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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 31, 2006

Organizers eye bigger turnout for Health Fair

Sixty vendors and about 1,000 people are expected to attend the 19th Annual Reeves County Health Fair, scheduled for this Saturday in various sites throughout the hospital.

“They’ll be in the front lobby, the back hallway and all the way down past the rural health clinic, so they’ll get a good view of the renovations and the expansion area,” said Venetta Seals, Public Relations Director for the hospital.

This year’s event received promotional funding from the state’s Texas Yes! Program, and Seals said, “We’re expecting a few more this year. We estimated we had about 1,000 attend last year, and about half that number participates in the (testing) package alone.

The others come for other screenings and information from in and around our community.”

The location of the booths will be a little different this year, with the into the hospital’s addition is part of an effort to keep fairgoers away from the main part of the patient care zone just behind the main lobby. “We always try to avoid having the fair go that way so that we can continue care for patients in the hospital at this time.”

Seals said there will be some rules fairgoers will have to follow, in terms of where they can go and when the can have certain low-cost testing done.

“Everyone is required to come through the front entrance to attend the Health Fair,” she said. “People must receive a number at the front door if they’re going to receive the blood package.”

She added that the blood testing will only be done during the first half of the Health Fair, from 8 until 11 a.m.

Crowds were late arriving in early years of the Health Fair, which runs from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. But in recent years, people have lined up well in advance of the fair’s start, in order to avoid long lines for some of the testing booths.

“They can start lining up whenever they want to, but the doors don’t open until 8,” Seals said. “We probably have to be there by 6 o’clock to beat the first person in line.”

The vendors this year will come from as far away as Lubbock, while Seals said some attendees make even longer trips to the event.

“We have two ladies who always come in from Mesa, Ariz., and we have others who come in from out of town places like Carlsbad and Hobbs,” she said.

Aside from the events inside the building, Seals said United Blood Services would be conducting a blood drive in the parking area outside the front entrance from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“We encourage everyone that can to go donate blood,” Seals said. “We have two or three people in the community who recently received blood, and donations to them would be appreciated.”

A complete list of vendors, along with booth and testing sites inside the hospital on Saturday, is in Section B of today’s paper.

Series squad to reunite for LL season opener

The 2006 season will open on Saturday for the Pecos Little League by honoring players and coaches from the 1971 Pecos Pony League who advanced to that league’s World Series, as part of the opening ceremony, scheduled for 9 a.m. at Chano Prieto Field.

Several members of the ’71 group of 13- and 14-year olds that advanced to the finals in Washington, Pa., will be on hand, along with manager Phil Ryan and coaches Leo, Elliott and Lynn Owens.

“We started playing about the Fourth of July, and we were still playing in the World Series when school started,” said Owens, who is currently Reeves County Auditor. He normally served as business manager for the team, but had to take over as assistant coach to Ryan for a few games when Leo Elliott had to stay in Pecos to work at his printing shop.

“I was keeping track of all the things we had to have for tournament play, and trying to make sure we had enough money to get home and get some more,” Owens said. “We had a lot of good people in Pecos getting donations for us.”

Elliott’s son, Johnny, kept a scrapbook of the run, which included 15 straight tournament victories before Pecos fell to Puerto Rico and eventual tournament champion Orange County, Calif., in their games in Pennsylvania. Before that, Elliott said the team scored wins in Andrews, El Paso and Abilene before capturing the Southern Regional with a 3-2 win over Decatur Ga., in Garland.

“That was probably the best ballclub we played all the way through,” Leo Elliott said. “We were getting beat there, but our pitcher ran out of innings.”

Pecos won the game in extra innings on a home run by Donald Ray Walker to advance to the World Series. Walker and Kenneth Williams were the team’s two main pitchers for their run through the tournament, and Ryan said they were among seven players back from the 1970 squad.

“We went all the way to regionals the year before,” said Ryan. “We lost at the regional tournament in Abilene.”

“Hop (Walker) would stand up there and throw three balls, then he’d smile and come back and throw three strikes,” Elliott said. “I’ve seen him do that more than once.”

However, at Washington, Pa., the Pony Leaguers dropped their opening game to Puerto Rico, 4-3, and then were eliminated, 5-3, by Orange County, which came through the elimination bracket to win the tournament title.

“We were playing Orange and it was just one of those things. We were ahead when the sky opened up. We had a pretty good rain delay, and when it picked up again we couldn’t do anything and Orange did a good job.”

Owens said Ryan’s trip to the Pony League Series was one of two for him as a manager. “Phillip took a team back to the World Series in 1991 when he was living in the Denver area,” he said. “He called me that year, and I hadn’t heard from him for a while and he said ‘Guess what? I’m taking another team to the World Series.’ I said if he wins he better call me, but I didn’t hear back from him.”

“I moved out in ’77 and was very fortunate to coach a team from Parker, Colo., in 1991 to the World Series,” Ryan said. He added that tournament was played to the west of Pecos, site, in Ohio, and “It was a little larger than that was. There were 24 teams there.”

Ryan, who now lives in Midland, has since worked as both an official in two college conferences, as well as supervising Permian Basin officials. He said he was hoping to see as many players as possible in town on Saturday, and was hoping he could contact Pecos Little League official Alan Ballard about setting up a dinner in town on Friday night with the group.

“None of those guys are young now. They’re all about 48 or 49 years old,” Ryan said. Team member Sebero Jaquez said the Pony Leaguers flew from Midland-Odessa to Pittsburgh via Dallas and Cincinnati, before busing south from Pittsburgh to Washington, Pa. “It was the experience of a lifetime,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s not the last for here, and we can get some other teams to do that same.”

“The community raised funds for the trip,” Leo Elliott said, while Jaquez said cost of the final trip to Pennsylvania went into five figures.

“I talked to Phillip about a month ago. He told me after we won regionals had had 12 days to collect $12,000 to fly us over to the World Series.”

Leo Elliott said Russell Johnson and members of the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department helped with the fundraising, while Jaquez said both local banks also contributed to the effort.

“We owe a lot of thanks to the community of Pecos,” Jaquez said.

“That was a fun summer, that was a very fun summer,” Johnny Elliott said. “My kids don’t believe me, but I said that was the best vacation I had in my whole life.”

Elliott, who said he would have to miss Saturday’s even in order to take his daughter to a swim meet in Midland, said there were several outside events Pecos players participated in during their stay in Pennsylvania, along with meeting players from the other teams, which included squads from Hawaii, Japan and Mexico City.

“The place I remember going was the carnival,” he said, adding that the team stayed in college dorm rooms along with the other squads at the tournament.

“The people were the nicest you could meet. They were friends because you were from Texas,” Leo Elliott said, though there was a bit of a clash of lifestyles.

“We went someplace and asked for chicken-fried steak and they had no idea what we were talking about,” Elliott said, while the Pony League complex food servers didn’t know about chili dogs and onions.

“It was just a pleasant experience,” Owens said. “A lot of the kids did more traveling that summer than they had done their entire lives.”

“I think it’s a great accomplishment for Pecos to go to the World Series, because all those other places like Decatur or Orange have a lot bigger areas to choose from,” Owenss said.

Local clean-up crews target Wal-Mart, Walthall locations

A cleanup along a heavy traffic area through Pecos will take place this Saturday and volunteers are always welcome.

“This is going to be a little cleanup, because the city has been doing such a good job, there isn’t that much to do this time,” said Michael Benavides, organizer of the event, which is part of a statewide clean-up effort this weekend.

Benavides said that the group wanted to clean up along the area at the Santa Rosa Cemetery, but that that had already been taken care of by city crews. Instead, the workers will target Walthall Street and the empty lot on Cedar Street, across from Wal-Mart.

“The wind blows all those plastic bags and stuff out there and will do that area instead,” he said.

“I would like to caution drivers to slow down between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., Saturday,” said Benavides.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can meet up with the group at 7 a.m., at the Odessa College Campus Parking lot in the 1000 block of South Eddy Street.

“This cleanup is in conjunction with the state-wide Don’t Mess With Texas campaign,” said Benavides.

Early voting in runoff races starts next week

Early voting for the runoff election will be held throughout next week in the lobby of the Reeves County Courthouse for the April 11 runoff election.

The runoff election is for the candidates running for Reeves County Judge, Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2 and Commissioner Precinct 4 positions.

In the Reeves County Judge’s race, Al Gomez is facing Sam Contreras for that position, which is being vacated by three-term incumbent Jimmy Galindo. In the county commissioner runoffs, Gabriel Martinez is challenging Precinct 2 incumbent Norman Hill and Ramiro Guerra is challenging Precinct 4 Commissioner Hivi Rayos. Hill is in his first term and Rayos his second as commissioners. Both placed second in the March 7 primary races, while Gomez placed first and Contreras second out of five candidates in the county judge’s primary.

Two other statewide races, for U.S. Senate and Lieutenant Governor, will also have runoffs on the Democratic side. There are no runoffs in the local Republican primary, which had only one candidate, county judge hopeful Bobby Hanks, in last month’s election.

“We will be accepting applications for ballots by throughout April 4,” said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.

Florez said that once early voting starts, they cannot accept applications for ballots by mail. “So they have until April 4, for us to receive the applications for the ballots,” said Florez. Election day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 and all polling places will be open at that time.

Early voting will continue from April 3-7, at the Reeves County Courthouse lobby.

PHS students to attend national BPA event

Two students from Pecos High School will be attending the Business Professionals of America 2006 National Leadership Conference, “Make Your Mark,” in Orlando, Fla., May 10-14.

Pecos High School chapter members Edgar Rodriguez and Jamie Gallego will join over 5,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in national-level business skill competitions, workshops, general sessions, and the national officer candidate campaigns and elections. Besides having the opportunity to excel, they’ll experience central Florida as they visit exciting sites.

“The conference will be the culmination of a school year’s worth of business workforce education and training which members of the local chapter of Business Professionals of America at Pecos High School have received,” said chapter adviser, Judy Holland, who teaches Business Computer Systems II and Administrative Procedures at PHS.

Rodriguez will be competing in the Banking and Finance Competition as well as the Financial Math and Analysis event while in Orlando.

Gallego will be a Leadership Intern for the Texas Delegation while they compete in Orlando.

PHS also had several students competing at the Texas State BPA Leadership Conference, held recently in Lubbock.

“PHS is very proud of all the students who worked diligently to prepare for the competition recently held in Lubbock. We were fortunate to have students advancing to the BPA National Leadership Conference and Competition,” said Holland.

Rodriguez is the son of Michelle and Hugo Rodriguez and is currently employed at Trans Pecos Bank through the co-op program at the Pecos High School.

Gallego is the son of Regina and Jimmy Gallego.

Business Professionals of America is a national organization for high school, college and middle school students preparing for careers in business and information technology occupations. The organization’s activities and programs complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school.

Business Professionals of America acts as a cohesive agent in the nationwide networking of education and business and industry, and is contributing to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills.

Band Boosters’ auction set for Saturday

Tires, guitars, a custom made cake and slush maker are just a few things will be auctioned off this weekend, all for a good cause.

Pecos High School Band Boosters will sponsor their annual band auction at the Pecos High School band hall Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

“We’re really pleased with the community and surrounding communities that have donated items to us,” said head band director Bill Goff.

Some of the items that will be auctioned include: an interstate battery, a two-night stay in Alpine, a $300 quinceanera cake, Weed-Eater and gift baskets.

“We’re still receiving items and we even received donations from J.C. Penney’s in Odessa and Dillard’s from the mall in Odessa,” said Goff, who added that he was pleased with the response.

“I think we’ll end up with more items than we have before,” said Goff. “I’m going to pray that we do really well.”

He said that he is really proud of the students and that they have been working really hard. “They deserve something for all their hard work and they are really good kids,” Goff said. Goff said that the students are planning on making cheesecakes, cookies and cupcakes to sell at the bake sale, which will be held in conjunction with the auction.

“It’s really interesting that we will be having different auctioneers,” he said. “We’ll have a different auctioneer every hour.”

Reeves County Judge candidates Sam Contreras and Al Gomez will be on hand to be auctioneers, along with Damon Compton, John Grant, Trey Miller, Christina Winfrey, Jim Workman and the Pecos Police Department.

“This year we decided to involve members of the community, the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office,” said Goff.

A brisket plate sale will also be held during the day’s events. Brisket plates will be for sale at $5 a plate and deliveries will be made.

Individuals can call 447-7218 or 447-7219, to order a brisket plate or to bid on an item. The event will be televised on Cebridge Cable Ch. 11 and everyone is encouraged to participate in this event.

Some of the proceeds from the auction will go towards the spring trip the band will be embarking on.

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Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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