Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Fiestas events avoid troubles with weather
A Ward County resident drove home from the annual 16th of September Fiestas in a new truck Sunday evening.
Brenda Hager, of Barstow, had the winning raffle ticket for the 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, which was awarded on the final night of the three-day event.
Second place in the $5 raffle was a 42-inch plasma television and a $500 gift card was given to the seller of the first place winning ticket. The second prize winner was Karime Garcia, who was also one of the queen candidates, while Prescilla Garcia sold the winning ticket on the Silverado.
While rain was in the forecast all weekend, skies were mostly clear on Friday night, and the events were able to work around the cloudy skies and cooler conditions on Saturday and Sunday.
A group from San Antonio, Juan Ramos y Puro Principe, was on hand all three days to perform for the fiesta goers.
Other booths sold gorditas, burritos, corn on the cob, funnel cakes and many more items. Toy and novelty booths were also set up around the parking lot.
Danza Folklorica performed on the cordoned off dance floor, along with Mariachis.
City joins protest against planned T-NMP rate hikes
Town of Pecos City Council members voted to join a coalition of municipalities in fighting a proposed electric rate increase by Texas-New Mexico Power Co., during their regular meeting on Thursday at City Hall.
The council also approved renaming the terminal building at Pecos Municipal Airport for former mayor Bill Hubbs, and passed the second reading of an ordinance limiting truck parking to designated areas on truck routes within the city limits.
The resolution, forwarded to the city by the Association of Texas Municipalities, calls for a 90-day delay in the effective date of T-NMP’s rate increase, saying that local governments and residents in those cities have not had time to review the proposal, which mayor Dick Alligood said would sharply increase rates currently charged to the city, small businesses and residential customers.
“What they’re asking for is a 23 percent increase in residential rates,” said city manager Joseph Torres. “When you look at small commercial and street lighting, you’re looking at increases of more than 78 percent. The City of Marfa recently stopped paying for street lights, because they can’t afford it.”
“Everybody’s making money except for us. We’re paying more,” said councilman Frank Sanchez, who abstained from voting on the resolution because he receives a pension from T-NMP.
Sanchez told the other council members that due to the current rate structure, other companies can sell power bought from T-NMP for less than the company sells it through its own First Choice Power subsidiary. “It’s a big mess right now,” he said.
The resolution noted that the planned increases are 28.3 percent for residential, 82.9 percent for small commercial businesses, and 78.5 percent for street lights, and said T-NMP’s 11.25 percent return on equity was “unusually high.”
The resolution stipulates that Herrera & Boyle PLLC of Austin will represent the cities in their request for a delay before the Texas Public Utility Commission, and that T-NMP will reimburse the cities for the reasonable rate expenses.
The truck ordinance discussion was on a second and final reading of the proposal to limit truck parking and truck travel to designated streets in the city. Unlike the first reading of the plan, which resulted in over an hour of discussion with local residents who said the change would cause problems for their truck operations, there were no public comments during Thursday’s meeting.
“I did go by to try and contact the ladies who were here,” Alligood said. He said he was unable to get in contact by phone on Thursday and left cards at the residences of the families who attended the Aug. 14 council meeting.
During that meeting, the city discussed working with Reeves County to use the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena parking lot on U.S. 285 as a truck parking area. Alligood said he had not heard back from county officials, but a check of the city map showed that a 250-by-120 foot section of the parking area is within the city limits, and would not need county approval to establish as a truck parking zone.
“It has lots of parking, and is accessible to a truck route,” he said, adding that it would also be visible to police from U.S. 285, due to truckers’ concerns about the possibility of burglaries.
“We need to give trucks a chance to see what’s going to and adjust,” Sanchez said. Councilman Danny Rodriguez also asked that the city buy ads on the radio to announce the change.
Texas Department of Public Safety license and weight officers will train police in the next few weeks on how to issue warnings and citations for violators. Council members debated on whether or not warnings could be issued before the ordinance officially took effect, and eventually opted to begin the new enforcement period on Oct. 1.
The request to rename the airport terminal for Hubbs, who served as head of the Pecos Airport Board following his terms as mayor, was made at the request of Pecos Rotary Club member Ken Winkles. He read a list of Hubbs’ activites in Pecos, including ownership of KIUN Radio, president of the Pecos Little League and the Chamber of Commerce, and a 49-year member of the local Rotary Club.
Hubbs, who died in 2006, served as mayor from 1982-84, and again from 1986 to 1990. Councilman Frank Sanchez, who defeated Hubbs for mayor in 1986, suggested that lighted signs by placed on both sides of the airport terminal for Hubbs, who was a pilot for 53 years.
“We’ll probably have to go out and see what we have on the back side of the building,” Alligood said. “If we can’t put it up there, we can put a sign in the yard facing the runway.”
“I’m just very excited about what you’re doing,” said Hubbs’ widow Pat, who also was in attendance at the meeting.
Council members also plan to have a dedication ceremony when the new signs are in place.
Computer problems provide business for Fleming
“Virus” is a word that is applied to a plethora of ailments, both human and computer. Danny Fleming’s children are hoping to deal with the former, as he deals with the latter.
Fleming operates “Computer Solutions,” a service to businesses and individuals alike. He can solve almost any problem with hardware or software in his office on Eddy Street, in a business office or home network.
Malware of all kinds infects computers, he said. While a virus usually replicates itself to fill up a hard drive, spyware can reside on the hard drive and send information to others or take the user to web sites where they are bombarded with advertising.
“If you don’t have anti-virus protection, you will get sapped by an old virus,” said Fleming.
But anti-virus software alone doesn’t protect against spyware and malware.
Newer suites protect against viruses, spyware, malware, Trojan horses, hacking and other Internet bad guys, he said.
“AVG is one of the best suites out,” he said, noting that he sells it. “Their Internet security is better than Norton or McAfee, because it doesn’t slow your computer down so bad.”
Fleming said he can usually rescue data from a computer infected with a virus or other malware, then clean off the disk and restore programs and data.
He warns against visiting pornography sites or popular sites for downloading music or other free materials.
“Someone can upload a popular song that has a Trojan horse or virus embedded in it,” he said. When downloaded, the virus then resides on your computer.
Other problems he encounters are computer components coated with dust or damaged by moisture.
“Dust is a good insulator,” he said,
Bad weather that causes voltage spikes also damages computers and peripherals like modems. Electrical surges can travel through telephone lines and cables, as well as power lines.
“Usually, when you get storm damage, I replace a modem or power supply,” Fleming said. “If it is more than that, it is usually not cost-effective to fix it.”
Fleming worked out of his home about three years before setting up shop. Experience repairing small engines gave him some expertise with the hardware. He has also sold lawnmowers and worked for Jim Ivy at Water Works.
He likes having his own shop, because he can set the pace that suits him. “I can go out of town every day or stay here and work in the shop.”
He works on individual computers in the shop, because he can set up five or six at the same time and move between them as time permits. While one is backing up, for example, he can move to another station and remove a hard disk or run a virus scan.
“The best part for me is when I take somebody’s computer with a lot of stuff and am able to restore it and get it back in one piece,” he said. “People tend not to back up their data and come in here sometimes in a panic.”
He prefers the USB “thumb” drive for backup because it is fast and portable, and some can hold 32 megabytes of data. For extra protection, he also backs up to a DVD.
“Tape drives are good for extreme amounts of data,” he said.
When he’s not working, Fleming spends most of his time with family or church responsibilities.
“I do play golf with Mike Pharaoh occasionally,” he said.
Church responsibilities include deacon chairman and teaching an adult Sunday school class.
“I believe church is like a battery charger,” said Fleming. “You expend power all week, and come back on Sunday to be recharged.”
Fleming’s wife, Julie, teaches at Pecos Kindergarten. Their children both are planning careers in the medical field. Alan is trying to get accepted into medical school, and Amanda hopes to enroll in a nursing program.
So any virus that comes around the Fleming family should beware!
Commissioners move forward on setting new county tax rate
Reeves County Commissioners held a public hearing Friday morning as part of the county’s plans for the 2009 property and mineral valuation tax rate, which will be above the effective tax rate but slightly below the county’s current tax rate.
The group approved increasing the tax rate from the effective rate of .31252 per $100 valuation to $.34648. The 2009 effective rate is the rate needed to raise the same amount of revenue as this past year.
“Are we still lower than last year?” asked Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Alvarado.
“Because of our valuation (increase) of $65 million dollars it will still be lower,” said county judge Sam Contreras.
County Auditor Lynn Owens told the group that the increase wouldn’t be that much.
There will be another public hearing on Sept. 19 and the public is welcome to attend. State law mandates that two public hearing take place if a tax rate is set above the effective rate, and than final approval of the new tax rate and budget be completed by Oct. 1.
New sinkhole is discovered near museum
A week of rain in Pecos helped uncover another sinkhole in the area around the West of the Pecos Museum, and Town of Pecos City crews are planning to make repairs to the area and see how widespread the underground damage might be.
Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood said he and city manager Joseph Torres were informed of the problem Thursday afternoon by West of the Pecos Museum curator Debbie Thomas, after a brick on one of the walkways between the Museum courtyard and the Judge Roy Bean Saloon replica fell in.
“We didn’t know about it until last night, when we were called by Debbie,” Alligood said. City workers called to the site discovered the brick and fallen into a hole about five feet deep, and the walkway around the missing brick also had started sinking into the hole.
“We’ll see if Edgardo (Madrid, city public works director) can come out and take a look at this,” said Torres, who added that water from rains coming off the nearby storage building probably got in under the brickwork and caused the sinkhole.
Thomas said the hole is similar to one discovered last year, in the courtyard between the museum and the Pecos Chamber of Commerce office. She said that hole covered a much wider area when the bricks were removed.
“What we found out over here when the bricks went in was it was only a small part of a hole that was about 10-20 feet long,” Thomas said.
Torres said the new sinkhole may also cover a bigger area underground than just where the bricks are sinking in, and that city workers may have to remove a large area of the walkway to repair the damage.
The Museum isn’t the only area in town plagued by sinkholes. A 13-foot sinkhole found underneath the Pecos High School swimming pool in March ended up costing the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD over $200,000 to repair. Work on the inside of the building has been completed enough to allow the PHS swimming team to resume using the pool, but brickwork on the outside of the building still has to be replaced.
Junell reschedules trial date for Stephens on sex charge
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Junell has agreed to a one-month delay in the court date for Randall Lee Stephens, on federal charges of failure to file as sex offender following his release from prison and return to Pecos.
Meanwhile, Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said his department has almost completed their investigation of Stephens in connection with the May 6 stabbing deaths of local bard owners A.J. and Rick Cherry, and should be ready to present their evidence to 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds sometime in the near future.
Stephens had been scheduled for a date in federal court on Tuesday on the federal sex offender law violation. But Junell ordered a delay at the request of Stephens’ court-appointed attorney, Scott Johnson. Jury selection is now scheduled in the case for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 15 in U.S. District Court in Pecos.
“The Court finds that the interest of justice outweighs the interest of the Defendant(s) and of the public in a speedy trial, and that the period of time from September 16, 2008, through October 15, 2008, is excludable time within the meaning of the Speedy Trial Act,” Junell wrote in his Aug. 25 decision.
Stephens has being held at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on the federal charge while police completed their investigation into the May 6 double-murder at D.J.’s Round-Up on West Third Street.
The bodies of the Cherrys were found on the afternoon of May 7 by A.J. Cherry’s brother and sister. Preliminary autopsy results showed the couple died from multiple stab wounds, with the deaths believed to have occurred between 10 p.m. and midnight on May 6, which was also Stephens’ 50th birthday.
Police believe he stole Cherry’s 1995 Ford F-350 pickup, which was discovered the morning of May 11 by a U.S. Border Patrol agent abandoned on Interstate 25 between Truth or Consequences and Socorro, N.M., about 375 miles northwest of Pecos.
Stephens was arrested on June 3 in southern Alabama on a Pecos police warrant charging him with violation of the sex offender registry law. That charge was later superceded by the federal charge, while also allowed U.S. Marshals to transport Stephens back to Pecos.
McKinney, along with Police Capt. Kelly Davis, Reynolds and one of his investigators, Gerry Villalobos, flew to Alabama the day of the arrest and talked with Stephens. He was returned to Pecos in early July and had his initial federal court hearing on July 22 before U.S. Magistrate B. Dwight Goains.
“We’re probably within a week to 10 days of presenting that case to the DA’s office,” McKinney said last Wednesday.
“Everything in the case is pretty much complete. There are a few things we’re still reviewing and tying up some loose ends.
“I’d say 95 percent of the case is ready for the DA, after review,” he said.
“Reynolds said because grand jury information is secret he couldn’t comment directly on when the case would be presented, but added, “I don’t anticipate it being a dragged out affair in my office. I expect it to go pretty quickly.
He said a new grand jury will be seated in October, but he will have to look at the investigation first, once he gets the report from McKinney’s office.
“I’ll have to do some work and review their (police) work, but from what I’ve heard he’s hoping to wind it up and get all the information to me,” Reynolds added.
Valeriano receives scholarship for women’s club
Vanessa Valeriano of Pecos, a 2006 graduate of Pecos High School was the recipient of the TFWC Simmang Volunteer Award Scholarship from the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs through the sponsorship of The Modern Study Club, a club in good standing of the Western District of TFWC.
Vanessa attended Angelo State University for the past two years and currently she is enrolled as a junior student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock where she is pursuing a degree in architecture/art.
The scholarship is in the amount of $800 and is presented, $400 for the Fall semester and the remainder for the Spring semester.
When Vanessa gets any time away from her studies she likes to visit friends, her mother, Carime Valeriano and her sister, Kristen, in Pecos.
Hill celebrates second birthday with party
Haylee Ann Hill celebrated her second birthday on Sept. 13, with a Winnie the Pooh party.
She is the daughter of Craig and Karen Hill.
She celebrated with cake and ice cream.
Hill is the granddaughter of Norman and Dorothy Hill and the late Arelene Hill of Pecos, and Keith and Carollee Waters of Amarillo.
Also attending were a number of aunts, uncles, cousins and special friend, Lindsey Shaw.
New doctors reception on Tuesday
An Open House Reception for three new doctors in Pecos will be held from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Reeves County Hospital Lobby.
The reception is in honor and to welcome the new doctors in Pecos: Dr. Sayeeda Bilkis, Dr. Sam Kim and Dr. Steven Serrano.
Everyone is invited to come out and welcome the newcomers. Refreshments will be served.
Fair’s baby contest entries sought
The Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring the Pretty Baby Contest at the Reeves County Fall Fair scheduled for Oct. 3-4.
The annual event will be held at the Reeves County Civic Center.
Babies need to be between 0-24 months and applications may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce Office, 111 S. Cedar.
Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third places.
Deadline to enter is Oct. 1.
For more information contact the chamber at 445-2406.
Library sets story hour times
Reeves County Library, 505 S. Park, will feature Story Hour at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6.
All children in the community are invited to attend and need to be accompanied by a parent.
Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers
Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and the Pecos Police Department need the community’s help in solving a crime that occurred this past weekend.
On Saturday, Aug. 30, at approximately 6:23 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Sonic Drive Inn concerning a burglary of the building.
During the early morning hours, two glass pane windows on the west side of the building were broken out.
A subject wearing a red-hooded sweater, long brown shorts, white shoes with dark laces and a bandana covering his face entered the building where the windows were broken.
The subject then left the building with an amount of cash.
If anyone has any information about this crime or any other crime, call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or leave a Secure Web-Tip at HYPERLINK "http://www.crimestoppersweb.com/pecos" www.crimestoppersweb.com/pecos.
As always the caller will remain anonymous and Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 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 and Crime Stoppers thanks the community for their help.
Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and the Pecos Police Department need the community’s help in solving a crime that occurred at 6:42 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 21.
Officers were dispatched to the Brownlee Hardware Store at 131 S. Oak, in reference to burglary of a building.
Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and The Pecos Police Department Items taken were a 12 volt Dewalt cordless drill in a case with 2 batteries, a yellow Poulan gas blower, a 16-inch Poulan green gas powered chainsaw, an 18-inch Poulan gas chainsaw, yellow and in a case, an 18 volt cordless Dewalt circular saw in a case, a Dewalt 5-inch electric angle grinder in a case, a Dewalt electric reciprocating saw in a case, a 14.4 volt cordless drill in case with 2 batteries, an 18 volt cordless Dewalt drill in case with 2 batteries, and a Black and Decker electric orbital jig saw.
If you have any information about this crime or any other crime, call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or leave a Secure Web-Tip at HYPERLINK "http://www.crimestoppersweb.com/pecos" www.crimestoppersweb.com/pecos.
As always individuals will remain anonymous and Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 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!
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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