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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, May 20, 1999

Tip leads deputies to body near Pecos River

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
and
ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writers
PECOS, May 20, 1999 -- Once again, the Pecos River has yielded evidence of a homicide.

Ward County sheriff's deputies and Texas Rangers excavated a grave site on the east side of the Pecos River this morning below Barstow Dam, where a body had been buried.

Chief Deputy John Stuessy said the remains were found Wednesday after Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez obtained information about its location.

Reeves County deputies Michael Dominguez and Bobby Jenkins assisted at the site this morning.

The grave, about the length of an adult male and three feet wide, was not filled to the top. Anthropologist Dr. Robert Paine of Lubbock recommended placing a grid over the site and lowering one side to get down to where the remains were buried, about three feet from the surface.

As dirt was removed from the grave, it was screened for evidence.

Ward County deputies for the Barstow area, Ben Deishler, said the grave is probably a year old, but he refused to speculate who it might be until the remains are identified.

Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos said he went to the site Wednesday with Stuessy to confirm that a body was buried there.

"We found it yesterday evening and put someone in to watch it, then called Dr. Paine to come help us do the dig," Villalobos said.

DPS pilot Reggie Rhea of Lubbock ferried Dr. Paine to the scene this morning in a helicopter, arriving just before 10 a.m.

Gomez said a tip to the Reeves County Sheriff's Department led officers to the site on Wednesday.

"We received a tip that there was a body buried in a shallow grave, at about 3 p.m., yesterday," said Gomez, who went with Jenkins to the site described by the informant.

"We went to Barstow and by the Barstow Dam and looked over the place," said Gomez, who said he and Jenkins found the body in the shallow grave and proceeded to call in the Texas Rangers.

"It was right there by the Barstow Dam," said Gomez.

Rangers Villalobos and David Duncan responded and arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

"We don't know who the body is yet, it will be sent for an autopsy," said Gomez.

The site is about two miles upriver from where divers found a drum believed to contain some remains of Lora Ann Brooks, was removed from the river last August. Christopher John Bigham was convicted last month in 143rd District Court in Pecos of killing Brooks on Dec. 1, 1997, burning her body in a barrel and placing the  barrel in the river. He was sentenced to 75 years in prison.

 Fuentes excited about acceptance to Harvard

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 20, 1999 -- A Pecos High School senior plans to travel far to further his education this fall, and he's really excited about it.

Jonathan Fuentes has been accepted into Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., along with two other prestigious Texas schools.

"Harvard was my top choice, I've always wanted to be accepted and to go there," said Fuentes. "The scary part is that it's so far away, but I'm looking forward to new experiences."

Along with Harvard, Fuentes was accepted into Rice University in Houston and the University of Texas at Austin. He's one of two PHS seniors accepted to Harvard this year, along with Alva Alvarez, while a third senior, Efrian Rodriguez, was accepted to the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Fuentes is one of the top four students who will be graduating on May 28, and has been very active during his high school years.

Fuentes has been an avid tennis player, where he has won All-District first team in both singles and doubles; is a member of the Pecos High School Student Council and serves as vice-president of that organization.

He is a member and president of Mu Alpha Theta; Spanish Club President; Youth Advisory Commission President; Business Professionals of America Parliamentarian; UIL Academics competitor in accounting and current events; Kodak Young Leader Award winner; Texas Association of Secondary School Principals All-State Academic Team; Coca-Cola Scholar winner; Evening Optimist Scholar recipient and was named to Who's Who Among American High School Students.

Fuentes has attended state competition in Debate; is the recipient of the National Hispanic Scholar; United States National Leader Award; a member of JETS; National Honor Society and works with the A.N.G.E.L.S. Program, a program sponsored by Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Counselors aimed towards helping younger students with their self-esteem.

In addition to his busy schedule he is a member of the Pecos Eagle Band and has competed in State Solo and Ensemble and won the United States National Band Award.

Fuentes participated in the Upward Bound program sponsored by Odessa College.

In his spare time, Fuentes enjoys all sports, reading and keeping up with current events. He also makes time to work, part-time, at Car Quest Auto Parts, something he has done since he was a freshman.

He plans to major in International Business at the popular university.

"I'd like to thank my parents, family and friends for supporting me throughout my school years," said Fuentes.

"The class of 1999 could not have succeeded without the dedication of the teachers and staff at Pecos High School," he said.

CCRC re-elects officers, tables daycare center vote

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, May 20, 1999 -- Julian Florez was re-elected as chairman of the Community Council of Reeves County during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pyote, and other board members were also returned to their posts.

Anita Baeza will once again serve as vice-chairman and Felipe Arredondo, secretary.

The board appointed Ellen Weinacht to the board, under the private sector for Reeves County, through the United Methodist Church of Balmorhea.

"The Loving County postmaster was appointed by the judge to the board, but he will have to be approved by the commissioners court," said Florez.

The CSBG and ENTERP monitoring review report was okay and the Ward County FEMA grant money was awarded. "The board received $5,473 for Ward County through FEMA," said Florez.

A daycare facility for Saragosa and Balmorhea residents at the Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center was tabled, until further information can be gathered.

A summer food program for Saragosa and Grandfalls was discussed. "In Pecos and Balmorhea the schools sponsor the summer food programs," said Florez. "We still need to look and see if Balmorhea can also serve Saragosa, since they are so close by."

Board members discussed a fundraiser scheduled for Friday. "They'll be selling flauta plates, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.," said Florez.

Community Council Director Mary Jane Ontiveros and Bertha Meierhoff, who works with the weatherization programs, attended a Texas Association of Community Action Association seminar in Austin recently, the board was told.

Board members received updates on CSBG and CEAP; weatherization; elderly Meals on Wheels Program and Head Start.

"We also received reimbursement from Head Start," said Florez.

When the board relinquished the program, which was taken over by West Texas Opportunities, the year was not yet over. "We still had to finish off that year and we paid some bills and spent some monies on the program and we were reimbursed for that," said Florez.

The board received $18,044.51 reimbursement from Head Start.

Local unemployment declined in April

PECOS, May 20, 1999 -- Reeves County's unemployment dropped two-tenths of a percent in April, as the number of new jobs in the county outpaced the growth of the local workforce.

However, unemployment for the county remains above 12 percent, according to figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission, though that's still below the 14.3 percent rate reported for Reeves County at the start of the year.

TWC figures indicated the local labor force grew by 44 people last month, to 6,563, while the number of jobs within the county increased from 5,715 in March to 5,768 in April. That left Reeves County with a jobless rate of 12.1 percent, after starting 1999 with a rate of 14.3 percent.

The local labor force has grown by nearly 400 workers since Janaury, while the number of jobs within Reeves County has increased from 5,296 to 5,768 last month, the TWC said.

Most other counties also reported drops in their unemployment rates, as did the Town of Pecos City.

The city's jobless rate remained above the county's level, at 13.8 percent. That's still down from the 14 percent rate in March and the 16.2 percent level it hit in January.

There were 4,450 people employed in Pecos last month, with 712 others out of work. That's eight less than in March, as the city added 41 jobs while the workforce grew by 33.

Ector County saw it's jobless rate drop by .3 percent, to 10.6 percent, as the county's workforce fell by over 150 while the number of people with jobs grew by 23. Midland County was one of the few to report an increase in it's unemployment rate, from 6.2 to 6.7 percent, as the number of new jobs failed to keep up with an increase in the county's workfroce.

Andrews County saw it's jobless rate drop from 12.1 to 11.7 percent, Pecos County's rate declined from 8.4 to 8.1 percent, Ward County saw its rate fall from 12.4 to 11 percent and Winkler County's rate was down from 16.3 to 14.2 percent. However, part of the decline in those four counties was due to a decrease in the workforce compared to a month ago.

Presidio County continued to have the area's highest jobless rate, at 27. 8 percent. That's still down from March's 28.9 percent, as the beginning of the spring havest season increased the number of jobs within the county.

Statewide unemployment was put at 4.3 percent in April by the TWC, down one-tenth of a percent from March.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) One ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Wednesday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The ticket, worth an estimated $10 million, was sold in Houston. The numbers drawn Wednesday night from a field of 50 were: 2, 3, 5, 22, 23, 30.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 5-3-0 (five, three, zero)

Weather

PECOS, May 20, 1999 -- High Wednesday 96; low last night 60. Tonight, partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of an evening thunderstorm. Low 60 65. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Friday, mostly sunny and warm. High 90 95. Southeast wind 10-20 mph and gusty.



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