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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

City Manager candidates whittled to ten - interviews next week

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 31, 2003 -- Ten individuals will be interviewed next week for the position of Town of Pecos City Manager, which includes five people from Pecos.

"We had 26 applicants and they narrowed it down to 10," said Town of Pecos City secretary Connie Levario.

Levario said that the 10 applicants would be interviewed on Tuesday and Friday of next week.

Applicants include Dennis Bleier, of Corpus Christi; Jess L. Cortese, of Monroe City, Mo.; Sam Contreras of Pecos; Jimmy Dutchover, Pecos; Robert Ewart of Dayton; Aubrey Hobson of Kermit; Tom Rivera of Pecos; Oscar Saenz of Pecos; Joseph Torres of Pecos and Georgina Vines of Devine, Texas.

The following is a summary of each applicant's qualifications as taken from the resumes submitted to the city.

Dennis C. Bleier was the director of finance for two years for the City of Alice and financial manager for eight years for the City of Austin; administrative aide for Austin for five years and aquatics supervisor for three years. He attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and has 21 semester hours towards a master's degree.

Bleier also attended The University of Texas in Austin where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics with 12 semester hours in Accounting and nine hours in economics.

He coordinated the development and monitoring of city and department operating budget and managed operations of 24 municipal swimming pools and the 200 employees assigned to these pools.

Sam Contreras is currently the finance director for the Town of Pecos City. He served as accountant from April 2002 through February of 2003. He served as Case Manager for the Reeves County Detention Center from November 2001 through March 2002 and was a correctional officer from September 2001 through November 2001.

While he lived in Dallas he was self-employed as a securities trader and sold financial products.

Contreras attended the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and received a bachelor's degree in business administration degree in May 1995, with a major in finance.

He served in the U.S. Navy. He currently has his insurance license, held several securities licenses, and needs six more classes to take certified public accountant (CPA) exam, and is also working on his charted financial analyst (CFA) designation.

Jess L. Cortese is currently city administrator for the City of Monroe City; was corporate director of human resources; worked for Charter Medical Company in Corona, California. where he was group director of human resources and worked for the Agency on Aging in Brentwood and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Cortese holds a bachelor of arts degree in social relations and business management from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.

James T. Dutchover is currently an employee with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD as the administrator for Alternative Education Program and transportation coordinator.

He graduated from Sul Ross State University in Alpine with bachelor in science with a major in chemistry and a minor in business administration.

Dutchover worked as area supervisor for the Texas Department of Human Services and as program administrator for Rockhouse of Midland.

He is currently chief executive officer for the Reeves County Teachers Credit.

Robert F. Ewart is currently city manager for the City of Dayton where his responsibilities include all aspects of city operations including water, wastewater, solid waste, municipal court, parks, streets, personnel and employee benefits, purchasing, and budget preparation.

He had been city manager for the City of Sour Lake (pop. 1,500); was public works director for the City of Vidor; building official for the Vidor; assistant street supervisor for the Vidor; executive director for Vidor Chamber of Commerce; vice president for GI Surplus in Beaumont; and accounting clerk for the International Harvester in Dallas.

He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont where he received a bachelor's degree with a major in government and received his M.P.A. from Lamar University in Beaumont.

Aubrey R. Hobson is currently Finance Director for the City of Kermit; has been self-employed where he operated his own company, TxnuMX Records, and was clerk/treasurer in Jal.

He received his bachelor's degree in general studies from the College of the Southwest, Hobbs, New Mexico, and holds licenses in New Mexico including Water IV, Wastewater III, certified municipal clerk (inactive).

Thomas "Tom" N. Rivera is currently main street manager for the City of Pecos and has served as executive director for the Pecos Chamber of Commerce. He was parks superintendent for City of Pecos and programs manager for Reeves County, L.E.C. and served in the United States Army.

He is a Vietnam Veteran who retired as a Chief Warrant Officer from the U.S. Army and is a certified Veterans Service Officer.

Oscar Saenz is currently self-employed and also CEO of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation Board and a consultant for SureBeam Corporation in Brazil, TransPecos Foods in Pecos, Gomax Foods in Dimmitt, and Direct Labor Training Corporation in Nevada.

Saenz was director of plant operations for Pecos and Chihuahua for Mexico Anchor Foods Company from 1990-2001.

He has been Director of Operations for State Fair Foods in Dallas; Director of Operations for the Quaker Oats Company, Columbia, South America Plants; Plant Manger for Wolf Brand Chili Plant in Corsicana; Director of Operations for the Quaker Oats Company, Brazilian Operations; Production Manger for the Quaker Oats Company at its Cali, Colombia Plant; Quaker Oats International Operations Trainee and Production Supervisor at the St. Joseph, Mo. plant and served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a regular officer. He served in the Cuban crises, in the Santo Domingo conflict, and in Vietnam; was Aide de Camp to a Marine Corps Lt. General and attained the rank of Captain.

Saenz received a bachelor's degree in dairy science from Texas A&M College.

Joseph G. Torres is Workforce Development WIA Program Manager and is the principal owner in Cantor Computer Consultants.

He served in the U.S. Army as a non-commissioned officer and received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

He had served as executive director for Rescar, Inc., in Downers Grove, Il., and was superintendent for Freeport-Pennzoil Plant in Pecos. He started with the company as a technician, was promoted to shop supervisor, foreman, quality assurance manager, general foreman, and finally to superintendent prior to plant shutdown.

Georgia A. Vines is currently city administrator for the City of Devine; was city administrator and chief financial officer for the City of Granjeno; director of human resources, and vice president of operations/director of human resources for AAA Industrial Supply.

She received a juris doctor from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law a master's degree in public administration from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a bachelor of science in criminal justice, from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a bachelor of arts in s ociology, from Corpus Christi State University.

She currently serves as chief administrator and executive officer of a city.

Sheriff gets challenger, more file for county offices

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 31, 2003 -- Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez will face a challenger in the March Primary Elections, while one more person has joined the race for commissioner of Precinct 3.

Gomez will face challenger Jeffrey Baeza in the March Democratic primary election. Baeza filed with both the county clerk and Bob Dean for the position. Baeza named himself as treasurer for his campaign.

Baeza currently works for the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and had been employed with the Reeves County Sheriff's Department as a deputy.

Filing with Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez is only one of two steps required to run in the March primary. In order to officially enter the race, the candidates must file with the county party chairmen by this Friday, Jan. 2. All local candidates who have officially filed so far have done so on the Democratic Party line.

In the Precinct 3 commissioner's race, Abel Baeza has filed his treasurer's designation and named himself as treasurer.

James Molinar Gallegos also filed his treasurer's designation as the first step in seeking election as commissioner for Precinct 3. Gallegos named Linda G. Briceno as his treasurer.

Gallegos' action comes after Joseph "Peter" Rodriguez and Saul Herrera filed their treasurer's designation for Precinct 3 Commissioner following the Christmas holiday. Rodriguez named Nancy Ontiveros as treasurer and Herrera named himself as treasurer.

Current Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin announced last week he would not seek a fourth term in office, after originally deciding to enter his name into the March Democratic primary election race. His withdrawal was announced on Dec. 23 by Reeves County Democratic Party chairman Robert C. Dean.

Lisa Lopez Boicourt, Rosendo C. Galindo, Bailey Wheeless, Manuel "Manny" D. Lopez and Joseph "Peter" Rodriguez, have officially filed with Dean to run for the four-year term as Precinct 3 commissioner.

Joel Madrid, said last Friday he planned to enter the race before the deadline a week from today, but was in California for the Christmas holiday.

The field is a little less crowded in the Precinct 1 race, but incumbent Felipe Arredondo will face challengers in his bid for a fourth term in office.

Arredondo and Robert C. Natividad were the first to file with Dean to officially enter in the race. The others are Armando "Mondie" Granado, Elizer "Chel" Flores and Rojelio "Roy" V. Alvarado.

The heavy interest in the two commissioners court races comes after six months of publicity about financial problems surrounding the $40 million Reeves County Detention Center III project. However, outside of those races, only incumbents have filed for the other Reeves County primary election races.

In the other local races, the incumbents who have officially filed with Dean include: for Reeves County Sheriff, Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez; Tax Assessor-Collector, Elfida Zuniga; for constable, Precinct 2 Jerry Matta and for constable, Precinct 3, Tomas "Tommy" Martinez.

One other incumbent, Heriberto "Eddy" Rodriguez has filed his campaign treasurer's designation to retain the Precinct 4 constable's seat.

Along with the county positions, other local offices that will be up for election on March 9, are Reeves County Attorney; 143rd District Attorney and 143rd District Court Judge.

Local attorney and current 143rd District Attorney Randall "Randy" Reynolds has filed to retain his post. He was first elected to office in 1996.

Judge Bob Parks filed in Austin to retain his position as 143rd District Court Judge, while former 143rd District Attorney Hal Upchurch announced in November he planned to run for that seat again, after a 12-year absence.

Upchurch has already filed in Austin for the District Attorney's position. He had stated that he would keep his office in Monahans if elected to the post.

The District Attorney and District Judge positions cover Reeves, Ward and Loving Counties.

Both the District Attorney and the District Judge candidates will file their petitions or pay a filing fee in Austin.

Filing for the Reeves County primary elections in March began on Dec. 3 and will continue through Friday.

Year In Review

Second suspect arrested in connection to beating

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of stories recapping major news events in the Pecos area during 2003. Today's story covers the month of March.


PECOS, Mon., March 3, 2003 - Pecos police have arrested a second suspect in connection with the beating death of an 81-year old man in an east side building back in September of 2002.

Police arrested a 15-year old male juvenile in the 1200 block of East Fourth Street on Sunday morning, following a warrant service in connection with the September 28, 2002 beating of Anastacio Acosta, who died in a Lubbock hospital following the attack. The day after Acosta's death, police announced they had charged Juan Gonzales, 20, in connection with the murder.


PECOS, Wed., March 5, 2003 - Local law enforcement officials and Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officers are hoping state lawmakers reject a proposed bill that would end funding for task force operations across Texas..

"We're hoping it won't go through," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez of the bill, proposed by an Austin lawmaker, which would eliminate Task Force funding as part of an effort to cut into the state's budget deficit.


PECOS, Thurs., March 6, 2003 - Dedication ceremonies were held this morning for the Flat Top Dairy's go-around milking machine, the focal point of the county's newest dairy, located 21 miles southeast of Pecos.

Town of Pecos City and Reeves County officials, along with other local residents, attended the 9 a.m. ceremonies, along with the dairy's owner, E. Eugene Norwood of Goldwaithe and his wife Jeannie. Norwood built the facility to handle as many as 6,000 cows at one time and to milk about 3,000 at a time, though currently the dairy only has a quarter of the maximum number of cows it's licensed to handle.


PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members approved one school consolidation in an effort to save money during their meeting Thursday night, but are still studying what to do about the district's Alternative Education Program and disciplinary AEP site.

Board members approved moving sixth grade classes from Zavala to Bessie Haynes Elementary School. Bessie Haynes currently houses all fourth and fifth graders and with the board's approval will now include all sixth graders. The two schools are located next to each other on the east side of Pecos.


PECOS, Mon., March 10, 2003 - Arson is suspected in a structure fire that Pecos Volunteer Fire Department responded to Sunday evening, and which caused a portion of highway 17 to be closed for over an hour.

Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said that they received a call at 7:03 p.m. of a building on fire on the Balmorhea highway. The abandoned Equipment Service Building has two separate parts. The front portion is a total loss, but the back portion suffered no damages, Brookshire said.


PECOS, Mon., March 10, 2003 - An interim man-day rate for the Reeves County Detention Center was approved during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court held this morning.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told the court that the new man-day rate with BOP was set at $47.47 in an intergovernmental agreement. "This is just interim pending the outcome of the audit on operations at the Reeves County Detention Center," said Galindo, who added the former rate was $41.48 per day.


PECOS, Thurs., March 13, 2003 - The Town of Pecos City Council approved the authorization by Frank X. Spencer & Associates to prepare the plans and specifications to replace the 250,000-gallon ground storage tank at the Ward County Well Field, during their regular meeting this morning, and also approved the refurbishment of two existing three million gallon tanks at the city yard.

The preparing of the plans and specifications for the project will cost the city $104,993, which is money that the Texas Water Development Board appropriated for other water and sewer projects.


PECOS, Tues., March 18, 2003 - Pecos police are investigating the death of a man who reportedly was shot by a homeowner while trying to break into a north side house early this morning.

Police officers were dispatched to a 325 N. Pecan St. in reference to a burglary of a residence at 2:14 a.m. today, and found the body of the suspect about two blocks away from the home.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that the complainant stated that he had been awakened by two individuals who had gained entry into his residence. The names of the homeowner and victim were not released by police.


PECOS, Wed., March 19, 2003 - Pecos Police have released the names of both the victim and the shooter in an alleged burglary incident early Tuesday morning in which officers found a man dead in an alleyway on the north side of town from a gunshot wound to the back.

Police Lt. Kelly Davis identified the victim as Ronald Keith Leigh, 21, of 515 W. Fifth St., and the shooter as Reuben Mills, 21, of 325 N. Pecan St.

Davis added that they now know that there were two subjects involved in the incident and identified the second subject as Chris Hodges, 20, of 711 North Faye in Barstow.


PECOS, Thurs., March 20, 2003 - One of the three U.S. Marshal Service inmates who were mistakenly released late last week was arrested by the Pecos Police Department Wednesday in Midland.

Criminal Justice Center Jail Administrator, Tony Dawdy said that Juan Gabriel Leyva Valdez had been arrested and turned over to the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol after he cashed a check he received at the time of his release last Friday from the CJC.


PECOS, Fri., March 21, 2003 - A man who Pecos Police initially said had fired at a suspected house burglar early Tuesday morning, killing the 21-year-old man, has now been charged with the man's murder, following an investigation of the incident.

Reuben Mills, 22, was arrested by police Thursday afternoon and charged in the shooting death of 21-year old Keith Leigh, who was found dead by officers in an alleyway two blocks south of Mills' house with a gunshot wound to the back early Tuesday morning.

Mills, 21, of 325 N. Pecan St., was charged with murder by police, who were originally called to the home at 2:14 a.m. on Tuesday on a report of a house burglary.


PECOS, Tues., March 25, 2003 - A local motel that has been closed since the late 1980s will re-open its doors beginning tomorrow.

The Pecos Inn, which was last open for regular business in 1987, will open its doors early Wednesday to accept it's first customers.

"Right now, I just have 15 rooms available," said Richard Hayes, general supervisor for the motel, located at 2207 W. Third St., which first opened over 40 years ago as part of the Ramada Inn chain of motels on what then was U.S. 80 through Pecos.


PECOS, Wed., March 26, 2003 - A Pecos High School graduate has formally been added to the names of those missing in the war in Iraq.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, 35, who is assigned to the 507th Maintenance Company out of Fort Bliss in El Paso, was officially added to the list of those missing by the U.S. Department of Defense in its latest report, which was released early this afternoon. It was one of five new names added to the list of those missing as part of a group of soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company who were involved in a fight with Iraqi troops last Sunday.

A spokesman at Fort Bliss said late Wednesday morning that the post wasn't planning on providing any additional information.


PECOS, Thurs., March 27, 2003 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo and his wife Michelle could be facing court costs and possibly further legal action, after an incident that occurred in December led the couple to withhold their child from school for the past three months.

"In mid-December we found out from school staff that they had been abusive towards my son, John," said Galindo. The couple's son is autistic and was attending a self-contained class at Austin Elementary when the December incident occurred.

Galindo said that he and his wife found out about the school staff had been putting ice inside his son's pants and spraying him in the face with a water bottle.


PECOS, Mon., March 31, 2003 - The Pecos Police Department has arrested a 19-year old Pecos man in connection with a robbery of an Eddy Street convenience store that happened back in November.

Lt. Kelly Davis said Lee O. Varela was arrested at the Reeves County Jail for aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony on Friday. According to the report by police, Varela, along with Albert Contreras Jr., 20, Alex Plasencia, 19, and Jose Sauceda, 19, were all arrested at 7:19 p.m., on March 22 at the corner of Yucca and Eddy Street after being stopped on a traffic violation.

The robbery occurred on November 11, at 12:44 a.m., at the Allsup's in the 2200 block of South Eddy Street, where a clerk advised that a male suspect entered the store with a chrome semi-automatic pistol wanting the money in the cash register.

Local offices, banks closed, grocery stores open New Year's Day

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 31, 2003 -- Most government facilities and both banks will be closed tomorrow to celebrate New Year's Day while local grocery stores will be open to take care of residents' holiday dinner needs.

The Town of Pecos City will be open regular hours today and on Friday but will be closed tomorrow. Reeves County employees will also work regular hours Wednesday and Friday but will take tomorrow off.

The Pecos Post Office closed today at noon, will remain closed Thursday and no mail will be delivered to residences or in boxes. The post office will resume its usual hours Friday with counter service from 8:30 to 4:30 and normal delivery service. The post office is also open on Saturday's from 10:00 to 11:00.

Security State Bank will close today at 3:00 and will be closed Thursday but will work regular hours Friday when it will be open until 6:00 p.m.

West Texas National Bank will be open regular hours Wednesday and Friday with the lobby open until 3:00 and the drive-through window open until 6:00, but will close Thursday as well.

Bob's Thriftway and LaTienda will both be open regular hours on New Year's Day.

The Pecos Enterprise will close today at 5:00, will be closed Thursday and will not publish an edition that day. Normal publication will resume with the Friday, Jan. 2 edition.

Bake sale Friday

PECOS, Wed., Dec. 31, 2003 -- A Bake Sale will be held beginning at 9 a.m., Friday, January 2, at West Texas National Bank.

The sale will benefit the Cancer Society Relay for Life.


PECOS, Wed., Dec. 31, 2003 -- Tuesday's high 64, last night's low 32. Today mostly cloudy. Highs near 70. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Tonight mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Lows near 40. South winds 10 to 15 mph. New years day mostly cloudy with isolated showers in the morning then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Highs near 65. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night partly cloudy. Lows near 40. West winds near 10 mph. Friday partly cloudy. Highs near 70. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday night partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s.


Earl Moore and Angel Fuentes

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