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Friday, May 11, 2001

Martinez elected new P-B-T board president

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, May 11, 2001 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board president Louis Matta bid the  group farewell and good luck their regular meeting held Thursday evening  in the boardroom.

Following his departure the board was re-organized with three new board officers selected. Crissy Martinez will serve as the board's new president; Billie Sadler will be vice-president and secretary will be David Flores.

Martinez is one of four new board members who were sworn in at Thursday night's meeting, after the results of last Saturday's election were canvassed by the former board. Along with Martinez, the other members sworn into three-year terms were Lila Cerna and Saul "Chip" Flores, while Michelle Galindo took the oath of office to a one-year expired term.

Matta and Earl Bates opted not to run for new terms this year on the school board, while Brent Shaw and Paul Deishler were defeated in their bids for new terms.

The new board recognized several groups during the meeting, including Pecos High School UIL academic students, art students, District 8 Outstanding Student Council Member, girls' softball district champions, boys' baseball district champions, boys' and girls' district golf champions, boys district tennis champions, Marketing Education State Qualifiers and FFA state qualifiers.

"These students did an excellent job and we're proud of all of them," said superintendent Don Love.

Candidates for teacher of the year and the announcement of the Teacher of the Year was made during the regular session.

Candidates for the prestigious award included from Pecos Kindergarten, Norma Jean Redwine; Austin Elementary school nominee, Priscilla Cook; from Pecos Elementary, Catherine Allan; Bessie Haynes Elementary School, Alice Wein; Zavala Middle School sixth grade, Martha Ricketson; Crockett Middle School seventh and eighth grades, Rebecca Chabarria and Pecos High School, Priss McNutt.

Love presented the awards for Teacher of the Year. The primary teacher of the year award went to Alice Wein and the secondary teacher of the year award was given to Rebecca Chabarria.

Board members approved some requests for purchase foreclosed properties, but rejected one offer.

Property bids approved included 2206 Limpia, to Pascual Olibas in the amount of $2,500; 1320 W. 5th Street to Robert N. Franco in the amount of $4,250 and 606 W "F" Street to Isabel Flores in the amount of $2,500.

Property bids on 131 S. Oak and 133 S. Oak were rejected by the board. The bid amount was for $11,500 by James Brownlee.

Board members opted to re-bid the property.

Appointments for the school will be Kittie Bramblett, Bachelor of Arts/Social Sciences/Sul Ross State University, no experience; assignment: Pecos High School geography teacher/coach;

Roxanna Chavez, Bachelor of Science/Education/Sul Ross State University, three years experience, assignment: Lamar Alternative Education Program/Region 18 Education Service Center's Teacher Certification Program;

Amanda Marie Moreno, Masters of Education/Abilene Christian University, no experience, assignment: Pecos High School Spanish Teacher/Cheerleaders' sponsor.

Resignations came from Pam Miller, sixth grade teacher/Zavala Elementary School; Norma Jean Redwine, kindergarten teacher/Pecos Kindergarten and Barry Truelove, math teacher/coach/Crockett Middle School.

Retirements will be Lyndol Wade Horne, alternative education program teacher/Lamar AEP and Roger Russell, geography teacher/Pecos High School.

Board discusses PHS graduation ceremony change

Staff Writer

Parents may be seated in the stands at Eagle Stadium on May  25, but they will still be helping to hand out high school diplomas to  their children, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members decided on Thursday.

The board opted against returning to the traditional Pecos High School graduation ceremony, but may not have the parented on the field until the diplomas are handed out this year, after hearing from parents and teachers about how to stage this year's ceremony.

Superintendent Don Love told the board that he had received a letter from some of the parents about changing the graduation ceremony to the traditional form the school had used until recent years. Only board members handed out the diplomas to the graduates under the old system.

"Right now, what we do is have the parents hand out the diplomas to the graduates and some parents signed a letter stating that they would like this to change," said Love.

The letter was signed by about 15 parents. "After I received this information, I took it to Mr. Rodriguez and we conducted a survey," said Love.

However, after a lengthy discussion and several quotes from the parents, the board voted to keep the ceremony as it has been done for several years, as a non-traditional ceremony, where the parents get to hand out the diplomas to the students.

The survey showed that seven students opted for the traditional graduation-where board members only pass out diplomas, while 122 students voted for the non-traditional graduation _ where parents or board members pass out diplomas.

"I thought we needed to hear from the kids," said Love.

The parents listed several reasons why they wanted the ceremony returned to the traditional way, including the fact that it's more time-consuming for the parents to hand out the diplomas, it causes problems for students who come from divorced parents, it takes away from the formality and the seriousness of the occasion and having so many parents out in the field creates more confusion.

English teacher Elizabeth Armstrong said that the reasons for going back to the traditional ceremony were all valid. "I know that that on the flipside the parents really enjoy sharing this special moment with their children," said Armstrong. "And more and more parents are getting involved," she said.

"The 300 parents does take away from the 150 graduates," said Armstrong. "On the one hand it is a good effort, but does take away from the graduates."

Armstrong said the group had come up with an alternate plan. "We would have the parents sit in the stands instead of out in the field," said Armstrong.

The parents will sit in the band section of Eagle Stadium. With the guidance of senior sponsors, parents will file onto the track from the wheelchair ramp and approach the stage from the south. Parents will then return to the bleachers via the southwest stairwell.

"If we're taking a survey and the kids are telling us what they want, but the parents are saying `no' that's not what we want, then why take a survey at all, if you're not going to follow the wishes of the kids," said board member David Flores.

"I don't think it was a waste of time, I think it was just another piece of the puzzle to help you make a decision," said Armstrong.

Parents in the audience stood up and talked about the reasons why they want to go back to the traditional ceremony.

Neddie Molinar told the group that it is already causing problems with parents who are divorced. "One mother who has been raising her daughter alone, is having problems, because now the daughter wants the father to give her the diploma, when he has never been involved with her life before and that hurt the mother," said Molinar.

Molinar said that it caused such a problem that the mother kicked the daughter out of the house. "And she's not the only one facing this problem," said Molinar.

"Was there a survey done five years ago when it changed to non-traditional," asked new board president Crissy Martinez.

"Yes, there was, but the board went against the survey at that time," said Love.

"But if the survey says that 122-7, we should go with what the kids have asked for," said Flores. "Most of these kids are 18 and can make their own decisions," he said.

"Is this a question that will come up every year?" said board member Lila Cerna.

"Probably," said Armstrong.

Parent Terry Terrazas told the board that when her oldest son graduated she had to sit in the field. "At that time I wasn't seeing the whole ceremony," she said. "And if we have to sit in the stands, I'd rather sit with my family," she said.

Terrazas said that when they asked on the survey, the students didn't fully understand what was going on.

Molinar told the group that having the parents in the field takes away from the graduates. "People spend more time looking at the parents on the field, than they do at the graduates," said Molinar.

Johnny Terrazas said he agreed with Flores about it being important to go with the students wishes. "But the problem with the single parents will also be a problem for Mrs. Armstrong," he said.

Terrazas said that having the parents sit in the stands would also cause problems. "By the time we file down there and then back up, we will have missed a lot of the graduates," said Terrazas. "I know most of these kids and I want to see them get their diploma or take a picture of them," he said.

"I sure don't want to miss some photo opportunities," he said.

Armstrong said she had already been approached by one student from a single parent home, who would like for her to give him the diploma. "He said if I ask my mom, my dad will be hurt and if I ask my dad, she will be hurt," said Armstrong.

"We have the parents involved with athletics, where the parents go down there and when they're being recognized," said Julie Payne. "I think this is something that can be worked out at home."

"We did ask that no other children be out on the field and this year we plan to make it a more serious and somber occasion, not boring, but just more serious," said Armstrong.

Martinez Field's lighting proposal on county agenda

An interlocal cooperation contract for community sports and recreation program between Reeves County, Town of Pecos City and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD sports lighting for Martinez field will be the topic of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

Commissioners will meet at 9:45 a.m., Monday, on the third floor courtroom and the public is invited to attended.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on West Texas Centers for MHMR services; DRG architect request for payment Invoice No. 258; method of gold course beer purchase payments; contract between Reeves County and Garza County Regional Juvenile Center; contract between Reeves County and youth and family services; juvenile accountability-grant funds resolution; contract between Reeves County and Cindy Orona; contract between Reeves County and Onfre Fernandez and Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force resolution.

The group will discuss and take action property bids; bond and oath for Faustina Trujillo and Joann Lindemann; 2000 Audit report; reports from various departments; budget amendments and line-item transfers; personnel and salary changes (RCDC, recreation department, library, juvenile detention center); minutes from previous meetings; semi-monthly bills and semi-monthly bills.

Disabled riders mark 100th day of trip in Pecos

Staff Writer

A group of horsemen celebrated 100 days of traveling with a stop  in Pecos Thursday while on their long journey across America.

United States Driving for the Disabled are sponsoring a horsedrawn journey across America. Five people are making the journey to raise the awareness of horse programs for the disabled.

Michael Muir said that they have been planning the journey for two years and started the trip in January.

Muir, who has been living with multiple sclerosis since he was 15-years-old, is an accomplished horseman and breeder of Stonewall Sporthorses, the kind of horse that they use on the journey.

Muir said that some people believe that he is crazy because he did not plan every detail of the trip before starting out on the journey.

"They wonder how we could just drive off into the unknown," he said. "Maybe that's why we're so successful."

Muir said that sometimes he could not answer peoples' questions because they just take one day at a time.

"We don't have all the answers," he said. "We just have faith that we're going to make it."

Muir and the crew are using the help of his great-great-grandmother's diary to make the trip across America.

He said that his grandmother was one of the original forty-niners who traveled to California during the gold rush in 1849.

He said that they are using her diary to travel in reverse from where she started from in Virginia.

Muir said that it is exciting that he and the other horsemen on the trip have been able to travel from Mission San Diego, Calif., to Pecos, which is 1,000 miles, in 100 days, ahead of schedule.

"We were scheduled to arrive in Pecos on May 13," he said. "So we're a couple of days ahead."

Muir said that he believes that the worst part of the trip is over with.

"My biggest worry was to get through the desert," he said.

He said that the desert is the reason he and the rest of the crew left in January in hopes to miss the extremely high temperatures this summer.

Muir is traveling with four other regular crewmembers including a 21-year-old horse trainer, Jose Hernandez de Legorreta, who has been legally blind since birth.

There have also been a few people who have joined the crew for numerous days at a time including a paraplegic man from Germany and two men with polio from Sweden.

The group of travelers currently have three horses that they use with another one on the way.

They also travel with a wheelchair carriage that accommodates wheelchair-bound passengers, which they take to numerous hospitals to give rides to people who are wheelchair bound.

Muir said the crew hopes to be in Honey Grove, Texas by July 4th where he has relatives and will attend a family reunion.

He said that it turns out that one of his distant cousins also raises Stonewall Sporthorses as well.

According to a press release, the group of travelers hope to meet with the governor of each state to discuss programs that would benefit the disabled.

"The Journey Across America team is striving to meet the Governors of each state to gather political support for programs that benefit people with disabilities," the press release said.

The team is self-contained with their own water and feed for the horses and is able to set up pens for the horses when they stop, according to Muir.

But sometimes, Muir said that they are able to stop at a place where the horses can be let loose in corrals, fields or fair grounds, such as here in Pecos.

Muir said that the team travels with two to three crew members traveling in the horsedrawn carriages while two other crew members travel ahead in a truck and trailer in order to scout out their routes.

Right now the crew is traveling along the frontage roads of Interstate 20 but Muir said that they are not opposed to going off road onto farm roads.

"We like to get off the beaten path away from traffic," he said.

The crew is currently on their way to Midland after leaving the Reeves County Fairgrounds this morning and hope to reach the White House in Washington, D.C. by November 1.

Muir said that tax-deductible donation to the Journey Across America team you could send it to 32644 County Road 19, Woodland, Calif., 95695. For more information of the crew and the journey log onto www.horsejourney .com.


High Thursday 99. Low this morning 60. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers  or thunderstorms. Low 55 to 60. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday:  Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High  80 to 85. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy  with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid  50s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows around 60. Highs 90 to 95.

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