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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Tuesday, June 22, 1999

County, Cassell agree to golf course deal

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 22, 1999--Another chapter in the saga of the Reeves County Golf Course was written yesterday at a special meeting of the Reeves County Commissioner's Court.

Among the 10 items on the agenda were three that dealt with the golf course bid specifications for the golf pro shop operator, the golf course managing plan, and a possible golf cart rental contract.

When the smoke cleared provisional plans were under way to hire a greenskeeper, hire someone to run the pro shop, and rent golf carts for the near future.

More than 30 area residents showed up for the meeting many voicing their discontent with the way commissioners handled the contract renewal for the former pro shop operator Royce Cassell.

The contract for Cassell, who also served as the greenskeeper at the course, expired at the end of 1998.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo said that the contract for the pro shop was not renewed sooner because of other pressing matters.

"I've been working on closing a $40 million loan for the expansion of the prison. I've been focused on that. In light of Pecos' economic situation, jobs are of great importance and the expansion promises 180 new jobs for Pecos," he said.

The matter came to a head last week when the county published the bid specifications for the pro shop contract with two changes involving trail fees and the electricity bill, Jo Cooksey said. Cooksey is a member of the Golf Advisory Committee and represents the Women's Golf Association.

After reading the specs, Cassell resigned for the second, and apparently final time as the head greenskeeper, effective last Friday. He said that he would vacate the pro shop by this coming Friday, she said.

According to Ken Winkles, who also serves on the Golf Advisory Committee, the proposed contract submitted by the committee to the court made provisions for the use of personal golf carts, with a yearly registration fee of $125. Along with the fee, a $4 trail fee would also be charged for each round of golf.

Reeves County was to get the $125 and the pro shop operator was to receive the trail fee.

Also, the proposed contract required the county to pay the electric bill for the pro shop, as had always been done in the past, Winkles said.

When the bid specifications were published the specs called for the trail fee to be paid to the county and for the pro shop proprietor to pay the electric bill, Winkles said.

Galindo said that a simple miscommunication was at the root of the controversy.

"It is regrettable that this occurred. Nobody wanted this to happen," he said, referring to Cassell's resignation and decision to vacate the pro shop as well.

Galindo said that several weeks before, the court had created the Golf Advisory Committee and appointed members from the golfing community and Cassell.

"The court asked the committee to submit a proposed contract for the pro shop," he said.

He added that the committee worked with Cassell and the commissioner's court and came up with a workable contract which was submitted to his office.

Galindo then asked County Auditor Lynn Owens, to draw up bid specifications for the position so that it could be advertised as required by law.

But no one told Owens to use the exact wording of the proposed contract to write the bid specifications from, Galindo said.

"This is where the miscommunication took place," Galindo said.

"We (the Golf Advisory Committee) were under the impression that the proposed contract would be the basis for the bid specs," Jo Cooksey said.

Galindo said that several months before, he had discussed the electricity issue with Owens.

"We didn't make a decision but we are always looking for ways to save the county money," he said.

Owens said that he then wrote bid specifications in light of what he knew and in terms of what was best for the county.

The bid specifications were then read by commissioner David Castillo at last week's commissioner's meeting.

"We read the specs out loud. I thought if there were something out of order, someone would say so," Castillo said.

"They did read the specs in court. I remember that," Cooksey said. "But it was two or three pages of legalease. I guess you get kind of glassy eyed after a while. But the provisions about the electricity and the trail fees just went right past me and the other members of the advisory committee," she said.

Of primary concern among golfers at the meeting was the continued maintenance of the golf course.

Before resigning, Cassell had been receiving a salary of $18,000 to act as greenskeeper.

"This is about half of what a greens keeper makes in this region," Ken Winkles said.

The court passed a motion to offer the position of greens keeper to Cassell at the salary of $38,500 per year.

The motion drew applause from those in attendance.

Commissioner Herman Tarin went directly from the meeting to offer the position.

"I hope he accepts the position," Tarin said. "Royce is a good man and I wish this had never happened. If he takes the job it will be good for the county, the golf course and hopefully, himself."

Cooksey later confirmed that Cassell had accepted the position.

The court also passed a motion to lease 25 golf carts for one month.

"This will make sure that there are golf carts available on Saturday," Galindo said, "and will buy us some breathing room to work with the advisory committee and determine what our next move should be."

Cassell's last day at the pro shop will be this Friday.

Galindo reported to the court that the carts will cost about $70 per month in rental fees, and there would also be a shipping charge for transporting the carts to Pecos.

The court also passed a motion to empower Galindo to approach Cassell's two current assistants, Robin Land and James "Ham" Hamilton, about running the pro shop until a bid is accepted for the contract.

"With any luck at all, the golf course will be open Saturday, it will be in good shape under Royce's care, there will be carts available, and there will be someone at the pro shop to collect fees and rent the carts," Galindo said.

Border Patrol joins hunt for alleged serial killer

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, June 22, 1999--Freight train hitchhikers are being watched closely along the Texas border since a string of killings, rapes and burglary have been linked to a suspect known to ride the rails.

Border Patrol agents for the Marfa Sector have seen an increase in reports of aliens riding trains, said Chief Patrol Agent Simon Garcia Jr.

Some of the reports have resulted in apprehensions, and agents are looking closely at everyone taken into custody on the chance that one of them may be Rafael Resendez-Ramirez.

Resendez-Ramirez is wanted by the FBI as a suspect in numerous crimes occurring close to railroad tracks in Texas and two Midwestern states. He is a Mexican national, 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and a tattoo of a snake on his left forearm.

A car, stolen from the suspect's latest victim in Texas was found abandoned in Del Rio, leading authorities to suspect that Resendez-Ramirez may have fled into Mexico.

Meanwhile, in Gorham, Ill, anguish and relief have taken hold where Resendez-Ramirez is charged with killing a man and his daughter.

"There's a lot of people scared around here," said Ray Miller, a friend of one of the victims. "I suppose if he was going to choose another person, though, he would have moved on."

Authorities think Resendez-Ramirez may have done just that: Hours after he was charged Monday in the Gorham killings, the FBI said it was investigating whether he was involved in two killings 335 miles away in northern Illinois.

Resendez-Ramirez, put on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list Monday, is wanted for questioning in five killings in Texas and one in Kentucky since August 1997. Authorities suspect he has been hitching rides on trains, finding his victims on or near the rails.

Federal agents in Texas say they are getting calls about Resendez-Ramirez from all over the country. The FBI in Wisconsin warned law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.

Resendez-Ramirez was charged in the June 15 deaths of George Morber Sr. and his daughter, Carolyn Frederick, Jackson County State's Attorney Mike Wepseic said.

Morber, 80, was shot in the head with a shotgun in his mobile home yards from a Union Pacific rail line. Investigators say they believe Resendez-Ramirez used the gun to fatally beat Frederick, 52, in the head.

Morber's truck was found Wednesday in a school parking lot in Cairo, about 60 miles south of Gorham. State's Attorney Mike Wepseic said fingerprints connect Resendez-Ramirez to the two southern Illinois slayings.

The killings have resulted in unusual measures for this sleepy farm community of some 400 people about 110 miles southeast of St. Louis, where the tiny downtown and many homes face railroad tracks across two lanes of blacktop. Residents said they are locking their doors and being more cautious for the first time.

"Our community has just been stunned by this senseless act," said Morber's son, Bill Morber. "Everyone is scared, they're on edge, and I think they will be until this Ramirez is caught."

Linda Meade, who said she grew up with Frederick, said residents of the close-knit community of farmers and prison workers were particularly angry that the killings robbed Frederick's three grown children of their mother and Morber's ailing wife of her primary caretakers.

"She was a good mother. He was a good man," she said. "Ramirez, he deserves to be blown away."

FBI officials said the agency was assisting authorities in northwest Jo Daviess County to determine whether two deaths in Apple River and one more in Pontiac could be linked to Resendez-Ramirez.

The bodies of Darin J. Oellerich, 23, and Rhonda Sue Wurm, 25, were discovered Sunday in their rented farmhouse near a railroad line, the Jo Daviess County sheriff's office said.

In Pontiac, about 80 miles southwest of Chicago, the body of 40-year-old Juanita Sapp was discovered Wednesday in the bushes outside her apartment complex across the street from railroad tracks.

Details of those three killings have not been released. In killings in which Resendez-Ramirez is suspected, most of the victims were beaten.

"He's demonstrated he can use almost any kind of object to take a human life in a very violent manner, and we've got to try and catch him," said Don K. Clark, the special agent in charge of FBI's Houston office and leader of a nationwide task force searching for the suspect. The task force has more than 200 investigators working the case.

As for a motive, Clark said: "I wish I could tell you."

The task force, assembled earlier this month after authorities allegedly connected the killings, has stopped and searched freight trains as part of its manhunt, and freight railroads have stepped up security, watching for drifters hopping trains.

Authorities said Resendez-Ramirez, a 38-year-old native of Puebla, Mexico, has used numerous aliases and changes his appearance by altering his hair style and wearing glasses. He has scars on his right ring finger, left wrist and forehead, a snake tattoo on his left arm and may have a flower tattoo on his left wrist.

The ex-convict has a criminal record in California, Florida and New Mexico on weapons and burglary charges.

Rains fall overnight across area

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 22, 1999--Fierce lightning and thunder woke up area residents Monday night and early this morning, then soothed their frazzled nerves by dropping good rains across a wide section of West Texas and southern New Mexico.

Flash flooding occurred in northern Reeves, Culberson and Loving counties overnight, and warnings continued today.

Two inches of rain fell on the Loving County ranch in northeast Loving County, and .60 fell at the Lindley ranch closer to Mentone, said Susan Gahr, Orla postmaster.

"Red Bluff got quite a bit of rain, and water is running in Four-Mile Draw," Gahr said.

Jody McElroy reported 1.50 inches on the McElroy ranch west of Balmorhea. She said that seven inches has fallen in that area over the past week or two, and the countryside is greening up.

Pecos' rains began about 2 a.m. and the city received .67 inch, bringing the June total to .97 inch and the year-to-date total to 1.21 inches.

Fort Stockton and Balmorhea received about .10 inch overnight, while .22 was measured at Kent, the National Weather Service reported.

Slow-moving thunderstorms from a tropical air mass were keeping a rainy week on the agenda for much of Texas, according to the Associated Press.

A flash flood watch is posted today for South Central and far West Texas and the Hill Country as well as the South Plains and southern Panhandle, with scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms expected through Thursday. Locally heavy rainfall was possible.

Early-morning temperatures ranged from the 60s to 80s. It was 71 degrees at Junction and Burnet and 81 at Rockport.

Along with heavy rain, temperatures in Central Texas have been unseasonably cool. San Antonio's high temperature overnight on Monday reached only 78 degrees, breaking the old record of 80 set in 1997.

Record rain amounts fell in Del Rio. The airport in the border city received 0.76 inches of rain Monday, topping the previous mark of 0.54 inches set in 1921.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms prevailed overnight over all but the lower Rio Grande Valley, which had fair skies.

Winds were generally southeast at 5 to 15 mph.

Airport work, sewer rates on agenda

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 22, 1999--Improvements to the Pecos Municipal Airport and final approval of a sewer rate increase are among topics for discussion at the Pecos City Council meeting Thursday.

Rehabilitation and repair of the airport are estimated at $1.7 million, to be funded 90 percent by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The city will be responsible for 10 percent of the total project cost.

Sewer rates approved in the last meeting will be effective immediately after adoption on second reading Thursday.

They include:

* Water taps at $225, $300 and $700 (or actual cost), a one-time charge.

* Sewer tap of $150, one-time charge.

* Minimum sewer charge of $6.50 per month plus 30 cents per 1,000 average gallons of water used in November, December and January.

Another water issue is payment of $14,120 to the Texas Water Development Board Region F Water Planning Group for administrative expense.

Region F is one of 16 planning regions designated by the TWDB to develop a state water plan covering the next 50 years.

The regional group began meeting in March of 1998. Administrative costs to be borne by member counties is $160,000.

Based on population and water usage, Reeves County would pay two installments of $7,060 each. The first payment was due Feb. 1, 1999, and the second will be due Feb. 1, 2000.

Large water users in Reeves County are identified as the city of Balmorhea, Madera Valley Water Supply Corp., city of Pecos, Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., city of Toyah, El Paso Field Services Inc., Greasewood Plant; Anchor West, Inc., Capitol Aggregates, ILTD., Hoban Plant; and Pan Energy Field Services, Waha Plant.

Other agenda items for the 7:30 a.m. meeting include the East Side Civic Center, update on Odessa College, street light in 1900 block of Missouri St., tri-agency agreement to rehab Pecos High School athletic track; Charter Waste Management, placement and removal of rodeo flags, and employee review for city manager and city secretary.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the council chamber at City Hall.

Local entries still being sought

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 22, 1999--The Second Annual West of the Pecos Team Roping Classic will take place on Saturday, July 3, at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

The roping is seperate from the PRCA's competition at the West of the Pecos Rodeo and will be paid on a four steer average Saturday morning. The top 12 teams from Saturday morning's roping, will come back and rope one steer in the Saturday night performance.

"This will be a number nine team roping, four steers for $150 per team, progressive after one steer, enter three times," said rodeo committee member Sharlene Martinez.

The team with the fastest time in Saturday night's performance will win $500 gift buckles.

Entries are still being accepted, but must be postmarked by this Friday, June 25.

For more information and entry blanks call 915-445-4155.

Entries are open for the wild cow milking and wild horse race, with Saturday, June 26 the last day to register. Sign-up entry fee is $50 per team in this event.

Tickets for the rodeo performances are being sold at Airlawn Furniture, 1310 S. Eddy, or by calling 1-800-588-2855 or call 447-9035. Reserved tickets are $8 and $10 and general admission will be $5. Each performance will begin at 8:30 p.m.

`Upward Bound' program given grant

PECOS, June 22, 1999--Sul Ross State University has been awarded a $200,000 grant for its TRIO Upward Bound Program, said U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-San Antonio).

The SRSU Upward Bound Program targets low-income, potential first-generation college students to help them develop the skills they need to complete secondary education and succeed at the post-secondary educational institution of their choice.

Bonilla's District 23 includes both Sul Ross State University in Alpine, along with Pecos and Reeves County.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 9-11-14-24-34. Number matching five of five: 3. Prize per winner: $27,328.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-4-2 (zero, four, two)


Charlie Millan II

Charlie Garcia Millan II, 57, died Saturday, June 19, 1999 at Odessa Medical Center.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m. today at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, June 23, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Sept. 30, 1941, in Balmorhea, was a retired water well technician, a lifelong Pecos resident and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by his father Carlos "Charlie" Millan and sister Adela Guebara.

Survivors include his wife, Debbie Millan of Pecos; five sons, Charlie Millan III of Odessa, Jerry and Matthew Millan of Pecos, David Millan of Midland and Dwayne Millan of Lubbock; four daughters, Corina Millan of Grandfalls, Sandra and Valerie Millan of Pecos and Deanna Tarver of St. Francisville, La.; his mother, Lorenza Millan of Pecos; four brothers, Mike Millan of Barstow, Henry and Tommy Millan of Andrews and Julian Millan Sr. of Pecos; four sisters, Mary Millan, Sally Gomez and Cinderella Pallanes of Pecos, Eloisa Contreras of Odessa and 11 grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

High Monday 92; low last night 68. Rainfall .67 inch. June rainfall .97 inch. Year-to-date 2.21 inches. Last year, 109-71. Record high for this date, 114 in 1960; record low 52 in 1982. Precipitation 1.50 in 1958. Average precipitation for June 1.09 inch. High 3.31 inches, 1980. Flash flood watch in effect today. Tonight, mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 60s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the upper 80s. South wind 10-20 mph.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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