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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 27, 1998

Council takes first step for sales tax vote

Staff Writer
Town of Pecos City Council members voted this morning to
adopt an ordinance to start proceedings for an election on
the proposed 4-A Sales Tax for economic development.

Oscar Saenz, a member of the Economic Development Committee,
told council members that they would have to adopt an
ordinance to schedule the election on the sales tax, which
would come out of part of the current city and hospital
district sales tax.

The election would be held Nov. 3, during the General
Election, according to Saenz.

"We need to do something to bring business into Pecos, the
shrinking of the tax rate, closing of businesses and other
factors have not helped economic development in Pecos," he

The tax will help fund economic development, according to
Saenz, and has been one of the most popular and effective
tools used by cities to promote economic development.

Several council members and the city's financial director
posed questions to Saenz and Pecos Economic Development
Director Gari Ward about how this would effect Pecos, and
whether the city would have to raise taxes to eventually
fund this effort.

"This election will let the citizens decide what they want
to do," said Saenz.

A Town Hall meeting on the matter is scheduled for 7 p.m.,
Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Scott Joslove and Bob Bearden, from the State Attorney
General's Office will be on hand to speak to the public and
update them on the 4-A Sales Tax.

If this proposition is passed a committee consisting of five
members will be formed. These individuals will report to the

"I think this community is salvageable and has the strength
to bring in industries," said Ward.

Finance director Steve McCormick said he didn't have a
problem with the 4-A sales tax itself, but would like to
wait until the May elections to propose it.

"Why does it have to be November?" he asked. "I just don't
think now is the right time. We're eventually going to have
to raise taxes, we're going to have to come up with the

"How is the city going to absorb that?" asked council member
Randy Graham.

Graham stated that the taxpayers were the city's number one
priority and didn't want to see taxes raised because of

"We're working on some major projects, such as the water
wells and other things at this time that are very important
to the city and the people here," he said.

Council members agreed to the ordinance with the condition
that the city would eventually get back at least half of the
$120,000 that will go into this effort.

In other action, representatives from WesTex Waste were on
hand at the early morning meeting, to answer the communities
questions and deal with problems they might be having in
trash collection.

One of the major concerns brought up was the fact that
consumers couldn't get through to the company to voice their
complaints. WesTex officials told the council their 1-800
number goes directly to the office, and there shouldn't be a

The group assured the council that all complaints are dealt
with as soon as they are brought forward. "We're here to let
everyone know that they can call us and we will respond
immediately," said one of the WesTex employees.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford told the company that
they might think about doing a little public relations work,
such as Pecos Talking or placing ads and articles in the

The group stated that they haven't been in Pecos long enough
to make major changes, but that they are working on
implementing some.

Hours of operation for the company are from 6:30 a.m. to 6
p.m., Monday through Saturday. The landfill is open Monday
through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday, 8 a.m.
until noon.

A request from the Pecos Learning Center for a donation was
denied, because of legalities. City attorney Scott Johnson
stated that it is illegal for the city to make that type of

"It's against the law to make expenditures or loans to
private entities," said Johnson. "There are some exceptions,
such as if there's a significant public benefit."

Two individuals were named by the council to represent the
city at next week's underground water district meeting.
Clark Lindley and Elvia Reynolds, who have been active in
the procedures of the underground water district will
represent the city at the Sept. 3 meeting, which will be
attending by State Rep. Gary Walker.

The two are very interested in the discussions on the
formation of an underground water district and will attend
all meetings and report back to the council.

Council members approved having the first meeting of the
month in the morning at 7:30 a.m. and the second meeting of
the month in the evening at 5:30 p.m. beginning in September.

Items to be posted in next month's agenda are the closing of
the streets for the 16th of September Fiestas, three
ordinances for taxes and grant writer and economic

Assault results in teens' arrests

Staff Writer
Two teenagers are behind bars today, following an incident
which occurred Tuesday morning at Carver Center on East 12th

"A juvenile got assaulted at the school and the result is
that two individuals were arrested," said
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Juvenile Officer Hilda Woods.

Woods stated that by the time she reached the center the
Pecos Police Department had already responded and had things
under control.

"We want to thank Hilda, Police Chief McKinney, Andy Gomez
and the sheriff's department for responding to the situation
so quickly," said Carver Director Jimmy Dutchover. "It's not
always that it gets to the point that we need them, but when
we do they are here right away."

"We really appreciate everyone doing their part," he said.

According to a statement from the teacher and the victim, a
15-year-old juvenile student at the center, about six to
eight people walked into a room where class was in session
and started assaulting the juvenile.

The individuals who walked into the classroom are also
students at the center, which is why they were on the campus.

"The door just opened and the group walked in unannounced,
didn't identify themselves and started beating the
juvenile," said Woods.

The two arrested were Gilbert Plasencia, 17, who was charged
with misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury, and Jesus
Perez Marruffo, 17, also charged with misdemeanor assault
causing bodily injury. Both are at Reeves County Jail and
are being held on $5,000 bonds.

"There were others, but these are the two that were
identified," said Woods.

According to statements taken, the teacher yelled for the
other students in the class to help him break up the fight,
but nobody helped with the altercation.

"The students later apologized to the teacher for not
helping out and stated that if they had jumped in, things
would have just gotten worse," said Woods.

This is something that law enforcement officials will be
addressing and working on correcting, according to Woods.

The juvenile was hit on the face, was kicked and beaten
while another individual held him down. He did not require
medical attention and was turned over to his parents.

"This is obviously something we will be working on," said

Officials said Plasencia is currently on the list as one of
the members of BPG, Brown Pride Gang, who has been known to
cause other problems in the community such as graffiti and
gang initiations.

Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez stated that
overall, the first two weeks of school have been very calm,
and his department did not handle Tuesday's assault. "These
two were not brought to me because they are considered

A probation officer has been introduced at Pecos High
School, and another is at the Carver Center.

John Cook will be overseeing juveniles at Pecos High School
and at Crockett Middle School, eighth grade, while Mary Ann
Acosta will be working at Carver and Zavala Middle School,
seventh grade.

"They've been really active, making sure the probationers
are on time to their classes, that they show up for school
and doing drug testing," said Alvarez.

One juvenile has been reprimanded so far, for bringing
cigarettes to school, according to Alvarez. "He was smoking
and was sent to 48-hour lockup," he said.

"Other than that we haven't had any other major incidents,"
said Alvarez. "And as far gangs or fights we haven't had any

A report that was turned in to the state by Alvarez recently
showed that 51 kids had done 1,268 hours of community
service. "That's a lot of hours," he said.

Alvarez added that a lot of these hours accumulated were in
covering up graffiti. "You can drive around town and
actually see less graffiti. If there is graffitti it is
being painted over right away," he said.

A summer program sponsored by the juvenile probation office
proved very successful. "We had juveniles sprucing up the
golf course and we are working on implementing other
projects," said Alvarez.

"We're doing our part as probationers in keeping these kids
on the straight and narrow," he said. "We address the
problems immediately and by providing officers at the school
we can deal with them more efficiently."

Divers find barrel linked to murder

Staff Writer
Diving in the brackish waters of the Pecos River this
morning turned out to be a fruitful effort for a Department
of Public Safety dive team.

Just below the bridge over Farm Road 3398 north of Pecos,
the team found a barrel believed to have been the funeral
pyre for Lora Ann Brooks.

Chris Bigham has been charged with murdering Ms. Brooks Dec.
1, 1997. Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos said Bigham recently
gave him a statement that led to discovery of the barrel.

Contents of the barrel will be analyzed to determine whether
it contains evidence that could help to convict Bigham,
Villalobos said this morning.

Villalobos has worked with the Reeves County Sheriff's
Office and other agencies since Brooks' disappearance was
reported by her parents last December.

Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez was at the river this morning when the
barrel was found. He said officers had searched the area
from the air, on foot, on horseback and with cadaver dogs
seeking Brooks' body.

Bigham and Brooks lived together with her children in a
small mobile home parked a short distance from the river on
20 acres he purchased in October, 1997.

A teenage daughter at first supported Bigham's claim that
Brooks had boarded a bus for Dallas shortly before her
parents reported her missing. However, earlier this month,
the girl told authorities in Washington state that Bigham
had told her Brooks committed suicide and he disposed of her

Villalobos then went to Washington to interview Bigham and
obtained a confession.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds filed an information last
week in 143rd District Court charging Bigham with murder.
However, since Bigham refused to return voluntarily,
Reynolds said he will present evidence of the murder to the
next grand jury and seek an indictment.

Villalobos said that the indictment is required for
extradition, which will take about 90 days.

DPS officers on the dive team are Bob Powell, Don Martin,
Jim Ward, Brent Crossley, Charlie Goble and Tony McCollum.

They said this is their 30th dive this year searching for
evidence, in addition to their duties as troopers.


Mary Shannon

Mary H. Shannon, 57, of Corpus Christi, died Friday, Aug.
14, 1998.

A mass was held Monday, Aug. 17, at Our Lady of Perpetual
Help Catholic Church with burial in San Fernando Cemetery in
San Antonio.

Shannon, a former Pecos resident, was a Corpus Christi
Independent School District clerk and a member of the
Guadalupanas and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

Survivors include her husband, Otha Shannon of Corpus
Christi; two sons, Daylond Shannon of Arlington and Otha
Shannon of Beaumont; three sisters, Isabel Salinas and Mary
and Amelia Alvarado, all of San Antonio; three brothers,
Margarito, Pedro and Johnny Salinas of San Antonio and four


High Wednesday 95. Low this morning 63. Forecast for
tonight: Fair. Low 65 70. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Friday,
partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of afternoon
thunderstorms. High 90-95. South to southwest wind 10-20

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