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Friday, September 15, 2000

Budget changes force school to cut projects

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Projected increases in utility costs and a loss of students has forced Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD to put several projects on hold and limit planned spending in the 2000-2001 school year, board members were told during their regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

Superintendent Don Love reported to the board that due to increasing utility costs and the lower-than-expected enrollment figures after Labor Day, the school district has been forced to scale back some projects to compensate for the higher utility costs and lower state funding the will go with the lower enrollment.

"They are charging us exactly what it costs them," said Love, referring to the rising costs of utility bills. "Right now we're about $135,000 short of what we budgeted."

Love said natural gas would be going up 50-60 percent with the budgeted amount of $117,600 rising instead to $188,160. "That's $70,560 under-budgeted for natural gas," he said.

Electricity was budgeted at $456,800. With an 8 percent increase estimated, that would raise the total to $493,344, or $36,544 above the current budget.

Water was budgeted at $142,150, with a 2-20 percent increase estimated, raising the district's expenses to $170,580. That figure is $28,430 above the current estimate.

Total amount under-budgeted for utilities came out to $135,534, according to Love.

"I don't understand why the electric bill didn't go up any higher, because it takes electricity to produce natural gas," said Love.

"This is the best we can guesstimate," said Love. "At this point and time, we've lost kids after Labor Day."

"We had predicted 64 kids and the amount to make up at this time is one-half million," said Love.

He said the district could cover that, "as long as we don't lose any more kids."

"We'd like to stay in the black," he said.

Love stated that attendance is vital.

"With the school, you're not going to break even, you're either going to owe the state money, or they're going to owe you money," said Love.

"If we continue with a good trend, we can loosen up, and maybe do some of these projects," said Love.

"So, what you're asking us to do is wait and see," said board president Louis Matta.

Loss in student revenue was estimated at $365,017, with the amount to make listed as $500,551.

Projects that will be put on hold include carpet, $75,000; scoreboard $27,700; Bessie Haynes HVAC $128,000; Crockett Gym expansion, $120,000 and extra teachers, $100,000. Total extras amounted to $450,700. With the deficit being $49,851.

Board members approved Hunter Corral Associates to prepare specifications to go out for sealed proposals for HVAC project for Rooms 151, 152 and adjoining offices at Pecos High School Building B.

Board members did approve allowing Hunter Corral to prepare specifications to out for sealed proposals to repair and roof the Pecos High School Cafeteria and the Pecos High School Field House.

"These are projects that have been budgeted and I feel that they need to get done," said Love.

The funds come from state grants and Love stated that this is money that has to be spent or else give it back to the state of Texas.

"Part of that money comes from Career and Technology," said Love.

These two classrooms in Building B are the last ones that don't have air-conditioning, according to Love.

"We have leaky roofs at the field house and the PHS cafeteria, so this should get us in the dry," he said.

City, county reach deal on water pact payment

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo and Town of Pecos City Council worked out a tentative deal Thursday during an executive session of the council on fulfilling the county's contract payment to the city for supplying water to the Reeves County Detention Center, which should keep city residents from seeing a 20 percent increase in their water and sewer bills.

Council members also voted 3-2 to approve construction of their own new detention center and police station, as part of Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting, and approved the fiscal 2001 budget and tax rate, keeping the rate at its current 69.67 cents per $100 valuation.

The executive session between the council and Galindo was held after the city said Reeves County failed to meet the Aug. 31 date to make its first $400,000 payment as part of the March 2000 agreement on supplying water to the detention center.

Pecos planned to use the money to help secure a loan from the state to develop the South Worsham Water Well Field. Finance Director Steve McCormick said the money would be needed to prove to the state that the city would be able to pay back the loan.

He said that if the County did not pay the council might have to raise city's water and sewer rates by 20 percent.

After the executive session, Galindo and the council made a principal agreement in the open portion of the council meeting that Reeves County would place the money owed to the city in an escrow account until the loan is closed.

"When the loan is closed the money would be given to the city," McCormick said.

He said the city would purchase a certificate of deposit and the money would be designated to paying off the debt.

McCormick also said that any interest earned on the CD would be split evenly, with the city writing a check to the county for their share of the interest.

Pending finalization of the deal, the council passed two ordinances dealing with the water and sewer rates upon recommendation from McCormick.

One ordinance is the rates determined with information provided from a water and sewer rate study that the city had done. The other ordinance is the same rates with an extra 20 percent added in case the city does not receive the money from Reeves County.

McCormick explained to the Council that by passing both rates at once and once they receive the money from the County, it would enable them to adopt the lower rates.

"Let's be sure to show the ability to pay no matter what," McCormick said.

He assured Galindo that passing both ordinances is just a precaution.

Galindo assured the council that the money would be paid to the city.

"There is absolutely no question that Reeves County would live up to the agreement with the city," Galindo said.

The council also approved the city budget and the tax rates. The 67.69-cent rate has been in effect for Town of Pecos City residents since September 1998.

The 3-2 vote on the new detention center and police station authorized Corplan Corrections for the construct the facility, which is to be located on the southwest side of Pecos.

Councilmen Ricky Herrera and Gerald Tellez voted against the plan while councilmen Larry Levario, Danny Rodriguez and Johnny Terrazas voted in favor of the project, which is designed to hold both city and U.S. Marshal's Service prisoners.

Herrera spoke of some concerns he had with the construction of the facility itself, including whether or not this new facility would bring the city revenue.

"I haven't seen any numbers in writing," he said.

Corplan president James Parkey assured the council that all the facilities that his company has built has made money.

Finance Director Steve McCormick said he's hoping the revenue from the new facility would be able to cover the city deficit.

"We're hoping that the jail would provide excess funds of one half million to $1 million within two years," he said. "The more prisoners we get the better off we are."

In response to a question by Herrera, Parkey said that if a facility is built in Pecos it would probably be full at all times because the city has a United States District Courthouse making it a "court" city.

He also said he believes because it is a "court" city, the facility would make more money per day per prisoner.

"The Marshal, I think, would pay a little bit better than usual, from $42 to $44 per day," he said.

Terrazas said he believes that building this facility would guarantee revenue for the city.

He said the Pecos courthouse has double the caseload of the Midland and more indictments than San Antonio.

In other action, Pecos Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil made his recommendation to the Council for the Arid Exempt Landfill Permit.

Gil recommended that Frank X. Spencer and Associates be hired to work on the application and services for the permit because "time is of the essence."

The Arid Exempt permit would allow the Town of Pecos City to build a new landfill without a liner.

Gil said the reason the city is applying for a permit for no liner requirement is the liner would be very expensive to operate, costing over $900,000.

"Hopefully this would be a great savings for the community," he said.

The council approved Gil's recommendation to hire Spencer and Associates.

Abidur Kahn, engineer for Spencer and Associates, presented the council with a change order for well number 21 in the Worsham Water Well Field.

He said that the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission has approved the city to drill an emergency well in Ward County.

Kahn explained to the Council that after TNRCC approved it they added some additional costs that are necessary.

The Council approved the change order.

The Council also approved the request from Santa Rosa Catholic Church to close two streets in front and beside the church for the 16th of September Fiesta today and Saturday.

Mayor Ray Ortega recognized all the Hispanic elected officials that have served the city.

The names of those who have served were read in honor of their commitment and work for the community.

County's jobless rate falls below 9 percent

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Unemployment in Reeves County in August dropped below the 9 percent level for the first time in over two years, according to figures released on Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

With the height of the 2000 harvest season past, the county workforce dropped by 150 last month, while employment fell by 97 workers, the TWC said. There were 7,237 people with jobs in the county in August and 701 unemployed, putting the local jobless rate at 8.8 percent, down ½-percent from July's 9.3 percent level.

That's nearly two percent below the level of a year ago, when with almost the exact same number of people in the local labor force there were 7,074 people with jobs and 852 unemployed, for a jobless rate of 10.7 percent.

Elva Arreguy with the Texas Workforce Commission said last month's rate was the lowest since April 1998, when Reeves County's unemployment stood at 8.6 percent. Joblessness in the area hit its low point in recent years in September of 1997, when it stood at 7.5 percent, Arreguy said.

Unemployment in the Town of Pecos City remained in double-digits last month, but just barely, at 10.1 percent. That's down from 10.6 percent in July and from 12.3 percent in August 1999.

The city's workforce was at 6,212 last month, down nine from a year ago. But the number of jobs in the city was 5,584, up by 126 from the same period last year. Unemployment in Pecos was 628 last month, down from 673 in July and from 763 in August 1999.

While the county's jobless rate has been cut by over 5 ½ percent from the 14.4 percent level it reached in January 1999, when the area's oil industry was at its low point. Reeves County's jobless rate remains above most other area counties.

Ector County (Odessa) saw unemployment fall from 7 percent in July to 6.5 percent in August, after standing at 10.1 percent in August of 1999. Midland County's rate fell last month from 5 percent in July to 4.6 percent, and is down from 7.2 percent a year ago.

Ward County was one of the only counties to show an increase in its jobless rate last month. Unemployment climbed from 8.4 to 8.5 percent, though that's still down from the 10.6 percent mark last August.

Unemployment also went up in Presidio County, which continues to have the region's highest jobless rate, at 28.5 percent. That's up both from July's 26.6 percent mark and from the 28.1 percent reported in August 1999. Meanwhile, neighboring Brewster and Jeff Davis counties continue to have among the lowest jobless rates in the area, with Brewster falling from 3.4 to 3.2 percent and Jeff Davis from 2.2 to 1.8 percent.

Statewide, the TWC put August unemployment at 4.3 percent, down .2 percent from last month, and .3 percent from last August.

P-B-T gets $300,000 technology grant

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Technology is reaching Pecos schools, thanks to grants obtained by the Career and Technology department.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has been awarded a PS8 Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund grant for public schools by the T.I.F. Board of Texas, according to Technology Coordinator Jodi Exum.

Exum updated the board on the newest projects for technology planned at the different campuses, at Thursday's regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

"We received this grant and it can go towards different campuses," said Superintendent Don Love.

The awarded for $300,000 will go towards projects at six campuses: Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School, Zavala Elementary School, Bessie Haynes Elementary School, Pecos Elementary School and Austin Elementary School.

Campus projects for the PS8 funds include: an interactive video conferencing system for the high school along with classroom computers for PHS, Zavala, Bessie Haynes and Pecos Elementary; library computers for Crockett and Bessie Haynes; Waterford Early Reading Program hardware for Austin; lab computers for Pecos Elementary and multimedia presentation equipment for PHS, Crockett, Zavala, Bessie Haynes, and Pecos Elementary Schools.

"These are items that we couldn't have gotten without this grant," said Exum. "We're just thankful to the state of Texas."

Judy Holland, a teacher at Pecos High School, will be the representative of Area IV Region 2 on the State Board of Texas Business Technology Educators (TBTE).

"She does a great job for the district, we're very proud of her," said Love.

Also recognized during the board meeting was Regional Teacher of the Year Eva Garcia, a third-grade teacher at Pecos Elementary School.

Love said this is a big honor and the district was very proud of her. "She'll be going on to compete for the state title and we wish her luck," he said.

Insurance costs were also discussed during the regular school board meeting, along with the new Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIPS).

"The initial quote was based on the first 10 months, and there was a significant jump in claims in August," said Love, who added that the amount budgeted was going to have to be revised.

Enrollments in the CHIP program went really well. "I think this is a great program, we had them in the schools this week, signing up children," said Love.

He said several teachers also qualified for the program, which would help with their insurance problem mentioned earlier. "I've already had some calls about the insurance and staff wanting to cancel theirs, because they qualified for that one," said finance director Cookie Canon.

Love said the CHIP insurance is funded 75 percent by the federal government and 25 percent by the state. "I understand the 25 percent comes from the tobacco settlement," said Love.

The private health insurance is for children from birth to 18 years of age. "Any family of four, who earns $2,800 or less will have a chance to qualify, and they will not pay more than $18 per month and it might even be free," said Love.

Also on Thursday, board members approved the Seventh Day Adventist Church to use Crockett Middle School's gym and waive fees.

Love stated that the school district has a good policy on using school property. "Maybe we need to work on it some, but it can't be used at any time for personal use," said Love.

He said that in his opinion the school district should open up the gym for a fee, because it costs money to operate and fees for a custodian.

"I think we should continue to charge for the use of the gym," he said. "If it's a broad public education program it's not a bad deal, but basically we have to recoup our losses."

Board member Steve Valenzuela stated that he felt the gym should be free of charge for non-profit use. "I feel like we receive so much money in taxes anyway and what we're talking about on waiving the fees for the gym, we're not talking about a lot of money," he said.

Valenzuela stated that he felt this was one way to pay back the community for what it puts in.

All board members agreed.

Museum planning new park on Oak Street

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Attendance has been good at the West of the Pecos Museum this year and plans are underway to create a new park on Oak Street, museum director Debbie Thomas told the Rotary Club yesterday.

"The museum averages between 11,000 and 12,000 visitors a year and most of those are from out of town," Thomas said. "From April to June of this year the museum had visitors from 17 different countries and 45 states."

Thomas said that the numbers were bigger in years past but that the way people are counted accounts for some of the difference.

"The museum used to count everyone that attended a function at the museum. These days we only count people who come into the museum to see the exhibits," she said.

"At 12,000 we just about double the population of Pecos over the course of a year and that is good for Pecos. Presumably, many of those people at least by gas here and many probably eat a meal or stay the night as well," she said.

Thomas also told the club that the museum is moving toward creating a park between two buildings on Oak Street across from the museum.

"The Pecos Tree Board is going to help us plant some native trees there _ mesquite, screw bean and western soap berry. We hope to create a park similar to the courtyard at the museum," she said.

The Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon at the Pecos Valley Country Club.

Fiesta events begin tonight at Santa Rosa

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - The 16th of September Fiesta will begin at 6 p.m. today with a welcoming invocation by Rev. Ben Flores of Santa Rosa Catholic Church.

The two-day event will include a ceremony of "El Grito" by Licenciado Luis Benjamin Lara Escovdeo, representative of the Consulate of Mexico, set for 10 p.m. tonight. D.J. Ricky Barreno, Mariachi Perla and a dance with "Maravilla" also are on tonight's schedule at the Santa Rosa parking area, while the annual 16th of September Parade will be held on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

Other events at Santa Rosa will run from 12:30 p.m. through 1 a.m. on Saturday.

Good performances from `Coyote Ugly' stars

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 15, 2000 - Touchstone's Coyote Ugly…the guys will like it, but the girls will too.

This film about a bar and the girls who run it makes moving to New York City and following your dreams while being a "coyote" look exciting.

David McNally makes his directorial debut with this charming story about a girl from Jersey who moves to New York to live out her dream.

Violet Sanford, played by Piper Perabo (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle-2000), is a talented songwriter who dreams of hearing someone sing her music.

After finding out that making your dreams come true takes a lot of work, Violet gets a job bartending at a local bar called Coyote Ugly.

She has to deal with being the new "coyote" while getting over her fears in order to make her dreams a reality.

Perabo gives a great performance and certainly makes moving to New York, finding a handsome and nice boyfriend, getting a well paying job AND making all her dreams come true look very easy.

The ever-charming John Goodman, who is better known as Dan Conner on the popular television series Roseanne, plays Violet's protective father who does not want to give his daughter up to the "Big Apple."

Goodman portrays a very loving man who adores his daughter and breaks your heart when he talks Violet into staying in New York.

Relative newcomer and Australian native Adam Garcia plays Violet's love interest, Kevin. Garcia's charming accent and good looks makes Violet hate him and love him at the same time.

Fashion model Tyra Banks also has a small role as Zoe and Country superstar Leann Rimes makes a cameo appearance as herself.

Co-written by Kevin "Silent Bob" Smith (Dogma-1999, Chasing Amy-1997, Mallrats-1995), this movie is both a comedy and romance.

Smith's influence is definitely seen when Garcia's character is revealed as a comic book "junkie," which gives the movie a little more charm.

New York is probably one of the most intimidating cities in the world (especially for a small-town Texan) and this is evident by camera angles and choice of locations.

Fast edits and camera angles used during the bar dancing scenes are sure to make all the guys drool.

The lighting in Coyote Ugly is excellent. All the colors and shadows the lighting creates brings forth the "reality" of the movie.

To tell the truth I didn't notice much of the technical aspects of this movie because it didn't need anything fancy. I just sat there and watched the movie.

Overall, this movie is great and portrays many things: love, anxiety, wonderful experiences, dreams, the power of women and life and makes me want to become a "coyote."

Coyote Ugly is rated PG-13.
Police Report
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicatied that the fines were paid. In such instanced we will indication payment and release.


San Ignacio Chavez, 20, was arrested at 12:14 p.m., on August 29 in the 700 block of Sycamore Street on a warrant for possession of stolen property.


Javier Contreras, Jr., 17, was arrested at 5:11 p.m., on August 28 at the Sheriff's Office on a warrant for driving with license suspended-class B.


Alonzo Munoz, 28, was arrested at 9:19 p.m., on August 28 in the 700 block of South Cedar on a Cooke County warrant for driving while intoxicated.


Dante Cerna, 21, was arrested at 12:23 p.m., on August 28 at 7th and Plum Streets for an illegal weapon.


Jay Fowlks, 30, was arrested at 2:51 a.m., on August 31 at 9th and Cherry Streets for public intoxication and evading arrest.


David Woods, 43, was arrested at 8:32 p.m., on August 30 in the 2000 block of Nebraska Street for public intoxication.


Orlando Munoz, 18, was arrested at 11:30 p.m., on September 2 at Saragosa Hall on a Sheriff's Office warrant for delivery of a controlled substance.


Roberto M. Martinez, 26, and Rosalino Carmona, 17, were arrested at 1:16 a.m., on September 3 at Saragosa Hall, both for disorderly conduct.


A male juvenile and Pamela Juarez, 19, were arrested at 2:09 a.m., on September 3 in the 600 block of Locust Street. The juvenile was arrested for probation violation and curfew violation and Juarez was arrested for terroristic threats.


Georgina K. Lambrano, 25, and Joe Daniel Wright, 22, were arrested at 2:42 a.m., on September 3 in the 400 block of East 2nd Street. Lambrano was arrested for resisting arrest and interfereing with a police officer and Wright was arrested for public intoxication.


Don Barton, 46, was arrested at 9:25 p.m., on September 2 at the Del Rio Bar on a Sheriff's Office warrant for drug possession.


Antonio F. Garcia, 19, was arrested at 8:38 a.m., on September 2 in the 1200 block of Pecan Street for assault by threat and on a warrant for theft of $50 and under $1500.


Javier E. Anchondo, 24, was arrested at 11:16 p.m., on September 1 in the 200 block of East C Street for driving with license suspended.


Albert Prieto, Jr., 19, was arrested at 12:24 a.m., on September 2 in the 300 block of West 4th Street on a Sheriff's warrant for motion to revoke-possession of marijuana and a warrant for motion to adjudicate on aggrevated assault.


Geronimo Menchaca, 57, was arrested at 1:14 a.m., on September 2 in the 400 block of Sycamore Street for public intoxication.


Hector Perez, 22, was arrested at 1:34 a.m., on September 2 in the 100 block of South Ash Street for assault under the Family Violence Act and evading arrest and detention.


Jesus Hernandez, 61, was arrested at 2:03 a.m., on September 2 in the 500 block of Mulberry Street for public intoxication.


Fred Lara, 43, was arrested at 3:12 a.m., on September 2 at the Uncle's on 3rd and Cedar Streets for criminal trespass.

Yvonne Scotti

Yvonne D. Scotti, 85, of Pecos, died Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2000, at the Pecos Nursing Home.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17, at Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

She was born Aug. 24, 1915, in New York City, was a retired registered nurse and a Catholic.

Survivors include one daughter, Michele Cser of Pecos; one son, Paul L. Hughes of Aurora, Colo.; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Reeves County Hospital Scholarship Fund.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

High Thursday 93. Low this morning 67. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 60s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High 95-100. South wind 10-20 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. High in the 90s.

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