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Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Chamber shifts parade, sets Fall Fair plans

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- The Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce will be having a busy schedule over the next six weeks, with several activities planned by the organization, division officials said during the monthly Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held at noon Tuesday at the Pecos Senior Center.

A Fireman's Appreciation Dinner will be held on Oct. 7, at the West of the Pecos Museum, to show support to the local volunteer firemen.

Plans for the annual Mother Goose Parade, which has been renamed the Halloween Parade, are already underway. The annual event was held in conjunction with the Reeves County Fall Fair in the past, but will now be held later in October.

The Halloween Parade will be held Thursday, Oct. 21 and the parade route has also changed slightly. The parade will now commence at the West of the Pecos Museum and end at the State Theater, where a Haunted House will be set up for the youngsters.

Richard Creasy, owner of the State Theater, told chamber members that the group is trying to get everything ready for the Haunted House, which will also be open Oct. 22 and 23, following the parade. "We hope to have it open the following weekend also and probably do one on Halloween night as well," said Creasy.

"If there's anybody out there that would like to volunteer to help us, we need all he help we can get," he added.

Chamber members also were updated on next month's 55th Annual Reeves County Fall Fair. Pete Astudillo, a former band member and singer with the late Selena and her group, will be the headliner at this year's Fall Fair Concert. Other bands to be performing on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena include, Los Jinetes Del Bravo, Alianza Nortena, Expresiones, and La Distancia.

The gates will open at 6 p.m. with the concert kicking off at 7 p.m. and run until 1 a.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce office, Dan's Music and Video and Desert Rental and Sales.

In conjunction, the chamber will be hosting the 27th Annual World Championship Barbecue Cook-Off at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Arena on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2. Entries are $75 per team, with a capacity limit of 85 teams.

Divisions are open to Pro, Amateur and Club groups. Grand prize is $300 and a silver plate; first prize in each division is $200 and a trophy and second prize in each division is $100 and a trophy. Awards will also be presented for Worst Barbecue and Best Camp.

"We only have 10 entries right now, which isn't good, but a lot of people wait until the last minute to sign up," said chamber of commerce director Tom Rivera. "We're hoping for 40 entries."

The Fall Fair's Livestock Show is also scheduled for that weekend in the Reeves County Civic Center. This year's over all theme is "Fall." There will be culinary and art contests, crafts and novelty booths, a pet show, school exhibits and one of the finest carnivals in Texas.

Bob Curry, with BCTI, gave board members an update on the company, which has been recycling batteries in Pecos since 1990.

"It was R&R in 1991 and the name was changed to BCTI in 1996," said Curry. "And then in May of last year it was bought out by a Canadian group, which was very active in the community where they come from."

Curry told chamber members that this group plans to be active in this community as well. "Once they get the new equipment in here and finish the acquisition, they want to stay active here also," he said.

New computers and outside monitoring are part of the equipment that will be installed at the facility, according to Curry. They are currently behind schedule by about 60 days, but hope to complete bringing in the new equipment by November.

The group is expected to spend about $1.3 million and about $3 million in the community, Curry added.

Contrary to rumors, Curry said, BCTI has never been closed. "There hasn't been a lot of activity, but we've never closed," he said. "It was never moved either, they could have moved it, but they didn't," he said.

Curry noted that one of the problems for the company is lack of services that they need to keep operations running smoothly. "We want to buy locally as much as possible."

The Texas Natural Recourse Conservation Commission will also have access to BCTI via computers. "We're moving along slowly, but we'll get there," said Curry.

He said that working with the local economic development committee, he knew that there were some things out there that the company could utilize.

"We wanted to make sure we were in the Enterprise Zone and we also submitted a sales tax application and have received verbal approval on it," said Curry. He told the chamber board this would mean that with the approved application the company would get a percentage of sales tax back.

"This would be about 80 percent of the $1.3 million that we would get back from the state," said Curry. "This also opens up doors for grants and other things we might be eligible for."

"There's a lot of possibilities out there that we don't know about and need to look into," he said.

Curry said that with the help of former city councilman Randy Graham and Pecos Economic Development Corporation Director Gari Ward's help, they have connected with Smart Job, which will enable the company to hire 19 additional employees.

"This project application is the first ever done in Pecos, so it won't be hard for others to follow suit," said Curry. "We're just waiting for final approval," he said.

Jesse Stephens told chamber members that a meeting had been held and was attended by several concerned community citizens regarding housing in the area. "A member of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and HUD representative were on hand to give us some information," said Stephens.

"I think it's something we should work at, there's a lot of possibilities," he said.

Stephens said a public meeting would be held soon to give the public a chance to attend and give their input.

"We'll publicize it and let everyone know when and where, so that they can attend," he said.

Lindsay water woes improved after repairs to line

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- A leaking four-inch water line was one cause of low pressure at the Lindsay Addition this summer, the staff of Madera Valley Water Supply Corp. found recently.

Manager Peggy Cox located the leaking line that piped water to one of two overhead tanks serving the Lindsay Addition.

"It wasn't keeping the tank full," she said today. "We sure hope that solved the problem. I haven't had any more complaints."

Board President Herman Tarin said that about 120 feet of pipe was replaced, and "It is working for now. If it stays cool, we will be O.K. If there is more demand, it could run a little low."

Tarin said the board is still working on a project to lay a larger line from the Hoban plant to Alamo.

"We will run a new line from the Hoban Water Station on Hwy. 17 to Alamo and then once we put that water into Alamo lines, we will come back to Lindsay and loop every line with the four-inch line, and that will give them plenty of pressure," he said.

"It is just a matter of advertising for bids," he said. "There's been a lot more customers asking for service, and we have been putting them on hold until we can get those lines installed."

Slim Heath, one of the Lindsay Addition residents who complained about low _ and no _ water pressure this summer, said Sunday that he has plenty of water now.

Fed court begins series of jury trials

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- Robert Edward Beaton had the distinction of being the first of nine defendants for whom juries were chosen in federal court this week to go on trial in Pecos.

The 39-year-old New York resident is charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking transaction, and with illegal entry after deportation.

Beaton and Alfred Antony Reed, 34, of Decatur, Ga., were arrested Oct. 20, 1998 at the Desert Haven Border Patrol Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 62/180 just east of El Paso.

Border Patrol agent Glenn Silverio Escontrias of Ysleta said he conducted an immigration inspection of the two occupants in a 1989 Dodge van with Georgia plates. Reed, the driver and owner of the van, said he was a U.S. citizen. Beaton said he was a U.S. citizen born in the Virgin Islands.

Escontrias noticed a heavy accent in Beaton's voice and noticed that he was uneasy and fidgety, which elevated during questioning. A subsequent check showed he was not a U.S. citizen and had previously been deported.

While searching the vehicle, agents noticed the van floor was covered with 3/8 inch plywood covered with unfastened blue carpet. They discovered several hidden compartments throughout the vehicle, containing 114 bundles of marijuana weighing 330.3 pounds and valued at $250,000.

A loaded model 17 Glock 9mm handgun was discovered in the left rear door.

Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Miller said in closing argument this morning that Beaton's story that he was a professional cyclist who went to El Paso to enter a bicycle race and attended a wedding while there did not match the evidence found in the van.

A bag containing a bicycle suit that had been worn and one helmet did not contain cycling shoes, he said. But the bag did contain enough clothing for three days, the amount of time it would have taken to construct all the compartments in the van and hide the marijuana.

Paul Higdon represents Beaton. He said the government's evidence fails to prove that Beaton knew the marijuana and handgun were in the van. They also were unable to produce an order of deportation, although they did have a form showing Beaton was ordered deported.

Higdon said that Beaton met Reed at a wedding and decided to ride with him when he learned he was headed for the east coast. He was nervous at the checkpoint because of his immigration problems, Higdon said.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson presided for the trial and set another for today. George Guzman is defendant in that trial, represented by Anthony Foster of Alpine.

Mike Barclay of Alpine has trials Thursday and Friday, with defendants Jesus Sotomayor-Garcia and Charles E. Kesse.

A third defendant, Hernando Felix-Yague (pronounced yoggy) failed to appear for docket call Monday. Barclay used his poetic license to explain Yague's absence:

Hernando Felix Yague
Has a mind that's now become foggy.
On a search for his person
Pre-trial is still cursin'.
But I learned just this day
He's down Mexico way.

Judge Furgeson issued a warrant for Felix-Yague and for Angela Marquez of Kansas, who also failed to appear for trial.

Four additional juries were chosen Monday and told to report back for trials in October.

Sentenced Monday were Scott Alan Vigen, 84 months in prison, with credit for minor role, minimum role and acceptance of responsibility, with two points added for obstruction of justice; Aracely Ortega-Ortega and Abel Dominguez-Armendariz, time served.

Sentenced Tuesday were Rachel Ann Gonzalez, 22, of Odessa, 41 months for possession with intent to distribute marijuana; Odell Dozier Locklair, 46, of Aiken, S.C., five years probation for marijuana possession; Mario Barrientes-Gonzales, 12 months+1 day; Jose Augustin Garcia-Paulino, 14 months; Juan Lopez-Sanabria, 43, time served for illegal entry after deportation; and Jessica Franco Jaquez, 19, of Presidio, four months for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

School board sets tax rate $15 million budget

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members without comment approved both the budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year on Tuesday, along with setting a property tax rate 6.3 cents below last year's figure.

The $15 million budget was approved as presented. The tax rate was set at $1.4371 per $100 valuation.. That's below the $1.50 rate of a year ago because debt obligations by the district were paid off during the past year.

An ordinance was also implemented in regards to the tax rate. Superintendent Don Love explained it was part of changes made by the Texas Legislature earlier this year in the process in which Texas school districts adopt budgets and tax rates.

These revisions are contained in House Bill 2075 and Senate Bill 4. House Bill 2075 became effective on Aug. 30 and Senate Bill 4 became effective Sept. 1, which involve adopting rates and taxpayer challenges to the rates.

To adopt a tax rate after Sept. 1, the new law requires the following: on or after Sept. 1, and at least 10 but no more than 30 days before the meeting: the board should post the "Notice of Public Meeting to Discuss Budget and Proposed Tax Rate" in accordance with HB 2075. All districts must post this Notice regardless of whether the tax levy is increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same, and even though the budget has already been adopted.

The P-B-T ISD board opted to adopt the tax rate after Sept. 1 and held both meetings Tuesday evening in the boardroom.

Tuesday's meeting didn't attract as many community members as last week's regular meeting did. Individuals were on hand last Thursday to protest the district's decision not to include prayer before each football game of the season.

The decision by the board was the result of a federal law made by the U.S. Circuit Fifth Court of Appeals in February. Most other West Texas school districts also have opted against challenging the ruling, which would leave schools liable to potential lawsuits.

Salt cedar spraying underway

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- The assault on the salt cedar trees along the Pecos River began this morning at dawn when Bob Ewing dropped his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter down to tree top level near the Red Bluff dam and hit the trigger.

That first spray of herbicide marks the culmination of a lot of work and cooperation for the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District, the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Red Bluff Water Power Control District.

American Cyanamid, local farmers and ranchers, the Texas A&M Extension Service and about a dozen other agencies and water districts also are involved in the project, which hopes to return the Pecos River to its salt cedar-free condition of a century ago.

"It's good to finally see this underway," Barney Lee said. Lee is the district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and has been assisting the Conservation District in the project.

Ewing and his company, North Star Helicopters, Inc., were selected by the conservation district board as the right men for the job.

"The helicopter application is more expensive per acre, but because the helicopter is more precise we can spray more miles of river for the same amount of money," chairman of the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation board Larry Fernandes explained.

Helicopter aerial spraying is a different breed of animal from fixed-wing crop dusting, the 48-year-old Ewing explained.

"We've got three-quarters of a million dollars in equipment out here with the two trucks and helicopter," he said. "It is more expensive but often the precision of the helicopter application is more cost effective than a fixed wing aircraft."

Helicopter spraying is a team effort said Ewing, whose company is based in Jasper.

"The team we have out here is pretty typical for our operation," he said.

Ewing said that the team included the helicopter and pilot, two specially built trucks with driver/technicians, and a forester.

He uses the trucks to refuel the helicopter, refill the herbicide tank and as a landing pad.

"We land right on the pad on the truck," Ewing said. "That way we always have a good place to land, and by being on top of the truck it simplifies refilling with the herbicide and fuel."

Ewing said that two trucks are used so that one can leap-frog ahead of the other.

"Time is critical in this business. You only have a certain window on a given day when conditions are right to spray and we try to take advantage of every minute of that time," Ewing said.

"Wind and low humidity are the factors that affect us the most," explained Sherrod King, who is a forester with North Star and has worked with Ewing for the last five years. He is also the operations manager for the company.

Sherrod said that as humidity drops evaporation will deplete the mixture before it hits the target.

"We've set 15 percent humidity as the cut off point," he said. "Wind is the other factor we have to keep a close eye on. Too much wind and we aren't as effective."

The forester is the man that coordinates the actual operation.

"The forester is very important to the success of the operation. He coordinates the operation, staying in touch with the pilot and the trucks, keeps track of where we've sprayed and how much, and keeps things running smooth. We have some of the best foresters in the business," Ewing said.

On hand this morning along with King was Buddy Stalnaker who is a forester and also marketing director for North Star. Both Stalnaker and King are experienced foresters with about 40 years in the business between them.

"This is a team effort. To be successful you have to have good people and we have some of the best. They are why we are successful," Ewing said.

Running the two trucks this morning were Gary Hyfield and Bobby Stanley.

Along with good people the operation requires some sophisticated equipment.

"The helicopters are fitted with Global Positioning Systems as are the trucks," King said. "When we're done, we'll have a complete map of the area where we applied the chemical."

Sherrod said that for this particular operation, the company built a special spray boom for the helicopter as well.

"This boom breaks down in to sections so that we can choose to spray a 45, 28 or 14 foot swath."

Sherrod said that because of the twisting course of the Pecos River and the variable width of the tree line, the special boom was necessary to cover spraying.

"This is the first crack anybody has really taken at the salt cedar and we want to make sure we do the job right," Ewing said.

Ewing said that he expects the project to take four or five days, depending on weather conditions.

Winners named from Saturday's fiesta parade

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- The 1999 September 16th Parade Winners in the float division were Reinita Andrielle Martinez, sponsored by the Santa Rosa Catholic Group, the Guadalupana's; second place went to the American Queen, (Jennifer Contreras) and the third place winner was Austin Elementary (Mary Tarango's second grade class).

In the car/truck division, Gabriel Dominguez placed first; Rene Guerra took second place and Hector Hinojos won third place.

Trophies were handed out during the 16th of September Fiestas held this past weekend at the Santa Rosa Church grounds.

Pecos man enters plea deal in handgun threat

Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 15, 1999 -- Hector Briceno, 50, pleaded guilty this morning in 143rd District Court to endangering a child and was placed on two years deferred-adjudication probation.

Jurors who reported for service in a companion aggravated assault case were excused when that charge was dismissed in the plea bargain between Briceno's attorney, Scott Johnson, and District Attorney Randy Reynolds.

Briceno had been indicted for assaulting his wife, Linda Briceno, on May 25, by threatening her with a handgun. The child endangerment indictment stemmed from the same offense, Reynolds said.

Today's action closed out jury docket week for District Judge Bob Parks. He presided Monday for a jury trial in a civil case involving an insurance matter.


Pecos River Compact Commissioner J.W. Thrasher's last name was misspelled in a story in Tuesday's Enterprise. We regret the error.


In Monday's story on the Pecos-Alpine football game, it was reported Alex Garcia threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Esparza. Richard Rodriguez was actually the quarterback who threw the touchdown pass.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 13-28-30-36-37. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $79,031. Winning ticket sold in: Port Lavaca. Matching four of five: 221. Prize: $536.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-7-0 (nine, seven, zero)


High Tuesday 93; low last night 63. Today, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the lower 80s. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. chance of rain 20 percent. Tonight, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower 60s. Chance of rain 20 percent. Thursday, partly cloudy. High in the lower 80s. Extended forecast, Thursday night, partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower 60s.

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