March 13, 1998
Federal courthouse proves its worth
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - Two years ago this month, at the
ribbon cutting of the new $4 million federal courthouse at
410 S. Cedar St., pundits were joking that the new
courthouse would be an expensive hay barn because criminal
case filings had dropped to near zero.
That situation has been reversed with the assigment of two
full-time prosecutors to the Pecos Division and additional
support staff in all areas.
Federal indictments of 20 or more criminal cases each month
keeps the courts busy, and has stimulated the local economy
in the process.
Criminal indictments number 53 through the first two months
of this year, with 80 defendants charged by the grand jury.
Last year the number of defendants rose over 400 on 234
In the year before the court moved into new quarters in
December 1995, indictments dropped to zero one month. Most
drug smuggling cases were rejected by government prosecutors
based in Midland and were filed in state courts over the
10-county Pecos Division.
District Judge Royal Furgeson and Senior Judge Lucius Bunton
each hold court here at least one week out of the month, and
sometimes have to return for additional trials.
Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt hears misdemeanor cases and
handles much of Furgeson's docket, as well.
Judge Platt now has a full-time courtroom deputy stationed
in Pecos, which brings the clerk's office staff to three.
Other support staff has been added during the past year,
giving the probation office a staff of four; pre-trial
services two; marshal's office three; court security four;
and prosecutors two.
Additions are expected in each of those areas this year.
In addition, a full-time public defender serves the Pecos
court, as does an interpreter.
When court is in session, jurors, witnesses, attorneys and
families of defendants eat in local restaurants, stay in
motels, buy gasoline and shop at local stores.
Sam Patel, manager of Quality Inn, said the increased court
activity has impacted his motel, restaurant and lounge
Karen White, deputy district clerk, said her office pays for
meals, donuts, soft drinks and coffee for the jurors. And
jurors may stay overnight at a motel if a trial lasts more
than one day.
All drive vehicles, and they require repairs, fuel and
tires, much of which is purchased in Pecos.
Housed in a $4 million building that is privately owned, the
courts generate thousands of dollars each year in property
taxes for local entities, besides utilities, supplies and
repairs to the building.
A second maintenance man was recently added to the staff due
to the increase in court activity.
Jails in the area also are impacted, because they house
federal prisoners awaiting trial and sentencing. U.S.
Marshals contract with the city and county jails on a per
diem basis to house federal prisoners.
"I have all the jails in the are full of prisoners," said
Deputy Marshal Billy Johnson. "We have more than 100
awaiting trial and another 300 out on bond."
Johnson summons help from other marshal's offices and hires
area law enforcement officers to help with court security
Defense attorneys also benefit from the increased traffic
through the courts, as they are hired or appointed to
represent defendants. With most felony cases entering the
system through the magistrate's office in Alpine, that city
now has 18 lawyers. Three of those frequent the Pecos
Besides criminal cases, the Pecos Division had 112 civil
cases filed last year. Several high-profile civil cases have
been held in the new courthouse, where attorneys have
private rooms to consult with their clients and witnesses.
Always a strong force in the local economy, the federal
court continues to make an important contribution to the
Council discusses beautification master plan
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - With the whirr of a projector in the
background, Pecos Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Rodriguez called
yesterday's city council meeting, where relaxed collars were
the order of the day, into order.
Mayor Dot Stafford is still recuperating from surgery last
week. She was released from Medical Center Hospital in
Odessa on Friday, March 6. City Manager Kenneth Neal said
that Stafford was already "feeling so much better."
With a grateful nod to the council for putting him on the
agenda, Doug Eichorst II, Pecos area engineer for Texas
Department of Transportation TxDOT, dimmed the lights and
gave a presentation on the need for the development of a
"master plan" to make the city more attractive to travelers
Since being approached by Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
this past summer, Eichorst said he has become increasingly
interested in developing a cooperative effort between the
"state, county, city and any other interested parties like
the tree board" in putting together a landscaping scheme to
use throughout the city.
Eichorst projected photos of various landscaping and
zeriscaping examples that he has encountered around the
state. "This would be an over-all improvement to the town,"
he said. His purpose at the meeting, he said, was to
approach the council about committing a member to represent
the city for the project.
When questioned by councilman Ricky Herrera, Eichorst said
the position would last for about six months. And under the
questioning of county surveyor Frank Spencer, Eichorst said
that while the Texas Department of Transportation was
limited to actually performing the work in state-owned and
adjoining property, such as highway right-of-ways, they
would be able to help in the design work for areas of the
city not within state property.
Rodriguez said it sounded like a "real good idea" that he
was glad was happening. Gerald Tellez and Johnny Terrazas
volunteered to represent the city on the board.
The council received copies of engineer Frank Spencer's
letter of recommendation and list of bids received for
proposed water transmission line improvements for a section
of 24-inch water line leading to the Ward County Well Field.
He said that out of the six bids received he recommended one
from M&M Excavating, Inc., from Carlsbad, New Mexico, who
bid the project at $200,588.
"One of my major concerns is the structure bridging the
Pecos River," said Spencer. The structure has lead paint
that would need to be sandblasted and refurbished or totally
replaced. M&M, Spencer said, had figured their figures to do
it either way, but recommended sandblasting and
The council voted to accept Spencer's recommendation to hire
M&M Excavating, Inc. for the bid of $200,588 -about four
thousand more than would be covered by the water grant.
The council also ordered that early voting elections for
school and hospital boards and city offices be held from
April 15-April 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at the
Pecos Community Center. The voting day is set for May 2.
The juvenile court report and municipal accounts payable
were also approved by the council.
Proposals heard to improve rodeo event
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - Pecos High School student and Youth
Advisory President Jonathan Fuentes was on hand during the
recent Chamber of Commerce Director's meeting and made a
Fuentes is an outstanding junior at Pecos High School who is
involved in many different activities.
His speech to the chamber included asking for their help in
an upcoming event the Youth Advisory Committee will be
sponsoring. The group is hoping to sponsor an all-day
The John Ben Sheppard Leadership Institute of the University
of Texas of the Permian Basin will conduct the all-day
seminar in Pecos for area youth in grades 7-12. In addition,
Straight Way, a drug and suicide prevention team that
advocates total abstinence would also participate. The event
has been tentatively set for Saturday, March 28.
The Youth Advisory Committee also has other plans in mind to
better the community and give it a brighter look. "We plan
to purchase welcome signs and post at all the entrances into
Pecos, hopefully before the rodeo," said Fuentes.
Fuentes stated that he had seen the article in the newspaper
about National Geographic coming into Pecos during the July
event and he and his group were hoping to make Pecos look
"We need to have more pride in our community and we're
willing to work, with the help of others to make it look
better," he said.
A Day at the Park is another plan the group has in mind for
"We also plan to paint trash bins, have a cleanup among
other things," he said.
Brandy Owen, spoke on behalf of Women's Division President,
Owen told the group that the Women's Division is currently
taking applications from girls who are juniors in high
school who would like to participate in the Golden Girl
Pageant. A style show is planned as part of the fundraiser
for the pageant.
Applications for the Little Miss Cantaloupe portion of the
pageant will be taken on April 1. Girls who exiting
kindergarten through second grade will have a chance to
participate in the yearly event.
Chris Metler, manager of Beall's Department Store, made a
proposal to the chamber. Metler displayed two flags that
could be used during the rodeo events and which could be
purchased at an economical price.
"We usually rent them from a company in Fort Stockton and
for the amount that we rent them for each year, we could
purchase one of these," said Metler.
Metler also stated that if local businesses wanted to
purchase the flags, she could store them at her facility.
"They would make a nice new look, since these would be brand
new," she said.
Metler asked the board for permission to ask all local
businesses to obtain their input and see if they wanted to
purchase these flags instead of renting them.
"Well, you need to go ahead and do that now, so that Tom can
let the other company know that we won't be needing the
others," said chamber president Richard Crider.
PBT board meets Tuesday
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board of
education will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 in the board room at 1304 South Park
After approval of the minutes of its Feb. 12 meeting, the
board will handle two items of correspondence, a Pecos swim
team booster club donation and the Region 18 Education
Service Center board of directors election.
Under old business, the board will discuss/approve the sale
of foreclosed property at Third and Mesquite streets and
changes to an interlocal agreement between PBT ISD and
Reeves County on Martinez Field for girls softball and they
will discuss the 1998-99 school calendar and teaching
Spanish to all elementary students.
There are 19 items of new business up for discussion by the
school board. The board will discuss/approve changing FB
(Local) and DAA (Local) policy Title IX Coordinator and 504
Coordinator to Gome Olibas, Policy BBB (Local) board member
elections and terms, textbook committee recommendations,
consideration of intent to terminate probationary contract
of professional employee(s) at the end of the contract
period, contract renewals and proposed non-renewals for
administrators and professional personnel, professional
personnel assignments, resignations retirements and
transfers, professional personnel attendance incentive pay
for 1998-99, request by Pecos Youth Advisory Commission to
waive fee for use of Pecos High School facilities, a
resolution celebrating Texas Public Schools Week, 1997-98
budget amendments, sale of old school buses and payment of
current bills and financial report.
The school board will also hear the National School Lunch
and Child Nutrition monitoring report, a Title-I program
update, the tax report, depository securities report,
cafeteria report and commodities report.
Also, the board will hold a closed session during the new
business portion of its meeting, as authorized by the Texas
Open Meetings Act, for the purpose of discussing personnel
or hearing complaints against personnel. During the closed
session, they board will consider evaluations of
administrators and consider evaluations of professional
The board of education will also set a date for the canvass
of election returns, set the date for its next regular
meeting, review a calendar of events and request items for
the next agenda before adjourning.
Walker headed into third term
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - State Rep. Gary Walker will likely
be headed back to Austin next Janaury for his third two-year
term in the Texas Legislature, after easily defeating his
Republican primary opponent on Tuesday.
Walker's race for the District 80 State House seat against
challenger Skeet Workman was the only area race for which
more Reeves County voters could not cast ballots, since
voters here cast their ballots for local races in the
But outside the county, Walker won easily, collecting 2,068
votes (79 percent) to 534 votes for Workman, a Hockley
County rancher who challenged Walker, claiming he was too
close to Democratic leaders in the House.
"It's always hard to say what to expect," Walker said of his
easy win. "Voter turnout is always a real concern,
especially in a Republican primary. You don't have to get
many of your folks to get it to turn one way or another."
Workman cited property taxes and Walker's closeness to some
Democrats, such as House Speaker Pete Laney, as her reasons
for entering the campaign.
Walker said with Democrats controlling the Texas House, no
Republican has run for speaker, and "to be truthful, I
thought that having a rural West Texan as speaker (Laney is
from Hale Center) is better for our area than having
someone from the metropolitan areas, because they understand
our concerns better."
"I feel like I represent both Republicans and Democrats,
because issues affecting us like water rights are not just
Republican or Democrat issues, but people issues," he said.
Walker will have no Democratic challenger in the November
general election. He was also unopposed in 1996 after
winning the District 80 seat in 1994. "I look forward to
serving the people in 1999 and possibly for a couple of
terms beyond that," he said.
Three positions open in Barstow
BARSTOW, March 13, 1998 - There are three positions up for
grabs in Barstow's May 2 election. Barstow residents will be
able to vote for two councilmen and the mayor.
So far, only the two incumbent councilmen, Robert Ortega and
Benny Avila, have placed their names on the ballot for the
city council election, according to city secretary Jo
In the mayoral race, the incumbent, Abram Flores, has
decided not to run, Allgood said, and the only person to
enter that race so far is Salvador Villalobos.
POLICE REPORTPECOS, March 13, 1998 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release. ***
A 1998 Chevrolet Lumina was damaged the night of Feb. 28 in
the parking lot at the Riverside Ballroom.
Carlos A. Barron, 22, San Angelo, was arrested at 4:30 p.m.
March 4 at the Tom Green County Jail on a warrant service.
Ruben Mendoza, 27, 807 S. Oak St., was arrested at 11:55
a.m. March 3 during a traffic stop for possession of
marijuana under two ounces, a Class B misdemeanor.
There was an accidental shooting reported at 8:52 p.m. March
3 in Balmorhea. The victim's gun went off while he was
Jose Luis Rodriguez, 32, Fort Hancock, was arrested at 2
p.m. March 5 at the El Paso County Jail on a warrant service.
Sheryl Lynn Rayos, 26, 811 S. Almond St., was arrested at
1:15 a.m. March 6 on outstanding warrants from Ward County.
On March 4 at 12:45 p.m., a truck driver left $7 with a
clerk at the I-10 Fina station to buy lunch for a deputy for
an unknown reason. The money was donated to the Balmorhea
A white, 1974 Cadillac El Dorado was reported stolen from
near Red Bluff Lake on March 3.
On March 1 at about 7:15 a.m., $30.03 worth of diesel fuel
was stolen in a drive-off from the I-10 Fina station.
A car fire at mile marker 186 on I-10 at 12:30 a.m. March 8
resulted in the loss of an El Paso man's car and the
personal belongings that were in it.
Roger Matta, 35, 502 N. Hickory, was arrested at 7 a.m.
March 10 for outstanding DPS warrants out of Ward County.
Joaquin Gonzales, 17, 1634 Cowan St., was arrested at 4:41
a.m. March 8 in the 800 block of S. Willow on charges of
minor in possession of alcohol and no driver's license.
Georgiana Kay Lambrano, 23, Andrews, was arrested at 11:23
p.m. March 8 in the 400 block of E. 2nd St. for public
intoxication, failure to identify and outstanding DPS
warrants from Andrews County.
Gonzalo Sandoval was arrested at 12:34 a.m. March 5 in the
1600 block of W. F St. for public intoxication.
Jesus Hernandez was arrested at 4:33 p.m. March 5 for public
Mark Renteria was arrested at 7:02 p.m. March 5 during a
traffic stop at 12th and Oak on a warrant for terroristic
Steven Ray Natividad was arrested at 11:17 a.m. March 6 on a
Carlos Armendariz was arrested at 2:33 a.m. March 7 for
assault under the family violence act.
Ronald Alligood was arrested at 7:25 a.m. March 7 for public
Mary Ramirez was arrested at 10:44 p.m. March 10 at the
Circle M Bar for public intoxication.
Marcus Galindo was arrested at 1:09 p.m. March 11 after an
accident on Eddy St. for driving while intoxicated.
AREA NEWS ROUNDUP
The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, Thursday, March 12, 1998 -Leaders of the
Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce are preparing their forces
and reviewing their tactics to implement a strategic plan
for the economic development of Fort Stockton and Pecos
County. The Fort Stockton City Council voted unanimously to
approve funding for a plan drafted and presented by a
chamber committee chaired by Chamber President Choya Young.
The proposal calls for a three-year economic development
plan focusing upon job creation, business development and
The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, March 12, 1998 -Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and
Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris
Meissner announced the deployment of an additional 670
agents to police the Texas Border Patrol sectors. "The
message is simple: The United States no longer will allow
drugs to come across our border, spreading violence and
death to American communities," Hutchinson said. "Steadily
and surely, we are building a Border Patrol force of
adequate strength to get the job done."
The Sanderson Times
SANDERSON, March 12, 1998 -All of the members of the Terrell
County Commissioners were on hand for their regular meeting,
which included 20 items on the agenda. During the meeting
the group approved $1,000 for repairs and Economic
Development Co-ordinator Terry Tolar volunteered team leader
to oversee the improvements and repairs.
The McCamey News
SANDERSON, March 5, 1998 The annual Chamber of Commerce
banquet celebrated the announcement of a new wind generation
facility planned for construction on "M" Mountain. The theme
for the banquet was "Wind: Resource of Our Future" and was
attended by about 130 people. Mayor Jim McClure presented a
key to the city to Paul Bower, President and General Manager
of WTCU, and representatives from FORAS, the Palms Springs,
California based firm that will build, operate and maintain
the facility' from EPL Energy, a subsidiary of FPL Group, to
be owner of the wind generation facility; and from Texas
Wind Power, which assisted in land acquisition.
IRAAN, March 12, 1998 The Iraan Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce Banquet will be held Thursday, March 26, at 6:30
p.m. in the Iraan School Cafeteria. Zach Hutchison from
Iraan Elementary School has reached his advanced reading
goal of 90 points.
The Monahans News
MONAHANS, March 5, 1998 -Incumbent Ward County Judge Sam G.
Massey fought off a determined challenge from businesswoman
Pam Treadaway to win the Democratic nomination, Tuesday,
March 10. In a county where the Democratic nomination is
tantamount to election, Massey, a rancher from Wickett,
faces Republican nominee candidate Candido Gutierrez of
Monahans in the November general elections.
PECOS, March 13, 1998 - High Thursday, 55, low this morning,
32. Texans are expected to get a reprieve this weekend from
several days of unseasonably cold weather, as temperatures
are forecast to be in the upper 60s. In West Texas, a large
area of low clouds extended from the south plains and but
clear skies prevailed over the rest of the region.
Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s today with a few 20s in
the panhandles. The forecast for West Texas calls for partly
cloudy skies through Saturday. There is a chance of showers
and temperatures will be in the 30s and 40s.
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