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Monday, May 8, 2000

Newcomers gain wins in local elections

Ortega defeats Stafford in Pecos mayor's race,

Hung, Valenzuela, Flores get RCH, P-B-T spots

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 8, 2000 - Ray Ortega will be the new Town of Pecos City Mayor, following Saturday's local elections, while challengers beat out two other incumbents in races decided by Pecos voters.

Ortega defeated three-term incumbent Dot Stafford with a total of 1,140 votes to Stafford's 1,034 votes. Meanwhile, voters also turned out Hiram `Greg' Luna for the at-large position on the Reeves County Hospital District Board and also opted against a new three-year term for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board member Steve Armstrong.

Along with the races for mayor and council in Pecos, city elections were also held in Barstow and Toyah on Saturday, while city and school races were decided in Balmorhea.

"It was a good, hard race and I appreciate that," said Ortega following his win. "I wish Mrs. Stafford the best in her new endeavors."

Ortega said he is looking forward to the next two years. "I think with everyone's help we can make this a better community to live in," said Ortega. "It's going to have to be a community effort, but I think that with everyone's help we'll do great."

In the city council election, Pecos voters returned incumbents Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera to office over challenger Hector "Tito" Ramon. Herrera led all vote getters with 1,181 votes, while Rodriguez defeated Ramon for the second council spot by a 220-vote margin, 979 to 759.

"I just want to thank everyone who came out and voted," said Herrera. "I'm looking forward to continuing the work we've already started.

"We're going to miss Dot but I'm sure Ray will do a good job. I want to reassure the residents of Pecos that we are going to continue working hard to keep Pecos moving in the right direction," Herrera said.

In the hospital board election, local pharmacist Leo Hung took the at-large position by a wide margin over Luna, who was seeking his third two-year term. Hung picked up 1,705 votes to his opponent's 714 votes.

"First of all I would like to thank all the voters, volunteers, friends and staff who showed me tremendous support," said Hung. "I am greatly touched by your outpouring of care and love. I also realized that my 20 years working for you in Pecos has gained your trust."

"I'll be working even harder on the areas I mentioned during my campaign and will report to you the progress," said Hung. "I fully understand my responsibility and who empowered me."

Hung said he would call upon those who have different views from his to join efforts to better the health in Reeves County.

"Our policies should always be inclusive, open and united, let not the political and past racial conflict continue to divide our community," said Hung.

"Again, I thank everyone for giving me this opportunity to serve you. I am looking forward to being a productive hospital board member with your interest at heart," said Hung. "May God bless you," he said.

The at-large race was the only contested election among the three for the hospital board on Saturday. Precinct 1 incumbent Chel Flores and Precinct 3 incumbent Jesse Prieto were re-elected to new two-year terms without opposition.

In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school elections, two newcomers will be joining the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board. Steve Valenzuela received 1,390 votes, while David L. Flores netted 780 votes to win a close battle for the second available spot on the board

Florez, who works at the Reeves County Detention Center, won by 18 votes over Pecos Police investigator Paul Deishler, who collected 762 votes. Armstrong was just behind Deishler, picking up 727 votes in his bid for a second consecutive three-year term.

"I'm really excited, this is my first election," said Flores. "I would like to thank everyone for their support, especially my wonderful wife, Sulema and my lovely daughters."

"As a father of four children, I'm very concerned and interested in school issues," said Flores. "I hope I can be the voice of the people."

He said that together everyone can make this a better community to live in. "I think we should make our children and the teachers our priority," he said.

"We all live in this community and working together we can only improve our schools," said Flores.

Plane crash kills ex-Pecosite fighting fire near Marathon

Staff Writer
FORT STOCKTON, May 8, 2000 - A former Pecos resident was killed Sunday when the plane he was piloting crashed while helping to fight a series of wildfires burning in the Glass Mountains and surrounding areas of northern Brewster County.

Carl Ray Payne, 66, of Katy, was killed about 12:30 p.m. Sunday when the plane he was using to drop water on a fire near Leonard Mountain north of Marathon came in contact with a radio tower on one of the mountains, according to an initial report from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS Trooper Dan Bristow of Alpine, who investigated the accident, said Payne had dropped a load of water on the fire, located 10 miles north of Marathon and 13 miles west of U.S. 385 in Brewster County, and was turning right to drop a second load when his Air Tractor 802 plane struck either a radio tower or the tower's supporting wires and crashed.

Payne, a former Air Force pilot, was in the area helping battle a series of wildfires that had been burning since late last week at several sites in the Marathon area. Rangers from the Texas Forest Service and members of the Fort Stockton and Marathon fire departments spent the weekend battling the fires, which have consumed between 15,000 and 20,000 acres, but so far have caused no structural damage.

The accident investigation has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board in Fort Worth. Nicole Lupino, an air safety investigator with the NTSB in Fort Worth, said an inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration and an official with Air Tractor, the manufacturer of the plane, were traveling to the remote crash site today.

"We're not sure if it hit the tower or the guide wire," Lupino said this morning. The crash site, in the southern Glass Mountains, was only accessible by high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle.

Payne was raised in Pecos and went to school here in the late 1940s and early 1950s before joining the U.S. Air Force, according to former Pecos mayor Bill Hubbs, who graduated from Pecos High School a year ahead of Payne. Hubbs said he served four to six years in the Air Force, and then went into the aerial spraying business in Katy, located 10 miles west of Houston.

A memorial service for Payne is being arranged locally with Pecos Funeral Home, Hubbs added.

The DPS report said electrical strikes caused by thunderstorms late last week are believed to have caused the fires, which are burning in several sites both north and south of Marathon.

Melvin Thomas, first assistant chief with the Fort Stockton Volunteer Fire Department, said crews from there have been helping Texas Forest Rangers battle blazes on the Connelly Brook Ranch, Bruce Appel Ranch, the Walker Ranch and the Escalero Ranch.

Marathon fire crews were also called out to help keep the wildfires away from any area structures, Thomas added.

Southerly winds helped carry both the smoke and smell of the fire 100 miles north into the Pecos area over the weekend, with the winds and weekend temperatures that approached the 105-degree mark hampering efforts to control the fires.

"It smells like somebody's barbecuing something," said Thomas. "It started Friday morning and we'll probably be there for the better part of the week."

Golden Girls model outfits during annual Style Show

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 8, 2000 - Nine young ladies modeled the latest in fashion Saturday evening at the Annual Style Show and Dinner, held at the West of the Pecos Museum Courtyard.

The young ladies are the 2000 Golden Girl of the Old West nominees, who are Jenny Alvarez, Lyndall Elkins, Tiffany Jarrett, Precilla Levario, Tabitha Montanez, Nicole Payne, Michelle Romo, Diana Rubio and JoAnn Wein. Master of ceremonies was Billy Johnson. Eddie Vasquez and Steve Cross assisted in the event and Friends of the Museum were on hand to help serve, decorate and clean up.

The courtyard was decorated in a summer theme with sunflowers and potted plants.

Fashions and door prizes were provided by Beall's, Desiree's Boutique, Needleworks, Etc., Security State Bank, The Style Shop, Wal-Mart and First National Bank. Style Show committee members include Judy Tipton, chairman with Donna Johnson, Suan Cross and Teresa Winkles assisting Tipton.

The Golden Girl Revue will be held on Friday, June 30 at the Pecos High School Auditorium and will again be combined with the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant.

This year's Little Miss Cantaloupe contestants will be Conner Armstrong, Lenora Blanchard, Lauren Elliott, Christina Flores, Jacqueline Harcrow, Tiffany Hunter, Haley Kington, Kelly Lease, Krystle Ramirez, Kendra Rayos, Marissa Tarango and Jasmine Tarin.

Golden Girl chairman is Priscilla Cook who will be assisted by Shonah Lozano.

Additional models for the style show were the 1999 Golden Girl Sara Matta who also provided the entertainment for the evening; the 1999 Golden Girl Runner-up Dana Warren, 1999 Little Miss Cantaloupe Lyndsay Chowning and the 1999 Little Miss Cantaloupe Runner-Up Conner Armstrong.

DA probing other race may face federal investigation

FORT STOCKTON (AP) - The Justice Department said Friday it is looking into allegations that a West Texas district attorney intimidated Hispanic voters, while investigating allegations of voting irregularities in a neighboring district attorney election

"We have received allegations of violations of the Voting Rights Act, and we are reviewing this information," Justice Department spokeswoman Kara Peterman said Friday.

She would not be disclose specific violations.

Ori T. White, 1112th District Attorney, denied wrongdoing by himself or anyone in his office in the investigation of the 83rd District Attorney election, in which Marfa attoreny Steve Spurgin defeated Alpine lawyer Frank Brown by two votes.

Both the 83rd and 112th Judicial Districts include parts of Fort Stockton and Pecos County.

Nina Perales, staff attorney for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, alleged that Ori had telephoned absentee voters and ordered them to come to his office for videotaped questioning. Ori also asked an Hispanic woman organizing a voting drive to report for questioning, Perales said.

"We fear that this is a clear case of minority voter intimidation," Perales said. "Latino voters under investigation will be reluctant to cast ballots in municipal elections, (and) other Latino voters may be fearful of coming under investigation themselves." White said any intimidation was by campaign workers. "We are not are not the one intimidating voters. We are investigating the intimidation of homebound, elderly and primarily Hispanic voters," White said. "It is ironic to me that we are working hard to protect the same people that these supposed protectors of Hispanic rights believe they represent." White said the state's election code requires an investigation if two registered voters in a county sign affidavits saying they have seen illegal campaign practices. White said he had received three such affidavits. He declined to reveal the details of the allegations saying he is barred by state law. "Any allegations of racism in this office's investigation is completely baseless and personally insulting," White said. Spurgin defeated Brown by one vote in the April 11 runoff election for 83rd District Attorney, and a recount held last week added one vote to Spurgin's margin. Questions remain about three illegal votes cast by employees of the Alpine Avalanche, but reports also surfaced following the election the Spurgin had been escorted out of a polling site in Fort Stockton on April 11.

One person dies in morning crash near I-10 junction

PECOS, May 8, 2000 - One person was killed and a second reportedly injured shortly before 8 a.m. today following an accident on Interstate 20 just east of the I-10 junction in western Reeves County.

Department of Public Safety troopers were still at the scene of the wreck, 1 ½ miles east of the junction, as of late this morning, but J.T. Marsh, Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, confirmed he pronounced one person dead the scene this morning.

The death is the third fatal accident on Pecos area highway during the past week. An El Paso man was killed on May 1 in an accident on I-10 east of Balmorhea, while a woman from El Paso died last Thursday as the result of a one-vehicle rollover on I-20, four miles east of Pecos.

Volunteers sought for third graders' upcoming meet

PECOS, May 8, 2000 - A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the cafeteria of Pecos Elementary on South Willow Street, for volunteers for the upcoming third grade track meet.

Coach Kim Calhoun said helpers are needed for the track meet, and those wishing to participate should attend Tuesday's meeting.


Rufus Elliott

Rufus A. Elliott, 81, of Colorado City, died Friday, May 5, 2000, in Lubbock.

Graveside services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, in the Colorado City Cemetery.

He was born March 1, 1918, in Snowball, Ark., lived in Colorado City for 15 years, worked for Community Public Service, (later renamed Texas-New Mexico Power Co.) in 1945 climbing poles, where he retired as a supervisor in 1983.

Survivors include his wife, Emma Tilley Elliott of Lubbock; three sons, Rufus Jerry Elliott of Green Cove Springs, Fla., Don Lee Elliott of Odessa, Billy John Elliott of Midland; two daughters, Shirley Elliott of Lubbock, Dee Dee Elliottt of Lubbock; one sister, Faye Goodman of Cleveland, Okla.; seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Kiker-Seale Funeral Home of Colorado City is in charge of arrangements.

Benjamin Madrid

Benjamin Madrid, 60, of Pecos, died Friday, May 5, 2000, at his residence.

Mass was held at 10 a.m. today, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born May 13, 1939, in San Carlos, Mexico, was an Army Veteran, a retired insurance agent, a lifelong Pecos resident and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by one brother, Charles Madrid and one sister, Olivia Madrid.

Survivors include his wife, Maria Elena Madrid of Pecos; two sons, Benjamin M. and Ivan Madrid; one daughter, Veronica Madrid Main of San Antonio; five brothers, Richard Madrid of Midland, Frank Madrid of Austin, LeoPoldo Madrid of Denton, Armando and Raul Madrid of Midland; four sisters, Eva M. Johnson of San Antonio, Gloria M. Martinez of Austin, Rosa M. Arista of Big Spring and Lupe Madrid of San Antonio and four grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Tomas Ortiz

Tomas G. Ortiz, 69, of Pecos, died Thursday, May 4, 2000, in Phoenix, Ariz., following a lengthy illness.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 9, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Ben Flores officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born May 12, 1930, in Pecos, was a longtime Pecos resident, a retired laborer, and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by his parents Pedro and Maria Ortiz and one brother, Manuel Ortiz.

Survivors include four daughters, Cecilia O. Varela of Pecos, Nena Ortiz, Rafaela Ortiz and Angelica Ortiz, all of California; one brother, Luis Ortiz of Pecos; two sisters, Socorro Rodriguez and Cruz Bitolas of Pecos; two granddaughters and one great grandchild.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Goldie Arandies Tooke

Goldie Arlandies, "G.A." Tooke, 92, died Friday, May 5, 2000 at Desert View Manor in Crane.

Services were held t 3 p.m., Sunday, at the First Baptist Church with Rev. Tommy Parker, Rev. Steve Baker and Rev. Chris Walls officiating. Burial was in the Crane County Cemetery.

He was born Nov. 7, 1907, in Verona, Miss. and was preceded in death by one son, Vernon David Tooke and his wife Dee.

Survivors include his wife, Helen Tooke of Crane; two sons, Dexter Keith Tooke of Del Rio, Joe Alan Tooke of El Paso; three daughters, Rae Nell Conner of Fort Stockton, Shirley Tarbet of Del Rio, Helen Aletha Walls of McKinney; 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Richard W. Box Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, May 8, 2000 - High Sunday 107. Low this morning 65. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low in the lower 60s. Southwest wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the lower 90s. Northwest wind 15-25 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low around 55.

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Pecos Enterprise
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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