Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Man wounded from shooting over weekend
A Pecos man is in the intensive care unit at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, following a shooting that occurred early Sunday morning on the north side of town.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said officers were called out to a house at 324 N. Walnut St., at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday in response to the shooting. “Upon arrival, officers found an individual had been shot once in the upper right torso area,” McKinney said.
He identified the man as Carlos Vela, but said Vela had little information on his attacker.
“The individual could not give any description of the suspect or of the vehicle involved,” the police chief said. “He said the individual parked the car, stepped in front of the house and shot one time, then got back into the car and left the scene.”
McKinney said at least one other person was with Vela at the time the shooting occurred. “We talked briefly with him then, and are going to do a follow-up interview today.”
“Right now we don’t have any solid information but hopefully witnesses will come forward and we’ll start getting some information.”
Sunday’s shooting occurred almost exactly one week after another shooting incident, in front of 809 S. Cherry Street. No one was injured in that shooting, which occurred at 2:25 a.m. on July 1, and reportedly involved two vehicles, a four-door gray vehicle and a white vehicle.
A spent .22 caliber shell casing and one bullet fragment were found by officers after that shooting, while McKinney said no casings or fragments were found after Vela’s shooting on North Walnut Street.
McKinney said he didn’t know if the two shootings were connected. “They were two different parties, but we’re still in the preliminary part of the investigation, so we don’t know right now.”
Harvest starts for limited cantaloupe crop
The first deliveries of Pecos cantaloupes arrived in town on Sunday, though the biggest harvest of what will be a small cantaloupe crop this year won’t get underway until later this week.
The first cantaloupes from the Coyanosa area were picked on Saturday out of the Mandujano family farms and went on sale in Pecos the following day. One new location where the melons are being sold is a produce shed set up by Gilbert and Celina Gonzales on Interstate 20. The Gonzales leased the land, located between the Town and Country Food Store and the Reeves County Golf Course, from the Town of Pecos City in late June.
“We got our first load on Saturday night and got them in here on Sunday,” Gilbert Gonzales said. “We did OK the first day, it’s just that the melons are a little small right now.”
Cooler-than-normal weather this spring, and through the first three weeks of summer, combined with above-average rainfall, have helped push the start of the main cantaloupe harvest back a couple of days this year.
Randy Taylor, with Pecos Cantaloupe Co., said they planned to begin harvesting their first cantaloupes on Wednesday. Pecos Cantaloupe Co. is the area’s biggest cantaloupe grower, but didn’t plant as many melons this year, due to the lack of housing for pickers in the Pecos area this summer.
“We cut our amount way back just because we don’t have anyplace to put the help,” said Pecos Cantaloupe’s Clay Taylor back in mid-May. A shortage of housing due to the growth in oil and natural gas drilling operations over the past three years has resulted in former migrant housing to be converted into full-time housing for local residents.
Migrants who in the past would have stayed at the Farm Labor Housing complex on West County road won’t be able to do so this year, as virtually all apartments are rented out to full-time residents. Pecos Housing Authority Executive Director Nellie Gomez told city council members last month there are only a few apartments open to house migrant families. The short harvest season in the Trans-Pecos area forced the PHA to give up their full-time migrant housing operations. The PHA is currently awaiting word on if their offer to buy the apartments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is approved.
Taylor said the main harvest period really won’t get going until this coming weekend. Meanwhile, Gonzales most of his sales on Sunday were to out-of-town residents passing through Pecos on I-20.
He added that his produce shed is also selling purple, yellow and white onions grown by the Mandujanos in Coyanosa, along with peanuts out of New Mexico.
County vehicle purchase plan sparks debate
A discussion about whether or not the Road and Bridges Administrator needs a county-owned vehicle sparked a long argument, and then a 2-2 voting deadlock on the matter, at Monday morning’s regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.
Commissioners met at 10 a.m., Monday to discuss several items including a new or used vehicle for County Road and Bridges Administrator Russ Salcido, which Reeves County Attorney Alva Alvarez said was not needed at this time.
Currently, the road and bridges administrator is using his own vehicle, but the county pays for the mileage.
The commissioners also recently approved raising the mileage from 24 cents a mile to 48 cents, something that Alvarez said had not been asked for by Salcido.Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras said that they had a cost analysis that showed that it would be cheaper to purchase a vehicle for the road and bridges administrator than to pay for his mileage on his personal vehicle.
“TxDOT has many vehicles that we can purchase, and I feel that it would be even cheaper if we bought a used one instead of a new one,” said Contreras.He said that TxDOT has two to three auctions a year and that they can purchase the vehicle at that time from the state highway agency.
After discussing the options of buying a new or used vehicle, and where to purchase it, Alvarez told the group that Salcido, had not requested a new vehicle.“He didn’t ask for a new vehicle and he was not the one who requested that you raise the mileage,” said Alvarez.
“You were the ones that raised the travel allowanced from 24 to 48 cents and now you want to use this argument to purchase him a vehicle,” she said.Alvarez said that the commissioners and county judge want to put him in a vehicle that he doesn’t want, at the taxpayer’s expense.
“I don’t think this concerns the county attorney,” said Contreras.
“Yes, it does concern me, not only as the county attorney, but as a taxpayer,” said Alvarez. “We’re all taxpayers in here and you want to spend money on a vehicle that is not needed.”
Alvarez said that the road and bridges administrator had told them that he would accept the 24 cents, instead of the 48 cents, and that he didn’t need a new vehicle.“You were the ones who voted to raise the mileage and now because you want to put him in a new vehicle and spend more money to buy the vehicle on top of that, you use the excuse of the mileage,” said Alvarez.
“Why are you raising this issue?” she asked.
“These are two separate issues,” said Contreras.
“He has indicated to me that he will accept the mileage at $8,400 a year and use his own vehicle,” said county auditor Lynn Owens.
“There’s no reason for the road and bridges administrator to drive his own vehicle,” said Contreras.
Contreras said that he had some “inquiries” from the public about the road and bridges administrator driving his own vehicle.
“What are these inquiries or things that the public is saying,” said Alvarez. “This is a public meeting, you can tell all of us, but you’re acting like it’s some kind of secret.”
“I personally don’t like to be questioned,” said Contreras. “I don’t think he should be driving a personal vehicle.”
He said that he has heard on several occasions from the public and wants to address some of those questions.
“I don’t think we should ignore the public comments and vote as commissioners,” said Contreras.
“You don’t say what those questions or concerns are,” said Alvarez. “I think you should be more concerned about the budget and what is on paper and not being concerned about a comment.”
“So you think we should be less concerned about what the public is saying and not address those other issues?” said Contreras.
“I don’t know what other issues you are talking about, what secrets you have,” said Alvarez.
Contreras made the motion to look for a vehicle for the road and bridges administrator and other staff. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ramiro Guerra seconded the motion and a tie ensued when Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Alvarado and Precinct 3 Commissioner Saul Herrera voted against the motion. Precinct 2 Commissioner Gabriel Martinez was not at the meeting.
Auditor says RCH changes to improve finances
Reeves County Hospital District board members were given a look at the district’s 2006 audit on Thursday, which showed both a similar balance sheet and deficit from a year ago, with a loss of around $500,000, but which auditor Bill Parrish said should improve when the facility receives its critical access designation.
Parrish’s discussion of the 2006 audit took up the majority of the open portion of Thursday’s board meeting in the hospital’s classroom. He said the hospital suffered a $700,000 increase in its operating losses, but that was offset by increases in the district’s property tax and investment income.
He told the board that while net patient service revenues were down $852,000, operating expenses were down $120,000 while non-operating revenues rose by $741,000. Total net assets for the hospital dropped by $500,000, while accounts receivable fell $300,000 and long-term debt was down by $217,000.
Losses last year at the hospital’s kidney dialysis center came to $539,000. Parrish said that came to just under $140 per treatment conducted by the center of patients for the 2006 fiscal year.
Parrish also said his firm calculated how the district would have fared as a critical access hospital last year. RCH board members approved the change to critical access designation earlier this year, which hospital CEO Al LaRochelle said would mean downsizing the number of beds at the facility, while at the same time increasing the amount of Medicare reimbursement funding.
“Reeves County Hospital’s estimated benefit from 2006 would have been $749,000,” he said. “The changes to critical access should improve the balance sheet next year.”
However, he went on to say that with upcoming changes in health care laws at the state and national level, the board would have some decisions to make on the hospital’s operations.
“The new administrator (LaRochelle) is going to lead you in areas that require tough decisions, and tough decisions on the part of the board,” he said. “I hope the board will support him in the decisions coming up.”
In other action, the board approved the hospital’s compliance report, along with agreeing to seek bids on a new transfer ambulance. It will replace one of the two current transfer vehicles, which has over 183,000 miles.
LaRochelle said the hospital has specified going with a Chevrolet vehicle for the new ambulance’s body. “We’re doing it because if we need to have future work done on it, we can get it done in-town, instead of having to cart it to Fort Stockton,” he said.
Also approved were wall coverings for the hospital’s emergency room area, due to wall damage from some equipment in use. Total cost was put at $6,926. “We’re going to try and get it done before the critical access survey, because we’ll get written up for it,” LaRochelle said.
The board approved the preliminary 2007 appraisal totals, along with the sale of one piece of property, at 1519 W. Third St. They delayed action on five other properties up for tax sale, pending a study by the Pecos City Council to see if the land was being bought for speculation purposes.
At the recommendation of RCH Chief of Staff Dr. W.J. Bang, expanded medical privileges were approved for Dr. Don Apodaca, who has begun working at the rural health clinic, and for Dr. Amir Memon, who will be replacing Dr. K.M.L.S.T. Moorthi, who has been the physician in charge of the dialysis center. Dr. Moorthi announced he would be closing his practice in Pecos as of this Thursday.
Flores’ announce birth of daughter
Amy and Michael Flores, of Austin, announce the birth of their daughter, Mia Michelle.
Mia weighed eight pounds 10 ounces and was 21 3/4 inches long at birth.
Proud grandparents are Lupe and Noe Rodriguez and Rosie and Freddy Flores, all of Pecos.
Marriages and Divorces
Editor’s Note: Marriage and divorce records are public record and may be accessed by anyone. All marriage records are kept in the Reeves County Clerk’s office, while divorce records can be located in the District Clerk’s Office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Marriages for February 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.Francisco Temich and Diana Hernandez.
Marriages for April 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.Margarito Almeda Avila and Juana Rivas Nevarez.Fabian Bustamantes and Cindy Baeza Barragan.Robert Mayes Lowden and Christie Suzette Lee.Joshua Casillas and Kodii Michelle Russell.
Marriages for May 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.R.S. Smith Jr. and Patrice Deann Shaw.Adrian Jurado Montano and Liza Ann Chavez.Edward L. Lujan and Anatalia B. Salgado.Matthew Luke Salazar and Carolina Mendoza Salcido.Rico Montierre Pino and Diana Marissa Pino.
Divorces for April 2007, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.Martin Borrego and Diana Borrego.
Divorces for May 2007, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.Adrinna Sanchez Castillo and Rodrigo Castillo.Gypsy Montanez and Jacobo Jasso.Rachel Michelle Ryan and Walter Arthur Ryan, Jr.Rodolfo T. Orona and Joanna Garcia Baca.Ubaldo M. Hernandez and Irma G. Hernandez.
Divorces for June 2007, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.Maria Landa and Rolando Landa.Christina Rodriguez and Jesse Rodriguez.Cynthia Paz and Alfredo Paz.Juan Prieto Jr. and Arely Saenz Prieto.Elida Ruiz Munoz and Robert H. Munoz.Jesus G. Silvas and Leticia Romero Silvas.India Reccena Gray and Loren Edwin Gray Jr.Yaslynne Griselda Silva and Jose Rodriguez Silva.
Mirna Yolanda Carrasco, 30, and Lupe A. Mendoza, 42, both of 2408 Country Club Dr., were arrested by police on July 8 on charges of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with the intent to deliver, a First Degree Felony. Police said the arrests were made in the 1200 block of East Fourth Street, and Carrasco was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Aaron Abila Medrano, 18, 401 Pecos St. in Barstow, was arrested by police on July 6 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 9:11 p.m. after officers received a report of a reckless driver in the 1900 block of South Cedar Street. Medrano was later stopped at 12th and Willow streets and placed under arrest, before he was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Roger Galindo Salazar, 19, 2238 Texas St., was arrested by police on July 5 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place after they received a report of a man lying on the ground at Hackberry and Moore streets. Salazar was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Brittany Nicole Ybarra, 17, 1024 S. Elm St., was arrested by police on July 5 on a charge of reporting a false offense, for an incident that occurred at Veterans Boulevard and State Highway 17. Ybarra was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Benito Chabarria, 32, 1219 S. Cypress St., was arrested by police on July 5 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made as 12:22 a.m. following an incident at 2218 Arizona St. Chabarria was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Jesus Roberto Mendez, 41, and Noraima Garcia Mendez, 40, both 510 S. Mesquite St., were arrested by police on July 4 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made at their home, and both were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Joe Daniel Wright, 28, 1938 Scott St., was arrested on June 28 by police on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at Eddy Street and Veterans Boulevard at 9:39 p.m., and Wright was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Ciro Mata Jr., 24, 2209 Country Club Dr., was arrested by police on June 28 and charged with driving while license invalid. Police said the arrest took place at Eddy Street and Veterans Boulevard at 9:39 p.m., and Mata was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Gustavo Barrientos Tapia, 26, 611 W. Fourth St., was arrested by police on June 30 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place outside the Suavacito Club, 900 S. Cedar St., and Tapia was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Gonzalo Holguin Garcia, 57, 1016 E. Second St., was arrested on June 29 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 7:34 p.m. after they were called to Garcia’s home in response to a family disturbance. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Eloy Matta Valles, 59, 102 W. 13th St., was arrested by police on June 29 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 500 block of West Fourth Street, after 1992 Chevrolet pickup Valles was operating was stopped for erratic driving. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Maria D. Rodriguez, 31, 2331 Sage St., Apt. A, was arrested by police on July 1 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 1200 block of South Elm Street, and Rodriguez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Darren Lynn Walker, 38, 620 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on charges of criminal trespass, evading arrest or detention, resisting arrest, escape and a warrant for parole violation. Police said the arrest was made on June 27 at Fourth and Pine streets, and Walker was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Moises Lazoya, 20, of Mercedes, was arrested on June 26 on charges of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor, and possession of marijuana under two ounces, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred at 7:03 p.m. at the Kwik Stop, 915 W. Third St., and Lazoya was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Eric Steve Garcia, 35, 1101 S. Elm St., was arrested by police on July 5 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place in the 1200 block of South Elm Street, and Garcia was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Marco Alexis Nunez, 34, of Lakewood, Calif., was arrested by police on July 7 on a charge of theft, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 8:44 p.m. when officers were called to the Kwik Stop, 915 W. Third St., in reference to a shoplifter who had tried to steal two baseball caps from the store. Nunez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Joe Daniel Wright, 29, 423 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on July 8 on a warrant charging him with terroristic threat, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest as made at 211 S. Plum Street, after officers were called in response to an argument between a man and woman. A records check revealed the outstanding warrant, and Wright was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Police arrested a 14-year-old male juvenile and a 13-year-old male juvenile on June 26, on charges of evading arrest or detention. Police said the arrests were made in the 100 block of West ‘C’ Street, and both teens were turned over to the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Officer.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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