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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, December 21, 2007

Businesses, government offices plan closings on Christmas Day

Most businesses and utility companies will be closed next week in honor of the Christmas holiday, including the Pecos Enterprise.

The Enterprise will be closed on Monday and Tuesday and no paper will be printed for Christmas Day. The paper will re-open on Wednesday and a regular edition will be out on Friday, Dec. 28.

Town of Pecos City and most federal offices will be closed both Monday and Tuesday of next week, to celebrate Christmas, which will fall on Tuesday this year. The Pecos Post Office will also be closed on those days.

The Reeves County Courthouse will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, Christmas Day and the following day.

Trans Pecos Bank will close their doors at 1 p.m., Monday and will be closed on Christmas Day. Regular bank hours will resume on Wednesday.

West Texas National Bank will close on at noon on Monday and be closed all day Tuesday, regular hours will resume on Wednesday and continue throughout the week.

La Tienda Grocery Store will be closed on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve the store will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Church sets Christmas Eve service

First United Methodist Church invites everyone to share in its traditional Christmas Eve service, set for 6 p.m., Monday.

The candlelight communion service will be led by pastor John Barrett. His message will be, “The Purpose of Advent: Prepared for a Second Advent.”

Barrett will also lead Christmas Eve services at Toyah United Methodist Church at 8 p.m.

The Methodist Church in Pecos is located at Third and Elm Streets.

Police probing armed robbery of E. side store

Pecos police are investigating an armed robbery that took place Tuesday night at an east-side beer store, exactly one month after a similar robbery at another beer store on the east side of town.

Police investigator Olga Lopez said the robbery took place at 10:11 p.m. on Tuesday at Mercy’s Drive-Thru, 305 S. Sycamore St. “The clerk said a Hispanic male walked into the store while she was on a cell phone,” Lopez said. “When she turned around, he jumped the counter and pulled out a long kitchen knife and started screaming and yelling.

“He pounded on the register, and couldn’t get it open, so he took it with him,” Lopez said.

The man was described by the clerk as wearing a black beanie with a white cloth over his face. “The only area exposed was his eyes, and she wasn’t sure if he was wearing gloves,” Lopez said.

She added that a vehicle was in the store’s drive-through at the time of the robbery, and the driver chased the man south on Sycamore Street before losing track of him.

“The store’s owner came down and said there was about $1,200 in the cash register,” Lopez said. She added that the clerk is schedule to view photos to see if she can identify a suspect. The robbery was similar to one that took place on Nov. 18 at the Beer Depot, in the 1200 block of East Third Street. Officers a small male subject, wearing a beanie cap, came in about 12:45 a.m. 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.

Mercy’s also was the site of a Halloween night burglary incident in which Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputies eventually arrested three persons who were former relatives of the owner of the store.

Death near Wickett investigated

Ward County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating the death of an Odessa man on Monday at a site north of Wickett.

Deputies responded to a call on Monday, December 17 concerning an injured person at a tank battery located north of Wickett. Upon arrival deputies found 22-year-old Alfonso Soto of Odessa dead at the scene.

Ward County Sheriff Mike Strickland told The News that the death is still under investigation and further comment could not be made until Soto’s body was released following an autopsy.

The autopsy is being performed in Lubbock.

Pecos man taken for treatment after suicide threat at overpass

A Pecos man was taken into custody by Ward County Sheriff’s Deputies on Wednesday and transported to the Big Spring State Hospital, after he spent several hours threatening to jump off an overpass near Monahans.

The Ward County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, December 19 concerning a man sitting on the rail of the Interstate 20 overpass west of Monahans.

Sheriff Mike Strickland, deputies and the Texas Department of Public Safety officers responded to the call to find the man sitting and leaning precariously on the rail overlooking I-20 and staring at oncoming traffic.

Officials closed I-20 and rerouted traffic for three hours while they dealt with the situation.

According to Strickland, the man on the bridge identified himself with several names before he finally told them he was 35-year-old Leo Ornelas of Pecos.

According to sheriff reports, Ornelas was on the bridge contemplating suicide because of his family problems.

Mental Health and Mental Retardation representatives and Father John Lucido of St. John’s Catholic Church in Monahans spoke with the man during the ordeal, but to no avail.

After several hours of reasoning with him, officials overtook Ornelas, and he was taken into custody. He was transported to Big Spring State Hospital for treatment.

Pecos woman is sought after disappearance

A Pecos woman has been missing since Saturday and family members are asking for the communities help in finding her.

“Her sister reported her missing on Tuesday afternoon,” said Reeves County Deputy Reno Lewis of 47-year-old, Sylvia Calderon, who has been missing since about 9 p.m. last Saturday.

“That’s the last time anyone saw her, when she walked out of her home,” said Lewis.

Calderon’s sister, Adela Herrera, told sheriff’s deputies that her sister left her home at 1715 Adams St., on Saturday evening and hasn’t been seen since.

Calderon is five feet tall, 135 pounds, has light brown, shoulder-length hair and was wearing a long gray undershirt that hung out from the bottom and a hunter green and beige outershirt.

“In the most recent picture that we have, she has sort of curly hair, but her hair is straight now,” said Lewis.

Calderon is also on medication for diabetes and schizophrenia (a psychosis usually characterized by withdrawal from reality and by highly variable emotional, behavioral or intellectual disturbances).

Lewis said that she has relatives in Odessa and Andrews, but doesn’t know is she is headed in that direction.

“She only speaks Spanish, so she may be hesitant to talk to someone,” said Lewis.

If anyone has any information on her whereabouts they are urged to call the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department at 432-445-4901.

New donation doubles reward for lead in girl’s disappearance

The reward that is being offered for any information that will lead a family to a missing girl has been doubled, thanks to a donation from a foundation created to help in the search for missing persons.

“The reward had been $5,000, but the Carole Sund-Carrington Foundation has added another $5,000 for any information on Monica Carrasco,” said Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Reno Lewis.

Lewis said that the reward for any information on Carrasco is now at $10,000.

Monica Carrasco disappeared from her uncle’s home in Balmorhea in October of 2003. Her mother, Kathy Carrasco, has continued since that time to seek information on the then-16-year-old teen’s whereabouts.

On Oct. 2, 2003, Monica reportedly had attended a prayer service early that evening then returned to her uncle’s home in Balmorhea. According to statements, she went to bed early, but later got up to play video games with her twin cousins. After the games were done, Monica once again returned to the room she was using while staying there. From that time forward, no one knows what happened to Monica.

Missing from her possessions were a Bible and the beige nightgown she wore to bed that night. She would have been barefoot because no shoes were missing.

Monica’s mother has worked tirelessly to find her daughter. She e-mails fliers to anyone who might distribute them for her or who might know something about her whereabouts. “I’ll never rest until I have Monica,” said Kathy Carrasco. “She is my daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece and a friend to so many. Please do not forget her. Do not give up hope for her return,” she said.

Scott Webb, Executive Director of The Carole Sund-Carrington Foundation stated: “Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso were the three women sightseers who were missing and later found murdered near Yosemite National Park in February of 1999. While they were missing, Carole Sund’s parents, Francis and Carole Carrington, at the request of the FBI, posted rewards both for their safe return and for information leading to the whereabouts of their rental car.

The Carringtons believe that the posting of these rewards and the media attention they received, contributed to the car being located and the media attention they received, contributed to the car being located and gave them the first break in their case. They were thankful that they had the financial means to offer these rewards and it’s because of this that they started The Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation.”

This foundation was established to assist families such as the family of Moncia Carrasco who are in similar circumstances as the Carrington’s in that Monica is a missing person. The Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Monica. If a homicide has occurred the reward will automatically revert to the arrest and conviction of the person/persons responsible for the crime.

“We know that reward money can make a different because the foundation’s reward money has already assisted in the location of nine missing persons and the apprehension of 37 murder suspects, and three kidnappers of young children, and one suspect charged with attempted murder of a peace officer,” said Webb. “We currently have 37 suspects in custody in ten states,” he said.

To date the Foundation has paid a total of $262,600 in rewards to citizens who did the right thing by coming forward and sharing the information they had regarding these cases.

“We all have a responsibility to do our part to help make our community a safe place,” said Webb.

To support the family and law enforcement in this effort, call 1-888-813-8389 and donate to the Foundation’s reward fund.

If anyone has any information about this case call Lewis at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office at 432-445-4901.

EMS service consolidation hits roadblock

Negotiations between Reeves County Hospital and the Town of Pecos City on the consolidation of local ambulance services have hit a roadblock, according to hospital administrator Al LaRochelle. But both groups plan to continue talks into the new year in hopes of resolving the problems discussed Tuesday night, during the hospital district board’s monthly meeting.

“We’ve been going around and around it,” LaRochelle said, prior to the board going into executive session to discuss the plan. “Basically, I think we’re locked. I talked with Joe (Torres, Pecos city manager) on Monday, and he feels we’ve reach an impasse.”

The city and hospital, along with Reeves County, have been in talks about merging the Pecos EMS with the hospital’s transfer ambulance service. Under the plan, the currently volunteer EMS would become a paid full-time service, which would handle emergency calls in the city, county and surrounding areas along with transferring patients from Reeves County Hospital to other area health care facilities.

Pecos EMS Chief Dennis Thorp said earlier that the funds the service could bring in from the transfers would allow his workers to become full-time paid employees. However, LaRochelle said it was the transfer issue that had hospital Chief of Staff Dr. W.J. Bang concerned.

“I don’t think we’ve answered all the questions of Dr. Bang on whether the transports would be done in a timely manner,” he said. “There’s still more work to be done on it.”

Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, agreed with LaRochelle about the current problems with the contract, which included questions about financial support from the various taxing entities. He said the city’s representatives in the negotiations also were not happy with the current deal.

“We read it and immediately got our hackles up,” he said. “It wasn’t what we initially talked about.

“I still think it’s a viable solution to the problem, but we have a long ways to go,” he said. “We don’t want to see this thing started and within 6-7 months fail.”

Alligood said the full city council would discuss the status of the contract at their next meeting, on Dec. 27. LaRochelle said both sides could discuss the situation over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday and resume discussions in January. He said on Thursday that the two sides already are into their seventh revision of the agreement, in an effort to find a deal agreeable to both the city and the hospital district.

In other action on Tuesday, hospital board members voted not to exempt goods in transit from local taxes, approved a new background criminal history policy for employees, and approved granting privileges for the hospital’s medical staff, affiliated physicians and contract nurses for new two-year periods.

LaRochelle said the background check policy was new for the hospital, and brings it into line with government requirements.

“A past criminal conviction by itself will not necessarily disqualify an employee, expect where it’s required by Texas (hospital) policy, or where it’s required by state law,” he said.

LaRochelle told board member Leo Hung that agency nurses contracted by the hospital normally had their background checks in place before they begin work in Pecos. “Either they’ll do that, or we’ll do it for them,” he said.

One Barstow teen injured, second jailed after rollover

One Barstow teen ended up in Reeves County Hospital and another in the nearby Pecos Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday night, following a one-vehicle accident on Business I-20 just east of Pecos.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Cpl. Emmit Moore, the accident occurred about 10 p.m. on Tuesday when the two teens were in a white Ford pickup headed towards Pecos from Barstow on Business I-20. Moore said the pickup failed to make the curve coming in off the Pecos River bridge into town and left the roadway on the right side, overturning before coming to rest upright and facing northeast.

One person in the vehicle, identified as 17-year-old Michael Gurule of Barstow, suffered a broken hip, and was transported by Pecos EMS to Reeves County Hospital. The second person, identified as Aaron Abila Medrano, 19, of 101 Pecos Street in Barstow, left the scene of the accident and went into town, where he was later arrested by Pecos police on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor.

Police said the arrest was made at Fourth and Mulberry streets, about three-quarters of a mile from the accident scene, and Medrano was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

Deputies at the accident site said Gurule was only giving officers limited information, and Moore said neither the injured passenger nor Medrano would admit to being the driver of the pickup.

“I’m trying to place the driver behind the wheel,” Moore said.

County attorney latest candidate in primary race

One more incumbent has filed to run for re-election in the March 8, 2008 Primary.

Reeves County Attorney Alva Alvarez has filed to retain her seat as Reeves County Attorney. She was appointed to the position in 2006 after Richard C. Slack announced his retirement.

Alvarez served as Slack’s assistant, after he was appointed in an emergency basis in 2005, following the resignation of County Attorney Louis Carrasco, who later pled guilty to misappropriation of funds. Alvarez becomes the fourth current incumbent to file for re-election, with two weeks remaining in the one-month period to file for the March primaries. In Reeves County, candidates up for election include Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Alvarado and Precinct 3 Commissioner Saul Herrera. Alvarado and Herrera were first elected to the commissioners court in 2004, while Gomez have served four terms as Reeves County sheriff, having first been elected in 1992.

So far, Alvarado, Herrera and Gomez have filed their treasurer’s designation with the Reeves County Clerk.

Gomez has also filed with Reeves County Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Dean and paid the fee, while Herrera filed with Dean and is filling out a petition.

The three, along with other local candidates were elected following wins in the Democratic primary races in either 2004 or 2006, and most candidates are again expected to file on the Democratic side for the 2008 election.

Candidates can also file to run for local seats in the Republican primary, and there will be primary elections at the regional and state level for president, the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on both the Democratic and Republican sides.

Seats also up for election include those for 143rd District Attorney, where Randall Reynolds is currently completing his second term, and 143rd District Court Judge, where Bob Parks has served for Reeves, Ward and Loving counties since 1986.

The other local elections are for Reeves County tax assessor-collector and all four county constable positions. The deadline to file for the March 8 primary is Wednesday, Jan. 2. Dean said the filing fee would be $375 for the constable positions and $750 for all other county elections. He said candidates can also file by petition, based on the total number of voters locally in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

Dean said his office would be in the law office building in the 100 block of West Fifth Street, and he would be available by phone at (432) 940-4944.

Residents in Barstow seeking to run in the March primary have to file with Democratic or Republican Party officials in Monahans.

Anyone seeking to run in regional or statewide office has to file with the state Democratic or Republican parties in Austin. Area races include the 11th and 23rd Congressional District elections in Ward and Reeves Counties, and 74th Texas House District race, which covers most of the Trans-Pecos area.

Salgado receives degree from UTPB

Laura Marie Salgado, of Pecos, graduated from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Salgado received a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Psychology degree and is a 2002 graduate of Pecos High School.

She is the daughter of Alfredo and Maria Salgado of Pecos.

WWW Pecos Enterprise

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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