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November 4, 1997

Probation decrease cuts state funds

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 4, 1997 - A drop in numbers of Reeves County citizens
placed on probation for misdemeanor offenses has resulted in the
district (which is comprised of Reeves, Loving, and Ward Counties)
losing $60,000 a year for its probations program.

According to the annual report issued by the 143rd Judicial District
Community Supervision and Corrections Department, the number of people
placed on probation for misdemeanor charges in Reeves County has
dwindled this year. Summer months in 1995 averaged just over 120 a
month, 1996 saw a dip into the 100 range, and this summer the number has
decreased again - to almost 60 citizens placed on probation for August,

Does this reflect a drop in the crime rate in Reeves County? Don't bank
on it.

According to County Attorney Walter Holcombe, "If anything, we've seen
an increase in criminal activity...We are probably revoking more
probations than before."

District Attorney Randy Reynolds, who prosecutes felony offenses only,
said that he has also seen an increase in crime. He said that the matter
of decreasing probations was being looked into and he hopes that it may
be improved down the line. "There may be some other answers," he said.

One factor in the dropping numbers of misdemeanor probations issued may
be the increase in dismissals. Cases may be dismissed for insufficient
evidence, and sometimes get too old to be effectively prosecuted.

Misdemeanor dismissals in 1996 tended to average about five per month,
but in 1997, the county witnessed a sizable increase in dismissals.
Monthly dismissals in January went up to 66 (up from 10 the previous
month) when County Attorney Holcombe came to office. These cases were
"dumped," Holcombe said, because they were so old, some dating back to

But, according to both Holcombe and Reynolds, the increase in dismissals
shouldn't have any effect on the decrease in probations. "The only thing
I can think of would be if we were having a lesser amount of arrests. We
do use probation quite a bit," Holcombe said.

If there have been lesser arrests made this is not reflected in the
County Court at Law's monthly reports which contain all Class A and B
misdemeanors. A and B misdemeanor cases coming to trial over the past
year, while fluctuating between three and 35, have averaged about 20
cases a month. Juvenile cases coming to trial also have hovered in the
general ballpark of three cases a month.

There have been decreases in both direct and indirect supervision
probations for misdemeanor cases in the past year. Both have decreased
from over 100 cases per month late last year to the 60s range this

Rugged pistachios grow well in West Texas

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 4, 1997 - Pistachios usually come from California or
Asia, but one local man has been growing the tasty nut for several years

Jim Blanchard, owner of Industrial Communications, has found that
pistachio nut farming works for him.

"I really think this would be a good crop for this area," Blanchard
said. He said that pistachio trees do well here because they are "hearty
trees that can stand the salty water" that we have in this area, but it
takes about six to seven years before the trees produce a crop. "It's a
long-term investment," Blanchard said.

Blanchard decided to plant a pistachio orchard several years ago after
"a friend of mine down in Alpine had some and they were doing real
good." Then he got some good advice from a man from California, who told
him things such as not to irrigate too close to the trunks of the trees,
which helped his crop a lot. Blanchard uses drip irrigation in his
pistachio orchard.

"Compared to a pecan," Blanchard said, "pistachios need very little
water." He also grows pecan trees, which are doing better this year than
last, according to Blanchard. Unfortunately, the pistachios are not
doing so well this year, which he attributes to an early freeze.

"The pollen froze on all the male trees," said Blanchard. Because of
that, they couldn't fertilize the nuts on the female trees, he said. The
shells have a "frosty" appearance when they have a nut in them,
Blanchard said. Now, most of the shells are red on top, and green
underneath. Blanchard thinks he might be able to get a pound or two of
the nuts from this year's crop, but not enough to make them profitable
to harvest.

Blanchard explained that the male trees are of the Peters variety and
the female trees are of the Kermen variety. He said that a grower is
supposed to plant one Peters tree for every six Kermen trees, with the
Kermens surrounding the Peters trees. That way, the pollen will be
distributed to the nuts on the female trees no matter which way the wind
blows. "You depend on the wind to distribute the pollen," Blanchard said.

Blanchard used the T-bud method to graft the trees for his pistachio
orchard, and that is how the variety of tree to be grown is determined.
"It seems to work the best with pistachios," he said.

He said that the method is done on "bud wood" when the tree is about two
feet tall. "Bud wood is a piece of new growth," Blanchard explained.

"You make a T' with a sharp knife," he said. Then, you peel the bark
back and, when the bark slips back, you put a bud from the type of tree
you want the new tree to become into the peeled back area. Then you wrap
the area up with a rubber band.

The sun will deteriorate the rubber band, Blanchard said, but by then,
the bud should be grafted onto the little tree.

Although the early frost killed off most of this year's crop, Blanchard
said that he was able to harvest about 600 pounds of pistachio nuts last
year. He has about 350 trees in his pistachio orchard, that has been
grafted for about eight years.

Blanchard said that another good thing about pistachio trees is that
they don't require a lot of maintenance. "This year, I put no pesticides
on the trees at all," Blanchard said. "I've fertilized and watered them,
that's all." He added that other than pruning, they require very little
maintenance, and that few chemicals, if any, are needed to keep them
growing well.

Separatists face life term at sentencing

Associated Press Writer

ALPINE, Texas (AP) November 4, 1997 - Republic of Texas leader Richard
McLaren's fate now rests in the hands of the law he refused to

State District Judge Kenneth DeHart was to have sentenced McLaren and
fellow separatist Robert Otto today for plotting a kidnapping that led
to their group's armed standoff with hundreds of police officers.

McLaren and Otto could face five to 99 years or life in prison and
possibly a $10,000 fine.

Both men were convicted Friday of engaging in organized criminal
activity for their role in the abduction of Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe, a
couple who lived near Republic members in the Davis Mountains Resort, a
rural community 175 miles southeast of El Paso.

The April 27 kidnapping, allegedly carried out by three of McLaren's
followers, eventually brought some 300 state troopers and Texas Rangers
to the resort where the Republic maintained its headquarters.

They laid siege to the group's so-called embassy until McLaren and
others agreed to lay down their weapons May 3.

McLaren and Otto were the first of five charged in the abduction to go
on trial and quickly became involved in a bizarre legal spectacle.

The pair decided to represent themselves, even though they had
court-appointed attorneys, and employed a defense strategy that made
little sense.

McLaren and Otto said they believed the trial to be a sham and instead
focused their attention on "perfecting" the court record for a federal
case they say is pending in a court in Washington, D.C.

Republic members contend the United States' annexation of Texas in 1845
was illegal and refuse to recognize Texas' statehood and institutions,
including the court system.

Neither McLaren nor Otto mounted a legitimate defense until after the
prosecution had rested. At that point they asked their standby counsel
to intervene and file motions for a mistrial and for directed verdicts
of acquittal.

DeHart denied both and a jury eventually took two less than two hours to
find the men guilty. Defense attorneys say they will appeal.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Republic trial not biggest case

Associated Press Writer

ALPINE, Texas (AP) November 4, 1997 - West Texas prosecutor Albert
Valadez has lived much of the last year in the spotlight, directing two
of the state's most notorious cases.

Within a month, his office went from handling the prosecution of
Republic of Texas separatists to investigating a teen-ager's death at
the hands of a Marine conducting anti-drug surveillance on the border.

"I've never had two cases with so much publicity happen on each other's
heels," Valadez said after winning convictions Friday in the first case
stemming from the Republic's armed standoff last spring.

But though it's put his face on television and landed his remarks in
newspapers across the country, Valadez won't even rank last week's trial
of separatist leader Richard McLaren and Robert Otto among his most

"I don't want to give them the credit. They are two of the most devious
and deceptive individuals I've ever tried," he said.

The cases he's tried where law enforcement officers have been killed in
the line of duty, said Valadez, are more significant. "I'm going to do
my best to get the death sentence in those cases," he said.

Valadez's Fort Stockton-based office handles only felonies that come
from six counties: Brewster, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Pecos, Upton and

Since being elected 83rd District prosecutor in 1992, Valadez said he
has prosecuted all types of crimes, from a deluge of drug cases to
sexual assaults and capital murders. He was re-elected in 1996.

None, however, have been as personally taxing as McLaren's organized
crime trial and the case of Esequiel Hernandez Jr., the 18-year-old shot
while tending his goats in the tiny border community of Redford.

Valadez and his first assistant, James Jepson, spent days outside Fort
Davis while state troopers and Texas Rangers waited out McLaren's armed
separatists, who had taken to the mountains after kidnapping two

The weeklong standoff ended with the group's surrender May 3.

Valadez and his three assistants then had to amass the mountain of
evidence that led to McLaren and Otto's convictions and may be used in
the upcoming trials of three other group members accused in the

During that period, Hernandez was killed May 20 after crossing paths
with a four-man Marine unit patrolling near the border.

Valadez had to present evidence to a grand jury that would determine
whether the Marine who shot Hernandez had committed any crimes. The
Presidio County grand jury no-billed Cpl. Clemente Banuelos in August,
saying the Marine was defending another member of his patrol.

"I've never had to put in so much personal time as in these two cases,"
Valadez said of the preparations.

"It's rare that Albert and I even try a case together. This was the
first time in two or three years," added Jepson, who assisted in the
McLaren prosecution.

But overall, Valadez said, this year has been slower to some extent than
others. He averages 12 to 15 jury trials a year, but has undertaken only
five or six in 1997.

Valadez and his assistants also take on civil cases and file their own
appeals so they're never lacking for work.

The 41-year-old Valadez said he gets a great deal of satisfaction from
his job, probably more so than if he were still a criminal defense
attorney. He began his legal career as a defense lawyer in Houston in

"I'm generally in a situation where the general public supports my
work," said Valadez, who was roundly congratulated following the
Republic trial for which sentencing is scheduled Tuesday. "It's nice to
be recognized."

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Low turnout expected for amendment election

Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN (AP) November 4, 1997 - Voters today were deciding the fate of 14
constitutional amendments - headed by a proposal to end the ban on home
equity loans that has stood for more than a century.

Secretary of State Tony Garza on Monday predicted that 9.16 percent of
the state's registered voters would cast ballots.

That would be a slight improvement from August, when only 6.9 percent of
Texas' 10.6 million registered voters bothered to vote on the amendment
cutting school property taxes by $1 billion over the next two years.

"Early voting results from the top counties indicate we are in good
shape to top 9 percent," Garza said. "I'm encouraging all Texans to vote
on Tuesday so that we can hopefully break into double digits for turnout

The 14 amendments on this ballot bring to 550 the total number of
changes proposed in Texas' 121-year-old constitution.

Getting the most attention was Proposition 8, which would, if ratified,
eliminate many of the restrictions that have kept Texans from borrowing
against the equity in their homes.

Equity is the difference between the market value of a home and the
amount owed on it.

Texas is the only state to prohibit general home equity lending. The
loans are allowed only for sharply limited purposes, such as paying
taxes or making home improvements.

According to legislative analysts, the value of untapped home equity in
Texas is estimated to be between $124 billion and $142 billion.

Supporters - led by lending institutions - said lifting that ban would
give Texans access to what's really their own money.

Opponents - including the Texas Farm Bureau and organized labor - said
the ban has protected Texans in hard times.

Under the proposal, a homeowner's total debt - including original and
second mortgages - couldn't be more than 80 percent of the home's market

A "cooling-off" period would give borrowers 12 days after applying for a
loan and three days after getting it to terminate the deal without
penalties or charges. Open-ended lines of credit secured by a house,
allowed in some states, would be prohibited.

The measure also includes a "non-recourse" provision, meaning if someone
defaulted on a second mortgage only their home could be taken to cover
the loan.

Backers say approval of the amendment would give Texans many new
options, such as using homes to secure loans for catastrophic health
care costs, debt consolidation or starting a business.

Lenders also say the loans are attractive because they typically are
lower-interest and tax-deductible.

Opponents argued that protecting Texans homes had been a boon during
tough economic times and that there was no good reason to take that
protection away now.

"We, along with the founders of Texas, have traditionally been
suspicious of outside banking interests coming into the state and making
these types of loans," said Ed Sills, AFL-CIO spokesman.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Conference opens up new world of events

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 4, 1997 - Four Pecos Chamber of Commerce members entered
into a new dimension of event planning last week in El Paso at the
"Event Management and Evaluation" conference.

"This thing opened up a whole new world to me," said Richard Crider
chamber president-elect,. "It was like turning on a light."

The event was presented by the Southwest Festival and Events
Association. Those who attended from Pecos were Crider, who is also the
owner of Aluminum Screens and Windows on Cedar Street; Tom Rivera,
executive director of the Chamber of Commerce; Brandy Owen from the
Womens' Division of the Chamber of Commerce and Ray Owen from the West
of the Pecos Rodeo committee, according to Crider.

Crider said that he gained many insights into how to organize and manage
an event to make it successful, make money and be a good time for those
who attend the event.

Crider learned the most in a seminar on "fun raising," that dealt with
getting sponsors for events and festivals, thereby not having to rely so
much upon making profits from the admission gate and concession sales.
He also mentioned a conference given by Terrie Todd, area manager of
Southwest Airlines. Todd spoke about showing a potential corporate
sponsor what the return on their investment will be, Crider said. Todd
is "a very dynamic business person," according to Crider.

"It is important to contact sponsors before their budgets are set for
the year," Crider said, and that when sponsors contacted a couple of
months before an event decline to sponsor the event, they aren't saying
"no," but "not right now."

Crider also said that the team learned about package deals. That is when
a sponsor will contribute their goods or services, such as
transportation tickets or hotel rooms, for advertising, instead of
writing a check for a monetary contribution. Then, the event organizers
can turn around and use airline tickets and hotel rooms to accommodate
another sponsor or make up a promotional prize to draw out-of-town
people to the event.

Another thing Crider stressed is that area towns need to communicate and
cooperate when scheduling their events to avoid planning two festivals
in the same area at the same time, because that forces people to choose
between the events, which both wind up losing attendees. He also said
that organizers should look at people's pay periods when scheduling
events, so that people will be more likely to be able to include events
in their budgets.

Crider also said there needs to be more continuity between organizers
from one year's event to the next. Lessons learned by one year's
organizer need to be passed on to the next year's leader.

Also, Crider found the motivational classifications proposed by David
McClelland in his book Motivation & Organizational Climate with John
Atchison to be worthwhile suggestions. The theory is that there are
three personality types, and people from each of the personality types
are needed to organize a successful event. The organizational committee
needs people with positive affiliation needs, people with positive
achievement needs and people with positive (sociological) power needs.

Crider also said that event organizers need to look at their volunteers'
"motivational hygiene" - what are the conditions that the volunteers
have to work under? "We need to make it comfortable for them and thank
them afterwards," Crider said.

He also was intrigued by an idea introduced by El Paso Diablos (minor
league baseball team) General Manager Rick Parr, who spoke about
maximizing sponsorship through on-site promotions. As an example, Crider
said, Parr uses a promotional Sumo Wrestler event during baseball games,
where audience members don a huge, padded "Sumo" suit and try to
negotiate a short obstacle course. The winner has to knock his opponent
down three times while making his way through the course. Every step of
the promotion is tied to the sponsor, and Crider feels that something
such as this would work out really well here, especially during the

Crider said that the trip to El Paso, sponsored by the Pecos Chamber of
Commerce, "was surprising and enlightening. It was fun - well worth
taking off two days (from work)."

Olivas found guilty of importing dope

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 4, 1997 - Andres Herrera-Olivas was found guilty
yesterday after Senior Judge Lucius Bunton denied his motion to suppress
evidence of possession with intent to distribute 241.53 pounds of
marijuana and 500 grams of cocaine.

Eight other defendants entered guilty pleas to drug importation or
possession in the day-long federal court session.

Cayetao Beltra-Rios and Enue Perea de Beltran admitted importing 1,025
grams of heroin on Aug. 26.

Marijuana importation was the admission of Ernesto Chavez-alvarez and
Victor Manuel Montoya-Martinez.

Alejandro Paz Munoz, Gary Wayne Clark Sr., Patrick Jerome Hailey and
Salvador Garcia-Hinojos pleaded guilty to possession with intent to
distribute marijuana.

Judge Bunton set sentencing for January.

Girl to go to foster care while family evaluated

AUSTIN (AP) November 4, 1997 - The 9-year-old girl removed from a
rat-infested Austin home last week is headed for a foster home while her
family receives psychological examinations.

State officials say the girl, who has never been to school and doesn't
speak, continues to improve and there is no evidence that she was
physically abused.

"As far as we can tell, the family cared very much for this little
girl," said Linda Edwards, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of
Protective and Regulatory Services, which runs Child Protective
Services. "They were just unable to provide a safe, stable, nurturing

Ms. Edwards said the girl has made significant improvement and is
interacting with other children, sleeping well and enjoys being tickled.
Experts still are assessing the girl, who her family says is mentally

After an internal investigation, Child Protective Services admitted
Friday that they mishandled the girl's case two years ago when neighbors
initially called it to their attention.

"We do believe that the casework in 1995 was not as thorough as it could
have been and should have been," Ms. Edwards said.

State District Judge Scott McCown ruled that the girl will remain in
state custody while her family is evaluated and scheduled another
hearing for Dec. 19.

Randy Shell, one of the caseworkers, said a local couple with no
children has agreed to be her foster parents.

The girl's mother told McCown that media attention to the case has
caused her to lose her restaurant job.

Caseworkers removed the girl from the home Oct. 20 after a neighbor
reported seeing her frequently in a window but never outside.

Previous calls to the agency included neighbor's reports of hearing a
child screaming and of a foul smell coming from the house.

Richard LaVallo, a lawyer appointed for the girl, said the agency's
handling of the case showed a breakdown in the system.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Circulation rises at top newspapers

NEW YORK (AP) November 4, 1997 - Circulation at nine of the nation's top
15 newspapers increased over the past six months as the booming economy
attracted more readers and the effects of higher subscription prices
began to wear off.

The results reverse a general decline in circulation over the past two
years at major papers after many raised prices to offset higher
newsprint costs and cut back costly deliveries to outlying areas.

"They took the hit from the price increases earlier. Now they're
starting to show growth," said John Morton, a newspaper industry analyst
at Morton Research Inc. According to the data released Monday by the
Audit Bureau of Circulations, the largest circulation rise of the top 15
papers was a 13.9 percent gain at The Arizona Republic to 437,118. That
gain was aided by the closure of its sister paper, The Phoenix Gazette.

The second-biggest winner in the top 15 was USA Today, where circulation
increased 2.4 percent from a year earlier to 1.63 million.

Other gainers were The New York Times, up 0.3 percent at 1.07 million;
the Los Angeles Times, up 2.1 percent at 1.05 million; Newsday, up 0.7
percent at 568,914; the Houston Chronicle, up 0.7 percent at 549,101;
The Dallas Morning News, up 0.6 percent at 481,032; The Boston Globe, up
1.3 percent at 476,966; and the New York Post, up 1.5 percent at

Circulation at The Wall Street Journal, the nation's largest paper,
declined 0.5 percent at 1.77 million. The largest decliner in percentage
terms of the top 15 was the Chicago Tribune, down 4.0 percent at

The Newspaper Association of America, an industry trade group,
calculated that the bureau's figures equaled an overall circulation
decline of 0.3 percent. But 63.7 percent of papers with circulation over
200,000 reported gains, the association said.

"They're targeting their audiences better and going after readers," said
John Sturm, the trade group's president. He said many papers have
benefited from concentrating on their main circulation markets, even if
it meant cutting delivery to more outlying areas.

Other decliners in the top 15 were The Washington Post, down 1.5 percent
at 775,894; the Daily News of New York, down 1.8 percent at 721,256; and
the San Francisco Chronicle, down 0.6 percent at 484,218.

As circulation at big papers increased, major newspaper companies in the
past month have reported solid profits for the third quarter due to
lower newsprint prices and higher advertising revenue.

Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today and the nation's leading
newspaper group, said profits from its continuing operations jumped 37
percent, while Knight-Ridder, the second-largest newspaper group, said
profits from continuing operations rose 12 percent.

The New York Times Co., which also publishes The Boston Globe, reported
a profit of $46.2 million, reversing a loss of $47.7 million a year
earlier. The Washington Post Co. reported 29 percent higher profits.

Times Mirror Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times, reported that its
third-quarter profits rose 47 percent, while Chicago Tribune publisher
Tribune Co.'s profits jumped 58 percent.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Manuel Hernandez

Manuel C. Hernandez, 71, died Sunday, Nov. 2, 1997, at Odessa Medical
Center Hospital in Odessa.

A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Harkey Funeral Home
Chapel in Monahans.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 5, at St. John's Catholic
Church with burial in Monahans Cemetery.

Hernandez was born Sept. 14, 1926, in Presidio. She had lived in Barstow
since 1944 and was a Catholic.

Survivors include: one son, Manuel Hernandez, Jr. of Dallas; two
daughters, Delma Diaz of Odessa and Elfida Ramirez of Monahans; two
brothers, Julian Hernandez of Monahans and Antonio Hernandez of Pecos;
two sisters, Amelia Morales of Andrews and Maria Jesus Madrid of
Monahans; and five grandchildren.

Harkey Funeral Home of Monahans is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, November 4, 1997 - High Monday, 72, low this morning, 41. It's
going to be partly cloudy to cloudy and warm across all of Texas tonight
and Wednesday. It will be clear to partly in West Texas. Lows tonight
will be in the 30s and 40s in West Texas and in the 40s and 50s across
the rest of the state.Highs Wednesday will be in the 60s and 70s in West

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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