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DA files libel suit against st drug task force

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Staff Writer

District Attorney John Stickels has filed a libel suit against the
Permian Basin Drug Force over a letter sent out by the group's leader in
late May.

The suit was filed Tuesday in 143rd District Court in Monahans.
Stickels, who did not list any specific amount of damages sought in the
suit, has asked for a jury trial and is being represented by Hal

Stickels was asked to resign by the Permian Basin Task Force Commander
Tom Finley in a letter dated May 23.

In the letter, Finley said a total of almost $27,000 of PBDTF funds were
used In a Monahans investigation and a Reeves County operation, one of
which he said was conducted at the request of the district attorney.

Finley went on to say that Stickels asked for the PBDTF's assistance to
arrest narcotics dealers and smugglers, and that he in turn assured the
agency he would prosecute the defendants and co-defendants.

"You have been a failure," Finley wrote Stickels in the May 23 letter,
copies of which were sent to city and county officials to aid in the
commander's request for funds from the entities they represent.

Finley's letter was published on May 31 in the Enterprise. At that time,
Stickels said "this was nothing but a ploy by the task force to solicit

Other copies of the letter went to the heads of law enforcement agencies
in Reeves and Ward counties, as well as to those in the Pecos and
Monahans police departments, the State Bar of Texas, 143rd Judicial
District Judge Bob Parks and Randy Reynolds, who is unopposed as
Democratic candidate for the 143rd District Attorney's post.

Stickels was first elected to the position in 1992, and did not seek a
second term this year.

The contents of the letter was false, according to Stickels.
In his libel suit, he states that in late March, 1996, the El Paso Court
of Appeals ruled the Task Force has no jurisdictional authority outside
Ector County.

This ruling had the force or law and as an elected district attorney,
Stickels said he was obligated to honor and follow the law. At the time
of the El Paso decision, Stickels was responsible for the prosecution
of several pending felony drug cases involving Task Force officers.

In view of the appeals court ruling, Stickels said in his lawsuit he
made whatever plea bargains he could on the pending Task Force cases,
and he eventually dismissed those Task Farce cases upon which he could
not obtain a plea bargain.

In addition to the Enterprise, Stickels said stories appeared in other
local newspapers and on television news reports. The information was
repeated on several occasions, the suit says.

It goes on to claim that the contents of the letter was libelous, and
that they exposed Stickels to public contempt and ridicule by impeaching
his integrity, honesty, and reputation.

Stickels' suit states that the task force was negligent in publishing
the letter. They knew, or in the exercise of ordinary care, should have
known that the contents of the letter were false and extremely injurious
to Stickles' reputation.

According to the suit, the task force wrote published and circulated
this letter with actual knowledge of the falsity of its contents; or
they acted with heedless and reckless disregard of whether the letter
was false and without any factual basis.

They acted with the specific intent to cause him substantial injury,
according to Stickels.

He said his good name and reputation within the community and within law
enforcement has been seriously injured and all of those elements will
continue into the future.

Finley did not return a phone call this morning when asked to comment
about the libel suit. He told KOSA-TV on Tuesday he could not comment on
the suit until he had seen its contents.

Council awards bid for water field line

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Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City Council this morning awarded Key Enterprises Inc. of
Odessa the bid for a 24-inch pipeline replacement in the Ward County
well field.

Key's $290,965 bid was lowest of seven received, with Holloman
Corporation of Odessa second at $297,931.

Engineer Frank Spencer said that Holloman did the city a good job on the
last pipeline project. However, he said the low bidder meets all the
requirements and has a good reputation for completing work in a
satisfactory manner.

Other bidders were Kamac Construction of Odessa, Rhode Construction Co.
of Midland, D.J. Contractors of El Paso, M&M Excavating Inc. of Odessa
and Doughty Construction Inc. of Artesia, N.M.

All but one were below the engineer's estimate of $352,925. Spencer said
the low bid leaves the city with $19,535 in grant money, which they can
use to add about 520 linear feet of pipeline.

If the grant money is not used, it will go back to the state, he said.

Since pipe bids are by the linear foot, the city can legally add it to
the contract, he said.

A pre-construction conference is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14, and
he will make a recommendation on the addition after the conference.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Rivera presented a plan
for renovation of the 86-year-old Missouri Pacific depot, which was
deeded to the city in 1992.

With the exception of the roof, which was repaired in 1990, the entire
building will require complete renovation of the interior and exterior,
he said.

Plans for use include a community playhouse, theatre, a
meeting/conference room and offices for the Convention and Visitor's

The bureau is operated out of the chamber office, which is located
behind the West of the Pecos Museum in a building owned by the city.

Rivera said the museum wants the chamber building for their own office,
and they will pay the utilities out of bed tax receipts.

The chamber will have user fees and bed tax funds available for
utilities and upkeep on the depot once it is renovated, he said.

Walter Pate of Pate & Associates said he would provide "as-built"
drawings of the brick building, a renovation design and sales tools for

Rivera said the depot project is the only one submitted to the Texas
Department of Commerce tourism division for their "Dollars & Sense of
Tourism Development" program.

Two members of the chamber are to attend a workshop in Austin Aug. 5-7
as part of the program.

"If we are accepted, we will have available all their resources to
secure funding, etc." Rivera said.

While the council took no action on the plan, they indicated will
approve it when presented a plan for the chamber to pay utilities and

"I don't want to get stuck with a building we have to be responsible
for," said Randy Graham.

Dick Alligood, chairman of the advertising/tourism committee, said the
bed tax committee has to approve the plan before bed tax funds can be

"Then we will bring it back to the council," he said. "But we need to
know what your feelings are to include it in that package."

Mayor Dot Stafford asked City Attorney Scott Johnson to check on the
status of the city's ownership and whether it is permissible to sell the

"I think the idea is great. We need to utilize it some way," she said.

City Manager Harry Nagel asked Pate if the proposed Oak Street park can
be included in the project. Pate looked at the design donated by Spencer
and said he can include it in the "sales tool" drawings.

Spencer said that Jesse Stephens has long worked on the park project and
has applied for funding.

Johnson said the downtown area needs such projects, because it "looks
terrible," and asked if anything is being done to obtain funding under
the Main Street Project.

Spencer said that Carlos Colina-Vargas could help the city with that.

The problem with the Main Street Project is that it requires a full-time
engineer at a salary of $50,000, Alligood said.

"They said one of the first things they would look at is what we are
doing for ourselves," said councilman Elvia Reynolds, who is working
with the park project. "This was one of the purposes behind this

In other action this morning, the council accepted the 1996 certified
appraisal roll and appointed Lydia Prieto as officer to calculate the
effective and rollback tax rates.

Graham said the landfill committee is still gathering information and
had no recommendation to make.

An ordinance allowing former employees who are re-hired to "buy back"
their retirement benefits was approved on first reading. If finally
adopted in the Aug. 6 meeting, the city's contribution to the retirement
fund will increase by .052 percent this year and .54 percent in 1997.

With the "buy back" provision, employees who forfeited their retirement
when they resigned can pay that back into the system and add those years
back in to their retirement tenure.

Ten years of employment is required to be vested, said Steve McCormick,
finance officer.

On Nagel's recommendation, the council voted to pay City Secretary
Geneva Martinez $50 a month or up to $600 per year reimbursement for
travel expense, as she uses her personal vehicle on city business.

School expects higher tax collections

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Staff Writer

An optimistic tax assessor/collector reported to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school board members that she anticipates 99 to 100 percent collection
rate on the tax revenue for the upcoming school year, which may offset
part of the loss of $100,000 in tax revenues the school district faces.

P-B-T ISD tax assessor/collector Lydia Prieto presented board members
with the certified tax appraisal totals, as calculated by the Reeves
County Tax Appraisal office, during a special meeting of the school
board Tuesday evening.

In a letter to the board, Prieto said the school district lost
$7,087,980 in valuation in 1996, which translates into $99,231.72 in
taxes at the current $1.409 per $100 valuation rate.

The board unanimously approved a net taxable total of $373,764,400 for
29,388 accounts, a total that accounts for the $7,087,980 decline.

The estimated collection for the current tax year is 94 percent,
continued Prieto in her correspondence, and added that the optimistic
collection figure for 1996-97 includes current and delinquent taxes and
penalties and interest.

In other business, present board members, including President Linda
Gholson, Vice-President Earl Bates and Trustees Frank Perea and Steve
Armstrong, heard a detailed presentation by the new executive director
of Region 18 Education Service Center Brian LaBeff on the West Texas
Telecommunications Co-Op Consortium.

No action was taken on the matter and it was tabled for the regular
August board meeting. Board members present decided to postpone the item
in order to allow absent members to consider the matter.

Appointments approved by the board include: Darrell Ericson, Crockett
Eighth Grade English Teacher and Coach; Brannon F. Jackson, Crockett
History Teacher and Coach; Elaine McKee, Pecos Elementary Teacher; James
Meredith, Austin Elementary Second Grade Bilingual Teacher; Sebrenia
Martin Rangel, Bessie Haynes Fifth Grade Teacher; William Earl Sample
Jr., Pecos Elementary Teacher and Faustino Torres, Pecos Elementary P.E.
Teacher and Pecos High School Head Tennis Coach.

Transfers made were for: Cynthia Armbruster from Lamar Elementary
Teacher to Bessie Haynes Librarian; Jamie Crisp from Pecos High School
English Teacher to Alternative Education Teacher at Carver Center; Patty
Hall from Austin Elementary Second Grade Bilingual Teacher to Physical
Education Teacher at Austin Elementary; Bruce Mussey from Lamar
Elementary Physical Education Teacher to Alternative Education Teacher
at Carver Center; Brian Williams from Pecos Elementary Third Grade
Teacher to Physical Education Teacher at Lamar Elementary.

Resigning from the school district were: Bertha Garcia as PHS Spanish
Teacher; Debra Black Hayes as Austin Elementary Second Grade Teacher;
Patrice Mosser as Bessie Haynes Fourth Grade Teacher and Christine
Trimmier as Austin Elementary Second Grade Teacher.

A budge workshop was held after all agenda items were addressed.

P-B-T ISD Business Manager Cookie Canon said that budget presentations
during the two-hour workshop were made by the 1995-96 school year
administrators of Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School Eighth
Grade, Zavala Middle School Seventh Grade, Bessie Haynes Elementary,
Austin Elementary, Pecos Kindergarten, Career and Technology Education
and Title I Migrant and Regular and Title VI programs.

Women undergoes surgery following Sunday beating

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Staff Writer

A brother and sister are currently being treated by Medical Center
Hospital staff in Odessa after being assaulted by persons not yet
identified by police during a confrontation early Sunday morning.

Lupe Mendoza and her brother, Ruben, were both taken by Pecos ambulance
from the scene of the incident, in the 700 block of Eddy Street, to
Reeves County Hospital, about 3 a.m. Sunday.

Their mother said earlier today that both her son and daughter were
released later on Sunday day from the local hospital, but she urged them
to seek further medical attention when she noticed her daughter was not
doing well.

Lupe Mendoza was admitted to the Odessa facility and underwent surgery
Wednesday night for fractures, while Ruben Mendoza continues to see MCH
staff for treatment of his facial lacerations and fractures, said their
mother. Ruben Mendoza is allowed to go home each day after treatments.

Police Reserve Officer Danny Dawdy said he was one of the first to
arrive at the scene, along with Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Tony
Aguilar, when he discovered the two individuals lying unresponsive in
the middle of the road in front of their vehicle. Pieces of a baseball
bat were discovered at the scene, Dawdy said.

He added that about 18 onlookers were standing in the Eddy Street Car
Wash lot. Car license plate and personal identification numbers were
taken from all of the witnesses before they were asked to leave, said

The reserve officer said Ruben Mendoza was covered in blood, but was
beginning to respond, while Lupe Mendoza showed no signs of blood and
remained unresponsive.

"I thought he (Ruben Mendoza) was dead," said Dawdy of his first
impression of the scene.

The vehicle they had been in was parked in the middle of the road near
the injured brother and sister, Dawdy said, while two other passengers
were with the crowd.

Police Criminal Investigator Kelly Davis said Tuesday that he is
continuing with the investigation and gathering witness statements on
the incident.

No charges have been filed and no arrests made as of earlier today.

Rare twister strikes sites in Presidio

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Staff Writer

An unusual wind, rain and hail storm that hit Presidio Tuesday left
seven families homeless and caused up to $1 million in property damage.

Arturo Ochoa, city administrator, said witnesses reported a small
twister hit the eastern quadrant of the city, damaging mobile homes,
some vacant housing authority units, the high school and vehicles.

Damage to the high school included the roof, a dugout blown over at the
baseball field and a lot of fence knocked down, said John Ferguson,
National Weather Service observer.

Rain blew horizontally during the 15-minute deluge just after 5 p.m.,
Ferguson said. He estimated .25 inch fell, causing some minor flooding
in the streets.

"It was something I have never seen in nine years here," Ferguson said.
"I don't think Presidio has much of a history of tornadoes."

He said he saw sheet metal wrapped around utility poles and electrical
wires and a piece of fence or post wrapped around a tree trunk.

Debris from a housing authority roof may have hit one mobile home that
was destroyed, he said. Others had roof damage, were tipped over or
blown off their foundations.

A small convenience store had damage to the roof and a window, Ferguson
said, and vehicles had broken windows.

Ochoa said the hail probably broke the vehicle windows, and others were
blown out by the high winds.

"It was an unusual type of storm; extremely rare," Ochoa said.

It was the second thunderstorm in a week to cause damage in an area
normally not hit by severe weather. Businesses and families in Van Horn
were forced to clean up from a wind and rain storm last Wednesday that
blew off roofs, knocked over trailers and cut power to parts of the town.

Police Report

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained
from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County
Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, or other agencies;
and from interviews with officers of those agencies.

Olga Levario, 705 S. Pecan St., reported that a VCR was taken from her
residence without her consent sometime before 10 p.m., June 1. Deputies
found no evidence of a forced entry.

On June 28, Melissa Kay Snider, 20, was arrested by a sheriff's deputy
at her Toyah residence on a warrant for burglary of a building out of
Douglas City, Kan.

On June 19, Pablo Briones reported to a sheriff's deputy that someone
had broken out the back driver's side window of his 1985 Ford pickup
while parked in his driveway at 1202 S. Ash St. The incident occurred
sometime between 8 p.m., June 18 and 11 p.m., June 19, he said.

On June 21, deputies took a report by Rose Martinez, who stated that the
driver's side window to a 1981 GMC pickup was broken on June 20 while
parked at her residence located on County Road 205. Luis Martinez
reported the same incident the day it occurred, and added that it was
done with a carpenter's hammer.

Martinez also stated that on June 21 a window to a 1989 John Deere
tractor was broken and its battery was missing. Damages were estimated
at $400, and the stolen battery was valued at $100.

Alfonso Florez told sheriffs deputies that sometime during the week of
June 14 someone had broken the back window and made a dent to the body
of a 1992 Ford Tempo while parked at 117 S. Mesquite St. He also stated
the front bedroom window of the residence was damaged.
s.' And they find nothing.''

Sheriffs deputies arrested Linda Kaye Jenkins, 29, 518 E. 13th St.,
during a warrant service on July 9. She was charged with forgery.

Christy Castro, 20, 1122 S. Ash St., was arrested on warrant charges out
of Midland, Ector and Reeves counties for theft, theft by check and
criminal trespass, respectively. She was taken into custody at her
residence by sheriff's deputies on July 8.

Luis Armendariz was arrested by sheriff's deputies July 8 for no
driver's license, no seat belt and failure to signal a left turn. He was
apprehended at the corner of Fifth and Locust Streets. Passenger John
Staten was arrested for public intoxication. Ages and addresses for both
men were not indicated.

Hector Raul Castillo, 53, 613 Almond St., was arrested for public
intoxication by sheriff's deputies on July 8 at the corner of Third and
Mulberry Streets.

On July 10, police arrested Anthony Ray Wilson, 23, 513 E. 13th St., in
the 1800 block of South Eddy Street on a warrant service out of Midland
County. He was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Police arrested Ramon Patino Munoz III, 19, 124 N. Alamo St., during a
warrant service in the 1300 block of South Cedar Street. He was charged
outstanding municipal fines and taken into custody on July 10.

Public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia were the
charges brought against Alonzo G. Archuleta, 34, on July 10 at the
Amigo's Texaco store in the 1400 block of South Cedar Street.

Isidro Baca, 24, was arrested by police for outstanding fine warrants on
July 10 at his residence at 1005-B E. 11th St.


Geneva Strutt

Federal service arrangements for Pecos resident Geneva Strutt, 90, are
incomplete. Arrangements are being handled by Pecos Funeral Home.

She died Tuesday at Ward County Memorial Hospital in Monahans.

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Copyright 1996 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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