The MONAHANS NEWS
Weekly Newspaper for Ward County
Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
Return to Menu
Return to Home Page
April 16, 1997
Businessman wants entity cooperation
Return to top
Monahans businessman John Paul Jones calls for better cooperation
between city and county government officials, consolidation of several
public services, more positive coverage from the local media and a more
aggressive effort for economic development.
Jones' comments were made during his scheduled appearance before the
Ward County Commissioners Court Monday morning, April 14.
Although it is not unusual for citizens to address the court, it is
somewhat out of the ordinary for someone to cover a variety of topics as
an agenda item.
Jones began his speech by citing the large number of businesses which
have closed or moved out of Ward County since he (Jones) opened his car
dealership here 12 years ago.
"What concerns me is my two children who love this community. We need
to have something to make children want to come back to the community
after they finish school," he said. The lack of jobs and sluggish
economic development is not offering the county's young people the
future they want, he said.
"Our newspaper needs to stress more of the positive about this
community. I've been told that potential investors have visited here and
have turned around and left after reading negative stories in the
newspaper," he said.
"Our hospital is in chaos and our doctors are prima donnas," he said,
referring to the recent conflicts over the Ward Memorial Hospital's
financial and personnel management. "If we can't have harmony, I hope we
realize fewer people will want to move here"
The closure of the hospital would result in the loss of "at least 18
school teachers. Thirty John Paul Jones jobs would be gone."
He called for the consolidation of several government services and
expressed bewilderment in why such consolidation can not take place if
it is of benefit to the taxpayers.
"I'm sure that Sheriff Ben Keele and Police Chief Dave Watts are doing a
good job, but why can't we consolidate our city and county law
He also asked why consolidation of services can not also be applied to
the collection of property taxes, the maintenance of parks, the
treatment of water and sewage.
"City and county elected officials need to cooperate."
Jones also stressed the need for more activities for the community's
"As a parent, I don't want my kids hanging out in a local parking lot.
This city has no movie theaters, no skating rinks."
A lack of wholesome activities for young people in Monahans is reflected
in the high incidence of sexual activity by high school and junior high
students, he said.
On the subject of the Main Street Project, Jones said, "I can't tell you
if we're doing well or not, but at least we're trying."
Without apology, Jones admitted he did not know what the solutions were
to all the problems he cited, but urged the county's elected leaders to
look for possible answers.
"We're chasing off business..." he said in his conclusion.
When asked to respond to Jones' remarks, County Judge Sam Massey said
Tuesday, "We always welcome comments and suggestions from citizens. I
hope Mr. Jones knows that we will take into consideration his remarks
and that we were already in the process of working on several of the
problems he mentioned."
Jones failed to draw any response Monday after his presentation to the
Ward County Commissiners.
Safety issues rise with train traffic
Return to top
Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth plans to appoint a blue ribbon commission
to examine ways to resolve safety issues that will arise when Union
Pacific Railroad Co. begins running a dozen trains a day through the
Ward County seat.
The commission will make its report to City Council.
Currently two trains a day come through Monahans. The 12 train a day
schedule is projected by railway officials to start in 18 months to two
years. The increased rail traffic will follow a $125.4 million railroad
track upgrade in West Texas. Construction tentatively is scheduled to
start this month.
"This is a health and safety issue," says Cutbirth. "This is something
we on the City Council need to be moving on now while we still have
time. Already, with only two trains a day, it is nearly impossible to
move from one side of town to another at the noon hour. How much will it
be when 12 trains start?"
With the lead time provided by Union Pacific's report to The Monahans
News, Cutbirth says a special commission can begin examining options now
to determine the best way to resolve the problems in the interests of
both the railroad and the City of Monahans.
Cutbirth says the special commission he will appoint can talk with the
state's Railroad Commission, which has jurisdiction over the safety of
railroad crossings; the Texas Department of Transportation and the Union
Pacific, which is based in Omaha, Nev.
"We do not plan a confrontational approach here," says the mayor. "We
are talking about real potential problems with that number of trains
coming through each day. It is an issue that can be resolved because all
of us are reasonable people."
He says he plans to name the commission before he leaves for an economic
mission to China to boost the potential there of foreign investment in
Ward County. The mayor says his "blue ribbon" commission will include
representatives of public safety organizations, city and county
government, professionals from several disciplines including engineering
and the law, and citizens from all areas of Monahans.
Says the mayor: "An underpass at the tracks downtown may be the only
Freeze hurts fruit trees
Return to top
Last week's sudden temperature plunge freeze-burned fruit trees,
tomatoes and other crops but the cattle business is expected to rebound
by the end of the year, reports Ward County Agent Andy Stewart.
Stewart made the comments on the agricultural outlook after about five
years of drought which in former years forced ranchers to sell stock.
As Stewart notes: "They just flat ran out of grass."
The about four hours of freezing and subfreezing temperatures in Ward
County last week "burned the fruit trees and damaged the tomatoes and
other garden crops."
Stewart says the pear trees at his home already had been fruiting, a
crop now lost because of the sudden temperature drops.
"In the mulberry trees around the community, the leaves are shriveled
like someone held a blow torch to them," observes Stewart. "They're
burned that bad." "Essentially the people who put out their tomatoes and
other crops a few weeks ago when it was pretty will now replant."
The best news, notes Stewart, is the cattle business. Rains last Fall
and this Spring combined to bring moisture to pastures that hadn't seen
much in several years.
Stewart says it is likely ranchers will increase cattle this year but an
increase in market dollars will not be evident for two years.
Local calling to Odessa is here
Return to top
At 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16, a new era in communications began
On that day a telephone call between Monahans and Odessa became a local
call, no more punching one-plus-the-area code to telephone Odessa.
The same is true for telephone subscribers in Odessa calling Monahans
except there is no premium on the Odessa phone bill for local calls to
With the implementation, residential telephone subscribers in Monahans
pay an additional $3.50 a month; businesses, $7.
The extended calling service for Monahans to Odessa was approved by a
vote of Monahans telephone subscribers last year.Bloody sock opens can
CRANE- What happened?
Who did it?
Where's the body?
Questions like this have surrounded the strange occurrence in room 112
of the Crane Best Budget Inn.
Rumors have spread like wild fire about what may have happened or what
somebody told someone else.
However, for those interested in the truth, it may lie on the foot that
fits the bloody sock with a bullet hole through it. Sherlock Holmes is
not needed to solve the Mystery of Room 112.
But return to the beginning.
Back on March 26, Crane police began to investigate reports of gunshots
and blood in the Crane motel.
"There was definitely evidence a firearm was discharged in the room.
Yes, we had blood and obviously there had been some attempt to clean it
up. But we don't have a gun," said Crane Police Chief Rhon Crawford to
the Crane News back in March.
It also was believed the people responsible were carnival workers, who
were in town that week, because the officers could not find any
connection between the incident and the local residents. Sherlock Holmes
wasn't available to enter the case but the Texas Rangers were.
Chief Crawford acknowledged on Monday, April 14, the people responsible
are three men and a woman and are most likely carnival workers out of
In addition to the Crane Police, the Rangers and Odessa Police
Department assisted in this on going investigation.
"There was a bloody sock found in the room with a bullet hole in it,"
says Ranger Captain Barry Caver of Midland, "Someone got shot in the
foot or shot themselves in the foot."
When asked about the sock, Chief Crawford told the Monahans News
reporter the information was classified and if it was printed the
reporter would be subpoenaed.The chief demanded to know the source of
the information and the reporter declined to respond to the intemperate
request. Crawford did say that they have a pretty good idea who was in
the room and are trying to find them to try to find out more about what
Chief Crawford emphasized that the four, to date, only face a criminal
mischief charge for the damage done to the room.
Sales tax rebates up sharply
Return to top
AUSTIN - April state sales tax rebate checks to Ward County increased a
sharp 27.75 percent over April a year ago, according to reports from the
office of State Comptroller John Sharp.
Sales tax rebates in Thorntonville were up 159.41 percent; in Monahans,
they were up 36.07 percent.
Ward County's sales tax rebate increase was in sharp contrast to the
rest of Texas where rebates were down compared with April of 1996.
"While April sales tax rebates overall were somewhat below those for the
same month last year, year-to-date rebates to Texas cities and counties
are still up by 4.3 percent over the final four months of 1996 as the
state economy continues a slow, steady rate of growth."
In Ward County, year-to-date sales tax rebates have increased 40.63
percent or from $152,319.50 in the first four months of 1996 to
$214,200.61 in January, February, March and April of 1997.
Sharp's office in April wrote state wide rebate checks totaling $142.5
million to 1,085 cities and counties in Texas.
Ward County checks in April totaled $47,712.38 compared with $37,345.58
a year ago.
Sharp notes that overall sales tax rebate checks totaled $130 million to
Texas cities, 2.9 percent lower than last year's April payments of
$133.9 million. Rebates of $12.4 million to Texas counties were 2.9
percent below allocations of $12.8 million to counties in April of 1996.
In Ward County, the city of Monahans received the largest April sales
tax rebate - up 36.07 percent from $32,688.09 last April to $44,480.36
Other Ward County numbers on April sales tax rebates:
Thorntonville - up 159.41 percent from $98.73 to $256.12.
Grandfalls - down 61.47 percent from $438.40 to $168.88.
Pyote - down 19.48 percent from $914.15 to $736.06.
Wickett - down 35.4 percent from $3,206.21 to $2,070.98.
Early ballot has one contested race
Return to top
Early voting began this week in the trustee election for the board of
the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote School District.
The only contest on the May 3 ballot is in District 7 where Stephen R.
Hurst and Alan Steen face each other for the school board position being
vacated by incumbent Robert Wells.
In District 6, incumbent Steve Swarb has no opposition.
Both races will be on the ballot although the only contested race is in
Early voting will continue at the School Administration Building 606
South Betty Street, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday,
through Tuesday, April 29.
All voters registered to case ballots in District 7 (or District 6) may
vote early simply by declaring that they wish to do so.
On May 3, the regular election day, District 7 voters will ballot at the
Ward County Coliseum.
District 6 voters, where only Swarb is running, will vote at Tatom
In District 7, both candidates have pledged their commitment to
education. Both are youth leaders. Hurst has won the Monahans Chamber of
Commerce Youth Leadership Award. Steen is Youth Minister of the First
Baptist Church in Monahans. Wickett city elections cancelled
Municipal elections scheduled on May 3 in the Ward County city of
Wickett have been canceled, according to a communique from the Wickett
Only one candidate filed for each of three seats on the Wickett City
Council that were to be filled by the voters on May 3.
Two incumbents - Kent Sellers and Alvie Pardue - and a freshman - Polly
Massey - are elected to the city council posts for which they filed.
From the statement issued on Tuesday, April 15, by the City of Wickett:
"On April 10, 1997, the City of Wickett Council met and adopted
Ordinance number 111 to cancel their May 3, 1997, City General Election
and to declare each unopposed candidate elected to office.
"A 1995 law, section 2.051-.053 of the Texas Election Code made this
procedure possible for cities whose candidates were unopposed and no
proposition is to appear on the ballot in that election.
"An order of election was issued in the Feb. 13, 1997, council meeting
with three vacancies."
Massey, Paradue and Sellers will be sworn into office after May 3.
Rabies clinic is big draw
Return to top
More than 200 dogs and cats, mostly dogs, received inoculations at the
annual city of Monahans rabies clinic on Saturday, April 12, reports Dr.
Charles Sanders of the Sandhills Veterinary Clinic.
Most of the animals that received the shots were dogs.
The clinic was at the Monahans Volunteer Fire Department.
Sanders says the turnout for the annual antirabies project means that
now at least 90 percent of the about 550 dogs and cats in Monahans are
inoculated. The veterinarian notes that the 550 is strictly a
Records show several more than 400 cats and dogs in Monahans have had
rabies vaccinations, says Sanders.
State law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated annually for rabies.
The veterinarian calls the response to the clinic excellent.
"It was not on the same scale as the clinic we held about two years ago
when we vaccinated more than 400 dogs and cats for rabies," says
Sanders. "But this year we did not have the scare we had then when there
were several cases of rabies reported in the community. The scare,
warranted or not, led to the large response of pet owners that year to
the rabies clinic."
Sanders says the extent of rabies inoculations in the area forms an
effective barrier to a rabies outbreak.
Tax filers use special mailer
Return to top
About 250 deadline income tax filers took advantage of the special
Internal Revenue Service box placed at the Monahans Post Office on
Tuesday, April 15, reports Postmaster Ben Martinez.
Midnight Tuesday April 15 was the official deadline for taxpayers to
file their 1996 federal income tax returns.
Martinez had placed a special post office box in the Monahans post
office Tuesday night for tax preparers and filers fighting the Midnight
deadline. But he also gave the citizens a six hour reprieve. The mail in
the box was not collected until 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
All mail placed in that special IRS postal box received the April 15
postmark, Martinez notes.
"We had only abut 250 pieces of mail for the IRS in the box," comments
"I guess this means that most people in Ward County and Monahans did
their tax returns before the deadline."
Holman House focus at Million Barrel
Return to top
One of the most popular attractions at the Million Barrel Museum, other
than the tank itself, is the restored childhood home of Eugene Holman,
who became the president of Standard Oil of New Jersey.
The first two-story structure was built by Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Holman in
1899 as a hotel to the north of the railroad tracks. It became a
popular way-station for travelers between Fort Worth and El Paso. Some
accounts indicate the food was good, the rooms clean and the guests made
to feel welcome.
According to the book "Ward County History", visitors to the Holman
Hotel were asked when registering how many biscuts they would like to
eat at breakfast.
The first Holman Hotel burned down sometime in the early 1900s. The
family rebuilt the hotel in about 1908 or 1909 - records are sketchy -
at a site south of the tracks near the present-day location of Leal's
Restaurant on Sealy, where once again it became one of the most popular
places in Monahans.
Mr. Holoman died in 1927. The family built another home on Miner
Street and the hotel was moved to the corner of Guadalupe and Adriance
(now Betty and 3rd) where it became a hospital for several years under
the guidence of Dr. Hal Douglas.
Lanny Ice, a current resident of Monahans, was born in the house on
May 30, 1936.
It was next remodeled into four apartments with much being done to
install bathrooms and porches. However, the original staircase remained
intact and is still present today.
The rooming house was occupied mostly by local school teachers. In the
1960s, Drama teacher Andy Smith, latin instructor Don Windsor, Wickett
teacher Muffet Davis and Junior High teacher Verna Finks occupied the
The house changed hands several times and was owned for a while by Mr.
and Mrs. J.E. Hudson. The house was eventually moved to the south of
town where it was allowed to fall into disrepair until being rescued for
Return to top
By Jerry Curry
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
The wind howls and the window panes move as I stumble over the weights
and crash into the torture machine alleged to be on the cutting edge of
the technology of keeping fit. It is dark. I curse softly as I reach for
my bruised toes and rub them. It truly is dark. My toes hurt. But
nothing can stop me on this quest.
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
Somewhere over there in the corner is the telephone. It is white.
Because of its whiteness it reflects light and seems to glow in the
corner. Perhaps the Holy Grail looked like this to Galahad. Perhaps? Not
I plunge onward, oblivious to the pain in my toes and the handlebars of
the torture machine catch me below the ribs and I recoil. But nothing
will stop me now. Ahead is the telephone. Ahead is the final step on my
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
My hand reaches out for the telephone. I clutch it. I drop it. I grab
for it attempting to sit down at the same time in the chair I know is
there. The chair is not there. Did I mention it was dark? Did I mention
the only thing I could see was the spectral telephone which I now had
dropped but it was laying on the floor beside me where I am now sitting
having made an unscheduled journey derriere down to the floor.
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
My palms are clammy. I focus. I have the telephone to my ear. I am going
to call Odessa. At this moment, I am going to call Odessa and it will be
a local telephone call for which I will not have to pay long distance
charges. Of course, I will have to pay an extra $3.50 a month on my
residential telephone bill. If I am going to have to pay extra bucks for
the right to make Odessa a local call, then I am going to get my money's
worth. I start now a minute after midnight on O-Day (Odessa Day). I am
going to have to pay more than 40 bucksa year for this privilege. If I
pay for it, I am calling Odessa.
"Are you out of your mind?," screams a voice that already knows the
answer to the question being hurled through the darkness. "Have you
broken something? Are you crazy? What are you doing in there after
midnight banging stuff around?"
I mumble: "I am calling Odessa."
"What? Stop mumbling." comes the disembodied voice in the darkness.
I scream: "I am calling Odessa! Now, are you satisfied? I am calling
Odessa! So there!"
Then I mumble: "I think I broke my toes. My toes really hurt. Why are
there weights in the middle of this floor?"
12:01 a.m, Wednesday, April 16.
"You're screaming too loud. No body can understand that," says the
disembodied voice. "What did you say?"
Calmly forcefully, I speak into the darkness from my impromptu seat on
the floor: "I am going to call Odessa. I am going to call Odessa from
right here in Monahans and I am not going to dial the area code."
Replies the voice from the darkness, calmly, softly, as you might talk
to an errant child: "You don't know anyone in Odessa."
I begin to sob.
Return to top
Graveside services for Naomi Ruth Hawkins Ridenour are scheduled
for 10 a.m. Friday in Monahans Memorial Cemetery officiated by Rev. Bob
Porterfield and directed by Harkey Funeral Home.
Mrs. Ridenour was born Aug. 17, 1930 in Clay County and died April
16, 1997 in an Odessa hospital. She was a housewife and a Baptist.
She married Edgar Allen Ridenour June 21, 1946 in Henrietta.
Survivors include her husband; a daughter, Malinda Carrell of
Monahans; two sons, Morris V. Ridenour of Albuquerque, NM and Michael
Allen Rodenour of Midland; her mother, Annie Ruth Adams of Monahans;
five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial services for Weston Gardner, 71, were held Monday at
Harkey Funeral Chapel officiated by Jimmy Braswell.
Mr. Gardner was born Aug. 7, 1925 in Stonewall County and died
April 10, 1997 in an Odessa hospital. He was a Navy veteran of World War
Survivors include his wife, Chyrel Nichols Gardner of Odessa; for
sons, James Newby of Okemah, OK, Weston W. Gardner of Odessa, Bill
Nichols and Joe Nichols, both of Greenville; a daughter, Trisha Gardner
of Odessa; two sisters, Barbara Raihl of Alameda, CA and Juanita French
of Alameda, CA and one grandchild.
RUTHIE PAULINE HARRIS
Services for Ruthie Pauline Harris, 58, were held Monday at
Immanuel Baptist Church officiated by George Walker and Spencer
Kirkpatrick. Burial was in Monahans Memorial Cemetery under direction of
Harkey Funeral Home.
Mrs. Harris was born Oct. 4, 1938 in Weinert and died April 11,
1997 at her home. She was a housewife and a Baptist. She moved to
Monahans in 1962 from Midkiff.
She married Hubert William Harris in 1962 in Midland.
Survivors include her husband; a son, Ernest William Harris of
Pagosa Springs, CO; three daughters, Barbara Ann Locklear of Magnolia,
Ark, Pamela Kay Keltz of Monahans and Kathryn Jean Harris of Odessa;
four brothers, John Spencer Kirkpatrick of Andrews, George Alfred
Kirkpatrick of Ridgecrest, Ca., J.H. Kirkpatrick and Earl Munrow
Kirkpatrick, both of Midland; seven sisters, Nellie May Crisp of
Midland, Annie Zeola Norwood of Rule, Tessie Christine Brekenfeld of
Bryan, Bula Lorene Doss of Marshall, Annis Laverne King of Santa Monica,
Ca, Nancy Earline Crisp of Loraine and Mary Elizabeth Rawls of Stamps,
Ark. and four grandchildren.
Services for Margarita Valles, 93, were held Tuesday at Our Lady of
Guadalupe Catholic Church with Father Gilbert Rodriguez officiating.
Burial was in Fairview Cemetery under direction of Ellis Funeral Home.
Mrs. Valles was born Dec. 6, 1903 in Ocampo, Coahuila, Mexico and
died Saturday in a Midland retirement home. She married Hilario A.
Garcia in 1932. He preceded her in death in 1941. She moved to Monahans
and lived here until 1957, when she moved to Midland. She married the
late Jose Valles in 1967. She worked for Casa De Amigos several years
and was a Catholic.
Survivors include two sons, Miguel G. Garcia of Midland and Hilario
Garcia of Lansing, MI; two daughters, Margarita Reyes and Victoria
Stringer, both of Midland; two step-sons, M.E. Valles and Jesus Valles,
both of Midland; three step-daughters, Socorro Jasso, Margarita Augilar
and Lupe Garcia, all of Midland; four brothers, Federico Gonzales of
Wink, Jaime Gonzales of El Paso, Alfaro Gonzales of Oceanside, CA and
Alfredo Gonzales of El Paso; a sister, Maria Garcia of Simi Valley, CA;
59 grandchildren; 90 great-grandchildren and 40
She was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Linda Reyes Garcia
and a step-daughter, Hilaria "Lala" Galan, both in 1995.
AGNES C. ROBINSON
Graveside services for Agnes c. Robinson, 87, of Ruidoso, were held
Monday at Pendleton Cemetery in Pendleton with Rev. Theiss Jones
Mrs. Robinson was born Mar. 27, 1910 to Ida and Martin Southerland.
She died April 10, 1997 in a Ruidoso care center. She was a retired
teacher and a member of First Baptist Church of Monahans.
Survivors include her daughter, Nancy Noble of Ruidoso; a sister,
Edith Porter of Monahans; two grandchildren and three
The family requests memorials be made to the Alzheimer' Foundation.
KENNETH M. HOLT
Services for Kenneth M. Holt, 72, were held Monday at Mission San
Jose with burial at Mission Burial Park South in San Antonio.
Mrs. Holt was born Sept. 8, 1924 in Stanton and died April 11, 1997.
Survivors include a daughter, Charlotte A. Knight; three sons,
Richard L. Holt, Gary M. Holt and Larry G. Holt; a sister, Chloe Wright;
a brother, O'Brien Lewis; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Return to top