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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Runoff voting starts; group seeks Election Day delay

From Staff and Wire Reports Early voting in a South Texas congressional runoff election was allowed to start on Saturday instead of Monday as originally scheduled, following legal action by one group. But no change has been made in the Dec. 12 date for the election, despite protests from another group.

In Reeves County, early voting for the run-off elections started Monday morning, with a total of 20 voters casting their ballots before noon. Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., throughout this week, in the lobby of the courthouse. Ballots by mail will be accepted through Dec. 8.

Voters will be choosing a United States Representative with incumbent Henry Bonilla being challenged by Ciro Rodriguez. Bonilla has represented Reeves County in congress since 1993. The Republican placed first in last month’s special election with Rodriguez, a former congressman representing South Texas and the San Antonio area, finishing second.

Rodriguez unsuccessfully ran against fellow Democrat Henry Cuellar for his former District 28 seat in Congress back in March, after losing a narrow race to Cuellar in 2004. Voters in San Antonio were allowed to get an early start on voting, after a federal judge on Friday agreed to an emergency motion filed the previous day by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund that objected to the state's planned Monday start to early voting in the District 23 race between Bonilla and Rodriguez.

MALDEF argued that the shortened voting period would have violated the Texas Election Code and a federal order redrawing the district.

Gov. Rick Perry had set Dec. 12 as the election date, with early voting to start Monday. But MALDEF said that timetable interfered with Bexar County's plans to start early voting this weekend.

District 23 is made up of all or pieces of 20 Texas counties, which stretches from near El Paso in far West Texas to the Mexican border and into San Antonio. Bexar County is the district's population anchor, and 27 percent of the county is in the district.

MALDEF and the Texas Secretary of State's Office eventually agreed on the weekend start for early voting, which was approved by U.S. District Court Judge T. John Ward's order. The order says counties in the district have discretion on whether to hold early voting this weekend.

Early voting will continue through this Friday, Dec. 8.

While MALDEF’s action was granted, no action has been taken yet on a complaint filed by The League of United Latin American Citizens against the Dec. 12 election date set by Perry.

LULAC said Perry set the election to replace a deceased state lawmaker a week later than he scheduled a congressional runoff election, and that the Dec. 12 runoff because it falls on the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a religious holy day celebrated by many Catholic Hispanics by attending Mass, holding processions and family gatherings and other events. The district that stretches from near El Paso to South Texas and takes in several counties on the border has a 61 percent Hispanic voting age population.

Perry and Secretary of State Roger Williams set Dec. 19 for a special election to replace Republican state Rep. Glenda Dawson. Orders for the two elections were submitted the same day.

Scott Haywood, Williams' spokesman, said the special election to replace Dawson was set at the earliest possible date it could be set under the Texas election code. ``Because there are different types of elections, different sets of laws would apply to fill a vacancy,'' he said.

``The state representative district is predominantly white-Anglo population and would not be affected by 'El dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe','' LULAC national attorney Luis Vera Jr. said in the DOJ filing, using the Spanish translation of the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The 23rd district's voters are ``adversely affected by setting it on the holiest of religious holidays. There can possibly be no other reason for the different dates than an attempt to suppress the Latino vote.''

Vera also contends the state could have set the District 23 on a Saturday and that it did not have to be on a Tuesday.

Bonilla faced seven challengers in the Nov. 7 election after the race was thrown open when the Supreme Court ordered the district redrawn. The district had been altered in 2003 in a way diluted Latino voting strength and violated the Voting Rights Act, the high court ruled. Bonilla won 49 percent of the vote and Rodriguez drew 20 percent, sending them to a runoff. Vera is serving as treasurer for Rodriguez's runoff campaign.

Because Texas has a history of discriminating against minority voters, it is required to seek approval of election changes and decisions from the Department of Justice. Vera had asked DOJ not to approve the runoff date unless the state extends early voting to include a Saturday or Sunday. He also wants the election date to be moved from a holy day and a day that provides adequate time for all voters to be notified of the election.

Both the Bonilla and Rodriguez campaigns said they support the early voting this weekend and want the runoff held on Dec. 12.

``We fear it would be harder to educate more voters about a new change in the date,'' said Rodriguez campaign spokeswoman Vanessa Gonzalez.

All 11 of Reeves County’s polling places will be open on Dec. 12 for the runoff election. Voters will cast their ballots at the site that corresponds to the voting precinct number on their voter registration card.

Voting Precinct number are listed below:

1. Pecos Community Center, 505 S. Oak; 2. Odessa College, 1000 S. Eddy Street; 3. Pecos High School Gym, 1300 Iowa; 4. Toyah Old High School Building, 120 E. 2nd, Toyah; 5. Balmorhea Fire Hall, 4th and San Antonio, Balmorhea; 6. Saragosa Multi-Purpose Center, Saragosa; 7. Reeves County Library, 505 S. Park Street; 8. Lamar Elementary, Rm. #1, Corner of Oak Street; 10. Reeves County Annex N-Side; 700 Daggett Street; 11. Reeves County Civic Center, 1000 S. Cedar Street; 12. Texas-New Mexico Power, 1126 Stafford Blvd.

Fast drive through park nets man fast trip to jail

A Pecos man traveling too fast through Maxey Park just prior to last Tuesday’s Community Christmas Tree Lighting Show wound up on the other side of Interstate 20 in the Pecos Criminal Justice Center on marijuana charges.

Pecos Police Capt. Kelly Davis said Gabriel Martinez Ramirez, 34, of 200 W. Walthall Street, was stopped by officers after he was seen by Davis and Lt. Olga Lopez traveling above the speed limit through the park at 2:26 p.m. last Tuesday, Nov. 28.

“He was stopped at the Rocket Park parking lot and arrested for traffic offenses,” Davis said. “During an inventory, six baggies of marijuana were found in the vehicle.”

Ramirez was then taken to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, where he was charged with the traffic offenses and with possession of marijuana under four ounces.

City officials were busy last Tuesday at the park, preparing for that night’s lighting and fireworks events, sponsored by the Pecos Rotary Club.

Winners selected from annual Christmas Parade

The Pecos Eagle Swim Team took first place honors with their float in the Annual Christmas Parade, held Friday evening from Pecos High School to Downtown Pecos.

The theme for this year’s event was “Christmas Around the World.” The parade traveled its usual one-mile route from the high school to the Reeves County Courthouse, along Eddy, Third and Oak streets. However, city and other local officials are talking about reversing the route next year and having the parade go south to Maxey Park, where it would be combined with the park’s Christmas lighting event. That show was held this past Tuesday, with a fireworks display added for the first time this year.

Both the Crockett Junior High and Pecos High School bands were on hand for Friday’s parade, and second place in the floats division went to Crockett Junior High Eagle Float.

The parade lined-up at the Pecos High School Parking Lot, went down Third Street and then down Oak and ended at the Reeves County Courthouse.

Santa Claus was a part of the yearly event riding on his sleigh.

Pecos among cities getting Main St. honor

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently recognized Pecos as one of the 52 National Main Street Cities in Texas.

The cities were honored at the recent Texas Downtown Association/Texas Main Street Conference in San Angelo. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center will honor these cities at the 2007 National Main Streets Conference to be held in Seattle in March.

Cities chosen as National Main Street Cities must show above average performance in 10 categories.

The selection criteria focus on planning, staff and volunteers, preservation ethic, training and program assessment.

Pecos was accepted into the Texas Main Street program after several tries in 2004. The program is designed to help restore and improve downtown areas in the state’s small and medium-sized cities “A lot of hard work goes into achieving this recognition,” said Debra Farst, state coordinator of the Texas Main Street Program. “Just as importantly, the recognition honors the many people, including Main Street managers and volunteers, who put in countless hours to make their Main Street programs work .

“The result is an active and successful downtown revitalization effort that benefits not only the Main Street district, but also the entire community,” she said.

Other 2007 National Main Street Cities include: Amarillo, Beaumont, Beeville, Bowie, Brenham, Canton, Carthage, Clarksville, Clifton, Colorado City, Comanche, Corsicana, Denison, Denton, Electra, Elgin, Fairfield, Farmersville, Freeport, Georgetown, Goliad, Gonzales, Grand Saline, Greenville, Harlingen, Henderson, Irving, Kerrville, La Grange, LaPorte, Levelland, Livingston, Llano, Lufkin, Luling, Marlin, McKinney, Mineola, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, New Braunfels, Odessa, Paris, Pharr, Plainview, Rio Grande City, San Marcos, Seguin, Sonora, Taylor and Waxahachie.

For additional information, visit the National Main Street web site at and the National Trust for Historic Preservation web site at .

For more information on the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street program visit .

The THC’s Texas Main Street Program is revitalization program for historic downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. It is based on a four-point approach - organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring, all within the context of historic preservation.

Implemented in 1981, the program has assisted more than 140 communities throughout the state.

Police say stabbing victim, witnesses slow to aid probe

Pecos Police are investigating a Friday stabbing that sent a 29-year-old man to an Odessa hospital. But officers aren’t sure if they will be able to make any arrests in the case because the victim has not pressed charges.

John Natividad Jr., 29, of 904 E. Eighth St., was transported by private vehicle early Friday morning to Reeves County Hospital, and was later airlifted to Odessa. Police were called at 1:56 a.m. by hospital personnel, after Natividad arrived at the hospital with a stab wound to the chest.

Police Capt. Kelly Davis said the stabbing took place in a city park at Fourth and Almond streets. “The victim said an unknown male got into an argument with him, and during the altercation, the victim was stabbed,” he said.

Natividad was driven to the hospital by Ernesto Perez, and was stabilized by emergency room personnel before being taken to Odessa. However, Davis said the victim and others who may have been witnesses have not been cooperating with officers.

“We have no description of the alleged stabber,” he said on Friday. “The witness would not give a statement, which makes it really, really hard.”

Davis said officers had not been successful during their search early Friday morning at the park at finding evidence, but said on Monday they were able to locate some during a later search of the crime scene.

“We found additional evidence, and we’re still trying to talk to witnesses,” Davis said. “They’ve got to come in. We may have to prod them to come in, but they have to do it.” He added that depending on what happens, no one may be charged in the stabbing.

“We don’t even know if he (Natividad) wants to file,” he said. “We hope to wait until he gets out and see what he wants to do.”

Chavez, Rodriguez announce wedding plans

Emilio Chavez of Lubbock and Gloria Gonzales announce the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter, Sarita Hernandez Chavez to Joe Ray Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the son of Roman and Lucy Rodriguez of Pecos.

The future groom is a 1984 graduate of Balmorhea High School and is currently employed with McLane.

The bride to be is a 1983 graduate of Lubbock High School, attended Vernon Regional Junior College and is employed with the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center.

The couple plan to wed at 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 23, at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Lubbock.

Boone to receive Master’s Degree

Linda Patricia Boone, daughter of Luis and Laura Tellez, will graduate n Dec. 10, with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. Boone is in her third year of the doctoral program at Wichita State.

She is the wife of Bill Boone of Wichita, Kansas and the sister of Frances Porras of Pecos, Sally Delgado of Betendorf, Iowa, Sylvia Miranda of Pecos, Debra Goff of Pecos, Sandra Bowling of Granger, Indiana and G.L. Tellez, Jr. of Pecos.

Boone is a graduate of Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

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