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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas parade winners announced

A float sponsored by the Pecos Nursing Home took first place in the Annual Christmas Parade held this past Friday evening.

A “Candy Cane Christmas” was the theme for this year’s event.

Second place went to the float by Wal-Mart, which featured a military theme and third place was Crockett Eighth Grade Basketball Girls.

First place winners received $75 in Pecos Bucks; second place, $50 in Pecos Bucks and third place winners received $25 in Pecos Bucks.

There was one marching band, the Pecos High School Band, combined with the Crockett 8th grade band, which participated in this year’s event.

The parade traveled down Eddy and Third streets, and then south on Oak Street to the Reeves County Courthouse, where the lighting of the courthouse and the square took place.

Santa Claus was also on hand, riding in his sleigh during the annual event and was seen at the courthouse following the trek around Pecos.

Christmas Lighting Contest plans to judge area homes

The Women’s Division of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce is having their Annual Pecos City Christmas Lighting Contest on Sunday, Dec. 16, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Judges will be divided into eight sections and choose one grand winner and seven runner-ups.

All seven runner-ups will receive a $20.00 “Pecos Bucks” gift certificate and the grand winner will receive a $100.00 “Pecos Bucks” gift certificate to be used at any local business establishment.

Judges will also vote on the best decorated residential block and local business. These winners will receive a memorable Christmas ornament.

No nominations are necessary, everyone is eligible.

For more information contact project chairperson, Mary Ann Gomez at 448-7389 or the Chamber of Commerce Office at 445-2406.

Police hoping arrest near in armed robbery

Pecos police say they have received some information in connection with the armed robbery of an east side beer store in mid-November, and are hoping to make an arrest soon in the case.

Officers have been seeking a suspect in the Nov. 18 robbery of the Beer Depot, in the 1200 block of East Third Street. Police said the robbery occurred , at about 12:45 a.m., when a small male subject, wearing a beanie cap, came in and held a knife to the throat of the clerk and demanded her to open the register.

The subject took approximately $1,500 in cash and checks. He then fled on foot.

A reward for information in connection with the robbery was offered through Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers, and Police Officer Mike Balog said on Friday, “We have received some tips in that case.”

“We’ve made some progress in that case,” Police Chief Clay McKinney said on Monday. He said that while he couldn’t discuss any particular details of the case, “I feel hopeful in the near future an arrest will be forthcoming.”

New apartment complex preparing for first tenants

The business office has officially opened at the new Country Club Apartments south of Interstate 20, and the first tenants for the 48-unit complex could start moving in within the next two weeks.

The apartments are the first new ones to be constructed in Pecos since the 1970s, and while the federally subsidized project is designed mainly for lower income and elderly residents, they will bring some relief to the city’s major housing shortage.

Work was begun on the complex, located between Interstate 20 and the Reeves County Golf Course, in January, and Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said the first of the four units has received its certificate of occupancy.

“We’ve done the CO on Building 1, right behind the Town and Country,” he said. “It’s been issued on that one building, and they’ve got one more building that’s almost complete.”

Richard Wells, project superintendent for Zimmerman Properties, said Building 1 is waiting on a sub-contractor to install smoke alarms, but that the apartments themselves are otherwise ready for their first tenants.

“I’m hoping to get that building over to management by next week,” Wells said on Friday while working on one of the apartments in Building 3.

Building 1 will have eight apartments, as will Building 3, which is located across from the Pecos Valley Country Club, which Wells was working on Friday.

“This building still needs a little bit of work on it, but I’m hoping to have it done in two weeks, and we might have it done sooner,” he said

The apartments will come in three styles, Wells said. There will be single-bedroom, single-bathroom units, and ones with two bedrooms and two baths and three-bedroom two-bath units.

“The family units will be 2-3 bedrooms and the senior units will be one bedroom,” said Wells, who worked on similar apartments for Zimmerman Properties in Fort Stockton before moving on to the job in Pecos.

One of the eight units in Building 1 is handicapped accessible, and two others in Building 4 will also be for the disable. Another Building 1 unit has been designed for hearing/visually-impaired residents. Company officials originally had hoped to get the first unit completed by late summer, but the labor shortage in the area, which has affected other local businesses, also has caused delays for Wells.

“It’s real hard to get skilled craftsmen out here,” he said, with one of the problems being the lack of housing for new workers trying to move into Pecos. “The labor shortage here, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The two units where the most work still needs to be done, Buildings 3 and 4, also will be the largest buildings of the four. Building 3 will have 16 of the 44 apartments and will run along Country Club Drive, while Building 4 will have 12 apartments, and will be on the south side of the complex, next to the golf course’s driving range.

Crisha Molinar will be the manager of the complex. Her office on the Country Club Drive side of Building 1 opened on Friday. She said the office will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and any qualifying individual or family interested in renting an apartment can contact her at 447-0096.

The apartments have income limits of $18,120 for one person to $30,000 for six people. Monthly rents will range from $415 to $520 per unit for each apartments, which include fully-equipped kitchens.

City officials are still trying to spur construction of apartments that will not have income level limits, and plan to put land in the 800 and 900 blocks of Washington Street, which originally had been designed for low-income housing, up for bid by the end of the month.

The housing shortage due to the area’s boom in energy drilling has resulted in motels in Pecos running at 90 to 100 percent occupancy over the past two years, and as many as six new motels, including two near the site of the new apartments, are currently in the planning or pre-construction stages.

County officials attend training conference

Thirty West Texas county commissioners and judges, including Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras, attended the District 6 County Judges’ and Commissioners’ Training on Dec. 3, at the Texas A&M Agricultural Extension Center in Fort Stockton, according to Brenda Rue, District Extension Administrator – District 6.

Texas Cooperative Extension District 6 includes: Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Glasscock, Howard, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde and Winkler counties.

Topics covered in the training this year included information on water destination, rabies management, the jurisdiction, authority and responsibility of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), as well as county government and legislative updates from Jim Allison, Austin-based General Counsel for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, and Rep. Buddy West (Odessa).

“The conference this year was the largest such training held for county judges and commissioners in Fort Stockton in recent years,” Rue said. “Not only did it provide participants with a great deal of information, but it also allowed participants an excellent opportunity to talk with and share ideas with their peers, other county commissioners’ court members in counties with similar populations and needs. In addition, attendance at the conference provided participants with six continuing educational units (CEU’s).

The Dec. 3 conference was co-sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension and the Continuing Education Department of Angelo State University in San Angelo.

For more information on statewide programs and services available through Texas Cooperative Extension, interested individuals should call their local county extension office.

Police charge teens in vandalism incidents

Three teenagers are facing charges following a day of destructive behavior that occurred earlier t his month at two separate locations.

According to Pecos Police, Ignacio Ybarra, of 1617 Missouri St., reported to officers on Dec. 1 that a person or persons had damaged his Christmas decorations at his residence.

Ybarra estimated the amount of damage to be approximately $610.

P-B-T ISD officer Jerry Matta and Crockett Middle School Principal Jim Workman provided information to Sgt. Olga Lopez and Lt. Paul Deishler to proceed with the investigation.

Sgt. Lopez and Lt. Deishler interviewed three high school students who were suspects in the case.

After completing the investigation the three male juveniles were placed under arrest for the criminal mischief at Ybarra’s residence.

“The juveniles were processed and then transported to the Reeves County Detention Center and released to the juvenile staff for processing,” said Deishler.

The trio were also charged in connection with another Dec. 1 incident. Bonny Herndon, the new vice-principal for Pecos High School, reported to police that someone had damaged her vehicle by slashing several tires on the vehicle while it was parked at her residence.

Herndon estimated the damage to be about $750.

Matta and Workman provided information to Lopez and Deishler interviewed the same three high school students who were suspects in the case.

After completing their investigation the three male juveniles were placed under arrest for the criminal mischief to Herndon’s vehicle and were also charged with damaging the the Christmas decorations at the home of Mr. Ybarra.

“The juveniles were processed and then transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center and released to the juvenile staff for processing,” said Deishler.

Sheriff says scammers taken by Pecos woman

If it seems to be too good to be true, it usually is ... except possibly in the case of one Pecos woman, according to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

Several Pecos residents have been receiving “free” checks in the mail that seem authentic and are definitely cashable.

“They’re a scam and we’ve been advising people to just not cash them, that way they won’t get into trouble,” said Gomez. But he did say that there had been one Pecos woman who had cashed it, and ended up profiting by not falling for the second part of the scam.

“She checked with Wal-Mart and with the banks and they all told her it was a good check,” said Gomez. “They had send her two money orders, totaling $5,000.”

Gomez said that the catch was that she was supposed to send it back, along with additional funds to pay for taxes, and then they were going to send her a “bigger” check.

The scam works by asking people to send cash to cover the taxes of the big winnings, totaling $250,000. They pledge to send in the rest of your winnings.

“In the case of this particular woman, she went ahead and cashed it and then the people who sent her the check wanted to prosecute her, because she didn’t sent it back, she spent it,” said Gomez. “Well, they really couldn’t, because it was their mistake for sending her the check in the first place.”

Gomez said that in this case, the scammed individual became the scammer.

“It was a scam, but she scammed the scammer,” he said.

Despite her success in not being taken despite cashing the first check, Gomez urges anyone who receives such a check in the mail, to disregard it or turn in to a law enforcement agency.

“The best thing to do is just not cash it,” he said.

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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