Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, January 5, 1999
Contract signed for new rec department
By JON FULBRIGHT
Representatives from Reeves County, the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent
School District and the Town of Pecos City signed a contract on Thursday
to fund a new community sports recreation program and create a new community
The one-year agreement, which was signed by Reeves County Judge Jimmy
Galindo, Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford and P-B-T school board president Earl
Bates, will put the new department under the control of the county, while
using facilities at the old Pecos High School gym.
"I'm very excited about this. This is the first time the three entities
have gotten together for such a project," said Galindo, who first proposed
the project two years ago.
The program will be the first for Pecos since the dissolution of the
old Pecos Community Recreation Department in 1994. The PCRD closed after
its former facility at the West Pecos Gym was condemned in December of
1990 to due concerns over the safety of the building's wooden rafters.
No repairs were made at the time, and when the current project was brought
up, the school board decided fixing up the old gym was not economically
The old gym was used for basketball and volleyball leagues, and had
a weight room and racquetball courts. There have been no youth and adult
volleyball and basketball leagues since the closing of the facility, although
PCRD continued to operate outdoor softball, T-ball and flag football leagues
for several years after the gym was shut down.
Reeves County will provide a proportional share of the funding for the
department, not to exceed $85,000, and will fund the building of two racquetball
courts in the old gym's small side gym, and spend an additional $20,000
for painting and minor repairs to the 38-year-old building.
Those improvements would become property of the school district, while
fitness equipment purchased for the gym would remain property of Reeves
County. Galindo said they are also looking to set up weightlifting equipment
in a not-yet determined area of the gym.
"Beyond that, as regards to the racquetball courts, I'm meeting with
the architect for construction today to discuss the status of the work
and when we can bid out the work," Galindo said, adding any work on the
old gym will have to be approved by the P-B-T school board.
The city will put in up to $20,000 to operate the program, and will
work with the county to develop recreation facilities away from school
property, such as the ballparks at Maxey Park, for community recreation
department use. Any project must be approved by the city council, under
terms of the contract.
Reeves County is already seeking applications for a community recreation
department director, and the agreement provides for the creation of a Community
Sports and Recreation Advisory board, similar to the board that oversaw
at old PCRD's operations. It will consist of the presiding officer for
the county, city and school board, along with two appointees from each
group, and will hold quarterly meeting.
"The board held an informal meeting last week to discuss what we expect
from the recreation program," Galindo said. "After we hire a director we
would like to start this Spring on three programs. An aerobics program
and walking program, T-ball and softball programs and a soccer program.
"The aerobics certainly would be in line with the employee wellness
aspects (under which the proposal was first made), and then in late February
we would like to get the soccer program going and then have the T-ball
and softball in Spring play," he said.
Rains in `98 hit 15-year low
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Dry as a desert.
That describes Pecos in 1998, when 6.77 inches of moisture fell. The
below normal total was recorded despite one of the wettest snows in recent
history, when 8.5 inches accumulated over two days and left .80 inch of
It's been 15 years since the rainfall total was less than 7 inches.
In 1983, the National Weather Service recorded 6.11 inches, and 2.73 inches
of that fell in October.
In 1977, only 4.92 inches was recorded, less than half the average of
about 10 inches.
High temperatures coupled with the lack of moisture hampered farmers
and ranchers, making both animals and humans miserable. Mercury climbed
past 100 in May and pretty much stayed there through June, July and August.
September remained hot, with a 79 the lowest high temperature recorded.
Three days hit 89, and all the others were 90 and above.
October came, then November, then December, and still no relief until
the first killing freeze on Dec. 8. Snow began to fall on Dec. 10, Even
then, the daytime high temperature hovered around 40 degrees, falling to
a low of 19 on Dec. 12.
January, 1999, started out foggy and cold, with the high of 70 dropping
to 33 overnight. Saturday was pleasant until another cold front hit, dropping
temperatures to 49 degrees for the high and 22 overnight. Sunday's high
was 40, with the mercury plunging to 16 early this morning.
No moisture has been recorded so far this year.
Bunton told pot smuggled to aid families
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Six young Mexican citizens who were caught backpacking 281 pounds of
marijuana into the United States told Senior Judge Lucius Bunton this morning
that they did it to support their families.
"I just want to be forgiven for everything, for coming to the United
States," said Omar Baeza-Islas, 27. "I will never come back. I have family
in Mexico; three daughters and a son."
Baeza said he works as a laborer, and his wife also works to help pay
the rent, but it is not enough.
Anastacio Saenz-Ortega said that he has paid rent all his married life,
and he planned to use the $1,080 he would earn backpacking marijuana to
build his own house.
Conrado Valles-Soto, Eleazar Olivas-Mendoza and Jesus Armando Tarango-Ortega
told similar stories, and all asked for the court's forgiveness.
Their attorneys, Robert Garcia, Eva-Marie Leahey, H.W. Leverett and
Robert Sykes, sought a lesser sentence for their minor role in the drug
transaction and for their poverty.
Judge Bunton agreed that they qualify under the sentencing guidelines'
"safety valve" because of their poverty, and that they played a minor role
in the transaction, sentencing each to 30 months in prison.
Jose Armando Quintana-Armendariz, 22, of Mexico, represented by Brian
Chavez, was sentenced separately.
"He's sorry for what he did," Chavez said. "He was just in a bad economic
situation and was doing this to support his family. Bunton also sentenced
him to 30 months in prison.
Each pleaded guilty on Monday and asked for immediate sentencing.
Hector Leroy, 25, of El Paso, was sentenced to 24 months in prison,
with the recommendation he be sent to a boot camp, at his request.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute
47.66 pounds of marijuana, but claimed a minor role. His co-defendant is
Raul Rodriguez, 42, of Odessa.
Leroy said he has served in the military, and he believes boot camp
will allow him to "get back the essential values I lost since I left the
"As a father I will do whatever possible I can do to get back to my
family," he said. "I have one son. He is still young. I believe I can still
be his teacher; his hero...a good husband to my wife...they are the victims
of my crime."
His public defender, Kurt Mayer, asked for a correction in the guidelines
to reflect the marijuana was less than 20 kilograms, which lowered the
sentencing guidelines to 21-27 months.
Judge Bunton had five additional sentencings on this morning's docket,
left over from Monday. At docket call Monday morning, the popular judge
said court would recess at 6:45 p.m. "for the Tostitos (Fiesta) Bowl,"
finished or not.
He accepted 20 pleas on Monday, presided for jury selection in three
cases, sentenced 11 defendants and heard one probation revocation case.
Firemen called out twice to shed blaze
By ROSIE FLORES
A structure fire north of Barstow kept Pecos firefighters busy last
Firefighters were called out to the scene at 7:06 p.m., on Farm Road
516, north of Barstow in reference to a structure fire.
"Apparently someone had been burning some grass in that area and there
was grass up underneath the storage shed," said Town of Pecos City Fire
Marshal Jack Brookshire.
Brookshire said that the grass underneath the structure started smoldering
and eventually ignited. "The owner, Danny Renteria, went to bed and was
later awakened by a neighbor telling him his storage shed was on fire,"
Firefighters were called again at 10:30 p.m. after the fire re-started
at the same storage shed. "The fire was then immediately put out and firefighters
made sure it wouldn't happen again," said Brookshire. Pecos volunteer ambulance
attendants were also called out to the site at that time.
Autopsy ordered on man found dead
By ROSIE FLORES
Pecos ambulance attendants were called out the Bell Motel yesterday
at noon, after an elderly man was discovered non-responsive in his apartment.
The 69-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene at lunch-time yesterday
and an autopsy has been ordered, according to police reports.
"It appears the man died of an illness, but an autopsy was ordered,"
said Pecos Police Investigator Kelly Davis. "The manager of the motel found
him and called for an ambulance right away," he said.
The name of the deceased has not been released, pending notification
of next of kin.
Pablo "Cobre" Franco, 62, of Bakersfield, Calif., died Sunday, Dec. 3,
1998 in Bakersfield.
Services will be held Wednesday, Jan. 6, in Bakersfield, Calif.
He was born June 22, 1935 in Barstow.
He was preceded in death by one son, Pablo Franco, Jr.
Survivors include his mother Gomicinda Cano of Bakersfield, Calif.;
three daughters, Diane Armendariz of Pecos, Susie Lujan of Pecos, Minnie
Madrid of California; one son, Richard Franco of Pecos; six sisters, Trine
Garcia of Pecos, Elia Florez and Lupe Macias of Barstow, Rosa Franco, Erminia
Juarez and Gomicinda Franco of Bakersfield, Calif.; four brothers, Joe
Holguin and Melky Holguin of Bakersfield, Calif., Julian Franco of Virginia
Beach, Virginia and Elias Franco of Monahans.
High Monday 50; low last night 20. Tonight, mostly clear. Low 30-35. West
wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, mostly sunny. High around 70. West wind 10-20
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise