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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans-Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


January 19, 1998

Commissioners shocked by budget shortage

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 1998 - Reeves County Commissioners received a shock
last week when they learned that a housing rehabilitation project that
they were told the day before was well under budget was actually over

Last Monday the commissioner's court recessed with the understanding
that they would return Tuesday to award bids for the last homes on TCDP
Housing Rehabilitation Contract #71-160, leaving the $350,000 program
with about $17,000 to cover any last minute change orders.

On Monday the commissioners awarded Villareal Construction
rehabilitation contracts on the Ismael Dutchover project at $25,990 and
the A. Sanchez project at $14,220. Villareal was low bidder on both of
those housing rehabilitation projects.

Also on Monday, Earnest Garcia Sr. was awarded the D.D. Lyles housing
rehabilitation project as the low bidder at $17,100.

County commissioners met at 5 p.m. Tuesday to consider awarding bids on
the C. Muniz, A. Muniz and B. Esparza projects. Commissioners recessed
Monday expecting to award those contracts to companies other than the
low bidders and needed to have the low bidders present Tuesday when they
made the awards. Reeves County Housing Rehabilitation Inspector Norman
Roman recommended the contracts go to companies other than the low
bidder because the low bidder had a poor record of job completion in the

However, when the commissioners gathered Tuesday no representatives of
the low bidders were present and grant administrator Mari Maldonado said
she was unable to contact them.

"They have not been notified," Maldonado said. "They were not at the job
site or at home."

Commissioner Bernardo Martinez responded, "Because of the seriousness of
this situation I would have went to his house and waited in my car for

Because the low bidder on the projects in question is already behind on
another house in the rehabilitation project county officials decided
that the company could be held in breach of contract and the remaining
bids awarded without representatives from the low bidder present.

After awarding the A. Muniz ($7,490) and B. Esparza ($28,980) projects
to Villareal Construction and the C. Muniz ($28,790) project to Ernest
Garcia Tuesday commissioners began to discuss the $17,000 left in the
project when housing inspector Roman informed the court that instead of
having $17,000 surplus the project was over budget by at least $17,000
and insisted that commissioners had misunderstood him and Maldonado

When commissioners recovered from the shock of this turn of events they
requested grant administrator Maldonado to show them the figures for the
$350,000 rehabilitation project that indicated the shortage. Maldonado
did not have the paperwork with her to explain the situation to the
commissioners. The court recessed again while Maldonado retrieved the
necessary paperwork from her office.

When Maldonado returned to the court house with the project paperwork
she and County Judge Jimmy Galindo took a calculator to the figures for
about 45 minutes to bring them up-to-date.

When Galindo brought the commissioners meeting back to order he said
that there was not enough money left in the project budget to fund the
three housing rehabilitation projects the commissioners had just awarded
and the court rescinded the three projects.

"We now have $15,680 to cover inspection costs and $6,000 left in
administration funds to end the program," Galindo said. "It's important
for Ms. Maldonado to notify these families we are unable to provide
funding for projects one, two and four. We will put them at the top of
the list for future projects."

(This story was delayed due to a death in the family of Rick L. Smith)

Local candidates speak to community

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 1998 - Eloquent speakers were combined with a hearty
supper Friday evening as political candidates introduced themselves to
about 150 members of the community.

A chili supper was held at the Reeves County Civic Center in conjunction
with the drawing for a place on the ballot for the March Primary

The supper was hosted by the Democratic Party in Reeves County. A place
was drawn for those candidates not on hand for the event.

In the county judge's race, Linda Gholson, will appear first on the
ballot with incumbent Jimmy B. Galindo's name second.

Gholson told the large crowd, that she has been involved in trying to
better the community for a very long time and briefly spoke about her
many achievements.

"First I want to dispute some rumors that have been going around," said

Gholson went on to say that, if elected, she does not plan to combine
the Reeves County Detention Center with the Sheriff's Department, nor
does she plan to rescind the raises RCDC employees received recently.
She also told the group that the facility (RCDC) will not be closed,
stating, "Why would I want to close down a facility with so many

Under her office all employees will be treated fairly and will be given
a chance to voice their opinions without fear of retaliation, she said.

"I will maintain a positive attitude and work toward unity," said
Gholson. "My goal is to have a good government for all citizens."

Gholson told the group, that if they have any questions or anything to
discuss to ask her, "I am my own spokeperson, if you have a concern, ask
me, talk to me. I will keep a fair, rational, ethical office with high
moral standards."

Gholson questioned why the in-county expense money for the judge was
$4,800 four years ago while now it is $9,600. "This last year it went up
that much, without any documentation, no receipts nothing," she said.

Current Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told the group, "My term in
office has been focused on building a future in our hometown."

Galindo outlined his many accomplishments while serving as county judge
for the past four years.

"We've made great strides in operating Reeves County and the Reeves
County Detention Center. In the future we hope to see one of the best
recreational facilities in West Texas," said Galindo.

Galindo has been trying to develop a county recreational facility in
conjunction with the school district and the city.

Galindo stated that serving as county judge has been one of the most
challenging experiences in his life. "When I first started, we had a
$800,000 deficit, we had to make adjustments and through teamwork and
cooperation lowered taxes two years in a row and gave employees
well-deserved raises," he said.

"We've done more with less," Galindo said.

Sheriff's Department and police officers have brand new vehicles this
year, which have been needed for many years, according to Galindo.

"We've made all these things possible and the Reeves County Detention
Center is one of the best employers in this county," said Galindo.

Galindo passed out literature supporting his speech and told the group
that 40 new jobs will soon be implemented at the RCDC with the
completion of the expansion project.

In the district clerk's race, Catarina "Kathy" Ybarra's name will appear
first; Rosemary Chabarria second and incumbent Juana Jaquez, third.

Ybarra and Jaquez were not on hand Friday.

Chabarria told the crowd that her present position in the Reeves County
Tax-Assessor Collector's office offers her the opportunity to deal with
many people and many situations.

"I'm well aware of the functions of the district clerk," said Chabarria.
"I feel I am a very responsible person who takes her duties seriously,"
she said.

Chabarria read out a quote to the audience, " If you do not reach beyond
yourself, you will not grow' and that's what I try to do," she said.

Pat Tarin spoke on behalf of Juana Jaquez, who was called away on a
family emergency. "I know she strives to help everyone the best she can
and knows her office and duties well," she said.

Dianne Florez will appear first on the ballot, in the county clerk's

Florez outlined her many duties and the accomplisments she has attained
during her four years as county clerk. "I have been continuing with my
education and feel proud of my accomplishments," she said.

"My next goal is to become the local registrar for the county, to
provide valuable documents for everyone," she said. "Being the local
registrar, I can provide documents for all those born in Texas," she

Florez' opponent, Kristina Talamantes, stated that, if elected, the
county clerk's office would remain open during the lunch hour, when many
individuals run errans.

"This would better serve the community," said Talamantes.

Her position as legal secretary for a local attorney gives her the
background and education needed to deal with the county clerk's office,
according to Talamantes.

"I will provide kind, timely and accurate service for everyone," she

In the county treasurer's office, Terry Terrazas will appear first on
the ballot. Her banking experience will help her in the duties needed to
be treasurer of the county, she said. "I have experience in dealing with
millions of dollars, and I believe my background will help in this
office," she said.

Linda Clark, incumbent, outlined the treasurer's many duties and stated
that she has run the office in a very efficient and professional manner.
Her employment in that office has made her aware of the many duties and
services this office provides, according to Clark.

Incumbent Bernardo Martinez, will appear first on the ballot in the
Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 4 race.

Martinez reminded the group that he has been commissioner for the past
20 years.

"There's a young man who stated in his campaign cards, that it's time
for a change," said Martinez. "Well, the people made that change in
1978," he said.

Martinez stated that yes, he will monitor the treasurer's office and
told the group that while he was in office, taxes had been lowered and
more jobs provided, thanks to the RCDC.

"I believe in putting the people first, they're the ones that count, and
not to let anything personal interfere," he said.

Mari Maldonado will appear second on the ballot, under the commissioners
precinct four race.

Maldonado told the group, "In short, I know how things work and I want
to help."

Maldonado was referring to the fact that she is a county employee, has
an education and continues to improve herself. "I want to be your voice,
simple but sincere," she said.

Maldonado told the group she wanted to work together, "I ask you what
can we do together." One of her main goals is to provide a better
community for the youth and she stated that through unity a lot could be

Gilbert "Hivi" Rayos, was absent from the event and his sister and
treasurer, Lorina Martinez gave a brief speech for him. "I don't know
what my brother would tell you today, but I do know he wants what is
best for the community," she said.

"He has helped a lot of people and will continue to do so," said
Martinez. "He wants to work with you and work for the people," she said.

Guest speaker for the event was Jorge Ramirez, executive director of the
Texas Democratic Party.

He outlined the many aspects of the Democratic Party and the many things
they do to help people.

Smuggling case ends in mistrial

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 19, 1998 - Federal court jurors heard the testimony twice
in a marijuana smuggling trial Thursday and Friday, then deadlocked 6-6,
forcing a mistrial.

At issue was whether or not two young Mexican men, Hector Felipe
Alarcon-Luna, 24, and Julio Cesar Alarcon-Luna, 21, backpacked about 50
pounds of marijuana across the Rio Grande Oct. 9, 1997.

Border Patrol agents testified they tracked the Alarcons and two other
men north from near the Rio Grande south of Van Horn, calling in a
helicopter to assist in locating them.

After the helicopter arrived in the area, the four men were arrested and
four duffle bags filled with more than 100 pounds of marijuana were
found nearby.

Serbando Galaz-Bustos, 42, who gave an address in Casas Grandes, Mex.,
and Jose Manuel Marquez-Nunez, 27, pleaded guilty Monday and testified
against their companions.

However, the Alarcons denied crossing with Galaz and Marquez. They
claimed to be on the way to Odessa in search of work and used a popular
crossing on the Rio Grande.

The jury asked to hear the taped testimony of Border Patrol Agent
Stephen Reyna, who first noticed four sets of tracks crossing a dirt
road from south to north. He described the unique markings on each
track, which later were matched up to athletic shoes and boots the
defendants were wearing when apprehended.

The jury also asked for a repeat of some prosecution testimony by Galaz
and defense testimony by Hector Alarcon.

Defense attorneys Mary Stillinger and Christopher Antcliff gave
convincing closing arguments, planting doubt in the jurors' minds about
the prosecution's claims.

Fred Brighman of Alpine prosecuted for the goverment.

Senior Judge Lucius Bunton declared a mistrial about mid-afternoon
Friday when the jury announced they were hopelessly deadlocked. The
trial closed out a week of trials, guilty pleas and sentencings.

District Judge Royal Furgeson will hold his monthly docket Tuesday,
since today is a federal holiday.

Housing board fails to draw quorum

PECOS, January 19, 1998 - The Pecos Housing Authority and Farm Labor
Housing Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Friday,
January 16 was cancelled due to a lack of quorum. Commissioners Martin
and Golden were present. Commissioners Perea and Winkles were unable to
attend due to business obligations. Commissioner Flores was unable to
attend due to family obligations.

The meeting will probably be rescheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23,
according to Nellie Gomez, Executive Director of the Authority.


Petra Gonzales

Services are incomplete for Petra Gonzales, 67, who died Monday, Jan.
19, 1998, at the Pecos Nursing Home.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Helen Gregory

Services are incomplete for Helen Martin Gregory, 79, who died Sunday,
Jan. 18, 1998, at her home in Pecos.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, January 19, 1998 - High Sunday, 71, low this morning, 33. The
weak cold front that moved across Texas on Sunday will be losing its
grip on the state tonight and southerly winds return and temperatures
begin climbing. The front moved into the Gulf of Mexico southeast of
Brownsville before dawn today. It will be clear to partly cloudy in West
Texas with clouds again increasing on Tuesday. Clouds will be increasing
in North Texas tonight with skies becoming mostly cloudy on Tuesday. It
will be windy in western and central areas. It will be mostly sunny
across South Texas through Tuesday, but it will be windy this evening.
Lows tonight will be in the 20s and 30s in West Texas, the 40s across
North Texas and in the 40s and 50s in South Texas. Highs Tuesday will be
in the 50s and 60s in West Texas with some temperatures in the Big Bend
area climbing into the upper 70s, in the 60s in North Texas and in the
60s and 70s in South Texas. Some fog was reported in the Brownsville
area early today. The rest of the state had partly cloudy skies.

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