Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, June 3, 2003
Ward sheriffs' Barstow office is burglarized
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., June 3, 2003 -- The Ward County Sheriff's Department found
itself to be the victims of a burglary, after items were found missing from
the department's Barstow office.
The local Sheriff's Office, located Mackey Street in Barstow, was broken
into early last week. Ward County Deputy Ben Deishler, who is stationed
in Barstow, said that a shotgun and some tear gas were stolen from his office.
He added that the suspect was able to gain entry into the office through
a window that was broken.
"Once inside the suspect broke into the gun shelf," Deishler said.
He added that while an arrest has not been made and the items have not
been recovered, the sheriff's department does have a suspect in the weapons
Satellite TV firm sues Pecos men over descramblers
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Tues., June 3, 2003 -- A satellite television company has filed civil
suits in U.S. District Court in Pecos against two local residents, alleging
they purchased illegal signal descramblers to view the company's programming.
DIRECTV filed a lawsuit on May 23 against Robby Hernandez, Jr., and Randy
Taylor for possession and use of illegal devices and equipment designed
to intercept and decrypt the company's protected satellite communications,
ultimately allowing for the free viewing of television programming. The
company is seeking actual damages of over $10,000 and punitive damages of
$100,000 against both defendants, who the company alleges were found to
have purchased the devices following action against the supplier two years
The civil suit states that on or about May 25, 2001, DIRECTV executed
Writs of Seizure with the assistance of local law enforcement, at the mail
shipping facility used by several major distributors of Pirate Access Devices,
including, among others, Vector Technologies, DSS-Stuff Shutt, Inc., Whiteviper
and DSS-Hangout (collectively referred to as the 'Fulfillment Pirate Group').
During and subsequent to the raids, DIRECTV obtained a substantial body
of shipping records, email communications, credit card receipts and other
records. Each of the records confirmed the existence of a distribution source
for the country-wide transmission of devices primarily designed for the
unauthorized interception of DIRECTV's Satellite Programming. More pertinently,
the records evidence the defendants' purchase of Pirate Access Devices from
a member of the Fulfillment Pirate Group.
The company says the defendants actively programmed and reprogrammed
DIRECTV access cars and designed electronic system for use in surreptitiously
obtaining satellite programming.
The suit says the defendants' activities violate federal telecommunication
and wiretapping laws and state statutory and common law, and DIRECTV therefore
is seeking damages and injunctive relief against defendants, Hernandez and
The lawsuit is brought pursuant to several federal statutes prohibiting
the interception of satellite communications, including the Cable Communications
Policy Act of 1984 and the Electronic Communications Policy Act of 1986
for the violation of Texas law and as an action for injunctive relief and
damages for the improper receipt, transmission and use of satellite programming
DIRECTV is asking for statutory damages in an amount of $10,000 for each
violation of the main count against Hernandez and Taylor, plus an additional
$100,000 for each violation of the count, which the suit states requires
a penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 for each violation
from the defendants.
P-B-T lower grade levels fare better in TAKS test
From Staff and Wire Reports
Preliminary scores show that test results for elementary and junior high
school students in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD were about at the state average
for the first Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills (TAKS) test, while the
results for Pecos' High School students fell below the statewide averages
in several areas.
Texas Education Association officials said high school scores overall
were lower across the state than they were in the lower grades.
Only 52 percent of 10th-graders and 49 percent of 11th-graders passed
the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, administered for the first
time in March since its 1999 adoption to replace the Texas Assessment of
Academic Skills, or TAAS.
Current high school sophomores are the first class that must pass all
parts of the TAKS test by their senior year to graduate, and they can keep
taking it until they pass.
But this year's juniors are only required to pass the old TAAS test to
get their diplomas _ not the TAKS, which covers more subjects _ so they
may not have been motivated to do well on the more rigorous test, Texas
Education Agency officials said.
"It was not really a personal mandate that they had to pass," said Ann
Smisko, associate commissioner for curriculum assessment and technology.
"The (current sophomore class) is clearly where the high school challenge
is. Schools really need to look at the kids who didn't pass and target those
Seventy-five percent of fourth-graders, 65 percent of fifth-graders and
74 percent of sixth-graders passed all parts of the TAKS test. Sixty-seven
percent of seventh-graders, 69 percent of eigth-graders and 60 percent of
About 94 percent of third-graders passed the reading exam, a requirement
before they can move to the next grade. Field tests indicated that one in
six third-graders could have failed.
A third-grader who fails the TAKS reading exam three times must remain
in that grade unless a committee made up of the child's parents, teacher
and a school administrator agrees to promote him. The percentage of third-graders
passing all parts of TAKS had not been calculated as of Friday.
In the third grade at Austin Elementary, 91 percent of P-B-T students
passed the math portion of the TAKS test, compared to 90 percent statewide,
while in the reading, 91 percent passed on the first attempt, compared with
89 percent across the state. In the second try, 53 percent of P-B-T- third
graders passed, compared with 63 percent overall.
"Our students did really well," said Austin Elementary School Principal
Duke said that the faculty had done a lot of after school tutoring. "We
also hired three certified teachers to work half a day, during school hours,
and they came in and took a small group of students to work with," said
Duke said that the school also provided AR instruction after school for
all third graders. "We focused mainly on reading because they (the third
graders) had to pass reading in order to go on to fourth grade," said Duke.
"There were 15 students that did not achieve a good score and we focused
on them," said Duke.
"Looking at the third grade TAKS, we were really tickled with the results,"
said Superintendent Don Love. "The administrators did an outstanding job."
Duke said that extra funding provided by the state to all kindergarten
through third grade students was used towards the purchase of a CIA lab.
"This was for those who qualified for state funding," said Duke. "And we
used our money to purchase the lab, for struggling readers," she said.
Duke said that the staff has already started working on the first and
"These scores show the results of the hard work the teachers do here,"
said Duke. "Most of them stayed after school every day to provide extra
tutoring and the ones that couldn't stay after school, that had prior commitments,
came in before school, at 7:30 a.m., to tutor students," she said.
In fourth grade, 85 percent of P-B-T students passed the math TAKS, 76
percent passed the reading and 80 percent passed the writing portion of
the test. The preliminary state numbers were 88 percent for math, 86 for
reading and 86 for writing.
In fifth grade, 79 percent of P-B-T students passed the math TAKS test,
74 percent passed the reading test and 65 percent passed the writing test.
The state numbers in those three categories were 86, 80 and 74 percent.
In sixth grade 76 percent passed the math TAKS test locally, compared
with 79 percent statewide, and 84 percent passed the reading test, compared
with 86 percent overall in Texas.
For seventh graders, 76 percent passed TAKS in math, 85 percent in reading
and 84 percent in writing. The state numbers were 73 percent passing in
math, 88 in reading and 85 in writing, while in eighth grade, TAKS tests
were giving in math, reading and social studies. Locally, 70 percent passed
in math, 85 percent in reading and 94 percent in social studies, while overall,
72 percent passed in math, 88 percent in reading and 93 percent in social
Within the next five years, fifth- and eighth-graders must pass reading
and math sections before moving to the next grade. High school juniors must
take and pass an exit-level exam.
At the high school level, the preliminary TAKS results show that 74 percent
of ninth graders at Pecos High School passed the reading test, but only
41 percent passed the math test. The state numbers showed 82 percent passing
reading and 63 percent passing math.
In 10th grade, which will be the first group that will have to pass TAKS
to graduate, 65 percent of PHS students passed the English language arts
test, 54 percent passed in math, 79 percent in social studies and 50 percent
in science. Statewide, 72 percent passed in English, 71 percent in math,
86 percent in social studies and 69 percent in science.
At the 11th grade level, where the TAKS test will not affect students'
graduations, only social studies was close to the statewide average. The
preliminary figures showed 84 percent of PHS students passed there, compared
with 90 percent overall. But in English, only 46 percent passed locally,
compared with 69 percent for all Texas schools, 45 percent passed in science,
compared with 67 percent overall, and only 37 percent passed in math, compared
with 68 percent statewide.
"We're not happy with the TAKS at all," said PHS principal Danny Rodriguez
about the results. "We're taking steps, and are sending people away for
training for the new strategies."
Rodriguez said teachers would be attending workshops in the upcoming
months dealing with how to better teach the materials needed to pass TAKS.
"I know the math scores were a little lower than we expected them to
be, but it's the first time the kids have seen the test, and that's kind
of the way it happened with TAAS," he said. "We have been issued a challenge
with the new TAKS test, and our scores will improve."
"We know what improvements we need to work on throughout the system,
and I think our people will respond to the task," Love said. "I guarentee
you we'll be breaking it down and looking at it, because these kids have
got to pass the 11th grade TAKS test."
State education officials say TAKS, which is given to more grades than
the old test, does a better job of measuring whether students learned what
they studied during the year.
But critics say the state Board of Education set the passing standards
too high despite projections that more students, many of them poor and minority,
About 32 percent of fifth-graders and 51 percent of sixth-graders passed
the Spanish version of TAKS, which is given to Spanish-speaking students
in grades 3-6.
New law delays jobless benefits expiration date
PECOS, Tues., June 3, 2003 -- The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced
an extension of the Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation program
(TEUC). President Bush signed the extension into law on May 28. The extension
is part of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, which temporarily
provided up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for eligible, unemployed
Texans who exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
The latest extension allows Texas to continue to establish TEUC claims
until Dec. 31, 2003, for individuals who have exhausted their regular UI
benefits. Qualified claimants who apply for the program by Dec. 31, can
continue to receive benefits through March 31, 2004. No benefits can be
paid for any week beginning after March 31, 2004. Individuals who have already
exhausted their TEUC benefits are not entitled to additional benefits under
Further information and updates also are available on the TWC Web Site
PECOS, Tues., June 3, 2003 -- High Mon. 104. Low this morning 75. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the mid 60s. South winds 5 to 15 mph. Wed.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent
chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 90s. West winds 5 to 15 mph
becoming south. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance
of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 30
percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 90s. Friday: Partly
cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Highs in
the mid 80s.
Urbano Herrera and Cora Laskey
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise