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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Trio arrested in north side meth lab bust
By JON FULBRIGHT
Three persons were arrested and part of U.S. 285 on the north side of Pecos was closed off for several hours Friday night and early Saturday morning, after local law enforcement officials uncovered a methamphetamine lab on the north side of town.
According to Pecos Police, the lab was discovered after a search warrant was issued for the residence, at 631 N. Cedar St. Police officers and officers from the 143rd District Attorney’s office raided the home, and discovered various chemicals and contraband inside that are used in methamphetamine production. Police said once the chemicals were found, they exited the house along with the three subjects inside, to await the arrival of HAZMAT teams from Odessa and Alpine.
The three persons inside the home were identified as Chris Cravey, 32, Barbara Cravey, 43, and Joe Arthur Salas, 27, who were taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on charges of possession of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, a 3rd degree felony. Chris Cravey was also charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a second-degree felony.
The three were transferred to Reeves County Jail after first being taken to the CJC. Barbara Cravey’s bond was set at $15,000 on her charge, while Chris Cravey’s bonds were set at $10,000 on the controlled substance charge and $15,000 for possession of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance. Joe Arthur Salas was released after posting 10 percent cash bond on his $15,000 bond for the chemical possession charge.
The house and surrounding area was sealed off to traffic until the HAZMAT teams arrived. According to Police Chief Clay McKinney, once inside, the officers determined that a meth lab had been operating inside the residence, and also found an item they believed could be used to make a homemade bomb.
As a result of that, Department of Public Safety officers contacted the bomb disposal unit out of Odessa, which then traveled to Pecos to check out the device. They determined the device was not a bomb, and the HAZMAT team then resumed their search of the home.
Police said the search turned up methamphetamine oil worth about $60,000 inside the home along with chemicals used in the manufacturing of the drug. Other evidence was removed by police officers after cleanup operations by the HAZMAT teams had been completed.
The meth lab bust was the second in Pecos this year. On New Year’s weekend, police raided a home on Johnson Street after a traffic stop revealed a possible meth lab operation at that address. The lab in operation at that home was considered a small lab by police, but estimated clean-up costs in the home would run in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. As of now, there is no estimate yet on the clean-up costs for the North Cedar Street building.
“I have not see anything where there had been a cost estimate on that yet,” McKinney said Monday afternoon.
Reynolds awaiting look at report on slap allegation
An incident involving a child allegedly being slapped last month at Austin Elementary School will be turned over to 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds office, Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Christina Winfrey said on Thursday.
Winfrey said she had taken conflicting statements about the April 28 incident, in which the parents of the first grade boy told her their son claimed he had been slapped twice by the teacher while in the cafeteria area of the school.
Several people reportedly witnessed the incident, but Winfrey said on May 4 that they had given the department conflicting statements.
“We had some (cafeteria workers) who confirmed the story, but other employees said they saw the incident, and it didn’t happen,” said the deputy.
On Thursday, Winfrey said Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley had declined to handle the case, due to the conflicting testimony, and the information would be turned over to Reynolds’ office.
Reynolds said on Friday he had been in court all week, and would be back in court on Monday. “I heard about it, but I haven’t seen anything yet,” said Reynolds about the incident.
He added that the information may already be at his office, but he has not had time to check on it.
School rehires Goff, recounts May 7 ballots
By ROSIE FLORES
The Pecos High School Eagle Band will be led once again by a former head band director and a teacher will be added to assist in the district gifted and talented program, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members decided during their monthly meeting on Thursday.
Meanwhile, board members were meeting Monday afternoon to conduct a recount into the May 7 board election, in which school board president Billie Sadler won a new term on the board over challenger David Flores by three votes.
Flores was seeking a return to the board after a two-year absence, while Salder was seeking a fourth term on the board. The other incumbent seeking re-election, Paul Deishler, won a second three-year term on the board, finishing 140 votes ahead of Sadler.
Once the recount is completed, the board is scheduled to canvass the results and certify the May 7 election during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the P-B-T Technology Center.
Board members on Thursday approved appointing William Goff as the Head Band Director for Pecos High School, four years after Goff had been replaced in that position by Merle Lenfest.
Goff opted to stay on as assistant band director following the 2000-2001 school year, and reapplied for the job after Lenfest announced that he would be leaving at the end of this school year.
The board was given the name of a candidate outside the school district to be the new PHS band director during their March meeting. But by a 5-2 vote members rejected the appointment of Forrest Perry as the new head band director for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, after hearing from several students, former students and parents in support Goff and ask the board to reconsider him for the top band position.
Goff was replaced by Lenfest after parental complaints about problems with the Eagle Band on a trip to a regional band competition at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in October of 2000. However, band participation has declined in recent years, and the Eagle Band placed last among District 3-3A schools at the UIL Marching Contest held at Ratliff Stadium this past October.
In the vote on the gifted and talented program, the board voted to eliminate the facilitator’s position for grades Kindergarten through sixth grade and add a teacher to the GT program.
“The way we had it set up, we had a GT facilitator for each grade level,” said superintendent Ray Matthews. “The administration will be in charge of the GT teacher.”
Melissa Box provided the group with information on what other districts are doing with their GT program.
“I hope you consider all this when you look for a good program for these kids,” said Box.
“Is one teacher going to be enough?” asked board member Lila Cerna.
“I’ve spoken to all the administrators and they think it’s plenty,” said Matthews. “One teacher for the pull out program for the elementary students.”
Matthews said that a total of 139 students have been identified for the program for next year. In first grade there will be 11; second grade, nine; third grade, 13 students; fourth grade, seven students; fifth grade, 12 students and in sixth grade 21, for a total of 73 in the elementary school level.
In seventh grade, 12 students; in eighth grade, there will be 11 students; in ninth grade 13 students; in 10th grade, seven students; in 11th grade, 12 students and in 12th grade, there will be 11 students in the program, a total of 66 in the upper level grades.
The gifted and talented program is a state-mandated program for advanced students. In April, board members voted 4-3 to eliminate the local enhanced program, which led to protests from some local residents. On May 3, the board deadlocked 3-3 on a motion to reverse the original April 14 decision to eliminate the enhanced placement classes.
In other action on Thursday, board members approved summer school for Pecos High School.
“There are some new subjects offered this summer,” said Matthews. “It will take 10 students to make a class, though,” he said.
The board also approved summer sports activities for June and July.
The group tabled bar coding all books for the district at this time.
“It’s a great idea and something we’ll definitely need to do in the future,” said finance director Cookie Canon. “However, right now we don’t know what the legislature is going to do and whether you want to spend this money at this time.”
“It was brought to my attention and I thought it would be a good idea,” said Matthews. “I hadn’t discussed it with Cookie yet when I put it on the agenda.”
During a discussion on the Summary of Finance, Career and Technology Director Juanita Davila told the group that the district is losing at least 100 students each year.
Canon said that students leaving the district has really hurt the budget. “Just when you think you have this thing whipped, it whips us,” she said.
‘Relay’ raises over $30,000 in cancer fight
By ROSIE FLORES
Local residents raised over $30,000 this past weekend for the fight against cancer, during their participation in the Annual Relay for Life events at Martinez Field
“We raised $29,682, but that’s not including the luminaries,” said Reeves-Loving County Relay for Life Chairperson Teresa Winkles. “There was about $1,000 raised in the luminaries,” she said.
While the group fell short of its goal of $35,000 in funds from this year’s event, Winkles said that they are still bringing in money, and the total raised so far is over $2,000 more than last year.
“We’re very pleased with what we raised and we had a great time out there this weekend,” said Winkles.
This year 10 teams participated in the event including: American Home Health; Austin Elementary School; Catholic Daughters; Reeves County Hospital; Pecos Nursing Home; Winkles M&W; Wal-Mart; Trans Pecos Bank; West Texas National Bank and the Lozano Family.
The team who raised the most money was West Texas National Bank and the team who won the award for Most Spirited was Reeves County Hospital.
The hospital group also won for Best Camp; the Best Car award went to American Home Health and Best Decorated Mop to Pecos Nursing Home.
Olga Urias, a Trans Pecos Bank employee, was the adult who raised the most funds this year and Bradley Shaw was the youth who raised the most funds.
“The emphasis this year for the American Cancer Society is colon cancer,” said Winkles.
A variety of activities were held this year during the Relay for Life. Some of the activities included a cake walk, fruit eating contest, crazy hats, pajama lap and road to recovery race.
Cancer survivors and caregivers were recognized during the opening ceremony beginning at 7 p.m.
A special luminaria ceremony was held during the Relay for Life to remember those lost to cancer and honor those who have survived.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.
For information on cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the web site at www.cancer.org .
Sales tax rebates resume rise following decline
By JON FULBRIGHT
After a one-month decline, sales tax rebate totals for the Town of Pecos City resumed their upward trend in May, as State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn sent the city a check reflecting a double-digit increase over 2004’s total.
May’s sales tax rebate check, based on March sales made on the city’s 1 1/2-cent sales tax, were up 12.56 percent from a year ago, climbing from $73,066 to $82,250. The percentage increase in April was just under the five month average for the city in 2005, with Pecos receiving $366,824 in tax rebates from Austin so far this year, up 13.08 percent from last year’s $324,376.
One-sixth of the city’s sales tax total goes towards funding the Pecos Economic Development Corp. For May, the PEDC’s share of the city’s sales tax total comes to $13,708.
With the increase in oil and gas drilling activity in the Permian Basin, sales tax revenues have been up be double-digits in Pecos for four of the first five months of the year. The only exception was in April, when the city’s tax rebate check was down slightly from 2004’s total.
Tax rebates were also up sharply for the month in Toyah and Balmorhea, though Toyah’s year-to-date total remains behind 2004.
Balmorhea received a check for $1,712 in May, according to the comptroller’s office, an increase of 30.42 percent over last year’s $1,312 total. For the year, Balmorhea’s rebate checks are up 28.69 percent, from $4,172 to $5,369. Toyah’s check from Austin this month was for $414, which was 72.87 percent higher than last May’s $239. But for the year the city is still down 11 1/2 percent from 2004, getting $1,602 compared with $1,811 at this time last year.
The Reeves County Hospital District also showed a double-digit rise in its 1/2-cent sales tax for the month, which allowed the district’s five-month total to move slightly ahead of the tax rebate figures for 2004. The hospital received $32,864 this month, up 16.03 percent from lasr year’s $28,322 check. Overall, the hospital district has gotten back $141,212 this year, up 1.41 percent from the $139,242 the district had gotten at this point a year ago.
Almost all the cities in the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos area also reported increases in their tax rebate checks above the statewide average of 8.55 percent. Midland again at the largest single check for the area, getting just over $2.38 million back from its 1 1/2-cent sales tax, a 10.24 percent increase over a year ago. Odessa’s 1 1/4-cent local sales tax netted that city just under $1.75 million for the month, up 11.89 percent over a year ago.
Among cities in the area with a one-cent sales tax, Andrews received $111,726 back from the comptroller’s office, up 19.79 percent; Kermit received a $32,283 check, 11.11 percent higher than last year, Pyote received a check for $366, which was down 67.43 percent; Wickett got a $5,009 check, which was up 47.57 percent; and Wink got a check for $4,604, which was 11.71 percent above last May’s total.
For other cities with 1 1/2-cent sales tax rates, Alpine’s rebate check for $85,713 was up 6.02 percent; Crane’s check for $41,556 was up 18.72 percent; Lamesa’s check For $104,513 was up 8.7 percent; and Seminole’s $81,722 check was up by 22.09 percent.
For cities with 1 3/4-cent sales tax rates, Marfa received a check for $22,129, up by 18.69 percent; and Van Horn’s $31,321 check was 8.66 percent ahead of last year.
Among the area cities levying a 2-cent sales tax, Big Spring got $459,097 back from Strayhorn’s office, a 13.54 percent increase; Fort Stockton received $151,872 back, a 15.22 percent increase; Presidio’s $29,695 check was up by 2.07 percent; Grandfalls received $2,173, up 20.81 percent; and Monahans got a check from Austin for $125,555, which was up 36.7 percent.
Statewide rebate checks to cities and counties in Texas for the month totaled $312.5 million, compared with $287.9 million last year. Houston’s check for $37.76 million was the largest in the state and was up 7.27 percent from last year, while Dallas had the second largest rebate check, at $20.61 million was up by 1.94 percent.
City park dedication, concert set
By ROSIE FLORES
Pecos will be hosting a number of events to honor all the men and women in uniform and all of our fallen heroes during the Memorial Day weekend.
Activities will kick off with the dedication of the Mata/Rodriguez Skateboard Park on Saturday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m.
The site of the new park is at the corner of Seventh and Alamo streets. The park is being dedicated in memory of Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Mata who was killed in action in Iraq in March of 2003 and Jaime Rodriguez, a police officer who was killed in the line of duty in Pecos. Monday was the third anniversary of his death, in a shootout with a man on a Greyhound bus that had stopped in Pecos.
Following the park’s dedication on Saturday, events continue on Sunday with a free Memorial Day Concert will be held at Maxey Park. The concert will feature local talent and bands that will be performing include: the Roman Brothers, Tejano Express, Grupo Familia Ornelas and TOKANTE of Eagle Pass.
A local DJ will entertain the concert attendees during the times the bands are not performing. Festivities kick off at 1 p.m. and will continue until approximately 10 p.m.
Local non-profit organizations will be setting up booths at the concert and will offer a variety of food items and drinks for those attending the concert.
The entire weekend is being dedicated to all of our men and women in uniform and to honor all of our fallen heroes. All veterans and their families are encouraged to attend.
Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres, encourages everyone in the Permian Basin to attend these events and added, “We honor these fallen heroes from Pecos who have honored us with their service and sacrifice.”
Event planned to remember Carrasco
The Laura Recovery Center Foundation is asking the people of Balmorhea and the surrounding community to wear orange beads with pictures of missing teen Monica Carrasco during the week of May 23-27, Balmorhea’s High School graduation.
This year Monica would have graduated from high school and started a new life as a young woman in the community.
Carrasco disappeared on Oct. 2, 2003 from her aunt and uncle’s home at the intersection of Highway 17 and County Road 323 in Balmorhea. Their house is about halfway between Balmorhea and Balmorhea State Park on Highway 17.
Sometime between 11 p.m., on Oct. 1 and 6 a.m., on Oct. 2, Monica disappeared. If you were traveling on Highway 17 and passed their house between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., the following morning, you m ay have noticed some small detail that did not seem unusual at the time, but it could be the missing piece in Monica’s disappearance.
If you have any information, even if you’re not sure it had any connection to Monica’s disappearance, call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department at 432-445-4901 or the Laura Recovery Center at the toll-free number 866-898-5723.
Monica and Monica’s family need your help. Please, if you have any information about what happened to Monica, call the sheriff or the center.
Prison Ministry sets local crusade
Zion Prison Ministry will host a crusade in Pecos on May 27-28, at the Saragosa Plaza.
The event will include live music, testimonies, praise and worship and counselors will be on hand.
For more information contact: Pastor Tito P. Hernandez Sr. at 505-395-2074 or 505-631-5779.
GED sign-up, testing dates scheduled
GED Testing will be held Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2, at 3:30 p.m., at Pecos High School.
Registration will be held Tuesday, May 31, from 1-4:30 p.m., at the Pecos High School Counselor’s office.
Examinees must present a Texas Driver’s license or Texas Department of Public Safety ID Card.
For more information contact Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselors at 447-7229.
Schools announce summer lunch plans
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and Balmorhea ISD announce the sponsorship of the Summer Food Program in the two districts.
Meals will be provided in the P-B-T ISD at Crockett Middle School.
The Summer Food Program will run from May 30 until July 15 and will be closed on July 4.
Breakfast will be from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and cost for adults will be $1.50.
Lunch will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and cost for adults will be $3.
Meals will be served Monday through Friday.
Any child 18 years of age or younger may participate free of charge.
In the Balmorhea ISD, meals will be provided at the district’s cafeteria, 1st and El Paso, Balmorhea.
This program will run from June 1-June 30. Meals will be served from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
People who are eligible to participate in the program must not be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, or political belief.
Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against should write immediately to: Director, Civil Rights Division, MC W-106, Texas Department of Human Services, P.O. Box 149030, Austin, Texas 78714-9030 or the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Note: Discrimination complaints based on religion or political beliefs must be referred only to the Director, Civil Rights Division, and Texas Department of Human Services.
OC hosting conference on aging
Odessa College is hosting the 7th Annual West Texas Conference on Aging.
The general public is invited to attend lectures scheduled throughout the day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19, in Deadrick Auditorium on the OC campus. Admission is $35 per person.
Updated information on ethics related topics including case studies focused on living arrangements, patient care and professional issues will be provided for those involved in caring for an aging individual.
Motivational trainer and management consultant Lettie England will present “Coping with the Caregiver Crisis in America,” and “No Easy Answers.” England has 17 years of experience as a social worker and is a certified family life educator with the National Council on Family Relations.
She has served as a continuing education instructor and guest lecturer at UT Permian Basin, and as president of England Enterprises, she conducts in-service training and workshops on various subjects. England is also the author of the booklet, “Get Your House in Order.”
Other workshops to be presented include, “Nutrition Strategies” by registered dietician Marcheta Jochimsen and “Documenting for Court Testimony” by juris doctor and licensed paramedic William E. Gandy of Albany.
For more information on the conference, contact Vicki Watson, director of allied health at 335-6539.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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