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Thursday, May 25, 2000

Council backs local say on waste dump

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council approved a resolution this morning regarding the proposed radioactive waste site eight miles north of Barstow.

Clark Lindley, local rancher and leader in the fight against the low-level radioactive site, requested the Council's support and approval of a resolution explaining the proximity of Pecos to Barstow as opposed to other cities in Ward County.

"We would like to have the right to participate in a referendum either approving or disapproving development of a radioactive waste facility in western Ward County," Lindley said. Some area residents are concerned the decision will be left to only Ward County voters, most of who live in Monahans, which is further away from the site than Barstow or Pecos.

Lindley will now travel to Austin and submit the resolution to the Texas House of Representatives.

"The intentions here are to give greater protection to the local population than previous legislature had proposed," Lindley said.

The Council also approved the agreement with the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission, which will allow the Town of Pecos City to continue with its current recycling program.

"Any community over 10,000 is required to have a recycling program," City Manager Kenneth Neal said.

Grants enable Pecos to have the recycling center. Money from these grants go toward equipment and recycling dumpsters, as well as something new, community-wide clean ups.

Neal said those clean ups will hopefully "give people an incentive to come out and work."

Recycling dumpsters are located all over town for the collection of cardboard, newspapers and magazines. These are picked up by the recycling center in Pecos and are taken to the center located on West Second Street.

The Council also discussed the street seal coating project for the Year 2000.

The discussion focused on the budget of $60,000, and that it is not paying for as many streets to be repaved as in past years.

Councilman Ricky Herrera said it seems that the budget stays the same but fewer streets are being done. He said he thinks that the budget should be raised.

The Council discussed the possibility of asking Reeves County for more money so more streets could be coated.

The Council approved the authorization to receive bids for the seal coat project and the county will be approached for the additional money.

Council members agreed that a resolution regarding the water conservation plan was essentially the same as the drought plan already in affect.

Discussion of purchasing foreclosed properties resulted in the approval of property on Almond Street and property on Eighth Street. Approval of property on Mulberry Street was table until a later meeting.

The amended jail contract with Reeves County was also approved.

The council, after reviewing the documentation, approved the tax collector's report and the accounts payable.

City Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gill requested the recommendation of plumbing inspection fees be tabled for the next meeting because of lack of representation.

Mayor Raymond Ortega, Jr. appointed five individuals to the Pecos Housing Authority Board.

Those appointed were Frank Perea, Ray Golden, Albert Alvarez, Juanita Davila and Sandra Lira as new Resident Commissioner.

During public comments, Ben Meek requested the Council to consider possibly resurveying the portion of Texas Street that joins the access road of I-20.

Couple faced charge of illegal release of info

Editor's Note: This is the third article in a series concerning a student's grade that was administratively changed at Pecos High School and allegations by Brenilda and Bruce Bauer that the district retaliated against them for challenging the grade change by not renewing their contracts for the 2000-2001 school year.

The first article, printed in Tuesday's Enterprise, related the events that led up to the filing of a grievance by Mrs. Bauer.

Bauer claims that the grade change was unwarranted and prejudicial to her other students, especially students who also failed the course, but did not receive a grade change.

The administration's response, as taken from memos and the minutes of an executive session school board meeting, was that the grade was changed because Bauer did not retain the failing work of the student involved. Without the failed final exam and other work, the administration said that it could not justify the grade to the student's complaining parents.

The district's legal counsel also said that the district was under no legal obligation to investigate the other failing grades in the class just because one student's grade had been changed.

The new grade was created by dropping the student's final exam grade. The student earned a 15 out of a possible 100 on the exam.

The second article, printed in Wednesday's Enterprise, related Mrs. Bauer's unsuccessful march through the grievance process up through her appeal to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD School Board.

On December 9, 1999, the board met, and denied Mrs. Bauer's request to have the failing grade reinstated. A few days later, Mrs. Bauer filed a grievance with the Texas Education Agency, the state agency that oversees public education in Texas.

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - After the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District School Board denied Brenilda Bauer's request to reinstate the failing grade she had assigned, the high school Spanish teacher appealed to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

"We were stunned by the board's decision," Bauer said. "The school board meeting was on a Thursday, December 9. So we (Brenilda and husband Bruce) got together over the weekend and put together a letter to the TEA. We mailed the letter the following Wednesday."

In April, the Bauers received the TEA's decision in the case. After months of letter writing, telephone conferences and sparring with the district's attorney, they had lost.

They lost because there is no law in Texas preventing an administrator from changing a grade.

The judge hearing the case explained that the TEA did not have jurisdiction over a "grade change."

"Texas Education Code section 7.057 provides jurisdiction when a school district's actions are in violation of the school laws of this state, or when they violate a written employment contract and cause, or would cause, monetary harm (by violating the contract)," Senior Administrative Law Judge Christopher Maska wrote in his decision.

"The Texas Education Code does not prohibit a principal from changing a grade given by a teacher," Maska wrote.

Since a grade change did not violate any school law of Texas, the TEA had no power to hear the case.

The Level 4 complaint to the TEA was the final step in the appeals process Bruce Bauer said.

But the Bauer's story does not end with that last appeal to the TEA. During the months between filing their appeal with the TEA and the TEA's decision, the Bauers lost their jobs.

"On Friday, December 18, the last day of school and only a few days after we had filed our grievance with the TEA, we were called into (superintendent of schools) Don Love's office. That is when we got the letter from Don Love accusing us of violating FERPA," Bruce Bauer said.

FERPA is the acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Among other things, the act dictates when and to whom student records that contain personally identifiable information can be released.

"That letter, considering the fact that it was created within days of our filing a grievance with the TEA, left us with no doubts about their (the district's) intentions," he said. "It was clearly meant to intimidate us."

Part IV of this series will report on the school district's allegation that the Bauer's violated FERPA, the Bauer's response, and the reasons given by the district for not renewing the contracts of the two teachers.

Police, deputies arrest teens following overnight incidents

Staff Writer

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - The approaching end of school may have made a few Pecos High School seniors get a little bit out of hand early this morning, according to reports filed by the Pecos Police and Reeves County Sheriff's Department.

One teen was arrested by sheriff's deputies after he and several others apparently drove over mailboxes in the Lindsey Addition, while police arrested another teen and are looking at other suspects in connection with an attempt to steal 186 cans of beer from the Town and Country Convenience Store at 13th and Cedar Streets.

Both incidents were reported at 1:45 a.m. today. In the first, deputies received a report of a pickup driving over mailboxes in the 2200 block of Barilla Road. Upon arrival, deputy Richard Natividad was told a group of male subjects in a white truck ran over two mailboxes, then left the area headed north on Highway 17.

After a search around town, a gray pickup matching the description was located in the 600 block of South Ash Street. Natividad said the pickup was dented and had paint on it that matched the color of the mailbox. They then talked to a teen inside the house, identified as Rojelio Arreguy Marta, 18, of 619 S. Ash St., who admitted he was the driver of the vehicle.

Marta was taken to Reeves County Jail where he was charged with reckless damage or destruction, a Class C misdemeanor.

In the other incident, police received a call of a burglary in progress at Town and Country. They were told that three suspects had unlocked the door of the building and had gone inside.

Officers arrived at the scene a short time later and found five 30-packs and one 18-pack of Bud Light, and an 18-pack of Budweiser stacked outside the building, according to Police Chief Clay McKinney. The suspects were reportedly seen running down East 13th Street, and after further investigation police arrested one teen, identified as Jaime Natividad, 17, of 869 Martinez St., and charged him with burglary of a building.

McKinney said the investigation of the incident is continuing and other arrests are pending.

`Unofficial' graduation event arraigned by Crockett parents

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - Crockett Middle School students will have a chance to attend an unofficial graduation tonight, to be followed by a dance at Saragosa Hall.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials are not involved in the event, which is being put on by a group of Crockett parents from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at Saragosa Hall. Eighth grade students planning to participate are asked to be at the hall by 6:45 p.m.

Certificates/diplomas will be given out, and the ceremony will be followed by the dance. Pecos Evening Optimists will provide refreshments for the evening.

For further information, call either Al Herrera at 445-2611, Connie Herrera at 447-2611, or Isela Garcia at 940-5563.

Pecos FD closer to needed funds for Rescue Cam

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - Pecos Volunteer firemen are one step closer to purchasing a "rescue cam," Lieutenant Gus Ybarra said today.

Ybarra said that the fire department has now established a bank account at First National Bank to hold the funds for the thermal imaging camera that helps firemen find victims in smoke filled buildings.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can deposit the money into account #0534587 at First National Bank at 100 E. Sixth Street.

Ybarra said that so far $10,593.20 has been committed toward purchasing the camera.

"As soon as we purchase the camera, Chief (Roy) Pena plans to send several men to Odessa to train with it. After that we will stage a demonstration for everyone in the area," Ybarra said.

He added that the department hopes to have raised the more than $15,000 to purchase the camera by mid summer.

PEDC postpones afternoon meeting for lack of quorum

PECOS, May 25, 2000 - This afternoon's scheduled meeting of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation has been postponed due to the lack of a quorum, PEDC president Gari Ward said Wednesday.

The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date, when enough members can be present. However, on one item on the agenda, the grand opening of the Odessa College Technical Training Center in Pecos, Ward said the official date would be following the West of the Pecos Rodeo events, although the first summer classes in the Eddy Street building will be held next Tuesday afternoon.


PECOS, May 25, 2000 - High Wednesday 112. Low this morning 76. Forecast for tonight: Fair. Low around 70. Southwest wind 10-20 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny and breezy. High around 100. Southwest to west wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Friday night: Fair. Lows in the mid 60s. Saturday: Mostly sunny with fair skies at night. Low 65-70. High in the upper 90s to near 103.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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