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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 18, 2008

Longtime Mentone resident preparing for move to coast

Barbara Creager is packing up her boat and moving to Corpus Christi, after 33 years in Mentone with the love of her life.

Royce Creager waltzed into Barbara’s heart in an Odessa dancehall, and they shared a life of fun and adventure. Their last big fling was a fishing trip to Alaska in August, which he wanted to take despite failing health that kept him from fishing.

Barbara, her daughter, Lynette, and two others caught 1,160 pounds of fish in 3.5 hours, she said.

It was their third trip to Alaska at Royce’s request.

“He was a very decisive man,” Barbara said. “He knew exactly what he wanted done, and I just went along with it. ”

The Creager residence is three miles east of Mentone in a sub-division that Fred Armstrong named “Hilltown” when he surveyed it. The common name is “Creagerville,” because that’s where most of the family lives, Barbara said.

“When we came back from Alaska, we had another little rodeo at Mentone,” she said. “Royce told me it was time for him to go to the hospital, and he didn’t think he would come back to Mentone.”

He did come home, though, 10 days before he died. “The Good Lord took him nice and peaceful. It was a good 33 years with him,” she said.

Royce had been a cotton farmer before moving to Mentone to work in the oilfield. Barbara was also employed in the oilfield, transferring to Odessa from New Zealand, where she was born 73 years ago.

They teamed up to do pumping and other oilfield services until he became too sick to work, and she retired to care for him. “We had all kinds of equipment,” Creager said.

Each of them had two grown children when they met. Barbara’s son, Kevin, and daughter, Lynette, live in Corpus Christi, so she plans to spend her final years with them and her grandchildren.

“I am looking forward to being with the grandkids,” Creager said, noting that her grandson already has a crabbing day scheduled for them.

Creager said she will miss her friends here and the communities she has served as a volunteer. “But I’ve served my time,” she said.

Accepted immediately when she moved to Mentone, Creager joined the Orla-Mentone Home Demonstration Club in 1977 and moved up through the ranks to the state board, which she served for nine years.

She was active in the Pecos Art Association and Palette Club, specializing in oil and watercolor landscape and still life. She hopes to take more classes after her move to the coast, so she can learn how to do seascapes.

Active in the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, Creager served as president in 2001. She was a member of the rodeo committee, and worked in the 4-H concession stand at the rodeo for 23 years.

Other memberships included the quilting club and Fall Fair committee. “I don’t regret a day of it,” Creager said. “I had a lot of fun. I just wish people would keep up the fair like I built it up. It takes a lot of work.”

She represented Texas three times to the World Conference of Women, which met in New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

She still has a sister in New Zealand, whom she visited in 2004. Her two brothers live in Australia.

“They love Mentone,” she said. “My Dad just loved this place over here.”

Creager’s nephew and family met her at the Circus Circus Hotel in Las Vegas last week, during their tour that included Disneyland.

“They took me to the Venetian for my birthday, to see Phantom of the Opera,” she said. “It was spectacular.”

Creager said she has had a varied life, and has no regrets. I was truly blessed to be accepted here, and this is what I’ll always call home,” she said. “I’ll be back.”

One arrested in $5,000 clothing store burglary

One person has been arrested by Pecos police, in connection with the burglary of a downtown business, while officers are investigating several other burglaries this week involving pickups, and two break-ins at local school campuses.

Police investigator Cpt. Kelly Davis said Manuela Leos Hernandez, 28, had been charged by police with possession of stolen property, in connection with the March 31 burglary of Needleworks, at Second and Cedar streets.

Over $5,000 in jewelry, dresses and other items were taken from the store. About 25 of those items recovered through information given to police through a Crimestoppers tip.

“We’ve recovered some of the items that were stolen,” Davis said, and the charges against Hernandez were filed while she already was in the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

“She was arrested on April 7 on a traffic charge, and she was later filed on for possession,” Davis said. Hernandez, who listed her address as 207 S. Walnut St. and 2025 S. Eddy St., was arrested in the 800 block of East Third Street on a charge of no driver’s license, a Class C misdemeanor, and on a warrant for burglary issued out of Carlsbad, N.M.

Two other persons with Hernandez, Johnny Salcido Ornelas, 58, of Odessa and Victoria Madrid Renteria, 46, of 207 W. 14th St. were also arrested on unrelated charges of riding in a car a seat belt, and were also t transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

Davis said along with Hernandez, charges were pending against a second person. He did not say if there were any other suspects in the burglary.

Davis said police do have suspects in a series of vehicle burglaries that took place earlier this week.

The burglaries have involved Ford pick-ups in both business and residential areas, according to Davis. On Tuesday, police chief Clay McKinney said, “Primarily over the weekend they were at businesses, but since (Monday) night they’ve worked into residential areas.”

“The method of entry to the vehicles has been pretty consistent, so we think the same person or persons are involved, but we can’t tell if they’re targeting any specific items,” he said. “They’re not in the vehicle very long at all. It’s very quick.”

“We’re asking for the community’s help on this. If you see anything suspicious or anyone around a neighbor’s vehicle, call the police right away,” McKinney added.

Davis said there had been no further vehicle burglaries reported on Wednesday or Thursday, and that none of the items stolen from the vehicles, including dashboard radios, have turned up as of yet.

If anyone has information about these burglaries, they can call police at 445-4911 or 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.

McKinney also said there has been no further progress in the investigation of a burglary on April 1 at Tommy’s Place on East Third Street. Items reportedly taken there included a 15” television, a DVD player, a five disc changer, a black phone, and five one dozen packages of tortillas.

Schools seeking ideas on curbing youth violations

Problems ranging from drugs and alcohol abuse, bullying and peer pressure have Pecos-Barstow- Toyah school officials seeking resolutions and input from the community at a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

“We have had several meetings, with a task force committee that was formed to help with the increase in drugs and other problems,” said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Manny Espino.

He said that there had been too many cases or problems with drugs and alcohol and that the group was looking for solutions.

A meeting has been set up to deal with these problems and everyone in the community is invited to attend. The meeting will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday at the Pecos High School Cafeteria.

“We’re trying to address drugs and alcohol and going into truancy and other problems,” said Espino.

“Basically, most of the problems are at the high school level, but we do have some in junior high and the elementary schools,” said Espino.

He said that the problems started with drug abuse, alcohol abuse and has led to truancy, bullying and peer pressure.

“We decided to include the city and the county, because this is a community problem, not just at the schools,” said Espino. “The county judge has been very cooperative and has been coming to our meetings and has been a tremendous help.”

Espino said that they had been having trouble getting a drug dog to go to the school and that the county purchased a new piece of equipment to detect drugs.

“(Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin) Roberts said that they had some money that they could use and they purchased a vapor machine that alerts to the presence of drugs,” said Espino.

He said that the machine can be used at the P-B-T ISD schools and in Balmorhea ISD schools as well.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Jim Riley has also attended some of the task force meetings, along with other concerned parents and community members, according to Espino.

“We’re trying to see what we can do to help these kids and are asking for the communities help,” said Espino.

If parents have a concern or somebody has a solution to any of these problems they are being asked to share them and attend the meeting.

“Nancy Martinez told me about a parental skill group that can help,” said Espino. “We need more things like this to help these students do well in school and make things better.”

Espino said that this was open to anybody and everybody that has concerns and possible solutions.

Along with those problems, school officials and police also reported break-ins this week at two campuses.

A break-in at the Pecos High School might possibly have been school age kids. “They said that they took about $25 worth of candy, but that was recovered, after it was left behind in another room,” said Espino. A second break-in was reported at Bessie Haynes Elementary, and also is believed to have been done by juveniles.

“There are just too many kids getting in to trouble and we need to find things for them to do,” he said.

New president, other officials named by TransPecos Foods

TransPecos Foods announced the appointment on Tuesday of William “Dub” Sutherland as president of the company. Chairman Patrick J. Kennedy, Jr made the announcement in Pecos.

Sutherland has been with the company for most of its existence and has held a number of sales, marketing and operational positions. He holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Texas and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s University.

In making the announcement Kennedy said “Dub Sutherland has worked tirelessly over the last four and a half years to bring excellence to the Company in all respects. He has been deeply committed to serving our customers needs and striving for continuous manufacturing improvement.”

“I’m extremely grateful to my associates at TransPecos Foods and look forward to continued strong growth of the Company for the long term,” Sutherland said. “We have developed a reputation in the food industry for quality and customer service and my focus is on improving what we have built in order to establish ourselves as the top snack/appetizer manufacturer in the industry.”

TransPecos Foods also announced the appointment of Troy Mulson as Vice President of Technical Services. Mr. Mulson joined the company recently and will be responsible for product development initiatives working with national and retail accounts. Mulson holds a degree in Food Science from the University of Arkansas and has strong experience in the appetizer business, specializing in batter and breading technology.

The company also announced that Shaun Thompson had assumed the role of Customer Service Manager. He has moved the department from the corporate offices in San Antonio to Pecos in order to be closer to plant operations.

Police jail three in Monday stabbing incident

Two Pecos teens and a woman from Portales, N.M. were arrested by police on Monday night in connection with a stabbing and shooting incident on the south side of town that left the victim in critical condition in an Odessa hospital.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said officers were called to the 2200 block of Country Club Drive at 6:49 p.m. and discovered a male subject identified as Aaron Hernandez, who had been stabbed multiple times in the abdomen and ribs.

Police were given the description of a vehicle the suspects were reportedly in, McKinney said. “Officers stopped the suspects in the 700 block of Plum who were believed to be involved in the altercation. A knife was discovered in the 800 block of Plum which officers believe the individuals threw out of the vehicle before they were stopped,” he said.

The three in the vehicle were identified as Jimmy Jimenez Jr., 18, 310 S. Elm St., Jon Jess Rodriguez, 18, 412 E. Seventh St., and Elizabeth Olguin Jimenez, 37, of Portales, N.M. “Felony charges will be filed on the three for engaging in organized crime,” said Pecos Police Capt. Kelly Davis.

Elizabeth Jimenez was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a First Degree Felony, while Rodriguez and Jimmy Jimenez also were charged with tampering with evidence, a Third Degree Felony.

“Investigators also found some shell casings at the scene, so we believe some actual shots were fired,” McKinney said. “At this time we’re still processing evidence and interviewing individuals on this.”

Davis said no one was hit by any of the bullets fired in the 2200 block of Country Club Drive.

The stabbing victim was taken to Reeves County Hospital before being transferred to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, but did not initially offer police much information. “The officer who talked to him initially at the scene said he said he did not know who stabbed him. But we don’t believe he’s being truthful with us,” McKinney said on Tuesday.

“We have conflicting stories as to who stabbed him,” Davis said on Thursday. “So we’re still trying to establish which one stabbed him.”

Davis added that officers have not had a chance to talk to Hernandez since he was taken to Odessa.

Pecos Compact Commission seeks $15m for river studies

The Pecos River Compact Commission is seeking $15 million from the federal government to improve habitation along the Pecos River and other tributaries of the Rio Grande.

The Commission met on April 7, at the Ward County Commissioners Court in Monahans for their annual meeting, and heard reports from engineers and various department heads from Texas and New Mexico. Topics included water release from New Mexico to Texas, eradication of salt cedars along the river, the condition of the blunt-nosed shiner, the Pecos River sunflower and the reintroduction of the silver minnow into the Rio Grande.

Monahans resident and PRCC Commissioner representing Texas, J. W. Thrasher, Jr., reported that Texas and New Mexico had a good working relationship concerning the water in the Pecos River, and currently New Mexico had delivered 60,000 acre-feet of water to Texas, over the required amount.

A New Mexico spokesman for water delivery to Texas later stated that the state was working to comply with the settlement requirements. Officials were told over delivered 67,300 acre-feet of water to Texas, and that 34,000 acres of salt cedar were removed, increasing the flow and reducing the salt content of the river.

The Commission approved drafting a letter to the Congressional Delegation requesting $15 million for the Rio Grande and its tributaries to improve habitation and to help with restoration of the river.

A representative from Albuquerque spoke about restoring the Pecos river sunflower and told the Commission that the Bluntnose Shiner population has increased due to the maintenance of a continuous flow of the Pecos River.

The Pecos Bluntnose Shiner is a minnow that exists only in the Pecos River and was listed as a threatened species in 1987. Two years later the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation filled the new Brantley Reservoir, located near Carlsbad from its upstream reservoirs at Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner. Filling Brantley was accomplished by a period of sustained high flows, followed by extended periods of essentially no flow. The result was a reduction of the threatened minnow population.

Based on this one-time event, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the bluntnosed shiner had been placed in jeopardy, a finding that requires federal agencies to develop reasonable and prudent alternatives before going forward with the project that created the problems.

Three reclamation objectives federal actions will need to meet including maintaining irrigation deliveries to Carlsbad Irrigation District, avoid any additional water depletions at the Texas State line and comply with the Endangered Species Act.

As for the Pecos River Sunflower, it was also listed as threatened on October 20, 1999, indicating it has a moderate degree of threat with a high potential for recovery.

Incompatible land uses, habitat degradation and loss and groundwater withdrawals are historic and current threats to the survival of the Pecos Sunflower, according to a report from the Federal Government.

The goal of the Commission is to have the flower removed from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species by protecting and managing a significant sustainable population of the sunflower and the habitat within its native range.

The PRCC administers the Pecos River Compact to ensure that Texas receives its equitable share of quality water from the Pecos River and its tributaries as apportioned by the Compact. The Compact includes both New Mexico and Texas.

The meeting was held in Monahans this year at Thrasher's request.

“J. W. invited the Commission to meet here, as he wanted to show them his hometown,” said Monahans Chamber of Commerce Director Teresa Burnett.

PRCC President Charles Calhoun presided over the meeting. Also present were Tom Bohl, Herman Settemeyer, J. W. Thrasher, Jr., Dr. Ann Marie Matherme, James D. Renfrow, Sara Rhoton, Tanya Trujillo and a room of people associated with Pecos River Compact Conservation.

Maldonado celebrates first birthday

David Esai Maldonado Jr. celebrated his first birthday on Saturday, April 12, at Maxey Park.

His party guests included his big sister Rosita and lots of friends and family.

Guests enjoyed a jumping balloon and transformer favors and cake.

David is the son of David and Amanda Maldonado.

Maternal grandparents are Danny and Nora Hernandez.

Paternal grandparents are Paulino Sr. and the late Rosa Maldonado.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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