The felony human trafficking charges filed against a West Texas man in late November were dismissed “without prejudice” last week in Hobbs Magistrate Court.
Lubbock resident Anthony Edric Thomas, 47, was arrested Dec. 12 by the Lea County Sheriff’s Department on a warrant for two counts of human trafficking, a third-degree felony. The Hobbs Police Department filed the criminal complaint on Nov. 30, which alleged Thomas brought a Texas woman to Hobbs for prostitution at a hotel.
Suspect could serve full suspended sentence
Hobbs resident David Coelho is back in jail on an alleged probation violation less than a week after being sentenced to supervised probation in the June 2015 homicide of Julio Gonzalez.
Coelho, 34, was arrested on a warrant Monday by Hobbs police and charged with probation violation, a fourth-degree felony. He is detained at the Lea County Detention Center, as of Tuesday.
New KaleidoScoops open for business
Curtis C. Wynne
KaleidoScoops is back in Hobbs.
Under new management and in a new location, at 3420 N. Grimes St. Suite 300, the popular ice cream vendor opened to the public on Tuesday.
After 17 years, the previous Kaleidoscoops location on Turner Street closed at the end of June to the dismay of many Hobbs area residents. Clancy Dean said he and his wife Sabrina purchased the franchise from the previous owners, Jay and Susan Patton.
“We have ice cream, sandwiches, shakes, soup, nachos,” Clancy said. “We have basically anything to do with ice cream, including shakes, cones, dips and chocolate. We’ve got Italian sodas.”
Sabrina added, “Cakes are coming soon.”
Unlike the previous location in Hobbs, this Kaleidoscoops lacks a drive-through for now. The ice cream shop is situated between two other businesses that share parking spaces at the Bloom Shopping Mall across Grimes Street from Undergrounds Coffee and across West Spears Drive from Permian Toyota.
Clancy said, “Maybe someday in the future at another location, but for now, no drive through.”
Encouraging the ice cream loving public to come on in, he said the hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Asked about employees, Sabrina said, “We have a full staff and two students.”
Clancy credited his wife and store manager Harlee Lester with performing most of the work preparing the store for opening as he has another job working for Concho Resources Inc.
According to the Kaleido-Scoops website, “At Kaleido-Scoops, we are proud to serve premium, hand dipped ice cream. Our ice creams use unique recipes especially for KaleidoScoops. Over 75 flavors of creamy, delicious ice cream, yogurt, sherbet and sorbet are the building blocks of an endless variety of frozen treats. Our waffle cones are made fresh daily to ensure top quality taste.”
The website goes on to point out that not all flavors are avail able at all stores, but customers are encouraged to recommend any changes they wish.
Curtis Wynne may be contacted at 575-391-5436.
One fugitive's sweet tooth landed him in jail on more than a dozen charges after an employee spotted him allegedly eating a donut from a local store and then trying to leave without paying.
Gregory Mendoza, 35, was charged by Hobbs police with shoplifting and concealing identity, both petty misdemeanors. He was booked at the Hobbs City Jail.
$200,000 contract rejected, Murphy could still get $306,000
Sparks flew at the Hobbs City Commission Monday night as commissioners split 4-3 over giving City Manager J.J. Murphy a modified severance contract that would have had him coming back to the city as a consultant until June 30, 2018.
It appears Murphy will be out the door either way on June 30, 2017 as the commission cannot come to an agreement over offering Murphy a new contract. His first five-year contract ends at the end of the fiscal year.
BuildZoom's new study looks into Urban Expansion across the country on a city by city bases. The urbanized metro area of Hobbs has expanded 19.65 square miles since 1940. Below is a breakdown of the decade by decade expansion of Hobbs and a map depicting this change:
- In the 1940s Hobbs expanded 0.51 square miles.
- 5.59 square miles in the 1950s.
- 2.82 square miles in the 1960s.
- 3.31 square miles in the 1970s.
- 1.70 square miles in the 1980s.
- 5.43 square miles in the 1990s.
- 0.30 square miles in the 2000s.
A Hobbs woman was arrested Saturday morning on a drunk driving charge after her 12-year-old child called authorities while riding in the car as a passenger.
Bobbie Sue Smith, 49, was charged with abandonment or abuse of a child, a third-degree felony; and driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor, a petty misdemeanor. Smith was booked at the Hobbs City Jail.
According to the criminal complaint, Hobbs police was dispatched 5:50 a.m. Saturday to the Gulf and Sanger intersection after a juvenile contacted the Lea County Communication Authority about his mother driving intoxicated. The juvenile reportedly told dispatch she had been “circling the block,” meanwhile Smith called dispatch saying she had consumed two tequila shots six hours before.
After police arrived at the scene, Smith agreed to undergo field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest afterwards. She allegedly denied driving "erratically" and said she drove fast because she was upset with her son. At the city jail, the complaint states Smith took a breath test with a 0.07/0.08 result.
According to Hobbs police statistics, car crashes are down 27 percent citywide this year.
When comparing year-to-date number of accidents from January through July to last year's tally, the numbers reflect a decrease of 132 crashes — a drop from 487 during the same time last year to 355 this year. Hobbs police say it's a result of “hot spot” policing or increased visibility along areas with frequent crashes. For example, two crash “hot spots” last month were Joe Harvey Boulevard with seven accidents and North Turner Street with nine. The hot spots can vary month-to-month.
“That’s our goal to reduce crashes in the city and make it a safer motoring environment for our citizens,” Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall said. “That’s the whole point of traffic enforcement — try to gain voluntary compliance and make for a safer traveling environment.”
There were a total of 34 crashes in July while HPD officers conducted 4,511 traffic stops and wrote 1,249 citations. There were 71 crashes reported in July 2015.
McCall said the department is always looking to improve and acknowledged the decreases are not always significant each month. He added that it’s hard work for the traffic units to identify the areas and credited the "motoring public" as well.
“We’re happy with the reduction,” he said. “That means fewer injuries and less property damage, but our goal is always zero.”
In fact, traffic crashes have gone down in previous years too. There were 923 wrecks clocked in 2010 compared to 738 last year. The numbers are there, but is the decline discernible by police officers on the street?
Officer Travis Jackson works in the traffic unit and is a 13-year veteran with the department. He said they’ve noticed an improvement in driving behavior since the end of 2014.
“We do work almost all the crashes that come out during our tour of duty,” he said. “We went from probably four or five a day — where we would just go from one crash to the next — to we might have one or two a day.”
Jackson said Highway 18 (North Lovington Highway), Joe Harvey Boulevard and Grimes Street “constantly” make the list of the top places for crashes and injuries in town.
“It only takes 25 miles an hour to kill a person if they’re unrestrained, so when you're dealing with 40 and 45 miles an hour — the potential for injury goes way up,” he said. “The cost of the damage goes way up.”
In his position, Jackson has produced monthly reports on traffic crashes during the last two years and said he's seen a “steady decline” with occasional spikes. He attributed such spikes to other factors like weather or students let out for summer break.
“Some of the things that we have the biggest problems with is following too close and speed is a factor in almost every crash,” he said. “Folks don’t realize that if they’re driving just a few miles over the speed limit — that every second they do that — they’re feet closer to their crash. All of our crashes can be avoided with just an extra second and an extra few feet.”
Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb and District 2 Commissioner Jonathan Sena reacted positively about the decrease and mentioned the amended traffic ordinance that was unanimously approved August 1 by the commission. The ordinance raises traffic fines and goes into effect September 5.
“Well, I think it’s good news,” Cobb said. “That was one of the reasons that we wanted to increase our enforcement — to reduce crashes, which at the end of the day, saves people on their automobile insurance. There’s a direct savings to the taxpayer from police reminding people to drive a little slower and be more careful.”
Cobb added the crash reductions are “good for everybody” and encouraged residents to be sensitive to the ordinance and not drive so fast.
“The fines are really not something that we think about as a revenue source for our community, but we do want it to be a deterrent to people that are not driving the speed limit for sure,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sena said he’s observed first-hand the work of Hobbs police’s partnership with the Hobbs City Commission and community to reduce reckless driving.
“We have worked so hard for so many years to make our streets safer,” Sena said. “We have to continue this. Our continued efforts coupled with our new traffic ordinance will only serve to make our community that much safer.”
He acknowledged there’s not one “silver bullet” to reduce reckless driving since it concerns humans with human behavior. However, Sena says a combination of traffic enforcement, engineering and education can make a positive impact.
One method of enforcement are those speed limit trailers around town that remind people how fast they're driving. McCall said the trailers possess a software that can be used to conduct traffic studies, and noted there have been “numerous requests” for trailers in residential areas. Citizens can request a trailer to be placed in their respective neighborhoods or report traffic concerns at 575-397-9284.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or by email.
Just how healthy is Hobbs’ housing market?
It is a question that lies at the center of the City of Hobbs’ housing incentive program and one that may have begged asking two weeks ago when Commissioner Marshall Newman quoted a figure of 269 homes on the market in Hobbs before voting against setting aside $400,000 in incentive funds for new homes under development at Zia Crossing subdivision north of Hobbs.