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Archive 2004

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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 14, 2004

Police arrest two in connection of burglaries

Staff Writer

One individual has been arrested in connection with a string of vehicle burglaries that occurred recently, while another was arrested during a burglary attempt.

On May 8, approximately 10-11 vehicle burglaries were reported to the Pecos Police Department and Sgt. Olga Lopez was assigned to these cases as the lead investigator. On May 13, Lt. Paul Deishler, Sgt. Armando Granado and Investigator Lopez conducted an interview with Ivan Torres, who was a suspect in the recent vehicle burglaries.

“Torres provided a confession in reference to the burglaries and provided information to where a majority of the stolen property was hidden,” said Deishler.

Most of the property taken in the recent burglaries was recovered and Torres was placed under arrest for the offense of Theft over $1,500, but less than $20,000, a State Jail Felony, according to Deishler.

“The investigation is pending with a possible arrest of another suspect connected to the burglaries,” said Deishler.

Torres is currently in the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, awaiting arraignment. The second incident occurred today at 3:34 a.m.

Officer Juan Prieto, Jr. was on patrol in the 700 block of West Third Street, when he observed a suspicious vehicle parked adjacent to a business located in the 700 block of West Third.

Prieto detained a female that was in the area of the vehicle.

“After conducting an investigation Officer Prieto discovered stereo equipment in the trunk of the vehicle,” said Deishler.

During Prieto’s investigation he discovered an open door to a stereo business in the area, according to Deishler.

“The owner of the business was contacted and it was revealed that several pieces of stereo equipment had been removed from inside the business without the owners consent,” said Deishler.

Deishler said that he was contacted to assist with the investigation.

“We then went to a residence located in the 500 block of South Hackberry and at this residence the stereo equipment taken from the business was recovered,” said Deishler. Albert Contreras was placed under arrest for the offense of Burglary of a Building and taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

“One more arrest is pending in connection with this burglary,” said Deishler.

New Care Star copter visits Pecos

Staff Writer

Care Star conducted the maiden voyage of its new helicopter this morning, after temporarily ceasing flights after the March 21 crash of helicopter designated as N502MT.

The replacement is the same make and model of the one that went down almost two months ago, killing four of the passengers and sending a fifth to the hospital for seven weeks.

Care Star Director Bill Webster said that today’s flight was a “goodwill tour to let the facilities that have supported us for so long know that our services are resuming. Patient care will resume tomorrow.”

The helicopter landed at 11:15 a.m. at Reeves County Hospital to a crowd of hospital staff, excited about the reinstitution of the program. Onlookers were treated to a tour of the new aircraft by Emergency Rood Director and Program Director Cece Wilmes. The crowd was shown the new features on the helicopter as Care Flight Base Manager and Lead Pilot Gary Schwulst related the details of this morning’s tour.

“We left Odessa this morning and flew into Alpine. The trip here took us about 30 minutes, and the next stop is going to be Fort Stockton, which should take us around 20 minutes to get there,” Schwulst said.

The new helicopter arrived in Odessa on Tuesday, and cost around $2 million. Care flight was in service for nine months, before the incident occurred. According to Schwulst, the program is not altering its procedures in light of the crash.

“We’re not going to change anything we have done from day one. We operated, in my opinion, one of the safest EMS programs. We never did anything unsafe. We never pushed the envelope.”

Schwulst added that the pilots are ultimately responsible for the decision whether to continue a flight in bad weather, but “we have a policy that basically states ‘if you have a seat, you have a voice.’ If any one in the aircraft is uncomfortable with the current weather conditions, their opinions are taken into consideration with as much validity as anyone else’s.”

The doomed flight left Alpine on March 21 heading to Odessa. According to the DPS report from the crash, the helicopter lost contact with its home base around 2:19 a.m. that morning.

The flight was intended to transport Ana Lillia Urias’ son to Medical Center Hospital for treatment for respiratory distress.

Weather conditions were less than favorable that night, with thunderstorms and high wind gusts menacing the area that night.

The pilot, the paramendic, Urias and her child died that night when the helicopter lost control and flew into the ground. Flight Nurse Ronald Stephens was the sole survivor of the flight. He was discovered by wreckage searchers, four hours after the crash.

School board hears more on turf,
congratulates Teacher of the year nominees

Staff Writer

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members heard a report on the football field synthetic turf and track renovations during their regular meeting held Thursday evening in the Technology Center.

“They should be getting started on this project after graduation,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

Total contract price for the turf, the track resurfacing and all associated work will be $517,000.

The existing track and field surface will be resurfaced with latex track surface instead of polyurethane. Latex track will be installed in two layers of SBR rubber, with a minimum five pounds per square yard per layer, and installed to the recommended specifications of the United States Tennis Court and Track Builders Association.

Board members approved Pecos High School summer summer classes, but did listen to a letter written by Jamie Crisp during the audience portion of the meeting, in regard to the agenda item.

Crisp wrote: “While the board providing free summer school to all students is a noble and commendable gesture, we must look at the far-reaching effects of this policy. Providing free summer classes to students who have failed and need to make up the credits does not create problems. However, providing free classes to any student for any course offered, even though the student is not lacking in credits to graduate, creates several problems.

First, this practice skews the true picture of the number of teachers needed during the regular school year by making the total number of students needing these classes lower than the actual numbers that should be in the classes. This is especially true for English classes.

Second, we need to recognize the fact that while summer school classes are necessary to enable students to graduate on time, no one can argue that in one month of summer class sessions can teachers possibly cover or students learn the same amount of material or information or as indepth as is material taught during the regular school year.

Third, students who take summer school classes when they are not needed end up with only a few classes to take their senior year. These students do not want to take classes they do not need during the school year, and so we find that too many seniors need to be office or teacher aides for several class periods a day instead of one.”

“This will be the third summer, that we’ve been able to pay for this,” said Love.

Love told the board that the item was already budgeted, so that wasn’t a problem. “I support it 100 percent and have it budgeted, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the money for something else, if that’s what the board would like to do,” said Love.

“It’s Title money, so if it’s not used, we just put it back,” said finance director Cookie Canon.

Board members also approved the summer recreation programs as presented. Summer programs include: tennis, track, basketball, strength and conditioning, golf, volleyball and swimming lessons.

Out-of-service computer equipment that is no longer necessary for district will be disposed of by Duncan Disposal.

“We have a lot of computers that need to be declared no longer of any use to the district, so that we can get rid of them,” said Love.

It will cost $1,031, according to Love.

A revised long-range technology plan was approved by board members.

Technology Director Jodi Exum said that there were just a few changes made to be in compliance. “We just added a little bit of staff development,” she said.

The group approved dropping the Career Investigations Class for eighth graders at Crockett Middle School and replacing it with a seventh grade Technology Applications class.

Crockett Middle School Principal Victor Tarin said in his letter to the board that the Campus Improvement Council had met and all had agreed that students are in need of a class in which students learn basic computer skills. The class would offer students the opportunity to acquire keyboarding skills, the use of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point, Internet use and other computer skills such as cut, paste, letter writing, downloading, saving documents and more.

Board members also congratulated this year’s Teacher of the Year nominees from each campus.

From Pecos Kindergarten, Sue Parent; Austin Elementary School, Debbie Garcia; Bessie Haynes, Tina Doan; Crockett Middle School, Gail Box and Pecos High School, Judy Holland.

Elementary Teacher of the Year is Debbie Garcia and Secondary Teacher of the Year is Judy Holland.

Board members nominated individuals for the Media Honor Roll Award and adopted a resolution in support of the item. This year’s nominees include from Pecos Enterprise, Rosie Flores; from KIUN Radio Station, Bill Cole and from the PBT-ISD channel station, Tracy Shaw and Jodi Exum.

Board members applauded as several students who had excelled during the year were presented. The board recognized Crockett Middle School UIL State Qualifiers; band students; 6th grade UIL state qualifiers and state science fair qualifiers; FFA Career Development Events state qualifiers; Distributive Education Clubs of America state qualifiers and One-Act Play students.

Toyah to get grant funds for rebuild

Staff Writer

Nine homes declared destroyed by the April 4 flood that swept through Toyah will be rebuilt under a grant approved Thursday by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Toyah mayor Diana Tollett said State Sen. Frank Madla called her on Thursday about the funds, after he and his staff met with TDHCA members in Austin. “They approved giving some relief funds to Toyah. Now we just have to take care of the paperwork.”

Tollett said the grant would be for $500,000. “That will do nine homes. It should cover all the homes destroyed,” when floodwaters from San Martine Draw swept through the town in the early morning hours of April 4.

The flood occurred when a levee on the northwest side of town broke, sending water throughout the north side of the town. Water reached as high as 3-4 feet in some areas of Toyah, and damaged over two dozen homes.

However, on April 14 Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office said the town woud not qualify for designation as a major disaster area as the result of the flood. Perry’s office announced that it would ask for funding for the residents of the town through alternate means.

Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera said Toyah did not qualify for the presidential/federal declaration that would have involved action on the part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town of around 150 residents also failed to qualify for the state designation as a major disaster area, which would have required the assistance of the Small Business Administration.

Toyah did not qualify for the federal assistance under the guidelines that require at least 25 homes and or business must receive 40 percent uninsured damage in order to qualify for the Small Business Administration declaration.

Tollett said those eligible for the TDCHA funds can have incomes of up to 80 percent of the average income for Reeves County. “That’s instead of the 30 percent they usually go by on home grants,” she added.

“That’s a blessing. Now all we have to do is get the ball rolling,” Tollett said, while at the same time adding that the grant money wouldn’t be available right away.

“They have to go though HUD and the Comptroller first,” she said. “Usually, we have to go get an environmental impact statement before we can do anything. We’ll just have to see if they’ll let us get by without one to build these homes.”

Toyah is still seeking funding for repairs to the 62-year-old levee, which was breached in three places by the April 4 flood. Reeves County Commissioners approved a resolution on May 3 authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Development Program-Disaster Relief Fund Application for up to $350,000 to help county residents recover from last month’s flooding.

Reeves County is committing $87,5000 as matching funds from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, United State Department of Agriculture. The resolution reads: the county commissioner’s court of Reeves County desires to develop a viable urban community, including decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities principally for persons of low/moderate income and certain conditions exist which represent a threat to the public health and safety; it is necessary and in the best interests of Reeves County to apply for funding under the Texas Community Development Program-Disaster Relief Fund, according to County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

Hunter education course offered

A hunter education course will be offered Saturday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The testing portion of the test will be offered online, with the four hours of classroom covering a 20-minute video presentation, a hunter skills course, and the live firing with .22 rifles. To take the online course go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, click on the Education link, then click on the Hunter Education link, then click on the Online Test link, and follow the instructions until page is completed. Bring printed results of Quiz to class. For more information contact Game Warden Brad Reeves at 432-447-0444 or 432-940-3458.

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