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Friday, March 7, 2003

School board OKs 6th grade consolidation

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members approved one  school consolidation in an effort to save money during their meeting  Thursday night, but are still studying what to do about the district's  Alternative Education Program and disciplinary AEP site.

Board members approved moving sixth grade classes from Zavala to Bessie Haynes Elementary School. Bessie Haynes currently houses all fourth and fifth graders and with the board's approval will now include all sixth graders. The two schools are located next to each other on the east side of Pecos.

However, the decision whether to close the Zavala and Lamar campuses is still undecided, as board members weighed the pros and cons of such a move on AEP and DAEP students.

Superintendent Don Love and his staff had outlined several options and said that closing one of the campuses would save the district money. "We've just been losing too many kids," said Love.

Options being considered included: moving DAEP/AEP students from Lamar to Zavala, closing Lamar and fencing portions of Zavala near Bessie Haynes; moving DAEP/AEP students to Pecos High School and closing both Lamar and Zavala or leaving DAEP/AEP at Lamar and close Zavala.

After a long discussion, board members did not approve any of the options presented during last evening's meeting.

"If we move the DAEP/AEP to Zavala we're still running the risk of having them so close to the elementary school students," said board member David Flores. "We're still putting them at risk of mingling with the regular students, which is the same problem we would have if we moved them to the high school," he said.

"If we close Zavala what would it be used for?" asked board member Lila Cerna.

"It would just be used for storage," said Love.

Financial director Cookie Canon said that there are some permanent files that are already being stored at Zavala, among other items.

Board member Paul Deishler, who is also a member of the Pecos Police Department, said that one of his concerns about having the DAEP/AEP across the tracks at the Lamar campus was that in case of an emergency the railroad tracks would pose a problem. "If they call us and the train is running through at the time, we'll be tied up at the tracks for a while," said Deishler. "And those trains run at all hours," he said.

Deishler said that he was worried that the officers wouldn't be able to get to the emergency in a timely manner.

Flores was concerned that an incident might occur with the students that attend DAEP and having them so close to the elementary school students at Bessie Haynes.

"I wonder if there's any problems that we're having at the Lamar campus at this time," said board member Steve Valenzuela.

Lamar Campus Director Jimmy Dutchover said that the problem at this time was growth. "We're really full at this time, all the rooms with air conditioning are being used right now," he said.

"I'm with David, my concern is having DAEP/AEP that close to the elementary school kids," said board member Crissy Martinez.

Board member Chip Flores suggested leaving the discipline (DAEP) at Lamar and moving the academics portion (AEP) to the high school.

"I'd like to ask Mr. Dutchover about that," said Martinez.

"Whatever decision you make, we'll handle," said Dutchover. "We'll take care of those kids and handle any situation that arises," he said.

Dutchover said that number of students that has been attending for academic reasons was growing. "If we continue to grow, we won't have any more room," said Dutchover. "But this is an excellent alternative to dropping out and we're glad more students are opting for this."

"This is being used as an option to dropout and recovery," said Dutchover. "Whatever you decide, we're going to make it work."

"If you're talking about Chip is asking about, we do have the room for them at the high school," said Love. "It is a possibility, if we just had discipline at Lamar and the academics at the high school."

P-B-T Personnel Director Gome Olibas said that a few years back the academics students were at the high school and the disciplinary students were at a separate site.

"Since we're losing kids I think we'll need to go ahead and move the sixth grade to Bessie Haynes," said Valenzuela, who made the motion to move the sixth graders to that campus.

All board members voted for the move, except board David Flores who voted "no."

"I think we should just leave it as it is," he said.

Board members will have another option at the next board meeting. Moving the academics portion of the DAEP/AEP to high school and leaving the discipline at Lamar.

Love said that any option the board votes on, nobody will lose their jobs. "It will be done through attrition, and the other teachers will be moved to where they are needed," he said.

District approves proposal for softball field

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- A new field is in the future for Pecos girls softball program, following  a decision made by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board last evening  during their regular meeting.

Board members approved the construction of a new softball field for the girls on the Pecos High School campus, along with a method of procurement for construction of the field.

However the board also voted to eliminate one sport from the current high school athletic program.

The girls currently play their game at Martinez Field, located south of Interstate 20, two miles from the main campus. The new field will be built on the northwest side of the Pecos High School football practice field.

Practice for the football team will begin in early August, while the high school girls would use the field from late January through early May. The field itself has received new fencing and a new sprinkler system in recent years, and was resodded in February.

"Everything is a on a timely schedule, if the board chooses to do this, we can go ahead with competitive sealed proposals and have everything ready for the April board and then we have until July to complete this," said Superintendent Don Love.

Love said that Monte Hunter, architect with Hunter and Corral, told him it would take about three months to complete.

Two separate outlines of the new field were presented to the board and the board chose one that they felt would be best for the girls.

"We're putting it on the northwest corner and using a portable fence when we're using it and taking it down during football season, so the boys can work out there," said Love.

Love said that the estimate presented for the construction was $340,000. "Hunter always puts in a contingency in case something comes up," said Love. "It might be more around $300,000," he said.

The new field will have a stadium that will seat 400 people, and the two options included either wraparound bleachers or two separate bleachers. Board members opted for the second outline, which included the wraparound bleachers.

"The scoreboard will be LED and the announcers booth will be on the ground, instead of elevated," said Love.

"Will it be in compliance to hold tournaments?" said board member David Flores.

"Yes, even in the summer, the girls will have a field to play in," said Love. "The girls that participate in summer softball through the recreation department can play there and hold tournaments," he said.

"This will work out better instead of having to be transported six miles out of town," said personnel director Gome Olibas. "We'll also have restroom facilities."

"Why are we considering building something like this?" asked board member Steve Valenzuela. "It's just that I don't know very much about this, was there a problem or what?"

Olibas said that about 5-6 years ago the board and staff had discussed this project when softball was added as a sport, but there was no money in the budget for it and that now they were at the point that it was feasible. "Now there is and we think this would be something good for the girls and the community," he said.

"Safety is very important and this will help out in that area as well," said Olibas. "The girls can just walk across the grounds and to the field, without having to be transported," he said.

"And didn't the bus break down once or something happened," said board member David Flores.

"Yes, we had some problems that time, with the bus," said Olibas.

"I think it's the best thing for us and the team," said Pecos Eagle softball coach Tammy Walls, who was in the audience during the meeting.

"There's a lot of nice portable fences and we're very pleased with this," said Love.

"This is ideal in my opinion, it's the same distance to the restrooms as the boys, we won't have to build bathrooms," said Olibas. Fans will be able to use the restrooms on the west side of Eagle Stadium.

At the same time the board approved the funding for the new softball field, board members voted to eliminate the power-lifting program, as proposed by Athletic Director Lawrence Williams.

Williams wrote in his letter to the board that the program is not recognized by the UIL as a district sport and participation is low with 10 boys and two girls currently participating. Of the 12 participants, nine are seniors (eight boys, one girl). The is program is offered during off-season.

Several school districts are dropping this program because of the high percentage of injury to student athletes. Eliminating this program and the head coach stipend would save the District approximately $10,000, according to Williams.

Board members approved the elimination of the power-lifting program, with board member David Flores voting "no," to eliminating it.

New postponement for Harris firebomb trial

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- The trial of Travis James Harris, which had  been scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in  Pecos, has been rescheduled for April, the latest in a series  of delays since Harris' arrest last year for the bombing  of the Monahans Police Department and the carjacking  and slaying of an Odessa man.

The U.S. District Clerk's Office said the trial has been cancelled because the Harris' defense attorney will be on vacation. The office also said that the case would be placed on the April docket.

Harris was found competent in January to stand trial after he under went a psychiatric evaluation in Fort Worth last fall. The evaluation resulted in the cancellation of his court hearings originally scheduled for Sept. 9, Sept. 30 and Nov. 11, following his August indictment by federal grand jurors in Pecos.

Harris is scheduled to stand trial only on the firebombing charge in the Pecos U.S. District Court. He faces trial in the Midland U.S. District Court on the carjacking and murder charges. His court-appointed attorney, Scott Johnson of Pecos, had filed for a motion for change of venue to El Paso, but that motion was denied by U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson in December.

Harris is currently being held in a Winkler County jail since his return from Fort Worth. While undergoing a psychiatric evaluation for the firebombing of the Monahans Police Department, doctors were also asked that the evaluation include the carjacking.

Harris was charged in the Midland Federal Court with Carjacking Resulting in Death and the Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence, in connection with the death of Paul John Ceniceros, 30, whose body was found in a field near Odessa.

Prior to those charges being filed, Harris was arrested on state and federal charges connected with the firebombing of the Monahans Police Department on June 3 of last year. The fire, in the building that also houses Monahans' city offices, caused severe damage to two rooms in police area, and forced Monahans Police to relocate their offices to another location on the south side of town.

Harris could face up to 20 years for the firebombing, Johnson said in September.

In the federal charge of carjacking resulting in death of Ceniceros, Harris could face life in prison or the death penalty.

Commissioners to discuss BOP payment rate

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners will discuss the U.S Bureau of Prisons' interim man-day rate, during their regular meeting scheduled for Monday.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m., in the third floor courtroom, and discuss the rate, which is what the BOP pays Reeves County for housing inmates at the Reeves County Detention Center. The prison just completed its recent addition, which will expand the facility's capacity to nearly 3,000 inmates.

In connection with the RCDC III construction, commissioners will discuss and take action on LMD Architect's request for payment and Frank Spencer and Associates request for payment; The will also discuss Banes General Contractors RCDC II Project completion payments; professional consulting service contract between Reeves County and Maximus, Inc.; Reeves County Sheriff's Department compliance with Senate Bill 1074-Racial Profiling; Reeves County Civic Center Use Policy; establish veterans cemetery in the Permian Basin Area; resolution recognizing March 16-22, as National Agriculture Week in Texas and property bid for property located at 1320 S. Oak St.

Regular agenda items: transportation crew mileage payments, reports from various departments, budget amendments and line-item transfers, personnel and salary changes (RCDC, Reeves County Recreation Department and county clerk's office), minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

Reynolds retires from dental practice after 49 years

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- A long-time Pecos resident and well-known and loved dentist  retired after nearly half a century on the job.

Dr. Elvia Reynolds announced his retirement on Feb. 28, after serving Pecos for 49 years as an orthodontist.

Reynolds was also a city council member for many years, was a long-time Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board member who served as president at one time; a member of the Rotary Club, who was past-president; an Elder for the Church of Christ and served on the board of the Medina Children's Home.

"I lived most of my elementary days with my grandparents and spent many days at the dental office which most of you know was located at 714 Eddy St.," said Kelvia Gene Reynolds. She was named after her beloved grandfather, and is the oldest of eight grandchildren of Norma Gene and Elvia Reynolds.

After serving in World War II, the Reynolds moved their family to St. Louis, Mo., to attend dental school. "My grandma worked and took care of the family, while my Papa attended school," said Kelvia Reynolds.

In March 1954, the Reynolds graduated and became a licensed dentist. After graduating, the couple found their home in Pecos and with an exciting future, a wife and three children, Reynolds began his adventure as a dentist. That same year he opened his dental office and not long after opening his office he began to practice orthodontics. "I believe my Papa was the only orthodontist in the area," said Reynolds.

"I can remember when I was getting my braces, my Papa would send me next door to Dr. Lovett's to have a tooth or two pulled and then back over to his office for the rest of the work," said Reynolds. "Although they were each an individual practice, I thought of them as a team. I guess you could say those were the good old days."

Reynolds recalls that as she sat in the big, black dentist chair to get her pearly whites cleaned and checked over by her favorite dentist, the sounds and smells made her think of so many things. "I can remember walking to his office after school, opening the big door that to this day makes the same sound, there were always people awaiting their turn in the big black chair," said Reynolds.

Reynolds said that after her ritual trip next door to Rediger's pharmacy to get herself a snack, she would sit in his office and do homework.

"The sound of the drill and the smell of toothpaste never faded throughout the day," said Reynolds. "I was never allowed to be in the room while he was with a patient, but when he was done I could help clean the tools and get things ready for the next lucky patient."

"I can remember that every single person that came out of the room would stop at the big mirror and see the work that had been done," she said. "After the admiration in the mirror, there was a wall with pictures of his patients that he had over the years."

Reynolds, of course, had to include her own picture with a smile with her braces on. "I was proud to have them," she said.

Reynolds said she was amazed at how many pictures her grandfather had that covered the wall. "After the wall of fame, the next stop was at the receptionist desk to make their next appointment," said Reynolds. "I do remember when I was a little older I could make the appointments, I always though I was doing a very important job," she said.

Reynolds said that she couldn't imagine why some people were scared of the dentist. "I never was, but I guess not everyone's Papa is his or her dentist"

"So Papa, my hats off to you and thank you for memories that will be with me for the rest of my life," said Reynolds. "And with everything in my heart, I love you," she said.

Reynolds said she also wanted to thank her grandma for 23 wonderful years and memories at her children's clothing store, Norma Jean's. "I also love you with all my heart," she said.

School's office opens next week for registration

PECOS, Fri., March 7, 2003 -- The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD administration office will be open next week for candidates wanting to pick up applications or those filing for the May 3 school board election.

P-B-T secretary Jo Allgood said she would be in the office from 9 a.m. until 12 noon and from 1 until 4 p.m. daily to handling candidate filings.

Deadline to file an application for a place on the ballot in all city, school and hospital district local elections is 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 19.


High Thursday 70. Low this morning 42. Forecast for  tonight: Mostly clear this evening with increasing clouds late. Lows in  the lower 40s. South winds 5 to 15 mph becoming light and variable  after midnight. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s. Light  and variable winds. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower  40s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70s. Monday: Partly  cloudy. Lows near 40. Highs in the upper 70s.


Lydia Lara

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