Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Enhanced program revived by school board
By ROSIE FLORES
A program discontinued in April by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board was re-instated after three months of controversy, during a special meeting held Thursday.
Board members met for a special meeting and voted 5-2 to reinstate the Enhanced Program for the district, following a change in the make-up of the board resulting from a June special election
The program was discontinued in April following a request from the PBT-ISD Superintendent and administrators. Board members reaffirmed that vote on May 2, five days prior to the district’s board election.
The controversial issue helped led to a rare tie-vote in the regular election, forcing June’s special election in which former P-B-T ISD member David Flores was returned to the board after a two-year absence.
Flores tied school board president Billie Sadler in the May 7 election, then won the special election last month. Sadler had voted with the majority in April and May to eliminate the enhanced program, while on Thursday Flores voted to restore the program have being sworn in to his new three-year term.
During Thursday’s meeting, the board approved re-instating the program, but tabled the revising the program.
They will meet once again this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the P-B-T Technology Center to discuss the revisions.
PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews suggested to the group that they not re-instate the program at this time, but to do a study of its success. “I suggest we just evaluate the issue at this time,” he said.
Flores said he wanted to re-instate the program with the board revising it as it sees fit.
“I would like to see it revised to meet the needs of the students,” he said.
“Funding for this program is local?” asked board member Bubba Williams.
“Money is available, that was not the issue,” said Matthews.
“It’s $500 per grade level, so about $3,000 for the enhanced program,” said finance director Cookie Canon.
Board member Paul Deishler said that he would like to see all the students that are eligible for the program to be able to participate.
“I know there is a limit for the number of students, and I would like to see all that qualify to be involved in this program, even if it means creating another class,” he said.
Deishler said that they only allow 22-24 students, but that there might be 30-40 who are eligible.
Board member Crissy Martinez said that she would like to see that all the students receive the same amount of “attention.”
“I think all the students should be able to go on field trips and receive the same experiences the students in the enhanced classes do,” said Martinez. “They should be able to experience field trips to Fort Davis or museums and experience more, the same as the students in the enhanced classes,” she said.
“Our first step will be to re-instate the program,” said board member Lila Cerna.
Along with Flores, the other board members who voted to re-instate the program included Deishler, Williams, Cerna and Miller. Voting against re-instating the program were board members, Steve Valenzuela and Martinez.
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. Martinez was absent from the May 2 meeting, and the 3-3 tie left the April 14 decision intact.
Flores, who campaigned to retain the enhanced program, finished third among voters who cast ballots during the early voting period, between April 18 and May 3, but 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.
Cerna chosen as new president for P-B-T board
A new president was chosen for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board, during their meeting held last Thursday in the Technology Center, following the defeat of president
Billie Sadler in her bid for re-election.
Sadler lost to former board member David Flores during a special tie-vote election held last month. Thursday’s special meeting was the first for the board since the June 16 election, and during the session, the members elected
Lila Cerna as the new president.
The other new officers for the 2005-06 school year are vice-president Amy Miller and secretary, Crissy Martinez.
Board members also approved professional personnel - appointments, reassignments, resignations, retirements and change of contract during Thursday’s meeting.
Appointments included Jennifer Galvan, certification, Teach Texas Teacher Program, degree; Bachelor of Arts/Texas Tech University - assignment, third grade bilingual teacher at Austin Elementary.
Kristi Griggs, certification, Generalistic Grades (EC-4); degree, Bachelor of Arts/University of Texas of the Permian Basin; assignment - first grade teacher at Austin Elementary.
Riley Jacobs, certification, All Level Music, degree; Bachelor of Music/Howard Payne University; assignment - Assistant Band Director.
Elvira Martinez, certification, Teacher Certification Program; degree, Bachelor of Arts/University of Texas of the Permian Basin; assignment - first grade bilingual teacher at Austin Elementary.
Stacie Perkins, certification, Teacher Certification Program; degree, Bachelor of Arts/Sul Ross State University; assignment - third grade teacher at Austin Elementary.
Patience Shanklin, certification, Mathematics (8-12); degree, Bachelor of Arts/Howard Payne University; assignment - Math Teacher at Pecos High School.
Isela Agundis - second grade bilingual teacher at Austin Elementary;
Allie Jolene Davis - English Teacher at Pecos High School;
Cody Guynes - Special Education Teacher/Coach at Pecos High School;
Orlando Matta - Science Teacher/Coach at Crockett Middle School;
Robin Manning - History Teacher at Pecos High School;
Patrice Mosser - Fifth grade teacher at Bessie Haynes Elementary;
Alicia Rios - Third grade teacher at Austin Elementary;
Diana Rodriguez - First grade teacher at Austin Elementary;
Veronica Valenzuela - Physical Education Teacher/Coach at Bessie Haynes Elementary;
Lawrence Williams Jr. - Discipline Teacher/Coach at Lamar AEP.
Paul Briones - From Science Teacher/Coach at Pecos High School to Science Teacher/Coach at Crockett Middle School;
Anita Zubeldia - From second grade teacher at Austin Elementary to District Gifted and Talented Teacher.
Tax rebate totals for city continue increase
For the fifth time in seven months in 2005, the sales tax rebate check from the Texas Comptroller’s office to the Town of Pecos City was up from a year ago. But rebate checks for both Balmorhea and Toyah in July were down from a year ago.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn sent out checks to cities and counties in Texas last week, and Pecos’ check for $67,427 was up 4.44 percent from a year ago, when the city received $64,560 from Austin. For the first seven months of 2005, the city’s 1 1/2-cent sales tax has brought in $492,567, which is 9.41 percent higher than the $450,163 sent out to Pecos in 2004.
Out of this month’s rebate check, one sixth, of $11,238, goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp. for its operations.
Balmorhea’s rebate check of $868 was down over 76 percent from a year ago. But the city’s July 2004 check for $3,629 was unusually large, and represented over one third of the city’s entire rebate check for the year at the time.
The drop did put Balmorhea into negative numbers overall for the year. The city has gotten $7,830 back from the state so far in 2005, a 17.7 percent drop from last year’s $9,515.
Toyah’s July check for $400 was down just over 12 percent from last year’s $455. For the year, Toyah has gotten $2,344, down 23.9 percent from last year’s $3,080 total.
Also reporting an increase from its 1/2-cent sales tax was the Reeves County Hospital District. The hospital received a check for $31,370, which was up 13.64 percent from last July’s check for $27,646. Overall in 2005, the hospital has gotten $197,302 in tax rebate funds, up 3.54 percent from last year’s $190,555 figure.
Rebate checks were mixed this month in Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos cities from a year ago, but overall the rise in oil and gas drilling activity continues to boost the Basin’s economic numbers. Odessa was sent a check for just under $1.25 million last week for its 1 1/4-cent sales tax, an 8.55 percent rise from last year, while Midland got a check for just under $1.75 million for its 1 1/2-cent sales tax, which was 11.62 percent higher than a year ago.
Among other area cities collecting 1 1/2 cent tax out of the state’s $8 1/4 cent sales tax, Alpine received a check for $64,353, which was down 0.14 percent; Crane got a check for $21-548, a drop of 16.32 percent, and Lamesa received a $63,037 check from Austin, up 10.11 percent.
For cities collecting a one-cent sales tax, Andrews received $69,649 this month, up 13.18 percent from last year; Kermit’s $21,784 check was down 12.93 percent; Pyote’s check for $116 was down 85.32 percent, while Wink received a check for $4,813, which was up 43.59 percent over last year.
For the cities with a 1 3/4-cent sales tax, Van Horn received a check for $25,044, a drop of 24.17 percent; while Marfa got back $13,759, a 3.21 percent decline. And for cities collecting the maximum 2 cent sales tax, Big Spring received a $314,874 rebate check, a 2.98 percent increase; Fort Stockton received $115,125, a drop of 10.47 percent; Presidio got $19,758 back in tax rebates, a decline of 11.26 percent; Monahans received a check for $74,767, a 5.29 percent increase, and Grandfalls got a check for $1,356, which was up 7.09 percent from a year ago.
Across the state, Strayhorn’s office sent out checks to cities and counties totaling $232.8 million, an 8.74 percent increase from a year ago. Houston’s check for July was the largest overall and totaled $27.6 million, up 6.33 percent, while Dallas’ rebate check for $14.7 million, was up 6.81 percent from last year.
Staples are out, swimming is in after surgery
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth part of a story by Enterprise business manager Peggy McCracken on her diagnosis of cancer and surgery in April of this year.
By PEGGY MCCRACKEN
Friday is the day I get the staples out, and I am glad to be free of the bandages and the drain bag.
That night as I dressed for bed, I saw the flat chest with a slash across it for the first time. What a shock! After I got into bed, I cried for the first time since this whole ordeal started. Then I got up and went to my computer to order some camisoles to cover up the scar. And a bathing suit with a high neckline to hide the cavity under my arm where lymph nodes used to be.
Come Monday, I was back in the swimming pool, wearing the rose colored suit that I have used for years. It covers up enough that others in the class won’t be uncomfortable. I quit a few minutes early so as not to get too tired, return home for a shower, go by the God’s Army house to supervise our hired handyman, then go to work.
I stay in town all week, and on Saturday close out the Enterprise books and send statements.
Monday, I ride with Laura Briggs to Monahans to help her close out the books and send statements for The Monahans News. She has done a good job of posting during April, so there are few mistakes to correct. We get home at a reasonable hour, though I am tired.
Sometime that week I go to Odessa to see an oncologist, Dr. Borra. She praises my neat scar, tells me the lump was so big that I most certainly need five months of chemotherapy, then radiation, then hormone therapy. I get the names of the drugs she proposes to pump into me, orders for three full-body scans to determine where the cancer has spread, and come home.
Thursday, I go to Midland for a PET scan that uses nuclear fluids mixed with sugar to trace the cancer cells. Barbara, the very nice scheduler and guide, tells me the sugar will attach itself to fast-growing cells, and the nuclear fluid will show up on the film.
I got an early start that morning, so was able to stop in Monahans to deposit the federal payroll taxes for April, then spent 15 minutes with my granddaughter, Amanda, and the great-great granddaughter, Cieara. Their house in Midland is just off my route to the cancer center on Illinois.
When I finished with the test, I stopped by to see Elizabeth Schmidt, who lives about five blocks up the street on Illinois. We talked so long, I skipped a planned visit with Liz Vega, who also lives close to my route. I returned to Monahans to do payroll, then home.
I soon got used to the scar, and daily apply olive oil to make it disappear. The nerves that Dr. Bang cut are gradually regenerating, so I as having a little pain and soreness. Nothing I can’t tolerate. And the swollen places where fluid from the lymph glands has collected are diminishing slowly.
Cantaloupe harvest underway after delay
By JON FULBRIGHT
Hot weather has been over the Trans-Pecos area for the past several weeks, but cooler weather in the months before that was responsible for a late start to the 2005 Pecos cantaloupe harvest season.
Clay Taylor with Pecos Cantaloupe Co., said the first cantaloupes began coming in from the fields last week. “It’s a little bit later crop than usual,” he said. “There were some real cool temperatures in April and May that got us off to a slow start.”
“Today’s only the second day to pack. We haven‘t shipped anywhere yet,” Taylor said on Friday, adding that the first melons were scheduled to go out this week.
“We’ll ship 95 percent in state,” he said. The crop will also include the shipments to Blue Bell in Brenham for their Pecos Cantaloupe ice cream. Blue Bell and Pecos Cantaloupe signed an agreement last year for the creation of cantaloupe ice cream, which was sold in selected markets in 2004.
Despite the late start to the season, Taylor said the yield would be about the same as a year ago, and prices for cantaloupes “are pretty good” right now.
Harvesting of the Trans-Pecos area’s onion crop is about at the halfway point, Taylor said. Over 40 workers have been busy at the company’s packing shed for the past month harvesting the crop from the Coyonosa and Stockton Farms area, and the work is expected to continue through the end of the month.
Board told RCH construction almost finished
By JON FULBRIGHT
Construction work is almost over at Reeves County Hospital, with a meeting scheduled at the end of the month to go through a final checklist on the four-year expansion and renovation project.
Hospital Board members were told a meeting will be held at the end of July on the project, during a briefing by CEO and hospital administrator Bill Conder on Thursday, as part of the board’s delayed June monthly meeting. Conder said the price for the project would come in at $7.8 million.
“That does not include architectural and engineering fees,” said RCH finance director Frank Seals. “Once we get the final numbers I’ll be able to drop it into the spread sheet, but I’m guessing about 9 1/2 million.”
Conder said the construction costs came in at $301,000 under what the district had estimated in their original budget. “It’s not money we’re getting back, but it’s money we don’t have to pay out,” he said.
“I think it was very close to what we estimated,” said board member Leo Hung, while hospital board president Linda Gholson said, “With everything considered I think we can feel good. It’s usually much more than that, and ours came in much closer to the time and to the dollar amount.”
Board members met for just over 30 minutes, and tabled an executive session scheduled to evaluate the hospital administrator.
The board accepted a mineral lease offer from Midland oilman Doug Ferguson on land owned by the hospital in Loving County. The offer was for a three-year lease at $300 an acre, with a two-year extension at $250 an acre with a one-quarter royalty if any production begins on the property.
Hung said the royalty payment was a good one, while Conder said, “I don’t have experience in this, (but) I’d probably recommend you do this, because the one-quarter royalty is better than the one-sixth,” which he said the hospital was receiving on another property.
Board members also approved the sale of property at 1810 W. Third St., the 700 block of East Third Street and 218-220-222 South Cherry Street. The bids on those properties were for $3,100 from Carmen G. Dominguez; for $500 from Olivia Urias and for $2,000 from Roy Pogue.
During public comments, the board also recognized the death of board member Chel Flores. The longtime Precinct 1 representative died last week at 71. There was no discussion on a possible temporary replacement for Flores, whose term runs through next May.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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