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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Balmorhea ISD schools closed by flu outbreak

Staff Writer

Balmorhea students are enjoying a long holiday, but some students may be just too sick to really have fun during these unexpected days off.

"We had about 75 percent of our students attending school on Tuesday and that's when we decided we had to do something," said Balmorhea Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz.

Saenz said that the school officials decided to close the campus for three days to allow students to regain their health and really sanitize the school. Classes were out on Wednesday and will remain out today and Friday.

"We have students that were sick, coming back and passing it on to others and it was just going around and around," said Saenz.

Saenz said that the school had been experiencing low attendance for the past week and a half and that it hit a big low on Monday.

Several other school districts across the state, including the Monahans and Stanton ISDs in West Texas, have been forced to close their campuses during December and January due to the flu. Saenz spoke to superintendents from other schools that had had to close their campuses due to illnesses.

"They told me that 19 percent was when they decided to close the campus and we were already at 18, so on Tuesday we decided that based on the number of kids we really had to do something," she said.

Saenz said that the next day they had 41 students out. "There were so many students out and the teachers were working with the ones that were here, but when these students came back they would have to just re-teach what they had gone through," said Saenz.

Balmorhea ISD currently has 204 students enrolled.

"We're just really busy sanitizing the school, killing off germs and we're asking the parents to do the same at home," said Saenz.

Saenz said that the school asked for a waiver from the state because of the epidemic.

"And they're not asking us to make up those days, including those days that we blow ADA (average daily attendance)," said Saenz.

Saenz said that the state has been very proactive, because they are aware that it's been a hard year in Texas. "All schools are experiencing this dilemma, sending kids home with the flu and strep throat," said Saenz.

The teachers and staff prepared the students to keep up with their school work. "We send them home with a lot of homework and plenty of reading material," said Saenz. "We want them to take this seriously and realize that they need to keep up with their school work and that it's not just a holiday," she said.

Balmorhea ISD will resume classes on Monday.

"We want them to come back healthy and ready to hit the books on Monday," said Saenz. "The school will also be ready for them, all nice, clean and sanitized.

County faces wait to get new extension agents

Staff Writer

PECOS, Feb. 6, 2003 - With a seven percent cut in the state budget having been imposed for the current fiscal year, the Reeves-Loving County Agriculture Extension Service will have to wait some time before a new Extension Agent is sent to Pecos.

According to Sue Evans the state of Texas has a freeze on the state revenue that was announced January 23 due to a projected budget deficit of nearly $10 billion.

Extension Agents that were in Pecos were Terry Holder and Marie Cardenas. Holder resigned as agriculture extension agent at the end of 2002 to return to Mississippi, while Cardenas is currently working for an extension office in New Mexico after stepping down as home extension agent.

Currently Evans said that though there is not an agent in Pecos she calls to other agent offices to find out the things she needs to know.

"I either call the district office in Fort Stockton or other county agents to ask them about the things I need to know," Evans said.

She also said that she could call Texas A&M or the district directors if she had any questions.

"We will be alright," Evans said. "It doesn't mean that I can't call A&M if I have any question. I have A&M phone numbers and emails."

Other area agents and the district directors have come in to offer their assistance, Evans said.

She said that she had been worried about last month's Reeves-Loving livestock show but said that the stock show committee did a real good job causing it to run smoothly.

In an email sent to Evans by Dr. Chester Fehlis, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the Texas Cooperative Extension, he stated that the cuts in the Extension's FY 2003 budget would be either $3.04 million or $3.74 million, pending clarification on whether certain funds are subject to the cut.

Evans later went on to say that the Reeves County Probation Office in Pecos, which is also located in the Reeves County Annex on West Daggett Street, was also not able to fund any out of state travel or hire new personal due to the recession.

"Any thing state associated is being affected by the recession," Evans said.

Federal prison escapee caught in I-20 bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Feb. 6, 2003 - A fugitive who escaped from a federal penitentiary shortly after New Year's Day is back in custody, and 120 pounds of marijuana was seized, during a traffic stop by a local task force officer Tuesday morning on Interstate 20 west of Pecos.

The incident occurred at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, when Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officer Kevin Roberts stopped a green Chevrolet S-10 pickup, at mile marker 34, eastbound on I-20, six miles east of Pecos.

"During the stop I obtained verbal consent to search the vehicle," said Roberts, who with the help of Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officer Joe Gonzales, located a false bed on the S-10 pickup, where 98 bricks of marijuana were recovered.

Total weight of the illegal drug was set at 120 pounds with a street value of $55,000.

The driver of the pickup, Charles Zamorano, 43, of El Paso was arrested.

"During this time we found that he was also a fugitive from justice who escaped from the La Tuna prison in El Paso on Jan. 3," said Roberts.

Roberts said that the bed on this truck was excellent and that it took them a while to take it apart. "They did an excellent job of putting this false bed together," he said.

Zamorano is currently in the Reeves County Jail on a federal warrant and facing charges of possession of marijuana over 50 pounds and under 2,000, a second-degree felony.

He was being held at the La Tuna facility on possession of marijuana charges.

"Kevin and Joe have really been hitting the highway, there's been a lot of activities and their skills at finding illegal narcotics and money have vastly improved and the community should be really proud of the work they are doing," said task force commander Gary Richards.

He said that the two make a great team and with their combined skills have made this area a safer place to live and have taken a large amount of illegal drugs off the streets.

"Their making a great impact on impending the narcotics flowing through this area," said Richards. "We need to commend them and thank them for the excellent job they are doing."

PHS sends 12 students to Texas BPA competition

Staff Writer

PECOS, Feb. 6, 2003 - For the first time ever, the Pecos High School Chapter of Business Professionals of America hosted the Area 4 Region 2 Leadership Conference this past weekend, and a dozen PHS students earned spots in state competition next month.

The event was held Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Pecos High and students went into this competition with eagerness and much excitement, according to Judy Holland, BPA advisor for the Pecos High School Chapter.

Many students from around the area participated in the events, including San Angelo, Midland, Odessa, Balmorhea, Pecos, Fort Stockton, Lamesa and Garden City. A total of 11 schools were in attendance, with 250 students, and 21 teachers were on hand to help out.

Students competed in 45 different categories, ranging from individual computer events to speaking events and to various team events.

Students that were named State Qualifiers who will represent Pecos in Corpus Christi in March are as follows: Oscar Ornelas in Advanced Accounting; Mari Martinez in Payroll Accounting; Rigo Ramirez in Spreadsheet Applications; Jesenia Natividad in Banking and Finance; Valeria Valeriano in Integrated Office Procedures; Cassie Reyes in Advanced Office Systems and Procedures; Adrianna Mendoza in Legal Office Procedures; Ashley Lujan in Medical Office Procedures; Adam Ortega in Database Applications and in team competition, Oscar Ornelas, Cristina Lujan and Melanie Meierhoff in Financial Analyst Team.

Students who received awards as State Alternates in their events were Melanie Meierhoff in Fundamental Accounting; Danielle Lozano in Banking and Finance; Ramon Lujan in Fundamental Word Processing; Neftali Salgado in Advanced Office Systems and Procedures; Senovia Rubio in Legal Office Procedures; Vianca Garza in Database Applications; Leroy Salgado in Extemporaneous Speech; Cristina Lujan in Financial Math and Analysis; Neftali Salgado in Administrative Support Concepts; Roxanne Muniz in Management/Marketing/Human Resources and the team of Danielle Lozano, Rigo Ramirez, Vianca Garza and Jesus Gomez in Administrative Support Team.

Adam Ortega was named as the Region 4 Area 2 President for the 2003-2004 school year.

The students that were named as State Qualifiers will be traveling to the State Leadership Conference on March 5-8.

There will be over 2,000 students in attendance from all over Texas. Winners at the state level will go on to Nationals in Dallas in April.

The community fully supported this event. There were over 45 community members that came and volunteered their time.

"All in all the competition went smoothly," said Holland.

Students received compliments from other sponsors and students of other schools on their behavior and their professionalism, according to Holland.

"The meet went very smoothly, there were minor problems but they were fixed, and everyone worked hard," said Holland.

"I think this was a very good experience for everyone that attended and everyone did their best," said Leroy Salgado.

"We wish the very best to the students going on to state," said Holland.


PECOS, Feb. 6, 2003 - High Wednesday 68. Low this morning 42. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy and colder. Lows in the mid 20s. East winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday: Cloudy and cold. Slight chance of light snow and sleet. Highs in the mid 30s. East winds 10 to 20 mph. The chance of precipitation is 20 percent. Friday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. Saturday:

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Pecos Enterprise
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