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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, August 13, 1998

Galindo to give P-B-T proposal for rec program

Staff Writer
A community-based youth recreation and adult wellness
program may soon be implemented in Pecos, pending a decision
by Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that in December
of 1997, the county proposed that, through an
intergovernmental cooperation, they, the Town of Pecos City
and the P-B-T school district establish a comprehensive
youth recreation and adult wellness programs for the
residents of Reeves County.

"The intent of the proposal was to establish comprehensive
community recreational programs for our youth and to
coordinate adult wellness programs using existing public
facilities," said Galindo.

Through an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement, the
commissioner's court was proposing to improve and enhance
the existing sports and fitness facilities of Pecos High

Galindo has written a proposal and submitted to school
superintendent Don Love, and will be on hand at Thursday's
regular school board meeting to discuss the issue.

"I would ask the board through an Interlocal Cooperation
Agreement, consider allowing the county to enhance and
improve the old gym," said Galindo.

Specifically, the commissioner's court would be asked to
consider building two racquetball courts small court (south)
section of the old gym. This improvement will cost about
$100,000, and would go along with contracting for general
painting and minor repair of the old gym.

"I am estimating this would cost between $10,000 and
$20,000," said Galindo.

These physical improvements of the facility would become the
property of the school district in exchange for general
public use of the facilities. Furthermore, with the board's
consent, Galindo would ask the commissioner's court to
consider buying additional fitness equipment, such as,
treadmills, stationary cycles, and weight-lifting equipment
to be placed in the old gym for fitness programs.

"I my opinion, the facility would be significantly enhanced
by adding racquetball courts and fitness equipment, plus
improved through the painting and minor repair of the
physical plant, but more importantly, all this would be at
no cost to the school district," said Galindo.

However, there would be two stipulations. One, the public
should have reasonable access and use of the facilities. And
two, the fitness equipment purchased for the facility would
remain the property of Reeves County.

The county would be responsible for developing and
coordinating organized team sports activities, community
recreational programs, and an employee wellness program. As
a division of Reeves County, the county would have
jurisdiction, control, and supervision of the "Recreation

The county would coordinate the use of all recreational
facilities belonging to the county, city and school for the
purposes of this program. However, the use of the high
school's old gym for community recreation would never
interfere with any regularly scheduled activities of the
student body. Furthermore, the county would pay the salaries
and benefits of the required staff and provide the sports
and recreation program director with a vehicle.

Additionally, the county would serve as the fiscal agent and
manage the financial affairs of the program, through the
Reeves County Auditor's Office.

The city, county and school district previously co-funded
the Pecos Community Recreation Department at the West Pecos
Gym on South Park Street. However, wooden rafters in the
building were declared unsafe in December of 1990 and the
structure was closed.

Programs, such as racquetball, weight training, and adult
and youth volleyball and basketball that had been held in
the gym were discontinued, and the entire Pecos Community
Recreation Department program, which included outdoor
T-ball, softball and soccer leagues, was shut down four
years later.

Commissioners in Odessa can't run task force

Staff Writer
Since the Permian Basin Drug Task Force was disbanded by
order of Governor George W. Bush on May 31, over allegations
of wrongdoing, area law enforcement agencies have wondered
what form it would take when it reorganized.

As the week opened it looked as if a new task force, to be
hosted by Ector County but under the direction of the
governor's office, was on its way back. But a faxed message
Tuesday from the Richard Bodisch, director of the Texas
Narcotics Control Program, may have soured the Ector County
Commissioners to the deal.

The fax stated that the commissioners would not have
authority over the hiring and firing of a drug task force

But if this power would rest with the Ector County Sheriff
Reggie Yearwood or with district attorney John Smith remains
to be answered.

The commissioners were scheduled to decide whether to host
the new task force in a 10 a.m. emergency meeting today.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said that the former task
force was directed by a board comprised mainly of area
sheriffs and police chiefs, and hoped that form of control
would resume soon.

"There was so much support at the last meeting that I think
the governor's office decided to offer it back," said
McKinney of the July 30 meeting held in Monahans.

Should Ector County Commissioners refuse to host the force,
McKinney said, there may be other counties that are willing
to take it up. If no county can be found to host the drug
task force, he said, it would be placed under the control of
the Department of Public Safety.

Meanwhile, an Ector County grand jury heard from former
Permian Basin Drug Task Force director Tom Finley on Tuesday
in connection with the alleged violations committed by the
task force. The grand jury is scheduled to continue hearing
evidence in the case next week.

Water district drops embezzlement charge

Staff Writer
Reeves County Water Improvement District 1 decided Monday
night not to press charges against former employee Clay
Patrick for embezzling $3,000 from the district.

This sum, discovered missing during a recent audit by CPA
Dan Painter of El Paso, has been returned, said Larry
Turnbough, secretary to the water district.

"Everything has been returned, including the expenses to
conduct the review," said Turnbough.

After the review by Painter, the water board asked him to
notify Patrick of the discrepancy. According to Turnbough,
Patrick's response was "I know what it is. You'll have your
money in the morning."

The board reported the event to Patrick's probation officer
and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office, but decided not to
press charges.

Patrick, employed by the water district since 1995, resigned
about two months ago. She had previously embezzled $4,000
from the district. This money was also returned.

Patrick previously worked as Loving County Auditor before
resigning in March, 1995. While there she embezzled $25,000
during 1993 and 1994. according to Painter. Patrick, and
then-treasurer to Loving County Jamie Jones, "had abused
their check signing authority to write checks to themselves
in excess amounts," Painter said.

Patrick is currently serving a ten-year probation for theft
dating back to March 27, 1996.

School board to get update on new budget

A 1998-99 budget update will be discussed during the regular
meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board
scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Thursday, in the school board room.

Board members will discuss an interlocal cooperation
agreement with Reeves County for the use of the old Pecos
High School gym, and will discuss and approve project SAVE
(Stop Alcohol Violations Early).

The group will also listen to a report on district's report
card and the demolition of a warehouse.

Elimination of employee life insurance covered by New Era
will also be discussed and approved, along with other
employee health proposals.

Other items for discussion and approval include cafeteria
plan, teacher appraisal calendar and appraisers and 1998-99
bus routes.

Also to be approved and discussed:

* Maintenance/custodial holidays and custodial hours for

* Texas Disaster Shelter and Feeding Agreement with the
American Red Cross.

* Releasing Alonzo Garcia from his 1998-99 one year term
teaching contract.

* Depository securities report.

* Investment transaction report.

* Reconciled band balance report.

* Current bills and financial report.

* Time for next regular meeting.

The group will meet in closed session to discuss personnel
and or hear complaints against personnel.

In open session they will discuss the personnel and any

Feds seek truck caught with illegal cargo

Staff Writer
The owner of a 1993 Peterbilt truck-tractor has protested
its seizure by the U.S. Border Patrol, who seeks its
forfeiture in federal court.

Van Horn BP agent Lonny Hillin seized the truck May 5 after
discovering 33 illegal aliens in the semi-trailer towed by
the truck.

Carlos Moreno, who owns the truck, was driving when the
eastbound truck passed the location of Hillin and his
partner on I-10 near Mile Post 130. Based on information
that the truck contained 35-40 illegal aliens, Hillin
stopped the truck at mile post 135-E.

Moreno said he was enroute to Dallas with an empty trailer
to "pick up a load." Moreno then gave Hillin consent to look
in the trailer, where he found the 33 illegal aliens.

Four of the Mexican citizens were female, and 25 were male.
Four other males were from the Dominican Republic, agents

One of the women said she paid $1,000 for transportation
from Juarez, Mex. to Dallas. Another said she paid $1,300.

Investigation by the anti-smuggling unit determined that the
trailer was owned by Xtra Lease Inc. of St. Louis, Mo. and
had been taken from a lot in El Paso without permission. The
trailer section of the vehicle was stored for retrieval by
the rightful owner.

The truck-tractor is valued at $45,000.

Chamber continues Rodeo Hall discussion

Staff Writer
Steps are being taken to make a suggestion a reality, and
add something to the community that will attract more
tourists to Pecos.

John Rediger was a guest at last month's Pecos Chamber of
Commerce Board of Directors meeting when he suggested
forming a Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame in Pecos.

Rediger, a member of the chamber in past years, told the
group that he had come up with a list of ideas to better
promote Pecos.

"If you think they're good ideas we can start working on
them, if not we'll just crumple them up and toss them out,"
said Rediger, who suggested assembling a rodeo museum in
Pecos. It would feature only rodeo items, and histories of
previous rodeo events.

"I think this would be a neat idea to have a rodeo museum,
featuring only Texas," said Rediger.

Rediger said there are several empty buildings, including
the Oak Street railroad depot, located next to the museum,
that could be used for this purpose.

He said there is another city interested in doing a Texas
Rodeo Hall of Fame. "But what a better place than Pecos,
Home of the World's First Rodeo, to have this," he said.

"I took it upon myself to look into doing this and have
taken the steps to trademark it," said chamber director Tom
Rivera, who told the group that so far nobody has
trademarked the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame name.

Rivera said one of the steps needed to trademark it would be
creation of a logo, and he showed chamber members two
possible designs which could be used. The logos included one
taken from a bumper sticker promoting the West of the Pecos
Rodeo, while the other is used by the Town of Pecos City,
"Such as on the sides of the city trucks and other places,"
he said.

The group agreed that a combination of both logos would
capture the idea perfectly.

"What we're doing is trademarking just the name, but it
needs to have a product to go with it," said Rivera.

He said that he has met with city manager Kenneth Neal who
told him he would contact Union Pacific about possibly
procuring the old train depot for this purpose.

"I think it's a do-able project and we can do it," said
Rivera. "Right now, my plans are to get this in the mail as
soon as possible and get our trademark."

In other business, Rivera asked that board members make a
decision about bringing Tom Starr, a motivational speaker,
to Pecos on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Starr would speak to the group about success strategies for
business and life.

"It costs $1,000 or $39 per person and would have to have at
least 28 attendees," said Rivera.

Rivera said that Starr is very well known and a great

The advertising tourism committee reported that new
billboards will be going up soon, promoting Pecos at the
Barstow exit on I-20. The final draft of both billboards was
passed around for all board members to see.

"Next year we want to have five of the small ones re-done,"
said Rivera.

A tax workshop held in Pecos recently wasn't bad, but wasn't
good either. "We had about 13 people attend, but we really
need to have more people at these events," said Rivera.

Women's Division president Suann Cross told the group that
they will again be sponsoring a Christmas Tour of Homes
again this year. The tour was something new last year the
club had sponsored.

"This year's event has been scheduled for Dec. 4," she said.
"I also need a little guidance in setting the date for the
Annual Mother Goose Parade."

The parade was set for Thursday, Oct. 1, after figuring out
that the Fall Fair will also be the weekend of Oct. 3-4.

Marine again no-billed in Hernandez case

Associated Press Writer
EL PASO -- A second state grand jury's decision to no-bill a
Marine who fatally shot a border teen-ager should lay to
rest lingering suspicions of a government cover up, the
serviceman's attorney says.

The Presidio County panel meeting Tuesday in Marfa was given
the option of indicting Cpl. Clemente Banuelos for murder,
manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, but declined
all charges.

The decision mirrored those made previously by another state
panel, a federal grand jury and military investigators who
also reviewed the May 20, 1997 shooting of 18-year-old
Esequiel Hernandez.

``It's heart-warming to know that three grand-jury
investigations ... have all concluded the same thing that I
did, that Cpl. Banuelos was completely justified in his
actions under the law,'' said Banuelos' attorney, Jack B.
Zimmermann. ``I can't think of a case that has been
investigated more and concluded that nothing illegal was

He said the nearly universal decision reached by such
diverse groups should effectively counter the view of many
civil rights activists that the government sought to conceal
the truth.

Hernandez was killed in Redford, 200 miles southeast of El
Paso, while herding his goats near the Rio Grande.

Military officials said Hernandez fired twice with his
.22-caliber rifle at a group of Marines conducting anti-drug
surveillance and had raised the gun a third time when
Banuelos shot him once with an M-16.

But Hernandez's family and civil rights activists have long
disputed the military's account of the shooting, which led
to the suspension of armed military patrol along the border.

Family members said the teen, who had no criminal history,
would never knowingly have shot at anyone. They said he
carried the rifle only to protect his livestock from wild
dogs and occasionally to shoot targets.

District Attorney Albert Valadez. said he had presented the
case again because he had received new information generated
by the federal probe that had warranted bringing it to
another panel.

He is satisfied the matter has been concluded now.

``We've covered it all,'' said Valadez.

Hours before the decision, the Hernandezes' attorney
announced the federal government had settled a claim filed
by the family by agreeing to pay them $1.9 million.

Attorney Bill Weinacht said the settlement came in the form
of a $1 million annuity that over its life will grow to a
total value of $1.9 million.

Hernandez's brother said the money does not ease the
family's loss.

``Nothing is going to bring him back. But at least it will
help my parents. It will help them financially, at least,''
Hernandez said. ``I'm glad something was done.''

Justice Department spokeswoman Chris Watney said the
settlement came under a federal act that allows the military
to settle claims caused by its activities without admitting
fault, so long as the injured person or the claimant was not
at fault either.

Weinacht also emphasized that the government had admitted no

But civil rights activists said the settlement could only be
perceived in one way.

``The government is not in the business of giving away money
for no apparent reason. That money, in the eyes of many,
does scream out that there was some wrongdoing,'' said Laura
Valdez, director of the Border Rights Coalition.


High Tuesday 101. Low this morning 73. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. low
in the mid to upper 60s. East to southeast wind 5-15 mph.
Thursday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of late
afternoon thunderstorms. High in the lower 90s. East wind
5-10 mph. Chance or rain less than 20 percent.

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

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

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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise