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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

May 1, 2001

Last-day arrivals boost low totals for early voting

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - Many community members have visited the early voting polling site located in the Pecos Community Center on Oak Street today for the final day of early voting, though totals for this year's area elections remain below the levels of last year.

The polls, which have been open since April 18, are scheduled to close at 5 p.m., tonight, with voting on Election Day to run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday.

Early voting clerk Nora Briceno said that they have been very busy today and had seen approximately 70 people cast ballots before noon.

"They're coming in real steady," she said.

However, Briceno also said that the total number of personal appearance voters this year is slightly lower than last year, probably due to the fact that last year's elections included the Town of Pecos City mayor's race.

"As of yesterday, 726 voter have voted by personal appearance," she said. "By this time last year we had over a thousand."

Aside from the Community Center, polls will be open for general election from 7 a.m. _ 7 p.m., on Saturday at several locations including the Barstow Community Center, Red Bluff Lake Office in Orla, Toyah City Hall, Saragosa Multipurpose Center and the Balmorhea Fire Hall.

Although the voter turnout is lower so far than in the 2000 election, there are actually more candidates running this year, with just over half of the area elections contested, including both the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea ISD races.

The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board race has 10 candidates, with Lila Cerna, Paul Deishler, Veronica "Ronnie Dutchover, Saul "Chip" Flores, Crissy Martinez, Brent Shaw and Julio Torres competing for the three available three-year terms.

Incumbents are Shaw and Deishler, whose unexpired term is also up for election on May 5. In that race, Michele Galindo, Francisco "Frankie" Rodriguez and Ruben Salazar have filed for the remaining one-year term on the school board.

Along with Shaw's seat, Earl Bates and board president Louis Matta hold the other three-year terms. Neither opted to seek a new term this year.

In the Town of Pecos City election, there are five candidates, including incumbents Gerald Tellez, Larry Levario and Johnny Terrazas, seeking the three available two-year terms. They are being challenged by Mary Patino and former Pecos mayor Frank Sanchez.

In the race for the Reeves County Hospital District board, two of the five seats are up for election on May 5, but only one is a contested race.

Linda Gholson and Clark Lindley have filed for the Precinct 2 seat currently held by Marcella Lovett, while Hugh Box is the only candidate who filed for the Precinct 4 seat on the hospital board, a position currently held by Holly Key. Both seats are two-year terms.

Balmorhea voters will also have a contested school board race to decide. Two seats are up on the Balmorhea board and Cathy Carrasco and Eva Portillo are challenging incumbents Armando Mondragon and Paul Ward for the available three-year terms.

Early voting in that race also end today at the Balmorhea ISD administration office.

Other area council races are not contested, and under state law, elections do not have to be held in those races in order to save money.

In the Balmorhea city election incumbents Olga Lopez and Ike Ward have filed to retain seats on the council. Voters will decide on three council seats in the May 5 elections.

In Toyah, Incumbent Diana Tollet of Toyah is seeking a new two-year term on council and has been joined by newcomers Danny Wayne Enmon and Laura E. Budlong. There are three positions open in the Toyah election.

In the Barstow City Council race, all three incumbents whose terms are up filed to retain their seats, and are running unopposed. Aldermen Olga Abila, Dora Villanueva and Lucio Florez filed for new two-year terms.

Band director wants to be in tune with students

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - Organization, pride and discipline are the goals of the new Pecos Eagle band director.

Students filtered in to the Pecos High School cafeteria Monday afternoon to introduce themselves to Merle Lenfest, who will be taking over the PHS band for the coming school year.

Lenfest brings with him his wife, Debra Kay Graham Lenfest, who will be teaching elementary music, students in third through sixth grades.

Merle Lenfest has a Bachelor in Music degree from the University of Houston and brings with him 18 years of experience.

Debra Lenfest has a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas A&I University and has 15 years experience.

The couple will be moving to Pecos from Rankin where he has been the head band director for four years. They have two daughters, Heather, 22 and Stephanie, 16, who will be graduating from high school this year.

His prior teaching experiences include Yorktown, near the Gulf Coast, where he taught for nine years and one year at Santa Rosa, which is near Harlingen.

"This is only the fifth school we've taught in," said Lenfest, who added he hoped his stay in Pecos would be a long one, since he gets attached to the kids and the town.

"I'm hoping that after two years of being here, they'll still want me," said Lenfest. "I just have about 12 more years before retiring and I'm hoping they'll be done here."

Lenfest said he wanted the kids to feel like they're successful.

"If I read the administration right, they want more organization, pride and discipline and I want to give them just that," he said. "With kids, if they think you have a clue, they give you the benefit of the doubt. I've always been able to get kids on my side."

Lenfest said the taught his kids to work for what they want. "It's important that they work for it," he said.

A big plus for the local band is that Lenfest can play every instrument there is in the band. "I play the flute and the piccolo," said Mrs. Lenfest, "but he can play all of them."

Lenfest said that he lays down all the instruments so the students can view them and then decide what they want to play. "If there is an instrument they are interested in, I play it for them, so they can see what it will sound like," he said.

"We're looking forward to coming to the community," said Mrs. Lenfest, who will be helping out her husband with the older students as well.

She said she will be helping with the flags and will be attending all the games and be on the buses for the out-of-town trips.

The two met with fifth graders at Bessie Haynes Elementary in the morning, showing them the instruments and handing out music aptitude tests. "He also has a note that he will send home with the students about choosing an instrument," she said.

They also met with the high school band and were scheduled to meet with those wanting to try out for the flag corps in the evening. "We'll have someone come in and teach them the routine and schedule tryouts for later, with out-of-town judges," said Lenfest.

Changes for the flags will come gradually, after Mrs. Lenfest has had a chance to meet everyone and see what needs to be done. "Before I made all their flags, but I don't expect a lot of changes this first year, until after I get to meet everyone and see what we need," she said.

Lenfest said she would design the flags according to the show.

"We'll have about 18 for flags to start with, that's 10 percent of the band, which is the usual, and if we stay with the 180 band students that we have right now," said Lenfest.

Lenfest will have two assistants, William Goff and Scott Bostwick. "I haven't met Scott yet, but have talked to him on the phone and spoke to his supervisors, who spoke highly of him," he said.

Lenfest said he believes in team teaching and that all the band directors will be helping out each other and all the band students. "I'll assign which one will be where, but I think all of us should be at all the classes, every day if we are going to teach these students the music," he said.

"It's harder to be the head band director, than the assistant, but my plans are that we all work together to make this band the best that we can," he said.

Lenfest said his job was to make sure the kids got the kind of teaching that they need to make the kids successful.

"I've been head band director for 14 out of my 18 years of teaching and my kids have performed well not matter where I've been, so I don't think Pecos will be any different," said Lenfest.

Lenfest said he didn't really care how well the kids played, as long as they tried. "If they try hard, they have a spot in our band," he said.

Lenfest said that other activities wouldn't interfere with his band players. "As long as I know where they are, they'll be excused and they can join other activities and we'll work with them," he said.

Lenfest said he was going to do whatever he could to see that the community saw some results. "At this point, I think everything will work out," he said.

Pair survive plane crash in mountains on Sunday

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - Two men flying to Austin in a Cessna 172 survived a plane crash with only minor injuries in the Davis Mountains Sunday night, according to the Jeff Davis County Sheriff Steve Bailey.

Michael Bryan Sawyer, the pilot of the plane, and Richard Renfro, both of Austin, were in the Cessna plane when it crashed into a mountain plateau after running out of fuel.

Bailey said that the two had stopped in Van Horn in order to fuel up the plane but where unable to do so. They then took off and were attempting to fly 70 miles to Marfa when their plane crashed at about 11:30 p.m.

"They were extremely lucky they happened to crash land in a clearing in the mountains," he said.

At the time of the crash a storm was blowing through the area but employees at the Albuquerque, N.M Air Traffic Control Center saw the plane's signal drop off the radar and alerted officials in this area.

"They had called in a distress signal," Bailey said.

The Pecos Police Department had received a call from the Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Department approximately an hour and a half after the crash searching for the missing plane.

Bailey's office asked for assistance in contacting the Pecos airport to see if the plane that was supposed to land in Marfa had landed here, according to Pecos Police call records from Sunday night.

Bailey said that the two passengers of the plane also radioed in their problem before the crash.

"They knew they were in trouble and they called in for help," he said.

The men spent the night at the crash site, before deputies from Jeff Davis and Presidio counties, along with Marfa Sector Border Patrol Agents initiated a ground and air search at first daylight.

At 8:10 a.m. Border Patrol Pilot Clay Tippit spotted the wreckage. Border Patrol agents responded to the scene and provided medical treatment, while other agents utilized Border Patrol SUVs to transport, EMS personnel and other law enforcement officers to and from the scene and to take the pilot and passenger to a waiting ambulance.

Sawyer had minor injuries, a laceration to his forehead and an ankle injury, while Renfro declined treatment, but did not appear to be injured.

Bailey said that both men have been released and have gone home to Austin.

"I think they were both extremely lucky," he said.

Local events more numerous before TV

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - In the good ole days, before TV, the Internet, evaporative-cooling and before every family had two or more cars, Pecos citizens enjoyed the simpler activities. Civic clubs were active, we had two theatres, three drive-in movies and few homes had air-conditioning..

In February 1953, the Pecos Enterprise reported the "World's First Jackrabbit Derby" as a sidelight to the rodeo. Forty-two of the "best conditioned rabbits in the Trans-Pecos area were entered in the race. They had heats and the winners of each heat ran for the final. A heavy favorite Sob Sister entered by the Pecos Enterprise was a big disappointment to its backers by not reaching the finish line until a day or two later. The Enterprise has changed loyalties from rabbits to chickens. It's rumored that they want to challenge organizations to a "chicken race." When you hear comments about the chicken paper, they are talking about the egg laying type. (Or, are they?)

The American Legion planed a big "Play Day" event with two hours of fun for all. They had a donkey softball game, a pie-eating contest, a greased pig chase, a magic show and a contest to pick the homeliest man. Pretty Reeves County girls picked the winner and he picked the prettiest girl. The homeliest man won a two week-end vacation in the County jail, a yard of used concrete, a ton of fertilizer and a car than may or may not run.

The Lions Club held talent shows for elementary, junior high and high school. The Lions Club band was invited to perform at the Chicago International Convention. They were invited as a guest on the Don McNeil's Breakfast Club. They also made several TV and radio shows. The trip was financed by many local performances.

Reeves County 4-H Club sponsored a Kids' Rodeo with proceeds going to buy a van. There were 100 competitors in the rodeo. Beta Sigma Phi sponsored the Cantaloupe Review with merchants sponsoring girls. The Grand Theatre donated the door receipts to the victims of the Waco and San Angelo tornado. The Jaycees, Jayceettes, Lions, Beta Sigma Phi and Rotary clubs sold tickets. The Rodeo Boosters traveled to Lubbock, San Angelo and El Paso with many smaller town stops. There was a rabies scare in town and 50 young people entered essays on the subject "I think my dog should be vaccinated for rabies because "

The Pecos Jaycees sponsored a good boxing team and provided Christmas toys for the local children and the Rotary club was active and enjoyed the admiration of the town. The citizens had a feeling of belonging to an active community. There were, of course, problems and hard feelings.

We are, today, not without some young Pecos people who are being recognized in the United States and internationally. Sudden Impact, a religious musical group made up of Eddy Vasquez, Mickey Vasquez and Jason Alvarez, has performed as far west as Phoenix, Arizona and as far east as Buffalo, N.Y. and many cities in-between They were selected as the Catholic Group for the year 2000 and performed with Dana in Rome for World Youth Day 2000 opening ceremonies before Pope John Paul 11. Pecos still has active citizens.

My "mature" advisors well remember the things the Rotary Club did. One thing was the turtle race. They couldn't remember how they selected the Rotarian to run against the turtle but did remember that the Rotarian won-once.

School starts Kindergarten registrations

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - Registration for the 2001-2002 school year at Pecos Kindergarten continues today for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.

Parents may come to the Kindergarten building, located at 300 W. 10th St., to register their children for school starting at 8:30 a.m., through Thursday.

On Tuesday and Thursday registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Wednesday trough 4 p.m.

Requirements for registration into kindergarten include that the child must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2001.

In order to register for pre-kindergarten the child must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2001 and is unable to speak or comprehend the English language, educationally disadvantaged or homeless as defined by federal law.

The parent, guardian, or other person with legal control under a court order must enroll the child and bring the child's birth certificate, immunization record and social security card.

The Pecos Kindergarten staff asks for the parent to bring the child when enrolling in order to tour the school and visit the classrooms.

For more information call 447-7258.

Troopers' help leads to arrest of El Pasoans

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - Helping out a stranded motorist turned up much more than car trouble for two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, and led to the arrest of an El Paso man and woman for possession of over 200 pounds of marijuana.

Trooper Eric White stopped to assist a car at about 5:45 p.m., Sunday that was stopped on I-20 while eastbound at mile marker 57, near the Frontage Road exit in Ward County.

White was assisted by Trooper Derrek Evans, who also stopped at the location to help out.

"In the process of us assisting them, we figured out that they had some illegal drugs," said White.

The two troopers turned up about 215 pounds of marijuana located in a false compartment the trunk of the 1989 Ford Probe the two people were in.

Arrested were Olga Moreno, 43, of El Paso and Joe Tismental, 39, also of El Paso.

Both were transported to the Ward County Sheriff's Department in Monahans where they were charged with possession of marijuana.

Little League Photos sought For Thursday

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - The Pecos Enterprise will be running its Little League team picture section this Thursday, and is still accepting individual player photos to run in the section.

Individual picture ads are $15 apiece, with a Wednesday deadline for submitting photos. For further information, stop by the Enterprise office at 324 S. Cedar St., or call 445-5475.

Enterprise to run candidate profiles for May 5 election

PECOS, May 1, 2001 - The Pecos Enterprise will be running profiles of candidates for the May 5 city, school and hospital district elections this Thursday, May 3. The profiles will be for the candidates in the contested area elections.

The profiles will be those provided by the candidates, and can be up to 400 words (10 inches) in length, and will be run with an accompanying photo, if available.

Candidates wanting to be included in next Thursday's profiles should bring in their information to the Enterprise by 12 noon on Wednesday, or e-mail the information to by that time.


PECOS, May 1, 2001 - High Monday 95. Low this morning 56. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 60s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows 60 to 65. Highs in the upper 80s to the lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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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