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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

City finalizes plans for Perry’s March 30 visit

Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City officials involved with the Main Street Program are busy making final preparations for the visit of Texas First Lady Anita Perry and the dedication of the local program, two weeks from today.

Perry will be in Pecos the morning on March 30 to help dedicate the local Main Street Program, which is designed to help revitalize downtown areas in smaller cities across Texas. The 75-minute event is also scheduled to include the first project to be part of the program, the restoration of the old Missouri-Pacific Railroad depot for use as a new Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame.

According to the program’s director, Tom Rivera, Main Street’s board of directors has been working very hard over the past few weeks, securing donations and putting together the necessary plans for submittal to the state in anticipation of the visit.

“The state requires that every detail of Mrs. Perry’s visit be planned and approved before she arrives, that includes everything from seating arraignments to possible motor routes that she can take from the airport,” Rivera said.

According to Rivera, the preliminary program of events is complete and ready for review by the state. “The first lady will take around a block and a half walking tour of the area, and including the other aspects of the program, the total visit is planned for an hour and fifteen minutes,” Rivera said.

The preliminary program outlines the other aspects of the tour as well, with entertainment provided by reigning Golden Girl of the West, Maritza Sandoval, Ballet Folklorico, and music provided by the Pecos High School Band.

According to a press release put out by the Texas Historical Commission, Perry’s visit is one of two planned for that day, and overall is a celebration of the designation of four cities as new Main Street Program participants.

“Growing up in a small town, I know the vital role downtown plays in a community,” Perry is quoted saying in the press release. “Being a Main Street city means citizens recognize that downtown is still the heart and soul of a town.”

Perry is slated to give a keynote address and unveil an architectural rendering for the downtown renovation of the railroad depot, followed by a reception, the press release noted. The Independent Bankers Association of Texas has sponsored the tour of the designated cities.

“We are still working on sponsors for the program. So far we have 10, but we are seeking involvement from all aspects of the community and have differing levels of sponsorship to allow everyone to participate,” he added.

Incumbents get late challenger in council race

Staff Writer

One final candidate beat Monday’s filing deadline for the May 15 local elections, while two elections scheduled for that day can be canceled due to the lack of contested races. In the Town of Pecos City election, a newcomer will challenging the two incumbents on the council, while the election for mayor will be uncontested for the first time in six years. Former Town of Pecos City secretary Estella Ornelas will face incumbents Angelica Valenzuela and Michael Benavides in the May 15 council race. Ornelas filed before yesterday’s 5 p.m. deadline to challenge for one of the two two-year terms up for grabs in May. Benavides and Valenzuela currently are completing their first two-year terms on the council.

In the race for Town of Pecos City Mayor, Dot Stafford will be unopposed in her bid for a new two-year term. Stafford was elected mayor in 1994 and then re-elected twice, before being defeated by Ray Ortega in 2000. She won the seat back from Ortega in the 2002 mayoral election.

Along with Stafford, the three incumbents in the Reeves County Hospital Board elections also have no contenders. But in the hospital race, an election will not have to be held under a state law that allows for the cancellation of uncontested elections by taxing entities in order to save money.

Chel Flores was the last of the three RCH board incumbents to file for a new two-year term. Flores, the Precinct 1 incumbent, filed last week, after failing to make the runoff election in the Precinct 1 race for Reeves County Commissioner. He has held that seat for a decade.

The other two incumbents who previously filed are Bill Wendt, who is seeking a second two-year term as Precinct 3 representative on the board, and at-large member Leo Hung, who filed for a third two-year term.

The other election that can be canceled under state law is the Barstow City Council, where all incumbents have filed to retain their seats, without opposition.

The three places to be filled are one full term for mayor, one for council and one unexpired term. Angel Abila filed for the positions of mayor, Robert Ortega for the full two-year term and Abram Flores for the one year unexpired term.

There were no last-minute filings in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board, election, which will have has five persons seeking three available seats in the May 15 election.

Incumbents, Crissy Martinez, Lila Cerna, and Saul “Chip” Florez filed in mid-February to retain their seats on the board. They were joined in the past 10 days by former board member David Flores, who lost in his bid for re-election last May, and former Pecos High School baseball coach and P-B-T athletic director Bubba Williams.

The five contenders have already drawn for places on the ballot and their names will appear in this order: Crissy Martinez, Bubba Williams, David Flores, Saul “Chip” Flores and Lila Cerna.

In the Balmorhea City elections three individuals are up for re-election, including the mayor’s position, and both races will be contested. Current mayor Ruben Fuentes will be challenged by Tammy Dean Marmillion. The positions on the council are for two-year terms and those currently serving are Eddie Roman and Rosendo Galindo. The two will go against Antonio Contreras.

In the Balmorhea ISD school board race, five candidates will be seeking two available three-year term. They include incumbents Armando Mondragon and Paul Ward and challengers Susie Carrasco, Martha May and Luis Contreras.

The early voting period this year for the local elections will be from April 28 through May 11. Requests for mail ballots for the election must be received by the local election officials in each race no later than May 7.

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