Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, March 8, 2002
Judge tosses out teachers' suit against P-B-T
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has been granted a
summary judgment in a complaint filed two years ago by two school district
teachers, board members were told Thursday night.
"The court ruled in favor of Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD for summary judgment,"
said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love, after he and the board met Thursday
evening in closed session to confer with the board's attorney and hear the
results of the suit.
"We're very happy on court ruling on all issues and plan with continuing
devoting our efforts back to educating our kids," said Love.
The complaint was brought two years ago by Bernilda Bauer and Bruce Bauer,
both of which were teachers at the Pecos High School at that time. The summary
judgment, issued on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Donald E. Walker,
means the case was dismissed by the judge in favor of P-B-T ISD before the
case went to trial.
The teachers alleged that the defendants, PBT-ISD School Board, Principal
Danny Rodriguez and Superintendent Don Love, discriminated and retaliated
against them because of Mrs. Bauer's national origin, her filing of a grievance
with the Texas Education Agency and a charge of discrimination with the EEOC,
and Mr. Bauer's assistance to his wife with her complaints.
Walker dismissed all the claims made by the Bauers, including the one
involving the retaliation charge. "Plaintiffs have not proven that their
protected activity of filing grievances was a `but for' cause of the nonrenewal
of their contracts," he wrote in his decision. "Had they not filed their
grievances, it appears certain that their noncompliance with Love's directives
alone would have resulted in the same actions by the P-B-T ISD board. Thus,
the court finds that the Plaintiffs claims for retaliation under Title VII
must be dismissed with prejudice."
Mrs. Bauer, a Panamanian, claimed that the discrimination based on her
national origin was a continuing violation that commenced in 1995. While
Mrs. Bauer taught English as a second language at Pecos High School in 1995,
she applied for an opening to teach English and history. She also applied
for a position in 1996. She claims that she was passed over both times in
favor of lesser-qualified Caucasian and/or Mexican-American applicants.
Mrs. Bauer was ultimately hired by PBT-ISD in the summer of 1998 as a
Spanish teacher. She taught Spanish during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 academic
In October 1999 parents of a PBT-ISD student complained to Rodriguez about
the failing grade their child received in Mrs. Bauer's Spanish class in the
spring of 1999.
Mrs. Bauer, Rodriguez and the parents of the failing student met to discuss
the student's grade. At Rodriguez's behest Mrs. Bauer agreed to retest the
Later, Mrs. Bauer explained by letter to Rodriguez on Oct. 11, 1999, that
she would not retest the student and considered Rodriguez's request an "assault
on her professional integrity." The parents of the failing student wrote
to Rodriguez on Oct. 15, 1999, and stated that they believed Mrs. Bauer was
being "blatantly discriminatory" in giving her child a failing grade in the
Rodriguez ultimately changed the student's grade from a failing 61 to
a passing 80.
Rodriguez notified Mrs. Bauer of his decision on Oct. 21, 1999, and explained
Mrs. Bauer filed complaints about Rodriguez's actions through the PBT-ISD
grievance process and was denied at each level.
Mr. Bauer wrote several lengthy letters to Rodriguez in October 1999 in
support of his wife's decision not to change the student's grade. In addition,
Mr. Bauer delivered a copy of a document he authored entitled, "Chapter XVIII
to Love as "background information" pertaining to the difficulty (Mrs. Bauer)
was having with Rodriguez.
Chapter XVIII is part of a 20-chapter narrative that Mr. Bauer composed
between November 1991 and August 2000. The title of this narrative is The
Influence of Contemporary American Society Upon Public Education in the American
Southwest. A 14-year History from a Teacher's Perspective, 1986-2000. Mr.
Bauer plans to submit this narrative as his doctoral dissertation sometime
in the future.
On Dec. 17, 1999, Love sent a letter to the Bauers regarding Chapter XVIII
and possible Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) violations.
He explained, "all copies of school records which contain personally identifiable
student information are `records' covered by the strict disclosure prohibitions
Love directed the Bauers to immediately return all student records in
their possession, to provide the names of all persons to whom they had given
copies of the narrative or the enclosures, to refrain from disclosing any
portions of the narrative containing student information to anyone except
Love or a parent or guardian of a student, and to provide Love with a copy
of all portions of the entire narrative that contain student information
by Jan. 3, 2000. Love explained that he needed this information so that he
could "verify that (they) have returned copies of all student records in
Additionally, Love explained that their "failure or refusal to comply
with the directives will be considered, insubordination and will result in
appropriate personnel action."
On Jan. 3, 2000, the Bauers sent Love a one-sentence memo stating, "Be
advised that we are holding no documents in violation of (FERPA)."
McCain delays Anchor plant's closing
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- Anchor/McCain employees who were due to begin
losing their jobs this month will have a little longer time on the
job, according to McCain Foods vice-president Steve Prater.
"The Anchor Plant in Pecos will remain open a few more months," said Prater.
"We have postponed the closing of the plant because we need additional products
from that facility."
McCain announced on Nov. 12 that it would shut the Anchor Foods onion
processing plant in Pecos that it had just purchased three months earlier,
costing 700 workers their jobs. The company said in December that the Pecos
plant was inefficient, and that McCain instead would spend $10 million to
expand a plant the company already owned in Grand Island, Neb., and which
employs 350 workers. The company plans to add 100 workers there once the
Pecos plant is closed.
The first layoffs were scheduled to begin in March, but while Prater said
that one production line at the facility had been closed, no one has been
laid off because of the decrease in production.
"There was normal attrition, but not people leaving or being laid off
because of the closing of that line," said Prater. "We had some individuals
that left on their own, to seek employment elsewhere or to relocate."
Back in December, Prater told the San Antonio Express-News that the Pecos
plant's products were inferior to some of their own facilities.
"The fact of the matter is, the McCain side of the business was significantly
more efficient than the Anchor side," he said. "Our Grand Island (Neb.) onion
ring plant is lower cost and more efficient than the Pecos plant."
Since then, Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo has charged that McCain
has exercised an option to maintain its lease on the Pecos facility, in order
to block any other company from using the building once Anchor leaves.
Prater said that McCain would just continue to do their best to find another
tenant for that building. "We always have been working towards that and will
continue to do so," he said.
McCain-Anchor facilities had an overcapacity of onion production plants,
which is what Pecos primarily produces, while McCain was not a major player
in jalapeno pepper production before the Anchor merger, but that the pepper
operations are done mainly at the company's other plants.
McCain finalized its purchased of Anchor Foods in September; a month after
the deal was announced. The sale included its Appleton, Wis. headquarters
and Wisconsin operations, along with its plant in Pecos and another operation
in Mexico. As part of the deal, H.J. Heinz Company purchased Anchor's branded
retail products business. Specific terms of the three-party transaction were
Early voting ending for primary election
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- Just a few hours are left for citizens to participate
in early voting for the March 12th elections, with the
poles closing at 5 p.m., tonight at the Reeves County Courthouse.
Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez reported that as of yesterday 303 ballots
were received by mail while 1,482 voters voted by personal appearance.
There were also 47 votes cast last weekend at the special voting site
The race for county judge between incumbent Jimmy Galindo and challenger
Louis Matta has drawn the most attention locally, but there are several other
races in the Democratic primary to be decided on Tuesday, along with primary
races for governor and U.S. Senate.
All county voters will cast ballots in the race for Reeves County Clerk,
where Sofia Abila is challenging incumbent Florez. Precinct 2 voters will
have three other races to decide, including for the position of commissioner,
where incumbent David Castillo faces challenger Norman Hill; Precinct 2 Justice
of the Peace, where incumbent J.T. Marsh has two opponents, Jim Riley and
Jaime Salgado, and Precinct 2 Constable, where Jerry Matta and Clint Glenn
are seeking the constable position vacated in December by Salgado, when he
decided to run for Justice of the Peace.
Florez said that once the poles close tonight they would not open again
until Tuesday, March 12, Election Day.
"If they can not make it out here by five o'clock, they need to go to
their polling places on Election Day," she said.
Those locations include: voting box one at the Pecos Community Center,
voting box two at the Pecos Technical Training Center, voting box three at
Pecos High School Gym, voting box four at Toyah City Hall, voting box five
at Balmorhea Fire Hall, voting box six at Saragosa Multi-purpose Center,
voting box seven at Reeves County Library, voting boxes eight and nine at
the Lamar AEP campus, voting box 10 at the Reeves County Annex building,
voting box 11 at Haynes-Sadler Community Center, and voting box 12 at Texas
New Mexico Power Company.
Florez said that voting boxes eight and nine were consolidated for the
primary race. The previous location for voting box nine at the Orla Red
On Election Day the poling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If anyone has any questions call the Reeves County Clerk's office or the
Reeves County Tax Assessor Collector's office.
Junell recommended as new Pecos federal judge
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- Rep. Rob Junell, a Democratic state lawmaker
who campaigned for President Bush, was recommended by Texas' Republican
senators Thursday for the vacant federal judge position in the Pecos and
Midland Divisions of U.S. District Court.
Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison also recommended Texas 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals Justice Ed Kinkeade of Irving.
Following their recommendations to President Bush, they must by nominated
by the president and approved by the Senate.
The senators are proposing that Junell fill a vacancy in the state's western
judicial district. Junell would be based in Midland, filling a vacancy that
will be created when U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson moves to San Antonio
to replace the late U.S. District Judge Hipolito F. "Hippo" Garcia.
Kinkeade will fill a northern district post.
"These two men meet the high standards that Texans expect of their federal
jurists," Gramm said.
Junell, 55, is originally from El Paso and has served in the Legislature
since 1988, representing a district that included San Angelo, where he lives.
He was passed over for a spot on the federal bench by President Clinton.
During his legislative tenure, Junell rose to be one of the most powerful
lawmakers in Texas as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Junell
announced in November that he would not seek re-election this year.
Ferguson announced in January he plans to take Garcia's federal judge's
position in San Antonio once the vacancy in the midland and Pecos Divisions
are filled. Garia took senior status on Jan. 15.
Ferguson was appointed to the federal court by President Clinton
in 1993 after Judge Lucius D. Bunton III took senior judge status and was
confirmed in 1994. He was based in Midland, but in recent years has handled
more cases in the Pecos Division of U.S. District Court.\
The increasing caseload in recent years, and the retirement of Bunton
in 2000 prior to his death last year, has forced visiting judges from as
far away as Vermont have been brought in to handle cases in the Pecos court.
Kinkeade, 50, has served as a 5th Circuit justice in Dallas since 1988.
He also was the 194th District Court judge from 1981-88 and judge of the
Dallas County Criminal court No. 10 in 1981.
Kinkeade's post was left vacant by the resignation of U.S. District Judge
PHS grad educates area teachers on tennis
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- Area physical education teachers were able
to learn more about the game of tennis yesterday during a teacher in-service
sponsored by the Texas Section of the United States Tennis Association
(USTA) at the Crockett Middle School Gym.
USTA Schools Coordinator Annette Nichols Boles made a trip back to her
hometown in efforts to give back to her community where she first fell in
love with the game of tennis.
Boles, who graduated from Pecos High School in 1993, has been working
with Texas schools as a representative of USTA in efforts to bring the sport
of tennis to Texas students.
Boles came to Pecos to teach an in-service that informs area teachers
about the basics of tennis so they would be able to teach them in their classes.
"We're giving the teachers the basic instructions to go off and teach
tennis to their students," she said.
Several PE teachers from Pecos, Balmorhea, Sanderson and Wink were present
at the in-service and received valuable information about resources and opportunities
that USTA offers.
Crockett PE teacher Bernadette Ornelas worked with Boles in setting up
"This is just another tennis awareness project that USTA came out with,"
Ornelas has been working with USTA for many years in efforts to provide
her students with better equipment and more opportunities to play tennis.
Through USTA, Ornelas has received free tennis racquets and the opportunity
to apply for grants through the organization.
All teachers are eligible for the grants and equipment.
Those who attended the in-service received an allotment of racquets and
a curriculum guide to help them in teaching tennis.
USTA's mission statement is "To promote and develop the growth of tennis
in Texas," according to the website and that is what Boles is doing each
time she visits with teachers.
Boles was a three-time district singles champion in tennis while at Pecos
High School, and has been working for USTA for about a year and a half after
previously working with the University of Texas Athletic Department.
She also has a Bachlor's degree in Exercise Science from Shiner College,
where she played on the tennis team, and a Master's degree in Sports Management
from the United States Sports Academy.
Boles now lives in Austin with her husband, Brett, and their four-month-old
son. She is the daughter of Salvador and Estella Nichols of Pecos.
Coming back to Pecos and talking with the teachers has given Boles a unique
feeling, she said.
"It felt good to come back," she said. "It's great to give back to the
Boles enjoys the teacher in-services she conducts all over the state because
the teachers' excitement comes out when they realize that they would be able
to teach tennis so easily.
"It's neat to see the teachers' reaction," she said. "Sometimes they're
not aware of how easy the basics of tennis are."
Being able to give students a chance to discover the sport she loves so
much and even introducing the same sport to the teachers is in some sense
an award for Boles.
"It's very rewarding," she said.
Boles wants anyone interested in tennis to know that there are many opportunities
for them to learn more about the game.
"There's just a lot of other opportunities for people interested in tennis,"
PECOS, Fri., March 8, 2002 -- High Thurs. 85. Low this morning 48. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear: Breezy: And cooler. Lows 35 to 40. Evening
west winds 15 to 25 mph: Becoming north towards morning. Sat.: Mostly
sunny and breezy. Highs around 55. North winds 15 to 25 mph early:
Becoming east 5 to 15 mph during the afternoon. Sat. night: Mostly
clear. Lows 25 to 30. Sun.: Partly cloudy. Highs around 60. Mon.: Partly
cloudy and warmer. Lows 35 to 40. Highs 70 to 75.
Thomas Chavez and Ann Shaw
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 2002 by Pecos Enterprise