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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Steer ropers first out of chute at Pecos Rodeo

The 2008 West of the Pecos Rodeo officially begins on Wednesday, but steer ropers got in their first two go-rounds of competition Monday morning at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

Rocky Patterson and Scott Snedecor shared top honors in the first go-round, while Rod Hartness was the winner of the second go, and had the fastest time so far in the event. Hartness won with an 11.5 second time after finishing sixth in the first go with a 14.5 second time. The two finishes earned the Pawhuska, Okla., cowboy 2,096.

Hartness and Snedecor was the lone cowboy to place in the money in both go-rounds. Patterson and Snedecor both took away $1,634 for tying for first in the opening go with 12 flat times, and Snedecor also won $1,171 for a third place finish in the second go-round, with a 12.4 time.

Landon McCalugherty was second in that go-round, with an 11.8 time, which was good for $1,479. Jarrett Blessing, Bryce Davis and Vin Fisher Jr., rounded out the top six spots in the second go round, with Blessing recording a 12.7 time and earning $863, while Davis and Fisher each roped their steers in 13.2 seconds and won $432.

In the first go, Beau Byers and Paul Patton tied for third with 12.9 times and won $1,017, while Trey Wallace was fifth with a 13.7 time, good for $555.

Steer roping slack competition was scheduled to continue with the start of the third go-round on Monday night, and slack will continue on Tuesday morning at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

However, unlike past year, there will also be slack competition mornings after the start of the nightly performances.

“Instead of team roping and calf (tie-down) roping being Monday and Tuesday, we’ll run team roping on Thursday morning, and Friday morning there will be calf roping slack,” said West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee President Joe Keese. He said the change was made to accommodate cowboys participating early this week in the Reno, Nev., rodeo, which was moved back to the final week of June this year.

The nightly rodeo performances will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Buck Jackson Arena, and continue through Saturday night. Also on Wednesday, the annual West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade and the Old Timer’s Reunion will be held between 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Celebrate Our Cowboys Heritage is the theme for this year’s parade. Lineup for this year’s special event is at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Highway 17 and Business I-20 (West Third Street). The parade will travel from the west side of town for two miles, through downtown Pecos and out to the West of the Pecos Rodeo Grounds.

The parade will travel east on Third Street and then wind its way through downtown along Cypress, Sixth, Oak, First and Cedar streets to the rodeo grounds. Eddie Garcia from Channel 7 will be on hand and be a judge for the event and the news crew will also be in Pecos.

Prior to the start of the parade, the annual Old-Timer’s Reunion, which is for everyone, not just old-timer’s, will take place at for 9 a.m. Old-Timer’s, visitors and community members are invited to see the parade as is passes in front of the West of the Pecos Museum.

Registration will be held from 9 a.m. until noon, and a prize will be awarded to the oldest male and the oldest female.

Perea, Rayos win Golden Girl Cantaloupe titles

A volunteer for the local food bank who is active in sports was crowned as the 2008 Golden Girl, during the Annual Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant held Friday evening at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

Janette Perea, the daughter of B.K. and Daniel Perea was crowned the new Golden Girl, with Donicia Marquez receiving the runner-up Title.

The Golden Girl was crowed at the conclusion of Friday’s pageant, and after Arianna Rayos won the title of Little Miss Cantaloupe for 2008.

Perea is active in sports, is a varsity cheerleader and varsity tennis. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Who’s Who Among American High School Students and is in the Talent Search Program.

She has received several outstanding student awards in mathematics and science.

Perea is very outgoing, loves being outdoors and spending time with family and friends. She loves animals and taking care of them.

Her favorite color is green and she loves to eat pizza.

Her hobbies include dancing, singing, listening to music and taking pictures.

After graduation, she plans to go to college at the University of Texas Tech in Lubbock and hopes to become a surgeon or orthopedic and maybe one day start a family of her own.

As part of her talent routine, Perea, did a routine to a song from the movie, “Mask,” titled, “El Pacheco.”

The girls were asked to draw a question from a bowl, which was read out to them by Masters of Ceremony from KOSA-Ch. 7, news anchors Tatum Hubbard and Jay Hendricks.

Perea’s question was, “Name two local volunteer organizations and do you or have you ever participated in any of them.”

Perea names the Meals on Wheels Program and the local food bank.

“I participate in helping out with the local food bank and delivering food to those less fortunate,” said Perea. “I think we all should do more for these people in the community,” she said.

Perea said that volunteering for such worthy organizations was very important and that it was important to her to get involved.

Runner-Up Donicia Marquez is the daughter of Jaime Marquez and Julio and Tammy Quinones. She has two younger sisters, Cecilia Marquez and Yesenia Quinones and the newest blessing to her family, Julio Quinones Jr.

Marquez attends Pecos High School where she participates in varsity tennis, cheerleading and power lifting.

In her spare time, she enjoys fixing up her scrapbook, playing tennis, listening to music and she especially enjoys when her and her younger sisters dance like there is no tomorrow.

For the past four years, Marquez has participated in the Ballet Folklorico dance group where they perform during the 16th of September Fiestas.

As part of her talent, Marquez demonstrated her talent as a Ballet Folklorico Dancer, with a routine and dressed in a colorful outfit to match.

Marquez question was, “Which Constituitional Amendment is your favorite and why?”

“My favorite amendment would be, ‘Freedom of Religion,’ because I think everyone should have their own beliefs. I personally believe in God and that that is why I am here today and so many good things happen to me,” said Marquez.

The other contestants included Liliana Gutierrez, daughter of Maria Gutierrez; Niki Lindemann, daughter of Jeff and JoAnn Lindemann and Shanna Lindemann; Stephanie Lucas, daughter of Steve and Diana Lucas and Elva Andrille Martinez, daughter of Carlos and Yvette Romo.

Rays was named Little Miss Cantaloupe after starting off the night by being left out of the initial introductions. Hubbard and Hendricks thought they had announced all of the contestants when members of the audience kept yelling that there was one more left.

Despite the fact that she was almost left out, Rayos, stepped on the stage and won everyone’s heart.

Being slighted didn’t bother the seven-year-old, whose favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs and enjoys singing and dancing.

Rayos, the daughter of Rene and Diane Rayos, said her favorite television show is Little Mermaid and her favorite color is yellow.

Runner-up was Clarissa Millan, daughter of Dorinda and Jerry Millan. She loves her mom’s macaroni and cheese, enjoys drawing and her favorite show is Hannah Montana. Turquoise is her favorite color.

The other four Little Miss Cantaloupe contestants were Vanessa Chacon, seven years old, parents, Debra and Jesse Chacon; Eileen Overcash, six years old, daughter of Billy Ray and Martha Overcash; Jazlyn Rodriguez, seven years old, parents, Martin and Dephanie Porras and David and Tish Rodriguez and Hailey Nicole Vasquez, seven years old, daughter of Bobby and Patricia Vasquez.

PEDC seeking land from city for home sites

Pecos Economic Development Corp. board members will ask the Town of Pecos City to turn over land to them in two locations in Pecos for development of multi-family and single family housing.

The board made those decisions following a 90-minute executive session Monday afternoon, as part of a noontime meeting at City Hall.

One of the two locations is the 700-800 blocks between Washington and Adams streets, where the PEDC is seeking the 19 available residential lots for single family housing. The lots in the Morris Addition were originally to be developed as low-income housing by the city in 2002, and were then targeted for up to 128 apartments, after the city was unable to find potential low-income residents who could qualify for loans. Only one of the 20 planned homes was ever built, and the city was forced to repay $367,000 of a $400,000 loan to the Office of Rural Community Affairs.

There was no discussion on the decisions in open session, following the votes to seek control of the two pieces of property.

The move by the council comes five months after the city reported reaching a tentative agreement on a bid from Dimension Enterprises LLC to build a $5 million apartment complex on the site. Dr. Rahat Saied is the president and Ram Kunwar the vice-preisdent of the company, which is also seeking to develop a site between Reeves County Hospital and Interstate 20 on the southwest side of Pecos.

In 2006 Kunwar made the city an offer for the land in the Morris Addition, with the intention of building houses on it. But, the city repossessed the land when construction did not begin in accordance with the agreement.

Dimension offer in January was to pay the full $367,342.91 in five yearly payments.

Under the proposal, Dimension would pay $15,000 at signing, $55,000 in 2008, $80,000 in 2009, $100,000 in 2010 and $117,343.91 in 2011.

As part of the bid Dimension made five requests from the city: that the city assist in constructing curbs, gutters and sidewalks; waive construction permit fees; assist with soil stabilization and site cleanup; waive sewer and water tap fees; provide a tax abatement for five years with the possibility of a five year extension.

However, no work has been started on the site in the past five months, and the PEDC made the request for the city to turn over the land to them, in order for the corporation to seek a different developer.

Board members did engage in a general discussion on the need for housing in Pecos with PEDC president Robert Tobias prior to the executive session. Board chairman Danny Rodriguez mentioned an Odessa American story about a builder in Odessa working on smaller-scale projects, though Tobias said due to the differing economies, what is needed and what can be built in Pecos may differ from Odessa.

“In Odessa they’re calling workforce housing $85,000 to $170,000. What they’re calling workforce housing has an average price of $125,000, so they have a bigger marketplace,” Tobias said, adding builders want to be assured of buyers before committing to development locally.

“Until we can get groups pre-qualified, if we can get five or 10 or 20 (qualified), then you know the prices of homes a person can afford, and you can go on this track or another track,” Tobias said. He added that they’ll have a better idea of where the builders stand after further discussions, and the PEDC may have to help fund constrction of some of the first homes.

Board member Paul Hinojos said the PEDC could make sure the builders have a ‘Certificate of Good Standing’ with the state. “If they’re not registered with the state, we shouldn’t mess with them,” he said. “But as far as checking their financials and their character, that’s going to take a little more work.

Board member Dick Alligood added that a new state law requires all builders in Texas to be licensed.

“This is something we have to be concerned with, but the reality is at the end of the day Pecos is not the same kind of market as Midland-Odessa is,” Tobias said.

The other site in question the PEDC requested the city sell it is in the West Airport Addition, along Stafford Boulevard between Reeves County Hospital and State Highway 17. Tobias told council members last month a developer is looking up build up to 100 apartments at the site.

Senate hopeful Noriega planning W. Texas trip

State Representative Rick Noriega plans a campaign swing through West Texas in early July, as part of his effort to become the first Democrat from Texas in the U.S. Senate in 14 years.

Noriega won nominated in March to face incumbent Republican John Cornyn this November in the race for U.S. Senate. Cornyn is seeking his second term in office, while Noriega is trying to become the first Democratic Senator from Texas since 1994, after having first been elected to the Texas Legislature from Houston in 1998.

“People are fed up. They want change and they want a viable alternative to the status quo,” said Noriega, who is campaigning as an opponent of the current U.S. military strategy in the Middle East, but also as an active member of the Texas National Guard who has served a tour of duty in Afghanistan since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

Noriega enlisted in the Army in 1979, and continues to serve today in the Texas Army National Guard. Following Sept. 11, he spent a year in Afghanistan and was the Laredo Border Sector Commander in Operation Jump Start in 2006.

“What’s abundantly obvious, even with people who were in the current administration is how our policies have failed,” Noriega said about the Bush Administration’s policies on Iraq. “Sen. Cornyn has taken the side of the administration about 95-96 percent of the time, and as Scott McClellan has said, and he was there, he believes horrible damage has been done.”

McClellan, the former White House press secretary and son of former Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, recently released a book critical of the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq, and testified before Congress last Friday.

Noriega said the U.S. should have avoided going into Iraq and continued to focus on Afghanistan in the wake of Sept. 11. “They let Osama bin Laden escape. They took their eyes off the ball and didn’t kill the snake when they had the hoe in hand. Now we’re stuck in the crossfire.

“Those guys like Mr. Cornyn are just making it up as they go along,” he said. “They ask for accountability and reasonability from an 18-year-old private when he is inducted, and as Texans we should impose the same accountability and responsibility on out people in charge.”

Border security has been one of the main national political issues for the past two years, and Noriega touted his time on the border as an officer with the 141st Infantry Regiment in the Texas National Guard efforts as helping him understand the situation.

Efforts by Congress to construct a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border from Texas to California have been challenged in court by both border landowners and environmental and civil rights groups in the state. Noriega said construction of a fence, “is not going to fix the border situation. Mr. Cornyn said himself the border fence is a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem, but then he turned around and voted for it.”

One area where Noriega might be at odds with the prevailing attitude in West Texas is in drilling for oil and natural gas, which over the past four years has revived the economy in Pecos and other Permian Basin cities at the same time residents struggle along with other Americans at paying for gas in the $4 a gallon range.

Noriega said the U.S. has to change his policy, but added he’s opposed to the effort by President Bush to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an effort currently opposed by both presidential candidates.

“Mr. Cornyn supports the status quo, which got us into the predicament we have today,” Noriega said. “I have a duty and responsibility not to pander, even in the oil patch and not sugar coat it, we can’t drill our way out of the problem.”

“If anything, if we’re sitting on oilfields in Iraq. Why is their government not paying for this war, and why aren’t we getting any additional supply from them?” he asked. “I feel as an adult our (domestic) fossil fuels should be passed on to our children and grandchildren,” he said, citing development of alternative fuels, including wind energy and biofuels from non-edible crops.

“I want to make natural gas the bridge fuel, and then move towards alternative energy resources,” Noriega said. “We have the potential in Texas to continue to be the energy leader, not just in the U.S., but in the world.”

“I just came off a couple of weeks of training, and I got to see first hand more than Mr. Cornyn could ever have,” said Noriega, who backs the 21st Century GI Bill created by House Democrats in Washington, which he said would help veterans both in health care and in retention of soldiers in the Guard, who he said are hurt by both the current benefits offered and the repeated deployments of their units overseas.

The state representative also attacked Cornyn’s votes against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was approved in Washington and raised children’s health funding by $50 billion dollars, and the

“He says he’s for the children, then he guts the children’s health program, and he says he’s for veterans, but votes against the Democrats’ GI bill,” Noriega said.

Noriega said that while he plans to be in West Texas early next month, the exact times, dates and locations of his stops have not yet been scheduled. It will be his second major trip through West Texas, having visited the area, including Lubbock, Midland-Odessa and Big Spring in early February.

Funeral scheduled for JP, municipal judge Roman

Funeral services have been scheduled for Wednesday for a longtime city and county employee who died in his sleep Saturday morning.

Amonario Pena Ramon, 67, who served for two decades as a Reeves County Justice of the Peace and for a dozen years as Municipal Court Judge for the Town of Pecos City, died at his home Saturday morning.

In 1986, he was elected Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1 in Reeves County and held this position until the present day serving 21 years. Ramon has also served part-time as Municipal Judge for the City of Pecos since 1995.

He also volunteered as a fire fighter for the Pecos Fire Department for over 20 years and served as captain and safety officer for the department.

He was born in San Miguel Tamaulipas, Mexico, on Dec. 16, 1940, and passed emigrated to the United States in January 1961 and attended La Joya High School in Mission. He married Elidia Valenzuela on April 4, 1967, started his career in the late sixties, working as a test driver for the APG-Firestone test center and then worked at the Gibson True Value store for many years.

His hobbies consisted of boxing, bike riding, gardening, traveling and “home improvements.”

Church services have been scheduled for noon, Wednesday, June 25, at Santa Rosa De Lima Catholic Church with burial in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.

“He was just in my office the other day talking, and everything seemed fine,” said Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres. He said acting Municipal Court Judge Raul Garcia would take over Roman’s duties for now, and a special session will be called later by the City Council to decide on a permanent replacement.

Roman was elected to a fifth term as Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace in 2006, running unopposed for a new four-year term. A decision on filling out the remaining 2 1/2 years of his term will be determined by Reeves County Commissioners at a later date.

Ramon is survived his wife of 45 years, Elidia V. Ramon of Pecos; three sons and their spouses, Amonario Ramon Jr. and his wife, Norma Ramon of Lantana, Eric Anthony Ramon of Santa Fe, N.M.; Aldo Ellis Ramon and his wife, Maritza Ramon of Austin; four granddaughters, Kendra and Deven Winkles and Ameyalli and Marley Ramon of Austin; his mother Olivia Ramon and numerous nieces and nephews.

School reaches deal on new DARE program

An agreement with between the Town of Pecos City law enforcement and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD to implement a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program was discussed during a special meeting held by the school board last Thursday.

Board members also named a new assistant superintendent, along with appointing personnel to several other jobs during the special meeting, held at the P-B-T Technology Center.

“We’re doing an interlocal agreement with the city and we need to work on salary, car and benefits,” said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Manny Espino. He added that the lawyer for the school had already seen the agreement and had approved it.

“We just need to set the salary to coincide with the city’s, because it will be a city officer who will be taking over these duties,” said Espino.

The school has put a contract together and Espino said they would receive help from the police chief in finalizing the contract.

“We are going to pay for the salary and have asked the city to give us a dollar amount and a number that they think would be fair in order to have a DARE system, we’ll reimburse the city,” said Espino.

During Thursday’s special meeting of the school board, several new personnel were hired including Welch, who most recently worked at the University of Texas-Permian Basin. Other appointments included Christina Arenivas, social studies/coach at Crockett Middle School; Stephanie Herrera, journalism speech teacher and coach at Pecos High School; Ray David Martinez, art teacher at Pecos High School; Carlos Parra, math teacher/coach at Pecos High School.

Resignations: John Chorn, social studies teacher at Crockett Middle School; Laura Lara, social studies teacher at Crockett Middle School; Alexa Marquez, physical education teacher at Crockett Middle School and assistant superintendent Dale Pitt.

County’s unemployment reported up for May

Reeves County added a few workers and lost a few jobs last month, and the combination was enough to cause a four-tenths of a percent increase in the county’s unemployment rate, according to figures released on Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The TWC’s May numbers showed the county had 4,144 people in the labor force and 3,921 employed, for a 5.4 percent jobless rate. In April, the commission said there were 4,138 workers in Reeves County and 3,931 employed, for an unemployment rate of 5 percent.

The workforce and job totals are up from the same time a year ago, but the jobless rate also has risen by six-tenths of a percent. In May of 2007, the TWC said Reeves County had 4,104 workers and 3,908 jobs, resulting in a 4.8 percent unemployment rate.

The TWC’s numbers, showing stagnant or minimal growth in jobs in the area, continue to be at odds with the other state agencies’ numbers for the Trans-Pecos region, which have show sharp increases over the past year, and during the past four years since the current energy drilling boom began.

Reeves County’s sales tax revenues are up by 50 percent for the first half of 2008 compared to the first half of 2007, while both tax receipts and hotel/motel tax collections have more than doubled since 2003, during a period in which the TWC reports the county lost 10 percent of its jobs and labor force.

TWC officials have said that the discrepancy may be due to local jobs in companies with offices outside Reeves County being credited to those other areas.

Across the region last month, Reeves County’s increase was in line with most other counties, which reported either little job growth or small job losses, due in part to the end of the recent school year. Midland County’s unemployment rate increase from 2.4 percent in April to 2.7 percent in March. Midland added 157 workers while losing 74 jobs last month, the TWC said. Neighboring Ector County’s unemployment rose to 3.1 percent from 2.8 percent last month. The county added 215 workers but lost five jobs from April’s totals.

Andrews County’s rate went from 2.7 percent in April to 2.8 last month. The number of workers increased by 63 and the job total was up by 51 for the month. Brewster County’s rate rose from 2.7 to 3.2 percent, as the county lost173 workers and 195 jobs in May, with the end of school at Sul Ross State University.

Crane County’s rate increased in May from 3 percent to 3.3 percent, while it added 10 workers and three jobs. Culberson County saw its rate increase from 2.3 to 2.6 percent, with an increase of 51 workers and 43 jobs. Dawson County’s jobless rate saw the biggest jump in the area, going from 4.6 to 5.4 percent, with the number of workers growing by nine while the number of jobs dropped by 31.

Howard County’s unemployment rate went back to March’s 4 percent level after falling to 3.6 percent in April. The county added 80 workers and six jobs. Pecos County’s rate was up from 3.9 to 4.4 percent last month, as the county’s workforce was up by 103 while the job total increased by 68. Presidio County saw its jobless rate go from 8.7 percent to 9 percent, as the county added 38 workers and 27 jobs last month.

In Ward County, unemployment was up from 3.2 to 3.5 percent, with the number of jobs falling by one while the workforce was up by 16. Winkler County’s unemployment rate rose from 2.7 to 3.4 percent, adding 17 workers from April while losing 10 jobs during that same period.

Loving County saw its unemployment rate fall from 9.8 to 9.3 percent, with the addition of two workers and two jobs. The nation’s least-populated county had 43 people in its workforce and 39 employed in May, both numbers also up one from May of a year ago.

Exum, Pipkin announce August wedding plans

James J. Exum of Pecos and Jarra Kaye Pipkin of Waco announce their engagement and upcoming nuptials. 

The couple will be married Aug. 2, 2008 in the Chalk Bluff Baptist Church in Waco.

Jay is the son of Rickey and Jodi Exum of Pecos and Jarra is the daughter of Mike and Jaylene Pipkin of Waco.

Jarra graduated from Connally High School in 2002 and from Texas A&M University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is employed by the Connally ISD.

  Jay graduated from Pecos High School in 1994 and from Sul Ross State University in 1998 with a Bachelor in Meat Technology and Meat Industry Management.  He is employed with the Union Pacific Railroad.

  The couple will make their home in Waco.

Camp fundraider set for Friday

Jesus Summer Camp Fundraiser bake sale will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday, June 27, at the TransPecos Bank Lobby, located on West Third Street.

Jesus Summer Camp has been scheduled for July 14 through July 18, at Santa Rosa De Lima Catholic Church.

Registrations: for kindergarten through sixth grade, Monday, Jjune 30-Thursdsay, July 3, at the Santa Rosa CCD Church office, from 9 a.m. until noon only.

Class time will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Santa Rosa Church CCD Classrooms and there is no fee to attend.

For more information contact Sam Anchondo at 445-7714 or the church CCD Office at 445-2309 and ask for Sam.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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