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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, October 26, 2007

Three jailed after standoff at motel following robbery

A 30-year-old man from Alabama and two female juveniles were arrested in Pecos Wednesday morning following a standoff of over two hours at Motel 6, in connection with an overnight armed robbery in Wickett.

Jason Gilliland, 30, surrendered to Pecos Police shortly after 7:30 a.m. following the 2 1/2 hour standoff at the motel, where a vehicle linked to the early morning incident at the Sun Mart Texaco in Wickett had been located. Capt. Kelly Davis said police had been contacted by the Ward County Sheriff’s Department at 12:38 a.m. after they had been called to the site of the robbery.

“Officers began searching the area, and after being contacted by a worker at a local convenience store about a vehicle and suspects matching the information, Sgt. (Armando) Garcia located the vehicle at Motel 6 a little after 5 a.m.” Davis said. “Pecos police SWAT team members, along with the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, set up a perimeter around the motel rooms adjacent to the one they were in, and evacuated those rooms.” Texas DPS Capt. Emmitt Moore also assisted with the standoff, Davis said. Police were in contact by phone with Gilliland and the two juveniles. The girls left the room first, before Gilliland was finally convinced to surrender to officers.

Ward County Chief Deputy Ben Deishler said Gilliland had allegedly taken $130 from the Sun Mart in Wickett after threatening the clerk with a pipe. “He went in with a pipe and went across the counter and said ‘Give me the money’,” Deishler said. He then left in a white car and headed west on Interstate 20.

Davis said all three had been reported missing to authorities in Alabama, and were arrested on charged of robbery out of the Ward County Sheriff’s Department. All three were turned over to Ward County deputies and taken to Monahans to face the robbery charge. The two girls were turned over the custody of juvenile detention officials.

Davis said officers were collecting other information from the motel room, including sheets from the room’s beds, and that the FBI in Alabama was looking at possible additional charges that could be filed in the case.

P-B-T looks to solve substitute teacher shortage

Substitute teachers are needed in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, and an orientation is being planned by the district to recruit more individuals. “At this time, we’re just having a shortage of substitutes to cover our classrooms when a teacher needs to be out,” said P-B-T ISD Personnel Director Rey Villareal.

He said that the district currently has the same number of substitutes as last year, but that a lot of the individuals can only substitute a certain day or want to substitute at only the elementary level.

“There are some that prefer only high school,” said Villareal. “Either way, we will try to accommodate them and place them at the campus that they would prefer.

“There are some individuals that want to substitute at a campus where they have a student attending,” he said. “We can tailor it any way that they want.”

A substitute teacher orientation is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Technology Center, for those individuals that would like to learn more about substituting and what is required.

“If they have any questions they can contact me or my secretary Becky Chabarria,” said Villareal.

Along with the more limited hours, he that because of illness and more staff development activities there is a greater need for substitutes. “There are a lot more staff development meetings to meet requirements, which means taking the teacher out of the classroom,” said Villareal. This year the district hired 24 new teachers and 46 new employees were enrolled in the district.

“One of the most important things to stress is if an individuals commits to be a substitute, we really need for them to show up, because this puts a strain on the principals,” he said.

The number of college hours required to be a substitute is down from previous years, but the pay scale is higher.

“We have a new pay scale and substitutes are getting paid a little more this year,” said Villareal.

All substitutes must have a minimum of six college semester hours. Individuals with 6-15 college hours will get paid $50; 16-30 college hours, $55 and 31 plus college hours, $60.

The pay for substitute teachers who stand in for a teacher 20 consecutive days or longer will be $70 a day.

The first step to becoming a substitute is to fill out an application with the personnel department. Individuals must provide official current college transcript; W-4 form; I-9 Form; a social security card, driver’s license and birth certificate.

All individuals will undergo background security check.

For more information contact the personnel office and speak to Rey or Becky Chabarria at 447-7202.

PEDC studies new by-laws, code of ethics rule

The new board members for the Pecos Economic Development Corp. got a look at the proposed by-laws for the 4B corporation on Tuesday, during a meeting at City Hall. But took no action on approving the final rules, while agreeing to go slowly on closing out the 4A economic development corporation it is replacing.

The 4A board will have a meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at City Hall, in which details about agreements and financial obligations that are still in operation are to be discussed. Voters in May approved the creation of a 4B economic development corporation for Pecos, which under state law is allowed to spend tax funds on a wider variety of projects than those permitted under 4A rules.

Tuesday’s meeting was the second for the new 4B corporation, and board members elected Danny Rodriguez as the president of the new PEDC board, with Jimmy Dutchover selected as vice-president and Bill Oglesby as secretary and treasurer. The board held an executive session on the position of executive director, but took no action on the position, which is currently held by Town of Pecos City Manager Joseph Torres on an interim basis. Torres took over from Mike Burkholder, who resigned the job on Oct. 9. Burkholder had served in the same role for the past three years with the PEDC 4A corporation, but resigned from the job and from the interim 4B executive director’s post earlier this month.

The proposed by-laws are modeled after similar rules used by the 4B corporation for the city of Kemp, according to city attorney Scott Johnson. They would allow residents of Reeves County and of western Ward County to be members of the next 4B board, and allows three city employees to be members of the seven-person board.

Board members also agreed that a conflict of interest declaration rule should be included in the by-laws. Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood, a member of the new board, said state officials recommended taking the action during a meeting for EDC officials in San Antonio last weekend, and that perceptions of conflicts of interest had caused problems for the former Pecos 4A EDC.

“If we have a code of ethics it shows we don’t mind laying forth our interests,” Alligood said.

Both the mayor and city attorney said did not want a complete conflict of interest ban put on PEDC board members, similar to one set up in Pampa, because the size of Pecos could result in ongoing conflicts for members of the board who are involved with local businesses.

“It’s better to know it up front, than to find out later, after directors have profited from the deals,” Johnson said. “I don’t think it should prohibit a member from voting. It’s a matter of disclosure.”

“Anything over $2,500 derived from it, and you must file a conflict of interest,” Alligood said of the proposed by-law.

“Everybody has dealings with the community,” said board member and West Texas National Bank President Paul Hinojos. “We still have to have a stated code of ethics, just the way we have a vision statement.”

The board also agreed that the confidentiality agreement involving the PEDC executive director and any potential business owners should be expanded to include the full board.

“How could the board be useful if it doesn’t know what’s going on,” Hinojos said.

“I always thought the board should know everything,” Johnson said, while pointing out to members that they would be held to the binding confidentiality agreement, and would be subject to punishment under state law for breaking the agreement.

He said that could include a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail for leaking confidential business information. Alligood said that should satisfy business owners worried about the security of a multi-person confidentiality agreement.

“If they can’t live with that, we may not need to do it,” he said.

Another rule would allow the PEDC to hire a city worker on a part-time basis to carry out programs, including lawyers or auditors already retained by the city. Torres said any work done for the PEDC by those people would be paid out of EDC funds.

Board members decided not to take any action on the by-laws until having a chance to read them and offer up any possible changes to Johnson, before a final vote is taken.

They also agreed to go slowly on closing out the 4A corporation, and Hinojos asked that Burkholder be asked to attend Monday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

“We can request it, but that doesn’t mean he has to attend,” Johnson said.

Burkholder resigned two days after agreeing to serve as interim 4B administrator. It came after the city agreed to submit a bid on Pecos Housing Authority land the 4A PEDC had sought to purchase in September. The PEDC had agreed to buy the 34 acres along Interstate 20 for $230,000 from the PHA, which would then use the funds to buy the 56-unit Farm Labor Housing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Town of Pecos City Council had rejected the plan three days before the PHA’s Sept. 17 deadline, after Johnson said he didn’t believe the 4B corporation, which began operations on Oct. 1, could be held liable for debts incurred by the 4A corporation. The PHA ended up getting the money through TransPecos Bank and a loan arranged by PEDC 4A president Joe Keese, and will put the 34 acres up for bid to acquire the money to repay the bank’s loan.

Hospital to study EMS consolidation plan

A proposal by the Town of Pecos City to the Reeves County Hospital Board for consolidating ambulance services was tabled by the hospital district, during their Tuesday meeting, and will be evaluated by a committee.

“The mayor was on hand for our regular meeting and provided some information,” said hospital board director Linda Gholson.

Gholson said that Mayor Dick Alligood was proposing for the transfer of the hospital’s 911 ambulance service to the city. City Council members discussed the plan earlier this month, which would involving turning Pecos EMS into a full-time paid service, with financial contributions from Reeves County, as opposed to the current volunteer service, which is funded mainly by the city and hospital district.

Gholson said that the city currently does 911 for the hospital, but that the hospital does the transfers to other hospitals.

“The proposal they brought was for them to do the 911 and the transfer and have a full-time pay staff through their own ambulance service,” she said. RCH public information director Vanetta Seals said the hospital’s medical staff was concerned about how the new service would prioritize 911 emergency calls versus transfers from Reeves County Hospital to other area hospitals.

The city’s plan would have an on-call and a stand-by crew for 911 and transfer calls, but the 911 calls would take priority over any transfers. Seals said RCH Chief of Staff Dr. W.J. Bang was worried multiple 911 calls at the same time, including one for a minor illness or injury, might take priority over a more seriously ill hospital patient in need of transfer.

The board also approved equipment for their x-ray department and the sale of several foreclosed properties. Seals said the board did table action on the sale of several properties, pending further review.

Ex-local pastor will be speaker for Harvest Day

Members of First United Methodist Church in Pecos invite friends and former members to attend the church’s 53rd annual Harvest Day this Sunday, Oct. 28.

Guest speaker for this year’s event will be former Pecos pastor Derrel Evins.

Harvest Day is a tradition unique to the Methodist Church in Pecos.

Established during a time when agriculture was the primary source of income for many people, Harvest Day continues to be a special thanksgiving for the “harvest” of material blessings that God has given.

“We look forward to this time of seeing old friends and hearing a great message from our guest speaker, as well as the wonderful food and fellowship after worship service,” said lay leader Terri Spence.

A covered dish luncheon will follow the 10:50 a.m. worship service at the church, located at Third and Elm Streets in Pecos.

Evins, now pastor of First United Methodist Church in Dimmitt, said he is looking forward to visiting the Pecos church and bringing the morning message.

Evins’ ministry began as local pastor in Hereford, where he served while finishing his bachelor’s degree at West Texas State in Canyon. He then attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and earned his masters in divinity.

He led the Methodist Church in Fort Davis for a year, before coming to Pecos in August of 1995. He served the churches in Pecos and Toyah until January of 1988.

For the next six and a half years, Evins was pastor at First United Methodist Church in Seminole. He then served the church in Spearman for two years before moving to Dimmit in 2006.

Evins’ wife of 37 years, Brenda, is a middle school teacher in Dimmit. Their daughter, Bethany, is a senior in college.

Early events for Halloween scheduled in town Saturday

Witches, ghosts, goblins and other assorted characters will have plenty to do this weekend with several events planned for the pre-Halloween weekend.

Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, and Town of Pecos City Council members officially named Saturday as the day for all the youth in the community to go Trick-or-Treating. Other events planned by local organizations will also be taking place this weekend.

Parents, children and community members are invited to the Pecos Nursing Home, 1819 Memorial Drive, from 5-7 p.m., for their Halloween Carnival. The event will be held in the nursing home’s parking lot and will feature a variety of games, a costume contest, pony ride and the Jumping Balloon. Free admission, but all games will be 25 cents.

Halloween pictures will be available for $5.

All children must be accompanied by an adult and all proceeds will benefit Relay for Life.

The Athletic Booster Club is sponsoring a Halloween Carnival from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Several games, a concession stand will be open and an Eagle Booth will have football players, cheerleaders, coaches and the mascots for anyone that would like to have their picture taken.

Tickets for the games will be 50 cents and there will be a costume contest with prizes awarded in different categories, children, youth and adults. The Annual Mother Goose and Friends Parade will be held Saturday, beginning at the West Texas National Bank Drive-Thru Area.

The parade will travel down Oak Street and end up at the West of the Pecos Museum. Ribbons will be given out to the children.

Fernandes, Lang announce January wedding plans

Mr. Will Fernandes of Wink and Ms. Leeta Lewis of Pyote, announce the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their daughter, Ella Catherene to Jeffrey Michael Lang, son of Mike and Laurie Lang of Boerne, Tx.

The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mary Lewis and the late Gerald Lewis and Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fernandes of Pecos.

She is a 2003 graduate of Wink High School and a 2007 graduate of UTSA in San Antonio.

The prospective groom is the grandson of Mrs. Perry Bushong and the late Mr. and Mrs. Willie Lang. He is a 2001 graduate of Boerne High School and a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University. He received an animal science degree and is employed by LandTx in Boerne.

The wedding will be held on Jan. 12, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Borne.

A reception will follow at Tapatio Springs Resort.

Ontiveros celebrates 12th birthday with football party

Phillip John Ontiveros celebrated his 12th birthday on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Family and friends were on hand to help celebrate the special occasion.

The theme of the party was football and a cake shaped like a football was served to all the guests, along with a piÒata shaped like a football.

Phillip is the son of Oscar Ontiveros and Nancy Martinez.

Paternal grandmother is Rosa Ontiveros and maternal grandmother is Christina Bitolas, both of Pecos.

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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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