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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

City mulls cut in Barstow water rate hike

Staff Writer

Pecos City Council members agreed on Thursday to temporarily cut 30 cents off the new water rate for the city of Barstow, pending discussions on a permanent rate for water sales to the city.

Council members agreed to a recommendation by city attorney Scott Johnson to cut Barstow’s rate from $2.80 to $2.50, and make the cut retroactive to the bill just received by the city, their first under the new water rates.

Pecos’ water rates were raised by the council in December, to both pay for state-mandated water and sewer projects and to prepare for the assumption of the repayment of a state loan to fund the city’s new South Worsham Field, which the city will take over from Reeves County in 2011. Under the new plan, average in-town water rates, based on 7,500 gallons monthly usage for residential customers will rise from $15.74 to $27.35, while families using 10,000 gallons of water a month will see their rates jump from $20.21 to $33.80.

Ward County Commissioner for Precinct 1, Julian Florez, spoke for the city of Barstow in asking council members to consider lowering the new rate from $2.80 to the rate commercial customers in Pecos will pay.

“We would appreciate it if you would at least give us the commercial rate given within the city limits,” Florez said. That rate would be $2.33 for the first 1000 gallons, while Barstow had been paying $1.57 for the first 1000 gallons under the past agreement.

Florez also said Pecos was late in sending out information on the new rates, and city finance director Sam Contreras did apologize to Barstow officials at the meeting for failing to send out details on the new rates until this month.

City manager Joseph Torres said he had appeared before the council in Barstow last year and told them about the impending increases, though the exact rates were not known at that time.

Barstow city secretary Jo Allgood said the new bill for January had come in at $6,000, double the past bills, and she had delayed paying it in hopes that a deal could be worked out.

She added that the city has 167 customers, all but one residential, while Florez said about half that total are senior citizens. Rates in Barstow are $10 for between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of water, and $3 for each 1,000 gallons after that.

“That’s the only revenue we get,” Allgood said, noting that the funds help support the general fund for Barstow, which collects no ad valorem taxes.

Councilman Frank Sanchez noted that Barstow provides maintenance on its lines from Pecos to the city, and said that should be a factor in considering any reduction in the rate hike

“You all accepted the rates. You all can change them. It’s your call,” Johnson said. “It’s really a legislative situation … and something you all have to consider, looking at the big picture.”

Johnson then recommended lowing the rate by 30 cents a gallon, and Sanchez made the motion to do so, until further study by the Pecos City Council and negotiations with Barstow on a permanent rate.

Eagles foul shooting, defense rips Jackets

Staff Writer

The Pecos Eagles made few shots from the field Friday night, and missed a lot of opportunities from the foul line in the first half of their game Friday night against the Kermit Yellowjackets.

The Eagles missed eight more shots from the foul line than Kermit and were down by eight points at halftime, after also managing just two field goals in the first 16 minutes of play.

But Pecos would get even more opportunities from the line in the second half, and this time, they were able to capitalize, while ending a seven game losing streak in the process.

Pecos, 7-for-16 from the foul line in the first half, went 19-for-23 from the line in the final two quarters. Combined with some strong inside defense and foul problems by the Yellowjackets, they were able to wipe out the halftime deficit after a low-scoring three quarters, and then stay ahead of Kermit from the foul line over the last five minutes of play for a 45-40 non-district victory.

“I’m just proud of these kids. You could tell tonight they were having fun,” said Eagles’ coach Art Wellborn, who had to juggle his lineup going into the game after forward Bosh Richardson underwent foot surgery following last Tuesday’s loss in Presidio.

Francisco Ornelas was brought up from the junior varsity to replace Richardson, and scored only one point, but made a couple of defensive plays, including one late in the third period that ended with Kermit’s Brock Kimball being whistled for a technical foul.

“Bringing Pops (Ornelas) up gave us some extra intensity we didn’t have before,” Wellborn said.

Luis Licon ended up shooting four foul shots after the technical, hitting three, which gave Pecos a 22-21 lead entering the final quarter. Kimball and Tim Michaelis both were plagued by fouls and ended up fouling out, which negated the Jackets’ slight height advantage. But even when both were in the game, Kermit did more of their damage from outside the 3-point line, while Pecos’ points were mainly at the foul line.

The Eagles, who were on the wrong end of a foul-filled game earlier this month at home against Kermit, managed only nine field goals on the night, but their 18-point advantage from the foul line allowed them to avenge an 18-point loss to open the season at Kermit, and overcome six 3-point baskets by the Jackets in the game.

That included two by Kimball in the first period, which were part of a 10-0 run by Kermit after the Eagles had started off with a 5-0 lead. Pecos had several chances to score, but missed both lay-ups and from the foul line, while the Jackets hit four of their five free throws in the first two periods and led at halftime, 19-11.

But after Pecos’ scoring woes in the opening period, Kermit could manage just a rebound basket by Tyler Williams late in the third quarter. It put the Jackets up by five, but a 3-point shot by Josh Anchondo - his only basket and the Eagles’ only 3-pointer of the night - followed by the foul and technical foul call on Kimball, allowed Pecos to end the period with a 6-0 run.

Lupito Bustamantes gave the Eagles a 24-21 lead to open the final period, But Lance Thompson would answer with a game-tying 3-pointer, and would hit another a short time later to tie the game at 27-all. Pecos would take the lead for good at 30-29 on a Jeremiah Jurado free throw with 5:24 remaining, but would never lead by more than four until the final seconds of play.

Austin Grubbs would keep Kermit close with a series of foul shots, though the Jackets missed several free throws that would have allowed them to tie the game. After Josh Anchondo put the Eagles up by four with two foul shots, Grubbs hit a 3-pointer with 15.4 seconds left to make it a 41-40 game, and pressure on defense then caused Licon to be called for traveling a few seconds later.

But Williams would then miss on a 3-point try, and Licon was fouled with seven seconds remaining. He hit both foul shots to make it 43-40, and when Bustamantes fouled Williams with 3.5 seconds to play, he ended up missing both his foul shots. The second was an intentional miss, but Anchondo would get the rebound, and sank his final two free throws of the night, after Cedric Hill was called for a technical foul with under a second remaining. “They had trouble getting open shots on us all night long,” said Wellborn. “They ran 25 seconds off the clock before he (Grubbs) hit that 3.”

Bustamantes led Pecos with 16 points before fouling out, while Anchondo had 14 despite only hitting the one basket in the game. Kimball’s 14 points led Kermit in scoring. The win improved Pecos’ season record to 3-17 going into their Tuesday night home game against Greenwood. The Rangers outscored the Eagles 54-26 in the middle periods of their first meeting on Jan. 6, on the way to a 74-48 victory.

Pecos’ girls were off on Friday, but will return to action against Greenwood on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The girls also broke a losing streak in their last game, beating Presidio a week ago by a 50-43 final score. They lost at Greenwood on Jan. 6 by a 45-33 margin.

Coach Lisa Lowery said the game would also be “Parent’s Night” for the girls, who have only a trip to Lamesa and a home game against Seminole left on their 2005-06 schedule after Tuesday night.

Eagles claim boys swim title, girls 2nd

Staff Writer

Chances are that next season, the Pecos Eagles will be bringing back-up timing equipment to the District 3-4A Swimming and Diving Championships.

A problem with the equipment Saturday afternoon in Big Spring caused a 90 minute delay in the finals of the district meet as and may have cost Pecos’ girls a chance at a sixth straight 3-4A title.

Pecos lost out by three points to Andrews for first place and a shot at their 14th district title in the last 16 years, while the boys defeated the Mustangs by 16 points to claim their ninth straight title and 15th in the past 17 years, in the meet at the Big Spring YMCA pool.

The Eagles were one of four teams to get off to a slow start in the 200-yard medley relay, the first race of the day, due to a double tone on the start signal, similar to a false start tone. Andrews ended up catching both Pecos and Monahans at the finish, to win the race with a 2:11.66 time, to 2:11.87 for the Eagles and 2:11.88 for the Loboes. Then when the same double tone sounded at the start of the boys 200 medley relay, the meet was halted until the faulty starting system could be repaired.

In-between, Eagles’ coach Terri Morse filed a protest over the girls race, which came after the meet’s start had been delayed by 15 minutes over a question on the status of Big Spring’s boys team, which had used an ineligible swimmer in Friday’s preliminaries. The Steers were allowed to compete in the finals, pending a ruling by the University Interscholastic League, and Morse later opted to drop the protest, even though the result ended up helping Andrews win its first district swim title since 1989, by an 81-78 margin over the Eagles.

“They beat us by three and it was the relay that made the difference, but my girls gave it a good try,” said Morse, who ended up winning honors as Coach of the Year on both the boys and girls’ sides, despite the girls’ second place finish. “Second is nothing to hang your head over. When this started, there was no way I thought we’d do even that good.” Pecos graduated six seniors last year, and had only two seniors on this year’s squad, Lindsey Shaw and Ashley Mendoza, who won both their individual races. They also teamed with Neyva Rodriguez and Cassandra Mata to win the 400-yard freestyle to close out the meet, after the same four had placed second in the medley relay.

Mendoza took first in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle races, while Shaw won the 200 individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. Mendoza had a 2:17.19 time to win the 200 free by four seconds over Andrews’ Erica Elliott, while taking the 500 free with a 6:03.46 time, 33 seconds ahead of teammate Cynthia Marmolejo. Shaw’s 1:07.75 time in the 1100 backstroke was almost five seconds ahead of Monahans’ Catherine Cutbirth, while her 2:26.23 in the medley was seven seconds ahead of Big Spring’s Lauren Sage.

Mata earned second behind Sage in the 100-yard butterfly, and was third in the 100-yard backstroke. Pecos’ other medal was a third by freshman Niki Lindemann in the 200 freestyle. She also placed sixth in the 100 fly, while Rodriguez was fourth in the 100 yard freestyle and the girls 200-yard freestyle relay of Marmolejo, Lindemann, Rodriguez and Stephanie Lucas placed fifth.

“I’m probably more proud of these girls getting second than any other team,” Morse said. “They had so much heart, with some of the girls swimming for their first year, and they came through as a team.

“Everybody counted us out because we only had seven swimmers out, but Niki Lindemann made it in the finals in both her events and then moved up in the 200 free and Neyva qualified in her event,” Morse said.

The boys were trailing Andrews by a point going into the final three races of the day, but won thanks to their victory in the 400-yard freestyle and a sweep of the top four spots in the 100-yard backstroke. The Eagles wound up with 111 points to 95 for the Mustangs.

Junior Kyle Winkles placed first in the backstroke, and earned Swimmer of the Year honors for the meet with that victory and a win in the 50-yard freestyle, where he set a new district record of 21.92 seconds. Winkles won the 100-yard backstroke with a 57.13 time, two seconds ahead of freshman Josh Elliott, while freshman Frankie Morin edged sophomore Luke Serrano out for third place.

The wins by Winkles were among seven on the day by the Eagles, including the 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay squads.

Winkles, Elliott, Matt Oglesby and Matthew Flores won the 400 free in 3:28.19, while Winkles, Oglesby, Florez and Matt Elliott won the 200 medley with a 1:45.04 time, 2 1/2 seconds ahead of Andrews. Oglesby also won both his races, taking the 200 individual medley by five seconds over Josh Elliott, with a 2:04.64 time, and the 100 fly with a 56.55 time, .13 seconds ahead of Matt Elliott, who picked up Pecos’ other gold medal.

He beat out Andrews’ Tyler Harris in the 200 freestyle by just under .8 of a second, with a 1:55.09 time. It was the second year in a row he had won that race, and his time was .17 seconds faster than a year ago, despite missing six weeks of the season due to a knee injury suffered in football at the end of October.

“Matt Elliott won the 200, and he wasn’t (seeded) first after yesterday,” Morse said. “Kyle and Matt Oglesby did a great job, Alonzo Garcia got in in both of his events, and they all did what I expected.”

Garcia placed fifth in the 200 medley and sixth in the 500 freestyle. Florez was second to Andrews’ Williams in the 100 free and fourth in the 50 free, while the Eagles’ 200-yard freestyle team of Garcia, Morin and both Elliotts placed third. Pecos’ other points came from Friday’s 1-meter diving competition, where Hector Roman was edged out for second behind Andrews’ Matt Culberson by the Mustangs’ Danny Mora, while Jose Gonzales was fourth for the Eagles.

Monahans was just behind Pecos in the girls’ division with 72 points, while Big Spring had 42 points, Abilene Wylie 32 and Fort Stockton 10. For the boys, Big Spring had 51 points, Fort Stockton 35, Monahans 31 and Wylie 1 point. All of the finals qualifiers from Saturday’s meet qualify for the Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships on Feb. 9-11 at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock.

Millsaps returns as interim AD

Staff Writer

The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be taking a step into the past for the next month, as it looks for its head football coach and athletic director of the future, after former head football coach and athletic director Jerry Millsaps was named to serve as interim AD for the school district.

Millsaps was appointed on Thursday by interim superintendent Bob McCall, a week before the announcement of the bi-annual University Interscholastic League realignment, and a month before the district hopes to name its new head football coach and athletic director to replace Patrick Willis.

Millsaps served for 12 seasons as Pecos Eagles head coach, winning one district title and advancing to the Class 3A state semifinals in 1975, though he pointed out, “If there had been a three-playoff team format back then, we would have made the playoffs every year but one for nine years.”

He was also the head coach when the current Eagle Stadium and Pecos High School field house were built. “The old field originally was half of Fly Field in Odessa. We had one side and Monahans had the other,” he said. “It seated about 3,000, but then we started drawing pretty good crowds and it started to get too small.

“Mr. (Superintendent Ray) Whatley started talking about building a new stadium, and this was the offshoot,” he said while sitting in his current and former office. “This is the first time I’ve been in this field house in a long, long time.”

Willis, whose contract was not renewed by the board in early January after three seasons, reached an agreement with the district to close out the remainder of his contract with the district. His last day was Thursday, and on Monday he began working for the Midland ISD, where he’ll be reunited with his former boss at Abilene High, Randy Quisenberry.

Willis said he’d be working with the high school staff as an assistant, while teaching for the rest of the spring semester at Alamo Middle School, until a spot opens up at Lee High School. Willis was an assistant coach at Abilene High for Quisenberry, who took the head coaching job at Midland Lee two years ago.

“I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to be, but I’ll be on the defensive side of the ball,” Willis said of his coaching duties this fall for the Rebels.

“I’m appreciative of the people in Pecos, and the opportunity I was given,” Willis said. “I talked to the kids and wished them well, and told them I hope they go out and do the best they can next year.”

In replacing Willis as athletic director, Millsaps - who served as head coach at Odessa High and Howard Payne University, and as AD for the El Paso ISD after leaving Pecos - will be in charge of interviewing head football coaching applicants for the Eagles, and will also start working on finalizing a non-district schedule, once Thursday’s realignment is announced. “The other thing is they want someone to oversee the programs, and see that things keep running,” he added.

How many teams the Eagles will have to compete against for one of those three playoff spots next season won’t be known until 9 a.m. on Thursday, when the district alignment for the next two seasons is announced. With Clint and Fabens opting to no longer petition to play in Class 4A, while Anthony and Tornillo have petitioned to move from Class 2A to 3A, the odds are the Eagles will have at least four El Paso-area schools in their district, beginning with the 2006-07 school year.

“Nobody knows what they’re going to do. The thinking is we may go west and move out of the district we’ve been in the past few years,” said Millsaps, who’ll be at the Region 18 Service Center in Midland on Thursday when the new district packets are given out.

“We will be going over there and grab it with our hot little hands,” he said, adding that most of the area’s other athletic directors will also be there on Thursday.

“Mr. McCall is also involved. I’ll go to Region 18 and he’ll go to El Paso to get a jump on that,” Millsaps said.

Willis had drawn up a tentative pre-district schedule for Pecos for 2006-07, but Millsaps said nothing could be finalized until after Thursday’s realignment. “We can’t write any contracts until the realignment comes out,” he said. Willis had talked with Andrews and Seminole about pre-district games, while Millsaps said other possible pre-district opponents include Lamesa, Greenwood, Alpine, Monahans, Denver City and Crane.

“I think the school board wants to meet and select a coach around March 1. That’s a tight, tight schedule,” Millsaps said. “Right now I’m working at their pleasure, and I will probably work until then, and possible a week’s past until the new athletic director is up and going.”

Willis said while he was unhappy that things didn’t work out better in his three seasons in Pecos, with the Eagles going 5-25 during that span, he was happy to be back to a full-time coaching job.

“I’m excited about going back to 5A football, and I can concentrate on football full-time now,” he said, adding that the move now allows him to work with Lee’s defense going into the Rebels’ spring practice.

“It gives me a chance to get in there and get to know the kids,” Willis said.

Millsaps said on Friday he still had to have his first meeting with some of the Eagles’ junior high coaches, while stressing the job was only a temporary position.

“”I want to make sure everybody knows I’m not interested in any job. But I’m glad to be able to help Mr. McCall and help the school district out, because I do have some experience along that line.”

During the late 1990s, Millsaps served as athletic director for the 10 El Paso ISD schools.

“Obviously there was a lot more to do out there because there are so many schools, but I also had more help than with a single school. The athletic director in El Paso is responsible for ticket sales for all sports, handling the money, printing the tickets, hiring security, and hiring the ticket takers and all the gatekeepers. The AD doesn’t have to do that here because he’s coaching his team.”

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