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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, May 6, 2005

Deputies investigating report of first grader hit

Reeves County sheriff’s deputies are investigating conflicting reports involving an incident last Friday at Austin Elementary, in which a child said he was slapped in the face twice by one of the teachers.

Deputy Christina Winfrey said the parents of the first grade boy about the incident contacted her. “According to the parent, the child was slapped by one of the teachers,” she said.

The incident reportedly took place in the school’s cafeteria, and involved a second grade teacher at Austin Elementary. Several people reportedly witnessed the incident, but Winfrey said they have given the department conflicting statements.

“We had some (cafeteria workers) who confirmed the story, but other employees said they saw the incident, and it didn’t happen,” Winfrey said.

She added that the case remains under investigation, as the department tries to sort out the conflicting reports. “We want to get to the bottom of this,” Winfrey said.

Toyah seeks bids to replace homes damaged

Staff Writer

Pre-bids were taken this week by the city of Toyah on the construction of 14 new homes to replace those heavily damaged or destroyed in the April 4, 2004 flood on the north side of town.

At the same time, Toyah Mayor Sandra Terry said that while work has been done on patching sections of the dike that protected the city from San Martine Draw, other sections remain unrepaired and the city remains in negotiations about the work with Union Pacific Railroad.

“There’s one mile of dike out west of town,” Terry said on Tuesday. “Repairs have been made by (County Road) 225, because that was the section closest to town.”

The break in the dike in the early morning hours of April 4 send a wall of water 3-4 feet high surging through the north side of town, damaging most of the homes and buildings there. Water from San Martine and Salt Draw was strong enough late Sunday afternoon to buckle and then collapse the eastbound bridge on Interstate 20 over Salt Draw, causing the highway to be shut down for 11 days.

“We’re not in as much danger as we were if we get a big rain again, but it’s by no means completely fixed,” Terry said. “We’re out of harm’s way, but there’s still a lot of repairs to do.”

The dike was built during World War II by Missouri Pacific Railroad to protect its tracks through Toyah from flooding. Current owner Union Pacific Railroad has balked at efforts to get it to pay for repairs, saying the work should be done by the city or Reeves County. In August, Reeves County Emergency Response Director Ricky Herrera presented commissioners with a proposed agreement between Reeves County and the Natural Resource Conservation Service for repairs to the Toyah levee under the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. But County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo had concerns, since the structure was still owned by Union Pacific.

“There’s a number of provisions in this agreement that call for the county to hire an engineer to make plans to repair the levee,” said Galindo. “I see a problem, because that is privately owned property.”

Terry said the pre-bids on construction of the new homes were going to be handed out this week by the Toyah City Council. “We’ll come back in four weeks and award the bids,” she added.

Herrera said in early April that two housing grants are helping the city rebuild the 14 homes. He also said those who lost their homes in the flood should be in their new homes within 3-4 months after the construction bids are let.

Board’s deadlock keeps enhanced program dead

Staff Writer

Toyah ISD Board members deadlocked Tuesday on restoring the district’s Enhanced Program to the school curriculum, which left the original decision on April 14 to eliminate the program intact.

The board, in a 3-way tie, maintained its decision to eliminate the Enhanced Program, which is directed at students who are beyond the curriculum in their own grade level. There is one enhanced class per grade level in the kindergarten through sixth grade. Board members voted 4-3 to eliminate the Enhanced Program during their regular meeting held on April 14. However, following complaints from local parents, the board met again to discuss the issue Tuesday.

At that time, board members Lila Cerna, Amy Miller and Steve Valenzuela voted to keep the program, while Bubba Williams, Crissy Martinez and Paul Deishler voted for elimination. The tie was broken by board president Billie Sadler, who also voted to end the Enhanced Program.

In Tuesday’s meeting, two of the board members switched sides on the enhanced program, while a third did not attend the special meeting.

Board members Amy Miller, Paul Deishler and Lila Cerna voted to reverse the decision to eliminate the program, while board members who voted to eliminate it were Steve Valenzuela, Bubba Williams and board president Billie Sadler. That left the board deadlocked, because board member Crissy Martinez was not present for the special meeting.

Several community members were on hand for the special meeting. While the audience does not usually participate during special meetings and the board does not have to answer any questions the audience might pose, several individuals were allowed to speak, both for and against eliminating the program.

“If it’s a tie it doesn’t change what you had voted for the last time,” said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Ray Matthews.

“When you have a special meeting it’s to give board members a chance to reconsider,” said board president Billie Sadler.

Sylvia Dannelley-McCree told the group that she was speaking both as a parent and a teacher.

“I prefer for small class sizes in the elementary level (15 students) and get help for teachers that have special needs students in their classes,” said McCree. “Special Education moved away from a pull out program when they realized this segregation is not beneficial to most students,” she said.

McCree said two of her children who were partially educated in the P-B-T ISD. “They represent both those who are part of the ‘enhanced type’ and the ‘non-enhanced type,’ I speak from experience.”

“My child, who is blessed with many unique gifts but deals with some struggles academically, blossomed when placed with those we label the ‘enhanced type’ and struggled when placed with only those who struggled academically,” she said. Pecos Enterprise Editor Smokey Briggs was asked by the group of individuals at the meeting to speak on behalf of the program. He compared the enhanced program with sports.

“You have a varsity team and a junior varsity team,” said Briggs. “There’s a reason why you have two different teams, because they don’t play at the same level.

“You can’t play ball with people who are better or worse,” he said.

Briggs said that there are times when one individual ‘gets it’ and others don’t. “It’s frustrating on both ends,” said Briggs. “We’re not all equal, some of you have talents that I don’t, and I have talents that you don’t,” he said.

Briggs said that this program has been very good for his daughter, who is a first grade student at Austin Elementary School.

“By six through eight years old children already know when they are being challenged,” said Briggs.

“In a perfect world, we would have more classes,” he said. “It’s a really good program, if you don’t get a good education here, then they can’t leave, if they want to come back it’s alright, too.”

Briggs said that kids need to be pushed and this has given us a good example of how to do it.

Matthews said that other programs would be implemented to help the gifted and talented students that are beyond their peers academically. “But socially it would benefit the students more if they were all together.”

After the board deadlocked on reversing their April 14 vote, they took a 15-minute break to look up the parliamentary procedure on a 3-way tie.

After the break, Sadler read out the Roberts Rules of Order on Parliamentary Procedure. “We looked up the rules, when it comes to a 3-way tie,” said Sadler.

The part of that section which applied to Tuesday’s vote read:

“…On a tie vote the motion is lost, and the chair, if a member of the assembly, may vote to make it a tie unless the vote is by ballot. The chair cannot, however, vote twice, first to make a tie and then give the casting vote. In case of an appeal, though the question is, "Shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the assembly?" a tie vote, even though his vote made it a tie, sustains the chair, upon the principle that the decision of the chair can be reversed only by a majority, including the chair if a member of the assembly…”

Sadler then made a motion to adjourn.

Gruben, Reddell announce wedding plans

Jo Ellen Reddell of San Antonio and Rusty Reddell of Waco are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Julie Reddell to Kirk Gruben, son of Princess and Gary Gruben.

Miss Reddell is a graduate of Stephenville High School and Texas State University-San Marcos.

Mr. Gruben is a graduate of Tulia High School and Texas A&M University.

An Aug. 6 wedding is planned at Guadalupe River Ranch in Boerne.

Pecos FFA to attend national competition

The Pecos FFA will be represented on the national level for the third time in four years by the land judging team, who qualified for the event last Thursday by placing fifth in the state contest hosted by Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

Andrew Grant led team scoring by placing second overall among high individuals, while Matt Elliott placed tenth overall in the state. Bill Moody is the other team member. “At first, when we figured our score, we were disappointed,” said Moody.

The contest was extremely difficult and scores were low, according to Pecos FFA Advisor, Tim Flanagan.

Flanagan was unable to attend the state event last week, due to the birth of his second child.

The 54th National Land & Range Judging Contest will be conducted by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts throughout the week of May 2-6 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Team members participated in practice contests on Tuesday and Wednesday due to major differences in the format of the contest from what the students are accustomed to judging in their respective state contests.

In Mr. Flanagan’s absence, Jim Workman, assistant PHS principal, attended the state contest and worked with the students in preparation for their state events.

The Pecos FFA Range & Pasture team, consisting of Jennie Canon, Katie Lee, Justin Hannsz, and Dustin Windham placed sixth in the state event. The Dairy Products team of K’Dee Gulihur, Marcela Fierro, Michelle Wein, and Eleanor Mason placed eleventh. Pecos was also represented by the Dairy Cattle judging team of Ashley Horsburgh, Andre Varela, Michael Lee and Zack Morton.

For the second consecutive year, Pecos was the only single teacher FFA Chapter represented in all four contests at TSU this year. There were only two other chapters statewide represented in all four events. Stamford, a two teacher program, and Katy, with three teachers were the only other two chapters with four teams.

Police jail pair on coke charge following raid

Staff Writer

Two persons were arrested two weeks ago on drug charges, after officers discovered a controlled substance and other paraphernalia during a narcotics search warrant.

On April 22, at 7:01 p.m., officers from the Pecos Police Department and the 143rd District Attorney’s Office executed a narcotics search warrant at 1911 S. Alamo St. During the search of the premises officers located inside the residence a substance believed to be cocaine, according to Pecos Police Department Investigator Paul Deishler. “Officers also found inside one of defendant’s vehicles a substance believed to be cocaine,” said Deishler.

Police also found on the premises two sets of digital scales, which are commonly used with the packaging and storing of narcotics, according to Deishler.

Officers completed their search of the premises and arrested two individuals at the home. Perla Karina Castillo, 22, and Jason Lee Martinez, 27, were both arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Both subjects were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center and released to the jail staff for booking, according to Deishler.

Voters to decide venue tax, school elections

Staff Writer

Early voting picked up a little bit during the final day-and-a-half to cast ballots prior to this Saturday’s local election. And voters who missed the early voting period will get a chance to cast ballots in the local Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea ISD elections, along with the city’s venue tax referendum, on Saturday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Three candidates are seeking two available positions on the P-B-T ISD board, while four candidates are seeking the three available spots on the Balmorhea ISD board in the only two contested area elections. The three incumbents on the Pecos City Council are unopposed in their bids for re-election, but city voters will be deciding whether or not to impose a 2 percent tax on motel bills in Pecos, which is designed to fund renovations to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and to the Reeves County Civic Center.

Election judge Debbie Thomas said just under 150 people voted on Monday afternoon and before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday to cast votes early, after a slow start to the early voting period.

“We had 402 people vote early in person, and another 105 people vote by mail,” Thomas said. The mail ballot included 43 that arrived in the final two days.

The P-B-T ISD school board race has gotten more attention in the past 10 days, after the school board voted to eliminate the district’s enhanced program, leading to a number of protests from parents. The board held a special meeting to again discuss the issue on Tuesday, but left their April 14 decision intact after splitting 3-3 on a motion to restore the program.

The terms of incumbents Paul Deishler and school board president Billie Sadler are up for election, and they are being challenged by David Flores, who is seeking a new three-year term after losing his bid for re-election in 2003.

In the city race, incumbents Danny Rodriguez, Frank Sanchez and mayor pro-tem Gerald Tellez are unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms, but city officials are seeking approval for the motel tax increase to fix up the aging rodeo arena. Repairs to the rodeo arena became a major concern last May, when Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire condemned the south stands six weeks before the West of the Pecos Rodeo, due to termite damage to the support columns.

Emergency repairs were made in time for the start of the rodeo, and will be in place again this year, but officials want to make permanent improvements to the nearly 70-year-old facility, along with improving conditions inside the Civic Center. City manager Joseph Torres said last month he couldn’t put an exact cost yet on how much the arena repair project would be, but estimated a 2 percent rise in the motel tax would bring in an extra $45,000 annually.

Voters on Saturday will be casting ballots in Pecos at the Community Center, 508 S. Oak St. for both the city and school elections, while in the P-B-T races, Barstow voters will cast their ballots at the Community Center, Toyah voters will go to the Senior Center, and voters in Saragosa will cast ballots at the Multi-Purpose Center.

In Balmorhea, voters in the school election will cast their ballots on Saturday at the Balmorhea Fire Hall. Election clerk Dora Valeria said only 10 people cast ballots during the early voting period in the Balmorhea ISD race.

Incumbents Jaime Barrgan, Javier Lozano and Jesus Matta are seeking new three-year terms, and are being challenged by Pecos Cook.

In the Balmorhea City Council election, only two candidates, incumbents Eddie Roman and Ike Ward, filed for new two-year teams, and as a result, that election was cancelled to save money. Roman and Ward will be sworn in after the election, a Raul Rodriguez is expected to be appointed to fill the third seat on the council.

Barstow voters also saw their city council race cancelled, due to the lack of any contested races. The two-year terms of Olga Abila, Dora Villaneuva and Ted Porras are up for election, along with the one-year unexpired term of Abram Flores, who was appointed to the council last year.

RCDC sponsors Wal-Mart bake sale

A Bale Sale will be held beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday at Wal-Mart.

Reeves County Detention Center III employees are sponsoring the fundraising to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Homemade goodies will be for sale and all proceeds will go towards the Special Olympics, a project the RCDC-III has been very supportive of.

Balmorhea event to honor EMS workers

Balmorhea EMS personnel and board are inviting everyone to Balmorhea on Saturday for an afternoon of enjoyment and participation in the recognition of EMS and it’s staff.

The event is scheduled from 2-5 p.m., in downtown Balmorhea. A special awards presentation will be held at 3 p.m.

All former EMS personnel and surrounding EMS services will be recognized. There will be blood pressure checks, blood sugar tests and vitals. Goodie bags will be handed out and refreshments served.

Hispanic Institute seeks Leader participants

The National Hispanic Institute will be holding an informational meeting on Monday for high school freshman and their parents for participation in the Big Bend Young Leaders Conference, July 26-31, at Sul Ross University.

The meeting is Monday at 6 p.m., in the cafeteria of the Pecos High School. Contact Pat Cobos or Eva Arriola at 447-7222 for more information.

The Young Leaders Conference allows high achieving students to receive training and instruction on how to formulate arguments to engage in debates with their peers effectively and intelligently in one of four areas - oral interpretation, cross examination, mock trial, or extemporaneous speaking. Participants learn how to present themselves and polish public speaking skills that in turn furthers the development of their leadership abilities through the debating.

Debate is one of the methods The National Hispanic Institute (NHI) utilizes through a high impact, high intensity, game technology approach to youth development. NHI is based in the belief that the Latino community must continue to develop its high capable Latino youth through leadership training programs to strengthen their personal effectiveness and prospects for individual success. U.S. Latino community can then benefit through its youth who become a resorvoir of human skill and talent.

The National Hispanic Institute (NHI) is an educational, non-profit organization founded in 1979 by Ernesto Nieto and Executive Vice President, Gloria de Leon. With over 50,000 alumni worldwide, the institute’s success rate includes 98 percent of its student participants enrolling at the top accredited universities nationally and internationally; 65 percent continue their students in fields such as law, accounting, medicine, architecture and others; over 100 colleges and universities are members of the NHI College Register. The National Hispanic Institute operates 18 programs nationwide and four international programs in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain.

To get more information about The National Hispanic Institute, the Young Leaders Conference, or any other of its programs contact Marcie Longoria at 512-357-6137 or . Visit the website at .

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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