The Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), No. 9, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 7, 1988 Page: 1 of 8

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44 Candidates File For County Offices
A total of 44 candidates have
filed for 25 county and precinct
positions on the March 8 Democrat-
ic primary ballot, according to
Starr County Democratic Party
Chairman Benito Saenz.
In countywide races, two-term
incumbent Eugenio "Gene" Falcon
will be opposed by Ernesto "NeU>"
Lopez in the Sheriff's race.
In the District Attorney's race,
County Attorney Heriberto Silva
will be challenging three-term
incumbent Francisco A. "Pancho"
Cerda of Hebbronville.
In the Precinct One County
Commissioner's race, three-term
ii—i—mi mi mil mir ii
incumbent Jose Maria "Chema"
Alvarez will be opposed by Arnulfo
Garcia and Domingo Arredondo.
In Precinct Three, one-term
incumbent Eloy Garza will face
opposition from Erma D. Doria,
Erasmo Lopez, Norberto "Robe"
Montalvo, Hector Lozano, and
Leonel R. Lopez.
County Tax Assessor-Collector
Maria Ofelia H. Saenz, who has
held the position since 1983, will be
unopposed in her bid for re-
Precinct One Constable Cornelio
"Cone" Alvarez will run unop-
posed, and Cirilo Orta, Norberto
"Red" Cantu, and Joeue Munoz
will compete for the Precinct Two
constable position. On the ballot for
Precinct Three Constable will be
Gonzalo Bazan, Carlos Garza, and
Branch Jones.
Aldo Medina will run unopposed
for re-election as Precinct Four
Constable, and in Precinct Five,
Noel N. Pena and Juan E. Saenz
will be candidates for constable. In
Precinct Six, Honorio H. Garza and
Salvador Zarate, Jr., are can-
didates for constable
Precinct Five incumbent Justice
of the Peace Antonio S. "Toni"
Trevino, recently appointed to fill
the unexpired term of Roberto
Meza, who resigned In November,
will be opposed by Leonardo Saenz.
Benito Saenz will be unopposed
as Starr County Democratic Party
chairman. In Precinct Three,
Minnie Villarreal and Rafael
Trevino, Jr., will be competing for
Democratic precinct chairman.
Candidates for chairman of Pre-
cinct Four are Edualdo "Baldo"
Guerra and Celina "Kennie"
The other precincts will have
only one candidate, as follows:
Precinct One, Roberto A. Ponce;
Precinct Two, Francis T. "Sonny"
Howard; Precint Five, Lauro
Garza; Precinct Six, Alberto
"Betin" Alvarez, Jr.; Precinct
Seven, Janie Castillo; Precinct
Eight, Alicia 0. Chapa, Precinct
Nine, Lamberto Solis, Sr.; Precinct
10, Jesus "Chucho" Gonzalez, Jr.;
Precinct 11, Hortencia G. "Tangie"
The Starr County Democratic
Executive Committee is scheduled
to meet on Friday, Jan. 15 at 5:30
p.m. in the County Courtroom.
Candidates in contested races are
invited to draw for positions on the
tSSm -fSu&'ii
Page 8
Serving Starr
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Published in Rio Grande City, Texas, Every Thursday By The Rio Grande Publishing Co.
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Rio 4-H'er Ysa Gonzalez, pictured above at Monday
night's regular meeting, represented Starr County at the
recent: Naf.Vnil I H Congress in Chicago. (See related
story on Page 2).
Ft. Ringgold 40th
Anniversary Purchase
Celebration Saturday
The 40th anniversary of the
purchase of Fort Ringgold from the
federal government will be cele-
brated on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 9
a.m. at the main entrance of Fort
Ringgold, according to Sam
Ramos, chairman of the Communi-
ty Advisory Council.
The community is invited to
attend the ceremony, which pre-
cedes the dedication of the new
high school gym facility. Chairman
Ramos invites all former board
members and, especially, all those
present on the day of the formal
entry to Fort Ringgold on Jan 23,
Special guests will be Martin
Garza, board member at the time
of the acquisition, and Canuto G.
Zarate, employee with the longest
service with the district.
The main speaker will be Fran-
cisco "Paco" Zarate, secretary of
the Rio Grande City CISD board of
trustees. Elsa Villarreal, president
of the Ringgold Jr. High student
body, lead the recitation of the
Pledge of Allegiance. Father Todd
Amberg, pastor of Immaculate
Conception Church, will give the
The Master of Ceremonies will be
Joel Salinas Mrs. John A. Pope,
Jr..president of the Starr County
Historical Society; and Dr. A.E.
Garcia, RGCCISD Superintendent
of Schools; will give the welcome.
Mrs. Elia Ramos, chairperson of
STORY, Page 2)
the Ringgold Jr. High Social
Studies Department, will speak on
"It Happened 40 Years Ago."
The Community Advisory Com-
mittee for Historical Resources at
Fort Ringgold consists of Mrs.
John A Pope, Jr., Mrs. Arnold J
Vale, Mrs. Sam Ramos, Mrs
Jessie Warren, Mr Joel Salinas,
Mr. Tony Espinoza, and presided
over by Mr. Sam Ramos
This committee approached the
VFW for financial assistance to
purchase street signs for Fort
|S«-e RINGGOLD, Page
Alvarez Announces
Re-Election Candidacy
' 987 Eventful Y ear
For Starr County
Precinct One Commissioner Jose
Maria "Chema" Alvarez has an-
nounced his candidacy for re-
election in the upcoming Democrat-
ic primary on March 8
Alvarez said, "I have served this
community as Commissioner of
Precinct One for 11 years. I have
always been able to work with all
county officials and county
employees Communicating with
the people we represent is consid-
ered among the most important
jobs of any elected official, and I
have always had good communica-
tion with the people from my
Alvarez contended. "My experi
ence as commissioner will help me
accomplish more for the people of
Starr County. My primary goal is
to see progress and jobs for our
people come to our community ."
Prior to being elected commis-
sioneV, Alvarez served as a county
constable for eight years
Alvarez is a member of the
Regional Review Committee of the
South Texas Development Council
Alvarez is a member of the Board
of Directors of the Community
Action Council, and is also a
member of the Financial Commit
tee of the same board He is a
member of the Pastoral Council of
Santa Rosa de Lima Church.
Alvarez is a member of the Rio
Grande City Beef Syndicate
Alvarez points to the following
awards he has received: A certifi-
cate of appreciation for valuable
contributions given to Marketing
and Distributive Education; a 4-H
Award of the Gold Clover, pres-
ented by the Starr County 4-H
Adult I^eaders Club; and an award
presented by the Rio Grande City
Little League in thanks for support
and donations.
Alvarez received a certificate of
appreciation for support rendered
the Sheriff's Department; a certifi-
cate of appreciation in recognition
of having participated in the
conservation of our nation's re-
sources through the Youth Adult
Conservation Corps; and a certifi-
cate of appreciation from the Rio
(See ALVAREZ. Page 3)
Managing Editor
The recently-completed year of
1987 proved to be an eventful one in
numerous respects for Starr Coun-
There were a number of events
that affected the lives of Starr
County residents in 1987, but five
stories stand out as most impor-
Among these are the election of a
new County Judge" and his efforts,
to make deep cuts in the coG'nty
budget, the reappraisal of coun-
tywide properties by the Appraisal
District, political turbulence, in-
cluding allegations of wrongdoing,
within three water supply entities,
a massive federal drug-related raid
near Roma that drew national
attention, and the death of the
county fire department's longtime
The year s leading newsmaker is
Jose M. Martinez, Jr., the new
County Judge. Martinez had
narrowly upset two-term incum-
bent Bias Chapa in the Democratic
primary runoff in June 1986.
Immediately upon taking office,
Martinez insisted that the county
faced a serious crisis due to a
growing budget deficit. He imme-
diately asked for cuts in the budget
amounting to $500,000, contending
that such deep cuts were necessary
to pull the county out of a growing
deficit. He insisted that all de-
partments would be treated fairly
and equally.
Also supporting the cuts was
Auditor Jose Guadalupe Villarreal,
who contended that the county
budgets of the past few years had
been based on "fictitious" and
unrealistic figures.
A number of department heads,
including the Sheriff and County
Clerk, contended that the cuts
proposed by Martinez would
seriously hinder the departments
from operating effectively.
The issue came to a head with
stormy meetings of the County
Commissioners on Jan. 15 and 16.
At that time, county officials and
citizens freely, and often heatedly,
traded opinions about whether the
proposed cuts were wise and fair.
Opponents of the cuts, led by
Lopez Files
For Pet 3
Leonel R. Lopez of La Puerta
Ranch has filed as a candidate for
County Commissioner of Precinct
Three, the position currently held
by one-term incumbent Eloy
Lopez, 43, said, "First of all, I
give my sincere thanks to all
persons who give me their
signature to my petition to file for
the position of Commissioner of
Precinct Three I am grateful for
them giving me the opportunity to
run on the Democratic primary,
since I cannot afford to pay the big
amount of $600 for filing "
Lopez said, "As I stated before,
'The issue is what can we offer our
next generation. We have to work
for a better tomorrow. It all
depends on the County Commis-
sioners. The best way to raise
greater tax revenue is to create
new jobs on a large scale with the
a ttraction of industry
Lopez said, "This is very impor-
(See LOPEZ, Page 5)
Precinct Two Commissioner
Amando Pena of Roma, argued
that Martinez arid Villarreal had
vastly exaggerated the situation's
gravity, and even questioned
whether a deficit existed They
blamed the county's financial pro-
blems on a loss in revenue due to
the tax rollback approved by voters
in 1983.
After the long, tense meetings,
the cor rrtissioners finally voted to
approve cuts amounting to a net
--tt>tal of $372,000 in the 1987 budget.
Each county commissioner's
■budget was cut by $50,000, the
Sheriff's Department by $50,000,
the Airport by $15,000, and the Fire
Department by $12,000
There was also extensive deoate
when the commissioners met
together in late September and
early October to consider approval
of the proposed 1988 budget sub-
mitted by Martinez.
After much debate, the commis-
sioners voted to approve a budget
totaling almost $4.9 million, which
was more than $500,000 greater
than that requested by Judge
Commissioner Pena contended
that the county could expect almost
$200,000 more in revenue from the
International Bridge than the fig-
ure projected by Judge Martinez.
His "amendment" also projected a
collection of $228,000 more in both
the Road and Bridge Funds.
Under the budget approved on
Oct. 1, the Sheriff's Department
was budgeted $170,000 more than
proposed by Judge Martinez, each
commissioner was allocated
$347,500 instead of the $300,000
figure proposed by Martinez, and
the Federal Program Coordinator's
Office was maintained, instead of
being abolished as Martinez had
proposed, in both January and
In January, the Appraisal Dis-
trict, under the leadership of new
Chief Appraiser Ricardo Diaz,
began reappraisal work on residen-
tial and commercial properties
throughout the county.
At their Jan. 8 meeting, the
Appraisal District Board of Direc-
tors voted to set May 15,1988 as the
target date for completion of the
countywide reappraisal. Diaz,
when questioned by one board
member, indicated that the state
had given the District until that
time to complete the reappraisal.
The reappraisal gradually prog-
ressed, and, following hearings by
(See EVENTFUL, Page 6|
2 Stores Targets
Of Robberies
The latter hours of 1987 and the
first moments of 1988 were marred
by tYv armed iobbcncs o? business
establishments in Rio Grande City.
On Friday, Jan. 1, 1988, an
armed robbery took place at the
Gonzalez Grocery Store on Fair-
grounds Road in Rio Grande City
at approximately 8:30 p.m. Juan
Francisco Estrada, a Mexican
national, was arrested in a bar on
North Flores about an hour after
the episode and later charged with
aggravated robbery.
Estrada, 21, was arraigned
before Justice of the Peace Hector
"Ivo" Perez, who set bond at
$50,000 for aggravated robbery and
$500 for possession of marijuana.
A Sheriff's Department in-
vestigator said that approximately
$134 that was apparently taken in
the robbery was recovered from
Estrada's vehicle. Sheriff Gene
Falcon said that possibly more
money than that was taken in the
The investigator said that a
kitchen knife was the weapon used,
and that the robber used a stocking
cap. The investigator indicated that
a kitchen knife was recovered from
Estrada's vehicle, a 1975 Ford
Mark II.
Silva Announces For
District Attorney
Heriberto Silva, 38, of Rio
Grande City, who is currently
County Attorney for Starr County,
has announced his candidacy for
District Attorney of the 229th
Judicial District, the post currently
held by three-term incumbent
Francisco A. "Pancho" Cerda of
Cerda has announced that he is a
candidate for re-election to a fourth
term as District Attorney.
Silva said, "I have decided to file
for the position of District Attorney
and there are many reasons why I
have made this decision I feel that
under the present administration,
-j - j
Heriberto Silvn
the office of the District Attorney
has become the weakest link in the
law enforcement chain because
there is a total lack of leadership
and guidance from the District
Silva added, "The following facts
show the need for a change in
leadership: There have been no
criminal trials in Starr County in
the past year. Starr and Duval
Counties, with over 80 percent of
the population in the District, have
to share one Assistant District
Attorney. A recent grand jury in
Starr County convened four times
without any attorney to represent
law enforcement."
Silva continued, "$11,000 in drug
money was lost because the Dis-
trict Attorney forgot to file for
forfeiture The only case that F A
Cerda has handled in the last eight
years, he agreed to give away
$142,000. Four persons charged
with possession of 120 pounds of
marijuana were allowed to plead
guilty to disorderly conduct."
Silva said, "There are many
other negative examples which I
could provide, but 1 feel that it is
time to look to the future "
Silva contended. "It is time to
bring leadership and respect back
to the District Attorney's Office. I
have the experience and ability to
make an effective prosecutor I
have made several trips to Duval
and Jim Hogg Counties and I have
(See SILVA, Page B|
The investigator said that the
robber had threatened the owner of
the slur,. with bodily injury and
even death, but the owner was not
harmed. The investigator said that
the robber allegedly placed the
knife against the victim's ribs, and
that "the victim recognized the
suspect's voice."
On the evening of Thursday, Dec
31, a 15-year-old juvenile from Rio
Grande City was arrested in
connection with the armed robbery
of Jr. Mart Store on East Highway
(See ROBBERIES, Page 2)
Candidate Foi
County Atty
Romero Molina, a Rio Grande
City attorney, has announced his
candidacy for the office of County
Attorney of Starr County in the
upcoming March 8 Democratic
Molina said, "The Starr County
Attorney's primary responsibility
is that of attending the terms of
court in this county below the
grade of District Court, and repre
senting the State of Texas in all
criminal cases under examination
or prosecution."
Molina added, "The County At-
torney also gives county and
precinct officials in this county
legal opinions or written advice
relating to that official's duties.
The ability to work in close
cooperation with the Starr County
Court-At Law is also an essential
duty of that office."
Molina said, "My work experi-
ence includes the position of legal
intern for the United States office
of the Special Counsel in Dallas,
Texas, during the summer months
of 1961 and 1982 I also was a legal
intern in the Harris County District
Attorney's Office during the spring
of 1982 "
Molina added, "Upon receiving
(See MOLINA, Page 8|
Romero Molina

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Roberts, Kenneth. The Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), No. 9, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 7, 1988, newspaper, January 7, 1988; Edinburg, Texas. ( accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.