Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, August 30, 1999
House blaze on east side investigated
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 30, 1999 -- An early morning fire destroyed a house on the
east side of town, but no injuries were reported.
Firefighters reported to the scene, in the 500 block of East 13th Street,
at about 4:45 a.m.
The fire could be seen from the west side of Pecos and quickly engulfed
the front rooms of the house, as flames shot 30 feet into the air.
"It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to control the fire," said
Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Pena.
Four fire units responded to the fire, which consumed about two thirds
of the house, which did not have any electricity.
"We don't know if someone actually lived there, or was being used as
a hangout, since there was no electricity to the house," said Pena.
The hangout was nicknamed, "The Tree," and several individuals would
gather at the site.
Everything collapsed, including the roof, but the kitchen area did not
sustain as much damage as the rest of the house, according to Pena.
The fire is still under investigation by Pecos Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.
"It's not known at this time what caused the fire or if it was an accident,
caused by someone who hangs out there," said Pena.
Pecos hosts Municipal League meeting
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Aug. 30, 1999 -- Pecos cantaloupe fresh from the field, cantaloupe
cake and cantaloupe ice cream was the perfect complement to a steak dinner
Friday night for the quarterly Texas Municipal League meeting at Swiss
Although the cantaloupe harvest has ended for the year, Randy Taylor
went to the fields and gathered the famous fruit especially for the meeting,
said Mayor Dot Stafford.
Stafford welcomed representatives from cities all across TMS's Region
4 to their quarterly meeting.
"This is such a good representation," Stafford said. "There is one person
or a couple from about every city in the district. We have been looking
forward to this day."
Russell Smith Sr., Kermit city councilman and Region 4 vice president,
responded to the welcome and introduced fellow officers Howard McKissack,
Fort Stockton mayor; and Lorina Marquez, Monahans city secretary.
President David Cuthbirt, Monahans mayor, was ill and unable to attend,
Larry and Martha Fleming of Andrews were present. He was water/sewer
superintendent in Pecos before moving to Andrews to take a similar position.
Stafford introduced Alan Bojorquez, assistant general counsel for TML
in Austin. He summarized the 1999 Legislative session as it pertains to
Senate Bill 89 will have the most impact on cities, he said.
"It is the biggest change in annexation reform in 30 years," Bojorques
said. "It was a very difficult bill to pass."
In previous attempts to change annexation statutes, the Legislature
considered some very bad versions, he said.
"It was not too bad this time. Most city concerns were taken care of,
but some reforms people wanted got in there too."
Court's decision won't set McLaren free
From Staff and Wire Reports
Organized crime convictions against Republic of Texas leader Richard
McLaren and an associate were overturned on Friday by an appeals court
that said there was insufficient evidence against them.
"What it boils down to is if you allege it you've got to prove it,"
said Mike Barclay, an attorney for McLaren associate Robert "White Eagle"
However, other verdicts against McLaren in U.S. District Court in Pecos
make it unlikely he will be getting out of prison any time soon.
In separate but nearly identical opinions issued Friday, the Texas 8th
Court of Appeals entered judgments of acquittal for McLaren and Otto in
connection with the kidnapping of a couple.
"There was no showing that McLaren abducted Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe,"
the El Paso-based appellate court said. Prosecutors had argued that while
McLaren was not present at the Rowes' home, he had plotted and directed
The kidnapping preceded a weeklong standoff by the Republic of Texas
— which believes Texas is an independent nation — with about 100 law enforcement
officers in the mountains of far West Texas in April 1997.
McLaren is serving a 99-year prison sentence and Otto received a 50-year
term for the kidnapping. Barclay said he plans to ask for bail for Otto
as early as Monday.
It is unlikely McLaren will be released from prison any time soon. In
addition to the state term, he was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal
prison for participating in a fraudulent scheme to distribute $1.8 billion
in worthless Republic warrants, which resembled cashier's checks.
McLaren owes Houston-based Stewart Title $1.8 million in a federal court
judgment handed down two years ago by Senior Judge Lucius Bunton in the
Pecos court. The civil judgment was returned against McLaren for filing
false title liens against the company.
Bunton had jailed McLaren for a month in May, 1996 on the civil contempt
finding, then issued another warrant in December of that year when McLaren
again failed to appear for court.
He remained on his property in the Davis Mountain Resort through April
27, 1997, when a kidnapping resulted in a week-long siege and finally the
surrender of McLaren and four of his followers.
It was that kidnapping of Joe and M.A. Rowe that led to the 99-year
sentence in a district court trial in the fall of 1997.
Prosecutor Albert Valadez said an appeal was in the works. He also said
McLaren and Otto could face additional charges stemming from the same incident,
such as burglary or aggravated assault.
Asked about the possibility of additional charges, McLaren attorney
Frank Brown said: "We'll have to litigate the issue of double-jeopardy
at that time."
Testimony in McLaren's trial in October 1997 in Alpine showed that three
of his followers in the Republic had stormed the Rowes' home in the Davis
Mountains Resort and taken them hostage on April 27, 1997. The couple,
who lived near Republic members and had quarreled with McLaren, were taken
hostage, allegedly in retaliation for the arrest of another Republic member,
The Rowes were held hostage in their own home for more than 12 hours
before they were exchanged for Scheidt.
The hostage-taking touched off a standoff between McLaren and other
Republic members and scores of state troopers, who laid siege to the group's
remote resort 175 miles southeast of El Paso until the group surrendered
a week later.
Months later, McLaren and Otto were convicted of engaging in organized
criminal activity — essentially participating in a conspiracy — to commit
Republic members contend the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was illegal
and refuse to recognize Texas' statehood and institutions, including the
At trial, McLaren and Otto represented themselves and treated the proceedings
as a sham. After the prosecution rested, they asked their standby court-appointed
counsel to file motions for a mistrial and for directed verdicts of acquittal.
The judge denied both and a jury eventually took less than two hours to
Alpine's expectations high for balloon festival
ALPINE, Aug. 30, 1999 -- The hot air balloons are headed back to
Alpine in full force this Labor Day Weekend, according to the Alpine Chamber
of Commerce. Eighteen colorful ballooons are scheduled to appear at the
Annual Labor Day Balloon Rally slated for Sept. 4-6.
The traditional Alpine balloon rally has been expanded to include both
Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, according to Guy Combs, Executive
Director at the Alpine Chamber of Commerce. "This way visitors will come
to identify Alpine as the summer balloon capital of Texas," said Combs.
Dr. Tim Brady is the Balloonmeister for the Labor Day Rally, bringing
many new pilots from central, east and south Texas. Professor of Healthcare
at Southwest Texas State University and President of the Tri-County Ballloon
Association in Central Texas, he has coordinated over 16 balloon events
in California and Texas. He is also a certified BFA Flight Instructor and
former Federal Aviation Agency Safety Instructor.
Three launchings are planned, with the location being on the west side
of Alpine next to the Ramada Limited. "Of course the direction the balloons
fly depend on wind direction," said Combs. All launchings will begin at
approximately 7 a.m.
"We are looking forward to bringing the balloons back to Alpine," said
Combs. "I can't imagine anything more beautiful than waking up to a sky
full of color," he said.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 48-16-28-27-12-08. Estimated jackpot: $23 million. Number
matching six of six: One. Winning ticket sold in: Quanah. Matching five
of six: 151. Prize: $1,475. Matching four of six: 9,065. Prize: $88.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 7-16-18-31-36. Number matching five of five: none. Prize per winner:
none. Matching four of five: 179. Prize: $1,203.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Texas Million numbers drawn Friday by the
Texas Lottery: 39-74-80-98 (thirty-nine, seventy-four, eighty, ninety-eight)
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 1-7-1 (one, seven, one)
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 6-8-6 (six, eight, six)
Nell Pouns, 85, of Abilene, died Saturday, Aug. 28, in San Angelo.
Services will be held Tuesday, at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church,
with burial in Elmwood Memorial Park in San Angelo.
Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Services are incomplete for Cleo Welch, 89, who died Sunday, Aug. 29, 1999,
at Health Rehabilitation Center in Midland.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Sunday 100; low last night 68. Tonight, partly cloudy in the evening
with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Becoming mostly clear
late. Low 65 70. southeast wind 5-10 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.
Tuesday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms.
High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Chance of rain less than
20 percent. Extended forecast, Tuesday night, a slight chance of evening
showers and thunderstorms, otherwise mostly clear. Low 65- 70. Wednesday
through Friday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon and evening
showers or thunderstorms. Lows 65- 70. Highs in the mid 90s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise