Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, May 1, 2000
Early voting nearing 1,000 mark
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - A record number of voters have been casting their
ballots at the Pecos Community Center for Saturday's city, school and hospital
Those elections are scheduled for Saturday, but Tuesday at 5 p.m. is
the deadline to vote early in all of those races. The last day to request
a ballot by mail for the May 6 election is 5 p.m., today.
A total of 975 people have already cast their vote early by personal
appearance as of Friday, and the number just keeps growing, according to
Debbie Thomas, Early Voting Clerk for the Town of Pecos City, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD and Reeves County Hospital District elections. "And the number is unusually
high," said Thomas.
A total of 302 ballots have been mailed out with 143 returned as of
this morning. "They have until 7 p.m., on Saturday for the ballots by mail,"
said Thomas. "We just got 95 back today."
Twenty-five voters were at the Community Center on South Oak Street
this morning casting their votes early, according to Thomas. "We expect
a few more before early voting ends," she said.
"I don't remember having this many vote early before, but we're really
pleased with the numbers," she said. This year's area elections have more
contested races than in the past several years.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Election Day.
In the Town of Pecos City elections, mayor Dot Stafford will be seeking
a fourth two-year term and is being challenged by Ray Ortega. In the council
election, incumbents Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera are challenged by
Hector "Tito" Roman.
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election has four candidates seeking the
two three-year terms up for election. Incumbent Steve Armstrong will be
joined in the May 6 race by challengers Paul Deishler, Steve Valenzuela
and David Flores.
In the Reeves County Hospital District election, the only contested
race is for the at-large seat, where incumbent Hiram "Greg" Luna is challenged
by Leo Hung. Precinct 1 incumbent Chel Florez and Precinct 3 incumbent
Jesse Prieto are unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms.
The names for the candidates in the city, school and hospital elections
are all on one single ballot for voters at the Community Center.
Barstow City Council voters will also have a contested election for
the first time in years, and Balmorhea will again have contested elections
in its city and school elections.
In Balmorhea, early voting for the city elections will be at City Hall
between now and May 2, while early voting in the school board election
will be in the Balmorhea ISD boardroom.
In the Balmorhea city races, incumbent mayor Ismael Rodriguez is being
challenged by councilman Danny Reynolds and Doug Maynard. Reynolds' seat
was one of two on the council up for election this year. The other incumbent,
Rosendo Galindo, is seeking another two-year term and will face challengers
Tammy Marmillon, Bertha Brijalba and Eddie Roman.
In the Balmorhea School Board election the three-year terms of Reyes
Castillo and Paul Matta are up. Matta has filed to seek another three-year
term and will be challenged by Dora Machuca, Tommy Ray Dominguez, Louis
Rene Contreras and Raymond Carrasco.
In Barstow, early voting will be held daily and on May 1 and 2, from
3:30-6:30 p.m., at the Barstow Community Center. Barstow voters will have
one contested race, with incumbents Robert Ortega and Benny Avila facing
challenger Pablo Navarette. Benny Hernandez will be unopposed in the race
for Barstow mayor, where incumbent Salvador Villalobos opted against seeking
Toyah city elections will be held this year. The mayor race is uncontested
with only Ann Marsh filing to run for mayor, while Paul Anthony Budlong,
Sharon Sanchez and Bart Sanchez signed up for the two available Toyah city
Budlong is currently serving as mayor for the little community, a position
he won in 1998. The council seats up for election are those won by Clara
McConnell and Howard Dennett two years ago.
Cornyn asked to investigate 83rd DA vote
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - The recount portion of last month's Democratic
primary runoff election for 83rd District Attorney is over,
having caused no change in the outcome of the April 11 race. But now, the
election will come under the investigation of the Texas Attorney General
John Cornyn's office over possible voter irregularities on three Brewster
Ballots were recounted in the six counties that make up the 83rd
District late last week, and Marfa attorney Steve Spurgin's 2,448-2,447
victory over Alpine lawyer Frank Brown was increased to a two-vote margin
as the result of the recount. But that's still within the three-vote margin
of the ballots in question that were cast by staff members of the Alpine
Managing editor Ian Talley, said he filled out a voter registration
card on March 30, took it to election judge Gerald Raun and was allowed
to vote, a violation of state law that requires registration at least 30
days prior to any election. Talley went back to the office on April 11
and was told by publisher Mindy Nelson-Combs it was against the law.
"I just didn't know the law," Talley said.
Nelson-Combs then sent staff members Bill Adler and Kerry Laird to see
if they could register to vote as well. Both were allowed to vote by Raun,
after which Nelson-Combs informed Brewster County Judge Val Beard of the
Following publication of the Avalanche's story on the illegal votes
in its April 13 edition, Brewster County Attorney Steve Houston assigned
retired FBI agent John Newsome will conduct an investigation for his office.
However, after it was determined that Houston may be called as a witness
in any future hearing, he announced he would turn the investigation over
to the Secretary of State's office to avoid any conflict of interest.
"I've made a request for them to get involved," Houston said this morning.
"As soon as I know who will be assigned to that, I will put out a press
Spurgin told the San Angelo Standard Times on Sunday he felt secure
in his victory. "The investigation appears to be votes that were not cast
for me. If the reports we received were correct the investigation shouldn't
have any impact on this election."
"They may have. I don't know, but that wouldn't make any difference
with what we're dealing with in my office," Houston said today. "What I
requested was for them (the secretary of state's office) to send somebody
from the prosecutor's assistance division to come down and look at the
investigation, to continue the investigation and to look at what should
be done as far as any criminal investigation."
Brown was out of his office this morning and unavailable for comment,
but Jane Dees of the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office
in Austin said on April 13 that Brown could instigate a hearing into the
final vote results.
"Should the candidate who lost file an election contest to show the
candidate would have won were it not for illegal voting, the reporters
could be subpoenaed and forced to state under oath who they voted for,"
Dees said voting illegally can be prosecuted as a Third Degree Felony,
while registering to vote with intent to fraud and allowing someone to
vote who should not be eligible to do so are both Class B misdemeanors.
The results of the election could also be invalidated and a new election
ordered as a result of the attorney general's probe.
Spurgin and Brown are seeking to replace retiring 83rd District
Attorney Albert Valadez. There currently is no Republican candidate seeking
the position, so Spurgin will run unopposed in November if this past weekend's
recount is allowed to stand.
The 83rd District is made up of parts of six counties in
the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos region. Along with Brewster and Pecos counties,
the others are Presidio, Jeff Davis, Reagan and Upton counties.
Enterprise wins three awards
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - The Pecos Enterprise picked up three awards over the
weekend at the Texas Associated Press Managing Editor's convention in Dallas.
Enterprise reporter Jon Fulbright won first place in business reporting
for Class A newspapers, for a story on the chamiso harvest, which appeared
in the November edition of Living off the Land. He also received an honorable
mention in headline writing during Sunday's awards ceremony, while the
newspaper's online edition won second place among Class A newspapers during
an earlier awards presentation on Saturday.
Class A for Texas APME includes newspapers with circulations of 10,000
or less across Texas.
Other area newspapers to receive first place awards included the Odessa
American and San Angelo Standard Times in Class 3A, and the Midland Reporter-Telegram
in Class 2A. Odessa's Ken Brodnax won a first place award for headline
writing, Midland's Richard Acosta won first place in the features category
and San Angelo's Que Lam and Holly Henry won first place in investigative
One person dies in early morning accident on I-10
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - One person was reportedly killed about 8:30 a.m. today
and six others were injured in a three-vehicle accident, which occurred
on Interstate 10 near the Reeves-Pecos County line.
Ambulances from both Pecos and Balmorhea were called to the scene, between
mile markers 224 and 225 on I-10. A Jaws of Life unit from Pecos was also
sent to the site, 15 miles east of Balmorhea and 32 miles west of Fort
DPS officers were still at the scene of the accident late this morning,
and no further information was available about the accident at press time.
City's water field projects on council agenda
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - A contract for a new water field for Pecos and maintenance
of the city's existing water field are the main items on the agenda for
a special meeting Tuesday of the Town of Pecos City Council.
Council members will meet at 7:30 a.m. to discuss and consider engineer's
recommendation to award bid on "Town of Pecos City, FY 2000 Water well
project at Worsham Well Field (Well No. 16A), TCDP No. 719-639, Engineer's
Project No. E0001," and to award bid on "Town of Pecos City, FY 2000 water
well project at Worsham Well Field (Well No. 21), Engineer's Project No.
Other bids to be discussed and considered are: "Town of Pecos City,
1999 Water system improvements, Ward County Well Field, 24" water transmission
line replacement, Phase V TCDP No. 719639. The Ward County and Worsham
Fields currently provide the city with its drinking water, but a study
given to the council six years ago said the two fields could only provide
adequate water supplies for Pecos through the year 2008.
As a result, the council will also consider "Engineer's Project No.
E99926": an engineering contract with Frank X. Spencer and Associates for
South Worsham Water Field, during Tuesday's meet. They are also scheduled
to approve fees for the preparation of the Economic Development Agency
Grant for the development of the South Worsham Well Field.
Council members will discuss and consider approval to amend the engineering
agreement to conduct and prepare the environmental impact document as required
by Texas Water Development Board.
In executive session, the council will meet behind closed doors to discuss
and consider acquisition of real property for South Worsham Water Field;
the item will then be discussed in open session.
PECOS, May 1, 2000 - High Sunday 91. Low this morning 51. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 45-50. Light east wind. Tuesday: Mostly sunny
and cool. High 75-80. North wind 5-15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy.
Low in the lower 50s.
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