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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inaccurate gas pumps found and fixed

Six new gasoline pumps caused Flying J Travel Plaza some problems for awhile, but are back online and delivering fuel to summer travelers. Texas Department of Agriculture inspectors placed out-of-order tags on thousands of fuel pumps across Texas in May and June. Eight of those were in Pecos.

Uncle’s convenience store at 201 E. 3rd St. had two pumps that registered slightly more than they delivered.

Ralph Arrell of West Texas Gas said that the pumps were repaired by a company licensed by the TDA, and they were re-inspected and put back into service right away.

“Those are mechanical devices,” Arrell said. “They get out of calibration. They were inspected and tagged on May 12, and the situation was corrected in a matter of hours.”

Arrell said that out of the 65,000 pumps in Texas, some are going to be out of calibration at any given time.

“We are not in the business of cheating the public,” he said.

Flying J manager Alma Romo said that the six pumps that were tagged as delivering less than the standard are new pumps that had given trouble from the time they were installed.

The standard allows about half a cup difference in what is delivered and what shows on the screen. That would be a small percentage on 100 gallons of gasoline.

Stations are checked once every four years, but more often if there is a complaint.

Land visits NYC but misses Babe’s house

When 50-year-old Robin Land first visited New York City as a bright-eyed 5th grader, she was bowled over by all the sights, and for years nurtured a desire to do it again, and take in the entire panorama.

For a dedicated sports nut you can bet that seeing Yankee Stadium – the House that Ruth built – was top-most on her agenda, and that in no way denigrates the Statute of Liberty, the Empire State Building and other sights in the Big Apple.

You just have to know Robin to understand the magnetic attraction of such a sports landmark.

That desire just identifies the blonde-haired Robin, known to most in Pecos as “The Voice of the Lady Eagles” on KUIN, the local radio station. In real life, parents and kids alike know her as Coach Land – something of an institution at Austin Elementary School.

She redid her childhood trip to NYC last month with two of her aunts – Linda Thompson of boulder, Colo., and Carolyn Goss of Dallas. They stayed for three whole days and had the time of their lives, Robin said.

It was aunt Linda who inspired the first trip many years ago. Linda had graduated from the University of North Texas and had done some graduate work at SMU when she decided that she would pick up and go to NYC and try to break into the acting scene.

Her five-year sojourn there did not ignite Linda’s acting career, but she did meet her future husband and followed him, a South Dakota native, to Minnesota, where he opened his medical practice.

Adding zest to the trip was the fact that Robin’s other aunt, Carolyn, had never seen New York and for her it was a first time experience. The plane trip was smooth and without complications

The second morning they started with the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour, which allowed them to get off at whatever site interested them at the moment, tour the site, and hop on another bus that followed later to continue the tour.

The highlight of the first night in town was dinner at the famous ”Tavern on the Green,” located right in Central Park, which provided a “A beautiful setting for their virtual storybook dining experience.

“It was just a fabulous dinner — just what we had imagined it would be,” Robin said.

The busy schedule got even busier as they whisked from the Empire State Building, to Madison Square Garden and then Macy’s.

“We also saw John Lennon’s old apartment building and the site where he was gunned down.”

Next was a trip to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s boyhood home, and then lingering a bit around 42nd street and Broadway marveling at the sea of humanity swirling around the famous intersection.

Not to ignore the city’s world-renowned theater district, the trio took in a performance of “Mary Poppins” that night on Broadway.

Despite careful planning, time was of the essence on the trip. “I didn’t get to go to Yankee Stadium down in the Bronx mainly because it required a 40-minute subway ride that we could not work in,” Robin explained. That failure was tough for Robin, the life-long athlete and physical education graduate of the University of North Texas, but even such a disappointment was not allowed to mar the trip this time.

Their itinerary also included a tour of China Town, Soho, and a boat ride to view the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island, the landing spot for many millions of late 19th and early 20th Century immigrants from Europe.

Not surprisingly, the most emotionally affecting part of the tour was when the three family members stood before the site of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. “Looking at the remains of ground zero seven years later just made me mad.”

“Looking at what the attackers had done hurt me to the quick and made me seething mad,” she said. “It’s hard to believe how choked up we all got as we looked at the remains of what was once a very exciting stop for tourists to this city.”

“They are obviously trying to rebuild, but you can still see the damage,” Robin added.

Another boat tour lasted 75-minutes. They would have liked to have taken the three-hour boat trip, but, again, time was the controlling factor and they just could not fit it into the whirlwind, three-day trip.

Those who know her and her deep-seated love of sports might be surprised to hear her expound on the architectural accomplishments in the city.

“The architecture of the thousands of buildings is not only beautiful, it is so varied,” she said, admitting that she hung on every word as the tour guides explained the history of the buildings and of the architecture.

And what about the infamous NYC subway system?

“We rode one just to say we had,” she said chuckling out loud. “Sort of a train trip to nowhere.”

But buildings and historical sites were not all of the fascinating experiences in the city that never sleeps.

“One of the coolest things about New York is that on any given corner you can hear a smorgasbord of non-English speakers, chatting away in a mish-mash of foreign languages,” Robin said.

To anyone who knows the constantly upbeat and smiling Robin, it is not surprising that she found New Yorkers to be friendly, confounding the old saw that pictures them as rude and cold to strangers.

Even New Yorkers would have found it difficult to be cold to Robin Land and most everybody around Pecos would agree with their judgments in this instance.

With the verve and energy that Robin describes the trip with her aunts, one just knows that there is another NYC trip crouching out there in the future.

“Everybody who can should do it at least one,” she said, hinting that she herself, just might volunteer to lead an excursion to “invade” the big city one more time. When asked directly, she just laughs her soft laugh, rolls her eyes and ignores the question refusing to give an answer.

Then, she volunteers “You can be sure that if and when I do it again, I will go to Yankee Stadium. This time, to watch the Texas Rangers beat the Yankees .” Ah yes, even tighter scheduling will be required for that one.

“Okay, I want to go back and when I am sitting in Yankee Stadium, you can be sure I will be wearing my Rangers t-shit,” she laughs.

Barstow raid nets additional arrest

Another individual was arrested in connection with a narcotics search warrant that was executed on Friday, June 27, in Barstow.

At that time, a large amount of suspected drugs and drug paraphernalia was confiscated during the search.

“We ran a search warrant Friday evening, at 201 Rio Grande in Barstow, the home of Gonzalo Garcia,” said Ward County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Deishler.

Deishler said that officers removed items believed to be drug related and that the warrant was served at 7:30 p.m.

One arrest was made at that time during the search, when Daniel Rivera was taken in to custody.

“A large quantity of what is believed to be cocaine was confiscated, along with scales and other paraphernalia,” said Deishler.

After the search was completed on Friday, Deishler said that they were currently looking for other suspects, and that arrests were pending.

On Thursday, July 3, an officer with the Pecos Police Department saw Gonzalo Holguin Garcia in the 3000 Block of Stanford Street. According to police, the officer had prior knowledge that the defendant had a warrant out for his arrest. After it was confirmed, the officer arrested Gonzalo Holguin Garcia, 58, who listed his address as 1016 East Second Street in Pecos. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance in a drug free zone – a First Degree felony.

The street address listed on the police report is the same as the address of a home that had recently burned in Pecos, and that the owner was seeking financial assistance in trying to rebuild.

The family at that home had been staying in Barstow with relatives, while the burned home was being worked on.

Police foil would be break-in at Allsups

Two individuals were arrested early this morning trying to break in to a local convenience store.

At 1:57 a.m. Monday morning, officers were dispatched in reference to unknown subjects attempting to pry open the back door to the Allsup’s Convenience Store at 708 S. Cedar.

Two male subjects were found standing at the back door.

One of the individuals started to run from officers when he saw them, but was later found.

Ernesto Chavez Baca, 25, of Pecos, was arrested for evading arrest or detention, a Class B Misdemeanor, while German Cardenas Perez, 18, was found still standing by the back door of the convenience store.

Cardenas was detained by the back door, and upon speaking to him, officers said in their report that he had a strong odor of marijuana about his person. He was found to be in possession of marijuana, and was taken in to custody and transported to the Criminal Justice Center.

Perez was charged with possession of marijuana, aClass B Misdemeanor.

Cindy Bradley, a clerk at Allsup’s Convenience Store, said that the two had been banging on the back door and yelling to let them in.

“The clerk on that shift called the police right away, so they weren’t able to get in,” said Bradley.

Bradley said that they have a metal bar that goes across the back door. “That bar is on at all times, except when we go throw the trash and we only throw the trash during the day,” said Bradley.

Bradley said that the two couldn’t get in because of the metal bar and police arrived shortly after the call went in.

The Allsup’s Convenience Store is open 24 hours a day, according to Bradley.

Crime Stoppers looking for vandals

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and The Pecos Police Department are asking for the community’s help in solving a crime that affects the young people in the community.

On Thursday June 19, 2008 at approximately 5 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Skate Park located at 701 S. Alamo concerning criminal mischief.

Spray painted on the concrete was “Super Duper #K8, “South Side” with a theatrical mask beside it, Super Duper SK8$ with a Ms. Packman type character, and “HEM”.

The bathrooms were also vandalized and graffitied.

If anyone has any information about this crime or any other crime they are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or leave a Secure Web-Tip at

As always informants will remain anonymous and Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1000.00 cash reward if it leads to the arrest of the person(s) involved in this crime.

There is no caller I.D. on this line. Thank you for your help!

Navarettes announce birth of daughter

Alvaro and Nena Navarette, of Pecos, announce the birth of their daughter, Melanie Nevaeh Navarette.

Little Melanie was born at 10:47 a.m., Tuesday, July 1, 2008 in Odessa. She weighed five pounds and six ounces.

Melanie was welcomed home by her sister, Aubrie Navarette.

Maternal grandparents are Manuel and Estella Garza of Lubbock.

Paternal grandparents are Frank and Rochelle Carrasco of Pecos and Albert and Rosa Navarette of Barstow.

Great-grandparents are Calistro and Cuca Navarette of Barstow.

Balmorhea hosts 4th of July celebration

Balmorhea hosted its first-ever official Fourth of July celebration Friday. Pat Brijalba and D.Q. Maynard were the driving forced behind the days events that began at 9 a.m. at the new community center with a flag ceremony and invocation.

Following were awards to the winners of several contests including an essay contest, patriotic poster contest and a bike-decorating contest.

It’s not the Fourth of July without kids and dogs and horses and bikes, and you cannot put that combination together without a parade resulting. After the impromptu parade the celebration moved to the downtown park with more contests, food and fun. Brijalba said that he was pleased with this year’s participation and hoped that next year’s event would be even bigger.

Recent rains not a big factor for local farmers

The year 2008 seems certain to be less than a banner year for the farmers in the Trans-Pecos area despite the heavy rains last week and a break in the high temperatures through most of June.

Calvin Gerke, who has been farming continuously in the area since 1980, is raising only alfalfa this year. No cantaloupes, no watermelons, no bell peppers. “With the current sky-high fuel prices, both gas and diesel, there is no way a man can make a profit on most crops,” he said. “That is precisely why I am doing nothing but alfalfa at this time.”

What little alfalfa Gerke is growing is about five miles east of Pecos on the river, and he is irrigating it with canal water out of the Pecos River.

This year’s annual Pecos Cantaloupe Festival in July will be without it’s major attraction from past years, cantaloupes, at least in the abundance of previous festivals.

Because some farmers planted the super sweet melons just for the festival, there will be an appearance of the star, but it will be more of a cameo, walk-on role rather than its normal star status.

The biggest cantaloupe grower , the Pecos Cantaloupe Co., did not plant commercially this year. Other farmers have cut back drastically in the number of acres they have planted this year for a host of reasons.

Among those reasons: manpower, and fuel costs involving prepping the land for planting, tending and harvesting.

The manpower pool has been devastated by the high salaries available in the oil patch during the current boom, and the lack of available housing for migrant workers to get the crop in from the field, according to a number of sources, including Randy Taylor.

Taylor’s family was once a major producer of cantaloupes. But not this year.

“It’s the housing and labor problems,” Taylor said. “Labor’s hard to come by and with the loss of Farm Labor Housing, I just decided to get out.”

In an earlier interview with The Enterprise local farmer Roger Jones said he and a few others would be growing a small amount of melons this year, mostly to accommodate the festival.

“We’re doing only about 250 acres of cantaloupes, a similar amount of watermelons and a mere 60 acres of onions, Jones said. “That’s not a lot compared to past years, but when it comes to growing melons for a profit, it gets harder and harder to make it pay.”

Earlier this year Tanya Kiehne, who serves as director of the Farm Service Agency for Reeves County, told The Enterprise that she knew of only six farmers who would be growing a sizeable number of commercial melons.

“Cantaloupe is kind of a risky crop,” she said. “If you get a hail storm, you could lose your complete crop. The insurance, if you can afford it, helps, but does not replace the crop.”

In that earlier interview, Armando Mandujano explained that while his family in Coyonosa historically were large producers, that will not be true in 2008. “I love growing cantaloupes, but there are just too many issues,” Manujando said

“We’re going to have enough for local customers, but we’re not going to do in a big time operation as we have in the past,” he said.

Jones summed up the situation this way: In the future there may be more growers supplying cantaloupes, but his year it’s going to be “mighty thin.”

“It used to be that we would plant 8,000 acres of the melon, but it’s getting tougher and tougher to grow them profitably.”

Movies at the Park set for Thursday evening

Movies and food will be a part of the entertainment Thursday evening at Maxey Park, when Fox West Texas comes to Pecos.

Fox West Texas and area West Texas Chevy Dealers are presenting “Movies in the Park.” During the months of June and July Fox West Texas will be showing family movies at various parks in Odessa, Midland and surrounding communities.

“We will be in Pecos on Thursday and will be joined by Colt Chevrolet of Pecos,” said Cliff Voake, promotions/public affairs director for Fox. Vendors will set up at 7 p.m., and the movies will begin at dusk, or 9 p.m.

“This is a promotional we are doing around West Texas, along with the Chevrolet dealers,” said Voake.

Milt Hathaway from Fitzco Sound of Midland will be providing the projection for the movies.

“We will be selling popcorn and sodas and there will be other vendors providing barbecue and other items,” said Voake.

Everyone is invited to bring their blankets, coolers and the entire family for an evening of fun under the stars.

“They can come out and enjoy a classic family movie in the park as Fox West Texas and the West Texas Chevy Dealers makes their summer a little brighter with great family entertainment,” said Voake.

Vendors will be on hand offering snacks during the evening and local civic organizations will be there providing information about the community.

Fox West Texas will be passing out Fox merchandise and people can sign-up to be a Fox Fan Club member.

The group has already been in Midland, Fort Stockton and Monahans, will be in Odessa on July 17, at Floyd Gwin Park; Fort Stockton and in Midland again at Kiwanis Park on July 24.

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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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