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Friday, June 15, 2001

U. S. 385, where the buffalo roam

By Jennifer Galvan
Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- They were seen roaming the country during the pioneer  days. Then they were thought to be an endangered species. Now they  are roaming the countryside again. Or at least the highways.

Also known as buffalo, bisons are being raised by ranchers in the Southern and Eastern counties of Texas. They are then sold up north for meat.

In history class, kids learn that the buffalo were the main source of food for Indians. The Indians used everything that the buffalo had to offer: the hide, meat, fat and bones. The buffalo was key to their survival and way of life.

The Chief Deputy Sheriff of Brewster County, Jim Keene, said that they have had numerous calls, on buffalo blocking area roads. Wednesday he got a call about buffalo roaming across U. S. Highway 385 north of Marathon, three miles into Pecos County.

A call was made to the Pecos Sheriff's Department at about 8 a.m., but because all officers were out, a call was then made to the Alpine Sheriff's Department at about 12:50 p.m. about the buffalo being loose, Keene said.

A total of forty buffalo _ cow, bulls and calves _ all contributed to traffic having to slow down as well as to traffic jam. No accidents were reported, Keene said.

"We tried to get a hold of Mike Bruce but we could not get him," Keene said. Bruce is the owner of the buffalo, Keene said.

Together with Richard Neeson, the Brewster County Sheriff tried to herd the buffalo off of the highway but to no avail. Because they are not classifed as livestock likecattle, sheep and goats, they were not able to herd them by walking them along. Since calves were on the site, getting close was dangerous because the cows would have feared for their lives, Keene said. However, he said that the bulls are more dangerous because they tend to get furious.

"They are dangerous," Keene said. " The are not like cattle. Fences don't slow them down. They can jump fences."

"Buffalo have a real real short temper," Mike Bruce warned. "If the tail is kinked, stay clear of them."

Currently the Bruce family has between 200 and 300 head of buffalo and is trying to find a way in which the buffalo can be contained.

"Mostly I'm chasing them right now, trying to get them in pens," Bruce said. "Right now we've got wild bull that are jumping fences. My work's been cut out for me the last two or three months."

After several hours of controlling the scene, Pecos Sheriff's Department and ranch hands from Bruce's ranch in and were able to herd them back on ranch property.

"We couldn't have worked them had it not been for the ranch hands," Keene said.

"But if someone sees one," Bruce added, "try to stay away as much as possible and report it to me at the ranch (915-395-2237). To surprise one highly upset is super dangerous."

With a law passed by the state legislature, law enforcement officials are able to cite a ranchers for allowing their livestock to roam. However, this law does not classify buffalo as livestock. With that, law enforcement official are unable to cite the owners of the buffalo.

"However, like ranchers of livestock, the owners of the buffalo are liable for any damage that they cause," Keene said.

Rivas makes second big bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- For the second time this week, Trans-Pecos Drug Task  Force Officer Arnulfo Rivas recovered over 50 pounds of marijuana.  Early this morning on Interstate 10 he made a traffic stop that led to  the arrest of two El Paso citizens.

Enriquez Bustamonte, 33, and Lorenza Corral, 37, both of El Paso were arrested for possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 2,000 pounds, a second-degree felony.

On Tuesday, another El Paso man was arrested for possession of marijuana over 50 pounds after Rivas discovered the marijuana in the door panels and spare tire of the 1988 Ford F-350 pickup the man was driving.

Rivas, who was assisted by Officer Joey Odom, stopped a 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup at mile marker 150 on Interstate 10 in Culberson County for unauthorized license plate equipment.

Rivas said that the truck was stopped because of a blue light shining on the license plate itself, instead of an authorized clear light.

He said the only authorized colored lights on a vehicle are red, amber and one clear light for the license plate.

While talking with the driver and passenger, Rivas said that his training helped him to believe that there were drugs hidden in the vehicle.

"Good police work, observation skills and training led us to believe there was something in there," he said.

After gaining permission to search the vehicle, Rivas and Odom discovered 63.6 pounds of marijuana wrapped in brown packaging tape in the spare tire of the vehicle, which has a street value of over $36,000.

After discovering the drugs, Rivas placed the couple under arrest.

"The two are being held at Culberson County," Rivas said.

Rivas said that Corral's 15-year-old boy and six-year-old boy were also in the vehicle and released to family members.

"Family members in El Paso were contacted to come pick them up," he said.

Rivas said that they believe the couple was traveling from El Paso to Dallas and neither one had a criminal history.

Task Force Commander Gary Richards said that the U.S. Border Patrol would also investigate this latest incident.

"The Border Patrol is also issuing an immigration investigation on the subjects," he said.

This discovery makes the second one in three days, which is a first for the task force.

"This is the first time it's ever happened, getting two loads in one week," Rivas said.

Rivas said that usually the Task Force averages one bust a month.

For Rivas, who has been assigned to the Task Force through the Pecos Police Department for less than a year, this bust makes the fifth since January.

Rivas has brought in a total of approximately 548 pounds of marijuana and $8,500 in cash, which is uncommon for an individual officer.

"A lot of interdiction officers are generally happy to get five loads per year," he said.

Richards said that Rivas is doing a good job and works hard for the Task Force.

"Rivas is putting in long hours," he said. "The whole team has."

Before being assigned to the Task Force, Rivas was a reserve police officer for four years and a full-time officer for three years.

New announcer working horseback at 2001 rodeo

By Jennifer Galvan
Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- This year a new-yet-old face will be visible at the 2001 West of  the Pecos Rodeo. The face belongs to Benje Bendele.

Bendele and his company, Rough-Stock Rodeo Productions, have attended the West of the Pecos Rodeo before providing sound and music. This year, however, Bendele will be seen in a different light _ rodeo announcer.

"Since I started announcing, I've always wanted to announce at the Pecos Rodeo," Bendele said. "It's a pleasure."

A San Antonio native, Bendele came to the rodeo scene at the age of nine.

"I loved horses and the cowboy way of life," Bendele said. "I enjoyed what this country was made of and built upon."

Competing as a youth, in high school and in college rodeo all contributed to his knowledge of the sport, he said.

In his younger days Bendele could be found competing on many different judging teams such as parliamentary, livestock judging and the rodeo broadcasting team.

Other events in which Bendele competed were calf roping and team roping.

There was also a 15 second bull-riding career.

That 15-second career came from riding five bulls each three seconds apiece, he said.

"It was then and there that I decided that bull-riding was not for me," Bendele said.

Attending the Greg School of Auctioneers and graduating as "most outstanding auctioneer in his class," Bendele is also a licensed auctioneer in the state of Texas.

Bendele's career as a rodeo announcer began in 1988 at the age of twenty. Accompanying his brother John to a youth rodeo, there was no announcer and Bendele filled in the void.

"They got me talking and I have not shut up since," Bendele said.

Having the ability to announce on horseback and from the booth, Bendele will be announcing at the West of the Pecos Rodeo on horseback.

"It is different because it is more personal," Bendele said. "It makes the crowd feel like we are mingling."

However, Bendele also said that you must be a horseman because you have to know where to be at certain times during a rodeo performance.

Before coming to the Pecos Rodeo Bendele could be found at the Colemen Company Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in Colemen, Texas.

Tomb Raider promises sexy adventure

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- Although no one could top the phenomenal success of all  three Indiana Jones movies, where a very handsome archeologist  travels around the world in search of important artifacts,  Paramount Pictures sure is trying with the anticipated summer release of  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted-1999), is based on the popular video game with the same name that follows a very tough and intelligent adventurer named Lara Croft around the world in search of rare lost crypts and hidden ancient empires.

Like Indiana Jones, Jolie makes you want to go into tomb raiding; well the kind of raiding that would save the world.

Jolie portrays Lady Croft with great skill and proves to young women everywhere that women can do everything a man could do and do it even better.

Jolie, as Croft, is able to outsmart the numerous men in the movie as well as defend herself without needing any help at all.

Perhaps in real life Jolie is the same way which makes her so believable onscreen.

The extremely tough Croft does show that she has a heart, especially when it involves her late father, Lord Croft.

Lord Croft, played by Jolie's real life father Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible-1996), was also an adventurer who taught almost everything he knew to his daughter before his disappearance.

Voight performs his role well, as he always does, but perhaps the best thing about his performance is that he is acting with his daughter.

Director Simon West (Con Air-1997) knows how to make a movie with lots of action that would make most everyday people consider moving to another country to see what adventures they could find.

West is able to capture the beauty of remote foreign lands with lots of color and spectacular sets, including the Croft mansion.

Tomb Raider gives a well-known video game life and promises to make an ordinary evening in Pecos an adventure.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is rated PG-13 and is opening today in theaters everywhere.

Local citizens go to jail for MDA

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- Local citizens were arrested Thursday, not because they  did something wrong, but because they were trying to help out a good cause.

The group was arrested and placed "in jail" at West Texas National Bank in an effort to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The group raised about $8,000, according to MDA District Director Trudy Espinosa. "They did really well, we're very pleased with the amount," said Espinosa.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary national health agency _ a dedicated partnership between scientists and conferred citizens aimed at conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect hundreds of thousands of Americans, she said. The organization is perhaps best known for its national chairman and number one volunteer, Jerry Lewis.

MDA today is one of the world's leading voluntary health agencies fostering research and patient care, according to Espinosa.

MDA's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributions. The Association receives no government grants, not does it seek or receive fees from patients or their families, she said.

MDA got started as late as 1950, when very little was being done to combat neuromuscular diseases, she said. In that year a small group of parents whose youngsters had muscular dystrophy decided to do something about it, and the association was born. These parents firmly believed that there are no incurable diseases, only diseases for which no treatments have yet been found, Espinosa said. That basic philosophy has animated MDA ever since, she said.

Local individuals who helped contribute to the organization include, Bill Cooksey, Amparo Lopez, Linda Smilt, Louise Moore, Isabelle Blanchard, Gil Le Beouf, Butch Renshaw, Richard Crider, David Castillo, Jimmy Dutchover, Michelle Workman, Carlos Rodriguez, Belinda Mirelez, Danny Rodriguez, Noe De Los Santos, Isaac Martinez, Ricky Funk, Juanita Davila, Weldon Brookshire, Pat Tarin, Frank Rodriguez, Donna Woodard, Luz Ortiz, Ronnie Sandell, Andy Gomez, and Joe Coody

"We want to thank all the individuals that took time out of their busy schedules to help us raise funds," said Espinosa.

Volleyball clinic beginning on Monday

PECOS, Friday, June 15, 2001 -- A Volleyball Clinic will begin on Monday, June 18 and run through Friday, June 22 at the Pecos High School New Gym.

For all incoming 7th and 8th graders the clinic will be held from 8 a.m. until noon and for all incoming freshman the clinic will be from 1-5 p.m.

Cost is $5 per student.

For more information contact Coach Becky Granado at 445-5668.

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