Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Teens charged in zoo shooting are sentenced
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, Jul. 28, 1995 - Two boys who confessed to killing
four animals earlier this month at the Maxey Park Zoo were
sentenced earlier this week under a agreement worked out in
the Reeves County Court-At-Law.
A rehabilitation plan was agreed to on Tuesday by County
Attorney Bill Weinacht, lawyers for the two 16-year-old boys
and their families in connection with the zoo shootings on
The boys were able to scale a fence on the east side of the
animal cages, and using a pellet gun, shot and killed a
duck, two peafowl and one of the zoo's two Capuchin monkeys.
They also shot and wounded the zoo's bear, Boonie, but Town
of Pecos City Parks Superintendent Armando Gil said
following the shootings that Boonie was not seriously
injured in the attack.
The pair are currently serving a 15-day detention term at
the Reeves County Detention Center, said Reeves County
Court-At-Law Judge Lee Green, who approved the terms of the
Along with the 15-day detention stay, the two boys will
receive on year probation "with reasonable terms and
conditions including curfew and alcohol and drug testing.
Any violation of the terms and conditions of probation would
result in ninety (90) days detention in the JDC at the
discretion of the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, the
Under the agreement, the boys will conduct 150 hours of
community service and accept "financial responsibility for
all damages caused by their conduct."
In an earlier interview, City Manager Harry Nagel said that
the city will be seeking a restitution of $3,500 to replace
The city is currently working to acquire a new Capuchin
monkey from an Illinois zoo to replace the one killed, which
was the brother of the zoo's surviving monkey and had just
arrived in Pecos this past January.
The rehabilitation plan was worked out by Weinacht, who said
that five other juvenile cases were heard this week, and
judgments were issued by Green.
County asks for city's help with deficit
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 1, 1995 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
asked Town of Pecos City Council members this morning to
take back funding operations of some local facilities that
were transferred from city to county control in the early
Galindo's request came during a meeting between the city
council and Reeves County officials as part of an
intergovernmental budget workshop to discuss public services
Galindo said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss and
find common ground to provide services that the city uses.
Council members discussed cutting the city's 71-cent tax
rate by one to two cents during a workshop last week, while
the county is facing a budget deficit Galindo said earlier
this year would be nearly $400,000.
"My understanding for (County Auditor Lynn) Owens is that
the city fund itself was in a situation similar to the one
we're facing, a few years ago, where you either have to cut
services, raise taxes or reorganize," said Galindo.
Some of the services Galindo considered for joint funding in
his proposal include the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena, Reeves
County Fairgrounds, Reeves County Library, Civic Center,
Reeves County Golf Course and the Maxey Park and Walthall
Street ballparks, which are currently maintained by the
"The city has never contributed to the library, but it's a
public service that benefits all of us," said Galindo.
The county is asking that the city commit to $73,000 of the
budget, which is half of the expenditures on the areas
outlined by Galindo.
"So, "$73,000 is the final figure and your want us to go
half and half on all these areas?" asked City Finance
Director Steve McCormick.
Service like the rodeo and fair are all joint commitments
that should be shared, said Galindo.
"Taxpayers will ultimately have to pay or services will be
cut, but either way we are hurting the same people," said
Owens outlined the county's fiances and stated that he
really doesn't know why the county is in the financial
position that they're in.
"We need help form the city," said Owens. "I was on the city
council when the city made this agreement with the county."
Owens was referring to the agreement that the county made
with the city to take over financial responsibility for the
ball parks, golf course and Reeves County Civic Center.
"I inherited this situation and I've got to do the best we
can with this, for the taxpayers sake," said Galindo, who
took office in January.
Owens pointed out that Reeves County has the fifth highest
tax rat in the state, "Which is nothing to be proud of," he
Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J. Bang and Precinct 3
Commissioner Herman Tarin were both present and reiterated
the judge's sentiments on the matter.
"Basically, the county is in bad shape right now where we
need the city's help and we really appreciate your
consideration," said Tarin.
"We have to organize, cut spending and I don't think a tax
increase is the answer," said Galindo.
Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford suggested cutting
commissioners salaries in an effort to reduce the county's
budget deficit. Commissioners cut their salaries to $12,000
in 1992, but rescinded the $10,000 pay cut the following
"It's a very delicate issue," said Galindo.
"We would have to increase taxes to cover this, if we take
over all that they are asking us to," said City Finance
Director Steve McCormick.
"Even if we went back to the 71 cents it wouldn't be enough
for all this," he said. "I don't want the city to get into a
situation like the one the county is currently in," he said.
"Maybe you should think about long-range plans, which is
what we have been doing, While working on the budget,"
Stafford told county officials.
"Well, a long-range plan should have been done three years
ago," said Galindo.
"We've got a water field which costs $6 million and we don't
know where we stand on that right now," said Councilman
Randy Graham, referring to the South Worsham Field currently
under development to provide Pecos' water supply beginning
early next century.
"We don't want to commit a future council to this (shared
funding) and put them in a bind," said Stafford.
"This time next year your revenue might change and we might
know more about our water field," said Graham.
Mayor Stafford pointed out that the city still doesn't know
what type of situation it will be facing in regard to the
new landfill, estimated at $1.2 million, and the water wells.
"We've had some problems with the water well and of course
we'll have to put a new liner on the landfill, which is
mandated, she said.
The water wells have had a few problems in the past few
months, with some leakage and a new emergency well having to
be drilled recently.
In a discussion about the civic enter, City Councilman Randy
Graham asked is the upkeep for the facility couldn't be done
out of bed taxes.
"I've always felt that the civic center should be funded
with the bed tax," said Owens.
"I think we should look at a 50-50 situation that will
benefit the taxpayers," said Galindo.
If we could agree that the civic center be handled off the
bed tax, that would relieve us of $35,000, he added.
With regards to the rodeo and fair, Galindo's figures show
the county is currently spending about $24,000; ball parks
total expenditures came to about $20,000; golf course,
$72,100 with revenue at $60,000, and library expenditures is
Galindo said he was agreeable to maintaining the current
50-50 split between the city and county in funding the Pecos
Volunteer Fire Department.
Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Doug Cox outlined total calls for
the year from 1993-1995, in regard as to where the services
were most used. "It's about half and half in the city and
the county," he said.
No decision was reached at this morning's meeting and plans
to meet in the future were tentatively set.
I-20 crash survivors recovering
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, Aug. 2, 1995 - Department of Public Safety officials
are continuing their investigation into a one fatality
accident Tuesday morning near Monahans, involving a Pecos
family and a Georgia truck driver.
Ten-year-old Brandi Morrissey, the oldest of three children
traveling in a 1990 Hyundai with their mother, Katherine
Morrissey, was pronounced dead at the scene by Ward County
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Ronald Ray, according to a
preliminary report filed by DPS Trooper Richard Jacobs.
Three-year-old Ty Cody Morrissey is currently listed in
serious condition after suffering from multiple lacerations
and head injuries. He, along with Katherine Morrissey, 31,
and six-year-old Jaimy Morrissey, were transported to
University Medical Center in Lubbock from Ward County
Both Katherine and Jaimy Morrissey are listed in
satisfactory condition after suffering from multiple
contusions. Katherine fractured her left shoulder in the
accident, while Jaimy suffered a fracture of her left pinky,
according to Jacobs' report.
The accident occurred about 9 a.m. Tuesday, when a 1985 GMC
Volvo truck tractor, driven by Edgar Thomas Compton of
Stevens, Ga., was headed east-bound on Interstate 20 near
mile marker 82. The truck was in the right lane when it
steered into the left lane, where Katherine Morrissey was
attempting to pass the larger vehicle.
The truck driver told officials that he was approaching a
person walking east along the shoulder of the highway when
he tried to switch lanes and didn't see Morrissey's vehicle.
The Hyundai was forced off the left lane into the center
median. Morrissey then lost control of her vehicle and
started into a sideways skid. The car came back onto the
roadway and slid underneath the trailer.
The 4-door, passenger vehicle was forced out from under the
trailer and began rolling, at which time Brandi Morrissey
was partially ejected.
Because a full report was not ready this morning, it was
unknown if the driver and the three children were wearing
Brandi Morrissey was taken to Harkey Funeral Home in
Monahans. Funeral arrangements for the girl are still
Her father, James Morrissey, is a Deputy U.S. Marshal
assigned to the Pecos Federal Courthouse, and was at home at
the time of the accident. Deputy U.S. Marshal Billy Johnson,
who was in Florida when the accident occurred, flew back to
Pecos on Wednesday to handle office duties and allow
Morrissey to be with his family in Lubbock.
P-B-T lands in middle of new rankings
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Aug. 3, 1995 - State Education Commissioner Mike
Moses says Texas schools deserve a grade of "a high C" based
on new performance rankings.
"That's up form the previous year, but that means we still
have a lot of improving to do. I would be very concerned if
my fourth-grader and seventh-grader brought home C's this
year," Moses said in releasing the rankings Wednesday.
Locally, neither the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District nor any of its 10 campuses were on the exemplary or
low-performing lists, as all fell somewhere within the
P-B-T ISD Board of Education President Linda Gholson did
note this morning that both Pecos Elementary and Austin
Elementary campuses did receive exemplary status for their
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) scores for 1995.
Austin Elementary received recognition as "they are a direct
feeder," into Pecos Elementary noted Superintendent Mario
Sotelo during a June school board meeting.
Eighty-one percent of Pecos Elementary students who took the
TAAS met minimum expectations in the Reading category and 88
percent in the Math, well above the Texas Learning Index of
"I just hope for a better year next year," said Gholson, who
said she hopes for campus recognition on either the
Recognized or Exemplary lists.
Balmorhea ISD schools also were ranked in the middle by the
latest rankings. No campus was listed among either the
top-performing or low-performing schools, according to the
list complied by the Associated Press.
There were 265 campuses rated low-performing this year.
That's up from 54 last year, when less stringent state
standards were used in judging Texas' 6,229 campuses.
But the number of schools with high ratings also increased:
for example, 245 were found to be exemplary, up from 67.
This year, the state looked at student performance and
dropout rates specifically by ethnic and economic group, not
just at the student body as a whole.
In addition, the state placed schools in the low-performing
category based solely on high dropout rates, said Texas
Education Agency spokesman Joey Lozano.
Of the low-performing campuses, 120 received the rating only
because of failure rates on the math section of the Texas
Assessment of academic Skills, particularly by black
students, Moses said. TAAS also includes reading and writing.
Another 113 campuses received the lowest rating only because
of their dropout rate, he said, citing in particular
Hispanic dropouts. Other campuses had a combination of
In West Texas, school districts in Christoval, Fabens, Pampa
and Presidio were on the low-performing list, as were the
high school campuses in those districts. However, Candelaria
Elementary School in the Presidio ISD was among the 245 top
performing schools in Texas.
Other area schools on the low-preforming list included both
Odessa High School and Odessa Permian, Midland High School
and Midland Lee, Abilene High School, Brownfield High
School, Canutillo High School, El Paso Bowie, Lamesa High
School, Levelland High School, San Elizario High School and
Middle School, Seminole High School, Tornillo High School
and all four of Lubbock's high schools.
Eight campuses have been on the low-performing list for
three years in a row: In San Antonio Independent School
District, Wheatley Middle, Poe Middle, M.L. King Middle,
J.T. Brackenridge Elementary and Washington Elementary; in
Wilmer-Hutchins ISD, Kennedy-Curry Junior High; and in
Houston ISD, Attucks Middle and Jackson Middle.
The state also ranked its 1,045 school districts, each of
which may contain several campuses.
Among 38 low performers were Houston ISD, the state's
largest and San Antonio ISD, which is in the top 10 in
school district size.
Houston received the rankings because of its overall and
Hispanic dropout rates, and San Antonio because of its black
and white dropout rates.
Low-performing school districts tended to be mixed in size
and a high-percent minority, according to the Texas
Most of the schools on the high performing list tended to be
elementary schools, while in West Texas, only one district,
Klondike ISD, was the top-performing list.
Schools that are ranked low-performing must develop an
improvement plan and have public hearings. They also are
subject to additional state intervention.
"If we're going to see significant improvement in
achievement, it's going to have to come because of the will
of the local parents, the communities, the school board
working with the educators," Moses said. "They will be the
people that will bring about the change."
The state will review strategies and results, he said. In
addition, Moses said, state officials are looking at whether
the testing program matches up with school curriculum and
Moses also said he's concerned that fifth- and sixth-grade
teachers may not have a specialization in math.
"I think some of that can make a difference in the
preparation for students in mathematics as they move on into
junior high," he said.
Concentrating on early education of students is crucial,
including working with black students on math skills, he
added. "We're going to have to start working with students
when they're 3, 4 and 5 years old."
Moses said language may be a problem for some Hispanic
students, leading to a higher dropout rate.
He noted that student test performance is improving, but
said he would like to see it get better more quickly.
P-B-T teachers unhappy with pay hike
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, Aug. 4, 1995 - "We've got apathetic students,
apathetic parents and if we continue this way...apathetic
teachers," Pecos High School teacher Barbara Scown told
board members at Thursday night's special school board
Teachers and board members got into a heated discussion over
salary increases for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah teachers, with the
final increase approved by the board less than a third of
what teachers in attendance were demanding.
On a vote of 5-1, with Board Vice President Earl Bates
opposed, and Trustee Frank Perea absent, the board approved
to give teachers a $1,000 raise, to be added to last year's
"Everybody will make what they made last year," stressed
Superintendent Mario Sotelo, plus the additional $1,000.
"I want to tell you up front," he added," we don't have the
"We'll have to dip into our fund balance to get whatever
necessary monies to be able to finance this (the $1,000
bonuses)," Sotelo told the board.
After legislative changes caused by Senate Bill 1, the
district can no longer afford to pay teachers the $3,400
annual increase above base pay, with base pay being the
minimum level on the district's career ladder.
Sotelo noted that all but 12 teachers in the district were
already making more than their base pay due to previous
year's pay increases.
Sotelo told teachers, "the state has changed the pay scale,"
and explained that it will cost the district an additional
$934,000 to continue paying the $3,400 above base for the
next two years.
"We (the district are not prepared to pay an additional $1
million in a two-year-period," Sotelo told the group of
teachers. he added that a more detailed explanation of the
newly implemented pay scale will be given to teachers during
Employees affected by this raise will also be given a chance
to earn another $1,000 bonus next June with a perfect
attendance record, with $200 deducted from the bonus for
each absence, up to five absences.
Sotelo noted that last year the district paid $125,000 for
substitutes to explain why this year he is proposing, as an
added incentive, the $1,000 for perfect attendance.
"If everybody has perfect attendance, we'll save $125,000,"
Sotelo said, referring to the substitute pay. "We'll put in
an additional $115,000," to cover for the full amount if all
the district's teachers were to become eligible for the
"Perfect attendance means the attendance according to your
contract," said Sotelo, noting civil duty, professional
leave and jury duty are not included.
As two motions for this proposal remained on the floor,
teachers present asked if they could have their say.
Although audience input was not on the agenda, Board
President Linda Gholson allowed for public comments.
Pecos High School Teacher Walter Holland asked, "where is
the commitment from the school board to the teachers?"
"You've already taken our insurance and made it into a
business...and now you want to do us this, 13 days before
(school starts)," he said. Teacher contracts require that
resignations must be turned in 15 days before school starts.
If the contract is broken, then the district has the option
to ask the state to hold a teacher's credentials.
Sotelo replied that final financial numbers from the state
were received by the business office the day before the
meeting, and the business office still needed more time to
prepare them according to the local situation.
"You've penalizing me because I have a family," said Angela
Elliott, Crockett Middle School Teacher, in regards to the
$1,000 bonus for perfect attendance. Elliott claimed she had
kids and it is therefore more difficult to stay within the
10 allowable days for an absence, without being penalized.
The bigger concern among teachers is the idea that this new
pay scale will not attract more qualified teachers to the
"I think you should seriously consider the quality of
education in this city if you do this to teachers in this
town," said Zavala Middle School Teacher Ronnie Daniel.
After several more comments from teachers, Trustee Hugh Box
told the audience that a to of people he's spoken to have
left Pecos because of taxes, not salaries. "We're in a
situation that we all know what it's going to take to
maintain a good quality school system is your personnel."
"I know people that took jobs with another company, because
their company was bought out," a $10,000 to $20,000 cut. And
they were thankful they still had a job."
"I know we have a problem," he said, "you folks have done a
good job and we want to keep it that way, but who's gonna
pay for it? Who's the one that's gonna take the heat if
taxes go up?"
Board President Linda Gholson said if taxes were raised by
10 cents per $100 valuation to $1.50, which is the maximum
allowed by law, "we would still be $600,000 short," of being
able to fund the $3,400 pay raises over the next two years.
"A lot of this misunderstanding," said Bates," (is) no one
is familiar with the new system the way the state has it set
"What they're saying, in a nutshell is, 'you need to pay
your teachers more, but you do it with your own money,'"
In other business, board members approved the 1995 Certified
Tax Roll, as presented by the School's Tax Assessor
Collector, which included a $1,259,740 increase in the
mineral value in the 1995 Appraisal Roll from the original
$252 million figure.
One budget amendment was approved for Campus Deregulation
and Restructuring to Improve Student Achievement at $14,991
was approved in the 1994-95 Budget, as were 10 assignments,
six resignations and five transfers.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise