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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

Bears immigrating into West Texas

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 20, 1999 -- Black bears like the one in Maxey Park Zoo are naturally shy and will avoid contact with humans if they can, said Jim Allen, Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden for Reeves and surrounding counties.

Allen attended a black bear seminar in Alpine this spring, where he learned that the animal is quite a traveler.

"The black bear seemed to be migrating into Texas from Mexico," Allen said. "They are quite a nomadic animal. A lot has to do with finding foods in the desert."

A nomadic black bear climbed a utility pole near Pecos to escape his captors about four years ago and was electrocuted just a few months after another bear was struck and killed by a car on Interstate 10, near the I-20 junction.

"In the past couple of years, there's been a definite increase in black bear in Texas," Allen said. "They keep to themselves, but if there is a camphouse on a ranch where food or garbage is left out, they will come in and feed on that."

Preferring vegetation such as fruit and roots, the bear will eat small animals, but they don't attack livestock, Allen said. If a carcass is left in the pasture a few days, a bear will feed on that.

"They are like any other wild animal. They will run from humans, but if cornered, they will get on the defensive," Allen said.

If a person spots a black bear, he should notify the game warden, but leave the bear alone, Allen said.

"He is just passing through. Don't try to corner it or trap it or catch the animal. And it is illegal to shoot it," he said.

Mountain lions also pass through this part of Texas on their walkabouts, and they may prey on livestock. If they do, anyone who has a general hunting license may shoot them.

"The mountain lion is a non-game animal," Allen said. So is the coyote and bobcat.

Coyotes are also on the increase in West Texas, where there are plenty rabbits, cantaloupe and watermelons.

"Coyotes love cantaloupe and watermelons," Allen said.

Allen believes the coyote will survive when nothing else will.

"If he has to live on mesquite beans, he will live on them. If he can get meat, all the better," he said.

Coyotes run in packs during the summer months when they are raising pups, but are more likely to be spotted traveling alone in the fall and winter months.

The danger of attacks on livestock is greater when they are running in packs, he said.

"Whether it is a bear, mountain lion, coyote eating cantaloupe fields or predating on livestock, call the local game warden, and we will see if we can give you a hand," Allen said.

Animals have city over under a barrel


By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 20, 1999 -- Birds, beasts and bugs may be nature's gift or a nuisance, depending on your point of view.

Blackie the bear and two Capuchin monkeys in the Maxey Park Zoo draw youngsters again and again to the little oasis in the desert alongside Interstate 20.

An extended cage allows Blackie to roam a little, and five-gallon blocks of ice in his pool twice a day keeps him cool and happy. Next door, two cougars hole up in their dens to escape the heat and prying eyes.

Ground squirrels and gophers that dig up the expanse of Bermuda grass and leave holes for unwary runners to step in are not so popular.

"Gophers are the biggest problem at the zoo and park," said Armando Gil, parks director for the City of Pecos. "they have done a lot of damage in the park. They gnaw on roots and create cavities where water won't hold."

Gil said he knows of no way to get rid of gophers.

And he's had little success thinning out the pigeon population that continues to plague downtown Pecos.

Pigeons that roost on the Reeves County Courthouse and Pecos Post Office are a health nuisance, Gil said. Should they become a health hazard, he would have to try again to control them.

"I used a grain with a low dose of poison, but people complained about dead birds falling off the buildings," Gil said.

And the process is time consuming because the area has to be monitored closely and the dead birds removed.

"It is a full-time job," he said. "I wish there was a way to get rid of them."

A sticky substance that irritates the feet of pigeons was applied to some downtown buildings, and it kept them away for a few days, Gil said. But it is too expensive and difficult to apply for the short period of time that it works.

Blackbirds, or grackles, are also a problem, but they also provide a service by eating insects, such as mosquitoes.

Gil said that mosquitoes have not been a problem for the past three years because it has been so dry, but he expects to start getting complaints in a few days.

City crews use a low-volume sprayer to kill the mosquito after it hatches. Larvacide is applied to standing water to prevent the eggs from hatching.

Homeowners can keep the mosquito population down by mowing lawns and getting rid of weeds and standing water, he said.

Rats, mice and rattlesnakes have been coming into town this year in search of food and water, Gil said. And he's had reports of flying ants and honey bees that are a nuisance.

The biggest nuisance of all is people who don't respect the zoo animals, Gil said. Someone shot Blackie and killed one of the monkeys. Wallabies were killed by a pit bull that was put into the pen with them. And one of the wolves got sick from eating meat laced with anti-freeze and Pine Sol.

Despite all the problems, Gil and his crew maintain a clean, interesting zoo for travelers and local folks who want to relax for a few minutes or hours.

RCH clinic, docs offer required hepatitis shots

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, July 20, 1999 -- With the start of school less than a month away, hepatitis A vaccinations will be available through several local physicians, and parents and guardians are urged to take care of this before classes get underway.

The hepatitis A vaccination is now required for school enrollment in 32 border area counties, and Reeves County is included in the list.

"The reason for the vaccination is that hepatitis A is so contagious," said Physicians Assistant Michele Cser. "When it gets into a system, like the school system, it spreads like wildfire."

"The only way to stop this (Hepatitis A) is with prevention," she added. "Because once it is introduced into the community it runs rapidly in families and throughout."

Cser, along with LVN Joe Ortiz, will be vaccinating children on Thursdays at the Reeves County Hospital's Rural Health Clinic. Call the hospital at 447-3551 and ask for the clinic.

"We will begin this Thursday and continue giving the vaccinations until we have all the children vaccinated in the area, or we run out of them," said Cser.

Cser said that the next step will be to vaccinate the younger adult people.

Children in the 32 counties must be vaccinated against hepatitis A illness to attend public or private schools or child-care facilities this school year. The requirement is effective Aug. 1 and applies to children 2 and older who were born after Sept. 2, 1992.

The 32 counties are Brewster, Brooks, Cameron, Crockett, Culberson, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, El Paso, Frio, Hidalgo, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, McMullen, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Starr, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, Zapata and Zavala.

Ward County is not on the list, but Cser said students from the Barstow area who attend school in Pecos also are required to receive the shots in order to attend classes.

Under Texas Department of Health (TDH) rules approved by the Texas Board of Health, 2-year-olds in the 32 counties must have one dose of the two-dose hepatitis A vaccination series to attend child-care facilities. Children age 3 and older must have two doses given at least six months apart and must have had the first dose before they can enroll in schools or child-care facilities.

Children who have had hepatitis A infection are considered immune to the illness and do not have to be vaccinated if proof of immunity or previous infection is provided.

Though the rules only apply to school enrollment, TDH recommends that all of the estimated 228,000 children ages 2 through 6 in the 32 counties be vaccinated against hepatitis A.

The hospital's rural health clinic is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. "We'll be giving the vaccinations all day and if someone comes in late we will stay and take care of them," said Cser.

There will be a $5 vaccination fee, but in cases of economic duress the fee may be waived, according to Cser.

"Parents also need to remember that the second shot is due within six months, which would be around January of 2000," she added.

Cser said that parents will have four opportunities to get the vaccination at the clinic before school starts. "Nobody will be allowed in school without the shot," said Cser. "The will be considered truant and it's the parents' responsibilities to get this taken care of."

Studies indicate that 50 percent of the children in some of the 32 counties have been infected with hepatitis A by age 10. During the last 10 years there has been an average of 39 cases of hepatitis A infection per 100,000 population per year reported in the 32-county area. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine hepatitis A vaccinations be considered in areas with at least 10 cases per 100,000 population per year over a 10-year period.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease spread by the fecal-oral route through close personal contact or by consuming contaminated food or water. The disease affects the liver. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, jaundice and dark urine. Symptoms can last several weeks. Young children may be infected without showing any signs of illness.

Symptoms usually are more severe in adults. The illness is rarely fatal, but up to 22 percent of adults with hepatitis A require hospitalization.

Local physicians, Dr. Joseph Darpolor and Dr. Kai Wood Ma will be offering the vaccine in their offices soon also. For an appointment and information on the vaccine at Darpolor's office, call 447-4155, Dr. Ma's office, 447-6078.

The vaccination will also be offered at the Trans Pecos Health Clinic, located at the corner of Daggett and Eddy streets. For information on when the vaccine will be available there, call 447-3699.
 

Lotto

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

Winning numbers drawn: 7-14-16-18-35. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 211. Prize: $952.

***

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

2-4-8 (two, four, eight)

Obituaries

Tiburcio Garcia

Tiburcio Mata Garcia, Sr. died Sunday, July 18, 1999, at his residence.

Mass was held at 2 p.m., today, at St. Mary's Church in Marathon with Rev. Rick Ruiz officiating.

Garcia was born in Lajitas, on March 15, 1917, was a member of Our Lady of Peace Church, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wards, and Holy Angels Cemetery Association. He served during World War II with the U.S. Army in Europe.

He was preceded in death by a son, Peter Garcia.

Survivors include his wife, Angelita Garcia; five sons, Eliseo Garcia of Odessa and Tiburcio Garcia Jr., Joe, Paul and Johnny Garcia of Alpine; five daughters, Susanna Sanchez of Fort Stockton, Scholastica Hernandez of Marathon, Rita Marquez of Houston and Carol Uranga of Odessa and Bernie Garcia of Odessa; two sisters, Dora Estrada and Maria Rios, of Carlsbad, N.M.; two brothers, Margarito Garcia of Midland and Benito Garcia of Fort Stockton; 31 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Geeslin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, July 20, 1999 -- High Monday 96; low last night 70. Spotty rainfall in area, with none in town or at Texas A&M Research Station. Tonight, partly cloudy with isolated evening showers and thunderstorms. Low around 70. Southeast wind 10 20 mph, decreasing to 5-15 mph before midnight. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Wednesday, partly cloudy with isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms. High around 90. South wind 10-20 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Extended forecast, Wednesday night, partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening thunderstorms. Low in the lower 70s.



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Pecos Enterprise
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