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Thursday, February 24, 2000

OC OKs funds, construction work starts

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 24, 2000 - Construction has begun at the Odessa College Pecos Center after funding for it was formally approved Tuesday by the Odessa College Foundation.

"As of yesterday, they had begun working on the roof," said Odessa College Pecos Center Director Michelle Workman.

Workman stated that construction was coming along great and the center should be completed by mid-May.

"After that OC will have to start equipping the center with computers and supplies," said Workman.

Renovations to the building will cost about $860,000 and the project is funded by a federal grant from the Economic Development Administration in Washington, D.C.

"This was the first project on their budget," said Dr. Vance Gipson, president of Odessa College.

Once completed, the new center will house five learning labs, vocation areas for welding/machining and automotive/diesel, a lounge with two study labs and four offices at the front of the building.

About 400 students will attend more than 30 different classes at the Pecos Center, starting in May. Current extension service students attend program classes at Pecos High School.

"They're goal is to have about 400 students, because of the amount of people that live in Pecos," said Workman.

Workman stated that the EDA grant procured by Gari Ward and the Pecos Economic Development Corporation and another grant would be used to help equip the facility with the needed computers and supplies.

"Our plans are to open it up for summer classes and offer from 3-4 summer courses," said Workman. "The courses that will be offered at this time are some that do not require the computers or other equipment," she said.

The summer session will begin May 30 and run for about 5½, weeks, ending on July 6. "We're only going to offer these few courses, because the rest of the building, we'll be working on equipping it still," said Workman.

The courses that will be offered for the summer session will be one math course, two English and a speech course, according to Workman. "Only because these courses don't require equipment," she said.

"The facility should be ready by the fall and what we're doing is developing a master schedule for fall classes," said Workman. "This is because we will be using our own people, from Pecos for staff with a few out of town individuals."

The majority of the classes will be evening classes for the fall semester. As time goes on, there will be more morning classes offered, according to Workman.

"There will be a few morning classes, that will be through Interactive Video," said Workman.

"We still need to develop a staff that wants to work mornings, and that's because a lot of our staff will be doing this part-time," said Workman.

The office part of the facility should be totally completed by mid-May, according to Workman.

The center will also be offering the TASP Test for students who have never attended college and their goal is to obtain an Associate's Degree.

"This is a test they have to take before they start classes, if they're pursuing an Associates Degree," said Workman. "If they just want to a certificate, the don't have to take the TASP."

She added that OC wants to target as many high school students as possible and offer them alternatives.

The TASP will be offered on April 29, to all sophomores, juniors and seniors and any adult in the community. Cost is $29 per test. Testing will be done from 7:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

"We want to offer it to the high school students, so they can get a head start on college," Workman said.

There are currently 11 junior students from Pecos High School taking college courses, according to Workman.

"And the only reason these students were not required to take the TASP is because they scored high on their TAAS," said Workman. "We want to work with all those that need to take it and offer them the opportunity, so they can get started on their college courses."

Students can also take basic course work at the extension center that will transfer to other institutions.

Odessa College has 19 extension centers in the region and the purpose of the centers is to alleviate the driving time from area cities to Odessa, according to Gipson.

Council briefed on beautification project

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 24, 2000 - Beautifying Pecos was a top priority at this morning's regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

Mya Griffin of the Pecos Rotary Club made a presentation to the council outlining the Pecos Beautification Project 2000.

Griffin explained that the project was a joint effort between the Rotary Club and the Pecos Lions Club. A board of five members has already been appointed from the two clubs: Griffin, Bob Curry and Richard Creasy from Rotary, and Michael Benavides and Tom Rivera from Lions.

"Our approach will be slow but sure," Griffin said. "We hope to tackle some smaller projects at first. Projects that are realistic and that have a good chance of success. We feel that success will build on itself and hopefully will encourage other organizations and the rest of Pecos to get involved."

The project has already celebrated its first success.

"Our first project was catering the Chamber of Commerce Banquet. We did that to raise money for the beautification project, and we it was a success," she said.

Griffin said that the board had several projects in the wings including: a community Christmas tree, a community trash-off day, improving downtown and purchasing trash cans for high-traffic areas in the city.

"The Christmas tree project will take some time," Griffin said. "We hope to be able to plant a 30-40 foot tree at the site of the old swimming pool at Maxey Park."

Griffin said that the tree would serve to bring the community together in one location during the holidays (at the lighting event).

"Eventually we would like to turn Maxey Park into a "West of the Pecos Wonderland," during the holiday season.

"Fort Stockton has done this with their "Desert Wonderland," and done very well," said Griffin said, who is the Public Information Coordinator for Texas-New Mexico Power. She also serves on the Fort Stockton Uptown/Downtown Association, Desert Wonderland Committee, and chairman of the Main Street Advisory Board for that city.

Griffin said that the Great Texas Trash off is scheduled for April 1. The statewide project encourages a general clean up of public and private areas.

Since many local citizens will be involved with the state event, Griffin said that The Great Pecos Trash off was being schedule for March 25.

"The committee will choose three or four of the worst locations in Pecos and between the Rotary and Lions Clubs, we will clean these areas up," she said.

Griffin said that the groups were also planning to purchase 20, 30-inch planters to place in the downtown area to help dress things up.

Griffin also said that plans were in the works to purchase trash cans that would be placed in high-traffic areas to encourage citizens to drop litter in the can, and not on the street.

"Other than your support, we need permission to plant the Christmas tree and we also need help regarding things like emptying the trash cans, and watering the plants down town," Griffin said.

The group did not ask the council to take any specific action at this point, but simply wanted to let them know what was going on, and what support the group would need later on," Pecos Rotary President Jean Badders said.

"This is a terrific idea. Our motto in Rotary is "service above self," and the Lions' motto is "we serve," she said. "This move to beautify Pecos is all about service, and this will be good for Pecos."

The council also voted to reject two bids that were made on an acre tract of land known as the "old gas station," along the interstate.

The city solicited bids in late January in an effort to sell the property. Hector Garcia and Weldon Brookshire both submitted bids.

The council voted to have the property appraised and to look into the cost or removing the underground fuel tanks buried on the property, as well as the cost of demolishing the structures on it.

"If it was just the station I would be inclined to accept these bids, but this is an acre of prime property," Councilman Ricky Herrera said.

The council also voted to remove a restriction that requires reserve policeman for the Pecos Police Department to live in Pecos.

Police Chief Clay McKinney informed the council that he was very short of reserve officers and that he had had several inquiries from qualified citizens from Monahans and Fort Stockton.

"I only have four of ten slots filled right now. I'd really like to get those slots filled so that when a patrolman is sick, or goes on vacation, we can call up a reserve officer and have a reasonable chance that one of them can take that shift. Right now, we're having to call in officers to work an extra shift and that costs the city in overtime pay," McKinney said.

Councilman Larry Levario voiced concern that the reserve officers would be familiar with Pecos and McKinney assured the council that before a reserve officer was sent out on his own he had plenty of training and would be familiar with Pecos.

"If they are willing to donate their time and it helps us, it seems like a win-win situation to me," City Manager Kenneth Neal said.

Junior high relays closes PHS track to public

PECOS, Feb. 24, 2000 - The Eagle Stadium track will be closed to walkers and other recreational users Friday afternoon and evening, due to the season opening West of the Pecos Junior Relays for Crockett and Zavala Middle School students.

The track meet will begin at 3:45 p.m. at Eagle Stadium and continue until about 8:30 p.m. It's the first track meet to use the new facilities at the stadium since renovations were completed last fall under an agreement between the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City.

The track will also be closed to recreational users on Saturday, April 1, for the West of the Pecos Relays.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 6-13-24-27-30-37. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: 1. Winning ticket sold in: Spring. Matching five of six: 72. Prize: $1,398. Matching four of six: 3,733. Prize: $98.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-4-6 (six, four, six)


PECOS, Feb. 24, 2000 - High Wednesday 81. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 40-45. Southwest wind 10-20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy and windy. High in the lower 70s. West wind 20-30 mph and gusty. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low 35-40. Saturday: Dry with continued above normal temperatures. Low in the 40s. High in the upper 70s.

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