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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, February 2, 2004

Chamber awards given to Cerna, Villalobos

Staff Writer
A local doctor graciously accepted the Ruiz Profile in Courage/Hidden Hero Award during the Annual Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet this past Thursday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Dr. Orville Cerna was pleasantly surprised during the awards banquet when he received the award during the annual event, which was one of several awards handed out during the latter part of the evening.

The Chamber's president-elect, Jimmy Dutchover, presented the award to Cerna who said, "To list the accomplishments of our Hidden Hero would take all night. Besides the idea of Hidden Hero Award is a person or group that does work for the betterment of our community with little or no recognition."

"Our selections is always willing to give of his time and money. He provides medical attention to those in need and sometimes those who cannot afford his services. He is unselfish and always wanting others to take center stage when in reality he should be the star of the show," said Dutchover. "This person has a true desire to see people in our community improve their way of life so their children's lives can be improved.

Dr. Cerna said that he had never received an award before and thanked everyone. "I really appreciate this, it's a big surprise," he said.

Also receiving an award on Thursday was Pecos police officer Felipe Villalobos, who was named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2003.

"This award is very special to the officers of this community. It serves as a reminder to them that their work and service do not go unnoticed," said Town of Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney, who presented the award to Villalobos.

Villalobos is a veteran law enforcement officer having served as a Deputy Sheriff for Raul Florez from 1976 to 1992. After leaving the sheriff's department he was hired by the Pecos Police Department in 1993 as a patrol officer.

Villalobos has an Associates Degree in Applied Science from Odessa College and numerous awards and commendations throughout his law enforcement career. He is a lifelong Pecos resident and is committed to his community, according to McKinney.

In 2003, Officer Villalobos received two of the highest awards given by the department. "The first award he received was Patrol Officer of the Year and the second award was for Officer of the Year (Police Division)," said McKinney.

"Officer Villalobos currently holds a Masters Peace Officer Certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education," said McKinney. "He is a dedicated and professional officer and I feel that he is deserving of this award," he said.

P-B-T member may get caught by city's policy

Staff Writer
The announcement last week that a member of the Pecos Police Department would withdraw from the Precinct 1 Commissioner's race due to a conflict with city policy has resulted in questions about the status of another Pecos police officer currently holding public office.

Pecos PD Investigator Armundo Granado announced last week he would withdraw from the race for commissioner in the March 9 Democratic Primary, due to a conflict with city policy for employees. However, another member of the Police Department, Paul Deishler, currently serves as a member of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board. Granado cited the city employee handbook's rule 3.20 as his reason for the withdrawal. The rule states, "As a city employee, you cannot run for any elected office while working as a salaried employee of the city."

Town of Pecos City Attorney Scott Johnson said that he was looking into the constitutionality of the rule, and that "the item will be on the next council meeting's agenda."

"I will look into federal and state law, and possibly seek the attorney general's opinion on the matter before the next meeting," Johnson said.

"If the law is constitutional then either the council will have to amend the rule or Deishler will have to step down," Johnson said. Deishler won election to a full three-year term on the P-B-T school board in May of 2002. He regained the seat he had lost the previous year in a special election, after being appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in August of 2000. He works as the Criminal Investigations Unit Narcotics Officer for the Pecos Police Department.

When asked how the conflict originally came to his attention, Johnson said that he was doing unrelated research and noticed the rule as it applies to elected positions and city employees. While Granado withdrew his candidacy last week, Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean said Thursday that there was a deadline in the election code to withdraw from the race, and that date has passed.

"You only have up to a certain date to withdraw and it was past that date," Dean explained this morning. "We can't take his name off the ballot."

If Granado does happen to win the election, despite withdrawing, he will then have to withdraw from the runoff election. If he were to win over 50 percent in the primary election to avoid a runoff, the party would have to select a new Precinct 1 nominee for the Nov. 2 general election.

Four candidates remain in the Precinct 1 race for commissioner. Incumbent Felipe Arredondo is seeking a fourth term in office and is being challenged by Rogelio "Roy" Alvarado, "Chel" Florez and Robert C. Natividad.

In the Precinct 3 Commissioner's race, incumbent Herman Tarin announced in December he would not seek another four-year term in office, after filing to run earlier in the month. Nine candidates are seeking that position. They are Abel Baeza, Lisa Lopez Boicourt, Rosendo Galindo, Jimmy Gallego, Saul Herrera, Manuel "Manny" Lopez, Joel Madrid, Joseph Peter Rodriguez and Bailey Wheeless.

Pecos is paired with Seminole, Lamesa by UIL

Staff Writer
Two former district rivals of the Pecos Eagles from the 1970s and 1980s will be back in Pecos' district for the next two years, following the release of the bi-annual University Interscholastic League realignment this morning in Austin.

The Seminole Indians, who were last a part of the same district with Pecos in the 1970s, and the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes, who were in the same district back in the 1980s, will be joining the Eagles, Monahans, Fort Stockton, Greenwood and Presidio as part of the new seven-school District 3-3A that will be together for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years.

Seminole and Lamesa already are members of District 3-3A, while the Eagles and their four district rivals are now part of District 4-4A. Kermit, the other current 4-4A member, will be dropping down to Class 2A next year, while the UIL added a seventh team to the district to balance out the football schedule, after Presidio dropped their program completely last April.

Meanwhile, the Balmorhea Bears will see no change to their six-man football district, and only a small change to their basketball district, which will now include two more of their football rivals.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD athletic director and head football coach Patrick Willis was in Midland this morning along with Superintendent Don Love, assistant superintendent Gome Olibas and Pecos High School principal Danny Rodriguez to pick up the realignment packet at the Region 18 Service Center. Willis said last week he expected two schools to be added to the Eagles' district for next year, but wasn't sure about which two would be involved.

Snyder and Sweetwater were the other possibilities, but they were instead shifted into the new District 4-4A, which will also include Abilene Wylie, Clyde and Merkel. Those five schools are all within 100 miles of each other.

In contrast, Pecos now finds itself as one of the more centrally located schools in their new district, with Seminole 125 miles and Lamesa 145 miles to the northeast of Pecos, and Presidio 160 miles to the south. Lamesa and Presidio will face trips of over 300 miles to each others schools for all non-football and other UIL extracurricular events.

Before dropping down to Class 3A, the Eagles spent four years as a member of District 2-4A, where their nearest district rival was Fabens, 175 miles away, which significantly increased the cost of travel for UIL events.

There had been a possibility that Fabens, Clint and the new Horizon City High School would be included in Class 3A, but those schools petitioned to remain in Class 4A despite 3A enrollment, and were granted the right to remain in District 2-4A, which now includes 10 schools and will have only two pre-districts game per season in football. Along with Horizon City, that district will include another new school, El Paso El Dorado, which will only play basketball for the next two years.

Willis said last month he had a tentative pre-district football schedule drawn up, and today's realignment announcement will not affect that schedule. Pecos is tentatively scheduled to play Kermit in pre-district this football season, while Lamesa, who the Eagles had faced in pre-district each of the past two years, was not on the 2004-05 schedule.

Balmorhea's District 6-A six-man football alignment will remain the same for the next two seasons, though enrollment situations could change the number of teams actually participating in football. The Bears again will be paired with Sanderson, Fort Davis, Imperial, Grandfalls, Dell City, Sierra Blanca, Marathon and Buena Vista.

Marathon was unable to field a team last year due to a lack of students, while Buena Vista cancelled its season due to grades and injures midway though the 2003 season. Sierra Blanca was forced to do the same two years ago.

In basketball, the Bears' district number will change - they'll go from District 2-A to District 9-A - and they will also all football rivals Dell City and Sierra Blanca to the mix. Fort Davis and Sierra Blanca are the other teams that will be part of District 9-A in Class A Division II basketball.

Other area changes have Marfa going back down to Class A after petitioning to go into Class 2A the past two seasons. The addition of Van Horn and Fort Hancock will create a new far-West Texas District 8-A, which will also include Wink, Iraan and McCamey. Meanwhile, Kermit will be paired in District 1-2A with Alpine, Tornillo, Anthony and Crane.

The Anthony-Crane trip will rival the one for Lamesa and Presidio as the longest distance between two district teams in Texas. Crane dropped to Class 2A two years ago, but was paired in a district with San Angelo area schools the past two seasons.

The UIL held the top level cutoff between Class 3A and Class 4A schools at 900 students, but one school out of District 4-4A, Levelland, will be dropping down to Class 3A next year. Plainview will replace Levelland in that district, which includes Andrews, Big Spring, San Angelo Lake View, Lubbock Estacado and Frenship.

The Class 5A area districts will remain unchanged, with San Angelo Central remaining a member of District 2-5A for football, while playing with the Class 5A schools in Midland, Odessa and Abilene for all other sports.

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