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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Early voting starts slowly at courthouse

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 24, 2002 -- With no contested local races on the Nov. 5 election ballot, early  voting has been slow over the first five days of the two-week period at the  Reeves County Courthouse lobby.

According to County Clerk Dianne Florez, there have been few people casting ballots at the courthouse or returning of mail ballots to the clerk's office.

"It is has been slow for this election," Florez said.

Wednesday they only had 51 voters come out to vote, and as for the total since early voting began tallying up to 223, she said.

Though they have sent out 258 mail ballot applications, Florez said that they have only received 89 of which 32 came in Wednesday and 14 others arrived this morning.

"We have had a lot of requests for mail-outs," Florez said.

Florez added that anyone wanting an application for mail-out voting has until 5 p.m. on October 29 to file an application.

"The last day to receive any votes by mail (at the clerk's office) is November 5 by 7 p.m.," Florez said.

All local races are uncontested in the general election, after contested races in March and April during the Reeves County Democratic Primary. However, two area races, for the 23rd Congressional District seat and the 74th State Legislative District, are contested, as are statewide races for governor, U.S. Senate and other down ballot positions.

Incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla is being challenged by Henry Cuellar in the congressional race, while incumbent Democrat Pete Gallego is challenged by Pedro Nieto for the House seat in the Texas Legislature. In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Ron Kirk and Republican John Cornyn are seeking the seat currently held by Phil Gramm, while in the race for governor, Republican Rick Perry is seeking a full-four year term after replacing George W. Bush two years ago, and is being challenged by Democrat Tony Sanchez.

According to Florez, early voting clerks will be at Balmorhea Fire Hall and at Wal-Mart this coming Saturday for people wanting to cast ballots early but who can't get down to the courthouse. Early voting will be at the fire hall from 8 a.m. till noon and at Wal-Mart from 2 p.m. till 8 p.m.

They will also be at Bob's Thriftway and at La Tienda Thriftway on Sunday. They will be at Bob's from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m. at La Tienda.

"The U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Division in Washington, D.C. sent me a letter on October 18, proclaiming the early branch divisions," Florez said.

Florez also said that she wanted to remind everyone who voted at Pecos Elementary would now be voting at Odessa College. Voters that once voted at Bessie Haynes will now be voting at the Sidney Sadler Community Center and that Orla voters who in the past cast their ballots in Box 9 at Red Bluff Lake would now be voting at Box 8, at Lamar Elementary in Pecos.

Florez added that anyone wanting further information could call the Secretary of State at 1-800-252-8683 or they could call her at the courthouse at 445-5467.

Pot in fuel fails to fool Task Force deputy

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 24, 2002 -- There was probably little room for fuel in the gas tank of an SUV  driven by an El Paso man on Wednesday, as local drug task force officers  found over 90 pounds worth of marijuana hidden inside the tank.

The discovery was made after the man was stopped while traveling through Pecos shortly before noon on Wednesday for a traffic violation.

According to a report by the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force, at about 11:50 a.m., task force officer Kevin Roberts stopped a 1992 Ford Explorer, registered out of Fabens, for a traffic violation.

There was only one occupant in the vehicle at the time who officials identified as Victor Marquez, 28, of El Paso. He was traveling on eastbound and was stopped at mile marker 36 on Interstate 20, just west of Pecos.

"The owner of the vehicle was not in the vehicle at the time," said Roberts.

Roberts said that Marquez gave consent to search the vehicle and that during that search 93.6 pounds of marijuana was discovered in the gas tank.

"It was being concealed, packaged tightly in the gas tank and there were 91 bricks of it," said Roberts.

Estimated street value of the illegal drug is set at $48,000.

Marquez was transported to Reeves County Jail and is currently awaiting arraignment.

Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies Mike Dominguez and Damon Compton assisted Roberts.

"When I found the marijuana in the gas tank I took the vehicle to A-1 Motors and Butch Renshaw helped me get it out," said Roberts.

Marquez was charged with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, a second-degree felony.

"I want to especially thank Butch Renshaw, Mike Dominguez and Damon Compton for helping during this incident," said Roberts.

"I want to recognize some of our local businesses which have offered their facilities and services to local law enforcement particularly the task force," said Roberts. "These businesses are our silent partners which seldom get much recognition for their sacrifices in our mission on combating the flow of illegal narcotics infiltrating into the United States," he said.

"These local businesses offer their services and facilities 24 hours a day at a moment's notice," said Roberts. "They are greatly appreciated and being this is Red Ribbon, Drug Free Week, if you see these local business owners they should be commended for their contribution they make."

Roberts said that the businesses and individuals who offer their assistance include Butch and Marcia Renshaw of A-I Motors; Jim Leonard of Jim & I Exxon; B&B Wrecker Service and Hector's Tire Shop and Wrecker Service.

Cold front keeps rains in area

From Staff and Wire Reports
A front passing through West Texas overnight brought more rainfall  to the Trans-Pecos area, while stronger storms to the southeast were blamed  for flash flooding and power outages in the Corpus Christi area.

Thunderstorms passed through the Pecos area around 1:45 a.m. today, and added another one-tenth of an inch of rain to the city's total, according to KIUN radio. Later rains this morning totaled .07 inch and brought the city's year-to-date total to 9.84 inches, just 1.15 inches below the city's predicted annual rainfall total.

At the Texas A&M Experiment Station seven miles west of Pecos, overnight rainfall totaled .11 inches. According to the National Weather Service, the chance of rain should decrease slightly as the day continues, but will return Friday night and on Saturday and Sunday.

The front that passed through Texas on Wednesday brought the first winter weather of the season to sections of the northern Texas Panhandle, while the storms in southeast Texas accompanied by strong winds knocked out electricity to 35,000 Corpus Christi residents.

Marty and Tammy Rivas woke up Wednesday morning to 7 inches of water in their bedroom and nearly two feet of water in their backyard from overnight thunderstorms. The Kingsville couple spent the rest of the day filling home-sewn burlap bags with sand, preparing for the next wave of storms.

The National Weather Service predicted more thunderstorms on Thursday, with a 70 percent chance of rain through Saturday.

"We had pretty much anticipated water coming," Tammy Rivas said in Thursday's editions of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "But we didn't anticipate water coming in our bedroom. All things considered, things could have been worse."

Tuesday night's storms flooded homes in Kingsville and damaged planes on the ground at Corpus Christi International Airport, while power outages delayed the start of classes in Flour Bluff Wednesday morning.

Officials said 35,000 customers were without electricity in the Corpus Christi area at the peak of the storm. By late Wednesday, 2,000 homes were still were without electricity, said AEP-CPL spokesman Andy Heines, who said crews would be working through the night.

"It takes a while to get everybody back on," Heines said. "It will probably be early morning before it is all back on."

Repair crews for Nueces Electric Cooperative also were repairing lines late Wednesday, said spokeswoman Sarah Fisher. About 85 customers in Annaville, Orange Grove, Riviera and San Diego were still without power after 80-mph winds damaged electric poles and lines.

Winds up to 75 mph on Wednesday damaged three commercial aircraft at the Corpus Christi International Airport, said John Hyland, the airport's acting chief of public safety.

Hyland said repairs to the planes' interiors, tails and rudders must be finished before they can be cleared for takeoff.

The strong winds also blew over the wood framing of the Corpus Christi Fire Department's new station on Mustang Island and a bus stop shelter.

TxDOT sets transportation hearings next week

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 24, 2002 -- The Texas Department of Transportation will be hosting  several meetings regarding the Texas Transportation Plan update  in upcoming weeks, including two meetings scheduled next week  in West Texas.

In a press release sent out last week stated that some of the near by meeting will be held in El Paso, Amarillo, Midland/Odessa and Lubbock next Monday and Tuesday.

The nearest meeting to Pecos will be on Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission's office at 2910 LaForce Blvd., near Midland International Airport.

According to Texas Department of Transportation's Public Information Officer, Glen Larum, the meetings will consist of discussing statewide improvements.

"It is to discuss the statewide plan," Larum said. "It is not for specific issues."

Some of the topics that might be discussed, Larum said would be the improving of hazardous cargo routes, traffic congestion and the expanding of highway systems in rural areas.

TxDOT agreed three years ago to build a loop route around Pecos in 2005 to divert radioactive waste trucks headed for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. off of U.S. 285 through Pecos. The loop will use the current Collie Road exit on Interstate 20 and will travel only around the east side of Pecos to connect with U.S. 285 north and south of the city.

"We get various degrees of input," Larum said. "Those who have a lot of interest in transportation attend."

Some of the people in attendance are usually local officials that represent constituents, Larum said.

"People who are elected officers like County Judges, County Commissioners and the Mayor may want to go," Larum said.

However, Larum added that anyone from West Texas may attend the meeting and that it is not confined to any district.

Larum also added that the MOTRAN plan would also fit into the big picture of meeting. The plan is for a direct highway link between the Pacific coast of Mexico and the Permian Basin that would run through Presidio, Alpine, Fort Stockton, McCamey, Odessa and Midland.

"It will be the outline for future decisions," Larum said.

Larum said that the plan would be important because of the increasing amount of trade between the two nations-United States and Mexico.

Anti-drug rally for PBT classes Friday

PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 24, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools will be holding an anti-drug rally Friday morning at Eagle Stadium, as part of "Red Ribbon Week" that all local schools are observing.

The rally, which has been held each October for the past several years, will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Eagle Stadium. Students from the P-B-T campuses will be bussed to the stadium for the rally.

The event is sponsored by the P-B-T ISD guidance counselors with the assistance of the Pecos High School Student Council, PHS cheerleaders, district administrators and teachers and local law enforcement agent.


PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 24, 2002 -- High Wednesday 71. Low this morning 59. Rainfall last 24 hours  at Texas A&M Experiment Station .11 inch. Forecast for tonight:  Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Areas  of fog developing. Lows 45 to 50. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Areas  of morning low clouds and fog: Otherwise mostly cloudy with a  20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs 65 to 70.  East winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a 30  percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Saturday:  Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Highs 65 to 70. Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers  and thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Highs 70 to 75.

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.

Ashton Muniz, 18, was arrested at 11:01 p.m., on Oct. 20 at Second  and Mesquite streets for warrant for possession of a controlled  substance a class B and warrant for possesion of drug paraphernalia class C.
Jose Rodriguez, 44, was arrested at 9:53 p.m., on Oct. 19, at  West County Road and Plum Street for Public Intoxication.
Ciro Ortiz, 53, was arrested at 12:29 a.m., on Oct. 20 at the Oasis Bar  on East Third Street for public intoxication.
Jose Bejarano, 39, was arrested at 10:50 p.m., on Oct. 18 at Third  and Eddy streets for warrant for harassment.
James Daryl Sharp, 60, was arrested at 1 a.m., on Oct. 20, at  Flying J for public intoxication.


Maria de la Luz and Teodoro Sifuentes

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