Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Balmorhea honored for test improvements
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- Balmorhea ISD has been selected as one of
the state's 26 blue ribbon nominees for the No Child Left Behind
initiative due to its efforts in improving the test scores of the
students in the district.
The program is part of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act,
passed in 2001. The education reform package that Bush described as the
"cornerstone of my administration," recognizes schools that show
dramatic improvement over a period of time and those schools that are
ranked in the top ten percent of the state.
The program is based on four principles, according to the U.S.
Department of Education website. Accountability for results, an
emphasis on doing what works, expanded parental control and expanded
local control and flexibility are the four 'pillars' that Bush's
program rests on.
The program encompasses multiple initiatives, from sending overall
school performance report cards home to parents yearly to more money
for schools to higher standards for teaching. One of the main goals of
the program is the recognition of those schools that are academically
superior or those that show dramatic gains in academic achievement.
Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education described the blue ribbon
awardees as "national models of excellence that others can learn from."
Superintendent Mary Lou Carrasco is quoted in the release stating
"this rating shows that Balmorhea's schools are accountable for not
only for student learning, but also for achieving those results
cost-effectively and efficiently." The superior rating is the highest
fiscal accountability rating in the program.
According to the specifics of the program, the 'dramatic
improvement' category that Balmorhea has qualified for, requires that
the school was performing below the 55th percentile, and over the past
three years has brought the scores of all the children up to that
To qualify, Balmorhea had to have at least 95 percent of its
eligible students complete the state TAAS/TAKS standardized test. Of
those scores, the average over the past three years had to improve
greater than the vast majority of the rest of the state.
The State of Texas adjusted its selection to take into consideration
the economic status of each campus. Of the 26 schools selected this
year, almost 70 percent are from economically disadvantaged districts.
The program defines this category as a campus that has over 40 percent
of its students on some form of assistance, free lunch, reduced lunch
or Title I supplements.
The awardees are to be honored at the state's Administrator's
Midwinter Conference in Austin this January. In addition to the Blue
Ribbon award, Balmorhea has received recognition for its rating of
"superior achievement" under the State of Texas program FIRST
(Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas). It recognizes those
schools that "are making the most of our taxpayer's dollars," according
to the press release from the Texas Education Agency.
Agents save injured driver in major pot bust
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- A rollover accident on FM 170 along
the Rio Grande Saturday afternoon resulted in the discovery of nearly
11/2 tons of marijuana and the rescue of the vehicle's unconscious
driver by U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Marfa Sector's Presidio
According to a press release from the Border Patrol's Marfa office,
agents were called to assist the Presidio County Sheriff's office in a
rollover on F.M. 170, 13 miles west of Presidio Saturday afternoon. The
accident involved a 1993 Chevrolet Suburban, which had rolled over
while loaded with marijuana bundles.
Agents arrived to assist but were unable to locate the driver of the
vehicle who had been seen earlier by a witness. Using tracking
techniques with support from a Marfa Sector aircraft the male driver
was found unconscious in the brush. Agents employed their life saving
skills and were able to transport the man to a road to wait for an
ambulance. While waiting, the agents had to resuscitate the man three
times when he quit breathing.
According to the Border Patrol, two of the agents are recent
graduates of the binational Emergency Medical Technician training held
in Presidio by the Health Education Training Centers Alliance of Texas
and Texas Tech Medical Branch. One of the agents is also a member of
the Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue Team.
The vehicle contained 2,838.2 pounds of marijuana valued at
$2,270,560. The driver, a U.S. Citizen from Presidio, Texas, was
transported to Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine. The vehicle
and the marijuana were turned over to the Texas Department of Public
Safety Narcotics Task Force.
The marijuana seizure was the second in two days on FM 170, the
river road along the Rio Grande between Big Bend National Park and
On Friday, Presidio agents seized 84.12 pounds of marijuana when
they stopped a 1990 Chevrolet Lumina seven miles west of Presidio on FM
170. The car was driven by a Mexican citizen. The drugs were valued at
$67,296. The marijuana, the car and the driver were turned over to
agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Carlsbad gives Red Bluff water for Christmas
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- Red Bluff Water Power Control District
Board members had only routine business to discuss on Tuesday, during
their monthly meeting in Pecos.
The board went over the district's finances, and was briefed on the
water level at Red Bluff Lake and on the pumping of salt water out of
the Pecos River at Malaga Bend.
While the long awaited pumping of salt spring water out of the river
began 10 months ago, Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman said
there are still some complaints being filed in New Mexico, including
one by the Interstate Stream Commission.
"I'll go up and talk to them and visit with Mr. (Interstate Stream
Commission official Mikael) Stapleton at Roswell, and he'll tell me
what to do," Hartman said, while adding that no action was likely until
the engineer in charge returns from a two-month visit to India.
"I'd imagine he's over this and nothing is going to take place until
he gets back," said board member Jay Lee.
Board members were told the annual Pecos River Christmas Lighting
event in Carlsbad, N.M., currently underway, helped increase the water
level at Red Bluff Lake by about 8 percent in November.
"They gave us some water because of the Lights on the Pecos,"
Hartman said. "They just let the water down the river to freshen up
their little lake so the boats can go down and see the lights."
The water level at Red Bluff Lake still remains well below what is
needed for water releases due to the ongoing drought in both New Mexico
and Texas. The lake's level was 54,983 acre/feet on Dec. 1, which was
up 4,367 acre/feet during the month.
Chamber updated on plans for Christmas lighting event
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- Homes and businesses lit up for the
holidays in Pecos will be judged Friday, during the Annual Christmas
Lighting Contest sponsored by the Women's Division of the Pecos Area
Chamber of Commerce.
Women's Division President Michelle Workman updated the chamber
during their monthly meeting held Tuesday at noon.
"We'll have about 18-21 judges organized and using the city map we
will be going through all the community," said Workman.
She said that they had divided the community into sections, which
would be judged by a group of the Women's Division. "They don't have to
call in to have their home or block judged, because we will go by
there," Workman said.
Seven residential winners would be picked and a block that was
decorated the best will also win an award. "Last year, we also picked
out a business, so we'll be doing that too, this year," she said.
"We want to make sure that everybody turns on their lights Friday
evening, because that's when we will be judging," said Workman.
Workman said that the group would begin judging at 7 p.m. and the
winners would be announced in the Enterprise and on KIUN radio.
Recent projects the women have been working on include helping out
the local food banks and collecting jackets for children in the
"Two members organized and donated the money to the food banks, they
were Ninfa Alligood and Delfa Franco," said Workman.
The three organizations that received funding from the club were,
Church of Christ, Santa Rosa Catholic Church Food Bank and North Temple
"The group also collected 16 jackets and a few other that were in
the lost and found at Austin Elementary School," said Workman. "They
had been there for a while and not claimed and the principal from that
school donated them, the women took them home cleaned them up and laid
them out in the cafeteria."
A group of children targeted by teachers and the counselor at the
school were then called to the cafeteria and asked to try on and pick
out a jacket. Austin Elementary School teachers Mary Tarango and Nikki
Matta organized the event.
Reeves County Texas Extension Agent Tommy Dominguez was on hand for
the meeting and updated the group on events coming up.
"We had a livestock committee meeting and have scheduled the
livestock show for the third Saturday in January," said Dominguez.
He said that they had gotten everything validated and would have a
bigger group participate next year. "The numbers are up a little and
that's good," said Dominguez, adding that they had validated 64 goats,
43 lambs, four steers and 153 hogs.
"We also have barbecue tickets and are selling those as a fundraiser
for the kids projects," said Dominguez. "We want to invite everyone to
go out to the livestock show."
Dominguez, a Pecos High School graduate who had spent the past few
years in Crane and Fort Stockton, said that he was happy to be back in
Pecos and that everyone had been really nice to him.
"We're really glad to have you and are proud and happy that you're
very visible and attend many events," said chamber president Al Gomez.
"You've already been a big help."
Kathy Hurley updated the group on the recent Christmas Parade.
"We had a lot of beautiful floats, a lot of music," said Hurley. "I
think everyone really enjoyed it," he said.
Chamber Director Linda Gholson told the group that the flea market
held in November had been a huge success. "We had 20 vendors and at the
flea market we had in May, we had 15," she said.
Over 200 lots were sold and the chamber brought in $2,096, at the
November Flea Market and $1,525 during the May flea market, according
"It's getting to be a good thing and we appreciate everybody that
participated," she said.
Rodeo committee member Brenda McKinney said that the organization is
trying to finish all the contracts.
"We're trying to find a new company for the scoreboards, but the
producer, Walls Rodeo will be here again," she said.
McKinney said that the group is also working on providing a
scholarship for a deserving youth this year.
President Al Gomez said that when they had traveled to Austin to
receive the Main Street award they had listened to a good speaker that
they wanted to hire for the chamber banquet scheduled in February.
"His name is Kirk Watson, he's the ex-mayor of Austin, a good
speaker and a really funny guy," said Gomez. "We're trying to get him
to come down here and I'll have something to report at the next
Council again to look over PEDC budget
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will have
a brief agenda when it hold its first monthly meeting of December at 7
a.m. Thursday in the council chamber at City Hall.
The council is set to again look at the Pecos Economic Development
Budget for the 2003-2004 year, in addition to the regular approval of
reports from the various municipal entities.
The PEDC budget item has been up before the council the past two
regular meetings, but has been tabled due to council's concerns over
the allocation of funds to the PEDC President for both a car expense
and a gas and mileage allowance.
The item also came up in September during the PEDC's annual budget
meeting. At that point the PEDC board moved the car expense line item
under the administrative column of the budget. However, council members
made it known that the car expense line item should be removed
completely by either adding the money directly to salary or using the
funds some place else.
Also on the agenda is the rescheduling of the second monthly meeting
due to the Christmas holiday. Normally the meeting would fall on
Robbery hunted in morning heist at Stockton bank
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- Texas Rangers, Pecos County Sheriff's
Deputies and other area law enforcement officials are searching for a
man who robbed the First National Bank in Fort Stockton late this
The robbery occurred about 11:30 a.m. at the bank, located on
Dickenson Boulevard in Fort Stockton. The man, described as a Hispanic
male about 5-foot-9 with a tattoo, reportedly fled the bank on foot
with an undetermined amount of money. No injuries have been reported in
connection with the robbery, and no information was given about any
vehicle or possible accomplices involved in the robbery.
Defensive driving class on Saturday
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- A defensive driving course will be
held from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The class will be held
at 1125 Stafford Blvd.
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 10, 2003 -- High Tues. 55. Low this morning 24.
Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows near 30. SE winds near 10 mph.
Thurs.: Mostly sunny. Highs near 65. Light and variable winds. Thurs.
night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. SE winds near 10 mph. Fri.: Mostly
sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds near 10 mph shifting to the
west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy with
isolated rain showers. Lows in the mid 30s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise