Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Race for mayor in May election gets challenger
Pecos will have a contested election for mayor in May, while other local elections aside from the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board race remained uncontested on the final day to file for the May 13 election.
Meanwhile, a recount has been set for Tuesday in the Precinct 2 commissioners election held on March 7 in the Democratic primary, with the winner advancing to April 11’s runoff election.
Dick Alligood, owner of Oilfield Phone Service in Pecos, is challenging Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford for her position. Stafford has held for the past four years and for 10 of the past 12 years.
She filed to retain her post for another two years two weeks ago. She was first elected in 1994 and was returned to office in 2002 after losing her bid for re-election to Ray Ortega in 2000. She defeated Ortega in 2002 to regain the office and ran unopposed two years ago.
Along with Stafford’s position, two council seats will be decided in May. Incumbents Michael Benavides and Angelica Valenzuela have filed to retain their seats and as of Monday afternoon, just prior to the filing deadline, had no challengers.
Two seats also are up for election on the P-B-T ISD board, where one incumbent and three challengers have filed for the available three-year terms.
Incumbent Amy Montgomery Miller and challenger Vanessa Simmons joined John Grant and Ramiro “Ron” Garcia in entering their names for the three-year terms up for election in May.
Miller was first elected to the school board in 2003, while the other board seat currently is held by Steve Valenzuela.
In the Reeves County Hospital Board elections, only the three incumbents have filed for re-election, though for two, it will be their first election overall. Brenda McKinney signed up to retain her seat on the board in Precinct 1 that she was named to last year, following the death of Chel Flores. Terry Honaker earlier filed for a full two-year term as Precinct 3 representative. Honaker was appointed in late 2004 to replace Bill Wendt, who died in August of that year.
Leo Hung, who has also filed for a new two-year term, holds the other seat 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.
Individuals had until 5 p.m., Monday to decide if they would like to seek a position on any of these boards.
In the recount election, Alvesia “Tita” Tarin, has requested the recount, after finishing three voted behind incumbent Norman Hill in the Precinct 2 election. Challenger Gabriel Martinez won the three-way race with 281 votes to 222 for Hill and 219 for Tarin in the counting following the election. Either Hill or Tarin will face Martinez in the April 11 runoff, one of three local runoffs set for next month.
Al Gomez will face Sam Contreras in the runoff election for Reeves County Judge, while Ramiro “Ram” Guerra will face Precinct 4 incumbent commissioner Gilberto “Hivi” Rayos in the April 11 election.
Guerra received 315 votes in the four-person race, while Rayos was second with 164 votes. Gomez place first in a five-person race for county judge with 887 votes, to 742 for Contreras. The winner of that race will face Republican Robert Hanks in the November general election.
TxDOT lets bids for new I-20 repair projects
New signs warning drivers to reduce their speed on state highways will soon be introduced by the Texas Department of Transportation, and drivers will be seeing a lot of those new signs over the spring and summer, with two projects totaling nearly $15 million planned for the Pecos and Monahans areas of Interstate 20.
Glen Larum, public information director for TxDOT’s Odessa Division, said the agency let two contracts last week for repaving 17 miles of Interstate 20 in Reeves County and 18 miles of the Interstate in Ward County. The work in Reeves County will be to redo a section of the highway resurfaced just 18 months ago due to severe rutting in some areas, while the work in Ward County will involve the section of road between Pyote and the Monahans Sandhills, and will seek to correct an even more severe rutting problem in the right lanes of the highway. That section of road was last repaved about five years ago.
“Those are the two areas which are the most severe areas,” Larum said. “We’re going to start this spring, as soon as the weather warms up.”
I-20 has rutting of the roadway along most of the 18-mile section in Ward County due for work. Larum said in Reeves County, the only severe problem now is the eastbound section just to the east of Pecos, but added, “After doing testing, we’ve determined there’s a high probability of similar failure along the rest of the roadway.”
Jones Brothers Construction of Odessa won the bid for the section in Reeves County, at a cost of $7.7 million, while the Ward County section bid out at a cost of $7 million, Larum said.
The reduced speed signs set to debut will be placed both in construction areas, and along highways before lower speed limits take effect under regular driving conditions. They’ll replace the “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs, and will have a speed limit sign with a directional arrow above. The diamond-shaped sign tells drivers to slow down to the new speed limit.
The existing signs will be phased out over time as the local Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crew replace faded signs, according to Kelli Williams, the Odessa District Traffic Engineer.
The change is just one of a handful of modifications to standard signs outlined in the new 2006 Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices [TMUTCD], said Williams.
In another change, the design for the standard “School Bus Stop Ahead” sign is being modified to offer only one color -fluorescent yellow/green background with a black legend.
Canon named To Distinguished List at Tarleton
The A Honor Roll and Distinguished Students list for the fall 2005 semester has been released at Tarleton State University.
Dr. Gary Peer, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University, released the names of students recognized on both the Stephenville and Killeen campuses.
Students listed on the A Honor Roll for the fall semester earned a 4.0 grade point ratio (GPR) on the 4.0 system while taking a minimum of 12 hours.
To be named a Distinguished Student, freshman and sophomore students must be in good standing with the University and have a minimum GPR of 3.25 with no grade lower than C; junior and senior students must be in good standing with the University and have a minimum GPR of 3.50 with no grade lower than C.
From Pecos, Jennie Canon was named to the Distinguished Students list for the fall 2005.
Man dies, child critically hurt in Saturday U.S. 285 accident
One man was killed and a 4-year-old girl critically injured Saturday afternoon, in a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 285 just south of Pecos.
James Edward Oliver III, 62, of Damon, was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Amanario Ramon following the accident, which occurred at 5:17 p.m. on U.S. 285, about 4.3 miles south of Pecos.
According to the report filed by Department of Public Safety trooper Davela Maynard, Oliver was a passenger in a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer driven by Sondra Lee Bailey, 32, of Damon, which was northbound on U.S. 285 when it left the roadway and drifted into the barrow ditch on the east side of the shoulder. Bailey overcorrected to the left, causing the vehicle to cross the highway and overturn. Oliver, the only passenger not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle.
Bailey was transported to Reeves County Hospital, where she was treated and released, as was another passenger, 11-year-old James Bailey. However, 4-year-old Erica Bailey was transported by air ambulance to University Medical Center in Lubbock, where she was listed in critical condition with head trauma.
N.M. officials outline Pecos water buyback plan
Officials from the State of New Mexico briefed area farmers, ranchers and other local residents on Thursday evening about the plans for New Mexico to secure enough water to meet the requirements of the Pecos River Compact.
Bhasker Rao and Elisa Sims of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission offered details on the plans by New Mexico to buy up water rights in the Roswell and Carlsbad areas, in order to fulfill federally mandated water releases by New Mexico to Texas. At the same time, the plan if fulfilled could leave New Mexico with a water credit to Texas, which could result in limited water releases into Red Bluff Lake over a future three-year period.
Rao said New Mexico has funds to purchase the water rights, but that it must be done by June 30 of 2007, when the funding expires. “The State of New Mexico has spend $35 million to acquire water rights,” he said, noting that while the state already has a 17,000 acre/foot credit with Texas, “It’s not sufficient to carry us through the worst (drought) years.”
Rao said the state wants to boost its water credit by about 100,000 acre/feet, and to do that plans to buy 12,000 acres of land in the Carlsbad area and another 6,000 acres near Roswell. The purchases would allow New Mexico to secure enough water rights to meet the requirement of the compact, which was signed in 1948, but which the state was found to be in violation of over a period from 1950 through 1986.
He said in dry years, when the Pecos River doesn’t provide enough water flow for Texas’ needs, the plan calls for New Mexico to pump up to 35,000 acre/feet of water a year, but not more than 100,000 acre/feet over a five-year period to meet the compact’s requirement. Water would come from several places along the river, including a pipeline in the Lake Arthur area and from 10 new wells at Seven Rivers, north of Carlsbad, which will pump about 20,000 gallons a minute.
Rao said as of now New Mexico has acquired 2,476 of the planned 7,500 acres in the Roswell area, and 2,350 out of 4,500 acres in the Carlsbad area. That equals 12,000 acre/feet pumping capacity out of the 15,750 acre/feet sought.
Sims said that while the credits, which are based on a rolling three-year average, could allow New Mexico to retain water from release into Texas during dry years, the Pecos River would still have water sources downstream from Carlsbad, and federal environmental rules to protect endangered fish in the river will mandate a certain level of water release.
“If they have to deliver 12,000 acre/feet of water, they don’t have to deliver. They can call on that credit,” said J.W. Thrasher, the Pecos River Compact Commissioner for Texas. “They can have a credit, but they can never have a deficit.”
Sims said it would be up to Texas to store the excess water during surplus years, so that it would be available in drought years or when New Mexico uses its water credit to limit release.
Sims also presented a chart showing water quality has improved in the Pecos under the current environmental impact statement and Interstate Stream Commission lease program, as compared with conditions prior to 1991. If the planned settlement is approved, the current plan will be extended for 40 years, with water release by the Carlsbad Irrigation District moved from July to February.
“We expect to see an rise in water quality due to less use of water for irrigation in the CID,” Sims said
143rd District Court
(Ward, Reeves & Loving Counties)
Judge Bob Parks, Judge Presiding
Jan. 1, 2006 through Jan. 31, 2006
Civil Cases Filed:
Leticia Armendariz vs. Joann R. Esquivel; case type: injury damages with motor vehicle.
Tanya Valdez et al vs. Diane C. Zamora; case type: injury damages with motor vehicle.
Upper Pecos Soil & Water Conservation District #213 vs. Tom Nance; case type: account-note-contract.
Maria Zavala, et al vs. Brinker Texas, L.P., et al; case type: injury damages with motor vehicle.
Marcus Hulings, Jr. vs. Florence Hulings Owen, et al; case type: clear title to real property.
State of Texas vs. 1992 Green Ford Taurus, et al; case type: seizure and forfeiture.
Emilio Lujan, et ux vs. Claudio Ortiz, et al; case type: injury damages with motor vehicle.
Bank of America, N.A. vs. Robert W. Bates, case type: account-note-contract.
Three new family suits were filed; one is a petition for child support review order; one is a petition in suit affecting parent-child relationship and one is a Motion for Enforcement arising out of a suit ion another state.
The following delinquent tax suits were filed:
Reeves County, et al vs. W.B. Fitts, et al.
Town of Pecos City, et al vs. David Garcia.
Town of Pecos City, et al vs. Anna Granado, et al.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, et al vs. Augustine Ramirez.
Town of Pecos City, et al vs. Miguel C. Quiroz, et al.
Town of Pecos City, et al vs. Cindy P. Moya.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, et al vs. Rafael A. Carrillo, et al.
Tanya Valdez et al vs. Brinker Texas; reversed and remanded from court of appeals;
Stella G. Lujan and Jose A. Lujan; motion to enforce property division.
One family case was reactivated on a Motion to Transfer to Ward County.
Five family cases were reactivated on Motions to Revoke community supervision and two included suspension of licenses.
Four family cases were reactivated on motions to enforce.
Civil Cases Disposed:
Marlene Muniz et al vs. Brinker Texas et al; agreed final judgment was entered.
Balmorhea ISD et al vs. Desert Distributors, Inc., et al; delinquent tax suit was dismissed.
State of Texas vs. 1995 Plymouth Voyager Van; notice of seizure and intended forfeiture case was dismissed for want of prosecution.
Tanya Valdez et al vs. Brinker Texas, et al; agreed final judgment.
Tanya Valdez et al vs. Brinker Texas, et al; order establishing qualified settlement fund.
Family cases disposed:
One agreed judgment on a child support review order.
One dismissal in a petition to establish parent-child relationship.
One order in a petition to adjudicate parentage and modification.
One judgment in a petition to adjudicate parentage.
One case transferred to Ward County.
One order on motion to confirm child support arrearages.
One order concerning community supervision.
One nonsuit of a motion to enforce.
One order on motion to enforce & motion to modify.
Two orders on motion to enforce.
One nonsuit of motion to enforce.
The following indictments were filed:
State of Texas vs. Adrian Santana; offense: drug possession.
State of Texas vs. Leonel Gonzale-Juarez; offense: drug possession.
State of Texas vs. Ephram Silvas Ortega; offense: forgery.
State of Texas vs. Michael Munoz; offense; burglary.
State of Texas vs. Clarissa Fobbs; offense: burglary.
State of Texas vs. Darren Lynn Walker; offense: burglary.
State of Texas vs. Jesus Gonzalez; offense: aggravated assault.
State of Texas vs. Brian Garcia; offense: aggravated assault.
State of Texas vs. Jose Manuel Garcia; offense: burglary.
State of Texas vs. William Michael Meierhoff; offense:
Applications of Writs of Habeas Corpus were filed as follows:
Darren Lynn Walker vs. State of Texas.
Tomas Salgado, Jr. vs. State of Texas.
Motions to Adjudicate were filed in the following cases:
State of Texas vs. Tammy Michelle Williams; offense: forgery.
State of Texas vs. Conrado Gonzales, Jr.; offense: aggravated assault.
State of Texas vs. Melissa Rena Silvas; offense: forgery.
Motion to Revoke Community Supervision was filed:
State of Texas vs. Delma Rodriguez; offense: assault.
State of Texas vs. Gregorio Saenz Barrera; offense: drug possession.
State of Texas vs. Raymond Rivera Abila; offense: unlawfully carrying a prohibited weapon.
Criminal cases were re-activated on the following motions:
State of Texas vs. Tammy Michelle Williams; offense: forgery; motion to discharge deferred adjudication.
Criminal Case Dispositions:
State of Texas vs. Ivan Esparza; offense: drug possession; dismissal subject to further grand jury investigation.
State of Texas vs. Maria Senaida Mendoza: offense: forgery; the motion to adjudicate was dismissed and defendant’s terms and conditions of community supervision were amended as follows: extension of community supervision for an additional year to expire now on Aug. 19, 2009; defendant shall pay $200 toward delinquent probation fees to Reeves Co. CSCD before being released from jail; defendant shall perform double the minimum community service restitution until defendant gets a job; defendant shall pay $431 for reimbursement of his attorney’s fees paid by Reeves County to his court-appointed attorney; defendant shall not be allowed to have a travel permit for six months except for medical care.
State of Texas vs. Concepcion Teofilo Garcia: offense: drug possession; the motion to revoke community supervision was dismissed and defendant’s terms and conditions of community supervision were amended as follows: Defendant shall: (i) remain in the VA hospital treatment program for not less than 3 months and not more than 12 months; (ii) participate in Narcotics Anonymous or AA no less than three times per week and provide written proof; (iii) participate in Intensive Supervision Probation program for not less than 3 months and not more than 12 months; (iv) attend and participate in Aftercare Counseling services; (v) complete an additional 80 hours of community service at 20 hours per month; and, (vi) remain in jail until transported to the VA hospital treatment program.
State of Texas vs. Ruben Contreras: offense: forgery; the motion to adjudicate was dismissed and defendant’s terms and conditions of community supervision were amended as follows: Defendant shall: (i) pay court-appointed attorneys fees of $525 to Reeves County CSCD at the rate of $15 per month; (ii) pay a probation fine of $500 to Reeves County CSCD to be paid prior to being released from jail; (iii) have his term of community supervision extended for an additional year now to expire Aug. 18, 2008; (iv) attend and participate in counseling services; (v) participate in Intensive Supervision Probation for not less than three months nor more than 12 months; (vi) serve 37 days in jail with credit for time served; (vii) attend AA or NA no less than two times per week and verify attendance; and (viii) have no contact with Maria Senaida Mendoza during the term of community supervision.
State of Texas vs. Jeffrey Eugene Ephriam; offense: assault; motion to adjudicate was dismissed and Defendant’s terms and conditions of community supervision were amended as follows: Defendant shall: (i) remain incarcerated in Reeves Co. Jail until transported to Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (“SAFPF”); (ii) as alternative to incarceration in SAFPF, defendant shall remain in SAFPF for not less than six months nor more than 12 months; (iii) shall participate in Intensive Supervision Program for not less than three months nor more than 12 months; (iv) shall serve 35 days in jail with credit for time served; and (v) reimburse Reeves County for court-appointed attorneys fees of $480 within 90 days of being released from SAFPF.
State of Texas vs. Tammy Michelle Williams; offense: forgery; the motion to adjudicate was dismissed and defendant discharged.
Sate of Texas vs. Arturo Ruiz Jr.; offense: drug possession; case dismissed and defendant entered into a pre-trial diversion program.
State of Texas vs. Ronald Douglas Stinson; offense: drug possession; case dismissed and defendant entered into a pre-trial diversion program.
State of Texas Edmundo Rosales Guerrero; offense: possession of marijuana; judgment of conviction and sentence to institutional division for four years; $0 fine; $140 restitution; $227.25 court costs.
State of Texas vs. Todd Durante; offense: aggravated assault; judgment of conviction and sentence to institutional division for six years; $0 fine; $227.25 courts.
State of Texas vs. William Michael Meierhoff; offense: forgery; judgment of conviction and sentence to jail division for nine months; $0 fine; $227.25 court costs; $414.19 restitution.
State of Texas vs. Ephram Silvas Ortega; offense: forgery; judgment of conviction and sentence to state jail division for 12 months; $0 fine; $227.25 court costs; $100 restitution.
State of Texas vs. Jerry Dominguez: offense: aggravated assault; adjudication of guilt - postconviction community supervision; eight years confinement in the institutional division of TDCJ probated for eight years; $0 fine; $227.25 court costs and $17,659.74 restitution.
The following actions were taken on the following applications for writs of habeas corpus:
Javier Torres Florez - dismissed.
Tomas Salgado Jr. - bond reduced.
Darren Lynn Walker - dismissed.
January jobless rate up for month, down from ’05
Unemployment in Reeves County rose following the Christmas holidays, according to figures released on Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission. But the 7.6 unemployment rate for the month is still over 1 1/2 percent below the number at the same point last year.
The TWC’s January numbers showed the county had 4,221 workers and 3,900 jobs, which is down from the 4,257 people in the labor force and the 3,984 jobs reported by the agency in December, when Reeves County’s jobless rate was 6.4 percent. In January of 2005, the TWC said the county had 4,400 workers and 3,996 jobs, with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate.
The decrease in the number of jobs and workers over the past year in the county remain in contrast to the sales tax numbers being released by the Texas Comptroller’s officer. The figures from Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office have shown tax rebates to area cities are up about 10 percent on average over the past year.
Jobless rates across the area following the Christmas holiday showed increases, according to the TWC’s numbers. But most of the numbers are well below the jobless rates in January of 2005, due to the continuing resurgence of the area’s oil and gas drilling industry.
Midland County’s jobless rate rose from 3.1 to 3.5 percent. The area’s most-populated county lost 533 workers and 775 jobs between December and January, according to the TWC. A year ago, the county had nearly 2,700 fewer jobs and 2,350 fewer workers than this January. Ector County’s jobless rate increased from 3.8 to 4.3 percent. The county’s labor force fell by 350 people and the number of jobs fell by 612. Ector County’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent a year ago, with almost 2,500 fewer jobs and 2,000 fewer workers.
Andrews County’s rate increase half a percent, from 3.6 in December to 4.1 percent in January, as the number of workers declined by 30 and the jobs dropped by 60. Andrews’ rate was 4.8 percent a year ago, with the number of jobs up by 300 and the number of workers by 250 over the past 12 months. Brewster County’s rate rose from 3.1 to 3.8 percent, as the workforce lost 64 workers and 95 jobs. The county’s rate was 4.0 percent a year ago, with nine more jobs and 21 more workers than in January of this year. Crane County’s rate jumped from 4.7 to 5.9 percent, as the number of jobs was down by 10 while the workforce only grew by that amount. The TWC said Crane County had 80 more workers and 60 more jobs with a 6 percent jobless rate last January. Culberson County saw no change in its unemployment rate, which held at 3.9 percent, the county had one less job and one less worker than in December, while compared to a year ago, the county has lost 45 workers and 19 jobs, while the jobless rate then was at 5.3 percent.
Howard County’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent last month, a .9 percent jump from December. The county lost 179 jobs while the labor force shrank by 64 workers. A year ago, the county’s jobless rate was 6.2 percent, with 115 more jobs and 303 more workers than this January. Pecos County rate was 5 percent, up from 4.5, but below last January’s 6.2 percent. the county gained 10 jobs, but that was offset by an increase of 43 workers.
The county’s totals are down by 111 workers and 25 jobs from last year. The rate in Ward County was up from 4.9 to 5.2 percent, with the number of jobs down by 55 and the number of workers down by 42 from the end of 2005. Compared with a year ago, the county has 45 additional workers and 102 more jobs, which dropped the jobless rate from 6.5 percent. Winkler County’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent last month, up from 4.7 percent in December, with 72 fewer workers and 90 less jobs. The jobless rate in January of 2005 was 5.9 percent, with 48 additional workers and 32 additional jobs than this past January.
Presidio County’s jobless rate was up from 9.6 to 10.7 percent, which still is well below last year’s 14.4 percent rate in January. Presidio added 53 workers and 13 jobs between December and January, while the number of workers is down 323 and the number of jobs is down 129 from last year, according to the TWC. Loving County, with the fewest residents of any U.S. county, was the only one in the area to show an increase from a year ago. The County’s rate was 14.8 percent, up from 12.5 percent in January of 2005 and 10.5 percent in December. The TWC said the county lost 30 percent of its jobs in one month, falling from 34 in December to 23 last month, while the workforce dropped from 38 to 27. A year ago, the county had 32 workers and 28 jobs, the agency’s report said.
GED testing dates announced
GED Testing will be held at 4 p.m., Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday, March 29, at the Pecos High School.
Registration has been scheduled from 1-4 p.m., Monday, March 27, 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 call Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselors at 447-7229.
Waltrip car displayed at NAPA event
The No. 55 car of NASCAR racer Michael Waltrip will be on display on Thursday at the NAPA Auto Parts store at Second and Oleander streets, as part of a factory-authorized tool sale.
The customer appreciation sale will also include free hats, door prizes and goodie bags for the first 100 attendees. Tools, diagnostic equipment and factory personnel to conduct on-site demonstrations will also be part of the event, which will begin Thursday morning.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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