Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
April 30, 1998
Laura Bush honors Monahans
Seated with Texas First Lady Laura Bush (right) are, from left, Ward County Judge Sam Massey, City Councilor Clareese Gough, City Manager David Mills, Mayor David Cutbirth, and State Rep. Bob Turner.
The band played; children waved flags; and Texas' First Lady came to Monahans Monday, April 27, to officially designate Monahans a "Main Street City."
As Laura Bush, wife of Texas Governor George Bush, said, it was a wonderful day in West Texas with a spring chill in the air on a beautiful morning with the sun shining on Monahans.
She was accompanied on her trip to Monahans by Jan Bullock, wife of Lieutenant Gov. Bob Bullock, both expressing their delight at a large crowd on hand for the ceremonies. Hundreds of school children were present to see the beginning of their future in Monahans.
Posting of the colors quickly grabbed attention as a trio of Cub Scouts marched flags to the front of the stage in military fashion with a young caller setting the cadence. That was followed by Girl Scouts leading the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge. That was followed by the Monahans High School A Capella Choir and Honor Band singing and playing, "Texas, Our Texas."
Mistress of Ceremonies was Monahans Main Street Project Manager Suzi Blair, who introducded those on stage - representatives of Ward County (including County Judge Sam G. Massey), City of Monahans (including Mayor David Cutbirth, Mayor Pro Tem Clareese Gough and City Manager David Mills), Monahans Chamber of Commerce, local bank presidents, officials from Austin, along with directors of Monahans Main Street organization.
Elizabeth Heath of the Ward County Historical Commission introduced Jan Bullock who presented greetings from the Texas Historical Commission. State Rep. Bob Turner, D-Coleman, introduced the First Lady.
Bush, a native of Midland, recalled fond memories of Monahans and the Sandhills and spoke lovingly of the importance of preserving history. She noted the reverence she and the governor have for waking up each morning in an historical building ( the governor's mansion) and going to work in another historical building (the Capitol).
As she noted, Monahans was one of five cities named new Main Street Cities by the Texas Historical Commission. She added that this will help the city have more technical as well as financial assistance in restoring the downtown area. It was noted that the First State Bank and First National Bank have earmarked $500,000 available for renovations of the downtown area at low interest. Some 75 cities have joined the Main Street program during the 17 years of its existence. Bush pointed out that while many downtown areas have closed up, those areas are important. Small town Texas is important, she added.
As part of her official dedication ceremonies, the state's First Lady helped unveil an architect's rendering of the McKay Furniture building under the plan to restore and revitalize downtown Monahans.
BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE - Cullendar Kindergarten pupils released butterflies April 24 at Dury Park. They were grown from a school-supplied kit. Here pre-schooler Claudia Sosa holds one. Other pupils, from left, are Christopher Juarez, Adaly Bejarano, Estrella Tavarez, Sosa and Amanda Calder.
Bands win sweepstakes in 21-band competition
Monahans High School's Honors and Symphonic bands received
six first division ratings on its way to the sweepstakes
award on Thursday, April 23, in a Monahans-hosted 21-band
Each band was critiqued and rated in concert performance and
One judge noted on his ratings card of the Green musicians:
"Thank you for a great musical experience!"
Said another: "Congratulations to a fine band with an
excellent and outstanding tradition of excellence.
Congratulations to this particular band on stage today and
its fine director. "
From yet another judge: "Students well rehearsed in the
procedure! Excellent instructions from the podium! Excellent
use of time!"
One judge summarized the Monahans band performance this way:
Says Lobo Band Director Tony Gibbs: "A great deal of work
goes into hosting an event this large and it could not have
been done without the efforts of the Monahans Band Boosters.
Thanks are due them for their hard work and willingness to
provide volunteer labor. The auditorium was filled for the
performance of the High School Honors Band at 6 p.m. It was
thrilling to perform for such a large and supportive group."
In addition to the Sweepstakes performances of the Big Green
Honors and Symphonic bands, Walker Junior High "A" Band
received a Division 2 in concert and a "1" in in
sightreading. Walker Junior High's "B" Band received a "1"
in concert and a "2" in sightreading.
All band directors, reports Gibbs, "were extremely pleased
with the effort and performance of all of the students. They
represented Monahans very well and we are very proud of
Monahans, April 23, 1998
Class CC Middle School (non varsity)
Monahans Walker JH "B" Band; Director, Mike Eckerty -
Concert, 1; Sightreading, 2.
Class C Middle School
Crane; Director, Daniel Todd - Concert , 1; Sightreading, 1.
McCamey - Director, Charles Grissom - Concert, 1;
Class CC Middle School
Monahans Walker JH "A" Band; Director, Mike Glaze -
Concert, 2; Sightreading, 1. Greenwood, Brooks MS -
Director, Aaron Lovely - Concert, 2; Sightreading, 2. Kermit
MS - Director Jeremy S. Lane - Concert, 2; Sightreading, 2.
Class A High School
Rankin - Director Merle E. Lenfest - Concert, 1;
Sightreading, 2. Grandfalls - Director, Jimmy Williams -
Concert,, 3; Sightreading, 1. Wink - Director Tom Burns -
Concert, 1; Sightreading, 1. Garden City - Director, Ray
Weaver - Concert, 2; Sightreading, 2. Sanderson - Director,
Dean Kiesling - Concert, 2; Sightreading, 1.
Class AA High School
McCamey - Director, Charles Grissom - Concert, 1;
Iraan - Director, Glen Wren - Concert, 3; Sightreading, 2.
Stanton - Director, Ignacio Nanez - Concert, 2;
Forsan - Director, Jim Rhodes - Concert, 1; Sightreading 1.
Class AAA (non-varsity) High School
Monahans Symphonic Band - Director, John Zalman - Concert 1;
Class AAA High School
Kermit - Director, Jeremy S. Lane - Concert, 2;
Sightreading, 3. Alpine - Director Jeff Lightsey - Concert
1; Sightreading, 1. Crane - Director, Jesse Q. Lotspeich -
Concert, 1; Sighreading, 1. Midland Greenwood - Director,
David Fortenberry - Concert, 1; Sightreading, 1. Monahans
Honors Band - Director, Tony Gibbs - Concert, 1; Sighteading
City Council votes to purchase old TU building
City Council of Monahans Wednesday, April 29, voted to
purchase the Texas Utilities Building at Second Street and
Bruce Avenue to be used as a semi-city hall annex and
eventually a municipal court building.
The purchase price will be $45,000 with some remodeling to
be done after consultation with an architect.
City Manager David Mills said the city is currently leasing
office space in two different buildings and the TU building
will allow the city to consolidate some of its offices. The
motion to purchase the building came after a closed session
for the council to discuss the matter.
The same matter was discussed in closed session during a
session earlier this month.
Mills and the council had hoped to expand City Hall and
build an addition for the municipal court but bids opened
last month came in higher than was budgeted.
The council meeting, normally held on Tuesday, was delayed
until Wednesday due to a death in Mills' family.
In other action, council approved a brine well drilling
permit with a number of variances within the city limits
West of the loop by Cecil White. The well will be about
2,000 feet. Bids for surplus city property, equipment and
real property. Most bids were rejected while a number of
items were not bid on.
A 1969 motor grader was sold for $3,777 to Kenneth McKay
from Louisiana while David Cutbirth purchased a 1959 motor
grader for $5,000.
Two lots, at 204 and 210 North Betty Avenue, were sold for
$450 each to Elizabeth Garcia; a military surplus generator
was sold for $200 for Lyndell Coble. Coble also purchased a
lot at 209 East "H" Street for $101 and a lot at 508 East
"B" Street for $50.
County commissioners get plenty of good news
Ward County Commissioners got good news and more good news
in their regular session Monday, April 27.
It was a busy session that recessed shortly after getting
underway in order to the court to attend Main Street
Then they got back to regular business that included a
number of employee changes, mostly at the hospital, and
tabled a proposal to change green fee rates for out of town
golfers at the golf course as no one was on hand to discuss
Due to a number of claims on the county's health insurance,
commissioners amended the budget by transferring $100,000
more to the insurance account. Also approved was an
interlocal cooperation agreement with city of Grandfalls for
discounted utility rate and approved a previously discussed
tax abatement package for Reif Manufacturing. Also
recognized was continuing education hours for county auditor
Commissioners also accepted a bid of $75 for 1/2 a lot in
Grandfalls to get it back on the tax rolls. Two previous
attempts to sell the property went for naught as no bids
Part of the good news involved the annual audit report for
the last fiscal year from Carol McDonald which showed that
the county had receipts of 6.8 per cent more than budgeted
while only spending 4.6 per cent more than was budgeted,
giving the county a surplus.
It was pointed out that most of this was due to additional
federal prisoners being housed at the jail by Sheriff Ben
Keele which brought in $287,000 more than budgeted while
jail expenses increased only $37,000.
Also a windfall was a new telephone agreement at the jail
that brought in $30,000 more in a rebate than had been
anticipated, primarily due to the increased number of
One shortfall involved the golf course which brought in
$129,000 in revenue, $20,000 less than budgeted while
expenditures amounted to $238,000. County Judge Sam Massey
noted income was simply over budgeted as the income compared
to the previous year.
The other good news came on a report on county property,
workmen's comp and liability insurance which came in the
afternoon following a noon recess.
Kathleen Miller, representing the West Texas Rural Counties
Insurance group, pointed out that the county was in good
shape, primarily due to a good safety record. Massey noted
the county has saved $80,000 in insurance cost as when the
insurance was carried through the Texas Association of
Massey, well known as a poet, composed a poem about the
insurance meeting but would not permit its publication.
Monahans meteorites to be home next week
Two meteorites from the Asteroid Belt between Mars and
Jupiter are scheduled to be returned to their Earthly home
in Monahans next week, reports Everett K. Gibson, a
planetary chemist with the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in
Gibson says he plans to bring the two space rocks back to
the City Council of Monahans on Tuesday, May 5.
On Tuesday, March 24, Gibson took custody of the meteorites
for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after
the falls on Sunday, March 22, into a vacant lot and onto a
"I promised the meteorites would be returned to the city in
six weeks. I plan to keep that promise," says Gibson.
Gibson thanked the city and its citizens for their help.
The study has found Monahans '98 I and II, says the
scientist, were involved in a space collision and they
belong to a sub-meteorite group that has a little more iron
than other such space debris. Flecks of blue and purple
sodium and potassium salts also have been found, he says.
Police Chief sues ex-coach
Monahans Police Chief Charles Sebastian and wife Shirley
have sued ex-Lobo Head Football Coach Winfred (Windy) C.
Williams and the Monahans-Wicket-Pyote school district on
behalf of their son.
The case involves the beating, according to the suit, of the
Sebastian's child in violation of school district policies.
According to the suit, the child who was beaten "suffered,
and suffers, learning disabilities."
Williams was terminated at the school district in July by
mutual agreement between him and district officials. He
surrendered his contract on payment of $56,618.96.
Williams is now a resident of Panhandle, a town in Carson
County. Attempts to reach Williams for comment were
Attorney Robert R. Sykes of Midland filed the suit on behalf
of the Sebastians in the 143rd Judicial District Court at
Monahans. In the suit, the Sebastians charge Williams beat
their son on Nov. 20, 1996.
According to the petition: ". . .Winfred Williams
intentionally and recklessly administered corporal
punishment on Seth Sebastian. Defendant Williams
administered such punishment in a manner that caused
physical and emotional distress for plaintiffs."
Lawyer Sykes seeks damages to be set by the court plus
exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are punitive damages,
which in Texas civil law, generally are triple the actual
damages found by a court trying the case. Sykes says he
cannot comment on pending litigation.
According to the court petition: "Winfred Williams knew that
he was not following corporal punishment procedures set
forth in the school district policy manual and that the
punishment he administered Seth Sebastian was unduly harsh."
More from the petition: "The defendant's conduct was extreme
and outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to
go beyond all possible bounds of decency, as to be regarded
as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized
". . .Defendant Williams knew these things as he knew that
the board he used to inflict injuries on Set Sebastian would
cause severe injuries." The suit notes the Sebastians have
been "forced to engage the services of, and incur expenses,
in order to visit a psychotherapist to assist them in
dealing with their overwhelming feelings of indignation,
wounded pride, shame, despair and public humiliation."
Early voting light on lease issue, local election
Early voting was "extremely light" in the Ward County wide
hospital lease election but brisk in the school districts
and municipalities where there are races, say election
The moderate (Monahans-Wickett-Pyote District 2 School Board
Election) to heavy (Grandfalls city and school district
votes) early vote turn out is prompted by interest in those
local contests, say election officials.
Municipal elections are not being held in Monahans,
Thorntonville and Wickett because there are no electoral
Polling places in the hospital option referendum will be all
the regular sites on Election Day, Saturday, May 2.
In the Grandfalls municipal elections, the polling place
will be at the Grandfalls Community Center. In the
Grandfalls-Royalty school elections, the polling place will
be at the School Administration office. In the District 2
Monahans school board election, voters can cast ballots at
the Art Center Building on North Main Street in Monahans.
Asked if she expected a vote equal to the about 1,100
signatures that was on the petition which called the
hospital lease election, County Clerk Pat V. Finley says she
does not. Finley is the county election officer.
She notes there were 208 early votes in the election over
whether lease would be an option in the future of Ward
Memorial Hospital. County Commissioners already have decided
against such an alternative because the only group willing
to consider the plan withdrew because of the hospital's
nearly $500,000 debt.
But the election must be held because it was called by
citizen petition although it will cost tax payers more than
Finley says the early vote in the August elections of 1994
on whether to establish a hospital district totaled 617. On
election day, 8,111 ballots were cast. The hospital district
proposal was defeated 1054 to 374.
Early vote indicates as few as five percent of the voters
will choose to ballot on the hospital issue, says the county
In the Grandfalls city elections where there are contests
from the mayoral position at the top of the ballot through
the council seats, City Secretary Joy Chew reports early
voting was brisk - 85 votes in a community with 284
registered voters. Chew says the early vote alone was higher
than the total bllot in the last two Grandfalls city
elections. In the Grandfalls-Royalty school district, 50
early votes were cast; in Monahans School Board District 2,
76 early votes.
Water waste woes
Grandfalls schools serve sack lunches in crisis
Grandfalls-Royalty school district students are being served
sack lunches as the school district continues to battle a
mysterious flood of waste water into the basement of the
campus's auditorium in Grandfalls, reports District
Superintendent Charles Carter.
Carter says the district began serving the sack lunches to
students on Monday, April 27, because the water problems
involve the cafeteria. He says the waste water, about eight
inches deep in the auditorium basement, precludes the use of
the cafeteria until the problems are solved. He already has
sought assistance, Carter reports, from the Texas Education
Agency. So far plumbers called to assist have been unable to
resolve the crisis which became acute on Thursday, April 23.
"We found out at 11 p.m. on Thursday night," recalls Carter.
We had school on Friday."
The superintendent says Texas Health Officials have advised
the district to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the cafeteria is closed.
The superintendent says sack lunches, nutritionally balanced
based on TEA recommendations, are being served to the
Today, Thursday, April 30, Carter says American Leak
Detectors, a Midland firm, is scheduled to be on campus in
the continuing battle to resolve the water issue. At one
point, Carter reports, pumps were employed to remove some of
the water from the auditorium's basement.
"We have a waste water problem," says Carter. "It is not
sewage. It is waste water. It appears the water may be from
dish washing lines because it is soapy. Plumbers we called
were not able to fix it. American Leak Detectors will be
here to help us."
So far, the district superintendent says, it is impossible
to make a damage estimate from the unwanted flood of grey
And it cannot be determined what the eventual outcome may
That depends on the engineers coming today and what they
Carter says teachers are being given a letter for
distribution to parents of students in which the waste water
crisis is explained as much as possible.
Overturned rig spills ton of drinks
An overturned rig on Friday night East of Monahans stalled
Interstate 20 traffic for nearly a dozen hours as Texas
Highway Department workers cleaned up tons of drinks spilled
when the tractor-trailer wrecked in the median.
DPS Trooper Eric White of Monahans reports the incident
occurred about 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, five miles East of
Monahans. It was about 6 a.m. Saturday, April 25, White
says, before the clean up was finished. He says an estimated
42,000 tons of assorted drinks on their way to Phoenix,
Ariz. were scattered across the interstate.
Homer McCrary, 48, of Tucson, Ariz., the driver of the rig,
was injured. White says McCrary was released after treatment
at Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans.
The trooper says McCrary was Westbound on I-20 when he went
into the median and overturned.
He was driving a Diamond T Transport truck out of Phoenix.
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.