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Monday, October 30, 2000

Fall from tower west of Pyote kills woman

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 30, 2000 - A New Mexico woman was killed and an Arkansas man was airlifted to Lubbock after the two fell almost 500 feet off the top of a radio tower located on the Wilson Ranch in between Barstow and Pyote on Sunday.

Carla Valencia, 39, of Las Lunes, N.M., was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon at Reeves County Hospital, where she was taken following the accident that occurred shortly after 11 a.m.

The man injured in the fall, identified as Grant Rutledge, 42, of Fort Smith, Ark., was taken by ambulance to Reeves County Hospital, before being airlifted to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock. Rutledge was listed in stable condition this morning, according to hospital personnel.

The accident occurred as the two were working on the antenna for KKLY-FM, which is located on the Wilson Ranch just north of Interstate 20. The station, which began rebroadcasting the signal of KKJW-FM in December of 1999 at 97.3 on the FM dial, had been off the air for two weeks when Valencia and Rutledge went up the tower to carry out repairs, according to the station's general manager Dick Baze.

"The tower was hit by lightning when those storms passed through the area about two weeks ago. It burned out six bays and the power divider," Baez said.

Valencia and Rutledge were being hoisted up the tower by a pulley connected to the axel of a small pickup truck, and operated by a foreman for Tower Network Services, according to the Ward County Sheriff's Department.

The two were connected to the rope by one harness holding both when the rope slipped and both fell. The foreman, who was not identified in the report given to the Monahans News by Ward County Sheriff's Deputies, suffered severe rope burns to his hands while trying to hold onto the rope, and was taken by ambulance to Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans for treatment.

Ward County Sheriff's Deputy Fred Wilder said the accident remains under investigation and family members of Valencia have been contacted.

"I contacted the Sheriff's Office in Las Lunes and they are supposed to notify her next of kin," he said.

Valencia and Rutledge were both employed by New Mexico-based Tower Network Services and were staying at the Best Western motel in Monahans, where deputies went after the accident in order to obtain further identification.

"They had been in town for about a week until the parts arrived and they were finally able to put the bays us," said Baze. "They had already been up and down the tower several times replacing lights."

"We are extremely saddened by what happened and send our condolences out to the families

According to information filed with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., KKYL-FM is licensed to Pecos, and their antenna tower is located 20 miles east-northeast of the city, which allows it to reach listeners in Pecos, Monahans, Fort Stockton, Kermit and surrounding areas. The station rebroadcasts the signal of its sister country and western station, KKJW, which operates on the 105.9 FM frequency and serves the eastern part of the Permian Basin from its antenna tower near Stanton.

KKYL does not own the tower, but leases it from another company, Baze said. "Until the people who actually own the tower decide what to do next, we won't be back on."

He said OSHA officials would have to investigate the accident, and a part that Valencia and Rutledge had with them would also have to be replaced, after it was broken by the fall when the accident occurred.

Domestic fight ends with deputy, two others killed

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, October 30, 2000 - A Ward County Sheriff's Deputy was killed while trying to calm a domestic dispute that also resulted in the death of his assailant and the man's wife Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff's Deputy Lee Russ, 48, responded to a domestic disturbance call at 4:19 p.m., on Sunday at a house on 46th Street, located on the south side of Monahans.

According to a press release from the Ward County Sheriff's Department, Russ apparently walked in on an argument between Jose Ignacio Galindo, 29, of Monahans and his wife, Norma Sepulveda Esparza. Russ was believed to have been attempting to protect Esparza when Galindo allegedly slashed Russ' throat with his knife.

After slashing Russ, Galindo then fatally stabbed Esparza, but before dying of his wounds, Russ was able to shoot Galindo with his service revolver, killing him.

Monahans Police and Department of Public Safety officer Phillip Breeding were the first to arrive at the home and found all three people dead inside. Justice of the Peace Ronold Ray pronounced all three dead at 5 p.m. Sunday, and ordered autopsies be performed. The bodies have been sent to Travis County Medical Examiners office in Austin.

Friends and co-workers of Russ described him as a good man who loved being a peace officer and had a reputation of being able to talk his way out of trouble.

"A lot of times he was able to talk people into calming down and making situations work," Ward County Attorney Kevin Acker told the Odessa Amiercan.

Esparza and Galindo had been married for three months, according to information given to the Monahans News. The two reportedly had been fighting following a dance held Saturday night.

Russ leaves behind three children and a town full of friends.

"He loved his children more than anything else," Peggy Vestal, Russ' ex-wife, said. "He loved his children and he loved being a peace officer."

Russ lived in Monahans for 21 years after moving there from El Paso earning a reputation of being a fair officer.

The Ward County Sheriff's Department expressed their grief in a press release.

"Ward County Law Enforcement extremely saddened at this time. He had three children, he came from a family dedicated to law enforcement and will be extremely missed by the people he served with."

Ward County officials said Russ was the first Ward County law officer they could remember being killed in the line of duty.

"I've been living here for about 50 years and I don't recall one being killed. We have some shot and some injured, but not killed," Ray said.

Esparza and Galindo also had three children living with them at the time of their deaths.

Early afternoon rains, winds fail to hex parade

PECOS, October 30, 2000 - Saturday's early afternoon rains and high winds, which dropped temperatures in Pecos to the low 60s, cleared off in time for local children and their parents to participate in the Annual Mother Goose Halloween Parade through downtown Pecos.

The parade filled Oak Street with goblins, ghosts and hundreds of other costumed kids, who traveled six blocks south from the West Texas National Bank parking lot to the West of the Pecos Museum shortly after 6 p.m.

The rains and high winds may have held down the turnout a little, but the sun had come out and temperatures were back up in the mid-70s by the time the parade started. The only obstacles left for the walkers was the fast-flowing stream of water across Oak at Fifth Streets, which forced the young boys and girls down into a tight double-file line to make it across at the shallowest spot, without getting too wet.

The Halloween Parade is sponsored by the Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and was held prior to the scheduled trick-or-treating for boys and girls in Pecos Saturday night. Town of Pecos City Council passed a resolution supporting the weekend trick-or-treating in place of doing it Halloween night, which falls on Tuesday this year.

Here are the winners of the different divisions:

0-2 years old _ 1st Dylan Johnson, 2nd Nicholas Arreguy, 3rd Lelony Rayos.

3-5 years old _ 1st Julian Millan, 2nd Alexis Aguilar, 3rd Jennifer Barron.

6-10 years old _ (names not recorded by judges) 1st clown, 2nd spider lady, 3rd, pumpkin patch.

Groups _ 1st Nursery Rhymes with Jennifer Conger, Quinten Conger, Dana Conger, Victoria Montoya, Amber Vega and Sweetie the dog; 2nd Barney and Baby Bop with Esmerelda Lozoya and Gilbert Ybarra.

Bicycles _ 1st Tina And Angelica Rentaria, 2nd Sammy Villegas, 3rd Valerie Madrid.

The parade is sponsored by the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce.

Council schedules afternoon meeting

PECOS, October 30, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss the two possible insurance company options to serve as administrator of the city `cafeteria' insurance plan, and will discuss site selection for the Municipal Law Enforcement Center at 4 p.m., today in a special meeting at City Hall.

The Council will discuss staying with Colonial Insurance or switching to American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC).

Representatives from both companies reported benefits of both companies to the Council in the regular meeting last Thursday.

The Council is also discussing the site selection for the new law enforcement facility that is scheduled for construction by Corplan Corrections Corp.

Corplan will build the new facility that would house about 100 United States Marshall prisoners awaiting trial at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos.

Martinez sets four-day ministry outside church

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 30, 2000 - Community members are welcome to hear Dr. Homer Martinez speak about the word of God at 7 p.m., between next Sunday and Thursday, Nov. 5-9, under the tent on the grounds of the First Methodist Church.

Martinez is a native of San Antonio who was converted at a gospel mission at the age of five.

He began preaching as a boy, which has given him a head start and a depth that is very noticeable in his messages, according to a press release.

Martinez has been in evangelism for over 40 years, having launched his career at age 15 and has conducted over 1500 revival crusades.

Martinez is a graduate of Georgetown College in Kentucky and was a champion boxer.

He did graduate work at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Shenandoah Bible College in Roanoke, Virginia in 1975.

Martinez spends a lot of his time traveling to Mexico and Latin America in order to share a Spanish ministry as a missionary.

He is head of the America for God Foundation, which supplies food, clothing, medicines, automobiles, Bibles and evangelistic crusades.

Martinez and his wife, Emily, have been members of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas for 25 years.


Hileria Garcia

Funeral services are incomplete for Hileria Garcia, 86, of Barstow, who died Sunday, Oct. 29, 2000, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

Services will be under the direction of Martinez Funeral Home.

Howard Doyle Huddle

Howard Doyle Huddle, 88, of Lamesa died on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Services were held at 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2000, at the First Baptist Church with Reverend Dennis Teeters officiating. Burial followed at Lamesa Memorial Park.

He was born on March 22, 1912 in Tyler and married Lillija Graves on April 11, 1941 in Ackerly.

He came to Dawson County in 1920 from Tyler and started farming in 1945 and farmed until he retired in 1998 and was a member of the First Baptist Church.

Survivors include his wife, Lillija Huddle of Lamesa; one son, Ronnie Huddle of Lamesa; one daughter, Carol Ann Lee of Pecos; one brother, Lawrence Huddle of Roswell, NM; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorials to go to the American Heart Association.

Benina L. Ortiz

Benina Lopez Ortiz, 71, of Harbor City, Calif. and formerly of Pecos, died Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000 in California.

Viewing will be between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., today at Greenhills Mortuary in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Services are scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Saint Margaret Mary Church in Lomita, Calif., with burial to follow.

She was born in Saragosa and was a homemaker.

Survivors include five sisters, Paula Abila of Pecos, Severa Rubio and Luisa Gonzales of Fort Stockton, Lencho Lopez of Ojinaga, Mex. and Chole Palomino of Barstow; three daughters, Hortencia Rayos, Delma Orona and Olga Mendoza of California; three sons, Luz Ortiz, Jr., of Pecos, Enrique Ortiz of Pecos, Danny Ortiz of California; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.


PECOS, October 30, 2000 - High Sunday 74. Low this morning 44. Weekend rainfall at the Texas A&M Experiment Station .45 inch. Forecast for tonight: Becoming mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s. South wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the lower 70s. South wind 10-20 mph, becoming southwest 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 50-55. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High around 70.

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