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for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Monday, December 20, 1999

I-20 relocation work starts

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 20, 1999 - Work started this morning near the Flying J Travel Plaza in Pecos on a new entrance ramp to westbound lanes of Interstate 20, and the Texas Department of Transportation department is urging motorists to drive with caution.

The new entrance ramp will be built the west of the current ramp and will give traffic from the truck stop a straight shot onto I-20, said John Salcido, who works in TxDOT's Pecos area highway engineering office.

This morning, workers were braving the cold weather to remove guard rails from the area near the truck stop, while other crews were using jackhammers to remove concrete bridge abutments at I-20 and West County Road, where the new ramp will be built.

Salcido said that the existing exit ramp for Country Club Drive also would be moved further west, to provide proper spacing between the two ramps. The new entrance ramp is only about 200 yards from the Country Club Drive exit.

The current entrance ramp near the Flying J Travel Plaza forces trucks to cross the north service road, then turn to east, to enter the ramp to the interstate westbound. Not only is it difficult for the large tractor-trailer units to maneuver, it briefly halts both eastbound and westbound traffic on the service road while the units are crossing, according to Salcido.

A driveway that allowed trucks to travel straight across the access road from the Flying J parking lot onto I-20 was closed seven years ago due to safety concerns for vehicles traveling on the access road. Several accidents occurred in the area after the driveway was opened to the Flying J, which was first opened in Pecos 11 years ago.

Signs indicating that work is to begin were placed on nearby roads on Dec. 14, while actual work began just this morning.

The cost of the project is $471,801 and Reece Albert, Inc., of Midland and San Angelo, will perform the work. The project is expected to be completed by April 20.

Motorists are urged to observe all warning signs, flaggers, and proceed with caution through the work zone.

"The project is part of the Rural Area Transportation Improvement Program for the Odessa District," Salcido said. "It has been scheduled for some time."

West Texas SWAT team project is criticized

DALLAS (AP) - A statewide SWAT team drafted by a West Texas sheriff has critics questioning whether the coalition of county sheriffs is legal - or even necessary.

The super SWAT team is called Sheriffs of Texas Agreed Response, or STAR. Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter started the team more than two years ago when he began acquiring surplus military hardware and signing "mutual aid pacts" with other rural sheriffs.

"There is nothing else like it in the U.S. on as grand a scale," Painter told The Dallas Morning News. "It's no different than what sheriffs have always done. We've cooperated forever."

But other disagree on the need for the program.

"As far as I'm concerned, he is totally out in left field," said Win Brown, a politically active Midland businessman and Painter critic. "They're building up a force just like a militia. When we've got DPS and the Texas Rangers, who needs a sheriff running around Texas half-cocked?"

So far, more than 50 sheriffs from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast have signed agreements to participate in STAR, Painter said. Membership means equipping their deputies for training exercises, helping maintain STAR equipment, or both, The News reported.

The stated purpose is to stand ready to help fellow sheriffs overwhelmed by a hostage crisis, terrorist attack, or natural disaster. However, few government officials outside of those participating sheriff's departments know anything about STAR.

"I haven't heard anything about it and don't know anything," said Maj. James Allen, Midland regional commander of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Doug Crabtree of Governor George W. Bush's emergency management division said STAR just appeared out of nowhere from search-and-rescue and cattle-roundup operations during a severe August 1998 flood in the Del Rio area. At that time, the cooperating authorities operated independently, then billed the state for its costs.

"We had no record that he was down there," Crabtree said of Painter. "He just can't keep his own records and not go through our auditing system. It's the command system."

Painter blamed the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the problems in Del Rio.

"FEMA told me they would pay our bills, and then they didn't," he said.

Crabtree finds that naive, at best.

"Mr. Painter is a good guy and a good law officer, but his concept of things is a little different than the way the real world works," Crabtree said. "I think he's anti-state."

Nevertheless, the governor's office supporter STAR last summer with a $10,000 grant. Records showed the money was being spent on targets for weapons training, fuel for STAR's vehicle fleet, and food for trainees, The News reported.

Money and assets seized from drug dealers bankroll much of STAR's operations,'' Painter said. "That's how I save taxpayers money," he told The News.

Supporters say rural counties reap the benefits of STAR. Patrick C. Hailey, chief investigator for the Comanche County Sheriff's Department, called STAR training "by far the touchiest but best training I have ever received."

"Fourteen people totally unorganized and unknown to one another were able to come together in only five days' time and become a team that was highly skilled and very proficient," he said.

However, critics warn that the expect STAR eventually will undertake anti-drug operations along the Texas border. The U.S. Border Patrol, which is in charge of securing the nation's borders, have warned that Painter would be required to coordinate STAR operations with theirs to avoid potentially deadly situations.

Dannelly overcame  disease to earn honors

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third place winner in the Pecos Enterprise's writing contest. Nichi Dannelley, a 1999 Pecos High School graduate, wrote about her brother's T.K's tragedies and efforts to overcome polio and star as an All American Wheelchair basketball player.


Proverbs 3:5-6 reads: "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight." This verse represents to Ekutan Loyan the Lord's willingness to intervene in the lives of people who choose to surrender their lives to Christ. Loyan's life story is one filled with tragedies and trophies.

From his humble beginnings as a Turkana child leaving in one of the toughest regions in the world to being an All American Wheelchair basketball player for the University of Texas at Arlington.

Born during a drought in 1973 Loyan was struck with Polio and was left by his mother at a mission compound. Turkanas are nomadic people who move often, finding better locations for their families and cattle to survive in. Loyan's mother knew that it would be impossible for him to live in a

nomadic society and that the missionaries would make sure he was well cared for.

The missionaries enrolled him in a boarding school for handicap children called "Joy Town". Knowing that Loyan didn't have a family to go home to for the holidays the director placed a bulletin at the Nairobin Mennonite Church requesting someone to take him in for the holidays. A missionary by the name of Jay Dannelley agreed to take him in. Since Dannelley didn't know Loyan's name he referred to him as "Turkana Kid" which he shorten to T.K. During the holidays T.K., Dannelley, and Danne11ey's roommate enjoyed going to the beach, visiting gameparks, and relaxing at the apartment. Their relationship grew so strongly that after Dannelley married Sylvia Shirk they choose to adopt T.K. who was seven at the time.

T.K. began attending school at Rosslyn Academy, a missionary school. There he got to know Jack Thomas, who showed him how to repair old cars and later lead him to the Lord.

"God has always put people in my life that believe in me- like my second grade teacher who didn't treat me special because I used crutches, the middle school teacher who encouraged me to manage the basketball team and my best friend, Brian who let me climb trees with him." said T.K., who would shoot baskets everyday after the team practices and on weekends. He would stay at the courts for hours holding his crutch in one hand and shooting baskets with the other.

In June of 1989 the Dannelleys moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His uncle Dub Warden, a golf coach in Andrews, saw T.K.'s love basketball at bought him his first shorts wheelchair. T.K. joined a small wheelchair basketball team in the city and enjoyed learning how to play.

After High School T.K. attended a technical school in Johnston, Pa., which also had a wheelchair team. The family moved to Pecos, and T.K. remained in Johnston to finish his education. Mrs. Dannelley, who worked at Crockett Middle School as a special education teacher, organized an assembly demonstrating wheelchair basketball, featuring T.K. and other wheelchair basketball players.

The other players were so impressed at his talent that they asked if they could refer him to the Wheelchair basketball coach at UTA Arlington. Some weeks later T.K. got a letter from the coach asking him to come try out for the team, if he made it he would get a full paid five-year scholarship. The university was also 95 percent wheelchair accessible.

He made the team and began playing for them the following year. T.K. was a great addition to the team playing his best at every game. His father always told him that if he believed in God all his needs would be met - words that stay with him to this day. Jay Dannelley died in June of 1996 and T.K. dedicated his championship game to him. He scored 29 points and was voted All-American during that game.

"He taught me to pray all the time, even when things seem impossible. I believe that material possession's, Winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord because He knows and cares about what we really are," says T.K.

T.K. has spent the last three years traveling to Zimbabwe to help coach the wheelchair basketball team and ministering the Zimbabwean people. "The Lord has given to me generously and it is owner job as Christians to tell everyone what wonderful things the Lord has in mind for those who choice him to be their God and Savor." T.K. says of his ministry in Zimbabwe and on the basketball courts.

Council to discuss fire pact, Y2K at Tuesday's meeting

A Y2K update will be the topic of discussion at the Town of Pecos City meeting scheduled for 7:30 a.m., Tuesday in the council room at City Hall.

The council meeting was moved up by two days this week, in order to avoid a conflict with the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Council members will discuss and consider an interlocal agreement with Reeves County to provide fire protection services for fiscal year 2000; consider contingency drought ordinance, second reading; and an interlocal agreement with Reeves County Hospital District to provide ambulance service for the fiscal year 2000.

The group will meet behind closed doors to discuss and consider possible litigation with Reeves County concerning the water rate case.

Building usage, upkeep head up CCRC agenda

PECOS, Dec. 20, 1999 - The Community Council of Reeves County will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Pyote Community Center to discuss several items, including maintenance on the Saragosa Multi-purpose Center and an agreement for building utilization between in CCRC and Greater Opportunities of the Permian Basin.

The Saragosa center is under old items on the agenda. Other items there include updates on the fall community council conference in Galveston in November and on the 1999 energy conference held last week in Austin.

Other new items are updates on the CSBG, CEAP and Weatherization projects, an update on the elderly meals program, presenting the CSBG Community Action Plan and the CEAP Service Delivery Plan, an update on an appeal for denial of services, a proposal for the 1999-2000 audit, an update on the 2000 CSBG budget and consider and act upon the CCRC 2000 holiday schedule.


AUSTIN (AP) - One ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The ticket was worth an estimated $7 million. The ticket was sold in Denton. The numbers drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 4, 12, 32, 36, 37, 50


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 3-5-7-11-30. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $85,653. Winning ticket sold in: Garland. Matching four of five: 443. Prize: $290.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 5-50-76-83. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0 Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 0


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-2-3 (one, two, three)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-6-3 (nine, six, three)


Francisco Benavidez

Francisco Benavidez, 73, died Friday, Dec. 17, 1999, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

A rosary will be held at 8 p.m., today, at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Oct. 10, 1926, in San Carlos, Chihuahua, Mexico, was a lifetime resident, a retired janitor and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by one daughter.

Survivors include his wife, Ramona Benavidez of Pecos; six sons, Ruben Benavidez of Odessa, Francisco Benavidez, Jr. of Wyoming, Manuel Benavidez of Pecos, Daniel Benavidez of Houston, Saul Benavidez of San Antonio and Mike Benavidez of Dallas; five daughters, Vicki Matta of Pecos, Anita Flores of Houston, Enoe Rodriguez of Pecos, Ramona Rodriguez of Victorville, Calif. and Elena Zuniga of Ft. Stockton; two brothers, Eduardo Benavidez of Tatum, N.M. and Domingo Benavidez of Delicias Chih., Mexico; three sisters, Angelica Bustamantes of Ojinaga, Mexico, Mercedes Zubiate of Abilene and Dulces Benavidez of Juarez, Mexico; 32 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Fred Martin, Sr.

Fred W. Martin, Sr., 87, of Pecos, died Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999, at Odessa Medical Center Hospital.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m., today, sponsored by St. Catherine Catholic Church Choir, at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

A rosary will follow at 7:30 p.m., at the chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born May 6, 1912, in Fort Davis, was a lifelong Pecos resident, a retired employee of Texas Department of Highways, and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Susana Martin of Pecos; two sons, Fred Martin Jr. of Pecos and Joe Martin of San Antonio; a daughter, Martha Vasquez of Odessa; a stepdaughter, Belzora Hinojoz of Pecos; a brother, Ben Martin of El Paso; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Santa Rosa Catholic Church in Pecos.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Agapito Renteria

Agapito "Pete" Renteria, 65, of Odessa, died Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999, at Medical Center Hospital.

Services will be at 1 p.m., today, in the chapel of Frank W. Wilson Funeral Directors with Rev. Mike Salgado officiating. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

He was born Aug. 17, 1934, in Carlsbad, N.M., and moved to Odessa from Pecos in 1968. He worked in the oilfield for many years and was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness.

Survivors include his wife, Augustina G. Renteria of Odessa; three sons, Ricky Renteria of Georgetown, Ismael Renteria of Odessa and Armando Renteria of Dallas; two daughters, Maria Renteria and Virginia Beseril of Odessa; four brothers, Seledonio Renteria of Pecos, Manuel Renteria, Benino Renteria and Cirilo Renteria of Odessa; two sisters, Pifania Marquez and Cleta Rodriguez of Odessa; 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Frank W. Wilson Funeral Directors of Odessa, are in charge of arrangements.

Jesus Sotelo

Jesus Contreras Sotelo, 81, of Pecos, died Thursday, Dec. 16, 1999, in Odessa.

Services will be held in Ojinaga, Mexico.

He was born Jan. 26, 1918, in Ojinaga, Chih., Mexico.

Survivors include his wife, Nicholasa Rodriguez of Pecos; one son, Rogelio Rodriguez of Presidio; two daughters, Gloria Rodriguez Molina of Stockton, Calif. and Martha Rodriguez Barraza of Pecos; two brothers, Patrick Contreras Sotelo of Ojinaga, Mexico and Nolberto Contreras Sotelo of Ojinaga, Mexico and one sister, Maria de Jesus Contreras Rodriguez of Presidio.

Odessa Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Dec. 20, 1999 - High Sunday 65. Low this morning 30. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy and cold. Low near 20. East to northeast wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 40s. East to northeast wind 10-15 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly clear. Low in the lower to mid 20s. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 40s.

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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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