Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 31, 2008
One of two suspects charged by police in Oct. 12 stabbing
One of two persons listed as suspects in an Oct. 12 incident in which two people were stabbed has been arrested by Pecos police on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Police on Oct. 23 charged Abran Sandoval Jr., 18, with stabbing Joel Valeriano in the incident, which occurred outside the Riverside Ballroom, 1300 E. Second St., Along with the aggravated assault charge, Sandoval also faces a charge of tampering with evidence, according to the report filed by investigator Paul Deishler.
Officers were called to the Riverside Ballroom on Oct. 12 at 12:14 a.m. on a fight in progress and discovered the two stabbing victims, who were later transferred to Odessa Medical Center Hospital.
Police Chief Clay McKinney said Valeriano and the other stabbing victim are both from Odessa. He said other people at the ballroom told officers two individuals who had not been invited to the event were asked to leave.
“They were escorted outside and once outside a fight broke out that led to the stabbings,” McKinney said.
Deishler said Sandoval already was in custody at Reeves County Jail on a motion to revoke probation when he was served with the two new warrants. He added that the second stabbing victim has yet to come in to file charges, and that as a result, no arrest could be made yet involving the second suspect.
RCH stalled on lease deal for new clinic
Three months after going over the initial plans for a lease agreement on a 20,000 square foot medial clinic with the company that won the contract to build the facility, Reeves County Hospital District board members came out of their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday still with no deal on the new building, and with no idea how long it might take to reach an lease agreement on the new facility.
Board members in early July awarded the bid for the new clinic to S&J Properties, a company owned by former Pecos residents Frank Spencer and Greg Johns. Their company won the bid to build the clinic on eight acres of land owned by S&J Properties of El Paso on the north side of Stafford Boulevard, across from the hospital’s emergency room.
S&J was awarded the bid after offering a deal to pay property taxes on the new medical facility, which allowed them to underbid the other two competitors by $3 million. Board members met with Spencer in late July and were hopeful at the time of having the new clinic ready for occupancy by the fall of 2009, but following a brief executive session on Tuesday, the board took no action on the lease agreement.
The lack of action came after board members cancelled a special meeting last week where they had been scheduled to discuss a lease agreement.
“We’re at a standstill,” said hospital CEO Al LaRochelle following the meeting. “I don’t think we’ll be able to come to an agreeable solution.”
LaRochelle did not elaborate on the problems stalling a lease agreement, but said the district would continue to seek construction of a clinic, which is designed in part to house offices for several of the new physicians recruited to the hospital in the past year.
“We’ll go ahead with it, and look at alternatives. But right now, we’re just not ready to propose it to the board,” he said.
Board members did take action on a couple of items during open session, approving the district’s 2008 tax rolls, totaling $3.086 million, along with errors and corrections from the 2007 and earlier tax rolls, totaling $531,580. They also approved, at the recommendation of LaRochelle, an emergency room contract with EM Care, which won out over a bid from Concord Medical Group.
The contract is to supply physicians to fill out staffing requirements in the hospital’s ER. “We believe the savings to the hospital over the course of a year will be about $400,000,” LaRochelle said.
Also approved was an oil and gas lease agreement on 30 acres of land owed by the hospital in Galveston County. “We had another lease offer for this same property, but they only offered $150 an acre. This offer is $300 an acre,” said hospital chief financial officer Frank Seals. “The lease is not going to be much money in any case.”
Board members rejected $500 bids on two pieces of land, at 106 S. Ash St. and 513 S. Walnut St., by Daniel Aguilar, because he listed plans to build homes on both properties. Town of Pecos City Council members last week approved the sales, but only if the homes were completed within one year of the sale, in order to prevent land speculation.
Tabled along with any action on the clinic lease were action on new computer systems, MRI and CT scanner units and a new ultrasound system.
“I just hope the board before now and next month gives a lot of thought to the problem,” LaRochelle said, adding that the MRI was last on the list of items the hospital is interested in acquiring.
“We’re really interested in the CT and the ultrasound,” he said, adding that hospital staff has been working up a proposal for the past six months.
“We’re totally relying on you,” board member Leo Hung said, referring to any recommendations on the high-priced new systems. “That’s why it’s so important to do a lot of research for it.”
LaRochelle also said for next month’s meeting, the hospital board will have to look at the increasing number of delinquent bills for medical care, which for the year were put at $766,000.
“We’re just not being paid,” he said, adding that the non-payments are not primarily from indigent patients. “We know its bad debt because the company we’re turning it over to aren’t able to collect on it either.”
Rule change sought to fill vacant apartments
Changes will be made at the Country Club Apartments, pending state approval, but they won’t affect current tenants or the amount of rent.
The owners of the apartments, which were completed late last year, made a request to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for an amendment to the application for Housing Tax Credits for the Country Club Apartments .
Paul Holden with Wilhoit Properties was on hand for the public hearing held in the office of the apartment complex.
“The changes that we are planning is so that there will be no age limit on the senior apartments that we currently have,” said Holden.
He said that 12 of the 44 apartments located at the complex have been designated for senior citizens, but only half are leased out at this time.
“We have 12 and only six are leased out and are for citizens 55 and older,” said Holden. “The change is because we want to fill the others.”
He said that the reason for the public hearing was because the property is tax-credit funding property.
“The change is to make those apartments into family apartments, rather than intergenerational,” said Holden, who added that all the family units are currently leased out and that their concern is the six left in the senior units section.
Jim Ivy, whose mother-in-law, Jimmie Johnson is currently occupying one of the senior units, was on hand to voice his concerns.
Holden said that they have a certain amount of time to lease out the units, and that it took 11 months to lease out the units.
“We want to get the property leased out, because if we don’t there will be a cash flow problem,” said Holden.
“There are a total of 44 units and they are all leased out, but we are having problems with the senior units,” said Holden.
Ivy said that they had moved in his mother-in-law with the understanding that those apartments would be generational.
“I talked to Justin (Zimmerman, with Zimmerman Properties), but I think we need to exhaust other efforts to attract more seniors before we make them in to family units,” said Ivy.
“That’s what we are concentrating on that, but we have to follow the federal laws as well,” said Holden.
“Do they allow exceptions?” asked Ivy.
“No, since 1986, but Crisha (Molinar, apartment manager) and her staff are working on marketing efforts,” said Ivy.
“Are you just not getting applications?” asked Ivy.
“We don’t even get applications or traffic,” said Molinar.
Tenants have to meet a certain criteria, including income level.
“The least amount that they can make is $1,300 per month in order to qualify for one of these units,” said Molinar. “That’s for a single person.”
She said that she hasn’t even had any traffic, to see the units.
“I even made presentations at Lion’s Club and the Pecos Senior Citizen’s Center. “The feeling that I got, is that a lot of people think it’s like low income housing, but the apartments are totally different.”
She added that they take into account if the senior citizens have certificates of deposit (CD’s) when calculating income levels. “Those are also taken into consideration along with their monthly income,” said Molinar. “Not the CD’s themselves, but the interest is added on to their monthly income,” she said.
Holden said that for the 32 family units it took them from seven to eight months to lease out. “It went very slowly, I thought they would be leased out faster,” said Holden. “But now, most of those are pretty stable and I think most are here to stay,” he said.
Holden said that Molinar has been making presentations and that they would like to keep it the same, but that they don’t want to go in to foreclosure, for not leasing out the remaining six units.
“Will there be a change in rent?” asked Ivy.
“No, it won’t affect any of the current tenants,” said Holden. “The main purpose is to lease out the remaining six units,” he said.
Ivy said that he felt the upstairs apartments were safer, because nobody could get in through a window. “They would have to use the elevator to get up there, so it would be better if all those were left for the seniors,” said Ivy.
“We can try to do that,” said Holden. “Crisha does her best to accommodate everyone,” he said.
“Right now, they’re kind of spread out, and there are two seniors on the bottom floor, because they are in walkers,” said Molinar. “But I can try to get a single person to be neighbors with the senior citizens,” she said.
Holden said that since Molinar lives in the complex, she will be available for any complaints. “She’ll make sure that they’re not too noisy and that they behave,” he said.
There will be Public Hearing on Nov. 13, at the State Board in Austin, a presentation to them and take it in to consideration, according to Holden.
For more information contact Crisha Molinar at 432-447-0096.
County’s early voting totals surpass 1,100 mark
Early voting figures in Reeves County matched the rest of the state in high turnout, with a total of 1,100 people casting their vote early, as of Thursday morning.
The 10-day early voting period began on Oct. 20 and ends on Friday at 5 p.m. for the Nov. 4 general election.
Voting this year is taking place at the Pecos Community Center, 510 S. Oak St., due to the overcrowding in the Reeves County Clerk’s office that has led to extra chairs and tables being placed in the front hallway of the Reeves County Courthouse.
State officials said Friday that turnout in Texas’ 15 largest counties already has surpassed the early voting totals for the last presidential election year, in 2004. Locally, all of the races on the ballot are uncontested, but Reeves County voters will still have three propositions that are bond of the county’s $17.1 million revenue bond proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot, along with the contested national, state and regional elections on this year’s ballot.
Democrat Barack Obama, Republican John McCain and Libertarian Bob Barr are the three candidates on this year’s presidential ballot for county voters. In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican John Cornyn is being challenged by Democrat Rick Noriega and Libertarian Yvonne Adams Schick, while in the race for 23rd District Representative, Democrat incumbent Ciro Rodriguez is challenged by Republican Lyle Larson and Libertarian Lari Connelly.
The other regional legislative race is for District 74 Representative, where incumbent Democrat Pete Gallego is being challenged by Republican Thomas Kincaid, Jr.
The uncontested local races all have candidates running on the Democratic Party line. They include sheriff Arnulfo Gomez; county attorney Alva Alvarez; county tax assessor-collector Rosemary Chabarria; county surveyor Tony Trujillo; Precinct 1 county commissioner Roy Alvarado; Precinct 3 county commissioner Saul Herrera; Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace (unexpired term) Grace Renteria; Constable, Precinct 1 Arutro Granado; Constable, Precinct 2 Jerry Matta; Constable, Precinct 3 Tomas Martinez, and Constable, Precinct 4 John Cole Armstrong. In addition, 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks and 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds also are unopposed in their re-election bids in the three-county district that also includes Ward and Loving counties.
Balog presents public affairs department program
Members of The Modern Study Club of Pecos met on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at The First Christian Church Fellowship Hall. President Margie Williamson presided over the meeting and led the club collect. The Pledges of Allegiance to the United States Flag of America Flag and the Texas Flag were led by Catherine Travland.
The thought-quote for the meeting was – “O this learning, what a thing it is” – Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew.
A Public Affairs Department Program was presented by Mike Balog, Community Service Officer with the Pecos Police Department. He briefly told of his commitment to the community and his involvement with organizing Pecos Police Academy, up-dating Crime Stoppers organizing Campus Crime Stoppers and the Youth Skate Park being built.
Officer Balog is currently involved with getting the Neighborhood Watch Program up and running again. He applied for and received a Homeland Security Grant that has paid for signs, printed material, window stickers and other items needed for the Neighborhood Watch Program. Now, all he needs are block captains and people willing to participate. He says this is a good way to get to know your neighbors better and have others watching your property while you are away from your home.
Anyone wishing to serve as a block captain may contact him for instructions.
Secretary Catherine Travland read the minutes for the previous meeting of September 10. Treasurer Betty Lee presented a report concerning club finances.
A Federation Report was given by Catherine Travland in the absence of Federation Chairman, Paula Fuller. She reported n the Jennie Award, GFWC’s highest honor. The award is named in honor of Jane Cunningham Croly, GFWC’s founder. Mrs. Croly wrote under the name of “Jennie June.” Nominations for this award should emphasize a member’s entire lifetime of service to club activities, participation in community groups and organizations, both volunteer and professional, and commitment to her nuclear or extended family. Clones of “Jennie June” were distributed to members to be carried whenever a trip or unusual occasion arises. Updates of “Jennie’s” great adventures are to be reported to The Texas Clubwoman along with a picture and brief letter describing your time together.
As a part of the Federation Report Mrs. Travland spoke about “Hats, Gloves, and Bags.” Hats, gloves and bags are still part of our tradition. All GFWC clubs are encouraged to embrace the traditions of our founders as well as the trailblazing attitudes that set them apart, in their time and even today. Clubs are encouraged to reinterpret and reinvent their Hats, Gloves and Bags story to fit them and their values of today.
Members were encouraged to fill out their registration form and attend the 49th Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Western District Fall Board meeting slated Oct. 11 in Odessa.
President Williamson called to member’s attention two bake sales we will be having this club year on Oct. 31 and April 3, 2009.
Catherine Travland reported on the TFWC Fall Board Meeting she attended Sept. 18-20, in Austin.
Since Modern Study Club has been named as fundraiser for Western District for 2008-2009 several ways to make money were discussed. No decisions were made.
Roll call was answered by members as they respond to the question, “What interested you about the Neighborhood Watch Program?”
The project for this bi-monthly meeting was to sponsor the Reeves County Fair Youth Art Show by judging, hanging and taking down the entries.
Hostesses Etta Bradley and Pearl Gustafson served delicious refreshments to club members and three guests.
Lions to take over Thanksgiving dinner tradition
Concerned citizens will make sure that those that don’t have anywhere to spend Thanksgiving Day will have a good meal, a year after a longtime holiday effort had to be cancelled due to a shortage of workers.
Members of the Pecos Downtown Lions Club agreed on Wednesday to take over the task of providing a Thanksgiving Meal for those that won’t otherwise enjoy one. It was an effort started and maintained for many years by the Pecos Christian Home, but changes there in recent years resulted in the usual effort being cancelled last November.
“We wanted to go ahead and have the meal, since it was canceled last year,” said Lions Club member Sulema Ulate, who was asking for some help from the members.
“Alfredo’s will be donating the turkeys and the green beans, but we still need desserts and volunteers,” said Ulate.
The Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 27, at the Reeves County Civic Center.
“We also need cornbread, if anybody wants to make some cornbread and bring it to me, during the Thanksgiving week,” said Ulate.
During their regular meeting held Wednesday, two teachers from Crockett Junior High School were on hand to make a donation to the worthy cause.
Junior high coach Art Rios and teacher Lucy Lara handed the Ulate a check to help with expenses for the dinner.
“I have a great group of kids that do fundraisers and then we donate the money to worthy organizations and causes,” said Rios. “The group’s name is the ‘Giving Kids of Pecos,’ and it’s just a group of middle school kids.”
Rios told the group that they have donated and helped with Christmas for Kids, donated pies for the dinner one year and also donated to the Toys for Tots organization.
“We also helped out the local food bank,” said Rios.
He said that the students held a car wash to raise funds for the food bank and made about $2,000.
“They washed about 114 cars in one day,” said Rios. “They also help Meals on Wheels.”
“They just want to give back to the community. These kids are kind and generous because of the parents, they should be as proud of them as I am,” he said.
Ulate said that she would be on hand early on Thanksgiving morning and if anybody wants to volunteer they can join her at the civic center. “Or if they just want to come by at 11 a.m. when we start serving and help, we appreciate all the help and donations,” she said.
If anybody would like to donate an item they can go to 412 S. Alberta St. or call 445-6136 or 940-5971.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2003-04 by Pecos Enterprise