Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Recount planned in County Judge’s race
A recount is being planned following the outcome of the November elections, after Republican Bobby Hanks lost by only 96 votes to Democrat Sam Contreras.
The recount is being planned, however, the fee for the recount has not been received yet by the clerk’s office.
“We are planning a recount, but have not received the fee for it yet,” said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Town of Pecos City Finance Director Sam Contreras won a 96-vote victory over Robert Hanks last Tuesday in the election for Reeves County Judge, but Hanks asked for a recount, saying the total number of votes cast in the judge’s race fell short of the county’s overall vote total.
Hanks, the Republican nominee, received 856 votes, while Contreras, the Democratic nominee, picked up 952 votes. Hanks said he was basing his recount on the fact that 462 people who voted did not cast ballots in the county’s judge’s race.
“We talked to the Secretary of State, and said we’ve never seen anything where 22 percent of the votes are not counted,” Hanks said.
However, Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez said the total number of undervotes (votes for no candidate) and overvotes (votes for more than one candidate, which nullifies the vote) matched up with the overall ballot total. A total of 2,270 voters overall cast ballots, according to the Reeves County Clerk’s office.
Hanks received a total of 440 votes on election day, while Contreras received 451 votes. During early voting, Hanks had 416 and Contreras had 501. A total of 1,215 people cast ballots early, the clerk’s office said, while another 1,055 people cast ballots on Tuesday.
Hanks filed a petition for vote recount citing Texas Election Code, Sec. 212.0241, a petition for a recount for the subject Nov. 7, General Election for County Judge.
“There will definitely be a recount, if he (Hanks) comes up with the money,” said Galindo. “I have to form a committee and then we’ll take it from there,” he said.
Galindo said that he was the Recount Coordinator/Supervisor for Reeves County and would make appropriate arrangements.
In his letter, Hanks, states, “I understand that the Recount Coordinator and/or Supervisor has 48 hours to alert me as to the decision regarding my petition (Sec. 212.029). Mr. Galindo, per Sec. 212.0241, it is understood that the Recount needs no grounds if an Electronic System tabulated the results.”
Hanks said he has sent a letter to Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo asking for a recount, along with a copy to Florez. “If he refuses, then the state will step in,” Hanks said.
Contreras won the election after a 15-vote win in the April 11 runoff election against Al Gomez. Vote counting problems in that election resulted in a recount, and then a lawsuit being filed by Gomez, who had finished first in a five-person field in the March Democratic primary. Contreras was officially ruled as the winner of the runoff election in August, while Hanks ran unopposed in March for the Republican nomination.
Council discusses Christmas lighting sign, postpones back pay
Town of Pecos City Council members discussed a new sponsorship sign for the Maxey Park Christmas Lighting Display during their regular meeting on Thursday, and organizers of this year’s display are hoping the sign can be approved and put in place before the lighting ceremony at the end of this month.
Nancy Martinez and Ken Winkles with the Pecos Rotary Club made a presentation to the council on the proposed sign, which would be located near the lighting display, which is on the northwest side of Maxey Park. Rotary member Leo Hung, who has spearheaded the creation and expansion of the lighting display over the past five years, could not attend the meeting due to the death of his mother.
“I’ve been working with Nancy and Leo on the exact location they’ve selected for a sign set-up,” said Parks Department Director Tom Rivera. The sign would be 19-feet high by eight-feet wide for its main section, with two detachable 9-by-4 foot side sections.
The main section would carry the Community Christmas Lights logo and the four main sponsors; TransPecos Banks, West Texas National Bank, First Choice Power and American Home Health and Hospice at a cost of $3,00 per sponsor, while $1,000 sponsors would be placed on the side sections.
“This year in an effort to expand the lighting and add a fireworks display, we decided we needed to put up a sign to show more recognition for our major sponsors,” Martinez said. She also asked that the city agree to a five-year renewable lease on the sign, which would be single-sided and would point towards Interstate 20.
“Leo has some great ideas on there, and all of his ideas over the last five years have been wonderful,” Winkles said. “Anything we do that’s on the interstate helps promote the city.”
“This is a very good project for the community,” said City Manager Joseph Torres, but added he hadn’t talked over the legal situation with city attorney Scott Johnson, or gone over how the sign would affect the city’s overall plans for Maxey Park, which includes a splash park. “To obligate the council to more than five years is a future concern.”
Martinez said a company already is in place to do drill tests at the site for the sign, while Kevin Duke told the council that any sign visible to I-20 has to be approved by the Texas Department of Transportation.
With this year’s lighting ceremony set for Nov. 28, the council voted tentative approval of the project, subject to it meeting administrative and TxDOT requirements, and said they could set a special meeting between now and Nov. 28 if everything isn’t in place before Thanksgiving.
“The council is going to move as fast as possible. We just want to protect everybody’s rights,” said Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood.
In other action, the council approved going with Colt Chevrolet on the purchase of an SUV, two crew cab pickups and an extended cab pickup. Colt and Caldwell Chevrolet were the two bidders, but City Finance Director Sam Contreras said Caldwell’s bids came in past the deadline. He added that Caldwell, which has the vehicle contract with the State of Texas, had lower bids on the SUV and extended cab, but Colt’s bids on the two crew cab pickups were lower.
The council also agreed to retain RH Administrators of Lubbock as the city’s health insurance provider. Contreras said the city received four bids, and only those of RH and Rogers and Belding “were in the ballpark.”
The new contract, which takes effect on Dec. 1, is only a 10-month deal, so that the next health contract would be in line with the city’s fiscal year budget, which begins on Oct. 1.
Contreras said RH had cut claims-to-payout by about 50 percent in the past year, “so they are saving us a considerable amount of money.” He added that the worst-case cost for the new deal would be just under $700,000.
The council also told Contreras to wait on paying back pay to Pecos Criminal Justice Center employees, until the city receives a check for the funds from the U.S. Marshal’s Service. The CJC houses Marshal’s Service inmates under a contract signed five years ago, but the U.S. Department of Labor ordered the city to raise jailer wage rates retroactively after the agreement was in place. The city is still seeking a deal to increase payments on the original contract due to the DOL-mandated salary increases.
On accounts payable, Contreras said the city would be reimbursed for defective radios in police vehicles. Stockton Ford made the installations, at a cost of $4,000. He also said the city’s new trash trucks would be delivered from Lubbock in January. The city purchased two used trucks from the City of Midland last month, when they learned the new vehicles wouldn’t arrive by the time the city is scheduled to assume trash disposal responsibilities from Duncan Disposal in December.
The council also was given their first Municipal Airport Report from airport manager Isabel Blanchard. Torres said the report listed the number of flights, overnight stays, rental fees and ongoing projects at the facility, and was begun as part of the revisions to the contract between Blanchard and the Town of Pecos City. The report showed the airport handled about eight flights and 16 people each day, which also included 99 overnight stays.
“This is one of the reasons we felt it was so important that the public find out what we’re doing out at the airport,” said Alligood.
The council tabled any action on audit services with CPA Tracy Tarter of Fort Worth, when he did not show up at Thursday’s meeting. Contreras said he did not know why Tarter was not at the meeting, and Alligood said he and other council members were annoyed by the delays. Council members in September hired Tarter over El Paso SPA Dan Painter, who had done the audit the past 15 years and bid $4,000 lower than Tarter’s $24,000 bid, after Contreras said the city should have someone different take a look at its financial numbers.
The council also approved an easement for Texas-New Mexico Power Co., in order to run a line to the city landfill for the new recycling center, after the former one on Second Street and Broadway Courts was destroyed in an arson fire in January. An easement was also granted to Terra Max Engineering, Inc., so it can close down monitoring wells at the old Airlawn Gulf station at Walthall and Eddy streets.
Pecos Police Chief McKinney said community service officer Mike Balog had secured a grant for $13,054 for the Campus Crimestoppers Program. “We have made some cases because of that program,” he said.
The council finished up their meeting with only three members, after councilmen Michael Benavides and Frank Sanchez had to leave for work. Conflicts with work schedules and the 7 a.m. meetings led the council last month to change the time of the first meeting each month from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting in December. The council also changed the date of their next regular meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 21, due to the Thanksgiving holiday two days later.
Council member Gerald Tellez did not attend the meeting due to an automobile accident his daughter Bernadette was involved in, that resulted in her suffering two broken ankles. Torres said Tellez’s daughter was out of the hospital and at home in Midland, but remained in a wheelchair due to her ankle injuries.
Pecos VFW closes, EMS deeded property
A lack of membership participation has resulted in the closure of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Pecos. But the post and the surrounding property could become the future new home of the Pecos Ambulance Service hall, after Pecos EMS was deeded the property by the VFW.
Dora Pineda, VFW Post 6437 Commander, said the post was notified earlier this year that a meeting had been ordered to determine if there was enough interest by members to keep the post alive. “I also notified them 30 days ahead of time about the future of the post, and only five members showed up. You need six for a quorum.”
Her husband, MacArthur Pineda, said, “Basically, the post only had two people, the commander and the quartermaster (Andy Hanna), doing all the work.”
He added that he, along with their son Stephen and Hanna’s wife Shirley, also did volunteer work, but when district commander David Bennett issued the notification of closure, the group sought to do something with the building and land.
“The VFW was looking for a non-governmental organization to donate the building to, and after contacting several organizations, our son, Steven C. Pineda, suggested we donate it to the Pecos Volunteer Ambulance Service. “
He said the donation was made because the land the service had been given in the past, in the 800 block of Washington Street, was deeded by Pecos EMS with the idea that it would be the future ambulance hall site. But in 2001, the city decided to use the land for a planned 20-home development.
“Our future plans are to demo the (VFW) building at some point in time and replace it with a metal structure for the ambulance hall,” said Pecos EMS Chief Dennis Thorp.
The EMS currently shares facilities on South Cedar Street with the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department. “It will be in the possession of the Pecos EMS. It will not be deeded to the city.”
Thorp said the EMS would still need to raise funds for the new building, and he said, “We’re looking to the possibility of a USDA grant, and we’re open to anything else.”
Dora Pineda said members of VFW Post 6437 have the option of applying for membership to VFW posts from surrounding communities. MacArthur Pineda added that the VFW’s flags and poles that are placed out on holidays such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the Fourth of July, would be donated to local businesses to place out on those days.
Odessa College to begin registration for spring
Students wanting to take classes through Odessa College’s Pecos Technical Training Center can register online or at the Center for the spring 2007 semester beginning Monday, Nov. 13.
Those registering for 12 or more hours online for spring 2007 before Sunday, Dec. 10 will be included in a drawing for a $500 scholarship. Odessa College is offering 21 courses at the OC Pecos Center for the spring semester.
Registration at the Pecos Center for spring courses will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday.
Students also can register 24 hours a day online through the Odessa College Web site. Web registration for spring classes will be Monday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 16 through Thursday, Jan. 11. Students can log onto www.odessa.edu and click on the “WebAdvisor/E-reg” link in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
Spring classes in Pecos include Art Appreciation, General Biology II, Microcomputer Applications, Basic English, College Algebra, Texas Government, Public Speaking, English Composition and Literature, College Reading, Word Processing, Golf and many more.
Odessa college also offers a number of Internet courses. A complete listing of courses is available in the midwinter-spring 2007 schedule, which can be picked up at the OC Pecos Center.
For more information on spring registration, stop by the OC Pecos Center or call 432-445-5535. Students also can log on to the OC Web site at www.odessa.edu .
Donations, volunteers needed for Thanksgiving dinner
Holiday dinners are already being prepared for the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner to be held at the Reeves County Civic Center.
The dinner is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., on Thanksgiving Day at the civic center and everyone is invited.
Volunteers are needed to help deliver the Meals on Wheels and to help serve throughout the dinner.
The event is sponsored annually by the Christian Home, which is asking help from the public once more.
“We need cooked turkeys, de-boned if possible, or just turkeys if they don’t feel like cooking,” said volunteer Velma Bradley.
Desserts, pies and cakes are also on the list of things needed for the special dinner.
“God has been good to each one of us, he has blessed us with jobs, many problems have been answered, many miracles have happened,” said Bradley.
“On Thanksgiving Day, we want to come together with God’s love,” she said.
The dinner will consist of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls and desserts.
“We need everyone’s help, donations and possibly their time,” said Bradley.
“Bring your love, faith, kindness - this makes the dinner complete,” she said.
Volunteers are being asked to arrive early to help deliver and to help serve and everyone is appreciated.
Sanchez wins awards at baby pageant
Zailyn D’Ann Sanchez participated in the 2006 West Texas Baby Pageant.
She received a trophy for first place beauty in her age group, a trophy for Supreme Barroners, and a 2nd place ribbon in the photogenic contest.
She is the daughter of Deedra and Jesus Quiroz.
Her grandparents are Lawrence Avila, Belinda Dominguez and Jesusita Quiroz.
She is the great-granddaughter of Gloria and Benny Avila and Mary Fay and Frank Ornelas.
Avila completes basic training in Navy
Samuel M. Avila completed basic training in the U.S. Navy, on Oct. 13, in Great Lakes, Ill.
He is studying for medical corpsman.
Avila is the son of Raymond and Esther Avila of Barstow.
Grandparents are Benny and Gloria Avila of Barstow and Albert and Martina Madrid of Monahans.
He wants to be a medic so that he can serve his country in Iraq.
Fundraiser planned for Friday
An enchilada plate sale will be held beginning at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 14, at Santa Rosa Hall.
All proceeds will benefit Vicky Navarrette to help with medical expenses.
Plates will be $6 per plate and deliveries will be available.
For orders on Friday, call 445-2302.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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