Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Lower enrollment to cost school funding
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Enrollment figures at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD are down from their projected levels, and some projects will be put
on hold for a while due to the decrease, which will mean a cut in state
"The enrollment figures are down. We are 130 kids down, that we haven't
gotten back after Labor Day," said Superintendent Don Love.
Love stated that with school districts, everything is estimated and
the actual revenue loss is not known at this time.
"Estimated loss is $365,017 in estimated revenue," said Love, who later
added, "We'll be okay though."
He said with expected price increases in natural gas, which will go
up 50-60 percent, electricity going up eight percent and water rates on
the rise, they will all affect the school district. "That's another $135,534,
and again that's just an estimate," he said.
Love said that with enrollment figures down and utilities going up,
it would be about $500,000 that the school district needs to make up.
"We had some things that we really wanted to do, that now will be put
on hold," said Love.
Options will be discussed at Thursday evening's P-B-T ISD Board meeting,
scheduled for 6 p.m., in the Board Room.
An enrollment comparison provided by Love showed that on the first day
of school in 1996-1997, 2,874 students, the second day, 2,966, third day,
2,998 and the fourth day 3012. That number was at 3,008 after Labor Day.
In 1997-1998, the first day showed 2,789 students, second day, 2,870,
third day, 2,929, the fourth day, 2,965. After Labor Day, enrollment stood
In 1998-1999, the first day, 2,829 students; second day, 2,904; the
third day, 2,969; the fourth day, 2,969 and after Labor Day, 3,021.
In 1999-2000, the first day showed, 2,650 students; second day, 2,765;
the third day, 2,803; the fourth day, 2,839; the fifth day, 2,857. After
Labor Day that figure was at 2,936.
This year, enrollment figures showed that there were 2,594 students
on the first day; 2,674 on the second day; 2,762 on the third day; 2,770
on the fourth day and 2,781 on the fifth day. That figure is at 2,806 after
"We're looking at a half-million that we have to make up," said Love.
"But every school in West Texas is losing kids.
Chamber hopes changes improve outlook for Fair
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Advertising for the Annual Reeves County
Fall Fair has already begun and plans are coming along great, members of
the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Board of Director were told during their
regular monthly meeting at lunchtime on Tuesday.
"We've started advertising already for the Fall Fair and since we're
not doing the concert, we've cut our expenses in half," said chamber director
Rivera said the chamber had placed a full-page ad in a magazine that
will target ranchers and farmers. "Hopefully this will bring out those
ranchers to come out and participate in the ranch rodeo that will be held
in conjunction with the fair," he said.
Terry Holder, Reeves County Extension Agent, reported that plans are
going well for the livestock show. "We've got the judge's for the livestock
show and hope to have the same number of entries, if not more at this year's
event," said Holder.
Last year over 200 lambs entered the annual event. "This year we'll
have the same number of entries, if not more and the entry fee was raised
by $5, so we'll make money on that, if the same number show up," said Holder.
Chamber members agreed to have a ranch rodeo instead of hosting a concert
during this year's fall fair.
President of the chamber Jeannette Alligood stated that this year the
chamber will have a float in the 16th of September Parade, scheduled
for this Saturday.
"I think it will be really nice that the chamber is represented," said
Rivera stated that a carnival would also be a part of the fall fair
events. "It will be Starlight Amusement from New Mexico," said Rivera.
The carnival will be set up further east away from the front entrance
to the civic center.
Women's Division President Jenny Abbott reported that the women would
once again have the baby contest at this year's fall fair.
A Mother Goose/Halloween Parade will also be held, with the date undetermined
at this time.
The last Fall Fair Committee meeting will be held next Tuesday, at noon
at Cattleman's Restaurant.
While the Fall Fair Concert will be replaced by a ranch rodeo this year,
the World's Championship Barbecue Beef Cookoff will be held as usual during
the fair. Chamber board member Mark Zuniga will chair this year's event.
"Jason Owen, who is in charge of the ranch rodeo, made up some posters
and flyers," said Rivera.
The two-day rodeo will be held inside the Buck Jackson Arena, while
the cookoff will take place at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Arena.
Entry fee for this year's cookoff is $75 per team.
Starkey Warren, with the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee, told board
members about the new president for that organization for the coming year.
"Brenda McKinney will be president and she needs the chamber's support,"
"We had a good rodeo this year and are looking forward to next year's
event," said Warren.
Warren stated that in the minutes of the chamber's last meeting, it
incorrectly stated that the rodeo committee had not made any profit this
year. "Maybe I was misunderstood, but what I said was that we need to start
working on making more money for the rodeo committee, and not just others,"
The rodeo committee actually made a profit at this year's event, a little
City to set tax rate, discuss dispute with county
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Council will set the
city budget and the tax rate for the 2000-2001 year during the regular
meeting at 7:30 a.m., Thursday at City Hall.
Tax Assessor Lydia Prieto informed the council during an earlier meeting
that the effective tax rate would be .75088 and the rollback tax rate would
She said the 2000 debt tax rate would be lowered from last year's rate
at 95 percent to 92.5 percent, because debt collections for 1999 exceeded
the needed amount by $31,184 causing this year's debt rate to be lowered.
Prieto also said the 2000-debt tax rate of .24746 has been published
in the Enterprise, therefore the council must adopt that rate, according
The status of the budget is linked a dispute between the city and Reeves
County over the scheduling of the first payment due as part of an agreement
over water use at the Reeves County Detention Center.
Finance Director Steve McCormick informed the council during a special
meeting last Tuesday that proposed water and sewer rates might have to
be raised an extra 20 percent because the county did not make its first
$400,000 payment by the Aug. 31 date specified in the agreement. The city
plans to use the money to fund development of its new South Worsham Water
The city asked Searcy Willis of Willis, Graves & Associates, Inc.,
to come up with a current rate estimate. McCormick said his estimate has
been determined under the assumption that Reeves County pays the city over
$400,000 a year.
The county signed a contract with the city on March 27 agreeing to pay
the city $4 million for water for the next 10 years. The payments are to
be broken down to $422,320 per year for every year of the contract.
The council will also discuss the contract with the county for water
services to the RCDC and possible litigation during executive session.
Two councilmen met with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo last week to
discuss the contract between the city and county, but no agreement was
The council will return to open session after discussing the contract
and vote on any possible action.
The council will also consider advertising for the position of City
Manager during the meeting.
The City Manager's position became available when former City Manager
Kenneth Neal resigned to take over a job near Dallas.
After Neal's resignation, the Council appointed Pecos City Utilities
Director Octavio Garcia as interim City Manager.
Other topics on the council agenda include consideration of investing
in a vest program for the Pecos Police Department.
The council will also consider the request to close streets for the
16th of September Fiestas.
The fiestas will be held in front of Santa Rosa Church beginning on
Friday and all day Saturday.
The council will also discuss recognition of Hispanic elected officials.
Red Bluff group outlines repair project
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members
heard a proposal from Red Bluff Lake area residents to begin repairs to
picnic areas and the boat ramp on the southwest side of the lake, during
their regular monthly meeting.
Board members took no action on the items, but did approve work on relocating
electrical lines for two buildings owned by the district in the Red Bluff
"What we've done is to set some short-term goals to fix up the picnic
areas with barbeque pits," said Krystal Warnick, one of the officers elected
to Red Bluff Improvement Committee, by lake residents during an Aug. 19
meeting. The group said they would do the work on the eight campsites,
and presented the board with a list of materials needed and their estimated
The materials included 47 sheets of metal roofing; 12 sheets of expanded
metal; 300-feet of purlin; five gallons of white paint and brushes, 322
feet of 1 ½-inch angle iron, and self tapping screws. Total cost
of the items was put at $1,920.
The group said metal would be used for tables and chairs instead of
wood, which has been broken off and used as firewood by people in the past.
In addition, the group asked for $300 to get two tires and tubes for
the floating, dock, which has been sitting unused on the east shore of
the lake. The group wants to move the dock to the west shore, with the
tires and tubes needed to pull the dock in and out of the lake.
"I'd like to go ahead and put in $300 right now and then get started
on the other part as we get to it," said board president Randall Hartman,
though it was later decided to table any action until October's meeting.
Additional costs for fixing up the wheel axle on the floating dock were
cited, and both the board and committee decided it would be better to purchase
the items through the district, in order to take advantage of Red Bluff's
General Manager Jim Ed Miller said the group could store the materials
in an unoccupied building at the lake after they are purchased.
The Red Bluff residents also asked the board if they could have better
identification of the cabin site locations at the lake, and were told that
county officials placed stickers on the electric meters designating their
location, as part of the 911 mapping effort several years ago.
"See if you've got a number on those meters. If not, call the sheriff's
office," Miller said.
The board later contracted with C.L. Elkins of Elkins Electric to relocate
the power lines to two buildings adjacent to the old Red Bluff Hotel.
"The wiring for the hotel and the two house beside it run through tunnels,"
in the hotel basement, Miller said, adding the plan its to connect the
house to utility lines by using above-ground poles. "The sewage (lines)
and the wire are all in the basement, and that worries me," he said.
Elkins said the cost of the job at the hotel should be in the range
of $1,800, with most of that cost going to labor work. He told the board
he could begin the job sometime next week.
Board members tabled any action on a proposal on cloud seeding, after
local farmer Tom Nance told them George Bomar, chief meteorologist with
the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, failed to show up
for Monday's meeting.
The board did approve Miller's reappointment as Red Bluff General Manager
for a one-year term, and approved cash disbursements and accounts payable.
They also approved the monthly water report, which showed the lake's level
down to 52,313 acre/feet as of Aug. 31.
"New Mexico is going to turn (release) 5,000 acre/feet, and that's going
to be it for a while," Miller said.
Southern Union warns higher gas prices looming
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Cold temperatures may still be months away,
but Southern Union Gas (SUG) is warning its customers that recent substantial
increases in the price of natural gas could mean significantly higher bills
this winter. Although some increases may be unavoidable, the company says
there are steps customers can take to moderate their impact.
Natural gas futures soared to their highest price ever Friday on the
New York Mercantile Exchange. Continued hot weather has increased demand
for natural gas to fire electrical generation facilities and has resulted
in lower volumes going in to storage. These factors have contributed to
the recent nationwide price surge.
"It is impossible to know what will happen this winter, but most analysts
are predicting that natural gas prices will continue to soar," said David
Stevens, president of Southern Union Gas. "If these predictions hold true,
a typical residential customer could see a winter bill that is 50 or even
60 percent higher than last year's."
Southern Union has secured adequate supplies through a competitive bidding
process to meet its customers needs, but the price the company pays for
the gas is tied to market conditions at the time of delivery. The cost
of gas is passed on to customers with no mark up or profit: SUG's charges
for delivery and other services are reflected separately on customer's
Southern Union wants to make its customers aware that there is a very
strong probability that their heating bills will be abnormally high this
winter, but there are several steps they can take to lessen the impact
of these price spikes. Customers can:
· Call Southern Union Gas and enroll in the Average Bill Calculation
Plan, better known as the ABC Plan, to remove winter spikes in their bill.
There is no charge to join the ABC plan, which allows customers to pay
a fixed price through the year and protects them from the potential price
spikes expected this winter.
· Have a licenses, professional, heating and air conditioning
technician inspect their gas appliances annually to ensure they are functioning
properly efficiently and safely.
· Ensure their home is well insulated. Caulk and weather-strip
windows and doors to seal drafts and consider increasing the amount of
insulation in your home.
· Keep furnaces filters clean by replacing them monthly.
· Insulate their gas water heater, drain sediment from the bottom
of the tank, and set the temperature to approximately 120 degrees as dictated
by the water heater manufacturer's instructions.
· Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during the winter months and
wear a sweater or light jacket to ward off the chill.
· Southern Union Gas is concerned about the potential impact
these market-driven natural gas price spikes may have on its customers.
Southern Union plans on keeping customers informed on the prices on their
While natural gas prices are at record levels, it is important to remember
that natural gas is still the most affordable, cleanest, energy source
available to heat your home. Southern Union encourages customers to be
on the lookout for additional information and tips which will be provided
in bills, through the media, and at the new website, www.SUGas.com.
Southern Union is an international energy distribution company serving
more than 1.2 million customers in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida
and Mexico. Its natural gas operating divisions include Southern Union
Gas, Missouri Gas Energy, PG Energy, and Atlantic Utilities.
In Texas, Southern Union Gas serves approximately 523,000 customers,
including the cities of Austin, El Paso, Brownsville, Galveston, and Port
Arthur. Missouri Gas Energy serves approximately 491,000 customers in western
Missouri, including the cities of Kansas City, St. Joseph, Joplin and Monett.
And, in Pennsylvania, PG Energy services approximately 154,000 customers,
including the cities of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Williamsport. Atlantic
Utilities operates in Florida.
Balmorhea board to vote on school tax rate
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - The Balmorhea Independent School District Board
of Trustees will adopt the 2000 tax rate during the regular meeting at
7 p.mThrusday in the Balmorhea ISD Boardroom.
The Board will also consider approval of a list of Certified Teacher
Appraisers and review several amended policies.
Board to swear-in Deishler, discuss Crockett lab
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board will meet
Thursday evening to discuss and approve several items and swear in a new
board member during their regular monthly meeting.
Board members are facing a lengthy agenda on Thursday, with the meeting
set to begin at 6 p.m., in the Board Room, 1304 S. Park. Everyone is welcome
The group will listen to a report on Crockett Middle School lab addition
project and Pecos High School and Austin Elementary roofing projects.
The oath of office will be administered to new board member, Paul Deishler,
who was named by the board at a meeting last month to replace Frank Apolinar.
After that the board will recognize P-B-T ISD coaches who helped with the
formation of the PeeWee Football League; award of telecommunications infrastructure
fund PS8 Grant, a letter from Texas Business Technology Education; a letter
from ESC 18- Region 18 Teacher of the Year and a report on District's Report
The board will discuss utility rates for 2000-2001 budget; listen to
a report from RH Administrators and insurance agents on employee health
insurance costs increases for the 2000-2001 school year; discuss enrollment
report and effect on 2000-2001 budget and remedial measures taken; discuss/approve
Hunter Corral Associates to prepare specifications to go out for sealed
proposals for HVAC project for Room 151 and 152, and adjoining offices
at Pecos High School Building B.
Board members will discuss/approve, Election Coordinator's contract;
resolution to sanction 4-H as an extracurricular activity; Children's Health
Insurance Program (CHIPS); a request by the Seventh Day Adventist Church
to use Crockett Middle School's gym and waive fees and a request by Barstow
Volunteer Fire Department to purchase Lots 1&2, Block 47, Barstow Orig.
Town _ Barstow Elementary School property.
A report on "Choices" program (anti-crime and anti-drug program) and
Scholastic Crime Stoppers Program is also on the agenda.
The board will also discuss and approve Criminal Justice Division (CJD)
Grant Acceptance Notice Save Our Youth and Save Our Youth Program II; sale
of foreclosed properties located at 824 S. Elm Street, 814 S. Cypress,
1401 S. Cypress; approve request by Texas Agricultural Extension Service
to use the building located at 2142 Bickley Avenue; appointing board member
to serve on the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Advisory
Board to replace Freddy Lujan; 2000-2001 budget amendments; tax roll errors
and corrections for 1999 and prior years; second reading and discuss/approve
Policy Update 63 (Local); approve revising Pecos High School Handbook Policy
and discuss contract status of Irma Trevino.
Regular agenda items include:
· Tax report.
· Depository securities report.
· Current bills and financial report.
· Investment transactions report.
· Reconciled bank balance report.
· Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.
· Cafeteria report.
· Date for next regular meeting.
· Calendar of events.
· Request for items for next agenda.
The board will also meet behind closed doors to discuss personnel or
hear comlaints against personnel and a private consultation with the board's
Daniel R. Renteria, 70, died Sunday, Sept. 10, 2000, at Midland Memorial
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at the Pecos Funeral Home
Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Barstow Cemetery.
He was born June 28, 1930, in Barstow, was a U.S. Army veteran who had
fought in the Korean War, a retired truck driver, a lifelong Barstow resident
and a Catholic.
Survivors include four daughters, Amalia R. Vasquez and Lydia R. Escobar
of Fontana, Calif., Rebecca R. Ramirez and Yolanda Renteria, of Hacienda
Height, Calif.; his mother, Lucia Renteria of El Monte, Calif.; four brothers,
Ruben Renteria of San Jose, Calif., Simon Renteria of LaVerne, Calif.,
and Raymond and George Renteria of El Monte, Calif.; five sisters, Lydia
Orona of San Angelo, Frances Castillo of Pecos, Stella Usery of Mont Clair,
Calif., Ysabel Renteria of West Covina, Calif. and Angie Cobo of Fontana,
Calif., and nine grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Carmen Ornelas Sanchez, 84, of Balmorhea, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000,
at Reeves County Hospital.
A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at Christ the King Catholic
Church in Balmorhea.
Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, at Christ the King
Catholic Church with burial in Balmorhea Cemetery.
She was born Sept. 18, 1915, in Presidio, was a longtime Balmorhea resident,
a homemaker and a Catholic.
She was preceded in death by one daughter, Mary S. Dutchover in 1994.
Survivors include two sons, David Ornelas Sr. and Cecilia of Balmorhea,
Joe Ornelas Sanchez of Balmorhea; three daughters, Arsilia S. Carrasco
and Rosendo of Balmorhea, Rosario S. Cervantez and Herman of Balmorhea,
Carmen S. Meras and Raymond of Odessa; 19 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.
Serving as pallbearers will be the grandsons.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, September 13, 2000 - High Tuesday 103. Low this morning 66. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening thunderstorms.
Low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. The chance of rain is 20
percent. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10-20
mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Friday: Partly
cloudy. Low in the mid to upper 60s. High in the mid to upper 90s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise