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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 16, 2008

Runaway teens sought by police

Pecos police are looking for two teens who reportedly ran away from home on Tuesday night, but who have been in contact with the sister of one of their parents since that time. Police were contacted by Bertha Machuca, who said her 15-year-old daughter, Kathleen Meierhoff, had left home on Tuesday with 17-year-old Allen Medrano. Police Capt. Kelly Davis said they have had contact with both teens in the past.

“That’s her boyfriend. She runs with him quite a bit,” Davis said.

Medrano’s mother, Alicia Medrano, said her son had been in contact with her sister, and police were informed about the phone call.

“He called and told her he’s not going to bring the girl back,” Davis said, while Medrano’s mother and aunt, Amy Lopez, said the teen wants to come home, but Meierhoff is afraid of the reaction of her mother.

“He wants to come home, but he doesn’t want to leave her there,” Alicia Medrano said. She said Allen Medrano told Lopez that Meierhoff fears retaliation by her mother if she returns home.

Davis said Meierhoff is 5-foot-3 and 137 pounds with tinted brown hair. Anyone with information on the two teens is asked to call police at 445-4911.

Preliminary autopsy ready in stabbing case,
police still hunt man sought for questioning

Pecos police said they have no new information into the stabbing deaths of the owners of a west side bar last week, but that a preliminary autopsy report has been sent back to Pecos from the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s office.

The bodies of Rick Cherry, 51, and Alicia “A.J.” Cherry, 48, were sent to El Paso for autopsies after they were found dead on May 7 inside D.J.’s Round-Up, 1826 W. Third Street. The two are believed to have been stabbed to death sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 6 and just after midnight on May 7.

The bodies were found on the afternoon of May 7 by A.J. Cherry’s brother and sister. Police were then called to he scene and conducted their investigation for several hours, before the bodies were removed by Pecos Funeral Home for transport to El Paso.

“They have sent back the autopsy report, but I haven’t seen it yet,” said Capt. Kelly Davis. He said the report was sent to Reeves County Precinct 22 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley, who ordered the autopsy, but Riley’s office is closed this week and the JP is out of town taking a training course. A call to his office on Thursday was not answered.

Randall Lee Stephens, who grew up in Pecos but who had spent most of the past 30 years in prison, was identified as a “person of interest” on May 8 by police. He is believed to have stolen Cherry’s 1995 Ford F-350 pickup, which was located on Sunday morning on Interstate 25 between south of Socorro, N.M., about 375 miles northwest of Pecos.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said on Monday that the department still was classifying Stephens as a “person of interest” rather than a suspect, but had obtained a warrant for Stephens’ arrest on an unrelated charge of failure to register as a sex offender in Pecos.

Stephens was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 1990 as part of a plea bargain agreement on a 1989 charge of burglary of a habitation. The plea was on an original charge of sexual assault for an October 1989 incident, and came after he had been convicted in 23rd District Court in Brazoria County in June of 1986 on a charge of aggravated assault.

Stephens also has had previous arrests locally on vehicle theft charges. Records in 143rd District Court showed Stephens served two years on an April 1978 plea deal for theft over $200 and under $10,000 for stealing a vehicle. At the time of that plea, a 1978 charge of attempted aggravated rape was dismissed in 143rd District Court. In July of 1980, Stephens pled guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, in connection with another vehicle theft.

Commissioners briefed on RCDC improvements

Improvements will be made at the Reeves County Detention Center I/II with funds left over from a previous bond, commissioners were told by the architect for the project, who was on hand at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting Monday at the Reeves County Courthouse.

“There’s $750,000 that needs to be used, it’s money left over from the bond,” said architect Lorraine Dailey, with Dailey and Spear Architects PLLC. She said the funds are from the 2008 bond issue and the remaining funds need to be used at the existing facilities.

Dailey said that they had discussed several projects and had come up with the most important ones that need to be taken care of.

“This money had to be spent on quality of life and not routine repairs,” said Dailey. “Routine repairs cannot be done with these funds.”

Among the items that will be taken care of the funds are air conditioning, laundry units, a 16-by-16 metal building for BOP and the replacement of 15 rooftop units.

Dailey said that the projects were approved by the warden and that they should all fall within the $750,000 allocated.

In other action, commissioners approved extending the outdoor burning ban along with an annual service agreement proposal for the water storage tank/clarifier Cathodic Protection System for RCDC I/II; an agreement with Elms, Faris and Company LLP to conduct consulting services for Reeves County Detention Center I,II,III and the for the jail commissary and inmate accounts for the calendar year 2007, and to proceed in negotiations in leasing the Reeves County Juvenile Probation building to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The group also approved a contract with Intertel phone systems.

Personnel and salary changes included at the RI/II, new hires, Ashley Contreras, SIS Clerk, $29,411 per year; Miriam Gamboa, unit clerk, $29,411 a year; Debbie Salcido, unit clerk, $29,411 a year; correctional officer, Jasmine Armendariz, $31,179; Ricardo Molina and Jessie Rico, case managers, at $32,115.

At the Reeves County Detention Center III, hires were Eric Rodriguez, $33,987; Joshua Anchondo, $22,214 and Velma Payan, case manager, Life Skills Instructor, $39,208.

In the Reeves County Tax-Assessor Department, new hires were Marcela E. Garcia at $19,000 a year and in the Reeves County Judge’s Office, Jonathan Fuentes, at $27,562.

School construction projects about to begin, Chamber told

Graduation plans are underway for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD students and educators are hoping to televise this year’s event, scheduled for the final Friday of the month.

“We’re hoping to televise it this year,” said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Manny Espino. “We talked to a crew, that said that we can have a big screen and have images up high on two different walls.”

Espino reported the good news during the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at noon on Tuesday.

“We’ve talked to them and are hoping to get it done,” said Espino. Graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 30, at the Pecos High School Gym.

Espino said that work on the PHS Pool is coming along fine. The pool needs an estimated $90,000 in repairs to fix a 13-foot deep hole located beneath the southwest side of the 25-year-old building.

“They’re tearing down the wall and are coming back and doing work on the foundation this week,” said Espino.

Espino said that during the last school board meeting the group had agreed to add the Pecos High School track and tennis courts to the many projects that will be worked on this summer.

“We’re hoping to have a district track meet here and will be working on the track,” he said.

Projects will start at Crockett Middle School and Bessie Haynes Elementary and then Austin Elementary.

“We’ll have a lot of construction going on soon,” he said.

Women’s Division President Gail Box said that this is the busiest time of the year for them.

“We had a style show, which went great and are busy getting ready for the pageant,” said Box.

The Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant is scheduled for Friday, June 20, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

“The girls will also be participating in this weekend’s Relay for Life, the older girls will be handing out water and the little ones are in charge of the luminaries,” said Box.

West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee is asking for volunteers to help out during the big event scheduled in July.

“We always need volunteers,” said Joe Keese, president of the committee. The rodeo is scheduled for June 25-28 this year.

He said that they had moved the rodeo from the Fourth of July, so that they wouldn’t be competing for cowboys with other major rodeos.

“Now Reno has moved theirs back also, but the PRCA said that they will help us,” said Keese. “We have moved slack to get a better chance of getting cowboys back,” he said.

“People ask me if they need to know about horses, or that they don’t know anything about horses, that that’s why they don’t volunteer to help out during the rodeo, but you don’t have to know anything about horses,” said member Olga Keese. “There are other things we need help with that have nothing to do with the animals.”

“It’ll be a great show,” said Joe Keese.

The parade, scheduled in conjunction with rodeo events, has been set for 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 25.

“This year’s theme is, ‘Celebrate Our Cowboy Heritage,’” said Elsa Palomino, who is in charge of the event. “We met, but haven’t chosen a grand marshal,” said Palomino.

Palomino said that Eddie Garcia, with KOSA-CBS 7 News will be here as one of the judges.

“We’re excited about that and are hoping to get a lot of entries,” she said.

Some work has been done at the Rodeo Hall of Fame, located across the street from the West of the Pecos Museum.

“We’ve been doing some work and got money together and are busy getting it ready for the induction ceremony,” said Brenda McKinney.

McKinney said that at that time they would be having a barbecue lunch fundraiser.

The induction will be held Friday, morning, June 27, at the Rodeo Hall of Fame, (the old train depot).

“If anyone wants to make a donation, they can,” said McKinney.

Main Street Director Martin Arreguy talked to the group about his many plans for the downtown area.

“I’m going to Austin at the end of the month and will take plans for the Rodeo Hall of Fame,” said Arreguy. “We have to get one thing at a time, but we plan to get more aggressive.”

Board member Greer Willis gave an update on the Dave Ramsey program, a financial program aimed at trying to help with financial problems and clearing up debt.

“We sold 40 kits and 11 turned in, to see the statistics,” said Willis.

Willis said that at the beginning of the program, you are asked to set aside $1,000 for emergencies. “These 11 had set aside $1,800,” he said.

Willis said that the reports indicated that the program worked for those who attended the seminar.

“One of the things that we are trying to do at the high school, with the electives, is to incorporate it into a class,” said Espino. “We’re trying to get it into the schools, a credit/finance class,” he said.

Monahans woman is named Pecos Trails Board coordinator

The Texas Pecos Trail Region board recently named Paula Walker to the position of regional coordinator. The heritage region is part of the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Texas Heritage Trails Program, the award-winning regional tourism initiative that helps Texas communities promote tourism, revitalize local economies and foster community leadership through historic preservation.

Walker will assist with heritage tourism development and promotion in the heritage region’s 22 counties: Andrews, Crane, Crockett, Ector, Edwards, Glasscock, Kimble, Kinney, Loving, Martin, Maverick, Midland, Pecos, Reagan, Reeves, Sterling, Sutton, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler.

For the past four years Walker has worked as a liaison between the THC, the city of Monahans, Monahans Main Street Board of Directors and the Ward County Historical Commission as the Monahans Main Street manager. In addition to her position with the Main Street Program, Walker has served on the Texas Pecos Trail Region board of directors for more than two years.

“My work with the Texas Pecos Trail Region board has developed within me a deep passion and respect for our region and the rich history of this area,” said Walker. “I am thrilled to take on the role of regional coordinator and look forward to further enhancing and promoting this region’s unique heritage tourism.”

Walker has supported the Ward County Historical Commission in becoming a more active entity within the community. Her initiatives with this organization include fund raising, increasing public awareness and promoting resources for economic development. She has organized and hosted membership drives for the Main Street Association, Ward County Historical Commission and the Million Barrel Museum.

For additional information on the Texas Pecos Trail Region, contact Walker at 325/387-2927 or visit For more information about the Texas Heritage Trails Program, contact Janie Headrick, state coordinator, at 512/463-5754. For additional information on Texas travel events and vacation destinations, visit or for a free Texas State Travel Guide call 1-800-8888-TEX.

The Texas Historical Commission is the state agency for historic preservation. The agency administers a variety of programs to preserve the archeological, historical and cultural resources of Texas.

Red Bluff backing Corps’ Pecos River study plan

Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members were generally supportive of a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do a full-length study of the Pecos River in Texas and New Mexico, though they were still wary of contributing money to study sections of the river already studied by state researchers.

The board held their first meeting in two months on Tuesday and discusses several items, including last month’s meeting of the Pecos River Compact Commission in Monahans. Managing director Randall Hartman said the Corps is planning a study of the river from New Mexico down to Amistad Reservoir, though the speed of it will depend on how quickly they can get funding allocated.

“If you want to sign on to it, they’ll take all your money,” Hartman said, while adding that the Corp is seeking federal funds with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is a major landowner in the Pecos River basin of New Mexico.

The study centers on ways to cut down on the salinity of the Pecos River, which goes up sharply in Texas, due to salt spring water coming into the river at Malaga Bend, just north of Red Bluff Lake. Other salt content enters the river between Pecos and the Imperial Reservoir.

“Their plan is not bad, because they’re going to do it all the way down,” he said. “They’ll have to take in the salt in Amistad all the way down to Falcon Dam (on the Rio Grande), so they’ll have to take our salt into account.”

The Pecos River is the major source of salt injection into the Rio Grande at Amistad, and board member Ava Gerke said, “I think the Corps, due to the saline increase at Amistad, and because it is international, will push them into doing something.”

Hartman said the federal funding for the project would come out of the Corp’s general funds, but that it would be low-priority and would be allotted in a series of smaller amounts, to study specific sections of the river. “Depending on other events, they might need the money elsewhere for emergencies,” he told the board.

The water report showed Red Bluff Lake was down about 6,000 acre/feet in April, falling below the 100,000-acre/foot level, but still well above the levels earlier in the decade, which forced cancellation of irrigation releases for two consecutive years.

“We’re losing a lot of water at the lake to the wind and low humidity, and it’s showing up,” Hartman said. Additional water was released downstream to farmers in late April, but didn’t arrive until earlier this month.

“The quality is not the best, but it’s not real bad,” Hartman said.

In other action, the board swore in Ed Curtis as its newest member. Curtis won election last Saturday as the Ward County Water Irrigation District No. 1 representative on the Red Bluff board. Members also approved monthly financial reports for both March and April at the start of Tuesday’s meeting.

School plans gordita plate fundraiser

A Gordita Plate Sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Friday, May 16, at Santa Rosa Hall.

Plates will consist of two gorditas, rice, beans and salad and will cost $6 per plate. Take out or eat in.

The fundraiser is to benefit the Lee Green Scholarship (for Pecos High School Seniors).

For orders on Friday call, 445-2302.

P-B-T to offer summer meals program

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be sponsoring a Summer Food Program.

The program will be from June 2 through July 11, at the Pecos High School, 1201 S. Park.

Breakfast will be from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., and lunch, 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Children and students one year to 18 years old can come and enjoy breakfast and lunch for free.

For adults and teachers the cost of breakfast will be $1.75 and lunch will be $3.25.

Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy.

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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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