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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, November 12, 1998

Council joins in new recreation project

Staff Writer
Pecos City Council this morning approved an interlocal
agreement with the county and school district to provide
recreation for the community.

City Attorney Scott Johnson said that Reeves County
Commissioners and the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board of
trustees have already approved the agreement.

Reeves County will construct two racquetball courts in the
small gym, contract for general painting and minor repair of
the old gym facility, buy additional fitness equipment --
all to become the property of P-B-T -- and will pave all
elementary school tracks at Pecos, Lamar and Austin
Elementary schools.

The county's share of proportionate funding is not to exceed
$85,000 for program operation and staffing.

The city will provide a proportionate share of all funding,
not to exceed $20,000, for program operations and staffing.
The city will provide and/or develop recreation facilities
and parks for the activities and programs for the recreation
department as it deems feasible.

P-B-T will provide office space for the sports and
recreation program supervisor and use of its old high school

In other business today, Mayor Dot Stafford recommended that
action on the articles of incorporation for the Pecos
Economic Development Corporation and appointment of a board
of directors be deferred to give the council more time and
to schedule an executive session.

A special meeting was set for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for that
purpose. The council will also canvass votes on the 4A Sales
Tax election at that time.

Also tabled was approval of an engineering contract on
replacement of one mile of water transmission line.
Councilman Randy Graham said the projected cost of $54,500
for engineering services is more than 10 percent of the
total project cost.

Engineer Frank Spencer was out of town today, so that item
was deferred until the next regular meeting, which was set
for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23.

Other items for that agenda include consideration of a
change in curfew hours to set a limit of midnight during the
week, a review of cellular phones use by city employees,
fire chief position and water line easements.

The last two items were considered this morning in executive
session, then tabled for more information. Pecos Volunteer
Firemen elected Roy Pena as chief, but there is a question
whether his qualifications meet state requirements.

The council approved a 10-year easement for the water
pipeline crossing the Pecos River to replace one that had
expired, proclaimed today as parental involvement day and
approved an interlocal agreement with the Permian Basin
Regional Planning Commission for recycling.

City Manager Kenneth Neal said the city baled and sold 32
tons of newspapers and cardboard to Butts Recycling in
Midland for $40 a ton. Over the past year, the city took in
$1,300 and spent $5,000 to $6,000, he said.

That cost was covered by a grant from the Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission, and a new grant in the
amount of $10,200 has been approved for 1998-99, Neal said.

With that grant, the city plans to purchase a baler and used
front-end loader. West Texas Waste picks up the material
from dumpsters placed around town and takes it to the
recycling center, Neal said. Then a city employee works
Friday and Saturday to compress it into bales, which are
picked up about once a month.

Noting that the monthly report from Pecos Ambulance Service
shows a balance of $189,631 after adjustments and write-offs
of about $200,000 during September, the council discussed
ways to better track billing and collection.

Johnson collected $537 in September and filed five or six
civil suits, but said he has not received bills for the
preceding four years.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce reported third quarter
expenditures for the civic center and advertising/tourism

Mayor Stafford presented plaques of appreciation to
principals Juanita Davila, Crockett Middle School; and Mary
Lou Carrasco, Bessie Haynes Elementary; for work done by
their students to clean up cemeteries.

Mya Surratt, Texas-New Mexico Power company customer
relations officer, presented Stafford a $3,000 check for
beautification of the downtown area. Half the funds were
collected from customers in the "Customer Connection"
program. T-NMP matches donations dollar for dollar, Surratt

Cold blamed for `rocking' I-20 traffic

Staff Writer
It was literally a rocky road for drivers headed east
towards Pecos on Interstate 20 Wednesday night, as problems
with resurfacing of the highway near the Interstate 10
junction resulted in damage to windshields and other parts
of a number of vehicles.

Glenn Larum, press spokesman for the Texas Department of
Transportation's regional office in Odessa said eastbound
traffic was detoured off I-20 and onto the south service
road after reports came in of asphalt strips being pulled up
off the highway by passing trucks and thrown towards
trailing vehicles in the construction zone.

"We've had a number of calls about damage, and we've been
directing them to the contractor (Gilbert-Texas Construction
of Fort Worth)," Larum said.

The first reports of trucks suffering window damage were
called into local law enforcement officials about 10 p.m.
Wednesday, and Larum said TxDOT crews closed the main
eastbound lanes at 1:30 this morning.

"The current detour is on the south frontage road (old U.S.
80) from about three miles east of the junction to 10 miles
east," Larum said. "The detour will be in place as long as

Resurfacing work has been going on for the past month from
the Reeves-Jeff Davis County line on I-10 through the
junction and east to mile marker 10 in I-20. was in charge
of the project, Larum said.

"They were putting down new seal coat, and when the final
layer was put on the construction that rock and asphalt
separated," Larum said. "We're looking at the cause of it
right now.

"There was a sudden drop in temperature (lows in the
mountain areas were at or near the freezing mark Tuesday
night) and we think that was one of the contributing
factors," Larum said. "Suffice to say strings of asphalt
clumps were picked up by traffic and they strung it out for
several miles."

"I talked to Doug Eichorst (TxDOT District Engineer). He
said the rock shelled out of the seal coat and was picked up
in the wheels of trucks. They also went over some newly
surfaced road, and the clumps either pulled up strips of
asphalt or dropped the globs on the surface, and when the
maintainer tried to knock the globs off it took some of the
pavement, too."

Larum said the some asphalt remained stuck in the wheels of
the trucks for about 30 miles before being thrown free,
causing damage to any vehicles that might be traveling close
behind. "There were big pieces of asphalt strung all the way
to State Highway 17 in Pecos," he said.

Burt Locker, of Gilbert-Texas' main office in Fort Worth,
was out of the office today and unavailable for comment on
their opinion on the cause of the problem or if the company
will aid drivers who suffered damage to their vehicles.

Westbound lanes which are also being resurfaced were not
affected by the problem, Larum said, but drivers headed east
for the next several days -- including Pecos Eagle football
fans who return home from Friday's playoff game in El Paso
-- will probably see the detour still in place.

"We're hoping that we can resurface the damaged area by
Sunday but Saturday is not out of the question," Larum said.

Report hits feds over Hernandez' death

Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON -- The Justice and Defense Departments were
negligent in the death of an 18-year-old West Texas youth
who was gunned down by a Marine Corps unit on a border
antidrug patrol, the chairman of the House Judiciary
immigration subcommittee charged today.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, also accused the two
departments, in particular the Justice Department, of
obstructing investigations into the May 1997 death of
Esequiel Hernandez Jr.

``When the nation's chief law enforcement agency will not
make even a cursory attempt to hold itself and its employees
accountable for the wrongful killing of an American citizen,
the life and freedom of every citizen is threatened,'' Smith
said at a Capitol news conference.

Hernandez, a 10th grader who was tending his goat herd along
the banks of the Rio Grande, was killed after crossing paths
with a four-man Marine team that was conducting antidrug
surveillance in Redford, some 200 miles southeast of El

The Marines' mission was requested by the Border Patrol,
which is an arm of the Justice Department.

Smith, who issued a 249-page report that seeks to trace the
supervisory and training failures that led to Hernandez'
death, praised the Marine Corps for conducting its own

``The Justice Department, on the other hand, did not hold
itself accountable to the Hernandez family, to the Redford
community or to the American people,'' Smith said.

Justice and Defense Department spokesmen didn't return calls
seeking comment.

In his report, Smith said Hernandez' death was
``attributable to a series of failures on the part of
Justice Department and Defense Department personnel who were
negligent in their training and preparation for the border
surveillance mission.''

The Marines were not trained for civilian law enforcement
duties and had not been briefed about local conditions, nor
were they given adequate Border Patrol support, Smith said.

``After Hernandez' death, agency personnel compounded their
previous errors by withholding information and impeding
investigations in an effort to avoid accountability that,
unfortunately, has been largely successful,'' the report

The result, Smith charged, is that the public is left with a
``disquieting impression that justice has not been done in
this case, and may never be done.''

Amid national outcry over the shooting, the Pentagon
suspended armed military patrols on the U.S.-Mexico border.
And the government, acting to settle a claim filed by
Hernandez' survivors, purchased a $1 million annuity for the

The military contends Hernandez was shot after he fired at
the camouflaged Marine team twice and was poised to fire his
.22-caliber rifle again.

Hernandez's family has long disputed that account, saying
the teen would never knowingly have shot at anyone. They
said he carried the rifle only to protect his livestock from
wild dogs and occasionally to shoot targets.

Smith agreed, describing the youth in his report as ``a
young man of good reputation ... (who) had no history of
violence, drug-related activities, or other criminal

His findings were issued two months after an inquiry
initiated by the Marine Corps determined that the soldiers
involved had not been adequately trained for their mission
among civilians.

Both Smith and retired Marine Maj. Gen. John T. Coyne, who
conducted the Marine Corps review, concluded that the border
mission was viewed by military commanders mainly as an
opportunity for troop training.

The Marine Corps, challenging Coyne's report, argued that he
arbitrarily concluded the training was inadequate.

Two grand juries investigated the shooting and declined to
issue any indictments, as did the Justice Department, which
conducted a six-month civil rights inquiry.

Pecos' INS office seeking donations

Staff Writer
Lending a helping hand to those less fortunate will be the
main goal of the Immigration and Naturalization Services in

"I've been in contact with the consulates of Honduras,
Guatemala and Nicaragua about their situation," said INS
agent Felix Chavez.

Chavez' concern stemmed from the distruction caused by
Hurricane Mitch, which struck those countries two weeks ago
and left an estimated 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands
more homeless.

"What they are telling me is that they are in dire need of
food," said Chavez.

Chavez and the other local INS officials will be collecting
canned goods and other items, such as food that is easy to
make and canned meats, to transport to Honduras, Guatemala
and Nicaragua.

"They are also needing water, so gallons of water or smaller
bottles of water, which can easily be transported will be
accepted," said Chavez.

The local INS office will be in charge of collecting and
transporting the items. Anyone wanting to make a donation of
any kind can take the items to the Enterprise office at 324
S. Cedar St.

"We really don't want to take cash donations, but if anyone
wants to make a cash donation to this worthy cause they can
contact the American Red Cross at 877-837-8827," said Chavez.

Items will be accepted at the Enterprise office for the next
two weeks.

For more information they can contact Chavez or any of the
INS officers at 447-4102.

Jury rules boyfriend set up Kansas woman

Staff Writer
Federal court jurors apparently believed a Kansas woman's
story that she was unaware the truck she was driving last
March had 844.74 pounds of marijuana hidden in a special
compartment underneath the bed.

Victoria Balderas-Ortega, 24, of Wichita, Ks., was arrested
at the Marfa Border Patrol checkpoint shortly after the 6
a.m. shift change May 31, and charged with importing and
possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Border Patrol Agent Gary Upshaw testified that he and two
other agents opened the checkpoint south of Marfa about 6:10
a.m., and that Balderas entered five minutes later in an
extended-cab Chevrolet pickup.

Upshaw said that drug smugglers know that agents normally do
paperwork and go to the coffee shop at shift-change time,
leaving the checkpoint closed, and that is a good time to
arrive, thus avoiding a vehicle search.

Because she arrived shortly after shift change, and because
she was overly-friendly, volunteering the information that
she had been to Chihuahua, Mex., visiting friends and was
enroute to El Paso, then to Kansas, Upshaw said he was
suspicious that she may have contraband in the vehicle.

Balderas said the pickup belonged to her boyfriend, Manuel
Sanchez of El Paso, and that she had picked it up for him in

Upshaw asked for consent to have a drug-sniffing dog search
the vehicle, and Balderas consented. The dog jumped into the
bed and "was all over it. She was in odor; not in one spot."

Agents drilled into the bed from below and found a green
leafy substance that later tested positive for marijuana. It
was wrapped in brown tape with liquid coffee shrink-wrapped
on top to mask the odor, Upshaw said.

In response to a question from defense attorney Justin Low,
Upshaw said the marijuana was well hidden.

Low said that Balderas had saved up her money to take a
vacation to Mexico. While there, she got a call from her
boyfriend, who asked her to pick up and deliver his truck,
which had broken down in Presidio.

She did not know the marijuana was in the truck and when
stopped at the checkpoint, Balderas fully cooperated, he

"The truck was registered to Manuel Sanchez, a man she had
been dating. He disappeared and hasn't been heard from
since," Low said.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson granted Low's motion to
dismiss the importation count, but let the jury decide on
the possession charge. They returned a not-guilty verdict at
6:55 p.m. Tuesday.

Judge Furgeson on Monday sentenced the following:

* Daniel Renteria-Nunez, 23, of Odessa, possession with
intent to distribute 518 pounds of marijuana, 60 months in

* Efrain Cortina-Amaro, illegal entry after deportation,
time served.

* Larry Mader, 50, of Spearfish, S.D., possession with
intent to distribute marijuana, 15 months.

* Victor Borunda-Aguirre, 22, of Chihuahua, Mex., import and
possess with intent to distribute marijuana, 30 months.

* Willie Ben Lara Jr., 30, of Alpine, possession with intent
to distribute marijuana, 63 months.

* Martin Torres-Sanchez, 19, of Odessa, possession with
intent to distribute marijuana, 30 months.

* Conrado Ramirez-Garcia, 22, of Odessa, possession with
intent to distribute 518 pounds of marijuana, 60 months.

Mosby earns top hitter honors

Pecos Eagles' senior Sherrie Mosby was named the top spiker
in District 2-4A, while two other Eagles were selected to
the first team all-district volleyball squad in voting by
2-4A coaches in Van Horn on Wednesday.

Mosby led Pecos in kills this season, as the Eagles won
their first district title in six years, finishing with a
9-1 mark and 17-11 overall, losing in the first round to
Region I-4A finalist Dumas.

She was joined on the first team by senior hitter/setter
Shaye Lara and sophomore hitter Philonicus Fobbs. Pecos also
put senior hitter Pecos Eagles' senior Sherrie Mosby was
named the top spiker in District 2-4A, while two other
Eagles were selected to the first team all-district squad in
voting by 2-4A coaches in Van Horn on Wednesday.

Mosby led Pecos in kills this season, as the Eagles won
their first district title in six years, finishing with a
9-1 mark and 17-11 overall, losing in the first round to
Region I-4A finalist Dumas.

She was joined on the first team by senior hitter/setter
Shaye Lara and sophomore hitter Philonicus Fobbs. Pecos also
put senior hitter Linsey Hathorn was on the second team,
while senior hitter Monique Levario and junior setter Amy
Chabarria received honorable mention.

Eagles' coach Becky Granado also received the Coach of the
Year award, as Pecos won nine straight 2-4A matches,
including all five on the road, to take the title after
their district-opening loss to Fabens.

Fobbs was Pecos' No. 2 hitter behind Mosby, and the two
middle hitters also led the Eagles in blocks this season.
Lara split time as both an outside hitter and setter for
Pecos, while Hathorn and Levario were the Eagles' other
outside hitters this season.

District coaches divided the top awards evenly between the
teams on Wednesday. The Most Valuable Player award went to
San Elizario's Rosario Flores, while Clint's Polly Wagner
was named as the outstanding setter and Fabens' Kimberly
Phelps was chosen as defensive player of the year. Even El
Paso Mountain View picked up one of the top honors despite a
1-24 season, as freshman Diana Ceniceros was chosen as
newcomer of the year.

Along with Fobbs and Lara, the remainder of the first team
was made up of Fabens' hitters Beverly Alarcon and Cindy
Arrieta, Canutillo's Alejandra Pineda, Ciint's Jessica
Foster, Mountain View's Clarissa Saenz and San Elizario's
Maria Huerta.

Fabens placed second and San Elizario third in district this
season, losing to El Paso Burges and El Paso High in the
opening round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Joining Hathorn on the second team were a trio of San
Elizario players, Talia Reyes, Myrana Flores and Ysamine
Garcia, along with Clint's Erika Morales and Daisy Nieto,
Fabens Bonnie Cera and Canutillo's Alejandra Vasquez.

The other honorable mention selections were Bella Munoz and
Joanne Martinez of Fabens; Denise Duran and Michelle Tullins
of Clint; B.J. Blanco of Canutillo and Yolanda Tapia of San


Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 in reward for
information leading to the arrest and Grand Jury Indictment
of person(s) responsible for the incident described below.

On July 23, Pecos Police were called to McDonald's
restaurant, located at 1501 South Cedar Street in reference
to the burglary of a business. Upon arrival, officers were
met by the complainant, who told them that the person(s) had
gained entry into the restaurant by climbing the ladder that
was on the north side of the building leading to the roof.

The person(s) then removed the outside vent and gained entry
by dropping into the kitchen area through the roof. Shoe
prints were found at the crime scene. Subjects then exited
the restaurant by breaking the back door.

Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime
call "Crime Stoppers" at 445-9898 and you will remain


High Wednesday 73, low last night 41. Tonight, showers,
possibly a thunderstorm. Low in upper 40s. Southeast to east
wind 10-20 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent. Friday, showers,
possibly a thunderstorm. High 55-60. Northeast to north wind
5-15 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent.

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Pecos Enterprise
Ned Cantwell, 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