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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

City, hospital elections uncontested at deadline

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., March 19, 2003 -- A second incumbent in Balmorhea and two challengers have joined the race for the Balmorhea school board. But most other local elections remain uncontested, with the deadline for filling set for 5 p.m. today

Paul Matta has filed to retain his seat on the Balmorhea ISD board, along with newcomers Abel Baeza and Courtney Ballard. They join challenger Sharon Oates and incumbent Tommy Rey Dominguez who had filed earlier to retain his seat on the board.

Currently, the elections in the Balmorhea ISD and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD are the only contested races in the May 3 city, school and hospital elections for the area. In the P-B-T election, incumbents David Flores and Steve Valenzuela filed for new three-year terms on the board, and will be challenged by Randy Baeza and Amy Montgomery Miller.

Potential candidates have until 5 p.m., today to decide if they would like to run for an office in the May 3 elections in the Balmorhea and P-B-T ISDs, Town of Pecos City Council, Reeves County Hospital Board, Balmorhea City Council, Barstow City Council and Toyah City Council.

Several individuals have reportedly picked up applications at the different locations, but have not returned those applications to the filing clerks.

The last filing in any Pecos race was on Monday, when Pablo T. Carrasco filed to run for the Precinct 4 seat on the Reeves County Hospital District board currently held by Hugh Box. Officials said last month that due to redistricting last year, Box's home is no longer part of Precinct 4, making him ineligible to seek re-election.

The Precinct 4 and Precinct 2 seats are up for election this year. In Precinct 2, incumbent Linda Gholson is the only person so far to file for that two-year term.

In the area's council elections, Mayor Pro-tem Gerald Tellez and councilman Frank Sanchez have filed to retain their seats on the Pecos City Council, while Danny Rodriguez is seeking to return to the council after a one-year absence. The other council member whose term is up in May is Johnny Terrazas.

In Barstow, incumbents Olga Abila, Dora Villanueva and Ted Porras have filed for new two-year terms on the city council and Angel Abila has filed for the one-year unexpired term.

Ike Ward filed to retain his seat on the Balmorhea City Council, one of three seats up for election this year. Sammy Baeza currently holds the other seat and there is one other seat vacant.

P-B-T's TAKS passing rate above state average

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., March 19, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD received good news in the results of the TAKS scores for the district's third graders, and school officials are excited and proud of their accomplishments.

"We're just tickled to death with these scores," said P-B-T Superintendent Don Love.

Love said that 90.86 percent of the district's third graders past the initial Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills (TAKS) test, which averaged out, 91 percent. That was two percent higher than the state average of 89 percent.

Ector County ISD in Odessa reported a score of 88 percent for its students while Midland ISD had 91.2 percent of its third graders pass the test, according to the state's figures.

"The teachers, the staff, the students did an outstanding job and we're very proud of them," said Love. "Student reports will go out Thursday or Friday, and parents will have a chance to review them."

Love said he wanted to release the school's average because he wanted everyone to know how well they did and how proud they are of them.

"These third graders need to pass this test before going on to fourth grade," said Love.

The test was administered at Austin Elementary School, which houses first through third grades. "Cindy (Duke) did an outstanding job and she should be congratulated for her efforts," he said.

Love said that the students who did not pass the TAKS this time, still have two more chances to do so. "There will be a retest on April 30 and a second retest on July 8," said Love.

"They worked really hard," said Love.

Already the students who did not do well on the test have been identified. "They were on top of this since yesterday when we received the scores," said Love. "They will be working with those students and seeing all that they can do with them," he said.

Love said that teachers and staff are looking at the scores and seeing how they can help the students that did not pass the TAKS. "They'll try to work with them more and try to help them pass it," said Love.

Love said that the teachers have been working really hard with the students and have done well. "There's been quite a bit of pressure from the state of Texas and I know these teachers have been under some stress," said Love. "But we're really excited about these scores and we want them to know how proud we are of everyone," he said.

Love said that Pecos is ahead of the state at this point and time and that everyone will continue to work hard to bring the scores up more.

According to the Texas Education Association, while the statewide average for the English version of the reading test was 89 percent, 82 percent of students taking the Spanish version passed.

Field tests for Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills last year predicted 85 percent of students would pass the English version, and 73 percent to pass the Spanish version.

"I commend Texas teachers, parents and most of all, Texas third graders for their outstanding success on this year's TAKS reading test," said Gov. Rick Perry. "Our students' passing rate on the first administration of this challenging test affirms that

strengthening our standards, ending social promotion and implementing the Texas Reading Initiative have been valuable tools for progress. Raising the bar for our students has only increased their potential for accomplishment."

To pass, third-graders were required to answer 22 out of 36 reading questions correctly this year and next year. In 2005, pupils would have to answer 24 reading items correctly to pass. Failing the test does not automatically mean failing third grade, however.

Pupils have three chances to pass the test and parents and educators must agree if children can move on to the fourth grade despite failing the tests. A test other than TAKS can be used the third time.

Test results will help teachers identify which children are having trouble learning and need addition instruction, said John Cole, president of the Texas Federation for Teachers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Police ID victim, shooter in fatal incident

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., March 19, 2003 -- Pecos Police have released the names of both the victim and the shooter in an alleged burglary incident early Tuesday morning in which officers found a man dead in a alleyway on the north side of town from a gunshot wound to the back.

Police Lt. Kelly Davis identified the victim as Ronald Keith Leigh, 21, of 515 W. Fifth St., and the shooter as Reuben Mills, 21, of 325 N. Pecan St.

"The home at 325 N. Pecan is were the alleged burglary occurred," Davis said, while Leigh's body was found in an alley about two blocks north of the residence.

Davis added that they now know that there were two subjects involved in the incident and identified the second subject as Chris Hodges, 20, of 711 North Faye in Barstow.

"There has been no arrest made," Davis said. "The case is still under investigation."

"There were three witnesses to the actual event," he said. "One of them is now dead."

He went on to say that Leigh and Mills knew each other, and that there were others involved but not with the shooting or the alleged break-in of Mills' home.

Police said on Tuesday their investigation was continuing. Witnesses were being interviewed by the police, and Leigh's body had been sent off for autopsy.

"There is no word on the autopsy," Davis said early this morning.

The incident was reported at 2:14 a.m. Tuesday morning when Sgt. Armando Garcia and Officer Ricky Martinez were dispatched to the 300 block of North Pecan Street in reference to a burglary of the residence.

When officers arrived Mills said that he was awakened by two individuals who might have gained entry into his residence.

Mills went on to tell the officers that he then got a rifle from inside his own home and fired several shoots in the direction of the intruders.

Davis said that the gun used was a 22-rifle, which had been recovered.

At that point Garcia and Martinez then began to search the immediate area to locate anyone who might have possibly been hit by the gunfire.

Davis said that officers located Leigh at the 200 block of North Pecan with an apparent gunshot wound to the upper back.

Police said Leigh was already dead when he was discovered by the officers. He was officially pronounced dead by the Justice of the Peace on call, and an autopsy was ordered to help police with their investigation.


Manuel Villanueva

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