Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, August 25, 1998
Schools given $200,000 reading grant
By ROSIE FLORES
Teaching students to read by the time they are in third
grade has become a priority in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD,
and steps have been taken to acquire the necessary funding
to make that a reality.
"We have applied for and received a TEA (Texas Education
Association) grant funded through Academics 2000: First
Things First," said P-B-T Superintendent Don Love.
He told board members Monday evening at a special school
board meeting that several individuals had worked together
to procure the $200,000 grant, which will help students in
kindergarten through fourth grade.
Academics 2000 is the Texas initiative funded under public
law 103-227, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.
The Academics 2000 State Education Improvement Plan
stipulates that all activities funded by grants through the
program must be limited to improving pre-kindergarten
through fourth grade reading proficiency.
"This will help us to teach kids to learn to read by the
time they go into the third grade," said Bessie Haynes
Elementary School Principal Mary Lou Carrasco.
Local activities funded under the Academics 2000 initiative
will focus on the planning implementation of initiatives to
"This is something that every elementary school will be
working on and cooperating with," said Love.
The grant monies will provide intensive processional
development in reading for teachers in grades K-4, and allow
purchase of Accelerated Reader programs for Austin
Elementary plus the Star Program for Austin, Pecos and
Bessie Haynes Elementary Schools.
In addition, the district will provide Reading Renaissance
training for teachers K-4 and provide training for teachers
in writing process for those grades.
"We will be able to buy some technology equipment and are
looking to purchase about 50 computers," said Love.
In addition, $5,000 in library books will be purchased for
each of the elementary campuses with the grant.
"We're very excited about this grant and I want to thank
everyone that was involved in helping procure it," said Love.
"We will be eligible to apply for a continuing grant for 70
percent of the total $200,000 grant for next year, which is
about $140,000," he added
Coming together to develop a needs assessment and projects
for funding through this grant were the administrators and
teacher representatives from each of the elementary campuses.
"Through the accelerated reading project we will be able to
gauge children's abilities," said Carrasco.
The grant goes into effect this year and items can be
ordered. "We received word that we can start ordering some
of things we want to purchase," said Carrasco.
"We're all committed that these students will be reading at
grade level," said Carrasco. "Through this our bilingual
students will also benefit."
Council completes work on 1999 budget
By MAC McKINNON
Members of the Town of Pecos City council put the finishing
touches on their budget for the coming year in a budget
workshop Monday afternoon.
Subject for the session Monday was salaries and personnel.
It was agreed that the salary structure would remain the
same, although there will be one less employee, reducing the
number working for the city from 79 to 78.
Councilman Randy Graham noted that he would like to see
police patrolman get more money, a sentiment echoed by other
members of the council, but there just isn't enough money.
The reduction of one person will save the city about $15,000
Included in the salary structure, as usual, is a three per
cent merit increase for city employees on their anniversary
date, provided it is recommended by the employee's
The council will have a public hearing on the budget at 7
a.m. Thursday, and will also set the proposed tax rate which
is tentatively scheduled to remain the same as it is now,
$.6967 per $100 valuation.
Council members also noted no one has filed an application
for the city's grant writer position. Several people had
discussed handling the job during an earlier city council
Border Patrol rescues 113 illegals
Pounding and cries coming from a semi-truck trailer stopped
at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint Monday alerted
agents to 113 illegal migrants concealed in the cab and
trailer of the rig.
One man inside the trailer began beating the sides and
calling for help when the little girl standing next to him
began to pass out, said Chief Patrol Agent Simon Garza.
Others in the group suffered near asphyxiation and
dehydration from the ordeal, and were treated at the site by
Border Patrol agent EMTs. Garza said that another 30 minutes
in the cramped confinement likely would have been disastrous
for many members of the group.
Several of the people said they had been in the trailer for
at least 10 hours.
Of the 113 people, 39 were women and children, the youngest
a 3-month-old baby. Seventeen of the females and children
were concealed in the cab of the truck. The other 96 were
cramped in the trailer, which had no ventilation, Garza said.
The aliens were destined for various places, including
Dallas, Houston and Antlanta, Ga. Other than treatment for
exhaustion and dehydration, there were no serious injures,
"Despite warnings issued and a nationwide safety initiative
being conducted by the INS, smugglers still continue to put
people's lives at risk in attempts to transport their human
cargo across the county," Garza said.
"The INS will continue to enforce its national campaign for
illegal immigrants not to place their lives in danger with
unscrupulous smugglers who jeopardize the lives of their
The driver and co-driver of the truck were arrested and
charged with alien smuggling. They are Ronald Eugene Jones,
42, of Charlotte, N.C., and Kenneth McCoy Harris Jr., 25, of
Monday's discovery surpassed by 80 the May 5 discovery by
Border Patrol agents of 33 illegal aliens being transported
in a truck trailer on Interstate 10 near Allamore in
Hudspeth County, about 30 miles east of the Sierra Blanca
Border Patrol checkpoint.
County OKs RCDC rec building bid
By MAC McKINNON
Reeves County Commissioners Monday approved a renegotiated
contract bid price with Banes General Contractors, totaling
$999,900, to build a support services shell building and
expand the recreation building at the Reeves County
Architect Lorraine Dailey of DRG Associates in San Antonio,
reported on the negotiations to get the price under $1
million and commissioners approved. Work has already started
with completion slated for March 18, 1999.
In addition, a bid price of $107,400 was renegotiated for
12-inch sewer line that will handle an additional 1,000
inmate capacity, if RCDC is expanded again. The new price
was $3,000 less than the original bid.
Approval of the form of payment and performance bonds was
delayed until the next regular commissioners court meeting
on Sept. 14.
An item added to the agenda late Friday was to consider
appointment of a new librarian for the Reeves County
Library. There were 32 applications and the commissioners
decided that each commissioner will report back next Monday,
Aug. 31, with a list of five from the applications.
Each list will be considered and narrowed down to candidates
to be interviewed by commissioners in a special meeting the
Tuesday after Labor Day, Sept. 8. Nancy Bentley who had been
serving as librarian, resigned to move to Arizona earlier
Most of the rest of the meeting was routine business,
including approving a contract modification to allow the
U.S. Marshall's Service to piggyback on the Bureau of
Prisons contract to transport prisoners.
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco said this will increase the number
of bus runs by one a week and will enhance the revenue
picture as well as help get BOP prisoners to the Pecos
facility on a better schedule.
County Judge Jimmy Galindo introduced new assistant warden
Guadalupe Regalado to the court. All commissioners were
present except Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, who was
helping notify people of the moved up schedule of the fish
kill at Balmorhea Lake.
In other business, payment of $16,890 was approved to
Villarreal Contracting for completion of the Molina project,
the Pecos Senior Citizen Contract was approved as was a
number of personnel changes at RCDC to increase staffing due
to the increased number of prisoners, which now stands at
more than 900.
A contract for counseling services between RCDC and the West
Texas Centers for Mental Health/Mental Retardation was
approved but a contract with the Texas Department of
Protective and Regulatory Services was delayed until it
could be reviewed.
The District Court ordering salaries for the official court
reporter and county auditor and his staff was spread on the
minutes. Under a plan from District Judge Bob Parks, the
court reporter will have an increase of pay of from $53,280
to $55,944, of which about $1,400 will come from Reeves
County. Pay in the auditor's office will stay the same,
although one person will be added to the staff.
Galindo told the Enterprise after the meeting that the
county budget and tax rate will be considered at the Sept.
Lake's fish kill goes off as planned
By ROSIE FLORES
Fish were plentiful yesterday at Balmorhea Lake and
individuals didn't even need a fishing rod to catch them.
The lake was drained in preparation for a fish kill
scheduled by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. The
action is designed to protect the endangered Comanche
Springs Pupfish, which has been threatened by the
introduction of the sheepshead minnow to the lake over the
past several years. After the minnow has been killed off,
the pupfish will be returned to Balmorhea Lake.
The kill which originally was scheduled for today, but was
moved up to Monday due to the threat of rain from the
remnants of Tropical Storm Charley.
"We took one look at the weather forecast for this week and
decided to move it up a day and since we already had
everything in place, we decided to go ahead and do it a day
in advance," said Bobby Furguher, with the Texas Department
of Parks and Wildlife. "If it started to rain we wouldn't be
able to apply the rotenone."
Rotenone is a chemical designed to eliminate all fish in the
lake's remaining waters, including the sheepshead minnow, an
aggressive fish that has been breeding with a variety of
pupfish in West Texas lakes and rivers in recent years.
"The sheepshead minnow has been hybriding with the Comanche
Springs Pupfish, which means that they have been crossing
over, making the pupfish an endangered species," said
Fisheries Research Biologist Dr. Gary P. Garrett.
Garrett said the sheepshead minnow is a close kin to the
Comanche Springs Pupfish, and has also gotten into the Leon
Creek in Fort Stockton and another species located there,
the Pecos Pupfish. "The Pecos Pupfish is another fish which
might make the endangered list this January," said Garrett.
Addition to the list would allow the federal government to
tightly control water use and releases from area lakes and
rivers to assure the pupfish survives.
"If we can keep them off the endangered species list this
will help," said Garrett. "That's what we're trying to do."
The lake will be restocked with fish after it is refilled,
and as part of that project anglers were allowed to keep
unlimited numbers and sizes of fish obtained by legal means.
The rotenone was applied to the water to kill off the
remaining fish, Monday morning and the lake will be closed
today and Wednesday. "This doesn't hurt the other wildlife,
such as the ducks," Garrett said of the chemical.
At the same time, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
accepted a limited number of volunteers to help pick up dead
Along with the draining and refilling of Balmorhea Lake,
work is underway to build three islands in the lake which
will serve as wildlife refuges.
The new islands, in addition to serving as a bird habitat,
also are expected to benefit the Reeves County Water
Improvement District No. 1, in that they will increase
shortage capacity of the lake.
Wildlife experts told Balmorhea officials in charge of the
renovation project that Tuesday would have been the most
desirable time for minimizing impacts on bird populations,
but agreed that Monday would also be O.K., due to the
weather forecast. They anticipate no impact.
The changes will take place well before the annual bird
migrations and after the majority of nesting activity by
summer inhabitants. Bird that remain have several other area
springs and lakes to use.
Within two to three weeks TP&W officials will begin
restocking the lake. "We'll be putting in 32,000 catfish
this fall and more next spring, along with a variety of
other fish," said Garrett.
The initial stocking will be with small forage fishes and
channel catfish. The catfish stocking will consist of 29,000
10 inch fish, 2,000 18 inch fish and 150 large catfish up to
15 pounds. In the spring of 1999 the group will begin the
remainder of the stocking program which will include
largemouth bass (native and triploid Florida), bluegil, more
channel catfish, white crappie and gizzard shad.
"It's a good deal, I'm glad that it's happening," said
Freddy Schreier, with the City of Balmorhea.
He said the effort would not only benefit Balmorhea, but
everyone in the area. "The conditions are right today, we
could have some rain tomorrow and I'm glad we're doing this
today, that the lake is low."
Anglers that were on hand agreed that this project would
benefit Balmorhea and the surrounding communities.
Anglers on hand from out-of-town stated that they too agreed
with the project. Jim Anders and C.L. Fields from Kermit,
Sammy McDaniel of Monahans and Jack Duke of Pecos are
frequent visitors to the lake.
Kelly Bryan, of Texas Parks and Wildlife's office in Fort
Davis, stated that the group is thinking of getting classes
from the schools to "adopt" the islands. "Then we'll plant
some trees and flowers, shrubbery and make them really
attractive, for all bird watchers and visitors," he said.
Another problem, Bryan and the group plan to tackle is the
salt cedars. "They are very undesirable trees, which take up
all the water," said Bryan. "That's one of the problems we
will be dealing with," he said.
The first step taken early Monday morning, consisted of
spraying the Rotenone in the lake, to kill the fish.
Rotenone is the most commonly used compound for treating
lakes. Many steps were taken to isolate the treated water
and minimize the risk of potential impacts to other waters
Rotenone is a natural substance derived from several
tropical and sub tropical plants. Natives in Central and
South America have used the juices of these plants for
centuries to help them collect fish for food.
The product is also used as a garden insecticide to control
chewing insects, has been used as a dust on cattle, and is
used as a dog and sheep dip, in addition to its use as a
fish control agent.
Rotenone does not "suffocate" fish as was long believed.
Instead, it inhibits a biochemical process at the cellular
level making it impossible for fish to use oxygen in the
release of energy needed for body processes.
Meeting planned on economic development
A Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday,
Sept. 3, at the Reeves County Civic Center to discuss the
local economic development effort and all interested persons
have been urged to attend.
Oscar Saenz, chairman of the board of the Pecos Economic
Development Corporation, said that representatives Bob
Bearden and Scott Joslove from the state comptrollers' and
attorney general's offices will be on hand to outline all
issues surrounding the proposed rollback and reinstatement
of sales tax for economic development.
In a statement, Saenz said that, "like a thermometer,
population and population income is an indicator --
something that gives us a reading on our overall health. The
future of Pecos and Reeves County depends in large measure
on whether we wait and wonder or we decide NOW to make
"What do we want?" Saenz says of the question people may ask
about the corporation.
"We realize that growth is job driven. People move to and
live in an area where they have employment. We want to
create new jobs, retain existing jobs and recruit new
business to Pecos," he said. "Such growth would improve all
aspects of our lives; it would lead to more employment
opportunities, more amenities, more recreational activities,
better schools and more retail stores.
"How can we provide a better way of life for all citizens of
Pecos and Reeves County? By using a portion of the sales tax
revenue, already being collected by the city and hospital
district. Texas cities who have used sales taxes to fund
economic development have created 19,000 jobs that resulted
in a total of $632 million in private investment, according
to a survey by Texas A&M. The report also added that 13,000
'indirect' jobs were created as a result of an aggressive
recruiting effort by the economic development corporations
to bring new companies into their communities."
Saenz went on to say "The Pecos Economic Development
Corporation, a 501 C-3 corporation, has taken the initiative
to establish a comprehensive economic development
diversification program for the Town of Pecos City and
Reeves County. Economic development is the quantitative
improvement in an area's economic circumstances which
results from purposeful coordinated and consistent
application of resources over time to stimulate investment
which evokes (1) economic base diversification, (2) net real
income growth, (3) net employment growth, (4) net real
gross-area-product growth and (5) value added to human and
"The activities commonly labeled economic development may be
more appropriately characterized as business recruitment.
Business recruitment is that subset of economic development
which seeks qualitative improvements via the attraction of
Saenz said the scope of work undertaken by Pecos Economic
Development Corporation includes the following projects, and
also listed their current status:
1. An economic development audit of the city and county
2. A quality of life audit as related to the ability of
business to transfer or recruit personnel into the region
3. A marketing report which includes (a) targeted industry
report (completed) (b) marketing strategy report (partially
4. Recommendation of additional industrial sites (completed).
5. Develop a demographic data base (completed).
6. Implement an industrial team training program to educate
the local leaders in developing skills to sell their
community and area to corporate America (project in process).
7. Write an analytical review of business and economic
conditions with a complete compilation of current
demographics for Pecos and Reeves County (completed).
8. Develop optimum/minimum budget to implement the economic
development program (completed).
9. Proceed with a 4A sales tax roll back referendum to
insure long term financing for Pecos Economic Development
program. Currently, this process is being addressed on a
daily basis. This will be the subject for the Town Hall
10. Initiate contacts with the industrial client base that
Gari Ward, CEO of PEDC possesses in order to short circuit
the lengthy industrial recruitment process. A trip is
planned for mid-September to Chicago and New York.
11. Locate Odessa College campus in the Town of Pecos City
(much effort has already gone into this project).
12. Bring current the overall economic development plan
(O.E.D.P.) for the Town of Pecos City and Reeves County
which make these entities eligible to receive EDA grant
monies (in process).
13. Procure necessary office facilities, staff, office
equipment and research data information necessary to market
Pecos and Reeves County to corporate America (partially
14. Procure a commitment from an industry to locate in the
Town of Pecos City, Reeves County that will employ a minimum
of 200 new employees with adequate capital investment to
enhance the overall economic strength of the community and
county within the next 24 months.
Pitts convicted of assault with vehicle
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Steve Allen Pitts was found guilty Monday in 143rd District
Court of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and
received a one-year probated sentence.
Israel G. Matta testified that Pitts hit him with his car on
Feb. 7, causing injuries to his leg and ribs, that has cost
him $11,064 in medical bills from two Odessa hospitals.
"I was in tremendous pain in the leg, and especially the
knee," Matta said.
The incident occurred in the 700 block of Rancho Road well
after midnight, following an evening of drinking at the
Circle M Bar on E. Second St., and "cruising" the streets of
the barrio with Jeannie Estorga, Matta said.
After Matta and Estorga stopped to give Grace Ornelas and
Raul Barrera a ride home, Pitts began "tailgating" his
vehicle and flashing the lights, Matta said. When they
stopped at Estorga's residence, Matta got out and asked
Pitts why he was following, to which Pitts replied that
Ornelas owed him money.
Matta said they drove away and tried to lose Pitts, but that
he followed and passed them on the right at a high speed
after Matta stopped his vehicle in the street at its
intersection with Seventh St.
Matta said Pitts made a U-turn and came toward his vehicle
again, stopping a few feet away.
"I thought he was going to get off and talk to me and
resolve the problem, and I started walking toward his car,"
Matta said. "I heard him gun his motor. I saw him coming
directly at me. I got kind of scared so I decided to jump
out of the way. I turned to my right and slipped and fell,
then got up and jumped. His car hit me about the left front
center of his car."
Matta said he was flipped over the hood and hit the
windshield and top of the car and part of the trunk area,
then landed face down 20 feet or so behind the car.
Pitts drove about a block, then turned and came back,
gunning the motor, Matta said.
"I yelled at Jeannie to pull me toward the car," he said. "I
was afraid he might run over me again."
Pitts stopped behind Matta's car, got out and apologized,
Matta said. "He said he didn't mean to run over me and
wanted to put me in his car and take me to the hospital," he
"I told him no, to call 9-1-1. The ambulance came and picked
Michael Swanson represented Pitts, while District Attorney
Randy Reynolds prosecuted for the state before District
Judge Bob Parks.
Parks presided for jury selection this morning in a civil
suit involving an oil lease on land that Mary Kate Zeman
claims belongs to her, and which Mobil Oil and Titan
Across the street in federal court, Senior Judge Lucius
Bunton began a long docket with jury selection for two
criminal trials, which he set for Tuesday and Wednesday. He
had 31 defendants scheduled for guilty pleas and another
five for sentencing.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt had one attorney
appointment, eight arraignments and two detention hearings
on his docket.
Gale Green, 65, died Saturday, Aug. 22, 1998, at St. Luke's
Hospital in Houston.
Services are scheduled for 3 p.m., today at Northside
Baptist Church in Odessa with the Revs. Glenn Harlin and
Clydell Chapman officiating. Burial will be in Sunset
Memorials Gardens in Odessa.
He was born Feb. 10, 1933 in Hamilton County, had been the
manager at several prominent Odessa car dealers before
becoming the owner of Arrow Motor Co. in Pecos for 17 years.
He was a Christian and a member of Northside Baptist Church.
Green was preceded in death by a brother, Otis Wayne Green
and a sister, Greta Ann Green.
Survivors include his wife, Wanda Green of Odessa; a son,
Ray Green of Odessa; a daughter, Debra Davis of Odessa; his
mother, Gertrude Green of Odessa and four grandchildren.
Hubbard-Kelly Funeral Home of Odessa is in charge of
Enriqueta Chavira died Monday, Aug. 24, 1998 in Los Angeles,
She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Pete
Chavira, three sons and one daughter and her brothers,
Manuel, Conrado and Roberto DeAnda.
Survivors include two daughters, Virginia Mendoza of
Whittier, Calif. and Frances Acosta of Pico Rivera, Calif.;
two sisters, Merced Segovia and Elisa Ornelas of Pecos; 13
grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
High Monday 92. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight:
Mostly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. Low around 70. East wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday,
partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. High near 90. East to southeast wind 5-15
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 1998 by Pecos Enterprise