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July 29, 1997
Storm blows through Pecos
causing damage, power outages
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, July 29, 1997 - Armando Gil, Pecos emergency management
coordinator, estimated winds at 80 m.p.h damaged a hangar at Pecos
Municipal Airport and knocked down six utility poles - two with
transformers - during the storm that blew through the city early
"The hardest winds were in Tra Park and Maxey Park," he said. One animal
shelter at the zoo was destroyed, but no animals were injured. Some
chain-link fencing was damaged.
Doppler Radar showed the storm immediately over Pecos around 5 p.m.,
moving toward the north. "There was nothing else behind the storm," Gil
(It rained .78 inches, according to the Pecos National Weather Service
"We don't have a record of how fast the wind was, since we lost all our
power early in the evening," said airport manager Isabel Blanchard.
Damage at the airport included some torn pine trees, a hangar that
incurred major damage and some other doors that received minor damage,
according to Blanchard.
"I just saw a whole roof coming towards our house and I didn't know what
to do," said Pecos resident Angie Juarez.
Juarez was only one of many in the area who witnessed some form of
damage to a building due to a storm which hit yesterday evening.
The roof from a building located in the 700 block of Third Street
literally flew across the street and into the yard of the Juarez home
creating damage there also.
"All I could think of, is it's going to hit the car and I yelled to my
mom to come see this," said Juarez.
Angie's mother, Augustina, however, chose not to come out and see the
destructive scene before them, but hid in the bathroom with a younger
"I just didn't want to see it, but my daughter was looking out the
window, and I decided to hide," she said.
Her husband, Jesus, and the rest of the family pitched in to the move
the damaged roof back across the street after the storm settled down a
"It damaged our trees, just tore them down," said Juarez.
The storm wreaked havoc around the Pecos area, in some places taking the
whole roof while others reported minor incidents.
Professional Pharmacy, at the corner of Daggett and Eddy streets,
reported some damage to their building.
"The water was just pouring in," said owner Leo Hung.
The whole office was drenched with water and water poured in through the
"The turbine on the roof next door, the GTE building, was torn off and
flew into the front part of our building," said Hung.
Dan's Music and Video, on Cedar Street, reported heavy damage to their
new building, including the roof.
"It tore half of the roof off and did quite of bit of damage inside the
building," said employee Roger Stephens.
"We had an insurance adjuster come by and see the damage and are waiting
for their report," Stephens said.
The business was closed for about four hours last evening, but reopened
their doors following some cleanup. There will be some inconvenience to
customers for a while, but that will be cleared up as soon as possible.
"Most of the damage was on the south wall, it ruined the carpet
completely," said Stephens.
The roof will also have to be replaced, according to Stephens.
"Our main priority right now is to put that roof back on, because
they're expecting more rain," he said.
Texas-New Mexico Power Company stated that they had some major damage
and lost eight electrical poles and employees were still working on the
damage today, after being on the job throughout the night.
"The damage was scattered throughout town, it wasn't just one area,"
said TNMP planner scheduler Tommy Terry.
About 300 customers lost power last night, but by midnight electrical
service was restored to the majority of local customers, according to
"About 50 customers were without power from seven last night until this
morning, but the rest were restored," he said.
"We still lack six poles and our employees are working to correct that problem, after having worked for 24 hours," Terry said.
Property appraisals increase
for county, decrease for city
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By RICK SMITH
PECOS, July 29, 1997 - An almost $14 million increase in the Reeves
County Appraisal District Certified Tax Roll should translate into more
money for the county budget.
Last night county commissioners received a report from Carol King
Markham, Chief Appraiser for the district, outlining the 1997 certified
appraised value. The gross property value totals almost $441 million.
After exemption deductions, the net appraised value of property in the
county totals almost $361 million, a $13.8 million increase from last
year, according to Markham.
"This will give a little increase for the budget," said Commissioner
The 1997 gross value for real estate in the county is a little more than
$230 million with a net value of more than $150 million. Gross mineral
value in the county is almost $211 million for a net value of the same
While the net taxable appraised property values for the county are up
almost $14 million, the property value in Pecos City decreased by more
than a million dollars from the 1996 supplemental certified appraisal
However, property values for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district
increased almost $20 million dollars from last year's total to more
than $393 million this year.
Property values in Toyah dropped $134,750. Balmorhea property values
increased $3,110 and Balmorhea school district property values jumped
Property values in Reeves County Water Improvement District #2 decreased
by $709,470 from last year.
Property value figures for the Reeves County Hospital District are the
same as the county's.
With only Commissioners Tarin, Dr. W.J. Bang and Felipe Arredondo
present, the court approved allowing county tax payers to pay their
taxes in two payments without additional penalty or interest charges.
In other business, commissioners approved recommendations from County
Clerk Dianne Florez for presiding judges and alternate judges for county
elections. Approved were:
Commissioner Precinct 1
Voting Precinct 2 (Pecos Elementary) Nora Briceno, judge, and Elisa
Contreras, alternate; Voting Precinct 11 (Bessie Haynes Elementary)
Dulces Martinez, judge, and Daisy Roquemore, alternate.
Commissioner Precinct 2
Voting Precinct 3 (Pecos High School Gym) Joan Capshaw, judge, and
LaVerne Williams, alternate; Voting Precinct 4 (Toyah City Hall) Elpida
Valdez, judge, and Sue Gibson, alternate. Voting Precinct 12 Lyndia
Thomas, judge, and Genoveva Flores, alternate.
Commissioner Precinct 3
Voting Precinct 5 (Balmorhea Senior Citizen Center) Bertha Brijalba,
judge, and Fedela Jasso, alternate; Voting Precinct 6 (Saragosa
Multi-Purpose Center) Gus Natividad, judge, and Virginia Martinez,
alternate; Voting Precinct 10 (Reeves County Annex Building) Phyllis
Salyer, judge, and Josie Breese, alternate.
Commissioner Precinct 4
Voting Precinct 1 (Pecos Community Center) Hazel Herrera, judge, and
Velma Hendricks, alternate; Voting Precinct 7 (Reeves County Library)
Brenda Casillas, judge, and Mary Helen Fuentes, alternate; Voting
Precinct 8 (Lamar Elementary) Peggy Cox, judge, and Flora Ybarra,
alternate; Voting Precinct 9 (Red Bluff Office) Antonia Ramirez, judge,
and Faye Valles, alternate.
Early Balloting Board
(Reeves County Courthouse) Brenda McKinney, judge, and Connie Lozano,
Commissioners approved paying out of town election workers $0.24 per
mile for election related travel related to the Aug. 9 constitutional amendment election.
Military blames death on Border Patrol
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EL PASO, Texas (AP) July 29, 1997 - A top military official who oversaw
border drug patrols when a Texas man was killed by a Marine says the
teen might still be alive if not for an apparent coordination breakdown
with the border patrol.
Air Force Col. Henry Hungerbeeler told a community gathering Monday that
Border Patrol agents should have arrived on the scene at least seven
minutes before the May 20 shooting of Esequiel Hernandez.
The 18-year-old goat herder died a few hundred yards from his family's
home while he tended goats in the tiny border village of Redford.
Hungerbeeler said the Border Patrol, according to an agreement with the
military, is supposed to respond to calls of help from the military
within 15 minutes.
But Border Patrol agents didn't arrive until 38 minutes after Marines
radioed that they had been fired upon and 22 minutes after Hernandez was
shot, Hungerbeeler said.
The officer said the situation probably could have been defused without
the teen-ager's death if the Border Patrol had responded sooner.
But Hungerbeeler added that it isn't fair to blame the shooting solely
on the Border Patrol.
"To be fair, the Border Patrol probably were caught off-guard because
usually during the daylight the Marines would have been expected to be
in their hide-site," Hungerbeeler said.
He added that better communication between the Border Patrol and the
military force also could have forewarned the Marines about the
potential for an encounter with Hernandez.
The military was never told, for instance, of a February instance in
which Hernandez had fired his rifle while Border Patrol agents were in
the same area, Hungerbeeler said.
Border Patrol officials referred all questions about the incident to the
agency's Dallas office, which declined comment.
Hungerbeeler at the time of the shooting was in charge of the military's
El Paso-based Joint Task Force-Six, which was helping the Border Patrol
watch the border for drug traffic.
The colonel was speaking to a weekly community breakfast sponsored by
city councilwoman Jan Sumrall.
A grand jury will convene Wednesday in Marfa to begin considering
whether 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Clemente Banuelos should face charges in
the Hernandez shooting. The military claims the marine fired in
The death has renewed questions as to whether the military should be
involved in patrolling the border.
Hungerbeeler said the military has no desire to continue in that role.
"A major concern for the Department of Defense now is how do we protect
our people from unfair prosecution arising out of their attempts to
fulfill their mission," he said.
"The military would like to get out of this job."
Redford is about 200 miles southeast of El Paso.
French lay claimto La Salle ship
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) July 29, 1997 - Texas has just spent $5.5 million
salvaging the wrecked ship of famed New World explorer La Salle from the
floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
But French officials have notified U.S. officials they'll dispute any
claim that the ship - which sank off the Texas coast more than 300 years
ago - now belongs to Texas.
Texas can keep the ship, but France wants to retain ownership, says
Laurent Mellier, press attache of the French Consulate in Houston
Texas' position is that King Louis XIV gave La Belle to La Salle for
discovering the mouth of the Mississippi River and thus was the
explorer's personal property. The state claims La Belle is a Texas
shipwreck since La Salle has no descendants who can claim ownership.
The hull of La Belle was disassembled during the excavation that was
finished a few months ago. Divers discovered the wreckage in 1995.
Mellier confirmed Monday that France's position is that the ship belongs
to France and has always belonged to France, the San Antonio
Mellier said French researchers determined from archival records in La
Rochelle, France, that La Salle had La Belle on loan from the French
"It was the property of the king when La Salle was in Texas. That was
the position of France, that the ship belonged to the French king,"
"It was just lent to him as a mission," Mellier said.
France has no plans to demand the ship's return, Mellier added.
"I would just say that it was the property of France when the boat sank
in Texas, and historically, it has belonged to the country," Mellier
"But it's not going to be a ground for claiming something in the future.
It's just to clear things out and to be the ground for ... scientific,
technological and cultural cooperation."
Curtis Tunnell, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission,
said state archaeologists worked closely with French scientists and
researchers visiting the shipwreck site, and a traveling exhibit
showcasing many of the ship's historical treasures could tour France.
"We have tried to cooperate all along with the scientists and others in
France that are interested in this discovery," Tunnell said. "We can
certainly enhance that collaboration."
The French government provided archival research to the U.S. State
Department supporting its view that it owns the Belle, which sank in
1686, Tunnell said.
"I know the French government has contacted the State Department and the
State Department has contacted the governor's office and the National
Park Service, and it's kind of trickling down to us," Tunnell said.
Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Gov. George W. Bush, confirmed that the
governor's office has received information regarding France's claim, but
has delegated the matter to the commission.
The Belle's wooden hull and a trove of artifacts, including highly
decorated bronze cannons, are now at a Texas A&M University conservation laboratory. |
San Antonio school district
calls for record bond election
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) July 29, 1997 - The San Antonio school district has
called for a $483 million bond referendum, the largest ever in Texas, to
pay for renovations and new school construction in the aging district.
School board trustees voted unanimously Monday night to hold the Sept.
"This is a historic vote," Superintendent Diana Lam told the trustees.
"You have not shied away from exercising your power in a responsible,
forward-thinking way to benefit the children."
Some parents, business people, politicians and teachers jumped to their
feet and shouted approval at the board's vote. A small group of angry
parents chanted, "Put education first."
Passage of the $483 million bond issue would increase the district's tax rate from $1.55 to $1.81 per $100 property valuation.
600 baby turtles released off Padre
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PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas (AP) July 29, 1997 - More than 600 baby Kemp's ridley sea turtles have been released off the Texas coast this summer as part of an ongoing effort to re-establish the endangered turtle species.
On Tuesday, 99 of the tiny black turtles waddled across the sand of
Padre Island National Seashore and slowly made their way into the Gulf
of Mexico. Measuring about 1 to 1½ inches in length, the hatchlings will
grow to about 2½ feet long in 10 to 15 years.
The hatchlings were among 684 that have been released into the Gulf
since scientists discovered nine Kemp's ridley nests along the Texas
coast this year.
About 200 eggs have yet to hatch. Half of those are expected to hatch
and the hatchlings will be released later this week. The rest are
scheduled for release next week, said Donna Shaver, a U.S. Geological
Survey biologist who oversees the turtle recovery program at the
Scientists hope the new turtles will find their way back eventually to
the national seashore and lay more eggs, helping the Kemp's ridley
population to continue growing.
The Kemp's ridley is the world's most endangered sea turtle with a total
adult population of 3,000 or fewer, Ms. Shaver said. In the late 1940s,
some 40,000 nesting females were detected at the turtle's main breeding
ground in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. Today, there are thought to be fewer
than 1,500 nesting females.
This is the third year in a row the turtle has nested along the Texas
coast. Six nests were found last year and four were discovered in 1995,
resulting in hundreds of new Kemp's ridley turtles that were released
back into the ocean.
Ms. Shaver said the increase in nesting was due in part to a 10-year project aimed at establishing a secondary breeding population in Texas.
Attorney pleads guilty in adoption scheme
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) July 29, 1997 - A Sherwood attorney who allegedly received money from prospective parents when no child was available for adoption has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.
U.S. Attorney Paula Casey said Gordon L. Humphrey, 50, entered the plea
Monday before U.S. District Judge William Wilson.
Humphrey was charged with one count of engaging in a scheme to use his
position as an attorney to obtain funds.
Wilson is to sentence Humphrey on Oct. 27. The penalty is no more than
five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000.
A federal lawsuit filed in Little Rock in March alleges Humphrey took
$7,500 from a Texas couple. The suit by Cindy and Fred Gonzalez of
suburban Dallas says they gave Humphrey $7,500, part of which was to be
used to support a pregnant woman who wanted to give up her baby for
The lawsuit claims Humphrey tricked two more families the same way.
As part of their agreement with Humphrey, the Gonzalez family paid
$6,000 for the pregnant woman's expenses and $1,500 for attorney's fees.
The alleged baby was due around Christmas, but the holidays came and
went with no news of a birth.
The Arkansas Supreme Court's Committee on Professional Conduct had
suspended Humphrey from the practice of law for a year beginning Sept.
17, 1990, as a result of a complaint filed by Legal Services of Arkansas in Benton.
PBT school board meets tonight
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The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District Board of Education
will hold its second special meeting of the month this evening at six in
the board room at 1304 South Park Street, across the street from Pecos
The meeting will begin with a closed session, in which personnel, or
complaints against them, may be discussed.
Items on the agenda to be discussed/approved in the open portion of the
*professional personnel appointments, resignations, retirements,
transfers, coaching assignments, Crockett Middle School Eighth Grade
*daily rate of pay for Interim Superintendent;
*pre-kindergarten through 12th grade dress code;
*Secondary Code of Conduct; and
*change order on roof repairs for Pecos High School Building B.
The school board also will approve a letter of engagement with Walsh,
Anderson, Underwood, Schulze & Aldridge, P.C. to represent
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District in Cause 97-06-15751-CVR. Adjournment will follow.
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PECOS, July 29, 1997 - High Monday, 100, low this morning, 66.
Precipitation yesterday, 0.78 of an inch bringing the monthly total to
1.21 inches and the yearly total to 4.94 inches. An excessive heat
advisory was in effect for four counties in North Texas today and a heat
advisory was in effect for two counties in Northeast Texas. An
approaching cool front was expected to provide some relief in the form
of slightly cooler temperatures and some isolated to widely scattered
showers and thunderstorms tonight and Wednesday. The excessive heat
advisory was in effect for Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties
and the heat advisory was in effect for Bowie and Cass counties in
Northeast Texas. Forecasters said temperatures across North Texas were
expected to approach the 100-degree mark while high humidities will
result in heat index values from 105-115. Early today the cool front
extended from northern sections of the South Plains into southern
Oklahoma. It will be partly to mostly cloudy across West Texas with a
chance of thunderstorms through Wednesday. Lows tonight will be in the
60s and 70s in West Texas, highs Wednesday will be in the 90s in West
Texas, ranging from the 80s in the mountains to near 105 in the Big Bend
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
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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