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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Archives 1995

Grand Prairie firm gets RCDC phone contract

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 10, 1995 - After a long debate that lasted into
the afternoon, Security Telecom, Inc. of Grand Prairie was
awarded the bid for inmate telephone service during Monday's
second session of the Reeves County Commissioners' Court

Three companies, including one local business, turned in
proposals and were analyzed for compliance with the county's
RFP (request for proposals).
Reeves County Detention Center Warden Joe Trujillo
recommended Security Telecom, Inc. to the court, after
following an evaluation criteria which grouped each of the
applicants into percentage factors.

Following a lengthy discussion that ran from the morning to
the afternoon session, and after hearing from
representatives of Security Telecom and Pecos-based Oilfield
Phone Service, commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of
Trujillo's recommendation.

Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J. Bang and Precinct 3
Commissioner Herman Tarin voted against Security's bid. Both
voiced questions whether the contract shouldn't be offered
to Oilfield Phone, since they are taxpayers, are already in
town where they can easily be reached and the company
employs local individuals.

Crouches restoring Chaparral course

Staff Writer
A golf course building boom has been going on across the
United States for several years now.

For Bob and Julie Crouch, though, it's more of a rebuilding

The couple are busy preparing to reopen the Chaparral
Village Golf Course 12 years after it was last in operation
on the banks of the Pecos River.

"We started about June 6," Crouch said. "First we had to
clear the land off and get the weeds out, then we had to
complete construction and put new soil on the greens."

The nine-hole course, several of which wrap around a bend in
the river, was first opened by the Crouches in 1971, two
years after they took over operation of Chaparral Village.
They have maintained the bar and restaurant at the east end
of the course even while it was closed, but have recently
converted an adjacent room into a golf shop and lounge.

The course is located off Business I-20, just outside of
Pecos on the Ward County side of the Pecos River. "Lots of
the better Pecos golfers learned to play out here," said
Crouch, who added the course itself survived flooding from
the river back in 1978.

"The flooding was good for the course in the long run," he
said. "We didn't close it down until about 1983 for health

"We did have to rebuild after 1978. Back then we took our
chairs up to the balcony and watched the water rise," Julie
Crouch said. "We had horses back then, and we had to take
them up to higher ground."

The river hasn't invaded the land since that time, and now
the Crouches, along with course supervisor Steve Holmes, are
busy getting things back in shape. They're hoping to open
four of the holes away from the river for play by late this
month or early November.

Crouch said they also hope to have open a 10th hole, which
will be used as a practice tee, while the entire course
should be ready by next spring.
"I've got four greens that will be ready by late October,"
he said. The others are still being seeded with grass, while
a new lake is being created to loop around four of the holes
closest to the river.

"We're overseeding the greens right now for winter. It's a
three-blended champion rye they say will last all year
round," Crouch said. "It's a special blend produced up in
Oregon, so winter's good for this grass. We'll just see if
it can survive during the summer. If it can, that will cut
down on maintenance costs."

Right now, some of the barren greens are covered by a
rectangular series of hoses that are spraying a fine mist
over the surface of the grass, with he said helps to save on

"We're just trying to seed it and water where we can right
now. We started out with the four holes so we could get it
open as soon as possible," Crouch said.
"By next month there will be grass everywhere," Holmes
added. "By the end of this month you'll really be able to
see what's going on."

Chaparral Village is a short course, and, outside of the new
lake, will sport the same layout as it had back in the
1970's. There will be two par-four holes and seven par-three
holes, and on at least six of the holes a golfer is in
danger of finding the river or the lake with an errant shot.

Some signs of the old course, such as the tee box markers,
never left; while others, like some old rusted-out golf
carts and other equipment, will be leaving soon as part of
the final clean-up effort.

The return of Chaparral Village will again give Pecos a
second golf course, to go along with the 11-hole Reeves
County Golf Course on the opposite side of town.

"We'll be open daylight hours, and I'm thinking of the
possibility of lighting it in the future. We'll just have to
see what kind of play we get," said Couch, who added he and
his wife have been financing the restoration out of `pocket
change'. "We haven't had to borrow any money on it," he said.

Crouch said he hopes the reopening of the course would be
the first step in developing the Pecos River for
recreational use. Unlike Carlsbad, N.M., which not only has
a golf course but also a park running along the banks of the
Pecos River as it winds through the city, outside of the
city's wastewater treatment plant.

Crouch said he'd eventually like to see a park set up on the
banks of the river, and even has an idea on how to take
advantage of the near-by treatment plant.

"Right over the river is the (Pecos) waste disposal plant,"
he said, pointing past the fourth hole to the west side of
the river.

"I'd like to get some of its effluent (treated water) for
watering the trees. Most golf courses around the nation use
it. Right now, the city doesn't use the water to its fullest
extent. It can be used to fill up the lake.

"I'd like to build a real nice park out here. I offered to
deed the land to Pecos City or the chamber of commerce. It's
only two miles from the courthouse, so the kids could walk
over," Crouch said.

"One objective of building the course is a place that young
people or beginners could play. It would also be attractive
to tourists, and it wouldn't hurt the possibilities of
bringing new industry into the area if we had a second
facility," he added.

He also talked about the possibility of building a low water
dam on the river, similar to one proposed five years ago in
an aborted plan to create a water park along the Pecos River
to the north end of Business I-20.

"A 12-to-15 foot dam would back the water up one foot a mile
to the Barstow irrigation ditch (Barstow dam)," Crouch said.
"Once it was filled up, the water would continue to flow
downstream at its normal rate."

This would meet the requirement of farmers in the Red Bluff
Water District from Pecos southeast to Imperial.

"Right now we don't have the market for any water sports
here because we don't have any water. This is a natural
resource that should be used to attract new industry and
tourists to Pecos," Crouch added.

District denies art purchases improper

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 13, 1995 - Allegations of questionable spending
on various artworks by the Ward County Water Irrigation
District #1 were disputed Thursday by the district attorney,
after the charges were leveled by Ward County Precinct
Commissioner Ben Villalobos.

That charges were made by Villalobos in a letter delivered
to the Enterprise on Wednesday, in which he questioned the
purchase of costly paintings and a bronze sculpture by the
water district over the past 11 years. The letter sprang out
of an ongoing dispute between the commissioner and area law
enforcement agencies.

In the letter, Villalobos addresses an Oct. 9 letter in the
Enterprise by Joyce Morton, whose husband serves on the
board of directors for the water district.

Morton defended the DPS troopers who said they were
attempting to conduct a practice run with the local
Department of Safety's new canine unit at the Precinct 1
Ward County Shop in Barstow on September 25 and 27.

During the exercise the trooper planted "pseudo-cocaine" and
a bag of marijuana in two separate utility vehicles.

The letter to the editor was written after Villalobos
alleged on September 27 that the two troopers were
attempting to plant illegal drugs in his vehicle and
disguising their alleged actions by stating it was a
practice exercise. He stated that the law enforcement agency
was trying to discredit him after he announced that he would
be running for Ward County Sheriff.

In his Wednesday letter, Villalobos said, "When it became
known that I was interested in becoming a candidate for Ward
County Sheriff, Sheriff Ben Keele and his goons immediately
mounted a campaign to discredit me personally . . ."

He addressed Morton by stating, "Ms. Morton, for years,
ordinary working people have been pushed around by law
enforcement goons with a political agenda. The majority of
law enforcement officers enforce the laws enacted by the
State and serve with respect and honor. But, it is totally
inappropriate and dishonorable for certain officers to think
that they are `above the law'."

Villalobos made his allegations against the DPS one week
after he was indicted by a Ward County Grand Jury for 12
counts of theft of property and one count of the alleged
offenses conducted while a public servant.

Villalobos, his Precinct 1 shop foreman and a former
Monahans auto parts store employee were indicted after an
investigation by the Texas Rangers alleged the three were
part of a scheme in which county funds were used to buy auto
parts for personal vehicles.

In a Sept. 27 statement, Villalobos commented that he
strongly believes that he will be cleared of all charges and
he will not be pushed around by the DPS.

In Wednesday's letter, Villalobos addressed the costly 1984
purchase of a "Judge Roy Bean" bronze sculpture valued at
$25,000 by Ward County Irrigation District #1 and $7,500
worth of oil paintings from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in
1991, which was the most recent transaction among the copies
of canceled checks sent to the Pecos Enterprise by
Villalobos along with the letter.

He included copies of canceled checks for both purchases, as
well as two less expensive buys by the district for more
paintings valued at a total of $1,000.

Villalobos' letter addressed Morton and stated, "As a matter
of fact, I think it was totally inappropriate for the Ward
County Irrigation District No. 1 to spend over $25,000 on
art and paintings. What does art and paintings have to do
with irrigating alfalfa and cotton? Maybe, your husband can
explain such purchases to you since he is on the Board of
Directors of WCID #1."

The WCID referred all questions to the district attorney,
William Monroe Kerr, a native of Barstow who now practices
in Midland.

Kerr stated that the transactions are investments, "not
purchases," and are considered a public service in the
respect that they are historic aspects of Barstow's past.

He made the analogy, just as is taught in public schools,
"part of what that district (WCID 1) is it keep people aware
of their roots," by restoring some of its history through
the artwork investments.

Making the people aware of the land's history is an
important chore, said Kerr, as it makes people proud of its
community and its community history and what is going on
around them. It keeps them interested in keeping the land

"I'm proud of its (Barstow's) history," he said, "if they
(public) want to sell the paintings we'll sell them."

Kerr added that the artwork could probably be sold at a

He also mentioned that the district also donates money to
the Barstow Volunteer Fire Department and buys head of
livestock during Pecos and Monahans Livestock Shows.

WCID-1's auditor, Randy Graham, of Pattee, Graham and
Company, said this morning that he has audited the
non-profit organization for the past two years and from what
he has learned, "it's a well run organization. Everything
they've done has been above board.

"I think it's just a personality conflict," he said about
some of the allegations brought against the district. Graham
added that he has consulted with others about the district's
operation and said, "as far as the Attorney General is
concerned there is nothing illegal about what they (WCID-1)
are doing."

Kerr stated that the district has conducted an audit for the
past seven years, which Graham confirmed, but added that the
district was looking for an out-of-town auditor.

He stated that the district has been the target of much
scrutiny after its inheritance of oil royalties in 1970,
which is the sole reason WCID-1 residents do not pay taxes
to the water district. To add to its increased funds, Red
Bluff Water Power Control District, which includes the
WCID-1, also received $13.8 million from New Mexico in a
1989 lawsuit settlement with New Mexico over withholding
Pecos River water in violation of the 1940 Pecos River

Gholson says tax collection rift over

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 13, 1995 - "All is good and well, things will
work out," said Board President Linda Gholson, referring to
local tax collection services during Thursday evening's
regular meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent
School District Board of Education.

The school board had approved offers to both the Town of
Pecos City and Reeves County Hospital to collect their
taxes, after the two taxing entities sought bids after their
fees were raised by the community.

The city council accepted the school district's bid and both
taxing entities approved a contract between themselves for
the fiscal year Oct. 1, 1995 through Sept. 30, 1996.

The hospital district sought a counter offer from the county
to collect their taxes at a lower rate than what the county
had initially proposed during the adoption of their 1996
budget. The counter offer was approved at Monday's
commissioners' court meeting and then by the hospital
district on Tuesday.

"We did not go soliciting business," said Gholson, "and I
don't feel they (the hospital) would have gotten the deal
that they did had it not been for our offer."

The school district had also made an offer to the Reeves
County for the collection of their taxes, but the offer was
not considered during Monday's commissioners meetings.

She stated, "Hopefully before June (1996)," all entities
will possibly come to some sort of compromise to try to
reduce government costs to the taxpayers by preparing early
and possibly getting all tax collection services under one

As a result of this week's events, agenda item #6b was
skipped. It involved the approval of a contract between the
school district and the county for the collection of county
taxes by the school, pending the county's approval of an
offer to collect their ad valorem taxes.

County officials did not consider the proposal during their
regular semi-monthly meeting on Monday. Gholson mentioned
that the school district's offer, "was delivered to the
county judge and tax-assessor collector in a timely manner."

Board members only listened to an update on the tax
collection matter. No action was taken.

In other business Gholson presented board members with three
correspondences. The first expressed the appreciation of the
Crockett Middle School Staff for the board's support in
their computer equipment efforts. The others came from the
Technology Department and from Region 18 Educational Service
Center for the financial help received from the district
from the Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) sale.

The board was also updated on the HVAC heating and air
conditioning project at Crockett Middle School by a
representative from the engineering firm.

Gholson noted that some changes in their original plan for
the project have arisen, but the firm has been keeping the
district well informed in order to avoid surprises.

They received a figure of a total of $585,000 for the
project, with a ten-year payment plan at $79,000 per year,
"which nets out to $56,000 after the savings," said the
representative. The savings is brought by the operation of
the units a different way as opposed to how it was designed.

He noted that the project includes individual controls for
every room and will use the gymnasium as a vent unit, thus
supplying the large recreation area with cool air.

The board unanimously voted to "look into" an offer make by
Bill Oden to sell his property located just south of Pecos
Elementary for $15,000. Oden said that several years ago he
was approached by school officials asking him to consider
selling the property to the district.

All trustees also approved an offer by Manuel E. Muro to
purchase eight lots of land located at the corner of the 300
block of Pecan and "D" streets for $800.

On behalf of the District-wide Educational Improvement
Committee (DEIC), Superintendent Mario Sotelo asked the
board to consider including aunts and uncles in the local
leave policy.

Sotelo said he feels the inclusion of aunts and uncles in
the local leave policy would be counter-productive and would
interfere with the incentive plan for employees to receive
up to an additional $1,000 for their year attendance record.

He noted that absenteeism has been dramatically lower since
the beginning of the 1995-96 school year and added, "I can
see both sides of the story, but we need to ask, `Where do
we stop?'"

He said that he has considered the Texas Association of
School Boards and that he was informed that very few
districts include aunts and uncles in their local leave

Board member Hugh Box said, "I agree with Mario and I think
we need to draw the line," with which he opened the motion
to accept the local leave policy as presented and not to
include aunts and uncles.

The motion was seconded by Alberto Alvarez and passed

Business Manager Cookie Canon said that the new state
personal leave rule allows for employees to take off for
instances involving aunts and uncles.

Not action was taken on the issue of going back to
neighborhood schools, but board members discussed the
possibility of involving three parties to conduct a thorough

"I think we really need to look at this from a different
perspective," Sotelo said and added that the DEIC will soon
be growing because of a statute created by Senate Bill 1.

With that, he proposed that an in-depth analysis on the
campus restructuring issue be done by a UTPB professor,
community members and a district personnel group.

"I think if we went way that way, then we'd have an easier
time with this thing." Sotelo said.

An unanimous vote was cast to allow each campus to elect
three persons to the DEIC.

Counseling services have recently taken on a more in-depth
relationship with high school seniors, according to Sotelo,
who noted that the 12th grade class has been split into two
groups, with one focused on by Technology Coordinator
Michelle Workman and the other by Counselor Carolyn McNeil.

Sotelo stated that the two women are meeting with high
school seniors and their parents on a one-to-one basis.

Emus, foreign deer among zoo's new arrivals

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 13, 1995 - Several new inhabitants will be
making the Maxey Park Zoo their new home, according to
Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil.

The zoo has recently acquired four emus, with are nine
months old; four Rheas; two ostriches, one male and one
female; a Barasingha; and a swamp deer from India.

The new acquisitions are the latest in a series of donations
by the family of W.W. "Bill" Waters, who has taken an
interest in the zoo for the past 20 years, said Gil.

Dan Waters, Bill's son, in continuing the tradition of being
closely associated with the local zoo.

"His father was the one who was always in touch with the zoo
and now the son in continuing the tradition," said Gil. "The
animals are for loan from these individuals."

Another addition includes two European Red Deer, one male
and one female. Gil added the zoo still plans to add a male
Cupuchin monkey to replace the one shot and killed by two
teenagers back in July.

"We should be receiving a male Capuchin monkey to accompany
the female that is left by the end of this month," said Gil.

The animals are housed in space that either was already
available or were mixed with other animals which zoo
employees feel they can get along with.

Zoo employees will also begin work on restructuring the
pens, getting them ready for the winter months ahead.

"We're trying to make it nicer for all the animals and get
them ready for the cold winter," said Gil.

Alligators are also a possibility, but nothing definite has
been accomplished in that area.

"It is just something we're thinking about right now," said
Gil. "Somebody who has an alligator farm offered to let us
have some baby alligators.

"There wouldn't be that much work to do on constructing a
concrete pond for them and there's an area already there
where we can house them," he said.

"They would be securely enclosed, of course," said Gil.

Gil said he would also have to check on requirements and
licensing for housing the reptiles.

"If we don't meet the requirements we'll just abandon that
idea," he said.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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