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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 27, 2007

Autopsy ordered into building worker’s death

An autopsy has been ordered into the death of a 65-year-old Pecos man whose body was found on the roof of a Cedar Street storage building he was working on Wednesday afternoon.

Fermin Aldaz was found unresponsive by a co-worker around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. He was lying on the roof at the east end of the building, located in the 600 block of South Cedar Street. Building owner Bill Allen said Aldaz was part of a group that had been working on repairing the building’s tin roof since Monday.

“They started on Monday, but then he was sick on Tuesday and didn’t come to work,” Allen said. “They he came today.”

One of his co-workers said Aldaz was drilling some screws at the east end on the building, and when he saw him again he was lying on the roof of the building with his drill hanging over the edge. The worker then went to the neighboring State Farm Building at Sixth and Cedar, in order to contact Emergency Medical Service personnel.

“People saw him about five minutes before the body was found,” said Randy Graham, who has offices inside the State Farm building.

EMS workers, along with Pecos Police and Pecos Volunteer Fire Department crews were at the scene quickly, but had to be careful getting to the Aldaz, because of a swarm of bees that were in a tree next to the building. Crews were able to eventually move his body off the roof, and he was then pronounced dead by Reeves County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Amanario Ramon, who ordered that an autopsy be performed.

Police officers on the scene said the did not notice any bee stings on Aldaz’s body, and there was no sign of any electrical problems with the drill or that Aldaz had come in contact with power lines that run through the alley behind the building.

His body was taken first to Peaceful Gardens Funeral Home, before being transferred for autopsy. Funeral services for Aldaz have been scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

Munoz, Grant leave P-B-T race, names to stay on May 12 ballot

Two potential candidates for the upcoming May 12 elections in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board race have opted not to continue their campaigns, but will remain on the ballot people will see beginning on Monday when early voting gets underway.

Manuel Munoz, Jr., who was one of two candidates seeking the two-year unexpired term on the board, wrote a letter to the district on April 16, requesting that his application to run for office be rescinded.

“I, for personal reasons, retract my application for a place on the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District Special Election Ballot and rescind my candidacy for the office of school trustee in the same school district,” said Munoz, in his letter to school superintendent Manny Espino.

The second candidate wrote a similar letter date April 25.

John B. Grant, was one of eight candidates seeking one of the three full three-year terms on the school board in the May 12 election.

“Please withdraw my name as a candidate in the May election for School Board Trustee. It is my belief that there are a sufficient number of qualified and competent candidates,” Grant said in his letter.

“I do realize that my name will remain on the ballot. In the event that I received enough votes to be elected to one of the three at large positions, I will immediately resign the position,” said Grant.

“I regret that that I did not come to this decision prior to the date for withdrawal. However, I feel that continuing as an active candidate would be a disservice to the community and voters,” he said.

March 6 was t he filing deadline for the two-year term, while March 12 was the deadline for the three-year seats, and the deadline to withdraw came only a few day later. “The last day to withdraw and name be omitted from the ballot was March 20,” said P-B-T ISD Secretary Tracy Shaw.

Munoz and Grant’s names will still appear on the ballot and receive votes and if they are elected, they can decide if they want to serve on the board or resign.

“The board has 180 days to appoint somebody or call a special election in November,” said Shaw.

The position will not go to the next-highest vote getter, however.

“If they decide to resign the board has the option to appoint somebody or call a special election,” said Shaw.

If the board does not appoint someone, there will have to be a special election later this year, and anybody can run for that unexpired term.

“If the board appoints somebody it will be only for the term until the next general election,” said Shaw.

School hopefuls back bond issue

Incumbents and their challengers were basically supportive of plans for a $30 million school construction bond issue, which will be on the ballot for voters on May 12, along with the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board election.

Board members agreed to hold a bond election during the May elections, joining about 100 other school districts that are doing the same in effort to upgrade their facilities. Three of the board’s six current members will be up for election on May 12, and will face four challengers for their three year terms, while one other candidate will be seeking to fill an unexpired term on the board.

Responses from the candidates seeking one of the three-year terms are listed below, in alphabetical order.

Current board president and one of the three up for election, Lila Cerna, explained her support for the measure, which would focus on rebuilding sections of Austin Elementary and expanding Crockett Junior High to handle sixth grade classes.

“After careful review and deliberation on our facilities assessment reports and walk-throughs of our campuses, the school board felt it would be in the best interest of the district to put this bond issue before the voters,” she said. “I cannot agree more. With the ever flourishing opportunities in this region and in Pecos, I think it is important that we take the initiative in continuing to create an environment that is not only more conducive to learning but also something for which our people would be proud to be a part. P-B-T ISD is a vital part of our community.”

“Continuing to develop our school facilities will not only benefit our children, but also our community at large,” said Cerna.

Cerna stated, “As a taxpayer, I empathize with the concerns regarding our tax rate and its potential impact on the local economy. Therefore, I feel it is important for local citizens to be fully informed on the issues. I would encourage all resident citizens of our district to attend presentations by our administrators on bond facts so they can make an informed decision.”

Challenger Al Gomez said that he was for the bond issue. “For the fact that we need to fix things up, it’s a very expensive bond for fixing it up.”

“I feel we’ll need to spend $25-$30 million in six more years, because of the problems that we don’t fix today, will catch up with us,” said Gomez. “We’ll be able to spend $60 million in 10-20 years.”

Gomez said that he thinks the school district is going to spend a lot of money.

“I just feel that we need to give our teachers a good teaching environment and kids should have a good learning environment and I am in support of building new schools,” he said. “Whether we build new schools or not, I feel we should possibly spend $60 million in less than 12 years, but I am for the bond issue,” said Gomez. “When we build new schools, hopefully, it won’t raise the taxes.”

The school board’s decision to call a bond election has struck up great conversation among the community, said current board member Crissy Martinez.

“I want to explain my view on this bond issue, from both the financial and educational aspects. Several Texas school districts, some in our area, are also calling for a bond election this May. By having the election in May, we may obtain State funding (EDA) that is available for bond election by the Legislature at the close of their session in June 2007. This translates into a discount for those districts passing a bond election,” according to Martinez.

“Due to the reported increase of oil and gas productions and tax valuations in our area, the Texas Legislature will decrease our tax rate by 33 cents. We want to take those 33 cents and add it back to the tax rate to be used for the debt serviced of the bond, should it be approved. The tax rate will ultimately not change for the taxpayer.

“When you add the State’s discount and no tax increases to the taxpayers to make the much-needed renovations and additions to our facilities while enhancing student achievement, it only made sense to me,” said Martinez.

“While going through this process to decide on these potential improvements and the amount needed to compete them, our focus remained on higher student achievement. Academic improvements make up about 74 percent of the bond and 19 percent is for extra-curricular facilities, which relates to academic performance,” said Martinez.

Our community seems to be working for a better Pecos by bringing in new business and assisting the existing businesses. With these promising changes for our schools, PBT-ISD hopes to provide a positive attitude and appearance for the recruitment of potential employers with families looking to relocate in Pecos and not in our peer districts, according to Martinez.

“You can get more information by picking up a “Bond Facts” brochure,” she said.

“I am for the school bond election,” said challenger Bill Oglesby. “This is an opportunity to upgrade the school’s facilities without changing the tax rate. I may not agree with all the possible improvements, but I agree with enough items to support the bond election,” he said.

Another challenger, Gome Olibas, a former personnel director for the district, said, “While I'm not in the habit of not giving a direct answer, on this particular issue, I feel that I'm still in the process of gathering information to best make an informed decision as to my particular assistance on the bond election.

“I am looking forward to attending a presentation made by the superintendent to see what the district's plans are concerning why the bond is needed, where the money is to be spent, and how it affects our district and community as a whole,” he said.

“I will say, however, that I am in an extremely fortunate situation if I am elected by the citizens of this community to serve as a school board trustee because my past experiences with this district, coupled with the history I have with this community will allow me to best serve the needs of the district,” said Olibas.

“The time is right for the school system to help entice people to come to Pecos,” said current board member Bubba Williams. “For the same amount of money you are paying on school taxes we can make improvements in our school,” he said.

Having something new bring pride in to the eyes of students, teachers, administrators and schools will help attract new people and businesses to our city, according to Williams. Randy Graham, who is seeking the two-year unexpired term, said that he was all for the bond issue.

“I’m for it, but we need to look at the list and prioritize,” said Graham. “I saw the list of the campuses and need to prioritize, but we need to double check and get a second opinion,” he said.

“I would like to see bonds for 15-20 years and the sooner we get if paid off the better,” said Graham.

Graham said that he would see if the bond issue passes first and then go from there. “We need to make sure we’re not wasting any money,” he said.

Graham’s only opponent Manuel Munoz, Jr., submitted a letter to retract is application for a place on the ballot, but since the letter was received before the appropriate date, his name will still appear on the ballot.

Early voting to start Monday in local school, city elections

Early voting in the city and school elections will begin on Monday, April 30, at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St.

The election is scheduled for May 12 and individuals will have an opportunity to vote for new school board and city council members.

Voters in the May 12 school election will also be deciding on approval of the $30 million bond issue approved by the current board last week for campus reconstruction, expansion and other improvements.

Early voting will continue until May 8 and individuals can cast their votes early from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the community center.

In the Town of Pecos City Council race, Joanna Lindemann joined the race and will face mayor pro-tem Gerald Tellez and councilmen Danny Rodriguez and Frank Sanchez on May 12. Lindemann is currently employed as secretary for Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens, and is running for office for the first time. Tellez, Rodriguez and Sanchez were unopposed in winning new two-year terms in office in 2005.

Eight candidates overall will be running for the four seats on the school board, one for an unexpired two-year term. In the race for the three-year terms, the three incumbents will face five challengers.

Incumbents include Lila Cerna, Bubba Williams and Crissy Martinez who will be joined on the ballot by Bill Oglesby, Jay Haney and Al Gomez.

John Grant who had previously signed up to run for a place on the board, turned in a letter to the superintendent to rescind his application. However, his name will still appear on the ballot since, the letter was not turned in by the March 20 deadline.

Oglesby is the president of TransPecos Bank; Haney owns Pecos Family Chiropractic and Gomez is the owner of Alfredo’s Restaurant.

In the race for the two-year unexpired term, Randy Graham is running for the position left vacant late last year, when Amy Miller moved to Lubbock.

Manuel Munoz Jr. had also filed to run for that position, but turned in a letter to rescind his application and opted not to run. His name will also appear on the ballot, since his letter was also turned in late.

The school board races are among a handful of contested elections on the May 12 ballot. That includes the race for the Town of Pecos City Council, where the three incumbents up for election will face one challenger for the two-year terms up for grabs.

There were no challengers to the two incumbents in the race for the Reeves County Hospital District board. Precinct 2 incumbent Linda Gholson and Precinct 4 representative Pablo Carrasco have filed run for new two-year terms. Both also ran unopposed in 2005, and under state law, the hospital district can cancel the elections in order to save money if there are no contested races or any other local measures on the ballot.

RCH board discusses docs, purchase of new ambulance

Reeves County Hospital District board members spent a couple of hours in executive session Tuesday night discussing contracts for doctors, as part of an effort to solve the hospital’s current physician shortage.

Board members also approved an emergency appropriation to buy a new transfer ambulance due to problems with the two currently owned by the hospital, and discussed the possibility of consolidating medical services in an on-site or off-site clinic, but did not take action on either of those items following the meeting, held in the classroom at the hospital.

Chief Operating Officer Al LaRochelle said while he was hopeful the hospital would be able to attract new doctors in the near future, they currently have no official commitments. RCH lost two physicians last year when Dr. Haitham Jifi closed his practice in Pecos last June and OB-GYN Dr. Oladele Olusanya closed his practice to relocate to Dallas at the end of the year.

The ambulance purchase required hospital board members to push forward a $100,000 appropriation that was due to be used for its purchase during the 2008 fiscal year. “We’ve been having problems with the transfer ambulances. We’ve had a couple of episodes when they’ve both been down at the same time,” said LaRochelle, in asking the board to approve seeking bids on a new unit. He added that the problems have resulted in additional costs to transfer patients from Pecos to hospitals in the Midland-Odessa area. “We had patients with a fractured pelvis and a fractured hip, and I had to make a decision to have an air ambulance fly over, because we didn’t have an available ambulance in the area,” he said.

He said the hospital is seeking to replace a 1998 ambulance with 184,000 miles. The other ambulance is a 2000 model, which currently has 131,000 miles.

“It does appear we need to do something,” said hospital board president Linda Gholson, prior to the vote to allow bids to be sought for a new ambulance.

LaRochelle said the plan to consolidate medical departments in one clinic could help improve future Medicare reimbursements to Reeves County Hospital, but the proposal is only it its initial stages.

“I’m doing light feasibility work to decide if we should build a medical clinic to put everybody together,” LaRochelle said. He added that the cost of the study would be limited to no more than $5,000.

In action prior to the two-hour executive session, the board approved tax sales on several properties, rejected an oil and gas lease bid on land partially owned by the hospital district, approved Trio monitors for the emergency room.

All of the tax sale properties were approved unanimously, with the only discussion coming on the sale of a building at 513 W. Third St. to Linda Herrera Rubio, for $1,500. The board discussed whether or not the building, which is to be used for a hair and nails salon, was worth more than Rubio’s offer.

“If she has to do any work, the price is going to shoot up real fast,” LaRochelle said. “It’s been vacant for a long time,” said board member Brenda McKinney. “There’s no telling how much work she’ll have to put in.”

The oil and gas lease offer from Ramsey Petroleum was rejected, after board members decided the initial per-acre payment and the proposed royalty rate were below what other landowners in the area had been offered.

“My recommendation is you get one (bid) at a later date,” said LaRochelle. The ER monitors came in at just over $10,000, requiring a vote by the board, but LaRochelle said the full cost of the new equipment would be paid for through a grant received by the hospital.

LaRochelle also said the hospital would go back and do a re-bid on a contract for repair work to the parking lot. “We put the parking lot out to bid, and what came back was way above what we expected,” he said. “I think we’ll just see if there’s a different way to do this.”

Workforce Network moving to OC site

The Pecos Workforce Network will be moving to a new location this coming Tuesday.

The Workforce Network will be located at the Odessa College Technical Training Center, 1000 S. Eddy St. Planned move date is May 1.

Marriages and Divorces

Editor’s Note: Marriage and divorce records are public record and may be accessed by anyone. All marriage records are kept in the Reeves County Clerk’s office, while divorce records can be located in the District Clerk’s Office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Marriages for January 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Paul R. Corralez and Delma Rodriguez. Eric Anthony Rodriguez and Monica Gonzales. Bret Wade Walker and Heather Anne Scheier.

Marriages for February 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Bruce Robert Machuca and Tiffany Jo Salcido. Billy Jack Brookshire and Laura Abigail Legarreta. Jose Pete Baeza, Jr. and Angie Mora Nunez.

Marriages for March 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Pedro V. Vasquez and Socorro C. Vasquez.

Marriages for April 2007, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office. Wesley Wade Helmers and Jessica K. Statler.

Divorces for March 2007, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office. Asuscena Sandoval and Felix Madrid. Patrice Deann Shaw and Wesley Roy Shaw.

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.


Isela Garcia Pena, 31, 812 S. Cypress St., was arrested by police on April 25 on charges of allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle, and theft by appropriation. Police said the arrest was made at 6:54 p.m. when Pena’s 1994 Mazda Protégé was stopped in the 900 block of East Sixth Street. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Bernadino Nunez Mora, 41, of Rm. 19, Roper’s Motel, was arrested by police on April 25 at 6:54 p.m. on charges of no driver’s license, no proof of fiscal responsibility and theft by appropriation. Police said the arrest was made at 6:54 p.m. while Mora was driving a 1994 Mazda Protégé in the 900 block of East Sixth Street. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Mario Rico Jasso, 21, 616 S. Eddy St., was arrested on warrants charging him with theft and evading arrest. Police said the arrest was made on April 25 at 1903 S. Cedar St., and Jasso was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Oscar Saenz Barrera, 43, 1512 Johnson St., was arrested by police on April 26 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 900 block of South Ash Street, and Barrera was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Manuel R. Aremendariz, 23, 2329 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on April 26 on a charge of permitting an unauthorized person to drive. Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop at 10:17 p.m. in the 200 block of Plum Street. Armendariz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Stephanie Mae Galindo, 17, 422 S. Mulberry St., and Robert Benjamin Rodriguez, 17, 420 Magnolia St., were arrested on April 22 on charges of evading arrest of detention, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrests took place following a report of a disturbance at 3:18 a.m. at 2210 Country Club Dr., with the defendants being located in the 2200 and 2300 blocks of Cactus Street. They were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Rodolfo Hernandez III, 19, 2401 Country Club Dr., was arrested by police on April 22 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 4 a.m., following a disturbance at 2210 Country Club Dr. and a search by police for suspects in the 2200 block of Cactus Street. Hernandez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Pecos police arrested two 16-year-old male juveniles on April 22 on charges of evading arrest or detention. Police said the juveniles, who live at 510 S. Orange St., and 1507 Johnson St., were arrested after attempting to flee from officers responding to a disturbance in the 2200 block of Cactus Street. They were both then transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.


Ruben M. Villegas, 27, 1614 Morris St., was arrested by police on April 21 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 2100 block of Hackberry Street at 11:09 p.m., and Villegas was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Pecos police arrested a 14-year-old male juvenile on April 22 on a charge of evading arrest, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said he arrest took place at 323 North Walnut Street, after he was seen fleeing over a fence following a call to police at 12:23 a.m. of gunshots in the area. The juvenile, who police said lives at 322 W. ‘D’ St., was arrested in the 300 block of North Ash Street and was then transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.


Crissy Sanchez Lopez, 37, 801 S. Pecan St., was arrested by police on April 17 on a warrant charging her with default payment on an earlier charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said the arrest was made at 9:02 p.m., at La Tienda Thriftway, 810 S. Eddy St. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ruben Jimenez, 24, 2223 S. Missouri St., was arrested by police on April 18 on warrants charging him with motion to surrender principal on possession of cocaine and theft, a state jail felony. Police said the warrants were served while Jimenez already was in custody of police at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, 172 Raul Florez Blvd.


Norma Mendoza Barragan, 45, 1025 Meadowbrook St., was arrested by police on April 18 on warrants for theft of property out of Reeves County and theft by check out of Wilbarger County. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop, when a records check turned up the outstanding warrants. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


A male juvenile, no age given, was arrested by police on April 16 on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor, and burglary of a habitation, a state jail felony. Police said the arrest was made in the 1500 block of Cowan Street, and the juvenile was then taken to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

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