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July 24, 1997

Classic defends rate hike

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The Monahans City Council heard a defense Tuesday during its meeting of
a recent $2 rate hike by Classic Cable.
Rowdy Whittington, regional manager for the franchise, told the council
that due the increasing costs of programming, it was necessary to
increase the rates to $26.95.
Whittington also cited the increasing costs of digital compression
technology and a forthcoming computerized billing system as being
responsible for the hike.
City Manager David Mills asked Whittington why - with two rate
increases in the past year - the franchise fee paid to the city has
shown, "a downward trend of six percent over the past two years."
Whittington replied that he would have to look at the numbers before
being able to answer the question.
Councilwoman Mary Garcia told the manager that she and several of her
constituents had tried repeatedly to reach someone at Classic's 1-800
customer service number to no avail. Whittington expressed surprise and
told Garcia that Monahans could now have customer service matters taken
care of by dialing 943-4334.
On a positive note, former-Mayor Dick Hoyer thanked Classic Cable for
the work its crews had done in helping hang Christmas lights in Monahans.

Bizarre excape attempt draws three charges

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Ismael Diaz faces three indictments in the wake of a bizarre June 13
escape attempt in which he took the Andrews County sheriff's pistol at a
rest stop near Pyote in Ward County.
Diaz, who was being transferred by Sheriff Wayne Farmer from Marfa to
Andrews, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, attempted capital murder
and attempted escape. The 32-year-old Diaz is being held in the Ward
County Jail at Monahans in lieu of bonds totaling $700,000. Diaz was
named in indictments returned last week by the 143rd District Court
Grand Jury in Monahans.
Farmer's right hand was wounded when he grabbed the cylinder of the
.357-Magnum and the revolver discharged, reports Texas Ranger Bob
Bullock of Midland.
Bullock was the lead investigator in the incident.
The Andrews County sheriff has recovered from the injuries caused by
the powder and lead-particle blow back from the revolver when it fired.
Farmer was treated at Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans and released.
Diaz was booked into the Ward County Jail where he remains pending trial
on the charges.
Bullock says the affair from which the indictments came occurred in this
The Andrews County sheriff went to Marfa to pick up Diaz on a
misdemeanor assault warrant out of Andrews County. Diaz had been taken
into custody in Marfa.
Diaz was handcuffed with a belly chain "so he could be transported in a
humane way."
Farmer and his prisoner were headed East on Interstate 20 when the
sheriff pulled off the interstate at the Pyote rest stop. At some point
as the sheriff was stopping the vehicle, the handcuffed prisoner
snatched the sheriff's pistol from its holster and the men began to
struggle over the weapon as the vehicle in which they were riding
stopped. In this struggle, the weapon fired. After a few moments, Farmer
regained his pistol and subdued Diaz. Wounded from the pistol fire's
blowback, the sheriff got out of the car.
It was about 5:30 p.m.
Highway Patrol Trooper Jamie Ramos of Kermit, the first officer other
than Farmer on the scene, said he was passing on I-20 when the sheriff
waved him down.
Recalls Ramos: "The sheriff wanted me to check the prisoner which I did.
I then determined the prisoner was secure and then I applied first aid to the sheriff's hand wound."

Quarterhorse show to jam city

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Thousands of visitors are expected to jam Monahans starting this weekend
for the county's annual quarter horse show and next week's Butterfield
Overland Stagecoach and Wagon Festival, say officials of both events.
Admission is free to the Quarter Horse Show this weekend and to many of
the Western Week events following.
The stagecoach and wagon fiesta keys a Western Week celebration that
doesn't end until Sunday, Aug. 3, a celebration that features the
displays of vintage stagecoaches and wagons at the old Lobo Ford
building in downtown Monahans, beard contests, ugly pickups, street
dances, barbecue and fiddlers.
Quarter horse show manager David Tucker has estimated that the quarter
horse show alone will boost the Monahans economy by about $400,000 over
the three days of the event that begins on Friday July 25, and ends on
Sunday, July 27.
In conjunction with the Quarter Horse Show at the Ward County Coliseum
and Fairgrounds Arena, the Monahans Chamber of Commerce plans to host a
mini-craft trade show in the Coliseum.
Competition begins on Friday, July 25, at 7:30 a.m., and continuing from
the same time each day of the competition.
From a statement prepared by the directors of the show:
"All together there will be 73 classes each day including halter
classes, English riding, Western performance equitation, showmanship,
horsemanship and trail.
"In addition the local shows have been designated as a qualifying show
for the prestigious Texas Quarter Horse Champion of Champions classic
held annually in Fort Worth."
After the quarter horse show this weekend, comes next week's celebration
of West Texas heritage including the centerpiece Butterfield Stagecoach
and Wagon Festival that doesn't end until Sunday on Aug. 3 at Hill Park
next to the Ward County Courthouse. That Sunday begins with a Cowboy
Church Service at 10 a.m. and dashes toward the end of the day in
stagecoach and train rides, food and entertainment.
With a Monday, July 28, recess between the quarter horse show and
Western Week, events in Western Week start early on Tuesday when
trailriders leave Barstow on the Pecos River headed for Monahans.
Riders will spend the night at Pyote and continue into Monahans
arriving sometime on Thursday, July 31 in time for the barbecue at 7
p.m. in Hill Park and the street dance and music by Wild Streak in and
around the Park.
Officials of Main Street Monahans and the Chamber urge citizens and
visitors alike to dress West Texas heritage style throughout the
celebration. Boots and hats, they say, are obligatory.

Fiesta Calendar

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Tuesday, July 29
Trail Ride begins in Barstow

Wednesday, July 30
Trail Ride continues from Pyote

Thursday, July 31
Trail Ride arrives in Monahans

7 p.m. - Kick Off barbecue with music by Mountain Railway Co. in Hill
Park next to Ward County Courthouse in Monahans

8:30 p.m. - Street Dance in Hill Park. Music by Wild Streak

Friday, Aug. 1
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Million Barrel Museum Tours

9 a.m. - Downtown Festival Grounds open in Hill Park.

Continuous entertainment, air conditioned tent, free swimming all in
Hill Park.

Stagecoach and wagon displays in Old Lobo Ford Building.
6 p.m. - Sponsor Party - Ward County Coliseum. Music by the Ferguson

7:30 p.m. - Way Out West Bull Riding - Ward County Arena.

9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. - Jodi Nix and the Texas Cowboys, concert and dance.
Million Barrel Museum.

Saturday, Aug. 2
9 a.m. - CASI Sanctioned Chili Cook-Off in Pyote.

10 a.m. - Parade, Downtown
10 a.m. - Downtown Festival Grounds open, Hill Park.
Continuous entertainment, Hill Park.
Air Conditioned Tent, Games, Free Swimming, Hill Park.
Gun Fights by the Unforgiven - Hill Park
Stagecoach and wagon displays - Old Lobo Ford Building

11 a.m. - All Kids Rodeo - Ward County Arena

2 p.m. - Static Coach and Wagon Judging - Old Lobo Ford Building

6 p.m. - Sponsor Party at Ward County Coliseum. Music by Mariachi Los

7 p.m. - Way Out West Bull Riding, Ward County Arena
9 p.m. - 1:30 a.m. - Tejano Dance. Ruben Ramos and Bobby Pulido,
Million Barrel Museum

Sunday, Aug. 3
10 a.m. - Cowboy Church Service in Hill Park
Food booths, craft booths, local and area entertainers, train rides, stagecoach rides

Butterfield stamp a good deal

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Citizen or visitor to Monahans next week gets a special deal if they
post a letter in the town that will be hosting the fourth annual
Butterfield Overland Stagecoach and Wagon Festival.
That special deal is a cancellation showing stagecoach and mule team
ready to ride out of Monahans for California or Fort Stockton or Dallas.
Postal officials offer the special cancellation each year as part of the
annual Western Week celebration keyed by the stagecoach festival and
focused on West Texas culture.
From the special communique issued by the U.S. Postal Service
installation in Monahans:
"The Monahans Post Office, in conjunction with the fourth annual
Butterfield Overland Stagecoach and Wagon Festival, will again be
offering its special cancellation commemorating the event.
"For those wishing to obtain the special cancellation, it will be free
of charge.
"For those who would like to purchase a 'special' stamp commemorating
the era, the Post Office will have available for sale, the "Legends of
the West" stamp sheets.
"These stamp sheets consist of several colorful individuals from the
era, from ranchers to Indians to lawmen, along with a stamp depicting
four common wildlife of the era such as a buffalo, an eagle, bear, a ram
and a mountain lion.
"Included also is a stamp depicting a horse drawn stagecoach.
"On the back of the stamp sheet is a very brief history of the
individual or of the stamp subject.
"A booth will be set up at Hill Park (next to the Ward County
Courthouse) on Friday (Aug. 1) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again on
Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 P.M..
"The Post Office at 201 South Betty
(Avenue) also will be offering the special cancellation and the stamp sheets for the next 30 days in August."

Insurance small part of hospital bill

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Uninsured patients who pay their own medical bills plus
government-insured patients account for nearly 80 percent of Ward
Memorial Hospital's 1996 patient revenues, according to an audit
released on Tuesday, July 22.
Mason, Warner & Co. of Lubbock, noted that net patient service revenue
for the year audited was $7,244,167.
Of that figure, self-paying patients accounted for 44.31 percent,
Medicare patients 28.03 percent and Medicaid, 9.52 percent.
In addition, the auditors note $89,123 of the $789,719 transferred from
the Ward County general fund to Ward Memorial was for indigent care.
The remainder of the general fund transfers to Ward Memorial, according
to the audit, were $279,596 for operating expenses, $145,000 for
equipment purchases, $150,000 for physician recruiting and $126,000 for
the emergency ambulance service operated by the hospital.
Ward County provides through its transfers, notes County Judge Sam G.
Massey 100 percent of Ward Memorial costs for those patients who qualify
as indigent under the various federal and state guidelines. Other
revenue for 1996 was $100,381 bringing the total hospital revenue for
that year to $8,134,267. In 1995, patient net revenues were $5,554,784
and total revenues were $6,699,706. An operating loss of $248,357 was
noted for 1996; compared with a loss of $111,598 in 1995.
Massey and County Commissioners Julian Florez and Larry Hunt attended
the meeting of the Hospital's Board of Managers in the hospital
Massey told the hospital managers he must have the hospital's budget by Sept. 1.

Habitual criminal charged in murder

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Joyce Faye Lowe, a habitual criminal from Odessa, is charged with murder
in the slashing death of an elderly Monahans man.
Lowe was named in a murder indictment returned last week in Monahans by
the 143rd District Court Grand Jury.
She is charged with the multiple stabbing death of Emanuel DaFoe Hogan,
88, at Hogan's home about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, July 2.
Monahans police quickly identified Lowe as a suspect and notified the
Texas Rangers who arrested the woman at her home in Odessa.
Lowe was on parole on a conviction of aggravated robbery-habitual based
on an incident which occurred on Nov. 4, 1987.
She is being held in the Ward County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
State parole officials have said Lowe will be returned to a state prison
to serve the balance of a 25 year sentence even if she makes bond.
Attorney Jeff Parras was appointed defense attorney for Lowe upon her
being declared by the court as indigent.
Investigators report they have been told Hogan and Lowe knew each other.
Police officers discovered Hogan's body at his home about 5:25 a.m. on
the day he was killed. Ward County Justice of the Peace Pascual Olibas
ruled the killing homicide.
In other indictments returned by the Grand Jury, Timothy Alan Weldy,
27, of Monahans was charged with indecency with a child and sexual
assault of a child.
Bail bond for his release was set at a total of $75,000. Weldy was charged in an Oct. 1 incident which involved a young girl he knew.

Manufacturer eyes Monahans plant

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After months of phone calls and lobbying - including a trip to
Philadelphia by a Monahans delegation - a decision is expected to be
announced Monday, July 28, on whether Pennsylvania-based M.M. Reif & Co.
will open a new plant in Monahans or in Raymondville in South Texas.
In Tuesday's, July 22, City Council meeting, David Reif, company
president, said his decision has not been made yet and the chances are
evenly split "50-50" between here and Raymondville.
Reif, who was accompanied by David Clark, his purchasing manager, said
that he was in the process of reviewing the proposals from the two
cities. The proposals are comprised of incentives being offered to
relocate his company
. The Monahans Economic Development Corporation's proposal, drafted by
the corporation's Charles Walker, is centered around the city-owned
Camelot Building and the modifications which would be required for
Reif's manufacturing process.
The company produces canvas and web products for military and civilian
use. Initial start-up operations would result in approximately 30 jobs,
with a potential growth to 75 positions over a five-year period.
The Camelot Building would need approximately $180,000 worth of
improvements - paid for from tax-supported EDC funds - should Reif
accept Monahans' proposal.
Under the plan, Reif would lease the renovated building from the city
for 10 years, at which time the company would have an option of
purchasing the site for $200,000.
Although a majority of the money - such as an $80,000 air-conditioner
- would come from economic development funds, City Manager David Mills
said the city would probably have to do a few small jobs on the building
like paving the parking lot.
As the recruiting effort was gaining steam, there had been concern
expressed about the available labor force here as compared to the South
Texas candidate.
Reif Tuesday assured the council labor was no longer a factor in the
outcome of his decision. The EDC was able to alleviate the labor
concerns by running a series of advertisements in regional media seeking
experienced industrial sewing machine operators and mechanics.
Reif's visit, which culminated Wednesday night with a social function
at the Country Club RV Park, is the most recent and probably last hurrah
for the recruiting effort. There have been previous visits by members
of Reif's family and several weeks ago a contingent from Monahans went
to Philadelphia to tour Reif's plant and review his operations.
The delegation was comprised of Mayor David Cutbirth, EDC Board
President and Councilman Curtis Howard, EDC's Charles Walker, First
National Bank President Mark Gatzki and First State Bank President
Charles Wade.
Although cautious not to show his hand, Reif did salute the city for
all its efforts to bring his company to Monahans and noted that, "We
started out with a list of 62 possible cities, and the fact that
Monahans made the cut to a list of two certainly shows you have
something going for you."
Councilman Curtis notes following Reif's appearance that,"No matter what
Mr. Reif's final decision is, this industrial recruiting experience has
provided a valuable education for Monahans. What we have learned during
the past few months will certainly come in useful in our next effort."
Prior to Reif's Tuesday, July 22, appearance, the Economic Development
Commission had referred to the recruiting effort by the code-name
"Cain-Penn Project".
"The reason for the secrecy," says the commission's Walker, "is that
industrial recruiting is a very competitive business. If someone - such
as the recruiters in Odessa - found out about this company, we would get smeared."

Mayoral candidates guilty of felonies

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Both candidates for mayor in the politically troubled City of Grandfalls
have pleaded guilty to felonies, according to court records obtained by
The Monahans News.
One of them, James M. Everett, is eligible to serve, if elected on Aug.
9. The other, Mark John Barker, is not.
That's the legal opinion of Ward County Attorney Kevin D. Acker.
"I had advised Barker to run," Acker tells the Monahans News. "Based on
what I know now about the mayoral candidates in Grandfalls, Mr. Everett
is eligible to serve. Mr. Barker is not. I plan to contact him and
advise that he withdraw from the mayor's race. Barker will withdraw."
Ballots already have been printed for the Aug. 9 election and city staff
members say they cannot be changed. Although, Acker notes, Barker can
acknowledge his error in filing for the mayor's office and decline
service if he is chosen by the Grandfalls electorate.
Acker was the attorney for Barker in a child custody case and says he
had suggested to Barker at one point: "You're doing well. Why don't you
continue to get your life together and try and give something back to
your community."
That, the County Attorney says, is no longer possible because court
records show Barker has at least until next year before he can seek a
court order restoring his civil rights.
Such an order restoring civil rights to Everett was signed on July 13,
1996, in the 394th District Court. That order terminated a decade's
probation for Everett and notes: "Ordered and adjudged by the Court that
the judgement of conviction heretofore entered against the defendant
(Everett) in this case be and the same is hereby set aside, the
defendant discharged from said probation and the defendant is hereby
released from said probation, and the defendant is hereby released from
all penalties and disabilities resulting from the judgment of conviction
in this cause."
Everett had pleaded guilty on March 19, 1991, to assault of a public
official. He was placed on probation for two years. The case was
adjudicated at Marfa in Presidio County.
Barker pleaded guilty on Feb. 10 of 1988 in the 64th District Court at
Plainview in Hale County to a felony charge of possession of marijuana.
He was placed on 10 years probation, fined $1,000 and paid court costs.
Bill Wischkaemper, a Lubbock lawyer, represented Barker in that case. He
says it would be at least two years before a court order could be
sought returning Barker's rights to him under law, an order comparable
to that already granted to Everett.
Says Wischkaemper: "Barker is not eligible to serve if he is elected
mayor of Grandfalls."
Everett, a rancher whose wife, Mary, is a former mayor of Grandfalls,
and Barker, who works the Oil Patch, are the only candidates on the
ballot for the highest office in the Ward County city of 583 persons.
This question about the mayoral candidates comes in the wake of
confirmed reports of an investigation into Grandfalls city government
that dates at least to a rash of resignations by elected city officials
in June and the simultaneous resignation of the then city administrator.
The investigation was spurred by Ward County Attorney Acker and District
Attorney Randy Reynolds. It focuses on allegations of conflicts of
interest among elected and civil service city officials, violations of
the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts and potential election law
violations in the balloting scheduled on Aug. 9.
Reynolds confirms only that an inquiry is in progress and says any
information collected may be sent to the 143rd District Court Grand Jury
which sits in Monahans, the Ward County seat.Grandfalls. City
Administrator Joy Chew says the next meeting of the Grandfalls City
Council is scheduled in City Hall at 7 p.m. on Aug. 14. At that meeting,
the new council will be seated and the results of the Aug. 9 election canvassed.

Early voting draws 28

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Twenty-eight votes have been cast in Ward County in the early voting
phase of the Aug. 9 referendum on increasing the residence homestead
exemption by $10,000, reports County Clerk Pat D. Finley.
Early voting began on Monday, July 21. It ends, Finley reports, four
days before the election. As of noon Wednesday, July 23, 12 early
ballots had been cast by mail; 16 in person at the Ward County
The homestead exemption is the only item on the ballot for most of Ward
County. A municipal election is being conducted in Grandfalls.

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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