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Top Stories

Friday, May 14, 1999

P-B-T discusses plans for uniforms, track

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - A new track for the Pecos High School was discussed briefly during the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting held last evening.

"I have talked to county judge Jimmy Galindo and he assured me that between them and the city they could tear up the track, clear it out and get it ready to put a new one in," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love.

Love suggested appointing school members to a committee to further study the issue. "We'll have to go before the city council and discuss this interlocal agreement with them also," said Love. "After we form the committee and talk to the entities we can come back and report it to the school board."

Love said that cost for the surface and striping of the track would be about $40,000. "This is just a guesttimate, this is how much the school's part would be," said Love.

Depending on the wear and tear, the track would requiring resurfacing in four to six years.

The PHS track was last replaced completely in 1983, and track meets are no longer held at the facility due to its poor condition.

Near the end of the meeting the board discussed "Dress for Success," a dress code that would target Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD students.

"This is a sample from Clint High School, where they tell us it's working out really well," said Love.

Love said that a uniform tells you what you have to wear, while a dress code tells you what you may wear.

"We need to start talking about what's working and what's not working," said Love.

These uniform policies seem to be working at other schools and more schools are adopting a uniform. "In Midland they're very excited about it and at Nimitz in Odessa, they've said their attendance and attitude has been a lot better since adopting uniforms," said Love.

Love said Bonham in Odessa had also voted for uniforms recently.

Board member Freddy Lujan asked if this change was planned for the coming school year.

"This is just my opinion, but if we're going to vote on something like this, we need to give the parents ample time to decide if that's what they want," said Lujan. "We can't just spring it on them, the last time we made a decision so fast, we had a lot of input from the community," he said.

"I think we should kick it around at the beginning of next year and then consider it for the following school year, giving everybody a chance to give their input and decide," said Lujan.

"There's all kinds of things to consider," said board president Earl Bates. "Like, how many economically disadvantaged uniforms are we doing to buy for this district."

Bates said that if the board was going to do a study to do it during the school year and then act on it later. "Because school clothes are usually bought in July and if parents have already bought the clothes they won't want to spend money on uniforms later," he said.

"If we could get a stricter dress code, we could just forget about uniforms," said teacher Jamie Crisp. "Strengthen our dress code and then if they comply, we can forget about the uniforms."

Matta stated that some of the school's leaders, which were introduced earlier in the evening were wearing what some people think of as "sloppy." "But it didn't take away from their accomplishments," he said. "But I don't think a uniform would help the problems of the students."

Crisp said that none of the leaders that were presented earlier were wearing their pants below the waist or obscene shirts.

"We would like to at least look at the dress code and meet with the school committees and discuss it with other school personnel," Love said.

Board selects Grubbs as head football coach


By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members named Gary Grubbs as Pecos High School's new head football coach during their regular monthly board meeting on Thursday.

Grubbs, who was named interim head coach last week by P-B-T athletic director Bubba Williams, was given the job on a full-time basis by the board over two other candidates, Zavala Middle School coach Jerry Parent and former Zavala coach Fred Carter, now a junior high coach in the Ector County ISD.

Grubbs was named the coach at a state base salary plus $8,000, board members decided.

Grubbs said he was excited to take over as head coach for the Eagles, who will be favored along with Clint in the race for the District 2-4A football title next fall.

"I haven't talked to the kids yet, but I did talk to them after coach Williams made me interim coach," Grubbs said this morning before leaving with the Eagles' baseball team for their area round playoff game in Big Spring. Along with serving as offensive coordinator in football, Grubbs also has been a junior varsity baseball coach and assistant varsity coach for Pecos this spring.

Grubbs is the second assistant in as many years to be promoted to the head coaching position. Dan Swaim was named head coach last year after serving for two years as assistant coach under Mike Belew, and led Pecos to their first playoff appearance in 23 years before taking a job last month as an assistant coach with the Midland High Bulldogs.

Swaim recruited Grubbs from Bracketville to serve as offensive coordinator, after Grubbs brought in Swaim to serve as an assistant there before coming to Pecos.

"Before that I was in Odessa for five years, where coach Swaim and I coached together for three years,"
 
 

Suit delaying property tax appraisal


By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - Estimating 1999 taxes has been difficult this year because the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is involved in a lawsuit against 17 major oil companies, said chief appraiser Carol King Markham this morning in the appraisal review board meeting.

Markham said that mineral values usually are settled before the appraisal review board meets in June, but this year is different. She said that $11 to $12 million on the mineral roll is subject to change.

"We couldn't settle," she said.

P-B-T and several other districts and one county are suing the oil companies, claiming they under-valued mineral properties and owe additional taxes for years past.

"The school district, county and hospital district are very questionable estimates," Markham said. "This is the first time in 20 years I am very uncomfortable with these estimates."

She told review board members Bob McNutt, Reecia Pigman and Charlie Mitchell this morning that they have a hard job ahead.

"Minerals usually are settled ahead of time. That won't be the case this year. It has put a tremendous burden on Pritchard and Abbott (mineral appraisers).

Estimates for Reeves County and the hospital district are $364.7 million, up $3.1 million from last year.

P-B-T ISD, which includes parts of Reeves and Ward counties, is estimated to have $370.2 million value, up $4.6 million, due mostly to removal of the homestead exemption.

Pecos City and Balmorhea ISD both show decreases. The city's decrease of $3.4 million is due in part to tax abatement for Anchor West Inc., Markham said.

"Last year they didn't meet the deadline for filing. They did this year," she said.

Although Reeves County and Reeves County Hospital District are up overall, they also will lose valuations due to the abatement.

Balmorhea ISD's $20.2 million is down $1 million.

Toyah City's estimate of $2.3 million is up $940,680 from last year, while Balmorhea City gained $84,880. Their estimate is $3.5 million.

Reeves County Water Improvement District #2 shows an estimated $5.8 million, up $935,200 from last year.

All valuations are subject to change when the review board meets June 18 to hear mineral protests and on June 21-22 for real estate hearings.

The board approved final supplemental appraisal totals for 1998, which showed all entities losing valuation.

Midland votes to join drug task force


By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - After two months of uncertainty, Midland County Commissioners voted 3-1 this week to join the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force for the 1999-2000 funding period.

Midland County and Sheriff Gary Painter tentatively agreed last year to become a part of the task force, one of two formed to serve the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos regions after funding was denied to the Permian Basin Drug Task Force in May of 1998 by Texas Gov. George W. Bush's office.

However, earlier this year Midland commissioners delayed final approval of joining the task force, which is scheduled to receive its funding for the next 12 months the end of May, through Gov. Bush's office.

"It's going to be great for us. The more people who join the strong we're going to get," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, whose department serves as host to the task force.

"They (Midland) already had a officer assigned to us," Gomez said, while adding that the addition of Midland, and its 100,000 population, will increase the workload for the already-busy task force.

"Our officers are doing a heck of a job. We've already got 50 cases we're working on and the other counties are seeing that," he said.

The area's other task force, the West Texas Narcotics Task Force, was formed by the state and operated under Department of Public Safety supervision after Gov. Bush's office denied funding to the former task force. That task force is based in Ector County and includes a number of counties to the south and east of Reeves County.

Gomez said both task forces are working together, since the counties they serve overlap through the area stretching from Big Spring to Van Horn, and from the edge of the South Plains to the Big Bend and the Texas-Mexico border.

"We've got to work with everybody. That's what this is all about," he said.

PHS repair bid OKed,  pay debated


By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - A bid for roof repair and replacement at Pecos High School's Building A was awarded during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

The bid to replace the troubled roof, which leaked severely during snow melts this past winter, was awarded to American Contracting USA, Inc. of Harlingen, in the amount of $115,000 with construction set for 45 days.

Local engineer Frank Spencer was on hand and said a total of four contractors submitted bids for the job. "We had some concerns because they are from South Texas and that's really far away, but I spoke to the person in charge, Lionel Aguilar," said Spencer.

He said that he had a lengthy conversation with Aguilar who assured him that even though the company was based in South Texas, another office was based in Houston and the company was planning to open one in Midland.

"It's family-owned, with plenty of employees," said Spencer. "I feel like we've got a good contract and they have stated the job will be completed within 45 days," he said.

"They gave us five references, with four coming from schools, they had worked at," said Spencer. "All were excellent recommendations."

The bid was also $15,000 less than the next lowest bidder. "We shouldn't have any trouble with them," said Spencer.

Special guests at the regular meeting included boys and girls golf district champions; girls softball district champions; boys baseball district champions and the Jr. Engineering Technical Society Team regional champions.

"These are outstanding students who have done an excellent job this year, in sports and academics," said P-B-T Superintendent Don Love.

Also during the meeting the board was reorganized and Earl Bates was once again elected president. Vice-president will be Louis Matta and secretary, Freddy Lujan. New board members, Billie Sadler and Frank Apolinar were sworn in and plaques were given to out-going board members, Daisy Roquemore and Alberto Alvarez.

Board members approved purchasing software and for tax collection services for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD with Pritchard and Abbott, Inc. valuation consultants.

Board members tabled the item on approving placing all secondary principals and special education director on 226 days contracts.

"This is tied in with state funding and we should have some more information later," said Love. "We want to delay this until we have the report back from TASA, to make it fair and equitable for all."

"We want to pay administrators for the job they're doing now, look at that and make that determination after we see the TASA funding study," Love added.

"We already have two principals that are already working those days, so there's already inequities," said board member Louis Matta. "We've got people working in this system that are working more than 207 days," he said.

Board member Steve Armstrong said, "In regard to what Louis said that we have two that work more days that are on the contract, well they knew what was required of them when they applied for the job," he said. "They knew what they were getting themselves into."

"We'll have to wait for the salary study and then pay them for the days they work," said Love.

He added that when he attended seminars in Austin, "They kept saying to get away from days and go into months."

The item was tabled for further study and until they get the salary study from TASA.

Five board members voted for tabling the issue, with Matta and new board member Frank Apolinar voting against.

Repaving job on Third St. faces delay

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - Too much money for highway work has stymied resurfacing plans for Business I-20 through Pecos, said Paul Henderson, area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Henderson said TxDOT received only one bid for the paving project, and it was 74.43 percent above the engineering estimate.

"It surprised us," Henderson said this morning. "We were expecting three bidders. They said they had more work than they could attend to."

More work is being generated by state and federal funds available for highway construction and improvement, Henderson said.

"We are still working on our options and trying to analyze the market place to see what the schedules of contractors in this part of the country is going to be," he said.

The sole bidder on the Pecos job is not from this area, he said. J-W Payne of New Boston, in northeast Texas, bid $1.3 million to resurface BI-20 (Third Street) from Collie Road to near Texas Highway 17. Henderson's estimate was $756,000.

Use of federal funding requires curb, sidewalk and driveway work, and that may have resulted in the higher bid, said interim District Engineer Gary J. Law of Odessa.

"We are looking at just doing the paving for now and maybe next spring do the curb and gutter work," Henderson said. "Or do the curb and gutter this year and paving next spring. It is complicated to try to get a schedule that contractors will be able to bid the jobs."

Holloman Construction Company has completed sewer replacement along 12 blocks of the highway, and are responsible for patching the pavement where it was cut. Henderson said that TxDOT may do some re-patching of that section to ensure it will last until the re-surface job can be done.

"Hopefully we can get on with it in two or three months," Henderson said. "I don't want to be working on it during the rodeo, but we may have to."

The project originally called for federal highway funding to be used for a special resurfacing of the street called "micro-surfacing," to prevent the asphalt surface from bleeding, and the replacement of curb and repair to various driveways and sidewalks.

PHS giving out scholarships, awards


PECOS, May 14, 1999 - Senior Awards and Scholarship Night is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

A special drawing will be held for four, $100 scholarship from Panhandle-Plains Higher Education Authority, (students must be present to win).

Other annual awards and senior scholarships will be awarded at this time.

Investment seminar planned for Monday


PECOS, May 14, 1999 - Edward Jones will host, "Millennium Marketing Ï Practical Tips for Today and Tomorrow," at 6:15 p.m., Monday at 320 S. Oak, Suite 3.

This broadcast - co-sponsored by the American Business Women's Association, Edward Jones, IBM, the Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Center, the Service Corps of Retired Executives and the U.S. Chamber - focuses on marketing ideas for women-owned small businesses.

For more information on the May 17 broadcast or to reserve a seat for this free program, contact Brandy Owen, at 445-7322.

Smuggling suspect faces bribery charge

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - The unusual charge of bribery is among indictments against 36 defendants handed up Thursday by the federal grand jury in Pecos.

Arturo Mota-Hernandez, aka Javier Hernandez-Balderama, 26, of Juarez, Mex., is charged with offering a house in Mexico and money to two special agents who arrested him April 14 for importing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Mota had 1,303.3 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, agents said. He offered special agent Eric Rutherford a house in Mexico not to report the discovery to DEA agents, the indictment alleges. Mota also is charged with offering money to special agent Salvador Nieto.

Six other defendants were charged with importing marijuana for distribution; seven with conspiracy to possess and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; and six with importing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

One defendant is charged with possession with intent to distribute 1,026.6 grams of methamphetamine.

Two Hondurans are among the nine men indicted for illegal entry after deportation. Two are charged with transporting illegal aliens, one with false claim to citizenship; and three with failure to appear for court.

That brings the number of defendants indicted in the Pecos Division this year to 275.

Corrections

A volunteer fire chief may be paid up to $10,612 per year, not $5,612 as listed in Thursday's Enterprise. Pecos City Council voted in December, 1998, to pay chief Roy Pena $9,600 per year on a contract basis so that he would not be required to achieve basic certification through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Pena said he has completed training for basic certification through the Texas Fire Marshals Association, and he believes that should be the standard. The council on Thursday rejected a proposed ordinance that would require fire department officers to be elected for two-year terms and for the chief to be certified by the commission.

***

A story in the April 30 Enterprise on the Pecos-Pampa playoff softball game was unclear on listing Jessica Rodriguez as one of the Eagle players missing from the game. Players were missing due to both grades and injuries. Rodriguez was one of the injured players, she was not ineligible.

LOTTO

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery: 19-22-16-23-20 (nineteen, twenty-two, sixteen, twenty-three, twenty)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-7-0 (six, seven, zero)

WEATHER

PECOS, May 14, 1999 - High Thursday 98; low last night 61. Tonight, partly cloudy with a chance of evening thunderstorms, some severe. Low in the mid 60s. South wind 10 20 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent. Saturday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. South to southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Chance of rain 20 percent.



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