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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


September 24, 1997

Courthouse may get lights for Christmas

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 24, 1997 - A brighter look for the holiday season might be in store for Reeves County Courthouse. During Monday's meeting, county commissioners decided to investigate purchasing Christmas lights to decorate the courthouse and surrounding trees.

Commissioner Bernardo Martinez brought the issue up saying several citizens had asked him if the county could put lights on the courthouse.

During a brief discussion about the matter, County Auditor Lynn Owens told the commissioner's court that if the commissioners felt it would serve a public purpose, and there was money in the budget to fund the project, it would be legal for the county to spend funds on the Christmas lights.

"I think the court has a right to declare this a public purpose and the cost could be covered by the supplies and maintenance budget," Owens said.

After receiving a consensus from the other commissioners court members, Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo said the county would investigate the cost of installing Christmas lights.

"We will get an estimate of the costs involved," Galindo said. "The we can decide to what extent we want to light up the courthouse."

The Pecos Chamber of Commerce has raised more than $7,000 to replace and repair Christmas decorations and lights to be displayed on some of the main Pecos streets during the holiday season. Chamber members hope to acquire as much as $10,000 for the project.

County commissioners expressed their support for the Town of Pecos City's application to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) to build a juvenile corrections facility in the city.

"We want to work in partnership with the city on this project," Galindo said. "There are probably in-kind services we can offer if the facility is built. We may need to make some budget amendments in December if the city is selected for this project."

Galindo said the TYC would notify which applicant had been chosen for the project in early December.

Commissioner Martinez noted that the county could help build roads to the facility and Galindo added that there were other expenses the county could help out with for the facility.

The city held a public hearing yesterday in regards to the application to the TYC and response was generally favorable toward the matter. (See the page 1 story on the public hearing in today's Pecos Enterprise.)

While approving the 1997 tax roll Galindo noted that improved tax revenue will net the county an additional $90,000 for the general budget. Commissioner Herman Tarin noted that real estate values had dropped in the county and a lower tax rate by approved by the commissioner's court has resulted in a tax reduction for property owners this year. The increase in tax revenues to the county is largely the result of increases in mineral values in the county, Tarin said.

In discussion to raise fees charged by the county sheriff's and constable's offices Commissioner Martinez supported the change but the motion was defeated after Commissioner Dr. W.J. Bang raised questions about whether the increases might pose hardships on some citizens. The proposal would have increased fees for such charges as subpoenas, summons and protective orders.

After the motion to raise the fees was defeated Martinez told the court, "You need to study this more."

Such fees bring in about $600 a month to the county, according to Owens.

Commissioners approved the consolidation of all in-town voting boxes for the Nov. 4 Constitutional Amendment Election. Nora Briceno was appointed election judge and Brenda Casillas was appointed alternate judge for the Nov. 4 election.

City Council to eye juvenile center

PECOS, September 24, 1997 - The City Council of the Town of Pecos City meets tomorrow morning to discuss a proposal to the Texas Youth Commission for a new juvenile corrections facility, the appointment of a police reserve, and an award bid for fuel.

Also set for review are the monthly reports from the tax collector, the municipal court, and Pecos ambulance service. Ordinances that will effectively appropriate monies to a sinking fund (that will pay the interest and dues on Pecos' bonded indebtedness), and levy property taxes, will receive their second reading. Also to be discussed are possible exemptions for senior citizens, those with disability, and disabled veterans.

The meeting is scheduled to convene this at 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Sep. 25.

Hurricane will soak Southwest

Associated Press Writer

MIGRINO, Mexico (AP) September 24, 1997 - After battering tourist towns at the tip of Baja California, Hurricane Nora swirled today toward landfall along the central peninsula - and an eventual soaking of America's Southwest.

Mexican authorities declared a hurricane watch for a 350-mile swath of Baja and a coastal flood warning for much of the northern mainland.

The hurricane, well at sea, veered past Cabo San Lucas at the base of the peninsula early today, but the damage from the storm's outer squalls boded badly for those in its path.

The U.S. Hurricane Center warned that the storm, which would probably be weakened by crossing the peninsula, likely would dump heavy rains later in the week on the southwestern United States.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Nora's eye was about 340 miles south of Punta Eugenia, a Pacific coast point near the center of the Baja peninsula, the Hurricane Center said.

Moving north-northwest at 13 mph with sustained winds of 85 mph, it was expected to veer more to the north and onto land.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 85 miles from the eye, and tropical storm-force winds outward up to 200 miles.

On Tuesday, earthmovers plowed the streets of Cabo San Lucas, removing the mud that the storm had driven through the tourist resort in wide rivers, and both roads leading north were washed out.

Near the hamlet of Migrino, 20 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific coast, a muddy river covered 200 yards of road.

Dozens of people gathered to watch tractors and a military Humvee try to pull out the trucks and cars that had attempted - and failed - to make it across.

A few families waded across the waist-deep floodwaters, but not many motorists were willing to give it a shot.

Miguel Angel Dominguez, 23, had been driving his gasoline tanker truck toward La Paz on Monday morning when the squall hit. He was still there Tuesday afternoon, sitting on a spare tire and waiting.

"I'll wait until tomorrow if I have to," he said. "I have to get through."

Mitch Christensen a 36-year-old surfer from Dana Point, Calif., was driving up from Cabo San Lucas "to check out the waves" at Todos Santos, a popular surfing area further north. But there was no way his rented Volkswagon Beetle was going to make it.

The storm had ruined his surfing plans since his arrival Sunday night, he said. "It was just too maxed out," he said of the waves. "It was out of control."

Then again, in disaster he also saw possibility. "I'll be in the water tomorrow," he said. "I've surfed hurricane surf before. It's kind of what I live for. It's a major rush."

Martin Higuera, 31, was driving to La Paz to make sure elderly relatives had made it through the storm. But he too was stopped by the river. So he sat on a hillside with his brother and his 11-month-old daughter, Janette, and waited with a six-pack of beer.

"They say they're going to build a bridge here. When, I don't know," he said, giving Janette a swig of beer. She drank dutifully and stared off into space.

City leaders support new juvenile facility

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 24, 1997 - A broad range of public officials and private citizens showed up at a public hearing held last night at the City Council Chambers to voice strong support for an application to build a juvenile corrections facility in Pecos.

The city plans to apply to the Texas Youth Commission to build a proposed 330 bed, high restriction (fenced) juvenile jail.

City Manager Kenneth Neal, who was on hand at this informational meeting, projects that ultimately the facility would lead to 600 jobs, and, with the school system losing 100 kids a year, felt it to be "something we have to have."

Frank X. Spencer, County Engineer, circulated handouts and explained the specifics of TYC's criteria for acceptance. He said that TYC expected those counties submitting applications for the facility be able to donate 120 acres of land for its construction (including information on the soil, environmental assessment, mineral rights, surface leases, and easement) provide adequate medical services, offer a trained labor force, and be able to provide utility service for the compound.

Regarding the depth of specifications within the TYC's criteria for acceptance, Spencer said, "They haven't left anything out . . . And they (TYC) said if you leave anything out (of the information requested) we'll throw the application away."

Spencer then presented a list of possible inducements that may be offered by the county to draw the TYC here. These included offering to clear the site, providing a paved entryway, reduced provider rates, and possibly constructing the water and sewer infrastructure for free. He reminded those present that "you must invest to get something in return."

When the floor opened to public discussion, one of the more impassioned voices came from David Madrill, an employee of the juvenile detention center in Pyote.

"Some people here (in Pecos) are tired of getting kicked in the teeth and want to do something," Madrill said. "This community can pull together when it wants to get something done."

Neal requested letters of support from the business community. The more letters voicing support included in the application to the TYC the better Pecos' chances for acceptance, he said.

"We don't know how many other counties have decided to apply," Spencer said.

Overall, the feeling of the meeting was that of optimism. Many participants voiced their support and pledged to make the necessary sacrifices to spur Pecos to economic recovery.

The deadline for submission of the application is Oct. 3, 1997.

Ricochet finalist for vocal group of year

From AP wire and staff stories

PECOS, September 24, 1997 - Two former Pecos residents will be recognized for their musical talent at the 1997 Country Music Association Awards.

The group Ricochet, which features two former Pecos residents, has been nominated for the Vocal Group of the Year Award by the country music association.

The 31st CMA Awards airs live on CBS at 8 p.m. EDT from the Grand Ole Opry House.

Ricochet drummer and backup vocalist, (former Pecos resident), Jeff Bryant learned his trade through years of hard work and dedication. He played and toured with his father Jimmy Bryant and younger brother, Junior, in the band Lariat before their father bowed out to make room for a younger keyboardist. Jeff moved to the leadership forefront of the band, guiding it to the pivotal next phase as Ricochet.

Junior Bryant is fiddle player for the group and is also from Pecos. He came by his talent naturally, as his father once played with Buddy Holly. An accomplished musician, he also sings backup and is proficient on mandolin and guitar.

Lead vocalist and guitar gunslinger Heath Wright started picking his first guitar at age 9 while growing up in Vian, Okla. While earning a Associate of Arts degree at South Plains College (he holds a management degree from Oklahoma's Northeastern State University), he was named both Male Vocalist and Instrumentalist of the Year.

Performers on the show include Martina McBride, George Strait, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, Kathy Mattea, George Jones, Mindy McCreedy and Clint Black.

Rock star Sting will join Toby Keith for a duet of Sting's "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying."

Top nominees are Deana Carter and Strait, with five nominations apiece. Carter is up for best female vocalist, single and video for "Strawberry Wine," album for "Did I Shave My Legs for This?" and the Horizon Award for career progress.

Strait is nominated for best entertainer, male vocalist, and album for "Carrying Your Love with Me." He has two nominations for best single: "Carried Away" and "One Night at a Time."

Joining Vince Gill as nominees for Entertainer of the Year are the duo Brooks & Dunn (the 1996 winner), Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Strait. Vying for best female vocalist are Rimes, Carter, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis and Trisha Yearwood. Vocal group of the year nominees are Alabama, Diamond Rio, The Mavericks, Ricochet and Sawyer Brown.


Jesus Ornelas, Sr.

Jesus Ornelas, Sr., 74, died Monday, Sept. 22, 1997, at his residence in Pecos.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m. today in Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 25 at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Juan Narez officiating. Burial will be in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.

Ornelas was born Jan. 4, 1923, in Balmorhea. He was a World War II U.S. Army Veteran. Ornelas had lived in Pecos since 1954 and was a Catholic.

Survivors include: his wife, Elisa Ornelas of Pecos; four sons, Jesse Ornelas of Orange, Calif., Jerry and James Ornelas of Odessa and Jeffery Ornelas of Irvine, Calif.; four daughters, Helen Keen of Silver City, N.M., Elizabeth Wright of Odessa, and Olga Ornelas and Sally Orona of Pecos; one brother, Pedro Ornelas of Santa Pabla, Calif.; two sisters, Inez Galindo of Pecos and Delfina Carrasco of El Paso; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, September 24, 1997 - High Tuesday, 82, low this morning, 62. There is a chance of rain across extreme western and northern portions of the state tonight and Thursday. Pleasant temperatures will continue across the entire state. Showers are possible in extreme western areas of West Texas while the rest of the area will have partly cloudy skies. Lows tonight will be in the 50s and 60s. Highs Thursday will be in the 70s and 80s.

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