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Friday, April 14, 2000

Salt cedar kill may restore lost farmland

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 14, 2000 - Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs congratulated everyone involved with the salt cedar eradication project when she spoke to an estimated 300 attendees at the Salt cedar/Arsenal Project Field Day this morning at the Reeves County Civic Center.

"This project is truly critical to Texas as we're in our third drought in four years. Each and every source of water is extremely important to the entire state," Combs said.

"It is our hope that the project can be expanded to the entire Pecos River and eventually to the many other brush-clogged waterways in Texas," she said.

Arsenal was sprayed on salt cedar trees along a stretch of the Pecos River north of the Highway 302 bridge near Mentone last September, and officials were due to travel to the bridge today to view the difference between the river's north banks and the untreated area south of the bridge.

Combs said that brush control was an important element to long-term water improvement across the state and voiced hopes that a similar program could be implemented along the Upper Concho River and to control the huge cedar tree population that overlies the Edwards Aquifer.

The Department of Agriculture's role in the project was primarily to secure the necessary Environmental Protection Agency approval to use the chemical Arsenal along the banks of the river, she said.

"We worked hard to get the EPA to grant the Section 24-C label for this particular application," she said.

Combs also said that on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., she had spoken to the EPA and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Both agencies are extremely positive and supportive of what we are doing here," she said.

Combs said that her next priority was to secure more funding for the Pecos River project so that the entire river could be treated this coming fall.

Putting the possible benefits in perspective, District Conservationist for the Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District Barney Lee, explained that removing the salt cedar from the banks of the river would conserve enough water to irrigate another 10,000 acres of farmland.

"Not only will we conserve about one million acre/feet of water each year, but removing the salt cedar will also drastically decrease the salinity of the river," Lee said.

Lee explained that the salt cedar does double damage to the river _ first by using large quantities of water and second, by depositing salt from the soil onto the surface of the ground where it is then washed into the river.

"This project may have a very real impact on agriculture in the region," he said.

Jeff Birk, a representative of American Cyanamid, explained that while Arsenal has been labeled for non-crop land uses since 1985, the EPA had never approved use of the chemical on cropland or in aquatic environments.

American Cyanamid produces the herbicide Arsenal that is the used in eradicating the salt cedar.

"We had two hurdles to cross before we could use Arsenal in this project since the Pecos River is obviously an aquatic environment and the land beside the river is classified as grazing/crop land," Birk said.

He explained that the EPA had granted a special use label for the Pecos River Project, but that American Cyanamid would be applying to the EPA next week for a broader label that would allow unrestricted use of the herbicide on cropland and in aquatic environments.

So far, the experimental project is being heralded as a success.

"It looks like we've been very successful," said Terry Holder, Texas A & M Agriculture Extension Agent for Reeves County. "Based on the defoliation we're seeing, we think the application was at least 95 percent successful."

Holder explained that it would be two years from the date of the application before success could be completely measured.

"In two years we will be able to tell if the application got all of the roots," he said.

School adding PHS security cameras

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 14, 2000 - More security will be available in the parking lots at Pecos High School thanks to funds from the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant Program.

The item was approved at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting held Thursday evening in the boardroom on South Park Street.

"We received a call from the juvenile department about this grant," said superintendent Don Love, who said nine security cameras will be made available through the grant.

"The cameras will be placed in the parking lots and a television set up in the vice-principal's office, which will be viewed there," he added. The cameras will be able to videotape the areas both during the day and at night.

"We need all the help we can get," he said. Local students' cars have been damaged in the parking lots the past few years, and vehicles belonging to Crane fans attending a football game in Pecos back in September were also vandalized.

"One of the main things is the safety issue, we can't film inside the classroom, but the outside is okay," said Jimmy Dutchover, who is the grant administrator for the school.

"We had some problems where we went to El Paso to compete and came back to find the cars had been damaged," said Love.

Love said that the cameras might not stop the vandalism, but they would help.. "We might be able to catch them."

The amount of the grant is for $6,580 and would be used for the cameras, with no matching funds or any expenses for the school.

Dutchover told the board that as soon as they could Southwest Security Systems would come in and install them.

"What expenses would the school have to come up with?" asked board member Louis Matta.

"There would be no expense to the district, except maybe electricity and tapes," said Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez.

"The good thing about these cameras is that they can run for days," said Dutchover.

Two cameras will be placed in the football field parking lot, in the band hall parking lot, the parking lot located behind the school, and the parking lot on Park Street.

"We sure could have used these during the football season and caught the individuals that cut all those tires," said board president Earl Bates. "All this vandalism sends out a bad message to the other towns. "They don't even want to come here anymore."

In other business on Thursday, the board was told by Monte Hunter that construction on the Crockett Middle School lab addition project is going very.

"We've been having weekly meetings," said Hunter, who is supervision the addition on the south side of the school.

He told the group that they had found a good match for the brick on the building and the science equipment will be here on time.

"We plan to stay on top of Hawkings to stay on schedule," said Hunter. "They poured the foundation and will pour slab on Saturday, the steel will be going up in a week."

Right now they're about a week behind schedule, but at this point it's pretty easy to catch up, according to Hunter.

Bids to re-roof Austin Elementary School and Pecos High School were discussed during the meeting, before the board awarded the contract to Bostick Roofing in the amount of $49,519. The other bidder was Midwest Roofing.

"We had invited others to bid, but they're tied up in Odessa, with hail damage and other problems," said Hunter.

Bostick was the low bidder and offered a break when combining scope of work, according to Love.

An interlocal agreement to transfer agreement for transfer of P-B-T ISD /Town of Pecos City video lab equipment to the new Odessa College _ Pecos Campus was approved.

Board members also approved the Summer School plans for 2000. "This is done with grant money," said Love.

Students in first through eighth grade can participate in the summer school program.

"I feel like it's been a success," said Zavala Middle School Principal Lucinda Valenzuela

Valenzuela stated that those students in seventh and eighth grade who failed a subject could take that subject only, during the summer session.

The board approved advertising for bids on property owned by the district.

"This is property that is deemed no longer of any use to the district," said Bates.

Board members approved a resolution to advertise in the newspaper and take bids on this property located in the Meadowbrook addition of the city.

A bid to purchase property foreclosed because of taxes due was awarded to Henrietta Prieto, who is currently residing in Arizona, but will be moving back to Pecos.

The bid was accepted with the stipulation that she pays the back taxes owed for 1998 and 1999, in the amount of $181.87 and $174.25. The bid was for $500.

Board members approved Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD joining the Texas State Teachers Association in bringing about legislation that would insure all school employees in a statewide health insurance plan, one with the same benefits and options now available to State of Texas employees.

"This has been longtime quest of the TSTA, and it believes that now is the time to seize the initiative and seek enactment of this legislation during the next session of the Texas Legislature," said president of the 125 member Pecos TSTA chapter, Jamie Crisp.

Board honors teachers, UIL students

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 14, 2000 - Outstanding teachers and students were recognized during the regular meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board Thursday event.

Crockett Middle School eighth grade and Pecos High School science fair students, along with middle school UIL science and math students were recognized for their outstanding efforts, while Teachers of the Year from their district's campuses were also recognized by board members.

Teacher of the Year for Pecos Kindergarten is Cindy Velez; Austin Elementary School Teacher of the Year is Debbie Garcia; Pecos Elementary School, Eva Garcia; Bessie Haynes Elementary School, Leslie Graham; Lamar Middle School, Carolyn Binham; Zavala Middle School Juan Abrigo; Crockett Middle School, Jim Workman, Pecos High School, Jamie Crisp and Carver Center, Greg Luna.

Eva Garcia was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year for the district, while Crisp was chosen as Teacher of the Year for the upper grade levels.

Workman told the board about a donation made by the First National Bank to the eighth grade science fair students. "Both banks have always been very generous to us," said Workman. "We really appreciate it and we'll put this money to good use."

Board members also accepted a donation of new gym chairs for Pecos High School Gym from the Pecos Eagles Athletic Booster Club.

"We are very proud of them and their hard work," said superintendent Don Love. "Thanks to them we'll have 50 new gym chairs."

Resignations included from Kimberly Calhoun, a physical education/Pecos Elementary School teacher.

Reassignments included, Lacey Exum, from Crockett Middle School eighth grade special educational inclusion teacher to district's teacher for the visually impaired; Tina Hendrick, from Crockett Middle School eighth grade physical education teacher/golf teacher to Lamar Middle School sixth grade physical education teacher/golf coach; Robin Land, from Zavala Middle school seventh grade health teacher to Pecos Elementary School physical education teacher; Gaston Tarango, from Zavala Middle school seventh grade science teacher to Lamar Middle School sixth grade teacher and Kenneth Wooley from Zavala Middle School seventh grade English teacher to Crockett Middle School eighth grade special education inclusion teacher.

Retiring is Mary Whitaker, a first grade teacher at Austin.

Pecos' sales tax rebate check up  28 percent

PECOS, April 14, 2000 - Sales tax rebate figures for most cities in the Permian Basin showed double digit increases for April, with Pecos' tax rebate jumping over 28 percent from a year ago.

According to figures released Thursday by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office, the city got back $62,927 as its 1½ cent share of the state's 8¼ cent sales tax, up from the $49,014 received in April of 1999, based on sales made during the month of February.

The increase moved Pecos' tax rebate totals into the plus column for the first four months of 2000 compared with a year ago. The $262,504 returned from Austin is up 5½ percent from the first part of 1999, when the area was just beginning to emerge from the slump caused by 1998's plunge in oil prices.

Other cities in the oil patch reported similar gains, according to Rylander's office, with the biggest increase going to Wink. It's check for April totaled $7,657, a jump of 415.4 percent from a year ago.

Nearby neighbor Kermit also saw a big rise in its rebate check, up 40.72 percent to $26,282. Winkler County was one of the hardest-hit areas by the two-year plunge in oil prices, with unemployment there currently 11 percent below its highs of early 1999.

Crane saw its rebate from Austin climb by nearly 50 percent over last year, while Fort Stockton, Andrews and Midland received tax rebate checks about 19 percent higher than a year ago. Rylander's office said Monahans' check was up 12½ percent and Odessa saw its check increase by eight percent from a year ago.

While the Basin cities saw their checks increase, those in the Big Bend and Davis Mountains area didn't fare as well. Those cities avoided the sharp declines due to the oil slump last year, but this month, only Alpine saw an increase in its tax rebate check, which rose by 14.19 percent from 1999.

Marfa's rebate check dropped by nearly a third, Van Horn saw its rebate check drop by over 10 percent and Presidio was down just under four percent from a year ago.

Balmorhea and Toyah also saw their rebate checks decline _ Balmorhea's $290 total was down by nearly a third from last year, while Toyah's $290 check from Austin represented a 55 percent decline. For the year, Balmorhea's $2,343 total is up by 17.38 percent, though that is due to a sales tax hike during the past year, while Toyah's $1,431 total for the first four months of 2000 is down 36.23 percent from 1999.

Meanwhile, the Reeves County Hospital District fared better than those cities, but not as well as Pecos this month. The hospital's ½-cent sales tax earned it a rebate check for $24,182, up 2.13 percent from a year ago.

Statewide, sales tax rebate checks to cities and counties for April totaled $174.7 million, up 11.37 percent from last April, and for the first four months of the year tax rebates stand at $829.7 million, a 9-1 percent increase over 1999. Houston received the state's largest rebate check, for $21.4 million, up 4.24 percent from a year ago, while Dallas got $14.7 million back from Austin a 9.2 percent increase over last year.

Pecos hosting fire department meeting, races

PECOS, April 14, 2000 - Pecos is expected to host nearly two-dozen out-of-town fire departments on Saturday, as part of the semi-annual meeting of area volunteer fire departments at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Fire Chief Roy Pena said registration would take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the Civic Center, with the meeting set to start at 9 a.m. "We encourage the public to attend. All the fire departments are here only once every eight or nine years."

The meeting will last about two hours and at 1:30 p.m. the area fire races will take place at Maxey Park. Pena said "about 13 or 14" departments will have racing teams in town, along with eight to 10 ladies' auxiliary teams.

Later on, a barbecue dinner for registered guest will be held at the Civic Center, with a dance to start following the dinner. Wayne West and Robert Barreno will provide the entertainment, Pena said.

Junior, Senior baseball tryouts set for Saturday

PECOS, April 14, 2000 - Tryouts for the 2000 Pecos Junior and Senior League baseball teams will be held starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Maxey Park, according to Lee Serrano of the Pecos Senior League.

The tryouts are open to boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 16.

Serrano said coaches also are needed for the league's upcoming season. Anyone interested is urged to be at Maxey Park Saturday morning.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 33-06-07-04-25. Number matching five of five: one. Prize per winner: $78,650. Winning ticket(s) sold in: Port O'Connor. Matching four of five: 242. Prize: $488.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-1-2 (zero, one, two)


Lori Ontiveros

Lori Ann Ontiveros, 33, died Thursday, Apr. 13, 2000, at Ward Memorial Hospital in Monahans.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Monday in the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel, with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born Jan. 6, 1967 in Pecos.

Survivors include her parents, Ricardo and Mary Ontiveros of Pecos; two sisters, Diana Sadorra of Salinas, Calif. and Roxanne Ontiveros of Pecos; two brothers, Jesse Machuca, Jr. of San Jose, Calif. and Michael Ontiveros of Pecos; grandparents, Rosa Ontiveros of Pecos and Rodolfo and Geneva Molina of Douglas, Ariz; numerous aunts and uncles; four nieces and six nephews.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, April 14, 2000 - High Thursday 94. Low this morning 48. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear and breezy. Low in the lower 50s. Southwest wind 15 to 25 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the mid 80s. West wind 15 to 25 mph and gusty. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 40s. Sunday: Mostly sunny during the day and clear at night. Low in the upper 40s and lower 50s. High from the upper 80s to mid 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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