Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Class preparing welcome home
By ROSIE FLORES
for Pecos soldier injured in Iraq
Students in an Austin Elementary third grade class are asking the Pecos community to come together and clean up the city and put up their decorations, in preparation for the homecoming of a local hero.
Heather Scheier’s third grade class at Austin Elementary School has been in contact with a Spc. Adrian Herrera, who is serving in Iraq and will be returning home soon after being injured while on duty there.
Herrera is currently being treated at Fort Sam Houston Hospital in San Antonio. The exact date of his homecoming has not been determined yet, but Scheier said they plan to notify everyone through the media, since a big welcome home is being planned by the third grade class.
The class is asking for the community’s help preparing for Herrera’s return. All businesses are being asked to decorate their place of business and to clean up the community in preparation for their hero’s homecoming.
“We are going to be making ribbons to decorate,” said Scheier. “We want everyone to pull out their red, white and blue and yellow ribbons and give him a big welcome home.”
Herrera was injured in a tank accident while serving in the United States Army in Iraq. He is the son of Hazel Herrera and Alfredo Herrera of Pecos.
Reception given Garcia following end of city career
By ROSIE FLORES
A long-time Town of Pecos City employee was honored and bid farewell this weekend during a reception held in his honor at the Saragosa Hall.
Town of Pecos City Utilities Director Octavio Garcia was surrounded by friends and family who wished him well on his retirement from the city after 31 1/2 years of service.
“I actually worked at the city for 32 years, but the first six months were not covered by retirement,” said Garcia.
He began his long association with the entity as a serviceman. His duties included cessation of services, repairs and initial installation. He was then a meter reader and after that worked at the city’s sewer plant.
“I was the waste water treatment plant supervisor and then started working at city hall as water superintendent in 1988,” said Garcia.
Garcia was then named Director of Public Works in 1994 and assistant city manager in 1998.
He holds both water and sewer and solid waste landfill licenses; he has a ‘B’ in water, a ‘B’ in sewer and an ‘A’ license in solid waste.
Over the years he has attended many schools to obtain his licenses. “We have to attend at least one or maybe two a year,” said Garcia.
The city belongs to the Sierra Madera Water Association District and monthly meetings are held in Fort Stockton.
“That’s the district we are in and includes a lot of West Texas cities, such as Fort Stockton, Crane, Grandfalls, Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis and more,” said Garcia.
Garcia said that when they attend the monthly meetings, they are given two hours credit towards certification.
“We also get discounts when we go to these schools and at the motels, for belonging to this association,” said Garcia.
Garcia is currently the president of the association and will become an honorary member of the club next year.
As Director of Public Works, Garcia was responsible for ordering all the materials needed, making sure there was a supervisor during a water leak or a sewer problem at any of the leak stations, making sure the problem was corrected, and most of the times stayed on the scene from start until the job was completed.
“Sometimes it was an all-nighter,” said Garcia.
The job was a 24-hour, on-call, seven days a week job, according to Garcia.
Garcia said that through the years, he has experienced different catastrophes and major water leaks.
“The one that really stands out in my mind, is one that occurred during the rodeo,” said Garcia.
Garcia said that the leak began in the middle of the night and continued throughout the next day. “We worked all night and all day on that water leak, without any sleep for 38 hours,” said Garcia. “We finally had it fixed at 11 p.m.,” he said.
The water leak began with the largest water well being down and two main breaks on 24-inch lines in Ward County, according to Garcia.
“This was about 6-7 years ago and we still remember it, because it happened during the rodeo,” he said.
Garcia plans to enjoy himself now that he is retired and plans to work on his house. “I have a lot of things I want to do around the house and repairs to make, before I decide what my new plans will be,” said Garcia.
Garcia does have one cloud over his retirement, a pending case of illegally entering a time card, stemming from a December 2002 incident. Action on that case was filed in mid-March and is pending in 143rd District Court.
Garcia’s main goal had always been to someday retire from the city. “That was my goal, to retire from the city at an early age and I want to thank the city for keeping me so long and letting me retire,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it and everyone I worked with.”
Garcia also retired from the National Guard after 28 years in 1998, as a First Sergeant E-8.
Now, he plans to spend more time with his family which includes his wife, Prescilla Garcia, also a Town of Pecos City employee.
Garcia has three children, Samuel, Leslie and Robbie.
Indictment against six unsealed in deaths of illegals
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
An indictment against six individuals involved in the immigrant smuggling operation that led to the death of three illegal immigrants has been unsealed, and a hearing for the six has been scheduled for next Tuesday in federal court.
The case was brought to the federal prosecutor’s attention when a semi truck that was transporting six illegal immigrants crashed on U.S. 285 17 miles south of Pecos, killing five people, including the three illegal aliens.
The six indicted were identified as Dewayne Hector Ortiz, Laticia Martinez, Justin Wade Davenport, Marshall John Chamberlin, Lawrence Elmer Pearce Jr., and Gregory James Schottenloher. They were charged in connection with the death of 18-year old Marielena Martinez-Garcia and two other illegal aliens on April 5. The three were riding in a truck driven by 43-year-old Melinda O’Brien of Spring, who also was killed in the five-fatality crash.
The accident occurred a month ago when heavy rains forced the closure of the I-20 bridge over Salt Draw near Toyah. Traffic was rerouted off of the interstate and onto the two-lane U.S. 285 running between Fort Stockton and Pecos.
According Assistant US Attorney Jay Miller, the case is currently focusing on the six individuals named in the indictment who already are under arrest. “The investigation is continuing. We still have some individuals at large, but the case will proceed with the defendants currently in custody,” Miller said.
“We are just trying to figure out who was involved and how they were involved in the incident where the three individuals passed,” Miller said “Whether these individuals are involved in a larger smuggling operation is not know at this time, but if they do it will surely come out in the investigation. We are focusing on this particular incident at this time, though.”
Miller added that due to the differences in the burden of proof that the prosecutors face going from grand jury to trial, the investigation was thoroughly going back and check facts and getting as much information as possible before the trial. “In grand jury proceedings, all that has to be proven is reasonable doubt. However, in the trial the defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so the case must be investigated.
“The next step in the case is to arraign the individuals, after which the court date will be set,” Miller said. He added that based on the information brought to the grand jury, the prosecution was ready for trial, but the more prepared the government’s case is, the better.
Miller said that the decision on whether to seek the death penalty is up to the Department of Justice. “The DOJ will make that decision based on any aggravating factors in the case.”
He added that arraignment was set for next Tuesday, May 11, and a preliminary trial date was scheduled for the week of June 21.
Prayer Day event scheduled Thursday
A National Day of Prayer Observance is scheduled for noon, Thursday, on the north Reeves County Courthouse steps.
Everyone is invited for a 30-minute observance.
PHS planning student send-off for tomorrow
There will be an academic recognition for the BPA National and UIL State Qualifier, Olaide Olusanya and an athletic playoff “Send Off” for the baseball and softball teams at 2:40 p.m., Thursday in front of the school main entrance. The two teams will have playoff games in Andrews Thursday night.
High Tuesday 91. Low this morning 50. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 60. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 60. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 90. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 60.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise