Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, March 20, 2000
Rangers studying vote tampering charge
By JON FULBRIGHT
Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos is investigating allegations of tampering
with mail-in ballots during last week's Democratic Party primary election.
Villalobos said the incident involved a ballot mailed to a resident
of the Pecos Nursing Home, and that the probe was begun before the election,
after he was contacted by 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds.
"The DA asked me to look into some allegations on the early voting,
with the mail-in voting ballots," Villalobos said. "There was a question
about a sealed ballot, but we decided to wait until after the election,
so it wouldn't affect the outcome."
Villalobos said the election in question involved one of the Reeves
County Commissioner's races that were on the March 14 ballot. Pecos Nursing
Home in part of Precinct 3 in Reeves County, where four candidates were
seeking the Democratic nomination for this November's general election.
Incumbent Herman Tarin finished second in the March 14 primary and will
face challenger David Pattillo in the April 11 runoff election.
Jimmy Gallego and James H. Thomas, Jr. were the other candidiates on
last week's election ballot. The other commissioner's race in Reeves County
was for the seat in Precinct 1.
Villalobos was in Austin attending a Department of Public Safety class
while the election was being held last week, but said he plans to talk
to Reynolds tomorrow about the investigation.
"I called the DA this morning, but they're in a trial today," he said
from his Fort Stockton office. "I'll probably come up here and talk to
him about it on Tuesday."
Villalobos said as of right now, "I don't even know if there was a violation,"
and said along with talking to Reynolds, he would also be talking with
the Secretary of State's office in Austin, about certification of last
week's election. All elections in Texas have to be certified by the Secretary
of State' office before they become final.
"After it's counted, I'll see if we have to wait," Villalobos said.
"I wouldn't imagine that we would have to now that the ballots have been
Recount planned for Precinct 1 commissioner's race
By JON FULBRIGHT
A recount of ballots in the Precinct 1 Reeves County Commissioner's
election has tentatively been scheduled for later this week, county Democratic
Party chairman Bobby Dean said today.
"I've gotten official notice of a recount request from Anita (Baeza),"
Dean said. Baeza was one of four candidates in the March 15 Democratic
primary election for county commissioner, and finished four voted behind
Jesse Baeza for second place behind incumbent Felipe Arredondo.
Jesse Baeza received 226 votes to 222 for Anita Baeza. Arredondo won
the election with 385 votes, while the fourth place candidate, Roy Pena,
received 202 votes.
Because he failed to receive 50 percent of the vote in last Tuesday's
election, Arredondo will face the second place finisher in a runoff election
on April 11. As of now, Jesse Baeza will be in the runoff, but that won't
be known for sure until after the recount is held.
"We've tentatively have it set for 10 a.m. on Thursday," Dean said.
"The only thing is I've got to line up all the people (election officials)
to make sure they can work on Thursday."
The election boxes to be recounted are those for Box 3 (Pecos Elementary)
and Box 11 (Bessie Haynes Elementary). Dean said there would be four boxes
total involved in the recount, two for early voting and two for the Election
Air Force tour targets more support for bombers
Pecos, Snyder residents visit B-1 operations at Dyess, hear plans for RTBI
flights over area
By ROSIE FLORES
Flying over fields at 3,000 feet, proved to be an exciting experience
and a challenge to some Pecos residents on Friday at Dyess Air Force Base
in Abilene, although no one actually ever got off the ground.
About 13 people from Pecos, along with one each from Odessa, and Mentone,
had the opportunity to tour the base and learn more about their mission,
goals and future plans.
The group from Reeves County joined about 60 other selected residents
and city officials from nine West Texas counties, including the Snyder
area in a tour of the base, which the U.S. Air Force hopes will soon be
flying bombers over both areas as part of its Realistic Bomber Training
The groups toured the facility and had the experience of getting on
board the B-1 simulator at Dyess. It allows the aircraft to be guided electronically,
and let those on the tour actually get to "fly".
Brig. General Joseph Stein, commander of Dyess' 7th Bomb
Wing, said the invitation was not a move to ingratiate the base with area
residents, but to educate them about B-1 operations.
"We wanted to give people a chance to see first-hand what our mission
is all about," said Stein. "This is just to give you a little glimpse of
what we do here."
RTBI involves bombers flying over an area between Big Spring and Lubbock
at 3,000 feet, and then at lower altitudes in a loop over Reeves County,
where an electronic scoring site would be built. The plans have drawn opposition
from area ranchers and farmers, and currently is awaiting resolution about
questions on the flight pattern over the South Plains and if it might affect
commercial jets flying into Lubbock.
If West Texas is chosen as the location for the bomber training, Dyess
B-1s and B-52s from Barksdale AFB near Shreveport, La., would train closer
to their home bases. The aircraft now train in Utah, Nevada and North and
The proposed training area south of Lubbock is called Lancer Military
Operation Area. Residents there are concerned the aircraft will negatively
affect the environment, create noise and disturb livestock. The Lancer
MOA will cover eight West Texas counties, including Scurry, Stonewall,
Fisher and Dawson.
The other section, which includes Reeves County, is designated IR-178.
It also includes sections of Ward, Loving, Pecos and Culberson counties,
with B-1 and B-52 bombers looping around the Pecos area. The Air Force
has said construction would cost between $3.6 and $5 million, and would
bring an addition 31 jobs and $1.6 million annually into the local economy.
Air Force officials have organized more than 30 meetings to answers
During the Dyess tour, individuals climbed inside a B-1, watched the
loading of bombs, sat in a B-1 simulator, viewed B-1s and C-130 aircraft
fly by, met air crew members, posed for pictures and asked questions.
Air Force officials had paid a visit to Snyder recently. During that
visit, a B-1 and B-52 bomber flew over the Snyder airport so residents
could hear the noise made by the aircraft at 3,000 feet _ the lowest the
planes could fly at the proposed site. Military aircraft are now flying
in the area, but at higher altitudes.
Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford asked about a visit to Pecos to
show the residents of Pecos and Reeves County, how the B-1s actually sound
and to explain their mission. "This would help the community learn more
about your mission and give them insight," said Stafford. "The more educated
we are, the better we will understand it," she said.
Safford was one of several local officials who made the trip to Abilene.
Former Reeves County Judge Mike Harrison and his family joined the tour
One person on the tour expressed concern about the recent grassfires
caused by a B-1 engine fire last week.
The engine fire caused drops of molten metal to fall and ignite fires
in grasslands near Dyess.
Stein said that was the first time in 25 years of service he has seen
something fall from a bomber that ignited fire.
"We did look into it, we restricted the flights to find out the exact
cause and resolve the issue," said Stein.
However, this is a very rare incident, which usually doesn't occur and
was handled in a very professional and efficient manner, according to Stein.
Another concern expressed was that of emergency personnel and if the
Air Force was going to provide training to the local community and possibly
correlate some emergency plans.
"We have sent some people from base to help train, we do that now, we
have sent them to the communities and the school," said Stein.
"If there was an accident, we certainly would send some personnel to
help with the situation and control it," said Stein. "If the counties are
interested in getting together with us, we would certainly set something
Stein stated that the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative will allow
B-52 and B-1 aircrews from Barksdale and Dyess AFBs to receive needed combat
training while maximizing their training time.
RBTI proposes to establish an Electronic Scoring Site System consisting
of linked military airspace and ground-based assets to support integrated,
realistic bomber training within approximately 600 nautical miles of Barksdale
Air Force Base in Louisiana and Dyess AFB in Texas.
Currently, B-52 aircrews from Barksdale AFB and B-1 crews from Dyess
AFB cannot conduct the needed link integrated combat training without flying
long distances _ wasting valuable combat training time.
Existing airspace and other training components close to these bases
lack realism and do not allow for the integrated combat training. The RBTI
proposal would create training airspace and ground-based assets arranged
in a sequenced manner that mirrors combat missions.
To fulfill this proposal, the Air Force would use existing as well as
establish new military airspace and ground-based assets in either West
Texas or northeastern New Mexico. Based upon the final Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS), the Air Force has recommended the military training route
(MTR) IR-178 and the Lancer military operations area (MOA) as the preferred
One of the "myths" put to rest during the tour, was that these aircraft
would be flying over at tree top level. Aircraft will not be allowed to
fly lower than 3,000 feet above the ground in the Lancer MOA. In the MTR,
aircraft are not allowed to fly lower than 500 feet. They also must avoid
populated areas, towns and developments.
"We do our best to avoid remote residences," said Lt. Col. Cade Smith.
"We do see the farmhouses and other facilities and go around them," he
Another myth discussed, was that the noise caused by these aircraft
is above the threshold of pain and can cause permanent hearing loss.
"We have performed demonstrations and this is just not true," said Smith.
"There is noise, but it is certainly not intolerable and is short-lived,"
The jets will be flying six to 10 flights each weekday throughout the
entire MOA. It is very unlikely anyone will experience constant overflights.
"We are very concerned about the issues addressed by citizens," said
Stein. "The RBTI program is being done in strict accordance with Environmental
Protection Agency's guidelines in accordance with the National Environmental
The people of New Mexico and Texas were informed about the proposal
more than two years ago when the Air Force conducted the initial (non-required)
informational meetings and paid for public notices in area newspapers.
After that, in accordance with NEPA process, the Air Force has conducted
32 "scoping" meetings and public hearings where comments were actively
With an average of six over flights in the MTR and nine in the MOA per
weekday, the EIS finds no likely effect on recreational or agricultural
land use, or biological resources, according to the Air Force. Economic
effects on land values were studied and no adverse reaction is likely.
Fuel dumping is practically unheard of, according to Air Force officials.
The B-52 is incapable of dumping fuel, and the B-1 only dumps fuel under
extreme emergency conditions where the aircraft must reduce weight for
an immediate landing.
The gross weight of the plane is about 407,000 pounds and has four engines,
which can produce about 14,000 pounds of thrust. The plane can travel about
600 miles an hour, which is about 9 miles a minute, according to Smith.
A crew of four is usually in a B-1 bomber, according to Smith.
Each engine in the B-1s is worth about $6.8 million.
Visitors toured the engine repair room, the bomb loading area and had
the experience of participating in helping "load" the bombs.
"These are not real bombs," said Smith.
Each airplane is worth about $1.2 billion, which includes the research,
engines development and everything that goes into one, according to Smith.
There are about 10-15 female pilots and more females that work in repairing
the engines and in different facets of the facility, according to Smith.
"The American taxpayer will win because we'll be able to do our job
more cost effectively with more aircrews trained for the dollar, plus 85
percent of this airspace is already in use today," said Stein. "Finally,
by locating the electronic scoring systems and radar unit in the area,
West Texas will win with about 64 more jobs and subsequent economic benefit
of $3.2 million annually."
Aside from Pecos, the other jobs would be located in he Lancer MOA near
"Only by working together can we ensure the next generation of patriots
will be ready when our country asks them to fly into harm's way," said
Stein stated that they want to work with the communities and establish
a better relationship.
Most of the citizens on the tour supported the bomber training missions
coming to West Texas.
Stafford said a few residents in the area had complained about the aircraft
flying over their land. "But many people have the misconceptions about
how low the planes can fly and if debris falls from them," she said.
"The debris itself, is not coming from the aircraft, but could be the
vortex, what the engine turns up, such as dust that it picks up, said Smith.
Navarrette joins Barstow city council race
By ROSIE FLORES
A third person has joined the race for office in the May 6 elections
in Barstow, with only two days left for candidates to file to enter that
or other area races.
Pablo Navarrette has filed for the position of alderman and will be
joining incumbents Robert Ortega and Benny Avila, who have filed for new
Benny Hernandez, PHS assistant principal, has filed to run for the position
of Mayor of Barstow, a position currently held by Salvador Villalobos.
Hernandez currently is unopposed in his race.
All are cities will have the positions of mayor and two councilmen up
for election, while two school board seats in Balmorhea and Pecos, along
with three seats on the Reeves County Hospital District board, will also
be decided on May 6.
Candidates have until Wednesday to file to run in any of the local elections.
Incumbent Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera have filed to retain their
seats on the Town of Pecos City Council and are currently unopposed, while
local businessman Ray Ortega filed to run against incumbent Dot Stafford
in the race for Pecos mayor. Stafford is seeking her fourth two-year term
as Town of Pecos City Mayor.
In the Reeves County Hospital District election, another local businessman,
Leo Hung, filed to seek the at-large seat on the board against two-term
incumbent Greg Luna.
All Reeves County voters will be eligible to cast ballots in the election
between Luna and Hung, while the board seats for Precincts 1 and 3 also
will be decided in May.
Incumbents Chel Flores for Precinct 1 and Jesse Prieto in Precinct 3
are the only candidates so far to enter those races.
In Balmorhea, only incumbent councilman Danny Reynolds has filed to
for the mayoral position currently held by Ismael Rodriguez.
The terms of Reynolds, a Reeves County sheriff's deputy, and Rosendo
Galindo also are up for election on May 6, but so far no one has filed
for either of the council seats.
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election has four candidates seeking the
two three-year terms up for election. Incumbent Steve Armstrong is joined
in the May 6 race by challengers Paul Deishler, Steve Valenzuela and David
In the Balmorhea school board race, only one person, Raymond Carrasco,
has filed for one of the two two-year terms up for election. Paul Matta
and Reyes Castillo hold the seats that are up for election.
In Toyah, terms expiring are also mayor and two council posts. Paul
Budlong won the mayor's race in 1998, while the council seats up for election
are those won by Clara McConnell and Howard Dennett two years ago.
CCRC schedules Tuesday meeting at Pyote center
Community Council of Reeves County will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Pyote
Community Center to consider and take action on PHA request (carpet and
storage trailer) and the repair expense of the gas line leak at SMPC.
The group will also listen to an update on the Weatherization Assistance
Program monitoring review on March 27 and consider and take action on amending
On the board of director's attendance report: Mary Garcia _ Ward County
_ Participant Sector and Katherine Putnam _ Loving County _ Public Sector,
are on the agenda.
Also on the agenda are program updates: CSBG, CEAP and Weatherization
along with Meals on Wheels Program update.
Services are incomplete for Margie Deishler, 67, who died today, March
20, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
E.W. "Blue" Estep, 89, died Thursday, March 16, 2000, at Covenant Medical
Center in Lubbock.
Services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 19, 2000 at the Lamesa Church
of Christ with Joe Woodrum officiating. Burial was in Resthaven Cemetery
in Menard at 2 p.m. today.
He was born Sept. 21, 1910, in San Saba County, moved to Lamesa in 1955,
worked in the oil fields, was a member of the Church of Christ.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Clemmie Hinsley Estep, in 1997.
Survivors include one son, Maurice Estep of Menard; three daughters,
Willie Hamilton of Pecos, Lillie Sharp of Lamesa, Sherlyn Scott of San
Angelo; two sisters, Dollie Murphree of Big Spring, Juanita Slay of Menard;
seven grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Branon Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Services are incomplete for Eddy Fellabaum, 81, of Balmorhea, who died
today, March 20, 2000 at Alpine Valley Care Center in Alpine.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Sunday 75. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Windy with areas
of blowing dust. Increasing cloudiness. Low 45-50. Southeast wind 25-35
mph this evening: Decreasing to 20-30 mph and gusty after midnight. Tuesday:
Mostly cloudy and windy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.
High 70-75. Southeast wind 20-30 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with
a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 45-50. Wednesday: Partly cloudy
with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the 70s.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 05-21-28-36-40-43. Estimated jackpot: $22 million. Number
matching six of six: zero. Matching five of six: 130. Prize: $1,638. Matching
four of six: 7,017. Prize: $110.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 25-26-62-68. Number matching four of four in Group One:
none. Number matching four of four in Group Two: none. Number matching
four of four in Group Three: 1. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of
four in any group: 320. Prize: $300.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 12-15-18-28-34. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$83,732. Winning ticket sold in: Angleton. Matching four of five: 234.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 6-6-9 (six, six, nine)
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 5-2-7 (five, two, seven)
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 2000 by Pecos Enterprise