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Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Enrollment drop to cut funding by $1.1 million

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- Enrollment figures for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD show  the number of students in local schools is down by 131 after the Labor  Day holiday compared to the same point a year ago, which means a loss  of funding from the state.

"We're down 131 kids from same time last year," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love. "And last year we lost 145, which means that's a total of 276 kids."

The drop represents about a five percent loss in students compared with last year. Love said that in state funding that comes to about $1.1 million.

"Every time we lose 10 kids we have to look at cutting back," said Love.

Some of the figures are actually up from last year, according to Love. "The biggest hit was over at the high school," said Love. "It picked up a little yesterday from 789 to 806 (on Tuesday)."

Love said that enrollment figures would be calculated again on Friday, when they have to be submitted to the state. "I'll do this again on Friday and fax over our figures right away," said Love.

House Bill 2879 contains a provision where there's a 98 percent adjustment rate for the difference in 2000-2001 and 2002 for ADA. "I knew we were going to lose more than 2 percent and didn't have any faith that there would be enough money," said Love.

Love said that in this bill $11 million has been provided for this year and $11 million more for next year, based on districts' enrollment numbers.

"On Friday we and all the other school districts will submit an estimated worksheet for determining the ADA adjustment," said Love. "We send that in and then the people in funding can look at the worksheet and see what funding will be provided."

"We'll see how this $11 million will be appropriated," said Love. "We're hoping to see some of this funding, but we'll see what happens," he said.

There are currently 44 students in pre-kindergarten; 167 in kindergarten; 221 in first grade; 199 in 2nd grade; 216 in third grade; 175 in fourth grade; 195 in fifth grade; 185 in 6th grade; 219 in 7th grade; 204 in 8th grade; 225 in 9th grade; 206 in 10th grade; 189 in 11th grade and 172 seniors, for a total of 2,675. Last year's total figures after Labor Day were 2,806.

"We were down in some grades, but up in others," said Love.

Malaysian cyclists' world tour stops in Pecos

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- Two Malaysian men made a stop in Pecos this week while  continuing their journey around the world on bicycles.

Hasan Nawawi, 46, and his brother Ahmad Redhwan, 38, took a break from their journey to make bicycle repairs and rest for a difficult part of the trip when they rolled into town on Monday.

The cycling duo began the worldwide journey in Malaysia on January 4 making Tuesday the eight-month anniversary of traveling.

Yesterday also marked the 40th day in America and the 12 th day in Texas.

When their worldwide journey is completed, Nawawi and Redhwan will be the first Malaysians to cycle around the world.

Nawawi, who has cycled on other journeys before, said that he has been planning this trip for about 10 years.

"I planned this 10 years ago," he said. "It didn't come all of a sudden."

In 1989, Nawawi started cycling in Malaysia, which after finishing he first thought of the possibility of cycling around the world.

So in 1992, he decided to cycle for one week in Thailand as well as backpack in India for a few weeks in 1994 in preparation for the world journey.

Nawawi said that their main reason for cycling around the world is to have the chance to see the world.

"One reason is first we want to see the world," he said. "You can go around the world by plane but you won't see anything."

By traveling the world on a bicycle, Nawawi said that he and his brother are able to experience more.

"We see more things, we meet more people and we get more experience," he said. "You cannot by this experience."

Nawawi said that he had to figure out how he was going to pay for the trip around the world and started looking for sponsors.

He said that he knew that people would not sponsor him and his brother just to travel around the world unless they went for a record.

"You have to go for the record if you want people to pay for your hobby," he said.

Nawawi said that the Malaysian federal and state government as well as private sectors are sponsoring the trip with $25,000 for two for approximately 12½ months.

The Malaysian government is encouraging the brothers' trip because it helps instill courage and determination to the children, according to Nawawi.

"They (government) feel that it is their social responsibility to encourage people to have courage," he said.

Nawawi said that in order to travel around the world on bicycles you must have four things.

First, he said you must have a strong mind in order to get through the tough times.

"If you want to do it and you say you can do it then you'll do it," he said.

Nawawi said that you can not let fear take you over.

"You must have a fearless mind. Courage will overcome fear," he said. "If we talk about fear we'll never move."

Secondly, Nawawi said that you need to have a lot of physical strength in order to travel approximately 100 miles a day.

He added that in order to travel through deserted spaces and foreign lands you must have tough skin and a strong stomach.

He said that he and his brother have had to sleep out under bushes, especially during their trip through the deserts of Iran and Pakistan.

Nawawi said that while in such countries as Thailand and India it is better to cook your own food and drink only bottled water in order to safe guard yourself from diseases.

While preparing for the trip Nawawi decided to take his younger brother, who is single, because it is better to travel with another person than alone.

He said that on his previous trips he traveled alone and while on those trips he hardly ever talked.

With his brother he has someone to talk with and he said that it is safer.

"It is quite dangerous if you travel alone," Nawawi said. "If you travel alone people have the confidence to try to overtake you."

Nawawi said that the main reason for choosing his brother to go with him on the trip is because he is single. If Redhwan was married, he said that he would take someone else because he does not want someone to have to leave their family.

However, Nawawi had to leave his wife of 20 years and their four children to go on the trip.

He said that his wife is very supportive of him and encourages him through email to not give up on his journey.

Nawawi said that his wife did not question why he wanted to leave his family and home for a year to travel around the world.

"My wife didn't say anything because she knew me from the beginning," he said. "She knew that if I want something I will get it."

Nawawi said that he prefers only having his brother on the trip and no more people because it is easier and there is less friction when he is able to lead without question.

"Two captains in one ship will make ship sink fast," he said jokingly.

In order to go on this trip, both Nawawi and Redhwan had to take a year off from work.

Redhwan is a car mechanic, which Nawawi said it valuable because they often need to repair their own bikes and is good having someone comfortable with tools.

Nawawi works for the government and is the equivalent to a city mayor in America as well as a geography teacher.

He said that he is taking this year off to from work without benefits or pay.

However, since the government believes that his trip would be beneficial to the country because it teaches courage and the "never say die" attitude they would consider paying him for the year if the journey is completed.

Nawawi said that this is another incentive to completing the journey, which will make him and Redhwan heros in Malaysia, "So I'm eager to complete it. Nothing will stop me."

While on the journey, Nawawi and Redhwan have traveled through many countries including India, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Italy, France and England.

Nawawi said that his favorite portion of the trip came from cycling through the Alps in Europe.

He said that originally he was concerned about the trip through the Alps because he was not sure how difficult it would be but he was pleasantly surprised at how relaxing the trip was.

"It really was not difficult," he said.

Nawawi explained that the roads slowly ascended up the mountains with the natural curve of the mountains and once they reached the top they were able to "cruise" down until they reached the first town.

Nawawi said that all throughout the trip he and Redhwan would camp out at various campsites because it is cheaper than motels.

He even spoke of a campsite located approximately six miles from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France that was close enough to everything in the city that they would be able to travel easily to the many place in Paris.

While in Pecos, Nawawi and Redhwan stayed in a local motel in order to get proper rest to start off today's journey to El Paso by way of Orla and the Guadalupe Mountains.

The duo is unable to travel the straight route on Interstate 20 because of the law of no slow moving vehicles on the interstate.

Nawawi said that it is important when traveling on bicycles to have lots of rest, proper sleep and proper food so the "next day you will have a fresh body."

He said that he and his brother wanted to make sure they had that before they started the three-day desert journey to El Paso.

After reaching El Paso, the cycling duo plan to travel to Las Angeles where they will fly to Japan to start the last leg of their journey.

Nawawi said that they have enjoyed traveling through America where he said they have met many good people, especially in Texas.

He said that he and his brother knew the trip through Texas would be good when they received free lodging the first night they were in Texas.

"Americans are wonderful people," Nawawi said.

Like many countries, Nawawi said that America may have killers and thieves but they have not met any.

"We have met very honest people," he said. "They want to help."

Nawawi said that he and his brother hope to be finished with their journey by the end of the year and encourages anyone interested to follow them on their website where they give reports on what they have seen.

Anyone can check out how Nawawi and Redhwan are doing by logging on to

Balmorhea Festival's winners announced

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- Cook-off entries were down, but overall participation was up for the 26th Annual Balmorhea Labor Day Festival, according to organizers of the annual holiday weekend event.

"The 26th Annual Labor Day Festival had the biggest crowd ever," said festival organizer Pat Brijalba, though the total number of entries in the Fajita and Beak Cook-off was 15, a dozen below last year's record total of 27.

Jaime Gomez of Pecos took first in the World Championship Frijole Bean Cook-off, with Abel Rodriguez of Balmorhea second and Charley Granado of Fort Davis third. In the Fajita Cook-off competition, James Dutchover of Fort Stockton took top honors, followed by Salvador Garcia of Del Rio and Anita Baeza of Pecos.

While the cook-off was going on a bloc to the east of the main festival booths, a Washer Pitching Tournament held just south of the downtown area had 22 entries, with Elias Dutchover and Marcos Sanchez of Fort Davis winning first place.

The cook-offs and the washer tournaments were held Saturday afternoon along with a special Saturday opening for the 1st Fridays Trade Days, which began in Balmorhea earlier this year.

Saturday night, the Cruces Band from Las Cruces, N.M. performed as part of a free street dance in the downtown area, while on Sunday the festival featured mariachi music from Juan Carlos Franco of Midland.

WIA program provides youths training for jobs

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- A youth program in the community is offering  year-round job training services and academic skills training to assist the  youth with a smooth school to work transition.

The WIA Youth Program offers training throughout the year, with the main goal to prepare the youth with the knowledge, skills and behavior necessary to make the transition into meaningful, challenging pathways in high skill, high wage careers and for lifelong learning.

WIA is also committed to teaching the youth the skills to become productive citizens, according to youth coordinator John Garza.

"This summer 52 WIA youth not only worked at 23 sites in Reeves County, but they were also offered the opportunity to get involved in several other activities," said Garza.

The youth attended a Junior Achievement sponsored leadership conference held at U.T.P.B. in Odessa.

"Several participated in the Meals on Wheels program as well as the city wide clean-up project and more volunteer activities are planned to ensure good citizenship," said Garza.

"We offer activities that help prepare them for the labor force as well," he added.

The WIA program will sponsor several youth entering post secondary education this fall.

The program is sponsored by the Pecos Workforce Center and administered by the Permian Basin Planning Commission.

For more information or to apply for this program contact Garza at 445-9664 or come by the office located at 215 W. Second St.

Bonilla among GOP hopefuls eyeing race for Gramm's seat

From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- Republican Congressmen Henry Bonilla of San Antonio is  considering a run for the U.S. Senate to replace Phil Gramm, who announced  his decision not to seek re-election on Tuesday. But the  five-term Republican could face opposition within his own party before  ever having to face a Democratic challenger in 2002.

Bonilla, who became the first Mexican-American Republican elected to Congress when he defeated Albert Bustamante in 1992, represents District 23 in the House of Representatives, which includes the city of Pecos and all of Reeves County. Bonilla's district is the largest in the state, stretching from San Antonio and Laredo west along the Texas-Mexico border to the eastern sections of El Paso County.

Bonilla, who was a TV news producer in New York City and San Antonio before being elected to Congress, could face a primary challenge from Attorney General John Cornyn, Land Commissioner David Dewhurst and Texas Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza.

On the Democratic side, Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and former Attorney General Dan Morales are considered potential candidates, and former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros has been mentioned. Lawyer Ed Cunningham already has announced his candidacy.

Most potential candidates said little publicly Tuesday about their own plans, insisting it was Gramm's day.

But Kirk acknowledged Gramm's decision opens a door.

"It certainly makes that race that much more interesting and appealing. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's going to be interesting and appealing for a lot of people," he said.

Morales plans to announce this fall that he will run.

"It was really my assumption that Senator Gramm would be my opponent. The fact that he won't be is clearly beneficial. He would be the toughest opponent the Republicans could put up," Morales said.

Cornyn said he has received "numerous calls" urging him to run.

"I will discuss this opportunity with my family, give it the serious consideration it deserves and decide soon on my intentions," Cornyn said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said he was reactivating his Senate exploratory committee and would consider his options. He said hundreds of people had asked him during his recent visits to Texas to consider the race.

Depending on the momentum at the top, other statewide races could be wide open and winnable by either party.

The letter to the editor published yesterday under the headline, "Gift shop plans closing due to high taxes," should have been attributed to Mrs. Jan Chandler. The letter was attributed to "A partner of: Pecos Art Gallery and Gift Shop." The Pecos Enterprise's letter to the editor policy requires that letters be signed. Yesterday's error was simply a typographical error and Mrs. Chandler wanted to make sure that the letter was attributed to her, as there are multiple partners in the Art Gallery.

School tax rate rollback voting underway today

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- Early voting began today for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD rollback elections. Voters will get to choose whether to leave property taxes at the current rate or lower the rate by 32 cents per hundred-dollar valuation.

Early voting will run from today through September 18. Voting will take place at the Community Center next to the police station from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Girl Scouts holding rally on Thursday

PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- There will be a Girl Scout Rally Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Girl Scout House located at 715 S. Park.

All girls and adults interested in Girl Scouting are asked to attend. Parents should accompany their girls. Adult positions as leaders and co-leaders are available.

For more information call Kim at the Council Office in Odessa at 800-594-5677.


PECOS, Wed., Sept. 5, 2001 -- High Tuesday 95. Low this morning 65. Rainfall last 24 hours  at KIUN Radio in Downtown Pecos .07 inch. Forecast for tonight:  Partly cloudy with isolated showers or thunderstorms. Low 65 to  70. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. The chance of rain is less than 20  percent. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in the lower 90s. South wind 10 to 20  mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the upper 60s.  Friday: Partly  cloudy and windy. High in the mid 90s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs in  the low 90s. Lows in the mid 60s.

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