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Thursday, August 9, 2001

Council given update  on work at new city jail

Staff Writer
PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- President of Corplan Corrections James Parkey updated the Town of Pecos City Council on the progress of the new Pecos Municipal Law Enforcement Center during the regular meeting this morning in Council Chambers at City Hall.

During public comments, Parkey told the council that everything is running smoothly and the construction is progressing well.

"We are on schedule," he said.

Parkey introduced Kendall Phinney, who is president of Hale Mills Construction, Inc., and Steve Nelson, the project manager.

Parkey said that Nelson has recently completed the construction of a 192-bed jail facility in Zapata right before he moved here to start construction in Pecos.

As far as construction, Parkey said that they are building it as if it were a county jail in order for it to be up to Texas jail commission standards.

"So everything you do is as though you are a county jail," he said.

Phinney said that construction is on schedule even though not a lot of activity has been going on at the construction site, which is located on Raul Florez Boulevard directly across Interstate 20 from Colt Chevrolet.

"A lot of the process had to be handled before we could step out on sight," he said.

Phinney assured the council that construction should be completed by February 22.

"We have never failed to make a completion day," he said.

Nelson told the council that he tries to utilize as many local people he can during construction and currently is using about 20 local workers.

As construction increases, Nelson said that the number of local people employed would also increase.

In other action, the council approved the 2001 planning calendar for no tax increase during the meeting.

City Manager Carlos Yerena said that they were planning on keeping last year's tax rate this year.

"We're anticipating following the calendar for no tax increase," he said.

According to Lydia Prieto, city tax assessor, the city has had a tax rate of .6967 for the past several years.

The council also approved a policy for the Pecos Police Department affecting the mobile video/audio recording equipment for patrol cars.

Police Chief Clay McKinney said that for the last several years he has been trying to get equipment that would help the police department.

"I've been trying to keep the department as up to date as possible," he said.

In March of this year, McKinney applied for grant money to purchase video/audio recording equipment that would be placed in patrol cars and would record what happens during a traffic stop.

In May, the department received enough grant money to purchase two sets of equipment and with seized drug money the department was able to purchase a third set.

McKinney explained that the equipment would be installed into the patrol cars and would automatically turn on any time the overhead lights are turned on.

"Anytime the overheads are kicked on during a traffic stop the audio and video will start recording," he said.

McKinney said that he has been looking for equipment that would be able to withstand the extreme heat of the patrol cars out in the West Texas sun.

Each camera would cost $5,000, which is why he developed a policy for the officers to follow in handling and caring for the equipment.

Inspectors give city list of pool repair needs

Staff Writer
PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- Texas Department of Health inspectors toured the Pecos Athletic Pool this morning in efforts to pinpoint what changes need to be done in order to keep the facility open in the future.

Pecos Health Director Armando Gil invited Registered Sanitarians for the state Jeff Heinatz of Alpine and Jorge Martinez of Midland to take a look at the pool and explain what Pecos should do to bring the pool up to state pool standards.

In 1999-2000, the state adopted new standards for swimming pools that would make swimming in them safer for people.

Both inspectors agree that the pool has the potential of being a good pool for Pecos after some renovations are done.

"This has all the potential in the world of being a great pool," Martinez said.

Heinatz brought along an inspection checklist in order to be able to inform Gil exactly what would have to be fixed.

Heinatz discussed anti-vortex drain covers for the main drain that would not allow someone to be pulled to the bottom of the pool.

He also discussed proper labeling of pool depth and no diving signs and symbols that are needed, along with changes in the pool's filtering and chlorination system.

The three men also discussed the needed addition of a drinking fountain as well as improved restroom facilities such as more toilets, showers and sinks.

Heinatz and Martinez also informed Gil that power lines that are surrounding the pool would have to be buried before the pool could open again because of a new standard involving electric wires.

"Overhead electric wires can not be within 20 feet of the pool enclosure," Heinatz said.

One thing that Gil agreed would absolutely need to be done is replacing the pool liner because of water leak problems.

While touring the pool, Gil decided to close the facility today only, while efforts are made to correct problems that they have had this week, which has turned the pool water green.

Gil explained to the inspectors that the pool's chlorinator shut down causing virtually no chlorine to go into the pool and allowing algae to grow.

"The chlorination system quit for about a 12-hour period," he said.

Gil said the pool would be closed today to allow the pool lifeguards to clean the pool and correct the algae problem.

He said that if the problem is corrected the pool would reopen on Friday.

P-B-T approves Crockett security cameras

Staff Writer
PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- Security cameras will be installed at Crockett Middle School, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD members decided on Tuesday, while also approving new district health insurance and the sale of several foreclosed properties during their regular monthly meeting.

"We feel we have good discipline, but this will be a deterrent," said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love.

Four security cameras will be installed at the junior high. "This is thanks to a grant from the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department," said Love. "This will help reduce juvenile delinquency and be a deterrent out there."

"They have really helped keep people off the campus that don't belong there and help us with police reports," said PHS Principal Danny Rodriguez.

Cameras were installed at the high school campus last year. "We have been able to use them and catch the individuals involved in fights at night," said Zavala Middle School Principal Benny Hernandez. "It makes things visible and since they've been installed there's been less vandalism."

Hernandez said that kids that are no longer students ride around the school grounds and sometimes create trouble. "Some of these kids are on probation and the camera catches all that," he said.

"If we have a problem the camera picks it up," he said.

"We don't need the cameras unless something happens, such as vandalism, cars getting scratched and other things like that," said Rodriguez.

Love said that the cameras are not installed inside the classrooms, but Lamar AEP Director Jimmy Dutchover said that cameras are used inside the classroom at that facility, for protection and safety purposes.

Foreclosed property was approved during the regular meeting. Properties approved for sale, due to unpaid taxes include: 217 N. Cedar St., mobile home and land and 217 N. Cedar, Northside Café. Total due on taxes on both properties has been assessed at $26,646. The offer for the property was $6,250 and was submitted by Hugh Box.

Other property included, 313 S. Oak St., the old Buster's Barn building located in downtown Pecos. Amount of taxes due is $22,285 and the board approved the property offer for $1,350 by Aida Y. Hernandez.

Two other property offers came from Toyah resident Alfredo Sanchez. The first is for 40 acres of land three miles Southeast of Toyah, which was approved for $1,400. The other property offer was for another parcel of land located Southeast of Toyah, and the board accepted a bid in the amount of $2,200, by Sanchez.

Employee health insurance and co-pay was approved and will be provided by RH Administrators. "This is the plan that the insurance committee picked," said Love.

"This is by far the best deal that we had offered to us," he said.

"All the benefits will remain the same," said school finance director Cookie Canon.

Canon told the board that P-B-T had been tagged as a hazardous employer by state inspectors. "We're required to get a safety engineer," said Canon. "We have $3,000 in the budget and $2,000 will go to him."

Canon told the group that the engineer will be here the last of August and he will issue a plan that would be submitted to the state. "I'm sure it will require that we hold monthly meetings and have a sign-in sheet to submit to them," said Canon.

Canon said that as soon as they get a plan she would bring it back to the board.

"Hopefully, after they do this walk-through they will release us," she said.

An update on the CATE building, which is currently under construction behind the administration building on Eddy Street, was discussed briefly.

"There's really not much to tell at this point," said Larry Sloan. "They finished with the steel part of the framework."

The completion date is still Oct. 15, according to Sloan.

A reduction in the number of college hours required to be a substitute teacher was approved. Board members agreed to lower the number of required hours to six instead of nine. "We're having problems getting substitute teachers," said Love. "Hopefully, this will help the situation."

Teacher's aide substitutes will receive $37.50 per day; special education or AEP aide's substitute, $50; teacher's substitute 6-15 college hours $40 per day, 16-30 hours, $45 and 31 plus semester hours, $50 per day.

The pay for substitute teachers who stand in for a teacher 20 consecutive days or longer will be $60 per day.

Reassignments included Tammy Walls from Bessie Haynes Elementary School physical education teacher/coach to Pecos High School English teacher/coach.

Appointments are Paul Briones with a Master of Science/Life Science/The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, 23 years experience, assignment: Lamar AEP academics teacher/coach;

Jennifer Galvan, Bachelor of Arts/Spanish/Texas Tech University, no experience, assignment: Pecos High School Spanish, teacher/coach;

Bernadette Ornelas, Bachelor of Arts/Psychology/The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, eight years experience, assignement: Crockett Middle School physical education teacher.

Drug suspects sought in bust turn selves in

Staff Writer
PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- Two more suspects were arrested after turning themselves into police, while two others still remain at large and two others had turned themselves in following a drug sweep which took place Tuesday night and Wednesday in Pecos.

Jose Edmundo Orona III, 32, was charged with possession of cocaine and Yolanda Rodriguez, 31, was charged with two counts of delivery of heroin and one count of cocaine.

Orona turned himself in to the Reeves County Jail at 8:55 a.m. while Rodriguez turned herself in to the Police Station at 2:17 p.m.

Orona has been set a bond of $5,000, while Rodriguez bond was set at $15,000, $5,000 for each count of heroin and cocaine. Both individuals still remain in custody as of noon today.

Orona and Rodriguez are two of the 16 suspects wanted on warrants.

"This has been a five month undercover investigation in Pecos. The result of the undercover agents has been 27 drug cases, resulting in 16 people being charged with delivery of narcotics," Chief of Police Clay McKinney said on Wednesday.

Among those arrested and identified by police were: Victor Prieto, 42, possession of heroin; Benjamin Maldonado, 41 possession of a controlled substance (heroin); Edward Villalobos, 33, possession of a controlled substance (heroin); Annabell Montanez, 39, two counts of possession of heroin and one count of theft; Eric Estorga, 17, delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana); Jose Camacho, 45 delivery of heroin; Ector Martinez, 38 delivery of a controlled substance (heroin); and Floyd Herrera, 41 delivery of a controlled substance (heroin); Jose Reyes, 23, delivery of marijuana; Robert Lyles, 32, possession and delivery of a controlled substance.

Return home helps Armstrong in understanding veterinary job

Staff Writer
PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- Looking for on hands experience as a veterinarian, Trey Armstrong chose to come back home and work under the guidance of Dr. Ronald Box.

"I chose Pecos because my family is here and Dr. Box offered to train me," Armstrong said. "Plus you get to see a large variety of animals, anywhere from large, small and exotic animals."

In returning to Pecos and working for Dr. Box, Armstrong said that he would be receiving experience between his second and third year of veterinary school.

He said his interest in becoming a veterinarian came while growing up and working on his dad and uncle's ranch, as well as due to his interest in animals.

Armstrong received his bachelors of science from Sul Ross State University in December of 1998. And in fall of 1999 he began his study at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine.

"A&M has the only vet school in the state," Armstrong said.

Though Armstrong has been in vet school for two years now, he feels that he has gotten better experience during his time working with Dr. Box.

"I have learned more here then the two years in vet school," Armstrong said. "I get to have hands on experience and its good practice."

Armstrong also added that what he is learning in vet school is now making sense, due to the experience he is receiving.

Armstrong recalls one of his biggest success procedures as being a two-year-old filly that came in during the first days of June with its left shoulder almost mangled and with no useful motion.

"I would consider that a big success because the horse was in bad shape," Armstrong said. "Now the horse is trotting on all four legs."

He also said that since being under the guidance of Dr. Box he has seen a lot of disease transmitted by ticks.

Armstrong said, "These are our most common illnesses, we see it at least in three or four dogs a day."

According to Armstrong symptoms of the disease are fever and a low platelet count. He said that it is important to keep your dog dipped so they would remain tick free.

After dealing with a large animal, the horse, a small animal, the dog, Armstrong dealt with an exotic animal, a Bengal tiger cub.

"An exotic animal which we have worked on was a Bengal tiger cub," he said. "We had to de-claw it. The tiger was a two month old cub that weighed 25 pounds."

Armstrong speaks highly of his teacher and mentor, Dr Box.

"It is good to have mentors when studying to become a veterinarian," Armstrong said. "And I have a good one in Dr. Box."

Dr. Box has been behind Armstrong since high school. He has kept a close eye on him during his training to become a veterinarian and has written letters of recommendation for him.

Like Armstrong, Dr. Box had nothing but good things to say about his protégé.

"We have enjoyed having him here," Dr. Box said. "He will make a good veterinarian."

Armstrong would like to tell future students wanting to become veterinarians that it is a lot of hard work but worth it at the end.

"High school students wanting to become vet should stay in school and study hard in math and science," Armstrong said.

Armstrong is the son of Scott and Regina Armstrong.

Cheerleaders plan school spirit event

PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- Community Merchants are invited to help the Pecos High School Cheerleaders build school spirit and pride.

The pep rally theme is "Paint the Town Purple."

On Friday, Aug. 31, a "Spirit Stick" will be given to the best-decorated business.

If you would like to participate contact one of your local cheerleaders.

A representative must be present at the pep rally to receive their spirit stick.


PECOS. Thurs., Aug. 9, 2001 -- High Wednesday 100. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 70. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 70. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows around 70. Highs in the lower to mid 90s.


Orda Tillis

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