Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, April 7, 2006
City seeking OK to change housing plans
Town of Pecos City officials will hold a public hearing on Monday to look at changes in the plans for construction of new housing in the Airlawn addition, as the city looks are at alternatives for funding to build homes in the area behind Gibson’s on West Washington Street.
The city received a grant in 2003 in the amount of $400,000 to go towards construction of 20 single-family homes in a two-block area along Washington Street. Monday’s 5 p.m. hearing at City Hall will be on a proposal to change the project category from single family to multi family housing.
Only one of the planned 20 homes has been built so far, because the city has not been able to qualify people for the homes, at least 11 of which had to go to low-income families.
Under the original terms of the Texas Community Development Program, the grant was to have been repaid by March of 2005. The city has since received two extensions on repayment, and the change to apartment housing is part of an effort to qualify more low-income residents for the TCDP housing.
Town of Pecos City Utilities Director Edgardo Madrid said that while the city has to repay the loan, the funds were not for construction of the actual housing, but to help develop the site so that homes could be built in the two-block area.
“Those funds were used for infrastructure. Housing was for separate funds and not included in the grant,” said Madrid.
“Part of the commitment was that we would build houses in that area,” said Madrid. “Now we need to look for options to construct those houses, the city still has a commitment.”
Madrid said that the city would be meeting with investors to see how they can get those houses built.
The city’s plans were to build 20 homes, with 11 going to low to moderate-income families and the other nine for anybody in the community who would like to purchase a home.
“We’re planning on looking to possibly to switch to apartment complexes,” he said.
The TCDP grant the city obtained in 2003 was from the Office of Rural Community Affairs.
The budget for the grant included: in the original budget, water improvements, $58,298; sewer improvements, $26,900; other public utilities (electric) $0; street improvements $224,709; engineering fees, $58,000 and general administration, $32,093.
At that time, city manager Carlos Yerena, submitted a budget modification form. Madrid said the main reason for the budget amendment was for a line item transfer to accommodate payment for construction of the electrical infrastructure, due to the deregulation of the electric industry. The scope of the project remained the same.
The revised budget showed: water improvements, $80,637; sewer improvements, $35,311; other public utilities (electric), $20,228.30; street improvements, $173,730.60; engineering fees, $58,000 and general administration, $32,093.
“The whole $400,000 of the grant was spent on infrastructure,” said Madrid. “Which is why now we are looking for alternatives to get the houses built.”
Madrid said that following Monday’s public hearing on the TCDP homes, the city would be getting a second grant from the state on Tuesday for a separate infrastructure project.
“On April 11, the state is coming and at that time they will officially award the city a $350,000 grant for sewer lines,” said Madrid.
The sewer lines will be installed for homes on the North and East side of the city, according to Madrid.
Toyah homes ready on flood’s 2nd anniversary
Keys to the first eight of 13 homes being built for victims of the 2004 Toyah flood were turned over to their new owners on Wednesday, a day after the second anniversary of the flood that swept through the north side of the community.
Work on the two- and three-bedroom homes began in late January after a series of delays, and the homes were approved for occupancy on Wednesday, though some of the families are still seeking furnishings for the new residences, which are located in various parts of the city.
“We tried to qualify a few more people, but we couldn’t,” said Toyah Mayor Sandy Terry. “We tried to qualify one extra family, but they backed out and moved out of Toyah, so we only have the 13 homes.”
The former homes were damaged when a 61-year-old levee on the northwest side of the city broke in the early morning hours of April 4, 2004, causing water to flood the small community. A number of homes were condemned and torn down due to the flood damage, and the floodwaters caused part of the Interstate 20 Bridge over Salt Draw to collapse later that day. Five people were killed the following day on a detour route caused by the I-20 bridge collapse, while the high water created by the levee break was later cited as a contributing cause of the June 2004 collapse of the old Toyah State Bank building.
Ameriway Construction of Fort Stockton is building the new homes, which are about 964-square feet and cost about $50,000 apiece. On Wednesday, company president Jerry Reiner and employee Juan DelaGarza were going through the homes along with Trace Davis, the grant administrator for the Housing and Urban Development-financed program. The three were looking for any defects in the homes to note before they were signed over to their new owners.
“This is the most positive city I’ve every worked with,” said Davis, who went over the details of the homes with the individual owners.
Terry was also accompanied by Monica Hernandez, area representative for U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla, who helped secure the HUD funding for the homes, after the state said Toyah’s flood was not severe enough to qualify for a disaster declaration.
“We’re just glad we’re finally at this point,” Hernandez said.
“This is a day they’ve just been waiting for for so long,” Terry said. “It may not seem like a long time, but two years living in houses they shouldn’t be living in is a long time.”
She cited the home of Lolo Machuca, located at First and Sonia streets, just to the east of the damaged levee.
“Last year when Lolo was living in his old home he would not take food into the kitchen because the ants and mice were so bad,” Terry said. “He’d keep his food in a refrigerator on the front porch, and his coffee maker was outside the kitchen in back, it was so bad.
Machuca had to be called from his handyman job, working at Terry’s home in Toyah, to accept the keys on Wednesday. “He kept saying ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’,” Terry said. “He just had his birthday yesterday, so this is his birthday present, one day late.”
“Lots of people were living in the same conditions he was living in. The mice even ate his cigarettes,” she added. “I was going out and buying D-con and putting it all over the place, but since the flood mice and snakes here have been really bad.”
Armando and Maggie Falcon were two of the residents whose home was so badly damaged by the 2004 flood that they were unable to remain in the city.
“They’ve been out of Toyah for two years and one day, because their home was completely destroyed,” Terry said of the elderly couple. “They were living in a trailer in Odessa.”
“We’re very happy to have this,” said Maggie Falcon of their new home, which unlike the others was built with all tile flooring instead of carpeting in the living room and bedroom areas.
Terry said the homes were road style and ranch style homes. The three bedroom structures include two 12-by-12 bedrooms, and a 14-by-12 master bedroom. Two of the bedrooms have walk-in closets, and all have one bathroom and come equipped with stove, refrigerator and water heaters.
“The homeowners had a decision on whether they wanted a two-bedroom or a three-bedroom, and it mainly went by how many visitors they were going to have,” Terry said. She added that all the homes are warrantied for one year.
Work on the eight homes was completed by the Ameriway crews before construction starts on the final five structures for the project.
“On Friday they will be pouring two and possibly four new foundations of the five other houses,” Terry said. “According to Jerry, they’re going to be through with the fifth one by the end of May.’
Alvardo seeking big turnout for runoff race
Maria Louisa Alvarado, the narrow winner of last month’s Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, paid her second visit to Pecos on Thursday, as she seeks votes for her runoff election against Benjamin Z. Grant next Tuesday.
Alvarado, who visited Pecos in December, defeated Grant by just under 7,000 votes in the March 7 primary, but fell under the 50 percent margin needed to avoid next Tuesday’s runoff.
“I’m trying to challenge everyone to meet or exceed what the turnout was in March,” Alvarado said on Thursday during her Pecos stop, which came following a visit to El Paso.
“The biggest county we’ve been to so far is El Paso, and they pretty much said this county is mine,” she said. “All the local races help, because they’ve got a few local races that are in a runoff.”
Alvarado is hoping Reeves County, with three local runoff races, also helps her on Tuesday. Last month, she easily won the majority in the county, with Alvarado won with 1,019 votes to 351 for Grant and 279 for third place finisher Adrian DeLeon.
The Austin resident resigned her position in the University of Texas-Austin’s psychology department to make her first run for political office this year. Prior to that, Alvarado lived in San Antonio, spent 21 years in the military, and is a retired master sergeant.
She said so far most of the questions have centered “not so much about issues, but about credentials and the capability of doing the job.”
The winner of Tuesday’s election will face Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in the general election in November.
“I hope on April 12 to be the nominee and on April 17 to be at the special session of the legislature as the candidate,” she said.
Gov. Rick Perry has called the special session to deal with the state’s ongoing school finance problems, and as lieutenant governor, Dewhurst will preside over the Texas Senate.
“I already have a letter to be faxed Wednesday morning as the Democratic nominee saying I’m ready to go to work (with the legislature) so come January when the legislature resumes we’ll be on the same page,” Alvarado said. “There are a lot of things that haven’t been done, from they’ve told me, and I’m ready to go address the important issues.”
Alvarado said she has not been able to work out any debate prior to the runoff election with Grant, and only has run into him once, at the Tarrant County Democratic Party convention in Fort Worth.
“The people in Brazoria County were trying to contact him, not necessarily for a debate, but just to meet with both candidates, but they’ve been unable to reach him,” she said.
After her visit in Pecos, Alvarado said she plans stops in Lubbock and in the Houston area, before finishing up her campaign in South Texas.
Contributions, donations listed for candidates in local runoffs
Local candidates who will be in Tuesday’s runoff elections have submitted their expenditures and contributions to the Reeves County Clerk.
The candidates in both the Reeves County Judge’s race and the Reeves County Commissioners Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 candidates have been busy campaigning and spending money in the community.
The listings provided by the Reeves County Clerk’s office cover only the period since the March 7 primary elections, which produced the three local runoff races. Not all candidates had filed complete contribution and expense listings with the county clerk as of Thursday.
Reeves County Judge candidate Sam Contreras reported contributions from: Oscar Guerrero, Pecos, $100; Angie Barreno, Pecos, $100; Chris Cuny, Heath, Tx., $1,000; Juan Galindo, $400; Nancili Mata, El Paso, $100 and Kendall Phinney, Houston, $1,000.
Total expenditures listed were: Allsups, $32.70; La Tienda, $58.79; Wal-Mart, $2483; Wal-Mart, $20.12; Sam’s Club, $122.05; La Tienda, $14.42; Wal-Mart, $32.37; TG’s Meats, $527.76; Wal-Mart, $142.36 and KIUN, $50.
Expenditures made by Contreras from personal funds: Town of Pecos City, $35.24; Reeves County Tax Office, $119.75; Riverside Ballroom, $250; KIUN, $276.25; Pecos Enterprise, $58.64; Pecos Enterprise, $208.91; Pecos Enterprise, $50; Pecos Enterprise, $104.46; Pecos Enterprise, $249.22; Uncle’s, $25.35; Valor, $315.12; KIUN, $305; KIUN, $64 and KIUN, $153.
Candidate for Reeves County Judge Alfred Gomez reported contributions: Bob Burkholder, $100; Roger Harrison, $500 and Birdie Bell Slack, $50.
Expenditures included: KIUN, $507.50; Pecos Enterprise, $278.38; Connie Gomez, for mariachi band, Juana Jaquez, $1,050; Connie Gomez, $150; Connie Gomez, $73.29; Hugh Box, $67.96 and Connie Gomez, $88.91.
Expenditures from personal funds: Pecos Enterprise, $351.84; Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse, $150; Gibson’s, $9.69; KIUN, $64; KIUN, $652.50; KIUN, $174; KIUN, $200 and Gibson’s, $28.82.
Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2 candidate Norman Hill (incumbent), reported: $50 in contributions and $50 in expenditures.
His opponent Gabriel Martinez reported: expenditures: Pecos Enterprise, $86.60; KIUN Radio Station, $64 and Pecos Enterprise, $131.94.
Commissioner Precinct 4 candidate Ramiro Guerra reported contributions: Roy and Cindy Guerra, $100; Steve and Angelica Valenzuela, $120; Joel and Florinda Madrid, $100; Armando and Anna Madrid, $50 and Rene and Sylvia Guerra, $54.
Modern Study Club holds Federation Day Program
The Modern Study Club met recently in the home of Nan and Al Cate at Verhalen for a Federation Day program. The thought-quote for the program was, “Unity in Diversity Is Our Goal,” which is the motto for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The program was a skit written from club history by Joyce Morton using bits of information taken mostly from the records of Mrs. John (Bonnie) Cearley who served as Western District President of the Texas Federation of Women’s Club and was a TFWC Life Member through The Modern Study Club, where she was a long-time member.
“The setting for the skit was a “long ago” club meeting and Nan Cate narrated the introduction. Catherine Travland enacted Mrs. Laura Johnston and Mrs. Callie Holloway was portrayed by Joyce Morton.
Mmes. Johnston and Calloway chatted about the 14 original members, Mrs. Johnston’s tenure as Western District President in 1977 and her two terms as local club president and Mrs. Holloway’s four terms as president of The Modern Study Club through the years.
During World War II the club held every other meeting at the Red Cross Room to help prepare bandages and help with other duties. The presidents during the war chose themes like, “War time Living” and “Education for Victory.”
In 1930 at the organizational meeting the dues for membership was $1.75. The group became federated in 1931. In 1936, eight districts were formed within the state of Texas. At first the districts were numbered and later they were named and that’s when Western District came into being.
Mrs. Billy (Frances) Kerr, of Midland, one of the charter members, wrote a song about the club and federation and Mrs. Earl (Mable) Easterbrook served as the first president of The Modern Study Club.
The organization at one time sponsored a one-hour story hour which was broadcast over KIUN Radio; in 1954 they sponsored a room the new hospital; in 1962 they began sponsoring the Bridal Suite at the West of the Pecos Museum and during 1976 they arranged for most of the Pecos churches to give a Bi-Centennial moment.
The Modern Study Club sponsored the Tri-K Juniorette Club comprised of Pecos High School girls for many years and have awarded their Pecos High School Senior Scholarship annually since 1976.
Their projects currently include support of the West of the Pecos Museum, Reeves County Library, M. D. Anderson Cancer Research Hospital, the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Historical Foundation and Scholarship Fund, and the Western District of TFWC Alma Van Sickle Scholarship Fund.
Also, Bears on Patrol (donation of Teddy Bears to Pecos Police Department for children in trauma), Books for Babies Project (Books for newborn packets at Reeves County Hospital), Odessa College Fund Pecos, Christmas for Kids, Operation Smile, Valentines for residents of the Pecos Nursing Home, presentation of gowns for Reeves County Hospital and contribution to the National Women in arts, Washington, D.C.
President Lena Harpham presided during the business meeting. In opening ceremonies Paula Fuller led the Club Collect and Jean Olson led the pledges to the United States of America and Texas flags, as club members repeated them in unison.
Secretary Joyce Morton read the minutes of the previous meeting and treasurer Betty Lee gave a report of club finances. A nominating committee was appointed by President Harpham. Serving will be Catherine Travland, Joyce Morton and Juracy Ray.
In other business, the club voted to send a contribution for the close of tenure gift for Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs State President who will be special guest speaker at the Western District 46th Annual Spring Convention slated in Presidio on April 7-8.
It was reported that the club’s donation to Christmas for Kids helped 511 children have a joy filled Christmas. Joyce Morton, Western District Arts and Crafts Chairman urged club members to participate in the show to be held in conjunction with the 46th Annual Western District Spring Convention in Presidio.
Margie Williamson, Scholarship Chairman, reported that the application of Vanessa Valeriano was almost finished and would be mailed soon for the competition for the Western District Alma Van Sickle Scholarship.
Pearl Gustafson and President Harpham reported that the Valentines for been delivered to residents at the Pecos Nursing Home. Ways and Means Chairman Paula Fuller asked club members for lots of support at the upcoming bake sale to be held at Trans Pecos Bank.
Eleven members attended and enjoyed the delicious refreshments and lovely home of the Cates’.
Early voting nears 900 mark for Tuesday’s runoff election
Early voting for next Tuesday’s Democratic Primary runoff election has attracted nearly 900 voters in the first 3 1/2 days of balloting, with the deadline to vote early at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Reeves County Courthouse.
As of midday on Thursday, a total of 660 persons had voted by personal appearance, while 213 of the 342 ballots sent out by mail had been returned, according to the Reeves County Clerk’s office. A total of 1,435 persons cast ballots either early or by mail in March 7 primary.
Voters will deciding three local runoff elections, for Reeves County Judge and for Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 commissioner.
Former Pecos Chamber of Commerce President Al Gomez and Town of Pecos City Financial Director Sam Contreras are in the runoff to replace Jimmy Galindo as county judge. Gomez finished first in the five-person race last month with 887 votes to 742 for Contreras.
Challengers placed first in both commissioners’ races, as Gabriel Martinez received the most votes in the Precinct 2 race, and Ramiro “Ram” Guerra finished first in the Precinct 4 commissioner’s election. Both will be facing the current incumbents on Tuesday.
Guerra received 315 of the 657 votes cast in Precinct 4, falling five percentage points short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Incumbent Gilberto “Hivi” Rayos, who is seeking his third term as commissioner, picked up 164 votes, to beat out Conchita M. Hernandez by 23 votes for second place and a spot in the April 11 election.
In Precinct 2, challenger Gabriel Martinez received 281 votes to lead the three-person race. Martinez received 39 percent of the 645 votes cast in the precinct, while incumbent Norman Hill received 222 votes, three more than challenger Alvesia “Tita” Tarin. A recount, the first using the county’s new optical scanner voting machines, did not change the final vote totals for the Precinct 2 race.
All 11 polling sites in the county will be open on Tuesday. All are the same as for last month’s election, but four of the 11 sites are different from past years.
The locations of the polling places are:
Box 1 - Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St.
Box 2 - Odessa College, 1000 block of South Eddy St.
Box 3 - Pecos High School Gym.
Box 4 - Change from Toyah City Hall to the Toyah Senior Citizen’s Center.
Box 5 - Change from Balmorhea Fire Hall to Balmorhea Library.
Box 6 - Multi-Purpose Center in Saragosa.
Box 7 - Change from Reeves County Library to Episcopal Church, 5th and Plum.
Box 8 - Lamar School, 100 block of West ‘F’ Street.
Box 10 - Reeves County Hospital Annex (Old Hospital), 700 W. Daggett St.
Box 11 - Change from Haynes/Sadler Community Center to the Reeves County Civic Center.
Box 12 - Ready Room at the Texas New-Mexico Power Company on Stafford Boulevard.
Barstow voters will also be casting ballots in their runoff election on Tuesday. Voters there will cast ballots at the Barstow Community Center.
Strain to celebrate fourth birthday
Sabrina Rose Strain is will be celebrating her fourth birthday.
Strain will spend it with spend with friends and family.
Her mother is Theresa Strain.
Grandparents are Rosemary and Edward Strain.
Theme for the special event will be “Pony’s.”
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.
Tony Jo Yazzie, 28, of Many Farms, Az., was arrested by police on March 18 on charges of impeding traffic and improper use of a turn signal.. Police said the arrest was made after a vehicle driven by Yazzie was seen weaving while doing 25 mph in a 45 mph zone in the 2000 block of South Cedar Street, and then failed to signal for a turn at Cedar and Raul Florez Blvd. He was arrested and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Nancy M. Ortega, 18, of Monahans, was arrested by police on March 18 on warrants charging her with no valid driver’s license and no seatbelt Police said the arrest took place after a record search, following a call to 223 N. Oak St. Ortega was arrested and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Camilo Martinez Salcido, 52, was arrested by police on March 19 and charged with public intoxication a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 2:45 a.m., following a disturbance at the Riverside Ballroom, 1301 E. Third St. Salcido was arrested and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Robert Walker, 58 of McHenry, Miss., and Deborah Kindig, 36, of Centerville, Ohio, were arrested by police on March 16 and charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), a State Jail Felony. Police said the arrest took place at 9:49 p.m., after officers were called to Room 105 at Motel 6, 3002 S. Cedar St., on a report of a woman fainting. A substance believed to be cocaine was found in the room, on a plastic straw with white powder in the garbage can. Cocaine also was reportedly found in Walker’s pick-up parked outside the room. Walker was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, while Kindig was taken first to Reeves County Hospital for treatment, and then to the Criminal Justice Center.
Rafael Valles Medina, 44, of 2029 Ivey St., and Alfredo Lira, 37, of 413 S. Alberta St., were arrested by police on March 15 and charged with possession of a controlled substance (amphetamine) in a drug-free zone, a second degree felony. Police said the arrest took place at 2:30 p.m., when the Chevrolet Suburban Lira was driving was stopped for an expired registration sticker, while in the 2100 block of Missouri St., across from Austin Elementary. A white power was then found in the vehicle that initially was believed to be cocaine, but later tested positive as amphetamine. Both Medina and Lira were then taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Jesus Manuel Martinez, 28, 1410 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on March 2 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at 6:49 a.m. at Eighth and Peach streets. Martinez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Freddy Martinez, 45, 552 Martinez St., was arrested by police on March 5 on warrants charging him with failure to appear in reference to action on a public nuisance (two junked vehicles). Police said the arrest took place at 8:51 p.m. at the Sonic Drive Inn at 505 W. Third St. Martinez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Fredrick Lee Gomez, 36, 514 Ross Blvd., was arrested by police on March 5 at his home on a warrant for failure to appear on a charge of failure to stop at a stop sign. Police made the arrest after being called to Gomez’s home in connection with a family disturbance. Gomez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Oscar R. Rubio, 40, 221 N. Cedar St., was arrested by police on March 3 on a warrant for motion to revoke on a charge of assault. Police said the arrest occurred when they were called to Rubio’s home in connection with a fight in progress. Rubio was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Denise Marie Valeriano, 24, 2401 Cactus St., was arrested by police on March 5 on a warrant charging her with fraud (insufficient funds). Police said the arrest took place about 6:15 p.m., after officers were called in reference to a disturbance at Maxey Park. Valeriano was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Quanstasha Lanette Barton, 27, of Midland, was arrested by police on March 4 on warrants charging her with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at the Suvacito Club, 900 S. Cedar St., during a walk-through, when a records check confirmed the warrants. Barton was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Ben Dominguez Barrera, 17, 1109 S. Ash St., was arrested by police on March 1 and charged with evading detention. Police said the arrest took place in the 1300 block of Yucca Street., following a short chase which began in the 2200 block of South Eddy Street. Barrera was also cited for no driver’s license, and then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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