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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, December 1, 2003

Arredondo, Tarin begin re-election efforts

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Dec. 1, 2003 -- Filing for the Reeves County primary elections in March doesn't officially begin for another two days, but two incumbents have already filed their treasurers designation for the Democratic Primary election.

"They can designate a treasurer with the county clerk, but the official date to file will be Wednesday, Dec. 3," said Democratic Party Chairman Robert C. Dean.

Incumbents Reeves County Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo filed his treasurers designation, naming himself as treasurer as well as incumbent commissioner as has Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, who also designated himself as treasurer.

Dean said that to file officially, candidates must file a petition with 50 names or pay a filing fee. "It depends on what they are running for, as to how much the fee is," said Dean.

Along with the Precinct 1 and 3 commissioner positions, other local positions that will be up for election on March 9, are Reeves County Tax Assessor/Collector; Reeves County Attorney; 143rd District Attorney and 143rd District Court Judge.

The District Attorney and District Judge positions cover Reeves, Ward and Loving Counties. Former District Attorney Hal Upchurch of Monahans already has announced his plans to seek re-election to the position he last held 12 years ago. The position is currently held by Randall W. Reynolds.

Both the District Attorney and the District Judge candidates will file their petitions or pay a filing fee in Austin.

Speeding tickets for area highest in I-10 counties

From Staff and Wire Reports

Watch your speed when you're driving on Interstate 10 - despite sparse populations, Pecos and Sutton counties ranked among the Top 20 in the state in number of traffic tickets issued over a three-year period by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Drivers in Sutton County, which includes a 41-mile stretch of Interstate 10 on either side of Sonora, received 17,430 traffic tickets from DPS troopers in 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a survey conducted by the Associated Press. That was the 12th highest total among the state's 254 counties, and was 1,000 more than were issued during the same period to the east on I-10 in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio and three other interstates, and has a population of over 1 million.

Pecos County was also in the Top 20, in 18th place, with DPS troopers having written 16,210 tickets during the three-year period, according to the AP survey. Interstate 10 travels for 99 miles through Pecos County, though the traffic ticket survey included all highways covered by the DPS.

In contrast, Reeves County was ranked only 77th in the state, with troopers having written 7,777 tickets in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The county contains 89 miles of Interstate highways, less than Pecos County, but is the only county west of Bexar to contain two major Interstates, in I-10 and I-20.

Culberson County, which handles traffic from both Interstates after I-10 and I-20 merge in western Reeves County, ranked just ahead of Reeves on the ticket-issuing list. A total of 7,979 tickets were handed out by DPS troopers in three years, putting Culberson County in 72nd place overall.

To the east of Reeves County, Ward County, which includes 39 miles of I-20, ranked 86th on the list, with 7,201 tickets having been written during the three-year span. Under the state law put in effect two years ago, Reeves, Culberson, Pecos and Sutton counties are authorized to allow 75 mph speed limits on Interstate and some two-lane roads due to their sparse populations. Ward County's maximum speed limit remains at 70 mph.

Pecos and Sutton counties were the only two remote areas to make it into the Top 20. Capt. Ron Joy Jr., whose area includes Pecos and the state's largest county, Brewster, said his staff has fewer roadways to patrol out in the Big Empty, with drivers going miles and miles of miles and miles.

"People probably get bored and they're trying to get through as fast as they can," Joy said.

Statewide, the AP survey showed leadfoots tend to hit the gas in greater numbers in heavily populated suburban counties that contain a major interstate highway.

Of the 10 counties that got the most of the 2.2 million tickets handed out during the three-year period, Montgomery County, northwest of Houston, tops the list with more than 36,600.

Parker County near Fort Worth was a close second, followed by other suburban havens - Hunt, northeast of Dallas; fourth; Collin, home to the affluent Dallas suburb of Plano, fifth; and Bell, between Austin and Waco, ninth.

Filling out the top 10 were Hidalgo County in South Texas at third and Brazoria County southwest of Houston at sixth - the only two without major interstates; Houston's Harris County, seventh; Tyler's Smith County, eighth; and Waco's McLennan County, 10th.

"It's a problem," said Tela Mange, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. "It's not just people who live in those areas who use those roads, and when they're in the cities they often get stuck in traffic and feel they're losing time. When they get a little breathing room, they just go, go, go."

The 10 counties with the fewest tickets include San Saba in Central Texas and McMullen in South Texas, each between major interstates; Borden, Cochran, Stonewall, Kent, Foard and Lipscomb in or near the Panhandle, far from interstates; and Terrell and Loving in far West Texas.

Predictably, Loving County, with a population of 67 in the 2000 Census, had the fewest tickets over the three-year span at 17.

That troopers and other Montgomery County law enforcement officers keep a keen lookout for speeders comes as no surprise to Blythe Palamara, a mother of two in The Woodlands who manages to limit herself to one ticket a year. With that, she can take a defensive driving course and pay the ticket fine, but keep her driving record clean so her car insurance rates won't rise.

"On one of my tickets, I was just driving down the road, and (the trooper) was driving in the opposite direction. I didn't know I was speeding. He just turned around, did a complete U-turn, and came after me," she said.

Montgomery County earns its speedy reputation thanks to Interstate 45 on the west side and state Highway 59 on the east, said Scott Markowitz, a Houston attorney specializing in traffic offenses in Houston and surrounding counties. In addition, speed limits of 55 miles per hour in construction zones for Highway 59 expansion projects have been strictly enforced.

Capt. Randy McDaniel, who oversees 42 troopers patrolling Montgomery County, said his area tops suburban counties in fatal accidents as well as speeders. Statistics on fatal accidents from 2000 - the most recent available - show 72 fatal accidents occurred in Montgomery, compared to 20 in Parker County.

"It all becomes a cycle," he said. "We would like to work ourselves out of a job. Unfortunately, I don't think we will."

However, Mange said counties with major cities still have more fatal accidents - such as 259 in Dallas County and 389 in Harris County that year. The state doesn't specify how many such accidents are attributed to speeding.

For all the tickets handed out in suburban Dallas counties, Dallas County itself was 111th among the state's 254 counties. Tarrant County was 55th, while Travis County was a little faster at 50th.

Roy Crooks, who runs a defensive driving course in Fort Worth, said Tarrant County speeders keep him busy, though he gets a steady flow of students from No. 2 Parker County.

"That part of I-20 in Parker County is one of the growing areas between Fort Worth and Weatherford," Crooks said. "It's a nice, great big six-lane highway and people just keep the speed up a bit on a lot of hills. Troopers patrol that area pretty heavily."

Police seize money found in traffic stop

PECOS, Mon., Dec. 1, 2003 -- Pecos police are looking at charging an El

Paso man with money laundering, after almost $10,000 in cash was found in his car following a Wednesday afternoon traffic stop.

Police said that at 2:26 p.m. on Wednesday officer Oscar Machuca, stopped a 1996 green Ford Explorer for speeding while westbound on Interstate 20 in Pecos. Machuca said the driver was overly nervous and gave conflicting stories on the ownership of the car and the purpose of the trip.

The man, an El Paso resident, said that he was returning to El Paso but could not remember the owner of the car's last name. Machuca then asked to search the vehicle. The driver gave verbal consent, and in the search police found $9,600 in cash. The money was found at the bottom of a gym bag in the pocket of one of the pants in the bag.

The vehicle has a Texas registration, belongs to a third party and was not reported stolen.

The money found in the gym bag was confiscated, police said, after the man asserted that the money was not his. Charges are pending against the man for money laundering.

Schools schedule Christmas concert Tuesday

PECOS, Mon., Dec. 1, 2003 -- The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD bands will be performing their Christmas Concert, at 7 p.m., Tuesday in the Pecos High School auditorium.

The concert will begin with the sixth grade band followed by both Crockett Middle School bands, and both high school bands.

Sixth grade band members need to be on stage at 6:30 p.m., 7th and 8th grade band members need to be in the cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is free.


PECOS, Mon., Dec. 1, 2003 -- High Sun. 83. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Tues.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs near 70. South winds 10 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is less than 20 percent. Tues. night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. SE winds 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NW after midnight. Wed.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Wed. night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s. Thursday

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Omar Gomez Zermeno, 21, was arrested on two Texas Department of Public Safety warrants for speeding and display of expired registration on Nov. 28, at 8:04 p.m., at the intersection of Third and Cedar streets


Eric Estorga, 20, was arrested for a Capias warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia on Nov. 27, at 7:15 p.m., during a traffic stop at Veterans Boulevard and Park Street


Stephen Biddinger, 34, was arrested for theft, a Class B misdemeanor, on Nov. 24, at 9:43 p.m., at Wal-Mart based on a call from the store manager to report employee theft.


Juan Portillo, 73, was arrested for public intoxication on Nov. 22, at 7:49 p.m., in the La Tienda parking lot.


Elario Bustamante, 17, was arrested for a Reeves County Sheriff Office warrant for assault on Nov. 22, at 10:38 p.m., at the intersection of Fifth and Eddy streets.


Roy Jimenez, 19, was arrested for interfering with public duty on Nov. 21, at 9:18 p.m., at the intersection of Fourth Pine streets


Timothy John Hendricks, 17, was arrested for disrupting class, a Class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 21, at 10:41 a.m., at Pecos High School at the OCS building.


Elario Bustamante, 17, was arrested on two warrants for possession of marijuana within 1000 feet of a school and possession of drug paraphernalia on Oct. 31, at 7:31 a.m. Bustamante turned himself in at the CJC.


Miguel Mike Palomino, 41, was arrested for public intoxication and on a warrant out of Travis County for driving while intoxicated on Oct. 31, at 5:38 p.m., in the 400 block of Mulberry Street


Lee Anthony Orona, 18, was arrested on multiple warrants on Oct. 30, at 4:42 p.m., in the 400 block of Peach St. The warrants include a Pecos Police Department citation for curfew violation and New Mexico warrants for firing a weapon at a motor vehicle, conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and the unlawful possession of a handgun.


Alberto Prieto, 44, was arrested for public intoxication and on a warrant for parole violation on Oct. 27, at 11:11 p.m., in the 300 block of Sycamore Street.

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