Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, September 16, 1998
Costal sections of state facing more flooding
BOLING (AP) -- Southeast Texas residents could be in store
for more flooding this morning as rain continues to drench
National Weather Service meteorologists issued a flash flood
warning for Wharton County Tuesday evening, saying rainfall
is likely to continue for at least three more days.
``It's pretty serious,'' said Kent Porchazka, a
meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston.
``It's been raining off and on for the last week, and they
had pretty substantial rains during Frances.''
The San Bernard River and its streams already have swelled
from a tropical system that has brewed in the Gulf of Mexico
since Monday and saturated South Texas.
The river, which runs through Wharton and Brazoria counties
and empties into the Gulf of Mexico just north of the San
Bernard Wildlife Refuge, was expected to crest at 28 feet by
this afternoon near Boling, about 50 miles southwest of
Rain over the area on Tuesday fell at a rate of about 2
inches in eight hours.
Porchazka said heavy rainfall battering the saturated ground
could flood low-lying areas and the creeks that feed the San
He said the weather service planned to send an airplane into
the tropical system today to determine where the storm is
headed and how fierce its winds are.
Potential flooding also remains a concern 150 miles to the
northeast in Orange County along the Texas-Louisiana border,
where officials ordered a voluntary evacuation Tuesday night
for about 300 people in Mauriceville after about 1½ feet of
water spilled over a flood control levee.
The levee never broke, however, and the water was subsiding
this morning, but county workers continued to fill sandbags
for residents in the event of more problems, Orange County
Judge Carl Thibodeaux said.
``The concern's subsided quite a bit. Now we just have to
watch,'' Thibodeaux said. ``If we get 10 inches of rain to
the north of us, we could have more potential problems.''
The weather service issued flash flood warnings for the
region last week when Tropical Storm Frances hit land.
Porchazka said most flooding was in Matagorda County, where
12 inches of rain fell in two days.
The extended forecast isn't much better.
``It looks like we're going to get rain for the next three
or four days, and we have to pay close attention to what
this tropical wave in the Gulf of Mexico is doing,''
Raid on home results in cocaine arrest
A Pecos man was arrested on cocaine charges, following the
search of a home on the southwest side of town last week.
Police said on September 10, officers from the Pecos Police
and the Reeves County Sheriff's Department executed a
narcotics search warrant at the home of Randall Alan Raper,
1504 Missouri St., police investigator Paul Dieshler
Officers proceeded to search the suspected residence and
reportedly found a substance believed to be cocaine inside.
After completing the search, Raper was placed under arrest
on a warrant charging him with Possession of a Controlled
Raper was transported to the Reeves County Jail where he was
released to the jail staff for booking pending arraignment.
Woman guilty in court marijuana case
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Patricia Martinez cried Tuesday when a federal court jury
returned a verdict of "guilty" to importing and possessing
marijuana at the close of her one-day trial.
She cried again when U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson
ordered her held in jail until sentencing in November,
advising her to hand her jewelry and any other valuables to
her attorney, Steve Hershberger.
The jury deliberated for only a short time before finding
that Martinez knew that her co-defendant, Melissa Alonzo,
picked up a load of marijuana in Mexico for distribution in
the United States.
Both were arrested at the Presidio Port of Entry after
agents found 30 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of Alonzo's
1984 Cadillac. Agent Steve Coker testified that Martinez
admitted knowing before she left Petersburg that Alonzo was
to pick up the marijuana, and she was to be paid $1,000.
Martinez testified she just went along for the ride and was
to pick up some cookies and cokes for her mother. Leaving
after 6 p.m., they arrived in Ojinaga about 3 a.m. and went
straight to a motel for the night.
Upon arising about 9 a.m. the next day, Alonzo said she was
ready to go and would not even take the time to eat
breakfast, Martinez said. But they did pick up two cases of
cokes. They crossed the international bridge about noon.
Prosecutor Fred Brigman asked Judge Furgeson to hold
Martinez without bail because she is a Mexican citizen whose
resident alien card was taken from her, and she has good
reason to flee to Mexico to avoid punishment.
Area's dove season off to slow start
CLAUDE W. PORTER
Game bird populations decline when conditions are not
conducive to hatching and feeding a new crop each year, and
1998's dry conditions have reduced the dove population of
Reeves County in most hunting areas.
"A few have taken their daily limit this season, mostly in
the Balmorhea area, but, generally, numbers are off from a
year ago," says Reeves County Game Warden, Jim Allen.
The dove hunting season opened in parts of Reeves County on
September 1. Hunting is divided into three zones. The North
Zone is north of Interstate 20 and north of I-10 between
Fort Hancock and the Reeves-Culberson County line.
The Central Zone is located between Interstate 20 and
Interstate 10. The South zone lies south of U.S. 90 from Del
Rio to San Antonio, and south of I-10 from there to the
Louisiana state line.
Hunting season in the North Zone, which includes northern
Reeves County, ends on Oct. 30. The Central Zone has a split
season which ends on October 18 and re-opens on December 26,
continuing through January 6, 1999, while the South Zone
also has a split season. It opens on next Friday, Sept. 25,
and runs through Nov. 8. It re-opens on Dec. 26 and
continues through Jan. 9, 1999. In the special white-winged
area, the closing date is Jan. 5, 1999.
Bag limits this year in all zones are 15 birds per day, and
may include white-winged, mourning, and white-tipped dove or
a mix. The 15 bird limit may not include more than two
white-tipped. A special stamp is required for white-winged.
The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.
According to Allen, the best hunting is in those areas which
have received enough moisture to green up the croton bushes,
or in sunflower fields. The Balmorhea area generally offers
more of this kind of habitat this year.
Due to the warm weather, native birds are still in the area.
These birds are generally smaller than those which migrate
south from the grain fields of Kansas, Oklahoma, and the
In areas with split seasons, the second season may produce
better hunting than the first one. Migration should bring
the larger birds in greater numbers by the later dates,
according to Allen.
Hunting law violations are running about the same as other
years. The three most often abused regulations include
unplugged shotguns, no hunter education course, and hunting
from public roadways.
"Shotguns must be limited to a three-shell capacity," says
Allen. "The gun can carry one shell in the firing chamber
and two shells in the magazine. Any gun with a greater
capacity is in violation."
With dove season underway, a Hunter's Safety Course has been
scheduled from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., on both Saturday, Sept.
26 and Sunday, Sept. 27, at 700 Daggett St. at the Reeves
County Extension Agent's classroom.
The class is for youngsters 12 years old and up. No weapons
Cost will be $10 and can be paid at the door.
All hunters born on or after September 2, 1971, are required
to have completed a certified hunter education course.
Children age 10-11 must be accompanied in the field by an
adult who is certified. Those age 12 and older must have
completed the course individually.
By law, hunting from public roadways is prohibited. Even
though the hunter may have a proper license and be in
possession of written permission to hunt on adjacent land,
according to Game Warden, Allen, they will be cited for
hunting from a public roadway.
Allen states that land-owners in this area have been very
helpful and supportive of his efforts to enforce hunting
laws and make hunting a safe sport for all.
Judge drills dentist on U.S. history
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
A Monahans dentist will much note and long remember a civics
lesson taught by U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson Tuesday
in a federal court hearing in Pecos.
Dr. Bernie Cox found himself in danger of a civil damage
suit and a contempt of court citation for firing his dental
assistant because she was chosen for jury service in Judge
Korah Gallagher, 21, was the second alternate on the
14-member jury chosen for the drug smuggling trial of
Patricia Martinez of Petersburg. When she told Dr. Cox
Monday night that she had would have to serve on the jury
Tuesday, he hired a replacement, then fired her.
Judge Furgeson learned of the dentist's actions during the
noon hour Tuesday and called Dr. Cox at his home, asking him
to appear in court at 1 p.m. for a hearing to determine
"probable merit" for a civil action.
Dr. Cox said he could not appear at 1 p.m., nor at 3:30, but
he could give the judge some time on Friday.
Calling a hearing in open court, Judge Furgeson heard
testimony from Gallagher and from deputy district clerk
Karen White about the matter. White testified that Cox had
earlier attempted to have Gallagher excused from jury duty,
and characterized his manner as "arrogant."
Judge Furgeson then signed an order summoning Dr. Cox to a
hearing at 3:30 p.m., which could have resulted in his
arrest by U.S. marshals if he had refused to appear.
In a second telephone call, Judge Furgeson read the order to
Dr. Cox, who agreed to appear, and asked if he should bring
legal representation or just Gallagher's employment records.
"Yes, I think you should bring a lawyer," said Judge
Dr. Cox and his attorney, Hoot Gibson, arrived shortly after
3 p.m. and waited while attorneys made closing arguments in
the Martinez trial.
Addressing Gibson and Dr. Cox, Judge Furgeson outlined the
testimony of Gallagher and White.
"There seems to be some question in your mind about the
question of jury service," Judge Furgeson said. "It may be
there's not a question. That you are fully in support of our
"When Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues wrote the
Declaration of Independence, one of the reasons given was
that the king had denied our people the right to jury trial.
That's important enough," he said.
Men have died to secure that freedom, he said. And when the
people asked for a bill of rights, Madison and others
provided that 15 years later.
"Two of the 10 amendments relate to jury trial," he said,
noting that the sixth amendment addresses criminal cases,
and the seventh civil cases.
"These are constitutional rights we are entitled to," he
said. "I can only imagine the sacrifices that men and women
have made over 200 years to preserve our freedoms, including
the right to a jury trial."
The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is a graphic depiction of
those sacrifices on Omaha Beach, he said.
"Men have fought and died. Women have cried when they have
been told their sons and husbands have perished," Judge
"In this case, we had men from Customs who investigated
potential crimes against our country. They wear uniforms;
protect our borders. These men thought that this case
deserved to be brought in this court, and it was brought.
"Miss Martinez was granted the right to a jury trial, which
is her full right.
"I can think of no better system of justice in the world
then ours, because we depend on juries to make the hard
decisions. It is a sacrifice; no question about it. Men and
women have to sacrifice every day of the year to make these
"Our system of justice would grind to a halt if our citizens
decided it is too much trouble to be in attendance at jury
trials - saying `We don't care about Valley
Forge...Vicksburg...World War I...Omaha Beach...Iwo
"It would signal the end of our country as we know it if we
didn't have jury trials, one of the great bastions of
"Even today I have seen decent men and women who wear the
uniform of our country taking away from their time to
protect our borders to testify. We owe the people who
protect us our concern; the right to have their cases
brought to trial; people like Miss Martinez to have a jury
"...I am very concerned about what happened today. Perhaps
this is all a mistake, and perhaps when you made your angry
call to Ms. White, she just misinterpreted what you had to
"Perhaps when you said your angry words to Gallagher last
night, perhaps it didn't have anything to do with her jury
Judge Furgeson said that a federal statute prohibits the
discharge of an employee by an employer of anyone who is on
jury service. He said he could hold a hearing immediately or
at a later date on Gallagher's claim that she was
discharged, giving Cox time to confer with his attorney.
After a recess, Gibson said they were ready to proceed, he
apologized for Dr. Cox's actions, then him as a witness.
Gallagher went to work for Dr. Cox May 18, the dentist said.
On May 29, she was 40 minutes late to work when her alarm
failed to go off. On June 9, she was 20 minutes late because
her truck wouldn't start. Both times, Dr. Cox reprimanded
Gallagher, he said.
Then on July 13, Gallagher was out half a day for jury duty,
which Dr. Cox said he "had no problem with whatsoever."
On Aug. 5, Gallagher asked for a day off to be with a friend
in San Angelo who was having a baby. "We mutually agreed she
could go," he said.
On Aug. 13, Gallagher again had jury duty, and "I let her
off with no reprimand," he said. She took another day off
Aug. 24 when her sister-in-law went into labor.
On Sept. 11, she was 25 minutes late to work, and on Sept.
14, she left a message that she was taking her father to the
airport in the morning and would have jury duty in the
"I terminated her that evening after she told me she was
chosen for the jury," Cox said. "I had been giving it some
thought and discussed it with my wife, because of the
chronic tardiness and absenteeism."
He said he had already hired Gallagher's replacement before
he found out she was chosen to be on the jury for the
Tuesday trial - "After her first phone call to me when she
notified me that she had to go to jury duty," he said.
Gibson: "So it didn't have anything to do with jury duty,
because you had let her off twice before. There is no way in
the world you are going to jeopardize the jury system."
Gibson called no other witnesses, and Judge Furgeson said he
found probable merit to appoint an attorney for Gallagher at
government expense. He appointed Steve Hershberger, who had
defended Martinez in the criminal trial.
Judge Furgeson said he would consider whether to hold Dr.
Cox in contempt of court.
City's tax rebate check up slightly
Pecos just barely bucked the trend for West Texas as a
whole, as the city showed a slight increase in their
September sales tax rebate check.
Pecos' check for $70,701 was sent out by State Comptroller
John Sharp's office last week, and was based on sales taxes
collected in July. The city's 1 1/2 cent share of the 8 1/4
cent sales tax was up .15 percent from a year earlier, when
the comptroller's office returned $70,590.
For the first nine months of 1998, Pecos has received
$594,231, a 6.94 percent rise from 1997's total of $55,618.
Balmorhea's September check was down over 60 percent, as the
city got back just $166 from Austin. But for the year, the
city is up over 30 percent, having received $6,436 in sales
tax rebates. Toyah is also down for the month, but up
overall. It got back $517 this month, down 12.6 percent, but
had gotten $3,848 overall, an 8.9 percent rise.
Alpine matches Pecos, with am .15 percent rise in their tax
rebate check, while Fort Stockton showed a 4.12 percent
rise, and Presidio, Wink and Marfa showed double-digit
increases. Also up were Odessa and Monahans, but those were
due in part to an increase in their local sales tax rates
since last year.
Showing declined of 10 percent or more were Andrews,
Midland, Crane and Kermit, while Big Spring and Van Horn
reported smaller decreases.
Reeves County Hospital District reported a 7.42 percent rise
in their rebate check, from their half-cent local sales tax.
The hospital got $27,882 back from the comptroller's office,
and for the year has gotten $245,760 back, a 14.68 percent
Statewide, Sharp said tax rebate checks for September were
up 4.5 percent, to $180.5 million, and rebates have gone up
10.7 percent for the first nine months of 1998. Houston's
check for $21.4 million was the largest overall and was up
by 2.2 percent from last year, while Dallas got back $13.7
million a 6.1 percent increase.
Security system for Carver, gym pact
A security system for the Carver Center, funded by the
Office of the Governor's Criminal Justice Division, will be
discussed at Thursday's regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
Carver Center handles the district's problem students, and
was the site last month of an on-campus assault, in which
several students attacked another students while he was in
class at the east side building.
The board will convene at 6 p.m., in the board room, 1304
South Park Street to discuss several school related items.
Under old business the board will discuss/approve an
interlocal agreement with Reeves County for use of Pecos
High School's Old Gym by the public and listen to a
presentation by Gari Ward and Frank Spencer, representatives
for the Pecos Economic Development Corporation.
Under new business board members will discuss/approve
"Choice" Anti-Drug Anti-Crime Program and Teen Crime
The first reading of Local District Update resulting from a
policy review seminar held July 23 will be held, and board
members will discuss/approve coordination of funds with the
Pecos Learning Center from Texas School-Age Child Care Grant
Also to be approved and discussed:
* Payment of health insurance bills and possible litigation.
* Campus rating for Pecos Academic Alternative School at
* Contract for Civil Litigation for Underpayment of Mineral
Interest Due to Undervaluation.
* Hiring a Transportation Coordinator.
* A 1998-99 budget amendments.
* Errors and corrections for 1997 and prior tax rolls.
* A resolution to appoint three Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
representatives to serve on the Reeves County Tax Appraisal
Board of Directors.
* Enrollment report.
* Closes session - As authorized by the Texas Open Meetings
Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. seq.,
Section 551.074: Discussion personnel or hear complaints
* Tax report.
* Depository securities report.
* Investment transaction report.
* Reconciled bank balance report.
* Current bills and financial report.
* Cafeteria report.
* List of commodities.
* Time for next meeting.
* Calendar of events.
* Request for items for next agenda.
High Tuesday 89. Low this morning 64. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low in
the mid 60s. Northeast wind 5-10 mph. Thursday, partly
cloudy. A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. high 85 90.
Northeast wind 5-10 mph.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise