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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

School board plans new look at enhanced classes

Staff Writer

The status of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD’s enhanced program is back on the agenda for the board, which will discuss the controversial issue during a special meeting on Thursday evening.

Board members will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 7, in the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy Street, to discuss the program, which was eliminated in April, and to issue the oath of office to the newest board member, who campaigned in the recent special school board election to restore the program.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD voters returned David Flores to the board after a two-year absence, in a special tie vote election on June 16. The election was called after school board president Billie Sadler and Flores received the same number of votes following a recount of the May 7 school board election.

The two had tied for the second of two available seats on the P-B-T board during the initial election, in which incumbent Paul Deishler was re-elected to the board. In the June 16 election, Flores received 571 votes to Sadler’s 465.

The vote totals were larger than the original voting in the May 7 race, which heated up in its final days due to a dispute over the elimination of the school district’s enhanced program, a vote the board affirmed in a special meeting four days before the May 7 election.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board will discuss the reinstating the Enhanced Program and consider and take possible action to revise the Enhanced Program criteria.

“One of our board members asked for this item to be put on the agenda,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews.

He said that the other item on the agenda was a revised plan that will be considered.

The board voted 4-3 to end the program during their April 14 meeting, with both Sadler and Deishler voting in favor of eliminating it starting in August. Parental protests resulted in another board meeting on May 3, in which Deishler switched his vote to keep the enhanced program for the 2005-06 school year. However, board member Steve Valenzuela, who voted to retain the program on April 14, voted to eliminate it during the May 3 meeting.

Board member Crissy Martinez was absent, and the 3-3 tie left the April 14 decision intact.

Flores, who said he supports retaining the enhanced program, finished third among voters who cast ballots during the early voting period, between April 18 and May 3, while Flores was the top vote-getter among those who cast ballots on May 7.

The enhanced program conflict has primarily pitted the school administration and principals against parents.

Along with seating Flores and discussing the enhanced program, board members will also consider and take possible action on professional personnel – appointments, reassignments, resignations, retirements, and change of contract during Thursday’s meeting.

The public is invited to attend the open meeting.

Three capture rodeo titles on final night

Staff Writer

Fans attending the final night of the West of the Pecos Rodeo on Saturday didn’t get to see many bareback riders. But the did get to watch the winning ride of the rodeo, along with the winning efforts in two other events, as the 122nd anniversary show ended its four-night run at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.

Australian cowboy Lance Kelly was one of only two bareback riders competing in Saturday’s show, but his 83 point score on “Sierra Madre” was enough to win him the $3,420 first prize in the event. Kelly’s total was one point better than Brandon Holmes, who rode “Steel Dust” to an 82 point score during the opening night’s performance. Holmes netted $2,622 for his effort, while third place went to Mark Gomes, with an 80-point ride on “Sin Wagon” on Thursday. Gomes earned $1,938 for his effort.

The other two winners during Saturday’s final show included 18-time world’s champion Guy Allen in the steer roping competition. Allen wasn’t the last to ride on Saturday, and didn’t finish among the leaders in the third go-round. But after winning the first go-round during slack competition on June 27, his 14.7 time on his final attempt was enough to give him the average title, with a combined 41.8-second time on three attempts.

The average win was worth $2,534, and combined with his first-go win, earned Allen $4,224 for his trip to Pecos this year. Buster Record, who had a 16.5 time in his final attempt, placed second in the average with a 42.0 combined time. He ended up earning $2,204 for his second place finish and $3,269 overall.

The third place finisher in the event, Cash Myers, ended up taking home the most money, as he also placed third in the average in steer wrestling, and the combination earned him the 2005 All-Around Cowboy title, and boosted his winnings overall in the NFR All-Around competition. Myers was fourth in the rankings going into last week’s West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Myers, who had a 44.3 second combined time in steer roping and a 12.9 time for two attempts in the steer wrestling, won $4,847 in those events, was also earning money for placing third in the first go-round of steer wrestling and fifth in the second go-round of steer roping. The total boosted his earnings to over $43,000 for the year.

Dusty Roach was the other cowboy to win his event on Saturday night, taking the steer wrestling title after winning the first go-round earlier in the week. Roach had a 6.2 second time on Saturday to go with his 5.6-second effort during the opening round, and his 11.8-second total beat out Chris Bradley by six-tenths of a second.

Roach won $3,411 overall, while Bradley earned $2,870 after placing second in the second go-round with a 5.4 second time and sixth in the opening go-round with a 7.0 time. Bryan Fields won the second go-round with a 4.7 time, the best of this year’s rodeo, and won $1,570, while Rope Myers placed ahead of Cash in the first go-round to take second in that division.

In bull riding, Greg Fuller’s 92-point ride on “Fire Ant” from the opening night of the rodeo held up over the final three performances, and netted the Dimmitt, native the rodeo’s single biggest paycheck, for $6,526. Second place went to another Texas rider, Matt Austin, who scored 90 points on “Clueless” during Thursday’s show. Austin was one of only three riders to stay on the full eight seconds on Thursday, which earned him an additional $830 in day money to go with his $4,671 prize for finishing second.

Two other riders from Wednesday’s show, Fred Boettcher and Bryan Richardson, took third and fourth place with 89 and 87 point rides on “Snortin’ Horton” and “Danger Zone” respectively.

In saddle bronc riding, Wednesday’s leader, Scott Miller, also saw his score hold up over the final three days. Miller’s 85-point ride on “Lone Star” was one point better than Matt McCloy’s ride on Saturday night on “Ginger Snap” and the 84 point ride on Thursday by Matt Marvel on “Coffee Bean.” Miller took home $3,591, while McCloy and Marvel both earned $2,394.

In team roping, first go-round co-winners Jared Standridge and Jory Levy came close to matching their 6.3 second time in the second go-round, and while their 6.4 second effort was only good enough to tie for fourth place there, the 12.7 second combined won them the average by a full second over Pat Boyle and Travis Woodard. Standridge and Levy earned $4,874 apiece for their efforts, while Boyle and Woodard won $1,710 for their second place in the average and another $941 after finishing fifth in the first go-round.

Bobby Baker and Joseph Shawnego won the second go with a 5.6 time, worth $1,967, while Lance Brooks and Zane Bruce placed second with a 5.9 effort and earned $1,710. Tee Woolman and Cory Peska tied Standridge and Levy for first in the first go-round and won $1,838.

Midlander Shay Good was the winner of the tie-down roping competition, going 18.8 seconds on his three attempts, with an 8.8 second effort during the second go-round. He took over $4,482 overall for his win, along with a third place in the second go-round and an eighth in the first go. Cody Ohl took second on the average with a 19.5 time, and won $3,148 overall, while Monty Lewis was third with a 19.9 combined time, but ended up winning $3,308 overall, thanks to his fourth place finish in the second-go round.

Stan Smith won the second go-round with an 8.5 time and took home $2,455, while Carter Edmonson was one-tenth of a second behind and earned $2,134. In the first go, Price Phillips’ 9.1 second time was good enough for first place, while Blake Huckabee and Charley Russell tied for second.

Friday’s performance of the West of the Pecos Rodeo was hampered by a little rain and a lot of lightning, which led to a power outage that briefly, delayed the show. But despite those problems the top two finishers in the barrel racing competition, Kelly Maben and Holly Brooks, both rode during that show. The two were the only riders to break the 18-second barrier during this year’s rodeo, with Maben winning with a 17.57 time while Brooks placed second with a 17.95 effort.

Maben took home $2,579 for her win, while Brooks picked up $2,192. Third place went to Julie Hardcastle with a time of 18.13 seconds, .01 ahead of Jody Dodson. They won $1,806 and $1,548 respectively for their efforts.

Buckles also were awarded to the winners of the three local events, the wild horse race, the wild cow milking and the wild hide ride.

The cow milking competition was only held on the final night of the show this year, and was won by Raul Dominguez and Moi Castillo. Rob Matthews, Chance Fincher and Chad Evans were the winners in the wild horse race, while Joel Martinez and Alex Morales took first place in the hide ride.

Six added to Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame

The second induction ceremony into the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame was held on Saturday, in the courtyard of the West of the Pecos Museum, where those in attendance were also given an update on the status of the Hall’s planned location, across the street at the former Missouri-Pacific railroad depot.

Six inductees were Tuffy Cooper of Monument, N.M.; Jim Davis of Abilene, Arnold Felts of San Angelo, Shawn McMullen of Iraan, Sonny Davis of Kenna, N.M. and Louis Powers of Sonora. The six join the eight inductees from the Hall’s inaugural ceremony in 2004.

“The selection committee goes through the list of names of individuals who made a significant contribution to rodeo,” said Joe Keese, who served as master of ceremonies for the one-hour event.

Three of the inductees were honored posthumanously, while the other three; Cooper, Felts and Jim Davis, were on hand for the ceremony, and spoke to the crowd in the museum’s courtyard.

“This has been cowboy country. It always has been and always will be,” said Cooper who along with his other family members will be the subject of documentary to air on PBS stations.

Tuffy Cooper is the father of past NFR champion Roy Cooper and NFR qualifier Clay O’Brien Cooper, and the grandfather of NFR qualifier Clark Cooper. The elder Cooper continues to compete in senior roping competitions, and won $10,000 in rodeos at Amarillo and Las Vegas, N.M. recently.

“That’s probably more than I’d ever won in my life,” said Cooper, who went on to recognize the five other inductees into the Hall and their contributions to the sport. “These are all great rodeo people and as long as rodeo will be around we’ll remember their names.”

“Guys like Jim Davis helped make Pecos what it is,” Cooper said of Davis, the only former local resident among the six inductees and a two-time world’s champion in steer roping, in 1985-86.

“Having lived here back in the early 1980s, raising children here at the same time I was competing … I’ve got a lot of close friends here in Pecos, especially in the ranching community.”

He said the West of the Pecos Rodeo, “was the turn-key place in steer roping. If you won something here it would boost you up in the standings.”

Felts is also a former world champion in steer roping, from 1981, and a 28-time qualifier for the national finals. He also won the All-Around title in Pecos four times.

“Every child in their early years dreamed of being a cowboy,” Felts said. “With God-given talent and a certain determination I’m honored for simply doing something I truly love to do.”

McMullan was the youngest of those inducted, and was represented by both his parents and his sister during the ceremonies. The Iraan native died at the age of 27 in 1996 in a vehicle accident after qualifying several times for the NFR in calf (tie-down) roping.

His parents, Kenny and Glenda McMullan, both spoke to the audience at the ceremony, and talked about their son’s early years and his first trip to Pecos after receiving his PRCA permit.

“We went through Fort Stockton (on the way to Pecos), and he said ‘Dad, you know you don’t have t win a permit, you can buy one’,” Kenny McMullian said, adding that Shawn won the first go-round of calf roping in Pecos that week, and then earned his permit by winning the overall title in Belton.

Glenda McMullan, who competed later on Saturday in the barrel racing at the West of the Pecos Rodeo, said Shawn balked at focusing on participating in the Iraan High School band over rodeoing after junior high school.

“I’m never going to play trumpet when I’m out of high school. My heart is in rodeo,” Glenda McMullan said Shawn told her.

Prior to the inductions, Keese talked about the funding needed for renovations to the old Pecos depot, and mentioned the new designs presented to the Hall of Fame board by Tony Eads, an architect with the Texas Historical Commission. Preliminary plans for renovating the depot were presented last year, when Pecos was added to the state’s Main Street Program to help revive downtown areas I small and medium-sized Texas cities.

“He drafted a few design concepts, which I think are going to work very well for us,” Keese said. “The next phase is now to raise the money.”

Appeals court orders reps seated on Red Bluff board

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling by 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks and ordered representatives from Ward County Irrigation Districts 1 and 3 to be seated on the Red Bluff Water Power Control District’s board of directors.

In a ruling issued last Thursday in El Paso, the Appeals Court ruled that representation on the Red Bluff Board does not conflict with Chapter 55 of the Texas Water Code, because that position is subject to the state’s general election code.

Parks ruled last September that by changing from a Chapter 55 to a Chapter 58 Water District, Ward County WID 1 and Ward County WID 3 no longer conformed to the Red Bluff Water Power Control District’s organizational rules. The changes from water improvement to water irrigation districts affected voting eligibility for those within the district.

Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman said in a letter last fall that the change in status of the two Ward County districts, from Chapter 55 to Chapter 58 Water Code districts, resulted in a change in voting rules within those districts. Chapter 55 water improvement districts only allow residents within the district to cast ballots in elections, while landowners are allowed to vote in Chapter 58 elections, whether or not they reside within the district.

Writing for the court, Judge Ann Crawford McClure agreed with the argument made by WCWID 1 and 3 attorneys that the ruling only applied to elections involving the board of those districts, and not the board of the Red Bluff Water Power Control District.

“The board of directors of Ward District 1 and Ward District 3 are elected according to the procedures prescribed by Chapter 58, but the election for the Red Bluff District board of directors is conducted in accordance with Article 7807d and Chapter 55 of the Water Code,” McClure wrote. She went on to say that the article, “provides that all elections for the directors of a water power control district are conducted in accordance with general election law and the provisions of the law for water improvement districts.

“Therefore, voter qualification in the Red Bluff District board of directors election is based on residency as established by Section 11.01 of the Election Code. A conflict is not created by permitting Chapter 58 irrigation districts to be a member of the Red Bluff District,” the opinion stated.

“I think the court did the right thing,’ said Doug Caroom of Bickerstaff-Heath, the firm that represented Ward 1 and 3 in their lawsuit. “I’m also pleased they rendered a decision, so it doesn’t have to go back to the trial court.”

Robin Prewit, secretary for the Red Bluff Water Power Control District, said Tuesday morning the district had not yet received formal notification of the Appeals Court ruling. The district’s attorney, Robert Scoggins of Kermit, also said he had not been notified of the reversal of Park’s decision.

“I’ve been out four days and just walked into the office, so I can’t comment on that,” Scoggins said.

Alan Zeman, president of Reeves County Water Improvement District 2, which supported Ward 1 and 3 in their lawsuit, said he was happy about the decision, but hadn’t had time to read the full 25-page opinion.

“I got a copy of it this morning (Tuesday), but I haven’t studied it yet,” said Zeman, who added he did sent out copies to some of the other districts that make up the Red Bluff irrigation zone along the Pecos River.

Reeves County WID 2 remains a Chapter 55 district and continues to have representation on the board, even while supporting the efforts to seat Tom Nance and Ava Gerke to the Ward County WID 1 and 3 seats on the board. Both Nance and Gerke have been attending meetings for the past year as observers, but have not bee able to vote on any matters coming before the Red Bluff board.

Red Bluff’s next meeting is next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in Pecos, but neither side was sure if the Appeals Court decision would affect the status of Ward 1 and 3 at the meeting.

“They’ve got 30 days to file an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court,” Caroom said. “That doesn’t set the judgment aside, but the judgment is not final until the court acts.”

Lightning strikes, fireworks spark brushfires

From Staff and Wire Reports

Brush fires caused by both Mother Nature and Fourth of July celebrations kept the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department busy during the holiday weekend.

Larger fires were reported to the south of Pecos in the Davis Mountains, while storms that caused lightning fires and fanned them with strong winds on Friday were also connected to a traffic fatality on Interstate 10 in Culberson County.

After several months of rainy weather, high temperatures in the Pecos area have hovered just below 110 degrees over the past week, drying out grass and brush just prior to July 4 fireworks celebrations.

“We’ve had about 20 calls in the last six days,” said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire about the local fires.

Brookshire said that all the calls were minor and that there were not any injuries reported during any of the incidents.

“We had a lot of calls about grass fires and a few dumpster fires,” said Brookshire. “Many of them were related to fireworks.”

Some of the fireworks and brush fires reported were within the city limits, according to Brookshire.

The fire department also reported to a call about a tank fire, at mile marker 49, which occurred Friday evening at the time lightning storms were passing just to the south and east of Pecos.

“That was contained by our fire department crew and at the time, I was out on another call,” said Brookshire.

Brookshire said that the group was kept pretty busy, but no major fires were reported in Reeves County.

However, just to the south in Jeff Davis County, firefighters spent the holiday weekend trying to put out several large brushfires, including one that forced the evacuation of McDonald Observatory.

Firefighters battling hot, windy conditions hoped to have a lightning-ignited blaze in the Davis Mountains mostly contained by the end of the workday Tuesday.

The fire has scorched about 1,000 acres since Saturday at the Caldwell Ranch in Jeff Davis County. The incident commander declared the fire 40 percent contained by the end of the day Monday and targeted 75 percent containment by Tuesday evening, said Ron Perry, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service.

About 80 firefighters were battling the fire, which got within 4 to 5 miles of the McDonald Observatory.

"There's been no injuries, no structures lost and there have been no evacuations ordered," Perry said early Tuesday.

Texas Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopters dropped 77,000 gallons of water mixed with firefighting foam on the hottest spots of the fire Monday.

Meanwhile, crews Tuesday continued to monitor the site of a 500-acre fire on Chinati Peak south of Marfa.

The fires were among several to break out over the weekend in parched West Texas, following the storms that passed through the area Friday evening and early Saturday morning.

The bad weather was also blamed for a dust storm near Van Horn that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old man.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Charles K. Wilson died Friday in an accident on Interstate 10, six miles east of Van Horn.

Wilson had just left his job working for the El Paso Times. He and his 18-year-old daughter, Amanda, were moving to Central Texas when the rental truck he was driving slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer and his daughter's car then hit his vehicle from behind.

The chain-reaction crash began when a Nissan slowed down in the right lane because of a dust storm and was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer, said Trooper Lucila Torres, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The impact pushed the Nissan into the left lane, where it was then hit by another tractor-trailer, Torres said. Charles Wilson hit the back of that tractor-trailer. Then the car driven by Amanda Wilson then struck her father's vehicle.

Amanda Wilson was released from the hospital on Saturday.

Wilson was the oldest of three brothers and planned to move to Central Texas to be close to family. His mother and his ailing father live in Conroe, said his wife, Colleen.

Herrera getting more info on bees that attacked man

Staff Writer

More specimens are needed to determine whether or not bees that attacked a man on June 22 near Balmorhea were Africanized “killer” bees.

“I talked to them last week and they told me that I needed more specimens,” said Reeves County Emergency Coordinator Ricky Herrera.

Herrera had been called out to Balmorhea after a man traveling through the area was transported to Reeves County Hospital suffering from bee stings he received while stopping to ask for information in Balmorhea.

The man, who was not identified, was stung several hundred times by the bees, though officials do not know if the bees were aggressive Africanized variety. The specimens were sent off to be analyzed.

“I sent in about 10 specimens and when I talked to them they told me I needed about 40-50 specimens,” said Herrera.

Herrera said that he had already been treating the nest in an effort to get rid of all the bees, but that he was going back to the location to get more specimens.

“I can still get the specimens even though I have have been treating that nest,” he said. Herrera received a call about 9 p.m., on June 22, from the Pecos Police Department about a man being attacked by bees in Balmorhea on County Road 315.

Herrera responded along with Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Lionel Garza. Herrera said that he had sprayed the beehive and returned to the site to collect the specimens and check on the beehive.

The man had to be hospitalized following the incident, which is the most severe bee attack within Reeves County in recent years.

“We do have Africanized bees here in Reeves County,” said Herrera. “You can’t tell just by looking at them, so we have to get some specimens to sent them off.”

There was just one beehive under the eaves of the home, according to Herrera.

Leos announce birth of son

Ramon and Dominique Leos, of Pecos, announce the birth of their son, Gabriel Cruz Leos.

Gabriel weighed six pounds, eight ounces and was 19 inches long at birth.

He was welcomed home by his big brother, Josiah Lopez.

Grandparents are Gabriel and Helen Leos of San Angelo and the late Francisco Lopez and Frances Orona of Pecos.

Great maternal grandmothers are Virginia Diaz of Pecos and Felipa Leos of San Angelo.

Muniz’ celebrate 70th anniversary

Roman Muniz and Manuela Muniz were honored with a 70th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, July 2, in Saragosa.

The couple married in Candelaria, Tx., on July 4, 1935.

They have lived in Saragosa for 31 years of their married life.

The Muniz’ have eight children which include two sons, Espiriron Muniz and Roman Muniz, Jr.; six daughters, Ermila Pineda, Lydia Muniz (deceased), Eduviges Avalos, Jesus Maria Lopez, Ysela Bordayo, and San Juana Muniz.

The couple also has 23 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.

A mass was held in honor of the couple at 1 p.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Saragosa, with a reception immediately following the Mass.

A dance was held later that evening at 9 p.m., at the Saragosa Dance Hall.

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