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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, January 6, 2006

Former Iraan superintendent takes on interim job

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is receiving help from an interim superintendent whose most recent position wasn’t far from Pecos, as they search for a full-time person for the position. Bob McCall, originally from Llano County, and a retired superintendent from Iraan ISD is serving as interim superintendent at P-B-T ISD, following the resignation of Ray Matthews. Matthews who began serving as superintendent in July of 2004, resigned at the end of December to take the superintendent job at Marlin ISD, located near Waco.

“I’m originally from the hill country, served as superintendent of Iraan for 11 years and at Brackett ISD for 9 1/2 years,” said McCall.

McCall said he retired almost three years ago and most recently had served as interim superintendent in Fort Stockton.

“I’ll be here until they complete their search for a new superintendent,” said McCall. “I haven’t met with the board yet, but that is something that I plan to do,” he said.

McCall said that he met the principals on his first day on the job, which was Wednesday and plans are to hold an administrator’s meeting.

“I have been visiting with Mr. Matthews and plan to meet with everyone to discuss the search for a new superintendent,” said McCall.

His first day on the job came one day after board members voted not to renew the contract of athletic director and head football coach Patrick Willis. McCall said he does not know yet if he will take part in the process of choosing a new athletic director, but that the position has been posted.

“I assume I will be part of that process of choosing a new athletic director and take an active role,” said McCall.

“This is my second day and I’m getting to meet with everyone,” he said.

McCall said that a meeting is scheduled this evening to discuss what the community wants from the new superintendent.

“A TASB official will be on hand as they profile what they want out of the new superintendent,” said McCall.

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) representatives were also hired the last time there was a search for a new superintendent and have been retained once more for this process.

“The board will look at some of that as well as the community impact,” said McCall. McCall said that TASB has been meeting with students, principals and staff throughout the day.

“It’s a pleasure to be in Pecos, I’ve been through here many times,” said McCall. “I was on a jury here and my wife served on a federal jury, so we’ve made the trip to Pecos several times.”

P-B-T board votes to remove Willis

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members opted not to renew the contract of P-B-T Athletic Director Patrick Willis, while taking no action on a principal’s contract and renewing several other administrator’s contracts during a special meeting on Tuesday in the Technology Center.

Board members met behind closed doors to discuss the contracts, as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, 551.101 et. seq., to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, assignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of a public office or employee. Following the executive session, the board reconveined in open session and opted not to renew the contract of Willis.

Willis, who had a 5-25 record over the past three seasons, had been the topic of several school board meetings in which community members voiced their opinion about the athletic director.

In the December regular school board meeting, he addressed those concerns and said that he was in no way going to politic for the job or any other job, and that this was not a plea to keep his job.

At that time, Willis said, “If everyone can honestly say that they have been objective about the situation, that I have truly been judged in a fair and law abiding way, and this is truly what the majority of the people whom you represent feel, then I will ride out into the sunset with my dignity intact, knowing that I did right by the athletes of Pecos. However, I don’t feel this is the case and I hope the people of Pecos seek the truth, the whole truth, and ask all the questions that need to be asked.”

The board vote on Tuesday was 5-1, with one abstention, on the renewal of the contract. Board member Paul Deishler made the motion not to renew the contract; Bubba Williams seconded the motion; with all those in favor of the motion, Lila Cerna, David Flores and Crissy Martinez.

Voting against the motion was Steve Valenzuela and board member Amy Miller abstained. Board members voted to renew the one-year contracts on the following certified personnel: Juanita Davila-Special Programs/Curriculum Director; Donna Davis-Special Education Director; Robert Garrett-Pecos Kindergarten Principal; Cindy Duke-Austin Elementary School Principal; Victor Tarin-Crockett Middle School Principal; Steve Lucas-Pecos High School Principal; Jim Workman-Pecos High School Assistant Principal and there was no action taken on the John Fabela-Bessie Haynes Elementary School Principal.

The group approved one-year contracts for the following non-certified personnel: Cookie Canon-finance director; Jodi Exum-technology coordinator; Joe Coody-maintenance director; Lydia Prieto-tax-assessor collector and Louis Villalobos-food services director.

Coach seeks fuller explanation of reason behind non-renewal

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD athletic director and head football coach Patrick Willis said he accepts the decision by the district’s school board not to renew his contract. But he would like board members to formally give him a reason for their Tuesday night vote not t extend his contract after three years.

“They’re the voice of the people. If they’re the voice of the people who the people elected, and if they don’t want me here, I guess I shouldn’t be here,” said Willis on Wednesday, while adding he’d like a fuller explanation of the board’s decision.

Board members met in executive session on Tuesday, and then voted 5-1 with one abstention not to extend Willis’ contract.

“They said they don’t have to give me a legitimate reason,” he said; due to his administrator’s contract status. “I heard they’re saying it’s the public that wants me out, but I don’t see it as much as they’re saying.”

Willis took over a 1-8 team from Fred Carter and went 3-7 in 2003. But the Eagles slipped back to one-win seasons in both 2004 and 2005.

“We didn’t win as many games as I planned, but they said that couldn’t be the reason why they didn’t want me on,” he said.

As far as the other athletic programs go, Willis said, “I think by the end of the year we’ll see improvement in the basketball program, and in others like track. The coaches I’ve hired haven’t had a chance yet to show what they can do, but they’ll get their programs turned around.”

He said he talked with his players following Tuesday’s vote by the school board not to renew his contract.

“I told the football kids to keep working and get after it,” he said. “I told them you don’t play for a coach, you play for a town and for your teammates.

“I told them the best way they could honor me is to go back to and bust their tails and work hard to show the last three years haven’t been wasted,” Willis said.

Aside from the football team’s record, Willis has sought to expand the time P-B-T coaches have to work with their players. During a school board meeting in December, he read a statement to the board both defending his work and listing some changes the district needs to make to improve the athletic program’s results in future years.

“We are the only school in our district (probably in West Texas) that does not allow our middle school coaches to have two athletic periods or our offensive and defensive coordinators, head volleyball, and head basketball coaches to have a junior high athletic period” Willis told the board last month. “I can’t do it all by myself. Thus, those coaches are not allowed to oversee the development of their feeder programs.

“Questions were raised, ‘Why do we win at the junior high level and lose at the high school.’ You can win on talent alone in the lower levels. However, if you are not being taught fundamentals. The programs that are teaching them will gradually catch you. It has been that the district can’t afford to allow another athletic period for coaches. It doesn’t cost anything. It will only make a few classes increase their sizes by two or three students,” Willis said.

Whoever takes over the football program will likely have a much easier road in district play next season. The bi-annual UIL realignment due out at the end of the month is expected to move Pecos back into an El Paso-based district for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Pecos went 15-5 in their four years as a member of the El Paso-based District 2-4A from 1998 to 2001, making the playoffs each of those years, but failed to win a playoff game and have dropped 24 straight district games playing against Permian Basin area schools, starting in 1997 under Mike Belew and continuing for the past four seasons under Carter and Willis as a member of Districts 4-3A and 3-3A.

Fabens and Clint, two members of District 2-4A along with Pecos, are expected to be part of the new 3A district, along with Anthony and Tornillo, two schools currently in Class 2A who are petitioning to play at the 3A level for the next two years. Fort Stockton, Presidio and possibly Monahans are the other schools along with Pecos that are expected to be included in the new District 1-3A.

Willis, a Monahans High School graduate, came to Pecos after serving as an assistant coach under Randy Quisenberry, then head coach at Abilene High and now head coach at Midland Lee High School. Willis said for next year, he’s already looking for a new coaching job. “I’ve got some leads. I think there are enough people out there who know I did a good job and worked hard for the kids,” he said. “I won’t have a problem getting a decent job.”

TxDOT battles area landscape, sign vandalism

Texas Department of Transportation officials are seeking information into the vandalism of highway signs on three Farm-to-Market roads in the Pecos area, along with the theft of landscaping from a roadside park south of Monahans.

According to TxDOT, vandals have been shooting up signs on three rural highways - Farm to Market Road 2119, Farm to Market Road 3398, and Farm to Market Road 1216. FM 2119 is located northwest of the city to the former Freeport McMoRan sulphur mine, FM 3398 runs south of the Lindsey Addition and FM 1216 runs north of Pecos towards Sullivan Bridge and 16-Mile Dam.

Pecos Maintenance Supervisor Larry Levario said that signs are valued at between $150-$200.

“When a sign is deliberately damaged, however, the cost can be more than a dollar amount,” said Levario. “All signs are there for a reason and when a stop sign is damaged, it can create a real safety problem.

“We are always concerned when road signs are vandalized, but more because of the hazard it can create for drivers than the amount it costs to replace them,” said Levario. “If you see anyone shooting a sign, we want you to call the TxDOT office or your County Sheriff’s office.”

According to state law, tampering with a roadway warning device, such as a highway sign, carries a penalty of not less than $25 or more than $1,000, or up to a two-year jail sentence, or both the fine and jail time. However, much stiffer penalties have been handed down in cases where sign vandalism has resulted in serious injury or death.

“They may think it is just a harmless prank, but tampering or removing any roadway sign can have tragic results,” said Levario. “People can get killed.”

The landscape vandalism in Ward County was on State Highway 18, at a picnic area midway between Monahans and Grandfalls-Royalty.

Laurie Williams, TxDOT’s landscape architect, said that 19 native plants valued at nearly $1,000 -all part of a picnic area renovation last summer- have been reported stolen from the rest area since late October. The plants, valued at $45 each, include 14 Purple Sages and five Birds of Paradise.

The thefts were reported to the Ward County Sheriff’s office on Oct. 24, when thieves took 11 plants; again on Nov. 29, when 6 more sages were taken, and most recently on Jan. 2, after two bird of paradise plants were uprooted and taken from the site.

TxDOT plans to activate a camera at the rest area to combat the thefts, according to Williams.

“And we would welcome any information that might lead to the recovery of the plants already taken and the arrest of anyone responsible for taking them,” she said.

Renteria seeking open county judge’s position

A long-time Pecos resident has announced her candidacy for the office of Reeves County Judge and is asking the community’s help in achieving her goals.

Grace Jaso Renteria has filed to run in the March Primary Elections. She is one of five candidates in the March 7 Democratic primary seeking to replace Jimmy Galindo. Al Gomez, Sam Contreras, Bernardo Martinez and Israel Campos are the others entered in the race.

Renteria is the daughter of Enrique and Carmen Jaso. “My husband, Raul Renteria, and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and we have two wonderful children, Augustina and Angelica,” said Renteria. “ We are all longtime residents of Reeves County and we care about the future of Pecos and Reeves County as a whole, which brings me to the following.

“As you are well aware, it is almost time to exercise one of our most prized privileges, the right to vote. Although, voting is a privilege bestowed upon the citizens of our great country, the United States of America. Great responsibility accompanies this privilege. Therefore, we must each base our choices on sound judgment and the greater good of Reeves County. In lieu of basing our choices on friendships, this election I sincerely hope we all seriously consider the impact our decisions will have on the future of Reeves County,” according to Renteria.

“I, as many of you, have been a resident of Pecos, for many years. We have all seen our community and county through prosperous and difficult times. However, many of us continue to call Pecos, and Reeves County, our home and we will continue to do so.

Personally, I plan to be a resident of Pecos for the remainder of my life,” said Renteria. “Thus, I hope to do everything possible to help Reeves County prosper, not only for our future, but for the future of our children and grandchildren as well. So, I have made a difficult decision and I have decided to become a candidate for Reeves County Judge,” she said.

Renteria said her decision is based on numerous years of experience as an employee of Reeves County, specifically the Reeves County Detention Center. “During my tenure at the detention center, I held various positions which enabled me to gain experience in both the financial aspects and day-to-day activities of the facility. In addition, I have attained an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice,” said Renteria. “You may ask how this would make me a qualified candidate for Reeves County Judge. Well, most of the revenue for Reeves County is based on the success of the Reeves County Detention Center,” she said.

Therefore, my experience would enable myself and the commissioners of Reeves County to make sound decisions in regard to changes or plans concerning the facility, which would ultimately contribute to the overall success of Reeves County, according to Renteria.

“I realize the duties of Reeves County Judge encompass much more than decisions in regard to the Reeves County Detention Center. However, I believe you, the citizens of Reeves County, should have a major impact on decisions of Commissioners Court,” said Renteria.

“Therefore, I intend to listen to the opinions and advice of all citizens especially in matters that I am not familiar with. In return, I will make a decision based on the facts and overall good of our county,” she said.

“I would like to thank each of you in advance for your support, and I urge everyone to exercise your right to vote,” said Renteria. “Please remember your vote could impact the future of Reeves County and the future of our children,” she said.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers

Crime of the week

In the month of December, 2005 the Christmas decorations at the city park in Balmorhea, Texas were vandalized and some were destroyed. Then on Thursday, December, 22, 2005, the Library in Balmorhea, Texas was shot approximately 13 times with bright pink paint balls. Later that same day four windows were shot out of the Balmorhea Library with a “BB” or pellet gun. If you have any information concerning these crimes or any other crimes please call Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers at 445-9898. As always you will remain anonymous and your tips could be worth up to a one thousand dollar reward upon arrest and conviction. There is no caller I.D. on this line. Thank you.

Police Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.

*** Raul Barrera, 37, and Ashley Martinez, 21, both of1523 Cowan St., were arrested by police on Dec. 31 on warrants charging them with possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said the arrests were made at 10:32 a.m. when both subjects were spotted in the 600 block of South Mesquite Street. They were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

*** Omar Medina, 39, 2029 S. Ivey St., was arrested by police on Jan. 3 for driving with an invalid license. Police said the arrest took place at 10:20 p.m. following a traffic stop in the 500 block of South Cedar Street, after Medina reportedly was speeding in the 800 block of South Cedar.

*** Queston Barton, 28, 902 E Ninth St., was arrested by police on Jan. 1 on warrants charging him with failure to appear on a DWI charge and parole violation. The arrest took place at 4:27 a.m. in the 900 block of East Ninth, and the warrants were issued by Gaines County and the Austin Parole Division.

*** Armida Salgado Rodriguez, 45, 2311 Sandia Rd., was arrested on Dec. 31 on a warrant out of Andrews County charging her with theft by check, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 7:59 p.m. following a traffic stop in the 900 block of West Fifth Street.

*** Erek Randall Brown, 25, and Diona Rae Walker, 23, both of 403 S. Sycamore St., were arrested by police on Jan. 1 on a charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrests took place at 2:23 a.m. in the 900 block of East Ninth Street, after officers received a report of a man with a gun in a vehicle and made a traffic stop on a vehicle matching the description. Both Brown and Walker were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center following their arrests.

*** Diana Rodriguez Caudillo, 37, 620 W. 10th St., was arrested on Dec. 28 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at 2:51 p.m. in the 5000 block of South Cedar Street.

*** Rodolfo C. Renteria, 34, 204 S. Walnut St., was arrested by police on Dec. 30 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 600 block of East Fourth Street.

*** Angela Tarin, 19, 2308 Cactus St., was arrested by police on Dec. 31 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 2300 block of Cactus Street.

*** Daniel Spivey, 18, 2409 S. Eddy St., was arrested by police on Dec. 31 and charged with public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place in the 2300 block of Cactus Street.

*** Jacob Navarrette Corralez, 19, 1816 Mimosa St., and John Jacob Jaramillo, 17, 1803 W. Fifth St., were arrested by police on Dec. 29 on a charge of drag racing. Police said the arrest took place at 11:30 p.m. when cars officers said were driven by Corralez and Jaramillo were seen drag racing from the 800 block to the 2200 block of South Eddy Street. Both drivers were placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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

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