Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
October 8, 1998
Families face graffiti penalties
Graffiti artists, their parents and legal guardians face
equal punishment for spray paint vandalism, warn Monahans
Police Chief Charles Sebastian and County Judge Sam G.
And that punishment will come swiftly, says the chief and
the judge. Parents, guardians and their vandal children will
remedy the damage with new paint and elbow grease as soon as
their graffiti-spraying off spring are identified and found
guilty in Massey's court. Sebastian notes this is no idle
threat. Massey, who is the county juvenile judge, already
has put parents and guardians to work with their miscreant
Based on the past two weeks, that identification is coming
Sebastian made the statements in the wake of a police
crackdown on the young spray paint vandals. Officers have
dozens of graffiti artists. The first juvenile petitions
charging vandalism and related crimes, including engaging
in a criminal enterprise, were filed last week. In addition,
two young adults also await charges. Investigators believe
they already have caught those responsible for more than 90
percent of the late Summer vandalism in the Ward County seat.
Sebastian notes a Graffiti Task Force meeting was held on
Wednesday, Sept. 23, in the Ward County Convention Center.
County Judge Sam G. Massey called the conference of Monahans
youth and local law enforcement agencies to determine ways
to curb and prevent graffiti vandalism in Monahans.
Authorities agree tougher measures are the first step
toward resolving the problem.
That is why parents, legal guardians and their children
will share equally in punishment for the crime.
Parents will be required to paint over the graffiti at their
"Parents are responsible by law for the action of their
children," Sebastian says.
Law enforcers want the graffiti covered as quickly as
possible. Massey and Sebastian say they have a zero
tolerance level for such property damage - and that policy
includes juveniles and those responsible for them.
"Someone has to make restitution to the victims," Sebastian
says. "The parents and the guardians will make that
County Judge Massey says the main goal is to make the
community aware that graffiti vandalism is a crime that is
and will be punished.
"We need community cooperation," says Massey. "We encourage
people to be involved and report incidents."
Massey says the recent graffiti splurge in Monahans is only
the tip of the iceberg for troubled children who must be
"We want to encourage them to head another direction," says
the county judge. "There are tons of activities for kids. We
want to expose kids to a better, more productive way of
Tangled tale staggers to close
Sometime before Halloween the Lawrence Hahn and family
delinquent tax case in Ward County is scheduled finally to
stagger to an end after a dozen years.
The case involves hundreds and hundreds of thousands of
dollars in once delinquent taxes which never will be
collected. No one really knows how much. That figure is
lost in a mass of bankruptcy court filings and attempts by
the Hahns to purchase properties from a widow, who proved to
be far from defenseless when she transferred Hahn-linked
land to the governments of Ward County, the City of Monahans
and the Wickett-Pyote-School district.
It is a tangled tale that began in the mist of the Oil
Patch bust in 1986. It continued with the subsequent filing
of bankruptcy proceedings by the Hahn's in the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas based in
According to public records, court documents and
not-for-attribution interviews, this is what happened.
Two court orders by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald King set
the stage for the end of the sometimes bizarre episode two
years after King discharged the case that had been before
him for a decade. The Hahns have been paying property taxes
in Ward County since then.
The city, county and school district were nearly compelled
by circumstances to accept a brokered settlement which
allows the local governmental bodies to resolve and close
the Hahn Affair..
The land at issue essentially runs from West of the Lowe's
Supermarket parking lot in Monahans to the first Interstate
20 bypass and then extends South in the approximate area of
the bypass to the other side of Interstate 20. It all is
prime development land which became an outlaw dumping ground
for trash as the issue wound its way through the bankruptcy
court and assorted attorneys. Once a prominent Ward
County family, the Hahns now are based in Midland.
This is the status of the case.
-City Council members, county commissioners and school
district trustees approved the proposed settlement after
executive session consultations this Summer with Russell N.
McInturff, the lawyer whose Odessa firm has represented all
three since the controversy began.
-McInturff is now preparing the documents that will finalize
the essentially court-ordered settlement.
-Under the settlement plan, the county, city and school
district will become owners of a little less than a third of
the Hahn properties at issue. The value of that 30.8 percent
of the properties which goes to the taxing entities is
estimated at $109,928. The estimated value of all the
properties, nearly 70 percent which is retained by the
Hahns, is $339,430.
It all started, according to various documents, in the early
1980s when the Oil Field was booming. At that time, members
of the Hahn family and the late Holt Magee bought several
properties in Ward County close or adjacent to the
Interstate 20 right of way.
Then came the bust forcing the Hahns into bankruptcy.
Mortgage payments and payment of taxes stopped. Attempts to
include Magee's holding in the bankruptcy failed when the
court held that Magee had not filed bankruptcy and that his
portion of the properties was held by him alone.
As the bankruptcy continued in the courts, Magee died.
Mrs. Magee was approached by the Hahns, whose taxable values
on the Ward County land already had been lowered by the
bankruptcy court. They wanted to buy the land Mrs. Magee had
inherited from her husband.
Mrs. Magee said no. Instead, she offered her portion of the
land to the county, city and school district.
She knew the value of the land she held was more than the
delinquent taxes due and apparently felt the Hahns, if they
acquired her land, would move to have its value lowered as
they were in the process of doing in the bankruptcy court.
She apparently also felt granting an interest to the Ward
County taxing entites would give Ward County some control
over any eventual sale of the properties.
After the Hahn bankruptcy left the court in 1996, the Hahns
and their attorneys began the process to separate the
properties so they would not be owned jointly with the
county, the city and the school district.
Months of offer and counter offer continued until this
Spring when the Hahn lawyers said the county, city and
school district could either partition on their latest
offer or the Hahns would go to court and let a judge decide
Burn ban dampens bonfire
Lobo Drive-In Theatre once was in business in the 2700
block of South Stockton.
"There will not be a football booster meeting on this
evening so that the members may enjoy the bon fire," says a
statement from the high school.
"The public is welcome to attend the bon fire to show their
support of the Loboes."
Members of the Ward County Commissioners Court are scheduled
to give final approval for the bon fire at their meeting on
Monday, Oct. 12.
Members of the Monahans Volunteer Fire Department are
scheduled to be present to guard against any problems.
The county continues under a burn ban enacted because of
Friday at 4 p.m., the Homecoming parade is scheduled to
It will start in front of the high school and travel North
on Betty Avenue to Sealy Avenue where the parade route will
turn right and continue to Main Street.
At Main, the parade turns right and travels South to
K-Bob's Restaurant where the parade turns right and returns
to the high school.
"Once again, the public is encouraged to watch the
Homecoming Parade," says a school statement.
Monahans High meets Presidio in the Homecoming football game
on Friday night.
Pregame ceremonies start at 7:10 p.m. Kick off is at 7:30
Bonfire ignites homecoming week
The first Monahans High Lobo Homecoming Bon Fire in at least
three years will ignite Homecoming Week 1998 next week.
School officials say the bon fire is scheduled to start at
8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, on South Stockton Avenue
where the old
Cutbirths own unclaimed property
AUSTIN - Mayor David Cutbirth and brother Henry are among a
few Monahans citizens, who have unclaimed property listed
with State Comptroller John Sharp.
Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans also is on the list.
What the unclaimed property might be remains unknown until
those on the list or officials of Ward Memorial Hospital
contact Sharp in Austin. What ever it is, it is worth at
"I have no idea what it is," says the mayor.
He planned to call 1-800-654-3463 as soon as possible to
find out. Any of the others on the Monahans list can call
the same number.
"There is no deadline to file a claim; the money will be
here until the rightful owner is found," says Sharp.
The Comptroller is committed to reuniting Texans with
hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property, which
includes at least $100 in forgotten cash, stocks or contents
of safe deposit boxes.
The twenty-seven other lost recepients are, as follows:
Jim Ables, Nancy Ables, Tammy L. Ables, Paul T. Carr, Norman
E. Childress, Bobby Joe Gray, Jeffery C. Hayes, Bythel
Martin, Clinton T. McMullen, Billy C. Midlebrooks, Ricky
Munoz, Dolores S. Najar, Robert M. Oliver, Helen and E.D.
Pollard, R.D.S., Leon Reynolds, Juan L. Sanchez, Jr.,
Lawrence Schuster, Delton E. Shirley Soccoro Solis, Theola
Starkey, Martha E. Thompson, Ward Memorial Hospital, Russell
Wilder, and Mike & Gina Williams.
Constituents may call the State Comptroller's Office in
Austin toll-free at 1-800-654-3463 to inquire about
unclaimed property, or process their claims electronically
on line through their website at
Minors tippling more these days
Youth are receiving more citations for minor-in-possession
of prohibited substances than ever before, says Ward
County's Justices of the Peace.
Precinct One JP Pasqual Olibas calls the problem serious.
Precinct Two JP Ronold Ray says the increase has come since
the close of school last Spring.
"Over 100 cases of MIPs have come through my office in 1998.
I just want the parents and Monahans High School to be
aware of the problem," Olibas says.
Ray reports more than 50 such cases in his court.
Most of the MIP charges so far this year involve alcohol.
The MIP-Tobacco law, effective on Sept. 1, is too new to
indicate any kind of a trend.
Olibas believes at least one reason for the increase in
citations may be ignorance of the law by teen-agers, their
parnts or their guardians.
Ignorance of the law, Olibas notes, is not a defense.
Olibas says Texas Senate Bill 35, which became law in
September of 1997, requires strict punishment for minors
charged with alcohol related offenses.
The law stipulates:
First time offenders face the following: A fine of up to
$500, eight to 12 hours of community service, a 30 day
license suspension and an alcohol awareness class.
Second time offenders receive the same fine possibilities,
20-40 hours of community service, a 60 day license
suspension and possibly an alcohol awareness class.
Third time offenders receive a fine of $250-$2,000, a 180
day license suspension, possibly an alcohol awareness class
and up to 180 days in jail.
The same rules apply to minors who are publicly intoxicated.
Parents or guardians are required to accompany their
children, if 17 years old or younger, when the youth
answers a summons.
Olibas says many are not aware of the severity of the
charges because the MIP laws are fairly new, Young adults
who do not fulfil their JP court duties are transferred to
state juvenile authorities.
Star gazing party set for Sandhills
Friends of the Monahans Sandhills State Park trustees and
the West Texas Astronomy Club will co-host a star gazing
party at Monahans Sandhills State Park Friday night, Oct.
23, according to a statement released by the park
"Last year the event was attended by over 150 people of all
ages interested in gazing into the night sky," says Kevin
Slay, chair of the event. "The West Texas astronomers will
bring back many of the fine telescopes used during last
year's event and we want to welcome everyone to join us for
this wonderful event at the park."
The telescopes are to be set up in the parking areas just
beyond the railroad section shack, the park headquarters
office pending the completion of remodeling and
establishing exhibits at the Dunagan Visitor's Center. More
than $1million in park enhancements are nearing completion.
Viewing starts at dusk about 7 p.m..
Says Slay: "We had a great time last year looking at Venus,
Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, star nebulas and clusters. I hope
everyone will come out; it is truly an eye opening
The star party in the Sandhills five miles East of Monahans
off Interstate 20 is free. If clouds obscure the stars, the
party will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Summer amnesty is over
TU Electric's Monahans Area Manager Kevin Slay wants
customers delinquent in their electric bills to call TU
quickly now that the Summer amnesty on electric bill
payments is over.
Otherwise, customers, who are three months behind in
payments, face the eventual loss of electrical power at
their homes, Slay says.
TU had agreed with an order by the state's Public Utility
Commission that said power could not be terminated to any
delinquent customer until Sept. 30.
The reason was the potential ill effect on persons during
the Long Hot Summer of 1998.
"TU Electric stresses the importance of customers either
paying their bills or making a telephone call to make
payment arrangements. Disconnecting any customer is the last
thing the company wants," says Slay.
The TU telephone number to call for those arrangements is
System wide, more than 600,000 TU Electric customer are late
in paying their Summer bills. About 150,000 persons with
electric bills more than two months old have not contacted
TU. Slay says TU wants to make payment agreements.
"We will begin working about 12,000 past due orders on
customers system wide that are over three months past due
and have not taken any action immediately," says Slay.
Slay notes that customers whose services will be terminated
will have been contacted by TU Electric at least three times.
"Currently, we only have five or six customers in the Ward
County area that we will probably disconnect this week,"
But that does not have to happen, the TU executive
"TU will continue to work with its customers to arrange
payment plans," says Slay. "No reasonable arrangement plan
will be rejected."
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.