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Archives 1995

May 1995

Police investigating fatal Eddy St. crash

Staff Writers

Pecos police are continuing to investigate the cause of a
traffic accident on South Eddy Street which claimed the life
of a Pecos woman early this morning.
Yolanda Montano Valeriano, 34, of 1921 Scott St., was
pronounced dead at the scene at 1:10 a.m., by Reeves County
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Lamberto Herrera. She died
after the car she was in left the road, reportedly while
traveling at almost 100 miles per hour, when it failed to
negotiate the 500-foot curve on Eddy Street that runs from
Washington Street to the Airlawn Shopping Center
Police were dispatched at 12:28 a.m. after a witness to the
accident called for assistance. Other law enforcement
officials, fore and ambulance service volunteers arrived
shortly thereafter.
Investigating patrolman Orlando Franco reported that
Valeriano was northbound in her Pontiac on Eddy Street when
she failed to control her speed, drove off to the right side
of the road and appeared to have become airborne before
striking a stationary cement block next to the old White's
sign, at the south end of the former Fina gas station,
located in the 800 block of Eddy Street.
Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore said this morning that due to
a possibility of "extenuating circumstances, we are still
investigating the case".
Moore also said that Franco reported the vehicle's
speedometer was frozen at 98 miles per hour when it broke as
a result of the crash.
The passenger's side of Valeriano's vehicles was crushed by
the concrete block, and firemen were called due to gas
leaking from the tank.
Police at the scene said the driver's side airbag in the
Pontiac deployed upon impact, but that Valeriano apparently
was not wearing her seat belt. An autopsy was ordered into
the death by Herrera.
The Eddy Street curve has been the site of numerous
accidents over the years, including another fatal accident
which occurred three years ago just across the street from
this morning's crash. Several other northbound vehicles have
failed to negotiate the sharp curve, left the road and
struck the Fina station, while an accident involving a
southbound tractor trailer rig destroyed the Airlawn Gulf
Station on Eddy and Walthall streets in 1986.

MAY 17, 1995

Local districts' tax valuations fall sharply

Staff Writer

Seven of the eight tax entities within Reeves County have
seen a decrease in their "estimated" appraisal totals for
1995, one by as much as 69 percent as compared to the 1994
"certified" appraisal roll.
Texas property owners have the right to information about
changes in their property's value, and this week, Reeves
County Appraisal District will be mailing 13,000 property
owners notices showing their 1995 proposed value, according
to Carl King Markham, the district's chief appraiser.
The largest estimated calue reduction was for the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District, which
showed a $52,528,740 decrease, to $382,876,150.
"It saddens me that the values have gone down," said school
board president Linda Gholson of the decrease, which
represented 12 percent of the district's total valuations.
Gholson added, "it's going to be a real challenge to operate
with declining values and the cost of everything... we'll
just have to do the best we can".
P-B-T schools aren't alone in their loss, Fort Stockton ISD
board members were told last week their school district's
total valuations could drop by as much as $160 million from
the 1994 totals.
The P-B-T district includes most of Reeves County and
western Ward County, including the Barstow-area oil field
whose value has shown a steady decline in recent years.
The decline in valuations could force increases by various
taxing entities in property tax rates, when budgets for
fiscal 1996 are drawn up later this year.
"It's very dishearting," said Reeves County Auditor Lynn
Owens about the $42,378,270 estimated reduction for the
county from the 1994 certified appraisal roll value of
The drop represents just under 11 percent of the Reeves
County's total valuation.
Owens stated that, "there was a $245,000 reduced revenue in
property taxes," which could have added to the situation.
The county does not provide enough services to justify a
cutback in expenses said Owens, who added, "it will be
difficult to contiue the decline (in the county's appraisal
totals), which as been going on for the last five years".
Although the Reeves County Hospital District's total showed
the same decrease as the county itself, chariman of the
hospital district board, Raul Garcia said that the hospital
is currently undergoing a very good, un-seasonal census.
"This is helping keep us up out there," said Garcia.
Garcia also noted that currently the board is "talking to a
doctor that seems willing to come here, and having anouther
doctor's office will help keep us in good shape."
Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2 had the
biggest percentage drop of any taxing entity. Its valuations
fell nearly 70 percent, from $13,347,490 last year, to
$4,062,990. The percentage decline was even greater in the
district's mineral vauations, since property values showed a
10 percent increase.
Other taxing entities fared slightly better, though only the
city of Toyah showed an overall increase in valuations. It
was up $13,880, or just under one percent, thanks to a
$29,800 rise in mineral and property values were put at
The Town of Pecos City's total valuations fell $4,581,520 to
$113,735,540, a decrease of four percent from 1994. Real
estate values were down by 3 1/2 million from a year ago,
Markham's figures showed.
Balmorhea saw its values fall by about one percent, to
$3,539,830. The city lost $8,350 in property values, but
gained $4,150 in mineral valuations. The Balmorhea school
district, meanwhile, was the reverse. It gained $99,820 on
its real estate values, but lost $1,022,960 in mineral
values. Total valuations there are $19,869,100, a five
percent decline.
Markham reminds property owners that the notice of appraised
value is not a tax bill.
"Please do not pay - this notice is not a tax bill," Markham
Markham emphasized the importance of the notice and the key
information that it contains.
"A property owner has the right to appeal to the Reeves
Appraisal Review Board on any disagreement with the
property's value, exemptions, ownership and other areas,"
she said.
The appraisal review board, more commonly called the "ARB,"
is an independent panel of citizens responsible for hearing
and settleing protests from property owners to disagree with
some action appraisal district.
What should a property owner look for on the notice?
"Look at the proposed value for 1995," Markham said.
"The notice shows the land's value and any improvement value
for the property for the current year."
An improvement is a building, structure, fence or any other
type of fixture to the land.
The appraisal notice also includes current year information
on exemptions granted ont he property. it provides last
year's value, too.
For the 1995 reappraisal year, all residential and
commercial properties have decreased in value. All
properties have been appraised equally and uniformly
according to the Property Tax Codes and Laws.
Notices to property owners whose values went up or increased
more than $100 also will include "estimated" taxes.
The "estimated" taxes are based on the new value and
estimated tax rates if the taxing units set tax rates for
the same amount of operating dollars as last year. Generally
taxing units set final 1995 tax rates in August and
Markham asks property owners to look carefully at the legal
description and mailing address to be sure that there are
not mistakes.
"If the notice contains an old address, please let the
appraisal distric know. The post office forwards mail to a
new address for a short time only, and tax bills do not go
out until October," Markham added.
A property owner is responsible for informing the appraisal
district of the correct mailing address. A poperty onwer is
liable for additonal penalties and interest on a tax bill
that is not paid on time.
Please contact the tax office for additional information on
delinguent taxes.
Markham also said, "If you did not get a notice and want
1995 information about your property, please call the
apprasial district at 445-5122. The general deadline for
prestesting to the ARB is May 31 for this year."

MAY 12, 1995

Staff Writer

Gholson, Bates, Sadler head board

newly elected school baord members, Linda Gholson, Earl
Bates and Frank Perea, were sworn in and a reorganization of
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District Board of
Education was approved at Thursday night's meeting.
Board member, Linda Gholson, will resume her position as
board president. Earl Bates will take on the vice
presidential responsibilites and Billie Sadler was voted in
as secretary to the board.
Two new Special Education assignments were approved at the
regular meeting.
Tranfers included, Tino Acosta, Jr., from Zavala Middles
School to CRockett Middle School; Gary Conners will be
serving as Pecos High School Linbrarian next year; Angela
Elliott, from Crockett Career Investigaytion to Austin
Second Grade; Steele Ewing will be teaching Zavala History
at PHS; Socorro Mason, from Austin Elementary to Lamar
Elementary; David Rueda, will be transferring from Crockett
to PHS as a Biology teacher.
Resignations received were Lisa Duncan, Zavala Math Teacher;
Gabriel Garcia, PHS Band Director and John Miller, Crockett
Band Director.
Board members unanimously voted to approve all the
recommended assignments, transfers and resignations as
presented at the regular meeting, which took place at the
Pecos Kindergarten.
Pecos Kindergarten Principal Mary Lou Carrasco, and
teachers, Rachel Tarin and Eloen Green presented the baord
with an educational review of the campus' activities, as did
Bessie Haynes Elementary Principal David Parker and
counselor, Jim Adams.
The Angels program volunteers were recogniezed bny both
Parker and Adams, as well as the entire school district.
"This is the most progressive district I've worked in," said
In general discussion, Gholson noted that there will be no
Summer Food Program in Barstow this year, due to lack of
The Pecos High School U.I.L. Science and Current Events,
Rodeo teams and Student Council were recognezed, along with
their coahces and sponsors.
Gholson requested that recognition for parents and former
teachers of these students was in order as well.
Board member Alberto Alvarez volunteered and was approved as
delegate to the TASB Delegate Assembly for the TASA/TASB
Joint Annual Convention. Sadler will serve as alternate,
after volunteering for the position.
The Southwest Drug Education and Drug Detection on Campus
was once again discussed, but not approved.
Both Alvarez and Gholson assurred that the program does not
service by "catching" anyone, rather it is designed to
"detect" whether there is a drug problem in the system or
"It's is primarily research," said Alvarez, but stated that
the quoted prices were," scary."
Superintendent Mario Sotelo, agreed that the budget would
have to reveiwed for this service.
Perea asked if a local law enforcement program existed and
agreed that prices for the SDEDDC were steep, after asking
for a clarification of whom was subject to drug inspection.
Alvarez conferred that all school district staff could be
The concepts involving a performacne contract, which entails
bringing in new equipment with no additional exprenses, was
presented by a Long and Associates of El Paso representative.
Board members agreed that too much time and money has
already been wasted with some of the current heating cooling
systems and allowed Long and Associates to conduct a
research of the Pecos High School and Crockett systems.
"I think it's time we did something," said board member
Oscar Saenz.
The Golden Girl Revue fees were once again waived, as done
loast year, and board members agreed that the action was
appropriate as long as all was cleaned up by the GGR crew.
Penalty and interest fees incurred by a mutual error on Fred
Pierce's tax statement wre approved for waiver and no action
was taken by members on the issue involving a request by
Colleen Rose to reduce delinguent taxes because members
concurred the board was not authorized to do so.
Cookie Canon, P-B-T ISD business manager, presented the
board with a list of custodial paper bids on which she
recommended the district go with the lowest bid on each
product. Board members agreed.
The bids for Holsum bread products and Borden dairy products
were unanimously approved.
The tax, depository securities, cafeteria, commodities and
alternative education reports were all approved, as was the
payment of current bills after.
Board members met for a closed meeting under the Texas Open
Meeting Act of the Texas Government Code to consider
personnel and personnel complaints.
Gholson, Bates and Sadle all volunteered to hand out
diplomas at the 1994-95 Graduation Ceremony and the next
regular meeting was set for June 8.

MAY 10, 1995

Speedier action seen on juvenile caseload by Alvarez after

Staff Writer

Is it disinterest or simply confusion surrounding the
county's juvenile justice process?
Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez feels that apathy
is probably behind the slow movement of juvenile cases.
Alvarez said last week that here are about 15 to 20 cases,
some over a year old, that action has yet to be rendered. "I
really don't know what the delay is," said Alvarez.
"It's frustrating, needless to say," added Alvarez about he
appearance that juvenile cases are, "not taken seriously."
Or maybe it's just some kind of miscommunication between the
Reeves County Juvenile Probation Office and the County
Attorney's Office. Reeves County Attorney BNill Weinacht
said Friday morning that he was not aware of any such number
of cases pending.
Last week, Weinacht said that after speaking with his
secreatary, Christina Arrendondo, only four cases are
pending because they have been sent back to Alvarez for
petition requets, a normal procedure.
A petition request is a motion for court action.
In the past, the probation office would prepare a juvenile
case, submit it to the county attorney's office, and after
some review the attorney would okay the petition request.
the probation office would then submit the rewuest and the
county attorney would sign it, said Weinacht.
Now, however, said Weinacht, the probation office has been
given permission to go ahead and submit a petition request
without the county attorney's initial review, thus
eliminating that extra step. And Weinacht believes that,
perhaps, this is where the confusion may have resulted.
In spite of precedural differences, Alvarez said last
Thursday, "whatever we've done in our office, her's
(Weinacht) been very supportive."
the teamwork between the two county offices, when a case is
filed, has been very successful, added Alvarez. "We'll go to
court when we're sure we have a 'winnable' case."
The final say-s0 in any juvenile case, however, belongs to
the court-at-law judge, said Alvarez.
Alvarez said for a more streamlined, speedy system, and "if
you want something done right, teamwork, cooperation and
planning," are all imporatant factors.
He added that it is imporatant that the system no tlose its
objective, because "it's not fair to the victim, and the
public begins to lose confidence in it."
charged juveniles should not be led to believe that they are
beyonf justice said Alvarez.
Alvarez felt that if the system continues at such a slow
pace, juveniles will develop an attitude that they feel
their actions will bear no consequence, at least not in the
Alvarez said this morning that both he and Weincht met
Tuesday afternoon for a couple of hours as a result of the
Enterprise's investigation into the JJS and, "it was
extremely positive."
Fourteen cases are pending said Alvares, and bnoth he and
Weinacht will work more closely "to speed the juvenile
justice process."
Alvarez added that problems in the communication have been
worked out and hopefully, "things will run more speedy and
"We have always worked well together and we will continue to
do so," said Weinacht.
Alvarez said that the local Juvenile Justice System (JJS)
handles cases on a one-to-one, as opposed to a standardized
method, where they are handled in comparison to a mass
production line.
"We put meaning into a case," said Alvarez.
Alvarez said that he and his juvenile office, Juan Vasquez,
go out and visit with juveniles, who have been exempt from
sentencing - but not from court action - at their home site
to determine if their current probationary status is working
for them.
Alvarez outline the steps required in handling a juvenile
case after an arrest.
Under the state system, thejuvenile is first asked if he
wants to submit a confession or statement. If he agrees, the
probationary officer will set the conditions for questioning.
The juvenile is then taken before a magistrate to determine
if he is of sound mind and body. "This is a reassurance that
the child understands," said Alvarez.
The are then questioned regading the offencse as charged.
After questioning, the juvenile is again taken before a
magistrate, who thoroughly interprets the statement. Only
after the juvenile is satisfied with the statement is the
document signed.
The magistrate then signs the statement for certification
and it is sent to the juvenile probation officer, Alvarez.
The Reeves County Juvenile Probation Office (RCJPO), "is a
filtering process," said Alvarez.
The RCJPO reviews the entire cases filed and turns it in the
county attorney if they feel it court action.

MAY 9, 1997

Reservoir site shored up for summer

Staff Writer

The recently cleaned and renovated Imperial Reservoir just
may be what a lot of area folks need to cope with during
another West Texas summer, according to Pecos River Compact
Commissioner Brad Newton.
"It really has a family atomosphere," said Newton, who
represents that state in management of Pecos river water,
from which the reservoir is fed.
Newton said that Charles Butler has been busy with fixtures
to the picnic area, bathroom, shower and shore cleanup,
building a new, cement boat ramp and setting up the lake's
Lakeside Paradise snow cone stand in the ladkeside area he
owns and operates.
The man-make lake is about a 45-mile drive from Pecos. It's
15 miles east of Coyanosa on FM 1450, and then north on FM
2593, which runs a short distance from the Coyanosa highway
- which begins just south of Pecos on U.S. 285 - to the
Are residents said this morning that Butler recently stocked
the lake with catfush and bull carp are currently in their
spawning stage and can be seen fighting near the lake shore.
The water hole is equipped with a short sandy strip, plenty
of picnic tables and paddle boat and tube rentals on
A car load fee of $5 is required to enter the reservoir.
There is a designated swimming spot, but anyone is allowed
to swim near the shore, lake residents said.
Sister Barbara Jean Potthast of Grandfalls said this morning
that she has been bird watching out at the reservoir for a
little over two years. She said that over 200 species stop
at the watering site.
Both small and large grooups can be spotted, said Potthast.
Potthast said that Butler explained the birds are an
indication of the amount of food supply at the lake.
On August 26 the reservoir will host Imperial's Second
Annual Shrimp Festival. Anyone wishing to inquire about the
event can call 547-2021.

Completion date for prison addition pushed back to June
New Cost for RCDC project approved

By Rosie Flores
Staff Writer

Reeves County Commissioners aproved change orders for
construction at the detention center during their regular
meeting Monday.
Commissioners also set architectual and construction
management fees for extended constuction administration on
the project - whose completion date was pushed back again
recently from May to June - and established a rate of
Both construction manager Frank X. Spencer and architect
Lorraine Dailey had asked that additional funds be added to
their contract during an earlier meeting with commissioners.
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that construction has
gone several months past the scheduled completion date.
The addition will increase the capacity of the 520 bed
facility to more than 600 inmates and add isolation cells
mandated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which supplies all
of the prisoners and pays $33.50 per man day to the county.
The completion date had originally been set for Feb. 25 but
was later moved to May 20, due to some unforeseen situations
cited by both the construction manager and architect.
"By the looks of his report it's just something that he
(Spencer) couldn't do anything about," said Precinct 3
Commissioner Herman Tarin. "I went back and read his fuul
report and there's just nothing he could have done about the
A full report from both Spencer and Dailey had been
requested by the commissioners at an earlier meeting.
Spencer is asking for $18,720 for general construction fees
and $19,710 for construction manager's services to be taken
from the sontingency fund.
Dailey, of Gondeck, Dailey and Rafke, is asking for $7,800
for architectural services provided by that agency.
Work on the LEC is now expected to be finished by June 15,
"As far as I know that's the new completion date and that's
when the BOP will come and inspect it," said Galindo.
Commissioners approved both additions to the contracts.
Change orders approved included an additional $1,020 to
furnish and install three fire-rated ceiling access doors
over the corridor, in orderd to reach mechanical equipment,
and $827 to furnish finish hardware. Funds for these items
will also come from the contingency fund.
A decrease of $7,000 in Southern Steel Company's contract in
a change order was to delete the emergency release cabinet
An LVN nurses position for the Reeves

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