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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cantaloupe Festival’s events outlined at meeting

Several activities planned for the Night in Old Pecos/Cantaloupe Festival in late July were discussed at the regular Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting held Tuesday at noon.

“We have different activities planned for that weekend and are really excited about it,” said chamber director Linda Gholson.

She said spaces are still available for vendors who would like to participate in the Night In Old Pecos/Cantaloupe Festival, which will be held Saturday, July 29, in Downtown Pecos. Other activities scheduled for that weekend include the Windmill Square Players Melodrama, the Cantaloupe Food Show, the Rotary- Wild West Golf Tournament and the 21st Annual Cantaloupe Fly-In and Lions Club Pancake Breakfast.

“If you want to be a vendor during the festival, for local non-profit organizations, it half price,” said Gholson.

Events scheduled for that weekend will begin on Thursday, with the Windmill Square Players Melodrama, which will be held at the Pecos High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. The performance will be “The Shame of Pecos, and tickets on that day will be $8 per person. On Friday, July 28, the Cantaloupe Food Show will be held at TransPecos Bank. Recipes with cantaloupe may be entered for judging in several categories. There will also be a cantaloupe decorating contest for the youth.

For more information contact Debbie Thomas or Dorinda Millan at 445-5076.

That evening a dinner performance of “The Shame of Pecos,” will be held beginning at 7 p.m., with dinner and the show at 8 p.m. Dinner tickets are $17.50 for adults and $12.50 for children and can be purchased in advance.

On Saturday, the Windmill Square Players Melodrama will be held at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $8 per person on that day.

Night in Old Pecos/Cantaloupe Festival will be held on Saturday in Downtown Pecos. The one-day event will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until midnight.

“The streets are blocked off downtown with a variety of vendors, activities and live music,” said Gholson.

Gholson said that anyone wanting more information about the vendor spaces or anything about the festival can contact the chamber at 445-2406.

“They will be having the Rotary golf tournament on Saturday as well,” said Gholson. On Sunday, the 21st Annual Cantaloupe Fly-in and Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, at the Pecos Air Center. Small airplanes will fly into Pecos and will be well received by the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast, according to Gholson.

“There are other activities planned at the airport as well as competitions,” said Gholson. The Windmill Square Players Melodrama will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. “This is also senior citizen’s day with senior tickets at $5 per person,” said Gholson. All other tickets will be $8 per person.

Tom Rivera reported about the Pecos Main Street Project.

“The old Woolworth building sold and he has one year to renovate it,” said Rivera.

Rivera said that when they sell the buildings in downtown Pecos they make a stipulation.v “The old garment factory (located on 2nd Street), was deeded to the city,” said Rivera.

“Debbie has some great ideas for that building and we are looking into several projects,” he said.

P-B-T adjusts pay scales, coaching stipends

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD members dealt with two issues involving salaries at their regular monthly meeting held on Tuesday at the district’s Technology Center. They adjusted pay ranges for all district employees, while approving increases in stipends for the district’s coaches.

The pay for the coaches were raised after board members reviewed tables showing the current P-B-T ISD pay scales for coaches compared with those for coaches in Fort Stockton, Andrews and Monahans. The changes will add about $35,400 to the district’s budget, and will also include new stipends for some coaches currently not participating in pre-season practices that begin before the start of the school year in August.

Superintendent Manny Espino said the stipend for head coaches who also coach a second sport would rise from $4,500 to $5,000. In football, stipends of $4,500 would be given to the offensive and defensive coordinators, though Espino said the former wouldn’t be paid this year since new head coach Chris Henson would serve as his own offensive coordinator. The stipend for assistant coaches who also coach a second sport would remain at $4,000, with an additional $1,000 in pay for coaching a third sport. Coaches participating in early August workouts would receive the employee day rate, as opposed to the past $2,250 stipend based on 10 days of practice before the start of school.

At the junior high level, stipends for three sports would rise from $3,500 to $1,200 per sport ($3,600 maximum), while coaches working on three sports split between the junior high and high school would earn stipends ranging from $2,866 to $4,532. Junior high coaches also will be added to the early season workout pay in football, volleyball and swimming.

“We’ve needed that before, but we haven’t had it,” said school board member and former P-B-T athletic director Bubba Williams. “The junior high coaches weren’t required to come up with this before, and since they weren’t being paid, you couldn’t make them come to two-a-days.”

“This way, they can learn with us by coming to the meetings,” said Henson.

Early-season workout stipends also were approved for high school cross-country. “They have a meet on the 21st of August, so they have to come in the first week of school and run a race. We want them in condition,” Henson said.

Espino said the changes in the pay ranges were the result of a Texas Association of School Boards survey that said the salary range “boxes” for the district’s various positions should be adjusted annually. “My understanding is we haven’t done it in the last 2-3 years,” he told the board. “We have given raises, but we haven’t moved the boxes.

“What happens is you look up and find people at the top of the box or outside the box,” Espino said. He said adjusting the boxes wouldn’t mean changes in district employee salaries at this time.

Board members were given a list of the current pay scales, and the ones proposed for the 2006-07 school year. The tables showed minimum, midpoint and maximum salaries for each position, and the new rates represented a 7 1/2 percent increase over the levels used for the past few years.

District finance director Cookie Canon said some workers would be below the minimum levels of their salary range if the pay ranges were adjusted upward. “Hopefully we can give raises and get everybody within the box,” Espino added.

In other action, the board voted to keep the district’s student athletic, student voluntary and catastrophic insurance with West Texas Insurance Exchange/Texas Monarch Management for the upcoming school year, at a cost of just over $48,000.

Canon presented the board with four proposals, of which West Texas Exchange was the highest bidder. However, she said their offer included some benefits, such as pre-kindergarten or off-season athletic coverage, not offered by the other policies.

Two of the offers came in at about $10,000 below West Texas Insurance’s offer. Canon said one, by Rogers and Belding, would not cover treatment for reinjury of previously covered injuries, while Canon said the district has had problems with claims in the past from the low bidder Maynard & Associates/GW Southwest.

Espino said he also had problems with the company while working for the Fort Stockton ISD. “We’ll probably hear from that lady if we don’t pick her, but I’ve had dealings with them and had issues, so I’ll recommend staying with them (West Texas Insurance),” he said.

Board members also agreed to write a letter to other area school districts in support of board member David Flores, who has been nominated for a position on the TASB District 18 Board of Trustees.

The board approved the sale of a house at 1608 West Sixth Street to Sal Nichols at a cost of $1,000, while tabling the sale of a building at 513 W. Third St., on which Nichols bid $500 and another man, Roy C. Pope, submitted a $700 bid. Williams made a motion to award that property to Nichols, but it died for lack of a second, while board member Paul Deishler voted against the sale of the Sixth Street property.

Williams, Flores, board president Lila Cerna and board member Vanessa Simmons voted in favor of the sale, while board members Crissy Martinez and Amy Montgomery Miller were not at Tuesday’s meeting.

School reduces extracurricular grading waiver

Advanced placement students involved with extracurricular activities will only be allowed one waiver of a failing grade to maintain their eligibility during the 2006-07 school year, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members decided Tuesday, during their regular board meeting.

Superintendent Manny Espino said the district currently had no official rule in the student handbook on waivers for students taking advanced classes, but that in recent years students had been granted up to three waivers per year on failing grades in those classes.

“Mr. (Pecos High School principal Steven) Lucas and I talked about this two or three times,” Espino said. He said state officials allow for such waivers, in order to persuade students involved in athletics, band or academic extracurricular activities to take the more advanced classes.

He told the board there were several options, including allowing waivers on one failure per advanced classes, or lowering the grade requirement to 60 or 65 in order to remain eligible. Students normally have to maintain an average of 70 or better to retain their eligibility. He said other area school districts have similar policies.

“I don’t think it gives the kid any kind of incentive,” said board member Bubba Williams, who added the district had allowed just one waiver during the period from 1998 to 2003 when he served as the district’s athletic director.

New P-B-T athletic director Chris Henson said while he was in Marfa, students were allowed to have grades of 65 or higher in advanced placement classes. “If they were having trouble they got out fast, but some of them could have done the work,” he said.

Lucas said the rules don’t affect a high percentage of PHS students. “We’ve got a few exceptions that affect borderline students we want taking those classes,” he said. Under the current rules, students were removed from the AP classes after three failures in six-week grading periods, with the most problems showing up in recent years in the AP physics class.

“I’m for none,” said Board member Vanessa Simmons about the waivers. “Either you do the work or get out.”

Espino said adopting a zero waiver rule might discourage students from taking the AP classes. “If you’re juggling advanced placement classes and extracurriculars, sometimes it’s tough,” he said.

“The people who actually deal with the child on a day to day basis should know best,” said board member David Flores. “I would say it’s a judgment call between teachers and the principal.”

Board members then voted to support the one-waiver option, with notification to parents of the new advanced placement rule before the start of the upcoming school year.

Along with the advanced placement waiver rules, board members were also told by Espino and Lucas that disciplinary rules for students in extracurriculars caught using marijuana would also be standardized in the new student code of conduct, following problems related to two separate incidents during the past school year.

The board also reviewed a district audit scheduled for this fall. The audit will include 10 core areas, and the district had an option of also including seven option areas for audit. But including those would increase the price from $19,000 to as much as $31,000.

“We would like to just do the core areas. We could do the options, but it adds to the price,” Espino said.

“The audit will be done during a three-day period in the school year,” he said. “They do send some stuff out ahead of time.”

He said the report would be sent to the district about two months after the audit is completed.

The board also approved the monthly tax and budget reports and viewed plans for the paint design on the district’s two new travel buses, which will be painted in Lubbock for delivery before the start of the 2006-07 school year. The buses will be painted white, with purple and gold curved striping on the sides and Pecos Eagle logos on the front, side and rear of the vehicles. The Blue Bird coaches will replace the MCI and Silver Eagle buses the district has been using for long extracurricular trips since 1990.

School board fills out Eagle coaching vacancies

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members approved the appointment of Helen Kimbrough as new Pecos High School head volleyball coach, during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, and filled several other coaching vacancies on the junior high level as part of their meeting.

Kimbrough, who formerly served as head volleyball coach at Odessa Permian High School, takes over from Debbie Garcia, who is moving over to the head basketball coach’s post, after being appointed head volleyball coach just prior to the start of the 2005-06 school year. She replaces Lisa Lowery, whose resignation was accepted by the board during Tuesday’s meeting.

Kimbrough will also serve as assistant track coach according to a handout given to board members by P-B-T athletic director Chris Henson. The sheet also indicated that Eric Garcia, hired by the district two months ago, would replace Elias Payan as head baseball coach for the Eagles in 2007. Payan’s resignation also was accepted at Tuesday’s meeting, after he was reassigned by Henson following the end of the school year.

Along with Henson, hired in March, Kimbrough and Garcia are among six new head varsity coaches for the Eagles for the upcoming school year. Chaun Brooks, hired last month, will be the new head basketball coach, replacing Art Wellborn, who will remain on as assistant basketball coach. Both will also serve as junior varsity football coaches.

Pat Gent earlier was named new head boys’ golf coach for the Eagles, replacing Kim Anderson, who was reassigned, while former head tennis coach Bernadette Ornelas will take back that job, replacing Mike Ortiz.

Four other coaches were also hired by the district during their Tuesday meeting, and will work mostly with junior high teams.

Oscar Luna was hired as special education teacher at Lamar AEP and as junior high baseball and basketball and freshman baseball coach. Shawn Pope was hired as PE teacher at Austin Elementary, and will also be junior high football and junior high swimming coach, replacing Evan Bates, whose resignation was accepted on Tuesday.

On the girls’ side in junior high school, Evangelee Cordova and Vanessa Villescas were hired as volleyball, basketball and track coaches. Both also will be assigned as teachers at Crockett Junior High.

A total of 10 new coaches have been hired by the district in the past four months. Other new hires include Tom Hughes and Derick Price, as assistant varsity football coaches, and Art Rios, as junior high coordinator and junior high football, basketball and track coach.

Hughes will also be assistant powerlifting coach and Price will serve as JV track coach.

Weinacht, Arreguy to exchange wedding vows

Marina Lara Weinacht and Martin Eugene Arreguy are to be married Friday, July 14. Arreguy is employed by the City of Pecos. Weinacht is currently working at the Randy Reynolds law office while completing her master’s degree.

The couple will exchange vows in an 8:30 p.m. ceremony at the bride’s father’s ranch north of Pecos. The bride’s brother-in-law, Marcus Zuniga, pastor of New Life Chapel in Odessa, is to officiate.

Matrons of honor will be the bride’s sisters, Letticia Zuniga of Odessa and Camilla Lopez of Austin. Best men will the groom’s cousin, John Salcido of Pecos, and the groom’s brothers, Ben and Jeff Arreguy, both of California. Also included in the wedding party are the bride’s children: Lara, Jake, and Claire Weinacht.

Among honored guests will be the bride’s parents, Nasario and Lisa Lara and Marcos and Elisa Contreras, all of Pecos; the groom’s parents, Gene and Rosie Arreguy of California and Margaret Marshall of Seattle, Washington; and the groom’s sister, Andrea Chapman of California.

VBS classes are scheduled for next week

Children from age three through 6th grade are welcome to attend Vacation Bible School at First United Methodist Church, Third and Elm streets in Pecos, next week.

VBS will be held nightly, July 17 through July 21, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Supper will be provided.

Participants are encouraged to attend each night, as the various lessons and activities have been planned to tell “The Jesus Story.” Recreation, crafts, story-telling, singing, food and fellowship are among the planned activities.

“Come hear the ‘old, old story’ in a new, new way,” said pastor John Barrett.

Pastor Barrett and church lay director Terri Spence have planned a unique VBS this year, rather than purchasing published materials as in previous years. “This is no pre-packaged deal. It’s homegrown,” said Barrett.

Each night will begin with super, followed by opening services and music. Children will be divided into appropriate age groups for lessons, recreation and crafts.

Special activities are planned for the final session on Friday, July 21.

Parents wanting more information may call the church office, which is open each weekday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 445-5471.

Taylor has sixth birthday

Kellie Kristine Taylor celebrated her sixth birthday party on Saturday, July 8, with a swimming party at the Pecos Valley Country Club Swimming Pool.

The theme of the party was cars.

Her favorite gift was a desk given to her by her parents, Kyle and Myra Taylor.

Her paternal grandparents are Steve and Dawn Taylor of Midland and Dan and Kathy Painter of El Paso.

Christina Bitolas of Pecos is her maternal grandmother.

Willis named to Dean’s List at HPU

Genelle Willis, of Pecos, was named to the Dean’s List for the 2006 spring semester at Howard Payne University.

Students must earn a 3.7-3.99 grade point average to be named to the Dean’s List. Willis is the daughter of Glenda and Greer Willis of Pecos.

Founded in 1889, HPU is a Christian, coeducational university offering a full array of liberal arts, pre-professional and honors studies, as well as a graduate program to its students. Located on a residential main campus in Brownwood, and at seven extension centers across the state, the university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

HPU is ranked in “America’s Best Colleges 2006,” published by U.S. News and World Report, as number five in the “Best Value” category of bachelor’s degree-granting colleges in the Western region of the United States. HPU is 13th in the “Top Schools” category.

The university is also nationally recognized for it small class size and ethnic and economic diversity.

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