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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Heath agency changed OKed by RCH board

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- Lengthy reports extended the meeting time for the Reeves County Hospital District board of directors on Tuesday, and all recommendations were approved.

A new organizational structure for the home health agency was approved, along with operating policies and procedures.

Several physicians who no longer work in the emergency room were removed from the medical staff, and two radiologists were approved for consulting services.

The board approved amendments to the medical staff by-laws regarding delinquent records and on-call response time.

A request for tax abatement on property along I-20 where a new building is proposed for lease to the federal government was tabled.

Board President Jeannette Alligood said that financial reports show the hospital to be in good shape, and money is in the bank to pay the bills as listed and approved.

An informational report on the Social Security survey prepared the board and staff for the upcoming re-certification survey, which is made every three years.

RCH opts out of lawsuit over mineral valuations

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- Reeves County Hospital District is not interested in suing oil companies that pay taxes in Reeves County, said Charles Butts, chief executive officer.

The district was listed as a plaintiff, along with Loving County and school districts in Kermit, Wink, Fort Stockton and Pecos, against 15 oil companies whose mineral properties are believed to be undervalued by appraisal districts.

Butts said that when the law firm that filed the suit in 109th District Court in Kermit contacted him by letter about joining the suit, he thought it pertained to some land the hospital district owns mineral rights to.

"When we found out what it was about, we opted out," he said.

The suit accuses the oil companies of selling oil and gas at a low price to one of their own subsidiaries to artificially lower the amount they would be taxed on. The subsidiaries then sold the oil and gas at a higher price, the suit alleges.

Representatives of the oil companies have been meeting with taxing entities to explain their position, and several have opted out, including the Crane ISD.

Russell McInturff, a representative of Linebarger, Heard, Groggan, Blair, Graham, Pena and Sampson, LLP, told the Crane ISD board that the oil companies' action was discovered when royalty owners learned they may have been underpaid, based on the lower selling price.

A representative of the Texas Oil and Gas Association said that appraisal districts using projected oil prices, and not the oil companies, are responsible for errors in undervaluation of mineral interests.

"I don't think anyone knew what it was all about," Butts said this morning. "I am not sure what the attorney group are doing. The hospital is not interested in suing oil companies that pay the taxes in Reeves County. We would like for them to drill more wells out here, and if we sue them, they may not do it."

Butts said he believes the oil companies will pay additional taxes if they discover they owe them.

Chevron representative Richard Burchfield told the Fort Stockton ISD board of trustees that Pecos County and Iraan-Sheffield ISD were not a part of the suit, and that the school district alone would be responsible for any litigation costs.

The board set a special meeting for next week to hear more from the oil companies and attorneys.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD trustees will also hear from oil companies in a special meeting April 6. Board president Earl Bates said he is not sure if the meeting will be open to the public.

Trustee Steve Armstrong said the meeting would be closed because it pertains to litigation.

Plaintiffs with P-B-T are Kermit ISD, Wink-Loving ISD, Loving County and Fort Stockton ISD.

Bonilla visiting Pecos to open office

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla will be in Pecos on Thursday to announce plans to open a part-time office here to better serve this community and the surrounding area, press spokeswoman Susan Phalen said Tuesday.

At the same time, the congressman also announced that the comment period on low-level bomber flights _ one of the main issues concerning ranchers in the western part of his 23rd Congressional District Ï has been extended from 45 to 90 days by the U.S. Air Force.

Bonilla (R-San Antonio) will hold a community event in Pecos, from 11 a.m. until noon Thursday. At the meeting, Bonilla will announce the opening of his new part-time district office, and will introduce Tony Carrillo, Bonilla's constituent liaison based in Midland.

Carrillo will come to Pecos for several days, four times a year to handle casework and serve as Bonilla's constituent liaison for the area. He will handle requests for information, and will work with constituents on a variety of issues including: social security, VA concerns, immigration, information on obtaining a passport, agricultural concerns, etc.

Along with that announcement, the congressman also plans to give an update on a variety of issues from a federal perspective, and will answer questions from community members.

The topic of low level flights by both U.S. and German Air Force jets over West Texas will be the subject of a hearing on April 9 in Pecos, three weeks after the comment period on the Air Force's Environmental Impact Statement opened on March 19.

The comment period originally was scheduled to run for only 45 days, but Bonilla said after requesting an extension from Air Force Chief of Staff Michael E. Ryan, the period for the public to comment on the plan has been extended another 45 days, to June 16.

"It is important that West Texans have ample time to voice their concerns over the Air Force's RTBI (Realistic Bomber Training Initiative) program," Bonilla said is a statement. "We must do everything we can to make sure the rights of private property owners are protected and their concerns are heard."

Bonilla was first elected to Congress in 1992, and was re-elected to a fourth two-year term this past November. His Pecos office will be based in the Reeves County courthouse where Judge Jimmy Galindo has offered office space.

Carrillo will open the Bonilla office in Pecos on Monday, April 19 and will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 19 and April 20.

Local lowrider gets regional recognition

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- A Pecos resident's 1964 Chevrolet Impala will be featured in the April issue of a popular car magazine.

Ben Sanchez' car is featured in a full page of Orlie's Lowriding magazine, which is distributed in Oregon, Washington, Texas and California.

"It's a great honor, I didn't realize they were actually going to use the pictures I sent in," said Sanchez.

He said he sent the magazine a couple of pictures of his "oldie" car, which he has owned for seven years, along with a note saying that he would appreciate their consideration in using at least one of the photos.

"They didn't even call me to let me know they were going to use it, I was really surprised," he said.

Sanchez said that he buys the magazine regularly and when he opened up April's issue was astonished to find his Chevy featured on page 12 of the magazine.

"This was just three months ago that I sent them the pictures and note," he added.

Even though Sanchez doesn't participate in any low-rider car shows, this past February he took his classic car cruising. "In the first week of February I took it cruising in different parts of Texas," said Sanchez.

Sanchez "cruised" in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, Dallas, Abilene and Fort Worth. "Everywhere I went I got the thumbs up and a lot of compliments," said Sanchez. "I put in about 1,600 miles and it never gave me any trouble," he said.

Sanchez said that people would ask him about his car and whether he showed it any shows and how long he had had it. "They asked me where I was from and I told them, `from Pecos, home of the world's first rodeo,'" said Sanchez.

Site submission deadline for new Post Office nears

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- Friday is the deadline to submit proposals for the new Pecos Post Office, and one group of downtown property owners hope their site is selected.

Mike Harrison, owner of the Pecos Furniture Company buildings in the 300 block of South Oak Street, said that he and other owners have offered to sell at the appraised price.

Tony's Carpets is using the old Pecos Furniture building, and the Back Door T-Shirt Shop has an active business down the street. Dale and Sue Toone own the vacant First National Bank building on the northwest corner.

The empty lot where the Pecos Trade Center burned to the ground several years ago is now owned by West Texas Gas, who also owns the vacant service station building on the southeast corner of the block.

"We have all signed a contract with Steve Armstrong to work out the proposal," said Harrison.

He said the buildings would all be torn down and a new post office erected on the block if it is the chosen site.

Pecos City Council last week approved a letter of intent to close the alley on that block in the event it is chosen.

Postal officials have made Third Street the northern boundary of their preferred location, but Harrison said the block qualifies because it is contiguous with Third Street.

Postal officials said in January the current 64-year-old building at Fourth and Oak streets does not have enough parking to meet customer needs, and as a result, are seeking a full block site for the new facility. Third Street is the northern boundary of the preferred area, which is bounded by Walthall and 14th streets on the south, and by Eddy Street on the west and Cedar Street on the east.

TxDOT engineer's memorial service set

PECOS, March 31, 1999 -- A memorial service for Texas Department of Transportation District Engineer Jose E. Morales will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Mid-Cities Community Church on State Highway 191 between Midland and Odessa.

Morales, 44, supervised state highway construction and maintenance activities for TxDOT's Odessa District - an 18,000 square mile, 12-county area that included Ector and Midland counties. He died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 23 while playing basketball after work with co-workers.

Funeral services were held Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Del Rio, with burial at Del Rio Memorial Park.

He is survived by his wife, Marivel, and one son, Jose Eliseo, 5, of Midland; father and mother, Jose and Rafaela Morales of San Antonio; two sisters, Maria Elena Morales of Laredo and Minerva Vasquez of San Antonio; and two brothers, Rolando and Jesus, both of San Antonio.

Abilene police name suspect in murders

By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer
ABILENE A woman's refusal to help conceal her boyfriend's criminal activity may have led to a massacre in which four people were shot at close range, police said.

"Why?" asked the mother of one victim, choking as she tried to hold back tears. "It doesn't help to know why when it doesn't make any sense," said Juanita Valdez.

Her pregnant 21-year-old daughter, Penny Estrada, was one of the quartet gunned down Monday evening. Police accuse Arthur Goodman, 19, in the rampage.

Police and state troopers were looking for Goodman, who was charged Tuesday with capital murder. They also want to question Goodman's 16-year-old brother, who might have been with him when the shooting occurred.

Police said both could be in Fort Worth.

The motives behind the shootings began to unravel Tuesday as police questioned friends who seemed to know that violence was brewing.

Goodman may have killed his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sandy Witt, in her apartment because she wouldn't give a false alibi for him in connection with at least one crime of which he was suspected, or because she was planning to go to police with details, police said.

The other three women slain Naomi Martinez, 23; Erica Arispe, 21; and Ms. Estrada were "in the wrong place at the wrong time," police said.

"Given what the motive seems to be, four people did not need to die," said Detective Jay Hatcher. "One person was too many."

A maintenance man, Larry Hammond, 36, was shot in the abdomen and was in critical condition Tuesday night at Hendrick Medical Center. Hammond was running to Ms. Witt's apartment to investigate the commotion.

Officers also suspect Goodman in the Sunday night shooting of 16-year-old Jimmy Estrada at his home, but police wouldn't say if that was among the crimes to which a possible motive might be linked. Authorities said Estrada is not related to victim Penny Estrada.

Mrs. Valdez was one of dozens of relatives and friends who visited the duplex Tuesday to pray, leave flowers or poetry and light candles in memory of the victims.

"It didn't help him (Goodman) do what he wanted to do," she said. "Now they're just going to catch him and kill him. It just doesn't make any sense."

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-13-16-29-36. Number matching five of five: 3. Prize per winner: $29,847. Winning tickets sold in: Dallas, Lake Dallas, Magnolia. Matching four of five: 236. Prize: $569.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-7-3 (one, seven, three)

Corrections

Miguel Machuca-Barrera, 19, of 501 N. Alamo St., was indicted by the federal grand jury Thursday for possession of 43.58 pounds of marijuana on March 21. A story in Friday's Enterprise incorrectly listed the address as 501 S. Alamo.

***

On February 23, 1999, the Enterprise reported that funeral services for Ms. Wilma Buchanan were to be held at 11 a.m. The correct time was 10 a.m. As publisher, the ultimate responsibility for mistakes is mine. As such, I would like to extend my apology to family and friends of Ms. Buchanan.

Sincerely,
Smokey Briggs

Obituary

LaVaughn Wicker

Former Pecos resident LaVaughn Wicker, 82, died Monday, March 29, 1999, in Rocksprings. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in First Baptist Church, Rocksprings, with burial in Rocksprings Cemetery, directed by Nelson Funeral Homes.

He was born August 18, 1916 in Hall Valley. While in Pecos, he was employed by the Pecos Men's Shop. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Rocksprings.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Wicker of Rocksprings; two daughters, Jennifer Wicker Callison of Rocksprings and Cynthia Cyd Wicker of Minneapolis, Minn.; one son, Garet Wicker of Blaine, Minnesota; and five grandchildren.

Weather

High Tuesday 73; low last night 43. Tonight, fair. Low near 55. South to southeast wind 10-20 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy and breezy. High 80-85. South to southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty.



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Pecos Enterprise
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
e-mail news@pecos.net

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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise