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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Commissioners approve agreement on task force

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
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 funds.

"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 understand."

"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 number two.

"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 Elfida Zuniga.

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
Staff Writer
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 or not."

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 the group.

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
Staff Writer
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 more easier."

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 the hospital.

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
Staff Writer
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 Court.

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 school.

"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 the fire.

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 much."

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 447-9776.

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 or 447-5034.

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.

Lotto

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)

Obituaries

Marcelo Carrasco

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

Concepcion Jurado, 79, of Barstow, died Sunday, April 25, 1999, at Odessa Medical Center.

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 Moore

Asa Alexander Moore, 91, of Pecos, died Monday, April 26, at Reeves County Hospital.

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.

Weather

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.



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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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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise