Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Family still holds out hope for missing Balmorhea girl
The family of a young Balmorhea girl who disappeared four years ago is still seeking answers and any information provided by the public will be greatly appreciated.
Four years after the disappearance of Monica Carrasco from a residence in Balmorhea, her family continues to search for her, while local law enforcement officials say they also are continuing to investigate the case.
Carrasco has been missing since October 1, 2003.
The 16-year-old 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 last major search was conducted in 2004 with volunteers, search parties and a helicopter.
Her mother, Kathy Carrasco is still hopeful that she will get her daughter back some day. Carrasco, contacted The Laura Recovery Center for missing children out of Friendswood, to coordinate a volunteer search for her daughter in the year following her disappearance.
At that time, the group also brought in four cadaver dogs, a cadaver horse and mule for the search, but the efforts failed to produce any new leads in the case.
Carrasco said that her daughter is a bright, warm and loving person, but that she is easily impressed and can be easily manipulated.
“We have put out the information nationwide and every time we get a lead, we follow up on it,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.
Gomez said that they sometimes receive calls from individuals who claim that they have spotted her. “None of the tips have panned out, but we continue to be hopeful and maybe somebody out there does have information,” he said.
According to a report from the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” Monica Carrasco had trouble coping with the loss of her father, who died of a heart attack in the midst of suffering from bone cancer. She went to live with her aunt and uncle in Balmorhea, Velma and Bela Baeza.
On Oct. 1, 2003, Monica and the Baezas went to bed around the same time. When the couple awoke the next morning the teen was gone. The family immediately contacted local law enforcement agencies.
Shortly before her disappearance, Carrasco was in the hospital for bouts of anorexia and depression. She had trouble coping with depression and anorexia after her father passed away.
A county-wide search was called to try to find Monica. Reeves County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Border Patrol agents searched on foot, from helicopters and with canine rescue units. More than 600 local residents participated.
Carrasco was last seen wearing a beige nightgown and walking barefoot holding a Bible. In 2003, she was 5’5” and weighed 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.
She would be turning 21 in December 2007.
Carrasco’ mother 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 Kathy Carrasco.
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.
Fall Fair cook-off continues to seek entries
Over three dozen entries have already been submitted for this weekend’s World Championship Barbeque Beef Cook-off, scheduled for Friday night and Saturday as part of the annual Reeves County Fall Fair.
A total of 41 teams already have entered the 34th Annual Barbecue Cook-off, with signups continuing throughout this week.
Entry fee for the cook-off, is $50 per space, and will take place Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.
Those wanting to reserve a space can do so at the KIUN Radio, 316 S. Cedar.
The cook-off will feature pork ribs and beef brisket and prizes will be awarded in the different categories.
Deadline to sign up is 5 p.m., Friday and spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Set-up is available on Thursday, Oct. 4.
For more information about the cook-off, contact Cody West at 445-2497 or the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce at 445-2406.
Other events will be held next door at the Reeves County Civic Center, including arts and crafts, a food show, a livestock show, Kid’s Kraft Corner, a herb show, quilting and more.
All entries (except, home economics culinary and cut stems and/or live plants in the herb show) will be accepted at the Reeves County Civic Center from noon until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2.
All home economics culinary and cut stems and/or live plants in the herb show will be accepted from 7:30-9:30 a.m., Friday.
Theme this year for the Annual Student Art Show is “Fall” and students in the Head Start through high school can enter their art in the contest.
A Kid’s Kraft Corner will be set up inside the civic center and will have basic kits bagged up for sale. Kids must be eight and up unless accompanied by a parent to do these crafts.
A Pretty Baby Contest will be held, sponsored by the Women’s Division of the chamber of commerce.
Babies ages 0-24 months are eligible to enter and the deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 3.
First, second and third place prizes will be awarded.
Applications can be picked up at the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, 111 S. Cedar.
Commissioners OK deductions for credit repair
About 18 employees at the Reeves County Detention Center have already accepted a loan from the prison’s management firm GEO to help re-establish their credit and keep their jobs.
Reeves County Commissioners met Friday afternoon to discuss and authorize payroll deductions for the employees’ repayment to GEO, as part of an effort to maintain the current number of workers at the prison, which has been short-staffed for over a year.
“As we had previously discussed GEO assisted several employees, providing financial assistance to these employees,” said Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras. “This was done in order to help the employees keep their jobs.”
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which contracts with the county to house low-risk prisoners at the RCRC, had requested that all employees undergo credit checks to improve prison security, causing some employees to quit and others to be let go. The changes came at the same time the RCDC has been attempting to add over 60 new workers at the facility, which has a capacity of more than 3,700 inmates.
GEO has stepped in and offered some of the employees an alternative to their credit problems, by providing loans, which can be repaid through deductions from their paychecks.
“This is not coming from the county, commissioners court is just authorizing the payroll deductions, but the county is not providing the money,” said Contreras.
“Are they going to charge interest?” asked commissioner precinct 3 Saul Herrera.
“No interest and the loans are up to $13,500,” said Contreras.
Contreras said that GEO is looking to assist 18 employees.
“Some other employees had huge debts, so they only assisted those that had debts up to $13,500 and the ones affected were 18 employees,” said Contreras.
Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens said that the employees had to give signed permission for the payroll deductions.
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.
Eleuterio O. Perez, 41, 617 s. Palm St., was arrested by police on Sept. 22 on charges of evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle and deadly conduct. Police said the arrest was made following a high speed chase that began at Eighth and Cedar streets and continued south on Cedar Street and then west on Raul Florez Boulevard, before ending in a collision in the 900 block of Raul Florez Boulevard. Perez was placed under arrest and then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Roger G. Salazar, 19, 409 E. 15th St., was arrested by police on Sept. 21 on a warrant for public intoxication. A second charge of evading arrest or detention was added when police said Salazar tried to run from officers who were serving he warrant, at 9 a.m. in the 1200 block of Iowa Street. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Arturo Hernandez Rayos, 35, 1512 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on Sept. 22 on a charge of failure to pay a fine on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrested was made at 7:30 a.m. in the 400 block of West Walthall Street, and Rayos was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Joe Daniel Wright, 29, 411 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on Sept. 23 on a warrant charging him with terroristic threat, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 1:53 a.m. in the 900 block of South Cedar Street, and Wright was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Paul Marquez Abila, 28, 1712 S. Hackberry St., was arrested by police on Sept. 23 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at Abila’s home, and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Mirna Carrasco, 31, 2408 Country Club Dr., Edna Rubio, 28, 510 North Hickory St., and Miguel Burciaga Madrid, 22, of Presidio was arrested by police on Sept. 16 on charges of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made at Sixth and Palm streets, and the three were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Manuel Alberto Samaniego, 31, 611 S. Alamo St., was arrested on Sept. 16 on a charge of allowing unauthorized persons to drive, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred at Sixth and Palm streets, and Samaniego was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Alfonso Garcia, 31, 511 S. Elm St., was arrested by police on Sept. 16 on a charge of driving without a license, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred at Sixth and Palm streets, and Garcia was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Auden Fidel Navarrete, 17, was arrested by police on Sept. 16 on a charge of evading arrest or detention, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made after an incident at 1846 Washington Street, and Navarrete was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Neyva Rodriguez, 17, 704 S. Maple St., and Ramon Palomino Jr., 22, 2122 S. Missouri St., were arrested by police on Sept. 16 on charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made at 1846 Washington St., and both persons were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Arturo Garcia Hernandez, 25, of Midland, was arrested by police on Sept. 15 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at the Suavacito Club, 900 S. Cedar St., and Hernandez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Camilo Martinez Salcido, 63, 515 S. Almond St., was arrested by police on Sept. 20 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 600 block of East Second Street, and Salcido was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Raul Garcia, 34, 8812 S. Cypress St., was arrested by police on Sept. 19 on a warrant out of Nolan County (Sweetwater). Police said the arrest was made in the 600 block of South Cedar Street, and Garcia was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Marco Antonio Rubio, 31, 2115 Country Club Dr., was arrested by police on Sept. 18 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at Rubio’s home, and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Oscar Archuleta Jr., 24, 1519 Hackberry St., was arrested by police on Sept. 18 on charges of driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, search of transport, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop at 9:54 a.m. at the intersection of 14th and Cedar streets and Archuleta was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Abel Sanchez, 37, 1009 E. Fourth St., was arrested by police on Sept. 18 on a charge of theft. Police said the arrest was made after Sanchez allegedly stole $112.50 in property from the Flying J Truck Stop, 100 W. Pinehurst St., with prior convictions enhancing the charge to a state jail felony. Sanchez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Paul Anthony Olivarri, 26, 1712 Washington St., was arrested by police on Sept. 19 on a warrant for theft by check over $20 and under $500. Police said the arrest was made after Olivarri’s 1999 Chevrolet Blazer was stopped for a traffic violation in the 1500 block of Veterans Boulevard. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Lidia R. Munoz, 57, 410 S. Hickory St., was arrested by police on Sept. 8 on a warrant charging her with filing a false alarm or report, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 7:09 p.m. at her home, and she was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
A 14-year-old female juvenile was arrested by police on Sept. 9 on a charge of assault causing bodily injury. Police said the incident occurred on Aug. 9 in the 2400 block of South Eddy Street, and the teen was arrested in the 500 block of South Mesquite Street and transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.
Enrique Natividad Lujan, 52, 1502 Cowan St., was arrested by police on Sept. 7 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made in the 700 block of South Walnut Street, and Lujan was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Francisco Menchaca, 34, 500 Pine St., was arrested by police on Sept. 7 on a charge of theft. Police said the arrest was made in the 2000 block of South Cedar Street, and Menchaca was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Manuel Ramirez, 312 Business I-20 in Barstow, was arrested by police on a warrant for failure to pay a fine on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made on the Balmorhea Highway following a traffic stop, when a records check revealed the outstanding warrant. Ramirez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Miguel Saldana, 22, of Monahans, was arrested by police on Sept. 8 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St., and Saldana was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Pablo R. Munoz, 33, 410 S. Hickory St., was arrested by police on Sept. 8, on a warrant for accident involving damage to a vehicle, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 7:09 p.m. at his home, and Munoz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
PEDC to hold initial meeting with 4B board
The new 4B Pecos Economic Development Corp. will hold its organizational meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday on the second floor of the TransPecos Bank building.
Members will nominate and elect a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary/treasurer and executive director during the meeting, along with discussion and approval of the budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Town of Pecos City voters in May approved conversion of the 9-year-old PEDC from a 4A to a 4B corporation, which became effective on Monday. Under state law, a 4B corporation can spend funds on additional projects such as tourism under the idea of increasing funds coming into the local economy. Town of Pecos City Council members on Sept. 13 named seven persons to the new 4B PEDC board, only two of whom were holdovers from the current five-person 4A board.
Jimmy Dutchover and Leo Hung were reappointed to the new 4B board, for two-year terms. Also named to the PEDC board for two years were city councilman Danny Rodriguez and city manager Joseph Torres. Named to one year terms were mayor Dick Alligood, along with Bill Oglesby and Paul Hinojos, the presidents of the local branches of TransPecos Bank and West Texas National Bank.
Dropped from the board were councilman Gerald Tellez, Al Gomez and Keese, the Chief Executive Officer of TransPecos Bank and president of the current PEDC board.
On Thursday, current PEDC president Mike Burkholder met with city council members in executive session for over an hour, as part of the council’s regular meeting at City Hall. Following the meeting, the council in open session approved authorizing Burkholder to wrap up all of the 4A ECD’s business before the 4B went into effect this week.
City approves new restrictions, rules on high-volume water use
Town of Pecos City Council members clarified rules on use and resale of water at high volume discharge sites, and weighed hiring a hydrologist sometime early next year to look into the effect the higher volumes of water use will have on the city’s aquifer.
The council approved an authorization of the resale of city water, and gave approval with restrictions to a pair of requests for high-volume water use sites, by Roy Lindsey and M&W Hot Oil, both on the Balmorhea Highway.
M&W has been operating a water station for its trucks and others south of Interstate 20, while Lindsey plans to build a new water station on land he purchased last month at the Balmorhea Highway and Business I-20.
Public Works Director Edgardo Madrid said the two companies needed to give the city information on how much water they would use, and what the water would be used for. Council members were told at their Sept. 14 meeting that the increase in drilling activity in the area was going to create a sharp increase in water usage by drilling-related companies.
Madrid also said the companies need to be in compliance with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rules designed to prevent contamination of the city’s water supply due to backflow from trucks filling up with water.
He said an overhead system, with an air gap between the nozzle and the truck, prevents backflow, but connections via hoses from the back of the trucks require a backflow protection system. “M&W has an air gap, but not a backflow prevention assembly,” he said.
Madrid also said M&W’s water station had used 64,000 gallons of water over a six-hour period on Thursday, while their permit request calls for monthly usage of 300,000 gallons. Holly Key with M&W told the council most of that was due to non-company trucks filling up at the site, and they planned to stop allowing other trucks to fill up in their yard due to the city’s new rules, which also require water to be charged at the well rate of $11.03 per 1,000 gallons.
“We haul very little water out of there, and you’ll see 80 percent reduction in your water use.”
Key also told the council they would be using the overhead water system until their backflow prevention devices are in place.
Madrid told the council they wanted to wait a few months to gauge the impact of the new bulk water use law before hiring a hydrologist to study the long-term effects to the city’s water supply. Mayor Dick Alligood said funds from the well rate water use could fund the study.
In other action, the council also gave their final approval to the budget for the 2008 fiscal year, which began on Monday, along with the city’s new tax rate of .73064 cents per $100 in valuations. That’s eight cents lower than last year’s tax rate, but due to sharp increases in sales tax and motel tax collections, it is 10 cents above the rollback tax rate.
Voters do have the option to petition to conduct an election to roll back the tax rate to the .63 cent level. Local voters rejected the two more recent tax rollback votes, which involved tax rates for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board.
Council members also approved a measure authorizing the standard home exemptions that have been approved in the past by council members. Over 65 homeowners will receive a $15,000 exemption, those with medical disabilities will get $10,000 exemptions and veterans’ exemptions will be based on the level of disability.
Also approved was an ordinance authorizing new stop signs between the 1700 and 200 blocks of Jefferson Street and an continued lease of property to Gilbert Gonzales of land on I-20 next to the Town and Country Food Store for a produce stand. City attorney Scott Johnson said the rate could be the same as the one negotiated by the city for Gonzales in June, when the stand was first set up, though Alligood said the stand might have to relocate if the city decides to reactivate a water well between the stand and the Reeves County Golf Course for water truck use.
Council OKs doubling funding for matching airport lights grant
Town of Pecos City Council members got an unwelcome budget surprise on Thursday, when they were told the installation of new runway lights at the Pecos Municipal Airport would cost over twice as much as the initial estimate.
Council members discussed the problem, before agreeing to pay an addition $31,000 for the project, in order to qualify for a 90 percent matching grant for the project, following a long discussion during their regular meeting on Thursday at City Hall.
Airport manager Isabel Blanchard said an expanded project by the Texas Department of Transportation was the reason for the big jump in the cost, which was presented to the Pecos Airport Board on Sept. 18.
“The cost went from $280,000 to $593,000, so we have a $31,000 increase in our commitment in the 2008 budget,” said mayor Dick Alligood. The city’s exact 10 percent share of the project comes to $59,277, council members were told.
Blanchard said the increase was caused by TxDOT opting to replace the lights on both of the airport’s runways at once, instead of doing one runway now and another later.
“They’re trying to coordinate the project with the Wink Airport,” she said. “They may got more contractor bids with dual projects.”
City manager Joseph Torres supported adding the $31,000 to the project, due to the 90-10 split in funding between the state and city. “We’ve been deferring maintenance,” Torres said. “I believe this is a good investment.”
Council members were upset about the short notice on the increase, coming just after the city finalized its budget for the 2008 fiscal year.
“We didn’t get this until today to look at,” said councilman Michael Benavides. “I don’t feel like getting pressured to decide on this, but I understand we need it.”
City public works director Edgardo Madrid agreed with Torres on the need for the runway light replacements. “Instead of raising the budget … the only thing we can do to make this work is to cut expenses or transfer money from other areas,” he said.
“I just don’t want to transfer from department to department. We’ve already cut to the minimum,” said councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela.
“I have no problem with moving funds,” said councilman Frank Sanchez. “We just need to have an idea where it comes from.”
Two options discussed by the council was payments by city agencies using spare hangars at the airport going to the matching funds for the project, or the sale of city land at the edge of the airport on the Balmorhea Highway, where a proposed industrial park would be located.
Pecos Economic Development Corp. president Mike Burkholder said several companies are seeking larger lots for their yards, and that the 60 acres of land could be subdivided and sold off to fund the project. “Even at $1,000 or $1,500 an acre, it’s a bargain for these people,” he said.
In the end, the council opted to go with taking the money from the hangar payments through other departments, which include the water department, police department and parks department, along with the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Madrid said the city’s share of the estimated $593,000 project had to be submitted by December, and that the city could receive a rebate if the bids come in lower than the final amount.
GED testing set for mid-October
GED Testing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Pecos High School.
Registration is scheduled between 1-4 p.m., at the Pecos High School, Room 2.
Examinees must present a Texas Driver’s License or Texas Department of Public Safety ID Card.
For more information call Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselor’s at 447-7229.
Scrimmages raise $528 for disabled players
Admissions and other sales made during the Pecos Eagles’ two home football scrimmages last month raised over $500 for the Texas High School Coaches Association Benevolence Fund.
The $1 admission to the Aug. 18 scrimmage against Seminole raised $240, while the Aug. 23 scrimmage with Greenwood added an additional $388.60 to the Texas High School Football Coaches Association Benevolent Fund. The fund was created by the THSCA to benefit high school players who have suffered catastrophic injuries.
Mentone hosts Jr. bullrider’s event
The Texas Junior Bullrider’s Association State Finals will be held Friday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., at the Mentone Rodeo Arena, Hwy. 302, Mentone.
Mutton bustin’, calf riding, steer riding and bull riding will be held.
There will be an admission charge at the gate and a concession stand will offer hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks, candy and more.
For more information contact Barbara at 448-4615 or 377-2231.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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