Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
P-B-T prepares flu shots clinic for district kids
After a serious bout of the flu in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools, officials have opted to offer a vaccine for the students later this week.
P-B-T ISD will be having a flue vaccine clinic from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., on Thursday at the Pecos High School cafeteria. The vaccine is for any students enrolled in the P-B-T ISD and will be given on a first come, first served basis.
“The parents will be receiving an application, that will be sent home with the students,” said P-B-T Personnel Director Rey Villareal.
The students will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the shots and a limited number are available, according to Villareal. Individuals who have more questions can contact the school nurse at that student’s campus.
Influenza “flu” is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others.
Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. But only an illness caused by the influenza virus is really influenza.
Anyone can get influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, it lasts only a few days and it can cause, fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue.
Some people get much sicker. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions. It can cause high fever and seizures in children. On average 226,000 people are hospitalized every year because of influenza and 36,00 die – mostly elderly.
There are two types of influenza vaccine: inactivated (killed) vaccine, or the “flu shot” is given by injection into the muscle.
Live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine, called LAIV, is sprayed into the nostrils.
For most people influenza vaccine prevents serious influenza-related illness. But it will not prevent “influenza-like” illnesses caused by other viruses.
Influenza viruses are always changing. Because of this, influenza vaccines are updated every year, and an annual vaccination is recommended. Protection lasts up to a year.
It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination.
Some inactivated influenza vaccine contains thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury. Some people believe thimerosal may be related to developmental problems in children. In 2004 the Institute of Medicine published a report concluding that, based on scientific studies, there is no evidence of such a relationship. If you are concerned about thimerosal, ask your doctor about thimerosal-free influenza vaccine.
Toone traveling N.M. ski trails despite blindness
(EDITOR’S NOTE: George Toone is a native of Saragosa, the son of the late Dale and Sue Toone. His family has long supported Ski Apache Disabled Skiers Program. This story appeared in the Jan. 22 edition of the Ruidoso News)
By MIKE CURRAN
Close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine traversing a ski trail at Ski Apache. Most people would consider that challenge to be nearly impossible, hard to fathom, and contemplate some other activity where the ability to see was not of major consequence.
Not George Gregory Toone of Abilene. Blind since birth, he has learned to rise above his disability and refuses to allow his impairment to put him on the sidelines of life.
Blindness doesn't stop this role model for disabled individuals from doing whatever he sets his mind to do.
Raised on a ranch, Toone learned to ride saddle broncs in rodeos at an early age. Joyriding on dirt bikes wasn't out of the question, either.
He matriculated to Texas Tech in 1975 and, four years later, received a degree in Agricultural Economics with a double major in Radio Broadcasting. In 1992, he returned and earned a masters in Educational Psychology and Counseling.
In between that time, he owned and operated a trucking company for five years out of Pecos.
"I have too many interests," Toone said. "But my time in the trucking industry allowed me to travel all over the U.S. and I loved that experience."
When Toone was 18 years old, about the same time he first went off to college, he joined some friends on an excursion to Ski Apache. While his friends enjoyed the ski trails, Toone awaited them in the lodge.
An interested instructor went to where Toone was sitting and said, "Come on George, why don't you give skiing a try? I'll give you a lesson."
One trip down the slopes and Toone was hooked. Another challenge overcome. That began an on-again, off-again romance with skiing.
"I would have skied more, but college and business kind of got in the way," Toone explained.
When asked what there is about the sport that piques his interest, this skier replied, "It immediately gave me a sense of freedom as I felt the air rush by. I had control over something for one of the first times in my life."
Toone chooses to come to Ski Apache because, "People are very friendly and it's easy to get off and on the runs," he said.
This disabled skier is able to traverse the trails with the expert help of two of the 30 instructors involved in the Ski Apache Disabled Skiers Program (SADSP), 20 of whom are volunteers. One of the instructors leads the way while another follows behind.
"George relies on his auditory senses and follows his nose," SADSP president Marty Davenport said. "He is acutely able to follow the fall-line, which is the gravitational channel in the trail."
SADSP has been in existence since 1976, now has 150 disabled clients and gives 300 ski lessons a season. Their commitment to the physically and mentally impaired enables many to enjoy the sport of skiing who might not otherwise be able to.
For the past 15 years, Toone has busied himself as a vocational counselor for people with disabilities in the state of Texas. He is 50 years old now, but that doesn't slow him down either.
"Even though George laid off skiing for a while because of his job, he picked it up again quickly," ski instructor Jo Habelt said.
He also made time to marry Amy Roberts of Abilene last Aug. 18.
"I took her up for an airplane ride and asked her to marry me and she said yes. I said, 'good thing, because if you had said no I was going to have to ask you to get out.' "
Toone's sense of humor, drive and curiosity have led him down trails many others would be hesitant to try - impaired or not. It comes as no surprise to learn he also has his own Web site and may be reached at www.georgetoone.com.
SADSP held a silent auction, Jan. 26, at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Convention Center p.m. Hundreds of items were up for grabs. The proceeds will go to help people like Toone and many others with disabilities that wish to enjoy skiing.
Meetings set on Pecos River watershed plan
Pecos River landowners should mark their calendars now for February. That’s when meeting dates are set seeking comments on the second draft of the Watershed Protection Plan for the Pecos River in Texas.
The first in a series of meetings will take place next Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Reeves County Civic Center, according to Will Hatler, Texas AgriLife Extension Service (formerly Texas Cooperative Extension) eco-system science and management assistant at Stephenville. Hatler, the project’s coordinator, said landowner involvement is imperative for the success of the voluntary river management project.
The project’s objective, he said, is to facilitate a strictly voluntary, landowner-driven effort to maintain or improve the Texas section of the Pecos River as needed.
“The revised version of the plan includes changes suggested by landowners who participated in the first comment period,” said Hatler. “The reason for this second comment period is to be sure comments and suggestions made on the first draft of the plan have been adequately addressed,” he said.
The second draft plan will be discussed at the following dates, times and locations: Feb. 19, 9-11 a.m., at the Reeves County Civic Center, Pecos; Feb. 19, 2-4 p.m., Community Center, Imperial; Feb. 20, 9-11 a.m., Community Center, Iraan; Feb. 20, 2-4 p.m., Crockett County Extension Office, 1301 Ave. AA, Ozona and Feb. 21, 9-11 a.m., Dink Wardlaw Ag Complex, 300 East 17th Street, Del Rio.
Hatler said the draft plan, a summary of changes made, and a condensed executive summary of the plan will be available for download beginning Jan. 7 at: HYPERLINK "http://pecosbasin.tamu.edu" http://pecosbasin.tamu.edu or from Choiya Holley at 254-968-4144, HYPERLINK "mailto:Cholley@ag.tamu.edu" Cholley@ag.tamu.edu.
He encourages those who plan to attend any of the comment sessions to review one or both of the documents for background purposes beforehand. Comments can also be submitted on the project’s Web site through March 10.
The Pecos River Basin drains all or part of Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler counties.
Collaborators on the project include landowners, Extension, Texas Soil and Water Conservation Boards and Districts, Texas AgriLife Research (formerly Texas Agricultural Experiment Station), Texas Water Resources Institute and the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission.
Funding for the project is being provided by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board.
For more information go to HYPERLINK "http://pecosbasin.tamu.edu/" http://pecosbasin.tamu.edu/.
Rider’s trek promotes African-American heritage
A longtime teacher and longtime horse rider from New Jersey made a stopover in the Pecos area last Monday and Tuesday, spending the night in town after spending part of the morning with students at the West Texas State School in Pyote.
Miles J. Dean made the 25-mile trip from Pyote to Pecos on Feb 4. Reeves County Sheriff’s Department personnel helped Dean get access to the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena pens to stable his horses Sankofa and Southern Sun for the night, as the prepared for the ride into the mountains for the remainder of their trip to the West Coast.
“He’s done 20 miles today, and I’ve got to take care of him,” Dean said, as he dressed down Sankofa at the rodeo arena.
The Piscataway, N.J. resident has been traveling across the United States since September with Karen Trowers. “She’s my driver and horse handler,” he said.
Sankofa also has made the entire trip, while Southern Sun joined the others after their coast-to-coast journey was underway.
“Southern Son I’ve had for two months. I’ve had other horses on the journey, but traded them off trying to find the right mate for Sankofa, and I believe I may have found one,” he said.
The trip started in New York, 30 miles from his home, and traveled southeast before turning towards the west and eventually through Texas on the way to Los Angeles. “I was hoping to get there by late February, but Texas is taking a little more out of us than I expected,” Dean said.
He said they experiences some vehicle trouble in Texas, while the terrain traveling southeast away from the Atlantic Coast also was tough. “The Allegheny Mountains hurt me,” said Dean, who had to travel some back roads in the eastern states, but planned to stay close to Interstate 10 for the rest of the ride to the Pacific Coast.
“If I do 40 miles a day I do 20 and 20,” he said. “Typically, it’s 10 on and 10 off, and then 10 on and 10 off again, depending on the weather, the terrain and the horses. Sometimes I stop and make presentations at different schools.”
One of those schools was the West Texas State School in Pyote, where Dean spent the night before riding the 25 miles into Pecos last Monday.
“Superintendent Wallace Brown allowed me to come in and speak on the spur of the moment, and I gave a presentation to one of the social studies classes,” he said. “I enjoyed them, and I believe they enjoyed me.”
He said the ride is designed to promote awareness of African-American history to students in schools across the country.
“I talk to elementary, high school, college students, college faculty. Any time I have a chance to speak and inspire anyone I try to do that,” he said. “At the West Texas State School, I felt like I really connected with one particular student, and if I can get to just one, I feel like I’ve done my job.”
“The textbooks in our public education system do not do African-American history justice, and consequently, African-American youth and all others are denied the opportunity to appreciate the richness of each others contributions,” Dean said. “I think that would help to promote harmony within African-Americans. Principally, it’s a self-esteem builder when you know more about the history of your ancestors’ contributions to the settlement of the United States than what is taught in textbooks.”
“I’ve always traveled into classes with two sets of notes, and I should not have to do that. So I hope to encourage teachers to research and expose children to the richness of all ethnenticity and all ethnic contributions,” he said. “There is so much madness going on in inner cities, and so much apathy in general, and I think that’s just one of many reasons that we need to, as teachers, begin to think outside the box, and then to step outside that box to turn people around.”
“I think it’s my generation – I’m from the Baby Boomer generation – and I feel my generation dropped the ball at fulfilling Dr. King’s mission and even those of his ancestors before him,” Dean said. “I decided to pick the ball up and not only point the child in the right direction but lead in the right direction.
Dean said he has been a school teacher for 22 years, and has been riding for just about as long. “I bought my first horse in 1985,” he said. “I acquired Sankofa 10 years ago when he was just three months old.”
He said he would appreciate people going to his website, HYPERLINK "http://www.blackheritageriders.com" www.blackheritageriders.com, where more information about the ride is available.
“Follow my journey. Blog me. I appreciate all comments, good, bad or indifferent,” he said, adding that anyone wishing to contribute to his expenses could also do so through the www.blackheritageriders.com website.
“I hope at the end of my 5,000 mile odyssey, I’ve exposed and motivated someone into doing something positive to make a difference in the way we live.”
School plans Black History Month play
In honor of Black History Month, Bessie Haynes Elementary School, will feature a play, on Friday, Feb. 22, “I Have A Dream,” in Annabell Chavez’ fifth grade class.
Times for the play are from 10 a.m. until 10:40 a.m. and at 1 p.m. until 1:40 p.m.
The class will also have a musical/concept from 6-7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28.
GED test sign-ups set for Feb. 18
GED Testing will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Pecos High School.
Registration is scheduled from 1-4 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 18, at the Pecos High School, Room 2.
Examinees must present a Texas Driver’s License or Texas Department of Public Safety ID Card.
For more information call Pat Cobos/Eva Arriola, Pecos High School Counselor’s at 447-7229.
Posse Barn hosting BBQ plate sale
A barbecue plate sale will be held beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse Barn.
Barbecue with all the trimmings will be available for $6 a plate.
The Pecos Eagle Swim Team will be selling tickets, or to order call 445-3400 on Saturday.
All proceeds will be to help pay medical expenses for Hector Roman, Jr. who was injured in an automobile accident on Jan. 31.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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