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Friday, February 9, 2001

Program to fight drinking, driving OKed

Staff Writer

A program aimed at making teens aware of the consequences  of drinking and driving will be held at the Pecos High School, following  a decision made at last evening's regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah  ISD board meeting.

The board approved the program, "Shattered Dreams," which will be sponsored by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, the Pecos Police Department, along with the Texas Department of Transportation.

John Deering with TABC spoke to the board about the special program and the group had the opportunity to see a video on the program that was made in Crane.

"We've been to seven different schools and it has been very successful," said Deering. "It pulls people in the community together, because it uses different people."

During the program, the group will use a "mock" wrecked car, which will be placed in front of the high school to show the students what one looks after a drinking and driving accident occurs, according to Deering.

"We have kids play parts in the mock test," said Deering. "And we have actual people that go to the hospital, the driver actually goes to jail, takes a toxicology test, is read his rights," said Deering.

The whole procedure is an example of what happens when you drink and drive and are involved in an accident and the consequences that follow, according to Deering.

"We put a T-shirt on the dead kids, along with makeup, and instruct them that this will not affect their school work, but since they're supposed to be dead, they are not to speak to anyone," said Deering.

The program is made as realistically possible, with officers going to the parent's home and informing them that their child is "dead" or has been arrested for drinking and driving, according to Deering.

Following all this, an assembly is held, possibly the next day, with different speakers talking to the school about their experience in the program and different people in the community talking about the effects of drinking and driving.

"They have a chance to tell other kids what it's like and what they have learned through this program," said Deering.

"In several of our surveys we looked at 86 percent of eight graders involved with alcohol, without their parents around," he said. "We're finding a lot of kids in grades 7-9 that are involved with alcohol. It seems to be the drug of choice for kids, since they can get it at home or from other kids."

The only thing we can do is give them the information and hope they make the right choice, Deering added.

"We did this in Crane and the video was made there," he said.

The program is scheduled for April 17 and April 18 and a kit was provided to the school and the volunteers.

"We will also have counselors on hand if the kids need to talk to them," said Deering.

In other business on Thursday, school board members approved preliminary plans and gave approval to go ahead with the rough draft for a new Technology Resource Center.

The building will be constructed east of the boardroom, in the vacant lot near Eddy and Jefferson streets.

"There's sufficient funds to build it," said Career and Technology Director Larry Sloan. The money will come from the district's technology funds, which can be used to go towards construction of the building, according to PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

The center will be a multi-purpose lab, according to Love.

"My vision is to have a place to do pretty extensive training with our staff," said Sloan. "This training will be used so that they can integrate it into what they are doing."

Sloan said that there is a lot of technology that is not being used, because the teachers simply don't have the time during the day to learn it.

Training for staff and students will be available at the center and students who don't have access to computers at home can come and finish up their work at the center, according to Sloan.

Training for the community will be available as well, he added.

"Introducing careers and tying in education will be the main purpose," said Sloan. "I've been in training rooms that have from 30-40 students and I've been in some that have just 15 and it's easier to learn when there is a smaller group."

"It's more individualized and intense training," he added.

"You get to thinking about the things you can do with this facility and it just goes on an on," said Sloan, who added that distance learning could also go in that facility.

"This money won't affect any other projects or ideas?" asked board member Steve Valenzuela.

"No, sir, not at all," said Sloan. "Actually, I went to the administrators and teachers that use this technology and asked if they had any ideas on what to do with these funds."

"What do you need, what are doing?" Sloan asked the teachers. "None of them could really come up with something, all of our labs are up to date and this will benefit everyone."

He said they would need to get back to the architect and come up with a design, since the one submitted was just a rough draft. "After that we have go through bid process, but I think construction will begin before the end of the school year," he said.

Board sets filing dates, clerks for May election

Individuals who want to serve their community as part of the  Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board can sign up for a place on the May 5  election ballot, beginning Feb. 19.

That will be the first day to accept applications for a place on the ballot and filing will continue through March 21 at the P-B-T administration office, 1302 S. Park St.

Four of the seven seats on the school board will be up for election this year, including the full three-year terms currently held by Brent Shaw, Louis Matta and Earl Bates, along with the unexpired term currently held by Paul Deishler, who was appointed last year by the board to replace Frank Apolinar, Jr.

After the filing deadline drawing for a place on the ballot will take place in the superintendent's office at 10 a.m. on March 22, while the deadline for write-in candidates to file declaration of their candidacy is on March 26, at 5 p.m.

If there are no opposed candidates after the write-in deadline, no propositions and no vacancies to be filled by special election, the election may be canceled anytime after this date.

March 30, at 5 p.m., is the last day for a candidate to withdraw in order to have their name omitted from the ballot, and the last day a person may register to vote in the May 5 elections is April 5.

Early voting by personal appearance for early voting ballots to be voted by mail will be April 27 and May 1 will be the last day to vote by personal appearance.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Election Day, May 5.

Along with setting the filing deadlines, school board members approved the Order of Election, proposed judges and alternates and appointed Debbie Thomas as early voting clerk.

"She does an excellent job," said superintendent Don Love.

In other business the board approved purchasing a pickup truck from Colt Chevrolet, who was the lowest bidder, for $25,691.89. It was one of two bids received by the board, the other coming from Valley Motor Company of Pecos.

Stock trailers to be purchased were also approved and will be purchased from Bruton Company. One is a 6'X16' bumper pull stock trailer and the other is a 6 ½ X16' Low profile stock trailer.

The board also voted for local schools to observe "Take Our Daughters to Work Day" on April 30. "We met with the administrators and decided to go with April 30," said superintendent Don Love.

The Take Our Daughters to Work Day program is promoted annually nationwide by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The day provides an opportunity for districts to extend plans for career investigation activities. Nationally, the event is the fourth Thursday in April each year. However, many superintendents have expressed an interest in participating in TODTWD at a different time than the national event due to other established activities local schools are involved in on April 26.

While the national TODTWD is focused on career awareness for girls, it is inappropriate to exclude boys due to the nature of Title IX guidelines. Participation in the event presents districts with the opportunity to emphasize gender equity as an important issue applicable to all students.

"This will be for middle school and high school students," said Love. "Boys should also have the opportunity to go with their moms as well."

Granado named gang officer for Pecos PD

Staff Writer

The Pecos Police Department has added a new position to  the department, which is designed to help with local gang problem,  which has been on the rise in recent months.

Newly appointed gang officer Armando "Mundy" Granado is ready to help the community and the kids of Pecos.

Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said the police department was able to create the position with the help of a federal grant.

"That position was made possible by the COPS grant obtained by the police department," he said.

The Pecos PD started this program several months ago but has only recently been able to move on it.

"We're just now able to get it off the ground," McKinney said.

McKinney said that Granado would be in charge of anything gang related, including investigating gang activity and counseling juveniles.

"He'll work all gang activity and will work all investigations regarding gangs and juvenile crime," he said.

Granado was born and raised in Pecos, he said he stayed here because of family, and said if he ever left he would probably not be gone for long.

He has been an officer at the Pecos PD for four years and before that he was at the Reeves County Sheriff's Department for seven years.

Granado said he is looking forward to his new position, helping the kids and guiding them to doing the right thing.

"All they need is a little bit of guidance, someone they can talk to," he said. "They just want to feel wanted."

Granado said that is one of the reasons they join gangs and with some programs and guidance he hopes to deter them from that life.

McKinney said that by adding this position to the police department, Granado would help slow down the current gang activity and stop new gangs from forming.

"There is a problem (with gangs)," he said. "Hopefully we'll get a hold of it before it escalates."

"We're trying to be as proactive as possible," he said.

McKinney said that after reading the recent Resource Team's report that the main things the community is concerned about involving law enforcement is drugs, graffiti and gangs.

"I don't know how we could be working against drugs any harder," he said.

McKinney explained that the PD, the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force all work against drug activity and hopes Granado can help with the other two issues.

Granado said he would be working with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD in trying to have some programs for the students to learn more about gang intervention and soon would be getting some new equipment in order to track gang related activity and the members.

He said that the police department is even trying to get involved with a program to receive equipment for tattoo removals with the help of a local doctor.

"President Bush started this program (as governor in Texas) in 1999," Granado said.

He said he is hoping to create relationships with the kids and community members in order to help with the gang problems.

"The program is not just about putting them in jail," he said.

Granado said that anyone with any concerns, ideas or complaints should feel free to come in and visit with him, and he would also take time out of work to talk to any kids who might need or want someone to talk to.

"I'm more than willing to talk to them and help them out as much as I can," he said.

McKinney said that he is very confident in the program and in Granado.

"I feel he'll become an expert in that field in a really short period of time," he said.

McKinney also said he also feels that the community will give Granado and the police department their support.

"I feel that the community is ready for a program like this," he said.

RCDC job, golf course items on agenda

Routine items top Monday's agenda for Reeves County Commissioners, who will discuss golf tournaments and payment requests as part of their regularly scheduled meeting.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday to discuss and take action on a Sadie Hawkins Golf Tournament, West Texas Junior Golf Champions Tour and Reeves County Golf Course Pro Shop Stock and Concession lease options.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on Banes General Contractors Inc., request for RCDC 1,000 bed addition change orders and request for payment of racquetball court, Draw No. 3; DRG Architect's request for payment invoice No. 230 and No. 231.

The group will discuss and take action on professional services contract with Reeves County and Speer and Murray; contract between Reeves County and Taylor County for Juvenile Detention Services; lease of CASE model 660-tractor and deputation and oath for Patricia Tarin-District Clerk and Mary O. Bitolas, reserve deputy.

In other business, the group will discuss and take action on Reeves County/TXDOT Interstate 20-U.S. 285 Landscaping Project-Landscaping materials donations; property bids; an agreement between Reeves County and Reeves County Hospital; and Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Resolution.

Under regular agenda items the group will discuss and take action on:

* Reports from various departments.

* Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

* Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, Recreation).

* Minutes from previous meetings.

* Semi-monthly bills.

* Spread on the minutes several items.

ACS Relay of Life meeting scheduled

American Cancer Society Relay For Life Rally have scheduled  a meeting for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13, at the First United  Methodist Church, 301 S. Elm.

The group would like to extend an invitation for everyone to come learn more about Relay for Life and how to get involved in this community event.

A special recognition will be given to last year's underwriters, sponsors and teams, who contributed time and money.

Food, fun and prizes will be awarded.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Hanks has another bid for Oscar

Staff Writer

Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks (Apollo  13) might as well get ready for another Oscar nomination because it is sure to  come with his role in Twentieth Century Fox's Cast  Away.

Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a very dedicated FedEx employee who is involved in a tragic plane crash leaving him stranded on a deserted island.

Hanks is truly amazing because he is able to play a "Big" kid in the 1980s classic Big to a sick man fighting for his rights in the early 90s hit Philadelphia to this very sane yet insane man talking to a volleyball.

It is truly amazing at what a versatile actor Hanks can be.

The equally talented actress Helen Hunt (Twister) plays his one screen love Kelly.

Hunt is also very good in this romantic movie although she does not have much screen time.

The two paired together makes a winning combination that finds you rooting for their love for each other to overcome all obstacles.

Other than those two talented actors the only outstanding performance is the volleyball, which is very quiet and spends most of its life just sitting around.

The movie is shot extremely well with a very very very realistic plane crash scene by the esteemed Robert Zemeckis.

This is not the first time Zemeckis and Hanks have teamed up to make a wonderful movie.

The two worked together to make the huge 1994 blockbuster hit Forrest Gump.

Zemeckis is truly a master of his craft and proved so by making the very realistic scenes and wonderful camera angles and shots.

This trio of moviemakers (including the volleyball) have come together to make a good movie although long it is worth seeing at least once.

Cast Away is rated PG-13.


High Thursday 78. Low this morning 38. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 20s. Southeast wind 5 to 15  mph. Saturday: Increasing cloudiness. High in the mid 50s. South wind  10 to 20 mph. Saturday night: Mostly cloudy. Low 30 to 35.  Sunday through Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 30s. Highs in  The 60s to around 70.

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