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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Community Christmas Tree lights up

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- Pecos "lit up" last night during the Annual Community  Christmas Tree Lighting held at Maxey Park, as a large group saw the  tree illuminated for the first time this year, one week later than  originally scheduled.

Community member and Master of Ceremonies Nancy Ontiveros welcomed everyone to the yearly event, which was postponed from Dec. 3 due to bad weather.

Ontiveros told the group about the new additions at the park and the many lights the tree held.

Leo Hung was project director and had help from so very friendly "elves." The Christmas crew consisted of Julian Alvarez, Rudy Carrasco, George Dominguez, Paco Perez, Marcos Contreras, Mario Borrego, Sonya Lerma, Mayra Dominguez and Christina Lujan.

Parents, teachers, city and county employees all pulled together to help out, according to Ontiveros.

"There were many generous donors, from businesses and community members," she said.

Ontiveros described work on the project by the Pecos Rotary Club, while Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford gave a brief speech prior to the tree's lighting.

"Everyone can make a difference and it's important to invest in the community as the Pecos Rotary Club has done," said Ontiveros. "The idea started with a little bit of vision and a lot of heart."

Ontiveros said that people driving by on Interstate 20 would know this is a community with spirit and is united.

New additions included school decorations provided by Pecos High School, Zavala Middle School and Bessie Haynes Elementary School.

The Texas State Guard, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 39 th Military Police Brigade of Monahans presented the colors and Christi Kidd sang the National Anthem.

Mariachi Perla was on hand providing musical entertainment, along with the students from Austin Elementary School in the first through third grades.

"We want to emphasize our appreciation for everyone's support and display of community spirit for being present and making this event a success," said Ontiveros.

Ontiveros said that the event would not be possible without the contribution and participation of everyone.

"Plans are to expand the project each year by adding more scenes and lights," she said.

Participants and donors included: Austin Elementary School, first through third grades; Pecos High School, Zavala Middle School and Bessie Haynes Elementary School who donated lights exhibits; American Home Health, matching grants provided to the schools for displays; Best Western Swiss Clock Inn Management and staff prepared refreshments; West Texas National Bank, donated the refreshments; Pecos Police Department provided security; the Pecos Youth Advisory Council served refreshments; Wal-Mart was a donor along with the Lion's Club.

Gholson gets Chamber director's job

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- Pecos Chamber of Commerce Interim Director Linda Gholson  will be handling that job on a full-time basis from now on,  chamber members were told on Tuesday.

Chamber President Kevin Duke announced the decision to retain Gholson during the regular Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting.

"We put an ad out and had four applicants," said Duke.

Duke said that the executive committee had met and reviewed all the applications. "We contacted the city attorney to draw up a contract. "We're going to make it a two-year contract and after first year have an evaluation," he said.

Duke said that Gholson would take over the position as a full-time employee on Jan. 1 and that the committee would evaluate her every year.

"This will provide an out for the chamber," said Duke.

Duke said that this way if the chamber is not satisfied with the employee, they could make some adjustments.

"Right now, we have 120 members," said Duke. "That will be one of the stipulations in the contract, if the director can keep it at 120, she will receive a bonus."

Duke said that if the membership dropped below that number, there would be no bonus for Gholson. "Also, if the membership goes above that number, the director will receive 15 percent of what we collect," said Duke. "This is a way to balance and to see how the director is doing."

Gholson will be receiving $23,000 per year in salary and a $2,000 bonus, if the membership remains as is, according to Duke.

All board members agreed that Gholson has been doing an excellent job, since she took over the position after the January resignation of Tom Rivera, who had held that position for the previous 10 years.

In other business on Tuesday, Women's Division president Laura Briggs updated the group on what the women have been busy doing.

"We're still working on the newcomer baskets, so if anybody has anything to add they can contact me or the chamber," said Briggs.

She said that the women's club had donated funds to needy families in the community and would be sponsoring a Christmas Lighting Contest, which will be done differently this year.

"We'll also have an evening meeting for January and hope to recruit some new members," said Briggs. "We'll be meeting at He Brews and I invite all the women in the community to come out and check out our group and the new coffee shop," she said.

Michelle Workman is in charge of the Christmas Lighting Contest for this year, with all judging scheduled for a single night, this coming Friday.

"This year we're doing it a little bit different and businesses are encouraged to participate," said Workman. She explained that the women were going to divide into nine groups and would drive around town judging homes and businesses.

"We'll also pick out a decorated block, which is something we've done in the past," said Workman. "So get your neighbors to decorate also.

Workman said that the judging would take place from 7-11 p.m. on Friday.

"We'll meet at the Odessa College parking lot and scatter throughout town looking for decorated homes and businesses," said Workman. "People don't have to call in nominations, we'll look for them," she said.

The group will judge on three categories including, "Best Christmas Theme", "Most Elegant" and "Most Use of Lights."

Residents will win prizes in the form of gift certificates. "All the gift certificates will be purple and gold and have a buck on the front of them," said Workman. "The gift certificates will be used here in Pecos," she said.

Workman said that the women would provide a list of all chamber members and that the recipients of the prizes could use them here in Pecos.

"We're also trying to promote Pecos businesses and we thought this would be a good way," she said.

Workman said that the idea came from one of the Women's Division members, who had lived in another community. "They did this in their community and it worked out really well, so we hope it will work out for us, too," said Workman. "We'll probably make changes next year and we hope to hear from the community on anything new they would like to add or take away from this project."

Debbie Thomas spoke to the group about the recent Flea Market that was held at the Reeves County Civic Center grounds recently.

"Everything went really great," said Thomas. "We had 19 booths and had about 600 people come through the gates."

Thomas said that this was the first time the event had been held and that they are already planning another event. "We're planning another one for the spring," said Thomas. "We already have a lot of people that had set up a booth there ready to set up another one."

"This time we only had one concession stand, but we might get some more next time," she added. "Anybody that is interested can call us."

Board member John Grant said that a silent auction is taking place and will end on Monday, Dec. 16. "The silent auction is for a beautiful sculpture and the starting bid is $500," said Grant.

The statue can be seen at the drive-in area of West Texas National Bank.

Grant said that he would like to encourage community members to bid on the statue and that the proceeds would benefit the art class at the Pecos High School.

Attending football game earns Pecos man 10-year penalty

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- A trip to see a high school football game may end up costing a Pecos man up to 10 years in prison, as a result of a ruling last month in 143rd District County.

The case was one of 30 felony criminal cases heard on Nov. 22 by 143 rd District Court Judge Bob Parks. The cases dealt with a number of criminal charges, including the case involving the football game, which led to a probation revocation in connection with a previous drug arrest.

Parks heard 11 cases in Pecos and 19 in Monahans on Nov. 22 according to 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds.

Of those 30 cases, eight were settled that day. Parks sentenced seven of those defendants in separate cases to serve prison time and ordered one other defendant to serve community supervision, according to Reynolds.

Some of those sentenced involved probation revocations where Reynolds presented evidence to the court and some involved negotiated plea agreements and recommendations.

"Judge Parks heard three asset forfeiture cases which are included in the above figures as well," said Reynolds.

One such probation revocation case involved David Gonzales Pando, of Pecos. On June 28, Pando was placed on community supervision following his plea agreement in a cocaine possession case.

"On Oct. 18, Sam Lujan, Community Supervision and Corrections officer, joined with Reynolds and filed a motion to adjudicate Pando's guilt after alert Pecos Police Department officers Kelly Davis and Paul Deishler had observed Pando in Kermit, on Oct. 11, at a football game," said Reynolds.

Pando attended the Pecos-Kermit football game at Walton Field that night, but Reynolds said, "Pando did not have permission to travel out of Reeves County on that date."

After hearing evidence at a hearing on Nov. 22, Judge Parks sentenced Pando to serve 10 years in prison and assessed him a fine of $5,000.

"This sentence fits the crime," said Reynolds.

"This sentence was the direct result, initially, of several hours of hard work and investigation by officers with the Pecos Police Department and the further vigilant observations by off-duty officers Deishler and Davis."

"CSCD (probation) Officer Lujan did an outstanding job in putting the probation violation case together," said Reynolds. "We are fortunate to have dedicated officers like Deishler, Davis and Lujan, working in our town in the interest of criminal justice."

Parks handled most felony cases on Fridays as well as many civil cases, according to Reynolds. Court is held most every Friday morning in Pecos for Reeves County cases and most Friday afternoons in Monahans for Ward County cases, and on an as-needed basis in Mentone for Loving County cases.

Council eyes Yerena pact amendment

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss a change to the contract for the city manager during their regular morning monthly meeting Thursday at 7 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The members will also discus and consider the contract amendment with the City Manager, Carlos Yerena, and will also study an offer to purchase property located at 825 Martinez St. during the meeting.

Council members will hear a presentation on the financial statements and a presentation by citizen Gilda Vejil on the grocery stores.

The council will approve the minutes of their regular council meeting held on October 24 and November 14, accounts payable report, juvenile monthly report for November 2002, municipal court report also for November 2002 and the tax collection report for October 2002. They will also discuss changing of the second monthly regular meeting due to the Christmas holiday, and items to be placed on the next agenda.

Appointments will be made by on the council for the Planning and Zoning Commission, Pecos Housing Authority and the Airport Board.

Little League holds Thursday meeting

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- A Little League meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday at the Best Western Banquet Room.

All coaches and individuals interested in helping with the Little League's 2003 season are encouraged to attend.


PECOS, Wed., Dec. 11, 2002 -- High Tuesday 57. Low this morning 33. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly cloudy. Lows 30 to 35. Northwest winds 5 to 15  mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy with isolated showers and  thunderstorms. Highs 55 to 60. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night:  Mostly clear. Lows around 30. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs 55 to 60.  Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows 25 to 30. Highs 60 to 65.

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