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Friday, October 13, 2000

School board gets update on improving test scores

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 13, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members were given reports from the district's principals and other school officials on how to improve TAAS scores at their campuses, during Thursday evening's P-B-T ISD board meeting.

The school officials shared strategies and methods that they are implementing in efforts to improve the TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) scores and the student's abilities.

Teacher Sue Parent spoke on behalf of Pecos Kindergarten. "A big thing right now is parent involvement," said Parent of efforts at the school to prepare students for testing at later grades.

The school is sponsoring open lab on Wednesdays and Thursdays for parents to come in. "We want to get the parents involved and have videos and tapes that were lend out," she said.

A new reading series is being implemented. "This is the first time in the State of Texas that this is implemented at that level," said Parent.

The Reading Academy will also be held this month, with 20 students being targeted for the program.

Austin Elementary School Principal Victor Tarin spoke on behalf of the first and second graders. "The librarian is very impressed with the way kids are coming around and she can't believe how good it's going," said Tarin. "We're all very excited about the different programs we are currently using to improve reading skills."

The Computer Assisted Instruction lab for second graders is going well and Tarin told the group the Waterford Reading Program is also doing well.

Mock TAAS tests are being planned for second graders and other programs will be implemented to improve reading skills, according to Tarin.

"I feel very excited about the Reading Academy which will begin soon," he said.

Teacher Eva Garcia spoke on behalf of Pecos Elementary School, third grade students. "We wrote out curriculum plans and have a curriculum committee which meets weekly," said Garcia.

"We set timelines and plan action to involve the parents," said Garcia.

Garcia said the bilingual program is weak, which is something she is concerned about, since she is involved in the program and has a Master's Degree in that area. "I feel there's more that we should be doing for these students," she said.

Other methods are being implemented to strengthen math, reading and writing skills, according to Garcia.

Bessie Haynes Elementary School Principal Mary Lou Carrasco spoke about efforts with fourth and fifth graders at her campus.

Ideas, activities and plans are shared and at the end of the year, the teachers get together to discuss what works, she said.

The Accelerated Reading Program has worked very well and the students get rewarded for their efforts, according to Carrasco.

"It's been very good what we have done as a team," she said.

Zavala Middle School Principal Cindy Duke spoke about work being done for the district's sixth graders. "We had 95 percent on math last year and will be looking at their needs, we'll also look at the sixth grade scores to see where we are," she said.

Two Mock TAAS tests are planned at Zavala, one in November and the other in February. "We have accelerated reading and tutorials in the mornings and afternoons for the students that need additional help," said Duke.

Teacher Jim Workman spoke about efforts at Crockett Middle School. The school was a "Recognized Campus" last year when it was an either grade-only campus. Both seventh and eighth graders attend Crockett this year.

"Several teachers from that campus attended a workshop and brought back ideas to be shared," said Workman. "These strategies will be implemented."

Mock TAAS tests will be also be given. "We'll do three one informal and two for real," he said.

The Accelerated Reading Program is also used at the school. "We'll be looking at our goal, which is set at 90 percent, we had 89 percent last year and we hope to do better," he said.

At Pecos High School, English teacher Priss McNutt said, "We just obtained new software and are working diligently to prepare our students and focus on areas of weaknesses."

She said one of the biggest problems with the students is reading and they are working to correct that problem. "This weakness shows up in the vocabulary TAAS tests," McNutt said.

The teachers attended an excellent workshop that provided them with novel ideas on teaching students better reading and vocabulary skills, according to McNutt.

"I think we have gaps here and there that we need to work on," she said.

Busing for students who will be attending the Reading Academy were approved by the board during Thursday's meeting. "We'll be having a Reading Academy for students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grades," said superintendent Don Love. "We want to provide busing for those students who don't have a ride for the after school program."

The program will begin on Oct. 23 and run until Dec. 12.

"Last year we had some problems with some students that needed to attend the academy, but didn't have a ride home," said Love. "We want to do everything we possibly can, to get these students into the programs they need and this is one of them."

Transportation Director Jimmy Dutchover stated that he had cleared it with everyone about providing the extra busing. "We have that route, it will only run later," said Dutchover.

Plan "A" is to bus the child to the nearest campus near their home, according to Dutchover. "Plan B is to bus them directly to their home if we have to," he said.

"Plan B is to bus them door to door for the ones that have that obstacle," said Dutchover.

In other action, Board members approved the annual Drug Free Rally, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20, at Eagle Stadium.

Truck rollover shuts down I-20 overnight

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 13, 2000 - A truck rollover just east of Pecos forced the closing of Interstate 20 for over 12 hours and sent Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission investigators to the site in connection with a possible hazardous waste spill.

However, TNRCC officials said no hazardous materials were found to have spilled in the accident, which sent the driver of a truck-trailer to Reeves County Hospital.

The accident occurred about 8:30 p.m. when the driver of the truck lost control of his vehicle and rolled over while westbound on I-20 near the Collie Road exit. The Department of Public Safety called out a TNRCC investigator to the scene of the accident about 9:30 p.m., Thursday.

"We received the call late last night and immediately dispatched one of our investigators, as well as a hazardous material cleanup team," said Mike Hagam, TNRCC's Region 7 Midland office air section manager.

Hagam said in accidents like this, a cleanup team is always dispatched just to make sure that no hazardous materials have been spilled, to protect the public.

"We don't believe that any hazardous material was spilled," said Hagam. "Initially, a clean up for hazardous material response team out of Midland was sent to the site, but it appears that they didn't find anything."

"There was no spill on the ground," said Ruben Ochoa, with the TNRCC's public information office in Austin. "What happened was some empty containers (barrels used for storing hazardous waste) were dropped to the ground."

More information will be obtained after the investigator submits his written report, said Hagam. "That's just an initial report and we'll learn more after the investigator, Mike McCleary, finishes up his written report," he said.

"Everything was taken care of quickly," Hagam added.

In incidents like this TNRCC doesn't like to take any chances and hazardous waste material clean-up teams are quick to respond, according to Hagam. "We like to send out a team right away, just in case," he said.

McCleary spent the night at the accident site, before returning to Midland this morning, Ochoa said.

The rollover blocked the westbound lanes of the highway, and Texas Department of Transportation crews were called out about 9p.m. to begin detouring traffic away from the rollover. Westbound traffic was routed off I-20 at the FM 516 (Barstow) exit, and along Business I-20 to Pecos, while eastbound vehicles were detoured off the interstate at the Collie Road exit back towards Pecos, and from there east on Business I-20 to Barstow.

TxDOT crews re-opened the highway about 9:30 a.m. today.

The accident is being investigated by the DPS, but as of late this morning a full report, along with the name of the truck's driver, were not available.

Methodists' area superintendent guest speaker

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 13, 2000 - Friends and former members of First United Methodist Church in Pecos are invited to help celebrate the church's 47th Annual Harvest Day on Sunday.

David Weyant, superintendent of the Odessa District of United Methodist Churches, will be guest speaker for the 10:55 a.m., morning worship service.

"We are happy to have our district superintendent help lead the Harvest Day service," said Pecos pastor Bruce Abbott. "Harvest Day is one of the oldest annual traditions of the Methodist Church here in Pecos."

Harvest Day was established during a time that most of the church members made their livings through agriculture. It was a day set aside to return part of the "harvest" to God. In more modern times, church members have continued to give thanks for their material blessings by returning a special offering on Harvest Day.

Traditionally, friends and former members of the Pecos church are invited to share in Harvest Day by attending worship services and the luncheon that follows.

Weyant, who will deliver this year's Harvest Day message, has visited Pecos in the past while serving as the pastor at the Monahans and Wickett Methodist churches in 1996 and since his appointment as Odessa District superintendent in 1998.

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Weyant is a graduate of McMurry University in Abilene. He received his seminary training at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Penn., graduating with honors.

Weyant and his wife, Carol, have been married for 35 years. They have two grown daughters: Janet, who teaches at Odessa High School, and Amy, who works at McMurry University.

The Weyants came to the New Mexico Conference in 1977 and began a seven-year pastorate at Iraan. In 1984, they moved to Kermit and spent three years at First United Methodist Church. In 1987 they moved to Odessa's Highland United Methodist Church and stayed for seven years. In 1994, the Weyants moved to First United Methodist Church in Hobbs, N.M., for two years. They were then at the Monahans and Wickett churches until moving to El Paso in 1997 as district superintendent. Weyant has been Odessa District superintendent the past two years.

French duo study law West of the Pecos

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 13, 2000 - A reporter and photographer from a French magazine have been visiting local law enforcement for the past 12 days.

Agnes Gattegno and Pierre de Vallombreuse are in Pecos to write an article for Figaro Magazine out of Paris about law enforcement "West of the Pecos."

The two explained that to people in France, the image of Texas and the idea of a sheriff are mythical and are reporting on law enforcement in old times and today.

Gattegno said the French have an image of the entire state being like West Texas.

To help Gattegno and Vallombreuse understand West Texas more, Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney has introduced the two to many community members.

"I've introduced them to some of the area ranchers," he said.

McKinney said the two have been observing the police department, the Sheriff's department and the Drug Task Force as well as meeting people from the Federal Courthouse, U.S. Border Patrol, Justice of the Peaces, and the District Attorney.

McKinney said all these people helped them with their article, "So they could just get the feel of how law enforcement and justice works in this area.

"They were surprised at how the law enforcement interacts so much with the community," he said.

Vallombreuse said there is a major difference between French and Texas law enforcement.

Here, many of the law enforcement officials are elected, giving them some kind of relationship with the public. In France, Vallombreuse said the law enforcement agents are assigned to a job by the head of the Ministry of Interior, which makes them answer only to their supervisor and not the public.

"There is almost no relationship between the population and law enforcement," he said.

Gattegno has been working as a reporter for three years after starting out at a magazine that is the French equivalent of National Geographic.

Before she started reporting she was an actress, a novelist and a movie scriptwriter.

"It's interesting to go from fiction to reality," she said. "Most people are trying to go from reality to fiction."

Vallombreuse has been working as a freelance photographer for 15 years and made a documentary for the English and French BBC stations.

He said he sometime writes articles but not often because "I have no talent for that."

The two travel around the world to report on many things.

Vallombreuse said it is easier to travel to different countries when you know the language, so he has learned five languages, including English, Spanish and Indonesian.

Gattegno also knows several languages including English, Italian and some Spanish.

They both said West Texas accents are not as hard to understand as they expected.

"They don't speak very fast," Vallombreuse said. "It's less difficult than I expected."

Gattegno said it is a little more difficult to understand the older community members because they have a slightly different accent.

Overall, the two said they have enjoyed visiting Pecos and would like to thank the community and all the law enforcement for their cooperation and hospitality.

"Mostly it's the people I like," Vallombreuse said. "I didn't expect the people to be so cooperative."

He said the people of West Texas are more cooperative than the French would be and said he would tell anyone who asked that we are very respectable people.

The two plan to leave West Texas early next week and are looking forward to attending their first American football game tonight at Eagle Stadium.

FSA elections for area positions set for Nov. 11

PECOS, October 13, 2000 - The Reeves/Loving FSA County Committee elections for LAA's 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be held on Nov. 11, 2000. Eligible voters have the right to nominate candidates of their choice by petition. Blank petitions may be obtained at the Reeves/Loving County FSA Office, 1417 W. Third St.

Petitions should be submitted to the County FSA Office no later than October 30, 2000.

Persons nominated should be currently engaged in the operation of a farm or ranch and be well qualified for committee work. A farmer or rancher is eligible to be a county FSA Committee member if the producer lives in the LAA and is an eligible voter. County FSA Committee members may not hold positions in certain farm and commodity organization, if these positions pose as a conflict of interest with FSA duties. These positions include functional offices such as president, vice-president, secretary, and positions on boards or executive committees. Additional information on eligibility to hold office may be obtained at the County FSA Office.

The duties of county FSA Committee member include:

· Informing producers of the purpose and provisions of the FSA programs

· Keeping the State FSA Committee informed of LA Conditions

· Recommending needed changes in farm programs

· Participating in county meetings as necessary

· Performing other duties as assigned by the State FSA Committee


Edna Harding

Edna Idell Harding, 83, of Exray Community, Tx., died Thursday, Oct. 12, 2000 at Palo Pinto General Hospital in Mineral Wells.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at Stephenville Funeral Home Chapel with Reverend Mike Orsini officiating. Burial will be in Hannibal Cemetery in Hannibal Community.

She was born Aug. 21, 1917, in McClain, was the postmaster at Mentone for over 10 years, was a member of the Methodist Church, and had lived in the Exray Community for the past 15 years, moving there from Pecos. She was a retired postmaster.

A daughter, one sister, and four brothers preceded her in death.

Survivors include her husband, Grady Harding of Exray Community; four daughters, Jenny Jones of Grand Prairie, Wilma Dickerman of Phoenix, Ariz., Elrain Wear of Spearman, Lynn O'Leary of Gravette, Ark.; nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Stephenville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Seberiano Olivas

Services are incomplete for Seberiano Olivas, 93, of Pecos who died, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2000, at Pecos Nursing Home.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, October 13, 2000 - High Thursday 85. Low this morning 56. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 70s. South wind 10-20 mph. Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s. Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the lower to mid 50s. High in the lower to mid 70s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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