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PECOS, July 21, 1997 - A misappropriation of more than $7,000 was
reported to the Pecos Farm Labor Housing Board of Directors Friday
evening at their regular meeting.
C.P.A. Dan Painter compared rent revenue to deposits for rent revenue
and noted a difference of $7,693.66.
"A breakdown in the internal controls regarding the rents and
miscellaneous revenues collected occurred during the 15 months ended
June 30, 1997. Controls became so lax they were almost nonexistent,"
Painter's report said.
"One person was able to manipulate the rent records because there was no
oversight in place. The same person responsible for the Farm Labor
Housing cash journal and Tenant Ledger Sheets also reconciled the
operating checking account."
According to the report, the considerable discrepancies between large
cash journal reports and smaller bank deposits started in January 1997,
when the discrepancy was $1,217. From February to June, the monthly
inconsistency ranged between $850 in April and $2,041 in June.
Occupancy clerk Vanessa Hernandez was terminated on July 11 for
abandonment of duties. She did not report for work or call in from July
3 to July 10, 1997. She wrote a letter to the board saying that she quit
and that she wants her vacation pay "regardless." May was a year that
Hernandez had worked full-time for Pecos Farm Labor Housing and Housing
Authority of the Town of Pecos City.
The board, who is not accusing anyone, decided to turn the matter over
to law enforcement for investigation. "I will consult with the DA on
Monday. Since the possible fraud involves federal funds, let's try to
get the Texas Rangers. They can give that information to the D.A. Then
the normal procedure is to go to a grand jury and see if we can get an
indictment," said Frank Perea, board chairman.
Painter suggested several procedures for the board to adopt in order to
eliminate the conditions that make fraud easily possible. These controls
were not in place when the evaporation of funds occurred.
-A daily, weekly, or monthly inspection needs to be made by a person
with oversight authority to insure that deposit balances agree with
total cash receipts and that the number of units rented agrees with
-An audit trail needs to be established and maintained so that a
transaction can be traced to the deposit slip.
-Entries in the cash receipts journal should remain unchanged. Scratch
outs and write overs were common.
-Bank statements need to be reconciled as of the date of the bank
statement and not to the date of the next board meeting.
-All renters, including employees, need to make timely payment of rent.
One employee was noted to have not made the May rental payment until
-All checks should be deposited in total and change made from the petty
cash drawer. A check should be written to replenish the cash drawer
instead of making deposits less cash to replenish it.
In other board business, two tenants, Grace Lopez and Griselda Rinos,
were evicted according to the board's "one strike, you're out" policy.
Two juveniles, one living in each apartment were involved in criminal
The board decided to drill two wells, at an estimated cost of $500 each,
for South Side Park. They will also have plans for a watering system
drawn up for the park.
The board approved the proposal to raise the rent of one bedroom units from $165 to $190, and two bedroom units from $185 to $210.|
PECOS, July 21, 1997 - Did infighting among law enforcement agencies in
the Big Bend area allow a sheriff to traffic in cocaine and marijuana
undetected for years? Is it common practice to wink at drug smuggling
while using the smuggler as a confidential informant?
These are questions Jack McNamara of Alpine wants answered, and he
argued his case once again Friday before U.S. District Judge Royal
The sometime newspaper publisher and would-be book author seeks law
enforcement records related to the investigation and prosecution of
former Presidio County Sheriff Rick Thompson and his cohort, convicted
drug smuggler Robert Chambers.
David Buckholtz, assistant U.S. attorney, argued that neither McNamara
nor anyone else should have access to those records that would invade
the privacy of the two men in question nor anyone else who may have been
involved in the investigation.
"The issue is whether the Freedom of Information Act entitles any person
to see criminal files of any other person," Buckholtz said.
The answer is "no," he said, in requesting summary judgment favoring the
agencies refusing to release the records.
Both the FBI and Interpol have given the "Glomar" response to McNamara's
request: "We can neither confirm nor deny that we have records
pertaining to criminal investigation of these subjects."
Other agencies, including the DEA, U.S. Marshal Service, Immigration and
Naturalization Service and U.S. Attorney's Office, claim most of the
documents they hold are exempt from disclosure because their release
would violate the subjects' privacy rights.
Buckholtz said that if the FBI and Interpol admit they have records on
any individual, that person's reputation would be harmed, even if the
investigation revealed no violation of law.
McNamara argued that the "Glomar" decision by the U.S. Supreme Court
involved a Russian ship and CIA operations. Nothing in that case relates
to the Chambers-Thompson case, he said.
As to privacy matters, names of persons not charged with a crime could
be deleted from the documents before their release, he said.
Judge Furgeson said deleting the names would not solve the problem,
because everyone knows who they are.
"I need you to talk about how what you are asking for is going to shed
light on government agencies' actions," he said.
Chambers received a significant reduction in his sentence for smuggling
more than a ton of cocaine into the United States, McNamara said. The
sentencing, in which Dallas federal judge Jerry Buckmeyer ordered
Chambers to prison for life, was open to the public.
The reduction to 22 years was done in secret, McNamara said.
"The thrust of this request has less to do with Chambers and Thompson
and their co-conspirators than with conduct of the government," McNamara
Noting there are 26 law enforcement agencies in Alpine, which has less
than 6,000 people, McNamara said, "This story about Chambers and
Thompson is about law enforcement agencies warring on each other;
stealing informants; prosecuting their friends," he said.
"I want to know why (Border Patrol agent) Wayne Wiemers and Thompson
took Chambers to Waco and enrolled him as an informant at the same time
he was a huge drug dealer - at the same time Tom Beery (AUSA) and the
DEA rejected totally the idea that Chambers could be enrolled as an
"But he was. Some of that may be private... But these activities of
government are exactly what the working of government is about," he said.
Judge Furgeson said that the FBI's handling of the Olympic bombing
investigation of Richard Jewell is an example of privacy rights being
horribly invaded.He said he would take the arguments and written briefs into consideration and render an opinion at a later date.
Wayne Mitchell will be the interim superintendent for the district,
according to the secretary to the superintendent, Jo Allgood.
Mitchell is a retired superintendent from Stanton, Allgood said.
Mitchell also spent about four months as an interim superintendent here
before Sotelo, came to town.
"We're delighted to have him back," Allgood said of Mitchell. "He's familiar with the area and knows lots of people."|
"This new computer system will be one of the greatest advancements in
the collection of child support in the history of the program," Morales
said. "Its design will speed-up the processing of cases and will
eventually benefit hundreds of thousands of children across Texas."
The system is designed to track the progress in each child support case
and tell case workers and lawyers what to do next or file next with the
courts in each case. A typical caseworker handles more than 1,100 cases
per year. A child support lawyer handles about 4,700 cases yearly. The
new system will coordinate and apply information to cases, such as
whether or not paternity has been established and a court order for
child support has been obtained; and, the location and employment of
non-custodial parents, as well as a variety of other relevant
At a meeting of the big eight states this week in Austin, only Texas was
able to report to the Office of the National Child Support Director for
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that it would have its
new system operating prior to the federal deadline of October 1, 1997.
California, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois reported they would
miss the deadline. Pennsylvania and Florida indicated they were unsure
if they would make the deadline.
Morales said the conversion of the old computer system to the new system
will take place beginning August 28 and take eight to 10 days. The
conversion process will continue through the Labor Day weekend.
As a result of the conversion process, some child support checks will be
delayed up to a week. Notices of the possibility of delayed checks will
be sent, beginning the last week of July, to custodial and non-custodial
parents, state agencies and employers, and state officials. The Office
of the Attorney General is identifying ways for custodial parents to
apprise creditors if the parents experience a delay in their checks.
Parents will be able to provide their creditors with a toll-free number
to the Office of the Attorney General for verification that the delay is
Morales said this conversion of millions of documents from one system to
another was planned for Labor Day weekend, which is when the state will
change from State Fiscal Year 1997 to State Fiscal Year 1998. During
that time each year the processing of state checks by the Office of the State Comptroller is typically delayed by a few days.
Billy Sides, investigator for the Permian Basin Drug Task Force, seized
the vehicle under the state health code as it relates to trafficking in
Notified of the seizure are Fernando Baeza Acosta of Van Horn, Deania
Gonzales Garza of Odessa, Robert L. White and Georgia White of Oregon.
District Judge Bob Parks will rule on the matter after a hearing if the interested parties protest the forfeiture.
PECOS, July 21, 1997 - All who participated in Toyah's 6th Annual Texas
Mesquite Festival Friday and Saturday had a great time, from the trail
ride on Friday to the barbecue and dance on Saturday.
At the dance, 80-year-old Lucy Bergan gave her crown to the new Mesquite
Queen, sixteen-year-old Yvonne Sanchez. The winner of the Pretty Baby
Contest was Clarissa Sanchez, 2 1/2. An Odessa man named Elmer won the
quilt that was raffled.
DJ James Whitmore played Hispanic, western, and popular music at the
dance on the tennis court. "I come over every year from Big Spring and
help with the festival. I get my share of dancing in, too," said
The trail ride started early Friday morning in Balmorhea. The Texas
Trail Riders traveled on horseback or in horse-drawn wagons. They were
met about twelve miles out for a wiener roast and cowboy sing-along.
Saturday the festival began with a parade. The trail riders, a small
train, a chuck wagon, the Pecos Sheriff's Posse, an ambulance, and some
local cars full of children were all in the parade. A flag raising
ceremony followed the parade at the Toyah school house.
The EMT class that has been in session for four weeks in Toyah gave a
demonstration at the fire station to show the public what an EMT does in
an emergency situation.
Award-winning chef, Stanley Shaw barbecued. "We've had a great deal of
success with this in past years, said Clara Bolling, who helped come up
with the idea of having a mesquite festival six years ago.
"It was the best barbecue we've ever had," Bolling said.
To Bolling, a mesquite festival is just right for Toyah because that is
what west Texas is covered with. "You can make mesquite bean jelly, plus beads and belts. It also makes great barbecue," Bolling said.
PECOS, July 21, 1997 - Raul's TV Shop, also a pawn and loan shop, was
broken into during the wee hours this morning, and the owner of the
store says that the burglars had something very specific in mind - guns.
According to store owner, Raul Garcia, the shop had a customized iron
grate on the window that was broken out. The iron grates on the door and
other window didn't appear to have been damaged this morning. Garcia
also said that there was a street light shining across the street from
his store, as well as a light on in the doorway of his building.
"The police dispatcher at the police department called by at
approximately 1:05 this morning and said the alarm had gone off at my
place of business," said Garcia. "I live five blocks away and came over
The iron grate removed from the window was held on by six bolts that
had to be unscrewed. After taking off the iron bars, Garcia said, the
thieves threw the grate behind the shop and threw a metal wheel through
the window to break it.
Garcia said that he has both a silent alarm which rings at the police
station 10 seconds after the perimeter of the building is breached, such
as when the wheel broke through the window, and a motion sensor alarm.
Garcia said that he hurried to his store after receiving notification
that his alarm had been set off. "When I got there, the police still
hadn't arrived and the burglars were gone," he said.
When Garcia got to his store, he found that six handguns had been stolen
from a display case directly beneath the broken window. He said that he
believes the burglars knew exactly what they wanted and what they had to
do to get what they wanted. "They knew exactly how much time they had,"
He also pointed out that nothing was taken from the jewelry case, even
though that merchandise had a higher value, and that no money was taken
out of the cash register.
Kelly Davis, Investigator for the Pecos Police Department, said, "You'd
be amazed at the brazenness of some people," referring to the burglars
taking the grating off the window under the street light.
Davis said that he thinks the burglars probably saw the guns close to
the window and decided to steal them. "We do have some leads," Davis said.
MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (AP) July 21, 1997 - Batten down the hatches! The USS
Constitution is ready for its first solo journey in 116 years.
The Navy's oldest commissioned warship still afloat was towed to
Marblehead Harbor on Sunday. It was to turn around and sail back to
Boston under its own power today, the 200th anniversary of its launch.
An estimated 25,000 people, on land and on sea, watched as the USS
Constitution arrived, accompanied by a fleet of sailboats and modern
"Today, right now, I just have this gigantic, marvelous feeling," said
Edna Strom, 71, of Quincy. "I really never felt more proud to be an
A chorus of cheers filled the air as the ship let off a 21-gun salute.
"If it wasn't for those ships and those men, this country probably
wouldn't be here," said Dorothy Foisy, 82, of Bradenton, Fla.
Launched as one of the Navy's first warships, "Old Ironsides" was
undefeated in 30 engagements. Her victory over the HMS Guerriere in 1812
signaled America's arrival as a naval power.
The ship's most famous visit to Marblehead Harbor came April 3, 1814,
when she sought shelter from two 38-gun British frigates. With nearly a
third of its crew from Marblehead, the Constitution had little problem
navigating the harbor. The British ships wouldn't risk the unfamiliar
The ship and her modern-day crew were welcomed to Marblehead again with
a proclamation and key to the town.
"I can only tell you as I came into the harbor that it was the most
magnificent sight that I've seen in my life," said Cmdr. Michael Beck,
the ship's 64th skipper.
A 3½-year restoration effort included the weaving of six new sails and
replacement of copper plating along the ship's lower hull. The sails -
the same configuration the 204-foot ship used in battle - were unfurled
"It's no longer a museum piece," Navy Vice Admiral James Ellis said. "She's actually a living ship." |
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans to
agri-dependent businesses to help meet normal operating expenses which
they could not meet during the drought because their farm and ranch
customers bought less than usual or did not pay for what they bought.
Applications can be obtained by calling the SBA Disaster Relief Office
at 800-366-6303. Applications must be filed before August 15, 1997.
The Big Bend Region Minority & Small Business Development Center at Sul
Ross State University is available to help complete the applications.
For more information, please call the Pecos Chamber of Commerce at 445-2406.
Funeral service was at 10 a.m. today at the Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Casillas was born June 6, 1925 in Valle de Olivos, Chih. Mexico. He was
a retired truck driver and a member of Abundent Life Church.
Suvivors include: his wife, Herminia H. Casillasb of Pecos; two sons,
Jesus Casillas of Pecos, Antonio Casillas of Oklahoma City, Okla.; three
step-sons, Javier Zubeldia of Chino, Calif., Hernando Zubeldia of
Carlsbad N. M., Sergio Zubeldia of Pecos; four daughters, Angelina
Casillas of Oklahoma City, Okla., Lydia Bersosa of Odessa, Paula
Casillas of Atlanta, Ga., Grace Casillas of Champayne, Ill.; three step
daughters, Grace Zubeldia of Carlsbad, N.M., Virginia Garcia and Blanca Roman of Pecos; 22 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.
San Angelo Standard Times
Abilene Reporter News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Morning News
Texas Press Association
York (Pa.) Daily Record, Sister Paper to Pecos Enterprise
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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