Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 27, 1999
Commissioners approve agreement on task force
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- An interlocal agreement with several surrounding
cities and counties with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force was the topic
of discussion at Monday's Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.
Commissioners approved the interlocal agreement for the year 1999-2000,
which permits officers who are assigned to the task force, if they are
an interdiction officer, to go to another county.
The Trans Pecos Drug Task Force have been working on cases for about
a month now, according to Interim Director of the force Tony Garcia, who
was on hand for the regular meeting.
"We got our own office about four weeks ago and have 40 cases all around
in the counties," said Garcia. He added that the first case was here in
Reeves County and about a pound of cocaine was seized during that case.
Of the 40 cases, none have gone to trial yet, according to Garcia.
On June 1, Big Lake (Reagan County) will come in and put an interdiction
officer here, according to Garcia.
"As a concerned parent of three children, I feel we really need to work
on stopping illegal drugs," said Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin.
Garcia told the court that people of different ages, including children,
are out on the streets selling drugs. "The youngest person I have purchased
illegal drugs from as an interdiction officer was nine years old and the
oldest was 80," said Garcia. "So this is going to affect everybody, there
is no age limit," he said.
A resolution was also approved that states that the money will be committed.
Reeves County has applied for a grant and will need 25 percent in matching
"We have not had revenue to put into escrow and I want the court to
realize that Reeves County will still be liable for the $264,000," said
county auditor Lynn Owens. "I think this is something the court needs to
"I don't see any problem whatsoever, I think we can match the grant,"
said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "The counties have been very cooperative,
we "have them spread out really good."
"I talked to the U.S. Marshals and they said we could get as many people
as we want," he added.
"Bed space will be the backing of this," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy
B. Galindo. The county hopes to use fees for housing non-county prisoners
to help fund the task force.
"That will be one of the ways that it is funded," said Garcia.
In other business, commissioners approved payment of survey fees for
the Reeves County Detention Center and the proposed water line invoice
"This is for the proposed new water line at the facility," said Galindo.
New Xerox machines for the RCDC, county tax office and a sorter for
the third floor Xerox machine were approved. The treasurer's office uses
the same machine as the tax office, according to county tax assessor-collector
Bids for portable toilets at the RCDC and grease trap cleaning were
awarded. Ted McKenzie of Fort Stockton was awarded the bid for portable
units, with Dirtmasters of Pecos receiving the bid to clean them. The grease
traps bid went to Hernandez Rental and Waste Control of Fort Stockton.
Personnel and salary changes included at the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force,
James W. Cowell, promoted to Administrative Investigator at an annual rate
of $26,000 and Rosalina Alvarado was hired as secretary for the force at
$17,500 per year.
Norma F. Chavez will be working as a Juvenile Detention Officer on a
part-time, on-call, as needed basis at the Reeves County Juvenile Detention
Center, at a rate of $5.50 per hour.
Estella Anaya has been upgraded from a part-time employee to a full-time,
at the county clerk's office at $13,000 per year.
Reports from various departments, minutes from previous meetings, semi-monthly
bills and budget amendments and line-item transfers were also approved
during the regular meeting.
No action taken on task force, land buy
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- It wasn't such an emergency after all.
Pecos City Council this morning took no action on the two items on their
emergency meeting agenda and set another meeting for 7:30 a.m. Friday.
First on the agenda was to decide whether to join the Trans-Pecos Drug
Task Force for the 1999-2000 grant year.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that the new task force got its
first grant without having to provide matching funds, and several counties
and cities signed on.
However, with the new year beginning June 1, matching funds for the
$1 million grant will total $256,593. That means each entity will be required
to pay $32,834 each.
McKinney said that he expects cash forfeitures from drug-related arrests
to pay all the matching funds. Backing that up is a plan to use revenue
from jail beds dedicated to the task force by several county jails.
While it is not likely that any entity will have to contribute cash,
McKinney said he put the "worst case scenario" before them so they would
know how much they would be liable for.
Asked about the loss of Ward County and the city of Monahans from the
Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force — a move announced Monday in Ward County Commissioners'
Court — McKinney said that will not affect the cost to other entities.
"They each had a man assigned to the task force, and that's taking off
quite a chunk of money," McKinney said.
Ward County Sheriff Jerry Heflin said this morning that he studied his
options and decided not to join the task force for the new grant year.
"Right now we will probably just work our narcotics here in the county
and look at everything and see what I want to do then.
"The $34,000 wasn't an issue because I don't think anyone will have
to pay that," he said. "I think it will be paid out of the bed space agreement."
Heflin, who replaced longtime Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele after he
retired in March, said that Deputy Jesse Franco will remain assigned to
the task force until the end of this fiscal year, which ends May 31.
Each officer assigned to the task force costs about $32,000 in salary,
expenses and vehicle, McKinney said.
Two new entities joined to replace Ward County, he said. Reagan County
and the city of Big Lake were added to Culberson County and Van Horn, Andrews
and Andrews County, Kermit and Winkler County, Midland, Crane, Jeff Davis,
Presidio and Reeves counties and the city of Pecos.
"Culberson is not putting in personnel, but is giving us $25,000 per
year on bed space," McKinney said. "You have the option of putting in personnel
Each entity may hire their own officer to be assigned to the task force.
They are then assigned by the commander to work in any county or city in
Councilman Randy Graham questioned a provision in the resolution that
makes the city council liable if the $1 million grant is misused.
City Attorney Scott Johnson said he would like to study the proposal,
and give the council time to study it, before they make a decision.
The council then met in executive session to consider purchase of real
property but made no decision.
Crockett students happy to handle volunteer jobs
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- Volunteers from Crockett Middle School have
learned a lot, not only about jobs, but about life in general, according
to the students who participate in the program.
"I am a student at Crockett Middle School and I participate in the volunteer
program in Miss Calhoun's Career Investigation class," said Joey Ortega,
a volunteer at the Reeves County Golf Course.
Ortega said that course manager Royce Cassell lets him "work" on Saturday
morning's from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
"My duties include washing golf carts, fixing flats, watering trees,
and whatever else Mr. Cassell asks for me to do," he said. "I enjoy volunteering
because it gets me ready for the real world by learning from Mr. Cassell."
In conjunction with Volunteer Week, which was celebrated last week,
Calhoun wanted to thank all the local businesses who allow the students
to help out at their establishments.
"I started this program with them three years ago and has been a success
every year," said Calhoun.
Three students each day from 3-5 p.m., volunteer at the West of the
Pecos Museum. Others volunteer at the Reeves County Hospital, the Reeves
County Golf Course, Anchor West, Pecos Veterinary Clinic, and First National
and Security State banks.
Ortega said the opportunity to volunteer helps give him an idea on what
future careers in golf course maintenance would be like. "Miss Calhoun
really tries her best to get us to learn about our career and really lectures
us about how the real world is like," said Ortega. "I have learned a lot
this semester and think this will help me out and make my future careers
Ortega said Cassell teaches him a lot as well. "He's very nice to let
me be a volunteer," he said.
"We want to prepare them for the future," said Calhoun. "This is a good
way to give them insight into the different career opportunities and to
see the working world."
For example, she said eighth graders Easter Gomez and Jayson Hinojos
are learning about nursing and becoming a doctor, as they volunteer at
Robert Natividad Jr. is a volunteer at the West of the Pecos Museum.
"I volunteer so that I can do a good deed for the community and to make
the museum look nice," said Natividad.
"Also when tourists come by the museum they will think how Pecos is
a good nice, clean town," said Natividad. "Volunteer work is a nice thing
to do because it shows how mature you are and not doing it out of force.
"It makes you and your community look good," he said.
Natividad said this would make more people move in to Pecos and make
it bigger. "A lot of people say there is nothing to do in Pecos, but there
is a lot of things Pecos needs to work on," said Natividad. "So, please
be in more activities in Pecos, so that our community would be nice and
people would live comfortably."
Bigham says Brooks killed in self-defense
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- Christopher John Bigham was building an outhouse
when his girlfriend jammed a .22 Ruger into his back and pulled the trigger,
the 37-year-old murder suspect testified this morning in 143rd District
The testimony was by tape recording of Bigham's statement to Texas Ranger
Jerry Villalobos, who was investigating the disappearance of Lora Ann Brooks
on Dec. 1, 1997.
Bigham said that when he heard the .22 click and misfire, he pulled
a .32 caliber pistol from his belt, stuck it under his left arm and shot
Brooks in the chest. She fell to the ground and died after telling Bigham
to "keep your promise," he said.
After lying beside Brooks most of the day and considering taking his
own life, Bigham decided to keep his promise to return her three children
to Washington state, he said.
To hide the body from her children, Bigham rolled it inside a tent and
carried it to the southeast corner of their 20-acre "ranch" on the Pecos
River near the old Sullivan Bridge. Placing the tent and body in a hole
already dug there, he "covered her up and put a lot of rocks on it so the
animals couldn't get to her," Bigham said.
Then he went back to the trailer to greet the children coming home from
"Amanda asked where her mom was. I said she's gone to see Angie in Dallas,"
Bigham said. "The next day I went back to where she was and wept."
He also finished the outhouse the second day, and on the third day dug
up the body.
Bigham said he bathed the body in a bathtub outside the trailer, put
on makeup and her best black dress, then took photographs and prepared
a barrel to burn the body.
"I intended to take her home," he said.
Bigham described how he attached a five-gallon propane tank to a pipe
in the barrel, stuffed Brooks inside and tossed in burning paper to start
While the body burned, Bigham went to school to pick up 13-year-old
Anna Martin, Brooks' oldest child. He told her that Brooks had committed
suicide and warned her not to look in the barrel.
Anna did look in the barrel, he said. "She told me she saw her mom's
body burning. I told her she shouldn't have looked. I told her I was taking
her home. I told her we couldn't take the body back whole because it would
take too long and it would stink."
The body burned for two days, he said. He then broke up the remaining
bones with a sledge hammer and put them in a five-gallon plastic bucket.
After inquiries by her grandfather and the children's teachers about their
mother, Bigham said he disposed of the bucket in a dumpster behind Thriftway.
He then threw the burn barrel in the river and dismantled the .32 pistol.
Bigham said he put some of the pistol parts in a dumpster, then threw
the rest out alongside the highway as they traveled to Washington.
FBI agent Jane Kelly testified Monday that Brooks' family requested
an investigation after Bigham returned to Washington with the children.
After learning that Brooks may be dead, she enlisted the help of Villalobos.
The Ranger testified that Anna Martin told him about the burn barrel
after she became angry with Bigham. He then questioned Bigham, and he admitted
shooting Brooks and disposing of her body.
The hour-long confession was played for the jury this morning.
District Attorney Randy Reynolds introduced photos of a barrel being
taken out of the Pecos River by a DPS dive team last August and of remains
of a campfire on the Bigham property.
Defense attorney Adrian Chavez questioned Villalobos about his investigation
of Brooks' possible suicide due to depression.
Angela Antoinne of Dallas testified Monday that she and Brooks had lived
together in the early 1990s and had remained best friends since. She said
that Brooks often took medication for depression.
One possible cause of that depression may have been molestation by her
father when Brooks was a teenager, Antoinne testified.
"She was working through that," she said. "She didn't talk about it
Brooks' father, Jack Bridges, had come to Pecos last year seeking clues
to his daughter's disappearance. He said Bigham had told him that Brooks
left Pecos by bus on Dec. 1, 1997 to visit Antoinne in Dallas.
Antoinne said they had talked about a visit, but that Brooks would not
have left without her children.
Pawnbroker Raul Garcia testified Monday that Bigham and Brooks had often
pawned items in his shop. Brooks was friendly and talkative, she said,
except for one visit when she seemed "edgy."
Softball meeting set for Wednesday
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at
the old Pecos High School gym for the upcoming girls softball season.
Coaches from last season, and anyone interested in coaching this year,
should attend the meeting at the old gym. For further information, call
Pet dipping offered with rabies shots at clinic
PECOS, April 28, 1999 -- A rabies clinic will be held from 9 a.m. until
2 p.m., Saturday at the Pecos Animal Clinic, 1920 Balmorhea Highway.
Free dipping will be available with vaccinations and rabies shots will
be available at a discount price. All other shots will also be available.
Style Show May 8 for Golden Girls
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- The Golden Girl Style Show and Luncheon will be
held at noon, Saturday, May 8, at the Pecos Valley Country Club.
Tickets for the event are $12 and can be purchased from any Golden Girl
and Little Miss Cantaloupe nominee.
Golden Girl and Little Miss Cantaloupe nominees will model fashions
from Beall's, Desiree's Boutique, Needleworks, Norma Jean's, Pecos Emporium
and The Style Shop.
For more information or to purchase tickets contact Tracy Shaw at 447-7248
Idaho N-waste shipment begins trip to WIPP site
By MARK WARBIS
Associated Press Writer
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — A truckload of nuclear waste left at dawn today
for the nation's first permanent dump, 11 years after Idaho stared down
the Energy Department and closed its borders to radioactive waste.
Cheers from about 100 elected officials went up in the semidarkness
as the truck's horn sounded and began its 32-hour trip to the $2 billion
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.
"As you can see, there's a new day dawning in Idaho," Gov. Dirk Kempthorne
declared. "It's the day when we begin to see the nuclear waste leave this
great state of ours."
Kempthorne, a first-term Republican, was joined by ex-Govs. Cecil Andrus,
a Democrat, and Phil Batt, a Republican. In 1988, Andrus unilaterally closed
Idaho's borders to any additional waste shipments after the Energy Department
failed to make good on promises to begin removing waste.
The border was reopened a few months later. In 1995, Batt negotiated
a settlement requiring the first shipment to leave the state by the end
of April 1999.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 09-13-35-37-38. Number matching five of five: one. Prize per winner:
$83,644. Winning ticket sold in: South Houston. Matching four of five:
186. Prize: $674.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 9-2-9 (nine, two, nine)
Marcelo Alvarado Carrasco, 48, of Valentine, died Sunday, April 25, 1999,
in an Alpine hospital.
A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., today at Our Lady of Fatima Church
in Van Horn.
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday, at the Our Lady of Fatima
Church, with burial in Van Horn Cemetery.
He was born Jan. 15, 1951, in Pilares, Chihuahua, Mexico, moved to Pecos
in 1972 and to Valentine in 1980. He ranched all of his life and trained
horses for roping competition, a sport in which he participated.
Survivors include his wife, Maria Elena Carrasco of Valentine; his parents,
Marcelo and Elisa Carrasco of Pecos; two daughters, Claudia G. and Azucena
Carrasco, of Alpine; one son, Juan Carrasco of Alpine; six sisters, Herminia
Muela of Presidio, Vicky Sanchez of Garland, Manuela Lujan of Van Horn,
Graciela Cordaway of Castroville, Yolanda Tarango of Pecos and Chaya Carrasco
of Midland; and one brother, David Carrasco of Van Horn.
Van Horn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Concepcion Jurado, 79, of Barstow, died Sunday, April 25, 1999, at Odessa
A rosary will be held today at 7 p.m., at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic
Church in Barstow.
Mass is scheduled for 3 p.m., Wednesday, at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic
Church with burial in Barstow Cemetery.
She was born Feb. 10, 1920, in Barstow, was a homemaker and a Catholic.
Survivors include her husband, Amador Jurado of Odessa; two sons, Hector
E. Jurado of Pecos, Amador R. Jurado, Jr. of Odessa; four daughters, Rosa
Jurado Hinojosa, Elsa Jurado, Norma Jurado Rodriguez and Irma Jurado Lara
of Odessa; one brother, Felix Rodriguez of Barstow; one sister, Maria Efren
Gunn of Farmingtom, N.M.; 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Asa Alexander Moore, 91, of Pecos, died Monday, April 26, at Reeves County
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 28, at
Fairview Cemetery with Rev. Bruce Abbott officiating.
He was born June 3, 1907, in Carlsbad, N.M., was a lifelong Pecos resident,
a retired Chevron employee and a Methodist.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Leida Clement Moore in May of
1981 and one son, Asa Meredith Moore in March, 1986.
Survivors include one daughter, Melba Sharp of Pecos, several grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, April 27, 1999 -- High Monday 85; low last night 53. Tonight, clear.
Low 50-55. Southeast to south wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, partly cloudy.
High around 90. Southeast wind 10-20 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