Monday, April 6, 1998
GTE to unload smaller operations
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - Just days after celebrating the
passage of the "two million milestone," GTE officials' term
for surpassing a customer base of over two million, GTE
plans to unload close to 1.7 million of its customers in
slower growing areas of the country to invest more heavily
in "higher-return" telecommunications.
Layoffs of current employees may also reach as high as 1,500
But the decisions of which areas to sell-off have not been
made, said GTE spokesman Charles Watkins, and will not be
acted upon until 1999. The decision over which properties to
sell of will not only be based upon low financial return or
"non-profitability," said Watkins, but would also depend on
the existence of other companies interested in purchasing
the service area.
"Obviously we want our customers to have an easy turnover
and a continued quality of service," he said.
Allcomm, a local long distance provider that also provides
Internet service and Cellular One distribution, has
requested to be notified if the local service area should go
up on the block. "We've shown interest at their national
center in Irving," said Allcomm president Dick Alligood,
"They're supposed to let us know before they let go of any
of their properties but nothing has come of it yet."
Along with the heavy migrations to GTE by phone customers
has come an accompanying large number of customer
It was just last Wednesday, April 1, that GTE Communications
Corporation president Butch Bercher announced that the
company's ability to "win a million customers in our first
year . . . indicates our customer-focused approach to the
market is a winner."
Another perspective was eviden when the Public Utility
Commission of Texas recently listed GTE Southwest, Inc., as
the local telephone company with the fifth-highest number of
complaints filed with PUC.
Watkins said that there had been 390 complaints filed with
PUC from the Texas customer base of about 1.5 million, down
from about 500 complaints filed the previous year. "As the
second largest telecommunications company in the state, we
didn't want to see our name on any of those lists," said
Watkins, "We are aware of the problem and are focusing on
According to company officials the large number of
complaints were due primarily to an inability to keep up
with the tremendous company growth as well as the nationwide
consolidation of service headquarters.
GTE Southwest, Inc., followed complaints against (in order)
United Telphone Co. of Texas; Century Telephone of San
Marcos, Inc.; Alltel Sugarland Telephone Co.; and Fort Bend
Telephone Co. The companies are rated on a complaint per
Worth over $23 billion in 1997, GTE is one of the world's
largest telecommunications companies. GTE serves seven
million customers outside of the United States, offering
local service in 28 states and national long-distance.
Health Fair receives good reviews
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - More than 1,000 people took advantage
of free-and reduced-health care services offered at the 11th
Annual Health Fair, held at the Reeves County Hospital
"So far, going by the tickets that individuals signed up for
door prizes from, we've counted a little over 1,000," said
health fair committee member Nancy Ontiveros.
Ontiveros stated that about 400 free pancake breakfasts were
served to those attending and the barbecue plate sale went
"They were out of barbecue by about 1 p.m.," said Ontiveros.
"All the exhibitors were very, very pleased, we had a great
turnout," said Ontiveros.
According to Ontiveros, about 365 complete lab tests were
drawn and 100 PSA tests completed. "These PSA tests were men
only and we had that many," said Ontiveros.
There are still a few door prizes that are unclaimed and
Ontiveros stated that people can check to see if they are
winners by calling the hospital.
"I've been trying to reach some of the winners, but if they
call me I will give them their door prize," she said.
"We had a very good day, the weather cooperated quite well
and committee members are just thrilled that we had such a
good turnout," said Ontiveros.
This year the event was more spread out. "We had a huge
crowd in the morning, but we still had people trickling in
at about 2 p.m.," she said.
Morning health care packages, such as lab and blood work
were very popular, according to Ontiveros.
"This year we also had a lot of new booths and all that
participated enjoyed it," she said.
All exhibitors were asked to fill in an evaluation form to
state what they didn't or did like about the health fair and
give their suggestions for the following year.
"In the evaluation, the exhibitors stated that they found no
weaknesses, however some of their suggestions, such as
background music will be taken into consideration for next
year," said Ontiveros.
Health fair committee members will meet this week to start
planning for next year's event.
"One of the major strengths mentioned in the evaluations,
was the organization and planning that went into the event
and the participation of the media," said Ontiveros. "We're
thankful for the support the media gives us, this helps
tremendously," she said.
BISD will meet Thursday
BALMORHEA, April 6, 1998 - Balmorhea ISD board members will
meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the board room at First and El
Items on the agenda for discussion include: an electrical
infrastructure update; BISD Improvement Advisory Committee;
Action items on the agenda include: TASB Update 58 - first
reading; senior trip; adopt new employment contract format;
approve March 3 minutes; finance, accounts payable.
Other agenda items include a closed session on personnel,
discussion of future agenda items and announcements.
Two plead guilty in district court
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - Two defendants entered pleas of
guilty in 143rd District Court Friday before Judge Bob Parks.
Carole Janet Cone admitted possessing marijuana and was
sentenced to four years, adjudication deferred; a $1,500
fine and $140 restitution.
Florentino Florez will spend 18 months in state jail and pay
a $500 fine for forgery, plus $25 restitution.
Wheels of justice sometimes grind slow
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - If one were to think of the
multi-faceted, cumbersome judicial system of our state as a
lumbering giant, then the case of Thurman O'Neil Williams is
one in which this judicial beast could not decide with which
foot to lead.
To say that Williams' mother, Willie Mae - who originally
approached the Enterprise with her son's story on March 11
- is losing her patience with judicial bureaucracy would be
Thurman Williams, who was arrested on Nov. 7 in Midland and
transported to Reeves County Jail on Nov. 25, has had his
parole revoked because of misdemeanor charges, one of which
has since been dropped. By the time of the parole board's
most recent hearing, the 28-year-old Pecos native had spent
124 days in custody, without a lawyer, on a charge of
telephone harassment that never came to trial.
But as a result of other charges stemming from his arrest on
the telephone harassment allegation, Williams is now
sitting in Reeves County Jail, waiting for space to be made
for him in a state facility, after his parole was revoked.
The telephone harassment charges were filed against the
young African-American man on Oct. 19, 1997, by his
mother-in-law, E.T. Elliott, who said in an interview she
was against "inter-racial marriage."
Williams had been in the habit of making collect calls to
his Caucasian wife, Sandra D. Elliot, who had left him to
live with her mother.
The charge of telephone harassment led to the issuance of a
warrant for his arrest for parole violation. He was picked
up by Midland police, tagging onto the misdemeanor charge of
harassment against Williams additional charges of resisting
arrest, evading arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He pleaded no contest to the three new charges a week after
his Nov. 7 arrest, and was transported from Midland to
Reeves County Jail on November 25.
Williams sat in on one parole board hearing in late January,
after officials with the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole
said they were tired of waiting for a criminal trial - which
generally comes first in such instances - on the telephone
When his mother looked for an explanation of her son's
extended time in jail without a trial she was hard pressed
to find one.
"I talked to (County Attorney) Walter Holcombe. He said he
needed to talk with the parole board," said Willie Mae
Williams recently. "And the parole board said they can't do
anything until the criminal charges are taken care of.
"He's tired of sitting up there. I'm tired of going back and
forth, calling Austin and wondering why he is still here."
The parole board's meeting with Williams was on Jan. 16,
which was 10 weeks after Williams was picked up in Midland.
Then on Jan. 29 the parole board announced it would not
revoke Williams' parole on the four misdemeanor charges. The
board did find him guilty of the resisting arrest, evading
arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia charges incurred
in Midland, but innocent of the original charge of telephone
The plaintiff who filed the harassment charge, Mrs. E.T.
Elliott, did not appear at the hearing. Instead of revoking
his probation then, the board decided to sentence him to 90
days at an Intermediate Sanctions Facility, said Stennett
Posey, director of information services at the Texas Board
of Pardons and Parole.
Posey said that ISF is basically a "time-out," where those
on parole may benefit from job and/or substance abuse
counseling in a halfway house environment. It usually
involves a short period of incarceration and saves parole
officers from redoing sizable amounts of paperwork.
Posey also said that the parole board would not retry
Williams on the same charges, unless there were additional
charges that were filed "after the board process began" in
"I don't know why the judge is waiting to try this case,
unless there are charges involved that aren't reflected in
the information I have here," said Posey earlier in March.
However, while Williams' parole wasn't revoked at that time,
the board's Jan. 29 decision left Williams was in legal
limbo: by law he could not begin to serve his required 90
days of ISF as long as there were outstanding charges
against him. And with no trial forth-coming, he would spend
another 42 days in Reeves County Jail, until a second
meeting of the parole board, which took place on March 12.
At that meeting, held two days after an investigation had
begun into Williams' situation, Williams was served with a
transmittal notice by parole officer James Long which states
that his parole has now been revoked and he is therefore
considered ineligible for ISF on account of the pending
criminal charges of telephone harassment.
In an interview the day following Williams' parole
revocation, Holcombe said that as a result of the board's
action he would now drop the charge of telephone harassment
against the young man.
The charges were dropped on Friday, March 20.
Williams said the phone calls began while the couple was
separated and Elliott was living in Pecos with her mother.
And many of the calls, Williams admitted, were collect
calls. "That's part of the harassment Mrs. Elliott is
claiming," said Holcombe, referring to the numerous collect
There exists a tape recording, made by the Elliott's
answering machine, of a phone call that took place between
Williams and his wife. Holcombe said that he had not heard
the tape personally, but understood there was no foul
language or threatening statements made by Williams on the
Williams' parole was revoked, according to his parole
officer Ed Zijlstra, because of Rule Number Two, or,
"failure to obey all municipal, county, state and federal
law" -chiefly the charges of resisting and evading arrest
and the outstanding charge of telephone harrasment.
When the decision to revoke Williams' parole was finally
reached, he had been incarcerated for about 130 days, even
though he maintains he requested a speedy jury trial in a
meeting with Holcombe in December of 1997. This Holcombe
"I feel like something should be done. They're not following
the legal guidelines or the Constitution," Williams said.
"I'm not the only one. . . there are a lot of others who
have been sentenced already, up to seven, eight and nine
months ago, that are still here," he said.
John Miller, the community information officer for the
regional branch of Pardons and Paroles, said that inmates
such as Williams linger in county jails "all the time"
because of backed-up case loads in local courts or because
of prosecutors who are waiting for their suspect to "plea
bargain." A defendant who does that, and pleads guilty to a
lesser charge for a lesser penalty, spares the court the
cost of conducting a trial.
But Holcombe maintained in a March 12 interview that it was
not a matter of a backed-up case load or an attempt to plea
bargain that had been stalling Williams' case. Holcombe said
he would not proceed with the case until the parole board
had reached some decision regarding it, to ensure that the
maximum penalty prevailed.
When asked about the January board hearing, in which the
parole board voted to grant ISF and not revoke parole,
Holcombe said he was not informed when that decision had
been reached. Though he said he was told by parole officer
James Long, Williams' agent officer, on March 11, that the
parole board was reconsidering the January hearing results.
"I was told that there was to be a hearing to reconsider the
decision of the parole board and I told Long I wanted to
know the results right away."
Despite Willie Mae Williams' incessant calls and complaints,
Holcombe said in the March 12 interview this was the first
time he had called for information concerning the parole
board hearings since he heard of the scheduled January
hearing in December of 1997.
Reeves County Jail staff said rules permit only family
members to visit with prisoners, but a note was passed to
Williams that initiated a series of telephone interviews
with the Enterprise before he learned of the March 12
decision to revoke his parole.
"The rights of the inmates are being violated by the Reeves
County court system," said Williams, who made it clear that
he did not blame the jail system.
"I could have been home in May, now I'm looking at June. My
mother doesn't like idea of a lawsuit, but it may be the
only thing to get them (the court system) to do what they
are supposed to do."
Concerning legal representation, Holcombe said, "He never
asked for one. I told him he needed to hire a lawyer, that
if he couldn't one would be appointed to him."
The county attorney said Williams rejected that option. "He
said he did not want to plead guilty and did not want to
plea bargain. But wanted a jury trial."
Williams claims that he did, in fact, request a lawyer from
Holcombe that was never provided.
Williams' mother, Willie Mae, said Holcombe's secretary told
both she and her son that a jury trial would be "a waste of
the taxpayers money." Ostensibly because the charges against
her son are so flimsy.
Holcombe maintained, "I'm just trying to stop the harassment
by whatever is feasible."
Holcombe said that the long wait in county jail was not an
attempt to force Williams to plea bargain. "I wouldn't try
to coerce him to do anything. If the parole board would have
notified us on this I would have dumped (the case) long
ago," said Holcombe.
Holcombe said that he would look into the matter further if
it were still unresolved on Monday, March 16. But the parole
board's action on March 12 made that move unnecessary.
Laura Cortez, unit supervisor for Parole Department in
Odessa, said that the March 12 parole board meeting in
Abilene was held because the board had failed to understand
at their Jan. 16 meeting that there were still charges
pending against Williams.
Pardon and Paroles information officer Miller explained that
the parole board did not need the same level of certainty on
the three Midland charges to convict Williams that a normal
jury trial would require.
"If they can get rid of this guy without a trial, it saves
the county money," said Miller. "And to prosecute the guy
locally, you must prove his guilt beyond a reasonable
But, he said, with a parole board you do not need to be as
certain of guilt, a "55 percent" suspicion will suffice. The
legal term for this is a "preponderance of evidence."
Meanwhile, Sandra D. Elliott's mother, the plaintiff in the
telephone harassment charge, also wants to know what
Williams is doing still sitting in county jail. She wants to
know why he hasn't been sent back to the pen yet. "The
question to ask is, 'why the law is so lenient?'"
Citing the Williams case, Miller said it was a "difficult"
situation. "Counties tend to prioritize their dockets (based
on) who are the victims, how much clout they have in the
community, what a trial will cost and the benefit of
prosecuting the case."
And should the defendant be innocent, Miller continued, "Is
justice served? I don't know."
Meanwhile, he said, with Williams' parole revoked, the state
has 90 days to find him a bed in one of their facilities.
"He's gonna go back for a while," Miller said.
Peace Maker almost loses leg
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - Earl Standberry, aka "Peace Maker,"
earned a new name for himself riding his sturdy, new
crutches through the halls of Tucson Medical Center with a
virtual erector set of pins and screws orbiting the
mid-section of his right leg. "They call me Miracle Kid'
out here," he said.
Standberry had devoted himself to spreading the
international message of peace by following the original
footsteps of peace-activist Mildred Norman, better known as
the "Peace Pilgrim," before nearly losing his leg to a
transport train outside Benson, N.M., March 18.
The six-foot-three-inches high Persian Gulf War veteran and
Pecos High School graduate began his inspired trek on the
first of January this year, departing, as Norman had 45
years earlier, amidst the hoopla of the Pasadena Tournament
of Roses Parade.
To be de-commissioned so early in his journey has not
dissuaded the Peace Maker. Standberry, already moving along
on crutches two weeks after the accident which left only a
stretch of skin, a lone artery and vital nerve connecting
his upper and lower leg, takes comfort in the fact that the
Peace Pilgrim also experienced a life threatening experience
at the same stage of her journey in the form of a violent
snow-storm. He plans to be back on his journey as soon as he
can, in fact, for the Peace Maker, the hospital has become a
part of his journey.
"Everything happens for a reason," Standberry stated from
his hospital bed on Tuesday, March 31, "I believe I was
meant to come back to meet Dr. Parseghian."
Parseghian, orthopedic surgeon and son of famous Notre Dame
football coach Ara Parseghian, may have helped to inspire a
new element in Standberry's mission: to fight for a cure to
an as-yet incurable genetically-acquired disease. Parseghian
recently lost his 10-year-old son, Michael, to what he
described as a juvenile form of Alzheimers, known as
Neiman-Pick Type C. His two other children, Marcia, 9, and
Christa, 6, have both been diagnosed with the disease.
Standberry said he was strongly affected while sharing the
photos of his mangled leg to a staff nurse who made the
observation, "It's amazing he can put your leg back together
but he can't even help his own kids," he said.
"I am so appreciative for what this man has done. I am truly
indebted," said Standberry. "He works magic. I still have
feeling in my toes."
Standberry's doctor said it is normal for patients to become
attached to their doctors after such a stressful ordeal, but
refused talk of a miracle recovery. If there was a miracle
involved in Standberry's experience, Parseghian said, it was
in the "type of injury that he received" and not in the care
given or his rapid recovery.
According to Parseghian, the would-be Peace Maker came very
close to losing his right leg, which had been severed almost
completely under the knee. But fortunately Standberry still
had the important blood vessels and nerve intact that made
the repair possible.
Standberry had been double-backing to Tucson to recover a
package of literature to be distributed on his journey, when
he decided to speed his way by hopping a train. He
dismounted the vehicle when it slowed to about 45 mph on an
incline, but he didn't jump far enough and got his leg
caught up in the tracks. "It was stupid of me to get off
while it was still moving," he reflected.
He said he understood, even as he jumped from the train,
that he was "bound to hurt himself somehow," but he didn't
bank on losing a leg or his life. "My leg was folded in a
way that no leg should be folded."
According to Standberry, he sat near the tracks watching
blood trickle from his leg for over an hour. "I came to
terms with the Lord that I may lose my leg," he said. Then,
as time continued to crawl by and no help appeared to be
forthcoming, Standberry said, "I came to terms that I may
bleed to death."
Then came Standberry's savior: Union Pacific employee Jim
Miller, came across the grisly morning scene and called for
medical assistance. Soon Standberry was being air-lifted to
Tucson Medical Center. "I'm still searching for the guy who
saved my life," he said.
Standberry, aka "Peace Maker," aka "Miracle Kid," was
inspired to commit to a life of wandering similar to that of
Peace Pilgrim Mildred Norman after a series of spiritual
experiences Standberry had while in living in California.
Norman committed herself to walking the highways and bi-ways
of the nation in 1953 when she took her vow to "remain a
wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking
until given shelter and fasting until given food." That's
exactly what she did until being struck and killed in an
automobile accident in 1981.
Standberry hopes to be received by President Clinton upon
arrival in Washington, D.C., around December, and will then
walk to New York in the hopes of addressing the United
Nations. Standberry walks, as Norman before him, for the
establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace, an end to
Korean hostilities and global disarmament.
He urges anyone interested in finding a cure for Neiman-Pick
Type C to contact the Ara Parseghian Foundation at 1760 East
River Road, Suite 115, Tucson, Ariz., 85718.
Burn victim listed as "satisfactory"
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - An elderly Pecos woman was listed in
satisfactory condition at University Medical Center in
Lubbock this morning, after she was transferred there Friday
following an accident which occurred in her home.
Willie Mayes, 84, of Pecos, was first transported to Reeves
County Hospital after she was burned in a fire Thursday
evening, according to assistant hospital administrator
She was injured in an accident at her home late Thursday
evening. According to her niece, Willie Shorter, Mayes was
trying to light a heater, when the fire flared up setting
her hair on fire.
"She put the bedspread over her head, which was good, but it
still caught fire and burned her head and face," said
Mayes suffered first and second degree burns to both her
head and face.
The family will be waiting to see what Lubbock physicians
have to say before establishing a fund for Mayes, who is a
life-long Pecos resident. She was also a Pecos Enterprise
employee for many years, along with her husband Arthur, who
died in 1987.
Pellet gun vandal opens fire on library
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - It is not yet known how much it will
cost to replace the laminated safety glass that sat in the
front door of the Reeves County Public Library, but head
librarian Nancy Bentley is growing tired of the harassment.
"Since we're not on the main drag the public doesn't know
this is happening," she said.
At about 7 p.m. Saturday a Pecos Police Department officer
responded to a call that the front window was broken out at
the library. What was found was a series of pellet gun welts
across the glass of two windows and the front door
completely shot out, a pile of fractured glass shimmering in
two heaps on the inside and outside of the building.
This is the fourth time in the past year the building has
been vandalized, said Bentley. The past three instances had
"I didn't make a big deal out of the graffiti," said
Bentley, "but this is just awful."
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the crime.
Unlicensed drivers involved in two accidents
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - Two accidents over the weekend in
Pecos involved unlicensed drivers. A passenger in one of the
vehicles was transported to the hospital, but there were no
The first accident occurred Friday afternoon on East
Eleventh Street. Yesenia Arenivas, 17, 505 N. Cedar, was
driving a dark blue, 1991 Ford Explorer owned by Walter
Vidal of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, according to a police
department accident report.
Arenivas was traveling east in the 100 block of East
Eleventh at about 3:36 p.m. As she reached over and tried to
place a seatbelt on a child passenger, she drove up onto the
curb, traveled about 31.1 feet before striking a utility
pole and another 7.1 feet before coming to a stop, according
to the report.
The passenger was transported to Reeves County Hospital and
the vehicle was towed by G&G Wrecker.
The owner of the vehicle had liability insurance, and a
specimen was not taken from the driver for alcohol/drug
Arenivas was cited for no driver's license. Distraction in
the vehicle, driver inattention and failure to control speed
were listed on the report as factors that contributed to the
The second accident happened at 3:26 p.m. Saturday. Manuela
K. Lozano, 27, 214 West Fourteenth Street, was stopped at a
stop sign in the 200 block of East Thirteenth Street in a
1998, green GMC pickup.
A second vehicle, a 1984 Dodge Aries, was traveling north in
the 1300 block of South Cedar Street when Lozano tried to
cross the intersection, going west on Thirteenth Street. The
driver of the Aries applied the brakes but was unable to
avoid the collision, according to the accident report.
Lozano received a citation for no driver's license. Failure
to yield right-of-way at a stop sign and visibility being
limited by parked cars were listed on the report as factors
contributing to the accident.
Neither vehicle was towed and no specimens were taken for
alcohol/ drug analysis.
April 6, 1998
Alfredo (Freddy) Chabarria, 32, died Wednesday, April 1, in
Graveside services are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 7
at Fairview Cemetery with Brother Vincent from Kerville
Chabarria was born Aug. 13, 1965, in Pecos. He was a lead
man for Trace Ventures Exploration Inc. and was a lifetime
Survivors include: his wife, Irma Rodriguez Chabarria of
Pecos; two sons, Abdiel Chabarria of Arlington and Sean
Michael Jasso of Pecos; two daughters, Ashley and Stephanie
Jasso of Pecos; his father, Manuel Chabarria of Pecos; four
brothers, Manuel and Alex Chabarria of Kerville, Martin
Chabarria of Odessa and Adolfo Chabarria of Weatherford,
Okla.; three sisters, Esmerelda Castillo of Grand Prairie,
Yvonne Amarillas of Snyder and Gloria Lopez Martinez of
Pecos; his grandmother, Josephina Gonzales of El Paso; and
several nieces and nephews.
Francisca P. Acosta, 70, died Sunday, April 5, 1998, in
A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, at
Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, at Santa
Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
Acosta was born Dec. 4, 1927, in Barrancos, Chih., Mexico.
She was a housewife, a lifetime Pecos resident and a
Survivors include: her husband, Agapito Acosta of Pecos; two
sons, Gregory Acosta of Yakima, Wash. and Agapito Acosta,
Jr. of Pecos; two daughters, Teodora Acosta of Pecos and
Dora Talamantez of Odessa; four brothers, Manuel Porras of
Mesa, Ariz., Jose Porras of Artesia, N.M., Enrique Porras of
Midland and Bernardo Porras of Presidio; two sisters, Juan
Porras of Barancos, Mexico and Angelita Porras Martinez of
Pecos; 17 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, April 6, 1998 - High Sunday, 85, low this morning,
44. Showers and thunderstorms are forecast for most of Texas
tonight and Tuesday. It will be windy across West Texas and
North Texas through tonight. There is a chance of showers
and thunderstorms over the Panhandle, Concho Valley and
Edwards Plateau of West Texas through Tuesday. The rest of
West Texas will have mostly fair skies tonight and mostly
sunny on Tuesday. Lows tonight will be in the 30s and 40s in
West Texas, highs Wednesday will be in the 70s and 80s.
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