The outage came, according to power company logs, at 11:59 a.m.
The reason, reports TU Electric -Monahans manager Kevin Slay:
""There was a significant problem with a major oil field customer with
lines into the Sandhills Substation. It blinked that substation and
affected a large number of substations. It blinked the whole
(Monahans-Crane-Imperial) grid twice."
That grid provides power to a large area of the Permian Basin. The blink
did not, Slay notes, affect other grids across Texas.
Says Natrell Cain, one of Ward County Clerk Pat Finley's deputies:
"They went down and we had to wait for them to come back up. We didn't
A deputy of tax assessor/collector Dolores Fine reported the same
In those businesses and offices where battery backup is available to the
machines, no problems were reported.
The City of Monahans, notes City Manager David Mills, has that emergency
power backup for its computer systems.
"We learned our lesson five years ago when we had a lightning strike a
transformer," recalls Mills. "We started the next day to resolve the
problem and did."
Monahans city now has power backups for City Hall operations, the police
department and the Emergency 911 system. That backup involves both
batteries and generators.
Last Thursday's episode, Slay reports, came at the Sand Hills Substation
The first blink of the twin blinks was the computers at the substation
identifying a potential problem. The second blink a microsecond later
was the problem. That brought down the Sand Hills grid.
Slay notes the problem was a "phase to ground fault in the oil field
company's lines that come directly into the substation."
The problem was resolved, he says.
Third power failure unusual
Last Thursday's outage was the third power failure in three months after
several months of only minor isolated problems with which all power
companies deal on a regular basis, reports TU Electric-Monahans Manager
On Wednesday, March 26, lightning hit a transformer and eliminated power
to a section of Monahans. Before that a squirrel in a transformer caused
power to fail in some parts of the city.
"We've had nothing, absolutely nothing, in the way of failures for more
than eight months and now we've had three in three months," says Slay.
"Squirrel, lightning, customer have been responsible for those three.
The whole thing needs to settle down now."
That always has been the case for Prom Night in Monahans but this year,
the warning carries an extra bite, notes Atwood.
Agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be making Prom
Night forays across the Permian Basin to make students and those who
sell alcoholic beverages more sensitive to the penalties of illicit
drinking and illicit sales.
It's part of a Texas wide crackdown the TABC calls "Operation Safe
Prom-Safe Graduation." The same kind of law enforcement presence that
will be in place on Saturday in Monahans also will be there on
graduation night in May.
TABC Capt. Bryon Busch of the Odessa office says his agents will be
checking particularly retail outlets for alcohol in the areas of the
In addition, the Ward County Sheriff's office and Monahans Police
Department will support both school officials and "Operation Safe
Principal Atwood says:
"I think that is good. Anything that can be done is to be commended."
Several school administrators note Monahans High School is especially
sensitive to the problems of drinking drunk because of an
alcohol-related fiery car crash in which two students were killed
At Monahans High School, Atwood says there has been an emphasis on
helping students to make reasoned decisions on drinking, especially
drinking and driving.
"This needs to be a positive thing."
But he also warns:
"At the prom, alcohol will not be tolerated. If someone who is present
has consumed alcohol, they will be turned over to the authorities."
On Prom Night, those authorities will be close.
The Prom at the Ward County Coliseum begins at 7:30 p.m. with the
banquet followed by the Prom.
They are Alan Steen, a past president of the Monahans Chamber of
Commerce, and Steve Hurst, an executive of Monachem Inc.
District 7 is the only contested race in Monahans on May 3 - school or
Hurst and Steen challenge each other to succeed District 7 trustee
Wells decided not to seek reelection to the school board on which he had
served since 1978.
The city won't even hold an election.
Incumbents Mayor David Cutbirth and City Council members Curtis Howard
and Chris Hisel are seeking reelection without opposition.
Hence, the taxpayers will be spared the cost of a municipal election.
And although, incumbent District 6 School Board Member Steve Swarb has
no opposition there will be a District 6 school board race.
The reason, notes Mike Fletcher, assistant school district
superintendent/administration, is that an election is being held in
"This means that a ballot is required in District 6 although Mr. Swarb
has no opposition," notes Fletcher.
Swarb was appointed to the board in late 1995 and won election to the
unexpired term last May.
Early voting in the school district election can be done at the
administrative building at 606 South Betty Street across from Monahans
High School. Early voting hours at the school administration building
will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the pre-Election Day voting ends at
4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29.
Election Day is on Saturday, May 3.
Only registered voters in the school board districts involved may cast
ballots. District 6 voters where Swarb runs unopposed will cast ballots
at Tatom Elementary School.
District 7 voters where Steen and Hurst are the trustee candidates will
vote at the Ward County Coliseum.
District 7 is roughly bounded on the West Southwest by the city limits
of Monahans, on the West Northwest by 27th Street (just about marking
the South Southeast City Limits of Thorntonville), Stockton Street
(State Route 18) North to 23rd Street, East two blocks on 23rd, North
three blocks to Interstate 20, then Northeast on the Interstate 20
access road to a rough parallel with Grey Street, taking this route more
or less North Northwest to Gray and 14th street, going one block North
Northwest, Northeast on Harry for one block to 13th Street and North
Northwest into the city limits at Rudy Park and then Southeast back to
That message: Fair representation for students, teachers and taxpayers."
In 1993, Hurst won the Monahans Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership
Hurst has been co-owner and vice president of Monachem Inc. in Monahans
since 1985 and also has owned Monahans Exxon for the past two years.
He also has a plea for the citizens no matter their choice in the May 3
"Exercise your right! Vote your might!."
Hurst projects a shoe-leather campaign in his race which will focus on
the issue of student education.
Hurst is 42 years old. He and his family reside at 2107 South Ike in
Says Hurst in his campaign biography:
"I want to give back to my community through my time and efforts so that
I may leave Monahans better than I found it through education, community
development and, most of all, through the strength of our churches."
Hurst is a lay leader of the First United Methodist Church.
A civic leader as well as businessman, Hurst's civic participation and
Walter Teagle Scholarship recipient, president of the Texas Instruments
Employee Association, Xerox Sales Training I, II and III; two years
president of the Monahans Tee Ball Association, active in the Cub Scouts
as an assistant cubmaster and cub master; head coach of the Little
League B-Team champions, three years an adult leader of the Methodist
Youth Fellowship, president of the Monahans Lobo Booster Club for three
years, a member of the Volleyball Booster Club, chair of the board of
trustees of the First United Methodist Church-Monahans, chair of the
First United Methodist Church administrative council, adult classes
Sunday School teacher for five years, a member of the Band Booster
Club, a member of the board of directors of the Monahans Swim Club, and
two years a coach for Karl Richey Basketball.
He is a past president of the Monahans Chamber of Commerce.
From Steen's campaign statement:
"Mr. Steen will strive to maintain a necessary harmony and working
relationship between the schools and the community of Monahans.
Steen, Youth Minister of First Baptist Church-Monahans, says the
community and the schools must work together to educate the students of
the school district.
Says Steen: "It takes all of us to raise a child."
Steen has been a resident of Monahans for 37 years.
From Steen's campaign biography:
"The decision to file for candidacy reflects Steen's strong desire to
help build and maintain the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent school
District into one of the finest school districts in the state of Texas.
In order to accomplish this goal, Steen realizes the important role the
school board must have as advocates for the students of this district.
"Mr. Steen supports the idea that each child in this district deserves
to be provided the best resources available in order to produce
productive, successful citizens for the future."
Steen was graduated from Monahans High School in 1977 and continued his
education at Odessa College.
He has been an employee of Star Electric for the past 19 years. Steen is
the current president of the Monahans Optimist Club and his wife, Jill,
is a teacher at Cullender Kindergarten.
Steen promises he "is ready to provide the energy, time and professional
knowledge that will be necessary in order to make this district a
leading educational model for the state of Texas."
He and his family are active members of the First Baptist Church of
Bonilla, whose 23rd Congressional District includes Ward County, was
ranked in the U.S. Chamber's 32nd annual ranking of the voting records
Chamber staff members logged congressional votes for the second session
of the 104th Congress on "key votes" on issues like product liability
reform, welfare reform, the budget resolution, minimum wage increase,
line item veto, and the Health Coverage and Portability and
From a Chamber communique on it's rankings: "Votes included in the
rankings must be recorded floor votes on issues which the Chamber's
Board of Directors has established clear policy and the Chamber's
position has been communicated to members of Congress prior to the vote.
Those votes cover broad issue areas of concern to business reflecting
the Chamber's diverse membership."
Bonilla reports property tax victory
U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla Wednesday, April 2, stopped for coffee and
conversation in Monahans.
The about 45-minute encounter with constituents came at the Country Club
RV Park. Bonilla pressed the flesh with Mayor David Cutbirth and other
citizens in the Monahans part of his showing of the Bonilla colors
throughout the sprawling 23rd District which includes Ward County and
Bonilla's hometown of San Antonio.
From Monahans he was on his way to Pecos. Bonilla is scheduled to visit
most of his district's outposts at least once during the congressional
At Monahans and elsewhere, Bonilla focused on reform of the Endangered
Species Act and his appointment as the only Texan on the House
Appropriations Agriculture Sub Committee.
Says Bonilla: "I am happy to report that private property owners can
chalk up one victory for our side. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court
unanimously ruled to allow any person to sue when the federal government
goes to far in enforcing the Endangered Species Act."
The decision to which Bonilla referred was on March 19. It reversed a
decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in California.
Of his position on the appropriations agriculture subcommittee, Bonilla
Representing a district that has more sheep and cattle than people, I
look forward to ensuring the continued success of the food and fiber
industries of Texas and the nation."
The committee funds a range of agriculture research and damage control
Bonilla also serves on the Labor, health and Human Services and
Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the National Security
The Million Barrel Tank, in 1984, was still known as a tank. The word
"museum" had not yet been attached and the local historians in Ward
County had decided to perform a grand makeover in preparation of the
Although restoration was well underway on the Holman House, the idea
of placing near the Million Barrel did not come up until late in the
"It occurred to us that it would only be natural that the childhood
home of Eugene Holman [of Standard Oil fame] be placed next to the
Million Barrel Tank [built by Shell Oil}. The oil connection was there,"
remembered Elizabeth Heath of the Ward County Historical Commission.
The local Sesquicentennial committee sized up their challenge and
immediately realized they were going to need some help. The call went
out for volunteers.
The response, Elizabeth remembers, was impressive.
"We formed an exterior tank committee, an interior tank committee, a
Holman House committee, a Railroad committee, a fund-raising committee
and a furniture committee...
"All in all, before we knew it, we had about 100 volunteers from
across the county working together to beat the deadline.
Two events brought a whole new seriousness to the project.
First, MWM Architects Inc. was brought in as paid consultants on the
project. Headed up by David Messersmith, the firm - based in Lubbock and
Midland - had gained notoriety for its work on the Permian Basin Oil
Museum in Odessa.
Secondly, according to Elizabeth, an anonymous donation of $250,000
was made to the project. The generous benefactor remains unknown to this
day, but through their gift they turned what seemed an impossible
undertaking into a project that brought diverse segments of Ward County
together in a spirit of community cooperation.
The anti-trash legions from Ward County will be among 100,000 volunteers
who will take part in the 12th annual event organized by the Texas
Department of Transportation and Keep Texas Beautiful.
Wickett is the local Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate.
Says Doris Howdeshell of TxDot's Travel and Information Division: "When
motorists travel Texas roads to see the bluebonnets and wildflowers we
are so proud of, their views should not be obscured by litter.
That's the mission this Saturday in Ward County for 10 volunteers each
from the Monahans Lions Club, the Monahans Rotary Club and the Ward
County Court System and the 143rd Judicial District. Another dozen
workers will come from the Ward County Probation Department.
Then there is the 100 from Wickett.City water top notch - again
From the citation:
"For the last five years, your public water system has had no violations
related to the total coliform rule. The staff of the Public Drinking
Water Section and the Field Operations Division recognize your
outstanding performance and award this certificate."
It was signed by Sally C. Guiterrez, director of the Water Utilities
Division. Sierra buys United
Sierra Well Services Inc. of Midland has acquired United Well Service of
Odessa, according to a Sierra Well Statement.
Sierra Well is a subsidiary of Southwest Royalties Inc. The acquisition
consists of four service rigs and all the other assets of United Well,
including two 1981 and one 1982 CCC units with 215,00 pound derricks.
Sierra did not report on the structure of the transaction.Consumers will
see little change in interest rates
Last week's quarter-point increase in the rate of funds banks loan each
other over night will have little effect on consumers in Ward County,
project financial analysts in Monahans.
There are two factors, note officers at First National Bank-Monahans and
First State Bank-Monahans.
Those are competition for consumer loans and the fact the increase from
the Federal Reserve had been expected for months. Adjustments already
had been made in anticipation of the promised increase to control
inflation in the United States dollar.
"It just finally happened. Adjustments already had been made," says both
bank officers in exactly the same words in separate interviews.
Those financial officers are Mark Gatzki of First National-Monahans and
John Paul Wade of First State - Monahans.
"I don't think it is going to do a lot," says Wade. "A quarter-point
increase will little effect us."
"Greenspan (Federal Reserve Chairman Alan) has been hinting for months.
All the markets have adjusted. Finally it did occur," says Gatzki.
Gatzki continues: "This (the increase in the federal fund interest rate
from 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent) is the greatest 'so what' I have ever
But little effect does not mean, both financial officers note, no effect.
That effect, although it is expected to be minimal, most likely will
come in Ward County in commercial loans as opposed to consumer loans.
Consumer loans interest rates currently are low and it is possible they
can rise but competition for the consumer loan market is a major force
in any market. Gatzki notes there may be some adjustment required in
the weeks ahead.
But he also notes: "If we raise our interest rates, our competitors
might not, putting us at a disadvantage in the market."
Once again in exactly the same context in separate interviews, Wade and
"I don't see us raising our rates on automobile, home and other consumer
Their comments came before the release on Monday, March 31, of the
latest U.S. Department of Commerce reports on personal income and
According to those federal communiques, the personal income of working
Americans increase by nine-tenths of one-percent in February, a notch
more than double the income increase of 0.4 percent reported in January.
Consumer spending, says the Department of Commerce release, was up
three-tenths of a percentage point compared with a full point increase
in January. The January spending growth, says the government, was the
largest since the previous February.
Those reports triggered an overreaction on Wall Street where stocks
dropped 150 points. Wall Street fears the Fed will increase the interest
Mr. Smith was born July 15, 1917 in Galena, Ks. and died Mar. 27, 1997
in Monahans. He was a Marine Corp veteran of World War II and moved to
Kansas from Odessa. He worked 35 years for Cities Service Oil Company
and was a life member of the El Dorado American Legion and VFW Posts,
40/80 Chefdegar and the El Dorado Moose Lodge.
He married Mary Frances Scanlon July 15, 1940 in El Dorado and she
preceded him in death Oct. 7, 1996. He was also preceded in death by a
Survivors include a son, Mark Smith of Broken Arrow, Ok., five
daugthers, Sandra Keele of Monahans, Susan Prince of Odessa, Marita
Coker of Dalworthing, Mary Jane White of El Dorado, Ks and Joan Patricia
Riley of Covington, Ok.; a sister, Margie Swigart of El Dorado; 15
grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial has been established with the Moose Heart Foundation.
Mrs. Haynes was born Jan. 16, 1927 in Malakoff and died Mar. 29,
1997 in a Kermit hospital. A Wink resident for 59 years, she was a
homemaker and a member of the Church of God.
She married Marshall J. Haynes Aug. 25, 1948 in Wink.
Survivors include her husband; six sons, Don Hawley of Fort Worth,
Ed Wilcox of Cameron, J.R. Haynes of Monahans, Jimmy Haynes of Jasper,
Gary Haynes and Clifford Haynes, both of Wink; two daughters, Sandra
McIvor of Buffalo Gap and Carla Harper of Grandfalls; three sisters,
Opal Cornelius of Eustace, Lena Sliger of Grandfalls and Eunice
Underwoods of Wink; 23 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a son, Floyd Haynes.
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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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