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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Balmorhea ISD continues updating campus facilities

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., May 7, 2003 -- Balmorhea Independent School District students and staff were like kids in a candy store at the beginning of May, after they moved into their newly remodeled cafeteria with additional dinning space and a new walk in freezer.

"They were very excited," BISD Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz said about the improved facilities, one of several improvements the district's buildings are undergoing. "We just moved into the cafeteria last week."

She added that the little kids were more excited because they now had bathrooms in the cafeteria area where they then did not have to go down the hall.

"The bathrooms came from the old dressing rooms in the old gym," Saenz said. Those facilities became available as the school prepares for construction of the school district's new gymnasium.

Other then the new bathrooms, additional dinning area and a walk in freezer, the cafeteria also received refrigerated air, a new roof and extra storage space, Saenz added.

She said that the cafeteria is one of the two projects that has been completed since they began to remodel and rebuild in the summer of 2002, following passage in May of 2001 of a $1.6 million bond issue for Balmorhea ISD.

The Ag Building was the first facility to be completed, according to Saenz.

"The Ag Building is like an Ag Teacher's dream," she said. "It has a classroom, a tool area and a feeding area. It is just a bigger area for him and his students."

With the ag and cafeteria projects completed, Saenz said that the renovations to the high school are about 80 percent completed.

"The old high school will be a technology wing," Saenz said. "The building was completely gutted out. Only the slab, the frame and the outside remained."

She added that the building would now have bigger classrooms, and will house a community lab along with a business and high school lab.

"There will be four other classrooms," Saenz said. "The rooms will be for Language Arts and testing rooms for special programs."

Saenz said that currently the classes that normally were held in the high school wing of the school building have been moved to classrooms that are not being used at that time.

"The teachers see it as temporary," Saenz said. "School is almost out and they will have new classrooms for the 2003-04 school year."

Not only will there be new classrooms for the upcoming school year, there will also be a new gymnasium by 2004.

The ground breaking for the new facility took place last week and Saenz said, "The foundation and the slab will be poured next week."

The $1.6 million bond issue was designed to bring the Balmorhea ISD facilities into compliance with a 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, was approved by a 168-55 margin. Saenz said prior to its passage in May of 2001 that the State's Office of Civil Rights cited the school district in September of 2000 for the second time for not being in compliance with federal ADA laws.

The old gym was partially redone in 1985 following a fire at the school, but is still not in compliance with the handicap regulations, she said.

"Our old gym is not handicapped accessible," Saenz said. "So we are out of compliance."

The gym will be to the south of the current facility, and just north of the high school football field. "The gym will have a concession stand that will open from the outside for our football games as well as from the inside for our basketball games," Saenz said.

She said they had to close a street for the construction of the new gym, in order to connect both the football field with the gym.

After the construction of the new gym, Saenz said that Phase Three would be the renovating of the old junior high building where a medical clinic would be housed.

"Kids can be seen by a nurse without having to be taken out of school," Saenz said.

She added that the clinic would be equipment to handle taking x-rays of children or bandaging them up when injured.

"The nurse will be in contact with the doctors at the hospital in Pecos," Saenz said.

The remodeling of the clinic will begin in the summer and be done by August of this year as well, Saenz said.

As construction continues, Saenz said that she saw it as additional square footage being added to the campus.

"The construction is all being done through grant and bond money we have received," Saenz said

Pecos FFA girls capture state dairy judging title

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., May 7, 2003 -- The third time was the charm for four members of the Pecos Chapter of the Future Farmers of America, as they came away from their third trip to state with a championship in Dairy Cattle Judging.

The four earned national qualification for their Career Development Event Team, by topping a field of 53 qualifying teams from across Texas last Saturday at the state contest, hosted by Texas A&M University in College Station.

Members of the state champion team are: Amanda Armstrong, daughter of Cole and Bana Armstrong; Lauren Martinez, daughter of Jimmy and Sharlene Martinez; Kaci Harrison, daughter of Roger and Angela Harrison; Sarah McKinney, daughter of Brenda and Clay McKinney. Martinez's sister Shelly was also an alternate for the team.

Kaci Harrison brought home a medallion for fourth high individual by turning in a score of 435 out of a possible 485, while Amanda Armstrong was the ninth best judger in the state, scoring 424 points. Sarah McKinney ranked 17th overall, while Lauren Martinez placed 31st.

The Pecos team won the contest by 11 points, scoring a 1,275, the highest score from recent years, out of a possible 1,455. Henrietta placed second with a 1,264, Garrison was third with 1,254 points, followed by Hondo with a 1,243, and Hempstead with 1,237 points.

The Pecos team had qualified for the event by placing fifth in their Area II event held at Texas Tech University on April 12. Dairy cattle teams are required to place six classes of live animals, including cows and heifers, as well as make an evaluation of pedigrees where they evaluate animals by their genetic information in terms of milk, protein and fat content from their parents' performance records. They must also evaluate 15 physical traits on two different cows and score them according to accepted guidelines. Then they must take a test over basic dairy management information.

"After we'd figured our score, we were pretty sure that we'd be in the top 10 or maybe five with our score, but we knew it would be tough to win," said advisor Tim Flanagan. "The students were very excited."

Flanagan said he really enjoys watching the student's faces when they win a contest. "This was the first dairy judging contest we'd ever won. We'd been close several times, but when it came time to really work and accomplish, these kids really got it done," said Flanagan.

These teams develop a student's self-esteem and teaches them sound reasoning and develops their abilities to make concrete decisions. This makes the third year in a row that the Pecos FFA Dairy Judging Team has qualified for the state event.

Two years ago the team, consisting of the same four girls, placed 15th, and last year they improved seven spots, putting them in the eighth place. This year, they moved up another seven notches, which is "no small feat," according to Kaci, to win the opportunity to represent Texas at Nationals later this year in Louisville, Ky.

All the students agreed that they are excited about their state win and going to nationals. Harrison, a junior at Pecos High School, has been involved in FFA since third grade and all through high school.

"I'm a little bit nervous, but it will be an exciting experience," she said. "It will be fun, we'll do everything we've been doing, but we'll work harder."

Harrison said that they are doing extra research and will work hard on reason because they haven't had to do that before.

She plans to attend Texas A&M University, following graduation and major in pre-med.

Armstrong, a senior at PHS, has been in FFA since her freshman year. "We're ready to go and represent Texas and bring Nationals home," said Armstrong. "We've been practicing and studying extra hard and I just feel very excited."

Armstrong plans to attend Southwest Texas in San Marcos after high school graduation and major in agri-business.

Lauren Martinez, a senior, has been involved in FFA since junior high. "It's exciting, but I'm a little nervous," she said. "I wasn't anticipating this, but we're just going to study really hard and do our best."

Martinez said that a team from Texas has never won it, so the group of girls plans to do their best. "And maybe we can be that team to win it."

McKinney, a junior at PHS, has been involved in FFA throughout high school. "I'm just overwhelmed, it hasn't set in yet," said McKinney. "I just can't believe it, I'm very excited," she said.

"We'll just be doing out best to represent Pecos and Texas and hope we win," said McKinney. "Mr. Flanagan works us really hard, so maybe it will pay off."

She plans to go into the medical field, following high school graduation.

This made the fourth dairy team Flanagan has had qualifying for the state event in nine years. The Ag Mechanics team, which won their Area II contest, was in attendance at the State Event at A&M and placed a very respectable 21st. The Land, Range and Pasture, and Dairy Products competed at their State Event held two weeks ago at Tarleton State University in Stephenville and placed 9th, 16th, and 18th, respectively.

Many hours outside the regular classroom time is spent in preparation for competition. The dairy team had to learn time management skills in order to be able to balance their busy work and school activities around dairy contests and practices.

Council to swear in new members at meeting

PECOS, Wed., May 7, 2003 -- Town of Pecos City Council will hold its regular council meeting, Thursday at 7 a.m. in the Council Chambers and will swear in two current councilmen and one former member to two two-year terms.

Incumbents Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez and Councilman Frank Sanchez kept their seat on the council in last Saturday's election, while Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez will replace outgoing Councilman Johnny Terrazas. Rodridguez returns to the council after a one-year absence.

During the meeting the council will discuss and consider the renewal of the juvenile curfew law after a public hearing is held on the issue.

The council will also discuss and consider a resolution canvassing the city election of May 3, 2003, the tax abatement agreement with Trans Pecos Foods, the construction site for the skateboard park, the sale of surplus equipment, and the final plans for water improvements systems project Part I - the replacement of a 250,000 gallon tank at Ward County Well Field and Part II - refurbishment of the two three million gallon ground storage tanks amendment No. 2 of the South Worsham Project.

Approval of the minutes of its regular council meeting held on April 24 and the accounts payable report will be made by the council.

"Relay for Life" bake sale planned at SSB

PECOS, Wed., May 7, 2003 -- A Bake Sale is scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday in the Security State Bank Lobby.

Homemade "goodies" will be for sale and all proceeds will benefit the Relay for Life.


PECOS, Wed., May 7, 2003 -- High Wednesday 96. Low this morning 48. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny and windy. Highs near 90. West winds 10 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Friday: Mostly clear. Highs in the lower 90s. Saturday: Partly cloudy and windy. Lows in the mid 50s. Highs in the mid 80s.


Silveria Castillo

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