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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

April 17, 2001

Early voting to start in crowded local races

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 17, 2001 - Local residents who want to cast their vote early in the May 5 area elections can do so in Pecos beginning Wednesday for the Town of Pecos City, Reeves County Hospital and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD races, while Balmorhea voters can also begin casting their ballots in their school election on Wednesday.

Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., daily beginning tomorrow at the Pecos Community Center, at 510 S. Oak St., and continuing through May 1.

Just over half the area elections are contested this year, with five candidates in the race for the Town of Pecos City Council. Incumbents Gerald Tellez, Larry Levario and Johnny Terrazas are being challenged by Mary Patino and former Pecos mayor Frank Sanchez for the three available positions on the council.

The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board race has 10 candidates, with Lila Cerna, Paul Deishler, Veronica "Ronnie Dutchover, Saul "Chip" Flores, Crissy Martinez and Brent Shaw competing for the three available three-year terms. Incumbents are Shaw and Deishler, whose unexpired term is also up for election on May 5. In that race, Michele Galindo, Francisco "Frankie" Rodriguez and Ruben Salazar have filed for the remaining one-year term on the school board.

Along with Shaw's seat, Earl Bates and board president Louis Matta hold the other three-year terms. Neither opted to seek a new term this year.

In the race for the Reeves County Hospital District board, two of the five seats are up for election on May 5, but only one is a contested race.

Linda Gholson and Clark Lindley have filed for the Precinct 2 seat currently held by Marcella Lovett, while Hugh Box is the only candidate who filed for the Precinct 4 seat on the hospital board, a position currently held by Holly Key. Both seats are two-year terms.

Balmorhea voters will also have a contested school board race to decide. Two seats are up on the Balmorhea board and Cathy Carrasco is challenging incumbents Armando Mondragon and Paul Ward for the available three-year terms. Early voting in that race also begins Wednesday and continues through May 1, at the Balmorhea ISD administration office.

In the Balmorhea city election incumbents Olga Lopez and Ike Ward have filed to retain seats on the council. Voters will decide on three council seats in the May 5 elections.

In Toyah, Incumbent Diana Tollet of Toyah is seeking a new two-year term on council and has been joined by newcomers Danny Wayne Enmon and Laura E. Budlong. There are three positions open in the Toyah election.

In the Barstow City Council race, all three incumbents whose terms are up filed to retain their seats.

Aldermen Olga Abila, Dora Villanueva and Lucio Florez have filed for new two-year terms and an election has been canceled in that community.

If there are no opposed candidates, along with no propositions and no vacancies to be filled by special election in the Toyah, Barstow or Balmorhea city elections or for the Precinct 4 seat on the RCH board, those elections may be canceled.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Election Day, May 5.

Groundbreaking set Wednesday for new city jail

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 17, 2001 - Commuinty members are invited to join the groundbreaking celebration for the new Town of Pecos City Municipal Law Enforcement Center at 11 a.m., Wednesday on West Pinehurst Street (I-20 access road) near Reeves County Hospital.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that he and the city sent out approximately 300 invitations but anyone in the community is welcome.

Town of Pecos City and the Pecos Police Department have been working on constructing the new jail for about a year. Under the proposal, Corplan Corrections Corp. would construct the 96-bed municipal criminal justice center to house U.S. Marshal Service inmates awaiting trial at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse here in Pecos. Currently, most of the Marshal's Service prisoners awaiting trial in Pecos are being housed at jails in other cities.

The lot that the center will be built on is north of I-20 between Moore and Texas streets. The new jail will be built east of the Reeves County Hospital and directly across the highway from Colt Chevrolet. Along with housing the new city jail, the building will also be the new home of the Pecos Police Department.

McKinney said that he and the staff of the police department are real excited about the project coming one step closer to being completed.

He said that they all, including the city, have worked hard on the project.

"Now we're finally seeing some results of that work," he said.

Vasquez earns degree to begin new career

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 17, 2001 - A longtime local businessman has taken advantage of his recent new job offer to go back to school and get his high school equivalency diploma, more than 55 years after trading in his school books for a stint in the U.S. Air Force followed by jobs in the Pecos community.

George Vasquez, former owner of Vasquez Home Furnishings, is the latest graduate of the local Adult Secondary Education (ASE) program, where people past their teen-age years can finish their education where they left off.

Vasquez said that he is proud of getting that diploma after working hard toward it.

"It was an awesome feeling to get the diploma," he said.

Vasquez is one of over 50 community members who are getting a second chance at an education thanks to the help of Odessa College, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District and the strength of David Reyes, who serves as head instructor for the local ASE program.

"Here we study for the GED program," said Reyes, who explained that most of his students want to finish their education in order to get a better job or keep the job they currently have.

Reyes said that Odessa College funds the program with assistance from the P-B-T school district, which allows them to use the Lamar Alternative Education School.

Reyes said that 52 students are currently enrolled in the program.

The region extends from Odessa to as far as Presidio, according to Reyes, who added that, "So far we are the biggest class in the region."

The class of 52 students is split between two regular instructors, Reyes and Oscar Guerrero, and an assistant instructor, Jeannette Herrera. It meets from 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., every Monday and Wednesday.

Each school year usually runs concurrently with the P-B-T school district calendar, but Reyes said that this year, which started in September, would probably last until June due to extra funding.

Reyes said that the students are currently studying science and social studies and rotate subjects every six weeks.

So far four of the students, including Vasquez, have finished the semester with their diplomas, according to Reyes.

Vasquez has had a long and eventful life, which included leaving high school to join the U.S. Air Force. He was in the service from 1945-1948 and once he got out he worked for a year before marrying his wife, Lois.

"After that I worked for White's stores for 15 years," he said.

In 1965, Vasquez said he went to work for Terrazas Furniture Store where the next year he bought 50 percent interest in the store.

In 1971, he bought the other half of the interest along with the building where he continued to work and changed the name to Vasquez Home Furnishings in 1985.

Unfortunately, in August of 1998, Vasquez closed the store due to lack of business. But he did not have to wait long though until he found something new.

"In a few weeks, I was called by the prison (the Reeves County Detention Center) to see if I would be interested in a Chaplain's job," Vasquez said. "I jumped at the chance."

As a Catholic Ordained Deacon for the Catholic Church, Vasquez had spent many hours volunteering at the prison where he would minister to the inmates.

Vasquez said that those times of volunteering helped him get the job.

"So when I got called for the job it was down my line," he said.

As an employee of the RCDC he is required to have a GED, which is why he enrolled in the program.

Vasquez said that his 34 years of experience with the furniture store and his experience with White's helped him get through the program.

"My business background helped me tremendously," he said. "If it would not have been for the mathematics I wouldn't have made it."

Although he is happy to have received his diploma, Vasquez said that he would miss the class.

"I'm going to miss it," he said. "I got to like all these guys cause we're in the same boat."

Vasquez said that Reyes helped him a lot and inspired him to continue.

"I want to use David Reyes as an example of determination," he said. "He has more determination than all of us put together. That's what it takes."

"If it weren't for him, I'd have struggled longer," he said.

The rest of the students agreed with Vasquez that Reyes has been an inspiration to them because he knows what it is like to be them.

"We all agree that David is an inspiration to all of us," Vasquez said for the whole group. "He has great determination. I think it takes a person like that to inspire all of us to get the education we don't have."

Vasquez said that he would like to encourage anyone who wants an education to sign up for the classes.

"I would like to tell everybody that I didn't realize how much education meant to somebody," he said. "Get as much education when it can be had."

Vasquez along with the other graduates of the program will be honored with a cap and gown ceremony in May at Odessa College.

Elementary school kids given lessons in emergency training

Staff Writer

PECOS, April 17, 2001 - American Red Cross volunteers were in Pecos last week at the Bessie Haynes Elementary School teaching fourth and fifth grade students safety and providing them an opportunity to practice some of these safety tips.

"We take volunteers and show them hands-on how to do the Heimlich and other safety methods," said American Red Cross Community Services Director Genie McCartney.

The program, American Red Cross Safety Kids Day, is an educational hands on training geared for kindergarten through sixth graders. It is divided into three segments, such as Disaster Preparedness for Youth, First Aid Safety Skills, and Water Safety Skills, and each segment is video driven.

"Children will then have the opportunity demonstrate what they have learned," said McCartney.

The American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness for Youth segment includes knowing what to do and where to go in the event of any disaster. Children learned what goes in a disaster preparedness kit, such as: battery operated radio with extra batteries, water, blankets, and many more needed supplies, according to McCartney.

The American Red Cross First Aid Skills segment includes information on what to do for breaks, scrapes, burns, falls, bleeding and much more.

The American Red Cross Water Safety segment (Whale Tales) teaches children a wide variety of safety skills in and around the water. These safety skills include: never swim alone, swim in a supervised area with an American Red Cross-certified lifeguard on duty, do not jump in the water to save a friend, toss something that floats and go for help, boating safety (wear your lifejacket) along with many more lifesaving skills.

"Included in each segment, the children had the opportunity to learn what to do on a conscious victim who is choking (also known as the Heimlich maneuver)," said McCartney.

"This fun and exciting learning experience is concluded with the presentation of an informative and exciting bag of treats as a gift from the American Red Cross and its partners," said McCartney. "These bags will contain stickers, pencils, education brochures and certificates."

Students who volunteered to help out during the demonstrations or answered questions correctly received a T-shirt or a stuffed animal, according to McCartney.

Rec Department begins sign-ups for T-Ball play

PECOS, April 17, 2001 - The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is signing up boys and girls now through May 24 for its summer T-Ball program.

The program is open to children between the ages of 4 and 7, with a registration fee of $10 per player.

Parents can pick up forms or enroll their children at the recreation department office in the old Pecos High School gym during regular hours. A birth certificate and signatures from both parents are needed to enroll.

For further information, call the recreation department at 447-9776.


PECOS, April 17, 2001 - High Monday 93. Low this morning 46. Rainfall last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiement Station .04 inch. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of evening rain. Low in the mid 40s. East wind 5 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and warmer. High in the lower 70s. Southeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 50s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid to upper 50s. Highs in the upper 80s to lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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