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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Salary increase given approval by P-B-T board

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD employees received some good  news in the form of a pay raise, following a special school board meeting,  while the board also voted to eliminate two administrative positions to help  fund the district's salary hikes.

Board members approved a pay boost of 1½ percent for all employees, starting at the midpoint of the allowable salary increase scale.

"We're looking at giving the employees a pay raise, from the midpoint," said personnel director Gome Olibas. "The scale goes up to 20 years and we've added an extra step for those employees over 20 years."

"How much is this going to cost the district?" asked board member Lila Cerna.

"The total cost will be $154,000," said P-B-T Superintendent Don Love.

Board member Steve Valenzuela asked if this had been included in the budget.

"Yes, it has been included," said Love. "We lost a lot of Tier II funds and we've budgeted for 100 less kids," he said.

However, Love said that the district felt that this pay raise could be done at this time. "This is something we can afford right now," he said.

The pay boost will also help those close to retirement, according to Love. "If you've got 30 years with the district, you're looking at 70 percent of what that raise is."

"I don't know what the future will bring, but we feel this is something we can do right now," he said.

Part of the funding for the pay increases will come through the elimination of two administrative positions, which the board also approved on Tuesday after tabling action twice earlier this month.

By not filling the positions of assistant principal for Grades 1-3 at Austin Elementary School and grades 7-8 at Crockett Middle School, the district would save about $90,000.

"If it proves to be too much for the principals we can always come back and fill in those positions in December," said Olibas, during a previous board meeting.

"As you know these administrators will take on a new campus without an assistant and this had worried some of the board members," said Love.

"Mr. (David) Flores was the one who wanted to talk to him (Tarin) and ask him for himself if he could handle this position," said board president Billie Sadler.

Flores was absent for the special meeting.

"What will he do when they have extracurricular activities at the same time," said board member Crissy Martinez.

"It will fall under administrative duties and the counselor can pick up some of these," said Love.

"When we have two games at the same time at Crockett, we can have someone else take on some duties," said Love. "We have extra funds for that."

Love said that working together it could be done. "If we work as a team it can be done, with everyone pitching in and helping," said Love. "We've always pulled it together."

The board also approved hiring George Patlan, as the District Migrant/ESL Teacher. He has a Masters of Education degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and 19 years experience.

City moves towards OKing downtown historical district

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City Council approved the first reading of  an ordinance, which designates several city blocks in downtown Pecos  as part of a historical district, during the regular meeting Tuesday night  at City Hall.

Main Street Program Director Tom Rivera informed the council that the city could designate part of Pecos as historical through the state of Texas, which would help in being designated as a Main Street City.

"Being designated as historic goes hand in hand with the Main Street Program," Rivera said.

The section of Pecos included in the historic declaration covers approximately 18 blocks in the original portion of the city from Seventh Street to First Street and from Ash Street to Elm Street.

Rivera handed the council a sheet that explained the incentives of seeking a historical designation.

He said that having that designation would help qualify property owners for grant funding and tax incentives as well as give property owners access to technical assistance from the THC staff.

Another incentive is being able to guide travelers to places of historical interest and identify properties in Texas that deserve protection.

The designation would also help assist government and private groups in planning new development and recognizing properties of local, state and national significance.

Mayor Dot Stafford asked what certifies property as historic.

Rivera said that this ordinance is not very strict in the requirements to designate a property as historic.

"This is a very general ordinance," he said.

City Manager Carlos Yerena elaborated on how general the ordinance is.

"Right now we don't have a lot of requirements," he said. "This is just the first step toward it."

Rivera said that the city would be able to amend the ordinance at a later date to include other areas of town if needed.

The designation was one of several items covered on Tuesday's agenda by the council.

Engineer Frank Spencer of Spencer & Associates was given authority to drill two additional wells at the new South Worsham Water Well Field, after he gave the council an update on the development of the field southwest of Pecos.

Spencer told the council that 12 wells have been completed and are producing approximately 3,600 gallons of water per minute. He said the original hope was that the proposed wells would produce 4,000 GPM, which they are pleased to already be close to reaching.

However, he added that there are only two more wells left to drill, which they are hoping would produce enough to go over 4,000 GPM.

Spencer explained that 26 wells were originally planned for drilling, but some of the ones already drilled did not produce water.

"Of the 26 wells we planned 10 of them didn't work out," he said.

The new field was created after the council was told in 1994 that the Worsham and Ward County water fields in use at that time could only provide Pecos with adequate water supplies through the year 2008. Work on locating and then developing the South Worsham Field has been underway since then.

Spencer said that if the city stops development now the project would come in under budget.

"If we closed the project today, we'd still have over $13,000 and two wells left," he said.

He asked the council to consider adding two additional wells while all the equipment and workers are still in the field.

The additional wells would cost the city an additional $120,000, which Spencer said is a lower cost than starting all over in the next few years, if the wells are needed at that time.

"I believe this would be better to do while we still have the money in the budget and the drillers are still there," Spencer said.

He explained that the two additional wells would serve as a "cushion of safety" for the city since the life of each well could change.

"I'd rather do that today than to come in three, five or 10 years down the road and say we have to drill again," he said.

Yerena told the council that he and Finance Director George Bejarano have met with Spencer and discussed the additional wells.

He said that he understood Spencer's position and thought that adding on those wells would be beneficial to the city.

"We would recommend that we give Spencer the authority to drill two additional wells with the stipulation that $120,000 added to that," Yerena said.

Bejarano agreed with Yerena by also stating the additional wells would be beneficial.

"It's for the betterment of the city," he said. "It'll help us in the long run."

The council approved allowing Spencer the authority to drill the extra wells.

The council also appointed Lydia Prieto, who is currently the city's tax assessor and collector, as the officer who would calculate the effective and rollback tax rate for 2002. Preito works for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD tax office, with also handles the city's taxes under a contract with the school district.

Stafford recommended Prieto to stay on as the officer because of her hard work in the past years, which the other Council members agreed to.

"I think she's served us well these last few years," she said.

During public comments, Stafford apologized to the council and administration for the previous Council meeting at which the status of the City Hall doors were discussed.

"I felt it was not handled very well," she said. "That was mostly on my part, I should have stepped in and stopped it."

During the last meeting several community members attended and expressed their point of view on the doors, which were put in last year and which had remained closed until action was taken at the July 11 council meeting.

The debate on whether or not to take the doors down was heated and lengthy.

Councilman Johnny Terrazas said that Stafford's apology was not necessary.

"We appreciate your apology," he said. "It was not necessary but we do appreciate it."

Also in public comments, the council was asked by a local resident to consider installing stop signs at the corner of Fifth and Park streets.

He said that he has noticed that people drive down Fifth Street fast and is concerned for the safety of the children coming out of the Reeves County Library.

Yerena said that the city would look into installing the signs.

The council approved the monthly tax collection report, the municipal court report, the accounts payable and the minutes of the previous meeting.

Firemen put bales of water on hay truck blaze

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 -- A fire involving a truck carrying hay kept the Pecos Volunteer  Fire Department busy north of town for about four hours on Tuesday.

The fire department received a call about 8:30 p.m. advising them that the semi-truck was on fire, on a bridge 23 miles north of Pecos on U.S. 285.

According to Fire Chief Roy Pena, two of the department's 2,000-gallon fire pumpers were dispatched to the location.

"The truck was parked in the middle of the bridge," Pena said. "The hay and the bottom were burning."

Pena said that Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire, then called about 9:30 stating that he needed an additional unit at the scene.

According to Pena, Reeves County Road and Bridge Administrator Russ Salcido and a second employee assisted the fire department by providing a front-end loader.

"It was needed to get to the bottom of the hay," Pena said.

Pena said that because the truck was parked in the middle of the bridge, the hay was falling over the side.

Also assisting in helping control the fire was the fire department of Loving County.

"They provided us with a water tank and a thousand ton water truck," Pena said.

One of the two fire units left at about 12:30 a.m. today, with the final unit staying till about 1:30 this morning to make sure that the fire was out, Pena said.

Firemen were called out to the site again this morning, when it was reported some of the burned hay was still smoldering.

The Texas Department of Public Safety helped the firefighters by controlling the traffic, Pena said.

"I would like to thank Loving County, the law enforcement officers, the people that showed up and those who attended in helping putting out the fire," Pena said. "As you know we are short on firefighters. However, we are still able to take care of Pecos if anything happens."

Eight members of the fire department are in College Station this week for a Municipal Fire Training School.

According to Pena the cause of Tuesday's fire is still under investigation.

Region 18 Center's audio/video vewing offered

PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 -- Films and other audio-visual materials available to schools through Region 18 Education Service Center may be requested for preview by parents and other interested adults during a one-day review session set for Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., at the Center, at 2811 LaForce Blvd., next to Midland International Airport.

Parents and other citizens interested in requesting preview of particular films from the collection maintained at the Service Center should notify the Center at least five days in advance so the staff will have time to check on the availability of the films and set up preview rooms. In the event a film is not available on the date requested, the person making the request will be given a date on which it may be seen.

Persons wishing to request preview of the films may call Mrs. Pam Winn, Media Supervisor of the Education Service Center, at 567-3260. The name of the films desired and the approximate time the person will arrive at the Center should be given to Mrs. Winn.


PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 -- High Tues. 95. Low this morning 67. Rainfall last 24 hours at  Texas A&M Experiment Station .87 inch. Forecast for tonight: Partly  cloudy. Lows 70 to 75. SE winds 5 to 10 mph. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Highs  around 101. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Thurs. night: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to  75. Fri.: Partly cloudy. Highs around 102. Sat.: Partly cloudy. Lows 70 to  75. Highs 98 to 103.

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