Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Oct. 15, 1998
Bonfire ignites week of celebration
The first Monahans High School Homecoming bon fire in three
years Tuesday night, Oct. 13, ignited a week of celebration
that climaxes with the Monahans-Presidio football game on
Friday night, Oct. 16, at Lobo Stadium, and continues
through the band contest in Odessa on Saturday.
Tuesday night's festivities began around 8:30 p.m.. It
didn't take long for the flames to reach a height of 15 or
Not surprisingly, this forced the crowd to stand back at a
distance (suffice it to say, a great deal more than just 15
feet). This truly was the mother of all bonfires.
Lobo football players and cheerleaders spread school spirit
from atop a red trailor overlooking the crowd, while the
State Champion Mean Green Band provided rhythm.
Leslie Gray, one of the many people who turned up for the
celebration, said, "I think it's wonderful that they brought
[the bonfire] back after all these years."
Christina, a ninth grader, joked that while it was nice, it
was also way "too hot".
A woman who called herself Gina added, "I think it's good
for the kids; it gives them school spirit."
While there's no denying there was plenty of school spirit
in the air, some spectators looked simply enchanted by the
fire itself. Wistful expressions on the faces of children
suggested that they were thinking of giant roasted
marshmellows, or maybe even hotdogs.
The bonfire was extinguished at 9:15 p.m.
For those of you still looking for Lobo-related things to
do, remember the Homecoming Parade through downtown
Monahans starts at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16.
Monahans plays Presidio in the Homecoming Game at 7:30 p.m.
at Lobo Stadium. The homecoming queen will be crowned at
Ward burn ban removed
Ward County Commissioners Monday, Oct. 12, removed the
county wide ban on open burning that had been forced by the
Commissioners had said they would not lift the ban until
there had been at least an inch of rain in the county. They
got that inch in the Grandfalls area in September although
less than an inch was recorded in Monahans.
Another factor was a request from Monahans High School
Principal Kellye Riley who asked that the ban be lifted so
the school could have a Homecoming bon fire for the first
time in three years.
That fire was lit on Tuesday night with volunteer
firefighters standing by to guard against any danger.
Hundreds jammed the area near the old Lobo Drive In Theater
to watch the homecoming flames on Tuesday.
The vote to lift the burn ban was unanimous.
Graham sentenced for child injury
A Monahans man has been found guilty of reckless injury to a
child and sentenced to two years in jail.
On Tuesday, Oct.13, in the 143rd District Court, at
Monahans, the jury found Ronnie Graham guilty of the charge
filed in connection with an incident that occurred on March
5. Graham was charged with kicking the child.
Ronnie Graham was sentenced by Judge Bob Parks to
confinement in the State Jail Division of the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice for a term of two years.
Parks fined Graham $5,000.
Lottery ticket thief caught sleeping
By Rebecca Jones
of The News
So you want to win the lottery?
So did Ira McDaniels and Thomas Napp, say Monahans police,
but all McDaniels and Thomas have won so far is the
attention of the law.
McDaniels and Napp did not buy their lottery tickets.
Instead they are charged with breaking into the King's
Court convenience mart at Fourth Street and Gary Avenue and
stealing them. The Monahans men also are charged with
calling a cab from Odessa to help them make their escape
from the Ward County seat.
Monahans Police Chief Charles Sebastion reports, "The
burglary occurred on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 5:51 a.m.
" Two men entered the building and took the tickets, along
with some beer and cigarettes. They then called a cab from
Odessa to pick them up. The cab took them to an Odessa
motel, where the two men then proceeded to drink beer and
scratch the tickets."
What they didn't realize was that the tickets they had
stolen in hopes of living happily ever after were the very
things that would give them away.
The tickets, Sebastian notes, were automatically cancelled
as soon as the police came to King's Court and saw that
they'd been stolen. McDaniels later that morning headed to
the lottery commission office in Odessa and tried to cash
his lottery tickets.
When that happened, lottery security personnel were alerted.
McDaniels ran from the commission office into the arms of
Odessa police officers.
Police found him asleep in the Odessa motel room to which
the cab had taken him and McDaniels.
Both are charged in Odessa with possession of stolen
property. In addition, McDaniels is charged with attempting
to evade lawful arrest because he ran from lottery security.
In Monahans, both young men are charged with burglary,
stealing and possession of stolen property.
McDaniels, 18, and Napp, 21, are being held in Ector
County in lieu of bond. They are scheduled to be
returned to Ward County authorities this week where they
face another arraignment. .
Schools set abuse policy
Monahans High School Principal Kellye Riley says school
officials are aware of rising problems with teen-age
alcohol and tobacco use and have policies in place to deal
with the issue.
Riley made the comments in reference to reports from Ward
County Justices of the Peace on the rising number of minor
in possession charges handled by them. Precinct One JP
Pascual Olibas says he has handled more than 100 cases so
far this year. Precinct Two JP Ronald Ray says he has had
more than 50 cases in his court. Most of those cases involve
alcohol. The state's new minor in possession of tobacco laws
went into effect on Sept. 1.
"As an administrator and a parent of three teen-aged
children, I am extremely concerned and quite aware of the
increase that we are seeing in our area concerning drugs,
alcohol and tobacco," says Riley.
She notes "a few of the ways that we address this very
serious subject at Monahans High School include:"
- All students take part in a semester long health course
stressing abstinence from any kind of alcohol, tobacco or
-The Monahans Student Council places original posters around
the school detailing abstinence and sponsors anti-drug
programs and seminars during Red Ribbon Week each year.
-There is a PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) class
consisting of students who help other students with
decisions on drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
-The SAVE (Stop Alcohol Violations Early) program is
presented by the Monahans Police Department to all freshmen
students and provides information on the laws regulating the
use of alcohol and other drugs.
-The DAVE program is a drug-free curriculum presented to all
students and includes high school student representatives on
the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote school district's Safe and Drug
Free Schools Council.
Says the high school principal:
"We also provide counseling services by a trained counselor,
which can help students deal with the pressures of
participating in the consumption of drugs, alcohol or
tobacco. And there is not one teacher or administrator at
the high school who would not be willing to assist or
counsel with any students who needs help or advice
concerning this subject."
Education, notes Riley, is the major weapon against
"However, even with the tremendous amount of information
provided through our school system, students will sometimes
make inappropriate choices concerning drugs, alcohol and/or
tobacco. Should this occur, we have a structured process in
place to deal with these students.
"According to our district's Student Code of Conduct, a
student who is found to be in possession or under the
influence of illegal drugs or alcohol must be placed in the
Alternative Education Placement facility. This simply means
that the student is removed from the high school campus and
will continue his/her education in a more restricted
The principal notes this policy is enforced on school
property, 300 feet beyond school property lines and at any
school-related activity anywhere.
"Our athletic department also addresses this serious subject
in their athletic contract, which all Monahans High School
athletes must sign in order to participate in any
school-related extracurricular activity," says Riley. "Any
student who receives a minor-in-possession charge must be
suspended from his/her chosen activity for three weeks, make
a public apology to his/her teammates and participate in
additional running drills during practices."
Emphasizing that Monahans High School is concerned about the
increase of students abusing alcohol, tobacco and other
drugs, Riley says the school will never cease its
educational and behavioral modification efforts to
discourage substance abuse.
She asks for professionals, law enforcement officers, judges
and attorneys, to volunteer to work with students and share
their knowledge with those most in need.
And the principal promises:
"We will continue to encourage our students to be leaders
and to have the courage and self respect required to avoid
getting involved with drugs, alcohol and/or tobacco," she
says. "We will continue to be a friend or a counselor to our
students when they need us."
Early voting starts Monday
Early voting for the Nov. 3 general elections starts
Monday, Oct. 19, and continues until the eve of Halloween
on Friday, Oct. 30, reports County Clerk Pat V. Finley.
Early voting can be done in Finley's office on the first
floor of the Courthouse from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday
through Friday. Finley, the Ward County elections officer,
also notes Tuesday, Oct. 27, is the deadline to mail early
ballots to her office for those who do not vote early in
Construction on a handicapped access elevator tower at the
Courthouse also means parking changes. Parking is prohibited
immediately East of the Courthouse. Parking is available on
the North, South and West.
"We will reserve one handicapped parking place and two
other parking places for early voters only on the West side
of the Courthouse," says Finley. "For those handicapped who
cannot leave their vehicles, they can call us about five
minutes before they plan to arrive. We will go to the car
for their ballots."
In the 1996 General Elections, 6,673 Ward Countians
registered to vote; this year, the exact number still has
not been deterined.
D-R debate is a first
Incumbent County Judge Sam G. Massey, the Democrat, and
Republican challenger Candido Gutierrez met Saturday, Oct.
10, in a debate that, according to available records, set
Ward County history.
The Gutierrez-Massey clash on the issues at the County
Convention Center in Monahans appears to be the first time
that a Republican and a Democratic candidate for county
judge have ever debated.
Sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, broadcast
live on Monahans Radio Station KLBO and Refereed by Monahans
News Editor Jerome P. Curry, about 100 persons were in the
auditorium to hear the candidates speak.
Massey and Gutierrez seemed to agree on only one thing -
the need to reestablish an anti--drug task force in the
They differed on the way in which the Ward Memorial Hospital
issues have been handled. Gutierrez wondered about taxing
the county's big ranches and Massey wondered about how close
to reality someone can be who the incumbent noted feeds at
the federal trough.
It was the "federal trough" comment that pricked Gutierrez,
a retired Border Patrol intelligence officer. And it was
that comment that prompted Gutierrez to suggest on Sunday
that he and Massey agree to forego their pay checks for six
months in the interest of county government frugality.
Said Gutierrez in a public statement to Massey delivered to
the Monahans News.:
"I want an apology for the 'federal trough' comment or I
want Judge Massey to accept this challenge.
"We have both said that we want to save the county money. So
I am inviting him to enter into a pact with me that whoever
takes office the next term, he or I, will not accept a
county salary check for the first six months. This will not
include travel expenses for training or other compensation
(only salary paid by the county). Now I figure Sam might try
to find a loophole; so I want to add, that should it be
illegal or impractical for the county auditor and treasurer
to withhold and put back into the county treasurer the pay
check for the county judge for six months, we agree to give
all of it to a local charity or charities of our choosing.
This cannot be our children or other relatives but it can be
our church or civic groups."
Massey, asked for comment on the challenge from his
opponent in the Nov. 3 elections, replied:
"Everyone did a wonderful job of putting the debate on and I
think the people of Ward County have had an opportunity to
realize who knows how to work for them in county government.
I encourage everyone to go out and vote."
Dexter Nichols, a citizen who is active in youth baseball
and other sports, said at the debate he was afraid that the
Nov. 3 county judge election would turn into a debate on the
county-operated hospital. Nichols said the county faces many
more issues including the quality of life for its residents.
Gutierrez and Massey also agreed economic development is
necessary. Massey says the county must prepare for a $1.5
to $2 million shortfall in revenues in 2000 because of the
Oil Patch recession.
Candidates stump for votes
Touring political candidates and their supporters are
blitzing Ward County as the race to the Nov. 3 elections
Charlotte Sharp, wife of Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee John
Sharp, was in Monahans on Wednesday, Oct. 14, talking with
local Democrat stalwarts, County Clerk Pat V. Finley,
District Court Clerk Joann Roark and County Judge Sam G.
Randy Leifeste, the Republican state representative nominee
from Llano, has been in and out of Monahans and the county
several times in his campaign against incumbent State Rep.
Bob Turner, a Democrat from Coleman. Leifeste's latest trip
to the county came on Saturday, Oct. 10, where he was
shaking hands and seeking votes before and after the debate
between incumbent Ward County Judge Sam G. Massey, the
Democrat, and Candido Gutierrez, the Republican nominee for
Wednesday, Oct. 21, U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, will be
in Monahans at 11 a.m. to boost Leifeste, Gutierrez and
other state and regi;onal GOP candidates. Gramm is scheduled
to be at the Courthouse.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.