Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, November 20, 1998
ID sought on remains found Wednesday
By ROSIE FLORES
Human remains found Wednesday in northern Reeves County will
be sent off for analysis next week, in hopes of determining
the victim's identity.
Reeves County Deputy Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos was dispatched to
the intersection of U.S. 285 and Reeves County Road 430 on
Thursday, to investigate the remains found by seismograph
workers at that site.
"Reeves County Road 430 is about 24 miles north of Pecos, on
U.S. 285," said Rayos, who met with Baldemar Flores at the
In his statement to the deputy Flores said that Western
Geophysical workers Jay Whitney and Terry Patterson were
waiting for him about four miles east of U.S. 285 on Reeves
County Road 430.
"Upon arrival to where they were, they told me that Whitney
had located part of a human skeleton," said Rayos.
Whitney stated that about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday he was
doing a field damage assessment for Frontier Land Company,
for a seismic survey being done in Reeves County. "While
descending a small hill and heading towards a washed out
creek, he came upon a human skull, not knowing what to do he
left and returned to Pecos, where he was staying and then
talked to Western Geophysical Party Chief Terry Patterson
about the skull," said Rayos.
Whitney said Patterson decided they should check it out
Thursday morning, which they did. Patterson then notified
the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and they in turn
contacted the Texas Rangers.
Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos stated that there have been
several people reported missing in the past few years and
hopes that the remains will be of one of those individuals,
so they can close the case.
"I have the remains in Fort Stockton, but will take them to
a forensic anthropologist in Denton next week," said
The Ranger stated that the process will be a long one and
the results will take awhile to be assessed and sent back.
"The vehicle of one individual who was reported missing was
found in that area," said Reeves County Sheriff. "At this
time, we don't know whose remains were found, though, so we
can't really say."
Gomez said the remains were found about 2½ miles from where
an abandoned vehicle was found in May of last year.
Julio Cesar Cantu, 24, was reported missing on May 21,
1997, in San Juan, Tx. His vehicle was found in Reeves
County the afternoon of May 31.
"It's in the same vicinity of where we found this vehicle
last year," said Villalobos.
The vehicle, a 1991 Ford Ranger, was discovered 25 miles
north of Pecos on U.S. 285, and about five miles east on
county road 428, according to Urias.
Ranch workers tending to some cattle in that area discovered
the vehicle and reported it to the sheriff's department.
Investigating officials found a dead dog inside the truck on
the passenger side.
The animal had tried to claw his way out of the sun-heated
vehicle, according to the sheriff's report.
At that time, a horseback search within a five-mile radius
of the pickup was conducted along with a plane search over a
15-mile radius. Reeves County Sheriff's Posse conducted the
ground search, according to the report.
New state law threatens fire chief's appointment
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
When does a volunteer fireman become a paid professional?
That is a question facing the Pecos City Council on Monday
as it considers appointment of a fire chief elected by
popular vote of the 38-man Pecos Volunteer Fire Department.
Roy Pena, a seven-year veteran in the department, was chosen
in the annual election on Nov. 5. If approved by the
council, he would replace Jack Brookshire, who has held the
position for the past year.
However, new standards for certification, which took effect
five days before the election, may disqualify Pena for the
position of fire chief, for which the city pays $9,600 per
year in addition to the per-fire stipend and training
courses provided all volunteers.
Volunteers, the Texas Commission on Fire Protection has
decided, may be paid no more than $10,612 per year in total
compensation, reimbursement and benefits. That is equal to
2,080 hours at the federal minimum wage, now $5.15 per hour.
If Pena's total compensation exceeds $10,612, then he would
be considered a paid fireman.
Certification for paid firemen -- called fire protection
personnel -- is stricter than for volunteers, the Texas
Legislature has ruled.
Volunteers are certified by the Texas State Fireman's and
Fire Marshal's Assn., while the Texas Commission on Fire
Protection sets standards for certification of paid
Pena has the hours for basic certification as a volunteer.
But to be a paid chief, he would need one discipline, such
as arson investigation, structural fires or basic
certification by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection,
said David Elliott, training officer.
Jack Brookshire, the current chief, is the only member of
the department who holds such certification, Elliott said.
State law provides:
"A fire department may not appoint a person to the (paid)
fire department, except on a temporary or probationary
basis, unless the person:
(1) has satisfactorily completed a preparatory program of
training in fire protection at a school approved by the
(2) meets the qualifications established by the
"A local government may appoint a person to the position of
head of the fire department, though the person is not
certified by the commission as fire protection personnel, if
the person either has at least 10 years' experience as a
volunteer fire fighter or may be eligible to become
certified...The appointment is on a temporary basis pending
certification of the person as fire protection personnel by
Anyone who appoints an unqualified person or who accepts an
appointment in violation of these statutes may be fined up
Pena, 54, said he has 500 hours of training, including two
trips to Texas A&M fire-fighting schools. He served as
second assistant chief for the past year and was in charge
of fighting two or three fires when the chief and first
assistant chief were absent.
He works for Reeves County in the maintenance department,
with 10 years at the sheriff's office and "now all over the
Brookshire is building inspector and fire marshal for the
City Councilman Johnny Terrazas said he is opposed to having
a paid fire department, and he believes the volunteers
should elect their own chief.
The council asked the fire department to submit Pena's
qualifications so they can determine whether he can lawfully
serve. City Attorney Scott Johnson has researched the law
and is to report to the council Monday.
He said the chief position as it now exists requires basic
certification by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
Along with the fire chief's position, council will consider,
in their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, an engineering
agreement with Frank Spencer on water line replacement;
award a bid for 1997 sanitary sewer improvements; hear a
request from Toyah for a retired 1976 fire truck; amend
curfew hours; consider a request from Pecos Housing
Authority that payment in lieu of taxes be waived for
1997-98-99; and in closed session consider the fire chief
Late additions to the agenda include a request from Girl
Scouts regarding building improvements, resolution
supporting expansion of the AMTRAK Texas Eagle line, which
would include direct service through West Texas from Fort
Worth to El Paso; acquisition of water field pipeline
easements and monthly reports from Municipal Court and tax
Crews reopen I-20's eastbound lanes
By ROSIE FLORES
Traffic started flowing eastbound along Interstate 20
through Toyah about 10 a.m. today for the first time in a
week, and business owners were hoping to have their hands
full with returning customers.
"The outside lane will be used for awhile until they open
both of them up," said Glen Larum, Texas Department of
Transportation's Public Relations Director for the Odessa
TxDOT Transportation officials were forced to close down the
main lanes of I-20, just east of the junction with
Interstate 10 about 1:30 a.m. last Thursday after newly-laid
asphalt and rock failed to adhere to the road correctly and
pulled off the highway's roadbed by passing trucks, then was
thrown into the path of trailing vehicles.
However, the service road could not stand up to the higher
volume of traffic, and it was closed at midday last Friday,
forcing eastbound drivers into a 25-mile detour along I-10
and State Highway 17 through Saragosa.
The detour bypassed Toyah, and several business owners
expressed their dissatisfaction about the inconvenience and
stated that the loss of revenue coming in Toyah throughout
the week really hurt them.
Crews from Gilbert-Texas Construction of Fort Worth and the
Texas Department of Transportation employees worked late
last night to get the highway open this morning.
The crews used big lamps to see in the dark and worked later
than usual Thursday to get the problem corrected, according
to TxDOT area engineer Doug Eichorst.
The interstate has been under construction in western Reeves
County since early October. Fort Worth-based Glibert, Texas
Construction had one lane open in both directions until
early last Thursday, when the main lanes of I-20 were closed
eastbound between mile markers 3 and 10. Cold
weather-related problems while resurfacing the highway
caused rocks and strips of new asphalt to be picked up by
The rocks and asphalt were carried in the truck tires for up
to 30 miles, before being thrown free and into the path of
any trailing vehicles. Local law enforcement authorities
were called out after damage was reported to a number of
vehicles, and TxDOT closed the road a short time later. One
westbound lane remained open during the time the repairs
were being done on the eastbound lanes.
Patterson honored at cowboy symposium
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Paul Patterson received the Founders' Award at the National
Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock last month.
Renown Western author Elmer Kelton of San Angelo presented
the award to his former professor and "cowboy compadre" on
the Jigger Y ranch where Kelton's father was boss.
Dale Robertson, who starred in many cowboy movies, also
received an award.
Patterson, approaching his 90th birthday, "reluctantly," he
says, still attends and participates in writing symposiums,
but has cut his itinerary down to Lubbock and Alpine.
"As regards writing, I limit my work to letters to editors,"
Patterson said. "Sometimes the letters are irate, to which I
sometimes receive irate answers."
His last published work was Vol. VI of "A Pecos
River Pilgrim's Poems," but he has a full-length
Western slated for release next spring. Entitled
"Backfire Trail," the book is set in the Big
Bend in the 1880s.
"Though five deadly enemies are out to kill him, our hero,
Dow Brister, shoots only one from a distance---a long
distance," Patterson said of the plot.
"After all, the kid is only 16 years old. On all the others
he uses stealth, cunning and guile, tricks his father's
partner, old One Fuentes, taught him in survival school.
"As regards romance, it comes late in the book and light
even if the kid is now 17. Not only so, but it does not come
about until midway of the book," Patterson said.
"But not to worry, Elmer Kelton did not introduce s-e-x
until page 89 in "The Time It Never Rained" (mere innuendo),
and the book is considered by New York critics as `One among
the best dozen or two books written in this century by an
"Furthermore, 100 Western writers voted Elmer Kelton above
all writers of all time, which includes Zane Grey, Louis
Lamour and Larry McMurtry," Patterson said.
Of "Backfire Trail," Patterson said his niece, Julie Larson
of Midland rates it higher than all Westerns, except
"Of course this could be bias," he adds with a wry grin.
Indictments returned by district court grand jury
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Reeves County grand jurors on Thursday returned 10
indictments charging heroin, cocaine or marijuana possession.
Leon Guillermo Jaquez, 32, and Irma Celeste Brito, 33, are
charged with possession of over 50 pounds of marijuana on
Sept. 27. Their bail is $25,000 each.
Jesus Gochicoa, 51, Frank Rico Jr., 36, Arturo Gallegos, 27,
and Ann Louisa Barreno, 36, are charged with possession of
heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, Pecos Head Start, on
Rico is also charged with possession of heroin within 1,000
feet of Bessie Haynes Elementary School on Oct. 1. Bail on
each count is $25,000.
Daniel Fuentez, 48, is charged with possession of heroin on
Oct. 7. His bail is $15,000.
Norma Barrera Avila, 32, is charged with possession of
heroin on Oct. 13. Her bail is $15,000.
Concepcion Teofilo Garcia is charged with possession of
heroin on Oct. 15. His bail is $15,000.
Charged with possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of
Balmorhea ISD on Sept. 29 are Manuel Rayos, 39, Keyon Roman,
18, and Sylvia Roman, 37. Their bail is $25,000 each.
Manuel Chavez Lopez, 51, is charged with possession of
cocaine on Sept. 24.
Grace Gurule, 27, and Norman Gurule, 30, are charged with
possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of Bessie Haynes
Elementary School on Sept. 18.
Unemployment declined during October
Overall unemployment rates in the Permian Basin showed a
slight improvement last month, with Reeves County reporting
a one-percent drop in its jobless rate after a sharp jump
over the past three months.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the jobless
rate in October was 12.4 percent in Reeves County, down from
September's revised figure of 13.5 percent. TWC initially
reported September rate at 13.1 percent for the county.
An increase in the local labor force over last year is the
main cause of the jump in unemployment during the past 12
months. TWC reported the county added 48 jobs in October,
brining the total to just over 6,000, while the local labor
force dropped by two, to 6,858 last month.
Last October, TWC said Reeves County had 104 fewer jobs, but
the labor force was put at only 6,346 workers, which gave
the county an unemployment rate of only 7 percent.
Most other area counties also have seen their jobless rates
rise during the past year, which the TWC blames in part on
declining oil prices, which has affected the Permian Basin's
oil exploration industry. Rates that ranged in the 3 to 5
percent range for the area's larger counties in 1997 have
risen to the 7 to 10 percent range this year.
Midland County has seen less of an increase, with it's rate
rising from 3.6 percent to just 4.5 percent. Neighboring
Odessa has seen its jobless rate jump from 5 to 7.3 percent,
while Ward County's rate is up from 5.8 to 9.9 percent and
Crane County from 3.5 to 9 percent.
Most counties also showed a slight decline in their jobless
rates during the past month. The biggest decrease came in
the county with the highest unemployment level, Presidio
County, where an increase of nearly 200 jobs helped lower
it's rate from 34.7 percent in September to 29.2 percent
last month. That's still higher than the county's 26.3
percent jobless rate of a year ago, according to the TWC.
Court to discuss industrial commission
Reeves County Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday
to discuss the establishment of the Reeves County Industrial
The group will discuss a Bureau of Prisons Intergovernmental
agreement and Statement of Work Contract modifications.
In other business commissioners will discuss appointing a
representative to the Reeves County Tax Appraisal Board and
award bids for auto liability/physical damage coverage.
Other items on the agenda include:
* Discuss/take action on deputation of Reserve deputy for
the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.
* Discuss/take action on Chamber of Commerce/civic center
* Discuss/take action on asbestos class action settlement.
* Discuss/take action on reports from various departments.
* Discuss/take action on budget amendments and line-item
* Discuss/take action on budget amendments and line-item
* Discuss/take action on personnel and salary changes (RCDC,
sheriff's office, JDC, county clerk).
* Discuss/take action on minutes from previous meetings.
* Discuss/take action on semi-monthly bills.
* Spread on the minutes: Notice of over-axle over-gross
weight permit and continuing education certificate for
Board sets first meeting for Monday
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Newly-elected directors for the Pecos Economic Development
Corporation, Inc. will hold an orientation meeting at 6:30
p.m. Monday in the second-floor break room of the Security
Gari Ward, president, said the public meeting will "bring
them up to speed" as to what is planned for the future.
"I have a list of strategies for the balance of 1998-99,"
Ward said this morning as he worked on an agenda for the
No action will be taken by the board, which does not become
official until articles of incorporation are returned from
the state, Ward said.
Directors appointed Wednesday by the Pecos City Council are
Frank Spencer, Pauline Moore, Mike Burkholder, David
Dutchover and Oscar Saenz. Alternates are Bob Curry, Gilbert
Abila and Trey Miller.
High Thursday 81, low last night 43. Tonight, mostly cloudy.
Low in the mid 30s. East wind 5-10 mph. Saturday, mostly
cloudy. High 60-65. Southeast to south wind 5-15 mph.
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