Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, March 16, 2007
Police investigate string of burglaries, vandalisms
Pecos police are looking into several cases of burglaries and vandalism that has occurred at sites around town over the past two weeks.
Two local businesses, the Reeves County Library and the Town of Pecos City maintenance yard are among the sites affected. Police investigator Capt. Kelly Davis said the front door window was broken out by a bb gun and two other windows damaged at the library, located at Fifth and Park streets, sometime between 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 12 and 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13. Davis said damage to the windows was put at $460, and there are currently no suspects in the incident.
The incident involving a broken window at Brownlee Hardware, 131 S. Oak St., was reported to police on March 8 at 6:30 a.m. Davis said along with the damage, part of an RCA surround sound home theater system, and DVD player were reported stolen from he store.
On March 14, police were called to La Fiesta Drive Inn, in the 1300 block of South Cedar Street, where someone had broken in and stolen the store’s cash register. Davis said about $50 in change also was taken in the burglary.
On March 13, Davis said an attempted burglary took place at the city’s maintenance yard on West Walthall Street. “They attempted to get into a supply room, but weren’t successful,” Davis said of the break-in, which was discovered by city workers at 5:30 a.m.
Davis said a house burglary that occurred sometime around March 4 also was reported to officers. Benjamin Natividad said the house he was working on at 423 E. Fifth St., was broken into, and two stepladders, an extension ladder and two drills were taken, after entry was gained through the south side door. Total value of the stolen items was put at $579.
Meanwhile, Davis said police are waiting to get a full report from Kermit Police on a Pecos High School student who was arrested there on drug charges, after which officers discovered three items stolen from the school. He said the student was arrested on March 5 on marijuana possession charges, and three calculators belonging to Pecos High School were found in his possession.
Davis said Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials said they would press charges in connection with the calculator thefts.
Youth concert planned at park this Saturday
Gospel and D.J. music, along with a variety of foods will be featured at the Annual Spring Break Youth Concert, scheduled for this Saturday at Maxey Park.
Martin Arreguy, with the Town of Pecos City, was on hand for the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce meeting held Tuesday at lunch and talked to the group about this year’s event.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” said Arreguy, who added that city crews have been out cleaning by the park, getting it ready for the big event.
The activities at the park will be held from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m., with the paintball tournament at the former Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club range set for 10 a.m. The concert will start at 1 p.m.
“Vendors will be setting up at 9 a.m. and we’ve cleared off two areas for the paintball event,” said Arreguy. “We’ve also cleaned off some of the area outside the park, created more parking and cleared off the area by the motel.”
He said that if you take a ride around town, a lot of other changes have been made.
“We’re tearing down old buildings and today we are tearing down the old (Texaco) service station off the interstate,” said Arreguy. “That’s another eyesore being removed.”
Arreguy introduced his guest, Adolfo Ruiz, who has been hired to take over the parks department.
Ruiz has 10 years experience working at parks and has come to Pecos from Denton.
“He has a license for spraying and we think he’ll do a good job,” said Arreguy.
Ruiz said that he was looking forward to meeting everyone and that he was working hard on making the concert a success.
“I welcome suggestions and this will be my first day at the park, but we hope to make it a good one,” said Ruiz.
Joe Keese gave the group an update on plans for the West of the Pecos Rodeo.
He told chamber members that they were going to sponsor a “tough enough to wear pink” night, to support the American Cancer Society.
“The cowboys will be wearing pink shirts and anyone that wears pink on that night will receive a discount, a take a dollar off and donate it to the cancer society,” said Keese. He said that other rodeos did this last year and that it was a huge success.
“This event will be held Thursday night and we have the potential of having two television films going at the same time,” said Keese. “Pro-rodeo will be doing it to put on The Outdoor Channel and RFVT will be doing short highlights,” he said.
The committee plans to meet next Tuesday at the Pecos Valley Country Club and everyone is invited to attend, according to Keese.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Manny Espino talked about the upcoming board elections, and the bond election scheduled for May 12.
He said that right now the district has a golden window of opportunity to do something towards renovating and rebuilding the schools in the district.
Espino asked to be put on the agenda for next month, so he could talk to the group more about the bond issue.
Chamber Executive Director Linda Gholson talked to members about the Golden Girl pageant and said that there were five girls from high school that signed up to participate in the pageant.
Sign-ups for the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant, which is held at the same time as the Golden Girls, is being held now. Applications can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce Office, 111 S. Cedar, and entry fee is $50.
“This year they are allowing only one sponsor, because it got out of hand last year,” said Gholson.
The event is open to any little girl in the P-B-T ISD who is entering kindergarten next year or first grade.
Students’ spring break project benefits Pecos
A group of Minnesota college students opted to head south to Texas this week during their spring break vacation. But instead of spending time at some of the state’s more common destinations for students, like South Padre Island, they spent the early part of this week helping with projects in local communities, including Pecos.
Members of Students Today-Leaders Forever, were in town Wednesday morning, helping with preparations for this weekend’s Spring Break Youth Concert at Maxey Park. One group was working in the park itself, while a second was helping get things ready at the site of this weekend’s paintball tournament, located in the area of the former Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club Range.
The students spent the morning working after being housed Tuesday night at the Reeves County Civic Center. “We spend five days sitting on gym floors and then going to work on projects,” said Tony Dank, one of the group leaders in Pecos, along with Bob Stein and Lisa Foley.
“We’re just going around doing something significant on spring break, rather than just going to Mexico,” said Dank, who is from Bemidji, Minn., “We actually have six other buses traveling from the Minnesota area to San Antonio for a conference, and we just looked at a map and picked a city.”
He said another bus would be going to San Antonio from Wichita Falls, while a third group spend Wednesday over in Crane, doing clean-up work in that city.
Denk said the Students Today-Leaders Forever Program was initiated four years ago at the University of Minnesota. “It was just four kids sitting in a dorm during spring break who said ‘let’s do something different’,” he said. “We had one bus the first year, and the second year we had four buses, with students from Minnesota and some other universities.”
Nick Lindberg, a UM senior, said he has been involved with the project from its first year. “It was four college students up late at night in a dorm who wanted to make a difference in the world,” he said. “Basically, it was four freshmen who were a little naďve on the world, but had a dream they followed to make it a reality.
“How I got involved was there were two of us up at 3 in the morning one night, and told me about the tour, and I said I wanted to make a difference in the world,” he added. “The first tour was an amazing experience.”
He said 43 students traveled from Minnesota to Washington, D.C., with working stops along the way in Chicago, Canton, Ohio, Greensburg, Pa., and Philadelphia. “It was a blur what we did, but we had a great time and we loved it.”
Denk said the group has picked different travel directions each year. “We stopped at Cornell (Ithaca, N.Y.) last year,” he said, while this spring break, one group of buses is going to Washington, D.C., while the Texas group heads to San Antonio.
“Right now there are 15 buses. Eight are going to D.C., six to San Antonio and one is going to D.C. next week for their Spring Break,” he said. “There are a total of over 600 students involved, and 31 on the bus in Pecos.
The groups working in both Pecos and Crane had outdoor projects, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s Wednesday morning, though Lindberg said they’ve also done indoor work on places such as a woman’s center on other trips in areas where mid-March temperatures are a little more wintry.
He said the trip to and from Minnesota is a nine-day tour that starts on the first day of Spring Break and concludes the day before classes resume. The students pay their own way on the trip, which this year came to $425 per person for the nine day project.
Denk said the travel plans were worked out several months ago, and the group set up their overnight lodging and work plans through Linda Gholson at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.
“The project is just going out there and doing good for someone else,” he said, adding that the volunteers are coming from more and more colleges and universities outside the Minnesota area.
In San Antonio, there will be about 240 students from the six buses who will have projects set up on Thursday and Friday, including work cleaning up along the San Antonio Riverwalk.
“When we get down there, we’ll be able to feel the power of all those on all the buses,” Lindberg said.
The group has a website, at www.stlf.net , which provides information on the program, and accepts donations from people wanting to help Students Today-Leaders Forever with their expenses.
School election field crowded after late filings
May’s Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD elections will be busy ones, with eight individuals vying for three seats on the board, after four last-minute filings before Monday’s deadline.
Ten candidates overall will be running for the four seats on the school board, two for an unexpired two-year term. In the race for the three-year terms, the three incumbents will face five challengers, four who joined the race just prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline. The four others include John Grant, Bill Oglesby, Jay Haney and Al Gomez.
Grant and Oglesby are the presidents respectively of West Texas National and TransPecos Bank, Haney owns Pecos Family Chiropractic and Gomez is the owner of Alfredo’s Restaurant. They four join former P-B-T school personnel director Gome Olibas, who filed earlier to run against incumbents Lila Cerna, Bubba Williams and Crissy Martinez.
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.
In the race for the two-year unexpired term, Manuel Munoz Sr. will face Randy Graham for the position left vacant late last year, when Amy Miller moved to Lubbock. Munoz just prior to the March 6 deadline for that election, while Graham filed in late February.
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.
Joanna Lindemann joined the race on Monday morning, 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.
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.
Auditor gives positive report to city council
The city’s new auditors gave Town of Pecos City Council members an update on the 2006 audit report, during the council’s regular meeting last Thursday at City Hall.
Tracy Tartar, a Fort Worth CPA who was retained along with his brother, Stacey to handle the 2006 audit, said he was wrapping up work on it, and had found no major problems with the city’s financial situation. “We had three findings listed out, but none of them were major,” Tartar told the council.
He said the city needed to get the finance director’s position filled, in order to avoid problems later this year when the 2008 budget has to be drawn up. The job has been open since Sam Contreras resigned at the end of December to become Reeves County Judge.
City Manager Joseph Torres said two applicants for the position had not passed the city’s background checks. “We are still actively advertising in the TML (Texas Municipal League) Register for a finance director,” Torres said. “However, the salary range has been a problem.
“We’re not going to put somebody on the force who doesn’t pass a background check,” Torres added.
Councilman Michael Benavides noted the decline in problems found in the current audit, as compared to a few years ago, when 17 problems were found. “I don’t want the city to go back and face those findings again,” he said.
Councilman Danny Rodriguez said the city needed to become more aggressive in seeking a new finance director, and suggested looking at West Texas universities to find a recruit.
“We need to go there. They’re not coming this way,” he said. “If Mr. Torres needs help in this area, I’d be glad to take a day off and go help.”
In other action, the council tabled hearing a water resource management presentation until their March 22 meeting, agreed to abandon the south 10 feet right-of-way along Madison Street west of Texas street for construction of new homes; and agreed to closing streets in Maxey Park, for this Saturday’s Spring Break Youth Concert.
Course fee policy changes approved by commissioners
Reeves County Commissioners discussed changes to golf course fees and policies, and approved contracts for the Reeves County Detention Center, during their regular meeting held Monday morning in the third floor courtroom at the county courthouse.
The group had discussed the policy changes at a previous meeting and finalized them during Monday’s meeting.
“Peter (Mora, golf course greenskeeper) said that these policies were ready and that he just wanted to make it a formal policy,” said County Judge Sam Contreras.
“He did include the new fees?” asked Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Alvarado.
“The increase in membership will not be effective until next year,” said county auditor Lynn Owens, who added he hopes the new rules and fees would increase cart usage.
“I thought this would benefit people that only have a certain amount of time that they can be out there, such as the high school coaches, that have other sports they have to deal with,” said Owens.
Starkey Warren, with the Pecos Men’s Golf Association, said that he understood that Mora was trying to increase his revenue, but the course was only a half course.
“It’s not an 18-hole golf course and every time we go out there, we play a different course, because it’s flooding,” he said. The course is currently 14 holes when fully opened, three of which have been added in the past two years.
Warren it was great that we have a green course, but that it sometimes interfered with the game.
Alvarado said that they are ready to expand the golf course, but are only waiting for the city to tell them something about the land on the south side of the current layout.
“Have you heard of many people that are complaining about the new rates?” asked Contreras.
“I haven’t heard anything, but when the rates go up in January, you might hear something,” said Warren.
“Do you feel that the 18 holds would expand our tournaments?” asked Alvarado.
“I think we have all we can, we have a few each year and so do the women’s division,” said Warren.
He said that last year, the main complaint was that local Golf Association members had to go out there themselves with a weedeater. “We helped out doing that, because of the rainfall,” said Warren.
“I also wanted to change something, to exclude Barstow from having to pay the out-of-town fees, because that town is so close to us,” said Contreras.
Commissioners then approved the contracts, and followed up by ratifying the contracts for the prisons.
Contreras said that he still needed copies of the contracts with all the ratifications and changes.
“I’ll call over there and get you a copy of the contracts,” said RCDC I&II Warden Martin McDaniel. The group approved both ratified contracts for CAR5-6.
Under reports Owens told the group that they would need to find somebody to contract with to fix the elevators at county buildings.
“We’ll have to find somebody and get some type of agreement with them,” said Owens.
Suspect linked to stolen copper faces new charges in tire thefts
A Pecos man linked to the theft of over $31,000 in copper wire last month is facing charges in a separate incident, after several tires belonging to a geophysical company reported stolen in January and were retrieved last weekend by Reeves County sheriff’s deputies.
Jason Michael Proft, 28, faces charges in connection with the theft of the special use tired, two weeks after being arrested on charges of stealing copper wiring from a Reeves County farm.
The latest charges stem from an incident that began on n Jan. 12, when Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Dominguez responded to a complaint of theft that occurred at a location on County Road 132.
Deputy Dominguez met with Grady Gilreath, who told him that on Jan. 10, he had placed 10 tires, with seven being mounted on Ford wheels, in a box trailer for storage.
“He noticed the tires missing on Jan. 11 and that the lock was off the trailer,” said Dominguez.
Upon looking at the trailer, it was noticed that there was no sign of forced entry to the trailer and no damage to the lock.
“Local tire shops were advised of the theft and advised to contact the sheriff’s department if someone were to bring them in,” said the deputy, who went to the store where the tires had been purchased and was told that they were special order tires. He took a picture of them for reference purposes only.
On March 9, Dominguez received information that a male subject, identified as Jason Proft, was in possession of the stolen tires from the Dawson yard. Dominguez and deputy Damon Compton went to the to the location to talk to Proft.
“I then advised him of the report and he directed us to a large metal tank that he called his feed shed, located on the west side of his property,” said Dominguez. “In the shed, there were 14 truck tires and six ATV tires, which we compared to the report.”
The tires were the same size, brand and type of tires in the report.
“At first he told us that he had bought them for $2,500 from someone in Monahans, but he didn’t remember his name and didn’t have a receipt for the tires,” said Dominguez.
Proft was taken to the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department and advised of his rights and asked again about the tires.
“Proft then said that he had gone to the Dawson yard on County Road 132 in his truck and taken 14 tires out of a dry box trailer and then gone over to a flat bed trailer and taken some ATV tires that were there,” said Dominguez.
Proft said that it took him two trips and that he had placed them in his feed shed.
“He said he had bought a compressor and tool box he had in there also from a male in Monahans,” said Dominguez.
Proft was placed under arrest for theft over $1,500 and under $20,000, a state jail felony.
Total cost of the tires was estimated at $5,000.
On Feb. 23 , sheriff’s deputies arrested Proft in connection with the theft of about $31,680 worth of copper wire from a ranch located at the intersection of Farm Road 3334 and County Road 311 in the southern part of the county. He was charged with theft over $20,000 and under $100,000, a Third Degree Felony in connection with the incident at the Scott Evans Ranch, which was reported to deputy .Manny Jimenez on Feb. 18.
Red Bluff discusses wetlands funding request
Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members looked over a letter from a Pecos County businessman seeking to establish a wetlands area near the Imperial Reservoir, but took no action on a request for financial support, during their monthly meeting on Tuesday in Pecos.
Bart Reid, who has run shrimp farm operations at the reservoir, sent a letter to the board representing the Organic Aquaculture Institute, Inc., on a proposal submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the non-profit group. Organic Aquaculture Institute is seeking to create wetland habitats for the Pecos River pupfish and the Pecos River mosquito fish. “He had some acreage he drains water off of, and he wants to make some of that a pupfish breeding environment,” Red Bluff Managing Director Randall Hartman told the board.
The Pecos River pupfish has been listed as a threatened species by the federal government due to its elimination by the more dominant sheepshead minnow that was imported from the Texas Gulf Coast. That has led to water use restrictions along the Pecos River, especially in New Mexico. Listing as an endangered species could lead to federal controls on water capture and release along the Pecos River in Texas, to preserve the remaining minnow habitats.
“By preserving these species in artificial, off the river habitats we have been able to appease the ‘powers that be’ and keep the federal government out of the business of the water districts,” Reid wrote in his letter, which said that two-thirds of the $350,000 needed for construction and maintenance of the wetland would come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service.
“It would show we are involved in reestablishment of this minnow,” Hartman said, while adding, “We don’t have to take action on it right now.”
Reid’s plan initially calls for establishing one new site for the minnows and migratory birds, to be followed by three other neighboring sites, covering about 25 acres. Water from the reservoir’s canal system, and water from low-quality wells could be used for flooding the proposed wetland site.
Hartman said Reid is also seeking request for funds from other area landowners and businesses. Board members then opted to table any action on the request until a later date.
In other action, the board approved monthly payments, receipts, along with the quarterly investment report and the monthly fund balances.
On the water report, Hartman said water usage has already begun on land within the Red Bluff sub-districts, but that there were some questions about the amount of water used on fields near Horsehead Crossing in northeastern Pecos County. “By Sunday it was really getting flooded,” he said.
Pecos County Water Improvement District No. 2 used 668 of their 2,500 acre/foot allotment in March, while the only other districts to use in the month were Ward County Water Irrigation Districts 1 and 3, with 113 and 224 acre/feet. A total of 25,000 acre/feet was allotted this year to the seven sub-districts, while Red Bluff Lake showed a slight increase in its level for the month, rising 410 acre/feet to 106,350 acre/feet at the end of February.
Clark, Shuttleworth announce wedding plans
The engagement and approaching marriage of Sarah Leigh Clark and Michael Patrick Shuttleworth has been announced by their parents.
The bride to be is the daughter of Marian Clark and the late Tommy Clark of Pecos. A 2005 graduate of Pecos High School, she is presently employed by Wal-Mart in Odessa.
The prospective groom is the son of Billy and Tanya Shuttleworth of Fort Stockton. He is a 2006 graduate of Fort Stockton High School and is employed by G-O Roustabout in Fort Stockton.
A March 24 wedding at the First Baptist Church in Fort Stockton, has been planned by the couple. The ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m.
Training and testing set for Tuesday
Reeves County is sponsoring a private applicators training and testing, at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 20, at the Reeves County Civic Center.
Instruction training will begin at 8:30 a.m. and TDA testing will take place at 1 p.m.
For more information call the Reeves County Extension Office at 432-447-9041 and contact Tommy Dominguez to RSVP.
Space is limited so everyone is encouraged to sign up early.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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