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June 16, 1997
County seeks grant for
$1 million recreation center
Members of city council, school board, private sector offer support
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By RICK SMITH
PECOS, June 16, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners agreed Friday to
apply for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) grant for funds
to help construct a million dollar recreation center in Pecos.
The called meeting was necessary to meet a Saturday deadline for filing
for the grant, according to County Judge Jimmy Galindo.
"The Commissioners' Court has been looking into building a recreation
center for a number of years," Galindo said. "Our objective now is to do
all we can to leverage local funds and get matching funds from the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department."
According to County Grant Administrator Mari Maldonado, the TPWD makes
about $15.5 million a year available for grants. Around $2.5 million of
that is offered for indoor facilities such as the county's proposed
Reeves County has $500,000 available for the building of a recreation
center, according to Galindo. He said the grant application to the
recreation division of the TPWD would ask for a matching $500,000.
Money the county has access to for the project includes $250,000 from
the employee health care fund and $250,000 from the Reeves County
In addition to the funds to build such a facility Galindo has said it
will also take community cooperation between the private sector, the
county and the city as well as the school and hospital districts to
provide operating funds for such a facility if it is built. With the
construction of a recreation center both public and private entities in
the area can establish employee wellness programs, Galindo said.
"Our employees can then be more fit and more healthy at work which will
result in less claims on insurance, saving companies and the public
money," he said.
Pecos let its recreation center die in December, 1990, when inspectors
decided the West Pecos Gym, where most of the facilities were located,
was unsafe in its current condition. P-B-T school board members are
currently seeking to make a final decision on the unused building and
the school warehouse next door.
The West Pecos Gym housed a weight room, racquetball court and
basketball/volleyball court, under the direction of the Pecos Community
Recreation Department, which also supervised outdoor softball, T-ball
and flag football leagues at Maxey Park.
But budget shortfalls led to financial cuts in the department's
operations prior to the closing of the gym. The PCRD continued
supervising outdoor activities for four more years, before ceasing
operations completely in 1994.
In the past few years, the school district has allowed use of the old
Pecos High School gym for youth basketball leagues, while both the new
and old high school gyms have been used for weekend volleyball and
basketball tournaments. The maximum matching funds available from the
TPWD grant is $500,000. In addition to the money needed to construct
such a facility operating funds would have to be allocated.
Galindo said operating funds for the recreation center could be met with
through inter-local agreements committing with participants each
committing $10,000 to $20,000 per year. He presented commissioners with
letters of support for the project from Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director Tom Rivera, City Councilmen Ricky Herrera, Gerald Tellez,Jr.
and Johnny Terrazas, Texas-New Mexico Power Company West Texas Business Unit Manager Pauline Moore, Pecos Enterprise Publisher Mac McKinnon, Baseball League President Steve Reyes, PBT School Board Member Freddy Lujan.
The county also has about $36,000 it can use to place equipment in the
recreation center, Galindo said.
User fees to the general public would also help pay operational costs.
Galindo said he envisions a master plan for recreational facilities in
the county in which one membership would entitle a person to access to
many activities in the county, such as golf, swimming and tennis as well
as those offered at the proposed recreation center.
The judge also said he would like to see the recreation center project
established quickly while the expansion of the Reeves County Detention
Center is on-going and contractors are still in the area making for more
The county should hear if the grant application to TPWD was accepted sometime in August, Galindo said.
Federal court indicts 21, mostly for drugs
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 16, 1997 - Federal court grand jurors returned indictments
against 21 defendants Thursday, including one local man and several from
Michael Timothy Matta, 25, of 1419 S. Plum St., is charged with
importing and possessing with intent to distribute a controlled
substance, flunitrazepam, on May 19.
Others charged with importing and possessing with intent to distribute a
controlled substance are:
* Ramon Rafael Nunez, 25; Ryan Jacob Kinkade, 19; and Benjamin Lee
Sanchez, 20, all of Alpine; 30.5 grams of cocaine on May 17.
* Raul Orona Hernandez, 19; Jorge Hernandez Ramos, 18; and Jesse Eddie
Cervantes, 19, all of Odessa; marijuana on May 28.
* Juan Manuel Venegas, 25; and Luis Manuel Garcia, 29, both of Van Horn;
marijuana on June 6.
* Javier Carbajal-Meniano, 39, of Midland, marijuana on June 11.
* Pedro Orona Carbajal of Odessa, heroin on May 23.
* Ernestina Morales-Mendoza, 29, of Chihuahua, Mex., cocaine on June 8.
Indicted for possession with intent to distribute marijuana are:
* Rudy Bernard Jr., 21, of Monahans, June 9.
* Kevin Dewayne Fletcher, 24, of Monahans.
* Guillermina Gatto-Gonzales, 47, of Midland, May 19.
* Alejandro Lopez-Ayala, May 23.
Ernesto Alaniz, 25, of Tijuana, Mex., is charged with conspiracy to
possess and possession with intent to distribute amphetamine on Oct. 3,
Regina Rose Casey, 50, of Los Angeles, Calif., is charged with
possession with intent to distribute cocaine on May 18.
Janet Fay Salvato, 44, of Kansas City, Kan., is charged with failure to
appear for trial on May 19.
Rosario Hernandez-Velasco of Mexico is charged with illegal entry after deportation.
Barstow Elementary to remain
open through restructuring
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, June 16, 1997 - Barstow Elementary School will not be closed this
year as part of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah I.S.D.'s restructuring plan,
according to PBT Board President Frank Perea.
Restructuring of the district was addressed Thursday during a regular
meeting of the PBT board.
Perea told the school board, "Barstow residents have agreed to give up
the school there when it becomes a burden to the taxpayers...that hasn't
Julian Florez, the representative of the group of Barstow residents
concerned about the possibility of their school being closed, voiced
concerns when invited by Perea to speak.
Perea assured Florez that the school board is not yet ready to close
Barstow Elementary, and that they will not be closing the school this
year. Also, there will be no changes in the grades taught at the school,
which are currently kindergarten through fifth grade.
A restructuring plan discussed Thursday evening was to teach first,
second and third grades at Austin Elementary, close Pecos Elementary,
retain Bessie Haynes Elementary as the fourth and fifth grade school,
close Lamar Elementary, Make Zavala Middle School the home of the sixth
grade, and house both the seventh and eighth grades at Crockett Middle
School. No changes were
discussed regarding Pecos Kindergarten or Pecos High School.
Perea suggested using Pecos Elementary as a central office building or
as a transportation office, and idea he credited to Superintendent Mario
"We've talked about this long enough. It's time to get down and find
some good solid facts," said Trustee Earl Bates.
The school board agreed that they need to learn what future enrollment
projections are, so that they will be able to tell if the restructuring
plan would require additional classrooms to be built.
"At this time, we feel we need more information," said Perea.
In other PBT I.S.D. business:
Goals for the superintendent and the district were discussed briefly,
and Trustee Steve Armstrong suggested that Sotelo become more visible to
the community outside of those involved in education.
Bates suggested that the district needs to set more long-term goals
because, currently, issues are just being dealt with as they arise.
Both Perea and Secretary Daisy Roquemore said the superintendent should
be more involved when teachers become negatively involved with students,
such as if a teacher makes a racial slur to a student.
Board Vice President Alberto Alvarez suggested that the superintendent
do more to make sure that counselors work to ensure that students are
better prepared for the job market when they graduate high school. Job
descriptions were not approved because everyone who is affected by them
has not had a chance to see them yet. The job descriptions as they are
currently written do not create any unfilled positions.
The junior high grading scale for students taking advanced placement
classes and calender revisions were both approved unanimously.
The next school year will begin on August 14, 1997 and end on May 22,
Discussion on girls softball was tabled until budget discussions take
place later this summer.
Following in the footsteps of the Town of Pecos City Council and the
Reeves County Commissioners, the sale of a two story house and the land
it sits on at 310 S. Mesquite was approved for $1,490 to Salvador R.
Carrera of Pecos. The vote was unanimous. A lounge and laundromat that
are included with the property were not sold, because Carrera said he
cannot afford them at this time.
Bates expressed the concern that about $33,000 worth of back taxes
belonging to the various taxing entities would be lost upon approval of
the sale at the offered price. The property has had offers made on it
before, but the sales have not gone through, and the property has been
in foreclosure status for quite some time.
Carrera stated in his letter offering to but the property that the house
is currently unlivable because it has no doors, windows, carpeting or
cabinets, plus the structure has suffered damage due to weather and
Roquemore said that the sale would at least get the property back on the
tax rills, and that would at least cause it to generate some revenue.
She also pointed out that if the property wasn't sold soon, vandalism
will continue, and it will eventually become worth virtually nothing at
Carrera stated that he plans to rebuild the interior of the house and
live there with his family.
Final analysis of the TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) tests
for the 1996-97 school year hasn't been completed yet, but the results
"The scores continue to improve," said Sotelo. When asked how the
testing affected graduation, Sotelo said he thought only one student
missed graduation because of TAAS scores.
Other items on Thursday's school board agenda which received unanimous
approval were the 1997-98 payday schedule, Title II Math/Science and
Title IV Drug Free Schools Cooperatives with the Region 18 Education
Service Center, and 1996-97 budget amendments.
A waiver of certification requirements for occupational orientation
certification was also approved unanimously.
All regular district business was also approved unanimously, such as
payment of bills.
No action was taken on approval of band directors' salaries. PHS Band
Director Steven Clary will meet with Sotelo, P-B-T ISD Personnel
Director Crissy Urias and Business Manager Cookie Canon to work out
At the beginning of the meeting, plaques were awarded to three former
board members thanking them for their service.
Two other subjects were brought up during the audience segment at the
beginning of the meeting, but the board is not permitted to discuss or
take any action on matters brought up at that time.
Pauline Moore, chairman of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce's Economic
Development Committee, spoke first. She gave an overview of what the
committee is working on for the city, and what they will be asking
governing bodies for in the future.
The Economic Development Committee would like to be able to hire an
economic development coordinator and convince taxing entities to devote
portions of their budgets to economic development.
"Communities that are growing and developing have economic development
coordinators in place," said Moore.
Both Mac McKinnon, Pecos Enterprise publisher, and Isabelle Blanchard,
co-manager of the Pecos Municipal Airport, spoke briefly to the school
board about the importance of teaching the Spanish language to
elementary school students who are growing up in the Southwest.
"Children at a young age assimilate language much more quickly that
adults," said Blanchard.
Blanchard continued, "I would like to see something done about this
other than acknowledging the idea but not acting on it."
The next regular meeting of the P-B-T ISD is scheduled for Thursday,
July 10 at 6 p.m. in the board room at 1304 South Park Street, across the street from Pecos High School.
Courts sort out jurors, multitude of cases
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 16, 1997 - State and federal court jurors had a hard time
this morning finding the right courtroom. Several who were summoned for
federal court reported to the Reeves County Courthouse, and several who
appeared at the federal courthouse were sent across the street to the
District Judge Bob Parks said all three cases he had set for trial
settled, but County Court-at-law Judge Lee Green will use some of the
prospective jurors for a driving-while-intoxicated charge against Oscar
That trial will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the district courtroom.
U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson presided for jury selection in two
cases this morning. Defendants are Ernesto Alaniz and Dominic Joseph
Longo. He also set a hearing for 5 p.m. on forfeiture of $69,530 seized
by federal officers from Ify Iwegbu.
Pleading guilty in state court Friday were Glenn Ford Cameron,
possession of cocaine; and Jose R. Looney, possession of heroin.
District Attorney Randy Reynolds dismissed a charge of possession of
heroin against Looney's co-defendant, Leslie Young, for insufficient
evidence. Looney said he owned the car the two men occupied at the time
of their arrest, and he claimed the drugs were his, Reynolds said.
Arturo Quesada Saenz pleaded guilty in county court-at-law to assault
causing bodily injury. Reynolds dismissed a felony charge of injury to a
disabled person as a result of the plea agreement.
Judge Parks sentenced Cameron to three years in prison and fined him
$1,500, judgment deferred. He is to pay $314.50 court costs ad $140
A charge of possession of heroin was dismissed in the plea bargain.
Looney was placed on community supervision for two years and ordered to pay $164.50 court costs. |
Appraisal district to hear
property tax protests this month
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PECOS, June 16, 1997 - Property owners in the Reeves County Appraisal
District will have an opportunity later this month, to protest proposed
appraisals of their property for local taxes. The district's appraisal
review board (ARB) will begin hearing taxpayer protests June 25 for
minerals and continue on June 26 for real estate.
After the ARB completes its hearings and approves final property
appraisals, local governments will use these appraisals to set 1997 tax
The ARB is a group of citizens who live in the appraisal district and
are appointed by the district's board of directors. Their responsibilities are outlined in the Texas Property Tax Code.
Property owners may protest to the ARB any of the following appraisal
* the appraised or agricultural value of the property;
* unequal appraisal of the taxpayer's property compared to other
property in the district;
* inclusion of the property on the appraisal records;
* denial of a partial exemption, such as a homestead exemption;
* denial of agricultural-use, open-space or timber productivity
* determination that agricultural or timber land has had a change of use
and is subject to a rollback tax;
* identification of the taxing unit or units in which the property is
* determination that the taxpayer is the owner of the property; or
* any other action of the appraisal office that adversely effects the
Carol King Markham, chief appraiser for the district, outlined the steps
a property owner must take to file a protest.
First, the property owner must file a written notice of protest that
shows why the owner is protesting to the ARB. The taxpayer must file
this notice by June 2 or within 30 days after the appraisal district
mails the taxpayer a notice of appraised value, whichever is later.
If a person leases property and, by contract, must pay the owner's
property taxes, then the person leasing may protest the property's value
to the ARB, if the property owner doesn't protest.
If the ARB sends a property owner a notice of any other kind of change
in the appraisal records, or if the chief appraiser issues a notice for
a property omitted in the prior year, the property owner has 30 days
from the mailing date to file a protest.
Official forms for a notice of protest are available at the appraisal
district office. "A letter from the taxpayer is also acceptable,"
Markham said. "as long as it identifies the property owner and the
property protested and indicates dissatisfaction with some decision or
action of the appraisal office.""
Each protesting property owner may offer evidence or argument, either in
person or by filing an affidavit with the ARB. A property owner may
appoint another person to present the protest by filing an Appointment
of Agent form with the appraisal district. Property owners should know
that the ARB has no authority over tax rates or spending and will not
hear protests on these topics.
The ARB will schedule hearings as property owners file protests and will
tell them the time, date and place of their individual hearings at least
15 days before the hearing date. Property owners also will receive a
copy of the State Comptroller of Public Account's pamphlet entitled
"Texas Property Taxes: Taxpayers' Rights, Remedies & Responsibilities,"
a copy of the ARB's procedures and notice of available evidence at the appraisal office to be presented at the hearing.
Markham said that hearings will be held for three days and that the AM
expects to approve the final appraisal roll on July 14, 1997.
State law requires the ARB to review and approve the appraisal records
by July 20, or when not more than five percent of the total property
value in the district remains under protest.
Those protesting their appraisals should not contact ARB members outside
the hearing, the chief appraiser stressed. Each ARB member must sign an
affidavit that he or she has had no contact about the protest with a
property owner or the appraisal office staff before the hearing.
"Texas Property Taxes: Taxpayers' Rights, Remedies & Responsibilities"
is available at the Reeves County Appraisal District office. For a copy, contact the appraise district staff at 403 Cypress or call 445-5122.
U.S. Border Patrol agent dies in fall
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SAN DIEGO (AP) June 16, 1997 - A U.S. Border Patrol agent died after
tumbling down a ravine while trying to locate what he thought was a
group of illegal immigrants, authorities said.
Lubbock native Stephen Starch, 25, of the El Cajon station, died late
Saturday afternoon from severe head trauma, according to Border Patrol
spokesman Jim Pilkington.
"We're pretty sure the head trauma was caused after the accidental
fall," Pilkington said Sunday morning from the Border Patrol's San Diego
headquarters. "There's nothing at this time to indicate foul play."
Starch was working in the rugged, mountainous terrain west of Tecate
Peak in the rural community of Dulzura. Officials said he was tracking a
group thought to be in the United States illegally.
"He was working with a partner and they split up to pursue different
trails in the same general area," Pilkington said.
At about 3:30 p.m., other agents were unable to contact Starch by radio
and began a search, with help from a U.S. Customs helicopter and the
U.S. Coast Guard.
About three hours later, agents found Starch at the bottom of a ravine
near Cottonwood Creek. He was not breathing and was pronounced dead at
the scene, Pilkington said.
The area, which is south of Highway 94 near Barrett Junction, is scarred
by steep drop-offs and scrubby brush.
Starch had served at the El Cajon station for nearly two years. The San
Diego County Sheriff's Department will be investigating the death along
with the Border Patrol, Pilkington said.
Starch, a high school football, basketball and track athlete and
graduate of Texas Tech University, was recently married and is survived
by his wife.
"It's devastating to us to have lost a fellow agent," Pilkington said.
"He lost his life in the line of duty, protecting the border, protecting
life and property."
Starch's mother told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that she feared for
her son's safety when she saw his desolate patrol area.
"A mother just has this intuitive gut feeling - that this is not where
you want your son," Darla Dunn said Sunday. "You don't want him
Starch was the second agent in the San Diego sector to die in the line
of duty since 1974.
Luis Santiago fell 120 feet to his death in March 1995 after he lost his
footing on a rain-soaked ledge. He and six other agents had been chasing
a group of nine suspected illegal immigrants near the Otay Mesa Dam,
about 10 miles southeast of San Diego. Investigators ruled Santiago's death accidental.
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PECOS, June 16, 1997 - High Sunday, 88, low this morning, 65. Moisture
received over the weekend, .06 of an inch, for the month-to-date, .13,
and for the year-to-date, 3.68 in. It will be partly to mostly cloudy
with showers and thunderstorms possible through Tuesday. Some storms may
be severe this afternoon and tonight in northern areas of West Texas.
Highs Tuesday will be
in the 80s and 90s.|
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.
Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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