Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Board nixes PHS open campus for now
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 14, 1995 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board
members voted against a motion to allow open campus lunch
for Pecos High School students, after hearing poll results
on the school lunch program from members of the 1995-96
However, board members said they may take up the subject
again later this year.
Class represetatives for the incoming seniors presented
board members wiht results from their four poll booths set
up June 19 to solicit the community's opinion on their open
campus lunch proposal, initiated back in May.
Poll results showed that out of the 345 signatures, 91
percent voted "Yes" to allow student off campus for lunch.
There were 31 votes against and only one undecided.
Of the total singees, only 26 percent were high school
parents, of which 78 percent voted "Yes" and only 11 percent
Board members Oscar Saenz asked the student group what would
happen to students who fail to return from lunch on time.
"Are we going to accept "They didn't serve us on time' as an
excuse?" he asked.
All students agreed that this would bnot be an allowable
excuse and should be counted as tardy.
Saenz offered a motion to only allow seniors the privilege
of offcampus lunch, which was not seconded.
"Some people will be left out in the cold," said Saenz, if
all students were allowed to leave campus for lunch.
P-B-T Supterintendent Mario Sotelo said that he and PHS
Principal Alice Duerksen had spoken on the matter of only
granting seniors this privlege and said that they both
agreed that "it would be a nightmare" to figure out all
studetns classified as seniors and the monitor if only
senoirs are leaving the campus.
Saenz replied that the responsibility should be left to the
senirs to make sure that they are the only ones leaving the
campus, and to descipline thelower classes if they abuse it."
"Maybe we can start getting some pride in the classes," he
said, for the lower classes to look forward to being
seniors and having this privieleg.
Board member Frank Perea said that the denial of the
off-campus privilege to the other classes would be unfair,
while board vice-president Earl Bates said, "we need to sit
down and work out some iron clad rules," before the board
agrees to make any motion on the issue.
Albert Alvarez said he has received some phone calles on the
matter and most were from parents against the idea. Sotelo
said he also reveived only a few phone calls and most were
Perea entered a motion to allow open campus lunch for all
students with an evaluation of the outcome at the end of the
first semester. It was seconded by Alvarez. However, the
motion was voted against by all board members except Alvarez
"It needs further consideration (by the board)," said Bates,
"the kids have done their part."
"We've got several meetings between now and the beginning of
school," he said in order to further consider the matter.
Alvarez noted that his decision was based on the fact that
the "kids did what they were asked to do."
In other business Thursday, a salary inducted by Sotelo
revealed that under the new legislative rulings it will
affect "nearly everybody's salary."
"It is really a scary situation," said Sotelo, "but we are
prepared to show you what it is going to do."
"Literally, in a nutshell, what's happened here is those
people who have not been on the career ladder are now going
to be paid for that," Sotelo said. Teacher who have been
teaching for many years, "are not going to get anything," he
"We need to have an in-service so that you as teachers can
understand this," said board president Linda Gholson to the
three PHS faculty members at the baord meeting.
She added that other teachers anticipating an unfavorable
pay increase "should stay cool and calm until the sutuation
There will be an in-depth review of the school district's
health insurance policy the first day of in service noted
Gholson, after the board unanimously agreed to recommend the
preferred provider option following the insurance
committee's review of the program through New Era Life
Insurance Company form the affiliated Network of Medical
Perea said that he did not agre with the program because it
penalizes those who choose not to join.
Sotelo spoke in favor of the program by stating that "only
those that choose not to go with the program are penalized,
but if they do go with it, they can still use any physician
they want, even if they are not on the PPO list."
Sotelo noted that Reeves County Hospital is on the plan's
Also approved was the committee's recommendations to
voluntarily dedicate the fund balance of $90,000, which
"would only be used if our claims overran the funds int he
benefit account," said Business Manager Cookie Canon.
The specifications for the 83 passenger buses and a request
for bids on these buses were approved, as was the pest
control bid from Orkin and interior pest control bid from
Pecos Pest Control.
Saenz requested that these services be monitored on a
monthly basis so as to make sure they stay within the
Other items approved were: depository bid, as designated by
Canon; Maintenance Director Joe Coody as for Intergrated
Pest Management Coordinator and a list of pesticides to be
used for pest management and a 19 passenger bus to be
purchsed from Conwell Smith Sales at $28,750.
Meal prices for the 1995-96 school year per the Child
Nutrition Programs Division of the United States Department
of Agriculture reimbursement rates were approved.
Prices included Lunch for grades K-6 at $1.10 and 40 cents
reduced; Breakfast at 60 cents and 30 cents reduced; for
grades 7-12, Lunch will be $1.25 and 40 cents reduced;
Breakfast, 60 cents and 30 cents reduced; Lunch for teachers
will be $2.00 and for adults $2; Breakfast for teachers 75
cents and for adults $1.
Lydia O. Prieto was designated by the board to calculate the
effecitve tax rates and the board approved for a
representative from the P-B-T Educational Secreatries
Association to be appointed to the insurance committee.
Thirteen changes to the PHS handbook, not including
disciplinary issues, were approved unanimously by board
members, as was the decision t allow the use of the PHS
auditorium for the Little Miss Cantaloupe rehearsals and
contest and fee waiver, "as has been done in the past," said
A change in the EIA (Local) plicy was approved by the boiard
that indicates that only four-year students will be ranked
for the title of a classes valedictoiran or salutatorian.
Sotelo explained that this means a student from another
school distict annot enroll at PHS and take the title away
from a student that has been at PHS for four years.
Frank Sanchez of Texas-New Mexico Power Co., conducted an
energy presentation and recommendations on the Crockeet
Middle School situation.
Bids for the CMS air conditioning project were presented to
the board but no action was taken until further discussion
with a Long and Associate's representative. A 15-page study
enerty study by L&A was submitted, which Sotelo asked board
members to look at closely.
Ten assignments to various campuses werre approved by the
board, which included, a Seventh and an Eighth Grade Band
There were two transfers approved and eight resingnations,
including Bessie Haynes Principal David Parker.
I-10 murder suspect returned to Texas
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, July 14, 1995 - Autopsy reports reveal that a South
Carolina man died of strangulation as the result of an
incident which occurred at the Cherry Creek exit on
Interstate 10 early Saturday morning, according to
investigating Ranger Jerry Villalobos.
Keith Dee Smith, 37, of Anderson, S.C. apparently died from
strangulation after a dispute with his driving team partner,
Bruce Wayne Messer, 40, of Pelcer, S.C.
Messer was accused of the murder after the investigation
revealed the man had not died of a drug overdose, as first
The investigation is being conducted by the 83rd and 112th
Judicial District Investigator Larry Jackson, according to
Villalobos. "Unitl the full investigation is complete, we
won't have a motive," he said.
"The accused did waive his extradition rights and
volunteered to come back to Texas," said Villalobos.
Messer, who continued on to South Carolina after the
incident, was brought back to Fort Stockton Thursday night
before being transferred to Jeff Davis County officials. He
is currently being held at the Presidio County Jail in Marfa.
Reeves County Sheriff's Department Deputies Larry Humphries
and Damon Compton where patroling in Balmorhea when they
received a dispatch call in reference to a problem at the
Cherry Creek Chevron station located at milepost 182 of
Interstate 10 in Jeff Davis County, 45 miles west of Pecos.
The call alleged that a trucker was acting violently,
refusing to get out of his truck and had been "heavy on
drugs for several days."
The deputies spoke to Messer, who said he had been
threatened by his drive team partner, Keith Dee Smith.
Messer said that Smith held a knife to his troat at about
the 162 milepost of Interstate 10.
He alleged that he was able to take the knife away from
Smith and throw it out the window. He also said Smith had
not slept since the previous Saturday and was injecting
illegal drugs into his body.
Messer told deputies Smith was alseep in the truck, but when
deputies went over the the green Kenworth cab, they were
unable to rouse the victim and coulf fine no signs of life.
Messer assisted the deputies in pulling him out of the truck
to check for signs of life.
Humphries and Compton immediatley contacted dispatch so that
they could contact a Jeff Davis County Sherriff' unit, a
Justice of the Peace and the Pecos Funeral Home.
The body was taken to Pecos Funeral Home and an autopsy was
ordered by Jeff Davis County Sherriff Harvey Adams.
Exact cause of R&R fire undetermined by probe
By Rosie Flores
The cause of a June 22 fire at the Recovery and Reclamation
Plant located on the southwest edge of Pecos has been ruled
at 'undetermined,' according to Town of Pecos City Fire
Marshal Jack Brookshire.
"I haven't found any indication that it was arson, but
there's always a possibility that it could have been," said
Brookshire said that in talking with the employees at the
R&R plant, they stated that the batteries got so hot they
couldn't even be handled. "So there's also the possibility
that it could have been accidental," he said.
If the batteries got hot enough, they could make the creates
they were stored in catch fire, Brookshire added.
However, R&R officials maintained the incident was a
deliberate act, based on results compiled by their own
"We feel that the fire was intentionally set, according to
our investigation," said Joe Basham, vice president of
environmental affairs for R&R. "We are still waiting for the
complete report from the fire marshal, though."
The investigation will continue into the fire, which began
in the center of the building where four crates with lithium
batteries stored in them, were located.
Firemen allowed the blaze to burn itself out, as westerly
winds carried most of the smoke away from the more populated
areas of town.
Officials with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation
Commission were also called to investigate the incident,
which was the second major fire at the Western Avenue
facility in the past 20 months.
Sadler set to resign P-B-T post
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 17, 1995 - A Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent
School Board member will be resigning and another is
wscheduled to be nominated and appointed to that position
during a special meeting Tuesday evening.
The school baord is scheduled to convene at 6 p.m. in the
district board room at 1304 S. Park, at which time board
Secretary Billie Sadler is expected to submit her
resignation after completing the first year of her current
Sadler's decision to resign from the board is to avoid
conflict-of-interest violations, since her son has submitted
his application for the position of Zavala Middle School
"No one (for the Zavala principal's position) has been
presented to the board," said Board President Linda Gholson.
"He did apply," she explained, "but by law he couldn't be
brought before the board without her (Sadler's) resignation."
"The board will appoint some one until the next election
(May 1996)," said Gholson, at which time candidates will
compete to fill the final year of Sadler's current term.
Gholson said that no names have been officially presented
for the board to appoint to fill Sadler's vacancy.
"Officially there has been no discussion (on nominees for
the board position), unitl after the resignation," Gholson
said. Sadler won election to the school board in 1991 after
her reirement as teacher and principal in the P-B-T school
"The board will accept nominations," said Gholson, at the
Appointment of a new board member and the administration of
their Oath of Office are scheduled for Tuesday's meeting.
Cousin saves uncouscious boy
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 17, 1995 - A 13-year-old Pecos girl was a
heroine Sunday morning, when she pulled her younger cousin
from the shallow end of the Balmorhea swimming pool after he
hit his head on the pool's slide and was knocked
Seven-year-old Richard Carrasco Jr. was rescued by Olympia
Gamboa after the boy hit his head as he attempted to slide
into the three-foot-deep end of the pool, said Isamel
Gamboa, Richard's uncle.
A group of young family members, including five ousins and
one friend, decided to take an early dip in the pool while
their parents and other adults remained at the campsite,
located at the east end of the state park according to
Carrasco's mother, Sue Carrasco.
"We were out at the pool swimming in the shallow side," said
Olympia Gamboa, "when my cousin started screaming."
Gamboa siad her younger cousin was "floating on top of the
water," when she spotted him.
"His eyes were rolled back," she said after she flipped him
over and dragged him out of the pool, while other young
members of her family sought help.
Gamboa said her sister, 6 year-old Beatrice Pando, and 5
year-old, cousin Monica Ortega both ran to seek help from a
park official, while another cousin, 10 year-old Kelsy
Gamboa, ran back to the campsite to alert the older family
Nine-year-old Ramire Pando, 8-year-old Cosme Ortega Jr. and
Carrasco's five-year-old brother, Giovanni all stayed with
the young boy after he was pulled out from the water, said
Gamboa said that a group of boy scouts from Houston werre
playing basketball near the pool, when they heard the kids'
screams and ran over to help.
"They stayed with him (Richard Carrasco, Jr.)," said Gamboa,
"and calmed him down," when he came to. "They were waiting
to see if they were going to have to do CPR."
Ismael Gamboa said that a scuba diving team from Austin also
"They (park officials) siad he had hit his head pretty bad,"
said Ismael Gamboa, "nut no ambulance was needed."
Richard Carrasco said his son received a bump on the head as
a result of the accident.
Olympia Gamboa said no lifeguards are on duty before noon,
"it's swim at your own risk."
"He's doing great, no problems," said Carrasco's father
Richard Carrasco. "After four hours (following the
incident) he wanted to jump off the high diving board."
As for Olympia Gamboa she did real good. She did what she
had to do."
"We're real proud of her," said Richard Carrasco.
"For a bunch of kids, they did do good," said Sue Carrasco.
"I just want to tell kids to be careful out there," said
New estimates increase drop in valuations
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 18, 1995 - Reeves County Appraisal Review Board
members approved the 1995 Certified Appraisal totals (CAT)
for all jurisdictions during a Monday morning meeting, ans
all totals showed a greater decrease than first announced in
the estimated appraisal figures on May 12.
All net real estate and mineral properities on the 1995 CAT
- expcept for those within the city of Toyah - showed a
decrease, with Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District suffering the greatest reduction, at $54,653,800.
The decreases in valuations increase the chances that either
budget cuts will have to be made by the various taxing
entities and/or tax increases will be necessary in order to
obtain the same revenue for fiscal 1996 operations.
Chief Appraiser Carol King-Markham said this morning that
the decreases indicated were caused by changes by the ARB
dut to "people bringing in sales prices, or structural
depreciation, late agricultural exemptions."
"People signing up for homestead exemptions also takes value
away, " said Markham.
Valuations within Toyah were $2,030 higher than the 1994
Supplemental Appraisal Roll, but the figure was $11,850 less
than the estimated appraisal total released in May.
REal estate and mineral valuations for Reeves County and the
Reeves County Hospital District were $43,921,400 less than
the 1994 Supplemental Appraisal Roll.
The school district's decline was greater than that of the
county and hospital district, because it includes the area
around Barstow in Western Ward County. Valuations of the oil
fields around Barstow have been dropping steadily over
thepast decade, as have those in Reeves County.
Other reduced appraisal totals included: Reeves County Water
Improvement District #2 at $9,309,600; Town of Pecos City,
$5,115,060; Balmorhea Independent School District, $939,320
and Balmorhea City at $10,090.
"Next year, if the jurisdictions can hang though this
year...there will be an increase in the appraised values"
Markham said, due to the addition f the new United States
Federal Courthouse and the end of Anchor West's five year
However, she conceded "there will be hard choices to make,"
for most of the taxing entities, when they set heir fiscal
1996 budgets and tax rates over the next two months.
Public comments on the matter can be discussed at
Wednesday's board of directors meeting of the Reeves County
Board members will met at 5 p.m. at the Appraisal District's
office at 403 S. Cypress.
Other items on the agenda include, consideration and action
on June expenses and balances, 1996 proposed budget,
appraisal school and reiew for office personnel.
PHA's 1994 records leave auditor baffled
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 18, 1995 - After reviewing the financial
documents of the Pecos Farm Labor House (FLB) for the 12
months that ended on March 31, accountant Dan Painter
reported to board members that rent deposits and petty cash
were misappropriated and records were in disarray.
The Pecos Housing Authority Board met Monday evening and
heard from the CPA after rescheduling the session from last
Thursday, due to the lack of quorum.
Painter did note in his report that former FLH Project
Manager Michele Hernandez was arrested for misappropriation
of funds. Hernandez was arrested December 20.
In his finding, Painter said he was able to "ascertain which
apartments were rented and how much money was deposited from
the deposit slips for the last four months fo the fiscal
The remaining eight months, Painter said he was never able
to consistently match deposit slips against rent toll,
receipt books or individual ledger sheets, to ensure that
monies collected were deposited.
He recommended that in order to correct the system and
ensure that the board is fully informed al files pertaining
to the FLH should be maintianed in one filing cabinet.
He also said pre-numbered receipt books should be used only one at a time, with copies left intact in the book; a
general ledger system of accounting be implemented; written
procedures in checklist form of day to day duties be make,
and monthly reconciliation of bank statements be conducted.
The biggest area needing improvement said Painter was the
receipt of cash, "...whether it be rental income, security
deposits or laundry revenues."
Executive Director Nellie Gomes told the board that she has
looked at computer systems, per Painter's recommendations,
and is currently addressing some of his suggestion. "I need
to start working on a tenant ledger system," said Gomes, who
was appointed to the post in January.
Board Chairman Frank Perea said, "I would like see a
priority put on all these things recommended by Mr. Painter."
The board approved the report unanimously with an agreement
to meet in August for an update.
"Somebody meeds to check somebody else every month ...that's
our problem," Board member Ray Golden said.
There was some confusion among board members and the
executive director as to the stipulations on the letter of
recommendation from Tierra Del Sol's proposal for management
of the FLH units and its renovation project.
TDS is a managing orgainzation that oversees other farm
labor housing projects in the area, including those in
TDS was contacted after a letter from the District Director
for Rural Economic and Community Development William Derden
reported that 56 of the FLH units were below standards
during an inspection conducted on May 18.
The board was given an estimated cost of $6,000 per unit by
TDS ($336,000 total) to bring the facility up to standards.
The matter was tabled until the board could meet with a TDS
representative and Derden for a better explanation of who
will be applying for the grant to cover renovation costs and
the details of the management proposal.
In other action, the June financial statement and accounts
payable report, showing Dan Painter's fee of $2,500, were
all approved by the board.
The occupancy report showed that occupation of the PHA's
facilities was at capacity, "and we have a waiting list,"
added Gomez. The report was approved by all present board
A settlement with Naomi Arevalos of $6,000 was discussed and
approved by the board.
Arevalos had filed a suit against the PHA after alleging she
had been sexually harassed by former PHA Executive Director,
The board discussed and decided to further investigate the
unemployment claim by Garcia, in which he has been receiving
benefits from TEC to be matched dollar per dollar by the
PHA. Garcia was appointed by the previous board and dimissed
by the current members last September.
"Any employer has the right to appeal (the claim)," board
member Ken Winkles said, adding, "I don't understand,"
Garcia's receipt of benefits.
Perea noted that the PHA did not receive a high performance
score on their Public Housing Management Assessment Program,
"but we did make standard."
The board discussed, but no aciton was taken on, the chabnge
of health insurance coverage from an individual plan to a
small group plan form Mutual of Omaha.
After some deliberation, Gomes said she would speak to the
employees first before a vote is cast.
"I want to do what they want to do," said Golden.
An update on the CIAP 93 project to renovate 93 apartments
as recommended by the Department of Housing and Urban
development indicated that the units did not pass the
asbestos test. HUD has been notified, the baord was told.
Board members unanimously approved to allow the Youth
Prevention Plus Group and Mental Health and Retardation
Agency to hold their group and summer sessions at the M & M
Pay increaes for all employees were approved by the board
per Gomez's configuration within the budget, with the
exception of one office employee.
Permission was granted by the board to allow Gomez access
for withdrawing money from thebank over the phone.
Board members convened in open session after conducting a
six month evaluaiton of Gomez's performance as executive
Perea said this morning that Gomez was granted a $1,000
raise as a result of her evaluation.
"We are very pleased with the work she's done in thelast six
months," said Perea.
"We did suggest to her that she get certified as housing
manager," he said. Under HUD guidelines, Gomez must be
certified to maintain her position,
Perea said they will evaluate Gomez again in Januar to see
that she has achieved her certification.
Loving duo reach plea deal on funds
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, July 18, 1995 - Former Loving County auditor Clay
Patrick and Loving County treasurer Jamie Jones both pled
guilty Monday in a plea-bargain agreement to
misappropriation of funds, according to 143rd District
Attorney John Stickels.
Patrick resigned in March, which triggered the audit that
uncovered more than $30,000 in missing funds over a two-year
period. Jones resigned after the audit was completed.
Both will be placed on probation, which includes paying
restitution to Loving County and agreeing to 500 hours of
community service. Most of the funds have been paid back,
leaving a balance of $2,700 owed by Patrick, the district
"We didn't have any problems with this agreement and most of
the money has been paid back," said Stickles.
Selma Carrell, an 11-year employee of the tax office, was
appointed as a treasurer by Loving County Commissioners to
serve until the next general election. She was among eight
applicants for the position vacated by Jones.
San Angelo hits route for I-27 in 'wasteland"
From Staff and Wire Reports
Tom Green County Judge Mike Brown says there are three good
reasons why Texas should extend Interstate 27 to the south
through San Angelo. "Water, water, water," Brown said
Tuesday night at a Texas Department of Transportation
hearing in Lubbock.
"San Angelo is the last oassis before that wasteland to the
west," Brown, drawing laughter during a public hearing that
sought public reaction to three proposed routes south from
Lubbock to connect with I-10, and two proposed routes north
from Amarillo to the Oklahoma state line.
A $2.3 million study began in January and identified five
corridors as possible routes for an extension of I-27, which
now stretches about 120 miles from Amarillo to Lubbock.
Speakers, who were limited to three-minute presentations,
arrived from Big Spring, Odessa, Midland, San Angelo,
Sonora, Junction and other cities.
The state expects to make a corridor decission by November.
Public meetings on the best routes within the chosen
corridor are set to begin in February. The selection process
in scheduled to be completed by next September.
The three corridors south of Lubbock are:
- Through Lamesa, to between Midland and Odessa, ending
east of Fort Stockton.
- Through Lamesa, through Big Spring and San Angelo, ending
either at Sonora or Junction.
- Through Sweetwater and San Angelo, ending either at
Sonora or Junction.
Members of a San Angelo delegation argued that a bigger road
through their city would be closer to the major Mexican
markets in Monterrey and Mexico City.
Trade with Mexico, however, also was a card played by
advocates of the westermost corridor through Midland and
Odessa. This decision would support a proposed trade route
with the Mexican Pacific Coast, they said.
The Entrada al Pacifico plan would take I-27 south from
Lubbock lto I-20 at the Midland International Airport, and
southwest from there to I-10 between Bakerfield and Fort
Stockton. The plan, backed by Midland-Odessa based Motran
and the West Texas Transportation Alliance (WTTA), made up
of other area towns, would then follow U.S. 67 south to
Presidio, where it would meet up with a new Mexican highway
from Ojinaga to Chihuahua City, and from there to the port
of Topolobampo on the wester coast of Mexico.
Jim Weaver, president of the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce,
argued that the state should abandon the idea of a single
I-27 designation to the south and instead put additional
four-lane highways down all the proposed corridors.
Pecos officials are supporting the Entrada plan a part
of the WTTA, after a proposed route that would have taken
the Interstate south along I-20 to Pecos and then south to
I-10 to Balmorhea and the Reeves-Pecos County line lost out
to the Fort Stockton route.
Roguemore join P-B-T board
Sadler named Zavala principal
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 19, 1995 - After a split decision by
show-of-hands and secret ballot, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
Independent School Board members were finally able to
approve a new member to fill the vacancy created by a
resignation accepted earlier in Tuesday's meeting.
Daisy Roquemore, was approved unanimously by the board as
new trustee after votes on her nomination and that of former
board member Jaroy Moore, resulted in a 3-3 split among the
members present at the meeting.
The special meeting was called after former Board Secretary
Billie Sadler submitted her letter of resignatin to
Superintendent Mario Sotelol on July 6.
Sadler's resignation was the result of her son's application
for the principal's job at Zavala Middle School. Board
President Linda Gholson said Monday that by law Mike
Sadler's name could not be brought before the board until
his mother's resignation was approved by board.
The board approved Sadler as the new principal at Zavala
Middle School later in Tuesday's meeting.
Statements of support for nominees were heard after the
split votes were cast before the board decided to call the
candidates to see if one would concede to the other, or if a
coin toss would be used in the decision.
Roquemore and Moore were called by Board President Linda
Gholson, who made sure that other members were kept informed
jon the conversations.
Roquemore told Gholson that she realized Moore is an
experienced board member, having served before, and she has
every confidence in him, but would like to keep her position
as a nominee. She advised members to go ahead with the coin
After some deliberation, Moore finally chose to give the
position to Roquemore due to the fact that he expects to be
busy in the upcoming months.
"Go ahead and appoint Ms. Roquemore," he told Gholson during
their phone conversation.
Moore was initially nominated by Board Vice President Earl
Bates, who based his nomination on Moore's experience and
his narrow loss for re-election in the May 6 school board
Moore finished fourth by one vote to current board member
Frank Perea in the election. Six candidates competed for the
three available three-year terms.
Board Member Hugh Box nominated Roquemore. "I think she is a
fine lady to serve on the board."
"I agree with Frank (Perea) on the balanced ratio," issue
said Box in reference to Perea's initial argument that he'd
like to keep the "make-up (of the board) with Anglos,
Hispanics and Blacks."
Board Member Oscar Saenz said, "I think that right now Jaroy
has more experience," and echoed what Bates said in
reference to the fact that this appointment will obly be
until May, when Sadler unexpird term will come up for a vote.
"I fell that, as least until may, we should take advantage
of that experience," said Saenz.
After arguing on both nominees behalf, Box asked board
member if nepotism was applicable because Roquemore is
Gholson said that she had spoken with the Secretary of
State's office. Officials thee said there would be no
problem with Roquemore serving while considering Sadler's
Roquermore was sworn into office this morning after Gholson
advised the board that a signed Oath of Office had to be
faxed into the Attorney General's office before she could be
Mike Sadler's nomination was approved after Superintendent
Mario Sotelo reviewed his application and met with both
Sadler and the Site-Base Committee, "I am very comfortable
with Mike's abilities and I have no reservations," Sotelo
said by telephone during the meeting.
Sadler has a Master's in Physical Minor Education and a
Mid-Management degree in Education from Sul Ross State
He's been teaching for 16 years, and spent last year as a
U.S. History Teacher, Junior Varsity Football and Head Track
Coach at Euless High School.
Grand jury to hear police shooting case
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 19, 1995 - The case involving a Pecos police
sergeant and a northside man shot and killed by the officer
three weeks ago is scheduled for a grand jury hearing
Police Sergeant Ramon Ornelas is back on duty following a
three-week administractive leave after his involvement in a
family disturbance call on June 27 that ended in 35-year-old
Gilbert Barraza's death.
Ornelas, along with other witnesses to the incident, are
scheduled to appear befoe the Reeves County Grand Jury in
143rd District Court after four subpoenas, issued out of
District Attorney John Stickles' office, were served Tuesday
morning by Reeves County Deputy Victor Prieto.
Police Chief Troy Moore commented that he had spoken with
the investigating Texas Ranger, Joe Sanders, and was
authorized to put Ornelas back on duty.
"He said the investigation was completed and he had no
problem," Moore said of Sanders' approval for reinstating
Ornelas, a 20-year department veteran, on the force.
Ornelas was immediatley placed on administrative leave after
a shot fired from his firearm killed Barraza June 27.
According to initial reports by the Department of Public
Safety, Barraza was armed with a knife when he suffered a
fatal shot in the chest after a struggle with Ornelas. The
officer's .357 discharged three times, with the first bullet
landing in the ground, and the second hitting Barraza.
Investigators were unable tolocate the location of the
third, according to Sanders.
Barraza's sister had called sheriff's office dispatch for
assistance on a family disturbance at Barraza's residence at
Ash and "B" streets on the north side of Pecos. Deputy Tony
Aguilar responded to the call, at which time Ornelas was in
the vicinity and proceeded to assist.
Both officers arrived at the scene at the same time, at
which time they were confronted by Barraza, leading to the
fatal confrontation. It was the first time in over 30 years
a Pecos police officer had killed a person while on duty,
Police Capt. David Montgomery said at the time.
Anchor adds 75 workers to Pecos production line
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, July 19, 1995 - Anchor West has expanded and added 75
new employees to their production line, company officials
"A small expansion was done to the buidling itself, but the
company has added some new employees," said Oscar Saenz.
"We have filled all the positions which were open due to the
expansion," he said.
All the employees added to the company were local
individuals, which willhelp the Pecos economy, according to
This was something Anchor West had been working on, in
trying to expand the facility and create more jobs.
The new hires raises employment at the Anchor plant to over
300. Appleton, Wisconsin-based Anchor is operating three
lines processing raw beaded onion rings, par fried onion
rings and other frozen food products.
Anchor took over the West Palmer Street (I-20 south access
road) building in 1990, and operated only one line at a time.
During 1993, the firm enclosed shipping docks at the rear of
the building, enclosed a second story for an employee
lounge, lunchroom and locker area and converted the present
lunchroom to a trucker's lounge with restrooms.
Wife of dead I-10 trucker victim in '94
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, July 20, 1995 - An investifation into the death of a
South Carolina trucker, allegedly strangled by his travel
partner on July 8 at or near a Jeff Davis County service
station, revealed that the deceased's wife was murdered a
Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos said that the wife of the dead
trucker, Keith Kee Smith, 37, of Anderson, S.C. had been
found murdered in California "about a year ago," after she
had been reported as missing.
Villalobos wa unable to offer more information about the
murder of Smith's wife, and said that California law
enforcement officials are handling the case, which had not
Smith was found dead in the cab of a Kenworth truck tractor
July 8, after his travel partner, 40-year-old Bruce Wayne
Messer, of Pelcer, S.C., reported to Reeves County and Jeff
Davis officials that he had been acting violently.
Messer said Smith had been injecting illegal drugs for
several days and had no slept for most of the week.
Officials were contacted by messer after his alleged
altercation with Smith, in which he said Smith had fallen
asleep after he had held a knife to Messer's throat while
the two were headed east on Interstate 10, about 20 miles
east of Van Horn. Messer said he was able to grab it and
throw it out the window.
Reeves County Deputies Larry Humphries and Damon Compton
were the first to arrive at the scene, at the Cherry Creek
Chevron station near milepost 182 on I-10, about 45 miles
southwest of Pecos.
The deputies found Smith dead in the truck sleeper, and
called Jeff Davis County Deputies, who took over handling
the case, along with Department of Public Safety officers.
Messer was brought back to Fort Stockton last Thursday from
South Carolina, after an autopsy revealed that Smith had
died of strangulation and not a drug overdose, as Messer had
He had waived his extradition rights, said Villalobos in an
earlier interview prior to his trip back to Pecos County.
Further investigation has been conducted by 83rd and 112th
Judicial District Investigator Larry Jackson. Villalobos
said this morning that the case may be turned over to the
"El Paso District Attorney, because we have reason to
believe that it (the strangulation) may have occurred in
The Cherry Creek Chevron is in the northern tip of Jeff
Davis County, only three miles east of the Culberson County
Messer is currently being held at the Presidio County Jail
Ortiz' murder trial moved to Amarillo
PECOS, July 20, 1995 - A Midland County judge has ordered
the capital murder trial of Henry Lopez Ortiz moved to
Amarillo due to pre-trial publicity about the case in the
Ortiz, for Pecos resident, is charged with the Feb. 10
kidnaping and murder of 10-year-old Julianne Powell. Ortez
and the girl lived in the same Midland housing complex, and
police said they found the body of the girl stuffed in a
hamper in Ortiz' apartment.
Teresa Clingman, Midland County Assistanct District
Attorney, said 238th District Court Judge John G. Hyde
ordered the trial moved to Potter County (Amarillo), because
it would be impossible to pick an impartial jury in
Midland-Odessa or the surrounding area.
"We'll use a visiting courtroom up there, and move everthing
else - the judge, baliff and court officials. We're just
going to use their citizens for the jury," Clingman said.
The decision tomove the trial out of the Permian basin was
made after a poll ordered by Hyde showed publicity about the
case ruled out holding the trial in Odessa.
Midland District Attorney Al Schorre will handle prosecution
of the case, Clingman said, and Ortiz will remain held
withoug bond in the Midland County Jail pending the start of
the trial, which is tentatively scheduled for October.
New recycling center seeks old materials
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, July 20, 1995 - Pecos Valley Recycling Center has
opened for business, though the official grand opening of
the west side facilty won't be until this fall.
The grand opening celebration has been set for Nov. 15,
which is Texas Recycling Day, according to manager David
Butts Recycling, Inc. of San Angelo and owner Charles Butts
will be overseeing opoeration of the center, located at 1920
W. Second St., and helping to bring in business to the Pecos
The center wil be collecting newspaper, white paper, (office
paper), magazines, cardboard (of all kinds) and phone books,
Platic items accepted include plastic bottles, natural
colored bottles such as mild, as will bottles of clorox,
fabric softener and orange juice bottles.
Aluminum cans will be accepted, but will not be bought, said
"If anyone wants to donate the cans, we will use the money
towards fixing up the building and after that towards
beautifying Pecos," he said.
The facilty is currently open seven days a week, though
Madril added, "I'm only open every day for business," said
Fred Preston, District Corporation Manager for Butts
Recycling, and Ricky Jones, manager of the company's Midland
facility, are on hand to help Madril at the center and to
bring in more business.
"They've been helping me out a lot and showing me things I
didn't know," said Madril. "I'll be on my own from now on,
though," he added.
"We've been receiving a lot of cardboard items from Anchor
West, now that they have expanded," said Madril. "We also
go out to the cantaloupe sheds and pick up items there,
because they have so much of it and we don't want any of it
to get thrown out."
the center will give Town of Pecos City officials a monthly
report and it will be published in the newspaper. The
building was donated by the city for use as a recycling
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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