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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Opening day P-B-T enrollment drops 8 percent

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD saw a loss in students on the first day back  for the new school year that was double the predicted total by school  officials, who said they have plans to deal with the problem if the enrollment  numbers do not pick up.

"We had budgeted on 100 less kids," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love, but for the first day of classes, the district's campuses reported 207 fewer students than a year ago.

That represents a drop of about 8 percent in enrollment for P-B-T ISD from last year. Part of the state's funding plan for Texas school districts is based on the number of students enrolled; however, Love said, "There's a law that says that after 98 percent the state will help out the loss."

The state has about $11 million a year to help school districts that experience big losses in students, however, the amount is divided among all the school districts, according to Love.

"We'll experience about a 96.5 percent loss and had budgeted on 96 percent," said Love. "If we end up losing 98 percent the state will come in and help," he said.

Love said that other schools are facing the same dilemma and the amount of help will have to reach all of the districts. "That's if Houston schools don't take a lot, because all the districts are experiencing the same thing," he said.

"If we went down to 180-200 kids, we would be in the 98 percent law and the state would come in and help, but then what do you do next year," said Love.

Pecos High School reported 648 students on the first day of school this year with 695 reported on the first day of school last year. That's 47 less students at that campus.

LDAEP "Lamar AEP" reported that they had 22 students this year, double the first day total from last year of 11 students.

Crockett Middle School had 367 register this year, with 407 last year on the first day of school. The number is down 40 this year.

Zavala Middle School had five fewer students this year than last. This year the number at the sixth grade campus was at 180 and last year it was 185.

Bessie Haynes Elementary School also reported a loss of five students. The school had 358 fourth and fifth graders this year on the first day of school and last year the number was 363.

Austin Elementary, which houses first through third graders, reported the biggest loss in students on the first day of school. The campus reported 522 students compared to last year's 629, which is a loss of 107 students.

Pecos Kindergarten lost 14 students this year compared to last year's first day of school. This year's number was 194 and last year 208.

The total number of students on the first day of school was set at 2,291, compared with last year's first day of school report, 2,498.

"We're hoping some more will trickle in every day," said Love. "And we're definitely hoping some more will show up after the Labor Day holiday," which is something that happens sometimes, he added.

City starts mosquito spraying quickly after rain

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- After last night heavy rains, the Town of Pecos City sent out it  truck to spray for mosquitoes after switching the spraying machine  over to another truck.

According to Octavio Garcia, Utilities Director, the truck on which the spraying machine was on had broken down.

Garcia said that the spraying is done with one truck, one machine and one person in a span of three days.

"We spray on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays," Garcia said. "Sometimes we spray on Mondays and Tuesdays."

The entire town of Pecos is sprayed within the three days, Garcia said.

The past decades drought has made the mosquito spraying truck an unfamiliar sight around town in recent years, but Garcia said that they have been spraying for several weeks now.

He said that a truck was out last night to spray after the rain had stopped and will continue to spray to the middle of next month.

"We will stop about the middle of September, unless we have heavy rains after that," Garcia said.

According to Garcia, they begin to spray one-third of the city at about 8 p.m. and continue till midnight or one o'clock in the morning.

"It (the spray) works better when the sun is not out," he said. "It will evaporate with the sun."

Garcia said that the spray would not affect people that are in the area that is being sprayed but did say that for safety purposes children should stay away for the truck.

Garcia added that this years mosquitoes have not been as bad as in past years.

Heavy rains in the 1980s and early 1990s left large pools of standing water on the southeast side of Pecos, where mosquitos were able to easily breed and become a nuisance to local residents.

This year, concerns about mosquitoes in Texas has grown with reports that some of the insects may have transmitted the West Nile virus in areas around Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and other parts of East Texas.

The Associated Press reported Monday that a 52-year old Houston women, Ethel Meneffe, died Friday due to the West Nile virus.

Meneffe became the first Texas fatality.

According to the Texas Department of Health, 25 people have been infected with West Nile, 13 of them in Harris County.

Five other counties-Dallas, Jefferson, Montgomery, Orange and Trinity have reported human cases.

Across the state, 31 counties have reported West Nile in humans, birds, horses or mosquitoes.

Kathy Barton, spokeswomen for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, said that it will be two weeks before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention can confirm if Menefee died from the West Nile.

The disease, which is transmitted to humans through mosquito bits, causes symptoms of fever, headache and body ache. Severe cases can result in coma, paralysis or death. The virus cans cause encephalitis, which is the swelling of the brain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Surprise storm causes street floods, brief power outage

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- Huge raindrops were a much-needed relief from the hot,  humid weather that has plagued West Texas.

KIUN radio reported 1.2 inches of rain fell in downtown Pecos Monday night, and intersections in the central part of town were underwater after a thunderstorm formed over the city shortly after 7 p.m.

Lightning from the storm briefly knocked out power to sections of south-central Pecos, and other areas to the north of town were also hard hit by Monday's rains. Power was restored too most areas by about 9 p.m.

The Texas Agricultural Extension Agency reported .70 in rainfall for their area seven miles west of Pecos, the same number the National Weather Service in Midland officially reported for the city Monday.

The storm moved off towards the northeast about 45 minutes after it began. Coyanosa, 28 miles east of Pecos, didn't get any rain at all this time, according to the Coyanosa Gin Co-op, while to the south, Balmorhea reportedly received only .03 inch, according to National Weather Service spokesman Michael Young. .

"Pecos did really well," said Young. "That's really a pretty good rate."

Young said that the forecast for the next few days calls for isolated thunderstorms.

"Isolated thunderstorms and wind, will be in the area throughout Monday of next week," said Young. "But that's only less than 20 percent chance," he said.

Monahans, which was hit hard by two thunderstorms last Tuesday that dropped hail in part of town, got more rain on Monday. The city officially received .29, according to Young. Though more rain was reported in other parts of town.

Ex-Enterprise publisher to oversee suburban paper

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- Former Pecos Enterprise publisher Ray Stafford, who has served  as publisher of The Monitor in McAllen since 1994, has been promoted by  that paper's parent company to executive vice president and general manager  of The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif.

Stafford, a 1966 Pecos High School graduate who served as publisher of the Enterprise from 1980 through 1984, has previously served as publisher of two newspapers in northern California. He returned to Texas in 1991 when he was hired by Freedom Newspapers as publisher of the Odessa American.

Before returning home in 1980 for his first job as publisher, Stafford worked at the Fort Worth Star Telegram. His father, Joe Stafford, formerly operated Stafford Cleaners in Pecos, while his month, Dot Stafford, was a longtime officer at First National Bank in Pecos and is currently mayor of the Town of Pecos City.

Freedom is based in Orange County, Calif., and the Register is the company's largest single newspaper, serving the southern part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Stafford, 54, will begin overseeing day-to-day operations at the 360,000-circulation Register on Sept. 30.

While Stafford was publisher, The Monitor became the largest of Freedom's community newspapers in both profitability and circulation. He also lobbied successfully for a new building and printing presses.

Stafford's appointment comes two weeks after a meeting of the family-held company announced they did not plan to sell off the business or any of its major assets, including the Register.

"The company is not for sale," announced Freedom Communications Board Chairman, R. David Threshie on Aug. 11. "We have agreed to explore ways to transfer significant ownership to the younger generation."

The private, two-day Freedom Family Shareholders Liquidity Forum on Aug. 10-11 allowed 43 family shareholders of Freedom Communications, Inc., the opportunity to explore 12 liquidity options, ranging from redeeming individual shares to selling the company. Threshie is married to Judith Hoiles Threshie, the granddaughter of Freedom founder, R. C. Hoiles
M. Olaf Frandsen, publisher of the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, Calif., will replace Stafford at the Monitor starting in November.

Frandsen will assume Stafford's position as division vice president of Freedom Communications Inc.'s Southwest region, which includes 10 community newspapers in Texas, New Mexico and Missouri.

Frandsen, 47, was editor of the Odessa American in 1987 when the paper won the Pulitzer Prize for spot photography for coverage of Jessica McClure's rescue from a Midland well.

During his 20 years with Freedom, he has been publisher in Marysville for six years and a former political editor at the Register.

Frandsen holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arizona and a master's in business administration from the University of Phoenix.  

Freedom Communications, Inc., headquartered in Irvine, Calif. is a privately-owned diverse media company of newspapers, broadcast television stations and interactive media businesses. The company publishes 28 daily and 37 weekly newspapers, with a combined daily circulation of more than 1.2 million subscribers. The broadcast division includes eight stations including five CBS and three ABC network affiliates. 

County Clerk can issue birth certificat copies

PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez is reminding everyone that her office is equipped to issue birth certificates for anyone born in the state of Texas.

Cost for a birth certificate from any of the state's 254 counties is $11, and the individual making the request must be a qualified applicant.

For more information contact the clerk's office at 445-5467.


PECOS, Tues., August 20, 2002 -- High Monday 98. Low this morning 70. Rainfall last 24 hours at  Texas A&M Experiment Station .70 inch. Forecast for tonight: Partly  cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 70s. Southeast winds 10 to  20 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs  near 103. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy  with isolated evening thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 70s. Thursday:  Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs near 102. Friday: Partly  cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs around 100.


Darrell Grogan and Georgia Hayes

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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