February 5, 1998
Citizen of the Year gives to community
By RICK SMITH
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - When you talk to Gerald "Junior"
Tellez you get the impression that he is always excited,
always ready to get started on the next project. He's a man
of energy. That energy is probably part of what propelled
him to give enough to the community over the years to be
chosen as the 1998 Pecos Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the
Giving to his community comes natural to Gerald, just ask
his wife Olga Tellez.
"He cares for the town, the community and ordinary people,"
she said. Olga is obviously one of Gerald's biggest fans.
"The community has given him so much he doesn't know how to
pay it all back. When he was president of the chamber he
felt he could help people in that position."
Gerald has lived in Pecos all of his 44 years. His father
ran Popular Thriftway at 520 N. Third St. for 35 years and
Gerald worked with him for most of that time, until the
business burned. Now Gerald operates a check cashing
business at that address and his father works with him.
While Gerald's and Olga's children were younger, Gerald
stayed active in youth sports. He helped out at the
recreation center, coached soccer and flag football and was
treasurer for the little league.
"I see that what he does is not for him, it's for the
community," Olga said. "What he does is not for himself but
for Pecos. He loves Pecos because he was born and raised
Gerald continues to give of his time to the community. He
has been vice president and president of the Pecos Chamber
of Commerce. He is on the city council and is a sponsor for
the youth advisory council.
"Gerald is real caring, considerate, honest, diligent and
enjoys working with youth," said Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford,
who introduced Gerald and presented him with the Citizen of
the Year award at the chamber awards banquet last month.
"He worked on the cleanup campaign and organized youth in
painting buildings during the cleanup campaign," Stafford
said. "He's one of these guys that does a lot of work that
you never hear about. He's very sincere in his beliefs and
what he does."
Gerald says he has remained in Pecos because he has family
and friends here and the town if full of good people. Also,
he believes Pecos is just the right size for him and it's in
the middle of everything he cares about.
As for being named Citizen of the Year, he said, "It came as
a surprise to me. There are a lot of deserving people in
town. I'm very honored to receive the award and will keep up
my responsibility to the community."
Though his children are now in college, Gerald remains
involved with local youth because he feels a responsibility
to the future leaders of the community.
"If I can help mold them to be leaders that's great," he
said. "I have a lot of faith in kids today. If I can help
them in any shape or form I'm more than willing."
Gerald believes that all adult citizens have a
responsibility to give freely of themselves, especially to
"Those kids are just waiting to grow up and be a positive
factor in the world," he said. "I think we should all help
any of those kids to reach that destination.
"I just want to say thanks to the community and everyone
that voted for me and believed in me."
Olga says Gerald is also a man of his word.
"If he says yes' he means it. If he tells you no,' that's
the way it is," she said. "But he's the type that'll almost
never say no. If he can't help right then he'll say he'll
work on it. And he will take care of the problem because he
loves helping people."
Gerald and Olga Tellez have three children, Marsol 24,
Dominique, 23, Bernadette, 22.
New head coach hiring not yet official
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - Dan Swaim would like everyone to
know he's not yet the new head football coach of the Pecos
Pecos Eagles' athletic director Bubba Williams would like to
know who told the Odessa American he was.
For the record, Swaim has tentatively been offered the post
of head coach, after serving the past two years as an
assistant under Mike Belew. But Williams was angry this
morning that the news leaked out before he and
superintendent Don Love had a chance to talk to the nine
other candidates for the post, four of whom already work
within the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district.
"Don is out of town, Gome (Olibas, school personnel
director) is out of town. I don't know who they called, but
they didn't call me," Williams said.
"It's not official until next week. The school board are the
only ones that can hire me," added Swaim, who said he was
called last night by the Odessa American after they were
told about his hiring by somebody else.
"I don't know who it was. They didn't get it from me, and it
was not from anybody in the administration," he added.
Love did not mention the hiring of Swaim during an interview
Monday on the UIL's redistricting, but Swaim confirmed he
was offered the job that day. Swaim, Love and Williams were
in Midland on Tuesday for a District 4-4A administrators
Williams said Love, Olibas and members of the school board
were all in Austin today to meet with state education
officials. The board's regularly scheduled monthly meeting
is next Thursday, Feb. 12, the earliest time a new coach can
be officially named.
"Hopefully I will be offered the job next week, but that's
up to the board," said Swaim, who said until then, "I'll
just go along with business as usual."
Swaim and the other Eagle assistants have been conducting
off-season workouts with the players for the past month,
since Love reassigned Belew from his head coach and athletic
director's jobs to principal at Zavala Middle School.
Assistant coach Mike Ferrell also applied for the head
coaching position, as did ex-Eagle assistant coach Steele
Ewing, Zavala Middle School coach Jerry Parent and Pecos
High School teacher John Barfield.
Swaim was one of several assistant coaches from Odessa
Permian brought in by Belew after his hiring in April, 1996.
He played for Belew when he was an assistant coach at
Permian during the 1983-84 seasons, and spent four years
coaching in the Ector County ISD junior high system before
being hired as defensive end, tight end and flanker coach.
In taking over as head coach, he'll face the same problem
Belew had two years ago - raising the participation level
for football, after a number of sub-varsity players either
did not come out to play or quit during the 1997 season.
Pecos' junior varsity and freshmen teams were 9-1 and 6-3 in
1996, but both went winless this past season, while the
varsity posted 4-6 marks in Belew's two years as head coach.
One advantage Swaim will have is this week's UIL
realignment, which took the Eagles out of their
traditionally tough District 4-4A group and into the new
District 2-4A, which features three schools - Fabens, Clint
and El Paso Mountain View - moving up from Class 3A and two
others - Canutillo and San Elizario - that posted losing
records in District 3-4A this past season.
Swaim's first game as Eagles' head coach will be in Odessa,
at Ratliff Stadium on Sept. 4 against Denver City. Pecos
will then face Alpine, Fort Stockton, Crane and Kermit
before opening District 2-4A play, and district officials
are to meet on Monday in the El Paso area to work out the
1998 athletic schedules.
Bomber meeting for Saragosa
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - County Commissioner Herman Tarin
has called a special meeting for residents of the Saragosa
and Verhalen area to discuss the proposed Realistic Bomber
Training Initiative that would bring B-1 and B-52 bombers
into the area for low-altitude training.
"I understand they are flying to protect this nation, but at
the same time the people need to be informed," said Tarin.
Expressing personal concern over the possible impact of the
flights, Tarin said, "When they talk about 12-15 flights a
day at two to three hundred feet, what will all that exhaust
do to our health?"
Under the proposal, B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress
bombers would be flying low-altitude exercises over much of
Reeves county and 12 emitter and scoring sites would be
installed across the county from eastern Reeves, through the
Saragosa/Verhalen area before exiting into Culberson County
from central Reeves near China Draw.
The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at the
multi-purpose center in Saragosa. Pecos resident Clark
Lindley will be at the meeting to answer any questions
regarding the initiative.
Pecos pupfish may be new endangered species
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - A long-time native of the Pecos
River and its tributaries, the Pecos pupfish, may find
itself on the federal endangered species list within the
course of a year, according to a recent proposal of the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. Now begins a one-year period for
the public to comment on the proposal.
The one-to two-inch minnow found in the Pecos River between
Roswell, N.M. and Sheffield, Tex. has seen its population
decline due to breeding and hybridization with the
non-native sheepshead minnow.
"We published notification in the federal register
requesting the comment of the scientific community and the
general public," said spokesman for the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service Hans Stuart. "We know it has declined from
two-thirds of its historical range."
The pupfish's historical range, said Stuart, began at
Roswell and ran south 404 miles along the Pecos River to the
mouth of Independence Creek, southeast of Sheffield.
The primary reason for the reduction of habitat for the
pupfish has been the introduction of the sheepshead minnow.
Originating from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts and introduced
to the Pecos River below the Red Bluff Reservoir sometime
between 1980 and 1984, the sheepshead minnow threatens to
hybridize the Pecos pupfish by inter-breeding with the less
Other factors leading to the demise of the pupfish include
groundwater depletion, piscicide applications, oil spills
and other non-native fish introductions.
Dr. Gary Garrett, a biologist with the Texas Parks and
Wildlife who was instrumental in creating the San Solomon
Cienega wetlands in Balmorhea, said he is working with
several people on ways to keep the fish off the federal
"I like the idea of people working together to solve a
problem," Garrett said, "rather than have the government
telling people here's what you're gonna do and here's what
you're not gonna do."
Garrett's suggestions to solve the pupfish problem include
the use of grant money to make sure the river is a good
clean system, the eradication of salt cedars and the
construction of wetlands to create new habitats for the
Should the species achieve federal endangered status, Stuart
said he did not expect it to impact the region's ranchers
and farmers. "I understand the Pecos there is salty and not
good for irrigation," he said.
Jim Ed Miller, general manager of Red Bluff Water Power
Control District, said that Stuart's understanding of local
water use was incorrect. "We have been using water from the
Pecos River to irrigate with for nearly a hundred years."
If pupfish are added to the endangered species list, they
will be protected from "take," meaning the killing,
collection, trapping or harm by humans. Species already on
the endangered list are those, according to Stuart, that are
likely to become extinct "in the foreseeable future."
"It is important to conserve biological diversity," said
Stuart. "Insignificant species are becoming increasingly
important in terms of medicine. Species as exotic as the
horseshoe crab are being examined in cancer research."
Brad Newton, Texas commissioner of the Pecos River Compact
Commission, was surprised and disappointed by the measure to
list the pupfish as a federally endangered species.
"We had a verbal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
that the state of Texas would take care of the problem. Now
we know how the Indians felt when they said the Great White
Father speaks with forked tongue," said Newton.
"This will only serve to instill distrust in Fish and
Wildlife and the federal government."
One important aspect of the discussion Newton felt had been
overlooked is that the pupfish do not live in the river
proper, but in smaller channel tributaries.
Pecos pupfish may still be found in specific areas of Texas
and New Mexico. According to the notice published in the
federal register by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Pecos pupfish
are thought to occur in Texas "only in the upper reaches of
Salt Creek, Culberson and Reeves counties," and "in 2
water-filled gravel pits owned by the Phipps Gravel Company,
in Pecos County.
In New Mexico, the fish still inhabit the Pecos River from
north of Malaga upstream to Bitter Lake National Wildlife
The comment period lasts until March 31 and public hearing
requests must be received by March 16. All materials and
concerns on this issue should be sent to the Field
Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, 2105 Osuna NE., Albuquerque, N. M. 87113.
Sex offender reports lead to complications
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - Woe be the reporter who tries to
satisfy the law, those who uphold it and an editor or two
when assigned to write a story naming local sex offenders.
The last time I checked, Reeves County had five registered
sexual offenders who live in the Pecos city limits and one
migrant worker who is a registered sexual offender here
because he makes an annual trek here to work.
Under the sex offender registration statute, each sex
offender with a reportable conviction or adjudication is
required by law to register with the appropriate local law
enforcement authority in charge of the area where the
offender plans to live for more than seven days. That means
that a convicted sex offender has to register with the chief
of police if they intend to live within the city and with
the sheriff if they want to live somewhere in the county
that is not within the city limits.
Believing the public has a right to know when sex offenders
live in the community the, Pecos Enterprise has been trying
to publish information about such people in the community.
According to the Texas Press Association, Texas law
enforcement agencies are required to register sex offenders
and publish notices in English and Spanish alerting the
public when convicted child molesters come into a community.
The publication requirement is the result of a penal
code-amending bill, SB 267, passed in the last legislative
session by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano.
According to the bill, information must be published in a
newspaper within eight days of the offender's release and
again, seven days later. The requirement only applies to
cases adjudicated after Sept. 1, 1997.
My travails began when I tried to get the names of local sex
offenders because the big boss (Pecos Enterprise Publisher
Mac McKinnon) assigned me to get the names and publish them
in the paper -after all, people have a right to know if
their neighbors are dangerous.
The police chief at the time was willing to oblige, but
said he needed to check with the city attorney for the
information. Of course, the city attorney was out of town at
When the city attorney returned to town he gave the police
chief permission to release some information on the local
registered sex offenders. The law states certain pieces of
that information are public record.
The first list I was given didn't contain all of the
information that can legally be released, so another trip to
see the chief was in order.
According to Texas law, an offender's name, age, a brief
description of the sexual crime they were convicted of and
the street they live on is public record, but other
identifying information, such as their phone number,
driver's license number, numeric address, photograph and
information that would directly identify the victim are not
to be released by law enforcement authorities.
Once all the information that can be released to the media
had been typed up, I submitted the story to the big boss who
decided that the work is good enough for what it is, but
wants more. He wanted to know specifically which numeric
street address each offender lived at, fearing that so many
people in town have similar names that the paper could get
sued by printing only the information that was legally
I explained that the law said that numeric street addresses
are not public information and didn't have to be released to
the paper, but the big boss didn't like that answer, even
when backed up by a written opinion from the Office of the
The big boss sent the information I had to the newspaper's
lawyer in another state, who agreed with the him that more
specific information about the offender was necessary to
avoid any mix up with someone who is not an offender but has
the same name as an offender.
"For people who want proper disclosure of sexual offenders,
the legislature sure didn't write proper laws that will
allow that disclosure," McKinnon said.
The big boss suggested calling Texas representatives in
Washington, D.C., hoping that a federal law known as
"Meagan's Law" would supersede Texas law and allow the
numeric addresses to be published. Numerous phone calls
didn't produce any results except responces like "I don't
know about that, let me get back to you." But so far they
haven't gotten back to me.
So for now there the story seems to have died.
However, if you want to know if sex offenders live in your
community the local police have to release the information
to you if you ask for it.
Students hear about careers
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - Career Awareness Day was observed
at Austin Elementary yesterdat with a number of guest
This was held in conjunction with National and Texas School
Counseling Week, which is being celebrated throughout this
Beginning at 8:45 a.m., guest speakers were in different
classrooms talking to the children about their careers and
"I assigned each speaker to a designated classroom, and it
was the children who were rotating," said school counselor
Rosie Salcido. This gave the students a chance to listen to
different speakers and the classes were divided into first
and second grades, according to Salcido.
Guest speakers included Brenda McKinney and Suan Cross from
Security State Bank; Hilda Gomez, Jesse Franco with Drug
Task Force dog, Bodie, Reeves County Sheriff's Office; David
Castillo, La Nortena Tortilla Factory; Mac McKinnon,
publisher of the Pecos Enterprise; Dr. David Lovett,
dentist; Billy Hull, of the Pecos Police Department and
Freddy Contreras, a member of the Drug Task Force; Jack
Brookshire, Fire Marshal; Edwina Hudson and Becky Gonzales
from Texas Tech Health Science Department; Emily Fernandes,
retired teacher; Eddie and Mickey Vasquez, members of Sudden
Impact; Jimmy Galindo, Reeves County Judge and Dianne
Florez, Reeves County Clerk.
Salcido stated that she wanted to invite everyone to the
Open House, scheduled from 1-3:30 p.m., Friday at Austin
Elementary School, with Open House at Crockett Middle School
"I want to welcome everyone and encourage them to join us in
this week of celebration," she said.
Magdalena Rosales, 81, died Tuesday, Feb. 3, 1998, at
Midland Memorial Hospital.
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, at Santa Rosa
Catholic Church with Father Roberto Alvarado officiating.
Burial will be in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.
Rosales was born Jan. 30, 1917, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. She
had lived in Pecos since 1975, was a homemaker and a
Survivors include: three sons, Johnny Ibarra of Pecos,
George Rosales of San Antonio and Hiriam Rosales of Noruak,
Ohio; 10 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Edward Murrietta, 45, of Chandler, Ariz., died Saturday,
Jan. 24, 1998, at Mesa Lutheran Hospital in Mesa, Ariz.,
after a lengthy illness.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Jan. 28, in Chandler,
Ariz., with burial, including a Honor Guard Ceremony, at
Mesa City Cemetery.
Murrietta was born Sept. 23, 1952, in Mesa, Ariz. He was a
veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp., a former resident of Pecos
from 1981 to 1985, worked several jobs in Pecos including at
Whites Auto. He was currently employed at Arizona Electric
of Mesa and was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints.
Survivors include: his wife, Leticia Murrietta of Chandler;
three sons, Eddie, Ricky and Andy Murrietta of Chandler; one
daughter, Amy Murrietta of Chandler; four brothers; and
three sisters, all of Mesa, Ariz.
PECOS, February 5, 1998 - High Wednesday, 61, low this
morning, 35. Precipitation in the past 24-hours totaled 0.11
inches bringing the year-to-date and monthly total rainfall
for Pecos to 0.11 inches. Snow was falling across the Texas
Panhandle early today and some light snow was expected
across portions of North Texas. The snow was triggered by an
upper level storm system moving slowly eastward across
Texas. About two inches of snow fell in the Panhandle before
dawn today and forecasters said as much as three more inches
may fall before the system moves eastward. There will be a
quick warmup on Friday as skies begin clearing from the west
during the night. In North Texas, forecasts called for a
mixture of light snow and rain over all but southeastern
portions through this evening. But they said there would be
no accumulations of snow. It will be partly cloudy by dawn
Friday. Lows tonight will be in the 20s and 30s, highs
Friday will be in the 50s and 60s in West Texas. Fog reduced
visibility to less than one-fourth of a mile at Lubbock and
in the Midland-Odessa area before dawn today.
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