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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fire damages Pecan orchard near Barstow

Pecos Volunteer Firefighters were busy Friday afternoon helping put out a fire in a pecan orchard at the I-20/Business I-20 intersection in Ward County.

The local fire department responded to a fire at the pecan orchard at Beer Hill, three miles east of Barstow.

Two fire trucks responded and it took the firemen about an hour and a half to contain the grass fire, which burned the ground beneath the trees and spread past the orchard to the westbound lanes of I-20 and to the eastbound land on the Business I-20 overpass.

Fire trucks were unable to get onto the property at first, and had to fight the fire from the shoulder of the westbound lanes of the Interstate.

“We managed to get in and extinguish the fire,” said volunteer firefighter Javier Contreras. “The Pyote fire department was going to respond, but we managed to get it under control.”

Nobody was hurt in the incident, and while grass did burn, the trees in the orchard did not catch fire. Smoke from the fire did blow across the highway at times, but the fire never became severe enough to force closing of the nearby highways, while calm winds kept the fire from jumping either of the highways.

Firefighters also responded to a fire call Monday morning at the Pecos Wal-Mart store on South Cedar Street.

“They reported smoke in the back area,” said Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Freddy Contreras. “It might have been electrical, but there was no fire and we stood by for a little bit to make sure it didn’t turn in to a fire.”

Police probe theft, vandalism of band bus, vehicles at PHS

A college band that made a 500-mile trip to Pecos to perform at halftime of Friday’s high school football game awoke Saturday morning to find some of their equipment had been stolen, the second time in two weeks damage or thefts have been reported to vehicles parked at Pecos High School following football games.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers and the Pecos Police Department are asking the communities’ help in solving a crime against the Texas A&M International University Band, which came to Pecos from Laredo to play at the Eagles’ football game against Tornillo on Nov. 10.

That night, the band students slept in the Pecos High School Band Hall and were unaware that one of their charter buses was parked just south of the band hall. At around 3:30 a.m., some of the students saw what looked like a brown or sable colored Ford Contour with three occupants inside.

The vehicle pulled up to the curb and a male subject about 5-feet-8, wearing a red shirt and a jeans got out of the car and made three trips in to the parking lot and came back carrying something and placing the objects in the car.

That morning the band director discovered one of the baggage compartments of the bus open. Items taken included about 21 flags with PVC and aluminum poles, the bus drivers’ ice chest with the name, Frank Lucio written on it, and a gray snare drum case with the Yamaha logo on it.

“Please help make our community safer by putting these criminals behind bars,” said Pecos Police Officer Mike Balog.

If anyone has any information about this burglary or any other crimes, call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or lease a Secure Web-Tip on the website at HYPERLINK ""

“As always you will remain anonymous and your tips could be worth up to a $1,000 dollar cash reward,” said Balog. “There is no caller I.D. on this line and thanks for your help,” he said.

The bus theft occurred a week after a Pecos High School student’s pickup was vandalized outside the PHS field house, one of two incidents of vandalism to vehicles reported at the school over a seven hour period.

Police said they received a report of the damage to a 2001 Ford pickup driven by Josh Ornelas while it was parked outside the field house, while Pecos’ football team was playing a game in Fort Stockton on Nov. 2. Police said they were called to the field house at 12:56 a.m. on Nov. 3, after the bus carrying the football team had returned from the game. Police Capt. Kelly Davis said the vehicle was scratched, and egged, with ketchup and mustard also sprayed on the vehicle. The family said damage to the pick-up came to about $2,000.

Davis said no other vehicle at the site were damaged.

“They had to be intentionally targeting him, because there were vehicles all around and they didn’t touch them,” said PHS head football coach Chris Henson. “His grandmother works at the junior high school and coach (Art) Rios was asking if we could do something about it to help them out, because she had just dropped her insurance.”

The other incident was reported to police at 5 p.m. on Nov. 2, when tires were slashed on a vehicle while it was parked outside the high school pool. Davis said there were two possible suspects in that case, but no arrests had been made.

Davis said in an unrelated incident, police were investigating the theft of a black 200 Chevrolet Tahoe on Nov. 6 from in front of 1606 Morris St. “It was last seen at 12 noon, and there was no broken glass, and the door was supposed to be locked,” Davis said.

Officials fight rabies threat inside county

Workers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been in the area during the past week, dropping pellets to control a rabies outbreak that has spread north into Reeves County.

“What we’re trying to do is establish zones, where there are possible cases of rabies,” said Hoppy Turman, Wildlife Biologist for USDA’s office in Fort Stockton. “There were some outside the drop zone.”

Turman said that throughout the area they were collecting pellets to see if any are positive for rabies and then see where to drop the bait.

“We found one in Reeves County on a ranch,” said Turman. “We have found a couple of positives, in Balmorhea and one in outside the area,” he said.

The USDA has been doping drops in Pecos County and nearby areas for the past few years due to reports of rabies. Turman said that they have lately been covering Ward, Winkler, Loving, Reeves and a small portion of Jeff Davis County.

“This was in an outside area, that’s why we went all the way to Jeff Davis,” said Turman.

Trying to control the rabies outbreak, is why the group is dropping the pellets. “Another part is to keep the pets safe,” said Turman.

“There has also been a problem with coyotes and grey fox going after pets and that’s why we’re doing this also,” he said.

Former Toyah mayor Sandy Terry said earlier this month that local residents were hoping Turman and other USDA personnel could try and contain the animals, which have entered yards and homes in the city.

“They’re going into homes and killing pets,” she said. Terry said she had lost six cats in recent weeks to the coyotes, and other local residents have also seen cats and small dogs attacked.

“We’ve been having this problem since the (2004) flood, but its gotten real bad lately,” Terry said.

Turman said that they were collecting samples in Reeves County throughout this week as part of the bait drop effort.

The bait looks like a Fig Newton, and inside the middle of the food a little plastic package is pushed into the center.

“Dog food is placed into the bait and aimed at attracting grey fox and coyotes,” said Turman. “When they bite the bait, it busts, the sachet and the vaccine comes through,” he said. That means that the animal is then vaccinated, according to Turman.

“Inside there is also a bio-marker, with tetracycline. The vial markers leaves a match,” he said.

Turman said that they look at the canine teeth, which leaves a ring on tooth and they are able to see how many vaccines the animal has picked up.

Turman said that the pellets are collected to establish where you drop the baits.

“For example, if you found a coyote positive in Kent (in Culberson County), that means that we’ll have to go beyond Kent to drop bait and create a buffer to rabies problem,” he said. “When you have an infected animal and interacts with humans, it gets really bad.”

This is the type of situation that they are trying to avoid, according to Turman.

“That’s what we have to be careful about, the interaction between humans and these animals,” he said.

Turman said that he encouraged everyone who had a pet to get their animal rabies vaccinations.

“It’s very important to all pet owners that they vaccinate them,” he said.

Turman said that local veterinarian Ronald Box has been very helpful. “He has been helping us out tremendously and we appreciate that.”

Third person jailed in Halloween burglary

A third person has been arrested in connection with a Halloween burglary at an eastside store.

Two individuals, including a juvenile, already had been arrested last week in connection with the burglary of a building belonging to a former relative and a third individual was served with a warrant for his arrest on Saturday, according to the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department.

Roy Munoz was arrested at 12:25 p.m., Saturday, after a warrant issued by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Eddie Rodriguez, was served. He was taken by deputies to the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department was arraigned Sunday evening.

The incident occurred, at 1:27 a.m., on Oct. 31. The Reeves County Sheriff’s Department received a call of a possible break-in, in progress at Mercy’s Drive-Thru, 305 S. Sycamore St. Deputies Damon Compton and Javier Contreras responded to the call and found evidence of an attempted burglary at the store.

Orlando V. Munoz, 25, and a 16-year-old male juvenile, were located hiding in a vacant building just behind Mercy’s, with tools used in the attempted burglary, according to the sheriff’s report.

Both subjects were arrested and Munoz was transported to the Reeves County Jail and related to jail staff for booking, and the juvenile was transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center, released to the juvenile officer and later transported to the Midland County Juvenile Detention Center for further detention.

At that time, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez stated that the investigation was continuing and the most recent arrest is part of the investigation.

Total damage to the building was estimated at $400.

Modern Study Club holds education program

An Education Department Program was held by The Modern Study Club of Pecos at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the First Christian Church Fellowship Hall with Lena Harpham, vice-president, presiding.

The thought-quote for the gathering was – “Age is an opportunity, no less than youth itself, though in a different dress.” – Longfellow. During opening ceremonies the collect was led by Betty Lee and the pledges of allegiance to the United States of America and the Texas flags were led by Catherine Travland.

In the absence of Paula Fuller, education chairman, who had planned the program, vice-president Harpham introduced Louise Moore of Pecos, continuing education coordinator of Odessa College-Pecos Center.

Mrs. Moore told of several college courses that are available for adults and basic continuing education such as certified nurses’ aide, certified jailers, computer skills and cake decorating. She said they need at least 10 students to make a class to cover costs for the instructor. She hopes to have classes here in Pecos on basic skills in welding, phlebotomy technician theory, dental assisting applications, and massage therapy. Perhaps for children a class on Lego engineering and on-line game makers could be arranged. The Pecos campus also offers concurrent classes for high school students, Mrs. Moore said. She passed out two booklets: Focus on your Future (schedule of credit classes) and The Confidence you Need (Fall 2007 Bulletin, Lifelong Learning, Customized Training and Workforce Training).

Mrs. Moore passed out sachet pouches with bath salts for each member.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read by secretary Catherine Travland and approved as presented. Treasurer Betty Lee gave a statement of club finances. Mrs. Travland also reported on the interest paid on the certificate of deposit of the club.

There were no committee reports given and no new business or unfinished business was conducted.

Roll call was answered by telling of something that individual members would like to study.

The bi-monthly project for this meeting is support of the Reeves County Library and the donation of “Books of Virtue” inclusion in for the newborn packets prepared by the Reeves County Hospital Auxiliary for distribution at the hospital.

Betty Lee and Etta Bradley served as hostesses, providing delicious refreshments for those in attendance.

Coach dons former uniform for Veterans Day

Zavala Middle School coach Alberto Franco was dressed out in a different type of uniform on Monday, as he worked with sixth graders at the east side campus.

Franco, a first-year junior high coach in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, wore his U.S. Army uniform in school as part of Veteran’s Day events at the various campuses. He also had a display of his certificates, uniforms, equipment and other memorabilia from his 23 years in the Army on display in the Zavala Middle School cafeteria Monday morning, while the coach was dressed in his regular military uniform for morning classes.

“The kids came over and said ‘How did you dress?’ so I came in with this today,” said Franco, who planned to wear his dress uniform for students Monday afternoon.

Franco spent 11 years stationed overseas, eight in Germany and three more in neighboring Belgium, while also visiting other countries in Europe and Asia as a member of the Army’s Signal Unit.

“I got to go to Bastogne, Normandy and all the battle sites,” said Franco, who also visited the cemetery in France where one of his uncles had been buried after being killed in World War II.

He said he made the trip to the cemetery to answer a question for his aunt on whether or not his uncle’s remains had been returned to the United States in the years after the war.

“When I went down there I went to the cemetery where he had been buried, and on the cross there his name was gone,” he said. “I asked ‘what’s the deal’ and the person in charge said if a cross has no name they have sent the remains back.”

He added that his uncle was one of several family members who had served in the military. “My youngest uncle was in the Air Force, and when he came back to visit, I said ‘one of these days I’m going to do that’,” said Franco.

“Our of four kids in the family we had three in the military who have retired,” he said. Franco said he retired as a Sergeant 1st Class, while he had a brother and sister in the Air Force, who left the military at the Master Sergeant level.

Along with his military records, uniforms and photos, Franco also had tables set up at the school with displays of items such as beer glasses collected from other countries and coins collected from U.S. military sites. “I’ve got over 90 coins from commands we visited,” he said.

Police Report

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.


Bobbie Jean Smith, 52, 305 S. Pecan St., was arrested by police on Oct. 19 on warrants for failure to pay fines on charges of public intoxication and no proof of liability insurance. Police said the arrest was made at 3:50 a.m. in the 300 block of East Third Street, and smith was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Victor Rodriguez Reyes, 22, 801 S. Cherry St., was arrested by police on Oct. 17 on charges of assault under the Family Violence Act and terroristic threat. Police said the arrest took place after they were called to Reyes’ home at 10:02 p.m. in response to the disturbance. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Oscar Hernandez, 23, 1109 S. Orange St., Apt. A, was arrested by police on Oct. 18 on warrants charging him with no valid driver’s license, no driver’s license and failure to maintain financial responsibility. Police said the arrest took place following a traffic stop in the 1000 block of West Fourth Street at 6:54 p.m., and Hernandez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Kimberly Chavez, 19, 1511 Cowan St., was arrested by police on Oct. 20 on a charge of assault causing bodily injury under the Family Violence Act. Police said the arrest was made at Chavez’s home, after they received a call that she had punched and scratched her husband. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Camilo Salcido, 63, 515 S. Almond St., was arrested by police on Oct. 20 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at the Riverside Ballroom, 1224 E. third St., and Salcido was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Felipe Mata, 23, 1630 Cowan St., was arrested by police on Oct. 28 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest occurred following an incident at Mata’s home, and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Elida H. Munoz, 38, 1101 S. Elm St., was arrested by police on Oct. 27 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made in the 2200 block of South Park Street, and Munoz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Brandon R. Martinez, 18, 2323 Country Club Dr., was arrested by police on Oct. 31 on a charge of sexual assault, a second degree felony. Police said the arrest was made at Pecos High School, 1301 S. Park St., on a warrant for the incident, which took place on Oct. 13 in the back yard of an unidentified home. Martinez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Glenda Dianne Causey, 50, of County Road 416 and FM 2119, was arrested by police on Nov. 1 on a warrant charging him with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a State Jail Felony. Police said the arrest was made at Causey’s home and she was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jesus Guillermo Rayos, 19, 1111 S. Willow St.; Adam Garcia, 20, 501 E. Fifth St.; Carlos Ronquillo, 18, 809 S. Cherry St.; and Jose Luis Rodriguez, 17, of Coyanosa, were arrested by police on Nov. 2 on charges of disorderly conduct/fighting. Ronquillo was also charged with possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, while Rodriguez was charged with resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made in the 1000 block of South Eddy Street and Rayos, Garcia, Ronquillo and Rodriguez were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Elizabeth Olguine Jimenez, 36, and Rene Mejia, 25, both of 310 S. Elm St., were arrested by police on Nov. 3 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrests were made in the 300 block of South Elm Street, and Jimenez and Meija were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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