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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pecos woman gets 70 months on drug charges

A Pecos woman is serving 70 months in prison and an El Paso woman has now been sentenced to 262 months in prison resulting from a traffic stop in Ward County. As well, an Odessa man was sentenced last week in federal court on separate drug charges.

United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced that on June 6, 26-year-old Anna Lila Santacruz of El Paso was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Robert Junell ordered that Santacruz be placed under supervised release for a period of 10 years after completing her prison term.

On March 20, 2007, a jury sitting in Midland convicted Santacruz of the drug charge. Testimony at trial established that on Oct. 6, 2005, Renita Tarango of Pecos, was stopped by a Department of Public Safety trooper on Interstate 20 in Ward County.

The trooper discovered she was in possession of 2.7 pounds of methamphetamine. Testimony further established that the methamphetamine was destined for distribution in Austin, and that Santacruz had arranged for Tarango to transport the methamphetamine load from Juarez, as well as a load of similar size the week before that was not intercepted.

Tarango is currently serving a 70-month federal prison sentence for her role in the offense.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Ector County Sheriff’s Office. John Klassen prosecuted for the government.

Sutton also announced that on June 6, an Odessa man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute.In addition to the prison term, United States District Jude Robert Junell ordered 30-year-old Carlos De La Rosa, to be placed under supervised release for a period of eight years after completing his prison term.

On March 2, a federal jury sitting in Midland convicted De La Rosa of possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. Testimony at trial established that Midland and Odessa police detectives executed a search warrant at the Odessa apartment of Christopher Galindo on Sept. 22, 2006, which led to the recovery of a kilogram of cocaine and 17 pounds of marijuana. Evidence further established that De La Rosa, who was present at the time the search warrant was executed, was Galindo’s drug supplier.

Galindo is currently serving a six-year federal prison term for his role in the offense.

The case was investigated by Midland and Odessa police departments, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeff Parras.

Fireworks at Rodeo grounds spark issue at commissioner’s meeting

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, finding a safe and appropriate place to set off fireworks is something the county wants to do, according to commissioners who met Monday morning at the courthouse in a regularly scheduled meeting.

“They brought it to my attention that we may want to designate the rodeo grounds as a place to display fireworks, but that may pose a problem with the rodeo,” said Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras.

West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee President Joe Keese was on hand to discuss the issue with the commissioners.

“Designating that area as a place to display fireworks would really pose a problem for us,” said Keese.

Keese told the group that rodeo events would begin on June 25 with slack and continue until the Fourth of July.

“We’ll have people out there long into the evening on all those days,” said Keese.

Keese said that this year, because they had rescheduled the rodeo, the committee decided to have family events on the Fourth of July, which will fall on a Wednesday.

“We’ll have a kid’s rodeo, with different events, such as barrel racing and stick rodeo,” said Keese.

Keese said that they would also be selling barbecue throughout the day.

“That evening, we’ll have a professional fireworks display,” said Keese.

Keese said that the group spent $13,000 on the fireworks display, which will be free to everyone in the community.

“That’s something else everyone can look forward to,” said Keese.Keese said that if other people brought their fireworks out there it would be a conflict with the choreographed display already planned.

“We’ll be right on top of each other,” said Keese. “We don’t want them to be set off early,” he said.

Safety is also an issue, according to Keese.

“We would like if possible, for the court to designate Martinez Field, as the area to display fireworks,” said Keese.

“There’s a lot of kids and people going through there during the rodeo and the mess left behind is an eyesore for days,” he said.Keese said that if possible the committee would like for the court to designate another area, so that it wouldn’t conflict with the rodeo.

“You don’t have to designate an area, unless there is a burn ban,” said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Reeves County Auditor Alva Alvarez told the group that they couldn’t hold the public to that.

“There is no burn ban, you can’t hold the public to setting their fireworks in a designated area,” said Alvarez.

“You can invite the public to display their fireworks somewhere, but you can’t force them,” said Owens.

“Even if it’s county property, we can’t tell them not to display their fireworks at the rodeo grounds?” asked commissioner precinct 4 Ramiro Guerra.

“It’s a public place, the county belongs to the community,” said Alvarez. “We can encourage them to go somewhere else, but we can’t force them,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez said that since there wasn’t a burn ban, officers couldn’t give them a citation or anything either, for displaying their fireworks at the rodeo grounds.

“We can encourage them to go elsewhere to set them off,” said Alvarez. “The rodeo grounds are public property and we can’t ban them from there,” she said.

Since the item was not on the agenda as an action item, the group opted to table it and put it on the next agenda.

“We’ll put it on the next agenda and maybe designate an area so that everyone can display their fireworks safely,” said Contreras.“It does pose a problem, because there are a lot of people at the rodeo grounds, along with horses,” he said.

School board decides to hire construction manager

Hiring a construction manager, issuing bonds and upgrading the school systems electronic communications abilities were all discussed during the regular school board meeting held Thursday evening.

The board discussed the bond program and architect Monte Hunter, with Hunter Corral Associates, provided a presentation outlining the next steps the district will take, after the bond passed during the May elections.

“This is an outline of what we will do next and a rough draft of which schools will undergo construction first,” said Hunter.Hunter said that they would start with the big picture and then move into the construction phase.

The schedule provided by Hunter showed that construction would begin at Pecos Kindergarten and Austin Elementary School, then continue with Bessie Haynes Elementary, Crockett Junior High and finally Pecos High School.

Hunter said that they would like to focus first on features that improve learning.

“When you do a large bond project such as this, it’s easy to get caught up in the little details,” said Hunter.

“Since there are so many schools that went through the bond issue, will there be a problem finding people to work?” asked board member Paul Deishler.

“That’s why I’m trying to rush you a little bit, so that we can beat them to the punch,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that there was just under $300 million in bonds issued in West Texas. “We’ll probably have people coming in from San Angelo and other areas like that because they are not as busy as in West Texas,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that that was why he wanted this district to move so fast, so that construction could begin right away and there would be a large enough work force.

Hunter told the group that when they start working at Austin Elementary, they will construct the new part and the students will be moved there, while they tear down the old part of the school.“This schedule doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked a little,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Manny Espino.

Hunter said that they were trying to spread the construction out.“If we are looking at moving those sixth graders, we need to start that first then,” said Hunter.

Espino said that this particular meeting was to select a procurement method.

“Tonight that’s the first thing we want to do,” he said.

Hunter recommended that the board go with the “construction manager at risk.”

“That way when we have a problem, we have only one individual to go to and he will take care of everything,” said Hunter.

“Otherwise, you have to go talk to the subcontractors, the plumbers, etcetera,” he said.

The construction manager at risk also provides a guaranteed maximum cost, according to Hunter.

“If the board wants to interview the construction managers, we can do that also,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that this would be the best way for the district to start the huge project.

Also on hand, was Jason Hughes, who talked about selling the bonds and the payout time.

“We’re looking at a 22-year payout, if we see rates will be lower, we can sell at 21 years,” said Hughes.

Hughes said that they have to make the August payment to qualify for EDA funds from the state.

“You could start building now and reimburse yourself later,” said Hughes.

Board members approved the issuance and sale of $30 million in bonds during their meeting and approved the “construction manager at risk” plan for the construction of the PBT-ISD facilities.

In other business the group approved Wofford Communications of Lubbock for a fiber optic infrastructure project.

During the regular Feb. 15 meeting, the PBT board discussed the district’s long range plan of installing fiber optics between the campuses (and dropping the current leased T-I lines between campuses) in order to meet the growing curriculum needs in relation to the network connectivity and bandwidth.

“PBT currently has approximately $400,000 in funds that can be earmarked for this project and the project has the potential to be completed this summer, before school starts,” said technology director Jodi Exum.

Bryan O’Neal, of O’Neal and Associates out of Lubbock, proposed a three-phase solution to the district’s fiber needs.

After the discussion, the board voted to contract with O’Neal and Associates to start the process of the fiber project.

“The question is, do we do Lamar also, or not?” said Espino.Espino said that they needed to decide on a long-range plan for Lamar.

“It’s going to cost a little bit more if we include Lamar, because its way out there and they have to go over the railroad tracks,” said Espino. “Right now they are using Lamar, but only half of it, because the other half needs a lot of work,” he said.

Board members agreed to go ahead and include Lamar in the project.

“If we don’t include it now, it will get more expensive later on,” said Espino.

Pecos Star Party planned

What may be Pecos’ first Star Party is scheduled for this coming Friday night. Pecos High School astronomy teacher Carry Hannsz is planning to hold the event Friday night, or in case of inclement weather, on Saturday night.

“We will meet in Barstow at the old Barstow school at 9 p.m.,” Hannsz said.

Hannsz said there will be at least two telescopes on hand and that he plans to view constellations, some planets and some deep sky objects as well.

“Friday will be the new moon so it’s a good time to view other objects,” he said.

Plans are in the works for a second star party near the end of the month that will be primarily devoted to viewing the moon. The event is free. Anyone interested should contact Hannsz at either his home (445-1170) or on his cell phone (940-1797).

“Give me a call around 8 p.m. Friday,” he said. The party is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.

Olibas, Yanez announce August wedding plans

Mr. and Mrs. Gome Olibas are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Lindsay Marueen Olibas to Joseph Donald Yanez, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Yanez of Big Spring.Lindsay graduated from Pecos High School in 2000 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and English from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She is currently attending Texas Tech School of Law where she is working towards both a J.D. and a Master in Public Administration.

Joseph is a 2000 Big Spring High School graduate and received his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Texas Tech University in 2004. Currently, he is employed at Lubbock ISD where he is teaching Chemistry/Physics at Monterey High School.

The wedding will take place on Aug. 4, in Lubbock, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church.

The couple will reside in Lubbock.

Rodriguez selected to Who’s Who

Sixty Sul Ross State University students have been selected for the 2006-2007 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

The publication recognizes exceptional graduate and undergraduate students. This honor is based on their academic achievements service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities, and potential for continued success.They join an elite group of students from more than 2,000 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states the district of Columbia and several foreign nations.

Jessica A. Rodriguez received this honor on April 16, 2007.She also graduated from SRSU on May 19, with a Bachelor of Science, with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry.

She played softball for SRSU her four years in college.

Rodriguez is the daughter of Diana H. Rodriguez of Odessa and the late Jaime P. Rodriguez and she has one brother, Jayme Lee Rodriguez.

Paternal grandparents are Eva P. Rodriguez and the late Juan E. Rodriguez.

Maternal grandparents are William and Elodia Hartnett of Pecos.

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