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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

December 16, 1998

Snow melt speeds up action on roof at PHS

Staff Writer
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members will meet in an emergency meeting, at noon, Friday, to discuss and approve construction methods available to repair roofing problems at the Pecos High School Building A.

The problem was the subject of discussion at the regular meeting held in November. At that meeting, Superintendent Don Love said, "We've had some roofing problems in that building and I'd really like to see it resolved."

However, Love said he didn't want to replace the roof until after the audit. "The auditors are currently here and after that I would like to see the roof replaced," said Love. "At that time we can open it up for bids and have someone fix it."

However, the problem increased over the weekend, when snow that fell on Friday began to melt and leak into the building, causing water damage to carpet in the main lobby and in other parts of Building A.

"Last week when it snowed so much we again had a problem in that building," said PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez. "But we took care of it and classes resumed as usual."

Rodriguez stated that that was why the item was labeled as an "emergency."

"We had help from some board members, board member Brent Shaw was up there on the roof shoveling snow, along with Don Love," said Rodriguez. "And board members Freddy Lujan and Earl Bates were also here helping clean up," he said.

"Everyone showed a lot of support and interest in this problem and helped us take care of it," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez hoped the problem will hopefully be resolved after board members discuss the issue on Friday. "They know we need a new roof and that's why they want to discuss it immediately and I know they will agree to do what's right," he said.

Teachers that were at the November meeting and have classrooms in the A building expressed their concern.

Ex-postman pleads guilty to charges of check theft

Staff Writer
Former Pecos postal carrier Paul A. Sabonya pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to stealing a check from the mail.

Sabonya, 52, admitted taking a check mailed to Vivian L. Hudson, 509 S. Ross Blvd., in 1997. He was also charged with taking two checks mailed to Kendall Osborn. Those charges are to be dismissed at sentencing Feb. 16.

Also pleading guilty before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton was Manuel Garcia-Ramirez,, illegal entry after deportation. He asked for immediate sentencing, and Judge Bunton sentenced him to two months in prison.

Others sentenced Tuesday were Elmer Ray Smith, 18 months in prison and a $1,500 fine for possession with intent to distribute marijuana;

* Luiza Orozco, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, 12 months plus one day;

* Glenda Lazalde-Alarid, 24 months for possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Judge Bunton lowered the sentence because of evidence that Mexican authorities coerced Lazalde to become involved in the offense in order to obtain custody of her daughter.

In two trials concluded Tuesday, one defendant was found guilty, but the jury trying his co-defendant could not reach an unanimous verdict and Judge Bunton declared a mistrial.

Jorge Saldana-Gonzalez, 25, and Jesus Manuel Fabela, 20, both of Mexico, were arrested August 21. They were driving separate pickups with marijuana in the gas tanks.

The same three Border Patrol agents testified in both trials. In the Fabela trial, which concluded at noon Tuesday, jurors found him guilty.

In the second trial, 11 jurors voted to acquit Saldana, but the lone holdout said he would never change his mind.

Saldana testified that he was traveling with Fabela to deliver the pickups to Fort Hancock, but he didn't know that marijuana was in the gas tank of either vehicle.

Judge Bunton released Saldana on bail while prosecutors decide whether to dismiss the charges or re-try the case to another jury.

A third trial began this morning, with assistant U.S. attorney Jeff Parras of Pecos prosecuting his first case, and Rodion Cantacuzene of Midland defending his first case in federal court.

Abel Flores Gonzales, 23, of Presidio, is charged with assault on a federal officer, causing bodily injury. He allegedly pushed U.S. Customs inspector Craig Mecke from behind on Dec. 19, 1996 after refusing to present identification at the Presidio Port of Entry.

John Prewit, a former Pecos Police chief and now an immigration inspector at the POE, testified that Gonzales arrived at his primary inspection booth about 10:45 a.m., after crossing the international bridge from Ojinaga with his mother and sister.

Prewit said he became suspicious when Gonzales, who was seated on the far side of the pickup, leaned back so his face was not visible as he announced his U.S. citizenship. Then he was unable to produce identification with a photograph and birthday, so Prewit referred the vehicle to the secondary inspection area.

There, agent Mecke again sought identification, and took the wallet from Gonzales' hand when he proffered it, then withdrew it, said Parras in his opening statement.

As Mecke turned his back to search the wallet for identification, Gonzales pushed him so hard he fell onto a table, Parras said.

Cantacuzene said that Gonzales was simply trying to get his wallet back after Mecke forcibly took it from him, and he had no intent to assault the officer.

Parras had 13 potential witnesses for the prosecution take the oath. Cantacuzene said that Gonzales may testify, as will his mother and sister.

Changes on board, PHA pact on CCRC's agenda

The Community Council of Reeves County board will introduce a potential new member, discuss an agreement with the Pecos Housing Authority and review a pending lawsuit during their regular monthly meeting, at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pyote Community Center in Pyote.

Under old business the board will discuss the daycare surplus sale outcome, Pecos Housing Authority Agreement and repairs at 1001 E. 10th Street. Council board members will discuss the Moreno versus CCRC lawsuit, Head Start status and the Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center maintenance.

Pecos City Councilman Ricky Herrera will be introduced to the board as a potential new member and the group will consider and act on approving Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez' resignation from the board, due to excessive absences.

They will consider and act on new board member representative from the Reeves County private sector, and consider and act on approving voted member for the Reeves County participant sector. The board will also be informed about letters sent out to organizations

Under new business board members will consider and act on revisions of personnel policies, 1999 holiday schedule, maintenance employee at SMPC and inform about SMPC and GOP, Inc. status.

Board members will also review program reports on CSBG update and the elderly Meals on Wheels program update.

Deadline near to upgrade underground fuel tanks

Staff Writer
Tuesday is the deadline for businesses who have underground petroleum storage tanks to comply with federal regulations and to register and leaks with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission so they can be reimbursed for cleanup of soil or water contamination.

Mike Edmiston, waste program director for the Midland region, said he has no current list of contaminated sites in Pecos. Earlier, TNRCC had reported 12 to 14 sites require cleanup. They were turned back to the owners, who promised to clean them up, he said.

Tanks were removed from two sites in recent weeks - one an abandoned Exxon station on West Third Street, and another at Amigo's Texaco at Interstate 20 on South Cedar Street.

TNRCC will accelerate inspections of underground storage tanks in January, Edmiston said, targeting tank owners and operators who have not documented compliance with tank upgrades and other requirements that were due on or before Dec. 22.

Money is still available in the cleanup fund.

"Owners and operators who have leaking systems have to document that before Dec. 22 if they want to get reimbursement from the state fund to help with cleanups," said Tom Kelly, media relations officer for TNRCC.

"After that date, they are not going to be eligible anymore. That's quite an incentive to get the contractor to assess the area of damage and let us know so we can get it on record," he said.

The UST inspections are designed to find out how many businesses and other facilities met the deadline for compliance with requirements that are designed to safeguard against soil and groundwater contamination.

In addition, many wholesale suppliers have indicated that they will no longer deliver fuel after that date unless owners and operators of USTs can certify that their tanks comply with these requirements.

UST owners were given up to 10 years to comply with these rules, which relate to monthly release detection, corrosion protection, spill and overfill prevention, financial assurance, vapor recovery (in specific areas only), secondary containment (for tanks with hazardous substances), corrective action plans, and other requirements.

There will be no extension of the deadline, Kelly said. Therefore, the TNRCC still urges owners to take the necessary steps to avoid possible fines, closures, or other potential penalties.

Owners with previously reported tank releases must achieve corrective action goals by Tuesday to avoid increased deductibles when seeking reimbursement.

For more information about UST upgrading requirements, immediately contact TNRCC's Technical Services Section at 512/239-2182. For information on release reporting and corrective action requirements, contact TNRCC's Responsible Party Remediation Section at 512/239-2200.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

Victor Jaramillo, 45, was arrested at 11 a.m. on December 9, at Pecos Municipal Court, on a Capias Pro Fine warrant. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Albino Gomez was arrested at 11:49 a.m. on December 9, at Pecos Municipal Court, on a Capias Pro Fine warrant. He paid the fines and was released.


Ruben Martinez, 19, was arrested at 1:50 a.m. on December 10, in the 400 block of Mulberry Street, for evading arrest or detention. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Jason Sappington, 19, and Randal Moore, 24, were arrested at 10:11 p.m. on December 10, in the 600 block of North Cedar Street. Sappington was arrested for assault under the Family Violence Act and Moore for interfering. They were transported to Reeves County Jail.


Gonzalo Armendariz, 18, was arrested at 1:10 a.m. on December 11, in the 200 block of Locust Street, for public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Rosa Miranda, 37, was arrested at 1:30 a.m., on December 11, at the Offecina Club, for public intoxication/DPS warrants. She was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Annette Ybarra was arrested at 11 a.m., on December 11, at Pecos Municipal Court, on a Capias Pro Fine warrant. She paid the fines and was released.


Thomas H. Marquez, 31, was arrested at 1:14 a.m., on December 12, at the Offecina Club on East Second Street, for public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Haskell S. Holmes, 52, was arrested at 11:52 p.m., on December 12, at the corner of Fifth and Ross streets, on a DWI refusal. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Francisco Fierro Jr., 50, was arrested at 2:07 a.m., on December 13, in the 600 block of South Eddy Street, for public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Ariel Lopez Guerrero, 20, was arrested at 1:39 a.m., on December 14, in the 1200 block of South Elm Street, as a minor in possession. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.


Edmundo Saenz, 54, was arrested at 3:46 p.m., on December 15, at Pecos Municipal Court, on a Capias Pro Fine warrant for no driver's license. He paid the fines and was released.


Hal Sheldon Pratt, 57, was arrested at 3:58 p.m., on December 15 , in the 400 block of Cherry Street, for public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 in reward for information leading to the arrest and Grand Jury Indictment of person(s) responsible for the incident described below.

On October 26, the Reeves County Sheriff's Department was contacted by Catalina Garcia in reference to the disappearance of her 39-year-old son Ruben Garcia Tercero. Mrs. Garcia stated that her son Ruben was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans. Ruben is described as being 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Ruben will be featured in the next addition of Texas Department of Public Safety Missing Person Clearinghouse Bulletin and he is entered in the National Crime Information Center.

Family and friends are very concerned about Ruben's welfare and they are asking that anyone with information on his whereabouts to please contact the local officials.

Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime including narcotics call Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 and you will remain anonymous.


Epifinia Morales

Epifinia Morales, 82, died Sunday, Dec. 13, 1998 at Reeves County Hospital.

Mass was scheduled for 2 p.m., today at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Ben Flores officiating. Burial was in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.

Morales was born Feb. 6, 1916, in Presidio County. She was a lifelong Pecos resident who had retired and was a Catholic.

Survivors include one son, Ruben Morales of Pecos; one daughter, Maria Saldana of Pecos; two brothers, Gabriel Orona of California, Paz Orona of Alamagordo, N.M. and five grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


High Tuesday 60, low last night 30. Patches of snow remaining in shady areas. Tonight, fair. Low around 30. Light wind. Thursday, mostly sunny. High in the lower 60s. Light wind early becoming southwest 10-15 mph in the afternoon.

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Pecos Enterprise
Ned Cantwell, 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