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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, June 13, 2003

Local drug task force funding reinstated

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Almost a week after the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force received a letter stating that it would no longer be funded, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez received a second letter stating that they had nothing to worry about.

"Last Friday my office sent you a letter notifying you that your drug task force was not being funded," Criminal Justice Division Executive Director Ken Nicolas wrote in the letter. "That letter should have told you that funding was contingent on certification of the budget, a process that is likely to take longer than usual because of the state's economy."

The letter goes on to state that funding for the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force is contingent on certification of House Bill 1 by the State Comptroller and on the Governor signing the bill.

"State Representative Pete Gallego called me on Monday and told me not to worry," Gomez said. "Nicolas also called me yesterday and told me that we had an extension till the end of this month."

Gomez added that if the bill still was not signed at the end of June, Nicolas told him that they would receive a second extension for July and continue to receive extensions until Governor Rick Perry signed the bill.

"That is why I did not go to Austin because they called me and told me not to worry," Gomez said.

He added that the first extensions were given to all the drug task forces by the Governor's office.

According to Gomez, out of the 46 Texas Drug Task Forces only five would be cut with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force not being one of them.

An article that came out in today's Houston Chronicle stated that the governor's office had sent notices to 13 drug task forces informing the groups that they would be losing their grant funding.

Spokesman for Perry, Gene Acuna, said that the governor's criminal justice division mistakenly mailed notices to 13 when it intended to only notify five.

"I believe, but can't prove, that there was political pressure and the decision to defund was changed," Texas American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Will Harrell told the Chronicle. "I can not conceive, if somebody on my staff made a mistake of that significance they would no longer be employed."

According to the Governor's office the five drug task forces that will not receive funding were North Central Narcotics Force in Denton County, Galveston County Narcotics Task Force, 25th Judicial Task Force in Guadalupe County, South Texas Specialized Crime and Narcotics Task Force in Kleberg County and Tri-County Narcotics Task Force in San Patricio County.

Curt Meachum, a Representative Pete Gallego's Office, confirmed that the information in the Chronicle was correct and that only the five drug task forces mentioned would loose their funding.

Gomez said that the current grant provides the Task Force with 75 percent of the money while the task force must come up with the remaining 25 percent.

"The county has not had to pay one cent," Gomez said. "Our 25 percent has come from the seizures we have made."

Alternative certification for teacher's aides announced

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members listened to an update on renovations and a Summary of Finance during their regular meeting held Thursday evening.

Renovations are currently being done at Austin Elementary School.

"They are busy working on duct work," said Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Don Love.

The work at the elementary school is set to be completed by Aug. 10, he said.

"Our architect said that the work is of good quality and consistent with the projected schedule," said Love.

Other renovations are being done at Pecos High School where crews are working on the mold problem in one of the buildings. "The mold remediation is due to begin next week," said Love. "Staff is going to make vinyl wall covering selections and the work will be completed by Aug. 1," he said.

Love told the group that work would also begin on the new softball field next week. "That is going along really well also," he said.

Love updated the group on the Summary of Finance for the school district and said that he had good news.

"A month or so ago we were looking at $1.7 million, since then the state has posted a new formula and now we're looking at $1.2 million," said Love. "With the five percent budget cuts and personnel losses through attrition, we're looking at being $36,000 in the black," he said.

Love said that the figures could change since the cost of natural gas has gone up. "Everything is going up, so things can change, but we'll definitely be alright for next year," said Love.

Love said that the school district was not going to lay off any personnel, but that those who left would not be replaced. "We're very tickled with the figures right now," he said.

Good news also came for the para-professionals in the school district.

"With the new rules implemented with the No Child Left Behind program, para professionals were being asked to get an Associates Degree or have two years of college," said Assistant Superintendent Gome Olibas.

Olibas said that there were currently 47 teacher's aides that did not meet those requirements.

"You (the board) had given me permission to send two aides and get training and they got qualified," said Olibas.

Olibas said that another program to help these aides cost about $22,000.

"But now I've found something that will help them and will cost the district less money," said Olibas.

Olibas said that the new program was called PAKS (Paraprofessional Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).

"This is done through observation, instead of a written test," said Olibas.

Another option for these teacher's aides was a rigorous written test, according to Olibas. "But this new PAKS is not a written test, but is done through observation," he said.

Olibas said that it was a 45-minute observation assessment.

The PAKS assessment is completed in an instructional setting in which the paraprofessional demonstrates his/her knowledge and skills in instructing students as delineated by the 20 criteria in PAKS.

"If they pass all 20 observation skills, they receive a certificate and are qualified," said Olibas. "But if they miss even one, they will have to take the test again," he said.

Olibas said that the assessment would be done by the campus principal. "The good part is that it only costs $60 instead of $22,000," said Olibas.

Olibas said that the district was trying to help these aides keep their jobs. "Some of these teacher's aides have been with the district a long time and now they are afraid of losing their jobs," he said.

"We want to get all 45 qualified by 2006," he said.

"I think this is going to take the pressure off of some of these aides," said special education director Donna Davis. "We've had some quit because they thought they wouldn't be able to pass the written test," she said.

The board approved the new PAKS assessment test to be administered to the aides.

Friday the 13th's image - coincidence or just bad luck

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Today is Friday the 13th - a day that has become infamous for the supposed bad luck it brings with it.

Many people all over the United States, and the world, will not work on this day. Some will not go out on this day, and many would not think of planning a wedding on this day. This superstition has become so popular that movies, 10 to be exact, have been made titled "Friday the 13th.."

Although many people believe in the bad luck that this day brings, not many can tell how or why this superstition came into existence. Looking back through history and folklore, we find many instances of bad luck being associated with Friday and the number 13 separately.

It has been said that you should not change your bedding on a Friday, or you will have bad dreams. Trips that are started on a Friday are said to end in misfortune. In ancient Rome, executions took place on Friday.

Many biblical events of negative import supposedly occurred on Friday, including the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the start of the Great Flood, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

The number 13 has also gotten a bad reputation over the years. Many buildings do not have a 13th floor, and some cities do not have a 13th street.

One superstition is that if 13 people dine together the life of one of the attendants will end within the next year. This superstition stems from a Greek myth in which 12 gods were interrupted during dinner by another god who was uninvited. This god ended up destroying the dinner and causing tragedy and mayhem for many.

So, how did the two separate superstitions come together to become one of the world's greatest superstitious beliefs?

One theory comes from something that took place over 700 years ago during the Christian Crusades. A group of "warrior monks," known as the Knights Templar, had been formed to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. The group grew over the course of 200 years, and by the 1300's was considered a threat by kings and popes alike. A church-state conspiracy began to put an end to the well loved "warrior monks."

On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for its misfortune, the men were arrested under false charges. They were excruciatingly tortured, and many died from either torture or by being burned at the stake.

Many believe that this theory may be the reason for the superstition revolving around this day. Whether you believe this superstition or not, in the end, we should probably take this and other theories with a grain of salt, thrown over our left shoulder, of course.

Five to be interviewed for A.D., no names released

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Five individuals will be interviewed next week for the position of Athletic Director for Pecos High School and a decision will be made at that time PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love said last night at the regularly scheduled school board meeting.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members approved the athletic director's job description and salary range the same discussion.

"We'll be interviewing five candidates next Thursday and Friday," Love said.

Love said that the group could schedule a special meeting on Friday, to appoint the new AD.

"The salary range we had in mind is about $60,000, but that can be decided when we offer him the position," said Love.

Love said that one of the changes in the job description was to take out that the individual had to have a master's degree. "We'll take that part out and as long as he has the Texas Mid-management certificate or is willing to work toward a Texas Mid-management or other appropriate Texas administrative certificate," said Love.

"He will go on a five-year plan and he can get that certification during that time," he said.

The current Athletic Director Lawrence Williams resigned from his post recently and the board has posted the position and has been taking applications.

Board members also approved a request from the Greater Opportunities of the Southwest (Head Start) for use of the Zavala Elementary School facility.

"They lease one of our facilities each year and are currently using the Pecos Elementary campus," said Love.

Love said that when PBT-ISD closes a campus the group leases it for their use.

"I would guess that the utilities at Pecos Elementary are expensive," said Love. "And since we did a lot of work at the Zavala campus, it's really efficient," he said.

Love said that the Zavala campus had a new air conditioning system installed before the board decided to close the facility.

Bessie Haynes Elementary, which will now house fourth, fifth and sixth graders, will use the cafeteria, band hall and gymnasium at the Zavala campus.

Love said that he had spoken to the area Head Start Director Betty Carter. "They lease the facilities and only pay the insurance," said Love.

Love said that the contract was the same one that was used for the lease of the Pecos Elementary campus, but that this one would include that the fourth-sixth graders would use the cafeteria, band hall and gymnasium.

"They won't use those parts of the building when the little ones are there, though," said Love.

Love said that the Head Start students were a big part of Pecos and that the Head Start did a lot for the community. "The school district has to help them out as much as we can, because these kids are also a part of our community," said Love.

Head Start is for children ages three through four years of age.

Love said that school personnel would have to move out any items that they wanted stored before the group moves in on Aug. 1.

Story hour at Reeves Co. Library

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Story hour will be held at 10 a.m., during the summer months at the Reeves County Library.

All children are invited to attend and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parent workshop on Monday, June 16th

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will present a "Make It And Take It" parent workshop at 6 p.m., Monday, June 16, in the Crockett Middle School Cafeteria, 1801 Missouri.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Tickets on sale for pageant

PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Tickets for the Annual Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant will go on sale Monday, June 16 through Thursday, June 26, at the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, 111 S. Cedar.

Cost for a ticket will be $8 and tickets will also be sold at the door.

The pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, June 27, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.


PECOS, Friday, June 13, 2003 -- Thursday's high 106, lows last night 65. This afternoon partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs 98 to 103. South winds 10 to 15 mph becoming Southwest. Tonight mostly clear. Lows in the upper 60s. West winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 90s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Sunday partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.Highs in the lower 90s.


Glady's Lenora Davis Norwoood and Neddie Molinar

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