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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deputies find marijuana load inside vehicles

Two persons were arrested Monday by Reeves County sheriff’s deputies, following a traffic stoop on the west side of Pecos that led to the discovery of a large amount of marijuana.

Reeves County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Interdiction Unit officers made the seizure following a traffic stop on a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 1997 Ford Explorer traveling together on mile marker 39 on Interstate 20.

The driver of the Chevy Tahoe was identified as Francisco Archuleta, 31, and the driver of the Ford Explorer, who is an illegal alien in the United States was identified as Sabino Florez Mendoza, 37.

Deputies said the vehicles were stopped for traffic violations, and as a result of the roadside investigation, officers asked for consent to search the vehicles.

Both drivers granted consent and during the search of their vehicles, officers located a total of seven burlap sacks inside Tahoe and Explorer all containing marijuana. Deputies said there was an approximate total of 350 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $250,000.

Both suspects subsequently were charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 2,000 pounds, a Second Degree Felony. Both individuals remain in Reeves County Jail awaiting arraignment.

Box, Chabarria named to fill county vacancies

Reeves County Commissioners appointed a new member to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena Venue Tax Committee at their April 14 meeting and appointed an interim tax assessor-collector during a special meeting held Monday morning.

The commissioners approved Hugh Box to serve on the committee, after a vacancy came up prior to the first meeting of the new committee earlier this month. Mario Villescas, owner of Welding Supply of Pecos, had been appointed to serve on that committee, but has since moved to California to be with his family.

During Monday morning’s special meeting, the group appointed Rosemary Chabarria to serve as the interim Reeves County Tax Assessor-Collector. Tax assessor-collector Elfida Zuniga turned in her resignation and is leaving Pecos.

Chabarria had run for that office unopposed, after Zungia opted against seeking a new term this past December. However, her term was not to begin until January of 2009. She will serve as interim, until her four-year term begins in January.

School board told pool repair options under review

Repairs to damage caused by ground erosion beneath the Pecos High School Swimming Pool was one of several construction-related items discussed during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting held last Thursday in the Technology Center.

School officials in March discovered significant ground erosion on the southwest side of the 25-year-old pool. On Thursday, P-B-T Superintendent Manny Espino told board members that Monte Hunter, architect with Hunter Corral  was putting a plan together with his staff on repairing the foundation.

“They developed a design for supplemental piers to support the foundation,” said Espino. “When they ran some tests, they found that it was 13 feet below,” he said.

The subsurface wet/sandy strata was identified as having dropped 13 feet below surface, according to Hunter’s report. In the meantime, they are monitoring the pool water level and it indicates that the pool is not leaking.

“They said the pier surface wouldn’t work and got a company out of Austin to do that and then he developed a spot footing plan to reinforce the foundation, where the cracks are settling,” said Espino.

Hunter will submit the spot footing plan to MidTex Construction for pricing and scheduling.

The tests revealed that soil may be falling in a section of sandy, wet strata below area of concern and Hunter’s staff is attempting to arrange seismic testing of subsurface conditions.

His report stated that the exterior face brick will need to be replaced in area of severe cracking and some interior block may need to be replaced in area of severe cracking.

Other work will be to seal up minor masonry cracks inside and outside. The building foundation must be shored up before wall repair can proceed.

“As soon as I have anything I will let everyone know,” said Espino.

During the audience portion of the meeting, PHS assistant swim coach Joan Capshaw told board members that she appreciated everything the board did for the swim team.

“We’re a bit frustrated about the situation and the pool and I would like some assurance that this will be taken care of soon,” said Capshaw.

She said that she and head swimming coach Terri Morse are concerned about their summer swimming program, scheduled to begin at the end of May, and that they had to cut short their spring swimming program.

“We need to find a solution, because we don’t want to cancel our summer swimming lessons,” said Capshaw, who added that swimming is a 12-month sport and that they would appreciate the board’s help in getting this problem resolved.

Hunter also talked with the board about the planned Bessie Haynes and Crockett Junior High expansion projects. He said they have been reviewing proposed subs and suppliers; finalizing proposed construction completion dates and construction is due to being the first week in May.

Hunter’s report noted that they are exploring incorporating concessions/restroom construction for the Pecos High School tennis courts with the PHS field house repairs and have put the CATE building on hold.

Repairs are being made at both the Pecos High School and Austin Elementary School roofs. Soil tests for Austin Elementary, kindergarten and the field house have been completed and they are scheduled to begin planning meetings with staff in coming weeks.

Within the next month, construction will begin at Bessie Haynes Elementary and Crockett Middle School; a survey will be done at Austin Elementary and planning will take pace with Austin staff.

Board members approved several assignments including: Keelee Gresham, 3rd grade teacher, Austin Elementary School; Rosa Navarette, Food Service Director; Ruth Roman McWilliams, science, Pecos High School; Zane Brent McWilliams, Special Education Teacher, Crockett Middle School and Becky Wein, sixth grade teacher, Zavala Elementary.

Resignations accepted: John Barfield, Physics, Pecos High School (1/2 time); Etta Bradley, Music, Austin Elementary; Donna Gent, Special Education/Coach, high school; Juanita Martinez, Special Education, Crockett; Kelsey Riley, third grade teacher, Austin; Joely Trujillo, reading teacher, Crockett; Louis Villalobos, Food Service Director, (effective 4-18-08) and Becky Wein, sixth grade teacher/coach, Zavala Elementary.

Retirements included Jodie Exum, Technology Coordinator; Bill Roberts, journalism/English, high school; Charlie Wein, social studies/accounting/business law, high school and Raynell Wein, fifth grade teacher, Bessie Haynes.

County’s unemployment down, job growth still lags, TWC says

Reeves County jobless numbers were down slightly from February and from a year ago, according to the latest unemployment figures from the Texas Workforce Commission. But the local job gains continue to lag the rest of the region, despite other state reports showing major improvement in the area’s economy.

The TWC released March’s jobless numbers on Friday, which showed an increase in both the number of jobs and the county’s workforce from February, as unemployment dropped from 5.1 to 5.0 percent. Reeves County added 64 workers and 65 jobs from February, the TWC said, with 4,090 people in the local workforce and 3,887 employed.

However, compared to March of 2007, the TWC says the county has increased its total number of jobs by just nine, while the number of workers is up by only five over 12 months ago, when the jobless rate was listed at 5.1 percent.

Job and labor force numbers within Reeves County statistically have not kept up with the growth in sales tax collections reported over the past 4 1/2 years by the Texas Comptroller’s office. The TWC has reported a net loss in jobs in Reeves County since 2003, while sales tax collections have doubled in the county during that same period. Sales tax receipts are up 60 percent in the county over the past 12 months.

Most of that increase has been due to the boom in oil and natural gas drilling operations in the Permian Basin, and officials with the TWC have said that many of the new jobs in the area may not be credited locally, but instead are being counted where the companies’ regional office or payroll office is located.

Midland County, in contrast, has seen almost a 3 percent increase in their workforce and job totals over the past year. It’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent in March, unchanged from February and down from 2.9 percent last year. Midland added 235 workers and 240 jobs from February and is up by almost 1,700 workers and 1,800 jobs from a year ago.

Neighboring Ector County’s unemployment rate dropped 3 percent, from 3.1 percent in February. The county added 542 workers and gained 556 jobs from the previous month, and is up by 2,353 workers and 2,446 jobs from March of 2007.

Andrews County’s rate was 2.9 percent in February, unchanged from the previous month. The number of workers increased by 53 and the job total was up by 49 from February.

Brewster County’s rate also was at 2.8 percent, down 3 percent the previous month. The county added 147 workers and 149 jobs in March.

Crane County’s rate went from 3.4 to 3.222 percent last month, as the county saw a gain of 26 workers and 29 jobs. Culberson County saw its rate drop from 2.5 to 2.4 percent,, while adding 50 jobs and 50 workers from February. Dawson County’s jobless rate held at 4.8 percent as the county added 127 workers and 124 jobs.

Howard County’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.2 to 4 percent last month. The county added 167 workers and 181 jobs. Pecos County’s rate was 4.1 percent last month, down from 4.2 percent. The county’s workforce was up by 173 while the job total increased by 171 from February. Presidio County saw its jobless rate go back up to 9.4 percent from 8.5 percent last month, after a drop from 9.6 percent in January. Despite the jobless rate jump, the county added 148 workers and 106 jobs from Feburary.

In Ward County, unemployment was down from 3.5 to 3.4 percent, with the number of jobs increasing by 57 while the workforce was up by 60. Winkler County’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.2 percent. The county’s workforce and job totals both were up by seven from February.

Loving County saw its unemployment rate drop from 8.9 to 8.5 percent, with the addition of two workers and two jobs. The nation’s least-populated county had 47 people in its workforce and 43 employed, the same number as in March of 2007.

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.


Paul Sean Eversley, 35, of Houston, was arrested by police on April 10 on a charge of DWI-refusal, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 100 block of East Second Street following a traffic stop at 11:59 p.m., and Eversley was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Sarah Renee Lopez, 19, 1719 S. Eddy St., Danielle Nicole Garcia, 21, 501 S. Willow St., and Alexa Natividad Dominguez, 24, 1809 Adams St., were arrested by police on April 1 on charges of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrests took place at 2:28 a.m. in the 1800 block of Washington Street, and Lopez, Garcia and Natividad were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jeffrey Allen Hanson, 40, of Billings, Mont., Shane E. Strand, 25, of Rice Lake, Wisc., were arrested by police on April 5 on charges of public intoxication. Police said the arrests were made at 11:42 p.m. following an incident in the parking lot at the Riverside Ballroom, 1300 E. Third St., and Hanson and Strand were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jorge Natividad, 24, 2001 Wyoming St., was arrested by police on April 6 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 6 a.m. in the 200 block of Wyoming Street following a call about a disturbance. Natividad was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ramon Flores Orona, 52, of Pecos, was arrested by police on April 6 on charges of driving while intoxicated and unlawfully carrying a weapon. Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop in the 100 block of South Cedar Street, and the weapon, a .32 caliber revolver, was found inside Orona’s truck. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Robert Renee Villalobos, 20, 2031 S. Eddy St., and a juvenile were arrested by police on March 28 on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said the arrest took place at 2209 Country Club Drive following a search of the juvenile’s bedroom at the consent of the owner of the house. Villalobos was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center while the juvenile was taken to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.


Roque Macheica Ybarra, 22, and Maria Guadalupe Adame, 22, both of 609 S. Cypress St., was arrested by police on April 3 on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said the arrest took place at their home following a search by officers, when marijuana and paraphernalia were found inside. Both Ybarra and Adame were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Julian Ruiz Mendez, 56, 406 E. 13th St., was arrested by police on April 19 on a warrant out of the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made in the 500 block of West Third Street on the intoxication charge, and a records check revealed the cocaine possession warrant. Mendez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Victor Sandoval, 31, 1202 Yucca St., was arrested by police on April 20 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made following the report of a disturbance outside the Suvacito Club, in the 100 block of East Ninth Street. Sandoval was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Robert Kurtz, 41, of Solotan, Ak., was arrested by police on April 19 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made after officers were called to the Town & Country Food Store in the 800 block of Palmer Street at 7:36 p.m. about a man lying outside the building. Kurtz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Miguel R. Armendariz, 20, 1309 S. Ash St., was arrested by police on April 20 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 1:07 a.m. after officers received a report of a man knocking on windows at 522 Martinez St. Armendariz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Adrian Martinez, 26, 710 S. Oleander St., was arrested by police on April 20 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made after they were called to Martinez’s home at 3:50 a.m. on a report of a family disturbance. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jose Luis Garcia, 44, 611 S. Pine St., was arrested by police on April 17 on a warrant for parole violation. Police said the arrest was made at 2:39 a.m. in the 1200 block of South Elm Street after a records check turned up the outstanding warrant. Garcia was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Joaquin Ruiz Gervacio, 47, 501 Rancho Rd., was arrested by police on April 15 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 8:28 p.m. after the vehicle Gervacio was driving was stopped for a traffic violation in the 1600 block of West Seventh Street. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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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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