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EL PASO - A legislative committee's vote to cut off funding for a
proposed radioactive dump has given anti-dump activists the footing to
launch another offensive against the facility.
Foes of the dump planned in Sierra Blanca are gearing up to push state
senators to follow the lead of the House Appropriations Committee.
``I'm not getting my hopes up. Things can reverse themselves 180 degrees
before the session is over. But I think it's a clear signal that
opponents of the Sierra Blanca site are winning,'' Erin Rogers, a member
of the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, said Monday.
If the Senate also backs the measure, which some lawmakers have said is
very unlikely, the state could be forced to abandon the site 120 miles
southwest of Pecos.
Rick Jacobi, head of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal
Authority, said he thinks the Senate Finance Committee, which
appropriates funds to state agencies, will favor funding the project.
When two committee recommendations clash, the differences are worked out
by a third legislative body.
``I wouldn't count on it,'' countered Rep. Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, who
voted against the funding.
Like other lawmakers who voted for the cutbacks Thursday, Haggerty said
he believes money was being wasted.
``There were a lot of funding concerns, like $2 million for attorneys
for 9½ days' work,'' said Haggerty, R-El Paso. ``There have been all
kinds of experts, there have been all kinds of consultants, there's been
a lot of engineering. There's been a lot of things.''
The state has spent $18.6 million on the Sierra Blanca project since
1992. Overall, $46 million has gone toward building a dump, including
money spent on attempts in other locations.
The authority has been trying for more than a decade to develop the
facility to hold waste from the state's utilities, hospitals and
universities. A compact awaiting approval in Congress would also allow
Texas to accept waste from Maine and Vermont.
Jacobi said agency officials were stunned when they discovered lawmakers
had voted against funding the project any further.
``We had no indication that it was coming,'' Jacobi said. ``This is not
the right time to be zeroing out the agency when we are just on the very
cusp of getting this done.''
Linda Clark, CCRC board president, said that four of the 11 will be
chosen for interviews at the regular meeting on March 20.
- Tommy Rey Jr., 613 S. Almond, owns Tommy's Place Restaurant on East
- Enrique Dominguez, 1719 S. Eddy St., manages Motel 6;
- Michael Benavides, 1221 S. Walnut St., is Wal-Mart assistant manager;
- Alvian H. Venegas of Pecos is associate at Family Dollar on Eddy
- Nancy Young, 611 S. Alamo, Head Start co-teacher;
- Louis Ramon Jr., 811 S. Cypress, Reeves County Detention Center;
- Caprice Cox, 1402 S. Cypress St., teacher, counselor, public relations;
- Agueda Gabaldon, 608 Ross Blvd., Showtime employee;
- Joel Madrid, Balmorhea, justice of the peace, restaurant owner;
- Eleuterio N. Garcia, 1100 E. Second St., bus driver; and
- Amelia Valeriano, 2401 Cactus, administrator for geophysical company.
Valeriano, Gabaldon, Cox, Young and Rey also applied for the position of
Head Start director.
- Criselda Bustamante Gochicoa, 428 S. Eddy Street, a nurse;
- Vernetha Williams Johnson, 2117 Hackberry, an educator;
- Caprice N. Cox, 1402 S. Cypress, teacher, counselor and public
- Mary Jane Ontiveros, Saragosa, teacher aide and former Head Start
director, coordinator, teacher and cook;
- Agueda Urias Gabaldon, 608 Ross Blvd., Showtime employee;
- Diane V. Minjarez, 2306 Barilla Rd., secretary and teacher substitute;
- Gary Herrera, 2212 Country Club, student;
- Nancy Jean Young, 611 S. Alamo, Head Start co-teacher;
- Jesus Morales Orona, 1320 S. Oak St., Amigos clerk, stocker, former
- Tommy Rey Jr., 613 S. Almond, Tommy's Place owner and former Head
Start teacher and parent coordinator; and
- Amelia Valeriano, 2401 Cactus, administrator for geophysical company.
The successful applicant will direct CCRC Head Start programs in Pecos,
Saragosa and Monahans.
Norma Rubio, former director, resigned rather than re-hire Pecos center
director Rosa Mosby, whom she fired in January.
Government prosecutors waived their strikes in one criminal case, and a
jury was selected for a March 17 trial.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton said a civil trial takes fewer jurors, so
selection of a panel for the Deborah Parker vs. Pecos County, et al,
civil rights went off as scheduled, and that trial will begin March 18.
Parker, the former administrator for Pecos County Hospital in Iraan,
claims the hospital board violated her federal civil rights and the
state whistleblower act when they terminated her employment in May, 1996.
She said she was terminated her because she reported violations of
federal and state law. However, board members claim that Parker was
terminated for poor job performance and made the reports after they
placed her termination on the agenda for discussion - so she would have
a lawsuit against the hospital.
Steve Hershberger of Midland represents Parker. Denis Dennis and Blake
Hansen of Odessa represent Pecos County and the hospital board.
Hospital board members named in the suit are the Rev. Jim Miles,
president; Peggy Greer, Eloise Sloan, Ralph Hernandez and Mario Juarez.
In the criminal case, Christopher Wayne Goodall, 26, of Kansas City,
Kan., lost a motion to suppress evidence in a hearing before Judge
Bunton Monday. His co-defendant, Janet Fay Salvato, 44, was scheduled to
enter a plea today.
They were arrested Jan. 5 and charged with possession with intent to
Julea Simpson, 19, of Fort Worth will go on trial March 17 for
possession with intent to distribute flunitrezepam on Nov. 22, 1996. Her
attorney, Elizabeth Rogers of El Paso, said that she will need Simpson's
co-defendant, Michael Christopher of Fort Worth, as a witness at trial.
A jury will be chosen that day.
Deputy District Clerk Karen White said it is not unusual for only half
of a new panel to report the first time, because many do not get their
summons through the mail in time to respond.
She said she summoned only 45 because she was told only one civil jury
trial was on the docket this week, and 20 prospective jurors are enough
to pick a seven-person civil jury.
Judge Bunton is scheduled to be in San Antonio Thursday for a judge's
meeting, and so postponed all three jury trials to the week of March 17.
Don Noel of Patterson Drilling of Odessa said the accident was, "just
one of those things that happen."
A crew was completing work at the site, located east of Wink off Farm
to Market Road 1232 and about six miles southwest of Kermit, when the
rig collapsed just before sunrise.
Employees of Patterson Drilling, who were contracted by Arrington Oil
and Gas of Midland, were "running casing" said Noel when the rig
A spokesperson for the Winkler County Sheriffs Department said five men
were injured and taken to Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit.
No word was available on the condition of the five crewmen that were
transported for treatment.
Winkler County Sheriffs Department, Kermit Volunteer Fire Department
and Winkler County Memorial Hospital EMS units responded to the call
about 6:45 a.m.
Ernie Van Der Leest, an investigator with the Permian Basin Drug Task
Force, seized a 1969 Chevrolet pickup on Feb. 5 after stopping the
driver, David Granillo Anaya of Juarez, Mex.
Anaya and Ray Franco of Fort Stockton, owner, were notified of the
intent to forfeit. They have the right to appear in 143rd District Court
to protest the forfeiture.
Van Der Leest stopped a 1994 Ford van on Feb. 11. The driver, Gregory
Charles Butler of Comtpon, Calif., and owner Jorge Ibarra of Los
Angeles, Calif., were notified of the forfeiture petition.
Reynolds asked that the vehicles be forfeited to the state because they
were allegedly used in a drug-related transaction.
Outraged senators from both parties joined Monday to introduce
resolutions to overturn the decision, and the Senate could vote as soon
``I stand here as a friend of Mexico and the Mexican people, but I
believe the actions on the part of the administration were a resounding
endorsement of the status quo and the status quo is unacceptable,'' said
Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga. ``We are losing this war. That's what the
status quo represents.''
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who sponsored the resolutions with
Coverdell, acknowledged that Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo ``and
many others are working with us in good faith and making their best
efforts. But have we received full cooperation? Not even close.''
Certification was not intended ``to deliver merit badges to nations
whose leaders have good intentions,'' she said. ``The act was designed
to uniformly measure the actions taken by countries to assist the U.S.
in anti-drug efforts.'' Decertification costs countries some economic
Lawmakers' interest in Mexico's status was heightened two weeks ago by
the arrest of Mexico's newly appointed drug czar, Gen. Jose Jesus
Gutierrez Rebollo, after he was linked to a drug kingpin.
Opposition to the certification is widespread. A letter urging Clinton
last week to decertify Mexico was signed by 39 senators - 21 Democrats
and 18 Republicans. In the House, that view is shared by Speaker Newt
Gingrich, R-Ga., and Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.
Gephardt plans to introduce a resolution overturning the certification
this week after testing support for various options among fellow
Democrats, said spokeswoman Laura Nichols.
Clinton, meanwhile, has asked Gephardt to bring some Democratic
colleagues to the White House to discuss it, she said.
``I think we will be affirmatively making the argument about why the
president took this step, why he believed it was the right one, why it
was consistent with the law, and why it also is consistent with our
national interests,'' White House spokesman Mike McCurry said.
Clinton's national drug control policy chief, Barry McCaffrey, has
defended the Mexican government's appointment of Gutierrez Rebollo,
saying they had chosen the man who made three of the country's biggest
drug busts. In retrospect, he said, it was possible the general was
merely ``a tool'' of a rival drug kingpin.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said he remains undecided.
He said he urged Clinton on Friday to have administration officials meet
with lawmakers by Wednesday to explain their position. The
certification, he said, ``is in serious difficulty and they're going to
have to come up and make their case very quickly.''
Also Monday, Gingrich and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas,
added their voices to the call for a House Intelligence Committee
investigation of the damage caused by the alleged link of Mexico's
just-ousted drug czar, to a drug kingpin there.
"I want to make sure that any misunderstandings are cleared (up)...and
everything is up front," said Superintendent Mario Sotelo about the
district's recent efforts to implement an accelerated program for
"In addressing students' needs for accelerated instruction, the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District will purpose to the
board an enhanced curriculum class for each grade level for the 1997-98
school year, which will have strict criteria for admission," according
to a district press release.
"Right not we're trying to get input from teachers," Sotelo said.
Sotelo said educators for the grades involved in the plan met Monday
night, said Sotelo, and were given "the framework," including
suggestions for the criteria to be used in selecting students.
Sotelo indicated that one of the biggest misunderstandings has to do
with the belief that the program will conducted on a "first come, first
"This is not at all true," he said. "Everybody that applies will be
"These classes will teach the essential elements for that grade level
at an accelerated pace with enrichment activities for every subject,"
the school press release said. "Students will not be tied to instruction
within that grade level."
One administrator explained that students will have the opportunity to
be exposed to higher grade level work in this program.
Sotelo stressed that the selection process is in its preliminary phase
and, according to the press release, "This criteria will be reviewed,
added to and subtracted from by teachers from each respective grade
"Teachers and administrators' input will have a major impact on the
finalized entrance criteria."
"One teacher from each grade level will be selected to teach the
enhanced class. These teachers will apply for the position and will be
approved by the Site-Based team and the administrator on each campus,"
states the release.
Parents will be required to request admission for their child or
children for the program, but that process will not begin for another
"Requests will not be accepted before March 24, 1997," the release
said. Any requests submitted before March 24, 1997 will not be
considered for admission, according to the guidelines set by
The deadline for requests will be April 4, 1997.
"Admission will be based on adhering to time of request and meeting
entrance criteria," according to directives.
The preliminary entrance selection criteria are as follows:
- Kindergarten - mandatory parental request and teacher recommendation;
- First Grade - mandatory parental request, teacher recommendation,
Writing to Read Stage V computer program, mastered 85 percent of the
phonics skills and grade of 90 or higher on math/reading;
- Second, Third Grades - mandatory parental request, teacher
recommendation, Writing to Read Stage VI, mastered 85 percent of the
phonics skills and grade of 90 or higher on all academic areas;
- Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Grades - mandatory parental request, teacher
recommendation, grade of 90 or higher on all academic areas, 85 percent
or higher on all areas of TAAS and C.A.I. (Computer Assisted
Instruction) course reports must be at grade level or above;
Sotelo said that questions remain about the program at the kindergarten
level. He explained "there is limited academic information" for students
at that level.
"We would like to call it something that's catchy," said Sotelo about
the program, noting that the word accelerated is already being used for
the Title programs.
The words "Honors...and enhanced" Sotelo said are being looked into.
High school students as well are looking at an enhancement program that
was initiated last year.
This spring, they will have the opportunity to receive credit for a
high school course by taking an Accelerated Credit by Exam.
The exam will be given April 21, 22 and 24, at 6 p.m. in the Pecos High
There is no charge, according to PHS Principal Alice Duerksen, and
students cannot have been enrolled in a class for which they want to
test out of.
"The students must score a 90 or above on the test before credit will
be awarded," she said.
"Students must sign up in the high school counselor's office to take
the tests," said Duerksen.
The deadline for signing up for any or all of the tests is March 26.
Test must be ordered from the University of Texas at Austin.
Study guides will be available to the students a week before the test
is given, according the principal.
Credit by Exam has long been an option for high school students, but
that was only if a student had previous instruction in the course and
failed the course.
Now if students have not had instruction in a high school course, they
may sign up to take a Credit by Exam, and if they make 90 or above, they
can receive credit toward graduation. The grade will be recorded on the
student's transcript but will not count toward class rank or be used in
figuring their G.P.A. (Grade Point Average).
Students interested in taking one or more of these tests or who want
more information should contact the high school counselor's office at
447-7229 or contact Duerksen at 447-7223.
The grants are designed to promote the proper collection, handling and
recycling of used motor oil from do-it-yourself oil changers.
"These grants provide an excellent opportunity for the private sector,"
said TNRCC Chairman Barry McBee. "Established businesses can improve
their used oil recycling operations and new businesses can apply for
money they need to get started."
Existing and new recyclers can use grant money to improve facilities by
upgrading storage tanks, retrofitting vehicles for curbside collection,
buying new equipment, promoting public participation or developing
Application deadline is July 18. Call Tamie Magnuson at 512-239-6692 for
Ranchers can find the answer to such questions as what feed will cost
this year, the best way to pass the ranch to children and deal with
estate taxes and how to protect against cattle price fluctuations at a
cattle raisers school March 22-23.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will hold a School for
Successful Ranching in the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort
Worth just prior to the 120th annual convention and trade show.
Roddy Peeples, veteran farm broadcaster from San Angelo, will interview
Dr. Ron Knutson, director of the agricultural and food policy center in
Knutson will give his outlook for short- and long-term effects of the
new farm bill on cattle producers, new criteria of the Conservation
Reserve Program, ranchers' attitudes toward risk management and how the
new makeup of Congress could impact farm and ranch organizations.
Maria "Cachita" Mora Castro, 59, of Pecos, died Monday, March 3 at
Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Rosary will be held on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. at Pecos Funeral Home
Mass is scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Santa Rosa Catholic Church
with Father Antonio Mena officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood
She was born Sept. 14, 1938 in Pecos, was a homemaker, a lifetime Pecos
resident and a Catholic.
Survivors include her husband, Sergio Castro of Pecos; one son, Jaime
Navarette of Pecos; five daughters, Amy Navarette, Brenda Casillas and
Mary Helen Fuentez of Pecos, Yvonne Herrera of Odessa and Betty Ornelas
of Madera, Calif.; one brother, Luis Mora of Pecos; two sisters, Ramona
Jimenez of Odessa and Delma Mosby of Carlsbad, N.M.; 10 grandchildren
and one great-grandchild.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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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