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October 30, 1997

Bugs before drugs

Students at Edwards Elementary in Monahans have a major theme for
Red Ribbon Week this year.

They'll do bugs before they'll do drugs.

That's what their bug-decal t-shirts boast and, says a statement
from the school, they mean it.

Says a statement from the school: "The theme for the week at
Edwards is, 'We'd Rather Eat Bugs Than Be on Drugs!'

"The students have a fun time 'dressing buggy' to symbolize the
fact that we can have lots of fun without the use of chemicals.

"On Thursday, Oct. 23, the students were allowed to purchase
snacks from our 'Buggy' Concession Stand. They were able to eat
'bugs' (which were really cupcakes, cookies, etc. decorated to
look like bugs) They had a great time and it is my hope that this
message will stay with them for along time."

Edwards administrators and teachers also thanked the parents of
the students who helped in last week's anti-dope Red Ribbon

West tabbed with criminal non-support

Sheriff Ben Keele of Ward County says a man charged with being
more than $20,000 behind in child support payments has been arrest.

Keele identifies the man as James Harley West, 34. West was
indicted by a Ward County jury in September on charges of Criminal
Non-Support, a State Jail felony.

Says a statement from the sheriff: "A Ward County Grand Jury
indicted James Harley West in September for failing to provide
support for his child. West was ordered to pay child support in
the amount of $216 each month since Aug. 1, 1995. West has not
paid any child support since December 1995."

Ward County sheriff's investigators also report that West faces a
similar Criminal-Non Support Charge in Mason County in another

Says Keele: "Ward County Sheriff's Department, working in
conjunction with a Special Enforcement Investigator with the
office of the Attorney General of Texas Child Support Division,
investigated the case and then filed the case with the District
Attorney's office in Ward County West was also charged in Mason
County for Criminal Non-Support by the Mason County Sheriff's
Department in regards to another child support case. Mason County
obtained the warrant Aug. 7, 1997."

West has been arrested and is being held in the Polk County Jail
in lieu of two $10,000 bail bonds in both the Ward County and
Mason County cases.

The sheriff says West will first be taken to Mason County to
answer the charges there. Then, say the sheriff, West will be
brought to Monahans. Keele says: "It is a crime for these parents
not to support their children and we will investigate these types
of crime in conjunction with the District Attorney General's
office and the District Attorney's office."

Extended local calls on GF ballot

Telephone subscribers in Grandfalls are in the midst of a mail
ballot election to decide if they want extended local calling.
One of the Grandfalls options is Monahans.

If Grandfalls approves the extended call option to Monahans, this
would mean Monahans residents could telephone Grandfalls at no
additional cost for the Monahans-to-Grandfalls connection.
Grandfalls began receiving their ballots last weekend. The
deadline for returning them is Nov. 15.

Under the balloting supervised by the Public Utility Commission in
Austin, the Southwestern Bell customers in Ward County's second
largest town will decide if they want the area wide toll free
service to the Ward County seat, Monahans; Odessa, Fort Stockton,
Imperial and Crane.

If approved, the additional monthly charge on residential
telephone bills would be $3.50; on business telephones, $7.
But, cautions Charlotte Wilcox, who is the coordinator for the
effort started by the Grandfalls City Council, it is not an either
or proposition.

Grandfalls can have one or all five of the towns on the Grandfalls
extended local calling net for the monthly charge. It does not
cost $3.50 for each of the towns on the ballot.

If Grandfalls approves the extended calling for Monahans, it means
that Monahans telephone subscribers avoid long distance charges to
that city plus Odessa, Crane and Imperial.

When Monahans held a local calling election last year,
subscribers, apparently not understanding they got all five cities
for the same extra monthly charge, voted only to include Odessa in
the Monahans net.

But the other communities have been included because those cities
have voted to make Monahans an option, voters there understanding
it was a five-for-the-price-of-one vote.

Freddy Hinojos resigns council seat

Monahans City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, Oct. 28, to
accept the resignation of long-time member Freddy Hinojos. In his
resignation letter to the council, Hinojos said that he would be
moving to Midland. The council is expected to name a replacement
for Hinojos sometime in December.

Mayor David Cutbirth paid tribute to Hinojos' 11 years of service
as a councilman and said his input on issues affecting the city
would be sorely missed.

Hinojos, a former loan officer at First State Bank, is the second
council member to resign this year. Chris Hisel was replaced by
Jeppie Wilson after Hisel moved into a new house outside of his

"I've seen a lot of good things happen for Monahans. This is a
great town with good people and sometimes I don't think we know
how lucky we are to be living in a relatively safe place. I went
to Del Rio recently and can you believe they have security guards
in the schools?" he said.

An obviously emotional Councilwoman Mary Garcia quipped, "I'm
going to miss you Freddy... I don't know who I'm going to vote
against now."

In other council action, approval was given to purchase six
mounted video cameras for police squad cars. Patrolmen will soon
be recording their entire eight hour shifts. At the end of a
shift, the tape will be stored in an evidence locker. The cameras,
which will remain focused out the front window of the car, are
also capable of immediately judging the speed whatever car it is
focused upon.

Video cameras have become standard equipment for police during the
past few years. Although Monahans tried using hand-held units
recently, they had to abandon the idea because the intense heat of
the area damaged the equipment.

The new cameras, however, will have their heat-sensitive
components stored in a heat-proof locker in the trunk. The total
cost of the new equipment is $29,310 and five more cameras are
expected to be purchased next year.

The council also heard a proposal from Mayor Cutbirth about the
possibility establishing a policy requiring all businesses which
conduct transactions with the city to become "Drug Free
Workplaces". Under the mayor's proposal, private businesses would
be required to conduct random urine of all employees in an ongoing
manner. Mayor Cutbirth said he had also approached Ward County
government and the Monahans Wickett Pyote Independent School
District about implementing a similar policy.

The mayor said he garnered the idea from the Oil Patch where
major companies are requiring suppliers and contractors to
establish drug-free workplaces.

"There are tests available which can determine is someone has
smoked marijuana within the last 60 days," Cutbirth said. "If we
can make all Monahans businesses drug-free workplaces, it would be
a great marketing tool for this town." No action was taken on the

The council also approved the hiring of Mike Swanson as City
Attorney, replacing Kevin Acker. The move came as no surprise to
Acker, who also serves as Ward County Attorney. He agreed to serve
the city until a replacement could be found.

Tax rebates surge

AUSTIN - Ward County state sales tax rebate checks in October
surged through the September rebate lull, according to statistics
released by State Comptroller John Sharp.

The September rebates, based on July sales in Ward County, had
dipped 9.13 percent below the sales tax rebate to county taxing
entities of $54,833.28 in September of 1996. Despite that sharp
decline, analysis showed collections for all of 1997 were
increasing at a vigorous pace. The analysis suggested that the
September rebates simply were an adjustment in a warming local
economy. Sales tax rebates may be the only economic barometer that
cannot be manipulated by politicians and economists.

Ward County's October sales tax rebate numbers, analysis shows,
tend to support the suggestion of an adjustment in September. This
conclusion factors the usual sales rush associated with the
opening of a new school year.

According to the latest numbers, the sales tax rebates for the
year in Ward County now total $583,232.54 compared with
$463,919.86 for the same period of 1996, which represents an
increase for the year to date of 25.71 percent.

In October, the Ward County state sales tax rebates, based on
August sales, totaled $53,571.39 up 7.65 percent from $49,759.81
in October a year ago.

Wickett's sales tax rebates rocketed up 93.76 percent from
$1,868.38 last October to $3,620 this October. Thorntonville's
increase was 72.92 percent from $70.35 to $121.65. At Grandfalls,
the county's second largest community, the October rise was 32.2
percent, up from $436.24 to $576.72. Pyote increased 22.3 percent
from $863.58 to $1056.23. Monahans, the economic center of the
county and the region, increased 3.6 percent from $46,521.26 to
$48,196.49 for this October.

Doebbeling moving to Brownwood

Kay Doebbeling, assistant superintendent of West Texas State
School in Pyote, is being transferred to Brownwood, effective
Saturday, Nov. 1, according to a statement released by the school.
Brownwood, like the unit in Pyote,, is a Texas Youth Commission

Doebbeling will serve as the assistant superintendent there and
will supervise that facility's correctional program at the
Brownwood State School Sanctions Unit.

Brownwood's unit, says the statement, "is specifically operated
for youth who have been returned to the agency for violating their
condition of parole."

Doebbeling joined the youth commission at Pyote in 1983. She has
served as a medical psychiatric caseworker, a program
administrator and assistant superintendent. Doebbeling has a
master of science degree in social work. West Texas State School
Superintendent Johnny B. Williams and his staff honored Doebbeling
at a special farewell luncheon.

Amendment voting slow

Ward County Clerk Pat V. Finley predicts a sparse vote on the
state constitutional amendments when the ballots are all counted
after the polls close on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

So far, she notes, 130 votes had been cast by Wednesday in the
early balloting. Early voting ends on Halloween.

"Usually," says Finley. the county's chief elections officer, "You
can estimate that the early vote will be about one-third of the
total vote cast. That means there will be a light vote. That's
what I expect. I hope I am wrong."

Voters in Ward County and across the state will decide on 14
proposed amendments to the state constitution.

In addition, the voters in Grandfalls will ballot on a proposed
sales tax for economic development. In Grandfalls, votes in both
the municipal and state elections can be cast in the Grandfalls
Community Center.

Finley says all the usual polling places will be open on Election
Day. No polls will be consolidated.

There is a change in Monahans.

"Precinct 2 voters in Monahans will go to the Ward County
Convention Center, not the Library, as they have done in years
past," reminds Finley.

She also warns that bringing a voter registration card to the
polls when the ballot is cast is the easiest way to avoid the new
state law which requires documented proof of identity to vote if
the voter registration card is left at home.

Thortonville talks waste

Waste disposal policies have been placed on the agenda for
discussion at the regular meeting of the Thorntonville City
Council in November.

That meeting is held on the first Thursday evening of each month
at 7 p.m. in the Thorntonville City Hall at 2414 West Second

Special called meetings will be announced, says city staff members.
According to the city's announcement:

"The next regular City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on
Nov. 4 1997.

"In addition to the regular agenda, city officials are interested
(and will address the issue) in knowing that citizens are being
provided satisfactory waste disposal service."

Citizens with suggestions and information on the issue were urged
to attend.

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