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Van Horn Advocate |
August 4, 1997
Learning center to open
Community commitment makes a difference
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, August 4, 1997 - To the delight of many local parents, The Pecos
Learning Center will reopen bright and early next Monday morning. The
center has been closed for a little more than a month due to a shortage
of operating funds but community commitment has helped the center reopen.
The center has been partially subsidized by Anchor Foods, and relies on
tuition, donations and grants to pay the remainder of the monthly costs
of running the facility. When funding for a major grant was cut, the
center started running low on operating capital.
"The community has donated up to $10,000, which is the commitment that
we needed to be able to reopen," said Oscar Saenz, plant manager at
Anchor Foods and leader of the center's volunteer board of directors.
"This will get us started," he said, "but we still need more donations,
and we have applied for additional grants."
A parents' meeting was held the evening of Thursday, July 31, where the
reopening was announced and several issues of concern to parents were
Parents who have not already done so may call either the Learning
Center, Anchor West Inc., or Lou Lewis to re-enroll their children in
the day-care center. According to Lewis, a parent who has been helping
to contact others, more than 20 families had already pre-registered
their children by the Thursday meeting.
When deciding on a name for the center when it was in the planning
stages, its director, Kim Ewing, wanted the facility to be called a
learning center instead of a day-care center because so much more was to
take place there than just day-care. In the past, there have been
classes in kidnastics (gymnastics for children), creative dramatics,
dance and adult aerobics. The center has also been the home of the
Windmill Square Playhouse, the theatrical group that presents western
melodramas during rodeo week.
Those activities and more are being considered for the future. The
possibility of offering piano lessons was also discussed at the meeting
The center also plans to offer a homework help center. With help from
McDonald's and Pecos
School students, local school children will be able to receive some
assistance in completing their homework at the Learning Center after
they get out of school for the day.
Parents and center personnel also discussed starting a Parent-Teacher
Association and holding fund-raisers to help fund the center.
The West Texas Opportunities (WTO) program will also continue at the
center. According to Ewing, WTO is "a child care management service."
WTO helps single parents who are working or going to school to learn a
skill for employment by paying all or part of their children's day-care
According to Saenz, there are two openings on the board. Any parents who
would like to volunteer to serve on the board should contact him for
Ewing also stated that she would be submitting an application for a
grant which would "help to pay for structural improvements."
The center has an outdoor playground for which the Pecos Tree Board has
donated trees to improve. Saenz talked about plans to build a walking
trail around the playground area, and to maybe build some benches there
so residents of the Pecos Nursing Home, which is directly behind the
center, could come out and possibly interact with the youngsters.
In training for her position as director of the center, Ewing took child
development courses, as did her employees. In that training, Ewing said,
she was taught not to stress teaching academics to pre-schoolers, who
sometimes have to be retaught when they enter public school. The
Learning Center aims to teach young children creative arts and
socialization skills that will prepare them to learn academics when they reach school age.
Four PBT schools recognized by state
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From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, August 4, 1997 - Four Pecos-Barstow-Toyah district schools are on
the list of Texas schools recognized for above-average achievements on
last year's TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) tests.
More Texas public school districts and campuses have high rankings under
the state's school accountability system this year, Education
Commissioner Mike Moses announced last week.
Fewer schools and districts are rated low performing, Moses said,
crediting increased efforts by educators and parents.
"At every school I visit, I see teachers, principals and students
working hard to improve their school's performance. They're taking
innovative approaches, trying new and different ways to improve student
learning," he said.
A record 64 school districts and 680 campuses received the state's
highest rating, exemplary. Last year, 37 districts and 394 campuses
The PBT recognized schools are Barstow Elementary (first through fifth
grades), Bessie Haynes Elementary (fourth and fifth grades), Lamar
Elementary (sixth grade), and Zavala Middle School, the district's
seventh grade campus.
"These teachers did an outstanding job all year long in coordinating the
TAAS objectives with the essential elements," said Zavala Principal Don
Love about his school's achievement.
"You can't say enough about the students we had last year either," he
"They're a great, great group of people, and we will strive for even
bigger and better things in the coming year," Love continued.
He said, "Our teachers at Zavala are a dedicated bunch of professionals
who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to
help their students succeed."
"We also really appreciate the excellent efforts of last year's
students," said Love.
The number of school districts with the state's lowest rating of
unacceptable declined from eight to seven. Seventy-six campuses got the
state's lowest rating, down from 108 last year.
School rankings are based on student performance on the Texas Assessment
of Academic Skills, dropout rates and attendance during the past school
Performance standards for being rated acceptable were made more
stringent this year.
For school districts and campuses to be considered acceptable, at least
35 percent of all their students and those in each student group (black,
Hispanic, white and economically disadvantaged) must pass each subject
tested on the TAAS. That's up from 30 percent last year.
Their dropout rate also must be six percent or less, and they must have
attendance of at least 94 percent.
Gome Olibas, who serves as principal for both Barstow Elementary and
Lamar in Pecos, said he is extremely proud of both of his campuses.
"We had great students," he said.
"The teachers are my generals," said Olibas. "They did a really
A total of 644 school districts and 3,612 campuses in Texas were rated
acceptable this year. Last year there were 790 districts and 4,127
campuses with that rating.
The highest rating, exemplary, requires a passing rate of at least 90
percent on the TAAS, a dropout rate of no more than one percent and 94
The next tier is recognized. To achieve this ranking, districts and
campuses must have a 75 percent passing rate on the TAAS, a dropout rate
of 3.5 percent or less and 94 percent attendance.
A total of 320 school districts were rated recognized this year,
compared with 209 last year. This year, 1,592 campuses were recognized,
compared with last year's 1,309.
Marylou Carrasco, principal at Bessie Haynes, had this to say, "To
publicly recognize or school is to recognize our teachers, as well as
our students, parents and the community."
"We've had lots of community support," Carrasco said. "This affirms our community's commitment to educational excellence."
Sweet opportunities offered
in new Balmorhea shop
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By ROSIE FLORES
BALMOHEA, August 4, 1997 - A "touch of honey" and a lot more can be
found in the newest shop in downtown Balmorhea.
"I want to offer a little bit of everything," said owner Beverly Gage.
A Touch of Honey gift shop opened its doors recently offering jars of
the homemade sweetness, wooden craft items and garden angels.
"These angles were my own idea," said Gage.
The angels are made primarily of clay pots with dried flowers and
assorted decorations according to what type of "angel" it is.
"Some angels are garden angels and others are according to what the
customer wants," said Gage.
Gage is currently working on a western angel, complete with cowboy hat
and bales of hay. "I got the idea from some pictures, but the ones I
make are original and not at all like the ones I saw in those pictures,"
"Some of the items I have right now are on consignment, done by local
artists," said Gage.
Gage stated that the shop is not complete yet, and there are a lot more
items she hopes to bring in soon.
"For instance, I want to offer cassettes, both in English and Spanish,
scripture greeting cards and many more craft items.
"I have a few antiques that we offer for sale, some wooden craft items,
which my husband has made," she said.
Husband Virgil is a beekeeper and makes all of the honey offered at the
"We used to provide honey for local merchants both in Balmorhea,
Saragosa and Pecos," said Gage.
A problem with the hives has prevented Gage from being able to supply as
much honey as they used to, but the shop offers some of their best,
according to Gage.
"Rediger's in Pecos usually buys all their honey from us, but we've just
been unable to supply any," said Gage. "My husband is trying to get the
beehives back up, since he supplies honey to individuals in the
surrounding area," she said.
Gage's next project is to make wooden angels and more wooden products.
"I'm really stuck on angels, but I would also like to offer more
souvenir-type items, that tourists would like," she said.
Gage also creates items upon request and writes sewing articles.
She also plans to offer gift baskets.
"I want to do baskets for birthdays or other party baskets, baby showers
and such," she said.
Gage plans to expand and add other items to the facility.
"I'll also have seasonal items and a window displaying the season," said
For instance, Gage is currently working on a back-to-school window
"I wish more stores along here were open, because we get a lot of people
from Texas passing through and if more stores were open more people
would stop," she said.
Gage said her son and daughter would be making more wooden items for the
store and she would be making smaller wooden items and items upon
"So far it's been great, it's been a lot of work, but I've loved it,"
The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
ROT escapee may be in Canada
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) August 4, 1997 - A Republic of Texas member who
escaped from a West Texas separatist camp hours before cohorts
surrendered to troopers in May is alive and may be hiding in Canada,
Law enforcement officials theorized that sooner or later the bones of
Richard Frank Keyes III would be found bleaching in the sun.
But the Texas Rangers, other law officers and Keyes' relatives now
concede the 22-year-old militia fugitive may have given everyone the
"We have some information, and now we know pretty much that he's alive,"
Texas Ranger Capt. Barry Caver, who led the negotiations that ended the
standoff, told the San Antonio Express-News in Sunday's early editions.
Officials have confirmed that a confidential informant for the Texas
Rangers has taped a conversation with Keyes in which the separatist said
he has left the United States.
Keyes has been charged in state warrants with two counts of aggravated
kidnapping and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Last month in Midland, Keyes was named in a federal arrest warrant on a
charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Texas Rangers said that charge was based on claims from the informant
that Keyes may have sought refuge in Canada. Police, however, are not
planning any new searches, Caver said.
Members of all three Republic of Texas factions say Texas was illegally
annexed by the United States in 1845.
Founder Richard L. McLaren and several followers became involved in a
standoff with about law enforcement officers April 27.
On May 3, McLaren and four followers agreed to a "cease-fire agreement."
Keyes and 48-year-old Mike Matson fled into the rugged wilderness of the
Matson was killed May 5 after shots were fired at police tracking dogs.
The same day, searchers in the woods found what they believed to be
That was the last time police reported any physical link to the
separatist. On May 7, the Texas Department of Public Safety called off any further searches. |
New Mexico militia may have aided ROT
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) August 4, 1997 - The state's top law enforcement
official has ordered an investigation into whether a New Mexico militia
group helped rescue a fugitive from the Republic of Texas standoff last
Darren White, secretary of the state Department of Public Safety, said
the order came after the Boulder (Colo.) Weekly reported Richard Keyes
III, a Republic of Texas member who had been given up for dead in West
Texas' Davis Mountains, was still alive.
Boulder Weekly editor Joe Dyer said he spoke to Keyes on June 17. He
quoted Keyes as saying that he had been rescued from the mountains by a
New Mexico militia unit, White said.
"I've asked our intelligence people to try to develop some information,"
Dyer reported the New Mexico militia had provided Keyes with safe houses
and then helped get him out of the country.
White said he called Dyer himself after reading his new book on the
far-right antigovernment movement, "Harvest of Rage."
He said Dyer knew Keyes from his efforts to research the book, which is
subtitled: "Why Oklahoma City is Only the Beginning." And Dyer was sure
the person he spoke to June 17 was Keyes, White said.
Based on that conversation, White said, he decided to order a state
police investigation into whether New Mexico militia people helped Keyes
escape. Dyer also has been contacted by the FBI, White said.
In his Boulder Weekly article, Dyer quotes Keyes as saying he witnessed
the shooting death of Michael Matson, another Republic of Texas
fugitive, after he and Matson had fled into the Davis Mountains last
"For the next several days, I moved as far as I could," the paper quoted
Keyes as saying. "I never saw a snake or a mountain lion, just some deer
and wild turkeys."
His comment referred to a Texas officer's comment that: "If we don't get
him, the snakes and mountain lions will."
"By the end of the week," Keyes is quoted as saying, "I made it to a
telephone and was able to call a New Mexico militia.
"They sent in a special operations team and extracted me from the area,"
he's quoted as saying. "They moved me from safe house to safe house. I
was in a total of six. Eventually they were able to get me out of the
"Now I'm in a place that's armed to the teeth. If we have to make a
stand, we can," he said.
Keyes also threatened revenge for the Republic of Texas standoff and
Matson's death, Dyer said.
Keyes, he said, "promises random acts of violence."
Policeman sentenced to life for killing
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EDINBURG, Texas (AP) August 4, 1997 - A former police officer has been
sentenced to life in prison for the rape and stabbing of an 18-year-old
woman he killed while on duty.
Gilberto Chavero Jr., 24, was sentenced Monday in the March 23, 1996,
killing of Iris Yvette Hidalgo, a McAllen School honor student.
Chavero was convicted of capital murder in June for raping and killing
Ms. Hidalgo while on duty for the Edcouch Police Department.
A farming community of 3,000 people, Edcouch is 10 miles east of
Edinburg in Hidalgo County.
The day after the slaying, Chavero led authorities to Ms. Hidalgo's body
after finding a note in his patrol car directing him to a sewage canal.
Ms. Hidalgo was found floating face-down, her throat slashed.
Chavero later admitted to writing the note and told authorities he and
the victim had consensual sex the night she was killed, but he had maintained his innocence.
Study finds communter airplane may be unsafe
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AUSTIN (AP) August 4, 1997 - A study commissioned by the Airline Pilots
Association has found that a popular 19-passenger commuter airplane has
structural problems that could make it unsafe.
The University of Texas engineering study was commissioned by the pilots
group as part of its petition for federal reconsideration of the 1991
crash of a Beech 1900C plan in which three crew members died.
The National Transportation Safety Board ruled that pilot error caused
the crash, which occurred during a night training exercise off the Rhode
Island coast by pilots of Business Express Airlines.
The APA and the UT study contend the crash occurred after the truss
supports of the plan's right engine failed and the engine tore loose in
According to the UT study, structural supports for the twin turboprop
engines of the Beech 1900 are prone to cracks and other failures, the
Austin American-Statesman reported Monday.
The Beech 1900C and 1900D account for 12 percent of the commuter airline
fleet in the United States, or 253 planes, said the Regional Airline
Association, a trade group.
Government records show the planes have been involved in three fatal
crashes since entering service in 1986. None were found to involve
Raytheon Aircraft Corp. spokeswoman Pat Zerbe said the planes have an
excellent safety record in more than 4.5 million flight hours for
airlines worldwide. Raytheon Aircraft built 250 Beech 1900Cs through
1991 and 280 D models since. Mike Scheidt, a Raytheon Aircraft vice
president, said the company was a party to the investigation of the 1991
"We don't believe it was anything to do with the engine trusses,"
Ron Stearman, a UT professor of aerospace engineering who led a team of
researchers in the study, said it found more than 750 maintenance
reports to the federal Aviation Administration concerning engine mounts
on Beech 1900s.
They included more than 250 about cracks in truss supports for the
engines and more than 500 about breakdowns in plates that isolate engine
vibrations from the airframe, which Stearman said could be more serious
than truss cracks.
"A lot of mechanics must be working like mad to keep the aircraft as
safe as it is," Stearman said.
He said the company has redesigned the engine mount six times in a
"Each design was basically having more difficulty than the previous
design," he said.
Scheidt said Raytheon has made improvements in the engine mounts in the
course of normal business operations.
The UT study also found acoustic signals picked up by the Business
Express plane's cockpit voice recorder 32 minutes before the crash that
Stearman said indicate the truss supports for its right engine were
The National Transportation Safety Board made no special investigation
of the cockpit voice recorder for structural signals, and its report on the crash made no mention of structural failure, the newspaper reported.
Orientation begins at PHS
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Orientation for students at Pecos High School began this week. Each day,
Aug. 4-7, students are to meet at 9 a.m. in the high school auditorium
for orientation, seniors met today, Aug. 4, freshmen Tuesday, Aug. 5,
juniors Wednesday, Aug. 6, sophomores Thursday, Aug. 7. Each orientation
will include information about schedules, dress codes and discipline codes presented by Robert Hernandes and PHS Principal Danny Rodrigues.
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The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, July 31 - About 1,000 entries from across the United
States and five foreign countries are in town this week for the
International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association's (IHMSA) annual
meeting and international shooting championship. The event is said to
have a positive economic impact upon a broad cross-section of Fort
Stockton and Pecos County.
The Big Bend Sentinel
MARFA, July 31, 1997 - The Presidio County grand jury investigating the
May shooting death of a young Redford man by a U.S. Marine will
reconvene Aug. 14 after new subpoenas are issued for about eight federal
witnesses, District Attorney Albert Valadez said. The district attorney
stated that the subpoenas he initially served the government were "not
to their standards" and they declined to honor them.
The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, July 31, 1997 - The Big Bend Regional Hospital District Board of
Directors gave a resounding "yes" to joining Community Health Systems in
a partnership that will bring on a brand new $10 to $12 million hospital
facility. The vote was unanimous and it received a happy standing
ovation from everyone at the meeting.
The International, Presidio Paper
PRESIDIO, July 31, 1997 - For the first time in the history of the Marfa
Border Patrol Sector, Mexican-Americans have been named sector chief
patrol agent and Presidio station chief, respectively. Simon Garza Jr.
has been named the Marfa Sector Chief Patrol Agent, and Manuel Padilla
Jr. is the new Presidio Station Chief.
The Sanderson Times
SANDERSON, July 31, 1997 - Local events in Sanderson include the first
day for local athletes to being football practice, on Wednesday, Aug. 6,
according to the schedule set by Coach Vance Jones. Sanderson Elementary
registration will be Thursday, Aug. 7 from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.,
according to Elementary Principal Norman Woolsey.
The Monahans News
MONAHANS, July 31, 1997 - Winfred (Windy) C. Williams has resigned his
position with the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote School District. The school
district pays Williams $56,618.96 as part of the agreement and the
former Lobo athletic director surrendered his employment contract which had extended through Jan. 10, 1999.
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ODESSA, August 4, 1997 - Cary James Shadburn, 59, died Saturday, Aug. 2,
at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Graveside services are scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 5, at Mount
Shadburn was born on Feb. 23, 1938, in Kossuth, Miss. He was an oilfield
mechanic and a Baptist.
Survivors include three sons, Mike and Cary Shadburn of Tupelo, Miss.
and Mark Shadburn of Dallas; one daughter, Cindy Shadburn of Memphis,
Tenn.; his mother, Velma Shadburn of Corinth, Tx.; two brothers, Joe
Shadburn of Kossuth, Miss. and Donny Shadburn of Corinth, Miss.; two
sisters, Betty Brock of Corinth, Miss. and Judy Tennyson of Memphis,
Tenn.; and three grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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PECOS, August 4, 1997 - High Sunday, 100, low this morning, 72. There is
a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in West Texas and South
Texas, but most of the state will have partly cloudy skies and warm
temperatures. Most areas of West Texas may have showers and
thunderstorms through tonight and in extreme western sections through
Tuesday. Lows tonight will be in the 60s and 70s. Highs will be in the
San Angelo Standard Times
Abilene Reporter News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Morning News
Texas Press Association
York (Pa.) Daily Record, Sister Paper to Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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