Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
PHS schedules OK, but enrollment declines
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- Things went smoothly the first day of
school at Pecos High School, with just a minimum of confusion regarding
the class change bells, while enrollment at the high school increased by
about 35 students on Tuesday from the opening day of class. However, that
number is still is down by nearly 75 students from the same time last year.
"We're on block scheduling and there are some students preparing for
the TAAS," said PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez. "There are just four classes
Rodriguez said that some of the students were confused because second
and fifth period classes change everyday.
"Those four classes change in the middle of the 90 minutes, one goes
to math and one is going to reading," said Rodriguez. "Those are just the
students that are studying for the TAAS."
Rodriguez said that things were running smoothly at the school and that
so far there had been no dress code problems or any problems with following
the rules in the handbook. "It's just those classes, that when the bell
rings it signals for them to change and it confuses some kids," he said.
About 695 students were enrolled on the first day of school and that
figure rose to 724. "It went up a little, but we're really hoping more
students come in," said Rodriguez. "Right now, we're just working on schedules
and other minor little glitches, but so far everything is going great."
Along with the 724 enrolled at the high school campus an additional
75 students were enrolled at the Lamar alternative education program that
are counted as part of the high schools attendance. Last year, there were
a total of 823 students enrolled at Pecos High School, including the AEP
program at Lamar, a number that was up by 35 students from the previous
State funding for school districts is based in part on the Weighted
Average Daily Attendance (WADA), so that a drop in enrollment also means
a decline in state education funds.
In addition, the University Interscholastic League will be conducting
its bi-annual realignment of Texas schools next January, based on October
attendance figures. Pecos has been classified as a 4A school for the past
21 years, but is currently below the attendance cutoff for Class 4A schools
in the last UIL realignment, announced in January 2000.
Reminders given to drivers about school safety
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- More than 23 million students across
the country make their journey to school via school buses every year, according
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
With school getting underway this week in both the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
and Balmorhea ISD, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is reminding
motorists to do their part in helping to increase safety around school
zones by using extreme caution when approaching a loading or unloading
According to Texas law, a motorist can be cited for failure to yield
to a school bus with flashing red lights, which indicates children are
boarding or exiting the bus. This fine could cost the motorist between
Motorists also must obey flashing lights in school zones along streets
in Pecos. Speed limits are lowered to 20 mph while the lights are flashing,
as children walk to school and buses take others to their campuses during
the morning and afternoon.
To increase safety, TxDOT offers motorists the following tips:
Slow down. Always obey the speed limit when traveling through neighborhoods
and school zones. Watch for children gathering near bus stops and waking
in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks.
Remain alert. Hurried children may dart into the street without looking
Flashing yellow lights indicate a school bus is preparing to stop to
load or unload children. Motorists should be prepared to slow down and
Flashing red lights or an extended "STOP" arm indicate children are
loading or unloading a school bus. Motorists must stop.
Vehicles can begin moving again when the flashing red lights are turned
off or the extended "STOP" is withdrawn.
Motorists traveling on roads separated by a median are not required
to stop for school buses traveling on the opposite side of the road.
"By keeping these tips in mind, motorists will help reduce the number
of school bus-related injuries and fatalities each year," said Lauren D.
Garduno, TxDOT's district engineer in Odessa. "Drivers should be very careful
when they are approaching school buses and entering school zones," he said.
RCDC women seek dismissal of sex charges
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- A hearing on a motion to dismiss charges
against two former Reeves County Detention Center employees is scheduled
this afternoon before U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson in Pecos.
The hearing on the motion to dismiss charges against Pecos residents
Elsa Levario of 1517 Katherine Street and Helen Stephens of 1744 Washington
Street was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today, on charged filed back in may
that the pair violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 2246(2)(A)(B),
which makes having sex with an inmate an offense.
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco said at the time the two women were arrested
that the investigation was instigated by information gathered by the prison's
internal investigations unit.
"We contacted the Inspector General's Office and they finished the investigation,"
Affidavits supporting the complaints were filed in May by Special Agent
Ronald L. Holland of the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector
According to the affidavits an RCDC special investigator noticed that
an inmate telephone call was placed to a local number. All inmate calls
are recorded and the call was reviewed.
During the call RCDC inmate Eddie Bonifacio had an "intimate conversation"
with Stephens and also discussed a wire transfer made by Stephens for Bonifacio.
The contents of the phone call led to a search of Bonifacio's cell.
The search revealed $500 and a partial receipt from a jewelry store. A
watch, a necklace and a bracelet were confiscated after the search.
Holland said that the phone call also revealed that Elsa Levario might
have knowledge of the crime.
Holland's further investigation revealed that two inmates, Bonifacio
and Hugo Bonilla, worked in the food service area and frequently did not
finish their tasks by the 7 p.m. deadline when inmates return to their
The two inmates would then stay late to finish and Stephens and Levario
would stay to supervise the inmates.
According to the affidavits it was during these times that the women
had sex with the inmates.
Holland stated that the women provided sworn statements admitting to
Following their arrests, both women are free on $10,000 bond.
TheTermination process was begun for both Stephens and Levario following
their indictments, Franco said in May.
N.M. part of $200 million Powerball drawing tonight
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- Powerball players across the country
snatched up tickets at a brisk pace as they tried to stake their claim
to a lottery jackpot that has swelled to an estimated $200 million.
At age 81, Jeremiah Drake was willing to put up with three hours of
highway gridlock then wait in the heat for another hour to buy $125 worth
of Powerball tickets in Greenwich on Tuesday.
Asked if the aggravation was worth it, Drake echoed a common refrain:
"We don't know yet."
The Powerball drawing set for Wednesday night could lead to one of the
largest jackpots ever.
The Powerball record was set in 1998 when it reached $295.7 million
before being claimed, while the U.S. lotto record was established last
year when players pushed the Big Game jackpot to $363 million.
Stores selling tickets near state lines were seeing extra business from
customers from states that do not participate in the Powerball lottery.
Powerball is played in states with small and medium-sized populations,
along with the District of Columbia, which allows those states to pool
their funds to come up with bigger jackpots that match or surpass those
of larger state lotteries, such as those in California, New York and Texas.
Pecos residents wanting to participate in tonight's $200 million Powerball
lottery have until 9 p.m. CDT to get their tickets, but it will take a
75-mile drive to convenience stores in Loving or Jal, N.M., the two closest
towns where Powerball tickets are sold.
At La Tienda, a convenience store in Franklin, Idaho, customers were
lined up out the door to buy tickets for a prize whose odds of winning
are 1 in 80 million.
"I'm swamped. They're spending more money this time around than I've
ever seen," said a harried K.C. Spackman, La Tienda's manager.
"They're spending $100 a shot."
In Colorado, where Powerball began Aug. 2, about 20 people waited in
line at Borderline Lotto & Gallery near the Wyoming border.
The constant sound of buzzing ticket machines could be heard over the
"We are quite busy," said Tessau Gonzalez, the lotto cashier at the
store 80 miles north of Denver.
"We're going crazy. We just keep running the machines."
As the jackpot grows dramatically, so do the dreams of the players.
"It's $5 for three days of dreaming," said Pat Langstraat, 50, a mailroom
worker in Des Moines.
She dreams of an early retirement and a new house and promises to give
money to her church, family and friends.
Greenwich, the first town over the border from New York, was dreaming
that Powerball fever would end soon.
A state law was passed in 1999 allowing Connecticut towns to ask the
lottery to suspend Powerball sales for 24 hours if a huge influx of players
threatened public health and safety, but that law expired on June 30 and
was not renewed.
Police were out in force Tuesday, working overtime to control long lines.
"It's just a mess," said acting First Selectman Peter Crumbine.
"They're taking up parking spaces. It's adding to the normal congestion
in downtown Greenwich."
Police said materials for heroin found during raid
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- A narcotics search warrant executed Tuesday
by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Department and
the 143rd District Attorney's Office may lead to some arrests.
Officers executed the search warrant at 1310 S. Cypress St., according
to a press release by Pecos Police. Once the residence was secured by the
SWAT team, officers proceeded to search the home.
During the search of the premises, materials commonly used in the packaging
of heroin were found inside and outside the residence.
"Also located in the residence, was a substance believed to be heroin,
and we also found with the suspected heroin, more packaging material,"
said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.
Officers completed their search of the residence and no arrests have
been made as of press time.
"Warrants are pending for two subjects at this time," said Deishler.
Eagle Band Boosters set Thursday evening meeting
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- The Pecos Eagle Band Boosters will have a
meeting at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at the high school band hall.
Business includes election of officers, concession stand at football
games and possible membership drive activities.
New band director Merle Lenfest would like the community to know that
anyone interested in the Eagle Band is welcome to be a part of the band
boosters. Input from all parents who have children in grades 6-12, is needed.
"This is an opportunity for you to take an active role in your student's
education," said Lenfest. "The band staff appreciates and needs the help
of band parents and community members."
Many problems can be resolved or avoided completely through the dialogue
that takes place at these meetings, according to Lenfest.
"I would like to personally invite everyone to attend the meeting Thursday,"
said Lenfest. "Your input as part of the Pecos Eagle Band Boosters is vital
to the success of the Eagle Band."
PECOS, Wed., Aug. 22, 2001 -- High Tuesday 104. Low this morning 69. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low
around 70. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 20
percent chance of thunderstorms. High 95 to 100. South wind 10 to 20 mph.
Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Low in the lower 70s. Friday and Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows around 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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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise