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Police probe double stabbing outside motel

Two persons from Pecos and Monahans remained in Odessa Medical Center Hospital on Tuesday, one in critical condition, following a stabbing incident at a west side motel, who two others were injured in the early Sunday morning altercation.

However, police said no arrests have been made in the case because none of the four victims involved wanted to press any charges.

Richard Ortiz of Monahans remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Medical Center Hospital as a result of the stabbing, while the other victim, identified by Pecos Police as Isaiah Mendoza of Pecos, is in good condition, and was expected to be released sometime this week.

A full report on the incident was not available, by Police Capt. Kelly Davis said officers received a call at 4:52 a.m. on Sunday that two people had been stabbed at the Howard Johnson Motel in the 2100 block of West Third Street. The two men were reportedly stabbed outside the motel, while two women were allegedly assaulted with bricks.

All of the victims were taken first to Reeves County Hospital, before Ortiz and Mendoza were transferred to Medical Center Hospital. An exact report on the status of their stab wounds was unavailable from hospital personnel.

Police were given the name of a 21-year-old woman who allegedly stabbed both Ortiz and Mendoza. However, Police Chief Clay McKinney said as of now, no action can be taken, because none of the victims has agreed to file charges.

“We got the reports of the stabbings, but nobody wants to file charges,” McKinney said.

McKinney said none of the four victims or the alleged suspect are believed to be related. Davis said further action could be taken at a later date if one of the victims agrees to file charges.

Ortiz’s stabbing comes just over a year after his brother was shot and killed following an argument outside of a Monahans home, an incident Richard Ortiz also was involved in and which also included a stabbing, according to Monahans police.

Federico “Fred” Baca Ortiz, Jr., was shot and killed on Aug. 8, 2006 by another Monahans man, Darrell Fletcher, who was dating Ortiz’s sister, Angelica Ortiz. Police Chief Billy Hammitt said Ortiz was shot in the upper, left chest with a 12-guage shotgun, while a brother of Fletcher was stabbed in the incident, which occurred outside of Ortiz’s Monahans home.

Police said both Ortiz brothers were allegedly involved in the stabbing of Darrell Fletcher’s brother, Greg Fletcher outside of Fred Ortiz’s home, before Darrell Fletcher got out of his truck with a shotgun and shot Fred Ortiz. The incident began with an argument between Fred Ortiz and Darrell Fletcher, and Hammitt said after Richard Ortiz arrived, he punched both Angelica, and a third Fletcher brother, Kevin, prior to the stabbing of Greg Fletcher.

School lists rules on free, discount meals

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Each school and/or the central office have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The household size and income criteria will be used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced price meals. Foster children who are the legal responsibility of a welfare agency or court may also be eligible for benefits regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside. Eligibility for the foster child is based on the child’s income.

Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for their children. Applications also are available at the principal’s office in each school. To apply for free and reduced-price meals, households must fill out the application and return it to the school cafeteria or come by the Food Service Office, 1401 S. Park. Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data. The school officials may verify applications any time during the school year.

For school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits, households receiving food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) only have to list their child’s name and food stamp or TANF case number. An adult household member must sign the application.

Households that do not list a food stamp or TANF case number must list the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member and the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application.

If the adult who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate that a Social Security number is not available by checking the box or writing the word “None.” The application must be signed by an adult household member.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the Food Service and/or Food Service Secretary will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent, 1302 S. Park, 432-447-7201. If a household member become unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the Food Service Office. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the levels shown above.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272 or 202-720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

TxDOT doing U.S. 67 work; Eddy Street set for ’08

Texas Department of Transportation construction projects to the south and east of Pecos are currently underway, but construction work in town on South Eddy Street won’t get underway until sometime next year, officials said on Tuesday.

TxDOT’s major summer project in West Texas is the expansion and straightening of U.S. 67 between Interstate 10 and U.S. 90 in Pecos and Brewster County. Glenn Larum, TxDOT public information director for the Odessa District, said drivers traveling between Fort Stockton and Alpine on Wednesday can expect to face delays around noontime, due to highway construction blasting to widen the road for an alternate passing lane.

In this phase of the work, construction workers are cutting through a hill to reroute a short segment of highway and straighten out a sharp curve about 40 miles south of Fort Stockton.

DPS troopers will be stopping traffic just before the blasting occurs and the delay for motorists will continue while the debris from the blast is removed from the roadway and it is safe to proceed. Drivers headed to and from Alpine out of Pecos or the Midland-Odessa area on Wednesday can avoid delays by taking State Highway 17 from Pecos to Fort Davis and from there Highway 118 to Alpine.

Larum said work on resurfacing and widening sections of Eddy Street (FM 764) in Pecos, which had been projected to start later this year, won’t get underway until next Spring, in order to avoid problems with colder weather at the end of this fall.

“Because of the hot mix temperatures, they will not do any road work until early next year,” he said. “We’re looking at late April or early May, but some other work may go on before then.”

Along with the street improvements, TxDOT is also planning to put a traffic light on Eddy Street, at the Walthall/Washington street intersection next to Fairview Cemetery, as part of the street improvement project.

One other project drivers on Interstates 10 and 20 have seen in recent weeks is the construction of new digital signs. TxDOT has placed one sign on I-20 just east of Monahans and another on I-10 just west of Fort Stockton.

“That’s part of the governor’s Amber Alert program, and they’ll do double duty,” Larum said. Along with reporting alters on both missing children and missing senior citizens, the signs will also provide road condition information.

A similar sign for eastbound drivers headed from El Paso towards Pecos and Fort Stockton also has been set up on I-10 east of El Paso.

“The El Paso District are the people who handled putting up the signs,” Larum said. They’ll be operational once electric lines are run to the signs by the local utility companies.

P-B-T keeps current tax rate; board discusses BH projects

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members adopted a tax rate for the 2008 fiscal year, and discussed plans for the construction at the Bessie Haynes Elementary School campus, during a special board meeting, held Thursday evening in the Technology Center.

Board members voted to keep the tax rate at the same level as last year, $1.37. The board also adopted the fiscal 2008 budget by fund and function.

P-B-T ISD joined other local taxing entities in reporting another sharp increase in valuations in the past year, due to the increase in energy drilling in Reeves and Ward counties. Valuations rose over $50 million from a year ago, which at the $1.37 per $100 in valuations rate, would translate into about $750,000 in additional tax revenue for the district in the upcoming year.

Monte Hunter, with Hunter Corral Associates of Midland, was on hand to discuss the construction plans at the elementary school at the special school board meeting. “We’re zeroing in on the schematic plans at Crockett and we met with the Bessie Haynes principal to go over the plans for that campus,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Manny Espino.

He said that plans include expanding the library to the north in the building, and that it would essentially be centrally located.

“In addition, we are adding a music room and gym,” he said.

Those new rooms will be located on the west side of the current building, and behind the cafeteria kitchen. A science lab will also be included in the new addition. Hunter said that the court in the new gym will be large enough to hold junior high games. “It will be regulation, for junior high,” he said.

Espino said that the gym would have two to three rows of seating and have carpeting.

“We might also go with some pull-out bleachers, but those are more expensive,” said Hunter. “You don’t have any seating in there now.”

“It may be that we need to re-group and look at it again,” said Espino.

Hunter told the group that they had talked about putting a stage in the music room and that the stage that is currently in the cafeteria would remain.

“We talked about doing away with it, but some of the staff still want it there,” said Hunter. “It’s small and not really functional, if you want a stage, it will have to be a much larger stage,” he said.

He said that there would also be a new bus area, located where the current baseball diamond is on 11th Street, and that they were not moving as many things around during the construction.

“The only thing we’re moving is the teacher’s work room,” said Hunter. “At this point we’re trying to figure out where everything goes,” he said.

“Are you within the numbers on this project?” asked board member David Flores.

“Yes, we are, and it’s less than the other plans we had looked at,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that if this plan looked close they would keep fine-tuning it and then meet with the staff.

“In addition to starting these bigger projects, we can also start with some of the smaller ones, such as the concession stand and the tennis courts,” he said.

“There’s a lot of air-conditioning and life safety issues that we can take care of as well,” said Hunter.

Hunter said that he had spoken to Mid-Tex, the company that is handling the construction, and had asked whether it would be better to do it as a package or by campus.

“He said it would be best by campus, because it would involve roofing and electricity and it so much work,” said Hunter.

“If you can do the whole campus renovating, you get a better deal,” he said.

Espino said that the Bessie Haynes wouldn’t slow Crockett Junior High construction down, but that these projects would involve the staff and teachers and it just takes longer.

“They’ll put temporary construction fences up,” said Hunter.

In other action, the board added an administrator to PDAS appraisers, appointed a board delegate and alternate for the 2007 TASB Delegate Assembly. “We had not hired an assistant principal yet, but now we need to add her to PDAS appraisers,” said Espino.

Espino said that Bonnie Herndon would be added to the appraisers and the board appointed Vanessa Simmons for the 2007 TASB Delegate Assembly and board member Bill Oglesby as alternate. Board members also approved the superintendent’s salary at $110,000 a year.

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