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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

PBT gets firm to complete job on stadium track

Staff Writer

Track teams at Pecos High School will be running on a new surface this season as scheduled, after a new company was hired to handle the resurfacing of the Eagle Stadium facility and get the work done in time for the start of practice later this month.

Architect Monte Hunter updated school board members during their regular meeting held Thursday in the Technology Center on four projects, including the track resurfacing, which originally was scheduled to be done in September but has suffered through a series of delays.

Hunter first updated the board on the artificial turf installation at Eagles Stadium that was the main part of the $517,000 track and field project over the summer.

Hunter said that the contractor indicated that the punch list was complete and Jeff Bressee was due to check the punch list this week.

“We are withholding certificates of payment to the contractor until assurances are made that claims won’t be filed,” said Hunter. “We are proceeding with expanding the high jump pad to meet UIL requirements,” he said.

The work is scheduled to be done this week. “Funds are being taken from the project contingency,” said Hunter. “Field Turf said that they will release $27,000.”

Field Turf installed the artificial turf, and was the original contractors to work on the track. But after problems with the dirt work let to the subsurface having to be redone twice, the company sought to get out of the track resurfacing work, which was the final part of the contract.

School officials were reluctant to free Field Turf from the project, when the first estimates for the resurfacing came in well above the original price. But Hunter told the board a new firm has come forward to handle the project at only a slightly higher price that the original bid.

“Hellas Construction of Austin, was the low proposer on the track resurfacing proposals,” said Hunter. “They have offered to apply another track surface coat for $28,000,” he said. They have indicated in writing that work will be complete by Jan. 31, if they could begin this past Friday (Jan. 14), according to Hunter.

Pecos’ track season starts on Feb. 26 in Fort Stockton, with the West of the Pecos Relays scheduled for the first weekend in March. “Field Turf just wasn’t going to get it done,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that the actual track didn’t take long, that it was the prepping that took the longest.

“We talked to five different districts and they had nothing but good things to say about them,” said Hunter.

“You’ll end up with a little more cushion,” said Hunter. “It will have a two year warranty,” he said.

“I told them we needed it to be done by the first week in February,” said Hunter. “So we’re out just a $1,000?” said finance director Cookie Canon.

“Yes, but you’re really not out any money, this comes from what we appropriated,” he said.

Hunter also said the punch list is complete at Austin Elementary School gym. “They still need to improve seal new aluminum doors and are currently considering credit offer for crooked roof panels,” he said.

The offer is for $1,500, but Hunter said that he would like to negotiate and get more. In the roofing and fire alarm projects, the plans are in progress.

“We plan to meet with PBT-ISD next week to review plans,” said Hunter, who added his firm is scheduled to bring proposals from contractors to the February board meeting. In other action on Thursday, the board decided that Driver’s Education fees will be a little bit bigger this year.

“It’s been costing us about $227, and charging the students $170,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews.

“We thought it might be a good idea to raise it to $185,” said Matthews. Matthews said that instead of raising it a lot later on, the group thought they could just raise it a little.

“As it keeps increasing, it would be best to hit the people with a $15 increase instead of a larger amount,” said Matthews. “But we don’t want to go up to the $227,” he said.

Odessa College and a private driving school in Odessa is charging $210 for 10 weeks. “What we’re charging is not too far from what they are charging,” said Canon.

“How long have we been at this rate?” asked board member Steve Valenzuela.

“About 7-8 years,” said Canon. “It used to be $100, then it went up to $170.”

Canon said that the district used to have three teachers, instead of the two they have now. “That’s why we want to raise it a little now, so that when it goes up, we won’t hit them with a big hike,” said Canon.

“The district absorbed $3,700 of the cost,” said Canon.

The board agreed to raise the driver’s ed fee from $170 to $185, starting in April.

School board hears complaints after basketball brawl

Staff Writer

Complaints about officiating and security were voiced by several parents of Crockett middle School girls basketball players, following a recent junior high game in which several of the players received injuries, at the recent Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting.

The group met Thursday evening and several parents talked about the incident, involving a seventh grade girls basketball game, during the audience portion of the meeting. At this time, audience members can voice their concerns about different school topics, but school board members can not respond.

Parent, Peggy Salcido told school board members that she was concerned about the officials on duty during this game.

“I wanted to address the issue of proper officials to referee the games,” said Salcido. Salcido said she wanted to talk specifically about a recent game against Seminole. “It was a total disaster, out of controls, we as parents entrust our coaches with our children,” said Salcido.

Salcido said that the administration, or the officials did anything to stop the fiasco that was the basketball game.

“Our children are our future and as such, we want them to be taken care of and protected against things like this,” said Salcido.

Michele Galindo told the group that she was unable to attend the game, but heard about it from her daughter.

“My daughter came home with a bruised arm and there was a fan from Seminole screaming obscenities at her,” said Galindo.

Galindo said that the way her daughter described the game was “crazy.”

“She tried to tell the officials about the conduct, but they didn’t listen to her,” said Galindo.

“This is where our children have to play sports and I hope you look into the situation,” she said.

Adult volunteers have refereed junior high games in Pecos in the past, but due to a shortage of volunteers this year some high school students have been recruited to referee games. There was one adult referee and one student handling the game against Seminole, but Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD athletic director Patrick Willis said on Friday that the district would look at spending extra money to bring in out of town referees to handle the games in the future.

Seminole Junior High School officials also reportedly received complains from parents of their students about the behavior of Pecos coaches and players during the game, while P-B-T school board members at Thursday’s meeting were told of problems between Seminole parents and Pecos players.

Cynthia Quintana said that her daughter was accused of going up in to the stands and elbowing somebody.

“Which is not true at all,” said Quintana. “I talked to my daughter and she assured me that she had not elbowed anybody.”

Quintana said that her daughter was inappropriately touched and she didn’t even want to play anymore at the end of the third quarter.

“She told officials about what was going on and they didn’t do anything about it,” said Quintana. “They told her they could only do something if they saw it,” she said.

She said that the girls were mortified and that this type of behavior discouraged them from wanted to participate in the sport anymore.

City reports sharp increase in January’s sales tax check

Sales tax rebates for the Town of Pecos City were up over 20 percent for the first month of 2005 compared with January a year ago, according to figures released last Wednesday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office.

The city’s tax rebate for January, based on sales made during November, was up 21.56 percent, according to the comptroller’s office. Pecos got $63,727 from its 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8 1/4-cent sales tax, which was up from the $52,423 t received a year ago. Of that total, 1/4 cent goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp. The PEDC will get $10,621 out of January’s rebate check to the city.

While Pecos’ total was up sharply, Balmorhea and the Reeves County Hospital District saw only slight increases in their January rebate checks, while Toyah’s check was down from a year ago.

Balmorhea got $603 back from Austin, which was up 1.24 percent from a $596 check last year, based on its 1 1/2-cent sales tax. Toyah got a $226 check, which was down 25 percent from last January’s check of $301. The hospital district’s rebate from its 1/2-cent sales tax was $25,621, which was 1.58 percent above last year’s check of $25,222 from the comptroller’s office.

Higher oil and gas prices and the overall improvement in the Texas economy caused most area cities to report increases in their January tax rebate checks, and statewide, checks to cities and counties this month were up 9.37 percent over the first month of 2004.

Andrews received $67,320 from its one-cent tax rate, which was up 16 percent from last year; Kermit got $25,891 back on its one-cent tax; a 10.6 percent increase; Wink received $3,625 back on its one-cent tax, as 12.47 percent increase; Crane got $26,518 back from its 1 1/2-cent check, a jump of 39.3 percent; Van Horn was up 14.6 percent, getting $27,271 back from its 1 3/4-cent tax rate; Marfa received $12,989 this month on its 1 3/4-cent rate, a 9.2 percent rise; Big Spring got $293,864 back from its 2-cent tax rate, a 5 1/4 percent increase; and Fort Stockton, which received $106,148.27 back on its 2-cent rate, up 7 1/2 percent from a year ago.

Among the few cities that reported lower rebate checks in the area were Alpine, which got $62,581 back from Austin, a drop of 6.7 percent on its 1 1/2-cent rate; Monahans, which got $61,727 back from Austin on its 2-cent rate, a drop of 3 1/4 percent; and Presidio, which fell 19.8 percent, to $19,190 in its 2-cent rate.

Council fills PEDC spot, OKs service bonuses

Staff Writer

Pecos City Council members approved filling the final vacancy on the Pecos Economic Development Corp. board, and approved an employee service award payment system for longtime city workers, during their first meeting of 2005 last Thursday morning at City Hall.

The council also reappointed four current members of the PEDC board to new term at the request of interim president Mike Burkholder, in order to stagger the corporation’s terms in office and to conform with state laws limiting members to serving only six consecutive years.

Al Gomez was appointed to a three-year term, replacing Frank X. Spencer, who had been a member of the board since the PEDC was formed six years ago. The board also appointed Jimmy Dutchover and councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela to two-year terms, while Leo Hung and Joe Keese were appointed to three-year terms. All four were first named to the PEDC board last year.

“Technically you should make appointments when there’s vacancies, but to get this back on track, I think it’s OK,” said Town of Pecos City Attorney Scott Johnson.

On the nominations to replace Spencer, Valenzuela and councilman Frank Spencer both recommended Gomez, who just finished serving as president of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce. Councilman Michael Benavides said he had been approached by a Reeves County official about putting a county representative on the PEDC board, but Mayor Dot Stafford was opposed to that idea.

“My opinion is it is funded by city sales taxes, so we don’t need to include county officers,” she said. The council then unanimously approved Gomez as Spencer’s replacement.

The employee service awards would be payments of $50 for five years of service, and increasing by $50 every five years up to a $300 payment for 30 years of service. Retirement bonuses would start at $150 for 15 years and also increase to a maximum of $300 for 30 years of service.

“We have not updated our recognition policy in quite some time,” said city manager Joseph Torres. “We had left it alone to be handled by the department supervisors and the city manager.”

“Normally, we’re looking at 4-5 employees a year,” who would qualify for the bonuses, Torres said. He added that workers would have to complete a full year of service every five years in order to qualify for the money, and that workers who left the city’s employment and then returned would have to start over again in terms of number of years credited.

Retirees would also receive a watch at the time they leave city employment, while those getting the five-year service awards would also receive a jacket with the Town of Pecos City logo on it. Workers would also get one extra day off for every five years of service. “Our biggest agenda is to retain good employees,” said Torres, and the proposal was then approved by the council.

The council also put off until a later date a decision on closing an alleyway in the Meadowbrook subdivision. Becky Chavarria made the request, with plans to put a future house and horse pens in the area. However, city utilities director Edgardo Madrid said closing the ally would make it tougher to run water and sewer lines to other lots in that area if homes were to be built around the Chavarria’s land.

“My recommendation is ‘no’ but I don’t know how long it’s going to take for the city to develop the area,” he said. Councilman Frank Sanchez said he wanted to look at the site before making any decision, and the motion was then tabled.

Council members also approved accounts payable, juvenile and municipal court reports, along with nominations for the Pecos Airport Board and the Pecos Zoning Board of Adjustment, as recommended by Stafford. Jim Breese, Bob Trammell, Mark Zuniga, Joe Coody and Connie Levario were named to the zoning board, while Bill Hubbs, Lynn Owens, Mike Burkholder, Isabel Blanchard and Torres were named to the airport board. Councilmen Gerald Tellez and Danny Rodriguez also asked that a discussion on restricting the use of mini-cycles and ATV vehicles on city streets be placed on the upcoming agenda. “There were two 6-year-olds in one of those pocket rockets than ran into a car over Christmas. They were scraped up,” Tellez said.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said there were some current laws that could be used to keep those vehicle off the streets, and that bill for tighter restrictions was pending in the Texas Legislature.

Dutchover fills Chamber board vacancies

Pecos Chamber of Commerce members welcomed new president Jimmy Dutchover who presided over the first meeting of the year.

Dutchover, who succeeded Al Gomez as president of the Chamber, appointed four new board members as one of his first duties. Lydia Prieto, John Grant, Frank Gomez and Warden Martin McDaniel were named to fill the vacant positions on the board.

During the executive report, Linda Gholson told the group about the livestock show and sale, which was held this past weekend.

The chamber was one of the sponsors of the two-day stock show, which is held annually in January.

Gholson also told the group that this year’s West of the Pecos Rodeo had been set for June 29 and 30, and July 1 and July 2. The dates run Wednesday though Saturday, which have been the days the rodeo has been held in recent years.

“They chose these dates, because they thought more people would come to town on a weekend,” said Gholson. The rodeo is usually held around July 4, but that date falls on a Monday in 2005.

The group discussed awards for the chamber banquet and Gholson told them that they will be taking nominations for the different awards that will be handed out at that time, until Jan. 26.

“They need to bring them to the chamber office, in a sealed envelope with the name of the award on the front,” said Gholson.

Town of Pecos City Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney told chamber members that he would like to add two new awards at the banquet. The awards would be for Correctional Officer/Jail of the Year and Communications Officer of the Year.

The group approved adding both awards to the list.

Rodriguez celebrates second birthday

Dalilah Ann Rodriguez celebrated her second birthday on Saturday, Jan. 16, with a party held in her honor at Pizza Hut.

Theme for the special event was “Shrek and Donkey.”

Her brothers, Donovan and Justin and her sister, Samantha were on hand to help celebrate her birthday along with other family members.

Dalilah received clothes and toys.

Everyone was served pizza, Shrek cake and goody bags.

Her parents are Donny and Laura Rodriguez.

Maternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Varela and Pedro Maldonado.

Paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Charles Waight of Midland and the late Panfilo Rodriguez.

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