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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, September 22, 2006

Schools eye events sign for Eddy St. location

A new electronic signage board will soon be seen by drivers on South Eddy Street passing the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Technology Center, thanks to the local credit union.

The digital message board was discussed during the regular P-B-T ISD school board meeting, held last Thursday in the Technology Center.

“The board of directors got together and asked what they could do for the school system,” said Jimmy Dutchover, director of the Reeves County Teacher’s Credit Union and also the district’s Transportation Department and AEP coordinator. “They came up with the electronic information board.”

He showed board members an example of the signage board that showed the credit union logo.

“They wanted me to show it to the board and see if they wanted it on their property,” said Dutchover.

He said he would be talking to other financial institutions in Pecos to see if they would like to come on board for the project. “But if they don’t, we still want to purchase it for the school system,” Dutchover added.

Dutchover said that once the sign is built it will be there permanently.

“There’s still some things that we need to work out, if we want to do this,” said Superintendent Manny Espino. “It makes a lot of sense.” He said that a lot of colleges have this signage boards set up in front of their campuses, including UTPB.

“You see them at a lot of colleges, but not at high schools,” Espino said.

Dutchover said that if the project was approved and feasible the board would be set up in front of the Career and Technology Building on Eddy Street, where board members meet.

Dutchover said that the only cost to the district would be electricity, and that they would also have to build a brick stand.

Dutchover said that they had received tentative approval from the highway department and it is allowable. Eddy Street is a state-maintained road, and signs must follow Texas Department of Transportation rules.

“We’re trying to do this as a community effort, if other entities would like to help,” he said. “We’re asking permission to proceed and ask other entities if they want to participate as a community effort.

“We’ll take this back to the credit union board and see what the next step will be,” he said.

“We really like the idea,” said board president Lila Cerna.

In other action last Thursday, board members put off making a decision on when graduation ceremonies would be held.

“At this time we have the date set at Thursday, May 31, 2007,” said Espino. “We had brought this before the board to see if they wanted it changed to a Friday, even though there have been other years when graduation was held on another day instead of a Friday,” he said.

Deputies probe cemetery theft, vandalism cases

Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputies will be patrolling the cemeteries located on the outskirts of Pecos, following reports of a series of thefts and vandalism incidents at family gravesites.

“There’s been a lot of theft out there and we are patrolling that area more carefully,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, who said his father’s grave also has been vandalized. The sheriff said that he had had several calls from individuals who say items were missing from the graves of their loved ones, who are buried at Greenwood Cemetery, located next to Mount Evergreen Cemetery on the south side of Interstate 20.

“We’ve had several calls, including one from Danny Leos widow, who said that they have been taking things from the grave and that they had torn out the flowers and just thrown them away,” said Gomez.

Leos was a Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy who died of a heart attack a few years ago and Gomez’ father died recently.

“They stole a flag that we had put out there for my dad,” said Gomez. “If find anyone out there doing damage or stealing, we will prosecute them.”

Gomez said that they were appalled that people would do such things and he said that they were keeping a closer eye.

“I’ve had a real problem with theft out there,” said Ana Vasquez, whose husband, Robert Vasquez, is also buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Vasquez said she had even put up a five-foot fence around the grave and had it padlocked. “They still stick their hands in and steal things,” said Vasquez. “The Trujillos’ whose dad is buried nearby, had a bench stolen,” she said.

Vasquez said that she had lights welded into the fence and around the gravestone, but they were also vandalized.

“They took those out of the cement on the ground,” she said. “They bended them until they broke,” she said.

Vasquez said that individuals had stuck their hands through the fence and yanked on the lights that were around the gravestone.

“Someone also took a big pot with a cactus and they stole a steel chair that I had out there, for when I visit the grave,” said Vasquez.

Among other things stolen from the graves of her husband and other around that area include wind chimes, rose bushes and benches.

“It’s happening too many times and it’s really sad,” said Vasquez.

Vasquez said that she was thinking of contacting Crime Stoppers and offer a reward to have these individuals prosecuted.

“We’re doing everything we can, because we are upset about this,” said Sheriff Gomez. “We’ve been receiving complaints that this is also happening in Balmorhea.”

Gomez said that they hope to catch the individuals responsible and that when they do they will be prosecuted. “I don’t know if they’re going out there to drink or what, but they don’t have to destroy or steal from the graves,” he said.

If anyone has information concerning the thefts at the cemetery they are urged to contact the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department at 445-4901. Individuals will remain anonymous.

Reeves is 200th campaign stop for Van Os

David Van Os reached a milestone on Wednesday with his stop in Pecos to visit with local voters.

The San Antonio Democrat said Reeves County was the 200th country out of 254 he’s visited to far, in his campaign for attorney general in Texas. It is part of a swing this week through West Texas, which began in the El Paso area and was to continue on Thursday with stops in Kermit, Monahans, Midland and Odessa.

“I don’t think any other candidate has ever visited all 254 counties,” said his wife, Rachel, who is making the trip with her husband. “We plan to complete the trip within the next four weeks.”

Van Os said he was traveling through upper Panhandle counties last week. “I was told by many people the state government in Austin doesn’t even know we exist. It’s something I’ve heard all over the state,” he said. “Rural Texas is getting treated like the bottom of the pile. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, and I intend to make changes.”

Van Os will be facing Greg Abbot, the incumbent Republican attorney general who was first elected to the post in 2002. It’s the second election matching Van Os against Abbott, who defeated him for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court in 1998. Van Os also lost his bid for the state’s highest court in 2004 before winning the Democratic nomination for attorney general this past March.

“There are political consultants in ivory towers, political experts at big city newspapers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio who tell me I can’t win election for attorney general in a statewide election running against an incumbent in the state of Texas,” Van Os said, citing Harry Truman’s upset win for president in 1948 as his model. “I’m no Harry Truman, but I’m kind of in the same boat.

Van Os targeted the major oil companies. lobbyists and other special interests during his speech Wednesday afternoon at the Reeves County Courthouse, as well as criticizing state actions allowing land and water right seizures and transfers, which he said he would fight if elected as attorney general.

“The giant oil companies are making to the tune of $3 1/2 to $4 billion in profits every month,” he said, while also criticizing the multi-million dollar compensation packages top oil company executives are receiving. “There is a difference between a reasonable profit, and greed gone crazy.”

The current oil boom due to high prices has helped revive Reeves County’s economy over the past two years, but Van Os said he wasn’t attacking the oil industry in general.

“I come from an East Texas oilman’s family. I know the oil industry is important to Texas,” he said. “I support drilling in Texas, and I hope it doubles. I hope it triples. But I see the high cost of gasolier and the high cost of fuel is like a wrecking ball to the farmers of Texas. The farms and ranches in the Panhandle are suffering.

“I feel its ironic to a degree that the oilfield, where workers are breaking their backs getting the oil out of the ground have to pay these high prices to drive to get the oil out of the ground,” Van Os said.

Prices in Texas have dropped at low at $2.10 a gallon in the Baytown area, while prices in Pecos remain above $2.50 and other Permian Basin cities are in the $2.40 range.

Van Os later questioned the timing of the recent drop in oil prices so close to the 2006 midterm elections, along with Abbott’s claim to have conducted an investigation into high gasoline prices, and said the incumbent is too beholden to special interests.

“If you run for state office in Texas, you’re supposed to spend many months in a closed office, talking to large money donors,” he said. “What that’s done, that’s taken our political system and instead politicians become self-centers and self-absorbed in their ivory towers.”

Oil companies have said the increase in domestic supplies, along with the lack of any hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico this year similar to hurricanes Katrina and Rita that disabled refineries and shut down drilling rigs in 2005, are the reason why prices have fallen at the gas pump in the past month.

Van Os also attacked the current Trans-Texas Corridor plan devised by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The first part of the plan to build high-speed highways paralleling the current interstate system would sent a toll road to the east of Interstate 35 between Dallas and San Antonio, but Van Os said the plan is infringing on the rights of rural landowners.

“If it is built it is going to tear up hundreds of thousands of acres,” he said. “They take it from private property owners under eminent domain so that private corporations in Europe can get the money,” he said. “It will be the biggest enforcement of eminent domain takings in the State of Texas. But I say it’s unconstitutional.”

A Spanish toll road operator, Cintra, which has agreements to run toll roads in the Chicago and northern Indiana areas, is the lead company in the group seeking to operate the new Texas toll road system under a contract with the state. Van Os said under the plan, the Texas Department of Transportation could confiscate land for the new roads if the landowner doesn’t agree to sell and before any court hearing could take place.

He said the state also needs to work harder at assuring health care at affordable rates for Texans who aren’t rich enough to pay market rates, and who aren’t poor enough to qualify for state and federal assistance.

“Hundreds of thousands of Texas will be in serious trouble if they became seriously ill,” he said. “What they’re going to do is go bankrupt and be in debt to the banks and credit card companies for the rest of their lives.”

Van Os proposed a people’s watchdog commission that would enforce state consumer protection and price gouging laws, as well as eliminating unfunded mandates placed on county and local governments by the state if elected in November.

Police find stolen jewlery during meth bust

Officers executing a search warrant last week found more than narcotics at a home near the downtown area, and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the owners of those items, which are believed to have been stolen.

Pecos Police said one person was arrested as a result of the incident, which took place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, when officers executed a narcotics search warrant at 701 S. Oak Street. “Once the occupants of the home had been secured by the SWAT team, the officers proceeded to search the premises,” said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

During the search of the residence, a substance believed to be methamphetamine was found inside the residence, according to Deishler.

“The suspected methamphetamine was located inside the master bedroom of the residence,” said Deishler.

During the search, officers also found materials commonly used with the weighing and packaging of narcotics.

“Officers also found inside the residence two boxes of assorted men’s and women’s jewelry,” said Deishler.

Investigators believe the jewelry to have been stolen and Pecos residents who have been the victims of theft are urged to contact either Capt. Kelly Davis or Sgt. Olga Lopez, if they believe any of the jewelry could be theirs.

Individuals can go to the Pecos Police Department and look at the items to see if they can identify them, according to Deishler.

He said that as a result of the search, a 47-year-old was placed under arrest by police.

“Officers completed their search of the premises and Jose Corrales was placed under arrest for the offenses of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia,” said Deishler.

He added that Jose Luis Corrales was also served with several arrest warrants , which had been issued by Judge Amonario Ramon.

Corrales was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and released to the jail staff for booking.

School prayer event planned for Wednesday

Additional activities are planned this coming Wednesday by representatives of local churches, as part of the “See You at the Pole” gathering scheduled in front of Pecos High School.

The event began in Texas in 1990 and now involves more than 3 million youth across the nation in support of prayer in schools. Locally, this year’s event is scheduled to run from 7 to 7:40 a.m. at the flagpole in front of the high school’s main entrance.

“This year it’s going to be different. It’s going to be for students from kindergarten to 12th grade,” said Kim Ewing, one of the local organizers of the program. “Parents are welcome, also.”

She said the event “is a day of prayer and praise for our Lord, and the youth are leading the program.”

“Some of our girls will be singing solos, and we’ve had kids volunteer to do scripture readings,” said Ewing. Testimonials will also be offered during the 40-minute event.

At the conclusion of the event, Ewing said free doughnuts and burritos would be given out across the street from the high school at the Lutheran Hispanic Mission, at Park and Washington streets. She said the event would end early enough for students to get to their various campuses on time for the first period of the morning.

Five different denominations from the city will provide the food for the students. Ewing said anyone needing further information can contact her at 447-3759.

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

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