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Wednesday, October 9, 1996

Local anti-drug programs dropping off

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Staff Writer

PECOS, October 9, 1996 - Since its birth in 1983, it been the nation's
most popular drug-education program, offered in at lest 60 percent of
school districts nationwide and reaching 25 million youngsters.

But here in Pecos, the number of students exposed to the DARE anti-drug,
anti-crime message is rapidly decreasing as program funds drop along
with the number of participants.

DARE appears headed towards the same death as the local D-FY-IT and
Choices programs, all of which were aimed at educating local youth about
the consequences of drug use and a criminal way of life.

Coordinator for the local DARE program, Sue-Thee Hooker, said she and
her husband, Tommy, financially supported the non-profit organization
during her first three years with the program.

"But each year the program got bigger and each year we had to make more
concessions," she added, until they could no longer afford it.

This summer Reeves County was awarded grant funds in the sum of $16,231
for a local DARE program. However, the grant monies were not cashed in
by local officials because the required $10,917 in matching funds could
not be secured.

Currently, Hooker said she's got enough for her salary, $3,381, but
lacks the funds for her insurance, workbooks, training, including
required training, mileage and supplies.

So, Hooker decided she'll take what's been given to her and, "work with
the program until I run out of money."

"I've had to fight every year for it," she said, while charging, "our
county does not believe in a youth, drug-education program," after
requesting assistance for the past three years.

She explained that during its initial years, the DARE program was funded
100 percent by grant funds, but as it progresses within a community the
matching amount which must be provided locally becomes larger.

The grant submitted for DARE funds contends that Reeves County,«MDUL»
"is in a remote, rural area, directly located in the drug traffic
corridor from Mexico. Although the population is sparse, the
availability of alcohol and drugs becomes one of the few available
`sources of entertainment.' Substance abuse and lack of parenting skills
are the primary cause of problems throughout Reeves County..."

The grant application cited a survey of 600 students in grades
kindergarten through sixth grade in Barstow and through eighth grade in
Reeves County. It indicated a high rate of alcohol/drug experimentation
among students, and showed there are misguided conceptions about the
dangers of drug use.

The application stated that the survey, "also noted that parental
approval, apathy, and/or lack of education contributes to the misuse of
alcohol and other drugs among young people."

"Prevention is just as much a part of law enforcement," as those things
that people normally associate with the job, said Hooker.

Currently she is carrying about 300 students in the program, including
Barstow Elementary and two classes at Austin Elementary.

"I'm hurt," by the whole matter and lack of support for the DARE program
claimed Hooker.

Tears began to fill her eyes as she explained, "I think these kids are
not getting the education and positive reinforcement that they need to
have them steer clear of some of these dangerous situations."

"If you believe in something," as she believes in the DARE program, "you
have to believe with all your heart and work your life that way," around
that belief.

Currently, Hooker said her husband is working at the Cimarron CampFire
camp in Coyle, Oklahoma, where she spent two summer months supervising
local DARE students on DARE camp scholarships. They were funded by an
Anchor West Foods, Inc. donation.

The scholarship recipients made the trip with DARE volunteers, said
Hooker, and she managed to obtain a summer job at the camp for the
programs High School Role Model.

She said she is considering joining her husband in Oklahoma if things
with the local DARE program continue their downward decline.

Louise Moore, juvenile probation officer for Reeves County, said that
the only students who receive any attention from, "the system...the
school and juvenile probation office...are those that are making good
grades or in trouble all the time."

She contends that youth that fall in the middle of the spectrum are
often neglected, and that it's these types of programs that reach them.

Moore said for the past three years the Reeves County Juvenile Probation
Office was coordinating the Choices program, also aimed at sending out
anti-drug message.

Once a year, through the Choices program, students in kindergarten
through third grade listed to anti-drug messages through a puppet show,
while fourth through 12th grade saw video tapes and heard presentations.

But, "for whatever reason," she said, the Reeves County Juvenile Board
chose to do away with the program by using its funds for something else.
She explained that funds for the program were obtained from the state
aid package that the county received.

"I'm concerned about the lack of drug information programs," said Moore
and added that her comments were made as a parent.

"I think officials need to rethink this," she said in regards to the
local drug-education issue.

Efforts to contact members of the juvenile board late this morning were

Hilda Woods, of the Reeves County Sheriffs Office, coordinated the local
D-FY-IT program for over a year during 1993 and 1994, but again, because
of lack of funds the program died out.

Woods also cited the lack of local support for the program for its

"There was no school involvement," she added, except for the volunteer
work from two teachers.

She added that teachers were hard to work with, saying they wouldn't
allow their students out of class to be tested until the superintendent

"They just didn't seem to care," said Woods, who added other school
officials just didn't get involved.

She said the off-campus privilege for high school students with D-FY-IT
programs was popular, and there were no complaints about students
leaving campus for lunch, only gratitude by the restaurant owners.

The program was run by donations from businesses, including Anchor West
and Herrera's Insurance.

"It was a lot of work," she said, "and no one wanted to help."

"We've got a bad drug problem here," said Woods.

Christian Home seeks help with deficit

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Staff Writer
PECOS, October 9, 1996 - Overnight lodging, meals and a shower
accompanied by Bible study and a Christian witness are offered at the
Christian Home to needy transients.

Local citizens may purchase used clothing in the Home's small store, but
the ministry is designed specifically for transients, said Greer Willis,
board chairman.

Willis presented a report on the ministry and its finances to the Pecos
Ministerial Fellowship Tuesday. He said expenses are averaging $120 per
month more than income, and the Home has no "cushion" in the bank as
they have had in the past.

"For the last several years, we have had a very generous donation from
Episcopal Charities," he said. "Last year it was $2,000, and the year
before $2,500. That has gone a long way in helping us stay afloat. We
are getting ready to apply for the grant again."

Local residents who donate $10 or $15 a month provide a stable income,
while six churches have donated an average of $354 per month this year.

Fixed expenses of $1,252 per month include the mortgage on the big,
white house at 1201 S. Elm St., utilities, salaries of $300 per month
for three men, insurance, office and vehicle.

George Vasquez, a member of the board, is treasurer. When Bruce Dury,
the Home's director, receives donations, he takes the receipt to
Vasquez, who writes all checks.

Two of the men receive $230 per month in food stamps, and that helps buy
food for the ministry, said Dury.

Frank McCoy, Dury's assistant, has been in Pecos 3½ years, and Joe Hay
is a recent addition to the staff.

Willis said McCoy's long tenure is unusual for this type of ministry.
"We have the most stable crew we have ever had," he said.

Dury said both men worked with him in the El Paso Christian Home. One
was sent here, and the other had left the ministry but returned and was
attempting to establish a ministry in Van Horn.

"If I ever need someone, I will try to find someone who sees to
demonstrate he's a good Christian individual," Dury said. "A lot of
times I have hired people right straight off the road. I screen them
because we are trying to present Christian principles to other people.
That's not always easy to do."

Generally staff members have lived the transient life themselves and
have a unique insight into problems on the road.

The Home's ministry is twofold, Dury said.

"We try to give some direction and meet their physical needs. We are
trying to give them building blocks for a foundation. I believe we are
all spiritual beings. If they are fouled up spiritually, it is going to
show up in their everyday life."

Dury said the ministry attempts to benefit the community by caring for
people who need a lot of care.

"They have specific needs; they just keep coming," he said. "There
hasn't been a month that nobody comes looking for help."

Community support of the home tells people traveling through town that
local people care about them and want to help, Dury said.

"They don't have to bother individuals or pastors or businesses. I have
gone to Wal-Mart, the truck stop and convenience stores to pick somebody
up. We are not a taxi service, but we are here to help out," Dury said.

Sometimes Dury refers the clients to the state's Mental Health/Mental
Retardation staff or to Adult Protective Services for further help.

Some don't want help, however. Dury tells of one man who had a heart
attack and was treated in Reeves County Hospital.

"He got so cranky, he wanted to go, so he took his bags and hitched a
ride. We haven't seen him since," he said.

Most transients say they are going somewhere for some reason.

"I call it the pot at the end of the rainbow," Dury said. "They have to
believe there is a reason, but many don't really have one. Some say they
heard about a job somewhere. Who knows if there are jobs?"

Some just don't know how to settle down, he said. They are so mixed up
they don't know what they want. Some are mental patients; some families
are looking for someplace to settle.

"A lot of families have split up and the woman is trying to make a life
for herself. She may have heard of a new city in a new state and will
drag the kids along with her," Dury said.

They may get similar help in every town along the road. And sometimes
the same people come back through, traveling the opposite direction,
still asking for help.

"Because of where we are, in the middle of a lot of stuff, we become the
intersection for a lot of people going through," Dury said. "Some are
going to Houston and take the wrong road and get on I-20 instead of
I-10. We see a lot of different things. Everybody has a story to tell
and different circumstances."

Some of the cars are "straight out of «MDUL»The Grapes of Wrath,«MDNM»"
he said. "They are driving across the country in a car you wouldn't
drive downtown. You wonder what possesses people to do things like that."

Transients compose a whole society - a way of life, Dury said. They
survive by selling blood to blood banks, receive food stamps and other
government help. Some of the men go to California to get a "drunk check."

"In California, they tell authorities they are alcoholic, and they will
give them a check," he said.

Some will go from mission to mission, looking for a place to sleep and
food to eat and just keep traveling, he said. "Some might settle down if
they find a decent job."

Willis said that able-bodied men are required to work for gasoline to
continue their journey. The only persons the Home provides with gasoline
are the elderly, disabled and women.

It is important to the community to keep transients moving along, Willis

"People get bogged down here that don't need to be here," he said. "They
need to move on."

So far this year, the Home has served 1,016 meals to single men, 12 to
single women, 100 to couples without children, 40 to couples with
children, 36 to children and 809 to the staff.

The provided lodging for 284 persons (with showers and clothing when
needed), Bible study for 207 and witness/counsel to 165.

While the ministry is aimed at transients, the Home's staff does provide
a turkey-and-trimmings meal for local people at Thanksgiving and
Christmas. Volunteers deliver meals to Meals on Wheels clients and serve
a plate to everyone who shows up at the serving location. Last year, the
meal was served in the Pecos Community Center on Oak Street.

Dury said he will again ask for donations of turkeys, cooked, fresh or
frozen, and all the trimmings. Thanksgiving is not long off, he said.

Feds seek fund forfeiture from '92 checkpoint stop

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Staff Writer

PECOS, October 9, 1996 - Federal prosecutors have filed notice of
seizure and intent to forfeit $237,628 taken from a Colombian citizen
four years ago as he traveled through West Texas.

Alfonso Barrrea-Montenegro, whose current address is Coconut Creek,
Fla., was questioned at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint about
his citizenship as he traveled from Los Angeles, Calif. to Florida on
July 22, 1992.

Barrera told agents he was a resident of Canada, but admitted he was a
citizen of Colombia. Because he was extremely nervous and shaking, the
agent referred Barrera to the secondary inspection area, where he gave
consent to search the trunk of the 1992 Hyundai he was driving.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted to two canvas travel bags, but instead of
drugs agents found several large bundles of U.S. currency in the bags
underneath clothing. Barrera had several thousand dollars in his coat,
as well.

Barrera told agents he was thinking of buying a house in "our great
country," the petition alleges. He said he entered the U.S. May 30, 1992
from Colombia, and had lived in Ottawa, Canada practicing optometry.

A check of INS records showed Barrera entered the U.S. May 30, 1992 in
New York, with a permit to stay 180 days.

He said he flew to Los Angeles to buy a used car at a better price and
was driving to Miami, Fla to see where in the country he wanted to live.

Questioned about the money, Barrera refused to answer any more
questions. A subsequent check determined he had not declared the money
when he entered the country.

Agents gave Barrera $1,000 of the money found in the car for his trip
expenses and seized the remainder as proceeds from illegal drug

Investiture date set for next for magistrate

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PECOS, October 9, 1996 - Formal investiture for the new U.S. magistrate
judge serving the Pecos Division is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 18 in the
Lucius D. Bunton III federal courthouse at 410 S. Cedar St.

District Judge Royal Furgeson will preside for the ceremony for L.
Stuart Platt, who is the new full-time magistrate for Pecos and
Midland-Odessa divisions.

Platt has moved his family to Midland and has promised to bring his
staff to Pecos each Thursday and at other times when a magistrate is

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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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