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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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Thursday, December 11, 1997

$190,000 enlargement of City Hall approved

The Monahans City Council gave thumbs up Tuesday, Dec. 9,
for the city architect to move ahead on a $190,000
enlargement of City Hall.

The three additions to the current building will add
approximately 2,778 square feet in new space.

According to City Manager David Mills, workers are
currently experiencing a shortage of storage space and
cramped conditions. He also noted that the city currently
having to rent two offices - one for the Monahans Main
Street director and one for the MEDC director - in GRS

With the addition of 1,066 square on the south end of City
Hall, those two positions could probably be moved.

One of the main changes will be the removal of municiple
court from the police department and into a new corner
office in the area currently occupied by the flagpole.

The main entrance to the building will also be rebuilt and
enlarged to include a receptionist area and a larger office
space for the city manager.

The city manager's current office will probably be converted
into a small meeting room.

Architect Larry Johnson of the firm Johnson Seefeldt will
prepare documents to let the project out for bid.

Commissioners approve $900,000 project

The Ward County Courthouse will undergo a major expansion to
bring it into compliance with the requirements of the 1988
Americans with Disabilities Act.

Estimated cost for the project is $900,000 and construction
could possible start by Spring.

County Commissioners Tuesday, Dec. 8, gave their approval to
move ahead on the project. The action came in their
regularly scheduled meeting. Terry Witherspoon, an Odessa
architect, made a presentation of floor plans and general
specifics to the court.

The estimated cost of the construction work came as no
surprise since, says County Judge Sam G. Massey, the
commissioners have been making budget allocations for
several years in anticipation of bringing the building into
compliance with federal regulations.

The centerpiece of the project will be a new elevator which
will serve all four floors and the basement of the existing
structure. The elevator will require that a large,
box-shaped addition be built on the east side, facing the
law enforcement complex.

Witherspoon told the commissioners he was recommending an
architectural style which will "compliment rather than
match" the existing style.

The outside of the new addition will be covered in a brick
veneer very similar in color to what was used at the
sheriff's office.

The construction will also change the look of other areas of
the building. The area surrounding the 143rd District
Courtroom presided over by Judge Bob Parks will be given
more space, especially in the currently cramped jury room.

Witherspoon emphasized that the estimated $900,000 price tag
was a conservative guess and that he thought the project
could be completed with less.

There was a $50,000 contingency written in as part of the
Witherspoon said that with Tuesday's approval of the plans,
the next step will be for the county to go out for bids,
possibly as soon as late January.

Under such a time frame, construction could begin as early
as late February or early March.

Gibbs elected trustee of Hardin Baylor U.

AUSTIN - Dan M. Gibbs, Monahans area leader of Franklin Life
Insurance Co., has been elected to the Board of the
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, according to a communique
from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Election of
Gibbs came at the annual meeting of the 2.6 million member
Baptist General Convention of Texas on Nov. 10-11 in Austin.

Monahans man pleads guilty to sexual assult

Alfredo Gomez Nunez, 36, of Monahans has pleaded guilty to a
charge of sexual assault involving a teen-age girl at her

The incident, according to the indictment charging Nunez
with the crime occurred on May 4.

Judge Bob Parks of the 143rd Judicial District assessed a
$1,500 fine and placed Nunez on probation for 10 years.

Monahans man faces 2 charges

Travis Clifton Hall of Monahans was indicted twice by the
December term of the 143rd Judicial District Grand Jury in
connection with a hit and run back on Sept. 7.

Hall was in an accident with Geno Zinanni, and fled from the
accident, according to Grand Jury documents released on

He is charged with driving while intoxicated and failing to
stop and render aid, a felony.

Hall has been convicted twice before for an offense relating
to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated back
on May 14, 1992 and Dec. 10, 1992.
Currently Hall is being held on a $5,000 dollar bond for the
DWI and a $5,000 bond for the failure to stop and render aid

County's jobless rate dips a bit in October

Ward County's unemployment rate declined 1.1 percent in
October from the previous month, according to statistics
released by the Texas Workforce Commission last week.

Those documents show Ward County's jobless rate for October
of 1997 to be an even six percent compared with 7.1 percent
in September and 6.1 percent for October a year ago.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in
October was 5.4 percent, up slightly from September and
equal to the figure reported across Texas in March of 1996

According to a Texas Workforce Commission analysis:

"Employment and unemployment both rose (in October),
possibly the result of a robust economy drawing job seekers
into the labor force.

" The rate of unemployment has remained virtually unchanged
(between 5.3 percent and 5.5 percent) for the past seven
months, indicating a stable labor market."

In the City of Monahans, the only Ward County town for
which workforce data is reported, the October of 1997
jobless rate was 6.2 percent down from 7.3 percent in
September and slightly below the 6.3 percent unemployment
rate reported for Monahans in October of 1996.

The October 1997 percentages, according to the Commission
office in San Angelo, are based on a labor force in Ward
County of 4,336.

Of that 4,336, 4,074 were reported working with 262
potential workers unemployed.

Comparable numbers for September of 1997 were a work force
of 4,418; 4,106 employed; 312 unemployed.

In October '96, the data shows a labor force of 4,452 with
4,179 employed and 273 jobless.

For the City of Monahans, the workforce in October of 1997
was reported to number 2,706 with 2,537 employed and 169

This compares with a workforce of 2,758 in Monahans in
September with 2,557 working and 201 unemployed.

In October of 1996, the Monahans numbers reflected a labor
force of 2,779 with 2,603 employed and 176 unemployed.

Main Streeters pull over Nebraskans

Monahans Main Streeters held another of their award winning
R.V. Pullovers on Monday, Dec. 8, in conjunction with their
Hometown Holiday Lighted Christmas Parade.

Guests were Al Patnaude and Jane Beck Smith of Waco,
Nebraska. The couple was pulled over by Deputy Steve Vestal
and the Main Street delegation just as they were exiting for
the Sandhills State Park.

They were on their way to Big Bend. Afterward they will
travel on to Phoenix to meet other RVers and ultimately end
up in the California Baja.

Al is retired from the military and also worked as a
librarian for the Indian Nations. Jane is a retired
teacher, having taught in Egypt for many years, and is now
co-owner of Miller Maze Farm in Waco, Nebraska with her son.

When asked what they liked most about Monahans they said, "
It's small town hospitality. Everyone we met was most

While in Monahans they took advantage of Main Street
coupons, saw the sights, including Sandhills State Park and
the Million Barrel Museum, and watched the parade.

WCS Oil bids high for Ward gas lease

AUSTIN - WCS Oil and Gas Corp. had the high bid of $324,160
on each of two tracts in Loving and Ward Counties, according
to a statement from the University of Texas System.

The WCS Bid was part of an action on Nov. 19 when The Board
for Lease of University Lands awarded 93 oil and gas leases
for bonuses totaling more than $7.75 million.

"These bids (in Ward and Loving County by WCS) were also the
highest per acre bids at $1,011.89 per acre," reports Monty
Jones, a press officer for the University of Texas System.

Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, chair of the board for
lease, says:
This is an outstanding lease sale for the Permanent
University Fund. Along with the highly successful lease
sales recently for the Permanent School Fund which helps
finance public education, there can be no doubt that oil and
gas exploration is coming back strong in Texas."

Bonuses paid for University Lands leases in 1997 totaled
$15.2 million, the highest amount received in any year since

The Board of Lease of University lands schedules two oil and
gas lease sales a year - usually in May and November.

Members of the Board for Lease are comprised of
commissioners of the state General Land Office and regents
of the University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems.
Oil and gas bonuses and royalties from University Lands are
deposited in the Permanent University Fund.

School board approves education plan

Trustees of the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote school district
Tuesday night, Dec. 9, approved a long range plan for
education of gifted and talented students through the year

Under the plan, gifted and talented students would be served
with special educational enhancement programs from
kindergarten through the twelfth grade.

That project is designed to enhance the students, the
district, the program and the opportunities that otherwise
might be available, says Tom Johnson, the assistant
superintendent who directed the school district team that
prepared the plan.

In the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote School district administrators
and teachers report that five to seven percent of the
student body can be classified by state definitions and
standards as gifted and talented.

According to the report accepted by the school board:

"MWPISD (Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent School District)
has supported a state approved gifted and talented program
for identified students in grades one through six since

The report continues: "During the fall of the 1997-98 school
year, the gifted/talented plan was revised based upon the
most correct State Plan overview and Program Evaluation for
the Gifted/Talented."

That group, chaired by Johnson, included campus principals
Carla Tucker and Kellye Riley and several teachers:

Jill Steen of Cullender Kindergarten, Joyce Dotson and Betty
Smith of Edwards Elementary, Bridget Schoolcraft of Gensler
Elementary, Neva Green of Tatom Elementary, Jane Ann Eason
of Sudderth Elementary, Lynette Watson of Walker Junior High
and Foydell Mitchell of Monahans High School.

Two parents, Carol Hurst and Mary Rose, also were on the
Gifted/Talented Planning Committee that prepared the report.

In the school district, gifted and talented students are
defined as "those who excel consistently or who show the
potential to excel at remarkably high levels in specific
subject matter aptitude, general intellectual ability,
and/or creativity.

"Approximately five to seven percent of the student
population will be identified and placed for program
services. Other areas of giftedness may be added as the need
is identified and substantiated."

Under the plan, the student program goals include:

Identifying options through consistently applied critical,
logical and creative research to problems and issues.

Fostering with the students an ability to gain an
understanding of themselves and their relationships to
others and the institutions of the society.

Of those goals and others, the committee writes:

"The student goals reflect the learning characteristics of
students identified as gifted/talented in general
intellectual ability, specific subject matter aptitude and
creativity and provide the district with a clear idea of how
the curriculum will be differentiated."

Car hits woman on North Main

A woman was hit while crossing the street in the 700 block
of North Main Street at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 3,
according to Monahans police reports.

Gunva McKellips, 26, of Monahans was taken to Ward Memorial
Hospital and air lifted to Lubbock Methodist Hospital where
she was reported in guarded condition on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

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