Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, April 14, 1998
Low voters turnout in today's runoffs
By MICHAEL HOLMES
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) - Republican voters today were picking their
nominee for attorney general, while both parties also tidied
up a little work left undone in the March 10 primary.
But state elections officials said they aren't expecting too
many of the state's 11.5 million registered voters to pitch
"Projecting statewide voter turnout for the April 14 races
is at best going to be unscientific and at worst a shot in
the dark," said Jane Dees, spokeswoman for Secretary of
State Al Gonzales.
"We are expecting 3 (percent) to 5 percent in the GOP," she
said Monday. No estimate was made for Democratic turnout,
since there is no statewide runoff in that party.
Republicans have three: attorney general and two seats on
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Also, three Democratic U.S. House runoffs and two GOP
congressional runoffs are being held, along with runoffs in
eight Texas House of Representative districts.
Ms. Dees said the secretary of state's office didn't tally
early voting that took place last week. Spot checks with
county clerks found a widespread lack of interest.
Travis County reported 4,701 ballots cast out of nearly
483,000 registered voters; Harris County reported 11,364 out
of about 1.9 million voters; Bexar County reported 15,781
out of 781,000 voters.
Turnout for the March 10 primary was so low it broke a
30-year-old record. Only 1.26 million people voted in March,
a turnout of just over 11 percent.
The highest-profile runoff campaign has been for the GOP attorney general nomination.
Incumbent Railroad Commissioner Barry Williamson and former
Texas Supreme Court justice John Cornyn squared off in a
bruising month-long bout. Williamson finished first with 38
percent and Cornyn second with 32 percent of the primary
Since then, each has tried to lay claim to the conservative
title and pick up supporters from third-place finisher Tom
Pauken. The winner advances to face Democrat Jim Mattox, who
was elected to the job in 1982 and 1986.
Officials of both Cornyn's and Williamson's campaigns said
they expected about 200,000 votes to be cast in that race.
In the other elections, Vicki Isaacks and Mike Keasler seek
the nomination in the GOP race for Place 1 on the Court of
Criminal Appeals, while Harvey Hudson and Cheryl Johnson
seek GOP Place 2 on the same bench.
In the state House runoffs, two incumbents still have
challengers. Rep. Gilbert Serna, D-El Paso, faces challenger Manny Najera, in District 75. Rep. Nancy Moffat, R-Southlake, faces Vicki Truitt, a physician recruiter from Keller, in District 98 near Fort Worth.
Heading the list of congressional runoffs is San Antonio's
District 20, where Democratic voters are deciding on their
nominee for the seat being vacated after 38 years by Rep.
Henry B. Gonzalez. The race pits former state judge Charlie
Gonzalez (Henry's son) against former San Antonio
councilwoman Maria Berriozabal. The winner meets Republican
James Walker in November.
County to purchase John Deere backhoe
By RICK L. SMITH
After county officials witnessed a live demonstration
between area John Deere, Ford and Caterpillar dealers'
industrial loader/backhoes recently, Reeves County employee
Russ Salcido recommended the county purchase the John Deere
machine and Reeves County Commissioners approved his
recommendation during their regular meeting yesterday.
Earlier this year the county sent out for bids for an
industrial loader/backhoe and three dealers responded. Cisco
Ford had the low bid at $47,570 with a three-year power
train warranty on a Ford tractor. West Texas Cat bid $50,453
with a five-year full machine warranty on a Caterpillar. Air
Master Equipment Corp. bid $47,753 with a three-year power
train warranty on a John Deere tractor.
While Cisco Ford had the low bid, commissioners questioned
whether the Ford tractor might end up costing the county
more money in the long run with additional maintenance
expense after the warrant expired.
In the March 9 commissioner's meeting Salcido reported that
all three tractors met the bid requirements, but he
recommended the county consider accepting the John Deere
bid. At that time Salcido said he had talked to officials at
the Texas Department of Transportation, Pecos City and
Madera Water who all have John Deere tractors and report
they are happy with their tractors.
All three dealers agreed to bring a tractor to Pecos for a
demonstration for the commissioners.
"I tested the tractors and I still recommend the John
Deere," Salcido said during yesterday's commissioners'
Salcido told commissioners that the John Deere machine was
superior to the others in overall construction, bucket size
"The emergency brake is automatically applied when the
engine is cutoff," Salcido said. "When the engine is started
the emergency brake must be manually released."
Salcido said he expected the John Deere backhoe would last
the county for 15 to 20 years.
In other business, commissioners approved another payment on
the day room addition to Reeves County Detention Center.
County Auditor Lynn Owens told commissioners that through
the last quarter the county had paid out about $800,000
towards the expansion. Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
informed commissioners that $3.4 million was in place to
make payments for the RCDC expansion.
Commissioners approved C M Welding Company to build bunk
beds for the RCDC at $295 per double bed for a total of
$49,432. The only other bid received for the job was $485
per bed for a total of $83,160, according to county
An agenda item on declaring RCDC unusable equipment and
tools as salvage or surplus was tabled because commissioners
had not received any information describing the equipment.
Commissioners approved a third contract between the RCDC and
Bell U Storage for records storage for the RCDC. Each
contract is between $50 and $75 per month.
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district will continue GED
testing for the RCDC as commissioners agreed to continue the
contract with the school district.
Commissioners decided to continue the meeting at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday to hear comment from Mari Maldanado, the grant
administrator for TCDC Housing Rehabilitation Contract
Galindo informed the commissioners that Maldanado would not
be available for the meeting Monday and she was not present.
Commissioner Herman Tarin had requested the commissioners be
updated on progress with the housing rehabilitation program.
"It's getting close to the deadline and I wanted an update
from the construction managers and the grant administrator,"
Commissioners approved an oil and gas lease agreement for
37.5 acres at $37.50 with Pecos Petroleum Company.
Bond and oath was approved for Libby Horsburgh to work with
the county auditor's office.
No action was taken after commissioners took a 45 minute
executive session to discuss personnel matters regarding
Departmental reports were approved.
In a discussion of budget amendments and line-item transfers
county auditor Owens informed commissioners that the Reeves
County Juvenile Detention program cost the county $160,000
more than it brought in annually.
In salary changes the sheriff's department has hired a
records clerk at $5.15 per hour and a jailer at $16,000
annually. The RCDC promoted an employee up to $24,000
annually and hired two correctional officer-1 at $17,000
annually each. The Juvenile Detention Center hired two part
time officers at $5.50 per hour. Reeves County Library hired
a man as a part time Internet technician at $5.50 per hour.
Minutes from the March 23 commissioners meeting were
No injuries in Friday accident
By CARA ALLIGOOD
An accident Friday evening resulted in a double impact, but
no one was taken to the hospital.
At 8:27 p.m., Mary Pena of Barstow was traveling west in the
600 block of West Third Street, and Sarah Lynn Armstrong,
16, 715 West Fifth Street, was stopped at the stop sign in
the 300 block of South Plum Street, facing north.
Armstrong stated that she looked both ways, according to the
police department accident report, then proceeded to cross
over to the 200 block of South Plum. She was struck by Pena.
After the initial impact, the force of the collision caused
the vehicles to make a second contact.
Armstrong said she did not see Pena approaching. Pena was
unable to avoid the collision. According to the report, the
Armstrong vehicle was driven away, and the Pena vehicle was
towed by its owner. There were no specimens taken from
either driver for alcohol/drug analysis.
Armstrong was cited for failure to yield right-of-way at a
stop sign. Driver inattention was listed as a factor
contributing to the accident on the report.
PBT-ISD chipping away at reserve funds
By CARA ALLIGOOD
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has lost at least one million
dollars each school year for the past two years and started
this year with only a little over a million dollars in
reserve. The school district isn't totally broke, but its
cash reserves are dwindling quickly, according to a
financial summary at last night's school board meeting.
"We have a shortfall for the rest of the school year," said
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Don Love. He said
that one problem was a $530,000 payment from the state that
the district didn't earn and will have to pay back.
Other problems are absences and student attrition. The
district receives money for each enrolled student who
attends school. When a student leaves the district or
doesn't attend school, the district loses money.
Love estimated that the district loses about $14 per day per
student that is not present in school. However, if the
student is only out part of the day for some type of medical
appointment (doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc.) and they
return that day with a written note from the doctor, they
can be counted as present for the day.
Also, the district is losing students each year. Love said
that between the 1992-93 school year and the number of
students projected for the 1998-99 school year, the district
has lost 362 students - 362 students over a 186 day school
year at a loss of $14 per student per day comes out to
$942,648 less in the district coffers. That doesn't even
consider money lost through absenteeism.
Love said that 156 students have left the high school since
the beginning of the school year, 77 of whom are known to
have moved. He said that even though the district has fewer
students, it has the same number of teachers.
"We are looking at some tough choices, maybe cuts through
attrition," Love said.
Other factors have adversely affected district finances as
well. During the 1997-98 school year the district planned on
receiving a payment of $9,325,807 from the state but only
earned $8,821,293, a difference of $504,514. The district's
projected state revenue for the 1998-99 school year is
$8,428,612, $392,681 less than this year.
The general fund balance rose from Aug. 31, 1991 until Aug.
31, 1995, and has gone down the past two years. The fund
balance was $3,380,950 as of Aug. 31, 1995. The district
overspent its budget by $818,889 and had a $183,424 food
service loss, as well as $41,000 in health insurance claims.
The fund balance was $1,252,921 as of Aug. 31, 1997, the
last date for which a fund balance is available.
Before the above loss, there was a $183,424 loss in 1995,
$112,494 in 1994 and $223,471 in 1993.
Business manager Cookie Canon explained that food service is
very labor intensive and never makes money. She said that
last year was "the best loss" to date.
Canon agreed with Love that most of the money that the
district has lost has been because of student attrition and
non-attendance. "Also, replacing the roof on (Pecos High
School) Building B cost us a lot of money," she said. Canon
said the roof repairs cost the district well over $200,000
in a single school year.
Board President Frank Perea said that the district also
needs to work with realistic figures when making its
projections. He said that the district is basing its figures
on 95 percent tax collection, but only collecting about 92
percent of the tax dollars it is owed.
The school district may also need to raise taxes to increase
state revenue. When a school district taxes at less than
$1.50 per $100 valuation, school officials said, the state
believes the district doesn't need full funding and the
district receives lower payments from the state. The local
tax rate has hovered around $1.42 for the past few years.
Red Bluff board gets Carlsbad pipeline pact
By JON FULBRIGHT
Red Bluff Water Power Control board members finally got to
see the long-awaited easement agreement with the city of
Carlsbad on Tuesday, during their regular monthly meeting in
The agreement is the first step in an effort by the district
to pump brine water from Malaga Bend, just north of the
Texas-New Mexico state line, into holding ponds, which would
reduce salt levels in Red Bluff Lake and the Pecos River.
"Carlsbad finally came through," said Red Bluff general
manager Jim Ed Miller, who told the board the agreement mut
be sent to the district's lawyers to see if any revisions
need to be made.
Carlsbad owns the land on which Red Bluff seeks to run a
pipeline from its pumping site to the ponds. Salt would then
be mined from the ponds under a contract with Sun West Salt
Co. of Loving, N.M.
Board members' main questions were about the $2 million in
liability insurance Carlsbad wanted Red Bluff to purchase as
part of the agreement, but agreed to allow president Randall
Hartman to sign the agreement before the next Red Bluff
meeting, if it is approved by the district's lawyers before
While water in Red Bluff Lake remains just below 100,000
acre/feet, a water quality report showed the salt content in
the Pecos River was 33 percent higher last month south of
Malaga Bend than it was to the north of the salt spring.
Miller said he would be in Roswell, N.M. this week to apply
for a well permit with the Interstate Stream Commission. "I
think maybe in this decade, before the millennium changes,
we might get this thing done," he said.
Miller also told the board that 35,000 acre/feet of the
40,000 allotted had been purchased by the seven irrigation
districts along the Pecos River. Ward County Irrigation
District #1, which includes the Barstow area, began using
the first of it's allotment in late March, though Miller
said due to the dry irrigation ditches, about 70 percent of
the 262 acre/feet of water was lost on its way downstream.
"The first few days when the ditches are dry, they always
lose a lot more," Miller said.
While reviewing accounts payable for the month, board
members were told an $8,579.79 bill to the Brown & Potts law
firm was for work on the Pecos River pupfish situation.
Initial hearings were held in New Mexico on designating the
fish an endangered species, a move Red Bluff opposes.
"They (the federal government) won't do a specific location
if they designate it. It will be for the whole river.
They'll make you release water, and they'll tell you to
release it all during the year," Miller said.
Marine biologist Bart Reid of Imperial told the board last
month the pupfish could be found at several sites in New
Mexico, but only one in Texas, along Screwbean Draw just
south of Red Bluff Dam.
However, Reid added the was a question of whether or not the
fish was actually native to the Pecos River, or if high salt
levels, caused by lower water releases from New Mexico,
allowed the pupfish to migrate into the Pecos River during
the period from the 1940s through the early 1980s.
The lawyers presented the district's case at the hearings,
and Miller said the government will continue to take
comments on the situation through Nov. 20, 1998.
A payment of $1,502.78 and a $585 bill from Reid for his
work were also among those approved by the board.
Board members discussed, but took no action on selecting
trees to plant as a windbreak along Red Bluff Lake. They
also discussed repairing gates at Red Bluff Dam, but decided
to delay any action until the Malaga Bend pumping project is
Religious play touches many hearts
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Almost 300 persons of all ages have responded at the close
of the stage presentation of "Heaven's Gates and Hell's
Flames" at the Pecos High School auditorium Sunday and
Ten Pecos churches that are sponsoring the powerful drama
and serving as actors, counselors and ushers will follow up
on those decisions and offer a place of worship and service
with their congregations.
Set at the gate to Heaven, the drama features individuals
and small groups of people as they discuss spiritual matters
just before their deaths. Waking up at Heaven's gate, they
are either ushered into Heaven by Jesus or dragged into Hell
by the Devil and his demons.
Matt Williamson, pastor of Abundant Life, plays "Pete," a
construction worker who witnesses to "Butch," a co-worker,
during their lunch hour. Just after Butch prays to accept
Jesus as his savior and Lord, a wall falls on them and they
wake up at the silver-and gold plated steps into Heaven.
Butch is a little puzzled by the angels and the Book of
Life, which the chief angel presides over. He nudges his
friend for an explanation, and Pete immediately recognizes
Heaven. Rejoicing, Pete dances around the stage, praising
God while Butch watches with a puzzled look on his face.
After Pete runs up the steps into Jesus' arms, Butch queries
the angel with the book. "Look under recent entries," he
said, and the angel welcomes him into Heaven. Butch is
played by Rudy Martinez, a member of Williamson's church.
Williamson said that Greer Willis, First Baptist Church
pastor, showed video clips of the drama at Abundant Life and
invited them to participate.
"Our members are actors, set men, angels, counselors, ushers
and intercessors," Williamson said.
Intercessors meet in a prayer room behind the stage an hour
before the play and continue praying throughout the
presentation and invitation at the close.
After the Sunday night performance, when 97 persons
responded, including many youth, Pecos High School was abuzz
on Monday, teachers said.
"Everybody is talking about it," Williamson said. "We hope
to have a full house tonight."
Not only are the responses encouraging, Williamson said the
production has drawn Pecos churches together like never
before. "The churches have come together as one," he said.
"Bonds are being formed right now that will never be broken."
The primary benefit is renewal, revival and salvation, but
unity is a secondary benefit, Williamson said.
In fact, he is already planning an ecumenical effort on May
30, called "March for Jesus," which will be part of a
The final "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames" performance is
set for 7 p.m. today. There is no admission charge, and no
offering is taken. Videotapes of the drama in both English
and Spanish are on sale to the public, along with T-shirts,
audiotapes and caps.
Proceeds from the sale support the three-person team that
provides the set, sound effects and props.
Early voting begins tomorrow
By ROSIE FLORES
Early voting will begin tomorrow for the city, school and
Voting sites will again be consolidated and will be held
from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Community Center, 508 S.
Oak, next door to the Pecos Police Department.
Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford has filed for
re-election in the city elections and has a challenger,
Incumbents Ricky Herrera and Danny Rodriguez are both
seeking another term on the council. Herrera and Rodriguez
are seeking at-large positions and will be unopposed.
In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board race, positions up for
election include three full-year terms currently held by
Linda Gholson, Earl Bates and Frank Perea.
In that race, five candidates will be seeking a place,
including Frank Perea, Louis Matta, Earl Bates, Brent Shaw
and Frank Rodriguez.
The hospital board seats will be open for Districts 1 and 3,
along with the at-large seat for which all Reeves County
voters are eligible to cast ballots. These positions are
currently held by, respectively, Chel Flores, Jesus Prieto
and Greg Luna.
Reeves County Hospital District Board Vice President Greg
Luna is unopposed for the at-large position on the board.
Precinct 3 incumbent Jesus Prieto will face challenger Mike
Stallard. Chel Flores is unopposed in Precinct 1.
In Barstow, city council incumbents, Robert Ortega and Benny
Avila have filed, while Salvador Villalobos has filed for
In Balmorhea, school board positions up will be those
currently held by Paul Ward and Armando Mondragon. Both Ward
and Mondragon have filed and will be challenged by Virgil
In the city elections, positions available will be those of
mayor, a position held by Ismael Rodriguez and two council
positions, held by Rosendo Carrasco and Rosendo Galindo.
In that race, incumbent Ismael Rodriguez will be unopposed
in his bid for re-election. Two positions on that council
are available with three candidates including Rosendo
Galindo, Tami Marmillion and Danny Reynolds.
In Toyah, positions open are those of the mayor, a position
unoccupied at this time and council positions, held by
Howard Dennett and Linda Compton.
The mayor's position is being sought by Paul Budlong and
Four people will be vying for the two council positions
available. Those include Howard Dennett, Jana McHorse, Bart
F. Sanchez and Clara McConnell.
Early voting will continue until April 28 and election day
has been set for May 2.
Roberto DeAnda, Sr.
Roberto J. DeAnda, Sr., of El Paso, died Sunday, April 12,
1998, at Columbian West Medical Center Hospital.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 14, at
Martin Orr and McDaniel Funeral Home in El Paso.
Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, at San Antonio de
Paudo Catholic Church with burial at Ft. Bliss cemetery.
DeAnda was born in Marfa, on April 23, 1918, and moved to El
Paso in 1955. He served in the U.S. Marines during World War
Survivors include: his wife, Hilaria DeAnda of El Paso; two
sons, Roberto J. DeAnda Jr. and Oscar DeAnda of El Paso; one
daughter, Marina Barroza of El Paso; three sisters,
Enrequeta Chavira of Los Angeles, Calif., Merced Segovia and
Elisa Ornelas of Pecos; and five grandchildren.
Linda Carpenter Faulkner, 53, of Pecos, died Sunday, April
12, 1998, at Sierra Medical Center in El Paso.
Services will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, at
First United Methodist Church with Rev. Bruce Abbott
officiating. Burial will be in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.
Faulkner was born Oct. 5, 1944, in El Paso. She was a
teacher for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and a Methodist.
Survivors include: her husband, Bobby Faulkner of Pecos; one
daughter, April Jean Hinojos of Kileen; her parents, A.J.
and Marion Carpenter of Pecos; one sister, Nancy Tyler of El
Paso; and one granddaughter.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Monday, 85, low this morning, 46. Skies were expected
to be cloudy over much of Texas today as strong winds aloft
induced Gulf moisture northward. Low-level cloudiness began
moving into North Texas about 3 a.m. Light fog developed
across the hill country, Southeast Texas and the coastal
plains. Skies remained clear across West Texas. Early
morning temperatures across West Texas ranged from 39 at
Dalhart to 69 at Sanderson. Winds overnight were southeast
to southwest at 5 to 10 mph. A trough of low pressure was in
place along the Texas-New Mexico border early today from the
Panhandle to the Big Bend. Some high cloudiness was bringing
fair to partly cloudy skies to parts of the South Plains and
the upper Trans Pecos with mostly clear skies elsewhere.
24-hour weather info available - See the Pecos Enterprise
Website on the Internet at http://www.pecos.net/news for
continual radar weather coverage. Click on the "News" page
and look for the "Weather" link.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise