Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Suit lets PHS swimmer compete at regional
By ROSIE FLORES
A temporary restraining order was granted for a member of the Pecos High School swim team on Thursday, following a Jan. 31 incident that threatened to keep him from swimming at this past weekend’s Region I-4A meet.
Kenneth Winkles Jr. and Teresa Winkles filed a petition on behalf of their son, Kyle who is a Pecos High School junior.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members received a copy of the petition before the beginning of the regular school board meeting, held Thursday evening at the Pecos Technology Center.
The Winkles say in their petition, that on or about Jan. 31, Kyle Winkles was excused by Jim Workman, vice-principal at Pecos High School, to take his friend to his friend’s residence so that the friend could retrieve his swim bag.
Winkles is a member of the Pecos High School swim team and presently enjoys a number one ranking in region 50 freestyle and 100 yard backstroke. In the suit, his parents said that their son is good enough to make the state final meet in Austin, and should be allowed to do so as the student has already been accessed punishment by the school in this instance.
Reeves County Court-at-Law Judge Walter Holcombe granted a restraining order to the Winkles on Thursday.
The restraining states that district is restrained from prohibiting or denying Kyle Winkles from attending regular and normal classroom classes with his normal teachers and instructors and disallowed from permitting participation extracurricular activities such as swimming team completions.
The law suit ordered that Winkles be automatically restored to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Pecos High School and that he be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities such as Swim Team and any sporting events.
Winkles did place first in both his individual events on Saturday in Lubbock, earning trips to state there as well as with Pecos’ 200 and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. State competition in Austin is scheduled for Feb. 24-25.
Winkles was one of two swimmers involved in the Jan. 31 incident. Junior Matt Oglesby was the other student involved. His parents declined to seek an injunction in the case, and his father, Bill Oglesby, said they did not want to comment on the incident.
Pecos attorney Roddy Harrison filed the law suit on behalf of the Winkles.
“It’s in court and I don’t want to comment on a pending case,” said Harrison.
Pecos High School swimming coach Terri Morse said she did not find out about Winkles’ situation until 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the day the injunction was filed. Morse said she could not comment further on the situation, and directed any questions to P-B-T ISD Interim Superintendent Bob McCall.
McCall said that a lawsuit had been filed and included an injunction against enforcing discipline about this.
“We have consulted our attorney, Walsh Anderson, out of Austin, who is taking the appropriate action,” said McCall.
McCall, who said that he had visited with Ken Winkles a couple of times, said last Thursday that the two juniors would not swim due to a violation of the district’s student code of conduct.
The Winkles say in their petition, that when their son returned to school he entered his fifth period class with PHS teacher Tammy Walls. During the class, the vice-principal came into the classroom and asked to visit with the student. The suit states that Workman informed Kyle Winkles that his friend was in trouble and probably very ill. Both students were taken to the office, where the petition alleges the two had been in possession of a controlled substance.
The Winkles further say that, they as natural guardians and parents of their minor child, were never informed by anyone nor was any permission granted or obtained from the parents, that the student be allowed to leave the school campus. No permission was given the student by the parents to allow the student to leave the school campus during regular school hours.
The petition states that the minor child was never given any drug screening test. No drug screening test was ever administered to the student nor was the student’s vehicle ever searched.
Furthermore, no police report has ever been made by any lawful authority of Reeves County, including the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department or Pecos City Police Department.
The Winkles met with Principal Steve Lucas, at the school premises along with another teacher that was present. Mr. Lucas then informed Ken Winkles that expulsion was warranted and that their minor son, would be expelled for four full days due to the alleged incident. This was the total punishment enforced by the principal. The student received in writing a Conduct and Discipline Report.
A four-day expulsion-conduct and discipline report pertaining to the student, reflects that the student would not be allowed to return to the school campus until a four day expulsion had been completed such date being on or about Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The Winkles say that they, along with their son, have suffered as a result of the punishment and that their son has completed the punishment in its entirety and was indeed expelled for four days.
The student reported back to school as directed under the “Violation of Student Code of Conduct and Discipline Report and has complied with all the terms and reported back to school as normal. Upon reporting back to school, Kyle Winkles was then placed under a school policy call DAEP.
The Winkles say that the school is now attempting to punish their son, again for the same instance and same alleged offense. They say there is no offence. There is no evidence of a controlled substance and there is not failure of any screening or drug test. To the contrary, the Winkles took their son to under go a drug test at CRS Diagnostic, a lab in Odessa.
The Winkles state that it is tandmountly unfair for the school to impose two separate punishments for the same alleged incident or offence of which the school can not prove.
The Winkles allege that they have pursued with diligence all of the administrative remedies that are available to them as required by the school. They further state that now the district is attempting to impose sanctions and punishment against their son, a second time for the same alleged offence. They say that the district, can nor, will not, nor will attempt to prove in any court of law that their won committed any unlawful act. They say that there is no evidence. Furthermore, the Winkles say that the district never did place their minor son under type of administration for any screen drug test. No search was made of the student’s body or of the vehicle that was in their son’s possession.
The Winkles filed this suit against the district for the son’s damages that exceed the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court and reserve the right to amend this, to a more particularly set out the damages sustained and suffered by them.
The suit request a temporary injunction enjoining the district from imposing any type of punishment of any type nature whatsoever against their son. The district has already placed their son under punishment by imposing a four day total expulsion from school.
They say that their son, should be entitled to be enrolled in school as a full time students and furthermore be allowed to be a member of any school team engaged in extracurricular activity or sporting events in which the school participates of which their son is a member of the team.
They further state that the district presently attempts to impose two separate punishment against their son, by now enforcing an additional punishment called (DAEP) is a harsh and cruel punishment and is unusual in that it violates their son’s constitutional rights as provided by the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Texas as amended.
Council agrees to cut Barstow water rate hike
By JON FULBRIGHT
Town of Pecos City Council members approved a revised water rate schedule for the city of Barstow, while agreeing to apply for grants for the city’s police department, fire department and Main Street downtown restoration project, as part of their regular meeting held last Thursday at City Hall.
Barstow officials were in attendance at the council’s Jan. 26 meeting, seeking a reduction in the rate increase put into effect by Pecos. The increase jumped Barstow’s water rates from $1.57 for the first 1000 gallons to $2.80, as part of sharp increases for all local water and sewer customers.
Council members agreed to a temporary rate reduction to $2.50 for the first 1,000 gallons at the Jan. 26 meeting. On Thursday, the council made that rate official for the 2006 and 2007 years. Barstow’s rate will rise to $2.92 for 2008 through 2010, and then to $3.69 in 2011, the year Pecos takes over repayment of a state loan for construction of South Worsham Field from Reeves County, which agreed to pay the first 10 years of the 20-year loan.
“This will let you know what the rates will be for the six year contract,” said City Attorney Scott Johnson. Councilman Gerald Tellez noted the rates could be reduced if the city’s revenues come in above current projections.
Council members approved seeking funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for new bullet-proof vests for police officers, along with funding from the Texas Forest Service for new protective gear for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department.
Police Chief Clay McKinney told the council that the department’s current vests are about to reach their expiration date for effectiveness, and that officers have been testing out replacement body armor in recent months.
“We’ve completed our wear tests and the officers have selected the vests they want to wear,” he said.
The DOJ grant will pay 50 percent of the cost of the new equipment.
Fire Chief Freddie Contreras and Noe Ybarra, safety officer, outlined the planned equipment purchases. Along with the new protective suits, Ybarra said other equipment such as hoses and nozzles are being sought through the grant.
“We have applied for the grant since 2003,” Ybarra said. “We have been successful all those times.”
He said the funds would pay roughly two-third of the cost of the new protective equipment, which cost about $1,000 per person. Other grant money is also being sought to pay for training costs, which are awarded quarterly, with the next awards due out in April.
Contreras also told the council that due to the dry conditions over the past several months, fire calls locally have been on the rise.
“We had 46 calls in January, 21 of those grass fires, plus 12 calls in February,” he said. “We’ve had a little bit more calls than in the past.”
Main Street Director Tom Rivera said the city is seeking a $5,000 grant from the Texas Yes! Program for Rural Beautification, which would be used to redo the 500 block of South Oak Street. The money would be used to install a desertscape setting and replace the current street lights with replicas of the city’s 1930s lights.
Rivera said city utilities director Edgardo Mardid was working on designs for the project. “He should have them ready by the next council meeting,” Rivera added.
The grant would pay for 50 percent of the project, with part of the city’s contributing coming from in-kind work, and the rest from the city’s Main Street Program fund.
Council members also agreed to a cost sharing agreement for election equipment with Reeves County. Elections supervisor Debbie Thomas told members that Reeves County Commissioners said the maintenance agreement on the new equipment replaces the former lease agreement and the cost will be split between the local taxing entities that conduct elections in the county.
“Also when you finish the resolution, we’ll be submitting a letter to the Department of Justice,” Thomas said. She explained that the letter for all the local entities would be sent to the DOJ at the same time, and was required due to the new optical scanning voting machines the county bought, replacing the former punch card ballots that were eliminated by law at the end of 2005.
The machines will first be used starting on Feb. 20, when early voting begins for the March 7 primary elections. “Luckily we have a primary and run-off election,” Thomas said. “We had training this week, and in my mind it was very unsatisfactory.”
Thomas said another training session was scheduled before early voting begins next Monday.
During the accounts payable portion of the meeting, Madrid said the city is currently working on clean-up of some abandoned gas tanks at the city warehouse on Walthall Street, which is mandated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
“TCEQ is treating it like an abandoned gas station,” Madrid said, adding that the city can request compensation for the work from a state fund administered by TECQ.
Mayor Dot Stafford asked Madrid about similar clean-ups underway at some of the old gas station sites around town. “There are currently three sites,” he said. “One’s not completed, and one owner never notified us and was pulled out of the program.”
Council members discussed seeking state funds for cleaning up other sites around town, but Pecos Economic Development Corp. President Mike Burkholder, who formerly handled the area’s Texaco distribution, warned them that there are some hidden costs involved.
“Having had more experience in this than what I’d like, don’t they charge a $1,000 deductible,” Burkholder asked. He went on to say a gas station across from TransPecos Bank has run up clean-up costs of $300,000 so far, and he personally has paid out $22,000 as part of the TECQ clean-up program.
“I just did a random search and found 68 sites on Eddy Street, Third Street and U.S. 285 (Cedar Street), “he said. “The town is floating on a sea of gasoline, and getting the sites cleaned is extremely difficult.”
The accounts payable total came to $410,077. Madrid said part of that involved work on two water wells at the South Worsham Field. He said they are among 17 wells at the city’s new water field, two of which are in operation. Three other wells are still operating at the Ward County Water Field, while three others are in need of telemetry work.
He said the water quality is poorer in the Ward field, while the water wells in the North Worsham Field are running dry. South Worsham is expected to provide adequate water supplies for the city through the middle of the 21st Century. Council member Danny Rodriguez asked about plans for future water rights purchases, and Burkholder noted that the city has been deeded water rights beneath the Applied Research Associates and the Texas Transportation Institute automotive test track located to the east of the Worsham Field area.
Burkholder also told council members that the first projects were due to begin soon at the former Smithers Transportation Test Center east of Pecos under the new deal with ARA-TTI, and top officials should be in Pecos in April to tour the test track and the city.
Burkholder said ARA has been refurbishing the buildings at the track, which was shut down for five years, and that a $1 million federal grant will go into buying a paving testing machine for the facility.
ARA and TTI members are due to meet on Feb. 21 about the track. “They’re going to encourage TxDOT to make this one of their prime testing facilities, plus ARA will have a contract with the Department of Defense to do explosives testing at the site.”
Burkholder said the explosives wouldn’t be large enough to cause problems with the underlying aquifer.
Sheriff’s deputy Campos seeking county judge’s position
A former Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy who was honored with the 2002 Pecos Chamber of Commerce Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award is among five candidates seeking the office of Reeves County Judge in the March 7 Democratic Party primary election.
Israel Campos is seeking the position of Reeves County Judge being vacated by Jimmy Galindo. Al Gomez, Grace Renteria, Bernardo Martinez and Sam Contreras are the others seeking to earn the Democratic nomination on March 7.
Campos lives in Pecos with his wife, Veronica and his daughter, Verenice. His son Noah lives in Odessa. His parents are, step-father, Ansecion “Guero” Franco and his mother, Margaret Franco.
“I am currently working for a police association based in Austin, the Texas Municipal Police Association,” said Campos.
This member based association has over 11,000 law enforcement professional members and Campos has been employed with them for the past 27 months.
“I am currently a law enforcement coordinator which duties include, community coalition team building, grant administration training, community problem identification and working with key community officials to resolve local problems,” said Campos. “I have worked in and around Reeves County all my life and have witnessed how my community has deteriorated in the past couple of decades,” he said.
Campos has also been employed with Wink Police Department, Ector County Sheriff’s Office and the Reeves County Detention Center as a correctional officer.
He attended Odessa College, the Odessa College LE Academy where he studied Criminal Justice.
While working at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department, he was the Explorer Post Advisor, where he was responsible for recruiting, leading and training the community’s youth by providing a positive role model for tomorrow’s Reeves County leaders. At its peak, there were 45 explorers recruited by Campos that served for the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office while he was post advisor.
Campos was also Reeves County Sheriff’s Office Training Coordinator, was responsible for the maintaining of training records and the training of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and Officer Standards and Education Peace officer and jailer licenses for the sheriff and the sheriff’s office deputies and jailers.
“I have worked in and around Reeves County all my life and have witnessed how my community has deteriorated in the past couple of decades,” said Campos.
Like most people I know, I am tired of the empty promises and the false visions community leaders had made people like me believe in. While I was a deputy in Reeves County I worked with youth of Reeves County, volunteering much of my free time to them,” said Campos. “I understand what our kids need because of the critical time I spent with them, as county judge I will pledge to do what it takes to take care of our communities’ future,” he said.
“Prior to becoming a deputy/peace officer, I worked as a correctional officer at the RCDC-I,” said Campos. “Working the front line at the prison I lived with the stress and frustrations many of our fellow family members live with now, as county judge that will change,” he said.
Campos said that for example, there are very few meaningful local entertainment venues where residents can meet and interact.
“I will look to attain funds to overhaul a specific location in the county to build a state of the art sports complex for the community of Reeves County to own and enjoy,” said Campos. “If elected, I will strive to serve the community members on a one-to-one basis and not to overlook anyone,” he said.
“I will recruit community leaders from Balmorhea, Toyah, Orla, and Pecos to form a coalition giving each representative a chance to voice their communities concerns in an open forum,” said Campos. “The public will be invited to these monthly county wide town hall meetings,” he said.
“In my travels throughout the state I have established key contacts that will serve as resources and points of reference for me to reach these goals,” said Campos.
“My goal is to improve our quality of life by investing in our community. I want to conclude by thanking everyone especially my wife, family and friends for their prayers and words of encouragement, God Bless,” he said.
Cities, hospital report increase in tax rebates
Sales tax collections during December were up slightly for Pecos and Balmorhea and up sharply for Toyah and the Reeves County Hospital District, according to figures released Wednesday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office.
The comptroller send out February checks, based on sales taxes collected during the Christmas holiday season, and they showed Pecos received a check for $96,282, based on the city’s 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8-1/4 cent sales tax. One sixth of the city’s total, or $16,047, goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp. for its operations.
The check was up 5.41 percent over last February’s check for $91,334, and for the first two month of 2006, Pecos has gotten back $165,620 in sales tax rebates, an increase of 6.8 percent from a year ago. Sales tax rebate checks for the city have been up 12 out of 14 months, since the beginning of 2005.
Balmorhea’s rebate check for the month was $1,390, an increase of 2.89 percent, but after a big jump in its January check, the city’s 1 1/2-cent sales tax has netted $3,188 so far this year, an increase of 63.18 percent. Toyah, which saw its January rebate check decline from a year ago, got $773 back this month, which represented a 120.19 percent increase from last year’s $351 total. The two-month total of $969 is 68.05 percent ahead of a year ago.
The Reeves County Hospital District also saw its rebate check up sharply in February. The hospital’s 1/2-cent sales tax brought in $47,295 this month, up 42.98 percent from last February’s $33,077 total. The increase was actually smaller than the total for January, and the two-month figure of $90,011 is up 53.34 percent from 2005.
Double-digit increases were common in the Permian Basin for February, as the improving energy market and Christmas sales boosted rebate checks across most of the area.
Midland’s check for $3.28 million on its 1 1/2-cent sales tax was up 22.49 percent from last year’s $2.67 million, while Odessa’s $2.12 million check on its 1 1/4-cent sales tax was up by 15.38 percent from the $1.83 million check it received a year ago.
For other cities collecting the 1 1/2-cent sales tax, Alpine received $104,343 in its February check, up 17.44 percent from a year ago; Crane received a check for $51,576, up 4.50 percent from last year; Lamesa got $120,101 back from the comptroller’s office, which was up 16.11 percent; and Seminole received a check for $89,203, which was up 5.79 percent.
Among cities collecting a one-cent sales tax Kermit received $48,557 in their rebate check, up 64.09 percent; Pyote received a check for $461, which was up 32.86 percent and Wickett received a $6,835 check from Austin, up 102.75 percent. Wink received a check for $3,979, and was one of the only cities in the area to see a drop from their 2005 check, as the city’s total was down 19.22 percent.
For area cities collecting a 1 3/4-cent sales tax, Andrews’ check for $244,662 was up 139.24 percent from last year, with part of that rise due to an increase of 3/4-cent in the city’s sales tax since last year. Marfa got a check for $26,043, which was 20.35 percent above last year; while Van Horn got a check for $36,309, up 4.5 percent over than a year ago.
For cities collecting the maximum two-cent sales tax, Big Spring received $594,991, an increase of 34.21 percent; Fort Stockton received $175,170, up 25.66 percent; Monahans received a check for $120,254, which was up 18.44 percent; Grandfalls got a $2,101 check, up 19.05 percent; and Presidio received $49,871, up 49.78 percent.
Statewide, the average increase for Texas cities and counties was 16.63 percent, as Strayhorn’s office sent out February rebate checks totaling $390.6 million, up 13.39 percent from $344.4 million last year.
Houston’s $47.3 million check was the largest individual one sent out this month, and was 12.63 percent higher than a year ago. Dallas’ check was next, at $23.8 million, which was up by 7.14 percent from last February.
Life decisions contemplated after spread of cancer abates
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 13th part of a story by Enterprise business manager Peggy McCracken on her diagnosis of cancer and surgery in April of this year.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Thirteen is considered an unlucky number, but for me it spells good news. My birth date is 1-31-35, or 13-13-5. The five digits add up to 13. Many times the numbers 13 and 3 have been related to good things in my life, though I don’t believe in luck.
My 71st birthday occurred on 1-31-06, and this is my 13th cancer story. Perhaps it will be the last, one way or the other.
I feel like I am living on borrowed time. It seems weird to still be walking and talking and working after spending months preparing for someone else to do my work and spend my retirement funds.
Not that I’m complaining. I thank God daily that I don’t have the pain the bone cancer was supposed to cause. My work here at the Enterprise is a pleasure most days.
Laura Briggs has taken over the Monahans News books, so my visits there are infrequent, thanks be to God. And I know she can handle the Enterprise books when God and I decide I’ve had enough.
God decides when each of us has had enough, whether we believe in Him or not. As Bud Nelson said, all of us are living on borrowed time. I’ve played the piano for funerals of several friends who mourned over my “terminal” cancer and prayed for my healing.Now I am faced with developing a lifestyle that will honor the God whose grace has extended my days. The only way I know to do that is to offer myself to Him every morning and ask that He live through me that day.
It’s been exciting to have young, would-be musicians come to my house after school every day to learn piano, guitar and bass guitar. Kevin Weatherby is helping with the guitars, and we are adding drums this week. He says he played drums for seven years, so I suspect he knows something about them.
Full band rehearsals will be at West Park Baptist Church the next two Mondays. We will play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at our comedy style show Feb. 26. Then we hope the God’s Army house will be ready for us to rehearse in and play for worship services.
God’s Army has been my primary focus for five years. We had just bought a dilapidated house near Austin Elementary when my cancer was diagnosed. I am grateful that God has let me see it transformed into a beautiful meeting place for children and teenagers. Kim Ewing is doing a great job directing the refurbishing, using her He-Brews youth and adult volunteers. Her decorating skills are phenomenal.
Velma Bradley took my place leading the Bessie Haynes Brigade. God even brought Liz Vega back to Pecos temporarily, so she can lead Bible Buddies while Joyce Morton is out with heart problems. Davie Morelan has been out three weeks with a virus, and I have filled in with “Morelan’s Marchers.”
Satan has attacked our volunteers with illness from the beginning. My cancer has been the most dramatic, but everyone has had some type of affliction. Our unity prayer group keeps us from throwing in the towel.
It’s not just us, of course. I see folks of all ages, shapes and sizes being treated in the cancer center. The “C” word is still scary, but I am learning daily that it does not have the last word.
Junell hands down sentences in cases
An Odessa man was sentenced to federal prison on drug charges last week, while a San Antonio woman was sentenced to federal prison on Feb. 1 for embezzling $1.2 million.
United States Attorney Johnny Sutton announced on Feb. 8, that 27-year-old Darrell Tyrone Caufield of Odessa, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Robert Junell ordered that Caufield be placed under supervised release for a period of 10 years after completing his prison term.
According to documents filed with the court, narcotics detectives with the Odessa Police Department searched Caufield’s residence on Aug. 24, 2005, and found him in possession of more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. During the search, Caufield fled but was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit. On Nov. 18, 2005, Caufield pled guilty to the drug charge.
This case was prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Roque-Jackson.
Last week, Sutton announced that Rosa Sullivan, 49, of San Antonio, will spend 46 months in federal prison for stealing $1.2 million from the Bank of Sierra Blanca.
Judge Junell sentenced the former bank Vice President and cashier to the prison term. He also ordered that Sullivan pay $884,473 restitution to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term.
On Oct. 13, Sullivan pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of misapplication by a bank officer or employee. From 1995 to Nov. 14, 2001, Sullivan illegally siphoned money and concealed her actions from bank auditors and examiners by making numerous false entries into the bank records. The Bank of Sierra Blanca was closed and placed into receivership on Jan. 18, 2002. The bank’s assets were later purchased by TransPecos Banks.
The Court determined the loss was a factor in the failure of the bank.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Jim Blankinship prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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