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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 9, 2007

P-B-T board OKs election on $30 million bond issue

Voters will decide on May 12 whether or not new construction will take place at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD campuses over the next few years, after school board members on Monday agreed to hold a $30 million bond election, with most of the money going towards major construction at Austin Elementary and Crockett Junior High School. The vote will be part of the May 12 local elections, which will include four positions on the board, along with positions for Town of Pecos City, Barstow and Toyah councils, and the Reeves County Hospital Board election.

Board members approved a resolution stating, “Shall the board of trustees of he Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD in Reeves and Ward Counties be authorized to issue bonds of the district in the principal amount of $30 million for the construction, renovation, acquisition and equipment of school buildings in the district.”

The vote came after Monte Hunter, with Hunter Corral Associates discussed the projects with the board, along with Marty Liljekvist, with Southwest First , who talked with members about the bond issue.

Hunter told the group that they had looked at a $33 million bond and at a $23 million bond.

“We built on that and made four to five cuts (items), and also included sixth grade at Crockett and the south wing at Austin,” said Hunter.

The two main projects involve demolition of the two oldest wings of Austin Elementary, near Veterans Boulevard, and replacing those classrooms with a new wing on the Normandy Street side of the campus, and construction of new classrooms to relocate sixth grade students from Bessie Haynes Elementary to Crockett Junior High.

The total for initial cost is $25 million and when you figure inflation it comes to $29 million, according to Hunter, who said that the board will still need to decide where to put food services, or whether they want to build another building for them.

“You might want to put them at either Zavala or Lamar,” said Hunter.

The new facilities assessment report included canopies for the buses and vehicles, for $673,000.

“We weren’t trying to get it at right under $30 million, it just came out that way,” said Hunter. “You can add or delete, we’ll adjust to whatever you put on the table and what the community wants,” he said.

“We’ll have to have a game plan, of when we’ll start and what we’re doing and not doing,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Manny Espino.

Hunter said that while new construction is going on, especially at Austin, the students will be relocated out of the old portion, which will be torn down while newer sections of the campus remain open. “This is one way we can do it,” he said.

Along with the demolition of the south wings at Austin, a new driveway for school buses to drop off and pick up students at the school will be built, which will move the children off of Veterans Boulevard and Nebraska Street.

Hunter said that they would be providing drawings and other information to the board and release it to the public.

“If the bond passes, then we’ll move on and then do bids and keep you very well informed,” He said.

“When we start on construction, we like to start on education first,” he said.

Marty Liljekvist told the group that everything is a variable in terms of election.

“Right now you’ve been bombarded with a lot of numbers, but as long as we keep it at what the board decides that’s what we’ll do,” said Liljekvist. “As you move forward, you get all the funding required, and all the variables will start to disappear,” she said.

“We won’t let your taxable go up not more than 33 cents,” said Liljekvist.

Early voting for this election will begin Monday, April 30 through Tuesday, May 8, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak.

Board members also approved vehicles to be considered for sale or salvage during the regular meeting, and the use of the Pecos High School Auditorium by the Women’s Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce and waive the fees, for the Golden Girl/Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant rehearsals and pageant.

Rehearsals are scheduled for the pageant will be held from 6-11 p.m., June 4-22. and the pageant stage is to be set up on May 31 or June 1.

The pageant is scheduled for Friday, June 22.

Several resignations and contracts were also approved during the meeting.

Resignations include: Joe Denham, assistant band director; Windy Franks, first grade, Austin Elementary; Cynthia Harmer, English teacher, Crockett Middle School; Frank Ornelas, science teacher, Pecos High School; Forrest Perry, band director; Shawn Pope, physical education/coach, Austin Elementary and Scott Walker, math teacher, Pecos High School.

New contract cited for changes at RCDC

Reeves County Commissioners approved contracts for $17 million in improvements for the Reeves County Detention Center’s units 1 and 2, during a special meeting held Tuesday at the Reeves County Courthouse.

County Judge Sam Contreras said the improvements, along with personnel changes instituted last month at the two units by prison manager GEO Group, are the result of the county’s new 10-year contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to continue housing BOP inmates at the county-owned detention center.

The contracts for RCDC I and II, along with a separate deal at RCDC III, will have as many as 3,763 inmates housed at the facility. The deal agreed to in January for units I and II could be worth more than $600 million to the county over the next decade. However, Contreras said as part of being the low bidder on the BOP contract, the deal required changes in staffing at RCDC I and II.

“GEO looked at different areas to cut costs, and one was to eliminate several positions. That’s what happened three weeks ago,” he said, while adding, “They allowed them (employees) to apply for other positions at the same pay, so their pay didn’t go down.” He said the changes affected 17 county positions at the prison and one spot staffed through GEO. “The positions that were eliminated were positions they said were not needed or they were overstaffed.”

Overall, RCDC remains in search of guards and other workers at the facility. The prison is one of many local employers facing labor shortages due to higher-paying oilfield jobs that have attracted workers following several years of declining area populations due to the loss of jobs in the Trans-Pecos region.

Contreras said along with the position changes at the mid-level jobs at the prison, GEO also transferred RCDC 1 and 2 Warden Ed Gonzales to another prison, with RCDC III Warden Martin McDaniel moving over to Gonzales’ former job.

“GEO is going to have another warden coming in from California, who will be here shortly,” Contreras said. “Right now they’ve got a temporary warden who’s in charge of R-3, until they get the other warden in.”

Commissioners voted the $17 million in improvements on Tuesday so that construction could start as soon as possible to meet the requirements of the new contract, Contreras said. The contract calls for the housing of up to 2,407 inmates, mostly illegal aliens, at RCDC I and II, and the work will involve improvements to the medical unit for the two facilities, along with expansion of the segregation units.

“The good news for the economy is we’re going to have more people here in Pecos for the next seven or eight months,” Contreras said.

Trio honored for law enforcement, EMS work

Law enforcement and emergency medical personnel were among those honored at the Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held on Feb. 22 at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Andy Hannah who was born and raised in Pecos, was the recipient of the EMS of the Year Award, while deputy Kevin Roberts was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and Robert Herrera received the award as Correctional Officer of the Year at the banquet.

Hannah has been a paramedic for 15 years and has been a member of Pecos EMS for 16 years. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1964-1969, in Vietnam; was employed at Duval/Pennzoil Freeport Sulphur plant for 30 years and is currently employed at the Reeves County Detention Center III.

He has been a member of the Reeves County Sheriff’s Posse; Life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars; helps out with the Fourth of July Parade, Boy Scouts, Little League, PTA, Girl Scouts, 4-H Horse Club, Christmas Parade, Band Boosters, Christmas for Kids; is an American Heart CPR Instructor/Trainer and American Red Cross First Aid/CPR instructor.

Hannah has been married to Shirley Hannah for 36 years; the couple have two children, Blaine, who is also a Pecos EMS worker, and Shannon; along with nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Roberts has been working with the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department since July 1, 2003. He was assigned to the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, which was under the direction of Sheriff Andy Gomez until September 2005, when the task force was dissolved. Roberts was promoted to lieutenant and put in charge of the new Reeves County Sheriff Office Narcotics Division.

Since the formation of the new Narcotics Division at the Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, the Narcotics Division has seized approximately $3 million of illegal drugs, consisting of marijuana and cocaine, along with approximately $1 million in U.S. Currency, 20 vehicles. They have made 26 felony arrests and Gomez said because of the Narcotics Division the sheriff’s department has been able to employ an additional six employees in his department.

“This is all being done at no cost to Reeves County taxpayers,” said Johnny Terrazas who presented the award at the banquet. “Lt. Roberts has been a major part in saving the county thousands and thousands of dollars,” he said.

Herrera started his law enforcement career in June of 2000 by going to work for the Department of Criminal Justice in Fort Stockton, as a correctional officer. He worked for TDCJ for 17 months, then began working for the Pecos Police Department in February of 2002, when the Pecos Municipal Criminal Justice Center opened.

Herrera started working as a sergeant due to his experience and has continually done an outstanding job for the department.

He is in charge of shift two days with three officers under him in a 96-bed facility.

“Sergeant Herrera takes pride in his work and what his shifts accomplishes while they are on duty,” said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney. “He will stay over if need be or go on transportation trips or whatever the case may be and never complains.”

Herrera serves his community by coaching girls’ volleyball ages 10-11 years of age; T-ball; Little League baseball and coached Pop Warner Football. He is also a Pecos City Volunteer Fireman.

Munoz to face Graham in school board race

Another challenger has joined the race in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board elections, filing just prior to Tuesday’s deadline for a two-year unexpired term on the board.

Manuel Munoz Sr. will face Randy Graham for the position on the board that was left vacant late last year, when Amy Miller moved to Lubbock. Munoz filed on Tuesday, while Graham filed last week.

Candidates still have until 5 p.m. on Monday to file for the three full terms up for election on May 12 on the P-B-T board, along with positions in local city and hospital district elections.

All incumbents in that race, along with the Town of Pecos City Council and Reeves County Hospital District elections, have filed to retain their positions, while former P-B-T school personnel director Gome Olibas filed last week to against board president Lila Cerna and members, Bubba Williams and Crissy Martinez.

Neither the Pecos City Council nor the Reeves County Hospital District incumbents up for election had any challengers as of late Thursday morning.

In the Town of Pecos City election, mayor pro-tem Gerald Tellez and councilmen Danny Rodriguez and Frank Sanchez have filed for new two-year terms, city secretary Crissy Barraza said. All three were unopposed in winning new two-year terms in office in 2005. In the Reeves County Hospital Board elections, board president Linda Gholson, representing Precinct 2, and Precinct 4 representative Pablo Carrasco also have filed run for new two-year terms. Both ran unopposed in 2005, as with the city incumbents, currently have no challengers.

Under state law, city, school and hospital districts can cancel their elections in order to save money if there are no contested races or any other local measures on the ballot. Candidates for hospital board have until 5 p.m., March 12, to turn in applications with Nadine Smith at the Reeves County Hospital. City Council hopefuls have until that date to return their applications to Barraza at City Hall.

The school office at 1302 S. Park St., will be open next Monday, even though it is Spring Break for P-B-T students and classes will not be in session. On Tuesday, March 13, candidates will draw for a position on the ballot and the office will again be open on that day.

Sign-ups also started last Monday for city elections in Barstow, Toyah and Balmorhea, as well as for the Balmorhea ISD board, and also run though March 12. Candidates in those elections can file at the Balmorhea ISD office, and at City Hall in Balmorhea, Toyah and Barstow for their council elections.

Miss Cantaloupe sign-ups to start

Little Miss Cantaloupe sign ups will be held from March 12-23 and is open to all little girls in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD who are in kindergarten or first grade.

Applications can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce Office, 111 S. Cedar or for more information contact the chamber at 445-2406.

The pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, June 22, at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

Bunton scholarship applicants sought

The Permian Basin Area Foundation announced that a scholarship will be awarded in the name of former U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton, starting this spring.

The Lucius D. Bunton Memorial Law Scholarship Fund for the Fall 2007 semester will go to a student accepted or currently enrolled in an accredited law school in the United States. All applications will be considered regardless of financial status.

Applicants must be a resident of one of the following counties upon his or her high school graduation: Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Sterling, Upton, Ward and Winkler. Preference will be given to a student who was born and raised in one of these counties.

Information and applications are available through the Permian Basin Area Foundation website at . Completed applications must be received by the Permian Basin Area Foundation no later than May 30.

AA resuming Monahans meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings will resume in Monahans.

Alcoholics and other substance abuse problems are invited to open meetings at 8 p.m., every Monday evening.

Meetings are held in the New Life Center Church, on the corner of Bruce and 3rd in Downtown Monahans. Access is through the door on the west end of the church.

The Ward County Friendship Group has a long history of helping residents deal with alcohol and other substance addictions.

Meetings have resumed after stopping temporarily.

For more information contact Jim at 940-1409.

Boicourt receives scholarship to St. Mary’s

Tiffany Boicourt, of Pecos, has been admitted to the St. Mary’s University and also received a scholarship.

On the basis of her overall record, the university offered Boicourt a four-year Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $36,000.

The Presidential Scholarship is to be used for tuition ($4,500 per semester for eight semesters). To remain eligible for this award, the student must be enrolled full-time (taking a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester), and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. In addition, the student is strongly encouraged to be involved in school and a community activities while at St. Mary’s.

Boicourt is the daughter of Lisa and Tommy Boicourt of Pecos.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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