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PECOS, March 10, 1997 - Is it legal or illegal, right or wrong?
These were some of the questions posed this morning at the regular
Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting. They dealt with whether or
not the county should eliminate a caretaker at the Reeves County Civic
Center and pay compensation to a caretaker for the Civic Center and Buck
Jackson Rodeo Arena and at the Reeves County Golf Course
Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo brought up the issue, saying
that he had recently been in Austin and had discussed the matter with
attorney Jim Allison, who advises an association of Texas counties.
"He suggested that we need to remove that trailer and stop paying those
bills," said Arredondo, referring to a trailer located at the civic
center, on which the county currently pays the utility bills.
After much discussion, commissioners voted to both keep caretaker
Cesario Urias and continue paying the utility bills on the trailer.
Commissioners also opted to draw up a contract with Urias and outline
his duties specifically, thus making the agreement more legal and
Commissioner Precinct 4 Bernardo Martinez made the motion to get rid of
the caretaker seconded by Arredondo. Precinct 2 and 3 Commissioners W.J.
Bang and Herman Tarin voted against the motion, with Reeves County Judge
Jimmy B. Galindo casting the deciding vote.
"It's been going on since you were a commissioner here the last time and
nobody has said anything about it being illegal," said Galindo.
Arredondo was elected as commissioner last November, after serving four
years in the late 1980s.
"Our county auditor Lynn Owens would have been the first one to point it
out if it had been illegal," he said.
Owens agreed that at one time he had looked into the matter and was told
that if it was a form of compensation it would be all right, but would
require a contract, something the county and caretaker currently don't
"This caretaker was implemented sometime in the '80s, to cut down on
vandalism mostly," said Owens.
Bang suggested that if it were a personnel issue, the meeting should be
held in closed session, but both Galindo and Arredondo agreed that it
was more of a policy issue.
"If it's been illegal all this time, we need to do something about it,"
"Since the chamber started taking over some of the duties, there has
been some communication breakdown between the chamber and the county,
maybe we need to sit down and have discussion with them," said Bang.
"I'm in favor of keeping someone out there, because of the vandalism,"
Bang suggested establishing a formal agreement and spelling it out
Arredondo said Pecos police and Reeves County sheriff's deputies could
take care of the security, without having to compensate someone else.
"We can buy paint for the vandalism a lot cheaper than compensating
someone to take care of things out there," said Arredondo.
Galindo explained that the caretaker also assists those who need to get
into the civic center, takes care of livestock during stock show events
and especially during the West of the Pecos Rodeo, which is a big event
for the county.
"To me the civic center is very important to the community and we can
have Russ (Salcido, road and bridges administrator) help out with the
duties, outline them clearly, basically a job description," said Bang.
"So what you're saying is we need to fine-tune what we already have
implemented," said Galindo. "We need to fill in the specific duties and
form an agreement."
"This is just a general policy issue, to not compensate this individuals
out there, because it's just not right," said Arredondo.
"First you said it was illegal and now you say it's not right," said
Galindo. "Owens has never notified me that it's not right, or illegal."
Galindo pointed out that several civic groups and organizations are
concerned about losing the caretaker, including the rodeo committee.
Jim Bob McNeil, rodeo committee president was on hand to voice his
"We would like to keep him out there, he's a big help and is always
there for us," said McNeil.
McNeil outlined several areas that the community has benefited from
having the caretaker out there, including helping out-of-towners with
"He does an excellent job, he's always on top of everything," said
The motion to terminate compensation for services at the civic center,
rodeo arena and golf course died for lack of second. This came in
conjunction with aboloshing the caretaker at the civic center.
"Bill Weaver has been living out there for a long time also, before I
came into office, and there's never been a question of whether it was
illegal or not," said Galindo.
The county currently pays electric and water bills for the trailer set
up at the golf course.
"What we do for one, we want to do for the other," said Galindo.
Arredondo also mentioned the fact that these individuals would need a
1099 form if the county is paying for their utilities.
"Well if it's that form we'll need we'll sure provide it," said Galindo.
"I don't want to create more paperwork for Mr. Owens, I just want to get
rid of these positions," said Arredondo.
"What we need is two contracts, for both of them," said Galindo.
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo is hoping
to find a way to re-establish a recreational facility for Reeves County.
Galindo made his proposal at this morning's commissioners meeting and
suggested forming a group of about 5-9 individuals in the community to
study the project further.
Individuals wanting to work out, and groups such as Pee-Wee basketball,
youth and adult volleyball teams used to enjoy the Old West Pecos Gym
before it was ruled unsafe for public use and condemned in December,
"I think Mr. Saenz (Oscar Saenz from Anchor West) has some excellent
ideas and has spoken to YMCA officials about this matter," said Galindo.
He said that the recreation center would be made affordable for all
families in the community and would benefit everyone.
Galindo said that input from the community would be vital and encouraged
everyone to participate and help with this endeavor.
"We want to do this using an existing building, or possibly building a
new facility, which will be utilized by the whole community," said
He went on to describe some of the options he has considered.
"We have looked at several buildings in the downtown area," said
Galindo. The cost to purchase one, the old Woolworth's building, was set
at $80,000, while another downtown building was priced at $60,000.
A third site was already being considered for a restaurant and was
"Neither of these individuals are willing to budge on the price," said
Galindo, who added he also has been looking around at land the county
currently owns to try to set up a facility there, without having to
purchase the property.
"The property in front of the sheriff's posse, (in the 1400 block of
South Cedar Street) is the county's and we could certainly use that
area," said Galindo.
He also suggested building a bike and hike trail around the area and
beautifying the whole landscape.
"We could plant trees, shrubbery and make it into a really nice place
that everyone can enjoy," he said. "This would enhance our main street
A racquetball court, boxing activities gymnasium, aerobics center,
volleyball courts are all a part of the project.
"There's a big need for a wellness program in Reeves County," said
"I would like to see each commissioner make a recommendation and help us
to establish this recreation center," said Galindo.
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - A "sharing and vocal" group gathered Sunday
afternoon at the Pecos Community Center for a meeting called by parents
concerned with the new Pecos High School dress code.
Louis Matta, spokesperson for the assembly and a former
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board member, said that parents are more
disturbed about the lack of notice from the school about issues they
feel are of concern to the community than with the changes to the dress
code, gum chewing and skipping.
These issues were addressed at the Feb. 27 school board meeting when
board members were presented a survey conducted by PHS teachers. The
board unanimously passed a list of revisions to the dress code, which
were submitted by a committee of teachers who met with Superintendent
Mario Sotelo on two occasions prior to the board's February meeting.
Board members were told that skipping was the number one problem at the
secondary level, followed by gum chewing. This opinion was derived form
surveys taken by students.
No school board members or school district officials were present for
The group of about 20 parents and students noted reported instances of
lethal weapons being found on students and of assault of teachers and
students, said Matta. A letter to the «MDUL»Enterprise«MDNM» by a high
school senior recounted two instances of drugs on campus.
"If those are problems (at the high school), parents want to know about
it," Matta said.
At the meeting, Matta said parents criticized the school board for
accepting the changes to the dress code so quickly. "The students were
never included," in any study of the dress code, he added.
Also, parents voiced their opposition to the "heavy handedness" by
teachers enforcing the new dress code.
Students not abiding by the dress code were separated from their regular
classes and made to serve On-Campus Suspension (OCS) time in the high
school auditorium last week as the new dress code came into effect.
Parents claimed that more than 30 students, the number reported by PHS
Principal Alice Duerksen as being involved in the protest, were given
OCS Tuesday and Wednesday.
Matta said parents were concerned that students were not being given a
lunch or bathroom break during their OCS stay. He added that parents
claimed teachers were asking students to tuck in their sweatshirts,
sweaters and "even their jackets."
"Consequently, we're asking all interested parties to contact (school)
board members...voice their opinion," on the matter, Matta said.
Matta said parents asked why their kids could dress accordingly with the
previous dress code and, "it was acceptable in the community, but not in
"We're resolved to attend the next school board meeting," he said of the
scheduled March 20 meeting. He said the group would recommend a,
"temporary cessation of the new dress code until it is further studied."
"We want to know how many man hours were lost by having teachers police
students and learning hours lost by having students in the auditorium,"
This is the second time parents have met concerning the high school
dress code, according to one parent, and the group plans to meet again
next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Pecos Community Center. All interested
parties are invited.
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - Prospective jurors in federal court got a break
this morning when only one of the three cases scheduled for trial
required a jury.
District Judge Royal Furgeson presided for jury selection in a drug
possession case against Enrique Hernandez-Silva of Arlington. Another
defendant elected to plead guilty, and the government dismissed the
third because the drug he allegedly possessed was found by the DEA lab
to be different from that described in the indictment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Glen Jackson said he would dismiss a charge of
possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine against Ernesto
Alaniz and modify the indictment to charge possession of amphetamine,
which carries a different punishment.
Judge Furgeson heard testimony in a motion to suppress evidence against
Jesus Rodriguez-Rivas, 36, of Mexico, who is charged with conspiracy to
possess and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
He was arrested by Border Patrol agents as he drove a van north on U.S.
Highway 385 south of Marathon Oct. 1. Agents allege they found 726
pounds of marijuana in the van.
Rodriguez said he thought a "Mexican-type" blanket in the back of the
van covered illegal aliens. He admitted smelling marijuana, but said he
thought the aliens had it on them.
His attorney, Elizabeth Rogers of El Paso, said the Border Patrol agent
who stopped Rodriguez had no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Jackson said several factors gave the agent authority to stop the van,
and that when he smelled marijuana, that gave him the right to search it
without a warrant.
Judge Furgeson agreed that the marijuana smell made the search legal,
but he said he would have to study the law regarding the stop.
"I think you can't just stop anybody for any reason near the border, and
you can't make traffic stops," Furgeson said. "My goal is to take the
testimony I have heard and try to apply it to the law."
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - District Judge Bob Parks on Friday placed three
defendants on community supervision after they pleaded guilty to forgery
and burglary charges.
He found a fourth guilty of violating his community supervision and
ordered him held in state prison for three years.
Jonathan La Cedric Smith violated terms of his supervision (probation)
on a 1995 burglary of a building conviction, the judge found. He ordered
Smith to pay $3,000 in restitution and allowed 192 days credit for time
served in jail.
A second burglary charge was dismissed.
Linda Jenkins Franklin pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced to
two years in state jail. But instead of going to jail, she will serve
five years community supervision, pay a $1,000 fine, $590.81 restitution
and $166.50 court costs.
Debra V. Martinez pleaded guilty to forgery and received the same
sentence, with $330 restitution for several forgeries and $170 to
Allsups. She has 17 days jail credit.
John Natividad pleaded guilty to burglary of Amigos Texaco. His two-year
jail term was suspended in favor of five years community supervision. He
has 32 days jail credit. His fine is $500 and restitution is $214 to
Amigos and $389 to Elsa Martinez on another case.
Judge Parks gave 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds permission to
dismiss a charge of injury to a child against Mark Madrid Renteria, who
pleaded guilty to a related charge in county court-at-law.
Mingo Jiminez pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft, and a charge of
burglary of a building by appropriation was dismissed.
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - The proposed compact between Texas, Maine and
Vermont for storage of low-level radioactive waste near Sierra Blanca is
now being opposed by El Paso's new congressman.
Meanwhile, a company seeking to build a radioactive waste treatment
plant in Andrews County is involved in a probe into a waste storage area
in the firm's home state of Utah.
The El Paso Herald-Post reported Friday that U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes
(D-El Paso) has decided that it's not a good idea for Texas to form a
compact with Maine and Vermont to allow those two states to bring their
low-level radioactive waste to a proposed state dump, seven miles
southeast of Sierra Blanca.
Reyes, who took office in January, previously announced his opposition
to the Sierra Blanca dump, but he was undecided about the compact issue
The compact was opposed by his predecessor as Congressman for the 16th
District, Ron Coleman, and Reyes has now agreed that the compact
legislation is too broad and would allow other states to bring their
radioactive waste to Texas.
The Sierra Blanca site sits within the 23rd Congressional District,
represented by San Antonio Republican Henry Bonilla. He also has voiced
his opposition to the waste dump, which would be located 120 miles
southwest of Pecos.
A bill to ratify the compact died in the 104th Congress last year, but
was reintroduced in the House by Dallas area congressmen Joe Barton
(R-Ennis) and Rep. Ralph Hall (D-Rockwall), and in the Senate by Sen.
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
The site is one of two low-level storage areas in West Texas. The other,
operated by Waste Control Specialists, is located on the Texas-New
Mexico border, six miles east of Eunice, N.M. in Andrews County, and
began accepting hazardous waste last month.
WCS is opposed to the plans by Envirocare of Utah to build its own
treatment plant on 888 acres in Andrews County. Both companies have
questioned each other's actions, and in a faxed statement, WCS pointed
out the lack of local consultation by Envirocare before their Andrews
County land purchase, and the probe currently underway in Utah.
The arrangement between Envirocare of Utah Inc. and Utah's former
radiation control director, Larry Anderson, became public in December.
Company owner Khosrow Semnani said Anderson extorted $600,000 from him,
while Anderson claims he is owed millions for years of legitimate
The relationship, now being investigated by the FBI, may dominate
Tuesday's meeting of the Northwest Interstate Compact in Seattle.
Compact members were unhappy with plans for the dump years ago; some
were suspicious of Anderson's fervent support of Envirocare, a company
he would be regulating.
``I felt the relationship between Anderson and Envirocare was too close
because of the strength with which Larry would argue points that should
have been made by his licensee,'' said David Stewart-Smith, Oregon's
delegate to the compact.
Since 1988, Envirocare has filled a niche in the nation's nuclear waste
market, making an estimated $80 million last year. Contaminated dirt
from as far away as New Jersey is stored in clay-lined pits at the
low-level waste landfill, one of three in the nation.
An internal state probe in 1990 failed to uncover Anderson's financial
stake in the company. It concluded that while he had ``lost objectivity
with regard to Envirocare,'' there was no evidence of wrongdoing.
But court documents filed by both men show an arrangement of secret cash
payments from Semnani to Anderson, all tied to the dump 75 miles west of
Salt Lake City.
Copyright 1997 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
PECOS, March 10, 1997 - Pecos City Council interviewed three applicants
for city manager in a special meeting Saturday morning, bringing to five
the number interviewed.
They will again consider applications and possibly conduct interviews in
the regular meeting Thursday.
Interviewed so far are Kenneth L. Neal of Anson; Andrew Wayman of North
Richland Hills, a suburb of Fort Worth; Kyle McCain of Denton; Raymond
H. Kendall of Gainesville; and Steve McCormick of Pecos.
K.M. Waterstreet, who had been scheduled for an interview both Tuesday
and Saturday, canceled her appointment.
Other agenda items for Thursday include discussion of advertising
proposals from the Pecos Enterprise and KIUN Radio, consider juvenile
policy, consider request for city ordinances to be on computer disk,
order election, approve central counting station, appoint officials for
central counting, early voting ballot board, early voting and election
In executive session, the board will consider employment of police
Routine reports include tax collector, juvenile court, municipal court
The council meets at 7:30 a.m. in council chambers. All but the two
executive sessions are open to the public.
Peter Mendoza, 28, 416 Locust St., is currently out on bail after being
arrested by a local entry team executing a search warrant at his home
just before 3 p.m.
Officers found between ½ gram to 1 gram of heroin wrapped in a rubber
balloon in the kitchen trash bin, according to Police Narcotics
Investigator Paul Deishler.
Mendoza was taken into custody on charges of possession of a controlled
substance, heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Deishler indicated that police received information that Mendoza had
been selling heroin from the address indicated and a search warrant was
subsequently issued by Municipal Judge Phyllis Salyer.
Salyer arraigned Mendoza, placing a bond of $200 for possession of drug
paraphernalia and $10,000 for possession of a controlled substance,
He was released Saturday after bonds were posted by Santa Rosa Bonding.
Exactly two weeks prior to the entry, police reports indicate Mendoza
was arrested by officers at his home on charges of possession of drug
paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Pecos Eagle senior guard Eric Abila and junior post Fabien Adame
received honorable mention in the voting by the six District 4-4A
coaches, Eagles' coach Mike Sadler said. They join Omar Hinojos, a first
team selection, and Jason Abila, who was named to the All-Defensive team.
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Copyright 1997 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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