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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Early vote totals pass 1,400 mark in March 9 races

Staff Writer

Early voting by mail and in person in Reeves County for the March 9 Democratic Party primary election has already surpassed 1,400 votes, with four days left in the early voting period for next Tuesday's races.

County Clerk Dianne Florez said that the number of voters has been really steady and that things were going really well. According to her office, 1,093 have taken advantage of that opportunity as of early this morning, while another 330 votes have been cast by mail.

The last day to vote early at the courthouse is Friday, March 5 and Monday was the last day to do so by mail, according to Florez. Elections will be held Tuesday, March 9 and all 11 polling places will be open at that time. Two years ago, during the last major county elections, a total of 1,832 persons cast ballots early, either by personal appearance or by mail for entire early voting period in the 2002 primary races.

The high number of early votes goes along with the high number of local candidates in this year's county elections. A total of 20 candidates are featured in five contested local races this year.

Five individuals are vying for the position of Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 1 including incumbent Felipe Arredondo, who is seeking a fourth term in office. The four challengers are: Rogelio "Roy" Alvarado, "Chel" Florez, Armando "Mondie" Granado and Robert C. Natividad.

In the race for Precinct 3 commissioner, two-term incumbent Herman Tarin opted not to run for another four-year term, and nine candidates are seeking to fill that position. They are Abel Baeza, Lisa Lopez Boicourt, Rosendo Galindo, Jimmy Gallego, Saul Herrera, Manuel "Manny" Lopez, Joel Madrid, Joseph Peter Rodriguez and Bailey Wheeless.

Precinct 3 voters will also be casting ballots in a contested race for constable, where Alma Fleenor is challenging incumbent Tomas "Tommy" Martinez. In the only county-wide local election that is contested, Jeffrey P. Baeza will challenge current Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez, who has been the sheriff for the past 11 years.

All county voters will also be deciding the nomination for 143rd District Attorney, along with voters from Ward and Loving counties. In that race, two-term incumbent Randall Reynolds faces former district attorney Hal Upchurch. All local candidates in Reeves County have filed to run in the Democratic primary.

Dealership owner, ex-rodeo president Duke dies

Staff Writer

Jack Duke, longtime farmer and car dealer in the Pecos area, and a former president of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee, died Monday night at the age of 75.

Duke, who had owned and operated Colt Chevrolet-Buick for the past 21 years under that name, and was a part owner for six years prior to that, died following a sudden illness at Reeves County Hospital. Funeral services are incomplete at this time.

During his lifetime, Duke raised cotton during Reeves County's agricultural boon of the middle of this century, served in the army during the fifties, operated a successful auto dealership, and has been a community icon for nearly half a century.

Raised in a family of thirteen children, Duke was born a middle child to Fred and Zella Duke. Six brothers and six sisters accompanied Duke through his adolescence on his parents' farm in Nara Vista, NM, according to Duke's daughter-in-law, Cindy Duke.

While two of his brothers were away fighting the Axis powers in WWII, Jack did his duty by staying at home to help his ill father with the family business. Not satisfied with that, Duke joined the Army in 1954 and learned to operate guided missile systems that would become vital to the country's defensive and offensive arsenal in the near future.

Duke met his future wife in 1947 at the State Fair of New Mexico, and was married to Marjorie Cooper two years later. Together Jack and Marjorie raised two sons, Craig and Kevin.

Duke entered the automobile business in 1977, after the bottom fell out of the cotton industry in the area. Duke and Walter Shaw had gone into the farming business over 20 years earlier, but decided to end their partnership after the price of cotton dropped, said daughter-in-law Cindy Duke.

The Duke dealership has weathered competitors, economic depression, hail storms, but always survived. According to those who knew him, Duke's guiding hand was the main reason for the business' success.

According to Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce president, Linda Gholson, Duke was a long time supporter of the chamber, one who was always active in all areas of the region's economic welfare. Duke supported the chamber both physically and financially, and Gholson added, "He was always there with ideas and suggestions."

Duke donated much of his time cooking for the various community functions around town. Foremost was his decade of service to the fans and participants of the yearly West of the Pecos Rodeo. Duke began cooking for the rodeo goers in the early 90's, and continued the tradition for nearly a decade.

Duke even had his homemade bar-b-que pit include a fryer to cook up fresh, locally made onion rings, in addition to the chicken and beef served up during the rodeo dinners, Cindy Duke added.

Guadalupanas hold enchilada plate sale

An Enchilada Plate Sale is schedule from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Friday at Santa Rosa Hall.

Cost will be $4 per plate and will include three red or green enchiladas, rice, beans and salad.

For advance orders call 445-6133 or 445-5529.

On the day of the sale orders can be placed at 445-2302.

The event is sponsored by the Guadalupanas.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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