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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, December 31, 1996 - Harry Nagel won't miss City Hall when his job
as city manager for Pecos ends today.
City Hall won't miss him either, because he will be in his office daily
for the next two months, doing the same work he has done since Oct. 1,
1990 until a new city manager is hired.
Advertisements for applications are being published throughout the
state, with a Jan. 31 deadline.
Although he describes his second career as a city manager as "fine,"
Nagel said the "same old stuff, over and over," gets boring at times.
Challenges have kept him on his toes, though. Challenges such as
declining reserves in two water fields, a deteriorating sewer system and
new laws that affect city administration.
As manager, Nagel advises all department heads, gets involved in budget
preparation, makes sure the city is within the budget "when possible,"
and knows a little law.
"And I try to satisfy the people in Pecos and the city council," he
said, admitting that's not always easy.
"The water supply was a problem for many years, because it is so far
away, and we need to seek new water supplies," Nagel said. "We have done
Three grants helped pay for repairs to the existing line and a study
leading to development of a new water field.
Work is underway on the sewer system, which needs extensive repair or
During Nagel's tenure, the fire department was upgraded with a new fire
truck, oxygen supply and air tanks.
Two new modular ambulances were purchased, airport runways were rebuilt,
a new landfill trench was dug, almost filled up and is scheduled for
closure this year.
Profiting from his experience as city manager in Jersey Village,
northwest of Houston, Nagel led the council to consider private waste
management to avoid the high cost of a new trench.
Wes Tex Waste Management begins a five-year contract to collect and
dispose of solid waste as Nagel retires.
City Hall got an update, with a new roof, added rooms, computers and
telephone system, 9-1-1 equipment for the police department, with new
A code enforcement officer was added to the staff, animal control moved
from the police department to sanitation and upgraded, condemned
buildings were torn down and others are in the works.
During that time, Nagel married Nelda Phillips, who has a list of "Honey
Do" projects "a mile long" for him to work on in his spare time.
"It will take me a few years to do them," he said. "I'm not going to mow
the yard, because I can't do it just the way she wants it. I don't clean
house or cook - and I'm a good cook. I just haven't volunteered."
Golf and flying radio-controlled model airplanes are hobbies of the past.
"I still have a model plane, but I will probably sell all my equipment,"
While Nagel expects to do some traveling with Nelda, he won't be doing
much sight seeing.
"I've seen everything I want to see," he said.
With three daughters and seven grandchildren, he won't lack for someone
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PECOS, December 31, 1996 - A swearing-in ceremony for newly elected
officials has been set for Thursday at 9 a.m. in the District Court room
at the Reeves County Courthouse.
Individuals to be sworn in include the new District Attorney Randy
Reynolds, Reeves County Attorney Walter Holcombe and Commissioner
Precinct 1 Felipe Arredondo.
Holcombe and Arrendondo were write-in candidates in the November
election. Reynolds and Holcombe were both unopposed in the November
election while Arredondo beat incumbent Lupe Garcia and write-in
candidate Mickey Vasquez.
District Attorney Randy Reynolds participated in the swearing-in
ceremony held in Monahans at the Ward County Courthouse and will be
participating in Thursday's event in Pecos.
"There's nothing that says I have to participate, but I want to
participate in this one," said Reynolds.
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(Editor's Note: Each year as the year comes to a close, the staff of the
Pecos Enterprise takes a look back at what has happened in the past 12
months on the local scene. This is the final of three installments on
the year of 1996.)
Town of Pecos City Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil said the
city will have to pay $25,000 for the cost of cleaning up a mercury
spill on Aug. 30 in the 700 block of South Oak Street.
The Reeves County Hospital District board of directors is considering a
1.2 cent rise in the district's 35.5 cent per $100 valuation tax rate.
Enrollment at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools is down by 167 from
post-Labor Day numbers in 1995 and by 200 from the 1994 totals.
Two candidates, Michael `Mickey' Vasquez and Felipe Arredondo, plan to
run as write-in candidates in the November election for Precinct 1
Commissioner, against incumbent Lupe Garcia.
The Tejano group Mazz was served with a lawsuit filed by the Pecos
Chamber of Commerce for failing to perform at the 1995 Reeves County
Fall Fair. The suit was served while the band was performing at a Labor
Day weekend concert in Marfa.
Reeves County officials are seeking to stem the tide of guards leaving
their jobs at the Reeves County Detention Center. A total of 48
employees at the RCDC have submitted applications for jobs elsewhere,
with some seeking to work at high-paying prisons run by state and
Testimony was heard in 143rd District Court on a lawsuit filed by Reeves
County against Pecos River Livestock, seeking to recover $131,000
borrowed from the county's revolving loan fund to establish a goat
dairy, which later failed.
The Pecos Eagles lost their 1996 season opener at Lamesa to the Golden
Tornadoes by a 21-6 final score. The game marked the debut of Mike Belew
as PHS' head football coach.
Rodolfo `Rudy' Franco was hired by Reeves County to serve as the Chief
Executive Officer for the county's Detention Center. Franco, who had
been serving as warden at the LaTuna Federal Correctional Facility north
of El Paso, will be paid a salary of $81,000, and will serve as the
chief contact between the RCDC and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which
provides most of the inmates for the facility.
Pecos Housing Authority approved a budget for a $1.29 million grant
designed to refurbish HUD apartments and surrounding areas run by the
PHA in Pecos.
Several Reeves County employees protested to County Judge Jimmy B.
Galindo over pay raises granted to other county workers by the
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said he expected to see a balanced budget
with no tax hike finalized, when commissioners approve the fiscal 1997
budget later this month.
Heavy rains in the Davis Mountains forced the closing on Texas Highway
17 between Marfa and Fort Davis on Sept. 11.
Visiting Judge Paul McCollom took under advisement testimony in the
three-day trial in which Reeves County is suing Pecos River Livestock
seeking to recover $131,000 loaned to the group for a failed goat dairy
farm. The final day of the trial centered around testimony by Danny
Reynolds, who defended his actions in operating the dairy, located
southeast of Pecos.
The Community Council of Reeves County is looking at service cuts in its
fiscal 1997 budget, in which the CCRC was expecting to spend $95,996.
While the amount was higher than in FY 1996, Director of Special
Services Bertha Mierhoff said rising expenses could force cuts in some
New U.S. Magistrate for the Pecos and Midland divisions of Federal
Court, Stewart Platt, paid his first visit to Pecos. He said most of his
work locally will be initial appearances for suspects recently arrested
and detention hearings.
Reeves County Hospital's board of directors approved a 1.3 cent hike in
the district's property tax rate. It raised the rate to 36.767 cents per
$100 valuation and was expected to bring in $1.1 million of the
district's $5.16 million budget.
Pecos City Council members discussed the proposed budget for fiscal
1997, and the five-year, $560,000 contract with Wes Tex Waste for
hauling city trash to its landfill site near Penwell. City Parks
Director Armando Gil also told the council he is considering closing the
Maxey Park Zoo on weekends, because no overtime funds were included in
the FY 1997 budget.
Balmorhea residents were given information on a proposed rural health
clinic during a meeting there on Sept. 19. The clinic would be an
extension of the RCH's current clinic which is operated out of the
hospital in Pecos.
Commissioners voted 3-1 to approve pay raises for workers at the Reeves
County Detention Center. Commissioner Dr. W.J. Bang voted against the
raises, saying the motion was not specific enough on where the funds
would come from. County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said commissioners should
not try to micro-manage the facility, and leave the decisions up to the
Pecos police arrested Robert Jimenez, 17, and charged him with firing
two shots into a car occupied by Eliseo Lujan, while it was parked at
the corner of Sixth and Elm streets. Neither Lujan nor two other
subjects in the car were reportedly injured in the incident.
Town of Pecos City Council set the preliminary budget for fiscal 1997,
maintaining the tax rate at .6967 cents per $100 valuation.
Wes Tex Waste announced collection dates for trash in various sections
of Pecos. The company will begin collecting trash on Sept. 30 under a 90
day trial contract with the city.
Pecos City Council members questioned inaction by 143rd District
Attorney John Stickels on a number of local drug cases. Councilman Randy
Graham specifically mentioned the case of Evigael Navarrete, 37, who was
indicted for possession of cocaine in July.
District attorney John Stickels defended his actions in the Evigael
Navarrete case, after it was brought up by councilman Randy Graham
during Thursday's Pecos City Council meeting. Stickels said Graham was
attacking him over his prosecution of Red Bluff Water and Power Control
Board Manager Jim Ed Miller in August, and after audits of Ward County
Water Improvement District #1 conducted by Graham were questioned by
Trial opened today in U.S. Federal Court in a lawsuit charging
discrimination against Reeves County Detention Center workers by two
inmates who claimed they were beaten at the facility.
A federal court jury voted in favor of Reeves County in their defense
against a lawsuit filed by two inmates claiming discrimination, after
they were reportedly assaulted by other inmates while at the Reeves
County Detention Center in 1993.
A banquet concluded the second Pecos Army Airfield Reunion, held over
three days in Pecos. About 65 veterans and their families attended the
reunion, which was first held in 1994 for those who served at the
airfield during World War II.
District Judge Bob Parks dismissed indictments against Ward County
Irrigation District #1 and four of its directors. Parks earlier quashed
the indictments, and said after the cases were docketed by the Eighth
Court of Appeals, the board members and District Attorney John Stickels
entered into an agreement, and the appeals were dismissed with the
Eighth Circuit Court's approval.
The annual Reeves County Fall Fair Concert attracted more than 4,000
people to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena on Saturday. The crowd heard
performances by Tejano stars Emilio Navaira, Stephanie Lynn, Grupo Rio,
Bobby Pulido, Los Jinetes and local group the Roman Brothers.
Former Pecos resident David Alba was named to head the FBI's El Paso
office. The office serves West Texas from El Paso to Del Rio, and
includes the Pecos area.
Anti-drug programs for local youths are dropping off in Reeves County.
The D-FY-IT and Choices programs are inactive, while the DARE program
was unable to use a $16,231 grant because matching funds of $10,917
could not be raised, program co-ordinator Sue Thee-Hooker said.
Town of Pecos City Council approved a plan to consolidate city, school
and hospital district elections in Pecos next May. Voters currently have
to go to three different sites before the election to cast early
ballots, and to two sites on election day to vote.
A ruptured gas pipeline killed a Lubbock man on Oct. 12, as he was
grading a field southwest of Pecos. Billy Wayne Starnes, 65, died when
the backhoe he was operating struck the pipeline, which ran along the
north edge of the field located off FM 869 near Kesey Feeders.
J.C. Stelzer of Post earned Grand Champion honors for his heavyweight
medium wool entry at the annual Reeves County Fall Fair Livestock Show
on Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center. Stacy Bookmiller of
Grandfalls showed the Grand Champion Steer.
Reeves County Hospital District members joined Pecos city councilmen by
approving consolidation of voting sites for next May's city, school and
The trial of Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean for
tampering with government records has been moved from Pecos to Monahans,
under an order by Visiting Judge Paul McCollom.
An air conditioning unit was blamed for knocking out phone service to
customers in the 447 exchange in Pecos for about 45 minutes Wednesday,
according to GTE officials.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members joined the Pecos City Council and
Reeves County Hospital District in approving consolidation of voting
sites for next May's city, school and hospital elections.
A lawsuit against S&B Beverage filed by opponents of beer sales in the
Airlawn Shopping Center was dropped after complainants filed a non-suit
in 143rd District Court. The suit was dropped after Furr's (S&B) sold
its Pecos supermarket to Bill and Joe Fenn in November, 1995. The store
was later reopened as La Tienda Thriftway.
Reeves County Commissioners passed a modified budget for the Reeves
County Detention Center. A total of 163 employee positions were listed
in the new budget.
Local growers could face damage to their crops from a cold snap, which
dropped temperatures to 27 degrees this morning. The first fall freeze
arrived about two weeks earlier than in 1995.
Federal officials approved La Tienda Thriftway as an early voting site
on Saturday, Oct. 26, for the Nov. 5 general election.
Pecos City Council agreed to help Barstow with its stray animal problem.
The city's animal control officer, Carmen Mendoza, will be allowed to
work in Barstow part-time, until that city received help from Ward
Five members of an alleged gang were indicted by Reeves County grand
jurors in connection with the July beatings of Lupe and Ruben Mendoza in
the 800 block of South Eddy Street.
Last week's frost ended the bell pepper season for Pecos Cantaloupe
Company, although Griffin and Brand is continuing their harvest at
fields in the Pecos area.
By a 5-4 vote, the Reeves County Salary Grievance Committee rejected a
request by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh to raise his
salary by 10 percent, from its current $17,762.88 level.
Crews cleaning out sewers in Downtown Pecos have made their presence
felt ... or in this case, smelled. Odors from the cleanup job have been
forced into area buildings. The work is part of a project to locate
sections of the sewer system in urgent need of repair by using a video
Reeves County Detention Center inmates will now use a video courtroom to
have their immigration hearings held. Judges in Dallas or other cities
will be connected by video to the Pecos courtroom. Inmates previously
had to be transported to El Paso for hearings before an administrative
Town of Pecos City Attorney Scott Johnson recommended to the Pecos City
Council that the trial period for Wes Tex Waste's contract to handle
waste disposal for the city be extended 30 days to allow further
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has
agreed to increase the man-day rate paid by the BOP to the county for
housing inmates at the Reeves County Detention Center. Fees would range
from $36.50 per inmate for a population of 500 and over to $43 per
inmate for a population of 400 or less.
District Court Judge Bob Parks granted a new trial to Red Bluff Water
and Power Control manager Jim Ed Miller. Miller was convicted in August
of tampering, but attorney Richard Avalos was able to argue successfully
that the charge was too vague and indefinite.
U.S. Border Patrol officials have tightened up the unofficial crossing
points along the Rio Grande south of Presidio. A 50-cent boat crossing
from Lajitas to Paso Lajitas in Mexico will be shut down, requiring a
50-mile trip upriver to Presidio, and an over-50 mile trip back south
from Ojinaga under the new plan.
Write-in candidate Felipe Arredondo was the surprise winner of the race
for Precinct 1 Commissioner. Arredondo, who held the post from 1985-89,
defeated incumbent Lupe Garcia, 406 votes to 339, with the other
write-in hopeful, Mickey Vasquez, receiving 192 votes.
La Tienda Thriftway is seeking a change in the C-1 zoning for the Parker
Heights Addition (Airlawn Shopping Center). Owner Bill Fenn said he is
seeking a C-2 zoning permit in order to sell beer and wine on premises.
Poor communications was blamed for the failure of either city or Wes Tex
Waste workers to empty recycling dumpsters around Pecos. Charlie Butts
of Butts Recycling said he assumed the job had been given to WTW, when
the city granted them a trial period to haul other trash from Pecos to
the company's Penwell landfill.
Town of Pecos City Council voted to help the city of Barstow with its
animal control problem by allowing Pecos' Animal Control Officer to work
calls in the Ward County community.
Reeves County officials, along with federal officials, formally
dedicated the new video courtroom for handling immigration hearings at
the Reeves County Detention Center.
Higher fees paid to performers cut into profits, but the Reeves County
Fall Fair concert still posted a $10,045 profit from last month's event.
A door-to-door campaign is planned this year to raise money for the Toys
for Tots program in Pecos. The program is seeking to raise $4,000 for
Federal grand jurors indicted Pascal Levario Quiroz for illegal entry
into the United States, as the result of a Nov. 5 shootout in Mexico
that left him wounded in the chest and another man dead. Levario was
placed under arrest at Big Bend Memorial Hospital in Alpine, where he
went after being shot by police while fleeing across the Rio Grande.
The Balmorhea Bears used a 57-yard touchdown on the final play of the
half to break open a one-point game and defeat the Grady Wildcats,
59-14, in a bi-district six man football playoff game in Imperial.
The mother of an Austin Elementary school student complained that school
officials overreacted when her daughter was accused of pushing another
student into a water fountain. Police were called to the school and the
7-year-old was given On Campus Suspension as a result of the incident.
Federal Judge Royal Furgeson was asked by Alpine publisher Jack McNamara
to release records pertaining to the 1991 drug bust and subsequent
conviction of Presidio County Sheriff Rick Thompson and Glyn Robert
Chambers for importing over one ton of cocaine into the United States.
Federal officials have denied McNamara's requests, and the Immigration
and Naturalization Service said their records on Chambers have been
Two men plead not guilty to the July 21 beatings of Lupe and Ruben
Mendoza in the 800 block of South Eddy Street.
Income at the Reeves County Jail has increased sharply this year, and
Reeves County Commissioners have approved hiring two new jailers to help
with the increased number of inmates the downtown facility is handling.
City Council approval was given to Wes Tex Waste's five-year contract
for hauling the city's trash to its Penwell landfill.
The Town of Pecos City Zoning Board declined to take any action on a
request to rezone the Parker Heights addition from C-1 to C-2. THe
change would allow beer and wine sales at La Tienda Thirftway, and is
being opposed by a group which also fought to prohibit the same change
requested by Furr's, when they operated the supermarket in 1994.
Volunteers served nearly 400 people free Thanksgiving dinners on
Thursday. The meals were prepared by the Pecos Christian Home, and
served to people at the Pecos Community Center and by volunteers to
Meals on Wheels recipients.
The West of the Pecos Rodeo has jumped up to the No. 12 spot in the
ranking of top-paying rodeos in the United States and Canada. A record
total of $204,500 was paid out at the 1996 rodeo, which had been ranked
as low as No. 25 on the money list in recent years.
A weekend fire at a former car dealership building on West Third Street
was ruled arson by Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire. The building was being
used as a storage area, and a boat and jet ski were destroyed in the
For the second time in three months, vandals have shot out windows on
stores in Downtown Pecos.
Pecos Police Capt. David Montgomery announced he plans to leave his
position on the force in order to take a job with the Aurora, Colo.,
police force. Montgomery's last day on the job will be Dec. 18.
Federal judge Royal Furgeson ruled in favor of Jack McNamara in his
effort to view federal agencies' records on former Presidio County
Sheriff Rick Thompson and Glyn Robert Chambers. The two were convicted
on importing cocaine into the United States, but officials had denied
McNamara access to their records.
New Mexico will be getting $120 million from the federal government to
widen U.S. 285 from two to four lanes, to make transportation of
radioactive waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad,
N.M., safer. But waste being shipped to WIPP from South Carolina is
scheduled to travel along U.S. 285 in Texas, for which no road
improvement funds have been authorized.
State Rep. Robert Duncan won by a 3-2 margin among Orla voters in the
runoff election for the District 28 Senate set formally held by John
Montford. Duncan defeated Democrat David Langston district-wide by a 57
percent to 43 percent margin, and his win gives Republicans control of
the Texas Senate for the first time in more than 120 years.
Town of Pecos City Council accepted the resignation of Harry Nagel as
City Manager, effective Dec. 31. Nagel was asked to stay on in a
temporary role after that day, until a successor could be found.
Federal court indictments have risen 500 percent within the Pecos
Division of U.S. District Court this year. The increase was linked in
part to the reversal of a 1993 decision by federal officials to decline
to prosecute possession of marijuana cases of less than 200 pounds,
turning them over instead to state jurisdiction.
A cold front dropped temperatures in the Pecos area from 80 degrees on
Saturday to below 30 by this morning, and snow was reported on the
ground in areas of the Davis Mountains to the south.
Concerns about a $500,000 shortage of funds for expenses compared with
revenues helped persuade Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members to delay
a request to implement a high school girls softball program until the
1997-98 school year. Board members were also told costs for the school
cafeterias were $83,000 over budget.
A second house fire in less than a day was blamed on the cold front
which dropped area temperatures to 10 degrees or less overnight. Five
people were burned out of their mobile home at 2200 Sandia Road early
Wednesday morning when a stove being used to heat the home caught the
wall on fire, while a fire used to heat pipes set a building ablaze on
the High Mountain Ranch northwest of Pecos just after midnight Thursday.
Federal officials said they had no plans to immediately arrest Republic
of Texas ambassador Richard McLaren, after he failed to appear in court
as ordered by Judge Lucius D. Bunton on Thursday. McLaren has threatened
a shootout if he is removed from his Davis Mountain home, as he was by
U.S. Marshals last June, but U.S. Marshal Jack Dean said the current
complaint is civil, not criminal, and there was no hurry to act.
County commissioners discussed expanding the Reeves County Detention
Center from its current 690-bed level to 1,000 beds, and adding a second
1,000 bed prison nearby. The new prison would house U.S. Bureau of
Prisons inmates, while the current facility would house those for
Immigration and Naturalization and the U.S. Marshal's Service.
Antonio Perez was named associate warden of the Reeves County Detention
Center, at a salary of $50,000 a year. The appointment reunites him with
Rodolfo `Rudy' Franco, the new Chief Executive Officer for the RCDC, who
was warden at La Tuna Federal Prison near El Paso when Perez was
associate warden here in 1994-95.
High Tech methods in the cotton patch produced bumper yields in the
first year of experiments. Post Office cuts off mail to Richard
A Dallas family was AeroCared out of the hospital following a
one-vehicle rollover. Mary and Otilia Sanchez are using their Christmas
vacations to research their family history in Pecos, San Angelo, Fort
Stockton and Fort Davis.
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A rosary for Tony Juarez, 46, of Pecos will be Jan. 1, 1997, at the
Pecos Funeral Home Chapel at 7:30 p.m.
Funeral services will be held the following day, Jan. 2, 1997, at 3
p.m., at the Santa Rosa De Lima Catholic Church, followed by a burial at
the Juarez Ranch. Father Ed Carpenter will officiate.
A lifelong resident of Pecos, Juarez was born July 12, 1950 in Pecos.
He was a 1972 graduate of Pecos High School and graduated in 1973 from
Glendale Arizona Auto Mechanic School.
He died Sunday at the Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M.
He was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp, a mechanic and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Nyda Juarez of Pecos; parents, Gilbert and
Ermelinda Juarez of Pecos; two sons, Tony Juarez, Jr. and Michael
Juarez, both of Pecos; three sisters, Susie Orona of Pecos, Anita
Urquidez of Carlsbad, N.M. and Betty Ann Hinojos of Alpine; numerous
nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were made by Pecos Funeral Home.
Services for Rose M. Minter, 87, of Pecos, who died Sunday, Dec. 29 at
the Pecos Nursing Home are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Martinez
Funeral Home Chapel.
Burial will be at the Eastside Cemetery.
Survivors include one son, Roy Willis of Abilene; three grandchildren;
14 great-grandchildren; 17 great-great grandchildren and a host of
nieces and nephews.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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High Monday 74, low last night 35. Tonight, fair. Low around 40. Light
wind. New Year's Day, partly cloudy. High in the mid 70s. Southwest wind
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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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