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Wednesday, February 9, 2000

School board opts against uniform plan

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000 - Students in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be allowed to wear their regular clothing for the 2000-2001 school year, following a decision at Tuesday evening's regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting.

The board opted against approving school uniforms for P-B-T students after hearing a report on the plan Tuesday

"After looking at the numbers on the survey we sent out recently, I just don't think this is something we want to do at this time," said P-B-T Superintendent Don Love.

A survey was sent to all the parents in the district, after school board members had discussed the idea of instituting school uniforms.

Love stated that the results indicated that the lower grades were interested in the school uniforms while the older grade levels were not.

"The elementary schools indicated they were interested, but once you get up into the junior high levels, it's not something that they wanted," he said.

Of the 1,173 people who returned the survey to the schools, 65 percent, (757 votes) were for the school uniforms with 35 percent, (416) against. But out of 238 total votes from Pecos High School parents, 44 percent (105) voted "yes," and 56 percent (133), voted "no." Parents of Crockett Middle School eighth graders returned 147 sruveys, with 47 percent (69) for and 53 percent (78).

Parents of Zavala Middle School seventh graders returned 87 surveys, with 54 (62 percent) for the uniform plan, and 33 (38 percent) against. At Lamar Middle School 108 parents voted, with 68 for (63 percent) and 40 against (37 percent).

At the elementary school level, only parents of third graders at Pecos Elementary opposed the plan, by a 3-1 margin. A total of 102 voted, with 76 votes against and 26 in favor. Parents in the other schools favored the plan by margins of 3-to-1, 4-to-1 and 5-to-1.

At Bessie Haynes Elementary School, 223 parents voted, with 161 for (72 percent) and 62 against (28 percent); Austin Elementary School had 210 first and second grade parents vote, with 178 in favor (85 percent) and 32 against (15 percent), while Pecos Kindergarten had 58 parents vote, with 46 in favor (79 percent) and 12 opposed (21 percent)

"In the research and in talking to other schools they indicated that we would need 70 percent approval rate," said Love.

Love stated that he's talked to some schools that had 80-90 percent approval rate. "After visiting with all the school principals and teachers, we don't feel like this is what we want or need at this time," said Love.

Board member Brent Shaw said he was one of the board members that had pushed to look into school uniforms. "When we went to the convention everyone just pointed out all the positive things about them, nobody bothered to say anything negative about it," said Shaw.

He explained that was one of the reasons that he had pushed to look into this. "Another thing that was pointed out to me, is how will Pecos be perceived if we went to uniforms, by the other schools," Shaw said. "It's not something we considered."

Shaw said he had also been asked by some parents, "why should my kids, who are good students and dress neatly be punished because there are some kids that don't dress appropriately."

"I don't think there is enough overall support to do this at this time," said Shaw. "We thought it was a great idea at the time."

"It was a waste of time," said board member Frank "Koki" Apolinar, Jr. "I was totally against it from the start," he said.

Apolinar said that basically Pecos has good kids and that this district is not at the point that uniforms are necessary. "The good kids in this community outweigh the bad. Sure there are some that are troublemakers, but the majority are not," he said.

"This issue has been tossed around for several years and it was time to finally put it to rest," said board president Earl Bates. "The lower grades were in favor, but when you get back up in the higher grades, they're not in favor of it."

"At the convention, they were very enthusiastic about it, which got us all hyped up about it," said board member Billie Sadler. "I think we did the right thing in finding out if Pecos wanted this."

"There's different rules out there, now, the kids have turned the tables on us again," said board member Louis Matta. "Now even the gang members want to dress neatly."

Dress doesn't have anything to do with it anymore, according to Matta.

"There's some kids that are over at Carver that dress really nice and don't look like they belong there," said Matta. "And then you ask them, what are you doing here, and they say, well I pulled a knife on someone," he said.

Bid of $690,000 accepted for additions to Crockett

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000Construction at Crockett Middle School will begin soon, after a sealed proposal was approved and construction awarded to an area construction company during Tuesday's Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board meeting.

A competitive sealed proposal for the basic scope of work and any and all alternates for Crockett Junior High additions was approved by the board, as part of its plan to consolidate seventh and eighth grade classes at the school.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD received two sealed proposals, one from Hawkins Construction of Odessa and from Mid-Tex of Midland.

"These are two very good construction companies, we've worked with both of them before and are pleased with their work," said Monte Hunter with Hunter Corral Associates, the company hired by P-B-T to plan the project. "We sent invitations to eight different companies, but a lot of them won't even bid if the amount of construction isn't at least $1 million."

Hawkins had the lower-cost proposal, according to Hunter.

The total cost for the project is estimated at $690,000 with a $20,000 contingency built into it. ""If we only use $5,000 of the contingency, you don't have to pay the entire $20,000," said Hunter. "It has a little cushion in there if we need it," he said.

Three science labs and combination classrooms and a computer lab will be part of the new building at the school. Board members voted for Alternate plans 1 and three, which included a vestibule and additional lockers.

"The vestibule will connect the two buildings and the extra lockers are in case attendance is up and are needed," said Hunter.

"If it's approved tonight, how long before they begin construction?" asked board president Earl Bates.

"I'll give them the go-ahead in the morning and they said they would be ready to begin within the next 5-10 days or so," said Hunter.

The work will allow the school to handle the extra load when seventh grade classes from Zavala Middle School move to Crockett next year. Under the plan, sixth graders will begin attending Zavala this coming fall, while Lamar Middle School, where P-B-T sixth graders currently go, will be closed.

Chamber discusses banquet, ed plans

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000Over 200 tickets have already been sold for the Pecos Chamber of Commerce's Annual Awards Banquet, scheduled for Saturday at the Reeves County Civic Center, but some are still available.

"We welcome people to come join us at the banquet," said chamber president Jeannette Alligood during the Chamber's monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Guest speaker for Saturday's banquet will be Dr. Van Gipson, president of Odessa College, which is in the process of building a satellite campus in Pecos, at the former White's Auto building.

"One of the things they're working on with Odessa College is bringing in computers, to offer short courses on Windows, Excel and other programs that people in Pecos are using or attempting to use," said Alligood.

Alligood stated that Sul Ross State University also wants to offer a seminar in Pecos for small businesses. "They want us to put our name behind it and it won't cost us anything," she said.

The seminar would be a three-hour event at the civic center, Thursday, March 30 and would include information for small businesses. The workshop will be entitled, Small Business Administration Workshop _ Understanding Your Business Taxes.

Charlene Romero Wurtz, with Census 2000, was one of the guests at Tuesday's meeting. She updated the group on what the Census is doing at this point and to stress the importance of filling out the forms.

"This forms mean grant funds and money for your community, so we want to make sure that everyone is counted," said Wurtz.

Last month Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo appointed 25 individuals from the community to be in the Complete County Committee, according to Wurtz. "He selected individuals that know the community very well," she said.

She said census officials have reviewed the maps and boundaries for Pecos and all still the same.

Starting in February, the Census will begin with the prisons, and any area that has 10 or more individuals in it.

"Recruiting is going on at this time, in this county it is being done by Cynthia Cobos," said Wurtz.

She will be hiring individuals to help out with the census, and those jobs will last through July.

"In February we will have a lot of kickoffs," said Wurtz. "And in March we'll start counting the special based areas, such as soup kitchens, shelters, homeless and we will have transit night, people that do travel," she said.

"On March 19, we'll have a Sunday, for all West Texas, to have all religious places in West Texas, Pecos and Reeves County counted," she said.

Anyone who receives mail at his or her home will receive the census questionnaire during the first 15 days of March. "A reminder will precede this, that says you will soon be receiving your questionnaire from Census," said Wurtz. "It will also say that if you want this in five different languages, fill it out and send it back as soon as possible."

Wurtz said Reeves County is one of the "leave areas," where someone will go to the homes and leave the questionnaire. "Then on April 16, people will walk the neighborhood and ask people that didn't fill out the questionnaire," she said.

"We'll set up a center, where volunteers will help with filling out the questionnaire," said Wurtz. "Volunteers for this are needed."

April 13-17 will be Senior Citizens Week. "This will be to help senior citizens fill out the form," said Wurtz.

A lot of ads with information about the Census will be run on radio, television, and in newspapers, according to Wurtz, and the school district will be distributing coloring books and brochures.

Also on Tuesday, Crockett Middle School Principal Juanita Davila and teacher Jim Workman presented a floor and site plan of the new building that will be constructed at that campus, as part of the seventh and eighth grade consolidation scheduled for the 2000-2001 school year.

"We're just real excited about this," said Davila. "The plan includes three science labs and combination classrooms and computer lab," she said.

Pending approval by the school board, Davila and her staff are planning a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 15. "This is something very significant for the school district and we hope you share in this pride," she said.

Crockett will also be hosting a UIL Literary Meet, with six schools included, beginning at 8:30 a.m. "We need volunteers to help us out during the day grading and at the hospitality lounge," said Workman.

PHS students hand out grades at science fair

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000Bessie Haynes fifth graders faced questions from both teachers and other students this morning, as part of the school's annual science fair.

The students were from science classes at Pecos High School, and they joined with other science teachers from PHS and other campuses to judge the fifth graders' projects, which covered six different areas.

"We've done it for several years," said PHS science teacher Barbara Scown. "Everybody really enjoys it and the students get a big kick out of it."

A total of 11 high school students joined teachers Laura Boswell, Carolyn McNeil, Jim Workman, Frank Ornelas, Lupe Paz and Tom Johnson in judging the 119 exhibits the fifth graders had come up with. Scown said of that group, 40 were fair projects in physics, 35 in chemistry, 20 in behavioral science, nine each in life science and earth and space and six in environmental sciences.

The student projects were set up in rooms at Bessie Haynes and the boys and girls then had to explain their work to either high school students and/or teachers who served as judges in that category.

"The students and teachers both have put in a lot of hard work to make this science fair a success," said Scown, who thanked PHS principal Danny Rodriguez and Bessie Haynes principal Mary Lou Carrasco for allowing the high school students to work with the fifth graders in judging.

High school students involved included Jack Armstrong, Brandi Bradley, Suzanne Carrasco, Len Carson, Frank Dominguez, Lyndall Elkins, Brandi Harrison, Sara Matta, Lily Payen, Erin Paz and Trent Riley.

The winners in each division will go to the Regional Science Fair at the University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa on March 25.

Wastewater, fingerprinting on city agenda

PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000Town of Pecos City Council members will discuss and consider a fingerprinting contract with the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS) during their regular meeting Thursday morning at City Hall.

Police Chief Clay McKinney proposed the idea at the last council meeting. McKinney said that the INS would pay for one member of the police department to go to an INS finger printing school and that the program wouldn't cost the city anything. The agency would then pay the city for each person fingerprinted for INS by the police department.

Council members will also consider the city's possible participation in a Christian youth center, at their regular meeting scheduled for 7:30 a.m. in the council chambers.

The council is also set to appoint a Wastewater Committee for Mediation. According to councilman Johnny Terrazas, the committee will be charged with meeting with the Committee to Save East Pecos and discussing that groups concerns with the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The council will also discuss the placement of billboards on U.S. 285 during their Thursday meeting. The billboards in question are similar to the one placed on Balmorhea Highway near the Winkles Trucks complex. The sign is sponsored by local churches and, according Ken Winkles, who is coordinating the effort, local churches are planning five such signs. Each of the signs will carry two of the Ten Commandments, Winkles said.

The council's agenda also calls for a closed executive session to discuss the duties of the municipal court judge and possible litigation with Reeves County concerning the out-of-town water rate case.

Today, several members of city government are at a mediation session in Austin concerning the city's ongoing feud with the county over the rate charged by the city to supply water to the Reeves County Detention Center.

According to City Manager Kenneth Neal the city did not bill Reeves County correctly for several years. When the city presented the county with a revised bill for the correct amount, the county balked.

If today's mediation doesn't bring about an agreement, the matter may be referred to the Texas Attorney General's office, according to the Mediation Order issued by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission.

Relay for Life meeting set for Thursday

PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000Relay for Life Rally participants will meet at 6:30 p.m., Thursday at the Texas-New Mexico Ready Room.

The group will have team registration, sponsorship information, luminaria and cancer survivor lap information and volunteer opportunities.

If you are unable to attend, send a representative from your group.

Exhibits on MLK, Valentine's open at museum

PECOS, Feb. 9, 2000The West of the Pecos Museum is announcing its exhibits for February.

In recognition of February Black History Month _ a photographic exhibit on Martin Luther King will be on display.

Also in recognition of February, President's Month an exhibit on the White House and finally for Valentine's Day _ a display of Love Letters.

These exhibits can be seen for free at the museum.

Museum hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturday.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-3-4-16-37. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 186. Prize: $1,085.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-5-1 (four, five, one)


Jesus Ortega, Jr.

Jesus Daniel Ortega, Jr., a newborn, died Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2000, at Odessa Regional Hospital.

Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

Survivors include his parents, Jesus Daniel Sr. and Tomasita Orona of Pecos; two sisters, Bianca Orona and Destiny Nicole Ortega of Pecos; grandparents, Manuel Orona, Danny and Elizabeth Ortega and Mary Jane and Bonifacio Garcia, all of Pecos.



AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-3-4-16-37. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 186. Prize: $1,085.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-5-1 (four, five, one)


PECOS, FEb. 9, 2000 - High Tuesday 75. Low this morning 45. Fair. Low 40-45. West wind 10-20 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy and continued unseasonably warm. High 80-85. West wind 15-25 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the upper 30s. Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the 70s.

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