Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Mom still hopeful missing girl will come home safe
By ROSIE FLORES
On a day that a young lady should be celebrating her birthday with her family, instead a mother prays for her safe return.
Monica Carrasco has been missing since October, two years ago, but her mother, Kathy Carrasco is still hopeful that she will get her daughter back someday.
“Today is her birthday, she’s 18 years old,” said Kathy Carrasco.
Sixteen-year-old Monica Carrasco disappeared from her uncle’s home in Balmorhea sometime between the late evening of Oct. 1 and the early morning of Oct. 2. Searches were conducted without success in the days and weeks following her disappearance in and around the Balmorhea area.
The latest search was conducted in earlier this year with volunteers, search parties and a helicopter.
The search was conducted after Carrasco’s mother, Kathy Carrasco, contacted The Laura Recovery Center for missing children out of Friendswood, to coordinate a volunteer search for her daughter.
The group also brought in four cadaver dogs, a cadaver horse and mule.
“I still have hopes that she is out there somewhere and I want her to know that I love her, miss her and want her back home,” said Carrasco. “I want to tell her happy birthday, Monica, we love and miss you,” she said.
Carrasco said that her daughter is a bright, warm and loving person, but that she is easily impressed and can be easily manipulated.
“There was a picture on the internet, of a church web site that looked like her,” said Carrasco.
Carrasco said that she had contacted the church, but that the minister had denied that it was Monica. “However, he took that picture off the web site,” said Carrasco.
Carrasco said she thinks her daughter is still out there. “I think it will be related to religion, because she was searching for religion, for something,” said Carrasco.
“Monica had been staying with my sister and her husband, because she had been ill and in the hospital,” said Carrasco. “She asked me if she could please stay with her aunt and I said yes,” she said.
Carrasco said that her daughter had just been with her relatives for two weeks, before her disappearance.
“And now my sister has changed her number, but I want Monica to know that she can call me and let me know how she is doing,” said Carrasco.
Carrasco said that thinking that her daughter is still alive is what keeps her going.
Nobody heard anything in the early morning hours of her daughter’s disappearance and there were no real leads. “My brother-in-law said that he just heard some dogs barking, but didn’t go check,” she said.
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said that his office has not given up on her. “We’ve just been real busy with other things, but we do hope to find her,” he said.
“We haven’t heard anything lately and no new leads, but we haven’t given up hope,” said Gomez.
“We’ll continue to keep looking and are looking at other avenues to use,” he said.
The Laura Recovery Center was formed after the abduction and murder of 12-year-old Laura Kate Smither in Friendswood in 1997. Since that time the Center has assisted over 800 families searching for their missing loved one.
If anyone has any questions contact the Laura Recovery Center at 281-482-5723.
Monica Carrasco lived in Alpine, but was staying in Balmorhea at the time of her disappearance. She is described as 110 pounds, black hair with red streaks, brown eyes and 5-foot-5 in height. She has a small mole on her cheek and a chicken pox scar near her hairline on her forehead.
Individuals can call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office at 432-445-4901 or the local Crime Stoppers, 432-445-9898, Midland Crime Stoppers at 432-694-TIPS or 1-800-7-LOCKUP or any local law enforcement agency with any information that might be beneficial to the investigation.
Crime Stoppers would like to stress that callers will remain anonymous and that no caller ID is ever used on a call.
Special meeting to be held
A notice of special meeting for the Board of Directors for the Pecos Economic Development Corp will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15.
The group will review, discuss and vote on amendments to the by-laws.
PNH having a shopping day
The Country Store at the Pecos Nursing Home will be having a special shopping day for all the residents of the home from 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 15, in the lobby area.
This Christmas shopping will be for all the residents only.
Donations for the store are being accepted and individuals can contact the activity department at the nursing home at 447-2183, or for more information.
Santa will be at PNH for pictures
Santa pictures will be taken at the Pecos Nursing Home from 4-7 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 15, Thursday, Dec. 16 and Thursday, Dec. 23.
Adults and children can have their picture taken with Santa for $5 for a five by seven photograph.
The event is being held to benefit the Relay for Life.
School board eyes new roofs, fire alarms
By ROSIE FLORES
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will seek competitive, sealed proposals for different projects at three separate campuses in the district, following Thursday’s meeting.
The PBT-ISD Board met last Thursday to discuss several items including the proposals for the projects the district has been planning to work on.
“This is something we had discussed doing at the different campuses,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews.
Matthews said that since the rollback election had been a success it was possible to go ahead with these projects, since the items had already been budgeted.
The projects are scheduled for the summer of 2005.
Matthews presented the group with estimates of how much had been budgeted for each item.
Pecos Kindergarten roof replacement would be about $168,000; Bessie Haynes roof replacement, $234,000 and fire alarms for buildings at Pecos High School including the pool, gym, Buildings A and B would be about $90,000.
The group agreed to go out for competitive sealed proposals for these projects as well as for a new SUV for the district.
“We have budgeted $26, 000 for the SUV,” said Matthews.
Board members received a report on the Austin Elementary School Gym, the Eagle Stadium and track.
“The project was inspected Dec. 8 and the punch list is almost complete,” said Matthews. Replacement doors still need some weather stripping and adjustment,” he said.
Matthews said that the contractor had offered a $1,500 refund to accept crooked roof panels. “But we are negotiating a higher price on that,” he said.
A notice was sent to Field Turf requiring correction by punch list by Dec. 21. “The punch list is being corrected, slowly,” said Matthews. “The contractor has been on site for the last two weeks,” he said.
Notice has been sent to Field Turf requesting track surfacing schedule by Dec. 10.
“If no schedule is received, we notify Field Turf that we recommend the district hire another contractor to surface the track,” said Matthews. “Extra cost associated with another contractor will be deducted from Field Turf contract,” he said.
The board had gone out a second time for bids, since Field Turf had said that they did not want to do the track after all, but those bids came in too high.
“Those bids were too high, but we may have to go with one of them,” said Matthews.
The track was scheduled to be resurfaced by Feb. 1.
Board members listened to a report from Lucy Pannell, of Houston, business director with First Choice Power and agreed to a two-year contract with a six-month extension with the electric company.
Matthews told the board that they had received one proposal, which was from First Choice Power, the current provider.
“These ladies are here in case you have any questions and to share information,” said Matthews.
Carol Guerrero, of the Pecos office, along with Mya Griffin, of Ft. Stockton were also on hand for the regular meeting.
Pannell told the group that her specialty was school districts and outlined the best plan for PBT-ISD.
“Even if we’re the only bidder, we want to help you and do what is best for your school district,” said Pannell.
Pannell said that they have a local office here and employ local individuals.
She also said that if the district wanted, they could provide someone to do an energy evaluation at no cost to the district.
“The first thing they will be to get rid of some of the meters and they will come up with some recommendations to help you in other areas,” said Pannell.
Pannell said that the group would come in and do a study and give suggestions.
In other business, the board approved letting West Texas Catholic Communities use the Pecos High School Auditorium and waive the fees.
Tino Acosta was on hand to tell the group about the event that the West Texas Catholic Communities will be bringing.
“We’d like to go in on April 21, from 5-6 p.m. to set up and get things ready,” said Acosta.
The even t is scheduled for the weekend of April 22. “We’ll have a lot of worship during the day and at night there will be a concert,” said Acosta.
Acosta said that mariachi and gospel music will be featured at the concert.
Matthews told the group about the West Texas Fury, a semi pro football team that wanted to use the Eagle Stadium.
“At first I thought it would be a good idea, when Coach Willis first approached me about this,” said Matthews. “But after really looking into it, I don’t think it’s such a good idea after all,” he said.
Matthews said that the group gave short notice and that the date they wanted to come to Pecos, there would be a lack of volunteers.
“They wanted to be here on the week that everybody is gone, Dec. 18 or Dec. 19,” said Matthews.
Matthews said that there would be a lack of volunteers and would not be profitable to the district.
Matthews suggested that the board take no action on this item at this time.
“Maybe we can look at it another time and they can come in then,” he said.
Tax rebate down for 4th Qtr but still up for 2004
The final tax rebate check of 2004 was down for all three of Reeves County’s cities and the Reeves County Hospital District. But overall tax rebates for three of the four were up by $80,000 for 2004, compared to the 12-month totals for 2003.
State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office sent out rebate checks last week, and Pecos’ 1 1/2-cent sales tax netted the city $52,396, which was down 3.9 percent from last year’s $54,532 total. However, the drop for December didn’t keep the city from showing an overall increase for 2004. Tax rebate money for the year was $795,252, up by 5.35 percent from last year’s $754,832 total.
Out of the city’s 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8 1/4-cent sales tax, one-sixth goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp. For December, that came to $8,733, while for the year, the PEDC received $132,562 in sales tax funds.
Balmorhea also was down for December in its tax rebate check, but up overall for 2004. The city got back $592 last month, down 10.9 percent from last year’s $664, but overall this year Balmorhea received $17,514, which was a 58 percent increase over last year’s $11,085.
Meanwhile, Toyah’s decline for December ended up leaving the city with a net loss in tax rebates overall for the year. Rylander’s office said the city got back $348 on its 1 1/2-cent sales tax, a drop of 30.7 percent from last year’s $502 total, and the $154 decline left Toyah $138 behind last year, at $5,601, a 2.4 percent decline.
The hospital district’s rebate check on its 1/2-cent sales tax for December was $19,745, which was down 28.9 percent from last year’s $27,767 total. However, for the year the hospital received $355,046 in sales tax rebates, an increase of 10.2 percent over last year’s $322,181.
Overall in Reeves County, the combined two-cent sales tax netted $1,173,414 in 2004, which was up from the $1,093,836 in sales tax rebates sent out to Pecos, Balmorhea, Toyah and the hospital district in 2003.
Most other area cities reported gains for December and overall were up from their 2003 totals.
Alpine’s check for $62,544.91, was down 9.1 percent, but overall it was up 4.9 percent for the year. Andrews $66,083 check was up 18.2 percent, and for the year the city was up 3.9 percent. Big Spring’s December check was $286,876.13, up 2.1 percent and for the year its total was 10.2 percent above 2004. Crane’s $27,153.93 check was up 62 percent, and overall it was up 26.2 percent this year. Fort Stockton’s check for $117,032.78 was up 18.5 percent for the month and the city was up 3.3 percent for the year. Monahans’ check for $71,841.22 was 9.6 percent high this month and the city was 12.5 percent ahead of last year. Kermit check was $27,526.54, up 23.7 percent over December of 2003 and 7.2 percent ahead of last year, Marfa received $14,855.99, which was up 12.3 percent for the month, and the city was 2.7 percent ahead of last year, while Presidio’s check for $19,377.53 was 0.2 percent higher for the month, and it’s 2004 overal l total was almost 5 percent ahead of last year.
For the area’s two largest cities, Midland’s December check for $1.7 million was , up 14.8 percent, while Odessa’s $1.1 million check was 7.1 percent higher. Odessa’s 2004 totals were 5.9 percent ahead of 2003, while Midland’s sales tax collections were just under 9 percent ahead of last year.
Pogram held by The Modern Study Club
The Modern Study Club met recently for an Americanism Department Program held in the home of Juracy Ray, with Paula Fuller, department chairman in charge.
Fuller chose for her thought-quote for the program, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chain and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but for me, give me liberty or give me death!” - Patrick Henry. She passed out brochures on - “Our flag - things you should know,” regarding flag etiquette.
Fuller introduced L.M. Ray who presented the program, “Comments from a World War II Veteran.” Mr. Ray told of his love for America and how he felt that we should always honor, respect and praise our nation. He talked of WW II and expressed his thoughts of that being the greatest generation.
On Nov. 2, 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 18 while attending Angelo State University. Today, we talk about how young our boys in Iraq are, when in reality we were just the same age.
Mr. Ray attended basic training at Camp Wallace, near Houston, then he received his classification of Chaplain’s Assistant. A troop train took him to Fort Meade, MD where he had opportunity to visit both New York and Washington, D.C.
His visits to the White House, Capitol of the United States of America, Arlington National Cemetery, Statute of Liberty, and Ellis Island only served to cause him to appreciate and love America even more.
After training for Coast Artillery he went to the Hampton Road Port to Embarkation at New Port News, Virginia and boarded a ship for overseas duty. The crossing took 12 days to land in Naples, Italy. Sometime later they were sent to Rome where they stayed in Mussolini’s horse stables with “mattress” of hay.
While there the Allied Forces were given the privilege to swim in the King’s swimming pool which was about the length of two football fields long. Before leaving Rome he had a chance to visit the Vatican City and see the Pope.
Mr. Ray’s next assignment was in Marseilles, France. He said evidently they lost track of him. Finally, after four months, my name was called at mail call - “I received four packages as well as 88 letters and I had a great time reading the letters and enjoying the package contents. I wrote my parents every day.
After a stint in Nova, Italy and going through Brenner Pass Austria there was a big Memorial Day Celebration and parade. The commanding officer laid a wreath on a grave and he was chosen to be one of the soldiers to do the 21 gun salute. While in Germany, Ray served as a Supply Sergeant in the First Armored Division.
Mr. Ray displayed a key he’d found in a castle in Germany and also had opportunity to visit a friend who had been wounded and received the Purple Heart. While in France, they met a family named Pons and he was invited to attend church with them and then go home with them. These people had three children and were very friendly. He gave the strawberry preserve his mother had sent him for Christmas to Mrs. Pons and she used them in a cake for Christmas dinner.
Mr. Ray has corresponded with this family and received photographs of them and their descendants for over 60 years.
After his two years of service abroad he was sent to Germany - and as he walked up the street, he met his best friend Wolbert Krezer from San Anglo - both of them were headed home - but on different ships. While waiting, someone began passing out ice cream to the soldiers. They had not had any milk products in over two years so they got in line again and again.
Ray continued, “At last we were coming home to our families and friends in America. May God always bless her and may we always love and respect her. God Bless America.”
He still corresponds with one family in France - three families in Germany.
President Lena Harpham presided during the meeting. Catherine Travland led the Collect and President Harpham led the pledges to the United States of America and Texas flags as all repeated with them in unison. A treasurers report was given and the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.
During correspondence a letter was read from Lois Grant, WD MDA Chairman, regarding funds for M.D.A. Cancer Research and also giving a report on that facility. A letter from Nancy Betts, Developing Director, of Safe Place in Midland thanking us for our donation and visitation, was also read.
Worksheets for Club Profile were passed out for members input. Information is needed before January. The Profile will be used in the archives of TFWC at Texas Women’s University in Denton.
Members decided to contribute $25 to Western District alma Van Sickle Scholarship Fund in memory of beloved member, Doris Moorman.
A motion was passed unanimously to nominate Margie Williamson for Western District Life Membership. A motion was passed unanimously to nominate Joyce Morton for Western District Outstanding Clubwoman/Volunteer.
It was noted that books for the newborn baby packets would soon be needed by the Reeves County Hospital Auxiliary and plans were made to order them soon.
New plans were made for the MSC Christmas Party. A dinner and ornament exchange will be held on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Pecos Valley Country Club.
Roll call was answered by giving a “Memory of World War II.”
Juracy Ray, hostess served delicious refreshments to 10 members and one guest.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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