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

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March 19, 1998

Campaign begins for cemetery funds

Citizens of Monahans have started a drive to collect funds
to build a wrought iron, brick-columned fence at Monahans
Memorial Cemetery.

Kathlyn C. Dunagan has mailed letters to potential
In that letter, Dunagan notes:

". . .there is something in progress that you may not be
aware of and in which you might like to participate.

"The Pavilion which the Garden Club and the City built is
now completed (and, incidentally, heavily used) and being
landscaped by the Garden Club. An impressive gate at the
entrance to the cemetery is nearing completion and part of
the fence being rebuilt.

"Kermit was able to build a similar fence through
subscripton by individuals or organizations. Brick columns
are placed at 17-foot intervals in a unique wrought-iron
fence and inscriptions built into the columns are either
memorials for loved ones buried in the cemetery or names of
individuals or organizations supporting the project. . .

"A 17-foot span of fence and memorial column costs $1,065.
Checks should be made to the City of Monahans and are tax
deductible. If you are interested in participating in the
project, please call Rena Shelton at 943-2751. She will be
able to answer any questions you may have. But, don't delay
too long. There are a limited number of columns available."

School and towns prepare for May 2 election


There will be contested races for positions on the boards of
the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote school district and
Grandfalls-Royalty school district.

As of the filing deadline at 5 Wedneday, March 18, only one
of the two positons up for election will be contested for in
Monahans-Wickett-Pyote. That race will be for School Board
District 2 between incumbent Jessie Aguilar, a homemaker,
and Patsy Lyles Carrasco, a hairdresser, who filed earlier
this week. John Sconiers is unopposed for District 4.

In Grandfalls-Royalty, those seeking place 1 are Randy
Brandenburg, Ray Bookmiller and Jim Pullis. The incumbent is
not seeking re-election.

Jess Kester is the incumbent for place 2 and is unopposed
while Otho Lee Pierce, the incumbent in Place 3, faces
opposition from Mark Kuhn, Raquel Mull and Randy
McAllister.Elections will be held May 2. Early voting will
take place from April 15-28.

City of Grandfalls

Grandfalls does have contested races. Seeking the position
of mayor is the incumbent James Everett along with
challengers Joyce Wilhelm and Leo Bookmiller.

There are three at-large council seats open.

The three incumbents, Jessie Heard, James Cahill Jr., and
Donald Howell are seeking re-election and are being
challenged by Sue Mullins, Jeannie Crawford, Lawana Johnston
and Thomas Ed Kuhn.

City of Monahans

There may not be an election in the city of Monhans for the
city council unless a write-in candidate files before
Monday, March 23.

As of the regular filing deadline Wednesday, only the
incumbents have filed.

Those are Mary Garcia, place 1; Jeppie Wilson he was
appointed to fill ana unexpired term in place 2; Ted Ward,
place 4 and Clarese Gough, place 5.

City of Wickett

In Wickett, only the incumbents have filed for three
positions open and an election may not be held.

Those include Mayor Harold Ferguson, for a third term;
Marchall Clark, also for a third term, and Tommy Rice for
his first full term after being appointed to fill the
vacancy created by the resignation in November of Chuck

The election would be May 2 if there are any last minute

Commissioners set to vote on hospital's future

Ward County Commissioners Monday, March 16, set May 2 for a
referendum on whether leasing or selling Ward Memorial
Hospital will remain an option to cure the institution's
fiscal and operational ills.

The election on the future of health care in Ward County
will be held on the same day as school district and
municipal elections in the county.

Commissioners acted on a petition for the vote that was
filed with County Clerk Pat V. Finley on Wednesday, March 11.

A March 25 public hearing on alternatives to resolve the
hospital's woes still is scheduled.

More than 1,000 citizens of Ward County signed the petition.
Ward County Judge Sam G. Massey verified the names and
determined there were more than enough valid signatures of
registered voters to call the referendum. Massey had
promised he wasn't going to throw out any signatures on
technicalities. He didn't.

To be valid, the petition for the vote required only 700
names, 10 percent of the 7,000 registered voters in Ward

Hal Upchurch, an Odessa lawyer, had prepared the preamble to
the referendum petition by the Ward County citizens.

In that preamble, Upchurch had written: "On behalf of Mr.
Rodney Venters and other certified voters of Ward County . .
. I enclose a petition which has been signed by more than 10
percent of the qualified voters . . ."

The petition effectively stalls negotiations by the
commission for possible lease of Ward Memorial to a third
party to operate it.

Calls became toll free Wednesday

12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 18.

Grandfalls to Monahans, Monahans to Grandfalls became a toll
free telephone call.

It was the first time in history that Ward County's two
largest communities (Monahans has 8,101 residents, according
to the 1990 census; Grandfalls, 588) had been linked in the
same telephone net.

The toll free link was the result of an extended local
calling election in Grandfalls where the telephone
subscribers there voted to pay an extra $3.50 a month on
their residential telephone bills, $7.50 for business
phones, in return for toll free service to Monahans, Fort
Stockton, Imperial, Crane and Odessa.

Residents of the towns on the Grandfalls ballot do not pay
extra to make the toll free calls.

Because of the Grandfalls vote, Monahans voters now can
telephone toll free to Grandfalls, Odessa, Imperial and

Extended local calling first came to Monahans on April 16,
1997, when Odessa came on line. Monahans voters in 1996
voted to pay the $3.50 and $7.50 for Odessa only although
they could have had four other cities in their extended
call net for the same charge.

Main Street Survey

Citizens speak about their home town

Suzi Blair, the project manager for Monahans Main Street,
sees no surprises in the Main Street Survey of cultural and
economic attitudes among the citizens of Monahans.

For example:

Ward County people really do drive to Odessa to shop and
they do it more and more often. Some travel to Midland. At
least one journeys to Lubbock.
Writes one respondent to the survey: "I shop for everything
in Odessa or Midland . . . groceries at good prices and of
good quality, cheaper name brand clothes and shoes."

Another says: "Most anything can be purchased in Monahans
(Good, but here's the qualifier) if you are willing to pay
the price for it."

Another example:

Some of the respondents to the questions want an ice cream
parlor in Monahans. They apparently do not know about The
Corner and Big Burger. Further, they seem to have forgotten
Dairy Queens, the cultural focus of many Texas rural
communities, are built on an ice cream foundation as Texican
as high school football.

Those surveyed say the best thing abut Monahans is the
people. They most often take their visitors to Sandhills
State Park. Downtown looks better. Billee Lou's is the shop
of choice downtown. Some won't shop downtown at all.
Citizens of Monahans generally buy their groceries in
Monahans although they willingly drive to Odessa, sometimes
Midland, to purchase other items of everyday life from
clothing to nails.

In response to the questions as to what could be bought in
Odessa that could not be bought in Monahans and why are so
many willing to make the trip, one respondent echoes many
others: "Quality linens, purses, petite and large clothing,
appliances - at far cheaper prices."

And citizens of Monahans really want the vacant downtown
buildings filled right now with merchants.

What kind of businesses downtown?

One respondent writes: "Something with a variety in it."

Another suggests: "Specialty shops that would draw tourists."

One respondent went into reasoned detail, attaching an extra
sheet for this response: "I've been saying for at least a
year it would be a good idea to contact an individual
women's clothing shop in Odessa or Midland to ask if they
would be interested in putting a satellite (second store) in
Monahans-good quality women's wear including lingerie,
accessories, etc. Odessa might be best because of free phone
service between here and there. Switching items back and
forth between the two shops whenever necessary doesn't sound
like a large chore. I have no contacts in Midland or Odessa
or I would do this myself. What do you think?":

From a fourth surveyed: "Anything!"

The Main Street Project manager comments: "I think people
would be willing to shop in Monahans if there were better
selection at competitive prices. The perception of those
surveyed is that it is cheaper to drive to Odessa than to
buy in Ward County."

Most of those surveyed do buy groceries in Monahans, and if
their comments are correct, little else.

Blair notes the detailed poll of 150 persons confirms for
the first time with hard data what many citizens have said
for years. The survey presents facts on which merchants,
service providers and entrepreneurs can base business plans
and enhance marketing for businesses already in place - some
successful and some not so successful - plus future

"This survey can be used to help us recruit new businesses,"
says Blair. "It can help our current businesses identify
what their customers want. It gives us an idea of what the
people want."

She further notes the survey gives Monahans merchants and
entrepreneurs facts on which to base pricing and inventory

The desire of some respondents for an ice cream parlor is a
marketing case in point. Those who asked for one apparently
do not know two, three if Dairy Queen is counted, already
exist in Monahans,

Whose fault is that? Marketing gurus would say such
ignorance is not the potential customer's fault. The fault
is faulty marketing, one economic analyst notes. Marketing
means broadcast and print advertising in paid media. Junk
mail, according to repeated surveys, simply does not work,
nor does advertising in the so-called throw-a-ways or free
publications. All are treated by the majority of recipients
as no more than an unwanted addition to the family or
business trash.

Ice cream is not the only potential customer
misunderstanding identified in the Monahans Main Street

Some respondents say they do not know where to buy clothing,
shoes, even do-it-your-self supplies and tools for home
repairs and construction. Some say they do not know about
the existence in Monahans of a sporting goods store. Some
wonder about a coffee shop. Monahans has them all.

Several of those that did know questioned what they believe
to be high prices.

And more than a few answer the survey with statements like
"nothing" and "I don't shop downtown."

Blair emphasizes there are places in Monahans to purchase
many of the items noted.

Cars and motor vehicle parts are one scarcity the
respondents say exists.
In fact, there are two auto parts stores - NAPA, Big A - and
one major motor vehicle retailer - Motor City. Most of the
respondents to the survey know what there is to buy in
Monahans. More than a few do not.

Blair emphasizes this is not the fault of the consumers. It
is, she says, a challenge to the merchants to better tell
their story and boost the Monahans economy. She says
merchants and entrepreneurs need to establish and then use
tactics to transform a larger majority of citizens into ones
like the lone respondent who answers the question about what
you cannot buy in Monahans this way:

"Not much!"

It's Official

Feds ante nearly $2 million for county water development

Special to the News
TEMPLE - Nearly $2 million has been set aside by the Rural
Utilities Service to bring Monahans' legendary city water to
residents in areas South and West of the Ward County seat,
reports the agency.

The money goes to the Southwest Sandhills Water Supply Corp.
which has led the drive for Monahans city water distribution
to citizens in Thorntonville and other rural areas, which
have depended on well water contaminated with various
chemical salts for decades.

Water quality literally varies from well to well in the
region from nearly potable to water that turns clothes
yellow if it is used in the family wash.

According to a statement from the United States Department
of Agriculture/Rural Development office in Temple::

"Southwest Sandhills Water Supply Corp., located in Ward
County, received a $891,000 loan and $1,102,000 grant from
the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency that falls
under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development
mission area."

Rural Development Texas Director Steve Carriker made the

He said the dollars for water development in Ward County
were officially in hand on Thursday, March 12.

Carriker notes: "The funds will be used to construct a
100,000 gallon elevated water tank, approximately 47 miles
of distribution lines and a pump station."

Initially, 508 resident members of the corporation are
scheduled to receive the water that will be fed through the
lines from the City of Monahans water supply, says Carriker.

Loreida Potts, president of Southwest Sandhills Water and
the librarian at Walker Junior in Monahans, reminds
residents of the area to be served that there will be a
meeting of the water corporation on April 21 at 7 p.m. in
the Ward County Convention Center.

Registration fees for each user are $150 plus a $500 connect
fee. Basic water charges in the area will be $30 for the
first 2000 gallons of water. After the initial base 2000
gallons, the charge will be $2.50 for each additional 1000
gallons of water the residential customer uses in a month.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.