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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, July 14, 1999

Appraisal valuations show mixed results

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, July 14, 1999 -- Anchor West Inc.'s expanded plant has boosted the appraised real estate values for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for the 1999 tax year, said Carol Markham, chief appraiser.

Balmorhea ISD and the city of Balmorhea also show an increase in real estate values, while all other taxing entities saw their real estate values drop.

Mineral valuations are up for all entities except the two school districts.

Overall, P-B-T gained $1.5 million in net taxable values, while the city of Pecos lost $3.38 million.

Reeves County and the Reeves County Hospital District lost $2 million, and Balmorhea ISD lost $1.8 million.

Markham said that Anchor's addition benefits the P-B-T ISD because they do not allow for tax abatement while the city of Pecos, Reeves County and the hospital district do. They taxed Anchor last year because of a glitch in Anchor's abatement application.

Net taxable values for each entity are:

* Reeves County, $359.4 million

* Pecos City $114.6 million

* Toyah City $2.2 million

* Balmorhea City $3.5 million

* P-B-T ISD $367 million

* Balmorhea ISD $19.4 million

* Reeves County Water Improvement District #2 $5.8 million

* Reeves County Hospital District $359.4 million

The appraised values will be used by the various cities, counties and districts over the next several months to set their tax rates.

West side home damaged by kitchen fire

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 14, 1999 -- One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a house at 1920 Jackson Blvd. caught fire Wednesday night while supper was cooking, damaging the kitchen and living area.

Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Pena said that he and the first assistant chief were in Crane attending a training class when the fire was reported at 8:55 p.m. Firemen had it out and were back at the hall by 11 p.m., he said.

Family members spent the night with neighbors.

At 5:45 a.m. today, Dr. David Lovett and his wife, Marcella, discovered during their morning walk that the fire had re-ignited.

Pena said firemen were at the scene until 8 a.m.

"It was in pretty bad shape," Pena said. "The roof over the kitchen area was burned, and the kitchen and a little bit of the living room were damaged."

Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said the fire started at the range and went up the wall into the attic.

"There was quite a bit of damage," he said. "They will have to have the roof replaced, and the ceiling in several rooms fell in. There is a lot of water damage, and heat and smoke damage all through the house."

Brookshire said that the fire probably smoldered all night underneath blown-in insulation in the attic.

He ruled the cause of the fire accidental.

Richard Mathis, chief financial officer at Reeves County Hospital, and his wife, Carla live in the house. Emergency Medical Technicians treated Carla's mother, Maxine, for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

Mom to learn about pipes behind bars

 
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 14, 1999 -- Becky Ayala-Lechuga wants to learn the plumbing business while she is in federal prison on a drug conviction, so she can support her five children.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson on Tuesday sentenced Ayala to 24 months in prison so she will have time to complete a 500-hour drug program for her cocaine addiction, earn her general equivalency diploma and obtain work skills.

"Maybe they will have a plumbing program," Judge Furgeson said.

Ayala admitted she had made wrong choices in her life, but "I want to better myself, and I will," she told Judge Furgeson. "I have five kids; I'm the only one they have. They don't have a dad. He is bad."

With her mother, children, sisters, brother and their spouses and children listening, Ayala said, "I'm sorry for what I did to my Mom. She's always been there for me. I messed up, and I'm sorry. I learned."

Attorney Mimi Smith that Ayala has been a delightful client; positive and upbeat, and that she was "practically running the kitchen" in the Winkler County Jail where she was held for trial.

But she did not ask for mercy.

"We are not asking for the bottom of the guidelines; we are asking for the full sentence," Smith said.

Ayala also was convicted on a state charge and placed on 10 years supervised community service, she said.

Judge Furgeson recommended that Ayala be incarcerated at the Carswell facility at Fort Worth so she can be near her family.

"You said something important: `You can't give up,'" Furgeson said. "It is up to you to realize maybe you did give up, but you now know that you can't. That's a real plus...There's nothing you can't do. You will be less than 30 years old when you get out of the program.

"Unfortunately, I see too often drugs siphon off purpose, incentive and the will to do the right thing," he said. "Drugs are terrible, but I think you have a sense of that now and are ready to fight, and I'm proud of you."

Two Pecos men were among those sentenced this week.

Benjamin Carrasco Montano, 20, of 1200 E. Second St., was sentenced to 33 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana on Sept. 30, 1998.

He was arrested by Border Patrol agents as he traveled north on U.S. Highway 67 from Presidio in a maroon Dodge pickup containing 131.07 pounds of marijuana.

Ruben Garcia Jr., 20, of 238 W. "E" St., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Odell Dozier Locklair pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana after prosecutors brought large cardboard boxes of marijuana to court to prove it was too much for personal use.

Locklair had claimed he planned to use the marijuana for medicinal purposes to relieve symptoms of AIDS.

Judge Furgeson had presided for jury selection for Lockalair's trial on Monday, and it was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Testimony began this morning in the trial of Juan Lopez Sanabria. His attorney is Paul Williams.

Midland nursing home sued

By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer

MIDLAND The state filed a lawsuit against Mabee Healthcare Center this week, calling its record one of the worst cases of neglect at a nursing home in years.

Citing a Texas Department of Human Services investigation, Attorney General John Cornyn said a housekeeper at the nursing home is suspected of sexually assaulting a female patient with Alzheimer's disease.

Another Alzheimer's patient reportedly roamed unsupervised in a room full of cleaning solution and ingested chemicals that severely burned her throat and stomach. Several other residents suffered burns on their arms and legs.

"If you are responsible for the abuse and neglect of the elderly, you will be held accountable for your actions," Cornyn said. "I have made it a priority in my administration to protect those who cannot protect themselves and I intend to continue that commitment."

Mabee Healthcare Executive Director Alan Hale issued a written response, saying the nursing home will "file an answer and all allegations will be vigorously defended."

The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each of six violations, three of which involve an allegation of sexual assault.

All the accusations are based on a TDHS investigation, which was prompted by 71 complaints since 1995, the TDHS reported.

The suit, filed July 7 in Midland's 385th District Court, alleges that housekeeper Clinton Ophry took an 84-year-old Alzheimer's patient from her living area on Sept. 28, 1998, and another staff member later found the two together. The resident "was not wearing shoes and ... her shirt was buttoned crooked," according to the lawsuit.

The staff member requested that the patient receive a physical exam that night, and doctors found evidence she had been sexually assaulted. Ophry, who was on parole and had an outstanding warrant out of Houston, is being prosecuted in Midland County for sexual assault. The nature of his past offenses was unavailable.

Rosemary Patterson, a Texas Department of Human Services spokeswoman, said the nursing home did no criminal background check on Ophry.

"If the home is negligent in checking a person's history and that leads to the harm of a resident, the home can be held responsible," Mrs. Patterson said.

Cornyn spokeswoman Heather Browne said the case was one of the worst in years, but said it's not the only one of its kind.

"The Attorney General is making sure that those who neglect the elderly must pay the price," Ms. Browne said.

The home, where 130 patients receive care, also is accused of allowing an Alzheimer's patient to be left alone to ingest ammonia-based cleaner. The human services investigation found the room was unlocked because the key had been lost for 11 months.

Residents also were found with burns that they may have received in an open kitchen in which stove burners were left running, according to the lawsuit.

Cornyn said the TDHS also found the nursing home's kitchen was littered with dirty dishes. Clean dishes in the kitchen had been left next to moldy towels, according to Cornyn's office.

"These kind of violations are just the kind of thing nursing homes must be responsible for," Ms. Browne said. "Anything that happens on the property must be overseen by those operating the home."

L.A. family injured in I-20 rollover

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 14, 1999 -- Five members of a Los Angeles area family were injured Tuesday afternoon when the sport utility vehicle they were riding in overturned on Interstate 20 just west of the Business I-20 Barstow exit.

According to highway patrol officer Anthony Moreno from the Department of Public Safety's Monahans office, the five people were in a Nissan Pathfinder headed east on I-20 near the 52 mile marker when the driver, Johnnie Mae Duck, 62, of Los Angeles, lost control of the vehicle shortly before 4 p.m. The Pathfinder rolled over several times before coming to rest on its roof off the right shoulder of the highway.

"Trooper (Rodney) Tucker briefly spoke with the driver, since she was one of the worse off, and asked if she had fallen asleep and she said she hadn't," Moreno said.

Duck and another passenger in the front of the car, Tawanda Lewis, 37, of San Bernardino, Calif., were both trapped in the vehicle and had to be cut out by the Jaws of Life unit brought from Pecos by volunteer firemen. Two ambulances apeice from Pecos and Monahans were called to the scene and the injured were taken to Reeves County Hospital.

Both Duck and Lewis were then flown by air ambulance to Lubbock Methodist Hospital. Nursing supervisor Mason Berryhill said this morning that Duck was in the hospital's surgical intensive care unit in serious but stable condition, while Lewis was in the neruomedical unit and was listed in satisfactory and stable condition.

Two of the three passengers in the rear seat of the Pathfinder were transferred to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, while the fifth, 7-year-old Destiny Lewis, of Los Angeles, was treated at Reeves County Hospital and then released.

A spokesperson at MCH said Marquise Lewis, 11, was listed in good condition this morning, while Alex Duck, 61, was in stable condition at the Odessa hospital. Both Lewis and Duck also lives in Los Angeles, according to the DPS report.

Moreno said officers estimated the vehicle rolled 3 1/2 times before coming to rest on its roof. However, all of the passengers were wearing seat belts and none was ejected. "That's probably what saved the kids in the back," he added.

There were no citations issued in the accident.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 4-7-26-29-35. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $81,791. Winning ticket sold in: Harlingen. Matching four of five: 199. Prize: $616.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order:

0-2-6 (zero, two, six)

Obituaries

Clyde O. Holt

Clyde O. Holt, 83, of Muleshoe, died Monday, July 12, 1999, in Muleshoe Area Medical Center. Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in First United Methodist Church, with burial in Muleshoe Memorial Park Cemetery.

Mr. Holt was born Aug. 1, 1915 in Hugo, Okla. He moved to Muleshoe in 1931 from Sudan. He was past president of the Muleshoe Chamber of Commerce, member of the Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star. He was a wholesaler and retailer for Fina Oil and Gas and division manager for Panhandle Oil and Gas.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Frances Holt of Muleshoe; one son, Jimmy Clyde Holt of Muleshoe; one daughter, Mary Jo Black of Plainview; one sister, Helen Gardener of Charlotte, N.C.; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer Association South Plains Chapter, TTU - HSE, 3601 Fourth St., R. 3A 116, Lubbock TX 79430.
 

Weather

PECOS, July 14, 1999 -- High Tuesday 95; low last night 70. Tonight, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of evening thunderstorms. Low 65-70. South wind 5-15 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. High in the lower 90s. South wind 10-20 mph.
 



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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