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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, April 26, 2004

Weekend hunt for missing teen comes up empty

Staff Writer

An expanded search effort over the weekend for a teen missing in southern Reeves County for almost seven months failed to uncover any new clues.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said the search failed to find any new information about the disappearance of 16-year-old Monica Carrasco. The Alpine resident was staying at her uncle’s house in Balmorhea when she vanished sometime between the late night hours of Oct. 1 and the morning of Oct 2.

Earlier searches failed to turn up any evidence, and the latest effort, which began on Friday and continued through the weekend, was supervised by the Laura Recovery Center Foundation of Friendswood, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies. Gomez estimated the number of participants at 45, with sheriff’s deputies, Texas Rangers and game wardens directing a large group of volunteers as they searched areas around Balmorhea, Toyahvale, the state park, cemetery and Carrasco’s residence. Gomez added that he was still hoping to find the girl alive.

“If we haven’t found her yet, maybe she did run away and one day she will call and let us know she is alright,” he said.

The sheriff added that the volunteers were very professional and worked very hard during the search effort. “We stayed out there until around six yesterday,” Gomez said of the search that began Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Search dogs and volunteers came from around the state and from neighboring states as well. “We had a lot of volunteers from many different places, and we even had a cadaver (sniffing) mule and horse.”

Bob Walcutt, executive director of the Foundation, said on Thursday that search dogs from the Houston area and Louisiana would also be used in this weekend’s effort. “If Monica is out there, we want to bring her home. If not, at least it eliminates some of the search area,” Walcutt said.

Residents told to ‘bee aware’ about swarms

Staff Writer

Reeves County and Town of Pecos City emergency management personnel have been kept busy over the past couple of weeks responding to calls of swarming bees in the Pecos, Toyah and Balmorhea areas. But officials can’t say whether or not any of the bees they’ve dealt with have been of the Africanized variety.

Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera donned a beekeeper’s hood and gloves this morning to spray a nest of bees that had made their nest in one of the trees next to the club house at the Reeves County Golf Course. “We’ve had about 10 calls in the last two weeks, including one in Balmorhea,” Herrera said.

“Yesterday they called me about one in Toyah, but they had left before we got there.”

Reeves County had remained off the state’s Africanized bee quarantine list for a number of years after the “killer bees” had shown up in neighboring counties in Texas and New Mexico. But the county was added to the list last year, after a nest of Africanized bees was discovered in an abandoned home in the 300 block of South Cypress Street.

The Africanized honeybees are more aggressive their European counterparts, and when disturbed will attack targets over extended distances. The bees were created and accidentally set free during a scientific experiment in Brazil in 1957, and made their way northward over the next three decades, before arriving in Texas in the early 1990s.

Herrera said of the swarms they’ve handled so far, none have shown any unusually aggressive patterns. But he added, “They tell us they’re not real aggressive in the springtime. They’re just moving around right now trying to find a place too build their nest.”

“They bothered the golfers at little bit at the tournament,” said golf course greenskeeper Peter Mora, referring to Sunday’s Sadie Hawkins Tournament at the course. “They were out and about, but no one was affected.”

Herrera said even if the bees had acted more aggressively, they can’t determine by sight or behavior whether or not they’re definitely Africanized bees.

“We don’t know yet. What we do is anytime we kill off a swarm, we take samples and send they off to get analyzed and see if they’re Africanized,” he said.

With the number of calls in recent weeks about bee swarms, Herrera reminded area residents to be careful if the discover a swam of bees.

“If they do see something, call the city or county,” he said. “If they see something like this, stay away from them.”

Suit wants Pecos fish declared endangered

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday that seeks to have four small invertebrate animals that live in the Pecos River basin of New Mexico and Texas designated endangered species.

The lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and Forest Guardians was filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

The four species are three types of tiny snails - the Roswell springsnail, Koster's tryonia and Pecos assiminea - and a freshwater shrimp called Noel's amphipod.

All four are found within the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Roswell, N.M. The Pecos assiminea also is found in the Nature Conservancy in Pecos and Reeves County, Texas.

The lawsuit contends the survival of the four species is being threatened by groundwater depletion, water pollution, oil and gas development and destruction of their habitat. The lawsuit says that in February of 2002, the defendants proposed to list the four species as endangered and to designate critical habitat, but have yet to make a final determination within the one year period prescribed by the Endangered Species Act. Designation of the fish as endangered could lead to stricter regulation of water flows and water releases for irrigation along the Pecos River in Texas and New Mexico.

Drought conditions in both states have led New Mexico officials in recent years to buy up water rights in Southeastern New Mexico to meet water obligations to Texas, and have prevented water releases to farmers in Texas over the past two years.

Balmorhea HS students going to BPA event

Two Balmorhea High School students will be going to the Business Professionals of America’s National Leadership Conference in Cincinnati later this week.

Lorissa Rodriguez and James Tarin will both be attending the conference due to their recent election to legislative posts within the regional BPA chapter.

Rodriguez was elected Area 4/Region 2 president at the competition in Midland on January 31, and Tarin was elected state sergeant at arms at the competition in San Antonio on March 6. Both students will attend the national conference this Wednesday though Saturday, where they “will fulfill numerous duties as state and regional officers.” The BPA elections were held along with the regular BPS team competitions between area schools. Tarin and Rodriguez, along with other Balmorhea students, competed in the regional conference, and several placed in the top three, qualifying them for the state competition.

The Parliamentary team consisting of Tarin, Rodriguez, Levon Barragan, JoGina Gallego, Ismael Rodriguez and Jamie Gallego, placed first at regionals, and went on to place ninth out of 30 teams at state.

Individual winners at the regional competition were Daniel Tarin, 1st place in Desktop Publishing, James Tarin, 1st place in Verbal Expressions, Levon Barragan, 3rd place in PC Troubleshooting, Ismael Rodriguez, 2nd place in Microsoft Administration, and Jose Rodriguez, 6th place in Financial Math and Analysis.

School board to discuss turf, superintendent survey report

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members will hear the results of a leadership profile report by the Texas Association of School Boards, and will open bids again on the Eagle Stadium artificial turf project, during this evening’s special meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board.

School board members will meet at 6 p.m., today, in the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy and the public is invited to attend.

The board will listen to a report from TASB, based on several meetings the group had with the local teachers, community members and school personnel, on what they want to see in a superintendent to replace Don Love, who is retiring at the end of the current school year.

“We want to talk to as many people as possible about what you feel is important in your superintendent,” said TASB employee Don Killough last Monday, during a special school board meeting.

The search for a new superintendent began in March and the board opted to hire TASB to help in that search and to bring a qualified individual to the district.

In other business, board members will receive briefing and recommendation from staff concerning ranking and ranking process on the competitive sealed proposals for football field synthetic turf and track renovations and take appropriate action.

The board’s discussion and possible action on the proposals for the football stadium synthetic turf and track renovations comes after they rescinded the awarding of the contract earlier this month to ProGreen, off Louisiana. ProGreen was awarded the $499,950 bid to install artificial turf at the football stadium in March, but were unable to obtain a bond or an alternate bond,” Love said on April 8.

P-B-T architect Monte Hunter said Pro-Green also was to have done structure coat on the existing PHS track for $40,000.

The group will receive one and a half hours board training credit for the TASB salary study.

Rabies shots given for $10 Saturday by Animal Clinic

The Pecos Animal Clinic will sponsor a Rabies Shot clinic from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., Saturday in the clinic parking lot.

Rabies shots will be $10, (free dog dipping with the rabies shot) and all other vaccinations will be available at the regular price.

The group will also be in Balmorhea, at the Balmorhea Fire Hall, from 9 a.m. until noon, Saturday, May 15.


High Sunday 86. Low this morning 59. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms. Lows near 50. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs near 80. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 90. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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