Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, September 3, 1999
P-B-T will abide by pre-game prayer ban
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- A moment of silence may be the alternate to
a prayer before each home football game, after a decision by the U.S. 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in February.
"Hopefully, before the first home ball game, we'll have everything in
order so that we can go ahead with a moment of silence," said Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD Superintendent Don Love, who said he had spoken to the school's attorney
and has asked him to draft a statement that can be read over the loudspeaker
and fit within the guidelines of the 5th Circuit's ruling on a case involving
a southeast Texas high school.
"It's against the law for the school system and government agencies
to get involved in that (prayers)," said Love. "This is a federal law."
School prayer at football games is a very hot issue, since the law was
adopted, according to Love.
"The advice of the school attorney is to refrain from including public
prayer in the opening ceremonies of football games this fall or any other
sporting events," said Love.
In a letter to school districts, lawyers with the Texas Association
of School Boards warned that schools ignoring the court's ruling are taking
serious risks. Anyone challenging the school could sue for a monetary settlement
from the school, including court costs and attorney's fees.
Individual trustees and district employees also could be sued.
Instead of prayer over a loudspeaker, the association of school boards
suggested that students pray on their own, by themselves or in groups.
School district employees, the association added, should not participate.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the suit against Santa
Fe ISD concerning prayer at football games, according to Love. The suit
came in response to complaints from Muslim and Mormon parents of two students
at the district's high school.
In Doe vs. Santa Fe Independent School District of Texas, the court
ruled that reciting a prayer over the loudspeaker at a football game violates
the Constitution, whether the person leading the prayer is a student, district
employee or member of the clergy.
The circuit court's decision has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
No prayer was held Thursday night, prior to Pecos' season-opening football
game at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa against Denver City. The Eagles were
the designated visiting team for the game, and officials with the Ector
County ISD also have announced they will not allow pre-game prayers this
However, trustees in the Andrews ISD have decided to pray before games
until a lawsuit is filed against them.
David Goodman, superintendent of the 3,300-student district, said student-led
prayers would go on like normal.
"We've been in business as a school district for 90 years, and we've
been having prayer before games for 90 years," Goodman said. Andrews' first
home game is Sept. 10 against Hereford.
In a letter to all school board members Love said, "I have removed the
issue from the Aug. 30 agenda after consulting with the Board President,
since I feel it is my civil and administrative responsibility to follow
the Constitutional Law of the land and not blatantly defy the law, regardless
of my personal feelings."
Several concerned individuals were on hand for the Aug. 30 school board
meeting, thinking that the item would be on that day's agenda.
Students and student athletes may continue to pray individually or collectively,
before football games or any other sporting events as long as school officials
are not sponsoring the prayer or participating in the prayer in any way.
The use of the school's public address system is a clear violation of the
law except at graduation by a student whose prayer is non-sectarian and
non-proselytizing, not attempting to convert listeners and not favoring
or referring to a specific religion, according to Love.
"I have informed all administrators of the school's position to this
no-win situation," said Love. "The 5th Circuit Court voted 5 to 4 on this
issue and said that the Governor and Attorney General have asked the Supreme
Court to reverse this decision but don't for any relief until after football
season," he said.
Love said, "If I were to disregard the 5th Circuit Court Santa Fe ISD
decision, such action could be construed as an intentional violation of
law and the legal sanctions could possibly include: injunction prohibiting
prayer at sporting events; district liability for monetary and even punitive
damages, punishing the defendant, setting an example for similar wrongdoing;
school board members and school employees could be held liable for monetary
and punitive damages and cost of litigation and our legal fees including
the plaintiff's attorney fees and court costs."
"Nowhere in the law, though, does it say that people can't pray," said
Love. "I just don't want to get our school district in trouble, we need
for our money to go towards our students and not to possible litigation,"
Love said that school board members take an oath of office, which specifically
states that they will protect and defend the constitution of the United
States. "And in following all that, we have to follow the law," said Love.
"No matter how I feel we need to follow the law," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
T-NMP joins utilities' plans for Y2K tests
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- Texas-New Mexico Power Company will take part in
a drill next Wednesday and Thursday to test electric utilities' computer
readiness for Year 2000, said Mya Surratt, customer relations coordinator.
The drill on Sept. 8-9 is part of the North American Electric Reliability
Council's plan to test administrative, operating, communications and contingency
response readiness for the 200 participating utilities.
It will also serve as a simulation of how utility personnel will be
available to the media on Dec. 31, 1999.
T-NMP's Y2K team has been working for more than two years to ensure
all its computer-based systems and equipment run smoothly when the year
The company posts its current readiness information on its web site
Y2K READY _ David
Knowles of El Paso works on a high-speed printer at Texas-New Mexico Power
Co.'s offices this morning. The printer is one of many new electronic marvels
installed at T-NMP in preparation for Year 2000, when old computers with
a two-digit year in software may malfunction. Electric utilities will conduct
a test of new equipment on Sept. 8-9. Knowles is employed by UHW, who maintains
equipment for TNMP. Some older computers are expected to have problems
with a 9-9-99 date next Thursday, because the 9999 code was used as a stop
command in early computer programs.
Model killed in crash west of Balmorhea
Sept. 3, 1999 -- A New York woman was killed in a one-vehicle accident
Thursday afternoon on Interstate 10, between Balmorhea and the Interstate
20 junction in southwestern Reeves County.
The accident was a one-vehicle rollover that happened at 6:15 p.m.,
14 miles west of Balmorhea on I-10 near the 192 mile marker.
Geneen Kroupa, 24, a model from New York was pronounced dead at the
scene by Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco. Her body was taken to Pecos
Kroupa was driving a 1998 Land Rover eastbound on Interstate 10, when
she veered off the roadway and into the center median. She over-corrected
and the vehicle went into a broadside skid, overturning four times.
Kroupa was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
Department of Public Safety Corporal Emmit Moore investigated the accident.
Clerk accepting requests for mail ballots
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- Today is the first day for requests for ballots
by mail for the Nov. 2 General Election, according to Reeves County Clerk
Florez said the county clerk's office will be taking requests for ballots
by mail beginning today, and her office is open to help with filling out
the application. "If anybody needs help, the office staff is here and ready
to help anyone that needs it fill out the forms," said Florez
"There are no candidates in this election, just propositions," Florez
To request an application for a ballot by mail, call the county clerk's
office at 445-5467.
Florez also said this year's session of the Texas Legislature enacted
several laws affecting court costs, fees, fines, and other court-related
For those who are planning on getting married, marriage licenses will
also cost a bit more. The fee for marriage licenses went up from $25 to
$30, effective on Sept. 1.
District grid scores available through Internet
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- Finding out the Friday night football scores for
the Pecos Eagles' district rivals in the El Paso area wasn't easy last
season. But a couple of Internet broadcast sites may solve that problem
for fans this year.
Friday night scores for El Paso area games are broadcast starting at
about 10 p.m. CDT on KROD 600 AM, and scores are also aired at 11:20 p.m.
and midnight CDT on KVIA _ Ch. 7, both of which broadcast over the Internet.
KROD can be accessed though Real Audio at www.krod.com
while KVIA is at www.kvia.com
All El Paso Internet stations also are listed at www.metronet.com/~chipk/Texas/ELP.html.
Once there, click on the speaker to hear the Real Audio broadcast.
Labor Day means extra day off
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- They call it "Labor Day," but it is just the opposite.
Monday is a holiday from labor for federal, state, county and city employees.
Many businesses will also close, including both banks and the Pecos
Enterprise. The Sunday Free Press will be delivered as usual, but no Enterprise
will be published Monday.
The Pecos Chamber of Commerce will close Monday, as will the Senior
Center. Pecos-Barstow-Toyah schools will close for the holiday.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will be working overtime
on the highways to encourage motorists to drive safely and avoid accidents.
Parks forfeits car, cash taken in drug seizure
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Sept. 3, 1999 -- District Judge Bob Parks this morning granted
a state motion to forfeit a 1988 Chevrolet and $17,500 cash taken from
Evigael Navarette on June 6.
Navarette, 41, of 1035 Rancho Rd., had two packets of cocaine in his
possession when he was arrested on a probation violation, said Pecos Police
narcotics investigator Paul Deishler.
A subsequent search of his home turned up contraband, weapons and ammunition,
He is awaiting sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to
possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 17-19-22-24-32. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$83,956. Winning ticket sold in: Houston. Matching four of five: 263. Prize:
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 9-9-4 (nine, nine, four)
High Thursday 96; low last night 72. Tonight, partly cloudy with a 20 percent
chance of evening showers or thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast
wind 5-10 mph. Saturday, partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of afternoon
showers or thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. South wind 10-20 mph. Extended
forecast, Saturday night, partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening
showers or thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Sunday through labor day,
partly cloudy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Cooler. Lows in
the mid 60s. Highs 85-90. Tuesday, partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.
Highs 85 90.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise