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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 4, 2008

Information sought by police into downtown store burglary

Pecos Police are investigating a weekend break-in at a downtown store in which an estimated $5,000 in merchandise was reported stolen.

Police said the break-in took place at Needleworks, sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. Officers were called to the boutique at 9:19 a.m. in reference to a possible criminal mischief, and discovered the store had been broken into and a number of items and the cash register were missing.

Police investigator Kelly Davis said rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, belts, shoes, purses and assorted clothing were among the items taken by the burglars. “That’s a lot of stuff,” Davis said. “If anybody tries to sell those items, people should call the police department.”

Store owner Peggy Walker said the total cost of the items taken was in the $5,000 range.

“I feel like it was somebody who knew the layout of the store and had been here before, because they knew what they were coming after,” Walker said.

She added that she had returned from Dallas Sunday night, and was at the store to pick up her mail about 9 p.m. and nothing was missing at that time. Walker said the burglars also tried to get into a back room area, but were unsuccessful.

“Entry was gained by breaking out the side door window,” Davis said. He added that, “Right now we have no leads on who did this, but Crimestoppers is offering a reward.” Walker said she has replaced the broken window on the door with stronger glass, and has installed a security system following the burglary.

If anyone has any information about the break-in, call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or leave a Secure Web-Tip on the website at HYPERLINK ""

As always, individuals with any information will remain anonymous and the tips provided could be worth a cash reward. There is no caller I.D. on this line and the officers thank everyone for their help in keeping our town safe.

Police investigating April Fool’s shooting report

Pecos Police didn’t find anything funny in getting involved in an April Fool’s joke, and are considering filing charges over the false report of a shooting they received Tuesday night. Police said they were called to the 2000 block of Scott Street at 11 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving a report that a man had been shot twice at the scene. Pecos EMS personnel were also called out, only to discover no shooting victim in the area.

“The individual had called his sister and reported he had been shot and was bleeding and needed help,” said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney. “His sister called the police, and that’s when we responded to the report.

“After all the officers got them we found out he had not been shot in any way and was playing an April Fool’s prank on his sister,” McKinney said.

He said officers were still taking statements in connection with the false report and would then decide whether or not to press charges on the individual.

PHS students chosen by state for random steroid tests

Thursday morning was a little different for 30 Pecos High School students, who were chosen at random to undergo steroid testing, as part of a state-mandated program to test high school athletes for steroid use.

Testing began on Texas high school students in March, and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials were informed earlier this week that the school had been chosen for testing by Kansas City-based Drug Free Sport.

“The sent us a notice we had been randomly selected,” said school superintendent Manny Espino. “They said they wanted to get as many school districts as possible done by the end of spring.”

About 30 percent of school districts are Texas are scheduled to have students tested during the current school year and in the 2008-09 school year. According to the University Interscholastic League, between 40,000 and 50,000 student athletes will be tested for anabolic steroid use between now and May of 2009.

Assistant superintendent Ray Villarreal was contacted initially about P-B-T’s selection for the testing, and then informed other school officials, including P-B-T athletic director Chris Henson. Students weren’t told about the testing until they arrived at school on Thursday.

The Drug Free Sport officials conducting the tests are from El Paso. “All they told us was they would be here early this morning,” Espino said. “They gave us a list of students, and we called them out of class. They had to show an ID, and then they had to go through the process of getting a sample.”

Schools that are selected are asked to provide Drug Free Sport with a list of all high school student athletes, and the company then generates a random list of students to be tested.

Espino said of the 30 who were selected, four or five did not show up after their names were called. “We went to check and see if they didn’t hear the announcement, and after we knew they were absent alternates were selected for the testing.”

Espino said those not at school would not face a steroid test when the returned, but any of the 30 who do test positive for steroids would then have 48 hours to submit an explanation for the positive test, such as a steroid medication being taken under a doctor’s prescription, or face suspension from participating in athletics.

“One of the kids asked about prescription drugs. They said if someone was taking a prescription drug, it shouldn’t show up on the testing,” Espino said.

Officials with Drug Free Sport who were in Pecos for Thursday’s testing declined to be interviewed, referring questions to UIL media director Kim Rogers. She said the company would re-test any sample that does come back positive for steroids.

“If they come out with a positive test, that means it’s been tested twice,” she said.

Rogers said test results should be completed within seven to 10 days, and anyone failing the test faces a suspension of 30 school days from UIL athletics.

“That’s essentially a six-week suspension,” she said, adding that the suspension is within the athlete’s sport calendar year, so that students in Grades 9-11 participating in a fall sport like football or volleyball wouldn’t see their suspension begin until the start of the next school year.

The steroid testing program was mandated under Senate Bill 8, Espino said. The bill, passed by the Texas Legislature last year, requires random testing of both male and female high school students in Grades 9-12 participating in UIL athletics for steroid use.

The original plan was to have the testing ready to begin during the 2007 high school football season, but delays in drawing up the testing plan forced the program to be put on hold until March.

“We’ll probably do more than half next year, but we’re going to try and test as many people as possible this season,” Rogers said.

Council switches bid award for ambulances

A new ambulance and a new chassis for an existing one will cost about $5,800 more than planned, Town of Pecos City Council members were told on Wednesday, after the company the council originally awarded the bid to for the new equipment failed to fulfill their contract agreement.

Council members rescinded a contract awarded last month to Reliable Emergency Vehicles for a 2008 Type II ambulance, and for a new chassis for a Type III transfer ambulance originally purchased by Reeves County Hospital. Pecos EMS took over transfer services from the hospital last week, under an agreement between the city, Reeves County and the hospital district to convert Pecos EMS into a full-time paid service.

The new equipment was part of the agreement and in mid-March, the council approved a bid of $58,734 by Reliable for the Type II ambulance, along with bid of $81,046 to remount the body of one of the hospital’s Type III ambulances.

EMS Chief Dennis Thorp, who recommended the council go with Reliable last month, told members on Wednesday, “Since that time we have met with some difficulty with Reliable.” He said the company’s owner, Glenn Pratt, had talked to him and city manager Joseph Torres about problems Reliable was having problems meeting the terms of the deal.

“I could tell he was trying to up the price on the ambulance with us,” Thorp said. He said Pratt told him the cost of an additional air-conditioner for the vehicle was part of the problem. “No one in this room has more egg on their face than me, because I gave you that recommendation,” Thorp said.

Reliable’s bid was one of four the city received, and was $2,000 higher on the Type II ambulance than the lowest bid, by Taylor-Made Vehicles. Thorp last month asked the council go with Reliable, because the vehicle they were offering was better quality and their bid had better financing along with a trade-in offer On Wednesday, he again asked the council to go with a higher bid, this one by LoneStar Emergency Vehicles.

“They can not only deliver the (chassis) truck to us, but they have a Type II ready to go,” he said.

He said the Type II ambulance would cost $60,000, while the new chassis would cost $85,670 for a total cost of $145,670. However, city finance director John Phillip said a cut in interest rates to 3.5 percent since the original big was approved should narrow the $5,800 difference in cost between the bids.

Thorp said other cities and EMS services have had problems with Taylor-Made and told the council some services have excluded them from bidding due to previous difficulties.

“We made additional calls to validate that they (LoneStar) can provide the service,” Torres said. “We did not want to go low bid. We did not want to go high bid. We wanted to make sure the bid we submitted had been speced out.”

Council members then unanimously approved awarding the bid to LoneStar at the $145,670 cost.

New groups plan displays for hospital’s Health Fair

A number of new exhibitors and services provided will be additions at this year’s 19th Annual Reeves County Health Fair, scheduled for Saturday at the Reeves County Hospital. “We are very excited about this year’s health fair,” said one of the organizers for the event, Nancy Martinez.

She said that this year’s theme is, “Lighting the Olympic Torch for better health.”

The theme was selected because this is the year of the Olympics.

“We want to encourage people to seek preventative health services,” said Martinez.

“Hopefully by saying lighting the Olympic torch, we will encourage people to seek preventative health services.”

“It’s really exciting to see the health fair develop each year and new booths have been added and new services provided,” said Martinez.

One of the new booth that will join the health fair this year is the Department of Health Services – Zoonosis Control.

“They will provide information on rabies and are glad to bring them in because of the high incidents of rabies exposure in the area,” said Martinez.

Aphasia Center of West Texas is another new booth that will be at the hospital on Saturday.

“A lot of people are not familiar with it, they assist people who have difficulty speaking due to a stroke or other illness,” said Martinez. “They will provide information on the many services available in this area,” she said.

The Reeves County Hospital will be offering the blood work package, which has been very popular throughout the years.

“Normally this blood work package would cost $600 and for this one day only it will be available for $25,” said Martinez. “The results will go directly to the patient.”

A demonstration will be provided by the American Medical Equipment.

“The demonstration will be on sleep apnea patients and a mannequin will be used to demonstrate the proper use of CPAP and PIPP,” said Martinez.

Volunteers will be available to discuss how to obtain the equipment, according to Martinez.

“We hope the community will be able to come out and view the two helicopters which will be on hand, one from Southwest Med Evac and Care Star out of Odessa,” said Martinez.

Scoliosis screening will be available for both children and adults by the hospital physical therapy department.

“We have not had this before and encourage everyone that can to come out and take the screening, which is a painless simple test, which will detect whether you or your child suffer from scoliosis,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that they are also very excited that Odessa Medical Center Hospital will be participating this year, and have several booths at the health fair.

“They will be talking about bariatric, stroke and the many women’s services that they offer,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that they encourage everyone that will be taking the blood test to fast and it will only be available until 11 a.m. “The PSA’s will be available until noon,” she said.

The day will get started with the wonderful pancake breakfast provided by the Lion’s Club and which is free of charge.

“A barbecue lunch, sponsored by the hospital dietary department, will be available for $5,” said Martinez. “We encourage everyone to attend, there will be a little something for everyone.

Pre-registration for those who plan to purchase the blood work package will be held from 3-6 p.m., at the Reeves County Hospital Lobby on Friday.

“It’s not necessary to pre-register, but it can expedite the process through the line in the morning,” said Martinez.

Saldana, Hernandez announce May wedding plans

Daniel C. Hernandez of Odessa and Ninfa (Montoya) and Richard Alligood of Pecos, announce the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Vanessa Hernandez to Robbie Saldana.

The bride-elect graduated from Pecos High School in 2002 and is currently employed with Turner Eye Clinic in Odessa.

The groom-to-be is the son of Alfredo and Monica Saldana of Odessa and Patsy and Francisco Calderon of Odessa. He is currently employed with Blakely Construction in Odessa.

The couple plan to marry on May 3, at the Saragosa Hall in Pecos.

Board to view second round of project bids

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members were to meet during a special meeting on Thursday evening, to consider and take possible action to accept contract proposals for additions at Crockett Middle School, Bessie Haynes Elementary, CATE and the concession buildings.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held two weeks ago at the Crockett campus in anticipation of the construction that will take place there soon. But the initial bids on the projects received by the school district came in well above budget.

All the campuses will undergo renovations and additions, due to a $30 million bond that was approved last year.

The group was also going to discuss the approval of purchase order for over $25,000 to purchase Study Buddy Handheld units.

New rabies case in Reeves County confirmed

Another rabies case has been confirmed in Reeves County, which sent five people to the hospital seeking medical help in late February.

“The people who called it in weren’t sure of the date that it occurred, but it was at the end of February,” said Reeves County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Herrera.

The incident occurred at a home located about 20 miles south of Pecos on U.S. 285, at about 2 a.m.

“The people who live there have two young pups and they were attacked in the middle of the night by wild animals,” said Herrera.

He said that one of the pups suffered severe injuries and became really ill. “The family took him to the veterinarian in Fort Stockton, after a few days, because he was just getting worse,” said Herrera.

The veterinarian conducted a rabies test, which came back positive and the family then contacted Herrera.

“After my investigation, we found out that even though the dog hadn’t bit anyone else, there were some family members who were exposed to rabies,” said Herrera.

Exposure to the virus can come through contact with the infected animal, such as saliva, through a cut in the hand or through any other mucous membrane.

“These family members had been taking care of the dog because of its wounds and injuries and that’s when they were exposed to rabies,” said Herrera. “They either had a cut or through the eyes, or any mucous membrane and that exposure can lead to the contact.”

He said that they then reported the case to the Department of Health Services.

“We both recommended that they get post-exposure treatment for rabies and they came in to the hospital emergency room last week and did that,” said Herrera.

All five family members who had been caring for the pet were receiving the treatment for rabies, he added

“We really let them decide whether they had been exposed or not and they all opted for the treatment,” Herrera said.

Due to the outbreak of rabies cases in Reeves County since December, Herrera said that they have the vaccine in store at the Reeves County Hospital Pharmacy.

“Before we had to go to Midland, but due to the fact that we have a number of cases of rabies here in Reeves County, we decided to keep the vaccine here and have it available,” he said. Herrera said that he wanted to stress to everyone that there are rabies cases out there and if anybody has a pet they need to vaccinate because of this and because it is a state law.

“If they suspect that their pet has come into contact with a wild animal or has been exposed they need to contact my office right away so that they can be vaccinated,” he said. “We just want everyone to be aware of it.”

Herrera and his office staff, along with the Department of Health Services-Zoonosis, will have a booth at the Reeves County Fall Fair this Saturday and will be providing vital information on the virus.

“We want everyone to come out and get this information, so that they will know what to expect and what to look out for,” said Herrera.

Myers celebrates second birthday

Natalie Marie Myers celebrated her second birthday on March 29, with a Princess Party held in her honor at her home.

Surrounded by family and friends, she enjoyed hitting the piÒata and playing games.

Her favorite gift was a princess jeep given to her by her parents.

She is the daughter of Amy and Danny Myers of El Paso and the granddaughter of Rosa Carrasco of Pecos.

GED testing set for mid-April

GED testing will be held Tuesday, April 15 and Wednesday, April 16, at the Pecos High School.

Registration is scheduled from 1-4 p.m., on Monday, April 14, at the Pecos High School, Room 2.

Examinees must present a Texas Driver’s License or Texas Department of Public Safety ID Card.

For more information call Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselor’s at 447-7229.

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

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