Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Crowds arrive early for 20th annual Health Fair
Crowds turned out early for free and low-cost testing on Saturday, during the 20th Annual Reeves County Hospital Health Fair.
“We had people lining up outside at 5:30 in the morning,” RCH public relations director Venetta Seals said Saturday morning, about an hour after the health fair officially began.
Lines for the blood work tests stretched from the rear of the hospital out into the lobby during the opening hours of the fair, but Seals said on Monday things went smoother than in previous years, despite the very early arrivals.
“The lines seemed to move quicker than in the past. We had some extra (blood) drawers in the lab, and that kept things moving,” Seals said.
About 400 people took advantage of the low cost drug tests, and Seals estimated that overall, about 1,000 people attended the fair from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
All but two of the vendors and groups scheduled to have displays at the hospital showed up on Saturday. United Blood Services also had their small bloodmobile set up in the front driveway of the hospital, while breakfast was served by Pecos Downtown Lions Club volunteers.
Seals said the vendors seemed happy with the turnout. “There was a good flow of traffic all morning long. Of course, it tapers off after noon, but the flow of traffic was good,” she said.
Cell bell tolls for northside house burglar
A Pecos man was arrested for burglary of a building on March 21, after a report of first an alarm system, and then the suspect’s cell phone, going off inside a vacant home located on the north side of town.
Deputies from the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an alarm activation and movement in the living room of a house located at 717 N. Roberson Rd. at 1:58 a.m.
Sheriff Deputy Javier Contreras said that he drove up to the scene as the alarm was going off, and Pecos Police Sgt. Armando Granado advised him that he had seen a maroon truck leaving the house
“I met up with the truck and recognized the driver, Ricky Florez, 43, of Pecos,” said Contreras.
He said he asked Florez what was going on and was told that he was looking for his nephew, who had called him from his (Florez’s) cell phone. Florez said his nephew told him he was around the house when the alarm went off.
Contreras found the front door to an apartment or storage building north of the main house open and a window on the north side of the main house was also open. The screens to the windows on the north side of the house were on the ground.
Pecos Police Officer Juan Prieto Jr., Granado and Contreras went into the storage building or apartment and did a search.
Deputy Damon Compton also arrived to assist.
“I then questioned Mr. Florez again as to why he was driving off and he stated that he was looking for his nephew and that he was at his house with friends when his nephew called him to go over where he was because the alarm to the house had gone off,” said Contreras.
While two of the officers were doing a search around the main house and trying to figure a way to go in the house to see if they could turn the alarm off, Deputy Compton talked to Florez.
“I went to Mr. Florez home, but nobody was there to confirm his story,” said Contreras.
Deputy Compton asked for Florez cell phone number, but nobody answered it, while at the same time officers heard a phone ringing inside the home. Florez also had scratches on his forearms, which he said he got because he went in halfway through the window that was open on the north side of the house, calling out for his nephew.
“I told him things didn’t look too good for him, because there was no one at his house to verify his story and that he was seen taking off from the scene as patrol unit were driving up,” said Contreras. “I also told him about the cell phone ringing inside the house and he had a case for a cell phone on his front pant pocket that was empty,” he said.
Officer Conteras and Prieto took inventory of the truck before the wrecker towed it and discovered a big, long-stemmed screw driver in the back seat and a Motorola hand held portable radio with the Pecos Police Department’s frequency on it.
The markings on the windowpane that was pried open were consistent with the type of screwdriver found inside the back seat of the truck.
Compton also found a 12-ounce bottle of Budweiser Select on the southwest corner of the house that had been on the ground recently.
“I also detected a strong odor of alcohol when I went to talk to him, when he was in my patrol car,” said Contreras.
Contreras said that Florez admitted that he had been drinking and that that was the brand of beer that he drank.
After being placed under arrest, Florez admitted that to entering the house through a window he opened using a large screwdriver. He admitted to lying to the officers and admitted that he broke the alarm system inside the house and that the cell phone found inside the house was his and was dropped when he was on his way out after the alarm siren went off.
No items were taken, since the house was vacant. Total amount of damage was set at $1,500.
“The owners actually don’t want to press charges, they just want restitution,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.
Crews prepare to fix potholes following rains
Town of Pecos City crews began taking care of one rain-related problem this past weekend, when they started mosquito spraying sections of the season. They’ll start taking care of another problem in a few days, when crews go out to work on potholes created by last weekend’s rains and high water.
The city received between 2 1/2 and three inches of rain from March 23-26, most of that coming from a series of storms that passed over the city on March 25. The rains left standing water at various locations around town, and city streets and sanitation department director Martin Arreguy said workers began spraying to control any outbreaks of mosquitoes on Friday.
The high water also served to create new potholes in city streets and cause holes previously filled in to reopen due to cars passing over them under the wet conditions, “Crews will be out filling holes on Wednesday. We’d do it now, but we already have several projects,” Arreguy said.
“We’ve got to finish demolishing the (Chevron) gas station on U.S. 285, and we have a trailer house on Fifth street we need to finish tearing down,” he said.
Other projects planned by the city includes remapping the north/south and east/west trash collection routes to speed up service, as well as repairing some of the older dumpsters the city inherited from Duncan Disposal, when they took over trash collection and disposal from Duncan on Jan. 1.
“We can’t get to them all at once, but we’re going to get to all of them eventually,” he said.
Unemployment, local workforce continue to drop
Reeves County’s unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a percent in February, according to figures released on Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission. But the number of workers and jobs in the county again was lower from both January’s totals and from those of a year ago, according to the TWC.
Unemployment fell from 5.8 to 5.7 percent last month, with 4,076 workers in the county and 3,844 with jobs. That’s seven fewer workers and two fewer jobs than in January, while compared with a year ago, the jobless rate for Reeves County is down 1.3 percent. The TWC said the county has lost just over two percent of its workforce in the past year, falling from 4,175, while the number of jobs last February was at 3,878, or 32 more than last month.
The workforce totals continue to be headed in the opposite direction from the county’s sales tax collection totals, as reported by the Texas Comptroller’s office. Tax rebates in the county have risen by over 10 percent annually over the past two years, and are up by about that amount again through the first three months of 2007, despite a five percent drop in the local labor force during that same span, according to the TWC’s statistics.
Other Permian Basin counties also reported February unemployment rates at about the same levels as those reported in January.
Midland County again had the area’s largest workforce and job totals, while its unemployment rate increased to 3.5 percent, from 2.7 percent in December. The county lost 363 workers and 715 jobs from December, but still is up almost 2,800 in both workers and jobs from a year ago. Ector County’s unemployment rate was up from 3.0 to 3.6 percent, with an drop of 554 workers and 953 jobs.
Andrews County’s rate was unchanged at 3.4 percent in February, as the number of workers increased by 36 while the jobs was up by 30. Brewster County’s rate went from 3.4 to 3.3 percent, as the county added 158 workers and 154 jobs. Crane County’s rate was up from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. The county lost three workers and five jobs from January. Culberson County saw its rate go from 3.1 to 3.3 percent, as the county added two works while losing one job from the previous month. Dawson County saw its rate remain at 6.4 percent, as the county added 55 workers and 51 jobs, according to the TWC.
Howard County’s unemployment rate also was unchanged from January, at 4.9 percent, as The county lost 89 workers and 93 jobs from the previous month. Pecos County’s rate went from 4.7 to 4.8 percent, as the county’s workforce was down 24 workers while the total number of jobs dropped by 28. In Ward County, unemployment rose from 4.2 to 4.3 percent, with the number of jobs up by 10 while the workforce increased by 14. Winkler County’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.1 to 4.0 percent. The county’s workforce fell by 22 people while the number of jobs dropped by 18.
Presidio County’s jobless rate was back up over the 10 percent mark, as was Loving County’s rate in January. Presidio County dropped back to 9.4 percent from 10.2 percent after rising from December’s 9.4 percent. The county’s workforce fell by seven, while the number of jobs increased by 21 from the previous month. Loving County’s jobless rate went from 12.1 to 11.1 percent. The TWC said the county went from 33 workers with 29 employed in January to 36 workers and 32 with jobs last month.
PHS students able to advance in play, academic competitions
Students from Pecos High School brought home several honors from UIL competition held last Thursday and Saturday, while advancing to regional competition later this month.
Members from One-Act Play competed in Monahans on Saturday and earned a chance to advance to Area competition.
“We were one of two groups that advanced to Area Competition, which will be held in Monahans on Saturday, April 7,” said Katie Henson.
She said that they were pleased with the outcome and that the group would be performing at 12:30 p.m., on April 7, at Monahans High School. They also scheduled a performance for Monday night at 8 p.m. in the Pecos High School auditorium.
“The play is only 40 minutes long and we invite everyone to come out and see it,” said Henson.
The play the group performed was a One-Act Play entitled “The Death and Life of Larry Benson” by Reginald Rose, stage version by Kristin Sergel.
All-Star Cast members, as selected by judges on Saturday, were Brian Carrasco as Sam Benson and Katherine Ramirez as Freda Benson, while Francisco "Pops" Ornelas, who played The Boy, won Best Actor honors as district for the second year in a row.
All-Star Crew honors went to Aaron Lujan, while the Best Technician award was given to Paul Zubeldia.
Directed by: Katie Henson and Tiffany Overby.
The Honorable Mention All-Star Cast included: Catherine Moore: Mrs. Fitch; Hope Mora: Jessie Benson.
Several students who competed in District UIL last Thursday also brought home honors.
In Calculator Applications: First - John Scott; third,- Marilyn Samaguey; seventh - Eric Salgado; ninth - Job Darpolar.
Team first place.
In Literary criticism: eighth - Alma Hinojos; Current issues and events, 5th - Aaron Lujan and tie 10th - Paul Zubeldia; Syra Mendoza; 12th - Stephanie Galindo.
News Writing: 5th - Jessica Dickinson; Feature Writing: 6th - Jessica Dickinson.
Editorial Writing: 4th - Christina Cerna; 7th - Ruben Carrasco; 8th - Syra Mendoza.
Headline Writing: 5th - Christina Cerna; 6th Syra Mendoza.
Social Studies: 2nd - Alma Hinojos; 4th - Brian Navarrete; 5th - Alex Marquez.
The Pecos Team placed second.
Science: 11th - Carina Cerna
Alma Hinojos will compete at regionals in Odessa at Odessa College on April 14 in Social Studies.
John Scott and Marilyn Samaguey will compete in Calculator Applications. The Calculator Team will also compete at regionals as a team.
Churches to start Holy Week services
The West Texas Catholic Communities will be celebrating Holy Week with several special services planned.
On Holy Thursday, at 6 p.m., there will be a mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Balmorhea and at 8:30 p.m., at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
Good Friday, April 6: at 11 a.m., a procession from St. Catherine to Santa Rosa; at 12:30 p.m., a mass at Santa Rosa Church; at 4p.m., Our Lady of Guadalupe in Saragosa and at 7 p.m., Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
On Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil, at 7 p.m., at Christ the King in Balmorhea and at 10 p.m., at Santa Rosa.
Easter Sunday: at 9 a.m., at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Barstow; at 10:30 a.m., St. Catherine Church and at 12 p.m., at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
Credit by Exam sign-ups due soon
Credit by Examination (without prior instruction), sign up deadline will be Thursday, April 5, in the counselor’s office at the Pecos High School.
Students can sign up with Pat Cobos or Eva Arriola. Test dates are May 1, 2 and 3, at 3:30 p.m., at the high school. Credit by examination for acceleration allows students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 to be awarded credit toward high school graduation for acceleration.
Students who wish to obtain credit for any class that counts toward graduation may apply to take the examination for acceleration. The student may not have been previously enrolled in the class. Application may be obtained from the student’s guidance counselor.
Credit is granted to student’s who attain 90 percent or above mastery on the examination for acceleration. The test will only be administered once in the fall and spring semesters.
A copy of the testing schedule and application deadlines may be obtained in the counseling office.
OC to shut Pecos campus on Friday
In observance of Good Friday and the Easter holidays, the Odessa College campus in Pecos will be closed Friday, April 6 and will re-open at 7:30 a.m. Monday, April 9.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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