Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Early vote total for total election finishes at 1,295
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 -- Early voting went well for the city, hospital
and school board elections, but not as well as it did two years ago.
"We still had more voters two years ago, when the mayor's race was held,"
said elections coordinator Debbie Thomas. "That was my goal to have more
early voters this year than two years ago, when the mayor's position was
up for re-election again."
The same two candidates, Ray Ortega and Dot Stafford, are seeking the
two-year position of mayor in Saturday's election. In 2000, Ortega defeated
Stafford in her bid for a third term as Town of Pecos City mayor.
At the end of early voting, which concluded Tuesday evening, there had
been 1,295 individuals who voted early by personal appearance. There were
368 ballots mailed out and 279 that have come back to the elections clerks,
according to Thomas.
"Two years ago, we had 1,402, we got close, but we didn't have as many,"
The 1,295 total still compares well to some other area towns. Odessa,
with roughly 10 times the population of Pecos, had only 1,390 people cast
ballots early, according to Wednesday's Odessa American.
Voting is scheduled on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the different
polling sites, including the Pecos Community Center, 510 S. Oak St., for
Pecos' local elections; the Balmorhea Fire Hall for Balmorhea for city,
school and hospital elections; the Multipurpose Center in Saragosa and
Toyah City Hall for those individuals in Toyah for those voting in both
the school and hospital races.
City elections in Toyah and Barstow are uncontested this year, but both
the mayoral and council races in the Town of Pecos City and Balmorhea elections
are contested this year, as is the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea ISD
board race. Under state law, both Toyah and Barstow can cancel their city
elections in order to save money.
Along with the mayor's race between Stafford and Ortega, four candidates
are seeking the two available seats in the city council race. Incumbents
Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera are challenged by Angelica Valenzuela
and Michael Benavides in their bids for new two-year terms.
In the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board election, both incumbents are seeking
new terms. Billie Sadler has filed for a new three-year term on the school
board, while Michele Galindo, who was elected last year to fill out an
unexpired term on the board, is also seeking a full three-year term to
that school board seat.
The two are challenged by Paul Deishler, who was defeated last year
in his bid for a full-term on the school board, and Connie Herrera.
In the Reeves County Hospital District Board of Directors race, only
one of the three races on May 4 will be contested. Jim Breese, of Pecos
and Bill Wendt and Janelle Ward, both of Balmorhea, filed for the two-year
term on the board for Precinct 3, currently held by Jesse Prieto. Prieto
was unable to file to retain his seat, since he now lives in Precinct 2.
Incumbent at-large board member Leo Hung, and Precinct 1 board member
Chel Florez are unopposed for re-election, but voters can still cast ballots
in both those races.
In Balmorhea, Mayor Ruben Fuentez is challenged by Balmorhea ISD Superintendent
Elizabeth Saenz. In the city council race, Teresa "Terry" Barragan and
Yolanda M. Hernandez are challenging incumbent councilmen Eddy Roman and
In the Balmorhea ISD race the three incumbents up for election are among
five people seeking three-year terms on the board. Regina Lozano and Dora
Machuca will challenge Jimmy Barragan, Jesus Matta and Javier Lozano in
the May 4 election.
Barstow and Toyah do not have to hold city elections, because there
are no contested races for any of the available seats.
In Toyah, current Toyah Mayor Ann Marsh in unopposed in her re-election
as is incumbent Sharon Sanchez on the city council and the only other candidate
for the two available seats, Shaina R. Enmon. In Barstow, Mayor Benny Hernandez
and council incumbents Robert Ortega and Carol Gonzales are unopposed in
their bids for new two-year terms.
Rollerblader skates to raise cancer funds
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 -- Love of family and the desire to help
his nephew has brought a California man through Pecos and across America
Stacy Olsen-Butler, 32, of San Diego is rollerblading across country
to raise money and awareness for his nephew, Kaiden Anderson, who is currently
at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Kaiden is a typical 13-month-old boy who laughs and always wants to
play even though he is currently undergoing cancer treatment.
At nine-months old, Kaiden was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer and
has already undergone chemotherapy and is scheduled to receive a stem cell
Even though it seems like a lifetime ago when he began his journey,
Olsen-Butler has spent the last 15 days traveling from Mission Beach, San
Diego to Pecos.
His goal is to reach Daytona Beach, Fla., by the end of June, which
he believes he should complete earlier.
"I'm ahead of schedule," he said.
The very tall and very tan rollerblader has traveled as much as 112
miles and as little as 22 miles a day in the two weeks he's been on the
Olsen-Butler said he averages about 50 miles each day, "if the road
He continued to say, while smiling, he was averaging approximately 70
to 80 miles a day. "Then I got to Texas."
Much of the highway between Van Horn and El Paso is under construction,
closing the shoulder of the road, and many sections of Interstates 10 and
20 between El Paso and Pecos have no service roads to use.
While in Texas, Olsen-Butler has battled the heat, the roads and the
Olsen-Butler carries all he needs on a stroller that normally joggers
use and has had to fix seven flats in the last 220 miles of his trip.
When asked what caused so many tires to go flat, Olsen-Butler jokingly
replied, "It's a very thorny state."
When walking outside to get in a car in the heat of a typical West Texas
day seems unbearable it is hard to imagine rollerblading all day long,
however that is exactly what Olsen-Butler is doing and what he started
planning for in January.
Kaiden was diagnosed with cancer in November 2001.
By January, Olsen-Butler got the idea to rollerblade across country
from a friend in Tennessee while talking on the phone.
So even though his friends swore he was crazy, Olsen-Butler, with the
support of his family, decided to begin training for his long adventure.
"The more I thought about it the more I thought it was do-able," he
His main supporter is his 11-year-old daughter, Heaven, who understands
why her dad it taking such a long trip.
Olsen-Butler said he has always tried to teach his daughter that she
could do anything she puts her mind to, now his daughter has reminded him
"She said, `Dad, you can do this if you put your mind to it,'" Olsen-Butler
proudly said. "She's incredible."
In order to prepare for the trip, Olsen-Butler ran up and down hills
with a 40-pound pack on his back, which he started out his trip carrying.
While training, Olsen-Butler attempted to get support from possible
sponsors with little success.
Now, he has taken it upon himself to get across the country with 90
percent of his funding coming from his own pocket.
In order to do that Olsen-Butler sold his portion of his tow trucking
business, which has been open for about two years, to his partner.
"He (his business partner) thinks I'm nuts," he said. "Basically I gave
Olsen-Butler, who has lived in San Diego for the last three year, sold
all his personal things including his stereo and car, which he said he
could always replace.
"This is just a reality check for me," he said.
This journey has helped Olsen-Butler realize what is important, his
"Sometimes you have everything that you think you should want but it
doesn't mean anything," he said.
Once he finishes his journey, Olsen-Butler said that he is planning
to take a few weeks in Daytona Beach to relax and gain back the weight
he has lost on the trip.
After that he plans to fly back to visit Kaiden, then move back to his
hometown of Yakima, Wash.., to be closer to his family once again.
For now, all he is worrying about is sharing his story with as many
people as he can while on making his way to Florida.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help little Kaiden may deposit
money into a trust fund set up for him at any Wells Fargo bank, according
"I just want to get some kind of exposure for Kaiden," he said. "Any
little bit helps."
Those interested in Olsen-Butler and his nephew Kaiden can keep track
of the journey on their website at www.coast2coast4kaiden.i8.com.
`Day of Prayer' event Thursday at Courthouse
PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 -- National Day of Prayer will be observed in
Pecos at noon Thursday, in front of the Reeves County Courthouse.
The public is invited to come out and join others in a moment of prayer.
Repaving set for farm roads
PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 -- Two Reeves County farm roads will be getting
new surfaces starting sometime next week, according to the Texas Department
FM 2903, between Balmorhea and Toyah will be repaved first, followed
by FM 1934, between State Highway 17 and FM 869 south of Pecos, according
to TxDOT Public Information Officer Glen Larum.
"As soon as the crews finish with the service roads on I-10 and the
little patch in the (Balmorhea) state park, they'll start work on 2903,"
he said. "They'll probably start early next week."
Larum said those are the last two local roads due for repaving by TxDOT
in Reeves County this year. Work on Interstate 20 near Toyah and between
Barstow and Pyote in Ward County is due to be completed by early June.
PECOS, Wed., May 01, 2002 -- High Tues. 101. Low this morning 73. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 60. NW winds 10 to 15 mph. Thurs.:
Partly cloudy. Highs near 80. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Thurs. night: Partly
cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s. Fri.: Partly cloudy. Highs near 85. Sat.:
Partly cloudy. Lows near 55. Highs 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 2002 by Pecos Enterprise