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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, August 30, 1999

House blaze on east side investigated

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 30, 1999 -- An early morning fire destroyed a house on the east side of town, but no injuries were reported.

Firefighters reported to the scene, in the 500 block of East 13th Street, at about 4:45 a.m.

The fire could be seen from the west side of Pecos and quickly engulfed the front rooms of the house, as flames shot 30 feet into the air.

"It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to control the fire," said Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Pena.

Four fire units responded to the fire, which consumed about two thirds of the house, which did not have any electricity.

"We don't know if someone actually lived there, or was being used as a hangout, since there was no electricity to the house," said Pena.

The hangout was nicknamed, "The Tree," and several individuals would gather at the site.

Everything collapsed, including the roof, but the kitchen area did not sustain as much damage as the rest of the house, according to Pena.

The fire is still under investigation by Pecos Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.

"It's not known at this time what caused the fire or if it was an accident, caused by someone who hangs out there," said Pena.

Pecos hosts Municipal League meeting

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 30, 1999 -- Pecos cantaloupe fresh from the field, cantaloupe cake and cantaloupe ice cream was the perfect complement to a steak dinner Friday night for the quarterly Texas Municipal League meeting at Swiss Clock Inn.

Although the cantaloupe harvest has ended for the year, Randy Taylor went to the fields and gathered the famous fruit especially for the meeting, said Mayor Dot Stafford.

Stafford welcomed representatives from cities all across TMS's Region 4 to their quarterly meeting.

"This is such a good representation," Stafford said. "There is one person or a couple from about every city in the district. We have been looking forward to this day."

Russell Smith Sr., Kermit city councilman and Region 4 vice president, responded to the welcome and introduced fellow officers Howard McKissack, Fort Stockton mayor; and Lorina Marquez, Monahans city secretary.

President David Cuthbirt, Monahans mayor, was ill and unable to attend, he said.

Larry and Martha Fleming of Andrews were present. He was water/sewer superintendent in Pecos before moving to Andrews to take a similar position.

Stafford introduced Alan Bojorquez, assistant general counsel for TML in Austin. He summarized the 1999 Legislative session as it pertains to cities.

Senate Bill 89 will have the most impact on cities, he said.

"It is the biggest change in annexation reform in 30 years," Bojorques said. "It was a very difficult bill to pass."

In previous attempts to change annexation statutes, the Legislature considered some very bad versions, he said.

"It was not too bad this time. Most city concerns were taken care of, but some reforms people wanted got in there too."

Court's decision won't set McLaren free

From Staff and Wire Reports

Organized crime convictions against Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and an associate were overturned on Friday by an appeals court that said there was insufficient evidence against them.

"What it boils down to is if you allege it you've got to prove it," said Mike Barclay, an attorney for McLaren associate Robert "White Eagle" Otto.

However, other verdicts against McLaren in U.S. District Court in Pecos make it unlikely he will be getting out of prison any time soon.

In separate but nearly identical opinions issued Friday, the Texas 8th Court of Appeals entered judgments of acquittal for McLaren and Otto in connection with the kidnapping of a couple.

"There was no showing that McLaren abducted Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe," the El Paso-based appellate court said. Prosecutors had argued that while McLaren was not present at the Rowes' home, he had plotted and directed the kidnapping.

The kidnapping preceded a weeklong standoff by the Republic of Texas which believes Texas is an independent nation with about 100 law enforcement officers in the mountains of far West Texas in April 1997.

McLaren is serving a 99-year prison sentence and Otto received a 50-year term for the kidnapping. Barclay said he plans to ask for bail for Otto as early as Monday.

It is unlikely McLaren will be released from prison any time soon. In addition to the state term, he was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison for participating in a fraudulent scheme to distribute $1.8 billion in worthless Republic warrants, which resembled cashier's checks.

McLaren owes Houston-based Stewart Title $1.8 million in a federal court judgment handed down two years ago by Senior Judge Lucius Bunton in the Pecos court. The civil judgment was returned against McLaren for filing false title liens against the company.

Bunton had jailed McLaren for a month in May, 1996 on the civil contempt finding, then issued another warrant in December of that year when McLaren again failed to appear for court.

He remained on his property in the Davis Mountain Resort through April 27, 1997, when a kidnapping resulted in a week-long siege and finally the surrender of McLaren and four of his followers.

It was that kidnapping of Joe and M.A. Rowe that led to the 99-year sentence in a district court trial in the fall of 1997.

Prosecutor Albert Valadez said an appeal was in the works. He also said McLaren and Otto could face additional charges stemming from the same incident, such as burglary or aggravated assault.

Asked about the possibility of additional charges, McLaren attorney Frank Brown said: "We'll have to litigate the issue of double-jeopardy at that time."

Testimony in McLaren's trial in October 1997 in Alpine showed that three of his followers in the Republic had stormed the Rowes' home in the Davis Mountains Resort and taken them hostage on April 27, 1997. The couple, who lived near Republic members and had quarreled with McLaren, were taken hostage, allegedly in retaliation for the arrest of another Republic member, Robert Scheidt.

The Rowes were held hostage in their own home for more than 12 hours before they were exchanged for Scheidt.

The hostage-taking touched off a standoff between McLaren and other Republic members and scores of state troopers, who laid siege to the group's remote resort 175 miles southeast of El Paso until the group surrendered a week later.

Months later, McLaren and Otto were convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity essentially participating in a conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping.

Republic members contend the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was illegal and refuse to recognize Texas' statehood and institutions, including the court system.

At trial, McLaren and Otto represented themselves and treated the proceedings as a sham. After the prosecution rested, they asked their standby court-appointed counsel to file motions for a mistrial and for directed verdicts of acquittal. The judge denied both and a jury eventually took less than two hours to convict.

Alpine's expectations high for balloon festival


ALPINE, Aug. 30, 1999 -- The hot air balloons are headed back to Alpine in full force this Labor Day Weekend, according to the Alpine Chamber of Commerce. Eighteen colorful ballooons are scheduled to appear at the Annual Labor Day Balloon Rally slated for Sept. 4-6.

The traditional Alpine balloon rally has been expanded to include both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, according to Guy Combs, Executive Director at the Alpine Chamber of Commerce. "This way visitors will come to identify Alpine as the summer balloon capital of Texas," said Combs.

Dr. Tim Brady is the Balloonmeister for the Labor Day Rally, bringing many new pilots from central, east and south Texas. Professor of Healthcare at Southwest Texas State University and President of the Tri-County Ballloon Association in Central Texas, he has coordinated over 16 balloon events in California and Texas. He is also a certified BFA Flight Instructor and former Federal Aviation Agency Safety Instructor.

Three launchings are planned, with the location being on the west side of Alpine next to the Ramada Limited. "Of course the direction the balloons fly depend on wind direction," said Combs. All launchings will begin at approximately 7 a.m.

"We are looking forward to bringing the balloons back to Alpine," said Combs. "I can't imagine anything more beautiful than waking up to a sky full of color," he said.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 48-16-28-27-12-08. Estimated jackpot: $23 million. Number matching six of six: One. Winning ticket sold in: Quanah. Matching five of six: 151. Prize: $1,475. Matching four of six: 9,065. Prize: $88.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-16-18-31-36. Number matching five of five: none. Prize per winner: none. Matching four of five: 179. Prize: $1,203.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Texas Million numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery: 39-74-80-98 (thirty-nine, seventy-four, eighty, ninety-eight)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-7-1 (one, seven, one)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-8-6 (six, eight, six)

Obituary

Nell Pouns

Nell Pouns, 85, of Abilene, died Saturday, Aug. 28, in San Angelo.

Services will be held Tuesday, at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church, with burial in Elmwood Memorial Park in San Angelo.

Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Cleo Welch

Services are incomplete for Cleo Welch, 89, who died Sunday, Aug. 29, 1999, at Health Rehabilitation Center in Midland.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

High Sunday 100; low last night 68. Tonight, partly cloudy in the evening with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Becoming mostly clear late. Low 65 70. southeast wind 5-10 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Tuesday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10-15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Extended forecast, Tuesday night, a slight chance of evening showers and thunderstorms, otherwise mostly clear. Low 65- 70. Wednesday through Friday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon and evening showers or thunderstorms. Lows 65- 70. Highs in the mid 90s.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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