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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, October 14, 1998

Chamber seeks to raise turnout at '99 fair

Staff Writer
Ideas to make the Reeves County Fall Fair more interesting
and attract more visitors were discussed by the Pecos
Chamber of Commerce during their regular board of directors
meeting held Tuesday.

Barbara Creager, Sue Toone, Pat Towler and Regina Armstrong
were guests at the meeting and offered a list of suggestions
on how to improve next year's annual event.

Creager, spokesperson for the group, told chamber members
that they would like to see a fair committee formed that
would take care of all the fair activities and promote them
earlier than was done this year.

"We think we need to start planning everything now and start
promoting it early," said Creager.

She said another idea would be to move the Fall Fair
carnival to the far back corner of the Reeves County Civic
Center parking lot, to provide a bigger parking area for
fairgoers and those who had displays in the fair or were
setting up a booth.

"Also, something else to think about is to have some cleanup
in between, especially in the bathrooms and to have some
help in cleaning up all the area," said Creager.

She suggested that someone also be on hand to help those
that are going to have a booth there, find the right booth
area and show them where everything is.

"I would also like to have background music, I think this
would motivate everyone, instead of just being there all
glum," she said.

Choosing an appropriate time for pickups and entries was
another suggestion. "Maybe have it in the afternoon for
those who have to work," she said.

"Also, set up some time on Sunday to start picking things up
instead of Saturday night, I would even volunteer to come in
on Sunday some time and help," said Creager. "This would
help everyone, because the concert and other things are
going on at that time," she said.

She also mentioned adding a television and videos inside the
civic center, along with more displays of baked goods and
other items.

But most of all, promote it over a longer period of time,
suggested Creager.

"I've just seen it going down this past few years and we
want to bring it back up," she said.

In other business, Chamber president Richard Crider said
that something different needs to be done about the annual
Fall Fair stock show. "We're giving out more than bringing
in," said Crider.

C.W. Roberts, county extension agent, said that he had been
told that the main idea behind the stock show was to bring
in people who would occupy the local motels and eat at local

"We could lower the awards, but that would mean less people
attending, we would lose entries because we had people come
in from as far away as San Angelo," said Roberts.

"There are just some things we need to start thinking about
for next year," said Crider.

Advertising committee member Kevin Duke suggested that maybe
some of the advertising dollars could go towards the stock
show. "I don't know if we can, but that's something to look
into," he said.

Louis Matta told chamber members that the Fall Fair concert
went really well, even though it did not turn a profit.

"We don't have the total figures in, but our main purpose
was to bring in a good crowd, which we did," he said. Some
2,500 people attended the annual event, from Carlsbad,
Artesia, Fort Stockton and Odessa.

"The bottom line is that the first year we took over we
expected to lose money," said Matta. "So right now I'd say
we're about $7,000 in the hole."

Matta stated that the organizers of the event agreed to help
the chamber with the concert to build it back up to where it
was when it began in the early 1990s.

"Next year, we're looking to increase our sponsor fees to
balance our liabilities," said Matta. "But all in all it was
a success."

One of the problems reported was the lack of volunteers,
people who stated they would be there at a certain time and
didn't show up. "We had some that showed up late and wanted
to go in free and we just made them pay, because there was
already some working that certain booth," said Matta.

"We'll just try to make it better next year," he said.

Also on Tuesday, Suan Cross, president of the Women's
Division of the Chamber of Commerce reported that the Annual
Mother Goose Parade on Sept. 29 went really well and
everybody enjoyed themselves.

"We had the eighth grade band there, the Sonic Cherry Lime
and Hot Dog, Ronald McDonald and for the first time the
Lions Club train," said Cross.

Judges for the event were from the Lion's Club, the Rotary
and the Chamber of Commerce.

"First National Bank gave out lemonade for the first time
before the parade, which was really great and something that
was needed in that hot weather," said Cross.

She added that another Christmas Tour of Homes has been set
for 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 4, sponsored by the Women's Division.
Last year was the first time the tour was held and things
went so well, that another one is planned for this year.

The Christmas Merchants Bazaar will also be held that
evening from 6-9 p.m., at the Quality Inn and weekly
Christmas Lighting Contests will be held during December.

The 4A Sales Tax Referendum was discussed briefly and
chamber member Gerald Tellez invited everyone to the Town
Hall Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday at the Reeves
County Civic Center.

Tellez mentioned the signs that are going up around town in
support of the measure, and also showed a pie chart
depicting how the sales tax will be divided from the sales
tax already implemented.

"This is not another tax," said Tellez, explaining that
one-quarter cent of the 1 1/2 cent sales tax already in
place will go towards economic development. The measure has
already been adopted in Monahans and Fort Stockton.

"This is a general fund item and I just want everyone to
know that there is a possibility that taxes will go up
because of this," said Town of Pecos City Mayor and chamber
member Dot Stafford.

Stafford stated that $127,000 from the city's general fund
will be used for economic development and will need to be
replaced somehow.

"I'm all for this, but I do want the community to be aware
of the downfalls," said Stafford.

"I see it as an investment in our community, an investment
in our kids," said Tellez. "This sales tax will help the
economy in Pecos, make us more competitive and hopefully
bring in new businesses and create jobs."

Duke reported that new billboards are up coming into Pecos
from Barstow on Interstate 20 and on I-10, coming in from

"They're lighted up so if any of the lights go out please
let me know," said Duke.

He praised the Pecos High School football team and stated
that the school board is doing a great job of bringing
things around and headed in the right direction, homecoming
went really well and there are plenty of activities around

Women given federal court drug sentences

Staff Writer
Tears were the order of the day Tuesday when U.S. District
Judge Royal Furgeson sentenced three women for drug crimes.

Patricia Martinez, 34, of Petersburg clung to her claim of
innocence although a jury found her guilty of importing and
possessing with intent to distribute 30 pounds of marijuana
that was found in a car driven by her co-defendant.

Both were arrested at the U.S. Customs Port of Entry at
Presidio on May 28. Her co-defendant, Melissa Alonzo,
pleaded guilty, but testified that Martinez did not know she
was going to Ojinaga, Mex. to pick up a load of marijuana.

Martinez testified she just went along for the ride and was
to pick up some cookies and Cokes for her mother.

Judge Furgeson sympathized with Martinez, who already has
lost her resident alien status and is subject to being
deported to Mexico after completing her 21-month prison term.

"I have received a large number of letters on behalf of Ms.
Martinez," Judge Furgeson told her attorney, Steve

"She is well liked by her friends and family. People are
very concerned about her. They are surprised that she is in
this jam and very much hoping for the best for her," he said.

"I know this is very difficult for you," he told Martinez.
"You are a very unlikely person to have gotten involved in
this, but I think it is clear that your involvement

"The case was tried as well as it could be tried by Mr.
Hershberger. I think the jury looked at all the evidence and
found you guilty on both counts, so I will proceed with
sentencing," he said.

"I know you are very disappointed with the jury verdict.
This conviction has enormous consequences for you. You have
grown up in the United States. This conviction will result
in your deportation to Mexico. You won't be able to return
except under very limited circumstances. I wish word would
go out about how dangerous it is to sometimes `be helping
friends.'" he said.

After sentencing, Martinez told Judge Furgeson that she has
already hired an attorney to file an appeal of her
conviction and sentence. She will remain in custody, as she
has since her conviction, on the government's contention
that she has good reason to flee to Mexico to avoid

Melissa Moreno Pena, 28, of Kermit, also cried as she stood
before Judge Furgeson for sentencing on a marijuana
possession conviction as three of her four children, her
mother and sister watched.

Asking for probation, her attorney, Jesse Herrera, said her
8-year-old son is slightly retarded, making it hard on her
mother to care for the children if Pena goes to prison.

"I'm real sorry; I won't do it again," Pena said, pleading
for mercy for her family.

She said she had entered a training program to better
herself and make more money for her children. "I am asking
for another chance to go to school."

"Well, I know you have had a lot of challenges," said Judge
Furgeson. "I know you don't get the kind of support you
should from the children's fathers. I know your situation
has created a burden on your mother, and you are regretful
for that. I know if you could, you would turn the clock
back. I understand that."

But under the guidelines, the minimum sentence is 12 months
and one day, which Judge Furgeson assessed. He did allow
Pena to remain free on bail through Christmas, at her
request. She is to report to federal prison on Jan. 6, 1999.

Monica Isabel Macias, 26, of El Paso, did gain the court's
favor and was placed on two years probation for misprison of
a felony -- failure to report knowledge of a drug crime
(importing and possessing marijuana).

Others sentenced were:

* Alejandro Santos, 10 months for illegal entry after

* Thomas V. Priddy, 50, of Kansas City, Mo., 28 months on
each of two counts: importing and possessing with intent to
distribute marijuana.

* Cruz Islas-Baeza, 52, of Chihuahua, Mex., 60 months for
possession with intent to distribute 313.91 pounds of

* Alberto Ortega, Leonardo Baeza Islas, Jesus Manuel Roman,
Jesus Mendoza and Julio C. Ortega, 27 months each for
possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

* Rafael Sanchez-Reyes, time served for illegal entry after

Officials continue recent drug sweep

Staff Writer
Members of the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the
Pecos Police Department made another drug-related search of
a Pecos home on Tuesday evening, the latest in a series that
began in early September.

At about 11:37 p.m., police officers and sheriff's deputies
executed a narcotics search warrant at the home of Jose
Garcia and Norma Barrera Avila, 112 North Cedar St.

Police said upon searching the suspected residence a
substance believed to be heroin was found inside the purse
of Ms. Avila. Also found inside the residence was drug
paraphernalia commonly used in the injecting of heroin.

Avila, 32, was placed under arrest for the offense of
possession of a controlled substance (to wit heroin) and was
transported to the Reeves County Jail and released to the
custody of the jail staff. She was charged with felony
possession of heroin and is awaiting arraignment.

The investigation is continuing with other charges pending,
according to Ernesto Lazcano and investigator Paul Deishler.

Another arrest was made Tuesday morning at Pecos Municipal
Court. Mike Rayos, 40, was charged with possession of drug
paraphernalia after he turned himself in. A warrant had been
issued in this case, following a raid at his residence last
Thursday at about 8:32 a.m.

The Reeves County sheriff's Department and the Pecos Police
Department Multi-Agency S.W.A.T. Team executed a narcotics
search warrant at Rayos' home at 420 East "B" St.

Rayos was not present at the time, but the search of the
residence was conducted, according to officer Ernesto
Lazcano, and turned up a syringe commonly used to inject
heroin on top of a storage shed next to the main residence.
A tin foil and cellophane plastic wrappings commonly used to
package heroin was found on the ground next to the storage

"The evidence was seized, and the investigation continued,"
said Lazcano.

After being formally charged Rayos was released from Reeves
County Jail later Tuesday on a $200 bond.

Balmorhea officials listen to info

Balmorhea is just another of the smaller cities looking at
the 4A Sales Tax as an alternative to attracting businesses
and jobs into their community.

Bob Bearden, comptroller of public accounts, from Austin was
on hand to speak to city council and chamber of commerce
members in that community Tuesday.

"He spoke with the newly re-organized chamber of commerce
for an hour and a half and then attended the regular chamber
of commerce meeting and spoke to everyone about the
possibility of establishing a 4A and 4B Tax structure," said
member Danny Reynolds.

The Balmorhea tax rate is so low at this time that the tax
change could be made with no recall on any previous taxes,
according to Reynolds.

This sales tax will generate about $3,500 a year of and once
it's up and running will generate up to a possible $5,000 a

The City of Balmorhea is looking at this basically to help
alleviate some of the other problems by brining in tourism,
businesses and jobs, according to Balmorhea chamber members.

Local tax rebate checks mostly down

October's sales tax rebate check for Pecos was down just
over seven percent from a year ago, and Reeves County's
overall numbers also declined, according to State
Comptroller John Sharp's office.

Pecos' rebate check, based on it's 1 1/2 cent sales tax, was
$54,475, down from $58,765 in October of 1997. This month's
check was based on sales taxed collected during August,
Sharp's office said. However, for the first 10 months of
1998, the city's tax rebates are still up 5.5 percent over
1997, from $614,383 to $648,705.

Toyah and the Reeves County Hospital District also saw their
October checks decline. Toyah got back just $88, compared
with $159 last year, a 46 percent fall, while the hospital
district saw their check fall by 4.7 percent, from $23,102
to $22,022. Like Pecos, both cities' 10-month rebate totals
remain up over 1998.

Balmorhea is also up for the year and was also up for the
month, getting a $299 check from Sharp's office, 168 percent
more than the $112 check received last October.

Across the area, results were also mixed. Andrews, Big
Spring, Crane, Marfa and Midland also reported lower tax
rebates. Alpine, Fort Stockton, Van Horn, Odessa and
Monahans showed increases, though the last two saw their
checks rise due to an increase in their sales tax rates
since last August.

Statewide Sharp said tax rebate checks were up 7.1 percent
from October of a year ago, with $173.6 million being sent
back from Austin. Houston's $20.3 million check was the
largest, and was 4.3 percent higher than a year ago, while
Dallas' $13.3 million check showed a 7.4 percent increase
over 1997.

New underground water district meets

Contributing Writer
The temporary board of directors for Trans-Pecos Underground
Water Conservation District will meet Thursday morning at
the Pecos Valley Country Club.

The meeting will get underway at 11:30 a.m., and its agenda
will include putting together the information package which
will be submitted to State Representative Gary Walker.

In the upcoming January legislative session, Walker, who
managed an underground water district in Plains, will
introduce legislation which, if passed, will formally create
the underground water conservation district for Reeves
County and the surrounding area.

"It is our intent to take the necessary steps precedent to
notifying (State Representative) Gary Walker officially of
our request to form the Trans-Pecos Underground Water
Conservation District," says Clark Lindley, one of the
Reeves County temporary board members.

Plans to form a temporary board of directors to lay the
groundwork for the formation of an underground water
conservation district for Reeves, Pecos and Loving Counties
came to fruition recently with the addition of nominees from
Pecos County. Reeves and Loving Counties had previously
nominated temporary board members on Sept. 3, 1998, at the
first organizational meeting of the ad hoc group.

The plan called for Pecos and Reeves Counties to submit 3
nominees each, with Loving County submitting two nominees.
Each of the three counties would submit one at-large
nominee. Pecos County declined to submit an at-large nominee.

Loving County submitted Billy Blair and Billy B. Hopper as
their nominees at the September meeting. Reeves County's
nominees were A.B. Foster, Jerry Moore, and Clark Lindley.
The two at-large nominees were Herman Tarin and Dale Toone.
Pecos County nominees which were added after the Sept. 3
organizational meeting are Dennis Braden, Glenn Honaker and
Tony Cordova.

"By organizing the water district, we are proposing to
regulate ourselves instead of waiting for the State to
regulate us," said Bob Bickley, Executive Director of
Trans-Pecos Cotton Association.

According to Bickley, the meeting will be a work session
based on actions taken previously. Also, details which are
germane to the organizational effort which are pending will
be dealt with by the temporary board.

PHA attempt at discussing CCRC lease

Pecos Housing Authority Board members will discuss and
approve a lease agreement with the Community Council of
Reeves County for the use of space in a PHA building located
at 1001 E. 10th Street for the elderly Meals On Wheels

The board will meet at 5 p.m., Thursday at the PHA/FLH,
Administration Office, 600 Meadowbrook Drive. The meeting
was rescheduled from last Thursday due to the lack of a

Under unfinished business the group will discuss CIAP 96
update; retirement plan for PHA/FLH employees and approval
CIAP 98 budget amendment.

Board members will discuss correspondence received from HUD
Director, Eileen Rogers, notification of comprehensive
improvement assistance program award, $1.3 million; a letter
from Mary Jane Ontiveros, CCRC, executive director,
termination of lease for day care services at the PHA
Building located at 1001 E. 10th Street and a letter from
Ontiveros on the elderly meals program site.

Other items to be discussed include monthly financial
statement, June 1998; monthly account payable, June 1998;
monthly occupancy status, June 1998 and rent roll and cash

In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting the group
will discuss monthly financial statement, monthly account
payable, occupancy status and rent roll and cash journal.

State continues burning bans due to fire threat

Burning bans remain in effect in many counties in far west
Texas, Trans-Pecos, high plains and rolling plains regions
where the fire danger is high to extreme, reports the Texas
Forest Service.

The latest fires were reported on Saturday afternoon, one
south of Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene and the other
south of Electra along the Wichita and Wilbarger county

The Abilene area fire covered over 200 acres and was
contained only after is got inside the fence at Dyess AFB,
while the Electra fire was much larger, consuming 1,400
acres after high winds caused oil field power lines to arc,
with the sparks setting off the blaze.

Since May 1, there have been more than 10,150 wildfires that
have burned more than 423,000 acres in Texas. The largest
fires took place during the late Spring in the Big Bend area
of West Texas.

Brewster County has seen 29,400 acres burn this year,
including the Glass Mountain fire, the Cathedral Peak fire
and the Elephant Peak WMA fire. In Presidio County, the
Cibolo Creek Wildfire Complex burned 63,875 acres.

The main causes of wildfires in Texas continue to be
lightning, improper utilization of power tools in grassy
areas, escaped control burns, improper disposal of smoking
materials, fireworks, trash burning, vehicle catalytic
converters, railroads, down power lines, arson and electric

Heat indices, air temperatures and soil drought indices have
remained high throughout west Texas.

Current firefighting resources in Texas include 311
personnel from numerous states in addition to the 1800-plus
volunteer fire departments.

Agencies represented include the Texas Forest Service, Texas
Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Public
Safety's Division of Emergency Management, Texas National
Guard, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Forest Service, National Park
Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian
Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various state
forest services and state departments of natural resources.

Approximately 39 engines and dozers and 15 aircraft have
been utilized.


High Tuesday 92. Low last night 52. Tonight, fair. Low
around 60. South wind 10-15 mph. Thursday, mostly cloudy
morning. Partly cloudy and windy by Afternoon. High in the
upper 80s. South wind increasing to 20-30 mph and gusty.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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