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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two electrocuted in tree trimming accident

One person was seriously injury and a second was also hurt when they were electrocuted while doing landscaping work Sunday afternoon.

The incident also led to a power outage Sunday, and was blamed on an accident involving a Pecos man trimming trees.

“The outage occurred at 1:13 p.m. and lasted an hour and 15 minutes,” said Texas New Mexico Power Representative Jeff Buell.

He said that the outage affected 2,228 customers in Pecos and that employees with TNMP worked hard to restore the power as soon as possible.

“It occurred when a customer was trimming trees and one of the trees fell on a 69 kilovolt transmission power line,” said Buell.

Pecos EMS rushed the injured man, identified as Manuel Chabarria Sr., to Reeves County Hospital. He was later airlifted to the burn unit of University Medical Center in Lubbock for treatment of his injuries.

The second person, believed to be the owner of the home where the tree was being trimmed, was also burned in the incident, and was taken to Reeves County Hospital.

The general area that was affected was one third of customers in the southern part of town, according to Buell.

According to reports, two men were trimming trees in the 300 block of West Eighth Street.

“We were called out as a precaution and stood by for awhile,” said Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Freddy Contreras. “When we were first called out, we didn’t know what it was, but we responded and stood by for precautionary measure,” he said.

Two caught, one sought in failed La Tienda heist

Two persons from Odessa were taken into custody by police Monday morning, and law enforcement officials were still seeking a third person Monday afternoon in connection with an attempted burglary at La Tienda Thriftway.

Lacie Castillo and William Snipes Jr., were taken into custody after they were found inside a pickup parked behind the store about 5:20 a.m. on Monday, according to Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney.

“At 5:18 we got a call that one of the employees coming to work in the morning saw the individual inside, and the alarm was activated,” McKinney said. “At one point we think the individual inside the store, once he was spotted, started banging on the door, and that’s what activated the alarm.”

“Upon arrival at the scene the officers found two individuals parked in a pickup behind the store. They were taken into custody and are cooperating with us,” he added.

He said he didn’t know if Castillo or Snipes had given officers the name of the third suspect, “But we feel with their cooperation, we’ll be able to identify the individual in the store.”

Law enforcement officers were on guard outside the store at 810 S. Eddy St., for several hours this morning while the suspect was believed to be hiding in the building. The store was eventually opened to employees and customers around mid-morning, and police were still receiving reports from workers early Monday afternoon that they were hearing sounds possibly being made by the suspect inside the store.

La Tienda manager Oscar Ramirez said a store employee saw the suspect in the rear section of the store when she arrived for work. “He was trying to break out,” Ramirez said shortly after 8:30 a.m. “There was a couple in a pick-up and they got them.”

Ramirez said he was told police believed the owner of the pickup was the person inside the store, but McKinney said he could not confirm that report. He also said he did not know if the suspect in the store had taken the keys to the vehicle with him, preventing Castillo and Snipes from leaving when officers arrived on the scene.

“It looks like the third individual gained access to the store through the roof, apparently through the air conditioning shaft,” McKinney said. He added the incident is similar to a 2004 burglary attempt at Pecos’ Wal-Mart store, in which a Midland man was discovered by employees attempting to break into the building through the roof.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD’s two nearby campuses, Pecos Kindergarten and Pecos High School, both went into lockdowns ordered by school officials, after the situation was reported. The campuses were reopened later in the morning.

McKinney said police believe only three people were involved with the break-in, and said it was not related to an overnight burglary at Panadería Diana on West Third Street. Officers were called to the bakery after a front window was broken out sometime between later Sunday night and after sunrise on Monday.

“We don’t have any information to show that the LaTienda and panadería burglary are related,” the police chief said.

Gulf Coast student dies in I-10 accident

A student from the Galveston area was killed and two other persons from San Antonio were injured Sunday evening in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 in southwestern Reeves County.

David Leija, 24, of Algoa, was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco at 6:55 p.m., one hour after the crash occurred, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. His body was then taken to Peaceful Gardens Funeral Home in Pecos.

Leija was a one of four students in a 2000 Lexus SW, driven by Angela Christine Bazan of New Braunfels. According to the report filed by DPS trooper Roy Lyttle, the vehicle was eastbound in the left lane of I-10 about 10 miles west of Balmorhea, when the left rear tire of the car blew out. That caused the vehicle to enter into a broadside skid into the barrow ditch on the south side of the highway and then up an embankment before rolling over, ejecting the passenger in the left rear seat of the vehicle.

Two other passengers were also injured. Crystal Lynn Casillas, 21, of San Antonio, was flown to Thomason General Hospital in El Paso, and was listed in stable condition with head injuries. Carlos Mendoza Jr., 21, also of San Antonio, was transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, where he was listed in guarded condition, after suffering multiple fractures and pulmonary contusions in the accident.

Lyttle said Bazan and Casillas were wearing seat belts, while Leija was not wearing a seat belt at the time the accident occurred. It was unknown if Mendoza was wearing his seat belt, according to the trooper’s report.

DPS Cpl. Emmit Moore, along with troopers Greg Reyero, Michael Meeson and Curtis West, assisted with the investigation. Reeves County Sheriff’s Department officers and Texas Department of Transportation crews were also called to the scene for assistance with detouring traffic around the accident site.

Jaquez plans to expand both menu, restaurants

Pecos may be more acquainted with barbecue than the gourmet food Sebero Jaquez III learned to cook in the culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu, but he’s out to change that.

Folks who attended the chamber banquet Feb. 15 got a taste of Jaquez’s talent when he served mesquite-smoked ribeye steak and shrimp scampi in lemon butter sauce.

“I was born and raised in this restaurant,” said Jaquez of The Old Mill Bar-B-Q, where he is the third generation to serve up delicious meals. His grandfather, Sebero Jaquez Sr., opened the restaurant in 1947. Sebero Jaquez Jr. still works alongside his son in the kitchen.

Their specialty is the mesquite-smoked barbecue smothered in the sauce that only family members know the recipe for.

“Everything is made from scratch,” said Jaquez, who offers catering for any function, from self-serve barbecue to a fancy sit-down wedding feast.

“My motivation is to bring a satisfaction that I don’t believe Pecos has experienced,” he said. “An experience that’s unbelievable.”

With an associate degree in applied science and six years in the hospitality industry to back him up, Jaquez knows he can deliver on his promise. And he doesn’t plan to stop there, for his goal is to own restaurants all over the nation.

After he has introduced Italian food and fresh seafood to the Old Mill’s menu, Jaquez plans to open a restaurant in Austin. He expects eventually to own restaurants serving Italian, seafood, Mexican – “the whole works.”

He also expects to get rich in the process, and to repay his parents for their support as he pursued his dream.

“I am doing it for my family,” he said. “I want to give them 10 to a million times as much as they gave me.”

School officials plan April start on construction

Early to mid-April is the timeline for groundbreaking on several projects for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, according to the architect working on the project.

P-B-T ISD board members listened to an update on the facility plans from architect Monte Hunter, during the regular meeting held on Feb. 19 at the Technology Center.

“We’re looking at early to mid-April to break ground and we’ll re-bid the high school with that,” said Hunter.

Bids had been solicited for CATE and concession buildings project, but the bids were too high and are going to be re-bid with the other projects, according to Hunter.

Hunter told the group that within the next month, they would finalize Bessie Haynes and Crockett construction plans; develop schematic plan for Austin Elementary, Pecos Kindergarten and the Pecos High School field house. They will also do a property survey and soil sampling at Austin, the kindergarten and the field house.

Plans have been ongoing for renovations and additions to several of the campuses after a $30 million bond was approved by voters last May.

Superintendent Manny Espino told the group that they might need to have a special board meeting to finalize and approve other plans.

“If you want to have a ground-breaking ceremony for later this month, we could plan it,” said Espino.

Hunter told the group that he would prefer that they schedule a groundbreaking ceremony after all bids had been approved.

Work at the Austin campus and the Pecos High School roofing is due to begin after TAKS testing, which is scheduled for the week of March 5.

In other action during last week’s meeting, board members approved the leasing of property owned by the school district located in Barstow for oil and gas interests.

The group approved a rule to no longer allow eighth grade Pre-AP English to count as high school English I credit and eliminating Algebra I classes at Crockett Middle School. “We’ve talked about offering different classes,” said Espino. “We are looking at electives, but will still have a high level math class.”

Board members approved the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Women’s Division request for the use of the Pecos High School Auditorium and to waive fees for the use of the auditorium, during practice and the pageant for Little Miss Cantaloupe Golden Girl Pageant on June 21.

An Order of Election was presented to the board and school general election was scheduled for May 10.

Early voting by personal appearance will be held each weekday at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St. Two trustees for a full three-year term will be on the ballot.

Incumbents include David Flores and Paul Deishler, both of whom already have filed for new terms.

Balmorhea senior chosen as Student of Year

A poet and all-around student from Balmorhea was named Student of the Year by the Area Chamber of Commerce.

Russell Garlick, who is ranked first at Balmorhea High School received the prestigious award during the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony held two weeks ago at the Reeves County Civic Center.

“His achievements are remarkable. During the summer, besides breaking and training horses, Russell has qualified for Team Roping a header at the State High School Rodeo Finals for three years in a row,” said Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce President Venetta Seals.

Last year as a junior he received “Academic All-State” award for his football as well as his high academic achievements.

Having participated 10 years in the Reeves County Junior Livestock Show, Garlick has demonstrated a commitment to the total school program. He has been a member of the National Honor Society for four years, has played varsity football and basketball for four years and as a representative of the Spanish Club he placed second in oratorical competition at the University of Texas at the Permian Basin and will have a poem he wrote for his English IV class published by Creative Communications.

“His poem was selected to be published from a nationwide competition,” said Seals.

“Russell is intelligent and hard-working. Carrying a very rigorous academic schedule he has earned many honors in extra-curricular activities,” said Seals. “He is a member of the UIL Science Team and UIL Math Team winning District and qualifying for Regional UIL competition for two years,” she said.

Garlick brings to the football field and the basketball court the same desire to do his best as he does to his classes, according to Seals.

“To summarize, Russell is intelligent, athletic, hard-workng, and friendly. His good character is exemplified by his commitment to help others as he has volunteered to help with the Rodeo Special Olympics for three years,” said Seals. “He accepts criticism while yet he is able to command respect and be an effective leader,” she said.

Garlick has many talents, which he works hard to develop.

His recommendation to receive the award was signed by Balmorhea ISD superintendent Mary Lou Carrasco, but by the principal, counselor, athletic director and teachers.

To name a few of his achievements, Garlick, is a member of the National Honor Society; High School Rodeo Qualifier; received the “Sportsmanship” buckle; helped participants in Rodeo Special Olymp0ics; captain of the football and basketball team; participated in varsity football; received the “Fighting Heart Award”; All-District Line Backer; All-District Center; defensive MVP; offensive first team utility back; defensive first team line backer; All-Star Selection; All-Region Middle Line Backer; participated in varsity basketball; All-District Guard and was MVP of the Balmorhea Bear Classic Basketball Tournament.

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.


Victor Jasso Mendoza, 28, 423 N. Cedar St., was arrested by police on Feb. 22 on a warrant out of Midland County charging him with bond forfeiture on a charge of possession of marijuana under two ounces. Police said the arrest was made at the Town and Country Food Store, 1219 S. Cedar St., and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Michael Rodriguez Tarin, 17, 824 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on Feb. 23 on a charge of driving while intoxicated (refusal). Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop in the 1000 block of Washington Street, and Tarin was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jesus Rodriguez, 23, 403 S. Sycamore St., was arrested by police on Feb. 23 on a charge of possession of a prohibited weapon, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 300 block of East Seventh Street, and Rodriguez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


A 15-year-old male juvenile was arrested by police on Feb. 25 at Cash’s Sports Bar, 1330 E. Third St., on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), a state jail felony. Police said the defendant, who lives at 322 W. ‘D’ St., was arrested at the bard by officers, and was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ariseli Molina Ramirez, 29, 909 W. Fourth St., was arrested by police on Feb. 25 on charges of possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at Cash’s Sports Bar, 1330 E. Third St., at 1:16 a.m., and Ramirez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


John Flora, 17; Dawson Flora, 20; and Robert Halpain, 23, all of 1517 Cowan St., were arrested by police on Feb. 19 on charges of deadly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor. John Flora was also arrested a warrant for criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor, issued out of Winkler County. Police said the arrests took place following an incident in the 200 block of West ‘F’ Street, and the three were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Raymond Harley Thetford, 32, 1200 E. Third St., Apt. 30, was arrested by police on Feb. 19 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest took place in the 1200 block of East Third Street, after police received a report at 7:28 p.m. about an assault by Thetford on his wife. He was then placed under arrested and was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Rebecca Rubio, 17, 1519 Cowan St., was arrested by police on Feb. 17 on a charge of theft under $50. Police said the arrest took place following an incident at Allsup’s, 2232 S. Eddy St., and Rubio was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Gregory Saylor, 56, of Las Cruces, N.M., was arrested by police on Feb. 16 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at Wal-Mart, 1903 S. Cedar St., and Saylor was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ricardo Gomez Jr., 18 2213 Texas St., and Bonifacio Garcia, 19, 402 S. Mulberry St., were arrested by police on Feb. 15 on charges of racing on a highway. Police said the arrests were made after the two were seen driving on Highway 17 in excess of 95 mph. In addition to the racing charge, Garcia was also arrested on a warrant for license required, issued out of the Town of Pecos City. Police said both Gomez and Garcia were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


David Enasmo Argumaniz II, 29; and Mary Margaret Argumaniz, 25, both of 2220 Arizona St., were arrested by police on Feb. 17 on charges of assault under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made at the Argumaniz’s home, after he allegedly grabbed his wife by the arms and threw her against a wall while she reported hit her husband with her fist in the left eye. The couple was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jaime R. Molinar Jr., 19, 1830 Washington St., was arrested by police on Feb. 17 on a charge of reckless driving and possession of marijuana, both Class B misdemeanors. Police said the arrest was made at 6:46 p.m. following a traffic stop in the 500 block of South Peach Street. Molinar was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ramon G. Rodriguez, 60, of Artesia, N.M., was arrested by police on Feb. 18 at the Town and Country Food Store, 800 W. Palmer St., on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Rodriguez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

Political Profiles

Randy Reynolds – 143rd District Attorney

Pecos native Randy Reynolds is seeking reelection as district attorney for the 143rd District, having served in the position since January 1, 1997. He said this is a very important election and voters should make an informed decision.

Reynolds has deep roots in Pecos, His father was a longtime Pecos dentist, and his mother owned a children’s apparel store. His mother, now 82, lives with Reynolds and his family.

He graduated from Pecos High School in 1976 and from the Department of Public Safety as a trooper in 1978. He was married with three children when he decided to attend law school in Lansing, Michigan in 1991. Following his graduation, he immediately returned to Pecos and worked for County Attorney Scott Johnson until he acquired his license.

“My dad taught me to work at any early age,” said Reynolds. “I worked as a floor hand and derrick hand to put myself through college.” His other work experience includes working at the local produce shed, working for the City of Pecos, and he even recalls working as a paperboy for the Pecos Enterprise.

Reynolds said he has put together a very capable and hard working staff. Among his highly trained staff are retired Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos, Freddy Contreras and Jerry Biaza. Among his staff, there is over 100 years of experience. His staff has prosecuted well over 1,000 cases.

Reynolds raised all his children in Pecos, one still in high school and a member of the Pecos swim team, for which he is a big supporter.

“I would appreciate everyone’s support in the coming election,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds faces opponent Kevin Acker, who refused an interview.

Saul F. Herrera - Commissioner, Precinct 3

My name is Saul F. Herrera. I was born and raised in Pecos, and graduated from Pecos High School in 1974. I am married to Pamalia (Bustillos) Herrera.

My parents are Lamberto T. Herrera and Josefa F. Herrera. I am seeking re-election for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3.

I have an Associate Degree in Business Administration, and have been the manager of Desiree Boutique since June of 1997. I worked for Pennzoil Sulphur Company for 21 years. I was the treasurer for the Pecos Baseball Senior League in 1995 and 1996. I am a member of the Board of Directors for the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce. I am also Vice Chairman of the Community Council of Reeves County.

I strongly believe that the taxpayers and citizens of Reeves County must always come first, above anything else, in any decision made by the Commissioners Court.

Reeves County is a poor county and has so many needs, but we are making progress and positive changes to better our community. I believe that we have made a difference. When I say we, I mean myself, commissioner’s court and my constituents and the rest of Reeves County voters and together we have made that difference.

There is a Democratic Presidential Candidate sign that says “A change that you can believe in.” The voters in Reeves County made that change four years ago. I ask my constituents to make the right decision and re-elect Saul F. Herrera.

Rojelio “Roy” Alvarado – Commissioner, Precinct 1

Rojelio “Roy” Alvarado, incumbent candidate for Precinct 1 Commissioner, is seeking a second term in the position in the March 4 Democratic Primary Alvarado was born in Casa Grande Arizona, and moved to Pecos at an early age. “I have been a lifelong resident of Reeves County since,” he said. “I am the father of two children, Camilla and Rojelio Elias. I graduated from Pecos High School and later obtained an Associates Degree in Applied Science, Welding and PC Support certifications from Odessa College.

“I worked for 15 years at Culberson Sulfur Plant and am now currently employed part time at Frank Spencer and Associates.

“During this past 3 years that I have been commissioner I have seen our county’s economy change from a state of uncertainty to a more secure, and prosperous economic condition,” he said.

“If re-elected, I will remain active in all the different aspect of county government, such as:

improving our county road system;

pursue to obtain whatever grant funds we are eligible for;

continue working jointly with the three city entities located within our county;

make sound decisions in administering our detention facility.”

“I will continue in designing and implementing different improvement type projects throughout the county and most of all--- I will see to it that your tax dollar is used wisely.”

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

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