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PECOS, January 2, 1997 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members plan
to discuss the discovery of a hidden video camera at the Pecos High
School field house during their January 14 meeting.
The camera was placed in the field house reportedly as part of an
undercover operation by the Reeves County Drug Task Force.
"The board has not met yet, but it will be addressed in executive
session," School Board President Linda Gholson said today.
The incident was also reportedly brought before the 143rd District Court
grand jury on Dec. 19. However, then-district attorney John Stickels
said, "I can neither confirm or deny that the grand jury is
investigating the camera in the field house."
Tuesday was Stickels' final day as 143rd District Attorney. His
four-year term expired on Jan. 1, and Randy Reynolds was sworn into
office as district attorney this morning.
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez did say that questions about the
investigation are scheduled to be heard before another grand jury later
Gomez said that he could not comment on other details of the field house
occurrence, as did county narcotics investigator Clay McKinney.
The camera was found hidden in the ceiling of the field house by
maintenance workers Gholson said neither head football coach Mike
Belew, his assistants, nor any other Pecos High School official knew
about the hidden camera until after its discovery.
"My understanding is no one was aware of it at all except for the
superintendent," Gholson said. "The DA (Stickels) called me, and I was
not aware of it. The first I knew about it was when it was found."
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Mario Sotelo has been out of town
and unavailable for comment during the Christmas-New Year's Day break,
but Gholson said she has talked with Sotelo, as well as with law
enforcement officials and Belew since the incident became known.
"All I know is that from all the information I have from all different
directions it was done within the bounds of the law," Gholson said.
"Certainly, I was concerned about it for myself and my coaches when I
found out," Belew said on Dec. 20, a day after the reported grand jury
hearing. He added that he had talked with some of the officials
responsible for the investigation, "and they told me no coaches were
Gholson confirmed that statement today, saying, "No school employees
were the subject of the investigation."
Law enforcement sources indicated that the investigation was launched
after a known, convicted drug dealer was spotted using the school
district's facility on several occasions.
Belew said the camera was placed so it would focus on the field house's
hallway. The hallway is an open area which leads from the front door to
the weight room and back to the coaches' offices.
The weight room area has been open to use by students other than
football players and by non-school employees in the past.
The board will cover it as part of their regular monthly meeting on Jan.
14. Gholson said the meeting was moved back five days due to the
holidays, she added, so that records can be compiled after school
resumes on Monday.
From Staff and Wire Reports
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PECOS, January 2, 1997 - Recreation uses such as hunting have
strengthened the price for ranch land in some part of Texas, but it
hasn't done a thing for Reeves County.
In fact, the drought dropped sales of ranch land dramatically, said
local realtor Steve Armstrong, "and it hasn't recovered yet.
"When you show a ranch and it is slick as your desktop, it is hard to
get anyone to believe it will green up enough to graze," Armstrong said.
A season of good rains will cover over the land in a few weeks, he said,
"but you have to keep having them."
Good rains have been slow in coming, with only one little snow flurry in
December leaving the only trace of moisture for the month.
Carol Markham, chief appraiser for the Reeves County Appraisal District,
said sales of small "homesite" tracts along the Pecos River have pushed
valuations up to $400-$1,000 per acre.
Most of those sales are to out-of-state residents who have not seen the
land, and many return it to the seller, Morton Kandell, when they see
it, Markham said.
"We have had a lot of reposessions, and it keeps us busy," she said.
When the land is sold, it is re-appraised from grassland to homesite.
The best grassland is valued at $60 per acre, she said.
South and east Texas are experiencing a boom in small tracts sales,
The land bank association in Devine, southwest of San Antonio, is doing
a lively business financing 10-acre parcels of ruggedly attractive land
for people who want to live in a rural setting and commute to work.
Rick Rothe, chief executive officer of Devine's Federal Land Bank
Association, said doctors and lawyers and big-city business owners are
buying ranch-size tracts of 500 acres and larger.
Overall, the Farm Credit Bank of Texas reports the strongest demand for
new rural property loans since 1981. The bank, whose Federal Land Bank
Associations are the single largest source of credit for land purchases
in the state, expects to set a record volume in new loans for rural
properties in 1996.
Charles Gilliland, a Texas A&M University research economist
specializing in land, calls this an ``active, up market, possibly more
favorable than anything seen since the 1970s.''
``Anything that is realistically priced will sell immediately,'' says
Hondo real estate agent Bob Heyen, whose office is in the town of 6,217
on U.S. 90 heading west beyond San Antonio.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1995 charted a 7 percent increase
in the value of farm real estate nationwide, compared with 6.4 percent
gains in both 1994 and 1993.
For Texas, the agency showed an average value of $566 per acre, up from
$550 in 1995 and $522 in 1994. The value had declined continuously from
1989 to 1992.
The lure of this property is deer with big horns, large populations of
quail and doves.
Prices have still not completely recovered from the drought of 1996,
which brought with it record low prices for cattle.
Per acre, prices aren't up to the inflated levels of the early 1980s.
Small tracts in South Texas that went for $1,500 an acre at the peak
will bring $650 to $750 an acre now, Heyen estimates.
The Rolling Plains of west central Texas haven't caught on as a
recreation location like South Texas. And the farmers there, who depend
on profit from farming the land for repayment, aren't in a buying mood
after three years of disappointing yields.
According to Dale Bullinger, chief executive officer of the Federal Land
Bank Association in Haskell, land prices have stayed pretty much the
same since the plunge of 1985-86.
Good land for growing crops without irrigation that sold for $800 to
$900 an acre at the peak fell to $550 to $600 an acre and still can be
bought for that amount, said Bullinger.
Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
PECOS, January 2, 1997 - Pleasant weather introduced 1997 to area
residents on Wednesday, as the overnight low temperature of 42 rose to
76 under sunny skies, with some wind in the afternoon.
Coming on the heels of a sunny December when one snow flurry was the
only precipitation for the month, January may be more of the same. In
1996, snow which fell on the first and second days of January was the
only precipitation for the month, and totaled .11 inch.
December's snow fell in mid-day on the 17th, leaving a trace of
moisture. Temperatures ranged from a low of 10 on Dec. 19 to a high of
83 on Dec. 10.
Comparing 1996 reports, precipitation was little more in 1995, with a
total of 1.12 inches reported - .66 more than normal.
In January '96, 20 was the low on Jan. 7 and again on Jan. 19. The high
reached 81 on Jan. 17.
National Weather Service forecasters predict tonight's low at 45-50,
with southwest wind 5-15 mph. Record high temperatures are likely
Friday, under partly cloudy skies. High around 80. West to southwest
wind 10-20 mph and gusty.
Lillian B. Holler
Lillian B. Holler, 79, died Monday, Dec. 30, at an Alpine hospital.
Graveside services were held Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. at Elm Grove
Cemetery in Alpine with Father Rick Ruiz officiating.
She was born Jan. 21, 1917 in Pecos, was a homemaker, a Baptist and had
lived in Alpine since June 1996.
Survivors include one son, Sam Dudley of Alpine; two daughters, Sue
Elliott of Pecos and Faye Brooks of Dallas; nine grandchildren and 17
Geeslin Funeral Home of Alpine is in charge of arrangements.
Tony Juarez, 44, a business owner, died Sunday, Dec. 29 at the Veterans
Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., after a lengthy illness.
Mass was celebrated today at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with the Rev. Ed
Carpetner officiating. Burial followed at the Juarez Ranch on FM 1216 in
He was born July 12, 1952 in Pecos. He was a United States Marine
Veteran. He was stationed at Naval Air Station Widbey Island in Oak
Harbor, Washington. During his service, he was ranked as a corporal and
his field of occupation was a rifle specialist. Honors received include
the National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Mast, Rifle Expert Badge
2nd Award, and Pistol Marksman Badge. He was released with an Honorable
Discharge. He was a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Nyda Juarez of Pecos; two sons, Tony Juarez,
Jr. of Alpine, Michael Juarez of Pecos; his parents, Gilbert and Melinda
Juarez of Pecos; three sisters, Susie Orona of Pecos, Anita Urquidez of
Carlsbad, N.M. and Betty Hinojos of Alpine and several nieces and
Pecos Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
High Wednesday 76, low last night 42. Tonight, fair. Low 45-50.
Southwest wind 5-15 mph. Record high temperatures likely Friday. Friday,
partly cloudy. High around 80. West to southwest wind 10-20 mph and
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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