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Top Stories

Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Lower enrollment to cost school funding

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Enrollment figures at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD are down from their projected levels, and some projects will be put on hold for a while due to the decrease, which will mean a cut in state funding.

"The enrollment figures are down. We are 130 kids down, that we haven't gotten back after Labor Day," said Superintendent Don Love.

Love stated that with school districts, everything is estimated and the actual revenue loss is not known at this time.

"Estimated loss is $365,017 in estimated revenue," said Love, who later added, "We'll be okay though."

He said with expected price increases in natural gas, which will go up 50-60 percent, electricity going up eight percent and water rates on the rise, they will all affect the school district. "That's another $135,534, and again that's just an estimate," he said.

Love said that with enrollment figures down and utilities going up, it would be about $500,000 that the school district needs to make up.

"We had some things that we really wanted to do, that now will be put on hold," said Love.

Options will be discussed at Thursday evening's P-B-T ISD Board meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m., in the Board Room.

An enrollment comparison provided by Love showed that on the first day of school in 1996-1997, 2,874 students, the second day, 2,966, third day, 2,998 and the fourth day 3012. That number was at 3,008 after Labor Day.

In 1997-1998, the first day showed 2,789 students, second day, 2,870, third day, 2,929, the fourth day, 2,965. After Labor Day, enrollment stood at 3,035.

In 1998-1999, the first day, 2,829 students; second day, 2,904; the third day, 2,969; the fourth day, 2,969 and after Labor Day, 3,021.

In 1999-2000, the first day showed, 2,650 students; second day, 2,765; the third day, 2,803; the fourth day, 2,839; the fifth day, 2,857. After Labor Day that figure was at 2,936.

This year, enrollment figures showed that there were 2,594 students on the first day; 2,674 on the second day; 2,762 on the third day; 2,770 on the fourth day and 2,781 on the fifth day. That figure is at 2,806 after Labor Day.

"We're looking at a half-million that we have to make up," said Love. "But every school in West Texas is losing kids.

Chamber hopes changes improve outlook for Fair

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Advertising for the Annual Reeves County Fall Fair has already begun and plans are coming along great, members of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Board of Director were told during their regular monthly meeting at lunchtime on Tuesday.

"We've started advertising already for the Fall Fair and since we're not doing the concert, we've cut our expenses in half," said chamber director Tom Rivera.

Rivera said the chamber had placed a full-page ad in a magazine that will target ranchers and farmers. "Hopefully this will bring out those ranchers to come out and participate in the ranch rodeo that will be held in conjunction with the fair," he said.

Terry Holder, Reeves County Extension Agent, reported that plans are going well for the livestock show. "We've got the judge's for the livestock show and hope to have the same number of entries, if not more at this year's event," said Holder.

Last year over 200 lambs entered the annual event. "This year we'll have the same number of entries, if not more and the entry fee was raised by $5, so we'll make money on that, if the same number show up," said Holder.

Chamber members agreed to have a ranch rodeo instead of hosting a concert during this year's fall fair.

President of the chamber Jeannette Alligood stated that this year the chamber will have a float in the 16th of September Parade, scheduled for this Saturday.

"I think it will be really nice that the chamber is represented," said Alligood.

Rivera stated that a carnival would also be a part of the fall fair events. "It will be Starlight Amusement from New Mexico," said Rivera.

The carnival will be set up further east away from the front entrance to the civic center.

Women's Division President Jenny Abbott reported that the women would once again have the baby contest at this year's fall fair.

A Mother Goose/Halloween Parade will also be held, with the date undetermined at this time.

The last Fall Fair Committee meeting will be held next Tuesday, at noon at Cattleman's Restaurant.

While the Fall Fair Concert will be replaced by a ranch rodeo this year, the World's Championship Barbecue Beef Cookoff will be held as usual during the fair. Chamber board member Mark Zuniga will chair this year's event.

"Jason Owen, who is in charge of the ranch rodeo, made up some posters and flyers," said Rivera.

The two-day rodeo will be held inside the Buck Jackson Arena, while the cookoff will take place at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Arena. Entry fee for this year's cookoff is $75 per team.

Starkey Warren, with the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee, told board members about the new president for that organization for the coming year. "Brenda McKinney will be president and she needs the chamber's support," said Warren.

"We had a good rodeo this year and are looking forward to next year's event," said Warren.

Warren stated that in the minutes of the chamber's last meeting, it incorrectly stated that the rodeo committee had not made any profit this year. "Maybe I was misunderstood, but what I said was that we need to start working on making more money for the rodeo committee, and not just others," he said.

The rodeo committee actually made a profit at this year's event, a little over $10,000.

City to set tax rate, discuss dispute with county

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Council will set the city budget and the tax rate for the 2000-2001 year during the regular meeting at 7:30 a.m., Thursday at City Hall.

Tax Assessor Lydia Prieto informed the council during an earlier meeting that the effective tax rate would be .75088 and the rollback tax rate would be .83490.

She said the 2000 debt tax rate would be lowered from last year's rate at 95 percent to 92.5 percent, because debt collections for 1999 exceeded the needed amount by $31,184 causing this year's debt rate to be lowered.

Prieto also said the 2000-debt tax rate of .24746 has been published in the Enterprise, therefore the council must adopt that rate, according to Prieto.

The status of the budget is linked a dispute between the city and Reeves County over the scheduling of the first payment due as part of an agreement over water use at the Reeves County Detention Center.

Finance Director Steve McCormick informed the council during a special meeting last Tuesday that proposed water and sewer rates might have to be raised an extra 20 percent because the county did not make its first $400,000 payment by the Aug. 31 date specified in the agreement. The city plans to use the money to fund development of its new South Worsham Water Field.

The city asked Searcy Willis of Willis, Graves & Associates, Inc., to come up with a current rate estimate. McCormick said his estimate has been determined under the assumption that Reeves County pays the city over $400,000 a year.

The county signed a contract with the city on March 27 agreeing to pay the city $4 million for water for the next 10 years. The payments are to be broken down to $422,320 per year for every year of the contract.

The council will also discuss the contract with the county for water services to the RCDC and possible litigation during executive session. Two councilmen met with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo last week to discuss the contract between the city and county, but no agreement was reported.

The council will return to open session after discussing the contract and vote on any possible action.

The council will also consider advertising for the position of City Manager during the meeting.

The City Manager's position became available when former City Manager Kenneth Neal resigned to take over a job near Dallas.

After Neal's resignation, the Council appointed Pecos City Utilities Director Octavio Garcia as interim City Manager.

Other topics on the council agenda include consideration of investing in a vest program for the Pecos Police Department.

The council will also consider the request to close streets for the 16th of September Fiestas.

The fiestas will be held in front of Santa Rosa Church beginning on Friday and all day Saturday.

The council will also discuss recognition of Hispanic elected officials.

Red Bluff group outlines repair project

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members heard a proposal from Red Bluff Lake area residents to begin repairs to picnic areas and the boat ramp on the southwest side of the lake, during their regular monthly meeting.

Board members took no action on the items, but did approve work on relocating electrical lines for two buildings owned by the district in the Red Bluff Hotel area.

"What we've done is to set some short-term goals to fix up the picnic areas with barbeque pits," said Krystal Warnick, one of the officers elected to Red Bluff Improvement Committee, by lake residents during an Aug. 19 meeting. The group said they would do the work on the eight campsites, and presented the board with a list of materials needed and their estimated cost.

The materials included 47 sheets of metal roofing; 12 sheets of expanded metal; 300-feet of purlin; five gallons of white paint and brushes, 322 feet of 1 ½-inch angle iron, and self tapping screws. Total cost of the items was put at $1,920.

The group said metal would be used for tables and chairs instead of wood, which has been broken off and used as firewood by people in the past.

In addition, the group asked for $300 to get two tires and tubes for the floating, dock, which has been sitting unused on the east shore of the lake. The group wants to move the dock to the west shore, with the tires and tubes needed to pull the dock in and out of the lake.

"I'd like to go ahead and put in $300 right now and then get started on the other part as we get to it," said board president Randall Hartman, though it was later decided to table any action until October's meeting.

Additional costs for fixing up the wheel axle on the floating dock were cited, and both the board and committee decided it would be better to purchase the items through the district, in order to take advantage of Red Bluff's tax-exempt status.

General Manager Jim Ed Miller said the group could store the materials in an unoccupied building at the lake after they are purchased.

The Red Bluff residents also asked the board if they could have better identification of the cabin site locations at the lake, and were told that county officials placed stickers on the electric meters designating their location, as part of the 911 mapping effort several years ago.

"See if you've got a number on those meters. If not, call the sheriff's office," Miller said.

The board later contracted with C.L. Elkins of Elkins Electric to relocate the power lines to two buildings adjacent to the old Red Bluff Hotel.

"The wiring for the hotel and the two house beside it run through tunnels," in the hotel basement, Miller said, adding the plan its to connect the house to utility lines by using above-ground poles. "The sewage (lines) and the wire are all in the basement, and that worries me," he said.

Elkins said the cost of the job at the hotel should be in the range of $1,800, with most of that cost going to labor work. He told the board he could begin the job sometime next week.

Board members tabled any action on a proposal on cloud seeding, after local farmer Tom Nance told them George Bomar, chief meteorologist with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, failed to show up for Monday's meeting.

The board did approve Miller's reappointment as Red Bluff General Manager for a one-year term, and approved cash disbursements and accounts payable. They also approved the monthly water report, which showed the lake's level down to 52,313 acre/feet as of Aug. 31.

"New Mexico is going to turn (release) 5,000 acre/feet, and that's going to be it for a while," Miller said.

Southern Union warns higher gas prices looming

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - Cold temperatures may still be months away, but Southern Union Gas (SUG) is warning its customers that recent substantial increases in the price of natural gas could mean significantly higher bills this winter. Although some increases may be unavoidable, the company says there are steps customers can take to moderate their impact.

Natural gas futures soared to their highest price ever Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Continued hot weather has increased demand for natural gas to fire electrical generation facilities and has resulted in lower volumes going in to storage. These factors have contributed to the recent nationwide price surge.

"It is impossible to know what will happen this winter, but most analysts are predicting that natural gas prices will continue to soar," said David Stevens, president of Southern Union Gas. "If these predictions hold true, a typical residential customer could see a winter bill that is 50 or even 60 percent higher than last year's."

Southern Union has secured adequate supplies through a competitive bidding process to meet its customers needs, but the price the company pays for the gas is tied to market conditions at the time of delivery. The cost of gas is passed on to customers with no mark up or profit: SUG's charges for delivery and other services are reflected separately on customer's bills.

Southern Union wants to make its customers aware that there is a very strong probability that their heating bills will be abnormally high this winter, but there are several steps they can take to lessen the impact of these price spikes. Customers can:

· Call Southern Union Gas and enroll in the Average Bill Calculation Plan, better known as the ABC Plan, to remove winter spikes in their bill. There is no charge to join the ABC plan, which allows customers to pay a fixed price through the year and protects them from the potential price spikes expected this winter.

· Have a licenses, professional, heating and air conditioning technician inspect their gas appliances annually to ensure they are functioning properly efficiently and safely.

· Ensure their home is well insulated. Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors to seal drafts and consider increasing the amount of insulation in your home.

· Keep furnaces filters clean by replacing them monthly.

· Insulate their gas water heater, drain sediment from the bottom of the tank, and set the temperature to approximately 120 degrees as dictated by the water heater manufacturer's instructions.

· Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during the winter months and wear a sweater or light jacket to ward off the chill.

· Southern Union Gas is concerned about the potential impact these market-driven natural gas price spikes may have on its customers. Southern Union plans on keeping customers informed on the prices on their pocketbook.

While natural gas prices are at record levels, it is important to remember that natural gas is still the most affordable, cleanest, energy source available to heat your home. Southern Union encourages customers to be on the lookout for additional information and tips which will be provided in bills, through the media, and at the new website,

Southern Union is an international energy distribution company serving more than 1.2 million customers in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida and Mexico. Its natural gas operating divisions include Southern Union Gas, Missouri Gas Energy, PG Energy, and Atlantic Utilities.

In Texas, Southern Union Gas serves approximately 523,000 customers, including the cities of Austin, El Paso, Brownsville, Galveston, and Port Arthur. Missouri Gas Energy serves approximately 491,000 customers in western Missouri, including the cities of Kansas City, St. Joseph, Joplin and Monett. And, in Pennsylvania, PG Energy services approximately 154,000 customers, including the cities of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Williamsport. Atlantic Utilities operates in Florida.

Balmorhea board to vote on school tax rate

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - The Balmorhea Independent School District Board of Trustees will adopt the 2000 tax rate during the regular meeting at 7 p.mThrusday in the Balmorhea ISD Boardroom.

The Board will also consider approval of a list of Certified Teacher Appraisers and review several amended policies.

Board to swear-in Deishler, discuss Crockett lab

PECOS, September 13, 2000 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board will meet Thursday evening to discuss and approve several items and swear in a new board member during their regular monthly meeting.

Board members are facing a lengthy agenda on Thursday, with the meeting set to begin at 6 p.m., in the Board Room, 1304 S. Park. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The group will listen to a report on Crockett Middle School lab addition project and Pecos High School and Austin Elementary roofing projects.

The oath of office will be administered to new board member, Paul Deishler, who was named by the board at a meeting last month to replace Frank Apolinar. After that the board will recognize P-B-T ISD coaches who helped with the formation of the PeeWee Football League; award of telecommunications infrastructure fund PS8 Grant, a letter from Texas Business Technology Education; a letter from ESC 18- Region 18 Teacher of the Year and a report on District's Report Card.

The board will discuss utility rates for 2000-2001 budget; listen to a report from RH Administrators and insurance agents on employee health insurance costs increases for the 2000-2001 school year; discuss enrollment report and effect on 2000-2001 budget and remedial measures taken; discuss/approve Hunter Corral Associates to prepare specifications to go out for sealed proposals for HVAC project for Room 151 and 152, and adjoining offices at Pecos High School Building B.

Board members will discuss/approve, Election Coordinator's contract; resolution to sanction 4-H as an extracurricular activity; Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIPS); a request by the Seventh Day Adventist Church to use Crockett Middle School's gym and waive fees and a request by Barstow Volunteer Fire Department to purchase Lots 1&2, Block 47, Barstow Orig. Town _ Barstow Elementary School property.

A report on "Choices" program (anti-crime and anti-drug program) and Scholastic Crime Stoppers Program is also on the agenda.

The board will also discuss and approve Criminal Justice Division (CJD) Grant Acceptance Notice Save Our Youth and Save Our Youth Program II; sale of foreclosed properties located at 824 S. Elm Street, 814 S. Cypress, 1401 S. Cypress; approve request by Texas Agricultural Extension Service to use the building located at 2142 Bickley Avenue; appointing board member to serve on the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Advisory Board to replace Freddy Lujan; 2000-2001 budget amendments; tax roll errors and corrections for 1999 and prior years; second reading and discuss/approve Policy Update 63 (Local); approve revising Pecos High School Handbook Policy and discuss contract status of Irma Trevino.

Regular agenda items include:

· Tax report.

· Depository securities report.

· Current bills and financial report.

· Investment transactions report.

· Reconciled bank balance report.

· Reeves County Community Recreation Department report.

· Cafeteria report.

· Date for next regular meeting.

· Calendar of events.

· Request for items for next agenda.

The board will also meet behind closed doors to discuss personnel or hear comlaints against personnel and a private consultation with the board's attorney.


Daniel Renteria

Daniel R. Renteria, 70, died Sunday, Sept. 10, 2000, at Midland Memorial Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Barstow Cemetery.

He was born June 28, 1930, in Barstow, was a U.S. Army veteran who had fought in the Korean War, a retired truck driver, a lifelong Barstow resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include four daughters, Amalia R. Vasquez and Lydia R. Escobar of Fontana, Calif., Rebecca R. Ramirez and Yolanda Renteria, of Hacienda Height, Calif.; his mother, Lucia Renteria of El Monte, Calif.; four brothers, Ruben Renteria of San Jose, Calif., Simon Renteria of LaVerne, Calif., and Raymond and George Renteria of El Monte, Calif.; five sisters, Lydia Orona of San Angelo, Frances Castillo of Pecos, Stella Usery of Mont Clair, Calif., Ysabel Renteria of West Covina, Calif. and Angie Cobo of Fontana, Calif., and nine grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Carmen Sanchez

Carmen Ornelas Sanchez, 84, of Balmorhea, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Balmorhea.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, at Christ the King Catholic Church with burial in Balmorhea Cemetery.

She was born Sept. 18, 1915, in Presidio, was a longtime Balmorhea resident, a homemaker and a Catholic.

She was preceded in death by one daughter, Mary S. Dutchover in 1994.

Survivors include two sons, David Ornelas Sr. and Cecilia of Balmorhea, Joe Ornelas Sanchez of Balmorhea; three daughters, Arsilia S. Carrasco and Rosendo of Balmorhea, Rosario S. Cervantez and Herman of Balmorhea, Carmen S. Meras and Raymond of Odessa; 19 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.

Serving as pallbearers will be the grandsons.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, September 13, 2000 - High Tuesday 103. Low this morning 66. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of evening thunderstorms. Low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid to upper 60s. High in the mid to upper 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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