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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Couple able to escape from Saturday trailer fire

Two people were able to escape from a travel trailer with only minor injuries after it caught fire just before midnight on Saturday in a yard on West Third Street.

Pecos Volunteer Fire Department crews and Pecos EMS workers were called out just prior to midnight, and were able to keep the fire from spreading to an adjacent building, but were unable to save the trailer.

The cause of the fire that destroyed the trailer was unknown, and Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire was not available as of Monday to comment on a possible cause of the fire. But the heaviest damage was to the rear section of the trailer, which was parked on the west side of the former Brown Pipe and Supply building, in the 2600 block of West Third Street.

The yard is currently being used by Atlas Equipment, a contractor for Chesapeake Energy, and the owner of the trailer was an Atlas employee, according to Earl Smith, supervisor for the company’s local operation.

“One of my hands was in there with his girlfriend asleep, and when they woke up the trailer was on fire,” Smith said. He added that the woman suffered a cut to her forehead when she was being pulled out of the travel trailer as the flames engulfed the vehicle.

“She hit her head going through the door,” Smith said. “She said she thought he was trying to kill her when he grabbed her, but he was just trying to get her out of the fire.”

The fire was one of two involving vehicles that Pecos firefighters responded to on Saturday. The other involved a car carrier that caught fire and was destroyed Saturday morning on Interstate 10 at the 172 mile marker, five miles west of Kent in Culberson County. Emergency personnel from Pecos,

Balmorhea and Van Horn responded to the fire, the second in less than three months involving a truck carrying vehicles. A similar fire in July destroyed a car hauler as it was traveling on I-20 near the Texas AgriLife Experiment Station seven miles west of Pecos.

Fair’s cook-off, stock show get entries from across area

Over 60 animal were being shown on Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center, and over 50 cooks were showing off their brisket and rib entries nearby, in the annual Barbeque Beef Cook-off that was part of this past weekend’s Reeves County Fall Fair.

The stock show, featuring contestants from nine local towns and 64 animals, was held Saturday morning in the exhibition area of the Civic Center, while the cookoff began Friday evening and ended Saturday afternoon with the awarding of the top prizes, both of which went to the same team.

A total of 53 teams participated in this year’s cookoff, which was held at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.

“Thanks to all those that participated, it was a great year and everyone had a lot of fun,” said Cody West, one of the organizers of the event. West said that there had been a lot of good entries and that the judges had a hard time picking out the winners.

The Ramos Camp took the Grand Championship award Saturday during the annual event, after they were awarded first in both the ribs and the brisket category.

Runner up in the brisket category went to the Hagers and third place the Blue Team, with Mark Marquez, Sterling Collins and Joseph Casillas.

In the ribs category runner-up was Melo Orona and third place went to Melo Orona.

The stock show had 25 goats, 22 lambs, 15 steers and two heifers entered. In the Junior Market Lamb Show, Tori Henderson of Odessa won Grand Champion with a Class I medium wool, while Christopher Martinez’s Class II medium wool took reserve champ honors.

Dalen Jenkins of Wink and Alex Parmer or Barstow were second and third in the Class II division, while Allann roman and Jenkins placed second and third in the Class I category. Roman took first, and Jacy Puckett second and third in the Class I cross division, and Puckett took first and second and Roman was third with their entries in the Class I fine wool judging.

Martinez won both Grand and Reserve Champion in the Goat Show, taking first in with entries in the Class II (66-73 pounds) and Class IV (78-136 pound) divisions. Caisy Cloate and Ricky Shelley placed second and third with their Class IV entries, while Kimberly Urias of Pecos and Kolbi Folkes of Kent were second and third in the Class II division.

In Class I, entries by Juan Jacquez of Pyote took first and second and Shelly was third, while in Class III Amber Lara of Pecos won first, with Urias second and Folkes third.

In the Steer Show, Garrett Floyd of Wink won Grand Champion with his Heavy Medium (1039-1074 pound) entry, while Danica Bugg was Reserve Champ, with her Medium (947-1006) entry. Second in that division was Briana Bugg and third was Nathan Box, while in the Heavy Medium, Shelby Wallis and Max Henson of Kermit took second and third.

Henderson and Sarah Turnbow of Kermit were first and second in the Light Division (677-690 pounds); Briana Bugg, Emily Rodriguez of Pecos and Henson were first through third in the Light Medium (825-859 pound) division, and Hendson, Wallis and Joseph Rodriguez of Pecos were first, second and third in the Heavy (1112-1163 pound) division.

Rayann and Nathan Box had the only Heifer Show entries, with Rayann placing first and winning Grand Champion and Nathan Box second, and the Reserve Champion award.

The grand and reserve champions received tote bags, along with cash awards from the entry fees. The bags were awarded through West Texas National Bank and TransPecos Bank, along with State Sen. Carlos Uresti and Tanya and Zane Kiehne.

Winners announced for Fall Fair’s divisions

Ribbons were handed out in different categories at the Annual Reeves County Fall Fair held this weekend at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The Fair attracted entries from both Reeves County and surrounding areas, and included arts and craft entries on display inside the Civic Center, along with judging of the Fall Fair Livestock Show and the Barbeque Beef Cook-off, at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.

In the Youth Division: cookies category: first place, Adeline Bien, for her chocolate chip turtle bars and second place, Laci Hill, snickerdoodles.

Adults: cakes: first place, Margie Williamson, Mexican fruit cake; second place Laura Teal, cream cheese pound cake and third place, Jody Willliamson, pumpkin better cake.

Pies: first place, Lori Bien, buttermilk pie, Best of Show Baked Items; second place, Margie Williamson, pecan pie and third place, Margie Williamson, buttermilk chess pie.

Cookies: first place, Rachel Barrett, no bake chocolate oat bars; second place, Jody Williamson, pecan and chocolate chip cookies and third place, Lori Bien, pumpkin spice toffee thins.

Breads: first place, David Teal, spicy crackers and second place, Jody Williamson, cinnamon rolls.

Candy: first place, Catherine Travland, toffee and second place, Karen Hill, Alfa’s fudge.

Canned Goods: jelly: first place, Bob Tate, prickly pear jelly; second place, Calvin Howard, plum jelly and third place, Virginia Pena, plum jelly.

Preserves: first place, Calvin Howard, apple butter and second place, Calvin Howard, strawberry preserves.

Pickled items: fist place, Margie Williamson, hot sauce, Best of Show Canned Goods; second place, Calvin Howard, pickled peppers and third place, Jennifer Conger, hot sauce.

Small Quilts: first place, Bessie Osborn, art quilt; second and third places, Kay Maingath, reversible.

Large Quilts – Machine pieced, machine quilted, first place, Lynn Fowler, country star; second place, Lynn Fowler, blue and white patch and third place, Lynn Fowler, French Provence.

Large Quilts – Machine pieced, hand quilted: first place, Lynn Fowler, sampler; second place, Lynn Fowler, bull’s eye and third place, Ava Gerke, a patch star.

Large Quilts – hand appliqué-handquilted: first place, Bessie Osborn, butterflies; second place, Bessie Osborn, Asian girls and third place, Laura Teal, Bible Verses.

Large Quilts – Machine pieced, handtied: first place, Gradene Gerbert, denim with bandana; second place, Blanca Avila, bull’s eye and third place, Patricia Russell, denim squares.

Large Quilts – Machine pieced and hand tied: first place, Bessie Osborn, pink 9 patch and second place, Elisa Mendoza, churn dash.

The Humane Society of Pecos had a successful pet show contest on Saturday, according to organizers of the event.

Winners included: Best Pet Trick – Khaki, owned by Bryton; Best Pet/Owner Look-A-Like: Lexie, owned by Lenora Blanchard; Best Dressed Pet: Herbie, owned by Beth Castaneta; Best Smooch Pooch: Lola, owned by Crystal; Best Voice: Susie owned by Jennifer; Smallest Dog: Bo, owned by Hadyn Stewart, (Bo is a Hurricane Katrina survivor) and Most Exotic Pet: Izzie the Iguana, owned by Jenifer Brookshire.

Owners received paw print medals and pets received travel tote bowls filled with a leash, bandana, pet alert tags, flea comb and dog Halloween cookies.

Toone starts up local business to build new homes in Pecos

Billy Dale Toone saw the need for housing in Pecos and decided to continue his father’s legacy by doing something about it. He showed house plans at the Reeves County Fall Fair for his company, Caliche Flats Development Group, LLC.

He chose the name “Caliche Flats” for the caliche pit on the farm at Saragosa where he grew up.

His parents, Dale and Sue Toone, served the community in many ways, keeping their charitable works private, said their eldest son.

Billy is also proud of them for the way they raised his younger brother, George, blind since birth.

“They were great,” said Billy, tearing up as he added how proud he is of George.

Despite being unable to see anything but a little light, George was taught to do everything any normal person can do, and he has worked to support himself since graduating and attending Texas Tech University. He recently married and has pulled his wife, Amy, into his hobby of restoring and driving old tractors. “I am very, very proud of him and Mom and Dad for all they have done,” said Billy. “Dad was a Christian, but did things behind the scenes that nobody knew about, to help the other person. He lived by his high standards and Christian beliefs.”

Childhood for Billy and George was normal, with the usual fights. “He was normal because that’s how Dad and them brought him up,” he said. “They didn’t put him in the closet. Mom did the most in his bringing up as normal a life as possible.”

Sue went to school to learn Braille and translated George’s schoolbooks into Braille so he could be in a normal classroom.

He and Billy graduated from Balmorhea High School, which held a 100-year reunion recently. Billy brought is wife, Patty, for the weekend. “It was great,” he said.

Although math was his favorite subject in high school, Billy decided to train as a dental technician. Then he majored in accounting and business at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

That is where he met Patty.

“I worked part time at Dillard’s, selling shoes,” said Toone. “I always had to wear a three-piece suit to work.

“I was walking home one afternoon on Saturday, and I can remember the day,” he said. “I was in this three-piece suit and had a briefcase and a newspaper under my arm, walking into my apartment. She said to herself, ‘There is a banker.’

“She comes out and tells me who she is. She was moving into an apartment and was trying to back her pickup truck over the curb.”

When Patty asked Billy to help her jump her pickup over the curb, he thought she needed her battery jumped, so said, “Let me get my jumper cables.”

“No, I need you to jump the curb so I can back up to unload,” said Patty.

That started a two-year friendship that blossomed into romance, and they were married by Lessie Woodard in First Baptist Church in Pecos 28 years ago.

They have two children, Justin, 24; and Lauren, 19. Lauren attends Texas Women’s University in Denton and will apply for nursing school in January. Justin plans to graduate in May with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Toone is comptroller for a manufacturing company in Dallas. He travels to Pecos regularly to check on construction underway at 1704 Hackberry St. He plans to build one house at a time as the market demands, and is looking for lots to purchase.

“Pecos is experiencing growing pains,” he said. “We all know there is a shortage of housing, and people are looking at plans and inquiring about locations of lots we have available.”

While in town, he stays with his uncle, Jimmy Toone, and is looking for office space. In the meantime, he is available at any time by cell phone at 214-762-5814.

When he’s not working, Toone may be reading or jet skiing on Lake Grapevine with his family and friends.

“We ski summer and winter,” he said, noting that they wear wet suits in the winter to stay warm.

“I believe Pecos is progressing, and I want to be a part of helping put out a good product,” he said. “We invite everyone to come by the construction site and watch the progress.”

PEDC receives new lot request to build homes

A second company is looking to build a pair of home on lots in the central part of Pecos originally designated for low-income housing, and their request for property will be discussed by the Pecos Economic Development Corp. on Wednesday, along with a new agreement between the PEDC and the company currently building six homes in that part of town.

Antonio Briones’ whose West Dream Homes is building six new homes in the Morris Addition, between the 800 blocks of Washington and Adams streets, is going back before the PEDC board in connection with a performance agreement on additional single-family housing. West Texas Dream Homes sought the PEDC’s backing land month on a request to the Town of Pecos City to acquire six more lots in the same area.

The request for certain lots on the site, including a corner lot, resulted in a discussion over how the remaining 13 lots on the property, originally developed by the city for 20 low-income homes, would be used. Board members eventually voted to support giving the additional lots for Briones, under the current construction time period rules and with the cost of utility installation to be part of the construction cost.

PEDC Executive Director Robert Tobias said the new request is from a company called First Service, which wants two lots on the corner of Washington and Cowan streets for homes, which initially would be for the company’s use.

“A group that’s doing some work for the school district plans for their staff to live there. They’re tired of living in motels,” Tobias said. “They’re going to build two houses to start off with.”

“We just met with them on Friday, and they asked if two lots could be made available,” Tobias said. He added that he wasn’t sure what First Service’s plans were for the homes in the future, if the company no longer needs to keep workers in Pecos.

“What happens after the contract goes away I don’t think they’ve thought that through, but they understand there will always be a need for rental housing in Pecos.”

He said overall there are still 19 lots in the Morris Addition that can be used for new housing, which has been sought by local officials for the past three years, since the current oil and natural gas drilling boom created a labor and housing shortage not only in the energy industry, but for other local companies seeking to attract workers to Pecos.

The housing items and appointments to the PEDC 4A and 4B boards of directors are the main items scheduled for the noon meeting on Wednesday at City Hall.

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