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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Early vote total for total election finishes at 1,295

Staff Writer
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," said Thomas.

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 Rosendo Galindo.

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

Staff Writer
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 on rollerblades.

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 transplant tomorrow.

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 road.

Olsen-Butler said he averages about 50 miles each day, "if the road is good."

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 desert landscape.

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 said.

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 of that.

"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 up everything."

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 family.

"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 to Olsen-Butler.

"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

`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 of Transportation.

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.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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