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Friday, January 12, 2001

School board rejects nighttime pool hours

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members voted to maintain the current hours at the public use of the Pecos High School Natatorium, while voting to create a new position for the kindergarten and an elementary school during their Thursday night meeting.

P-B-T athletic director Bubba Williams and PHS swimming coach Terri Morse presented a report to the board during the discussion on the feasibility of opening the pool to the public during the week from 8 to 9 p.m.

"I called a couple of schools so that we could do a comparison," said Williams.

Williams presented a schedule of pool hours to the board and after discussing decided to keep the same hours.

"When I came here 20 years ago, I was asked to offer programs for any age group," said Morse.

She told the board she tried to offer a wide range of different programs for all ages. "This facility is not designed to be a city pool," she said.

"Because of all the usage in the summertime, we had to replace a board (to control the pool's temperature) that costs us $3,000," she said.

Currently, pool hours begin at 8 a.m. with Adult Water Therapy or Adult Lap Swimming and there is no charge. This is year-round, according to the schedule.

The pool is then used by the high school swimmers and divers, from 2:30-6 p.m.; from 5:30-6:30 p.m., the pool is used by the Age Group Swimming who are assessed a monthly fee and from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., there is Competitive Age Group Swimming who are assessed a monthly charge.

During February, March and April, there is Middle School Swimming for grades 6-8, from 4-6 p.m.

During March, April and May from 6-9 p.m. they have Lifeguard Training and Water Safety Instruction, for which students are charged a fee. This is training for summer programs at the high school.

In May, the pool offers adult swimming lessons (fee is charged); scuba class is sometimes offered (fee is charged) and both programs are offered on a need basis.

In June there is Age Group Swimming Practice from 7-8:30 a.m. (fee is charged); from 8-8-8:45 a.m., Adult Water Therapy or Lap Swimming (no charge); from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Summer Swimming Lessons (fee is charged) and from 10-12, Guard Start (fee is charged).

Family Nights are held on Tuesday and Thursdays, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Cost is $1 per person.

The pool is then closed in July for maintenance and repairs. They must get it ready for the school year that begins in August. Coaches and instructors have a few weeks off before school starts and practices begin.

"We did quit doing the 8-9 p.m., because there was no interest there, we had one or two people or nobody," said Morse. "We tried to direct them to the 8-9 a.m., because we offer that year-round," she said.

"And it takes a whole month to clean it up in July?" asked board member David Flores.

"Yes it does, because you have to shut down the pool," said Morse.

Morse said that the cleaning takes a long time, because there are so many aspects to it. "They have to take the carpeting and clean it, change the water, the boilers have to be checked, among other things," she said.

"During the month of June, we really have a good turnout on Family Night," said Morse. "It's supervised quite well and we do have a good turnout," she said.

Morse said that the high school pool was not set up for a "free for all."

Morse gets to school at 7 a.m., and doesn't leave until 7 p.m., as does her assistant coach, Jeffrey Rodriguez. "He doesn't want to stay any later either, because he has a family," she said.

Morse said that she had asked the other coaches if they would like to stay from 8-9 p.m., to keep it open and nobody wanted to do so.

"My assistant is there most nights until 8:30 p.m.," said Morse. "Fridays and Saturdays we have swim meets, so the only day we really have off is on Sunday."

"Is there another coach interested in taking the classes?" asked superintendent Don Love.

"Nobody has approached me about it," said Morse. "It would be really easy for us to say we would have someone there, but it would have to be someone qualified."

Morse said that this school has had no major accidents in the past decade years, as has another nearby school who is getting sued because a student drowned in their pool. A special education student drowned in the PHS pool in October 1984, a year after the natatorium opened and a year before Morse took over the swimming program.

"I know accidents will happen, but we try to prevent them, by having qualified individuals on hand," she said.

Morse said that whoever is on hand to supervise needs to be trained to check the chlorine and the ph level. "Whoever is there to supervise would need to know how to do the whole thing," she said.

"I really don't think anyone would want to use it so later during the week," she said.

Morse said that they also charge very little compared to other schools. "The school doesn't get the money from the Age Group Swimmers," said Morse.

"Is there accountability for those funds?" asked Flores.

"We have 49 people in the program right now, so it's 49 times $20, which is the monthly fee," said Joan Capshaw. "And yes, the treasurer of the group, has those figures."

Those funds not only pay the swim coaches, but they also donate money for items for the school that everyone can use, according to Williams.

"They recently bought the purple and gold lane ropes and have a project every year," said Morse.

The group also gives out a scholarship to a deserving high school swimmer. "It depends on how much they have, they might give out more than one," Morse said.

Following the discussion, the board voted to maintain the current pool hours schedule.

The board also voted to create a new position; an assistant principal's position for the Pecos Kindergarten/Pecos Elementary for the remainder of the year. The position will then be reassigned to Austin Elementary for the 2001-2002 school year, when the elementary schools merge. Third graders will be attending school at Austin Elementary School next year, with the Pecos Elementary School set to close. That decision was made at the last school board meeting held in December.

False sightings of escapees keep deputies busy

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - The continuing manhunt for the seven escapees of a maximum-security prison in South Texas has resulted in numerous false sightings in recent weeks, two of which occurred in the Pecos area on Thursday.

Early Thursday morning, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez received a call from Fort Stockton law enforcement officers for assistance in checking out a possible sighting of two escapees in Balmorhea.

Gomez said deputies from Reeves County, officers from the Pecos Police Department and the Fort Stockton Police Department as well as Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos met in Balmorhea to investigate the possible sightings.

"It turned out to be nothing which is good," he said.

The "escapees" turned out to be two maintenance workers out of Odessa.

A second false sighting was reported by a Ward County Sheriff's deputy, who enlisted help from local law enforcement officials after he followed a suspicious looking Jeep from Ward County east along Interstate 20 to the Amigo's Texaco station at the U.S. 285 exit in Pecos Thursday afternoon.

The deputy discovered after checking identifications that the four men were not the escapees but were from Ohio and has suspended licenses.

The seven escapees were serving their terms in the prison for different crimes including aggravated kidnapping, burglary, robbery, assault and murder when they escaped from the prison on Dec. 13, 2000.

The gang of escapees is also charged with the Christmas Eve murder of an Irving police officer at an Oshman's Sporting Goods store in Irving. The officer was shot 11 times and then run over with his own police car by the gang in the robbery, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A large amount of guns and ammunition was stolen from the store by the gang, which is considered armed and extremely dangerous

Gomez said that law enforcement officials from the surrounding counties including Reeves, Presidio, Pecos, Culberson, Hudspeth and Jeff Davis as well as police officers from Pecos, Fort Stockton and Marfa and Texas Rangers Villalobos and David Duncan met yesterday in Fort Davis to implement a plan in case of any actual sightings in this area.

Gomez said the plan would involve assistance from the surrounding counties during any investigation of possible sightings.

"We do have a plan in case something happens," he said. "We are looking for them."

Gomez said that if anyone sees someone suspicious not to confront that person but to call any law enforcement agency and they would check them out.

"We take every call serious," he said.

West side raid finds cocaine; no arrests yet

Staff Writer

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - A narcotics search warrant was executed at home on the west side of Pecos Wednesday night, but no arrests have been yet in that case, according to Pecos police.

Police, along with Reeves County Sheriff's deputies and the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force executed a narcotics search warrant at approximately 8:24 p.m., Wednesday at the home of Bobby Olivas, 1929 Adams St.

"Once the residence was secured by the Swat Team, the officers proceeded to search the residence," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

During the search of the master bedroom, Lt. Tony Dawdy, located a substance believed to be cocaine, according to the report.

This evidence was secured and taken in as evidence, according to Deishler.

Officers continued their search of the residence and other contraband was located within the residence.

"Officers completed their search of the residence and at this time on one at the residence has been charged with an offense," said Deishler. However, he added warrants are pending at this time.

Pecos' Museum was created in wake of Estes scandal

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations in Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - The West of the Pecos Museum is without doubt the most important tourist attraction we have, having some 24 visitors a day from all parts of the world and less than one percent of that total are local people.

Some years ago, the Denver Post stated "The Historical Society finds, in fact, that any museum which averages 24 visitors a day is the equivalent of a small industry with an annual payroll of $100,000.00." They also stated that the Denver Broncos, Bears and Nuggets draw about 1.3 million people a year and the museum draws 1.8 million.

As Denver is a tad larger Pecos, our Museum may not produce the same revenue as the Denver museum. The point is that museums are important to the economy of the community.

In the early 1960's Pecos had a fanning boom going for it with a 58 percent increase in population. We also had a nationally known individual named Billy Sol Estes. Mr. Estes made the May 25, 1962 cover of Time magazine. He was not popular locally as he was defeated in his bid for Pecos School Board by a write-in. The local paper, The Pecos Independent and Enterprise, openly opposed Mr. Estes and so he started his own paper, The Pecos Intelligence.

The Independent's city editor, Oscar Griffin, became interested in talk about town of easy money going to farmers and he checked on the fertilizer tank chattel mortgages filed in the Clerk's office. He calculated that if the tanks were lined up end to end, they would reach from Pecos to Balmorhea. This didn't sit well with the finance companies and the FBI arrested Mr. Estes March 29, 1962.

This split the town, as some thought that Mr. Estes should have been left alone and he would have paid the mortgages and he was helping the economy. Others thought that he should have been arrested for dishonest dealings. This type problem in a small town does not help either side so that is when Louis Roberson and Barney Hubbs decided that a community project would unite the town and that is when the Museum started.

Working with the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit corporation was formed. The building housing the saloon portion of the museum was built in 1896 by R. S. Johnson and was called the No. 11 saloon, with rooms upstairs. In 1904, Mr. Johnson built the three-story portion of the Museum with molded-concrete block and water was furnished from an Artesian well that had enough pressure to furnish water to the third floor.

The City Council bought the buildings for $14,000.00 with $5,000.00 coming from the Housing Authority and $9,000.00 being borrowed at 4 percent interest. The Crocket Hotel was on the comer of First and Oak streets was taken for delinquent taxes. It was razed and the brick was used for walkways and veneering the Senior Citizen's building.

Clubs and individuals took on the task of cleaning and furnishing the rooms and an effort was made to obtain a saloon bar suitable for the time. It is believed that the present bar was the original as the holes in the floor matched the holes in the bar rail.

The Judge Roy Bean replica was built in 1935 from lumber from an old ranch house owned by Doug Coalson. It was first located where the Security State Bank now is, on Cypress Street. The bank paid $10,000.00 for the lot and the shack was moved to Oak Street where one of the municipal buildings is located. It was then moved to its present location. You will often see people having their picture taken in front of the shack.

The Union Café, Mint Cafe and the Cactus Theatre were located on Oak Street where the Roy Bean shack and park area are now. Nell Betty Harrison donated her property and the rest was taken by Sheriff's sale. The First National Bank donated its vacated building at Second and Oak streets. which was later sold for $25,000.00. Other buildings in the block were bought by the Museum.

The Museum is indeed an asset and should be supported by all of us and our local governments. We have nothing else to compare to the benefit this asset brings to our community.

Much of the information in this article is from a research paper done by the Museum Curator, Dorinda Millan, when she was in high school.

Banks, government closed on Monday for King's birthday

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - All government offices, banks and schools will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 15, 2001.

City Hall, the County Courthouse, the Federal Courthouse, West Texas National Bank, Security State Bank and all local schools will be closed all day.

The U.S. Post Office will continue delivering mail as usual but the window at the post office will be closed.

Barbeque fundraiser scheduled Saturday inside Posse Barn

PECOS, January 12, 2001 - A Barbecue Benefit Fundraiser will be held beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse Barn.

Plates will sold for $4 and can be ordered by calling 445-3400.

The fundraiser is being held to help out with medical expenses for Esperanza Evaro Fuentez, the four-month-old granddaughter of Camilo and Anita Evaro of Pecos.


Frances Cox


PECOS, January 12, 2001 - High Thursday 71. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 30s. South wind 10 to 20 mph. Saturday: Cloudy in the morning with a 30 percent chance of showers. Decreasing clouds and windy in the afternoon. High in the mid 50s. West wind 20 to 30 mph and gusty. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the upper 20s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid to upper 50s. Monday: Increasing cloudiness. Lows in the upper 20s. Highs in the mid 50s.

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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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