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Van Horn Advocate |
September 12, 1997
City holds tax rate, PBT
schools postpone decision
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By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, September 12, 1997 - Pecos property owners don't have to worry
about an increase in city taxes this year as the city council met
yesterday and decided to hold the tax rate at its current level.
The tax rate for the Town of Pecos City has been set at .6967 per $100
of property valuation. Of this total tax rate, .4501 is apportioned for
the maintenance and operation of the general government. This is called
the General Fund. The remaining .2466 of the total tax rate is
apportioned for paying off the city's interest and dues on the city's
debts. Mayor Pro-Tem Rodriguez paused before assenting his approval in
order to ensure that, should new developments arise, the budget may be
amended in October.
City Attorney Scott Johnson presented to the council information he had
gathered on the Transition to Competition Plan as filed with the city by
the Texas-New Mexico Power Company. According to TNMP the transition
plan would effectively reduce residential rates a total of six percent
over the next five years.
Johnson said that according to his sources "the consumers would benefit
more if (the council did) nothing" in response to the proposal issued by
the TNMP. One of the concerns he raised was that, given the geographical
location of Pecos, there still would not be many choices once the plan
to competition went into effect.
Pauline Moore, the West Texas Business Unit Manager of Texas-New Mexico
Power Company, said that, as far as the idea of Pecos being stuck with
limited choices, it is all speculation at this point. "We do have a lot
of oil and gas here," Moore said, "I don't know if they're going to be
players or not."
Councilman Randy Graham made it known that he would be wary of switching
power providers. "We've got a good service here," he said. The council
voted to accept the plan in support of the transition to competition
plan as presented.
The Reeves County Juvenile Court's report for August, which showed a
total of 11 youths detained, was approved by the council.
The Accounts Payable was also approved after some discussion over
possible cost-saving strategies. There were some questions regarding
battery expenses as to mobile communications. Mayor Pro-Tem Danny
Rodriguez suggested looking into 3-in-1 technologies.
No action was taken on the engineering services, Permit 2120, in order
for more investigation to be done.
The council did approve the street closures which will affect 4th St.
(from Peach to Locust) and Locust (from 4th to Business 80). These
streets will be closed off from 5 p.m to midnight on today; noon to midnight tomorrow; and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
PBT trustees put off tax rate vote
until all members can be present
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, September 12, 1997 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school trustees
postponed setting a tax rate for the district last night because two
members of the board were not present. Trustee Freddy Lujan was absent
for the whole meeting, and trustee Earl Bates attended the closed
session at the beginning of the meeting, but was not present later at
the open session.
Because two voting members of the board were not present to vote on such
an important issue, Trustee Linda Gholson argued, the vote should be
postponed until all seven members could participate.
Those board members present agreed to set a date, probably around lunch
time next week, when all seven members could be present to vote. The
Pecos Enterprise will publish the date and time of that meeting once it
There also has been no final decision made yet on the district's
restructuring plan. Depending on the price that is quoted to them, the
school board may have Engineer Frank Spencer do a feasibility study to
determine the most practical and cost-effective way to go about
restructuring the district, considering such factors as projected
student enrollment at the campuses and the condition of the buildings.
The school board set a deadline of December to make a decision on the
The appointment of Ernest Torres, Jr. as a Special Education teacher at
Crockett Middle School was approved, but the transfer of Joey Martinez
from teaching bilingual education at Pecos Elementary to Computer
Literacy was not approved because it is too late in the school year.
Also later in the meeting, the personnel appointments section was
amended to include the appointment of Donna Davis as Special Education
Coordinator. That happened when her appointment as 504 Coordinator came
up for approval, and board members realized they hadn't officially
approved her as the new Special Education Coordinator. Both appointments
were approved unanimously.
Including counselors, the diagnostician, a speech therapist, and a
teacher for the visually impaired in the $1,000 a year attendance
initiative promised to classroom teachers and librarians was discussed,
but the board decided to leave the policy as it stands. The reason for
giving the attendance initiate to classroom teachers and librarians is
that they have to pay for substitute teachers when the professionals who
fill those positions are absent and frequent absences from those
positions cost the district a lot of money.
A classroom teacher or librarian only receives the extra money if they
don't miss any days during the school year, other than days designated
for professional development or jury duty. There is a partial scale if
they miss very few days, and they receive no additional money if they
miss five or more days.
The school board voted unanimously to approve bus routes, Alternative
Education Program changes, hearing officer and designee, the teacher
appraisal calender and appraisers and tax roll errors and corrections
for 1996 and prior year.
The hearing officer will be the superintendent, for now Interim
Superintendent Wayne Mitchell, and the designee will be Pecos High
School Principal Danny Rodriguez.
Bryan Labeff from the Region 18 Service Center did not reiterate his
update to the board in executive session about the district's search for
a superintendent in the open meeting. Perea said later that there have
been "about 15" applicants for the position so far, but LaBeff, who is
conducting the search for the superintendent, will continue to take
applications until the Oct. 1 deadline, and names of applicants will not
be released until after the deadline has passed.
The next regular meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District Board of Trustees will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 in the board room at 1304 S. Park Street.
Couple accused of selling
heroin indicted by grand jury
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, September 12, 1997 - A couple who allegedly sold heroin to
undercover agents with the Alpine DEA task force were among 16 persons
indicted Thursday by the federal grand jury sitting in Pecos.
Cayetano Beltran-Rios, 48, and Enue Perea de Beltran, 50, were arrested
Aug. 26 after meeting with two agents in Presidio.
In an affidavit filed with U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Baker, the
agents said they met with the defendants at the El Patio Restaurant. To
make the transfer of heroin, Ms. Beltran got into the agents' car and
took three packages of a white, powdery substance from her bra and
crotch area, placing them in the purse of the female agent.
The couple then followed the agents to Marfa, where they were promised
payment for the heroin. Following their arrest, agents weighed the
contraband at 1,325.7 grams.
Refugio del Real, 39, of Colorado City, was charged with possession with
intent to distribute marijuana. He was arrested at the Border Patrol
checkpoint south of Marfa on Sept. 4.
Agents reported they became suspicious because Real was wearing a Texas
Ranger badge on his shirt pocket and a law enforcement type western hat
when he arrived at the checkpoint.
Asked for identification, Real showed a business card from Lozano's
Surety Bail Bond Co. and said he was looking for someone but had no luck.
Because of his nervousness and suspicious appearance, plus the fact the
car was riding low in the rear, the agents asked for consent to search
the car. Real opened the trunk about 1/3 of the way, revealing several
packages wrapped in duct tape, then shut the trunk.
A drug-sniffing dog alerted to the smell of marijuana coming from the
trunk. However, Real denied knowing it was in the car. He said he had
fallen asleep, and possibly someone loaded the marijuana while he was
Others indicted were:
* Ernesto Chavez-Alvrez, 27, importing marijuana (57.8 pounds). He was
arrested at the Presidio Port of Entry by U.S. Customs Inspectors.
* Minerva Jones-Garcia, 56, of Odessa, importing and possessing with
intent to distribute marijuana on March 29 (23.98 pounds).
* Patrick Jerome Hailey, 26, of Memphis, Tenn., possession with intent
to distribute marijuana (9 pounds) and assault on a federal officer on
* Imelda Chavez de Astorga, 28, of Sudan, failure to appear for trial
* Susan Delgado, 25, of Odessa, possession with intent to distribute
marijuana (178.06 pounds) on Sept. 9.
* Salvador Garcia-Hinojos, 42, of Fort Stockton, possession with intent
to distribute marijuana on Sept. 5.
* Victor Manuel Montoya-Martinez, 24, of Chihuahua, Mex., import and
possess with intent to distribute marijuana on April 15.
* Juan Daniel Samaniego-Berjarano, 25, of Odessa, and Andres
Herrera-Olivas, 25, of Chihuahua, Mex., possession with intent to
distribute marijuana (241.52 pounds) on August 21.
* Martha Elena de la Rosa-Valenzuela, 24, of Chihuahua, Mex., import and
possess with intent to distribute marijuana (71.7 pounds) on August 23.
* Gary Wayne Clark Sr., 23, of Longview, possession with intent to
distribute marijuana (42.25 pounds) on Sept. 4.
* Alejandro Paz-Munoz, 22, of Chihuahua, Mex., possession with intent to
distribute marijuana (93.82 pounds) on Sept. 10.
* Miguel Angel Marquez-Marquez, 25, of Chihuahua, Mex., possession with intent to distribute marijuana (778.38 pounds) on August 18.
Texas students may be booting up
instead of opening text books
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By PEGGY FIKAC
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) September 12, 1997 - With a potential price tag of $1.8
billion over the next six years for new school textbooks, it may be time
to look instead at buying students laptops and software, State Board of
Education Chairman Jack Christie says.
"We're talking big numbers there, and the price of this technology ...
is coming to where it approaches that level," Christie, a Republican
from Houston, said Thursday.
"Why wait for the rest of the nation? Let Texas be spearheading this and
be the example for the rest of the nation."
Christie said he believes computer companies would be willing to give
the state discounts and donated services for the chance to serve 4
million school children. Once the investment is made, computer software
could be easily and cheaply updated, he said.
"Why wait for six, seven, eight years to update history (textbooks)?
They (students) need it today," he said.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Junell, however, said he
has "some real reservations" about projected textbook costs and would
move more cautiously in the area of high technology.
In the next two-year budget period, which will be funded by the 1999
Legislature, there is a projected $602 million cost for new textbooks in
subjects including English, U.S. history, science health, math and world
The State Board of Education in November is scheduled to decide whether
to approve a textbook proclamation that would account for $419 million
of that cost.
Education Commissioner Mike Moses said he would want to get direction
from state leaders about available funds before that list is approved.
The estimated textbook cost for the current two-year budget period is
"I'm going to tell you, it would be hard to put together $602 million
for 2000-2001," said Junell, D-San Angelo. "There's only so much money."
Junell questioned whether it would be necessary to replace, for example,
"When I was in school, we never got past World War II," Junell said.
"How much change do you make in a history textbook?"
Junell suggested that perhaps a textbook supplement giving an update on
recent events would be more cost-effective than a whole new book.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, said
he has asked Moses how quickly the state can synchronize new curriculum
standards adopted this year by the Education Board, textbooks and
"How soon you can get there depends on how much money you can spend,"
Ratliff said. "Whether or not we can come up with an additional $250
million above whatever we're doing now, who knows until we get closer to
Ratliff said it's difficult to say whether the state can afford laptops
rather than books. He sponsored a 1995 education overhaul that changed
the definition of textbook to include computer software.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, also said
it's important to try to rapidly match school textbooks to the new
"I'm confident we'll have the money necessary to spend on what the
Legislature believes are the priorities," he said, predicting updated
textbooks would be a priority.
Ann Pittman of SchoolVision Inc., the education sales agent for Apple
Computer in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, said Apple laptops already
are used in a number of Texas school districts.
"Apple has always partnered with schools, and SchoolVision has joined in
those partnerships to create affordable ways for schools to procure
technology," said Mrs. Pittman, chief executive officer of SchoolVision.
"It's always exciting to us and we always welcome the opportunity to
work with the agency and the state board in bringing learning to students." |
Energy costs to decrease
by two percent this fall
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PECOS, September 12, 1997 - All Texas residential and commercial
customers of Texas-New Mexico Power Company (TNMP) can expect a two
percent reduction on their September and October energy bills due to a
supplier fuel refund, according to TNMP officials.
According to Allan Davis, TNMP regional customer officer for the
Mountain Region, an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt
hours per month will see a savings of about $2 in September and $2.50 in
Although the current refunds will only affect bills for two months, TNMP
has permanent rate decreases proposed as part of its plan to give
customers a choice of energy suppliers after five years. The plan calls
for two percent reductions in residential rates during the first year of
the plan, and a total of six percent in rate decreases by the fifth year.
"We believe the best approach to long-term rate reductions is to give
our customers access to market-priced electricity," Davis said. "In the
meantime, we're happy to be able to pass along the fuel refunds."
TNMP last made a similar reduction in customer bills just four months
ago due to a supplier fuel refund.
Texas-New Mexico Power Company provides community-based electric service
to 85 cities and more than 220,000 customers in Texas and New Mexico. It is the wholly owned subsidiary of TNP Enterprises, Inc.
Inspector on "...Most Wanted"
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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP)September 12, 1997 - A U.S. Customs inspector
credited with capturing a man accused of stealing almost $19 million in
a Florida robbery will be featured on the TV show "America's Most
A film crew from the show interviewed inspector Virginia Rodriguez
Thursday at Gateway International Bridge, where authorities caught
Philip Noel Johnson last month.
Johnson is accused of stealing $18.83 million March 29 from the vault of
a Loomis, Fargo armored car company office in Jacksonville, Fla. Johnson
had eluded authorities until Aug. 30, when he arrived at Gateway
International Bridge on a commercial bus from Mexico.
Rodriguez questioned Johnson as part of a routine inspection. On a
hunch, she decided to run the name he gave her through a national crime
database and discovered it was one of several aliases allegedly being
used by Johnson.
A search of Johnson's bags turned up about $10,000 in cash and a stack
of fake identification cards.
Rodriguez "just had a feeling about him," said Customs spokeswoman Judy
Turner. Her work also has drawn praise from Treasury Secretary Robert
Rubin, who honored the inspector Friday at a ceremony in Washington,
Johnson, 33, was featured on "America's Most Wanted" in April. The follow-up show is tentatively scheduled to air Sept. 20.
3 hurt in blast
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) September 12, 1997 - Three people were in
critical condition this morning after a gas explosion at a vacant
Fort Worth Fire Captain Sam Greif said a 37-year-old man was flown from
the Park Hill apartment complex to the burn unit at Parkland Health and
Hospital System in Dallas. Two women, ages 31 and 44, were later flown
to Parkland from Harris Methodist in Fort Worth.
Greif said two boys ages 8 and 11, were in serious condition at Cook
Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. Another woman was treated for
Lone Star Gas spokesman Breck Harris said service technician Jim Tinkle
was called to the apartment complex near Hulen Mall in southwest Fort
Worth after a report of a gas leak in a vacant unit.
Tinkle discovered that a gas cookstove was missing - apparently stolen -
as were the hose connecting the stove to the gas outlet and the gas
shutoff valve, Harris said.
When Tinkle went outside to the main to turn off the gas to the complex,
the explosion occurred around 7:15 a.m., Harris said. Tinkle was not
Greif said all 12 apartments in the building were heavily damaged by the
explosion and resulting fire.
The fire department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating, Greif said.
September 12, 1997
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Saturnino Gonzalez, 83, died Thursday, Sept. 11, 1997, in Odessa.
A rosary is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Martinez
Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, at St. Catherine Catholic
Church with Father Juan Narez officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood
Gonzalez was born June 27, 1914, in Musquiz, Coah. Mex., was a retired
maintenance employee and a Catholic.
Survivors include: eight sons, Rogelio, Oscar Nolberto, Mario Saturnino
and Hector Gonzalo Gonzalez of Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mex., Victor
Manuel Gonzalez of Piedras Negras, Mex., Juan De Dios Gonzalez of
Monahans, Enedino Gonzalez of Pecos and Francisco Javier Gonzalez of
Austin; four daughters, Emilia Gonzalez of Nueva Rosita, Mex., Felipa
Gonzalez of Pecos, Thelma Fabiola Gonzalez of Austin and Narce Dalia
Gonzalez of Austin; one brother, Serafin Gonzalez of Nueva Rosita, Mex.;
two sisters, Maria De La Rosa of Pecos and Florinda Bustamante of Nueva
Rosita, Mex.; 43 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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PECOS, September 12, 1997 - High Thursday, 92, low this morning, 72.
There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms over the Big Bend and in
extreme western areas through Saturday and a chance of precipitation
through tonight in the area from the Concho Valley northwestward into
the Panhandle. Lows tonight will be in the 50s and 60s in West Texas.
Highs Saturday will be in the 80s and 90s.|
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
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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