February 19, 1998
Bomber crash, comment period extended
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - A B-1B bomber, similar to those
that may soon be flying in low-altitude training over much
of Reeves County from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Tx.,
crashed yesterday in western Kentucky. The bomber, not
involved in low altitude training at the time, flew unmanned
for 12 miles after the four-man crew ejected from the plane,
which then crashed in a rural area just northeast of Marion,
Realistic Bomber Training Initiative, a recent U.S. Air
Force proposal, would involve the low-altitude training of
B-1B and B-52 bombers over much of Reeves County. The
initiative may involve as many as 40 flights a day at
altitudes of 200-300 feet. According to Air Force officials
at Dyess, the public comment period on the proposed RBTI has
been extended an extra 45 days in response to "public
concerns and congressional requests." The new deadline is
April 3, 1998. All comments should be mailed to: RBTI EIS
c/o 7 CES/CEV, 710 3rd Street, Dyess AFB, TX 79607.
The Air Force B-1B bomber that crashed was unarmed but also
unmanned after its four-member crew ejected safely. The
unmanned jet flew miles over sparsely populated western
Kentucky and passed near a small town before crashing into a
muddy cow pasture.
The plane, based at Dyess Air Force Base at Abilene, Texas,
missed a farmhouse owned by local postman Eddie Hendrix by
about 200 feet, scattering his cattle in terror, and crashed
Wednesday just four miles from this farming community of
The unmanned bomber continued roughly 12 miles after its
crew bailed out, passing along the edge of populated Marion,
before crashing in a rural area to the northeast. No one was
hurt on the ground.
"I'm just thankful it didn't get the house or the barn or
kill any livestock,'' Hendrix said.
The Air Force said it wasn't immediately clear whether the
bomber crew tried to steer the ailing plane away from people
on the ground. The crew wasn't questioned by investigators
late Wednesday night, said Air Force Master Sgt. Sandra
"We're happy that it landed in a field,'' Air Force Capt.
Steven Doub said at the scene. "I'm not sure you can say
that's luck, or whether the air crew members did what they
The military said the instructor pilot and instructor
weapons officer both were in good condition in a military
hospital at Fort Campbell, Ky. The co-pilot and another
weapons system officer were reported stable at Vanderbilt
University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"It's scary to think about a plane flying over town without
anybody at the controls, just waiting to fall somewhere,''
Marion Mayor Michael Alexander said. "We've very glad it
landed in a rural area, glad it didn't hit anybody.''
"It scared me to death,'' said Mark Williams, who lives
one-quarter mile from the crash and saw the blast from his
pickup. "You could feel the truck shake. I looked up, and
you could see a big mushroom cloud."
The bomber plowed a hole nearly 10 feet deep and 40 feet
long into the muddy farmland, then exploded violently,
scattering debris over a huge area. Fire blackened the wet
grass, and almost nothing was recognizable from the
The Air Force confirmed Wednesday night it was carrying a
flight-data recorder, which could help investigators find
the cause of the accident.
"The biggest piece that was left was part of the landing
gear, and it could fit in the back of this pickup," Williams
said. The rest of the aircraft - 146 feet long and 137 feet
wide - was reduced to pieces of wreckage no larger than
The $200 million swing-wing bomber, one of 94 in the Air
Force, left Dyess Air Force Base near Abilene, Texas, about
9 a.m. CST on a routine, cross-country training mission,
Pischner said. The flight was to return to Dyess, and its
mission did not include low-altitude training, she said.
About 1:45 p.m., the crew ejected near the town of Mexico,
Ky. Two of the crew were rescued walking along a road, a
third was in a nearby field and the fourth was found hanging
from a tree by his parachute.
"He was conscious but not alert," said Barry Smith, who
found him in the tree. "He had a nice wound on the top of
his head. Undoubtedly, he took a nice lick on the head
Bruce Conger, who was in the area and talked with three of
the crew after they parachuted safely, said they told him
the bomber's cockpit had filled with smoke.
The Air Force identified the crew as Lt. Col. Daniel
Charchian, the instructor pilot; Capt. Jeffrey Sabella, the
co-pilot; Capt. Kevin Schields, the instructor weapons
officer; and 1st Lt. Bert Winslow, the weapons system
officer, Pischner said.
Randy Rushing, a volunteer firefighter who found the
co-pilot walking in a field, said Sabella told him they
tried to return to Dyess immediately after trouble began.
"He said that something went haywire, that the general thing
to do was abort mission and return home," Rushing said.
"When they started to do that, he said, `There was smoke,
and we couldn't control the plane. We bailed."'
Pischner said it would have been Charchian's decision to
"Safety is always our biggest concern," she said. "Any air
crew is going to keep that in mind, the public's safety and
their safety. You can imagine how quickly this information
goes through their thoughts: where they're at, what the
results will be if they eject, anything... without putting
anybody on the ground in danger."
The bomber was not one of the additional warplanes being
dispatched to the Persian Gulf, the Air Force said.
Maj. Joe LaMarca, an Air Force spokesman, said the plane was
not carrying any munitions. Fully loaded, the B-1B can carry
up to 84 500-pound bombs and can carry a range of nuclear
Wednesday's was the sixth crash of a B-1B since the bomber
went into service, Boeing aircraft spokesman Mike Mathews
said. The planes are based at Dyess; Ellsworth Air Force
Base, S.D.; McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.; Robins Air Force
Base, Ga.; and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
PBT ISD examines 1998-99 textbooks
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD teachers
are currently deciding what textbooks they will recommend to
the school board for adoption for the 1998-99 school year,
and they are looking for input from parents as well,
according to Textbook Committee Chairman Danny Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said that the textbook committee has been "meeting
every Wednesday until we are through" deciding which books
to recommend to the school board, who will vote on which
books to adopt for next year at the March board meeting.
Rodriguez urges parents to come to the next meeting, which
will be held at 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the Pecos High
Rodriguez said that he wants parents to have input into the
selection of the books that will be used to teach their
children, and that it is also important for the teachers to
be involved in the process because "they are the ones who
have to use the books."
At last night's meeting, Rodriguez told the teachers on the
committee, "Invite the parents. Tell them come here and let
me show you what we've got.' Ask them to come to the next
Textbooks are being considered for the foundation subjects
of Spelling, grades one through six, Algebra I-II, Geometry
and Biology. Textbooks are also being considered in the
enrichment subjects of Art, grades one through five,
Business Computer Applications I, Business Computer
Programming I, Computer Science I-II, Microcomputer
Applications, Exploratory Languages, grades six through
eight, French I-VII and Latin I-VII.
Last night, Nell Carlson, a representative from Houghton
Mifflin, a company that publishes textbooks, presented her
company's Spelling and Vocabulary series of spelling books
for grades one through six to the committee.
Carlson passed out sample soft-cover books, explained their
features, and related some of the experiences she had during
her 10 years of teaching.
Carlson said that her company's books taught phonics in
first grade, were designed to be usable in English as a
Second Language classrooms as well as regular classes,
contain dictionaries and thesauruses in the back with room
for children to note new words they learn and want to use in
their writing and prepare children to pass Texas Assessment
of Academic Skills (TASS) tests as well as teaching Texas
Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives.
She said that the state of Texas didn't budget for
sixth-grade spelling books, but teachers can get them free
from her company if their Texas Grade 6 Teacher's Resource
Package is adopted. In that case, the schools would receive
one text book per student in each class where the resource
package is adopted.
The teachers may make their recommendations next week, or
they may ask for a little more time to decide, Rodriguez
said, but they do have to make their final decisions soon,
so that they can make their recommendations to the school
Committee members are: grade one -Lori Walker, art; Kristi
Swaim, art; Gradene Gerber, spelling and Carol Bailey,
Grade two members are: Anita Zubeldia, art; Evangelina
Arriola, art; Becky Patterson, spelling and Eva Garcia,
From third grade, committee members are: Angelica
Valenzuela, art; Catherine Allen, art; Earl Sample, art;
John Woodall, art; Alfonso Gonzales, art; Elaine McKee, art
and spelling; Julia McPherson, spelling; Barbara Armstrong,
spelling; Joan Porter, spelling; Heather Schier, spelling;
Donna Stacener, spelling; D'Andra Hendricks, spelling and
Revis Ward, spelling.
Alice Wein from fourth grade and Rita Gilbreath from fifth
grade are on the committee to check out proposed art
From the sixth grade, committee members are: Juanita Perez,
ESL and Betty Cook, Language Arts.
From Barstow Elementary, Anna Belle Chavez and Gaston
Tarango are on the committee.
From the eighth grade, the committee member is Sam Martinez,
From the high school, committee members are: Barbara Scown,
biology I; Jeanine Ivy, Latin I-VII; Sandra Overcash,
algebra I-II, geometry and computer science I-II and
Jackeline Mandujano, business computer programming,
applications I, microcomputer applications and business
Parents interested in reviewing textbooks that are being
considered for adoption may contact the appropriate
committee member listed above.
High winds knock out power
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - Pecos residents on the west side
of town near Highway 17 and farther south at the Lindsay
addition went without power from about 6 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.,
Stan Lamb, distribution system engineer with Texas-New
Mexico Power, said that high winds had caused a fault
between two conductors that "locked-out" a circuit breaker.
"It took a while to find and correct," he said.
Some residents in the same area of town that did not suffer
from a full power outage, did lose their cable for a period.
Lamb said that Classic Cable drew power for their amplifier
off of the same line. A representative from Classic Cable
was unavailable as of press time.
Big money for aqueduct may be on the way
By GREG HARMAN
Zoning board grants exemption
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - The Zoning Board of Adjustments
decided at a special meeting Tuesday night to grant Lupe
Rodriguez, 621 South Alamo Street, an exemption for her
fence that proceeds 15 feet into a city right-of-way,
complete with five-foot high columns.
Fire Chief Jack Brookshire said that his main concern was
with the height of the fence and the visual problems it may
present to drivers. "As soon as there is a wreck there that
is the first thing they are going to see," he said of the
When City Attorney Scott Johnson suggested that the column
be shortened he was met by the sharp response of Rodriguez's
attorney Roddy Harrison. "We're not going to take anything
down. You make your judgment and we'll comply . . . Nobody
can tell me that cutting down this fence will keep a wreck
from happening at this intersection," said Harrison.
Board member Rudy Martinez said that several members of the
zoning board had driven by to inspect the fence and had no
problem with it. "Are we going to have a witch hunt and get
everyone?" he asked. "To keep this issue from coming back
here again we need to grant this exemption."
The board voted to approve exemption for Rodriguez,
providing that the iron fence, still to be constructed, did
not exceed the slant of the column, or about four feet.
Brookshire said that the one who originally filed a
complaint over the fence did so because they wanted to build
a similar fence of their own and Brookshire had told them it
would not be in compliance with city ordinance. This person,
Brookshire said, was not present at the meeting.
Top priorities for new PHS vice principal
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - Providing a safe environment,
keeping students in school and helping them get the
education they need, are just some of the goals of the new
vice principal at Pecos High School.
"Of course, my number one duty will be to provide
discipline," said Victor Tarin.
Tarin has been in his new position as vice principal since
Feb. 13 and stated that he has been very busy since then.
"It helps that I already know all the students, they feel
comfortable with me and I've gotten a really good response,"
Tarin's priorities focus around education, which is
obviously very important to him judging from his own
The Balmorhea High School graduate, is also a graduate of
Sul Ross State University in Alpine. "I received my master's
degree in 1983 and am currently working on my mid-management
studies at UTBP," Tarin said.
Following college graduation, he taught history for one year
in Van Horn, before moving to Pecos.
"I taught junior high in Van Horn and also coached at the
junior high level," he said.
He has taught biology at Pecos High School since 1982. "I
have taught and coached here for the past 15 years," he said.
Tarin stated that he is very excited about his new position,
something that he has been diligently working towards. "I
really enjoyed coaching, but felt it was time to move on, to
do something I have wanted to do for a long time," he said.
"I felt strongly about moving into an administrative
position," he said.
Tarin will also be acting a principal in Danny Rodriguez'
absence. "In this new capacity, basically, I'm trying to
provide students a safer environment, but along with that we
will do our best to keep all students in school," he said.
Tarin along with other school administrators monitor the
school before and after hours. "We'll also be attending
extra-curricular activities and make sure everything is
going smoothly there," he said.
"The message that we want to convey is that we want to be
firm, but also equal, we want to keep these kids in the
classroom, it's a big concern to us," said Tarin.
"We want to see all of them graduate, get their diplomas and
go on to bigger things," he said.
Education is a must and Tarin stated that they (school
officials) will be trying their best to get this point
"We'll do anything we can to keep them in school," he said.
In his spare time, what little there is, Tarin enjoys
playing golf. "I don't go out there every day, but every
once in a while I enjoy that," he said.
However, the most important thing in his life is his family,
and spending quality time with them is his number one
priority, aside from school duties. "I really enjoy spending
time with my wife and two children and doing activities with
them," he said.
Tarin is married to Rachel, a Pecos Kindergarten teacher,
and the couple have two children, four-year-old John and
"We like to go to the mountains and do many things
together," he said.
Tarin stated that he won't be coaching or involved in those
duties, but will support all athletics as he has done in the
February 19, 1998
Richard C. White, U.S. Congressman
Richard C. White, who served eight terms as Reeves County's
congressman from the late 1960s through the early 1980s,
died Tuesday in El Paso. He was 74.
White, an El Paso resident, represented the 16th
Congressional District, which included Reeves County and
Pecos, from 1967-82.
Funeral arrangements are being made at Harding, Orr and
McDaniel Funeral Home in El Paso.
Roy A. Bailey, 93, died Thursday, Feb. 26, 1998, at Pecos
Cremation will be held at Trinity Crematory in Big Spring.
Bailey was born Oct. 21, 1903, in Van Alystyne, Tx. He was a
graduate of Texas A&M University, a retired shift engineer
for a veterans hospital in Houston for 21 years and a U.S.
Air Force World War II veteran.
Survivors include: his wife, Irma Bailey of Pecos; one
brother, Ben Bailey, Jr. of Lago Vista, Tx.; and numerous
nieces and nephews.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, February 19, 1998 - High Wednesday, 62, low this
morning, 37. Skies will be clearing and temperatures will be
climbing across Texas on Friday. But another cold night is
in store for most of the state. West Texas will have clear
to partly cloudy skies through Friday. Lows tonight will be
in the 20s in the Panhandle and in the mountains of
Southwest Texas and in the 30s and 40s elsewhere in West
Texas, highs Friday will be in the 60s and 70s. An
upper-level storm system produced a few showers early this
morning in the Panhandle and low rolling plains of West
Texas and in northern areas of North Texas. Some strong
thunderstorms, including some with small hail, roared across
middle sections of the Texas coast during the night and
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.