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Tuesday, July 03, 2001

First bull riders set to perform at rodeo tonight

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 3, 2001 -- Forty-four bull riders are scheduled to compete tonight at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, in the first round of competition for the 119th anniversary West of the Pecos Rodeo.

The final night of slack competition in roping and steer wrestling is also scheduled for today, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 per person for tonight's show, while admission is also $5 for a dance scheduled tonight from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Reeves County Civic Center.

The official opening performance for the 2001 West of the Pecos Rodeo is Wednesday night, at 8:30 p.m. at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena. Along with the bull riding and timed events from this evening's performance, saddle bronc and bareback riding also are scheduled to begin with the July 4 show. It will also be the first night for both local events, the wild cow milking and the wild horse riding competitions.

More Rodeo Results

Fourth of July  parade to mark start of Rodeo

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 3, 2001 -- Horses, floats, clowns and more will be a big part of this year's Fourth of July Rodeo Parade scheduled for 10 a.m., Wednesday along West Third Street and through Downtown Pecos.

The theme of this year's parade is Disney characters in a Western theme, according to Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Tom Rivera. Entrants will gather at the corner of Highway 17 and Third Street at 8 a.m., to kick off the annual event.

Jay Hendricks of KWES News West 9 is stepping in as this year's Grand Marshal. Rivera said that the parade committee chose Hendricks because of all that he and the news station have done for Pecos.

Last year, Hendricks and the KWES team kicked off their annual Tour Under West Texas Skies with a live broadcast from Buck Jackson Arena, the first time the station was able to beam its live signal from Pecos 65 miles to the station's transmitter.

Along with Hendricks, parade fans will also be able to see all six 2001 Golden Girl nominees on their colorful floats.

This year's 12 Little Miss Cantaloupe contestants will be riding together on the Lion's Club mini-train, according to Rivera.

Rivera said that there would also be some other floats in the parade including one from the Pecos Housing Authority.

All in all, Rivera said that 27 floats have entered the parade to be judged, which is more than last year.

The Reeves County Detention Center's color guard will present the colors at the start of the event.

Old-Timer's will also have the opportunity to view the parade at a comfortable and pleasant location. The "older generation" will gather under the shade of the awning outside the West of the Pecos Museum beginning at 9 a.m.

This year the reception will be co-hosted by Security State Bank and everyone is invited to gather at the museum at 9 a.m., for the annual reunion.

Refreshments will be served to those who attend, and chairs will be set up in front of the museum so that everyone can enjoy watching the parade together.

The group will enjoy refreshments and visiting in the courtyard before moving to the front of the museum where the chairs will be set up, according to Debbie Thomas, director of the West of the Pecos Museum.

A gift to the oldest male and female will be presented during the reunion and everyone will have a nametag. "Everyone can come and enjoy visiting with old friends and make new ones here," said Thomas.

She said they will have some "surprise" guests, and the rodeo clowns will make their usual appearance at the reunion before joining the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade.

"They usually run through here first before joining the parade," said Thomas.

Everyone that attends the reunion will also have an opportunity to visit the art exhibit and show, which is housed at the museum throughout the Fourth of July festivities.

"The art show is something new and we welcome everyone to come by and see it," said Thomas. "Especially because it features local artists."

Thomas said that there is a lot of talent in Pecos and they will be showing off their "wares" at the art show.

The parade will travel along it's normal route, that starts off at Highway 17 and Third Street, goes east on Third to the downtown area. From there, it travels south on Cypress Street, east on Sixth and then south on Oak Street, around the West of the Pecos Museum and all the way down Cedar Street to the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Barn.

After the parade, division winners will be announced with trophies handed out while community members are welcome to eat a barbecue dinner at the Posse Barn.

Rivera said that he hopes the community comes out and enjoys what some people believe is the start of the annual rodeo festivities. The official opening for the 119th Anniversary West of the Pecos Rodeo is 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Furgeson explains guilty verdict reversals

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 3, 2001 -- U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson questioned the evidence and questioned his own actions during jury selection, citing them as the main reasons for his reversal of the jury's guilty verdict against six undocumented illegal aliens on charges of marijuana smuggling in Pecos Federal Court two weeks ago.

Furgeson reversed the jury verdict on June 22, following a week-long trial in federal court, and released his official opinion on the case on Monday.

The six men were standing trial for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after their arrest on

March 2 by U.S. Border Patrol officers. The men were identified as Eloy Hernandez-Bautista, Prudencio Garcia-Rodriguez, Amado Ochoa-Bernal, Jesus Gutierrez-Guzman, Jose Gutierrez-Guzman and Jesus Ornelas-Yanez, all of Mexico, and were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

According to a narrative in the federal case file, Hernandez was stopped on Chispa Road and the Border Patrol officers searched the Chevrolet truck that he was driving but found no drugs.

While officers were talking with Hernandez, another Border Patrol agent traveled southbound on the road to determine if other vehicles were waiting for Hernandez, and discovered an abandoned Chevrolet truck with a flat tire, according to the file.

Hernandez admitted that the abandoned truck was his.

Border Patrol officers discovered footprints around the abandoned vehicle that led into the brush toward a "prominent landmark."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller said that the Border Patrol officers called on the expertise of a 22-year veteran footprint expert. He said the expert traced the footprints back to five duffel bags that carried a total of 257 pounds of marijuana.

The footprint expert picked up more tracks a few yards away that led to the five men hiding in the brush close to Needle Peak, according to Miller.

In his opinion, Furgeson said that the trial was "complicated and hotly contested," but went on to say that there was a list of complications with the trial, including the jury selection and the government's failure to preserve evidence.

Furgeson explained that in his opinion the "Court's ill-advised attempt at tweaking the peremptory challenge process" was prominent on the list of complications.

At the beginning of the trial, Furgeson said he advised both sides that the Court would seat 14 jurors and at the conclusion of the trial allow each side to strike one juror of its choosing.

Neither side objected to that idea at the beginning of the trial, but later confusion arose that was, Furgeson said, "quite possibly caused by the Court."

Furgeson said that when the time came to decide on the strikes, the Defense counsel objected to the procedure on several grounds including not having access to the jurors' service history.

"Upon reflection, this Court believes that its' innovation was ill advised," Furgeson said.

The government used many things as "proof" of the defendants' guilt, including testimony of a footprint "expert," the proximity of the defendants to the bags of marijuana plus the bags of marijuana and provisions as evidence.

Furgeson believes that the bags of marijuana were destroyed, and the provisions lost.

Furgeson also said that the Court did not consider the government's footprint witness as an "expert" and could only say that the footprints near the truck, bags of marijuana and the defendants were similar to ones that could have been left by the defendants.

"This was especially required in light of the testimony from the same Border Patrol tracker that he had seen literally thousands of these similar tread patterns during his entire 22 year history as an agent in the Chispa Road area," the opinion said.

These reasons along with a few others led Furgeson to believe that the jury could not produce a verdict of guilt or innocence.

Furgeson said that the governments' case was based on the testimony of the footprint expert, the bags of marijuana that were destroyed and the proof of proximity of the defendants to the marijuana.

He said that he believes none of this is enough to produce a verdict.

"It is the further opinion of this Court that the totality of the evidence in the case, especially the footprint testimony, gives equal circumstantial support to a theory of guilt and a theory of innocence of the crime of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute," Furgeson said.

WTNB drive-through faces 90 day detour

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 3, 2001 -- Customers of the West Texas National Bank planning to use the bank's drive-through windows will be re-routed for approximately 90 days until the bank's expanded drive-through teller service is installed.

WTNB President John Grant said they decided to update due to the fact that the drive-in that they have now was built in 1967, and even though at that time it was state of the art, it needs to be changed.

"The drive-in that we have is inefficient for what our customers want," Grant said.

He hopes the new drive in will allow them to be more competitive and offer a state of the art drive in.

"With the new drive-in we hope to have fewer drive-in tellers but still be able to help more people," Grant said. "With fewer tellers at the drive-in we can then have more lobby tellers."

Instead of having one teller for each drive-through lane, WTNB will go to a system similar to the one used by Security State Bank, with the tellers in one central location handling customers from more than one lane through a pneumatic tube system.

While the construction is being done Grant said that a temporary drive-in would be offered out of the drive-through at the office of Dick Slack, at 501 S. Cypress St., as of next Monday. He also said that he does realize the constructions will be an inconvenience because it will change from three lanes to one lane.

"To help with that inconvenience, we have expanded our hours from 8 a.m. till 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. till 7 p.m. on Friday," Grant said.

However the new drive-in will have five new lanes, with four of them being for personal accounts and one for commercial transactions.

The new drive-in entrance will be off of Oak Street with the exit leading onto Sixth Street. The transaction area will be far enough off Oak Street to allow nine cars into the drive-through area, Grant said. More than nine cars would mean some will have to wait on Oak Street, but Grant also said that the new drive-in would cut the average time of transactions from six minutes to 4½ minutes.

"Our hope is that the new drive-in will compensate for the inconvenience," Grant said. "We appreciate everybody's patience while we are under construction."

Bee-deviled Barstow building bailed out by big bug bombing

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tuesday, July 3, 2001 -- After several months of asking for assistance with a potentially dangerous problem, the Avila family in Barstow finally got the help it asked for.

The home of Manuel Avila had been swarmed with bees for some time now and it seemed that even when they called to get help, no one responded.

"I called around and asked for help," Avila said. "No one did a damn thing about it. The only one that came was Pablo (Navarette, Ward County Animal Control officer), and he did a good job last night."

The family had called the Ward County Sheriff's Department in Monahans and Wickett, Armando Gil from the Health and Sanitation Department in Pecos and a beekeeper from Grandfalls they all said that they could not do anything about it.

"When my sister called Armando, she said that he had told her that he could not help them because we were in Ward County," said Avila's daughter, Stella Guerra. "His office also told us to hire an exterminator."

However, Navarette, a friend of the family, said local exterminator Fred Dominguez told him that he also could not do anything about handing the removal or extermination of the bees.

As the family waited for some one to come and help them they tried everything in hopes that the bees would go away on their own.

"We used three cans of fog spray, my father used some Raid spray and some water with soap." Guerra said. "We tried everything on them and nothing would make them go away."

According to Guerra, the bees where everywhere. She also said that they had been trying to look for the hive but were unsuccessful.

"Everywhere you looked there were bees. We couldn't even find the hive," Guerra said. "They say that it's in the wall but we don't know where in the wall."

Since the swarms of bees arrived several of Avila's family members have been stung.

"My sister, husband, brother-in-law and nephew have gotten stung by the bees," Guerra said. "Our dog even got stung."

Finally, Navarette _ who was not acting in his official capacity as county animal control officer in this case - was able to kill off the bees Monday night, but needed to set off six foggers inside the house to do so. As of this morning, the bees could be seen dead both on the floor of the house and outside the building.

"We are grateful to Pablo for getting them out. He is the only one that came to help us," Guerra said. " We are also grateful to the newspaper because if it wasn't for you guys, the people would not now about the bees."

The Avila's are hoping the bees are gone, but worry that there may still be some left in the elusive hive.

As far as known, the Avila house is the only house in Barstow that has had bees in the area.


High Monday 92. Low this morning 66. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 65 to 70. Light southeast wind. Fourth of July: Partly cloudy. High near 95. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low near 70. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows from the upper 60s to the lower 70s. Highs 95 to 100.

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Pecos Enterprise
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