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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 14, 2003

School turf plan grounded; priorities list sought

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- Artificial turf for Pecos' high school football, baseball and softball fields will not be added any time soon, following a decision made by the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board last evening.

A large group of community individuals were on hand for the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting, held in the Technology Center, which focused on plans to install artificial turf on one or more fields at the high school.

Both sides of the issue were heard during the audience portion of the meeting, but after a long discussion, board members voted to table the item, set priorities on what is needed for the district and develop a long-term plan that will be beneficial to the community and the district.

Members of the audience spoke for and against the artificial turf and discussed why they felt as they did.

"I will admit that there are some things that we need to do," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love during the course of the meeting. The proposed plan listed the cost of installing turf at Eagle Stadium at $548,800, while the cost to put turf in at the PHS baseball field was put at $642,390 and at $217,408 for installation at the new high school softball field.

School teacher Marge Timmerman said that she has been attending board meetings for a long time and was there when the district designated funds for projects. "Right now, Austin (Elementary School) doesn't have a gym and also fourth and fifth graders don't have access to a gym," said Timmerman. "I feel they are in need of it and that money needs to be designated for some of these other projects," she said.

"Restrooms at Austin Elementary School are a little on the short side, the heater at the swimming pool has not been taken care of and there's a classroom at Bessie Haynes Elementary school that is in dire need of a new floor," said Timmerman.

Timmerman said that all the teachers were told to cut five percent out of their budget. "Because we need to stay alive," said Timmerman. "Teachers with master's degrees only got $250 more, so that isn't really an incentive for teachers to go out and get more education," she said.

Timmerman told the board that she just wanted them to consider other things that are needed in the district. "Gyms are really needed," she said.

"I think artificial turf would be wonderful any other time," said community member James Thomas. "The school needs to look at the future which apparently some of the county officials didn't do."

"We consolidate, cut back, the teachers do without and now's the time to consider things carefully," said Thomas. "We need to spend the money on things that we really need, instead of hoping that someone will come in and spend a dollar here," he said.

"I have some concerns as well, it's a good idea, but could be relevant in the future, not now," said community member Fatu Darpolor. "The science department, biology lab, chemistry, those are things that we need to update."

"But we need to think of the teachers and the kids," she said. "I don't feel it's not necessary, but just not at this time, because of the economic situation and there is so much more we need in this district."

Darpolor said that she wanted the board to see if this is what was best for this school district.

Community member Jim Breese told the group that he had some questions and concerns. "I've been talking to several teachers and I also have some questions," said Breese. "Some of those teachers opted not to come tonight, for fear of retaliation."

He asked about the playoffs, how many would attend, how much would it bring in.

"We also worry about vandalism, that's a half a million bucks sitting out there, we need to lock gates," said Breese. "Another thing, are there more knee injuries, head injuries with artificial turf," he said.

Breese questioned the cost of the survey, which was set at $58,000. "That's a lot of money for just doing the survey and the leveling," said Breese.

"We need to worry about money, because our economic situation right now," said Breese. "I'd like to ask the board to look at this very deeply," he said.

Nancy Ontiveros spoke on behalf of the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The first think is the safety issue, there are less risk of injury with an artificial turf," said Ontiveros. "The turf will pay for itself and has a 10-year warranty. The field will receive year-round usage, it's not limited to using it only one season."

Ontiveros said that there would be a lot of people that could use the fields. "The image of the school and community will be improved, along with student morale," said Ontiveros. "This will instill pride in both the students and community."

Ontiveros said that the funds would come from the district's general fund balance and would not increase taxes.

By doing this, our community will become more attractive to other communities with regards to playoff games in our city, as well as raise the level of competition among our student/athletes. By providing our students with the most up-to-date turf on which to play, their level of pride and competition will most definitely be raised. Having really good athletic facilities will only have positive impacts on all our students, and the entire community, according to chamber leaders.

"It is common knowledge that this turf is much safer for the students to play on - with regards to injuries," said Ontiveros. "Keeping our children safe and protected during competition is our number one priority."

"It is our belief that by installing this turf on our playing fields, we will most definitely accomplish this task," said Ontiveros. "Once the turf is put into place, it remains there year after year and only minimal up-keep will be required."

"This effort will most certainly build self-esteem among our students and increase each member of the community's sense of pride," said Ontiveros.

"One of the most valuable resources we have is water and I think an astroturf will save water," said David Castillo. "Our natural resources are a valuable asset."

Austin Elementary School Teacher Debra Terry told the board that she has a son that plays football. "As a parent I do want his morale boosted and a better playing field. "I think there's other ways, as a teacher I feel we need other things," she said. "The high school has new windows and carpets and that is great."

Terry said that she has seen her things get soaking wet, because of the faulty windows and the carpet in some of the rooms need to be replaced.

"It was exciting about the new carpet at the high school, but I work with little children, who do a lot of things on the floor, they like to sit down on it to read, color, work on projects," she said. "We do need a gym, nothing has been done to that school in years. We need a place for our kids to go to."

Terry said that on cold days, during the physical education period, the students are sometimes placed in the hall. "And there's a teacher in the classroom trying to teach, while these students are in the hall," said Terry.

"We've been crowded in together and have outdated furniture," said Terry. "I would just like to see some of these issues resolved, before they do something like the turf for the fields," she said.

Austin Elementary School teacher Gradene Gerbert told the board that they have not had a place for the children to participate in physical education. "In the summer time, they don't have anywhere to go to be cool, during their physical education period," said Gerbert. "There's a lot of things that need to be taken care of, I'm not against the turf, but why not do both," she said.

"We need to look at our priorities," said Gerbert.

"I believe everyone has made a valid point," said PBT-ISD Athletic Director and head football coach Patrick Willis. "Football is a high profile thing, but that's just one of the reasons," said Willis. "This is for the kids, it's for everyone."

"All those things the teachers talked about, need to be addressed, but it's just now that the turf came up, that this has become an issue," said Willis. "It's all right there, how it will be cost-effective."

"Some say, maybe right now, but in the future, but this is the future," said Willis. "It's going to bring people in and make our community look better."

Willis said that when people come from out of town they will see the field and it will reflect on Pecos.

"It's all for the kids, be open-minded. It's not only for sports, but for everyone," he said.

Architect Monte Hunter was on hand, along with an engineer that specializes in artificial turf.

Hunter told the group that 40 percent of the project would be due if the board chose to go with the artificial turf. "We have to do a summary, all the design work and field work," said Hunter.

Hunter told the group that Jeff Brizee did the Andrews field and the Abilene field three years ago.

"Is there a gurantee that this field will last for 10 years," said board member Amy Miller.

"Nobody knows how long it will last, but at least 10 years," said Jeff. "By the end of the life cycle it will pay for itself."

He said that the field was something like carpet. "If one part of the field is ruined, they just go in and replace that portion and the seams don't show," Brizee said.

He told the group that the upkeep for the field would also be very simple and inexpensive. "On a natural grass field, they don't use it all the time, but this will double the use of your fields," he said.

Brizee provided the group with information put together by different doctors on injury reports and talked about the various fields he has worked on. "The upkeep would just be matting it down about once a month, with a four-wheeler or something like that," said Jeff.

Jeff said that sunflower seeds pose a bigger problem for the field than water, because the water is drained. "It has a drainage system on the bottom, so that when it rains or it is wet, the water goes down and the drainage system just seeps it away," he said.

Board member Lila Cerna said that she wanted to hear from the financial director.

Personally, we've been saving up a fund balance for a rainy day and had never dedicated this and until this year had not discussed it," said finance director Cookie Canon. "We need to do a needs assessment, Monte did one for us five years ago, we need another one and have a curriculum audit and see what the real needs are," said Canon.

"I'm wondering feasibly what 10-year payback is going to be," said Canon. "That's my personal opinion, but I work for the school, the superintendent and the board and I'll do whatever they want me to do, I won't be a deterrent."

"I think it's a great idea, but there's a lot of things we need to address," said Cerna. "We need to look at what some of the teachers and people have brought up," she said.

"I would love to have it, but there are other priorities, we've been talking about it like we already approved it, talking about proposals and costs," said Miller. "We talk about superior athletics, but we need to talk about superior academics first."

"We need to try to do what we can to boost the quality of education in the community," said Miller.

Miller said that she would like to focus on academics and bring TAKS scores up. "Fields don't educate our students, teachers do," she said.

"They said that the field will improve the image of Pecos, but West Texas is a small community and they will be looking at our test scores and other academics," said Miller. "If we don't improve that part of our school district, it won't improve the image of Pecos."

"I know of several people who have left Pecos, not because they didn't have a good job, or they didn't like it here, but because they were concerned about the quality of education," she added.

"I think it's a great idea, but the sad part is, we have a lot of other needs at this time," said board member Crissy Martinez.

She said that she would like to see the board and the district set up priorities. "We need to set goals and try to do both athletics and academics," said Martinez.

"If that happens to be one of our priorities, then great let's do it, but we also need to take into account all the things the teachers and other people have brought up," said Martinez.

Martinez said that for some reason or another all these things had not been discussed before. "We need to develop a plan for the next 3-5 years and focus on that plan," she said.

Martinez suggested doing a long-term plan and setting goals for both academics and athletics. "Set our priorities and then take it from there," said Martinez. "I will be glad to listen to any and all concerns and bring it back to the board," she said.

Board member Steve Valenzuela made the motion to table the item on purchasing turf fields and look at other priorities and items that need to be addressed.

All board members voted "for" tabling that particular item.

Third flea market, auction set for Saturday

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- It is Flea Market time.

The Third Pecos Peddlers Flea Market and Auction kicks-off Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and this one promises to be bigger and better than the first two according to Pecos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Gholson.

"The best part is the enthusiasm. This event is generating more enthusiasm each time we do it, both with vendors and buyers," Gholson said.

The auction this time certainly is bigger and better than its predecessor.

Gholson said that numerous area businesses and individuals had consigned items to the auction, which will begin at 1 p.m.

Colt Chevrolet, the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, Reeves County Detention Center, Security State Bank, the Texas A&M Experiment Station, West Texas National Bank and several individuals will have consigned about 40 vehicles to the auction along with farm equipment, tools and other items, she said.

Gholson said that anyone or any business could consign items to the auction and that the seller could put a minimum price on any item.

She also said that most of the inventory from Myers Cabinet and Electric would be up for grabs Saturday afternoon.

Potential buyers can view the auction items as soon as the regular flea market opens to the public at 9 a.m.

Steve Taylor and Rick Russell will handle auctioneer's duties.

Gholson said that booth space was still available and that anyone who wanted a booth could contact the Chamber this afternoon or show up Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

"We may be able to squeeze a few more booths in Saturday morning," she said.

It costs $50 to rent a booth but $25 is refundable if the peddler stays till 4 p.m. and leaves the booth area clean, she said.

The West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee will be selling concessions during the day.

While individual peddlers and the owners of auctioned items will be hoping for a profit the Chamber hopes that it will make a little money off the event as well.

The first flea market was held last November, and the auction was added when the second event was held this past April.

"The whole purpose in the beginning was for the event to benefit a community project," Gholson said.

"The first go-round we bought banners for the streets to put up at rodeo time and for any other special occasions," she said.

This time Gholson said that she hopes to be able to afford some more banners and have some money left over for other projects.

"We just want to help with the attractiveness of our city," she said.

Citizens can call the Chamber at 445-2406 for more information.

Cities' sales tax rebates up,

RCH sees November drop

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- Sales tax rebates for all three cities in Reeves County were up slightly in November from a year ago, but down slightly overall for the past 11 months, according to figures released on Wednesday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office.

Sales tax rebates for Pecos in November, based on the city's 1 1/2-cent share of the state's 8 1/4-cent sales tax, came to $66,331, which was a 3.17 percent rise from November of 2002, when the city got back $64,288. However, over the first 11 months of 2003, tax rebates remain down .94 percent, at $700,299.

November's rebates are based on sales made during September in Pecos. Of the city's $66,331 total, one-sixth, or $11,055, goes to fund the Pecos Economic Development Corp.

Balmorhea got a check back for $1,453 this month, which was 8.45 percent above a year ago, when the city received $1,340 in November. But the 11-month total of $10,421 is still 8.85 percent behind the same amount a year ago.

Toyah's check this month was for $772, a 2.22 percent rise from last year. However, sharp declines earlier this year in its rebate checks left Toyah still 19.82 percent below this point a year ago, having received $5,237 so far in 2003.

Area-wide, sales tax numbers for November were mixed. Midland and Odessa, the area's two largest cities, both reported increases, but several other towns saw their totals decline compared with a year ago.

Midland had the single largest check, for $2.09 million, which was up 9.27 percent. Odessa saw an even bigger increase of 10.37 percent, getting $1.46 million back this month from Strayhorn's office.

Other cities to show slight increases included Alpine, Big Spring and Kermit, while on the other side, Andrews, Monahans, Crane and Presidio reported declines for the month. Fort Stockton and Marfa both reported double-digit increases, but those were due in part to increases in their sales tax rates during the past year.

The Reeves County Hospital District failed to join the county's cities in reporting an increase in their November check. The hospital got back $29,222 from its 1/2-cent sales tax, which was a 5.29 percent drop from a year ago. The hospital is also down for the year by 11.37 percent, having gotten $294,422 back from Austin so far in 2003.

N. side project's developer gives briefing on plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- The Pecos Economic Development Corp. held an open meeting Thursday night to allow citizens to hear from developer Vaughn Mitchell over the proposed rental unit housing project on the north side of town.

Mitchell said he plans to build between 30 and 50 three bedroom, 1,000 square foot units that will hopefully satisfy the town's need for affordable rental housing. The project, to be funded in part by federal income tax credits, will take approximately one year when and if the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs approves the project.

The program, designed to locate and alleviate housing shortage areas of the state, will cover 60 percent of the cost of the construction, with the other 40 percent coming from loans secured under the limited partnership that Mitchell is general partner in, those at the meeting were told.

Community members were on hand to voice their opinion both in favor and against the project.

West Texas National Bank President John Grant was wary over the project's lack of utilization of already built housing in depressed areas of town.

"I am all for a project in the right place if it is to increase the employable population of the town; I just don't see point to moving people from one depressed area to another," Grant said.

Mitchell explained that the same kind of project could be done in an area that was not so contiguous as the proposed north side lot, but that getting multiple separate owners to sell all at once was difficult and risky.

"The application costs around $10,000-$20,000 total, once the preliminary application is accepted, if someone were to back out at that point the initial investment (application cost) would be lost, otherwise I would be more willing to look at a slightly more scattered area for the construction," he said.

"I must secure a specific location before the application process begins. First the location must lie within a required census tract in city limits. Then once the sit is decided upon, the exact location must be filed with the application for the tax credit program," Mitchell said. "If the site were to change or become unavailable, then the application would be rejected."

The tax credits would come form a pool of money earmarked by the federal government for the development of under-housed areas. This region of West Texas has approximately $15-$25 million allocated for programs such as these. This project would, depending on the number of units, would draw approximately $2-$3 million from this pool.

Residents near the proposed project were also present to voice their displeasure over the selection of location for the construction.

John Armstrong, whose house falls within the area set aside for the project, questioned the merits of the location due to the extensive possible building sites all over town that would require no relocation on anyone's part.

"I would be willing to help you look for any other possible areas that would be suitable for development, but I will fight this location, the project in its proposed location would force the displacement of me and my family," Armstrong said.

"Why haven't the people of town been notified, the first we heard of this was in the paper, not from you and we have not been consulted on this location nor have you sought the town's input on the possible areas that would lend themselves to the development," Armstrong added.

Mitchell assured him that notifications would be coming soon, in the form of notifications in the newspaper and through 4x8 foot signs posted throughout the neighborhood.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs is seeking input form the community either for or against the project. The web address is, more information is available there along with contact information for the department.

Meeting at Extension office about Pecos Show

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- A Pecan Show/Pecan Food Show Meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday at the Reeves County Extension Office, 700 W. Daggett St., Suite E.

Everyone interested in participating in the Pecan Show or the Pecan Food Show is invited to attend.


PECOS, Fri., Nov. 14, 2003 -- High Thursday 57. Low this morning 50. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Lows near 50. SW winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs 70 to 75. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s to the lower 50s. SW winds 10 to 20 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower to mid 70s. SW winds 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 40s.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Joe Arthur Salas, 25, was arrested on a warrant for a motion to revoke probation on an original charge of driving while intoxicated on Nov. 3, at 12:06 p.m., during a traffic stop at the intersection of Eighth and Pecan streets.


Joe Angel Hernadez Jr, 17 was arrested on a warrant for a motion to adjudicate guilt on a tampering with evidence charge and attempt to escape during warrant service on Nov. 3, at 1:22 p.m.


Cinthia Ybarra, 21, was arrested on a warrant for assault, a class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 3, at 9:00 p.m., in the 1000 block of North Cedar Street.


Jeffery Patino, 25, was arrested two warrants: speeding in a school zone and no proof of liability insurance on Nov. 4, at 6:25 p.m., in the 100 block of North Pecan Street.


Amy Salgado, 21, was arrested on a warrant for theft by check on Nov. 4, at 7:54 p.m., in the 100 block of East Third Street.


Omar Medina, 47, was arrested on a warrant for forgery, a 3rd degree felony, on Nov 4, at 9:48 p.m., at the intersection of Third and Palm streets


Mike Palomino, 45, was arrested for public intoxication and on a warrant for skipping bail on a secured bond on Nov 4, at 10:35 p.m.


Maryann Gochicoa, 27, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, on Nov 12, at 6:55 p.m., during warrant execution at her residence on Daggett Street.


Matiniano Agurrie, 30 was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault, under the Family Violence Act, on Nov. 13, at 1:36 a.m., in the 900 block of South Elm Street.


Rafael Romo, 50, was arrested for driving on a suspended license on Nov. 12, at 9:42 a.m., at mile maker 42 on Interstate 20.


Ciro Baltierra Ortiz, 54, was arrested on a warrant for a motion to adjudicate guilt on Nov. 12, at 4:42 p.m., while at the adult probation office.


Gilberto Palomino Jr., 46, was arrested for driving while under the influence on Nov. 11, at 9:12 p.m., at the Riverside Ballroom.


Roxanne Ontiveros, 25, was arrested on two warrants: speeding (52 in a 35 mph zone) and violation of a promise to appear, on Nov. 10, at 7:36 p.m., in the 800 block of South Eddy Street.


Carlos Rodriguez Jr., 21, was arrested on a DPS warrant out of Ozona on Nov. 10, at 8:00 p.m., in the 700 block of South Eddy Stret.


Manuel Ramirez, 48, was arrested for failure to identify and burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault, a 1st degree felony, on Nov. 9, at 7:58 p.m., in the 2200 block of South Eddy Street.


Cinthia Ybarra, 21, was arrested for public intoxication on Nov. 9, at 7:26 a.m., in the 500 block of South Palm Street.


Juan Vasquez, 22, was arrested for failure to identify and on a warrant for a conditional release violation on Nov. 6, at 4:20 p.m., in the 1600 block of Johnson Street.


Gerado Gutierrez,31, was arrested for assault under the Family Violence Act, a class C misdemeanor, on Nov. 7, at 1:56 a.m., in the 200 block of North Cedar Street.


Maria Santillanes, Jesus Nichols and Vivian Fuentes

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