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June, 3 1996

Fire victims critical of punishment

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Staff Writer
Two local boys, who were found by a local judge to be engaging in
delinquent conduct after setting fire to a central Pecos lot, were
placed on a lengthy probationary sentence. Restitution was set for a
fraction of what the owners of the property thought they lost in the

Linda Ornelas, wife of Freddy Ornelas, and co-owner of the lot that
caught fire April 21 after two youths, playing with lighters they had
stolen from Wal-Mart in a neighboring lot, decided, "the city has a administration problem," that lead up to the lesser charge
brought against the two boys.

Reeves County Court-At-Law Judge Lee Green said Thursday afternoon that
the two ten-year-old boys who destroyed sheds and their belongings
inside the storage facilities, were placed on probation, "for a good
period of time."

He did not comment as to the exact length of the probationary term, but
did say that they were first offenders and charged with criminal

Judge Green commented he did not wish to comment further on the case due
to the sensitivity of juvenile proceedings, but said that he ruled on
an, "acceptable rehabilitation program," for the two youth.

He explained that in juvenile cases, offenders are not found to be
guilty, but it is up to the courts to decide if the youth in question
have been engaging in delinquent conduct, and if so, it decides on an
appropriate rehabilitation program. "We don't sentence them," he said,
and earlier in the interview stated, "we dont' prosecute (juvenile

In regards to the restitution awarded by the court, Judge Green said, "I
tried to be as fair as I can."

Mrs. Ornelas, who originally estimated the damage at almost $9,000, said
she was awarded $2,500, because that was the highest amount that could
be awarded for a misdemeanor charge.

She said that she and her family were victimized twice, "first by the
fire and then by the system."

"Things need to change around here," added Mrs. Ornelas, and explained
that local officials in charge of the case were less than responsible
during the investigation.

"Now, we're having to take less for our losses," she said, because of
the way the whole investigation was handled.

She first pinpointed problems with the local 9-1-1 program. "I cannot
believe that a house has been here for 16 years and these people
(emergency response teams) still don't know we're here!"

Her home, located at 201 Jackson, is found just north of a dirt road
designated by the city, she said, but county property.

"These people (9-1-1 personnel) are not trained or certified to answer
these calls," she said of 9-1-1 dispatchers.

On the day of the fire, Mrs. Ornelas said that only two fires were lit,
not three as indicated in the April 26 article and posted on the police
blotter. The third fire, "was a bogus one," she said but was reported
because of a wrongful location called in to the 9-1-1 dispather by one
of the officials at the scene.

She said she feels the youth could have faced felony charges, but
because of the way the investigation was handled, the court only heard
proceedings of a misdemeanor case.

Officers were lead to the two boys after a third boy went to Sheriffs
Deputy Tony Aguilar and told him he heard the two boys boasting about
the fire and that one of them had stated he attempted to put the fire
out with his cap but was unsuccessful.

When the two boys were brought back to the scene later that evening by
Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire, said Mrs. Ornelas, "the cap was not
recovered as evidence."

Brookshire's report indicated that he went to one of the boy's home,
where both boys were just after the fire, and asked to see the cap,
which he discovered had burn marks on it.

The boys were interrogated at the scene with their parents, she said,
but because a magistrate was not present, their statements could not be

She also said that Brookshire began his investigation with the
assumption that they, Mrs. Ornelas and her husband, were responsible for
the fire. "It was an open and shut case, before it was ever really
opened," she said.

Mrs. Ornelas also directed some of her anger towards an officer at the
scene who she said rolled her 71-year-old mother, who is bound to a
wheelchair, out of the house and left outside unattended.

She claimed that when she spoke to Police Captain David Montgomery he
said that the officer was there to control traffic, which is a normal
gesture in all emergency cases. "Then what was he doing in my house?!"
asked Mrs. Ornelas.

The ambulance unit that was called to the scene has also fallen victim
to Mrs. Ornelas' wrath. She said that none of the ambulance attendants
bothered to check on any of the persons who were there, including her
mother who suffered from smoke inhalation.

"If the taxpayers money is being invested in these people for training
and schooling (sessions)," she said, "then we should at least get people
who care."

"They (city officials) have no business sitting there (their seats) if
they don't care," Mrs. Ornelas said.

"It's not okay when only half of the job is done," she exclaimed
angrily. "We go the short end of the stick."

"I'm sure we're not the only ones who have had to settle for less," she
said. "Why do we have to go through a tragedy for something to be done."

She said that she will appeal to the Texas Crime Victims Compensation
committee of the Attorney Generals office to reopen the case.

Fun events set for weekend

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There's nothing to do in the Pecos area! Well this weekend will prove
all those individuals who say that wrong with several events planned by
different organizations in Pecos and the surrounding area.

The 5th Annual Texas Mesquite Festival in Toyah is already underway with
trailriders traveling to Toyah from Balmorhea early this morning.

A volleyball and domino tournament have been set for Saturday at the
annual event.

Other activities planned in Toyah for the weekend include team roping,
barrel racing and skits.

Arts, crafts and food booths will be open to festival goers. Mesquite
barbecue will be on sale from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

A dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring the popular band Texas Express
will culminate events on Saturday. On Sunday a thanksgiving church
service will be held at the park beginning at 10 a.m.

A Mariachi Festival will be held in Pecos on Saturday from 1 p.m. until
1 a.m. at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Several distinguished mariachi groups will be featured at the annual
event sponsored by Santa Rosa Catholic Church including Mariachi Zapopan
of Chihuahua, Mexico; Mariachi Tenampa of Albuquerque, N.M.; Mariachi
Los Caporales of San Antonio and the Pecos High School Mariachi group.

A special performance will be presented by Mariachi Perla of Pecos.

Food booths will be set up and a carnival at the Reeves County Civic
Center grounds is already underway in conjunction with the fest. Other
miscellaneous booths will be offering different wares for all music

For tickets call Santa Rosa Church at 915-445-2309.

Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children 3-12 years. Children 2
years and under are admitted free.

A dance featuring two popular Tejano groups will be held Sunday, June 9
at the Reeves County Civic Center.

La Tropa F and Elida y Avante will be performing at the center beginning
at 6 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased at Lechugas Video in Odessa;
Dan's Music and Video, Pecos; Circle N, Fort Stockton; Beauty Mart,
Monahans and Oscar's Exxon in Monahans. Children 12 and under are
admitted free if accompanied by a parent.

The big event is being sponsored by Coors Light, Colores Del Barrio,
Texas Tours, Tejano 96.1 and KWES 9.

It's also being sponsored in part by the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Old tires pile up

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Staff Writer
Old tires are causing some concern for citizens across Texas since there
is no place to dispose of these items.

In Pecos, anyone wishing to dispose of tires will have to travel really

"We don't do anything with tires here at this facility," said Michael
Wyles, vice-president of Battery Conservation Technologies, Inc.

The facility is a battery recycling plant, formerly called Recovery and

"We have no plans to recycle tires in the future," said Wyles.

Even though the facility is undergoing some changes at this time,
upgrading equipment and expansion, recycling tires will not be a part of
the changes.

Eagle Tire Manager Armando Mondragon stated his concern for the problem,
which he says, "is getting bigger."

"Right now all we're doing with the old tires is piling them up in the
back," said Mongragon.

Under Texas law, consumers pay $2 to the state every time they buy a new
tire. Of that, 80 cents per tire goes to processors who pick up the used
rubber for recycling.

But the lack of a market for recycled rubber and the great distances
needed to travel to pick up the tires across West Texas has caused the
number of tire processors from El Paso to Amarillo to all but vanish.

"There's no demand for this product right now," said Town of Pecos City
Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil.

The landfills have received permission to store them, but only
temporarily until a better solution can be found.

The state was at one time using the tires in a mixture in asphalt for
paving streets, according to Gil.

"They were just testing it though," said Gil.

Gil advises individuals to not dump their old tires on country roads,
because they will be fined.

"I know they are smelly, unsightly and a good breeding place for
mosquitos, but dumping them out in the country is not the right
solution," Gil said.

Burying the tires is not a good solution either, according to Gil.

"No matter how deep you bury those things they will eventually rise to
the surface," said Gil. "They'll just start coming out of the ground,"
he said.

Gil stated that that is one of the problems occurring at the old
landfill in Pecos.

"They're tossing around some possible solutions, one of them being to
store them in open landfills with a guard overseeing the facility," said

Another solution talked about is storing them in pits. "They were
talking about storing them in these pits and then go in and mire them
out," said Gil.

But all of these are just ideas at this time, according to Gil.

Relief is in sight though, according to Texas Natural Resources
Conservation Commission Harry Green.

"The Safe Tire Disposal which processes for this area has reached its
maximum storage capacity and quit taking tires last November," said

However, the legislature has passed a law allowing landfills to store
this product.

Green explained that there is a certain amount of fluid that collects at
the bottom of the landfill called leachate.

"Landfills have been using rock aggregate at the bottom of these
landfills for collections for the leachate collection system," said
Green. "The city of Midland and San Angelo are building a new leachate
collection system using the chips from old tires," said Green.

Green said that Safe Tire Company will be shipping the chips to these
facilities to get their maxiumum storage level.

"If they can lower the level of their storage, they can do more
business, pick up more old tires from the facilities that can no longer
store them," he said.

A new hazaroud material system is also being implemented in Andrews, an
in user for tire chips, according to Green.

"So there is some relief in sight, it's just a ways off," he said.

Summer school set at kindergarten

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Classes for Limited English Proficiency students who need vocabulary
development instruction will be held from June 10-Aug. 2 at Pecos

This program will help increase language proficiency for students who
will be entering kindergarten in the 1996-1997 school year.

The students who need further preparation in language and other skills
are invited to participate in these summer classes. The teaching methods
will include stories, games and songs.

This summer course will last for eight weeks and will consist of two
classes. One group will attend from 9 a.m. to noon and the second group
will attend from 1-4 p.m. Both groups will be instructed by teacher
Rebecca Paz and by teacher's aide Bobby Martinez.

Parents may register their children at Pecos Kindergarten starting on
Monday, June 10.

For more information, call Lucila Valenzuela, Bilingual Director at

Empty clouds kick up dust

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Staff Writer
Typical drought clouds - empty - moved through the Trans Pecos region
Thursday night, throwing lightning bolts and kicking up dust. Little
rain fell in the area parched by 110-degree temperatures.

Although the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for
Culberson County, a sheriff's deputy in Van Horn said all they got was
wind and dust.

Spectacular lightning displays encircled Pecos around midnight, knocking
out electrical power in a few neighborhoods briefly.

John Jackson, area service supervisor, said there were no major outages.
A lightning hit on a power line knocked out a breaker in the substation
on Stafford Blvd., causing lights and digital clocks to blink.

"We had a few fuses knocked out south of town and in Barstow," he said.
"Wind broke a pole going to the Prewit ranch house. We are fixing that
this morning."

Winds estimated at 70 mph kicked up so much dust in Toyah that it was
hard to see the barn, said rancher Gary Ingram.

On the other side of Pecos, Pearson Cooper, NWS observer in Monahans,
said dust and lightning is all that city got out of the storm.

"We had a lot of wind this morning," he said.

Gail Fritter, Coyanosa Co-op manager, said she recorded .40 inch at her
home in Fort Stockton, but Coyanosa got no rain. "It all went east," she

Although temperatures remained high at midnight - 96 degrees in Pecos -
the overnight low was 69, and cool breezes created a pleasant atmosphere
this morning.

Cooler temperatures are in store across much of Texas today and Saturday
in the wake of strong thunderstorms that roared across a wide area of
the state during the night, the Associated Press reported.

The showers and thunderstorms were expected to end before afternoon
across the state. Forecasts called for clearing skies and pleasant
conditions for most of the state through the weekend.

Many of the strong thunderstorms produced hail up to the size of golf
balls. Several tornado warnings were prompted by radar readings and

The storms were triggered by the passage of a cold front and came in two
waves to North Texas, one late Thursday night and another before dawn.

The roof of the Texas Inn, an Irving motel, was blown off by high winds
that gusted as high as 80 mph, but no one was injured. The roof fell on
some power lines and ignited a fire that destroyed a nearby furniture

Lows tonight will be in the 50s in the Panhandle and in the 60s and 70s
over the rest of West Texas, in the 50s and 60s in North Texas and in
the 60s and 70s in South Texas.

Highs Saturday will be in the 80s in the Panhandle and in the 90s over
the rest of West Texas, ranging upward to near 103 in the Big Bend, in
the 80s across North Texas and in the 80s and 90s in South Texas.


Eduvijes Rodriguez

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Eduvijes Rodriguez, 79, died Saturday June 1 at her residence.

Rosary will be on Tuesday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at 1006 S. Walnut Street.
Viewing will be at her residence at 1006 S. Walnut until the funeral.

Mass will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Santa Rosa Catholic Church
with burial at Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born April 22, 1917 in Ruidosa, Tx., was a lifetime Pecos
resident, a Catholic and a housewife.

Survivors include two sons, Ramon T. Valdez and Juan T. Rodriguez of
Pecos; four daugthers, Manuela Z. Gonzales, Maria T. Valdez and Bibiana
R. Sanchez of Pecos, Yvonne V. Bucklin of Los Angeles, Calif.; two
brothers, Gabriel D. Torres of Ojinaga, Mex., Luciano D. Torres of
Odessa; three sisters, Julia D. Torres, Paula D. Torres of Ojinaga,
Mex., Vicenta T. Zaragoza of Pecos; 17 grandchildren and three
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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