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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cyclist revisits Pecos stop on 1970 world tour

A man from Japan, who had visited Pecos in 1970, was back in town and returned some items that were given to him at the time. Motomitsu “Moto” Ikemoto, was just 23 years old when he made his trek through town 37 years ago.

At that time, the Japanese journalist-photographer was spending a few years pedaling his way around the world. His aim was to promote friendship and peace among nations.

This time around, Ikemoto, only had 45 days to tour the U.S. and visit old friends.

“My boss, he let me have a long vacation, 45 days and I wanted to come visit my old friends that I made here all those years ago,” said Ikemoto, who spent this trip to Pecos at the Laura Lodge on East Third Street.

He left his hometown in Japan on Aug. 1, 1968 and traveled to the Far East, Canada and most of the United States. At that time, he was on a seven-year-tour of the world.

“For the past seven years I wasn’t allowed to visit the U.S., but now that I can, I wanted to come back and visit old friends,” said Ikemoto.

The Japanese-made 15-speed bicycle he is traveling on is equipped with twin headlights, a thermometer, a speedometer, a mileage recorder and special luggage fittings. Besides all of this, there is stowed away 100 pounds of gear, including tent, sleeping bag and ground sheet, camera, diary, a scrapbook, bulging with newspaper clippings and a minimum of clothes.

“Everything is so different this time around, there are so many more highways, they are wider, but everything is nicer also, here in Texas,” said Ikemoto.

In 1970, the Chief of Police at the time, Gene Martin, presented Ikemoto with an official police badge and hat.

This time, he came to return the items and received several others in return.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Dick Alligood presented Ikemoto with an official Key to the City; city manager Joseph Torres, gave Ikemoto a Town of Pecos City jacket and Chief of Police Clay McKinney awarded him a new badge, to take back home to Osaka, Japan.

Ikemoto travels about 40 miles each day and his final U.S. destination is Los Angeles, where he will board a plane and fly back to Japan.

“When I was here a long time ago, I met and stayed with Bill Allen and his family,” said Ikemoto. “And in Sweetwater, I have friends also, I was so happy to see them again, I will always consider them my friends.”

Ikemoto said that everyone has been really friendly to him and that he loves the United States.

Back home waiting for him is his wife, Yuakari and his son, Gou.

“I also have friends in Mexico,” said Ikemoto.

“It’s been great being back in the United States and even though, I said it would be my last trip back here, it may not,” said Ikemoto.

Alarm bells ring in new year, land man in jail for burglary

A Pecos man was arrested on Friday by police, in connection with a New Year’s Day burglary of a local department store.

Tomas Marquez, 40, 300 N. Hackberry St., was arrested in connection with the early morning burglary just after the start of the new year. Police said at approximately 3:07 a.m. on Jan. 1, officers responded to an alarm activation at the Beall’s Department Store, 910 S. Eddy St.

Upon arriving at the scene, the officers observed that the glass to one of the store’s front door had been broken out by a person or persons unknown.

The officers then contacted the criminal investigation division and Police Lt. Paul Deishler responded to the crime scene.

“It appeared that the glass to the door had been broken out with a hammer which was found inside the store laying on the floor adjacent to the point of entry,” said Deishler.

After the crime scene was processed, officers viewed the store surveillance camera and it was determined that one male subject had entered the store, according to Deishler.

A description of the male was provided to the patrol division officers, and at approximately 6:36 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 2, officer Robert Overcash observed a male subject at the intersection of Sixth and Sycamore Streets, that fit the description of the possible suspect.

“After conducting an interview with the suspect it was determined that the male subject was involved in the burglary of Beall’s,” said Deishler.

Officers were also able to recover the property that was removed from the store,” said Deishler.

Marquez was arrested on a warrant on Jan. 4, at approximately 5:15 a.m. and charged with the offense of Burglary of a Building, a State Jail Felony, which was issued out of Municipal Court. He was then transported to the criminal justice center and released to the jail staff.

Lara say first novel carries personal religious theme

Timothy Lara based his first novel, “Born of God.” on his own experiences, but took it in different directions as he developed the plot. He believes the story of a young Christian man and his pursuit of the girl he loves parallels God’s pursuit of his own heart. “I just felt inspired,” Lara says of his entry into the world of publishing. “I wasn’t sure at first.”

Although he majored in English, Lara said most of his work was technical, “mostly research stuff. I wasn’t sure I could write a book. I just started doing it.”

He spent about a year putting words to paper and marketing the book to publishers. He got lots of rejection slips before “Publish America” accepted the manuscript.

Now he is marketing it to readers by word of mouth, news articles and television appearances. Lara will be on KOSA-TV’s Noon program on Monday, Jan. 14.

“I have gotten a lot closer to God through the experience, looking for guidance in trying to promote it,” he said.

Lara, who was born and raised in Pecos, uses a lot of slang Spanish in the book. “I wanted to get people asking questions about what it means,” he said. “I wanted to see how far God would take it with the Spanish. I wanted to show the switch from English that we in Pecos make in everyday conversation.”

He has had good response from the Spanish-speaking community, Lara said.

While promoting his novel, Lara is working on a screenplay, which is in the research stage. “I have the characters down and am working on the format,” he said. “I am not familiar with camera angles, so am learning that.”

He believes the movie will reach more people than the written word.

Council eyes bids for land, new projects

Town of Pecos City Council will discuss several construction related items on Thursday, including plans for the city’s new wastewater treatment plant and a new apartment complex, during their first regular meeting of 2008, set for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at City Hall.

The council will discuss advertising for engineering services for constructing the new wastewater treatment plant, which is part of an ongoing to effort to expand, repair and upgrade the city’s aging sewer and sewage treatment system. They will also advertise for a financial advisor on the project, which is being funded through the Texas Water Development Board.

The $5 million apartment complex would be on land in the 700 and 800 blocks of West Washington and Adams streets originally designed for 20 single-family homes. The council will consider a bid from Dimension Enterprises LLC, which was the lone bidder for the site during a special meeting of the council on Dec. 31.

Dimension is also looking at buying the one house on the two-block lot, owned by Israel and Janet Natividad. It was built in late 2003 and was supposed to be the first of 20 single-family homes built under the project, on which the city took out a $400,000 grant from the Office of Rural and Community Affairs. But no other homes were ever built, and last year the city council approved a repayment schedule for the remaining $367,342.91 of the grant, after being granted two extensions on the repayment by ORCA.

In 2006 local investor Ram Kunwar made the city an offer for the land with the intention of building houses on it. But, the city repossessed the land when construction did not begin in accordance with the agreement. Kunwar is a vice-president in the new company, which is headed up by Rahat Saied.

Under their proposal, Dimension would take over the city’s repayment schedule to OCRA, paying $15,000 at signing, $55,000 in 2008, $80,000 in 2009, $100,000 in 2010 and $117,343.91 in 2011. The first payment would go to the city, which paid ORCA $15,000 in October under terms of the agreement.

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.

If accepted the city would build the sidewalks and curbs with city employees and equipment but Dimension would pay for the materials.

Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood said the city, Dimension and the Natividads plan to discuss a sale price for the home. “They said they would be interested in relocating to a bigger home, but it would depend on what they would be willing to sell it for,” he said.

Alligood said if Dimension were to buy the home, it might be used as either the apartment complex manager’s office or as a maintenance area.

Council members will also discuss the installation of stop signs in the area of the complex, along with several surrounding intersections.

The council will also look at sale of land on the south side of Interstate 20 and Highway 17, which Torres said at the council’s Dec. 28 meeting had attracted two bidders, along with another tract of land nearby, which is the site of a proposed motel. They will also consider annexation of land along U.S. 285 as the site of a proposed motel, along with bids for the former F.W. Woolworth Building at Third and Oak streets, which has been unoccupied since 1989.

Other agenda items include a discussion on the demolition of dangerous buildings, an interlocal agreement on EMS services between the city and the Reeves County Hospital District, a discussion of requirements for building permits.

Board to meet with candidates for PEDC post

Pecos Economic Development Corp. board members will interview four candidates for the position of executive director of the new 4B corporation, during a special meeting Wednesday evening at City Hall.

Two of the candidates are local and two are from out-of-town, according to board member and interim executive director Joseph Torres. The board held an executive session at noon on Thursday at City Hall, and then agreed to hold interviews with the four candidates, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The four to be interviewed are Ken Winkles Jr., Martin Arreguy, Brad Newton and Loretta Garcia. Torres said on Monday all four have been confirmed for interviews.

“In the first round we will meet with the candidates, and then we will probably cut it down to two, if two are acceptable,” Torres said. “If we can’t cut it down, then we will post it again.”

However, he added he doubted the PEDC board would have to go past this round of candidates.

“I think we have four very strong candidates from which the board will be able to make a decision,” he said.

Winkles is a longtime Pecos resident whose family has run Winkles Trucking and M&W Hot Oil. He currently is the owner of Winkles, Inc. Arreguy has served for the past two years as the Town of Pecos City’s director of street maintenance and clean up, and has just taken over as the city’s Main Street Coordinator, replacing Tom Rivera.

Newton is the assistant city manager and director of city services for Fort Stockton and is a former Pecos River compact commissioner, while Garcia serves as business development specialist for the Big Bend Regional Small/Minority Business Development Center at Sul Ross State Universality in Alpine.

Torres has been serving as interim executive director since early October, following the resignation of Mike Burkholder from the post. Burkholder had been the executive director of the 4A Pecos Economic Development Corp. for the previous 2 1/2 years, but local voters in May agreed to replace the 4A PEDC with a 4B corporation, which is allowed to spent money on a wider range of projects, including tourism and local business expansion/retention.

Burkholder agreed to serve as the interim 4B executive director when it began operations in October, but resigned four days later in an e-mail to Torres.

Torres said any decision by the PEDC 4B board on a new executive director would then have to be approved by the Pecos City Council. The item is on this Thursday’s council agenda, though Torres said a final decision may not be ready if the PEDC board requests a second round of interviews.

Police Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Hayden Ray Dominguez, 21, 2211 Country Club Dr., Abran Sandoval Jr., 18, 318 E. Seventh St., and Jeremy Petty, 17, 616 S. Eddy St., were arrested by police on Jan. 4 on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. Police chief Clay McKinney said the three threatened a man at knifepoint at 6:35 p.m. at 602 S. Cypress St. Officers were notified by phone at the time of the incident, and arrived at the site and placed the three under arrest on the charge, while Dominguez was also charged on a warrant for failure to pay a fine on a previous charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. All three were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Clifton Ray Ikeler, 27, 2600 Country Club Dr., Apt. 108, was arrested by police on Jan. 4 on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), a State Jail Felony. Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop in the 300 block of West Fourth Street, when cocaine was discovered inside the vehicle. Ikeler was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jesus Rodriguez Armendariz, 29, 2329 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on Jan. 2 on warrants charging him with failure to pay fines on previous charges of having an open alcohol container, failure to maintain financial responsibility and assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made in the 300 block of East fifth Street and Armendariz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Javier Ramirez, 56, 330 W. 13th St., was arrested by police on Jan. 4 in the 900 block of South Cedar Street on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 6:11 p.m., and Ramirez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Javier Torres Florez, 40, 205 W. Fourth St., was arrested by police on Jan. 4 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 4:01 p.m. in the 1200 block of East Fifth Street, and Florez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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