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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, March 19, 2004

Board puts off superintendent resignation vote

Staff Writer

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members will meet in closed session next Thursday, after the board opted to take no action on the retirement request of superintendent Don Love during last night’s regular monthly meeting.

Board members met behind closed doors last evening to discuss Love’s resignation. The group then went into open session and voted to take no action on this item.

In conjunction, board members also opted to take no action on employing TASB as the consultant service to assist in the superintendent search process.

Love’s voluntary retirement request was on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting in closed session, along with a closed session consultation with the district’s attorney regarding personnel matters, including the superintendent’s retirement and voluntary retirement agreement.

Love has been the superintendent for the district since 1997 and before that served as a high school assistant baseball and football coach, assistant principal and as principal of Zavala Middle School.

The board approved the other contracts as presented, including the retirements and reassignments.

Retirements approved were: Barbara Armstrong, Career Investigations/Keyboarding teacher/Crockett Middle School, effective May 28.

Candelaria Leyva, bilingual kindergarten teacher/Pecos Kindergarten, effective June 30. Julia McPherson, second grade teacher/Austin Elementary, effective May 31.

Reassignments: Gaylon Doan, from History teacher/coach/Pecos High School to History teacher/coach at Crockett Middle School for 2004-2005 school year.

Graciela Sanchez, from third grade teacher at Austin Elementary to K-3rd grade reading teacher/Instructional Coach for the 2004-2005 school year.

Lorrie Walker, from first grade teacher at Austin Elementary to seventh and eighth grade art teacher at Crockett Middle School for the 2004-2005 school year.

In other action, board members approved a band competition and trip for next month. Pecos Eagle Band members will be traveling to Dallas on April 22-24, for band competition and band director Merle Lenfest was requesting permission to include a visit to Six Flags during the trip.

“This trip is budgeted,” said Love.

“We have a number of volunteers and it will be seven to one,” said Lenfest. “We’ll have one volunteer for seven students.”

Lenfest said that the group plans to take care of the students and that he feels like it will be safe. “They’ve worked hard and they deserve a trip like this,” he said. PHS Assistant Principal John Fabela will also be along for the trip and help with supervision, according to Lenfest.

Lenfest said that about 90 students would be traveling to the competition. “These are really good kids and I think they’ll do fine.”

Board votes to retain fall golf, tennis

Staff Writer

After a lengthy discussion, during the regular meeting Thursday evening, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members approved part of a proposal made by athletic director Patrick Willis on coaches’ stipends, but opted to maintain athletic schedules for two fall sports. Willis was on hand to explain his proposal and the reasons behind the proposed changes, with the main questions involving cuts to the fall golf and tennis programs.

Under the stipend plan for P-B-T coaches, at the high school, head coaches will receive an additional $3,500; assistant coaches, $3,000; trainer, $3,500; and each coach $1,000 each for second and third sport.

In Junior High: junior high head coaches will get $3,500; junior high swimming, $2,000; junior high golf, $2,000 and junior tennis, $2,000.

Several parents and students had discussed the proposed changes to the fall schedules during the audience portion of the meeting. The focus was on the fall golf program, which was to be eliminated if Wills’ proposal were to be accepted.

Brenda McKinney told the group that the golf program in Pecos was very successful and that is has improved tremendously over the years.

“I don’t know why you would change a program that is successful,” she said. She said that it didn’t matter what other schools were doing. “Colleges are looking at our children to go play for them, why would we jeopardize our children’s future,” said McKinney.

McKinney said that there was one student who had graduated last year and is going to college on a golf scholarship.

“She is still representing Pecos,” said McKinney.

Lauren Martinez, who graduated last year and is currently attending Tarleton State University in Stephenville on a golf scholarship was on hand to talk about the golf program.

“I’m a prime example of what can come out of this school and fall golf,” she said. Martinez said that the students use the fall program to prepare for the spring, when competition gets tougher.

“You just can’t play part of the year and expect to get really good at it,” said Martinez. “The fall program is very important and useful,” she said.

“Even if it’s just one girl that goes far with golf, I think that is success,” said golf coach Tina Doan. “Success also comes from the junior high program, because that is where they begin,” she said.

McKinney said that there are currently three colleges looking at students in Pecos to go play golf for them. “Or at any other student,” she said.

Her daughter, senior golfer Sarah McKinney said that golf is a sport that you just can’t play in the spring.

“We start practicing the first day of school, until 5-6 at night,” said McKinney. “It’s not something you can practice for 30 days and be really good at it.”

Willis said that the reason for his proposal was that the fall golf and tennis coaches were not working as much as the other coaches, but still receiving the same pay.

“They only attend about two tournaments during the fall season, while these other coaches are traveling out of town during the week and weekends,” said Willis. “Yet, they are still getting the same amount of pay,” he said.

His reasoning was that he wanted all the coaches to do the same amount of work for the same pay.

“Is it fair to my coaches that coach three sports,” said Willis. “I’m just trying to make the pay schedule basically the same,” he said.

Willis said that if the student were truly committed to the sport, they would be out there hitting balls everyday. “If they are really committed, they will play everyday,” said Willis. “And if the parent is truly interested in them excelling in golf they will hire them a personal trainer, take them to the tournaments and make sure they practice,” he said. “So what you’re saying is that if we don’t have fall golf, they will just put up their clubs and not play anymore,” he said.

Willis said that scholarships are hard to come by.

“I wish all my athletes could get a scholarship, in football, baseball or whatever, but they are hard to come by,” said Willis. “You have to be truly committed and go above and beyond in order to do that.”

Willis said that they would still pay the green fees and students could go out there on their own.

“You can’t send out 20 or so students out to the golf course, because you’re going to get all the other golfers mad at you for sending all those youngsters out there unsupervised,” said Martinez’ father, Jimmy Martinez.

“I’ll send someone to watch them,” said Willis.

“They don’t need a babysitter, they need someone that will help them improve their game and help them with their strategies,” said Martinez, who has a sophomore daughter on the golf team.

“They think I’m going to kill their program, instead of saying we’re still going to be district champs,” said Willis. “That’s the attitude they portray to their kids.” Martinez said that Fort Stockton has not been doing well in golf since they killed their fall program. “If you send 20 kids out there, without supervision, others won’t go for that,” said Martinez.

Board member Steve Valenzuela said that as a community we don’t have much to offer the youngsters. “And anything we can do to help them and to offer them we should,” he said.

“I feel that when our kids are busy, they are staying out of trouble,” said Valenzuela. “We’ll have the junior high coach out there to supervise them,” said Willis. “I don’t think you should send them out there with a babysitter, but with a professional, to teach them the skills,” said Martinez.

District golf competition is held during the spring semester for all UIL classifications. However, Pecos’ tennis seasons changed when the district dropped from Class 4A to Class 3A in 2002. In Class 4A, District team tennis was held during the fall, while the individual district tournament was held in April. In Class 3A, both the team and individual tournaments take place during the spring semester.

Board members approved the coach’s stipend proposal, but opted to leave in the fall golf and fall tennis programs.

Commissioners set dual meetings

Reeves County Detention Center Phase I and Phase II management services agreement between the county and GEO Group, Inc., will be the topic of discussion at the Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for 2 p.m., Monday.

Other related topics to be discussed during the afternoon meeting, which will be one of two scheduled on Monday, include RCDC Phase II management services agreement and escrow agreement between Reeves County and the GEO Group.

Earlier in the day, commissioners will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss other prison-related items, including N.C. Sturgeon request for payment No. 14 RCDC-III; Carothers Construction request for payment No. 22 RCDC-III; RCDC 1999 lease payment; RCDC 1999 maintenance reserve payment; RCDC 2001 lease payment; RCDC 1998 lease payment; long distance service contract extension for one year; Xerox lease agreement for administration building R-III and Xerox lease agreement for AW building R-III and a contract agreement between Reeves County Detention Center and Westlaw PRO Products R-I and R-II.

The group will discuss and take action on a contract agreement between Reeves County Detention Center and Westlaw PRO Products R-II; meat products bid; contract between Reeves County and Pritchard and Abbott, Inc. valuation consultants; property bid for property located at 205 N. Pecan, and lots 21-23, block 33 NP. Empty lots; Balmorhea office space for Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco and discuss and approve early voting judge and alternate judges for run-off election.

Regular agenda items include:

Inmate transportation crew mileage payments.

Reports from various departments.

Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

Personnel and salary changes (RCDC).

Minutes from previous meetings.

Junell to rule in April on UPS dog attack suit

Staff Writer

Testimony ended on Thursday in the civil case of a female United Parcel Service driver attacked by a U.S. Border Patrol drug interdiction dog, and U.S. District Judge Robert Junell said he would make a judgment in the case sometime next month.

In the case of Florence Cox vs. the United States of American, Junell decided to take both sides under advisement and render judgment within 30 days.

Cox is suing the government for injuries she received during an attack by a Homeland Security K-9 unit. She is seeking $1.85 million for lost wages, general damages and medical bills.

According to Cox’s complaint, she submitted to a voluntary search of her UPS delivery truck at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Marfa on Oct. 25, 1999.

During that search the K-9 unit attacked Cox, biting her right breast, causing crushing damaged and puncture wounds.

In another civil trial held this week at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos, a jury voted unanimously to render a take nothing judgment in the case of Alfred Henderson vs. Marcos Martinez et al.

The civil suit alleged that Henderson received excessive punishment from an incident at the Lynaugh State Penitentiary in Pecos County.

Anderson asserted that he was discriminated against by prison guards after an altercation with another inmate. Anderson stated the reason behind the discrimination was due to favoritism shown by guards due to the other prisoners’ relationship with an unnamed prison official.

Also, Anderson asserted that complaints stemming from the incident that were sent to the Texas Department of Corrections, Internal Affairs Division, were opened illegally by prison staff.

Anderson also asserted that general discrimination was exhibited in regards to him due to his ethnicity and that Hispanic inmates were shown preferential treatment by Hispanic guards.

Today in District Court, jurors were scheduled t to hear the case of Gina Lewis-Lother vs. the City of Fort Stockton.

Lother alleges that she was subjected to a pattern of discrimination during her tenure as an animal control officer for the city. In the docket, Lother states that she was sexually harassed in 1997, and terminated in 1999 due to pregnancy. These matters were settled in an agreement reached between the two parties in 2000.

However since that time, Lother alleges that she was discrimination against due to the original complaint, and wrongfully discharged in 2001.

Lother is seeking back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, costs, punitive damages, and other relief to which she may be entitled.

Tree Board plans ceremony at PHA office on Saturday

The Pecos Tree Board in conjunction with Texans For Trees sponsored by the Texas Urban Forestry Council will be hosting “Tree Planting Day” on Saturday, with an 8 a.m. ceremony at the Pecos Housing Authority office at Starley and Meadowbrook drives.

Oscar Mestas, Regional Urban Forrester with the Texas A&M Extension Service out of El Paso will be a special guest, along with Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford and City Manager Joseph Torres.

The tree board’s application to receive approximately 232 trees was granted recently, and the trees arrived on Wednesday. This year the board designated the Pecos Housing Authority as the recipient of the donated trees. The trees will be planted at all PHA locations in town.

Next year, the Tree Board will designate those who apply first, with planting to be done in public and residential areas. The Tree Board will meet at 5 p.m., today at the Housing Authority headquarters to discuss the project with the tenants and the board. The Tree Board is asking for volunteers from the tenants as well as the ground crews to help out. Keep Pecos Beautiful will also provide assistance with volunteers.

For more information call chairpersons, Peter Mora, Randy Baeza, Teresa or Carolyn Winkles, Pecos Tree Board members.

Public School Week starting

Texas Public Schools Week will be celebrated Monday, March 22 through Friday, March 26.

Everyone is invited to visit the schools during this special celebration.

Parents are invited to each lunch with their child and are asked to call the child’s campus by 9 a.m. on that date.

Everyone in the community is also encouraged to donate their time and talents throughout the year to ensure continued academic success and student achievement.

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