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Monday, January 24, 2000

Local candidates outline goals at forum

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 24, 2000 - Challengers listed their goals and incumbents cited their accomplishments Friday night, during a "Meet the Candidates" chili supper, sponsored by the Reeves County Democratic Party.

Most of the candidates in this year's local races were in attendance, and all thanked those who turned out to listen at the Reeves County Civic Center. They each were given five minutes by county Democratic chairman Bobby Dean to outline what they hoped to do if elected in the March 14 Democratic primary.

The only direct conflict came between the candidates for Reeves County Attorney, Luis U. Carrasco and Walter Holcombe, who sparred some over the number of cases handled by the county attorney's office during the three years Holcombe has held the position.

"The county attorney's office has had a very significant drop in the number of prosecutions and convictions over the last couple of years," Carrasco said near the end of his five-minute talk. "If I am elected I not only feel it's my duty but an honor to restore credibility to the community and to the office."

Holcombe, who spoke after Carrasco, listed his office's caseload in response to Carrasco's charge.

"Last year we had 150 cases per month come before me for review, plus 50 cases of juvenile law and mental health matters," he said. "We have received back $53,000 on insufficient checks and have made $15,000 for the county in collections fees."

Holcombe added that another $70,000 in court costs has been made through court costs, though he did say there were some cases that have not yet been dealt with.

"We're 150 cases behind being normal. Hopefully, the criminal cases will slow down so I can catch up."

Carrasco also noted that Holcombe does not serve as legal counsel on various matters for Reeves County, and indicated he would do so if elected.

"If I am elected to the position of county attorney, I will support the whole county in its legal matters," said Carrasco.

Earlier, Carrasco outlined his past legal work in Dallas and his education in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district, Sul Ross State University and Texas Wesleyan Law School. "Coming back to Pecos provides me a chance to give back to the community that provided for me," he said.

Holcombe cited his education at Baylor University and St. Mary's College, along with his time in the United States Air Force and his past work as 143rd District Attorney. "I've spent 10 years as a prosecutor and 15 years as a defense attorney, so I know both sides of the picture," he said.

Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo `Andy' Gomez was the only incumbent not at Friday's meet the candidates event. His challenger, Tony Aguilar, listed his past work with community groups, and said, "I will work with judges, prosecutors, and city and state law enforcement officials.

"One of my major priorities is to eliminate the gang problem," he said. "I also want to give more patrols to the ranches and farm areas, and I want to start a DARE program."

In the two races for Reeves County Commissioner, three of the four candidates in both precinct races spoke to the Civic Center crowd. Incumbents Felipe Arredondo and Herman Tarin both cited their work in approving the current Reeves County Detention Center expansion as a reason for voters to re-elect them to new four-year terms.

Arredondo also mentioned his first term as Precinct 1 commissioner, from 1985-1988, when the RCDC was first built. "The Reeves County Detention Center has been a big success. That success has come through leadership," he said. He also told voters county taxes have been reduced for the past three years.

Challengers Roy Pena and Anita Baeza cited their work with the county and in the community as reasons for voters to choose them.

"I would like to hold Town Hall meetings to inform t he voters of Reeves County how the taxpayers' money is being spent," said Pena. "One of the major issues is promoting industry in Reeves County. People are going out of town because there is no industry in Reeves County. I will work with the community to bring industry to Reeves County."

Baeza cited her experience as a businesswoman for 35 years in the community.

"With my background in management and financial affairs I know I can manage the budget," she said. "Reeves County needs to be run like a business."

Baeza also talked about building a park in the area of the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and paving the area around the arena as items she would like to see accomplished, and said she would support continuation of the county Road and Bridge Department in its current form.

Jesse Baeza is the fourth candidate in the Precinct 1 commissioner's race.

Tarin, who is seeking his third term as Precinct 3 commissioner, said the recent RCDC expansion has increased the number of jobs there by 281. "By the end of the year 2000 we will have 411 people working for us. What that means is 411 people being able to work, being able to buy a car, house and able to use utilities," he said.

Tarin also cited his fight against the use of wastewater sludge on farmland in southern Reeves County and the current fight against a proposed low-level radioactive waste dump in Ward County, 14 miles northeast of Pecos.

Two of Tarin's three opponents, Jimmy Gallego and David Patillo, kept their remarks to the audience brief, while the fourth, James H. Thomas, had his comments read by P-B-T Transportation Director Jimmy Dutchover, who had gotten Thomas to drive a bus to San Elizario on Friday with the Pecos Eagles' basketball team.

"People working together will stay together and they will continue to improve," Dutchover said. "Coach Thomas believes Reeves County can attract new business and grow economically."

Gallego said, "I know in every team there is a team leader. Today, I want to be the team leader. I want to lead the commissioner's court into making the right decisions for the county."

Patillo said, "I feel like Pecos and Reeves County has got to do something to improve the community," he said, and cited a comment made by former president George Bush while attending last year's commencement exercises at Texas Tech. "He said `If you don't like something, get involved.' Well, I don't like something, and I want to get involved."

Bush's son, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, didn't fare as well during the closing address by Linda Shoemaker Lowery, a member of the State Democratic Party's executive committee. "We do not want George W. Bush to be president of the United States," she said, adding that the next president will appoint as many as four Supreme Court judges in the next four years.

Lowery also hit congressional Republicans over the "Freedom to Farm" bill, and one of the two Democratic challengers to District 23 Congressman Henry Bonilla, Joe Sullivan, also criticized the current Congress during his speech to the crowd.

"We need to have a Congress in there which has people who have served in the military," said Sullivan, who is making his third primary run for Congress. He said as a military veteran he would not send U.S. soldiers overseas unnecessarily.

"Today, I see a trend of doing everything we can do to make money. I believe we need to think about ourselves and we need to preserve our natural resources, our water, land and air. We need to start doing something now or we'll be in very sad shape later."

N-dump foes urge community action

Special Correspondent
MONAHANS, Jan. 24, 2000 - Low-level test flights, earthquakes, West Texas tornadic winds, leaks and water supply contamination were all discussed during the Friends of Ward County's "Leaders Against Nuclear Dump" meeting, held Saturday afternoon at the Monahans High School auditorium.

Don Moniak, program director of Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping and Mavis Belisle, director of Peace Farm, were on hand to answer questions from the crowd, following a slide show presentation on the kinds of radiation involved with low-level waste.

This meeting was called in an effort to inform area residents of issues surrounding the proposed construction of a low-level, nuclear waste dump site northeast of Barstow in Ward County. Envirocare of Texas has filed for permits to build the aboveground storage site after both the Monahans City Council and Ward County Commissioners Court agreed to hear proposals from the company last year.

"Your commissioners, Mayor (David) Cutberth, Judge (Sam) Massey invited this into your homes," Bill Addington told the large crowd. Addington is a member of the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund and has been active in the fight against nuclear waste dumping for eight years.

"Stop this waste as soon as possible," Addington urged. "Don't go through the hell we've been through in Sierra Blanca."

A state panel and Texas Gov. George W. Bush rejected the state's proposed site near Sierra Blanca in December 1998, due to earthquake fault lines in the area. After the site was rejected Envirocare began seeking a site to store the low-level waste planned for the Sierra Blanca site.

Moniak told area citizens that in a letter from Envirocare to Judge Massey the company said they were committed to meeting area residents on the issue. But local residents at the meeting told Moniak that no such meeting has been called to date.

He urged residents to call on the Environmental Protection Agency along with the Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation Control and Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, who regulate the disposal, storage and processing of nuclear waste in the State of Texas for more information.

Belisle said in her presentation that the best solution was for the U.S. Department of Energy and private, nuclear waste organizations to target, "land that can never be used again," because of former nuclear processing, storage and dumping, "instead of proposing to bring it into clean land."

She argued that decisions such as these tend to separate communities and the responsibility should, "clearly lie on the (waste) generators."

Pecos resident Clark Lindley told the crowd that the low-level test flights to be conducted y the U.S. Air Force over Reeves and Ward counties will run a flight path over the proposed nuclear, dump site. "The potential for a catastrophe is great," he said.

In response to a local driller's comment, Belisle told the audience, "almost every, if not every, Department of Energy (nuclear waste dump) site and low-level (waste) storage site has contaminated water supplies…and you're right, you don't want to drink it."

Russ Smith, Monahans minister and Kermit resident said, "We ought to protect our water if at all possible. Nothing has been built yet that can withstand the forces of nature."

Donald Howell, Grandfalls native and former Hobbs, N.M. resident, told the crowd, "Our water is not something we can replenish."

Envirocare vice president Rick Jacobi said in November they selected the Barstow site because there was no underground aquifer, and because the water there would drain towards Soda Lake, a low area that has no outlet to the Pecos River or to farmland in the Barstow area.

One woman asked if in fact railroad cars carrying nuclear waste product were being left to sit in their communities for days. An Amarillo railroad inspector jumped up to her question and answered that indeed they were and, "Railroad companies have one thing in mind and that is profit with disregard to the communities."

Addington, whose speech was devoted primarily to the politics vs. science aspect of the site, told residents to not put faith in their legislature and the battle would be better won at home. "You need to tell your commissioners court to tell Mr. Jacobi that he is not wanted."

"What I want to communicate here most of all is to urge you to communicate to your friends and neighbors," against the construction of a low-level nuclear waste dump site in Ward County, Addington said.

Abortion foes mark `Roe' ruling with  walk

PECOS, Jan. 24, 2000 - A protest walk has been scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. from Santa Rosa Catholic Church to St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Pecos, by local abortion opponents.

The walk is being held to mark the 27th anniversary of the Supreme Court's "Roe vs. Wade" decision, which legalized abortion throughout the United States. It is one of many events pro-life groups have scheduled around the anniversary, which was this past Saturday.


AUSTIN (AP) - Four tickets correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The tickets were worth an estimated $10 million. The numbers drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 1-4-7-12-14-31


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 10-06-29-14-32. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $42,936. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Houston, Arlington. Matching four of five: 226. Prize: $569.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Texas Million numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery: 15-29-58-86 (fifteen, twenty-nine, fifty-eight, eighty-six)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-8-9 (zero, eight, nine)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-6-6 (one, six, six)


Gregoria Lujan

Gregoria R. Lujan, 91, of Pecos, died Saturday, Jan. 22, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at 717 S. Walnut St.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born Dec. 17, 1908, in La Haciendia, Tx., was a lifetime Pecos resident, a housewife and a Catholic. She was an organization member and was called "La Abuelinta Del Sabor Car Club."

Survivors include one son, Juan Carlos Lujan, Sr. of Pecos; two daughters, Mary L. Brown and Maritza Winkles of Pecos; 16 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


High Sunday 78. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. Southwest wind 5-15 mph: Becoming northwest after midnight. Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High around 60. Northeast wind 5-15 mph: Becoming east during the afternoon. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 25-30.

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Pecos Enterprise
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