Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, April 16, 1999
School OKs removal of gym fire debris
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- Debris from the Old West Pecos Gym that burned
recently was declared as no longer of any use to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD and has no appreciable value at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
board meeting held last evening.
The board also authorized disposal of the debris and awarded the job
to the Roy Lindsay Construction Company of Pecos.
The district received two proposals, both from Pecos companies, one
from Dirtmasters, in the amount of $5,600 and from Roy Lindsay Company
"The first proposal from Dirtmasters was for $5,600, but after he went
out there and looked it over he decided it would be a little bit more,
making the Linsday offer lower," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love.
He said both are fine people in the community and that both have done
work for the district before. "But now the Lindsay Company's proposal is
lower, since the Dirtsmaster's proposal went up to $7,000," said Love.
The job will require that the lot be cleared off completely, according
He said that Johnny Terrazas had suggested saving the bricks that didn't
burn for the athletic booster club to sell as a fundraiser. "We can ask
the Lindsay company to set aside those bricks for Mr. Terrazas," said Love,
who told the group that the building had not been insured since 1992, but
that he couldn't find anything about it being considered condemned.
"We did go through that building last year and we decided that it wasn't
really safe and it would cost too much to repair it and make it usable
again," said Love.
The insurance adjuster did take a look at the debris, but the district
wouldn't get anything out of it since it wasn't insured.
City and state fire marshals investigated the cause of the April 5 blaze,
but Love said, "They haven't been able to say what caused the fire."
In other business, the school board discussed replacing the track at
the Pecos High School, which will cost between $180,000 to $200,000 a year.
"I received an interlocal agreement and met with the city attorney about
possibly replacing this track with both the city's and the county's help,"
The superintendent said under the proposal the county and city would
provide in-kind services, with the school providing about $40,000 for the
topping on the track. "I don't know if the school is ready at this time
to take on this project, but it's something we have to look at and something
I've been wanting to do for a while," said Love.
A long discussion followed with Town of Pecos City Council representative
Ricky Herrera present for the discussion.
"This was brought up at city council and we voted to try to help with
this project," said Herrera.
"I know that it does need to be replaced and that if we do replace it,
we need to keep everything off of it," said Love. "I've heard that in the
afternoons you can see everything from skateboards to bikes on the track,
which ruins it."
The track was last resurfaced in 1983, and water running off the football
field has caused the inner lane of the track to collapse in some sections.
"Other schools boycotted Pecos as a place to have track meets because
we don't have an all-weather track," according to board president Earl
Bates. "We need to get together as entities and find out who's going to
This year for the first time no junior high track meet was held in Pecos.
Herrera told the group that the city has made a commitment to this project
and that city council members have talked to Utilities Director Octavio
Garcia. "He said he was willing to give his all to this project," said
"If we could get a breakdown as to how much this would cut into the
$180,000, if we were to provide all the manpower," he added.
"Octavio assured us that he cold get together and do a good job," said
PHS Principal and city council representative Danny Rodriguez.
Bates made a motion that a committee be formed with representatives
from all the entities to see what direction they need to go in to accomplish
Board member Louis Matta said that he was worried that the board was
not getting their priorities straight. "I think we need to look at other
things, such as teacher's salaries," said Matta.
"If it comes down to priorities, my number one priority is to take care
of our teaching staff," said Matta. "If we put funds into repairs instead
of it going to personnel, they might resent us for not thinking of them."
Matta said that he didn't want to see this particular subject talked
to death. "If we're going to do it, let's do it, not just talk about it,"
Matta said. "But if the money's not there, it just isn't there and let's
He added that the upkeep on a new all-weather track would be very expensive
each year and would mean more money from the district. "It's very expensive
to keep it soft and looking new," said Matta. "We would have to be very
careful to not have anything at all on it."
Love told the group that the track is currently being used by the new
recreation department, housed at the Pecos High School Old Gym.
Walking and jogging are currently activities being sponsored by the
recreation department. "These people are now using the track, but it's
not very comfortable," he said.
The $40,000 would go into providing resin, glue and all the materials
that form the four-inch layer, according to Love. "If they (the city and
county) would tear it up and do all the work, it might be something we
can do," he said.
"It still might cost $80,000 every year to keep up with it," said Matta.
Board members agreed with Bates and decided to form a committee to pursue
County plans courthouse events next week
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- County Government Week will be celebrated
the week of April 19-24 and Reeves County will be observing the occasion
in a big way.
"This is something we want to do for the community to let them know
what county government is all about, what it entails and all the services
that the county provides," said Reeves County Commissioner for Precinct
3 Herman Tarin.
The Reeves County Courthouse will feature an "Open House" on Wednesday,
April 21 throughout the day.
"We want to emphasize that in today's public schools we find the leaders
of tomorrow," said Tarin. "We want to use the school to courthouse approach."
A couple of "mock" commissioners court on the third floor of the Reeves
Doug Meiner's government class from Balmorhea will be at the commissioners
court meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and Joan Capshaw's government class
from Pecos High School will be at the meeting at 1 p.m.
"We're going to let the students pretend they are the judge and commissioners
and see what the county government does," said Tarin.
Other school classes are welcome to come tour the courthouse and attend
the "mock" commissioners court meetings.
Video tapes will be shown in the lobby of the courthouse, titled, "The
Glue That Holds Texas Together," which explains how the different offices
A barbecue luncheon will be set up outside the courthouse and open to
the public and will feature barbecue sandwiches, cookies and drinks and
Elected officials will be on hand to answer questions and assist in
any way, according to Tarin.
The event is sponsored by all the public officials and is of no cost
to the county. "This is a cooperative effort by all the officials and is
not costing the county anything, it's just something we want to do for
the community," said Tarin.
A mariachi group will provide the music during the barbecue luncheon.
Everyone is invited to come to the courthouse for the special tour,
barbecue and "mock" meetings.
County shows job gain, drop in unemployment
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- Unemployment rates in the Permian Basin dropped
from their near-record highs in February, with an increase in the number
of people without jobs in Reeves County last month offset by the addition
of over 100 new jobs within the county during March.
According to figures released Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission,
Reeves County's rate remains high, at 12.3 percent, and the number people
unemployed within the county was 802, one more than in February, according
to the TWC's adjusted figures.
But the jobless rate fell two-tenths of a percent because 127 new jobs
were added within the county, while the labor force grew by 128 people.
TWC reported there were 5,717 jobs in Reeves County last month, with
6,519 people in the local workforce. That's an increase of 341 people since
January, but the number of jobs in the county is up by 421 since then,
which has allowed the unemployment rate to drop by two percent.
The jobless rate for the Town of Pecos City was higher than that for
the county as a whole, but still down from January and February. TWC said
there were 4,411 people employed in Pecos last month and 718 without jobs,
for an unemployment rate of 14 percent.
Both the number of jobs and the labor force in town are up from February,
when the rate was 14.3 percent, while the number of jobless has fallen
by 72 since January while the number of jobs is up by 325 from that month,
when unemployment hit 16.2 percent.
Other area counties also reported improved unemployment figures, compared
to the first two months of 1999.
Ector County's jobless rate fell from 11.7 to 10.9 percent, due to a
drop of over 800 people in the city's workforce. Midland County's labor
force fell by nearly 400 and their jobless rate went from 6.6 to 6.3 percent.
The Permian Basin's two biggest cities both reported an overall loss in
jobs from February to March.
Andrews County saw it's total number of jobs remain about the same,
but a one percent drop in its labor force cut unemployment from 12.9 to
12.2 percent. Pecos County also saw its rate fall, from 8.9 to 8.3 percent,
as the decline in the labor force offset a slight loss in jobs.
Winkler County had the biggest unemployment decline, from 18.8 to 16.4
percent. The county, hard-hit by the slumping oil industry, lost three
percent of its labor force last month, but added 11 jobs.
Howard and Ward counties matched Reeves County in cutting their jobless
rates despite a growth in the workforce. Howard County added 250 jobs and
cut its rate from 6.1 to 5.7 percent, while Ward County added 24 people
to its labor force and 47 jobs, lowing unemployment from 12.9 to 12.3 percent.
Statewide, the TWC said growth in service-sector jobs helped shave state
unemployment by four-tenths of a percentage point in March.
Texas' unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in February to 4.4 percent
in March. The state has reached that rate five times since April 1998 but
has gone no lower.
"The service producing sector added 24,400 jobs over the month, as all
industries within the sector experienced payroll gains," said Ron Lehman,
a TWC commissioner.
Manufacturing and mining areas continued to sustain job losses, Lehman
The Bryan-College Station area had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.5
percent. Austin-San Marcos was next at 2.1 percent.
Republic backer enters plea on gun charge
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- Dudley Edward Vandergriff still feels the
government did not have a right to stop and search his blue Oldsmobile,
and feels the attempt to deprive him of his right to own a gun violates
the Second Amendment.
But the Republic of Texas supporter did agree to a conditional plea
of no contest to the charge of being a convicted felon in possession of
firearms, during a hearing this morning before Judge Royal Furgeson in
U.S. District Court in Pecos.
Vandergriff was among a group of seven men who were arrested at the
Flying J Truck Stop in Pecos on April 30, 1997, during the Republic of
Texas siege in Fort Davis. Pecos Police Officer Cosme Ortega stopped the
men while they were at the truck stop, and a search of their vehicles turned
up rifles, knifes and other items official say they were taking to the
Balmorhea area, in support of Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren.
Vandergriff, 32, who had previous convictions for cocaine and marijuana
possession, was found guilty of the gun possession charge in a federal
court trial in September, 1997, but it was later overturned and sent back
to U.S. District Judge Lucius D. Bunton III.
Furgeson, who was substituting for Bunton in federal court this week,
listened as Vandergriff told the court officials had no probable cause
to search the Oldsmobile he was in, because there were no weapons showing
from inside the vehicle.
Rifles were visible inside a Chevrolet Suburban also stopped at the
Flying J, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Brigman said Ortega had observed
the two vehicles traveling together and stopped at the Flying J's gas pumps
before approaching the men.
"The primary issue here is justice must be served. After two years it
has not been served," Vandergriff said. "How long must I wait? Why can't
I just tell you my story and then say `hmm, I agree or disagree.' Otherwise,
we get caught up in all this law stuff.
"What matters is I'm a citizen and I can tell you I'm not guilty," he
He added that in his opinion, the law denying convicted felons the right
to bear arms was in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Furgeson told Vandergriff that he was bound by the constraints of the
law either to take the conditional no contest plea, which will allow Vandergriff
to appeal the eventual sentence to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,
or to grant him a second trial on the charge.
His lawyer, Robert Leahey, said Vandergriff's concerns would be addressed
again during sentencing at a later date before Judge Bunton, and in the
appeal to be filed with the appeals court.
Vandergriff admitted to a cocaine arrest at age 19 and a marijuana arrest
five years later, but said, "I'm 32-years-old now and I don't use drugs.
The main issue is I have never, never assaulted anybody with a weapon.
You're talking about depriving me of a decade of my whole life just for
having a gun."
At that point, the hearing took a recess while Vandergriff could talk
with family members and Leahey in private. After the break, he agreed to
the conditional no contest plea, which Furgeson said under federal sentencing
guidelines would carry a sentence of 84 to 105 months, with a possible
three-level reduction to 63 to 78 months.
Bonilla's office in Pecos open Monday, Tuesday
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- The part-time Pecos office of U.S. Congressman
Henry Bonilla will be open for the first time on Monday and Tuesday at
the Reeves County Courthouse.
Tony Carrillo will be the staff representative for Bonilla (R-San Antonio),
who will handle requests for information, will work with constituents on
a variety of issues including: social security, VA concerns, immigration,
information on obtaining a passport, agricultural concerns, etc.
The office will be open on Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Bonilla was first elected to Congress from the 23rd District, which
includes Reeves County, in 1992. He currently is with a group of representatives
on a tour of NATO headquarters in Germany and refugee camps in the Balkans,
in connection with the current military action against Yugoslavia.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 6-8-19-35-39. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$91,744. Winning ticket sold in: Mathis. Matching four of five: 248. Prize:
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 6-8-1 (six, eight, one)
Lucia G. Orona, 80, died Thursday, April 15, 1999 at Odessa Medical Center
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at the Pecos Funeral Home
Mass is scheduled for 3 p.m., Saturday, April 17, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with Father Mike Alcuino officiating. Burial will be in Santa Rosa
She was born Dec. 13, 1918, in Shafter, was a lifelong Pecos resident,
a homemaker and a Catholic.
Survivors include five sons, Casimiro Orona of Kennedy, Tx., Jesus and
Gabriel Orona of Pecos, Ramon Orona of Odessa and Leonard Orona of Japan;
four step-sons, Manuel Orona of Stockton, Calif. and Santiago, Leandro
and Fernando Orona of Pecos; three daughters, Maria Loyato of Littlefield,
Ramona Cortez of Lamont, Calif. and Maria Licon of Pecos; two brothers,
Sarapio Gutierrez and Vincente Gutierrez, of Billings, Mont.; two sisters,
Martha Gutierrez of Marfa and Margarita Gutierrez of El Paso; 26 grandchildren
and 22 great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, April 16, 1999 -- High Thursday 65. Low this morning 35. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Light wind. Saturday, mostly
sunny. High in the mid 60s. Northwest wind 5-15 mph.
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