Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 7, 1998
T-storms bring needed rains, some damage
By ROSIE FLORES
Showers provided a relief to area farmers and ranchers
Monday afternoon, but posed problems for others in southern
Reeves and central Pecos counties.
"We were happy to see the rain, even though we were out of
electricity for a while," said Sue Toone, who lives with her
husband, Dale, in southern Reeves County, a half mile east
of Saragosa. "Our cantaloupe patch, however, which is
located five miles east just got a sprinkle."
Six tenths of rainfall was recorded in Verhalen, a sprinkle
in Toyah and an inch and a half at Saragosa, while 45 miles
to the east, damage was reported from thunderstorms which
swept through the north side of Fort Stockton.
The rains were good news to the Toone's since their water
supply comes from the Balmorhea Lake which has been really
low, due to the drought.
"Half a dozen places around this area received a great deal
of water and some damage was done to some places," she said.
High lines were out near farm road 308 and the Toones' home
was among several that were without power from 2:30 p.m.
until 8 that evening.
"This is just was of us about 3/4 of a mile away," she said.
"We also heard there was some damage at the Lindemann farms,
where it destroyed some hay stuff and overturned their
The road near the Toone's home was flooded and ditches along
other area farm roads were also filled to the brim with
Half a dozen places were overflowing with water and flooded
out, according to Toone.
No markers were out to indicate the flooding, according to
Toone. "Farm road 2448 was really flooded out, but the
marker wasn't out," she said.
"There was just no warning, there never is," Toone said,
while adding "It was really good, we needed the rain."
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez stated that no highways
were flooded out and nothing was reported to the sheriff's
department in terms of damage. "Incidents might have
occurred in the farm roads, since that's where the rainfall
was the hardest," he said.
"We were really pleased with the rainfall, though," Gomez
said. "It was something we desperately needed," he said.
"It was just beautiful," he said.
There were few storm-related problems in Pecos, where .16
inch fell shortly after 4 p.m. The Reeves County Golf Course
did report they lost a huge elm tree at hole number nine,
and big branches were also torn off of a cottonwood tree
located at the green. However, damage was far less severe
than the May 28 windstorm which swept through the south side
The worst damage Monday occurred in Fort Stockton, where the
Pecos County Sheriff's Department received many calls Monday
"We don't have a dollar amount as to how much the damage
was, but it was quite a bit," said sheriff Bruce Wilson.
Wilson stated that a mobile home was completely torn off its
frame and fell next to the Comanche Truck Stop. "This was a
large mobile home which was being pulled," said Wilson.
The driver apparently stopped at the truck stop to refuel
when the high winds hit the area and the trailer was
completely torn off its frame.
"The wind also blew roofs off of homes and businesses in
that area," said Wilson, who added that it is believed that
a small twister hit the area.
"We think it was a small twister because it was just in that
one area and the way the damage was done," he said.
The area where the most damage occurred is on the northwest
side of town, along Dickenson Boulevard and U.S. 285. "It
started along the boulevard and highway and extended about
10 or 12 blocks east, all the way to Beall's Department
Store, towards the west end of town," said Wilson.
The high winds tore high lines, blew out all the windows in
many cars, and demolished other buildings. "The big barn
where the lumber is stored at Nelson Lumber Company was torn
completely down," said Wilson.
Several roofs of businesses, such as a laundromat were
blown. "Then this roof created other damage when it landed,"
La Quinta Inn also had its roof torn off.
The damage finally stopped after those 12 blocks or so,
according to Wilson.
"They are still working on the electricity, some people have
it up, but I talked to one man who said he still didn't have
electricity," said Wilson.
Ex-Freeport workers looking at retraining
By GREG HARMAN
Freeport McMoRan's Culberson County sulphur mine employees
who were laid off a week ago in preparation for the
company's closure of the mine, gathered Monday at the Reeves
County Civic Center to discuss their common fears, and get
information from Texas Workforce Commission representatives.
Four of those laid off, grouped together in the mid-morning
shade prior to the meeting, confessed they had all known the
June 30 lay-off was coming, but not when or for whom. Since
discovering they were among those whose names were on the
first 60 pink slips, they said they've discussed leaving
Pecos, finding job training and taking care of their
All four agreed that most of those 60 who live in Pecos
would probably be forced to leave town in search of work.
Speaking of the Reeves County Economic Development
Corporation's desire to bring in outside industry to the
area, former Freeport worker Bobby Herrera said the
migration was coming "unless they do something pretty quick."
The ring of nervous laughter confided that no one expects
such a painless solution.
They would be trying to get into training programs, they
said. The names sound off: Odessa College, University of
Texas of the Permian Basin, Midland College, Sul Ross State
Many are talking about getting training at Odessa College's
Pyote campus, said Herrera. "They are talking about just
getting the basics, but it will take more than the basics
for a good paying job, and you won't find that job in
Pete Ramos interjected, "It is possible to car pool, or get
a van to come pick us up if we get enough interested in a
Herrera continued, "They (Freeport) tell us we can go to
school -- that we have this window of opportunity -- but
it's going to be hard on all of us. They don't say who will
put the gas in the vehicle to go to school."
The question of who would "put gas in the vehicle" was
addressed when Texas Employment Commission representatives
came and unlocked the Civic Center's doors.
Mary Jenkins, workforce development specialist, spoke to
over 30 former mine employees about NAFTA's Transitional
Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program.
Since the workers were forced from their jobs in large part
by low sulphur prices caused by Canadian sulphur dumping,
the former Freeport employees qualify for the TAA program,
Passed by Congress as part of the North American Free Trade
Agreement in 1994 and provided through the U.S. Department
of Labor, the TAA program provides a range of benefits. From
placement assistance, job training, a job search, relocation
allowance and weekly adjustment allowance, the program may
be a godsend for the 60 already dismissed by Freeport, as
well as the 98 others who'll be displaced as the mine plugs
its more than 300 wells and shuts its doors several months
down the road.
"My primary concern is to get the whole group in while the
money is available," said Jenkins. "Time is very important.
I don't want them to wait, thinking, `I'll go to school next
January.' When the money is exhausted, that's it. There is
Elva Arreguy of the Texas Workforce Commission spoke briefly
to the workers. But, she said, since TAA program assistance
is being made through the state, TWC would consign their
assistance to helping with financial management and travel
"There are several ways we can help as the need arises,"
Arreguy said this morning, prior to a second meeting at the
But one thing that can't be sidestepped is taxes. As Mike
Garcia forecast soberly, "Uncle Sam is gonna eat us up."
More than half of the 60 former Freeport workers received
answers to their many questions yesterday morning from Texas
Workforce Commission representatives. Others were expected
to the second meeting scheduled for this morning.
TAA Program Benefits
Allowed by the North American Free Trade Act of 1994, the
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program provides
reemployment services and benefits for workers displaced by
The Placement Department of the Texas Employment Commission
assists workers seeking employment.
Institutional or on-the-job training is to enable workers to
acquire new skills. Institutional training must be completed
within 104 weeks. Maximum weeks allowed for on-the-job
training in 26 weeks.
After securing a job offer out of area within 425 days of
loss of job, the worker receives 90 percent of moving costs
(including meals and lodging). Workers may be eligible for
an $800 lump sum.
Weekly Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
Similar to unemployment compensation, TRA pay when regular
unemployment benefits are exhausted.
Workers qualify for "basic" TRA benefits when:
-- They are enrolled in TAA approved training to begin
within 30 days;
-- They are regularly attending and making satisfactory
progress in training;
-- They have completed training that would have been
approved under TAA standards or have a waiver of training.
Former Freeport employees may get further information at the
local Texas Workforce Commission, 215 West Second Street.
Sharp's report outlines border region's troubles
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Texas' 43-county border region is among
the poorest and least-educated areas in the nation,
according to a new study by the state comptroller's office.
The report, to be released today, also suggests several
measures to deal with border problems, including getting the
Texas Legislature together with its counterparts in Mexico,
the <ital>San Antonio Express-News reported Sunday.
Comptroller John Sharp, a candidate for lieutenant governor,
said he hopes the study will be a starting point about
helping the region he called important for the state's
``The more prosperous the border region becomes, the more
prosperous Texas becomes,'' Sharp said. ``This contains a
message to legislators and to the rest of Texas that, in the
future, you ignore the region at your own peril.''
The study says Texas' border region, if it were its own
state, would have the nation's highest unemployment rate and
severe barriers to education and medical services. That's in
addition to being the poorest.
The rest of Texas, meanwhile, has a robust employment market
and a relatively well-educated workforce that enjoys healthy
growth in annual average pay, according to the report.
The revelations are far from new. But Sharp says the study
provides a uniquely comprehensive way to look at the border
region and its conditions as a whole.
The report addresses several issues, including economic
development, elementary and secondary education, housing,
medical care, air and water quality, transportation and
Sharp declined to specify the report's recommendations until
But newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said they
include asking the Legislature to initiate joint sessions
with the Mexican states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas
and Nuevo Leon to explore issues for both sides of the
Another proposal is for the federal government to establish
a sort of ``Border Regional Commission'' for the states
bordering Mexico so there would be a voice in Washington,
D.C., for the area, the sources said.
Some border experts and residents say they're wary of the
comptroller's effort, which looks a lot like similar studies
they've seen in the past.
``I'm very cynical about studies like this,'' said Antonio
Zavaleta, a border scholar and dean of the College of
Liberal Arts at the University of Texas-Brownsville.
``I haven't seen one of them make a difference. Sure, we
need some attention on the border, but it's like, `OK ...
hello ... do something already.'''
Zavaleta said the report is ``yesterday's news'' and could
well do more harm than good.
``The border is the favorite political whipping boy, and
this may not help at all,'' he said, adding that negative
news could affect the area's bond market and ability to
attract good jobs.
Sharp said his decision to pursue the project grew, in part,
from conversations with Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso,
about his beliefs that Texas must invest in its border
It also dovetails with the efforts of Sen. David Sibley,
R-Waco, to influence other lawmakers to support a sort of
``Marshall Plan'' to save the border.
Sibley, who chairs the Senate Economic Development
Committee, wants to craft a plan to reconstruct the border's
economy that he compares to the approach used by U.S.
Secretary of State George Marshall to help rebuild Europe
after World War II.
Officals probe vehicle thefts during rodeo_
By ROBERT RAMIREZ
Special to the Enterprise
Vehicle thefts kept local law enforcement officials busy
during last week's West of the Pecos Rodeo.
Two vehicles were stolen within three days from the Reeves
County Civic Center during last week's rodeo, and only one
of the two has been recovered.
The incidents were reported on Thursday and Saturday in the
parking lot outside the Civic Center, with the second of the
two stolen vehicles being found just over 12 hours later.
Kevin Doan, owner of a 1994 Chevrolet suburban, reported his
vehicle stolen from the Civic Center parking during the July
4 rodeo. According to a report filed at the Reeves County
Sheriff's Office, Doan parked his vehicle at 9:15 p.m. only
to find it gone when he returned about three hours later.
The vehicle was recovered three miles south of Pecos on U.S.
Highway 285 at 10:23 a.m., on Sunday. The driver's side
window had been smashed out and the steering column and hood
had been damaged in what appeared to be a one vehicle
accident, deputies said.
The vehicle was transported to the city warehouse by G&G
Wrecker for safekeeping and examination.
In the first incident, a 1994 Chevrolet S-10 Tahoe was
reported stolen by Priscilla Barbee at 11:45 p.m. last
Thursday. That vehicle has yet to be recovered.
Investigation continues in both thefts; no arrests have been
Border Patrol agents killed in shootout
By MADELINE BARO
Associated Press Writer
SAN BENITO -- Two Border Patrol agents were shot to death
and a sheriff's deputy was injured this morning in a
gunbattle with three suspects who were fleeing from an
earlier shooting at a home.
Officers wounded one gunman in the exchange, but two others
fled through a cornfield and were still being sought as of
11:30 a.m., officials said.
The events began unfolding around 5:30 a.m. when officers
found two people shot to death in a domestic dispute in Rio
Hondo, a Harlingen suburb.
Cameron County Sheriff's Department officers pursued the
suspects for about 10 miles to a cornfield south of San
Benito, said Letty Garza, a Border Patrol spokeswoman in
``Apparently, they got there in a vehicle, then went out on
foot trying to elude sheriff's deputies,'' Ms. Garza said.
The deputies called for help and three Border Patrol agents
were the first to spot the suspects. A shootout ensued, with
gunfire from an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle killing a female
agent and a male colleague, Ms. Garza said.
A 32-year-old sheriff's deputy was wounded and in critical
condition at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen,
where he was undergoing surgery, hospital spokesman Mike
Swartz said. The suspect was shot four times and also was
undergoing surgery at the hospital, officials said.
The third Border Patrol agent escaped injury and the other
two suspects fled through the cornfield about 20 miles north
of the U.S.-Mexico border, Ms. Garza said.
Agents from the Border Patrol, the Department of Public
Safety, Cameron County and the Edinburg SWAT team were at
the scene. The Edinburg unit has an armored vehicle.
Cameron County sheriff's officers declined to say whether
there were any hostages or if the suspects may have known
residents in the area.
The last time a Border Patrol agent was killed the line of
duty in Texas was January 1996, when Jefferson Barr, 33, was
shot near Eagle Pass, about 250 northwest from San Benito.
Family disowns teen after mom's slaying
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The family of Valessa Robinson hasn't
spoken to her since the 15-year-old was arrested, brought
back from Fort Stockton and charged with first-degree murder
in the chlorine-syringe and knife slaying of her mother.
The family didn't mention the teen in Vicki Robinson's
``How we wrote the obituary was a family choice,'' said the
victim's older brother, Tom Klug. ``Valessa made a choice to
take her own mother, to take her sister's mother, to take a
daughter from my parents and to take our sister.
``They planned this ahead of time. This was a vicious,
brutal attack. They deserve the death penalty,'' he said.
Two others also are charged in the June 27 slaying:
Valessa's boyfriend, Adam William Davis, and their friend,
Jon Michael Whispel, both 19.
Klug said his sister's body had been injected with a
household cleaner. A syringe found near her body contained
bleach, authorities said. A knife was found nearby.
Ms. Robinson's body was found stuffed inside a plastic
garbage can with the top tightly latched. It was standing
upright beside a canal about six miles from her Carrollwood
home. Someone had begun to dig a hole but apparently struck
rock and abandoned the idea.
Details about Ms. Robinson's brutal slaying began to emerge
Monday as the case against Valessa proceeded through court.
Her file paints a picture of a girl cooperating with
officials but without showing remorse.
Investigators say Valessa, Davis and Whispel murdered the
49-year-old real estate agent, left her body in the woods,
hung out for three days with friends and then took off in
Ms. Robinson's minivan, heading west.
They were arrested July 2 in Fort Stockton after Pecos
County deputies shot out their tires. Davis and Whispel
remain in the Pecos County Jail awaiting transfer to Tampa.
``How could a daughter kill a mother?'' asked Valessa's
sister, Michelle. ``How could she do it to me? How could she
do it to herself? ... My mother, she was so innocent, so
beautiful. She wouldn't hurt a fly. She was scared to kill
Klug said the family is trying to send Valessa a message.
``It's not like we're abandoning her. The family wants her
to come forward and admit what she did and receive her
Valessa Robinson was returned from the Ector County Juvenile
Detention Center on Friday and assigned a public defender on
Monday. She is locked up in a juvenile jail.
Ms. Robinson, divorced since 1994, was struggling to raise
Valessa. The teen had hooked up with a rough crowd and an
older boyfriend with a pierced eyebrow and several tattoos.
The Klugs said they found brochures, books and videos from
schools for troubled children that Ms. Robinson had been
looking into for Valessa.
The family plans to establish a memorial fund in Ms.
Robinson's name, in part to pay for Michelle's education and
then as a nonprofit foundation to help single parents with
Hillsborough sheriff's Deputy E.T. Ford, human resource
officer at Sickles High, where Valessa went to school, said
she blended into the background.
Prosecutors plan to ask a grand jury to indict Valessa for
first-degree murder Wednesday.
Though they will charge her as an adult, they cannot seek
the death penalty. The Florida Supreme Court has said no one
younger than 16 can be sentenced to death.
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
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.
Juanita Estorga, 37, was arrested at 11:02 a.m., on June 29,
on a warrant for a TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal
Justice) parole violation. She was transported to Reeves
Tammy Deishler, 20, was detained at 10 a.m., on June 29, at
Reeves County Jail, on three warrants for forgery.
Richard Breiten, 38, was arrested at 9:40 a.m., on June 30,
for an expired regulation sticker/no liability insurance. He
was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Canadian national, Ryska Kazimierz, 44, was arrested at 7:33
p.m., on June 30, for inability to pay a traffic fine. He
was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Leroy Muniz, 32, Rodolfo Orona, 23, and Ramon Ybarra, 19,
were arrested at 8:40 p.m., on June 30, in the 1900 block of
Adams Street, for public intoxication. They were transported
to Reeves County Jail.
Jenny Mendoza, 29, was arrested at 12:45 a.m., on July 1, at
the corner of Ninth and Cedar streets, for public
intoxication and a capias pro fine warrant. She was
transported to Reeves County Jail.
Luzmila Sotelo, 45, was arrested at 8:22 p.m., on July 1, in
the 600 block of Mesquite Street, for assault under the
Family Violence Act. She was transported to Reeves County
A vehicle accident occurred at 2 a.m., on July 2, on the
corner of Second and Willow streets. A male subject was
transported to Reeves County Hospital.
High Monday 101. Low this morning 72. Rainfall totalled 0.16
inch. Total for year 0.67 of an inch. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of
thunderstorms. Low 70 75. Southeast wind 5 15 mph.
Wednesday, partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance
of thunderstorms. High near 103. South wind 10-20 mph.
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 1998 by Pecos Enterprise