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September 18, 1997

First National Bank finishes remodeling

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First National Bank celebrated completion of their remodeling with an open house Sept. 10. Refreshments were served and guests were encouraged to tour the newly redecorated facility.

Larry Bryant, chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed guests and presented a short history of the bank. He also introduced the current directors: Bentley King, Bluford A. Thornton, Curley Beard, James Thomas, Mark Gatzki and advisory director, Ed Lawson.

"First National Bank opened its doors Mar. 1, 1949 at 108 South Pacific (later the address was changed to 110 South Alice)," he told the group. "Deposits on opening day, totaling $555,648.56, did not include the County funds which were awarded the new bank bringing the total to nearly three-quarter of a million dollars.

"More than 1000 visitors registered that day including Federal Reserve Board officials and bank executives from around the state.

"The bank featured the first drive-in automobile window depository in the Permian Basin and the only one in West Texas between Abilene and El Paso. It also featured a night depository, safe deposit boxes and seven employees who always had a smile."

The bank moved to its present location in 1966.

Mark Gatzki, president, introduced out-of-town guests and presented some facts about the different services offered by the bank. Recent changes include updating drive-through facilities, addition of a drive-up ATM, new carpet, countertops and wall coverings. Handicap ramps and rails have been installed and restrooms made handicap accessible. Improvements have been made to the bookkeeping department and teller windows.

Lobby changes include new offices and an array of art work. Total estimated cost is $350,000. Total assets as of Sept. 9, 1997, are $52,532,283.99. The bank now has 25 employees to greet customers.

Stage Inc. says Bealls debuts

in Monahans on October 9

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HOUSTON - Bealls, which boasts service and name-brand product lines, opens in Monahans on Oct. 9, according to a statement from Stage Inc., a Houston-based corporation of which Bealls is a part.

"The curtain's going up!" says the statement. "Bealls introduces a new fashion store to Monahans - a store famous for quality service, savings and style - opening Thursday, Oct. 9, in Pecan Plaza Shopping Center.

Bealls-Monahans will be housed in remodeled and redesigned quarters that once housed the old C.R. Anthony retail outlet.

Says Carl Tooker, chief executive of Stage: "Monahans is our kind of hometown. It's a friendly, family-oriented community, and we are making a major commitment to give our customers the nicest shopping environment and the best service to be found anywhere. The new Bealls store really gives the area the fashion excitement it deserves."Stage Inc. operates more than 600 stores in 24 states with most o

Shriner Circus 'thrills' various charities

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Benefits from the annual revue at the Ward County Fair Grounds arena go to the various Shriner charities. Tickets can be obtained by calling the Shriners at 1 (800) 988-5497.

From the announcement: "The El Maida Shrine Temple is proud to announce their all new annual Shrine Circus . . . This year's George Carden Circus International is the biggest ever with all new acts coming from all over the world. Tigers, lions, elephants, thrilling aerialists, crazy clowns and every thing that makes up two hours of . . .entertainment." Showtimes are 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Ward Memorial cash flows recovering

from nearly seven week computer loss

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Ward Memorial Hospital's cash flow is on its way to recovery after a seven week hiatus in the county hospital's billing computers, reports Hospital Administrator William O'Brien.

The billing computers were a new system designed to speed billing and provide more accountability in hospital revenues. They crashed on May 1 and were not brought up and functioning properly until June 26, says O'Brien.

Since then though the system has been working at top speed and efficiency.

"Since June 26," says O'Brien, "We have billed $2,295,526."

Of those figures, O'Brien reports that "$26,000 in claims were sent out on July 16 for dates of service prior to May 1 (the day the machines went down.)"

In the time between June 26 and Aug. 21, Ward Memorial sent out $1,432,454 in billings, according to hospital records.

Marylyn Thurman dies, Grandfalls pays tribute

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Marylyn Thurman-Lewis, the Grand Dame of Grandfalls and the Lady of Royalty, is dead.

Grandfalls Mayor James Everett says: "She will be missed by the community and by those who have had business to do with the city of Grandfalls over the past several years."

Everett notes the work by the woman everyone knew as Marylyn and everyone had heard her gentle warning about her first name: "Spell it right, M-A-R-Y!-L-Y-N. There's a 'Y' after the 'R,' not an 'I.' "

Says the mayor: "Marylyn Thurman-Lewis served the city of Grandfalls for 13 years in which time she made many friends for the city. Her efforts enabled Grandfalls to receive several grants to make needed improvements on the water and sewer systems. And it was during her tenure that the city moved into computerized office systems."

She attended Grandfalls-Royalty High School and Canyon State University.

Suffering from a chronic heart condition, Thurman died on Wednesday evening , Sept. 10, after being stricken at her rural home on the outskirts of Royalty. She was 56 years old.

Funeral services were held on Saturday morning, Sept. 13, at Union Church in Grandfalls where she had been a member for several years. Burial was in Tamarisk Cemetery at Grandfalls. Arrangements were handled by Harkey Funeral Home of Monahans. Pallbearers were William Spann, Mike Nay, Finney Armstrong, Robert Garcia, Randy Smith and Mark Kuhn

Sept. 5, the Friday before her death, she and husband David Lewis drove to Lake Amistad and fished. She liked to fish. They caught 85 blue gill and on their way home with the catch, she told Lewis it was the best time she had seen in several months. They had planned to return on their ninth wedding anniversary, Oct. 14. They had planned to stay in Del Rio "for two or three days," kind of a second honeymoon.

Survivors include Lewis; parents, Elmer and Mary Lee Hunt of Royalty; a brother, County Commissioner Larry Hunt of Grandfalls; a sister, Jan Grizzle of Hagerman N.M.; a son, Mike Cornelius of Monahans; and three grandchildren.

Thurman-Lewis had resigned as Grandfalls City Administrator and secretary of Water Supply District 2 in June because of ill health. She had administered Grandfalls City government for nearly 14 years and coordinated the water district for more than a decade.

Her sharp dry wit and commitment to people was legendary. She hugged everyone she liked and even a few she had questions about. A woman, who did not know her before trouble came to the woman's family several years ago, remembers:

"We were out of work. We couldn't find a job. We needed to pay the bills. She helped us find a job. She helped us pay the bills."

Husband David Lewis says: "She was the best hearted person I've ever known. She did more for people and took less credit than anyone I've ever known."

Lewis recalls his wife "started a Christmas program and helped hold it together for several years taking up money and buying groceries for as many people as there was money for - a real bill of groceries -- coffee, beans, flour, meat-- a real bill of groceries."

At one point and for several years in her more than a decade as the Grandfalls city administrator and secretary, she started a program for those who couldn't pay their bills. That came when the Oil Patch was collapsing and in many cases had collapsed. Lewis remembers Thurman was interviewed on national television about a project where she devised a way for those past due on city of Grandfalls bills "to work them out for the city. That program is no longer in effect."

Says a friend: "She gave my husband work when he was out of work. She took care of everybody she could and some she couldn't."

Thurman contributed to 4-H and "went to all the stock shows. She has lots and lots of friends."

Every year for more than a decade, she held a Christmas party at her home for all of those who couldn't go home for Christmas.

She had been married and widowed twice before she and Lewis were married.
Her first husband, Kenneth Cornelius and the father of son Mark, died of cancer. Her second husband, Mason Thurman, was killed in an automobile accident at Royalty in the early 1980s.

She and David were inseparable,. She was the chauffeur for the family because of his failing eyesight, which restricts his driving.

Lewis says his wife suffered from bronchial and sinus infections plus migraines, all associated with chronic heart ailments. Her physician in Crane recently had ordered a series of allergy tests for both of them.

Says David:

" We were to get the results on Thursday, Sept. 11. They seemed to think allergies were a big part of her sinus problems and migraine headaches."

The last day of her life was on Wednesday, Sept. 10. David and Marylyn had been to Monahans to buy groceries that afternoon. They spoke to several people they knew and went home.

"I was putting up the few items we had gotten," says Lewis. "She had gone into another part of the house and she called me. I went to her. She was sitting on the side of the bed holding her chest. I took her by the hands and she said, 'David, I think I'm dying.'

"I laid her back on the bed and called the ambulance. They responded quickly, maybe in 10 or 12 minutes. They responded well. I have nothing but praise for the way in which the ambulance service responded."

Marylyn Thurman was dead on arrival at the Ward Memorial Hospital emergency room.

They had planned to go fishing this week at Oak Creek near Sweetwater. Lewis recalls his wife always signed her cards, "The Lady of Royalty." Now the Lady of Royalty is gone.

Warrior Princess

One of the prettiest girls in middle school plays football

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History shows persistence pays off.

Coming off the line, she jukes, she spins, she's in the open. The corner goes for the spin and falls flat on his face. There's the ball. She catches it. Conversion. She laughs. She hasn't learned how to strut yet. This girl has got to watch more of the NFL. The Grandfalls Cowboys and one Cowgirl are playing another seventh grade six man, excuse us, five man plus one woman, football game.

Those who are greatly admired are the ones that pioneered ways to thwart the injustices of society _ the ones who would rather go against the flow than follow it to the wrong answer.

She's down in the pit. She moves with the snap and rolls through the block against the flow into the hole just before she buries her shoulder in the surprised running back. It's Thursday, Sept. 11 1997, in Grandfalls. The pretty little seventh grader, with a shy smile and a disarming giggle, didn't notice until the game was over her shoulder was bruised.

Pioneering spirit is especially strong in the world of sports. Female athletes have overcome limited media coverage to firmly place their foot in the door of the male dominated arena of sports.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Hayde Pena, the first distaff down lineman, the first lady running back, in the history of seventh grade football at Grandfalls-Royalty Middle School, maybe the first two-way iron lady in the history of all of West Texas football, most certainly in this Ward County town of just under 600 people where winning football games is more habit than tradition although Grandfalls lost this one. That doesn't happen often but Hayde Pena did play in her first organized game.

Hayde Pena sure doesn't look like a down lineman, not even a running back. She's pretty and she's smart and she doesn't snarl at her opponents on the gridiron.

Sports have seen auto racer Lyn St. James; body builder Marjo Selin; figure skaters Oksana Baiul, Katarina Witt and Kristi Yamaguchi and the Olympic gymnast team. The list goes on and on, covering everything from basketball to woman's rugby, which is a little like six-man, excuse me, five man and one woman, football except you can't use your fists in football legally.

About the only sport women avoid is West Texas football, until this Autumn. Now this young lady in Grandfalls has decided to play with the boys. And the boys better watch out.

At first glance R. Hayde Pena looks like the average 12-year-old girl next door. Her little pigtails and shy giggle would never lead one to suspect the smell of hard plastic and the taste of a mouth piece turns her in to a juking, running, pass-catching, tackling machine.

Other young ladies might roll their eyes at the boys playing football. Pena plays football.

She didn't strap on the pads as pat of some feminist ploy to subjugate a few more males. She is not the tool of Cosmopolitan Magazine. She does like sports. Hayde was not recruited by Bella Abzug. She was recruited by a football coach.

"It all happened quick," says Pena. "I used to play with the boys on the playground when I was 11 years old. I liked it and I don't think there is anything wrong with a girl being on a team."

The transition from playground ball to playing under those Friday night lights, is something that would have never crossed young Pena's mind were it not for the accident of Grandfalls Coach Paul Armstrong seeing what she could do with a football as he watched some sandlot play last year when she was 11 years old. Armstrong has since moved on from Grandfalls but Hayde remains.

"Every time we would play I would end up body slamming a boy or two. Coach Armstrong told me I should play football. That was all I needed."

As it turned out Pena did need a bit more than encouragement from a coach, Mom and Dad Pena took a bit of convincing.

"Dad said he would let me because he didn't want me to say that he wouldn't let me do what I wanted to do, and mom agreed. The first day of practice we all went in to get our stuff and go over the rules. Everyone was surprised to see me. They were all saying, 'we can't believe a girl is playing on the team. In fact Coach (Jose) Holgain had reservations about letting me play, but he needed players for the team."

There was doubt surrounding Pena and her ability to play on a football team until that day when she showed everyone she meant business.

"Some of the guys had been holding back because they didn't want to hit a girl. One day we were running tackling drills. I was a little scared because I had to go against this guy who looked real tough. The coach said go, I went across and we met head on. At the end he was laying flat on his back and I was the one still standing."

After the tackling drill incident the guys on the team treat Pena like one of the guys.

"They treat me like I was a boy. They would hit me hard, but I was still getting the best of them. Coach (Dawain) Lee (Grandfalls-Royalty Athletic Director and head football coach) was even surprised when he found out I was knocking down boys."

Pena grew accustomed to the grueling practices, but admittedly had second thoughts about playing when it came time for the first game.

"I wanted to quit. I was scared that if the other team found out I was a girl they would knock the air out of me or break my leg or something like that," says Hayde. "After the first few hits though, I kinda forgot about that and focused on the game."

Marathon's seventh graders never found out they were playing against a girl in the game Marathon won 38-24. Pena cut her hair short so when she lines up to play, the other team thinks she is just one of the boys. Although Pena enjoys the game, she is the first to tell you she is no expert on football.

"I really don't understand all the terminology yet. Offense, defense (shrugs). I don't care, I just want to play."

When asked what she liked playing more, offense or defense, Pena replied, "Well... is defense when we have the ball or they have the ball?"

Pena's teammates have gotten past the gender issue.

"The team is proud of me . . .They treat me like one of the boys," smiles Hayde.

Reif deal depending on details

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The tax-supported Monahans Economic Development Corp. Board met with its attorney Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 16, to hash out more details for its negotiations with M.M. Reif & Co.

The making of a deal with David Reif has taken several twists and turns, but board members gave the impression of being satisfied with the most recent direction taken by the sewing company.

Whereas Reif was originally talking about a 10-year lease/purchase of the city-owned Camelot Building, the plan now revolves around a public auction of the structure to be held at 3 p.m., Oct. 2, at City Hall.

Russell W. Neisig, a Midland attorney hired by the Economic Development Board to help negotiate the deal, explained details of a draft of an agreement he is working on to submit to Reif.

If everything goes as planned, Reif will purchase the building for $170,000 - its appraised value. Although it is a city-owned building and will be sold at a public auction, it was explained to the board, the city council is not required to take the highest bid, should there be a competitive bidder.

The reasoning given is that the building is in a state-designated Enterprise Zone. Such a designation gives the City Council the option of not taking the highest bid should a lower bidder be able to prove that the building will be used for the creation of jobs.

In return for purchasing and bringing his company to Monahans, according the proposed agreement, the Economic Development Corporation would agree to give the company a grant of $230,000 to be used for remodeling and construction.

Also discussed was ways in which to extract a guarantee from Reif on the number of jobs he will create and a time frame in which those jobs will be created.

Under the proposed agreement, Reif would be given a minimum of 10 jobs for the first 18 months of operations.
After 18 months, Reif would be required to have a base of 30 jobs. Should he fail to provide the minimum by an as of yet predetermined "drop dead" date, he would be required to return the full amount of the grant.

Councilman Curtis Howard, board president, explained that of the $170,000 Reif is expected to pay for the building, approximately $100,000 will be turned over to the currently idle Monahans Industrial Foundation. The Foundation, which was the forerunner to the Economic Development Corporation, took a bath on the Camelot Van Conversion project. After the departure of the now-defunct company, the Foundation deeded the building over to the city.

Other action taken by the board included:

•Rejection of a suggestion to amend its bylaws to increase the number of board members from five to seven.

•Heard a brief warning from City Manager David Mills that the board would soon be presented with a legal bill from Neisig's law firm for "a ton of money".

•Approved the corporation's Fiscal Year 1997-98 budget.

•Agreed to write a letter of support and good wishes for former-Director Charles Walker.

County Auditor retiring on Oct. 1

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Barbara Walsh, who has been balancing the county's dollars and cents since Sept. 1, 1983, is retiring.

The retirement, Walsh notes, is effective on Oct. 1.

Before her appointment as the county's auditor 14 years ago, she had worked as secretary to the Ward County Judge.
She says she has enjoyed her time with the county but now it is time to move on.

Retirement plans"

"I plan to do anything I want to do," says the veteran auditor.\

District Judge Bob Parks has appointed Ellen Friar, the assistant auditor for Reeves County for the past nine years, to succeed Walsh in the $36,000 a year position.

Friar will be moving to Monahans although her oldest son will continue to live in Pecos until the finish of his senior year in the Pecos High School.

Her youngest son will transfer to Monahans schools where he will be an eighth grader.

Friar says she looks forward to her move to Monahans where her father, Bill Youngblood, is an employee of the U.S. Postal Service.

Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens says she regrets Friar leaving.
Says Owens:

"I think it is a very good opportunity for her. I hate to see her leave. She's excellent help."

Walsh says she wishes her replacement much success and that she plans to take it easy.

Main Street business windows

broken with air rifle pellet fire

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Night-riding vandals firing air rifle pellets hit the windows of at least seven businesses in the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning, reports Monahans Police Chief Dave Watts.

Oliva Silvas, manager of J. Michel's Creations at 107 South Main, says she estimates it will cost at least $1,200 to repair the window damage at J. Michael's.

Timmie Neace of The Corner at 200 South Main said she still was assessing the damage.

"All I know for sure," says Neace, "is I had three pellet holes in my windows for 15 years and now I have eight."

Some of those Saturday night pellets damaged the glass in the front doors of The Corner, glass Neace believes will be difficult to replace "because they don't make doors like that anymore."

Watts says the damage was discovered on Sunday - first at J. Michael's and The Corner, then at five other Main Street businesses.

"Investigation is underway," says the police chief. "We are checking several reports."

It was the second comparable incident in about 10 days in Monahans, says Watts, although this vandal strike was much larger than the previous one in which there was air rifle damage to one business and a car.

He also recalled the incident several years ago to which Neace referred.

Silvas says her brother, Marcus Lujan, who owns J. Michael's, discovered the damaged windows on Sunday when he came to the store.

Says Silvas: "I didn't think things like this happened in Monahans. I know it doesn't happen very often."

She reports Lujan called her and she came to J. Michael's after church.

Then she began to examine the windows and determine what could be done next. She notes the reports that witnesses saw a vehicle and someone firing the air rifles and, perhaps, air pistols.

Says Silvas: "There were witnesses."

Watts cannot comment on any reports of witnesses because the incident still is under investigation. Silvas believes the vandals were youngsters.

"I think it's just kids that are needing attention," says Silvas. "Certainly it wasn't adults."

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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