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PECOS, May 7, 1997 - The Reeves County Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) board has been awarded $20,323 in federal funds to
supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the area. Now the
local FEMA board is seeking qualified organizations to disperse the
"The money is here and we want to get it out," said Bruce Drury, local
FEMA board chairman. "We are trying to get as many local agencies as
possible to apply for these funds."
To qualify to receive a portion of the funds available an organization
must be non-profit with an accounting system including an annual audit,
be nondiscriminatory, have demonstrated the capability to deliver
emergency food and/or shelter programs and, if they are a private
voluntary organization, they must have a voluntary board.
Qualified organizations may request an application for a portion of the
funds by writing Bruce Drury, PO Box 606, Pecos TX 79772.
"The sooner they request an application the better," said Bertha
Meierhoff, secretary for the local FEMA board. "The money will be
dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis."
A minimum of $300 will be given to qualifying organizations. The maximum
dispersement will be determined by how many organizations apply for the
funds, Drury explained.
The local FEMA board will begin responding to requests for applications
next Wednesday, Meierhoff said.
"As soon as we get a request in we will mail out an application."
The primary purpose of the funds are to provide assistance with housing
costs such as rent, mortgage payments and utilities, Drury said.
A FEMA National Board comprised of representatives from The Salvation
Army, American Red Cross, Council of Jewish Federations, Catholic
Charities, USA, National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and
United Way of America selected the Reeves County FEMA board to receive
the funds and administer the funds as a fiscal agent for FEMA. The
selection was based on the number of unemployed and the rate of poverty
in the area.
The National Board is distributing the funds which were appropriated by
Congress to expand food and shelter programs in high-need areas around
"It would be good if each city council in the area would contact us with
a request for the funds," Drury said. "The local city councils have a
good idea of what organizations need help in their area."
PECOS, May 7, 1997 - Rising mineral valuations, thanks to higher oil and
gas prices, have boosted valuations in virtually all local taxing
districts, Chief Appraiser Carol Markham told the Reeves County Tax
Appraisal District board on Monday.
The increase in mineral valuations, the first in over a decade, offset a
decline in rural real estate valuations. They allowed Reeves County, the
Reeves County Hospital District and the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and
Balmorhea Independent School District to show increases of about 5
percent in their net taxable valuations over 1996's figures.
"We have a little new stuff (drilling) going on, but mostly it's due to
the price increase," Markham said. "Of course, when the price goes up
drillers tend to drill more."
The P-B-T ISD, which includes central and northern Reeves County and the
western section of Ward County, showed the biggest gain. Mineral
valuations climbed by $24,306,590, while property values were down
$505,300. The school district's net taxable value of $397,379,000
represented an increase of just under 6 percent over last year.
Of the school's mineral increase, $17.4 million came from Reeves County,
while the other $6.9 million was from lands in the Ward County section
of the district.
Balmorhea ISD's total increase in mineral valuations was smaller than
the P-B-T figure, though their percentage rise was greater. Valuations
of $12,224,080 were up 11½ percent from 1996's $10,822,840.
The school's property values shrank $76,540, Markham reported, leaving
the district with total valuations of $20,118,960, a $1,325,270 increase.
Both Reeves County and the Reeves County Hospital District, which share
the same geographical boundaries, lost just over $1 million in taxable
property values. However, a rise of $18,877,760 in mineral valuations
left both taxing entities with an increase of $17,875,070 in valuations,
to $364,768,480. It represents a rise of just under 5 percent from last
The increase in valuations will result in an increase in available
revenues this fall, when the fiscal 1998 budgets are drawn up. It would
give Reeves County an extra $100,000, based on its tax rate of about 57
cents per $100 valuation.
"I'm saying that based on a collection rate of 92 percent, it will be
about $93,000," County Auditor Lynn Owens said this morning. "Hopefully,
not much of that will get kicked off when the (appraisal review)
Markham said the Appraisal Review Board would conduct hearings on
appeals of mineral valuations on June 25, while real estate valuation
appeals will be heard on June 26-27.
"This is the first positive thing we've had in a while," Owens said.
"It's a nice surprise."
County Judge Jimmy Galindo was also happy with the unexpected extra
"The two biggest problems in Reeves County are: Number one, looking at
making an investment in the hard-working people of Reeves County, and
No. 2 looking at improving and enhancing law enforcement in Reeves
County." Galindo said.
He said the funds could be used to raise the salary level for some
county positions. "For the longest time it has been low. The only
caution is being able to sustain any increase over time."
The P-B-T school district would get even more in extra funds than Reeves
County, though the amount will depend on the outcome of the property tax
reform plan being debated by the Texas Legislature.
The district, which has debated closing some schools in an effort to
save money, will get extra $333,000 thanks to the increased mineral
valuations, based on their $1.40 per $100 valuation tax rate.
P-B-T Superintendent Mario Sotelo was going out of town today, and could
not comment on how the extra funds might affect the school district.
Neither the Town of Pecos City or the city of Balmorhea benefited as
much from the mineral valuation increase, but they were the only two
taxing entities to show increases in their real estate values.
Pecos, which saw a sharp increase in real estate values in 1996 due to
the completion of the new United States District Courthouse, saw its
real estate values grow by $32,110 this year. Combined with a $127,730
jump in mineral values, they gave the city net taxable valuations of
$117,475,910, an increase of 1½ percent during the past year.
Balmorhea's valuations were up $7,200 to $3,432,270. Real estate values
were up $4,260, and mineral values grew by $2,940. Toyah lost $63,510 in
real estate valuations, but a $79,330 jump in mineral worth allowed the
city to come out with a $15,820 rise overall, to $1,536,430.
The only local taxing entity to show a decline was Reeves County Water
Improvement District No. 2. It's total valuations fell 16 percent, to
A drop of $688,190 in mineral valuations made up the bulk of the
$700,180 decline. Markham said losses in production leases were blamed
for the decline.
Other than the period just before the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the
price of West Texas crude has been depressed since the mid 1980s,
leading to a continuing decline in tax revenues for most area taxing
The price had hovered in the $18 range in recent years, but climbed into
the $19-$21 range late last year. Oil prices were at $19.63 a barrel
earlier this week, while gas prices were at the $2.20 price range.
PECOS, May 7, 1997 - Seven of nine persons named in a sealed federal
indictment April 10 have been arrested, and the indictment unsealed.
Charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine persons under
the age of 21 and within 1,000 feet of a public university and
elementary school are:
* Cruz Muniz Jr., 30, of Alpine; William Ryan Christopher, 19, of
Crockett; Christopher Clemson Huff, 28, of Alpine; Josephine L. Muniz,
51, of Alpine; Robert Anthony Rose, 39, of Alpine; Jesus Franco Vega,
32, of Alpine; Irene Victorino Urias, 36, of Alpine; Jose Luis Vega, 37,
of Alpine; and Reyes Victorino-Perez, 39, of Alpine.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Paul Evans arrested the Vegas and Rose in Alpine
April 14. All but Christopher and Josephine Muniz have since been
PECOS, May 7, 1997 - Survivors of a woman who died in Reeves County
Hospital two years ago have filed suit against the hospital and three
members of the staff who treated her.
Vivian Ortega Sr., Anita Flores, Mary Ellen Galingo, Jimmy Ortega,
Vivian Ortega Jr., Jose Ortega and Joann Galindo filed the suit in 143rd
District Court against RCH, Dr. James Cam, R. Ornelas and M. Whitner.
Plaintiffs allege that Dr. Cam was negligent in treating Mrs. Ortega
when she arrived at the hospital May 5, 1995 with labored breathing and
bilateral wheezing. They said she received no treatment for almost an
hour and was never examined by a physician until she had already
suffered a complete cardiorespiratory arrest.
Dr. Cam said this morning that it is unfortunate Mrs. Ortega died.
"I sympathize with the family over the death of a loved one," he said.
"We will just have to wait further investigation of this matter."
Whitner and Ornelas were nurses at the time of the incident.
Family members seek an unspecified amount of damages.
PECOS, May 7, 1997 - More than three times as many juvenile cases were
referred to the Reeves County Juvenile Court by Pecos police last month
than were referred in April of last year, according to the court's
monthly juvenile report.
"We are seeing a general trend in an increase of referrals, along with a
combination of more people calling in and filing complaints, reporting
incidences," said Alberto Alvarez, Chief Juvenile Officer of the
probation department. "There has been an on-going increase compared to a
year or two years ago."
In addition, Alvarez said his department receives a large number of
calls from parents asking for help that never go though the police or
any law enforcement agencies.
Twenty two juveniles were sent to court by Pecos police last month
compared to seven in April 1996. Last month the juvenile court received
a total of 27 juvenile referrals including those from Pecos police, the
sheriff's office, Municipal Court and other agencies. That compares to a
total of 16 for April of last year.
"I'm convinced that one reason we are seeing an increase is that we have
a lot of problem young people in the community that were sent here from
other areas," Alvarez said. "They were sent here because they were a
problem where they came from and were sent to a smaller community to
live with relatives to get away from big city problems. Instead, they
bring their attitude, misbehavior and bad conduct and begin a
recruitment type process."
Alvarez said he sees many elderly family members who are ending up with
young rebellious grandkids who they cannot control.
"Another primary reason for an increase in juvenile crime is I see many
parents becoming more permissive at earlier ages with their children,"
he said. "They are giving seven-, eight- and nine-year-olds more freedom
with a lack of control, supervision and guidance.
"We get 10- to 12-year-olds in here who are used to making decisions on
their own and are very difficult to deal with. We've had cases of
seven-year-olds being picked up wandering miles from home and their
parents don't know where they are or what they are doing."
Alvarez does not give much credence to the common complaint that youth
get into trouble in Pecos because there are not many activities for them
to become involved in. He sites extra curricular activities in school,
church youth programs and organizations like little league baseball as
providing more possibilities than some kids can take advantage of.
"When we used to have the theater we got a lot of complaints of
misconduct by children on their way home unsupervised," Alvarez said.
"I'm convinced if there was a place for kids to go we would have a
The county probation department's primary function is to process
juveniles through the system, leaving little time to implement deterant
programs, he said.
"Based on the number of calls we get from concerned and irate parents,
it seems that there is a dire need for some type of youth social
services, or crisis intervention programs," Alvarez said. "It's one
thing to police the problem but once you catch up them what do you do
The general public's attitude is lock them up and they will learn a
lesson, he said.
"All we can do is warehouse them for a while. When we have them in
custody they do very well. The problem is when they get out they go back
to the same environment with no control or supervision," he said.
Alvarez compared putting juveniles in detention to taking an aspirin for
severe pain. When the aspirin wears off the pain returns.
"Parents have to wake up and take control of their kids," Alvarez said.
"They have to stop finding excuses for their children's actions and stop
being wimpy parents. Parents have to realize it's not the community's
responsibility to take care of their problem. Many of the problems we
get have been carefully molded by a lack of parenting."
Of the 27 referrals to the court last month 24 were male and three were
female. The 16 referrals in April 1996 were all male. Twenty five of the
referrals last month were Hispanic and two were white compared to 11
Hispanics, four white and one black in April last year.
The scope of crime juveniles are involved in almost tripled as well.
In April of 1996 seven juveniles were referred to the court on
violations of court orders, five for possession of marijuana under two
ounces, two for arson, one for a terroristic threat and one for
Last month four juveniles were referred to the court on violations of
court orders, one for failure to attend school, four for carrying
unlawful weapons, one for arson, one for a terroristic threat, one for a
prohibited weapon, one for harboring a runaway child, nine for assault
causing bodily injury, one for an assault of offensive or provocative
nature, one for unlawful use of abusable aerosol, one for theft between
$50 and $500, one for school related crisis intervention and one for
However, juvenile court activity only increased slightly from 70 actions
taken in April last year to 81 actions in April this year.
In April 1996, 20 juveniles were detained (15 from Reeves County), five
detention hearings were held, one motion to modify a disposition was
filed, one order modifying a disposition hearing was held, 24 juveniles
were on official probation, two were on courtesy supervision, eight
informal conference adjustments on probation, one petition request was
submitted for court action, one petition was filed with the court, two
cases were dismissed, on juvenile was placed out-of-the-home and four
juveniles paid restitution.
Last month, 18 juveniles were detained (13 from Reeves County), three
detention hearings were held, four adjudication and disposition hearings
were held, two motions to modify a disposition were filed, 23 juveniles
were on probation, thee juveniles were on courtesy supervision, 15
informal conference adjustments to probation were made, one juvenile was
committed to the Texas Youth Commission, four petition requests were
submitted for court action, four petitions were filed with the court,
one case was dismissed, one juvenile was pending out-of-home-placement
and two juveniles paid money for restitution.
Nationally, teenagers (ages 12-19) are more likely to have a crime
committed against them than any other age group, according to "Facts
About The American Criminal Justice System" published by the American
Bar Association. Between 1985 and 1993 firearm homicides increased 212
percent, according to the report. More U.S. teens die from gunshot
wounds than from all natural causes of disease combined.
DAVIS MOUNTAINS RESORT, Texas (AP), May 7, 1997 - Authorities have
completed operations following last week's standoff with Texas
separatists, leaving behind a fugitive in the mountains and the sorry
remains of the group's ``embassy.''
The trailer home and lean-to structure from which Texas secessionists
held off state troopers for a week more resembled a hippie commune, an
Appalachian shack or a garage sale gone awry.
But to Richard McLaren, the ``embassy'' hidden in the Davis Mountains
was the diplomatic headquarters for the Republic of Texas. Indeed, to
say the structure is a bit shoddy would be quite diplomatic.
Reporters got their first glimpse of McLaren's hideout Tuesday night,
moments after the Department of Public Safety finished its on-site
investigation of the week long siege with McLaren's group.
McLaren and four followers surrendered on Saturday. Two others fled into
the mountains, and one was killed by authorities on Monday. Richard
Frank Keyes III remained at-large.
The DPS stopped actively searching for Keyes on Tuesday.
``We'll be doing an investigation to try to find out where he is - but
not beating the bushes looking for him,'' DPS spokesman Mike Cox said.
``If somebody got injured it would be very difficult to get them out of
there. A minor injury could kill someone because it's not like you can
call 911 and get an ambulance there.''
Keyes is wanted on state charges stemming from the April 27
hostage-taking of two anti-McLaren neighbors that began the stalemate.
Even though he's a wanted man on the run and believed to be carrying a
deer rifle, Cox said extra officers won't be needed to protect the
roughly 100 residents of the Davis Mountains Resort area.
On Tuesday night, visitors first came upon a filthy tent where one of
McLaren's supporters apparently made a full-time home. The scent of food
remained, probably cooked on the grill in front.
About 200 yards up a tortuous dirt road lies what McLaren called his
embassy. A flagpole, attached to yellow crime scene tape, was bent
horizontal to the ground in front of the building. McLaren's request
that the Republic of Texas flag remain flying after his arrest went
The stench of gasoline, presumably left over from booby traps the group
had planted around the area, hung in the air as reporters climbed to
McLaren's headquarters. Trip wires of Coca-Cola and Budweiser cans
provided a crude alarm system.
Living quarters at the Republic base consisted of a camouflaged tent, a
couple of other trailers and a red bedroll left out in the open.
A green Volkswagen bug sits immobile and filled with trash.
Minor clues to the group's existence were visible through windows. Music
ranged from Stevie Nicks to country medleys; video stars varied from
Bruce Lee to Sharon Stone. A Texas Almanac and state government
directory were at McLaren's fingertips.
Marfa resident Bill Roberts, who owns a home among the rocky dirt roads
of the development, said the road in front of McLaren's property has
been undrivable for most vehicles for years.
``Last time I was down here was two years ago,'' said Roberts, who led a
group of journalists to the site. ``None of this was here then.''
Of the junk that remained, one item stood out not for its presence, but
for its message that judges, lawmen and others warned McLaren for years:
``Don't Mess With Texas'' read a coffee mug.
PECOS, May 7, 1997 - Dominga V. Martinez, 54, died Monday, May 5 at
Reeves County Hospital.
A rosary will be held today at 7 p.m. at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Santa Rosa Catholic Church
with burial in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.
She was born Jan. 10, 1943 in Barstow, was a lifetime Pecos resident and
Survivors include one son, David Martinez of Pecos; three daughters,
Yolanda Ybarra, Beatrice and Nancy Martinez all of Pecos; one brother,
Leonardo Vasquez of Odessa; one sister, Bertha Vasquez of Midland and
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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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