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Friday, April 2, 1999

Couple believes faith, doctors overcame disease

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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 2, 1999 -- Romaldo Garcia has much to be thankful for this Easter. Jesus' atoning death on the cross on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday give Garcia and other believers hope for their own resurrection and a new, spiritual body.

But the 73-year-old Barstow resident also has reason to be grateful for God's touch on his physical body while here on earth. After special prayer by fellow Catholics, Garcia believes he is being healed from a maddening itch all over his body.

The itch started six years ago, and dermatologists could not diagnose the cause. Garcia scratched his dry, scaling skin until it bled at times, said his wife, Juliana.

"His skin got so bad. It was dry, dead skin all over the body," she said. Even his ear lobes were peeling off, they got so dry.

Garcia had retired from the gravel plant at Barstow, and Juliana had to retire from Gibson's last year when the disease caused him to lose his memory and become disoriented.

"I had to stay with him day and night," Juliana said.

For six years, the couple sought help from dermatologists in Irving, Odessa and the Veterans Administration hospital in Big Spring.

"Nobody could find what was causing the itch," Juliana said. "They said it was a drug reaction. We just kept going somewhere else to see if anyone could help him, and nobody did for six years."

Finally, diagnosed with diabetes, Garcia went to Dr. G.M. Gollapudi at the Diabetes Center of the Southwest in Midland. He took a tissue sample for study by a pathologist to determine what was causing the itch, Juliana said.

He sent it to Marianne Wolff, M.D. "because she is one of the best," Juliana said.

Wolff's diagnosis was mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T/cell lymphoma), for which Garcia was told there is no cure. But it was her differential diagnosis that interested Dr. Gollapudi.

A reaction to medication can cause a condition that simulates fungoides, Wolff said. Besides his diabetic condition, Garcia had also had heart bypass surgery and was taking Norvasc for high blood pressure.

Dr. Gollapudi told Garcia to stop taking all medication and prescribed a moisturizing lotion recommended by dermatologists.

Not only has the itching lessened, Garcia's memory has improved since he was taken off all medication, Juliana said.

"His blood pressure is down, and his diabetes is under control," she said.

Dr. Gollapudi gave Garcia a sample of a new memory-enhancing drug, donepezil, which may have helped. "It is expensive. We couldn't afford to buy that stuff," she said.

Another recommended treatment by ultra-violet rays.

But the Garcias believe God has worked to heal the condition, and they give Him all the glory.

"We have been praying for him. The ladies from the church came over. We said the rosary and they prayed for him. This has been sustaining us," she said.

The Garcias have seven children and 13 grandchildren. Alex works at Freeport McMoRan Sulphur Mine, Angie at Taylor's Flowers, Stella at Lamar, and Millie at home in Pecos. Mike lives in Odessa, Celina in Irving and Naomi in New Mexico.

District judge Gonzalez opts to step down

PECOS, April 2, 1999 -- State District Judge Alex R. Gonzalez of Fort Stockton has announced his retirement from the bench, effective at the end of this month.

"On February 1, 1999, I marked my 15th year as district judge of the 83rd Judicial District, State of Texas," Gonzalez wrote to Gov. George Bush on Feb. 10.

"This letter is to advise you as to my decision to retire from this office on April 30, 1999."

Gonzales had just started his fourth four-year elected term in office in January of this year. Gov. Mark White appointed him to the bench on Feb. 1, 1984, upon the retirement of the late State District Judge William H. Earney of Marfa.

Gonzalez presided over state district courts in Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties until 1995, when the Texas Legislature changed the court's boundaries and created a new judicial district. His 83rd District still includs most of Pecos County, along with part of Upton County.

"I've enjoyed working with him," 83rd District Attorney Albert Valadez told The Big Bend Sentinel on Wednesday. "He's been fair to the state, but he made us work for everything we accomplished in the courtroom. He kept me on my toes.

"Personally, I've enjoyed visiting with him in and out of the courtoom," Valadez said. "I learned a lot from him in the seven years we worked together, and I've grown a lot in the legal profession. I'm going to miss him."

Couple believes faith, doctors overcame disease

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 2, 1999 -- Romaldo Garcia has much to be thankful for this Easter. Jesus' atoning death on the cross on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday give Garcia and other believers hope for their own resurrection and a new, spiritual body.

But the 73-year-old Barstow resident also has reason to be grateful for God's touch on his physical body while here on earth. After special prayer by fellow Catholics, Garcia believes he is being healed from a maddening itch all over his body.

The itch started six years ago, and dermatologists could not diagnose the cause. Garcia scratched his dry, scaling skin until it bled at times, said his wife, Juliana.

"His skin got so bad. It was dry, dead skin all over the body," she said. Even his ear lobes were peeling off, they got so dry.

Garcia had retired from the gravel plant at Barstow, and Juliana had to retire from Gibson's last year when the disease caused him to lose his memory and become disoriented.

"I had to stay with him day and night," Juliana said.

For six years, the couple sought help from dermatologists in Irving, Odessa and the Veterans Administration hospital in Big Spring.

"Nobody could find what was causing the itch," Juliana said. "They said it was a drug reaction. We just kept going somewhere else to see if anyone could help him, and nobody did for six years."

Finally, diagnosed with diabetes, Garcia went to Dr. G.M. Gollapudi at the Diabetes Center of the Southwest in Midland. He took a tissue sample for study by a pathologist to determine what was causing the itch, Juliana said.

He sent it to Marianne Wolff, M.D. "because she is one of the best," Juliana said.

Wolff's diagnosis was mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T/cell lymphoma), for which Garcia was told there is no cure. But it was her differential diagnosis that interested Dr. Gollapudi.

A reaction to medication can cause a condition that simulates fungoides, Wolff said. Besides his diabetic condition, Garcia had also had heart bypass surgery and was taking Norvasc for high blood pressure.

Dr. Gollapudi told Garcia to stop taking all medication and prescribed a moisturizing lotion recommended by dermatologists.

Not only has the itching lessened, Garcia's memory has improved since he was taken off all medication, Juliana said.

"His blood pressure is down, and his diabetes is under control," she said.

Dr. Gollapudi gave Garcia a sample of a new memory-enhancing drug, donepezil, which may have helped. "It is expensive. We couldn't afford to buy that stuff," she said.

Another recommended treatment by ultra-violet rays.

But the Garcias believe God has worked to heal the condition, and they give Him all the glory.

"We have been praying for him. The ladies from the church came over. We said the rosary and they prayed for him. This has been sustaining us," she said.

The Garcias have seven children and 13 grandchildren. Alex works at Freeport McMoRan Sulphur Mine, Angie at Taylor's Flowers, Stella at Lamar, and Millie at home in Pecos. Mike lives in Odessa, Celina in Irving and Naomi in New Mexico.

Tarin, Lindley seek help to block low-level flights

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, April 2, 1999 -- Plans by the U.S. Air Force and German Luftwaffe to run low-level bomber training flights over sections of West Texas were topics of concern by one local rancher and a Reeves County Commissioner on Thursday, during a meeting with U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla.

Clark Lindley and Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin spoke to Bonilla briefly about the low-level bomber training flights the U.S. Air Force is seeking to run over southern Reeves County.

"We're just very concerned about this, because everyone I've talked to doesn't want the bomber training here," said Tarin, whose precinct covers most of the area over which the flights are scheduled to travel in Reeves County.

Flights from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico would cross several Trans-Pecos and Big Bend counties. The Air Force released its Enviromental Impact Statement on the project on March 19 and has scheduled several hearings in the area over the next few weeks, including one at 5 p.m. next Friday, April 9, at the Pecos High School cafeteria.

Lindley told Bonilla that areas that weren't supposed to be included were now included. "And some of these areas are ranches, where crops such as cantaloupes, onions and bell peppers are grown, and this is posing a concern to the farmers," said Lindley. "We don't know what kind of health problems this will pose and would like the Air Force to inform us," he said.

Bonilla said that the U.S. Air Force will double the response time for West Texas residents to voice their concerns about the Air Force's Realistic Bomber Taiing Initiative.

"This will buy us a little more time, to have the residents voice their concerns and let them know they don't want it in their area," said Bonilla.

The Air Force had originally scheduled a 45 day response period for West Texans to have their voices heard on the issue, but Bonilla spoke to Air Force Chief of Staff, General Michael E. Ryan and requested an extension in the response time. At Bonilla's request, the Air Force will double the response time to 90 days, and the comment period will end on June 16.

"It is important that West Texans have ample time to voice their concerns over the Air Force's RBTI program," Bonilla said. "We must do everything we can to make sure the rights of private property owners are protected and their concerns are heard," he said.

Bonilla said he has been a strong advocate in Congres for West Texas on this issue. Last June, the congressman secured language in a Defense Appropriations report that required the Air Force to complete an Environmental Impact Statement before implementing their Realistic Bomber Training Initiative.

Tarin said that one of the concerns is that this area doesn't have the equipment or the manpower, to respond in case of an accident. A four man B-1 bomber crew flying out of Dyess Air Force Base was killed in December, 1992, when their jet flew into the side of a mountain south of Valentine in Culberson County. The explosion from the crash was visible to ranchers in northern Reeves County, over 100 miles away.

"We want to know if the Air Force is going to provide with some kind of emergency response team," said Tarin.

Bonilla said that he has always been opposed to this training and will continue to fight for what the constituents want.

Bonilla announces local office during visit

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
A Pecos office to better serve the constituents was one the main item on the agneda for U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla, who discussed several other topics at an informal meeting Thursday morning at the Reeves County Courthouse.

"I have offered my assistance in helping to accomodate a reresentative from Mr. Bonilla's office here in Pecos," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo, who explained that office space for Tony Carrillo will be provided at the courthouse.

At the meeting, Bonilla (R-San Antonio) will announced the opening of his new part-time district office to be based in Pecos. Bonilla introduced Tony Carrillo, Bonilla's constituent liaison based in Midland. Carrillo will staff the Pecos office on a part-time basis.

The part-time office will serve Pecos and the surrounding area. Carrillo will officially open the office on Monday, April 19 and will be available from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on April 19 and April 20.

"My office will do the initial intake of what the constituents need or want and forward them to the congressman to better serve the community," said Galindo.

Carrillo will come to Pecos for several days, four times a year to handle casework and work as Bonilla's constituent liaison in Pecos. He will handle requests for information, and will work with constituents on a variety of issues including: social security, Veteran's Administration concerns, immigration, information on obtaining a passport, agricultural concerns, and other items.

"We're just very thankful to the Reeves County judge for helping us in this effort and offering us office space," said Bonilla.

"We want to better serve the community and help with them with all the health care issues, veterans issues and whatever else they might have in mind that needs to be addressed," said Galindo.

Along with the office announcment, Bonilla also update those in attendance on a variety of issues on the federal level, and was on hand to answer questions.

Stockton businessman plans KFC/Taco Bell site

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell will share a location at the intersection of I-20 and U.S. 285 once all hurdles are cleared and construction of a building is complete.

Terry Foster of Fort Stockton said this morning that the new business will occupy the site where an abandoned service station now sits on the east side of U.S. 285, immediately north of the I-20 westbound exit.

"That building will be leveled," Foster said, and the new building will be one of KFC/Taco Bell's new designs. A similar building went up last year along U.S. 285 south of Interstate 10 in Fort Stockton.

Fuel tanks buried underneath the ground will also have to be removed and "quite a bit of dirt work" will be done to the site before construction, Foster said.

Site preparation includes approval by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Railroad Commission, Foster said.

"It probably will be a few months before we start construction," he said. "It is under contract."

The new business will join a chain that Foster owns throughout West Texas including the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food outlet on South Eddy Street.

"I am not sure what we will do with that yet," Foster said. Kentucky Fried Chicken has operated out of the store at Eddy and Jefferson streets in Pecos for over 20 years. The old KFC store on Dickenson Blvd. in Fort Stockton was closed when the new KFC/Taco Bell store opened.

Easter Egg Hunt set for Saturday at Maxey Park

PECOS, April 2, 1999 -- Young children will be in for a treat this Easter in Pecos.

A Kiddie Easter Egg Hunt has been scheduled beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday at the Maxey Park.

All children ages 8 and under are invited to participate, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In addition, they will have an opportunity to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

The event is being sponsored by the Reeves County Sheriff's Explorer Post #600.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 19-22-23-24-25. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $47,917. Winning tickets sold in: Brownsville, Ore City. Matching four of five: 225. Prize: $639.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 2-8-3 (two, eight, three)

Obituaries

Velma Bell

Graveside services for Velma Verne Bell, 90, of Pecos, are scheduled for Saturday, April 3, at 2 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery in Pecos with the Rev. Greer Willis officiating.

Mrs. Bell died Thursday, April 1, 1999, at Avalon Place.

She was born May 21, 1908, in Eastland County. She moved to Odessa five years ago from Pecos,, where she had lived since 1936. She was a secretary of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and also worked for Rediger's Pharmacy for many years. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pecos.

She was preceded in death by her husband, J.D. Bell.

Survivors include two daughters, Patsy Beauchamp of Pecos and Sonnye Dingler of Odessa; one son, Bobby Bell of Odessa; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Lucinda Marruffo

Lucinda N. Marruffo, 67, of Pecos died Wednesday, March 31, 1999, at Odessa Medical Center.

A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass will be held at 9 a.m., Monday, April 5, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Manuel Munoz officiating. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery.

She was born March 3, 1932, in Pecos, was a homemaker, a lifelong Pecos resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include five sons, Danny, Israel, Salvador, Arturo and Noel Marruffo of Pecos; two daughters, Guadalupe Marruffo and Lourdes Eloisa Machuca of Pecos; two brothers, Severo Natividad of Pecos, Julian Natividad of Phoenix; four sisters, Rosemary Ramiez and Estella Rodriguez of Pecos, Juanita Castenada of Arizona, Lenor Natividad of Arizona; 23 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

High Thursday 85; low last night 60. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low in the upper 40s. Southwest to west wind 10-20 mph. Saturday, partly cloudy and breezy. High near 70. West wind 15-25 mph and gusty.



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