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Van Horn Advocate |
August 20, 1997
Hospital district tax rate
to remain at current level
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By GREG HARMON
PECOS, August 20, 1997 - The Board of Directors of Reeves County
Hospital District voted overwhelmingly to stay on the course they have
worked to lay out over the past several years.
The board voted to accept as presented the 1998 Operating and Capital
Budget as well as to remain with the current effective tax rate. This
tax rate (approximately .354 per $100 of property valuation), the Board
anticipated, should result in lower overall taxes this year even though
1997 saw an increase in property value for the county.
The consensus to stay the course drew inspiration from the new financial
report which shows a considerable drop in total expenses for the
hospital. One member of the board felt that the fortified financial
statement reflected a growing confidence in the hospital on the part of
This stronger financial position has enabled the Board of Directors to
commit to purchasing new lights for the operating room, repairing the
boiler tank and regulators, and even investigate the possibility of
purchasing a new ambulance. The hospital staff requested that the new
lights for the operating room be purchased from Virtual Corporation.
The lights had been loaned to the hospital for one month on a trial run
and the doctors were considerably impressed with their flexibility.
Also, two members of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, Tom Rivera and Bob
Curry, appeared at the meeting to appeal for funding. They are seeking
to establish a full time position in Pecos and Reeves County for an
Curry stated that he hoped the hospital board would "take a stand for
economic development in the city and Reeves County." He went on to
predict that if the proposal for the creation of a full time Economic
Coordinator were to be voted down on the third of next month that
"economic development would be over for Reeves County."
The two members of the Chamber sought to inspire commitment on the part
of the Hospital Board by relating a recent development in Monahans.
Monahans, which has a full time Economic Coordinator, recently sent a
delegation to China to represent economic opportunities in the Monahans
area. They were quite successful. In response to the query expedition,
China soon sent a delegation of their own to West Texas with the end
result that a large Chinese sewing company will soon be coming to
Monahans. It is this type of opportunity that Pecos and Reeves County
is missing by not creating a full-time position that would actively seek
out and bring business to Pecos, Curry suggested.
While the board of directors made no solid promises regarding the appeal
for funds, they did state that there was "funding in the budget" for
such a situation.
Apart from a heated exchange over a change in the bylaws that calls for
members of the Board to be present at a set number of meetings per year or forfeit their seats, the rest of the meeting ran smoothly.
City officials working on 1997-98 budget
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, August 20, 1997 - Town of Pecos City officials met Saturday to
discuss the budget for the coming year.
"We met for about eight hours and only made minor changes to the budget
so far," said City Manager Kenneth Neal.
The finance director is currently adding the changes into the proposed
The group is planning an evening workshop next week.
The city tax rate will not be set until the budget is completed,
according to Neal.
"We're aiming at trying to leave the tax rate the same as this year," he
There are a lot of things the city is interesting in incorporating into
the budget to provide better services, according to Neal.
"Everything takes money to do and we just don't have it right now, so
we're trying to see if we can shift some things around, find new
avenues," said Neal.
"We hope to come up with a final completed budget that everybody will be
happy with," he said. The group will discuss the personnel budget at the
next workshop and hopefully give some employees a little boost in pay.
"This is just a preliminary proposal that hasn't been adopted yet," Neal
The proposal will be presented to the council Sept. 11, and if it is
adopted, two readings will follow with the budget going into effect the
first of October, according to Neal.
All department heads, the finance director and city council members, including the mayor were present for the first workshop.
Bunton, one of Texas Monthly's
20 most influential Texans
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By Peggy McCracken
PECOS, August 20, 1997 - Country music's teen queen LeAnn Rimes takes
top billing in "The Texas Twenty," featured in the September issue of
Texas Monthly. But Judge Lucius D. Bunton III is not far behind.
Branded a boondoggler for pushing through a new federal courthouse for
Pecos and sporting the dubious title of most overturned judge in the
Fifth Circuit, Judge Bunton nevertheless wins more battles than he loses.
When Texas Monthly editor Joe Nick Patoski came to Pecos to interview
Judge Bunton during a busy trial week last June, he picked a good day to
do it. Judge Bunton had just learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had
affirmed his 1995 opinion in City of Boerne v. Flores (in which his
court struck down the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act as
"I'm kind of on a high," Judge Bunton told Patoski.
In fact, Bunton was in the middle of a pretty good year, Patoski
writes..."one in which his influence was felt far beyond the
Bowing to pressure from another fight in Judge Bunton's court - this
over water - the Texas Legislature passed its first-ever comprehensive
water bill this session. In the previous session, they created the
Edwards Aquifer Authority to regulate the pumping of underground water.
"I'm not going to take credit for that, but I encouraged some years ago,
long before this water bill and the aquifer authority, that the
Legislature do something. The State of Texas ought to do something. This
is a step in the right direction," Bunton said.
Controversy is common in Judge Bunton's court, but he's best known for
his "rocket docket" and keeping lawyers on their toes. Born and raised
in West Texas, he wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
"Where else can you get up in the morning and see clear from yesterday
to tomorrow?" he said.
And where else can you find a judge like Lucius Bunton? Patoski asked.
Although he has taken senior status, which is considered retirement,
Judge Bunton continues to handle half the criminal docket in Pecos and
accepts other assignments when his schedule permits.
For the past several years, he has worked on his memoirs in between
dockets - mostly for his children and grandchildren. Now he can add a
chapter about the year he was picked one of 20 most influential people in Texas.
More problems arise for Pecos Head Start
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PECOS, August 20, 1997 - Controversy again plagues a program aimed
towards helping children.
The Pecos Head Start Program, open to children 3-5 years of age, is
planning to open its doors Monday, Aug. 25, but who will run it is the
A new Pecos Head Start director was chosen Monday night by the Pecos
Head Start Policy Council, but when she reported to work Tuesday she was
told she could not work at her new position until it was approved by the
Pecos Head Start Board of Directors. The board will meet at 6 p.m.
Thursday at the office of the Reeves County Community Council located on
Nancy Young was chosen from several applicants to fill the position of
Pecos Head Start Director.
"She reported for work yesterday, but I told her to go back to her old
position until she was approved by the board," said board member Linda
Clark stated that this decision was for her own good, since she was not
getting paid at that capacity until the board approves her position and
sets her salary.
Other final applicants included Elida Rodriguez, Elizabeth Leos and Mari
Maldonado. The policy board voted unanimously for Nancy Young who has a
degree in education.
"The policy board thought Nancy was the most qualified, Elida received a
few votes, but they later changed to accept Nancy," said board member
Florez is also on the community council board.
There are 12 members of the policy council, eight parents and four
community representatives from Monahans, Saragosa and Pecos.
"There's a big fight going on between the policy council and the board,"
Pecos Head Start Executive Director, Caprice Cox, doesn't want Young as
the new Head Start director, but has her own candidate in mind,
according to Young.
"Hopefully, everything will get straightened out at Thursday's meeting,"
Young stated that Cox told her she should not get the job because she
doesn't have the background in Head Start.
"I have an education degree and I know I can do the job and do it
fairly," said Young.
Young is currently employed by Pecos Head Start as a teacher's aide.
"This doesn't look good for Pecos at all, I wish they could settle this
soon," she said.
State officials overseeing the Head Start program have indicated several
items at the local program are not in compliance with state regulations.
Those items have not been corrected yet, according to Young.
For example, employee relations. If there a position becomes open in the
program a parent who is qualified for the position should be offered
that job, Young said. However, two positions have recently been filled
without advertising them, according to Young.
"This is an organization that is supposed to help our children, it's for
the children," said Young.
Board member Julian Florez said that the group has until Sept. 1 to fill
the Pecos Head Start Director position.
"We had earlier agreed to extend the date for hiring and accepting
applications," said Florez. "Caprice was sick on Monday and the
applications were locked up in her office," he said.
Florez stated that the board had suggested setting up a selection
committee and reviewing the applications, but the Cox said that was up
to her to do.
"She said there was no need for that, but later came back and changed
her mind, or they told her that was what we were supposed to do," said
The board it would review the applications and finalists were chosen.
"After that is when the policy council chose Nancy," he said.
"From what I understand the policy council plans to stick to their
decision of having Nancy as director," Florez said.
The program has been plagued with problems and suggestions of having
someone else run the program have been made.
"If they take it away from us, it will be up for bids and then anyone
can take over such as West Texas Opportunities or the schools," said
When Cox was asked if she didn't want Young as the new Head Start
director she said, "I have no comment, darling, that will be decided by
the board. It was not just me."
Cox said that she presented the evaluation to the board of directors and that a decision would be rendered on Thursday.
Student enrollment decreases in P-B-T
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, August 20, 1997 - Enrollment has dropped by 69 students in the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district this year compared to the total
enrollment last year. Current district enrollment is 2,929 students;
last year's count was 2,998 students, according to information furnished
by P-B-T district personnel.
By elementary campus, there are 270 students at the kindergarten this
year, and there were 294 last year. Austin Elementary has 436 students
this year, 453 last year.
Pecos Elementary had 209 last year, but has 222 this year. Bessie Haynes
has 444 students this year, compared to 471 a year ago. Barstow has a
total of 27 students in the first through fifth grades, down sharply
from last year's enrollment of 44 students. At Lamar, there are 243
students this year, not much changed from the 242 total they had last
Among secondary campuses, there are 238 students at Zavala this year,
compared to 262 last year, with 247 at Crockett this year, down from 262
this year. That means that there are 485 junior high school students in
the district this year, while the district had 559 a year ago.
Pecos High School has 770 students enrolled this year, well up from last
year's total of 726. Most of the district's grade levels with increased
enrollment are at the high school. Only the junior class has less
students than last year.
There are no elementary students at Carver or the JDC. There are 30
students at Carver and two at the JDC. There are no enrollment figures
for either facility for last year on the statistical data sheet on which
enrollment information was recorded.
Although overall district enrollment is 69 students lower than last
year, five grades did experience increases. They are the third, sixth,
ninth, 10th and 12th grades.
This year, the district has 51 students in its special education
program, 12 students less than last year. In the program, six are
kindergartners, three are first- or second-graders, seven are in the
third grade, seven are in the fourth and fifth grades, six are in the
eighth grade, and 22 are Pecos High School students. There are no
special education students from Barstow Elementary (first through fifth
grade), Lamar (sixth grade), Zavala Middle School (seventh grade),
Carver Center (alternative education) or the Juvenile Detention Center.
There are 66 students in pre-kindergarten and 198 students in
kindergarten at Pecos Kindergarten. Last year, there were 82 in
pre-kindergarten and 207 in kindergarten.
There are currently 216 first-grade students at Austin Elementary
(first- and second-grade campus), and three at Barstow Elementary for a
district-wide total of 219. Last year, there were 239 students enrolled
in first grade in the district, a decrease of 20 students.
Austin has 217 second-graders enrolled, with eight at Barstow, for a
total of 225, a drop of six from 231 last year.
Pecos Elementary, the third-grade campus in Pecos, has an enrollment of
215 students, and there are eight third-graders at Barstow, for a
district total of 223, a rise of 16 over the 207 third grade students in
the district last year.
There are 207 fourth-grade students at Bessie Haynes this year, and two
at Barstow for a total of 209 for the district, 30 less than last year's
There are 236 fifth-graders in the district this year, with 230 at
Bessie Haynes and six at Barstow. Last year, the district had 243
fifth-grade students, or seven more.
Numbers for sixth grade are about even, with 243 at Lamar this year, an
increase of one student over last year.
There are 238 seventh-grade students at Zavala this year, and one at the
Carver Center, an overall total of 239. P-B-T ISD had 262, or 23 more,
seventh grade students a year ago.
That decrease is doubled at the eighth grade level, with Crockett Middle
School having 241 students, plus three at the Carver Center and one in
the JDC for a total of 245, 46 students less than last year's 291.
However, there is an even larger increase in the district's
ninth-graders, with a total of 286 this year, 64 more than the 222 in
last year's class. This year, 241 are attending Pecos High School, with
six at the Carver Center and one at the JDC.
Tenth grade enrollment is up by 19 from last year's total of 174
students. This school year, there are 192 10th-graders at PHS, with 1 at
the Carver Center.
There are nine less juniors this year than last, but there are nine more
There are 152 11th-graders at the high school, and six more at Carver,
for a total of 158, while last year's 11th grade enrollment was 167.
Finally, there are 125 students enrolled in the 12th grade at Pecos
High, plus 13 more are at Carver, for a sum of 138, up from 129 last year.|
Senate forms three crime-fighting committees
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AUSTIN, August 20, 1997 - Three new special Senate committees have been
formed to tackle criminal justice issues ranging from youth violence and
prison/correctional topics to possible changes to the state law
concerning sexual offenders, according to a recent announcement by Lt.
Governor Bob Bollock.
The Senate Interim Committee on Gangs and Juvenile Justice named on
Friday is to be headed by Royce West, D-Dallas. The committee was asked
to investigate the coordination of juvenile justice efforts on state and
local levels by law enforcement and school officials. West will be
joined on this committee by Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington, Robert
Duncan, R-Lubbock, Sen. Mike Moncrief, D-Fort Worth, and Jon Lindsay,
According to Lt. Governor Bollock, "Teenage gangs are no longer isolated
to the poorest neighborhoods in the inner cities. They have become a
problem all across Texas, and that requires a statewide study and plan
The Senate Interim Committee on Criminal Justice, also named last
Friday, will evaluate the safety conditions for prison inmates and
employees as well as focus on medical and mental health treatment,
projected capacity needs, and parole programs.
Bullock requested that the third committee named, the Senate Interim
Committee on Sex Offenders, study possible changes in the law concerning
judicial commitment to treatment facilities for both adult and juvenile
"The state must be innovative in dealing with sex offenders and realize
that prison time alone in many cases is not going to stop [sexual
offenders] from repeating this crime again," Bullock added.
Bullock also asked that the Texas court system come under review. He
requested that members of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee look into
the process by which judges are selected in state district, county, and
Also, judicial districting, civil lawsuit costs, the collection of
court-imposed fines and ways to possibly improve jury service will all be investigated.
Two life sentences for rapist
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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) August 20, 1997 - A Snyder construction worker
suspected in sexual assaults across West Texas was sentenced to his
second life sentence in as many days Tuesday for two rapes in Lubbock.
Ricky Dewayne Howell, 32, was ordered to serve the terms back-to-back
rather than concurrently. Barring appeals, Howell must serve 60 years
before his earliest possible release date.
Howell also has been charged with two rapes in Big Spring and another in
He pleaded guilty earlier this month to the February rape of a Lubbock
woman and made the same plea the day before in another local rape case.
Howell already had a history of prison time, including prior convictions
for burglary with intent to commit sexual assault in Sweetwater and
Despite his criminal record and two stints in prison, he was released in
1996 after serving four years of a 10-year sentence for the Sweetwater conviction.
P-B-T campuses need parent volunteers
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PECOS, August 20, 1997 - Each year every Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD campus
must establish a Parent-Teacher Association or a Parent-Teacher
Organization. Crockett Middle School Principal Juanita Davila said that
Interim Superintendent Wayne Mitchell announced this at a recent
PTAs have statewide and national affiliations, while PTOs are strictly
local organizations. Davila said that she prefers the PTO because they
do not require dues the way a PTA does, and "all decisions are local."
According to Parental Involvement Coordinator Anna Hernandez, each
campus is in charge of establishing its own organization, so any parent
who is interested in becoming involved with the organization for their child's school should contact their child's principal.
Separate murder trials for cadets
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) August 20, 1997 - A judge today ordered separate
trials for former cadet-sweethearts charged with murder in the slaying
of a teen-age Mansfield girl.
State District Judge Joe Drago ruled that the potential for reversible
error would be too great if he were to order Diane Zamora and David
Graham to be tried simultaneously for capital murder in the death of
16-year-old Adrianne Jones.
"The court feels like two separate trials for these defendants would
take less time than one joint trial, particularly one joint trial that
might be reversed on appeal and result in two separate trials after one
joint trial has been had," Drago said in a 2½-page written decision.
Attorneys for Ms. Zamora, a former Naval Academy midshipman, had opposed
prosecutors' requests to have her tried along with Graham, a former Air
Force Academy cadet and her one-time fiance.
Zamora attorney Elizabeth Berry had argued that the linking the cases
would undermine the defendants' strategy of antagonism.
The 19-year-old ex-military academy cadets are accused in the December
1995 shooting and beating death of Miss Jones. Police say Ms. Zamora,
whose trial is set for late September, was furious that Graham and Ms.
Jones had a one-time fling.
Lead prosecutor Mike Parrish filed a motion last month asking Drago to
join two cases to "ensure a fair trial for all the parties."
Drago was skeptical about Parrish's argument, saying jury instructions
needed for a consolidated trial might be too complex for jurors to
"In the event the jury does misunderstand the instructions, that creates
an additional chance that the case will be reversed on appeal based on
that misunderstanding if these cases were tried together," Drago said.
Ms. Zamora and Graham have been in Tarrant County Jail since shortly
after their arrests in September and face life sentences if convicted.
Recent reports indicate their romance has waned because they have stopped corresponding.
Houston mayor fights for affirmative action
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HOUSTON (AP) August 20, 1997 - Mayor Bob Lanier is moving to fight an
anticipated November ballot proposal to dismantle the city's affirmative
"Many people have worked too long and too hard in Houston building a
good record of diversity, building a community whose ethnic relations on
relative terms are good, to allow what would be a divisive and
destructive matter to pass unchallenged," Lanier said Tuesday.
Edward Blum, chairman of the Houston Civil Rights Initiative, delivered
more than 20,000 signatures on petitions seeking a referendum on
Lanier's program. If the signatures submitted Wednesday are verified by
the city secretary, the proposal heads to the Nov. 4 ballot.
Lanier crafted and the city council approved in 1995 the Minority and
Women-owned Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, which recommends
17 percent of construction, 24 percent of professional services and 11
percent of purchasing contracts go to minority and women-owned business.
The program boosted by about 35 percent goals that had been in place
Blum contends there's little difference between Lanier's voluntary
program and racial quotas.
Lanier says his program has been a part of Houston's economic
improvement and to dismantle it now would hurt the city both
economically and spiritually.
Blum said claims that his measure would set back Houston's race
relations amount to "demagoguery of the worst kind." He said other
cities have dismantled such programs have seen no race animosity as a result.
Nursing home operators nervous
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AUSTIN (AP) August 20, 1997 - Stepped-up enforcement of state nursing
home regulations has many operators of the facilities feeling nervous.
"People are wondering, 'Am I next?"' asked Merril Grey, manager of a
Dallas-area home sued last week by Texas Attorney General Dan Morales.
Thirty lawsuits have been filed since June, and Morales pledges to keep
that pace as long as state inspectors find serious health and safety
problems in nursing homes.
"It's a difficult atmosphere," Melody Chatelle, a Texas vice president
of Living Centers of America, told the Austin American-Statesman for a
story published Wednesday.
Her company operates 92 nursing homes in Texas. "It has people
concerned, obviously," she said. "The overall desire of the industry
(is) to re-enforce that, by and large, nursing facilities are a safe
option for persons who need them."
One reason for the accelerated lawsuit filings is increased referrals of
problem nursing homes to the attorney general from the Department of Human Services, which inspects them.
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The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, Aug. 14 - For the past two months, the quality of water
in Fort Stockton - now that the reverse-osmosis water treatment plant is
on line - has been closely checked. According to those doing the
checking the results are clear. Readings taken throughout the city in
May, June and July have shown a downward trend in the amount of
dissolved solids found in the water coming from city lines.
The Big Bend Sentinel
MARFA, Aug. 14, 1997 - Texas Gov. George W. Bush and First Lady Laura
Bush begin a weekend of events to promote West Texas tourism
designations by attending a community reception Saturday at the Gage
Hotel in Marathon. They planned to tour McDonald Observatory in Fort
Davis, hike through Tom Mays Park and attend Noche Ranchera, Music Under
The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, Aug. 14, 1997 - An Alpine man died Aug. 8, after his
single-engine plane crashed less than a mile from the Casparis Airport
outside of Alpine. George Merriman, II, 46, was performing acrobatic
maneuvers close to the ground before the accident according to a witness.
The International, Presidio Paper
PRESIDIO, Aug. 14, 1997 - The Presidio City Council declined to accept
the resignation of city administrator Arturo Ochoa's resignation during
their regular meeting, which he tendered by letter earlier. Ochoa's
correspondence was short and sweet and failed to cite his reason or
reasons for leaving, stating only that he was using two weeks of accrued
vacation time. As a result, council expressed a desire to look into the
the circumstances surrounding Ochoa's resignation before accepting it.
The Sanderson Times
SANDERSON, Aug. 14, 1997 - Sanderson was the site for the "Wildlife and
Nature Tourism - Natural Assets for Ranches and Communities" conference
this past Monday and Tuesday. The overall theme of the conference
centered on ways and methods that ranchers and rural communities may be
able to benefit from the mushrooming popularity of bird watching,
wildlife photography and other outdoor nature-related pursuits.
The Monahans News
MONAHANS, Aug. 14, 1997 - Thomas Kilpatrick, a 19-year-old convicted
burglar who drifts from West Texas to the Gulf Coast and back, was
snared again after a 113-mile chase by the law. The circuitous pursuit
began in front of the Ward County Coliseum on Route 18 in Monahans when
Kirkpatrick attempted to drive away from Highway Patrol Trooper Eric
White in a one-ton black truck reported stolen in Brazoria County near the Gulf of Mexico.
>>Return to top
>PECOS, August 20, 1997 - High Tuesday, 99, low this morning, 71. It will
>be fair to partly cloudy across West Texas with a chance for
>thunderstorms in extreme western areas, the Permian Basin, trans-Pecos
>and Big Bend areas. Lows tonight will be in the 60s and 70s. Highs
>Thursday will be in the 90s except in the Big Bend area of southwest
>Texas where readings will top out at around 105.
>24-hour weather info available - See the Pecos Enterprise Website on the
>Internet at http://www.pecos.net/news for continual radar coverage of
>area weather. Click on the "News" page and look for the "Weather" link.
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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