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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Tree lighting set for tonight after repairs made

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- After some costly last-minute repairs, the Christmas lights are all in place at Maxey Park for this evening's Community Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, sponsored by the Pecos Rotary Club.

The fourth annual event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the northeast corner of the park. "Each year we've increased it a little more, and this year will be the biggest so far," said Rotary Club member Jean Wingett. "I can't wait to see it in the dark."

This year's display includes animated reindeer and sleds placed along the Interstate 20 service road to the west of the Christmas tree site. But those new decorations almost didn't make it to tonight's ceremony, after a driver coming off of I-20 on Saturday lost control of his pick-up and crashed into the display, damaging much of the lighting.

"We had to replace 200 strands of lights, six deer and rope lights. We used about 700 feet of those," said George Dominguez, who was helping set the tree lights and other decorations in place this morning. "What we had to do was replace all of the electrical work. As far as money goes, it was about $2,000 in damages, and a considerable amount of labor, but it's up and running."

Rotary member Leo Hung, who has supervised the lighting event for the club, said a new utility pole also had to be put in place to power the lighting display. "We just barely got it going this morning," he said.

Wingett said this year's ceremony would include a National Guard presentation of colors for the National Anthem, along with performances by mariachis and songs by students from Austin Elementary as part of the ceremony. "Afterwards we'll have hot chocolate and cookies for everyone," she added.

She said police would also be in the area to direct traffic around the site, which was a problem during last year's ceremony.

The lighting event will conflict tonight with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD's annual Christmas Concert for sixth grade, junior high and high school bands. "I hope everybody comes out here. The ceremony won't last more than 30 or 40 minutes, then they can go to the band concert, or one parent can go here and the other can go there," Wingett said.

Alaskan motorist dies in I-10 accident

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- An Alaska man was killed and an Oregon woman was slightly injured in a one-vehicle accident that occurred on Interstate 10 near the I-20 junction in southwestern Reeves County Monday afternoon.

The one-vehicle rollover happened at 1:47 p.m., on I-10 at Mile Marker 191, about 15 miles west of Balmorhea, according to a report filed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon was the driver of the 1991 Toyota Forerunner, Lucaus Paul Sulkocky, 24, of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Sulkocky was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m. and his body taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home in Pecos.

Injured in the accident was Rebecca Marie Gal, 23, a nurse from Beaverton, Oregon. She was transported to Reeves County Hospital and treated for scratches and bruising. Gal is in good condition.

According to the DPS report, the Forerunner was traveling east on I-10, when it approached a slight curve. The vehicle entered the center median and the driver overcorrected. The vehicle rolled over and Sulkocky was ejected, suffering fatal injuries in the process.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Gordon Schneider of Balmorhea is investigating the accident.

Ortiz working private security job in Iraq

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- A Pecos resident and Pecos High School graduate is currently in Baghdad working for a government-contracted security firm protecting sites being used by U.S. military and other workers from the U.S. and other nations.

Joseph L. Ortiz, the son of Joe and Linda Ortiz of Pecos, has been in the Middle East since spring of 2003. He is a 1994 Pecos High School graduate and a United States Marine Corp. veteran, who worked with the Reeves County Jail and the Reeves County Detention Center before going to work overseas for private security companies.

Ortiz began his Mideast employment at United States Central Command, (USCENTCOM) in Qatar, located south of Iraq in the Persian Gulf. After some months, he contracted with another security firm that took him to Iraq.

In a message to his family, Ortiz said he was flown from Saudi Arabia to Amman, Jordan. He and a few others stayed there a few days before Iraqi contractors picked them up, and were driven through Iraq to Baghdad International Airport, where he is now based.

His new job has also taken him to downtown Baghdad, performing fully armed security in hotels and some of the palaces of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Ortiz has been in weekly contact with his family through the Internet, his father said.

"He enjoys his work, and has always been a hard worker," said Joe Ortiz. "He exclaims that his work is exciting and challenging."

While in the Mideast, Ortiz was interviewed live by a major Spanish TV station, which was seen by many in Pecos in April of this year. He recently was photographed and interviewed by a top news magazine for an article, which is yet to be published.

In a letter his family just received, Ortiz says not to believe everything you hear about the Iraqi people. Most are very grateful that the Americans are there helping them to reform the country, and that the Iraqi people that he has met are wonderful, and he enjoys working with them on a daily basis.

Some of the Iraqi people have told Ortiz some gruesome stories about how in the past, people were murdered and tortured for nothing, sometimes for pleasure, according to the elder Ortiz.

"We are very proud of our son, and in what he is now doing, we know that his job is dangerous along with the dangerous job that our military is performing, and we know that they will all make an impact on the lives of the Iraqi people," said Ortiz.

The younger Ortiz sends greetings to all, and especially to all his friends, the Reeves County Sheriff's Department, the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Detention Center, and encourages everyone to support our troops.

Ortiz is planning a short return to Pecos for the holidays, before resuming his security job in Iraq. He was just made supervisor of about 40 employees, made up of both Americans and Iraqis, his father said.

After his stay in Iraq, Ortiz is to go on assignment to the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, where officials have been concerned about security for the Games, which will be held next August.

Public briefing on new housing

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos will be holding a meeting at the community center Wednesday at 3 p.m. to inform local residents about the new Pecos Single Family Subdivision located in the 800-900 blocks of West Washington Street.

The first of the new homes, which will provide new housing for low- and middle-income families, has just been completed behind Gibson's Tru-Value, at the corner of Washington and Johnson streets. The city is hoping to build as many as 20 homes on the site, for which streets and utilities were put in last year.

The meeting is open to the public and the contractor and a U.S. Department of Agriculture representative will be on hand to answer questions from interested parties about assistance with financing the new homes.

Tours will be available to those who would like to see the finished unit. The tours will leave out from the community center and be guide be a project representative, with transportation provided by the city.

Christmas parade, courthouse lighting planned

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- The annual Pecos Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade and the Reeves County Courthouse Christmas Lighting Ceremony are both scheduled for this coming Friday.

The parade will begin at 6 p.m. in front of Pecos High School on South Park Street, and will travel north of Eddy Street to Third Street, and from there east to Oak Street, where it will turn back south and end on the west side of the courthouse.

The courthouse lighting ceremony will follow, beginning about 7 p.m.


PECOS, Tues., Dec. 2, 2003 -- High Monday 66. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 40. South winds 10 to 15 mph shifting to the southwest after midnight. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 70. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. East winds near 10 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. Light and variable winds. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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