Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Olguin laid to rest 63 years after WWII death
By JON FULBRIGHT
A Memorial Day funeral service was held for a Pecos soldier killed while fighting Japanese forces during World War II, but whose body wasn’t located on a South Pacific island until 50 years after his death.
PFC Francisco A. Olguin, Jr. was buried with full military honors at Mt. Evergreen Cemetery, following services at Santa Rosa Catholic Church. Olguin was assigned to Company I, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, during World War II when he was killed in fighting against Japanese forces near the Buna Coast of New Guinea, north of Australia.
Olguin’s body was not recovered following the fighting in the heavily jungled area on or about Dec. 2, 1942. But in 1995 team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was able to locate gravesites containing the remains of Olguin and that of another soldier, Pvt. Clifford North, using information gathered by local residents. However, it would take another nine years before the bodies were formally identified.
“Not only was he faithful to our country, but just like you, with so many soldiers in attendance, we’re reminded of your heroic actions that go unnoticed, much like Francisco’s,” said Father Manuel Munoz, who conducted the services. “A person who is charitable and generous doesn’t count the cost.”
“You, the family of Francisco, who nonetheless were persistent in continuing to pray for him, the Lord continues to answer your prayers and the prayers of the church,” he said.
“We accompany you in this moment of uncertainty, this moment of darkness. But this is a moment of assurance in a sense, because the Lord is about to welcome him home,” Father Munoz said.
At the cemetery, Olguin received a 21-gun salute from the honor guard from Fort Bliss in El Paso, and the American flag that draped his coffin was presented to Eva Ornelas, the oldest of Olguin’s four surviving sisters.
Olguin’s remains were returned to Pecos on Friday from Fort Bliss, and Visitation with the family was Sunday at Peaceful Garden Funeral Home prior to Monday afternoon’s ceremonies.
Skateboard park rolled out after long wait
Town of Pecos City officials, local residents and skateboarders were on hand Saturday morning, for the dedication of the new Mata/.Rodriguez Skateboard Park, a project that took three years from conception to completion.
“My prayer was we get this built before a child gets killed,” said Pecos Police Department Community Relations Officer Steve Balog, who served as master of ceremonies for Saturday’s event, after helping get the city interested in building the park on unused land at Seventh and Alamo streets.
He said his interest in creating a park came when he was sent on a call to chase some of the skateboarders away from in front of City Hall.
“I got out there and told them to leave, and they said, “But officer, where do we go?’,” Balog said. “I told them I’d look around and I’ll find a place to skate, and if not we’ll build a place to skate.”
Skateboarders had been using any available off-street surfaces to skateboard on, including the Stafford Boulevard drainage ditch and the floor of the demolished Brandon Hotel downtown. But many of the locations resulted in police getting calls about the skateboarders from nearby businesses.
“The kids already explained to me the police are mad at them, the merchants are mad at them and the city is mad at them,” he said. “At that point the mother of one of the skateboarders called me and said I heard you had an interest.”
Balog said funds were raised and Jeff Lindsay donated time from his construction company to do t he initial dirt work, after the site was selected. But it wasn’t until new city public works director Edgardo Madrid became involved that the project went past the initial stage.
“There was a big matter of liability insurance. We had to have a design engineer sign off on it for the liability insurance,” he said, while also thanking the city’s Parks and Water Department staff for their work in laying down the concrete for the park.
“You guys have done a great job, and worked long hours and gave up a lot of time with your families,” Balog said.
The council decided last year to approve naming the park after Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Mata who was killed in action in Iraq in March of 2003 and Jaime Rodriguez, a police officer who was killed in the line of duty in Pecos in May of 2002.
“We kept calling it the park where t he Girl Scout hut is,” Balog said. “Kids today really don’t have any heroes when they grow up.”
A balloon release was held in memory of both Mata and Rodriguez, before the ribbon cutting was done by their widows, Nancili Mata and Diana Rodriguez. A plaque at the south end of the park was unveiled at the end of the event, and Balog also introduced Brian Winfrey, who was given the honor of being the first skateboarder to officially try out the new facility.
While the park’s dedication was on Saturday, there are several more things that need to be done before work is finished. Madrid told the council last week electrical work and lights at the park still need to be put in place, and concrete still needs to be poured on the outer sections of the berm on which the park was built. Friday night’s heavy rains already caused some erosion to the outer part of the berm, which will have to be filled back in before the exterior concrete wall is put in place.
Expansion helped widen RCH’s 2004 deficit
Reeves County Hospital lost $900,000 last year, hospital district board members were told during a review of the hospital’s audit that was part of the board’s monthly meeting on May 24 in the hospital’s classroom.
Waco CPA William M. Parrish Jr., presented the results of his company’s audit to board members, along with some suggestions on how to close the budget gap, which already had been predicted by hospital officials.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I thought it would be worse,” said hospital CEO Bill Conder, who was expecting losses of over $1 million due to the expansion and remodeling work at the hospital last year, along with the opening of the facility’s new kidney dialysis center.
Parrish told the board that while the hospital district’s revenues went up in 2004, they were outpaced by increased expenses, which caused the hospital’s net losses to rise from $100,000 in 2003 to $974,000 last year. The hospital’s cash-on-hand also dropped from $4 million to $1.1 million due to payments made on the facility’s expansion and renovation projects, though that figure is still about double the amount of cash for other hospitals of the same size.
“As you can see, we had a large decrease in the 2004 year,” Parrish said. “Reeves County Hospital has just over 100 days cash on hand.”
Between 2001 and 2004, the hospital’s receipts increased from $5.2 to $6.8 million, while expenses rose from $7.4 to $9.7 million. Two areas where Parrish said Reeves County Hospital had above-average expenses compared to similar facilities in Texas were personnel and indigent care, and the CPA also suggested looking at major changes or closing the hospital’s home health care service.
Parrish also said the hospital should look at the possibility of becoming a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which would have brought RCH an additional $427,000 last year. He said many hospitals in Texas are being mandated to switch to CAH facilities by the end of this year, bur Reeves County Hospital was exempt because it was more than 35 miles from the closest nearby hospital.
However, CAH facilities cannot have average patient stays of over four days, and the hospital’s Chief of Staff, Dr. W.J. Bang, said “that could affect the ability of physicians to provide care to patients.”
Parrish said some patients could be moved to “swing bed” units, which are outside the four-day requirements but are in locations in the hospital where more extensive treatment is not available. He said the hospital could change back from a CAH facility to an Acute Care Hospital if problems arose, but they could not then go back to CAH status in the future.
“We see a lot of complicated cases and complicated surgeries that require greater lengths of time. We cannot put them into swing beds,” Bang said, though the hospital’s chief financial officer Frank Seals said he did believe IV medication could be given at swing bed sites.
Board president Linda Gholson said no changes in the hospital’s status would be made at this time, and a public hearing would be required before any changeover to a CAH facility could be approved.
Conder said the increase in personnel was due in part to the start-up of the dialysis center, which opened last July. “They are generating some income that’s offsetting our cash investments, but we’re still putting some seed money in there,” he said.
He later told the board the hospital is looking into contracting with a private firm to operate its home health service. “A home health management group is going to submit a written proposal,” he said. “It’s going to be pretty expensive to start, but they guarantee we’ll have a viable home health service within a year.”
Conder also said the hospital’s available bed space has been lowered from 43 to 35 beds following a state inspection. Board member Leo Hung added that the eight beds that were decertified had not been in use at the hospital for a number or years, but were still being counted until the recent inspection.
In other action, the board swore in Precinct 4 representative Pablo Carrasco to a new two-year term, while Saragosa resident Terry Honaker was sworn into fill a unexpired one-year term as Precinct 3 representative on the board. The position became open last August due to the death of board member Bill Wendt.
Carrasco was also elected as the board’s vice president and secretary, while Gholson was re-elected to serve as board president for another year.
Board members tabled action on the purchase of new surgical lights for the hospital, at the request of the medical staff, which Conder said was awaiting the arrival of one additional bid. Board members did approve a radiation safety policy and an ICU criteria admission policy, at the recommendation of the medical staff, and were told by Dr. Bang that the joint conference committee’s regular monthly meeting was postponed until June 1.
Board members approved the sale of four properties. The locations were 1501 Cowan Street, on a bid for $500 from Porfirio Iniguez; 906 S. Plum St., on a bid for $400 from Debbie Thomas; a tract on ‘A’ Street, on a $1,200 bid by Israel Villanueva; and a lot at 102 S. Sycamore St., on a $175 bid by Roy C. Pogue.
PEDC eyes new strategies to increase businesses, jobs
After voting their approval of a contract to reopen the Smithers Transportation Center test track Thursday evening, Pecos Economic Development Corp. board members discussed what their next goal should be, as part of a strategic plan proposal the group went over during their meeting at the TransPecos Bank building.
PEDC President Mike Burkholder discussed the deal with the Texas Transportation Institute and Applied Research Associates to reopen the nine-mile test track, which was approved the previous day by the Pecos City Council. Reopening the test track was one of the items on the group’s 2004-05 strategic plan, and Burkholder said, “We’ve done pretty much everything we set out to accomplish.”
The board then drew up a list of possible projects for the PEDC to study for the 2005-06 plan, along with some other issues involving Pecos’ infrastructure that could affect the ability to attract businesses to the area. That included future discussions with other community members to get input on possible new businesses for the city.
“We’re going to try and sit down and talk strategically about what we need to do,” said board chairman Joe Keese, who supported looking to attract smaller businesses into the area.
“We need to start small. The tendency of EDCs naturally is to look for the 500-600 job business and try to hit a home run,” he said, adding that other cities are further ahead of Pecos in terms of industrial park land, financial assistance or tax incentive offers that are able to lure big companies to their towns.
One way of finding locations the board discussed was looking acquiring vacant buildings to market, either through cash payments or by donations off the delinquent tax rolls.
“We need to see if there are any suitable locations or buildings we can acquire for a grant or a reasonable price,” Burkholder said, adding that some of the empty buildings and lots could be marketed to oil-related businesses, if drilling activity begins on recently leased tracts of land 55 miles northwest of Pecos, in Culberson County.
“There used to be eight mud companies out here. Now we’ve got one,” Burkholder said. “I understand one leased property from the railroad, and if they start drilling in Culberson County there will be a lot of business.”
“There’s a considerable amount of property out there probably sitting on the foreclosure list,” Keese said. He asked Burkholder to talk to city and school tax assessor Lydia Prieto about the list of defaulted properties on the tax rolls, to see if any business locations could be donated to the PEDC.
“I would like to get a little target and smother it,” said board member Al Gomez. “Let’s go get that small place and work on it.”
Aside from what the PEDC and city can offer businesses, the board also talks about existing infrastructure, such as housing and local schools, which included a discussion about the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD’s recent decision to eliminate it’s enhanced program.
“One of the first things they’re going to look at when they walk in here is what the school is like,” Keese said. “Schools are a big issue, health care is a big issue … if we start attracting employers the housing will get built. The issue is how to you get people into the houses.”
“When I visit with executives, the first thing they do when they come to town is see if the school has a gifted and talented and an advanced program,” Burkholder said. “That’s because they all think their kids are special, and that struck a chord with me.”
In other action, Burkholder told the board that thanks to increases sales tax revenues in the city this year, the PEDC’s income is running about $16,500 ahead of expenditures. The PEDC gets 1/4-cent of the city’s 1 1/2-cent sales tax for operating expenses, and Burkholder said so far this year, it has received $96,500 in revenue while spending $80,000.
Overall, Burkholder said, “We’re considerably under budget on everything, except new recruitment,” where additional money has been spent in connection with getting the Smithers track site into presentable shape for visits by ARA and TTI officials. Most of the additional money spent was to Sun Electric at the site, to either repair or replace pumps and motors, some of which were damaged by bees.
“I raked all the honey and the muck out of the pump, but they still wouldn’t run,” Burkholder said, after a number of bee hives were cleared out of the area by fire marshal Jack Brookshire.
The PEDC also agreed to future sponsorship a program through the Office of Rural Community Affairs at the recommendation of board member Leo Hung. The program provides 50 percent of the funding through ORCA for student career training, with the goal of having those students return to their local communities to work.
Hung said the commitment was “equal to the number of years they go to school … if they’re approved for four years of medical school, they’re committed for four years.”
“The reason we didn’t wait for the board is we were on deadline,” said board member Jimmy Dutchover. The program was approved earlier by other local governing bodies in time to meet the filing deadline.
Hung said in the event of a default on the agreement, the state would be the ones in charge of collecting the money owed by the student. “There is no financial obligation,” Keese said. “It is a good program.”
PEDC officials expecting track to reopen soon
Activity at the former Smithers Automotive Testing Center east of Pecos may resume by sometime this summer, but the success of the new venture is not guaranteed, Pecos Economic Development Corp. members were told during their meeting last Thursday at the TransPecos Bank building.
The PEDC, Town of Pecos City Council and the Texas Transportation Foundation, a subsidiary of Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute, agreed to a 50-year lease agreement with a 50-year renewal option. Also signing the agreement was Applied Research Associates, which will put $2 million into rehabilitating the 42-year-old track, which was closed by Smithers in 2000 when they relocated operations to Laredo.
“We’ll probably get something out there in a matter of months or a matter of weeks after we get the lease signed,” said PEDC board chairman Joe Keese.
PEDC president Mike Burkholder was scheduled to be in Austin on Tuesday to meet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about securing an additional $2.5 million from the governor’s office for improving the facility, and an additional $12 million in federal funds is also being sought to update the track and infrastructure at the site.
Burkholder did say after a recent visit to the track, officials with the foundation and ARA were more optimistic about the amount of funds needed to operate the track.
“They dropped their per-day cost from $10,000 to $2,000, and they talked about moving some light manufacturing out there,” he said.
Burkholder told the board he didn’t know how many local jobs would be added at the track, but said the work to be done there would be more technical than when Smithers, Uniroyal or Armstrong Tire operated the track, and that specialists from TTI or ARA would be in and out of the facility.
“What they’re going to be doing there is not going to be like it was before,” Burkholder said. “ARA is hoping to bring some of the business they do out at their other sites here.”
“They may come into town and stay in the motel and eat in the restaurants, but as far as permanent employees they hire out there, it probably won’t be for a while,” he added.
“This is a new business venture, and TTI is taking a hell of a risk,” Burkholder said. “They’ve already invested a lot of money in this venture.”
“This is a new business. It may not go. If they’re not generating $2 million within the first two years, they may fold their tent,” he said.
He said one cost saving measure ARA is employing is to move their offices into an auxiliary building at the test track, as opposed to the larger main buildings. “Buildings that size make then extremely costly to cool and heat,” he said.
Under the terms of the lease, the PEDC receives a percentage of the income at the track over $2 million, with a maximum payment of $150,000. “The percentage of the revenues scale down as the revenues scale up,” Keese said. “If they get to the point where they hit $150,000 compensation, Pecos will be real happy.”
“If it doesn’t work out, they have the right to walk away,” he added. “But we’re not looking for revenue from this venture. We’re looking for jobs and people coming through town.”
Before the track actually goes back into operation, Burkholder said the site could be in use by A&M’s engineering department.
“The petroleum engineers already have made an agreement with TTI to move a rig out there that doesn’t leave a footprint, doesn’t leave a road or anything,” Burkholder said. The rig, which has been used in Alaska for drilling above the tundra, is designed for use on the Otero Plateau between Alamogordo and the Guadalupe Mountains in South Central new Mexico, where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is blocking oil and gas exploration for fear they will damage plants an trees on the federally-owned land.
“The rig is made out of aluminum in 12 modules, and the tires are extra wide so they don’t press down on anything,” he said.
“We’ve already started to receive outflow,” said Keese. “It’s very likely within a couple of weeks the petroleum engineering department will move their rig out there.
“There will be some permanent people out there, and they’re going to push everybody they can to come to Pecos,” he added.
The contract was reviews by Town of Pecos City Attorney Scott Johnson, and precautions were included to avoid affecting the underlying city water field, along with prohibitions against bringing hazardous materials permanently on site.
“They may have ARA testing a radiation spotting device. They have a device that can detect radiation in a truck going 60 mph, and to do that they would have to bring radioactive material on site. But once they testing is done it would have to be removed,” Burkholder said.
City balks at beer sale ordinance exemption
A request to allow alcohol sales at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse Barn this past Sunday was rejected by the Town of Pecos City Council during their meeting last Wednesday, though the council may take a later look at the ordinance banning Sunday beer sales outside of regular stores.
Council members had tabled action on the request by the sheriff’s posse to serve alcohol during two graduation parties scheduled for Sunday. Jerry Matta, with the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse, made the request during the May 12 meeting, but Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald. Tellez read the current city ordinance, which limits Sunday beer sales with the exception of the Sunday around the West of the Pecos Rodeo, and the Sundays at the end of December if they coincide with Christmas and New Year’s Day.
“I know these guys are trying to make a living, but my recommendation is to change the ordinance,” said city attorney Scott Johnson. Councilman Frank Sanchez said approving the exemption could lead to the council facing other Sunday exemption requests in the future.
“My personal opinion is we need to stay within the ordinance,” said Mayor Dot Stafford. “My recommendation is to deny this request unless there is a motion to broaden the ordinance to allow beer sales on Sunday.”
In other action on Wednesday, the council heard from Martin Arreguy, who has been hired by the city to supervise alley clean-up projects and other clean-up efforts that the city had planned to use Reeves County Detention Center workers on. Inmates from RCDC III did some clean-up projects earlier this year, but the work ended when the State of Arizona replaced its low-risk inmates at the prison with higher-risk inmates moved in from other prisons in Arizona.
“We’ve got about two-thirds of the alleys done,’ said Arreguy. “We’ve collected 117 tons of garbage just out of the alleys.”
Arreguy, who grew up in Pecos before going to work in California, said he would present the council with some other clean-up proposals at a future meeting.
“We have to clean the city up. We have to clean up the alleys. We have to clean up the lots,” he said. “Once we get that cleaned up, I believe we’ll see a better attitude.”
During public comments, the council heard a request from Rosalinda Blount to clarify the rules of the age of emancipation for teens. She said her 17-year-old son and another teen had gone off to live with another family, and while police say teens are considered adults in criminal cases at age 17, she didn’t believe 17-year-olds were considered legal adults, without a designation by a court.
“It’s a bit too late for mine, but sometime in the next year something could happen to another 17-year-old,” she told the council. Stafford told Blountt she should continue to talk to police chief Clay McKinney about the problem.
The council also cleared up some paperwork on a $217,000 Texas Community Development Board grant for the construction of two new water wells at South Worsham field.
“We got a letter from the state saying we were missing authorized signatures,” said city public works director Edgardo Madrid, and the council voted to add the signatures of Stafford and city finance director Sam Contreras to the grant forms.
Council votes to shut down rifle range
Town of Pecos City Council members voted on Wednesday to shut down the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Range, because of its proximity to Pecos Municipal Airport, while delaying any action on a request by the Trans-Pecos Weather Modification Program to have land rental fees waived for their operations on the northeast side of the airport.
The council voted to shut down the range after receiving a report from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, which had been asked by the city to review the situation after bullets were found near the hangars and on the taxiway at the airport.
“It confirms what we’ve been afraid of with the rifle range,” city attorney Scott Johnson said of the report. “It’s in a dangerous area and they feel it would be a safety violation.”
TxDOT oversees the airport for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the city was faced with a loss of funding if it did not follow the guidelines set down in the agency’s report.
“My recommendation based on that is we shut down the range completely,” Johnson said. “While nothing’s happened yet, the time to change it is before something happens.”
Pecos police were given land north of town by Roy Lindsey for a new rifle range. “It’s not usable yet, but in a situation we could use it,” said Police Chief Clay McKinney.
Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and guards at the Reeves County Detention Center also have used the range for training purposes. The sheriff’s department is building a range of their own, which will also be used by the RCDC staff, while City Manager Joseph Torres said he had informed Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club president Smokey Briggs about the TxDOT ruling.
While the rifle range will be moving away from the airport, Tom Nance with the Trans-Pecos Weather Modification Program told council members he would move the radar operations of the cloud seeding program away from there as well, if the city goes through with a recommendation by the Pecos Municipal Airport Board to charge a $650 annual fee for rental space at the facility.
“It’s not the $650 that’s unreasonable. We’re just trying to make Pecos better,” Nance said. “To charge anything at all to me is unreasonable.”
He said if the council accepts the Airport Board’s recommendation, “We’ll move it and set it up somewhere else.”
“The state statute states public property cannot be sold, leased or given away for less than fair market value,” said Airport Board President Bill Hubbs. However, Johnson said that while that is the state law, “You all establish what fair market value is.”
The weather modification program had been renting hangar space at the airport, but Nance said that was no longer needed after the February crash of one of the group’s two planes in Argentina, which left the pilot and another man dead. The second plane is back in Pecos, but not in the hangar, and Nance said no cloud seeding flights have been attempted while the group waits for telemetry equipment to be returned from Argentina.
Nance said the Doppler weather radar at the site “provides weather radar service to this area that’s superior to the National Weather Service,” which has its area Doppler radar at Midland International Airport. “We can recognize dangerous storms faster than the National Weather Service can.”
“If there’s a service they’re offering, it’s worth looking at another price,” said councilman Danny Rodriguez, while Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez said “We’re offering them security behind that high (airport) fence, Danny. They’re paying less than two bucks a day for that security.”
In the end, the council tabled the measure after councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela noted that the city’s $650 offer had not been taken up and a counteroffer formally made by members of the Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2, or the Ward County Water Irrigation District No. 1, the two local agencies funding the weather modification program. Nance said the items had not been taken up because the groups had not met since the original Airport Board proposal in late April.
“I would like to table this, because as I recall that was our motion the last time,” Valenzuela said. “I would just feel better if it was in a formal meeting and it was presented in a letter.”
In other action involving the airport, the council agreed to advertise for bids on oil and gas leases for city-owned land at the airport, after airport board member Mike Burkholder said it was possible the city could gain some extra money through the sale of those drilling rights, which were last offered up in the late 1970s.
“He’s been talking with some folks about the lease of municipal property, but the property must be bidded,” Johnson said. “It would be tied up for three years under this (lease) proposal, but I don’t see it does anything but benefit the city.”
“I may have found someone interested enough to ask me to get permission to bid,” said Burkholder, who is also the president of the Pecos Economic Development Corp. He said leases on the 1,600 acres of airport land would only be for oil and gas rights, and the city would receive a royalty if any wells drilled did go into production.
Early voting opens for school board election rerun
Early voting for the special tie-vote election between Billie Sadler and David Flores for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board will begin Wednesday, June 1, at the Pecos Community Center in Pecos.
The special tie-vote election was called after Sadler, the school board president, and Flores received the same number of votes following a recount. Sadler won in the initial ballot count by a three-vote margin, but the recount left both candidates tied with 404 votes.
Two three-year terms were up for election in the May 7 vote. Incumbent Paul Deishler won the other contested seat by a 140-vote margin.
Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., beginning Wednesday and ending on June 10.
The special tie-vote election will be held June 16, at the Pecos Community Center - 508 S. Oak; Barstow Community Center in Barstow; Multi-Purpose Center, Saragosa; Toyah Senior Center in Toyah.
Applications for ballots by mail must be received no later than the close of business on June 8.
Police issue warning over lottery scam
Pecos Police are warning citizens of two new scams that were brought to their attention by officials with the two local banks.
“The banks brought this to our attention,” said Pecos Police Department Capt. Kelly Davis.
Davis said that people are brining in checks to the banks, from Canada, Spain and International Lottery Companies.
“They tell the individual the check is made out to, that all they have to do is deposit the check and then wire them money so that they can transfer the winnings to their account,” said Davis.
Davis said that no lottery company is going to ask for money to transfer funds.
“And if you haven’t entered a lottery, then you know you certainly didn’t win anything,” said Davis.
“It’s a scam,” said Davis. “People should not wire money anywhere.”.
Davis said that if anybody is in doubt, they should contact the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911 or the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office at 445-4901.
Davis said that people will also get on the phone and say that they are working for a local bank. “They will then say that they are having trouble with their accounts or their computers and ask for the person’s account number and social security number,” said Davis.
Davis said that private information such as that should never be related over the phone. “Banks have a policy that they will not contact individuals over the phone and not ask for this information,” said Davis. “They won’t ask for I.D. like that over the phone.”
Davis said that the lottery companies are suggesting that the individuals who won the lottery transfer different funds.
“We’ve already had one individual here in Pecos who wired some money to them,” said Davis. “And there’s no way to recoup that money,” he said.
Davis said that the individual was asked to wire $2,500. “That was probably his life savings,” said Davis.
Scams like this can also be found on the Internet and should be treated likewise. “They’re just scams also,” said Davis.
‘Golden Girl’ named PHS valedictorian
A ‘golden girl’ delivered the valedictorian speech for her graduating class this past Friday at the Pecos High School New Gym.
Amie Lee Reynolds, who was crowned Golden Girl of the Old West last June, was named Valedictorian for the Class of 2005, while two PHS seniors shared the title of salutatorian for this year’s graduation.
Graduation was held Friday night in both Pecos and Balmorhea for the Classes of 2005. The Balmorhea graduation was held as scheduled in the old Balmorhea ISD gym, while the PHS graduation was moved into the new gym after a severe thunderstorm blew through the area just over two hours prior to the start of the graduation ceremony.
“This year’s valedictorian has been an exceptional asset to both our school and in the community of Pecos,” said PHS Assistant Principal Jim Workman. “Excelling in the classroom as well as in athletics, she has always set her mind on the well-being and betterment of each task at hand,” he said.
Reynolds was captain of the Varsity Swim Team, lettered all four years and received the honors of All-District, All-Region and All-State.
This year, she had the honor of being named an Academic All-American in swimming.
Over her high school career, she received Outstanding Student Awards in Enriched U.S. History, Latin 2 and 3 and was a recipient of the University of Rochester Humanities and Social Sciences Award.
She was a member of the Latin Club for three years and of the National Honor Society for two. She is an active member of the Church of Christ and has participated in various community activities including Red Cross Blood Drives, Reeves County Health Fairs and elementary school Reading Carnivals.
“Even with such a busy schedule, she was still able to attend the local campus of Odessa College and will have successfully completed 30 college hours by the end of this next month,” said Workman.
Upon graduating from Pecos High School, she plans to begin her sophomore year at the University of Texas in Austin, where she will major in Psychology. She then plans to follow in her father’s footsteps and continue her studies through law school.
“She promises to become a distinguished, yet respectably feared in the courtroom,” said Workman.
Reynolds is the daughter of Lisa and 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds.
In her valedictorian speech, Miss Reynolds said, “I would like to express a quick note of thanks to my family and to the faculty of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District for instilling in me the drive and determination needed to take on the challenges of life. And to my mother for making me the person I am today. I thank you all,” she said.
“Society has the tendency to force expectations on those it believes should reach a certain point of success in life. And, in an attempt to rise up to these societal standards, the common man is left with an overwhelming sense of failure. He resorts to mediocrity and falls into the shadows of those who went before him. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not potential he lacked, but boldness and balance. Boldness allows one to overcome doubt and reconstruct the gaps that have been placed on their bride to success. Balance means weighing and measuring your priorities to put together a life that fulfills you on your own terms, rather than society’s expectations of you.
“Today’s world offers a great number of paths to follow, of which, if taken, already illustrate the outcome from those who have traveled it before. In your search for success, the future should remain hazy due to the fact that if you are locked too rigidly into a plan, you would be unable to deal with sudden shifts of fortune. In any event, you must always be prepared to adjust and to alter. You must be flexible. And though success seems as easy as all of this, people tend to get lazy and to take advantage of the opportunities for personal expansion that life deals them. Obviously, the only true way for one to feel that inner satisfaction of triumph over one’s desires it to set the bar high and, even then, surpass it.”
“So as I stand before tonight, I ask the Class of 2005, and those yet to come, not to simply begin this next chapter of your life, but to finish it. Strive for adventure, take the road less traveled, and remember ; you lead life, it doesn’t lead you,” said Reynolds.
The two salutatorians for the class of 2005 were Ashley Elizabeth Horsburgh and Jummy Akinyode.
“This year’s co-salutatorian has proven valuable in all areas of her high school career at Pecos High School,” said Workman. “Not only has she been a member of the National Honor Society for two years, but she has held the position of Vice President as well,” he said.
Horsburgh is an active member of both the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission and of the First United Methodist Church Youth Group.
She has participated in FFA for four years, competing in leadership and career development events and has been involved on the state level numerous times. Also over the past four years, she also has been the recipient of four outstanding student awards in Agricultural Studies.
Aside from her scholastic achievements, she was also a captain on the Pecos High School Swim Team where she lettered three years. She also received All-District, All-Region, and All-State honors and this year was named Academic All-American for swimming.
In addition to swimming and regular high school course load, she has also found time to participate in college courses at the Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College. She will have successfully completed 26 college hours by the end of this next month, according to Workman.
Upon graduation, she will attend Texas Tech University and major in Pre-Med and minor in business. Following her undergraduate studies, she plans to further her education in medical school.
“In hopes of leaving you with some lasting words, I have chosen a quote by Walt Disney: ‘If you can dream it, you can do it,’ said Horsburgh.”
“Everyone sitting here before me has his or her own special talents, goals and dreams. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there with the same high school diploma that you have; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living,” said Horsburgh.
“But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. So use your talents, set your goals, and live your dreams. But while doing so don’t forget to live your life. Think about this: even if you win the rate race, you are still a rat. Many of you have dreamed of the time this day would arrive, and here you are fulfilling that dream. When we think of graduation from high school, we sometimes envision the end of the road. In some ways it is. But try to think of it as a crossroad, a milestone, not the end, but the beginning.”
In Balmorhea, valedictorian James Tarin and salutatorian JoGina Gallego both thanked God, their family and friends during their speeches to those gathered for the 2005 high school graduation. They also heard from Teri Baragan, who was the guest speaker for the graduation ceremony and who had been the teacher for this year’s group of seniors when they entered school 12 years ago.
She read some of the papers written by the seniors from when they were in her class in 1993, and told them, “Whatever endeavor you pursue in life, remember, I always wish you the best. If you can believe it and you can see it, you can achieve it.”
Awards were given out to a number of Balmorhea students as part of the ceremony, including scholarship awards to the Class of 2005.
Tarin received the University of Texas-Arlington scholarship and the TEA-Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, Gallego was given the Jerry Ray Mendoza Scholarship and both received the Balmorhea BPA Scholarship, along with Lorissa Rodriguez. She also received the West Texas National Bank Scholarship and a scholarship from Clarendon College, while other awards included the Floyd Estrada Scholarship, which went to Amanda Guebara and Santana Lopez; the Pecos Downtown Lions Club Scholarship, which went to Amanda Rosas; the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Office Scholarship, which went to Stephanie Rivas; the C.T. Gray Scholarship, which went to Ismael Rodriguez, the Car Scholarship, which went to Carlos Baeza; Panhandle plains Scholarship, which went to Robert Vasquez; and the Texas High School Rodeo Association Scholarship, which went to both Vasquez and Levon Barrgan.
The district also introduced the Balmorhea Senior Scholarship this year, which went to Vasquez, Barrgan, Gallego, and Carlos and Juan Baeza. “Our goal is to give every senior a scholarship,” said Balmorhea ISD superintendent Mary Lou Carrasco.
Exit level TAKS retest scheduled
The exit level TAKS Test for 11th graders will be held on July 12 - English and Language Arts; July 13- Math; July 14- Social Studies and July 15- Science.
Students testing need to report to the Pecos High School Library at 8 a.m.
Study guides for all high school students who did not pass a section on the TAKS Test.
If any student did not meet the standard on one or more of the TAKS tests, a study guide has been provided for your child free of charge. The study guides may be picked up at the counselor’s office during May 23-June 10.
The study guides are provided for students in grades 9-12.
Students who plan to take concurrent classes:
Student who are scheduled to take concurrent classes during the 2005-2006 school year need to come by the counselor’s office during June 1-10 to determine if they are exempted from the THEA. The THEA test must be taken before enrolling in concurrent courses unless the student is exempt due to TAKS scores, which needs to be verified by a PHS counselor.
TAAS Testing will be held at the PHS Library at 8 a.m., on July 12- Writing; July 13- Math and July 14, Reading.
Out of school students who plan to take the TAAS test need to pre-register for the TAAS test. Registration forms must be received in Austin, no later than 5 p.m., June 10.
Registration packets are available at the PHS counselor’s office or may be completed online at .
PBT sets federal program title meeting
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will have a Federal Program Title Meeting on Tuesday, June 7.
This meeting will be held at 2 p.m., at the Technology Center.
Teachers, parents, community are all invited to attend this meeting.
For more information, contact: Juanita C. Davila, Curriculum/Special Programs Director at 447-7263.
Boicourt recognized by national scholars
The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) announced that Pecos High School student Tiffany Y. Boicourt from Pecos, has been selected for membership. The Society recognizes the top scholars in the nation and invites only those students who have achieved superior academic excellence. The announcement was made by NSHSS Founder and Chairman Claes Nobel, senior member of the Nobel Prize family.
“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and commitment that Tiffany has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” said Mr. Nobel. “Tiffany is now a member of a unique community of scholars - a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”
“Our vision is to build a dynamic international organization that connects members with meaningful content, resources, and opportunities,” said NSHSS President James Lewis. “We aim to help students like Tiffany build on their academic successes and enhance the skills and desires to have a positive impact on the global community.”
Membership in NSHSS entitles qualified students to enjoy a wide variety of benefits, including scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, free events, member-only resources, publications, participation in programs offered by educational partners, online forums, personalized recognition items, and publicity honors.
Formed in 2002, The National Society of High School Scholars recognizes academic excellence at the high school level and encourages members of the organization to apply their unique talents, vision, and potential for the betterment of themselves and the world. Currently, there are more than 150,000 Society members, representing 15,000 high schools in nearly 20 countries. NSHSS advocates for scholarship opportunities for deserving young people and has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships since its inception just two yeas ago.
Rodriguez ends Basic Training
PV2 April C. Rodriguez, of Pecos, completed Basic Training, in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on March 12.
Rodriguez also completed Police Training on May 19 and will be stationed in Germany.
She is a 2002 graduate of Pecos High School.
Rodriguez is the daughter of Maria Feliz Maldonado and the late Vicente Maldonado, of Pecos.
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