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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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October 24, 1997

Community leaders attend resolution conflict

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 24, 1997 - More than 50 local community leaders showed up yesterday to view a satellite broadcast seminar on conflict resolution.

"The seminar re-emphasized the need for the city council and county commissioners to work together and involve the community in the decision process," said Pecos City Manager Kenneth Neal after the seminar.

Entitled, "Community Conflicts: Don't You Just Hate Them?," the seminar was presented by the Training Division of the National Association of Counties (NACO). Community leaders from throughout Reeves County viewed the seminar at the Pecos High School Library. The Reeves County Commissioners' Court and officials of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district teamed up to bring the program to Pecos.

"I was glad to see such a good turnout," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo. "Hopefully this program will provide a reference point and a method of government organization that we can use to move forward and put together the nuts and bolts of real community cooperation."

The program presented methods to understand the demographics of a community along with old and new methods of dealing with community conflict.

Lyle Sumek, Ph.D., President of Sumek Associates, Inc., began the presentations. Among other things, Sumek is a consultant to governing bodies. He believes that maximum effectiveness and best results are achieved when the community's values are reflected in government decisions and when collaborative processes are translated into government actions.

Sumek said all communities face three realities: 1. Increasing diversity of race and culture in the community; 2. A lack of tolerance by the media for mistakes in government; and 3. Citizens that do not participate.

Sumek broke communities down into what he called the 20/40 rule: 20 percent who are always negative and very active; 40 percent who are not involved.

William Potapchuk, Executive Director of Programs for Community Problem Solving, a division of the National Civic League presented old and new methods of dealing with conflict.

One of the most common methods of conflict resolution governing bodies used in the past, Potapchuk said, was steamrolling, whereby those in power would not tell their opposition of a coming decision or project so when the opposition did find out they would have limited time to organize. When a public hearing finally was called those in power would usually pack the room with supporters and limit the distribution of data on the matter at hand. Those attempting to steamroll their plan through often presented options to their plan that were not desirable.

Instead of steamrolling to solve problems, Potapchuk recommended a collaborative process whereby those in power seek out those to be effected by the matter early in the process, educate them, present viable options and come to decisions by consensus.

Toyah voters to decide on sales tax boost

PECOS, October 24, 1997 - A decrease in the Toyah tax base has forced city officials to look to an increase in sales tax revenue to meet city expences. As a result Toyah residents will not only vote on constitutional ammendments Nov. 4, they will also decide if the city should increase its sales tax by one half cent.

"The reason we're trying to raise money is because we lost a lot of our tax base when the railroad merged," said Toyah Mayor Diane Tollett.

"We're only 115 people now and we just don't have anything else coming in," Tollett said.

She explained that the Toyah City Council "decided to raise the sales tax one half percent," which, combined with the current local tax rate and the one half cent hospital district tax rate, would make the Toyah sales tax rate two cents on the dollar.

"Another thing is that our truck stop closed this year," said Tollett.

Because of the need to raise their general fund, which only receives funds from taxes, "we're holding an election to see what the people say," said Tollett.

"Also, our effective tax rate went up from $1.05 to $1.16 this year," Tollett said.

Toyah City Secretary Elpidia Valdez said, "We also had a decrease in real estate values of $65,270 and in mineral values of $69,480, for a total decrease of $134,750 from last year's values."

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Toyah City Hall at First and Stocking Street.

Crockett pep squad begins fund raisers

PECOS, October 24, 1997 - Crockett Middle School Pep Squad members have planned a busy year in both athletics and in community activities.

"We'll be having a car wash tomorrow (Saturday) at McDonald's," said sponsor Linda Ornelas.

Ornelas said this is just one of many activities the group has planned.

"We also plan to help with the cleanup of the community," said Ornelas.

Sixty students are members of the group and hope to do good in the community and raise funds to further their causes.

"If weather permits, we'll have the car wash on Saturday, but if not, we'll do it Sunday," said Ornelas.

The car wash will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the kids will be treated to pizza afterwards.

"Pizza Hut will be feeding the kids, which is a great help to us," said Ornelas.

The group is currently sponsored by Frank Spencer and Associates; Herrera Insurance; Popular Thriftway and Oscar Saenz, who is manager of Anchor West.

"We helped during homecoming by decorating with cups, which were donated by the Pecos Athletic Booster Club and then had a homecoming queen and king for the school," said Ornleas. "The mums for the king and queen were donated by Taylor Flowers," she said.

Another activity the youngsters will get involved with is the Christmas decorations that will be set up along Third, Cedar and Eddy streets, during the holiday season.

"We'll be helping refurbish the ornaments on Nov. 1 and we'll be doing the cleanup before the holidays," said Ornelas.

The pep squad will also hold a raffle.

"Roy Prewit is currently making a purple and gold stadium blanket, that we will raffle off," said Ornelas.

Ornelas and pep squad members will be selling tickets to the raffle for $1.

Ambulance service debt goes uncollected

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 24, 1997 - The outstanding balance owed for services provided by the Pecos Ambulance Service has increased more than $60,000 in the last year, according to monthly reports to the city. In September of 1996 the balance outstanding was $142,000. At the end of last month the balance stood at $206,653. Less than $300 has been collected in the last three months.

As a result of the lack of collections, the city council recently took action to change the method of collecting funds owed the ambulance service.

During a phone consultation between the city council and City Attorney Scott W. Johnson at yesterday's meeting, Johnson told the council that "nothing is getting done" in regard to delinquent collections. The collection agency used by the ambulance service, Management Koncepts, has collected no money in the past year, but whether any outstanding accounts have been turned over to the agency remains unclear.

According to City Manager Kenneth Neal, for the past few months Kathy Cravey, the head of collection for Pecos Ambulance Service, has been having personal problems that caused part of the delay in collections. But, Neal said, many of the funds due are being turned over to electronic billing which directly bills insurance companies. He estimated a much greater return would become evident in upcoming ambulance reports.

A new collection agreement has been drawn up between Pecos Ambulance Service Chief Bill Cole and City Attorney Johnson. According to the agreement approved by the council yesterday (pending the termination of the contract with Management Koncepts) Johnson, as a qualified Attorney at Law, will be referred all delinquent accounts of over 120 days from Pecos Ambulance Service. Under the agreement, Johnson is to receive 33.33 percent of all collections, 50 percent if a case should be appealed.

Eagles soar high at Drug-Free Rally

Staff Writer

PECOS, October 24, 1997 - Soaring airplanes added excitement to the Drug-Free Rally held at Pecos High School Eagle Stadium this morning.

"Eagles soar high, because they are drug-free," said Austin Elementary Counselor Rosie Salcido.

To prove her point, two airplanes from the Pecos Municipal Airport soared high into the air and circled the stadium, doing several acrobatic stunts. The planes flew close to the stadium, to the delight of the many onlookers.

The two pilots were Dennis and Isabel Blanchard who were on hand to urge students to keep away from drugs, along with law enforcement officers from many different agencies, community leaders and school personnel.

The rally was sponsored by all the district's guidance counselors, the Pecos High School Student Council, along with the assistance and support of all administrators, teachers, and support staff at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.

All campuses were bused to the stadium and participated in the event. The G-Section of the stadium was filled with parents and citizens who wanted to help spread the word and keep the community drug-free.

This is the first district-wide rally PBT ISD has ever held, according to PHS Counselor Pat Cobos.

Law enforcement officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Reeves County Sheriff's Department, Border Patrol, Pecos Police Department and Drug Task Force were on hand.

Guest speakers for the event were Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

Galindo told the group that he had canceled a trip to Austin this morning to be able to participate in what he called, "a very important event."

"I'm very proud to be here and to join with everyone in this effort to rid the community of drugs," said Galindo.

Galindo stated that drugs ruin lives, families and futures. He urged the younger generation to stay drug-free and thanked the many law enforcement agencies represented. "These people risk their lives every day to protect yours," he said.

Sheriff Gomez told the crowd that law enforcement officials were their friends, not the enemy and were here to help in any way.

"I didn't use to like law enforcement individuals about 27 years ago, and if somebody were to tell me back then, that I would someday be sheriff I would have said `no way,'" said Gomez.

"But I've come a long way and I realize and know how important law enforcement is and how it helps everyone. Please stay off drugs, don't even start," he said.

Mistresses of Ceremonies were Gabi Bafidis and Rosie Salcido. The national anthem was sung by Cynthia Almanza, with the pledge of allegiance led by Bafidis.

High school and junior high cheerleaders performed cheers and boosted morale during the event.

Students from Austin and Pecos Elementary schools spelled "Drug Free" on the football field with the appropriate color dominating the stands and the field. Counselors wore red in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week.

The Pecos Eagle Band was also a part of the activities.

This event was just one of many the district have engage in for Red Ribbon Week.


The Fort Stockton Pioneer

FORT STOCKTON, Oct. 23, 1997 - A citizen's committee that will review proposed improvements to Fort Stockton school facilities and technology has set its first meeting, though research by individual committee members has already begun. The Task Force on FSISD Education and Facilities, or the "bond committee," will meet Monday, Nov. 3.

The Big Bend Sentinel

MARFA, Oct. 23, 1997 - Marfa High School Band members earned an "excellent" rating at a marching contest Saturday and have advanced to the next round of competition. The Blazing Shorthorn Band is scheduled to take to the Bivins Stadium field in Amarillo, Saturday, for the area contest round.

The Alpine Avalanche

ALPINE, Oct. 23, 1997 - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the West Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will hold a workshop in Alpine for the public Oct. 29. The workshop will be comprised of individuals, agencies and organizations focused on ridding the community of drugs and sustaining a "drug free environment." Special Agent David Monnette will discuss the dangers illicit drug trafficking poses to the country, communities and children.

The International, Presidio Paper

PRESIDIO, Oct. 23, 1997 - Presidio voters will go to the polls Dec. 9 to decide on a $4.4 million school bond issue election. In a 6-0 vote Tuesday night, Presidio school board members voted to call for the election. For the second time in his two terms as mayor, Locho Nichols has resigned as mayor and then rescinded that resignation. Nichols said he had been contacted by many of his supporters who urged him not to step down.

The Sanderson Times

SANDERSON, Oct. 23, 1997 - Politics in the Democratic Party in Terrell County started early with the announcement of Frank L. Wiseburn as a candidate for that party's nomination to the post of Terrell County Judge.

The Monahans News

MONAHANS, Oct. 23, 1997 - Ward County Commissioners voted unanimously to cut the county's tax rate to .6711 per $100 valuation, a slight decrease from the current rate of .6881. The action followed the court's approval of a projected $15.26 million budget for 1998. The new budget takes into account a three percent cost of living pay increase for county employees and a capital expenditures outlay of $400,000 for the installation of a new elevator in the County Courthouse.


PECOS, October 24, 1997 - High Thursday, 76, low 50 this morning, . Fog shrouded much of North Texas today in the wake of a cold front that brought twisters, heavy rains and hail across wide sections of the state. Snow could be in the weekend forecast for the Texas Panhandle. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning overnight after a funnel cloud was detected by radar in East Texas. But no damage or injuries were reported. The funnel along the Nacogdoches-San Augustine county line moved near Denning and across Texas 147 south of San Augustine, the weather service said. On Thursday, severe thunderstorms along a warm front over the southeast spawned close to a dozen tornadoes, with substantial damage reported in the Houston area. Early morning temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 70s. Winds were southerly to southwesterly at 5 to 20 mph. A wind advisory was posted today for the western two thirds of North Texas and for the South Plains, Permian Basin and Guadalupe Mountains under the influence of a low-pressure system in the Panhandle. Dense fog was expected into the weekend with a slight warming trend. Daytime highs should range mostly from the 70s to the 80s, with 90s along the Rio Grande and freezing readings in the Panhandle, and overnight lows from the 30s to mid-60s. A chance of rain and thunderstorms loomed again Saturday for North and West Texas. A chance of snow exists in the Panhandle for Saturday along with rain mixed with snow over the South Plains. Highs were only expected in the 30s.

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