Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
May 2, 2001
Clerks don't see `chad problems' in local election
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - Voting clerks don't anticipate any problems with
"dimpled" ballots, chads or any other inconsistencies when the ballots
for this Saturday's area city, school and hospital district elections.
Dimpled chads, hanging chads, pregnant chads, chad buildup below the
punch holes and other kinds of problems with punch card ballots came to
light back in November, as the result of the Florida election recount between
George W. Bush and Al Gore. Most of the problems focused on the Votematic
punch card machines used by several large Florida counties, and by 13 of
the 254 counties in Texas.
The number includes both the state's largest county, Harris (Houston)
as well as Reeves County. But while Saturday's elections could produce
as many as five contested results, Early Voting Clerk Debbie Thomas said,
"I don't believe we'll have any of those problems."
Thomas said the ballot machines had been cleaned and even though they
use the same equipment as those used in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties
in Florida, she doesn't anticipate any problems.
"After this election the Legislature will decide the future of those
machines," said Thomas.
Thomas said the group does a partial hand count to justify the numbers
and send a report to the state. "This is just a sample counting to see
how our manual count compares to the machines," said Thomas. "We just do
this in three precincts."
People who vote at home, using mail ballots, are the ones most likely
to have mistakes on their ballots.
"We have a set of very fair people to decide what these people have
done," said Thomas. "But we don't have any problems here," she said.
Early voting ended yesterday evening, with a total count of 950 who
voted by personal appearance. "We had 224 who voted on the last day," said
Thomas. "And we have 194 ballots out by mail," she said.
Polls will be open for general election from 7 a.m. _ 7 p.m., on Saturday
at several locations including the Barstow Community Center, Red Bluff
Lake Office in Orla, Toyah City Hall, Saragosa Multipurpose Center and
the Balmorhea Fire Hall.
The final early voting turnout for this year's local elections was below
last year's total, when 1,402 people voted early. But that total was the
highest for early voting in Pecos in the past 11 years.
The field for this year's elections actually are more crowded than a
year ago, with seven candidates seeking three full three-year terms on
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board and five seeking three seats on the Town
of Pecos City Council. An unexpired term on the P-B-T board is also up
for grabs, as are seats on the Balmorhea ISD board and in the Precinct
2 race for the Reeves County Hospital District board.
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board race has 10 candidates overall, with
Lila Cerna, Paul Deishler, Veronica "Ronnie Dutchover, Saul "Chip" Flores,
Crissy Martinez, Brent Shaw and Julio Torres the seven competing for the
three-year terms. Shaw is the only full-term incumbent, while Deishler
was appointed to the school board last year.
Three candidates, Michele Galindo, Francisco "Frankie" Rodriguez and
Ruben Salazar, are seeking the unexpired term currently held by Deishler.
That seat is a one-year term and will be up for election again next May.
Along with Shaw's seat, Earl Bates and board president Louis Matta hold
the other three-year terms. Neither opted to seek a new term this year.
The five candidates in the Town of Pecos City election include all three
incumbents; Gerald Tellez, Larry Levario and Johnny Terrazas. They're seeking
new two-year terms and are being challenged by Mary Patino and former Pecos
mayor Frank Sanchez.
In the race for the Reeves County Hospital District board, Linda Gholson
and Clark Lindley are competing for the Precinct 2 seat currently held
by Marcella Lovett, while Hugh Box is running unopposed for the Precinct
4 seat currently held by Holly Key. Both seats are two-year terms.
Balmorhea voters will also have a contested school board race to decide.
Two seats are up on the Balmorhea board and Cathy Carrasco and Eva Portillo
are challenging incumbents Armando Mondragon and Paul Ward for the available
Early voting in that race also end today at the Balmorhea ISD administration
Other area council races are not contested, and under state law, elections
do not have to be held in those races in order to save money.
In the Balmorhea city election incumbents Olga Lopez and Ike Ward have
filed to retain seats on the council. Voters will decide on three council
seats in the May 5 elections.
In Toyah, Incumbent Diana Tollet of Toyah is seeking a new two-year
term on council and has been joined by newcomers Danny Wayne Enmon and
Laura E. Budlong. There are three positions open in the Toyah election.
In the Barstow City Council race, all three incumbents whose terms are
up filed to retain their seats, and are running unopposed. Aldermen Olga
Abila, Dora Villanueva and Lucio Florez filed for new two-year terms.
Vernor introduced as new RCH administrator
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - Reeves County Hospital employees welcomed another
member and fellow "West Texan" to their team yesterday at a reception for
new hospital administrator Robert Vernor.
Vernor is replacing the interim administrator Richard Murphy, who will
now be going back and forth between his offices in Midland and Victoria.
Murphy will continue to visit the Pecos hospital in order to keep in
touch with the hospital staff and Board of Directors.
"I'm not going away," he said.
Vernor is a part of the company Murphy co-owns, CRM Management Group,
Inc., and has been a personal friend and colleague to Murphy for many years,
the outgoing administrator said.
Murphy said that Vernor is a "seasoned administrator" who knows how
to take care of the issues, people and staff.
"Out of a lot of administrators he was my first choice," he said.
Vernor was born in Uvalde and raised in Imperial where his father was
involved in the oil business.
"I grew up in West Texas," he said. "My dad moved to the oil field when
I was 5 years old."
Vernor met his wife, Melba, in Imperial who was born and raised there
After graduating from Buena Vista High School, Vernor attended Sul Ross
University where he majored in biology.
For the first five years after graduating from Sul Ross, Vernor said
that he taught school, which he soon realized wasn't for him.
"When I about starved to death I thought I'd do something different,"
he said jokingly.
That is when he decided to go into hospital administration.
"I have been in hospital administration for 23 years," he said.
Vernor said that previous to this new position he had been in Balinger
for close to 10 years and he just recently finished a three-month interim
position in Hondo.
While addressing the staff of the hospital, Vernor expressed his joy
in moving back to West Texas.
"I am happy to be in Pecos," he said. "I'm glad to be back in West Texas."
Vernor said that he plans to continue providing good healthcare for
"(My plans are) just to make sure that we continue to develop the healthcare
service for this community and surrounding areas," he said.
Since Tuesday was his first day, Vernor spent most of it meeting the
staff of the hospital as well as a few community members.
He said that so far everything is going well and he is pleased with
"I think they're going to be a good bunch to work with," he said.
Murphy seems to be optimistic about his choice in Vernor for the new
administrator and explained to the staff during the reception what kind
of administrator he was going for.
"I spent a lot of thoughtful time in looking out across the state to
see who would fit in a hospital west of the Pecos," he said. "So I narrowed
it down to someone born and raised in Imperial."
Murphy said that he does not expect Vernor to stray far from the plan
that he and the hospital staff has been working on for six months.
"I don't expect any changes in what we're trying to get accomplished,"
Earhart's arrive created stir locally in 1929
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features
on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - As Pecos is working with the Air Force in the Air
Force Realistic Bomber Training Initative, it seems appropriate to relate
some of Pecos' past flying experiences. The Air Force will likely get some
ideas that will help their project.
The Pecos Enterprise and Gusher reported in September 16, 1929
that Pecos had been selected as one of the stopping points for women pilots
who entered the Transcontinental Air Derby. They started in Los Angeles
and ended in Cleveland. Pecos had to furnish fuel and service, and supply
timers to time the women's arrival and departure.
The first to land in Pecos made the trip from El Paso in 1 hour, 20
minutes and 14 seconds. The second one to arrive, Miss Amelia Earhart,
took 1 hour, 27 minutes and 50 seconds and there were just seconds between
the third and fourth fliers.
With thousands (Enterprise's count) of spectators watching, one
woman, not realizing the landing strip was narrower at one end, hit a parked
car, one ran into the bushes and one damaged her landing gear. The press
from other towns reported that one woman said that the crowd swarmed onto
the landing strip and she had to swerve to avoid them. No one in Pecos
knew of that happening.
A Pecos firm, Buford Oil Company furnished the highest-grade aviation
fuel at no cost. Buford Oil Company was located on the north end of Elm
Street and began operation February 1929. They had pipelines from Winkler
County and Penwell to supply crude and the local paper reported in September
20, 1929 that they had produced 1800 tank cars of high-grade gasoline.
Their special gasoline was named "Crystal" and was said to be cleaner,
anti-knock, better mileage and quicker starts. The facility burned in 1933
and the foundations, the headquarters and company houses on the East side
of Elm Street remain.
Another company, Lockhart & Company, donated $500 to the Chamber
of Commerce to complete and equip the airport. It was said that Pecos would
soon have an adequate field, in perfect condition with oiled runways and
complete service equipment.
If the Air Force would like to know about this complete airfield, they
may contact some of my "Mature" advisors. My advisors have a young preacher
that visits but he talks so softly that they have a hard time hearing him.
They decided that he got into the habit talking softly while preaching
so as to not awaken his audience. Sleeping people don't give much when
the contribution plate is passed so they concluded that the preacher had
the pianist play loudly before the offering.
Task force aids with drug bust in Panhandle
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - Five people were arrested in Amarillo, following
a one-month investigation into illegal methamphetamine sales that was headed
by the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force.
The arrests came at 11:16 p.m., on Monday, and were made by the Trans
Pecos Task Force officers, assisted by the Panhandle Narcotics Division
Task Force in Amarillo, following a one-month investigation.
Officers confiscated 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine. "These drugs have
a street value of about $48,117," said lieutenant Larry Arredondo with
the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.
The five people arrested are from Amarillo and include, Jesse Aldelete
Zepeda, 23; Gabriel Zepeda, 20; Michael David Fitzgerald, 19;Christopher
Lee Castro, 27 and Sang Van Luu, 21.
All five were charged with delivery of a controlled substance.
`Voices of Faith' holding program at PHS auditorium
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - Voices of Faith of the Permian Basin will be in Pecos
at 6 p.m., Saturday at the Pecos High School.
The group will be sharing and spreading the love of Jesus through songs
The event is sponsored by St. James Baptist Church. The pastor for the
church is Joe L. Terry.
Jesus Casillas, Jr.
PECOS, May 2, 2001 - High Tuesday 100. Low this morning 62. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. South wind 10 to 20 mph. Thursday:
Partly cloudy. High near 90. South wind 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Partly
cloudy. Low in the lower 60s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper
80s to the lower 90s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s to near
60. Highs in the mid 80s to near 90.
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