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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Zoning variance, PEDC slots on council’s Thursday agenda

A zoning variance to allow alcohol sales on the south side of the Airlawn Shopping Center, and filling two spots on the Pecos Economic Development Corp. board are among the items to be discussed on Thursday by Town of Pecos City County members, in their first meeting of 2007.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss several items, including the request by Dr. Norman Harris for the zoning variance, which was made late last year. The variance would allow alcohol sales at the south end of the Eddy Street shopping center. La Tienda Thriftway received a variance several years ago to begin selling beer and wine in their store at the north end of the shopping center, which is located near two churches and Pecos High School, requiring the variance be granted by the city.

The PEDC spots up for reappointment or replacement are those held by Jimmy Dutchover and councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela. Both terms on the board expired on Dec. 31. In executive session, the council will also discuss/consider employee reviews on city manager Joseph Torres and police chief Clay McKinney.

Other items include an amended ordinance for solid waste disposal rates for customers outside the city limits; discussion of an ordinance recommending an increase in funding for the state’s park program and the local park grant program by the Texas Legislature; discussion of three offers to purchase property; public comments and monthly reports.

Commissioners start year by OKing water project

Reeves County Commissioner’s Court held its first meeting of 2007 on Monday with three new members, dealing with and approving several items, including water improvements totaling just under $550,000 for the Madera Valley Water Supply, Salt Lake Project.

New Reeves County Judge Sam Contreras presided over the regular meeting, and the meeting was also the first for Precinct 2 commissioner Gabriel Martinez and Precinct 4 commissioner Ramiro Guerra, who like Contreras were elected to office in November.

Steve Dennis, vice-president of GSWW, a Midland engineering firm, talked to the commissioners about a project that they are currently working on for water improvements on the south and west sides of Pecos.

Dennis told the group that they had received bids for the construction of the project.

“Those bids did include the electrical supply item, but we can save $20,000, if we award it separately,” said Dennis.

“Can you give us a little history on the project, since some of us here are new,” said Contreras.

Dennis explained that the project is being done through a grant they received from Texas Community Development Program.

“The project is to provide water improvements to the Madera Valley area and will also serve some homes located on ‘F’ Street in Pecos,” said Dennis.

Dennis said that originally they were going to use four inch lines, but have decided to go with two inch lines.

“There are some homes on ‘F’ Street on city water, but are paying out of city rates and we are going to pick up those,” said Dennis. Dennis provided a map of where the lines will be located, for the county and all the commissioners.

“We’ve got some grant money in the administration that can be shifted to construction,” said Dennis.

Commissioners approved awarding the construction bid for the Madera Valley project to Tejas Construction in the amount of $478,858, while the electrical bid was given to Mike’s Electrical Company, at a cost of $69,075.

During reports from various departments, Reeves County Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera said that the position of secretary for his office had not been funded during the adoption of the new budget.

Herrera asked commissioners to fund the position held by Senovia Rubio, and that both he and County Extension Agent Tommy Dominguez were pleased with her work.

“She’s been with us for a year and a half, she worked here at the courthouse with me and now at the other office,” said Herrera. “She does an excellent job and she even helps out the extension office. The two offices are located next to each other in the Reeves County Annex have been sharing Rubio as their secretary.

“Sometimes we even over-load her, but she works really well and we’d like to keep her,” said Herrera.

He said that originally she was in a part-time position, but that they wanted to retain her as a full-time employee.

“Yes, I received a lot of calls about how she works out really well and helps Tommy out also,” said Contreras.

Commissioners then approved funding the position as a full-time job at $20,800, a cost that will be split between the two offices.

Commissioners also approved other personnel and salary changes. Those included the hiring of former Town of Pecos City secretary Connie Levario, who will be working as Contreras’ executive assistant in the county judge’s office at $31,762 per year.

At the Reeves County Detention Center I/II, Rey Muniz was promoted as an employee development specialist at $37,668; Jorge Rascon as a correctional officer at $31,179; Guadalupe Gonzales as case manager at $32,115; at the RCDC III, Joel Garcia was promoted to Act. Lieutenant at $36,083; Damion Arreguy was promoted as operations lieutenant, $38,250; Ruby Briceno promoted to correctional officer at $31,179; Cindy Sosa promoted to payroll clerk at $36,025; Cecilia Muniz transferred to R-I as booking officer at $31,179 and new hires, Andrew Lopez, Isaiah Ramirez and Nathan Thornock at $31,179.

In the Road and Bridges Department, Lorenzo Salinas will transfer from the Road and Bridge Department to the Court House/General Fund at $20,762 and Paul Corralez received an increase to $23,133. At the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, Grace Renteria was hired as a receptionist at $25,000 and Jose Minjarez was hired as a jailer at $32,738 annually.

In the District Attorney’s office, Freddy Contreras received a salary increase to $40,687 and Cynthia Quintana received an increase to $30,250 annually.

Driver survives crash with train east of Barstow

A water tank truck driver didn’t get the back of his vehicle all the way across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks just east of Barstow Thursday afternoon and ended up at Reeves County Hospital, after the force of the collision overturned his vehicle and damaged the from of his truck and the rear of the tanker.

The accident was original reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety at 5:17 p.m. as having occurred between Pecos and Barstow, but actually occurred at a crossing just to the east of Barstow. The water tanker was stopped facing south at Business I-20, when the rear of the vehicle was struck by the westbound Union Pacific freight train, which the driver told troopers he did not see.

The force of the impact caused the tanker to spin 180 degrees around and overturn, causing damage to the front part of the truck while damaging the rear axle of the tanker truck, denting the tank and dislodging several of the water hoses from the vehicle. The front engine of the train was able to stop about a half-mile west of the accident site, blocking all but the furthest west crossing into Barstow for about two hours.

The train’s crew was not injured, while the driver of the truck was transported to Reeves County Hospital with what officials at the scene said were not serious injuries.

Louisiana man dies after crash in Pecos County

A Louisiana man who refused medical treatment following a Friday evening accident on Interstate 10 in Pecos County was found dead in his hotel room in nearby Iraan the following morning, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Joseph Jason Stewart, 36, of New Iberia, La., was pronounced dead at 7:10 a.m. on Saturday by Pecos County Justice of the Peace Cathy Ervine, about 14 1/2 hours after the accident occurred. Stewart died in a room at the Trail West Lodge on East U.S. 190 in Iraan, which was about 16 1/2 miles south of the accident scene.

According to the report, filed by DPS trooper Daniel Rangel of Fort Stockton, Stewart was a passenger in a 1994 Ford Escort, driven y Walter Travis Mattix, 35, of Bogalusa, La., which was westbound on the interstate in the far eastern section of Pecos County. Rangel said Mattix either fell asleep or was fatigued, causing the Escort to drift off the roadway and into the north bar ditch of the interstate.

Mattix then overcorrected to the left, causing the car to travel back across the westbound lanes before going into a skid and overturning in the center media. The vehicle came to rest on its right side in the median.

EMS personnel from Iraan were called to the scene and transported Mattix to Iraan General Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition with abrasions to his right ear, left elbow and left clavicle area. However, Stewart declined treatment and went to the motel in Iraan, where he was found dead the following morning.

Stewart was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, according to Rangel’s report. His body was transported to Shaffer Nichols Funeral Home in McCamey. An autopsy is pending into the exact cause of death.

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