Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 84, No. 5, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 30, 1997 Page: 1 of 8
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. .io Grande City, Texas every Thursday by The Rio Grande Publishing Co.
VOL. 84, NO. 5 THURSDAY, JANUARY 30,1997
Jose Luis Garza, Dr. Mario Jimenez and Roberto "Bobby" Gutierrez, pictured above
standing left to right, were administered the oath of office as Rio Grande City CISD
trustees by 381st District Court Judge John A. Pope III in a ceremony held
Wednesday night, Jan. 22 at the Multipurpose Center. Garza took the oath of office
Tor his second term, and Jimenez and Gutierrez were sworn in for their first terms.
Jimenez, Gutierrez sworn in
as new RGCCISD trustees
Two new members of the Rio
Grande City CISD board of trustees
were sworn into office on
Wednesday evening, Jan. 22 in an
event that featured special
Q presentations by many youngsters
from the district's elementary
Dr. Mario Jimenez and Roberto
'Bobby" Gutierrez were
administered the oath of office by
381st District Court Judge John A.
Pope III. Five members of the
previous board were present for the
event. Trustee Jaime Ramirez and
* outgoing trustee Arnulfo Garcia
were not present
Trustee Jose Luis Garza was also
sworn in for a second term on the
Jinraiez succeeds retiring trustee
Dr. Roberto Gonzalez, who had
served on the board since April
1985. Gutierrez succeeds Arnulfo
Garcia, who retired after serving on
the board since January 1991.
Jimenez offered a motion that
trustee Basilio "Bacho" Villarreal,
Jr., serve as the new president of
the board. The motion also called
for Francisco "Paco" Zarate to serve
as vice-president and for Garza to
serve as secretary. The motion was
approved unanimously. Villarreal
served as the board's vice-president
since January 1996
A special plaque was presented to
outgoing trustee Dr. Roberto
Gonzalez. Zarate, who served as
board president during the past year
and presided over the meeting, noted
that a similar plaque would be
provided to Amulfo Garcia.
Trustee Juan M. Cantu praised
the two retiring trustees by saying,
"I commend these individuals who
served the district a combined total
of 18 years. I appreciate their hard
work and dedication."
Ringgold Elementary Principal
Maria Elena Olivarez expressed
special thanks to the two outgoing
members and the new and
continuing trustees. She said, "We
express thanks on behalf of all
campuses. This program was
planned by all campuses."
A group of children from La
Union Elementary School read a
special poem entitled "Unsung
Heroes." The students also
presented special certificates to the
two retiring trustees.
Hinojosa Elementary students
presented special tokens of
appreciation and compliments to
each board member, as well as for
Dr. Gonzalez and Garcia.
Gnlla Elementary students
honored the trustees with a special
performance. Ringgold Elementary
students read poems to commend
each board member.
Cheerleaders from Roque Guerra
Elementary carried out a special
cheer and dance under the "YMCA"
theme. They indicated that in this
situation, "YMCA" means "Your
Meetings Count Always." A group
of youngsters from North Grammar
Elementary expressed appreciation
to the board members under the
(See TRUSTEES, Page 8)
Lady Rattlers to meet Lady
Eagles in hoops playoffs
MISSION — The Rio Grande
City Lady Rattlers try to take
another step toward the state
playoffs when they open the first
round of District 31 5A Zone play
on Saturday against the Mission
Rio Grande City and Mission are
£, scheduled to tip off at atiout 7 p.m.
at Mission High School's gym.
The Lady Rattlers finished third
in the West Zone, qualifying them
to meet Mission, runnerup in the
East Zone. The winner will face
Edinburg, which receives a bye
after winning the East Zone.
The other zone matchup features
McAllen (2nd place. West Zone)
versus Edinburg North (third place.
East Zone). West Zone winner La
Joya awaits the winner.
Rio qualified for the zone
playoffs by defeating McAllen
Rowe 47-38 in a one-game playoff
to determine the third-place finisher
in the West Zone.
Lady Rattlers first-year coach
Leticia Villegas expects a more
RMS starts Saturday
Ringgold Middle School has
begun the Saturday Power Writing
Tutorials in order to prepare student
to succeed in the upcoming TASS
Writing test on Feb. 25, 1997.
All 8th grade RMS students arc
urged to attend these Saturday
tutorials. It is very important that
the students arc urged tc attend as
many of the tutorial as possible.
The tutorial will be held from 9:00
a.m. until noon. The regular bus
route will run. Students that walk
or are driven to school must be
picked up be the parents at the
flagpole by 12:00 noon. Students
will not be allowed to walk back
Last year, 66 percent of the 8th
graders that took the TAAS Writing
Test passed the test. Also, 41
students scored a four on the
writing portion of the test. This is
the highest score that a student can
score. These results were a result
of hard work and dedication by the
8th grade students and their
The school's expecting to exceed
the last year's scores. The RMS
goal is for 100 percent of the
students to pass the test and for 100
students to score a four.
The following arc the dates for
the tutorials: Jan. 25, 1997; Feb.
1, 1997; Feb. 8, 1997; Feb. 15,
1997; Feb. 22. 1997.
Parents are invited to attend the
tutorials and help monitor students.
leads to life sentence
A Starr County District Court
jury took approximately two hours
on Thursday, Jan. 23 to convict
Ismael Diaz, Jr., of capital murder
in the February 1996 slaying of
Jessie Ray Warren II, with the
conviction resulting in an
automatic life sentence.
The jury entered deliberations at
around 12:40 p.m. Thursday and
returned its verdict at 2:40 p.m. that
day. Under Texas law, a capital
murder conviction results in an
automatic life sentence when the
death penalty is not being sought.
Before the trial, the prosecution
waived seeking the death penalty
Warren was abducted from his
home just northwest of Rio Grande
City on the evening of Feb. 17,
1996. Testimony in the trial
indicated that after sustaining a
bullet wound to the leg at his
residence, Warren was killed by a
shotgun blast in a remote area
outside of Rio Grande City later
that night. Warren's badly
decomposed and partially bumed
body was found along banks of the
Rio Grande River on the Mexican
side on the night of March 1, 1996.
Ubaldo Diaz and Salome Sanchez
still lace capital murder charges in
connection with Warren's death. In
October, Gerardo Lopez pleaded
guilty to a lesser charge of murder
and was sentenced to 30 years in
prison. Lopez testified in the case,
as did Juan Saenz, who was granted
immunity from prosecution.
Norman Lanford, a retired state
district judge from the Houston
area, presided over the trial.
Testimony in the trial began on
Thursday, Jan. 16. Lanford is a
senior judge who is available to
serve as a visiting judge.
District Attorney Heriberto Silva
told The Rio Grande Herald on
Friday afternoon, "I felt the
evidence was pretty clear...The
evidence did call for a capital murder
conviction. There was excellent
cooperation by the law enforcement
agencies involved- the FBI, the
Texas Rangers and the Sheriffs
Silva staled, "There were traces of
blood and hair in the Blazer that
were determined to be from Jessie
Ray Warren, according to two
experts from the FBI laboratory. He
(Diaz) claimed he had never known
or seen Warren."
Diaz was represented by Austin
attorney Joe James Sawyer. The
Herald attempted to contact Sawyer,
but was unable to reach him.
In final arguments, Assistant
District Attorney Dale Gear
insisted, "There is plenty of
collaborating evidence. The
testimony of (Juan) Saenz and
(Gerardo) Lopez basically agree. All
the elements are there."
Gear told the jury, "He (Diaz) has
had the opportunity to confront his
accusers. Jessie Warren didn't have
that opportunity...He (Diaz) was
looking for a scapegoat. He decided
he was going to be judge, jury and
executioner. He ordered it; he sent
his men out there...He's guilty;
don't let him get away with it and
don't let him do it again."
In his closing arguments, Sawyer
asked, "What about the people
(See CONVICTION, Page 8)
'God blessed Texas' is
Fair Parade theme
"God Blessed Texas" is the
theme for the thirty-second annual
Starr County Fair Parade to be held
on Saturday, March 8, 1997 at 10:00
The parade theme emphasizes the
fact that Texas has been blessed in a
number of ways—it is big, it is
beautiful, and it is best! Floats and
other vehicles are encouraged to
focus on any aspect of our state that
makes it great.
NOW is the time to begin
planning for your parade entry. All
businesses, schools and
organizations are invited to enter
their representatives in the parade.
The Middle School Drill Team,
sponsored by Cynthia Morales, is
the first official entry for this year's
difficult game against Mission, a
team Rio has not faced this year.
"It's going to be tough," said
Villegas, whose team was 12-14
this year overall and 3-5 in district.
"We're going to have to play
smart without turning the ball
over. We're going to have to play
First-year assistant coach Marin
"It's going to come down to
defense," he said. "What got us
here is our defense. Basically, our
defense is our offense.
"We really don't have anyone
who can really go out there in a
one-one-one offense. Our halfcourt
trap, our fullcourt traps, that is
what really gets us going.
"Our key is always our defense."
Rio's starting five will be 6-foot
senior post Maime Faiias (15
points, 9 rebounds per game),
forwards 5-6 juniors Jayne Gomez
(4.0 ppg) and 5-6 Vanessa Ozuna
(8.0 ppg), 5-2 junior point guard
Yeanett Campos (8.0 ppg) and 5-3
junior off guard DesireeFlores (8.0
Off the bench, 5-2 sophomore
Yadira Lopez provides instant
detense and 5-7 senior Karen
Ramos picks up the offense.
Rio's key reserves are Monica
Ozuna, Alexis Solis and Deanna
The team's manager is Juan
Carlos (Charlie) Lara.
(See PLAYOFFS, Page 8)
At their special meeting Tuesday
morning, the County
Commissioners approved an
independent audit of the Tax
Assessor-Collector's Office for
Fiscal Year 1996 at the request of
the new Tax Assessor.
When Tax Assessor Carmen A.
Pena, who assumed the office on
Jan. 1, 1997, requested the audit
County Judge J.M. Martinez, Jr.,
said, "As I understand it, it's in
progress." Auditor Mario A. Lopez
stated, "It's automatic; an internal
audit is underway." Pena requested
that the audit cover Fiscal Year '96
and the period through Dec. 31,
Precinct One Commissioner Jose
Maria "Chcma" Alvarez insisted to
Lopez, "I requested some time back,
two to three years ago, an audit of
the Precinct One J.P.'s office and
this wasn't done. The court needs to
be kept informed."
Lopez responded, "This was
included with the main audits. I
disagree with what you're saying."
Pena insisted, "I found cash
money in the vault as well as
checks that are no longer valid."
Precinct Three Commissioner
Eloy Garza contended, "I think an
independent auditor would be a good
Pena declared, "I immediately
take care of requests from
taxpayers." She contended that she
has discovered a double assessment
during the past year amounting to
Martinez told Pena, "On some of
these matters, you can get guidance
(See AUDIT, Page 8)
parade. All it takes is a phone call
to Parade Chairman Tissa Peterson
at 487-2151. Please leave a message
with name and type of entry (car,
float, etc.) and your phone number
if you have questions.
Float prizes in the youth
division will be $100 for 1st; $75
for 2nd; $50 for 3rd; and $25 for
4th places. Top commercial floats
will receive rosettes.
There will be a $10.00 entry fee
for each entry EXCEPT bands,
bicycles, marching groups, and
OUT OF COUNTY entries. The
entry fee may be paid the morning
of the parade or may be mailed in
advance to Mrs. Peterson at 324
Oak, Rio Grande City, Texas
(See PARADE, Page 8)
to hold wild
Plans are underway for the
annual Wild Game Dinner
sponsored by the Starr County Fair
Leonel "Nene" Lopez is serving
as chair for this event, which is set
for Saturday, February 22, at the
Starr County Fairgrounds.
The dinner always features a
wide variety of prepared game, such
as fish, deer, rabbit, ferrel hog,
quail, and dove.
Monies raised by the event will
go toward payment of the building
fund debt and improvements to the
fairgrounds. Donations will be
accepted at the door.
Any individuals, groups, or
businesses wishing to sponsor a
booth at the annual event should
contact Nene Lopez. Lopez can be
reached at 487-4135.
The members of the Rio Orande City High School Lad\ Rattlers basketball team are
(L-K) coach Leticia Villegas, Jayne Gomez, Vanessa Ozuna, Desiree Flores, Yadira
Lopez, Yeanett Campos, Karen Flores, Maime Farias and assistant coach Marin
Lopez. Not shown are Monica Ozuna. Alexis Solis and Peanna Irizarry. (R(i( CISD
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Roberts, Kenneth. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 84, No. 5, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 30, 1997, newspaper, January 30, 1997; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth195585/m1/1/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.