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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

One killed in accident at Mentone

A 20-year-old Pecos man was killed early Sunday morning when he was ejected from his pick-up in a one-vehicle accident just west of Mentone, one of two early morning wrecks involving oilfield workers.

Jose Reyes was pronounced dead at the scene by Loving County Justice of the Peace Regina Derick at 8:50 a.m., about an hour after the accident occurred, and his body taken to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home. According to the accident report by Department of Public Safety Trooper Davela Maynard, the 2006 Chevrolet pick-up driven by Reyes was westbound on State Highway 302 a tenth of a mile outside Mentone when the vehicle veered off to the right side of the highway.

The pickup then struck a culvert and re-entered the highway, skidding across the eastbound lane of the highway. The pickup continued into the barrow ditch on the south side of the highway, causing it to overturn and roll. Reyes, who Maynard said was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the pick-up during the rollover and died at the scene.

Reyes was reportedly returning to Pecos from a drilling rig site in Loving County when the accident occurred. He was a 2004 graduate of Pecos High School, where he played on the baseball, football and basketball teams, and also was serving as a coach for the Pecos Junior League baseball program at the time if his death.

The accident was one of two early-morning accidents in the area involving Pecos residents. In the other, two persons were taken to Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans following a one-vehicle rollover on FM 1450, near Imperial Reservoir in Pecos County.

According to DPS trooper Edward Prieto, a Ford F-250 pickup driven by Jaime Mendoza was eastbound on its way to a rig site when it failed to make a turn on the road and went off the north side of the highway, and then into a side skid, before rolling over around 5:45 a.m.

Both the driver and his passenger Jeral Ray Gonzalez, were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, which occurred about 10 miles from the rig site, Prieto said. Mendoza and Gonzales were able to walk away from the rollover and were picked up a short time later by a passing vehicle, which took them to the Allsup’s store in Grandfalls, where EMS workers were called and the two were then transported to Monahans for treatment.

Deputies investigate death after body found

Reeves County sheriff’s deputies are continuing their investigation into the discovery of the body Sunday afternoon along Interstate 10, near the Reeves-Pecos County line.

Sheriff’s deputy Lionel Garcia, who was the first officer on the scene, said he was called at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday after a couple driving through the area discovered the body of a black female lying next to a mesquite tree along I-10, at the 225 mile marker, 20 miles east of Balmorhea.

No information on the identity of the woman was available, and Garcia said it was believed the body had been lying near the highway for about a day when it was discovered by the couple. The woman’s body is scheduled to be sent to Lubbock for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Pay schedules for P-B-T staff left unchanged

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD employees will continue to get paid once a month, after a survey done by the district that the majority of the employees preferred the monthly paychecks.

The board discussed the issue once more during their regular board meeting held Thursday evening in the Technology Center.

All employees at the district received a survey, which they filled out, outlining how they would like to be paid, either twice a month or monthly.

“This is something we had discussed at the last school board meeting,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Manny Espino. “We just wanted to see if more employees would prefer to be paid twice a month.”

During the May board meeting, Espino said that the survey would ask all staff members for their opinion on being paid twice a month, along with an additional payment in August to new employees and additional check in December.

However, the survey showed that most employees would like to remain getting paid once a month.

A total of 140 employees which responded to the survey stated that they preferred a monthly paycheck; 101 who responded stated that they preferred twice a month; 10 preferred monthly/twice for hourly; 15 preferred to get paid 13 times per year (twice in January) and 13, 14 times including twice in December and January.

The board did approve paying new teachers 13 times per year, which included a paycheck in August.

“This way they won’t have to wait until September to get a paycheck,” said Espino.

In other action, the board reorganized its officer following the May election. The P-B-T board president will once again be Lila Cerna; vice-president, Bubba Williams and secretary, Paul Deishler.

New board member Vanessa Simmons was on hand and former board member Steve Valenzuela was recognized for his years of service to the district. Valenzuela did not seek a new term while Simmons was elected to his spot on May 13 along with Amy Montgomery Miller, who was elected to a new three-year term.

“I feel confident that the current school board will lead the district in a good direction,” said Valenzuela.

Board members were asked to review the Student Code of Conduct and the Student Handbook.

“We’ve made a few changes and we want the board to take them home and look at them,” said Espino, who added that the administrators and staff had spent about three days reviewing both.

“When we met I told them to look at this not only like a teacher, but as a parent, administrator and as a student,” said Espino.

“I know that last year the handbooks were not approved until August, but this year we would like to get them approved and ready to print a little sooner,” he said.

Espino said that the legal department had already approved both items.

Chamber hears outline of rodeo events

New events for the kids are scheduled for the Annual West of the Pecos Rodeo, which gets underway next week.

Rodeo President Joe Keese talked to members of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors during their monthly meeting on June 13 and said that everything is pretty well set up for the yearly event.

The rodeo is set for the week of June 26-July 1, with the main rodeo shows set for Wednesday through Saturday of next week.

Keese said that there will be a boot scramble for kids, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 29. The event will be held before the rodeo performances.

“We received six bikes as donations from Wal-Mart to give out as prizes,” said Keese. The Boot Scramble is open to three age groups: five and six-year-olds; seven and eight-year-olds and nine and ten-year-olds.

Any youngster wanting to participate in the Boot Scramble should be at the West of the Pecos Rodeo Arena by 6:45 p.m.

A Calf Scramble is planned for the older children. The Calf Scramble is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, June 30, also before the rodeo events begin.

The scramble is for boys and girls and will be held for two different age groups; 11 and 12-year-olds and 13-15-year-olds.

The top boy and girl in each age group wins an official West of the Pecos belt buckle donated by the Rotary Club of Pecos.

“Our sponsorship has gone real well,” said Keese. “We’re going to have a very successful rodeo,” he said.

Keese said that volunteers are always needed and welcome for next week, which opens with a No. 13 roping competition on Sunday and slack competition for the PRCA events Monday morning.

“Sunday night we will have open roping, before they start competing on Monday,” said Keese. Opening night will be June 28th.

Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson told the group that there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday for the renovations at La Tienda Thriftway.

“It will be at 10 a.m. and we hope to have as many of you there as possible,” said Gholson. “The Collier House will also be opening their doors soon,” said Gholson.

Gholson said that they plan to open a bed and breakfast and hope to have everything ready in time for the rodeo events.

“Wal-Mart will be having a Jail and Bail on Friday, to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network,” said Gholson.

“A KOL meeting is planned for Monday, July 17 at the Winkler County Credit Union and will be sponsored by the credit union and the hospital,” said Gholson.

Chamber of Commerce President Jimmy Dutchover asked about the cantaloupe crop and whether or not we would be having one.

“Yes, they will be shipping on July 1 and there are just as many planted as have been in the past few years,” said Gholson.

Board member Debbie Thomas told the group that local art teacher Walter Holland had traveled with one of his students to Austin.

“He took the student to Austin and they will be lending us (the West of the Pecos Museum) the exhibit for a week,” said Thomas.

Tickets have gone on sale for the Annual Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant scheduled for this Friday at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

“Since we don’t have a chair or co-chair, we have been relying on volunteers and everything is coming together,” said Women’s Division President Gail Box.

Box said that since they will be having a Sunday event at the rodeo, she had checked around to see if any of the local restaurants would be open at that time.

“I’ve been talking to some of the local restaurant owners to see if they could possibly open on Sunday,” said Box. “We’ll have people from out of town and we don’t want them to think there’s nothing here,” she said.

Plans for the yearly rodeo parade are coming along smoothly.

“The theme for this year’s event is ‘Western Movies,’ and we already have the judges for this event,” said board member Elsa Palomino.

Dispute sparks fatal shooting in Monahans

A Monahans man has been charged with murder following an argument over money Sunday that led to the fatal shooting of a 46-year-old man.

Henry Mack Thompson died after being transported to Odessa from Monahans following the shooting, which occurred at 2103 S. Alice St., according to the Monahans Police Department.

Police officers were dispatched to the residence on Sunday, in reference to a male subject with a gunshot wound. Upon arrival, officers discovered a white male lying on the living room floor of the residence who appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound to the forehead, above the left eyebrow.

The male, later identified as Thompson, was transported to Ward Memorial Hospital by Ward Memorial EMS. He was later airlifted to Odessa Medial Center Hospital. At approximately 3:08 p.m. on Sunday, officials with the Ector County Medical Examiner’s Office notified Monahans police that Thompson had died.

The investigation revealed that the victim had come to the residence, to contact a man who lived there, Kenneth Bryan Gardner, 39.

Two witnesses in the house were awakened by the two men arguing. The witnesses said that the men were apparently arguing over a sum of money owed to the victim by Gardner.

Witnesses said that Thompson began demanding payment, and then allegedly picked up a pool cue ball and moved towards Gardner. Witnesses heard Gardner tell the victim to put down the cue ball.

Moments later, a gunshot was heard. One witness stated that he went into the living room and found the victim lying on the floor. Police and medical personnel were then called to the scene.

Monahans Police recovered a .22 caliber Ruger revolver from the residence.

Gardner was taken into custody at the scene and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. The charge was later upgraded to murder.

Gardner is being held in the Ward County Jail.

An autopsy will be conducted in Fort Worth later this week and the investigation is continuing.

County plans fireworks ban due to drought

Certain types of fireworks have been banned in Reeves County, due to the drought conditions that are plaguing not only this county, but the surrounding areas in the days leading up to the July 4 holiday.

Reeves County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Herrera said that he had drawn up a proclamation that had been signed by Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

“This is something that most of the surrounding counties are doing, because of the very dry conditions,” said Herrera.

Pecos has received less than two inches of rain over the past six months, and most other areas in Reeves County and the surrounding Trans-Pecos region have also been suffering from drought, along with temperatures that have reached over 100 degrees on most afternoons since mid-May.

The executive order states that the state of disaster requires that certain emergency measures be taken pursuant to the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 relating to Emergency Management.

The regulations shall take effect immediately and state that the use of combustible materials in an outdoor environment by any person is prohibited: a. combustible materials including “restricted fireworks” classified as “missiles with fins: and any material used in activities such as welding and other activity that could result in a fire; the burn ban law identifies only three cases in which exemptions may be allowed: firefighter training, public utility, natural-gas pipeline, or mining operations and harvesting.

An exemption may be granted with approval from the local government issuing the Burn Ban.

In accordance with the Local Government Code, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates this order commits a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. The Disaster Declaration for Threat of Wildfires proclamation states: that since Reeves County has not had rainfall for an extended period and weather forecasters offer little promise of a change in the hot, dry conditions in the near future, these hot, dry conditions pose the threat of large, dangerous and fast-moving wildfires.

Such fires have the potential of endangering lives and damaging property on a large scale. The Texas Disaster Act of 1975 authorized declaration of a state of disaster “if the threat of disaster is imminent and the magnitude of the potential damage and the rapidity at which such a fire could escalate to major proportions constitute an imminent threat of disaster. The declaration of such disaster authorized the imposition of controls on activities which tend to increase the likelihood of fires and such controls, once implemented, have the potential of protecting lives and property by mitigating the threat of dangerous fires.

This state of disaster will continue until rescinded in accordance with the statue and order, but in no instance will this declaration continue for more than seven days without authorization by the Reeves County Commissioners Court.

This state of disaster is being declared solely for the purpose of implementing controls aimed at mitigating the hazard posed by wildfires during the current hot, dry weather.

Duncanville choir holding local concert

A youth choir from Duncanville, will perform in Pecos at 7 p.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church, Third and Elm Streets.

“We want to invite everyone to come and share in this concert,” said Terri Spence, lay leader of the Pecos church. “We want to give a warm welcome to these dedicated young people,” she said.

The youth choir from First United Methodist Church in Duncanville, located near Dallas, has toured annually since 1985. This talented group of students, ranging from seventh through 12th grades, promises an uplifting concert featuring both religious and secular selections.

The Duncanville Youth Choir has traveled from coast to coast and has touched the hearts of all who hear their beautiful music.

These young adults have demonstrated devotion to their church by providing music every Sunday at the 8:30 a.m. service. The choir has performed at special events throughout the state of Texas in addition to its U.S. tour schedule.

About 40 youth, with 11 adult sponsors, are expected for the Pecos concert.

Modern Study Club holds Public Affairs Program

The Modern Study Club met recently in the parlor of the First Christian Church for a Public Affairs Department Program. The thought-quote for the meeting was - “Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other’s little failings” - Jean de La Fontaine.

Margie Williamson, Chairman of the Public Affair Department introduced Joseph Torres, Town of Pecos City Manager, who presented Edgardo Madrid, Director of Public Works, for the Town of Pecos City and Jesus Silva, Engineer Technician, and together they presented the program, “Status of Pecos City - Five Year City Planning.”

Madrid used a slide presentation to highlight the work being done. He talked about two new water wells, three sewer ponds, and the watering done with those, the problems of sink holes, alley clean-up, the 2005 seal coating on the North Side, the $1.4 million dollar replacement of water meters are which are 99 percent accurate, a $275,000 grant for a housing rehabilitation program concerning persons in poverty or illness and several additional things.

The gentlemen were proud of the establishment of the Mata-Rodriguez Skate Board Park and the new gates of Welcome to the Pecos Park and Zoo.

Throughout slide presentation club members and their guests were allowed to ask questions and make comments during the most informative program.

President Lena Harpham presided during opening ceremonies and business session. Joyce Morton led the Club Collect and Margie Williamson led the pledged to the United States of America and Texas flags, as members repeated all in unison.

Betty Lee, treasurer, provided a statement of club finances and reminded members their yearly dues should be paid at or before the close-of-year meting. Joyce Morton, secretary, read the minutes of the previous meeting.

The correspondence was read and the installation of officers was planned. It was announced that the TFWR Traveling Team, Summer Workshop would be in McCamey in July with exact date to be decided at a later time. It was mentioned that TFWC Convention money should be given to Catherine Travland in support of her wonderful representation of the club.

Roll call was to answer the question - “What would make Pecos more attractive to visitors?” The bi-monthly project was to donate to the UTMD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston.

Hostesses Lena Harpham and Paula Fuller served delicious refreshments to eight members and nine guests.

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

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