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Monday, August 6, 2001

Tax rate, budget security cameras on agenda

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- A public meeting to discuss the 2001-20001 budget and proposed  tax rate will be a part of a special Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board  meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday in the board room.

Following the special meeting, several items will be discussed during the regular session including discussing and approving the installation of security cameras at Crockett Middle School. The cameras are to be provided by the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department, which financed cameras for the Pecos High School last year through grant funds.

Board members will discuss and approve the dedicating fund balance; amending 2000-2001 budget; adoption of 2001-2002 budget; adoption of 2001 tax rate; call for election to ratify the adopted tax rate and discuss/approve the designation of polling place locations for each of the election precincts for the rollback election.

Increases in mineral valuations during the past year will increase the school district's property tax collections by about $2 million, under the current $1.50 per $100 property tax rate. Under state law, the increase automatically will force a property tax rollback election for the P-B-T ISD.

The board will discuss and approve early voting election hours for the election at the meeting, and will also discuss deficiencies identified by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at Crockett Middle School addition and steps to correct; contract for election services between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Town of Pecos City, Reeves County Hospital and the election coordinator; school repair and renovation grant and hear public comment; sale of foreclosed property and Teacher Appraisal Calendar-2001-2002 and PDAS Appraisers.

Bus routes for 2001-2002 will be discussed and approved along with employee health insurance and prescription co-pay proposals for 2001-2002 school year and set premiums; notice of hazardous employer identification and hazardous employer program; Student Code of Conduct for 2001-2002, cafeteria guideline change to all handbooks, and Pecos High School Handbook.

The board will discuss and approve the groundskeeper job description; disposal of property that is no longer necessary for the operation of the school district and method of disposal; reduction in the minimum number of college hours required to substitute at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and clarify that special education self-contained and AEP substitutes, teacher or aide, receive $50 per day, all other subs receive $40 minimum.

Board members will meet behind closed doors as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 55.101 et. Seq., Section 551.071: private consultation with the board's attorney and Section 551.074: discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel.

Return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

Under regular agenda items the group will discuss and approve:

Professional personnel: assignments, resignations, reassignments, and changes of contracts.

Tax report.

Depository securities report.

Current bills and financial report.

Investment transaction report.

Reconciled bank balance report.

Reeves County Community Recreation Report.

Set date and time for next meeting.

Calendar of events.

Request for items for next agenda.

Southern Union gives CCRC $2,500 for customers' payments

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- Southern Union Gas Company is contributing $2,500 to the  Community Council of Reeves County this week to assist low-income customers  with their natural gas bills.

"Southern Union Gas is proud to be one of the lowest cost energy providers in the country, but we understand that last winter's gas prices impacted our customers," said Johnny W. King, Area Manager of Operations for Southern Union Gas. "We hope these contributions will help our customers that need it most."

Donations will be used to help qualified low-income customers of Southern Union Gas in Reeves County who need assistance in paying their Southern Union Gas bills. Interested customers can contact the agency to determine their eligibility.

"Customers can fill out an application and return them to me," said Reeves County Community Council Family Services Director Velma Dominguez.

Dominguez said that individuals will have to meet the eligibility guidelines of the program. "They will have to be in the 125th percent of the poverty level," she said.

"These are guidelines set up by the state and if they meet the guidelines then we can assist them," said Dominguez.

For more information on the program customers can call 447-4913 or go to the Reeves County Annex, 700 W. Daggett St., Suite F and speak to Dominguez about the available funds.

Local businesses get boost in sales from tax holiday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- Department stores in Pecos saw a better turnout this year than  the previous two years for the third annual Sales Tax Holiday Weekend.

Sales tax was not charged on certain items of clothing under $100 during the weekend, which started off busy and continued the next two days for Wal-Mart, Bealls and Desiree's Boutique in Pecos, according to store employees

"We were busy on Friday, Saturday was pretty steady and on Sunday our layaway department was busy," Wal-Mart manager Olga Guebara said. "I think a lot of people were getting ready for back to school and Christmas."

According to Guebara, people were buying clothes but focusing mostly on undergarments.

"We would like to thank the people of Pecos for shopping at Wal-Mart. They did not have to go out of town," Guebara said. "We appreciate it, especially if they want a bigger store, a super center. It will help if they buy local."

According to Bealls Department store manager Delma Arreguy said that they also had a real good turn out.

"We went over our goal everyday, Friday and Saturday," Arreguy said. "Yesterday we were slow but it picked up in the afternoon."

Arreguy also said that those who may not been able to make it to the weekend sale, could still take advantage of it as well as another sale that will begin on Wednesday.

"In that sale we will give a free mini radio away with any $75 purchase," Arreguy said. "Tomorrow we will have the Club Fifty, in which anyone who is 50-years-old or older can get 20 percent off their sales price."

However she did said that this sale excludes fragrances, cosmetics and designer collections.

Desiree's saw a lot of business over the weekend as well, with people buying shoes and clothes.

"We sold a lot of Sketchers, Eastland and Hi-Tech to RCDC employees," Saul Herrera said.

Merchants across Texas reported a busy weekend, as officials said Monday the savings could come in even higher than the estimated $40 million predicted earlier.

"Retail sales were up everywhere," said Mark Sanders, spokesman for Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander. "We had some people reporting a 45 percent increase. It was phenomenal."

Final figures won't be available for a couple of weeks, Sanders said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Ghost Writer

Camp founded Pecos' first official hospital in 1929

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region

By The Ghost Writer
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- "500 attend the opening of the new Memorial Hospital," that was  the Pecos Enterprise heading in their December 13, 1954 addition.  The  new hospital on Daggett Street caused the closing of the Camp hospital.   The December edition also ran a brief history of the Pecos hospitals  until that time.  Alton Hughes covered the history of our hospitals in one of  his books so if you have read his account, you might not want  to continue with this article.  But, you will miss what my "Mature"  advisors are thinking, if that is what it is.

Dr. Jim Camp came to Pecos in 1900 after receiving his doctorate from the University of Tennessee and was a surgeon in World War I and fought the flue epidemic in 1918 in the army and in Pecos. His first hospital was at 601 S. Hickory that was his home in 1954. It is unclear if the house served as his home as well as a hospital. The West Park Baptist church building was once a school and then a hospital. That hospital was under the management of Mrs. J. L. Morrison who later supervised treatment at her home at 214 Bois d'Arc St.

Dr. Camp's hospital on Fourth Street and Ross Boulevard opened its doors December 1, 1929. Dr. Jim Camp and his son, Hilliard, were the only doctors. After Hilliard's unfortunate death in 1941, Dr. Bruce Hay and Dr. E. J. Nelson joined the staff. In 1942, he added to the thirteen-bed hospital and in 1946 he added another wing making it into the present two-wing building. The building is now used for offices.

Dr. Camp was a pioneer in the practice of medicine. He operated on his daughter, Mrs. Bob Dean, rather than wait for a doctor to come from El Paso, a twelve-hour trip. He performed the first appendectomy in Reeves County. A cowboy rode horseback from the W Ranch above Mentone complaining of a stomach ache. Dr. Camp consulted with other doctors but was the only one who would risk doing an appendectomy. He had a large pot of water boiled and sheets and other equipment sterilized and did the successful operation. The operation took place in the home of F.W. "Woody" Johnson. There was talk around town that the cowboy was beginning to smell and that he would never make it. Dr. Camp did gain the respect of the community and worked on community improvements as well as his medical practice.

My "Mature" advisors are concerned that they might be out of step with the modern generation. One of them opened a door for a lady and she called him a "male chauvinist pig." Should they not open doors for women, should they not rise when women enter a room, should they not help a woman with a heavy load? Do many women dislike men being a gentleman or do they want to be treated as a man treats a man?

Furgeson looks to keep control of Republic trial

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- After seeing one pre-trial hearing disrupted and a second extended  by several hours due to repeated interruptions, U.S. District  Judge Royal Furgeson has taken steps to ensure the Midland trial of  six Republic of Texas members does not become disorderly. 

The trial begins today, a little over two months after a bond hearing in U.S. District Court in Pecos had to be postponed for two days due to disruptions caused by Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and three of his followers.

McLaren, 47, and his top lieutenant, Robert "White Eagle" Otto, 49, are being tried on federal weapons charges stemming from an April 1997 kidnapping at the David Mountains Estates near Fort Davis, after a state appeals court overturned their convictions related to the same incident.

Only one of the six going on trial Monday in Midland, Robert Jonathon Scheidt, 46, has not faced trial in any jurisdiction for his part in the group's activities.

The kidnapping of a couple in the Davis Mountains led to a standoff between the separatist group and scores of state troopers and Texas Rangers. Republic of Texas members contend Texas was never properly annexed by the United States and remains an independent nation.

A scheduled May 22 bond hearing in Pecos before U.S. Magistrate Durwood Edwards was delayed for two days due to disruptions created by the defendants. When the hearing was finally held on May 24, McLaren and three other defendants' argued that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction in the case. The group claimed that they were prisoners of war and as such were due a hearing under an international court as provided for by the Geneva Convention.

Edwards ordered McLaren and four others detained pending today's trial, and for the trial Furgeson ordered the four defendants who are representing themselves - McLaren, Otto, Scheidt and Keyes - to submit in writing their questions for prospective jurors and their opening statements.

Gregg Paulson and Karen Simon Paulson have court-appointed attorneys.

All six were ordered to wear civilian clothes rather than Republic of Texas uniforms as they had requested. Furgeson also has informed all the defendants that if he finds any one of them out of order three times, they will be placed in a room outside the courtroom that has audio and visual feeds of the proceedings and will be allowed only written communication.

"(Furgeson) has taken control of the case because if he doesn't, it'll just get plum out of hand," said Lawrence Barber, who will be in the courtroom on standby status to defend Scheidt. "I don't believe this should be a spectacle."

McLaren and Otto were convicted in October 1997 on state organized crime charges and sentenced to prison. In August 1999, the state's 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso overturned the convictions, saying evidence was legally insufficient to support a conviction, and a judgment of acquittal was entered for both men.

An appeal of the El Paso appeals court's ruling is pending with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, officials said.

McLaren also has been convicted on federal fraud charges in Dallas and is serving about 12 1/2 years.

The federal charges in the Midland case are for weapons and explosive devices the separatists are accused of having during the 1997 standoff.

"We're ready for trial," said Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas.

The other three defendants are Gregg Paulson, 49; his wife, Karen Simon Paulson, 37; and Richard Frank Keyes III, 25.

In a state trial stemming from the kidnapping and standoff, Gregg Paulson received a life sentence, and Karen Simon Paulson got 30 years. Keyes was sentenced to 90 years. Their appeals either have been denied or are pending.

A sixth separatist, Mike Matson, was killed by police May 3, 1997, several hours after McLaren and three other members surrendered themselves and their self-styled embassy. Keyes fled into the Davis Mountains with Matson and was captured several months later near Houston.

In April 1998, McLaren, his wife, Evelyn, and six other people were convicted in federal court on charges that they participated in a fraudulent Dallas-area scheme to distribute $1.8 billion in worthless Republic warrants, which resembled cashier's checks. McLaren also lost a 1996 judgment in U.S. District Court in Pecos filed by Houston-based Stewart Title Co., over McLaren's filing of false liens on property in the Davis Mountain Resort area.

McLaren's wife was sentenced to about to 2 1/4 years on the warrants charge.

In August 2000, their appeal to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was denied, said Mike Uhl, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

WTNB hosting blood drive effort Tuesday in lobby

PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- A Blood Drive is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Tuesday at West Texas National Bank.

The drive will be held in the "little coffee shop" inside the bank to offer more privacy to the donors. United Blood Services will be on hand to take the donations, and refreshments will be provided.

All those who donate blood will be given credit for their donation. When they need surgery or transfusion the donor will not have to pay for that particular service.

The United States and the Permian Basin area are in desperate need of donations, since there is a big shortage. Everyone is invited to come out and donate blood and all donations are appreciated.


PECOS, Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 -- High Sunday 99. Low this morning 67. Forecast for tonight:   Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday:  Partly cloudy. High near 95. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly  cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Wednesday through Thursday: Partly  cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. Highs in the 90s.


\ Alberto Varela, Sr.

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