Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, March 10, 2006
Gomez, Contreras top county judge voting
The top two vote getters for Reeves County Judge are already preparing for a run-off election on April 11, following the result of Tuesday’s Democratic primary election.
Al Gomez finished first and Sam Contreras second in the five-person race for county judge. Gomez won the 35 percent of the vote and will face Contreras, who came in second with 29 percent of the ballots cast.
Gomez received 887 votes to 742 for Contreras, while Grace Jaso Renteria, picked up 458 votes, Bernardo “Chaquen” Martinez 255 votes and Israel Çampos 226 votes.
State law required a runoff if no candidate receives 50 percent of the votes. The winner will face Republican Robert L. Hanks in the November general election.
“I think the race went really well, it was a good race,” said Contreras.
“Right now we’re getting ready for the runoff elections and I plan to work harder,” he said.
Contreras, who currently serves as Town of Pecos City finance director, said that he hopes to get more supporters to help out and wants to reach more voters.
Gomez, owner of Alfredo’s Restaurant and the former Pecos Chamber of Commerce president, also said that it was a good, clean race.
“I think it went really well,” said Gomez, but added that he feels that the issues were not addressed in the race.
“Nobody is really talking about the issues,” said Gomez. “Nobody has really addressed them.”
Gomez said that for one thing he was against out-of-control spending.
“We’re not generating revenue that we need, with the exception of RCDC I and II,” said Gomez. “It’s this prison that has been keeping us alive. “
He said that if elected, the county would be looking at a long-term agreement with BOP in obtaining prisoners.
“Once we cut spending and get more prisoners, we’ll be able to generate more revenue,” said Gomez.
“I would also like to state that at this time I am not able to make any promises because of our financial situation at the county,” he said.
Gomez said that once the county gets their financial situation they will be able to start looking at priorities of what really needs to be done.
“We’ll be looking at the problem at the courthouse, the lack of space,” said Gomez. “I would like to move the county judge’s office back to the courthouse,” he said.
Gomez said that he wanted to thank everyone who came out to vote and ask them to come out again on April 11.
Oilfield worker critically injured in Orla accident
An oilfield worker was critically injured Wednesday evening in an accident near Orla, while another man was treated early Thursday morning at Reeves County Hospital after driving his vehicle into the Pecos River.
“We were in a meeting, at the Big Bend Law Enforcement meeting, when we were told of the accident,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez of the accident, which occurred about 7 p.m. at a rig site in the Orla area.
Gomez said that the individual who reported the accident to them was too distraught to even remember the other worker’s name.
“He couldn’t remember the other guys name, he was too excited and upset,” said Gomez.
Gomez said that a piece of equipment, that weighed 8,000 pounds, fell on the employee.
“We put him in our car and were met by the Pecos ambulance at State Highway 302 and U.S. 285,” said Gomez.
The injured worker was transported to the ambulance and was escorted by the sheriff’s department to the Pecos Municipal Airport.
“He was transferred to Odessa, by an airplane that was here waiting for him,” said Gomez.
Gomez said that he doesn’t know the condition of the man and did not have any other information.
In another accident, Department of Public Safety troopers are investigating a vehicle that drove off Business I-20 east of Pecos and into the Pecos River early Thursday morning.
The male driver of the vehicle was reportedly the only person in the vehicle at the time it left the roadway. The driver was able to get out of the car in the shallow riverbed, and was taken first by private vehicle to a friend’s house, and then to Reeves County Hospital for treatment.
Tarin seeking Precinct 2 recount; Martinez, Guerra, Rayos advance
Runoffs will be held on April 11 in both races for Reeves County Commissioner, following the results of Tuesday’s Democratic primary election. However, the name of one of the candidates in the Precinct 2 race remains uncertain, pending the recount of ballots from the precinct’s voters.
Challengers placed first in both commissioners’ races, as Gabriel Martinez received the most votes in the Precinct 2 race, and Ramiro “Ram” Guerra finished first in Tuesday’s Precinct 4 commissioner’s election.
Guerra received 315 of the 657 votes cast in Precinct 4, falling five percentage points short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff next month. Incumbent Gilberto “Hivi” Rayos, who is seeking his third term as commissioner, picked up 164 votes, to beat out Conchita M. Hernandez by 23 votes for second place and a spot in the April 11 election. Hernandez had 141 votes, while the fourth candidate, Alex Ramirez, received 78 votes.
In Precinct 2, challenger Gabriel Martinez received 281 votes to lead the three-person race. Martinez received 39 percent of the 645 votes cast in the precinct, while incumbent Norman Hill received 222 votes, three more than challenger Alvesia “Tita” Tarin, who said on Thursday she would file a request for a recount with county Democratic Party chairman Bobby Dean.
“I’m working on it right now. I’m going to see Mr. Dean and get a form to request a recount,” she said. “I feel I owe it to my supporters.”
Tarin said she would fill out the form and file it, along with paying the fee for the recount, as soon as she visits with Dean.
“I want to make the runoff,” said Tarin, who hopes to prevail there and in the April vote. “I’m counting on people who are ready to turn Pecos around.”
“If I were her, I would file for a recount,” Hill said on Tuesday, after the vote totals were announced. The first-term commissioner also said he wasn’t surprised by the result, though he was hoping to be a little closer to first in his election.
“In my race and the judge’s race, I thought it would be a little closer than it was,” he said.
“I think it’s great that Tita has decided to do the recount,” Martinez said. “It’s her right to know for sure, especially with all the undervotes.”
Aside from the recount of votes, eight military ballots also have yet to be counted. But Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez said all but one of those ballots were in the Republican primary, and the other was cast in Box 11, which is in Precinct 1.
Martinez said his win on Tuesday, “is definitely something to celebrate. I’m not going to say I expected it, but hard work paid off.”
He thanked the voters in Pecos and Toyah for their support, and said while he awaits the results of the recount, “I’m definitely going to get started knocking on doors and asking the people who supported me to keep supporting me.”
Hill and Martinez also thanked each other and Tarin for running a clean race in the primary.
“I definitely want to thank Tita and Norman for running a clean, honest race,” said Martinez. “That’s the way it should be.”
“I’m proud of my two opponents. They both ran good, clean races. We’ll just see what happens in the next month,” Hill said.
In the Precinct 4 commissioner’s race, Rayos said he had expected to do better than the 24 percent vote total he received on Tuesday.
“I was surprised. I lot of my supporters did not show up,” Rayos said. He said that the decision to move a ballot box from its traditional place at the county library to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, two blocks east on Fifth Street, hurt his showing in the race.
“A lot of people have called. I think it affected my vote totals,” he said.
Rayos said that he would campaign harder in the runoff. “I’m going to get some help - get some of my supporters to help get the vote out,” he said.
“I think I’m the right choice, especially since we may have an all new court next year. The court needs someone with experience on it,” he said.
“I was really surprised,” Guerra said of his 45 percent total in the primary race. “This is the first time I’ve run for office and I did not think I would do this well. I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends and the many people who believe in me.”
Going into the runoff Guerra said he did not plan to do anything different, but would work harder to get his message out.
“We can make Pecos and Reeves County a great place to live again - like it used to be.
Our government entities have to work together. We have to listen to people. If we do we can improve Pecos and Reeves County. Working together we can do it,” he said.
Espino cashing out of Vegas job for P-B-T superintendent’s post
The stars of West Texas are more to Gabe Espino’s liking than the lights of Las Vegas, as the new superintendent for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is making a quick return to the area, after starting off the 2005-06 school year as the dean of students for Clark County, Nev.
Espino was selected on March 2 as the new P-B-T ISD superintendent, replacing Ray Matthews, who was only on the job for 18 months before leaving for a similar job in Marlin. Espino was in West Texas as recently as last June, as assistant superintendent in Fort Stockton, before taking his new job with the Clark County schools, which includes the Las Vegas area.
“They’ve got about 295,000 kids. It’s a huge, huge district,” said Espino, who was assistant superintendent in Fort Stockton for nearly a decade before making the move. He spent a total of 30 years with Fort Stockton ISD, as a teacher, coach and administrator, before moving to Nevada last August.
“I’ll be pretty much going back to what I’ve been used to all my life,” he said. “We came out here and said we were going to take it on a year at a time and see how it goes.”
“When I heard the Pecos job had come open, my wife and I sat down and talked about it, and decided it would be for the best to apply for it,” Espino said.
Under state law, and because the P-B-T ISD school board did not release any of the candidates’ names until Espino was selected, the district has to wait until at least March 22 before he can take over the job from interim superintendent Bob McCall. However, he said it would still be another two weeks after that before he’ll be able to leave his job in Clark County and take over in Pecos.
“I still have some work to get done here. I’ll be able to get down there in April, when I finish up evaluations,” he said.
“The only people I’ve visited with so far are (P-B-T) school board members. I haven’t talked to any community members, school members or people in Pecos, but I need to talk to some of the people I do know in Pecos to help with finding a home,” Espino said.
His appointment on March 2 was one of two made by the school board. They also named Chris Henson as the district’s new athletic director and head football coach.
“I like coach Henson. I was assistant superintendent in Fort Stockton when he was an assistant coach, and I think he’ll do a good job with the kids,” Espino said.
Henson, who served as an assistant coach under Gary Roan for three years in Fort Stockton, has been head coach and AD in Marfa the past three years before being hired by P-B-T ISD, at a salary of $63,500. His final day in Marfa is March 24, and he’ll begin his new job in Pecos on March 27.
Uresti defeats Madla in race for State Senate
State Rep. Carlos Uresti scored a big win in Reeves County and a big victory overall in the race for the 19th State Senate District seat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, as he defeated incumbent Frank Madla in his bid for re-election.
Uresti, who represents the San Antonio area in the Texas House, picked up 1,270 votes to 891 for Madla, who was first elected to the Texas Legislature in 1972. The 59-41 percent margin in the county was just slightly wider than Uresti’s district-wide margin of 57 to 43 percent. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, Uresti received 24,199 votes to 18,330 for Madla.
Uresti hit Madla over his vote on CHIPs funding in the Texas Legislature and positioned himself as the more liberal of the two candidates, saying during the campaign that Madla was a Republican in disguise. During an issues forum in Pecos on Feb. 16, Uresti said, “I served on the Public Heath Committee for five years and I chaired the Human Services Committee when a bill came forward that cut 180,000 children off of CHIPs. We never should have made those cuts to begin with, and I fought those cuts,” Uresti said.
“I fought privatization of our DHS offices that placed barriers on our senior citizens to access health care. We never should have supported that bill I fought that bill as chairman of Human Services. My opponent didn't,” Uresti told local residents at the meeting.
Madla called Uresti’s charge misleading, and said he had only voted to suspend the rules in the debate.
“I did vote to suspend the rules along with the lady who wrote the CHIPs bill. The lady who wrote the bill,” Madla said. “I voted with her because she knew more about that bill than my opponent and I put together. Yes. I voted to suspend the rules of the debate, but when it came back I voted against it.”
Uresti also hit Madla over excessive spending of discretionary funds by Madla at restaurants and other locations in the San Antonio area.
Uresti was supported locally by Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in his campaign to unseat Madla, while the incumbent was backed by the area’s state representative, Pete Gallego. Madla did defeat Uresti in Gallego’s home county of Brewster and other Big Bend counties.
Along with Reeves, Uresti did best in his hometown of San Antonio, outpolling Madla by nearly 4,000 votes, along with District 19 counties just to the west of San Antonio. He’ll now face Republican Dick Bowen in the November general election.
Bowen, from the El Paso area, defeated his primary opponent, Darrel Brown, by 3,509 3,324 vote margin in the Republican primary. Uresti defeated Madla by 33 votes out of nearly 1,700 cast by El Paso County voters in the 19th District.
In other contested races in the Democratic primary, voters statewide chose Chris Bell to face Republican Rick Perry in the race for governor in November, while Barbara Ann Radnofsky and Gene Kelly will face an April 11 runoff for the right to challenge Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison for U.S. Senate this fall.
Radnofsky picked up 214,837 of the just over half-million votes cast in the Senate primary, while Kelly was second with 191,276 and Darrel Reece Hunter was third with 94,049. In Reeves County, Kelly won with 659 votes to 594 for Radnofsky and 292 for Hunter.
Bell was also in a three-person race, but received 324,127 votes; well over half the 508,316 votes cast to avoid a runoff election. The former Houston area congressman defeated former Texas Supreme County Judge Bob Gammage, who had 145,328 votes, and Rashad Jafer, who picked up 38,861 votes.
Locally, Bell won with 960 votes to 392 for Gammage and 156 for Jafer.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Maria Luisa Alvarado and Benjamin Z. Grant will be in a runoff next month, after Alvarado received 207,317 and Grant 200,346 votes in Tuesday’s election. Adrian DeLeon was third with 113,337, while in Reeves County, Alvarado won with 1,019 votes to 351 for Grant and 279 for DeLeon.
Most of the other state and local races were uncontested and involved incumbents seeking new terms. That included Gallego, who gained 1,392 votes in his bid to remain as District 74 representative in the Texas House of Representatives.
In the county races, Walter Holcombe received 1,468 votes in his bid for Reeves County Court-at-Law Judge; Richard C. Slack received 1,354 votes for a full term as Reeves County Attorney, after being named to replace Luis Carrasco in November; District Clerk Pat Tarin received 1,604 votes; County Clerk Diane Florez received 1,615 votes; and County Treasurer Linda Clark received 1,574 votes.
In the other precinct elections, Amanario P. Ramon received 323 votes for Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace; Jim Riley received 464 votes in the JP 2 race; Rosendo Carrasco received 296 votes in the JP 3 race and Heriberto “Eddy” Rodriguez picked up 404 votes in the JP 4 election. All but Rodriguez, who had served as Precinct 4 constable, are incumbents. In the election for a full term to fill that spot, John C. Armstrong received 386 votes.
Ward County voters face Precinct 2 runoff
By PAULA BARD
The atmosphere at Ward County Courthouse on Tuesday was not the usual hubbub of excitement expected with an election. Although a good number of people gathered at Ward County Courthouse waiting for voting results, subdued might be a better description of the event. “With as many contested races as we had, I have no idea why turnout was so low,” said County Clerk Natrell Cain. “Ward County is known as a political county.”
Of 6,497 registered voters in Ward County, only 2,352 actually went to the polls.Three candidates sought the commissioner’s seat for Ward County Precinct 2. Benny Kilcrease received 245 votes, Larry Hanna received 344 votes, and Arlice Wittie received 144 votes. A run off between Kilcrease and Hanna is scheduled for April.
In the race for Ward County judge, Harvey Acker was listed on the Republican Party ballot, but voted in the Democratic primary, disqualifying himself as a candidate.
In other Ward County races, Dick Bowen earned 30 votes to Darrel Brown’s 29 on the Republican ticket for State Senator District 19. In the Democratic race for State Senate District 19, Carlos Uresti earned 844 votes compared to 1029 for Frank Madla.
Pascual G. Olibas won the race for Justice of the Peace Districts 1&4, over Linda G. Hinojos. Olibas received 635 votes to 284 for Hinojos.
Justice of the Peace Elizabeth “Liz” Polanco won her election for Justice of the Peace Districts 2&3, earning 892 votes. Her opponents Jamee Marie Fabian earned 215, and Alex Navarette earned 163.
In the race for county treasurer, Marissa Layton lost to Teresa Perry by just 155 votes. Layton received 989 to Perry’s 1,144.
District Clerk Patricia Oyerbides ran away with the election taking 1690 votes, compared to 503 for her opponent Ann Gandy Parker.
Treva Oxedine won out over Leo C. Helmer for Ward County Democratic Party Chairman with a vote of 1165 to 284.
In uncontested races on the Democratic Party ballot, Greg Holly, candidate for county judge, received 1788 votes; Eddie Nelms, commissioner Precinct 4, received 328 votes; Natrell Cain, county clerk, received 1751 votes.
Area students receive scholarships
Sul Ross State University students have been awarded with additional scholarships for the spring 2006 semester. Total awards are over $38,000 in addition to the previous $242,000 previously awarded for fall and spring. Sul Ross scholarship recipients are selected by the University Scholarship Committee, based upon nominations forwarded by representatives of academic disciplines and departments. Individual organizations designate specific awards by their own criteria.
The scholarship recipients include Pecos resident, Eliseus F. Marquez who received the Sul Ross University License Plate Scholarship.
From Balmorhea: Amanda Orozco, Pecos Downtown Lions Club Designated Scholarship and Jo Gina Gallego, First Generation Program Scholarship.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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