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Van Horn Advocate |


August 15, 1997

Opening day of school not smooth for everyone

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 15, 1997 - A couple of area families had some nervous
moments last night when their children did not return from school on the
correct buses at the right times. But the children eventually made it
home after spending a little extra time on the wrong school bus.

However, at least one parent said district employees could have handled
the situation better.

Five-year-old Pecos Kindergarten student Lorin McCoy apparently failed
to make a bus transfer after being placed on the bus at her school.

"One child was dropped off later than the others," Lucila Valenzuela,
Pecos Kindergarten Principal said.

"I put her on the bus here at the kindergarten."

Valenzuela said Lorin boarded the bus around 3:10 p.m. By 4:30 p.m.
Lorin's mother, Sonya Felts, began to worry. Felts said she called Lamar
Middle School, where Lorin was supposed to transfer buses, and talked to
Principal Gome Olibas.

"He told me they made sure all the students transferred to the right
bus," Felts said. "I thought someone had stolen her."

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Superintendent of Bus Routes Dora Villanueva
explained that the girl boarded bus #10 at the kindergarten but failed
to transfer to bus #12 at Lamar.

"When the driver saw her name tag she called it in and we sent a
mechanic out to get her," Villanueva said.

"He brought her in here and then her bus driver took her home to

It was around 5 p.m. when the bus driver reported the child was on the
wrong bus, according to Villanueva.

Felts said she was upset that Olibas told her that he had been sure all
children had transferred to the proper bus at his school. "Apparently he
didn't," Felts said. "It aggravates me that he wasn't honest."

Olibas was unavailable to comment on the matter today.

Valenzuela explained that the first day of school is especially hectic
for children and school personnel.

"We were all helping out getting the children on the buses," she said."
If somebody made a mistake along the way it's because so much is going
on because it was the first day of school."

Felts doesn't quite accept that explanation.

"I could understand if her bus was late," she said. "But she wasn't even
on the bus."

Felts said that after she learned her child was missing she left her
mother and grandfather at a park across the street from her home and
went to look for Lorin. While Felts was gone, the bus driver delivered
Lorin home in her personal car.

"I think they should call a parent and let them know their child has
missed the bus," Felts said. Felts planned to talk to PBT personnel
about the matter today.

A Toyah family also reported their son had not arrived home on the bus
yesterday and the PBT transportation department sent someone to his home
to investigate.

"When we got there he was already home," Villanueva said. "He had walked
home with his older brother."

Pecos Police Chief, Troy Moore, said such mishaps are not unusual on the
first day of school.

"It's not uncommon," he said. "We have it most every year."

Moore also said that once it is determined a child is truly missing every patrol officer is called out to help look for the child.

PBT board grants $1,000 raises
to teachers, approves increases

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 15, 1997 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board of Education
members granted $1,000 raises to teachers in the district last night.
PBT trustees also approved all other recommended salary increases.

The district still does not have a balanced budget, but the gap is
narrowing. Enough nonessential expenditures need to be deleted to make
room for $59,000 in insurance and other necessary expenditures and for a
$66,000 increase in teachers' salaries.

The school district's "report card," which is a summary of the schools'
performance on the latest round of TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic
Skills) tests, was favorable.

"Over all, we did pretty well," said Interim Superintendent Wayne

"I, for one, am very proud of the accomplishment that everyone has
made," said school board president Frank Perea.

The sentiment "we all are" was echoed by both Trustee Linda Gholson and
Secretary Daisy Roquemore.

As reported in the Pecos Enterprise, PBT ISD had four campuses on the
Texas Education Agency's list of schools that were recognized for their
above-average scores on the TAAS tests.

When Bryan LaBeff addressed the board later on the subject of guidelines
for the search for a new superintendent that he is conducting for PBT
ISD, he began by congratulating the district on their TAAS performance.

Bob Curry, representing the Economic Development Committee of the Pecos
Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the school board about the economic
development incentive which the committee wants to see all of the local
governmental entities approve.

"Everybody around us has an economic development coordinator...and we
need to move ahead," said Curry.

The committee wants the city, county, school district and hospital
district to work together through an inter-local agreement to hire an
economic development coordinator. That coordinator's job would be to
attract industry to the Pecos/Reeves County area, in order to create
more jobs in the area and build the local economy.

"We realize the school district cannot contribute money to economic
development," Curry said, and suggested other ways in which they might
help, such as donating office space, phone service, lights, and so on.

"I think the board supports your endeavor," said Perea.

"I don't think we can give you money," Perea said, "but maybe there are
other ways" that the school district can help.

As an example of what an economic development coordinator could do for
the community, Curry told the school board about a Chinese clothing
manufacturing company that wants to open a factory in West Texas. The
coordinator from Monahans referred the company to Pecos leaders on
Friday evening, and they had to meet with the Chinese company's
representatives the very next day.

With the help of a couple of local doctors who interpreted for the
Chinese businessmen, Curry said, the meeting was arranged, and Pecos is
still being considered for the factory, along with Del Rio.

Curry said that the factory would initially employ about 20 people and
manufacture baby clothes.

Trustee Steve Armstrong made a motion to "wholeheartedly support the
economic development initiative and do whatever the school board can
legally do to support the initiative." The board quickly gave their
unanimous approval.

Guidelines that LaBeff, from the Region 18 Service Center, will use to
conduct the district's search for a new superintendent were also
discussed at some length last night.

He recommended having campus improvement committees complete a survey,
along with administrators and principals, "to determine the district's
needs, goals and priorities."

The school board decided to make the deadline for accepting applications
for the position Sept. 30 so that LaBeff can go through the applications
in time to make recommendations on who the board should consider by its
October meeting. The board would like to be able to hire a new
superintendent in November to begin working here by the time the second
semester starts in January. The board, by law, must announce the
finalists for the position 21 days before someone is hired.

LaBeff said that most school districts offer three year contracts, and
that area districts have been offering in the range of $59,000 to
$75,000 annual salaries to recently-hired superintendents.

Trustee Earl Bates suggested offering a salary range of $70,000 to
$75,000. LaBeff said that would be fair. He also said that amount would
be about mid-range for a 4-A school district, but the pay has to be
commensurate with the local economy. Perea suggested a range of $70,000
to $80,000, but the rest of the board agreed with Bates' more
conservative figure.

LaBeff explained to the board that while some districts offer two-year
contracts to prospective superintendents, many candidates for the
position will not pick up their families and move them to Pecos for a
guarantee of only two years, so some of the best applicants might not
apply without the chance of getting a contract for at least three years.

The new superintendent will be offered the same health benefits that are
available to other employees. The district already has a vehicle that
the former superintendent, Mario Sotelo, was allowed to use that will be
offered the new superintendent.

LaBeff will review all applications for the superintendent position and
submit a list of all applicants and their qualifications to the school
board. LaBeff will also recommend to the board for interviews those
applicants who he thinks will best fit the district's needs.

Armstrong asked if LaBeff planned to interview candidates before
recommending finalists to the school board.

"Let me get one thing straight," Armstrong said. "You're not going to
bring someone in here as a finalist who looks great on paper, but is a
jerk in person, are you?"

"No," said LaBeff, who explained that while he would not conduct the
interviews and hire the superintendent for the board, he would talk to
likely candidates at length.

Armstrong and Perea disagreed on whether or not applicants must already
have Texas superintendent certification, or merely be eligible for the
certification, which requires a number of college hours.

Armstrong only wanted to accept applicants who are currently certified,
but Perea wanted to leave the field open to those who are qualified for
certification, but who have not completed it yet. An applicant from
another state who has the equivalent certification in their state would
be considered.

Alvarez sided with Perea, but the rest of the board agreed with
Armstrong that PBT deserves someone who is already certified for the
position if they are to be paid at least $70,000 a year. Also discussed
was the fact that the district is trying to hire more certified
teachers, and depend less on emergency teaching certificates. The
majority of the board felt it would send the wrong message to hire an
uncertified superintendent.

Eliminating campus facilitators for the Gifted/Talented program was
discussed briefly, but a decision was not reached. It is possible that facilitators will be cut to one per campus or paid at an hourly rate.

District judge hands out a couple of breaks

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 15, 1997 - U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson took pity on
a 28-year-old Kermit woman Wednesday in sentencing her to 21 months in
prison for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Luz Maria Urias was acquitted by a federal court jury of importing
marijuana, but found she possessed 25.83 pounds at the time of her
arrest Jan. 25.

Judge Furgeson recommended the Bureau of Prisons place Urias in a boot
camp. If she successfully completes the requirements, she may be
released at the end of six months and be placed on three years
supervised release.

"When you go to prison, there are an enormous number of educational
programs," Judge Furgeson said. "I urge you to take advantage of them."

Roberto Jimenez-Dominguez also got a break with a five-year probated
sentence for importing heroin Nov. 4, 1995. His co-defendant, Brenda
Ingo Rodriguez, is in Clover House. Judge Furgeson granted a continuance
of her trial until Oct. 20.

Silvestre Quinones also drew five years probation for his part in
importing marijuana. Both he and his wife testified against another
defendant and government prosecutor Jim Blankinship recommended a
lighter term for their cooperation.

Joaquin Contreras will serve 24 months in prison plus three years
supervised release for importing marijuana Jan. 19.

Juan Martin Urias was sentenced to 18 months plus two years supervised
release for possession with intent to distribute marijuana Feb. 13.

Alfredo Olivas Arenivas drew the longest sentence - 63 months - for
possession with intent to distribute 583.90 pounds of marijuana. A jury found him guilty May 13.|

Council grants request to close
park for Anchor West picnic

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 15, 1997 -A request by Anchor West to close Maxey Park on
Sept. 13 for a company picnic was granted by Town of Pecos City Council
members during their regular meeting held Thursday morning.

"We usually use barricades in the area designated," said water
superintendent Octavio Garcia.

"We will hire local security as well," said Anchor West representative
Bruce Salcido. Salcido explained that the company has hired an
organization to take care of all the details for the picnic. "They will
hire local individuals to help them," said Salcido.

The picnic will be held from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"This group has done this in the past and have never had any problems,"
said Mayor Dot Stafford.

In other business, the council approved a damage claim for lost cattle
by John Clark.

"Our hole was the cause of the damage and it was examined by the
insurance adjuster," said city attorney Scott Johnson.

Johnson explained that the insurance has a deductible of $5,000 which is
how much the claim is for.

"We've already correct the problem so it won't happen again," he said.

Council members approved to pay the claim of $5,000 and let the
insurance handle it.

Bob Curry was on hand for the meeting to again discuss economic
development.Curry told the council that the economic development group
had come up with a proposed budget. He explained that he wanted the
council to approve and support the economic development initiative and
select a representative from the council that will meet with
representatives from other entities to discuss the possibility of
adopting this proposed budget.

The total budget including the salary of the economic development
coordinator totals about $68,000. In the proposal, the county and city
would finance 40 percent; hospital district, 12 percent; Toyah, three
percent and Balmorhea, five percent.

"We'll be speaking to the school, they can't help monetarily, but they
can donate space or lighting," said Curry.

They can help us in other areas, he said.

Curry also stated that the new economic development coordinator would be
required to live within the county.

Council members granted permission for Frank X. Spencer and Associates
to apply for easement renewal from the Texas General Land Office across
Pecos River. This is in conjunction with Phase III of a project they are
currently working on.

The group was also authorized to proceed with design of Third St. for
sanitary sewer lines.

Colt Chevrolet of Pecos was awarded a bid for three new pickups. Two
will be used by the Water and Streets Department and the third will be
utilized by the Health and Sanitation Department. The pickups were
budgeted and met all specifications.

The bid on the pickups was for $17,499 per unit.

Purchase of a new 1998 Light Sport Utility Vehicle to be used by the
Pecos E.M.S. as a supervisor's unit was also approved.

"This will really help us, in carrying vital equipment during emergencies," said E.M.S. Chief Bill Randall Cole.

Big bird's beak becomes bound by barricade

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Staff Writer

PECOS, August 15, 1997 - Here is a sort of tongue-in-cheek story about a
fowl situation that occurred last weekend and showed that two local men
are for the birds.

At about 9:10 last Friday night, the Pecos Police Department received a
call from an unknown woman who reported that there was an ostrich out at
the Maxey Park Zoo with its beak stuck in the fence that encloses the
ostrich pen.

The police department referred the call to the local Animal Control
Officer, Tomas Escovedo, who went out to the zoo.

When he arrived, the ostrich "had his head halfway through the fence,"
Escovedo said.

Escovedo thinks the woman who reported the incident tried to push the
bird's beak out of the fence, but that the ostrich poked it back through
the fence, so she called for help. He said that was the right thing to
do, and thanks the woman, whoever she is, for her concern.

When the police called Escovedo they said, "Don't laugh, but..." and
explained what had happened. He had to laugh a bit, despite the warning
from police, then immediately went to see what he could do.

When Escovedo got to the ostrich enclosure the black male ostrich had
his head partially through the fence, almost to his eyes.

According to Pecos Zookeeper Santiago Ortega, the head is the most
sensitive part of an ostrich's body.

Escovedo said that it may never be known exactly what caused the big
bird to stick its face through the chain link fence in the first place.
He may have been attracted to a color or an item of jewelry that someone
was wearing, Escovedo speculates, or maybe the ostrich was trying to get
some food that was being held out to him. Only the ostrich knows, and he
isn't talking.

Ortega believes that people may have ignored the signs, which are posted
all over the zoo, warning people not to feed the animals, tried to feed
the bird, then drove off when the ostrich got stuck.

Ortega hopes this incident will help to show people why zoos don't want
the public to feed zoo animals.

Not only could this practice put people in danger, but it could harm the
animals, in more ways than one.

Things people can eat may not fit into an animal's diet, and human food
can even make animals sick, said Ortega. The animals here are given
water and food according to their needs, which vary among the different
species currently exhibited at the zoo.

Escovedo said that the strange incident, which he doesn't think has ever
happened here before, hasn't done any permanent harm to the large bird,
although it did lose a few feathers.

"He was up and running around Saturday morning," said Escovedo, of the
ostrich, who incidentally, doesn't have a name.

There is another ostrich in the zoo, a female, who also is unnamed.
Ortega said that although they are a mated pair, the two have not
produced any offspring.

Ortega said the female has laid eggs in the past, but wouldn't sit on
them. He checked with a local veterinarian, Dr. Ronald Box, and another
animal doctor in Midland, and was told that it is rare for an ostrich in
this area to sit on her eggs and that buying an incubator would be
expensive and rather futile, because the majority of eggs would not
survive incubation, and any chicks that did hatch would probably be very

The fast-running flightless ostrich is the largest bird on earth. Ortega
estimates that each of the ostriches in the zoo could be as large as 350
pounds apiece. The pair have been at the Maxey Park Zoo for about two
years now, Ortega said.

He said that maybe a contest could be organized in the future where local students could name the birds.

Chamber looks for a few good leaders to train

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PECOS, August 15, 1997 - The Pecos Chamber of Commerce is looking for
individuals interested in enrolling in a new Leadership Pecos class.

Leadership Pecos started in 1990 and has had four classes during the
ensuing years. The class is to help define leadership and train
individuals to reach and carry out leadership responsibilities.

Part of the class is to help those enrolled understand how local
governmental entities work and inform them of current events, not only
in the local area, but at the state and national level on every subject
that affects the community.

Those who are interested in enrolling, or who have an employee who would
benefit from such a class, should call the chamber office at 445-2406 or
Chamber President Paul Hinojos at First National Bank, 445-9444.

Classes are usually conducted a full day once each month for nine
months. Cost is about $200. The number of people interested will determine if a class is held.


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PECOS, August 15, 1997 - High Thursday, 96, low this morning, 72.
Residents of West Texas awoke to showers and thunderstorms today, and
the National Weather Service said much of the state could experience
some precipitation. Scattered showers and thunderstorms were occurring
from the Abilene area west and north through the South Plains, southern
New Mexico and far West Texas. Skies were clear in most of the
Panhandle, the Permian Basin, the Concho Valley and the Trans-Pecos.
Elsewhere, skies were mostly cloudy. Temperatures overnight ranged from
63 at Dalhart and Marfa to 79 at San Angelo, Abilene and Sanderson and
85 at Del Rio. Winds varied from 5 to 15 mph in most areas, with
stronger and gusty conditions in the vicinity of the showers and
thunderstorms. The weather service said showers and thunderstorms are
possible for most areas through Friday.|

State News
San Angelo Standard Times
Abilene Reporter News
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Dallas Morning News
Texas Press Association

National News
USA Today
York (Pa.) Daily Record, Sister Paper to Pecos Enterprise

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
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. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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