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PECOS, March 7, 1997 - A "big Texas" welcome will greet motorists
driving in from the Odessa/Midland area on the overpass on U.S. 285.
A Texas-shaped emblem composed of rocks will is being built at the mile
marker 42 exit on Interstate 20, and will soon be sporting the state's
colors of red, white and blue.
This is just one of the projects the Taz Team from Zavala Middle School
has undertaken as part of the Texas Independence Week Celebration.
"I actually got this idea coming back from San Antonio last year," said
history teacher Cindy Duke.
Duke is the coordinator of the many events the class has been involved
with over the past eight days, which included a corn bread supper held
at the West of the Pecos Museum on Feb. 27.
"I saw a big Texas flag on Interstate 10, at the McCamey exit and I
thought this would look great in Pecos," said Duke.
The students were busy early this morning, putting the finishing touches
and adding rocks to the structure.
The rocks were donated by the Texas Department of Transportation and a
TxDOT employee was on hand hauling rocks up to the students.
"The Texas Department of Transportation has kindly provided an employee
throughout our project to help transport the rocks up there," said Duke.
The group has been working on the project for some time now.
"We had to come in and do the outline, make holes to bury some of the
rocks, so that they wouldn't fall, and fill them in," said Duke.
Later, the class will paint the rocks in the red, white and blue motif,
with paint donated by an anonymous individual.
"The TxDOT employees will also come in an put gravel around the whole
thing to make it stand out a little bit more," said Duke.
Duke is already thinking of future projects for the 1997-98 school year.
"I think this helps the students better understand and grasp Texas
history," she said.
PECOS, March 7, 1997 - A small group of Pecos High Students braved a
cold breeze this morning to protest the recently-implemented reforms in
the high school's dress code.
About 30 teens gathered in front of the Pecos High School while others
curiously looked on from their classrooms and concerned parents
monitored the scene from across the street this morning.
Today is the final day of school for Pecos-Barstow Toyah students before
Spring Break next week, but a meeting open to all parents, students and
interested individuals opposing the new dress code at the high school
has been scheduled for Sunday, March 9 at the Pecos Community Center,
510 S. Oak St.
"We believe our students are good, not troublemakers and need to be
encouraged not punished," said one concerned mother. "We're trying to
get involved to try to make a difference."
Students have been protesting since Tuesday that the revisions to the
original dress code are, "not fair at all."
As of press time, P-B-T Superintendent Mario Sotelo was meeting with
juniors after already having met with seniors in the high school
auditorium to discuss the issue.
During this morning's minor protest, Sotelo invited the students to meet
with him in the district board room, located across the street from
Pecos High School, an offer the students refused.
One boy asked, "How come he's not out here?"
Pecos High School Vice-Principal Robert Hernandez relayed the message
and asked that students assemble in a more constructive fashion.
Annette Ybarra, spokesperson for the group of students, told Hernandez
that students aren't, "saying we don't want to talk to him," and asked
that Sotelo come out of the administration building.
One female student yelled from the back of the crowd, "this is
constructive; we're doing it outside," instead of disrupting class
Ybarra and Heather Lara started a petition earlier this week to show the
students' strong opposition to the dress code changes.
Lara said Wednesday there were almost 400 signatures on the petition.
After his first offer was turned down, Sotelo said he preferred to
address the entire PHS student body. "I do think we need to listen to
them," he said.
Earlier this week, parents and students complained that no one was
notified prior to the changes being passed by the school board Feb. 27.
They also said the changes came too late in the year.
One parent this morning said, "they're standing up for what they feel is
right." She watched as her son joined the group in the school's front
Another parent, Gloria Arredondo, said, "I told my daughter she better
not be there (protesting outside)," when she heard about the gathering
Students passed around flyers Thursday that stated, "Learning is the key
to an education not a dress code..." It invited students to the protest,
"as soon as the 8:15 bell rings!!!"
"Stand up for what you believe in!!!," it read.
At 8:15 a small group began to form on the sidewalk in front of the
Eagle Zone, located just east of the high school flag staff, while
others yelled out, "you're going to get suspended!"
For the past three days, students not abiding by the dress code have
been placed in the auditorium or a classroom to do OCS (On Campus
PHS Principal Alice Duerksen said Thursday that the number was down
compared to the number on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sotelo was out of town earlier this week, and while continuing his
meetings with students at the high school, was not available for comment
before press time. Earlier he said he would like to identify the main
demands by the students for changes to the code.
Alterations to the dress code were presented to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school board on Feb. 27. They were compiled by a committee of eight high
school teachers that met with the superintendent prior to the board
presentation. The changes were made as part of a complaint by teachers
about the lack of discipline at the high school this year.
Applications for emergency lonas for losses caused by drought occurring
from October 1, 1995 through ujly 10, 1996, and continuing, are not
being accepted at the Farm Service Agency office in Fort Stockton, said
William H. McAnally, manager.
PECOS, March 7, 1997 - Farmers and ranchers who have relied on an
agriculture exemption to avoid paying sales tax may be shocked the next
time they buy tires for a pickup.
Eric McKissick, Eagle Tire owner, said Thursday that an auditor with the
state comptroller's office told him that vehicles that travel on state
and county roadways are not exempt from the tax.
"We have a large agriculture community that purchases tires and
service," McKissick said. "A lot will purchase tires for their vehicles.
Most have exempt farm tags on their pickups. When they buy tires,
normally they are tax exempt. That's what we have done for years."
McKissick has been in the tire business in Fort Stockton most of his
life, but purchased Eagle Tire from Pecos Tire and Fuel 20 months ago.
He said he may be liable for $10,000 in uncollected taxes if the
auditor's ruling holds up.
"We were told that all the tax exemption certificates we have on file
for ag people are invalid and we have to pay state tax," McKissick said.
McKissick said he fears for the safety of his employees if they try to
collect tax for tires to be used on a pickup with exempt tags.
Randy Taylor, former Pecos Tire owner, said he had a similar audit and
had to pay back taxes and to begin collecting taxes on what he had
thought were exempt vehicles.
"I went to charging if it wasn't for farm use," Taylor said. "I caught
lots of flak over it. Every farmer that came in got mad and said `I am
not paying taxes,'" he said.
"You either pay it yourself or make them pay it. It is touchy, I know. I
have had some of my best friends walk out," Taylor said.
Taylor said that even a cotton trailer is not exempt from the tax if it
is used on the highway.
McKissick said he fears his customers and those of other ag-related
businesses will go to Odessa to purchase farm supplies if they have to
pay the 8.25 percent sales tax in Pecos on equipment they thought was
"If we lose customers to Odessa, that's a detriment to our work base and
to our economy," McKissick said. "We are thinking we are right by
exempting those vehicles with exempt tags. We didn't know this morning
what to tell our customers."
Andy Welch of the comptroller's regional office said there is an ag
exemption for seed, fuel and certain machinery used solely on the farm.
"But the fuel that goes into his truck that has to come into town to buy
his supplies, he has to pay tax because he's used it on public roads,"
That rule has been in effect since the inception of sales tax in 1961,
"If you buy farm tires and keep them on the farm, you don't pay tax," he
said. "But if they are on the truck you drive into town, then you will
pay tax on it. That's a very consistent ruling, pretty well understood
around the state."
He said that any farmers or ranchers who feel there has been confusion
about the tax should call the comptroller's tax assistance division at
"We regularly and routinely audit businesses of all sizes and in all
lines of commerce every day and every week of the year," Welch said.
"Nowhere else has this been raised as a red flag that there is any
He said Eagle tire was not singled out for an audit.
"Every business is subject to audit every four years," he said.
A business is liable for the tax, even if the producer has sworn that
the purchased item is for farm use, Welch said.
"It is up to the businessman to verify that it really is going to be
used on the farm," he said.
Tom Rivera, Pecos Chamber of Commerce executive director, said he would
check with the state chamber to see if they have more information on the
sales tax law and its application.
He had already researched the question for chamber members and will be
sending out the information he collected in the near future, he said.
PECOS, March 7, 1997 - Escapees are not always running from the law.
Sometimes they just run up and down the highways for fun.
Jack and Ruth Stapleton sold their home in Ohio six years ago, purchased
a recreational vehicle and hit the road on a full-time basis. For the
next few months, they will manage the Escapees Inc. RV Club's Rainbow
Park in Pecos.
Rainbow Park is one of five club-owned RV parks. The former Tra-Park
will be expanded to double the space for campers to park overnight or
for a few days, said Stapleton.
Ron and Pat Loen are assistant managers at the park. They are also
full-time RVers from California.
"We live in those rigs. We sold our homes and travel around the
country," Stapleton said. "We visit places like the Grand Canyon,
Carlsbad Caverns, national parks or just go to the beach and watch the
With 45,422 members roaming the highways, the Escapees Club needs lots
of camper parking spaces. They also stay in cooperative parks that
follow Escapee guidelines and offer a discount to club members.
Escapees from throughout the world have learned about the Pecos park
through word of mouth and the bi-monthly Escapee magazine, Stapleton
"This is just like a big family. Most of the members give each other a
hug when they meet. One of our mottos is a hug. My wife has the
reputation as being the best hugger in Livingston (Escapee headquarters).
Loen said the club was formed to help other travelers along the road.
"It was started by one man who got tired of being told when he could be
in the parks," Loen said. "In a normal park you can stay only one or two
weeks because of the turnover."
Daily gatherings in the parks help members keep up with what's going on
with each other and in other parks. They also hold rallies twice a year,
where seminars and fun events are part of the program.
"We also try to keep prices down where people can afford it," Stapleton
said. "Most campgrounds charge $17 to $20 round here. Our rates for full
hookups are under $10 for members. We let other people in, but we have
to charge them more."
Club memberships cost $60 plus $50 per year for a couple and their small
Loen said most Escapees are full timers - "gypsies."
"There are 1½ to 2 million people doing this," he said. "We are not the
only club, and there are people who don't belong to any kind of
Club members are not given a deadline to move out of a park unless it
becomes full. Then it is "first in, first out," said Ruth Stapleton.
"If it gets full and people are not moving, we can go to the person that
has been here the longest and have them move into dry dock so everyone
has an opportunity to stay for awhile," she said.
In this area, the average stay is two to four days, Jack said.
"This is the moving time of the year. People from the north are wanting
to get back home and they are coming through from the south."
"They are kind of like wild Canadian geese," he said.
Pat Loen said she visited the Style Shop Thursday afternoon and said she
would recommend it to travelers. The group knows where the best
restaurants, service stations, grocery stores, mechanics and attractions
are, she said.
"We are proud of Pecos and guide people to the museum," Loen said.
"When we buy a park like this, we have more of an impact on the
community than anything else because we are all retired," said
Stapleton. "We don't put children in school or take from the community -
no welfare. We don't take jobs from your people. We have our own income."
Escapee members are easy to spot when they shop or eat out, because they
wear a cap or badge with the Escapee RV Club logo.
If you see an Escapee in a blue cap, don't report him or her to the
sheriff, but steer them to the museum or golf course for a day of fun.
PECOS, March 7, 1997 - No major changes are planned for Pecos' C.R.
Anthony's Department Store, according to an officer in the company,
following the parent company's buy-out Wednesday by Houston-based Stage
"(As far as) we know of they are not planning on closing any stores,"
said Anthony's Department Store officer Bill North.
The two companies have merged through a mutual agreement to offer the
best opportunity to the customers, according to North.
C.R. Anthony, based in Oklahoma city has signed a $93 million deal with
Stage Stores, which currently operates West Texas stores in Midland and
Odessa under the Bealls name.
After the merger, Stage will have 550 stores in 23 southwestern and
central U.S. cities and towns, pulling in more than $1 billion in sales.
The Pecos store will eventually be renamed, however, to either Stage
Store or Bealls, along with all other Anthony's outlets.
"I don't know what exactly they are planning to call it, but any changes
that take place will be made gradually," he said.
There's no reason to believe that these changes will affect the local
Anthony's store in any other way, according to North.
Charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana are
Theodore Michael Brewster, 46, of Van Horn; Jose Alfredo Corrales, 23,
of Odessa; Gilberto «MD120»Column 1: vj expansion of 0.79 points at
lines, 0.79 at par«MDNM»
Perez-Herrera, 37, of Odessa; and Juan Ramon Mendoza-Mejia, 27, of
Brewster and Corrales are charged with possessing 342.38 pounds of
marijuana on Feb. 11.
Brewster, Perez and Ramon are charged with possessing 136 pounds of
marijuana on Feb. 4.
Graveside services for Ione Morelan, 88, will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in
Mt. Evergreen Cemetery, with the Rev. James Sain officiating. She died
Wednesday, Mar. 5, 1997 in Reeves County Hospital.
She was born Nov. 24, 1908 in Haskell, was a homemaker and member of the
Church of Christ.
Survivors include two sons, Dickie Morelan of Pecos and Jimmy Morelan of
Taylor; one daughter, Billie Passmore of Austin; one brother, Tommy
Booth of Odessa; two sisters, Pearl Mills of Crane and Lillian Morris of
Alabama; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
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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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