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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Monday, April 19, 1999

Gang members arrested in round-up on Friday

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- Local law enforcement officials rounded up 14 alleged gang members Friday afternoon in an effort to curb gang activity in Pecos, while others on the "list" are still on the loose.

"We're very happy with the outcome," said Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Dominguez. "This is just the first step in our investigation."

"Operation Gang Buster" was executed Friday by members of the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office.

"This is a combined effort by local law enforcement agencies, in trying to make Pecos a safer and better place to live in," said Dominguez.

"We're charging eight of them with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, in an incident that happened at the carnival," said Dominguez, referring to a stabbing incident in late March in the Reeves County Civic Center parking lot.

All 14 were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, while eight of them, four juveniles and four adults, were charged also with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. "The engaging in organized criminal activity will enhance the charge to first degree felony," said Dominguez.

He said he had some informants inside the gang community who have been supplying the officers with valuable information.

Many of the arrests Friday were made at Pecos High School, while others took place at Crockett Middle School and Zavala Middle School.

The names of 18 individuals were on the list police and sheriff's deputies used during their round-up. However, the arrests were almost disrupted when one of the youths was found with a copy of the list in his possession.

When asked about the list, he said he had found it on the floor in front of the principal's office as he was walking to the auditorium, where the arrests were taking place. "I really don't know how he got the list, if somebody made a copy of it, or the principal dropped his list or what," said Dominguez.

He said this is the first series in an ongoing investigation.

"After this first arrest, it will be free game, each time we see these individuals together we have probable cause to stop and search them, because they are known gang members," said Dominguez.

He said just participating in this is known gang activity.

Dominguez said officers have been receiving information from other gang members who have been supplying them with names and criminal activity.

"It's time to take our streets and schools back," said Dominguez.

"I've also gotten a lot of complaints from parents who want their kids out, they don't want them in gangs," said Dominguez. "But the problem is, they don't know how to get them out, to reach them and maybe this will help."

Over 100 members, including boys and girls, are listed as known gang members. "Now they're starting a girls BPG (Brown Pride Gang) and a baby BPG with younger members in this gang," said Dominguez. "We want to reach these kids before it's too late."

According to Dominguez many of these youngsters don't even want to participate in gang activities or to be a part of the gang, but are forced to do so. "They're being pushed into it," he said.

"I'll be working a couple more cases and this usually leads to more, so hopefully within the next two weeks, we'll have more arrests," said Dominguez.

A number of those arrested were juveniles, while the others were identified by police as:

Chris Fuentes, 17, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and has posted bond, which was set at $15,000.

Jerry Dominguez, 17, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Bond for engaging in criminal activity was set at $15,000 and an $8,000 bond set for the assault charge.

Roberto Granado, 18, was charged with the same things as Dominguez, both have bonded out of Reeves County Jail.

Jerry Olivas, 17, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity as was Eric Salcido, 17.

All have been released from Reeves County Jail, after posting their bond.

Two other adults are on the list, Edel Acosta and Joaquin Matta, have yet to be arrested. Warrants are out on both individuals who will be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and assault with a deadly weapon.

Two other juveniles will also be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, according to sheriff's department reports.

School sets Friday deadline for head coach applications

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- The search is on for a new Pecos High School Football coach and applications for the position will be taken through this Friday.

"We'll take applications and then interview those that have applied, and we'll go from there," said Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Don Love during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting held Thursday evening in the board room.

Head football coach Dan Swaim turned in his resignation on April 8 to accept a position as an assistant coach at Midland High. He served one year as PHS head coach after two years as an assistant under Mike Belew.

In other action, Zavala Middle School seventh grade students who will compete in State UIL math and Crockett Middle School eighth grade students who will compete at State UIL math and science, were recognized during the regular meeting.

UIL Sweepstakes winners were also recognized and received a round of applause. This award had not been won in Pecos in 15 years, according to UIL coordinator Barbara Scown.

"We're just very, very proud of all our students, they have really been doing an excellent job this year," Scown said.

In conjunction, the Teachers of the Year candidates were presented and each received a special plaque.

This year's Teachers of the Year candidates for the district are Yolanda Ramirez from Austin Elementary School; Pecos Elementary School, Elaine McKee; Pecos High School, Karen Waters; Pecos Kindergarten, Sue Parent; Bessie Haynes Elementary School, Delia Olivas; Lamar Middle School, Pam Miller; Zavala Middle School, Ronald Daniel and Crockett Middle School, Frank Ornelas.

The Elementary Teacher of the Year Award was given to Sue Parent and Ronnie Daniel netted the Secondary Teacher of the Year Award.

The 1999-2000 school calendar was approved and professional personnel were approved.

Resignations were approved for Eliza Acosta, English teacher/coach, Crockett Middle School; Faustino Acosta, History teacher/coach, Crockett Middle School; Debbie Garcia, second grade teacher/coach, Austin Elementary School; Jack Guame, Special Education teacher, Pecos High School; Sheri Miller, sixth grade teacher, Lamar Middle School and Daniel Swaim, Health teacher/coach, Pecos High School.

Reassignments for the 1999-2000 school year were Kimberly Calhoun, from Crockett Middle School Career teacher to Pecos Elementary School Physical Education teacher; Roxanna Chavez, from Alternative Education Program to Bessie Haynes Elementary School fifth grade teacher; Frank Sanchez, from Austin Elementary School first grade bilingual teacher to Austin Elementary School second grade bilingual teacher; Angelica Valenzuela, from Lamar Middle School sixth grade teacher to Austin Elementary School first grade bilingual teacher and Tammy Walls, from Pecos Elementary School physical education teacher to Alternative Education program teacher.

A bid for property located at 1500 Cherry Street was approved for $600 from Eric Arreguy. "We need to put this property back on the tax roll," said school board president Earl Bates.

Technology Director Jodi Exum updated the board on the Y-2K problem. "We will test this summer and early October, to be make sure that everything will be running properly come the year 2000," said Exum.

Nobody was on hand to discuss the methodology for appraising oil and gas property and oil and gas pricing. "I had understood that there would be some oil company representatives here today, but it seems that nobody showed up," said Bates.

"In regards to the lawsuit and from comments from the community, they say they don't know what we're doing," said board member Louis Matta. "I suggest we instruct (Rusty) McInturff to address these people, we need them on our side, we don't need them or their employees mad at us," he said.

"I think we need to call a special meeting, because the message I got is that they don't know what's going on and we don't want them thinking we're undermining the oil companies or appraisal district or Pritchard and Abbott, and we want to assure them that we as a district and as a board support them," said Matta.

The board met in closed session to discuss personnel and litigation. In open session, they agreed to settle an employment dispute with former Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board member, Bill Bradley, and rescind the motion not to renew the contract for teacher Guadalupe Paz, but to accept his resignation.

In other business the board approved the Modified Block Schedule as presented.

Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez said that this was a good block schedule and that he had put on his memo to the teachers, that if they had any problems with it to attend the school board meeting. "We need to get this schedule in place before the fall," he said.

Herrera out of jail; DA defends bond

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- Reeves County Court-at-law Judge Lee Green followed Texas law when he set bail at $25,000 for Jose T. "Joey" Herrera Jr. on March 18, said District Attorney Randy Reynolds.

Herrera was arrested in Pecos on a governor's warrant to face charges in Davidson County, Tennessee, on a six-count indictment for allegedly fabricating evidence, conspiracy to fabricate evidence and money laundering. Herrera allegedly conspired last year with two Nashville, Tenn. bondsmen to submit false death certificates on three men who had bonded out of the Davidson County Jail.

Herrera, who was arrested in Pecos on March 15, filed a writ of habeas corpus, which Judge Green denied. Attorney Scott Johnson immediately filed notice of appeal, and Judge Green set bail based on an agreement between Reynolds and Johnson.

Tennessee judge Cheryl Blackburn criticized Judge Green last week for setting the bail. Blackburn said that bail is not appropriate on a governor's (extradition) warrant.

"The Tennessee people got bent out of shape when they heard Joey was going to get bond," Reynolds said.

While it is true that the uniform extradition act does not provide for a bond, Texas law allows bail on a habeas corpus appeal, Reynolds said.

"In Texas we have a statute that says when a writ of habeas corpus is denied and then appealed, the person has the right to an appeal bond," he said.

Citing a criminal appeals court case that went to the Texas Supreme Court, Reynolds said that the statute does not exclude governors warrants.

Reynolds said he felt the $25,000 bail was appropriate because Herrera has property here and is a long-time resident.

"All the terms Judge Green put on it, he satisfied, including being in Tennessee when he was told to be there," Reynolds said.

When Herrera reported to Judge Blackburn's court in Nashville for arraignment, she set bail at $500,000. After 2 1/2 weeks of fund-raising by family and friends, Herrera was released late last week and was back in his office today.

Dallas woman identified as crash victim

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- A Dallas woman has been identified as the victim of a fatal accident just east of Pecos on Friday, while two children riding in the vehicle with her are listed in stable condition today at Lubbock Methodist Hospital.

Doris Soriano, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh following the accident, which occurred near mile marker 43 on Interstate 20.

According to a report by Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Jacobs, who investigated the accident, Soriano and the two children, Aaron Garcia, 4, and Marissa Garcia, 2, were in a pickup driven by Mark Garcia, 29, which was westbound on Interstate 20. Jacobs said Mark Garcia reached down to get an item for the children from the floor of the pickup, when the vehicle veered off the side of the road.

Garcia overcorrected, causing the pickup to skid and then roll over 1 1/2 times in the center median of I-20, coming to rest on its roof. Both Soriano and the two children were ejected from the vehicle.

All three survivors were conscious at the scene, though both children suffered head injuries in the accident. The three were first taken by ambulance to Reeves County hospital, with the children then flown by air ambulance to Lubbock. A nurse at Methodist hospital said they were in stable condition today.

Mark Garcia suffered some cuts and abrasions in the accident, and was treated at Reeves County Hospital.

N.M. officials mark WIPP site opening

By SMOKEY BRIGGS
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), in Carlsbad, N.M., officially opened for business Saturday morning.

United States Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson delivered the keynote address and U. S. Representative Joe Skeen of New Mexico drove an eighteen wheeler carrying a cargo of radioactive materials through the newly-opened gate to mark the opening.

Also on hand for the event were both U.S. Senators for New Mexico, Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, as well as the Mayor of Carlsbad, Gary Perkowski.

"The opening of WIPP has been a top priority for a number of energy secretaries," Richardson said. "I'm privileged and honored to be the Energy Secretary cutting the ribbon for this site today."

"Many have fought passionately to see this facility open and many have fought passionately to safeguard our environment," he continued. "The opening of WIPP is the result of these efforts, and closes the circle of the legacy of the cold war."

Richardson also commented on the safety issues facing the facility.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the procedures, trucks, and transportation routes are not only safe, but exceedingly safe, and will continue to be so," he said.

As an example Richardson pointed out that because of questionable weather the first two shipments of waste were delayed.

"No chances will be taken," he said.

The opening of the facility was especially meaningful for New Mexico Skeen, who said in his short speech that he had been working for 25 years to drive the first truck through the gates.

Skeen got his wish, almost. Shortly after Richardson cut the ceremonial ribbon, Skeen climbed into the specially built eighteen-wheel truck that was waiting and drove it through the gates with the air horns blasting.

Technically, however, Skeen's truck carried the third shipment of waste products, not the first the first two having already been shipped in test runs.

According to Faye Kirkes, WIPP main secretary and one of many WIPP employees acting as hosts, more than 1,200 people showed up to celebrate the opening.

The WIPP site is located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad, and 75 miles north of Pecos. Trucks from five western sites will travel through New Mexico to deposit low-level radioactive waste in the storage caverns 2,150 feet underground, while five other sites to the east will sent trucks through Texas along I-20 and U.S. 285 to the WIPP site.

Bonilla's liason knows area through dad's work

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- Tony Carrillo got to know West Texas through his father's travels with Dresser Rand of Midland, an oilfield supply company.

That knowledge helps Carrillo in his new job as liaison for Congressman Henry Bonilla in his Midland district office, as he talks with constituents in Alpine, Fort Stockton, Pecos and other area cities and counties.

"When someone calls from Pecos or Fort Stockton or Terlingua, you know pretty much what's going on," Carrillo said.

He is in the third-floor courtroom of the Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos today and Tuesday, where anyone who has a question about a government agency or a problem with government that the Congressman can help with may visit with him face-to-face.

"If you have a problem with an agency, we look into the problem," Carrillo said. "We either make a phone call or write and get answers to your questions."

Carrillo also travels to area counties for town hall meetings or other events when Rep. Bonilla is unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

"We attend in his place; sitting in on a town hall meeting, observing and taking notes; or I will make a speech if they want me to," he said.

He also attends seminars put on by government agencies to keep up to date on changes in policy and regulations.

Carrillo's political science major at the University of Texas Permian Basin started him on the path that led to the liaison job with Rep. Bonilla, though that was not in his plans.

"What I really want to do is go to law school," he said, and that is still in his plans.

His primary interest is in immigration law and the energy industry, with a side interest in securities and exchanges.

"Working immigration cases, you will learn a lot," he said. One of the problems he encounters frequently is the amount of time it takes the Immigration and Naturalization Service to process an application for legal residency or citizenship.

"There are only four service centers in the country, and each one handles particular states," he said. "It is taking longer and longer because the number of people filing petitions is increasing. They want to enter the country legally."

Some of the questions Carrillo answers are what to study, and he has handouts that answer those questions. One is a list of 100 questions that may be asked in oral and/or written examinations of the petitioner, who must be able to demonstrate that he/she can speak, read and write English.

"We have copies of study guides we can send out," he said. "There are so many different situations."

Carrillo will "hold court" in Pecos two days out of each quarter. His next visit will be July 19-20. In the meantime, he can be reached at the Midland office, 915-686-8833 or 4400 N. Big Spring, Suite 211.

Hospital board to get update during meeting

PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- Covenant Health Systems representative Jim Bullard will give the Reeves County Hospital District board of directors an update in their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The board will consider a tax abatement proposal for a Border Patrol building and hear monthly reports on tax collection, finances, medical staff and administration.

The joint conference committee will also report.

Board meetings are held in the hospital classroom and are open to the public.

Credit by Exam deadline Friday for May's testing

This Friday is the deadline to register for Credit by Examination tests scheduled for next month.

The acceleration tests will be available to students in first through 12th grade in May. They are for students who would like to advance a grade level or earn credits through one exam without prior instruction.

Elementary school students will be tested throughout the day on May 18, 19, 20, while high school students can take the exam at 4 p.m. on May 18, 19, 20 at the high school cafeteria.

For high school students, credit by examination for acceleration allows students enrolled in grades nine through 12 to be awarded credit toward high school graduation. Students who wish to obtain credit for any class that counts toward graduation may apply to take the examination for acceleration. The student may not have been previously enrolled in the class.

Application may be obtained from the student's guidance counselor.

Credit is granted to students who attain 90 percent or above mastery on the examination for acceleration. Test will only be administered on the scheduled testing dates.

The examination is offered once in the fall and once in the spring semesters. A copy of the testing schedule and application deadlines may be obtained in the counseling office.

For more information or to obtain an application contact any of the school counselors at the student's school.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) One ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The ticket was worth an estimated $10 million. The ticket was sold in Carrollton. The numbers drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 25-40-14-6-15-26.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 03-04-15-16-22. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $95,825. Matching four of five: 277. Prize: $519.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 04-62-63-86. Number matching four of four in Group One: None. Number matching four of four in Group Two: None. Number matching four of four in Group Three: None. Number matching three of four in any group: 516. Prize: $300.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday night by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-9-7 (nine, nine, seven)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday night by the Texas Lottery, in order: 3-6-4 (three, six, four)

Obituaries

Doroteo Estorga

Doroteo M. Estorga, 76, died Saturday, April 17, 1999, at Odessa Medical Center.

Mass is scheduled for 3 p.m., today, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Feb. 7, 1923, in Ruidosa, Tx., was a lifelong Pecos resident, a retired Town of Pecos City employee and a Catholic.

Survivors include three sons, Vincente Estorga of Albuquerque, N.M. and Fernando and Arturo Estorga of Pecos; four duaghters, Juanita Estorga and Elisa Chavez of Pecos, Rosa Gonzales of Del Rio and Gloria Fuentes of Ft. Worth; two brothers, Victor Estorga and Manuel Estorga of Brownfield; two sisters, Andrea Losoya of Lovington, N.M. and Francisca Contreras of Littlefield, Tx.; 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Ramon Rico

Ramon Rico, 53, of Odessa, died Saturday, April 17, 1999, in Odessa.

Graveside services were held at 11 a.m., today, at Barstow Cemetery.

He was born Jan. 27, 1946, in Barstow, had lived in Odessa for six months, was hairstylist, had served in the United States Army and was a Catholic.

Survivors include one brother, Frank Rico of Barstow; four sisters, Molly Thorn, Rita Fitzgerald, Alisia Fuentes of Odessa and Simona Villalobos of Pecos.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, April 19, 1999 -- High Sunday 86; low last night 44. Tonight, clear. Low in the mid 50s. South wind 5-10 mph. Tuesday, mostly sunny and warmer. High in the mid 90s. Southwest wind 10-20 mph.



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