texans have
tried to avoid the outdoors as much as possible.
According to the National Weather Service in Midland, the surrounding
areas have also been having the same high temperatures, and the Pecos area
will probably face its hottest temperatures of the year this weekend, with
temperatures around 120 degrees after highs averaged nearly 110 degrees
for the first five days this week.
Thursday's high in the Pecos hit 110 for the third time this week, while
the town of Wink reached temperatures of 108 degrees, Odessa 102 degree
and Midland 104 degrees.
However, weather forecasters predict that tomorrow will be the hottest
day with temperatures over the 110 mark. Temperatures are supposed to cool
down late Sunday afternoon.
By late next week temperatures are to fall even more ranging into the
normal and below normal temperatures, which for the Midland they would be
94 or 95 degrees.
No heat-released illnesses have been reported in the area over the past
week, but state officials are urging residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth
and Houston areas to stay indoors Friday, as dangerously high ozone levels
were expected during the day.
Olibas sues county, sheriff over rival's bond operation
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- Freedom Bails Bond owner Pascual Olivas has
filed a lawsuit in the 143rd Judicial District Court over a bond forfeiture
of $50,000 connected to a four-year-old murder case and the status of a
rival bail bondsman who was involved in that incident.
Those named in Olivas' lawsuit, which was filed on July 30, are Reeves
County Sheriff Andy Gomez, Reeves County and B&M Bonding representative
Lazaro Baeza, who Olibas' suit claims is illegally being allowed to continue
to post bonds in the county.
The lawsuit claims that on or about May 3rd 1999, a final judgment on
a bond forfeiture was entered against Baeza in the 83rd District Court of
Pecos County, Fort Stockton, Texas, in the sum of $50,000 in connection
with a murder case in that county.
The claim goes on to state that the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure,
disqualifies Baeza from writing a bail bond in the State of Texas any person
who has signed as a surety on a bail bond and who is in default on the bond.
It states that despite the fact of the outstanding forfeiture judgment
against Baeza, Gomez, and Reeves County continue to permit him to write
bonds and post them to secure the release of prisoners fro the Reeves County
Jail. This continues to occur despite the fact that Gomez has been placed
on notice of the statutory disqualifications as it affects Baeza.
The suit states that it has been the past practice of Gomez to approve
bond in Reeves County for presentation to sheriffs of other counties, despite
the fact that the $50,000 judgment above occurred on a bond Gomez approved
for the purpose of the securing the release of Fabien Castaneda, an inmate
who was being held at the Pecos County Jail in Fort Stockton.
In his suit, Olivas said he reasonably believes and therefore alleges
that this practice has continued despite Gomez being advised of the outstanding
forfeiture judgment and the provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure,
the claim states.
In asking for temporary and permanent injunctions, Olivas requests that
the court conduct a preliminary hearing as soon as possible and that after
such hearing, the court issue a temporary injunction prohibiting Gomez and
Reeves County from accepting bail bonds from Baeza or anyone else Gomez
knows to be in default with respect to one or more bail bond forfeiture
judgment and that Gomez be prohibited from approving bonds for use in other
counties on behalf of individuals he knows have outstanding bail bond forfeiture
Olivas, who declined to comment further on the suit, requests that upon
final hearing, the court issue a permanent injunction barring Baeza's further
bail bond operations.
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 8, 2003 -- High Thursday 110. Low this morning 74. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 75 to 80. South winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday:
Partly cloudy and very hot. Highs 112 to 115. West winds 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 75 to 80. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs
near 121. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs near 108.
Melchor Chavez, Juan Contreras and Billie Hughes
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
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise