Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 30, 1998
Learning center's closure may cost P-B-T
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Ten Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD teachers may have to give up
their jobs Monday, with today's shutdown of the Pecos
Learning Center, said Kim Ewing, director.
Unable to pay their bills, the learning center board has
decided to call it quits as of 5:30 p.m. today, said Dick
"We applied for a grant through the Texas Workforce
Commission, but we didn't receive it, and thus we don't have
funds to continue to operate, effective today," Alligood
"I don't know what the kids will do. That's the reason we
fought so hard to try to save it," he said.
Ewing said that 43 children are cared for at the center,
located next door to Bob's Thriftway on Eddy Street.
"We have tried to be an outreach to everyone, no matter how
poor or rich," Ewing said. "We didn't want to risk losing
any children by raising prices."
Every home child care facility is filled, and the Young and
Restless Day Care Center has only a few spaces open, Ewing
"I understand there are 10 women school teachers who may
have to quit their jobs because they don't have child care,"
Ewing said she and the staff are heartbroken to think the
children won't have a place to go come Monday morning. About
one-fourth of the staff has said they would continue to work
in day care given the opportunity, but the others have other
plans, she said.
"We couldn't ask for a more loving staff," Ewing said. "We
are family, and this is our last day together. We are going
on our `loving business' as usual.
Three mothers are "working real hard" to open another
center, working with the county and school district.
"We also have the high school program," Ewing said. Four
girls leave their children at the center while they continue
their high school education.
"We want these girls to graduate and go out and do something
with their lives," she said. "We have ministered to them."
Ewing has completed training as a massage therapist, and she
will continue that new career, working with children and
teenagers, with parental supervision.
Secretary receives seven-year term
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
District Judge Bob Parks this morning sentenced Clay Patrick
Pitts of Balmorhea to seven years in state prison, to run
concurrent with a Loving County sentence.
Both convictions result from theft charges lodged after
Pitts embezzled funds while Loving County auditor and while
secretary for the Reeves County Water Improvement District
Outside auditor Dan Painter found that Pitts, then using the
name Clay Patrick Huelster, in collusion with treasurer
Jamie Jones, overpaid herself $24,929 during 1993 and 1994
while serving Loving County as auditor.
After pleading guilty and being placed on probation, Pitts
went to work for the RCWID as secretary. There auditors
found she embezzled funds on two separate occasions.
She pleaded guilty this morning to a charge of theft. She
will receive 34 days credit for time served in jail since
her indictment and was ordered to pay $266.25 court costs.
Jobless benefits now offered by phone
By ROSIE FLORES
Reeves County will be one of the West Texas counties covered
by a new system implemented by the Texas Workforce
Beginning today, Texans in a 43-county area including will
join a new project to improve customer service in the
unemployment insurance program. When applying for benefits,
people in these counties will no longer have to travel to a
government office and stand in line; instead all they will
have to do is pick up the nearest telephone.
"Last year Texans stood in line about 700,000 times to apply
for Unemployment Insurance, and we paid out more than $994
million in benefits," Texas Workforce Commission Executive
Director Mike Sheridan said. Under the new system, "People
in this 43-county area who need to file for unemployment
benefits can avoid those lines and simply call a toll-free
The Commission is implementing this project through the
creation of call centers or "Tele-Centers." The first of
these centers -- the Central Texas Tele-Center - is located
in Austin and has been in operation since May 1. The new
center includes most of West Texas and the cities of El
Paso, Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo, and within eight
months, other Tele-Centers will be established in Dallas,
Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen and San Antonio to provide
service for the entire state.
Because of the phase-in process, individuals calling the
Tele-Center phone number from outside the designated area
will be referred to their local office providing
unemployment services until Tele-Center service is extended
to their area.
"Through projects like this we will continue to pass on the
benefits of improved technology to Texas taxpayers,"
Sheridan said. "This project will benefit both employers and
claimants through a streamlined process that offers
consistency, efficiency and time savings. These changes will
not affect the appeals or tax services for employers
currently in place."
For unemployment claims in certain counties listed,
individuals will simply use one of the following phone
numbers. When you call, select the language and the type of
service you need by pressing the number given on your
touch-tone phone. That will connect you with the appropriate
customer service representative. If you call from a rotary
phone, simply stay on the line and a customer service
representative will assist you.
The nearest regional number, in El Paso is 915-832-6400
while the toll free phone number is 1-800-939-6631.
Souls, Saints services set
Several special Monday services are scheduled at area
Catholic churches in observance of "All Souls Day," which
is celebrated in conjunction with All Saints Day.
All Saints Day is observed on Sunday, Nov. 1, while All
Souls Day is Monday, Nov. 2.
Christians first honored the martyrs as saints or those who
were most certainly in heaven, according to Sister Josefa
"Later others whose lives were carefully examined have been
named saints by the Catholic church, but many others are in
heaven who were not proclaimed saints," said Dwyer. "We
honor those by a special feast called All Saints, which is
celebrated on Nov. 1," said Dwyer.
Halloween means Holy evening, Hallow means holy, as in Our
Father, according to Dwyer. "It is named in regard to the
feast of the fallen day All Saints," she said.
All Souls Day or the day of the dead, is a day of prayer
observed by the Catholic Church, Nov. 2.
"The day gives the name purgatory to a final purification of
those destined for heaven, but still imperfectly purified,"
said Dwyer. "They are assured of internal salvation, but
after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the
holiness needed to enter into heaven," she said.
Catichism of the Catholic Church number 10:30 states, "Just
as we pray for others at church, Catholics believe that we
can help these souls in purgatory by our prayers," according
All Souls Day services in the area include a mass at Santa
Rosa Catholic Church at 6:30 a.m. and at 8:30 a.m.; St.
Catherine Church at 7:30 a.m.; Our Lady of Refuge Catholic
Church in Barstow services will be held at 6:30 a.m.; Christ
the King Catholic Church in Balmorhea will hold services at
6:30 a.m. and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Saragosa will have
services at 8 a.m.
The blessing of the cemeteries will start at the Santa Rosa
Cemetery, located on the East Side of town, at 9 a.m.;
Fairview Cemetery blessing, located on Eddy Street, will be
at 9:30 a.m.; Evergreen Cemetery at 10 a.m.; Greenwood
Cemetery, at 10:30 a.m.; Barstow Cemetery at 9 a.m.;
Saragosa at 9 a.m. and Balmorhea Cemetery will be blessed at
Relocated home comes with `live-in' spirit
By MARI MALDONADO
A family in southwestern Pecos expected rusty plumbing,
inadequate electrical wiring and other usual occurrences
that accompany the purchase of an old house. But a ghost?
Almost immediately following the purchase of their home 20
years ago from a family member, and after moving it from town
to the Lindsey Addition, the former migrant family said they
noticed bizarre goings on.
"We've learned to live with it now," said the lady of the
house, who said she did not wish that her family be named,
but chuckled at the thought of sharing her tale publicly.
The elderly patriarch said the most obvious indicator of
the, "entity," is, "feeling its presence. You can tell when
its in the room...you can tell when its gone."
"We'll be sitting in the living room and simultaneously
everyone looks up as if someone just walked in the room,"
said another family member.
Neither the gender nor age of the entity are obvious to the
family, said their 16-year-old son, "but whatever it is,
it's a real prankster."
Recent construction at the home showed family members just
what a joker their unexpected tenant can be.
"Construction workers complained of misplaced tools, missing
material," said the father. On one occasion, he said,
"workers confronted me about switching their lunches. I
could only guess at what really happened."
"We finally had to sit down and have a serious talk with the
entity," he blushingly admitted. "It seemed to understand,"
he said, "because the incidents just stopped," and
construction continued with no other set backs.
"It understands Spanish," he added.
Lights flickering on and off, misplaced kitchen ware,
running faucets, toilets flushing, "the usual," poltergeist
related incidents go on, the oldest son explained.
"It was scary at first," he said, "because I was expecting
to one day walk in and see a really scary looking ghost. We
just didn't know what to expect."
When asked if any form or shape relating to the entity has
been spotted, almost every member had their own version.
"I was walking out to throw the trash one night and saw a
floating, white figure waiting for me at the dumpster," said
one family member. "I got to the trash can and it
A frequent visitor to the home said she was visiting the
family one night and as she walked the darkened corridor to
the bathroom, she was greeted by a mysterious mist at the
end of the hallway. "I had been warned of the presence, but
it still startled me," she said.
"I'll be cooking," said the mother, "and out of the corner
of my eye I can see someone standing at the doorway to the
living room when I know no one is home but me."
Family members said they've assisted the family in tracing
the house's background to no avail. "There isn't anything
out of the ordinary about the house. As far as we can tell,
there are no tragic accidents involved with former
homeowners," said one family member.
"I'm more afraid of the living," said the mother. "Every
year we hear of more monstrous deeds committed by mankind."
"I find it refreshing that a presence from a world purer
than ours has decided to stake our home," she said.
"A lot of times we put our faith and belief in science and
technology when there's a whole world out there we've not
even begun to understand and could possibly learn so much
more from," she said.
"Tell your readers, next time they feel someone is watching
not to turn away," she said.
Bonilla offers briefing in Pecos visit
By JON FULBRIGHT
Congressman Henry Bonilla briefed a small group of Reeves
County residents on his recent congressional activities and
answered questions about some local issues during a campaign
stop in Pecos on Thursday.
Bonilla, who will be seeking a fourth term in as District 23
representative in Tuesday's general election, was
accompanied on his swing through the area by Donna Ballard,
who is seeking the District 1 spot on the State Board of
Education, after serving on the board as an East Texas
representative for three years.
Bonilla, R-San Antonio, is opposed for the second time in
three years by Democrat Charlie Urbina Jones, and was
hopeful he could win heavily-Democratic Reeves County on
Tuesday. "I've won an election only one time in Reeves
County so far. Hopefully we can pull it off this year,
because it's a rarity for a Republican in Reeves County."
Bonilla cited the recently-passed bill boosting financial
support for troubled farmers, along with actions by Congress
to cut welfare rolls as two achievements of the
just-completed legislative session.
"We got three million Americans back to work, which is not
only good for the country, but good for themselves, because
they can pass that legacy along to their children," he said,
adding that an effort to eliminate the so-called `marriage
penalty tax' passed the House this year, but was stalled in
the Senate after a threatened veto by President Clinton.
On the upcoming House impeachment hearings against the
president, Bonilla said next week's election will have some
determination on it's outcome, but he didn't not expect
Clinton to re removed from office.
"We (Republicans) could gain as few as five or as many as 30
seats. Depending on what the number is, the media experts on
TV are going to say it means either this or that. If we
don't gain a lot of seats, they're going to say `let him go.'
"We have to look at what the law says on perjury and
obstruction of justice," he continued. "My view is we will
vote impeachment and sent it to the Senate, but I'm not
convinced there are enough votes in the Senate to convict no
matter what is found."
During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting,
Bonilla said he was continuing his effort to keep the
county's troubled Farm Service Administration office open.
"There has been an effort to close it, but rest assured it's
not going to happen without a fight," he said.
Poorly kept records were the main problem at the local
office, and Bonilla said, "If you read the inspector
general's report, it was a mess. Hopefully, we can get all
that mess behind us before we start afresh."
The congressman, who had opposed plans to place a low level
radioactive waste dump within the 23rd District near Sierra
Blanca, said he has heard of no plans by the state to seek
an alternative site within the district. The Sierra Blanca
site was rejected last week by the Texas Natural Resources
"All I've heard has been about the site in Andrews County,"
said Bonilla, who was also happy Texas Gov. George W. Bush
has agreed to support the TNRCC's decision.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo thanked Bonilla for his
help with the expansion of the Reeves County Detention
Center, while the congressman also spoke on behalf of
Ballard is seeking the District 1 ed board post after
moving from East Texas to Midland with her husband, Mark,
who is pastor at the Living Way Church in Midland.
Ballard said she led an effort to get spelling books back
into Texas schools when she was first elected to the
15-member board in 1994, and to allow parents to look at
their children's tests. She said would seek further reforms
in state textbooks and would push for the abolition of the
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) test if elected
by West Texas voters.
"Texas decides the standards for the nation," Ballard said
of the state's textbook purchases. "There are 15 members of
the board. If I win, I would become the eighth member
willing to take a stand on this."
While Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gary Mauro said on
Wednesday he opposes TAAS because it is racially biased,
Ballard said her opposition is because the test isn't tough
"The TAAS tests only at the seventh grade level and you can
take it eight times. That's the dumbing down of education,"
Ballard said. She later added that, "It's not right to have
the same tool measure teachers, students and the district."
"What I'm interested in is standardized testing. The Houston
Independent School District gave their first through 11th
graders the Stanford Achievement Test, and with a few
exceptions all the schools failed, and that includes those
that received highest honors in TAAS."
Pecos was the final stop of the day for Bonilla and Ballard,
who also visited Del Rio, Presidio and Fort Stockton on
Thursday. Both then flew to San Antonio, but the congressman
said he planned to spend election night at a campaign
headquarters in ClayDesta Center in Midland.
Rhythm Aces to perform Halloween show
It's an ironic but not uncommon occurrence in the music
business to find fresh sounds and new ideas by looking to
And that's exactly what led to the formation of the "Rhythm
Aces featuring Lady Blue" just over a year ago.
Now one of West Texas' busiest bands, in a very short time
they have earned a reputation an act with real substance and
The Rhythm Aces featuring Lady Blue will be appearing this
Saturday at 10 p.m. at the Zoo Bar, 2905 Toliver St. in
Pecos, for "Boo at the Zoo III." It will be the band's
second performance for the Zoo's annual Halloween
Celebration, and they have performed several other times at
the local nightclub.
"We love to play in Pecos mainly because of the hospitality
we've received at the Zoo," says Jody Orona. "The people
treat us real nice. They always give us a warm welcome."
Although the group may be relatively new, the band's
individual members are all veterans in the music business,
some with ties to Pecos.
"We all knew each other for years," says bassist/vocalist
Jody Orona of Odessa. "We were all burned out on what was
going on in la onda Tejana and in the music of
Taking inspiration from the classic groups of the 60's and
70's, Orona formed the Rhythm Aces with fellow working
musicians, searching for a breath of fresh air from the 90's
Among the Aces' co founders:
Joe De La Vega, a seasonal guitarist who for many years
lived in Pecos and whose parents are from Barstow.
Jerone Luera, a native of West Los Angeles, California and a
multi-instrumentalist. Luera is keyboardist and vocalist for
the group, but is equally at home on guitar, bass,
accordion, and banjo sexto.
Adolfo De La O, drummer and backbone for the Rhythm Aces'
extensive R&B/funk/blues soloist. Also with ties to Pecos
Last to join the group was Margaret Young of Atlanta,
Georgia - or "Lady Blue" as she is also known.
The moniker is well deserved, as anyone who has heard her
singing voice can attest. The lady does sing the Blues with
conviction and fire. And with the emotional authority of
someone who has loved and lost...and persevered - the
classical story of the Blues.
"She is our main attraction," says Orona of Lady Blue.
Lady Blue draws out the crowd, making them a part of the
show. She speaks to them on a personal level, and sings to
them on an intimate level, from the heart, with classic
songs that speak to the heart.
The Rhythm Aces song list reads like a history lesson in
American and Latino music. "Stuff we like to play," says
Jody Orona simply. Stuff by Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and
James Brown. Classical anthems and ballads by Santanna, Al
Green, Malo and War, as well as a cross section of Old
The band is constantly expanding their repertoire. They
recently picked up tunes by the Temptations, Rare Earth and
Los Lobos. Plans are underway to add a horn section to the
group. And future songs will stretch out into the modern
Rueben M. Martinez
Funeral services for Rueben M. Martinez, 44, of Odessa will
be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Santa Rosa Catholic Church in Pecos
with Father Manuel Munoz officiating, with burial at Mount
Evergreen Cemetery. A rosary is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
tonight at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.
Martinez died on Thursday, Oct. 29, 1998, at Medical Center
Hospital in Odessa.
He was born on August 19, 1954 in Pecos and was a
maintenance man and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Eva Nichols Martinez of Odessa;
three sons, Rene Martinez, Eugene Martinez and Rueben
Martinez, Jr., all of Odessa; his parents, Raymundo and Fay
Martinez of Pecos; a grandmother, Carlotta Diaz of Pecos;
one brother, Francisco M. Martinez of Pecos; and two
sisters, Irma Mickens of Clovis, N.M., and Isa Stamper of
High Thursday 83; low last night 61. Tonight, mostly cloudy
with a 40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in
the mid 50s. East to southeast wind 10-20 mph. Saturday,
mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. High 65 70. Southeast to south wind 10-20
Ned Cantwell, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise