Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, June 29, 2001
School board faces dispute over Austin job
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- Yes, you have a job, no you don't,
was the dilemma discussed at a special Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting
held Thursday evening in the board room.
Board members went against Superintendent Don Love's recommendation
to hire a teacher to serve as physical education instructor and coach at
Austin Elementary School.
Love presented four appointments to the board, but only three were approved.
The discussion began when a Pecos High School teacher spoke on behalf
of another local teacher and said that the individual should receive that
"I urge you to consider this and pass a rule," said Priss McNutt, a
PHS English teacher.
McNutt told the board that teacher Alvino Garcia had been moved from
Austin Elementary to the high school, a position that he did not want.
"His minor is in English and he was moved to the high school to teacher
English and coach, when he had been at Austin Elementary School for several
years," said McNutt.
McNutt said that Garcia had really enjoyed his job at Austin and did
not want to be moved. She said that teaching English and coaching at the
same time took up too much time and energy, so therefore he had decided
to resign from that position.
"When you have a dual contract, you can't resign from just one thing,
you have to resign from the entire position," said Love.
Love's recommendation was to hire Michael Valencia for that position.
Valencia has a bachelor of arts/kinesiology degree from the University
of Texas of the Permian Basin, with no experience.
McNutt told the board that while the duties of teaching high school
English and coaching were too much for Garcia, teaching physical education
and being a coach at a lower level would be much less stressful.
"The person you're recommending for that position is new to the district,
this person has been here for 16 years, has a home here, is a taxpayer
and grew up in Pecos," said McNutt.
"He came into my office and resigned his position, and if he doesn't
want to coach he needs to resign that (English) position," said Love.
Board president Crissy Martinez said that the teacher was just voicing
her concern for a local person. "We're looking at a person who has been
with the district for 16 years," she said.
Board member Michele Galindo said that Garcia was going to apply for
the Austin Elementary School position, but that it was already filled when
he came forward. "He was never given the opportunity to apply for that
position," said Galindo.
"When you have a dual contract, you have to resign to the whole thing,"
said finance officer Cookie Canon. "And this position was posted."
Martinez said that the new hire had not passed his exit exam yet.
"Well, that's all he lacks, but he's certainly a qualified and talented
individual," said Love.
"Is this a message we want to send out, that we allow people to quit
and then pick another job, if that's what they want," said board member
David Flores. "He resigned his position, and that's the chance he was going
to take, that another position might not be open."
"He didn't want to teach English and coach too, he wanted to do what
he was doing before," said board member Chip Flores.
McNutt said that while Garcia did not want to be at the high school,
he did want the Austin job after the teacher who had been hired to replace
him resigned. "So when the opening at Austin was open again, he wanted
his old position back," said McNutt. "But by the time he was going to apply,
it had been filled."
"If you want to keep qualified teachers, you need to let them be in
a position where they are more comfortable and con do a better job for
the district," she said. "We want to put the teachers were they are more
Crockett Middle School Principal Juanita Davila said she had been present
at the interview with Valencia, who was offered the position at Austin.
"There was a teacher from Austin, the vice-principal and all were pleased
with this individual and very impressed," said Davila. "So the superintendent
didn't have the input alone, there were others present and we don't want
to lose him."
McNutt said that we wouldn't want to lose an individual who had been
with the district for 16 years either.
Board members voted to approve the other three appointments, including
a distant relative of one of the board members, but opted to keep the Austin
Elementary School position open and post it for interviews. David Flores
voted against that motion.
New appointments included Fredrick Carter, who is related to Daisy Roquemore,
who is related to board member Billie Sadler.
"There's no nepotism, because this individual is not closely related
to a board member, it's in the fourth degree," said Love.
Carter holds a Masters of Education/Education/Sul Ross State University,
22 years experience and his assignment will be at Crockett Middle School
Boy's Physical Education teacher/coach. He held a similar position with
P-B-T ISD back in the 1980s, at Zavala Middle School.
Judy Georzelle Hayes, Bachelor of Science/Math/University of Texas of
the Permian Basin, no experience, assignment: Pecos High School Math Teacher.
John Michael Mason, Bachelor of Arts/Government/University of Texas
of the Permian Basin, no experience, assignment: Crockett Middle School
Feds release $2.4 million for city jail
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- Town of Pecos City officials received
good news today, in the form of federal funding for the new jail facility
the city has been working on.
The U.S. Marshal's Service released $2.4 million in funding to the City
of Pecos to reimburse the city for construction of a new detention facility,
U.S. Senator Phil Gramm announced.
"We're very happy, very excited about this," said Town of Pecos City
Manager Carlos Yerena. "We worked very hard on this venture."
"We visited with (U.S. Congressman Henry) Bonilla in Washington to address
the issue and met with the Marshal Service, in Bonilla's office," said
Yerena. "He said he wholeheartedly approved it and that the city of Pecos
needed and deserved this."
"With these funds, Pecos gets a new jail and the Marshal's Service gets
space to house its prisoners," said Gramm, in making the announcement.
"This is a perfect example of federal and local agencies working together
to fight crime and improve the lives of people in West Texas."
Ground was broken back in April for the 96-bed jail, which will also
serve as new home for the Pecos Police Department and will be located on
Raul Florez Boulevard, between Texas and Moore streets.
Total cost of the facility has been estimated at $5.6 million including
financing costs, according to Yerena. "This is going to really helpful,"
"We were very aggressive in pursuing this funding and Congressman Bonilla
was very supportive of this venture, which really helped," said Yerena,
who said the San Antonio Republican approved and help was very instrumental
in procuring these funds.
"We're just very excited about it," he said.
"I am pleased that some of the tax dollars sent by Texans to Washington
are being returned to benefit local citizens by funding programs such as
this," said Gramm. "My strong commitment is to assure a fair venture to
Texas taxpayers on the money we pay in federal taxes."
The funding was approved under the Marshal's Service Cooperative Agreement
Program. The U.S. Marshal's Service does not maintain its own jail facilities
and in recent years has been housing prisoners at out-of-town jails while
they await hearings or trials in U.S. District Court in Pecos.
Under the program, the city guarantees prison space to the Marshal's
Service in exchange for the funding assistance.
The new facility will serve the Western District of Texas, which includes
an area from El Paso to San Antonio as well as much of central Texas, including
Council approves building demolition plan
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- Local residents will soon not have
to worry about a number of eyesores and hazards that are around Pecos,
after the Town of Pecos City begins demolishing a number of condemned buildings
some time next week.
The City Council approved the start of the city's demolition project
during the regular meeting Thursday night at City Hall.
Pecos Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire provided the council with a list
of structures that have been considered hazardous.
In an interview this morning, Brookshire said that he had sent certified
letters to the owners of each property as well as published the list of
properties in the newspaper in efforts to contact the owners.
"We just have to make every effort we can to contact the owners," he
Brookshire said that the letters he sent to the owners informed them
of the city's plan to demolish the structures and gave them a chance to
either refurbish the structures or demolish them at their expense.
With no response from any property owner, Brookshire said that the cost
of demolition would be added to the tax lean.
The structures that are scheduled for demolition right now include:
611 South Willow Street; the old car wash at 903 West Third Street; 202
South Cherry Street; 423 South Alamo Street; 801 South Elm Street and 805
South Elm Street.
Brookshire informed the council that most of the structures have had
extensive fire damage and could not be safely refurbished.
He said that the city would progress through the list by targeting the
structures that are the most hazardous to the community first.
"Usually the most dangerous structures are the ones we'll get to first,"
Brookshire said that this group of structures is only the beginning.
He said that the city is trying to track down the owners of many other
properties in Pecos that needs demolition.
"We have several (properties) that are in really bad shape and we need
to do something pretty quick," he said.
City Manager Carlos Yerena made a request on behalf of the city employees
for the council to consider closing city offices on Friday, July 6 instead
of Wednesday, July 4.
"Traditionally the Town of Pecos City has been closed on Wednesday,"
he said. "Instead of Wednesday, the employees want to take Friday off."
Yerena said that he conducted a survey of all the city employees and
100 percent of the employees wanted to change the day to Friday.
The council said they had no problem with the request and approved the
change. City Hall and all city offices will be closed on July 6 in celebration
of the July 4th weekend.
The council did not take any action their discussion of ownership of
City Attorney Scott Johnson told the council that he looked into the
ownership of the cemetery dating back to 1903.
"Since then the city has been selling out plots," he said.
From as far as Johnson said that he could gather, the city still owns
the cemetery itself and has sold deeds to individual plots.
In previous meetings, the council had asked Johnson to look into the
ownership of the cemetery in order to determine whether or not the city
pays for utilities.
Recently, city employees, with the help of community service people
and the Reeves County Jail, have been working on cleaning up the cemetery,
which is located in the center of town on Eddy Street.
Along with the appearance of the cemetery, The council was concerned
about the use of water by individuals when watering plots at the cemetery.
Johnson informed the council that the city was responsible for the water
used at the cemetery and no individuals pay water bills for what they use.
The council agreed that the city would continue to keep the cemetery
clean and asked Johnson to come up with a policy that would keep tighter
control on the utilities used in the cemetery.
Pageant, `Night' start Rodeo Week events
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- The 2001 West of the Pecos Rodeo Week
will kick off tonight with six young women competing for the crown of Golden
Girl and 12 young girls competing for Little Miss Cantaloupe.
After weeks of practicing, the girls will perform a dance routine and
show off their talents to their family and friends tonight at the Pecos
High School Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The six Golden Girl contestants are Kattie Davis, Kristina Dominguez,
Cassie Foster, Desirae Tercero, Shanna Tredaway and Nikki Walker.
The 12 young girls competing for Little Miss Cantaloupe are Brittney
Michelle Alligood, Dana Conger, Marissa Elizondo, Stephanie Marie Fuentez,
Mia Lara, Kelly Lease, Gabriana Faith Nichols, Josie Estela Paz, Kendra
Brianne Rayos, Emily Rodriguez, Marissa Raquel Tarango, and Jenica Monique
The winners of each pageant will be announced after the Golden Girl
contestants perform their talent
They then can be seen at the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade on Wednesday,
July 4th, the opening day for this year's rodeo. Each Golden
Girl contestant will be riding on separate floats while the Little Miss
Cantaloupe contestants can be seen riding together on the Downtown Lions
Following tonight's pageant, the festivities will continue on Saturday
with Night in Old Pecos at Windmill Square and on South Oak Street.
Junja Jams will get the celebration started at 6 p.m.
Junja performance will be followed by the performance of the Golden
Girl and Little Miss Cantaloupe at 7 p.m.
A line dance performance will be preformed by the Senior Citizens at
8:30 and Malorie Alyssa Lara will performs to two songs at 9 p.m.
Nancy Lujan will present a fashion style show and dance at 9:30 p.m.
At the end of the show and dance, Junja will play music till the evening
Venders that will be a part of the celebrations will begin their set-ups
at 2 p.m.
Booths will be selling food and items that very anywhere from ice cream
to glow in the dark mouthpieces. Some of the venders will be from the Pecos
Little League, Athletic Boosters and Christ the King Catholic Church.
As of this morning there were still spaces for booths available, according
to Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce secretary Connie Carrasco.
"Out of 44 we still have 10 available," Carrasco said. "We are willing
to get people wanting to sell items not food."
Because the deadline for venders to receive health permits has passed,
they can only approve booths that will sell items.
Carrasco also said that there would be a ferris wheel, a train and a
DJ at the Saturday's events.
U.S. 285 added by TxDOT to Texas Trunk System plan
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- A section of U.S. 285 in Reeves County
has been added to the Texas Trunk System, making it eligible for widening
from two to four lanes in the future.
"A section of highway has been added in that area to the trunk system,
which is really great," said Glen Larum, with the Texas Department of Transportation,
in announcing that U.S. 285 from Pecos to the New Mexico state line has
been added to the system
U.S. 285 in Reeves County was left off the original Texas Trunk System
designation list back in 1990. The only section of the highway included
was between Fort Stockton and Sanderson in Pecos and Terrell counties.
Last year TxDOT updated its truck system list, and Town of Pecos City
and chamber officials argued for the Reeves County addition, saying that
it would both improve the local economy and the safety of radioactive waste
trucks, which will be traveling from Interstate 20 north to the Waste Isolation
Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. over the next 33 years, according to the
U.S. Department of Energy. TxDOT already plans to build a loop around Pecos
for the WIPP trucks, sometime around 2005.
The 51 miles of U.S. 285 added to the system are part of an additional
506 miles to the Texas Highway Trunk System approved by the Texas Transportation
Commission during its monthly meeting.
With additional mileage, the Texas Highway Trunk System is a 10,500-mile
planned rural network of a four-lane divided highway system that includes
and compliments the Interstate System.
The other added mileage includes on other area highway, U.S. 67/385
from the I-10 interchange east of Fort Stockton to McCamey. Other sections
are U.S. 54 from New Mexico state line to the Oklahoma state line; U.S.
62 from U.S. 83 to the Oklahoma state line; U.S. 79 from Henderson to the
Louisiana state line; S.H. 103/S.H. 21 from San Antonio to Stephenville;
and SH 31 from Tyler to Longview.
Of the 506 miles added to the trunk system, 384 miles, which are currently
two-lane roads, would need to be upgraded to four-lane divided.
Each year, the Texas Department of Transportation spends nearly $150
million to upgrade segments of the trunk system from two-lane to four-lane
Approximately 3,900 miles of the trunk system need to be expanded from
two-lanes, which will cost nearly $6 billion.
TAAS testing on July 10-11 at high school
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- The Texas Assessment of Academic Skills
test will be given in two parts this month for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah students,
with the writing portion on July 10 and the math portion on July 11.
Reading for students who have taken the TAAS and need to retake a session
will be held July 12.
Students need to report to the Pecos High School Cafeteria at 8 a.m.,
on their testing date.
St. Catherine's moves back time for Sunday Mass
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- The time for Sunday Mass has been changed
for this week only at St. Catherine's Catholic Church, at the corner of
Plum and Walthall streets.
Mass will begin at 11 a.m. this Sunday, instead of 10:30 a.m. as normally
scheduled. Mass will return to its regular time on July 8.
PECOS, Friday, June 29, 2001 -- High Thursday 105. Low this morning 71.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance
of showers and thunderstorms. Low around 70. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High around 105. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Saturday
night: Partly cloudy. Low around 70. Sunday and Monday: Partly cloudy with
a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 65 to 70. Highs in the 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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