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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Council weighs street shutdown near city’s zoo

Staff Writer

The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss purchase of a new vehicle for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department and a street closing in Maxey Park this evening, when their hold their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Agenda items to be discussed include possible changes to streets in the area of the Maxey Park Zoo, a budget amendment for the purchase of a water tanker truck for the fire department, a budget amendment to purchase water meters, and to approve a new police department policy regarding the use of tire deflation devices.

The council will hear from Tom Rivera on possible changes to the traffic patterns at Maxey Park. Specifically, Rivera is set to propose that the connecting street running between Kid City and the park be closed to allow for more safe pedestrian traffic.

Torres added that he had been out to the park recently and had a close call one time when his adolescent daughter had tried to cross the road in question.

“Tom is proposing a couple of items that will make that park a more convenient and safe place to be. He is looking into opening the restrooms back up, cleaning up graffiti, and closing that cross road,” Torres said.

The discussion of the water meters comes after the city council was presented with a plan from Johnson Controls back in December. The plan called for the replacement of the water meters that the utilities department uses to estimate water usage by city residents. During the presentation, Johnson Controls representative Phillip Lowery estimated that the current meters in use were functioning around 80 percent accuracy. However, with the new meters, Lowery estimated that the accuracy could be as high as 99 percent. At the time some council members voiced opposition to the plan due to the fact that it would take two years to pay for itself and it would mean higher water bills.

Lowery said that funding for the project would be in the form of a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that the project would only require residents to pay for what they use.

City Manager Joseph Torres said this morning that the figures from the study that the council approved in December were in and showed that the accuracy would be at the 99 percent level.

Torres said that the city sent a delegation to Lamesa to look at a previous Johnson Controls project and to receive feed back from the municipal government there over their opinion of the project. He said that everyone he talked to there and some other small towns in Texas, were very pleased with the work that Johnson did for them and highly recommended the company.

“We went to Lamesa on the 14th of April, talked with the city manager and utilities director, and looked at some of the work Johnson Controls had done. In Lamesa they replaced 5000 water meters in around six weeks, and everyone we talked to was very pleased with the work done,” Torres said.

“This will be a performance based contract, so that if the new meters do not perform and delivery the savings promised, Pecos will not be liable for the debt. The contract is very clearly written, and the mayor and Councilman Tellez have both recommended that we get started on the project as soon as possible,” Torres said.

The project will not only replace the aging meters with more accurate ones, but will also include the installation of telemetry equipment that will allow utilities workers to read the meters from inside a vehicle, by basically just driving down the street with a laptop, Torres added.

In other business the council will look a new addition to the police department policy regarding the use of tire deflation devices. Torres said that the department currently had a spike strip, but training and certification standards needed to be laid out.

“The addition to the policy covers situations when the strip may be used and the training that officers must meet before gaining clearance to use the device,” Torres said.

PHS students going to Cincy BPA meeting

Staff Writer

Two students from Pecos High School will be attending the Business Professionals of America 2004 National Leadership Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 28-May 2. Pecos chapter members, Olaide Olusanya and Adam Ortega will join over 5,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in the “Savor Success” conference. The event will include national-level business skill competitions, workshops, certification testing, general sessions, and the national officer candidate campaigns and elections.

“The conference will be the culmination of a school year’s worth of business workforce education and training which members of the local chapter of Business Professionals of America at Pecos High School have received,” said chapter advisor, Judy Holland, who teaches Administrative Procedures and Business Computer Information Systems II. Olusanya will be competing in the JAVA Programming event and Ortega will be an Intern for the Texas Delegation while at the conference.

“I feel really excited and nervous, even though this is my second year to attend,” said Ortega, a senior at Pecos High School. “I feel honored that I get to represent Pecos High School, as well as BPA at the National level.”

Ortega attended the national conference last year as area officer and since Texas was the host state, he helped host the conference. He started serving last year and continued throughout this year.

“Even though I went last year, I still feel very nervous about attending this year,” said Ortega.

His plans for the future include attending Odessa College and receiving his Physical Therapy Assistant’s degree, coming back to Pecos, work here and the surrounding area. Ortega is the son of Angelina and Armando Ortega.

Olusanya is also senior, but will be attending the national event for the first time. “I believe it will be a really good experience and I feel really excited about going,” he said. Olusanya does computer programming for UIL, so he has been busy studying for both. “I’m looking forward to the trip and hope for the best,” he said.

Olusanya is the son of Dr. Olaide Olusanya. He plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin following graduation and major in history or computer science.

“We are very proud of our students at Pecos High School, but we are particularly pleased that these two students have qualified to represent our school on the national level,” said Holland.

Business Professionals of America is a national organization for high school, college and middle school students preparing for careers in business and information technology occupations. The organization’s activities and programs complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school. Business Professionals of America acts as a cohesive agent in the nationwide networking of education and business and industry, and is contributing to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills.

Balmorhea meeting tonight
on new search for Carrasco

Staff Writer

A meeting will be held this evening in Balmorhea to discuss plans to search for a Balmorhea teen who has been missing for almost seven months.

Sixteen-year-old Monica Carrasco disappeared from her uncle’s home in Balmorhea sometime between the late evening of Oct. 1 and the early morning of Oct. 2. Searches were conducted without success in the days and weeks following her disappearance, and a new search of the area around Balmorhea is scheduled for this weekend.

“They’ll coordinate and go over everything ,” said Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Reno Lewis, who is assigned to the Balmorhea area.

Lewis said that the group plans a meeting this evening with all the volunteers.

“They have assigned a command post, which will be at the Balmorhea Fire Station,” said Lewis. “The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., in the Balmorhea High School Gym,” he said.

The search is being conducted after Carrasco’s mother, Kathy Carrasco, contacted The Laura Recovery Center for missing children out of Friendswood, to coordinate a volunteer search for her daughter.

At this evening’s meeting, the community will be introduced to the teams assisting in the search for Monica and learn how to participate in the search.

Volunteer searchers, ages 18 and older, are needed on Friday through Sunday. Volunteers should check in at the Volunteer Fire Department located at Fourth and San Antonio in Balmorhea between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Active searching will end before dark each day. Picture identification is required. Everyone is asked to wear protective clothing and sturdy walking shoes.

“They’ll organize the event and then send people out to different areas,” said Lewis.

Lewis said that the Department of Public Safety is sending a helicopter this afternoon and take a look with GPA coordinates.

“They’ll cover some of the areas we’ve already searched through and they have new areas that they want to cover,” said Lewis. “They have been looking at this and working on it for the past two months and have new areas that they want to explore,” he said. The group is also bringing in four cadaver dogs, a cadaver horse and mule.

“This is something new and we’re happy to have them here,” said Lewis.

The Laura Recovery Center was formed after the abduction and murder of 12-year-old Laura Kate Smither in Friendswood in 1997. Since that time the Center has assisted over 800 families searching for their missing loved one.

If anyone has any questions contact the Laura Recovery Center at 281-482-5723.

Monica Carrasco lived in Alpine, but was staying in Balmorhea at the time of her disappearance. She is described as 110 pounds, black hair with red streaks, brown eyes and 5-foot-5 in height. She has a small mole on her cheek and a chicken pox scar near her hairline on her forehead.

Individuals can call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office at 432-445-4901 or the local Crime Stoppers, 432-445-9898, Midland Crime Stoppers at 432-694-TIPS or 1-800-7-LOCKUP or any local law enforcement agency with any information that might be beneficial to the investigation.

Crime Stoppers would like to stress that callers will remain anonymous and that no caller ID is ever used on a call.


Jose Candelas, Lana Ramsey and Epifanio B. Vasquez

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