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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Ward County hospital district plan rejected

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - Ward County officials are trying to decide what to do next after voters on Tuesday rejected the creation of a hospital district for the county.

Meanwhile, former 143rd District Attorney Hal Upchurch also has to figure out what to do next, after his write-in candidacy for Ward County Attorney fell 52 votes short of incumbent Kevin Acker.

Ward County voters, including those in the Barstow area, went to the polls to decide on creation of a self-taxing hospital district, similar to the one created by voters in Reeves County in 1988. That would have given the financially troubled hospital more control over its own financial situation.

But the measure failed, by an 1,852 to 1,558 margin, putting the situation back in the hands of the Ward County Commissioners and the Ward County Hospital Board.

"We're going to try and keep as much health care as we feel we can afford in Ward County," said Ward County Judge Sam Massey this morning. "The (hospital) board will be the main player in this.

"I suggested the consider contracting every service they can out to other groups and let them do the decisions, but I don't know if that got the full support of the board," Massey said. "There is going to be a board meeting on the 9th (Thursday), where they will consider how and if they're going to be affected."

Ward Memorial Hospital, like Reeves County Hospital, currently has a management contract with Covenant Heath Services out of Lubbock. Massey said the board will have to decide if they want to keep that agreement, or go to a less-costly arrangement where the board would hire management personnel directly, with Covenant acting only as a consultant.

"The main thing is we've got to be able to afford to pay for it, and if we want to increase taxes to pay for it," Massey said. "We're already near our limits we're going to hit the wall where we're not going to be able to increase it, even if we wanted to."

The Upchurch-Acker race was one of two involving a write-in candidate in Ward County, but the only one which Barstow voters could cast ballots on. Acker, the Democratic nominee, won with 1,761 votes to 1,709 for Upchurch, who served as 143rd District Attorney for Ward, Reeves and Loving counties from 1987 through 1992.

Upchurch was unavailable for comment this morning on whether or not he would ask for a recount.

The county's other contested race was for Precinct 3 commissioner, where incumbent Ron Widdess defeated write-in candidate Pablo Valles by a 570-399 vote margin. In the area races, incumbent 23rd District Congressman Henry Bonilla defeated challenger Isidro Garza in Ward County by a 2,550-1,114 vote margin, with libertarian candidate Jeffrey C. Blount receiving 138 votes, and for 73rd District Representative in the Texas House, incumbent Democrat Bob Turner got 2,166 votes to Republican challenger Steve Fryar's 1,550.

Bonilla won by a 60-40 margin over Garza district-wide, while Turner beat Fryar for re-election unofficially with 26,824 votes to Fryar's 22,433. In the presidential race, Ward County went for Gov. George W. Bush over Vice President Al Gore by a 2,534-1,256 margin. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader got 58 votes, Reform Party (independent) Pat Buchanan received 17 and Harry Browne of the Constitution Party got nine votes.

In the uncontested races involved candidates on the ballot in Barstow, Sheriff Mike Strickland was elected with 3,444 votes, tax assessor-collector Dolores Hannah Fine received 3,334 votes, Precinct 1 Commissioner Julian Florez was re-elected with 631 votes and Robert M. Garcia was elected constable for Precincts 1 and 4 with 1,024 votes.

County voters back Democrats, area, state races go with GOP

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - Reeves County voters went against state trends in the presidential election, but they may end up on the winning side overall, depending on the outcome of the recount going on in Florida.

Vice President Al Gore and his running mate, Joe Lieberman, won about 60 percent of the votes in Reeves County in the presidential race against Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney. Gore received 1,872 votes to 1,271 for Bush.

County voters also went Democratic in the race for United States Senate, giving "Gene" Kelley 1,601 votes, to Republican incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison's 1,365.

Statewide, Bush defeated Gore by a 58-38 margin, getting 3,790,992 votes to Gore's 2,424,281, while Hutchison won with 65 percent of the vote, 4,074,237, to Kelly's 2,024,938.

Also winning locally but losing overall was Democrat Isidro Garza, Jr. in his race against incumbent Congressman Henry Bonilla. Garza got 1,693 votes to 1,372 for Bonilla, but the Republican won his fifth term in Congress with 117,779 to 79,080, a 60-38 margin. Libertarian candidate Jeffrey C. Blunt (Lib.) had 54 votes.

Other results for Reeves County are listed below:

In the Texas Railroad Commissioner race Charles R. Matthews had 1,145 votes; Carolyn Fields, 411 and Gary Dugger, 137.

Railroad Commissioner, unexpired term, Michael L. Williams, 1,010 votes; Anthony Garcia, 759 and Charles L. Mauch, 90 votes.

Justice, Supreme Court, Place: Nathan Hecht, 1,083; Mike Jacobellis, 352 and Ben G. Levy, 3.

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2: Priscilla Owen, 1,175 and Joe Alfred Izen, Jr. 550.

Justice Supreme Court, Place 3: Al Gonzales, 1,371 and Lance Smith, 463.

Presiding Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals: Sharon Keller, 928 and Bill Vance, 1,892.

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place: Charles Holcomb, 1,254 and Rife Scott Kimler, 409.

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2: Barbara Parker Hervey, 954 and William R. Barr, 1,819.

State Representative, District 80: Gary L. Walker, 1,472. Walker was unopposed.

Justice, 8th Court of Appeals District, Place 1, Ann Crawford McClure, 2,244.

Justice, 8th Court of Appeals District, Place 2: David Wellington Chew, 2,185.

District Judge, 143rd Judicial District: Bob Parks, 2,502.

District Attorney, 143rd Judicial District: Randall W. "Randy" Reynolds, 2,407.

County Attorney: Luis U. Carrasco, 2,249.

District Clerk, Unexpired Term: Pat Tarin, 2,402.

Sheriff: Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez, 2,514.

County Tax Assessor-Collector: Elfida Zuniga, 2,506.

County Commissioner, Precinct #1: Felipe Arredondo, 601.

County Commissioner, Precinct #3: Herman Tarin, 555.

Constable, Precinct #1: Arnulfo H. Granado, 606.

Constable, Precinct #2: Jaime Salgado, 546.

Constable, Precinct #3: Tomas "Tommy" Martinez, 601.

Constable, Precinct #4: Heriberto "Eddy" Rodriguez, 532.

Electoral College system flunks with local officials

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - The Electoral College system got a `thumbs down' from two local officials today, who said the deciding factor in who will be the next president of the United States should rest with the people.

"I think that (Gov. George W.) Bush talks about trusting the people and I think we should trust the people," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "The electoral college doesn't make sense, because things are very different now, than when they created the Electoral College."

They created the Electoral College, during a revolution, under different circumstances, according to Galindo. "They created this electoral college because they were afraid of the people and those conditions don't exist anymore."

Bush and Gore are currently awaiting the outcome of a recount in Florida, which will decide the 2000 presidential election. Should Bush maintain his current 1,400-vote margin, he will become the first president since 1888 to win election while losing the popular vote. Gore currently holds about a 250,000-vote lead nationwide.

"Trusting the people is the right thing to do," said Galindo. "In respect to the system we should trust the people to make the election."

The Electoral College was created in 1787 order to give smaller states more representation in the presidential election. Each state receives electoral votes based on its total number of representatives in Congress.

Galindo stated that in every other election such as judges, mayors and other elected officials the people ultimately decide the election. "Why should it be any different when it comes to the president."

Town of Pecos City Councilman Johnny Terrazas supported the judge's comments. "As far as the election, some of the commentators on the news describe the electoral college as being the ones in control," said Terrazas. "This is the only place it's used."

"I think the people are smart enough to elect the president," said Terrazas. "It should be by popular vote and Gore has won the popular vote."

Terrazas stated that now we have so much access to information via the Internet, the news, the radio, the newspapers, that the voters should be able to decide the election.

"The voters are very well informed and can make that decision, we should go with what the voters want, instead of going through the electoral college," he said.

They didn't have that information available back when they created the Electoral College, but things are very different now, according to Terrazas.

Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 2 David Castillo stated that, "Something's messed up somewhere in Florida."

Castillo stated that his main problem with this race is the media and their portrayal of the results.

"The media, they way they're doing it, doing the exit polls, putting out erroneous information is not right," said Castillo. "I think they were putting out this information and possibly influencing the voters in the western section, where they hadn't finished voting yet."

The media first announced Gore had won Florida at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and then withdrew that report two hours later. They then announced Bush had won at 1:45 a.m., and then withdrew that prediction about an hour later.

The media needs to be sure their information is correct before putting it out to the public, according to Castillo.

"I understand their need to want to put out the information right away or as soon as possible, but they need to make sure it's correct first," said Castillo. "That's my biggest problem with this election."

The media could be argued that they had an influence in this election, according to Castillo. "It's surprising how close this thing is," he said.

Castillo stated that ultimately the vice-president would be the one to have the most powerful position. "He might be the one to decide which way it will go," said Castillo. "In that case, I would feel more comfortable with Cheney."

Castillo stated that Cheney is senior statesman and is the most experience individual on the ticket. "He'd be in a key position and I would feel more comfortable with him, even than with the presidential candidates," said Castillo.

Write-ins fail to win Loving local elections

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - The vote totals for Loving County in Tuesday's general election were below the number of registered voters for the county, but still above the county's estimated population, a situation currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers.

A total of 161 people cast ballots in the county for Tuesday's general election, in which write-in candidates were beaten in three local races. That's not a lot of votes, but it's still nearly 50 more than the estimated population last year of 113 for Loving County, the nation's least populated county.

Loving County Clerk Beverly Hanson said of the 161, "That's less than signed up, but it's still more votes than we got the year before."

A total of 212 people registered to vote in Loving County for Tuesday's election, which prompted 143rd District Attorney Randall W. Reynolds to order an investigation by Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos.

Hanson said this morning she had not heard from Villalobos on how the investigation was coming. Last month, Hanson said a total of 146 people were registered to vote in the county before the 1999 General Election.

In the three contested races, Democrat Richard Putnam defeated write-in candidate Tom Jones by a 91-68 margin, Precinct 1 Commissioner Harlan Hopper (D) beat write-in Buddy Busby by a 37-24 margin and Regena Derrick (D) beat write-in Beverly Creager for the county Justice of the Peace unexpired term, 97 votes to 46.

In the uncontested races, Vern Jones received 108 votes for county constable, Skeet Jones to 31 votes for Precinct 3 Commissioner, while Reynolds received 91 votes for DA and Bob Parks got 100 for 143rd District Court Judge.

In the presidential race, Gov. George W. Bush got 124 votes to 29 for Vice President Al Gore, and one apiece for Ralph Nader, Harry Browne and Pat Buchanan, running on the Green Party, Libertarian and Independent (Reform Party) lines. In the race for the 23rd District Congressional seat, Republican Henry Bonilla won a 106 votes to 23 for Democrat Isidro Garza and five for Libertarian Jeffrey Blount.

List of city manager hopefuls to be studied

By LEIA HOLLAND
Staff Writer

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council is scheduled to discuss the applicants for the position of City Manager in executive session of the regular meeting at 7:30 a.m., Thursday at City Hall.

The position opened at the end of August when former City Manager Kenneth Neal resigned to take another City Manager's position in the Dallas area.

City Utilities Director Octavio Garcia has been filling in as interim city manager since Neal left.

The Council will discuss 16 applicants and review resumes

Applicants from Pecos include Garcia, Emilio Chavez, Sr.; James Dutchover; Steve McCormick; Tom Rivera and Oscar Saenz. McCormick currently serves as the city's finance director.

Other applicants include Donald Chittenden of Horizon City; Manuel Fierro of Kermit; Aref Hassan of Winters; David Hougham of El Paso; Mark Mills of Euless; James Minor of Cleburne; Jaime Perez of El Paso; Darrel Rhyne of Toyahvale; Richard Sida of El Paso; Carlos Yerena of El Paso.

The Council will also discuss a claim from John Clark for cattle loss, and will consider setting new speed limits for the access roads on Interstate 20, while McCormick will discuss with the Council adding an employee of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation to the city benefit plan and funding for the same.

Before adjourning to executive session the Council will consider changing the Council meeting time.

Weather blamed for accidents

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - Snow and ice caused problems with travel last night and this morning around this area.

The Texas Department of Public Safety reported about eight vehicle accidents on the highways around Alpine, Fort Davis, Marfa and Marathon from last night and this morning, along with a multi-car accident on Interstate 10 near Kent on the Culberson-Jeff Davis County line.

A meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Midland said about an inch of snow fell in those areas.

"We got reports that there was snow over ice," he said.

The ice caused problems from travelers with most of the accidents being either vehicle rollovers or vehicles skidding off the road.

Most of the accidents occurred in the higher elevations, with the largest occurring about 10 p.m. Tuesday, when DPS officers got a report of a five-vehicle accident about 45 miles west of Pecos on Interstate 10.

Ambulance personnel were called to the scene but called back before arriving at the accident, in the eastbound lanes near the 180 mile marker.

The latest accident report was about 10 a.m., this morning with a truck tractor rollover on U.S. 90 near Marathon.

The meteorologist said the Odessa/Midland, Snyder and Big Spring areas got anywhere from three to eight inches of snow.

He said chances of more snowfall are slim.

"It's pretty much over," he said.

Temperatures will be warming up tomorrow with an expected high between the 50s and 60s.

There is a chance for more rain during the weekend.

Obituary

Marian Morelan

Services are incomplete for Marian Morelan, 71, who died Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2000, at her residence.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, November 8, 2000 - High Tuesday 50. Low this morning 34. Rainfall last 24 hours at Texas A&M< Experiment Station .31 inch. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low near 30. West wind 5-15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy and warmer. High in the upper 50s. West wind 10-20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low 30-35. Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 50s to near 60.



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