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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Election Day voting in runoffs starts slowly

Staff Writer

Early voting began slowly today in Pecos for the runoff elections for Reeves County Commissioner.

Voters in Box 2 and Box 11 were casting ballots today in the runoff election for Precinct 3 commissioner, while voters in Box 10 were casting ballots along with those in Balmorhea and Saragosa in the runoff election for the Precinct 1 commissioner’s seat Roy Alvarado is facing Robert Natividad in the Precinct 1 race, after Natividad edged incumbent commissioner Felipe Arredondo by one vote for the second spot in the March 9 Democratic primary election. A recount of the ballots following the election showed no changes in the final vote totals.

As of late this morning, a total of 27 people had cast ballots in Box 11, at the Sidney Sadler Community Center, while 25 people had votes as of just after noon today in Box 2, at the Odessa College-Pecos Technical Training Center.

The Reeves County Clerk’s office reported on Monday that 356 people had cast ballots early in both Precinct 1 and 3 for the runoff race, while they had received an addition 270 ballots by mail. Combined with a 52 voters this morning, that still leaves turnout far below the totals for the March 9 election.

Alvarado received 377 votes in the March primary, while Natividad picked up 209 votes to 208 for Arredondo to earn his spot in today’s runoff, which included two other candidates.

The turnout numbers were also down for the Pecos box in Precinct 3, where Saul Herrera and Bailey Wheeless are seeking to replace incumbent, Herman Tarin, who withdrew his bid for re-election in December, after originally filing to run for a fourth four-year term.

Wheeless received the most votes in the March 9 election, with 202, to 174 for Herrera in a nine-candidate race. As of noon, Box 10 at the Reeves County Annex had attracted only 32 voters to the polls.

Midday voting totals were not available for Box 5, at the Balmorhea Fire Hall, or Box 6, at the Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center.

The commissioner’s runoffs were two of the three area races today. In the other, voters in Loving County are re-running their March 9 election for sheriff, after that race ended in a 41-41 tie.

Current sheriff’s deputy Billy Hopper is running against Tom Jones for the seat, currently held by Richard Putnam, who did not seek reelection this year.

Loving County Clerk Beverly Hansen said that they had received 47 votes from early ballots last week, in the sheriff’s race. Loving is Texas’ least-populated county.

Early voting for the runoff election was less than a third the total of the early voting for the March 9 election. Over 2,250 voters cast ballots early before last month’s election out of about 7,000 registered voters in Reeves County.

More supplies sent to Toyah flood victims

Staff Writer

Fund raising efforts for the victims of the Toyah flood have been continuing over the holiday weekend, with donations of cash, food and other supplies being gathered up both in Reeves County and in the Midland-Odessa area.

Most of the homes in Toyah were damaged early in the morning hours of April 4, when heavy rains in the Davis Mountains sent water surging down San Martine Draw, causing a levee on the west side of town to break in three places, allowing the water to wash through the town.

Homes suffered both water and mud damage, while items in yards were washed away by the three-foot high wall of water. Floodwaters flowing east from Toyah later on April 4 were blamed for collapsing the eastbound Interstate 20 overpass at Salt Draw.

In Pecos, West Texas National Bank is collecting for the residents of Toyah. Bank officials have set aside an account for relief donations. Bank vice president and Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford said that the account had not received very many donations, but was still fairly new. Stafford added that the Town of Pecos City itself had opened up the municipal landfill for the ruined carpet and trash that had been created by the flood. In the Midland-Odessa area, KWES-TV and its News West 9 staff worked with local businesses to hold h a barbeque in Toyah on Monday, along with delivery of some much needed food and water.

According to Richard Acosta, News West 9’s news manager, the effort began on Thursday of last week.

“The assistant news director and I sat down to decide how we were going to cover the story, and we both caught ourselves looking for some other way we could help,” Acosta said in an interview this morning. “We got the OK from our superiors to call local partners in the community to raise the need items and supplies for the residents of Toyah.”

“Sonic was our first response, and on behalf of all of the Sonic’s in West Texas, their parent company, US Foods, donated 100 cases of water. Permian Distributing called next with a donation of 60 cases of Snapple,” Acosta said.

“Wal-Mart donated 300 gallons of water, and HEB donated $2500 on in-store credit to the relief effort. The Permian Basin Oilmen’s Association donated the use of three barbeque cookers and cooks to man them, and club La Playa and Club Planeta together donated $250 worth of meat to be cooked for the residents of Toyah,” Acosta said.

“All of this was happening over the weekend, but due to the holiday, we couldn’t find anyone to drive the goods to Toyah. Life Challenge Church of Midland came through and donated the vehicles and extra help needed to get the supplies down there and distribute them,” he said.

“When we started this, we expected help, but nothing like we received. On Monday morning we drove down there in a large truck with a trailer, a van with a trailer and a pick-up, all filled with relief supplies,” Acosta said. “We filled up one class room where they have been storing supplies, and had to put the rest in the fire department for storage.”

All together Acosta said that 200 cases of water, 37 crates of non-perishable food, and 10 boxes of frozen meat were donated, in addition to the assorted cleaning supplies bought with the HEB credit.

Acosta added that what was desperately needed now was building supplies. “Later today we will be hosting a fundraising drive at the Home Depot in Midland. The best thing that concerned citizens can do is purchase a gift card, which will in turn be given to the Red Cross, who will administer the donations.”

In Pecos, emergency workers said Wal-Mart opened up in the hours after the flood to provide supplies to residents from Toyah who had to spend one to two days in a shelter set up at the Reeves County Civic Center, after they were evacuated from their flooded homes. Local volunteers also have been helping with clean-up efforts over the past week, as have workers from the Salvation Army and ALERT, an emergency management training organization based in East Texas.

Toyah residents also currently face an additional 25-mile drive to get between stores in Pecos and their homes, due to the collapse of the I-20 bridge at Salt Draw. Knight Construction of Big Spring currently is at work shoring up the surviving westbound bridge over the draw. The highway is expected to be reopened for westbound drivers by the end of the week, and the bridge will be converted to two-way traffic usage by next week, according to Texas Department of Transportation officials.

Extension service plans 4-H meeting for adults

The Texas Agricultural Extension Service has scheduled a meeting for the 4-H adult leaders on Thursday, April 15 at 6 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Reeves County Extension Officer located on the east side of the Reeves County Annex, at 700 Daggett Street.


High Monday 64. Low this morning 37. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 40s. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. South winds 10 to15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs near 90. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 90. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s.


Joseph Brooks, Nicholas Leyva and Rita Ramirez

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