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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Monday, November 6, 2000

Final early voting below totals for primary

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 6, 2000 - Early voting ended on Friday in Reeves County for Tuesday's General Election, with totals below those of the March Democratic Party primary election, but above the number of voters who cast their ballots early in the April primary runoff elections.

The remaining county voters will have one last chance to cast their ballots on Tuesday, when Election Day voting is held at the 12 polling sites in the county.

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the 12 polling sites in Reeves County. Barstow voters can cast their ballots from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Barstow Community Center.

A total of 1,237 individuals cast their ballots early at the Reeves County Courthouse with a total of 147 mail-in ballots. That's well below the 2,100-plus voters who cast ballots early in the March primary, but above the 1,068 total who voted early in April's runoff elections.

The drop in early voting is due mainly to the fact that Reeves County candidates remain almost exclusively on the Democratic side. There are no contested local elections on Tuesday's ballot, and only one contested one regionally, for the 23rd Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla is being challenged by Democrat Isidro Garza.

Bonilla's office said the four-term representative would be in Austin on Tuesday night with Gov. George W. Bush, whose campaign will be awaiting the results of his presidential campaign against Democrat Al Gore. Bush's expected big win in Texas, combined with the big win Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is expected to get in her race against Democrat "Gene" Kelly has held down voter interest in this year's election as well.

Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney are facing Gore and his vice-presidential nominee, Joe Lieberman. Libertarians Harry Browne and Art Olivier, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, and independent (Reform Party) candidate Pat Buchanan and Ezola Foster are the other names on the presidential ballot

Along with Hutchison and Kelly, others on the ballot for U.S. Senate are Mary J. Ruwart, Lib. and Douglas S. Sandage, Grn., while Bonilla and Garza are also running against Libertarian Jeffrey C. Blunt, in the congressional election.

In the race for District 80 State Representative, incumbent Gary L. Walker, of Plains is unopposed in his bid for a fourth term in Austin.

Over in Ward County, the race is a little more interesting for Barstow voters. They'll be casting ballots in the District 73 State Representative race, where incumbent Democrat Bob Turner is being challenged by Republican Steve Fryar for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives. District 73 includes Ward and part of Ector County.

One, former 143rd District Attorney Hal Upchurch, is running against Kevin Acker for the position of Ward County Attorney. Upchurch has been in private practice in Monahans since serving as DA for Reeves, Ward and Loving counties in the late 1980s and early 1990s, while Acker is running as a Democrat to retain the post of county attorney he's held since the early 1990s.

All Ward County voters will decide the Upchurch-Acker race, while the other write-in race will not involve voters in Barstow. Pablo Valles is challenging incumbent Ron Widdess for the position of Precinct 3 Commissioner in next Tuesday's election.

Voters in Ward and Reeves County will also cast ballots for 143rd District Judge, where Democrat Bob Parks is unopposed, and for 143rd District Attorney, where Democrat Randy Reynolds is unopposed.

Other Reeves County unopposed raced are:

County Attorney: Luis U. Carrasco, Dem.

District Clerk, Unexpired Term: Pat Tarin, Dem.

Sheriff: Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez, Dem.

County Tax Assessor-Collector: Elfida Zuniga, Dem.

County Commissioner, Precinct No. 3: Herman Tarin, Dem.

Constable, Precinct No. 3: Tomas "Tommy" Martinez, Dem.

Other state and regional candidates on Tuesday's ballot include:

Railroad Commissioner candidates are: Charles R. Matthews, Rep.; Carolyn Fields, Lib. and Gary Dugger, Grn.

Railroad Commissioner, unexpired term: Michael L. Williams, Rep.; Anthony Garcia, Lib. and Charles L. Mauch, Grn.

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 1: Nathan Hecht, Rep.; Mike Jacobellis, Lib. and Ben G. Levy, Grn.

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2: Priscilla Owen, Rep. and Joe Alfred Izen, Jr. Lib.

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3: Al Gonzales, Rep. and Lance Smith, Lib.

Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals: Sharon Keller, Rep. and Bill Vance, Dem.

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3: Charles Holcombe, Rep. and Rife Scott Kimler, Lib.

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2: Barbara Parker Hervey, Rep. and William R. Barr, Dem.

Justice, 8th Court of Appeals District, Place 1: Ann Crawford McClure, Dem.

Justice, 8th Court of Appeals District, Place 2: David Wellington Chew, Dem.

Autopsy shows stab wounds killed deputy

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 6, 2000 - Autopsy results confirm that Ward County Sheriff's Deputy Lee Russ was killed by "sharp force injuries" according to Justice of the Peace Ronold Ray.

Russ was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call on Sunday, Oct. 29, at a home on the south side of Monahans.

When Monahans police and Department of Public Safety officers arrived at the trailer house they found the bodies of Russ, 48, Norma Sepulveda Galindo, 24, and Jose Ignacio Galindo, 29.

Investigators initially reported that Russ and Norma Galindo died as a result of stab wounds and Jose Galindo died as a result of gunshot wounds. They speculated that Russ was stabbed by Jose Galindo while trying to protect Norma Galindo, but was able to fire his service revolver at Jose Galindo, killing him.

Ray pronounced the three people dead at the scene and ordered autopsies.

He said he has received autopsy reports for Russ and Norma Galindo but has not received the results for Jose Galindo.

"It is my conclusion that Lee Russ, 48, white male died as a result of sharp force injuries," Ray said.

He said Russ was stabbed 15 times with two of them being fatal stab wounds that either one could have killed him.

"He died of multiple stab wounds," he said.

Ray said Norma Galindo also died of multiple stab wounds and both deaths were homicides.

The JP added that there would be a grand jury meeting to discuss the investigation.

"My understanding is there's going to be a grand jury convening this week," Ray said.

District Attorney Randy Reynolds confirmed that there would be a Grand Jury meeting on Wednesday.

"I will provide them with the information of what we've learned," Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the Grand Jury was scheduled to meet last Thursday but he canceled it because that was the day Russ' and Galindo's funerals were scheduled.

Area's UP train tracks not on state's `bad' list

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, November 6, 2000 - Track reconstruction along Union Pacific's main line between Fort Worth and El Paso has kept the section through the Pecos area off a list of allegedly unsafe tracks operated by the company in Texas.

The report by the Texas Railroad Commission said Union Pacific Railroad tracks statewide are in disrepair, and some of the worst sections of track are those that handle high volumes of hazardous or toxic cargo in the Gulf Coast area.

Union Pacific, the largest carrier in Texas, has about half, or 6,300 miles, of the state's almost 12,000 miles of mainline track. The commission, which regulates rail operations as well as oil and gas production and environmental safety, routinely inspects 1,455 miles. The Federal Railroad Administration inspects the rest.

The state commission's third-quarter 2000 report states much of the track it inspects overall is in "less than favorable" condition. Tracks running from Bloomington to Algoa, through Gulf Coast counties, and the yards and rail at Angleton and Sweeny, both in Brazoria County, are in "very poor" condition, the report says.

Those tracks handle large volumes of hazardous and toxic chemicals.

The report also says Union Pacific's maintenance operations are inadequately equipped, and the railroad doesn't have enough inspectors to maintain their assigned territories. The report also said Union Pacific inspectors failed to report actual track conditions after they inspect them.

Mark Davis, a spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific, said state officials overstated the problem and that the company had been diligent in fixing problems in its rail lines, including recently replacing 600 ties in Angleton.

"We have an excellent safety record, which ties into the way we maintain our track," Davis told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for Sunday's editions.

"It does not do us any good to ignore maintenance of a railroad," Davis said. "Union Pacific would not be in business if we did."

The company will spend $248.5 million this year and $333.8 million in 2001 on maintenance in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Much of that will be spent in Texas, Davis said.

Union Pacific crews in late 1999 and early this year replaced a 30-mile stretch of track running from Toyah to east of Barstow. The project involved replacing the old rails and wooden railroad crossings with new rail and concrete crossings, which would allow higher-speeds for trains along the line, and handle the increase volume of trains that Union Pacific has added on its Fort Worth-El Paso route.

The work also included construction of a new railroad siding west of Pecos, and came a year after two derailments occurred within a two-month span in Reeves County.

In October 1998, four cars of an eastbound Union Pacific train derailed
siding at Toyah and fell off their wheels. No one was hurt in the derailment, which occurred just west of town when the train was headed off the siding towards Big Spring, according to a train crew member.

In December 1998, 16 cars of a mile-long eastbound Union Pacific freight train derailed at the Farm Road 2119 (Duval Road) crossing, a mile west of Pecos.

No one was injured, and there was no release of dangerous chemicals.

Most of the 91 cars on the train were empty, and only one of those derailed carried freight, said Mark Davis, media contact for Union Pacific. That car carried Perlit, a form of blow-in insulation.

Residues in some of the empty cars could be hazardous if spilled, but nothing was reported escaping from them, Davis said. Among the residues were a corrosive, denatured alcohol, imodium nitrate, aluminum dust and anhydrous ammonia.

While the Texas Railroad Commission's report was critical of Union Pacific, officials from the Federal Railroad Administration did not reach the same conclusions about the company's tracks in Texas after reviewing the report.

"Upon closer examination, FRA has not identified systemic or ongoing hazards related to Union Pacific's track maintenance in Texas," said Warren Flatau, an administration spokesman in Washington.

The railroad administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates the nation's railroads. It has 480 field safety personnel, 51 who inspect tracks nationwide. Texas has nine track inspectors and two supervisors stationed in Hurst near Fort Worth.

Still, the report has worried some agency officials that a derailment similar to a May accident in Eunice, La., could happen in Texas, especially in a highly populated area like Fort Worth, where trains routinely transport chlorine, sulfuric acid, anhydrous ammonia and propane.

A track running from Fort Worth to Big Sandy in East Texas was listed in poor condition.

Over 200 people were evacuated from Eunice, La., about 80 miles west of Baton Rouge, after a train carrying chemicals derailed and exploded. Among the chemicals being carried were methyl chloride, acrylic acid and dichloropropane.

Acrylic acid has vapors that can irritate the lungs, nose and throat. Other chemicals on the train could cause dizziness, convulsions, lung irritation and even death if people came in contact with large amounts.

Vence Haggard, the commission's Amarillo-based track safety supervisor, told the newspaper he has been told by Federal Railroad Administration officials that broken joint bars caused the derailment. Joint bars connect sections of rail. After the accident, inspectors found an additional 440 broken joint bars, Haggard said.

"That puts the seriousness of track conditions into perspective," he said.

But Davis downplayed the

Pot, coke, cash seized in busts by task force

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 6, 2000 - Several grams of cocaine and 54.8 pounds of marijuana didn't make it to the buyers, thanks to the work of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force along with other law enforcement agencies in two separate incidents, last week and in mid-October.

The latest incident occurred last Thursday at around 9 p.m., when officers with the Pecos task force, Midland County Sheriff's Department, Midland Police Department and the West Texas Narcotics Task Force, concluded a two-month investigation.

Officers confiscated 28.4 grams of cocaine during that investigation and arrested Jesus Acosta Benavides, 29, for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Also seized during this investigation was $17,089 in cash.

Benavides remains in Midland County Jail and other arrests may be pending, according to Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

In the earlier incident, the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force assisted the United States Border Patrol agents Chris Rickand Roger Lasmith in a routine traffic stop at mile marker 150 in Culberson County, 10 miles east of Van Horn.

During the traffic stop officers searched the vehicle, after receiving consent from the owners and discovered 54.8 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment.

The two subjects, both from Mexico were arrested. Jaime Diaz and Jose Moreno, both of Juarez, Mexico were placed under arrest and a 1991 Ford Explorer was seized, according to Richards.

Museum hosting annual fundraiser

PECOS, November 6, 2000 - The West of the Pecos Museum is hosting their Annual Election Day Fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Tuesday on the first floor of the building.

This year the museum will be having fajitas and all the fixings. Delicious fajitas with all the trimmings will be available, along with dessert and a drink for $7.

The annual fundraiser is sponsored by Texas-New Mexico Power Company.


Lula Samples

Lula Mae Samples, 92, of Pecos, died Friday, Nov. 3, 2000, at the Pecos Nursing Home.

Services were held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Bruce Abbott and Rev. Joe Terry officiating.

A service is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Fort Worth with burial in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth.

She was born Oct. 4, 1908, in Anderson, was a retired service employee for Texas-Pacific Railroad and a Methodist.

Survivors include one daughter, Daisy Roquemore of Pecos; one sister, Billie Sadler of Pecos; three grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, November 6, 2000 - High Sunday 73. Low this morning 54. Weekend rainfall at the Texas A&M Experiment Station .16 inch. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain after midnight. Low in the mid 40s. East wind 10-15 mph. The chance of rain is 40 percent. Tuesday: Cloudy with rain likely. High in the upper 40s. Northeast wind 10-20 mph. The chance of rain is 70 percent. Tuesday night: Occasional rain, sleet and snow. Low in the mid 30s. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain or snow. High in the mid 40s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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