Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
July 30, 1998
Big Green named honor band
Special to the News
SAN ANTONIO - Monahans High School's Big Green Lobo Band is
the 1998 Texas AAA Honor Band.
The announcement was made on Sunday, July 26, at San Antonio
in a music competition that is the state championship of
high school concert bands.
It was the first time in 22 years and only the third time in
school history the Big Green Band achieved honor band
recognition, according to school band records. Monahans
also had state honor bands in 1972 and 1976.
Says Lobo Band Director Tony Gibbs: "It's thrilling to be
chosen as the Honor Band. This is something the students
have been working toward for a number of years and we are
very excited to have earned it."
Gibbs again: "It is especially rewarding to be able to carry
on the great tradition of the Big Green Band, this being the
100th anniversary of the Monahans schools makes it an ideal
time to receive this distinction."
In the state finals, Lobo musicians competed among the 14
best AAA high schools in the state where it earned what
music educators agree is the most prestigious award given to
bands in Texas.
As part of the award, the Monahans High School Honors band
will perform a concert next February before members of the
Texas Music Educators Association during their annual
convention in San Antonio.
"The opportunity to perform before the music educators of
the state is an incredible privilege," says band director
Gibbs. "I can't wait."
The road to the state title began last Spring, April 25,
with the recording of the concert band's performance at the
UIL regional competition in Monahans.
It was a tape of that concert judges criticized and enjoyed
at the area level (championship) and finally at the state
Nathan Rogers, a senior to be and one of the state champion
French horns, recalls the Spring performance that eventually
led to the state championship in Mid-Summer.
"Once we played, we all had the feeling. It was quite
different, something huge. It was just a sense of pride. Mr.
Gibbs was just outstanding in his selections. When we heard
the tape, we knew something was going to happen."
Happen it did.
Gibbs and his team of band directors - John Zalman, Mike
Glaze and Mike Eckerty - learned they had won the area
concert band competition on June 18. Then they received the
news on Sunday they were state champions. They telephoned
their musicians. Tony Gibbs called Rogers.
"When I got the call I could tell by his voice, we had won
and we had won state honor band," says Rogers.
More from musician Rogers: "The band's success is due to the
entire band, not a particular group.
"The percussion section, the low brass section, all the
woodwinds, and the coronets, French horns, everyone, just
everyone, it was teamwork. It was teamwork led by Mr. Gibbs.
That's what it was. It took teamwork to make this happen."
Rogers says this of Gibbs: "His immeasurable time and effort
toward the band, his talented leadership and directing is
the real reason for this award."
Sponsored by the Texas Music Educators Association, the
nation's largest state association of music educators, the
honor band award is designed to recognize communities and
school systems that successfully support music.
Galactic stars sell meterorite
Monahans' galactic stars, the Meteorite 7, have sold their
space rock, Monahans 98-I, for $23,000 to a Big Spring
entrepreneur who invented a way to catch lightning.
Mike Craddock, who founded a company, Delta Lightning
Arrestors, on surge protectors he devised more than two
decades ago, says he bought the 1,156 gram meteorite from
the children because it has become a part of Texas history.
He plans to display it in his home next to another meteorite
he owns. That one came from Africa.
Craddock delivered a certified check to the children and
their parents at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 27, at First State
Bank in Monahans.
He was the winner in the internet auction that ended a
little before midnight on Sunday, July 26.
In addition to the check, Craddock gave each of the
Meteorite 7 a Delta Lightning baseball cap as a bonus.
Orlando Lyles, who has acted as a spokesman for the children
who retrieved M98-I, said each of the space rock finders
would receive $2464.78 each after the 25 percent commission
is paid from the sale to Steve Arnold, a meteorite broker
from Tulsa, Okla.
Craddock, whose daughter Debbie works for Social Services in
Monahans, suggested the Meteorite 7 might make more money
by selling autographs.
The space rock finders, everyone, grinned. They are Patrick
and Alvaro Lyles, 8 and 11 years old; Jose Felan, 11; Flavio
and Neri Armendariz, 9 and 12; Eron Hernandez, 10; and
Javier Juarez, 9.
The money coming to Lyles two sons, Alvaro and Patrick, will
be placed in a trust to earn dollars for college. Javier
Juarez wants talks computers. Others dreamed dreams ranging
from athletic shoes to Mark McGwire bats. They're all
Lyles says he is glad the sale is over so everyone involved
can return to normality. The children, Lyles says, might not
have received as much as they had envisioned from the
spatial artifact but they do have $2,400 each they did not
have before. He had postponed his Summer vacation beause of
youth baseball playoffs and M98-I. He now plans to take the
time off. Lyles says he and his family are on their way to
the River Walk in San Antonio.
The meteorite fell in a vacant lot next to the Lyles home
on a Sunday afternoon, March 22, zipping over the heads of
the boys who were playing basketball. City police took the
rock for study by planet scientists at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston. It was
returned to the seven in a unanimous vote of the Monahans
City Council on June 9.
In the interim, the Meteorite 7 became instant international
celebrities. Their picture and a story appeared in People
magazine. Their tale was broadcast and printed across the
world - many times incorrectly. Inaccuracies in some reports
continued through this week when an Associated Press
dispatch said M98-1 was the size of a soccer ball and Mayor
David Cutbirth had written Lyles a letter refusing to give
the children the rock.
Lyles says he was frustrated by the inaccurate reports and
comments by the national and international media, "I wonder
where the soccer ball sized meteor is and where that David
Cutbrith letter is. It's all wrong."
Monahans 98-II will be retained for eventual display at City
Hall. It was discovered embedded in the asphalt of a city
street by a sheriff's deputy on Monday, March 23.
Members of the City Council have approved a plan to trade a
piece of M98-II to Arizona State University in Temple for a
section of Monahans 38, a meteorite that fell in the
sandhills near Monahans in 1938 and which has been at
Arizona State in Tempe.
Both eventually will be displayed at City Hall..
Misfire causes mistrial
Judge Bob Parks of the 143rd District Court Tuesday, July
28, declared a mistrial in the case of amateur boxing
champion Chris Molina, who is charged with assault,
attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Parks acted on motions from District Attorney Randy
Reynolds and defense attorney David P. Zavoda. Data, not
entered into evidence, inadvertently was presented to the
jury. Both Reynolds and Zavoda said the mistrial was in the
interest of justice.
Trial was rescheduled for Aug. 10.
Molina of Monahans is charged in a series of events that
occurred on Jan. 22. Molina went to the home of his then
estranged wife, now divorced, Natalie, and her mother, Jan
Howell. Jan Howell was knocked unconscious in a series of
incidents in which Molina drove his car into a utility
Financial officer quits hospital
Robert Foret, chief financial officer for Ward Memorial
Hospital in Monahans, has resigned.
Foret's resignation was effective on Friday, July 24,
reports Ward County Judge Sam G. Massey.
Foret had asked the county operated hospital's board of
managers to renegotiate a two-year contract which had
provided he pay a $12,000 penalty if he chose not to
complete the agreement.
Members of the board decided to allow Foret to abandon the
contract, Massey says.
In his 14 months in Monahans, Foret served under four Ward
Memorial administrators - William F. O'Brien, who resigned
to accept a position in La Grange; Ray Mason, who held an
interim appointment and who has returned to his full time
health executive position in Midland; interim chief James
M. Robinson, who resigned after a tardy pay day for Ward
Memorial employees which he and his attorney feared may end
in litigation; and current interim administrator Steve
Robinson and Holmes were appointments through Covenant
Health Systems Inc., which now is operating the financially
troubled hospital under a management agreement. Covenant is
in the process of a reorganization of hospital operations to
provide better services and control of hospital finances.
Foret had asked for renegotiation of his contract within
hours of Robinson's resignation.
Task force in the works
Sheriffs and city police department command officers promise
there will be a regional task force to stop increasing
narcotics traffic in the region.
It will happen, the sheriffs say, whether the state is
willing to help or not
That warning to smugglers came as the result of a local law
enforcement summit at the Ward County Convention Center in
Monahans on Thursday, July 23. Fourteen West Texas county
sheriffs were there plus Andrews Police Chief
Angry officers to talk task force
Nearly 20 angry West Texas law enforcement command
officers, most of them county sheriffs, are scheduled to
meet with Gov. George W. Bush's legislative director, Terral
Smith, on Thursday, July 30, in Monahans.
The meeting is to discuss establishment of the West Texas
Narcotics Enforcement Task Force envisioned by the
governor's Criminal Justice Division staff as a successor
to the Permian Basin Drug Task Force the governor killed.
Linda Edwards, a press officer for the governor, says the
conference will be at 1 p.m. in the Colonial Inn. The
meeting will be open, says Edwards.
Most of those officers who attended last week's anti-dope
summit in Monahans are expected to attend to see what the
governor's staff has to say.
"We are going to go to their meeting," says Ward County
Sheriff Ben Keele. "We are going to tell them we'd like to
have that money back for our task force here. We're going to
tell them they behaved improperly in the way the task force
The meeting with the governor's staff originally had been
scheduled to be closed and be held in the Ward County
But conflict between the governor's office on one side and
the sheriffs, press and Ward County Judge Sam G. Massey on
the other arose in relation to the Open Meetings Law.
Keele says the sheriffs wanted the meeting opened.
At one point in the ongoing discussions, Keele said. "They
want to keep it closed. I'd like to see it open. The judge
told them they weren't going to close his courtroom."
Members of the governor's staff moved the task force
conference from the courthouse to The Colonial Inn after a
conversation with Massey.
Recalls the County Judge: "They sent out a notice to the
media saying it would be a closed meeting. I got in touch
with Linda Edwards (a press officer for Bush). I told her a
closed meeting would not be held in a Ward County building
unless it was properly posted according to law. They said
they'd move their meeting which they did."
More from Massey: "They said they wanted the meeting closed.
I told them we don't do things that way in West Texas. We
like to keep issues like this in the open. I also told them
it was time people stopped fighting and started doing
something about the need for law enforcement to stop the
narcotics traffic out here."
By Tuesday, July 28, this was the latest communique on the
Thursday meeting in Monahans to save the effort to defeat
West Texas dope smugglers:
". . . The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, July
30, at the Colonial Inn, 720 West Interstate 20, in
Monahans. . . .
"The meeting will be open."
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, 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.