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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chamber told tickets on sale for Golden Girl Style Show

Tickets are on sale for next month’s Pecos Golden Girl Style Show, and can be purchased from any Golden Girl nominee or Little Miss Cantaloupe contestant.

The event will be held on Sunday, May 4, at the Reeves County Civic Center and feature the eight Golden Girl nominees and the six Little Miss Cantaloupe Contestants, according to Women’s Division President Gail Box.

Box shared the information with the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Directors at their regular meeting held Tuesday at noon at the Pecos Senior Citizen’s Center.

“Tickets for the style show can be purchased from any of the contestants, but on the week from April 21-25, they can be purchased at the chamber office,” said Box. “There will be no ticket sales at the door,” she said.

The style show will be a luncheon at 2 p.m., that Sunday, with tickets at $8 per person.

The Golden Girl and Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageants are scheduled for June 21, and this year, the age group for the Little Miss Cantaloupe Contestants was narrowed down and open to little girls in first grade only and the entry fee was raised to $75.

Mary Gomez is the chair for this year’s Golden Girl nominees and Luz Alvarez is in charge of the Little Miss Cantaloupe contestants.

A mother-daughter tea was planned for the little girls at the West of the Pecos Museum on Thursday, April 10.

In other business, Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres told board directors that the Spring Break Concert was a success and that other activities had been added this year. “We are looking forward to the Memorial Day event, which will be held in honor of the two kids that served in Iraq and lost their lives there,” said Torres. “Hopefully, we won’t have any more that do so.”

Night in Old Pecos will be held the last weekend in July, according to board member Debbie Thomas.

“We tried to schedule it when nothing else was happening, but that’s just impossible,” said Thomas. “Last year we were competing with Rock the Desert, but that will be held two weeks from Night in Old Pecos.”

Thomas told the group that Monahans would be having their Butterfield Stagecoach activities then, but that she thought they would still have good attendance at Night in Old Pecos on that weekend.

Main Street Director Martin Arreguy told Chamber members that he is working on several projects for downtown, and that is very excited.

“I plan to be a hands-on director and work alongside with everyone,” he said.

Arreguy is currently repairing the porch at the Judge Roy Bean replica and plans to clean up and repair other downtown buildings as well.

“We need the whole community’s help in getting this project underway,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I can, because we need to promote Pecos and I feel that we have something really good here.”

Wind turbines blowing away power costs

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and Dr. Ronald Box has harnessed the good in West Texas winds.

Wind is creating electricity at Dr. Box’s Pecos Animal Clinic on the Balmorhea Highway. He hopes to save $250 per month in electric bills while doing his part for conservation and protecting the environment.

Years ago, Dr. Box and other small businesses and individuals installing a small wind turbine would have also earned an income tax credit. Legislators have introduced bills in the U.S. Senate and House to re-instate the credit that expired in 1985. Both bills are in committee.

Some states are offering tax credits, and some require the electric company to buy back any excess wattage that flows into their lines from the turbines.

The Texas Public Utility Commission is considering such a rule, said Titus Omitogun, engineer for Texas-New Mexico Power Co. At the present, though, the meter only reads power flowing forward from T-NMP lines, so nobody knows how much flows backward.

Dr. Box purchased a system that can generate 800-1000 kilowatts per month, depending on wind speed. “When it is not turning, I am buying power from the utility company,” he said.

When the wind turbine is turning fast enough to supply all the power the animal clinic uses, no power flows through the meter from the electric company.

With air conditioning and other equipment, power requirements are considerable, Dr. Box said.

Although the up-front cost was $13,500, he hopes to save enough on power costs to pay for the equipment and installation in four years.

The 30-foot tower is made of galvanized pipe, and wires run through the pipe from the fiberglass blades on top. The wires continue underground to the electric meter.

Each tower must be located at least 30 feet from any structure or tree that might hinder air flow or lowering of the tower for maintenance, Dr. Box said.

He has enough space for a second tower, and said he may install another if this proves to be as economical as he hopes.

Louise Taylor, whose grandson sells the units, located hers at the back of her large lot just off Texas Street.

“I wanted to be his first invoice,” said Taylor of Chuck Knudsen, a Pecos High School graduate who sells the units for San Tex Alternate Energy, Inc. of San Angelo (

Her total electric home generates big energy bills, she said.

Taylor already has wind chargers on her ranch where electric lines do not reach.

Storing the power in batteries, one tower supplies electricity to a ranch house for lights and microwave.

Another grandson, Clay Taylor, installed that unit himself and bought batteries to store the energy.

She has just bought another turbine to power a water well pump.

Both Taylor and Box complained about slow action by T-NMP to inspect their meters after the towers were installed. Taylor said she had been waiting two or three weeks for the inspection.

Titus said he sent Mike Kojis to inspect the meters as soon as he received the request from the T-NMP home office in Fort Worth.

He said he had informed Knudsen on Wednesday that the inspection on Taylor’s unit was complete, and all they had to do was flip the switch. The blades were turning on the turbine Thursday afternoon.

Small-wind turbines are suitable for homes and businesses with an acre or more of property, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

They are pollution- and greenhouse gas-free, manufactured almost entirely on U.S. soil and lead the world market share. They are the most cost-competitive renewable technology in its market, the association claims on its website, HYPERLINK ""

Venue tax law complicating work on rodeo

The first meeting of the new Town of Pecos City and Reeves County venue tax board was held on Monday, nearly three years after voters approved the measure and less than three months before the start of this year’s West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Those in attendance were told the board hopes to make visible improvements in the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena with funds from the 2 percent venue tax before the 2009 West of the Pecos Rodeo. But at the same time, the creation of the board has also created some legal problems that have to be ironed out to get the arena ready for this June’s rodeo.

Board members were given notebooks detailing the process involved in creating the venue tax, which will be added onto local motel bills and is expected to bring in about $100,000 a year. The funds will go towards renovations of both the 75-year-old rodeo arena, along with the adjacent Reeves County Civic Center, which was last expanded in 1986. The book included photos of the problems with the rodeo arena in recent years, including termite problems with support stands that forced crews to make emergency repairs to the area’s south stands.

“We’re really looking to challenge this committee that by 2009 not only will we have a plan in effect, but by 2009 we’ll have the rodeo arena up to par, and will have a nice facility for people to see,” said Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood.

Alligood said so far, only one motel, the Quality Inn, has made its first venue tax payment, totaling $18,000, based on the start of tax collections in January. He said city accountant Carol Gonzales has offered to work with the board to keep them updated on venue tax income, cash balances and expenditures.

However, Alligood also said the collection of the tax means that responsibility for the arena and civic center now rest with the board.

“Effective when the city and county began collecting the venue tax, the county and no longer put tax money into the civic center,” he said. Reeves County has continued to make payments on the water and electricity bills for the civic center since then, but now that the venue tax board is in place, it will have to repay the county for its costs since the start of the year.

West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee Chairman Joe Keese also asked who his group needed to contact to have preparation work done for this year’s rodeo, which runs from June 24-29.

“Who is in control?” he asked the board. “If the county no longer has control over these places and the (venue tax) committee does, we need a person with day-to-day management of the site, because we need to compare notes.”

Alligood said the board would contact Russell Gallahan, with the Texas Comptroller’s Office, on the legal status of maintaining the arena, and on the booking of the civic center, which is currently handled through the Pecos Chamber of Commerce. The item is due to be discussed at the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday evening.

Alligood also said that research showed that while the Buck Jackson Arena has a state historical marker acknowledging the world’s first rodeo in 1883, the arena itself does not have a historical designation, so that there are no restrictions on the changes that can be made.

“There are going to be some pros and cons about changing it up,” Alligood said, adding that the board already has received complaints from people who want the arena to remain the way it is. “They say that’s the only reason they come here, instead of going to Odessa,” he told the board.

The board tabled any action on election of officers until their next meeting, due to the absence of two of the county’s four representatives on the board. Both the city and county named four persons to the board, with two of the four spots for each belonging to elected or appointed officials with the city and county.

Police said store’s stolen items located after Crimestoppers tip

Pecos police have recovered over two-dozen items reported stolen in the burglary of a local business in late March, and say arrests are pending in the case.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said leads obtained through Pecos Valley Crimestoppers helped officers recover items stolen from Needleworks sometime between 9 p.m. on March 30 and 9 a.m. on March 31.

“Through a Crimestoppers tip, it has led investigators to several people in Pecos and Monahans where approximately 25 pieces of clothing have been recovered,” McKinney said on Thursday.

Police investigator Kelly Davis said last week that rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, belts, shoes, purses and assorted clothing were among the items taken by the burglars from Needleworks, located at Second and Cedar streets. Store owner Peggy Walker said the total cost of the items taken was in the $5,000 range.

“No arrests have been made at this point, but the way the case is progressing it looks like some arrests will be immanent,” McKinney said. “Crimestoppers worked excellently for us in this case. A lot of times all we need is one lead and we’re off and running again, where sometimes all it comes to is a dead end.”

He added that officers are looking at five or six people in connection with the case, though he didn’t want to say if any of the items were recovered at their homes.

“No one has confessed to the burglary yet, but we’re still in the early stages of the investigation,” McKinney said.

The burglary at Needleworks was one of two burglaries reported to police last week. McKinney said his department still doesn’t have any leads into a break-in that was reported on April 1, at Tommy’s Place, 1102 E. Third St. Items reportedly taken were a 15” television, a DVD player, a five disc changer, a black phone, and five one dozen packages of tortillas.

If anyone has information about these burglaries or items taken or any other crimes please call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or leave a Secure Web-Tip on the HYPERLINK "" website. As always the informant will remain anonymous and the tips could be worth up to a $1,000 cash reward. There is no caller I.D. on this line.

Maldonado obtains degree from DeVry

Kathy Maldonado, the daughter of Dolores Rubio and Bengie Maldonado, has graduated from DeVry University of Dallas.

Maldonado attended DeVry from March 2004 through December 2007.

She has received the degree of Bachelor of Applied Business Administration.

Couple announce birth of daughter

Kristian Hignojos and Jimmy Millan announce the birth of their daughter, Zaylah Justine Millan.

Zaylah was born Tuesday, April 1, at Odessa Regional Medical Center in Odessa.

She weighed six pounds, 9.4 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long at birth.

Turnout small for lone runoff in Tuesday’s primary election

A total of 146 individuals voted at the different polling places in the Democratic primary runoff election, which featured only one race on the ballot.

Voters in the county had no local races to decide, and only one state election, the nomination for Texas Railroad Commission, where Mark Thompson, a Central Texas therapist for blind children faced retired petroleum engineer Dale Henry in the runoff.

A total of 89 individuals cast their ballots for Henry in Reeves County, while Thompson received 56 votes. However, statewide, Thompson won the runoff and will face Republican Michael Williams, who chairs the commission, in the November general election.

“We had a total of 146 vote, but there was one undervote,” said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.

All local races in last month’s Democratic primary election were either uncontested or had only two candidates, and as a result there were no runoff elections needed on April 8.

Incumbents Roy Alvarado and Saul Herrera won re-nomination for new terms as Reeves County Commissioner, while 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds and Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean also won two-man races for new terms in the March 11 primary.

Reyes happy to see local students obtain GEDs

Obtaining their GED diplomas is just one of the goals that some of the students in David Reyes’ class plan to achieve in the future.

Reyes has been preparing students who do not receive regular high school diplomas to get their GED diplomas in Pecos for the past 15 years.

“Two of these students have already passed all the classes and just need math,” said Reyes. “I’m very proud of them, because I feel this will help them move on in life.”

Ashley Gonzales is working hard to get her GED. “I like this class, it’s really good and I plan to go to college and find a good job,” said Gonzales.

Uriel Reyes is excited about the classes is taking with Reyes.

“I plan to go to college and be somebody in society and do something with my life,” said Uriel Reyes. “This is just the first step and Mr. Reyes has really been a big help.”

Maritza Vela and Daniel Reyes are both working toward their GED, but don’t know yet what they want to do in the future.

Justin Guinney is hoping to complete his GED requirements soon, because he plans to go on and take some college courses. “I’m really interested in auto mechanics and plan to learn more about that and hopefully take courses in something else,” he said.

Marisol Mata wants to complete her GED requirements, get a good job and take some courses soon as well.

“Some of these students are just one course away from getting their GED,” said David Reyes.

They will be testing this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15 and April 16, and Reyes is currently working with the students on practice tests.

“Anybody 16 and over can take the classes work toward their GED with us,” said Reyes.

For more information on the program, individuals can contact Reyes at 445-1146.

Man gets five years for Odessa bank robbery

A bank robber from Odessa was sentenced to five years in prison, while an illegal immigrant is facing federal assault charges in federal court.

United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced that Jerry Johnson Gasca, 32, of Odessa, was sentenced in Midland on April 9, to sixty months in federal prison for robbing a branch of Southwest Bank in Odessa on Nov. 19, 2007.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Robert Junell ordered Gasca to serve three years on supervised release following his release from federal prison.

By pleading guilty on Jan. 17, 2008, Gasca admitted that while wearing a black baseball cap and a hooded jacket to obscure his face, he went into the bank, located on West Eighth Street, and handed a teller a note, stating: “This is a robbery! Be calm, hand me all 20’s, 50’s, 100’s plus your stacks. Thank you have a nice day!” The teller complied with Gasca’s demand, giving him more than $15,000 in currency. Gasca was seen departing the back premises in a Buick LeSabre.

A tip soon led Odessa Police Department officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to Gasca. A federal search warrant was executed at his residence on Nov. 20, 2007 and all but $873.31 of the stolen money was recovered. Much of the cash was still bundled in Southwest Bank currency sleeves.

Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Roque-Jackson prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said that federal felony assault charges have been filed against Moises Sanchez-Contreras, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, who assaulted an Ector County Deputy Sheriff on Monday, April 7.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court this morning, officer and employees of a local oilfield company became suspicious of the genuineness of a green card and a Social Security number that had been submitted to the company by an individual seeking employment. Company officials contacted agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who preliminarily confirmed that the documents appeared fraudulent.

The applicant was scheduled to come to the company for an interview Monday afternoon, so ICE agents asked an Ector County Deputy Sheriff, working security for the company as an off-duty second job, to detain him when he arrived. When the deputy told the applicant he was being detained, a violent struggle ensued. After wrestling him to the ground twice and using pepper spray, the deputy was finally able to subdue the man. The deputy suffered abrasions and scratches on his arm that resulted in bleeding.

ICE agents who responded to the scene were later able to confirm the applicant’s true identity as Saenz-Contreras, an illegal immigrant from Ojinaga, Mexico.

Saenz-Contreras faces up to eight years in federal prison if convicted on the assault charges, which can be brought in federal court because the deputy sheriff was assisting ICE agents in their duties. Agents continue to investigate aspects of the fraudulent documents used by Saenz-Contreras to apply for the job, and additional charges against him related to those documents may result. Saenz-Contreras remains in federal custody.

Assistant United States Attorney Kerry A. Fleck is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

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