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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Mural back home 35 years after bank's withdrawal

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- A mural painted 45 years ago, has found its way home to a local  bank, 35 years after the bank changed locations and left the  painting behind.

"We came upon the mural at the site of the old First National Bank, Second and Oak Streets," said West Texas National Bank President John Grant. The building has not been used by the bank since 1967, when it moved to its current location at Sixth and Cedar streets.

Grant said he saw the mural inside the old bank building and asked long-time bank employee Dot Stafford to look into who owned the building and the mural itself.

"Dot looked into it and found that the building belonged to Dale and Betty Toone," said Grant. "It turned out that the mural wasn't included in the deed, when the property was transferred from the bank to the Toones."

The mural was painted by Bill Leftwich in 1957, especially for the bank and depicts the various businesses in operation in the Pecos Valley 45 years ago. The 79-year-old Leftwich was in Pecos on Tuesday to view the mural in its new location, located along the top of the walls in the break room at West Texas National Bank, the name First National Bank took on two years ago.

"Right across the street was the other bank," said Leftwich, in describing how the mural was created. "I went to different companies and told them that for $100 I could put their work on the mural."

Leftwich said that at that time 12 companies agreed and that is what the mural depicts. "It shows the work of 12 different companies at that time," said Leftwich.

Some of the companies depicted on the mural include, Lowery Walker's water well drainage company; John Deere Dealer; Bill Wallace, a contractor; Ford Company, shows a picture of a rancher; Dixieland Cattle Company; Southern Union Gas; Todd Cantaloupe Company, one of the pioneers of the cantaloupe; Worsham Brothers Flying Service, crop dusting service; a cotton trailer, for Bill Powell; Pecos Valley Railroad; Billie Sol Estes and Minneapolis Mowing.

"I did two murals for Billie Sol," said Leftwich.

Leftwich said that local businessman Dick Slack had purchased a few of his paintings and donated them to the West of the Pecos Museum. "It's thanks to him that a lot of my work can be seen at the museum," he said.

"It was one of the things that we had thought about doing, donating the mural to the museum," said Grant. "But we decided this was the place where it belonged."

"I'm really glad that it's here, because that was what it was originally intended for," said Leftwich.

Grant said that after First National Bank relocated to their new building, the mural was originally have been donated to the Historical Association, but that the group never acted on it.

"All this time, it's been sitting at the old building," said Grant. "It's a wonder it is still in such great shape, because the building has been vandalized, the roof is caving in in some parts and it has been trashed."

Grant said that the surprise was that no graffiti had been drawn on the mural and it had been left alone by the vandals that would enter the building.

Leftwich said that he would paint from pictures. "I had a really good camera, would take pictures of the scenes I wanted to draw and then paint them," he said. "I was familiar with everything you see here," he said.

Leftwich, a native of Duncan, Okla., came to West Texas with his parents as an infant, started school at Cisco and lived later in Fort Worth, Muleshoe, Portales, N.M., Alpine and Asherton, near Uvalde.

He won the Silver Star as a tank commander in the European Theater during World War II, then spent two years with the Soil Conservation Service at Pecos. He studied at Texas A&M College from 1951 to 1954, spending one summer as a ranger in Big Bend National Park and another working in a Utah smelter. He received his degree in animal husbandry in 1954.

Leftwich has been drawing since he was three, carrying it on as a hobby all through the war and his later work with the SCS and on ranches and irrigated stock farms in the Crystal City area.

He is also a writer with several published works including: The Cow Killers-1956 University of Texas Press; Tracks Along Pecos-1957; Bracero-1958; Rodeo Designs-1958; Turn Him Out-1958; That's My Ruling-1959; The Corps of Aggieland-1976; The Texas Cowboy-1986 TCU Press (A contributor, illustrator and stories); over 70 illustrated articles from 1951 to present; Editor AFTOSA book written by former Commission employees; illustrated Getting A Stand, by Miles Gilbert and contributing author to Handbook of Texas.

Leftwich has done numerous murals, bronzes and busts for individuals throughout Texas.

Collectors of his work include President Ronald Reagan, football coaches Joe Paterno, Lou Holtz and Dick MacPherson, former Dallas Cowboys owner Bum Bright, Gov. Bill Clements, Gen. Barrow, Gen. Wilson, Gen. Westmoreland, the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund, former U.S. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros of San Antonio, Red Steagal, Michael Martin Murphy, the Texas National Guard, current Pecos-area Congressman Henry Bonilla and Tom Lea.

Leftwich was born June 21, 1923, in Duncan, Okla., raised in Texas, married to the former Mary Alice Atchley of Crystal City, the couple have four children and 14 grandchildren. They are active members of the Church of Christ.

Nieto optimistic about chances against Gallego

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- A candidate for the District 74 state representative position thinks he  can beat the district's longtime incumbent when elections are held in November.

Pedro Nieto, Attorney at Law from Uvalde, said that he had visited the West Texas area and that he has visited most of the district during his campaign for the District 74 seat as a Republican on the Nov. 5 election ballot.

"I plan to be in that area this weekend as well," said Nieto.

Nieto is campaigning against Pete Gallego, who has held that office for the past 12 years. Gallego's 74th District was shifted to the northwest this year, adding Reeves County while losing the areas around Eagle Pass.

Nieto was in the state legislature in 1993 and has served as Uvalde County attorney for some time.

"Then the new district was created and I didn't have a chance to prepare for the race, in terms of money," said Nieto. "My opponent has a humongous war chest, he has a lot of money on which to run, but we're doing our best and I think we can win."

Nieto said that since Gallego has not been opposed in recent elections, his "war chest" has grown. "I didn't really get prepared in terms of money, but we'll go ahead and try," he said.

Nieto said the hot spots in his campaign have been in the eastern part, Uvalde and Val Verde counties, which are the district's biggest population areas.

"It was refreshing to find that my conservative message was so well received in every part of the district as I campaigned throughout the 13 counties," said Nieto. "My belief that people of all ethnic groups, socio-economic status and ages are basically conservative in their lifestyles and philosophies was borne out."

Nieto said he was particularly gratified by one experience. "A woman about 55-60 years old came to my campaign headquarters in Uvalde and requested yard signs for all the Republican candidates that are running in this election. She explained that she became a U.S. citizen during the time that George Bush, Sr., was in office and that she and her family are fiercely loyal Republicans because they believe in the ethics of hard work, education, self-reliance, and family values," said Nieto. "I met numerous other constituents of various backgrounds who had the same philosophy," he said.

Nieto said that his view that the border between our state and the Republic of Mexico should not be a barrier of the flow of ideas and cultures between two regions that can fit harmoniously alongside each other. "I see the border as an interface of sovereign nations that should provide an avenue for sharing cultures, art, music, and the noble individualism of the people on each side of the river," said Nieto.

"Just as the Maquiladora concept has provided economic development and opportunity along each side of the border, the State of Texas, the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Coahuila can work together to create sister institutions that operate in concert with each other to enhance the managements of resources to create a positive border and trade policy and reduce pollution," said Nieto. "I will do all in my power to advance this idea in the legislature and as a Representative of the State of Texas in dealing with the people of the border area."

Nieto criticized Gallego's actions on SB1837, which was approved in last year's legislative session. One of the things the bill was intended to do was provide $250 million for economic development along the Texas-New Mexico border.

Nieto said the Texas Senate passed the bill in May of 2001, but that same month, the San Antonio Express News reported Gallego removed the $250 million because of opposition to tapping the state Rainy Day Fund.

Nieto said the El Paso Times also reported on the story on May 23, 2001, under the headline "Border Bill Perishes as House Lets Deadline Pass." According to the article on the front page of the Times, Rep. Gallego was quoted as saying: "the slowing down of the calendar was not something that had been anticipated." This legislation was of critical importance to the people of the 74th District of Texas.

"Clearly, my opponent let them down by failing to provide leadership when it was so badly needed," said Nieto. "It is my intention to work closely with my friends Gov. Rick Perry and Pres. George W. Bush to provide leadership in bringing federal and state assistance to the trade-stressed border region."

"We are a vibrant, varied, multi-lingual and multi-faceted people. We have the capacity and potential to develop the 74th District into one of the most beautiful, successful, and accomplished areas in the state of Texas," said Nieto. "I will provide leadership at the state level and will work with Gov. Perry, Congressman Bonilla and Pres. Bush to accomplish these goals."

Police, emergency service crews taking course

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- A group of Pecos officials and volunteer firefighters are  gathering at the Reeves County Civic Center this week to receive training on  how to response to terrorism.

Dallas Refrew, with the Texas Engineering Extension Service/Emergency Services Training Institute (TEEX/ESTI), is conducting the course in Pecos, which has been offered for the past four years at over 100 sessions in West Texas, according to an e-mail sent by Marilyn Martell with TEEX/ESTI.

In the fiscal year of 2001-2002 there were 26 courses taught, and Martell said that all of the major cities in Texas have received this course, which has been very successful.

"There have been in excess of 500 courses delivered free of charge to the Emergency Services personnel across the state," Martell said in her e-mail.

Though this course is delivered by the ESTI Municipal Extension Program, Martell said that there are other terrorism training is also done by several of the other sectors and divisions of TEEX.

In providing an overview of the class, Martell said that the course is designed for the senior-level officer(s) who may be responsible for command of incidents involving terrorism.

The course focuses on building upon the existing skills as an Incident Commander and knowledge of terrorism from professional experiences or from the Emergency Response to Terrorism: Self-Study.

"The calls will assist the command officer in preparing an effective response to the consequences of terrorism," Martell said.

In order of the response to be effective, the plans must be in place to guide responders in managing the incident.

"Incident Commanders mist be prepared to operate as part of a multi-agency, multi-discipline and multi-jurisdiction responses," Martell said.

In addressing the command and control challenges that likely will confront the Incident Commander, the classes consists of lecture supported by case studies and practice scenarios.

"This will enable the students to apply their knowledge of pre-incident planning, managing emergency incidents, and operating as part of a Unified Command structure," Martell said.

Storm brings area heavy rains, knocks out power

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- Some of Barstow's residents found themselves without electricity  late yesterday afternoon after lightning from a thunderstorm that  passed through the area struck a transfuser.

According to Texas-New Mexico Power Company employer, Al Wentworth, the lightning caused a line fuse to go down.

"I am not sure how long the power was out," Wentworth said. "I would say it was out for about an hour."

Though the line fuses go throughout the town, Wentworth said that only portions of Barstow were with no light.

The lighting arrived with heavy rain that passed through the Pecos and Barstow areas a little bit after 6 p.m. The total rainfall for yesterday was .81 according to KIUN radio station. The total of the year is now 9.67, the highest rainfall total in the city since 1997, when 10.47 inches of rain was recorded. According to the National Weather Service, 10.99 inches is Pecos' normal annual rainfall total.

School board sets special meeting

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will meet in a special meeting at noon, Thursday at the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy Street.

The group will meet to consider and take possible action on option of one year renewal of contract with First Choice Power.

City's Mother Goose Halloween parade canceled

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- The Women's Division of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce will not be hosting the Annual Mother Goose Halloween Parade this year.

However, the group reminds everyone to attend the Harvest Carnival sponsored by the Austin Elementary PTO on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Enchilada dinners will be available starting at 5 p.m., and the carnival will run from 6-9 p.m.


PECOS, Wed., Oct. 23, 2002 -- High Tuesday 76. Low this morning 53. Rainfall last 24 hours  at Texas A&M Experiment Station .46 inch. Forecast for tonight:   Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, some severe  with large hail and damaging winds. Lows near 60. East winds 5 to 15  mph. Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers  or thunderstorms. Highs near 70. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night:   Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or  thunderstorms. Lows near 50. Friday:  Mostly  cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs near  70. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain and  thunderstorms. Lows 45 to 50. Highs 65 to 70.


Maria De Luz Aguilar and Mike Rodriguez

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