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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Friday, August 6, 1999

Commissioners approve water tank plans

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- An elevated water tank for the Reeves County Detention Center's expansion was the topic of discussion at a special meeting held by the Reeves County Commissioners Thursday afternoon.

Architect Lorraine Dailey of Dailey, Gondeck and Rabke was on hand to update commissioners on the water issue at the facility, after which commissioners agreed to fund two different proposals, one at a cost of almost $520,000 and an alternate plan, costing over $175,000.

"We've spoken to Frank Spencer and found out that what is needed at the facility is a higher pressure (water) tank, along with a ground tank," said Dailey. "So we really don't want to go to a smaller tank," she said.

Spencer's firm recommended an elevated tank be built at the RCDC, but a smaller tank could be used, requiring more pressure from the city lines, according to Dailey.

"Because of time constraints and the need for it, we need to act quickly on this decision to purchase the elevated tank," said Dailey.

Bids on this particular item had been over the minimum. "We have not had any really low bids and there is no real competition," Dailey said. "We had trouble getting good bids out here, but we feel we can absorb the extra cost of purchasing this particular item."

Victor Thompson, with Spencer's office, said that there were three main things they based their findings on. One was to supply domestic flow to the facility, two was to provide enough flow to fight any fires at minimum pressure required by the fire marshal and three, to provide a stand-alone system, as much as possible to help relieve pressure on the city.

"We also needed to add sufficient height to the tank to provide domestic flow and fire flow," said Thompson.

Over 360,000 gallons will be the daily average use at the facility, once it is completed, according to Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

"I think this is what we have to do, is accept the bid for the elevated tank," said Dailey. "We've already bid it out twice and we feel we may lose our low bidder if we do it again."

It takes 300 days to get the tank and it needs to be ordered now, according to Dailey.

The bid was awarded to Edson's Steel Product Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M., at $519,134 for the elevated tank and $176,502 for the ground storage tank.

"We hope to look to implement a solution, relief and not added pressure to the city," said Galindo.

Dailey also gave commissioners a brief report on the construction at the facility.

"Things are coming along great at the construction site," she said. "Everything is running smoothly."

Violation nets Armstrong new punishment

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- District Judge Bob Parks this morning found Paul Coleman Armstrong guilty of possession of cocaine and sentenced him to two years in state jail, plus a $5,000 fine.

He suspended the jail term in favor of five years community supervision, noting that Armstrong will no longer be allowed to carry a rifle because he is now a convicted felon.

The sentence came at the close of a hearing on motion to adjudicate guilt, based on allegations that Armstrong violated terms of his community supervision by attending a dance at the Reeves County Civic Center July 4 after his 10 p.m. curfew and by consuming alcoholic beverages.

Judge Parks found that the state failed to prove Armstrong consumed alcoholic beverages, but he did find that he violated his curfew and was in a place where alcoholic beverages were sold.

Pecos Police investigator Paul Deishler testified that he arrested Armstrong in May, 1998 after a search of his home turned up cocaine. Armstrong pleaded guilty to the charge last year and was placed on deferred-adjudication community supervision.

Deishler testified that he saw Armstrong holding a Coors Light beer at 11:56 p.m. July 4 in the civic center, where a dance was held and beer was sold.

Matt Burkholder testified that he was in charge of drink sales at the dance. He said that he talked with Armstrong while he was in the civic center for a short time, and that Armstrong did not drink beer.

Coley Armstrong, Paul's brother, testified that he and Paul went into the civic center to check on their teenage sons who were attending the dance. He said they left after a few minutes, and he went with some friends to the Sheriff's Posse Barn where another dance was underway.

Coley said he did not see Paul at the posse barn and assumed he went home.

Paul Armstrong testified that he had left the West of the Pecos Rodeo at 9:30 p.m. and went home. His wife and younger children were in South Dakota, Armstrong said, so he returned to the civic center to check on his 15-year-old son, Chris.

Both Paul and Coley Armstrong testified they entered the civic center together and were only in the building for a few minutes.

Coley agreed to look after both the boys, Paul said, and he returned home.

Johnny Terrazas testified that he saw Paul Armstrong at the posse barn between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., and that he was drinking from a silver can similar to the Coors Light that Terrazas was drinking.

When he left the posse barn, Paul Armstrong's head was lying on the table, Terrazas said.

Recalled to the stand, Coley Armstrong said he may have seen Paul at the posse barn.

During a punishment hearing, community supervision officer Jason Woods testified that Armstrong had complied with terms of supervision, including performing the required community service.

Judge Parks said that he would have a transcript of testimony presented to the Reeves County grand jury.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds presented evidence for the state, while Odessa attorney Tom Hirsch represented Armstrong.
 

T-NP ready for Y2K

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- One of the last critical components in Texas-New Mexico Power Company's Year 2000 readiness effort takes effect this month, when the company switches over to a new billing system.

The new target date for completion of the billing system is Aug. 30.

Most T-NMP customers will only notice a few minor changes in the bills. Those electing to pay in person at the company's local offices may experience slight delays during the initial transition to the new system, according to Customer Relations Coordinator Mya Surratt.

"We've spent more than two years gearing up for the rollover to Year 2000," said Surratt. "The application of this new billing system is one of the last critical steps in ensuring that T-NMP is Y2K ready. We plan for a smooth transition and appreciate our customers' patience during the implementation process."

Surratt said the new bills will look very similar to current T-NMP bills, as only minor changes are being made at this time. New account numbers are one of the changes customers will note.

"A lot of training has gone into working on this new billing system," she said.

T-NMP began working on the Year 2000 computer problem - also known as the Millennium Bug or Y2K - in early 1997. The company has undergone significant testing to ensure all company computer-based systems and equipment run smoothly when the year 2000 arrives. It has focused on providing essential electric service for customers, and recently completed the testing and required changes of its generating and energy-delivery systems.

The company also has partnered with suppliers and other service providers to make sure they are Y2K ready as well.

T-NMP is in the final stages of testing its contingency plans as well, having recently completed one successful drill.

The North American Electric Reliability Council organized a nationwide test to simulate failure of telecommunications systems in April. During the drill T-NMP employees in locations throughout its system were able to effectively communicate critical operating information. A second nationwide drill is scheduled for September.

For further information on T-NMP's Year 2000 preparations, call the company's toll-free Y2K hotline at 1-877-TNP-2000 or visit the T-NMP web page at www.tnpe.com.

Texas-New Mexico Power Company provides community-based electric service to 85 cities and more than 229,000 customers in Texas and New Mexico. It is wholly owned subsidiary of T-NP Enterprises, Inc.
 

Victims assistance offices open

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- Warm, friendly faces will greet victims of crimes at the Reeves and Ward County Adult Probation Offices, thanks to a grant to help fund a victims assistance program.

"We applied for this grant back in October of last year and received notification of funding in February of this year," said Adult Probation Officer Sam Lujan for the 143rd District, which includes Reeves, Ward and Loving counties.

He explained that the grant is through the governor's office and that the actual funds were procured on July 10. "We received official notification, did interviews and selected two outstanding young ladies," said Lujan, referring to employees Tracy Huertas and Susie Saenz.

Huertas will be working in the Monahans office, while Saenz will be located in the probation office in Pecos, to serve Reeves County residents.

The new employees will provide services for victims, working directly with them and notifying them of their rights. "This will go hand in hand with what the district attorney's office is doing also," said Lujan. "They have just hired somebody to do this in their office and these employees will be working closely with them."

"Sam has put a lot of time and effort in getting this grant," said probation office director Camilla Blum. "It took a lot of work and we feel it's going to be beneficial to both counties."

District Attorney Randy Reynolds' office has also hired somebody to work with the victims through a grant program. "They will take the victims through the adjudication process and once the defendant has been placed on probation we'll keep in touch with the victims," said Lujan.

He said the new employees will then keep in touch with the victims and notify them of their rights, advise and counsel them.

"This is something new, we're very excited about this new program," said Lujan, who hopes to get it up and ready by the first of September.

"They're already in the office, but the program will be totally ready by then," he said.

Huertas will be working at the program center in Monahans, 1101 S. Fay St.

"I'm very excited about my new position. This is the first time I've worked with something like this," said Huertas.

However, the position relates with Huertas' goals. "This goes with what I'm going to school to become," said Huertas. "Some day I want to be a probation officer."

She said that it's going to be challenging job, but something very rewarding. "It's going to be great," she said.

Huertas is married to Sammy Huertas and the couple have two children, Selena, 8 and Casey, 3.

Saenz is the Reeves County Victim's Rights Coordinator. She's not new to the probation office, having worked there the previous year.

"I'm familiar with what goes on at the probation office, I've worked here before, but this position is something new," she said.

"It's going to be exciting, something good for the community," said Saenz. "I hope we can help them out," she said.

Saenz has been married for 17 years to Arturo Saenz, and the couple have three children, Michelle 15, Arturo Jr., 14, and Erica, 8.

The victim's rights employees will be going to training in Monahans on Aug. 18, with Community Justice Assistance Division employee Ray Ramirez. On Aug. 24, they will be attending training in Midland through the Victims Services Training.

"They have already been working really hard and will be undergoing some more training," Lujan said.

Guilty pleas, bench trial end drug case

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- Three guilty pleas and a bench trial this morning closed out a week-long jury trial involving a drug-smuggling ring centered in the Odessa-Midland area.

Prosecutor Tom McHugh, assistant U.S. Attorney from San Antonio, said the case set a record for the Pecos Division in terms of the amount of seizures presented in one case.

"The prosecution was really the second stage," he said. "Over the last four or five years many seizures have been taken down in different locations in the southwest and southeast part of the United states.

"The DEA investigated seizures, related them to one another and was able to go after the mid-level captains and lieutenants to some major marijuana traffickers," he said.

Martin A. Alarcon-Iniguez, an organization lieutenant, and his wife, Rosa A. Rodriguez, pleaded guilty this morning to conspiracy to possess marijuana for distribution, as did Eberto Murrillo-Herrera.

Those who are Mexican citizens are subject to deportation after they complete prison terms of 10 or more years, Judge Royal Furgeson said.

Vicente Sanchez, alleged to have assisted in transportation and acquisition of marijuana, opted to have Judge Furgeson determine his guilt or innocence.

Judge Furgeson dismissed the jury at noon today after thanking them for their service over the past week, in which the government presented testimony from 25 witnesses.

"The evidence was very compelling," said McHugh. "We felt very good about the case, and I think the defendants' plea to the court to allow them to plead guilty is evidence that they appreciated the overwhelming evidence presented against them."

McHugh said the prosecution presented evidence on 11 seizures of marijuana. Eight co-defendants testified about the conduct and identified the persons they were responsible to in the organization.
 

County taxes on commish agenda

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- Reeves County Commissioners will discuss the 1999 certified tax appraisal rolls, concession operations at the Reeves County Golf Course and several items dealing with the Reeves County Detention Center during their regularly scheduled meeting, set for 9:30 a.m. Monday on the third floor of the Reeves Courthouse.

RCDC items include a request for payment No. 4 from Banes General Contractors on the RCDC 1,000 bed addition, DRG Architect request for payment draw, discussion/action on RCDC surplus property and an item in executive session on RCDC operations.

Among the other items commissioners will discuss/take action on are Balmorhea senior services; Cox Paving Co. property use approval and user fee; Madera Valley Water Supply line easement across County Roads 201 and 202; participation in the Houston Area Council of Governments for cooperative purchases for the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force and action on personnel and salary changes at the RCDC, tax office, sheriff's department, county attorney, county extension and county clerk's offices.

Action on department reports, semi-monthly bills and budget amendments also are on the agenda.

Lotto

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

Winning numbers drawn: 30-08-39-11-26. Number matching five of five: zero. Matching four of five: 226. Prize: $932.

***

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

7-8-1 (seven, eight, one)

Obituary

Maria Mendoza

Maria Mendoza, 74, of Pecos, died Thursday, Aug. 5, 1999, at her residence.

Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, Aug. 9, at Iglesia Emmanuel with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born Nov. 16, 1924, in Mexico, was a life-long Pecos resident and a housewife.

Survivors include her husband Cecilio Mendoza of Pecos; two sons, Jose Alfredo Mendoza of Oklahoma, Jose Manuel Mendoza of Pecos; two daughters, Maria de la Paz Mendoza and Maria Concepcion, both of Pecos; a brother, Ruben Pena of Mexico; two sisters, Nicholasa Pena of Barstow and Cruz Pena of Mexico; 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, Aug. 6, 1999 -- High 98; low last night 73. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Saturday, mostly sunny. High in the upper 90s. South wind 10-20 mph. Extended forecast: Saturday night, partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Sunday through Tuesday, mostly sunny days and fair nights through the period. Highs in the upper 90s to near 102. Lows in the lower 70s.
 



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