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Monahans Top Stories

Thursday, Nov. 28, 1996

Expanded Local Calling:

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By Jerome P. Curry
of the News
Monahans telephone subscribers had an opportunity to expand long
distance free service to five west Texas cities for one price - an extra
$3.50 a month for residential telephone service, $7 more a month for

They said no.

In mail balloting conducted by the state, voters said they wanted
expanded local calling only to Odessa, according to records released on
Friday, Nov. 22, by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

That vote means subscribers said they were willing to pay the extra
tariff just for Odessa, although they could have had all five, including
Odessa, for he same money.

Why would anyone vote to pay extra to call just one other area long
distance toll free when they could have had five for the same price?

Linda Hymans, director of the utility commission's expanded local
calling section, said she had no idea. But she also said there often are
bizarre results when telephone subscribers vote in expanded local
calling balloting.

Bill Young, the Monahans businessman who coordinated the extended long
distance petition, also has questioned the results of the ballot, Hymans
said. Young, Hymans reported, has asked about resubmitting the issue to
Monahans voters.

Not likely, Hymans said. That would be a precedent, she noted.

"It's never been done before," Hymans said. "I don't even know what
would be required."

But she said, to her knowledge, there is no provision in either law or
regulation for such an action.

Another extended calling petition could be submitted in 18 month that
would call for an additional charge to the one already approved.

The bottom line:

Sometime in the next six months Monahans subscribers are going to paying
extra on their monthly Southwestern Bill telephone bills for expanded
local calling to Odessa.

If they had wanted it, they also could have had - for the same money
expanded local calling service to Grandfalls, Fort Stockton, Pecos and
Terminal (the area in which the Midland airport is located).

Here is the way the timetable for implementation works.

Dec. 20 - Southwestern Bell presents the implementation plan of new
service and the new billing.

Three to five months later - State approves the implementation plan the
higher telephone bills and long distance free service to Odessa starts.

A 70 percent approval of those casting ballots was necessary to include
a city within a new extended calling area. In the Monahans balloting,
Hymans said, "Only Odessa passed."

Odessa received a 73.26 percent approval of the 1,814 mail ballot
totaled by Hymans and her staff.

Ballots were mailed Oct. 10 to telephone subscribers in the Monahans
exchange, Hymans said. There are about 5,000 telephones in Monahans
Balloting closed on Oct. 25.

"This is not a bad turnout," Hymans said. "A lot of people voted." Of
the jilted four, Terminal came the closest to approval with a 68.96

Voters reject five for price

of one;select only Odessa

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Percent approval rating
All of the rejected cities on the ballot did receive more than 60
percent, short of the required 70 percent.

More totals:
Fort Stockton - 64.09 percent.
Pecos - 65.17 percent.
Grandfalls - 65.17 percent.

As curious as it may be that voters rejected the five for the price of
one deal, it confounds logic, Hymans agreed, to turn away Grandfalls,
like Monahans, a Ward County Community.

Perhaps there was a problem with the ballot language, Hymans was asked.

In the ballot explanation sent with the ballot, it reads: "Five or fewer
exchanges: Up to $3.50 for residence, $7 for business (Not $3.50 or $7
for each of the first five exchanes.)"

Is it possible the voters interpreted this to mean it would cost less if
they only voted for Odessa?

Is it possible they though the rate would be lower if they voted for
less than the five cities noted on the extended local calling ballot?

Charles Walker, director of the Monahans Economic Development
Commission, believes the ballot information was a major problem and can
lend itself to improper interpretations.

Hymans said the information as it was presented to the Monahans voters
has been approved by the Public Utility Commission and has been in use
for years.

"That just means it has been wrong for years," Walker said.

Search for successor to Clemmons

starts, Fletcher intern chief

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Monahans-Wickett-Pyote school trustees
hope to find superintendent by New Year

Assistant superintendent Mike Fletcher, a 30-year veteran of the
Monahans school district, becomes interim superintendent of schools on
Sunday. Fletcher, who came to the Monahans district as a junior high
English teacher on Aug. 28, 1967, says he does not plan to apply for
superintendent of schools.

"I'm not interested in that at all," Fletcher said when asked if he
would seek the job. "I want to keep what I have. These have been a good
30 years in Monahans."

He said he was happy to be able to serve in the interim until a new
superintendent is chosen.

Dr. Larry Blair of Sul Ross State University in Alpine has been asked to
help the board find the eventual successor to Jack Clemmons.

Blair, chairman of the Department of Education and director of teacher
certification at Sul Ross, says he plans to meet with the trustees at 3
p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the school district's administration
building. Blair has consulted with several school districts in their
researches for school superintendents.

Trustees of the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent School District hope
to find a replacement For Clemmons by the New Year.

That comprised the flurry of actions taken in a special school board
meeting on Monday when the Monahans board officially accepted the
resignation of Clemmons.

Clemmons has accepted the position as superintendent of the Victoria
(Tex.) Independent School District effective the first week of January,
1997. He was one of three finalists from an initial field of 22
applicants for the Victoria post created with the retirement this month
of Robert P. Brezina, who had been Victoria school superintendent since

Under the contract approved by Victoria school trustees, Clemmons will
work on a 230 day a year contract with an initial annual salary of
$110,000. He was being paid $90,000 a year as Monahans superintendent.

Clemmons told the Victoria board when he accepted the position on
Thursday, Nov. 21, that he would report to work on Jan. 6.

"He's a real positive guy, very energetic," said Victoria Board
President Clay Cain of Clemmons. "Everyone I've spoken with (in
Monahans) stressed his commitment to educating all the kids."

Victoria school district has a current enrollment of about 14,600
students served by more than 2,000 employees. There are 22 campuses,
including two 5A high schools, three middle schools, 14 elementary
schools and an adult learning center.
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Copyright 1996 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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