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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Commissioners eye wind farm, OK water funds

Reeves County commissioners voted unanimously to give $2,500 to the two soil and water conservation districts with territory inside Reeves County this morning at the regularly scheduled meeting.

Larry Turnbough with the Toyah-Limpia Soil and Water Conservation District and Calvin Gerke with the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District addressed the board regarding both entities need for financial support.

Turnbough explained that some funds were available through the state but the funding required local matching funds.

“We are not a taxing entity,” he said.

The districts cover their operational expenses through occasional fundraisers and donations.

Turnbough explained that the districts, among other things, help facilitate government conservation programs in the area; such as government subsidized laser leveling of fields for more efficient irrigation, and more efficient water delivery on ranches.

Turnbough and Gerke requested $1,200 for each district over the year.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo said that because of the economic benefit to the County he suggested the county give $2,500 to each district. Commissioners passed the motion unanimously.

Galindo addressed the court regarding his plan to bring a wind power project or a solar project to the county.

He said that bonds were available through the U. S. Treasury Department that the county could borrow to fund such a project and that he wanted to explore the possibilities.

Galindo cited the success of the wind plant funded by Fort Stockton on I-10 in eastern Pecos County, and the plant near Big Spring.

Commissioner Saul Herrera said that he had recently attended a seminar on renewable energy and that much of West Texas was suitable for wind farms since there was plenty of wind and a good infrastructure of high voltage transmission lines.

Wind farms in Texas have been located in mountainous areas near Fort Davis and Guadalupe Peak, and on top of the mesas east of Fort Stockton and near Big Spring and Sweetwater, where wind gusts are normally the most consistent. Galindo said that the initial investment in Fort Stockton was about $200 million but that a local project could be smaller.

He said that revenue generated by selling electricity to electric companies would generate the funds to pay the loan back and after the bonds were paid off then the revenue would be a benefit to the county.

The court approved the county judge’s office preparing and submitting a bid for the loan. In other action, Cindy Duke with the Twentieth Century Club addressed the court regarding a proposed golf tournament-fund raiser her club is considering.

Duke asked that the court waive the $400 per day charge for closing the course for the tournament.

Galindo explained that county policy did not allow for the fee to be waived and County Auditor Lynn Owens said that for the court to waive or reduce the fee for a private organization would be a violation of the state constitution.

“There is a constitutional prohibition against conferring a benefit on a private organization,” Owens said.

The court did approve the club’s use of the course on Saturday, March 18. Duke said that she would have to see if the club wanted to close the course and pay the fee, or try and have the tournament without closing the course.

Commissioner for Precinct 2 Norman Hill nominated John C. Armstrong to fill the unexpired term as constable of Precinct 4.

The position came open when Heriberto “Eddy” Rodriguez resigned to run for Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4.

Armstrong is on the Democratic primary ballot to become the new constable in 2007 and is unopposed in the primary. As well, there is no Republican candidate for the position. Hill explained that in similar situations counties had appointed the candidate for the position to fulfill the unexpired term until Armstrong’s elected term begins in 2007.

The court approved the appointment unanimously.

County Emergency Services Coordinator Ricky Herrera presented a proposal to the court to accept a federal grant that would fund the erection of a NOAA weather radio transmitter that would cover Reeves County.

Herrera said that the transmitter would allow residents with weather radios to receive up-to-the-minute weather reports during time of extreme weather.

Most of the nation can receive these broadcasts, but a transmitter does not cover Reeves County, he said. The nearest NOAA site is at Midland International Airport.

The grant is for $80,000 and would put a transmitter on a tower currently being used by the Sheriff’s office, although a question arose during the meeting as to the status of the property and the tower.

Apparently the tower was given to the Sheriff’s office but as a division of the county the Sheriff’s office cannot own property.

Also, Herrera told the court that there would be a cost to make the tower ready for the transmitter, as there are five old microwave dishes on the tower that will have to be removed.

The court tabled the item with a request for Herrera to report back with specifics about what needed to happen to get the tower in the county’s name; how much it would cost to lease the land the tower is on, the exact cost to remove the old microwave dishes, and possible alternative sites.

PBT head football, AD job gets over 40 early applicants

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has received over 40 applications for the head football coach and athletic director position, and interim superintendent Bob McCall hopes to make a final decision on the job by March 1.

McCall said the largest number of applications have come from people with no previous head coaching experience, but added that more candidates could submit their names after the University Interscholastic League’s bi-annual realignment is released on Feb. 2.

The position came open after P-B-T school board members voted on Jan. 3 not to extend the contract of current athletic director Patrick Willis.

McCall, who began work the same day the board voted on Willis’ contract, said while he couldn’t give the names of those who have applied for the job, “We have had over 40 who have applications in the file.”

McCall said Feb. 15 is the deadline for applications. “After the Feb. 15 deadline, we’ll have a committee review the applications, and by Feb. 17 we will screen the applicants down to the top candidates.”

He said interviews for the top candidates are scheduled for Feb. 21 through the 23. “After the interviews, we will probably the campuses of the people who are the top two or three applicants, and they we hope to call a special meeting and hire the new person by March 1. That’s a pretty tight schedule.”

He said out of those who have applied, “We divide them into three categories; people who are currently head coaches and athletic directors, people who have been head coaches and athletic directors in the past, but aren’t right now, and the ones who have no head football and athletic director experience.

“The biggest number of applications is in the third category,” McCall added. “There are some from West Texas. The bulk of them are from west of I-35, but there are a number of them from the Houston and Dallas area.”

The application period will run through the bi-annual realignment announcement, which could affect Pecos’ district opponents. Former district rivals Clint and Fabens in the El Paso area have not petitioned to remain in Class 4A this year, while El Paso area Class 2A schools Anthony and Tornillo have petitioned to go up to 3A level. That could put Pecos back into an predominantly El Paso-based district for the first time since 2002, but the UIL could deny the 2A schools’ petition, which would mean the Eagles would likely remain in a district based mainly in the Permian Basin.

“We did bring the process up before the board,” McCall said. “I told the board if we are realigned, possibly Pecos and maybe Fort Stockton will be moved to the El Paso area.

“It would be a more attractive job if we go that way, and there are probably a number of coaches who are sitting it out right now and waiting to see what happens.”

Pecos was 15-5 in four years of district play in the El Paso area, but have not won a district game the past four seasons, the last three under Willis. The Eagles also won only four district games in the five seasons prior to moving to the El Paso area district, after Daylon Whitehurst stepped down as head coach for Pecos after the 1992 season.

McCall said since he has only been on the job since early January, he hasn’t had a chance to talk with the board about whether or not the new head coach will be allowed to bring assistant coaches to Pecos for next season.

“Ideally, you would want the head coach and athletic director to bring some staff with them if there are vacancies,” he said, while adding, “You have coaches here who have contracts. I haven’t had anybody discuss with me what the situation would be, so I wouldn’t want to comment on it.”

He also said the new head coach and AD may want to deal with a complaint brought up by Willis in a speech to the board last month, in which he noted P-B-T ISD has one less athletic period for its students than the other schools in Pecos’ current District 3-3A. Willis said the extra period allows varsity coaches to have more time to work both with their players and with the sub-varsity and junior high players.

“Coach Willis is correct in saying most area schools that we compete against have that schedule, but there are school district that don’t have that schedule,” McCall said.

“That will be something the new coach will want to address with the football program,” he said. “When that happens, the board will have to discuss it with the new AD. We want to be competitive.”

Candidates pick ballot spots for races

Community members had the opportunity to meet all the candidates for the March Democratic Party Primary Elections during a chili supper held at the Reeves County Civic Center on Jan. 13.

The potential candidates also drew for a place on the ballot during the evening’s events.

This year’s field in the two commissioner’s court races and the race for Reeves County Judge is crowded, with five candidates in the Democratic primary seeking to replacing outgoing County Judge Jimmy Galindo, while Precinct 2 incumbent Norman Hill has two challengers and Precinct 3 incumbent Gilberto “Hivi” Rayos has three people seeking his seat in the March 7 election.

Each of the individuals introduced themselves and talked a little about who they were and what they wanted to do if elected, Democratic Party county chairman Bobby Dean said.

Places on the ballot will be as follows: For Reeves County Judge: Israel Campos Sam Contreras Bernardo “Chaquen” Martinez Alfred Gomez Grace Jaso Renteria

County Commissioner Precinct #2 Alvesia “Tita” Tarin Gabriel Martinez Norman Hill

County Commissioner Precinct #4 Ramiro “Ram” Guerra Conchita M. Hernandez Gilberto Rayos Alex Ramirez

Justice of the Peace, Precinct #1 Amonario P. Ramon

Justice of the Peace, Precinct #2 Jim Riley

Justice of the Peace, Precinct #3 Rosendo Carrasco

Justice of the Peace, Precinct #4 Heriberto “Eddy” Rodriguez

Constable, Precinct #4, Unexpired term John C. Armstrong

County Court-at-Law Judge Walter M. Holcombe

District Clerk Pat Tarin

County Clerk Dianne O. Florez

County Treasurer Linda Clark

County Attorney, Unexpired Term Richard C. Slack

Gallego participates in Arizona marathon

Alan Gallego participated in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon and 1/2 Marathon held in Phoenix, Ariz.

Gallego ran the 26.2 miles marathon and his finishing time was 4:20:43.

It was another beautiful day in Arizona as 33,000 runners and walkers took over the streets in the Valley of the Sun at the third annual P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.

There were 5,000 volunteers on hand that helped make this event a success.

In the Marathon, there were 10,400 registered with 8,031 finishers. Male finishers were 4,176 and female finishers included 3,855.

In the 1/2 Marathon, 21,005 were registered with 18,536 finishers. The number of males included 6,858 and females were 11,678.

Gallego was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Blanca and his daughter Blanca.

Martinez among trio seeking Precinct 2 seat

A Pecos native and former Reeves County Detention Center employee is among those seeking the position of Reeves County Commissioner for Precinct 2.

Gabriel Martinez is one of three candidates in the race, joining incumbent Norman Hill and Alvesia “Tita” Tarin.

Martinez was born and raised in Pecos He is married to Crissy Martinez and the couple has three boys, Alex, Christopher and Matthew.

“I am a former employee of the Reeves County Detention Center and during the 12 years with the RCDC, I gained the experience and knowledge of how our local county government operates and handles its finances,” said Martinez, who added that the county and the Reeves County Detention Center recently went through some troubled times. “Somehow our county and community survived. Now we need to make sure we do not duplicate our shortcomings of the past, Reeves County has been given a second chance,” said Martinez.

“Even with this, my family and I had faith in our community and decided to invest in our hometown by opening a local business. At the present time we own and operate GabeCo Air Conditioning and Heating Systems,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that he feels his experience as a former employee with the county has taught him a lot. “And my experience as a local business owner has taught me so much more,” he said.

“They both have opened my eyes as to how our community was vulnerable since we did not diversify our economic base,” said Martinez.

Planning, not only for today, but also for tomorrow, is the key to Martinez’ campaign. “We have to find the expertise to grow our county,” said Martinez. We need to make sure and learn from our failures of the past and duplicate our successes,” he said.

Martinez said that, “As your next commissioner for precinct 2, I know this can be achieved. With your help and support, I believe we can ensure that Reeves County can continue to prosper and grow.”

Villalobos receives degree from Texas Tech

Salvador N. Villalobos, Jr., of Barstow, received a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas Tech University, in Lubbock at the United Spirit Arena during commencement exercises held recently.

Villalobos’ degree is in Engineering Technology-Electrically Electronics.

He is the son of Salvador “Chava” Villalobos Sr. and Yolanda N. Villalobos.

County reports workforce rise, jobless decline

Reeves County’s unemployment rate in December was 6.7 percent, according to figures released last week by the Texas Workforce Commission. That’s down .4 percent from November and over 2 percent below the rate reported in December of 2004, but that was mainly due to a decline in the county’s workforce outpacing a reported drop in the number of jobs in the county.

According to the TWC, Reeves County had 4,086 workers during the Christmas shopping season, up 14 from November, when the jobless rate was 7.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the county increased, from 3,783 in November to 3,814 in December. However, that’s still 190 fewer jobs than the county had a year ago, when the TWC said unemployment locally stood at eight percent, with 4,392 workers in the labor force and 4,004 with jobs.

The decline in the local workforce and the number of jobs in the county stands in contrast to the 2005 sales tax totals for the county, which showed an increase of 10 1/2 percent compared to 2004’s numbers, due to the improving economy and increased oil and natural gas drilling in the Trans-Pecos region.

While the total number of jobs and workers is down in the past year, the increase from November to December made Reeves County one of the few in the area to report a gain in both workers and jobs. Jobless rates were down in almost all Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos counties, but in most cases it was due to a drop in the workforce outpacing a decline in the number of jobs.

Midland County’s jobless rate declined from 3.5 to 3.3 percent. The area’s largest county in terms of population lost 291 workers and 118 jobs between November and December, according to the TWC. Ector County’s jobless rate dropped from 4.2 to 4 percent. The county’s labor force actually dropped by 261 people from November to December, while the number of jobs fell by 95, despite the holiday shopping period. Ector County’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent a year ago.

Andrews County saw its rate fall from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent in November, as the county lost 16 people from its workforce but added four jobs, according to the TWC.

Brewster County’s rate was down from 3.1 to 2.9 percent last month, as the workforce lost 54 workers and 39 jobs. Crane County’s rate fell from 5.0 to 5 percent, as the number of jobs was up by 12 while the workforce only grew by five, while Culberson County saw a drop in its jobless rate, to 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent , as it’s workforce added eight workers and 11 jobs.

Howard County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent last month, back to October’s level after a jump to 5.2 percent in November. The county lost 24 jobs while the labor force shrank by 67 workers. Pecos County rate went down from 4.6 to 4.2 percent, as the county lost 122 workers and 91 jobs during that span. Ward County’s rate dropped from 5.4 to 5 percent, as the number of jobs was up 68 while the number of workers increased 50 from November. Winkler County’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent last month, down from 5 percent in November, and the same as in October. The lost three workers, but gained three jobs.

Presidio County was one of the only counties to report an increase in its jobless rate from November to December. It rose from 8.5 to 9 percent, as the county added 25 workers, but only eight additional jobs. The rate is still over six percent below the jobless rate in December of a year ago. Meanwhile, Loving County’s rate remained dropped from 6.5 to 6.1 percent for the month. The nation’s least-populated county added both three workers, up to 49, and three jobs, to 46, from November.

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.

*** Enrique Rodriguez Jr., 60, 1205 S. Hickory St., was arrested by police on Jan. 13 on a warrant for driving while intoxicated. Police said the arrest took place on Jan. 11 at 330 W. 13th St., after police were called by a woman in reference to a man, identified as Rodriguez, who would not return her cell phone. Police located Rodriguez and recovered the phone, but arrested Rodriguez on the Class B DWI charge. He was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Clarissa Devonn Fobbs, 22, 808 E. 12th St., was arrested y police on Jan. 11 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C Misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place in the 800 block of East Eighth Street, after officers were called in connection with Fobbs possibly having a weapon (knife) and threatening her sister. She was arrested on the public intoxication charge and was transported to the Criminal Justice Center.

*** Jose Rodriguez Silva, Jr., 418 W. Seventh St., was arrested on Jan. 11 on warrants charging him with motion to enforce non-support, driver unrestrained by seat belt and failure to appear. Police said an additional charge of possession of marijuana was added after Silva was stopped at 1:13 a.m. while driving a 1990 Chevrolet in the 900 block of East 10th St., and the marijuana was found in his possession. He was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** A female juvenile was arrested by police on Jan. 8 on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. Police said the defendant was arrested at Saragosa Park, in the 500 block of Peach Street, after officers were called there to investigate a possible assault on the girl. Police said the girl was intoxicated and walked away when officers were questioning the suspect in the assault. She was placed under arrest and transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

*** Enrique Romero Jr., 34, 311 E. 14th St., was arrested by police on Jan. 7 on charges of public intoxication and evading arrest or detention. Police said the arrest took place in the 100 block of East Ninth Street, and Romero was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Rafael Medina, Jr., 26, 1922 Scott St., was arrested by police on Jan. 6 in the parking lot of Pizza Hut, 524 S. Cedar St., on a warrant charging him with possession with intent to distribute over 50 kilos (110 pounds) of marijuana. Police said the arrest took place after a vehicle Medina was a passenger in was stopped in the parking lot, and a records check turned up the outstanding warrant. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Omar Valles Medina, 40, 2025 Ivey St., and Katie Gabaldon, 20, 2025 Ivey St., were arrested by police on Jan. 6 on warrants charging them with aiding and abetting in the possession with intent to distribute over 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of marijuana, a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Police said the arrests took place at 8:34 p.m. in the 600 block of South Sycamore Street, when a vehicle Medina and Gabaldon were in was involved in a traffic stop, and a records check turned up the outstanding warrants. The two were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Rene Valdez Lopez, 41, P.O. Box 12, Coyanosa, was arrested by police on Jan. 8 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at the Suvacito Club, 900 S. Cedar St., and Lopez was then transported to the Criminal Justice Center.

*** Rosalio Sauceda Carmona, 23, 1410 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on Jan. 6 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 200 block of North Cedar Street, and the charge was enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor because officers said Carmona was intoxicated to the point of being a danger to himself or others. He was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Albert Pastrana, 17, 1014 E. Eighth St., was arrested by police on Jan. 8 on a charge of possession of marijuana under four and over two ounces, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 8:27 p.m. in the 500 block of South Locust Street, when Pastrana was seen dropping several baggies containing a substance believed to be marijuana. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Rodolfo Alberto Franco, 18, 853 Martinez St., was arrested by police on charges of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor and resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place on Jan. 8 at 8:27 p.m. in the 500 block of South Locust Street, when officers were called in response to a disturbance. Franco reportedly was both intoxicated and attempted to resist arrest, kicking a chain link fence and then running and fighting with officers after being handcuffed. He was eventually subdued and then transported to the Criminal Justice Center.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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