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Tuesday, August 20, 1996

P-B-T has fall in enrollment, Balmorhea up

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Pecos-Barstow-Toyah schools reported enrollment was down by about four
percent on the first day of school monday, compared to the opening day
of school a year ago.

District wide, there were 115 fewer students reporting for class Monday
morning, compared to last year's first day of school, when just under
3,000 students were enrolled.

First day totals for the 1995-96 and 1996-97 school years show that
Pecos High School's student population decreased by only 7 students,
with 717 showing up for class yesterday. Broken down, there were 32
students registered for Special Education, 219 freshmen, 169 sophomores,
167 juniors. The senior class enrollment was 29 students higher than
last year's total of 130.

Crockett Middle School had 246 eighth graders show up Monday, 42 less
than the first day of school last year.

At Zavala Middle School, 50 more eighth graders showed up for class
yesterday than when school began on August 22 last year. A total of 285
students were in class.

With the elimination of its sixth grade class this year, Barstow
Elementary has a total of 42 students this year, 16 less than last
year's first day figures. Broken down, there are currently 10 first
graders, 10 second grader, six third graders, 7 fourth graders and nine
fifth graders at the Ward County campus.

Pecos Kindergarten catered to some 280 students yesterday, eight less
than last year. This number includes five special education students, 78
pre-kindergarteners and 197 kindergarteners.

At the fourth and fifth grade campus, Bessie Haynes Elementary, 459
students reported for class Monday, a minus difference of 18 students
from last year's total. This includes six special education students,
225 fourth graders and 228 fifth graders.

At the Lamar Sixth Grade campus, which now caters to Barstow students
classified at the sixth grade level, there were 237 students enrolled
for the first day of class for the current school year, eight less than
the prior school year, at the same time.

Pecos Elementary totals fell at 197, showing the biggest drop from last
year's first day of school figures, of 43. Twenty-four less students
showed up for the first day of school at Austin Elementary, compared to
last year, for a current enrollment total of 411. This includes 4
special education students, 196 first graders and 211 second graders.

Balmorhea ISD had increase of nearly 20 students from last year's
totals, as Monday's enrollment totals were summed up at nine
pre-kindergarteners, 14 kindergarteners, 15 first graders, 17 second
graders, 29 third graders, 18 fourth graders, 13 fifth graders, 18 sixth
graders, 17 seventh graders, 19 eighth graders, 18 ninth graders, 28
10th graders, 17 11th graders and 10 12th graders, showing up for class

Order freeing inmate at jail irks Weinacht

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Staff Writer

Reeves County Attorney Bill Weinacht has filed a motion for rehearing on
proceedings he said were conducted illegally out of his presence.

Weinacht alleges the proceeding, held by County Court-at-Law Judge Lee
Green, led to the early release of a man from Reeves County Jail, while
Green said he ordered the man released after deciding to reverse on own
earlier ruling on the matter.

Walter Holcombe, attorney for Jeffrey Luck, had previously filed a
motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus alleging that Luck was entitled to be
released from Reeves County Jail immediately, based on the time served
in jail on various offenses.

Record-keeping personnel in the jail disagreed, and a hearing on the
merits of this request was conducted in county court-at-law on July 24.

"The issue at that time was whether or not he should receive credit when
his probation was revoked for 23 days he previously served for resisting
arrest," said Weinacht.

A motion to revoke was filed at one time and was dismissed. Luck
accepted responsibility for the resisting arrest charge and was
convicted and served a 23-day sentence.

"After all this he engaged in other criminal conduct that ultimately
resulted in a motion to revoke his probation being filed that was
granted by the court, and a six-month sentence was imposed," said

The county attorney argued that he should not receive credit for the 23
days because his probation was not revoked when he served time on the
resisting arrest charge, and the motion to revoke was dismissed. He
added that the 23 day credit would reward Luck by canceling out his
punishment for the prior offense.

Judge Green rendered judgment in favor of the state and ordered that
Luck be detained in the Reeves County Jail for 28 more days. However,
Weinacht said after talking with Quinn Wilson of the Adult Probation
Department, who said he had seen Luck come in the probation department,
he found out Green had signed an order stating the opposite of what
Weinacht said he had ruled in court.

According to jail records, Luck was released on Aug. 1 from the facility.

"They apparently discussed this issue without me," said Weinacht.

He contacted Holcombe about the lack of notice of the hearing he and
Green had, and the order Holcombe presented for Green's signature,
without presenting it to the State either before or after it was signed.

"Holcombe told me that he told the judge that he should call me, but
that Green said not to call and to just make an order the way he wanted
it," said Weinacht.

"There was no secret meeting between me and Holcombe," Green said in
response to Weinacht's charge.

After reviewing the case, Green said he decided that Luck should be
given credit for the time served.

"I insist that people who have served time in jail be given credit for
it," said Green. "That's why I decided to go back on my original
decision," he said.

It was a question of his time served, according to Green.

"I think there was some misunderstanding between the lawyers," said

Eighteen-year-old Luck had been in the Reeves County Jail on several
charges, the most recent charges being in February of this year for
harassment and enticing a child.

On March 14, he was charged with false alarm or report, after his
girlfriend phoned in a bomb threat to the downtown facility in an
attempt to help Luck escape.

Weinacht said in his filing he was denied due process right of notice of
the hearing attended by Green and Holcombe, and denied the opportunity
to hear the arguments advanced against the State or to offer his own
arguments for the State and the sheriff's department.

He further states that he was denied the right to be served with a copy
of the order after it was signed by the judge and that the public was
denied the right to observe the public judicial proceedings conducted in
their name and to have those same proceedings records in the court of

Miller denies witness tampering

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Staff Writer

Jim Ed Miller had no intention of trying to get Ed Armstrong fired when
he went into Terry Burkholder's office on Jan. 12, Miller testified
today in 143rd District Court.

Miller is charged with tampering with a government witness because he
asked Burkholder to talk with his partner, Brad Bennett, about
Armstrong's actions against the Red Bluff Water Power Control District.

Armstrong is an independent field consultant in the oil and gas
business. Burkholder and Bennett are oil producers who contract with
Armstrong on some of their wells.

As a result of complaints made by Armstrong and others, the Ward County
grand jury began investigating the Ward County Irrigation District #1
last year. WID#1 is one of the irrigation districts that make up the Red
Bluff district, for which Miller is general manager.

Miller said that when he received a subpoena on Jan. 12 for Red Bluff's
annual audit reports for the past 10 years, he went to the office of the
district's auditor, Randy Graham, in the Security State Bank building.

Graham wanted to see the subpoena, so Miller went back to his office to
get it and returned, he said. Each time, he talked with Graham about 10
to 15 minutes.

As he was leaving the building after the second visit, Miller said he
noticed the door to Burkholder's office was open and Burkholder was
standing in front of his desk dictating a letter.

Miller said that, on impulse, he went into Burkholder's office and said
he thought Armstrong was getting ready to do to Red Bluff what he had
been doing to WID#1 and "I would like for him to talk to Brad and get
him to stop," "or words to that effect."

"I told him it was going to cost Red Bluff a lot of money," Miller said.

Burkholder's testimony on Monday was that Miller was upset about the
subpoena and felt like Armstrong was behind it to a certain extent, "and
wanted me to influence him to call off his so-clled vendetta."

"He felt like it would cost the Red Bluff district a lot of money for no
reason," Burkholder said. "He didn't feel like it was appropriate and
worthy of any kind of lawsuit."

Miller testified that he didn't know at the time that Armstrong's work
for Burkholder and Bennett was his primary income, nor that he earned
$30,000 to $50,000 per year working for them.

He denied any intent to cause Armstrong to lose their business.

Stickels asked Miller how long he has known Burkholder, who like Miller,
is a native of Barstow.

"Ever since his Mama and Daddy brought him home from the hospital with a
bandage on his navel," Miller said, evoking laughter from numerous
friends who have been in the courtroom throughout the two-day trial.

Defense Attorney Richard Abalos asked Miller if he went into
Burkholder's office with the intention of getting Armstrong fired.

"I absolutely did not," Miller said, to close the defense testimony and
the evidence portion of the trial.

Monday's testimony concerned in part the investigation into WID#1.

Stickels questioned Liz Corbell, district secretary, about checks
written on district accounts as donations to West of the Pecos Museum,
the Russell Benefit, West Central Texas Alzheimers Chapter, American
Cancer Society and one to sponsor a Golden Girl of the Old West
candidate - her daughter, Ashley Corbell.

One check was written to the Arnold Family Fund in response to a request
from the Texas Water Conservation Association, Corbell said.

"They were soliciting funds for a family having a hard time after
(Arnold's) auto accident," she said.

Miller is "ramrod" of the Russell Benefit, he testified this morning;
and he is a former director for West of the Pecos Museum. He said Red
Bluff has not contributed any funds to those organizations, and he has
no control over WID#1.

Attorneys made their closing arguments before the noon recess.

Study shows area roads among safes in state

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Staff Writer

West Texas has the best roads in the state but receives the least amount
of money to maintain them.

"We have the best engineers," said Mike McAnally, director of operations
for the Texas Department of Transportation's Odessa district.

McAnally admittedly was joking, but he does believe the Odessa district
staff does a good job maintaining highways with the meager resources
they have.

Good weather contributes to good roads, and West Texas has more than its
share of good weather.

However, good soil is probably the biggest factor, McAnally said.

"We don't have clay soils. We normally have good sub-grade and base
materials," he said.

Bridges are another matter, because all districts use the same concrete
standards. But McAnally believes the bridges in his district are in
fairly good shape.

"I don't think we have any bridges that would even come close to falling
down in the next 10 years," he said. "Some need work and sub-structure

He said a lot of the bridges in District 6 are along the Pecos River,
where salty water works on the sub structure.

"In this district overall, generally we fix them before they deteriorate
too far. Some, due to traffic loads, require more maintenance to keep up
with it. I think it's due to real heavy trucks."

Most roads in this district were built between the 1930s and 1950s, with
the exception of interstates, McAnally said.

"Normally most weren't designed to handle that type of traffic, and no
amount of maintenance works, other than to rebuild and add structural
strength to the road. We are trying to keep up and are doing a lot
better than east Texas, and they get a lot more money than we get."

The Odessa district stretches from Winkler County on the north to
Terrell County on the south, from Reeves on the west to Ector on the

"We try to work real hard with funds we are allocated to maintain and
make sure everything is safe, and I do believe we have safe and good
roads," McAnally said. "I think we do well."

Road conditions in most of District 6 are rated as "very good" by TxDOT,
while Ward and Winkler have "good" roads.

East Texas has roads in 17 counties that are rated as "very poor to
fair," and the Panhandle has seven in that condition, including Gaines
(Seminole) and Dawson (Lamesa) counties.

Of the 300,000 miles of roads in Texas, about 77,000 are maintained by
TxDOT. I-10, which traverses southern Reeves County, is the longest
highway in the state. It extends from Orange to El Paso, a distance of
more than 878 miles.

The shortest highway in Texas is Loop 168 in downtown Tenaha in Shelby
County. It is .074 miles long.

Houston has the busiest highway, Loop 610, with about 231,000 vehicles a

Montford quits Senate for top Texas Tech job

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Associated Press Writer

LUBBOCK - Texas Tech University regents today hired state Sen. John
Montford as the system's first chancellor, finally making public the
worst-kept secret in West Texas.

The move ends more than a month of speculation that Montford would get
the job, which regents created in April after then-President Robert
Lawless resigned to become president of the University of Tulsa.

Montford will begin Monday, the first day of classes. He will formally
resign his Senate seat of 14 years Wednesday at noon.

``I'm flattered and excited about the new challenge for us and our
family,'' said Montford in accepting the position with his wife, Debbie.
``We pledge 100 percent devotion to this university.''

Montford's new job emphasizes high-profile duties such as fund-raising
and government relations. Day-to-day operations will be left up the
presidents of the university and the Health Sciences Center, who have
yet to be hired.

Montford represents District 28 in the Texas Senate, which is centered
in Lubbock but extends as far west as El Paso. It takes in the northern
section of Reeves County, including the Orla-Red Bluff Lake area.

A number of local and regional politicians already have expressed
interest in representing Montford's district, which also takes in all or
part of the cities of San Angelo, Big Spring and Odessa.

Montford, 53, had made it clear in recent days that he'd leave the
Senate to accept the job. Suitors from across the region officially can
begin campaigning for a seat many have coveted their entire political

Montford had expressed dismay about shuttling between his Capitol duties
and Lubbock law practice. Last fall, he agonized over whether to run for
the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm.

``We've been going back and forth for quite some time,'' Debbie Montford
said. ``We're glad to be home to promote Texas Tech and the community.''

Montford said the average tenure of collegiate chief executive officers
is ``five to six years.'' If he follows that course, he could become a
player in the 2002 election season. Races then will be for governor,
lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate. Montford refused to look that far

As chairman of the Senate finance committee, Montford is among the
state's most powerful political figures. Capitol sources have said Sens.
Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, are
contenders for his chair.

Montford earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of
Texas at Austin, eventually becoming Lubbock County's district attorney
before moving into the statehouse in 1982.

He made it clear today that his UT ties bind no longer.

``Together, we will make this dream of having the very best system of
higher education in the state of Texas come true,'' Montford said,
sporting two gold chancellor's medallions.

He'll preside over a system that includes the 24,000-student university,
the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and the Lubbock-based medical
school with campuses in Amarillo, El Paso and Odessa.

He listed filling the vacant presidencies and approving a multi-purpose
arena as among the schools priorities. Regents were to vote later today
on whether to pursue a $40 million arena complex, primarily for Tech's
basketball teams.

Montford's pay is expected to fall in line with chancellors in other
major systems, probably in the low to mid-$200,000s. A contract will be
formalized sometime this week, Montford said.

The other finalists for the post had been interim president Donald
Haragan and Tech human sciences dean Elizabeth Haley.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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