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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sites selected as Christmas lights winners

A house decorated with lights and others items, including inflated Frosty and Santa Claus models, was the grand winner of the Christmas Lighting/Decorated Contest sponsored by the Women’s Division of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce.

The contest was held Tuesday, Dec. 16 and the city was divided into several sections, winners selected from the various sections and one home chosen as the Grand Winner. The group also chose Block Winners and a Business Winner.

The home of Israel and Janet Natividad, 1200 Johnson St., was chosen as the Grand Winner. The home is in Section 5 of the city. That section included homes located east of Eddy Street, south of Walthall, west of Cedar and north of Interstate 20,

All runner-ups received a $20 Pecos Bucks Certificate, while the Grand Winner received a $100 Pecos Bucks Certificate.

In Section 1: the north side of town, runner-up was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mario Dominguez, 408 N. Willow St.

The Section 2 Winner was Carlos and Ma. Luz Munoz, 414 Mulberry St. The section included, east of Cedar Street, south of Eighth Street, west of Martinez Street and north of I-20.

In Section 3: east of Cedar Street, south of Second Street, west of Cedar Street and north of Walthall, the winners were Albert and Annette Mendoza, 1116 S. Hickory St.

Section 6: west of Eddy Street, south of Second Street, north of Jackson/Elizabeth and Madison and east of Highway 17, the winner was Chris and Lanette Portillo, 2015 Jackson Blvd.

Section 7: west of Eddy Street, north of Veterans Boulevard, south of Jackson Street/Elizabeth and Madison and east of Highway 17, Salomon Quintana, 1722 S. Park St.

Section 8: west of Eddy Street, south of Veterans Boulevard, east of Highway 17 and all of Maxey Park, Lloyd and Lori Hughes, 2231 Wyoming St.

Section 9: Lindsay Addition, Uriel and Eva Gardea, 2398 Sandia Rd.

The Block Winner was the2200 block of Wyoming and the Business Winner was Rita’s Flowers and Cakes.

Martinez helps keep Christian Home going

Maria Martinez grew up in a large family, so taking care of large numbers of people through the Christian Home is nothing new for her.

“I love them all,” she said.

Martinez was shopping for a toy for her granddaughter, Alexis, about five years ago, when she entered the Christian Home’s small store of used goods donated by the community. “Mark (Polson, then director for the Christian Home) looked at me and said, ‘Do you like to help us?’

“I said sure, I could volunteer for two days a week. I loved to volunteer. I had just been laid off from Anchor. I didn’t feel very good at home not doing anything.”

She had volunteered in the schools from the time her youngest son was in kindergarten. When he got to 5th grade, he said, “Mom, I am big now; that’s enough,” she said.

Martinez has four sisters and three brothers, all living in Pecos, and they see each other just about every day.

“We usually go to the home of the oldest one, Victoria Renteria,” she said. “We practically see her as our second mom. She helped raise us. That’s where we go with our problems. She’s been sick, so I usually go on my lunch breaks every day to see how she’s doing.”

She also has five grandchildren who live in Pecos; three in Odessa and two in Houston.

“I don’t have time for hobbies,” she said. “We try to keep the home very nice. It is my main priority.”

Martinez is waiting for her husband, Joe, to retire from the Reeves County Detention Center so he can help her full time. He already spends much of his spare time fixing things around the Christian Home, mowing the yard and picking up donations from the drop box.

“I work at the Home every day. My kids complain that I am always there,” she said. “But they are a great support.”

Besides providing lodging for transients, the Home has expanded to house families coming from out-of-town to visit relatives in the RCDC as well as women and children temporarily down on their luck.

Because women sleep on the premises, men are housed overnight in a local motel where arrangements have been made to pay by the month. Sometimes when an elderly couple doesn’t want to be separated, they are allowed to stay in one of the three dorm rooms.

Most of the families visiting prisoners come from Mexico, and Martinez interprets for Kenneth Winkles, who provides transportation to and from the bus station and to and from the prison.

However, a Cuban family consisting of four adults and two babies recently came from Florida, Martinez said. “They stayed here four days. They are beautiful people. They’ll be back.”

Martinez said she enjoyed working with Polson and another woman who operated the store, but “All of a sudden they were gone, and they were planning to close the Home. I said, ‘Oh Father, they can’t do that. Pretty soon I took over everything. I thank the Lord for the strength and love he gives us.”

Nice. clean clothing hangs on racks in the store, along with shoes, belts, purses, knick-knacks, child car seats, Christmas ornaments and furniture donated by people in the community.

”Our prices are not high,” Martinez said.

Lodging and food are provided free of charge, she said. And sometimes clothing and furnishings are provided free to those in need.

“The day that I don’t come here for some reason, I will feel sad,” said Martinez. “I thank the Lord for allowing me to see things I have never seen. Some don’t even have tennis shoes.”

The Lord provides for them all, the said.

Pair arrested by police on sex assault charges

Two persons were arrested by Pecos police on Thursday on warrants charging them with aggravated sexual assault, following an incident that occurred in late November.

Johnny G. Rubio, 37, 2320 Sage St., Apt. B, and Rubin Rubio, 33, 1214 E. Fourth St., were both arrested on Thursday after being served warrants at their homes on the sex assault charges, which are a first degree felony.

“It was reported to us on Nov. 29,” said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney, who said he could only release a limited amount of information on the case, in order to protect the victim. He did say he believed the charges against both Rubios involved the same victim.

“We collected DNA and we are continuing our investigation,” the police chief said. He added that as of now, there are no other suspects in connection with the incident.

Council tentatively approves hotel/motel tax merging plan

Town of Pecos City Council members voted to give their tentative support to a plan to create a Pecos Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at a remodeled Reeves County Civic Center, which would allow combination of the city’s two hotel/motel taxes to help pay for improvements there and to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

The council approved the action following a presentation by Joe Keese, President of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee and a member of the committee that helps allocate the city’s hotel/motel bed tax funds. The funds current are divided between the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, its advertising committee, the West of the Pecos Museum and the Pecos Main Street program.

Under the plan, the Main Street Program director would be placed in charge of a new Pecos Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which would oversee the current Civic Center and be in charge of funding maintenance and operations. The building would be expanded and converted into the Reeves County Convention Center, and funds from the new city/county venue tax would then be dedicated to the improvements there and at the rodeo arena.

Keese said the plan, which the council has discussed once before, was still a work in progress. “There are still some issues we need to cover and we need to discuss,” he said, while noting that the deadline is approaching for the city/county venue tax authority board to designed a project to use funds from the 2 percent hotel/motel tax, which began being collected at the start of this year.

A new committee would oversee the revised bed tax funds usage, and mayor Dick Alligood said he was concerned that the change would affect the contract the city is under with the current bed tax committee.

“That’s not exclusive, if all parties agree it can be done,” said city attorney Scott Johnson, and Keese said the new committee would operate under the current bed tax committee. Councilman Frank Sanchez later recommended that Alligood and councilman Danny Rodriguez, who is also president of the Pecos Economic Development Corp. board, be named as city representatives to the new committee.

Keese has made the presentation to several local groups and governmental organizations over the past two months, including to the PEDC board, which gave tentative approval to the plan during their Dec. 15 meeting.

“If we do anything tonight, we should do what the PEDC did, and approve it in principal. But it needs some work,” Johnson said.

In other action, the council approved moving grant funds received by the city for sewer and wastewater treatment plan work to the state’s TexPool fund, on the recommendation of the city’s financial consultant Larry Skiles. He explained that the money currently is in the Bank of New York, but that they do not have the type of trust operation the city needs for the $6.87 million in grant funds.

“That money is not actually yours to spend right now,” Skiles said. He explained the funds are placed in a trust account by the state, and the city draws funds out as the construction project to replace the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant proceeds.

Council members took no action on offers from several power companies to be Pecos’ electric provider. The council opted to table any action until their first meeting in January because several of the bids were sent in only a few hours before Thursday’s meeting, and they wanted time to review the legal statements on exceptions to the kilowatt/hour rates being offered by the companies.

Sanchez abstained on that item, due to his past work for T-NMP and the pension he receives from the company, and council members also re-voted their approval of $20,000 to fund the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department. The council approved the funds during their Dec. 4, meeting but re-voted, with Rodriguez abstaining because he is employed by the department as an off-season workouts coach.

Sanchez also noted that the story in the Dec. 9 Enterprise was incorrect in listing the contributions from the various local governing bodies that run the recreation department.

Reeves County pays $31,500 annually, the Reeves County Detention Center contributes $113,500 and the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD contributes the facilities used for most of the recreation department’s indoor activities.

City modifies insurance plan to regain cash

Town of Pecos City’s health plan administrator gave city council members advise on both recovering payouts from the city’s insurance plan, and on avoiding legal action on a traffic issue, during the council’s regular meeting this past Thursday in City Hall.

Rick Holder, owner of RH Administrators of Lubbock, recommended the city retain a Georgia-based attorney to recover any payouts through the city’s insurance plan, if the person receiving the payments later receives a third-party payment through outside legal action.

He said under subrogation, if a worker wins a lawsuit against a third-party, the city and insurance company has the right to seek repayment of funds paid out to that employee.

“I settle 99 percent of the claims, but if the situation comes up, we have someone if we need to,” Holder said, in recommending the city retain attorney Brian Davenport to handle those cases. He said Davenport would receive 10 percent of any claims recovered, but would only be paid after the recovery.

“Ten percent is a good number,” said city attorney Scott Johnson, and council members than approved retaining Davenport.

Holder said the city’s claim numbers are continuing to look good, which cut result in another cut in Pecos’ health insurance premium next year.

“The plan worked very well for last year. That’s why it (payments) went down $50,000,” he said. Holder added that the current 2008-09 fiscal year decline comes despite the city increasing benefits for workers starting in October.

In other action, the council approved going ahead with a joint effort with Reeves County to repair a section of road near the intersection of Hickory and ‘F’ streets, at the request of Precinct 4 Commissioner Ramiro Guerra. Rodriguez said Guerra was not able to attend the meeting, but was seeking the city’s help because part of both Hickory and ‘F’ streets fall inside and outside of the city limits.

“He was looking to working with the city kind of like the venture we’ve got on Lincoln Street,” Rodriguez said, referring to the road improvement project scheduled there in 2009. City public works director Edgardo Madrid noted that both the city and county have either equipment or manpower that the other lacks in attempting the street repair project.

“I guess we’re both trying not to duplicate services and use each other’s resources,” said county judge Sam Contreras, who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

“We do need to look at budgeting,” Alligood said, before the council voted to have Johnson draw up an interlocal agreement the council can consider in January, after budgeting concerns have been addressed.

Another issue involving city streets was a request for speed bumps to be placed at the three-way intersection of Jackson and Missouri streets, next to the Pecos High School field house. The request was made by Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD athletic direction Chris Henson, who also lives on the corner of the intersection. Henson said drivers failing to stop at the intersection threaten both his family and students from Crockett Junior High who walk the three blocks along Missouri from Crockett to the field house and Eagle Stadium. “I think it’s a long time coming,” said councilman Frank Sanchez. “Councilman Rodriguez, when he was (Pecos High School) principal had some concerns.”

“This will be very beneficial for the students,” said councilwoman Bernadette Lopez, who is also coach of the high school tennis team and said her players have problems with the traffic at the intersection.

Councilman Cody West suggested that big speed bumps be put in at the intersection, but were advised against it by Holder.

“Lubbock did that. They put some big ones in that damaged the underside of some of the smaller cars and got sued,” he said. Council members ended up asking Madrid to put in smaller speed bumps, similar to those at the nearby intersection of Elizabeth and Iowa streets.

“I think signs and minimal speed bumps will take care of it,” Johnson said.

The council also agreed to buy a new transport van for the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. They voted to buy the 3/4-ton, 12-passenger vehicle from Colt Chevrolet, at a cost of $27,500. Police Chief Clay McKinney said Colt was one of two bidders on the vehicle, which will be used for out-of-town transfers, while the current 2002 model van will be retained for in-town trips.

“Colt Chevrolet is slightly higher than the other bid, but I’ll recommend approving the bid from Colt, because they’re local,” Sanchez said.

A Bobcat skid-steer loader was also approved for purchase. City fire marshal and building inspector Jack Brookshire said the $27,038 piece of equipment could be purchased through the state, and would help with city clean-up efforts.

The council also approved a recommendation by new city finance director Ysidro Renteria to lease a black and white copier from Xerox, at $428 a month for a 36-month lease. He said the option was better than the offer provided by Danka on a Konika copier.

The city currently has a copier lease with Danka that was for $524 a month for 36 months. Alligood said the city has had problems with the current machine, to the point they’ve had problems getting billing out to residents on time.

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Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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