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Friday, December 20, 1996

Feds downplay new McLaren arrest warrant

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 20, 1996 - U.S. Marshal Jack Dean is not terribly
worried about a warrant issued Thursday by Senior Judge Lucius Bunton
for the arrest of Richard L. McLaren at Fort Davis, despite McLaren's
vow not to surrender.

McLaren, the "ambassador" for the "Republic of Texas," failed to show up
at noon Thursday for a hearing to show cause why he has not reported to
his pre-trial service officer on a civil contempt finding in Judge
Bunton's court last May.

Not only has he failed to report, McLaren has continued to file papers
with the court and others in violation of Judge Bunton's order to cease
and desist.

McLaren said earlier that the ROT has declared war on the United States,
but called it a paper war. Now he claims to have recruited militia
groups to protect him at his "embassy" near Fort Davis.

He has vowed to resist arrest if marshals attempt to serve Judge
Bunton's warrant.

``We've come this far, and we're not going to back down now,'' McLaren
said in a statement faxed to news organizations.

"Everybody is making a big deal out of this," said Dean. "It is not like
it is a criminal deal. It is a civil contempt charge; why cause a big

Dean said the warrant is on the bottom of the list, and "When it comes
up, we will arrest him."

Deputy Marshal Billy Johnson and his supervisor, Gary Brown of El Paso,
arrested McLaren in early May on the original contempt charge, after he
failed to show up at the Pecos federal courthouse. He spent a month in
jail before agreeing to comply with Judge Bunton's order to stop filing
bogus liens and harassing witnesses against him in a civil suit filed by
Stewart Title Co.

McLaren has filed liens for years in Jeff Davis County, where he lives
on a small tract in the Davis Mountains Resort. He widened his
activities by filing a lien on all of Stewart Title's holdings in Texas
and setting a date to sell their offices.

In recent filings with the federal court clerk, McLaren claims the court
has no jurisdiction over him.

Background info sought on paintings

found in Barstow church's basement

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Staff Writer«MDNM»
PECOS, December 20, 1996 - Three beautiful paintings which were found in
a church basement have residents in Barstow puzzled about their origin.

"These paintings are beautiful and you can still tell how costly they
must have been," said Rod Peacock, minister of the First Presbyterian
Church in Barstow.

The mysterious paintings were found by some parishioners who were
cleaning out the basement at the time.

The paintings, which have Christmas-related scenes, date back to 1929,
and list a copyright from David C. Cook Publishing Company.

"Basically these paintings have laid dormant for 60 something years,"
said Peacock.

The parishioners who found them are Karen and Mike Chowning and
Elizabeth Seltz.

"Karen and Mike are the ones who brought them up here and cleaned them
up, they were really dusty," said Seltz.

The first painting is a scene of the Town of Bethlehem and the star;
the second depicts the three wise men and a the third has shepherds with
an angel painted on it.

"These are huge, almost life-size," said Peacock.

Peacock and the other parishioners are hoping someone can either
recall, or has ancestors or someone who used to attend the church and
might have some information on these paintings.

"I guess nobody had cleaned out the basement in the last 20 years,"
said Peacock.

He added that the paintings might have been ordered for a Sunday school
session and had never even been used.

"They were ordered from a publishing company and probably they were too
big to be utilized, even though they are pretty," said Peacock.

The paintings have a cloth-back and are oil-painted, and appear to have
been beautiful at one time and could be again.

Peacock said that he feels the officers of the church will want to
invest in trying to restore the paintings to their original or as close
as to their original beauty.

The paintings have already been put to good use by the parishioners at
a special service held recently.

"They were used during a performance by the Sunday school children,
orchestrated by Lorna Navarrette," said Peacock.

A spotlight was utilized to enhance the painting's beauty during the

"They have worked so hard in cleaning them, Mike Chowning and Ruben
Tellez, both put in a lot of their time and energy in cleaning them up,"
said Peacock.

But as to the origin of these rare beauties Peacock says, "It's just a
big mystery."

City's unemployment shows November rise

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 20, 1996 - Pecos' unemployment rate jumped by just under
1 percent in November, according to the Texas Workforce Commission,
while unemployment for Reeves County as a whole stood at 10 percent last

The TWC released its November unemployment figures this morning, and
they showed an increase for most area cities over October's totals. The
TWC attributed the rise to the seasonal trend at this time of year,
adding that a drop in the number of persons employed and the rise by a
larger number of those on unemployment showed an overall increase in the
civilian labor force.

Pecos' workforce fell from 5,343 people in October to 5,197 last month,
while those on unemployment rose by 3, from 562 to 592. The change
raised the city's unemployment rate for 10.5 to 11.4 percent, according
to the TWC's figures.

A year ago, the city's jobless rate was at 11.7 percent in November. The
civilian labor force grew by 64 during that time, while the total number
of jobs also was up, from 4,531 in November, 1995, to 4,605 this year.

Reeves County had 499 people without jobs last month, out of a labor
force of 7,108, for a 10 percent jobless rate. In October, the county's
jobless rate stood at 9.2 percent, its lowest level of the year.

Other cities also saw their jobless rates increase, with the biggest
rise occurring in Fort Stockton, where the rate climbed from 5.6 to 7.9
percent. The jump there was attributed to a rise in those unemployed by
over 90 while the total labor force grew by 59 persons.

Monahans' jobless rate and its workforce were both up slightly, with
their unemployment rate rising from 6.0 to 6.3 percent. Andrews jumped
from 4-4 to 4.8 percent, Midland went from 3.8 to 3.9 percent, and
Odessa rose from 5.5 percent in October to 6.1 percent last month.

Balmorhea canal work continuing

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 20, 1996 - With the recent rejuvenation efforts along
Balmorhea's downtown canal nearing the midway point, the town is
preparing for roadwork along their small strip of highway they call,
"the gateway to Big Bend."

During an appreciation luncheon residents threw Thursday for all those
who helped on the Canal 1996 Project, Joe Rodriguez of the Texas
Department of Transportation's Balmorhea office said his crew will be
doing the work on State Highway 17 sometime next year.

He pointed out that there has been, "an increase in vehicle coming
through here," estimating the traffic flow at some 750 vehicles a day.

"We would like them (tourists) to enjoy our little town," said Suzie
Harvey, Balmorhea resident.

"If we give them something to stop for they will," she added.

Balmorhea Mayor Ismael Rodriguez also said he hopes the beautification
efforts will bring in more tourism, "bring in more people, business," to

He's especially fond of the fact that, "everybody is chipping in."

The project began last year with the reconditioning of the park area. It
involved some landscaping and, "re-rocking the canal," according to H.H.
Harvey, as well as redoing the headwalls on the bridges.

Work will continue on the canal when the water has been turned off by
the Reeves County Water Improvement District #1.

More landscaping is projected for next year, as are curbs and gutters
along downtown streets.

Businesses located in the downtown area are especially glad to hear that
the streets will be widened in some areas and running water will be
piped into the north canal, which travels in front of stores that line
the side of Highway 17.

Helping out with the 1996 project were inmates from the Lynaugh Unit of
the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Fort Stockton.

"All we provide is the labor," said Warden Terry Foster.

Balmorhea residents pitched in with food, and transportation was
acquired from the Reeves County Sheriffs Department. Reeves County
Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez and staff members were at the special

Foster said the statewide effort was involving TDCJ inmates began in
1992. Inmates were recruited to help, "tax supported entities with work
they would not be able to afford."

"We can't do competitive work," he said. That would include work that
would create industrial competition.

Inmates planted aquatic plants and did the rock work at the Balmorhea
State Park Cienega project, he said.

"I think its good for the taxpayers," said Foster. "Its a return on
their investments," in the state prison system.

He noted that the prison is currently helping the communities of Alpine,
Grandfalls and Fort Davis.

As for the prisoners, "they enjoy it," said Foster.

Head Start's woes could sink CCRC

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 20, 1996 - Head Start is in big trouble, and the entire
Community Council of Reeves County could be in jeopardy because of it.

CCRC board chairman Linda Clark told the board in Thursday's regular
meeting that Head Start monitors spent the week in Pecos checking on the
status of the federally-funded program.

Clark said the monitors cited CCRC last April for six violations of Head
Start policy. Only one of those has been addressed, she said, and the
deadline for completion of all six is April, 26, 1997.

Part of the problem is the lack of an audit, which was due in July.
Auditor Ron Kirby canceled his scheduled presentation Thursday, as he
has done for the past several months.

Neither Head Start Director Norma Rubio nor CCRC executive director
Yvonne Martin were present for the meeting. Martin is ill, the board was
told, and Rubio's grandmother is in the hospital.

Another program that has been put on the back burner for months is meals
on wheels for the elderly in Kermit, said Glenda Brooks. The board has
discussed the new program for two years and approved it months ago, she

"Why is Reeves County getting Meals on Wheels, and it is so hard for us
to get it in Ward and Winkler?" asked Joyce Wilhelm of Grandfalls.

Julian Florez of Barstow, Precinct 1 commissioner for Ward County, said
the senior citizens operate the Meals on Wheels program in Monahans.

Brooks said the hospital in Kermit has agreed to cook meals if the CCRC
will deliver them.

Olga Contreras, CCRC finance officer, said she brought the matter to
Martin's attention.

"I recall Martin saying they would take care of it," Wilhelm said.

Clark said the Head Start monitors were "very upset with us," and said
they will take away the funding if CCRC has not complied with
requirements by April.

"There is a problem with Head Start," said Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez. "It has
been bothering me. I have been holding onto it, hoping they can get it
resolved. There's problems with personnel. It seems like nobody can get
along with each other."

"That's why we can't get things done," said Clark.

Gomez said he went to the Pecos Head Start school and talked with the
teachers and aides. He suggested putting Rubio's office at the school so
she can handle the problems as they come up.

Contreras said the center's director is responsible for the school and
should report to Rubio. Board members said, however, employees are not
following the chain of command in reporting problems. They will go to
either Rubio, Martin, a member of the board or the Head Start Policy

The policy council, made up primarily of parents, does the hiring and
firing, said Bill Wendt, vice-president of both the policy council and
the CCRC board.

Wilhelm said that employees should be told they will abide by the policy
and do their jobs or be fired after receiving three written complaints.

Board members agreed to meet with the policy council at their next
meeting, Jan. 2, 1997; and to summon all Head Start employees for a
joint meeting Jan. 16.

"Head Start is important to the Community Council," Wendt said. "Without
it we won't have funding to operate anything. All of this stops if Head
Start goes. We need to meet with the staff and tell them to stop arguing
and bickering or we are going to have Norma write up everything and
clean out those causing the problems."

Other programs include meals for the elderly, medical transportation,
commodities, family services, day care and weatherization.

Mary Patino reported the Pecos Day Nursery had 96 children enrolled in
November, and they were approved to get financial assistance. Their fund
raiser netted $781.

Meals on Wheels delivered 2,344 meals in November and made 18 round
trips to out-of-town doctors and hospitals.

Bertha Meierhoff reported 79 elderly were helped in Reeves County, 43 in
Ward and 25 in Winkler, for a total of $11,827.

In the weatherization program, five homes were completed, leaving a
balance of $1,822 to do two additional homes in Ward Co.

Funding for utilities is running out, but new funds will be available
Jan. 1, she said.

Board members agreed to nominate candidates for two positions on the
board in the next meeting, and to solicit nominations for alternates for
each board member.

Organizations who nominated the present board member are required to
submit nominations for the alternate, Contreras said.

Alternates will attend meetings and vote when the board member they
represent is unable to attend.


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PECOS, Dec. 20, 1996 - High Thursday 49, low last night 18. Tonight,
clear. Low 25 30. South wind 5-15 mph. Saturday, sunny and breezy. High
around 70. Southwest wind 15-25 mph.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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