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Economic Development


Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Commissioners OK effort to seek new colonia grant

Staff Writer

Reeves County Commissioners approved the authorization of 2005-2006 Colonia Construction Grant Application to the Office of Rural Community Affairs on Monday, during their regularly scheduled meeting.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Alvarado said that he had met with someone who could help with a grant application for water, sewer or housing funding.

The group listened to a presentation by Don Bonifay, a professional engineer, who worked for the City of Odessa for the past 20 years is now working in the private sector. “A few years ago we got into the process of applying for grants for water and later for sewer,” said Bonifay, who told the group that he had applied for many grants while working for Ector County.

“I’ve gotten really good at applying for these grants and seeing them through,” said Bonifay.

He said that he had recently worked in Odessa and had applied for a water grant for West Odessa.

“I know you have somebody now doing a study, which is a really good thing,” said Bonifay. “I also do some of those.”

He said a study was a good step to take when applying for a grant through ORCA, but added, “you don’t have to wait for the study, you can go ahead with the application in the meantime.”

Bonifay said that he would then oversee the project, if the colonia grant application is approved.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that another plus was that Bonifay is only 80 miles away from Pecos.

“We’ve never worked with anyone who was so close to us,” said Galindo. “And you’re a licensed professional engineer?” he said.

Bonifay said that he was a licensed professional engineer, but that the work would have to be awarded to another firm. “But I will help with the selection and do a lot of the estimating,” he said.

Bonifay said that one of the first steps in applying for a grant is to have a public hearing. “If you were to accept my proposal to apply for the grant, we would first have a public hearing to hear from the public and find out what they feel is needed, water, sewer or housing,” said Bonifay. “And it can even be a combination of those things,” he said. “That will prepare us to do the application and then have something again within the next two to three meetings,” he said.

Bonifay said that while there were a number of things that could be funded through the grant, “If it’s not water, sewer or housing, it won’t be funded.”

He said that if the commissioners approved the application then a public hearing would be scheduled for next week.

“I will prepare the application and submit it,” said Bonifay. “If you don’t get the application then there will be no charge.”

Bonifay said that the only charge to the county would be advertisement. “We’ll need to advertise if we’re going to have a public hearing,” he said. “That’s the only cost there will be for you,” he said.

Bonifay told the group that he had spent time in Reeves County 18 years ago, when his Boy Scout Troop were among the first groups to help out during the Saragosa Tornado. “I love this part of the world and I want to help make it a better place,” he said.

Commissioners approved the authorization of the application, and if it is accepted, to let Bonifay oversee the project.

“There’s about $500,000 in grant money available and we’re competing with cities along the border,” said Bonifay.

In a related subject, Toyah City Mayor Sandra Terry was on hand to discuss having the city declared as a colonias in an effort to apply for grant money.

“John Perkins, with USDA in Fort Stockton, told us we could be declared colonias, which would make us eligible for some funding,” said Terry, whose town is seeking to rebuilt after last year’s flooding.

Terry told the group that the little community has gone through a lot this past year, but that they had survived and are trying to restore the town. “We’ll start building homes in June, but in the meantime there are other things we need to take care of,” said Terry.

“Perkins told us that the county could have us declared colonias, which would entitle us to colonias funds,” she said. “We’re a small community, but this would mean 150 very grateful people.”

Terry said that commissioners would have to sign a resolution declaring Toyah as colonias and the city would then submit it.

After a short discussion, the group approved the resolution.

Venue tax easily approved by voters in election

Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City voters approved by nearly a 5-to-1 margin on Saturday a 2 percent venue tax on hotel and motel room rates designed to support renovations to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and the Reeves County Civic Center.

By a 508 to 102 margin, voters opted to implement the tax, which will also require a board to oversee projects as part of a joint operation between the city and Reeves County. The city and county already collaborate on the operations of the Civic Center and the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, which required emergency repairs last June to get the south stands ready in time for the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo.

“I was very happy with the way it passed,” said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford. “So many people at the beginning didn’t understand the venue tax. They were under the impression that it was going to affect their personal taxes.

“They though it would affect them in the pocketbook, but when it was better explained with the two town hall meetings I think people understood what it’s for and why it was needed,” Stafford added.

Termite damage to the south stands was discovered last May, and Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire condemned the stands until new concrete supports could be put in place just prior to the start of the 2004 rodeo. With the passage of the venue tax, the city plans a full renovation of the facility, maintaining the look of the 70-year-old arena but adding additional rest rooms, electrical connections and other ADA-compliant facilities.

“We need to fix the arena for the rodeo to survive, and that city and county don’t have the funds except through this tax,” Stafford said. “The only ones it affects are the out-of-town guests who spent the night at the motels.”

The new venue tax board will be made up of five members appointed by Stafford and the city council, but as of now there’s no timetable as to when the board will actually be created.

“It will be up to the city council on how the board is going to work and when they’ll meet,” said city manager Joseph Torres, while Stafford said it would be the end of the month before anything can happen.

“We’ll have to canvass the vote first, and then the first time we can do anything is at the meeting on the 26th,” she said. “I’m hoping to have something ready for everyone by then.”

While voters went by a 5-to-1 margin for the venue tax, it actually received only 65 percent of the vote, as 176 people who cast ballots in Saturday’s election did not bother to vote on the tax proposal. A total of 786 people votes in the city election, which by law also included the uncontested race for three available Town of Pecos City Council seats on the ballot.

Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez still picked up just over half the votes cast in the race, as he and fellow councilmen Frank Sanchez and Danny Rodriguez were unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms. Tellez received 408 out of 786 votes, while Sanchez picked up 353 votes and Rodriguez had 304 votes in Saturday’s election.

Of those voting in the election, just over 62 percent cast their ballots in person or by mail during the early voting period. The venue tax proposal was approved by a 335-62 margin in early voting, while Election Day voters approved the measure by 173 votes to 40.

Passenger dies, driver injured in crash near Pyote

By The Monahans News

A college student from Monahans died and his father was injured Saturday afternoon in a one-vehicle accident south of Pyote in Ward County.

According to information from the Pecos Department of Public Safety, Steve D. Walker, 51, of Monahans was driving a 2004 Chevrolet pickup when the accident occurred.

DPS Trooper Zachary of Monahans, who investigated the accident, said a passenger in the pickup, Stevie L. Walker, 21, was thrown out of the vehicle in the rollover. Walker, a college student in Lubbock, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Pascual Olibas.

Steve D. Walker was listed in serious condition at Ward Memorial Hospital on Sunday after incurring multiple contusions, bruises and lacerations.

Funeral arrangements for Stevie L. Walker are pending at Heritage Funeral Home in Monahans.

Letter carriers food drive Saturday

A Letter Carriers Food Drive will be held by U.S. Postal Service workers this Saturday, throughout the community.

People are asked to leave their canned food items next to their mail boxes on Saturday.

No glass items will be accepted.

Pair receives safety awards from TXDOT

Tommy Dominguez of Balmorhea and Manuel Gonzales of Pecos were among five area Texas Department of Transportation employees cited for outstanding driving records by the Texas Safety Association at its annual Awards Luncheon March 22 at TSA’s Southwest Conference and Exposition at the Omni Hotel in San Antonio.

The two received their awards April 29 at a TxDOT Safety Awards banquet at the Reeves County Civic Center in Pecos.

Dominguez’s award was an Award of Honor for 25 years of accident-free driving of TxDOT vehicles, while Gonzales’ award was for a 24-year safe driving record. Other area TxDOT employees who received the award were Demetrio Pineda, Kermit; Benny Walker, Fort Stockton; and Richard Hopkins, Odessa.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Odessa District, in which both Dominguez and Gonzales work, won the Association’s Motor Fleet Award of Honor for its driving safety record and earned an Award of Merit for its Occupational Safety and Health record.

Each year, the Association presents awards to member agencies whose on-the-job injury rates show significant improvement for the year. Outstanding performance by individual members is recognized through Awards of Honor, Merit, and Achievement. The Texas Safety Association is a non-profit organization.

National Honor Society Inducts new members

Pecos High School National Honor Society President, Ashley Horsburgh, led the induction ceremony held on Tuesday, May 3, in the Pecos High School Auditorium. Current senior members include: Jummy Akinyode, Jennie Canon, Imelda Chavez, NHS Secretary Marcela Fierro, Vice-President, Ashley Horsburgh, Katie Lee, Ashley Lucas, Krystal Matta, Adrienne Natividad, Cheryl Ortiz, Cynthia Pando, Myra Payen, Melinda Reyes, Amie Reynolds, and Lilly Valdez.

NHS President Jennie Canon and Treasurer Katie Lee were unable to attend because of National FFA Contest in Oklahoma City, Okla. Others not present included, Cynthia Pando and Melinda Reyes.

New members inducted were: seniors, Camilla Alvarado, Joseph Jaquez, Olivia Legarda, Catherine Minjarez, Susan Moore, and Sara Natividad.

Juniors: Sandra Alba, John Elliott, Miguel Estrada, Evelyn Flores, Jonathan Garcia, Jessica Gonzales, Andrew Grant, K’Dee Gulihur, Heather Hignojos, Hillery Hinojos, Jennifer Jurado, Shelly Martinez, Javier Mendoza, Roxxievette Mendoza, William Moody, Candice Moore, Jazmine Munoz, Amanda Natividad, Luis Nunez, Imari Ornelas, Stephanie Ornelas, Ashley Orona, Roger Quintana, Arisay Reyes, Edgar Rodriguez, Carlos Salgado, Marcello Salgado, Lindsey Shaw, Tiffany Tarango and Vanessa Valeriano.

John Elliott, Andrew Grant, and William Moody were unable to attend because of National FFA Land Judging contest in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Prospective NHS members from the sophomore class are: Adriana Armendariz, Jasmine Armendariz, Mauro Barraza, Brittany Castaneda, Christina Cerna, Eleanor Mason, Adan Medina, Jazmine Munoz, Jesseca Perea, Jeremy Rodriguez and John Salcido.

NHS Sponsors are Jeanine Ivy and Tammy Walls.

The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character. The four main purposes have guided chapters of NHS from the beginning: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.” (from the NHS Constitution) These purposes also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter.

PHS students place fourth at national event

Six Pecos High School FFA students came home with a fourth place finish in national competition last Friday, at the national land judging competition in Oklahoma City.

The event was held at the Oklahoma Association for Conservation Districts headquarters, and featured schools from 31 states, according to PHS agriculture science instructor and team coach Tim Flanagan. The PHS team, made up of seniors Jennie Canon and Katie Lee and juniors Matt Elliott, Bill Moody, Andrew Grant and Justin Hannsz, took fourth, behind schools from Kentucky, West Virginia and Nebraska. They were first among schools from the southwest region after placing fifth earlier in state competition.

“They were all there, and we ended up beating them,” Flanagan said. “I think the state contest was a wake-up call, after just barely qualifying for nationals.”

Flanagan said the team scored 739 out of a possible 900 points, while Moody placed fourth national in the individual competition, scoring 267 out of a possible 300 points. It was the best finish for Pecos since the 2002 land judging team won the national championship.

“This was the biggest thrill for these kids,” Flanagan said. “We thought it would be close at the top, but we weren’t sure until they announced the results.”

He added the rules of the contest at nationals were different from those at state, as far as re-learning information for the Oklahoma City event. “I think the goal was to bring home what the last team did three years ago, and they nearly got it done.”

The land judging competition involved the ability to determine the texture of the topsoil and subsoil, permeability of the subsoil, depth of the soil, slope of the land and erosion. Flanagan said the competitors also place the land into one of eight classes established by the National Resource Conservation Service and then determine vegetative, mechanical and fertilizer treatments necessary to improve the land.

Both the full team and Moody individually were presented their awards on stage, following Thursday’s competition, by virtue of placing among the Top 5 in the team and Top 10 in the individual events. Flanagan said there were several ties for the top spot, and only six points separated the first through 10th place finishers.

“I was more nervous than I’ve ever been,” Moody said about receiving his individual award.

“It was neat being on that stage, and people from around the United States all looking at you in the banquet hall,” said Elliott.

“We had heard about the way they did the results, and they call the Top 5 teams on the stage,” said Grant. “No one knows what everybody else scored that day, just that you are in the top five in the nation.”

Tarin receives national BPA speech award

Balmorhea High School senior James Tarin was recognized as one of the top 10 finalists in the Extemporaneous Speech judged event recently, at the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California in late April.

Tarin, Jamie Gallego and Chapter Advisor Yolanda Hernandez participated in the BPA’s national conference for Competition, Recognition, and Interaction with students and advisors from other states.

Tarin, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Herman Tarin, participated in the event on April 22-26, and was recognized as one of the top 10 finalists in the Extemporaneous Speech judged event. He placed fifth out of 55 contestants from around the nation, and was recognized on stage and was awarded a medal for his outstanding performance.

The Extemporaneous Speech event entails that the contestant demonstrate communication skills in arranging, organizing, and effectively presenting information orally without prior knowledge of the topic.

This event is judged by three designated judges with Judge’s Scoring Rubric/Rating Sheets, Hernandez said. Items evaluated are Introduction, Voice-pitch, tempo, volume, enthusiasm; Platform Deportment-Gestures, poise, eye contact, mannerisms, appearance; Organization-logical, clearly understood, suitable to topic, coherent; Mechanics-diction, grammar, word pictures, pronunciation; Closing-Summary and Conclusion; Effectiveness-Was purpose achieved? (to decide, impress, inform, and to persuade).

Gallego, who was the BPA Area 4 Region 2 President, served as one of several Texas Delegates at the Convention. She attended several General Sessions, and the National Officers Campaign Rally, along with participating in the Primary Voting Elections and the Secondary State Caucus for Texas.

Gallego also attended several meetings with the State Coordinator and Officers’ team for planning and strategizing, Hernandez said.

Tarin also received the Ambassador Torch Award while at the conference, along with two other Balmorhea High School seniors, JoGina Gallego, and Lorissa Rodriguez. Gallego, is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Gallego and Rodriguez, is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Danny Hernandez.

Ambassador is defined as a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative of the organization. The applicants that meet the criteria are recognized at the BPA National Conference at luncheon.

Approximately 3,200 high school, 100 middle school, and 800 college students form throughout the United States participated in Business Professionals of America's 39th National Leadership Conference.

Police Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

*** Ruben Contreras, 47, and Maria Saenz Mendoza, 30, both of 102 S. Park St., were arrested by Pecos Police on April 28 at 7:07 p.m. at their home on warrants charging them with forgery, a State Jail Felony. Contreras and Mendoza were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, where they were formally charged.

*** Ismael Salcido Menchaca, 28, 713 W. Fourth St., and Jacob Natividad, 24, of 701 S. Pecan St., were arrested by police on April 25 in the 400 block of South Cedar Street on charges of possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop, when marijuana was found in their possession and in the car Natividad was driving at he time. They were arrested by police and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Cruz Salazar Jimenez, 31, 1014 E. Eighth St., was arrested by police on April 25 at the intersection of Plum Street and West County Road on a charge of driving while license invalid, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred after Jimenez was stopped for doing 52 mph in a 35 mph zone and he was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Police arrested a male juvenile on April 24 at 2345 S. Eddy St., on a charge of possession and use of an abusable inhalant, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 6:47 p.m. after police received a report from the juvenile’s stepmother that he was inhaling spray paint. Police transported the juvenile to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was turned over to the staff.

*** Oscar Saenz Barrera, 41, 1512 Johnson St., was arrested by police on a charge of evading arrest or detention using a motor vehicle, a State Jail Felony. Police said the suspect was first encountered after officers received a call about a man harassing a woman at the Suavecito Bar in the 900 block of South Cedar Street. Police said the man was warned not to operate a vehicle due to his intoxicated state, but saw him leave five minutes later driving his car down the alley west of the 900 and 1000 blocks of South Ash Street. Barrera’s car was stopped in front of 1109 S. Ash St., and he was arrested and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Patricia H. Munoz, 1523 Cowan St., was arrested at 6:38 p.m. on April 20 on a warrant charging her with theft of $50, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop at West County Road and Pinehurst Street, when a records check turned up the Municipal Court warrant. Munoz was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, where she was formally charged.

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