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Thursday, July 27, 2000

OC center hosts official opening Saturday

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 27, 2000 - Preparations are continuing for the grand opening of the Pecos Technical Training Center of Odessa College from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Saturday.

Director of OC Pecos Michelle Workman said some of the classrooms are not finished but the extension will be ready for tours.

President of OC Vance Gipson said many of the college's administration would be attending the opening as well as others.

"Larry Jacob, an administrator for the state Economic Development Administration, will be us a check for $860,000," Gipson said.

The check is for grant money that OC has been given for the extension.

The vice presidents of OC, several board of trustees members and several deans of the separate colleges will be attending the opening along with Gipson.

Cheri Dalton, the director of media relations and publication for OC, said she invited all three major network news stations in Odessa and Midland to the opening.

Dalton said the KWES (Ch. 9) and KOSA (Ch. 7) are scheduled to send crews to the opening unless some other major event occurs Saturday. A photographer from the Odessa American will also be here.

Workman said the opening would give the guests and community members a chance to tour the new facility and enjoy some refreshments. She said the Pecos Youth Advisory would be one hand to help with the refreshments and tours.

Summer classes have been held in the building since late May, but Gari Ward, president of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, said the grand opening was put off until after the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Congressman Henry Bonilla and U.S. Senators Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison were also invited to the ceremony, but Ward said, "The national congressional people could not be here because of the Republican convention."

Bonilla is one of the platform co-chairmen and Hutchison is also scheduled to speak at the convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia.

"One of our problems is that we have perfect timing," Gipson said.

Also missing will be several members of the Town of Pecos City Council, due to a Texas Municipal League meeting this weekend in Corpus Christi. But Ward said Dr. Norman Harris and his wife would be among those at the ceremony. Dr. Harris donated the old White's Auto Service building in the Airlawn Shopping Center for use as the new OC campus.

Ward said under the schedule, two members of the Odessa College Choral would perform the National Anthem following the invocation, after which a welcoming speech will be given by Oscar Saenz of Anchor West, who is also a member of the Pecos Economic Development Corp. board.

Dr. Gipson, Dr. Harris and Jacobs are all scheduled to speak following Saenz, after which comments will be made by Jim Gilliand a member of the OC Board of Directors.

Saenz said following the opening ceremonies, Michelle Workman, director of the Pecos Technical Training Center, will conduct a public tour of the building.

The new center houses five learning labs, vocation areas for welding/machining and automotive/diesel, a lounge with two study labs and four offices at the front of the building. OC's goal is to have about 400 students attending over 30 different classes at the facility.

Workman also said she is very excited about the new facility and hopes the community will come take a look.

"The more people we can get in to look around, the easier we can get people to come in and ask questions," she said.

The new facility has numerous classrooms, offices, a student lounge and a bookstore. Workman said the bookstore allows the students to buy their books here and not have to go to Odessa.

There are many classes being offered this fall. They range from art to nursing. Workman said she is not sure what classes will be added in the future.

"We're going to focus on bringing in what the students want," she said.

The Pecos extension is also offering concurrent classes for the high school students. These classes are designed to give these students high school and college credit.

The concurrent classes do have tuition fees but they are discounted for the students. Workman said Pecos High School is also buying the books for the concurrent students.

She wants the students interested in these classes to understand they must register through OC.

Fall registration for regular and concurrent students will be all day on August 15.

Everyone is invited to the grand opening from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Saturday.

Odessa College has 19 extension centers in the region and the purpose of the centers is to alleviate the driving time from area cities to Odessa, according to Gipson.

Trucker agrees to guilty plea for transporting illegal aliens

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 27, 2000 - A truck driver arrested Saturday at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint for transporting 41 illegal aliens in a truck trailer entered a guilty plea to one of three counts filed against him in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

Manny Cooper, Jr., 37, entered the plea to Count Two of the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Stewart Platt in Midland. Cooper had been indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Pecos of transporting illegal aliens, after a traffic stop revealed 38 Mexican citizens and three Albanians were hidden in the rear of his truck.

According to the report that was part of the indictment, Border Patrol agents in El Paso had alerted the Sierra Blanca checkpoint to be on the lookout for the truck driven by Cooper, who was employed by Westway Express Co. of Commerce City, Colo. Agents said Cooper was nervous when the truck was stopped, and when the rear door was opened two of the 41 illegal aliens could be seen trying to hide inside the trailer.

Cooper said had had been hired to transport the illegals from Juarez to Dallas, the report said. Following his indictment, he was released on $20,000 bond before entering the guilty plea the following day.

Cooper's arrest was the latest in a series of arrest for illegal alien smuggling within the Marfa Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. The arrests include a trucker who was stopped on July 17 at the Flying J Truck Stop, after another trucker saw him brining food to illegal aliens in the rear of his vehicle.

Nine adults and a 3-year-old girl were found in the rear of the truck by Border Patrol agents.

School board to review code during meeting

PECOS, July 27, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members will review the secondary and elementary student handbooks and Student Code of Conduct prior to final approval tonight, during a special meeting of the school board.

Board members will meet at 6 p.m. at 1304 S. Park St. and will also discuss HVAC renovation bids for Bessie Haynes Elementary School in open session. In closed session, members will discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel before returning to open session to take any action on those items.

The board will also discuss/approve resignations, retirements, appointments, reassignments and/or changes in contracts for professional personnel, and will then hold a budget workshop before adjournment.


Zelma Sue Hale

Zelma Sue McLain Hale, 72, of Odessa, died Wednesday, July 26, 2000, at Odessa Medical Center Hospital.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 28, at Grace Baptist Church in Odessa.

Flowers can be sent to Sunset Memorial Funeral Home, 6801 E. Business I-20, Odessa.

Josefina Rodriguez

Graveside services for Josefina Rodriguez, 97, will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Balmorhea Cemetery, under the direction of Fort Stockton Funeral Home, with Mr. Raul Rodriguez officiating. Viewing hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Fort Stockton Funeral Home Chapel.

Rodriguez was born on March 19, 1903 in San Carlos, Chih., Mex., and was a homemaker, a Seventh Day Adventist and a former Balmorhea resident who moved to Fort Stockton in 1995. Her husband, Tomas O. Rodriguez, preceded her in death.

Survivors include three sons, Ramon P. Rodriguez of Phoenix, Ariz., Albert P. Rodriguez of Balmorhea and Salvador P. Rodriguez of Fort Stockton; four daughters Angela R. Alvarez and Anita P. Rodriguez of Fort Stockton, Margarita R. Galindo of Sheffield and Socorro R. Tarin of Odessa; 32 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren.


PECOS, July 27, 2000 - High Wednesday 108. Low this morning 78. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 70s. South wind 10-20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a less than 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs near 100. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low near 70. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. High 95-100.

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