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June 25, 1997
Murals give PHS gym new look
By JON FULBRIGHT
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PECOS, June 25, 1997 - Pecos High School gym will be sporting a far more
colorful look when school resumes in August, with the addition of two
12-foot high murals at the north and south ends of the building.
Pecos High School art teacher Walter Holland is supervising the six-week
project, which also includes smaller murals in the south stairways and
above the home and visitors stands. The project is being done by
students both from Holland's art class and the summer JTPA program, for
which they receive course credit.
Work is almost complete on the south end mural, a painting of the
American and Texas flags on a sky blue and white background.
The mural takes up the middle third of the gym's formally tan-and-yellow
30-foot high wall.
"We're doing some touch-up on the Texas flag before we do the touch-ups
on the American flag," Holland said. The work is being done by students
using a mechanical scaffolding. "Only the ones who are old enough get to
go on the scaffolding," he added.
Other students were busy painting the stairway walls - the home side
will have a basketball and the visitor's stairway will have a
volleyball. A purple and gold stripe has already been painted both
there, and along the walls behind the stands.
Holland said his students waited until Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
maintenance crews installed the new shot clocks on the north and south
The groups have been working four days a week on the south end mural
since early June, and it should be completed this week. After that,
Holland said they'll begin the north end mural, which Holland said will
be a three-dimensional picture of the school's eagle mascot.
"The eagle's talons and head will be coming out of the wall," he
explained. The words "Eagle's Nest" will go in a purple box below the
mural, while another phrase will be painted in the box below the flag
Two other areas have been painted blue in preparation for smaller murals
above the stands. Holland said a bi-plane trailing a banner will be
placed above the radio booth behind the west stands, while the mural for
the east stands has yet to be decided.
Holland expected all the work inside the gym will be completed by the time the summer JTPA program concludes in late July.
Air Force explains UFO incident
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By ROBERT BURNS
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) June 25, 1997 - With an almost straight face, Col. John
Haynes began his public presentation of the Air Force's latest debunking
of the Roswell UFO "incident" by saying this surely would put to rest
the most enduring of UFO stories.
"We're confident ... that this will be the final word," Haynes said with
the hint of a grin.
Even before he finished explaining the Air Force's 231-page Roswell
report Tuesday - subtitled "Case Closed" to emphasize a point - skeptics
were dumping doubt, and it was clear the case is not closed.
Kent Jeffrey of the International Roswell Initiative, which does not
believe UFOs visited Roswell, said the Air Force did itself no favor by
offering a new explanation for the alleged sightings of alien "bodies"
The explanation is this: The "bodies" witnesses reported being removed
from debris in the New Mexico desert in July 1947 were actually
life-size dummies the Air Force used in the 1950s in high-altitude
Three years ago, the Air Force gave its explanation for the debris. It
was from parts of a high-altitude Air Force balloon that pulled
disc-like radar reflectors and other devices as part of a classified
reconnaissance operation. Tuesday's follow-up report offered the first
explanation of the "bodies."
But Haynes said the Air Force had no explanation for the time gap: Why
would witnesses mix up the 1947 event with sightings of dummies a decade
"If you find that people talk about things over a period of time, they
begin to lose exactly when the date was," said Haynes, an Air Force
declassification officer who presented the report at a Pentagon news
"I have no other explanation."
That, in Jeffrey's view, will only add fuel to the fire of those who
believe the Air Force conspired to cover up its recovery of UFOs and
their extraterrestrial crews.
Deon Crosby, director of the International UFO Museum and Research
Center in Roswell, said the report raised more questions than it
answered - and it certainly is not sufficient to let the Air Force wash
its hand of the controversy.
"It's not going to do that at all," she said.
What it has done, however, is reopen a window on a fascinating period in
Air Force history, at the brink of the United States' first steps into
Haynes showed reporters file footage from the 1950s of dummies dressed
in Air Force flight suits pulled aloft by enormous high-altitude
balloons, then dropped to Earth. The object was to devise a way pilots
or astronauts could reach Earth if forced to escape at extremely high
altitudes. One Air Force test pilot later made three such jumps himself
- one from 102,800 feet in August 1960, which still stands as the world
record highest parachute jump by a human.
The black-and-white footage is a one-of-a-kind collection of Air Force
film and photos, including a shot of a fully outfitted dummy called
"Sierra Sam" standing upright with his arms outstretched over the
shoulders of two officers.
The majority of the dummies - which had skeletons of aluminum or steel,
skin of latex or plastic, cast aluminum skulls and instrument cavities
in their torsos and heads - landed outside military bases in eastern New
Mexico, near Roswell, the Air Force report said.
The parachuting with dummies was not secret. In fact, the operations
were widely publicized at the time, which would seem to make it even
more unlikely that people who claim to have seen the 1947 UFO debris
would confuse it with events years later.
The report says there simply is nothing in Air Force records from the
1940s - classified or unclassified - that raises even the remotest
possibility of a recovery of extraterrestrial beings or anything else
resembling life forms in the Roswell area. The only possible explanation, it says, is the test dummies.
Republic member faces firearm charge
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 25, 1997 - Pecos Police Patrolman Cosme Ortega was the
leadoff witness this morning in the federal court trial of a Republic of
Texas member charged with felon in possession of a firearm.
Jeffrey William Howard, 32, of Dallas, was one of seven men arrested
April 30 at Flying J Travel Plaza.
Prosecutor Jim Blankinship said in his opening statement that evidence
will show that Howard and his companions were answering a call to arms
by the Republic of Texas' "commanding general of defense forces."
Through postings on the Internet, television and press releases, the ROT
asked militia members to gather near Balmorhea to join forces against
Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement officers in a
standoff at the ROT "embassy" near Fort Davis.
Blankinship said that the DPS received a tip that a tan suburban and
another vehicle were traveling from Dallas to Fort Davis, and that the
occupants were heavily armed.
Howard was found asleep in the back seat of a blue Oldsmobile parked
beside the suspect Surburban at Flying J. Five Texas Rangers who were
enroute to Fort Davis joined the Pecos Police Department in arresting
Howard and six companions, Blankinship said.
Numerous weapons were found in both vehicles, and one had been purchased
in Dallas by Howard, Blankinship said. Some of the weapons in the
vehicles were manufactured outside of Texas, making their possession by
a felon a federal offense. Howard was convicted in 1991 of felony drug
possession, he said.
Blankinship said he would call eight or 10 witnesses. Several ROT
members also took the oath as potential witnesses.
Pecos attorney Scott Johnson is representing the defendant, over
Howard's objections. Howard claims the court has no jurisdiction over
him because Texas is not a part of the United States.
The jury trial is the second before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton this
week. On Tuesday, two Fort Stockton residents and a Mexican citizen were
convicted of conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to
distribute 436.68 pounds of marijuana on May 7.
Border Patrol agents who made the arrest south of Marathon testified
that Eliseo Rodriguez-Olivas, 22, of Fort Stockton, Joel Chavez-Gel, 38,
of Musquiz, Mex., Auden Bernal Cabello, 20, of Fort Stockton were
traveling together in two separate vehicles.
Sensors along Farm Road 2627 to the river crossing at La Linda alerted the officers to the northbound traffic about 4:30 a.m.
Assault of young girl, youth fighting reported
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, June 25, 1997 - School is out for the summer, and already there
seems to be an increase in young people getting into trouble with the
According to Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore, there was a report of a
criminal assault on a juvenile girl last Thursday night. Because the
alleged perpetrator is also a juvenile and also because the incident is
still under investigation, no further details are available at this time.
Rumors of a gang fight over the weekend appear to be exaggerated. Moore
says that there was a call made to police regarding a fight on the north
side of town Saturday night, but there was no fight in progress when
Moore says that when officers arrived on the scene, it appeared that
some youth had been fighting, but no longer were.
He said that one juvenile appeared to be intoxicated, but a youth who
appears to be intoxicated cannot be taken into custody without first
being taken to the emergency room at the hospital and determined to be
intoxicated there. The investigating officers can, at their discretion,
take a juvenile home and release them to their parents, which is what
happened in this case.
"We're going to work with juveniles as much as we can," said Moore.
Moore pointed out that a police department is a reactionary agency. "We
come when we are called," he said.
Moore went on to say that the police department is willing to do whatever they can legally do outside of that realm to help people.
County begins preparations
for Aug. 9 special election
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By MAC McKINNON
PECOS, June 25, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners' began to prepare
for a special property tax election coming up Aug. 9 during their
Commissioners approved a request by County Clerk Dianne Florez to use
paper ballots for the election instead of machines to save money as
another special election will be called in November on constitutional
amendments as proposed by the recently concluded session of the Texas
Turnout for the August election is expected to be low and should not
pose a problem in counting the ballots, Florez said. She also requested
and received permission to combine election boxes to save money.
Early voting will be conducted in the lobby of the Reeves County
Courthouse beginning at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, July 21
to Aug. 5.
Boxes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 will be combined at the Reeves County
Civic Center with Box 4 at Toyah City Hall, Box 5 at the Senior Center
in Balmorhea, Box 6 in the Multi-Purpose Center in Saragosa and Box 9 at
Red Bluff Office in Orla.
Florez also was given permission to pay temporary election workers $6 an
hour. The workers she proposed were approved. They are:
Early voting - Nora Briceno, judge; Brenda Casillas, alternate; and
Marianne Clark, assistant deputy election worker.
Civic Center boxes - Brenda Casillas, judge; and Hazel Herrera,
Toyah box - Elpida Valdez, judge; and Susan Renz, alternate.
Balmorhea box - Bertha Brijalba, judge; and Fidela Jasso, alternate.
Saragosa box - Gus Natividad, judge; and Virginia Martinez, alternate.
Orla box - Antonia Ramirez, judge; and Faye Valles, alternate.
Florez said she needed to notify the justice department about the
preparations and use of paper ballots.
The Aug. 9 election will be to determine a constitutional amendment for
providing school property tax relief by increasing the residential
homestead exemption by $10,000 and providing for the transfer of the tax
limitation to another qualified homestead for persons over 65 and a
reduction in taxes on homesteads subject to the limitation.
Currently on school district taxes, property owners receive a 10
percent, or no less than $5,000, homestead exemption and a local 10
percent or $5,000 exemption. Plus, those over 65 get an additional
$10,000 on top of that exemption, plus, it would be transferred to any
other home anywhere in Texas if they sold their current home and bought
another one that is not currently being exempted.
In other commissioners' court action Galindo reported that he was
working with RCDC Warden Rudy Franco on an expansion of the support
service area of the RCDC using county workers and making local plans to
determine if a 40'x60' building could be constructed at a cost of $30 to
$35 per square foot at a savings of what had been said would cost $80 a
Using plans by Young Construction for the recreation building at the
RCDC, Galindo said he believes the proposal is feasible. If it is, he
said up to a $1 million could be saved on a 20,000 to 24,000 square foot
facility for support services needed under the expansion plan.
Commissioners approved seeking bids for the proposal.
Commissioner Herman Tarin voiced his approval for anything that could
end up saving $1 million.
Also approved was official bond and oath for Deputy County Treasurer
Under reports from various departments, Galindo noted that he had
furnished a copy of a booklet on development strategies for small towns
in his report for commissioners to read. The judge noted he has
additional booklets on that subject to prepare for work on economic development for the city and county.
Civic center is site of many rodeo days events
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, June 25, 1997 - Reeves County Civic Center will be the site for
many activities taking place during the West of the Pecos Rodeo
"The trade show at the civic center is something new added during rodeo
activities this year," said West of the Pecos rodeo committee president
Jim Bob McNeil.
Trade shows are part of the big rodeos in Houston and San Antonio.
The center will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 3; and from 10
a.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5.
Booths will be set up inside the center selling everything from western
wear to jewelry. Other booths will feature shoe and buckle shining.
Events for children will be taking place at different times during the
Organizers of the event are Debbie Thomas and Brenda McKinney.
Children's activities will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday with the clown
contest. Children are urged to portray a clown and compete for a prize.
Professional clowns will be on hand to judge the "little" contestants.
During this event children will be divided into two age groups, six and
under and 7-12.
The kid roping contest is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday. Children will be
roping a plastic dummy steer head. Another name for the contest is dummy
roping. Children in this event will be grouped into three different age
groups, five and under; 6-8 years old and 9-12 years.
Stick bull riding will kick off events at 10 a.m. on Saturday for the
kiddies. The twisting and bucking of riders on a stick bull for eight
seconds will determine the score in this event.
Also at 3 p.m. on Saturday another contest for dummy roping will be
taking place. Prizes will be awarded to the winners and ribbons given to
all other participants.
On Friday, Steve Cross Tae Kwon Do will have a demonstration at 4 p.m.
A booth will feature the Pecos High School cheerleaders who will be
shining boots and polishing buckles. Junior high cheerleaders will be
providing lemonade for thirsty event goers.
The West of the Pecos Museum will feature a photo booth and museum
representatives will be selling the new museum cookbook.
Big Bend Saddlery of Alpine will be located just outside the center
selling palm-leaf western hats.
Totally Sharp of Kermit will have pouting dolls, rodeo trading cards and
other rodeo items.
Shade Tree Saddlery of Verhalen will feature custom saddles, leather
goods, western vests, bows, tuxedo shirts and vests.
Sage Brush of Fort Stockton will have for sale sterling silver jewelry,
western fashions, leather accessories, wool rugs and iron home
furnishings, pottery and glassware.
Doug and Sherry Parkhurst will have their own corner filled with
T-shirts, sunglasses, watches, hats and short sets.
Professional clowns and cowboys will be on hand at different times for
Giveaways and door prizes will also be taking place at different times
during the trade show.
Some of the giveaways include Emilio and rodeo tickets. The winners will
be announced at 5 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday. Winners don't
have to be present to win the tickets.
A wall area will be set up with business cards and flyers. Any business
or individual wanting a card or flyer to be put up on the wall can
contact either Brenda McKinney at 445-9000 or the Pecos Chamber of
This will enable out-of-town visitors to have an idea of where everything is in Pecos, according to organizers of the event.
Council meets tomorrow
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PECOS, June 25, 1997 - A policy for repair and maintenance of curbs in
city limits will be discussed at the regular Town of Pecos City Council
Council members will meet at 7:30 a.m. in council chambers located
inside city hall.
The council will discuss and consider a request by Primera Iglesia
Bautista Church to sell, donate or abandon city right of way at 8th and
They will discuss a request to close city streets on July 4-6 on Locust
from 11th to 13th Streets and 12th Street from Pecan to Peach. This is
an emergency due to reasonably unforeseen situation requiring immediate
action, according to the request.
Council members will discuss payment of membership dues by city to
chamber of commerce.
Regular items for dicussion include tax collector's report, juvenile
report and financial report.
In executive session members will evaluate employee performances. City
secretary Geneva Martinez, Utilities Director Octavio Garcia and Police Chief Troy Moore will have an employee performance review.
Two city leaders recuperate
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PECOS, June 25, 1997 - One former Town of Pecos City official and the
top city official are recuperating nicely following bouts with illness
Former city manager Harry Nagel is listed in stable condition following
triple bypass heart surgery at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa. This
is Nagel's second heart surgery.
Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford is home following an extended stay
in the hospital fighting a bout with pneumonia and heart angioplasty.
Stafford had stated that she might attend tomorrow morning's regular
city council meeting, depending on how she felt.
She is expected back at work at First National Bank on Tuesday, July 1, and will be working half days only as instructed by her physician.
Return to top
PECOS, June 25, 1997 - High Tuesday, 101, low this morning, 67. A weak
cold front extended from Northeast Kansas across the panhandle this
morning. Skies were partly to mostly cloudy across the region. Skies
will be partly to mostly cloudy east of the mountains through Thursday,
along with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Fair skies are expected
across the mountains and the far west.