Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, March 3, 2006
P-B-T handles Bessie Haynes drug incidents
More parental involvement and programs are recommended by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Interim Superintendent Bob McCall, following an incident involving unauthorized use of medication at Bessie Haynes Elementary School.
Meanwhile, officials and local police also were involved this week with a case of marijuana possession at the school, which houses the district’s fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes.
“There was an incident that happened on Feb. 9,” said McCall, who explained that some students had brought over-the-counter medication to the school and offered it to other students.
“These students were passing over-the-counter cold medication to other students,” said McCall. “These students were assigned to the Disciplinary Education Program.”
McCall said that they held a program to educate the students.
“We wanted to let them know that under no circumstances should they take medication from another student,” said McCall. “Our biggest concern is these students putting something in their mouths and they don’t even know what it is,” he said.
The students who took the medication were given three-day suspensions, according to McCall.
“What I’m asking all the principals is to get more community involvement,” he said “We want to get more high visibility and more parental involvement.”
McCall said that they are looking at several ideas to reach the students and educate them about the dangers of drugs.
Another incident involving drugs and a student at Bessie Haynes happened this past Monday, in which school officials called in Pecos Police.
“We had another incident at the school on Feb. 27,” said McCall.
McCall said that the case had been turned over to the Pecos Police Department and Officer Ernest Lazcano was dispatched to the school.
“We had an officer dispatched to Bessie Haynes Elementary School on Feb. 27,” said Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney.
He said that the call came in, in reference to an incident reported by the principal.
“This was in reference to the principal finding marijuana inside a student’s shoe,” said McKinney.
The student was arrested and taken and the marijuana was taken as evidence, according to McKinney.
“He was process at the Pecos Police Department and then transferred to the Juvenile Detention Center,” said McKinney.
The student in question was an 11-year-old who attends Bessie Haynes.
“While at the detention center, the student’s 16-year-old brother arrived and gave a statement that the marijuana was his,” said McKinney.
The 16-year-old was then arrested also and put in the detention center, according to the police report.
“Both boys were charged with possession of marijuana in a drug free zone, a Class A Misdemeanor,” said McKinney.
This bust’s for you
Intoxicated suspect jailed in bar burglary
Pecos Police Officers were busy Thursday morning after receiving a call of a suspicious person, who turned out to be a little bit more than just an intoxicated individual.
“We received a call at 5:56 this morning, in reference to a suspicious individual standing in the front yard of a residence at 403 Sycamore,” Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler said on Thursday.
Officer Rick Martinez responded to the call and when he arrived the complainant stated that he believed the subject was 28-year-old Jesus Manuel Martinez.
“When they got there, he had already run from the location, so they started checking the area,” said Deishler.
He said stereos, beer, pool balls were found behind a residence in the 700 block of East Fourth.
“At this time, they contacted me and I recovered the property as evidence,” said Deishler. “While I’m processing the scene, the officers searched for him and found him at Eighth and Peach,” he said.
Deishler said that when they found the suspect he was very intoxicated.
“At that time we arrested him for public intoxication,” said Deishler. “While he was being taken to jail, we continued to search the area and found more beer in the 400 block of Locust,” he said.
Deishler said that after they found the beer they went to the Del Rio Bar.
“We talked to the owner, Thomas Talamantes, he let us in and after checking the area, found it had been ransacked,” said Deishler.
He said that they found evidence that individuals had come in through the roof.
“There was a portion of the roof torn off and then they got into the attic, tore off the sheetrock and dropped into the bar,” said Deishler.
“They then removed all this property.”
He said that they then processed the crime scene and allowed Martinez to sober up before being interviewed.
“I have conducted an interview with Martinez who admitted to participating in this,” said Deishler.
At this time it is believed that other individuals were involved in the burglary, according to Deishler.
“More arrests are pending,” he said.
Council receives Waha update, warned about threats
Town of Pecos City Council members were given an update on the proposed Waha natural gas storage facility in eastern Reeves County last week, along with a reminder of why the county needs to start thinking again about forming an underground water district.
Paul Weatherby with the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, and Darryl Gee, with Waha Storage and Transportation, L.P., both spoke to the council during their Feb. 23 meeting about the progress of the $65 million facility, which is being hollowed out of salt domes on the eastern edge of the county, between the Waha natural gas hub in Pecos County and the city’s Worsham and South Worsham water fields.
Officials with the Middle Pecos district, which covers all of Pecos County, were the ones to alert local officials to Waha’s original plan to use water the Cenozoic Pecos Alluvium Aquifer to hollow out the domes. Middle Pecos officials feared its use could contaminate water from the Santa Rosa Aquifer, used both by Pecos County farmers in the Coyanosa area and by the city of Pecos for its water supply, and last year, the city was able to convince the Texas Railroad Commission to force Waha to use water from the Capitan Reef Aquifer as its water source.
“It’s deep water, 20,000 to 30,000 years old, which goes north out of the Coyanosa area,” Weatherby said, adding that the water was full of contaminants in that area, making it unusable for drinking.
“The amount of water they’re pumping is not going to hurt anybody,” he said, adding that the water is being pumped east of Coyanosa and then delivered by pipeline to the Coyanosa area. After use, the water is being injected into an old production zone 6,700 feet underground, where Weatherby said it is no threat to contaminate the other aquifers.
Enstor Corp. chose two sections of land in eastern Reeves County for its salt dome project because the county has no underground water district. That would normally leave all underground water subject to right-of-capture laws, except for the ruling by the Railroad Commission, which was due in part to the $8 million loan the state has with Pecos for development of the South Worsham field.
“With a water district, you have the ability to set rules and make sure you won’t harm your neighbors with your excessive pumping,” Weatherby told the council. He added that a seminar is being planned in Fort Stockton in the near future for underground water districts, and that local officials could get information there about trying to form a district in Reeves County.
Some farmers and ranchers tried and failed seven years ago to form a multi-county underground water district in the area. The Trans-Pecos Underground Water District was supposed to include Reeves, Pecos and Loving counties, after the Texas Legislature in 1997 mandated creation of the districts to manage the state’s aquifers.
Pecos County officials ended up creating their own district, after concerns they would only have one-third of the votes in a three-county district. Meanwhile, concerns locally by landowners over giving the local district control of their water and the proposed tax assessment to cover the district’s operations resulted in the plan dying before a vote was ever taken.
“That can be a problem, with people wanting government interests to stay off my land and don’t raise my taxes, but if Joe Blow comes in with a 5-10 inch line and starts pumping and dries up your well, there’s nothing you can do about that without an underground water district,” Weatherby said.
“There are private corporations and cities looking at ways to acquire water,” he added, noting that the city of El Paso was in the process of buying water rights at the former Freeport McMoRan sulphur mine site in Culberson County. Weatherby said Pecos County can impose transport fees on cities or private companies that try to pump water out of the county to other areas.
Those fees are imposed on Waha’s 11-mile pipeline to its Reeves County site. Gee said the rule also limited the flow of the water from the three wells in the Capital Reef, which are being used to hollow out six bell-shaped caverns about 700 feet high.
“Once we create the cavern, we pump the water out and put the gas in,” he said. The gas will be stored at the site, and released to the Waha hub, which is one of the main points in the U.S. for determining the price of natural gas before it is sent into pipelines for use in other parts of the country.
Gee said Waha is in the process of leaching four of the six wells right now. “For the commencement of service, we’re looking to be in business sometime in late 2007,” he said.
School’s aid is ticket to church’s improvements
A speeding ticket given to a man in southern Reeves County last year has resulted in a new roof for a Balmorhea church and a new outdoor basketball court for local youth, through the work of students at a Lubbock private school.
High school seniors from Lubbock Trinity Christian are spending the week in Balmorhea, working on putting a new roof on the Believers in Christ chapel, while also pouring the foundation for the basketball court, which the church’s minister said will eventually be used for the floor of a new sanctuary.
“It used to be our chapel, but we outgrew it, and our brother Methodists have been letting us use their facilities,” said Rosendo Carrasco, who serves as both minister of the church and Reeves County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3.
The Lubbock school has about 350 students, all of whom are involved in various missionary projects this week.
“We’re putting the roof on the chapel and putting in a basketball court so the youth can come play,” said assistant principal Ernie Garcia. The group began the work on Monday and will return to Lubbock on Friday.
“This isn’t over spring break; this is put in as part of our curriculum,” he said “Everyone does something, and the seniors travel out of town.
“These kids pay their own way and any labor they do, they do for free,” Garcia added. “Every year we bring about 25 kids out, with four or five adults, a couple of staff members from the school and some parents who are able to have the time to help out.”
Garcia said that the girls were spending the nights at the Baptist parsonage in town, while the boys were staying at the Believers in Christ chapel.
Trinity student Jessica Gilmore said in the past some of the students have worked in Lubbock area elementary schools, helping out teachers, while student Alex Natarajan said “Two years ago we went to Redford and put up a volleyball net and sanded the court down and played with the kids.”
“Sometimes they fix fences, sometimes they paint,” Garcia said. “We’ve got kids going to colleges as far as Colgate and Texas Christian. We have the kids in their last few months with us, and they’re learning skills while they work.”
Most of the adults and students on Wednesday were working on mixing and pouring the concrete for the court. “We could have had a truck come in and do it in one day, but by doing it this way, they learn how to mix it, and learn building skills,” Ernie Garcia said.
A few of the other boys were working with David Neufield on the chapel roof. “He’s kind of a master foreman,” Garcia said.
“The kids do what needs to be done, but if you get a job usually you stick with it,” Gilmore said, while student Abby Garcia added, “The guys on the roof have pretty much been there the whole time, because it’s easier to train four guys.”
Neufield was also the one responsible for the school’s project in Balmorhea, though Natarajan said it was accidental.
“He got a speeding ticket in this area, and called up the judge and said he was going on a mission trip. That’s how we got here,” he said. Nuefield and Carrasco then got together and helped set up the school’s weeklong trip to Balmorhea.
“He got the ticket and contacted me about who to do about it,” Carrasco said. “During that, he told me that he had been in Mexico doing missionary work and my ears shot up like a deer when he said that.
“He said he was involved with the school’s missionary work, and got Brother Garcia to call us, and we were able to set this up,” Carrasco said.
As part of their work in Balmorhea, the Trinity Christian students were scheduled to participate in a youth rally on Thursday, before their return to Lubbock.
Abby Garcia said she and the other Trinity students had only briefly met with Balmorhea students during their first few days in town. “The girls did work a day of school, but starting tonight and Thursday night we’re going to invite the kids to meet with us and go to a youth rally, and then we’ll get to meet the kids.”
“I think the coolest thing from a parents perspective is to watch our children from afar worship God with their actions,” said Liz Natarajan, one of the parents who made the trip to Balmorhea.”They’re not interested in who’s standing next to them or who is in the back of the room. So when I watch these guys worship, it leaves me in awe of what God has done with their life.”
Candidates file in P-B-T board, mayor elections
Pecos’ mayor has joined an incumbent councilman in filing for a new term in the May 13 city elections, while two challengers have entered their names in May’s Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board election.
Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford has signed up to retain her post for another two years. She was first elected in 1994 and was returned to office in 2002 after losing her bid in 2000 for re-election.
Councilman Michael Benavides filed in mid-February to retain his seat, a position he has held for the past five years. The other position on the council up for re-election is that held by Angelica Valenzuela.
While it was announced at the Feb. 23 Town of Pecos City Council meeting that all three incumbents have filed for re-election, Valenzuela has not yet returned her filing packet to City Hall, city secretary Connie Levario said on Thursday.
In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board elections positions up for re-election are those currently held by Amy Montgomery Miller and Steve Valenzuela. Neither incumbent has filed as of yet, but two others, John Grant and Ramiro “Ron” Garcia, have entered their names for the three-year terms up for election in May.
In the Reeves County Hospital board election, Terry Honnacker has filed for a full two-year term as Precinct 3 representative. Honnacker was appointed in late 2004 to replace Bill Wendt, who died in August of that year.
The at-large position of Leo Hung and the position of Precinct 1 representative Brenda McKinney also are up for election.
Elections will also be held on May 13 in Barstow, Toyah and Balmorhea, along with the Balmorhea ISD board election. This year’s voting will be held on the second Saturday in May instead of the first Saturday, as the result of a measure passed by the Texas Legislature.
To sign up to run in the city council race, individuals can do so at City Hall with Levario; to sign up for a position on the hospital board, they can contact Nadine Smith at Reeves County Hospital and to sign up to run for a position on the school board, individuals can contact Tracy Shaw at the school administration office, which will remain open next week during Spring Break for P-B-T ISD schools.
Meanwhile, early voting in next Tuesday’s Democratic primary election has surpassed the 900 mark, with two days remaining to cast ballots.
A total of 917 individuals have cast their ballots early, with 132 casting their ballots on Wednesday.
Five candidates are seeking to replace Jimmy Galindo as Reeves County Judge, and seven others are seeking the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 commissioner’s positions in the March 7 Democratic primary.
Early voting will continue until March 3 at the Reeves County Courthouse Lobby. Voters can cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, though there are no contested local races in the Republican primary.
Bowen says positions in middle of candidates
State Rep. Carlos Uresti has been trying to portray incumbent Frank Madla as a Republican in disguise, as he challenges Madla for the Democratic nomination in next Tuesday’s primary election.
And the Republican candidate for Madla’s seat basically agrees with Uresti’s claim.
“He’s to the right of where I am,” said Dick Bowen, who is running unopposed in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the District 19 nomination.
Bowen, an El Paso area resident, will face the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the November general election. He made a stop in Pecos in mid-February as part of his first campaign swing through the 19th District, which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso and includes Reeves County.
While he said Madla was too conservative for the district, he said Uresti was too liberal for the area’s voters, while at the same time saying he wanted a November race against the San Antonio area representative.
“I hope Uresti makes it, because if he does, then we’ve got a real choice,” Bowen said.
As far as his own campaign, Bowen cited school reform as his major concern.
“Our problem is the education system in the state is totally broken,” he said. “You can’t raise more taxes through property taxes, so now you have an unequal way too value properties.
“I believe the way to go is to raise the sales tax, so everybody is paying his fair share,” said Bowen, who also wants to see improvements in school vocational programs.
“We’re graduating kids from high school who I wouldn’t pay the minimum wage, because they’re not worth the minimum wage,” he said.
In his campaign literature, Bowen says vocational education should be offered as an alternative to college preparatory courses. “Many students do not have the desire, the aptitude or the financial resources to attend a university Whereas, a well designed high school vocational course can prepare them for future employment and act as a feeder program for a junior college associate degree,” he said.
Bowen also supports the resumption of casino gambling in El Paso, as part of allowing Indian tribes in Texas to operate casinos. On illegal immigration, Bowen said The government should end the practice of giving citizenship to babies of illegal immigrants, create a system that punishes the employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, and create simple guest worker program that allows the those workers to leave and reenter the country easily.
Methodist Church sets Lenten studies
First United Methodist Church will be hosting weekly studies during the Lenten season.
The Lenten series will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 2.
Pastor John Barrett will lead the Lenten series of study, to be held in the church fellowship hall at 7 p.m. each Thursday for seven weeks.
Topics for the series include The Way of the Cross, the Lessons of the Cross, the Marks of the Cross, the Gifts of the Cross, the Words of the Cross (two sessions), and the Glory of the Cross.
“This will be a very informal series,” said Rev. Barrett, also an evangelist for On the Rock Ministries of Odessa. “There will be some singing and refreshments served afterward.”
Any or all of the sessions may be attended. Anyone interested is welcome to participate.
The Methodist Church is located at Third and Elm Streets in Pecos.
Hunter safety course set March 12
A Hunter Safety Course will be offered on Sunday, March 12.
For more information call 432-940-3458.
PHS announces one-act play dates
The Pecos High School Drama Club will be presenting a One-Act Play on Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 21.
The group will be doing a Dinner and Live Production, the Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath.
On March 20, the events will include a barbecue dinner and all the fixings. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at the Pecos High School Cafeteria, with the show to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the dinner and show will be $7. Tickets without the dinner included will be $2.
The second show will be held Tuesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Pecos High School Auditorium. No dinner will be held during this event.
Advance tickets are on sale for $1 at the Pecos High School.
For more information call 447-7222, ext. 8011, and contact Charlie Wilson, the theater director.
Nevarez celebrates first birthday
Madalyn Katheryn Nevarez, born Feb. 17, 2005, celebrated her first birthday with a party held at her grandparent’s house in Pecos.
The theme of the party was Fairy Princess.
Madalyn is the daughter of Justin and Amanda Nevarez of Alpine.
Maternal grandparents are Cole and Bana Armstrong of Pecos.
Paternal grandparents are Joe and Debra Nevarez of Denver City.
Silva to compete in Regional Spelling Bee
Cynthia Silva, a third grade student, was the winner of the Austin
Elementary School Spelling Bee.
About 120 students in grades first through third grade participated in the spelling bee.
She will advance to participate in the Regional Spelling Bee at Odessa College Deadrick Auditorium on March 5.
She is the daughter of Jesus and Sandra Jaquez of Pecos.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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