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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

P-B-T avoids rollback, sets budget dates

Staff Writer

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members adopted the planning calendar for 2005 and approved certified appraisal values during their regular meeting held last Thursday, and were told the district would not need to call its third tax rollback election in the past five years.

P-B-T ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews said that board members would meet on Wednesday, Aug. 31, to adopt the budget.

“On Tuesday, Aug. 16, a 72-hour notice will be published in Friday’s paper and that’s 10 days before the public meeting,” said Matthews.

He said after the notice is published the board would have to have a meeting on when they are going to adopt the budget and setting the tax rate.

“We’re doing this just in the nick of time,” said Matthews.

School districts around Texas are using existing formulations to determine their new budgets, as they wait for any action by the Texas Legislature on a new school financing bill. However, Matthews said last week the district had enough cash on hand to open the new school year, even if funding from the state is delayed.

The estimated collection for the current year is 94.5 percent, according to PBT-ISD Tax Assessor/Collector Lydia Prieto.

The taxable value of new property is $1.2 million.

Total taxable values were estimated at $563 million, an overall increase by $52 million, according to Prieto.

“We received these figures from the appraisal district,” said Prieto.

“I’ve been doing this for 16 years and this is only the second year that the values have increased, but we’ll lose more money from the state, because they’ll think we’re richer,” said finance director Cookie Canon.

The state will cut P-B-T ISD’s funding next year by the amount of extra money the district revceives in local valuations, based on the existing funding plan. However, Prieto said that the new tax rate would not require rollback election, which the district had to call in 2001 and 2004 due to sharply higher valuations.

“Ours is $1.50 and we don’t have to publish that,” said Prieto. “But we don’t have to have a rollback election, our roll back rate is $1.54.”

In other action, architect Monte Hunter, with Hunter and Corral, was on hand to update the group on construction projects for the district, including the final work on the new artificial turf at Eagle Stadium.

“The turf punch list is completed, you got a good field and product,” said Hunter. “The water system has been tested and certified.”

Roofing at the high school will start in September, to minimize interruption of the school, according to Hunter.

Hunter said that they would be brining bids to the board in September for the new restrooms by the field house.

At an earlier meeting, the Hunter-Corral had said that it would cost about $75,000 for the construction of the new bathrooms near the tennis courts and new bleachers.

“Is $75,000 high?” asked board member Paul Deishler.

“Those restrooms surprise me,” said Hunter. “I’m hoping that the numbers are high.” The group approved appointments including:

Erica Aguilar: degree, Bachelor of Science/Abilene Christian University; assignment: Speech Therapist.

John Chorn: certification, Basic Business (Secondary); degree, Bachelor of Business; assignment: History Teacher/Coach at Crockett Middle School.

Sammy Soliz: certification, All-Level Physical Education Grades (EC-12), Secondary Health Grades (6-12); degree, Bachelor of Science; assignment, Physical Education Teacher/Coach at Bessie Haynes Elementary.


Etta Bradley - From Fourth Grade Teacher at Bessie Haynes Elementary to Music Teacher at Austin Elementary/Bessie Haynes Elementary.

Tina Doan - From Sixth Grade Physical Education Teacher/Coach at Bessie Haynes Elementary to Physical Education Teacher/Coach at Pecos High School.

Doppler device to improve river monitoring

A new way to measure water flow along the Pecos River was demonstrated to Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members last Tuesday, during their regular monthly meeting in Pecos.

Board members were told the FlowTracker Doppler measuring device would give the district better readings on water flows along the river at the weir measuring sites between Red Bluff Lake and Imperial Reservoir.

“You would take measurements across the weir every two feet, read it in segments, and this thing comes up with the answer,” said Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman.”

The acoustic Doppler velocity meter cost the district $7,570, and Hartman said U.S. Geological Survey officials already use the device for measuring purposes. “The USGS people in San Angelo said they use it all the time, and if we need any help they’d be glad to come out here,” Hartman said.

He said that while the current measuring systems may have been underreporting the amount of water traveling past the weirs at each of the diversion points along the Pecos River, the device wouldn’t be used to retroactively adjust the amount of money for water payments any of the seven sub-districts owes Red Bluff. “We’re not going to go back and start making adjustments as it goes,” he said.

The discussion of the device came before board members approved payment of the purchase and other purchases made during July. Accounts payable, the quarterly investment report and the district’s fund balance of $356,317 also were approved by members.

The July water report showed the lake level at Red Bluff was down about 17,000 acre/feet in July due to water releases downstream. The level at the end of the month was 96,146 acre/feet.

Hartman said a cutoff date for water releases hasn’t been set because some farmers along the Pecos River still have crops they want to water. He also told Ward County Water Irrigation District representative Ava Gerke that the charge for additional water sales above their allotment to that district would wait until the new water measuring readings were available.

The board also approved an updated water conservation plan, as mandated by the state. “It’s pretty much the same one we submitted in 1999, but just with updated numbers,” secretary Robin Prewit said of the report, originally done by HDR Engineering. “We have to send it to the state so they can have it on file.”

Council Oks building rules for downtown

Town of Pecos City Council members approved a tax-planning calendar for 2005 and approved guidelines for improvements to downtown buildings on Thursday, during their regular meeting at City Hall.

The guidelines for improvements to buildings within the downtown historic district were given to the council at their previous meeting, and are part of the tax abatement law included in the city’s Main Street Program. Under the law, improvements to buildings downtown qualify for a 100 percent abatement in the first year, which declines by 20 percent every year, until the property is taxed at its full value after five years.

“It’s not a specific ordinance, it’s guidelines,” said city Main Street Director Tom Rivera. “The only time it will have teeth is when they apply for the tax abatement. Then they have to abide by the guidelines.”

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax collector Lydia Prieto, who handles the city’s tax collections and rate calculations under a contract with the school district, presented the tax-planning calendar. Prieto presented the city with two calendars for setting a new tax rate before the Sept. 30 deadline; one that maintains the current tax rate and another, which would require public hearings and the publication of public notices if the council decides to increase taxes.

In conjunction with that action, the council also accepted the 2005 tax appraisal roles. While P-B-T ISD, Reeves County and the Reeves County Hospital District saw sharp increases in their valuations this year, the numbers from Reeves County Chief Appraiser Carol King Markham showed the city’s valuations dropped by $1 million, due mainly to the removal of property from the old Anchor Foods plant from the tax rolls.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” said Mayor Dot Stafford about the numbers, though she said she still wasn’t sure about the reasons for the decrease. “I don’t like it, but I still can’t get an explanation why.”

Council members also approved a new election services contract with Debbie Thomas for the 2005-06 year. The city shares expenses with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and Reeves County Hospital District, since all three hold their elections at the same time in the spring, and the new contract calls for a $1,000 salary increase for Thomas, to $9,000 for her services.

Bills totaling $285,510 were approved by the council. City manager Joseph Torres said there were some additional costs due to the purchase of new water meters to match the ones installed last year by Johnson Controls. “We’ve had some people moving around, and some moving into houses where we’ve had to reactive the meters,” Torres said.

City finance director Sam Contreras told council members that the city was able to save about $20,000 on repairs to a panel at the Stafford Boulevard substation, when a second company came in with a $20,000 bid on the project.

Contreras also said the city would be talking with power supplier Tara Energy about ways to lower the city’s electricity costs to offset the rise in rates due to higher oil and natural gas prices.

The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance adopting the National Incident Management System. Torres said the system was part of the Department of Homeland Security’s operations, and is designed to handle terrorist incidents and both natural and man-made disasters.

Warehouse removed from loan list

Any cotton put into storage in the Trans Pecos Gas Company, Inc. aka Trans Pecos Warehouse will not be eligible for CCC loans during the period this warehouse is removed from the list of warehouses approved by the Commodity Credit Corporation the Reeves County Farm Service Agency, said this week.

Removal action was taken by the Farm Service Agency Commodity Office at Kansas City, Mo. Such action was taken because warehouse operator has requested termination of the Cotton Storage Agreement. The warehouse will remain in removed status until all records are clear.

For additional information, contact the Reeves County Farm Service Agency at 1417 W. Third St. in Pecos.

Pecos falls short as Alpine rallies for win

The legs were willing, but the arms were not in the end for the Pecos Eagles volleyball team on Friday night, as they missed a chance to avenge their loss three days earlier to the Alpine Bucks.

The Eagles did pick up their first win of the 2005 season Friday afternoon, winning at home over the Fort Davis Indians in four games before facing the Bucks, who also scored a four-game win over the Indians. Alpine had swept Pecos at Wink on Tuesday and also defeated Pecos in a 20-minute scrimmage the previous Friday.

This time, the Eagles made sure that wouldn’t happen right away, as they won the opener from the Bucks, 25-22. Alpine came back to win Game 2 by a 25-14 score, then took Game 3 by a 25-23 margin. But the Eagles responded with a 25-22 win, and then led Alpine by a 13-6 score in the deciding 15-point Game 5.

But while the Eagles were able to get to more balls than the Bucks to rally in Game 4 and then build their lead in Game 5, they couldn’t get the hits down when they needed them at the end of the match, allowing the Bucks to rally for a 19-17 victory.

Despite the loss, coach Debbie Garcia was happy with her team’s improved effort over Tuesday at Wink, and with the 25-14, 25-21, 12-25, 25-18 win over Fort Davis to start Friday’s dual meet.

“It was a big improvement from Tuesday,” she said. “I thought we did a better job today with our coverage. We were getting to a lot of balls.”

Garcia said she did alter the lineup a bit for Friday’s matches. “We changed the rotation for the first game against Fort Davis. Adriana (Armedariz) started at left back (line) and played all around this game, to see if we could get some more hitters up at the front,” Garcia said. Teamed on the front line with Brittany Rodriguez, both had 13 kills and one block in the match with the Bucks.

“Brittany had a wonderful game,” Garcia said. “We just need to get a little more from our other hitters.” She had three kills and a block at the start of Game 5, when Pecos went out to a 10-4 lead.

Even after Rodriguez moved off the front line, Pecos maintained their margin for a while, getting to within two points of winning at 13-7 on a dink shot by Bianca Baeza. But Alpine then scored seven points in a row, going over the shorter Pecos front line several times for points, while taking advantage of some bad hits by the Eagles.

A bad spike by Amalie Herrera got the Bucks to match point, but Herrera then tied the game with a spike off blocker LaToya Simples, who then hit a shot out to give the Eagles a 15-14 lead. The teams then traded errors, including back-to-back missed serves by Alpine’s Hanna Dodson and Pecos’ Jenny Palomino. A controversial hit out of bounds by the Bucks’ Leann Bartlett gave Pecos one more chance to win, at 17-16, but Bianca Esparza was called for a net violation, Bartlett dinked a shot over Pecos’ front line and Jessica Florez then misplayed a set to give the Bucks the win.

In the earlier win over Fort Davis, the Eagles pulled away from the Maidens midway through the first game, then held off a rally in Game 2 that saw a 23-14 lead cut to 24-21. Fort Davis used that momentum to jump out at the start of Game 4 and lead all the way, while the Eagles were able to shake off a series of mistakes at the end of that game and put the Maidens away in Game 4, as they led all the way in that victory.

The Eagles closed out the first game with a 9-2 run, with Rodriguez and Herrera scoring off kills during that stretch. A kill by Rodriguez in Game 2 put the Eagles ahead to stay at 13-12, and Rodriguez also had a couple of blocks for points on the Maidens’ Sarah Medley during an 11-3 run. The Eagles did little on offense in the fourth game, but got points off a back line save by Jessica Trujillo and a spike by Baeza at the outset of Game 4 while jumping ahead by an 8-3 score, then took advantage of unforced errors by Fort Davis to close out the match.

The Eagles will have another home match on Tuesday, when they host Kermit, before going to Monahans this coming weekend for the Sandhills Tournament. Pecos will open play at 11 a.m. on Friday against Dalhart, while the JV begins with an 8 a.m. match versus Midland High. The freshmen open their tournament on Thursday, with pool round play against Andrews at 4:30 p.m.

Marijuana bust by Task Force snares EP man

An El Paso man was arrested and over 100 pounds of an illegal substance taken off the streets during a traffic stop in Reeves County on Thursday, just west of Pecos.

According to a report by the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, Sgt. Joe Gonzales initiated a traffic stop while eastbound on Interstate 20 at mile marker 38 east bound, after a 1988 white Chevrolet pickup failed to signal a lane change.

After the vehicle stopped, Sgt. Gonzales requested and was granted verbal consent by the driver for a search of the truck.

“We located some metal containers inside the truck’s gas tank,” said Gonzales, who was assisted by Task Force Officer Manny Jimenez of Van Horn.

The officers then discovered 60 bundles of marijuana were found inside the metal containers, with a total weight of 146 pounds. Street value for the illegal drug was placed at $65,700.

“Manny and I took those metal containers apart ourselves and discovered all the bundles,” said Gonzales.

The driver of the vehicle, Ivan Esparza, 25, of El Paso, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 2,000 pounds, a second degree felony. Esparza’s pickup was seized under chapter 59 of the Texas Penal Code and stored at the task force impound lot in Reeves County, according to Gonzales.

“We’re going to step up our efforts to locate all these offenders,” said Gonzales.

Students can still register at OC

Fall classes will begin soon and students need to register now for their fall classes at Odessa College.

Register in person through Thursday, Aug. 11 or online at 24 hours a day through Sunday, Aug. 14.

Fall registration will resume Wednesday, Aug. 17 as Odessa College hosts fall registration day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., on the second floor of the OC Student Union Building. Advisors will be available to assist students.

Students may continue to register for classes on Thursday, Aug. 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 19, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Classes begin Monday, Aug. 22.

Students may also register during the first week of classes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22 through Thursday, Aug. 25 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26.

New and transfer students should submit an application for admission prior to registration. Applications are available online at or may be picked up at the Admissions Office. There is no application fee.

All new and transfer students should also provide an official high school transcript or GED scores. Transfer students should official transcripts or GED scores. Transfer students should provide official transcripts from colleges previously attended. Applicants may also be asked to provide test scores or other appropriate documentation for course placement.

For more information on registration for the fall semester, contact the OC Help Center at 335-6432.

Odessa College also has numerous types of financial assistance available to students including scholarships, state and federal grants, and college work-study positions. Students applying for financial assistance should fill out a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) which can be picked up at OC Student Financial Services or accessed online at .

Interested individuals who are not sure if they qualify for student financial aid are encouraged to submit their information for review. For information on qualifications, contact the OC Student Financial Services Office at 335-6429.

Students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships through the Odessa College Foundation. Scholarships through the Foundation are criteria-based scholarships based on factors other than income. Students who do not qualify for the PELL Grant may still qualify for the Foundation scholarships based on other areas of need.

Those interested should call the OC Foundation at 335-6648 or 335-6665.

Currie happy with new job as local Wal-Mart manager

Participating in community events and meeting new people are some of the things the new manager of the Pecos Wal-Mart store has in mind.

Tony Currie was named manager of the Wal-Mart in Pecos earlier this year, replacing Olga Gubara, who was promoted to work in Midland, where the company is building a new Supercenter. Currie has 19 years of retail experience and began his duties as store manager on July 5.

“I’m really happy to be here, I like it here,” said Currie. “There are great people to work with here and great customers. Everybody knows each other and this is a really friendly town.”

“The opportunities are endless when choosing to work for Wal-Mart,” said Currie. “I look forward to working with our associates and growing our community.”

Currie began his Wal-Mart career in 2003, participating in the company’s management training program in Odessa. After completing his training, he was promoted to assistant manager of the West Loop 338 Wal-Mart Supercenter in Odessa, which was his most recent position prior to being named store manager in Pecos.

“We are happy to welcome Tony to the Pecos Wal-Mart,” said Wal-Mart District Manager Greg Cathey. “He will be an enthusiastic and knowledgeable addition to this store and the community.”

Currie said that he was interviewed for the position and recommended by his district manager.

“They told me that the position was in Pecos and I wanted a store manager position,” said Currie.

Currie said that he had lived in Odessa for nine years, but that he came from a small town similar to Pecos.

“I didn’t mind coming to a small town, because I grew up in one and I really like it.” Currie said that as of now, there are no plans for any major changes to the local Wal-Mart.

“There are no plans in the books for a Supercenter at this time, but that’s no to say that we won’t get one,” he said. “We’re (Wal-Mart) is building Supercenters left and right and that would be something positive for Pecos.”

Currie said that a Supercenter would curb the traffic going to Odessa and Midland and keep everyone at home.

“It’s not in the books, but nothing is written in stone,” he said.

Currie said that the local store has expanded their food department. “The dry goods department has been expanded and hope to bring in more items,” he said.

As part of Wal-Mart’s commitment to improving the communities it serves, Currie will work with local organizations including the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club and fire and police departments. He will also work with national organizations such as the Children’s Miracle Network and Give Kids the World, and support Wal-Mart’s “Good Works” community involvement programs.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States.

Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.

More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting . Online merchandise sales are available at .

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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