Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
May 4, 2001
Saturday's vote to decide local offices, bond issue
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, May 4, 2001 - Two city elections, three school board races and
one hospital board contest will be up for grabs on Saturday, when area
voters go to the polls to decide this year's contested local elections.
Voters in Balmorhea will also be casting ballots on a $1.6 million bond
issue the Balmorhea Independent School District is seeking in order to
rebuild or refurbish the district's gym and auditorium to meet federal
guidelines for the disabled.
Balmorhea voters will also be casting ballots for two seats on their
school district's board, while voters in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will
have two elections to decide, choosing between seven candidates for three
full-term seats on the board and between three others seeking a one-year
Polls will be open for general election from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday
at several locations including the Pecos Community Center, 510 S. Oak St.,
where the city's voters will go to cast ballots in the city council, school
board and hospital district elections. Other polling sites will be the
Barstow Community Center, Red Bluff Lake Office in Orla, Toyah City Hall,
Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center and the Balmorhea Fire Hall.
Early voting ended on Tuesday in Pecos, with a total of 950 who voted
by personal appearance. About a quarter of those voted on the final day,
according to Early Voting Clerk Debbie Thomas, who added that another 194
ballots were mailed out for Saturday's election.
Although there are more contested races this year than in 2000, early
voting this year was down by about a third from last year, when 1,402 people
voted early and about 2,100 voted overall in the city elections, and more
than 2,400 cast ballots county-wide.
The race with the most candidates is for the three-year terms on the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board. Lila Cerna, Paul Deishler, Veronica "Ronnie
Dutchover, Saul "Chip" Flores, Crissy Martinez, Brent Shaw and Julio Torres
are the seven competing for the three available spots. Shaw is the only
full-term incumbent, while Deishler was appointed to the school board last
year after losing by 18 votes in last May's election, when two of the seven
school board seats were up for grabs.
P-B-T voters will also decide between Michele Galindo, Francisco "Frankie"
Rodriguez and Ruben Salazar for the unexpired term currently held by Deishler.
Aside from Shaw's seat, the other seats up for election are held by Earl
Bates and board president Louis Matta, neither of who opted to seek a new
In the race for Town of Pecos City Council, three seats are up for election
on Saturday. All three incumbents are seeking new two-year terms and will
face a pair of challengers, including a former Pecos mayor.
Incumbents Gerald Tellez, Larry Levario and Johnny Terrazas will Mary
Patino and Frank Sanchez, who served as Pecos' mayor during the mid-1980s.
In the race for the Reeves County Hospital District board only voters
in Precinct 2 will have a race to decide on Saturday. Linda Gholson and
Clark Lindley are competing for that 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 decide whether or not to approve the $1.6 million
bond issue, which has drawn some local opposition.
Those against it say the measure will raise local taxes at a time the
city has lost its second-largest employer, the Brunswick-Roadmaster bicycle
warehouse. School officials and other supporters say the gym and auditorium
have been cited by the state for failure to comply with the Americans With
Disabilities Act, and that the state will cover 86 percent of the bond
issue, leaving Balmorhea ISD responsible for about $14,000 annually over
the 20-year life of the bond issue.
In the Balmorhea ISD school board race, Cathy Carrasco and Eva Portillo
are challenging incumbents Armando Mondragon and Paul Ward for the two
available three-year terms.
In the Balmorhea City Council race, there are five candidates seeking
three seats. Incumbents Olga Lopez and Ike Ward have filed for new two-year
terms, and are facing Marty Galindro-May, Ruben M. Fuentes and Sammy Baeza.
Toyah and Barstow have no contested city races this year. 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.
RCDC food service duo served with sex charges
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, May 4, 2001 - Two female employees at the Reeves County Detention
Center (RCDC) were arrested recently on charges of having sex with inmates
at the prison.
Complaints have been filed in federal court against Pecos residents
Elsa Levario of 1517 Katherine Street and Helen Stephens of 1744 Washington
Street. Both women were charged with violating Title 18, United States
Code, Section 2246(2)(A)(B), which makes having sex with an inmate an offense.
According to Warden Rudy Franco the investigation was instigated by
information gathered by the prison's internal investigations unit.
"We contacted the Inspector General's Office and they finished the investigation,"
Affidavits supporting the complaints were filed by Special Agent Ronald
L. Holland of the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General.
According to the affidavits an RCDC special investigator noticed that
an inmate telephone call was placed to a local number. All inmate calls
are recorded and the call was reviewed.
During the call RCDC inmate Eddie Bonifacio had an "intimate conversation"
with Stephens and also discussed a wire transfer made by Stephens for Bonifacio.
The contents of the phone call led to a search of Bonifacio's cell.
The search revealed $500 and a partial receipt from a jewelry store. A
watch, a necklace and a bracelet were confiscated after the search.
Holland said that the phone call also revealed that Elsa Levario might
have knowledge of the crime.
Holland's further investigation revealed that two inmates, Bonifacio
and Hugo Bonilla, worked in the food service area and frequently did not
finish their tasks by the 7 p.m. deadline when inmates return to their
The two inmates would then stay late to finish and Stephens and Levario
would stay to supervise the inmates.
According to the affidavits it was during these times that the women
had sex with the inmates.
Holland stated that the women provided sworn statements admitting to
Both women are free on $10,000 bond.
Warden Franco said that the termination process had been instigated
for both Stephens and Levario.
Franco said that in the five years he had served as warden other employees
had been fired under similar circumstances.
"The standard of proof needed for administrative purposes is lower than
the standard necessary for criminal charges to be filed," he said.
Franco said that this was the first time in his memory that enough evidence
had been gathered to support criminal charges. .
Franco said that he did not think the problem was epidemic at RCDC.
"Most of our employees are hardworking, decent people, and we have extensive
training programs to prevent things like this from happening," he said.
"Unfortunately incidents like this still happen. I have had to deal with
instances of improper behavior like this at every prison I've worked at."
Franco spent 23 years with the Federal Bureau of Prisons before coming
to the RCDC.
Career change led Nelson to Pecos PD job
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 4, 2001 - The Pecos Police Department's newest officer thinks
her nursing background might prove helpful someday in her new position.
Rosie Nelson found the career she had been dreaming of and hoping to
attain and is settling nicely in this small community.
Nelson is the Pecos PD's newest officer and said she is truly enjoying
her new job and the city.
She graduated from Lee High School in Midland, later attended Midland
College pursuing a nursing career, before changing gears and attended Odessa
College Police Academy.
"I was the only black female in the class of 24 and one of the 19 who
graduated," said Nelson, who has been at her new position for four weeks
and is assigned to patrol. She had previously worked for Ector County as
a deputy jailer.
"My dad was helping me look for a job on the Internet and Pecos was
one of the positions opened," said Nelson. "I applied and received word
from them and here I am."
"I love it here, it's nice, quiet and peaceful and the people have been
very friendly," she said.
"First of all, I want to thank God for helping me to achieve my dream
of becoming a police officer and my parents," said Nelson. "I also want
to thank lieutenant Tony Dawdy, Kelly Davis, Smiley Gamboa and Cosme Ortega,
who believed in me and are helping me out."
"Since I was the only female, the others gave me a hard time and I thought
I wouldn't be able to complete it and achieve my goal," she said.
Nelson said that throughout her training, it was her daughter who encouraged
her and gave her the strength to complete the training and become an officer.
"She told me, `Mama, you can be anything through Jesus Christ and I
know you can be a police officer," said Nelson. "My little girls were so
happy when I graduated, they even cried."
Nelson is the proud mother of two girls, Tamara, 12 and Dawn, 10.
For now she is commuting back and forth to her home in Midland, but
plans to make Pecos her permanent home. "As soon as everything gets straightened
out, I plan to make Pecos my home," she said. "I love it here."
When she's not busy `patrolling' and keeping Pecos safe, Nelson enjoys
church where she is a Sunday school teacher, at the Church of Christ of
Latter Day Saints, swimming and working out.
"I've been working out, getting ready for the summer," said Nelson.
"I need to get energized to go out and fight crime."
She has been on the road with officers Ortega and Gamboa and said she
really likes the patrol assignment. "I like seeing the different scenery,
riding around and making sure the community is safe. I love taking care
of the people," she said.
"Being a police officer is the best thing," she said smiling.
Summer courses in Taekown Do, chess scheduled
PECOS, May 4, 2001 - The Pecos Community Sports and Recreation Department
will be enrolling children for both Taekwon Do and chess classes during
the summer recess months.
The Taekwon Do class will run two days a week for six weeks and is open
to boys and girls ages 5-10. Registration fee is $10 per child with an
enrollment deadline of May 24.
The beginners chess class will be for children ages 6-10 and will also
run two days a week for six weeks. Registration fee is also $10 per child
and will run through May 24.
Parents enrolling their children in either class can pick up enrollment
forms at the Recreation Department office in the old Pecos High School
gym during regular office hours. A birth certificate and signatures from
both parents are required with the returned enrollment form.
For further information, call the Recreation Department at 447-9776.
PECOS, May 4, 2001 - High Thursday 95. Low this morning 64. Rainfall last
24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .01 inch. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in
the mid 50s. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 20 percent.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 80s. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 50s. Sunday: Partly cloudy.
High in the upper 80s. Monday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers
and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s. High in the lower 80s.
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