The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 8, 1997 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 8, 1997
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Page 6
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A6 THURSDAY, MAY 8, 1997 TEXAS STANDOFF THE SALINA JOURNAL Texans don't fear fugitive roaming mountain region Residents just happy to have group locked up so they can get mail service again By The Associated Press FORT DAVIS, Texas — Few residents of this isolated community seem terribly worried that a fugitive member of the Republic of Texas is roaming the woods. Almost everyone owns a gun — and many have fantasized about pointing it at the group, especially its leader. When Richard McLaren, the self- styled "ambassador" of the separatist group, surrendered Saturday, "A lot of us cried," said Natasha Arzola, who moved with her husband and seven children from the Texas coast last year to es- cape gang problems and other pressures. "We've wanted for so long to get him out," said Marjie Erkkila, who operates the Wild Horse Hideout Art Colony in the resort. McLaren and his wife, Evelyn, are being held in Presidio County Jail in Marfa. McLaren faces state charges and has been indicted along with his wife on federal charges accusing them of issuing $1.8 billion in phony financial documents. Two of the group's members fled into the mountainside from their makeshift headquarters in remote western Texas, shortly before the standoff ended. One, Mike Matson, 48, was killed in a Shootout with authorities Monday. The search for the second man, Richard Frank Keyes III, St. Marys, Kan., ended Tuesday night because authorities said he hasn't been spotted and the area is too treacherous for search teams. Residents aren't thinking much about Keyes. The mail doesn't go through Sheriff Steve Bailey would like to bulldoze the filthy remains of McLaren's travel-trailer embassy. Neighbors would like a return to on- site mail service, which stopped in January when postal workers refused to venture near the anti-American compound. McLaren and his followers form one faction of the group, which believes that Texas, formerly an inde pendent republic, was illegally absorbed by the United States in the 1840s. They are seeking independence for Texas. Erkkila, a sculptor, has been visited by Canadian painter Casey Bowman during the siege. Bowman, an activist for aboriginal land rights in Ontario, says he can understand someone who grows dis- enchanted with the government's treatment of property. His work in progress depicts the standoff. Images include McLaren, a volcano, swooping DPS helicopters, tank wheels crushing the Constitution. Residents plan to discuss an urban- style neighborhood watch program later this month, in part to prevent Republics of Texas from choosing the remote resort for a base. "We never thought we'd have to do something like that when we moved here," Arzola said. "But none of us wants to go through this again." Separatist recalled as quiet Keyes was altar boy before family, other militants left church By The Associated Press ST. MARYS — A St. Marys man on the run in Texas for his part in the Republic of Texas standoff is remembered in his hometown as a Catholic altar boy who used to get good grades. Richard Keyes III, 21, remained on the loose Wednesday in the Davis Mountains of Texas, where law officers were relying on the rugged terrain to flush him out. In his hometown of about 1,900 in northeast Kansas, friends and family recalled the altar boy Keyes once was. But they also described him as withdrawn, with few friends, and said he was overly impressionable. "You hand him some literature with any kind of slant, and, because he's so naive, he'll say, 'Oh yeah, I agree with that. They make a good point,' " said Jim Rizzo, who has known the Keyes family since the early 1980s. "He first showed me pamphlets on what the Republic of Texas was all about last summer. I laughed him off at first, and he laughed with me. But then he got real serious and started explaining events back to 1845 and how Texas was improperly annexed because all the votes weren't there." The Republic of Texas group believes Texas, formerly an v independent republic, was illegally absorbed by the United States in the 1840s. They are seeking independence for Texas and believe the republic should include a chunk of Kansas, south and west of Dodge City. Keyes' mother, Judy, said her husband went to Texas to help authorities bring their son out alive. "I just hope he's OK," Judy Keyes said. She declined to make any other statements. Keyes is the oldest of seven children. His mother is organizing a home-schooling co-operative, and his father works for Southwestern Bell, Rizzo said. "I tried from the pulpit to bring sanity to all this nonsense." the Rev. Ramon Angles Assumption Cathedral A militant family The family's former pastor at Assumption Cathedral on the campus of St. Mary's College said the Keyeses were among 20 families that joined a break-away church group, which he described as militant. "The Freemen types, all that militant mentality was floating around this town and in that group," the Rev. Ramon Angles said. "It is total nuts, the conspiracies, the militias, the too much government and too much taxes. I tried from the pulpit to bring sanity to all this nonsense. It's harmful, it's anti-Christian, and it's not wanted. "But (the Keyes family) was antagonistic toward what I was doing. First they pulled their children out of school, then they left the church." Angles recalled Keyes' freshman year — his last — at St. Mary's Academy and said that he never saw Keyes running around with friends or playing sports. "He never talked to anyone ... He seemed almost afraid. He never did what kids do: play, get in trouble, complain. He was just kind of there," Angles said. Neighbors described the family as quiet and private. They said they lost track of Keyes as he grew older but remembered when, as a boy, he and his younger brothers pulled weeds and mowed lawns. They also remembered seeing the boy's name in the church newsletter for his strong academic record. His immortal words were "Watson, come here." They were not followed by "And bring a list of family members and I'll only charge you a dime for weekend calls after 6." Something's wrong with the phone. It's connected to marketing gimmicks. And confusing rate plans. And celebrities named after coins. Frankly, we've had enough. So we're making 12 promises to our customers. Like we'll never bug you with sales calls at dinnertime. Or trick you into signing up for the rate du jour. It's called our pledge. And it's something you'll be hearing a lot about. Because it's time to set things right. Your friendly neighborhood global communications company. Southwestern Bell

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