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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, January 2, 2004

New Year's resolutions by Pecos citizens this year

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 2, 2004 -- "I have resolved to help Pecos have a prosperous year and to pray for peace in the upcoming year," - Jim Leonard, owner of Jim and I's Exxon.

"I am going to pray for our soldiers in Iraq and hope they come home soon. Also I wish for good health for all of my family," - Claudia Vela, front desk clerk at the Quality Inn on Cedar Street.

"An expanded grocery area for the store and more business for all of Pecos are what I am wishing for in the new year," - Olga Guebara, Store Manager of Wal-Mart.

"I am resolving to stick to my diet because I am in training for a breast cancer walk coming up in October," - Julie Contreras, Wal-Mart associate.

"I didn't make any resolutions because I would have already broken them by this morning," - Ernie Ballard, co-owner of Cut Rate Beer and Smoke Shop.

"I have resolved to be happier and to lose weight," - Bertha Chavez, West Texas National Bank teller.

"Be more organized in my personal and professional life," - City Secretary Connie Levario.

"To try and be a better person and to try and be more helpful in the community are what I am aiming for in the new year," - Roque Matta, Pecos Volunteer Fireman.

"To be debt free in the upcoming year," - Misti Sterling (right). "To spend more time with my kids," - Farrah Salgado (left). Sterling and Salgado are both employees at the Elliot and Waldron Abstract Co of Pecos.

Year In Review

Pecos lays fallen son to rest

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 2, 2004 -- EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of stories recapping major news events in the Pecos area during 2003. Today's story covers the month of April.

PECOS, Tuesday, April 1, 2003 - A husband and wife are behind bars in the Midland County Jail, following the completion of a two-year undercover investigation conducted by the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.

At 10:15 a.m., Monday, March 31, officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, assisted by the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Midland County Sheriff's Department concluded the two-year investigation that led to the arrests of the couple. They were identified as Luis Gonzales King, 47 and Adelia Pedroza King, 49, of La Vollia, Tx..

The Kings were arrested for delivery of three kilos of cocaine, which is 3,000 grams. Street value for the illegal drugs was put at $180,000, according to Lt. Larry Arredondo of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.. The cocaine was delivered in a Natural Light beer carton, which had been sealed and had about 4-5 beers in there with the three bricks of cocaine, according to Arredondo.


PECOS, Thursday, April 3, 2003 - A Pecos family is still awaiting news about their 35-year-old son, confirmed missing last week in the war in Iraq, following news on Tuesday of the rescue of one of the soldiers in his Army unit.

"They're doing everything they can," said Javier Contreras, cousin of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Mata, a 1986 Pecos High School graduate who was a member of the 507th Maintenance Company that was ambushed in Iraq on March 23.

Two members of the unit were confirmed killed and five others were shown in a video aired on Iraqi television on March 23, while eight others were listed as missing in action. On Tuesday, one of those eight, Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, but the seven others, including Mata, remain on the MIA list.


PECOS, Friday, April 4, 2003 - Clad in orange pants and matching shirt with Winkler County Jail written on the back Travis James Harris responded "guilty" to the two counts he was being charged with at the Lucius Bunton Courthouse in Pecos yesterday.

United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced that the 22-year-old Monahans man pled guilty to felony charges relating to the fire that damaged the Monahans Municipal Building on June 3, 2002. Harris faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the first count and a term of not less than 10 years for the "use of a destructive device" count, which must be imposed consecutively to the first sentence.


PECOS, Monday, April 7, 2003 - Family and friends have been offering their support to a Pecos family who were told on Friday that their son was one of seven members of a Fort Bliss maintenance company confirmed dead in Iraq.

"They've had phone calls and have been surrounded by family and friends, which helps," said Javier Contreras, a spokesman for the Johnny Villareal Mata family.

The family learned on Friday following DNA testing that the 35-year-old Mata was one of the seven soldiers reported missing on March 23 in Iraq whose bodies had been found by U.S. troops in the 10 days following their disappearance.


PECOS, Thursday, April 10, 2003 - The return of the body of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny V. Mata, which had been scheduled for this afternoon, will not take place until sometime early Friday morning, family members said today.

Mata, 35, was a member of the 507th Maintenance Company stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso. He was killed after his convoy was ambushed in Nasiriya in southern Iraq on March 23.

Along with Mata, a second member of the 507th Maintenance Company who was killed following the March 23 firefight also had family members living in Pecos. Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, 18, of El Paso, was the son of Ruben Estrella, who had lived in Pecos for 10 years. He and his wife, Nena Soto Estrella, now live in El Paso, and their son graduated from El Paso Mountain View High School.


PECOS, Friday, April 11, 2003 - Family, friends and local residents lined the streets of Pecos early this morning as the body of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny V. Mata, was being escorted into town by local law enforcement agencies.

Pecos Police Department officers, Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire and Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies closed all the Cedar Street intersections at about 3:30 a.m., as the hearse carrying Mata's body was being escorted by other Pecos Police Officers, Reeves County Sheriff's Deputies, Reeves County Sheriff, Trans Pecos Task Force, District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from Interstate 20 to Peaceful Garden Funeral Home.


PECOS, Monday, April 14, 2003 - U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Johnny V. Mata was laid to rest on Saturday in a ceremony that brought out hundreds of Pecos residents, local law enforcement agencies and military officials to pay their final respects to the soldier who was killed as the result of a firefight with Iraqi troops last month.

Services were held Saturday afternoon at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, with military burial at Mt. Evergreen Cemetery. It followed a candlelight vigil and memorial service held for Mata on Friday night at Eagle Stadium.

"These are young men and women who say, `I have volunteered, and I have wanted to serve my country in this way,' " said Santa Rosa pastor Father Ben Flores during Saturday's service.


PECOS, Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - United States Air Force officials were in Pecos Tuesday afternoon to assure Town of Pecos City officials that changes have been made to avoid having any training flights drop dummy bombs on the routes over the region, after an incident in July 2002 in Pecos, Monahans and Maljamar, N.M.

The July 16, 2002 accidental bombing was done by an F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter flying out of Holloman AFB in New Mexico. The plane dropped a dummy bomb in the front yard of the home of Evarista Mora near the corner of Sixth and Hickory streets and imbedded itself 61/2 feet into the ground. The bomb dropped on Monahans went though the roof of a home and crashed through a bathroom, while the bomb dropped on Maljamar, N.M. landed in the middle of U.S. 82 that runs between Artesia, N.M. and Plains, Tex.


PECOS, Thursday, April 17, 2003 - Reeves County's population decline during the 1990s continued into 2002, according to figures released on Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau released its 2002 census report for Texas counties, and they showed Reeves County as one of the 20 fastest shrinking counties along with Loving, Terrell, Winkler and Jeff Davis Counties in the Trans-Pecos region. The county lost 2558 residents during 2002, according to the government's figures.


PECOS, Monday, April 21, 2003 - A one-vehicle accident Easter Sunday claimed the life of a Midland woman and injured three children, while two other people survived a plunge off Balmorhea Dam in their vehicle with only minor injuries early Saturday morning.

The fatality accident occurred at 6:45 p.m. Sunday just south of Pecos and left three children inside the vehicle injured. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety report, the victim was the driver, Graciela V. Rayos, 61, of Midland. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jim Riley pronounced her dead at the scene at 7:25 p.m.


PECOS, Monday, April 21, 2003 - After nearly three years of continuous operation the State Theatre is closed again due to its owners' problems running the facility after relocation to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Owners Richard and Lillian Creasy announced the closing of the historical theater this morning. "Last night was our last show," Richard Creasy said. "And the business is for sale."


PECOS, Friday, April 25, 2003 - Family and friends greeted again another local hometown hero early Thursday morning after he returned from Kuwait for a brief visit with family and friends.

Eddie Lujan, a Member of the United States Marine Fighter Squadron VMFA - 121 Green Knights Males 11 Unit was sent to Ahmed Al Jaber, Kuwait at the end of November of last year to serve as support for the war in neighboring Iraq that began last month.


PECOS, Monday, April 28, 2003 - Construction at the site of Reeves County Detention Center III has been completed with just a few minor punch-list items to take care of, Reeves County Commissioners were told this morning.

This report came from Carothers Construction who was in charge of construction at the prison facility, during the regular meeting of Commissioner's Court at the Reeves County Courthouse.


PECOS, Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - Things picked up during the last day of early voting for the May 3 local elections, sending the final total up by over 400 before the 5 p.m. deadline.

The preliminary numbers showed a total of 1,014 people cast their votes early for Saturday's city and school elections in Pecos, after only 578 votes had been cast in the first eight days of the early voting period. The final totals are still about 10 percent lower than in 2002. Last year, 1,107 people voted early in the local elections.

Challenger for Precinct 3 constable

files last day for democratic primary

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 2, 2004 -- On the last day to file, one more individual has opted to run for a position in the March Democratic Primary elections.

Alma Flennor filed her treasurer's designation for the position of constable for Precinct 3 and named herself as treasurer.

Flennor will face Tomas "Tommy" Martinez, the incumbent for that position.

Other individuals who filed before the deadline today, include a challenger against Reeves County Sheriff.

Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" 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.

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 the end of today.

OC registration Monday

PECOS, Fri., Jan. 2, 2004 -- Registration for Spring classes will be held from 1-7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 5, at the Pecos Technical Training Center, Odessa College.

Financial aide representatives will be on hand to assist individuals.

For more information contact the local college at 445-5535.


PECOS, Fri., Jan. 2, 2004 -- Thursday's high 73, low last night 39. Friday mostly sunny. Highs near 75. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Tonight partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday partly cloudy. Windy. Highs near 80. Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph. Saturday night partly cloudy. Lows near 40. West winds 15 to 25 mph. Sunday partly cloudy. Cooler. Highs near 60. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Sunday night partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Monday mostly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 60s.


Earl Moore

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