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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 5, 1999

Contract signed for new rec department

Staff Writer
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 recreation department.

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 feasible

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

Staff Writer
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 moisture.

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

Staff Writer
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 military."

"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

Staff Writer
A structure fire north of Barstow kept Pecos firefighters busy last evening.

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," Brookshire added.

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

Staff Writer
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 Franco

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 mph.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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